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is built on the absurd supposition, that one mar has a right to judge for another in matters of religion. It contradicts the grand principle of doing to others as we_would think it reasonable they should do to us. It is by no means calculated to answer the end pretended to be aimed at by it; but tends to introduce confusion, as well as to overthrow truth in the world. It is inconsistent with natural religion, and runs counter to the whole tenor of THE CHRISTIAN REVELATION,
I have only to exhort you to maintain upon your minds a grateful sense of the value of RELIGIOUS LIBERTY. It has been the gift of heaven to our highly favoured country for upwards of a century.
George the Second nobly declared there should be no persecution for conscience sake in his reign-and during the reign of George the Third, there has been a greater extension of religious liberty, than in any former period of British history. This measure is in unison with the declaration of His Majesty, on his accession, “ that the TOLERATION ACT should be preserved inviolate" -and with the réply made by the House of Lords, that “the
preservation of THE TOLERATION ACT inviolate, was the surest support of the PROTESTANT INTEREST in these kingdoms." These acts of the Brunswick monarchs, have invested their crown with a milder radiance, and a more permanent glory. Wisdong and justice are the only permanent basis of thrones. When sovereigns have for their object the welfare
of All their subjects, then hath GOVERNMENT attained the divine end for which it was instituted not the aggrandisement of individuals, nor the exaltation of parties, but the promotion of the best interests of the great family of MANKIND.
The disciple of Jesus Christ is a friend to good government. His principles and practices are auspicious to the well-being of the community. He is apprised that a cheerful obedience to the laws is the cement of society. To fear God, and honour the King, is no less the dictate of common sense, than it is the injunction of our common Christianity. But by becoming A CHRISTIAN he ceases not to be a citizen. His freedom, civil and religious, he claims as his birth-right! And The CHIEF MAGISTRATE, who best understands his duty, will continue the subject in the possession of it, guarding it from injury, and conveying the precious deposit to Future Generations.
I pray God, that the portion of civil and RELIGIOUS FREEDOM we enjoy, may descend with augmentation to latest posterity! The lines are fallen unto us in pleasant places-yea, we have a goodly heritage. Brethren, ye have been called unto LIBERTY, only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by LOVE serve one another.
It is natural' for every man to think well of his OWN RELIGION, and to draw over his brethren to the profession of it. But we must not forget what we owe to the majesty of truth, by violently forcing it upon others. Let us address ourselves to the understanding. The rays of truth will find their way into the recesses of the human mind, as the natural eye opens itself easily and freely to admit the light of day! Thus we judge even of ourselves that is right, and every man will be fully persuaded in his own mind.
CHRISTIAN BRETHREN—it is the operation of truth on the temper and conduct, bringing forth the peaceable fruits of righteousness, that will best recommend our religion to the world. The soundest principles, and the most unrestrained freedom, are of no avail without PRACTICAL RELIGION. These blessings must be improved, to render them inestimably valuable. Unappropriated to their legitimate purposes, they render the individual more deeply amenable at the tribunal of heaven! And I saw THE DEAD small and great stand before God, and ike books were opened, and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to THEIR Works.
There is Peace to thee, O BRITAIN! and no religious hurt as the Lord liceth. May our spirit be that of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, a spirit of kindness and benignity! May our temper be imbued with love towards our fellow creatures, however differing from us in their religious faith and worship! May we guard against a propensity to uncharitableness, which leads to bigotry, and terminates in PERSECUTION ! May THE WISDOM FROM ABOVE, which is at all times, and on all occasions, pure, peaceable, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy, dwell richly in our hearts, and luminously adorn our lives!
Whilst, hailing the return of PEACE, we lament the desolations of War, and deplore the ravages of Persecution, let us raise the eye of faith to that better world, where these evils are no more! Inconceivable and uninterrupted is the tranquillity of HEAVEN. Elevated far above this sublunary sphere, the inhabitants of that pacific region are supremely and eternally happy. The good Melancthon looked upon death without fear, because it would secure him from theological hatred and contention. Dying he was asked, if he wanted any thing more-he replied “ Nothing but HeAVEN!" This mortal must put on immortality, and this corruptible incorruption. Then indeed the mysterious sufferings of GOOD MEN, of whatever age or clime, of whatever sect or denomination, which now exercise our faith, or agitate our sympathy, meet with their reward. After this, says John the Divine, I beheld, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of ALL NATIONS and KINDREDS, and PEOPLE, and TONGUES, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands and cried with a loud voice, saying-SALVATION to our God, which sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me-What are these which are arrayed in white robes, and whENCE came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said unto me-THESE ARE THEY WHICH COME OUT OF GREAT TRIBULATION, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple, and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more, neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat, for the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters, and GOD SHALL WIPE
AWAY ALL TEARS FROM THEIR EYES.
Such is the account of ROGER WILLIAMS, and such the reflections which the narrative hath suggested in behalf of Christian forbearance and liberality. Reader-hast thou at any time, or upon any occasion, indulged an uncharitable and persecuting spirit towards thy differing brother
GO AND SIN NO MORE!
C. Whittingham, Printer, College House, Chiswick.