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under an oppressive British Ministry, be put to as bad an use as ever the Bastile was in France. Nor need we look far back for an instance, of a mistaken Writer's being treated with all the severity of a popith inquisition.

It is not many years since an act of parliament was in force against wizards, witches, and other personal dealets with the devil. Nay, the legislature are ftill such conjurers, that we have an act of parliament at this day unrepealed, and very lately put in force, that makes it, in efiect, highly criminal to assert publicly, that two and two make four. A practical Barrister, indeed, may take upon him to deny the fact, and infift on it, that such assertion is not within the intent and meaning of the act; but, if Barristers were Logicians, and reasoned like other people, it might be fyllogistically proved, that no plainer construction can be put upon the direct and express terms of the faid act. The anatheinas which are, at stated times, thundered out in our churches, against those deluded Theists, who are weak enough to believe, that one and two necessarily make threc, might in a protestant country, be despised; but acts of parliament are serious things: at least the Lawyers, when they please, can make them fo. It is for this reafon, we can assure our Readers, that notwithstanding the many bold and sensible tracts that have formerly been written on the subject of religious Toleration in this country, we conceive that an Author would, at present, run no little hazard of incurring pains and penalties from the laws of England, for saying that which M. de Voltaire hath publicly said, and set his name to, on this subject, in France.

Having given a particular account of the design and contents of the present treatise, in our last Appendix; we shall now only give a specimen or two of our Author's ingenuity, in treating fome problematical paflages in history; which have been sometimes made use of, to give sanction to the most deStructive tenets, both in religion and politics.

In trcating of a religious Toleration among the Romans, and the paucity of primitive Martyrs, Mr. de Voltaire observes, with iegard to the martyrdom of St. Ignatius, that nothing can be more improbable, than the relation given us of that fact. "The anonymous Author, says he, of this relation, tells us, that 66

Trajan thought something would be wanting to his glory, if he did not fubjeci the God of the Christians to his pwer.” What a strange idea! Was Trajan a man ambitious of triumphing over the Gods ? When Ignatius appeared before the Emperor, this Prince is related to have said to him, “ Who art thou, thou unclean spirit ?" It is not likely that an Emperor

fhould

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fhould speak in that strain to a prisoner, nor that he should condemn him with his own mouth; fovereign Princes do not act in that manner. If Trajan sent for Ignatius, he certainly did not ask him, when he came, who he was. Again, the words unclean spirit, are by no means in the style of a Trajan. It is the expression of an exorcist or conjurer, which a Chriftian hath here put into the Mouth of an Emperor.

«Can it be imagined also, that Ignatius should answer, that he was called Theophorus, because he bore Jesus always in bis heart; and that Trajan should enter into a dissertation with him about Chrift? At the close of the conversation, Trajan is said to condemn the Saint, in the following terms: mand that Ignatius, who glories in carrying about him the crucified, be put into irons," &c. A Sophist, who was an enemy to the Christians, might possibly have called Jesus Christ the crucified; but it is not likely such a term should be made use of in a formal sentence. Crucifixion was so common a punishment among the Romans, that it was impossible, in the stile of the laws, to delign exclufively the object of the Christian worThip by the general term the crucified. It is not thus that the laws or sovereigns pass fentence.

« We are told afterwards, that St. Ignatius, when in custody, wrote a long letter to the Christians of Rome; to whom he says, “ I write to you, tho' in chains.” But if he was permited to write to the Chriftians of Rome, these Christians could not be much secreted nor fought for. It appears therefore, that Trajan had no design of fubjccting the God of the Christians to his authority: otherwise St. Ignatius committed a great blunder, in writing to the Christians, if they really were under the rod of persecution, as by this ineans he became an informer against them, exposing them to their enemies.

« The Writers who digefted these facts, do not seem fuffici. ently to have attended to probabilities. The martyrdom of St. Polycarp is liable to still greater objections. It is said, that a voice from heaven was heard to cry out, Polycarp, have courage !” Not that all the by-standers heard it, tho fome Chriftians did. It is related farther, that when he was fastened to the stake, and the pile was set on fire, the fames kept at a distance from his body, and formed an arch over his head, out of which flew a dove; that the body of the Saint, in this fituation, diffused an aromatic odour, which perfumed the whole aflcmbly; but that after all the reverence shewn to this Saint by the fire, be fell a sacrifice by the sword. Certainly we ought to pardon those who conceive there is more piety than truth in these relations.

under an oppressive British Ministry, be put to as bad an use as ever the Bastile was in France. Nor need we look far back for an instance, of a mistaken Writer's being treated with all the severity of a popish inquisition.

It is not many years since an act of parliament was in force against wizards, witches, and other personal dealers with the devil. Nay, the legislature are still such conjurers, that we have an act of parliament at this day unrepealed, and very lately put in force, that makes it, in efiect, highly criminal to assert publicly, that two and two make four. A practical Barrister, indeed, may take upon him to deny the fact, and insist on it, that such asertion is not within the intent and meaning of the act; but, if Barristers were Logicians, and reasoned like other people, it might be syllogistically proved, that no plainer construction can be put upon the direct and express terms of the faid act. The anatheinas which are, at stated times, thundered out in our churches, against those deluded Theists, who are weak enough to believe, that one and two neceffarily make threc, might in a protestant country, be despised; but acts of parliament are serious things: at least the Lawyers, when they please, can make them fo. It is for this reafon, we can assure our Readers, that notwithstanding the many bold and sensible tracts that have formerly been written on the subject of religious Toleration in this country, we conceive that an Author would, at present, run no liitle hazard of incurring pains and penalties from the laws of England, for saying that which M. de Voltaire hath publicly faid, and set his name to, on this subject, in France.

Having given a particular account of the design and contents of the present treatise, in our last Appendix; we shall now only give a fpeciinen or two of our Author's ingenuity, in treating fome pioblematical pallages in history; which have been sometimes made use of, to give fanction to the most deStructive tenets, both in religion and politics.

In trcating of a religious Toleration among the Romans, and the paucity of primitive Martyrs, Mr. de Voltaire observes, with iegard to the martyrdo:n of St. Ignatius, that nothing can be more improbable, than the relation given us of that fact. · The anonymous Author, says he, of this relation, tells us, that “ Trajan thought fomething would be wanting to his glory, if he did not subject the God of the Christians to his pwer.” What a strange idea! Was Trajan a man ambitious of triumphing over the Gods ? When Ignatius appeared before the Emperor, this Prince is related to have faid to him, “ Who art thou, thou unclean spirit ?" It is not likely that an Emperor Ihould speak in that strain to a prisoner, nor that he should condemn him with his own mouth; sovereign Princes do not act in that manner. If Trajan sent for Ignatius, he certainly did not ask him, when he came, who he was. Again, the words unclean spirit, are by no means in the style of a Trajan. It is the expression of an exorcist or conjurer, which a Chriftian hath here put into the Mouth of an Emperor.

should

· Can it be imagined also, that Ignatius should answer, that he was called Theophorus, because he bore Jesus always in bis heart; and that Trajan should enter into a dissertation with him about Chrift? At the close of the conversation, Trajan is said to condemn the Saint, in the following terms: “ We command that Ignatius, who glories in carrying about him the crucified, be put into irons,” &c. A Sophist, who was an enemy to the Christians, might possibly have called Jesus Christ the crucified; but it is not likely such a term should be made use of in a formal sentence. Crucifixion was so common a punishment among the Romans, that it was impossible, in the stile of the laws, to design exclusively the object of the Christian worthip by the general term the crucified. It is not thus that the laws or sovereigns pass sentence.

« We are told afterwards, that St. Ignatius, when in custody, wrote a long letter to the Christians of Rome; to whom he says, “ I write to you, tho' in chains.” But if he was permited to write to the Chriftians of Rome, these Christians could not be much secreted nor fought for. It appears therefore, that Trajan had no design of fubjccting the God of the Christians to his authority: otherwise St. Ignatius committed a great blunder, in writing to the Christians, if they really were under the rod of persecution, as by this ineans he became an informer against them, exposing them to their enemies.

· The Writers who digested these facts, do not seem suffici. ently to have attended to probabilities. The martyrdom of St. Polycarp is liable to still greater objections. It is said, that a voice from heaven was heard to cry out, “ Polycarp, have cou

!” Not that all the by-standers heard it, tho' fome Chrif tians did. It is related farther, that when he was fastened to the stake, and the pile was set on fire, the flames kept at a distance from his body, and formed an arch over his head, out of which flew a dove; that the body of the Saint, in this situation, diffufed an aromatic odour, which perfumed the whole aflembly; but that after all the reverence shewn to this Saint by the fire, he fell a sacrifice by the sword. Certainly we ought to pardon those who conceive there is more piety than truth in these relations.

By this judicious method of examining into the probability of facts, our Author hath thrown new lights on many interesting passages of history. For, as he elsewhere observes, it is to no purpose that a parcel of idle tales are successively copied into different books: this by no means renders them more probable. It appears to us, nevertheless, that his desire of calling things into question, hath fometimes carried him too far. 'Thus, in speaking of the martyrdom of St. Simon, he doubts the truth of the story, for the following reason:

· St. Simon, says he, was accused before King Saporus, of being a spy for the Romans : on which Saporus proposed, that he should clear himself of the accusation by worshipping the fun. Now, it is well known, says our Author, that the Perfians do not worship the sun ; but that they regard it only as an emblem of the good Principle, Oromases, or the Creator.'

But might not Mr. de Voltaire as well question the truth of any Protestant's having suffered in the popith inquisitions, for refusing to worship images on the fame principle? Might he not say, that the Roman Catholics do not really worship the images themselves, but regard them only as emblems of the proper objects of worship?

We should here take leave of this valuable and entertaining work, but cannot omit the short relation of what Mr. Voltaire calls one of the most astonishing instances of fanaticism, that are to be met with in history; the principle of which was, notwithstanding, the best in the world. This was of a little sect in Denmark, who, as our Author informs us, were defirous of procuring eternal salvation for their brethren; but the consequences of this motive were very fingular. They knew that those young children who die without being baptized, must be damned, and that such as are so happy as to die immediately after baptism, enjoy eternal life: they went about therefore cutting the throats of all the newly-baptized infants they could lay their hands on. By this method they, doubtless, procured them the greatest happiness they were capable of; as they preserved them at once from committing sin, from the miseries of the world, and from hell-fire. But these charitable people did not reflect, that we are not even to do a little evil for the sake of a great good; that they had no right over the lives of those children ; that most fathers and mothers are so carnally minded, that they had rather clasp their sons and daughters in their arms, than see their throats, cut, in order to go to Paradise; and that finally, it is the duty of the civil Magistrate to punish homicide by death, however charitable might be the intention of the murderer.'

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