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The following pages have been written under no feelings, which would lead me to take side in any party question ; but the more the excellency and purity of divine truth has been opened, upon my understanding, the more I have witnessed its operations, separated not only from all the wars and conflicts which agitate the christian world, so called but from all the forms which sectarians have esta. blished. Under these ideas I offer a few sentiments. to unbiassed and impartial minds; simply because it has appeared right to do so; extending to all, that perfect liberty of conscience, which would not wish to change the views of any man, though they might lead him to condemn every sentiment that I have advanced.
After a careful examination of different doctrines that have been maintained by learned and virtuous men, in different eras of the world, I have found that true religion does not consist in following books or men; but in taking for the rule of our lives the divine light in our own breasts. This I have exemplified by extracts from a few writers-by showing the uncertainty of the bible, as a standard of belief, and of every other outward rule of faith and practice.
In treating upon the idolatry of sects, I hare assumed, that men are not made better by a profession of religion, but by purity of heart; and that there is no essential difference, in the idolatry which in different countries makes religion consist in different outward ceremonies; which in one looks to a pagoda, a temple or a mosque; in others to a chapel, a church, or a meeting house; either as houses of God or places of worship. And singular as it may appear, it does seem to be the fact, that the pure doctrine of the spiritual religion of Jesus Christ, has been most clearly and publicly recognized among the Chinese and our American natives, living half the circumference of the globe from each other, and equally remote from the principal pro. fessing christians of the world.
Yet between these, and the professed followers of Jesus Christ, division lines are drawn. Because they have not the Bible, and do not know that Jesus was crucified at Jerusalem, they are called heathen nations! Is it right that this should be so? Is it right that men professing christianity, should keep alive divisions among themselves? These things, if consistent with the state men are in, are wholly irreconcilable with pure and vital religion. In the following pages I have endeavoured to show the total inefficacy of every form in religion : each sectarian will acknowledge it, as respects all that he is not in the practice of—but there he will stop. Free from sectarian bondage, I have drawn the full length picture-in the persuasion that there is a pure and
holy religion, in which, under feelings separated from sectarian views, the traditions of the Romanist, the Quaker, the Calvinist, the Unitarian, &c. will no longer mark boundaries between men; and this religion is altogether in that one eternal, unchangeable, indivisible Principle, to which I have referred, which applies to all mankind, which embraces every thing that is excellent in religion, which knows no sect among men or distinction between individuals; and though it may be true that many are not prepared for it, yet those who through the power of divine love embrace it, find all partition walls as perfectly broken down, as if all the world were subjected to it.
I have freely stated my feelings, I ask no one to adopt them, and presenting them without a name, they will stand simply upon their own merits or demerits,
LIGHT OF TRUTH
IN THE MIND OF MAN,
The only Rule of Faith and Practice.
FORMALITY AND IDOLATRY
The wise man does not make courage to consist in
Le juste milicu