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me. It is true, that a Christian's reputation is comparatively a light object; and so is his property, so is his life; all are light things to him, whose hope is full of immortality. But, of all worldly blessings, an honest reputation is to many of us the most precious; and he who robs us of it, is the most injurious of mankind, and among the worst of persecutors. Let not the friends of denunciation attempt to escape this charge, by pleading their sense of duty, and their sincere desire to promote the cause of truth. St. Dominic was equally sincere, when he built the Inqusition; and I doubt not that many torturers of Christians have fortified their reluctant minds, at the moment of applying the rack and the burning iron, by the sincere conviction, that the cause of truth required the sacrifice of its foes.* I beg that these remarks may not be applied indiscriminately to the party called 'Orthodox,' among whom are multitudes, whose humility and charity would revolt from making themselves the standards of christian piety, and from assailing the christian character of their brethren.

"Many other considerations may be added to those which have been already urged, against the system of excluding from christian fellowship men of upright lives, on account of their opinions. It necessarily generates perpetual discord in the church. Men differ in opinions as much as in featnres. No two minds are perfectly accordant. The shades of belief are infinitely diversified. Amidst this immense variety of sentiments, every man is right in his own eyes. Every man discovers errors in the creed of his brother. Every man is prone to

* See an account of the Inquisition and of Christian Martyrs in this book.

magnify the importance of his own peculiarities, and to discover danger in the peculiarities of others. This is human nature. Every man is partial to his own opinions, because they are his own, and self-will and pride are wounded by contradiction. Now what must we expect, when beings so erring, so divided in sentiment, and so apt to be unjust to the views of others, assert the right of excluding one another from the christian church on account of imagined error? As the scriptures confine this right to no individual and to no body of Christians, it belongs alike to all; and what must we expect, when Christians of all capacities and dispositions, the ignorant, prejudiced, and self-conceited, imagine it their duty to prescribe opinions to Christendom, and to open or to shut the door of the church according to the decision which their neighbors may form on some of the most perplexing points of theology? This question, unhappily, has received answer upon answer in ecclesiastical history. We there see Christians denouncing and excommunicating one another for supposed error, until every denomination has been pronounced accursed by some portion of the christian world; so that were the curses of men to prevail, not one human being would enter heaven. To me it appears, that to plead for the right of excluding men of blameless lives, on account of their opinions, is to sound the peal of perpetual and universal war. Arm men with this power, and we shall have 'nothing but thunder.' Some persons are sufficiently simple to imagine, that if this 'horrid Unitarianism' were once hunted down, and put quietly into its grave, the church would be at peace. But no: our present contests have their origin,

not in the 'enormities' of Unitarianism, but very much in the principles of human nature, in the love of power, in impatience of contradiction, in men's passion for imposing their own views upon othes, in the same causes which render them anxious to make proselytes to all their opinions. Were Unitarianism quietly interred, another and another hideous form of error would start up before the zealous guardians of the 'purity of the church.' The Arminian, from whom the pursuit has been diverted for a time by his more offending Unitarian brother, would soon be awakened from his dream of security, by the clamor of denunciation; and should the Arminian fall a prey, the Calvinists would then find time to look into the controversies among themselves, and almost every class would discover, with the eagle eye of their brethren at New-York, that those who differ from them hold 'another gospel,' and ought to be 'resisted and denounced.' Thus the wars of Christians wil! be perpetual. Never will there be peace, until Christians agree to differ, and agree to look fothe evidences of christian character in the temper and the life.


"Another important consideration is, that this system of excluding men of apparent sincerity, for their opinions, entirely subverts free inquiry into the scriptures. When once a particular system is surrounded by this bulwark; when once its defenders have brought the majority to believe, that the rejection of it is a mark of depravity and perdition, what but the name of liberty is left to Christians? The obstacles to inquiry are as real, and may be as powerful, as in the neighborhood of the Inqui

sition. The multitude dare not think, and the thinking dare not speak. The right of private judgment may thus, in a Protestant country, be reduced to a nullity. It is true, that men are sent to the scriptures; but they are told before they go, that they will be driven from the church on earth and in heaven, unless they find in the scriptures the doctrines which are embodied in the popular creed. They are told, indeed, to inquire for themselves; but they are also told, at what points inquiry must arrive; and the sentence of exclusion hangs over them, if they happen to stray, with some of the best and wisest men, into forbidden paths. Now this 'Protestant liberty' is, in one respect, more irritating than Papal bondage. It mocks as well as enslaves us. It talks to us courteously as friends and brethren, whilst it rivets our chains. It invites and even charges us to look with our own eyes, but with the same breath warns us against seeing anything which Orthodox eyes have not seen before us. Is this a state of things favorable to serious inquiry into the truths of the gospel; yet, how long has the church been groaning under this cruel yoke?

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"It is well known, that many of our country parishes are able to support but a single minister. At the same time, they are divided in sentiment; and nothing but a spirit of charity and forbearance has produced that union, by which public worship has been maintained. Once let the proposed war be proclaimed, let the standard of party be raised, and a minister must look for support to that party only to which he is attached. An Orthodox' minister should

blush to ask it from men, whom he denounces for honest opinions, and to whom he denies all the ordinances of the gospel. It surely cannot be expected that Liberal Christians will contribute, by their property, to uphold a system of exclusion and intolerance directed against themselves. What then will be the fate of our societies? Their ministers, even now, can with difficulty maintain the conflict with other denominations. Must they not sink, when deserted by their most efficient friends? Many societies will be left, as sheep without a shepherd, a prey to those whom we call sectarians, but who will no longer have an exclusive right to the name, if the system of division, which has been proposed, be adopted. Many ministers will be compelled to leave the field of their labors and their prospects of usefulness; and I fear the ministry will lose its hold on the affection and veneration of men, when it shall have engendered so much division and contention.But this is not all. The system of denying the christian name to those who, differ from us in interpreting the scriptures, will carry discord not only into churches, but families. In how many instances are heads of families divided in opinion on the present subjects of controversy. Hitherto they have loved each other as partakers of the same glorious hopes, and have repaired in their domestic joys and sorrows to the same God, (as they imagined,) through the same Mediator. But now they are taught, that they have different Gods and different gospels, and are taught that the friends of truth are not to hold communion with its rejecters. Let this doctrine be received, and one of the tenderest

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