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[262] pressed under planks to extort a confession of diabolical alliance. The heretic now laughs to scorn the solemn farce of the Church which, in the name of the All-Merciful, formally delivers him over to Satan. And for the sake of abused and longcheated humanity let us rejoice that it is so, when we consider how for long, weary centuries the millions of professed Christendom stooped, awestricken, under the yoke of spiritual and temporal despotism, grinding on from generation to generation in a despair which had passed complaining, because superstition, in alliance with tyranny, had filled their upward pathway to freedom with shapes of terror,—the spectres of God's wrath to the uttermost, the fiend, and that torment the smoke of which rises forever. Through fear of a Satan of the future,—a sort of ban-dog of priestcraft, held in its leash and ready to be let loose upon the disputers of its authority,—our toiling brothers of past ages have permitted their human taskmasters to convert God's beautiful world, so adorned and fitted for the peace and happiness of all, into a great prison-house of suffering, filled with the actual terrors which the imagination of the old poets gave to the realm of Rhadamanthus. And hence, while I would not weaken in the slightest degree the influence of that doctrine of future retribution, —the accountability of the spirit for the deeds done in the body,—the truth of which reason, revelation, and conscience unite in attesting as the necessary result of the preservation in another state of existence of the soul's individuality and identity, I must, nevertheless, rejoice that the many

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Rhadamanthus (1)
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