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ular Pope. To Leo X. the Pope who reigned when he commenced his glorious career of reformation, he uniformly addressed himself in terms of the highest respect and veneration;[D.] nor did he use such terms from mere policy, or common place courtesy; but evidently with a high degree of sin, cerity; and in the same warm and unaffected terms of profound regard, with which he addressed the Pope himself, did he speak of him in his correspondence with others; nor did he charge the Roman Catholic Church with being an infidel church; but he alleged that Anti-Christian rites and ceremonies had crept into it, as so many perversions or corruptions of the system of Christianity; and that the Popes themselves, or at least one or more of them, had assumed powers and prerogatives, not only not sanctioned by Christ, but in opposition to his word and will. .
You put to us, in somewhat of a triumphant tone or style, the following queries :"Was ät Infidels, who established the religious Inquisitions of Europe? was it Infidels, who kindled the fires of the religious auto de fe? was it Infidels, who got up the religious crusades, and deluged Europe seven times in human blood ? was it Infidels, who massacred the Hugonots, and overflowed the streets of Paris with the blood of innocent men, women and children, on the religious holy day of St. Bartholemew? was it not true believers in the dominant orthodox church and state religious creeds of the times and the countries. when and where the name of God and Religion
were invokcd and profaned by scenes from which , . even Infidels, so called, would shrink with horror ?"
These are your queries. I might, if so disposed, claim the privilege of a yankey, and answer these questions, by asking you some of a similar if not of the same description; but I will waive this privi. lege, and give you a direct answer, as I. love, above all others, a straight forward course. They were, then, Mr. Herttell, neither Infidels nor Christians, who committed all these flagrant acts, which you have pointed out, and which, if I understand your object, you would have us believe, were committed by Christians. But they were weak or wicked men, or both, who professed one thing, and either weakly or wilfully practised another. If they had been Infidels, they would not have troubled themselves about any religious creeds or rites, as all such creeds or rites are alike indifferent, if not worse, in
the eyes of Infidels. They are, indeed, in their . own estimation, so far above, or so far below, the.
ordinary standard of human nature, that they need neither the restraints, the aids, nor the consolations of Religion! They have, in short, so much of that wisdom, which comes from below, that they can, as they think, readily dispense with that “which cometh from above !" It is pretty clear then that they were not Infidels who did the acts of which you complain. And it is equally clear, that if they had been Christians, they would not have committed those abuses. As to the Inquisition, however, that was a state tribunal, and in its proper organization, and . pursuing its proper constitutional functions, was no more to be carped at, than our Supreme Court, or any of our ecclesiastical bodies. That it was perverted and abused to the vilest of purposes, both of church and state, its history clearly proves. It was, however, because its legitimate ends were frequently lost sight of, and that not only the guilty, but the innocent, were made the victims of its punishment. Hence, an institution, which was originally intended as a tribunal of justice, degenerated into a dark and despotic conclave; an engine of cruelty, injustice and oppression. .
Your next ground of argument is the fact, that a young man, who was lately engaged in street preaching in New York, was arrested and imprisoned for that act. You seem, in this case, to lay great stress upon the circumstance, that he was released from imprisonment, through the instrumentality of two benevolent lawyers, and some others, who were all Infidels. But this has nothing to do with the case before us; because the question is not whether some Infidels can or cannot be humane, honest and benevolent men? But whether the spi. rit of Infidelity, as lately manifested in the House of Assembly, is not a spirit, which may eventually, if it become general, sweep morality, law, order, liberty and religion from the land. I solemnly be. lieve that this will be the effect of it, if it once prevail, as it did in France, under the bloody rule of such men as Robespierre, Marat, and their co-adju. tors ! To pull down Christianity, is but one part of the operation contemplated by its opponents; it is the only part, however, that they seem to be prepared for; but the other part, which is the building up of a substitute, by far the most important consideration, never seems to come into the mind of an Infidel ; whereas a little serious reflection, I should suppose, would teach him that man, as a social being, to say nothing of his individual wants, can no more do without religion, than he can without civil government. But Infidelity has never yet had the goodness, if she has had the wisdom, to offer us a better religion, or any religion at all, as a substitute for the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
That the young Street Preacher, in New-York, was treated cruelly and oppressively, I can readily believe, and for the best of reasons, that men destitute of Christianity—destitute of humanity, and of every other qualification, but that of singing hosannas, "right or wrong," to certain party demagogues, are crowded into office, not only in the city of New-York, but in every part of the state, fo reward them for their sycophancy and subserviency. It is nothing extraordinary that oppression should be exercised by such men. Like master, like man, is an old maxim, and by far too often a true oné; for the honor of human nature. I cannot, there. fore, my good old friend, allow you the benefit of this anecdote, as bearing testimony against Christianity, or in favor of Infidelity; much less has it any thing to do with the question of appointing Chaplains. It proves nothing more than the dege
neracy of the times, so far as it proves any thing; and that public officers are not always chosen for their public or private virtues; but merely as the ignorant or unprincipled tools of a still more unprincipled ambition.
Next, my dear sir, comes your creed: but I shall reserve for another letter, the examination of it; and am, in the mean time, as ever, your sincere and devoted friend. - SHERLOCK.
Salem, Washington Co. February 28th, 1833.
LETTER III. TO THOMAS HERTTELL, ESQ.
SIR, -As promised in my last, I am now to examine your creed, which I shall do as briefly as I can, and I trust in the same good humor that I sat out to preserve, and have, I believe, thus far preserved. “Let the righteous smite me," says David, “it shall be a kindness; and let him reprove me, it shall be as excellent oil, which shall not break my head.” This, in my opinion, should ever be the spirit, in which all controversies ought to be car ried on.
I do not perceive, that you were called upon by the tenor of the debate, or by any other circumslance, connected with the occasion, to proclaim your creed. But since you have done it, I will take the liberty of making a few remarks upon it.
Your first article is as follows:-" I believe it