« PreviousContinue »
It has been irged that the internal evidence of these gospels affords sufficient proof to shew they are not genuine. This I confidently deny, because the New Testament itself, by thos who believe in it, is not subjected to that mode of reasoning which is adopted in the examination of the credibility of any eircumstance that has occurred. The improbability and absurdity of the narration does not invalidate its authority, but the true believer assents to its truth, because it is divine revelation; any attempt therefore to despise these gospels on that account, partakes more of the temper of infidelity than of the spirit of Christianity. Whoever reads the 1st and 2nd chapters of Matthew and Luke, must lament how extremely brief the interesting statements of the birth of Jesus are recorded by his disciples, and desire to have a more extended knowledge of those events, which ushered in the birth of the Saviour of the World; and I think the Apocryphal Testament supplies many deficiencies, that are evident in our present gospels. I will, however, copy two chapters from the gospel of St. Mary, which was believed to be written by St. Matthew, hy several of the ancient Christian sects; and leave your readers to decide, whether they are not as probable and as deserving of belief, as those contained in our present New Testament.
“ Now at this time of her first coming into Galilec, the angel Gabriel was sent to her from God, to declare to her the conception of our Savjour, and the manner and way of her conceiving him. Accordingly going into her, lie filled the chamber where she was with a prodigious light, and in a most courteous manner saluting her, he said, Hail, Mary! Virgin of the Lord most acceptable! Oh Virgin, full of grace! The Lord is with you, you are blessed above all women, you are blessed above all pien, that have been hitherto born. But the Virgin, who had before been well acquainted with the countenances of angels, and to whom such light from beaven was no uncommon thing, was neither terrified with the vision of the angel, nor astonished at the greatness of the light, but only troubled about the angel's words; aod began to consider what so extraordinary a salutation should mean, what it did portend, or what sort of end it would have. To this thought the angel, divinely inspired, replies; Fear not, Mary, as though I intended any thing inconsistent with your chastity in this salutation: for you have found favour with the Lord, because you made virginity your choice. Therefore while you are a virgin, you shall conceive without sin, and bring forth a son. He shall be great, because he shall reign from sea to sea, and from the rivers even to the ends of the earth. And he shall be called the Son of the Highest ; for he who is born in a mean state on earth, reigns in an exalted one in heaven. And the Lord shall give him the throne of his father David,
and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end. For he is the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, and bis throne is for ever and ever, To this discourse of the angel the Virgin replied, not as though she were unbelieving, but willing to know the manner of it: she said, How can that be? For seeing, according to my vow, I never have known any man, how can I bear a child without the addition of a man's seed ? To this the angel replied and said, Think not, Mary, that you shall conceive in the ordinary way : for, without lying with a man, while a virgin, yon shall conceive; while a virgin, you shall bring forth ; and while a virgin, you shall give suck: for the Holy Ghost shall come upon you, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow you, without any of the heats of lust. So that which sliall be born of you shall be only holy, because it only is conceived without sin, and being born, shall be called the Son of God. Then Mary stretching forth her hands, and lifting her eyes to heaven, said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord ! Let it be unto me according to thy word."
Joseph therefore went from Judæa to Galilee, with intention to marry the virgin who was betrothed to him; For it was row near three months, since she was betrothed to him. At length it plainly appeared she was with child, and it could not be hid from Joseph'; For going to the Virgin in a free manner, as one espoused, and talking familiarly with her, he perceived her to be with child. And thereupon began to be uneasy and doubtful, not knowing what course it would be best to take; For being a just man, be was not willing to expose her, nor defame her by the suspicion of being a whore, since he was a pious man. He purposed therefore privately to put an eud to their agreement, and as privately to send her away. But while he was meditating these things, behold the angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, and said, Joseph, son of David, fear not; Be not willing to entertain any suspicion of the Virgin's being guilty of fornication, or to think any thing amiss of her, neither be afraid to take her to wife; For that which is begotten in her, and now dis. tresses your mind, is not the work of man, but the Holy Ghost. For she of all women is that only Virgin who shall bring forih the Sou of God, and you sball call him Jesus, that is, Saviour; for he will save his people from their sins. Joseph thereupon, according to the command of the angel, married the Virgin, and did not know her, but kept ber in chastity. And now the ninth month from her conception drew near, when Joseph took his wife and what other things were necessary to Bethlehem, the city from whence he came. And it came to pass, while they were there, the days were fulfilled for her bring. ing forth, And she brought forth her first-born son, as the Holy Evangelists have taught, even our Lord Jesus Christ, who with the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, lives and reigns to everlasting ages."
The sun total subscribed towards the fine and expenses of Mr. Carlile, and advertised in the three volumes of the Republican, is €132. 195.
HELP! HELP! HELP! FOR THE Vice SOCIETY.
The secret association of the supporters of existing abuses, is beginning to dwindle. It is compelled to puff like a lotteryticket seller, to raise about 100l. per year, by way of subscription! It appears that it has lately run into debt, and cannot get a barrister to take another brief, for want of the money for the fee. We feel it our duty to give a gratuitous insertion to all their advertisements, in acknowledgment of benefits received and continued. 66 SOCIETY FOR THE SUPPRESSION OF VICE.
“ Committee-room, Aug. 1820. ciety has to return its acknowledgements to those of the nobility, clergy, and gentry, who, in compliance with its late address, have contributed to its funds, by which it has been enabled to bring to a successful issue, the prosecutions against Richard Carlile, and seven indictments against as many dealers in obscene publications. The society is now carrying on another prosecution against an offender of the latter description; and when this shall have been brought (as it is trusted it will be) to a successful close, a hope may fairly be encouraged that the morals of the rising generations, for a considerable period to come, will be much less exposed than they have been, to the noxious effects of this most odious traffic. Two printers of blasphemous publications, who, since the conviction of Richard Carlile, have had the audacity to persist in their impious warfare against Christianity and the religious institutions of our highly favoured country, are now also under prosecution. As, by these multiplied proceedings, the funds which the society have derived from the timely support of benevolent individuals, will be considerably diminished, it becomes necessary for the Committee still to press the imimportant objects which the society has in view, upon
the consideration of a diseerning public, in order that it inay be placed in such a state of efficiency, as to be enabled to continue an active and unintermitted conflict with those ill-disposed persons who are incessantly conspiring against the moral and religious interests of the community.
“Subscriptions and donations will be thankfully received by the treasurer, Henry Hoare, esq., 37, Fleet Street ; and by the secretary, Mr. Geo. Pritchard, 31, Essex Street, Strand.”
VOL. 4. No. 1,
We would beg to remind this virtuous Vice Society, that their late address was made long since the conviction of Richard Carlile; and that they then complained of poverty, occasioned by bringing that“ audacious offender, Carlile, to condign punishment. We are surprised to think that a discerning public should disparage and discountenance their efforts! What not able to pay for the prosecutions in hand! How comes this to pass ? A few years back this society consisted of several hundreds of the most wealthy individuals in the country: but what does it now consist of? No one but the Secretary it seems, who makes a trade of it, and lives by the few pounds he can collect by begging in the name of a society! As to the morals of the rising
generation, they bid fair to be contaminated by the royal Vice Society much more so than by the sale of obscene prints and books, and we would recommend the clerical Vice Society to drop the subject of blasphemy and begin at the root of corruption. Their efforts against what they call blasphemy will benefit none but those prosecuted; and in the present state of the country this will continue to be the case, therefore the further they plunge the further they will get into the mire ; and it is pretty clear that their late proceedings against Richard Carlile has almost annihilated their further progress, whilst he continues in the same condition as before, as far as his publications are concerned, and we doubt not but he is well prepared to stand a repeated siege, or the most violent assauli. All the money thrown away by the prosecutors of blasphemy runs into the pockets of the person prosecuted, and whilst this is the case there is no fear that the game will drop for want of persons to persevere. Let the Vice Society read the Republican weekly, and ask themselves what they have gained by the prosecution of Richard Carlile more than the confinement of his body; a circumstance which he, as an individual, is quite indifferent about. One would think that the royal prosecution or persecution, which is now going on, would be sufficient to silence any clamour about obscenity or blasphemy amongst any other class of society. We have in this business sufficient obscenity and blasphemy to corrupt all Europe, if royal example be calculated to do it. But we do sincerely pray, that the Vice Society will allow nothing to stop their efforts, they are performing a double . good, they check obscenity and propagate the truth.
The persons alluded to as under prosecution for “ daring to attack Christianity, and the religious institutions of the country,” are Mrs. Carlile and Mr. Davison ; but the Vice Society
do not anticipate the hope that the conviction of those persons will stop the sale of anti-christian publications, if they do, they will find themselves much deceived. They have done nothing yet in checking the sale of such publications; they have doubled and trebled the sale of them, and impoverished themselves as a society. Thus they might continue if they like, for we shall not do as well without their prosecutions as with them.. Pritchard the lawyer in Essex Street, must be considered the main stay and support of this society, he alone, and the barrister he might employ, can gain any thing by its continuance. As to the opposition they may make to the progress of deistical principles, it is really a farce, their motives are seen through, and their old subscribers have deserted them. If they have any subscribers left, they consist of priests, or a few such men as
Wilberforce, who have thriven by the support of the abuses in church and state.
Thus we see them under the necessity of begging for support, but we never see them, like other societies, advertising the sums received, and the names of the subscribers, of the nobility, clergy, and gentry whose support they continually affect to return thanks for; but, at the same time, convince us that they have received no such support, because they plead poverty, and great expenses. which have not existed. If we admit that each prosecution costs them £100, which ought to be the outside, and that they have brought before a jury tive or six persons in the course of a year, which they have not done, what is the sum total of such an expense, for a society composed of nobility, gentry, and clergy, as is boasted of. But nine out of every ten that they have instituted prosecutions against, have paid the expences of them, so that, in fact, the chief expence of this society must be for house-rent and secretary: and the expence occasioned them by Richard Carlile, whom they boast of having convicted, far exceeds any thing that they ever had to encounter before. The payment of spies forms a principal feature in their expenses; and their ramifications are only known to themselves. However, we have no hesitation in saying, that the efforts of this society to check the progress of obscene books and prints, has been extremely laudable: they should not have meddled with opinion.
Can it be a vice to dissent from the opinions of any man, or set of men? or can it be a vice to make known the cause of that dissent? In what country, in what century, have mankind ceased to deviate from the opinions of their progenitors? Is not the