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INVOCATION.

OH! Truth! immortal Truth! on what wild ground
Still hast thou trod through this unspiritual sphere !
The strong, the brutish, and the vile surround
Thy presence, lest thy streaming glory cheer

the

many, without price, or bound.
Drowning thy voice, they fill the popular ear,
In thy high name, with canons, creeds, and laws,
Feigning to serve, that they may mar thy cause.

The poor,

And the great multitude doth crouch and bear
The burden of the selfish. That emprise,-
That lofty spirit of Virtue which can dare
To rend the bands of error from all eyes,
And from the freed soul pluck each sensual care,
To them is but a fable. Therefore lies
Darkness upon the mental desert still,
And wolves devour, and robbers walk at will.

Yet, ever and anon, from thy bright quiver,
The flaming arrows of thy might are strown;
And rushing forth, thy dauntless children shiver
The strength of foes who press too near thy throne,
Then, like the sun, or thy Almighty Giver,
Thy light is through the startled nations shown;
And generous indignation tramples down
The sophist's web, and the oppressor's crown.
Oh! might it burn for ever! But in vain
For vengeance rallies the alarmed host,
Who from men's souls draw their dishonest gain.
For thee they smite, audaciously they boast,
Even while thy sons are in thy bosom slain.
Yet this is thy sure solace—that not lost,
Each drop of blood, each tear,-Cadmean seed,

Shall send up armed champions at thy need. 1827,

WH,

INTRODUCTION

BY THE AMERICAN EDITOR.

The following delineation of Priestcraft, by Howitt, the Quaker poet, is devoted to a very interesting and prolific subject. Mr. Howitt's volume is designed to aid in the grand modern employment of “ turning the world upside down;" and doubtless it will contribute to that glorious achievement. It is a book of condensation, and comprises a great variety of historical facts, all brought, as a resistless battery, to storm the citadel of English Priestcraft. The purpose is good, and the execution in many respects successful ; but Mr. Howitt, in the ardour of the contest, has sometimes mistaken his friends for his foes; or rather has fancied that his strongest coadjutors are traitors to the cause of liberty, truth, and religion.

This history of Priestcraft among the ancient and modern idolaters in the various countries of the world is a concise but clear development of the rise and progress of that unholy domination, which priests, in all ages, constantly grasped and perpetuated. " Whether the Arkite theory be correct or not, nothing is more certain than that paganism had one common origin in the early ages of the world,” after the Flood : and there is no doubt that it was invented by knaves, who first contrived to brutalize the people, and then to exalt themselves upon the ignorance which they had originated and cherished. Of the three prominent exhibitions of Priestcraft in this volume the cause, the methods, the criminality, and the mis. chiefs have been identical, only modified and varying as other circumstances have operated to aggrandize

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ADVERTISEMENT.

This little work presents a concise and concentrated view of universal Priestcraft, to strengthen the present disposition to abate that nuisance in England: and, I think, it will be sufficient to establish any disinterested person in the conviction, that Priestcraft is one of the greatest curses which has afflicted the earth; and in the persuasion, that till its hydra heads are crushed there can be no perfect liberty : for nothing is more certain than that priests have, in all ages, followed one system--that of availing themselves of the superstitions of the people for their own interested motives; and nothing better attested than the crimes and delusions of that order of men treated of in this volume.

There will be some who will exclaim, Oh! the author is a dissenter !-I am a dissenter; and one of the most sturdy and ceremony-despising class; and therefore, having deserted “the beggarly elements” of state creeds, am more anxious to release my fellow-men from the thraldom of state priests. I am a dissenter; and therefore, feeling the burden and the injustice of being compelled to support a system whose utility I deny, and whose corruptions need no proof, I have the greater reason to raise my voice against it.

Nottingham, June 4th, 1833.

INVOCATION.

Oh! Truth! immortal Truth ! on what wild ground
Still hast thou trod through this unspiritual sphere !
The strong, the brutish, and the vile surround
Thy presence, lest thy streaming glory cheer
The poor, the many, without price, or bound.
Drowning thy voice, they fill the popular ear,
In thy high name, with canons, creeds, and laws,
Feigning to serve, that they may mar thy cause.
And the great multitude doth crouch and bear
The burden of the selfish. That emprise,
That lofty spirit of Virtue which can dare
To rend the bands of error from all eyes,
And from the freed soul pluck each sensual care,
To them is but a fable. Therefore lies
Darkness upon the mental desert still,
And wolves devour, and robbers walk at will.

Yet, ever and anon, from thy bright quiver,
The flaming arrows of thy might are strown;
And rushing forth, thy dauntless children shiver
The strength of foes who press too near thy throne,
Then, like the sun, or thy Almighty Giver,
Thy light is through the startled nations shown;
And generous indignation tramples down
The sophist's web, the oppressor's crown.
Oh! might it burn for ever! But in vain-
For vengeance rallies the alarmed host,
Who from men's souls draw their dishonest gain.
For thee they smite, audaciously they boast,
Even while thy sons are in thy bosom slain.
Yet this is thy sure solace—that not lost,
Each drop of blood, each tear,-Cadmean seed,

Shall send up armed champions at thy need. 1827,

W. H,

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