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fact, found rest in that kind of conviction which belongs peculiarly to moral subjects, and seems to depend on an intuitive perception of the truth through broken clouds of doubt, which it is not in the power of mortal man completely to dispel. Let no one suppose that I allude to either mysterious or enthusiastic feelings; I speak of conviction arising from examination. But any man, accustomed to observe the workings of the mind, will agree, that conviction, in intricate moral questions, comes finally in the shape of internal feeling—a perception perfectly distinct from syllogistic conviction, but which exerts the strongest power over our moral nature. Such perception of the truth is, indeed, the spring of our most important actions, the common bond of social life, the ground of retributive justice, the parent of all human laws. Yet, it is inseparable from more or less doubt; for doubtless conviction is only to be found about objects of sense, or those abstract creations of the mind, pure number and dimension, which employ the ingenuity of mathematicians. That assurance respecting things not seen, which

the Scriptures call Faith, is a supernatural gift, which reasoning can never produce. This difference between the conviction, resulting from the examination of the Christian Evidences, and Faith, in the Scriptural sense of the word, appears to me of vital importance, and much to be attended to by such as, having renounced the Gospel, are yet disposed to give a candid hearing to its advocates. The power of the Christian Evidences is that of leading any considerate mind, unobstructed by prejudice, to the records of Revelation, and making it, ready to derive instruction from that sourceofsupernatural truth; but it is the Spirit of truth alone, that can impart the internal conviction of Faith. I have now gone through the religious history of my mind, in which I request you to notice the result of my various situations. Under the influence of that mental despotism, which would prevent investigation by the fear of eternal ruin, or which mocks reason by granting the examination of premises, while it reserves to itself the right of drawing conclusions; I was irresistibly urged into a denial of Revelation: but no sooner did I obtain freedom than, instead of my mind

running riot in the enjoyment of the long-delayed

boon, it opened to conviction, and acknowledged the truth of Christianity. The temper of that mind shows, I believe, the general character of the age to which it belongs. I have been enabled to make an estimate of the moral and intellectual state of Spain, which few who know me and that country, will, I trust, be inclined to discredit. Upon the strength of this knowledge, I declare again and again that very few among my own class (I comprehend clergy and laity) think otherwise than I did before my removal to England. The testimony of all who frequent the Continent—a testimony which every one's knowledge of foreigners supports—represents all Catholic countries in a similar condition. Will it, then, be unreasonable to suppose, that if a fair choice was given between the religion of Rome and other forms of Christianity, many would, like myself, embrace the Gospel which they have rejected? Is there not some presumption of error against a system which every where revolts an improving age from Christianity? Let

us examine that system itself.

LETTER II.

Real and practical extent of the authority of the Pope, according to the Roman Catholic Faith. Intolerance, its natural consequence.

WERE I addressing Catholics, who live under the full and unchecked influence of the church of Rome, it would be unnecessary to come to a previous understanding of the true nature of their tenets; for even persons who have never looked into a theological treatise, are fully aware, in such countries, of the difference between some disputed points, and the doctrines which their church holds as immutable articles of faith. The case is, I perceive, much otherwise in England. From the attention which I have of late given to the books which issue out of the English Roman Catholic press, I am convinced that there exist two kinds of writers of your persuasion; one, who write for the Protestant public, and for such among yourselves as cannot well digest the real unsophisticated

system of their Roman head; the other, for the

i

mass of their British and Irish church, who still
adhere to the Roman Catholic system, such as it
is professed in countries where all other religions
are condemned by law. In your devotional books,
and in such works as are intended to keep up the
warmth of attachment to your religious party, I
recognise every feature of the religion in which I
was educated; in those intended for the public at
large, I only find a flattered and almost ideal por-
trait of those to me well-known features, which,
unchanged and unsoftened by age, the writers are
conscious, cannot be seen without disgust by any
of those to whom custom has not made them
familiar.
The most artful picture of this kind which has
come to my hands is the Book of the Roman Ca-
tholic Church, by Charles Butler, Esquire, of Lin-
coln's Inn. The high character which the author
bears for learning and probity makes me desirous
to avoid even the shadow of a charge implying
any thing derogatory to those qualities; but I
cannot hesitate to declare that his statement of
the Roman Catholic doctrines, since it must be

believed to have been drawn with sincerity, pre

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