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la plus prompe à s’alarmer, et la plus propre à produire occuper? S'IL A PARLE', POURQUOI L'UNIVERS N'Est-IL de très-grandes folies.
PAS CONVAINCU ? Si la connaissance d'un Dieu est la Si, écartant pour un moment les idées fâcheuses que plus nécessaire, pourquoi n'est-elle pas la plus évidente, la théologie nous donne d'un Dieu capricieux, dont les et la plus claire ?-Système de la Nature. London, décrets partiaux et despotiques décident du sort des 1781. humains, nous ne voulons fixer nos yeux que sur la
The enlightened and benevolent Pliny thus publicly bonté prétendue que tous les hommes, même en tremblant devant ce Dieu, s'accordent à lui donner; si professes himself an atheist :--Quapropter effigiem
Dei, formamque quærere, imbecillitatis humanæ reor. nous lui supposons le projet qu'on lui prête, de n'avoir travaillé que pour sa propre gloire ; d'exiger les hom. Quisquis est Deus (si modo est alius) et quacunque in
partc, totus est sensus, totus est visus, totus auditus, mages des êtres intelligens ; de ne chercher dans ses
totus animae, totus animi, totus sui. @uvres que le bien-être du genre humain ; comment concilier ses vues et ses dispositions avec l'ignorance
Imperfectæ vero in homine naturæ præcipua solatia ne vraiment invincible dans laqnelle ce Dieu, si glorieux
deum quidem posse omnia. Namque uec sibi potest et si bon, laisse la plupart des hommes sur son compte ?
mortem consciscere, si velit, quod homini dedit optimum Si Dieu veut être connu, chéri, remercié, que ne se
in tantis vita pænis : nec mortales æternitate donare,
aut revocare defunctos ; nec facere ut qui vixit non montre-t-il sous des traits favorables à tous ces êtres intelligens dont il veut être aimé et adoré ? Pourquoi bere in præteritum jus, præterquam oblivionis, (atque ut
vixerit, qui honores gessit non gesserit, nullumque hane point se manifester à toute la terre d'une façon non équivoque, bien plus capable de nous convaincre, que
facetis quoque argumentis societas hæc cum deo copuleces révélations particulières qui semblent accuser la
tur,) ut bis dena viginta non sint, et multa similiter Divinité d'une partialité fâcheuse pour quelques-un
efficere non posse.—Per quæ, declaratur haud dubie,
naturæ potentiam id quoque esse, quod Deum vocamus. de ses créatures ? Le Tout-Puissant n'auroit-il donc
-Plin. Nat. Hist. cap. de Deo. pas des moyens plus convainquans de se montrer aux hommes que ces métamorphoses ridicules, ces incar The consistent Newtonian is necessarily an atheist. nations prétendues, qui nous sont attestées par des
See Sir W. DRUMMOND's Academical Questions, écrivains si peu d'accord entre eux dans les récits chap. iii.—Sir W. seems to consider the atheism, to qu'ils en font? Au lieu de tant de miracles inventés which it leads, as a sufficient presumption of the falsepour prouver la mission divine de tant de législateurs hood of the system of gravitation : but surely it is more révérés par les différens peuples du monde, le souverain consistent with the good faith of philosophy to admit a des esprits ne pouvoit-il pas convaincre tout d'un coup
deduction from facts than an hypothesis incapable of l'esprit humain des choses qu'il a voulu lui faire proof, although it might militate with the obstinate connoître ? Au lieu de suspendre un soleil dans la preconceptions of the mob. Had this author, instead voûte du firmament ; au lieu de répandre sans ordre of inveighing against the guilt and absurdity of atheism, les étoiles et les constellations qui remplissent l’espace, demonstrated its falsehood, his conduct would have n'eût-il pas été plus conforme aux vues d'un Dieu been more suited to the modesty of the sceptic and the jaloux de sa gloire et si bien-intentionné pour l'homme,
toleration of the philosopher. d'écrire d'une façon non sujette à dispute, son nom, Omnia enim per Dei potentiam facta sunt: imo, quia ses attributs, ses volontés permanentes, en caractères
naturæ potentia nulla est nisi ipsa Dei potentia, autem ineffaçables, et lisibles également pour tous les habitans
est nos eatenus Dei potentiam non intelligere, quatenus de la terre ? Personne alors n'auroit pu douter de l'existence d'un Dieu, de ses volontés claires, de ses
causas naturales ignoramus ; adeoque stulte ad eandem intentions visibles. Sous les yeux de ce Dieu si terri
Dei potentiam recurritnr, quando rei alicujus, causam
naturalem, sive est, ipsam Dei potentiam ignoramus.ble personne n'auroit eu l'audace de violer ses ordon
Spinosa, Tract. Theologico-Pol. chap. i. page 14. nances ; nul mortel n'eût eu le front d’en imposer en son noin, ou d'interpréter ses volontés suivant ses propres fantaisies.
P. 14, col. 1, 1.6. En effet, quand même on admettroit l'existence du
Ahasuerus, rise ! Dieu théologique, et la réalité des attributs si discor “Ahasuerus the Jew crept forth from the dark cave dans qu'on lui donne, l'on ne peut en rien conclure, of Mount Carinel. Near two thousand years have pour autoriser la conduite ou les cultes qu'on prescrit elapsed since he was first goaded by never-ending restde lui rendre. La théologie est vraiment le tonneau lessness to rove the globe from pole to pole. When our des Danaïdes. A force de qualités contradictoires et Lord was wearied with the burthen of his ponderous d'assertions basardées, elle a, pour ainsi dire, tellement cross, and wanted to rest before the door of Abasuerus, garrotté son Dieu qu'elle l'a mis dans l'impossibilité the unfeeling wretch drove him away with brutality. d'agir. S'il est infiniment bon, quelle raison aurions. The saviour of mankind staggered, sinking under the nous de le craindre ? S'il est infiniment sage, de quoi | heavy load, but uttered no complaint. An angel of nous inquiéter sur notre sort? S'il sait tout, pourquoi death appeared before Ahasuerus, and exclaimed indig. l'avertir de nos besoins, et le fatiguer de nos prières ? | pantly, * Barbarian ! thou hast denied rest to the Son S'il est partout, pourquoi lui élever des temples ? S'il of Man; be it denied thee also, until he comes to judge est maître de tout, pourquoi lui faire des sacrifices et the world.' des offrandes ? S'il est juste, comment croire qu'il "A black demon, let loose from hell upon Ahasuerus, punisse des créatures qu'il a remplies de foiblesses? Si goads him now from country to country: he is denied la grace fait tout en elles, qu'elle raison auroit-il de les the consolation which death affords, and precluded récompenser? S'il est tout-puissant, comment l'offen- from the rest of the peaceful grave. ser, comment lui resister ? S'il est raisonnable, com “Ahasuerus crept forth from the dark cave of Mount ment se mettroit-il en colère contre des aveugles, à Carmel-he shook the dust from his beard—and taking qui il a laissé la liberté de déraisonner! S'il est im up one of the sculls heaped there, burled it down the muable, de quel droit prétendrions-nous faire changer eminence : it rebounded from the earth in shivered ses décrets ?
S'il est inconcevable, pourquoi nous en atoms. This was my father” roared Ahasuerus. Seven
more sculls rolled down from rock to rock; while the infuriate Jew, following them with ghastly looks, ex
P. 14, col. 1, I. 13. claimed—“And these were my wives !' He still continued
I will beget a son, and he shall bear to hurl down scull after scull, roaring in dreadful
The sins of all the world. accents~'And these, and these, and these were my A book is put into our hands when children, called children! They could die ; but I! reprobate wretch,
the Bible, the purport of whose history is briefly this : alas ! I cannot die! Dreadful beyond couception is
That God made the earth in six days, and there planted the judgment that hangs over me. Jerusalem fell-I a delightful garden, in which he placed the first pair crushed the sucking-babe, and precipitated myself into
of human beings. In the midst of the garden he planted the destructive flames. I cursed the Romans-but, alas! a tree, whose fruit, although within their reach, they alas ! the restless curse held me by the hair,—and I
wore forbidden to touch. That the Devil, in the shape could not die !
of a snake, persuaded them to eat of this fruit; in con“*Rome the giantess fell— I placed myself before the sequence of which God condemned both them and their falling statue—she fell, and did not crush me. Nations posterity yet unborn, to satisfy his justice by their sprang up and disappeared before me ; but I remained, eternal misery. That, four thousand years after these and did not die. From cloud-encircled cliffs did I
events (the human race in the meanwhile having gone precipitate myself into the ocean ; but the foaming unredeemed to perdition), God engendered with the billows cast me upon the shore, and the burning arrow
betrothed wife of a carpenter in Judea (whose virginity of existence pierced my cold heart again. I leaped into was nevertheless uninjured), and begat a Son, whose Etna's flaming abyss, and roared with the giants for ten name was Jesus Christ; and who was crucified and long months, polluting with my groans the mount's died, in order that no more men might be devoted to sulphureous mouth-ah! ten long months. The volcano hell-fire, he bearing the burthen of his Father's disfermented, and in a fiery stream of lava cast me up. I pleasure by proxy: The book states, in addition, that lay torn by the torture-snakes of hell amid the glowing the soul of whoever disbelieves this sacrifice will be cinders, and yet continued to exist.—A forest was on burned with everlasting fire. fire : I darted, on wings of fury and despair, into the During many ages of misery and darkness this story crackling wood. Fire dropped upon me from the trees,
gained implicit belief; but at length men arose who but the flames only singed my limbs; alas ! it could not suspected that it was a fable and imposture, and that consume them.-1 now mixed with the butchers of Jesus Christ, so far from being a God, was only a man mankind, and plunged in the tempest of the raging like themselves. But a numerous set of men, who battle. I roared defiance to the infuriate Gaul, defiance
derived and still derive immense emoluments from this to the victorious German ; but arrows and spears opinion, in the shape of a popular belief, told the rebounded in shivers from my body. The Saracen’s vulgar, that, if they did not believe in the Bible, they flaming sword broke upon my scull: balls in vain
would be damned to all eternity; and burned, imhissed upon me: the lightnings of battle glared harmless prisoned, and poisoned all the unbiassed and unconaround my loins : in vain did the elephant trample on
nected inquirers who occasionally arose. They still me, in vain the iron hoof of the wrathful steed! The oppress them, so far as the people, now become more mine, big with destructive power, burst under me, and enlightened, will allow. hurled me high in the air-I fell on heaps of smoking
The belief in all that the Bible contains, is called limbs, but was only singed. The giant's steel club re
Christianity. A Roman governor of Judea, at the bounded from my body; the executioner's hand could instances of a priest-led mob, crucified a man called not strangle me, the tiger's tooth could not pierce me, Jesus eighteen centuries ago. He was a man of pure nor would the hungry lion in the circus devour me. I life, who desired to rescue his countrymen from the cohabited with poisonous snakes, and pinched the red tyranny of their barbarous and degrading superstitions. crest of the dragon. The serpent stung, but could not
The common fate of all who desire to benefit mankind destroy me. The dragon tormented, but dared not to
awaited him. The rabble, at the instigation of the devour me.--I now provoked the fury of tyrants : 1 priests, demanded his death, although his very judge said to Nero, Thou art a bloodhound ! I said to Chris made public acknowledgment of his innocence. Jesus tiern, Thou art a bloodhound ! I said to Muley Ismail,
was sacrificed to the honour of that God with whom Thou art a bloodhound! The tyrants invented cruel
he was afterwards confounded. It is of importance, torments, but did not kill me. -Ha! not to be therefore, to distinguish between the pretended chaable to dic--not to be able to die, not to be permitted racter of this being as the son of God and the Saviour to rest after the toils of life-to be doomed to be im
of the world, and his real character as a man, who, for prisoned forever in this clay-formed dungeon—to be a vain attempt to reform the world, paid the forfeit of forever clogged with this worthless body, its load of his life to that overbearing tyranny which has since so diseases and infirmities—to be condemned to hold for long desolated the universe in his name. Whilst the one millenniums that yawning monster Sameness, and Time, is a hypocritical demon, who announces himself as the that hungry hyena, ever bearing children, and ever de God of compassion and peace, even whilst he stretches vouring again her offspring !-Ha! not to be pernoitted forth his blood-red hand with the sword of discord to to die ! Awful avenger in heaven, hast thou in thine waste the earth, having confessedly devised this schemo armoury of wrath a punishment more dreadful ? then of desolation from eternity; the other stands in the let it thunder upon me, command a hurricane to sweep
foremost list of those true heroes, who have died in me down to the foot of Carmel, that I there may lie
the glorious martyrdom of liberty, and have braved extended ; may pant, and writhe, and die !
torture, contempt, and poverty, in the cause of suffer
ing humanity.* This fragment is the translation of part of some
The vulgar, ever in extremes, became persuaded that German work, whose title I have vainly endeavoured
the crucifixion of Jesus was a supernatural event. to discover. I picked it up, dirty and torn, some years
* Since writing this note, I have seen reason to suspect ago, in Lincoln's-Ion Fields.
that Jesus was an ambitious man, who aspired to the throne of Judea.
Testimonies of miracles, so frequent in unenlightened had even the resolution of Pontius Pilate been ages, were not wanting to prove that he was something equal to his candour, the Christian religion never divine. This belief, rolling through the lapse of ages, could have prevailed, it could not even have existed : met with the reveries of Plato and the reasonings of on so feeble a thread hangs the most cherished opinion Aristotle, and acquired force and extent, until the of a sixth of the human race! When will the vulgar divinity of Jesus became a dogma, which to dispute was learn humility ? When will the pride of ignorance death, wbich to doubt was infamy.
blush at having believed before it could compreChristianity is now the established religion; he who hend ? attempts to impugn it, must be contented to behold Either the Christian religion is true, or it is false; murderers and traitors take precedence of him in if true, it comes from God, and its authenticity can public opinion : though, if his genius be equal to his admit of doubt and dispute no further than its omnicourage, and assisted by a peculiar coalition of circum potent author is willing to allow. Either the power stances, future ages may exalt him to a divinity, and or the goodness of God is called in question, if he leaves persecute others in his name, as he was persecuted those doctrines most essential to the well-being of man in the name of his predecessors in the homage of the in doubt and dispute ; the only ones which, since their world.
promulgation, have been the subject of unceasing cavil, The same means that have supported every other the cause of irreconcileable batred. If God has popular belief, have supported Christianity. War, spoken, why is the universe not convinced ? imprisonment, assassination, and falsehood; deeds of There is this passage in the Christian Scriptures : unexampled and incomparable atrocity have made it "Those who obey not God, and believe not the Gospel what it is. The blood shed by the votaries of the God of his Son, shall be punished with everlasting destruc. of mercy and peace, since the establishment of his tion.” This is the pivot upon which all religions tura : religion, would probably suffice to drown all other they all assume that it is in our power to believe or sectaries now on the habitable globe. We derive from not to believe; whereas the mind can only believe that our ancestors a faith thus fostered and supported : we wbich it thinks true. A human being can only be quarrel, persecute, and hate, for its maintenance. Even supposed accountable for those actions which are inunder a government which, whilst it infringes the very fluenced by his will. But belief is utterly distinct right of thought and speech, boasts of permitting the from and unconnected with volition : it is the appreliberty of the press, a man is pilloried and imprisoned heusion of the agreement or disagreement of the ideas because he is a deist, and no one raises his voice in the that compose any proposition. Belief is a passion, or indignation of outraged humanity. But it is ever a involuntary operation of the mind, and, like other proof that the falsehood of a proposition is felt by those passions, its intensity is precisely proportionate to the who use coercion, not reasoning, to procure its admis degrees of excitement. Volition is essential to merit sion : and a dispassionate observer would feel himself or demerit. But the Christian religion attaches the more powerfully interested in favour of a man, who higliest possible degrees of merit and demerit to that depending on the truth of his opinions, simply stated which is worthy of neither, and which is totally unhis reasons for entertaining them, than in that of his connected with the peculiar faculty of the mind, whose aggressor, who, daringly avowing his unwillingness or presence is essential to their being. incapacity to answer them by argument, proceeded to Christianity was intended to reform the world : had repress the energies and break the spirit of their pro an all-wise Being planned it, nothing is more impromulgator by that torture and imprisonment whose in bable than that it should have failed : omniscience fliction he could command.
would infallibly have foreseen the inutility of a scheme Analogy seems to favour the opinion, that as, like which experience demonstrates, to this age, to have other systems, Christianity bas arisen and augmented, been utterly unsuccessful. so like them it will decay and perish; that, as violence, Christianity inculcates the necessity of supplicating darkness, and deceit, not reasoning and persuasion, have the Deity. Prayer may be considered under two procured its admission among mankind, so, when en points of view; as an endeavour to change the intenthusiasın has subsided, and time, that infallible con tions of God, or as a formal testimony of our obedience, troverter of false opinions, has involved its pretended But the former case supposes that the caprices of a evidences in the darkness of antiquity, it will become limited intelligence can occasionally instruct the Creator obsolete; that Milton's poem alone will give permanency of the world how to regulate the universe ; and the to the remembrance of its absurdities ; and that men latter, a certain degree of servility analogous to the will laugh as heartily at grace, faith, redemption, and loyalty demanded by earthly tyrants. Obedience original sin, as they now do at the metamorphoses of indeed is only the pitiful and cowardly egotisin of him Jupiter, the miracles of Romish saints, the efficacy of who thinks that he can do something better than witchcraft, and the appearance of departed spirits.
Had the Christian religion commenced and continued Christianity, like all other religions, rests upon by the mere force of reasoning and persuasion, the miracles, prophecies, and martyrdoms. No religion preceding analogy would be inadmissible. We should ever existed, which had not its prophets, its attested never speculate on the future obsoleteness of a system i miracles, and above all, crowds of devotees who would perfectly conformable to nature and reason ; it would bear patiently the most horrible tortures to prove its endure so long as they endured ; it would be a truth authenticity. It should appear that in no case can a as indisputable as the light of the sun, the criminality discriminating mind subscribe to the genuineness of a of murder, and other facts, whose evidence, depending miracle. A miracle is an infraction of nature's law, on our organisation and relative situations, must re. by a supernatural cause ; by a cause acting beyond main acknowledged as satisfactory so long as man is that eternal circle within which all things are included. man. It is an incontrovertible fact, the consideration God breaks through the law of nature, that he may of which ought to repress the hasty conclusions of convince mankind of the truth of that revelation, which, credulity, or moderate its obstinacy in maintaining in spite of his precautions, has been, since its introducthem, that, had the Jews not been a fanatical race of tion, the subject of unceasing schism and cavil.
Miracles resolve themselves into the following ques come to pass, if thou will not hearken unto the voice of tion : *-Whether it is more probable the laws of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all the command. nature, bitherto so immutably harmonious, should have ments and statutes which I command you this day, undergone violation, or that a man should have told a that all these curses shall come upon thee and overtake lie? Whether it is more probable that we are ignorant | thee." Is this the real reason? The third, fourth, and of the natural cause of an event, or that we know the fifth chapters of Hosea are a piece of immodest confessupernatural one ? That, in old times, when the powers sion. The indelicate type might apply in a hundred of nature were less known than at present, a certain senses to a hundred things. The fifty-third chapter set of men were theinselves deceived, or had some of Isaiah is more explicit, yet it does not exceed in hidden motive for deceiving others; or that God begat clearness the oracles of Delphos. The historical proof, a son, who, in bis legislation, measuring merit by belief, that Moses, Isaiah and Hosea did write when they are evidenced bimself to be totally ignorant of the powers said to have written, is far from being clear and circumof the human mind--of what is voluntary, and what stantial. is the contrary?
But prophecy requires proof in its character as a We have many instances of men telling lies ;-none miracle; we have no right to suppose that a man foreof an infraction of nature's laws, those laws of whose knew future events from God, until it is demonstrated government alone we have any knowledge or expe that he neither could know them by his own exertions, rience. The records of all nations afford innumerable nor that the writings which contain the prediction could instances of men deceiving others either from vanity or possibly have been fabricated after the event pretended interest, or themselves being deceived by the limitedness to be foretold. It is more probable that writings, of their views and their ignorance of natural causes; pretending to divine inspiration, should have been but where is the accredited case of God having come fabricated after the fulfilinent of their pretended preupon earth to give the lie to his own creations? There diction, than that they should have really been divinely would be something truly wonderful in the appearance inspired ; when we consider that the latter supposition of a ghost; but the assertion of a child that he saw one makes God at once the creator of the human mind and as he passed through the church-yard is universally ad ignorant of its primary powers, particularly as we have mitted to be less miraculous.
numberless instances of false religions, and forged proBut even supposing that a man should raise a dead phecies of things long past, and no accredited case of body to life before your eyes, and on this fact rest God having conversed with men directly or indirectly. his claim to being considered the son of God ;-the It is also possible that the description of an event might Humane Society restores drowned persons, and as it bave foregone its occurrence; but this is far from being makes no mystery of the method it employs, its mem a legitimate proof of a divine revelation, as many men, bers are not mistaken for the sons of God. All that we not pretending to the character of a prophet, have have a right to infer from our ignorance of the cause
nevertheless, in this sense, prophesied. of any event is, that we do not know it: had the Mexi. Lord Chesterfield was never yet taken for a prophet, cans attended to this simple rule when they heard the even by a bishop, yet he uttered this remarkable precannon of the Spaniards, they would not have considered diction :-" The despotic government of France is them as gods : the experiments of modern chemistry screwed up to the highest pitch ; a revolution is fast would have defied the wisest philosophers of ancient approaching; that revolution, I am convinced, will be Greece and Rome to have accounted for them on radical and sanguinary." This appeared in the letters natural principles. An author of strong common of the prophet long before the accomplishment of this sense has observed, that “a miracle is no miracle at wonderful prediction. Now, have these particulars second-hand ;" he might have added, that a miracle is come to pass, or have they not? If they have, how no miracle in any case ; for until we are acquainted could the earl have foreknown them without inspirawith all natural causes, we have no reason to imagine tion? If we admit the truth of the Christian religion others.
on testimony such as this, we must admit, on the same There remains to be considered another proof of strength of evidence, that God has affixed the highest Christianity-prophecy. A book is written before a rewards to belief, and the eternal tortures of the nevercertain event, in which this event is foretold ; how dying worm to disbelief; both of which have been could the prophet have foreknown it without inspira- demonstrated to be involuntary. tion? how could he have been inspired without God? The last proof of the Christian religion depends on The greatest stress is laid on the prophecies of Moses the influence of the Holy Ghost. Theologians divide and Hosea on the dispersion of the Jews, and that of the influence of the Holy Ghost into its ordinary and Isaiah concerning the coming of the Messiah. The extraordinary modes of operation. The latter is supprophecy of Moses is a collection of every possible posed to be that which inspired the prophets and cursing and blessing, and it is so far from being mar apostles ; and the former to be the grace of God, vellous that the one of dispersion should have been ful. which summarily makes known the truth of his revefilled, that it would have been more surprising if, out lation, to those whose minds are fitted for its reception of all these, none should have taken effect. In Deu- | by a submissive perusol of his word. Persons conteronomy, chap. xxviii, ver. 64, where Moses explicitly vinced in this manner, can do anything but account foretells the dispersion, he states that they shall there for their conviction, describe the time at which it hapserve gods of wood and stone : “ And the Lord shall pened, or the manner in which it came upon them. scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the It is supposed to enter the mind by other channels earth even to the other, and there thou shall serve than those of the senses, and therefore professes to be other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have superior to reason founded on their experience. known, even gods of wood and stone." The Jews Admitting, however, the usefulness or possibility of are at this day remarkably tenacious of their religion. a divine reveiation, unless we demolish the foundations Moses also declares that they shall be subjected to these of all human knowledge, it is requisite that our reason curses for disobedience to his ritual : « Aud it shall should previously demonstrate its genuineness ; for, * See Hume's Essays, vol. ii., page 121.
before we extinguish the steady ray of reason and
common sense, it is fit that we should discover whether who should die in his thirtieth year, is, with regard we cannot do without their assistance, whether or no to his own feelings, longer than that of a miserable there be any other which may suffice to guide us priest-ridden slave, who dreams out a century of dulthrough the labyrinth of life : * for, if a man is to be
The one has perpetually cultivated his mental inspired upon all occasions, if he is to be sure of a faculties, has rendered himself master of his thoughts, thing because he is sure, if the ordinary operations of can abstract and generalise amid the lethargy of everythe spirit are not to be considered very extraordinary day business ;-the other can slumber over the brightmodes of demonstration, if enthusiasm is to usurp the est moments of his being, and is unable to remember place of proof, and madness that of sanity, all reasoning the happiest bour of his life. Perhaps the perisbing is superfluous. The Mahometan dies fighting for his ephemeron enjoys a longer life than the tortoise. prophet, the Indian immolates himself at the chariot
Dark flood of time! wheels of Brahina, the Hottentot worships an insect, Roll as it listeth thee I measure not the Negro a bunch of feathers, the Mexican sacrifices By months or moments thy ambiguous course. human victims! Their degree of conviction must cer Another may stand by me on the brink, tainly be very strong : it cannot arise from conviction, And watch the bubble whirled beyond his ken it must from feelings, the reward of their prayers. If
That pauses at my feet. The sense of love, each of these should affirm, in opposition to the
The thirst for action, and the impassioned thought,
Prolong my being: if I wake no more, strongest possible arguments, that inspiration carried
My life more actual living will contain internal evidence, I fear their inspired brethren, the
Than some grey veterans' of the world's cold school, orthodox missionaries, would be so uncharitable as to Whose listless hours unprofitably roll, pronounce them obstinate.
By one enthusiast feeling unredeemed. Miracles cannot be received as testimonies of a dis
See Godwin's Pol. Just, vol. i. page 41); and puted fact, because all human testimony has ever been
Condorcet, Esquisse d'un Tableau Historique insufficient to establish the possibility of miracles.
des Progrés de l'Esprit Humain, époque ix. That, which is incapable of proof itself, is no proof of anything else. Prophecy has also been rejected by the
P.17, col. I. 1. 44. test of reason. Those, then, who have been actually
No longer now inspired, are the only true believers in the Christian
He slays the lamb that looks him in the face. religion. Mox numine viso
I hold that the depravity of the physical and moral Virginei tumuere sinus, innuptaque mater
nature of man originated in bis unnatural habits of life. Arcano stupuit compleri viscera partu,
The origin of man, like that of the universe of which Auctorem paritura suum. Mortalia corda
he is a part, is enveloped in impenetrable mystery. Artificem texere poli, latuitque sub uno
His generations either had a beginning, or they had Pectore, qui totum late complectitur orbem.
not. CLAUDIA NI Carmen Paschale.
The weight of evidence in favour of each of these
suppositions seems tolerably equal; and it is perfectly Does not so monstrous and disgusting an absurdity unimportant to the present argument which is assumed carry its own infamy and refutation with itself? Na The language spoken, however, by the mythology of
nearly all religions seems to prove, that at some distant P.17, col. 1, 1. 36.
period man forsook the path of nature, and sacrificed
the purity and happiness of leis being to unnatural Him (still from hope to hope the bliss pursuing,
appetites. The date of this event seems to have also Which, from the exhaustless store of human weal Dauns on the virtuous mind) the thoughts that rise
been that of some great change in the climates of the In time-destroying infiniteness, gift
earth, with which it has an obvious correspondence. With self-enshrined eternity, &c.
The allegory of Adam and Eve eating of the tree of Time is our consciousness of the succession of ideas
evil, and entailing upon their posterity the wrath of
God and the loss of everlasting life, admits of no other in our mind. Vivid sensation, of either pain or plea- explanation than the disease and crime that have flowed sure, makes the time seem long, as the common phrase
from unnatural dict. Milton was so well aware of is, because it renders us more acutely conscious of our ideas. If a mind be conscious of a hundred ideas during
this, that he makes Raphael thus exhibit to Adam the one minute by the clock, and of two hundred during
consequence of his disobedience. another, the latter of these spaces would actually oc
Immediately a place
Before his eyes appeared, sad, noisome, dark cupy so much greater extent in the mind as two exceed
A lazar-house it seemed, wherein were laid; one in quantity. If, therefore, the human mind, by Numbers of all diseased, all maladies any future improvement of its sensibility, should be. Of ghastly spasm or racking torture, qualms come conscious of an infinite number of ideas in a Of heart-sick agony, all feverous kinds, minute, that minute would be eternity. I do not Convulsions, epilepsies, fierce catarrhs, hence infer that the actual space between the birth and
Intestine stone and ulcer, colic pangs, death of a man will ever be prolonged ; but that his
Demoniac frenzy, moping melancholy, sensibility is perfectible, and that the number of ideas
And moon-struck madness, pining atrophy,
Marasmus, and wide-wasting pestilence, which his mind is capable of receiving is indefinite. One
Dropsies, and asthmas, and joint-racking rheums. man is stretched on the rack during twelve hours, another sleeps soundly in his bed : the difference of
- And how many thousands more might not be added time perceived by these two persons is immensc; one
to this frightful catalogue! hardly will believe that half-an-hour has elapsed, the
The story of Prometheus is one likewise which, alother could credit that centuries had flown during his though universally admitted to be allegorical, has never agony. Thus the life of a man of virtue and talent,
been satisfactorily explained. Prometheus stole fire
from heaven, and was chained for this crime to Mount • See Locke's Essay on the Human Understanding, Cancasils, where a vulture continually devoured his book iv. chap. xix, on Enthusiasm.
liver, that grew to meet its hunger. Hesiod says, that