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[447] can it be denied, nor should it be concealed, that the
Chap X.}
elders, especially Wilson and Norton, instigated and sustained the government in its worst cruelties.

Where the mind is left free, religion can never have dangerous enemies, for no class has then a motive to attempt its subversion; while the interests of society demand a foundation for the principles f justice and benevolence. Atheism is a folly of the metaphysician, not the folly of human nature. Of savage life, Roger Williams declared, that he had never found one native American who denied the existence of a God; in Civilized life, when it was said of the court of Frederic, that the place of king's atheist was vacant, the gibe was felt as the most biting sarcasm Infidelity gains the victory, when it wrestles with hypocrisy or with superstition, but never when its antagonist is reason Men revolt against the oppressions of superstition the exactions of ecclesiastical tyranny, but never against religion itself. When an ecclesiastical establishment, under the heaviest penalties, requires universal conformity, the diversity of human opinion necessarily involves the consequence, that some consciences are oppressed and wronged. In such cases, if the wrong is excessive, intellectual servitude is followed by consequences analogous to those which ensue on the civil slavery of the people; the mind, as it bursts its fetters, is clouded by a sense of injury; the judgment is confused; and in the zeal to resist a tyranny, passion attempts to sweep away every form of religion. Bigotry commits the correlative error, when it endeavors to control opinion by positive statutes, to substitute the terrors of law for convincing argument. It is a crime to resist truth under pretence of resisting injurious power; it is equally a crime to enslave the human

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