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shrewdness, and the vulgarity of Carlisle without his courage. We proceed to substantiate these accusations; and having accomplished our purpose in as few words as possible, we' shall take leave of the subject with very little ceremony.
The fifth page furnishes us with the following specimen of what Bentham, in his attack upon St. Paul, terms "simple falsehoods:"
"Be this as it may, I am persuaded that the religion which is founded on truth can sustain no injury from a calm and candid examination; and, as I am desirous of seeing the following arguments fairly met and answered by arguments equally calm and dispassionate, I now, for that purpose, present them to the public. They are the sentiments of an ingenious friend now no more; and although some of them may appear rather fanciful, there are others which I have never been able fully to answer, either to his satisfac-: tion or my own. But one argument more difficult to resist than all the rest, is, what he repeatedly urged, that a fair and full discussionof this subject has never yet been allowed; for, said he, the apprehension of legal interference and the fear of popular odium, operate, as effectually, in Britain, towards the suppression of every sentiment which appears in the smallest degree to militate against the prevailing tenets, as the terrors of the inquisition in Spain, or the tortures of the rack in Turkey; and to talk of decent discussion is only a pretext, for nothing is accounted decent which is level to common apprehension, and to appeal to the understandings of men, in plain and intelligible language, is called blasphemy." P. 5.
The childish trifling about a "deceased friend" is Jeremy all over. The friend is still alive and well; and if he does not blush at such assertions as the above, he may continue to favour the world with declarations equally supported by fact.
The real object of the pamphlet is to talk blasphemy; the pretended, is to upset the evidence of the resurrection! Affecting to proceed after a judicial fashion, our deceased friend' undertakes to try the witnesses of that crowning miracle. And he discovers that they are totally unworthy of credit, because they do not prove the Ascension, Having joined issue upon one fact, he writes a hundred pages of nonsense about another; and with much parade of common law (the judge-made law which the author of the Book of Fallacies holds in sovereign contempt), he rambles on with an irregularity and inconsistency which neither judge nor jury would endure. The only point which he presses with common ingenuity is the silence of St. Matthew and St. John respecting the Ascension of their Lord. The circumstance has no immediate connection with the trial of the witnesses of the resurrection, and the explanation of it rests upon very different grounds from those which our "deceased friend"
professes to examine. But even here he is a "friend indeed," and supplies, by his blundering honesty, a solution of the difficulty which his art had conjured up. The latter half of the pamphlet is devoted to the praises of St. Paul, and in the course of his encomiums, the writer is stupid enough to remind us, that the Gospels were not written when that apostle commenced his career. Upon the supposition therefore, and it is Jeremy's own supposition, that St. Paul was the first effective preacher of Christianity, and that he had preached and gained credence before the publication of the Gospels of Matthew and John, what possible necessity could there exist for their reiterating the declarations of St. Mark and St. Luke, whom Bentham calls the pupils of St. Paul, and whose narratives both Gospels and Acts were already, according to this hypothesis, believed by the Christian world. Nothing need be said about the inaccuracy of the "deceased friend's " assertions. It is as gross and glaring as their inconsistency, and can impose on no one but the author.
But let us attend for an instant to his statements respecting the resurrection. Affecting to believe in the fact of the crucifixion, and the subsequent continuation of our Saviour's life, this impudent dreamer has the folly to affirm, that the facts may be explained, according to the Gospel account of them, without having recourse to a miracle. The resuscitation having been attributed to Nicodemus, and Joseph of Arimathea, the preternatural occurrences are denied, upon the authority of Mr. Bentham, or explained away by his ingenuity. One instance of the latter shall be adduced in the words of the Oxford layman.
"The truth is, there is no believing, I mean in sound reason, the story of the resurrection by halves. Either you must deny it altogether, and in doing so, reject a mass of evidence, such as, I believe, can be produced for no one fact whatsoever previous to the invention of printing, certainly not for the common events of battles and revolutions which a man would be hooted at for questioning; or you must admit and believe the whole. Let a single point once gain entrance into the mind, and the r rest of the wedge is sure to follow at least nothing then can stop it, but the impenetrable hardness of the material into which it tries to force a way. Even in those few cases, where the supernatural may not appear essential to the event, it is too closely interwoven with the circumstances, or at least with the form of the narrative, to be detached from it without violence and injury to the context. Look for example at the appearance of the angel or young man,' who was seen, St. Mark' tells us, by the Maries in the sepulchre. Of that appearance your friend says, that what Peter and John observed to be the linen clothes, Mary
Magdalene and the other Mary perhaps, it being early and yet dark, took for a young man. Perhaps so indeed; a very plausible conjecture; especially as they both went into the sepulchre, and thus had an opportunity of examining its contents or inmate closely. But what say the circumstances of the case to it? That the explanation is inadmissible, unless linen clothes can speak: because what the Maries took for a young man gave them a long message to the disciples. Yes, Sir, a message: you will find it so by turning from Mark, as quoted in the New Trial, where, I allow, no trace of it is discernible, to the older and more genuine Mark, written by St. Mark himself. I will copy the two passages, that all may judge, first, of the probability of the explanation, secondly, of the fairness of the quotation on which it is built.
Mark as quoted in the New Trial, p. 8.
And entering into the sepulchre they saw a young man sitting on the right hand, clothed in a long white garment; and they were afraid, and they went out quickly from the sepulchre, for they trembled and were amazed.'
Mark as written by St. Mark himself, xvi. 5, 6, 7, 8.
And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. What comes next? a comma? No, Sir, a full stopand they were affrighted. And he (that is, according to your friend, the linen clothes) saith unto them, Be not affrighted: ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him, as he said unto you. And they went out quickly,'
Well may you feel surprise, Sir; for without verifying your friend's quotation, which it is clear you have not done, you could not have been prepared for such a stroke as this comma. You could not have anticipated, no one indeed could on reading they were afraid and they went quickly,' that'afraid' was the end of one sentence, that and they went out was the beginning of another, that between the two there intervened a passage so important, so destructive of the author's infranatural explanation. But is such an adaptation (garbling' would be the proper word-can I help its not being a civil one?)-such an adaptation, I say, of sentences, such an arbitrary change of stops are they quite allowable? quite honest? quite specimens of fair discussion, of candid examination,' of eagerness in the discovery and pursuit of truth?? If these be specimens of such things, I will tell you, Sir, what is not, To falsify the text of Mosheim, as your friend does in his second section, to quote him as saying that after the middle of the second century the greatest part of the books of the New Testament were read in every Christian society; when Mosheim, the judicious Mosheim, whose invincible regard to truth is universally acknowledged,' said and wrote before the middle of the second century.' This falsification of an important passage is neither honest, nor fair,
nor candid, nor allowable, nor, in plain terms, reconcilable with truth. Hereafter I may have occasion of recurring to this passage. At present I leave it gladly to resume my argument." Oxford Layman. P. 24.
This is plainly and strongly put. One more instance and. we have done. It shall be taken from Bentham himself. Our Lord's address to Mary, in the garden, is thus explained:
"Why then may not the meaning be? touch not my feet, the wounds are yet raw from those cruel nails! I am going to my father. Go, tell my brethren.' The expression is remarkable; he says, not my disciples, as they are afterwards called by the historian, go, tell my brethren,' probably his natural brethren,-Judas, Simon, James, &c. the sons of Joseph, and shall we say of Mary, that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.' We have seen that he had just come from Galilee, accompanied by his mother, and several other women, and relatives, and there his father and mother now resided. He turned aside into the parts of Galilee, and dwelt, in Nazareth.' Thither he was immediately to proceed, and there, with his father and mother, and those affectionate brothers, having escaped the malice of his sanguinary persecutors, he probably, awaited in patient tranquillity the happy change which was to fit him for those celestial regions, where flesh and blood cannot
Hail! holy light! thee I revisit safe!
Escap'd the Stygean pool, tho' long detain'd
Taught by the Heavenly muse to venture down
Though hard and rare-thee I revisit safe,
And feel thy sov'reign vital lamp.'
Thus, after millions of volumes have been written, and men of the greatest genius and talents have, for almost two thousand years, like a ship without rudder or compass, been tossed in an ocean of doubt and uncertainty, the light of truth at last breaks in upon us, and we rejoice to find that reason and scripture are reconciled.", P. 27.
If any thing can be more laughable than this reconciliation, it is the next paragraph, which brings it to a sudden end. The solution of such childish inconsistency is, that Jeremy made the blunder, and one of his devils has attempted to
"Since the foregoing remarks were written, Paley's Evidences have been put into my hand, and a passage pointed out, where the subject of the Ascension is adverted to, not indeed as a matter of first rate importance, but merely in an incidental manner; I observe, however, that I have omitted, but entirely without design, some words which may appear essential to the argument. In John's account of what Jesus said to Mary, touch me not, for I am not
yet ascended to my Father,' at the latter clause of the verse it is added, But go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend to my Father, and your Father, to my God and your God.'
"This omission was occasioned by the last clause of the verse being separated from the first, by the words go tell my brethren, &c." When my eye caught these words, which seemed to correspond so well with the other Evangelists, 'go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee,' I read no further, concluding it to be the same passage. Now the words, I ascend to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God,' which, it will be observed, are only to be found here, and which so little accord with the plain literal meaning of the other Evangelists; if we are not allowed to suppose that they have been added by some transcriber who wished to improve upon the original text; cannot, alone be considered evidence of the Ascension, nor, by any means, sufficient to compensate for the total silence of John, upon the important subject to which they seem to refer.
"We have already seen, that Mary was in the greatest trepidation and alarm, the time, the place, the appearance early while it was yet dark,' at the mouth of that very sepulchre where she so lately saw him laid, lifeless, who now appears to her terrified senses; And they went out quickly from the sepulchre, for they trembled and were amazed, neither said they any thing to any man for they were afraid :' under such circumstances, I humbly conceive no great stress can be laid on Mary's report, even although it were confirmed by the other Evangelists, much less when it is in effect contradicted." 'P. 28.
This confession of a biblical critic, a judge, a trier," that a word catches his eye, and he reads no farther," must convince the world of his knowledge and impartiality. Should any incredulous Christian continue to doubt, or wish to make assurance double sure, he may learn at page 33, that " Pilate dispensed in favour of Jesus with the invariable practice of breaking the criminal's legs;" and at page 35, he may find an able apology for Judas Iscariot.
More can hardly be required. But much more may be found in the Oxonian's able letters, and to them we refer the curious for further information. Their principal fault is a coarseness and levity of language which are applicable enough to Jeremy Bentham, but should not be allowed to approach so closely to the sacred subjects on which the author writes. A minor error is too serious an examination of trash which should be held up to universal scorn. With these exceptions, the letters are worth reading, though we are at a loss to conceive why they have been introduced into the world by the same obstetrical aid, to which Mr. Bentham and his colleagues have recourse. One extract, a comment upon the conclusion of St. Matthew's gospel, will serve as