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all men to .conform to the national worship; and we are assured that the scheme of government thus proposed, was pursued by Augustus, and adopted by his successors.
Now, from the first of the passages before us it appears, that all right of private judgment in matters of religion was expressly forbidden by an original law of Rome, which was never repealed. We know not what stronger proof it would be possible to adduce of the inherent intolerance of Roman Polytheism. The four next references prove to us that the ancient law, subversive of the most obvious right of human nature, was strictly acted upon during the long continuance of the commonwealth.'
Rev. G. Waddington's History of the Church, chapter iv. sub
init. (In the Library of Useful Knowledge.)
That persecution is the result of an evil spirit, rather than of any particular opinions, may be still further illustrated by the following remarks.
An authority which will not be suspected of any leaning towards Christianity, L'Encyclopédie, under the article Intolerant, justly says, ' The intolerant person ought to be regarded in every place of the world as a man who sacrifices the spirit and the precepts of his religion to his pride; he is the rash character who thinks that the arch must be sustained by his hands; persecutors are generally men without religion, and who find it more easy to manifest zeal, than to acquire excellence.'
There is reason to believe that in many cases persons holding infidel opinions have, under the cloak and pretext of religion, manifested a persecuting spirit. It is of the philosophers of the age of the Antonines-an age in which philosophy itself was seen associated with the practice of persecution, that Gibbon speaks in the following passage-a passage which, with but too many others in his celebrated work, will perpetuate the dishonesty of the writer's mind, as long as his genius shall secure the popularity of the work :- Viewing with a smile of pity and indulgence, the various errors of the vulgar, they diligently practised the ceremonies of their fathers, devoutly frequented the temple of the gods; and sometimes condescending to act a part in the theatre of superstition, they concealed the sentiments of an Atheist under the sacerdotal robes.' So then, Atheists themselves have been persecutors. If the criminality of persecution can be enhanced, it is, surely, in the case of those who have no religious convictions for the furtherance of which to be solicitous.
I am not ignorant of the services which Voltaire and others of the French philosophical school of the 18th century, rendered to the cause of religious toleration, by the exposition and enforcement of many of its most important principles. For this work—a work specially needed in their day and country, I yield to no one in the meed of praise which I award to them. But it is possible to defend toleration in an intolerant spirit, and to persecute with the very pen with which you assail persecution. And that several of these philosophers acted in this way, the reader may easily learn by reference to their writings, and especially to that more intimate and confidential expression of their feelings which their correspondence with each other exhibits. See Diderot, Correspondence; and Grimm, Correspondence litteraire. Extracts from the correspondence of Voltaire with D'Alembert and others, may be found in the 17th vol. of Priestley's Works by Rutt, where that true Christian and eminent philosopher has rightly characterised the scoffing, disdainful, not to say inhuman spirit which these men frequently displayed. Of the nature of Voltaire's attack on religion, some idea may be formed from the following passage, translated from a work in which he is highly eulogized-De l'influence de la philosophie du 18e siècle, by E. Lerminer. • Voltaire felt that it was necessary to conquer or die; he courted kings and nobles, but was implacable towards his literary adversaries, and the knights of the Church, and of darkness. He gave them neither quarter nor mercy; he cut their throat in the breach. The moment he has overthrown the imprudent person who has offered himself to his blows, he insults and degrades him, strips him of his dignity, even if in the struggle he loses some of his own. He rallies in every tone and in every style. He mocks and outrages his adversary; he stuns him by his bitter and discordant clamours; he astounds, and stupifies him, and tortures him by the inexhaustible abundance of his insulting mockery, Still more closely does he press his enemy: grapples and chokes him, throws him in the dust, and rolls about with him; a mortal struggle ensues. Sometimes Voltaire appears vanquished, but he rises again ; he thrusts into the very depth of the wounds he has given, his pitiless irony, as a cutting sword; he sings the pean of victory, and increases by his vengeance his titles to immortality. Montesquieu carried, even into his pleasantry, a native majesty; Voltaire triumphed by his cynical spirit, by his fury, and by his revolting mockery, which is a corroding and deadly poison.'
The author of the article, D'Alembert in the Penny Cyclopædia, remarks — When we blame the two latter (Diderot and Voltaire), it is not for the opinions they held, but for their offensive manner of expressing them, and the odious, intolerance of all opinions except their own which runs through their writings. Men of the best and of the worst lives appeared to be equally offensive to them, if they professed Christianity.'
* Neither Voltaire, the master, nor D'Alembert, the disciple,' says Priestley, would have been much displeased if some mischief had befallen their enemies, and it would have given them some pleasure to have promoted it.' He then gives an illustration or two of this remark. "There is,' says Voltaire, a friar, who has a farm on my estate at Tournay. He comes hither sometimes. I promise myself the pleasure of putting him in the pillory as soon as I am well; a pleasantry which philosophers may take with such priests, without being persecutors, as they are. D'Alembert manifests a not dissimilar disposition. Of a letter by Voltaire, he says, • I shed tears over it; I read it again and again, and concluded with wishing to see all the fanatics in the fire into which they wished to throw other people.' And the infidel King of Prussia, Frederic, says, in a letter to Voltaire, “I would make the tonsured executioners who persecute you, disappear from the face of the earth. if it was in my power to effect it.' “This,' adds Priestley, was not the sentiment of Christ or the apostles. Jesus exhorted his disciples to bless them that curse you, and to pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you. And Paul advised his converts not to render evil for evil, but to overcome evil with good.'Priestley's Works, vol. xvii. pp. 64-5. Voltaire himself has expressly declared what would be the nature of the toleration which philosophers would allow were they in power ;— they will render the fanatics abominable, and the superstitious ridiculous.'-Quoted in Priestley, ut supra.
*At the very commencement of his (Tycho Brahe) ourney, howerer, an event occurred in which the impetuosity of his temper had nearly cost him his life. At a wedding-feast in Rostock, a questionable point in geometry involved him in a dispute with a Danish nobleman of the same temperament with hiinself; and the two mathematicians resolved to settle the difference by the sword. Tycho, however, seems to have been second in the conflict, for he lost the greater part of his nose, and was obliged to supply its place by a substitute of gold and silver, which a cement of glue attached to his face.'
Sir D. Brewster’s Life of Sir Isaac Newton, chap. x.
Notr. 5.—p. 96. After this Discourse was written, my attention was more forcibly directed than it had been, to what is called « The Religion of the New Moral World'; and I looked with considerable interest into it, as being a professed exhibition of the religion of Socialism; not without a hope that I might find, at least, an indirect recantation of some of Mr. Owen’s grossest errors. There is, however, no brightening of the dark picture. The very title, * RELIGION of the New Moral World,' is a misnomer. Religion is either the sentiment which binds the human heart to a Primary Creative Intelligence, or it is · The Whole Duty of Man,' deduced from the relations which he sustains to that Intelligence. Of neither of these things is one word said in the piece. Its · Religion' is nothing more than a transcript of Socialist morality-a transcript, designated by the name of religion, for reasons best understood by the party whence the confession of faith (!) proceeded.
From this publication I learn, that the existence even of an unknown cause' is nothing but a 'probable conjecture,' for I read in itm Human knowledge is not sufficiently advanced to enable the children of the New Moral World to express more than probable conjectures respecting the Supreme Power of the universe.' Among, however, the modest conjectures' of this exposition, one is, that the "attributes' of the "unknown cause' are probably those lars of nature by which, at all times,