תמונות בעמוד

Here, recognize only to insult, worship, aod trifle with, adore and disobey. And, consequently, where the writings for which 1 am prosecuted have made one infidel, the measures which they have adopted have made a thousand. Who, then, are the eBemies of Christianity? Who are they.whose conduct aims directly to take away from sufferinsj'humanity the halm of spiritual cousolation—to overcloud the last bright prospect of another and a better world—to dissolve the mystic charm that makes victory sit upon the fading cheek, and trinmph sparkle in the dying eye—'to loosen all the holds and stays of moral virtue, and set the soul afloat on the waves of a shoreless scepticism? tt is not I—not we—not any books which we have published or sold—not any thing which we have doue or could do. It wasjiever in our intention, never in our will, never in our power; but it is the act apd deed of our prosecutors; it is they who give Christianity the fatal wound—'tis they who have produced in all men's minds the latent and deep-working leaven of scepticism; they have excited the universally extending suspicion which the eye cannot avoid seeing, and from which the mind cannot turn away. They have exhihited Christianity in features of caricatures, and set up Jesus on the pedestal of Dagon. If there were any thing to the dishonour of Christianity contained in the books, for the sale of which I am prosecuted, it was at least not forced upon public observation; no one was obliged to purchase or read them: they did not present a lie on the title page; they did not profess to be what they were not; they did not say, " This is Christianity." Yet if Christianity be a gracious and beneficial dispensation, surely they exhihit as much of it as the conduct of our prosecutors; who act as if they deemed violence and cruelty accessary to its defence, and thus, in the sight of all men, by their manifest and overt acts, proclaim that they themselves think Christianity has no brighter evidence than such as may glimmer through the hars of a prison. I am instructed, therefore, to call upon you, as Christians, by your verdict this day, to vindicate the honour of the Christianity you profess—to disappoint the machinations of those more dangerous enemies to Christianity, those traitors* within your walls, who are Secretly sapping its foundations, and working a deadlier mischief to your citadel than all the power of avowed enemies could pour on you from without. Disappoint the purposes of those mistaken and vindictive men. Let you verdict be responsive, not to the angry passions and sinister interests of a faction, but to the calm judgment and good sense.o*fall-the wise and good men in the world: in the number of which you will not, find one but who would contemplate any other thau a verdict of acquittal with chagrin ahd sorrow.- Let your verdict fearlessly respond to what must Kb'the sincere dictate 'of your conscience; let it shew youfr resp&T. at leas'l for tbwt part of Christianity which requires that you should.do unto all men as you would they should do to you; leT\t shew.your /e'spect fof. yourselves, that you will not, for the saUe'of. a little favour wjlb the.=e great men, be indiicedrlo deliver bver a* victim to'jbeifl resentment; let it shew your becoming retnembradce of the similarity of my situation thfS day to^that of ".the author "and finislier.of your faith." ',Aet but as ^e^vould-haye^'oa act, and I am sure^tofce actjuitfed. jrgainst this,4he '<*n]$ sophistry thai I can fear's, that tyrannical dogmatis'm whicfi Wojiw be fof making short werjfr of tBis question, and durfgr

•the pretext of precedent an6SZaMf,"se*k at once to cut me*off Trom alfhopes of justice, and'you, from the fair exercise of your.functionsag jurors, on which alone my hopes of justice rest! .You .may be told, perhaps, with just as much reason aran Eastern Caliph would coudeseerid to give^that " I knew the penalty incurred — 1 had sufficient example," and so,forth: as the oriental despot would say, "There is the law—there is the offender, and there is the punishment; and all the jury has to do is to read that law, seize that offender, and applyWhat punishment." But, Gentlemen, this short measure^ill not do—'tis false, 'tis,harharous, and wicked. I beseeeb you, become no^ the instruments of a tyranny like

"this. No precedent or number of precedents will justify what is in itself iniquitous ;' and that any man should be sent to" prison for the opgn avowal of dishelief in a religion, w hich

, disclaims all means of persecution and I or a*, is as great a wrong as wrong can fee. To urge, however, that there is a law on,the subject, and that that law, merely because there is such an one, must "be enforced, is-a most cruel and arhitrary sophism. It is an insult on your understandings; and they.who press it on you, laugh in their sleeves at the stupidity that tan be so easily imposed on. No, Gentlemen, 'there is no law that can authorise evij. In the very article of its injustice it is per se annulled. And if such existonthe tetter of a fusty statute book, it should not be respected, but repealed; anjl till this can conveniently be done, the office and duty of a jury is, ftqt to put it in force, but to prevent its operation. To make existing law the means of oppression is to-add the, last possible aggravation to cruelty and in

justice. . So it was by the laid, that Naboth,#the Jezreelite,
\ras put to death, when the tyrant Ahah, having occasion
to possess himself of his inheritance, ,ha'd him accused of .
having " blasphemed God and the jfcing;" and the murder
of Christ iiiinsejf must seem justifiable, if that was good rea- ,
souing of the'chief priests of his cjay, *hen they said, '' We
have a law, and by our law he ought fo'iilie."—-No, Gentle-
men, though the letter of written law. was against him, jus-i
tice was not; and that fitme justice which should have res-
cued, him from the letter.of^trict enactment, now'pleads for-
me. ■ 1 beseech you, Gentlemen, as Ch/istiaus, not to justify,
by.a verdict against me, the cojtdem nation of him whom you
believe, though sacrrfijjed by the tex-t of law, to have been
"led as a lamb to.the slaughte"*,' and as a sheeptlumb before?-
his sbearerV' 1 beseech you'as Christians to respect the ve-''
rj^easence arid soul ef Christianity,^abtl suffer me not to sfnk"
"under#the rigid application'bf a hum'an'law, when even" that'
1aw, which you hold to be divine, yielded,' and gave ptacev
to a dispensation of mercy and forgiveness. Be it that I have
erred—be it that all this evidence, which,, seems so clear
- against m.e, is as free from fraud and guile as it-is from any
sort of c&arity! Be it, therefore, as my inexorable Judge
will tell you, that my liberty is forfeit to the law; is it for
them to strain this point against me, who profess a religion,
and for that very religion which teaches, that

"All the souls that are, were forfeit once,
And he who might tb' advantage best have ta'en
Found out the remedy."


1 beseech you, Gentlemen, to acquit yourselves as the administrators, not the machines, of law, aud suffer not your own good s^nse to be overborne, and your right of exercising ypur unhiassed judgment taken from you, by the sophis* tical dogmatism which would tcli you, that you have no other business than to inquire merely whether 1 have done as I am charged withal. You have no^ statute but the mere ipse dixit oith&t weak and wicked man, Judge Hale, to authorise these prosecutious-r-aud will you hand me over at once to condemnation, in spite of the convictions of your own consciences, in spite of the positive precepts of Christianity itself —in spite of the cries of "shame an such measures" echoing from one end of the kingdom to the other—in spite of truth itself, and of the God of Truth? ,

Gentlemen, the Judge has no right thus to controul and

No. 4, Vol. X.

limit your fractions. Your business is much more than to make the inquiry which he would prescribe, or give the verdict that he would dictate. You are judges of the law as well as of the fact, and you are to try the motives and spirit in which that inquiry has originated, and to take care that a pretext of zeal for religion be not a cloak of maliciousness. You will recollect, Gentlemen, that persecution is still persecution, under whatever names or pretexts it may be carried on. The most bloody massacres, the most cruel and furious persecutions never wanted their excuse; they all pleaded reasons of state, regard to public morals, the interest of the community, and so forth, and if such pleas were of any weight, it would follow, that there was never such a thing as persecution or higotry in the world. When Mary delivered Cranmer to the stake, she declared that "the interests of religion required that he should suffer." Had he kept his opinions to himself, he might have been pardoned, but his attempt to shake the faith of others, was the sin against the Holy Ghost; and when thousands and tens of thousands of our fellow creatures were committed to the flames for heresy, by the pious zeal of the Holy Office;—they did not think that it was persecution.—Oh, no! 'twas charity to the souls committed to thejr care; 'twas the high and solemn " Act of Faith." It was done, with awe I speak it, "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." If you hesitate at the testimony of secular history, accept, at least, that of your blessed Saviour. "The time cometh," said he, " when, whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service." Since, then, men may be so grievously deceived, what better Security can we have for keeping within the sphere of truth, than to take care that we never wander from the attraction of charity. Charity is al'ways right—charity only is the infallible guide. You have its rule; it thinketh no evil, it is not easily provoked, it heareth all thing's, it hopeth all things, it endureth all things. But I, Gentlemen, have no occasion to throw myself upon your compasssion, I have suffered wrong, indeed, but I have done none. I have already lain in prison more than six gloomy weeks upon a false accusation, supported only by the subot"ned testimony of a hase hireling slave, who sells his oath as he would sell his salvation—for money; aud in a case in which he may be, and certainly is mistaken, dares to imprecate the vengeance of the Almighty on his head! Gentlemen, I have not done as is stated in that indictment; I iave not maliciously published a most wicked and blasphemous libel. Whether the pamphlet in question be wicked and blasphemous I am not concerned to determine. I am neither its author nor its printer; but it is my prosecutors themselves that have published it by calling public notice to it; and if to hunt a man into Newgate who never did, or intended harm to any one, and if to buy the soul of a poor wretch to come here and stake his salvation upon a fact of which he is not and cannot be certain, be malice, then, Gentlemen, my prosecutors are guilty, not only of the publishing, but of publishing maliciously. Gentlemen, assert yourselves, assert the sacred right of jurors, you must not follow a multitude to do iniquity; you are not to condemn me because others have been condemned; you are not to have the law dictated to you, for there is no written law on the subject; yon are not to follow precedents, for then you would be mere ciphers, and have no judgment at all to form. Again, and again I beseech you to remember, that you are judges of the law as well as of the fact. The gowns and wigs which you see around you, are the mere pride, pomp, and circumstance of judicature. Your breasts only are the judgment seat. Let no Pontins Pilate sit there! and I shall not fear his Lordship on the bench. You, you only are my judges; yours will be the guilt, if an innocent man be condemned; yours will be the glory of putting an end for ever to higotry and persecution, if you acquit me. Your unhiassed judgment will be the equity of the case, and your voice its law! So far would the strict letter of a statute, even if such could be adduced, seem from confining your sphere of judgment, that you would not hesitate to laugh at a Buller or Jefferies on the bench, and quash evidence itself, rather than be the instruments of a sanguinary execution; and they are " good men and true" in England, who, feeling that there is a higher rule of justice than the statute book can prescribe, represent an article which they know to be worth thirty or forty pound, as of value under forty shillings, rather than yield, even manifest guilt, to too severe a law. Your verdict, then, Gentlemen, should respect not merely the evidence, not the law, and, least of all, the Judge. But it should be formed in a calm view of the case under all its bearings and all its consequences. And the mere technical form of those three syllables, Not Guilty, which I certainly expect to bear from you, will signify, not that I have not done as is stated in the contemptible rhodomoutadeof that foolish

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