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sivit. Id quod profecto vix hominis videtur. Est enim insita mortalibus imperii cupido quædam, eaque vetus hercle admodum, cunctis affectibus flagrantior: quam, ut ego existimo, nunquam expellere ex pectore suo Moses potuisset, nisi interesse et præesse rebus gerendis Deum vidisset, cum quo in societatem regni venire extrema dementia fuisset.” Again“ Legum autem non dominos, sed custodes et ministros, esse magistratus voluit.” and mark! Reader, the sound political reason. “Cum enim homines etiam optimos ira interdum, aut amor transvorsos a recto agat, solæ leges repertæ sunt quæ cum omnibus semper unâ atque eâdem voce loquerentur.” Is here any proof of Mr. Paine's charge, that the Jewish Church was a “human invention;" to shew that it was established to
terrify or enslave mankind;" or to countenance the illiberal imputation, that it was designed to “monopolize power and profit." Blessed may that people consider themselves which can boast of so divine a Legislator! One who grounds his polity on the authority of God; who, at the moment that he is their Master, and might be their Ty. rant, seeks neither power, nor riches, nor honours; and who frames laws that are alike free from the vindictiveness of anger, and the bias of affection. Let us now turn: to the Christian Church. That Church was founded by the Apostles of Jesus Christ. Hear what were the “power and profit” obtained by Saint Paul, the most indefatigable of the Apostles; and one of the great founders of Christian Churches. Thus he declares of himself. “Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes, save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeying often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own Countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false bretheren; in weariness and painfulnes, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness;" and could he have told it, he might have added,
in a cruel and premature death. Surely this was a poor “human invention” to “terrify" mankind into obedience, or “enslave” them with authority. These were "powers” that few would covet, and “profit” that all would willingly resign. How false then is the charge of Mr. Paine! how feeble when exposed! I will now tell the Disciples of Mr. Paine what were among the first articles of the Christian Code. “Love one another."_"He that would be greatest let him be the least.”—“Be humble, charitable, merciful, forgiving. Take no heed what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, or wherewithal ye shall be clothed.” And Jesus Christ, addressing his Disciples, when they were about to depart on a hazardous and laborious journey, commanded them to take “neither silver nor gold;” which command was so strictly adhered to, even several years after it was given, that one of the founders of the Christian Church, declared, “Silver and gold have I none." If these were lessons and examples calculated “to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit,”-why then the Institutors of the Christian Church were assuredly guilty; if to humanize and adorn the character of man; to purge away the dross of vitiated passion, and exhibit the calm splendour, and intrinsic purity of the human heart, why then as assuredly not guily. I leave it with my readers to draw the conclusion.
"I do not mean by this declaration, to condemn those who believe otherwise. They have the same right to their belief as I have to mine. Bụt it is necessary to the happiness of man, that he be mentally faithful to bimself. Infidelity does not consist in believing or dishelieving; it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe."
Mr. Paine seems to me in this place, to have entirely mistaken the meaning of the word “belief." To have a right to belief, whether in Philosophy or Theology, is true in no other sense than that of liberty of conscience, which although civil governments may sometimes overawe, they can never restrain. Thus, Galileo had a right to believe. “Solem esse centrum mundi, et immobilem; et terram non essé centrum ac moveri," because those were facts demonstrably true; notwithstanding that he suffered imprisonment for publishing such belief.
But Tycho Brahe and Ptolemy had no right to believe their systems of the universe to be true, because they were altogether supported upon hypothesis; although their rights were never questioned by any civil or ecclesiastical power. To assert, that the latter had a right to believe a falshood, is a solecism in metaphysics; for belief is not dependant on the volition of the mind. Their right extended no further than assent, and that term alone can make Mr. Paine's paragraph intelligible. As it now stands a man has a right to believe any thing. I should not have dwelt thus long upon this passage, had not several important consequences depended on it.-Consequences immediately concerned with the examination of the work before us. To which, therefore, it is proper that I should briefly allude. It is probable that Mr. Paine meant no more by this expression, than that every person should be at liberty to choose his own Creed, without being exposed to the interference of others; but it also admits of the following construction, (viz.) that different, and even opposing Creeds, may be supported by evidence that produces belief. This is an error in logic which has been the parent of much mischief. Volney has erected upon it his shadowy structure; and infidels of every age have employed it as an argument against the verity of religion. When two contradictory propositions are affirmed to be true, one of them must necessarily be false. The Jews, who declare that the Messias is not come, and the Christians, who declare that he is, cannot both be right. Each makes his declaration upon particular evidence; but, when the question is sifted to the bottom, it will be found, that the one believes from demonstration, and that the other assents from probability. Assent is an acquiescence of the mind to a position supported by any degree of evidence; belief is such
an acquiescence when the evidence amounts to irresistible conviction. When Christ told the woman of Samaria, that he was the Son of God, she might assent to it; but when he told her “all she ever did," she believed it. John the Baptist assented to the report of the Messias' being come: when he was told what miracles he performed, he believed it. When Moses told the children of Israel, that God had commanded him to redeem them from the Egyptians, they might assent to it; but after he performed his miracles, they believed it.-When Mahomet told the Turks, that an angel had brought him the Koran from Heaven, they assented to it; and there the authority rests; it never reached belief. I mean that belief which results from irresistible evidence.
In undertaking a reply to this Book of Mr. Paine, my intention was primarily directed to the refutation of his charges against Revealed Religion; the minor consideration of language might, therefore, have been entirely disregarded. But, when words are used in a new and unauthorized sense, it may serve some purpose to point them out. Mr. Paine says, in the paragraph now under exangi nation, that "infidelity does not consist in believing or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what we do not believe.” This is unquestionably false. To profess to believe what we do not believe, is to cheat, or to lie; and to carry such profession into practice, is to play the hypocrite; whereas, infidelity, as applied to religion, is an ignorance of, or & want of reliance on that evidence of its truth, which ought to satisfy the mind.
« It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so express it, that mental lying has produced in society. When a man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind, as to subscribe his fessional belief to things he does not believe, he has prepared himself for the commişsion of every other crime. He takes up the trade of Priest for the sake of gain; and in order to qualify himself for that trade, he begins with a perjury. Can we conceive any thing more destructive to morality than this?"
Let me solicit the Reader's attention, whilst I briefly expose the absurdity, the illiberality, and the insidiousness of this passage. It exhibits'a specimen of sophistry which a mind less ingenious than that of Mr. Paine, could scarcely have invented. According to the technical language of the schools, it involves a syllogysm which is false, or, at most, only hypothetically true, in its minor propositi
When stripped of all its extrinsic matter it stands thus. When men become hypocrites, they do that which is most destructive to morality; Priests, when they qualify themselves for their profession, do become hypocrites.
Therefore, Priests, when they qualify themselves for their profession, do that which is most destructive to morality. It wants but little acquaintance with dialectics, to perceive, that the second proposition is a complete petitio principii; and a most impudent one it is! What would Mr. Paine think, if such reasoning were turned against himself? It is only to assume, that he is a knave, or a liar, and you may, without difficulty, affirm of him any thing that is fraudulent, or any thing that is base. But far from me be such easy means of traducing character. They become any cause rather than that of Truth, or Christianity. I am sorry to be compelled to employ such scholastic means in unravelling the involuted falshoods of Mr. Paine. I know how obnoxious they are to criticism, and the refined taste of the nineteenth century; but the subject demands the sacrifice.
As I have exposed the fallacy of Mr. Paine's logic, by shewing, that his declaration of the hypocrisy of Priests, has no countenance, except in the obliquity of his own mind; no proof beyond his own illiberal surmise;, so I will here add a few observations to satisfy the Reader, that nothing is more contrary to the principles and spirit of Christianity, than the “taking up the trade of a Priest for the sake of gain.” The man who docs so take it up; who becomes a hypocrite, in order to become a Priest, is not a Christian, but a fair object for Mr. Paine's aninadversion. A rich Christian is almost a contradiction in terms. But let