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'this trial is printed from the author's second edition, even without altering such phrases as are peculiar to that denomination of christians with whom he generally associated, and whose style he -adopted; and certainly the quakers ought to think themselves honoured even by this kind of relation to Mr. Elwall. Such firmness in the cause, of truth, and such presence of mind in asserting and vindicating it, as appear in this trial, are truly apostoJical, and have had but sew examples since the first promulgation of christianity. It is impossible for an unprejudiced person to read this account of it (which is written with so much true simplicity, perspicuity, and strength of evidence) without seeling the greatest veneration for the writer, the sullest conviction and love of the truth, and a proportional *eal in maintaining it. I should even think it impossible for the most prejudiced person to read it attentively, but, if he use no violence with his own mind, he Will receive some savourable impressions both of the author, and of that cause, which he supports with such becoming dignity, and with a temper and disposition of mind, in every respect worthy of a true christian.
So great was the force of truth on this memorable occasion,- that a reputable and honest jury, directed -by a good-natured and sensible judge, acquitted the
criminal criminal contrary to the express laws of this country, according to which this glorious'man ought to have been sentenced to a severe punishment, as a convicted and avowed blasphemer. What must a lover of truth and of free enquiry, as subservient to truth, think of such laws, and of the ecclesiastical constitution of the countries, in which they are in force!
It is to be wished that such a monument of the Triumph Of Truth might be constantly held out to the view of all mankind, and particularly in this country where it was exhibited.
The dedication of the treatise, on account of which Mr. Elwall was prosecuted, is dated the eighth day of the second month, 1724; he speaks of his trial in a treatise intitled, A declaration against all kings and temporal powers under heaven, printed in 1732: and judge Denton, before whom he was tried, went the Oxford circuit in 1726 and 1728. From these circumstances it may be concluded, that the former of these years is the date of this remarkable trial, especially as in some part of the same year 1726 Mr. Elwall published another desence of the unitarian system, in a treatise which he intitled Dagon fallen before the Ark of God, which would probably have been mentioned in the course of the trial, if it had been published at that time.
TRIAL Of Mr. E. ELWALL, tit.
BECAUSE so many persons have earnestly desired to read this trial, I have here published a second edition of it, in order to encourage all honest men, who have the eternal law of God on their side, not to sear the faces of priests, who are generally the grand adversaries of liberty and truth, and the bastions and bulwarks of all ceremonies, fopperies, and absurd doctrines that are in the world.
I do this for the glory of the Most High God, and for the honour of his sacred law, and for the good of all my sellow-creatures; that they may obey God, and not man; Christ, and not the pope; the prophets and apostles, and not prelates and priests; and God knoweth this is my sincere desire, that all religion and spiritual things may be persectly free, neither forced nor hindered; this being the true liberty of the gospel of Jejus Christ, who said, The kings of the gentiles exercise authority, hut it shall not be so with you.
About fourteen years ago I wrote a book entitled, "A True Testimony for God and his "sacred Law; being a plain, honest desence of "the first commandment of God, against all the "trinitarians under heaven, Thou shalt have no . " other Gods but me." I lived then at Wolverhamptm in Staffordshire, where my ancestors have lived F above above eleven hundred years, ever-since the Saxons conquered the Britons.
When this book was published, the priests in the country began to rage, especially the priests of Wolverhampton ; who had a great hand in the several troubles I underwent. In short, they n3ver ceased till they had procured a large indictment against me at Stafford assizes; where I selt the power of God, enabling me to speak before a great number of people; being accused of heresy, &c. But I truly answered, as my beloved brother Paul did in his day, viz. In that way which some tall heresy, so chuse I to serve the God os my fathers, believing all that is written in the law and the prophets.
Afterthe long indictment was read, I was asked if I pleaded guilty, or not guilty. I said I was not guilty of any evil, that I knew of, in writing that book; but if they meant whether I wrote the book or not (for they had quoted many pages of the book in that indictment) I owned I did write it; and that if I might have liberty to speak, I believed I should make it manisest to be the plain truth of God.
Then the judge stood up, and said, " Mr. Elwall, "I suppose you have had a copy of your indict** ment?" I told him I had not had any copy of it. Upon which he turned towards the priests, and told them that I ought to have had a copy of it. But they not answering he turned to me, and said,
That if I would give bail, and be bound to appear at the next assizes, he would deser my trial 'till then. But I told him, I would not give bail, neither should any man be bound for me; that if the prince of Wales himself would, he should not; for, said I, I have an innocent breast, and I have injured no man; and therefore I desire no other favour, but that I may have liberty to plead to the indictment myself.
Upon which he said, very courteously, You may. The judge having given me liberty of pleading to the indictment, I began my speeeh with the sacred' sirst commandment of God, viz. Thou shalt have no other gods but Me. I insisted upon the word Me being a singular; and that it was plain and certain, that God spake of himself, as one single person or being, and not three distinct persons. And that it was manisest, that all the church of God, which then heard those words, undei stood it in the fame plain obvious sense as I do; as is most evident from the words of the prophet Mofes: who said to Israel thus; Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightesl know, that the Lord he is God, there is none else besides him; out of heaven he made thee hear his voice, &c. I told them, that from the words het and him, and bis, it was certain God was but one single person, one single he, or him, or his. I told them that all the patriarchs from the beginning of the world did always address themselves, to God, as one single F a being.