Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

the disreputable interference of the Mayor of Leeds, been refused the continued use of the Music Hall, will present themselves before the public of Leeds and its vicinity, in the best room of which they have been able to possess themselves, on each succeeding evening of this week, for the purpose of delivering orations and lectures, and of holding discussions and conversations, on the very important subjects which they have to introduce. The room in which they receive company is situate at No. 15, New Bond-street, over the Rainbow Tavern. The door will be opened at six o'clock each evening, and admission be obtained for one shilling

“On Sunday morning at eleven o'clock and in the evening at seven, there will be a free admission to all respectable persons, to snch conversations as may arise.

“On Monday, June 29, Messrs. Taylor and Carlile will present themselves to the inhabitants of Bradford, on Tuesday to the inhabitants of Halifax, and on Wednesday to the inhabitants of Huddersfield, when, at the latter place, a discussion is pledged with a local preacher of the Wesleyan connection.

“Mr. Carlile is prepared to supply or take orders for his publications.

Leeds, June 24, 1829."

.“ Messrs. Robinson and Co, beg to decline inserting the inclosed advertisement of Messrs. Taylor and Carlile, taken in by their clerk this morning, and herewith return the money (118.6d.) received for the same. They would also beg to decline printing any bills. « Intelligencer Office, Leeds,

June 24, 1829."

We got the placard, which was a copy of the advertisement, printed by Mr. Baines, at the Mercury Office, by the sacrifice of the adjective disreputable before the interference of the Mayor : but our bill-sticker charges, that he no sooner began to post the bills, than Mr. Baines' man followed him to cover them. This affair we leave to be settled between Mr. Baines and the billsticker, having no other evidence on the subject. If it be true, there is a name for it in our vocabulary, though there might not be a penal law for it in our statute book. Mr. Baines and his family make pretensions to Christian evangelism. Excepting this point, and Mr. Baines might have been perfectly innocent of the purpose, I have no complaint to make toward that party. Mr. Baines has certainly given us more fair play than either of the other papers, both of which have written down their editors as rascals. On Saturday, we received a printed circular from the scout of

the Mariner's Friend and Bethel Union Society, sent out to gather wool in Yorkshire by the Rev. Boatswain's Mate, G. C. Smith, of Penzance. The man's name, we found to be Mason. In the evening, he came to our lecture-room, and, after being allowed to make what he called a lecture, and to give his reasons for being a Christian, he had not time to stay to be questioned, or to hear any thing in answer, and in spite of the remonstrance of the company, fairly ran away.

The next morning (Sunday) we received a letter from him by post, which induced the writing of our answer, and my attendance at the vestry of the chapel, to know if the party had any taste for discussion. The Rev. Mr. Ackworth, the superintendent of the chapel, disclaimed all act or part in what Mr. Mason had done, and authoritatively stated that no discussion should be allowed in his chapel. The following is the correspondence :

To Messrs. Carlile and Taylor. “ This is to inform you, that an individual, who has been for several years a Christian Missionary, is now at your doors, waiting for admission; but, in consequence of having delivered all his lectures on Christianity gratuitously, he cannot conscientiously give a shilling to hear yours. If, therefore, you say he is at liberty to enter, you will be favoured with his presence, if not, he most cheerfully makes his exit. Wishing you better feelings,

“ ROBERT MASON.

“ N. B.-R. M. will deliver an oration to-morrow afternoon, at three o'clock, at the Baptist Chapel, Leeds ; on which occasion, he will give a description of the Christian character, in a manner which defies all the sophistry and boasted rationality of Infidel Missionaries to dispute, or produce the like.

“ P. S. He has no objection to your company in the abovementioned place of divine worship.”

Answer. The Rev. Robert Taylor and Mr. Carlile will attend to hear Mr. Mason, on the condition only of being allowed, after Mr. M., to address the same audience. They wait for, and expect an immediate answer. “ To the Rev. Mr. Mason, Baptist Chapel,

Leeds, June 28, 1829.”

After half an hour's conversation in the vestry, and much entreaty on the part of Mr. Mason, I entered the chapel to hear his discourse." It was a wild rhodomontade about the Christian and his spiritualities, which I could see was insanity addressed to an

insane congregation. Mr. Mason promised to purchase a hupdred copies, if I would print a refutation of his discourse. It is done in a few words. His God, his Jesus Christ, his angelic throng, his spiritual man, his heaven and his hell, have no existence beyond the insanity of the human brain. That is a full refutation.

We take our leave of Leeds, under a pledge, that we will return, whenever a priest will meet us in public discussion, or as soon as the Infidels have provided themselves with a chapel. Our visit here has entailed considerable expence on our Missionary Fund, but we feel that we have discharged our duty in the best manner within our means.

RICHARD CARLILE.

P. S. We shall reach Manchester in a few days.

STATE OF THE INFIDEL MISSION.

Head-quarters at Leeds, June 25th, 1829. The streets of Leeds are at this time amply placarded with bills which have been printed and set up at the suggestion and charges of the friends to our cause in this town, conveying the challenge which follows:

« CHRISTIANS ! “Why don't your preachers go to oppose the Infidels, Carlile and Taylor ?"

All the preachers, dissenterian and canonical, have received our invitation to discussion. A thousand coteries and tete-a-tetes at every corner of the street, betray the agitation of the tide of public opinion, which we have caused. As avowed Infidel Missionaries, our presence affronts the Christian day, by the never-before offered defiance, that implies that Christians themselves are in a state of barbarism and ignorance, and have as great "need to be converted from the darkness of their idolatries and superstitions, as the hordes of satyrs, Chimpanzes, ourang-outangs, and demi-men that engage the spiritual sympathies of their own gospel-propagating clubs.

As boldly avowing, and loudly proclaiming the startling proposition—that no such person as Jesus Christ ever existed, we break up the crusted film of stagnant intellect, and force upon the mind the necessity of thinking thoughts unthought before. We drive the preachers to their studies and their libraries, to revise and re-examine the premises and data which they had heretofore considered as lying beyond the limits of controversy.

We excite in the people an appetite and a curiosity after historical information and argumentative disquisitions, which, though it should not issue in the passing over of their convictions to complete Infidelity, will inevitably lodge them next door to it; and produce a sense of dissatisfaction and disgust, with that mere windy spiritualism and nothing-to-the-purposeness, which has so long been the spoon-meat of the bearded babies of Christ Jesus. There will be a want and wish, and that wish will work its way into a call upon the preachers to handle the historical evidences of Christianity, of such importunity as that their hypocrisy will no longer be able to cloak their recreancy in declining the call; they will be obliged to attempt, at least upon their own ground, and in their own way, to answer the enquiries of scepticism, and to encounter the objections of Infidelity.

This they will not be able to do, without marching so far hand in hand in the way that we are going, as to awaken attention to those enquiries, and to bring the minds of mankind into an acquaintance and familiarity with those objections.

Let the solution of enquiry be what it may, let the answer to objections be the most satisfactory and triumphant that it could be conceived to be, the mind that has once enquired, or once objected, will never again be capable of setting down into that stupid state of easy acquiescence and reposing credulity, which alone gives security and safety to the reign of priestcraft.

Suppose the most sincere, conscientious, and honest heart that ever beat in a Christian bosom:(and I suppose all who pay their money voluntary to the support of their preachers, to be sincere and conscientious)—what must be its emotions, its inferences, and its conclusions, on the great fact which the existence of our Infidel Mission, forces on its observance ?

Such an honest heart must feel, and cannot but feel, that however firm and assured it had been in its convictions of the truth of Christianity, there are hearts of other men, whose honesty cannot fairly be suspected, that once professed the same convictions, and have since abjured them.

The honest heart cannot but apprehend the possibility of such a change of conviction, taking place in its own persuasions, the like of which, it is forced to know has taken place in the persuasions of other men, and is continuing to take place, and to obtain, through the whole province of its observance.

It is seen that many or that some, whom it once knew or heard of as professing and calling themselves Christians, have in the full vigour of their health and talents, become Infidels. We see not, know not, hear not of any whose sincerity we could seriously respect, who having once professed and called themselves Infidels, have under like circumstances of health and vigour, ever again come to be persuaded of the truth of Christianity. No, not one in all the world.

Give we the sentiment of such sincere Christ anity in its own

language. Nothing can be fairer than this. It cannot be misread. It cannot be strained, froin its sense and purport by our quotation. It will be in vain to' attempt to evade the exteut of: the admission, by pleading that it is the language of poetry. It is the language also of prayer.-The Christian thus addresses his God:

“When any turn from Sion's way,

(Alas! what numbers do)
Methinks I hear my Saviour say,
Wilt thou forsake me too ?
Ah Lord ! with such a heart as mine,
Unless thou hold'st me fast,
I fear I must, I shall decline,

And prove like them, at last." Must not that sincere and conscientious Christian, be conceived to have founded his faith on his conviction that his most learned, elever, and faithful spiritual pastors would be able with the greatest ease to drive away the wolves of Infidelity, to apswer their objections in the most complete and satisfactory manner, and to exhibit them as the most ignorant pretenders to reason and hisa tory! And must not therefore his faith be proportionably stags gered, and his miod unhitched from the pivot of its action, on finding that what must necessarily seem so easy to be done, is not done at all; not attempted ; that the wolves are not driven away; that their objections aro not answered :, and that they are not exbibited as the most ignorant pretenders to reason and history? · An' let the shield of an affected scorn and contempt for lis and our challenges, seemi to serve the turn as well as it may, in the hand of those whom we would provoke to conflict, the looker-on must needs suspect its rottenness, and see through its thousand cankered spots and tune-eaten holes, that what can only be pretended when nothing else can be pretended, betrays only the desperation of the cause in which it is advanced. Reason would that, at any rate, objections should be shown to be despicable first, and despised afterwards And Consistency would, that they who build the main argument of their faith, on the evervaunted pretence that it was first preached by men who had neither wealth, rank, or influence in society, but who wandered about“ in sheeps' skins and goats' skins," and were accounted lhe offscourings of all things," should for very shame, never think of disparaging the dignity of the Infidel Mission; merely on account of its great truths not being delivered with all the pride, pomp, and circumstance of priestly power, or because its Missionaries are less liberally supported, and less conveniently accommodated than themselves.

I have never forgotten, nor can forget the very pregnant and significant observation of a fellow-student of mine, now holding

« ZurückWeiter »