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Those who wish to see how the reformers have increased 'their ray of light have only to view, one moment, the lords spiritual, in their splendid palaces, or in the British parliament, arrayed in all the pomp of pride and venality. Behold them, cloyed with superabundant wealth, till they cannot enjoy it, while the poor whom they have fleeced, are absolutely perishing for want of the offals of their kitchens, and the trimmings of their wardrobes.
View on one hand, helpless old age, and starving infancy, with the millions of miserable paupers, in Europe, perishing for want, (indeed half the population of the city of Dublin are such,) and on the other hand behold the thousands of Reverend and Right Reverend, Honorable and Right Honorable supporters of our moral cor. ruptions, cloyed with superabundance, languishing through satiety, superannuated by sensuality and indolence, and absolutely dying of premature old age, the result not of starvation, but gluttony. I say, could my readers once behold this dread. ful contrast, the fruit and effects of aristocracy and episco. pacy, of which the above is but a mere glimpse, they would unanimously declare that I am toò mild instead of being too severe, in my animadversions. The man who directly or indirectly supports these corruptions and usurpations, so fatal to human happiness, from perfectly opposite causes, though he
may think himself the greatest saint, is the enemy of God, and the traitor and tyrant of mankind.
To love God with supreme, ardent, and disinterested affec. tion, and to show that love, by corresponding benevolence, kindness, and tenderness to his creatures, human, animal, and insect, and to walk before him with humility ; this, and this only, produces in the human mind true felicity, celestial light, divine tranquillity, and permanent peace. On the other hand, to love him, as millions do, for the sake of recompense, and with a selfish view to remuneration, and to prove the insincerity of this spurious love, by corresponding hypocrisy, deceit, and cruelty to his creatures ; this is misery, darkness, and death profound, though the subjects of it should profess religion in meeting-houses verbally; in the streets, by the peculiarity of their apparel ; in their houses, by the monotony of their phraseology; and should even leave this world, believing and professing themselves to be the favourites of
heaven. Such poor, short-sighted mortals may believe what they choose, yet the eternal truth is, and always will be immutable, viz: no man shall find true happiness in time or eternity, by promoting the misery of man, or of any living thing, or by refusing to alleviate it, when in his power so to do; or can find peace, by directly or indirectly, promoting his pain, by fraud or force, by public defamation, or private slander, or by neglecting to oppose or prevent the same, when in his power. Such negative or positive delinquents are certainly far from being sincere admirers of the sovereign beauty, who is delicate in love, and cannot endure a divided, and far, far, less a sinister and selfish heart. Surely this spirit of selfishness is as complete and as deleterious an idol in Christendom, as Juggernaut is in Hindostan; and with all our pride and profession, we are only a little less in the dark than they are.
Surely, if any thing can force the reluctant frown of heaven upon earth, it must be the sight of our jubilee religionists feasting themselves, without once pitying, much less feeding, their starving neighbours ; and rejoicing for their superior light, without once even desiring to imitate the celebrators of the Jewish Jubilee, who always on such festivals, relieved the distressed, and let the oppressed go free. Their rejoicing, eating, drinking, and being merry, I find no fault with, if they would observe temperance; but, above all, be grateful to God for these blessings, and prove the same by their kindness to their suffering fellow-creatures.
With this philanthropic addition to their festivals, they will be pleasing to God, and all good men ; for God is paid, when men gratefully receive his gifts" to enjoy is to obey." But unless this philanthropy is added to their festivity, it will be an insult to common sense, an outrage on common humanity, a burlesque on religion, a mortification to the sympathetic feelings of charitable men, and blasphemy against the benevolence of the most benevolent of all benevolent beings, great in goodness, and good in greatness. I love all sects, and can circle them in one kind embrace, with a disinterested liberality. Those sects who believe and preach the divinity of our adorable Redeemer, have my decided preference. Such is the reformed Church, whose members I highly respect, some of whom are the best, the brightest, and bravest men in the
world. Yet I must contend, that if they celebrate their fes. tivals, without remembering the wretchedness of starving old age, and perishing infancy, in these distressing and most deplorable times, it will be adding iniquity to transgression, and insult to injury.
I allow, there is a great deal of professed love to God, friendship to man, affection to women, and partiality to country, as well as professional religion, now in the Christian world. But where is the man who would prefer living in a dungeon with virtue, than to live in and possess a palace without it? Who would prefer living in poverty with his friend, in order to be near to comfort him, rather than live in grandeur without him? Who would esteem the beautiful girl that loves him, without the most distant hope of any but friendly intercourse, and protect and defend her innocence, though to the annihilation of his most sanguine passions ? Who would, without making a popular profession of religion, re-act the part of the good Samaritan to his most deadly foe, without letting any body know it but God and his guardian angels.
How in the sight of God must appear our millions of reli. gionists, who are eternally professing in their meetings, in the streets, and in their houses, by their dress, their dialect, their conversation, and the cant of their manners, that they possess the quintessence of virtue, I mean religion, without even practising common humanity to their suffering fellow.creatures, and to all of God's creatures, the suffering animals ?
No crime do I so much detest as bigotry, or want of liberality, whether in a nation, a city, or an individual : and no crime is more unreasonable and inexcusable in the sight of God. For instance, suppose seven children, the offspring of one of our most enlightened fellow-citizens, were sent, while infants, to the following personages for tuition : the 1st, to the priests of the Grand Lama; the 2d, to the priests of Juggernaut; the 3d, to the priests of Mahomet; the 4th, to the Catholics ; the 5th, to the Arminians; the 6th, to the Calvinists; and the 7th to Free-thinkers. When these children become men, with their characters formed according to the principles of their preceptors, (which would be most assuredly the case,) would it not be very wicked and ungene. rous for them to dislike and despise and persecute each other,
because they totally and unavoidably differed in religious sentiment ?
Is it not unjust and cruel for our rulers supinely to behold our youth become worthless reeds for want of instruction, or corrupted by a faulty education, and then, forsooth, to punish them for bringing forth the fruit thereof, when it was in their power to remove the cause, and then the effects would cease?
Does not a spirit of cruelty metamorphose men to mon. sters? Is not ambition or vanity the bane of virgins and the bait of fools; in one word, the ruin of cities, states, and na. tions. Did not our blessed Redeemer well know what was calculated to promote the happiness of man, individually and collectively? And did he not inculcate charity and humility? Again, what is taught in our schools instead of humanity; 1st, by the sense of feeling-2nd, the sense of seeing-3d, the sense of hearing. I answer, cruelty. Does any savage, wild beast, or bird, thus teach its young ones? What is the second thing taught in schools, by the threat of punishment, and the promise of promotion, and a silver medal ? Ambition, disguised under the harmless name of emulation.
The golden idol of Christendom, the spirit of selfishness, has its primary foundation in our present corrupt mode of education, the pedestal of which may very properly be called ambition. Contrast the extravagance of the few, in Chris. tendom, with the indigence of the many, and the cruelty of the whole, particularly to innocent children and brutes. To make a child a thief, half starve him ; hypocrite, make and keep him miserable ; a bigot, train him a sectarian : a tyrant is manufactured easiest of all--merely by flagellation. Let the parent at home, and the master in school, freely use the tongue and the whip as a punishment.
[It may be well, while on this subject, to insert a proposal for the thought, action, and benefit of the sovereign people.]
1st. All the lands now belonging to the United States, and all the lands which may hereafter be acquired by the United States, shall be and remain a perpetual fund for the support of education. The procceds of the sales of all such lands, after defraying the incidental expenses, shall be annually distributed among the several states and territories, according to the ratio of their representation, and shall by them respectively be invested, either in works of internal improvement, each state guarantying the legal interest, or in such other manner as the state may deem most secure and productive. The interest arising from said investments shall be invariably appropriated and applied to the support of the Common Schools, or a sys. tem of general education throughout each state.
§ 2. Of said interest or income, not more than one half shall be expended in the purchase of lots, the erecting and repairing of buildings, furniture, fuel, and other incidental or subsidiary objects; and the other half at least, shall be positively applied to the payment of teachers, purchase of books and apparatus, and to other direct and essential purposes of of general education.