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upon the conscience.motive which ought to secure the obedience of every Christian

taThe sanction arinered, then, to any law, proves nothing as to the obligation of the law itself upon the conscience; but it proves, that in consequence of man not being in that perfect condition in which he ought to be, other motives, besides those derived from the reasonableness and equity of the command, are become necessary to secure his obedience. For every law stands upon the ground of its own merits; if good in itself, and enacted by proper authority, whether the penalties designed to secure its operation be enforced or not, its obligation upon on the conscience remains the same. Joszo Let us now consider what the Act of Toleration, as it is commonly called, has done in the case before uslovi niv Ca



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By the Act of Uniformity, every person is required to conform to the mode of worship established in this country. The enforcement of penalties upon this subject, a subsequent Act has, under certain circumstances, suspended; whilst, at the same time, the Act itself, the operation of which those penalties were meant to secure, is suffered to remain in being. May we not conclude from hence, that the legislators saw no reason to alter their opinion with respect to the Act of Uniformity itself, although, upon consideration, they thought proper, in particular cases, to leave it to produce its effect upon the mind, unassisted by its appointed sanction, ut poð dou 9d63 9095 9565009


The title of Toleration Act, therefore, which use has now familiarized to the ear, seems to be



derived rather from the meaning which popular interpretation has affixed to the Act in question. than from the real intention of the Act itself.boFor an exemption from penalties, which the policy of former times had inflicted upon certain irreguläro practices, cannot be considered so much a tolera.c tions of those practices,bas an acknowledgment, on the part of Government, that religious opinions, so long as they do not interfere with whatois deemed to be the welfare of the state, are no longer considered objects for temporal coercion!qiə



But in this case, as in some others, in which the prejudices and passions of mankind are deeply en gaged, the conclusion has been carried beyond the premises; and the legislature has been understood: to say more than was ever meant to be said upon, this subject; the setting free from legal restraint certain religious distinctions and practices having been considered, by many, to amount to a justifis cation, or even establishment, of them. Whereas the Act of Toleration, as it is called, tolerates nóthing; if by toleration is to be understood a justification of practices, against which temporal penal ties had been heretofore denounced. A suspension of those penalties is all that it pretends to. But a suspension of penalties, whilst the law to which they have been annexed continues unrepealed, (as it has been already observed) does not lessen the obligation of that law, though it may destroy its effect. of bongpenb row dole coulang ituri But upon the supposition that the Act of Tole ration did more than it does; that it not only sus pended the penalties by which a conformity to the



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established worship was designed to be enforcedy but that it moreover repealed every civil lawqthat i related to that subject; such a concession would make no alteration in the case before usingFor the obligation to Church unity is not derived from the authority of the civil, but from that of the Divine law. It is originally grounded upon theo revealed willoofqthe Founders of the Christian Churchg 1 who could not give a more striking proof of the necessity and importance of this Christian prin ciple than by making it the subject of his most solemn prayer on a very particular occasion. Nor could the Apostle give a more plain description of the nature of it, than by making the human body a type of emblem of the Christian Church; to the end that the members of the latter should draw an argument for their constant communion with each other, from the consideration of the joint fellowship and united operation of the members of the former. Wherever, then, the Church of Christ exists, an obligation to communion with it is binding upon the conscience of every Christian, by virtue of that Divine law which accompanied its establishment. This Divine law is paramount to every human injunction upon the subject. Whatever liberty, therefore, the Act of Toleration may be supposed to give, with respect to Christian conformity, must bel understood as given inca case in which do kuman legislature has any liberty to grant The civil penalties which were designed to secure it having been removed, the law to which they were annexed is left to stand upon the original ground of its supposed agreement with the revealed will of



God consequently, the obligation to Church unity
is just what it was in the primitive days or the
Churched before civil policy interfered with the
businessoud edt to themovog olodw od obem
--And though in this case civil policy, by withdraw
ings its influence, cease to assist the operation of the
Divine law, it does not, therefore, lessen its obliga
tion. For by whatever rules of political expediency
the conduct of the magistrate may be governed,
certain it is, that the greater power cannot be over!
ruled by the lesser one. The sin of schism, there
fore, or a wilful separation from the Church of
Christ, is just what the word of God
od has to
nounced it to be, whatever may
y be the determi
nation of the magistrate upon the subject and
all that he has hitherto determined upon it in this
country, has been to leave it to the judgment of its
proper tribunal.m ti hood side dow orled


It is to be lamented, indeed, that an indulgence, originating, we trust, in charity, and designed to produce good effects, should have operated to the more general disunion of the members of the Christ. ian Church. But certain it is, that the Act which suspends the penalties which were designed to en force the obligation to Church communion, has, in! its operation, tended to increase the evil, which the original interference of the legislature was in this case intended to prevent. That sanction which the legislature has been supposed (by a misinter pretation of the Act in question) to give to every separation from the Christian Church, has, in fact, proved the most fatal blow that the unity of that Church ever received. For, according to the rego

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monstrance of the House of Commons, in answer to Charles, the Second's declaration from Bredaj "it has (in a manner) established schisma byla law made the whole government of the Church precal rious, and the censures of it of no moment or consideration; and been the cause of increasing sects and sectaries, by introducing that loose way of think! g upon the subject of Church communion, which makes it a matter of indifference with many ped Pewhat place of worship they frequent, or with what society of religionists they are connected Tra circumstance which annihilates, as it were, the sin of schism, by removing out of sight all those discriminating marks, to be found in the writings of the Apostles and first Christians, by which the Church of Christ, as a society at unity within itself, is distinguished." of tr vest of food and symoo Before we finish this head, it may be proper to say one short word to guard against wrong.conclusionsjesh bre



As ministers of the Church of Christ, upon conviction, we must lament, in common with all sound members of it, that there should be any such thing as separation from it; and it is our duty, so far as persuasion and argument will go, to prevent it. But knowing that diversity of opinions in religious matters, is the unavoidable result of human imper fection and human liberty, and that offences must


the true spirit of our religion, to/accompany such com We are prepared, in what we conceive to bel events with that charitable hope which one ChristTanmay bestow upon another, though of a different opinion. At the same time we should do less than

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