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his direction, and that the end of that must be general and universal good. He has promised to raise up a kingdom which shall not be destroyed; “and when (Daniel vii. 27) the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High.” But as this bas not been accomplished,
most countries the vilest and weakest have had the upper hand, this change cannot take place without great convulsion and bloodshed. Believing as we do, that the work is begun, and that he who has the direction will complete his de. sign--we can look forward to a period with delight, in which men shall learn war no more; but every man shall sit down under his own vine, and his own fig tree, and none shall make him afraid : and however contrary appearances are at present, W fal confident that it will take place, for God himself has 8 Bu it,
EXTRACTS FROM A PORT-FOLIO.
YUPERSTITION, whatever inay be the reason of it, prevails among all the fear of evil, and froin the ignorance of its causes, or of its remedy. At least this alone is sufficient to imprint it in the minds of all men. The calamities of nature, plagues, sickness, unforeseen accidents, destructive phenomena, all the latent causes of pain and death, are so universal on earth, that it would be very surprising if man had not been deeply affects ed with them in every age. But this natural fear must always have increased, or have been magnified, in proportion to ignorance and sensi bility. It must have given rise to the worship of the elements that are most destructive to the earth, such as manifest themselves in inundations, conflagrations, and plagues; and to the worship of animals, whether ve ‘nomons or voracious, but always noxious. Hence too must have arisen the worship of men who have done the greatest injuries to maukivd, of conquerors, of fortunate impostors, of the workers of prodigies, apparently good or bad; and the worship of invisible and imaginary beings, supposed to lie concealed in every instrument of destruction. Reflection, and the study of nature, must have insensibly lessened the number of these invisible agents, and the human mind must have arisen from idos latry to theismę but this last simple and sublime idea will always have re. mained imperfect and confused in the minds of the vulgar, and mixed with a muliitude of errors and fancies. Revelation had confirmed and perfected the idea of the doetrine of the unity of God ; and, perhaps, a more pure religion would then have been established, had not the northern barbarians, who poured in upon the several provinces of the Roman em. pire, brought along with thein their own sacred prejudices, which could not be dispelled but by other fables. '. Unfortunately, Christianity was preached to men incapable of understanding it thoroughly. They would not embrace it, unless it were attended with
that external pomp and show ia which ignorance delights. Interested motives burthened it, and de:
based it more and more with other observances, and constantly invented new doctrines and miracles, which were the inore revered, as they were the less credible. The nations, engaged during twelve centuries in dividing and contesting about the several provinces of an universal monarchy, which one nation had formed in less than two hundred years, admitted, without examination, all the errors which the priests, after much contro. versy, had agreed to teach the multitude. But the clergy, too numerous to maintain any unanimity of opinion, had fomented the seeds of divi. sion, which must sooner or later be coinmunicated to the people. The time caine, when the same spirit of ambition and avarice that actuated the whole church, exerted itself with great animosity against many su. perstitions that were universally adopted.--Raynal.
In viewing Mahomet's system of religion, there are many parts of it which seem copied from the Christian, the Jewish, and the Pagan religions. It is difficult to tell which is the greater, the purity of some parts of this doctrine, or the absurdity of other parts. The greatest absurdities, or those which tend most effectually to promote impurity of manners, are the Prophet's ideas of heaven or hell. Paradise, or the place of future rewards, he makes to abound with rivers, trees, and shady groves; wine, without its intoxicating quality, is to be there served out to believers, who, as they enjoy perpetual youth, their powers of enjoyment are to be enlarged and invigorated, according to the delights they are to enjoy. Mahomet celebrates the pearls and diamonds, robes of silk, palaces of marble, dishes of gold, numerous attendants, wines, and dainties, with the whole train of sensual luxury, reserved for the faithful in these regions. In hell, the place of future punishinents, the wicked are to drink nothing but boiling, stinking water ; eat nothing but briers and thorns, and the fruit of a tree that grows in the bottom of HELL, whose branches resemble the heads of vevils, and whose fruit shall be in their belJies like burning pitch; they are to breathe nothing but hot winds, and dwell for ever in continual burning, fire, and smoke. ---Hodson's Accomplished Tutor.
1 CATHOLIC LEGENDS.
A traveller on the continent has remarked, that the legendary tales of the Catholic faith have been much more frequently taken by painters as the subject of their performances, than the authentic occurrences of scripture. For one assumption of Christ we find twenty of the virgin; and fifty miracles of pretended saints for one really performed by Jesus or his apostles. The fact is curious, but it is characteristic: while we may carry the observation still further, and remark, that from some hidden but perhaps very natural analogy, the interpolated passages of scripture have furnished an infinitely greater number of paintings for the churches of Catholic countries, than perhaps the whole of the remainder of those scriptures taken together, the removal of the legends of reputed saints and martyrs, might indeed cause a considerable diminution in the collections of France and Italy; but the destruction of the legends taken from the two first chaptors of Matthew and of Luke, would leave them little more than bare walls and unornamented altars.
PRIESTCRAFT. The kings of Spain, more jealous of their power than other sovereigns, endeavoured to support it, by establishing a more uniform system of superstition. They were not sensible that the opinions of men, concerning an unknown Beingi cannot be all the same. In vaia did reason expostu.
late with those weak monarchs, alleging that no power bad a right to prescribe to men what they were to think; that society, in order to sup. port itself, is under no necessity of restraining the freedom of the-soul ; that to compel men to subscribe to certain articles of faith, is to exact a false oath, which makes a man a traitor to his conscience, in order that he may be a faithful subject; and that a citizen who serves his country, is, in a political light, preferable to him who is orthodox to no purpose. These permanent and incontestable principles were not attended to they were overruled by the prospect of great advantage, and still more by the furious clamours of a multitude of fanatical priests, who hastened to assume the supreme authority. The prince, thus reduced to become their slave, was forced to abandon his subjects to their caprices, to suffer them to be oppressed, and to become an idle spectator of the cruelties ex. ercised against them. From that time, superstitious manners, beneficial only to the priesthood, became prejudicial to society. A people thus corrupt and degenerate'were the most cruel of any. Their obedience to the monarch was subordinate to the will of the priest, who oppressed cvery other power, and was in fact the sovereign of the state.--Raynal,
REVIEW OF THE CONTROVERSY ON THE EVIDENCES OF CHRISTIANITY
THE FREETHINKING CHRISTIANS MAGAZINE.
To the Editor of the Freethinking Christians' Magazine. THE second fact to which Christophilus' directs our atten
tion, is the circumstance of the Jews continuing a separaté and distinct people, throughout their dispersion among the various nations of the earth, and preserving their customs and peculiarities amid the varying manners, and shifting sentiments of human societies. “All other nations (says Christophilus, vol. i. page 360), that have been conquered, have been ab sorbed in the nations who conquered them, or they have swallowed up their conquerors.
The Normans have become Frenchmen--the French in England have become Britons--the Tartars have become Chinese-Greece was lost in the Roman name, and now the Roman name is obliterated by the Gauls. The Franks, the Germans, and the nations of the East, are lost among the barbarous nations whom they civilized and polished, while the degraded inhabitants of "Judea, though dispersed among all nations, thus still continue à distinct people, governed by their own laws."
For this remarkable fact, the writer asks an adequate cause, openly avowing his belief, that the finger of God has directed the fate of the Jewish nation; and that the past and the present condition of the children of Israel was foretold by the prophets, many ages back. To prove this, several quotations are selected from the ingenious Illustrations of Prophecy,' in which the reader is struck with the force of many of the passages, produced from the prophetic writings, and the sternest judgment seems compelled to admit the irresistible application of the Divine predictions.' " I will sift the House of Israel among ALL NATIONS, like as corn is sifted in a sieve."
6 I will deliver them to be removed into ALL THE KINGDOMS OF THE EARTH for their hurt, to be a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse, in all places whither shalt drive them."
The'answer to this part of the argument is to be found in the Magazine, for July 1812, page 299. It is from the pen of A.B.
and it is but justice to the writer to acknowledge, that whether his reasoning is good or bad, his ideas are always conveyed with peculiar clearness, and a happy turn of expression, which gives full effect to his opinions. A. B. commences his operations on Prophecy by general reflections as to its origin, and the different modes of prophecying. The calculations of the astronomer, it seems, he reckons one mode of prophecying; the computation of moral effects from the observation of those effects, in similar circumstances, another; and the bold and artful prediction of any cunning individual, who has an eye to some peculiar purpose, within the scope of possibility, a third. But to what end has the writer favoured us with these loose and desultory remarks, unless it can be shewn that the peculiar point in dispute (the prophecy concerning the present condition of the Jews), falls within any of the different modes adduced? The first must be set out, sans ceremonie, for no mathematical calculation can deterinine the fate of a nation three thousand years hence; as for the second, it is sufficient to say, that the existence of the Jews, as a distinct people, over the face of the globe, presents a phenomenon in the history of nations, to which no parallel can be founda race of men mixing with the busy concerns of human associations, and yet remaining century after century issolated from the countries which give them birth, is a fact to which the accumulated wonders of time afford nothing analogous; and consequently, as it admits of no comparison, no probable anticipation could have been forned, and all mortal fore. sight must have been eluded. To the last supposition I answer, that though the event has determined it to be within the scope of possibility,” yet such has been the remarkable fatality attendant on the disciples of Moses, that no man would have thought it so at the time the predictions were ut. tered. It may be necessary to add, that the evident design of giving those prophecies, was to prevent the Jews from bring. ing upon themselves the judgments which they foretold, so that this philanthropic purpose must be totally incompatible with the supposition of fraud or cunning:
A. B. goes on to state that Prophecy may sometimes carry with it the means of its own fulfilment-which may readily be admitted; and that predictions are sometimes delivered in a very ambiguous and vague manner, capable of being accommodated by the artful impostor to any period of time-this may also be admitted; in short, the friend to revelation has no reason to object to the general reflections of the writer on the subject of Prophecy. It is true there have been a great many false prophets, and a great many sapient predictions, and a great many foolish people in the world; but what then?