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Title: Socialism Exposed
Author: Mather, Rev. Joseph
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Socialism Exposed" ***

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Transcribed from the [c1840’s] Religious Tract Society edition by David
Price, email ccx074@pglaf.org

                          [Picture: Book cover]



                            SOCIALISM EXPOSED.


                                * * * * *

                        BY THE REV. JOSEPH MATHER.

                                * * * * *

                                * * * * *

              THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY, INSTITUTED 1799.
           56, PATERNOSTER ROW, AND 65, ST.  PAULS CHURCHYARD.

MR. OWEN professes to be seeking the happiness of his species: he
imagines he has discovered the specific, which, if believed and applied,
will produce it; and he is using all the means in his power to convince
the world that such is the fact, and to induce the men of it to receive,
and follow his prescriptions.

We must confess that we are not a little startled at the means by which
he proposes to accomplish this desirable object.  And here we quote his
own language: “The religions founded under the name of Jewish, Budh,
Jehovah, God or Christ, Mohammed, or any other, are all composed of human
laws in opposition to nature’s eternal laws.”  (Book of the New Moral
World, p. 68.)  From which it appears that all other systems have been
wrong, founded on error, and productive of nothing but misery and crime:
and before his can be established they must be renounced, and overturned,
and abolished.  Now, Mr. Owen professes to have found out something
better than what I and the world are in possession of; but I do not wish
to be like the dog in the fable, which, when he had a piece of meat,
dropped it, because, from seeing its shadow in the water, he fancied
there was another and a larger within his reach, and so lost them both.
Before I give up what I know and feel to be valuable, the source of
comfort and the source of happiness, let me not only be convinced that it
is a superior good which is held out before me, but let me have the
possession of it.

Then let me ask, What evidence does Mr. Owen furnish, that the system and
principles of the New Moral World are so much superior to those of the
Christian system?  Let us contrast the two a little, and see how far we
shall be acting wisely in rejecting all that we have been accustomed to
believe and reverence as Divine in favour of these new principles.

And first, as to the evidence of their authority.  The writers of the
Bible, while they come to us claiming our attention, and demanding our
regard, tell us that they are only messengers sent from God; they come in
his name and speak what he has put into their minds and their mouths;
and, as a proof of their being what they profess, as credentials, they
work miracles which none but a Divine power could work; they deliver
prophecies and predictions of events, many of which have since come to
pass, and others are in course of accomplishment; and they announce
truths, doctrines, and principles which, for their originality and yet
beautiful simplicity, for their importance, and at the same time their
universal adaptation to the wants and the circumstances of the whole
human race, and for their purity and invariable tendency to good, speak
for themselves, and declare that they are Divine.  Yet a book resting on
such authority, and supported by such testimonials, is to be rejected,
and thrown aside, and its principles are pronounced to be evil and
unsound, on the authority of—whom think you?  Mr. Robert Owen!!

Is it not a fearful responsibility which such an individual assumes, to
tell me that I am not to believe a testimony which is supported by
miracles, is confirmed by prophecies, and, above all, is borne out by its
own native dignity, and intrinsic beauty and worth?  Surely such a person
ought to be furnished, and he ought to present to those whom he wishes to
believe him, evidence of his authority, and proofs of his claims to the
high distinction to which he aspires, to be the founder of a New Moral
World.  Then, where are Mr. Owen’s claims?  And what are his proofs?
Would you believe it?  He adduces nothing but his simple testimony! his
own unsupported word!!  Here is a man wiser than Solomon, and more
profound than Moses!  He is even superior to Jesus Christ, the Son of
God!!!  And this you and I are called upon to believe simply because he
himself says so!!!

Well, but after all he may have pretensions to our notice, and if we do
not receive his revelation, we may be shutting our eyes to our own
happiness, and the means of our welfare.  Then let me ask, Upon what are
those pretensions founded?  Truths, which are propounded, sometimes gain
attention from the character and well-known ability of the persons that
propound them.  Thus great names often obtain currency for sentiments
which otherwise would not receive a moment’s attention.  Then, perhaps,
Mr. Owen is to eclipse and throw into the shade all other minds that have
preceded him.  That is (to say nothing of Isaiah, and Paul, and Daniel,
and many other scriptural worthies) Robert Boyle, and Isaac Newton, and
John Locke, and Francis Bacon, and John Milton, and a host more of such
great and mighty minds, are nothing before Mr. Owen!!!  Does he himself
pretend this?  Let us give him credit for so much modesty as not to put
forth such pretensions.

Then if he be not superior to those stars in intellect, to those giants
in mind which have preceded him, and all of whom expressed their
admiration of the Bible, and bore their strongest testimony to its
Divinity and authority, perhaps his opportunities of coming at the truth,
in reference to the principles upon which the New Moral World is to be
founded, have given him the advantage, and enabled him, though inferior,
to succeed, while others, very greatly his superiors, have failed.  Then
what advantages does he profess to have enjoyed?  He himself shall tell
us: “It is a system the result of much reading, observation, and
reflection, combined with extensive practical experience, and
confidential communication with official public characters in various
countries, and with leading minds among all classes; a system founded on
the eternal laws of nature, and derived from facts and experience only.”
(Preface to the Book of the New Moral World, p. x.)  And thus, without
even pretending that he has spent his time, or devoted his energies, to
an examination and careful investigation of the book which professes to
be Divine, and of the truths and doctrines which it contains, he calls
upon us to reject and renounce it, while these great minds have spent,
not only hours but years upon its study, and as the result of their
investigations have expressed their highest admiration of its contents,
and have employed their talents and influence to recommend it to others.
And here I might adduce testimonies to its excellence were it necessary;
but that is a work of supererogation.  Then I appeal to every wise, to
every reflecting mind.  Can those persons be acting the part of rational
beings, who in a matter of such infinite moment as a revelation from
Heaven, with its momentous contents, refuse to receive it, although
supported by the strongest arguments, and confirmed by the most
invincible testimonies,—testimonies from miracles, from prophecies, from
history, from men of the greatest learning, and the most powerful minds,
and even from enemies; and that, too, as the result of the closest
investigation, and also personal experience, of its truths, merely
because Mr. Owen says that it ought not to be received, and that it must
be rejected before his system can be established?  Matters have indeed
come to a fearful pass, when Mr. Owen ventures, not only to set himself
against, but wants to claim superiority over the wisest and the greatest
men of all ages, and of all countries; over prophets, and apostles, and
evangelists; over Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and even over God
himself!

But, suppose we throw away that book which we have been accustomed to
hold sacred,—suppose we consent to regard Mr. Owen as the wisest of men,
and to receive his principles as the standard of unerring truth, and to
adopt them; surely we may not only expect, but we shall certainly find,
emanating from him nothing but the truth; and we may venture implicitly
to follow him, when he commands us so to do.  But to show how far he is a
safe guide, I need do no more than refer to his own statements at
different times.  Thus, in 1823, Mr. Owen developed the principles of his
system in a series of letters, published in the “Glasgow Chronicle,”
contained in twelve propositions, preceded by one general proposition, as
the foundation of the whole.  But, since then, his twelve propositions
have dwindled down to five fundamental facts; only, to make up for the
loss in fundamental principles, we have now twenty supplemental laws.
But, if in 1823, Mr. Owen had discovered and revealed the laws of nature,
and those laws he expressly declares to be immutable, how comes it to
pass that in 1838 they have so greatly altered, not only in their number
and form, but also in their very nature, as given in the “New Moral
World?”

If alterations so many, and so fundamental, can take place in the
immutable laws of nature; if in 1823, Mr. Owen can require credence and
implicit confidence in his principles as infallible truth; and then again
in 1838, can demand credence and implicit confidence in a new and quite
different set of principles, and declare that they also are infallible
truth, may he not in 1848, if Providence should spare his life so long,
have discovered some new laws, and found out some fresh principles?  If
it should be replied, No, he has now got the truth, the whole truth, and
nothing but the truth; we answer, So he said in 1823.  And yet he has
changed his principles, call it improved them, if you like, but they are
different, and they may yet change again.  How, then, can we be certain
that we have now got the truth?  If not, would it be wise to throw away
the volume of inspiration, the word of unerring truth, before we are
certain that we have something better to supply its place?

But if we admit, for the sake of argument, that the principles of the
“New Moral World,” are now fixed, and will no more be changed; let us see
how far they recommend themselves from their own intrinsic nature, and
internal excellence.

And to begin with his first fact, which tells us that “man is a compound
being,” and his first law, which declares that “human nature, in the
aggregate, is a compound, consisting of animal propensities, intellectual
faculties, and moral qualities.”  Pray how does Mr. Owen come to know any
thing about man or human nature?  And from what source did he obtain
those views of his constitution which he promulgates to the world as the
unerring principles of truth: and especially, as he tells us that man is
“made by a power unknown to himself, and without his knowledge or
consent.”  Now, upon Mr. Owen’s own principle, man knows nothing of
himself, then how does Mr. Owen know any thing about him?

If he does not know, and has not perfect knowledge on the subject on
which he takes upon himself to speak with the most unbounded confidence,
he certainly is very unfit for the office to which he aspires, of
teaching others; but if he has knowledge, where did he obtain it? for,
according to his own principles, all the thoughts of the human mind are
not the voluntary acts of the mind, but entirely the result of
circumstances, and are communicated to him; and consequently man knows
nothing but what he is taught.  Mr. Owen’s knowledge, then must have been
imparted to him.  Now then, who communicated it to him?  He must have
received it from some man, or he must have derived it from inspiration.
If he received it from a human teacher, it is very disingenuous in him to
take to himself the merit of discoveries which belong to another; but, if
he obtained his knowledge by inspiration, it certainly would only be
candid for him to let us know when he was inspired, and also let us judge
of the evidence of his inspiration; for unless he does that, as this is
the ground on which the Christian Scriptures rest, and they do give us
many strong and unequivocal proofs of their Divine origin, I and many
more prefer taking what we know to be from God, to the unsupported
testimony or revelation of Robert Owen.  But, Mr. Owen may say that he
has not received what he undertakes to teach, either from man or God:
then he himself overturns his own system; for he expressly says that man
can know nothing but what he is taught.  From the very first position,
therefore, which Mr. Owen takes, it will be seen how ill qualified he is
to be the great teacher of the world.

Nor is the next attempt which he makes at imparting knowledge much
better, if any, than the first.  It is that man, who did not make
himself, but was made by a power unknown to himself, is the creature of
circumstances, over which he has no control, and in fact, is nothing but
what he is made: or in other words, that he is a mere machine.  Some,
perhaps, may be a little startled at the deduction which I profess to
draw from Mr. Owen’s principles, and think that he is not quite so bad as
that: but I can tell them it is not a deduction of mine; it is one of the
fundamental principles, nay, the corner-stone of Mr. Owen’s system, the
admission and belief of which is essential to his success.  Nay, in one
of his works, “Essays on the formation of the human character,” he
expressly says that men are “living machines,” p. 28.  Whether even the
followers of Mr. Owen may be flattered at being accounted only machines,
and may be willing that he should mould and use them as he pleases, in
working out his results, I know not: but I do think that men in general
will not thank him for the compliment, nor be inclined to become his
tools.  It is too great a fall from the dignity of high, intelligent,
rational, and accountable beings, to be treated as “living machines;”
especially when every man, whatever may be his circumstances, has only
need to appeal to his own consciousness for the evidences of the fact,
that he is not a machine.

But Mr. Owen tells us, “Men are nothing but what they are made, and they
are made to be what they are by their organization, and the external
circumstances which act upon and influence it,” namely, that
organization.  “None are, or can be bad by nature; their education,”
which makes them bad, “is always the business or work of society, and not
of the individual.  The individual is thus, evidently, a material of
nature, finished and fashioned by the society in which it lives,
according to the ignorance, or the intelligence, or the knowledge of
human nature, which that society has been made to possess, and by the
influence of other external circumstances, with which the individual may
be surrounded.”  (Book of the New Moral World, p. 54.)  But, if this
statement be true, that the nature of man is good, and he would never be
bad if he were not taught to be so, we now shall want all Mr. Owen’s
wisdom to explain to us how, upon his system, evil and sin first came
into the world.  That they are in the world, he cannot but admit; indeed,
he tells us that it is the object of his system to drive them out of it.
Well, then, will he have the goodness to tell us how, upon his system,
they first came into the world?  Man could not do wrong without his being
taught to do wrong? then who first taught him?  And whence did he receive
it?  According to Mr. Owen’s theory, man could not receive it from
himself; whence, then, did he get it?  It must have been from some sinful
being who was in the world before sin itself, which is a palpable
contradiction!  But, if the natural effect of Mr. Owen’s system be to
lead to this absurdity, it requires nothing more to show that it is not,
and cannot be, according to truth.

But, if Mr. Owen’s principles be true, and the nature of man is
inherently good, according to his own showing, his system is altogether
unnecessary.  For, if man would not be bad were he not taught to be so,
surely the simplest and the easiest plan would be to take the human race
in infancy, before they have been contaminated, or rather, “made to
receive an unfavourable character,” and let the germs of goodness which
they have within them develope themselves, and come to perfection.
Should we, then, have a paradise without sin?  Ah!  Mr. Owen knows that
there is not a single spot on this earth which has not been contaminated
with sin; and instead of human nature being in a state the nearest
approaching to perfection where there has been least contact with the
truths and doctrines of the Bible, which he regards as the source of all
the errors and all the evils which there are in the world, (see p. 60,
Book of the New Moral World,) it is the testimony of universal history
and fact, that there it is the most depraved.

It is, however, not necessary to go to what may be termed the children of
nature, to the untutored sons of the forest, to prove, not only the
existence of sin, but also of a sinful disposition, of a natural tendency
to evil even in the infant breast; it might be furnished to almost any
extent from Mr. Owen’s own establishments, and from the lips of his own
agents.  It is possible that Mr. Owen himself, from his attachment to a
favourite theory, and his desire to support it at all hazards, as well as
from having his mind absorbed in the grand object which he has before
him, may not see what is so plain to others; or, it may be that what
appears black to them is white to him; but let his dancing masters, and
the nurses of his infant children, be brought into an open court and
fully examined, and they will testify to the satisfaction of every
impartial jury, although composed even of Robert Owen’s followers, that
some, at least, of these urchins, at an age when they could not have been
taught these things, unless their mother’s milk imparted them, display
passions and dispositions which indicate anything rather than an entire
absence from evil.  We shall require no other witnesses to prove that the
nature of man is not naturally good, but is inherently depraved.

But, if man from his birth has an evil principle within him, (I would
call it a depraved nature,) then Mr. Owen’s principles, however much they
may modify and change the external character, will not avail in changing
the heart.  His system will no more produce the results which he
promises, the paradise of joy which he pictures before his followers,
than have the systems of the old world.  And, therefore, he is only
amusing and deluding those that attend to him with pleasing dreams which
can never be realized.  If this, however, were all, it would not much
matter; he might be left to pursue his course undisturbed; but when it is
known that the effect of his system, whatever may be his design, is to
take off the mind from everything but what is connected with his earthly
paradise, and so cause it to neglect, and even despise everything
connected with eternity and everlasting life, and the happiness of the
principle which never dies, it would be, not only a dereliction of
principle, but also a want of love to one’s species, not to lift up the
voice against him, and endeavour to warn such persons of their fatal
error, and the destructive consequences which must, and will inevitably
ensue.

But another fundamental principle of Mr. Owen’s system, as expressed in
the 2nd and 3rd Fundamental Facts, and 13th Law, is, “Man is compelled by
his original constitution, to receive his feelings and his convictions
independently of his will;” and “his feelings, or his convictions, or
both of them united, create the motive to action called the will, which
stimulates him to act, and decides his actions;” and “each individual is
so organized that he must believe according to the strongest conviction
which is made upon his mind:” the plain meaning of which is, that man is
not accountable for his belief, neither ought he to be considered
accountable for his actions; and which, indeed, Mr. Owen does not leave
his readers to deduce from his principles, but which he himself
explicitly states.  Thus, he says, “Man cannot be bad by nature, and it
must,” therefore, “be a gross error to make him responsible for what
nature and his predecessors have compelled him to be.”  (Book of the New
Moral World, p. 54.)

That man is not accountable, that he can think as he likes, and act as he
pleases, without being amenable, either to God or man, for his thoughts
or his actions, is a doctrine which will well accord with the wishes of
all those who feel the idea of God and judgment a restraint upon their
conduct, and human laws oftentimes a barrier in the way of indulging
their evil desires.  And it is lamentable to think how many, even of this
description of persons, there are to be found in the world.

But it is a question of the deepest importance, whether or not this
principle be true.  Mr. Owen calls it a law and a fact; and if persons
are willing to take what he says for granted, merely because he says it,
and so to stake their character in this world, and their eternal
well-being in another, upon his unsupported testimony, they may endeavour
to satisfy themselves in believing it, and try to make and keep their
consciences as easy as they can.  What a happy thing it would be, if Mr.
Owen’s saying that there is no judgment, and that man is not accountable,
could make it be so!  But is it so?  We all know that Mr. Owen’s saying
that there is no guilt in crime, that man acts only as he is compelled to
do, and ought not, therefore, to be either punished or praised for what
he does, does not release him from the responsibility imposed by human
government and human laws; and it is well both for him and for us, that
it does not; for only break the bonds of law, and leave each one to act
as he likes, and what a pandemonium, instead of a paradise, we should
have!  Why even Mr. Owen himself is under the necessity, in his own
paradise, of imposing laws, and putting very considerable restraint upon
the wishes and the inclinations of those that expected when they entered
his establishment to be perfectly happy in the enjoyment of their own
will.  As a proof of this, I beg to give an extract from a published
statement of a visit paid to New Harmony, in America, by the Duke of Saxe
Weimar, in April, 1826.

    “On Sunday morning, the society met in the large building, and the
    meeting was opened by music.  Mr. Owen delivered a discourse on the
    advantages of the society.  In the evening the duke paid visits to
    the ladies, and witnessed philosophy, and the love of equality put to
    the severest trial with one of them, young and handsome.  While she
    was singing, and playing very well on the pianoforte, she was told
    that milking of cows was her duty.  Almost in tears, she betook
    herself to this servile employment, deprecating the new social
    system, and its so much prized equality.  After the cows were milked,
    in doing which this pretty girl was trod on by one, and daubed by
    another, the duke made one in an aquatic party with the young ladies
    and some of the young philosophers, in a boat, upon the Wabash.  The
    evening was beautiful.  The duke’s heroine regaled the party with her
    sweet voice.  Afterwards, the whole party amused themselves in
    dancing cotillions, reels, and waltzes, and with such animation as to
    render it, as the duke adds, quite lively.  A new figure had been
    introduced into the cotillions, called the New Social System.
    Several of the ladies objected to dancing on Sunday.  ‘We thought,
    however,’ writes the Duke, ‘that in this sanctuary of philosophy,
    such prejudices should be utterly discarded, and our arguments, as
    well as the inclination of the ladies, gained the victory.’”  (Three
    years in North America, by James Stuart, Esq., vol. ii. p. 442.)

And not only is Mr. Owen under the necessity of passing laws, and of
making those that belong to his establishment amenable to those laws, but
the whole of his system is founded upon compulsion, both mental and
bodily; for he would take infants from the care of their mothers, and put
them under the care of his dancing-master, and there train them according
to his model, and mould them according to his ideas; and that, no doubt,
oftentimes very much against the inclination of the children themselves.
The only difference between the present state of things, and the state
which he wishes to introduce is, that he would put himself in the place
of God, and of all human laws; and not only give laws to all his
followers, but also enforce them.  Whether the task would not be more
than he could accomplish you shall judge by and by.

But as Mr. Owen cannot release us from the obligation of human laws,
neither can he from that of the laws of God.  Man may say, “Who is the
Lord, that I should obey him?” but, even while he is saying it, he feels,
whether he will or not, and is under the necessity of acknowledging to
his own mind, that there is a Being above him whom he does not love, but
from whose eye, and whose power he cannot escape; before whose dread
tribunal he is conscious that he must stand, and be “judged according to
the deeds which have been done in the body, whether they be good, or
whether they be evil.”  This is one of those eternal laws which are
engraven, not only in the face of nature, but upon every mind and
conscience, which Mr. Owen wishes to erase, and in the room of which he
would write what he calls “the eternal laws of nature:” and in the
accomplishment of his task, there are multitudes that would gladly help
him, and contribute all the aid in their power; and, so eager are they
for the accomplishment of his and their wishes, that they have even
agreed to believe it, or rather, agreed to say that they believe it, and
to act upon it, before it has been proved to be true.

Nor is it possible for them to prove it.  They might as well attempt to
prove that the sun does not shine at noonday, and they would have quite
as much hope of success, as attempt to prove either to themselves or
others, that “there is no God,” and that there is no hereafter.  They may
argue with themselves upon the subject, and attempt to convince
themselves of the truth of what they wish to be true; and sometimes they
may think they have satisfied themselves upon the point; but the next
day, or perhaps the next hour, the sight of a funeral, the hearing of the
death of a fellow creature, or even a sharp pain in their own bodies,
sweeps away in a moment all the cobwebs which they have been weaving, and
leaves them exposed to the naked truth, unsheltered and unprepared, that
there is a judgment, and that they must stand and be judged.

And this judgment will be, whatever Mr. Owen may say to the contrary, not
only for actions but for thoughts and opinions.  And it is strictly
reasonable that it should be so; for not only is man not compelled to
believe, contrary to his will, but he is not compelled to believe at all.
He is a rational and intelligent creature, and from the very constitution
of his being, he must and can believe, only as he has evidence upon which
his belief is to be founded.  For the mind to believe without evidence,
is like the eye seeing without light.  But there may be light, and yet
the eye may not see, for it may shut itself.  And there may be evidence
which would carry conviction to the mind if it were brought before it,
and yet the mind may not be convinced, simply because it will not receive
it, for it does not wish to be convinced.  But who does not know that
there are none so deaf as those who will not hear!  And, in like manner,
we say, “There are none so blind as those who will not see.”  Men have
the law which they are bound to obey—the law of God; they have the means
of becoming acquainted with that law; they have the ability to perform
all that this law requires, if they are so disposed; if, therefore, they
break this law, it is not because they are compelled so to do, but their
own voluntary act and deed; and reason tells them that it is just that
they should be punished for their transgressions.  In like manner, the
gospel of Jesus Christ reveals to man a way of escape from the miseries
of the fall, those miseries which Mr. Owen admits to exist, whatever he
may say respecting the source from which they spring; which way is a
provision of mercy, and an act of grace on the part of the Divine Being.
For the accomplishment of it, he gave his own Son to die in the stead of
man; and as the result of his death, he has offered salvation, and that
freely, to every one that believeth.  Now, the evidence, upon which these
glorious truths rest, is such, so full, so clear, and so conclusive, that
he may run that readeth; and man has the means of knowing these truths:
if, therefore, he remain in ignorance respecting them, or when they are
brought before him he does not believe them, it is entirely a wilful and
a voluntary unbelief.  For that he will be condemned, and reason will
approve his doom.

In wading through the mass of absurdities and errors contained in Mr.
Owen’s principles, as developed in the “Book of the New Moral World,” it
would have been a very easy task to have selected a number more which
might have been exposed: but to go through the whole work page by page,
would indeed be labour lost, as to most readers; for I am persuaded there
are very few that understand, or even profess completely to understand
his principles.  Neither is it necessary for their purpose that they
should.  What they want is a system which shall let them live and do as
they like, without being exposed to the consequences of their conduct,
and this they find in the system of the New Moral World.  But I think I
have knocked down some, if not all the main pillars of the structure: the
rest will fall of themselves.

There is, however, one law of such a character, which, when understood,
will perhaps have a greater influence in preserving such as have no
selfish or wicked ends to answer, from falling into his pernicious
errors, than any long train of argument, and that is the following:—“Each
individual is so organized that he must like that which is pleasant to
him, or which, in other words, produces agreeable sensations in him; and
dislike that which is unpleasant to him, or which, in other words,
produces in him disagreeable sensations; and he cannot know previous to
experience, what particular sensations new objects will produce on any of
his senses.” (Law 12.)

The meaning of this law will be best explained by an extract from Mr.
Owen’s “Declaration of Mental Independence, addressed to the Society at
New Harmony, July 4, 1826,” in which, in reference to the law of
marriage, he says, “It is, in reality, the greatest crime against nature
to prevent organized beings from uniting with those objects, or other
organized beings, with which nature has created in them a desire to
unite.”

Thus has Robert Owen ventured, not only to set himself in opposition to
God, but also to declare that that law of Divine appointment which
enjoins a man to “leave his father and his mother, and to cleave unto his
wife;” and forbids “man to put asunder what God hath joined together,” is
wicked; and, as he avers, has “produced hypocrisy, crime, and misery,
beyond the power of language to express.”  So that he would avoid the
crime of adultery by making all persons common; and each man and each
woman should be left at perfect liberty to have whom they liked, keep
them as long as they liked, and change them as often as they liked.
Come, this is speaking out; and it is just what is wanted.  The poison
then will carry along with it its own antidote.

On another subject, too, Mr. Owen has spoken plainly.  He says, “The love
of truth is an instinct of human nature which would be always exercised
in simplicity, were not individuals praised and blamed for particular
feelings,” p. 11.  The Bible tells us that “man goeth astray from the
womb, speaking lies.”  Now, which is to be believed, Robert Owen, or God?

But I ought to beg Robert Owen’s pardon; according to his doctrine, there
is no personal God: this is his language: “The error respecting this law
of human nature, viz., the 14th, has led man to create a personal Deity,
author of all good; and a personal devil, author of all evil. * * * * And
yet, when the mind can be relieved from the early prejudices which have
been forced into it on these subjects, it will be discovered that there
is not a single fact known to man, after all the experience of the past
generations, to prove that any such personalities exist, or ever did
exist; and, in consequence, all the mythology of the ancients, and all
the religions of the moderns, are mere fanciful notions of men, whose
imaginations have been cultivated to accord with existing prejudices, and
whose judgments have been systematically destroyed from their birth.”
(Book of the New Moral World, p. 46.)  And his idea on this awful subject
he explains, when he says, “Without a shadow of a doubt, that truth is
nature, and nature God; that ‘God is truth, and truth is God,’ as so
generally expressed by the Mohammedans,” p. 65; and yet he tells us that
“man is a wonderful and curiously contrived being;” and that, “in the
formation of man and woman there is the most evident harmony and unison
of design,” p. 70.  How truth, which is an abstract quality, can be a
power, can contrive and create, is what I do not understand; but, no
doubt, Robert Owen, who, if persons will take his testimony, and follow
his notions, can perform much more wonderful feats than this, will be
able to explain it; especially as he tells us that “it is only now, for
the first time, in the known history of mankind, that the mind has been
permitted to examine facts, in order to discover truth, upon the subjects
which have the greatest influence upon the human race.”

But, before I proceed further, I must here stop to inquire, Are there any
human beings gifted with reason, and in the use of their sober senses,
who can, with their eyes open, rest their faith upon testimony such as
that contained in the Book of the New Moral World, and stake their
eternal interests upon the reception of that testimony?  Then, indeed,
are they to be pitied.  They are not only groping in the dark, but they
put out, with their own hands, the only light which can conduct them
through the darkness of this world to the regions of immortal blessedness
and joy.  And what do they get in return?  Mr. Owen promises them a
paradise—a paradise, however, only for this world; his system has nothing
to do with anything beyond the grave; that is a dark and dreary waste, in
which, yet, they must exist and dwell; and, without an acquaintance with,
and a belief in the gospel of Jesus Christ, must live and dwell there in
eternal misery.  But, even in the paradise which Mr. Owen promises, there
is not the happiness which his followers expect.  As a proof of this, I
beg attention to the following account of his settlement at New Harmony,
in America, published by Mr. Flint, in his History of the Western States.
Mr. Flint was, and, it is supposed, still is the friend of Mr. Owen, and
was made acquainted by him with his proceedings; his account, therefore,
as far as it goes, may be considered to be authentic.  The statement,
too, has now been five years before the British public; and yet has
never, as far as I am aware, in any shape been contradicted.

    “Harmony, fifty-four miles below Vincennes, and something more than a
    hundred, by water, above the mouth of the Wabash, is the seat of
    justice for the county of Posey.  It is situate on the east bank of
    the river, sixteen miles from the nearest point of the Ohio, on a
    wide, rich, and heavily-timbered plateau, or second bottom.  It is
    high, healthy, has a fertile soil, and is in the vicinity of small
    and rich prairies, and is, on the whole, a pleasant and well-chosen
    position.  It was first settled, in 1814, by a religious sect of
    Germans,” who resigned it to “the leader of a new sect,” who “came
    upon them.  This was no other than Robert Owen of New Lanark, in
    Scotland, a professed philosopher of a new school, who advocated new
    principles, and took new views of society.  He calls his views upon
    this subject ‘the Social System.’  He was opulent, and disposed to
    make a grand experiment of his principles on the prairies of the
    Wabash.  He purchased the lands and the village of Mr. Rapp,” the
    head and leader of the Germans, in whose name all the lands and
    possessions were held, “at an expense, it is said, of 190,000
    dollars.  In a short time, there were admitted to the new
    establishment from 700 to 800 persons.  They danced all together one
    night in every week, and had a concert of music on another.  The
    sabbath was occupied in the delivery and hearing of lectures.  Two of
    Mr. Owen’s sons, from Scotland, and Mr. M‘Clure, joined him.  The
    society at New Harmony, as the place was called, excited a great deal
    of interest and remark in every part of the United States.  Great
    numbers of distinguished men, in all the walks of life, wrote to the
    society, making inquiries respecting its prospects and rules, and
    expressing a desire, at some future time, to join it.  Mr. Owen’s
    experiment at New Harmony lasted little more than a year, during
    which he made a voyage to Europe.  The 4th of July, 1826, he
    promulgated his famous declaration of ‘mental independence.’  The
    society had begun to moulder before this time.  He has left New
    Harmony, and the ‘Social System’ seems to be abandoned.”

Thus far Mr. Flint’s account; from which we gather, that although the
establishment was formed under Mr. Owen’s personal superintendence, and
managed by himself, and formed, too, under the most favourable
circumstances, yet one short twelvemonth was sufficient to explode all
his views, and to crumble his system to nothing!  But he hopes, perhaps,
to develope it under more favourable circumstances in this country, and
his followers are subscribing monies to enable him so to do; and yet he
tells us that his system is to change the character of the whole world.
It, however, did not seem to meet with a congenial soil in America, or
else he found that it was not suited to that part of the world.  But what
failed in America in twelve months, where he had all his own way, and
nothing to interfere with his plans, is likely to succeed better in
England!  What dupes they must be who believe him!

But it did not take even twelve months to show, that in Mr. Owen’s
boasted paradise there were the seeds of evil which he could not
eradicate, and miseries which he could not counteract, as appears from
the following testimonies and statements.  The Duke of Saxe Weimar, to
whose work a reference has already been made, states, “that it shocked
the feelings of people of education to live on the same footing with
every one indiscriminately, and that several of the discontented wished
to leave the society immediately, and to go to Mexico.  One lady, the
widow of an American merchant, was full of complaints of disappointed
expectations.  The duke observed the better educated members of the
society keeping themselves together, and taking no notice of
tatterdemalions, who stretched themselves on the platform.  The young
ladies of the better class kept themselves in a corner, forming a little
aristocratical club, and turned up their noses apart at the democratic
dancers, who often fell to their lot, when the gentlemen, as well as the
ladies, drew numbers for the cotillions, with a view to prevent
partialities.  The duke expresses his regret that Mr. Owen should have
allowed himself to be so infatuated by his passion for universal
improvement, at the very time when almost every member of the society
with whom the duke had conversed apart, acknowledged that he was deceived
in his expectations.”  (Stuart’s Three Years in North America, vol. ii.,
pp. 444, 445.)

And such, it may be confidently predicted, will be the end of all Mr.
Owen’s visions of paradise, if he should ever be able to do more than
draw them on paper, and exhibit them to the imagination; or present them
in his pictures, as is customarily done, to the enchanted eyes of his
followers.  But who can think without sorrow of the evils which result
from his principles? and they do produce innumerable evils!  Who can
contemplate so many immortal creatures, fitted for the highest and the
noblest purposes, debasing themselves to a level with the brutes, and
making pleasure and sensual gratification the sole end of their being;
nay, even stooping to be regarded as mere machines, in order that they
may escape from the trammels which they feel that a sense of
accountability throws around them!  Above all, who can behold unmoved the
disregard, and even contempt, with which these persons treat the soul,
that immortal principle, which stamps upon man his dignity, which raises
him above the brutes, and allies him to the inhabitants of the celestial
world, which is the seat of happiness; for the redemption of whom the Son
of God became flesh, and expired on Calvary, and for whom, when
sanctified, there are mansions of glory provided in heaven?  How can men
trifle with this precious jewel, and account it of no value, saying, “Let
us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die?”  Is it not enough to affect the
heart, to draw forth floods of grief, and make us exclaim, “Oh that they
knew, even they, in this their day, the things which belong to their
peace!” and to add, “Oh that they were wise, that they understood this,
that they would consider their latter end!”  Happy, unspeakably happy
should I be, if I might be the means of rescuing and saving any that have
been deluded into these errors, from their perilous situation, and their
still greater and more awful doom, if they continue in them; nor shall I
account it a less privilege to be the humble instrument of preventing
any, that are in danger, from falling into these snares.  A desire to do
good, and, if possible, saving good, to my fellow creatures, is my sole
object in taking my pen, and meddling with the subject.  Christianity,
like an impregnable fortress, has often been assailed; men of gigantic
minds have directed their weapons against her, but she has outlived every
storm, has hitherto vanquished even her mightiest foes.  I think,
therefore, her friends need be under no alarm on account of the efforts
of Robert Owen to assail or destroy her.

I am, however, departing from my purpose; my object, on the present
occasion, not being to defend Christianity, but simply to examine
Socialism, and to inquire how far the principles of the New Moral World
are calculated to effect the object for which they are propagated.  I
think I have shown that in themselves they want consistency, they are
either absurd, or they lead to absurdity, they destroy the sense of the
being of a God, and, as the necessary consequence, debase the character
of man, making him only a living machine.  If the foundation on which
they rest were true, they are not necessary, and their consequences are
most pernicious: and here I think I might stop, and leave the truth to
make its own way; and here I should stop, were it not that by so doing, I
should be acting a very unjust and unfaithful part towards the cause of
Christ.

Then, I do say from conviction, and to use Mr. Owen’s words, “a
conviction, as strong as conviction can exist in the human mind;” and not
only from conviction, but also an experience, in some humble degree, of
the things which I profess to teach to others, that Christianity, not
only promises, but actually does, for those who believe it, what
Socialism promises, but cannot perform.

Mr. Owen pictures before his followers an earthly paradise.  He promises
them, when his establishment shall be commenced, sights to please the
eye, and sounds to enrapture the ear, more than the imagination can now
conceive.  He tells them that, what with the pleasures of the table, the
recreations of music and dancing, and the enjoyments resulting from
philosophical and political discussions, and such like things, they shall
have a happiness unbroken and complete.  But even in his paradise there
must be labour, and as each member must necessarily take his or her
proportion of the labour, will he, for the future, ensure all that enter
against such an unpleasant, and such a mortifying occurrence as took
place with the young and handsome woman, who, when she was singing and
playing admirably on the pianoforte, was told that milking of cows was
her duty!  If not, what is the happiness of his paradise worth?  “Like
the apples of Sodom,” beautiful to the eye, but ashes within.  The body
may indeed be regaled, but there is no lasting, no solid joy for the
mind.  And this Mr. Owen’s followers already have found.  I appeal to
themselves for the truth of what I say; and I have the means of knowing
that they will support the truth of my statement.  They have not found
perfect happiness yet, whatever they may do when they get within the
walls of his promised paradise.  But if this be the case in health, in
vigour of life, and when surrounded by every thing calculated to impart
pleasure, what, I ask, will be the state of things when sickness invades
the frame, when disease and old age enfeeble and destroy the body, and
when death comes and cuts it down?  Is there, or has he made, any
provision against these evils, or will they change or lose their nature
within the walls of this promised paradise?  Ah! if his followers could
have assurance of that, then, indeed, there might be some faint prospect
of being happy—but he cannot; and they feel he cannot; there is,
therefore, and there must always be, a worm at the root of their gourd,
and poison at the bottom of their cup of pleasure.

And what is there beyond the grave?  Yes, I ask, what is there beyond the
grave?  “Oh that grave!” is the feeling cry of each of their minds: “if
it were not for the grave, we should not mind, we should do very well;”
but there is the grave; and again I ask, What is there beyond it?  Oh! if
any of those that have imbibed these principles should cast their eye on
this page, I beseech them, by the worth of their souls, by the terrors of
the Lord, by the solemnities of the judgment day, and by the miseries,
the eternal miseries of hell to think of their state, and immediately to
flee from the wrath to come.  And let me tell them, for we have no
delight in thundering out these awful realities, on the contrary, we
rejoice to tell them, that if they repent, even for them, there is
salvation, and eternal life through the blood of the Lamb.  Oh then, we
beseech them by the mercies of God, we beseech them by the dying love of
Christ, as though God did beseech them by us, we pray them in Christ’s
stead, “Be ye reconciled to God.”

But what a contrast the Christian presents, to even the best and the
happiest follower of Robert Owen, or even Robert Owen himself!  It is
true that he may not be rolling in wealth, nor surrounded by luxuries;
his circumstances may be humble, and his situation may be poor; but he is
happy, unspeakably happy!  He has peace within, a peace which is not
adventitious, which is not the result of circumstances, and will not
change with them; it is “peace of conscience,” and “peace with God;” that
“peace which passeth all understanding,” and which is full of glory: it
is a peace which “the world cannot give, and which the world cannot take
away.”  It supports the mind in sickness, it cheers and comforts it in
poverty and affliction, it smooths the pillow of death, it illumines and
sheds a glorious radiance over the dark passage to the grave, and beyond
the tomb it is converted into the fulness of joy, and pleasures for
evermore.  Nor am I drawing an imaginary picture; I could refer to
hundreds and thousands who will confirm the descriptions, as far as their
present experience goes; and for the truth of the statement in reference
to death, what multitudes of death-bed scenes have there been which have
compelled even unbelievers to exclaim, “Let me die the death of the
righteous, and let my last end be like his!”

Mr. Owen’s principles have not in a single instance changed, so as
radically to benefit any individual of the human race; they cannot exalt
the moral character.  Christianity has her thousands of trophies of her
purity and her power.  They are to be found in every age, and exist in
every part of the world.  Mr. Owen’s principles never yet made a single
truly happy man: Christianity furnishes them daily.  Mr. Owen’s
principles are silent about a hereafter, and make no provision for the
world to come: Christianity brings life and immortality to light by the
gospel, takes away the sting of death, triumphs over the grave, and opens
before its followers a bright and a glorious immortality.  Mr. Owen’s
principles, independent of their absurdity and atheism, have nothing to
recommend them but his unsupported testimony: Christianity is confirmed
and established by the united testimony of prophets, and apostles, and
evangelists; of martyrs, confessors, and enemies; of miracles,
prophecies, and history; of its own doctrines, and precepts, and
triumphs—that it is the word of God!  Then we say, If Mr. Owen be what he
pretends, the only teacher that has yet risen to enlighten and to bless
the world, and if his principles, as developed in the “Book of the New
Moral World,” be the eternal laws of nature, then follow him: but, if the
Lord be God, and Christianity be Divine, then follow them.



APPENDIX.


SINCE writing the preceding pages, I have had an opportunity of both
seeing and hearing of the effects of the system, the principles of which
I have endeavoured to expose: and as the fruits of a tree are not only of
great service in determining the character of the tree which bears them,
but are the best test by which that character may be known, it may be of
use to the cause of truth, and may tend more effectually than any other
means, to explain and expose what Robert Owen’s Socialism is, to state
the fruits which it has already produced.

An intimate friend of mine, resident in a large manufacturing district,
in whose neighbourhood socialists abound, and where they have had an
opportunity, to a very considerable extent, of developing their system,
writes me word: “Persons in whose neighbourhood their meetings are held,
speak of their proceedings as most riotous and disorderly.  Young men and
young women assemble in the room, and around it, in great numbers, and
the most demoralizing scenes occur.  Twice in the week they meet for
dancing, etc. in the room where their preachings are held.”

And as to the persons that compose their societies, it is notorious that
the great bulk of them are young men and women, who are attracted solely
by the pleasures and amusements which are there held out to them; and the
remainder consist either of persons of bad moral character, or men of
unsettled religious views, as atheists, unbelievers, the followers of
Johanna Southcote, etc.; or, where any have joined them who were once
attached to other bodies, or were professed believers in the doctrines of
revelation, they are, almost without a single exception, persons whose
practices did not accord with their profession—“men of corrupt minds,
reprobate concerning the faith,” 2 Tim. iii. 8.  And, although it is not
fair nor honourable to charge either the sentiments, or the practices of
particular individuals upon a whole body, or even to lay them to the
account of the system which they profess; yet, when those sentiments and
practices can be shown fairly to arise out of the system: and moreover,
when they are neither disavowed nor discountenanced by the body
generally, nor by those persons that may fairly be considered as
representing the body, there can be nothing wrong in adducing them as
illustrations of the nature and the tendency of the system which produces
them.  It is solely with this view that I bring forward the following
facts, for the truth of which I can vouch:—

    “A man named —, of —, the clerk of the socialists at —, and a clever
    lecturer, who was once a missionary, is of so abandoned a character,
    that nearly at the time of his marriage with one female, he had an
    illegitimate child by another; and he threatened, if a certain
    person, —, of — opposed his marriage, he would shoot him.”

Another person, the editor of a periodical which supports the views of
Mr. Owen, and one of the champions of their cause, is charged publicly by
the author of a pamphlet entitled, “Truth without Mystery, mixture of
Error, or fear of Man,” with seducing his own wife’s sister: nor has the
charge, as far as I can learn, been in any shape denied, or attempted to
be disproved.  And not only is he not disowned, but is still continued as
an acknowledged and recognised supporter and expounder of their
principles.

Another man, who was once a preacher, is now a warm advocate of
socialism, and has given a clear illustration of the kind of morality
which may be expected, if the principles of this system should become at
all general; for he has lived already with not less than eight or ten
women in succession.

These facts, which, after all, are only specimens of what might be
adduced, awful as they are, cannot be wondered at; nor will the reading
of them occasion any surprise, when it is known that the following
sentiments are taught and inculcated by the advocates of these
principles:—A Mr. — on one occasion publicly declared, and argued
according to one of the fundamental principles of this system, that men
are not to be held accountable for what they are.  He said, “Each nation
has some particular character of its own.  Some nations think murder
right; others are cannibals; and they cannot help either their belief or
their practice. . . .  And we should not punish men for the want of
virtue, or the commission of vice, but we should teach them better.”  A
socialist lecturer expressed his ideas of God in the following words:—“He
is omnipresent, he is all goodness, he is all wisdom, he is present in
you, he is present in me, he is present in the murderer, he is present in
hell.”  And the conclusion which he wished to draw was, that as God is
thus present everywhere, therefore, he is the author of the crime of the
murderer!!  I asked him, “Was God all goodness when he was thus present
in the murderer?”  Or, in other words, Was murder goodness?

These, and similarly awful sentiments, Mr. Owen’s followers are seeking
to extend with the greatest diligence, and that too, even among the
young.  Nor have they been unsuccessful.  The effects which already begin
to appear are highly detrimental.  In one instance, the son of a
professor of socialism, who goes to school to a Christian, was one
morning too late, and told his master that he could not help being too
late, for he was the creature of circumstances over which he had no
control; when his master very properly replied, then he would apply a
moral motive of sufficient power to induce him to be in time, and so gave
him a good beating.

A sabbath-school teacher, in a neighbourhood where these principles have
extensively spread, bears testimony that, “through the influence of
socialism the boys have become so unmanageable that the teachers do not
know what to do: to turn them out of the school appears to be to doom
them to destruction: and to keep them in is, almost to a certainty, to
corrupt the views and morals of the rest of the children.”

A man named —, of —, who was once a preacher, but is now a warm advocate
of socialism, has repeatedly confessed that he has no peace in his own
mind.

But, without attempting to adduce more facts as illustrations of the
evils and the tendencies of this system, I may ask, Does it produce no
other fruits besides these?  It has now been tried for some time, and
opportunity has been given to develope and bring to maturity its
principles; surely then Robert Owen can produce, if from no other
quarter, at least from his own establishments, some rare and surpassing
specimens of moral beauty and intrinsic worth, such as the old world and
the old system have in vain attempted to exhibit.  Christianity can
exhibit the names of persons whose virtues and excellences have been the
theme of universal admiration, and have extorted from friends and foes
the meed of praise.  The list is too long to transcribe: nor is it
necessary; for their memory is embalmed in the grateful recollections of
all who have any perception of moral goodness, and their deeds shall
outlast the course of time.  Can the New Moral World as yet produce no
names to eclipse those of the Christian world?  Then, on every principle,
whether of reason, argument, fact, or experience, it may truly be said as
to the social system, “Thou art weighed in the balances, and found
wanting.”

                                * * * * *

                                * * * * *

_London_: _Printed by_ W. CLOWES _and_ SONS, _Duke-street_, _Lambeth_,
_for_ THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY; _and sold at the Depository_, 56,
_Paternoster-row_; _by_ J. NISBET _and_ Co., 21, _Berners-street_,
_Oxford-street_; _and by other Booksellers_.

                        [_Price_ 7_s._ _per_ 100]
         _Considerable Allowance to Subscribers and Booksellers_.





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