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present, vor things to come, nor height, nor depth, should be able to separate him from the love of God in Christ Jesus? Did he forget that an obstinate and determined spirit was the life and essence of the character of oue whose Lord had admonished him that the kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence, and that the violent take it by force? I have said enough to shew that resolution is not criminal. Prove to Mary Ann Carlile that her principles are wicked, and I have no doubt that she will be obstinately determined to disseminate the most contrary ones; and I must add, that in that case I am convinced she will hear no more from Mr. Gurney of the criminality of her boldness and resolution. As to Mr. Gurney's confidence that power shall trample upon what the Carliles think to be right, I wonder he was not ashamed to think of it. Is power the weapon to be used by the Christian to stop the mouth of thc sceptic? Does he mean to say that it would be a proof of Mr. Carlile's wickedness, were he put down by power? Does he mean to say that his Saviour's cause was manifested to be bad by the power which nailed him to the Cross, and crucified bim? Does he mean to say that his Saviour shewed himself to be an imposter, when he made no use of the power with which he was confident he was entrusted, when he gave himself over to the virulent rage and fury of the Jews?

But after all, Mr. Carlile will not be intimidated. The use, I had almost said abuse, of power in his case, only confirms him in his opinion that Christianity is weak and tottering, when left to itself; and he will proceed to stem the violence of power, till either he has lost his strength, or till those who have the power, shall have the generosity to wield only the proper weapons of Christianity, which are declared to be not those of iron and steel, but those of the word and spirit of God. “Our weapons,"s aid St. Paul, are not carpal.” To obey is better than the blood of rams, and even than the blood and bodies of men.

But indeed power is sadly misused in this case. Observe the violent expressions used by the “Courier" Newspaper about Miss Carlile. “ That wretched wonian!” was the appellation it gave to her. If he would speak of “ that wretched man,” Mr. Canning, the writer of blasphemous parodies; that wretched man, the writer of blasphemous ridicule; I should give the Editor more credit than I do vow for manliness of spirit and intrepidity of character.

I shall now request your attention to the alleged demands of society and of law. One would suppose that the opinion of an eminent Philosopher, who is always held up as a glory to Christianity, I mean Lord Bacon, should be received with respect. He is contrasting Atheisin and Superstition, and he makes the following observation : “ Atheism leaves a man to sense, to philosophy, to natural affection, to laws, to reputation: all which may be guides to an outward moral virtue, though religion were not. Atheismı did never perturb states: for it makes men wary of themselves, as looking no farther, and we see the times inclined to Atheism, as the times of Augustus Cæsar, were civil tiines.” Lord Bacon is bere speaking


of the effects of a very denial of a God, and says the effects of that are not dangerous to society. How less can that opinion be dangerous to society, which maintains the being of a God, and our duty to love and serve him? The celebrated Burnet, in his theory of the earth, gives the highest possible praise to the Deistical system as contra-distinguished from Atheism: “ The hypothesis of the Deist," says this writer, "reaches from the top to the bottom, both through the intellectual and material world with a clear and distinct light every where; is genuine, comprehensive and satisfactory; has nothing forced, nothing confused, nothing precarious.” It is not faith, but practice, which after all, must put our characters to the test, and the loudest assertion of his faith, and claimer of the kingdom of Heaven, if he does not act in his station worthily of that station, we are told, shall be unknown to the Saviour of mankind. " For modes of faith then," what hinders us from exclaiming with the philosophic poet,

“ For modes of faith let graceless zealots fight,

He can't be wrong, whose life is in the right.” Could Deism throw citizens out of the reach of their Government, were it in possession of a charm, which should free them from control, and suffer them to act with impunity after the desires of their eyes, then indeed the encouragement of Deism would be attended with unspeakable evil; but Deists, as well as Christians, are subject to the same laws, and the same punishments for robbing from a neighbour, or casting a foul spot on the fair character of another. Observe the confessions of Bishop Beveridge in regard to the education of children: “ To speak to them,” says he,“ of heaven and eternal glory will not encourage them so much as to give them their childish pleasures and desires: and the denouncing of a future hell will not affright them so much as the inflicting a present smart.' If Christians would only consider that the Jewish legislator never once spoke of a future state to his subjects, if they would observe that his promises and his threats were all of a present interest, of the interest of this world, they would observe how they are libelling that legislator when they contend that there is no Government suited to persons who are led only by their present hopes and fears.

The great question here again, even if we lose sight of what I have just now said, is whether Deism is true or false: and it cannot be determined by particular individuals for the whole community. There are high candidates for belief, and for scepticism. This society however, calls itself a Society for the Suppression of Vice, and it takes the question as proved, and calls Deisin, VICE. What considerate men hesitate in asserting, this Society takes upon itself to assert with confidence; they would have the impudence if they could to stare Mr. Hume, Di, Adam Smith, Lord Shaftesbury and Lord Bolingbroke, in the face, and tell them they were men of vicious principles, and deserving of fine and imprisonment, and I doubt not, of eternal punishment: unparalled effrontery! inexpressible impudence !

But I ask wło ought to be bold enough to be sure he is right no

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this subject? That very Christian who laughs at the infallibility of the Pope, claims it for himself, and injures the persons and property of others by his confidence in his clainis. low gross a contradiction is here?

" His weak unknowing hand presumes,

The bolts of God to throw,
And deals damnation round the land

On each he thinks his foe." Is he so weak as to suppose that the almighty God of Heaven and Earth is in need of his services? How long will it be before lie asks humbly with Eliphaz the Temanite: “ Can a man be profitable unto God, as he that is wise may be profitable to himself?” and how long will he delay before he closes with the exhortation of St. Paul; “Who art thou, that judgest another man's servant? To his own master he standeth or falleth."

But the best reason, which can be urged against the folly of such a man is the confessions of the acknowledged champions of Christianity. Bishop Butler has written a whole work to prove that religion is a matter of probability, not of certainty. Bishop Watson has the candour to acknowledge that the “ History of the Old Testament has without doubt some difficulties in it,” and that “ real dif. ficulties occur in it."

The celebrated and pious Dr. Watts himself, suffered extreme misery in his investigations after Christian Doctrines, and was at one time on the brink of Deism: observe his language, “ Great God, who seest all things, thou hast beheld what busy temptations have been ofteu fluttering about my heart, to call it off from these laborious and difficult enquiries, and to give up thy word and thy gospel as au unintelligible book, and betake myself to the light of nature and reason: but thou hast been pleased by thy divine power to scatter these temptations, and fix my heart and hope again. (observe again) on that Saviour, which thou hast revealed in thy word.” Again: in speaking about the attested Resurrection of Christ, Dr. Paley has the following singular expressions: “I do not mean," he says, “ that nothing can be inore certain than that Christ rose from the dead, but that nothing can be more certain, than that his apostles gave out that he did so." But why need I go out of Court for supports of my assertion, when a late address of the Judge to Mary Ann Carlile gives me so powerful an instance of its truth. He says, that he has himself given the subject a deep and attentive consideration; and, I have been informed, was formerly of a very opposite opinion from that which he now professes, and besides this, he expresses himself confident that sooner or later (observe these words, sooner or later) most persons will make up their minds to the truth of Christianity. How strongly does this shew what a great gulf is fixed between the universally acknowledged guilt of fraud and murder! a guilt, which requires no time or study to investigate; a guilt, which is allowed to be so even by the most hardy veteran in-the trade, between that and the right or wrongness of a question which costs the inquisitive mind so much labour and industry, which is agreed to by those sceptical men, who at last, renounce their doubts, after long toil and trouble; which the majority of thinking men hesitate all their life between believing and rejecting, and which so many great and distinguished men in all professions and ranks of life, have ai length absolutely renounced. Besides punishment for sceptical publications has the very worst effect on society, on account of the duplicity of character, which it forces sceptical writers to adopt : thus for instance at the end of an Essay, the intention of which is to bring into doubt the Immortality of the Soul, Mr. Hume makes the following subtle observation, in words to this effect; “Nothing can so clearly point to us the infinite obligations we owe to Christianity, since without it we have no means of proving a future state:” and at the beginning of it he praises Christianity for “ bringing life and immortality to light.” I need not point to you the duplicity exbibiteri in the termination of his “ Essay on Miracles,” nor that displayed by Mr. Gibbon, in lois two chapters on the Christian Religion. În contirmation of what I am stăting, I will read an observation of Dr. Aikin in his “ Biography;" “ although,” says he, “there can be no doubt that Gibbon was a realenemy to Revelation, under the mask of a believer, yet while penal laws subsist against an open declaration of opinion, the practice of a prudential disguise cannot be equitably condemned." I would ask you is this spirit of disguise and dissimulation the spirit you think proper to encourage by a conviction of a publisher of sceptical opinions ? Can any thing be more detrimental to society than an encouragement of duplicity of character? Yet the open, honest, undisguised man is punished; the crafty and insidious are left unpunished. Is the cause of this inequality the following one, that it matters not what the learned think, but that it is absolutely necessary the poor should be reduced to belief and to faith! If it is vice which is intended to be stopped, why are certain shops allowed to exist which are the pest and plague of London? Why does the Government encourage Lotteries? Why does the Chancellor of the Exchequer differ on this point from those, with whom on all other points of religion and morality he agrees so closely? Why are balls and card-parties allowed in the most fashionable circles after an opera on a late hour on the Saturday night? Why is the opening dawn of the Sunday morning profaned by the voice of the elegant swearer, and the accomplished drunkard : Is it that the

poor are forced to ohedience, and that the wealthy and the noble are presented with a licence to act as they desire ? However, be the object of these persecutions good, or be it bad, it appears to me that it greatly fails in this respect, viz. that they encourage investigations into religion, which would perhaps else never have engaged the attention of the public. Persecution enlists on its side the humane and thé benevolent; it gives an edge to ingenuity, and excites the curiosity of the inquisitive. I have reason to believe that in America, where works on both sides of the subject of religion are tolerated with the most undistinguishing liberality, an indifference to enquiry

is found to follow the licence to enquire. This is founded on a well known principle of the human inind, that it neglects what is easy of acquirement, and pursues with avidity what is difficult of access; and particularly what is anxiously and designedly kept from its grasp, only one more argument shall be adduced on this part of my defence.

No human tribunal,” says the Author of Happiness, “ought to take cognizance of an error in judgment, for it comprehends no offence against the order or the happiness of society. A mau is not master of his own sentiments, to believe or disbelieve what is prescribed to him or what he pleases. Can it be a crime for one not to be a logician ? Conscience does not teach us to reason well but to act rightly."

The reflections I have made on the demands of society will facilitate my enquiry into the demands of the law-laws are made to support society; to do that which society demands--laws are necessary only for this object. If society does not demand prosecutions of publishers of sceptical works; if even its interests are hurt by prosecuting them, then it is useless to urge that laws exist against them. If they exist they ought to be abolished. The laws against the Unitarians were for a long time thought to be required by society, but they were afterwards abrogated. “ Blasphemy, in law," said Bailey in his dictionary, “by an act made in the ninth and tenth of William 111., is, when any one having been educated in, or having at any time made profession of the Christian Religion, shall deny any one of the persons of the Holy Trinity. to be God,” &c. Observe how mutable are the claims of society on subjects which are immutable ! Observe how that in one age ceases to be blasphemy, which was punished for blasphemy, in a former one ! How is religion hurt by these inconstant definitions of matters which are said to be divine, and constant as their author! The fact that the Reverend Mr. Eulyu was dragged round the streets of Dublin and exposed to the contempt and insults of the inob at the beginning of the last century for his Arian publications is hardly credible in our age. How glaring is the inconsistency! Does it not show that barbarity and ignorance have had a great deal to do with the creation of the laws in regard to religious persecutions; and may we not hope that an enlighened age, like the present, will on other subjects of theology, do that justice to particular individuals which has been done to Unitarian writers ? May we not hope that enlightened men will be alive to the prepossessions and opinions of others, allow enquiry to the curious, and no longer sink the mind which is desirous to obtain and to give satisfaction on the most important of all subjects, into despondency, by presenting it with the prospect of the dark and unseemly corners of a Dorchester Prison ?

If it is said, that the common law demands these prosecutions, observe that every country has its common law--and that, if libels on Christianity are to be punished in a Christian country, libels on Mahometanism deserve punishment in a Mahometan country. Observe, that the horrible law of the Turk, which strangles the Turkish convert

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