Much of the effort to define and articulate a decorum of wit was directed toward the limitation of its uses. As we have seen, there emerged a consensus given voice by William Whiston that while “All Men have a right to be heard, when they talk seriously, soberly, gravely, and with an honest Mind,” no one “has a right to trifle, or be knowingly impertinent; and least of all in Business of Religion.”1 This was difficult advice to follow, however. To be a poet, a journalist or even a preacher in an age of wit meant that one was implicated in impertinence and linguistic trifling whether one wished to be or not. Religious controversialists were operating under stringent restrictions: St. Paul’s apparent prohibition against wit in Ephesians 5:3-6 where he warns the early Christians not to engage in “filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient. … Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.”2 For critics of libertines and Deists, “vain words,” and “foolish talking and jesting” were used routinely as code for various elaborations of heterodox wit, and the opposition to the use of wit in religious controversy soon hardened into orthodox dogma. “When you meet with any Book upon the Subject of Religion, that is written in a ludicrous or unserious manner,” writes Edmund Gibson, Bishop of London, “take it for granted that it proceeds from a deprav’d mind, and is written with an irreligious design. Such Books are calculated not to inform the Understanding, but to corrupt the Heart.”3