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viction, that either weakness of judgment or fickleness of character, had been the only source of my errors. But though I am not at liberty to mention individual cases, I do attest, from the most certain knowledge, that the history of my own mind is, with little variation, that of a great portion of the Spanish clergy. The fact is certain: I make no individual charge : every one who comes within this general description may still wear the mask, which no Spaniard can throw off without bidding an eternal farewell to his country. Now, let us pause to examine this moral phenomenon: and, since I am one of the class which exhibits it, I will proceed with the moral dissection of myself, however unpleasant the task may be. Many, indeed, will dismiss the case with the trite observation that extremes generally produce their opposites. But an impartial mind will not turn to a common-place evasion, to save itself the labour of thinking. When I examine the state of my mind previous to my rejecting the Christian faith, I cannot recollect any thing in it but what is in perfect accord

ance with that form of religion in which I was

educated. I revered the Scriptures as the word of God; but was also persuaded that without a living, infallible interpreter, the Bible was a dead letter, which could not convey its meaning with any certainty. I grounded, therefore, my Christian faith upon the infallibility of the church. No Roman Catholic pretends to a better foundation. “I believe whatever the holy mother church holds and believes,” is the compendious creed of every member of the Roman communion. Had my doubts affected any particular doctrine, I should have clung to the decisions of a church which claims exemption from error; but my first doubts attacked the very basis of Catholicism. I believe that the reasoning which shook my faith is not new in the vast field of theological controversy. But I protest that, if such be the case, the coincidence adds weight to the argument, for I am perfectly certain that it was the spontaneous suggestion of my own mind. I thought within myself that the certainty of the Roman Catholic faith had no better ground than a fallacy of that kind which is called reasoning in a circle; for I believed the infallibility of

, the church because the Scripture said she was


infallible; while I had no better proof that the Scripture said so, than the assertion of the church, that she could not mistake the Scripture. In vain did I endeavour to evade the force of this argument; indeed I still believe it unanswerable. Was, then, Christianity nothing but a groundless fabric, the world supported by the elephant, the elephant standing on the tortoise 2 Such was the conclusion to which I was led by a system which impresses the mind with the obscurity and insufficiency of the written word of God. Why should I consult the Scriptures? My only choice was between revelation explained by the church of Rome, and no revelation. Catholics who live in Protestant countries may, in spite of the direct tendency of their system, practically perceive the unreal nature of this dilemma. But wherever the religion of Rome reigns absolute, there is but one step between it and infidelity. To describe the state of my feelings, when, believing religion a fable, I still found myself compelled daily to act as a minister and promoter of imposture, is certainly beyond my powers. An ardent wish seized me to fly from a country where

the law left me no choice between death and hypocrisy. But my flight would have brought my parents with sorrow to the grave; and I thank God that he gave me a heart which, though long “without law,” was often, as in this case, a “law to myself.” Ten years, the best of my life, were passed in this insufferable state, when the approach of Buonaparte's troops to Seville enabled me to quit Spain, without exciting suspicion as to the real motive which tore me for ever from every thing I loved. I was too well aware of the firmness of my resolution, not to endure the most agonizing pain when I irrevocably crossed the threshold of my father's house, and when his bending figure disappeared from my eyes, at the first winding of the Guadalquivir, down which I sailed. Heaven knows that time has not had power to heal the wounds which this separation inflicted on my heart; but, such was the misery of my mental slavery, that not a shadow of regret for my determination to expatriate myself, has ever exasperated the evils inseparable from the violent step by which I obtained my freedom. Having described the fatal effects of Catholicism

on my mind, I will, with equal candour, relate the changes operated upon it by my residence in England. It was the general opinion in Spain, that Protestants, though often adorned with moral virtues, were totally deficient in true religious feelings. This was the opinion of Spanish Catholics. Spanish unbelievers, like myself, were most firmly convinced that men, enlightened as the English, could only regard religion as a political engine. Our greater acquaintance with French books, and with Frenchmen, strongly supported us in the idea that belief in Christianity decreased in proportion to the progress of knowledge, in every part of the world. As to myself, I declare that I did not expect to find a sincere Christian among educated Englishmen. Providence, however, so directed events, that some of my first acquaintance in London were persons whose piety was adorned with every good quality of the heart and mind. It was among these excellent friends, and under the protection of British liberty, that the soreness and irritation produced by ten years' endurance of the

most watchful religious tyranny, began to subside.

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