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religion is of divine origin, and the Bible the word of God! A pack of liars and impostors. I am sorry to use these epithets, but the conduct of these men fully jus→ tify their use; besides I know of no other words more descriptive of their character. Scarcely any crime, in my estimation, is more abominable than that of deceiving people. It not only leads man astray from truth, but it gives him a character which he would not have, were he not deceived. It makes him a spurious or a counterfeit being; or, it is a sort of murdering of a man's mental character.

And it appears that priests were not content with manifesting their regard for Josephus, and their fondness for his testimony, by merely forging passages, and inserting them into his works, but they actually forged entire books in favour of the Christian religion, to which they affixed his name, and imposed them upon the people as the works of Josephus. An instance of this kind is given by Du Pin, in his History of the Canon &c. vol. II. ch. VII. sec. V. as follows:

"That which deserves a particular reflection is, that Photius observes that there was in his time a Treatise Concerning the Word attributed to Josephus, which he looked upon as spurious, since therein he speaks in too favourable terms of Jesus Christ; and he afterwards adds, that he has been informed since, that this book belonged to one Caius a priest of Rome."

So that this book belonged to one Caius, a priest of Rome. That is to say, one Caius a priest of Rome, forged this book entitled the Word, prefixed the name of Josephus to it, and used it as a means of making converts to the Christian religion. And no doubt it made great numbers. Can we doubt the goodness and piety of this man, and his pure and immaculate character? Is it likely people can believe the Bible to be the word of God, when it comes out of the hands of impostors like these ?

Those who are in the habit of reading newspapers, will see sometimes accounts of parties going about with forged documents, for the purpose of obtaining money. These documents are sometimes of one description, and sometimes of another, but in all cases they are so contrived as to excite the sympathy of the parties to whom they are presented, and the consequence is, they get returns of various sums of money, according to the ability of the parties who give them, and their amount of benevolent feeling. When such people are detected in such practices, they are convicted of imposition, and sent to the tread-mill. They are designated impostors. There may be a difference in the two cases, (I leave your lordship to guess the other case,) but my powers of perception do not enable me to see much difference. We know that priests obtain money by means of the Bible, but whether they ought to be sent to the tread-mill or not, is a matter to be considered.

Before I proceed to expose the fraud relative to the work attributed to Porphyry, before alluded to, I will just transcribe here, a passage from Eusebius's Ecclesiastical History, which will give us some idea of the character of that man, as an Historian, and as to whether he is fit to be believed, in his tales about the Christian religion. In the eighth book of his History, ch. XXVII. p. 167, he relates some horrid things respecting the punishment of Christians under the reign of the Emperor Maximin, in the third century, which, if they be true, are horrid enough; but we cannot believe them on his authority, for in the very article in which these things are contained, he tells as great a lie as ever was told. It is this lie which will illustrate his character as an Historian. He tells us, that after 130 confessors were beheaded, their bodies were not permitted to be buried, but were ordered to be exposed on the ground, for the pose of being torn to pieces, and devoured by wild beasts. And he concludes the article as follows:


"This spectacle of man's flesh, not in one place

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devoured, but piteously scattered every where, was subject to every man's eye, round about the walls of the town, and exceeded all that thereof may be spoken, and every lamentable and tragical show. Some report they saw quarters, whole carcasses, and pieces of bowels within the walls of the city. While this continued the space of many days, such a miracle was seen as followeth. When the weather was calm, and the air clear, and the clouds under heaven (which compass all) banished away, the pillars of the city upon a sudden, which held up the great and common porches, sweat or rather poured out many drops of water much like unto tears: the market place also and the streets (which as there fell not a drop of rain) I wot not how, neither whence, soaked with moisture and sprinkled drops of water; so that immediately the rumour was bruited abroad in every man's mouth, that the earth being not able to away with the heinous and horrible offences of those days, poured out infinite tears of a wonderful sort: and the stones and senseless creatures bewailed those detestable mischiefs, reproving man most justly, for his stony heart, his cruel mind void of all pity and compassion. But peradventure this story will appear fabulous and ridiculous unto the posterity, yet not unto such as then were present, and were fully persuaded with the truth thereof.""

Such is the tale of Eusebius, who, as Du Pin says, was one of the most learned men of all antiquity, and such is a portion of that invaluable History, without which, the same writer says, we should scarcely have any knowledge of the history of the first ages of the Christian Church. And this is only one tale amongst scores that are contained it that History, of a similar character. And this is the genuine truth, compared to some related by Socrates and Evagrius, two other of your famous Ecclesiastical Historians. The idea of pillars and market-places sheding tears, is ridiculous enough. But do these men not reproach the Deity, by telling such tales?

If the cruelties inflicted upon Christians, were sufficient to excite compassion and sympathy in insensible pillars and market-places, and to draw tears out of their hard and flinty carcasses, were they insufficient to operate in the same manner upon a being, not only infinite in all manner of sympathies, but infinite in power also ? Was such a being less sensible to the sufferings of humanity, than flint stones ? One would have thought that such a being would have interposed, and prevented such cruelties, and especially when pillars and market-places showed a disposition that way. And these Christians, upon whom were inflicted such horrid cruelties, were God's especial people too!

I just recollect here, a principle laid down by a speaker at an anti-slavery meeting, held in the CornExchange, Manchester, a few weeks since. The meeting was called for the purpose of forming a branch, or an auxiliary, to that society lately established in London, at the head of which is the Queen's husband. The object of the speakers was to impress upon the audience the necessity of active exertion in behalf of the negroes, who were being stolen from the shores of Africa, for the purpose of being doomed to perpetual slavery. And one speaker said, That he who sees a crime committed, and does not do his utmost to prevent it, is accessary to the commission of that crime. He meant by this, that his audience, who saw the crimes committed upon the negroes of Africa, if they did not do their utmost to prevent those crimes being committed, they would be involved in the same guilt as the parties who really committed them. I do not mean to dispute the correctness of this principle, I only wish to ask, if this be the case with mortals, how is it with the Deity? If this be the case with beings of finite benevolence, how is it with a being of infinite benevolence ? I imagine the Deity sees the crimes committed upon the negroes of Africa, and will the pious men (for they were nearly all priests) who assembled in the Corn-Exchange say, that He is accessary to the fact, that He is involved

in the same guilt as the parties who commit the crimes ? And I imagine the Deity saw also, the cruelties committed upon the Christians in the third century, which Eusebius says were so horrid as to draw tears out of flint stones. Surely these men will not say, that the Deity had not, nor has not the power to prevent these cruelties; and yet if they do not, the Deity, according to their doctrine, is accessary to the fact, and involved in the same guilt as the parties who commit the crimes! These things, my Lord, require explanation, and a man of your learning and your station and your salary ought to give us that explanation.

I shall now enter upon the subject of the forgery and fraud, in the case of Porphyry, a powerful opponent of the Christian religion in the third century. As I observed in a preceding Letter, the Christians, after the death of Porphyry, forged a work in favour of the Christian religion, and affixed his name to it, pretending that it was his, and they used it as a means of making converts to "our Holy_religion." Dr. Lardner, in his Jewish and Heathen Testimonies, in giving an account of the works of Porphyry, notices this work as follows, vol. III. page 193

"There is another work, ascribed to Porphyry, and often quoted by Eusebius, [Eusebius again,] entitled The Philosophy of Oracles. Lucas Holstenius in his Life of Porphyry, has given an account of all his works, and of this in particular, without any suspicion of its being spurious. Fabricius likewise still thinks it genuine, notwithstanding the objections of Fontenelle. Another learned man says: "Some have suspected, but without sufficient reason, this book of Porphyry's to be forged.' Dr. Gregory Sharpe also makes use of this work in his Argument for Christianity, taken from the Concessions of the most Ancient Adversaries. He seems not to have had any doubt of its genuineness. For after having quoted a good deal from it, he says:

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