« AnteriorContinuar »
it? Mr. B. did not act in this honest or honourable way; for though he had been refuted by several of your correspondents, he goes on in his old way, as though he had not been challenged to the combat, or as if his bold defiance had not been noticed, to cavil at Christianity. If then honour and honesty would have made it reasonable to expect an answer, and a candid discussion; what must we say of the person who acts like Mr. B. but that his conduct is mean, dastardly, cowardly, and, I will add, dishonest in the extreme?
In vol. i. p. 460, Christophilus again calls for a reply, lamenting his challenge is not accepted or noticed, and still Mr. Burdon is silent. Vol. ii. p. 71, Christophilus again calls upon him, by saying—" But, Sir, allow me to express my surprise, that notwithstanding my challenge to Mr. B. I have not seen any answer from him; but should he yet condescend to notice them, I do hope that he will not throw out declamatory sneers or unfounded assertions, nor ramble from Dan to Beersheba, when the point is directly before him." P. 98, Christophilus says, " I still must express my surprise that none of your deistical correspondents have attempted to answer my questions! Surely they are plainly stated, and if fallacious, admit of a plaiu and easy answer. These gentlemen are extremely dictatorial in their demand, when they propose questions, and why are they not as prompt when they are proposed to them." Yet notwithstanding these repeated invitations'Mr. B. is silent, or contents himself with dictating two vague letters, which never once oiler to answer the questions of C. or to produce an adequate or indeed any cause for the facts and effects produced by him ; and as though he was master of the field, and had never been challenged or refuted, he goes on to assert, p. 277—" I have no hesitation in saying that there cannot be such a thing as a miracle; therefore Christianity as a divine revelation cannot be true." Yet after this he charges you with want of candour, and not daring to give his sentiments publicity.
1 think, Sir, if I had nothing more to add, I have made out my case to every candid man, that the conduct of Mr. B. with respect to Christophilus, is mean, dastardly, cowardly, and dishonest. But, Sir, the completion of his character shall be drawn from the letter which you rejected. In that letter he says, speaking of Jesus, "his resurrection is evidently a forgery, a fraud, imposed upon the world by hig followers, who were disappointed in all their expectation of worldly triumph." JNJow let it be remarked, that this
bold assertion is made after Christophilus had written on the fact of the resurrection of Jesus (vol. ii. p. 65 and 97); and where, having enlarged upon the evidence, he says, p. 105, "to my mind the evidence on this subject is so clear and decisive, that I confess I do not see how it can possibly be otherwise than true; and I call upon the Deist to bring me one fact so well attested and connected with such a variety of strong corroborative evidence as this is, that was ever proved to be false." And, page 533, the Reviewer of the Evidences, remarking on this particular part of the Resurrection of Jesus, says, " it would not perhaps be going too far to say that nothing has ever been better written on that subject. All who know how to appreciate the laws of evidence will esteem it a master-piece of argument, and we only feel surprised that a circumstance which occurred 1800 years ago, ffhould admit of such overpowering evidence in its favour at this day."
Notwithstanding Christophilus had argued the fact of the resurrection, and had.called only for one fact so well attested—notwithstanding the evidence appeared so strong and convincing on the subject to your correspondent, the Rei viewer—Mr. B. treats it as undeserving his attention—he passes over all this evidence; and without condescending even to notice that any thing has appeared on the subject, or producing this one fact, which would settle the business— without attempting to answer in any way the questions put by Christophilus in so simple a form, he boldly asserts the Resurrection of Jesus to be a forgery and fraud—and the promulgators impostors, disappointed of their hopes of worldly triumph. Yet with all this unmanly conduct, Mr. B. is extremely hurt at having it described as mean, dastardly, and cowardly, and charges you with not daring to publish his arguments against Christianity.
When 1 wrote the notice to Mr. B. I confess I thought most meanly of his conduct; but upon a re-survey I cannot find language sufficiently strong to convey the contempt 1 must ever feel for a man of talent, who conducts himself in the viean, dastardly^ and cowardly manner, that he has done; and nothing will alter my opinion, except he come forward and meet Christophilus on the ground proposed, and adduce more adequate causes for the facts and effects' adduced by Christophilus than he himself has doiie, or else acknowledge that he is mistaken; and if he does not do either, every rational man must conclude that although he is convinced he cannpt answer the argument in favour of Revealed Ji«* Tigion, lie has not courage or honesty sufficient to make the acknowledgment.
1 shall make no comment on the other part of Mr. B's. euriou* epistle; his objections have been so often and so ably answered by other correspondents, that I am only astonished he is not ashamed to repeat them; and I think, Sir, you did him a great favour in withholding from public view his oft repeated and oft refuledtalc, thereby saving him from merited disgrace! 13 ut since he is sd anxious for it, publish his letter, and let him empty the bitter cup even to the dregs— a more severe humiliation his greatest enemy need not wish him to sustain!
A FlUEND TO TnUTII AND C0NSI8TENCT.
ON RELIGIOUS OBSERVANCES.
To the Editor of the Freelhinlcing Christians1 Magazine.
IN looking overyour Magazine for November, I met with an article on the subject of washing of feet, by a person who assumes the title of " A Humble Enquirer after Truth," though his paper furnishes a strong presumption that he is destitute of every quality implied in the appellation. Low wit, profane banter, and contempt df those who differ from him, united with an exalted opinion of his own sagacity, seem to be the characteristics of his performance.
A production which exhibits not even the semblance of reasoning, might be safely left to the sovereign contempt of every man who deserves the epithet of a FreethinkingChristian ; but as. unthinking minds are apt to be led away by ivhat has the appearance of a witty exposure of an opponent's absurdities, it is not improper, and to some it may prove useful, to remind them, that laughter is not reasoning, and that evidence, and not ridicule, is the test of truth.
Into the controversy which relates to the Christian rite, as some deeai it, of washing each others' feet, I do not mean to enter. J. D. is, notwithstanding the sneers of your Correspondent, a man of too much reflection, to hazard an opinion which he is not qualified to'defend by arguments which deserve investigation. I cheerfully leave him t«. fight his own battles; confident that if he meets with noVnore
Mr. Maherty and " the Catholic Lions.'1
powerful enemies then this pretended "humble Enquirer," he will prove victorious.'
What principally disgusted me, in the paper under notice, was the irreverent manner in which the writer speaks of religious men and religious concerns.
Could an apostle have foreseen the allusion which is made to his bodily infirmity, and the ludicrous ideas with which it is associated, would not his mind have felt an impulse of mingled pity and indignation?
Again, is the salvation of the soul, which serious believers of every denomination, deem of supreme importance, a matter of so little moment to this writer, that he feels himself justified in mentioning it with an air of levity, which becomes the hardened infidel infinitely better than the professed Christian?
Before he obtrudes himself again upon the public with an air of so much importance, let him learn not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly. When he has acquired the elements of this important science, he will feel a glow of shame in the recollection of what he has written, and will become in reality "a humble Enquirer after Truth."
Relying on your impartiality for the insertion of the above, J remain, Sir, your's, &c.
Ddc. 10, 1812. J. C. H.
MR. MABEELY AND " THE CATHOLIC LIONS."
To the Editor of the Freethinking Christians'1 Magazine.
^JINCE I sentyou a fewremarksuponMr. Maberly'shand^ bill, I find by the London Newspapers, (and no one I should presume will venture to call in question such authority) that the holy man has been industriously employed in perambulating the streets of London, for the purpose of disseminating his fanatical sentiments amongst the inhabibitants of that great city, marching from street to street, like a pilgrim to the Holy Land, and by distributing his beautiful dissertation on Catholic Lions endeavouring to mislead and impose upon the thoughtless and unweary. That he has been able to impose his trash upon some of us countryfolks is perhaps not too much to assert, but I do hope better things of the inhabitants of London; they are near to the seat of government, and upon various occasions have opportunities of witnessing the virtuous actions and conduct of tb* enlightened members of the British Senate, advantages which we country people do not possess. By such examples lliey, 1 hope, are encouraged to do unto others as they would be done by, and to treat such a farrago of nonsense as it richly merits. This then being admitted, we need not, I presume, he under any apprehensions about our London friends ; having such examples before them, they hava no doubt learnt to renounce the Devil and all his works, to shun the pomps and vanities of this wicked world!
But whilst I am writing, Mr. Editor, 1 am putting this question to myself, viz. What is likely to be Maberly's real motive for all this, supposing him to be a rational man? I should suspect it cannot possibly be the creed of the Roman Catholic that is so offensive to this " clergyman of the church of England." To be sure there is some little difference between the old fashioned sort of.popery, and popery refined; but yet I cannot conceive the difference is of such magnitude as to make the holy man so angry about it. If hie is really at war with the religious sentiments professed by the Roman Catholics, I wilt join him with all my heart; and although I may not be disposed to assist him in hunting down Catholic lions—if he sets out with a determination to hunt down priestcraft, wherever it may be found, I will most assuredly join him in the chase, and will continue it so long as I have a leg to stand upon; but if, on the contrary, his intention is to persecute a man because he may chance to differ from him in matters of religion, I roust beg to be excused. To join in such a chase would be to me a very unpleasant task.
I conceive that man is amenable only to the Supreme Being in'oll concerns of this kind ; and so long as his conduct in the world is found irreproachable, no human authority can possibly have any thing to do with him ; even if his sentiments were as foolish as those of a man I happened to be in conversation with the other day. He absolutely as« serted that he solemnly believed the Almighty had made Buonaparte an instrument in his hands (viz. had set him to work) to scourge the surrounding nations for their wickedness, but that \\e afterwards would punish him for doing it! Poor fellow, thinks I to myself, how unfortunate that you should have been selected out by the Deity for such a work, compelled to do thus wickedly, even to abolish the Inquisition in Spain, mock the holy Sugucs in Russia, and various other acts of abomination, and then punished by the same power for doing it! a very benevolent idea certainly, and perfectly consonant with justice!!!