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five neighbours. If you glory in the purity of your religion, and in treading in the steps of its author, treat us as Christ himself would treat us, if he were on earth. He deprived no man of his property, nor of the indulgence and protection of the laws. If you glory in the purity of the Christian religion, call to mind that it suggests humility, and deference to people of superior power and judgment. Your king, your peers, and your commons, are deemed the first in dignity and wisdom: but I forget that you are well versed in the Bible, which says, " He "that is first amongst you, let him be the last." The scripture must be fulfilled. Take then the lead, and force them to trample on their own laws, and to banish their subjects.
Mention no longer *< violation of faith with *' heretics." You violate all the laws of civil society. In dissolving the fies of friendship, and pointing out your fellow subjects as the victims of legal severity, you split and rend the nation. You weaken its power, and trespass upon the respect due to your rulers, whom, instead of being the fathers of their people, you would fain force to become the heads of a faction.
You violate the sacred rights of nature. Her bountiful author declares, that ' he makes his * fun shine on the good and bad.' The light of
the fun, the brilliancy of the stars, the sweetness? of the fruit, the balsamic effluvia of flowers, are dispensed with a liberal hand to the Heathen and Idolater. Must you deprive your neighbours of gifts common to all Adam's children, because they stick to a religion which all your forefathers profesied, and which^ if wrong, can . hurt none but themselves r
In vain do you attempt to impose upon the public, with extradts of spurious canons, obsolete decrees, patches of councils^ and legends of massacres, in order to fix a ereed on us. The •world knows that Roman Catholics sway the sceptre of authority in kingdoms arid republics. The very nature then of eivil society is a manifest contradiction to the creed you impute to us i for, if we are no more than machines veering at the breath of popes and priests, whom neither conscience,- religion, the sacred ties of an oath, nor the fear of God's judgment, cast restrain, patentees of guilt, and sure of impunity, we could not form a society, for the space of one year: for, in such a society,, the notions of vice and virtue would be confounded; the blackest crimes and the purest virtue reduced to the same level; the discipline of morals destroyed; the harmony of the body politic dissolved, the brother armed against the brother;
and if, by a kind of miracle, in such a cursed pumber of men, a second Abel could be found, the earth would soon groan with the cries of his blood. If divines have attempted to demonstrate the existence of God from the nature of civil society, the very nature of civil society demonstrates the falsehood of the creed with which you compliment us. And, if the gloomy plan of such a horrid republic pleases your imaginations, go and lay the foundations of it, in some distant part of the earth. Be yourselves its members and governors; for no Christian could live there.
When the delicate pencils of the Gibbons, Reynals, and Marmontels, will paint the political scenery of the eighteenth century, when
on the extensive canvas, they will represent the gloom of long-reigning prejudice scattering, as the clouds of night, at the approach of the rising sun, when they will paint the poniard,
drenched in human blood, snatched from the hand of stern Persecution,—the French praying in concert with the Americans,—the Armenians invited into Russia,—the order of Military Merit established in favour of Protestants, in the palace of a Catholic king,—Ireland rising from the sea, covered with her Fabii and • Scipios, pointing their spears to distant shores, and holding forth the olive and sheaf of corn to
their their neighbours of all denominations, when
they will contrast the present to former times, —(hew the happy result of a change of system,
and prove that the world is refined, -You,
painted in as frightful attitudes as the group of figures in Raphael's Judgment, with stern fanaticism in your countenances, a bible in one hand and a fagot in the other,—you, I say, will be an exception to the general rule: the world will lead with surprise, that, in seventeen hundred and eighty, there have been fanatics in England and Scotland, that gave birth to so many illustrious writers. Your transactions shall be recorded in the appendix to the history of Jack Straw and Wat Tiler; and your chaplains and apologists (hall be ranked with James Nailer and Hugh Peters.
And thus, Gentlemen, I finish my Apostrophe.
SHOULD Mr. Wesley, or any of his associators, think it worth their while to make any remarks on these letters, they cannot justly expect a rejoinder. They have started forth the unprovoked aggressors; and, not satisfied with attempting to deprive the Roman Catholics of their rights as subjects, they have slandered and aspersed their characters. I am no stranger to the ground on which they will attack me: either the rusty weapons of old councils, or a catalogue
talogue of old massacres, will be drawn out of their mouldering arsenals: arms as ill suited to the eighteenth century, as Saul's helmet was to David's head. I will be attacked with the council of Lateran, the wars of the ALbigenses, the massacre of St. Bartholomew, &c. I am a Christian, and deny the transmigration of souls. I am nowise concerned in past transactions; or if my religion be charged with them, I have in roy hands the cruel arms of retaliation: •
I shall divide the charge into two branches, —barbarous actions, and barbarous doctrine. If Mr. Wesley reckons all those who are not, or have not been, in communion with the fee of Rome, in the number of heretics, and himself amongst them, as doubtless he does, I shall then lay at his door, all the abominable and seditious doctrines taught by those whom he styles heretics, from the time of Simon the Magician, down to our days,—the impurities of the Gnostics; the enchantments of the Ophites; the perjury and frauds of the Priscillianists ; the errors of the Albigenses, and millions besides. If, from these distant times, I make a transition to a nearer aera, I shall prove to him, from the works, not only of insignificant writers of the reformed religion, but of the very founders of the reformation, who assumed as much power over their followers, as the pope assumes over T the