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acting only on the defensive, he firmly maintained his principles. Declaimers and placards were abundant, all having one object; to rouse by falsehoods, mockery, brutality, profaneness, and insult, the worst passions of the populace against the Church; but more especially against the Vicar individually. To give some notion of the malice and wickedness which dictated their proceedings, be it known that a placard to the following effect was contemplated, but not published from the fear of coming within the verge of an indictable offence :
Five pounds reward to any one that will send the present Vicar to Hell, and bring the Old one back again.
And we may observe that the former Vicar during his life was the subject of attacks in a similar spirit. All this is dictated by “tender conscience,” and a sense of “religious” duty! To such an extent did they carry their operations of violence and terror, that the military were necessary (and not for the first time) to secure the safety of the voters for Church rate, and to enable them to use their lawful privilege. Notwithstanding all these outrages, which were the means chosen by Dissent to perform the duties of " RELIGIOUS MEN”!! the friends of the Church triumphed in the fiercest contest on record, no less than 13,000 votes having been polled. The “religious” feeling and duty, by which they professed to be actuated in this opposition, the Vicar estimates, and thinks other's may very well estimate, by the means used to perform it. All this the Vicar long endured, abstaining from any direct attack upon Dissenters beyond that which was required, to refute their calumnies and misrepresentations. They, in the mean time, have continued to trumpet forth their own spirituality and to abuse the Vicar. He has at length determined to give the world a faithful portrait of schism, drawn neither from his own fancy, nor from boastings, but from the sayings and doings, of dissenters themselves. The old concert of personality and reviling has been tried to intimidate him, and to raise the sympathy of the populace; but nothing new can be produced ; the tunes are exhausted, and the notes produce as little excitement among the people, as alarm in the Vicar.
The absurd and outrageous nature of these doings and sayings place them below the level of grave controversy.
Yet their authors ought not to be left without check, to scatter firebrands among the ignorant, or thoughtless. They must be dealt with by public exposure—by being held up in their true light to the scorn and contempt of the people. They are moreover fruits which shew the nature of the tree, that produces them. Those so-called religious bodies, or individuals, who secretly encourage, or least tacitly connive at, and profit by these doings, must not be allowed to shift off their share of the disgrace. So long as they do not distinctly separate themselves, and their cause, from such proceedings they are responsible for them. And to convict them of connection with such proceedings, to shew the infamous nature of them—to disclose not only to others, but to themselves, the public delusion and the self-deception, which the pleas of religion and conscience are made to propagate, is the disagreeable task we have imposed upon ourselves.
That our operations are not very agreeable to those, subjected to them, may be easily imagined-and we can truly state that they are scarcely less painful to ourselves. We shall rejoice, as a schoolboy at his holidays, when our irksome task shall be no longer necessary, and we can turn to more pleasing topics. But there is a corrupt cancer in dissent, which must be probed to the quick, to prevent the plague spot from spreading and infecting. “ Faithful are the wounds of a friend."
In convicting guilt by facts and statements, we regret to be compelled to severe exposures, and contemptuous censures. If they offend well meaning individuals we shall be sorry; but cannot avoid it. Truth and plainness, which are our objects, will not allow us to dress and disguise, in delicate descriptions, deeds of guilt, and violence, and malice. Brutality, profanation, cant, deception, outrage, personality, and trick, are the things to be exposed; and we see nothing to be gained by speaking of them under any other names than their own. If the very mention of them raise disgust, how disgraceful must be the practice of them!
If we are to believe our opponents, our Style is very feeble and very bad. We might console ourselves by the evident consciousness, which those, who have nothing to utter but this incessant cuckoo-note, betray; that they neither believe it themselves, nor can persuade any-body else. But we need no consolation. For not only do we commend, not ourselves, but truth-yea we may moreover derive encouragement and strength from this very weakness. For if our style be, indeed, so feeble and bad, as these geniuses take infinite pains to make people believe, how strong must be our FACTS AND ARGUMENTS! These tell upon them most effectually; as both the bitterness with which they revile us, and the baseness and terror, with which they shrink from confronting us, amply prove. No decent antagonist has dared to come forward to grapple with our arguments and dispute our facts; if we except Messrs. Ashworth and Peters; who have obligingly afforded us an opportunity of proving triumphantly, what safe reliance may be placed upon our veracity and
Truth and Facts are our desire to write plainly, even colloquially, so as to be clearly understood by plain people is our ambition. We address ourselves, as our title proclaims and as we continually urge, to the “ Common Sense" of " Every-body.” And we address ourselves not less to the dissenter than to the Churchman. We warn, we-entreat him, to use his “ Common Sense” to weigh the Facts and statements here advanced, and to consider whether there is not sin, if not in re
jecting, at least in malignantly (and we must add lawlessly and wickedly) conspiring with the enemies of all religion, and the despisers of all order and decency, against the pure and apostical branch of Christ's Church established in these realms.
When the truly religious dissenter shall come out, clearly and distinctly from among these, when he shall take from the factious and seditious the cloak of religious scruples, then our shafts will not touch him; and we shall be able to make that public distinction, which we admit with respect to many worthy and truly pious individual dissenters--the distinction betweeen a really scrupulous conscience, and a conscience ostentatiously paraded, as the mobcry of party and political agitation. We advise them in true charity, to be content with the free exercise of their own religious opinions; to cease from kicking against the pricks'; and to adopt (as the golden rule, under which pious men should rally, and gather themselves into a body apart from the seditious and factious) this maxim which we have so often recommended to them:
“LET THE CHURCH ALONE.”.
CONTENTS OF VOL. I.
Absurdity of denying that the primitive Church was episcopal 157
125, 161, 174
109, 154, 178
Enemies of Common Sense
God an example to Masters of families.
Infidelity more injurious to the poor than to the rich
Letter to the Editors of Common Sense
88 166, 182
Morning duties ..
Notices to Correspondents
48, 72, 96; 120, 144
Policy of Atheists, Infidels, Democrats, the same-promis
ing liberty and promoting slavery ..
Religion all-important in education
104 15 17
Samuel and Saul
i. 86 18, 114, 197
· 117 25, 49