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But the Unitarians, if obliged to defend themselves in detail, concerning propositions involved in the most violent prejudices of the mass of the people, are placed under great disadvantages. I am convinced that it is not necessary to disprove the theory of Inspiration, in order to show that the Deity of Jesus of Nazareth was no article of the primitive Christianity. But as long as every phrase of the Bible shall be regarded as a divine oracle, no right principles of interpretation can be applied, with any effect, upon the popular Mind. Here is this text of Paul, they will say; he calls Christ, God over all, blessed for ever. The question appears at once settled; for though it is evident that, all circumstances of the case being considered as sound interpretation demands, that passage must be acknowledged to have been tampered with by the Church, whatever the Manuscripts may
of bile-acrid, corrosive, threatening, in my opinion, a spontaneous combustion of the patient. I should not be surprised, indeed, if, one of these mornings, there should be found, in the bed of the reverend gentlemen, a handful of caput mortuum--some alkalies, perhaps, the rest of the individual having been converted, with a loud detonation, into what the Germans, very appropriately, call sour gas.
I must, however, inform you of another delicate part of my method, which I have particularly applied in the case of Mr. -- It is this : out of the ancient and modern satirists I have chosen some strikingly depicted characters to guide me in such medical investigations. Now, when I find, in a recently-published book or pamphlet, that the author might have sat to the satirical painter for one or other of his remarkable pictures, I directly infer a morbid state in the living writer, else how could a man, with a sound constitution, be so extremely like an exaggerated drawing, perhaps a caricature? Let us apply this rule to Mr.
exhibit, it is impossible for any mind under the superstitious notion of Inspiration, to allow itself the necessary freedom to perceive anything in the case, but that the words are there. The question of Inspiration is the basis of all theology; till it is thoroughly examined, and the negative proof against it made as clear as by its nature it can be, all Controversy is a mere Blind Man's Buff play.
The absurdity of most of the orthodox Sermons in this Controversy is inconceivable. Mr. M'Neil's is truly contemptible: Mr. Stewart's is pitiful: Mr. Byrth’s is odious. Men more unprepared for any philosophical inquiry than these Orthodox champions, it is impossible to conceive. I would not attempt to convince them; but I could assist many an honest thinking person, in delivering themselves from the deadening influence of these Priests.
April 30th. Very unwell. Went to bed very early : but saw Ferdinand when he arrived.
May 4th, 1839. “PLAN (of a Lexicon). "The above is an Alphabetical Arrangement (according to Schmid) of every word in the Greek New Testament. Immediately after each Greek word follows the series of passages in which it occurs : these are given in quotations from the authorised English translation. Throughout each series, italic letters are used to mark the word or words which correspond to the Greek word under consideration. The citations are sufficiently full to enable any one moderately acquainted with the English Testament to recall the context. The OBJECT of the work is to endeavour to lead the mind to deduce its meaning and definition of words' from the use made of them by the HOLY GHOST.*_By Bagster.”
The English are certainly a practical people; give them the most aerial thought in the shape of a metaphor, and, if it answers their purpose, they will hammer it into the solidity of a rock. The theory of Bible-Inspiration has reached its utmost limits of materiality. Here we have a Lexicon composed by the Holy Ghost. What an impious man must that be that will not learn Greek from it! All uncertainty is now removed, for we may know the “meaning and definition of words from the use made of them by the HOLY GHOST.” Who shall now venture to call the Hellenistic Greek a poor and rude dialect, or accuse St. John of bad Grammar! Away with your Thucydides, Demosthenes, Plato! Your Greek has no divine Sanction!
[* The printing of the original advertisement is exactly copied.]
May 5th, 1839. My reading before the return of Ferdinand from London has been, Strauss' Leben Jesu, nearly through a second time: a little Hebrew daily, and a few sentences of M. Aurelius, as a subject of meditation : and Homer,- besides the Periodicals. After Ferdinand's return, we read some Italian and Latin.
Ferdinand left me for Dublin, to visit his brother officer, Captain Coddrington.
25th. I finished yesterday a slight reading of a very able statement of the various systems of German Philosophy from Kant to Hegel. It is entitled, Historische Entwickelung der speculativen Philosophie von Kant bis Hegel von Heinrich Moritz Chalybäus. Dresden. 1837. 8vo. I have said that I gave it a slight reading, because I omitted one or two intricate passages, requiring more attention than I can in my present state bestow upon any subject. I have read however this work with great interest, because it is excellently written, and in a more luminous style than such works generally display. The introduction, which breathes a generous spirit of philosophical freedom, put me in high spirits; but the conclusion dashed them down in a most painful manner. One by one
all the systems which men of the highest talents, had constructed with infinite labour, came to split upon the rock of religion. The multitude, with their governors and their priests, are shocked,-and the most accurate series of deductions must consequently be discarded, as visionary. There is no principle whatever in the human mind from which an extramundane God can be inferred to exist : not one philosophical, ground upon which the immortality of Mr. A. and Mrs. B. can be established. Away then with philosophy: away with its God; he cannot “walk in a garden in the cool of the evening," or be applied to with petitions for health, or perhaps fine weather to cross to Calais. The spectre of Pantheism stands in the way of all true Philosophy; all good people are afraid of Pantheism ; but who does show the least uneasiness about Idolatry,—that Idolatry of the Imagination which is the basis of all that is called Christianity? Can this tyranny continue long? Shall ignorance and shallowness obstruct the way of Knowledge for ever? Impossible. But I who have lived, and am dying, in pain and anguish for the love of truth, shall not see the day of intellectual freedom. Happy, at least, if I have been one to fill up the ditch of the fortress of superstition! “Happy shall they be who shall dash the last religious errors against a stone."