INFIDEL, persons, evidence. One who does not believe in the existence of a
God, who will reward or punish in this world or that which is to come.
Willes' R. 550. This term has been very indefinitely applied. Under the name
of infidel, Lord Coke comprises Jews and heathens; 2 Inst 506; 3 Inst. 165;
and Hawkins includes among infidels, such as do not believe either in the
Old or New Testament. Hawk. P. C. b 2, c. 46, s. 148.
2. It is now settled that when the witness believes in a God who will
reward or punish him even in this world he is competent. See willes, R. 550.
His belief may be proved from his previous declarations and avowed opinions;
and when he has avowed himself to be an infidel, he may show a reform of his
conduct, and change of his opinion since the declarations proved when the
declarations have been made for a very considerable space of time, slight
proof will suffice to show he has changed his opinion. There is some
conflict in the cases on this subject, some of them are here referred to:
18 John. R. 98; 1 Harper, R. 62; 4 N. Hamp. R. 444; 4 Day's Cas. 51; 2
Cowen, R. 431, 433 n., 572; 7 Conn. R. 66; 2 Tenn. R. 96; 4 Law Report, 268;
Alis. Pr. Cr. Law, 438; 5 Mason, 16; 15 mass. 184; 1 Wright, 345; So. Car.
Law Journ. 202. Vide Atheist; Future state.