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would not find sufficient support, if it was stedfastly upright and determinedly honest in every point of truth and correct principle. I also know that the Editor of a Newspaper must studiously adhere to the general principles of the majority of its readers, and too often make his own opinions truckle to the opinions of that majority, or he diminishes the sale of his paper.

The observation I have above alluded to, and which forms the sole subject of this letter is thus:-" In the midst of a more important cause, we had almost overlooked the trial of

Davison and the woman Carlile, for the publication of blasphemy; but we must find space merely to say, that we look upon these creatures with the sincerest pity, on account of the blessings and hopes afforded us by the Gospel of Christ, which they madly relinquish ; and with the warmest indignation and contempt, on account of their zeal, in attempting to propagate their own wretched opinions." I sincerely wish that you had employed this small space of your paper in some other cause, because it gives me pain, and I feel reluctance in jarring with any person who appears to me to be making a good use of the Printing Press generally, in consequence of any little deviation from the honest path. I have heard it rumoured that it is a parson who has the chief management of the Times News paper: if this be true, there is room to excuse the observation made on the late trials ; and if I am now addressing a parson, I must beg, him to throw off his gown and divinity, and receive my address as the Editor of a Newspaper. I çould prefer some more direct object to deal with, as the establishment on the Times Newspaper is so extensive, that it is just like addressing one of the Printing Presses, or slieets of paper, to address the Editor from any other publication. But as far as I have the means of counteracting an evil and an injury, I feel it my bounden duty to do it.

In the first place, then, I would say, whether you are a parson or not, Mr. Editor, that your expression implies a feeling very similar to that which the Roman magistrates applied to the early Christians, and which is exactly my own feeling, with respect to those who were martyrs to that religion, and to those who continue to delude and to be deluded by it in the present day. With this feeling, I would retort upon you, Mr. Editor, Tertullian's question to the Emperor Trajan, in consequence of the instructions given to Pliny, the Proconsul, as to what line of conduct should be pursued towards the Christian sect who

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were violating the laws and religion of the Roman Empire. Tortullian places the Emperor in this inextricable dilemma " If you condemn, why not enquire ? If you do not enquire, why not acquit?” This question became the rallying point of the Christians, and I am willing to have the zeal and opinion, for which you express your indignation and contempt, placed upon the same basis, as Tertullian wished to place the zeal and opinions of the early Christians.

You fall in with the common clamour of the fanatics and priests of the day, and say that Mr. Davison and Mrs. Carlile have published blasphemy, when, if you had taken the pains to examine their publications, you would have found, that they contained nothing like blasphemy, or nothing which the honest and liberal mind would define to be blasphemy. Perhaps you consider the verdict of the Jury a sufficient warrant for your expressions, as an Editor of a Newspaper, but you know well, Mr. Editor, doubtless, how a Special "J:try is formed on such an occasion : you must know how the prosecuting Counsel and the prosecuting Judge, lay down the subject before this Jury. Even admitting that the Jury was fairly chosen from the mass of merchants in the City of London, do you imagine that there is a class of men throughout the country, that are more unfit to decide a question of thcology? A merchant's mind is always in some foreign port, or on the seas, with his ships, or on the Exchange, or in his counting-house at home. There are few, very few indeed, of the merchants of the City of London, who trouble themselves about thenlogy, or going to Church, but they know well, that any thing like an opposition to the prevailing superstition, would cause their utter ruin, more so than with any other class of meil. The Government has the power of annoying them in all shapes, both at home and abroad. Of all men in business, they are the most dependent on the support of the Government, consequently, they cannot enter a Jury Box, disinterested men, on a subject where the Government is a party. There is ruiu on one side, and contracts, loans, &c. on the other. You might as well say the Lords in Parliament are sitting as impartial Jurors upon the charge against the Queen, as that the merchants of London are impartial where the Government is a party, and the individual accused in a humble sphere of life.

But with regard to the word blasphemy. Will you admit that it is blasphemy.to say, that a certain book is not the word of God, when a reason is assigned, that such book contains much

VOL. IV. No, 10.

that derogates from the moral and benevolent attributes of the Deity? The Bible is by no means a uniform book, it is almost as various as an Encyclopedia. It is a coilection of all such books as were current in Judea after the Babylonish captivity: for books were not then quite as plentiful as they are now, and book making had not become a trade. I do not believe that the Jews knew what a book was until they were carried to Babylon, and I do believe that having there learnt the use of letters, they returned to Judea with a few books, which were immediately deposited in their Temple as something sacred. It is thus the idea of Holy Books originated, and this has been the ground work of the Jewish and Christian superstitions. The superstitions of Greece and Rome were carried on without the aid of books (the books of the Sibyls were not co-existent even with the Roman mythology) consequently their adoration was paid to something substantial, such as stone, wood, clay, or metal. The Jews might be said to have corrupted the simple and elegant system of theology and morals taught by Socrates, or Socrates, to have improved upon the Jewish books. Their books are extremely gross, and form a proof, that in the first notions of one God every nation assimilated him to their own persons and manners. The Jewish idea of the Deity is gross indeed. Socrates, doubtless from the purity of his own mind, held more sublime notions of the Deity. Plato, a dealer in mysteries, reveries, and rhapsodies, held again some very whimsical notions of the Deity. Epicurus reduced him to the simplicity of his own mind. And Aristotle rendered the notion of the Deity as something lost in mystery and abstruseness, by his more abstruse hypotheses and metaphysical reasonings.

Let me be understood as speaking of the Jewish books only: although the book of Job, and the book of Proverbs are bound up with them, they are distinct works, the works of another nation, more polished and more moral. They are unquestionably of Persian origin. I hold the book of Proverbs to be an admirable compendium of morality to which nothing can be added. But surely, Mr. Editor, you will not cry blasphemy to the individual who wishes to distinguish between the moral and the immoral part of the Bible, who wishes to recommend the moral, and to denounce the immoral part. But this you have done, and have shewn the public that you are as easily led by clamour and falsehood as by honesty and good principle.

I scarcely need tell you that the word blaspliemy is a mere word of abuse, and is as vulgar and inappropriate a word as the word blackguard: it has no strict definition, or proper application, according to the present acceptation. It is just like calling a man a blackguard, 'or a villain, because he advances argument to refute your opinions which you cannot reply to, and to which you will not listen. In the same day's paper, from which I have made the extract which forms the ground of this letter, I see you quote Junius to shew, that when treachery is in question, an allowance must be made for Scotchmen.

1, too, will quote him against you, but not with an attempt to keep alive provincial prejudices Не says, 66 An honest man, like the true religion, appeals to the understanding, or modestly confides in the internal evidence of his own conscience, The imposter employs force instead of argument, imposes silence where he cannot convince, and propagates his character by the sword.” The motley crew, who are so loud in the clamour about blasphemy, would soon be made to hide their heads if they could not wield the sword of a mischievous and perverted law against their reasoning opponents. The dispositions with which the laws and magistrates of the Roman empire oppressed the rising Christian religion, was the exact prototype of that which now exists against the Deists in this country, and I cannot see how any man can applaud the copy without approving the original. Had you, as a public writer, lived in any of the Roman provinces, or at Rome, in the second or third century of the Christian era, you would have expressed yourself in just the same manner against the Christians, as you have now against the Deists, and the hopes and blessings of the Gospel of Christ would have been treated by you with ridicule and contempt. I can plainly perceive that you are one of those writers who tenaciously adhere to the strong side, and never change from principle bul compulsion. I mean that species of compulsion that ensures you the highest sale for your paper; the strength of public opinion. I am but a young man, scarcely thirty years old, but I have seen the Times Newspaper the violent supporter of all the corruptions and abuses of the English government, and the steady abuser and calumniator of all its opponents

. I have seen the same paper change with the progress of public opinion, and turn round all of a sudden to attack those abuses; and if I and 'the Times Newspapers are in being seven years hence, I shall see it attacking the declining superstitions of this country-those very superstitions which it now Yainly attempts

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to prop. I shall see it advocating those very opinions which it now terms wretched, but the comfort of which opinions, they only can know who feel them. The most agreeable and delusive fanaticism that ever was imagined in the human mind, even the idea of Mahomet's Paradise, cannot convey such substantial pleasure and comfort, as a mind, purely natural and free from all superstitious notions, feels.

Do you ever read the book called the New Testament, Mr. Editor, because if you are well acquainted with it and respect it, you would feel some little repugnance at supporting the clamour about blasphemy. Attend to an extract that I will make from the gospel you profess to admire. Matthew, chap. 26, verse 63 to 67.— But Jesus held his peace. And the

High Priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ,

the son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, hereafter shall ye see the son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the High Priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses ? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. What think ye? They answered and said, he is guilty of death. Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and

others smote him with the palms of their hands,’ (like the modern priests, bigots, and the Editor of the Times). The same tale is related in Mark's Gospel, chapter 14, and Luke charges the Jews with speaking blasphemously against Jesus, without making them accuse him of blasphemy. - John, who was evidently a more mild man than either of the foregoing, says nothing at all about blasphemy. Here, Mr. Editor, you may perceive that blasphemy is not an offence of modern origin, and I consider the blasphemy, which you have expressed your indignation and contempt for, to be much less offensive than the words put into the mouth of Jesus as quoted above. It has been a word and an imaginary offence altogether fabricated by priests, and we find above, that it was the Jewish priests who accused Jesus of blasphemy. I doubt the tale as to its truth, but it forms a proof that the writer had been accustomed to hear the clamour of blasphemy from the Jewish priests towards the Christians; and even the Romans were wont to charge them with impiety and profanation.

But why, Mr. Editor, why condemn the zeal with which those opinions are propagated? Is not zeal a proof of honesty where there is no reward in view, but on the contrary an al

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