« AnteriorContinuar »
confidence in them, so as in some respect to open my mind before them; and they have advised me to write to you, supposing that you would be willing to assist me by communicating to me ideas relative to the same sentiments ; by which I might be enabled to make a greater progress in the attainment of truth. Therefore, Sir, if you will have the goodness to communicate to me some ideas by which I may be assisted to combat superstition, and triumph in the truth, they will be thankfully received by your well-wisher,
J. B. LEVANT. P. S. Since writing the above, I have been informed that the party who have separated from the Society calling themselves Freeihinking Christians have adopted an idea of the existence of two eternal principles, in order to justify the existence of good and evil, consistent with the existence of an eternal, intelligent, perfect, wise, and good Being, because, say they, good and evil cannot exist in the Divine Mind.
1. They believe in but one supernatural, eternal, intelligent Being, whom they call God. 2. They believe in the existence of eternal matter, or Nature, through which they pretend to clear the character of the eternal Being they call God from being the author of evil, and to shew that he is only the author of good!
But how they will be able to clear the character of a divine, eternal, intelligent Being, (and former of the universe, and the beings it, contains) from the charge of being the author of the evil as well as of the good, I cannot conceive; and I think they must, if they are sincere in the pursuit of truth, soon find out their mistake.
These men talk as though moral virtue, or the social principles, could not be acted upon, independent of Christian theology or religion; but I believe I can shew that it is independent of all religion, that religion is ineffectual to restrain the actions of men when motives of present interest are most powerful.
Mr. Moggridge signified a desire I should send to you the correspondence I had with one of the Elders of the Society called Freethinking Christians, which, if a correspondence shall be established between us, I shall no doubt find a pleasure in so doing. If, Sir, you please, Mr. Jones is to be the medium of such correspondence,
Some Inconsistencies of the Freethinking Christians stated.
Ist. They believe man to be altogether a material being: yet they believe him to be the offspring of immateriality!
2dly. They believe that Jesus Christ was altogether a material being; that he died 1821 years past : yet they believe that he now personally lives by the power of immateriality! The power of nothing!
3dly. They believe that mind is no more than the assemblage of thoughts; the very faculty of thinking, and of necessity dependent on an external organization of the senses, and external objects: yet
ihey believe, or say they believe, that there exists à mind that is eterual and intelligent, independent of an organic structure of the senses and external objects !
4thly. They believe that intelligence is of necessity an acquired property, through the medium of an organic structure of the senses; if so, then all intelligence must be acquired : yet they believe, or say they believe, that intelligence is eternal, and the first cause of all things !
Gentlemen, judge for yourselves, are not these inconsistencies and self-contradictions ?
N. B. A person has made an objection to all intelligence being acquired, by saying, that "intelligence is an attribute :" it may be attributed or ascribed to a being or a supposed being capable of acquiring that property, but to say that intelligence can or does exist independent of such capacity, as an attribute, would be like ascribing or attributing wisdom to a stone, or knowledge to an apple, but who would believe it but the most ignorant and deluded among mankind. For the intelligent and well-instructed would know, that wisdom and knowledge were the result of examination and enquiry, study, and a good disposition, and that those qualifications are the effects of a perfect organization of the senses and the influence of external objects on the external organs of the body. But to attribute intelligence, or wisdom, to a stone, or knowledge to an apple, or to any imaginary being that is not tangible, or has not the power of contact, is equaliy ahsurd and ridiculous !
The Freethinking Christians certainly are more rational and less superstitious in their religious profession than other Christians; at the same time, they are more or less superstitious and irrational, although they talk so much about rational religion, calling it rational devotion, for while they labour to defend religion, they must of necessity be irrational and superstitious, because all religion is merely imaginary and superstition ! As to rational devotion, it must be independent of religion, for it belongs to the social principles of moral virtue, which principles existed long before the various systeins of theology and religion was manufactured! The Freethinking Christians have taken much pains to point out the superstitious and dogmatical doctrines and opinions of others, but, at the same time, they have not seen their own, for by their conduct they seem to think themselves infallible, But let me tell them what they cannot deny, (except they deny their own doctrine) that every being “is of vecessity,” what he or she is. And that every religious character is also of necessity exactly what a sage of old has said, viz, “ that every one is wise in his own eyes, and prudent in his own couceit.” Avd by the same necessity each religious body or sect thinks itself wiser and better, and that it possesses more of the truth than all the rest. Thus it is, that each pride themselves in their own conceited imaginations; and while they suffer themselves to be Priest-ridden, and to be deluded by State policy, instead of impartially inquiring and examining into things for themselves, the same necessity must
esist. But if we, as a nation, enjoyed the liberty of a free Press, it might be soon shewn, that there is not, nor ever was, nor ever will be any such thing as a rational religion; that rational devotion is dependeot on a truly patriotic and virtuous disposition of mind, and independent of religion ; that true rational devotion is a devotedness of the powers of body and mind to the interest of society, and individual interest only as it accords with the general interest. Thaí all religious characters are more or less superstitious in their religious ideas, and in their doctrines dogmatical, their belief being without solid evidence!
It will be asked, “What shall be substituted in the place of religion as a safeguard to virtue and the virtuous character ?" To which I reply, instead of religion, substitute a just and equal legislation, just and equal laws, not to be evaded by the guilty, be his rank, title, or estate whatever it may. Then you will be in a line to proiect virtue and the virtuous character, against the us character and the tyrant !
J. B. LEVANT.
The pages of the Republican are open to any questions or disquisitions from Mr. Lerant, but the Editor cannot attend to any private correspondence upon the subject he wishes. If he can afford to purchase a work by Sir Richard Phillips, on the Material Phenomena of the Universe, sold at half a guinea, he will find all the information he now seeks, Mr. Levant is evidently in the path of nature, the only path to truth; and all he seems to want, is a few Scientific displays of the powers of matter and motion: which be will find in the abovementioned volume..
TO MR. R. CARLILE.
May 5th, 1819. I BOUGAT a book called “the Age of Reason” in January last, and I have read it often over, and my opinion is, that if these books are well circulated throughout Europe, churches and chapels will become useless. I heard Mr. Brown from Birmingham abusing Mr. Paine out of the pulpit in 1805 or 1806, and I thought myself that Paine was a monster, but now I think he is the friend of mankind; again, I remember my mother teaching her children science when I was eight years of age, she told us that the earth was flat, and that it had four pillars to support it, one under each corner. Pray, sir, send as many books as you can to North Wales, that every school may be
furnished with “ The Age of Reason,” and let the children, ye 1, let all the children behold their Creator through the wonders of Creation.
I was at Liverpool in 1801,-and I heard Doctor Coke preach, and in the midst of his sermon he cried out with all his might, Don't you see him, Christ? don't you see him? don't you see him? but when I was at the orreries, I expected Lloyd or Walker to call out lustily, when the solar system was in motion, Don't you see the Creator? Don't you see the Creator? Don't you behold the Creator? for surely the Creation and Revolution of the Solar Systein, must astonish every human being.
June 24, 1822. The above Causes stand for Trial, on Friday the 5th day of July next.
Solicitor for the Prosecution. Mrs. Wright, 22, Tower Street, Westminster Road.
Mr. Pritchard, and the whole of the Christian world, will have an opportunity on Friday next, of reading the Trial of - The Man without a Name.” This Trial will make the most enthusiastic Christian blush for his religion. The literal quotations which will be given in this Trial will prove that it far surpasses “ Fanny Hill” in point of obscenity.
The Captives of Giltspur Street, acknowledge the receipt of a Shoulder of Mutton from Mr. Townshend, on the 2d of June, and a Quarter of Lamb, from an unknown friend, on the 9th.
Mrs. Holmes gratefully acknowledges the receipt of £l. from the Friends of Freedom, at the
through the hands of Mr. Robinson.
Printed and Published by R. CARLILE, 55, Fleet Street. All Communications
(post paid) are requested to be sent to Dorchester Gaol, until a further Ad. dress to some House or Shop be given.----Orders, with remittances, or references for payment, will be punctually attended to. Country Agents will find the most liberal Terms for prompt Payment.
No. 6. Vol. VI.]
London, FRIDAY, July 5, 1822.
TO THE REPUBLICANS OF THE ISLAND OF
Dorchester Gaol, June 30, CITIZENS,
Year 3, of the Spanish Revolution. In the last No. of the last volume of the Republican I addressed to you my ideas upon the right of property, and to the best of my ability stated to you where I considered that right did belong and where it did uot. A friend, a sincere friend I believe of mine and yours, has thought proper to call in question some of my opinions upon that subject, and by some strong arguments and a powerful stile of reasoning has attacked them in the spirit of free discussion. As free discussion is the first feature in our principles, I am sure I shall give you satisfaction and do justice to my friend by giving insertion to bis sentiments; and as far as I cannot fully and fairly reply to him, I acknowledge myself a convert.
TO MR, R. CARLILE, DORCHESTER GAOL. Sie, I READ with the greatest pleasure, and with the strongest concurrence, the great principles relative to human happiness which are so courageously maintained in your Republican. Keeping the same end in view as yourself, the greatest happiness of the greatest number, I feel persuaded that this can only be attained by the diffusion of knowledge, the thorough extirpation of Priestcraft, and the establishment of a pure Representative System. But my wish for the acquisition of this glorious object makes me the more anxious that those who pursue it should guard themselves from mixing up with it other topics which may render the public mind even more averse to these doctrines than it unfortunately is at present.
What I particolarly allude to is a letter of yours, in the last Number of the Fifth Volume of your Republican, which contains some observations on the subject of property, calculated, in my opinion,
Printed and Published by R. CARLILE, 55, Fleet-street.