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his pupil Socrates shared his opinions on this point I know that Brucker (vol. i., p. 560,) says, Socrates believed that “the deity, though he cannot be perceived, may be discovered;" but the same author also asserts Socrates' belief in various superior Gods and spirits, and interprets literally the story about his familiar demon. Now I conceive Socrates (from all we read of him,) to have been too wise a man to speak in this latter case other than metaphorically. And if in the latter, why not in the former also ? We know that he was indicted before the Five Hundred as an atheist, and that his defence was, as I already stated, “that while others boasted they were acquainted with every thing, he himself knew nothing;" (see Lempriere, art. Socrates.) Lactantius (b. iii., chap. xix,) tells us that Socrates was wont to say, “What is above us does not concern us;" and thence the “ Christian Cicero” argues (very naturally I think,) that the Athenian philosopher was opposed to all mysterious religion. What motive could this erudite and classic theologian have for attributing to Socrates, unfairly, sceptical sentiments ?

Plato's deity was composed of three principles, God, matter, and idea. What he meant by his idea (logismos or logos,) probably Plato himself did not know any more than St. John ; (see his gospel, chap. i.) Plato thought matter to be of a refractory and evil nature, so that God himself could not make much out of it; a very convenient way of accounting for the existence of evil,

Aristotle believed the deity and the world to be equally selfexistent. He defines God to be “a mind, immutable and impassable, an eternal and most perfect animal, perpetually employed in imparting motion to the universe.”

Aniximines thought Thales' water principle too corporeal ; so he took air as his principle of every thing; and Diogenes Apolloniates went so far as to ascribe to air divine reason.

According to most of the Jewish rabbi, God cannot be defined, The rabbi Nicto (quoted in the Dict. des Athees,) says, God and nature, nature and God, are one.

The soofis of Persia believe that God extracts from his own substance, not only the souls of men, but the whole material creation, which is thus only a production or extension of the divine substance, drawn, like a spider's web, from the body of the deity. These theologians also, ingeniously enough, compare the deity to a vast ocean in which swim innumerable phials of water; so that the water, if the bottles are broken, returns again to the bosom of the ocean. Human souls, of course, are the bottles ; and death is the great bottle-breaker.

The Brahmins, when asked to show God, trace a circle ; (see the “ Voyages de Dillon ;) and sometimes, by way of making the matter clearer, trace a triangle inside the circle. (Dict. des Athees, p. 323.) The Indian Ved or Vedas deals, like our own holy books, chiefly in negatives, in treating of the deity. It says i “He sees every thing, though never seen; hears every

thing, though never distinctly heard of. He is neither short, nor is he long; inaccessible to the reasoning faculty; not to be compassed by description; beyond the limits of the explanation of the Ved, or of human conception.” (See a tract drawn up by Rommohun Roy, Calcutta, 4to, p. 14.)

Later Chinese philosophers do not give us any thing more tangible. Their Li, or great first cause, (vid. Brucker, vol. v., pp. 890, 891,) “has neither life, nor intelligence, nor authority, nor body, nor figure; and though it is not spiritual, yet, as if spiritual, it can only be comprehended by the intellect.”

Truly, it would seem as if theologians were making game of poor, simple, human nature; and trying how many idle sounds they could make it gravely repeat, without suspecting the joke that is put upon it. If it were but an idle joke, 'twould the less signify; but it has been a very serious-a very bloody one; sometimes. There was nothing very jocular in the rack and thumb. screws of the inquisition, or in the doings of St. Bartholomew's night; nor, even in the fate of Servetus.

The ancient Christian writers have outdone, if it be possible, the Chinese philosophers in mysterious ingenuity.

The Christian bishop Synesius, as conspicuous for his learning as his piety, has some odd passages in his hymns; (vid. Brucker, vol. iii., pp. 516, 517 :) they would be called, probably, very scandalous passages, were they not from the pen of the Cyren an divine. He thus apostrophises the deity : “ Thou art a father and a mother, a male and a female ; thou art voice and silence !” And again : Thou art the father of all fathers, ana, being without a father, thou art thine own father and son.” Again : “O source of sources, principle of principles, root of roots; thou art the unity of unities, the number of numbers, being both unity and number!” Again : “ Thou art one and all things, one of all things, and one before all things.”—But enough of Christian bishops.

I might pass on to speak of the Germans; of Boehmen with his essence of essences;" of Spinoza with his two modifications of matter, thought and extension ;* of Leibnitz with his “primitive unity,” whence proceed all created and derivative monads;t of Swedenburg, with his celestial and spiritual sun : or (passing over to French philosophy,) of the spiritualities of Des Cartes, or the

internal moulds” of Buffon : I might rummage our own literature; might set forth the elaborate arguments of the laborious Dr.

66

He says:

* The consequence of defining God to be extension or space is well ex. posed by John Toland, in his “ Motion essential to Matter."

“ Others, whose heads sublimer notions trace,

Cunningly prove, that thou’rt almighty space;,
And space we're sure is nothing; ergo thou:

These men slip into truth they know not how." + Leibnitz, I believe, is usually regarded as a Christian philosopher, while poor Giordano Bruno, the first inventor of the monad system, and who called God “the monad of monads,'' was burnt in the year 1600 as an atheist. So much for good fortune!

Clarke in proof of the existence of God, a priori, and oppose to them the counter opinions of Albertus Magnus, Thomas Aquinas, and Johannes Scotus :--but I should tire myself, and (I am very sure,) my readers too, ere I had well crossed the threshold of that obscure and antiquated pile, the edifice of superstition. To it might most strictly be applied the lines in which Gray (I believe,) aptly enough hits off the characteristics of Gothic architecture, as containing

“ Rich windows that exclude the light,
And passages that lead to nothing."

R. D. 0.

REMARKS ON THE FOREGOING.

I thank my opponent for having taken so much pains to furnish an article which goes so directly to prove the necessity of revelation. We here see what the wisest heathen philosophers were without the Bible. One word as to Socrates, and that is, that his own words, by me adduced in the preceding discussion, show him to have been a believer in a God; and not only so, but his dying direction for the sacrificing of a cock to Esculapius, shows him to have been an idolater likewise.

0. B.

NOTE B.

[From the Free Enquirer of April 30, 1831.]
To ROBERT Dale Owen.

Lockport, Sunday, April 10, 1831. Sir,

I have noticed a statement going the rounds of the orthodox papers, that the editor of “Priestcraft Exposed” has renounced his scepticism and embraced the Christian faith. In No. 23 of the Free Enquirer, Origen Bacheler alludes “to cases of infidel conversions,” and cites you " to that of the editor of Priestcraft Exposed for example.”

This is an error--it is the printer, and not the editor of that paper, who is said to have laid aside his scepticism. It is a fact well known here that the printer never wrote an article for that paper; and it is also as well known that his talents are not of that order requisite for a writer on any general subjects.

Please correct the error, as I am well convinced the author of this statement intentionally misrepresented facts.

W. L.

(The writer of the above signs his name in full, but, in this strange world, I hesitate unnecessarily to expose individuals to

ill will. Mr. Bacheler, or any one else, can see the original letter, and learn the writer's name, by calling at our office. The name of the editor of “Priestcraft Exposed” was Lyman A. Spalding, and of the printer, Edwin A. Cooley.]

R. D. 0.

REMARK ON THE FOREGOING. Be it so, that the author of the account above alluded to, made the trifling mistake of saying that the editor, instead of the printer, had renounced infidelity. This does not affect my proposition in the least, which was, in substance, that an infidel had renounced

0. B

Watson, Printer, 15, City Road, Finsbury.

DISCUSSION

ON

THE EXISTENCE OF GOD;

BETWEEN

ORIGEN BACHELER,

AND

ROBERT DALE OWEN.

Let Truth and Falsehood grapple. Who ever knew Truth put to the worse

in a free and open encounter?---Milton.

LONDON:

J. WATSON, 15, CITY ROAD, FINSBURY.

1840.

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