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The first publication in which free discussion has existed is not a publication for the present generation, but for posterity. Others must feel the benefit, though the merit be ours of introducing it. In such history of man as we have, we have no proof that free discussion is older than the present fourteen volumes of “The Republican." In its fullest extent, it had scarcely been contemplated. The question, What is God? was never before broadly asked and answered in print. The question about that other mysterious god, Love, was never before broadly and fairly displayed. Mr. Paine had fairly attacked all sorts of political idolatry; but he was not sufficiently mentally free, to go all lengths on the subject of godly idolatry.
Idolatry being a habit on which the mind spiritually feeds, but few will thank one for destroying the source of their devotions. “ I have lived fifty years with these impressions, and never before had them questioned,” cries an old man or a woman, “and am I. now to yield them to the discoveries of a mere boy? They have been my comfort through life, and though I cannot defend, I will not forsake them.” This is ever the reasoning of deep-rooted prejudice. The mere antiquity of error is to such minds a proof of its divinity. Younger folks come on, less ignorant from the new motions given to mind, and they easily discard the follies of their parents. Thus it is, that “ The Republican," though admired by many, and useful to many, has not extended its inAuence through the whole community, in consequence of its un, paralleled shocks upon old systems and deep rooted prejudices. The next generation will grow up acquainted with its doctrines, and those doctrines will most certainly be adopted for practice, There must be a beginning to all systems and all changes in human action ; but it does not follow, that he who begins will see the end of his work. Admirable changes have taken place in public opinion upon the subject of religion within the last ten years; but we feel it rather in the cessation of persecution, than in any application of the change to the lessening of religious burthens. Such a legislatore as that of this country will ever be