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The duty of in human beings collectively or individually, dividuals to fol. " Bow the inspira- who stand in the same predicament of excluriors of God.
Sive responsibility to their Creator. The right, therefore, which each individual pofsesses of this free and uninterrupted communication and intercourse with his Creator, is essentially paramount to all human, civil, or political power whatever.
*“ Religion, gentlemen, appears to me to be a gift, which God bestows on every individual, subject to his movements and inspirations, but in every other respect entirely free, and beyond the reach of any human jurisdiction; therefore, no one ought to associate against his will, or without some reasonable cause or motive, with any religious society
whatever.” And the great Fenelon, archthought in religious matters bishop of Cambray, a prelate of the estab-not subject to sivil controul. lished religion in a Roman Catholic country
under an absolute monarchy, speaks the same language. t " Liberty of thought is an impregnable fortress, which no human power can force; therefore, kings should not take upon themselves to direct in matters of religion.”
• Professor Noodt's Discourse upon Liberty of Conscience, as translated by A. Macawlay, p. 27.
+ Fenelon, as quoted by Dr. Rogers, Vindication of the Civil Establishment of Religion, p. 42.
ciety the same
Every individual human being has not the riches and only a right, but is under an indispensible duties of the for obligation to adopt that religious cult or as of indivi. mode of worship, which, after due deliberation, in the fincerity of his heart, he thinks his Creator requires of him; it follows of course, that a society composed of such individuals must, collectively taken, enjoy the same right, and be under the fame duty and obligation. As, therefore, it is neither my intention nor purpose to examine, or even consider the reasons, grounds, or merits of the religious persuasion of any one individual, so shall I equally avoid the discussion or examination of the internal evidence of that religion, which the majority of this community has thought proper to countenance and support by civil sanctions. The civil establish- The civil estaba
lishment of reinent of a religion affects in no manner the
not the truth of truth or falsehood of the religion itself.
the religion it*« The magistrate (or supreme civil power) in Turkey has just the same uncontrouled civil right to establish the religion he ap. proves, as a Christian magistrate has to establish his choice: christianity made no alceration in this case; bur left civil power as is found it; and if it was before the judge,
• Rogers's Vindication, p. 162.
what religion it should establish, it continues so still.” And the same learned author, who is remarkable for perspicuity and strength of argument, further says; * “Nothing, therefore, can be more unjust or impertinent, than those suggestions, that upon my principles, popery will be the true religion in Spain, presbytery in Scotland, and Mahometism in Turkey. These are, indeed, the established religions in those places; but not one jot the more true for being established. To the laws establishing religion, civil obedience is due, in the same measures and under the same reserves in Spain, as in England; but assent of judgment against private convictions is no part of the obligations arising
from the establishment in either.” Changes in fuc- Thus did our British ancestors adopt for cession of the religion in this fome centuries the Druidical institutions;
after that, they embraced the Christian religion, under king Lucius, which was preached to them by St. Damianus, fint hither from Rome for that purpose by St. Eleutherius; and when the Saxons conquered the inand, a part of the community retired into the mountains of Wales, to preserve their liberties and religion from the innovations and en
* Rogers's Vindication, p. 208.
croachments of their new masters. The
When I speak of the adoption of religion Chriftianita either by one or more individuals, I with stablished and
propagated by ever to be understood to speak of it, as of the preaching, and
the adoption of free act of a free agent. True it is, that our it free and you blessed Redeemer came upon earth to establish the Christian religion; and his injunction to mankind to submit to and adope it is mandatory and unexceptionable; but then it is equally true, that the act of submission to, and adoption of it, must necessarily be the free and voluntary act of the individual. It was by preaching, that our blessed Lord himself and his apostles and their successors propa
gated and established the Christian religion: the effects of preaching are persuasion and conviction; and these essentially presuppose the freedom of the person to be persuaded and convinced. Persuasion and conviction formally exclude every idea of necessity and compulsion.
From the first formation of man to the present hour, the following saying of dean Tucker was equally true: *“ No human authority ought to compel man to surrender to any one his right of thinking and judging for himself in the affairs of religion, because this is a personal thing between God and his conscience, and he can neither be faved nor damned by proxy.”
The very earliest traces of our constitution bespeak its interwoven texture of church with state. Upon the avowed assumption, that religion generally promotes morality, our ancestors wisely determined, that a religious establishment should be fanctioned by the community, and the legal establishinent of it should form an essential part of the English constitution. Now although govern, ment, as we have before seen, bę essential to
Original confic tutional con. nection of church and Itate,
• Vid. Religious Intolerance no part of the general plan, either of the Mosaic or Christian Dispensation, by Jol, Tucker, D.D. Dean of Glouc. 1774,