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as I have rigidly restricted myself, it may be allowed me here to make a few brief remarks upon the trial.'

We cannot follow him through these remarks, but must only make our readers acquainted with the fourth.

Christianity is a vague term; or rather it has been rendered vague by the the diversity of opinions held by those who claim that Dame in common. What is the Christianity, to impugn which is a legal offence ? To this question no definite reply has ever been given ; and the fact is, that the reply depends upon the spirit of the times, and varies as that inclines to bigotry or liberality. Nothing is more common than for bigots to deny that name to those whose interpretations of the Scriptures differ materially from their

Let such men obtain even temporary influence, and a law so indefinite will

Give ample room and verge enough
The characters of hell to trace.


« On the other hand, when this indefiniteness is liberally construed, and it could not be more liberally construed than by the Lord Chief-Justice, on Mr. Carlile's trial, it may easily be taken advantage of by the timorous, crafty, indirect enemy to Christianity, who is by far the most formidable, and its vengeance only falls upon him who goes openly, bluntly and argumentatively to his object. That is to say, it is not Deism that is punished, but honesty. Not the insidi. ous artifice that corrupts, but the open hostility that disgusts. Not Gibbon, but Paine. The liability of a Deist to punishment, is in exact proportion to the openness with which he avows and pursues bis object, and in which proportion he may be considered as less culpable in himself, and more harmless to society. This is surely not co. 'stent with laws which make evil intention the essence of criminality."

The text is Luke vi. 31. And as ye would that men should do unto do you also to them likewise. After lamenting that the growing liberality of the age has not influenced the conduct of christiá is toward deists, as well as of the different sects of christians toward each other,--because to such a charity they not only have a natural right as fellow-men, but it is the treatment by far best calculated to disarm their prejudices and win them over to the faith ;-he proceeds to guard against misconstruction of his motives, by asserting his own immoveable faith in the christian revelation, as the foundation of all trust and hope, and by recapitulating some of the evidences which render it next to impossible that the religion should not be true. Having thus removed all pretence for attributing to him sympathy in opinion with those whose claims to charity he was vindicating, and whom he was vindicating solely for charity's sake; he acknowledges,


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however, that the proof of which he has spoken is not demonstrative, not of such a nature as to compel conviction, but such as to affect differently different minds; that, consequently, the not being convinced by this proof cannot be regarded as incontrovertible evidence of a corrupt heart ;-He, to whose sight alone the heart is open, can be alone qualified to pronounce such a condemnation, because he alone can determine the state and biasses of the mind ; and to him much may be visible which we cannot perceive, that may produce this effect without actual guilt in the individual. One cause may be an unavoidable construction of mind, which occasions one man to need more evidence than another. This point is thus stated.

" In every department of science and history, and where neither the love of virtue nor of vice could be gratified by the conclusion, there have been men who could not yield credence, without a greater degree of evidence than sufficed to produce conviction in others. Amongst those who alike admit the authority of the Scriptures, there is a gradation of creeds, indicative of a variety of estimates of the evidence requisite to prove a doctrine scriptural. Even the most orthodox leave some few points on which it is allowed to believe or disbelieve, without the imputation of moral turpitude, and thus, in fact, admit the principle, that the conclusiveness of evidence may be modified by causes for which we are not responsible. To call this, human frailty, is saying nothing ; for who is frail, he who reqoires the greater, or the lesser quantum of proof? Each, the other being made a standard ; both, compared with a third ; all equally, in the judgment of him who, tracing variety in all the other works of God, believes its natural existence in the mental constitution of man. This diversity exists amongst the believers in Christianity, even as to the proofs on which they admit the divinity of their religion. Suppose those proofs could be represented by a given number, say 50. That wbieh produces conviction in one may be represented by 10 ; another requires 20 ; a third 40 ; another, not satisfied with less than 60, remains an unbeliever. More evidence would have included some who are Unbelievers ; less would have excluded some who are Christians. But whether Providence had seen fit to give more or less, their moral characters would have been precisely the same; the Christian who, on the one supposition, would have been a Deist, would not have been less meritorious ; the Deist who, on the other supposition, would have been a Christian, would not have been less depraved. I could easily find, amongst you, two firm Christians, of whom the one had required twice as much evidence for his faith as the other. Does the latter attribute the total rejection of Christianity to depravity of heart? He is equally liable to the same charge from the inore facile believer. No man cap indicate for another the mathematical point at which culpable eredulity ends, and culpable scepticism begins. He might as well profess to tell

the depth to which a ball, with any given momentum, would penetrate into any substance, without knowing the power of resistance which nature has imparted to that substance. Nor can it be said that Christianity has exactly that degree of proof which makes scepticism criminal; for the external proof of Christianity, arising as it does from prophecy and history, must of necessity have beep liable to considerable fluctuations, and is not in one generation or country what it is in another generation or country. And if it be asserted, that in all times and places it must have been powerful enough to overcome a constitutional tendency to doubt, unless strengthened by a vicious disposition, the assertion cannot be substantiated without a knowledge of the human mind which belongs only to its Maker."

Another occasion of deism is stated and reasoned upon in the following manner.

" Amongst the most extensive causes of Deism are the corruptions of Christianity, the diversity of opinions held by its professors, and the guilt and mischief which, to so enormous an extent, are fairly chargeable upon them. Here, it is true, the Deist ought to distinguish, but what Christian shall condemn bim for not distinguishing ? Not the advocates of these corruptions, for they deem them the genuine gospel. Not the actors of these enormities, for they pretend to justify them by the gospel. The majority of nominal Christians are worshippers of the Virgin Mary, and believers in Transubstantiation ; and a still greater majority believers in the Trinity. The majority of nominal Christians for ages were persecutors in fact, and the majority are still, I fear, persecutors in prin ciple. Who is to be condemned for taking their account of their religion, rather than that of an insignificant minority? But the books ; he is wrong in not taking his notions of it from the Sacred Books. Be it so. I think in that he is wrong; but while millions reiterate the censure, I cannot help saying, let him that is without sin cast the first stone. Is there no vilified religion to whose sacred books Christians have never appealed to do it justice ? Are not cruelties and absurdities attributed to Mohammedism in conversation, from the press, and in the pulpit, which a Koran from the next book. seller's shop would shew to be mere calumnies ? Is not the Hindoo religion daily stigmatized as a system of the grossest idolatry, while an appeal to its Sacred Books is in our language, proving that they teach the purest Theism ? Nay, if nine Christians out of ten were asked, whether the book prosecuted the other day contained arguments for the being and moral perfection of God, and a future state of existence for man, would they not answer in the negative, and do they not talk of it in terms only justified by that assumption ? One fault cannot justify another. I am not vindicating the Deist. But if the same or a similar error be alike chargeable upon two classes, neither of them is entitled to adduce it as a proof of the depravity of the other.

“ That the great diversity of interpretations of the Bible, by different sects, should distract the mind of a man who never received from education, or has lost by circumstances, a preference for any one of them, and that he should think that the book must needs want that clearness by wbich troth is characterized, from which professedly almost any thing and every thing has been both proved and disproved, I can very well conceive, without ascribing to bim either stupidi. ty or malignity. The consequent rejection does not appear to me more strange than many of the interpretations. The heretics who think Deists in a damnable error for rejection, should remember that the orthodox think them in a damnable error also for false interpretation. A hundred voices cry to the Deist, Be a Christian, or you cannot be saved, and ought not to be tolerated.' He asks, What is Christianity ? They give him a hundred different answers, and each condemos the rest. Until we, Christians, shall approach some. what nearer to unanimity, our distractions will operate as a cause of, and furnish a palliation for, infidelity."

After a few more remarks upon this head, be goes on to expostulate with Deists for their unreasonableness and absurdity in prejudging so important a subject, or confounding with the religion forms, institutions, habits, and characters which are perfectly distinct from it, and which a fair inquiry would show to be in many cases even condemned by it. But whatever may be their conduct, or their reasons for rejecting the faith, he insists that the rule of justice and candor is the same to them as to all other men; that in this respect there is but one for christians towards other men, and that is the golden rule of the text.

“ This poble and comprehensive precept is universal in its objects and definite in its injunction. It relates to our conduct towards man, be his station high or low, his colour white or black, his character virtuous or vicious, whether he be orthodox or heretic, Christian, Pagan, Jew, or Deist. Every man wishes the conduct of others to be just and kind towards himself; every man wishes not to be misrepresented, not to be persecuted, and every Christian who acts up to his religion will make these desires the standard of his conduct to others.”

This rule is in the remainder of the sermon, applied, first, as requiring us to be “just to their opinions,” not misrepresenting them, as we should deem it unfair that our own should be misrepresented ; second, as requiring us to

“ Be just to their characters, and as you would not have them estimate Christians, by the ruffian conquerors of Peru, or the merci. less assassins of St Bartholonew ; by the avaricious priest who makes religion the pretext of plunder, or the crafty tyrant who perverts it into the machine of oppression ; by the dreaming enthusiast, or the gloomy fanatic ; so pass not on them the sweeping condemna-, tion they may not deserve, which the notorious guilt of some will not justify, and which the merit of others ought to avert. If the sincere love of truth and goodness, if just claims to the regard and gratitude of all around, if friendship the most disinterested and unvarying, if pious feeling, pure and elevated, towards the Author of nature, and pbilanthropy the most diffusive, can form a title to high esteem, then have I known, well known, one instance, at least, in which it was due to an Unbeliever. There may be many such. If we take characters of rare excellence to shew the influence of Christianity, and reject the million, why should they be decried from the opposite result of a different process ? As Unitarians, we should remember Andrew Fuller's picture of our party; as Protestants, such tales as that of Luther's sale of his soul to the Devil ; as Christians, the debaucheries and cannibal feasts ascribed by the Pagans to the early churches,”

Without pursuing minutely the preacher's course of remark, we shall give sufficient specimen of the remainder of this sermon, by copying a few spirited passages.

“There is a sensitive apprehension about many good people, which ill beseems the man of enlightened mind and steady principle. · The Deist strikes at my religion :' Well, he is only breaking his weapon against a rock. He argues against the holiest doctrines of my faith :' does he ? Listen to his arguments, and if they be valid, allow their force ; if not, rejoice in a faith which will stand the test of reason.

• But he abuses and reviles :' then he disgraces himself and injures bis cause, and do you with a better cause employ nobler weapons. In this he breaks the laws :' so it appears.-Ought a Christian to invoke the aid of such laws ? I come now to the consideration of this question, and have no hesitation in saying that he ought to have nothing to do with them, unless it be to raise his voice for their repeal.

" What is the effect of prosecuting Deism on the individual who is thereby consigned to punishment ? You make of him a hypocrite or a martyr. You confirm his worst prejudices, and make him hate Christians and Christianity. Penalty and imprisonment were never yet the meaos of sincere conversion. Man clings to the faith for which he suffers ; his enmity rises with your inflictions. Is it a good deed thus to make the gospel hated ? Or suppose his spirit shrinks from the fiery trial. You have then made a hypocrite. No triumph that, for a good man to glory in. How does it affect his party ? See, say they, how these Christians meet us; we argue, and they prosecute; we refote, and they imprison. What think impartial lookers on, or what the young, the undecided and the inquiring? In the contest of force with opinion, we all know which way sympathy naturally inclines, and you have to answer for giving them this bias towards Infidelity."

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