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qualified assertions, and then resorting to a proud conceit of your own rationality to support them! According to my reading however, the abstinence from menial labour, that we might devote ourselves to God one day in seven, was ordained from the very creation of the world; and is therefore no new institution belonging to the Jewish economy; and this, which also was from the very first, has been as invariably observed through the Christian dispensation. I am not a little surprised at the quick riddance you make of what you gentlemen call rubbish; and to be plain with you Sir, I fear if you and the rest of your rational fraternity, can get rid of that sacred day of rest, so solemnly urged upon us throughout the word of God, I question if the little morality that exists among us, will not soon be destroyed; while the plentiful revival of the hangman's trade, will be the natural result.

Wiseh. O shocking, Mr. Considerate! is it possible that you can entertain such an opinion of our rational religion, as all that?

Consid. Yes Sir, and matters of fact prove the point. How many at the gallows have confessed that by sabbath-breaking they were introduced into all other criminal excesses that brought them to such a fatal end? and if such sort of preaching were as universal as it is pestilential, the result would be dreadful.

Wiseh. Though you take me up so warmly, yet I have only followed a great author* in our way, in what he calls rubbish.

Consid. And perhaps you have yet some more rubbish to clear away. I have a curiosity to hear the last of it.

Wiseh. Why I remember the last thing he mentioned as rubbish was, "the plenary inspiration of all the books both of the Jewish and Christian scriptures, which he esteems an error, that an inquisitive

* Belsham

and judicious Christian, will see abundant reason to


Consid. I think that has been plentifully settled already. If the greatest prophet in all the Bible, was but a fallible and peccable man, no wonder that we have nothing better than a lame account of matters from the rest of them; so that from the Bible itself, the worst of errors have originated. Millions have positively been misguided thereby. Where one person is set right, at least a hundred have been led wrong by the same book, and in a variety of instances; and so grossly misguided, as that a mere man is almost universally worshipped as the eternal God; and consequently, such have fallen into the grossest idolatry, by the ill-judged language of its mistaken authors. Is not this making out the Bible to be the worst written book in the world, which is only to be understood by a set of the most extravagant and far-fetched interpretations, invented by a set of men, who are pleased to set themselves up as being more rational than the rest of their neighbours ? But have you now done with your rubbish Sir?

Wiseh. Not quite Sir; for another admired writer of ours, speaks about some strange and irrational notions respecting heaven, as being rubbish.

Consid. What! then are our expectations of heaven and glory, to be esteemed rubbbish?

Wiseh. Why Sir, you know there are some visionary notions, about intellectual happiness, swimming upon the surface of some people's brains, about a heaven independent of a material existence; and as our reason will not allow us to suppose there is any existence, but that which is material; so we consequently expect a material heaven, made up at least of some of the same enjoyments we have in our pre

*Belsham's Caution, p. 27. So that there are no inquisitive and judicious Christians, excepting those who can run all the abominable lengths of Mr. Belsham and his admirers. Is this the language of modesty and reason, or of arrogance and empty pride?

sent state.

We have no notion of that superangelic state of happiness, which some people are so fond of talking of.

Consid. Then it should seem your notions of heaven, are very nearly similar to that of another great divine in the east, from whence the metaphors come, Doctor Mohammed, who was also, in many other points, of your way of thinking; and he was quite as much a believer in Jesus, as a great prophet, as yourselves. Count Swedenburgh has also diverted his admirers with the same sort of speculation respecting his views of a material heaven. Sir, will you entertain us a little longer with a farther descant on your material heaven?

Miss Polly. (overhears.) Well, I confess I should like such a sort of heaven as yours best; I should not like to be psalm-singing and serving God to all eternity. I don't know what introducement we should have to go to heaven, if we had not something better than all that.

Miss Prateap. And I should like the same sort of heaven as you do, Miss Polly. I should be afraid heaven would be a strange melancholy and mopish place if we had nothing better than religion.

- Consid. But ladies, I hope you won't interrupt Mr. Wisehead in giving us a farther description of his expected heaven; I rather suppose he'll make it out to be a very curious place.

Wiseh. Sir, though you seem to ridicule my notions of a future state; yet I shall not be afraid to give you a full view of the happiness expected after the resurrection, by those of our denomination, in the words of one of our wisest and most rational divines: "The change of our condition by death, says this author, may not be so great as we are apt to imagine. As our natures will not be changed, but only improved, we have no reason to think that the future world (which will be adapted to our merely improved nature) will be materially different from this. And indeed why should we ask, or expect any thing more? If we

should still be obliged to provide for our subsistence by exercise, or labour; is that a thing to be complained of by those, who are supposed to have acquired fixed habits of industry, becoming rational beings, and who have never been able to bear the languor of absolute rest, or indolence? Our future happiness has with much reason been supposed to arise from an increase of knowledge. But if we should have nothing more than the means of knowledge furnished us as we have here, and be left to our own labour to find it out, is that to be complaind of by those, who will have acquired both a love of truth, and a habit of inquiring after it? To make discoveries ourselves, though the search may require time and labour, is unspeakably more pleasing than to learn every thing by the information of others. If the immortality that is promised to us in the Gospel, should not be necessary and absolute, and we should only have the certain means of making ourselves immortal, we should have much to be thankful for. What the scriptures inform us concerning a future life, is expressed in general terms, and often in figurative language. A more particular knowledge of it is wisely concealed from us.

Mrs Toog. 'Las Sir! I think you must be of the Sadducees' religion; for when I was reading the psalms and lessons the other day, I minded how our Lord contradicted the wicked notion of the Sadducees about heaven; how that we then shall "neither marry, nor be given in marriage, but be as the Angels of God."

Wiseh. Our great divine, madam, has not settled that point; but the business about angels has been completely settled; they are only allusions to imaginary beings; so that the fallible and peccable man Jesus, either through ignorance mistook, or through design misled, the people into one of the popular errors of the day.

*Priestly's Sermon on the Death of Mr. Robinson, p. 18

Mrs Toog. Why Mr. Wisehead, this talk is as bad as common cursing and swearing.

Consid. I think Madam, it is much worse than common cursing and swearing; for what is said on these occasions to prove our blessed God and Saviour was a fallible and peccable man, has been done after the most mature and deliberate consideration; and such serious charges against him, must be the most blasphemous and profane; while at the same time, it is urged, from those who pretend to serve a fallible and peccable man, as the great prophet of the Christian church. I should certainly prefer reason to the Bible, if it can be proved that such a man, who has wilfully and deliberately deceived the people, contrary to his own judgment, is supposed to be the principal character of that book. I am sure, that downright Deism is much preferable to such sort of Christianity; but I think, you are now nearly arrived at the end of your journey; nothing is left but that you should positively deny the miracles of our Lord, and the resurrection, which in my opinion, is still more beyond the reach of reason, than any other doctrine of revelation; and than you will be as complete a Deist as Hume, Gibbon, or the vulgar, blasphemous Tom Paine.

Wiseh. Why Sir, I hope you do not think me so far gone from the Christian religion as all that?

Consid. Why have not the Jews themselves acknowledged that you have renounced the Christianity their soul abhors ?* and are not infidels your admirers? Thus, while we are left to the mere guidance of reason and nature, see what we get by attempting to correct the supposed errors of the Bible: and into what a labyrinth we are led by attempting to bring that book to our reason, instead of submitting our reason to the Bible. But while you conceive yourself at liberty thus to triumph in the powers of reason, over the truths of revelation, let me ask you, how far you can farther triumph on the effects of such

*See Levi's Letters to Priestley.

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