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weeds spring up, and beggar the garden of Christianity: let the disgrace lie upon the cultivators. It can be no objection to the doctrine of Christ, that many of those who profess it are not saints. It would not be less absurd, says Bonnet, to object against philosophy, that all those who profess it are not philosophers : does it follow from such a fact that philosophy is not well calculated to make true philosophers ? Those who make the greatest external profession of a doctrine, are not always really and effectually convinced of its truth, or most inclined to make it the rule of their lives. Statesmen often regard religion as an “arcanum imperii" among the pegs and wires of state machinery. STRABO tells us in plain terms—« That it is impossible to lead women and the common herd of the people to true religion, to piety, and virtue, by philosophical argument and reasoning ; but that recourse must be had to superstitions.”_xix. SYNESIUS, an ancient bishop, is of the same opinion, where he says, “ Ac uti ophthalmicis caligo magis expedit, eodem modo mendacium vulgo prodesse arbitror, contrà nocere veritatem iis, qui in rerum perspicuitatem, intendere mentis aciem nequeunt:” “ As darkness and shade are more comfortable to weak eyes, so I think false relations do more good to the common people. On the other hand, truth is often hurtful to such who cannot lift the eye of their understanding to brighter and more sublime objects.” Christianity, however, disowns these spiritual hypocrites; and I would fain hope their numbers are very few. But their impious coalition with revelation cannot be used as an argument against its truth; if it were, the ruin of every cause would be easy : the concealed

spy has only to insinuate hima self in the ranks of his opponent, to fight a sham battle, and to suffer a preconcerted defeat. The same observations apply to the well-intentioned but ill-directed efforts of misbelievers, who, in their zealous support of Christianity, have opened such breaches for the entrance of its opponents. Every man is not a proper champion for truth, nor fit to take up the gauntlet in the cause of verity. Many, from the ignorance of these maxims, and an inconsiderate zeal unto truth, have too rashly charged the troops of errors, and remain as trophies unto the enemies of truth.”

How many Deists have preached the religion of nature, and yet lived in the wildest violation of its holiest dictates ! Who then would charge the errors of Christians on the great Founder of Christianity? who would cite them as proof against the honesty or wisdom of its early professors, any more than he would ascribe the corrupt practices of a Cornish representative to the barons of Runnameed? To the sceptic, therefore, who may read these pages

Sir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici.

with the hope of discovering in my exposure of the hypocrisy and arts of Christian empirics, objections to revelation, I shall briefly recommend an ingenious observation of a celebrated Protestant, on a similar occasion : « These persons tell us they are not the inventors of Christianity; and it may well be judged, by their way of living, that they say true : for it is not probable they should have invented the precepts of the gospel, and yet live so contrary to them. Inventions always savour something of the temper and spirit of the inventors.”




“ Two things there be which have ever been found working much mischief to the church of God, and the advancement of truth; force on the one side restraining, and hire on the other side corrupting the teachers thereof. But some are ready to cry out, What shall then be done to blasphemy? Then I would first exhort not thus to terrifie, and pose the people with a Greek word; but to teach them better what it is."

A Treatise of Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes :

the author John Milton.

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Sir,—The time is now come, when an imperious sense of duty towards my fellow-countrymen demands, that I should shake off that “ dust of an ill tongue" which has so long enveloped their characters, and which has made their sufferings and fortitude the sport of the most daring ingratitude and the most shameful calumnies.

I shall address these Letters to you, Sir, from the high respect I entertain for your public and private virtues ; from your known connexion with a numerous class of British Christians, whose virtual representative in the House of Commons you have always been regarded ; from the great influence of a public character, independent of party and office; and, lastly, from my conviction that you are not a mere speculative admirer of Christian virtue, but that you are yourself an example of that religion you so strongly recommend to the practice of others. When the scales of political party have been evenly balanced, the preponderating weight of your character has determined the bias ; and I am one of those, Sir, however differing from you in the minutiæ of politics or religion, who from my heart believe, that conscientious motives have always actuated your decisions. I believe you to be a good and a sincere man. But you well know, Sir-and flattery would

not hide it from you—that your conduct has oftentimes been aspersed ; and that by many, who respected your motives, the power of your mind to withstand the cunning of those who coveted your support has been often doubted. And you cannot have forgotten that gross insult you received, not many years since, from the mammoth of political depravity, who represented you, when your honest opposition of his colleagues got the better of his descretion, as a constant mendicant in the purlieus of the Treasury, though not for yourself, but for your friends-a libel which, you are well aware, accords with this constant system of calumny on the people ; since, though surrounded by a numerous class of relations, much below your own rank in life, and honored by a long and personal friendship with Mr. Pitt, you rarely, if ever, solicited the value of a shilling for any one of them. Admiring then, Sir, your disinterestedness, and above all, desirous to support and extend the influence of your religious reputation, I address these Letters to you, and through you to the Religious Public: not meaning, by this designation of a large class of my fellow-countrymen, the least invidious imputation, but rather as a term of honorable distinction and from whose comprehensive embrace I would not exclude any sect or party, nor age, nor sex, who hold and prove themselves entitled to rank under so distinguished an appellation.

It has not escaped the penetration of any writer on civil or religious freedom, that the convenient bugbear of “ church in danger, and · deluge of blasphemy," is by no means the least among the numberless auxiliaries political factions marshal in maintenance of their own impieties. Many a tottering party in power, where all other stratagems had failed, has been supported by this convenient prop : and was it not an historical excursion of too great extent, I could trace these false terrors as the chief pretexts for the imposition of religious restrictions for the repeal of the Septennial Act - for the adoption of standing armies for the numerous suspensions of the Habeas Corpus Act-and, in short, for all those infractions of the Constitution which have distinguished the very worst periods of British history. It was this vile spirit of bigotry, which has so often lit the blazing faggot over the martyr's body, and stained the scaffold with the patriot's blood. It was this “ cursed ungodliness of zeal” which not forty years since surrendered up this great city to fire and pillage ; and which, in a provincial town, destroyed the habitations of a distinguished class of Protestant Dissenters, and banished from his native land one of the brightest ornaments of philosophical science. But not to advert to pașt scenes of civil contention, over which the veil of oblivion should now be drawn, (and which never should be removed, but to warn us against their recurrence) this grievous spirit of religious insanity may be well described in the words of Addison, as “a clamor which, pretending to be raised for the safety of religion, has almost worn out the very appearance of it, and rendered us not only the most divided, but the most immoral people upon the face of the earth.”

That the renewal of these demoniac passions has for some years past been artfully attempted by a certain desperate faction, cannot have been concealed from any calm observer of passing events : and to warn the Religious Public against falling into the snare, is the especial object of these Letters; the immediate cause being the knowledge that many sincere friends of her Majesty the Queen, who joined with so large a majority of the country in the noble defence against her enemies, have yet refused to attend public meetings, held for the purpose of condemning the politics, and urging the removal of the party now in power; alleging as their excuse, that highly as they disapprove of the political system of Ministers, yet that Lords Liverpool and Harrowby are friends of rew ligion, and that religion, at this particular time, stands in peculiar need of support, from the deluge of blasphemy gone forth upon the Public !

A more fatal duplicity than this, or one more vitally dangerous to the interests of both church and state, could not exist : and it can only be accounted for in that intellectual cowardice which but too often accompanies a strong and evangelical sense of religion among the middle classes of society, who, unused to the freedom of philosophical inquiry, are dangerously sensitive to these spiritual alarms. For the private and domestic virtues of those two noblemen I entertain the highest respect; and I scorn to defame the. private character of any Minister for the purpose of ruining his public influence. But those virtues must not be used as scape-goats for the vices of Administration, and one would almost desire their non-existence, rather than they should be prostituted to such artful and antichristian uses. At present they are the mere bolsters of faction and the only crutches of an Administration which, for mental imbecility, tottering indecision, and public detestation, is unparalleled in the annals of politics. Lord Liverpool and Lord Harrowby having, however, now so completely identified them selves with the system, they cannot be separated from it, painful as it may be to include them in the judgment : and they will rarely. find even so much liberality as in these

observations ; for it requires a more than common credulity to discover how the upholding such a system of irreligion can comport with the professed and sincere love of Christianity. Nor could it command my credence, had I forgotten the darkness in which all are involved, and the charity of that divine Founder of Christianity, who, with compassion for the

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