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led to believe it? It was not a desire to improve the condition and happiness of mankind; for you well knew, that we charged Christianity with being the greatest curse that ever befel the human race. If you had considered it to be a blessing, instead of a curse, you would have endeavoured so to make it appear, by bringing forward proofs to that effect; instead of which you hied to the pulpit, and thus entrenched to the chin, in a position where
knew your opponent could not assail you in return, you thundered forth about the horrors and absurdities of infidel principles, in a tone, which before your humble servant, would have been as soft, aye, as soft as the soft and cringing tones of your soft-pated followers. It was not out of pure love for religion ; for your religion commends you to examine and prove all things, and to hold fast that which is good. You refused to examine, you spurned proof, and you stuck tenaciously to your old system, right or wrong, good or bad. It was not a love of justice; for justice did not demand you to attempt to injure me by every means in your power, and to style me a corrupt and dangerous member of society, merely because I differed from you in opinion. Where then shall we look for your motives ? Could the fear of losing so trifling a sum, as about eight hundred pounds per annum, in the least sway your upright mind—a mind which you so often boast of, as being so clearly rid, so entirely free from all earthly pursuits, and so completely weaned from all sublunary things, as not to leave a wish behind *? Was there any thing like the thought of a future deanery or bishopric in your head at the time, or of getting two or three sons presented with (I beg pardon, called by the Holy Ghost to fill) vacant vicarages? Was there nothing like fear of losing that little petty authority, which you had partly usurped, and partly obtained with your magisterial office, and of which I know you to be very fond ? Was there. nothing like a fear of exposure in the first place, and revenge when those fears were realized? Can you plead “ not guilty” to all
* Love, to be sure, is not a sublunary matter; it is heavenly~ truly angelic! The Vicar lately lost a wife, who had been the mother of a fine family of children to him; and some of the saints, to their great surprise, (if any thing can surprize them,) heard of the death of the one, and of the courtship of another, almost as one piece of news!
His Reverence was absolutely overseen by a neighbour, in the act of gallanting with a maid, in a bower in his garden. Words were exchanged, and the Vicar begged of the neighbour not to say any thing about what he had seen. But the tale has been on the wing. This is the man who has not an earthly affection! Oh! Rank and damnable hypocrisy!
these different charges ? or am not I more correct when I say, that they combined to make you a persecutor of every thing in the shape of liberal principles ? Aye, do not start, Sir, a persecutor, to the utmost of your power, of every man who should dare to say he had a right to think and act for himself. You did not persuade my neighbours that I was a corrupt and dangerous member of society: in that respect, I was too well known; but you did your best, you attempted it. You did not put your laws in force against me, why? because fear prevented you. You threatened, and that was all you dared to do.
It is allowed on all sides, that happiness is the principal thiog to be desired, and that that man who obtains for his fellow creatures, or directs them how to obtain, the greatest share, deserves the greatest share of their esteem and approbation. The Atheist teacheth his fellow man what he really is, what his relations are, and in what manner he is affected by them; points out to him in what his happiness consists, and the method of obtaining it; draws his attention to tangible objects, instead of visionary theories; convinces him of his real state, both here, and hereafter, instead of flattering him with false hopes. In short, he makes his fellow-men rational and happy, instead of irrational and miserable. The Christian Priest, on the contrary, teacheth his followers to disbelieve even their own senses, and to believe themselves any thing but what they really are; describes to them relations which have no existence, and by directing their attention to those visions, causes them to lose sight of those true relations which could alone conduce to their happiness; he teacheth them to despise pleasure in this world, in order to obtain it in a world they will never reach; his doctrines debase their mind, his domineering spirit subjects them to his tyrannical sway, his avarice, robs them of their wealth, and his cunning and sanctity prevent them from discovering the imposture. It is between these opposite systems, I would now call on every man to decide: and, on this decision, if given after an impartial and careful examination of the subject, I am willing to rest my claim to the friendship of my fellow-men, them I would thus address. THE Priests tell
that Christianity is founded on truth, yet they forbid you to examine it; we tell you that Christianity is founded on falsehood and imposture, and we call on you to examine it, to examine what we have to say against it, and judge between us. Mark this: THE CHRISTIAN SHUNS EXAMINATION; The ATHEIST COURTS IT. Throw aside then, my friends, those prejudices, which prevent you from examining a matter so closely connected with your happiness. Bear in mind, that truth cannot suffer by being brought to light, but on the contrary, shines with the greater splendour. If Christianity, when examined, should prove to be true, you will lose nothing by the examination; if found to be false, consider the advantages you will derive from discarding it.
As this letter is already spun out to a greater length than I at first intended, I shall defer what other remarks I have to make to some future day. In the mean time, Sir, be assured that you shall never be forgotten-never be neglected by
TRUTH AND REASON, AGAINST FALSEHOOD AND
Still the battle fiercely rages,
Fiercely through the gloomy night,
War against the glorious light!
Fiercely fight the sons of error,
(Though success their standard shuns) Yet they never shall strike terror,
In the breast of reason's sons.
Reason's dawn they fain would stifle,
Fain they'd force it from our shore,
And increase their stolen store.
But its flame, so warmly glowing
In the breasts of those oppress’d,
Ne'er can be by force suppress’d.
Will they, then, with arts dissembling,
Still pursue those foolish wars?
Tho' arm'd with dungeons, bolts, and bars.
Onward, then, ye sons of reason,
To the field of battle rush;
84, Fleet Street.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE REPUBLICAN.
Sheffield, July 5, 1824. LOOKING over an old " Analytical Review," the other day, I met with a review of the work entitled “Rights of Man," part second.
Where, after quoting largly, and making some lengthy observations, the reviewer concludes in the following manner. “ And now courteous reader, we leave Mr. Paine entirely at thy mercy. What wilt thou say of him ? Wilt thou address him: Thou art a troubler of privileged orders, we will tar and feather thee; the nobles abhor thee, and kings think thee mad,' or wilt thou rather put on thy spectacles, study Mr. Paine's physiognomy, purchase his portait, hang it over thy chimney piece, and pointing to it, say: “This is no common man. This is THE POOR MAN'S FRIEND.'»
If you think this tribute to the worth of our immortal countryman, deserving a corner in “The Republican,” it may gratify many to see, how Paine was spoken of in bis own day, and it will gratify none more than
W. V. H.
In consequence of the scarcity of sets of “ The Republican,” we return to the full price. Nos. 1, and 3, Vol. 1, No. 20, Vol. 8, and Nos. 1, and 10; Vol. 9, are much wanted, and will be gladly taken back from any one, at the price given for them, or in exchange for other numbers, or for other articles.
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