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opposed, still its advocates have the gratification to see that they do not work in vain. Its press has been worked free; and now it only wants free readers, or that improved state of mind that will not shrink from investigating its merits. There is a story of Sir Christopher Wren, that when he set some workmen, to remove an old building, say St. Paul's, they complained that they could make no impression upon it, its blocks were so well cemented. Do you see any dust fly? asked the architect.-Yes, we see dust fly, but we can move nothing else. Persevere then, for you are moving something, said the architect; and soon after the effect of perseverance was visible, and the well-cemented mass began to yield. So it is with the hammering of infidelity upon the general well-cemented mass of the Church and its religion. We see the dust begin to fly, there is a yielding: notices of encroachment on its property by the minister are silently, if not well received; and very soon we shall remove the mass. Down will come the building, with Dagon and the Philistines. No new temple can be built for them. England, at least, will afford them no shelter. This is the end and aim of infidelity; and the moment will arrive when it will lead and direct the political affairs of the country.
IN presenting a statement of the receipt and expenditure of this rent, we have the satisfaction of saying it has done some good. It has been the foundation of the Infidel Mission, and that was not an idle affair; nor was it counted a light one by the enemy. We present this claim to the public, that no where shall money be applied in the shape of subscription to do greater public good, to work those changes in the state-affairs, which more see to be necessary than understand how they are to be accomplished in no way shall greater effects be accomplished than by supporting the Infidel Rent. By an expenditure of £124. 7s. 3d., much of which was paid for travelling and public-room expenses, we agitated a district of several hundred miles on the subject of infidelity, and formed the nucleus of that general challenge to public discussion to which the Christian religion must by and by submit. What we have done, and what we have to work with in another year, is now laid before the subscribers and the public. We shall exert ourselves to the utmost upon any means we may possess; but it is for the many to say how much shall be done: and much may be done by the many, if the many can individually see the necessity and practicability of united efforts of union to do good.
STATEMENT of the RECEIPTS and EXPENDITURE of the INFIDEL RENT for 1829, exclusive of payments expected at Christmas, and inclusive of all sums received in the tour of the Infidel Missionaries:
The sum of £1. 8s. as Infidel Rent is acknowledged from Wisbeach.
The sum of £1. 2s. 6d. for the Huddersfield school, from John Musgrave, is acknowledged.
A HYMN TO GOD ALMIGHTY.
O! THOU who art with sov'reign beauty crown'd,
Hard to the touch, but devilish harder still,
Who on thy surface bear'st, of God the grace,
With which all conquer, who but learn to yield.
And those who need thee least, desire thee more:
The eye upraised, from worldly passion free,
Though those who seek thee most, do most profess
"A very present God in time of need.”
Did never seem so present, as just now.
O! that thou'dst buy my soul! For such behaviour
O! lift on me thy countenance divine,
A POOR SEEKER, LOVER, AND SPEAKER OF TRUTH.
PROMISE OF A GENERAL DISCUSSION ON THE MERITS OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION.
A PROJECT of this kind is on foot between the Rev. Mr. Taylor and a Rev. Mr. Batley; and the latter Gentleman has pledged a thorough exhaustion of the subject. This is what is wanted; but the thing portends too much public good to allow us to hope that it will be of early accomplishment. The spirit of the time is not yet up to this mark. There is no congregation of Christians sufficiently shrewd and intelligent to drive its minister to the task of defending the merits of the Christian religion in public discussion. The operation of the thing would be of prodigious moral effect, were it fairly carried on to exhaustion, and the report fairly made of it to the public. To the lovers of public good, we would say, it matters not on which side lies the best of the argument; which ever it be, on that side is the public good. The public, as a whole, cannot be benefited by any thing that is not founded in truth; because, so far as there is fale representation, so far the public is misled and injured. No good system can be made of falsehood or mistake. We would rather call the Christian religion a mistake than a falsehood. The allegory is mistaken for a literal truth. A personification of the sun, according to the ancient custom of the Indians, is erroneously adopted as something that really did happen in Judea. This is the sum total of the question.
A discussion of the kind is being carried on in Stockport, to the great interest of its inhabitants, with some of the minor preachers. This is as it should be in every town; but we want in London a union of all the talent that can be brought together for the purpose. We do not say that the end of such a discussion is to be binding upon every person, or that any law should arise out of it. We would then and ever leave the public mind to be influenced by their moral persuasion, after a due examination of both sides of the question. The point to be established is, the inducement of every individual to examine for him or herself, and not leave a decision to be made by the priest,
Our labours are all united to this point. The thing we aim at is the most respectable public discussion that can be carried on. It was well begun in Liverpool; but our opponent, Mr. Thom, shrunk from the task. Indeed, he had thrown up too much of the Christian religion to stand in a condition to defend it. This it is but fair to allow.
P. S. Since writing the above, a letter has been received from Mr. Batley, declining the discussion!
WHAT IS THE SPIRIT OF THE TIMES?
PERHAPS Miss Wright is very near right, when she divides the present race of mankind into two parts: the many, those who are only interested in their own individual welfare; and the few, who are interested in the growing welfare of the many. There is no other general spirit visible.
A spirit of inquiry pervades those few who are interested in the welfare of the many; but the many are as thoughtless as ever the many were. All great changes have been the work of a very few persons, and very often the work of solitary individuals. Thomas Paine gave an origination to the representative system of government, on a ground that will ensure its permanency. He originated an open attack upon the Christian religion, that will never be forgotten, or cease to be imitated, until the religion be forgotten. Richard Carlile followed the example, as far as it could be followed; and defeated every effort, and all the power of the government that sought to bury in oblivion such writings and such principles as those of Thomas Paine. They are become a public property, and no despotism can again hide them. The inquiring few know their merits, and the rulers of old bad systems dread them. They are still too much in the shade; but another generation will give them fashion.
New theories of human association are peculiarly the spirit of the present times. These cannot produce any new evil, and are very likely to correct or to accelerate the correction of some old and obstinately retained errors. In the projection of new theories of human association, there seems to be no fear remaining. Robert Owen can be scarcely said to have any mental reserve to his propositions. Stagnant errors perpetuate more mischief than new ones can possibly introduce. The "rather let us cling to the ills we have, than fly to those we know not," is a bad sentiment, politically or morally speaking: it dissuades from enterprise and experiment. The press is free, and no project can introduce new evil. The power of that press will always be worked against innovation, and nothing but sound and good principles bear up against its thwartings.
Some very excellent propositious have appeared in a news
paper, as an improvement on those laid down by Robert Owen, as a prescription for general human action. They are so good, that we cannot withhold our publicity and approbation from them. We must allow that Robert Owen has given the basis of them; and from what we know of him, we think he would not object to the amendment. Southey, the Poet-Laureate, styles Robert Owen one of the moral regenerators of the age, or one of three, which is more distinguished; Clarkson, the slave-emancipator, and Dr. Bell, the new-fashioned schoolmaster, being the other two. It is something to have the approbation of Robert Southey for such a man as Robert Owen; but greater men, as moral regenerators, might have been associated with him, than Clarkson and Bell. There are they who are as ardent as Clarkson was in the other case, in seeking the emancipation of all the slaves to feudal despotism and vicious habits at home. There are they who would, with Robert Owen, destroy that worst of all slaveries-superstition. There are they who are producing more good effects than Clarkson abroad, or Bell at home. But we must not exact too much from Robert Southey.
It marks the spirit of the time to see such propositions as the following freely published. It indicates the possibility of bringing human society to united rational action. The Duke of Wellington has solicited such an abstract from Mr. Owen. We hope the Duke will, as far as he can, act upon it. It is something gained, it is a novelty in the spirit of the time to find a prime minister condescending to notice such propositions as the following:
THINGS NECESSARY FOR HUMAN HAPPINESS.
1. The possession of a good physical and mental organization and good moral dispositions.
2. Having the power to procure, at pleasure, whatever is necessary to keep both body and mind in the best health.
3. An education which shall cultivate in the best manner, from infancy and throughout the whole period of life, the physical, mental, and moral powers of all the population. In regard to education, it is important to observe, that, at no period of life, can any one person know all which is desirable to be known: hence the wisest and oldest men must be always learners.
4. The inclination and means to promote the happiness of our fellow-beings.
5. The inclination and means to increase continually our knowledge, and to diffuse it when acquired.
6. The means of enjoying the best society which we know; and more particularly, of associating at pleasure with those for whom we feel the most regard and the greatest affection.
7. A freedom from superstition, from supernatural fears, and from the fear of death.
8. To live in society, in which all the laws, institutions, and