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far as they will, for we are free of all. And when he appeared at the diet of Spiers before the emperor, in a particular conference he had before the Archbishop of Triers, and the Elector of Brandenburgh, when there feemed no poffibility of agreeing him with his opposers, they asking him what remedy feemed to him most fit? he amfwered, the counfel that Gamaliel propofed to the Fews, that if this defign was of God it would ftand; if not, it would vanish, which he faid ought to content the pope. For this counfel fuppofeth, that those that are tolerated may be wrong; and yet how foon did the fame Luther, ere he was well fecure himself, prefs the Elector of Saxony to banish poor Coroloftadius, because he could not, in all things, fubmit to his judgment? And certainly it is not without ground reported, that it fmote Luther to the heart (fo that he needed to be comforted) when he was informed that Coroloftadius, in his letter to his congregation, ftyled himself a man banished for confcience, by the procurement of MARTIN LUTHER!"
This account of the conduct of our great Reformer fhould be impreffed upon the minds of Protestants, and might prove an incentive to that confiftency of character which, were it uniformly cultivated, would conftitute the glory of the reformed churches. By abandoning this fpirit of intolerance, both in principle and in practice, we fhall prove ourselves the followers of Jefus
Chrift, the imitators of the apoftles, and thus haften the coming of the Meffiah's kingdom!
Fourthly and laftly-By not judging even of ourfelves, concerning the religion of Chrift, that juft conviction of mind is excluded, which enfures firmness of belief and fteadinefs of practice.
The gofpel of Jefus Chrift is accompanied with a train of evidences fuited to its nature, and fufficiently ample to command the affent of every reafonable being. The contemplation of its prophecies, its miracles, its internal character, and its first propagation amongst Jews and Gentiles, has a neceffary tendency to produce conviction. Truth and duty being intimately connected, we have reafon to conclude, that a fettled belief will, under the bleffing of God, generate an uniform practice. One man believes in the existence of a Supreme Being, because his parents and inftructors have affured him there is a Deity. Another man believes there is a God, because he has confidered and investigated the works of creation. Which of these men is the most likely to love and fear him? The queftion requires not an answer. Apply this reafoning to the other great articles of natural and revealed religión, and the fame conclufion may be drawn with equal juftice. He who takes up his belief upon proper grounds, is the more certain of living beneath its influence, and dying by its fupport. The belief of the gospel refts on the most rational conviction. You can
not complain of a want of evidence, though you may want that patience and docility which are requifite to confider this evidence in its due extent. The citadel of the Chriftian faith is founded upon a rock, and the gates of hell fhall not prevail against it *.
* One of the most popular of the prefent deiftical wri ters, having mifreprefented and ridiculed the feveral books of fcripture, exultingly compares himself, towards the clofe of his performance, to a woodman, who paffing through á a forest with an axe on his fhoulder, had levelled the trees with the ground. Such is the wit with which he embellishes, and fuch the modefty with which he announces his own atchievements. Infatuated man! neither the sharpness of thine axe, nor the ftrength of thy blow, could poffibly · avail. In thy rage for deftruction, thou hadst forgotten that thine aim was directed against the tree of life, which is of God's own right hand planting, and whofe fruit is for the healing of the nations !
Naturalifts have obferved, that fuch is the goodness of Providence, that wherever any fpecies of poifon grows, there alfo will an antidote be found to counteract its fatal tendency. The Age of Reafon has received many excellent anfwers, both from Churchmen and Diffenters. None of them, however, poffeffes greater merit, or deferves a more general perufal, than The Apology for the Bible, by the prefent Bishop of Landaff. Youth who are the most likely to be led away by the fophiftry of Deifm, fhould have this pro duction put into their hands. In this judicious performance, they will find the knowledge of the divine-the ability of the fcholar, and the ferious, candid fpirit of the Chriftian, happily and feefonably united. As an antidote to modern infidelity in general, the reader is referred to the present Bishop of London's Charge to the Clergy, for 1794-Paley's Evidences of Chriftianity, (of which a good abridgment has been published) and Dr. Priestley's Obfervations on the Increafe of Infidelity.
Let us then be ftudious of exercising the right of private judgment in the investigation of the fcriptures; for in them (faid our Saviour) ye think have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me. With the free and impartial fearch of the scriptures, the interefts of religion are effentially connected. "The faith and practice of Chriftians," fays an ingenious writer *, "have been often perverted, and their confciences have been fubjected to the traditions and commandments of men. They who were mifled, fell into this corruption and slavery, by neglecting to search the feriptures. They were delivered out of it by that pure and complete information, which is to be derived from the word of God. It was after the church of Rome had taken away the key of knowledge, and forbidden the people the use of this book, that he was able to impofe the full weight of that grievous yoke under which the Christian world long groaned. And it was when our forefathers prefumed to open this book, that they began to make themselves free. From hence they derived irrefiftible weapons. By the light of fcripture, they exposed to scorn the fabulous legends, the abfurdities, the idolatry, and the uncharitable fpirit of those who had kept them in bondage. The various forms of error, with all the fanction which they derived from authority,
Principal Hill of St. Andrews.
custom, and fuperftition, were unable to ftand before the truth. And the fearch of the Scriptures hath established that rational system of faith, that spiritual worship, thofe rights of private judgment and mutual toleration, and those pure conceptions of Christian duty which are the glory of the reformed churches. If ever a night of fuperstition fhall again overspread the Christian world, it will arise from that neglect of the fcriptures which grows with the impiety of modern times; for the ignorant are always an easy prey to imposture, while every well-instructed Chriftain raiseth in his place a mound against the return of fpiritual tyranny."
If then the fcripture be the only rule of faith and practice-if our reafon fhould be exercised in the fear of God, to recognize its evidences and afcertain its import-if this invaluable privilege be common to the profeffors of Christianity; why, on account of difference of opinion, fhould they indulge themfelves in mutual recrimination -afcend the tribunal of the Almighty, and hurt at each other the thunder-bolts of divine vengeance? Ceafe, O Chriftian, from fuch unchrif tian practices! Thefe are the deeds which have given infidels their triumphs-lacerated the feelings of pious men, and caused the system of Christianity to bleed at every pore! Thou who renouncest infallibility, renounce also the impofition of thy creed upon the confciences of thy