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ties by which many wedded hearts are knit together will be dissolved. The family altar must fall. Religion will be known in many a domestic retreat, not as a bond of union, but a subject of debate, a source of discord or de pression.
"Now I ask, For what boon are all these sacrifices to be made? The great end is, that certain opinions, which have been embraced by many serious and inquiring Christians as the truth of God, may be driven from the church, and be dreaded by the people as among the worst of crimes. Uniformity of opinion, that airy good, which emperors, popes, councils, synods, bishops, and ministers have been seeking for ages, by edicts, creeds, threatenings, excommunications, inqusitions, and flames, this is the great object of the system of exclusion, separation, and denunciation which is now to be introduced. To this we are to sacrifice our established habits and bonds of union, and this is to be pursued by means, which, as many reflecting men believe, threaten our dearest rights and liberties.
"It is sincerely hoped, that reflecting laymen will no longer shut their eyes on this subject. It is a melancholy fact, that our long established Congregational form of church government is menaced, and tribunals unknown to our churches, and unknown, as we believe, to the scriptures, are to be introduced; and introduced for the very purpose, that the supposed errors and mistakes of ministers and private Christians may be tried and punished as heresies; that is as crimes. In these tribunals, as in all ecclesiastical bodies, the clergy, who make the
ology their profession, will of necessity have a preponderating influence, so that the question now before the public is in fact only a new form of the old controversy, which has agitated all ages; viz. whether the clergy shall think for the laity, or prescribe to them their religion. Were this question fairly proposed to the public, there would be but one answer; but it is wrapped up in a dark phraseology about the purity and order of the church, a phraseology, which, I believe, imposes on multitudes of ministers as well as laymen, and induces acquiescence in measures, the real tendency of which they would abhor. It is, I hope, from no feeling of party, but from a sincere regard to the religion of Christ, that I would rouse the slumbering minds of this community to the dangers which hang over their religious institutions. No power is so rapidly accumulated, or so dreadfully abused, as ecclesiastical power. It assails men with menaces of eternal wo, unless they submit, and gradually awes the most stubborn and strongest minds into subjection. I mean not to ascribe the intention of introducing ecclesiastical tyranny to any class of Christians among us; but I believe, that many, in the fervor of a zeal which may be essentially virtuous, are about to touch with unhallowed hands the ark of God, to support Christianity by measures which its mild and charitable spirit abhors. I believe, that many, overlooking the principles of human nature, and the history of the church, are about to set in motion a spring of which they know not the force, and cannot calculate the effects. I believe, that the seed of spiritual tyranny is sown, and although to a
careless spectator it may seem the 'smallest of all seeds,' it has yet, within itself, a fatal principle of increase, and may yet darken this region of our country with its deadly branches."
"Ye worship ye know not what."
In the preceding chapter, I have shown the inconsistency of the orthodox, in excluding from christian fellowship, all such men as differ from them in their opinions on the doctrines of the bible; and shown the danger and awful consequences of this unholy, orthodox Inquisition. I have many serious and alarming facts to present to the reader, on this system of exclusion and imposition of the orthodox. They can be found in other parts of this work. They are solemn truths, every day acted before our eyes; countenanced, and beheld with indifference, and spoken of with the most astonishing apathy. It is with the deepest regret and heart felt sorrow, that I look around me, and see on every side, multitudes of honest, sober, and respectable men, who are indifferent to an investigation of religion; while the crafty and designing and ambitious, are taking advantage of this indifference, to effect and prosecute their unholy purposes. Christian reader, when will men awake to the danger which now threatens them? The Inquisition of orthodoxy has already gone so far, and become so popular, that the multitude will not believe the truth when it is presented to them-and the sentinel cry, “ALL'8 WELL!" is given, believed, and echoed, throughout the ranks of the deceived, and credulous multitude. It is wonderful to see the tricks of the orthodox, so artfully played by their leaders, on the great mass of community. And when these cunning and bold usurpers are exposed in their nefarious and unchristian work, these very men deny it, and resort to various means to lull and persuade their hearers; they
say, Do not believe these Infidel writers! And the most successful method, adopted by many of those, who are now, at this very time, carrying into operation the worst of purposes, is done by persuading the multitude NOT TO READ or examine for themselves; but implicitly believe ALL that their ministers tell them. And yet the orthodox condemn, and now are stirring up the most unhallowed persecution against the Roman Catholics, because the Catholic priests' do the same things! In view of such things, I confess my charity cannot hide the multitude of sins, which I see committed by the orthodox* throughout these United States. I shall present in the course of these pages, nothing but undeniable FACTS, and the public must read and decide for themselves. It is to be feared, there are many under the cloak of religion, at this time, who will be found answering to the description given below, of the hypocrite, in Pollok's Course of Time. Some of their fruits will be given in proof of these assertions. Before I proceed any further, I must observe, and wish to have it constantly borne in mind, that I am not speaking one word against true, spiritual and EVANGELICAL Religion. I am engaged in exposing the ABUSES and VIOLATION of religion, not opposing, or ridiculing, or condemning, the spiritual life of God in the soul.
I will here give Pollok's description of the hypocrite:
"He was a man
Who stole the livery of the court of heaven,
To serve the devil in; in virtue's guise
Devoured the widow's house and orphan's bread;
In holy phrase transacted villanies
That common sinners durst not meddle with.
At sacred feast, he sat among the saints,
And with his guilty hands touched holiest things.
All knees were weary.
With one hand he put
A penny in the urn of poverty,
And with the other took a shilling out.
On charitable lists,-those trumps which told
The public ear, who had in secret done
The poor a benefit, and half the alms
They told of, took themselves to keep them sounding,-
* Sea Chapter on the persecution of the Quakers by the orthodox Puritans.
Let us now give particular attention to some of the inexplicable doctrines of orthodoxy. In the inspired book, we read:
"Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them." Exodus, xx. 3-5.
IN Scott's Family Bible, the reader will find these remarks on the above commandments
"The commandments are addressed in the singular number to each person, because every one is concerned in them on his own account; and each prohibition implies a positive duty. This first commandment requires a disposition and conduct suited to the relation in which we stand to Jehovah as our God. He alone is the adequate object of our love, and able to satisfy our capacity of happiness: all we are and have, is derived from him, and he posseses an unalienable right to prescribe the use which we should make of all his gifts. He has so clear a title to our love, gratitude, reverence, adoration, submission, credence, confidence and obedience, that we cannot withhold them from him, without the most palpable injustice. * *To the disgrace of the human understanding, the grossest idolatry has been very general; and that ambitious proud spirit, who is the enemy of God and man, has been gratified in the success of his presumptuous attempts to become, by these means, the god of this world; and a more refined and plausible kind of idolatry has often supplanted it, in the few places where something more rational* has prevailed. This worship of creatures, whether actually existing, or only supposed to exist, is the principal violation of the commandment: as it ascribes to them the glory of those attributes which Jehovah incommunicably possesses, and seeks those blessings from them which he alone can confer. The immensely varied idolatries of the Gentiles, which the Israelites were constantly disposed to imitate, are always in Scripture spoken of with decided abhorrence, as flagrant transgressions of the letter of this command: and it is impossible for those professed Christians who render religious worship to saints and angels, to show that their practice is not so too, or to disprove the charge of ascribing the glory of the divine perfections to mere creatures.
"All pretences to witchcraft, likewise, or to magic, fortune telling, charms, astrology, or enchantments, partake of the same guilt, as in these ways men expect that information or assistance from other beings, which God alone can afford.
* Meaning the Devil, *Liberal Christianity, probably,