Imagini ale paginilor

titude of conduct, I have invariably found a general good to follow: and on the other hand, whenever I have deviated from those paths into those of vice and error, I have as invariably found a general evil to be the consequence, therefore to me it is satisfactory, that those principles do not come upon us by the influence of any spirit or supernatural agent, but that such an idea must be the fiction of the mind invenied as a cloak for vice and folly, and that all the accidents whichi befal us throughout life, are either the effects of our own conduct, or of that of others acting upon us. Such a reflection as this is quite sufficient to annihilate the superstitious notions of our bodies being subject to the influence of supernatural agents. If angels or spirits were visible to our ancesiors, why are they not also visible to us ? History cannot point out the time when there was a greater portion of practical virtue on this orb than at this moment. The printing-press is the charm that has caused the flight of all those angels and spirits. Those ærial beings were the instruments by which the priests of all ages, all countries, and all sects, imposed on the ignorant and credulous, their different systems of religion. I am bold to say, that every account that exists about the appearance of a God or Gods, angel or angels, spirit or spirits, to any man or men, woman or women, is a fabricated and false account, and that no such beings do exist in the human shape, nor never did exist, nor never will exist. Josephus and Philo, have imagined and asserted, that the persons in the fifth chapter of Genesis, who are called sons of God, were angels, and that they had commerce with the daughters of mer, the fruit of which was the giants we read of in olden tales. Although those giants must have necessarily been drowned in the general deluge, still the same fables of their existence are continued even in the Bible, and tradition has brought them into every country. That certain men, and women too, have occasionally reached an extraordinary height and size I cản believe, but never that a distinct race of such extraordinary beings existed. They are the growth of a disordered imagination only. The common notion of spirits in the present day is, that they appear in a form but without substance, an idea of which we can only possess by the appearance of shadows, It would be difficult to impress on the most superstitious minds at present, that angels and spirits were equally gross and substantial with themselves, that they formerly had carnal knowledge of the women who lived on the earth, unless we are to believe the conceptions were miraculous, such as that mentioned in the New Testament, and that Abraham performed the rights of

hospitality by washing their feet in water, which of course implies washing off the dirt which had accumulated on their feet in travelling.

Many learned and celebrated men have really believed in the existence and power of oracles, amongst whom was the celebrated author of ancient history, Rolling of France. It has been admitted by Christians generally, that the oracles formerly predicted what should happen; but they have fabricated a tale to suit their own religion, in which they say, that the last answer given by any oracle was, that the little Hebrew boy had deprived them of their power of prediction, and that all prayers and enquirers should be directed to him; meaning of course, Jesus Christ. A belief of such nonsense is now nearly extinct in Europe, and all the impositions of pretended inspired prophets, preachers, and writers, must sink with the fall of superstition. It is the impression, which has been made on the illiterate crowd by the literate impostor, of the Bible being written by divine inspiration, that has prevented the examination of it: or even when a doubt has arisen, the belief of the inspiration and divinity of the book, has been brought in contact with it, and allowed to crush it at once; by the impression, that such a doubt must be criminal and calculated to bring eternal misery on its author. Thus it may be seen, that something more than an ordinary nerve has been requisite to promulgate publicly the doubt and disbelief of what is related in this inspired book, after it has been generally received as such for the space of 1800 years throughout Europe, Inspiration is nothing more than the fanciful effect of enthusiasm. I am inclined to think that the physiologist will discover it to arise from the peculiarity of organization, and that its cause is the same in all men, There is no such thing as divine inspiration, it is the imposture of priests only. The prophets and angels of the Jews and Christians, the oracles of the pagan world, and the inspired fanatics of the present day, have all the same origin and the same purport, namely, the desire of man to impose upon his fellow, and by imposing upon him, the better to plunder him of what he passesses, or to make him work to keep such impostors in idleness,

I now proceed with the nineteenth chapter. « And there

came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate só of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; - and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; and " he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into

your servants house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they



" said, nay; but we will abide in the street all night. And "he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, " and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and 5 did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat. But before “they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom,

compassed the house, round, both old and young, all the

people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and " said unto him, Where are ihe men which came in to thee “ this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them, . “ And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the “ door after him, and said, I pray you, brethren, do not so “ wickedly. Behold now, I have two daughters which havo “ not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto

you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto So these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the “shadow of my roof. And they said, stand back. And they “ said again, this one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will “ needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than fó with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even

Lot, and came near to break the door. But the men put “ forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and “shut to the door. And they smote the men that were at the 66 door of the house with blindness, both small and great : 80 " that they wearied themselves to find the door. And the

men said unto Lot, hast thou here any besides ? son in law, " and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast

in the city, bring them out of this place: For we will desa “troy this place, because the cy of them is waxen great “ before the face of the Lord; and the Lord hath sent us to

[ocr errors]

destroy it. And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in - law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out 56 of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city. But he $ seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law. And when " the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, “ Arise, iake thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; " lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. And while " he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the “ hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters ; " the Lord being merciful unto him: and they brought him “ forth, and set him without the city. And it came to pass, " when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, “ Escape for thy life: look not behind thee, neither stay thou « in all the plain ; escape to the mouniain lest thou he con66 sumed. And Let said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord. “ Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in lliy sight, and


[ocr errors]

* thou hast magnified thy mercy which thou hast shewed unto

me in saving my life: and. I cannot escape to the mountain, “ lest some evil take me, and I die. Behold now, this city is

near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape “thither, is it not a little one ?) and my soul shall live. And " he said unto him. See, I have accepted thee, concerning 5 this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for " thee which thou hast spoken. Haste thee, escape thi“ther: for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither, “therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.

The sun was risen upon the earth when ‘Lot entered into Zoar, “ Then the Lord raired upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah 6 brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; and he "overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabi“ tants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground, " But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became 5 a pillar of salt. And Abraham gat up early in the morning “to the place where he stood before the Lord: and he looked

toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of “ the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country “ went up as the smoke of a furnace. And it came to pass . 56 when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God

remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out in the midst of the “ overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot “ dwelt. And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the “ mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to “ dwell in Zoar: and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two “ daughters. And the firstborn said unto the younger, our 6 father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in 6 unto us after the manner of all the earth: come, let us make

our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we

may preserve seed of our father. And they made their “father drink wine that night; and the first born went in, and

lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. And it came to pass on the

morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, behold, I " lay yesternight with my father; let us make him drink wine “ this night also: and go thou in, and lie with him, that we " may preserve seed of our father. And they made their 6 father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, -- and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down,

when she arose. Thus were both the daughters of Lot “ with child by their father. And the first born bare a son, 56 and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the “ Moabites unto this day. And the younger, she also bare a

[ocr errors]


son, and clled his name Ben-ammi; the same is the father 66 of the children of Ammon unto this day.”

This chapter contains an horrid mass of falsehood and in morality, I shall therefore be as brief and as explicit as possible in pointing it out. From the foregoing chapter, we are led to presume, that the iwo angels who arrive at Sodom were two out of the three, who dined with Abraham on veal, bread, milk and butter. In the first three verses we convict the angels of an irresolution amounting to a lic. They at first refuse to enter Lot's liouse, and like some of our modern gossips, by a little pressing invitation, they are prevailed upon to change their minds. This certainly has a tendency to bring the sacred character of angels into disrepute in our minds, and to make us accuse them of human equivocations. We also find that they partook of the food which Lot provided for them, and must of course be subject to human evacuations. This chapter is most scandalously indecent and improper to appear in print. It should have been served as two of the fables of Phædrus are served in the modern Latin editions: Hoc caput deest paulæ modestia. Such a chapter as this mixed with the most sublime matter, is sufficient to disgrace the whole: it contains a fable that must have been written by one of the most corrupt and vicious of mankind, and has been larded over with the name of the Lord and of God to suit it in some measure to this sacred book. What can be conceived 80 horridly immoral as for Lot to offer his daughters to the people of Sodom for the purpose of prostitution? The language and customs of this country are happily deficient in the means of giving vent to our feelings on such subjects. How long are our children to have such tales as these impressed on their youthful minds at school ? 1 recollect well, that whilst I was at school, and the custom of the school was, that the scholars both boys and girls should form a ring and read a certain number of chapters in the bible, each scholar reading a verse and so going round the circuit, that the boys would number the verses and the scholars, when they came to one of those filthy chapters, and each would be anxious to have the most indecent verse fall to his lot, and would studiously give it an emphasis unusual on other occasions. Roading and school hours being over such chapters would be sure to become the subject of conversation, and thus the minds of boys are trained to vice and immorality by reading this sacred book. Well might the Jews and the real and original christians keep it out of the hands of their children and the vulgar until they were married.

(To be Continued.)
Printed by JANECARLILE, 55, Fleet Street,

« ÎnapoiContinuați »