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existing God is without great mercy, inflicting puuishments on some and bestowing good on others, and treating all men as if they were his intimates. On account of all this, that which you have proposed comes out not worthy of adoration (i. e. valueless).
"Again; the self-existing God destroys men with death, sending death upon the earth. Can any falsehood be spoken greater? or is there any falsehood greater than this falsehood of your legislator? (i. e. the author of the Scriptures). Therefore, all evil is existing from sin. Besides men when they commit more weighty offences, also transmigrate into asses, goats, dogs, and other animals. The spirits of animals transmigrate in the same manner into Your legislator, who says that this does not so take place, says what is false : your legislator also is ignorant of occult magic. Those images (i. e. spirits or phantasms raised by magic), enter into love with women, but . . are you ignorant of this? Our learning is from heaven, and has no end, so there is no end to the kingdoms of the world. There are innumerable kingdoms of the world, and in all these our law is existing. There are four parts of the doctrine of your particular law (perhaps he means the four Gospels), but you do not feel ashamed, that it is in some kingdoms only. That the power of your law is able to recall to life, I do not believe. The power of calling to life belongs to the chief evil dæmons; and is equally the power of drugs (i. e. the mendicaments and charms of the magicians) to raise the dead. But I do not in saying this wish to insult your God. All punishments proceed from sin, all felicities from actions of virtue. Therefore a man's own heart is the author of all punishments; on this account, therefore, if the heart be kept in the best state, all living things will not be afflicted (i. e. there will be general happiness).
"This, my writing, is to the Grand Lama of your kingdom (i. e. the Pope); entreat him to impart to me the argument of kindness, and to pray for me. In this part of Asia the laws that do not agree with this doctrine, are three hundred and sixty; of those laws, much the greater part are contrary the one to another.
"In the past, the present, the future-in these three times-I have not understood that there is a law better than ours. It is your happiness alone, O missionary, to hear the exalted name of our law.
May the spirits that are contrary to this law be destroyed."
The mingled superstition and atheism of this extraordinary letter, most strikingly elucidate all that we have heard of the Buddhistic religion.
THE LITURGY OF THE DEISTS.
SOME few years ago, the Deists of London, raised up chiefly by the impious labours of the Rev. Robert Taylor, were so numerous, as to be organised into a regular body, with two chapels at least, and a worship of their own, attended for some time by what would be called respectable congregations."
The Grand Lama objects that the Christian system is ignorant of the transmigration of souls, which he contends is the punishment of great wickedness. The souls of the wicked, become after death of the body, the souls of degraded animals, and the souls of animals, in like manner, become the souls of men.
We have two of their Liturgies, or Prayer Books before us, but shall make our extracts only from one, of which the title is, "The Holy Liturgy; or Divine Service of the Principles of pure Deism, as performed every Sunday, in the Chapel of the Society of Universal Benevolence, 86, Cannon-street, City, by the Rev. Robert Taylor, A, B. and M. R, C. S., Chaplain of the Society, and Orator of the Christian Evidence Society!" The books have, we believe, become exceedingly scarce, and we should not shock the minds of our readers with such revolting specimens of the legitimate tendency of natural religion, as our extracts disclose, did we not think that a very instructive lesson may be learnt from them. There is an idolatry of intellect in the present age -an over-weening estimate of the beneficial tendency of mere cultivation of mind, which may be moderated by the contemplation of facts which prove that men of good natural understanding, but ignorant of the grace of God, may even rush into idolatry whilst making their boast of reason, and glorying in the superior wisdom of our "enlightened age."
The Preface speaks in high praise of the Liturgy of the Church of England, as a composition of dignified language, musical cadence, and elegantly balanced antithesis; and therefore recommends to "our Chaplains," who at that time could be reckoned in the plural number, to pay great attention in the reading of the "Liturgy of the Deists;" to behave in the reading-desk with the utmost decorum, and to express the " Andante and the Adagio" of the sentences.
The form of Rubricks is carefully attended to.
At the beginning of this Divine Service, he that performeth the same shall read with a loud voice these sentences which follow; first of all, saying
HERE BEGINNETH THE HOLY LITURGY.
1. WHEN the wicked man turneth away from the wickedness which he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, his ways shall become ways of pleasantness, and all his paths shall be pure.
2. He that in the morning hath heard the voice of virtue may die at night; this man will not repent that he hath lived, nor be afraid to die.-20th Maxim of Confucius.
3. He that hath light within his own clear breast,
May sit in the centre and enjoy bright day;
But he that hides a dark soul and foul thoughts,
Himself is his own dungeon. -Milton.
4. Virtue would see to do what virtue would
Though sun and moon were in the flat sea sunk.-Milton.
DEARLY Beloved Brethren, though we ought, at all times, to be sensible of our manifold infirmities before the presence of Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, and also to be heedful of the admonitions of those who walked before us in the paths of wisdom and virtue, yet ought we most chiefly so to be disposed, when we assemble and meet together to render thanks for the great benefits which we have received at his hands, to set forth his most worthy praise, to hear their most holy words, and to meditate those things which are requisite and necessary, as well for the body politic as ourselves: wherefore pray and beseech you, as many as are here present, to accompany we with a pious heart and voice-sa ying after me:
A general Vindication, to be understood as said of the whole Congregation, after the Minister, all sitting.
ALMIGHTY and most Merciful Father, we have not erred and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep, neither have we offended against thy holy laws. But if we have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts in opposition to better counsel-if we have left undone those things which we ought to have done, or have done those things which we ought not to have done, there is no excuse for us--but we should so far deserve to be miserable. But thou, O Lord, be merciful to them who have need of thy mercy! Spare thou them, O God, which confess their faults! Restore thou them that are penitent, according to thy goodness declared unto mankind, Eternal One, our Lord. And grant, O most Merciful Father, for our sakes, that all such confessing and penitent persons may imitate our better example, and hereafter lead a goodly, righteous, and sober life, to the glory of our holy nature.
Then he that performeth this holy Liturgy shall stand, and sing or say this which followeth, with an audible voice, the people still sitting--both here and wheresoever else it is usual in Divine Service.
The Collect, which may be said or sung, as in Cathedrals and Choirs.
OUR Father, which art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom sure, thy power felt on earth as it is in heaven. It is thou who givest us the daily light. We will be benignant and gracious to them that depend on us as we depend on thee. Our advantages shall not lead us into temptation, but our virtues shall deliver us from evil.
¶ Then likewise he shall say or sing,
O Lord, open thou our lips.
Answer. And our mouths shall shew forth thy praise.
Answer.-The Lord's name be praised.
After this follows the 95th Psalm-" O come, let us sing unto the Lord!" somewhat altered, as thus, To-day, if ye will listen to the voice of virtue, harden not your hearts, as in the barbarity, and as in the day of superstition and ignorance; when your fathers laboured under it, proved it, and felt its evil effects," &c.
Then shall be read distinctly, with an audible voice, the First Lesson, taken out of Seneca's Morals, Cicero's Offices, Volney's Ruins of Empires, Paine's Age of Reason, or any other good and moral treatise, provided always, it be such as maketh no claim to supernatural authority, nor giveth any countenance to superstition and priestcraft, but be calculated in all purity af diction, and gravity.of style, to instruct the understanding and improve the heart.
And he that readeth, so standing, and turning himself, as he may best be heard of all such as are present, shall begin the Lesson by saying-the First Lesson appointed for this Sacred Service is (as it may be), and the Lesson being ended, he shall say
Here endeth the First Lesson,
¶ But here, once for all, be it noted, that no Chaplain of the Society of Universal Benevolence, no Minister, or Performer of this Sacred Service, shall ever be allowed to alter any phrase or word therein contained, nor to take upon himself to make either addition therelo, or omission therefrom-whereby any part of this Service might come to be understood as an expression of the sentiments of an individual, rather than of what is in this Holy Liturgy prescribed. After the First Lesson shall be said, or sung,
Te Deum Laudamus-a Canticle.
We praise thee, O God, we acknowledge thee to be the Lord;
To thee all the planets of our system are attracted, the
Heavens and all the powers therein !
To thee the distant Herschel and Saturnus are attracted.
Holy, holy, holy Lord God of Heaven, heaven and earth are full of the Majesty of thy glory.
The glorious company of the constellations praise thee.
The goodly fellowship of the seasons praise thee.
The bright compartments of the zodiac praise thee.
The existence of life throughout all the world doth acknowledge thee.
The Father of an infinite Majesty.
Thine Honorable true and only Deity
When thou takest upon thee to irradiate the Earth, thou appearest in succession through all the Zodiac.
When thou overcomest the sharpness of winter, thou openest the kingdom of summer to all creatures.
Thou sittest in the centre of our system in the glory of a Father, &c.
Then follows the Second Lesson-then the 100th Psalm, parodied, with reference to the sun and the laws of nature-then the Creed. Here beginneth the Holy Creed-"I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth, and of all things visible and invisible. But of what cannot
be known I am content to be ignorant, and when I have no knowledge I have no faith. I will not bind myself to my state of mind to-day, because it is my duty to become wiser to-morrow. I will never surrender my own consent, nor require the consent of another's, to any thing that cannot be proved by evidence, or demonstrated by reason. Knowing that all that man hath a right to claim from man, is an interchange of kind offices and of affectionate feelings, it shall be my constant endeavour to do all the good I can, as well to others as to myself, as well to strangers as to friends, and I will observe the strictest rules of temperance, justice, mercy, and truth, all the days of my life."
This is followed by versicles in phoné and antiphoné; then a Litany, praying chiefly for the prevalence of the love of truth," and containing professions of attachment to the afflicted of all religious persuasions"- then "the Holy Thanksgiving."
Almighty God, Father of all creatures, we, thy faithful servants, do give thee most cheerful and hearty thanks for all thy goodness and loving kindness to us and to all men; we bless thee for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of life. But, above all, for the inestimable benefit of thy best gift of reason, our means of happiness and our badge of honour; and such a sense have we of thy great gift, that our hearts are unfeignedly thankful, and we will show forth its advantages not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up ourselves to its guidance, and walking by its rules in temperance and righteousness all our days.
"MAY that peace, which virtue only can give, possess your hearts and minds in the understanding of all you ought to understand, and in the practice of all you ought to do; and may the happy rewards of knowledge and of virtue be your's, and with you for ever.'
Here endeth the Holy Liturgy."
There is a rubric at the end, commanding the chaplains to wear such decent ornaments, and scholar-like apparel, pending their officiations, as may become
the dignity thereof;" a rubric which was punctually obeyed by the full clerical and academical costume of these absurd functionaries.
We find, in this Liturgy, many points broadly stated which are contended for by sophistical arguments, and pretended scriptural proofs, by other religionists of an apparently different creed. The total denial of the fall of man; the proud assertion of the integrity of the human heart, and the full ability of man to make himself good if he chooses. The contemptuous rejection of an atonement, and the denial of the need of a Mediator between God and man; the usual declaration of all who are "out of the way" that God is good and benevolent, and that all he wishes or desires of us is to be benevolent also-the exaltation of reason as a most sure and safe guide in religion, unaided by any Divine help the tracing all misery merely to a disobedience to reason-these are points of doctrine which the natural man is continually bringing forth in more sober language, and with more studied ambiguities of expression, in places and on occasions which it would be easy to name.
That these misguided people, in their "pure Deism," worshipped the visible sun is most evident, by their "Te Deum;" so that, wearied, with worshipping the Most High God of the Bible, "the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God," "dwelling in that light to which no man can approach, whom no man hath seen, or can see," these miserable slaves of superstition and the devil, turned their regard to a ball of fire, frequently marred and disfigured with spots and blots, and distant about ninety-three millions of miles from the earth!
But, in the creed of " the pure Deist," seeing is believing; and this, therefore, is the God that he is inclined to worship, because he sees his light and feels his warmth. In these days, however, to make a God of the sun is indeed ridiculous, for such are the discoveries of science as to make it certain that the sun, with all his grandeur, must be a very insignificant body compared with some of the fixed stars. Why not worship the Dog Star, Sirius, or Arcturus, or Capella? This, therefore, is now an iniquity to be punished not only by the judges but by the schoolmaster also.
After the mummery of this Liturgy had continued for some time, the chief priest was sent to Dorchester gaol for blasphemy, and the other “reverend chaplains" became such thorough reprobates, in all manner of irregularities of conduct, that "pure Deism" fell into ruins so complete, that it is no easy matter now to find one of their Prayer Books.