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L E TT E R _'1.
YO U R long-expected performance has at last made its appearance. If the work tended
to promote the happiness of society,-t0 ani-ffl mate our liopes,-to subdue our paffions,-t0
infiruct man in the happy science of purifying the polluted recesi*es of a vitiated heart,-to confirm him in his exalted notion of the dignity of his nature, and thereby to inspire him with sentiments averse to whatever may debase the excellence of his origin,_the public would be indebted to you ; your name would be recorded amongst the assertors of morality and religion; and I myself, though bred up in a disferent persuasion from yours, would be the first
A vScotch phystcian, who styles himself Michael Setvetus.
to offer my incense at the shrine of merit. But the tendency of your performance is to deny the Divinity of Christ, and the immortality of the soul. In denying the first, you sap the foundations of religion ; you cut off, at one blow, the merit of our faith, the comfort of our hope, and the motives of our charity. In denying the immortality of the soul, you degrade human nature, and confound man with the vile and perishable insect. In denying both, you overturn the whole system of religion, whether natural or revealed. And in denying religion, you deprive the poor of the only comfort which supports them under their distresses and affiictions ; you wrest from the hands of the powerful and rich, the only bridle to their injustices and paffions ; and pluck from the hearts of the guilty, the greatest check to their crimes, _-I mean, this remorse of conscience, which can never be the result of a handful of orga-s nized matter,-this interior monitor which makes us blush, in the morning, at the dilsi orders of the foregoing night !-which e'rects in the breast of the tyrant, a tribunal superior to his power,-and whose importunate voice up,braids a Cain, in the wilderness, with the murder of his brother,-and a Nero, in his palace,with that of his mother. Such the consequences naturally resulting from the principles laid down in your writings. ' I t It is no intention of mine to fasten the odiurn of wilful infidelity on any person, who profel1 ses his belief o'f the scriptures ;* though I ar'n equally concerned and''suiprized that a gentleman, whose understanding has been enlightened by 'the Christian revelation, and enlarged by all the aids of human learning, should broach tenets, which equally militate against the first 'principles of reason, and the oracles of 'the Divi-*nity, and which if true would be 'of no service
'to mankind. Whoever is so 'unhappy as to '
Work himself into a conviction, 'that his soul is. no more than a subtile vapour, which in death is to be breathed out into the air, to mix con. fusedly with its kindred element, and there to perish, would rltill do well to conceal his horrid belief with more secrecy than the Druids conccaled their mysteries. In doing otherwise he only brings disgrace on' himself; for the notion of religion is so deeply impressed on our minds, that the bold champions who would fain destroy
_ it, are considered by the generality of mankind,
as public pests, spreading disorder and. morn.lity wherever they appear ; and in our feelings we discover the delusions of a cheating Philoa sophy, which can never introduce a religion more pure than that of the Christians, nor confer a more glorious privilege on man, than that of an immortal soul. In a word, if it be a crime