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TRIUMPH OF TRUTH;
BEING AN ACCOUNT OF THE TRIAL OF MR. ELW ALL,
FOR HERESY AND BLASPHEMY, AT STAFFORD ASSIZES.
THE PRE FACE.
· This trial is printed from the author's second edition, even without altering such phrases as are peculiar to that denomination of christians with whom he generally associated, and whose style he adopted ; and certainly the quakers ought to think themselves honoured even by this kind of relation to Mr. Elwall. Such firmness in the cause of truth, and such. presence of mind in asserting and vindicating it, as appear in this trial, are truly apoftolical, and have had but few examples fince the first promulgation of christianity. It is impossible for an unprejudiced person to read this account of it (which is written with so much true fimplicity, perspicuity, and strength of evidence) without feeling the greatest veneration for the writer, the fullest conviction and love of the truth, and a proportional zeal in maintaining it. I should even think it impossible for the most prejudiced person to read it attentively, but, if he use no violence with his own mind, he will receive some favourable impressions both of the author, and of that cause, which he supports with such becoming dignity, and with a temper and disposition of mind, in every respect worthy of a true christian.
So great was the force of truth on this memorable occasion, that a reputable and honest jury, directed by a good-natured and sensible judge, acquitted the criminal contrary to the express laws of this coun. try, according to which this glorious man ought to have been sentenced to a severe punishment, as a convicted and avowed blasphemer. What must a lover of truth and of free enquiry, as fubfervient to truth, think of such laws, and of the ecclesiastical conftitution of the countries in which they are in force!
It is to be wished that such a monument of the TRIUMPH OF TRUTH might be constantly held out to the view of all mankind, and particularly in this country where it was exhibited. ,
The dedication of the treatise, on account of which Mr. Elwall was prosecuted, is dated the eighth day of the second month, 1724; he speaks of his trial in a treatise intitled, A declaration against all kings and temporal powers under heaven, printed in 1732: and judge Denton, before whom he was tried, went the Oxford circuit in 1726 and 1728. From these circumstances it may be concluded, that the former of these years is the date of this remarkable trial, especially as in some part of the same year 1726 Mr. Elwall published another defence of the uni. tarian system, in a treatise which he intitled Dagon fallen before the Ark of God, which would probably have been mentioned in the course of the trial, if it ,haù been published at that time.
TRIAL or Mr. E. ELWALL, &C.
BECAUSE so many persons have earnestly desired to read this trial, I have here published a second edition of it, in order to encourage all honest men, who have the eternal law of God on their fide, not to fear the faces of priests, who are generally the grand adversaries of liberty and truth, and the bastions and bulwarks of all ceremonies, fopperies, and absurd doctrines that are in the world.
I do this for the glory of the Most High God, and for the honour of his sacred law, and for the good of all my fellow-creatures ; that they may obey God, and not man; Chrift, and not the pope; the prophets and apostles, and not prelates and priests; and God knoweth this is my fincere desire, that all religion and spiritual things may be perfectly free, neither forced nor hindered; this. being the true liberty of the gospel of Jesus Christ, who faid, The kings of the gentiles exercise authority, but it small not be fo with you.
About fourteen years ago I wrote a book entitled, “A True Testimony for God and his " sacred Law; being a plain, honest defence of " the first commandment of God, against all the
trinitarians under heaven, Thou shalt have no " other Gods but me.” I lived then at Wolverhamp-, ton in Staffordshire, where my ancestors have lived F