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And 'tis, “ Oh, John Craig ! wae woman, full surely ye'll make me,
"LET MINE ENEMY BT. AS THE WICKED, AND HE THAT RISETH UP AGAINST ME AS THE
UNRIGHTEOUS. JOB XXVII. 7.
When we last addressed our readers now visible in the character of British on the state of Public Affairs, and on statesmen. But not to fear, or at least the symptoms of the diseases of the not to prepare for resistance, when the times, the country was looking for- object threatened or assailed is no other ward with strong and high hopes than the Religion of our country, would which have not been disappointed-to betoken a shocking insensibility to the the meeting of Parliament. All the blessings which it bestows, and lovers of freedom, order, and religion, shocking ingratitude to the God by and none but they can be lovers of the whom it was revealed. land in which all these Sanctities have It is not to be wondered at, thereso long dwelt inviolated, well knew, fore, that almost all persons of any dethat when the Grand Council of the gree of knowledge and education, have Nation assembled, the voice of Britain expressed alarm for their country, and, would be there lifted up in recognition along with that alarm, a determination and defence of those principles by to guard its threatened blessings. The which alone the glory of a great Peo- language of impiety has come upon ple can be upheld. "That a black and their ears, not from the dark dens aevil spirit had been too long brewing lone of our crowded cities, but even among the dregs of society, and that from the hamlet and the village that that spirit had been stirred up, and fed, once stood in the peacefulness of naand strengthened by wicked men, ture, like so many little worlds, happy who hoped to see it ere long burst out in the simplicity of their manners, the into conflagration, was, we may safely blamelessness of their morals, and the say, an almost universal belief; and confidence of their faith. Accustomed the only difference of opinion among as they had been to look with delight, good and wise men was with regard to and awe, and reverence, on all those the greatness and the proximity of the forms and services of religion by which danger. When the character of a its Spirit is kept alive in men's hearts, people seems to be not only shaken and which have been created by the and disturbed, but vitiated and pois, devout aspirations of human nature oned, when it is no longer mere dis- seeking alliance with Higher Power, content, or disaffection to government the most ordinary men were startled that is heard murmuring throughout and confounded to hear all religious the lower ranks of life-but a bold and establishments with the foulest exefierce and reckless spirit of impiety and crations threatened and assailed, and irreligion, it is the bounden duty of all that Book from which all truth and who are free from that malignant dis- knowledge has spread over the world, ease, and resolved to arrest its progress, daily and weekly exposed, beneath the to become Alarmists. There is no re- skies of Britain, to the most hideous proach, but true praise in the epithet, profanation. The danger has not when bestowed not on mere sticklers for struck only the clear-sighted and the men and measures—but on them who high-souled—but it has forced itself know,from the melancholy history of hu- upon the thoughts of men of every man nature, how rapid and deadly is the character and condition; and the humcontagion of infidelity-how fearful its blest and lowliest Christian has looked ravages when it is spread among the forth with sorrow from the quiet poor-how difficult the cure, but how homestead of his own inoffensive and easy the prevention. There is some- retired life, on the loud and tumultuous thing cowardly in being prone to fear spirit of infidelity abroad in the world. even the most angry and threatening But it is not to be thougiit that, in discontent of the people--more espe- a country like Britain, whore there is cially in times of distress and priva- and so long has been so much talent, tion; and there is no such proneness genius, philosophy, and erudition,
the attacks now made on Christianity, told, that if our religion is from God, though they ought to awaken among its it stands in no need of the support of defenders the watchfulness, need ever man, while, at the same time, we are awaken the trepidation of fear. Every beholding the hearts and the souls of all man, in truth, who loves Christianity who join in such blasphemies, polluted, and obeys its laws is a defender of the seared, and blasted? Who, but the infifaith,--but there is a mightier band, del himself, ever ventured to affirm, that both of the living and the dead, drawn God gave us Christianity to be a blessup in this land of light around the ing, that was to exist among us for strong-holds of our religion. And be- ever, in spite of all ingratitude, confore Christianity could cease to be our tempt, scorn, and blasphemy? If it creed, not only would it be necessary is from God, why care for seeing it to burn or obliterate the magnificent subjected to the puny attacks of man? library of the genius of England—but Oh! blind, base, and wieked thankto root out from the deep soil of the lessness to our Benefactor! It is, we English heart all the grand thoughts reply, because our religion is from and lofty associations that have for cen- God, that we will not suffer it to be turies there grown and prospered-to profaned. If it were even the mere hucut down the mysterious groves of the man invention of some benign philoimagination--to strip the whole region sopher, who had seen farther than his of the English spirit naked and bare fellow-mortals into the mysteries of and to leave it without hope, or me- our souls, even then so much perfect mory, or emotion, or passion, one wide beauty, and stainless purity, and unand cheerless blank of sterility and de- approached sublimity, though of morsolation. This is a catastrophe which tal birth, would have been guarded never can befall us. We have no fears both by righteousness and by law, lest the temples of the living God and wo would have been to their should be pushed from their base by blasphemers. But when God has the fierce but feeble hands of their sent down in mercy his own word wretched assailants. These blind and unto earth, shall we dare to pride ourimpious hordes seem to us like mad- selves on our poor virtues of liberality, men impotently dashing themselves and toleration of what we are pleased against impediments which to them to call the opinions of our brethren, seem tottering or air-built, but against and stand by without smiting the ofwhose massive and enduring strength fender in his guilt, while the revethey fall down in miserable pain and lation that made us what we now baffled ferocity. We who know what are, and worthy of the higher desChristianity is—and what is and what tinies of futurity, is mocked by the has been the Christian church-will mouths of the ignorant, the profligate, not endure the degradation of one mo- the ferocious, and the wicked ? What ment's fear, lest the mean should over- promise has our Creator ever given to throw the mighty-lest the wretched us what reason can we draw from hands of the ignorant, the vile, and his moral government, that he will not, the wicked, stretched forth through to punish sin and iniquity, allow the the darkness in which they dwell, light of Christianity to be darkened should be permitted to touch, much all over the earth ? The sins of a naless to scatter, the unextinguishable tion bring upon it all kinds of evilbeacon-light that burns on the altar weakness, disorder, convulsions, and of Religion.
revolution. Thence, too, the decay of But is there any man so senseless as all human virtues, and of all human not to know that Christianity may re- knowledge. And are we to suppose, main, pure and undefiled, the Religion that Christianity is still to abide of the land ; and yet that there may, among the melancholy ruins and at the same time, be in that land that the wickedness of the creature much of the wickedness and the shall no more move the Creator unto wretchedness of infidelity. Though wrath? Let no man, then, dare thus - We have no fears for Christianity, to speak of his religion ; for, after all, which is of God, are we to have none its temple is in the heart ; and if our for Christians, who are but mere frail hearts can be so cold, so dead in the and erring men ? Are the blasphemies frost of ingratitude as not to burn and of a Paine not to be put down by pun- kindle up into indignation, when God ishment, because, forsooth, we are himself is insulted, how may Chris
tianity any longer abide theret-Chris-flicting punishment on the merciless tianity, the religion, it is true, of destroyer? We find ourselves some gentleness and of love, but whose Sanc- times driven to the stern necessity of tities, when profaned, are terrible, and putting a malefactor to death for some will not be so profaned without a one dangerous and unpardonable crime. terrible vengeance being wrought by He has forfeited his life and the forheaven on the guilty Nation.
feit must be paid. Say that he is a What is there in the heart of man, robber or a murderer---that he has beautiful or great, that is not from violated property and shed blood. Heaven? Love, by which men are Never did there exist in any human held together in communities, is from society, robber and murderer who had God. Its principles are laid by God the power of being so destructive by in the intellect and the heart. Pa- acts of violence and blood to his rental and filial love are from and of fellow creatures as the-blasphemer. God—their uttermost perfection is The one disregards the commandment brought to light in the Christian dis- of God and man--the other would pensation. All created existence is in obliterate them-would break the taGod. What then is or can be meant blets on which they are engraven. А by telling us, that Christianity needs thousand robberies and murders lie not our support, and that it is at once at the door of every blasphemer. Could cruel, and unjust, and needless to in- we suppose Paine to have suffered seflict punishment on its enemies ? parate punishment for each of all the caWill not parental love, that mingles pital crimes that he had virtually comwith ineffable and blissful tenderness mitted,--hour after hour, and day after with the heart blood of all human life, day, must the bones of the unhappy support for ever its own fearless and wretch have been broken on the wheel. undying energies? Will not filial love One act of guilt is perpetrated, and yearn, even to its latest day, towards the actor must die. And shall the the bosom on which it lay in its help- fiend, who by cowardice or fear merely lessness? Yet, is there no language has been prevented from the comin which the word— Parricideis un- mission of every crime, and who deknown. The light of nature, whether votes all the energies of his nature, original or revealed, is put into our such as they may be, to the destrucown keeping—we are bound to feed tion of those feelings and principles and to protect it-and, if needs must and beliefs by which the actions of be, to punish all who seek to extin- mankind are either restrained or kindguish it, by the infliction of degrading, led, shall he be held to stand aloof in and shameful, and humiliating punish- impunity, beyond the reach of human ment.
law, and sacred from the vengeance With many of those acts to which of the society which he is plotting to law, with a necessary regard to the undermine and to overthrow? The rights of the community, has adjudged universal voice of conscience cries out punishment, there are in human na- for his punishment. ture many sources of sympathy; and But, no one who is capable of this feeling not unfrequently renders knowing the dignity of human nasuch punishment nugatory, or at least ture, supposes that, by the punish, greatly diminishes its efficacy in the ment of blasphemy, the sole good prevention of crime. But there is one sought or gained, is either the precrime which shuts up the hearts of all vention of the further crime of an inagainst its perpetrator, and makes dividual, or even the reformation of them to award and to witness his pu- that individual. A wrong has been nishment with a stern and almost un- done-an insult offered to the spirit pitying spirit. That is the crime of of religion in men's hearts—and unBlasphemy. In the Blasphemer we less the sin against God and the disee the enemy of all the human vine influence be punished, society
We see him flinging poison would feel as if it retained the blaspheinto the well of life ; and when we mer within its bosom, and become a think that the poor who repair thither in party in his crime. There must for their thirst for refreshment may drink such fault be an expiation ordained pollution and death, from what corner even by a human tribunal. Nature of the satisfied conscience can come calls that criminal to the bar--and deone single feeble whisper against in- livers him up to justice. None can doubt or question the right which to scatter themselves abroad, or that society holds of doing with the blasphe- they should be fearlessly grasped by mer whatsoever it will, who knows the law, and when by it exhibited, any thing of what Christianity is, or exhibited with the seal of reprobation the principles by which alone can ex- affixed to them, to universal loathing, ist the great nations of Christendom. execration, and scorn ? It would not It is most true, that Christianity is only be weak but wicked to know that with us part of the law of the land, - infidelity was openly at work, and yet and it would be strange if it were to be afraid of arresting the evil spirit not;—but however that may bemit as he was selling perdition. We have is the law of God, and the law of na- remarked, that though many of our ture admits it into our hearts; and, periodical writers have lamented (and therefore, it is a crime to touch it who would not) that the conviction with an unhallowed hand, and a crime of that caitiff Carlisle was necessarily whose punishment carries with it its accompanied with the publication of own vindication.
some of his hideous impieties, yet It is therefore unworthy of any that none have regretted or blamed man of intellect to talk about the the trial of such a pest, but men of evil which is done by trials for blas- the very narrowest intellect, or those phemy. If a crime is perpetrated, it who, in their secret souls, are unbelieve must be punished and he must have ers like himself, and would fain, by a poor opinion both of the laws of some plausible plea, shield such crimiGod, and the constitution of human nals from punishment. nature, who thinks that a Christian Nor, on such occasions, has the society can be deterred by fear from self-named philosopher been silent the punishment of guilt. It is most -and we have been told, that OPItrue, that the wickedness of the blas- NIONS must be put down, not by phemer is aggravated by any evil the pains of law, but by the power that may result from the publicity of reason. OPINIONS-Of what which must be given to some portion do such persons speak ? Has in. of his blasphemy, by the only means tellect any fetters imposed upon it in that society can take for its ultimate this country ? May it not thinksuppression, and his immediate pu- speculate—theorize--doubt-attack nishment. That guilt is on his own and overturn? And in what place, or head. But though his impieties may, in what time of the world, were all indeed must, in the course of justice, kinds of OPINIONS so freely and boldbe made visible to some eyes which ly, and even audaciously promulgated, had otherwise been saved from the without fear of either stop or stay?-foulness, can that be held as an argu- Never in any country was the human ment against passing sentence on them intellect so free—and heaven forfend at all, and for suffering them to float that we should seek to abridge its over the whole of society, unbranded freedom. But though virtue, and with the stigma of a righteous law ? knowledge, and sense, and philosophy, No man can think so. However his should be free, because they will nodeous the crime of blasphemy-and bly repay their freedom to the state,however lamentable that the innocent who contends, and with what motives, should be almost obliged to hear or for uncontrolled liberty to vice, igno-. to look on it, when brought forward rance, madness, and folly? Have even for the purpose of punishment, they a right to be free? or rather, is that evil is light and trifling indeed, there not an obligation laid by liberty compared to that which would spring and knowledge on those whose counout of impunity--for then we should try is blessed by their light, to bind, seem to have abandoned, as it were, the and shackle, and scourge, and punish, cause of nature and of God. It is what is at eternal enmity with all well that the religious mind should most glorious and sacred to man? not be exposed to the contamina- OPINIONS !-they are the fruit of tion that there is felt to be in the thought--and such is the honour in mere knowledge that such foul things which intellect is held in this counhave been conceived and written, try, that its very errors are respected, but, if they have been so conceived and we look with pardon even upon and written, is it better that they falsehood, if we are assured that the should be suffered, silently and surely, intellect has embraced it, mistaking it