« PoprzedniaDalej »
For thy brows may the hand of philofophy twine,
Profession of Faith from Rousseau, continued
Consider, my friend, in what a terrible discussion I am already engaged; what immense erudition I stand in need of, to recur back to the earliest antiquity, to examine, weigh, to confront prophecies, revelations, facts, with all the monuments of faith that have made their appearance in all the countries of the world : to afcertain their time, place, authors and occasions. How great the critical fagacity which is requisite to enable me to distinguish between pieces that are suppositions, and those which are authentic ; to compare objections with their replies, translations with their originals; to judge of the impartiality of witnesses, of their good sense, of their capacity ; . to know if nothing be fuppressed or added to their tefti. mony, if nothing be changed, transposed or falsified ; to obviate the contradictions that remain, to judge what weight we ought to ascribe to the filence of our opponents, in regard to facts alledged against them ; to disco. ver whether such allegations were known to them; whether they did not disdain them too much to make any reply; whether books were common enough for ours to reach them ; or if we were honest anough to let them have a free circulation omong us; and to leave their strongest objections in full force.
Again, supposing all these monuments acknowledged to be incontestible, we now proceed to examine the proofs of the miffion of their authors: it would be neceffary for us to be perfectly acquainted with the laws of chance, and on could not be accomplished without a miracle; 'to know the genius of the original languages, in order to diftinguish what is predictive in these languages, and what is
only figurative. It would be requisite for us to know what facts are agreeable to the established order of nature and what are not so; to be able to say how far an artful man may not facinate the eyes of the fimple, and even astonish the most enligðtened spectators; to know of what kind a miracle should be, and the authenticity it ought to bear, not only to claim our beliet, but to make it crimi. nal to doubt it; to compare the proofs of false and true. miracles, and discover the certain means of distinguishing them; and after all to tell why the Deity should chuse in order to confirm the truth of his word, to make use of means which themselves require so much confirmation, as if he took delight in playing upon the credulity of mankind, and had purposely avoided the direct means to persuade them.
Suppose that the divine Majesty had really condescen. ded to make man the organ of promulgating its facred will; is it reasonable, is it juft to require all mankind to obey the voice of such a minister, without his making himfelf known to be fuch? Where is the equity or pro; priety in furnishing him, for universal credentials, with
only a few particular tokens displayed before a handful of obscure perfon, and of which the rest of mankind know nothing but by heresay ? In every couotry in the world, if we should believe all the prodigies to be true which the common people, and the ignorant, affirm to have feen every sect would be in the right, there would be no more miraculous events than natural ones; and the greatest miracle of all would be to find that no miracles had happened where fanaticism had been perfecuted. The fupreme being is best displayed by the fixed and unalterable order of nature: if there should happen many exceptions to such general laws, I fhould no longer know what to think; and, for my own part, I must confess I believe too much in God to believe so many miracles fo little worthy of him.
To be continued. New-York: Published every Saturday, by ELIHU
PALMER, No. 26, Chatham-street. Price Twe Dollars per ann. paid in advance.
Prospect; or, View.of the Moral World.
apoi ?0 701 SATURDAY, O Etober 27., 1804. SZETT NO.:47
Comments upon the Sacred Writings of the Jews and 12 Christians. Exodus Chapter, 33. ririch
MURDER OF THE WORST KIND BY THE COM
MAND OF THE JEWISH GOD. 6 THEN Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and
faid, who is on the Lord's fide? Let him come
And the fons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.' And he said unto them, thus faid the Lord God of Israel, put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate through the camp, and say every man his brother, and every man his com. panion, and every man his neighbour.” Here is a man. date of cruelty and bloody ferocity which would disgrace an indian savage in the western wilds of America ; yet this decree of murder is charged upon God himself. Brothers, companions, and friends, all fall a sacrifice without distinction and without mercy! Ye pious and learned divines of the Christian church, what have you to offer in palliation of crimes fo abominable? Do you -really believe that God ever issued fuch a command ? Can you believe a book to be divine which contains principles fo cruel and ferocious ? Have you no lympathy? Have you lost all sense of justice? Where are the feelings of humanity when you call such wickedness the word of God and a revelation from the allwife Creator! Read this passage contemplate the horrid principle therein contained, throw afide your prejudices, exercise your reason
and then tell us if you please what you think of this book *called the HOLY BIBLE ?
Theological Enquiries continued. DTC; It was before observed that Mofes had married a daughter of the Priest of Median., The same PriestrafGifts him by his council, in organizing the Judiciary de
de Vive o Dia JNIK,69 ello I
partment in the wilderness; and the Midianites and Moabites (for they appear to be the same people) treat the children of Ifrael when they come upon the borders of their land, with great hospitality; inviting them to their feafts and sacrifices and bellowing upon them their young women, Numb. 25, 1. And lfrael aode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredoms with the daughters of Moab, and they called the people unto the sacrifices of their Gods and the people did eat and bowed down to their Gods. No, none but a blind bigot $could see any thing on the part of the Mideanites but friendship and hospitality, probably excited by a knowledge of Mofes the chief of the Ifralites was allied to their nåture, and considered him as their countryman, in the fame manner as Ruth was admitted to the privileges of a Jewess although she was a daughter of Moab. And as to the children of Israel their conduct on this occafion ra. ther indicates them to be a credulous, ignorant and inoffensive people, which is most likely to be the character of à people coming from a state of bondage and who thought they had regained their liberty. Incapable of always discerning right from wrong they are easily led away by frieudship and kind affections. A good benefi. cient and wife being, having to rule a nation under such, circumstances, would have used more of reason than coertion, he would have weaned them from the prejudice contracted in Egypt, as a tender parent gently draws his offspring from the paths of vice: And what does the God of the Hebrews on the occasion, jealous at seeing Baal : peor the God of the Midianites preferred before himself, his anger was kindled against Israel, and he said unto Moses take all the heads or chiefs of the people and hang them up before me the Lord against the suu that my fierce anger may be turned away from Israel. And Mofes accordingly ordered the Judges to play every man that was joined to, or had worshipped Baal peor.
From reading this short history ought we not to form a far better opinion of the character of Baal peor, as a kind hospitable and friendly God, than we should do of the
vindi&ive, jealous and unmerciful conduct of the God of the Hebrews, a God who feems to delight in bringing his worshipers into strong temptations only that he may have a pretence for punilhing them for a transgression of his absurd laws. The story of the forbidden fruit and the punishment inflicted upon mankind for that tranfgreffion would be fufficient to confirm this affertion were the history we have now before us totally obliterated from the consecrated text.
Mofes had himself married a Mideanitish woman and it is no where recorded that Adonai, the God of the He. brews had ever found fault with him on that account yet when Zimri the fon of Salri a prince of a chief house among the Simeonites, came and brought unto his brethren Corbị the daughter of Zur head over a chief house of Midian, and when Phinehas the grand fon of Aaron the priest saw it, he rose from amongst the congregation and took a javelin in his hand and went after Zimri into his tent and thurst both of them through; now judging by the rules of justice and morality and even of christi. anity who are we to blaine in this transaction, certainly fober reason and I hope true religion would not hesitate to condemn Phinehas and we should have expected that a moft exemplary puuishment would have been inflicted npon him, but how are we astonished when we find that. the God of the Hebrews highly approves the action and stays the plague that then rąged in the camp on that ac. count. Here fimple fornication if it amounted to that of. fence is punished with death contrary to the express laws of Mofes given by Adonai and murder is rewarded by his approbation while he acknowledges his wrath against Ifrael and his jealousy of Baal peor. If Baal peor had not been as good a God and as powerful as himself why was he jealous of him.
To be continued.