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74

REPLY, &c.

"No atom … fulfils
A vague and unnecessitated act,
Or acts but as it must and ought to act."

If this be the case, his charges that "slaves built temples for the Omnipotent,"—that "costly altars smoked with human blood,"—that, "hideous pæans rung through long-drawn aisles,"—are idle, as occurring out of inevitable necessity; and it matters little to the barbarities, or the errors, if they are admitted to be so, in what name they were committed, or perpetrated. There is in the language attributed to Ahasuerus, much of what might be called reviling; but the peculiar situation of the party represented will account for much. The dramatist is not answerable for the sentiments of his characters;—he has only to represent them in their proper light. Otherwise the Bible itself might be prosecuted as an atheistical work, because there is in it a declaration that "there is no God." An Attorney-General would have only to omit the context, "the fool hath said in his heart," to make the prophet answerable for the language of the fool.

It may be here remarked, that if the destruction of human life lead Mr. Shelley to reject revelations which attribute such commands to the deity, he ought in like manner to renounce