Indytment of Thomas Aikenhead

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A complete collection of state trials and proceedings for high treason and other crimes and misdemeanors from the earliest period to the year 1783, with notes and other illustrations
T. B. Howell (editor)
Excerpt from Volume 13, Section 401

Spelling as in 1st source. Paragraph breaks added.

Thomas Aikenhead, sone to the deceast James Aikenhead, chirurgeon, in Edinburgh, prisoner in the Tolbuith thereof.

You are indyted and accused, att the instance of sir James Stewart, his majesties advocat for his highnes interest, and by speciall order of the lords of his majesties privy councill, that where by the laws of God, and by the lawes of this and all other well-governed Christian realmes, the cryme of blasphemy against God, or any of the persons of the blessed Trinity, or against the holy Scriptures, or our holy religione, is a cryme of the highest nature, and ought to be severely punished: Lykeas by the act of parliament, first parliament Charles 2d, act 21, Intituled, act against the cryme of blasphemie, it is statute and ordained, that whosoever not being distracted in his witts shall raill upon or curse God, or any of the persons of the blessed Trinity, shall be processed before the cheife justice, and being found guilty, shall be punished with death; and by 11th act, 5 session of the present current parliament, the forsaid act is not only ratified, but it is farder statute, that whosoever shall in their wryteing or discourse denye, impugne or quarrell, or argue, or reason against the being of God, or any of the persons of the blessed Trinity, or the authority of the holy Scriptures, of the Old and New Testaments, or the Providence of God in the government of the world, shall for the first fault be punished with imprisonment, ay, and while he give publict satisfaction in sackcloath to the congregatione within which the scandall is committed; and for the second fault be ffyned, besydes his being imprisoned as above, and for the third should be punished with death, as ane obstinat blasphemer:

Nevertheless it is of verity, that you Thomas Aikenhead, shakeing off all fear of God and regaird to his majesties lawes, have now for more than a twelvemoneth by past, and upon severall of the dayes within the said space, and ane or other of the same, made it as it were your endeavour and work in severall compainies to vent your wicked blasphemies against God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, and against the holy Scriptures, and all revealled religione, in soe far as upon ane or other of the dayes forsaid, you said and affirmed, that divinity or the doctrine of theologie was a rapsidie of faigned and ill-invented nonsense, patched up partly of the morall doctrine of philosophers, and pairtly of poeticall fictions and extravagant chimeras, or words to this effect or purpose, with severall other such reproachfull expressions;

Lykeas you scoffed at, and endeavoured to ridicule the holy scriptures, calling the Old Testament Ezra's fables, by a profane allusione to Esop's fables, and saying that Ezra was the inventer therof, and that being a cunning man he drew a number of Babylonian slaves to follow him, for whom he made up a feigned genealogie as if they had been descended of kings and princes in the land of Canaan, and therby imposed upon Cyrus who was a Persian and stranger, persuading him by the devyce of a pretendit prophecy concerning himself; and as for the New Testament, you not only scoff at it, but in your scoffing did most blasphemously raill upon our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, calling the said New Testament the History of the Impostor Christ, and affirming him to have learned magick in Egypt, and that coming from Egypt into Judea, he picked up a few ignorant blockish fisher fellows, whom he knew by his skill and phisognomie, had strong imaginations, and that by the help of exalted imaginatione he play'd his pranks as you blashphemously terme the working of his miracles.

Lykeas you affirmed Moses, if ever you say ther was such a man, to have also learned magick in Egypt, but that he was both the better arteist and better politician than Jesus; as also you have cursed Ezra, Moses, and Jesus, and all men of that sort, affirmeing the holy Scriptures to be so stuffed with maddness, nonsense, and contradictions, that you admired the stupidity of the world in being soe long deluded by them:

Lykeas you reject the mystery of the blessed Trinity, and say it is not worth any man's refutation, and you also scoffe at the mistery of the incarnation of Jesus Christ, affirming blashphemously that Theantropos is as great a contradictione as Hireus Cervus, or a quadratum to be a rotundum; and as to the doctrine of redemptione by Jesus, you say it is a proud and presumptuous devyce, and that the inventars therof are damned, if after this life ther be either rewaird or punishment; you also deny spirits, saying that the notion of a spirit is a contradiction, and you have maintained that God, the world, and nature, are but one thing, and that the world was from eternity; and you assert that man's imaginatione duely exalted by airt and industry can do any thing, even in the infinite power of God: you have lykwayes in discourse preferred Mahomet to the blessed Jesus, and you have said that you hoped to see Christianity greatly weakened, and that you are confident that in a short tyme it will be utterly extirpat, and you have been so bold in your forsaid blasphemies, that when you have found yourself cold, you have wished to be in the place that Ezra calls Hell, to warme yourself there: and these blasphemous raillings and expressions in the words above sett down, or words to the like purpose, you have wickedly uttered in severall companies without the least provocatione, but meerly prompted by your irreligious and devilish malice against God and our blessed Saviour, and the most concerning truths of the holy Christian religion.

By all which, it is manifest, that you are guilty airt and pairt of horrid blasphemy, railling against and cursing our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and impugneing and denying the truth of the holy Scriptures, and the quarrelling and argueing against the being of God and against his providence in making and governing the world, which being found by the verdict of an Assize, you ought to be punished by death, and the confiscation of your moveables, to the example and terror of others to committ the lyke in tyme coming.

This work was published before January 1, 1926, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.