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ABRAHAM REES, D.D. F.R.S.
&c. &c. &c.
EDITOR OF THE CYCLOPÆDIA.
REV. AND DEAR SIR, I Haye been tempted to prefix to these pages your truly respectable name, because your Four excellent Volumes of Sermons recently published are in unison with the contents of the present work, the object of which is to illustrate the enlarged and liberal spirit of our COMMON CHRISTIANITY. To have devoted a long life to the promotion of the best interests of your fellowcreatures has been your distinguished felicity. By your editorial labours you have diffused the rays of knowledge throughout almost every region of the terrestrial globe! In your own proper character of divine you have never failed to inculcate a spirit of love and charity, which, kindled here on earth, will burn with an inextinguishable lustre amid the glories of the celestial world! The combined energies of SCIENCE and RELIGION are destined to regenerate mankind.
The celebrated Marquis of Worcester, as, my dear Sir, you well know, published a Centenary, or One Hundred Discoveries relative to Science; and here a Centenary, or one hundred testimonies, are brought forward in behalf of CANDOUR, PEACE, and UNANIMITY.
These testimonies, however, are not discoveries made by the divines whose names they bear: for ChrisTIANITY, as it lies in the New Testament, has from the period of its promulgation recommended love and charity, and this truth has been acknowledged by the disciples of JESUS; yet the little regard paid to these evangelical duties seems as if they were not known, and as if they were now, in these latter
for the first time, to sooth and pacify the discordant church of Christ.
Should it be urged that some of those Theologians have, in other parts of their works, shown a zeal subversive' of that Charity here inculcated, it can only be replied, that such a conduct is to be deplored, and must be pronounced a proof of the inconsistency not unusually attached to humanity. But, according to their own acknowledgment, the fault lies not in the glorious Gospel of the blessed God, but in themselves. And hence a salutary lesson is to be learnt, that even the best of men should guard against a party-spirit, which, however fascinating to those who indulge it, overwhelms, like a volcanic eruption, the beautiful and attractive superstructure of scriptural Christianity!
It is a fact, that an attempt to extirpate this spirit of bigotry should, with certain persons, incur the imputation of heresy, and be deemed an indication of an enmity to the doctrines, precepts, and institutions of the New Testament. Surely there must be something wrong in the temper of zealots. They are the natural enemies of Charity. They wage war with her claims, and meditate her destruction. But why slumbers thus the genius of our religion ? Where is the conciliating disposition recommended by Jesus Christ? Are these the legitimate fruits of the GOSPEL? What hope can be entertained that the CHRISTIAN REVELATION, thus mutilated, shall ever shed its influence over the utter. most parts of the earth? These are queries of which we ought not to lose sight; these are interrogatories which should be kept in remembrance, however despised amidst the rage of controversy, or trampled under foot in the paroxysms of religious insanity. TRUE RELIGion is a permanent luminary. Its rays reach ing us through the atmosphere of human préjudices, are, indeed, broken and dispersed. But our consolation is, that the day is hastening, in which these rays shall be concentrated towards one point, whence they shall diverge, with an intenseness and lustre, for the purification of the whole habitable globe! To ascribe unchaRITABLENESS and PERSECUTION to the religion of Christ, is to ascribe darkness to the sun, or disorder to the established laws of the universe.
It may be doubted whether, in combating the monster Bigotry, it ought always to be treated with seriousness and gravity. Certain it is, that occasionally an opposite mode may be attended with success.
Dr. John Thomas, who, in the year 1766, died Bishop of Salisbury, told a friend, that when he was chaplain to the British Factory at Hamburgh, a gentleman of the Factory being ill, was ordered into the country for the benefit of the air. Accordingly he went to a village at about ten miles distant, but after some time died there. Upon this, application was made to the parson of the parish for leave to bury him in the church-yard. The parson inquired what his religion was, and was told that he was a Calvinist.
he, " there are none but Lutherans in my church-yard, and there shall be no others.”_" This,” says Dr. Thomas,
was told me, and I wondered that any man of