473. To John Prior Estlin Address: Revd J. P. Estlin | St Michael's Hill | Bristol MS. Bristol Central Lib. Pub. with omis. Letters, i. 414. Stamped: Narberth. Dec. 7. 1802. -- Crescelly, near Narbarth, Pembrokeshire My dear Friend I took the Liberty of desiring Mrs Coleridge to direct a Letter for me, to you -- fully expecting to have seen you -- but I passed rapidly thro' Bristol, & left it with Mr Wedgewood immediately & literally had no time to see any one. I hope however to see you on my return / for I wish very much to have some hours' conversation with you on a subject, that will not cease to interest either of us, while we live at least -- and I trust, that this is a Synonime of -- 'for ever!' -- As Mr T. Wedgewood however is rapid in his movements, & sudden in his resolves, it is possible, that we may strike up directly thro' Wales into the North, without taking Bristol in our way -- I must therefore request that you will be so good as to redirect any Letter or Letters, which there may be for me, to J. B. Allen's, Esqre, Crescelly, near Narbarth, Pembrokeshire -- by the return of Post. Have you seen my different Essays in the Morning Post? -- The Comparison of Imperial Rome, & France -- the 'Once a Jacobin, always a Jacobin['] -- & the two Letters to Mr Fox? -- Are my Politics your's? -- Have you heard lately from America? A Gentleman informed -892- me, that the Progress of religious Deism in the middle Provinces is exceedingly rapid -- that there are numerous Congregations of Deists -- &c &c. Would to heaven, this were the case in France! -Surely, religious Deism is infinitely nearer the religion of our Saviour, than the gross Idolatry of Popery, or the more decorous, but not less genuine, Idolatry of a vast majority of Protestants. -If there be meaning in words, it appears to me that the Quakers & Unitarians are the only Christians, altogether pure from Idolatry -and even of these, I am sometimes jealous, that some of the Unitarians make too much an Idol of their one God. Even the worship of one God becomes Idolatry, in my convictions, when instead of the Eternal & Omnipresent, in whom we live, & move, & have our Being, we set up a distinct Jehovah tricked out in the anthropomorphic Attributes of Time & Successive Thoughts -- & think of him, as a PERSON, from whom we had our Being. The tendency to Idolatry seems to me to lie at the root of all our human Vices -- it is our Original Sin. -- When we dismiss three Persons in the Deity, only by subtracting two, we talk more intelligibly, but I fear, do not feel more religiously -- for God is a Spirit, & must be worshipped in Spirit. O my dear Sir! it is long since we have seen each other -- believe me, my esteem & grateful Affection for you & Mrs Estlin has suffered no abatement, or intermission -- nor can I persuade myself, that my opinions fully stated & fully understood would appear to you to differ essentially from your own. My creed is very simple -my confession of Faith very brief. I approve altogether & embrace entirely the Religion of the Quakers, but exceedingly dislike the sect, & their own notions of their own Religion. -- By Quakerism I understand the opinions of George Fox rather than those of Barclay -- who was the St Paul of Quakerism. -I pray for you, & your's! -- S. T. Coleridge --