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been rejected by the more wise and prudent part of the Jews, as a blasphemer, as a glutton, as a winebibber, and as the associate of wicked men: these are his own words, at least words put into his mouth by his biographer, or the inventor of this story. Reader, on which side does the practice of morality appear?

I have passed over several unintelligible paragraphs and phrases, for the New Testament abounds in those as much as did the Old; but I shall select one from the eleventh chapter, and leave it to some Christian for explanation: it is thus:

"Aud from the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come."

I must confess that I can neither make sense or nonsense of this extract; it is evidently an idea of the compiler, who lived long subsequent to John the Baptist, although it be introduced as spoken by Jesus. John is said to have been the contemporary of Jesus, and we have not yet read of his death; for this tale comes immediately after an application of John, by his disciples, to know whether he, Jesus, was the Christ, or whether they are to look for another?

The twelfth chapter abounds with inexplicable nonsense, from which I shall quote two passages: the first is something about the Holy Ghost, as follows:

"Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men; but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come."

For my part, I have not the least fear to speak against this Holy Ghost, as I feel assured, that no one can make any thing more than a couple of words of it. It has no definition—no substantial meaning, and is nothing more than a fictitious and fanatical idea. The Holy Ghost is a bugbear. Of whom is it the Holy Ghost? Whom doth it represent? I have never committed blasphemy against the Holy Ghost before, therefore I find that by gospel law, I ought not to be in prison. Surely Christians are not justified in inflicting punishment where their master says no punishment is due.

The next paragraph is equally important and wonderful: it is thus:

"Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and


said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly, so shall the son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."

This of itself is sufficient to stamp the whole of the New Testament as a weed that sprang out of the fanaticism occasioned in Judea by the Old. As a biography of an individual, this book of Matthew is as contemptible as it is false; and to subscribe to the truth of it, it is necessary to subscribe to all the demonstrable and convicted falsehoods of the whole Bible. It is a folly to talk about primitive Christianity, or the Christianity of the Unitarians, or Freethinkers, the foundation of the whole is altogether a jumble of lies and disgusting nonsense. I never could reconcile myself to make any distinction between Christians; however, they may wrangle among themselves, their creed, or creeds, are equally absurd and founded in error

and fanaticism.

The fourteenth chapter relates the end of John the Baptist, and again intimates that Jesus left that part of the country from fear of Herod, who had ordered John to be beheaded. There is a strange bungle in this chapter:-it begins with saying that Herod heard of the fame of Jesus, and said it was John the Baptist risen from the dead; then the particulars of John's death are related, and Jesus is again introduced as removing himself in consequence of that death. There must have been a lapse of time between the death of John and Herod's hearing the fame of Jesus, and saying that it was John risen from the dead, so that the biginning of the chapter in point of date, is later than the latter part of it, although it runs on intended to be a connected story.

We next read of the miraculous feeding of five thousand men, besides women and children, with five loaves and two fishes, and that the fragments made twelve baskets full, which would be but a fair computation to say that they left twelve times as much as they had when they began to eat! The reader must sec in a twinkling, that this tale is but an improvement on the feats of Elisha and Elijah, in the Old Testament, where the barrel of flour and the cruse of oil becomes interminable. The first lie gave rise to the second, and lies, as is commonly said, lose nothing by time or carriage: they differ from whatever is true and substantial in this respect, as the one gains, and the other loses, by time..

The next tale is about Jesus walking upon the sea just a he would upon the land, at first his disciples are frightene


and Peter solicits the favour to take a walk with him on the water. Peter is doubtful of his power, and for want of faith we are told, that he begins to sink and cries out for help! Jesus rebukes him and tells him that the want of faith was the cause of his sinking! I have heard an anecdote of a modern Christian priest who thought he had faith enough to convince his congregation that miracles could be performed now as well as formerly, and that a competent faith was the only thing needful; accordingly, relying on his faith, he proposes to walk on the sea as Jesus and Peter did, and ordering a boat to stand off a little from the shore he engages to walk to it: it is scarcely necessary to add that the fool got a good ducking, and would have been drowned if assistance had not been at hand, so it seems that the ancient faith which could work miracles is not now attainable. I should add that this is an hearsay tale, and that the scene was laid on the coast of Newfoundland; it was imported by some of the Englishmen who go to fish on that coast.

The fifteenth chapter has a repetition about feeding an immense multitude with a small quantily of food, and having more fragments in quantity than the first whole.

The sixteenth chapter, after repeating three or four things that have been passed, has the following contrast in Jesus's observations on Peter.

"When Jesus came into the coasts of Cesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God. And Jesus auswered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ."

The Christians make a strong hold of the observation of Jesus in saying that the gates of bell shall not prevail against his church, but it is a paltry, nonsensical, and unmeaning figure. What are the gates of hell or where are they? The Catholic considers this as good ground for him to stand upon and combat the heretical Protestant: the Protestant retorts the same of the Catholic, and English Dissenters against each other, and

altogether against Deists. Mystery and fanaticism are powerful things to combat, but if we could once bring their supporters to argument and to a fair consideration of the words on which they build their fraud and folly, we shall triumph over them in a moment. There never was a particle of reason used in the foundation of any religion whatever, either by the Pagan, Jew, Christian, or Mahometan. But to the contrast, the following paragraph stands in the sixteenth chapter immediately after the foregoing, there is not a verse omitted,

"From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord; this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan; thou art an offence unto me; for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men."

In reading those two tales one would imagine that there was but very little difference between the word Saint and Satan; it is a mere transposition of letters in the same word, and from the foregoing quotations we may justly infer that Jesus unites the two and gives them an equal power both in hell and heaven. Satan is ever considered the master of Hell, and Jesus says that Peter was Satan and that he also had the keys of heaven. It appears the gates of both those places were kept locked; it would be well if some of these holy books, such as the Bible, or Koran, would tell us were those places were situated, how large the gates were, what they were made of, how they were fixed, and what prevented the inmates of those places from coming to visit us as well as their master. Such is the deficiency of Holy Books. There is nothing complete in them, and their authors are not to be compared for ability with modern romance writers.

The seventeenth chapter begins with telling us that Moses and Elias came from somewhere (we are not told whether Heaven or Hell) to visit Jesus, and that Jesus was transfigured. This we may suppose was a sort of spiritual masquerade. The chapter ends with telling us that Jesus having no money to pay his tribute, sends Peter with a fish-hook to catch a fish, and take it out of the fish's belly. Fish are generally ravenous, but it was never known before that they swallowed gold, silver, or copper. This tale is of a piece with the rest; and had Jesus and his disciples lived in Englan they would have been punished as vagrants and imposte

Let me not be misunderstood as admitting their existence, I do not, but take it as a romance.

I pass on to the twenty-second chapter, as I find nothing intermediate worthy notice, in fact, the whole book is a string of balderdash, and when it once becomes read as an ordinary book of modern date, it will be thrown aside with a mark of contempt. I have hesitated on introducing a quotation from this chapter, but it seems to imply that Jesus had a triumphant dispute with the two principal sects among the Jews, the reader will judge of the merits of the dispute, which the author or compiler says made such an impression that no man durst ask him a question afterwards; it is thus:

"The same day came to him the Saducees, which say that there is no resurrection and asked him, Saying, master, Moses said, if a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. And last of all the woman died also. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her. Jesus answered and said unto them, ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine. But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, thou shalt love thy Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, sayi g, what think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, the son of David. He saith unto them, how then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, the Lord said unto my lord, sit thou on my right haud, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? Aud no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions."


(To be Continued.)

Printed and Published by J. CARLILE, 55, Fleet Street.

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