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Bible, and the light in which they are to be regarded. Nothing can be better calculated to silence all the little captious objections which have been brought against the scriptures, than the view which Christophilus takes of the subject.
In one sentence of this paper, I presume, with deference, to differ from the writer. After stating, that it is a point of little consequence whether the book of Genesis was written by Moses or not, whether traditionary or not, he observes, “I must contend, that whether Genesis was written by Moses or any other person, or however the account may have been confused or added to, that the probability is strongly on the side that these important truths were revealed to the writer by the Deity, in a way suited to the apprehension of the people for whom they were written.” Now for myself I am disposed to think that no revelation took place in the mind of the writer, -because I cannot conceive any necessity for such revelation, the Jews having believed the important truths contained in this book (Genesis) long before it was written; so that the book itself is not to be considered a revelation of these important truths,' but a declaration of them, and a history of the way in which they had been revealed to mankind. From inattention to this distinction may difficulties arise, and this has perhaps given occasion to the quibhling on this paragraph in the Evidences' by a writer whose signature is M. W.C. (vol. i. page 493) and who was taken to task by“ an Observer,” p. 578.
The first fact, which Christophilus adduces is, that the Jews were the only nation of antiquity who believed in the existence of but one God-though in introducing the argument he appears to me to carry one point of objection against the Deist rather too far; and I mention all the defective parts of the argument, because I consider the principle which Christophilus has adopted in his Evidences to be of the most conclusive kind, and his papers on the whole to exhibit a masterpiece of reasoning. Christophilus considers the ground on which the Deist attempts to prove the existence of one great first cause to be vague and uncertain without revelation, and states that were he an Atheist, though he would admit that every effect must hare a cause, yet he would deny the Deist's conclusion that there was only one first cause in creation. It is true (says he) I see a house, and determine there must have been a builder; I see two or more houses, and there may have been as many builders. Carry on this reasoning--that I behold a world, and there must have been a God to create it; but there are many worlds, and each world may have had an individual first cause, from any thing I can gather from the book of nature, or froin this mode of reasoning without revealed religion." Now I can. didly confess that I think the argument of the Deist perfectly
conclusive without revealed religion ; and I think so on the principle of philosophising, which is the principle on which Christophilus conducts his arguments for in the instance of the innumerable worlds, we behold one cause is sufficient to account for their existence, and it is therefore unnecessary and unphilosophical to multiply causes. I am persuaded that without revelation this truth never could have been discovered; but, when discovered, it seems to be unsettling the principles of reasoning too much to say it cannot be proved; in fact, if this be admitted, it would invalidate all the powerful reasoning of Christophilus; * for he declares at the outset that he means “ to demonstrate the truth of revealed religion," on the very ground that a Deist reasons with an Atheist to prove the existence of a God,
On the fact of the Jews being the only nation of antiquity which believed in one God, Christophilus deservedly lays considerable stress; but to defeat the conclusion which would necessary follow from this circumstance, a writer of no mean talent, and who has cut a considerable figure in the general question concerning revealed religion, has had the hardihood to deny the fact altogether. This writer contrived to conjure up, with the magic stroke of his pen, whole nations who were worshippers of the one supreme God-the ancient nations of the North, the Scandinavians, the Icelanders, the Scythians, the Greeks before the time of Cecrops, that is, before they were in any degree civilized or removed from barbarism, were all pure theists in the creative imagination of “a Deist;" and but for the industry of a correspondent (J. D.) this imposition might have been palmed on the unsuspicious and uninformed reader. But " J. D.” has followed “a Deist” to his source, and has brought his, turgid accounts into deserved contempt, though supported by “unquestionable authority.” After this, I suspect we shall hear no more of “ a Deist;" if he is prudent, he will take no notice of the two letters of J. D.
The fact then of the Jews having been the only nation of antiquity who possessed this great and enlightened truth-a knowledge of the existence of one great first cause of all
things --is but more firmly established by the opposition of “a Deist." For this fact Christophilus asks a cause--he shews, that if it could be possible to adduce this truth from nature, it would require the greatest exertions of philosophy, the greatest en. lightenment of science ; whereas the Jews, when first they possessed this truth, were a mere wandering tribe, an untutored people. Now as the most refined and polished nations never attained to this truth-as those who pushed their inquiries the farthest into the secrets of nature, never possessed any clear and distinct notions concerning it, the presumption is, that the truth was not dişcoverable, at least in the then state of scien
tific information; but the circumstance of an unenlightened people soaring to this sublime truth remains unexplained, and Christophilus, in searching a cause for this phenomenon in the history of the human mind, concludes that the Deity must have revealed himself to these people, as they themselves avow, And be it remembered, that there is nothing unreasonable in the simple idea of the Deity revealing himself to man-the Deist contending that he does so reveal himself in his works ; the only difference of opinion being as to the manner of this revelation-they contending that it is done in a manner so unintelligible, that whole nations have passed away from the earth without understanding any thing about it-we, that it was made knnown in a plain and positive way, suited to the knowledge and condition of mankind.
Christophilus having assigned for the fact in dispute-a. cause which appears to him the most simple, natural, and sufficient-calls upon the Deist to produce any cause for the effect, possessing these qualities in a more eminent degree--for this purpose a writer has appeared. A. B. of whom notice has already been taken, now naturally arrests our attention. This gentleman appears not at all to like the plan of the argument which Christophilus adopts in vol. ii. page 255. He asks whether it follows, that because this great truth was first entertained by the Jews, " that there is something super-human in it?” Not necessarily so from this mere circumstance, and if A. B. can discover any better causes for the effect than those which he calls super-human, the matter is at an end. He goes on,
" when it was ascertained that the earth was not the centre of the solar system, was it required that other men should independently make the same discovery, in order to prove that the philosopher was not divinely inspired ?” Cere tainly not; and for this simple reason, because adequate causes can be assigned for the
discovery, independent of inspiration. At last, A. B. sets off in search of a cause for the specified effect; and he certainly takes a safe road, making a thousand conjectures, and asserting nothing : and if any one were to follow liim in all his turnings and windings, and shew the absurdity of every one of his suppositions, it would be impossible to approximate to decision; for A. B. would strike out some new path, and wander on as eccentric, as erratic as before
so that till this writer fixes on some point which he means to defend, he is no fit opponent to Christopbilus: and this may be the reason why he has remained unnoticed by him.
To account for the fact in question, A. B.(page 256) sets out by supposing, that Moses was a man of considerable penetration, and of a bold and enterprising character; that he might have possessed a benevolent and patriotic breast, or have been actuated by ambitious motives; that his inquisitive mind might have led him to reflect on the absurdity of all the religious systems of bis time; and, contemplating the emancipa, tion of his brethren from slavery, it would be politic in him to inspire them with religious enthusiasm, in favour of that God whose immediate agent he pretended to be; and that though there might be considerable difficulties opposed to all this, yet every thing would“ yield to the artful projects, the wily schemes, of a subtle and designing character."
It is really astonishing to see what absurdities some men will believe, who affect to be sceptical. This writer cannot be lieve that the Deity would reveal himself to his creatures, but he can believe that a base and designing character could discover this great truth-could contrive to impress on the minds of an ig, norant multitude what enlightened philosophy could never understand-that a great and aspiring soul could find the gratification of its ambition in heading a hoard of degraded slaves; that a crafty hypocrite could expose hypocrisy, unmask decep: tion, overthrow oppression, and bless a people with wise and enlightened laws against the very bias of their dispositions. I smile when I observe a writer of talent like A. B. twisting and struggling through a long chain of ridiculous suppositions, merely to get rid of a plain
and easy hypothesis. The way be, fore A. B. is straight and clean, and sooner then take it, he will plunge through mud and filth up to bis hips; the path round the mountain is easy of ascent, and he prefers to scramble through bushes and brambles up its shaggy sides! Go on, A. B; but we will not follow thee!
I would just suggest to this writer, that if he understands any thing of the laws of internal evidence, and will but examine the history of the Jews, he will find that the notion of one God must be dated back far beyond the days of Moses, But, however, it is for the reader to judge between Christos philus and A. B., and to determine which has assigned the most appropriate and simple cause, or causes, for the fact in dispute.
In my next, Mr. Editor, I shall conclude, subscribing myself, for the present,
THE REVIEWER. ON METIIODIST SOCIETIES-IN REPLY TO MR. MOON:
To the Editor of the Freethinking Christians' Magazine.
Have neither opportunity nor inclination to enter into a
controversy with Mr. Moor, respecting the rules and practices of the Methodist Societies; but called upon by him (page 346, in reply to mine inserted in your Magazine for June last), I send you the following :
From what has subsequently appeared from your correspondent, I am now ready to admit with him that his former remarks are preliminary, but he seems hurt at the appellation I gave to them, and suggests from his language a desire that I should give them another reading; this I have not done, being from home, but from the recollection I have it is still an opinion with me, that his rema
that his remarks introducing candle, fat bacon, old nurses," &c. are vulgar and ridiculous, and nowise bearing upon the point he wished to establish.
Follies exist among most men, and Methodists have their share, I will allow; but the rules or laws of a body of men. are not made foolish by the folly of an individual member, neither are such ļaws directly reponsible. I am willing to confess, Mr. Moor's letter has convinced
me, that what I have said concerning the conduct of the Methodists towards Mr. Moor, is too liberal, nay even false; for it appears he has 6 fallen among thieves,” and the motives of a thief towards him he robs cannot be those of friendship.
Mr. Moor, by relating two or three instances of knavery, has not proved that the rules of the Methodist societies make men knaves : most questions have two sides. Upon admitting the above not to be the case, will it be presumption in me to say that Mr. Moor is forming a conclusion upon the blackest ? With equal justice might I take the opposite, and infer, that because I have experienced several instances of kindness and generosity from members of that society, their rules and prace, tices are calculated, unexceptionably, to make men benevolent and good.
Mr. Moor, in his letter, contained in page 404-5, probably thinks he has contrasted and exposed the inconsistency of the Rules of the Methodist Societies with scriptore; it may be soand had he rightly performed this, he would have done well. But still it is not clear to me that he has yet proved that "numbers who attend to them must perish for want of food.”
What Mr. Moor's thoughts may be, of what I once was or now am, matters not; yet still I am obliged to him for the compliment of saying I am become wiser (or words to that effect). I