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covenants, the covenant of grace, and the coVenant of works', soon divided the spiritual militants. The jarring of divinity caused such dissentions, that in the presence of sixty thousand savages, headed by their warriors, giving the fignal for scaling the walls, to bury the contending parties under their ruins, grace would not permit works to lend the least affistance for repelling the common foe. It became victorious over the Indians and Christians. It drove the. first from its walls, and banished the latter from the city into savannahs and deserts, to procure themselves subsistence by the 'war/er of their hands.
In a word, persecution on the score of conscience, has thinned the world of fifty _millions of human beings, by fire and sword. Thousands, who have escaped the sword and fagot, have perished, and are daily perishing with hunger and want, for their mode of worship. The London riots, occasioned by a pretext of religion, have added about four hundred: more, deluded by religious frenzy, to the enormous number. And though they suffered as'plunderers and incendiaries, yet religious intolerance in their leaders, occasioned the deluded people's destruction.
The history of the calamities', occasioned by the gospel of peace, could be concluded with the
the poet's Epiphonema. " Tantum religio po" tuit suadere malorum ! " " Such devilish " acts religion could persuadel " *
The Maken, to their eternal credit, and to the honour of humanity, are the only persons who have exhibited a meekness and forbearance, worthy the imitation of those who have entered into a covenant of mercy by their baptism. William Penn, the great legislator of that people, had the success of a conqueror in establishing and defending his colony amongst
r savage tribes, without ever drawing the sword ;
the goodness of the most benevolent rulers, in treating his subjects as his own children ; and the tenderness of a universal father, who opened his arms to all mankind, without distinction of sect or party. In his republic, it was not the religious creed, but personal merit that entitled every member of society, to the protection and emoluments of the state. Rise from your grave, great man l and teach those sovereigns, who make their subjects miserable, on account of their catechisms, the method of making them happy. They, whose dominions resemble enormous prisons, where one part of the crea* tion are distressed captives, and the other their unpitying keepers.
il? Creech's Lucrelius.
I shall examine the charter' which is pleaded in justification of restraints on the score of con'science. The Protestant and Catholic are equally concerned in the discuffion. Each would plead for toleration in his turn ; and the honour of religion, should be vindicated from the im'putat'ion of en'ormities, which should be transferred to their real principles-I mean the passions of men, or their ignorance of the limits which religion itself prescribes to their power. I know the difficulty there lies in encountering prejudices which have a long' prescription to pleadsi I shall be asked whether I am ignorant of the rescripts of popes, inserting in the directory of the inquisition, the imperial con'
_ stitutions, dooming heretics to the flames ; the
authority of Catholic and Protestant canonists, divines, and Civilians, Calvin, Bellarmin, Gomar, benches of Protestant bishops, who gave their votes for enacting the law that doomed myself to transportation, and to death if ever I return to my native country; though I am conscious of no crime against the state, but that crime of a legal creation, viz. saying my prayers whilst other: are cursing .' Am I ignorant of the practice of ages, which has given a sanction to fines, forfeitures, imprisonments and death itself, on the score of religion? A practice, supported by the most learned writers of every denomination, and legible in bloody'
' characters characters in the annals of Protestant states, as well as in the registers of the inquisition? I answer, that I am not ignorant of the sanguinary rubric that first taught the manner of preparing the human victim for the altar of religion, in honour of a God, who instead of re,quiring such'a sacrifice, died on the cross for his creatures, and with expanded arms prayed for his enemies : Neither am I ignorant of the gloomy ritual, substituted in certain kingdoms in the place of the fagot, and which prescribes the manner of stripping the man, in honour of a gospel, which commands to cloath the naked. They must both come under the same description. For if religion' authorise to deprive a man of' the means of supporting life, and providing for the education of his children, and the maintenance of his family ; the same religion authorizes to deprive him of life itself. Religion is alleged on both sides, and as the degree of punishment is arbitrary, and lies at the discretion of the legiflator, he can extend, or reduce it to what compass he thinks fit ; and it is well known that a speedy death is preferable to a tedious agony.
But what if 'I oppose practice to practice; pope to pope; doctor to doctor? Without a cardinal's robe, or a bishop's rochet, what if my arguments in favour of the rights of mankind,
should outweigh the reasoning of the purpled or mitred apologists of its oppressors? What if my authorities should prove more numerous and illuttrious than theirs ? What if I should happen to demonstrate, that when they allege religion as a sufficient motive for the exertion of oppreffive power, in such an age, or in. such a country; it must be the religion of time, or place, hut not the religion of the gospel. " Fides temporum, 'f non evangeliorum." '
Cartesius, in a stove, by remarking the moc tion of the smoak that rolled from his pipe,
'gave the first shock to Aristotle's barbarous
Philosophy, that kept the world in ignorance for so many ages. Succeeding geniusses improved upon the new plan; until at lasi Sir Isaac Newton dispelled the mist, and made the light shine forth in its full luflre. I in my cell, reflecting on the revolutions that religion has occasioned, not for the good, but for the destruction of mankind,-revolutions in their morals, by inspiring them with mutual hatred and aversion, by making them believe that they were dispensed with the unchangeable laws of love and humanity, and deluding them
into a persuasion, that the death or oppreffionss
of a fellow creature on account of his error, was an agreeable sacrificeto the Divinity,-I al
so, by a feeble attempt to overthrow the altars B of