Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

who does not, strictly speaking, belong to the manual-labour class. Now, I think it possible that this kind of suspicion may be carried to an uncharitable and even in tolerant extent, as in the present instance. Your Journal professes to be an “unfettered thinker and plain speaker for truth, freedom, and progress." But what does the profession amount to, if you determine that only the opinions of those who are manual-labourers, or such opinions only as are flattering to that class, are to be freely thought or expressed?

It is true I do not work with my muscles, but I have kept myself, exclusively by the labour of my brain, for twenty years past; and probably you know, as well as I do, that though this kind of work does not strengthen the muscles, nor expand the physical power, it is work, and not of an ignoble description either. I, for one, hold that the man who writes a good leading article is at least as profitable a labourer for the community as he who mashes malt or dresses a pin's head-that he who studies the human frame, with the view of alleviating its sufferings, or who organises and directs the labour of others, or more than all, perhaps, he who turns out a good book, is as true a labourer as the inan who shoes a horse, or stitches the collar of a coat: I would even go further, and say that human labour is of various grades—that the labourer is "skilled ' exactly in proportion as he uses his brain and that the highest of all kinds of labour is that in which the brain is brought into the most disciplined and persistent action for worthy purposes.

In what a position should we be now if we were to shut our eyes and ears to what the brain-workers say and write, because they wear good coats, and do not work with their muscles? We might then burn our libraries, stop the press, and go back to painted skins and raw beef as speedily as may be. I fear that, in such a case, even your own Journal would cease to be published, and certainly you would have to re-write your excellent “Letters to Young Men,” the greatest examples cited in which are exclusively brain, and not merely muscle, workers.--I am, dear Sir, yours truly,

Leeds, October 17, 1850.

J. SMiLES.

[ The foregoing letter was received so late, that I cannot do more now, than say that our readers must judge between Dr. Smiles and myself. The necessity of closing this Journal, and the fact that the present number was nearly complete when the Dr’s. letter arrived, leave me no alternative but this.-T. C.]

FAREWELL WORDS. With the present number Cooper's Journal' closes. It commenced in January with a sale of 5,000 in the first week, and went up several hundreds in the course of the first five weeks. In the course of several succeeding weeks the sale of No. 1 reached, in the whole, 9,000 ; and of Nos. 2 and 3 the sale continued, until those numbers also reached a favourable figure. But the stated weekly sale, after the first few numbers, began to decreaseuntil, when I announced the temporary discontinuance, it was but 3,600. After a suspension of three months, and an issue of 50,000 additional handbills, we have commenced with a weekly sale of but 2,000; and this number does not increase. I have no money to lose ; and as the sale will not, now, pay expenses, I at once make up the volume-furnishing the title-page and table of contents with the present number

I have been thus explicit, because concealment of the facts can answer no good purpose ; and it is really necessary that the friends of Progress should know how difficult it is to find sufficient support for a cheap periodical which speaks out. Let me entreat them to take notice that other periodicals which they would not like to see closed are not paying expenses ; and to bestir themselves to secure support for the papers they believe to be honest advocates of Truth, Freedom, and Progress.'

On one subject I must add a few words. Readers must not suppose that the Critical Exegesis' is incomplete, because the eighth discourse is not given. The seven discourses now completed embody the analysis of Strauss's great work. The eighth discourse simply presented my own ideas of the real character of Christ, without any reference to Strauss : it was no proper part of the Critical Exegesis.' It may be, however, that I shall, one day, presume to give my humble views of the real character of Christ to the world in a more extended form. But, at present, I am disinclined to do so ; nor have I any intention of republishing these seven discourses in a separate form. My publisher has some thousands of back numbers on hand, and no one who is in want of odd numbers to make up the volume need suppose there will be any difficulty in obtaining them. The entire volume, bound in cloth boards and lettered, will also be ready for sale immediately, at three

shillings.

To the kind friends who have so ably contributed to these pages I have already written my personal thanks, and beg here to renew them, most sincerely. To the friends who have endeavoured to extend the circulation of the Journal' I beg also to express my gratitude--not the less because we have failed.

I may be permitted to say, in conclusion, that although I have no inclination to appear in periodical literature again—I trust, at no very distant time, to produce something which my countrymen of the Present and in the Future may judge worth preservation. 5, Park Row, Knightsbridge,

THOMAS COOPER. October 22nd, 1850. P. S. The romance · Captain Cobler,' will be regularly issued weekly : about four more numbers will complete it.

MATTERS WHICH ARE NOTE-WORTHY AT THE PRESENT

TIME.

SPREAD OF POPERY.— We are, many of us, in the habit of talking about Romanism as a thing extinct; as an ancient, worn-out creed, which can never again take root in the minds of the English people. Freethinkers, too, usually manifest the greatest indifference to its spread, if they hear of it. Let thoughtful working men, however, be aware of the following facts, collected from the Catholic Directory for 1819:

Total number of Roman Catholic
Chapels in England, in 1818
Ditto. ditto in 1838 442

[blocks in formation]

Total of Roman Catholic Churches and Chapels
in England, Scotland, and Wales, in 1848...........674
Do.

do. in 1838......532

Increase in 10 years ................... 142

.......................................

................................... ..

40
13

Schools

Besides the 87 chapels in Scotland, there are 22 stations where Divine service’ is performed; and there are various stations also in England.

Roman Catholic Colleges in England ......

, Convents »
, Monasteries,

...................................... 250 N.B. In 1838, there were only 17 convents, so that 23 have been built in 10 years : Convents, let the reader remember, are religious houses' where women are shut up for life.

Roman Catholic Priests in England. London District, 157; Central District, 160; Eastern District, 41 ; Western District, 69; Lancashire District, 189; Yorkshire District, 68; Northern District, 63 ;--Total in England, 747.

Roman Catholic Priests in Wales,—26.

Roman Catholic Priests in Scotland. Eastern District, 21 ; Western District, 47; Northern District, 28; St. Mary's College, Blairs, 6;—Total in Scotland, 107.

Total of Roman Catholic Priests in England, Scotland, and Wales,880; and including the Bishops,-897.

At the close of 1818, therefore, there were, in round numbers 900 Popish Priests and Bishops in Great Britain. The number by the close of 1850, will, undoubtedly, be near upon 1000. When this immense number of active and crafty emissaries, bound together by the most skilfully contrived machinery, is remembered to be perambulating the country where Latimer and Rowland Taylor were burnt 300 years ago; when gorgeous buildings are rising on every hand, devoted to the old superstition; when the Pope is making a Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, at Rome, and the Priests are openly walking in costume, in London; when Ireland is remembered to be filled with Priests, throughout the majority of her counties, and their haughty meddling spirit is witnessed ;— who can sit down in indifference, as to the spread of Popery?

But more: when it is remembered that Church of England parsons are going over to Romanism, almost weekly ; that a secret conclave of Highchurch clergy was held the other day in St. Martin's Hall, Long Acre whose subject of debate was said to be, the propriety of making the Church independent, or going over to Rome, at once; when Old Harry, Pusey, Keble, and others, are reported to be only biding their time, but really purposing, sooner or later, to go over to Romanism openly with some 100 clergy at their heels ;----Who can be indifferent about Popery?

Let no one imagine that the career of Freethought is to be so very, very easy. Is not the grand, the ultimate struggle, now in prospect--that final one between Reason and the old Superstition? How many will have to suffer, and how much will have to be suffered, before the triumph be gained ! Apostles of Reason, Soldiers of Freethought-'gird up the loins of your mind,' and prepare for the encounter!

NEGRO SLAVERY.—Another dread hinderance to the growth of right principles, is too little thought of and cared about, by the professed disciples of Right. I know that it will be observed. We have White Slavery enough to think of;' but that does not lessen the enormous fact that there is Black Slavery -- and that in Democratic America 3 millions of human beings are bought and sold because their skins are darker than the Saxon race. Who does not feel ashamed of the word · Republican' when American Slavery is mentioned ? and who, that has a common portion of brains, does not perceive how largely it would aid the advance of real freedom all over the world, if the land of Washington were, at once, to abolish slavery I must confess that I, for one, feel ashamed of having said so little about this enormous evil. Democrats 'should protest oftener and more loudly against it. And, just now, the Question becomes doubly important: Congress is opening the debate fully : scarcely a day passes but this domestic institution of America is angrily mentioned: all the forces of public opinion are gathering, and an explosion of Slavery in America seems at hand,—though the Legislature has recently given up even the Free States to be made the hunting ground of the Slaveholders, in pursuit of their fugitive slaves. Public opinion in England, if loudly expressed, will not fail to aid the emancipation of the 3 millions of Negro captives.

THOMAS COOPER, CRITICAL EXEGESIS OF GOSPEL HISTORY,

ON THE BASIS OF STRAUSS'S 'LEBEN JESU.' A SERIES OF EIGHT DISCOURSES; DELIVERED AT THE LITERARY INSTITUTION, JOHN

STREET, TOTTENHAM COURT ROAD, AND AT THE HALL OF SCIENCE, CITY ROAD, ON
SUNDAY EVENINGS, DURING THE WINTERS OF 1848-9, AND 1849–50.

BY THOMAS COOPER,
Author of " The Purgatory of Suicides."

VII.-THE RESURRECTION AND ASCENSION.

(Concluded from last number.)

If by the former, how is the removal of the body of Jesus to be accounted for? I know not that I can, in this point of our inquiry, do better than quote Charles Hennell, the translator of Strauss-not, however, in his translation of the great analyst, but in his own work, the “ Enquiry concerning the Origin of Christianity.” He thinks the affair of the removal of the body was contrived by Joseph of Arimathea, to relieve himself from the disciples.

"The report which arose amongst the Jews that the body had been stolen away, is confirmed by the admission on all sides, that it was not to be found; but by whom it was stolen is not so clear. The question seems to lie between Joseph and the disciples. The subsequent conduct of the disciples, their boldness and apparent sincerity in asserting publicly the resurrection and the speedy re-appearance of Jesus, together with the style of earnestness in their writings, (of which the first epistle of Peter is a striking instance,) render it difficult to believe that they were guilty of such a gross deception. In this affair they have more the air of mon imposed upon than of imposters. To exaggerate and somewhat embellislı facts, in subsequent narrations, has been done sometimes by men on the whole well-meaning and honest; but to contrive the renoval and secret disposal of the body with a view to publishing its resurrection, betokens a greater degree of fraud than appears to agree with the Apostles' characters. There are no indications of such a proceeding on their part in any of the narratives; for all agree that the news of the disappearance of the body was unexpected and surprising. Nor would it have been easy for them to effect sucli a purpose, since the garden was not theirs, nor the tomb in their keeping.

On the other hand, the silence of Joseph, when his testimony might have been so useful one way or the other, and his retiring suddenly from a business in which he had begun to be

conspicuous, indicate an anxiety to avoid meeting questions. There were many motives for the contrivance on his part; and he was well able to execute it, for he was an influential man, and the body lay in his own tomb and garden. Moreover, he had probably the cooperation of Nicodemus, who was in nearly the same position.

“ History loses siglit of Josephi and Nicodemus exactly at the time when they ceased to have any open intercourso with the disciples, viz., when they had embalmed the body of Jesus, and allowed the women to see where it was laid. Thus they were the parties whom we last saw in charge of the body; and it is for them to give an acconnt of it. But as, from that moment, they have shrunk from public notice, conjecture alone is able to follow up their examination, and to gain an insight into their counsels and doings on the evening of the day of the crucifixion, and tlie sabbath which followed it. On the close of that eventful day they could not have been undisturbed or inactive, for a more perilous situation than theirs could hardly be conceived. They had been in secret communication with the Galilean who had just been executed for the treason of aiming at the throne of the Jews ; and the examination of his followers, or even an indiscreet word from them, might proclaim to the governor, or their brethren of the Sanhedrin, that they too were his disciples. One of those tumults to which the Jewish populace were so prone might be excited by the friends of Jesus : this would stimulate the governor to a more rigid investigaton of the affair, and to more sweeping exeentions. Or, supposing even that no sucli attempt were made, the continual resort of the disciples to the tomb in his garden must draw attention to Joseph, and strengthen sospicion against him. The disciples must be dismissed; but in what manner? To sorbid them accees to the garden, or to renounce them harshly, might provoke the discloël es which he was anxious to avoid.

"The accounts before us supply the rest. The women came to the tomb early, and found that the body was gone. On a subsequent they found a young man there, who, if he were not an angel, must liave been some one employed by Joseph, for who can suppose that he would liave allowed an unauthorized person to be in such an important charge at such a critical tinie; this person told the women that Jesus was risen and gone into Galilee, whither his disciples were to follow liim.

"Thus, if the accounts be disentangled from thoso contradictory miraculous additions which have every appearance of being the fietions of later times, the facts which reinain, and a natural conjecture which links thein together, offer an easy solution of the mystery.

'The question concerning the disposal of the body of Jesus does not appear to have excited much attention at the time; for we nowhere learn that any search was instituted for it by the Jewish rulers; which certainly they would liave done if they had thought it worth wbile ; for it cannot be supposed that they believed that Jesus was actually risen on the mere report of some of the disciples. But there was, in fact, no reason for such a scarch; they were satisfied with having put Jesus ont of their way, since he appeared to be a political as well as religious innovanter; and then they liad no more pressing matters to think of. The disciples did not appear to be men of dangerous characters; and being deprived of their chief, might very well be left to think and say what they pleased concerning his body. A belief in its resurrection might very well be allowed them, provided they abstained from efforts to avenge him. Whereas the exhibition of the dead body would have exasperated them, and, perhaps, the multitudes with whom Jesus had been popular. The formation of á now religious society by the few followers of Jesus was not important enough to occupy much of their attention, particularly as, at first, they did not seem to differ much from the other Essenes; and when, after thirty years, they had become pumerous enough to make it worth while to disprove their assertion of the resurrectior, it was not easy for any one to find the body, unless he had the assistance of Joseph or Nicedemus, which they were not likely to afford.”

Strauss himself, lowever, evidently does not favour the supposition that Joseph of Arimathea removed the body of Jesus, or that the imagination of the disciples was quickened by such an incident. He rather inclines to the conclusion that the disciples really returned to their home in Galilee (pursuant to Matthew's statement), where they gradually began to breathe freely-after their depression and fear--and where their faith in Jesus began once more to expand into vigour. 'Here,' he observes, where nobody lay in the grave to contradict bold suppositions, might gradually be formed the idea of the resurrection of Jesus ; and, when this conviction had so elevated the courage and enthusiasm of his adherents that they ventured to

« AnteriorContinuar »