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5. It will probably be neither denied nor doubted that the papal Inquisition was founded on the principle that error of opinion proceeds from wickedness of heart; nor that the myriads of victims which have been murdered by these terrific tribunals, were put to death on the same principle. Should it be said that this has been an abuse of the principle; I may ask, when has the principle ever been applied but in acts of abuse or injustice ?

6. This principle when associated with party spirit has often so bewildered the minds of men, that they have thought they were pleasing God by the most flagrant violations of his law, and by the most atrocious acts of injustice towards fellow men. By such delusions men were led to fulfil our Lord's prediction, • The time will come when he that killeth you will think he doeth God service.” Under such a malignant influence men can seldom see any thing good in the objects of their censure; for they are prepared to impute the most benevolent and selfdenying acts to wicked motives, or a diabolical agency; and if reproved for their censoriousness they can exclaim, " Thou wast altogether born in sin, and dost thou teach us ?” Though this exclamation may seldom be expressed in these words, it may be intelligibly expressed by contemptuous smiles insinuations and gestures.

7. Were it a revealed and unquestionable truth, that error always proceeds from depravity of heart, still no uninspired person could safely act on the principle in his treatment of Christian brethren. For when a disagreement of opinion occurs between brethren as to the meaning of a text of Scripture; who that is not inspired, can certainly know that the error is not on his own part? In such a case, humility, benevolence, and a consciousness of liability to err, would naturally restrain the meek and lowly from wielding the weapon of censure against his brother's heart; yet the self-sufficient Pharisee would not hesitate practically to say to his dissenting brother, “Stand by thyself, for I am holier than thou;" it is owing to the wickedness of your heart that you do not see with me. Be as humble as I am, and you will think as I do.

Is it not then, a clear case that this principle is far less likely to be resorted to by the righteous, than by the wicked ? When this weapon falls into the hands of party spirit, it will assuredly be employed for party purposes, and those who wield it, will be pretty sure to call evil good and good evil, to put darkness for light and light for darkness. What is evil in themselves, they will call good; and what is good in others, they will call evil. It was obviously so, with the

persecutors of our Lord. While they appear to have had no concern, lest the error should be found on their own part, his benevolent acts were viewed by them as acts of wickedness, and deserving of death. “ For a good work we stone thee not,” was their plea, and such is generally the plea of persecutors and revilers in every age and country. What person was ever persecuted on the accusation that he was a good man?

There are many opinions avowed by persons of different sects at the present day, which appear to me very erroneous; but seldom have I heard an opinion avowed, that I could not account for, otherwise, than by imputing it to depravity of heart. When I reflect how contrary it must be to the nature of humility and benevolence to impute a brother's opinions to his wickedness, while there is nothing else in his character to lead to such a conclusion, I am often amazed to hear the principle avowed by men who in other respects appear to be good people.

Excepting the principles which justify deciding political disputes by national hostilities, I know not another, which I think has done a tenth part so múch mischief, as that which imputes error on religious subjects to wickedness of heart. If the nature of a tree is to be known by its fruits, or the nature of a principle by its practical results, the censorious principle now under review, may well be denominated the Bohon Upas of the Christian world. It is a tree which has extended its branches and its poisonous influence over every Christian country, changing the milk of brotherly kindness into the bitter waters of hatred and censure, and causing contention, calumny and persecution to reign triumphant, where nothing should have been known but peace and love, with their genuine fruits.

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LETTER III.

THE TRUTH AS HATED BY THE WICKED.

My Christian Brethren,

The word truth frequently occurs in the Bible, and also in controversial writings. It has been common to represent that the hearts of sinners are naturally opposed to the truth, and to account for supposed error of opinion by ascribing it to hatred of the truth. Uncharitable Christians of different sects, have too frequently reproached each other as enemies to the truth, and on this ground each, perhaps, has accounted for what he believed to be error in the other.

As the term truth is used in the Bible, it has several significations. When used in relation to facts, it is the opposite to falsehood-in relation to opinion, it is the opposite to error-in relation to promises, it is the opposite to unfaithfulness—in relation to commands, it is the opposite to partiality or injustice—in relation to moral character, it is the opposite to unrighteousness, and is of the same import as uprightness or moral rectitude. "God is true;" and in the same sense that “God is light;" and “God is love," it may be said “God is truth.He is the source and fountain of truth in all its forms or significations. As his benevolence and righteousness are expressed in the law, and in the Gospel, these are called the truth. Jesus came to

Would it.

bear witness of the truth; and he said of himself, “I am the way, the truth, and the life." To delight in goodness or in doing good, is to delight in the truth. To walk in obedience to the law of love and to do what is right, is to walk in the truth.

There are truths innumerable and of various classes. Every art or science has its system of truths. In the Bible we have historical and geographical truths, as well as those of a moral or religious nature. Whatever is right or true, is the truth.

In what sense of the word then, may it be said that the sinner is opposed to the truth? not be in vain to try to convince him that his heart, is opposed to such truths as the following :-Eight and two are ten-Paris is the capital of FranceAlfred was once the king of England ? Should we succeed better in attempting to convince him that he hates the following Scriptural truths. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”

-Jesus was born in Bethlehem-he was crucified on Calvary—God raised him from the dead-God so loved the world that he sent his Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. It is possible that an Atheist or a Deist might become convinced that he had hated these truths; but it is believed that no person who had grown up in the belief that the Bible is of divine authority could be convinced that he ever hated such truths, any more than that he hated the truth which affirmed his own existence.

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