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consider myself a renewed Christian erery day. I have thrown out those hints by way of she'wing the inutility of making oaths, and the folly of refusing to make oaths when an important object is at stake by it. Oath-making is one of the delusions of Priesteraft, by which our pockets are picked of a shilling or eighteen-pence, besides the half-acrown stamp for an affidavit.
There are several comical and laughable whims in your Religious Code, Mr. Moses Hart; but none more so than your Burial Service. As I expect my English Readers will be anxious to see a specimen of your work, I will transcribe the Burial Service for them :
FUNERAL SERVICE FOR THE DEAD. " When a person dies, he or she is to be put into a decent situation, and remain in the room such time as it is thought fit. The windows and door of the room to be open in the day time, if the weather permits, in order that any person may view the deceased who pleases.
" The deceased is then to be placed in the coffin, every person in the house where the deceased died being present, unless exempted from illness.
“ The deceased is to be conveyed to the place of interment in such manner as it may, suit the friends of the deceased.
" At the place of interment the priest, or director, is to say the following prayer:
“ Most holy and sovereign Creator of worlds, how wisely hast thou ordained that the days of thy creatures should be numbered, and in the vale of years they should sink down into their graves.
If their days were prolonged, how soon would they destroy each other for want of room.
“ The Congregation to say, Amen." “ The life of man is not short, for thou hast ordained it of sufficient length of years to enable him to rear up his offspring, and it would be dangerous to allow a further length of years
“ The Congregation to say, Amen. “ How pleasing and delightful is the reflection of a wellspent life, and rendering homage to our munificent Creator.
“ The Congregation to say, Amen. “ Our deepest regret, in leaving this earth, is the transcendant pleasure we enjoyed in viewing thy sublime and harmonious works.
“ The Congregation to say, Amen,
“ But that regret is lessened, when we contemplate how necessary it is to make room for our young to taste the rapturous delight of surveying thy 'immense works.
“ The Congregation to say, Amen. “ Where is human gratification so complete as that of a person full of years, who hath ornamented an aetive, useful life, with benevolence, and, surrounded by a numerous progeny, resigns his breath without remorse.
“ The Congregation to say, Amen. “ The image which thy bounty has imprinted on our intellects causes us to leave this earth with a sigh, that we have not had sufficient years to render homage and thanks to thee.
“ The Congregation to say, Amen. “ True it is, that our gratitude is incomplete ; but thy mighty power will transform, and infuse into us new life, in some other hemisphere, and endue us with other intellects, to gratify and complete our adoration, acknowledgments, and thanks to thee.
“ The Congregation to say, Amen.
“ The coffin is then to be let into the grave, the nearest relatives to succeed each other in throwing three spades of ground on the coffin. A funeral oration may, or may not, be pronounced.
MOURNING. Every person is not to speak audibly, but only in a whisper, mouth to ear, for four weeks after the death, or knowledge thereof, of a father or mother; three weeks for a wife or husband; two weeks for a grandfather, grandmother, great grandfather, great grandmother, son, or daughter; one week for an uncle or aunt; two days for a cousin ; except exemption is allowed by the director, priest, or minister, or head director, who are exempted when officiating on duty. During the above time of mourning, no feasting or diversion is to be partook of by the persons in mourning, who are to be exempt from civil process, or public duty, if possible; and the person during mourning is not to drink any spirit, or juice of any grain or fruit, unless permitted by a doctor of physic."
If the Republican had been a work intended for the amusement of its readers, or a work of drollery, I would have inserted the whole of your Religious Code of Laws; for I
assure you I have found nothing to amuse me so much for a long time past. The mode of mourning will give them some idea of your superstitious genius! Why should we mourn departed friends, when we know that we must pass the same path, and that perhaps very quick after ? Igriere at the loss of an infant child, but I cannot say that I grieved the loss of my mother: the former was au unnatural loss, the latter perfectly natural. I am of opinion that a study of nature, and custom, will by and by make us rather rejoice to part with helpless old age, than to weep its loss. It is our duty to cherish and support our aged parents as far as in us lies, but not to pine and weep at their departure. Mourning on such an occasion appears to me like upbraiding the regular and wise laws of nature.
It is difficult to discover, in reading some parts of your Code, whether you are really serious or treating their ceremonies with burlesque; for, like Luther and Calvin, you profess to reform, but retain no small number of the superstitions of the old system. If you wish to annihilate all sects and prejudices, you must adopt my creed—believe in nothing supernatural, and have no system whatever of public worship. I might rather call mine no creed, as I believe nothing but what I can bring bome to, and satisfy, my reason and senses as to its existence. Some persons are of opinjon that the more preferable way to attack prejudices is by a side-wind; but I dissent from this mode, and at once attempt to sap the foundation, as the more effectual way of working. Undermine the foundation, and the edifice must fall; whilst if you begin at the top, and remove it stone by stone, it may be repaired and strengthened faster than you can remove. Begin to sap the foundation, and the repairs of the upper part are vain: down it must come. first shew the followers of every kind of superstition that they are imposed upon; that all their book-religion is founded in error and fraud, and then it is time that we shew them that their superstitions are neither conducive to the morality, the interest, or the happiness of mankind; but the contrary. After superstition is once removed from the mind, we should be careful not to impose a new commodity, which I consider to be the case of your “ Modern Religion.” I admire your rural festivals, but I disapprove your alms-begging, which appears to form a prominent feature in your new system. Subscriptions of this nature are too apt to be abused, and not applied to the object promised or intended. Real charity searches out real distress, and gives it
immediate and effectual relief: whilst subscriptions are as often given from the pomposity of the advertisements as from generous motives. This, too, is too often delusion and craft. I must now close my Letter to you, and should it fall into the hands of any individual who has the means of forwarding it to you, I shall feel obliged for the act, as I know no means of sending it without putting you to a great expence. I have not made more free with you as a foreigner than I should have done had you been in this country. I verily believe your intentions are good, but whatever prosely tes your system might make in America, I can assure you that it is not adapted for the people of this Island. I am of opinion that the people of this island will form a society of pure Deists when fanaticism is at its height in America. We are regenerating: you have scarcely yet been corrupted.
I am, Sir,
R. CARLILE. Dorchester Gaol, Dec, 17, 1820.
CHRISTIAN CHARITY OF A PARSON.
(FROM A CORRESPONDENT.)
At a parish, near Carshalton, there is a school for the education of the children of the surrounding neighbourhood, which is occasionally visited by the parish priest. During the late rejoicings for the Queen it happened that he visited the school, and seeing the hats of the children hanging up, and some of them decorated with white bows made of paper, he asked the schoolmistress the meaning of it. She cautiously replied, she did not know, but believed it meant something about the Queen: be immediately ordered the children to put on their hats, and by that means discovered to whom the paper bows belonged; upon which he desired those children might be dismissed the school, and their parents deprived of the usual gists at Christmas.
Amidst all the wanton outrages committed by the Tory Jacobins, we have heard of none exceeding one which has
happened in the county of Dorset. There are now confined in Dorchester gaol, to await the Sessions in January, five men, who were the ringers at Chardstock, a small pa'rish near Axminster. Their offence is that of entering the belfry and ringing the bells, on hearing the news of the failure of the Bill of Pains and Penalties against the Queen. The men have acted with much spirit, and, like the Suffolk farmer (Mr. Twight), have refused to be bailed. To the honour of the parishioners be it said, that the men have been liberally supported in gaol, and that the whole parish has deserted the church, as the curate (Thomas Bab) is the prosecutor, and one William Tucker the committing magistrate. The very constable who brought the men to the gaol would have bailed them, but they sternly refused it. On all cases of public rejoicings those men, as the regular ringers of the parish, were in the habit of entering the belfry without any other instructions than the request of the parishioners; but on this occasion the curate felt offended, and charges the men with breaking into the belfry!- It is currently reported in Dorchester that on the Sunday following the committal of the men, the curate, clerk, and sexton had the church to themselves, and that not an individual entered it; not even two or three to form what is called a Christian congregation! The public papers have not noticed this circumstance, but the statement might be relied on as fact. The names of all the parties have been sent to the Editor of the Times newspaper three weeks since.
The desertion of the churches is the best method to bring all those political priests to their senses. In fact, there seems to be a fatality attending the established church from its head to its tail. The King disgraces it—the Bishops disgrace it, and all the subordinate clergy are exerting themselves to expel their congregations. The conduct of the priests resembles that of bungling play-actors, and the congregations biss, hoot, and pelt them, just as if the churches were public theatres or places of sport and pastime. The delusion is dissipating - the veil withdrawn -- and down must come the Temple of Dagon—the Lords--and the Philistines.