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ORACLE OF REASON;
Or, Philosophy Jindicated. "FAITH'S EMPIRE 18 THE WORLD; ITS MONARCH, GOD; ITS MINISTERS, THE PRIESTS;
ITS SLAVES, THE PEOPLE."
[PRICE ID. BY G. JACOB HOLYOAKE.
THE BETTER TO BE SAFE plan ? Does it not imply the assumption on SYSTEM.
the part of the miner and sapper of men's "G.-Oh, dear! Did you leave off flesh altogether? principles that he is right? Who does not But, then, I suppose you diminished the quantity hate the silent and insidious advances of the
little by little. You must have been very cautions, priest, as he instils the poison of religion into " A.-"That, sir, is a sort of mental and physical our social and political institutions unseen
tantalism, which may suit some minds, as, more and unsuspected? Why should the lover of over, it enables them to persuade themselves, as truth act the part of a pious man? The miwell as others, that they are progressing, while at ner and sapper evades discussion by his sego quite back again, and so have the pleasure of cresy, and for all he knows he may be mining again working forward on the bit-by-bit reform and sapping error into men's thougbts. The plan; bnt I assure yon, I gave up ilesh altogether arena of free discussion is the only just place at once, without experiencing any other than the in which to put opinions forth, because there most pleasant results from the alteration."
Healthian. only can the wheat of truth be separated from Is it better to insult truth by going tardily kind of warfare a lover of truth can honour
the chaff of error. OPEN combat is the only to her lovely arms than to shock error by ably engage in, as there only is truth in its leaving the old wretch abruptly? We will hear what a correspondent says.
Mr. E. proper sphere and place--before the eyes of Search, froin I do not know where, writes all men, to win their admiration and comingeniously thus
mand their respect. Eren friend Christ ob
jected to lights being put under bushels. Allow one who thinks you wrong in your notions,
Next, says our belligerent logicianand your opponents wrong in the treatment of your priezts," to point out why he thinks you unwise in You really say but little, if anything, that Hume, the style you adopt to expose what you think wrong Gibbon, Shaftsbury, Sir Wm. Drummond, in his in their opinions and practices.
“Edipus Judaicus," Buckland, Lawrence, Owen, He then advances a military objection : their enemies the great advantage of putting them
and others have not said before you, without giving error consists (says he) in storming in into their vice. stead of sapping. Were we miners and sap- I do not wonder to hear we say “ little or pers we should escape; but as stormers, the nothing new;" the same has been said of all attorney-general comes down upon us.'
" I the persons Mr. Search mentions, and percan't help it if he does. I dare say, as Pope haps will of all who follow them. And Mr. says, whatever is, is right, and if it isn't I Search exemplifies his own remark so far, can't turn såpper.'
since he says nothing “new” of us. Moral mining and mental sapping I ob- But I can point out one difference. Most ject to. Do not care about mining a coal of these men wrote dear blasphemy, and we bed or sapping a sugar-tree, but to mine and write cheap. They wrote for the few, and sap my fellow-men I detest. Policy may re- we write for the many. But did not Lawcommend it, but candour rejects and modesty rence get into the “ vice,” when he published shuns it. I like an open foe and hate a se- his ignominious recantation to get out of it ? cret enemy. I could scarcely endure the and if Mr. Owen had acted on his own precepts man who should trepan me even into good. he would have been there long ago. Besides, I should thiuk he donhted its being good if he none of these men ever openly taught athefeared to show it me openly; and are not the ism, and certainly fron what Mr. Owen has men unworthy of good who cannot appreciate written upon the subject he does noc underit unless they get it by deception ? * If bigo- stand it. try could not permit me to tell my thoughts But one need not go further; Mr. Search openly I would keep them back, not prejudge puts out of the pale of probabilities all indiand render them suspicious by attempts to viduality of thought and opinion. All men teach them secretly. Men always shin the cannot walk the world as dipus Judaicuses, secret enemy, and if a man be not enemy and it would be sorry work if they could. Só why assume the conduct of one ?
of the other persons named.
We have to Besides, what would Socrates say to the practice what they taught; no little undër
taking. Hence our acquaintance with Mr. certainly have been its appearauce now ia Attorney-General - god-almighty's blessed
On Monday, True Bills were promptly Egotism aside, it is a compliment to be found against me and Adams. The lord is supposed walking in the footsteps of the great and glorious rien Mr. Search names-more good to all, and his tender mercies are over than he is doing. I guess. But these wor all his works. We are in a fair way to de. thies did not purchase for us the right of free part in peace as our eyes are seeing his saldiscussion. They began the business. We vation, are going on with it. Will Mr. Search deny it to be a desirable boon? Would just say,
A friend earnestly entreats me never to "miners and sappers” will never get ic be- forget for a moment that twelve blockhead: fore the arch-angel blows the last trumpet. are to try us.
Which of course is a very Mr. S. further says,
Mr. Owen dehates pleasing assurance. and opposes systeins and things without le
Conviction and imprisonment I now regard gal annoyance." Very well; Mr. Owen
as much more certain than the coming of writes and debates as he thinks fit; so do I. In this we both agree. The difference is; Christ, unless he may be supposed to come in he is more lucky than I, and I hope he ever the verdict, where at least his influence is will be.
pretty sure to be seen. Finally, Mr. Search says—
The hon. Thomas Erskine is the judge in Ir Sonthwell and Holyoake have done good by de. our case. His bearing seems urbane, but I am priving their cause of their own advocacy and put told his temper is irritable. His charge to the ting their poor friends nnder the necessity of assist: jury was the most curious specimen of the silly ing to support them, instead of buying, reading, and and the sensible it has been my lot to hear, circulat ng what they thought true in their doctrine There is little doubt, but that christianity -show it.
will exalt the cruel above both in his senMr. S. seems to fancy the world at a stand
tences upon us. still, and that nothing need be done but read
I applied to the judge for a copy of my old authors. I beg to tell him the preseut ge- indictinent, and after soine discussion it was neration have their work to, do as well as ordered. I thanked him for the kindness, their ancestors.
but found out, ultimately, that I bad been I and SOUTHWELL have not deprived our thanking him for ordering me to pay 8s. 6d, cause of our advocacy; christianity has done (that sum being demanded when I applied that. We merely did our duty, and spoke as for the copy). The favor, however, I dewe thought; the consequences to be regreto clined, having received so many of them at ted, came, we did not go to them.
the sessions. The result was I had no cops cause may make much better use of our sufof my indictment after all. ferings than it could of our service, sbould it
The hon. Grantley Berkeley was foreman he disposed. Our cases do more to show the of the grand jury, which, when I saw, saved religious villany and oppression under which men live than all that Hume ever wrote. bills to be returned against me, he being bro.
me much speculation as to the nature of the Buckland taught, or Owen said. But hear ther to Craven Berkeley, who endeavoured Mr. S. we "put our poor friends under the in the House of Commons to justify the Chelnecessity of supporting us.”. We have asked tenham magistrates from the charge of " seno man's sympathy - begged no man's pence. rious irregularities" in their proceedings Waiking in the plain path of duty was our against ine; and as Sir James Graham, in only ambition, and the satisfaction of having the case of Mr. Mason, contended that bow. done so our only expected reward.
ever illegal was the conduct of Beman, the Beg leave to add, if Mr. Starch estimates constable, in his treatment of him, all was mental freedoın bý pounds, shillings, and justified, 'right, proper, and fair, since the pence, the privation of his approval is not jury had returned a verdict of guilty against hard to be borne.
G. J. H.
Mr. Mason. So I espect it is only neces. sary for a jury to find me guilty in order to
justify every illegality the magistratex hare THE LAST PUSH FOR GOD; committed in my case. It opens a fine pros. OR, THE ASSIZE TRIAL AT GLOUCESTER. pect for me, and is a doctrine which moch
elevates my estimation of the daily improving “ Farewell hope, and with hope
liberties of Englishmen. Farewell fear."-MILTON.
The judge assured me my trial could not
come on this week-hut has just sent me a I should reproach myself had I enter
notice that it will take place to-morrow mortained the shadow of hope in Christian jus ning (Saturday), the reasons for which be tice- kindness is out of the question. In has not informed me.
G, J. H. equity 1 have indulged no faith-it night Gloucester, Aug. 12, 1842.
IS THERE A GOD?
sense. All must admit 80 palpable a truth, but it is inanifestly impossible that our senses
can be acted upon by immaterial existences, An article of mine on the god question, that or rather it is clearly and manifestly imposappeared in your paper of the 23rd ult., has sible there can be such existences. To hu. drawn forth a sharp rebuke from Mr. Mack- man sense there are none such, and it is the intosh. I am glad of this; anı really de- beigbt of folly to waste breath about imagilighted that any act of mine, wise or foolish, nary notions. Chimeras only hręed chimeras should have induced that gentleman to aban- and mischiefs. We know that feeling predon the silent, sulky system, and once more cedes thinking, or in other words, that things enter the field oť orucular controversy. I must first act upon the wen-es, before they shall pass over all that is unnecessarily harsh, become food for reflection, Nihil est in inor merely abusire in Mr. Mackintosh's stric- telleclu quod non prius fuit in sensu, is a very turer, not having either leisure or inclination ancient, and I think indisputable maxim. to notice it;, but it space be granted me I. Now as Mr. Mackintosh pretends that a will endeavour to meet all that is really solid philosophical idea of power, or god, is in his and urgumentative therein.
intellect, perbaps he will inform us how it got I will begin with the "philosophic idea there; through what sense slipped the idea of power," so much insisted upon by Mr. of his intangible, immaterial, omnipresent Mackintosh. This words are these : “ The god! If he has such a “philosophic idea," idea of an unknown cause or causes, which, surely he can make others acquainted theretaken in a collective sepse, mas signify a with, unless we can suppose that he is blessed number of causes co-operating or working with a sixth serise, and by this extra door in together conjointly, and which may he and his pericranium lets in sensations other men are expressed by the collective terms “the dream not of. If so, his philosophic idea,
.." Now dispute the philo- like Mr. D'Israeli's si fixed” one, will be of sophy of this idea, or more properly this do- po use to people with only five senses. I tion, and am quite willing to rest the whole candidly and sorrowfully' avow, that I have question of atheism upon the fact that no not the most distant conception of an omnihuman being has any idea whatever of power. present immaterial substance, whether called Thus much I can say with certainty, that if power, god, or any other fine name.
That Mr. Mackintosh has an idea of power, philo. matter exists, that it moves, that it is the sophic or unpbilosophic, it is more than I cause, and the only cause of all effects, are have. I speak not (it should be carefully re- to me facts, no less clear and certain than the membered) of the popular sense attached to fact of my own existence. If Mr. Mackinthe word power, but the philosophic idea” | tosh's science embraces a larger circle of of Mr. Mackintosh and others. It is usual, facts ; if he not only knows there is matter, for example, to say a horse has such and such that it is incessantly in motion, that it is una power, or of a man, that he has more or less ceasingly producing effects, which effects are power, which mode of expression, though per. in turn parents or causes of other effects, if, haps open to objection, is correct enough for I say, his science embraces more than this, all practical purposes, but when I am gravely I am of a teachable spirit, and will gladly bé told, not that a man or a horse has power, made wiser. lf, however, we only know but that there is a power in the man, a power matter and its phenomena, will Mr. Mackin the horse. I can scarce forbear laughing intosh please to tell me in plain language outright. Were a man to say, that snow has how he knows anything else ? I am inclined to power to be melted, a stone in the air power suspect that he will try to evade, for he canto fall, a cannon-hall under certain circum- not answer this question ; he cannot point to stances power to be driven a mile or two, he the original or model of his philosophic idea ; would be thought silly; anı yet it is not one he cannot tell me or any body else what he wbit more absurd to say that snow has the means by the idea of power. It is really power to be melted, stones to fall, or cannon. amusing for a writer who, like Mr. Mackinballs to be propelled, than to affirm that there tosh, scribbles about “philosophic ideas is a power in heat to melt snow, a power in impenetrable causes, and unknown powers,' stones to make them kill, or a power in gun- to set about lecturing me for not clearly and powder to force along a cannon-shot. The precisely defining my terms. Allowing myfact is, no human being can have philosophic self as guilty in this particular as he could or unphilosophic ideas of any existence but wish, still when Satan solemnly reproves sin matter, or any phenomena but that which one cannot but smile at his devilish inconmatter exbibits. It has been over and over sistency. I have always been accustomed again clearly proved by Hume and other, that to think that the inventor or constant user of what is called the idea of power is a gross a word, like the inventor or day-by-day regufallacy. Every atom has its peculiar pro- lator of a steam carriage, would best explain perties and modes of action, in other words, the meaning or economy of the thing. I do acts in a certain definite manner upon human not invent the word god, I never use it but
to show the absurdity of its use. I pretend | I could quote ifty passages from D'Holbach, not to explain what it means, for the suffi- to show that Mr. Mackintosh entirely miscient reuson that, in reality, it has no mean- conceives the sense of that author, One, ing whatever. It is an unintelligible word, however, will be sufficient for my purpose. a sound without sense, which was invented “ Philosophers (says he explain all the pheby the cunning and is perpetuated by the nomena that occur by the properties of matignorant.
ter, and though they feel the want of a more When for the sake of meeting supersti. intimate acquaintance with natural causes, tionists,upon something like tangible ground, they do not therefore the less believe them I said there is or is not a god, I meant there deducible froin these properties or these is or is not something not itself matter, which causes." Such is the lauguage of atheism, nevertheless moves (to use simpleton's lav- and such is, I thiuk, the language of plain guage), controls, and governs all matter. I sense. say there is matter, and cannot even imagine The space I have devoted to this fanciful anything else; but if other people say they notion of power, leaves one but room, barely can, and call that imaginary nonentity to notice some other objections urged by power, or god, where is the inconsistency, Mr. Mackintosh. One.is, that no philosuwhere the absurdity, in my declaration that pher ever asserted that god existed before there is or is not good sufficient reason to the world,'” but as I vever said that a philoso. believe therein? Let those who use the pher ever did, Mr. Mackintosh beats the air; terms unknown power explain, if they can, iny own opinion is, that no philosopher ever what they mean by them; or how it is pos asserted with perfect sincerity, that god exsible to know the unknown ; how it is possi. isted, or exists at all, either before or behind ble to have a “philosophic idea" of what, the worlds. Only people with damaged in. by their own confession, no man is competellects spout such nonsense. As to the tent to understand or explain. I hope Mr. string of is and is nots of which couplaint is Mackintosh will not in future attempt to made, let those who have curiosity judge of slide over these difficulties, in that dashing it; it wout hang them, I promise. Ti is plaiu off-hand manner he sometimes assumes. that Mr. Mackintosh holds me in great conInstead of demanding what I mean by the tempt, as a first-rate blockhead. Not a line term god, he should rather explain what he of my unfortunate article does he agree with, means by it; for I never pretend to have but stigmatises the whole as “an awfully ab“any definite idea under the term.” The surd jumble of conflicting ideas, beginning term god is utterly nonsensical; and “un- from no recognised principle, and winding known power” is, if possible, even more so. As up without any tangible conclusion.” J, as to the idea contained in the motto from D'. already said, do not mind all this. It is Holbach, 1 am astonished that Mr. Mackinhonor for ME. But, though so good-lempered tosh should not have been more wary than as not to mind a severe handling, I cannot to quote it with such an air of triumph, A allow Mr. Mackintosh to brag about the boy praising and kissing the rod which question of demonstration being “given up," soundly flogged his owo breech, would be for the quite sufficient reason that peither nothing to this. Why, so far from D'Hol. Mr. Southwell vor those who think with bach hunself considering it “a philosophic him on the god subject ever had it to give up, idea of the unknown god,” that writer has they never pretended to demonstrate a nondistinctly declared in the "System of Nature,” existence, and have always, in effect, referred that no man ever had or ever will have a the discussion to the principle of the sufficient philosophic idea of what he can't compre- reason. It will be time enough for 'T'heists hend. “The word god is, for the most part, to boast about our “ frankly and very pro. used to denote the impenetrable cause of those perly giving up the question of demonstraeffects which astonish mankind, which man tion," after they have prored we ever posis not competent to explain.” Now, what phi- sessed it. Of course the principle of the suflosophic idea of god is there here? I cannot ficient reason is the only principle tu which discover any.
To call an impenetrable an appeal can be made, with a view to the cause god, surely does not explain the im- settlement of disputable or controverted penetrable cause, it cannot surely make it questions. The Jew is justified in appealing penetrable. D'Rolbach does not say that to it; and neither Jew nor Turk, Christiao, the impenetrable cause is god, but merely Theist, or Atheist, can justify their beliefs in that the word god is used to denote that cause, any other manner. They all should have and if he had, I do not see how our ignor- reasons—good, sufficient reason for the hope ance would have been helped thereby. To or faith that is in them. Mr. Mackintosh is call causes or supposed causes, of which we right when he declares that every superstiti. are ignorant, god, is just to deify our own onist from Indus to the pole, has a sufficient ignorance. It proves nothing, explains reason (to bim) for believing in the kind of nothing, and effects nothing but mischief. god or unknown power, in which he does bu
lieve; and by the same rule we shall find, he is not as much called npon to prove that where we meet with an isolated case of an there is not a witch, or that there is not a Atheist here and there, he likewise will declare devil, as I am that there is not a god. If that he perceives (what is to him) a sufficient I have no right to say there is not a god, PCABOu, for believing that there is no god at without proving my position, he has no right all." So far we agree, but when he goes on to say there is not a devil, without proving to say, that "if we ask for demonstration on his position. Anti-devilism and anti-theism either side, we shall be told that the world is are equally dogmatic, or rather I should say, governed by an impenetrable cause, which they are equally sound in principle and useman is not competent to explain," he states ful in practice. Nor can anything be more what is ahsolutely false. T'he Atheist does fallacious than the idea that philosophers are not, when asked for negative demonstration, called upon to disprove the multitudinous make such a silly speech by way of reply ; conceits of every crack-brained idiot. Human the Atheist doesn't admit that the world is imagination is very prolific, and he who governed at all. The Atheist thiuks all is should never deny what he cannot demonmaller and matter all, and what outrageous strate to be false would give error full swing, nonsense it would be to talk about the whole and practically ally himself with priests and being governed. A governed universe im- all other scoundrels; who will affirm any plies an agent that governs it; the governor lie that strengthens their authority. To must be distinct from the thing goverved; allow all sorts of assertions to pass unchal and if it be not madness to prate about the lenged, because it may be impossible logiwhole being movea, directed, kept in order, cally to demonstrate their falsehood,would be in a word, governed by something else, I am to give free and undisputed passage to every at a loss to kuow in what madness consists. wild conceit, every crude and undigested Mr. Mackintosh seems to be possessed with notion of vagrant imaginations. D'Holthe votion that the existence of a governing bach says, in his reply to Clark, that“ in the power is matter of fact, a something so clear schools it is never considered requisite to as to be past dispute. All he is anxions to prove a negative, indeed, this is ranked by Wo is simply to determine "what are the logicians amongst those things impossible tą qualities or attributes of this power or pow. be, but it is considered of the highest imporers" How great they will be his consterna- tance to soundness of argument, to establish tion when his eyes are opened to the matter the affirmative by the most conclusive reasonof fact, that atheists, so far from “cudgell. ing.' This is precisely the view taken by ing their brains" about attributes and quali. Mr. Southwell, and that my article “ beginties
, do not acknowledge the existence of ping from no recognisable principle, and power or powers. I was much struck with a winding up without any tangible conclusion,” forcible passage in the Oracle some time since, was intended to illustrate. If we are deterto this effect, “ We war not with the church, mined to be sophistical and nasty nice, it is but the altar; not with the forms of worship, easy logically to argue that pothing whatever but worship itself; not with the attributes, can be proved or disproyed. Tam not sựrê but with the existence of deity." If Mr. that I exist, I cannot prore my own existence. Mackintosha had read that passage, he would In one sense all are sceptics, yet all deem mot so industriously have dug a hole for his some opinions reasonable, and others unreau philosophical reputation, or escaped an sonable, nevertheless. "By making all men atheistical difficulty, by breaking his ships excessively sceptical nothing is either gaived against it.
or lost by reason. The Theist, the PantheAs to what he has said about “the same ist, the anti-Theist, and the Atheist, still thole of logic ” which calls upon the Theist to wend their several ways. Ti agh it may prove his assertion," there is a god, also calls easily be proved that there is nothing certain upou the Atheist to prove his position that in human knowledge, in practice 'men will there is no god," surely it cannot be meaut always scout that theory. "In strictness no by this that Atheists are to carry Theists man can be charged as an Atheist till what upon their shoulders through the realms of god is, is accurately defined; but such logi. infinite" space to see that there is nobody cal niceities speedily and properly vanish in there who winds up the worlds, sets them practical discussions. gving, and keeps them going, like a journey. The reasoning that makes the Atheist a man clockmaker in full employmeðt. If sceptic, makes all other men sceptics. The Atheists are not expected to do this, what, in ists, Polytheists, are all but' sceptics. So the name of sense, are they expected to do that nothing is either gained or lost by any If an appeal to the sufficient reason is allowed party. Mr. Mackintosh allows there can no to be decisive upon all other controverted more be an absolute Theist 'than an absolute points, why not upon the question, is there Atheist; then theism can gain nothing by vr is there not a god ?
such useless refinements and wordy cavillings. Perhaps Mr.Mackintosh will tell me whether