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fECRETABT TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS IN Ti:E
THE MOST COMPLETE EDITION EVER PUBLISHED.
Age of Reason, Part 1st. Part N.
Letter to a Friend ... .
to the Hon. T. Erskine, on the prosecution of
Thomas Williams for publishing the Age of Reason
to Andrew A. Dean ...
Miscellaneous Pieces -
Case of the Officers of the Excise,
Petition to the Board of Excise,
Letter to Dr. Goldsmith, ...
Introduction to the Pennsylvania Magazine, -
Cupid and Hymen, -
Anecdote of Lord Malmsbury,
Letter to a friend, ....
Mathematical Question proposed,
Description of a new Electrical Machine,
Farmer Short's Dog Porter, ....
Impromptu on a Long-nosed Friend,
The Snow Drop and Critic, a Dialogue,
Address to Lord Howe, ....
What is Love? .....
From the Castle in the Air, to the Little Corner of the
Contentment; or, if you please, Confession, -
Lines Extempore, July, 1808, ...
Letter to George Washington, ...
Had not religion been made an article of merchandise, and a class of men set apart to retail it for the benefit of themselves, the enormous evils that have resulted, would not have occurred. As it is, an opposition to the dogmas of a preacher of any denomination has a direct tendency, by lowering his tenets in the estimation of the public, to depreciate the profits of his trade. In self defence, therefore, he turns upon the assailant, and applies to him names to which he attaches opprobrious meanings, such as heretic, infidel, &c. Heretic, however, in the literal sense of the term, means simply a person who entertains an opinion on doctrinal points of religion contrary to the generally received opinion, at any particular period. Thus the Catholics, by way of reproach, denominate the protestants heretics, and the Protestants, in their turn, apply the same epithet to universalists and unitarians. The late Rev. John Mason, to show his strong disapprobation of the latter sect, went so far as to declare to his congregation, that he would not disgrace the devil so much as to compare them to him.
As to the term infidel, all sects are infidels to each other, in consequence of the discrepance in their respective tenets, which laymen have taken no more part in forming than in their own creation. They are made for them by persons who are paid for their services, and whose interest it is to render them obscure, that they may require explanation. As well, therefore, might mankind quarrel about their stature, as about a difference of opinions in the acquirement of which they have been entirely passive, and of the truth of which, neither laymen nor their teachers can have the least possible knowledge.
The whole mystery, as before observed, of the heart burnings and ill will among Christian sects, arises from having made of religion a trade; which has caused a rivalry and contention