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aware, that thousands of people were put to death because they believed the bible to be the word of God. Now it is a crime for not believing it.

Pliny, in his letter to the Emperor Trajan desiring some information respecting the punishment of Christians, says, “ Those who revile the name of Christ I think proper to discharge.” Thus was it a virtue to revile the name of Christ. And Trajan in reply says, “He that denies his being a Christian, and makes it evident by supplicating to our Gods, through he be suspected to have been so formerly, let him be pardoned upon repentance. And it was not only meritorious to disbelieve and reject the Scriptures, but so bitter was their hostility towards then, that under the Emperor Diocletian, an edict was issued ORDERING THEM TO BE BURNT. Now behold the change, Mr. Cleave of London prosecuted for selling a publication wherein arguments are advanced, proving those same Scriptures 'not to be divine revelation. Can we presume to say what other change may not take place ?

And, my Lord, this prosecution of Mr. Cleave is irrational in many points of view. Arguments have been advanced to show, that the bible is not the word of God, and instead of you answering and confuting those arguments, you fly to the law to punish the man who has made those arguments public. IS THIS NOT IRRATIONAL? Either

you can defend the doctrines you hold by argument, or you cannot. can, is it not your duty as a rational being to do so ? And if you cannot, is it not also your duty as a rational being to abandon those doctrines ? Truth alone ought to be our object, and if the doctrines we hold cannot be proved to be truth, it is irrational to continue to hold them. And, my Lord, what guarantee have we that you can defend the doctrines


hold? What guarantee have we that you can support them by argument ! Have we witnessed you support them by argument ? No; but we have witnessed you advise and incite the

If you government to support them by the dungeon. Then what evidence have we that you can do so ? None, whatever.' Is it possible then, that you hold doctrines which you cannot defend by argument; which you cannot prove to be true? And is it also possible, that you have advised and incited the government to dungeon the men who have proved those doctrines to be false? The irrationality of such a proceeding must be apparent to all.

And my Lord, what is it for which you, and the other dignitaries of the Church, receive so many thousands a year ?

Is it not to defend by argument the truth of the bible ? Is it not expressly for this purpose? Is that then the performance of this duty, advising the government to dungeon people? Is this all that you can do, for your twenty and your thirty and your forty thousands a year? My Lord, I have no feeling of enmity towards you. I know that you have been made to be what you are. But so far as I wish for your happiness, together with the happiness of the whole human family, I would advise your Lordship (if I may presume so much ) to prepare for the consequences, for the people must see how grossly they are imposed upon.

I do not wish to see the people use violence of any sort. Argument alone is the weapon

that I would recommend; and the man who would advise the use of any thing else, forfeits his claim to rationality as much as the man who advises the use of dungeons to settle disputes about religion. With rational beings, argument alone is sufficient to effect all desirable revolutions.

In another point of view the prosecution of Mr. Cleave is most irrational. The business of human life is to discover the best means of making ourselves happy: to labour for the happiness of ourselves, and the happiness, of others. No rational mind can assign any other business. How then, my Lord, can we attain this happiness, if we are denied the right of discussing those subjects which bear upon, cand amaterighyanaffest this happiness? And does the subject of elimo, por bear upon, and affect this happiness? Have the religions of faith had nothing to do, with making mankind happy or miserable ? Any man the least acquainted with the history of the world, must be ready with the answer, that of all subjects, the subject of religion is the most vitally important, in relation to man's happiness or misery. Why then, my Lord, deny ys the right of discussing this subject? Why dungeon men because they have freely expressed their opinions as to the merits of this subject? This, my Lord, is enough.

The irrationality of this proceeding must be apparent even to yourself.

Having disposed of the question as to the irrationality of the prosecution of Mr. Cleave, I shall now proceed to the object of these Letters; which is, to lay before your Lordship, and before my fellow-men, MATERIALS for deciding the question, Whether or not the Bible is the Word of God? This is the first question that a rational mind ought to settle, and to talk about blasphemy against the Bible, before it is settled, is to be guilty of folly and absurdity. And, my Lord, I beg to inform you that these Materials are gleaned from Christian writers themselves. They are the confessions and admissions of the most eminent Christian writers that have ever lived, on matters connected with the history of the Old and New Testaments. And when my work is completed, (which will comprise about 24 Letters addressed to your Lordship) I flatter myself that it will contain such a mass of information respecting the manufacture of the Word of God, as was never before in general circulation; and which I hope will settle the question for ever, Whether or not the bible is the word of God? a question which has agitated, and distracted, a portion of the human race for thousands of years; and which has entailed upon them miseries and sufferings beyond calculation.

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Since writing the above I have learned that Mr. Abel Heywood, 'a bookseller of Manchester, has also been arrested, and is now under bail to appear at the Sessions on a similar charge to that preferred against Mr. Cleave; for publishing my Letters. Of course I am sorry, exceedingly sorry, that I should be the occasion of involving these individuals in trouble; and I would rather, much rather, that the government had proceeded against me; but such is the law. I did expect that the government were more rational, than to revive this barbarous law against blasphemy, It is one of the products of the ignorance and brutality of our forefathers; and one would have thought, that as the government became enlightened, they would have allowed it to pass into oblivion, without ever more noticing it. Such, however, is not the fact; and I am concerned to know, that parties have been involved in trouble, for something which has proceeded from me.

Dungeons however, my Lord, will never convince people of their errors. In deciding the truth or falsehood of a question, dungeons are left altogether out of consideration. They are intellectual arguments, and not physical ones, that are considered in such cases. Dungeons were used as arguments against the Christians, in the first ages of Christianity, and how they succeeded, you very well know. And can you suppose, that if they failed then in convincing people of their errors, they will succeed now, that the people are so much more enlightened; now that the people are as much superior in intellect, to the people of those ages, as the people of those ages were superior to monkies ? Dungeons, my Lord, are the arguments of ignorance and brutality; and whoever uses them sacrifices his character as a rational man. A rational mind repudiates and scorns their use for such purposes.

Dungeons may excite in one's mind a suspicion, that the party using them has nothing else to use in their stead; that intellectual arguments he is unable to advance; and I confess that they do excite, in my mind, this suspicion in a high degree; but as to them convincing me of my errors, they rather confirm my previous opinions: and besides this, they will stimulate me to exertion more determined than ever.

I shall now, my Lord, as I before stated, proceed to lay before you, Materials for deciding the question, Whether or not the Bible is the word of God? The first passage which I shall quote is from the writings of Du Pin, who was Dr. of the Sorbonne, and Professor of Philosophy, at Paris; and one of the most learned perhaps of all Christian writers. It is from his work entitled, « A COMPLETE HISTORY OF THE CANON, AND WRITERS, OF THE BOOKS OF THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT”; and is as follows:

“ St. Eucherius says, It is evident why we have not remaining the Books which the Holy Scripture approves of; because Judea having been ravaged by the Chaldeans, and the ancient Bibliotheque being burnt, there remaining only a small number of the Books which at present make up the Holy Scriptures, and which were collected and re-established by the care of Ezrah.

Here we are told, that previous to the ravages of the Chaldeans in Judea, and the burning of the ancient Bibliotheque, the word of God consisted of a very great number of books, but in consequence of that event a great number of them got destroyed, and that what we have remaining, are but a small number of what once constituted the word of God. Lord, is of service in deciding the question, Whether or not the Bible is the word of God? For we must consider the reasonableness of supposing, that God would write books, for the instruction and guidance of His creatures, and then suffer those books to be burnt. Besides God is infinite in wisdum, and therefore foreseeing that His books would be burnt, and

This, my

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