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Title: Religion In The Heavens - Or, Mythology Unveiled in a Series of Lectures
Author: Mitchell, Logan
Language: English
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RELIGION IN THE HEAVENS;

OR, MYTHOLOGY UNVEILED

IN A SERIES OF LECTURES,

By Logan Mitchell,

A Follower Of Nature.

"Thus does it generally happen in human life, that when danger attends
the discovery of truth, and the profession thereof, the prudent are
silent, the multitude believe, and impostors triumph."--Mosheim's
"Ecclesiastical History."

1881.

LONDON:

THE SIGNS OF THE ZODIAC.

Aries. Libra. Taurus. Scorpio. Gemini. Sagittarius. Cancer. Capricoraus.
Leo, Aquarius. Virgo. Pisces.

In nearly 26000 years the Sun passes through the whole circle of the
Zodiac. That is, he is in each sign at the Vernal Equinox 2,155 years.

One universal mythos, or fable wearing the garb of history, has been the
basis of all religions, ancient and modern. This mythos is rooted in, and
has secret allusion to the zodiac and the solar system, in which the
sun and the rest of the "Host of Heaven," were turned into imaginary
personages, under peculiar nomenclatures in each country; and fanciful
narratives concerning them, were invented by the astronomising priests,
in order to stultify and subject the minds of the ignorant populace.
This deception continues to the present day, for the solar mythos wets
the true Christianity. "When the French, under Napoleon, possessed
Italy, they examined the chair of St. Peter, and found upon it the signs
of the zodiac."



PREFACE.

ACCORDING to the ignorant prejudices which priestcraft has interwoven
through the human mind, the subjects treated of in the following
Lectures, are considered as sacred ground by the votaries of
superstition; and therefore every attempt to examine them with freedom,
or to expose them to the test of reason and free discussion, appears
shocking to the blindly bigoted, and alarming to interested priests.
But as neither complaisance nor forbearance is due to either of these
parties, the free inquirer, stimulated by the love of truth alone, will
be earnestly desirous of emancipating the minds of his fellows from the
fears and delusions of a sanguinary and distracting superstition, which
has no foundation in reason, either as regards the past or the future;
and from the gloomy grasp of its active, subtle, and vindictive
priesthood, who want nothing but the _power_ to imprison and roast
alive, as they did in former ages. Yet even in the present times of
science and reform, what has been the fate of the daring wight who
has ventured to expose the origin and shown the terrible effects of
Christianity during fifteen hundred years? He has drawn upon himself the
concentrated essence of malice from all the hireling sacerdotal orders,
abetted by their allies the aristocracy of every country, by whom he has
commonly been robbed and imprisoned, or otherwise ruined both in fortune
and reputation.*

     * "Knowledge is called infidelity:
     .... Hence the few who knew
     Aught worth recording, and were fools enough
     To vent their free opinions, what has been
     Their recompense and their reward? The stake,
     The fagot and the cross."
     --Goethe's "Faust."

          Infidelity--we say; but to what?
          To vulgar superstitions enforced.

How does he incur the implacable vengeance of the theologians? Because
his search after truth, in the paths of Nature, has a direct tendency
to overturn that monstrous fabric of delusion, which enables so
many hundreds of thousands of them to live in ease and luxury, at a
prodigious expense to human industry. Why do the aristocracy and the
rich of the land persecute and pursue him to ruin? The aristocracy
being, in point of fact, the national rulers, as such, have hitherto
considered it necessary to support some kind of superstition (any sort
does equally well for the ignorant and vulgar), perceiving that, by
an iniquitous confederacy with its priesthood for mutual support, the
strongest arm of bad government is created. Moreover, the ranks of the
hierarchy are recruited by scions from aristocratical stocks, who are
called by the "Holy Ghost," to receive revenues sufficient for "_the
attraction of gentlemen_" and whether these be younger sons, brothers,
blackguards, or blockheads, it is all the same--they are good enough
for Mother Church. This is a powerful--an almost irresistible scheme
for fostering ignorance and falsehood--for upholding the foul connexion
between Church and State, and for perpetuating the mental slavery of the
people. The cause of truth and the welfare of society call loudly for
the exposure of these enormous corruptions; and the dangerous task will
be hailed and encouraged by every true friend to human improvement,
as the surest means of banishing from amongst men the blasting and
demoralizing belief in supenaturalism, for that is the principal, if not
the sole source of all the moral evils on the face of the earth.

It was the strikingly eloquent saying of Mr. Paine, that "prejudice is
the spider that spins its web on the mind." This entangling web is so
interwoven into the tender and plastic mind of youth by systematized
deception, that even the strongest intellect can hardly extricate itself
during life; and this spell holds equally good with Jew, Christian,
Mahommedan, or in any other of all the heaven-derived superstitions
that have afflicted the human race. These are the universal plagues--the
fatal barriers which stand perpetually between man and the harmonious
union which he would ever maintain with nature. All religions have in
succession sprung out of the superstitions which preceded them, and
there is no difficulty in proving that the Christian scheme is no
exception to the rule; for, on its very front, it carries the most
conclusive evidence of having been drawn out of the exhaustless ethnical
magazines of Paganism,* and metamorphosed there is not a vestige--not
an iota of Christianity, whether Catholic or Protestant, that did not
belong to Paganism, thousands of years before the reign of Tiberius;
and that all the "religion" practised in Europe is merely the exoteric
quackery of the old universal solar mythos. In like manner, it was only
the initiated Jews of their cabbala, who knew the secret of the same
mythos. This was called Gnosticism.

     * Beyond the limits of the papal conclave of cardinals,
     there is every reason to believe that very little true, or
     esoteric Christianity is known; and that only among the
     learned and most laborious in fearless research. In that
     modern cabbala of the initiated, the secret is guarded with
     the most solemn and profound vigilance; and the sacred trust
     is, that into that unsightly and distorted texture of wild
     and irrational superstition, which has deluded men by
     teaching them to overlook the moral and physical realities
     of nature--fixing their minds upon imaginary existence; and
     by an intercourse which surpliced magicians have pretended
     to, with a place called heaven, everything that is good and
     congenial to man upon earth has been destroyed.

          "For the the craft of priesthood that hath shaped
          A future world,--the kings of distant days
          Have countenanced the fraud, that fools content,
          Might look for blessings in another scene,
          And bear the yoke more tranquilly in this."

None but bigoted and priest-subdued minds will deny that it has been
Christian superstition, and its offspring, cherished ignorance, that
have distracted and made stages for theological gladiators, of Spain,
Portugal, and Ireland, for a succession of ages. By its natural tendency
to corrupt every kind of government, it has shed the blood of Erin's
priest-ridden sons, to satisfy the rapacious hierarchy of a more favored
sect! In England, at this moment, is it not a demonstrable fact that,
as theology enters into, and taints everything, so it is the ready and
insuperable barrier against every salutary improvement; for, whenever a
reform of bad laws and abuses is proposed, or any measure attempted
that would tend to the relief and benefit of the people at large, do not
Churchcraft, Aristocracy and Co. put their veto upon it immediately? *

It is the essence of this pretended science of theology, particularly
that of triune-Christianity, to oppose, and in everything to combat
the light of Nature and reason--to degrade and crush the human mind in
youth, as the best security against its future expansion; and hence it
is that, poor deluded man, in his abject and ludicrous terrors, has
been rendered the most bewildered, piteous, and contemptible of all
animals,** wishing to live for ever _after death_, yet afraid to die!
Such being the nature of this dark pestilence, the terrible evils it has
produced in Europe for so many centuries, and is still producing even to
this day are precisely what might be expected from such a cause.

     * The demon of Toryism, which pervades Europe throughout, is
     the legitimate offspring of Priestcraft, Aristocracy and
     Co.--that is, a confederacy of the great monopolisers of the
     land and the church hierarchy, for the honest purpose of
     subjugating and fleecing the industrious wealth-producers.

     ** No man will ever write as a true philosopher who seeks
     the approbation of more than one in every ten thousand of
     men, as they are moulded at present by theology.

To any species of political tyranny that happened to be strong enough to
bestow riches and power upon its priests, it has ever been ready to
link itself; and to form the mainstay and support of that flagitious and
shameful policy which promotes ignorance, as the surest medium through
which to deceive mankind into submission to bad government. Even now,
in the nineteenth century, there are no legislative disputes and
dissensions in which it is not the perpetual bone of contention--no
national interests discussed wherein it forms not the most inflaming
ingredient.* From a cause that is thus essentially and innately evil,
such effects must emanate of necessity; and, therefore, there would be
the highest folly in expecting that this baleful superstition can ever
change, or be anything else than that which it hitherto has been--a
burden and a scourge to every country _in the exact ratio of its
influence_.

The reproachful canting cry of heretic, infidel, atheist, etc., will be
raised against the author of these lectures, by every fiery intolerant
bigot into whose hands they may fall. But he alone is the true infidel
who forsakes the laws of his Nature, and gives up his mind to a belief
in fabulous and demoralising legends, which contradict all experience,
and stand in opposition to the testimony of his own senses and reason.**
In regard to the term Atheist, which, of all others, is meant to be
the most opprobrious, let our angry zealot, in the first place, define
precisely what he means by the word:--if he explains it by saying "it
signifies one who supposes that there is no God;" we reply that it is
impossible to understand this definition until he declares in express
and intelligible terms what he means by the word "God." If it is used
to designate that incomprehensible POWER by which the universe is ruled,
there cannot be such a thing as an Atheist in existence.

     * It was formerly maintained by hangmen and funeral piles,
     and now by clerical riches and power, hereditary lawgivers,
     harsh judges, ignorant juries, fines and imprisonments.

     ** Diderot, in illustrating the conflict of priests against
     reason, says, "Bewildered in an immense forest during the
     night, and having only one small torch for my guide, a
     stranger approaches, and thus addresses me,--'Friend, blow
     out thy light if thou wouldst make sure of the right
     path.'"--This stranger was a priest.

Do the Jews, Christians, and Mahommedans, by their wild and degrading
anthropomorphism, or by forming their deity in the likeness of any
entity that the human mind can conceive, evince a worthy, or anything
approaching to an adequate, conception of the unknown,* all-ruling
_Power_? Quite the contrary; for in absurdly imbodying it as a
located Being, or by conferring personification in any shape or manner
whatsoever, they impiously create one of those idols which they pretend
to abhor, and become themselves idolators. These alone are the real
Atheists, as they not only endow their man-God with the worst of human
frailties and passions, but contemn and repudiate the true revelation of
Nature. The mean and grovelling notions which the half-inch mind of the
priest-led fanatic has of his God (for instance the Jewish one), form a
striking contrast with the elevated and pure ideas which fill the mind
of Nature's free votary, towards the one universal Power,--a veneration
infinitely too exalted to allow for a moment the puerile and ridiculous
notion of its being personified in the form or likeness of any existing
thing.**

     * What do theologues now know of that which they call Deity
     more than was known to the philosophic Brahmin, Egyptian, or
     Zoroastrian, ten thousand years ago? Absolutely nothing.
     What does the pampered Oxonian professor of theology know
     more of it than the meanest cow-boy in England? Absolutely
     nothing.

     ** The deist talks of "Nature's God," that is, the powers of
     Nature personified, for it is impossible it should mean
     anything else. As a poetic figure, we have no objection to
     this.

But the priests of all religions that have at any time plagued the
earth, have agreed in the absolute necessity of inventing such imbodied
Gods or idols; and whether they be Jupiters or Jehovahs is no great
matter, as they answer equally well as mystic sources from whence to
derive the usurped power of the sacerdotal orders; and as relentless
tormentors, to keep the minds of their frenzied dupes in perpetual
terror. Without these pre-requisities, their trade would soon come to
an end. Hence arises their well-known malignity against all who are
sceptical respecting the existence of such _supernatural personages_;
for those who have doubts about that which is indispensable to the
theologians, are denounced by them as abominable Atheists, which, being
explained, designates the few unfettered, ingenuous minds, who are
capable of perceiving the matchless absurdity of attempting, by
any entity, or personified representation whatsoever, to convey the
slightest rational idea of that incomprehensible Power, by which
countless millions of worlds are ruled.



LECTURE FIRST. ON MIRACLES

     "Man is born in ignorance of everything around him; and this
     ignorance of natural causes begat terror; terror,
     superstition; superstition, priests and the priesthood:
     whose interests and unbending efforts are exerted to
     perpetuate the ignorance, the fear, and the superstition
     that gave them birth"

THE ignorance of the natural causes of the effects which man sees around
him, has ever been the foundation upon which the fabricators of all
religions have built the whole machinery of those delusions by which the
human race in all ages has been duped.. These impostors have
invariably relied on their artful jugglery in the pretended science of
supenaturalism, for the success of their respective systems; and of all
such means of deception, that of working miracles by legerdemain, or
collusive agency, has been the most successfully palmed off upon the
credulous multitude in all countries; whilst men of knowledge and
reflection have in all times rejected the pretended infractions of the
immutable course of nature, as the inventions of knavery to delude
and thereby prey upon ignorance. The faith reposed in these delusive
prodigies was always in proportion to the degree of simplicity in the
deceived; they were not generally believed by those who saw, but most
firmly by those who did _not_ see, them performed; and though not true
at first, that is but a trivial matter, as time has established the
veracity of those of the Jews and primitive Christians; and now when
they are upheld by overwhelming clerical riches and power, backed by
political corruption, they will continue to degrade, and be the grossest
outrage upon common sense and experience, until the great and salutary
moral change shall take place, when the mind of youth shall no longer be
mortgaged to the priest in education.

Though a miracle, or pseudo violation of Nature's laws, be the most
certain method of exciting the admiration of the vulgar, it is contrary
to reason that anything of the kind should be true; but it is by no
means contrary to the testimony of experience, that impostors might have
lived two or three thousand years ago, and propagated falsehood. This
conclusion is fully corroborated by all modern experience, in which we
find that deception and falsehood form the medium through which knavery
rules simple ignorance; and to such a degree do these ingredients
pervade the whole of society, that they in a great measure constitute
the religious and moral element in which man lives at the present
day; and so besotted has the breathing of this atmosphere of error and
delusion rendered him, that the more outrageous a miracle, or other
theological fable, is against rational light and common sense, the more
greedily has it ever been received by the unthinking and priest-ridden
million, who delight in the marvellous and the incredible--believing
everything, and examining nothing:--hence the success of the ludicrous
medley that makes up our Christian _Polytheism_. Admitting, for a
moment, the possibility of such physical prodigies being true, what do
we gain by them,--do they either confer additional authority on moral
truth, or prove it false? Can they make right wrong, or wrong right?
It is a melancholy fallacy to attribute to them any such power or
influence, and implies a lamentably low estimate of the dignity and
greatness of moral truth. All that we gain by pretended violations of
Nature's laws, is dogmatism, bigotry, spiritual fear, intolerance, and
superstition; together with all the other curses which come in the train
of religion, when backed by authority.

A modern philosopher has given the quietus to miracles in the following
death-blow:--"A miracle is a violation of the laws of nature; and as a
firm and unalterable experience has established these laws, the proof
against a miracle, from the very nature of the fact, is as entire as any
argument from experience can possibly be imagined; and, therefore, no
testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, _unless the testimony be
of such a kind that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the
fact which it endeavors to establish_" This argument is absolutely
invincible. The boundless plenum of Nature--the revolution of hundreds
of millions of globes round a million of suns, may be called miraculous,
but in all this, Nature, or the material universe in motion,* is still
invariable, and acting by _self-existing qualities or properties_, which
are therefore inviolable and immutable. If it is asked, "cannot a law
that is made by the Supreme Power be suspended by its author?" we reply,
that the innate or essential properties of matter, being _principles_,
could have no author--no antecedent--no beginning:--they are co-eternal
as matter and motion, or the immutable Power which we call Nature. This
hypothesis is plain, simple, easy, and rational: but the theory of your
personified, localised artificer, is the reverse of all this; for he
himself would stand a thousand times more in need of an artificer
or author than does the material universe. We _know that matter
exists:**--_there can be only one infinite--ergo, matter _must_ be that
infinite.

     * Lalande says that at the age of nineteen, he thought the
     heavens proved a personified God (the anthropomorphism of
     the Jews). but now, says he, I see in them nothing but
     matter and motion. He said also that Materialism was beyond
     the vulgar, to whom it would be neither agreeable nor
     useful.

     ** Begging my Lord of Cloyne's pardon.

In their secret doctrines, the philosophers and priests of antiquity
admitted no miraculous powers; and when they said that a certain thing
was done by a god, or "the gods," they were merely using words suited to
the capacity of the multitude, while the mystic or esoteric meaning
was, that the thing arose from the concatenation of natural causes and
effects, or the eternal order of necessity; and not, as the ignorant
imagine, that the laws of nature were suspended by the interference of
some personified god. With the above two classes of the initiated, all
their mysteries were rooted in, and had constant allusion to zodiacal
objects, and the physical powers of Nature; which objects and powers
were, by the prosopopoeia, converted into abstract existences, called
gods and goddesses. This was done by all the priests of antiquity, as
their varied schemes of superstition gained footing so as to foster
ignorance and mental blindness amongst their dupes; and herein they were
imitated by their successors, the Christians, who likewise claimed a
power in their gods, to suspend or make infractions in the unalterable
course of Nature. Judaism was a barbarous version of some of the
beautiful and lively fables of the Pagans; and the present superstition
of Europe is a rude polytheistical caricature of the whole.

The miracle-working Deity of the Jews appears to have been of Egyptian
extraction; and had his prototype in the god _Jahouh_, who held a high
rank in the polytheism of the Thebans. This Jahouh was a personification
of that power which giveth forms to matter (viz., motion), and organises
animal and vegetable life, _alias_ soul of the world. Moses, who is said
to have been a priest of Isis, or Nature, the secret of whose mysteries
was the unity of the supreme Power,* seems to have been wishful of
preserving that unity in the Deity he had borrowed of the Thebans, as is
stated by Strabo, in his Geography,** who informs us that Moses taught
his followers to worship the god Jahouh _without representing it by
emblem_.

     * Moses borrowed this of the Egyptians. Cudworth, in his
     Intellectual System, and Hyde, in his treatise on the
     religion of the Persians, acknowledge that the unity of God
     was the foundation of the religion of the Egyptians,
     Chaldeans, and Persians.

     ** Strabo's account is corroborated by his contemporary,
     Diodorus Siculus, and also by Plutarch. Diodorus's account
     of Moses not being-agreeable to the Church, has been
     suppressed.--See Translation of the Abbé Terrasson.

There can be no doubt as to the identity of this name and that of
Jehovah. That Moses adopted this deity, and that the name when first
introduced, was new to the Jews, appears from Exod. vi., 3. Neither
Philo nor Josephus deny that the Jews borrowed circumcision from the
Egyptians; why, then, might they not borrow a god also?*

As every nation had its cosmogony to account for the origin of things,
the Jews must have theirs likewise; so the scribes, who compiled their
legends, imitated very closely the Zoroastrian fable, according to which
the gods made the world in six gahanbars, or periods; of which the story
in Genesis, even to the detail of work done in each day, is a mere copy;
but the Jewish compiler mistook the matter so far as to put _days_ in
place of periods, or _gahanbars_; which word was significant of the six
summer months, when the sun, by his genial and all-powerful impulse,
makes a fresh creation every year. The learned have farther declared
that, in the Talmuds, the expression in the first verse of Genesis is in
the plural, viz. "the Elohim" (the gods) placed in order the heavens and
the earth that in the same verse, the word "barah," which signifies to
arrange, to place in order, has been mistranslated "created" In like
manner the words "ruh elohim," in the second verse, have been falsely
rendered "spirit of God," though their true meaning is, _the wind of the
gods_.***

     * Dr. Geddes, however, is of opinion that Moses learnt the
     name of Jehovah in Midian, while he resided with his father-
     in-law.

     ** The Indians had their Vedas and Pouranas; the Egyptians,
     the five books of Hermes; the Persians, the cosmogony of
     Zoroaster; the Greeks, that of Hesiod; the Phoenicians, that
     of Sanchoniatho. The Phoenician, though written in the style
     of history, is made up of personifications of time, the sun,
     the stars, earth, seasons, etc.

     *** In St. John's Gospel iii, 5 and 6, the Greek word pneuma
     (air or wind), is translated spirit; and in the 8th verse it
     is translated, "wind" and "spirit" both. In Luke i, 85, is
     not this word pneuma translated "Ghost"?

Thus, in the very first two verses of this pretended "word of God," we
have no less than three instances of false translation. The learned Dr.
Parkhurst has translated and shown that this word elohim or gods means
the seven planetary bodies, as known to the ancients. He calls them _the
disposers of the affairs of men_; an influence still attributed to them
by the astronomical quacks called astrologers. These seven planets were
the cabiri of the Egyptians and Phoenicians; of which Baal, "the Lord,"
was the chief, being added as the eighth. Baal (the Sun) was also one
of the names of the Jewish god, Jehovah. See Hosea ii., 16. That the
astro-theology of the eastern nations had exclusive allusion to physical
objects--the elements, seasons, etc., was well known to all the learned
Jews. Maimonides says: "We must not, like the vulgar, understand
literally what is written in the book of the creation (Genesis);
otherwise our men of old would not have so earnestly recommended to
conceal its meaning, _and refrain from raising the allegorical veil
which covereth the truth under it. Understood literally, this work
presenteth us with ideas of the deity which are most ridiculously
absurd. The true meaning of the six days' work ought never to be
divulged_" The treatises of Philo Judæus have hardly any other object
than the allegorical explanation of the Jewish scripture. The great
Origen himself treated all these stories as astronomical emblems. "What
man of sense," says he, "can persuade himself that there was a first, a
second, and a third day, and that each of those days had a night, when
there was yet neither sun,* moon, nor stars!!!"

     * Of all the glaring blunders committed by the compiler of
     Genesis, the most unfortunate was the miraculous production
     of three whole days before he thought of _making_ the sun.

Dupuis says, speaking of the astronomical origin of all religions: "The
first six signs of the zodiac may be considered as forming the empire of
God or Oromazdes; the remaining signs as that of the Devil or Ahrimanes
(cold and darkness). After the evil principle has reigned during the six
winter months, from the autumnal to the vernal equinox, the sun resumes
his empire, bringing with him warmth and animation for a fresh creation;
and causing the day to triumph over the night. The vernal equinox was
therefore universally considered to be the time: of creation. It is then
that the Persians, who call April the month of Paradise, celebrate their
Neurouz or the new revolution. The Jesuit Petavius has remarked that
the Rabbis, when speaking of the creation, use the word _Bara_, which
signifies to arrange, or rather to renew."

Syncellus, Cedremus, St. Cyril, and others, agree that the word
_creation_ alludes to the vernal equinox; at which time they expect
the coming of their god, who, as Cedrenus tells us, will arrive at _the
Lord's Passover_; or the passage of the sun as he crosses the line of
the equator at the vernal equinox point. Formerly, when the sun was in
Taurus or the Bull, that sign presided over the vernal equinox, and
it was to the Bull that the Persians attributed those ideas of
_regeneration_, which a more recent superstition (the Christian) has
naturally transferred to Aries, a sign called by the Persians 'the
Lamb.'

But if the vernal equinox point be now in Pisces or the fishes,
Christians have nothing more to do with the Ram, as he is the "_Lamb of
God_" no longer; and therefore they should adopt, as of old, when the
sun was in Pisces, the famous savior fish Oannes, which used to preach
so prettily upon the banks of the Nile and the Euphrates. At that
exceedingly remote period, say nearly 26,000 years ago, this fish must
have been a principal god amongst the Egyptians and Chaldeans; and
certainly, while the sun occupied the fishy sign in the zodiac at the
vernal equinox, nothing could be more appropriate than that the
emblem god should appear in the shape of a fish, to preach the annual
salvation.* Each sign in succession has, by the slow precession of
equinoxes, enjoyed a similar honor.

     * The first of the nine incarnations of the Indian Redeemer,
     Vishnu, was in the form of a fish.

That the Jewish priests, from not having science within themselves, were
apt to be too late in borrowing their emblem gods from the more learned
hierophants of Egypt, Chaldea, and Persia, appears in that _unhandy_
mistake committed by Jeroboam (1 Kings xiii., 4), in sacrificing to the
golden calf, the old representative of the sign Taurus, which was then
out of date, when he ought to have been paying his respects to the "Lamb
of God," the accredited envoy of the sign of the Ram, which had come
into play by the Sun's having entered it some time previously. By the
mouth of his messenger, "the Lord" (the Sun) seems to reproach Jeroboam
in terms something like the following: "What ignorant ninnies you and
your priests are, not to know that, having left my bull-house in the
zodiacal town,* and taken a two thousand one hundred and fifty years'
lease at the _sign_ of the Ram, I have now nothing to do with calves:
go, ye shallow novices, and learn better of your masters, my older and
more scientific priests, the Magi and Chaldees, that the appropriate
symbol of my worship, is now a Lamb, called the Lamb of God."**

     *The New Jerusalem.

     **April-fools are no doubt of vast antiquity; but Jeroboam
     is perhaps the first we met with in the Bible. This reproach
     was incurred by those who, like him, persisted in calf
     adoration, after its archetype the Bull, or sign Taurus, had
     ceased to be the "House of the Sun," at the-vernal equinox;
     that is, after the Bull of April had given place to the Ram,
     or Lamb of March; and, according to the Rev. Mr. Maurice,
     that point could not have coincided with the first degree of
     Aries, later than 1800 years before our era.

Wherever such digressions as the above are made in the course of these
Lectures, they are intended to show that, although we treat the Bible
according to its literal meaning, the respect we have for it, _so far as
it is a book of hidden science_, induces us to give such explanations,
as they alone do it justice according to knowledge. But since its
priests and their ignorant dupes insist on adopting the outward, or
sense nonsensical, the best way to expose their folly is to take them at
their word..

The legend about the first man may have been taken from Apollodorus'
fable of Prometheus, who made the first man and woman with clay, and
afterwards animated them with fire which he had stolen from the chariot
of the sun; or was the first creation in Genesis imitated from Plato's
story of the androgynæ, or double _homo_, possessing both sexes? Such
was the hermaphrodite, or first creation in Genesis; the second was
purely masculine, and only one of his ribs turned into the feminine. In
the ancient Persian traditions, there were two distinct fables about the
creation of man, from which those in Genesis appear to have been taken:
but the compiler of that book, knowing both of the stories, and being at
a loss which to prefer, has foolishly mingled them together, yet still
preserving the two creations. Thus it seems pretty certain that the
Jewish fable about the first man and woman is of Persian origin. Henry
Lord, in a book written at Surat, on the cosmogonies of India and
Persia, and dedicated to the Archbishop of Canterbury, says: "In the
Persian cosmogony, the name of the first man was _Adamoh_ and of the
woman _Hevah_. From hence come the Adam and Eve of the book of Genesis.
Hevah is the name given to the woman, in an English edition of the
Bible, printed in 1583."

In the Zoroastrian and Chaldean mysteries, the above supposed originals
of the human race were personifications of the zodiacal signs, Bootés
and Virgo; and their _fall_, or expulsion from the summer garden of
fruits and flowers, was emblematical of the solar year, after the
autumnal equinox. Anciently, in India and Chaldea, the phænomenon of
the starry heavens was called Aden, or the Celestial Garden. In all
probability the Jews picked up these shreds of figurative astronomy when
they were slaves to the Babylonians, and, ignorantly taking them in
the literal sense, foisted them into their heterogeneous miscellany.
Supported by the sound knowledge of Philo, and all the learned Jews,
Origen again shows his contempt for those who understood Genesis
literally, and cries out: "What man can be stupid enough to believe that
God, acting the part of a gardener, had planted a garden in the east;
that the tree of life was a real tree, and that the fruit of it had the
virtue of making those who eat of it live for ever?"* The first four
chapters of that book contain parts of three, if not four distinct
fables, all evidently derived from different sources. The rest of this
extraordinary medley, called the Old Testament, is made up of some
dramatic fragments of the Egyptians and Persians (as the plague,
miracles, and the book of Job), fabulous legends plagiarized by the
Jews, barbarous narrative, and the rhapsodies of vagrant minstrels, who
sung of past events, seemingly in the future tense.

     * St. Augustine, in his "City of God," allows that in his
     time, the whole story about Adam, Eve, the serpent, and the
     garden of Eden, with its forbidden fruit, was considered as
     allegorical. There was not one, but there were _two_
     prohibited trees!

     The Emperor Julian, with that wisdom which characterised
     him, observed that, "If there ever had been, or could be a
     tree of knowledge, instead of God forbidding man to eat
     thereof, it would be that of which he would order him to eat
     the most." Reason is the real forbidden tree of priestcraft.

From a mass of ill-strung fables, derived from such a variety of
sources--a chaos of revolting prodigies, mixed up with a few probable
facts, such as the expulsion or flight from Egyptian slavery, the
murders and devastations in Southern Syria, etc., we cannot, in the
bounds of a lecture, notice more than a few of the most prominent
miracles, all of which had Pagan prototypes.

As every oriental country had its cosmogony, accounting very clearly,
though contrarily to each other, for the origin of things, so all
had traditionary floods, which each nation quoted as proof of its
antiquity.* Why should not the Jews have one also? The Chaldeans said
that theirs happened 25,000 years before the war of Troy, when the
immense surface now occupied by the Mediterranean Sea was inundated..
The Egyptians had their inundations; and hence their ark of Osiris (the
archetype of the Noah's ark) the same as the constellation Argo. The
Greeks had their floods of Ogyges and Deucalion; the latter of which,
was fully treated of by Berosus, and after him by Lucian, in his Syrian
goddess; but the Jews, who took everything from their masters, borrowed
the Chaldean pilot _Noe_, made him skipper of their ark, slightly
changing his name to _Noah_, and appropriated to themselves the flood
of Deucalion,** with all its details, almost word for word as fabled
by Berosus and Lucian.. That this tradition was not adopted by the Jews
until long after the alleged time of Jehovah's flood, is proved by
the orders which he gave Noah respecting clean and unclean beasts, the
distinction whereof not being made until several hundred years after the
assumed time of Noah. Nothing can be more probable than that, amongst
the initiated few, all these floods had secret reference to the supposed
influence of the winter or watery constellations.

     * Even the long lives of the antediluvians, according to the
     Jews, are the exact copy of the Iogues of the Hindu
     Indians.

     ** The flood of Xisuthrus was almost the same as that of
     Deucalion.

The Pentateuch, or first five books of the old Jewish "_will of God_"
have been attributed to Moses; though, from their internal evidence, it
is altogether impossible that he could be the author, even if we allow
him to have been a real personage. These books were most likely compiled
and got up in imitation of the _five books_ of the Egyptian Hermes, who
was at one time the personified genius of the constellation Sirius; at
another, of the planet Mercury. That the god Bacchus was the archetype
of Moses, seems to have been the opinion of many learned men,
particularly the celebrated Bishop Huet, and I. Vossius, who agree that
the Arabian name of Bacchus is _Meses;_ and the identity is further
proved, inasmuch as the etymon of the two words is the same, signifying
_saved from the waters_. Justin, in his "Historium Judærum," seems also
to favor the fact that Moses was a fabulous person, where he says that
it was not he, but Abraham, who led the Jews out of Egypt; that their
number was 6,000, not 600,000;* and that they were turned out of the
land for uncleanness, being all lepers.

     * On almost all occasions, the Jewish tales, in relation to
     numbers, whether of men or other animals, are so
     ridiculously exaggerated, that if we adopt the scale of
     allowing them one for every hundred enumerated in their
     books, we shall do them ample justice. This gives Solomon
     ten in place of his thousand ladies: a harem still
     abundantly numerous to produce "vexation of spirit."

A vast and sublime idea was attached to the attributes of _Jahouh_,
whilst he was at home in Egyptian Thebes; but, in accompanying Moses and
his barbarians into the Arabian desert, we find him completely shorn of
all grandeur and dignity of character. He was there drilled and
moulded into a god, whose will and commands were precisely those of the
robber-in-chief and his priests, jointly and severally; by whom he was
converted into the Jewish Juggernaut, delighting in blood; and on
all occasions standing forward to prompt and justify their villainous
schemes of devastation and murder.* At a very early stage of his
connexion with Moses, he is degraded by being brought into contact with
the dramatic jugglers of lower Egypt; of whose legerdemain tricks we
have a sample in the stage representation of what are called the plague
miracles. As a priest, Moses was no doubt initiated into all the arts of
these sleight-of-hand impostors. In the trial of skill exhibited by the
contending operators in these conjurations, we have a tissue of the most
absurd and ridiculous fooleries imaginable,--the writer having taken
leave of his senses, _we have the hyperbole run mad_. Much of this
jugglery was done by means of real or counterfeit serpents! After all
the water in Egypt, even the great river Nile itself, had been turned
into blood, the magicians do the same miracle, though Aaron had not left
them a drop of water in all Egypt! Then follow other romances, wherein
the "God" appears far more blameable than Pharaoh, whose sin of
obstinacy is visited upon the innocent cattle; and in succeeding
plagues, all the horses, asses, camels, oxen and sheep, having many
lives, are killed over and over again. The story of the locusts is not
miraculous; but we have an outrageous prodigy in a darkness for three
_days_; to say nothing of its substantial property of being felt or
handled. Why did not the Goshenites (who had their usual light) avail
themselves of so good an opportunity to run away? They were waiting
until "the Lord" should issue his general order to commit the robbery
on the Egyptians. Though all Pharaoh's horses had been twice or thrice
killed during these plagues, he finds no difficulty in mustering a
numerous cavalry to pursue the fugitives. Moses being a mere copy of
Bacchus, all the above stage trickery--the dividing of the Red Sea
and the Jordan, are rude imitations of the exploits of the latter,
who performed marvellous feats and gambols, _turning water into blood,
drying up rivers, converting water into wine_, etc., etc.

     * Oh! what a mountain of faith and prejudice is required to
     hide this glaring, this palpable truth!

     ** See Lucian's "Alexander."

It appears an awkward business that the omniscient Jehovah could not
safely undertake the midnight massacre of Egypt's firstborn, without
some sign to prevent the possibility of his committing a blunder, by
falling foul of his chosen Goshenites; and, therefore, another general
order is issued, to smear their doorposts with blood as a mark of
security, while the butchery was going on. This shocking tale might have
arisen out of the historical fact, that the seventh Ptolemy caused
all the young men of Alexandria to be murdered. This inference may be
objected to on account of the supposed anachronism, respecting which
we shall make a short digression. Precise historical dates have been
carefully avoided or obscured by the Bible-makers; and there is scarcely
any allusion to _time_, that is supported by concurrent testimony; and,
therefore, it is only by a cross-examination of its internal evidence,
that we can judge of the various periods when the Old Testament was
compiled.*

     * All the narrative writings of the Jews, which betrayed too
     openly a recent composition, such as the Maccabees (which in
     a historical point of view, are the most valuable parts of
     the Bible), and many others were excluded, and declared
     apocryphal by the Old Testament composers; yet numerous
     tell-tale proofs escaped them; for instance, Nehemiah speaks
     of "Darius the Persian." Now, between Cyrus and that prince,
     there reigned fourteen kings of Persia, during a period of
     280 years. Therefore, not only were the Jew books written
     after their Babylonian slavery, _but many centuries
     afterwards_.

The Decalogue, Chronicles, and other narrative parts, may have
been written under the order of Hilkiah and Ezra, shortly after the
Babylonian slavery; yet there is great reason to believe that many
poetical rants called prophecies, and even some parts of the Pentateuch,
were written after the Jews began to congregate at Alexandria, when
the events which the itinerant Jewish bards pretended to foretel, had
already taken place: for instance, Ezekiel makes the Lord say, "And I
will make _Pathros_ desolate." Can the cunning alteration made in the
first syllable of this word conceal the evident allusion to that "wonder
of the world," the famous light tower of Pharos, which was built by two
of the Ptolemies! Daniel could not speak of the third being "like unto
the Son of God," before the dogma was invented that god had a son.*
Moreover, if it can be shown (as hath been affirmed) that the prophecies
were partly translated and modelled from Greek originals, at a period
subsequent to the time of Ptolemy Philadelphus, what becomes of their
antiquity? We repeat that most of the books of this collection contain
abundant proofs of their having been fabricated from materials as
aforesaid, at various periods between the Babylonian captivity and the
destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, in the time of Vespasian.

We have seen that the passage of the Red Sea is drawn from the fable
of the triumphal march of Bacchus, when from Egypt he went to conquer
India. Josephus, though he often renders the romances of his countrymen
still more monstrous, was ashamed to make a miracle of this story, and
compares it to the passage of the Pamphylian Sea, by Alexander. In a
jovial mood Bacchus drew wine from a rock by a stroke of his rod; but
herein the imitator deviates from the original, wisely preferring water
to wine in an arid wilderness.

The manna miracle has long been detected and exposed. Josephus tells us
that, in his time, it was found in great quantities in Arabia; and the
plant that produces it is now cultivated in Sicily and Southern Italy.
Bishop Talleyrand, in a letter which he is said to have written to
the Pope, after their quarrel, told his holiness that the real manna of
Moses was the plunder he got in the desert by his robberies and murders;
these were counted so many godsends.

     * The Talmud acknowledges that the forgeries of Daniel,
     Esdras, and others, were prodigious.

     ** Talleyrand tells the Pope also, that, of the numerous
     blunders committed by Moses, not the least was his fixing
     the time of the Creation at an epoch when the earth did not
     only exist, but had an immense population, and actually
     reckoned 50,000 years of civilisation: besides his
     pretending to look upon the Hebrews as the most ancient
     people on earth, forgetting or feigning to forget, that they
     were a mere gang of slaves who had originally escaped from
     Idumea, during the intestine wars which desolated that
     country. After having passed into Egypt, where they were
     again made slaves, it was after the lapse of many years, and
     after having robbed their masters (as their forefathers had
     robbed the Idumeans), that, induced by Moses, they crossed
     the Red Sea in Ethiopian vessels; and having gained the wood
     of Henon, in Arabia Deserta, they maintained themselves
     there during forty years, living by the robberies they
     committed on travellers and the people in the neighborhood.

As it is not necessary to notice these miracles in Bible order, it may
here be observed, that the fable about Lot's wife might have been taken
from that of Euodia; but, more probably, from the ancient fiction of
Baucis and Philemon, as the first and this are essentially the same.
Irenæus and Tertullian affirm that, in their times, _the statue of Lots
wife regularly menstruated at the usual period of women!_ Reader, these
men were no unfair sample of the Christian fathers.

It was a part of military discipline amongst the Persians, and other
nations of the East, when marching large armies through the deserts, to
carry in the van, during the _night_, fires, made with such combustible
matter as would make a great flame of fire, which was elevated so high
as to be distinctly seen by all in the rear, appearing, in the distance,
as "a pillar of fire," and serving to point out the line of march. To
direct this line during the day, such combustibles were burnt as would
produce the greatest cloud or "pillar of smoke." This military usage is
mentioned both by Herodotus and Quintus Curtius; and Alexander
himself adopted it of the Persians. If Moses was so well provided in
a supernatural fire-and-smoke conductor, why was he so anxious and
pressing to get his brother-in-law Hobab (against his will) to guide the
march, and to "_be to them instead of eyes_" in leading them to
proper places for encampment?* Here we have a striking instance of the
matchless effrontery of the Jewish fabricators, in thus turning a common
usage into a miracle.

     * Numbers x., 29 to 32.

It was wise in Moses to retire to the top of a hill, when he played off
his fire and smoke thunder-cloud to the astonishment of the dupes below.
His Deity wrought a clever miracle in creating the universe in six days;
but what a falling off was there, when he required nearly seven times
as long to engrave two tables of stone, which a man might "take in his
hand." As a proof that this job could not be done in less than forty
days, the same time precisely was taken to cut the second tables,
after Moses had (forgetting his meekness) smashed the first. His
well-dissembled rage about the affair of the golden calf* was, no doubt,
the result of a cunning scheme, concerted between him and brother Aaron,
in order to possess themselves of the gold that had been swindled from
the Egyptians. To gull the fools, and save this gold for themselves, the
priest had only to paint a wooden calf yellow, which was easily reduced
to powder--gold could not, by burning: a little powdered charcoal would
do the people no harm. When the sun was in Taurus (the Bull), at the
vernal equinox, the astronomising priests of Egypt turned bulls and
calves into gods, that were quite good enough for the vulgar; and when
the sun entered the sign of the ram, a lamb answered equally well for a
god, and does so to the present day.

     * In the story about this calf, our translation very
     modestly says, the people "rose up to play," though it
     acknowledges they "were naked;" but Dr. Clarke has had the
     singular honesty to tell us that, in the Hebrew Bible, this
     rising up to play was preparatory _to pairing for open
     sexual intercourse_. Bruce tells us that this open
     intercourse was common, and formed an essential part of
     festive entertainments amongst the Abyssinians. There is
     reason to believe that it was usual In many countries, both
     in Africa and Asia.

The deity of Moses was rather extravagant in fitting out his tabernacle
and ark. The latter was his travelling box, to afford him ease and
comfort when making long marches, and was composed of very costly
materials; but, in point of room and convenience, we should think it
must have been inferior to some of Punch's portable palaces. However,
the God grew so fond of, and so "jealous" about, his box, that, on
one occasion, he perpetrated a tremendously bloody miracle, in killing
50,070 of the "glowrin' byke," for peeping into it. Putting aside the
monstrosity of this story, in relation to number, could this offence
arise from looking into an _empty_ box? Certainly not. Sir William
Drummond, in his "Ædipus Judaicus," asserts that, according to the
Hebrew, the Jews carried about their idol in this box,* as was customary
with the migrating hordes of the desert, all of whom, as well as the
Jews, kept an ark for that purpose! Sir William's assertion is justified
by the Bible itself, where it says that the Philistines were afraid,
_because the Jews brought their god into the battle_ when the ark was
taken, a misfortune which their deity, with all his omnipotence, could
not prevent; but he took terrible revenge on the captors by smiting
them with emerods: hence the story in Rabelais against a certain most
_unholy_ and _unsanctified_ use of that book.

     * The Christian translators of the Bible, no doubt, did all
     in their power to suppress the fact, that a representation
     of the Jewish idol was kept in this box. The Levites being
     the constituted priests of this idol, Micah, when he had his
     god made of the stolen silver, did not consider it by any
     means sufficient to have one of his own sons as priest. Why?
     Because his new idol represented the Jewish deity; and,
     therefore, a Levite as his priest was indispensable; for
     then, says he, "I know the Lord will do me good." (See
     Judges, xvii.) That this god was afterwards located at
     Jerusalem, as the other district gods of the country were
     stationed in their respective towns, we have many proofs in
     the Bible. (See 1 Kings xii; Ezra i., 3; vii., 15, 19.)

     ** Did not the priests of Jupiter Ammon carry the magnet
     with, them, in a compass-box, as the _ark of the covenant of
     their god_, which, it was death for the unsanctifled to look
     into.

The stupendous prodigy performed by that free-booter and murderer,
Joshua, in laying an embargo upon, the sun and moon, in order to get
time to kill a few thousands more of the Amorites, showed a ferocious
thirst of blood, and was wholly uncalled for, victory being already
secured through the powerful aid of Jahouh, who, sitting astride on the
corner of a dark cloud was pelting the Amorites with great stones. Let
us suppose that both the sun and the moon were in view at the same time,
and that they stood still as commanded, would that make the massacre of
the Amorites one iota less cruel and ferocious? It would only prove that
Joshua's god was neither just nor merciful. This tale is, no doubt,
a varied version of the fable of Jupiter's sending a shower of large
hailstones upon the rebellious sons of Neptune. This may be coupled
with another enormous fiction, the dial of Ahaz, upon which, by a bolder
manoeuvre still, the sun is commanded to go backwards. Moses and Joshua
appear to have had a sun and moon, as well as a Deity of their own. From
all this does it not appear that the compilers of these fables, though
under heavenly inspiration, were so ignorant as to suppose that the
sun's motion caused the day, and that this globe stood still? Is it not
evident also, that they took the stars to be little bright spangles set
in a solid firmament (which had windows), as jewellers set brilliants in
metal? The man who seriously believes in the literality of our version
of these fables, is so stupidly and piteously credulous, as to be an
object of compassion rather than of contempt. The two last miracles
had more than one archetype in Pagan mythology:--the sun and moon were
arrested by Bacchus on his march to India. In one of the love intrigues
of Jupiter, he stayed the sun in order to get a double night in the arms
of the fair Alcmena, when she conceived of the great Hercules. In later
times the Christian priests performed a similar miracle in favor of the
Emperor Charles V.

If Amphion, by the music of his lyre, made the stones dance into
building order, so as to raise the walls of Thebes, why should not
Joshua reverse the miracle, by tumbling down the walls of Jericho, to a
tune played upon rams' horns by priests?

In the whole history of human cruelty and wickedness, there is nothing
to equal, in cool and diabolical atrocity, the plunder and massacre
of the Midianites. The horrible narrative partakes but little of the
miraculous; yet, as Jahouh was said to be without a material body, and
purely spiritual, it has been matter of wonder what he was going to do
with the thirty-two young virgins who "had not known a man by lying with
him," and who were awarded as his share of the spoil. This is a
mystery which we must hold in silent reverence, as being altogether
unaccountable, unless we surmise that his priests kindly intended to
relieve him of so numerous a seraglio.*

     * Horror succeeds to wonder, when it is known that by the
     original meaning of the word, everything _devoted_ to the
     "Lord," _was assuredly sacrificed_, unless redeemed.

The speech of Balaam's ass, of edifying and sacred, memory with our holy
church, had many precedents in antiquity. The cows of Mount Olympus had
been distinguished for supernaturally inspired orations; the doves, the
fountains, and even the oaks of Dodona, had delivered heavenly oracles;
Xanthus, one of the horses of Achilles, predicted his master's death
before the walls of Troy. Livy and Suetonius (we are sorry for them as
they ought to have known better) furnish other examples.

Almost the same exploits have been attributed by the Jews to Samson that
were related by the Phoenicians of their Hercules (according to Yarro,
there were forty-four Herculeses), and the imitation is palpably servile
in the story of the gates of _Gaza_, and that of Hercules with the
pillars of _Gadez_. Lion-killing was imitated also. Hercules was one of
the numerous personifications or emblems of the power of the sun; and
the Arabian name _Shams-on_, or _Samson_, signifies the sun. Hercules
is made prisoner by the Egyptians, who want to sacrifice him; but while
they are preparing to slay him, he breaks loose and kills them all.
Samson, when tied with new ropes, is given up to the Philistines, who
want to kill him; he breaks the ropes, and kills a thousand of them with
the jaw-bone of an ass. The fables are identical. Even the story of the
fox-tails is rooted in astronomy.* About the time when the corn is cut
down in Palestine and Lower Egypt, and shortly after the setting of the
rainy constellation Hyadês, the sign of the fox arose, _in whose tail or
train came the fires or torches of the dog-days_.

     * See "New Researches."

The fable of Jephtha's sacrificing his daughter has some resemblance
to the immolation of Iphigenia by her father, Agamemnon, in the famous
expedition against Troy, which must have been taken by the Greeks many
centuries before the Jews were _known_ to have writings, or even a name.

The legend about the tower of Babel seems to have originated thus: The
wise men of Egypt were jealous of the Chaldean philosophers; the former
said that the latter were so proud of their knowledge in astronomy that
they presumptuously endeavored to erect a column of science as high
as the stars; but that their pride was humbled when all their efforts
failed to complete the work.

The hideously unjust dogma of original sin might have grown out of the
Pagan fable of Pandora's box, the occult meaning of which most probably
was the evils arising from theology and priestcraft. However, it is
high time that our Christian priesthoods should invent for it some less
ridiculous origin than the apple story, for that is too absurd to serve
their ends any longer.

Ludicrous as the whale fable of Jonah is, the copy is fairly outmatched
by the original from which it is taken. It is a Jewish version of that
of Hercules, who was enclosed for three days in the belly of a whale;
but, being more witty and adroit than Jonah, he contrived to live
sumptuously all the while, by feasting on the liver of the monster,
which, by some means or other, he contrived to broil! Here, for once,
the Jew is outdone at his own weapons--the romance run mad. It must
surely have been in ridicule of these and similar god-fables that Lucian
wrote his "True History."

Isaiah says (xxxvii., 36), "Then the angel of the Lord went forth and
smote, in the camp of the Assyrians, 185,000; and when _they_ arose in
the morning, behold, they were all 'dead corpses.'" The Jonah of the Jew
was completely thrown into the shade by Hercules, but here he is himself
again. This miracle of miracles is altogether unmatched in heathen
mythology; for we have 185,000 men, who were murdered in the night,
getting up in the morning merely to find _themselves_ "dead corpses." A
commentator of the true impudent breed will easily explain all this by
affirming that the prodigy was typical of the resurrection.

The three hours of an eclipse, which is said to have taken place on the
death of one of our Christian gods, is a very modest imitation of the
Pagan original, from which it has every appearance of being taken.
We say modest, because on the death of the godling Phæton, his father
Phoebus withheld his light from the earth a whole day.

All the Jewish and Christian fictions about resurrections and ascensions
into what is called heaven, are also clumsily taken copies of originals
in the ancient polytheism. The Egyptian Osiris died, returned again to
life, and afterwards obtained divine honors; he was designated "_the
holy word_" The god Atys was called the "_God our Savior_." Bacchus died,
was buried, descended into, and slept three nights in Tartarus* (the
only hell they had in those times), from whence he brought up his
mother, with whom he ascended into heaven, and made her a goddess. His
return to life was annually celebrated by the virgins and matrons of
Delphi.

     * All the tales about Tophet, Gehenna, Tartarus, or Hell,
     had no foundation whatever "but the practice of burning
     mankind, either on the funeral pile, or as a sacrifice to
     the gods. The Greek word, Ades, or Hades, occurs eleven
     times in the New Testament, and is _falsely_ translated
     _Hell_ in all except one, where it is rightly translated
     'the grave,'  signifying the _invisible state_."

     Ouranos, coelus, or heaven, merely signified the earth's
     atmosphere in the summer months.

Thus the compilers of the Jew books had exemplars in, and drew their
fables from, Paganism; and were themselves imitated in turn by the
fabricators of the new Testament: the stories of the manna, and the
twenty loaves of Elisha, very naturally suggested the wonderful growth
of Jesus' loaves and fishes; and the manner in which that prophet turned
brackish into pure water, would clearly point out how that element might
be turned into wine, at the feast of Cana. The above are only a few of
the numerous instances which might be quoted, wherein the ignorance
of the Jewish scribes, disfigured the elegant and lively fables of
Paganism; and it cannot escape observation that the rude recoinage in
their barbarous mint has turned that which was pretty and amusing into
the deformed and hideous, in a manner quite characteristic of their own
semi-savage condition.

Having given a few specimens of the miracles attributed to the
deity adopted by Moses, and their Pagan prototypes, we will take a
retrospective glance at his general conduct and character, as depicted
in his _old Jewish Will_. Never were higher qualities and powers
ascribed to any god; and never were they so badly sustained; he is
represented as omniscient, yet always taken by surprise; an omnipotent
being, whose designs are commonly frustrated; immutable, yet ever
changing; sufficient to his own happiness, yet always "jealous;"
perfection itself, yet continually making imperfections, and repenting
of that which he had previously approved; finally, he makes an _eternal_
Being, about as powerful as himself, and for no other apparent purpose
than to be crossed and circumvented in all his projects. Sometimes
Moses and he had sharp bickerings, such as that tavern squabble in Egypt
(Exodus iv., 2--4), when the god lurked about the inn,* "seeking to
kill" his protégé.

     * We do not mean to say that he frequented inns or taverns,
     but it appears he was fond of a cheerful glass of wine. See
     Judges ix. 13. Being composed of flesh and blood, Gen. vi.,
     8.

At other times they were good friends, merry, and frolicksome, playing
at bo-peep among the rocks (Exodus xxxiii., 22), the god showing his
"back parts" only, for "no man could see his face and live"; yet on
other occasions he talked "face to face" with his intimate friends.
He forfeited all pretensions to the attributes of omniscience and
omnipresence, when he confessed that he must "_go down now and see_"
what the men of Sodom had been doing (Gen. xviii., 21). Nor could he,
from his villa beyond the clouds, discover the Tower of Babel, but was
under the necessity of coming "down to see" (Gen. xi.). That from his
Egyptian greatness he was reduced, by Moses and his priests, to be
merely a provincial deity, appears in various texts, as in Deuteronomy
iv., 7, where it is said he was located near or living "nigh to them"
(the Jews). A district god of this kind was fashionable all over Syria
at that time, each petty state or tribe having one of its own; such as
Astartê, _with the cross_, of the Phoenicians; Moloch, of the Ammonites;
Astoroth and Dagon, of the Philistines; Tammuz, or Adonis, of the
Sidonians; Chemosh,* of the Moabites, etc., etc.; and why should not the
Jews be armed with a god as well as their neighbors? Well might
Jahouh exclaim, "_save me from my friends_;" for his historians have
represented him as a passionate, blustering, vengeful changeling,
extremely "jealous" of all the other petty gods around him, and exciting
nothing but fear and dislike in his followers; hence the Theocrat and
his priesthood were continually struggling to keep the grist at their
own mill, by preventing the people from "whoring after" the more amiable
rites of Astartê and Adonis. In the seventeenth chapter of 1 Chronicles
this deity gives intimation that, owing to a change of habits, he was
not particularly desirous of living in a house;** that ever since he
left Egypt, he had accustomed himself to go about "_from tent to tent,
and from one tabernacle to another_" There is something exceedingly
ludicrous in this; yet we trust that the "long-ear'd rout," the _true
believers_, will have no difficulty in preserving their gravity.
In short, of all the personified deities of antiquity, Moses has
caricatured his the most egregiously. All these local or provincial gods
were immeasurably inferior to the Jupiter of the Greeks, who, although
he "liked the lasses," always sustained an awful dignity of character.

     * See Judges xi., 24.

     ** The deity set up by priests stands in no want of a house
     whilst among wandering tribes, who build none for
     themselves; but while he is amongst the stationary
     cultivators of the soil he requires one, in which his
     _immaterial presence_ is requested on stated days to hear
     his own praise sung: men are fond of praise, therefore it
     undoubtedly follows that the deity must be fond of it
     likewise.

In additional proof that the Jew books have no just claim to antiquity,
there is not a vestige of authentic testimony to show that they were in
existence before the King of Babylon gave the Jews permission to settle
in Palestine, after their slavery. The first thirteen of these appear
to have been then fabricated from loose and unconnected traditions; of
which the Pentateuch was in all probability compiled the last, as there
is no mention of it either in Joshua, Judges, the two books of Samuel,
Psalms, or in Kings or Chronicles, until the time of Josiah, that is,
about 900 years after the pretended time of Moses.* If a man, without
slavish fear or prejudice, will impartially examine the stories in
2 Kings xxii., and 2 Chron. xxxiv., xxxv., he will see palpably the
collusion between the high priest Hilkiah and his pupil, the young
king Josiah, aided by the prophet Jeremiah, Shaphan the scribe, and the
prophetess Huldah. These persons, some of whom must have learnt to
write while at Babylon, acted in concert under the high priest, in
manufacturing the books of the law, which they pretended to have
found in an old chest, where, according to their story, they must have
mouldered for upwards of 900 years; _yet Shaphan could read them as
fluently as if he had written them himself_. The object of this fraud
being to wean the Jews from the gods of the Chaldean priests, it is
probable that the books of the law only were forged on this occasion;
for we find that the compilation of a large portion of the Bible
traditions fell to the share of Esdras (who was identically Ezra the
scribe), as he distinctly tells us in the fourteenth chapter of his
second book, viz., that under the orders of the Lord (read, _the high
priest_), he had a number of clerks engaged for forty days, during
which time they completed amongst them 204 books or chapters.** As all
these men had been captives in Babylon, and could nowhere else be
taught to write, how could these books be composed in any other than the
Chaldee character? The third chapter of the book of Chronicles gives
a list of the Jewish kings from David to Zedekiah, and even to four
generations after his time. Now, as Zedekiah was one of those who were
carried to Babylon, we have a strong, an irrefragable proof that those
books were written after that captivity.

     * The proof that Moses could not possibly be the author of
     the Pentateuch did not escape the luminous mind of Mr.
     Paine. In Genesis xiv., 14, it is said, "And Abraham pursued
     them to Dan." Now, there was no place called Dan until the
     time of the Judges. See Judges xviii., 28 and 29.

     In Genesis xxxvi., 31, it is said, "And these are the kings
     that reigned in the land of Edom _before the children of
     Israel had any king_" Therefore several kings, viz., Saul,
     David, Solomon, etc., must have reigned before the first
     book of the Pentateuch was written.

     In the forty-ninth chapter the writer gives an account of
     the ultimate fate of the tribes (forgetting the tribe of
     Manasseh altogether). How could Moses know anything of this?
     How could he speak of the sceptre of Judah? If it is said
     that this was prophetic of Jesus, we reply that the sceptre
     _was not_ in Judah when he (Jesus), was bora.

     St. Jerome, said to be one of the most learned of the
     Fathers, confesses he dare not affirm that Moses was the
     author of the Pentateuch. He even adds that he has no
     objection to allow that it was written by Esdras. His words
     are: "Sive Mosem dicere volueris auctorem Pentateuchi sive
     Esdram ejusdem instauratorem operis, non recuso."

     ** That Esdras composed these books is further proved in his
     first book, chap. 8, where it is said that he "had very
     great skill, and omitted nothing of the law" of the Lord,
     i.e., the laws of the king, and high priest.

Moreover, learned critics have shewn that the Bible names of angels,
such as Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael, Michael, Satan, etc., are purely
Chaldean or Persian! And this is confirmed by the Talmud of Jerusalem,
which says expressly that the Jews borrowed the names of the angels
from the Babylonians. Even the name Israel is not a Hebrew but a Chaldee
word, as was fully explained by Philo Judæus, when on his embassy to the
Emperor Caligula. This corroborates the opinion that, in the portions
of the Pentateuch which existed only in tradition, previous to the
captivity at Babylon, the angels had no names, and that they were
afterwards added when these traditions were written. For instance, when
Abraham entertained Jehovah and the two angels with roasted veal,* the
party gave themselves no names; and those heavenly messengers whose
virginity was so much endangered by the men of Sodom, when they honored
Lot with a visit, were anonymous also; as was likewise the one that
appeared to Manoah. The legend contained in the book said to be written
by Enoch, concerning the war in heaven, fall of the angels, etc., must
have travelled from India to Chaldea, where it was picked up by the
Jews. It arose from one of the astro-fables in that most ancient of
all books, the Shastras of the Brahmins, wherein it is recorded that
heavenly beatitude was disturbed by the pride and ambition of Mozazor
and Raabon, two princes of the angelic bands, who stirred up sedition,
and drew after them myriads of angels in rebellion against the
_Eternal_, who sent against them his vicegerent Brahma, with his two
lieutenants, Vishnu and Siva, armed with almighty power, who hurled
the rebels from heaven down to a place of darkness, called Ondera. This
ancient fable of the Brahmins was probably the groundwork also of the
Grecian fable of the Titan war.

     * This story is taken from an old fable related in the Fasti
     of Ovid, how Jupiter, Neptune, and Mercury, having supped
     with an old man named Hyriens, and finding that impotence
     was the cause of his having no children, each of the three
     urined upon the skin of the calf 'that had been killed for
     supper, and this celestial water impregnated the skin,
     which, after nine months' inhumation, produced a beautiful
     child, which became the constellation Orion. The learned say
     that the true translation of the words which the angels
     addressed to Abraham, is thus:--A child shall be born of
     your calf.

A word more respecting Abraham. The planet Saturn was the Israel of the
Chaldees; and it was personified both by them and the Phoenicians
under the name of Abraham, which signifies the _Father of a people_
figuratively, the stars of heaven, which are called "his seed for ever."
Saturn was the son of _Terra_ (the earth); Abraham was the son of Terah;
Saturn married his own sister Rhea, a star; Abraham married his
own sister Sarai or Sarah, which signifies a star (Sirius, the ever
beautiful and young); Saturn had many sons, but only one whom he loved
and protected as an _only_ son; Abraham had many sons, though he is said
to have had an only son named Isaac, whom he loved. According to the
famous Sanchoniatho, Saturn offered up his beloved son Jeoud, as a
holocaust, or burnt offering wholly consumed; Abraham was about to offer
up his beloved son Isaac,* but a ram (zodiacal) was found as substitute.
The planet Saturn was called _Israel_ by the Phoenicians and Chaldees;
the patriarch Abraham is synonymous with the name Israel throughout
the Bible. Saturn, from his exceedingly remote situation in the solar
system, and the long period taken to circle his immense orbit, was the
emblem of time; hence the many Bible phrases about Abraham, as connected
with time, such as "before Abraham was,"--i.e., before time was.
Priests! are these merely chance coincidences?

     * In this horrible story, as understood literally, Abraham
     receives quite coolly, and without either surprise or
     remonstrance, the order to sacrifice Isaac; which shows,
     even in allegory, that among the Jews the sacrifice of the
     first-born son by the father was nothing uncommon.

Stupidity itself, if honest and free from prejudice, would at once see
and acknowledge the perfect sameness, the absolute identity of these
astro-fables; and that the personal existence of Abraham rests precisely
on the same ground as that of any other mythological or metaphysical
existence whatsoever. But what will our gospel-grace baby of fifty
say, when he has the mortification to see the truth of the above
interpretations antecedently confirmed and justified by the gospel
itself? Paul, in his epistle to the Galatians says: "For it is written
that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bond-maid, the other by a free
woman, _which things are an allegory_," that is, a fable. This story,
then, no more belongs to the Hebrews than it does to the Laplanders,
but is wholly Chaldaic, and was plagiarised by the Jews while slaves
in Babylon; but the Chaldee priests would take special care that they
should see only the _veil_ that covered the allegory. Thus it is clear
that Abraham's personal existence was as fictitious as that of Saturn,
Jupiter, Orion, Mercury, Apollo, etc. He is also identified in the Hindu
Brahma, with no other difference than a transposition of the letters of
the name. The god Jehovah of the Bible announces himself to Abraham
and Moses in almost the same terms as does the supreme god of India to
Brahma, as recorded in the Bhagavat Pourana, the _Holy Bible_ of the
Hindus, translated from the Sanscrit by Sir William Jones, who allows
the vastly higher antiquity of the Brahmin allegories.

We shall now touch slightly upon the curious question, whether the Jews
did ever in reality possess any territory not subject to a higher power.
The narrative of their colonisation by Cyrus is liable to much doubt and
objection. No authentic historian of ancient times, Josephus excepted,
has ever in any way mentioned them as an independent nation or state, or
as being in possession of Palestine, or any part of Great Syria, before
or in the time of Alexander. As a nation they appear to have been
entirely unknown to Herodotus, and all other Greek historians. What had
become of them when Xenophon wrote of the eastern nations, which was
only 150 years after their alleged return from Babylon? He mentions the
Syrians of Palestine as under the Persian government, but not a word
about the Jews. Herodotus mentions two invasions of the Scythians,
through Syria, even to the borders of Egypt; but acknowledges no Jews
or Israelites. In the fragments that remain of Sanchoniatho, Ctesias,
Berosus, and Manetho, they are not noticed even as a petty or subject
state, so that we have the fullest negative evidence that in the times
of these historians, no part of Syria was a Jewish country. Diodorus,
in detailing the events in that country, the siege of Tyre, etc., during
Alexander's conquests, says not a word of the Jews as forming a state or
colony, or of their boasted city of Jerusalem: and he is equally silent
as to their existence as a nation during the times of Alexander's
immediate successors; nor have we any historical account of them
deserving of credit until the time of Antiochus the 4th (Epiphanes),
under whom they lived, and he was subject to the Romans. If the
territory of Judea was given to them by the King of Babylon, only about
200 years before the Macedonian conqueror went to the east, why did not
he and his historians find them there? The plain and simple truth is,
the Jews NEVER formed an independent state; and that part of Syria
called Palestine, was, in all known ages, subject either to the
Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks or Romans (according
to the tide of conquest), as it now is to the Turks. In Bible times
the Jews were much more ignorant than they now are, and this is all the
difference in their condition; they were always the old-clothes'-men and
gold clippers of the world. They were permitted by the King of Babylon
to build a temple to their idol in the rocky district of Judea, which
formed a nucleus--a Jewish Mecca--to which they congregated from all
parts for worship. Josephus, while he speaks of his masters, the Romans,
is tolerably correct; but when he treats of the "antiquities" of his
countrymen he is not for a moment to be trusted, because he was then
merely copying their legendary tales, and he frequently far exceeds the
wild romance of the tales themselves. The pretended interview between
Alexander and the high priest Jaddua, is evidently plagiarised from the
well-authenticated scene that took place between that prince and the
high priest of Jupiter Ammon.

From the times of Porphyry, Celsus, and Hierocles, to the present day,
it has been the wonder of the rational philosopher, how a disjointed
collection of writings, made by an obscure and barbarous race of people,
came to have such mighty importance attached to them, more especially
as their tendency has ever been inimical to, and subversive of, human
happiness; but this sad anomaly may be accounted for. All such tyrants
as Constantine saw in these books examples of the most unqualified
despotism; and knew that, through the medium of carefully fostered
ignorance, man is an animal that can be made to believe and bear
anything, however absurd and tyrannical. Conquerors and devastators of
countries found in them justifying precedents for all their enormities,
and the rivers of blood which ambition and Christian fanaticism have
shed in every part of the world. The Crusades, where millions upon
millions of fanatics perished, are never-dying witnesses of this. Would
any unshackled mind believe that the Spaniards could have been guilty of
such inhuman and monstrous cruelties towards the simple and unoffending
natives of America, if such horrid butcheries had not been sanctioned,
nay, commanded, and pompously set forth, in the detailed massacres
of the Bible? Here we have the exploits of some generals of
banditti--blood-thirsty robbers, who blasphemously declare that their
unequalled cruelties were committed by command of the ruling power of
the universe! That the Spaniards thought themselves justified by the
Bible, appears by the book which Sepulvado wrote for the express purpose
of vindicating them in the murder of twelve millions of Indians, "_by
the example of the Israelites towards the people of Canaan_." Las Casas
says: "I have seen in the Islands of St. Domingo and Jamaica, gibbets
erected all over the country to hang thirteen Indians at a time, _in
honor of the thirteen apostles_.--I have seen," continues he, "young
children thrown to dogs* to be devoured alive." In charging the shocking
barbarities of the Bible upon the Jewish deity, the fanatic devoutly
accuses him of crimes and acts of wicked injustice that are hardly ever
committed, even by the worst of men, such as visiting the offences
of the fathers upon the children, and requiring the sacrifice of the
innocent to expiate the crimes of the guilty. To what a state of mental
degradation, O man, have thy priests and thy superstition reduced thee!

Thus did kings, conquerors, and corrupt rulers of nations see the
justifying precedents to be drawn from these books for all their
enormities; and as for the fathers or heads of the Christian sect, and
other religious impostors, they could be at no loss to find in them
just whatever suited their respective schemes of deception. The learned
amongst the early fathers saw and acknowledged the astro-allegories
about Adam, Eve, the serpent, Garden of Eden, and fall of man; but their
successors, about the beginning of the 4th century, when they decided
upon getting up a _new will and testament_ for Jehovah, in order to make
their system hold together, thought it necessary to cause his departure
from the usual practice of testators--that he should not be allowed to
revoke the old Jewish will, which for good reasons, was to be retained
in full force. Without this document their most essential dogmas would
have had no foundation; and as it "would have been too bare-faced
a fable to make Jesus die on account of an allegorical tree," the
forbidden one of Genesis must be converted into a real tree; for then
it would, together with its accompaniments, furnish mystical pegs upon
which to hang the indispensable dogmas of original sin and redemption.

     * In Hosea xiii., 16, we have a declaration "That their
     infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with
     child shall be ripped up"!!! This and the Midianitish
     slaughter and extermination, together with that of the
     Amalekites, will perhaps stand for ever unmatched in the
     history of human cruelties.

These appear to have been the ruling motives of those who gradually
manufactured the Christian scheme (for it was done by piecemeal, by a
number of hands, and in different centuries) and in adopting the Old
Testament it was necessary, by this affiliation, to connect its list of
fabulous prodigies with the new code,* or fresh series of miracles which
had been invented for, and are recorded in, the new will of the Jewish
deity:--**

     "Ay, and sound ones too,
     Seen, heard, attested, every thing--but true"

In forcing this connexion still closer, the fabricators had no
difficulty in finding that, in their series of wonders, the principal
violations of Nature's laws had been foretold in the Jewish prophets.***
This was a clincher which served to confirm the supernatural texture of
their religion, quite as well as the cloud-conveyed Shastras did that of
Brahma, the laws of Moses from the cloud-capped Sinai, or any other of
the numerous human laws which have originated beyond the clouds, and
been palmed upon ignorance by impostors. Clouds, shadows, phantoms,
ghosts, etc., have ever been the favorite machinery of priests.
According to the notoriously false prediction of St. Paul, Jesus, on
his second coming, was to be cloud-delivered; and this advent, it was
positively asserted, would take place during his own (Paul's) lifetime.

     * Matthew pretends that Jeremiah foretold that Christ should
     be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver. Where is this to be
     found in Jeremiah?

     ** When the latent astronomical sense of these two
     testaments is made manifest, a necessary connexion between
     them is perceived; owing to their common foundation in Solar
     adoration, and that of the other physical powers of Nature.

     *** These prophets were in reality nothing but strolling
     soothsayers, fortune-tellers, psalmists or palmists; and
     being mob orators by education and profession, with a
     capability of reading and writing, they were fitted to
     deceive the ignorant in many ways. Dodwell, De Jure
     Laicorum, asserts that they prepared themselves to prophecy
     _by drinking wine_. They were also jugglers, musicians,
     etc., etc.

But our church mystagogues will very easily reconcile this unfortunate
failure with "_gospel truth_." As the Old Testament compilers had made
up their collection chiefly of any traditionary or legendary shreds they
could gather,* so did their successors, the Christians, in their new
miscellany. The Therapeutæ, or Egyptian monks, had supplied a large
portion, as is confessed even by Eusebius himself (see Lecture Second),
but by a luckless anachronism, the spurious writings that were
selected to form the new will of god, were not (according to the best
authorities) finally _voted_ to be such until the Council of Laodicea;**
so that the present document had no existence till _three hundred and
sixty-eight years after the death of the testator_, for it is quite
orthodox to say that Jesus was "God the Testator."

     * The Pharisees of the second temple chose the books they
     liked best among a multitude of forgeries. The Talmud
     relates that this synagogue were about to reject by far the
     best books of the Bible--viz., Proverbs, Job and
     Ecclesiastes; not owing to their not being Jewish, but Pagan
     writings, _but because they were contradictory to the law of
     god_. It was not only the opinion of Ebenezra, but even of
     Jerome himself, that Job is not a Hebrew book.

     ** The deadly animosity and quarrelling for which the
     Council of Nice was so famous, would prevent anything like
     decision; and, therefore, it is much more probable that the
     finishing hand in _voting_ what should form the New
     Testament, was put at Laodicea, and not at Nice, especially
     as we know that the book of Revelation was rejected at
     Council of Laodicea; but again admitted long afterwards.

From the discordant and immoral tendency of the greater portion of the
old will of the Jewish god, there could arise but little hope that his
new one would benefit the human race; so according to the spirit of
its own terrible denunciation (Matt, x., 34, 35, 36), we find that its
votaries, the religious fanatics both of early and modern times, have
not yielded in the slightest degree but been fully equal in _holy
cruelty_ to the Jews, who were utterly inaccessible to every feeling
of pity or humanity. These two superhuman Testaments now form a
book, which, from its ill-deserved conventional pre-eminence, and the
hydra-priesthoods which it quarters upon industry, is the chief scourge
of modern Europe. The contemptible ignorance, credulity, and fraud which
support its tyrannous authority as a supernatural revelation; the futile
attempt to enforce a belief in its literal meaning as indispensable to
the happiness of mankind; and the universal degradation and misery which
it perpetuates, by the inbred hostility which all its priesthoods have
ever evinced towards every improvement that would enlighten and
elevate the human mind, have done more to disgust and misanthropize
all ingenuous and rational minds, and to inspire them with a settled
aversion for the ways of man and his institutions, than all the other
moral and physical evils now experienced in Christendom. While these
master curses are maintained in their pestiferous sway, it will be
impossible for their victim, man, to taste of happiness through the
attainment of civil liberty to any beneficial extent, or to approach
truth and virtue by philosophical researches in the path of Nature; for
there is no arriving at these but by the utter extermination of all
the fraudulent and idolatrous religions pretending to supernatural
revelation.

END OF LECTURE FIRST.



LECTURE SECOND. CHRISTIAN SUPERNATURALISM FURTHER CONSIDERED

          "Lest you start at these bold truths, and fly
          These lines, as maxims of impiety,
          Consider that Religion did, and will
          CONTRIVE, PROMOTE, and ACT the greatest ill."
          Lucretius.

IN the foregoing Lecture, it has been shown that the Jewish deity of
Moses, on his being adopted and continued in power by the early sect of
Christians, who were themselves Jews, was induced by his new hierarchy,
as soon as they were established, to make a new _Will_ (the old Jewish
one not being altogether sufficient for their ends), into which they
gradually, as occasion required, foisted different codicils, by which
they multiplied the objects of worship, by introducing into partnership
with him two colleagues, who, being each no other than himself, the
three, quite arithmetically, made but "one God." But by this cunning
and masterly manoeuvre, he soon found himself fairly outwitted by his
priests, who were the sole gainers by this poly-theistical stratagem;
whilst the supremacy which he held in the time of Moses dwindled into
division, and he was obliged to share with the other two, and even with
the mother* of one of them, the worship of his new votaries. Even the
gods themselves, when Juno, the sister and wife of Jupiter, had divine
honors paid to her; why then refuse the same to the mother of one of the
"Christian Gods?"

     * When the people of Ephesus were informed that the Fathers
     of the Council had declared they might call the Virgin Mary
     "_The Mother of God_" they were transported with joy; they
     kissed the hands of the bishops--they embraced their knees,
     and the whole city resounded with acclamations! St. Cyrils
     Letter.

When they get entangled in the meshes of priestcraft, are seldom able
to burst the trammels; and so it has happened in the case before us. The
"New Will" was a most ingenious invention on the part of the Fathers
of Christianism, as it afforded them an opportunity not only of
re-modelling their deity, in person and family, but of abrogating or
amending all such of his old laws as no longer suited the times or their
views; and of making every change that was necessary to establish the
new hierarchy in riches and power. The tithe of industry and settled
money revenues must now be substituted for the bloody altars, and
delectable viands of Jehovah's former priests; and as he was precisely a
personification of the interests of these, so has he continued to be of
those of their successors, who, having that object alone in view, have
been but little solicitous about rendering him either more consistent or
amiable; but on the contrary, they have sublimated his cruelty, by the
invention of eternal fire torments, an idea so enormously absurd and
wicked, that it never entered his head while he was merely Theocrat of
the Jews.

Matters being thus settled by the rejection of the numerous theogony of
which Jupiter was the head, and the adoption of unity in the godhead,
under the Jehovah of the Jews, it was still considered necessary,
in order to reconcile the polytheists, to preserve some vestiges of
polytheism; and these were readily suggested by the waking dreams and
spiritual speculations of Plato, whose "three _hypostases_" seemed
wonderfully well adapted to form the basis of our triune mythology.
Hence the _divinity_ of Plato.

As the third part of that godhead which is now worshipped in modern
Europe, was, as well as the other parts, borrowed from the heathen
trinity, and forms an important dogma in our superstition, a sketch of
its history may not be unnecessary. Like the metaphysical invention
of the soul's immortality, it is altogether unacknowledged in the Old
Testament, as a personified deity; for the "spirit of the Lord," if
rightly translated, merely signifies _wind of the gods_, or wind that
has a genial and salutary influence, as that of summer. This addition
made to the Christian mythology by the Platonist writers of the New
Testament, was eagerly embraced and improved upon by the Fathers, as the
grand source, or fountain head, from whence they could continually draw
their infallible inspirations. In accordance with its occult sense in
the mysteries of the Gentile trinity, they very properly made their holy
ghost "proceed from" the other two "persons," though he more immediately
emanates from the "son" (i. e. the sun), and, by the apotheosis, they
armed him with authority; but as a regularly constituted and personified
god, he did not come fairly into play until the beginning of the fifth
century, when he came in for his third share of godhead thus:--From
council to council, new creeds and dogmas were hatched; and in that of
Chalcedon, in 401, _the first New Testament_ was set in the midst of
the assembly, as the great appeal. The ecclesiastics who composed this
council, found considerable difficulty in adding this third apotheosis
to complete their trinity, until a priest, more cunning and more
deceitful than the others, suggested an expedient, which was nothing
less than to add to the beginning of St. John's Gospel that passage from
Plato which now forms its first verse.

In the occult sense in which this windy metaphor is used in the New
Testament, it is allegorical of the first winds of summer, "proceeding
from" the increased power of the sun, which have a vivifying and
salutary influence upon all animal and, vegetable life. The writer of
the Gospel attributed to St. John astro-nomises, perhaps, a little too
openly in chap. 7, v. 39, by declaring: "For as yet there was no Holy
Ghost, because Jesus was not yet glorified."*

     * This is the true translation from the Greek.

Here is a plain and unequivocal admission that even the very existence
of the Holy Ghost depended on the glorification of Christ, the solution
of which enigma is, that _May_ was not then come, for it was not until
about the middle of that month that the Hely, or Holy wind of _Helios_,
that is, God the Sun, was said to commence; and this constituted, _and
is the only Holy Ghost_. But before that period, as the sun is
not sufficiently elevated and clear, or in other words, clarified
(glorified) from the denser clouds and contagious vapors of early
spring, his personification, Christ, could not be said to be glorified.*
Hence the Holy Ghost is an annual visitor, and with his benign
influence, comes with the festival of Whitsuntide or Pentecost; but
not till that is "fully come."** It was then that, symbolised in the
blessed, holy, sun-heated wind, he was said to descend on the apostles,
giving them "the gift of tongues," which gifts seem to have been quite
in character, and fleeting as the _wind_, for they soon evaporated,
leaving the possessors "unlearned and ignorant men."

That which is called the "sin against the Holy Ghost," or sinning
against the _clearest light_, cannot be rationally interpreted as
meaning anything else than the denial of, or refusal duly to appreciate,
the sun's almighty power upon this globe--the one glorious fountain
"on High," out of which springs the renovated creation, and the annual
salvation of man.

It was at the famous festival of Whitsuntide also, after the sun entered
the sign Gemini, or the Twin Children, that the personified sun, Christ,
is very significantly made to say, "suffer little children to come unto
me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven"--that is, such is my present
"house" in the zodiac.

With respect to the second deity in the Christian plan of polytheism,***
it may be justly asserted, that amongst the numerous _revealed_
religions that have from time to time plagued and enslaved the world,
no set of theological dogmas, in any known age or country, has ever
produced a tenth part of the contention, devastation and bloodshed that
have arisen from those concerning Jesus Christ; and although Christendom
has been the scene of the fiercest wars for more than fourteen
centuries, for the absurd purpose of ascertaining his pedigree, rank and
attributes, these preternatural problems are not only as far from being
settled as ever, but strong doubts remain whether the person in question
did ever exist in reality; many of the learned being of opinion that his
positive existence rests on as visionary grounds as that of his Platonic
colleague.

     * Wherever the phrase, "The Glory of the Lord" is used
     throughout the Bible, it signifies nothing else than the
     brightness of the sun.

     ** Acts ii, 1, and iv. 18.

     *** Jesus became God thus:--In the year 325, Constantine
     having declared himself protector of the Church, convoked
     the grand oecumenic council of Nice; and of all the Fathers
     who composed that council, three hundred were of a contrary
     opinion to that of Arius; _and these it was who determined
     to acknowledge the_ "Divinity of Jesus." They added to the
     tenets and symbols the words _consubstantial with the
     Father_; and concluded by anathematising the Arians.

Christ, or Christos, is not a proper name, but like the word paraclete,
is an epithet, and signifies a principle or quality that is good and
useful to man, and has been applied to the sun, as savior, and to
human reason.* This nearly agrees with the hypothesis of the famous
Dr. Strauss--that "the history of Christ, as related in the Gospels,
is mythic--a kind of imaginative amplification of certain _vague and
slender traditions_, formed with the design of developing an ideal
character of Jesus, and to harmonise with the Jewish notions of a
Messiah." That some obscure person of the name of Jesus may have
lived, and been put to death by the Jewish mob for ridiculing their
superstition is very probable; but that the hero of the New Testament
was born, and lived, and died under all the circumstances, and attended
by such violations of Nature's laws as are represented in that book,
without the emphatic record of any historian, either Greek, Jewish, or
Roman, seems quite impossible.

     * Christ, the anointed, is physically significative of the
     Sun, as being the sole source of all that man can rationally
     call good; and in the moral sense it is expressive of reason
     and knowledge. The etymology of the names of the ruling gods
     in different ages and countries, such as Brahma, Osiris,
     Chrishna, Budha, Foe, Oromazedes, Jupiter, Bacchus, Jehovah
     and Jesus Christ, etc., will show that they were merely
     allegorical personifications of the Sun. Dr. Lamb, of
     Cambridge, has found the etymon even of the word sabbath to
     signify "Daughter of the Sun"

     Our O, as used in admiration, was symbolical of the
     orbicular figure of the Sun, as in the exclamation, "O Dens
     Sol invicte Mithra!" Celsus declares that such Mithriacs
     were the first Christians.

Mattathias, the father of Josephus, must have been a witness to the
miracles which are said to have been performed by Jesus, and Josephus
was born within two years after the crucifixion, yet in all his works
he says nothing whatever about the life or death of Jesus Christ; as
for the interpolated passage it is now universally acknowledged to be a
forgery. The arguments of the "Christian Ajax,"* even Lardner himself,
against it are these:--"It was never quoted by any of our Christian
ancestors _before Eusebius_. It disturbs the narrative. The language is
quite Christian. It is not quoted by Chrysostom, though he often refers
to Josephus, and could not have omitted quoting it _had it been then
in the text_. It is not quoted by Photius, though he has three articles
concerning Josephus; and this: author expressly states that this
historian has not taken the least notice of Christ.** Neither Justin
Martyr, in his dialogue with Trypho the Jew; nor Clemens Alexandrinus,
who made so many extracts from ancient authors; nor Origen against
Celsus, have ever mentioned this testimony. But, on the contrary, in
chap. 35th of the first book of that work, Origen openly affirms that
Josephus, who had mentioned John the Baptist, _did not acknowledge
Christ_. That this passage is a false fabrication, is admitted also by
Ittigius, Blondel, Le Clerc, Vandale, Bishop Warburton, and Tanaquil
Faber."*** Josephus was not friendly towards Herod, but rather at enmity
with him; he conceals none of his faults or cruelties, which makes it
appear surpassing strange that he should silently pass over that most
horrible of all butcheries ever perpetrated by-man--the general massacre
of the infants, to the amount, it has been said, of fourteen thousand.

     * See Taylor's "Diegesis."

     ** How could Photius, in the 9th century, find that in
     Josephus which Origen, in the 3rd century, had declared was
     not in him?

     *** Is it probable, is it even possible that Josephus, a Jew
     extremely zealous and obstinate in his own religion, would
     confess that to be true which every Jew most positively and
     religiously denies; that is, acknowledge that Jesus was the
     Christ? This is making Josephus talk like a Christian in
     four or five lines only.

How is it that this event, so unparalleled that history cannot show
its-equal in atrocity, should not only be unknown to three-of the
evangelists, Mark, Luke, and John, but entirely escape the notice of the
minute and circumstantial, historian of the Jews? Josephus is equally
silent respecting the miraculous darkness, the new star which appeared
in the east, and the graves that opened of themselves to eject the dead,
who, being undisposed of afterwards, may still be walking the streets
of Jerusalem.. The younger Seneca, a voluminous writer, was then about
thirty-nine years of age, and must have been at Rome at the time; yet
he says nothing whatever of those shocking cruelties and violations of
Nature's laws. The elder* and the younger Pliny came into the highest
repute not many years afterwards, one of whom was a most valuable
historian, and could not possibly have omitted to mention such
extraordinary doings and prodigies if they had taken place in any part
of the empire.

If anything could be more unaccountable than the silence of the above
historians, it would be that of Philo-Judæus, who was contemporary with
Caligula? "and in the folio edition of his works of 1552, he speaks of
the state of the Jews, and their afflictions under Augustus, Tiberius,
and Caligula, the very period embracing the whole extent of Christ's
life; but he says not a word of Christ, Christians, or Christianity."
This silence of Philo, a man highly esteemed for his learning and
veracity, a cotemporary historian, and a public functionary, being agent
for the Jews at the time, is so inexplicable, that interested priests
alone can explain it away.

     * The elder Pliny, about the year seventy-five, wrote the
     "History of His Own Time," in thirty-one books, and was the
     most celebrated historian of that time, yet we find him as
     ignorant as Josephus, or any of the other writers mentioned,
     of the thing called Christianity, or sect of Christians;
     though, as an historian, he was so minute and circumstantial
     as to suffer nothing of importance to escape him. Why did
     the Christians, in after times destroy the work above-
     mentioned, and leave his "Natural History?" Because he did
     not perform an impossibility; that is, he neither did nor
     could take notice of their sect, which had no known
     existence in his time.

A question naturally presents itself--did the populace of Jerusalem and
villages adjacent, who were spectators and witnesses when the miracles
in question were wrought, believe in them? No, they did not; to them
the operator, whoever he was, must have appeared an impostor, as
fully appears by the catastrophe. That such extraordinary events and
performances should make no impression upon those who were witnesses to
them, is contrary to the natural feelings of mankind, particularly as
regards the populace, for in all such cases where the bulk of the people
believe in the truth of reputed miracles, they are more actuated by
sentiments of reverential awe towards the performer, than a desire to
put him to death.

After a lapse of nearly two thousand years since the epoch of these
miraculous events, it must ever remain impossible to ascertain whether
the second person of this triune godhead had _bona fide_ an incarnate
existence; or was merely a metaphorical personification of some
principle, as the epithet _Christ_ implies;* but it is certain that this
appellative was assumed by a sect of superstitionists known in Egypt,
from time immemorial, under the name of therapeutæ, or monks, whose
tenets the Judaizing Christians adopted; and from whose writings they
made selections in the compilation of their New Testament, as is proved
by the testimony of Eusebius himself, who says in his history, book 2nd:
"Those ancient therapeutæ were Christians, AND THEIR ANCIENT WRITINGS
WERE OUR GOSPELS."

     * "Christos being strictly a Greek epithet, would the Jewish
     populace give a Greek name to a Jew by birth?"

Thus it is proved by the most zealous of all the Christian fathers,
that these gospels, though not brought upon the stage until nearly two
centuries after the reputed death of Jesus, existed among the Egyptian
monks long before the pretended origin of Christianity. As to the four
which have been selected and fitted up by the Church to make part of
"the word of God," no man has ever been able to tell by whom, when, or
where they were written; nor are they acknowledged by any person but
as the learned Christian bishop, Faustus, declared the forgers of them
affirmed, "that what was written by themselves, was written 'according'
to those persons to whom they ascribed them." It appears that these
adopted gospels were first mentioned by Irenæus, about the latter end
of the second century; but as the writings of that saint must have come
through the manufacturing hands of Eusebius, that early notice of them
is rendered extremely suspicious; however, they were first known only as
forming part of fifty-four gospels, all equally well authenticated; and
some writers have asserted that it was this Irenæus who first selected
them out of the above spurious mass, and by his own fiat alone made them
canonical. Was it out of respect for the high authority of this saint
that the Holy Ghost confirmed his selection, at the Council of Nice,
about 175 years afterwards? It has been allowed, even by the most
learned Christian divines (as will be shown in a subsequent lecture)
that fraud, religious lying and forgery, were then the common practice
in promoting the cause of public deception; and, therefore, we have no
difficulty in believing that Irenæus had his full share in the fraudful
traffic.

If the word of a saint is good for anything, we might quote that of
Irenæus in corroboration of what we have elsewhere said respecting the
books of the Old Testament; for does he not tell us that "_they were
fabricated' seventy years after the Babylonish captivity by Esdras_"?
These are _revelations_ which Christians are extremely unwilling to
meet, but they are much better authenticated than any of the artificial
ones that claim a supernatural derivation.

Besides the writings of the Egyptian Essenes or monks, it is known that
Alexandria abounded with every sort of sectarian rubbish, in the various
forms of acts, gospels, epistles, &c.; so that the compilers of the New
Testament had an ample supply of matter, out of which to choose what
should be the new will of Jehovah. Such pieces as had been written by
monks, and by their plastic spirituality, could easily be moulded so as
to represent the interests of the priests, and increase their power and
importance, very naturally slid in to form part of "God's last Will;"
while those which exposed the tricks and knavery of priests, like the
story of Bel and the Dragon, in the Old Testament, were rejected as
apocryphal.* But as the chosen books were written by unknown or obscure
persons of no notoriety, their names were erased, and those of reputed
apostles substituted, in order to confer respectability. And whenever
it was found that this "New Testament" did not at all points suit the
interests of its priesthood, or the views of political rulers in league
with them, the necessary alterations were made, and all sorts of pious
frauds and forgeries were not only common, but justified by many of the
fathers. This was a charge constantly brought against those trimmers by
their opponents, whose writings they destroyed to the utmost of their
power; but it is proved by a record in the Cronicon of Muis, an African
bishop, and the same is also mentioned by Scaliger, that a general
alteration of the four gospels took place in the sixth century, by order
of the Emperor Anastasius, who decreed:--"That the holy gospels, as
written, Idiotis Evangelistis, _are to be corrected and amended_."**

     * It may be said that the Christian compilers would be
     willing to expose the tricks of the Pagan priests; but the
     esprit du corps is sacred. Priests will not betray that
     fundamental deceitfulness that is common to the whole
     profession, and inseparable from all supernatural
     pretensions.

     ** Dr. Mill also vouches for the truth of this record, and
     says that Messala was consul at the time.

     The great father, Origen, in his commentary on Matthew's
     gospel, speaking of the phrase, "thou shalt love thy
     neighbor as thyself," which some thought to be spurious, he
     says: "If, indeed, there was no disagreement in other
     copies, it would be irreligious to suspect that expression
     was interpolated and not pronounced by our Savior. But now,
     alas! what with the blunders of transcribers--what with the
     impious temerity of correcting the text--what with the
     licentiousness of others, who interpolate or expunge just
     what they please, it is plain the copies do strangely
     disagree."

In forming the New Testament, selections were made at different
councils; but from all we have been able to learn, it was principally at
that of Nice that the compilation was put into form, after it had been
decided upon _by vote_, what should be, and what should not be, the word
of God! In order to get rid of the unpleasant truth, that this decision
was made by a majority of votes, it has been pretended that the
selection was made under supernatural agency, thus:--the whole
collection of story, anecdote and fable, was placed upon a great table,
and a prayer was addressed to the Holy Ghost, that he would be pleased
to cause the apocryphal books to jump under the table, and they did so
with prompt obedience, whilst the genuine canonicals proudly kept their
stations above. This mode of trial was fair enough, as the Holy Ghost
would surely know his own writings. This ridiculous story is recorded in
the appendix to the proceedings of the Council of Nice.

A philosopher of the present day has compared the Christian Testament
to Lord Chancellor Eldon's silk stocking, that was darned all over with
worsted until there was no silk remaining; so, in like manner, it is now
impossible to say with certainty what this book was originally, or by
whom, where, or when, its component parts were written; and equally
futile would it be to attempt to ascertain the number of alterations,
additions, varying translations,* and forged interpolations which from
time to time it has undergone. Capellus informs us that he was engaged
for thirty-six years in writing the book in which he detects the
numerous errors and frauds of the Protestant Bible; and even the
venerable Calmet, that profound Bible critic, declares that the 7th and
8th verses of the 5th chapter of John's 1st Epistle, "_are not in any
ancient Bible_." This interpolation was a bold stroke to strengthen the
Trinity. Thirty years' researches upon the New Testament alone, enabled
that most learned English divine, Dr. John Mill, to detect the enormous
number of 80,000 different readings of that book, after a laborious
examination of all the manuscripts, translations, and the many languages
in which it is to be found. Can anything match the stupidity and
monstrous credulity of calling such a book the word of God?

     * A ludicrous instance of false translation appears in Mark
     x., 25, where, according to the learned, the word in the
     original means a cable-rope, not a camel. In the notion of a
     cable going through the eye of a needle, an association of
     ideas is preserved, but the other meaning is forced and
     ridiculous.

It has been remarked that, besides the evident dissonance and glaring
inconsistencies of these books, they contain numerous proofs that they
could not have been written at the time alleged, or by the persons whose
names are affixed to them; for instance, if Paul was an apostle, or
lived in or near the same age with Jesus, how could he speak as he does
in the epistle to the Colossians, about the Church of Laodicea, which
was not founded until the middle of the second century? Again, in
the book called Revelations, ascribed to John the evangelist, who was
contemporary with Jesus,* the writer not only speaks of this church of
Laodicea, but mentions its sloth and great corruptions, arising from the
possession of riches and power. Now, though of all human institutions
whatsoever, a church** has the most uniform and natural tendency to grow
corrupt and profligate, from the acquirement of riches and power, yet we
may allow one hundred years to have elapsed after the foundation of the
one in question, before it arrived at the shameless condition described
in these revelations; and, therefore, it is no unfair inference to
conclude that these allegorical rhapsodies were not written before the
middle of the third century. Tertullion says it was Saturninus, and Luke
says it was Cyrenius who was governor of Syria, when a certain event
happened,*** and Augustus issued his decree taxing "_all the world_" but
Roman history seems to deny both accounts, by not acknowledging any
such decree of Augustus, even over the Roman empire. Numerous other
discrepancies and contradictions might be adduced, which all the forcing
and twisting of church chronologists have not been able to reconcile.

     * Yet in Matthew xi., 12, Jesus is made to say, "And from
     the days of John the Baptist, _until now_," etc. Again,
     xviii., 17, Jesus speaks of "the church"   though there was
     no such thing in existence in the alleged time of his life.

     ** Church--the shrine of credulity, where reason is weekly
     sacrificed--a patent for hypocrisy--the refuge of fraud,
     sloth, ignorance and superstition--the corner stone of
     tyranny.

     *** The birth of Jesus.

They tell us that Matthew wrote his gospel about the year thirty-five,
and in that gospel the writer, whoever he was, makes Jesus tell the
Scribes and Pharisees that "all the innocent blood that has been shed on
earth, from that of Abel down to that of Zaccharias, son of Baruch, whom
they slew between the temple and the altar, shall be upon their heads."
Here let it be remarked that, according to Josephus, book 4th (and the
fact is nowhere else to be found) this event _did not take place_ until
the siege of Jerusalem by Titus. This affords proof positive that
the first of our gospels could not have been written before the year
seventy, but that is no proof why it might not have been written after
the middle of the second century.

Recurring to the miraculous parts of these books, we think it proper to
observe that the natural good sense of Mahomet prevented his making
any pretensions to the power of working miracles; for those laid to his
charge by Christian opponents, were the inventions of his more ignorant
and less judicious successors. It was no doubt in ridicule of the
New Testament fables about removing mountains by faith, and such like
nonsense, that he told his disciples one day: "To-morrow I will call
yonder mountain to come to me." The morrow came, his hearers assembled
to see the miracle. He called the mountain to come to him, but it
sullenly kept its place. "Well," says he, "since the mountain will not
come to Mahomet, Mahomet must go the mountain." If he gave out that he
received his Koran by piecemeal from heaven, his pretensions went no
farther than to be considered the humble agent of a higher power; and
such it appears was the case with his brother prophet Jesus, who wrote
nothing himself, but his followers, on rather the sect which assumed his
name, bent upon the establishment of their new superstition on the
ruins of the old, had recourse to a series of falsehoods and deceptions
unexampled in all the other pages of history. They ascribed to their
reputed founder a train of miracles and unsightly prodigies, so
disgusting to reason and common sense, as to be sufficient of themselves
to condemn any book at a single glance; and which could only be
palmed upon extreme ignorance and credulity; while the inventors and
propagators of these fictions agreed with each other in nothing but in
the common duty of religious lying, forging and fabricating to serve the
interests of the priesthood. The younger Scaliger expressly declares of
these falsifying compilers, that "they put into their Gospels whatever
they thought would serve their purpose." Faustus says: "We have
_frequently proved_ that these things were neither written by himself
(Jesus) nor by his apostles; and that they were fabricated long
after their decease, from vague stories and flying reports." As these
miraculous fables are beneath criticism, the particular notice of one
or two of them will suffice as a sample of the rest. It appears that the
devils possessing the two demoniacs who lived among the tombs, could not
be dislodged without terms of capitulation; one article of which bore,
that they should be allowed to go into the swine. The treaty being
concluded with the spokesman of these devils, who had announced that
he was legion, or called legion (probably from being the chief of a
detachment consisting of that number) the devils took possession of
their new subjects accordingly; but they, finding a devilish commotion
within them, committed suicide immediately. This "_rash act_" was not
surprising when we consider that there were "about two thousand swine;"
so that three devils would be crammed into each pig, reckoning a legion
of devils to consist of the same number as a Roman legion. As nothing
would operate so much against the interests of theology as any
diminution of the number of devils, we may presume that the swine only
were drowned. Mark and Luke say that _one person_ possessed all these
devils; he must have been a man of great capacity to contain that which
drove two thousand swine mad. So numerous a herd of these animals in a
country where swine and swine's flesh were held in abhorrence, is
quite sufficient to stamp the tale as a fiction; but taking all the
circumstances into consideration, it is perhaps the most ridiculous
romance that ever was invented. If this exploit had been laid to the
charge of Mahomet, would he not have been branded by all Christians as
a most wicked and abominable wizard, independently of the robbery
committed on the owners of the swine, in causing this wholesale and
ruinous _Hoggicide?_

It is unfortunate for the foregoing miracle, that its allegorical
bearings are not so apparent as to save it from being branded as a wild
and vulgar romance, rather than an instructive parable. Such, however,
is not the case in the fable about the resurrection of Lazarus, which is
evidently a dramatic allegory of the demise of the old, and birth of the
new year; the former of which is personated in Lazarus, whilst Christ
is, as usual, the personification of the Sun. This unsightly miracle, as
taken literally, is narrated by John only; a circumstance so suspicious
that it alone ought to shake the credulity of even the swallowers of
prodigy. Our false and deceitful translation of this drama, foists in;
"Now a certain _man_ was sick, named Lazarus;" but there is no _man_
named in the original, which merely says--"Now Lazarus was sick;" that
is, figuratively, the year was spent or expiring, as in December, which
month is personated by Martha, as January is by Mary. These two sister
months send to Christ (the Sun) to inform him of the dying state of
their brother (the old year). Now mark the equivocating answers he gives
them regarding the real condition of their brother; that his "sickness
is not unto death;" that he was dead in reality, and he was glad of it;
that he only slept, _and would revive or "rise again_" These enigmatical
or equivocal answers, and the four days which Lazarus is said to have
been dead in the sepulchre, have most pointed allusion to the four days
between the twenty-first and twenty-fifth of December, during which time
the Sun seems to hang, as it were, in the solstitial balance; but at
the latter period he gains his first degree of altitude, and is said to
"rise from the dead," or to have been born again, that is he begins to
_rise from the dead of winter._

For very good reasons, the drama being finished, we are not told what
became of Lazarus. What was his fate afterwards? He continued to gain
strength till the summer solstice; but as he again became the _old
year_, he died the following December, in the same manner.

Thus the Sun, as personified in Christ, says Rev., i., 18, "I am he that
liveth, and was dead, and behold I am alive for evermore, Amen."
Again, "I am the resurrection and the life; _the day star on high, that
redeemeth his people_; I come a light into the world." This word _Amen_
is nothing else than the disguise in which the translators have thought
it proper to put _Ammon*_. The Sun, in the sign Aries, was personified
in Jupiter Ammon, as well as in Christ. Ammon signifies the secret
or concealed one, and _sacred_ had originally no other meaning than
_secret_. In Isaiah lxv., 16, is not the "God Ammon" mentioned in the
original, and suppressed by the English translators?

The astro-drama of the Redeemer in the book of Job** is another sublime
allegory of the sun and circle of the seasons.

     * The difference between the words Aman, Amen, and Ammon,
     says Sir William Drummond, "is nothing."

     ** For fuller explanation of the dramas of Job and Lasarus,
     see the works of the Rev. Mr. Taylor.

Job, who here personates the declining year in its last ungenial and
evil months, is of course dejected, sick, and grievously afflicted; his
wife (whom we may presume to be Anna, from Annus, the circle of' the
year) bids him curse God and die, that is, to cease putting his trust in
the sun, who had metaphorically forsaken him for the present. But Job,
though nearly worn out, as the year is in December, has still hopes of
his _revival_, and exclaims, "I know that my Redeemer liveth," and at
the last day (the 21st December) "_I shall rise up_", etc. Yet in his
exhausted state, and sore afflictions, he is so nigh to despair that
his God, the sun, reproaches him for his impatience under the immutable
necessities of faith, and seems to say in way of admonition, "I cannot
be with you always; nor is it reasonable in you to expect the enjoyment
of perpetual summer," and in illustration thereof, he most beautifully
instances the summer constellations, and asks, "Canst thou bind the
sweet influences of the Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? Canst
thou bring forth the twelve signs in the season?" that is, canst thou
have summer throughout the twelve months. "Canst thou guide Arcturus
with his sons?" The seven summer months, from March to September
inclusive, are personated in the seven sons of Job, who are killed by a
"great wind from the wilderness," (winter) that is, they are killed by
the five winter months commencing in October,* but as this is only an
allegorical death, the drama represents them as being all alive again
in the succeeding summer; and Job, the year, is fully restored to health
and happiness.

With regard to the whole of that miscellaneous and discordant mass of
anecdote, narrative, prophecy, allegory, gospel, epistle, revelation,
etc., which compose what is called the Bible (to say nothing at present
of its immoral tendency), we cannot make anything rational out of the
greater portion, unless we seek the true meaning under type or
allegory; but when we turn aside that veil, the nonsense of the exoteric
disappears, and we perceive that the allusions are exclusively made to
physical or moral principles, under typical personifications.** This is
particularly the case in all those books or fragments of books which are
known not to be Jewish (the book of Job, for instance), but picked up
by that people among the Chaldeans and Persians, who concealed from the
vulgar all the higher branches of science under the veil of allegory;
and when Levi's ignorant but privileged sons adopted these books, in
making their compilation, they contented themselves with the literal,
knowing nothing of the occult sense.

     * These five winter months, beginning in October, when the
     Sun is in the sign Scorpio, are metaphorically alluded to as
     Scorpions, by St. John in Revelations ix., where it is said
     they shall have power "to hurt men for five months." The
     stings in their tails were figurative of the sharpness of
     the four months that succeed October, which, though they
     "should not kill," are nevertheless so stingingly cold as to
     "hurt men."--See Revelations.

     ** Those parts of this collection in which we perceive that
     the astronomical Chronology is veiled in the allegorical
     picture, under the appearance of history, may be called _the
     word of science_. Most of the psalms are evidently hymns to
     the Sun, as they apply to nothing else.

     ***In dedicating one of their tribes for the priesthood
     alone, the Jews imitated the oriental nations: their tribe
     of Levi played the same part amongst them, that the
     Chaldeans played amongst the Assyrians and Babylonians; the
     Magi amongst the Modes and Persians; the Druids amongst the
     Celtæ; the Brahmins amongst the Indians; the Lamas amongst
     the Thibetians; and the Christian priesthoods now in Europe;
     in all it has been the game of deception.

Even the trinity in unity, as we have already observed, was one of
the secrets revealed to the initiated in the Pagan polytheism; and was
taught in the mysteries long before the sect Christians adopted
the ascetic habits of the Essenes and Egyptian Therapeutæ. In these
mysteries this trinity had a twofold allusion--under one meaning it was
a personification of physical, and under the other of moral, principles;
in the physical sense, those natural principles were personified, which,
by their inherent properties, viz., motion, attraction, repulsion, etc.,
produce these changes which we perceive in matter. But of all these
principles, the _Sun_ was looked up to as the grand omnipotent nucleus,
whose all-vivifying power is the vital and sole source of animative and
vegetative existence upon this globe--the glorious fountain out of which
springs all that man ever has, or ever can call good, and as such, the
only proper object of the homage and adoration of mankind. Hence the
Sun, as we are informed by Pausanius, was worshipped at Eleusis under
the name of "The Savior." If it is urged that the Sun cannot properly be
regarded as a principle in Nature, the objection is good with respect
to the universal systems which "_circle other Suns_;" but of our Solar
system, he is _the_ principal.

Of the thousand Pagan personifications of the Sun, which appear absurd
and ridiculous when taken in the literal sense, but which are rational
and highly scientific when the veil of allegory is withdrawn, one of
the most beautiful is that of the solar Deity under the name of Adonai,*
Tammuz, or the Adonis of the Syrians. This allegory represents him,
after being glorified as "The most High God," in his _exalted_ reign of
summer, as resigning his place in the heavens to the zodiacal animals
of the winter signs; and is figured as being slain or mutilated by them,
more especially by the wild boar, under whose malefic ascendancy the sun
seems annually to expire.

     * Adonai is synonymous with Jahouh, or Jehovah. Throughout
     the Psalms, the _Sun_ is "the Lord God," and Zion means the
     zodiac.

And, as personated in the beautiful Adonis, he is fabled as being
mutilated in his genital parts by the boar; that is, by similitude, he
is deprived of his genial or generative power over Nature during the
winter. But when the annual rains of summer had swelled the river Adonis
(so called from the god), its waters became tinged red by some mineral,
and were fabled to be the blood of the beauteous Adonis, annually
mutilated as aforesaid:--

          "While smooth Adonis from his native rock
          Ran purple to the sea,--supposed with blood
          Of Tammuz, yearly wounded."

In lamentation over this most shocking outrage against genial
Nature,--or rather to celebrate the yearly victory over it, the Sidonian
damsels, _not wholly without significance_, assembled to hail the
renovation of the prolific powers of Tammuz, or Adonis, as manifested in
their God of summer.

That the Old Testament, as well as the New, is almost wholly allegorical
of the sun, the year, and the seasons, is further proved in that
apparently heart-felt complaint of St. Paul, 2 Corinthians iii., 15,
"But even until this day, _when Moses is read, the veil is upon their
heart_."

The moral principles allegorised in the Christian trinity, under the
names of Father, the Word, and the Spirit, were metaphorical of human
_knowledge, reason_ and the _spirit of truth_. Similar to these are
the interpretations lately given of the moral principles of the ancient
trinity, by a philosopher of deep research;* and as they make out a
reasonable meaning for the Christian trinity, which is otherwise a
jumble of irrational mummeries, they are so far satisfactory. The
ancient trinity of physical principles, of which the Sun was second
to, and the most eximious representative of, the great All-in-All, was
probably of Indian origin: and found its way west into Persia, Chaldea
and Greece, where it was remodelled and spiritualised by Plato; but on
its being pressed into the service of the Christian fathers, the sublime
knowledge which it conveyed under emblems or symbols, was soon lost
in ignorance, or abused and set aside by priestcraft; for even the
apostolic fathers seemed to have had little or no knowledge of it, with
the exception perhaps of St. Hermas, who most likely alluded to the
share he had in falsifying those allegories (by adopting the literal in
place of the occult meaning), when he declares that he "never spoke a
true word in his life, but always lived in dissimulation, and affirmed
a lie for truth to all men; and no man contradicted him, but all gave
credit to his words" ("Pastor," Book iii., mandat. 3rd). The Pagan
priesthood were too wise to apply the word _revelation_ to anything else
than the development of the secret meaning of the mysteries, which they
made to the initiated; but that only true revelation has been entirely
lost to all the successors of St. Hermas in the church called Christian
for the last seventeen centuries.

     * The modern Diagoras, who has done more towards
     establishing; free discussion than any other man that ever
     lived.

One word more respecting this ancient trinity, the gross and ludicrous
perversion of which now forms so prominent a dogma in our superstition.*
Those fathers who adopted and interwove it into the Christian system,
did either ignorantly or wilfully distort the sense of the allegory
(whether astronomical or moral) by turning it into three distinct
personages, with human qualities, parts, and passions; but having gone
thus far, they found themselves in a dilemma; inasmuch that, though
their new polytheism was in a great measure intended as a salvo to
reconcile the Pagans, yet it was inconsistent with the Mosaic unity of
God, which they were desirous of preserving also; so they bundled up
their three distinct personages into one identical person.

     * Though the Christian scheme of fitting up a triune Deity
     is in defiance of arithmetical demonstration, yet it is so
     far an exemplification of all the Pagan mythologies--each of
     them had a triad of principal gods; the Hindus had their
     Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva; the Egyptians, their Osiris,
     Horus, and Isis; the Persians, their Oromazdes, Mithras, and
     Ahrimanes; the Syrians, their Monimus, Aziz, and Ares; the
     Canaanites, their self-triplicated Baal; and the Peruvians
     had their Father Sun, Brother Sun, and Son Sun. The Hindu
     trinity were personifications of three principles, viz., the
     Producer, the Preserver, and the Destroyer.

Being now knee-deep, and knowing well that the credulity of ignorant
man is equal to the most monstrous deceptions, those fabricators thought
they might as well plunge over head and ears into absurdity, by settling
the pedigree and relationship between these _triune_ parties; and this
they did by mingling together a chaos of downright nonsense. Here is
a child born, said to be begotten by two supernatural fathers--these
fathers are _two_ infinite beings, equal and co-existent from all
eternity; and yet this son, begotten by them upon a woman, is as old
as either of them! And although thus produced, and to all appearance a
child of humanity, he instantly becomes the _eternal_ son of the father,
making the _third infinite_! Such stuff has turned the church called
Christian into a domicilium insanorum.

If we may believe our senses, there is indeed a trinity in unity that
proves its own existence--is eternal, and comprehends within itself
everything which the human intellect can possibly conceive--that is,
_Time, Matter, and Motion_.*

     * Motion is the measure of Time: it is essential to, the
     executive of, and may be said to be identical with, Matter.

In regard to the true history of our church during the three first
centuries, we know nothing whatever, except that which comes through the
most polluted channels; for the traditions and fabulous writings of the
fathers who lived in those periods, are not deserving of the slightest
credit; these men being notorious for nothing but pious frauds and
forgeries; yet even in these professional arts they were far excelled
in the following century, by the famous Eusebius, bishop of Cæsarea, who
had no equal in fitting up and trimming off a "word of God," to suit
the general interests of the church. He says of himself "I have related
whatever might redound to the glory, and I have _suppressed _all that
could tend to the disgrace of our religion." Baronius, who was a sincere
advocate of the Christian faith, branded him as "the great falsifier
of ecclesiastical history--a wily sycophant--a consummate hypocrite*--a
time-serving persecutor, who had nothing in his known life or writings,
to support the belief _that he himself believed in the Christian
religion_." So much for the character of this main pillar of the church.
Another father of the fourth century, St. Gregory Nazianzen, was of
opinion that "_words are sufficient to deceive the vulgar, who admire
the more, the less they understand._" Again, he says, "Our fathers
and teachers have often said, _not what they thought_, but what
circumstances required." To show that the saints of the fourth century
had not only improved upon their predecessors in the arts of deception,
but had grown bold enough in some instances to avow them, we quote
St. Chrysostom, who declares that "miracles are proper only to excite
sluggish and vulgar minds; that men of sense have no occasion for them;
and that they frequently carry _some untoward suspicion with them_"
Mosheim, than whom a higher authority cannot be quoted, speaking of
those times and of such men, says: "The simplicity and ignorance of the
generality in those times, furnished the most favorable occasion for the
exercise of fraud; and the impudence of impostors in contriving false
miracles, was artfully proportioned to the credulity of the vulgar:
whilst the sagacity of the wise, who perceived these cheats, were
overawed into silence by the dangers that threatened their lives and
fortunes, if they should expose the artifice. Thus does it generally
happen in human life, that, when danger attends the discovery of truth,
and the profession thereof, the prudent are _silent_--the multitude
_believe_, and impostors _triumph_"--(Eccles. Hist.)

     * In the title of the 81st chapter of the 12th book of his
     Evangelical Preparation, Eusebius tells "how it may be
     lawful and fitting to use falsehood as a medicine, for the
     benefit of those who want to be deceived." In this chapter,
     says Gibbon, he adduces a passage of Plato, which approves
     the occasional practice of pious and salutary frauds; and he
     justifies this sentiment of Plato, by the example of the
     sacred writers of the Old Testament. So much for the
     theological pharmacopæia of Eusebius.

In the fifth century, the church being backed by the strong arm of
imperial power, the hierarchy converted their successful institution
into a channel overflowing with riches; whilst their doctrines and
dogmas, continually changing, got rid of any vestiges of reason and
common sense which they had originally had amongst the Therapeutæ and
Essenes. The ignorance of the laity was a secure protection for the
clergy in all their tyrannical usurpations, and they in their turn
became fierce persecutors.* Nature and her laws were overlooked as
objects of no consideration, or rather, proscribed as the deadly
enemies, of the theologian, and poor credulous man sunk into slavery and
misery. In the following centuries, the infatuated belief in miracles
of all sorts and sizes became the order of the day, and the heads of the
church, no doubt, founded their regularly organised system of deception
upon the authority of St. Paul, who, in his second letter to the
Thessalonians, fairly avows that, "for this cause God shall send them
strong delusion,** that they should believe a lie, _that they all might
be damned who believe not the truth_"

     * Not at all scrupulous about appropriating to themselves
     the property of others, they have been accused of expelling
     the Druids or Culdees, from their temples and monasteries,
     and substituting their own orders; and this they called
     founding monasteries. This was the fox taking possession of
     the hole that had been dug by the badger.

     ** In this epistle to the Thessalonians, Paul seemed to have
     attained the acme of falsehood and delusion. He assures his
     dupes that the resurrection of the dead, and the ascension
     of the living, will take place in his and their days. "Then
     we (says he, chap iv., 17), which are alive and remain,
     shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet
     the Lord in the air," etc. Paul vouches for this being "the
     word of the Lord." "The whole passage is in the first person
     and present tense." By way of clinching this most notorious
     falsehood, it is elsewhere affirmed that "this generation
     shall not pass away till all these things be accomplished."
     Priests, have these things taken place?

From this high authority, and from that of the Jew books, proceeded
those lying miracles and stupendous prodigies which excited the idiot
wonderment of mankind; hence the forged letters of Christ to Abgarus,
king of Edessa, and the Apostle Peter; hence the letters of the Virgin
Mary to St. Ignatius and the Sicilians, all dated in heaven; hence the
11,000 virgin martyrs of Cologne; hence wood enough of the _true cross_
to build a first-rate man-of-war; hence the two or three heads of St.
Ursula; hence the girdle of the Virgin Mary shown in eleven places at
the same time; hence the remains of the ass, or asses, which carried
Jesus to Jerusalem; hence the head of the Volto Santo, miraculously sent
from heaven, and carried in a ship from Joppa to Lucca, without the aid
of any human being on board; hence the annually liquefied blood of St.
Januarus, imitated from the annual wound of the god Adonis,* in mount
Libanus; and hence the flight of the Virgin Mary's cottage, which winged
its way from Nazareth to Dalmatia, and thence to Loretto, where it still
forms the headquarters of her ladyship.

     * The Tammuz of Ezekiel:--

          "Whose annual wound in Libanus allur'd
          The Syrian damsels to lament his fate
          In am'ous ditties all a summer's day."
          --Milton.

You object to the above legends on account of their being the invention
of the scarlet prostitute, as you call the Church of Rome, observing
that the reformed church has given up all such fooleries. Be not
deceived, the priesthoods of all religions are essentially and
_necessarily_ the same, inasmuch as fraud and delusion, skilfully played
off upon ignorance, form the apparatus of all; and were it not that
science is now beginning everywhere to grapple with the demon of
artificial theology, miracles would be as abundant as ever amongst both
Catholics and protestants. The increasing knowledge of the laity curbs
and puts to shame all such pretentions in the present day; but do we not
see how strenuously all the priests of Christendom uphold the prodigies
which they say were performed nearly two thousand years ago? They do
this, because, without the delusion of supernatural agency, immediate or
remote, their trade could not stand.

Any attempt to rouse the ignorant, uncultivated mind to free inquiry, is
almost a hopeless task, and it is altogether so when besotted religious
prejudice stands in the way; but we ask the man who has got a vestige of
mind he can call his own, whether his evidence is as satisfactory that
Nature has been put out of her course by the working of miracles, as
it is, on the contrary, that such violations of her laws have never in
truth taken place! Has any such thing happened in his own, his father's,
his grandfather's, or his great grandfather's time? He must answer in
the negative, and thus far he has evidence from experience, we shall
say, for 150 years, giving a succession of proof, which rests on the
immutable order of things; and will he abandon that invariable director
for the worthless and self-convicted testimony of a few strolling
vagabonds, known only as the lawless disturbers of the peace in the
countries where they were vagrants, and who lived nearly two thousand
years ago? When legends and traditions are found inconsistent with
nature, common sense, and experience, does their antiquity alone prove
their truth against all these guides? On the contrary, antiquity can
never be divested of the mantle of fable. We know that besides the marks
of falsehood which the stories alluded to bore at the time of their
fabrication, the true characters of the propagators were so well known
to men of sense and education among the Pagans, that their impostures
were utterly despised; and as the Jew books called the "Testaments,"
abundantly show that they were compiled throughout by men of similar
character, to credit them is to give up all confidence in our senses,
and to give the lie to natural light and reason.

Whence comes the anomaly that it is in supenaturals alone we find man
departing totally from the common rules of evidence, and the respect
which he owes to himself? In this case, denying as he does the authority
of his own senses, and the reason which arises from them, he has
rendered himself inferior to all other animals, and this is evidently
owing to his not being allowed the exercise of his intellectual powers,
priestcraft having decoyed him into the regions of non-reality and
delusion, where everything congenial to his nature, where all entities,
or things comprehensible, can have no admittance: there theological
deception holds her dominion under the dark mask of mystery;* and out of
the fears of ignorance forges mental chains for the human race, as they
come into existence, the child succeeding to the woful inheritance of
the father.

Men, says a modern philosopher, blindly follow the paths their fathers
trode; they believe, because in infancy they were told they _must_
believe; they hope, because their progenitors hoped; and they tremble,
because they trembled. If by chance a young man examines his religion,
he does it with partiality, or without perseverance; he is often
disgusted with a single glance of the eye, on contemplating an object
so revolting. In old age, the faculties are blunted; habits become
incorporated with the machine, the senses are debilitated by time and
infirmity, and we are no longer able to penetrate back to the source of
our opinions; besides, the fear of death then renders an examination,
over which terror commonly presides, very liable to suspicion. Civil
authority also flies to the support of the prejudices of mankind;
compels them to ignorance by forbidding inquiry; and holds itself in
continual readiness to punish all who attempt to undeceive them.**

     * Originally, the word mystery signified the veil (mistos)
     which covered knowledge: but amongst Christian priests, it
     has been made the veil by which the most wicked deceptions
     are covered.

          ** For, blind and superstitious man is bred,
          "And custom is his nurse!
          Woe then to them
          Who lay irreverent hands upon his old
          House furniture, the dear inheritance
          From his forefathers!
          For time consecrates;
          And what is grey with age becomes religion."

The morality which is derived from the religion of nature, and the
social intercourse of man, is everywhere the same, and unchangeable;
whereas that which is built upon priest-created theology is variable,
impure, and always pernicious, inasmuch as it is made to square with the
interests and power of the sacerdotal orders. This theology, from its
being linked with political governments, has been enabled to insinuate
its usurpations into every institution of society, where it has been
the fruitful source of endless contention and sorrow. The innocent
and necessary liberties of mankind are, by conventional laws of its
procuring, converted into crimes; the freedom of the moral energies is
crushed, and almost every pursuit that is conducive to, or connected
with human happiness, is discouraged and blasted, through the influence
and intrigues of this cunping and demoralising pest*--_the natural enemy
of everything that is natural_.

     * We know no other correct way to judge of any system, than
     to look at the practical effects it has produced in the
     world since it was promulgated. What then does the record of
     the past discover to have been the effects of Christianity
     upon men and nations? What has it done for the enlightenment
     and progress of the mind--for man's elevation, improvement,
     and happiness--his proper rank and station as a moral,
     intellectual, rational being? Let those who have impartially
     considered this melancholy subject, answer this question: do
     we not know what it has done for the suppression, or rather
     annihilation, of them all?

Are we told that the fires of the inquisition, with all its accompanying
abominations, have been swept away by the reformation; and that the
spirit of our religion is changed from that of the raging wolf, to the
mildness of the lamb? We positively deny that its _spirit_ is either
changed or capable of change: the light of science, and a partial
exercise of reason is at present keeping it in check; but it anxiously
awaits and looks forward to the return of that congenial element--the
intellectual darkness and ignorance which prevailed in the eleventh
century. This blessed consummation would effectually restore its power;
and thus armed, the demon would quickly show, in the strongest sect,
whether Catholic or Protestant, its immutable spirit of tyranny and
persecution,--the human mind would again be prostrated, and all the
horrors of those times would again cover the face of Christendom.

We shall conclude this lecture by asking a few questions.

What is it that has, for the last fifteen centuries, obscured the light
of Nature, put human reason out of her chair, and, as much as possible,
prevented the development of all scientific truths?

What was it that first occasioned the shedding of human blood, on
account of supernatural speculations, and imaginary existence?

What was it that spread war, devastation, and bloodshed over Europe,
(agreeably to the New Testament denunciation,)* for more than thirteen
hundred years?

What is it that still divides Europe into opposing sects; and keeps
alive those deadly animosities about chimeras, for which men formerly
cut each other's throats?

What is it that most generally sets the father's heart against the son,
and makes the son abhor the presence of his father?

What is the thing which, cherished by ignorance, and sheltered by
tyranny, has usurped one-tenth of the proceeds of man's industry; and in
wringing this from starving poverty, is supported by cannon, bayonets,
and sabres?

What is it that has, to serve its own ends, and wholly unsupported
by New Testament authority, appropriated to itself one-seventh of the
laboring man's time; compelling him to spend that time, either in houses
of idolatry, or in idleness and vice at the ale-house, to the utter ruin
of his family?

What is it that has poisoned love amongst the human species, and
rendered the simple union of the sexes an unnatural bond of tyranny
and slavery,** which, in nine cases in every ten, entails life-lasting
misery upon the victims of the indissoluble marriages of Christian
superstition!

     * Vide Matt x., 84.

     ** In the headlong inexperience of youth, the sexes, under
     an innocent impulse of Nature, enter into the perpetual
     snare of marriage, with tempers and dispositions as
     different as are their sexes; and in a state of penury
     scarcely able to subsist themselves, they engage to give
     subsistence to a numerous family. Here is the beginning of
     that unhappy state of matrimonial life which exhibits the
     darkest portraiture of human existence--a procreative nest
     of nuptial misery. But as that abject condition of toilworn
     bondage mainly entails and fosters ignorance, by allowing
     the laborer no leisure for the cultivation of his mind, it
     has ever been cherished as the safeguard of "Church and
     State" despotism.

All these questions are answered in five words:--_the artificial
religion of priestcraft_.

So shall the priest-ridden world go on, till

          "From the lips of truth one mighty breath,
          Shall, like a whirlwind, scatter in its breeze
          The whole dark pile of human mockeries."

[Publishers' Note.]--Since this was written vast changes have been made
in England in the laws relating to marriage and divorce, and if Logan
Mitchell could rewrite this he would probably be satisfied with
such increased facilities for divorce as exist now in the State of
Massachusetts, coupled with more complete recognition by the law of the
parental rights of the mother.

END OF LECTURE SECOND.



LECTURE THIRD. THE CHRISTIAN FATHERS, AND THEIR DOGMAS

     On the back-ground appeared the Christian fathers, rearing a
     form of superstition the most sanguinary and destructive of
     human happiness that has ever afflicted the world. Her limbs
     bestrode the prostrate nations to the extremities of the
     earth; her head lowered to the clouds, whilst the right hand
     of the gigantic monster brandished a burning torch.

     Beware of a bull before, a horse behind, _and a priest all round_.
     Old Proverb.

It has constantly been assumed by church chronologists that the Jewish
sect of Galileans, who afterwards took the old Pagan appellation of
Christian, had writings of their own as early as the first century; but
this is mere gratuitous assumption, and rests only on the authority
of men entirely undeserving of credit. As for this _new Christian
Theogony_, and how it came to receive the first stitches of its
patchwork during the second and third centuries, we know nothing about
the matter, except what we have on the authority of Eusebius (see
preceding lecture), Bishop of Cæsarea, a man who was confessedly the
most notorious of all the Church historians for forgery and every other
species of pious falsehood.* In getting up his history, he confesses
that he entered upon "a solitary and untrodden way" that he could nowhere
find as much as the bare steps of those who had passed the same path
before him; that he had "not found any ecclesiastical writer which unto
this day hath in this behalf employed any diligence."

     * Vide Baronius.

These confessions from such a man are ample proof that he had no
authentic matter to found his "history" upon; but he could call to his
aid, legends, fables, and traditions, all very plastic and convertible
materials, and in the use of them he has certainly shown himself a
consummate workman. The rest of that class of men who are generally
denominated the "Fathers of the Church," some of whom lived before, and
others after the time of Eusebius, were persons equally addicted to holy
frauds and forgeries (with perhaps one or two exceptions), but most of
them were much inferior to him in zeal and industry. As habitual lying
and deception were charged upon most of them by the learned of their
Pagan contemporaries, and also by the candid and impartial amongst their
modern successors in the church, it is proper to notice what some of the
latter have written of them. In this delineation of character we find
that a large majority of the vices and crimes which are found among the
worst of mankind, have been fixed upon, them; viz., avarice, faction,
ignorance, sedition, persecution of each other, lying, perjury,
_Clogherism_* (the crime of the Church in all ages), cruelty, and
murder. And some writers have gone so far as to declare that early
ecclesiastical history is nothing but a compendium of their evil deeds.

     * We learn from "Barnet's Exposition," that the practice of
     unnatural lusts had been so common among the dignitaries of
     the Church, that St. Bernard, in a sermon preached to the
     clergy of France, affirmed sodomy to be so common in his
     time, _that bishops with bishops lived in it_

In times still earlier, the grossest vices are acknowledged to have been
common, if not habitual, among the "faithful;" for Paul, in his epistle
to the Roman Christians, chapter first, charges, his friends and
followers, and even the women amongst them, as guilty of the unnatural
crime. In chapter vi., 19, he evidently alludes to it again. St.
Barnabas, indeed, calls the first Christians, "the most wicked of all
the wicked." Some of the fathers of the second century, such as Papias,
and his admirer, Irenæus, were actuated by follies so absurd, that they
seem rather to have deserved the name of madmen; witness the romances
about the grape vines, and others of a similar nature, which are not
exceeded by the wildest fictions of ancient or modern times. Such being
the soil, Christians, out of which your religion sprung from old roots,
we need not wonder that the fruit it has borne has been rather bitter.
The historians of the Popes confess that many of them were condemned by
their own general councils for adultery, dogherasty, simony, sorcery,
and Atheism.

In the third and fourth centuries, the fathers had arrived at higher
tact and skill, and became adepts in trimming up all kinds of pious
deceptions and falsifications, and some of them were avowed forgers
on principle and by profession. But it frequently happened that as
hostilities grew up between the leaders of contending sects, they were
useful in exposing the nefarious inventions of each other, which led
to deadly animosities amongst their followers. It was, probably, a late
knowledge of the utter fallaciousness of his newly adopted religion,
and the perpetual contentions which he saw to be inseparable from such
a system, that eventually disgusted Origen, and caused him, as is well
known, to abandon Christianity, recur to Paganism, and sacrifice to
idols, publicly denying his lord and master, Jesus Christ. This appears
in his own writings, but more fully in his life, written in Greek by
Suidas.

Episcopius says of the Council of Nice, and others of that early period,
"that they were led on by fury, faction, and madness;" and this is
corroborated by another author, who relates, that at the second Synod of
Ephesus, Dioscorus, Bishop of Alexandria, "knocked and kicked Flavianus,
Patriarch of Constantinople, with such fury, that within three days
after he died." The philosopher Ammianus Marcellinus, complains that
"no beasts were such deadly enemies to men as the more savage Christians
were to each other." What better could be expected, when the example
was shown by the leaders of sects, the fathers themselves, who were
constantly quarrelling about the smallest as well as the greatest
points, and for the smallest as well as the greatest they damned one
another.*

In a former lecture, it has been observed that the famous passage which
we find in Josephus about Jesus Christ, was never mentioned nor alluded
to in any way whatever by any of the fathers of the first, second, or
third centuries; nor until the time of Eusebius, "_when it was first
quoted by himself_." The truth is, none of these fathers could quote or
allude to a passage which did not exist in their times, but was, to
all points short of absolute certainty, forged and interpolated by
Eusebius, as suggested by Gibbon and others. Even the redoubtable
Lardner has pronounced this passage to be a forgery.

That most ingenuous and fair dealing son of the Church, Mosheim, whose
authority and unimpeachable veracity have never been questioned, even by
divines, certifies as follows:--"The Platonists and Pythagoreans
held it as a maxim, that it was not only lawful, but praiseworthy to
_deceive_, and even to make use of the expedient of a _lie_ in order
to advance the cause of truth and piety.** The Jews, who had lived in
Egypt, had learned and received this maxim from them (the Pythagoreans
and Platonists) before the coming of Christ, as appears incontestably
from a multitude of ancient records; and the Christians were infected
from both these sources with the same pernicious error, as appears from
the number of books _attributed falsely_ to great and venerable names."
The above extract refers to the second century only, when numerous
gospels, epistles, etc., were fabricated and falsely fathered in the
manner stated by Mosheim; but in the fourth century there were few
exceptions to the standard maxim, that it was an act of the highest
merit to deceive and lie, whenever the interests of the priesthood might
be promoted thereby.

     * In the inexhaustible arsenal of St. Paul's conundrums,
     ambiguous oracles, and common-sense-defying quibbles, they
     got arms, which answered equally well to combat each other,
     and to confound all experience and reason.

     ** Upon this principle exactly, every priest, before he can
     become a member of the English established church, is
     obliged to perjure himself on his adoption by the bishop, in
     swearing two tremendous, palpable, glaring lies; namely,
     _that he does not seek the living or office for the sake of
     lucre; but that he is impelled thereto by the Holy Ghost!_
     Hear, hear, stall-fed John Bull.

The writings of the most virtuous and meritorious authors among the
Pagans, if they inculcated good morals alone, and condemned all vulgar
superstitions, were reckoned superlatively dangerous by these fathers;
for even the amiable Plutarch did not escape their wasteful malice,
there being upwards of a hundred of his opuscula, or moral treatises
destroyed. But while they indulged in this _prudent_ destruction, they
took care to preserve such extracts from the writings of Porphyry,
Celsus, Hierocles, and others, as they could fit up by contortion, and
press into the service of their new superstition, inserting, at the same
time, concessions which were never made by these philosophers, whose
works were exceedingly obnoxious, on account of the reason and good
sense which they contained. Nay, it has even been known that some of
the finest of these literary productions have, in certain parts, been
entirely obliterated by these, falsifying priests, and their own knavish
jargon substituted on the same parchment.

Daille freely avers, "that the writings of the fathers are in great part
forged, either anciently or in latter times, full of frauds, both pious
and malicious, against Pagan learning, mutually witnesses against each
other, _and are absolutely not to be believed_. They would forge whole
books to serve the ends of the priesthood."

These examples were too interesting and praiseworthy not to be followed,
as far as possible, by the English clergy. They falsified, again and
again, says Hume, the rolls of Parliament to serve their own dominion,
taking care to publish only the articles that were favorable to
themselves. And they were guilty of another imposture in adding one to
the number--(See the first edition of Hume).

Jortin, in his remarks on ecclesiastical history, charges the fathers
with _perverting, misquoting_, defaming, defacing and destroying the
works of their adversaries, and even those of each other.

Blondel, when speaking of the second century, says, "whether you
consider the immediate impudence of impostors, or the deplorable
credulity of believers, it was a most miserable period, and exceeded
all others in pious frauds; _there was more aversion to lying, and more
fidelity among profane, than among Christian, authors_."

Bishop Fell confesses, that "in the first ages of the Church, so
extensive was the license of forging, so credulous were the people in
believing, that the evidence of transactions was grievously obscured."
Casaubon complains as follows:--"I am much grieved to observe, in
the early ages of the Church, that there were very many who deemed it
praiseworthy to assist the divine word with their own fictions; that
their new doctrine might find a readier admittance among the wise men
of the Gentiles." This is confirmed by Scaliger, who declares that, so
inefficacious did they deem their "word of God," that they distrusted
the success of Christ's kingdom, "_without the aid of lying._"*

     * Their "New Jerusalem" was heaven-constructed, and formed a
     cube of five hundred leagues; it descended through the air
     for forty nights successively. Tertullian saw it himself--
     Bravo.

     This "New Jerusalem" was figurative of the "Houses of the
     sun," or the signs of the zodiac.

Bishop Burnet has _shown_ that the Athanasian creed was a forgery of the
eighth century.

To the testimony and authority of the above seven highly respectable
divines, we might add that of a host of other theologians, which shows
that it has generally been the sons of the Church themselves who have
most fully exposed the utterly worthless and deceitful characters of the
fabricators of our religion: but for the present we shall only cite
the "Free Inquiry" of the ingenuous and learned Dr. Middleton, who, in
quoting the authority of St. Cyprian as to the frauds of the
Christians in the third century, observes as follows:--"From all these
considerations taken together, it must, I think, be allowed that the
forged miracles of the fourth century give us just reason to suspect the
pretensions of _every other age, both before and after it._ My argument
would be much the same if it were grounded on the allowed forgeries of
any later age." Again, he says; "So far I agree with them both (Drs.
Chapman and Berriman) and own their defence to be true, that the earlier
miracles rest on no better foundation, nor are supported by any better
evidence than the latter." It is true that elsewhere Dr. Middleton seems
to concede the truth of the New Testament and apostolic miracles, but
who does not see that this was a shift to ward off persecution and ruin?

It has elsewhere been observed, that according to the confessions of
the apostolic father, St. Hermas, which we have in his book called "The
Pastor," he was a liar upon principle and avowed profession. Beausobre
says of, him: "His principle was, that faith was only fit for the
rabblement."

"Saint Augustine, one of the most veracious, and the least given to
lying of all the Fathers, declares in his 33rd sermon, and stakes his
eternal salvation to the truth of the fact, which he said was as true
as the Gospel, that while he was bishop of Hippo Regiup, he preached the
gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to a whole nation of men and
women, _who had no heads_, but had their eyes in their bosoms; and in
countries still more southerly, he preached to a nation amongst whom
each individual had but one eye, and that situate in the middle of the
forehead!" What a glorious field this affords the "_long-eared rout_"
for the exercise of their faith!

That falsehood was quite the order of the day amongst the Fathers,
witness the maxim of Tertullian, "_Credo quia impossibile est_;" upon
which unerring rule he founded his implicit belief in the resurrection
and other such miracles, that is, he believed them true, _because they
were utterly impossible_. Saint Jerome accuses not only St. Paul, but
Jesus Christ, of frauds.

Justin Martyr speaks of the fable of the Phoenix as an incontrovertible
truth. Tertullian affirms, in his usual manner, that when the Christians
cast out devils, they (the devils) acknowledged themselves to be the
heathen deities, Mars, Bacchus, Apollo, etc., etc. These, and such as
these, are our Christian authorities!

At the head of all these _Fathers of the Church_, in point of rank and
pre-eminence in wickedness, stands the imperial assassin, the Emperor
Constantine. As a forger and falsifier, it was not in his line to equal
his protégé Eusebius; but in all the arts of dissimulation he seems not
to have been his inferior. As a cool family murderer, Nero and Caligula
may hide their diminished heads in his presence. He drowned his wife in
boiling water; put to death his son Crispus; murdered the two
husbands of his sisters, Constantia and Anastasia; murdered his own
father-in-law, Maximiam Hercules; murdered his nephew, his sister
Constantia's son, only twelve years of age; with some others, not so
nearly related, amongst whom was Sapator, a pagan priest, who refused
absolution for the crimes of the royal assassin.

There is nothing easier to conceive than the eagerness with which
such tyrants as Constantine, and his son Constantins, would embrace
so _convenient_ a religion as the one newly vamped. The Pagan priest,
Sapator, was put to death for expressing horror at the crimes of the
former, which were readily absolved by the Christian priests; and when
the latter wanted to commit similar murders, he found a ready assistant
in the Bishop of Nicomedia, a _holy father_ of the fourth century,
who forged a fatal deed, which he affirmed to be the testament of the
deceased emperor; in which his son Constantius was enjoined and conjured
to murder his two uncles (one of whom was his father-in-law), Optatus,
the husband of his aunt, and seven cousins german, one of whom was his
brother-in-law. These were the first imperial patrons of Christianity!
The good bishop no doubt justified Constantine in the bloody injunction
laid in his forged will, by the example of David, who, with his last
breath, enjoined his son Solomon to murder his faithful general, Joab,
and Shimei, though he had sworn not to harm the latter; in like manner
Constantius had pledged his solemn oath for the security of his kinsmen.

When the foregoing sketches and opinions are considered as proof
specimen of the true characters and conduct of a few of the men called
"the Fathers," an estimate of the general worthlessness and fraudulent
motives of the whole may easily be formed; yet such were the men who
_systematized_ Christianism, headed by St. Paul, who afforded them a
notable example in all the arts of mystery or fraud, these two terms
being synonymous. His justification of lying is as follows:--"For if the
truth of God hath more abounded _through my lie unto his glory_, why yet
am I also judged as a sinner?" Rom. iii., 7. It ought not, therefore,
to excite any surprise, that from so foul a source should emanate those
unsightly and revolting dogmas, which, sooner or later, must bring this
superstition into utter contempt, before the tribunal of reason and
science. The root of all these dogmas is distinctly traceable to the
astro-theology of the ancient Pagans; but the whole has been hideously
perverted by the fabricator of our religion, either by knavishly
teaching the exoteric, or literal sense, though they knew the esoteric,
or hidden meaning; or by adopting the former through ignorance of the
mythological mysteries. The fable of the fall of man, the garden of
Eden, the serpent and Eve, etc., are clearly astronomical allegories;*
and the most learned of the early fathers held them to be so; but they
were abused by others, and taken in the literal sense, in order that
they might serve as tenterhooks, upon which to stretch the New Testament
dogmas of original sin and redemption.

     * "At the autumnal equinox, when the celestial sign, Virgo
     (Eye) is setting heliacally, she seems to be followed by the
     constellation Bootes (Adam, or a personification of solar
     heat) and by seeming to hold out to him a branch with
     beautiful fruit upon it, was said to tempt or seduce Adam,
     whom she appears to draw after her; and when the two link
     below the western horizon, they are said to fall; and to
     resign the heavens to the dominion of the serpent, and other
     wintry signs, i.e. cold and darkness, figuratively, evil.
     While the man and woman are retiring from the summer garden
     of fruits and flowers, the sign Perseus is seen rising in
     the east, and with his flaming sword is said to drive the
     happy pair from the reign of summer. As Virgo sinks first in
     the west, she is said to be first in transgression."

That these fables have allusion to the signs of the zodiac, the solar
system, the elements and seasons, has been shown by Volney, Dupuis, and
others. Many of the apparently gross absurdities of the Bible are easily
explained by the key of ancient astronomy. Indeed, all the principal
personages of that book, as well as those of remote pagan antiquity,
whether, ranking as deities or men, were either personifications of
constellations, planets, seasons, or other natural objects, or their
affects; and whenever miraculous powers were ascribed to those fanciful
creations, all men who understood the mysteries, such as Herodotus,
Philo, Origen, etc., knew that the literal sense could not be true; and
that the right interpretation was allegorical. The ancient languages of
the East having no neuter gender, the host of celestial existences were
denominated in the masculine or feminine. Amongst these, their grand
immaculate chieftain, the sun, in all the eastern theogonies, and
under a thousand different names, was always adored as the omnipotent
_Creator_ and _Regulator_. "O Sun," cried the great prophet of Persia,
"thou art powerful in thy blaze! glorious in thy lustre! the burster of
darkness! head of the world! king of stars! mightiest of beings above!"

That those polytheisms of the East, from which emanated Judaism and
Christianity, had their root in astronomy, is proved from the most
authentic sources. "The Egyptians," says Plutarch, "inserted nothing
into their worship without a reason, nothing merely fabulous, nothing
superstitious, as many suppose; but their institutions have either a
reference to morals, or to something useful in life; and many of them
bear a beautiful resemblance of some appearance in nature." Chæremon,
the Egyptian philosopher, says: "What is said of Osiris and Isis,*
and all the sacred fables, may be resolved into the stars--their
occultations and risings--into the course of the Sun through the zodiac;
or the nocturnal and diurnal hemispheres."

     * According to Eratosthenes, the celestial Virgin was
     supposed to be Isis, that is, the symbol of the returning
     year. It was in honor of this goddess that the Egyptians
     celebrated the famous festival of light, which was imitated
     by the Christians in their feast of Candlemas. From the
     Egyptians, the Romans took their Solar festivals, in honor
     of the birth of the god of light, celebrated on the 25th
     December, at which time, says Sexvius, the Sun may, properly
     speaking, be said to be new, or to have a new birth. Hence
     the Christmas of the Christians, which had also been,
     previously, a Druidical festival, in honor of the solar
     God's birth; hence the evergreen emblems--the holly, the
     mistletoe, etc., all sacred among the Druids thousands of
     years before Christ.

Porphyry corroborates the above thus:--"The learned Egyptians admit the
existence of no other gods except what are called the planets, the gods
which give completion to the zodiac; and such as rise together with
these; and likewise the sections of the zodiac into decans." Such
were the Egyptian and Chaldeans roots of Christianity; and such was
Christianity itself, until it became abused and falsified by the
introduction of Platonic visions, and a belief in the reality of
supernatural personifications, which by degrees supplanted the sublime
natural and moral principles of the Pagan stock.

The metaphysical phantasma called soul (revived by Plato from the
divine philosophy of the Pagans), and its future state of rewards and
punishments, is one of the most pernicious and fatal of those dogmas.
Without this notion priests would be comparatively harmless, as it forms
the basis of their secret influence, by working upon the hopes and fears
of ignorance, and thereby becomes the chief source of riches and power.
By this mischievous invention they have turned this fair world into
an abode of gloomy despair, terrifying their weak-minded victims into
slavish obedience, by keeping them in perpetual dread of imaginary
punishments, in the infliction of which they paint their god as a
capricious and malevolent tyrant. This story of the soul's immortality
must have been unknown, or at least not fashionable at the time in
which it is said Moses lived, since no allusion whatever is made to it
throughout the books attributed to him;* and David, Solomon, and Job
deny it in the most positive manner. Even the testator of the Jewish
will seems at that time to have had no such idea. The fact is, the Jews
had heard nothing of the matter until they learnt it of the Platonist
Greeks, as is proved by many parts of the Bible; for instance, Moses
makes the Jewish god threaten to "visit the sins of the fathers upon the
children unto the third and fourth generation." The rewards were also
purely temporal, such as "their corn their wine shall abound." These
were all the ideas that Moses had of future rewards and punishments;
and the Pharisees did not publicly maintain the dogma of the soul's
immortality, etc., until about the time of Herod.

     * The great Warburton has shown that the Jews in the time of
     Moses, entertained no such opinion as the immortality of the
     soul.  "This is admitted (says Ensor) although unwillingly,
     by Tillotson and Wilkins, and candidly by Le Clereq and
     Geddes." This platonic notion is flatly denied in Psalms
     cxlvi., 4; and in Eccles. iii, 19, 20.

Pythagoras and Plato seemed to have been the mere revivers of this
ancient doctrine, which, as the learned, say, sprang from the Brahminism
of India, the most ancient of all the mythologies, the priests of which
are said to have been the first who corrupted human society, by the
invention of souls, and other spiritual or celestial existences; but,
unlike their imitators of' the west, they neither persecuted nor shed
a drop of blood for religion's sake; nor the blood of animals for food.
Christians! we know ye can very ill bear to be told, that from India
through Persia ye have your cosmogony, fall of man, immortality of the
soul, redemption, incarnation, future rewards and punishments, heaven
and hell, desolation of all things, universal restoration, trinity
in unity, eternity, omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, and
omnibenevolence of God;* all are derived from the Vedas and Shastras, or
Bible of the Brahmins, and the Sadder of the Zoroastrians. Out of these
oriental materials, all the successive religions that have sprung up in
the west have been fabricated, with such variations in the machinery as
suited the civil and clerical despotism in the different countries, and
the degree of ignorance in the people.

One of the insidious and baneful arts of theology, has ever been to make
man believe that he is something else than that which nature has made
him in reality; and this delusive flattery has moulded him into that
self-important and credulous animal, which best suits the interests of
his deceivers;** hence his proudly assumed knowledge of his personified
deity. If this be true his boasted spiritual knowledge seems to have the
effect of making him more wicked and vicious than any other animal, for
he is not only the scourge of all the rest, but will, to gratify the
pride and ambition of lay and spiritual tyrants (leagured together
for his oppression), cut the throats of his own species; though, by so
doing, he the more closely rivets the chains of his own subjection, and
maintains those very delusions which enslave his mind, poison society,
and distract the world.

     * And this God was no other than the Sun!

     ** In commencing this nefarious process no time is lost man
     is seized upon the moment he is born, and the first
     sacerdotal spell is the water incantation; after which his
     mind is gradually mortgaged to the priest by more potent
     charms; he is carefully shorn of his natural liberties, and
     thus donkified, all his motions are regulated until death,
     when the last priestly spell is performed. But this is not
     all--clerical rapacity holds property even in the corpse
     which cannot be interred until this last grasping charge is
     satisfied.

The spiritual arsenal of Plato having thus supplied the human animal
with what is called an "immortal soul,"* our Christian priests have ever
since found it an excellent foundation for their scheme, and a secure
medium through which to make permanent their riches and power.

     * As the word soul, heaven, spirit, hell, metaphysio, ghost,
     immaterial, etc., are not representatives of things which
     exist in reality, why are they suffered to confound common
     sense? Because, in serving that purpose, they are the most
     useful auxiliaries of priest-mare delusion. The Theologian's
     definition of them is his best refutation.

Plato would not at this day know his foster-child, disfigured as it now
is by a train of hideous inventions, the theory of which is, that death
is the only way to a new and eternal life; that all who believe in this
paradoxical speculation of the priest shall be rewarded, and that all
who believe him _not_ shall be tortured by an eternal roasting in that
life. Considering the weak and credulous nature of the human mind in
a state of ignorance, we must acknowledge the bold ingenuity which
invented this tremendous dogma; it is calculated to confound even the
strongest intellect; for the terrors of death, under so frightful a
predicament, utterly debase and enslave the prostrate mind, making it a
prey to all the combined efforts of sacerdotal fraud. By this pernicious
fiction, the morality of nations has been destroyed, the blackest crimes
that man can commit have been pardoned,* and the priest has filled his
coffers to the glory of the three divinities! Theology, in its vain
attempts to raise man above that sphere in which nature has placed him,
as a link in her animated chain, hath thus created for him an imaginary
futurity; but, in so doing, by a strange incongruity, the creature so
exalted above himself, and made the exclusive object of divine clemency,
has against him, nevertheless, 999 chances in the 1,000 that he is
predestined to everlasting torments, (yet even this inexorably forlorn
hope flatters his pride) whilst the remaining unit only shall enjoy the
beatitude of celestial bliss:--

          No matter,
          Better to be in hell, it seems, than
          Not to be at all. We say negatur.

          * Oh, Plato! Plato! you have paved the way
          With your confounded fantasies, to more
          Immoral conduct, by the fancied sway.
          Your systems feign o'er the controlless core
          Of human hearts, than all the long array
          Of poets and romances; you're a bore,
          A charlatan, a coxcomb, and have been,
          At best, no better than a go-between.--Byron.

To create that essential difference between man and the other animals
which is necessary to the ends of priestcraft, the spiritualist
conjures up his chimerical invention called soul; which, for certain
considerations to him well and truly paid, he bestows exclusively
upon man; and as the other animals have no money, he declares, in the
not-to-be-questioned tone, that not one of them has a rag of any such
appendage. There is no necessity for proving this in the usual manner,
nor even to demonstrate that the article in question has a real
existence, as these are points of _faith_ imposed by dint of infallible
dogmas, the truth of which is sufficiently proved by the power which
nine millions a-year confers upon our spiritual guides; and by the
ignorance which that power and influence fosters.

The bee, the beaver, the ant, and many more of those called "inferior
animals," have shown in community, equal, if not superior wisdom, in
all their customs and social institutions, to that displayed by man in
society; yet priests will not allow them a scrap of _soul_. But this
deficiency will be remedied whenever spiritual impostors, pretending
to heavenly inspiration, shall spring up amongst themselves; for then
supernatural religions, with their accompaniments of priesthoods,
will be simultaneous blessings, as the latter will not only supply in
abundance the little "immortal" articles in question, but save and cure
them for the voyage to heaven, for the trifling remuneration of being
allowed the means of living in luxury and ease for life, at the expense
of the wealth producers. These conditions are so customary and moderate,
that a priesthood, even amongst ants, could not be expected both to
create and save souls on more reasonable terms. Before these tiny
examples of industry give way to the introduction of supernaturalism,
and its hierarchical plagues, let them well weigh whether the possession
of souls (subject to the terrible risks above stated), and a postmortem
_life_ will compensate for the corruption of government, the debasement
of character, the immoralities, the vices, and shocking crimes which
will most assuredly pervade their communities for ever in this life,
whenever they adopt spiritualism, and its train of locusts to prey upon
their industry. We have been more particular in regard to ants, owing to
its having been ascertained that in many of their republics, a military
force, or "standing army," in peace as well as in war, has been
established; and as that scourge has never been known among men, but
as part of a grand enslaving scheme, which embraced, as a vital
correlative, some system of superstition and its priesthood, it is
greatly to be feared that the ants are verging towards the sacerdotal
mania, which is the hand and glove concomitant of the former evil.

The indisputable fact that man, taking him as the Christian superstition
has moulded him, has more vices, than any other animal whatsoever, and
not a single virtue that may not be found in most of them, is rather a
lame proof of his exclusive possession of the immortal item to which he
pretends.

That which was called "soul" in Platonism and Christianity, was
precisely the _Pneuma_ of the Greeks, and the _Anima_ of the Latins, to
which they attached no other meaning than simply the breath of life*
in all animals; and as that is composed of elements which are eternal,
immortality may, in this sense, be justly ascribed to it.| But mind or
soul is not a thing of itself (res sui), but a consequence resulting
from, and depending upon, animal organisation. In regard to the "_innate
ideas_" which it has pleased our theological doctors to bestow upon the
human mind, the better to adapt it for their own purpose, it would be
quite as philosophical and true, to assert that a violin had innate
music. This physical property called mind, the result of organisation,
and, in degree, common to everything that has life, is, at birth, a
tabula rasa, but acquires ideas as it grows to maturity, from the senses
being acted upon by external objects, much in the same manner that the
mechanically organised violin produces music, from the external action
of the bow.

     * Its supposed existence after death is merely a fresh
     version of the ancient Metempsychosis.

     ** Aristotle maintained the eternity of matter, and did not
     believe that the governing power of the universe extended
     any particular providence to sublunary things. As for the
     immortality of the soul, or even the existence of any such
     thing, as taught in modern theology, it was quite
     inconsistent with his principles; yet he was, at one and the
     same tune, the master of theologians, and the chief of the
     Atheists.

The next dogma we shall notice is that of Savior, or Mediator. This is
evidently derived from the Christna of the Hindu trinity, who, as the
_Redeemer_ of the human race, was the most important of the three. This
personification of the sun seems to have been adopted by the Persian
lawgiver, Zoroaster, under the name of Mithra (which still meant
Mediator), when he founded the religion of the Mithriacs, or worshippers
of the sun. According to Plutarch, Zoroaster taught that there existed
two principles, one good, and the other evil; the first was called
Oromazes, "_the ancient of days_," being the principle of good or light;
the other, Ahrimanes, was the principle of evil, or cold and darkness.
Between these personified principles, he placed his Mithra, who, as the
source of genial heat and life, annually redeems the human race from the
power of evil or cold and darkness.* From this beautiful allegory of
the sun, is derived the Christian dogma of Savior, of which proof maybe
found even amongst the fathers. (See Tertullian, Adv. Qentes.) Celsus
asserts that the early Christians were merely a sect of adorers of the
sun, and such a sect were the Manicheans. The principles of what man
calls _good_ and _evil_, have also been personified** in the Osiris
and Typhon of the Egyptians, the Jupiter and Pandora of the Greeks,
the Jehovah and Satan of the Jews, and the present God and devil of the
Christians.

     *  This Indian and Persian Trinity was symbolical of the
     three-fold, power of the Sun, or God Mithra: in spring and
     summer, he is the Producer; in autumn, the Preserver; and by
     his absence in winter, the Destroyer.

     ** The fraud of personifying principles, and the physical
     powers of Nature has always been easy and indispensable with
     priests in all ages. During the French revolution, Gobet,
     Bishop of Paris, acknowledged that up to that time, himself
     and his clergy had taught the people nothing but a mass of
     falsehood, for which he apologised; disowned the god he had
     taught the people to worship, and promised to devote himself
     to the worship of reason, morality, liberty and virtue. But
     the stupid and credulous mob soon personified these
     qualities, and worshipped, them as deities and real
     entities. At Rome, in like manner, the compliments of the
     new year, Perpetua Felicitas, were turned into two
     goddesses, and receive divine honors to this day.

Diogenes Laertius says expressly that the Jews adopted the doctrine of
the two principles from the Magi; and St. Augustine assures us that it
was the foundation of the religion of the Assyrians, who were so often
the masters of the little miserable Jewish horde. Manicheism (so called
from Manes, the founder) was one of the first branches of Christianism;
but adhered more than any other of the heresies, to the original
Zoroastrian stock, though it lay as a stage between that religion and
the recent version of Christianity, which, as well as Judaism, is a mere
heresy from the religion of the Persians. Since the Persian cosmogony
and religion, as well as all others of the East, were purely and
confessedly allegorical, is it rational to suppose that anything of
the kind got up by the Jews, could be other than a rough and ignorant
version of that of their masters?

It has been admitted by most of the learned that the Shastras and Vedas,
or scriptures of the Hindus, were in existence 1,400 years before the
alleged time of Moses; and, in all probability, the Zendavesta, or
Persian Bible, was long anterior also. Sir William Jones, of pious
and orthodox memory, confesses that, "the name of Chrishna,* and the
general outline of his story, _was long anterior to the birth of our
Savior_, and, to the time of Homer, _we know very certainly_. I am
persuaded also (continues he), that a connexion existed between the old
idolatrous nations of Egypt, India, Greece, and Italy, _long before
the time of Moses_. In the Sanscrit Dictionary, compiled more than two
thousand years ago, we have the whole story of the incarnate Deity, BORN
OF A VIRGIN, and miraculously escaping in his infancy from the reigning
tyrant of his country."

     * Sir William Jones says, in his "Asiatic Researches," that
     he was assured by Colonel Valency, that Chrishna in Irish
     means the sun. The Baal-fire feast, or meeting, was a great
     festival in Ireland, on the 25th of December, and midsummer
     eye. Baal, or Bel, was a name of the sun all over the east.

     ** This probably alludes to the great period of nearly
     26,000 years, in which time the sun passes through the whole
     circle of the zodiac. That is, he is in each sign, at the
     venial equinox, for the space of 2,155 years.

This tyrant, alarmed at some prophecy, sought the infant's life; and, to
make sure work, he ordered all the male children under two years of age
to be put to death. Here is the true origin of the horrid story about
Herod, of which no Greek or Roman historian says a single word. That
the Christian story was taken from the Indian allegory, is traceable in
every circumstance--the reputed father of Chrishna was a
carpenter--a new star appeared at the child's birth--he was laid in a
manger--(celestial)--he underwent many incarnations! to redeem the world
from sin and mental darkness, (ignorance and winter) and was, therefore,
called _Savior_;--he was put to death between two thieves--he arose
from the dead, and returned to his heavenly seat in Vaicontha. In
corroboration of this, Albert the Great admits as follows "We know that
the sign of the celestial Virgin did come to the horizon at the
moment where we have fixed the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. All
the mysteries of the incarnation of our Savior Christ: and all the
circumstances of his marvellous life, from his conception to his
ascension, _are to be traced out in the constellations, and are figured
in the stars_." Volney, Dupuis, and others, have shown that these, and
many more of our Scripture stories, which are absurd and revolting, if
taken literally, were originally, in the learning of the east, pregnant
with truth as astronomical allegories; having primary allusion to the
sun, the elements and seasons, and to the progress of that luminary
through the different signs of the zodiac; but more particularly, as he
is the sole and glorious source from which flows all and everything that
man can rationally call good. We repeat the melancholy truth, that all
these beautiful astro-allegories have been lost in the ignorance or
roguery of priestcraft.

Miraculous conceptions.--All antiquity is full of such conceptions
and births, springing from the fabulous amours of gods with _virgins_,
whereby "_sons of God_" were engendered. These fables also had their
origin in physical and moral allegories; but they were subsequently
found to be extremely convenient to cover the real fruits of sacerdotal
intrigues and seductions, which the priests could always saddle upon
some good-natured god. In all probability the virgin votaries of Vesta
were instituted for no other purpose than the private _devotions_ of the
priesthood* and when it happened that they were unable to conceal the
natural effects of these amours, the paternity was charged upon some
easy accommodating god; by which means the girl remained in spotless
virginity. This opinion is the more valid from their being allowed to
marry at thirty, when the priests no longer wanted _their_ services,
but those of the younger girls: if they chose to remain, in the temple,
however, they were

          "Doomed to deck the bed they once enjoyed."

     * In the highest apartment of the Temple of Belas, in
     Babylon, a woman was kept for the _private devotion_ of the
     priest whose turn it was to make astronomical observations.
     This was done under the pretence that the lady was visited
     once a year by the god Bel. History dees not inform us in
     regard to Bel's progeny, by these housekeepers.

By such artful intrigues, the Hindu virgin, Rohini, conceived and
brought forth a "son of God," one of the Brahmin trinity. A Chinese
_virgin_, impregnated by a ray of the _Sun_, became the mother of the
god Foê, who always acted as the _mediator_ between his followers and
another god of still greater power. Mademoiselle Creusa, in all her
virgin purity, was safely delivered of another "_son of God_" as was also
the virgin mother of Somonocodom, who, according to the scriptures of
the Talapoins of Siam, was the god expected to _save_ the universe.
Jupiter himself was fabled to have given birth to children from all
parts of his body, from forehead to leg: thus Minerva sprang from his
head.* The followers of Plato, two hundred and fifty years after his
death, and one hundred before the Christian era, raised the story that
he was born of a virgin:--Aristo, his father, was on his marriage,
warned in a _dream_ by Apollo, not to have any commerce with his wife,
because she was with child by him (Apollo); Aristo obeyed; and Plato
was born as another "_son of God_" It was no doubt owing to the holy
paternity of some priest, that Sylva Rhea, under cover of a love affair
with the god Mars, had the honor to lay the foundation of the Roman
religion, by producing another "_son of God_."

     *  The severe study, or brain-labor necessary in acquiring
     sound knowledge, is here prettily allegorized in the birth,
     of Minerva, who was the personification of wisdom.

The writers of the most ancient chronicles of Alexandria, after
attesting the universal prevalence of our _gospel religion_ in Egypt for
ages before the date of its alleged origin, in the reign of Tiberius,
testify as follows:--

"To this day, Egypt has consecrated the pregnancy of a virgin, and the
nativity of her son, whom they annually present in a cradle, to the
adoration of the people; and when king Ptolemy, three hundred and fifty
years before our Christian era, demanded of the priests the significancy
of this religions ceremony, they told him it was a mystery."*

All the above conceptions and incarnations are merely the poetical and
allegorical fictions of Paganism. We have already seen that the first
fabricators and compilers of our religion were men of the greatest
honesty and veraciousness of character: and as they had just received
the divine light of "the only true revelation," we are "bound to
believe" that their story of a miraculous conception is the only true
one, confirmed as it is by _ghosts, dreams, angels, and shadows_. It
is true that it cannot boast of such remote antiquity as the foregoing
prodigies; but it is ancient enough to constitute truth in the orthodox
eye of _Faith_; and we must not give way to the impiety of supposing
that it is an imitatio of any one of the heathen fables enumerated;**
or the "blasphemy" of surmising that God's sending "his message to a
carpenter's wife," is a varied version of Jupiter's loving message to
Alcmena, by Mercury.

     * According to Macrobius, this was the solar god Bacchus,
     who appears at the winter solstice, as an infant. Plutarch
     says that at the winter solstice, Isis (Nature) brought
     forth a son, a weak and feeble infant. On the inscription at
     Sais, Isis says, "The fruit which I have produced, was, and
     will become a Sun."

     ** The whole story about the conception and birth, was told
     in precisely the same manner as it is now, in India, Persia,
     Egypt, and Greece, for more than 1,600 years before its
     alleged occurrence in Palestine.

Neither must we entertain the shocking idea that the conception of
Mary was occasioned by any carnal agency; or that either the _shadow or
substance_ of any priest was at all concerned in the holy mystery. Yet
heresy will tell untoward tales; for her pregnancy has been accounted
for in the most natural way imaginable, thus:--"According to the
apocryphal gospel of the nativity of Mary which Father Jerome Xavier
entirely adopts, Mary, when a child, was consecrated to the Lord (that
is, to the priests), by the usual vow; and was brought up in the temple,
which she did not leave until she was sixteen years of age. This created
a suspicion that her pregnancy was the effect of some intrigue with the
priests, who made her believe, or say, that it was the Holy Ghost who
had begotten a child upon her."*--(Codex. Apox. N. T.) Some profane
persons have said that the high priest was himself the chief actor in
this sacerdotal amour; for he anxiously, pitched upon old Joseph to
be the husband of Mary. St. Epiphanjus assures us in his book "Adv.
Heresies," that Joseph was very old at the time of his marriage with the
_virgin_; and adds that he was the father of six children by his first
wife. Moreover, the gospel ascribed to St. James the younger affirms
that the good old man espoused Mary with much reluctance, owing to the
disparity of their ages; but the high priest prevailed on him at last;
and it further informs us of the very ill-humor of Joseph, when he
found that his wife had been with child before their marriage, and
the reproaches with which he loaded her, on account of her lewdness,
unworthy, as he thought, _of a virgin reared under the eyes of priests_.
Mary excused herself with tears and protestations, and swore by the
living God that she did not know who begot the child. In her distress,
the best excuse would have been her adventure with the archangel
Gabriel; but it appears she forgot that. [It is indeed passing
strange that Mary, according to Matthew, is wholly ignorant of her
justification, according, to Luke.]

The fathers of our Church have disputed and quarreled in the most
obscene terms, about this mystic impregnation by the Holy Ghost. St.
Ambrose says:--"Non enim, secreta reseravit, sed immaculatum semen
inviolabili utero spiritus sanctus infudit!"**

     * The followers of Loatze say, that his mother became
     pregnant of him, by a junction of heaven and earth. This is
     a sublime and bold _conception_; and far excels the puerile
     prating about _ghosts, angels, dreams, and shadows_.

     ** Of the miraculous impregnation, St. Ambrose says, "Maria
     per aurem impregnata est."

In one of the Church hymns it was sung, "Non ex virili, sed mystico
spiramine." Justin Martyr, in his apology, justifies these dogmas as
modified by the Christians, _not because they were true_, but from the
example of the heathen; he says:--"By declaring the Logos, the first
begotten of God, our Master Jesus Christ, to be born of a virgin,
without any human mixture, and to be crucified and dead, and to have
risen again, and ascended into heaven,--_we say no more in this, than
what you say of those whom you style the sons of Jove_." This was
honestly lugging in one fable to apologise for another. The logic of
Tertullian on this subject was decisive, and peculiar to himself--it
might be called an axiomatic, or self-evident mode of reasoning; for
instance, he says, "I am not ashamed of maintaining that the son of God
was born, _because it is itself a shameful thing_. I maintain that he
died and rose again, _because it is absurd_" When preachers use such
convincing arguments, there is no excuse for the incredulity of hearers.
This great Father contended also, that souls were material--that they
had sexes, and were as much begotten by each other; as our bodies are by
the bodies of our immediate parents. He asserted also, that "_God is a
body_."

"The word _begotten_ necessarily infers and associates the ideas of
three distinct and separate Beings--the begetters, the begotten, and the
person on whom he was begotten; and the term _begotten_, alluding as it
does to the performance of a particular action, must imply a particular
time when that action was performed and of course that there was a time
when that action was performed; now as the very, definition of the word
eternity is that which is _without beginning_ as well as _without end_,
to talk of a person _begotten_ from eternity, is to compose a sentence
of words the most contradictory to each other, or downright nonsense; it
is to tell us of an action that was _begun without any beginning; of a
finite infinite, or an immortal mortal!_" But the mystic conceptions,
births, and incarnations of Paganism, being rooted in, and having
exclusive allusion either to physical or moral principles, there were no
such absurdities, terms, or monstrous perversions of them, as the early
Christiana fell into, by converting mere words into _beings_, in forming
their mythology.

That the Christian dogma of the immaculate conception and birth of
Christ, was originally an astronomical allegory of the Sun, "the
day-spring from on high," can be proved by a hundred corroborating
facts, which, are irresistibly convincing, except where interest, or
the most inveterate prejudice, stands in the way. These facts have been
elucidated by Albert, Alphonso, Volney, Boulanger, Dupuis, Taylor, and
by all astronomers, who have not been deterred from speaking the truth
by their interests, their fears, or their prejudices. On the 19th of
August, the constellation of the Virgin disappears in the sun's rays;
and hence the figurative expression in Luke i., 35, "The Holy Ghost
shall come upon thee, _and the power of the Highest shall OVERSHADOW
thee_." On the same day the ancients celebrated the assumption of
Astrea,* (another name of the Virgin,) and about the same time, the
Christians celebrate the assumption of the blessed Virgin. On the 9th
of September, this constellation emerges out of the Sun's rays, at which
time the Catholics celebrate the nativity of the mother of the Sun, or
Christ.

     * That is, the starry goddess. She was also the Miriam (the
     same as Mary, Eve, Ac.,) of Numbers xii., 14, and the seven
     days' leprosy of her face was allegorical of the same number
     of days exactly, when the brightness of the zodiacal virgin
     is wholly absorbed, or obscured, by the effulgence of the
     solar rays.

The "star in the east," (a sign containing more than a hundred stars,)
mentioned in Matthew, was no other than this zodiacal sign of the
celestial Virgin, which arose on the eastern horizon precisely at
the time at which we fix the birth of Jesus Christ, viz., the 25th of
December, when the sun has risen one degree above the solstitial point:
which answers to a moment to the births of the Egyptian Osiris, the
Grecian Bacchus, and the Mithra of the Persians. These mystic births are
manifestly identical, being metaphorical of the Sun's annual birth
at the winter solstice, after which he gradually becomes, not only
figuratively, but positively, the Savior of the world. The resemblance,
or rather the sameness of every circumstance relating to Mithras,
the Mediator of the Persians, and those connected with the Savior, or
Mediator of the Christians, is so apparent, that no rational man
can doubt, or hesitate a moment, in pronouncing the latter to be a
counterpart of the former.

Zoroaster taught the Magi that this celestial birth would be announced
by the rising of this star, or constellation of Virgo, in the middle
of which would appear the figure of a young woman, suckling an infant
child, called Jesus by some nations, and Christ, or Christos,* in Greek.
This was the goddess of the _year_ nursing the god of _day_. Under this
beautiful symbol, the new born child is said to be feeble, weak, and
obscure, which is metaphoric of the Sun below the horizon in winter;
that he was brought forth in a stable, and laid in a manger, alluding to
the "stabulum jovium," one of the winter constellations. At the vernal
equinox, when the Sun entered the sign Aries, or the Bam, the emblem was
a lamb, (the lamb of God,) and as he gained strength towards the summer
solstice, he became the conqueror of the powers of darkness and evil,
that is, the constellations of winter; and was figuratively said
to bruise the serpent's head, that constellation being, as it were,
depressed below the horizon. By a like metonymy of language, the
"_Ascension_" of Christ has also allusion to the Sun at the summer
solstice.

     * In the ancient zodiacs of India and Egypt, there is seen
     this virgin nursing a male child with sun rays around his
     head, (frown not, ye priests!) which is emblematical of the
     infant sun at the winter solstice, and of his being then in
     the sign Virgo. When he was in that sign in summer, the
     virgin was represented with a bunch of fruit; and when in
     harvest, she appropriately held out an ear of corn. These
     zodiacs were devised at various periods of antiquity, as the
     sun passed through the different signs, in the phenomena of
     which the learned priests always found plenty of gods and
     goddesses for the worship of the vulgar, as is still done in
     Christianism.

Upon the sun's annual progression through the twelve signs of the zodiac
was founded the mythological or allegorical astronomy of the ancients,
(Christianity has no other foundation); and in this zodiacal picture,
the allegory supposes that sign to have rule, through which the sun is
passing; the knowledge of which science was conveyed in a striking and
sublime manner, under the disguise of miraculous narrative: of this sort
is the story of the three children, in the book of Daniel, a relic of
Chaldean astronomy. The "burning fiery furnace" was nothing else than
an emblem of that region of the great circle which the sun enters at
midsummer, or the sign Cancer. Each of the twelve signs of the zodiac
had a presiding genius, or imaginary personification, and these were
the twelve greater gods of Paganism. Each of these signs was again
subdivided into three parts, called Decans, who were also personified;
and, consequently, there were three of these geniuses in each of the
signs: therefore, when the sun enters Cancer, there must be three of
these Decans, or personifications, in the burning fiery furnace. Here
the astronomer in Daniel,* concealing his science under the veil of
allegory, exclaims: "Did we not reckon three children in the burning
fiery furnace? Behold, I see four, and the form of the fourth is
like the Son of God!" No person but a Christian, under his strongest
prejudices, is capable of denying the manifest meaning of this metaphor,
that being evidently the _sun itself_; which, with three personified
Decans, Shadrach, Mesach, and Abednego, in the sign Cancer, makes the
fourth. It is almost needless to point out that Nebuchadnezzar, the
king, is a personification of the constellation Sirius, or the dog-star,
which is always supposed to heat "the burning fiery furnace," in a
sevenfold degree, while the sun is in its vicinity, that is, from the
3rd of July till about the 11th of August.

     * The zodiacal sign of the lion being below the horizon, and
     the sun appearing to set in the direction of that
     constellation, "Dom-el, Daniel, or Daniel, that is, the Sun"
     was said to be cast into the Lion's Den.

     ** The author is much indebted to the Rev. Mr. Taylor for
     the satisfactory manner in which he proves many of these
     astronomical allegories.

What is the signification of the many Bible allusions to the "_Horse_
and his _Rider_," the "triumphant" breaking of the arrows and his bow,
he being always denoted as essentially opposed to what is good, and
forming part of, or belonging to, that which is evil? This allegory
evidently points to the Centaur sign, Sagittarius, half horse and half
man, armed with bow and arrows. This is the zodiacal sign of November;
and the sun being in that adverse constellation in that dark and gloomy
month, it is naturally spoken against, as being emblematical of his
weak, low, and depressed influence; and, consequently, its inseparable
connexion with _evil_, or cold and darkness. But when the sun rises
"triumphantly" in the heavens, and is most truly "the day star on high,"
as he ascends towards the summer solstice, and becomes the "Lion
of Juda," in July, he has victoriously thrown the zodiacal archer,
Sagittarius, as it were, "_into the sea_" that is, below where the
sea bounds the horizon. Then have we Miriam's sublime song of
victory:--"Sing ye to the Lord (the sun), for he hath triumphed
gloriously; the _Horse_ and his _Rider_ hath he thrown into the sea."
As this victory is achieved annually, the song is equally applicable at
every midsummer. Thus, though a large portion of the miscellany called
the Bible appears in the guise of immoral or absurd narrative, much of
it is really and truly the allegorised astronomy of the Chaldees and
Persian Magi, and therefore rooted in science.

Like everything else relating to Christ, or Christos, the dogma of
the ascension has no doubt its allegorical root in the Sun's apparent
exaltation in the heavens, from the vernal equinox to the summer
solstice. This miraculous story, as we have seen it in the New
Testament, is more replete with inconsistency than even any of the
others of that book. The Fathers have attributed the anonymous book
called the "Acts" to Luke; but his gospel contradicts the Acts: the
latter makes Jesus remain on earth forty days after his crucifixion;
whereas Luke makes him ascend into heaven the very same day he arose
from the dead. Those who are stated to have been eye-witnesses of the
ascension, being present as disciples at the time, viz., Matthew, John,
Peter, James, and Jude, have not, in the epistles ascribed to them, left
even an allusion to that most wonderful phænomenon. Matthew and John
were said to be present--how came they to omit even the slightest notice
of this vital root of Christianity? Mark and Luke were _not_ present;
yet they alone notice it, in rather a vague and abrupt manner. In short,
no person whatever _says he saw it_. Mark says that Jesus ascended at
Jerusalem; Luke says it was at Bethany, places two miles distant from
each other. Matthew says the last seen with the disciples was on a
mountain in Galilee; Luke, that it was at Bethany, which is at least
seventy-five miles from Galilee.

The dogma of the redemption of man by Jesus Christ, appears not to
have been thought of by the New Testament fabricators; and is clearly
a subsequent invention of the Church of Rome. Paul, In Corinthians xv.,
gives us abundant assertions about the resurrection of the same body,
which is his chief doctrine, but there is not a word about redemption.
This dogma, then, is the lucrative forgery of priestcraft, after the
councils of Nice and Laodicea had _decided by vote_ that the spurious
miscellany called the New Testament should be the new Will of God.
The amount of moral evil done by this fable, is enormous beyond all
expression. When men are taught that their wicked deeds and vices are to
be rubbed off by a device so unjust and iniquitous as the sacrifice of
the innocent, to atone for the crimes of the guilty, we cannot wonder at
the horrid depravity of society.

Having already shown that Christianism is merely a compound emanating
from the Egyptian, Brahmin, and Zoroastrian systems, or a new version
of the fables of Prometheus, Christna, Mithras, Adonis, Bacchus,** etc.,
engrafted with some variations upon the Jewish scriptures; and that the
above names, with hundreds of others, are so many personified emblems of
the Sun, which, together with the planetary system and the fixed stars
(in Bible phrase, "the host of heaven") formed the occult basis of all
the religions of Paganism,*** the important question will be asked--has
"may penetrate into the signification of all oriental mysteries; but the
Vulgar can only see the exterior symbol, or the bark which covers them."
Again, he says, "It is allowed by all who have any knowledge of the
scriptures, that everything is mentioned enigmatically."

     * That man should be redeemed from the sin of eating an
     apple, by the murder of an innocent person called Jesus, is
     certainly by far the strangest system of religion that ever
     was palmed upon the world. Never was there so great an
     outrage on common-sense!

     ** Even the word _Divine_, pluralised in Dii Vini, deities
     of wine, or priests of Bacchus, is taken from heathenism,
     and pressed into the service of a very different order of
     priests, save that wine-loving has ever been common to both.

     *** Origen tells Celsus that the Egyptian philosophers
     veiled their knowledge of things in fables and allegories.
     "The learned," he adds,

Christianity has no tangible or anthentic historical foundation, _to be
understood according to the literal sense of the New Testament?_ If
such events or incidents in any way similar to those detailed in the New
Testament, had in reality taken place at the times and places stated,
they could not possibly have failed to excite the intense attention
of the public authorities amongst the Romans, even if denuded of their
miraculous accompaniments the infant butchery of Herod would alone have
caused this attention. But as no one of all the historians or noted
writers, Roman, Jewish, or Greek, who lived in the period of the alleged
prodigies, nor those who came upon the public stage immediately after
them, though there were upwards of twenty such distinguished authors,
who wrote between the years 20 and 140 A.D., have taken the slightest
notice of the life or crucifixion of a person called Christ--(the
passage in Josephus is universally given up as forgery)--the
inadmissible violations of Nature's laws, said to have accompanied that
event, as narrated in the Gospels, which contradict each other in almost
every important circumstance, we are forced to the conclusion that
independently of everything miraculous, the story is totally unsupported
by any concurrent testimony;* but when the miracles are taken into
consideration in the literal sense, reason and all experience at
once decide the whole to be grossly fabulous; and seems to be a
circumstantial imitation of the crucifixion of Prometheus, as we have it
in the tragedy of Æschylus, which is a dramatic allegory of the sun, and
the planetary system.

     * Bishop Talleyrand, in a letter which, he is said to have
     written to the Pope, after their quarrel, states that after
     Christianity had made some noise in the Empire, the entire
     absence of all testimony in regard to its pretended origin,
     excited the curiosity of the Roman Senate, to know what
     really was the foundation of the story; so they "ordered
     affidavits to be procured in the very centre of Palestine,
     in places fixed by them, which affidavits were sent to Rome,
     with the most conclusive evidence of the correctness of the
     report. These proved that Mary, who was of the tribe of
     Levi, and wife of the carpenter Joseph, who was of the tribe
     of Juda, had had an illicit intercourse with a Roman
     soldier, named Panther, who served in the 14th legion,
     stationed in Egypt, whence he was detached into Palestine.
     From this criminal intercourse a child was born, whom they
     called Arenias; and who was adopted by Joseph, according to
     the Roman practice, though it was contrary to the Jewish
     customs. With Joseph he learned the carpenter's trade; but
     after the death of his putative father, he abandoned his
     home and mother, and became a vagrant. Having met a few
     vagrants like himself, they all took the road to Galilee,
     where they lived for some time by begging. Having at last
     become the leader of a band of freebooters, he was arrested
     by the police of Jerusalem, and finally condemned to death
     by the general acclamation of the people." By thus
     instituting inquiries in the country in which he was born,
     the Roman Senate became acquainted with the origin of Mary's
     son, which, in regard to paternity, differs from the
     apocryphal gospel of the nativity of Mary.

This new version of the old mythology was gradually constructed by
priestcraft during the second, third, and fourth centuries, of materials
taken from all the oriental polytheisms; and is a similar sort of
fraudful quackery upon these allegorical religions, that astrology is
upon legitimate astronomy. Thus, (let us repeat the melancholy truth)
out of the comparatively harmless astro-fables of antiquity hath sprung
a foul collusion of religious and political tyranny, that has been
dreadful in its effects; and every successive invention to strengthen
this accursed coalition of an aristocracy of nobles and priests,
linked together with royalty,* has tended more and more to depress the
interests of the laboring population, or wealth producers of Europe, and
served to crush them under the most merciless of all despotisms. And as
it is utterly hopeless that our English _hereditary lawgivers_, who are
virtually our feudal rulers, and whose interests are entirely exclusive,
will ever pass any laws but such as support and perpetuate these
interests, it is much to be feared that, as in France before the
revolution, nothing but a sanguinary reaction on the part of the people,
will reestablish their right to just representation in Parliament, equal
laws, and a dissolution of that baneful state-confederacy between our
aristocratic rulers and the reigning superstition; the support of which,
we are tempted to conclude, _is more the object of government than the
interests of the common weal_.

     * In 1822, the clergy of Austria persuaded the monarch of
     over forty millions of people to declare, "I want no men of
     science; I want only obedient subjects. I want no education
     among my subjects, but what is given by the priesthood."


END OF LECTURE THIRD.



LECTURE FOURTH. PAGAN ALLEGORIES MADE CHRISTIAN DOGMAS (Continued.)

     All these fragments of crack-brained opiniatry and silly
     solaces, played off, in the sweetness of song, by deceitful
     poets, have, by you too credulous creatures, been shamefully
     reformed and made over to your own God. MINUTIUS FELIX.

DOES not the New Testament speak very distinctly of two crucifixions,
viz., one as having taken place upon Mount Calvary, and another at,
or in a Garden? There is even a third mentioned, as having occurred
in Egypt, "where also our Lord was crucified," Rev. xi., 8; which is
a plain recognition of the astro-religion, and solar worship of the
Egyptian priests. The crucifixion upon Mount* Calvary was allegorical
of the sun's _passing over, or crossing_ the equator in March; of which
month the Ram, or Lamb of God, was the zodiacal emblem, God, the sun,
being in that sign at the spring equinox. This was also the origin of
the Pascal Lamb, and the _Passover_ of the Jews, which they borrowed of
their masters, the Egyptians.

     * The word mount, as here used, is figurative of the sun's
     being in the state of elevation in the horizon, at the
     spring equinox.

This _crossing_ of the sun, while in the Ram of March, was likewise
metonymised into the phrase about "The Lamb that was slain from the
beginning of the world," that is, the Lamb that was figuratively crucified
at every vernal equinox, while the sun was in the sign Aries or the
Lamb. The Evangelist John, in describing God, declares that the hair of
his head _was like wool_; (O, John, you are too apt to tell tales ont of
school!) which setting aside the ludicrous simile, is a sublime symbol
of God, the sun, in the sign of the Bam, in March. Why is the second
crucifixion, as narrated by this tell-tale, John, said to have happened,
not upon a mount, but in or near a garden? Because this crucifixion has
allusion to the autumnal equinox, when the sun _crosses_ the line of
the equator, in September; and nothing can be a prettier, or more
appropriate emblem of that month than a fruit garden, or vineyard.
Why is the mother of Jesus said to be standing by, or near him, at the
garden crucifixion, as stated by John, though her presence is not at all
acknowledged by any of the other evangelists? His mother could no more
be near him at his Calvary crucifixion, than August can be near March;
but as she, as the sign Virgo, or the Virgin, is also the genius of
August, she was, of course, near, or standing "by the cross," when
her son Jesus Christ, that is, the sun, was crossified, or crossed the
equator in September, that month being next door neighbor to August.
The Christ, or Savior of the vernal equinox ascends into the Heaven of
summer, and saves, or recreates the organised existences of this globe,
by his genial and animative power; whereas the Christ of the autumnal
_Cross_ descends gradually to the winter solstice, and is said,
therefore, to descend into _Hell_, that is, to enter the signs and
constellations of winter, which, being antagonistic to those of summer,
are emblematical of evil. In the September crucifixion, Christ, as the
sun, is called "the Just One," because he is then in the zodiacal sign,
Libra, or the Balance.

The Egyptian deity, Bacchus, or the wine-producing god, being also a
personification of the sun, is the same as Christ, and of course, like
him, visited the "lowest regions" after being unjustly put to death.
These being only the Egyptian and Indian names for the same divinity, it
was quite in analogy to preserve a symbolical allusion to the vine and
blood of the grape, in the crucifixion of Christ. But it requires little
penetration to perceive that all we find there said about the "agony,"*
in the garden, and sweating "great drops of blood," has a very plain
allusion to the wine-press and the compression of the grapes;** and
here the secret meaning is as near the surface as it possibly can be in
allegory. The rich, sweet juice is at first expressed in "great drops,"
or copiously, and is called "the blood of the grape;" by a second
pressure, the thin lees, or "vinegar," is compressed, which they are
allegorically said to have given him to drink; and after this last
process the business is truly said to be "finished." After this manner,
and in every age and country of the world, down to the present day,
have the allegories invented by priests, and cunningly drawn from
the astronomical phænomena of nature, passed for religion amongst the
unthinking million.*** If the cruel usage given to John Barleycorn, in
the process of turning him into beer, had been allegorised to us in our
present ignorance, and priest-nursed stupidity, it would have
answered equally as well as the fable of Christ and the "blood of the
wine-press."

     * "An Agony literally is a wine-press."--Taylor.

     ** "And the wine-press was trodden without the city, and
     blood came out of the wine-press" (Rey. xiv., 20).

     *** The Crucifixion of Christ is so manifestly a new version
     of that of Prometheus (another name of the sun), that in our
     translations of that tragedy of Æschylus, the crucifixion of
     the original is never, acknowledged; but he is always
     fraudulently said to be bound. "The object of this impudent
     fraud," says Mr. Higgins, "need not be pointed out."

The name of Chrishna, Christna, or Christ, was common to Egypt as
well as to India, in the remotest known antiquity. In the Sanscrit
Dictionary, the name of the Nile is Christna; which is further proof of
what Sir William Jones says about the exceedingly ancient intercourse
which subsisted between India and Egypt "before the time of Homer."
And although this pious author, and several other writers on eastern
affairs, seem carefully to have avoided saying a word about the
crucifixion of the Hindu Savior, and many Christians have exulted in the
similarity of the legends being entirely broken off by this pretended
discrepancy, yet the fact is incontrovertible, that not only was Christ,
or Christna, crucified in India, but in Egypt "also," as we have already
shown on Scripture authority. Mr. Higgins asserts that the Brahmin
"crucifixion was well known in the time of St. Jerome," who, like the
Evangelist John, _was rather apt to tell astronomical secrets_.

Mons. Guigniant says--"The death of Chrishna is variously related: one
averred tradition very remarkably represents him to have perished on a
fatal tree, or _cross_ where he was pinned, or nailed with an arrow."
Mr. Moor, in the "Hindu Pantheon," states, that many of the plates and
pictures of India, of undoubted antiquity, represent the god Christna,
with cicatrix, or scars in his hands and feet, the very points of the
nails by which he was suspended on that fatal tree. Plate 98, in the
"Hindu Pantheon," shows the figure of a man suspended on a cross; and it
appears, that when the Romish artists imitated this Indian crucifixion,
in their carvings and paintings, _they omitted the cross itself_; their
reason for this is very obvious. The figure appears hanging in the sky,
with arms distended, and the feet overlapping each other, so that one
nail might perforate both at once. Now it is not a little extraordinary,
_that some of the earlier Christian sects maintained, that Christ was
crucified in the sky_. Here is a direct demonstration, that the Brahmin
crucifixion is, wholly and radically, an astronomical allegory of
the equatorial _crossings_ of the sun at the Equinoxes; and that the
Christian fable is identically the same, but the scientific meaning is
lost, through the fraud of priestcraft, and the ignorance it fosters.

Mr. Moor further observes, that having some apprehension of giving
offence to the bigoted and prejudiced on these points, he showed the
plates and paintings above-mentioned to a friend, who suggested the
propriety of omitting plate 98.

"I very much suspect," says Mr. Higgins, in his Anacalypsis, "that it is
from some story, now unknown, _or kept out of sight_, relating to this
Avata, that the ancient heretics alluded to, obtained their tradition of
Jesus being crucified in the clouds." He says again, "That nothing
more is known respecting this Avata, I cannot help suspecting, may be
attributed to the same kind of feeling, which induced Mr. Moor's friend
to wish him to remove print 98 from his book. The innumerable pious
frauds of which Christian priests stand convicted, and the principle
of the expediency of fraud, admitted to have existed by Mosheim, are a
perfect justification of my suspicions respecting the concealment of
the history of this Avata. I repeat, I cannot help suspecting that it
is from this Avata," (_incarnation_) "of Chrishna, that the sect of
Christian heretics got their Christ crucified in the clouds."

In regard to the Buddhists of India, who claim an antiquity of fifteen
thousand years, Sir William Jones, though he appears to have been
horrified at the idea of following truth beyond the limits of bible
chronology, is constrained to assign the period of Buddha, or the ninth
incarnation of Vishnu, in the year 1400 before Christ, though according
to Volney and others, it was 600 years earlier. Christna and Buddha are
identical* in principle; both are incarnations of Vishnu, the second
person in the Hindu Trinity, and were born of virgin mothers, and each
was the son of a carpenter; both suffer death by crucifixion. Christna
raised the dead, by descending for that purpose to the _lowest regions_.
Both names signify Shepherd and Savior. The crucified Christna is
represented in the aforesaid plate 98, with rays of glory surrounding
the head, as is also the head of Buddha, which may be seen in the
museum of the India House. To the rational mind, this glory will appear
emblematical only of the sun himself in his radiant summer brightness,
because it is manifestly so of no other object in nature.

     * The Negro, Mannon now in the British Museum, corroborates
     the opinion, that the sciences were once in the hands of the
     Blacks. Mr. Higgins says, that though both Buddha and
     Chrishna of the India House museum, are black, the latter is
     easily distinguishable from the former, because he is not a
     Negro.

Mr. Higgins goes on to show "the idle pretensions that the Brahmins,
some way or other, have got copies of the apocryphal gospels, from
which they have taken the history of the birth, life, and adventures
of Chrishna. How wonderfully absurd," says he, "to suppose that all
the ancient emblems and idols of Christna, in the temples and caves
scattered over every part of India, _and absolutely identified with them
in point of antiquity,_ can have been copied from the gospels written
after the time of Jesus! How wonderfully absurd, that the Brahmins, and
people of this widely extended empire, should condescend to copy from
the real or cast-away spurious gospels of a sect, at that time almost
unknown in their own country; and many thousand miles distant from these
Brahmins!"

The deified Hercules, the personified power of the sun, was known in
very remote antiquity; yet according to Arrian, he was fifteen centuries
later than Bacchus, who was the same as the Hindu deity Siva. The
triplicate godhead of India, says Arrian, consisted of Brahma,
Chrishna, and Seeva, _three in one, and one in three_ viz., the Creator,
Preserver, or Savior, and the Destroyer.* Now, Arrian wrote in the
second century, in the time of the Emperor Adrian, when the New
Testament of the Christians was not yet got up; and as for their
Trinity, they did not fully imitate the Hindu in that triune point,
until about the close of the fourth century.

     * According to a passage of Arrian, quoted in the Edinburgh
     Review, Chrishna was worshipped in the time of Alexander, at
     what still remains one of the most famous temples of India,
     that of Mathura, on the Jumna, the Matura Deorum of Ptolemy.

All the garbled statements, and mean subterfuges that could be invented
by powerful priesthoods, in league with corrupt Rulers, have been
brought into play to oppose and stifle the above incontrovertible
facts. This unblushing effrontery is quite "in trade" with parties
whose interest it undoubtedly is that these things should be known
only amongst themselves, lest the "simple-minded" should be induced
to suspect that they had been most egregiously duped by men whose very
living depends upon deception. The wonderful resemblance,--the apparent
sameness or identity--of the Indian and Christian mythics, must have
shaken the well-settled faith of Sir William Jones; and so far, his love
of truth got the better of his piety; otherwise, he would no doubt
have been willing to suppress the alarming truth of the vastly higher
antiquity of the Hindu allegory.* Why did he conceal the crucifixion
part of the fable, _and the fact of its being represented as taking
place in the sky?_ It was in vain he expected that other writers on
India, many of whom were equally well-informed, would be as disingenuous
as himself.

The ancient hieroglyph of the cross itself is, beyond all contradiction,
of the most remote antiquity in the different countries of India; and
it is found on most of the Egyptian obelisks--all the three monograms of
Osiris, and those of Jupiter Ammon,--the staffs of Isis and Osiris, etc.
The pious and orthodox Mr. Skelton, in his "Appeal to common sense,"
confesses as follows:--"How it came to pass that the Egyptians,
Arabians, and Indians, _long before Christ came among us_, paid such
a remarkable veneration to the cross, is to me unknown; _but the fact
itself is known_." In Dr. Clarke's "Travels," there is an engraved copy
of a Phoenician medal, found in the ruins of Citium, and proved by him
to be Phoenician, on which are inscribed, not only the cross, but the
rosary or string of beads, attached to it, _together with the figure of
a Lamb_. The Rev. Mr. Maurice, in his "Indian Antiquities," informs
us that the two principal Pagodas of India, Benares and Mathura, are
erected in the form of _vast crosses_.

The famous crux ansata, says Mr. Higgins, is to be seen on all the
ancient buildings of Egypt; and is the mark alluded to by Ezekiel ix.,
4. It is as common in India as in Egypt and Europe. Mr. Moor, in his
"Oriental Fragments," tells us that, placed in a circle, it was an
emblem of eternity, having equally neither beginning nor end. The
signing of the cross** on the forehead of individuals, as a token of
security for life, is of great antiquity. Cain, it seems, wore this mark
of security.

     * Mr. Barrow, the great astronomer, says that "The Hindu
     religion spread over the whole earth; that Stonehenge is one
     of the temples of Boodh; and that astronomy, astrology,
     arithmetic, holy days, games, etc., may be referred to the
     same original."

     ** St Jerome has observed that this mark, or letter, in the
     true ancient Hebrew alphabet, _was a cross_. With the
     exception of the sun himself the hieroglyph of the cross has
     been more generally adored than any other object in nature.
     Why? Because it is symbolic of two annual periods which
     mainly affect the condition of man upon this globe--the two
     equinoctial crossings by the sun.

Jablonski was of opinion that this figure, the _crux ansata_, was also
an emblem of generation,--"nihil aliud esse quam phallum," etc. However,
we have historical facts stating that the women of ancient Egypt wore
ornaments of a character or form so very unequivocal, as to leave no
doubt about the allusion. The proofs of the vast antiquity of the cross
might be carried much farther, acknowledged and confirmed as they are in
many instances even by divines themselves, who have deeply investigated
the subject, and could see no way to elude the unpalatable truth, that
the cross was an object of superlative sanctity and veneration amongst
the eastern nations, not only long anterior to the time of the Emperor
Tiberius, but in the most remote of the known ages of antiquity. Thus
this mystical figure was emblematical of at least four things, viz.,
eternity, generation, the _crossing_ of the equator by the sun at the
vernal and autumnal equinoxes, besides its allusion, in Egypt, to the
rising and falling of the Nile.

The Spaniards, in their murderous invasion of Mexico and Peru, were
astonished to find there the whole machinery of Christianity; but the
priests and the court of Spain smothered the fact as much as lay in
their power. The immaculate conception was in full force, by a _Virgin_
of Peru becoming pregnant by the _Sun_; the cross was the principal
emblem, and had been sacred from time immemorial: one of their Trinity
was crucified upon a mountain, _between two thieves_; and also in the
sky or heavens, where the serpent (not the boar, as in the case of
Adonis, see Lecture II.) is depriving him of the organs of generation.*
Here is an astro-fable, known positively to have existed in Syria,
and even among the Jews, long anterior to the present version of
Christianity; and, therefore, when the early Christians carried over
their religion to America, they must have been wicked enough to carry
over also the whole of the heathen mythoses of Africa and Asia. The
Spaniards had likewise the mortification to find the resurrection of the
crucified _Savior_, after three days; the ascension through the clouds,
and that his return was expected, to save the human race.

     * The serpent being an adverse, or winter constellation, it
     is almost needless to observe that this allegory points to
     the sun's being deprived of his generative powers, while the
     winter constellations are in the ascendant.

There is no accounting for these astronomical fables, being found in the
new world, and their indisputable identity with those of the old, but
in the one clear solution, of there being, in remote antiquity, one
universal solar mythos, or fabled history of the planetary system, in
which the sun, under a thousand different appellatives, as redeemer or
savior, and as the grand ruling principle of the whole, was the chief
object of adoration. This mythos is still prevalent, though abused for
the most atrocious purposes.

With respect to the color of gods in the most ancient times of Paganism,
there is ample proof remaining that it varied according to the color of
the people who cultivate the sciences for the time being. That men with
complexions perfectly black, such as the Hindus, the southern Arabians,
and the Ethiopians,* were formerly the depositaries of the sciences,
perhaps exclusively, is proved by monuments found throughout.

     * In very ancient maps, Ethiopia extended east of the Red
     Sea, to the banks of the Euphrates, including all southern
     Arabia; and if the Ethiopians originally advanced from India
     into Africa, and founded Egyptian Thebes, we may well
     suppose that their empire reached to the Indus. This opinion
     is corroborated by that of Sir William Jones, who says that
     in very remote times, a nation of people who were blacks,
     the seat of whose empire was in or near ancient Sidon, ruled
     ever Egypt and all Asia. If this was the nation spoken of by
     Sir William Drummond (on zodiacs), according to him, the
     science of astronomy was at least as well known amongst
     them, as it is in modern times.

Near the city of Benares, in India, are astronomical instruments cut
out of the solid rock of a mountain, and formerly used for making
observations; but these are so exceedingly ancient, that it is said,
_the Brahmins of the present day do not understand the use of them_.

India and Egypt. The knowledge of the great truths of astronomy seems to
have been as full and perfect in those times as it is now; and as that
science, in the hands of skilful god-makers, has supplied emblem gods
for the adoration of the ignorant, _in all religions whatever_, we
cannot wonder that these personifications of natural objects should take
the sable color of the priests who invented and deified them. The great
Sphinx, supposed to be one of the oldest as well as most wonderful of
these Egyptian monuments, _is a Nubian Black_.* At the time the new
version of Hindu superstition spread itself in western Asia and Europe,
under the name of Christianity, its machinery was kept out of sight
in the archives of the priests; and, as its derivation was known to
themselves alone, they did not then deem it indispensably necessary to
change the color of their eastern deities; but adopted both Chrishna and
his mother, in their sable Gentoo complexions; and, in after times,
it was found no easy matter to get them whitewashed. But as these
disagreeable facts will raise the angry bristles of the Christian
fanatic, it is necessary to support them by the most profoundly learned
authorities on the subject.

Mr. Higgins says:--"On the color of the gods of the ancients, and of the
identity of them all with the god Sol,** and with the Chrishna of India,
nothing more need be said." The reader has already seen the striking
marks of similarity in the history of Chrishna, and the stories related
of Jesus in the Romish and heretical books. He probably will not think
that their effect is destroyed, as Mr. Maurice flatters himself, by the
word Chrishna, in the Indian language, signifying black, and the
god being of that color, when he is informed of what Mr. Maurice was
probably ignorant, that in all Romish countries of Europe, in France,
Italy, Germany, etc., the god Christ, as well as his mother, are
described in their old pictures and statues to be black. The infant god
in the arms of his black mother, his eyes and drapery white, is himself
perfectly black.

     * This accounts for the oracle at Dodona being, according to
     Mr. Potter, a black dove.

     ** The complete identity of the ancient religions of the
     Brahmins, the Magi and the Druids (solar adoration), "has
     been satisfactorily established by Vallency, Wilford, Davis,
     and Maurice." Pliny, alluding to the Druidical religion of
     Britain, in his time, says:--"Britain at this day celebrates
     the magic rites with so many similar ceremonies, that you
     might suppose them to have been given them by the
     Persians."--Nat. Hist.

If the reader doubts my word, he may go to the cathedral at Moulins;
to the famous chapel of the virgin at Loretto; to the church of the
Annunciata; to the church of St. Lazaro; or the church of St. Stephen at
Genoa; to St. Francisco, at Pisa; to the church at Brixen, in the Tyrol;
and to that at Padua; to the church of St. Theodore, at Munich; in the
two last of which the whiteness of the eyes and teeth, and the studied
redness of the lips are very observable; to the church and to the
cathedral of Augsburg, where are a black virgin and child as large as
life; to Rome, to the Borghese chapel Maria Maggiore; to the Pantheon;
to a small chapel of St. Peters, on the right hand side on entering
near the door, and in fact, to almost innumerable other churches, in the
countries professing the Romish religion.

"There is scarcely an old church in Italy where some remains of the
_black virgin and black child_ are not to be met with. Very often the
black figures have given way to white ones, and in these cases, the
black ones, as being held sacred, _were put into retired place» in the
churches_; they were not destroyed, but are yet to be found there. In
many instances, these images are painted all over, and look like bronze,
often with colored aprons or napkins round the loins and other parts.
No doubt, in many places, when the priests have new painted the images,
they have colored the eyes and teeth, in order that they might not shock
the feelings of devotees, _by a too sudden change from black to white_;
and in order, at the same time, that they might furnish a devout
pretence for their blackness, namely, that they are in imitation of
bronze; but the number left with white teeth, let out the secret: their
blackness is not to be questioned for a moment." Mr. Higgins concludes
from the knowledge of the foregoing facts, that, "the Romish Chrishna
is black in India, black in Europe, and black he must remain. But, after
all, what was he but their Jupiter, the second person of their Trinurti,
or trinity, the Logos of Parmenides and Plato, an incarnation or
emanation of the solar power" (Anacalypsis).

Of these Trinities it is not requisite to say much here, as ample proof
has been adduced in the course of these lectures to show that, from
Japan in the east to Egypt in the west, every country had, in the
remotest antiquity, a triad of gods for the vulgar, which, in the
mystical or hidden sense, had allusion to physical principles. But as we
have a partiality for the authority of theologians on these subjects, we
beg to quote that of the Rev. Mr. Maurice, who traces the principles of
_Tritheism_ among the most ancient nations of the earth, before as well
as in the times of the Greeks and Romans. He says that the Indian Temple
of Elephanta, "is of exquisite workmanship and of stupendous antiquity;
antiquity to which neither the page of history or human traditions can
ascend. That magnificent piece of sculpture so often alluded to in the
cavern of Elephanta, _decidedly establishes the solemn fact, that from
the remotest eras, the Indian nations have adored a triune Deity_. There
the traveller, with awe and astonishment, beholds, carved out of
the solid rock, in the most conspicuous part of the most ancient and
venerable temple of the world, a bust expanding in breadth near twenty
feet, and no less than eighteen feet in altitude, by which amazing
proportions, as well as by its gorgeous decorations, it is known to be
the image of the grand, presiding Deity of that hallowed retreat: he
beholds, I say, _a bust composed of three heads united to one body_,
adorned with the oldest symbols of Indian theology; and thus expressly
fabricated according to the unanimous confession of the sacred
sacerdotal tribe of India, to indicate the _Creator, the Preserver,
and the Destroyer, or Regentrator_, of mankind." Notwithstanding the
absolute conclusiveness of the evidence adduced by Mr. Maurice,
proving the infinitely higher antiquity of the Hindu Trinity, he still
recollects his obligation to support the Christian priesthood, and
argues that the Indians must have derived their notions of a triune
Deity from the Hebrews, though that people had no known existence in
the time he refers to, and their books (the Old Testament) if rightly
translated, do not, even by the slightest allusion, acknowledge anything
of the kind. By such subterfuges theology is not ashamed to deny the
clearest light.

The sacrament of Baptism, like all the other dogmas of Christianism, is
drawn from the ancient religious observances of India and Egypt; and is
also one of the sacred rites of solar worship, the mysteries of which
required that the neophyte should be pure in body as well as in mind. It
existed among the Pythagoreans and Druids. In an Arabic work, translated
by Mr. Hammer, it is stated that in ancient Egypt, when a child was
born, the mother took it to a priest of the temple, and laid it down
without speaking a word. The priest then came, with a golden cup full
of water in his hand, accompanied by six other priests. He then said
prayers, and sprinkled the water over the child. The dead were also
baptised, though by proxy. St. Paul establishes this point in his
first epistle to the Corinthians, chap. xv., 29; and he is so far from
condemning the custom, that he adduces it as an argument in proof of the
resurrection.

Mr. Higgins says: "John the Baptist was nothing but one of the followers
of _Mithra_, with whom the deserts of Syria and the Thebais of Eyypt
abounded, under the name of Essenes. He was a Nazarite; and it is
a striking circumstance that the fountain (Enon, or Enon), where he
baptised, _was sacred to the sun_." Even the name signifies the sun, or
Mithra. If this was the (Enon of Locris, in ancient Greece (we know of
no other), John must have taken wide excursions in his baptism. In the
New Testament allegories there are many coincidents which point out that
John (the Janus of the Latins) is the personified genius of January, the
zodiacal sign of which month is Aquarius with his pitcher, the water of
which is generally poured out plentifully. Aquarius being the mansion
of the sun in John's month, or January, his pitcher is figuratively
the fountain of OEnon, that was sacred to the sun, and where, as
the Evangelist tells us there was "much water." During this month and
February the "kingdom of heaven," or Christ (the sun), was said to be
coming, or at hand; but he was not considered as _come_ until after the
vernal equinox, in March, when, by entering the sign Aries, or the Ram,
he became the Lamb, at which time John exclaims--"Behold the Lamb of
God; he cometh after me, but is preferred before me." "I baptise with
water--he with the Holy Ghost." That is to say, March comes after
January, and the genial sun of spring and summer will always be
preferred to that of January. The wilderness in which John was said to
sojourn was metaphorical of the sterile and bleak face of nature during
that month. In Matthew it is said--"He shall baptise you with the Holy
Ghost and with fire."* The Holy Ghost was metaphoric of the salubrious
summer winds in May, as the fire was of the scorching heat of the
dog-days.

It has often been observed that the learned, or the initiated in
religious mysteries, had language peculiar to themselves, and unknown to
the rabble, whereby they concealed science under tropes and allegories;
so that, aided by the vivacity of the imagination, the most ordinary
phænomena of nature were embodied as mystical existences, and there
was hardly anything spoken of without being personified. Philo Judæus
informs us that, amongst the arts and mysteries which Moses learnt
from his masters the Egyptians, was that of philosophy by symbols,
hieroglyphics, and marks of animals. Clemens Alexandrinus states, that
"all who have treated of divine matters, the barbarous nations as well
as the Greeks, have hid the _principles of things_, and delivered down
the truth _enigmatically_, by _signs_, and _symbols_, and _allegories_,
and _metaphors_."** Similar confessions were made by all the learned
fathers of Christianism, many of whom allowed that their own religion
was veiled in exactly the same manner; and for this they might claim
even St. Paul as sufficient authority.

     * The priests of ancient Egypt baptised with air as well as
     with water and fire. This was done by one "whose fan is in
     his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor." The use
     of the fan was an artificial way of creating the Holy Wind,
     or Ghost.

     ** Yet, upon a system which is thus admitted to be fabulous,
     or false, Are founded doctrines which are said to be true.

But in the present day, amongst an ignorant and interested clergy,
although their superstition is directly derived from, and is only a
varied version of the solar adoration of Paganism, the "principles of
things" are lost and unknown, or if known to a very few of the
learned, the little lamp of truth is extinguished by the roguery of
self-interest, which will ever be sufficient to secure its suppression.
Thus, from ignorance or interest, or both together, the allegories
and metaphors of speech which we find in the Bible, are monstrously
inculcated and palmed upon simplicity as matters of fact and history.
Whilst committing these outrages upon the highest branches of science,
the theologians have absurdly attempted to blend the eternal religion
of Nature* with the evanescent revelations which man has, in successive
ages, invented to be the greatest curse of his brother.

     * The "Religion of Nature" may be defined thus:--The
     admiration, the love, and the veneration which we feel for
     that incomprehensible power which produces the beauties and
     bounties of the world. Beyond, this, all pretended
     revelation is foul imposture.

Having, in this and the foregoing lectures, noticed most of the leading
dogmas of Christianity, and the Pagan astro-fables, from which they are
derived, that exposure alone renders it unnecessary to enter upon
the endless task of commenting on the unsightly mass of heterogeneous
doctrines, to which the ignorant abuse of these fables has given rise.
Where the foundation is fallacious, the superstructure cannot stand.

The overwhelming master-curse, springing out of these mythological
fictions, in past and present times, is their perversion from a
scientific purport, that was radically and wholly physical and
_sub_-natural, to a sense that is chimerically called spiritual and
_super_-natural. In thus fraudulently putting the latter of these words
in place of the former, (which we maintain is contrary to the original
meaning of the Bible itself,) does the whole science and essence of
priestcraft consist. By this departure from everything tangible--from
all that is to the human mind conceivable, the theologians have
cunningly decoyed their dupes into imaginary regions, peopled, as in the
old mythology, with existences of fabled creation, where phantasy takes
all the hues of the chamelion; and where the intangibility of their
whole apparatus eludes the grasp of reason, and secures their wild
assertions against demonstration. When the minds of men are thus lured
into the fictitious empire of theology, the good things of this world
are over with them, and fall to the share of the priests, who live in
luxury, while they preach to their deluded votaries the _unspeakable
blessings_ of poverty; and that through the _unsearchable mysteries of
God's love to man_, want and misery in this world are by far the best
preparatives for "their exceeding great reward," in _kingdom come_. This
is what is called "religious instruction," which, being interpreted,
signifies the diffusion of that abject ignorance which shuts out the
light of experience and reason--puts blind faith* in its place,
and thereby fits both mind and body for slavery. In this element of
ignorance, so congenial to the profession, from its being of their own
creation, the priesthoods of Europe, aided by the corruption of civil
rulers, have been allowed to embody themselves into vast and well
organised phalanxes, regularly trained to wage perpetual war against the
light of nature and common sense.

     * The only true definition of religious faith, is an
     implicit submission of the judgment--a belief in what we
     neither see, hear, feel, taste, or smell.

     The veracious translators of our "Word of God," have made
     Paul, on most occasions, use the word _faith_, in place of
     _truth_; for instance, in Rom. iv., 9, they make him affirm,
     "For we say that _faith_ was reckoned to Abraham for
     righteousness." Now, the true translation from the Greek
     is,--"For we affirm that the truth became to Abraham
     justice"

It is particularly observable in the esprit du corps of theologians,
that in order to epitomise and mould the mind of man into a total
subjection to their interest and power, and to establish the absolute
necessity of their mediatorial office, it is indispensable that he
should, through what they call original sin, be degraded below the scale
of his true position in the order of nature, in exact proportion to the
elevation above that scale, which they confer upon him on the score of
his soul's immortality. In this final destination which they assign
him, his fate must either be eternal blessedness, through their official
interference in his favor, in wiping off his imputed transgressions,
committed six thousand years before he was born, or everlasting
perdition and misery, should that intercession be wanting.*

     * Though the commissioned attornies of the immaterial being
     pretend a deep interest in having his edicts obeyed, yet
     their real views and interests can only be served by the
     multiplication of offences, which is their harvest. When
     their sway was at its zenith, crime created the lucrative
     season of repentance; and the posthumous terrors with which
     they debase the minds of their dupes are the best of all
     preparatives for their dominion; for when these horrors are
     raised to a certain height, the fatal machinery for mental
     subjugation is irresistible, and almost as perfect as it is
     among the Brahmin priests of India. In England, the statute
     of mortmain is a lasting attestation of the height to which
     death-bed expiations and commutations were actually carried;
     and it is not extravagant to affirm, that if no change in
     public opinion had taken place, in regard to the selfish
     intrigues and frauds of the clergy, "and no interposition on
     the part of the legislature to put a stop to them, nearly
     all the land in that kingdom would have become the property
     of the church."

Between these two extremes of heaven and hell they keep him suspended,
themselves holding the haulyards rope in their own hands, ready to
pull him up to the one or lower him down to the other, according as
he believes, in and supports, or rejects and condemns their craft and
traffic. In the political and religious drama of enslaving the great
majority of the people, the above parts of the play are, of course, the
peculiar province of the priesthood, who to the fabled guilt of original
sin, have charged upon the gloomy minds of their wretched votaries, an
endless catalogue of sins, by thought, word, and deed; to every one of
which the punishment of eternal flames has been awarded. The kingly and
aristocratic part of this drama is to make laws to suit themselves and
their priesthood--to bind down reason, so as to prevent it rebelling
against the most shocking absurdities--compel it to acquiesce in the
imperative mandates of a vile superstition; and _demonstrate_, through
the powerful arguments of imprisonment and ruin, that all investigation
of the plot or proof of falsehood adduced against the actors, is
wickedness.*

     * Every rancorous feeling and motive among religious
     fanatics, conspire to create and provoke antipathy, and to
     swell it to the utmost pitch of intensity against the
     materialist, who holds them all in contempt. These are the
     only feelings in which the deluded votaries of supernatural
     revelations coincide, in directing their common enmity
     against that philosophy which, they know, treats them with
     derision. This enmity is inexorable and eternal, though
     restrained, at present, from gratifying its natural
     ferocity.

This species of delusion, which passes under the name of supernatural
revelation, upon which impostors in every age have founded their
schemes, is too gross and palpable in many of its dogmas, to maintain
a footing even among ignorant men, but for the protection of corrupt
governments, that seek aid in fraud. Its ministers have ever said
to civil rulers--"take us into partnership--give us riches and
honors--support our pretensions when we gull the millions, and in
return, with our adherence and connivance, you may safely carry
oppression to any lengths you please." Thus between a governing
aristocracy, (as in England) and their adopted hierarchy, there is an
inborn affinity and coincidence of views and interests, which not only
exclude, but are incurably opposed to the natural happiness of the mass
of mankind; and as for the means of compassing their ends, each wields
that sort of power which serves to uphold the other; and when united,
resistance is unavailing, unless it is backed by the unanimous will of
a nation. But this national unanimity in eradicating these collusive and
deep rooted frauds, is not to be expected, until natural humanity and
sound morality shall take place of supernaturalism, and "_religious
instruction_" make way for practical virtue and useful knowledge, in the
education of youth. Then, and not till then, will every individual be
able to perceive, that the man who contributes to the support of any
priesthood, subsidizes a standing army, for the perpetual subversion of
his dearest rights and liberties.

We shall now make a digression from the opening subjects of this
lecture, with the view of adducing additional facts which tend to prove,
that the chief moral and political evils which pervade Christendom,
sprang from laws and institutions derived from, or sanctioned by, the
books of Jewish theocracy, all of which have been uniformly calculated
to uphold the injustice of the idle few, against the industrious many.
Amongst these, the feudal curse of primogeniture, as "part and parcel of
the law," stands prominent in bad eminence. Yet this law, even among
the Jews, was not so outrageously cruel as it now is among many European
nations; for, with them, the first-born son, though consecrated to the
Hebrew god, was not, it seems, entitled to more than a double portion
of the inheritance. In regard to the entailing of land, for the most
iniquitous purpose of securing it against sale for the payment of just
debts, the Jews and their deity, barbarous as they were, would probably
have been ashamed of such rank injustice. In early ages, land was
considered merely as the means of subsistence; but in the darkest times
of ignorance and feudal oppression, it became the overbearing means
of obtaining political power, and was monopolised by the aristocratic
orders;* whilst their class-law of primogeniture, and its execrable
concomitant of entail upon land, were unrighteously resorted to, as the
only means of eternising the domineering sway of feudal tyranny, and
to perpetuate possession, in defiance of all the just debts which might
have been incurred by the possessor. The absurdity of these laws is no
less glaring than the injustice of their original object, "when they
presume that each successive generation of men have not an equal right
to the earth--that the property of the present generation should be
restrained and regulated to the fancy of those who lived many centuries
ago."

     * At least nine-tenths of all the land in Great Britain and
     Ireland, have got into the hands of the aristocracy, lay and
     clerical, and almost wholly through the means of their
     selfish legislation. But this is not the worst--they say to
     the mass of the people: "You shall pay us whatever price we
     please for the produce of these lands," and they enforce this
     by corn-laws, and other food monopolies, which they have made
     for their own advantage. These laws are "a curse equal to
     the barrenness of the earth, and the inclemency of the
     heavens."

The Roman jurisprudence adhered to the equality of nature, by an equal
division of property among the children, whether that consisted of land
or other goods, and the cruel prerogatives of primogeniture and entail
were unknown.

The universal degradation, poverty and misery, caused by these
aristocratic scourges of society, destitute as they are of a single
redeeming advantage to lessen the enormity of the evil, sufficiently
betray the nefarious views and selfish ends of the feudal legislators
by whom they were enacted. But these are best shown in the mischievous
effects which it is impossible for them not to produce, forming, as they
do, a source which diffuses fraternal jealousy, animosity, and hatred,
through a thousand channels over the land: and all to perpetuate the
insolent pride of family distinction, by arming an arrogant individual
with unjust power to lord it over the rest of the family, and that too
by means of the same wealth which ought to render the whole independent.
In these cases, when the younger brothers escape penury or beggary, it
is only by dint of doubling the injustice of these laws, by quartering
them, as so many locusts, upon the industry of the public, under shelter
of that mass of aristocratic corruption, whence issue our stall-fed
hierarchy, and the thousands of other privileged idlers, whose places
are created for the adherents and supporters of profligate governments.
Thus the younger sons and brothers are provided for whilst the poor
females, if not palmed upon the pension list, are hopelessly consigned
to the most abject dependence; their only inheritance being a perverted
education, by which they are moulded into mere creatures of unnatural
habits and customs, and of mental impressions that are utterly false in
everything.

These laws, thus infamously contrived for the exclusive benefit and
aggrandisement of the makers, in perpetuating the feudal line of
succession by entails upon immense tracts of land, again double the evil
in a national point of view, by preventing the creation of that wealth,
which never fails to arise from the proper division and subdivision of
over-grown estates, the parcelling out of which is sure to be followed
by a superior cultivation of the land. It is impossible to suppose that
the people generally, of any country, were ever so grossly and stupidly
ignorant, as to have a hand in forming such iniquitous institutions,
_and those who tolerate them are not worthy of better_.*

     * Napoleon observed that, "The people of a nation were not
     deserving of better laws than those they submitted to."

     "Nature's social union;" or that universal harmony which is
     chiefly disturbed by the wanton, unfeeling dominion of man,
     and thus fallaciously sanctioned by the "science of God."

These are samples of the grievances which may be expected to spring up,
when aristocracies usurp and engross the legislation of countries; and
when the contaminating arts of theology are allied to these, it is then
that political evils of the first magnitude are engendered.

In the palmy days of our superstition, when a much denser cloud of
ignorance, than even the present, had totally eclipsed the intellectual
faculties of men, they were doomed through life by their tyrants, the
magicians of supernaturalism, to endure an aggregate of mental and
bodily misery far exceeding that of any other class of animals; and
this is still the case in exact proportion to the prevalence of that
delusion. But lest rebellious reason should induce people to be restive
under these earthly sufferings, a mode of remuneration which costs
these magicians nothing, was invented, not alone by the preternatural
elevation to everlasting inheritance in the celestial regions, after
death, but, in addition, all terrestrial animals were made over in
fee-simple, as the absolute property of man, nothing else being in
view when they were created, but the use and accommodation of the
heaven-bound favorite, to kill, eat, and destroy; or if such be his
interest or caprice, to hold them in that merciless state of oppression
which soon leads to a cruel and lingering death. This is the usual
way in which he shows his mighty superiority over them, as "inferior
animals." The arrogant assumption of this absurd dogma is not only
false in philosophy and analogy, but cruelly injurious in morals, and
destructive.

These pernicious hatchings of theology are wholly unsanctioned by
Nature, who, in her perfect impartiality towards every creature which
her purely physical process organises into life, makes an even balance
of all her grants and denials throughout the animated world: and though
it may appear to the cursory observer that she has, upon the whole,
favored some animals more than others, yet all these seeming advantages
are counterbalanced or neutralised by other mental or physical qualities
of an opposite or defective tendency which, in the most comprehensive
sense, reduce the lives of all, as regards the amount' of pleasurable
sensations through life, to nearly an equality.** On examining this
matter still more closely, we shall find that the greatest proportion of
evil or misery invariably falls to the share of those animals who depart
the farthest from the laws or conditions of their nature. Of this fatal
estrangement, man exhibits an instance that is almost solitary on this
globe; for all other creatures obey the conditions of their existence,
excepting such as have been compelled to deviate from them, in
consequence of being subjected to his usurped dominion. His right to
hold a horse or a dog in slavery, is precisely the same as that of
holding a negro in bondage; and as for his carnivorous habit of using
almost every animal as food, it is justified by his superstition alone,
and utterly condemned by his nature. His right to kill and eat a sheep
or a deer, is exactly the same in point of moral justice, as that of
a shark or a tiger, when they subdue and eat their prey; in which they
feel no compunctious visitations about including their pretended lord
and master, man, himself. In all these cases, the rule of right is alone
established by possession of the art or strength to conquer.

     * Burns.

     ** Vide Eccles. iii., 19, 20,21.

Man's dominion over the other animals, is a pure usurpation: and though
he differs from them in the structure of his body, he is superior to
them only in some qualities, which have been greatly improved by the
recorded experience of his species, handed down to him through a course
of some thousands of years; and from which springs that combination
in society which renders him formidable to his "fellow worms." This is
proved beyond contradiction by comparing him, as the educated and armed
production of society, with what he is in the wild or natural state for
in the latter condition, he is so far from being "superior," that he
becomes the prey of animals much smaller than himself, which look upon
him as destined by nature for their subsistence, and use him as food
accordingly. These facts are so well borne out by experience, that they
will be denied only by that false pride which theology instils to answer
its own ends.

     * Man, like every other animal, is born without the quality
     called reason; and like them, must gain it as the fruit of
     experience, by which all acquire it to a certain degree; and
     in some of them it is much more perfect than it is in man;
     but his excessive pride and love of dominion, blinds him
     against this great truth. That which he is taught to call
     reason in himself, must, forsooth, be only instinct, when
     applied to the mental faculties of those he calls brutes.
     Here the difference is in distinction of terms:--

          "Reason and instinct, how can ye divide?
          'Tis the fool's folly, and the churchman's pride."

But if the cunning and ingenuity consequent upon man's extra allowance
of brain has enabled him, by dint of combination in society, to subdue
many animals for his use, has he by this means, and what he calls
civilisation, really and truly improved his condition for the brief term
of life which nature has allotted him? Are not the evils generated by
education, in which hypocrisy and fraud are the chief ingredients--the
vices--the crimes--the immoral and distracting systems of religion,
which induce a general depravity of character, and the unnatural
and iniquitous laws emanating from such a corrupt state of society,
infinitely greater than the alleged advantages arising from this boasted
civilisation? If we take the aggregate of morality in man, as he is at
present produced and educated in the great manufactory of society, in
which Christian theology with its concomitant evils, are the principal
apparatus, we shall have difficulty in finding on the face of the earth,
a more vicious, treacherous, and cruel animal. This is always denied
in theory; but the conduct of every man recognises its woeful truth
practically. Let the man of observation and true candor of mind lay his
hand upon his heart, and honestly declare whether his fellow men, and in
instances, even those he calls his friends, are not the sole source
of all his inquietudes and miseries--whether this demi-god is not the
animal that he is obliged to be more incessantly on his guard against
than any other! This universal prevalence of vice and moral depravity
is primarily accounted for by the priest and superstitionist, by the
equally flagitious and absurd dogma about what they call original sin;
but the true cause is very far from lurking in anything innately vicious
in human nature, but on the contrary, is wholly engendered by their
own unearthly delusions--the contagion of supernaturalism, and its
distracting train of theological inventions. These are the fatal lures
which have estranged and drawn man to apostatise from the wholesome
principles of his nature--surrounded him with artificial circumstances
wholly adverse to these principles, and as degrading to his position as
an intelligent being, as they are inimical to his peace and happiness.

Whilst the elements of society shall continue to be thus contaminated,
life will be a gift scarce worth receiving and though the ingenuous
truth-loving mind may, on the approach of dissolution, feel dismayed at
the idea of ceasing to contemplate the beautiful of nature--the sun, the
green fields, the woods, the streams, and the mountains, in which alone
it finds prayers and sermons; yet no reluctance can be experienced
in quitting intercourse with fellow men, whose religion imposes the
necessity of shunning truth in almost anything, affords an example of
habitual deception,* and by placing the _unnatural_, in the chair of the
_natural_, turns man into a pitiful caricature of what he ought to be,
in the nobler destinies of humanity.

     * The mask being indispensable in theology, it is not
     wonderful that its votaries should appear everywhere in
     disguise.


END OF LECTURE FOURTH.



LECTURE FIFTH. ON THE EARLY EFFECTS OF THE CHRISTIAN SUPERSTITION

                     “Tis only thou,
          Accursed superstition, cans’t accord
          Thy aids to tyranny, for which alone
          She guards thee with the penalty of “Laws".
          Endows thee, pampers thee ; and seems to bend
          (Mocking herself) in reverence to thy nod.
          For this imperial rapine shares with thee
          Her gaudy spoil.”

In a former lecture, when speaking of the compilation of the New
Testament, we promised to show that the first idea of forming that book
was drawn from a Pagan prototype; and therefore we resume the subject,
in order also to adduce farther proof that the very vitals of our
religion originated in heathen polytheism.

Here, it is of the highest importance to draw particular attention to
the sacred and mysterious testament of the Athenians, on which they
believed the salvation not only of their city, but of all Greece
depended. There is now so little said about this famous testament, that
it has nearly passed into oblivion; but this is easily accounted for, as
the fabricators of the Christian New Testament would, as usual in such
cases, do all in their power to suppress the remembrance of a volume
which suggested the scheme of their own book of mysteries, in the
formation of which St. Paul was not only the principal contributor,
but, in point of fact, the real founder of our religion.* We ought not,
therefore, to pass without distinct notice, the remarkable deference
and respect which he pretended to have for this book of imposture, when
wishing to recommend himself to any Grecian state.

     * The famous Longinus mentions Paul of Tarsus, whom "he
     considered to be the first setter-forth of an unproved
     doctrine."

This Testament had a profound influence over those states, which,
as well as the Athenians, were kept in reverential awe by its divine
authority; and Paul having acquired a knowledge of this in his
vagrancies,* shows his dexterity by availing himself of it in his 2nd
Epistle to the Corinthians iii., 6, wherein he says, "God hath made us
able ministers of the (New) Testament, not of the letter, but of the
spirit" Now, we defy all our divines and commentators put together,
to show that the present New Testament of the Christians was _then_ in
existence, that is to say, before the end of the first century, and it
is on all hands agreed by church chronologists, that Paul wrote before
that period; and, therefore, in writing the above epistle, it was not
possible that he could be speaking in reference to any other book than
that which the Greeks called "_the unspeakably holy Testament_." How
was it possible for him to speak of a book which we can prove was not
compiled into its present form until centuries had elapsed after his
time--viz., until the councils of Nice and Laodicea? That this book
existed not in all the first century we have the authority of the most
learned and orthodox God-well,** who, in his dissertation upon Irenæus,
confesses as follows:--"We have at this day certain most authentic
ecclesiastical writers of the times, as Clemens, Romanus, Barnabas,
Hermas, Ignatius, and Polycarp, who wrote in the same order in which I
have named them, and after all the writers of the New Testament. But
in Hermas you will not find one passage, or any mention of the New
Testament, nor in all the rest is any one of the evangelists named."
What! our four evangelists entirely unknown to all the five apostolic
fathers! Could this have been possible if these gospels had been written
when these "authentic" writers lived?

     * When Tonstal, Bishop of Durham, burnt the New Testament,
     declaring it to be doctrinam peregrinam, he probably meant
     that it was-only the doctrine of Paul the rambler.--Vide
     Tyndale.

     ** Dodwell says that it "was not until the reign of Trajan
     or Adrian that a collection of the books of the New
     Testament was publicly made, the priests having previous to
     that time concealed them in the archives, of their
     churches." It was then that they made anything that suited
     them the "word of God."

Having shown the absurdity of supposing that Paul could speak of a
Testament that did not exist in his time, we repeat, that from his
vagrant habits he had, in all probability, come to the knowledge that
the sacred Testament of the Athenians was, like all priestly writings
of the East, figurative, mystical, and would bear either the literal or
metaphorical meaning, according to the views of those who used it for
the purpose of deception; so he tells the Corinthians of his being aware
that "the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life." He knew also
that this book of superlative authority was carefully concealed from
the vulgar eye; and, therefore, he has not the presumption to say he had
seen it, as that would have given offence; but merely professes to be an
humble minister of its spirit, of which he might have learned something,
as aforesaid; and forming his texts on the common rumor respecting it,
he comments upon them in such a manner as to please his followers
in those states, professing a profound awe and reverence towards the
spotless sanctity of the original.

Christian bigots! We well know the angry, fiery glance with which you
receive truths shocking to your prejudices; but it is time you should be
told in plain terms, that this divine Testament upon which Paul comments
with so much respect and veneration, and of the spirit whereof he
declares himself an able minister, was no other than the FAMOUS ATHENIAN
TESTAMENT, the archetype of the sibyline books of the Romans, and which
was older than the time of Solon. After the abolition of the Athenian
superstition, this testament was found to be a legitimate child of
theology, being filled with the grossest impostures. Paul tells us
that he had the happy knack of being "all things to all men;" but
his pretended veneration for this sacred volume of the Greeks, was a
masterly stroke of policy, and extremely well calculated to secure
his good reception amongst them. The word new, as we find it in the
conundrums of Paul, and prefixed to the modern Testament, is easily
accounted for by any person who is at all acquainted with the shameless
falsifications and interpolations of those who fabricated our religion.
Thus did the famous Athenian Testament become not only the prototype of
the sibyline* books, but that of the new will of the Jewish deity also;
whereof the writings attributed to this Paul formed a large portion, at
that subsequent period when the approved collection was _voted to be the
"Word of God_."

     * The sibyline verses of the Romans are known to have
     existed as far back as the time of Tarquinius Priscus, 717
     years b.c.; they are quoted by the fathers from Tertullian,
     in the second, to the Christian writer, Lactantius, in the
     fourth century. They relate the whole story of Christ's
     incarnation, miracles, death, and resurrection, in almost
     the same words as the gospels.

In regard to this miscellany, the Manicheans say that it was formed from
scraps of legends and traditions which the itinerant fathers happened
to pick up in their journeyings in the eastern countries, in search of
"gospel truth." "Thus some parts would be, as we find them, Indian, some
Persian, some Egyptian, etc., etc., all jumbled together, and forming,
after undergoing the required fittings and alterations, the mass which
we now possess. Thus from India came the murder of the Innocents; from
all quarters of the heathen world came the Trinity, the crucifixion
of Christ, the Lord Sol, and Iao, born at the winter solstice, and
triumphing over the powers of hell, or cold and darkness, and rising
into light or glory, as the Regenerator and Savior, at the vernal
equinox: from the Egyptian--perhaps the Eleusinian mysteries, came the
worship of the virgin and child; and from all the countries of the east,
the miraculous conception."

On a careful examination of the quirks and quibbles of St. Paul, it
plainly appears that he had some smattering of the Pagan mysteries;
and just as it suited his interest for the time being, or the degree of
knowledge in his auditors, he used the exoteric or esoteric doctrines;
the former was adapted for street-preaching, and bamboozling the
long-eared multitude; and the latter was used only when he was
addressing the initiated few, some of whom were, in all probability,
playing the same game as himself.* He designates these mysteries as
being "_shadows of heavenly things_;" and "_patterns of things in the
heavens_" (Hebrews viii., 5, and ix., 23), meaning, unquestionably,
astronomical truths concealed from the million, under the veil of
allegory; for that word is used by him, and he frequently makes use of
the term veil. St. Barnabas, in his Gospel, denies the truth of Paul's
exoteric doctrine, declaring that no person called Christ did actually
and _bona fide_ die upon the cross: hence the quarrel between the two;
and from this cause was Barnabas' Gospel rejected. In further proof that
there were two doctrines in use, the ostensible and the hidden, Jesus
is made to say, Matthew xiii., 11, "To you it is given to know the
mysteries of the kingdom of heaven." This compliment could be addressed
to none but such as were initiated in the symbolical worship of the sun,
and other celestial bodies; whilst to the rabble multitude the secret
was concealed under metaphor or parable, in order that, "hearing ye
shall hear and shall not understand; and seeing, ye shall see and not
perceive." (Acts xxviii., 26.) Paul, in his epistle to the Ephesians
(iii., 4), boasts of a knowledge in the mystery of Christ, which he says
in the 5th verse, "was not in other ages made known to the sons of men."
Now, this could not possibly allude to Jesus of the New Testament, with
whom, as some of the fathers have assumed, Paul was contemporary; and
therefore, in speaking of "other ages" it inevitably follows that he was
alluding to a Gentile divinity, a Christ ** whose name had belonged
to the heathen mysteries, in "ages" long prior to the reputed time of
Jesus. In the 16th chapter of the Romans, Paul again lets out the secret
in the 25th and 26th verses, where he speaks of "his gospel," and the
preaching of Jesus Christ, "according to the revelation of the mystery,
which was kept secret since the world began." What mystery of Christ can
he mean, that was thus _kept secret since the world began?_ He assuredly
alludes to the esoteric doctrines of the Egyptian priests of Osiris;
the Eleusinian mysteries; the Bacchanal orgies; and to all the ancient
mythoses in which the sun, under many different names, was the secret
object of adoration in all the countries of the east, as the glorious
_savior_ who annually _redeems_ the world from the reign of cold
and darkness; and of whose mysterious worship Paul had gained some
knowledge.

     * He makes a plain confession of having two gospels, in his
     Epistle to the Galatians, ii., 2. The "cloven tongues" so
     much spoken of, designated those who were capable of holding
     forth the exoteric, or esotoric doctrine, as occasion might
     require. Paul's tongue appears to have been cloven into more
     than two parts.

     ** Did not Cicero, when he travelled in Greece, find
     inscriptions on monuments to many Christs?

In the reign of Adrian, the Egyptian priests of the idol Priapus, were
called the bishops of Christ. Priapus was a symbol of the generative
power of the sun. Socrates and Sozomen say, that when the temple of
this god was destroyed, the monogram of Christ was found beneath the
foundation.

"We speak wisdom," says he, "to them that are perfect, yet not the
wisdom of this world." Certainly not; for his secret doctrine was the
celestial theosophy, or astronomy in disguise; but as these mysteries
were known only to the initiated few, they were wisdom to them alone.
But when these truth-conveying allegories were spoken to the uninitiated
rabble, they were received in the exoteric, or literal sense, which Paul
elsewhere calls "foolishness;" yet nothing is so common in the present
day as that same foolishness. None but minds who not only choose, but
are determined to be deceived, can resist the obvious meaning conveyed
in his Epistle to the Philippians, iii., 20. "For our conversation is
in heaven, from whence also we look for the _Savior_, the Lord Jesus
Christ." That is, the return of the Lord the Sun to the zodiacal signs
of spring and summer, when he alone is truly the savior.* That even the
fable of the flood is an astronomical allegory, is proven in 1st Peter
iii., where the writer, speaking of the ark, wherein the "eight souls
were saved by water," concludes the parables thus,--"_the like FIGURE
hereunto even baptism doth now save us_."

     * As the sun is the only true physical savior of everything
     that has life upon this globe, so is a free printing press
     the true moral and intellectual savior of the human race.

Thus it is an astronomical key that lays open the secret arcanum of all
that Paul, or any other of the New Testament writers say about "Christ
and heavenly things;" for these, when the veil of allegory is withdrawn,
stand confessed in the Sun,* (the Mithras, or Mediator) moon, stars,
the elements and seasons, the deification of which formed the occult
astro-theology which was the basis of all the religions of the east; and
from which Christianism is only a distorted emanation.

     * Neither Origen nor Tertullian attempts to prove the
     existence of Jesus Christ on historical documents, and to
     establish his birth and death on unquestionable authority.

From the works of Plutarch, which are now lost, Eusebius quoted a
fragment in which that wise Grecian says: "It clearly results from the
verses of Orpheus, and the sacred books of the Egyptians and Phrygians,
that the ancient theology, not only of the Greeks, but of all nations,
was nothing more than a system of physics--a picture of the operations
of Nature, wrapped up in mysteries, allegories, enigmatical symbols, in
a manner that the ignorant multitude attended rather to their apparent
than to their hidden meaning: and even what they understood of the
latter, led them to suppose there was still something more than they
perceived." When the lost works of Plutarch contained such disclosures,
their destruction by Christian priests is anything but wonderful.

When all these circumstances are duly weighed in the mind that dares to
look truth in the face, the conviction flashes upon it instantly, that
all our gospels, and everything else that is said about Jesus Christ in
the New Testament, has no reference whatever to any event that ever did
in reality take place upon this globe; or to any personages that ever
in truth existed: and that the whole is an astronomical allegory, or
parable, having invariably a primary and sacred allusion to the sun, and
his passage through the signs of the zodiac: or a verbal representation
of the phaenomena of the solar year and seasons. A belief in the literal
or ostensible meaning of these parables, shows the sottish credulity
into which man sinks after his reason has been mortgaged in youth to
the priest, who keeps him in the ignorance that is suitable for mental
slavery.

This view of these matters unveils and draws forth good sense and
science out of both Testaments; and all our wonder at once ceases
in regard to the total absence of even the slightest corroborating
historical trace of the miraculous narratives of these books. This
revelation of these enigmas also reconciles with truth that apparently
false prediction of Jesus, wherein, he tells his auditors that some of
them would live to see the coming of the Christ he alluded to; and to
do this it was only requisite that they should live until the following
year, when the true Christ, the sun would again be "triumphant in the
clouds," as he approached the summer solstice. Moreover, we may here
notice another similar New Testament prediction, which from the stubborn
preciseness of the terms in which it is expressed, can neither be
twisted by the priest nor rationally solved without the allegorical
interpretation;--it declares--"Ye shall not taste of death" till all
these things are accomplished. If Christian priests are not willing that
Paul should pass for a notorious cheat and impostor, let them explicate,
in any other way than the above, his "_Heavenly_" enigmas and literally
false predictions:--we challenge them to this; and if they cannot or
will not do it satisfactorily, to whom will the epithets of cheats and
impostors properly belong? The above solution of these astro-allegories
forces so irresistible a conviction upon the ingenuous and unprejudiced
mind as leaves no room to suppose a possibility of its being
otherwise:--it is the physical truths of nature and scientific
demonstration, against that which is false in physics, false in analogy,
and, consequently, contrary to all experience and reason.

The Jewish sects of Essenes and Therapeutæ,* out of which the Galileans
and Christians more immediately sprang, had thus their superstition
composed of a mixture of the Egyptian and Persian mysteries,
consequently sun worship was common to many of the subsequent branches
of Christianity, such as the Mani-chees and others. Tertullian, in the
apologetics, makes a broad confession of this, as follows:--"Many think,
with more probability, _that our god is the Sun_;** and they trace our
religion to that of the Persians." If this is not an admission, it is
the next thing to it, that about the beginning of the third century, the
secret object of Christian worship _was the Sun_; and it would have
been well if they had continued in that rational adoration, instead of
adopting those midnight rites which were held in horror and detestation
by their Gentile neighbors, as being cruel, wicked, and blasphemous;***
and which caused the votaries of the new religion to be branded as
atheists. Arnobius who turned Christian, (most probably in view of a
bishopric), complains of the Gentiles thus:--"We (the Christians) are
called by you ill-omened men, and atheists; you call us impious and
irreligious atheists. You are in the habit of exciting the hatred of the
mob against us, by calling us atheists."****

     * We are told by Philo, that these pious enthusiasts
     abandoned father, mother, wife, children, and property, and
     devoted themselves to a contemplative life; which are
     exactly the injunctions attributed to Christ.

     ** In another treatise Tertullian alludes to the strong
     similarity between the religion of Christ, and that of
     Mithra, or the Sun. "The priests of the Persian god had
     sacraments. Their baptism procured the remission of sins to
     the believers and the faithful."

     "Saint Justin also alludes to the mystical consecrations of
     these two religions; and to the similarity of the birth of
     Christ, and his Persian rival, the Sun."

     *** The Agapæ, or love feasts of the early Christians, were
     close imitations of the bacchanal orgies; at the latter, it
     was a vital principle, that no action whatsoever constituted
     a crime, if committed by any of the initiated during their
     meetings. It appears that the spirit of this horrible
     license was fully entered into by the Christians.--Vide
     Gibbon's "Decline and Fall," vol. ii, p. 894.

     **** Adv. Gentes.

Some of the learned, however, have been of opinion that the present
version of Christianism is more immediately founded on the writings of
Philo Judæus, who speaks much of the "Logos," which in Greek signifies
the principle of reason; having the same figurative moral sense as the
epithet Christos. The epistle to the Hebrews, and St. John's Gospel, are
adduced as complete imitations of Philo's manner and style. The epithet
"_Logos_" is often used by him, but in John's Gospel it is falsely
translated, being rendered "the word."* Philo also speaks at large of
the Therapeutæ and Essenes, from whom the Christians borrowed so freely
in making their collection; and though in his time they existed not as
a sect, they might be mainly indebted to his writings for the groundwork
of their fabric. This opinion is greatly strengthened, inasmuch as the
heads of our church have always kept Philo, as much as possible, in
the back ground. He was a much more learned man than Josephus--a better
writer; and had arrived at the years of maturity before the period
assigned for the birth of Christ.

     * The first verse in John's Gospel is literally copied from
     Plato. As a play upon words, it is almost worthy of St.
     Paul.

The restless and prying zeal of Paul having gained him this knowledge in
the Pagan mysteries, which he boasts of, he perceived that the spirit of
the mythos in all the polytheisms of the east was essentially the
same, that is, the emblematical personification of physical and moral
principles; and that the removal of this veil of allegory developed
all the mysteries, and was indeed the only rational meaning of the word
revelation. He knew, like the Pagan priests, that in order to deceive
the multitude, and make their industry maintain idleness and imposture,
miracle and mystery were indispensable; and while he dealt largely in
the latter article, he showed a peculiar aptitude for rendering
mystery doubly mysterious, whereby he became the grand exemplar of all
theological quacks, and founder of that school of quibble which has
been so eminently useful to his successors in the Christian church: for
whenever they cannot escape from contradictions and absurdities of their
own raising, they transfer the solving of their enigmas to the regions
of Paul's "third heaven," where all are lost in his mysteries and awful
"unspeakables;" fooleries which will always captivate the wonder-struck
million; while common sense, with persecution before his eyes, dares to
venture only a shrug of the shoulders.

Let us now attend to the moral and political effects produced by this
new version of the old mythology, to which, with regard to its absurd
and unnatural dogmas, St Paul is the principal contributor. After it had
grown strong under the protection of the cruel, kin-killing Constantine,
and his parasite Eusebius, it soon turned persecutor in its turn, and
began to engender legions of other moral and physical evils, which
gradually overwhelmed the Roman empire, in proportion as the human mind
became debased and emasculated by abject slavery, under an intolerant
superstition--the gorgeous demon of Catholic despotism, erected on
the ruins of the less degrading and less expensive Paganism.* Each
succeeding year and age was marked by the onward degeneracy and baseness
of the Roman spirit. The new modelled mystery of a triune godhead,
with its accompanying train of chimeras,** sunk all classes into mental
imbecility, and such was the infatuation that nothing but the grossest
supernatural follies excited their attention; and as these were made
up of insignificant mummeries--theological cant and jargon altogether
unintelligible, they caused the bitterest disputes and animosities in
both the empires; and glorious high-minded Pagan Italy became the land
of pious frauds, clerical knavery, and lies,*** in which absurdities the
effeminate and contemptible emperors joined, with their trains of monks
and eunuchs.

     * In the mythology of the Pagans, their Theogony consisted
     of full thirty thousand bearded and unbearded divinities. We
     have reduced that establishment to three only; yet
     nevertheless, (unaccountable as it may appear) it has been
     so contrived by our modern hierophants, that the service of
     this triune deity, with their hosts of privileged deputies,
     holy days, etc., and taxing the people in one-seventh of
     their time, and one-tenth of their substance, has entailed
     on human industry, a tax of one hundred times the amount of
     that which was contributed to regale the nasal senses of the
     whole celestial army of antiquity!

     ** In imitation of the Pagans, the crafty Christian priests
     soon perceived the advantages of polytheism, and that it
     would tend greatly to their interest to associate some other
     subaltern gods along with the deity of Moses; for, by thus
     introducing a plurality of gods, they would not only more
     effectually embarrass and perplex the minds of the credulous
     people; but by multiplying the objects of worship, and
     constituting themselves the acting attornies for these
     deities, they would increase their stipends and other
     exactions, in proportion to the various rites and ceremonies
     they invented for each.

          *** Where Cicero and Antoninus lived,
          A cowled and hypocritical monk
          Prays, curses, and deceives.--Shelley.

Where then, O Rome, were your Brutus', your Cincinnatus', your Catos,
your Marcus Aurelius', your Julians? The fact was, so far from being
able to produce such examples of heroic virtue, your sons had nearly
ceased to deserve the name of men; and as Machiavel truly observes,
the doctrines of your new religion, teaching only passive courage and
suffering, had subdued the Roman spirit, and fitted you for subjection
and slavery. All manly dignity, all strength of mind, and all the
virtues had forsaken your sons, and you had become the nucleus of
theological absurdity--of all that is worthless, vicious, and unnatural.
Your handling of arms to prevent barbarian invasion had ceased, and
they were used alone to cut each others throats about the supernatural
phantoms of your fraudful priests; witness your Emperor Honorius, who
was most holily employed at Ravenna "in punishing Manicheans, Donatists,
Priscillianists, and heretics of every denomination, _whilst the Goths
marched without opposition to Rome_." Again, when the Heruli, the Goths,
the Vandals, and the Huns, invaded the empire, what steps were taken by
the two emperors to withstand their attack, and resist the torrent of
invasion? None at all; these superstitious fools in purple, aided by
their priests and monks, were settling the difference between _Omoosis_
and _Omousis_; and, probably, the different degrees of efficacy in
concomitant, versatile, and sufficient grace. With these heavenly
matters upon their hands, how could these holy men find time to resist
the invasion of their country? Suppose for a moment, that by one of the
Christian miracles, the great Caius Julius had started up amongst these
degenerate reptiles, and witnessed their ridiculous fooleries, would he
have believed that he was among Romans? What would he have said of Saint
Anthony's preaching to the fishes with such "spiritual efficacy," that
a huge cod looks at the preacher with a face of sanctified beatitude;
whilst a beautiful salmon turns up his eyes to heaven, imploring divine
light and grace?

When such shameful and degrading absurdities had thus sunk the Romans,
and the contagion of the new superstition had so thoroughly and
incurably vitiated the minds of all ranks, that all firmness and
nobility of character were extinct amongst them; and the change was
rapidly leading to the downfall of that vast empire,--dastards and
mental recreants in nature, they were marked by the northern nations
as an easy prey to the first invader. Little or no symptom of such a
decline had appeared until after the gods of the Christians had gained
the countenance of the Emperor Constantine, who did not destroy, but
made a change in the worship of the Gentile gods, under whom, it was
supposed, the empire had attained the highest pitch of glory and power.
Yet even this Constantine, so far as regarded himself, was ever as ready
to pay his respect to Jupiter, Apollo, and Venus, as to Jehovah, Christ,
and the Virgin Mary,* having wit enough to perceive that the latter were
mere copies of the former.

     * He died more a Pagan than a Christian; and all the change
     that he in reality effected was to amalgamate, or unite the
     two superstitions. This is proved in the fact that, under a
     change of names and forms, nearly the whole of the heathen
     mythos was adopted and continued.

In order to conceal as much as possible the fact, that the adoption of
the Christian superstition was the principal cause of the downfall of
Roman greatness, it has been assumed by church historians and others,
that a very considerable decline had visibly taken place during the
hundred and seventy years that elapsed between the reign of Adrian and
that of Constantine; but this assumption appears to be fallacious. It
is true that the integrity of the empire was sometimes endangered during
that period, from the despotism falling into unworthy and profligate
hands; but at the time when Constantine possessed himself of it, the
extent of territory seems to have been undiminished at any point; for it
still included the provinces east of the Euphrates (lost by the sons of
this emperor), and towards the west, northern Africa, Gaul, Spain,
and Britain; so that the real "decline and fall," commenced with the
adoption of Christianity.* If the subversion of this immense empire
had been the only political effect of this freshly compounded system
of theology, the cause of humanity might not have suffered; but it is
a most lamentable truth that all the ancient learning of the east was
involved in that destruction; for we know from historic facts which are
indisputable, that the priests, and tyrants acting in league with them,
took special care, as far as it lay in their power, to destroy every
root and branch of natural science; but more particularly the writings
of those philosophers who exposed the immoral and wicked rites and
secrets of the new sect, and its origin amongst the lowest and vilest
of the populace.** As one proof amongst a hundred of the persecution of
such learned Gentiles as exposed the profligacy of the first Christians,
we quote part of the decree of the Emperor Theodosius, as follows:--"We
decree that all writings whatever, which Porphyry, or anyone else, hath
written against the Christian religion, in the possession of whomsoever
they may be found, _shall be committed to the fire_." (See the original
Latin, quoted by Lardner.) Thus the Emperors soon found that, with the
connivance and subserviency of the priests, the new superstition was
much better calculated than the old for the purposes of tyranny; and
that the one thing needful was to suppress all Pagan learning--to foster
and diffuse the gloom of ignorance, as the only element in which their
nefarious schemes for the subjugation of the human mind could prosper.

     * The tide of prosperity and greatness followed the Romans,
     so long as they were reared under the moral and heroic
     virtues of the old religion, until the new superstition
     arose like a blighting meteor, shedding its baleful
     influence over the empire; and by its pernicious dogmas and
     emasculating tendency, gradually reduced the most warlike
     nation in the world to contempt and vassalage.

     ** The Emperor Julian, in a discourse to the Christians,
     told them that "It was enough for you at first to seduce a
     few servants--a few beggars, such as Cornelius and Sergius.
     But let me be regarded as the most impudent of impostors, if
     among those who embraced your feet under Tiberius and
     Claudius, there was a single man of birth or merit." Julian
     here alludes to the Jewish sect of Galileans, who had not
     assumed the name of Christians under Tiberius and Claudius.

In latter times history vouches for the horrible persecutions and bloody
wars, which this fresh version of Christianity occasioned throughout
Europe and part of Asia, for more than thirteen hundred years, viz.,
from the reign of Constantine till towards the latter end of the
sixteenth century, when some glimmerings of science began to dispel
the gloom of ignorance, and to weaken that priestly and aristocratic
despotism, which even to this day has not been entirely shaken off by
any European nation.

A celebrated philosopher,* when speaking of the above period, makes the
following observations:--If, says he, God deigned to make himself a man,
and a Jew, and to die in Palestine by an infamous punishment, to expiate
the crimes of mankind, and to banish sin from the earth, there ought
to have been no longer any sin or crime amongst men, whereas religious
crimes seem only to have commenced since the time when that event is
said to have happened: and the Christians, by their holy massacres and
burnings, have shown themselves more abominable monsters than all the
sectaries of the other religions put together.**

     * Freret.

     ** The Jews may be regarded as an exception; for their
     history displays the most memorable examples of the evils
     arising from superstition and fanaticism; from these arose
     the numerous revolutions, the horrid and bloody wars; and at
     last their total destruction as a petty dependent nation,
     owing to their submission to priests, and their unbounded
     credulity. From the roguish deceptions of their tribe of
     priests alone, they became, beyond all contradiction, the
     most despicable people that ever existed. Their barbarous
     ignorance was easily played upon by Levitical commissions
     from heaven.

In proof of this, witness the gibbets, the wheels, the massacres, and
the horrible burnings at the stake of nearly a hundred thousand human
beings in a single province--the massacres and devastations of nine
mad crusades of Christians against unoffending Turks, during nearly
two hundred years; in which many millions of human beings perished--the
massacres of the Anabaptists--the massacres of the Lutherans and
Papists, from the Rhine to the extremities of the north--the massacres,
in Ireland, England, and Scotland, in the time of Charles I., who was
himself massacred--the massacres ordered by Henry VIII. and his daughter
Mary--the massacres of St. Bartholomew in France; and forty years more
of other massacres between the time of Francis I. and the entry of
Henry IV. into Paris;--the massacres of the inquisition, which are more
execrable still, as being judicially committed;--to say nothing of the
innumerable schisms and twenty wars of popes against popes--bishops
against bishops--the poisonings, assassinations--the cruel rapines of
more than a dozen of popes, who far exceeded a Nero or a Caligula in
every species of crime and wickedness;--the massacre of twelve millions
of the inhabitants of the new world, executed CRUCIFIX IN HAND and
all for the honor and glory of the Jewish deity and his son!! This
is without reckoning all the massacres committed in the same names,
precedently to any of the above. Finding no end to this dismal catalogue
of theological enormities, this philosopher shortly observes, that such
a hideous and almost uninterrupted chain of religious wars, for fourteen
centuries, never subsisted but among Christians; and that none of all
the numerous nations called heathen ever spilt a drop of human blood on
the score of theological arguments.

     * Under the banners and sanction of the exterminating god of
     Moses and of Joshua, "the Spaniards did not treat the
     inhabitants of the New World as human beings, because they
     were not Christians. All sense of remorse was stifled; and
     those unfeeling men, whom Europe had disgorged from her
     bosom, were abandoned without control to their insatiable
     thirst for gold and for blood."

We are obliged to grant that all this is true; and to this may be
added, that in these shocking devastations, the blind ferocity of the
Christians was everywhere written in blood, whereas the behavior of
their opponents was frequently marked by clemency. As an instance let us
compare the conduct of Saladin with that of Godfrey of Bouillon, and
his followers, though shame and detestation would draw a veil over the
contrast: when the latter took Jerusalem, an indiscriminate butchery
took place; neither age nor sex was spared; and _after the surrender_,
the streets streamed with the blood of at least seven thousand
victims. When Saladin retook the place, no lives were taken _after
the surrender_; and he showed the greatest kindness to the Christian
captives; _giving those who were poor their liberty without ransom_. The
massacres of Antioch and Thessalonica, by the Emperor Theodosius, may
be regarded as other instances of sectarian ferocity, partaking, as they
certainly did, of religious animosity. Did the Emperor Julian punish
these Antiochians in any way whatever, when they heaped upon him every
kind of abuse and indignity?*

     *  Did he not also spare the ten or more Christian soldiers
     of his own army, who were proved to have conspired against
     his life?

Descending from the great and general calamities which the Christian
superstition has entailed upon nations, let us notice a very few of its
malignant persecutions of individuals whose only crimes were superior
genius, learning, and science; and this persecution has ever been marked
by a deadly rancor, which plainly shows that the study and knowledge of
Nature is incompatible with, and a decided enemy to, this theological
fabrication. Before the time of Copernicus, and the famous Galileo,
Christians were taught by their priests, that the sun revolved round the
earth; that the latter was flat like a table, (it is quite clear that
the Bible-makers knew no better) and one-third longer than it was
broad, hence our terms of latitude and longitude. Copernicus showed the
absurdity of these notions, and taught that the sun is the centre of his
own, or the solar, system, in which this globe of ours is comparatively
but a mole-hill. But knowing of the hosts of priests who were ready to
pounce upon him if he discovered these truths openly, he declined to
publish his works till near the time of his death, and he lived just
long enough to receive a corrected copy of them.

Galileo, at the distance of more than a hundred years after the former,
offended the church by defending the system of Copernicus, but still
more in proving that the earth had a double motion, in revolving on its
own centre in twenty-four hours, and also in its orbit round the sun;
the former being the cause of day and night, and the latter measuring
the solar year. The discovery, or rather the revival, of these and many
other grand and sublime truths, drew down upon the head of this great
man the implacable vengeance of an interested priesthood; and he was
condemned by a wicked conclave, which calls itself holy, for daring to
know and to propagate truths that are now known to every schoolboy. All
that could be done for him by the wise and learned of the age was merely
to save him from being burnt by the priests. He was confined for life,
and died a prisoner of the Inquisition. As the sentence against him
is hardly credible in the present day, we cite the following part of
it:--"To assert that the earth is not immoveable in the centre of the
world, is an absurd proposition, false in philosophy, heretical in
religion, and contrary to the testimony of Scripture." As an instance of
the malicious and inexorable nature of priestcraft, we note the curious
fact, that Galileo's sentence was, in spite of the clearest light,
_renewed at Rome in 1819!_

Virgilius, Bishop of Saltzberg, was condemned by the church
for maintaining that the figure of the earth is spherical; and,
consequently, the existence of antipodes.

The learned Stephen Dolet was burnt by the Inquisition for exposing
priestcraft, and asserting the unity of God.

Julius Vanini was burnt by the clergy for saying that "God is both the
beginning and the end, without being in need of either--in no one place,
yet present everywhere; his power is his will." For these tenets did the
theologians burn the innocent Vanini.

The blameless life and manners of William Tyndale could not save him
from the stake and fagot; his great learning enabled him to expose the
frauds of the priests, and the false translations of their Scriptures:
so he fell their victim, through the aid and authority of his tyrannical
and blood-thirsty king.

The great Descartes died in a foreign land from church persecution.

That persecution is necessarily ingrained in priests of every
denomination, and that they will have recourse to it whenever they have
the power, we have a memorable instance in the much vaunted reformer,
John Calvin, who, when armed with authority by the magistrates of
Geneva, wrote to the high Chamberlain of the King of Navarre, (of date
the 30th Sept., 1561) as follows:--"Honor, glory, and riches, shall be
the reward of your pains; but, above all, do not fail to rid the country
of those zealous scoundrels who stir up the people to revolt against
_us_. Such monsters should be exterminated, as I have exterminated
Michael Servetus, the Spaniard." Now the fact is well known, that
when Calvin found himself unable to cope in argument with this learned
Spaniard, he took the true orthodox way of getting a riddance, by
roasting him alive at a slow fire, _inhumanly made on purpose, of green
wood._

The intrepid Bruno resolutely suffered at the stake for condemning that
baleful source of distraction to the human race--the spirituality of
priests.

In latter times matters are not much mended. A considerable portion
of the 19th century has now elapsed, and has been deemed a period of
science; yet free discussion, and the exercise of reason on all subjects
have made but small progress; and it is melancholy to reflect that plain
truth is still at the bottom of her well, where she is stifled by the
demon of supernatural theology and its political colleagues, from whence
she has been suffered to emit only partial glimmerings of light; whilst,
from base interest, she is shunned or unacknowledged by those very
men of science by whom alone she can be rescued from this detestable
thraldom of the mind. By corrupt judges and packed juries she is
jealously excluded from courts of pretended justice, lest she should
expose, in her odious colors, the reigning hag of superstition, with her
Bibyline books of mystery and fraud; hence the fines, the robberies, and
the incarcerations of a great number of the most virtuous, enlightened,
and most talented advocates of free discussion and mental liberty, for
the last thirty years. Thus has the peace of countries been incessantly
disturbed and outraged, for nearly two thousand years, by this strange
fabrication of artificial theology; thus has it been perpetually in
exercise as an instrument in the persecution of great and good men,
and raised up the most inextinguishable flames of hatred, wars,
and devastations amongst nations. Such will ever be its effects,
particularly where it is iniquitously upheld as a device to strangle
mental liberty, through the hopes and fears of ignorance; and as an
engine of state to sustain corrupt government.

On a retrospective view of this direful superstition, we cannot
ascertain from any certain authority at what time the Galileans took the
name of Christians, as there is not the slightest historical trace
of their using the latter term throughout the first century of their
assumed existence. There appears to have been no sect of that name in
Jerusalem when it was taken and destroyed by Titus in the year seventy,
and it was not until full thirty years afterwards that it was mentioned
by the younger Pliny (governor of Bithynia) in a letter to the Emperor
Trajan. This letter was written about the beginning of the second
century, and it shows that Pliny had heard nothing of Christians until
he went to that province, as he speaks of them as a novelty with which
he did not know how to deal, and represents them to the Emperor as a set
of vile and vicious fanatics. However, it appears that the animosities
and dissensions amongst the propagators of the new sect had produced
effects destructive of the peace and welfare of society, at a very early
period. Numerous party-gospels, and forged writings under the names of
apostles, were in circulation at the latter end of the second and third
centuries; all hostile to each other, and generating nothing but fraud
and contention. These writings being exclusively in the hands of the
leading impostors, they could alter them at pleasure, and make any
invention the "word of God." Our four adopted gospels are as spurious as
the others.*

     * The earliest Christians, viz., the Ebionites, Nasarenes,
     Corinthians, etc., denied that any of our four gospels were
     genuine, except that of Matthew; but they excluded as
     forgeries the two first chapters, containing the miraculous
     conception and birth, declaring them to be spurious, and not
     to be found in the genuine copies of Matthew. Both St.
     Jerome and Epiphanius allow that this is true.

Nothing is more certain than that no man can rationally predict of the
future, otherwise than by deduction drawn from the past; and, therefore,
there is reason to believe that the writers of Matthew and Luke, who
most probably wrote after the middle of the second century, spoke by
inference drawn from their own experience, when they uttered that
plain, bold, and bloody declaration regarding the future fruits of
Christianity. "Suppose ye that I came to send peace on earth? I tell you
nay; _I came not to send peace, but a sword._ For I am come to set a man
at variance with his father, and the daughter against her mother. And
a man's foes shall be those of his own household." This terrible
denunciation has proved true to a tittle. Where is there another of all
the New Testament predictions that has been so literally fulfilled? If
such effects began to show themselves while it was yet in its infancy,
and even crying out for tolerance amongst the Pagans, can we wonder that
in subsequent times, after gaining the patronage of tyranny, riches, and
power, it should engender a greater mass of human misery than was ever
caused by all the other systems of religious plagues put together.

The artificers of this scheme saw well that the power and influence of
the priest and despot, were ever in exact proportion to the debasement
of man; and, therefore, they laid their foundation in that hideous sink
of vice and depravity, the Jewish superstition; for there they found
the examples of a numerous and rapacious priesthood, the enforcement of
tithes, and a perfect specimen of the iniquitous league between civil
and theological tyranny; a combination which makes an easy conquest of
the human mind in a state of ignorance and renders it incapable of one
liberal, manly or independent sentiment. When man is thus shorn of his
native energy, and all virtuous dignity, by the surrender of his reason,
these confederate powers erect their common throne on the ruins of his
freedom, welfare and happiness. The ferocious character ascribed to
deity in the barbarous books of the Jews, was no stumbling-block against
their adoption, when contrasted with the mighty advantages to be derived
from the precedents already noticed, and which have so eminently served
the successors of the adopters in the way of trade. They were utterly
reckless that the writers of these books, in the delirium of blasphemy
(to use a cant word) have depicted the ruling power of the universe as
a contemptible and wicked personation, with the worst of human passions,
and as sanctioning or commanding the perpetration of the blackest crimes
that ever disgraced human nature. By quoting these bloody examples as
laudable and worthy of imitation, have not priests caused half the earth
to be ravaged, and debauched the minds of princes (who would otherwise
have been humane and virtuous) and made them devastators and infamous
persecutors?

Some philosophers have been of opinion that the history of past ages is
a true picture of what the fate of man ever must be; that he is destined
for ever to-be the slave of a succession of superstitions--to be the
tool and puppet of tyrants in the shape of priests and aristocratic
rulers. This is a melancholy representation, which implies inherent
viciousness in his nature; and that there will never be a want of
rogues to prey upon ignorance. In the coalition of the priest and the
law-giver, we invariably find the unchangeable enemy of the human race;
for, besides the mental slavery thereby maintained, anything like good
civil government is necessarily precluded, that being found impossible
while it is leagued with the pernicious inventions of supernaturalism.
Have the majority of mankind, who are thus victimised, no remedy against
this horrid order of things? * They are not entitled to any, while they
find it easier to be cheated than to think for themselves, a case which
will always be theirs until they become self-regenerated, by the removal
of ignorance; a reform that must be effected by themselves alone, since
it is evidently and energetically opposed by their oppressors.
Ignorance being the only element in which priestcraft can thrive, or its
concomitant, bad government be tolerated; so is it the primary source of
that degradation and baseness which rears up the mind-subduing altars,
of superstition, whose foster-mother it is; and without whose aid no
kind of secular despotism could have plunged man into the abject and
contemptible condition he is in at present throughout Europe.**

          * "Small hopes have the nations!
          While reason is brought
          Every hour to be laid on credulity's shrine,
          Till the truth-seeking spirit submission is taught,
          And the dreams of a dotard seem doctrines divine!"

     **  When the humane and enlightened Cortes of Spain would
     have abolished the Inquisition, the priests told the
     populace that it would be an infringement of their
     liberties; and the priests were bettered!' So true is the
     Spanish proverb, that "Man is an ass that kicks those? who
     take off his panniers."

We repeat, that a better order of things cannot result until man shall,
by education and a virtuous reform of his moral habits assert his own
dignity and thereby emancipate himself from being the devoted grovelling
victim of this theologico-aristocratic conspiracy, and the unjust laws
and institutions which ever must of necessity spring from it; whereby he
is at all points robbed of the enjoyment of his nature, and vegetates as
the regularly trained slave of the most abominable artifice.

A truly wise and equitable government, so far from coalescing with the
priesthood of any religion or superstition for mutual support against
the justice of equal rights, would not allow itself to know anything
whatever about theology and its train of distracting, misery-creating
delusions. It would leave these wholly to the incurable ignorant dupes
who _will_ maintain impostors in idleness, eschewing with contempt
all such nefarious alliance, and recognising alone the infinitely more
dignified principle and functions of civil policy, i.e., the protection
of person and property, the equality of rights, and the sacred freedom
which is every man's birthright. Where is such a government to be
found? To the shame of a degraded and abused world, such a government
is nowhere to be found but in the United States of America; for although
the populace there are exceedingly bigoted, and grievously preyed upon
by the locusts of superstition, still the supreme authority has, with a
wise jealousy, preserved itself uncontaminated by any connexion with,
or preference given to, anyone of the religious factions, while giving
equal protection to all. Nevertheless, every enlightened American will
remember, with the most lively gratitude, that but for the philosophic
caution and foresight of Thomas Jefferson, and two or three other
patriots, the probability is that the new and glorious state would
have closed with the foul embrace of some one of the contending sects
(glorious then no longer), as the most importunate efforts were made by
the sectarian, leaders to effect that object; though nearly all of them
had studiously and sneakingly stood aloof from the patriotic cause,
while the issue of that noble struggle was doubtful.

In the proud rank of national greatness which the United States have
so deservedly attained in the present day, and with the example of
priest-governed Europe continually before their eyes, nothing more than
the prudent vigilance of common patriotism is required in the supreme
councils, to guard against the co-partnership, or admission of anyone
of all the pernicious systems of churchcraft, to the slightest connexion
with the government. But in the unsettled infancy of the republic,
after the declaration of independence, when those insidious clerical
hypocrites, who had kept aloof, as aforesaid, ready to join whichever
party might be victorious, and, backed by ignorance and fanaticism,
beset the framers of the constitution with their spiritual claims and
conflicting pretensions--by incessant solicitations and intrigues, to
gain their execrable ends, it required the incorruptible virtues of a
Washington, a Jefferson, a Paine, a Franklin, and a Barlow, to prevent
their effecting a similar "adulterous connexion" with the state to that
which is now the bane and disgrace of the mother country.

Whenever the government of these great and powerful States shall become
so mentally imbecile as to favor, by an exclusive state establishment,
any form of superstition,* or system of religion pretending to
supernatural revelation, the fatal time of their division, weakness, and
final decline and fall, will follow at a very short distance.

     * Let the priest be ever kept on the same footing as the
     merchant--that is, maintained at the expense of the
     consumer. He who has no priest, and consumes none of the
     commodity he deals in, should not be compelled to pay any
     part of his hire.

END OF LECTURE FIFTH.



LECTURE SIXTH. EFFECTS OF THE CHRISTIAN SUPERSTITION (Continued)

          Let those weak minds that live in doubt and fear,
          To juggling priests--fair Nature's foes, repair;
          These soul-savers,--truth's blackest enemies,
          I ne'er consult, and heartily despise.

     Its foul leagues with tyranny, persecutions, cruelty;
     society poisoned by its all-pervading influence; what is
     good in gospel morals borrowed from the ancients; its
     usurpation of one-seventh of man's time, and one-tenth of
     the proceeds of his industry; other evils which it occasions
     generally.

In extending our view of the immoral, degrading, and malign effects of
the Christian superstition, it is but just and fair to observe, that
all other systems of religion which have successively plagued the world,
founded on the pretensions of impostors to supernatural revelations,
have also been destructive of human welfare, though in a degree much
less subversive of natural rights. The scanty remains of ancient history
and science, which Christian and Mahommedan priests and tyrants have
suffered to reach us, show clearly that in all ages and countries, the
ignorance of the bulk of mankind hath constantly rendered them the
dupes of some sort of priests, by whom that ignorance has been uniformly
cherished and promoted, as the most congenial soil for the growth of
church and state corruptions. There never has been, and there never can
be, any very bad government without the confederate aid of that master
evil,* the imaginary science of theology (for all is illusion that
is said to be beyond the physical powers of Nature** the poetical
personification of which is called "Nature's God"); and a wicked and
tyrannical government, whether kingly or aristocratic, can no more do
without a sympathetic priesthood, than the latter can do without their
devil; hence it follows that all state authority has been pernicious in
the exact ratio of its connexion with these priesthoods. This may partly
be proved by the superiority of the government of the United States,
(where the alloy of ecclesiastical union is strictly guarded against)
over that of any European nation, not excepting England, where both
houses of Parliament are sadly tainted, and one of them almost governed
by the wizard influence of the church; yet, owing to the decayed, and
rapidly decaying, power of this incubus, these dominions enjoy more
liberty than Spain,*** which for many centuries has had no other
executive rule than the most oppressive and irksome superstition that
ever degraded and enslaved the human race; and whose sons are at this
moment pouring out their blood in the endeavor to pull out the teeth,
and curtail the claws, if they cannot kill, the monster.

     * Plato states that religious pretences have always formed
     one of the most powerful frauds of political despotism; and
     Aristotle calls the profession of religion not only the
     surest auxiliary of tyrants, but an enslaving tyranny in
     itself.

     ** Divines say that Nature is wholly inexplicable without a
     god; that is, to explain what they know very little of, they
     have recourse to a cause which they know not at all.

     *** For many centuries past, the finest countries in Europe,
     via., Spain, Portugal, and Ireland, have been nothing but
     theological beargardens, and so they are to this day.

The history of all religions, we repeat, is but a catalogue of follies,
knavery, cruelty, and crime; the whole forming a continued libel upon
mankind, and proving their ignorance and unbounded credulity; the
tyrant, confederate with the priest, assists him to impose upon you his
creed, on the strength of which he demands your faith, on the strength
of which he "_demands your money_"--not at the point of the bayonet, in
the first instance, but if you refuse to _deliver_, he calls in the aid
of his political partner, whom he has ever taught you "to obey in all
things;" so that, between the priest and "the powers that be,"
your money is extorted, though not by a highwayman. The iniquity of
compelling a man to support an idle and rapacious order of theologians,
whom he wishes to have nothing to do with, is an act of injustice too
shameful to be committed by any wise and good government.

Since we can distinctly trace priestcraft so far back as the times
of Hesiod and Homer, to talk of its origin would be as futile and
unprofitable, as it would be to speak of the first evil amongst men; if
the two are not necessarily coeval, certainly the cup of the latter
was not full until the former filled up the measure. And, as "things
naturally bad make strong themselves by ill," tyrannical governments
have been enabled, through collusion with this baleful pest, to carry
their oppressions to the highest pitch of profligacy and wickedness; and
for a quiet submission to the degradation and miseries thus occasioned
in real life, the dupes are promised a blissful remuneration, in an
imaginary _post mortem life_, created for this express purpose. But
every endeavor to open the eyes of the deceived, or to remove the evils
arising from this mischievous confederacy, is threatened with a life of
everlasting burning after death.*

     * "The object of the first legislators was to govern the
     people; and the easiest method to effect it was through the
     priesthood, to terrify their minds, and prevent the exercise
     of reason. They led them through winding by-paths, lest they
     might perceive the designs of their guides; they forced them
     to fix their eyes in the air lest they should look at their
     feet; they amused them on the way with idle stories; in a
     word, they treated them as nurses do children."

By thus playing upon the unlimited credulity of man, in a state of
ignorance, through the delusive medium of supernatural existences, he is
trained from childhood to submit to mental and bodily oppressions, which
manhood would make him shake off, and spurn with indignation, were it
not for these paralyzing deceptions, which, while they degrade, form the
principal tower of strength against him in the hands of his oppressors.
His belief in the traditionary tales of the Jewish compilation, is
anxiously instilled into his mind in childhood, as the word of the
Supreme Power of the Universe; and this false impression subsequently
becomes so rooted and strong, that he neither can nor dares to see the
immoral and destructive tendency of these tales; and, that from them
have been drawn precedents to justify the most atrocious and murderous
invasions of peaceful countries. From these mischievous legends have
also been drawn, as a common fountain of evil, all those conflicting
doctrines, dogmas, and creeds, which the militant priests of Christendom
have made convertible at will, and turned into a channel overflowing
with the good things of a world which they affect to despise. This
is the polluted source from which has sprung what is falsely called
civilisation, which has created around man an unnatural atmosphere,
wherein vice and dissimulation are the chief ingredients, rendering
civilised man in many respects, the vilest of animals; and more
contemptible, because less virtuous, than the uncorrupted child of
Nature.

These pernicious dogmas and creeds did not begin to show their deadly
effects nationally, until the imperial apostate Constantine gave
patronage and strength to one of the belligerent sects; and by
interposing his authority, prevented, for a short time, their cutting
each other's throats; but as for attempting to assimilate their wild and
discordant schemes, he might as well have commanded the winds to blow
continually from one point; for as the heterogeneous mass of theological
machinery arose out of the fabulous or allegorical legends of various
countries, a system drawn from such chaotic materials, must be always
at war in its parts; hence the fierce and virulent animosities--the
remorseless and exterminating devastations, which these maniacal notions
and creeds engendered all over Europe. Such of the contending sects who,
from their number or their violence, were considered most suitable
for the purposes of political tyranny, were taken into league with
successive governments, which gave them the power of exercising over
all their opponents, the utmost cruelty and oppression. From these
times till about the close of the sixteenth century, when the science of
Nature began to check the mischievous demon of theology, we repeat that
millions upon millions of men, women and children were tortured and
murdered in religious persecutions* and wars; whilst a sum not less than
£400,000,000,000 in money, besides other property, was wrung from the
laboring man, not to instruct him in a particle of useful knowledge, but
to keep him in that state of abject ignorance which alone fits him for
slavery.

     * All religions pretending to revelation, are necessarily of
     the persecuting kind; and it is these alone that show an
     extraordinary zeal for-dissemination in other countries:
     but the religion of Nature being perfectly tolerant, leaves
     its own propagation to self-evidence.

All this has been done to maintain various denominations of aristocratic
tyranny, combined with rapacious priests, in whose minds were seated the
deepest hypocrisy and the blackest vices--who carried humanity on
their lips, and robbery and murder in their hearts. The victims of
Christianity far exceed in number the whole that have fallen by all the
other idolatrous superstitions which at any time have plagued the world;
and most truly did it announce that it "came not to send peace on earth,
but a sword;" a sword that never has, and never will find a scabbard,
until the whole baseless fabric of delusion shall sink into merited
oblivion; we would say a thousand times over--look at Spain--look at
Ireland--look at any country in Europe before the 17th century, and you
will see the priests reeking with gore. And if you are not utterly
lost in ignorance and prejudice, you will see the effects of corrupt
governments striving to force favored superstitions upon the dupes of
other religions. No intellectual blindness but that which will not see,
could prevent your seeing palpably, that all religion, except that of
Nature, is the accursed thing which occasions and perpetuates the deadly
feuds between man and man; and creates those insane animosities which
embitter and poison all the natural sweets of this fair world. Such
fatal results must be inevitable whilst man has the credulous folly to
maintain in idleness and luxury, myriads of his own species whom his
labor educates, as it were, for the express purpose of deceiving him.
These are the professors of the pretended science of supernaturals,
_alias_, nonentities, or at all events of unproved existences, of which
the most illiterate hind knows just as much as the proudest hierarch.

The _principle_ of priestcraft being unchangeable, the countries where
this freshly modified superstition first gained a footing had been kept
in deep ignorance by the old mythology,* so that the hierarchy of the
new were safe in going any lengths in multiplying absurdities; for
nothing can ever be monstrous enough to shake the credulity of the
vulgar populace;** so prodigies of all dimensions grew common, and
every cunning impostor, who found himself able to deceive others, had
inspirations from heaven--turned priest, and dealt in supematurals;
knowing well that where mental imbecility has been successfully fostered
by the craft, it is sheer silliness to be scrupulous about the means of
deception, however monstrous.***

          "Be joggled mob! you are the tools
          That priests do work with, called fools."

     * One universal mythos, or fable wearing the garb of
     history, has been the basis of all religions, ancient and
     modern. This mythos is rooted in, and has secret allusion to
     the zodiac and the solar system, in which the sun and the
     rest of the "Host of Heaven" were turned into imaginary
     personages, under peculiar nomenclatures in each country;
     and fanciful narratives concerning them, were invented by
     the astronomising priests, in order to stultify and subject
     the minds of the ignorant populace. This deception continues
     to the present day, for the solar mythos was the true
     Christianity. When the French, under Napoleon, possessed
     Italy, they examined the chair of St. Peter, and found upon
     it the signs of the zodiac.

     ** Nothing, says the Cardinal de Retz, convinces fools so
     much as that which they cannot comprehend.--Lucian
     Redivivus.

     *** As the ignorance of nations grows darker, priests of all
     religions see their way the more clearly.

In regard to the theogony upon which these conjurors founded their
various systems, it appears never to have been of the slightest
importance whether it consisted of one, two, three, or thirty thousand
divinities; though it must be confessed that the triune mythology of
Christianity has answered, better than any other, the aristocratic
purpose of general ignorance and oppression. Like their predecessors,
its priests have governed solely in the names of their gods, whom on
all occasions they cause to speak whatever is fitting and agreeable to
sacerdotal interests and power; and all this passes as the commands of
God, which, they declare, must take precedence of all civil affairs.
From this usurpation is formed the almost insurmountable barrier against
human liberty, "the _imperium in imperio_," or the visionary empire of
supernaturalism within, and either confederate with, or independent of,
the secular empire. All belief in anything supernatural is a pitiable
and deplorable hallucination of mind, everything pretending to be such
being the offspring of sheer imposture; and until the age of reason
and science shall have succeeded those ages of delusion and ignorance
through which the world has hitherto rolled, the paramount power upon
its surface will be priestcraft.

This craft is twin sister to witchcraft; and the former cherished and
supported the latter as long as her head could be kept above water; but
when the sun of science (the mortal foe of these two crafts) began to
beam upon the imaginary hag, she sank to rise no more;* and men are now
astonished at the credit she had gained in the world, and still more at
the brutal ignorance which allowed her to shed so much innocent blood.**


     * Science having thus as it were suffocated the weird hag of
     witchcraft, a most useful auxiliary is gone of that religion
     which, more than all others, has been

          "Blood-nursed, and watered by the widow's tears."

     ** The Stat. 1 James 1st, c. 12, enacts, "That all persons
     invoking any evil spirit, or consulting, covenanting with,
     entertaining, employing, feeding, or rewarding any evil
     spirit, etc., etc., etc., shall be guilty of felony, without
     benefit of clergy, and suffer death." Oh the height, the
     profound depth of the "wisdom of our ancestors!"

It is computed that about 30,000 miserable victims were tortured and
burnt for this supposed offence; yet, if this blood be compared with the
quantity shed by the still surviving sister, it would appear but as a
drop in the ocean. But the same sun of science, in exact ratio as it is
now dispelling the mists of ignorance and superstition which the mother,
theology, has raised, is hastening the remaining twin's downfall.
Witchcraft was one of the thousand dismal evils arising from the belief
in preternatural existences, but quite conducive to the views in trade
of all church mystagogues, who never failed to sanction and abet the
horrid executions of the poor defenceless culprits. The priests drew
their justifying precedent from that book in which the vindication
of every crime may be found: in Exod. xxii., 18, the inhuman order
is given, "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." Here we have a
point-blank justification of all those atrocious immolations which
disgraced humanity for so many centuries, and laid the foundation of
detestable laws, in the countries of America. At Salem, where so
many murders were committed for the fanciful crime of witchcraft, the
accusations originated in the house of a priest were chiefly carried
on by priests, who blew the terrible flame of fanaticism against
the helpless accused, whose lives were acknowledged to be moral and
blameless. Nineteen of these innocent victims were executed,* one was
pressed to death because he would not plead to the indictment, and eight
more were condemned. This hideous business ended by a declaration of
the priests that, in the whole the devil got just nothing; but God got
praises, Christ got subjects, the holy spirit got temples, the church
got addition, and the souls of men got everlasting benefits! With
similar views, and in such a laudable spirit, John Wesley exclaimed,
"_While I live I will bear the most public testimony I can to the
reality of witchcraft_." At a torturing and burning which took place at
Irvine in 1613, in the affair of Margaret Barclay and others, there were
present the Earl of Eglinton, the ministers of Ayr, Kilmarnock, Dairy,
and Irvine, when three innocent people were sacrificed.** these wretched

     * It is said that several of these victims were persuaded by
     the priests to believe, and even to confess that they had
     been guilty of this imaginary crime. This affords a
     melancholy proof that, in a state of ignorance, the
     credulity of man is absolutely boundless.

     ** See Scott's "Demonology," and Murphy's "Essay."

What! Were not these holy ministers prompted by their superior learning
and humanity, to endeavor to save people? Quite the contrary, they
appear to have been there rather to countenance and approve, if not to
enjoy, the shocking spectacle. Such as these were the heavenly teachers,
who, for more than a thousand years, asserted, preached, and practised,
_that the rack was the fittest engine of conviction_, and the stake
the most effectual cure for unbelief.* As conservators and upholders of
every invention in the delusive machinery of supernaturalism, upon which
their trade wholly depends, anything in the shape of human interference
in favor of the victims, or any compunctious feelings for the
barbarities which these men of peace and love sanctioned, were
altogether out of the question on such occasions. No animal has ever
been more cruel and remorseless than priests of all religions have been,
in supporting those delusions which support them, _whenever they had
the power._*** The Jew books being now nullified as authorities for
the existence of witchcraft, what sustains their validity in all other
matters?

     * What terrific outrages does superstitious ignorance
     perpetrate. Thousands have been burnt for witchcraft.
     Millions have been murdered for being what bad government
     and Christianity have made them. And hundreds of millions
     are threatened with eternal tortures for having beliefs
     which it is impossible for them not to have.

     ** Belief or disbelief (being the work of the judgment, and
     not of the will) is involuntary; and there is neither merit
     nor demerit in either. You believe only that which seems to
     you to be true, and, in spite of your hypocrisy, I defy you
     to believe more. What does the Atheist less? And that which
     appears to you to be a lie, you necessarily reject, and what
     does the Atheist more.

     *** Superstition is to be feared only when the authority of
     iniquitous laws rallies round her standard, for then her
     cruel and sanguinary nature is gratified.

Such has been Jewish and Christian immorality and wickedness, in
punishing the guiltless for the fanciful crime of witchcraft; and in
other respects we may find in these books innumerable instances of
sanctioned cruelty and injustice, both in example and precept:--take
the following malevolent sentiment, said to have been uttered by the
all-ruling power of the universe; "let his children be fatherless; let
them be vagabonds continually, and beg; let them also seek their bread
out of their desolate places. Let the extortioner catch all that he
hath; and let the stranger spoil his labor, let there be none to extend
mercy to him, neither let there be any to favor his fatherless children;
let his posterity be cut off," etc., etc. Again, in Exod. xxiii., 3.

"_Neither shalt thou countenance a poor man in his own cause_."
These are specimens of Bible morality! He alone is the blasphemer who
attributes such vicious and malevolent orders to the supreme power.

The Christian, in their presumptuous and unwarrantable assertions,
assume that the science of ethics is comparatively of modern date, and
that the personage called Jesus Christ was the first who taught
that pure morality and virtue constituted the summum bonum of human
happiness; and that all morality owes its existence to their gospels;
and that all ethical goodness to be found out of Christendom, is
entirely attributable to their Scriptures. But nothing can be farther
from the truth than this evangelical detraction, with its inexorable
disregard to facts. Fortunately for the calumniated cause of Paganism,
we have data, chronological and historical, to show that the science of
ethics was not only perfectly known to the ancients, but that the few
really good things which are to be found in the New Testament, were
borrowed from what is called "the divine philosophy of the ancients;"
or the moral maxims of Pythagoras, Thales, Solon, Bias, Pittacus, Chilo,
Cleobulus, Periander, and many others, who lived full 500 years before
the Christian era. This is so demonstrably true, that the sayings of
these men are in some instances copied into the New Testament almost
word for word; but for the maxims of that book which are either bad
or questionable (and these are not a few), there is no authority to be
found in the ancients cited.

The compilers of the above book have also drawn literally from the moral
maxims of Confucius,* who, according to some writers, has been held in
great esteem in China for about 4,000 years, but all agree that he lived
at least 550 before our era.

     * As names in eastern languages are expressive of some
     attribute or quality adherent to the possessor; so Confucius
     signifies a speaker of wisdom.

His 24th moral is the most precious standard maxim in ethics: "Do to
another what you would he should do to you, and do not unto another what
you would should not be done unto you." To impress this indelibly upon
the mind, as the concentrated essence of morality, he adds, "_thou
needest this law alone, it is the foundation and principle of all the
rest_." In his 53rd moral, he says, "Acknowledge thy benefits by return
of other benefits, but never revenge injuries." This is a noble maxim
when compared with that abject and slavish one of the "new will of God,"
which enjoins the holding up of the cheek to receive a second blow. The
disciples of Confucius are yet numerous, though many thousands of years
have elapsed since he lived. He instructed as well by example as by
his precepts; and it would be well if his morals were taught in all
the schools of Christendom, instead of dogmas and creeds which are
unintelligible, inasmuch as they relate to things which have no proven
existence, The German writer Boll, very justly observes that, "if
Christianity be got rid of, which seems likely, men must labor not to
let such absurd ideas get into the new religion of morals, which will
be established on the ruins of superstition." He was alluding to the
eternal tortures of those priestly indispensables called souls, and
other unsightly dogmas.

     * To the shame of credulous and priest-degraded mankind, the
     present superstition of Europe hath been established, as it
     were, in defiance of the light of Nature, reason, common
     sense, and all experience; and what is still more strange
     and revolting, by those very means and agencies which men
     ought to hold most in contempt and detestation; viz., fraud,
     forgery, pretended miracles and prophecies, hypocrisy,
     avarice, tyranny, cruelty, massacres, and wars which have
     deluged the earth with blood, and sacrificed hundreds of
     millions of human beings to its frenzied demon.

In no age of the world was morality ever found more pure and virtuous
than amongst the Epicureans of old; and no ancient sect has been so much
traduced and vilified by Christian priests of all denominations, who, in
lauding the most revolting system that ever insulted the understanding
of man,* have been utterly regardless of truth in their foul aspersions
of Paganism; and have represented these amiable rationalists as reckless
sensualists--profligate voluptuaries; which is just the reverse of
their true characters. With them the preservation of health was the
fundamental principle, since there can be no enjoyment of life without
that pre-requisite; and the means they used to secure its permanence
was the strict observance of temperance in everything, according to the
dictates of Nature; all excess of any kind whatsoever was avoided as
injurious, and the full and proper exercise of the body was enjoined as
indispensable. Free from the restlessness of ambition, the utility
of their maxims was evinced in their lives, and they were generally
esteemed as the most exemplary and virtuous of all the ancients, and the
most noted for the value of their moral actions. We may gather from
the writings of Cicero and Diogenes Laertius, that they did more
scrupulously observe the laws, piety, and fidelity among men, than any
other sect whatsoever, not excepting even the Stoics themselves. Like
the philanthropist, Owen, they held that a man was either good or bad
according to education and custom. Being, above all others, strict
observers of truth and honesty, they were often chosen to manage
the inheritances of orphans, and it was common with them to rear and
educate, at their own expense, the children of deceased friends; their
known integrity frequently procured for them offers from the Roman
consuls and emperors, to fill high places of employment and trust; but
these offers were often declined, from the strong desire they had to
lead private lives, free from care and anxiety. They had no desire
for posthumous renown, and denied that there was any future state of
existence for man, more than for any other animal; and teaching that
mind or soul is wholly dependent on animal organisation*--the mere
creature of the brain, without which it has no existence; and that the
matter composing the bodies of men and other animals, is alone eternal,
though subject to thousands of millions of different forms, modes, or
states of being.

     * Intelligence is the result of the animal organisation of
     matter, and cannot be separated from, or have existence
     without it. "Animated matter is not the result of
     intelligence." Thought, mind, soul, or breath, call it
     which you will, is as much the offspring or effect of
     organisation as music is of the instrument that produces it.

     One of the great luminaries of the church, even the Bishop
     of Llandaff, has given us his own creed respecting what is
     called soul, which savors of something more than mere
     scepticism. Speaking of its supposed flight into
     immortality, after death, he says,--"This notion was,
     without doubt, the offspring of prejudice and ignorance; I
     must own that my knowledge of the nature of the soul is much
     the same now that it was then" (in childhood). "I have read
     volumes on the subject, but I have no scruple in saying that
     I know nothing about it"--Anecdotes of his own life,
     written by himself.

But in modern times, under the triune mythology (or the three-god
fable), society is in a great measure destitute of such pure morality,
and sound philosophy; all being mixed up with the deleterious alloy of
theology, and its ever-changing inventions in its own peculiar element
of unproved existences. This supernaturalism is the only delusion that
deserves the name of atheism, because it beguiles man to set at nought
the immutable revelations of Nature; and its very essence being to
prevent all correct views of that Power, the pretension to look beyond
it nullifies or vitiates everything good on earth. Whilst mankind shall
not only continue to be advocates for those impositions which destroy
their own pleasure and happiness, but pay for their degradation by
supporting a mischievous canker-worm priesthood, they deprive themselves
of a fair trial to see what a state of affluence and ease they might
attain by very moderate labor; and by repudiating all doctrines and
dogmas founded on spiritualism, immaterialism, or any other nothingism,
because they are words absolutely without meaning, as they represent
nothing that has a real existence; and therefore, until some immaterial
entity can be made palpable to the senses, they will remain downright
contradictions in terms, though they have hitherto served as the
principle machinery of theologie deception.* Contemning all such
visionary mummeries, our divines of the present day are at no loss
to find you a vast difference between a spiritual body, and a bodily
spirit!

     * The learned amongst the Fathers were materialists.
     Tertullian says, "Nihil incorporale nisi quod non est."
     Saint Hilary, in the fourth century, affirmed that, "there
     is nothing but what is corporeal" Yet and attending to the
     principles of their own nature, together with the physical
     realities that surround them, and upon which alone depends
     every atom of their welfare and happiness, mankind will be
     able by perseverance to remove the overwhelming evils of
     their present condition; but in vain will they expect such
     results, while they continue mere automata, to be played at
     pleasure by superstition and despotism.

Amongst the many immoral corruptions which the present superstition of
Europe has entailed on the laboring man, few have a worse tendency than
the compulsory exaction of one seventh of his time, which its priests
have procured to be dedicated to their purposes alone; whereby he is
compelled either to be idle, or to swell their vain pageant train to
that shrine of hypocrisy called church. The observance of Sunday is,
like everything else in Christianism, borrowed from the heathens; and is
merely a continuation of the Pagan festival that was held in the temples
of the Sun, in adoration of that luminary, as the name attests beyond
all contradiction; with this difference alone, that the Fathers, as
if it were to make the thing more expensive and intolerable in their
Scripture traffic, changed it into a weekly festival, substituting
the triune machinery of the church for that of the temple. But as
the present observance of this day throughout Christendom is nowhere
enjoined in the New Testament, it was customary with Christians, even
in the fourth century, to perform their usual work on that day; and,
according to Mosheim, many of them held Thursdays and Fridays to be as
sacred as Sunday. The entailing upon human industry this weekly curse of
idleness was reserved for, and was worthy of, the Emperor Constantine, a
man who had the guilt of seven family murders upon his head: and as
the priests of Paganism refused to expiate those crimes (so Zosimus
and others say), he abandoned their religion, and adopted that
of Christianity, whose less scrupulous priests absolved him, and
white-washed his crimes to the purity of snow. In return for this
scouring, the imperial murderer felt himself prompted by gratitude to do
all in his power to establish a new hierarchy, who could make themselves
so subservient to the purposes of tyranny; so he began by paving the way
for finally depriving the industrious man of one seventh of his time,
which was to be appropriated in promoting the importance, the riches,
and the power of his newly adopted priesthood.

But even this pious man of blood (who to the very last, kept two strings
to his bow, but was rather more willing to pay his respects to Jupiter
than to Jehovah), wedded as he was to that priesthood, which had so
kindly effaced the stains of so many inhuman murders, durst not gratify
them all at once, lest he should bring a famine upon the empire; and
therefore by his edict issued on the subject, the observance of Sunday
was compulsory only upon magistrates, and the inhabitants of cities
generally; but in regard to the people in the country, and all
agriculturists, he says:--"_On the venerable day of the Sun, let those
who are situated in the country, freely and at full liberty, attend
to the business of agriculture_." After the death of this emperor, the
church which he had planted soon grew strong in wealth and power; and
the consequent influence of the hierarchy enabled them, gradually to
extend the forced respect for their own harvest-day, over both town and
country.

This clerical usurpation is so far from being sanctioned by any
authority, that the New Testament suffers no man to "judge another in
respect to the Sabbath day, or of any holy days" (see Coloss, ii.,
16). It asserts the right to esteem every day alike, "agreeably to the
persuasions of a man's own mind" (Romans, xiv., 5). It binds no man "to
the observance of days, and months, and times, and years" (Gal. iv., 10)
Jesus did not enjoin respect for the Sabbath, but justified the contrary
(Matt, xii., 5). There being no gospel authority requiring this waste
of time for the benefit and gratification of priests alone, it was
not until some time in the fourth century that they fully succeeded
in palming upon industry this weekly inlet to every vice; nor was
it legally enforced, we believe, until a considerable time after
the Council of Nice, that foulest combination of fraud, knavery, and
priestcraft that ever degraded the human race, Let us now attend a
little to the glaring immoralities and crimes which are the inevitable
effects of compulsory idleness on this day, that was originally the
heathen festival of the glorious solar deity.

There are few exceptions to the general rule, that the industrious man
is the virtuous. "By the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread," is
the universal decree of Nature; and every violator of this law of health
shall be unhappy in the precise ratio of its violation. Hence it follows
that when men are compelled either to be idle vagrants, or give up their
minds mechanically to a worship which appears to them at once useless
and irrational, they cannot do otherwise than prefer the former;
and being thus compelled to be idle, they are virtually forced to be
vicious, which leads to the reverse of happiness. The profligacy and
crime arising from this weekly idleness, is amply set forth in those
scenes of drunkenness, debauchery, gaming, and quarrelling, which are
of constant Sunday occurrence in our beer and gin palaces: but as
the various poisons vended in these sinks of ruin pay high duties
to government, and are, next to its oppressive ally, a rapacious
priesthood, the surest means of keeping the multitude in poverty and
ignorance, that virtuous and salutary legislation which would suppress
or regulate them according to public health and good morals, is not to
be expected from our present lawgivers, aristocratical and clerical,
who feel a deep interest in the ignorance and debasement of the
laboring classes. The orthodox Paley, who "_could not afford to keep a
conscience_" alludes to such places of public resort, when he says,
"the laboring classes" (being doomed to idleness) "consume their time
in rude, if not criminal pleasures--in stupid sloth or brutish
intemperance." He might have added, that vast numbers of young men
who have ended their career by an ignominious death, have dated the
commencement of their vicious courses from what the pampered harpies
in black are pleased to call "sabbath breaking," or "profanation of
the Lord's day." And who is to blame for all this? Verily none but
that powerful phalanx of hypocritical delusionists, who pretend to be
delegated from the immaterial, invisible "Persons," who rule the upper
regions; and who, in confederacy with hereditary lawgivers on earth,
have, amongst other conventional impositions, not only deprived the
wealth producers of their right to spend the seventh part of their time
in the way most suitable to their circumstances, but enforced idleness
during that time, which, coupled with that lurid ignorance called
religious instruction, most commonly leads to vice and debasement. With
a dissimulation and effrontery that is matchless out of the sacerdotal
order, they pretend an interest in the laboring man's ease and welfare;
that he requires the seventh as a day of rest, which day should be
dedicated to the "Lord" but as their Levitical authorities are derived
from the rankest species of priestcraft that ever degraded man, they
will no longer pass in the present age; for those must be mentally blind
who do not see, that in all times, whatever was ostensibly dedicated as
"God's share," was appropriated solely for the benefit of the priests.
It is most true that the working man wants rest; but is not he the best
judge when recreation or rest becomes necessary? The simple fact is,
he never can have either peace or rest, or live under equitable and
salutary laws, nor enjoy the fruits of his labor, whilst his mind is
kept in darkness by the delusions of supernaturalism, and his industry
preyed upon by its priests. To perpetuate the stultifying influence
of this wizard power, whose nature it is to be adverse to the natural
enlightenment of the bulk of mankind,* every corner of the country is
assiduously studded with expensive temples, devoted to the exercise
of its Sunday spells; but particularly for the nursing of popular
ignorance. Against such an overwhelming antagonist, abetted by the
government and riches of the country, all in deep array to frustrate
his intellectual improvement, the laboring man has nothing to oppose but
self-cultivation alone, which will lead him to the knowledge that it
is better to think for himself than to be cheated; and that all
the miseries he suffers are in reality rooted in unearthly
chimeras--nonentities which, in all ages and religions, have been
invented for similar purposes of deception and slavery. Until he so
relieves himself from this bondage (no other power will do it for him),
his condition must continue to be more abject and pitiable than that
of the sturdy savage, who stalks in the pride of his mental and bodily
independence; or even that of the beast of the field.

     * Hobbes calls the pretended science of theology the kingdom
     of darkness. It is indeed a perpetual insult to human
     reason, debasing and debauching the mind.

Thus it appears that amongst the Christians, the coercive observance
of Sunday originated in a combination of the two crafts, kingly and
clerical, as a potential auxiliary for the permanent inthralment of the
human mind; for which it is indeed extremely well calculated, owing
to its unceasing recurrence as the weekly stifler of reason, and the
soporific of folly and ignorance; its frequency allows no breathing
time for common-sense. If men will contemn the light of Nature and the
evidence of their senses, to maintain a degrading superstition, let
them not suffer their political rulers to form co-partnership alliance,
offensive and defensive, with its priests. There can be no surer
proof of the corruption of a government than its confederacy with the
professors of any religion whatsoever. Mahommed was so sensible of the
danger of priesthoods in political states, and of their corrupting all
government, that he disapproved the allowance of any such institution,
and wished every Moslem to keep a copy of the Koran, and be his own
priest. But exactly as in the case of Christianism, his political and
theological followers soon established "the accursed thing." The Quakers
are too wise and too moral to allow this locust race to spring up
amongst them.

In the leading dogmas invented by theologians, it seems essential
that spiritual or divine justice should reverse the simplest rules of
morality and virtue; and that Nature's immutable law of death should be
held in terror as the greatest evil, though in reality it is merely a
necessary and happy transition of organised matter into another form,
throughout the animated creation; and as such, an absolute good.*
The ancients did not represent death as Christians do, with meagre
countenance, and a hideous structure of bones; but pleasant and
composed, as the image of the profoundest sleep; and such it struck no
terror. As the stronghold of priests, however, it has been clothed in
every imaginary horror that fraud can conceive, to render their spells
indispensable for death-bed or gallows repentance, where a belief
in their conjurations expiates all the crimes that may have outraged
society.

Amongst the Gentiles, Pliny spoke the fullest and plainest on this
subject, thus: "After the interment of our bodies, there is a great
diversity of opinions concerning the future state of our souls, or
ghosts; but the most general is this, that they return to the same state
in which they were before they were born. However, such is the folly and
vanity of men, that they extend this existence even to future ages; and
some crown it with immortality; others pretend a transfiguration, and
others render unto the soul of the departed honor and worship, making
a God of him that was not so much as a man; as if the manner of men's
breathing differed from that of other living creatures; or as if there
were not to be found in the world many animals that live much longer
than man. Now these are surely but fantastical, foolish, and childish
toys, devised by men who would fain live always; the like foolery is
there in preserving the bodies. But what a folly of follies is it to
think that Death should be the way to a second life! Certainly this
foolish credulity, and easiness of belief, destroy the benefit of
the best gift of Nature--death;" (which is as necessary, nay, even
as natural to every animal as life itself.) "How much more easy, and
greater security, were it, for each man to ground his reasons and
resolutions upon an assurance, that he should be in no worse a condition
than he was before he was born."--Nat. Hist.

     * The fear of death, which Christian dogmas create, has
     effects the most baleful and pernicious imaginable; and has
     contributed more to stock the Bedlam of Christendom, than
     any other cause whatever. All animals avoid and fear bodily
     pain, as the greatest evil--man alone fears death. Why?
     Because he alone has priests and a hell. Epicurus says:
     "Death, which some suppose to be the most terrible of evils,
     is nothing to us; seeing that while we are in being, death
     is not present; and when it is present, then we are not"
     Hesiod, in alluding to those who, in the golden age (when it
     may be presumed, there were neither priests, hells, nor
     supernaturals) died without superstitions fears, sung thus:--

          "They sunk to death, as opiate slumber stole
          Soft o'er the sense, and whelm'd the willing soul."
          _The Works and Days._

Among the Republican Romans, the deed that was accounted the most
virtuous and heroic, was that of dying on the field of battle, in
defence of liberty; and the next was the act of suicide, resorted to
as the means of avoiding subjection or dishonor. And so indulgent was
custom in this case, that those who were proscribed in after times, were
commonly permitted to retire from life in any way they thought proper,
to elude the disgrace of being public spectacles. This was humane, as
far as it is possible to extend lenience under such a predicament; and
as for the act itself, there was neither impiety nor the slightest odium
attached to it, but the contrary. It is curious to observe that,
amongst the host of evils introduced with, or generated by, the modern
superstition of Europe, a total change of law and sentiment regarding
this action has been effected by its priests, who, as they engrossed
all learning when in the zenith of their sway, were enabled to brand
everything as heinous wickedness that militated against, or seemed to
evince contempt for, their avocations. And as the act of suicide
affords no harvest for the priest--shuts the door against fees and
confessions--punishes him in his purse, and overlooks the importance
of his conjurations, it comprises every other offence; and, therefore,
every ignominy and abuse is heaped upon the memories, and even the
dead bodies of the self-victims, though their only crime was ridding
themselves of those unbearable miseries, which are chiefly caused by
theology, and the laws which it has occasioned.*

     * The person who commits suicide, is no more criminally
     guilty, and in all probability, much less insane than he who
     dies of fever,--they are exactly on a footing, both had
     supported life so long as it was supportable.

Though reason and science have now cooled the roasting-alive spirit down
to the moderate temperature of modern times, yet the essential property
of priestcraft to augment, and in no rational manner ever to alleviate,
human suffering will never fail to show itself, wherever its views
and interests are concerned. By laws and customs procured in its
all-powerful days, the mental and bodily tortures of condemned criminals
are most unmercifully prolonged between sentence and execution, and
their situation rendered as horrid as possible. Under pretence of the
soul-saving anxiety, the dreadful anguish of their minds is, by a
cruel delay, increased in a ten-fold degree, whilst they are inexorably
guarded lest they should anticipate their doom by relieving themselves,
and give the priest the go-by, which they are told is the acme of sin
and wickedness; but if they drag out their agonising misery quietly,
and give him due opportunity to play off his incantations, and above
all--believe, or pretend to believe in the efficacy of his dogmas, then
a heavenly pardon is secured, even at the gallows. If, in the endeavor
to avoid this catastrophe, the unhappy victim of the ignorance and
crimes of society--overwhelmed as he is with misery and despair, is
driven to seek relief in the quiet sleep of death, he is seized and
accused by the "authorities" of a "_felonious intention_" to escape
from the evils with which bad laws and abominable superstitions
have surrounded him; and is, therefore, absurdly required to "_find
security_" that he will not again attempt to elude his wretchedness, but
will quietly linger out the remainder of life in hunger, rags and cold;
all entailed upon him by existing society, every element of which is
pregnant with corruption.

Thus the action which, amongst the Romans and others of the ancients,
was deemed virtuous heroism, has, by the selfish inventions of modern
theology, been condemned as a deadly crime, and even stigmatised as
cowardice, than which nothing can be more false and contemptible. But in
every attempt to depict, in their true colors and direful effects, the
evils generated by that canker, there must ever be a want of words
to convey adequate force of execration. Such diabolical mockeries of
humanity may be authorised by modern godism, but they were not approved
by that of antiquity.

In a state of society so vitiated by falsehood and crime (created by an
abandonment of Nature) as to be almost wholly made up of moral evil,
is it at all wonderful that a vast portion of mankind should pursue the
most criminal courses to obtain a bare and wretched existence? Can we
then imagine any lengths to which a hireling clergy would not go in
their routine of deception to secure for life riches, honors, ease and
luxury? The knowledge of this truth alone ought to be sufficient to
rouse men from their sottish lethargy, for it requires nothing but
inquiry to make it appear that error and falsehood reduced to a system
forms the groundwork of that overwhelming scheme of delusion which
procures the above blessings for all priesthoods, who are hired and
prostituted to defend deceptions which enrich them and impoverish
industry. Could you, without an aberration of mind, expect truth from
men who, in order to secure all the good things the world affords, make
you their victims by forcing false notions upon your weak and pliant
understandings in childhood? Well may they cry out, "Train up a child in
the way he should walk, and when he is old he will not depart from it."*
This is a correct aphorism, and is equally true whether applied to good
or bad training, for if the mind be as it were mortgaged, or sacrificed
to the priest in childhood,**--

     * The spirit of priestianity may be, and is, repressed by
     science and philosophy; but it is utterly unchangeable. The
     children educated by the Druids to recruit their own ranks
     were secluded in woods and caverns, and denied all
     intercourse with their parents till after they had attained
     fourteen years of age. By this mental monopoly it was
     evidently meant that the esprit du corps, its secret ways
     and interests, should be so indelibly fixed upon the mind as
     to be ever afterwards proof against every natural affection.

     ** The more outrageous against Nature and reason the false
     notions instilled in childhood are the more difficult it
     seems to be to eradicate them. "It was said of an Arab, who
     was a man of sense, an arithmetician, a chemist, and, what
     is still more strange, a skilful astronomer, that nothing
     could induce him to give up the belief that Mahommed put
     half of the moon in his sleeve. The reformers of England had
     more difficulty in giving up the 'Real Presence' in the
     Sacrament, than in parting with any other dogma in Popery."
     The impossible and the absurd are indispensable pre-
     requisites with all religionists.

          "Ere yet their minds, through tender age, can choose
          What's for their good, or for their harm refuse.

          Before their natures, and their wills are strong,
          Justly to think, or judge of right and wrong;
          Or how th' affections with the body grow,
          The self-denying doom they undergo.

          In blooming youth and innocence betrayed
          To cursed altars, thus are victims made."

Hardly one in ten thousand of such victims will escape mental slavery
for life. Moreover, men dedicated to sacerdotal delusion, are bound by
strong necessity to maintain their deceptions, or else give up not
only their ease and luxury, but their very means of subsistence. Once
enlisted in the cause, they must defend it; for should anyone of them,
prompted by convictions from impartial research and rational experience,
honestly avow opinions hostile to the national superstition, or decline
to administer in the usual manner to your nursery-conceived prejudices
and errors, would you not abandon him to obloquy and starvation? These
things duly considered, you may ask yourselves whether you are not more
likely to meet with truth from men who neither seek your money nor court
your favor--who are actuated by no other motive or interest than that
which the love of the principle of truth excites--who are unprostituted
by hire--who, under the armour of reason, can resist and despise the
venomous calumny which is cast upon every exposure of priestcraft;
and who, having discharged a duty, feel it as a matter of indifference
whether you shall be pleased or offended by the truth. You complain that
the contemner of your religious opinions, at once tortures your feelings
and arraigns your judgment; but has any judgment proceeding from your
impartial investigation of that subject, ever had anything to do in
the matter? Did you not fall heir to those absurd whims which you are
pleased to call religious opinions, in right of your mother and other
relations; and if these had happened to be followers of Mahommed, would
not your blind zeal for the prophet of Mecca, have been as great as it
now is for his alleged predecessor of Palestine?* Your answering
this question in the negative would be the highest proof of folly and
stupidity. Having sadly experienced for more than half a century the
obstinate and angry nature of superstition, we are prepared to expect
anything but your approbation when we repeat to you, that your faith has
no other basis than traditional fables, legends, and allegories--that
your attempt to prove their literal truth by prodigies and violations of
Nature's laws, is far more inadmissible than the fables themselves; and
that your understanding is so obscured by the pestilential fogs raised
by these theological absurdities, that the rational truths of Nature can
find no admittance.

The usual reply to such arguments and reasoning as the foregoing, is the
hue and cry of infidel, atheist, etc.; but is it atheism to prefer the
known to the unknown, and to consult experience and the evidence of
our senses, in preference to dogmas drawn from books of unauthenticated
legends, which are remarkable for nothing so much as the numerous libels
they contain against the ruling power of the universe?** When the laws
and institutions of a country become so corrupted by the usurpations of
religion, and the political tyranny which it engenders, as are those of
Great Britain,*** where the most grievous abuses in church and state are
cherished and perpetuated to serve the ends of the aristocracy and
the hierarchy, and where even the sciences are allowed to be seen only
through the spectacles of superstition, are the men Atheists who seek a
radical reform of them all?

     * The minds of the great mass of mankind may be compared to
     the glasses in a tavern, which bear about whatever may be
     put into them. If the tavern be in Turkey, the sensual
     potations of Mahommed's heaven will fly about; if at Rome,
     the sparkling froth of Catholicism: if in any one of the
     Protestant countries of Europe, your features will be
     distorted by the acetous draughts of Calvin.

     ** By one Act of Henry VIII., it was high treason to have
     the Bible in possession; by another it was permitted to
     noblemen and gentlemen; and next, to countesses, ladies,
     etc.; and lastly to grown people, but not to apprentices and
     children. It was wise to allow the reading of such a book to
     those alone who were interested in upholding it. Reason,
     philosophy and science will ultimately bring it into
     contempt.

     *** All the ecclesiastical, and most of the other laws of
     Great Britain, are in opposition to everything that is
     salutary to man, or protective of his natural rights. To the
     former class, every man of sound morality and virtue, ought
     to make a point of denying jurisdiction and obedience. All
     the laws and usages, without exception, that have relation
     to the intercourse of the sexes, are so unnatural, cruel and
     absurd, that they seem calculated to make them mutual snares
     for each other.

If there be indeed any such thing as a _post mortem_ judgment seat,
to try the wicked and unrighteous for their immoralities and crimes,
priests will have much to answer for at that tribunal, on the score of
the complicated chain of calamities which their trade hath entailed on
their brother man; for they alone

          "Have dared to babble of a God of peace,
          Even while their hands were red with guiltless blood--
          Murdering the while--uprooting every germ
          Of truth--exterminating--spoiling all--
          Making the earth a slaughter-house."

As sanctioning precedents for the commission of almost every crime may
be conveniently found in the Jew books, in like manner they hold forth
examples of the coarsest obscenities, though false translation has
hidden many of them. Where shall we find vices so lewd and unnatural
as those which were practised, and seem to have been of ordinary
occurrence, amongst the chosen people? Would the law relating to asses
and he-goats have been made if the unnatural crime which it was intended
to prevent had not been in practice? See in Judges xix. the infamous
doings of the men of Gibeah and Benjamin, the descendants of the chosen
son of Jacob. Would any man of ordinary decency read to the females of
his household passages so outrageously--nay, so matchlessly obscene, as
those we frequently meet with in the Bible? For instance, Ezekiel iv.,
12, and nearly the whole of the chapters xix. and xxiii. of the same
book. See also Hosea i., 2 and 3, and chapter iii. to the end. The
Song of Solomon is evidently the lascivious* effusion of some devoted
debauchee; yet such is the transcendent impudence of our priests, that
these superlatively lecherous imaginings have been, by forged headings,
called "Christ's love** to the church." The instances above cited
are trivial when compared with the number which might be adduced, of
obscenities altogether unequalled in any other book; and we would ask
any Bible advocate, "Whether any young woman who should be detected in
reading a book (not labelled The Holy Bible) which contained a fiftieth
part of the foul and rank immodesties that pervade this 'Will of God,'
would not lose her good reputation for ever?"

     * In chapter v., 4, it is very significantly said, "my
     beloved put his finger, etc.;" but to damp this plainly
     libidinous expression, the inspired translators foisted in
     "of the door". No forgery can be more barefaced. The words
     are "Dilectus meus demittebat mânum suam a for ami ne, cum
     visceribus meis frementibus in me." There is no mention
     whatever of a door.--Lucian Redivivus.

     ** If they would call them typical of the Duke of York's
     love for Mrs. Clarke, they would be much nearer the truth.

     *** At a trial in London, for the imaginary crime of
     blasphemy, the judge very ingenuously acknowledged the
     revolting obscenities of the Jew books, by ordering the
     women and boys to leave the court while the defendant, in an
     able defence, was reading the Bible.

But these obscenities are of little ethical importance, compared with
the mass of moral evil which in all ages of Christianity has arisen
from, and been justified by precedents drawn from the conduct of those
men called "Bible worthies," though they appear decidedly to have been
the very worst characters portrayed even in that book. This is
not surprising, when we know that the Jewish god was an abstract
personification of the will and interests of the robber-in-chief,
combined with the priesthood; and the interests of all priests being
essentially different, or opposed to those of the industrious producers
of wealth, the men who oppressed and plundered them, and stuck at no
crime in serving the sacerdotal order, were of course the favorites
of "the Lord." David afforded a full and prominent proof of this.
Hickeringill, a learned Hebraist and clergyman of the English church,
has let out the secret, that "David was a man after God's own heart,"
not in holiness, that is not meant, and would be unaccountable after his
adultery, murders, his many other sins, and cursing his enemies to the
lowest pit of hell; but, "after God's heart," is a Hebraism,* and in
English signifies as much as, "_a man for my turn_" (or he is the
man for my money), "_he will kill and slay as the priest commands and
directs_."

     * One of the most learned Hebraists of England, has declared
     that, no two translators would agree in rendering any verb
     from the Hebrew. Godfrey Higgins says:--"I am quite certain
     that I shall be able to show--to prove--that every letter of
     the Hebrew has four, and probably five meanings." What an
     accommodating language for the priests, when their interests
     require an alteration in their "Word of God!"

Here we have an exceedingly important confession from a learned
churchman! That a person so profligate, wicked, and cruel, as the whole
life of David shows him to have been, should acquire the above title,
has no doubt astonished many people; but the exposition shows clearly
that the priests bestowed it upon him, for his pre-eminence in the
commission of every crime that promoted their interest and power. Many
others of these "worthies" appear to have been the peculiar favorites of
Jehovah, from possessing similar qualities (saints in subsequent times
were always made out of the same sort of material), whilst with the good
and virtuous few he was generally at enmity. This appears in contrasting
the bloody and revengeful character of priest Samuel, with that of
the plain, honest, and brave soldier, Saul; that of the cunning and
deceitful Jacob, with his generous and amiable brother Esau. Amongst
the numerous atrocious murders of David, do we not find that of
Mephibosheth, the lame son, or brother of his peculiar friend and
generous protector, Jonathan? The wholesale murders ordered by
Moses, Joshua, David, and some others, are, if true, the most horrid
imaginable. Blood was the order of the day among the Jews, so it
flowed on all occasions. Exod. xiii., 2, shows that by their laws the
first-born children were dedicated as sacrifices to the Jewish Moloch,
as well as the first-born of other animals; but it is probable that the
horror which this shocking barbarity excited in surrounding countries,
at last induced the priests to accept of a lamb, or other victim that
was equally good to eat, in redemption of the devoted child. The poor
donkey, being rather a tough morsel for "the Lord" and his priests, was
to be put to death, if not redeemed by something more tender and savory;
mark the malignity of the priests! That the Jews offered such human
sacrifices, is proved in Solomon's having built a temple to Moloch,
which he would not have done with the intention of observing any
other rites than those of the Ammonitish god. The Jew books have also
furnished Christianity with examples of private assassination, which are
nowhere else matched in cool atrocity: to give two instances only, see
the base cowardly treachery by which those of Sisera, and of Eglon, king
of Moab, were perpetrated.

We cannot conclude this lecture without making the important
observation, that, while the instruction of youth continues to be
founded upon these Jew books, which hold forth such barbarous and
vicious men as patterns of humanity, virtue, and sound morality, no
material improvement can ever be made in the moral condition of society.
These books are imposed upon the mind as the one thing needful in
education, because they divert from the study of the useful and salutary
truths of Nature (the knowledge of which is the bane of the priest),
which stand in direct opposition to the fabulous absurdities of Jewish
theology;* and, therefore, our hireling priests, who dread nothing so
much as the development of these truths, use their utmost energies in
suppressing all such investigation; whilst they instil such reveries
only as promote ignorance, and keep the mind in childhood through life.
When the fogs of religious stupidity have thus mentally moulded
the audience, the pulpit becomes a fountain of the most unqualified
nonsense, which is safely showered down in torrents without any danger
of detection, on the part of "the long-ear'd rout," who, being taught to
spurn the evidence of their senses, when put in competition with faith,
are prepared to swallow the grossest impossibilities:--

          "For zeal, fanatic zeal, once wedded fast
          To some dear falsehood, hugs it to the last."

     * The caricatures (they do not deserve a better name) which
     the Jews followed by the Christians have drawn of the
     Supreme Power, are extremely disgusting to rational piety;
     they make their deity command theft and murder: he avowedly
     breaks his promise (Numb, xiv., 34). He grieves and repents
     of his past conduct (Gen. vi., 6). He prompts his prophets
     to lying (1 Kings xxii., 22).

     The theology of the present day, says D'Holbach, is a
     subtile venom, calculated, through the importance attached
     to it, to infect everyone. By dint of metaphysics, modern
     theologians have become systematically absurd and wicked, in
     teaching the odious ideas they entertain of the deity.

The imagination of the bewildered bigot fears a mysterious phantom which
acts on none of his senses; and he fears nothing so much as to have
nothing to fear. If his religion was clear to human intellect, it
would have no attractions for his ignorance; there must be obscurity,
incredible prodigies, fables, sorceries, and terrors, to keep his
perverted brain in perpetual dread and agitation. By such chimerical
apparatus, the priest can reduce the mental faculties of man almost to
annihilation, and hence it is that the great herd of human beings have
hitherto been mere congregated masses of variously compounded folly,
knavery, and credulity; where ignorance is prized and cherished as the
sole medium through which clerical and secular oppressors can ride over
the necks of the multitude;* while the spider's web of superstition
confines their intellects as it were within the bounds of a nutshell.
In this way are the whole nations of human beings educated under
traditional and legendary lies and fables; yet so firmly does the
false impressions instilled in childhood rivet them upon the mind, that
myriads have died for them, as the highest service to their "God!" _This
is a species of devotion which the theologues most willingly perform by
deputy_.

     * "In every age, and in every country of the world, the
     religions that have been invented by impostors and priests,
     and sanctioned by rulers, have been put forth with no other
     intention than that of deceiving the people; whilst the
     distinguishing characteristic of all religious professors
     has been to profess one thing and mean another."

Under such abject and debasing circumstances have the intellectual
powers of the bulk of mankind been crushed and smothered throughout
Europe by the juggle of church and state collusion, until about the
middle of last century, when a ray of mental light burst forth from
a constellation of exalted minds, headed by that most enlightened of
philosophers, Voltaire, who shook to its very foundation the whole
fabric of Christian priestcraft. In the present century, that light,
guarded by the true emancipating Savior of the human race, the printing
press,* is now becoming more widely diffused and clear, through the
erudite minds of a Brougham, an Owen, a Hume, and many other advocates
of education; but still the truths of Nature are so obscured by the
dense fogs of priest-fostered ignorance, that no efficient political
relief need be expected for Christendom, until the people reform
themselves by abandoning the evils which cause their physical and
mental intoxication; these are inebriating liquors, and grovelling
superstition.

     * Though the art of printing, so as to multiply the copies
     of a document to any extent, was known in Europe in the year
     1444, yet the control and fear of priestly vengeance,
     prevented its being extensively useful for two centuries
     afterwards. This art, nevertheless, had been known and
     practised from time immemorial by the priests of Buddha,
     throughout the immense empire of Thibet, though confined by
     them exclusively to the purposes which promoted the
     interests of their religion. Oh, how rejoiced the priests of
     Christianity would be at this day, were it in their power to
     establish a similar monopoly of the printing press!--See
     Higgins' Anacalypsis.

When our present ultra-Reformers, who call themselves Chartists, prate
of church-going, and offering up prayers and religious hymns, previous
to their vain consultations, our political rulers pass the wink to their
clerical confederates, conveying as much as to say, this is all very
well; for while these men continue under the thumb of any sect of
theologians, or suffer their minds to be deluded and debauched by any
scheme of supematuralism whatsoever, real knowledge and sound judgment
must be strangers to their meetings; whilst the animosities of sectarism
must ever prevent unanimity, without which they never can be formidable
to the powers that be, however corrupt. When the education of mankind
shall be so salutary as to teach them what they are in reality, the
reform necessarily springing from it would quickly dissipate ignorance,
conquer superstition and its priests; and, in place of pretending
to look beyond Nature, whose surface alone man is hardly capable of
perceiving, he would, through the evidence of his senses, follow that
unerring power as the only polestar of his happiness. For the great
majority of human beings thus to reform themselves, "they have but to
will it;" if they will not, they deserve to continue what they ever have
been--degraded outcasts and aliens from their nature.

          Thus with strong speech I tore the veil that hid
          NATURE, and TRUTH, and LIBERTY.--Shelley.

END OF LECTURE SIXTH.



DIALOGUE. PHYSIOLOGICAL AND THEOLOGICAL

     Thou, Nature, art my goddess: to thy law my services are bound.
     --Shakspere.

     "Philosophy teaches us to seek in Nature, and the knowledge
     of her laws, for the cause of every event; when this
     knowledge shall become universal, man will relinquish, with
     elevated satisfaction, his attachment to supernatural and
     vindictive theology." It is this theology that has destroyed
     the harmony of Nature, and demoralised the intelligent
     world.


LUCIAN AND MODERATUS.

MODERATUS.--In all ages of the world, the tide of human affairs hath
shown that reigning opinion, however ill-founded and absurd, is always
queen of the nations; and, since a man's interest and general good
footing in society, are, to a great extent, involved in his acquiescence
in these opinions, it is strange that you, Lucian, should venture to
entertain heresies so much at variance with everything that is called
orthodox. But as it is only upon hearsay that I judge of your opinions,
pray let me know from yourself your notions respecting the deity?

LUCIAN.--You must first define precisely and intelligibly, what you mean
by the terms deity or god: do you mean by either of them to designate a
fanciful personification of the physical powers of universal matter or
nature?

Mod.--No; I mean that infinite, eternal, incorporeal body in the human
form*--the creator of the universe out of nothing, that is, out of
himself, he being nothing, according to Christian orthodoxy.

     * Zenophanes observed, that if the ox or the elephant
     understood sculpture or painting, they would not fail to
     represent the Deity under their own peculiar figure. In this
     they would have as much reason at the Jews and Christians,
     who gave him the human form.

          "And 'twere an innocent dream, but that a faith
          Nurs'd by fear's dew of poison, grows thereon."

LUCIAN.--I can form no conception of such a being as you describe; but
such a phantasm may be very suitable for, as it is quite of a piece
with, a religion that is made up of chimeras. If your term nothing has
any meaning, it is the negation of matter, which is nonsense, because
the mind can form no conception of immaterial existence. By the same
rule, reason and common sense reject the word spiritual, because it is
a term absolutely without meaning, and represents no existing thing of
which the mind can possibly form any idea.* All these words have been
coined in the mint of theology for the purpose of deception; and,
together with the principal tool of priestcraft, called soul, make up
the machinery of delusion. Everything rational is foresworn by a set of
mystagogues, when they declare that their God was engendered before his
mother, and is of the same age as his father!

MOD.--But laying aside these foolish inventions, which could only be
imposed upon ignorance; and allowing that, to the question, "what is
god," no proper answer can be given, but that "we do not know;" still,
if all, or universal matter was created, it must have had a creator;
and there being no materials to work with, this creator, being himself
immaterial, must of necessity have created matter out of himself, that
is, out of nothing.

          "These were Jehovah's words:
          From an eternity of idleness,
          I, God, awoke; in seven days' toil made earth
          From nothing; rested, and created man;
          I placed him in a paradise, there
          Planted the tree of evil; so that he
          Might eat and perish."
          And so says the church.

     * Spirit is literally air, and air is matter in a gaseous or
     fluid form; but this is not the sense in which the word is
     used by the theologian.

LUCIAN.--That is going still deeper into theological absurdity. No axiom
can be clearer than this,--"out of nothing cometh nothing." There could
be no creation of that which necessarily and eternally exists in and
of itself There can be but one infinite being, one nature, i.e. the
boundless universe, (call it god, or by any other name you please) and
this all-in-all self-existent being, produces in itself, by an internal
or innate action, whatever changes matter undergoes by this essential
action or motion; whether in the production of living creatures,
or inanimate forms: thus universal matter is at once both agent and
patient--efficient cause and subject; it produces nothing but what
is its own modification. Spiritualism is supported only by fraud, and
ignorance of materialism.

MOD.--Are not the words creator and creation used in the Bible? what do
they mean?

LUCIAN.--The learned confess that we have a very false translation
of that book. In the Talmud of Jerusalem, creator and creation merely
signify the giver, and the act of giving forms to matter* There is
not one word in the Bible about a creation from nothing; this notion,
according to Mosheim,** was the invention of the Christians. All
identities of matter arise from motion alone; and as no portion of it
can ever cease to be in motion, that motion is perpetually destroying
existing forms, and out of these producing fresh identities of
matter; but this is change of form alone, and chemistry has proved the
self-existence of the material principle, in the demonstration that no
particle of it can be annihilated.

     * The word Tsour has been adopted in Genesis, where it is,
     say the learned, falsely translated creator, though it
     merely signifies, "the giver of forms." According to Volney,
     that name is also one of the definitions of Osiris.

     ** Appendix to Cudworth.

MOD.--In our Bible account of the creation, there are certainly some
apparent contradictions, or incongruities, such as the getting up of
three whole days before the sun was "made and set in the firmament;" now
it appears to us that, as the sun is the sole source of day, they were a
little preposterous in forgetting to make him first.

LUCIAN.--It must appear plain to every one not blinded by his slavish
fears and prejudices, that the writer of Genesis (the cosmographical
part) was entirely ignorant even of the rudiments of natural science.
The god he set up, and the handiwork he makes him perform, are proofs of
this. The Jupiter of the pretty and lively mythology of the Pagans, was
frequently engaged in ludicrous amours;* but in general he preserved an
awful dignity, and was never represented in the discharge of those mean
and servile offices, which the Jews depict their Jehovah as performing;
though these were nothing to the ferocious, cruel, and disgusting
caricatures which are everywhere drawn of him in their books. Allowing
for a moment the possibility that poor deluded man can be guilty of
impiety towards the all-ruling Power, certainly his mind could not
devise anything more blasphemous than to personify that power into such
a deity as that set up by Moses. Ignorance of the operations of matter
or Nature, has made man invent deities as causes of the effects he sees
produced; these deities were so many chimeras, and these chimeras have
been the basis of all religions.

     * When Diagoras of Melos declared that there were no such
     beings in existence as Jupiter, Neptune, Apollo, etc., their
     priests offered a talent for his head, or two talents if
     taken alive. In the latter case, the higher sum was probably
     offered, that they might have the pleasure of torturing him.
     In the 15th century what would Christian priests have done
     to the "blasphemer," who would haye been so impiously wicked
     as to assert, that the above gods did still exist in full
     power? Priests are ever the same; but gods change names and
     wills, going in and out of power, like Whigs and Tories.

MOD.--I confess that in the all-important matters of morality, the Bible
presents exceeding great difficulties. Truth, justice, and mercy are
immutable principles, and must not be subverted to uphold any system of
religion whatsoever. That which is cruel and wicked in a man, cannot be
admitted or defended in a god; and every moral feeling of the virtuous
mind must be discarded ere we cease to doubt the truth of a religion
based upon the desecration of these principles. Besides, it is
repugnant, if not impossible to reconcile the god of Moses with the
reverential and sublime idea, which superior minds are capable of
forming of the almighty power.

LUCIAN.--As the man who takes a priest for his guide will be led astray;
so, if the Bible has been his sole instructor, he is likely ever to
remain in ignorance; the first will not teach him anything useful--the
latter cannot. Previous to the time when it is said the Bible lawgiver
entered upon his murderous invasion of the Canaanitish countries, each
of them had its local god or goddess, some of whom we have elsewhere
mentioned; these were so many personifications of the sun, moon, stars,
elements, and seasons, and served as objects of adoration amongst the
ignorant. As a priest of Heliopolis, Moses must have known all this, and
wishing to be like his new neighbors, he set up his barbarous deity in
imitation, changing his Theban name of Jahouh into Jehovah (see Strabo's
Geography), charging his followers not to represent it by any emblem, as
he was in vain wishful of preserving the Egyptian unity of the Supreme
Power. But as the sun was then in Taurus, or the Bull, the Egyptian
priests had taught the illiterate Israelites to worship a calf; and as
they were desirous of clinging to their calf adoration, Aaron, as every
other priest would have done, took advantage of this religious folly, to
despoil them of the gold ornaments, which, by Jahouh's command, they had
swindled from the Egyptians. In this affair Moses and his brother, no
doubt, understood each other well. To rob upon religious pretences, is
not altogether a modern invention.

MOD.--In the supposed time of Moses, the religion of Egypt being
polytheistic, Jahouh must have been one amongst many deities that were
worshipped by the Egyptians; so that if Moses borrowed that deity of the
Thebans, he could not at the same time borrow his doctrine of the unity
of god.

LUCIAN.--The learned Egyptian priests appear to have been decidedly
Materialists. Infinitely above the minor deities which they invented for
the ignorant populace, they believed in the great material principle,*
acting by self-existing energies and properties; infinite, therefore
causeless; and constituting the unity of the Supreme Power. They
represent this power by no emblem, conceiving that to be impossible; but
the Greeks personified it in the god Pan. Thus the unity of the Supreme
Power was the basis of the hierarchical religion of Egypt, as is
acknowledged by the learned Hyde, and also by Cudworth. As an Egyptian
priest, Moses (admitting his existence) must have known this, and was
therefore wishful of preserving this unity in his Theban deity; though
that availed nothing when neutralised by the discordant and inconsistent
qualities attributed to him. In order to be justified as an invader
and plunderer of peaceful countries, Moses was under the necessity
of endowing his god with fierce and barbarous passions, which on
most occasions led him to be cruel and unjust; as when he issued his
ferocious and bloody mandate to his priests, the sons of Levi, (Exod.
xxxii., 27) to sacrifice about three thousand "_Brothers, companions,
and neighbors_," in cold blood,* You say, "materiality cannot think--do
you know of any thinking without it? Pray how does immateriality think?"

     * See also the inhuman mandate issued in Deut. xiii., 6th
     to 10th. This has justified every refinement in the cruelty
     of persecution throughout Christendom for more than fifteen
     hundred years.

MOD.--That massacre was caused by the idolatry of the people, in setting
up and worshipping the golden calf.

LUCIAN.--Priest Aaron was herein the principal actor; yet he and his
tribe not only go unpunished, but are employed to commit the shocking
murders.

MOD.--But theologists assure us that what is justice with god is
injustice with man. Christians have ever drawn a line of distinction
between divine and human justice: proving that what appears to man
cruel, partial, and unjust, in the works of god, are, in reality,
justice, impartiality, and mercy towards man.

LUCIAN.--Robbery and murder are strange ways of showing mercy. It is
by the hideous and pernicious dogmas you mention, that pretended
supernatural revelations have poisoned the pure stream of morality; they
utterly confound every idea or perception we can have of the natural
principles of right and wrong; and have sanctioned or justified the
foulest enormities throughout Christendom. The principles of truth,
justice, and morality, are ever the same, and immutable from whatever
source they emanate.

MOD.--It is true that the Supreme Being is, upon the whole, not much
beholden to the Jewish priests for the sketches of character in which
he is portrayed in the Bible. But this is speaking according to human
reason.

LUCIAN.--The capricious and cruel character of this theological
creation, as set forth in the Jew books, is generally so demoralising
as to be altogether unworthy of imitation in human conduct, The cruelty
ascribed to it, is the shield behind which priestcraft has sheltered
itself in all its bloody persecutions. In other respects the various
menial, or bad offices and functions which it is made to perform, are
truly ludicrous when said to be executed by the all-ruling power; such
as, a god-midwife (a), a nightly assassin (b), a butcher (c), a barber
(d) a slave-dealer (e), a murderer (f), a fool (g), a deceiver (h), a
promise breaker (i),* a deluder (j ), a tailor (k), a shoemaker (l).
Such was the deity who the Jewish priests impiously and blasphemously
called the Supreme Power of the universe, though guised by them in the
form and likeness, having all the appendages and members physical,
of the human body; and possessing many, if not all the worst passions
incident to human nature. And such is the deity adopted by Christianity,
after undergoing such modifications, and receiving into partnership such
colleagues as suited the interests of his priests. These things, in a
mental point of view, have degraded man below the more rational animals
of the field.

     * The Jewish god never gave his chosen people anything
     better than promises.--Vide Acts vii., 5; and Heb. xi., 39.

     In the reign of Ahab, a lying angel, or spirit, offers his
     services as a deceiver, which services were very acceptable
     to the "Lord." Here we have a lying angel, and the supreme
     being endeavoring to deceive by prompting to a falsehood.
     The belief of such impious absurdities shows that the
     unbounded credulity of man is the safety of the priest.

MOD.--You have evinced a strong partiality for what you call the pretty
and lively mythology of the Gentiles, consisting of the numerous fabled
gods and goddesses of antiquity, which, you say, the lower orders of the
people were taught to consider as so many real personages, though,
in the esoteric doctrines of the initiated, they were merely so many
emblems of the "host of heaven," the elements and seasons.

LUCIAN.--Precisely so; and such is the origin of the Christian scheme
also, springing as it does out of the Egyptian and Zoroastrian systems;
for as the epithet Christ physically signifies the sun, so, in like
manner, has it been made to represent a fabled personage; whilst the
true revelation of this prosopopoeia (the figure by which things are
made persons) is now suppressed or lost through priestcraft, or its
foster-child, ignorance.

MOD.--In modelling his deity it was evidently the intention of Moses to
preserve his unity; but his followers being the most barbarous of human
beings, he was under the necessity of adapting his god to their ignorant
and rude notions of things; and, therefore, not blameable for the tricks
and deceptions he used, since these were the only means of governing
them. Why, then, should not similar means be used in the nineteenth
century to answer the same purpose? The ignorance and credulity of the
mass of mankind are at all times the sufficient warrant of theological
frauds. It is not at all necessary that men of learning, and the rulers
of nations, should believe in the irrational fictions of any scheme of
supematuralism; but experience seems to point out the utility of their
yielding them _a pretended belief, and a real support, for the sake of
governing the multitude_.

LUCIAN.--As an initiated Pagan priest, the conduct of Moses towards his
followers was quite in character; and the religion which he manufactured
was, no doubt, well suited to the extreme savageness of the Jews.*
But it is wonderful that this religion, blasphemous and absurd in the
highest degree, and contrived solely for the purpose of over-awing
and governing a horde of plundering banditti, should maintain a sacred
influence over nations where history and science abound. The grovelling
credulity of uninstructed man is such, that all despotic rulers, aided
by their iniquitous connexion with subservient priesthoods, have during
centuries of darkness, shackled the necks of mankind with great success
in the way you mention. But the wicked stratagem of keeping men in
ignorance, in order that they may be misgoverned by theological fables,
is now meeting a stumbling-block in the increasing light of reason and
useful knowledge among the people. This wretched policy has already
produced revolutions; and others of yet brighter aspect seem rising
on the political horizon, still farther to weaken, and ultimately to
overthrow, the church-contaminated governments of Europe. Superstition,
though still leagued with political rule, is utterly unable to be its
mainstay any longer, because of the reasonable hostility of the
people whose eyes begin to be opened to the evil tendency in regard to
morality, as well as to the prodigious expense entailed upon industry,
in support of the voracious hydra of superstition.

          "An inhuman and uncultured race, who
          Howl'd hideous praises to their 'jealous God'."

     * To establish a religion upon the wild reveries of an
     ignorant people, whose legends are in all cases filled with
     miraculous events against the order of Nature, and bearing
     on their very front the most glaring marks of imposture, is
     the very acme of human folly--the pestilent mania which has
     convulsed nations, and deluged the world with blood.

MOD.--That all rational and unprejudiced minds find an insuperable
repugnance at the idea of reconciling, or identifying the Supreme power,
with the deity of Moses, as depicted in the Bible, is a point which
I readily concede. When the man of free reflection meditates on a
boundless universe, governed in the most consummate order and harmony,
nothing appears to him so shocking as the impious comparison of the
incomprehensible Being, the creator and ruler of millions of worlds,
with the impotent, puerile, and inconsistent deity of the Jews--the
contrast is, beyond all expression, revolting and abhorrent. This
immutable order of all things (we are forced to the conclusion) could
not exist without the guidance of an infinite Being who is not only
independent of matter, or Nature, but regulates that principle.

LUCIAN.--Matter and motion alone constitute what we call Nature, which,
you allow, is the essential principle, therefore, there is no room
left for supposing any anterior existence; because, as the essential
principle, it could have no antecedent--no cause; and must in
consequence be self-existent and eternal. If invariable order and
harmony evince the design of an artificer, surely the transcendent
intellect of your supreme artificer (the demiourgos) evinces still more
the necessity of a greater designer, in his production. We know that
harmony and adaptation exist in the energies of matter, from which
spring all animal organization; is it not then quite as satisfactory,
and far more easy, to suppose that Nature--her harmony and
intelligence--have existed eternally, than it is to suppose a time when
boundless matter was not in being; and that it derived its existence
from an immaterial personage, of whom the mind cannot form the slightest
conception? As material Nature is the infinite Being, it cannot be an
effect; it is the principle of principles, whose innate energies
produce within itself the eternal routine of cause and effect.* Of this
necessitated process ad infinitum, man cannot know or describe even
the surface; yet has the folly to pretend to look beyond the boundless
plenum!

     * To become a Materialist under existing modes of education,
     is no easy attainment; it is the fruit of much impartial
     research and knowledge, arising from independent and
     fearless thought.

MOD.--But may not such an infinite spiritual power as the Platonists,
and after them the Christians, figured to themselves, exist and rule the
universe, although the mind of man can form no definite idea of this
Being?

LUCIAN.--Man has nothing to do with that which he can neither know nor
comprehend;* and it is impossible for him to believe in that which is
beyond his comprehension. Materialists maintain the existence of an
all-ruling POWER; but every attempt to personify that Power,--and all
pretensions to any knowledge of it beyond that which is gathered
from the process of Nature, in her works, they hold as deceitful
and pernicious; regarding all pretended revelations said to be
supernaturally made to man, as the work of the most dangerous and wicked
impostors: and their revelations as the direst curses that were ever
entailed upon mankind. It would be a perversion of terms to speak
of more than one infinite Being: whether then is it most rational to
suppose it to be that which we know to exist, or that which we do
not know** to exist? So far is it from being difficult to suppose the
eternity of matter, it is hardly possible to imagine anything but its
eternity. Previous to what you call its creation by your immaterial
artificer, was he a vacuum living in a vacuum?*** As the Christian's
definition of his deity confounds all language, it is its own best
refutation. With a face of gravity, he talks of his body spiritual that
has no body; an incorporeal something that is essentially nothing; an
immaterial substance that is non-substantial; and though this body is
immaterial, it possesses the form and likeness, together with the bodily
members, of a man! These are the pestilent offspring of theology--your
distracting chimeras, which

          "Turns them to a shape, and gives to airy nothing
          A local habitation and a name."

     * Man neither can nor ought to have anything to do with that
     which is confessedly inconceivable; if he pretends to know
     or say anything of such a being, he immediately falls into
     contradictions. When did a theologian understand himself
     when speaking of his deity or deities?--Never.

     ** We have five witnesses in favor of the existence of
     matter, viz., seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, and
     tasting; but where is the proof of the existence of anything
     that is immaterial? It is fancy alone that creates such a
     chimera.

     *** The old fact that nature abhors a vacuum is still
     unrefuted; we may indeed go farther and say that she will
     not allow it, for the art of man has never produced a space
     where there was nothing.

          "Your imagination bodies forth
          In forms of things unknown;--"

Amongst the initiated in the mysteries of antiquity, the term God was
used only as being expressive of an effect, whose cause is Nature.

MOD.--Men are so accustomed to trace and find the origin of artificial
objects, that a supposed analogy readily presents itself, that matter
must have had an origin also; and, backed by superstition, they will not
give up their "Great First Cause."

LUCIAN.--Forgetting that their "Great First Cause" stands equally in
need of a cause. None of the phænomena of Nature prove, but all disclaim
a first cause. Causes and effects have ever moved in an eternal circle;
and that which is an effect at one time becomes a cause at another, and
vice versa. Theology has taught man to reject that which is easy and
rational, and blinded him to the thousand-fold difficulty of supposing
a time when neither time* nor matter existed, contrasted with the simple
truth that matter is self-existent. This is a proposition too plain and
reasonable to answer the deceptive ends of the traders in that pseudo
science.

MOD.--If, as you say, no power ever did, or can create matter, there are
at least an endless series of changes--of new modes or forms of beings
which it unceasingly assumes, having the appearance of creation. All
this seems to require intelligence and a directing hand.

LUCIAN.--Why may not this directing hand be the essential energies of
matter alone, of which motion is the chief; for without it no change
whatever can take place? The word creation has no proper meaning except
when applied to these new combinations, and ever-varying forms. The
universe consists of infinitely-derived, and dependent modes of beings;
each of which owes its existence to the power and efficacy of the one
that immediately preceded it, in an infinite series of successions,
without a beginning, or original.**

     * The theologist makes god say, "before time was, I was."

     **  According to Hobbes, "God is almighty matter."

          Existence still maintains existences,
          And nought begins where no existence is.

MOD.--The intercirculation* of the parts of matter, and its unceasing
changes into new states of being, in form and substance, seem to reveal
the mystery of transubstantiation, which, if I mistake not, was one of
the attributes ascribed to deity, long before it was adopted as a dogma
of Christianity.

LUCIAN.--Like everything else in our Christian fabrication,
transubstantiation was taken from the esoteric doctrines of the
Gentiles, where it was allegorised in the person of Proteus, who,
according to the poets, was Neptune's herdsman; and whose name properly
signifies primary, or oldest, meaning that he represented the eternal
nature of matter; and his changeableness was expressive of the endless
operations, new modes and combinations thereof, wrought chiefly in a
fluid state by the perpetual motion** of the sea (Neptune), and the
other elements. He was said to take all kinds of shapes and disguises,
turning himself into monstrous animals, fire, water, etc., denoting that
in him were personified the continually varying forms of matter.*** He
was called the servant of Neptune, and said to reside in a cave, meaning
the apparent concavity of the heavens. Time, matter and motion form the
only eternal Trinity and Unity.

     * The perpetual change of form produced by this
     intercirculation in the elements of matter, was called by
     the Greeks Omoosia or Omousia. This mutual action is
     universal; and is proved even in "the interchange of the
     material of light between globe and globe in the solar
     system; and from the fixed stars, through the medium of some
     gaseous principle of matter, in the highest state of
     rarefaction." All is matter, and matter is all.

     ** It is only by motion that we exist, or even known that we
     exist. A dead animal begets motion of itself.

     *** Empedocles says:--"Those are infants or short-sighted
     persons with very contracted understandings, who imagine
     that anything is born which did not exist before; or that
     anything can be totally annihilated."

MOD.--The learned amongst the Christian priesthood, against their
private convictions, are under the necessity of supporting the dogma
of creation; because the giving up of that point would destroy the
foundation of their system; but many of them have no objection to allow
the eternity of time.

LUCIAN.--During which time, as has already been observed, their god,
being immaterial, was the vacuum inhabitant of a vacuum! Another plunge
into absurdity. The pretended creations and false revelations inculcated
by theology, have invariably operated to suppress or cripple the
sciences; particularly those of astronomy and geology. Sacerdotal
deception un-blushingly tells us that, something less than six thousand
years ago, there was no sun, no moon, no stars, no earth, no matter of
any kind! By the invention of this tremendous absurdity, priestcraft
has had the audacity to circumscribe within the comparative period of
a moment, the existence of even Nature herself; and as nothing is too
gross for unthinking ignorance, even this greatest of all monstrosities
goes down with the credulous herd of mankind, who dare to look at
nothing but through the spectacles of this "science of god."

MOD.--What proof have we that this globe has been in being longer than
the period assigned for it by the Jewish and Christian priesthoods?

LUCIAN.--There are innumerable astronomical and geological facts which
prove the existence of this earth for millions of years.* By a change so
wonderfully slow as to require perhaps thousands of centuries to bring
it round, the surface of this globe is so completely altered towards
the sun, that the frigid zones become the torrid, and _vice versa_,
in succession. The remains of tropical animals have been found at the
estuaries of the Oby and Lena, and even in more northern latitudes.
Petrified crocodiles have been found in Derbyshire, at the depth of
eighty-five fathoms; which proves that the land called England enjoyed a
tropical sun, in antiquity so remote as to show in a striking light, the
moment sand-glass--or, if you please, the perfect nothingness--of all
human chronology.

MOD.--It must be allowed that the Bible cosmogony and its stories
about deity, origin of man, etc., appear puerile, contradictory, and
irrational, unless they can be resolved into planetary allegories. But
in regard to the creation of matter, these Jew books are not so absurd
as to affirm that it was done out of nothing; that was a discovery made
by Christianity. The Jewish creation is a mere copy of cosmogonies of
eastern countries, all of whom, China excepted, pretend to account for
the origin of things.

LUCIAN.--We had everything from the east.* The Bible makers compiled out
of any oriental legends, or shreds of Pagan writings they could find;
and from ignorance, turned the sublime allegories having allusion to
the planets, into vague unmeaning narrative and anecdote. Even Druidism,
which, like primitive Christianity, was concealed sun worship,**
travelled to us from the east; and there is abundant reason to believe
that priestcraft had reached the highest perfection in India, some fifty
thousand years before the Jewish superstition existed. In western
Asia and Europe, the usual combination of crafts had robbed man of
his natural liberty, enslaved his mind, and eaten up the fruits of his
industry; but in Hindustan, the consummate subtlety, and all-subduing
art of the priest, has, by an utter annihilation of mind, reduced
certain castes of the Hindus far below the condition of the vilest
animal on earth, and with a fiendish influence, the most astonishing, it
stimulates other castes to actions at which Nature stands horrified.

     * Christianism stole its materials in the east--deceived the
     west, and now, in its purloined robes and oriental missions,
     "it would retrace its steps, and deceive the world."

     ** "In Druidism, as in the most ancient religions, the
     mythos in all being perfectly the same, it was required of
     the votaries, that all prayers for good, as well as
     invocations of curses, should be addressed to the sun, under
     the name of Jupiter. In praying for blessings, they went
     round the stone, or other object, according to the course of
     the sun; and vice versa in the invocation of curses. These
     imprecations are very numerous in those solar hymns, called
     the psalms of David."

The Christian priestcraft, even in the eleventh century, when ignorance
and tyranny had raised it to its zenith of power and glory, was but a
novice compared with the subtle perfection of that of India. And it was
no doubt the complete success of this mind-enslaving delusion in the
east, which recommended and caused its adoption in the west; for with a
variation in names, it is identically the same astro-fable everywhere.*

     * Most of the old churches on the continent, as has
     elsewhere been observed, show that both the virgin and her
     son were introduced into Europe, as black Gentoos.

MOD.--The absolute sway which Brahminism has over the mind of the
Hindus, is perhaps attributable to its being the oldest of all known
religions? its priests have the advantage of a prodigious antiquity,
through which they have matured it to serve their own ends, and
established a despotic power over their debased votaries.

LUCIAN.--No conceivable power over the mind can exceed that refined
delusion which causes millions of human beings voluntarily to throw
themselves under the wheels of the Juggernaut car, to be crushed to
death on earth, in order to attain some one of those heavens which their
villainous priests have invented. This astonishing power is perhaps
shown still more in the effects of that religious rite, which makes
it incumbent on widows to burn themselves alive on the death of their
husbands. The horrible wickedness of this sacerdotal injunction requires
that these victims must sacrifice themselves by this excruciating death,
dressed out in all the jewels and precious stones they are possessed of;
and after the dreadful immolation, these valuables become the perquisite
of the priests, whose emissaries carefully sift the ashes of the funeral
pile where all the gold and gems are found, with little or no injury
done them by the fire. This is either the usage now, or was so in former
times, and seems to be the acme of priestcraft.

MOD.--Whether the belief in supernatural powers, which, in all ages and
countries, a certain order of men has been maintained to inculcate and
enforce, has contributed most to human happiness or misery, is not for
me to decide; but while a vast majority of mankind are unfitted to
think for themselves, advantage will be taken of that ignorance, and
combinations formed between the rulers of states and churches for the
more effectual government of the many, who, if oppressed on earth by
supporting these institutions, will be remunerated by a supernatural
promotion in heaven.

LUCIAN,--Just so; under such governments, man is a mere puppet moved
at the pleasures of his oppressors, who keep him ignorant, and work
him thoroughly: promising him a post mortem happiness in another life,
provided he bears the yoke of misery quietly in this:--

          "Then the mind's independence insensibly sinks
          The taint of one portion enfeebling the whole,
          Till oppression, preparing the doubled-twined links,
          King and priests draw their victim down--body and soul."

But you forget the immensely different degrees of evil occasioned by
the inventions of theology; in England, Ireland, and Wales,* alone, the
enormous sum of nine millions nine hundred and twenty thousand pounds
is annually squandered in pampering and enriching the dignitaries, and
maintaining the rest of a body of ecclesiastics, about thirty thousand
in number. This sum is considerably more than half of all the clerical
revenues of Christendom; and cannot possibly have any other source
than the industry of the people, who, in return for their toil and
starvation, are robbed of their senses, their judgments, and their
liberties. That religion which attempts, through the aid of civil
tyranny, to enforce the belief or acquiescence in the truth of its
dogmas, virtually gives a premium to falsehood--renders truth injurious
in society, and, by these very actions, proves itself false.

MOD.--The religions of antiquity must have been a down-draught upon
industry also, and were used wholly for the purpose of deception. The
dominant superstition of a country will always be taken into partnership
by the political rulers; not because they think it true,** but as an
auxiliary and pillar of government, which confers upon the professors
thereof many privileges and immunities, in return for their support.

     * To these countries nothing has been more burdensome and
     ruinous than the expense of worshipping their gods.

     ** Wherever truth is compelled to hide her head, there is
     necessarily a vicious order of things, both political and
     moral. If instructors and governors were themselves
     possessed of knowledge and virtue they would govern men more
     easily, and much better, by realities than by fables.

LUCIAN.--The Athenians never had an established priesthood, that
overwhelming master-curse of modern times; and as for that of the Romans,
it did not, from the Pontifex Maximus, down to the lowest priest, exceed
from fifty to sixty persons; and as the dignitaries at the head of
these were always amongst the first men of the state, their offices were
purely honorary. Under these circumstances it was quite impossible
that the whole institution could be either oppressive upon industry or
dangerous to liberty. As the Roman superstition was supported by the
state for no other purpose than that of deception, to serve the ends
of political jugglery, or as a means of enabling generals of armies
to restrain the rashness of their troops, or excite them to fight
with enthusiasm when required; so, in like manner, are the more
recently-invented deceptions of theology supported, and from the same
motive, by the different nations of Europe, but in a degree, and
with effects infinitely more degrading and oppressive to all the real
wealth-producers. _Of all deceivers who have plagued the worlds none
are so deeply ruinous to human happiness, or so deserving of universal
execration, as those impostors who pretend to lead men by a light above
Nature_.

MOD.--The ignorant fears and inquisitiveness of mankind seems to require
such leaders; they cannot account for the phænomena of Nature, and
therefore they keep a class of men in pay who pretend to explain to
them certain personified existences superior to Nature, who work the
machinery behind the scenes; and in whom is inherent, they say, the
sole power to cause and control all such phænomena. But if the hopes and
fears of an ignorant populace impel them to keep such teachers, it is
true that those alone who require their services should contribute to
their support; yet as riches is power, confederate political rulers make
their adopted priesthoods wealthy, by the exaction of tithes and other
imposts upon industry; in all of which they are borne out and justified
by god's old will.

LUCIAN.--That was one of the reasons why Jahouh, when he ceased to be a
Jew, was not made to revoke his old will, which, like his new one, was
the word and will of his priests, who were not likely to permit him to
forget tithes. The present condition of the English and Irish churches
shows that the legal robbery of this exaction has been sadly aggravated
since its first introduction into Christianity. For the first eight
hundred years of our era tithes were given as alms. We are informed
by Sts. Jerome, Bernard, Chrysostom, Wickliffe, Huss, and many other
writers who uniformly agree, that tithes were purely voluntary. St.
Augustine says: "If we (the priests) do possess anything privately which
doth suffice us, the tithes, or alms, are not ours, but the goods of
the poor, whose stewards we are; _except we do challenge to ourselves
a property by some damnable usurpation_." Blackstone says that at first
tithes were distributed in a fourfold division; one for the share of the
Bishop, another for maintaining the fabric of the church, a third for
the poor, and a fourth to provide for the incumbent. When the sees of
the bishops became otherwise amply endowed, they were prohibited
from demanding their usual share; so that the poor became entitled to
one-third. As the clergy now eat up the whole, the "usurpation" of St,
Augustine has grown more and more "damnable." St. Jerome asserted that,
according to St. Paul, it was "_by the instigation of the devil_" that
distinctions of rank in religion were made, by the creation of bishops
and other dignitaries.

MOD.--All this serves only to show that human beings, so far as we know
their history, have always paid priests to lead or mislead them, through
the medium of supematurals, whether these be real or fanciful. In
denying any first cause, or creation of matter, I suppose you must allow
that man cannot be a spontaneous production of the earth, and therefore
the admission of his origin is unavoidable.

LUCIAN.--It is in vain that we see the human species propagated exactly
as are all the mammalia classes:--theology prevents a correct view
of everything; and it is its business to trample upon analogy and
experience, and to feed man with fables about his first production. You
ask, how came man into existence? But it would be quite as philosophical
to ask how the first tree, worm, or oyster, came into being.* All
organised life arises from some energy in the affinities and motions
of matter, that is altogether unknown to us, and which gives rise to
vegetable and animal life; so that the production of man is nothing more
wonderful than that of any shell fish. All generation is motion. But the
rational probability is, that the various species of homo found on this
globe, were always upon it; Nature propagating each upon that part of
its surface that is congenial to the particular species; and that in the
almost inconceivably slow process of the change, by which portions of
the globe's surface become alternately sea and land, they migrated
in succession, as old lands were wasted by the sea, and as new lands
afforded asylums.

     * "Let us view man when within the shell, and when out of
     it; let us take a microscope and examine the youngest
     embryos, those of the growth of four, six, eight, or fifteen
     days; after this age we may discover them with our naked
     eyes. Then we can perceive the head only, a round egg with
     two blackish specks, which represent the eyes. Before this
     time, all being unformed, we can see nothing but a pulp of
     marrow, which is the brain, where the original of the nerves
     is first formed, where the principle of feeling is first
     seated, and the heart, which begins already to beat in this
     soft pulp; this is the punctum saliens of Malpighi, part of
     the liveliness of which does, perhaps, already proceed from
     the influence of the nerves. Then we see the head by degree
     stretch for the neck, which being widened, first forms the
     thorax, where the heart immediately descends, and takes up
     its situation. The belly is framed next, which is divided
     into two parts by a partition, called by anatomists the
     diaphragm. These parts being expanded, furnish the arms, the
     hands, the fingers, the nails, and the hair; the other gives
     the thighs, the legs, the feet, etc., which form the support
     and balance of the body. All this is surprising, but not
     more so in man than in any other animal, or even in
     vegetation; the same luxury of Nature shines throughout."

MOD.--Divines have long settled the question against you, that there is
no specific difference in the human race, though they allow a great many
_accidental_ varieties; but they declare upon Bible authority, that
all these varieties sprung from a single pair--one original stock of
mankind.

LUCIAN.--The absurd side of a question is the indisputable right of
theology.* Wilful blindness or ignorant prejudice alone can raise a
doubt, that the Whites, the Negroes, the Albinos, the Hottentots, the
Chinese, and the native Americans, are altogether different species,
under the genus homo. The white-skinned, bearded native of Northern Asia,
could no more beget the copper-colored, beardless native of America,
than a bull-dog could beget a f ox; the Negro of Africa, the Laplander;
the leopard, the lion; the European, the Ethiopian; the ass, the horse;
or an Esquimaux, & Hottentot. Therefore, when theology asserts that
America must have been peopled from Asia, it is quite consistent with
itself, that is, a tissue of glaring contradictions. When divines can
show us how the oak and the ash got to America, and who carried over
the dogs, cats, and hogs, the difficulty as to how man got there will
be easily solved. Nature did there, as she has done everywhere else, in
producing that species of the genus that is proper for the climate. But
theology, in its disinterested cares for man, whose folly supports it,
shows no kind regard about the migration of other animals, but is,
on the contrary, their most deadly enemy; inasmuch as the abominable
doctrine that all of them were created solely for his use, has
authorised those atrocious cruelties which we daily see exercised upon
them.

     * The only proper definition of this word is--the science of
     priest-craft.

MOD.--Your argument is, that in America, as everywhere else, Nature
always produced the animals and plants that were proper for the climate
and soil; but according to your theory the surface of this globe is
everlastingly undergoing changes, from the motion of the sea and other
elements, which unceasing action is alternately making and reducing
land; so that the sea becomes the true creator or parent of the land.
Now, if this be the case, the best criterion of the age of the child
will be its height above the parent; consequently, as Asia has higher
land than America, it must be older in its formation by the sea, and
might, therefore, furnish the more recent continent with man and other
animals.

LUCIAN.--That the sea, by its restless, mighty, and irresistible
workings and creations, is the parent of all land, is a fact so
demonstrable, from the proofs it has everywhere left behind it, that
it is undisputed except by theology; and though it may require many
millions of years completely to alternate the surface of our globe, or
to make those portions of it sea, which had been land, and vice versa;
yet that process and routine, though almost inconceivably slow, is
nevertheless sure in endless succession. Man has no doubt migrated from
land to land in the way you state; but this would not affect the natural
distinction of species, which, however much they may be crossed and
mixed for a time, will assert and recur to their primitive distinction
ultimately; for Nature positively refuses to perpetuate, within
themselves, any of the varieties. This is conclusive proof of the
specific difference under the genus homo. Allowing that the height of
land is the best criterion of its antiquity, America may by this rule
dispute the palm with Asia, as the mountains of the former are nearly as
high as those of the latter; and, therefore, the theologian's assertion
that the western hemisphere was peopled from Asia, may, with as
much truth, be reversed. Whatever may be the respective age of these
continents, it seems highly probable, if not certain, that the Andes of
South America will be reduced to the fluid state, by the action of
the sea and other elements, many hundred thousands of years before the
Himmalaya mountains of Asia are levelled by these unsleeping powers;
for the former have now the great Pacific Ocean undermining their very
foundations, whereas, the latter are still two thousand miles from the
sea.

MOD.--The time required to bring about these and other changes which
have relation to the celestial globes is so prodigious, that in
giving it admittance we virtually set at nought not only all scripture
authority, but turn the extent of human chronology into something
inconceivably less than a moment sand-glass. Yet it is quite agreeable
to the opinion of a great authority among the ancients;--Ocellus Lucanus
says:

The universe admitteth neither creation nor annihilation, for it ever
was, and ever shall be; if any man should conceive it to have been made,
he would not be able to know from what material it was made. Now, I call
universal matter by the name of universe, which appellation it obtaineth
in that it comprehendeth all things, being an absolute and perfect
collection of all natures; and besides the universe there is nothing.
Wherefore, there can be nothing without, or external to that which
comprehends all things. After men and other animals finish the progress
of their nature, and have passed their several ages, they die, and are
dissolved, becoming in the same state they were; quo non nati jacent.
There is no such thing as _quies in natura_, all things being in a
perpetual circular motion. Nor hath man any original production from the
earth, or elsewhere, as some have believed; but hath always been, as
he now is, co-existent with the world, whereof he is a part. "Nature and
generation govern all things."

LUCIAN.--Such were the opinions of nearly all the wise men of antiquity.
Theology, in its ridiculous pretensions to knowledge about the origin of
time, has utterly infatuated the minds of its dupes, by instilling false
notions concerning it; and limiting, comparatively within the duration
of a moment, the existence of the material universe! All discoveries in
theology--every appearance in Nature, unite in exposing the absurdity
of what is called the Mosaic account of time and creation. So exceeding
slow is the resistless innovating progress of the sea, in changing the
face of the globe, that millions of years must elapse before a total
alternation of land and water takes place on its surface; but as the
quantity of water can never immerse the whole, a certain portion of the
surface must ever be land, in succession.* This alternate succession of
land and water is sure as fate, though imperceptible in the ephemeral
life of man.

     * Succession no more implies a beginning, than it predicates
     an end.

MOD.--This watery theory of yours seems not very objectionable; but I
can neither agree in the Mosaic account of the first man, nor in the
opinion of Ocellus, who says, "he had no original production from the
earth," but was always upon it, his power of propagation existing
in himself. Man is an animal so transcendent above all others in his
intellectual organisation, and reasoning powers, as to warrant our
inference that the supreme ruler of the world had some particular design
in his production, such as giving him dominion over all others, none
of whom are possessed of immortal souls, that distinguishing proof of
excellence which is found in man alone.

LUCIAN.--You may perhaps be able to tell me in what part of him it is to
be "found" and what it consists of; but until that is done demonstrably,
Nature, experience, reason, and all analogy, will flatly deny that man
is possessed of any immortal part that is not common to every other
animal. Man is immortal and universal in his materiality alone; as the
matter which composes his body belongs to the immortal whole called
Nature, or the infinite all-in-all; and he is annihilable in his
personal identity only. That which you call design in the production of
man, the Materialists, we repeat, ascribe to the energies, adaptations,
and affinities in matter, whereby all organic structure in Nature is
effected. _We cannot trace the effects which these and other motions
of matter produce, to anything above its own powers_; and therefore
the deceptive arrogance of the theologian, in pretending to look beyond
these powers, has been pernicious in the highest degree, in preventing
a more full development of Nature's secret arcanum. The non-existence
of the abstract immaterial something, which priests have set up as the
supernatural ruler of the universe, is best demonstrated by all they
have yet said of it--that all being downright contradiction.

The physical organisation of man is by no means superior to that of many
other animals, except in his extraordinary allowance of brain, which,
if cultivated for his advantage and happiness, would certainly set him
above most of the others, in intellectual qualities; but hitherto these
have been developed only to be perverted by a total departure from the
laws of his nature, in everything wherein that happiness is concerned.
Completely estranged at all points from the salutary paths which the
mother of all things intended for his walks, he beggars himself
in keeping hireling priests, who conjure up before his bewildered
mind's-eye those chimerical nonentities which decoy him, like an ignis
fatuus, madly to dance after them through life.

MOD.--With all your hostility to priests, you cannot do without them, as
our laws and society are at present constructed: from your birth to the
day of your death, the church has got something to do or say in every
step you take of importance.

LUCIAN.--That is the chief evil afflicting society. There is hardly
a bad law, custom, or institution amongst men, that has not been
priest-procured in some age ancient or modern. They have not left even
a vestige of the natural rights of women, and very few of those of
men; from the water sorcery called baptism, in infancy, to the funeral
incantation of the priest, they are misled, abused, and cheated
systematically, by the lawgiver and the theologian; whilst every
natural right is sacrificed on their altar of oppression. In room of
the birthright liberties, of which man is thus robbed from childhood,
supernatural excellencies (such as soul), and peculiar favors from a
place called heaven, are falsely bestowed upon him, without which he
cannot be sufficiently donkified to answer the purposes of priestcraft;
and the selfish and contemptible falsehood is palmed upon him, that the
ruler of this ideal region ycleped heaven, created everything for his
particular use and service. This stupid arrogance would be matchable
only in the vegetables declaring that all animals were made for their
sustenance.

MOD.--The pride of man will for ever prevent your convincing him that
he is not the most favored creature of the Supreme Being, who has fitted
him out with a soul, and given him such other qualities of mind and
body, as show indisputably his vast superiority over the brute creation,
to whom souls have been refused. Your appeal to the miseries of his
life, which are greater than those of any other animal, or even the
frightful number of chances recorded by his priests against him, on the
score of damnation, will not shake his belief in these preternatural
distinctions in his favor. You complain that soul-saving in England and
Ireland is too expensive; but by a late Transatlantic calculation,
the average per head for saving heathen souls, in the Australian
Archipelago, by the missionaries of the United States, costs the old
women of both sexes, children, and fools of these States, the sum of
£82 sterling. Now, reckoning the population of China and India at
450,000,000, which is nearly the half of all the human species on this
globe, without including the ourang outang species of homo, in whom
souls have not yet been detected (probably owing to their keeping no
priests), the total expense of saving the whole, at the rate of £82 per
soul, would cost the above description of persons among the Christian
godly, the enormous sum of £36,900,000,000. We cannot for a moment
suppose that these holy disinterested missionaries would charge a
farthing; above the prime cost in pursuing their "glorious work."

LUCIAN.--The grand support of missionaries abroad and of established
priesthoods at home, is the female sex of Christendom, without whose
sustaining zeal no one of all the great stocks of superstition which now
infest the world would stand for another century. Whatever may be the
origin or absurdity of any system of theology, set up in any country,
the timidity of the female sex stimulates them generally to cling to
it with fervor and devotedness, without the slightest examination.
And while the priest "harrows up their souls" through the fears of his
mysterious futurity, a subtle influence is exercised by them over the
weaker and more uninformed portion of the male sex, whose apathy gives
a tacit assent to the endless string of inconceiveables, for the sake
of domestic quiet. Here the double battery of the wife and priest is
irresistible. A learned clergyman, in writing to a female friend, makes
this remark:--"if, indeed, your sex should enter into the irreligious
notions, which now prevail too much among men, the next generation would
be irrecoverably lost." This amounts to a plain confession that, should
the priest lose his deep-rooted impulsive power over the female mind,
his trade would be "irrecoverably lost." Women have been, in all ages
and countries, the upholders of superstition, owing, in the first place,
to their nature, which, according to Hippocrates, "is more weak and
fearful than the nature and disposition of men"; secondly, to the
delusive and mischievous theological dogma about the superintendence of
what are called spiritual powers; to which may be added, the gaudy
and imposing pomp of ceremonies; all of which, taken together, readily
operate upon the female mind, it being, as it were, a softer and more
pliant wax than that of man, to receive the unnatural impression of the
priest. Before Christianity was known, Strabo made the following strong
remark:--"It is a thing universally taken for granted, that women are
the ringleaders of superstition; they tease their husbands into all
sorts of worship of the gods, into the observation of feasts and fasts;
but it is a rare thing that any man, leading a single life, is found to
be such a person." I shall close my authorities on this subject, with
a quotation from Selden. "When priests come into a family, they do as a
man that would set fire to a house,--he does not put fire to the brick
wall, but puts it into the thatch; _they work upon the women, and let
the men alone_."

THE END.





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