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man down to his days ; traces a genealogy, in which every chief is distinguished by his peculiar character. In quitting Egypt, the nursery of fiction, did it comport with the dignity of the legiflator and-commander of a chosen people, to write romances? In the space of five hundred years, from Noah's death to Moses' time, could the fall of man and his expulsion from Paradise be forgotten ? And, as he had enemies, would not 'they have charged him with imposture ? Or was he the only person amongst the Jews, who was instructed by his father ? In a word, it was out of his power to deceive the Jews ; much less was it his inclination or interest. All, then, is coherent in Moses: and to his genuine narrative we are indebted for the knowledge of ourselves: for, without the aid of revelation, man would ever be an inexplicaa ble mystery.
In believing my descent from a father created in a state of perfection, from whence he fell, -a father on whose obedience or disobedience my happiness or misery depended,-I, can account for the corruption of my nature, and all the train of evils which have descended to Adam's children. W'ithout this clew to direct me, I must be for ever entangled in a labyrinth of perplexities. Let philosophy glory in levelling man with the brute, and say that there
was was never any difference in his state ; that he was always the same, destined to gratify his appetites, and to die ; I am really persuaded that I must renounce common sense, if I believe that man is now the same that he was'in coming from his Maker's hands. The opposition between our paffions and reason is too palpable, to believe that we were created in such an excess of contradictions. Reason dictates to be temperate, just, and equitable ; to deal with others as I would fain be. dealt by ; not to infringe the order of society 3 to pity 'and relieve the afflicted: my paffions, those tyrants so cruel, prompt me to raise myself on the ruin of others ; to tread in the flowery paths of criminal pleasures ; and to sacrifice my enemy to my resentment. If God, then, be the author of reason,-and that it is granted to man to regulate and curb his inclinati0ns,-misery and corruption were not our primitive state.
Philosophers, in a strain of irony, may deride our Bible and catechism, and laugh at our folly for believing that an apple could entail such miseries on mortals: but let them seriously consider the multitude and greatness of the evils that oppress us ; and how full of vanity, of illusions, of sufferings, are the first years of our lives 3 when we are grown up, how we are
seduced by error, weakened by pain, inflamed
'by lust, cast down by sorrow, elated with
pride :---and asl: themselves, Whether the cause of those dreadful evils 'be the injustice of God or the original sin of man P
The evidence of those miseri'es forced the pagan philosophers to say, 'that we were born only to suffer the punishments we had deserved for crimes committed in a life before this. They, doubtless, were deceived as to the origin and cause of our miseries: but still some glimmering of reason did not permit them to consider those calamities as the natural state of man. But religion reforms the error, and points out, that this heavy yoke, which the sons of Adam are forced to bear, from the time that their bodies are taken from their mother's womb, to the day that they are to return to' the womb of their common mother, the Earth, would not have been laid upon them, if they
i had not deserved it, by the guilt they contract
from their origin.
But religion, as far as it includes mysteries', you think yourself at liberty to discard: because you " cannot conceive how God could " require of man, a belief of any thing which " he has not endowed him with powers to " conceive." if Hence you reject the mystery
* Thoughts on Nature and Religion, page 127. f O
of the Trinity, as an invention of the clergy, borrowed from 'the poetical fable of the three brothers, Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto; the Divinity of Christ, as an imposition of the clergy ; and the immortality of the soul, as the invention of scholastic subtlety.
You think the religion of nature a sufficient guide,-and prefer Socrates and Cato to theclergy of the Christian religion. The great Cato, whom you applaud for his bon mot when, he said, that he was surprized howtwaprigsi: make' meet 'wi/bout hursting out into a sit'of ' [mighten Do'not confide too much, my dear Sir, in maJ/Zm and this lwzssed law of nature, which sormed an Aristides, Sa Socrates, a Cato whom you applaud flar laughzizg at prz'qfls. 'Wihatever tricks or j'ugg'les might have been playedin'the recesscs of the Capitol, where the Sybilline oracles were depofited, to answer the purposes of state,-*to animatethe people to War, from an'expectation of success, under'the protection of Jupiter or Apollo,*and to support thev pride and policy of Roman grandeur; the priests of the Christian religion do not conceal their belief. Cat'o might laugh in seeing his colleagne, for reasons best known. to themselves: 'and doubtless, the prieti, who came to theRoman lady with a message from Apollo, informing her that the God intended to honour her that
night with his company, by sleeping with he? in his temple, laughed heartily in seeing the young gentleman who bribed him to the cheat, and the more so, as on the day following the lady gave the public to understand, that however great Apollo might have been, in his qua-e lity of God, honoured with altars and temples, he had nothing extraordinary in his quality of companion. Cato's priest: then might have laughed in seeing one another; the mysteries and rites of their Gods, as debauched and corrupt as themselves, afforded scenes of impure mirth: and the Christian clergy are obliged to the Doctor for putting them and the three hrothers, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, whom they worship, on a level with the heathen priests and their Jupiter, who ravished Ganymedes, Neptune and his s'ea nymphs, and Pluto, who carried off Proserpina.
In spite of the preference, given by the doctor to Cato and Socrates, over the Christian clergy, and the sufficiency of the Iaw of nature to regulate the conduct of man, we can assure him, that under the direction of a Christian mother who never siudiedphilosophy, a child imbibes sublimer notions of the Divinity, and purer ideas of virtue than Plato ever taught in the academy, or Aristotle in the Lyceum. What
were those boaited sages whom our modern Free-thinken