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uo Theists are willing to accept. But had brought to light by comparative an atomy he plainly said there are none but material are so striking and indisputable as you would realities, and by god I mean matter, and by lead us to suppose, why are you not content matter god, his life would not have been to let those facts rest upon their own merits, worth an hour's purchase. Since the world allowing your readers to draw their own has been cursed by political christianity, the deductions ? " This I should be right holdest of those who knew the truth shrunk willing to do, had not the first discoverers from an open avowal of it, excepting some of those facts made use of them to inculcate half dozen such daring enthusiasts as Vanini, and support the religious dogmas of the day, who amid the flames clung to truth with from a clear perception of the tendency of desperate fidelity. Such men have many their discoveries to undermine and ultimately admirers, but few imitators, nor is the reason overthrow those dogmas, if the information of this at all enigmatical. Life is sweet, they were possessed of was given to the and the boldest are seldom in a hurry to part world without comment. They dared not with it.
themselves use their knowledge, as many
doubtless would have wished, from the All have some fear, and he who least betrays, The only hypocrite deserving praise.
certain persecution and ruin which would
follow, and to give it to the world withSo said Byron, who knew human nature well. out comment, was almost equally certain I write not this to justify Spinoza, no, deceit to lead bolder men to an investigation of cannot be justified-duplicity is never praise- its value and bearing upon the doctines of worthy, and he who practices the one or the the powerful religious corporations of the other, by so much does violence to truth and country, when the names of the discoverers wanders from the honourable path all men being associated with the arguments of the ought fearlessly to tread. It is of little con- sceptics, would secure the former a portion sequence what motives men have for dis- of the obloquy attaching to the latter. One honesty, all society has to deal with are only course then remained, by the adoption consequences, and I think few will deny of which they sought the favour of the clergy, that dishonesty, under any or all its forms, and secured their own safety—at the same is a curse. Though an apologist of Spinoza, time that they gave to the world, for the I pretend not to be an admirer of his mode of guidance and information of others, the philosophizing--abhorring most heartily what knowledge they had obtained. This course is called expediency, I never will knowingly was to declare that science was the handotter a word or write a line to justify it. maid to religion, and that every fact brought Believing that no ends can warrant the sys. to light by the labours of science more tematic use of dishonest means, my voice clearly established and proved the soundness shall always be raised against those who of theological doctrines. Here, then, is my make the danger of being honest a pretext reason for pointing out what I consider lefor their own rascality. If Spinoza was gitimate conclusions to be drawn from the compelled or induced to take refuge in the facts I have given, in opposition, be it remists of double doctrine, during the seventeenth membered, to opinions put forward by the century, there is no reason on earth why original discoverers, and later commentators Atheists of the nineteenth century should upon those facts. The same answer applies follow his example. Now, a man may pro- here as the Atheist gives to the Theistclaim bimself Atheist, Pantheist, or any had others never affirmed, I should never imagineable ist without being either burnt or have denied, for there would have been nobanged. Our priests, thanks to the general thing for me to deny. As long as some diffusion of knowledge, have all the will, but men assume, others will be right in disputing. not the power, to do much mischief. Like
The reader will not have failed to observe xavage beasts, minus teeth and claws, they the terms“ rudimentary form," " developed can growl or roar, but happily are without
with more uniformity, “perfect developthe means of doing serious damage.
ment, “ not yet reached perfection,”
though more developed,” that some aniTHEORY OF REGULAR
" at maturity GRADATION.
they did not possess when young, that the
brain and spinal chord “bear a proportionate It may appear to some who have read my correspondence” with the perfection of musremarks in No. 24, on the “Cowardice and cular energy-muscular energy being deDishonesty of Scientific Men," that I am pendent upon the volume of brain and spinal
eting inconsistently with the rule I laid chord-with many other expressions of like own for others, when I introduce my spe- import, all of which are the language of others, ulations, upon the facts which I have pre- not my own, and is valuable as showing that
from the anatomy of the various necessity, or the force of circumstances, is asses of the animal kingdom, in support of indirectly admitted, even by its opponents, y position. It may be said, “ If the facts to be the cause of all we see or know, as I
will further explain.
When the comparative anatomist perceives perfectly made, or that this portion of their in one animal an organ performing an im- organisation is more perfectly developed, portant part in the economy of that animal, than it is in those birds who require the addi. and at the same time sees in another what is tion of a stone to enable them to roost in evidently only a mere type of such an organ security. Let us imagine a bird who always --and finds it quite inadequate to the duties looked for a stone to take with it to bed, performed by it in other cases, and at times before it retired to rest, placed in confinement, presenting no reason whatever for its exis- and all ponderous bodies removed from its tence--he is compelled to admit, that in the reach, and that with it was associated one latter case it is only rudimentary, or that it who did not require adventitious aid-whilst is not perfectly developed, that is, that it the latter could balance itself upon its perch, has not grown to the size and taken the and sleep like a top, the former, want. position it occupies in other cases. One of ing its balancing stone, would be continually two conclusions may be come to upon such tumbling off. What a caricature upon infi. facts :
nite wisdom would this heavy-headed organEither, that the animal with the im- ism be! An advocate for theism would tell perfect organ had not been surrounded by us that this fact was beautifully illastrative circumstances favorable to the development of infinite intelligence and goodness, as it of the organ, and that the organ might be proved most satisfactorily that the bird was further developed were a material change to left in this defenceless state to afford a field take place in the circumstances by which for the exercise of intelligence, in proits possessor was surrounded -or, on the viding a remedy for its defective construcother hand, that the maker of the animal did tion, Man was evidently left in a similar not know so well what he was doing when defenceless condition, that his mental powers he made it as he subsequently did, after might be called into action-coal was buried more practice, or that he had experimentised, in the earth that he might construct machinery and that this was one of his experiments. to drawit forth, and, in addition, was distribuThis last is not consistent with infinite wis- ted in narrow layers that it might distort the dom, and of course would be rejected by an limbs of those who had to work it-the gases advocate for a being possessing such an at- liberated by its combustion were intended to tribute-besides, if we adopt this conclusion, produce pulmonary consumption, that doctors the terms imperfect development and rudi- might have patients to attend to and receive mentary form are incorrect and, I presume, fees from! Admirable philosophy! How blasphemous-for unless we suppose the contemptible are the petty reasonings or maker to be ignorant, the organ, as the anato- man, when compared with such stupendous mist finds it, is not rudimentary or imperfect, contrivances ! but perfect, because it is just what it was Further on Mr. Evers tells us that " tbs intended it'should be, and the other organ of whole muscular system yields which he imagines it to be the type is a dif- remarkable manner to a known law," " that ferent organ, and not the same organ in an im- of increasing its growth in proportion to the proved form. My readers will, I think, ac- functions imposed upon it." What is there cord to me the greater probability of the remarkable in the action of a "known law,'' first hypothesis, upon the authority of the or mode of operation ? It would be far more facts given by Evers, and which I shall now remarkable if the muscular system did I shall confine myself to
not yield to the “known law." Mr. E. portions of my two last articles, in. Nos. proceeds to state, that this remarkable cir. 44-5, which forcibly illustrate the opinions cumstance“ was strikingly illustrated in the I hold upon this subject.
case of a sea-gull, which Mr. Hunter kept The description in No. 44 of the mechan- for a year, living, contrary to its nature, ism which enables birds to sleep more soundly upon grain. At the end of that period be upon one leg than upon two is an excellent contrasted its gizzard with that of another illustration for either of the two conclu- sea-gull, which had been living on fish, and sions I have named-proving either imperfect found that the digastric (two bellies) muscles make or imperfect development. When of the former had acquired nearly three times explaining the reason why birds generally the development of the latter. He accomsleep upon one leg, Mr. Evers says, “It is plished similar phenomena by changing the for the purpose of throwing the whole weight food of an eagle and of a tame kite, the forof their body on it, and so grasping the mer throve very well on bread, but that it firmer, and in order to increase the effect, by was dissatisfied with its fare, is to be inferrej adding to the weight of the body, some birds from its seizing the earliest opportunity of are in the habit of never going to roost with breaking its chain and effecting its escrpe. out grasping a stone or some ponderons body Here, then, we have a strong argumett in the other foot.” From this, I think it is against design, and equally strong evidence clear, that those birds who can sleep with of the truth of my hypothesis-for if we supsafety without the aid of a stone are more pose the gull to have been intended to live
BY LORD BACON.
upon fish, and that its organisation was in plation of “the different lengths and forms conformity with such provision, it would of intestines” in birds, “irresistibly leads us follow, that to feed it upon food diametrically to infer that economy seems to be the main opposite, would be to frustrate the intention design.” How irresistible must be that eviof the designer and to cause the death of the dence that seems to lead to a certain conclusion bird-unless we also suppose the preservation it is so irresistible as to leave us in doubt of its life by miraculous means, or that it whether economy was not the main design, was made to thrive upon any food, but would or whether there may not have been some prefer fish when it could get it-when we other design, which is wisely hid from us, sacrifice the idea of its being specially de- or whether there was any design at all. designed to live upon one kind of food - Once again, I say, that it is clear from the only ground upon which an argument the manner in which scientific men endeafor design can be based, and which design- vour to bolster up religion, with facts of ers would tell us it was.
science, that they do not feel what they But let us go a little further, and suppose write, and that nothing but the certainty of that a few pair of gulls were fed upon grain, persecution and ruin would induce them to that they had young ones, who partook of thé do it-shall we cease then for a moment changed character of their parents, and that labouring to destroy the damnable system they likewise were kept to the same food-if which produces such hypocrisy and perso great a change was wrought in one year, petuates ignorance ? we might imagine a still greater result in the course of a life-time, if it extended over CRITIQUE UPON THE MYTHOLOGY several years, and gulls, I believe, are not
OF THE ANCIENTS. short lived. We might confidently anticipate, from these premises, that in a few generations the present distinctive character But the argument of most weight with me of the gull would be entirely obliterated, is this : that many of these fables by no and that it would present every appearance means appear to have been invented by the of having been designed by infinite wisdom persons who relate and divulge them, wheto live upon grain, and not upon fish.
ther Homer, Hesiod, or others; for if I were How it would puzzle subsequent natu- assured they first flowed from those later ralists to account for the silence of their times and authors that transmit them to us, predecessors upon the existence and cha- I should never expect any thing singularly racter of the birds they would find exist- great and noble from such an origin. But ing, if no narrative of these experiments whoever attentively considers the thing will had been perserved. Mr. E. says, “ But find that these fables are delivered down and that it (the eagle) was dissatisfied with its related by those writers, not as matters then fare is to be inferred from its seizing the first invented and proposed, but as things reearliest opportunity of breaking its chain ceived and embraced in earlier ages. Beand effecting its escape." I draw an infer- sides, as they are differently related by ence the very reverse, from the statement writers nearly of the same ages, it is easily just preceding, namely, that it “throve perceived that the relators drew from the very well on bread,” for it is very unusual common stock of ancient tradition, and vafor animals to thrive on food which they ried but in point of embellishment, which is dislike. And when we find the bird was their own. And this principally raises my chained, it seeins far more reasonable to esteem of these fables, which I receive, not conclude that it rebelled against its slavery, as the product of the age or invention of the to which its abundant fare would not recon- poets, but as sacred relics, gentle whispers, cile it.
and the breath of better times, that from the Mr. Evers says, “that these facts show traditions of more ancient nations came at in a clear manner the provision of nature for length into the flutes and trumpets of the the preservation of life under a variety of the Greeks. But, if any one shall, notwithcircumstances.” Indeed! If this be true, standing this, contend that allegories are it is equally “clear” that nature makes always adventitious, or imposed upon the abundant provision likewise for the neglect ancient fables, and no way native, or genuor destruction of life under a great variety of inely contained in them, we might here leave circumstances. What provision does nature him undisturbed in that gravity of judgment make for the thousands sometimes swallowed he affects (though we cannot help accountup by earthquakes, swept away by hurri- ing it somewhat dull and phlegmatic), and canes, buried in the occean by storms, or if it were worth the trouble, proceed to anostarred to death by the barbarous laws and ther kind of argument. institutions of society? If man be “the Men have proposed to answer two differnoblest work of god," he seems to be less ent and contrary ends by the use of parable; cared for than any other animal on the face for parables serve as well to instruct or ilof the earth. Mr. E, says that a contem- | lustrate as to wrap up and envelope ; so that, though for the present we drop the concealed |
MR. SOUTHWELL. use, and suppose the ancient fables to be Reasons for Mr. SOUTHWELL not becoming vague, undeterminate things, formed for religious ; by the Chaplain of Bristol Gaol. amusement, still the other must remain, and From the Bristol Mercury, of Nov. 12: can never be given up. And every man, of “One other class, or rather individual, reany learning, must readily allow that this mains to be noticed. It is well known that method of instructing is grave, sober, or ex- during the last nine months a prisoner has ceedingly useful, and sometimes necessary been confined in this gaol who was convicted in the sciences, as it opens an easy and fa- of a blasphemous libel. In regard to this miliar passage to the human understanding prisoner the chaplain has only to observe, in all new discoveries that are abstruse and that the great freedom which, as a first class out of the road of vulgar opinions. Hence, misdemeanant, he has obtained, in respect of in the first ages, when such inventions and epistolary and personal intercourse with his conclusions of the human reasoning as are friends and partisans, and the constant penow trite and common were new and little rusal of newspapers, &c., has been by no known, all things abounded with fables, pa- means favourable to any endeavours on his rables, similies, comparisons, and allusions, (the chaplain's) part to lead him to a serious, which were not intended to conceal, but to solemnised review of his principles.
At inform and teach ; whilst the minds of men the same time, it is but just to add, that the continued rude and unpractised in matters chaplain's visits have always been received of subtility and speculation, or even impa- with great courtesy and respect on the part tient and in a manner incapable of receiving of the prisoner. Thomas F. JENNINGS, such things as did not directly fall under and
M.A., Chaplain.'' strike the senses. For as hieroglyphics were If any proof were wanting to establish the in use before writing, so were parables in important fact, that supernaturalisın destroyo use before arguments. And even to this day all the finer feelings of human nature, and if any man would let new light in upon the absolutely stultifies the human intellect, it human understanding and conquer prejudice is to be found in the above extract from the without raising contests, animosities, oppo- Annual Report of the man of god," under sition, or disturbance, he must still go in whose care Southwell has been placed for the same path, and have recourse to the like the last ten months. The chaplain, finding method of allegory, metaphor, and allusion. that he cannot, by his silly Sunday harangues,
To conclude, the knowledge of the early make a convert of Southwell, gently hints to ages was either great or happy; great, if the authorities the propriety of taking away they by design made this use of trope or those privileges which, in his estimation, have figure ; happy, if whilst they had other been found too powerful for the word of god views they afforded matter and occasion to and god himself to overcome.
Hear it, such noble contemplations. Let either be Christians! and come to the help of the the case, our pains, perhaps, will not be lord against the mighty! The trinity of misemployed, whether we illustrate anti- friends, partisans, and newspapers" are quity, or things themselves.
more powerful than father, son, and holyThe like indeed has been attempted by ghost. Christianity is surely on its last others; but to speak ingeniously, their great legs, when it advocates resort to such arguand voluminous labours have almost destroy- ments as these.
J. C.F. ed the energy, the efficacy, and the grace of
NOTICES. the thing, whilst being unskilled in nature, MR. CARlile, in a letter he has addressed to W.C. and their learning no more than that of says, “ he lies who says that I attempt to per: commonplace, they have applied the sense petuate a superstitious veneration for the bible. of the parables to certain general and vulgar in the opinion expressed by W. C. in my absence ! matters, without reaching to their real pur- if any, resulting from such expression. Mr. C. also
fully concur, and am prepared to sustain the odium. port, genuine interpretation, and full depth. asks,'" Who are you? What is your name ** For myself, therefore, I expect to appear
One at a time, if yon please, Mr. Carlile, let me go new in these common things, because, leav
first. To quote your favourite Jew.book, we innat ing untouched such as are sufficiently plain into squandering our victims.
be “wise as serpents." We are not to be taunted and open, I shall drive only at those that All correspondents are requested to send direet to are either deep or rich.
the Editor of the Oracle of Reason, 8, Holywell
street, Strand, London.
NOW READY, PRICE 2s.
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ORACLE OF REASON:
Or, Philosophy Vindicated.
ROULAR UNION "FAITH'S EMPIRE is THE WORLD; ITS MONARCH, GOD; ITS MINISTERS, THE PRIESTS
ITS SLAVES, THE PEOPLE
EDITED BY THOMAS PATERSON,
to Twelve Months? Imprisonment in Bristol Gaol, and to pay a fine of € 100,
Imprisonment in Gloucester Gaol, for Blasphemy, at Cheltenham.
There is a religion, whose revelations are A HOME THRUST
pretences, whose miracles are cheats, whose inspiration imposture, whose scriptures are
forgeries, whose traditions are false, whose Lay on Macduff ;
prophecies are guesses. And damn'd be him that first cries--hold, enough! There is a religion, whose church is a THERE IS A BOOK, which has occasioned whose career is one of blood, whose promises
swindle, whose followers are persecutors, more deplorable calamaties, more fierce animosities, and more heart-rending misery,
are worthless, whose threatenings are futile,
whose chief supporters have been tyrants, than any similar compound of criminality
bullies, or knaves, and principal mainteand absurdity which has ever contributed to the demoralisation of the human race.
nance the lash, the torture, dungeon, fine, or There is a book, in whose blood-dabbled
There is a religion,which has checked impages are found the types of all the savage atrocities which have so long been a re
provement, retarded science, engendered hy
pocrisy, deadened the affections, inflamed proach to the criminal codes of those countries which have been most curst with its
the passions, warped the judgment, crippled
the body, and distorted morality, by introinfluence.
There is a book, in which the most absurd ducing fear as the leading motive of action ; contradictions and immoral rubbish are
and which, finally, by its bloody and devas. palmed on the credulous as divine revela- tating career has been the ever-active and
ceaseless obstacle to the progress of reason. tion; in which knowledge has been held up
THAT RELIGION as a bugbear, the search after it forbidden,
OF THE CHRISTIANS ! and its acquisition punished with horrible barbarity.
THERE IS A GOD,whose earliest recorded There is a book, the making up, selection, act was to create a pair of sentient beings, and custody of whose numerous fables, rhap- with a high capacity and relish for enjoyment, sodies, ravings, and rhodomontade, babbled which they were only suffered to taste, in by all sorts of maniacs, impostors, and dri- order, with the greater intensity of bitterness vellers, in every variety of disgusting and and anguish, to feel the reverse of misery filthy phraseology, and at various stages of and death ; who created a world full of barbarism, have been intrusted solely to vam- miserable wretches, with wants, feelings, pire priests, backed by cut-throat soldiers.
emotions, passions, which they were expected THAT BOOK IS THE BIBLE OF THE
to subdue, but which were made too powerCHRISTIANS !
ful for control ; and who finally involved in
general and terrible destruction all who THERE IS A RELIGION,whose tenets are failed to regard those mandates which he unintelligible, whose precepts are immoral, had made them incapable of obeying. whose worship is debasing, whose gods are There is a god, who sent“strong delusions" criminals, whose devil is superior in potency. I and“ lying spirits,” to create and perpetuate