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the acquisition of truth, and that no political authorities appointed by the people for the benefit of the people can be entitled to retain them in ignorance and darkness.

These principles, which were vindicated by the generous Sydney at the expence of his blood, and to which Locke gave the authority of his name, were afterwards developed with greater force, precision, and extent, by Rousseau, whose glory it is to bave placed them among those truths henceforth impossible to be forgotten or disputed.

Hence it appears to be one of the rights of man that be should employ his faculties, dispose of his wealth, and provide for his wants in whatever manner he shall think best. The general interest of the society, so far from restraining him in this respect, forbids, on the contrary, every such attempt; and in this department of public administration, the care of securing to every man the rights wbich he derives from nature is the only sound policy, the only controul which the general will can exercise over the individuals of the community.

The period at length arrived when men no longer feared openly to avow the right, so long withheld, and even unknown, of subjecting every opinion to the test of reason, or, in other words, of employing, in their search after truth, the only means they possess for its discovery. Every man learned, with a degree of pride and exultation, that Nature had not condemned him to see with the eyes and to conform bis judgment to the caprice of another. The superstitions of antiquity accordingly disappeared; and the debasement of reason to the shrine of supernatural faith was as rarely to be found in society as in the circles of metaphysics and philosophy.

Run through the history of our projects and establishments in Africa, or in Asia, and you will see our monopolies, our treachery, our sanguinary contempt for men of a different complexion or different creed, and the proselyting fury or the intrigues of our Priests, destroying that sentiment of respect and benevolence which the superiority of our information and the advantages of our commerce had at first obtained.

TO MR. CARLILE.

SIR, I am anxious to call the attention of your readers, to a subject which to me appears not to have been sufficiently noticed; and in offering you the following observations upon it, my object is principally to throw out a few general bints, that some individual more capable than myself, may be induced to take the subject up; and do it that justice wbich its importance requires and deserves. I am, Sir, yours gratefully,

A DEIST.

THE EFFECTS OF A BELIEF IN A FUTURE

STATE OF EXISTENCE ON SOCIETY.

The only effective objection advanced against the principles of Deism, is its opposition to the dogma of a future state of existence. And when I say effective, I do not wish to be understood, that the doctrine of a future state of existence can be supported upon any rational grounds; still however it is effective, because many individuals who themselves reject it, give it their support, from an idea that it is necessary to restrain, the vicious passions of our nature. That this is not the case, and that this doctrine, so far from repressing vice and crime, is calculated to nurture and support it, I do not doubt but that I shall be able to establish. I conceive the chief causes to which vice and crimé are at. tributable, are first, Ignorance; and secondly, Poverty. Tbat ignorance produces vice and crime of every sort, is a truth so self evident, that I do not apprehend any one will deny. It may however be said, every one has sufficient knowledge to inform them, what is right and what is wrong, granted; yet still though men have this knowledge, their minds are not sufficiently enlightened to see the necessity of strictly regarding it. In proportion as men obtain knowledge, so they despise and detest vicious actions, thus a man who has obtained a superior degree of information to others of his fellows cannot be more punished than to be compelled to associate with ignorant and illiterate men. Koowledge it is that expands our minds, that teaches those views of right and wrong, and of philanthropy

wbich enlightens, without it men would be little better than brutes. Every day's observation affords us an additional proof of the truth of this position, if we are among individuals who have obtained an education, and who are anxious to obtain knowledge, we find them better moral characters, better society, and better men in every sbape. And if we refer to history, it will also support this position in the strongest manner. Let us look at our own country, four or five centuries back; what does it present to our view; the most horrible picture of vice and infamy we can imagine. And surely if the fear of a future state of existence could controul the vicious passions of mankind, it would have done so then, because then it was more firmly believed and supported than it ever has been since. I think we may also attribute crime, in a certain degree, to poverty ; poverty will compel honest individuals to commit dishonest acts, and though it will be said it will not prompt them to commit any of the worst of crimes that disgrace human nature; yet we must look a little further than this; suppose a man with a family is compelled to resort to any species of fraud to support them, what effect will this have upon his family, will not his example operate powerfully upon their minds, most certainly; by having bad examples before their eyes, they becoine initiated in vice. Seeing then, that in ignorant times, and among ignorant men, vice and crime has been most prevalent, what are the causes that have operated to keep mankind in ignorance. I think I may safely answer, the belief in a future state of existence has been the principal one. This is the direct tendency of this doctrine, and I may say the direct object for wbich it was instituted. It is impossible that any man, or set of men, sincerely believing in it, can be otherwise than ignorant; because, it must become the very centre of their ideas, every other object must be neglected to attain this grand one. Of what importance can be Literature, or the Arts and Sciences, or auy thing else that is not directed directly to the object in view, to men who believe in such a doctrine as this, none whatever; their object is how they shall obtain future life, they must be continually at prayer, their whole time and attention directed to attain this grand object; it follows then as a natural consequence that such men must become every day more ignorant. And if we refer to bistory it will point out most clearly that such is the fact. Rome, for example, be. fore Christianity was established, Rome was every thing that was great, her Arts and Sciences had risen to a pitch,

which if equalled have never been excelled since. But no sooner had Christianity established itself in the minds of the people, then she sook into ignorance and barbarism. And if we look at our own country, or in fact at any country, it will obviously illustrate my argument. Wbat has been the cause of the improvement in the condition of England, from the barbarism and ignorance into which it was sunk four or five centuries since. The cause is obvious to the commonest capacity; as religion has been shaken off, as the belief in a future siate has less doated upon, we bave gradually improved. And with very little observation, even in the present day, we shall find that the most enlightened men, are those who least attach themselves to religion, and religious parties. Another of the ill effects, produced in a great measure by a belief in this doctrine, is poverty. Convinced I am, that the condition of the poorer classes of society would be improved, very much improved, if this doctrine were eradicated from their minds; because they would then have a stimulus to exertion; instead of building there hopes on a future state, they would exert themselves to be as happy and comfortable as possible. But what now is the fact, many, very many, men, instead of exerting themselves to support themselves and families in as comfortable à manger as possible, are attending prayer meetings, subscribing to Bible and Missionary Societies, and so forth; and if they are embarrassed in circumstances, instead of stimulating them to exertion, it attaches them more firmly to religion, they console themselves with the idea that the poorer they are in this world, the richer they will be in the next.

It has been asked how Deists can reconcile to their consciences, the bitter cries of thousands whose hopes they have destroyed. The answer is simple and easy; those who have rejected the doctrine upon the evidence that has been adduced against it, so far from uttering bitter cries, so far from desponding under such circumstances, will be grateful to the hopest patriots, who bave rescued thein and their posterity, from the fangs of interested priests; who in spite of persecution of the most malignant kind, have still dared to point out the absurdities of the illusive dogmas they have been believing.

This doctrine bas been pictured also as a most powerful support and consolation in circumstances of distress. · For my own part I can see in it no consolation, is it a consola

tion and support when an individual has lost some relation or friend whom he has much-valued. No? It must indeed be to him a terror; he knows not whether bis friend will be lifted to the mansions of eternal bliss, or whether he will be tormented in hell; be is in doubt and fear, surely then this can be no consolation, no support to him, in such a situa. lion. Picture on the other hand à Deist, under such circumstances. He will look upon his loss like a philosopher, he is in no anxious fears about the fate of his friend's soul, he is certain he will perish in the earth, be knows it is the common fate of all, and the regular course of pature, and will therefore look upon it as such. Is it then a consolation to an individual whose family is in a state of starvation; it is, it is a horrible one; instead of stimulating him to exertion for their support, it encourages a despondency fatal to his welfare. To this I would also answer that such distress would probably never have existed, had it not been for this very doctrine.

Such then are the effects produced by a belief in the doctrine of a future state of existence; and can we look upon them without horror; can we countenance such a dogma by our silence; or can we (to say nothing of the Book upon wbich it is founded) recommend it as a valuable boon to the rising generation? I think not; it behoves every Deist, and friend of his country, to openly avow bis opinions, and act upon them accordingly.

Let them instruct their children in their moral duty, and instead of suffering them to waste their time in reading the Bible, learning Church Catechisms, and all such ridiculous nonsense, and exciting in their minds a superstitious veneration for religion, let them read such books as will both amuse and instruct, and it will excite an inquiring ardour in their minds, which will produce the best effects to themselves and society.

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