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Speak of change, and the world is in alarm. And yet where do we not see change?
Our religious belief usurps the place of our sensations, our imaginations of our judgment. We no longer look to actions, trace their consequences, and then deduce the rule; we first make the rule, and then, right or wrong, force the action to square with it.
Now here is a departure from the first principle of true ethics. Here we find ideas of moral wrong and moral right associated with something else than beneficial action. The consequent is, we lose sight of the real basis of morals, and substitute a false one.
Man has been adjudged a social animal.
Look into the nature of things. Search out the grounds of your opinions, the for and against.
Know why you believe, understand what you believe, and possess a reason for the faith that is in you.
It will appear evident upon attentive consideration that equality of intellectual and physical advantages is the only sure foundation of liberty, and that such equality may best, and perhaps only, be obtained by a union of interests and cooperation in labor.
Instead of establishing facts, we have to overthrow errors; instead of ascertaining what is, we have to chase from our imaginations what is not.
He who lives in the single exercise of his mental faculties, however usefully or curiously directed, is equally an imperfect animal with the man who knows only the exercise of muscles.
But while human liberty has engaged the attention of the enlightened, and enlisted the feelings of the generous of all civilized nations, may we not enquire if this liberty has been rightly understood?
Awaken its powers, and it will respect itself.
And when did mere preaching do any good? Put something in the place of these things. Fill the vacuum of the mind.
A necessary consequent of religious belief is the attaching ideas of merit to that belief, and of demerit to its absence.
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