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To give this belief
the full opportunity of force, it is necessary that it acts alone. This
is deism.

But when, according to the Christian Trinitarian scheme, one part of God
is represented by a dying man, and another part, called the Holy Ghost,
by a flying pigeon, it is impossible that belief can attach itself to
such wild conceits. [The book called the book of Matthew, says, (iii.
16,) that the Holy Ghost descended in the shape of a dove. It might as
well have said a goose; the creatures are equally harmless, and the one
is as much a nonsensical lie as the other. Acts, ii. 2, 3, says, that
it descended in a mighty rushing wind, in the shape of cloven tongues:
perhaps it was cloven feet. Such absurd stuff is fit only for tales of
witches and wizards.--Author.]

It has been the scheme of the Christian church, and of all the other
invented systems of religion, to hold man in ignorance of the Creator,
as it is of government to hold him in ignorance of his rights.
The systems of the one are as false as those of the other, and are
calculated for mutual support. The study of theology as it stands in
Christian churches, is the study of nothing; it is founded on nothing;
it rests on no principles; it proceeds by no authorities; it has no
data; it can demonstrate nothing; and admits of no conclusion. Not any
thing can be studied as a science without our being in possession of the
principles upon which it is founded; and as this is not the case with
Christian theology, it is therefore the study of nothing.

Instead then of studying theology, as is now done, out of the Bible and
Testament, the meanings of which books are always controverted, and the
authenticity of which is disproved, it is necessary that we refer to the
Bible of the creation. The principles we discover there are eternal, and
of divine origin: they are the foundation of all the science that exists
in the world, and must be the foundation of theology.

We can know God only through his works. We cannot have a conception of
any one attribute, but by following some principle that leads to it.
We have only a confused idea of his power, if we have not the means of
comprehending something of its immensity. We can have no idea of his
wisdom, but by knowing the order and manner in which it acts. The
principles of science lead to this knowledge; for the Creator of man is
the Creator of science, and it is through that medium that man can see
God, as it were, face to face.

Could a man be placed in a situation, and endowed with power of vision
to behold at one view, and to contemplate deliberately, the structure of
the universe, to mark the movements of the several planets, the cause
of their varying appearances, the unerring order in which they revolve,
even to the remotest comet, their connection and dependence on each
other, and to know the system of laws established by the Creator, that
governs and regulates the whole; he would then conceive, far beyond what
any church theology can teach him, the power, the wisdom, the vastness,
the munificence of the Creator. He would then see that all the knowledge
man has of science, and that all the mechanical arts by which he renders
his situation comfortable here, are derived from that source: his mind,
exalted by the scene, and convinced by the fact, would increase in
gratitude as it increased in knowledge: his religion or his worship
would become united with his improvement as a man: any employment he
followed that had connection with the principles of the creation,--as
everything of agriculture, of science, and of the mechanical arts,
has,--would teach him more of God, and of the gratitude he owes to
him, than any theological Christian sermon he now hears. Great objects
inspire great thoughts; great munificence excites great gratitude; but
the grovelling tales and doctrines of the Bible and the Testament are
fit only to excite contempt.

Though man cannot arrive, at least in this life, at the actual scene I
have described, he can demonstrate it, because he has knowledge of the
principles upon which the creation is constructed. We know that the
greatest works can be represented in model, and that the universe can be
represented by the same means. The same principles by which we measure
an inch or an acre of ground will measure to millions in extent. A
circle of an inch diameter has the same geometrical properties as a
circle that would circumscribe the universe. The same properties of a
triangle that will demonstrate upon paper the course of a ship, will
do it on the ocean; and, when applied to what are called the heavenly
bodies, will ascertain to a minute the time of an eclipse, though those
bodies are millions of miles distant from us. This knowledge is of
divine origin; and it is from the Bible of the creation that man has
learned it, and not from the stupid Bible of the church, that teaches
man nothing. [The Bible-makers have undertaken to give us, in the first
chapter of Genesis, an account of the creation; and in doing this they
have demonstrated nothing but their ignorance. They make there to have
been three days and three nights, evenings and mornings, before there
was any sun; when it is the presence or absence of the sun that is the
cause of day and night--and what is called his rising and setting that
of morning and evening. Besides, it is a puerile and pitiful idea, to
suppose the Almighty to say, "Let there be light." It is the imperative
manner of speaking that a conjuror uses when he says to his cups and
balls, Presto, be gone--and most probably has been taken from it,
as Moses and his rod is a conjuror and his wand. Longinus calls this
expression the sublime; and by the same rule the conjurer is sublime
too; for the manner of speaking is expressively and grammatically the
same. When authors and critics talk of the sublime, they see not how
nearly it borders on the ridiculous. The sublime of the critics, like
some parts of Edmund Burke's sublime and beautiful, is like a windmill
just visible in a fog, which imagination might distort into a flying
mountain, or an archangel, or a flock of wild geese.--Author.]

All the knowledge man has of science and of machinery, by the aid of
which his existence is rendered comfortable upon earth, and without
which he would be scarcely distinguishable in appearance and condition
from a common animal, comes from the great machine and structure of the
universe. The constant and unwearied observations of our ancestors
upon the movements and revolutions of the heavenly bodies, in what are
supposed to have been the early ages of the world, have brought this
knowledge upon earth. It is not Moses and the prophets, nor Jesus
Christ, nor his apostles, that have done it. The Almighty is the great
mechanic of the creation, the first philosopher, and original teacher of
all science. Let us then learn to reverence our master, and not forget
the labours of our ancestors.

Had we, at this day, no knowledge of machinery, and were it possible
that man could have a view, as I have before described, of the structure
and machinery of the universe, he would soon conceive the idea of
constructing some at least of the mechanical works we now have; and the
idea so conceived would progressively advance in practice. Or could a
model of the universe, such as is called an orrery, be presented before
him and put in motion, his mind would arrive at the same idea. Such an
object and such a subject would, whilst it improved him in knowledge
useful to himself as a man and a member of society, as well as
entertaining, afford far better matter for impressing him with a
knowledge of, and a belief in the Creator, and of the reverence and
gratitude that man owes to him, than the stupid texts of the Bible and
the Testament, from which, be the talents of the preacher; what they
may, only stupid sermons can be preached. If man must preach, let him
preach something that is edifying, and from the texts that are known to
be true.

The Bible of the creation is inexhaustible in texts. Every part of
science, whether connected with the geometry of the universe, with
the systems of animal and vegetable life, or with the properties of
inanimate matter, is a text as well for devotion as for philosophy--for
gratitude, as for human improvement. It will perhaps be said, that if
such a revolution in the system of religion takes place, every preacher
ought to be a philosopher. Most certainly, and every house of devotion a
school of science.

It has been by wandering from the immutable laws of science, and the
light of reason, and setting up an invented thing called "revealed
religion," that so many wild and blasphemous conceits have been formed
of the Almighty. The Jews have made him the assassin of the human
species, to make room for the religion of the Jews. The Christians have
made him the murderer of himself, and the founder of a new religion
to supersede and expel the Jewish religion. And to find pretence and
admission for these things, they must have supposed his power or his
wisdom imperfect, or his will changeable; and the changeableness of the
will is the imperfection of the judgement. The philosopher knows that
the laws of the Creator have never changed, with respect either to the
principles of science, or the properties of matter. Why then is it to be
supposed they have changed with respect to man?

I here close the subject. I have shown in all the foregoing parts of
this work that the Bible and Testament are impositions and forgeries;
and I leave the evidence I have produced in proof of it to be refuted,
if any one can do it; and I leave the ideas that are suggested in the
conclusion of the work to rest on the mind of the reader; certain as
I am that when opinions are free, either in matters of govemment or
religion, truth will finally and powerfully prevail.


END OF PART II



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