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Grotius, Bochart, and other great men, that have wrote commentaries on the
little liberty, and
break thro' the esbible, and presumed to be guides to others, were either crack-brained fools,
tablished restraint, or designing knaves."
their thoughts will
never be so perfect Free Thoughts.
as if all men were “ As the earthly shepherd is not
allowed and ensupposed to eat for bis sheep, that
couraged to think they may become fat; but only to
of that matter ; but bring them to proper pasture, that they
their progress in may nourish themselves ; so neither
thinking will be is the spiritual shepherd at all sup
only proportionate posed to think for his flock, that they
to that degree of may become wise; but only to con
free thinking which duct and direct them in such a man
prevails. ner, that they may be able to think
Bentley. for themselves, while he keeps con- “ The characteristick of this sect does stant and faithful watch to secure them not lie at all in the definition of tbinkfrom the dark and insidious sophistry ing, but in stating the true meaning of of such free thinking authors ; as the their adjective free. Which, in fact, earthly shepherd defends bis flock will be found to carry much the same from the prowlings of the nightly notion, as bold, rash, arrogant, prewolf.” p. 63.
sumptuous, together with a strong proPlain English. “ The clergy who are so impudent pension to the paradox and the perverse. to teach the people the doctrines of For free with them has no relation at faith, are all either cunning knaves or
all to outward impediment or inhibi. mad fools; for none but artificial de. tion, (which they neither do nor can signing men, and crack'd-braided en- complain of, not with you in England thusiasts, presume to be guides to oth
I am sure,) but means an inward ers in matters of speculation, which all proinptness and forwardness to decide the doctrines of Christianity are ; and about matters beyond the reach of their whoever has a mind to learn the studies, in opposition to the rest of Christian religion, naturally chuses mankind. If Origen, Erasmus, Grosuch knaves and fools to teach them." tius, &c. chance to have any nostrum p. 5.
against the current of common doc
trine, they are presently of his party, The right of "If we have a and he dubbs them free-thinkers ; in private judgment right to know any all the rest of their writings, where will not be ques. truth whatsoever, they fall in with the common opinions, tioned. If we vo we have a right to they are discharged by him with ignoluntarily resign it, think freely. miny; even proscribed as unthinkers, we part with our “Let men be half-thinkers, and enemies to free-thinkreligious capacity, restrained from ing. Why this unequal usage, unless he we undermine the thinking on any thinks freedom of thought to be then onfoundation of per- science,or any partly exercised, when it dissents and opsonal religion, and of a science, they poses ? Has not the world for so many can no longer live must be ignorant ages thought and judged freely on Euin the rational ex. so far as the re- clid, and yet has assented to all his proercise of faith and straint goes. And positions ? Is it not possible, to have hope,” p. 21, 22. if a few men take used the like freedom, and yet close in
now and then a with the apostle's creed, our confession, 44
ADVOCATE, VOL. II.
or your articles ? Surely I think as “In like manner there ought to be freely, when I conclude my soul is im- no restraint at all on thinking freely material, as the author does, when he upon any proposition, however impious affirms his to be made of the same ma- or absurd. There is not the least hurt terials with that of a swine.” p. 11, 12, in the wickedest thoughts, provided
they be free; nor in telling those " To what cause “Upon the whole thoughts to every body, and in endea.
we indebted therefore, thinking vouring to convince the world of them; for the great im- upon all human for all this is included in the doctrine provements, which sciences being the of free-thinking, as I shall plainly show have been made in only way of arrive you in what follows; and therefore most branches of ing at perfection in you are all along to understand the science and philo- them; nay, being word free-thinking in this sense.” p. 6. sophy ? To the li- the only method to " And here I must take leave to tell berty which scien- make a man under you, although you cannot but have tifick men have en. stand the sublimest perceived it from what I have already joyed fearlessly to of all sciences, the said, and shall be still more amply examine establish- ology, or the will of convinced by what is to follow; that ed systems, to God contained in free-thinking signifies nothing, without bring theories to the holy scriptures; free-speaking and free-writing. It is the test of expe- it must be at least the indispensable duty of a free-thinkriment, and to pub- lawful, or a man's er, to endeavour forcing all the world lish the result of right to think free- to think as he does, and by that their investigations ly." p. 12. means make them free-thinkers too. without hazarding To be informed You are also to understand, that I altheir personal safe- consists in being low no man to be a free-thinker, any ty, or their worldly made to think just. further than as he differs from the re. interest. The same ly and truly, of ceived doctrines of religion. Where liberty of inquiry things: but bow a man falls in, though by perfect and publication should men think chance, with what is generally believ. would produce the justly who do not ed, he is in that point a confined and like beneficial ef. think freely? How limited thinker; and you shall see by fects in theology." indeed
and by, that I celebrate those for the Ser. xiii. p. 194. think at all of any noblest free-thinkers in every age,
thing, of which who differed from the religion of their they do not think countries in the most fundamental
freely ?" p. 15. points, and especially in those which Plain English.
bear any analogy to the chief funda“ How can a man think at all, if he mentals of religion among us." p. 15. does not think freely? A man who Bancroft's Sermons. does not eat and drink freely, does 6. Consider for “ But to give not eat and drink at all. Why may a moment the per- you the perfectest not I be denied the liberty of free- nicious influence image I am able, seeing as well as free-thinking ? Yet which the sub- how unavoidable nobody pretends that the first is un- scription to human absurdities lawful, for a cat may look on a king; articles of faith both in principle though you be near sighted, or have must have on the and practice, if weak or sore eyes, or are blind, you clergy of a nation- thinking is
a may be a free-seer; you ought to see al establishment. strained ; for yourself, and not trust to a guide The ministers of put the case of to chuse the colour of your stockings, the altar are un. free-seeing, and or save you from falling into a ditch. der much greater suppose the same
re I will
Collins. restraint in the methods made use will
expose him to ty of them; or if study of scripture, of to prevent free. the loss of his good they should hap. than the people to seeing which are name, bis living, pen to think such whom they preach. to prevent free. and his influence? mistakes to be of They must profess thinking. Suppose, His sure course is very bad conseand preach such then, that certain to shut his bible, quence and to be doctrines as their men have a fancy and take the sys- unpardonable, yet church has pro- in their heads, that tem of an orthodox they will judge nounced orthodox: it is absolutely ne- divine as the rule that the best way they must maintain cessary either to of his faith, and as to make men the opinions which the peace of socie- an authority for truly, is to make maintain them in ty or some other the doctrine which them see freely ; their offices. Rea- great purpose, that he preaches.” p. and that it is more soning from com- all should 320, 321.
reasonable to let mon principles of have the same be
all men trust to human nature, can lief with relation
eyes, thus bound to certain objects
the and shackled, stu• of the eyes ; and
greatest interest dy the sacred ora. in order to obtain
in not deceiving cles with an unbi• that end,will make
themselves,) than assed judgment, & all men under their
to oblige them to preach in its purity power subscribe
take up an eye. and simplicity, the ihe same confes.
sigbt faith, upon truths of the gos- sion of eye-sight
the authority of pel ? Where there faith. Now such
others who have is no national es. a fancy as this can
nothing else at tablishment, if a hardly come into
best but their eye. particular system any men's heads,
direct of doctrine he by but either of those
and who general consent who are some way
well be denominated or. or other very re
mistaken as any thodox, and the markable for that
body else through Christian charac. kind of madness
weakness of eyes, ter be denied to which
and besides may those who dissent people will be apt
have a design to from it, what en- to mistake for di
deceive mankind. couragement has a vine illumination,
I say, therefore, minister diligently or else of cunning
that whoever is cato study the scrip- projecting fellows
pable of such a riditures? What se. who have a design
culous project, must curity has the upon men's pock
be either a weak preacher, that a ets. For I think
or designing man. diligent study of men of real sense,
And let him be the bible will not and that have no
which you please, lead to a view of interested designs,
he will of course Christian doctrines will either judge
make an absurd opposed to preva- all mistakes of that
confession of eyelent opinions, and nature to be passed
sight faith." p. 15. constrain him to over and forgiven,
“Any restraint adopt a method of since no man can
whatsoever from preaching which be willingly guil
reason on thinking,
66 But now
ignorantly or designedly impose upon is absurd in itself. mankind ? Thus free-tasters may urge No just restraint all the reasons of free-seers, and re. can be put to my fuse to take any one's word, or to trust thinking, but some to any but themselves. And would it thought, some pro- be no kindness to offer to convince position, or argu- them, and even to restrain them? Or ment, which shows should they be let alone, till they had me that it is not destroyed themselves, and exposed lawful for me to their folly? I do not believe that our think on the sub- author, and his fellow free-thinkers, ject I propose to would complain much of being kept do. As, for in. from poisoning themselves, at least, stance, I propose not while they have a conceit of life. to consider, wheth. But the grievance which they com.
the Christian plain of, and which makes them so religion is founded
uneasy, is to oblige them to think of on divine revela. the soul, and to take care of it.” p. 29. tion; but am told,
Bentley. or suggest to my
we have him for ten self, the great dan- pages together, with image and alleger and sinfulness gory ; free-seeing is substituted for of thinking on that free thinking, and a confession of eyesubject, for fear I sight faith for a Christian creed ; and should be caught then in a tedious parallel the several by the sophistical juggles of hocus pocus make the emarguments of infi. blem of priestcraft. Argument in all dels, and so be this you are to expect none, there's eternally damned no occasion for that: for illustration, for my unbelief: similitude, comparison, especially whereas I am in when turned to ridicule and distorted the way
of salva- into farce, do the business inuch bettion, and in no ter; and (as I have been told) work danger in my un- wonders for the growing sect, and examining state ; make converts to admiration."' p. 24. and therefore it is 66 What in common life would de. sinsul in me to run note a man rash, fool-hardy, hair. any hazard, by brained, opiniatre, craz'd, is recomthinking on that mended in this scheme as the true
matter." p. 25, 26. method in speculation. Are you danRightly statel.
gerously sick? You will call an able “ Have not all a right to taste, as physician. Is your estate threatened well as to see ? And why should tast. an attack? You will consult the best ing be restrained ? Why should not lawyer. But have you an affair upon one, if he has a mind to it, use bem- your hands, wherein your very soul lock instead of parsley, henbane for and being and all eternity lie at stake? turnip, and take rats-bane for sugar or (Neque enim ludicra petuntur praeginger ? What reason to bind persons mia.) Why there you are to seek no up to the opinions, experience and help, but confide in your own abilities. observation of pbysicians, chymists, That is, if you have a very deep broad and pretended naturalists, who may river to pass ; scorn to ask for cork or be either fools or knaves, and so either bladders ; flounce in, and hazard all,
though you have never learnt to Or were they as acceptable to him swim."
with their mistakes, as if they had
thought less freely, less insolently, “ Reason and “ If the surest and more justly ?" p. 31. revelation, I think, and best means of Improved Version.
Collins. warrant the posi- arriving at truth
"The introduc. “I must not omit tion that every man lies in free-think- tion of the devil in- one great benefit who seriously en- ing, then the whole to this scenical re- of free-thinking, of deavours to ac- duty of man with presentation, [our which all past ages quire the know- respect to opinions, Saviour's tempta- as well as the preledge of divine lies only in free. tion] more sent may convince truth, and babitu- thinking. Because proves the real ex- us. Free-thinking ally practises ac- he who thinks free. istence of such a is upon experience cording to the dic- ly does his best to- being, than the in- the only proper tates of an enlight. wards being in the troduction of the means to destroy ened conscience, right, and conse- lamb, or the red- the devil's kingwill be accepted quently does all dragon, in the dom ainong men ; at the final judg- that God, who can apocalyptick vi- whose dominion ment; but the in- require nothing sion, is a proof of and power are ever dividual who com- more of any man the real existence more or less explies with this con- than that he should of those symbolical tensive
freedition of accep- do his best, can figures." Note to thinking is distance can be po- require of bim.- Matt. iv. 1. couraged and alsitively ascertained And should he The devil. “The lowed." only by him who prove mistaken in principle of evil “ The devil is knows the heart. any opinions, he personified.” Note entirely banished To the serious must be as accep- to Matt. xiii. 38.
the United Provinconsideration of table to God as if The devil. “This ces, where free. those who feel dis- he received none symbolical person thinking is in the posed to condemn but right opin- is here represented greatest perfeca brother merely ions.” p. 33. as uniformly wick- tion; whereas all for his Christian
ed.” Note to round about that opinions, I present I
John viii. 44. commonwealth, he the reproof of our
“Satan entered appears in various Saviour to bis
into him, (Judas shapes: sometimes disciples, Ye know
Iscariot.) Wicked in his own, somenot what spirit ye
men, instigated by times in the shape are of.” P. 22.
their bad passions, of an old black Free Thoughts.
are spoken of as gentleman, some“ If humility and submission render possessed by sa- times in the shape us acceptable unto God, must not pre. tan, or the devil ; of a dead man,
and sumption render us guilty to him ? Did as mad men are sometimes in that free thinking lead Seneca to the truth, represented as pos. of a cat. He obwhen he declared against the immor- sessed by demons sesses some, pos. tality of the soul, and against future or human ghosts, sesses others, and rewards and punishments ? Did it lead and with as little enters into confeEpicurus right, when he boldly denied, foundation. But it deracy with oththat the world was made or governed was the current ers.” p. 28. by God? Or, did it truly instruct Dia- language of the “ Great numbers goras, when he denied bis very being ? times." Note to of witches have Did these persons, by free-thinking, John xiii. 27. been almost annu. do all that God could require of them ?
ally executed in