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on the vantage ground of established law, might have prevented incalculable evil, now widely spreading, beyond the reach or remedy of any human control.
This appeal was intended to have been made on a similar occasion, by Bishop Newton, in a speech designed for the House of Lords on the second reading of the Dissenters' Bill, May 17, 1772. The concluding sentences of which may now appear to have been written in somewhat almost of a prophetic strain:-“ There is no pleą
nor pretence for this bill; it is improperly “ entitled a Bill for the relief of Protestant Dis“senters. It is more justly and truly a bill for “ the public preaching of Arianism, Socinianism,
any schism, any heresy, that any fanatic or “ incendiary may advance. Such is the nature 6 of this bill, bad in itself, worse in its conse
quences. Let what will be said, it is contrary " to all the maxims of sound and good policy “ for any government to grant to any men, or set “ of men, the free toleration and public profession “ of their religion, without their first declaring
“ what their religion is; so that it may be known “ to be consistent with the safety of the state. “ But perhaps their principles are so very differ
ent, that they cannot, or perhaps they are of “ such a nature that they really dare not declare “ them. I am afraid, my Lords, and there is
too great reason to fear, that the true secret, “ the true end and design of this bill, as well as of “ the petition from some of the clergy against “subscription, is, that being no longer under
any restraint from the Articles, they may more
freely preach their Socinian doctrines, deny “ the ever-blessed Trinity, assert Jesus Christ to “ be little more than a mere man, 6 all the merits of his sacrifice and atonement.
and take away
“ In the Act of Toleration itself there is a clause
“ that the benefits of this Act shall not extend
“ to any person that shall deny in his preaching
or writing the doctrine of the blessed Trinity,
as it is declared in the Articles of Religion. “ There is another Act of the 9, 10, Will. III. “ for the more effectual suppressing of blas
phemy and profaneness, which subjects to the
“ severest penalties ' any person or persons who “ «shall by writing, printing, teaching, or advised 6 o speaking, deny any one of the persons in the
Holy Trinity to be God.' And God forbid,
my Lords, that this House should ever, con“trary to so many Acts of Parliaments, contrary “ to the whole tenor of the Gospel, give their “ sanction and authority to men, who not pria
vily, as the Apostle says, but publicly bring in “ damnable heresies, even denying the Lord " that bought them.”
The repeal of the Trinity Bill opened the door for the republication of the works of Paine. Carlile declared on his trial, that they would not have appeared again, had this law remained in force; and the next use he made of its abrogation was to summon the highest dignitary of the church into a court of justice, as a witness on his own side !!! About the same time, a seceder from the Establishment availed himself of the same licence to publish “ Dialogues on “ the Trinity,” containing doctrines more absurd than many which had issued from the “ Temple
“ of Reason;" but infinitely more dangerous, as professedly derived from the records of
Such were the immediate consequences of
THE EMANCIPATION OF THE DEISTS.
“ Ex illo fluere et retro sublapsa referri,
Spes Danaûm, fractæ vires, AVERSA Dei mens."
Experience of the practical results of this surprisal (for such it must in candour be deemed) might, it should be expected, lead to the utmost caution with regard to other concessions, in which the interests of religion are necessarily involved. The Legislature is now occupied by the renewed consideration of a measure, which, as no political sophistry can ever altogether separate it from the true interests of the Christian church, your Lordships will be prepared to meet, when it shall pass under the review of another House, with a godly jealousy becoming the high responsibility of your important station therein, as guardians of that Christianity which alone is at present recognised as the religion of this Protestant country.
The consequences of this measure, should it pass into a law, may easily be anticipated by any person of common sense, who reads his Bible, and is acquainted with the history of the Reformation. He will not find a word in the one, or a fact in the other, from which any favourable inference can be drawn, as to the result; but he will find both replete with warnings and examples of the most awful and decisive character.
The signal interpositions by which this fatal concession has hitherto been procrastinated, instead of operating, as might have been hoped, as so many barriers to the possibility of its future admission, are now either totally overlooked, or made use of as so many arguments in its favour. Successive advocates have failed and fallen in the attempt, and the assault is renewed with redoubled ardour. “ Non Hydra secto
corpore firmior,” may justly characterise the perseverance of that body, which loses none of its energies by loss of its heads. Like the immortal phalanx of Lacedæmon, it derives its perpetuity not from its invulnerable nature, but from the rapidity of its succession, and the