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object ought to be the peace and temporal prosperity of the commonwealth.
•• But (such alas ! is the depravity of human nature) when the church was put on a different footing, men began, not all at once, but gradually, to change their system in regard to those articles, and seemed strongly inclined to think, that there was no injustice in retaliating upon their enemies, by employing those unhallowed weapons in defence of the true religion, which had been so cruelly employed in support of a false : not considering, that by this dangerous position, that one may justly persecute in support of the truth, the right of persecuting for any opinions will be effectually secured to him who holds them, provided he have
For what is every man's immediate standard of orthodoxy but his own opinions? And if he have a right to persecute in support of them, because of the ineffable importance of sound opinions to our eternal happiness, it must be even his duty to do it when he can. For if that interest, the interest of the soul and eternity, come at all within the magistrate's province, it is unquestionably the most important part of it. Now, as it is impos-, sible he can have any other immediate directory, in regard to what. is orthodox, but his own opinions, and as the opinions of different men are totally different, it will be incumbent, by the strongest of all obligations, on one magistrate to persecute in support of a * faith, which it is equally incumbent on another by persecution to destroy. Should ye object, that the standard is not any thing so fleeting as opinion: it is the word of God, and right reason. This, if ye attend to it, will bring you back to the very same point which
ye seek to avoid. The dictates both of Scripture and of reason, we see but too plainly, are differently interpreted by different persons, of whose sincerity we have no ground to doubt. Now to every individual, that only amongst all the varieties of sentiments can be his rule, which to the best of his judgment, that is, in his opinion, is the import of either. Nor is there a possibility of avoiding this recurrence at last. But such is the intoxication of power, that men, blinded by it, will not allow themselves to look forward to those dreadful consequences. And such is the presumption of vain man (of which bad quality the weakest judgments have commonly the greatest share) that it is with difficulty any one person can be brought to think, that any other person has, or can have, as strong conviction of a different set of opinions, as he has of his.'*-Vol. ii. pp. 287–289.
“ This excellent writer then goes on to trace the progress of the evil.
“ • I proceed to show the advances which, from time to time, were made, till that system of persecution, which, in a great part
* “ Lectures on Ecclesiastical History, by George Campbell, D. D. Principal of Marischal College, Aberdeen.
of the world, still obtains, was brought to maturity and established. For ages after the opinion first took place among Christians, that it was the magistrate's duty to restrain heretics by the infliction of civil penalties, they retained so much moderation, as not to think that the punishment could justly extend to death, or mntilation, or even to the effusion of blood. But now that the empire was become Christian, there gradually arose in it diverse laws against this new crime heresy, which are still extant in the codes e fleodosian and Justinian, imposing on the delinquents fines, banishments, or confiscations, according to the circumstances, and supposed degree, of the delinquency. All that regarded the execution of those laws, the trial as well as the sentence, devolved on the magistrate. Only the nature of the crime, what was heresy or schism, was determined by the ecclesiastical judge. One step in an evil course naturally leads to another. The first step was made when civil penalties were denounced against particular' opinions and modes of thinking: This may be considered as the first stage of the doctrine and practice of intolerance in the Christian church. Nor could any ihing be more explicitly, or more universally, cundemned than this has been, by the Fathers of the first three centuries, and several of the fourth. Humani juris et naturalis potestutis est, said Tertullian, in the beginning of the third century, unicuique quod putaverit colere ; and Hilary of Poitiers, in the fourth, in opposition to those who favoured the interposition of the magistrate. Deus cognitionem sui docuit, potius quam exegit, et operationum cælestium admiratione, præceptis suis concilians auctoritatem, co actam confitendi se aspernatus est voluntatem. Again, Deus universitalis est, obsequio non eget necessario, non requirit coactam confessionem : non fallendus est sed promerendus, simplicitate querendus est, confessione discendus est, charitate amandus est, timore venerandus est, voluntatis probitate retinendus est. At vero quid istud, quod sacerdotes timere Deum vinculis coguntur, penis jubentur ? Sacerdotes carceribus continentur ? Men's system of conduct may come, we see, to be totally reversed. But this is always the work of time. Every advancé has its difficulty, and is made with hesitation. But one difficulty surmounted emboldens a man, and renders it easier for him to surmount another. That again makes way for the next, and so on till the change be total.' Vol. ii.
293–295. “ While the stupidity of the middle ages was still in its per fection, the fetters of the clergy upon the human mind were easily preserved from relaxation.
“ • For some centuries,' says Dr. Campbell, particularly the eighth, ninth, and tenth, remarkable for nothing so much, as the vilest superstition and grossest ignorance, and for insurrections, revolutions, and confusion, heretics and sectaries made but little noise, and were as little minded. With the revival of knowledge, even in its dawn, these also revived." "--p. 299.
We shall continue this article and publish is separately as a tract. The taxation of the country is only to be reduced by the circulation of such tracts as these; by shewing where taxes are ill-founded or unjustly raised, and by shewing where they may be dispensed with. Every sixpence of state tax for the subject of religion is not only unjust ; but, in a religious sense, is manifestly irreligious. It must be irreligious to tax a man for the encouragement of that which can only exist as a voluntary act. It is like saying to a man you shall pay for a god atol, whether or not you will worship him. On what ground is that enforced payment founded? Would not the god or idol exist without a pecnuiary support? Is it, after all the religious clamour, a god of gold and revenue ? Shew the worshippers that it iş not, by ceasing to tax them for its support. Shew, that the god, or the notion of the god, can exist without the aid of the ta xation. If there were in reality such a god as is preached, a support by taxation would be the greatest outrage toward him that could be proposed. It puts the affair on the footing of no pay, no god. The god that is to be purchased is a dear god and had better be discharged. We are taxed for the possession of light and air in our houses, and taxed too for the phantom of a god. Religion, altogether, is nótbing but a state trick, set up, as Paine correctly observed with regard to the Christian Religion, to monopolize power and profit. The Westminster Review is therefore so far of all the Reviews the most powerful advocate for the reduction of taxation, inasmuch as it attacks, with great ability, all taxes for the pretence of supporting religion.
BIBLE SOCIETY BICKERINGS.
With this society there is “death in the pot." Never will the members get over this squabble and unite in the circulation of the Bible. The society is attacked both internally and externally. To the contemners of the Bible, as a book of religions instruction, this squabble is a matter of indifference, other than as it proves, that such an institution, as the Bible Society, has no good foundation. We earnestly desire the most complete knowledge of the book to all persons desirous of obtaining it, or who, in any measure, contribute to the support of the religion which arises from it. This does not appear to be the case with all who thrive on that religion, as the following document shews:-
THETFORD BIBLE SOCIETY.
Tae meeting of the Bible Society at Thetford, last Thursday, was enlis. vened by an occurrence which will perhaps not be so unusual as it has been -an iuterruption from the Roman Catholic Priest. The Rev. Professor Scholefield used in his speech the words,“ the blinded Roman Catholic,” upon which the Priest, rose, and desired an explanation of the sense in which the expression was applied. He said that he was sorry to disturb the harmony of the assembly, but as a member of that Church, he could not suffer such a calumny to pass unnoticed. The Professor declared his willingness to satisfy the inquiry, but it was determined that the business of the evening should proceed, and at its conclusion both parties should be heard. Accordingly, at the adjournment of the Bible Meeting, the Professor rose, and promising that he should confine himself to the subject on which he was speaking, the circulation of the Scriptures, he produced a document which he said he always carried with him, and confirmed his charge of blindness by the following facts :
1. In the notes to the Roman Catholic version of the Bible, published at Rheims, and approved by the Right Rev. Bishop Troy, is the comment on Hebrew vii. 5, (unless we mistake,) “ The Protestant version of the Bible is to be abhorred to the depths of hell."
2. In the Letters from Ireland, by J. K. L. (the Right Rev. Bishop Doyle) it is mentioned, and with high approbation, that a Parish Priest finding in the hands of a parishioner the English Bible, took it from him with the tongs, and buried it in the ground.
3. In a Bull by the present Pope, not only all Protestant versions of the Bible are prohibited under pains and penalties, but also the version by Martini, Archbishop of Florence.
The Professor concluded by declaring that he did not use the word « blinded” in reproach to the Roman Church, but in pity and bearty compassion to them, as wanting that glorious light which we enjoy.
The Priest, in reply, did not deny the facts adduced, but attempted to palliate them by observing tbat the acis of an individual were not to be charged on a church. He said the only difference between his Church and our's was, that we allowed the use of the Bible, unexplained, to all, while they allowed it only in an approved version, and accompanied with the interpretation which the Church ordained. Was the Roman Catholic layman to be calumniated because he submitted to the teaching of his church? The mischief of our unlimited use of the Bible was to be seen in the diversity of opinions and sects among. us, which he illustrated by the various sentiments concerning baptism. As to the bull of, the Pope he declared that the prohibition was not to be understood as denying the use of those versions, but only as insinuating (I pledge my ears for the word) insinuating that there were faults in the book.
With this the controversy terminated, ar.d we must add that the best spirit was manifested on both sides. We could have wished that the Learned Professor had founded his charge on larger grounds than a few obscure facts, little known and less heeded. We will grant to the Romish Church that she does permit the use of the Bible to the laity, when properly guarded (pardon, Lord, the expression-Thy word guarded by man)—and we will only ask, during the 1800 years of the Romish Church, spread over the whole world, abounding too in learning, riches, and power,
how many copies of the Scriptures has she circulated ? How many versions attempted ? As many as the Protestant Church in 250 years, or as the Bible Society in twenty years? Hath Catholic Spain as many Bibles as Norfolk? Has the whole Catholic world as many as England? Do the Priests urge on their people the advantage aud duty of reading the word of God ? Are the Catholics in general acquainted with the Bible ? On the answer which must be given to these questions we would fonndthe charge (though we do not approve of making such charges, and vonecessarily hurting our neighbours feelings), that the Catholics are blinded, and blind. ing one another. "Oh! my people, they which lead thee, cause thee to err.”—Isaiah.
We translate the following anecdote from Les Archives du Christianisme, a sort of French Christian Observer." We can attest the truth of the folowing fact. At a sale made after the decease of the minister of the village of Dosenheim (Lower Rhine), the end of last May, when the little library of the defunct was being sold, the minister of a neighbouring parish seized a volume, declaring that there were enough bad books in the world already, and this should not be sold. It was not sold, and our readers would be more afflicted than surprised to hear that the bad book was the New Testainent of our LORD and Saviour JESUS CURist."-Norwich Post.
Disagreement among the Christians seems to have been and to be universal, and this too proves the bad foundation of Christianity. The religion under which all are to unite in a fictitious future life is a source of universal dissension in this! Better for us to unite here and settle matters as to the future when we meet in future. In the following speech of Lord Bexley's, his lordship seems to scout the notion that infidels are zealous distributors of the Bible; and he scouts it too under the idea, “ that the kingdom of Satan is not so divided against itself." The kingdom of Christ does not appear to be so well managed! But the kingdom of Satan (Wisdom) knows that the circulation of the Bible has been Satan's triumph in Europe:
The 14th Anniversary of the Kent Auxiliary Bible Society was
held at the Court Hall, Maidstone, on Thursday last. "On a Resolution being unanimously passed, expressing the thanks of the Meeting to Lord Bexley for his services in the Chair, his Lordsbip in returning his acknowledgments, made several observations, which were to the following effect:
“ Ladies and Gentlemen,-I felt it to be a duty, not only to the respectable individuals, by whom I was invited, but also to myself, to attend this Meeting, for I feel it is services like these that become my declining years. After passing a great part of my life in the services of my earthly King, the remainder of my days are due to that Heavenly Monarch, who rules over all; and while. I have health and strength, I cannot better employ them