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A CRITICAL ENQUIRY INTO THE HISTORY
Rational Analysis of the Gospels.
The Cross was the banner under which madmen assembled to glut
Let us not despair that Truth will one day force its way even to
PRINTED, PUBLISHED, AND SOLD BY D. 1. EATON,
TO BE HAD OF ALL BOOKSELLERS.
101. e. 27.
THE first edition of the following work appeared at Edinburgh in the year 1799. It was then announced as a translation from the French, but whether this was the fact or not, is now of little importance. It is very probable that a book, with the same title, may be found in many Catholic countries, as almost every church of that persuasion has a picture of Jesus Christ hung up at the altar, with the words " ECCE HOMO " inscribed under it. Respecting the name of the author, it is sufficient for our purpose to say with Corneille
"If I am right, what does it signify who I am?” When the publisher of this edition was sentenced to the pillory, and to a long imprisonment in Newgate, for merely reprinting the third part of Paine's Age of Reason, it was stated from the bench, "that the Christian religion is part of the law of the land, and therefore must be protected." As this notable maxim may again be acted upon to justify the suppression of ECCE HOMO, we think it proper to remark, that it is easy,
upon the same doctrine, to vindicate all the outrages that ever were committed against the propagators of Christianity. Was not Judaism " part of the law of the land" when Christ himself suffered a cruel and ignominious death for openly declaiming against it? Was not the worship of the gods, under the Roman emperors, part of the law of the land," when the apostles and their successors were disgracefully immolated for daring to hold that worship up to contempt and ridicule? Was not the Catholic religion "part of the law of the land," when the protestants experienced unparalleled cruelties for endeavouring to expose its absurdities? In fine, is not the adoration in India of the idol Jaggernaut, which we are sending out missionaries to overthrow by virtue of an act of parliament, the established religion of that country? Should the Bramins frustrate this attempt, by exciting the natives to persecute and massacre these enemies of their faith, shall we not find a sufficient justification of this violence in the maxim, that "religion is part of the law of the land, and therefore must be protected?"
But, by what authority is it that the Christian religion has become part of the British code of laws, and the sword employed to protect it? Not surely by the sanction of its founder; for when Jesus Christ was before Pontius Pilate, he declared, that his kingdom was not of this world, else would his disciples fight for
him; or, in other words, "the kingdom which I intend to establish on earth, is a kingdom in the mind, which does not require coercion, or any of those means used by temporal sovereigns, to maintain it."-Nothing can be clearer, therefore, than that it is contrary to the true spirit of Christianity (if we take it from the mouth of its founder), to call in the aid of the civil power to its support. If it is an emanation from God, he is all-powerful, and will protect it. If it is an in
vention of man, it is then, and only then, that it has to dread the effects of criticism.
We shall, however, be told, that the opinions promulgated in the following pages, are calculated to do mischief amongst the lower classes, who in general are grossly ignorant. But we have yet to learn, that free discussion, with the view of arriving at the truth, can injure any one. It is only error that shuns the light; it is only those who wish to establish an empire over the human mind, that are enemies to enquiry.
The people require only to be
duty, and the value of virtue.
taught to know their
Keep them in igno
rance, and they never can have any other idea of those duties than what corresponds with the views of their spiritual and interested guides. It is true, if the laity are made acquainted with the nature and extent of the usurpations of the clergy, the former may perhaps compel the latter to relinquish a portion at least of