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Every individual human being has not the righ:s and only a right, but is under an indispensible duties of tle foobligation to adopt that religious cult or as of indivimode of worship, which, after due deliberation, in the sincerity of his heart, he thinks his Creator requires of him; it follows of course, that a society composed of such individuals muft, collectively taken, enjoy the same right, and be under the same 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- Tlie civil estab. ment of a religion affects in no manner the ligion atteets 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 alteration in this case; but left civil power as is found it; and if it was before the judge,

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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.”

Thus did our British ancestors adopt for rel gion 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, sent hither from Rome for that purpose by St. Eleutherius; and when the Saxons conquered the island, a part of the community retired into the mountains of Wales, to preserve their liberties and religion from the innovations and en-.

Changes in succeflion of the


• Rogers's Vindication, p. 208.


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croachments of their new masters. The
Saxons, however, continued for many years
to keep up the religious establishment in the
community, which they had brought with
them out of Germany. About four hundred
years after the preaching of St. Damianus,
the English Saxons, who then properly were
the community or political society of this
country, were converted to christianity by
St. Augustine and his fellow preachers, sent
also for this purpose from Rome by St.
Gregory the Great. From this time then,
until the reformation, the majority of this
community adopted the Roman Catholic re-
ligion, and made it the established religion of
the country

When I speak of the adoption of religion Chriftianity e-
either by one or more individuals, I wish Mailised and
ever to be understood to speak of it, as of the preaching, and
free act of a free agent. True it is, that our it free and vo-
blessed Redeemer came upon earth to estab-
lifh the Christian religion; and his injunction
to mankind to submit to and adopt 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-


propagated by

the adoption of



gated and established the Christian religion: the effects of preaching are perluasion 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 saved nor damned by proxy."

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 establishment of it should form an essential part of the English constitution. Now although government, as we have before seen, be effential to

The very

Original constitutional

connection of church and Itate,

* Vid. Religious Intolerance no part of the general plan, either of the Mosaic or Christian Dispensation, by Jof. Tucker, D. D. Dean of Glouc. 1774.


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society, yet the particular form of govern.
ment, which each particular society should
adopt, was left to the free option of the so-
ciety, and necessarily remains open to what-
ever changes or improvements the same fo-
ciety shall think proper, convenient, and
necessary, from time to time to introduce.
So although a religious establishment be
essential to the English constitution, yet the
particular form of that establishment must as
necessarily remain open to the general sense
and option of the community, as the freedom
of each individual's intercourse and commu-
nication with his creator must for ever re-
main perfectly uncontrouled. Without entera
ing, therefore, into any polemical controversy
or dispute about the particular tenets, doc-
trines, or principles of what once was, or what
now is the religion fanctioned by the law of
England, whatever my own religious opinion
or belief may be, I am bound by principle to
allow to my neighbour the same liberty and
right of following the dictates of his consci-
ence, which I claim to myself: and whatever the rigtit of a
that mode of worship may be, in the free community to
and conscientious adoption of which the ma ever they con.
jority shall concur, the community hath the cur in.
unimpeachable right of countenancing and
supporting it by civil sanctions, or, in other


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tion to what


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