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assissination, and murder. This affiliation was natural; for they all held partly the same impious principles, had the same unlimited pride, the same insatiable ambition, the same disbelief of a God and his providence, the same thirst for universal power, and the same love of mischief and anarchy: each individual, with ineffable arrogance, persuading himself that he could " walk in the. whirlwind, and direct the storm.”
To begin this infernal work, they wrote and published, more than half a century past, the ENCYCLOPÆDIA. This compilation was a vast and laboured collection, and among other things, of the dark and mystical parts of ancient, and of the errors of modern philosophy and impiety; or, as the ingenious Barruel in his Memoirs comprehensively describes it, 'a vast emporium of all the
sophisms, errors, and calumnies against religion, from the first school of impiety to the day of their enterprise ;'or, as Diderot, one of the principal compilers, has inadvertently confessed since its publication, “a gulf, or rather a rag basket, where - they (the blasphemous compilers) promiscuously threw every thing balf examined, ill digested, good, bad, and indifferent, but always
incoherent.' In short, it was, and yet is an artful and chaotic mixture of gross contradictions and impious errors and absurdities, of deism and atheism, of spirituality and materialism, of liberty and fatalism, of virtue and vice, of truth and falsehood, of religion and blasphemous impiety; in which the first are slightly touched, or placed in the back ground, and in the darkest shades,
corrupted and perverted ; while the last are enforced upon the imagination, with all the management of cunning and deception. It was artfully calculated first to confound the human intellect, then to seduce it into scepticism; and afterwards to plunge it, thus bewildered, into the grossest errors and the blackest impiety, It was a “bottomless pit,” out of which we shall presently see the revolutionary power of France, the true prototype of the "beast ascending,” and bringing with it all the means of impiety, desolation, anarchy, and ruin.
From the sophisms and false doctrines of the Encyclopædia flowed a variety of tracts, or rather extracts of the same impious nature and tendency. There were compiled by the different conspirators, revived by their secret committee in their secret clubs, and thence secretly dispersed throughout France, and many other parts of Europe. In these extracts, the mischievous and terrible effects of error and falsehood were so artfully concealed, that kings, emperors, princes, nobles, men of letters, and from them down to the lowest ranks of men, became proselytes, without perceiving or suspecting the latent poison. They became converts to doctrines which were calculated to sap the foundation of all thrones, and all governments; to disorganize allorder; to level the monarch with the subject, the noble with the peasant, the learned with the ignorant, men of virtue and piety with the profligate
and vicious, men of industry and property with the incorrigitle beggar. Their aim, in short, was to subve:t all the principles of religion and morality, all those invaluable securities, without which human life itself would be the greatest of misfortunes, and from which mankind have ever been accustomed to derive the only prescrvation of their possessions, their liberty, and their lives; and to sum up their horrible machinations, to desolate the whole world with the deadly and incurable poison of their atheistical“ liberty and equality.”
The secrecy and industry with which these books were dispersed, particularly through all the departments of France, is scarcely to be described. Millions of them were printed in Paris, and either sold at a less price than the cost of printing, or given away to all the petty schoolmasters resident in, and to the hawkers and pedlars traversing the whole country. They were read by all ranks of men, women, and children. The sacred truths, and moral precepts of the Old and New Testament were ridiculed in their public theatres, and other places of public amusement, as weil as in private companies ; insomuch, that the persons who could declaim against those truths with the most wit and humour, came to be esteemed as the most wise, most learned and most excellent philosophers.
The reader, with this general, yet formidable account before him, may naturally be supposed to desire to hear the particulars of the
new tenets, thus universally dispersed throughout France. In can only be a short detail consistently with my main design, and yet will be found long enough to fill the soul with the utmost detestation, and the deepest horror. • Respecting the existence of a God, the first great Cause, and Creator of the universe, they taught,
6 That the Supreme Being, the God of " philosophers, Jews, and Christians, was but «s a chimera and a phantom :
- That the imagination of men creates daily « fresh chimeras, which raise in them the im“ pulse of fear; and such is the phantom of " the Deity:" .
“ That the phenomena of nature only prove " the existence of a God to a few prepossessed “men; and that the wonders of nature, so far " from bespeaking a God, are but the neces“ sary effects of matter, prodigiously diversi66 fied.”
Respecting the soul, or immortal spirit of man, they maintained,
“ That every thing which is called the spirit: " or soul, has no more reality than the phan« toms, the chimeras, or sphinxes ; and that it « is the body that thinks and judges.”
And respecting the principles of morality they declared,
" That all ideas of justice and injustice, of “ virtue and vice, of glory and infamy, are " purely arbitrary, and dependent on custom :
“ That virtue and honesty, with regard to in
“ dividuals, is no more than the habit of actions “personally advantageous; and that self-in“ terest is the sole scale by which the actions " of men can be measured : that sublime vir“ tue, and enlightened wisdom, are only the “ fruits of those passions called folly : that consa science and remorse are nothing but the nat“ ural foresight of those natural penalties to “ which crimes expose us; and that the man “ who is above the lazo can commit, without “ remorse, any dishonest act, that may serve “ his purpose*.”
Such were the philosophistical and impious. tenets, published and dispersed by the conspirators, against the order and peace of civilized society. And such, with many additional branches of the same tree of evil, at length composed the creed of the great mass of the people of France. In this creed, thus replete with the grossest absurdities, the darkest errors, and the most abominable blasphemies, he that hath an eye may see the bottomless pit,” into which neither the light of reason, nor of conscience, nor of the revealed word of God, can possibly enter. In this creed he may behold the principles of the angel of “ darkness," whose name in the Hebrew tongue is “ Abad“don, and in the Greek Apollyon, the destroy“ er;" as its direct and manifest tendency is to destroy, in the opinion of men, all value for, and indeed all sense of virtue, religion and truth. In this creed he may trace all the prin
* Barruel's Memoirs.