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You should tell us what God is, before you say, that matter is dependant upon that word. You cannot define the half of your words. When we speak of matter as a whole, and that one part of it is dependant upon the other, we speak rationally; but what is your God, and other spiritual things, of which you speak?
You cannot imagine how matter can exist devoid of ponderosity or weight, size or quantity, shape or figure. That which is lighter than our atmosphere can have no weight in thatatmosphere. A balloon, distended with gas, though the silk gives it a figure has no weight in that atmosphere. Any portion, short of the wbole contents of that balloon, can have no figure, on which our ideas can rest. A grain of gunpowder, has size, weight, nor figure; but explode it, and it has neither size, weight, nor figure. You may give figure to a stream of water; but you cannot attach an idea of figure to a portion of that stream. That which expands to fill up the whole of a space, can have no figure short of that whole. The motion sets aside all idea of figure. But, you spiritualists have no ideas of matter beyond that wbich is fixed and identical-all else is to you spiritual, that is, beyond identities of fixed matter, you are ignorant, and would fill up this evident void in your knowledge with notions of Gods, souls and spirits.
It is truly said, that nature abhors a vacuum ; and you every where see, that it is the peculiar property of Huid matter to rush and fill up a space of a lighter medium than itself. Water seeks its level on the surface of solid matter, and the atmosphere its equilibrium at all points, which accounts for winds and rains, and all the atmospherical phenomena.
I am instructed to inform you, that neither of the Messrs. Afflecks wrote the pamphlet entitled “The Shorter Catechism, &c.” which you have criticised ; but it was written by a gentleman, who deems it prudent, to meet the Christian at half way, as a better means of drawing him through the whole. The Messrs. Afflecks, as well as myself, do not approve of this plan. You cannot make a truce with a fanatic, he must be conquered. In private life, I am as mild as any man; but I see, that mildness will not do in a discussion with the Christians. They attribute it to want of spirit, and want of argument. To conquer them, we must set upon them with all possible force. So, I follow my judgment, rather than my private disposition, in all my writings and publications against Christianity.
Your criticism is but little short of profligacy. You misquote from a letter by William Holmes, and where he has said, it is necessary to destroy kingcraft to rid the world of priestcraft, you bave omitted the craft, or profession, and applied the necessity of destruction, to the persons of kings and priests. Kings and priests are but men, if we divest them of their offices: there is, therefore, no need of destroy. ing the persons to rid the world of the offices. And when you refer to massacres committed by the Infidels of France during the Revolution, you may be informed, that they were Cbristians, who were guilty of those excesses; and that all the pbilosophical infidels of the Convention, or nearly all, fell under the guillotine. It now, appears that Robespierre was a mere tool in the hands of the Bourbons, and of the late Louis XVIII. in particular. There seems to be proof of a regular gorrespondence between Robespierre and the Bourbons—and that bis object was to remove the greatest and most formidable enemies to the restoration of the monarchy. Let it for ever be remembered, that it was Robespierre who proposed and carried the return of idolatry to the French Nation, as an act of the legislature.
Now, Abel, I have removed every point of quibble in your last pamphlet; but you have cautiously guarded against reply, by saying, that whatever Thomas Turton or myself may write, you will not further notice it. You are a valiant Christian Knight of the Goose Quill, thus to be silenced and still to remain a Christian! I will print for thee, Abel, if thou wilt write :-so expence shall be no obstacle, even if the Vicar will not pay for it. Do write again, Abel, pray do write-thy abilities do so much more for Christianity than mine can do, that I exhort thee most fervently to write again; and to consider, that, if thou shootest crows only with thy powder and shot, and makest Christians of them, something will be gained for Christianity in these ber days of decline and desolation. Farewell! Abel!
Dorchester Gaol, September 30, 1824.
TO MR. R. CARLILE, DORCHESTER GAOL.
Hammersmith, September 21, 1824. I HAVE just read your address to scientific men, and answer it to the best of my abilities. I am a Surgeon, that of course
implies that I am also a sceptic. But in politics, I differ from you entirely. I can see in nature nó equality on which the principles of republicanism are founded; and whatever rights men may possess in the abstract, they lose when they cannot exercise them wisely and justly for the benefit of themselves and others. This is universally admitted in the case of mad, idiotic, and impotent men. But my faith is enough for you. I cannot expect to trap you, or the readers of the Republican into a defence of monarchical or aristocratical despotism.
I am author of “ A Manuel of Medicine, Surgery, and Midwifery, for the use of Officers, Families, and the Public in general.” Dedicated to the King. And of "The Phrenologist, a farce with songs, containing a popular summary of that real or pseudo science." And of “ The Investigator, or Essays on Medical Theology." The intention of which was (for it was stopped in the press, for reasons needless to mention here) to examine the dogmas of religion by the light of medical science. I send you one essay; if you publish it, I shall send you more, premising, that I do not wish you to be responsible for what I write, as I consider persecucution for conscience's sake as honourable as you do, it being a certain evidence of the author's honesty, and a very strong presumption of the truth of his opinions. Hoping a wise, just, and liberal system of universal toleration will soon release you, not from “durance vile," but from “ durance" honourable,
I api, Sir,
R. T. WEBB.
No. 1 of a series of Essays investigating the Dogmas of
Religion, by the light of Medical Science, in answer to
ON THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY.
ANIMAL and vegetable bodies, in their chemical composition, and their principles of vitality, very much resemble each other. Both have a species of respiration, a circulating fluid, and a power of appropriating to themselves elements similar to their own. Animals derive their nourishment, support, and increase from other animals, and from vegetables taken
No. 14, Vol. X.
into the stomach, and dissolved by a fluid it secretes, and then the nutricious particles being carried from the intestipes to the blood vessels, by vessels called lacteals adapted to that purpose. Vegetables derive their nourishment from decomposing animal and vegetable matter in the soil in which they grow, and from their respiration or power of absorbing some parts of the atmospheric air, and of throwing out other gaseous bodies. On the respiration of animals, physiologists are divided; some contending, that the lungs absorb oxygen from the air, others maintaining, that, as is undoubtedly a fact, carbon is thrown off. The probability is, that both opinions are true, and that oxygen is in bibed and carbon is exhaled. Vegetables consist principally of three elements, carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen; besides the principles in which their distinctive properties reside. Animals generally and essentially contain bydrogen, oxygen, and carbon, azot, phosphorus, and lime. These elements, as the reader may have observed from the preceding remarks, are continually undergoing new combinations. They are thrown off from the body.in various forms, in -, uterine, salivary and urinary secretions, in perspiration and in respiration. The loss is supplied by the appropriation of new matter, from food and air. Not one particle of my body is the same it was ten years ago; but the change being imperceptibly effected, the consciousness of identity remains. The change is constantly and rapidly going on. During his trial, a “part and parcel" of the wretched infidel became a “ part and parcel" of the orthodox and learned judge, of the wise and liberal, enlightened and impartial jury, and of the honest bystanders. And vice versa, the “wretched infidel” was blessed with some particles of Christian benevolence and felicity.
When death takes place, decomposition proceeds more rapidly, and the body soon becomes a part of grass, of sheep, of pigs, of men, and, in short, of every thing—the elements enter into new combinations with all surrounding matter. The resurrection of the body must, therefore, be effected by the recomposition of the elements which formed it at the time of its death, or at some time during its life. This, it is obvious must cause the decomposition of all matter containing those elements. The living must die before the dead can be raised. The Lord Chief Justice may repent bis intercourse with the “ wretched infidel,” he may be minus some particles of hydrogen, oxygen, and azot, which form the fai that adorns his cheecks with well-fed smiles, to sup
ply the wear and tear of the “ wretched infidel's” lungs in demanding justice in vain. The sea and the atmosphere, vegetables and animals, must all be decomposed before the dead can be recomposed. And if the living yield matter to the dead, must not the living die? If any unappropriated matter exist, wbicb has never been used in the formation of man, the loss the living sustain may be supplied from that matter, But, if there have been more men in the world than all the elements necessary are equal to reform, a resurrection is an absolute impossibility. But granting, that there may be enough hydrogen, oxygen, and azot, and carbon, phosphorus and lime, in the earth to reform all the bodies that have been op it, the resurrection is impossible, for this reason. The matter that now forms my body has passed through many bodies, and the matter of one cannot form many. A man has been known to eat another. Iu this case, two men are directly converted into one. A man becomes great by eating a little one: it is obvious that the great man cannot rise and the little one that helped to form his bulk. Then only imagine the improbable and absurd idea of an universel decomposition of earth, sea, and air, for the recomposition of man! Then, again, a man changes bis wbole composition every eight or ten years,' or perhaps oftener. Which man will be raised, the weak infant, the decrepid old man, the blooming boy, the lively youth, or the vigorous man?
Chemistry proves the doctrine or dogma of the resurrection, impossible, improbable, and absurd, in all its bearings.
Note by Editor. We cannot too often hear from this Gentleman, and we promise the most early insertion to his articles, tbat the mass of correspondence and other matter vow pressing on the pages of the Republican will admit.
TO MR. R. CARLILE.
Dewsbury, Sept. 10, 1824. ENCLOSED you will receive a subscription (amount £3. 14s.) from your friends in Dewsbury, Mills Bridge, and High Town, who pledge themselves never to lose sight of your