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of a Dissinting congregation in communion with the Established Church of Scotland. It was not published at any of the great marts of literature, and fell into our hands accidentally: but we think it entitled to public notice, on account of the justness and ingenuity, as well as the liberality of its general views. It is a shori, but interesting and instructive account (which we hope will, in due time, be enlarged to a full history) of the slow "progress of Toleration,-combined with a judicious defence of
that equitable, humane, and politic system, which it is painful to think there should be any occasion for defending in the nineteenth century, and in England. This last subject we have no intention of discussing in the present article, but shall confine ourselves to a few observations on the history of Toleration -we should rather say, of Intolerance,—for intolerance is the positive, active principle,-and the suppression of Intolerance is the same thing with the establishment of Toleration.
Our author justly observes (p. 145.), that “ persecution has not resulted from any particular system, but from the preva• lence of ignorance, and the force of those illiberal prejudices
which are natural to the mind of untutored man. In fact, it may be laid down as a fundamental principle, that Intolerance is natural to man in every state of society. Much training is required before we can listen with patience, or even behave with civility, to those who dissent from our own settled opinions upon any subject. Our own opinions we of course presume to be right, and, from long familiarity, we conceive them to be evident; so that we naturally ascribe all dissent from them to weakness or perversity,—but rather to perversity than weakness. Besides, it is irksome to change our habits of thinking; and he who applies his arguments to destroy the sentiments and judgments which nature or education has woven into our constitution, not only requires us to submit to a harsh operation, but also, which is incomparably worse, he mortifies our self-conceit. Hence the cruditissimi et clarissimi viri, who guide our way through the ancient classics, frequently betray their resentment of contradiction, and add a wonderful interest to their lucubrations, by the bitterness of their sarcasms against their philological adversarics. Even in philosophy, where we might look, if any where, for calin and amicable discussion, the controversies are too often enlivened with a rancour, altogether unnecessary for the discovery of truth : and many a doctrine which is now received as incontrovertible, was at first compelled to fight its way in opposition to the ridicule and anathemas of the reigning schools. Christian divines submitted for ages to Aristotle's yoke, and would tolerate no murmurs against their hea
then master. It was not till after vexatious controversies that the authority of Newton was established. None of Harvey's cotemporaries, who had attained the age of forty at the time of his grand discovery, were able to perceive that he had demonstrated the circulation of the blood. Priestley, while he appeared to be so completely emancipated from prejudice,—while he treated with contempt so many doctrines which had been long and almost universally revered by the Christian world, could not be persuaded, by all the evidence of Lavoisier's experiments, to renounce his faith in the mysteries of Phlogiston. And in the controversy, which has not yet ceased, between the Huttonians and the Wernerians, the vivacity with which the learned philosophers darted their pleasantries against each other, has been more remarkable than their cordial cooperation in their common Inquiry:
The greater the importance that we attach to our opinions, the greater of course will be our intolerance of contradiction. 'But when our estimation in society, or when our fortune and station have any dependence on the respect of the public for the principles which we profess, it is most natural tivat we should be diligent in their defence and propagation. And if we can persuade ourselves that they are of the utmost consequence both in this life and the next, our zeal must be wonderfully animated by this identification of our own ambition with the eternal interests of our fellow-creatures. The propagation and protection of the orthodox faith will appear our paramount duty, dictated equally by piety and benevolence: and in the prosecution of this high design, the zealots will regard the end as sanctifying the means; they will address themselves, not to reason only, but to the ignorance, to the passions, and, above all, to the terrors of the multitude: they will hold forth the heretic as the enemy of God and man; and, seeking at last for more powerful weapons than logic or even rhetoric can furnish, will call for the civil magistrate to execute justice, and to maintain truth.' The civil magistrate himself is subject to the same dupery with the multitude;-he may be forced, like Pilate, to yield to the general frenzy, against his better judgment;—or he may find it expedient to form an alliance with the popular priesthood ;-one of the high contracting parties undertaking the suppression of heresy, the other the maintenance of loyalty. And it would be absurd to suppose, that, in ignorant and barbarous times, gross delusions and cruelties will not be practised in so good a cause; delusions and cruelties which must be shocking, and almost incredible, to those who live in a period of knowledge and refinement. But although the hostility created by difference of opinions appears in its worst forms in barbarous times, yet in every
state of society it is natural to man, the natural result of our self-love and pride, two of our most natural principles of action; and, in the case of religious opinions, it is too often sanctioned and inflamed by mistaken notions of piety and benevolence, by supernatural hopes and supernatural fears, till it burns with a zeal far exceeding the fury of speculative controversy in any other cause.
Many worthy persons, with the best intentions for the peace and union of these islands, have taken infinite pains to perpetuate the public hatred against their Catholic brethren, by detailing the persecutions inflicted by the Romish church; and have thence inferred the necessity of perpetuating the present degradation of so large a proportion of our fellow-citizens, who are as good men and as good subjects as ourselves. But is it fair that the Catholics of this country, and of the present day, shall be judged, not by their own conduct, but by the conduct of other men in a very different situation? And is it not manifest, from what we know of human nature, that if any of the Protestant churches had been established in the darker ages, its priests would, in like manner, have availed themselves of the general ignorance to extend their influence, and to stop the progress of heresy by the sacrifice of the heretics,-while the barbarous habits of persecution would have been transmitted from father to son, till they became the scandal of more civilized times? Unfortunately, this is not matter of inference or speculation:-Let us attend to facts.
There are two doctrines, purely speculative, which both Newton and Locke, though sincere Christians, and diligent searchers of the Scripture, did not believe; and there is at this day an eminent Protestant church, which directs all its congregations, both minister and people, to sing or say, thirteen times every year, in the most unqualified terms, that unless a man believe these two doctrines, he cannot be saved,' and, without doubt, shall perish everlastingly. In one of its public articles, the same church declares, They also are to be had accursed, that presume to say that every man shall be saved by the law or sect which he professeth, so that he be diligent to frame his life according to that law and the light of nature,' And to these articles is prefixed a declaration of the King, as supreme Head and Governor of the Church, in which we read the following words- Requiring all our loving subjects to continue in the uniform profession thereof [of the said articles], and prohibiting the least difference from the said articles, which, to that end, we command to be new printed, and this our declaration to be published therewith.' Now, we leave it to men of common sense to judge what the conduct of this church
would have been in the darker ages, if it had been established without a rival in almost every nation of Europe. We are far, however, from meaning to insinuate, that these denunciations of divine wrath against the Antitrinitarians, and against the Heretics who would save virtuous heathens from eternal misery, form any part of the faith of the great body of Christians who now compose this respectable Church: But nothing can be more manifest than the intolerant spirit of the Theologians by whom these denunciations were most unnecessarily introduced into its standards, where they are most unnecessarily retained, along with the Royal declaration, to this day. At all events, we know for certain, that time was when this Church brought heretics to the flames; that under the administration of its Governess, Queen Elizabeth (so she is styled in the statute enacting her ecclesiastical supremacy), not fewer than one hundred and eighty persons suffered death by the laws against Catholic priests and Catholic converts; that the same most religious and gracious Queen’ (so she is styled in the Liturgy) instituted, with the advice of her clergy, the English Inquisition, the notorious Court of High Commission; and that, from the first establishment of the Reformation in this island, whether we date it in the reign of Henry the Eighth or of his son, till the accession of William, a presbyterian King, all toleration was expressly prohibited by law; and, although sometimes protected illegally by the Stuarts and by Cromwell, was uniformly opposed by the Church of England.
With regard to the Protestant Church, which was finally established at the Revolution in Scotland, where, from the first introduction of the Reformation, it had been fondly cherished by the majority of the nation, the vehemence of its intolerant spirit during a long period is well known. Its celebrated founder John Knox proclaimed the awful sentence, which was loudly reechoed by his disciples, that the idoluter should die the death; in plain English, that every Catholic should be hanged. The bare toleration of Prelacy, of Protestant Prelacy, was the guilt of Soul-murder. It was this church that framed the Solemn League and Covenant for the extirpation of Prelacy by the sword, and enjoined it to be subscribed by all persons, under pain of excommunication. And during the negotiations for the Union, it was this Church, who, in a forınal petition, besought the Parliament of Scotland, that, as they would not involve theniselves and the Scots nation in guilt,' they should not consent to the establishment of the English hierarchy and ceremonies—where ?-in Scotland ?-that was perfectly understood But no, not even in England !
It is but too easy to account for this extreme animosity of the Presbyterians. The Episcopals had been astonished at their unpardonable obstinacy in separating from the English worship, which is so manifestly founded on the express word of Scripture, and conformable to the practice of the apostolic and purest ages. Accordingly, during the two reigns immediately previous to the Revolution, the Presbyterians in Scotland were persecuted most unmercifully, and to death, not by the Papists, but by their Protestant brethren of the Episcopal Church, which was then established in both kingdoms. What was the consequence?Not the conversion of the Presbyterians; not the security of the Establishment; but the reverse: The schism became incurable; the former animositics were embittered and perpetuated; absurd fanatics were changed into desperate rebels; those who perished in the cause were revered as martyrs; the contagion became more general and inveterate; the great mass of the people united in the most invincible zeal for their own worship, hatred to the civil government, and abhorrence of Prelacy; till at last it was found necessary, in the settlement at the Revolution, to change the Establishment from the Episcopal to the Presbyterian Church.
Whence does it happen that these fierce animosities are now so greatly allayed? Each of the two churches retains at this day the same doctrines, the same worship, and the same hierarchy; and is as much or as little conformable to Scripture as formerly. The churches are the same, at least externally; but the nation is wiser and more tolerant, The Episcopals and Presbytcrians of the present times, do not resemble the bigots who conducted the inquisitorial tyranny of the High Commission, or who imposed the test of the Covenant ;—who visited the west of Scotland with the free quarters of the military, or who triumphed so brutally over the gallant Montrose, Episcopals and Presbyterians now sit together in the Privy Council, and in Parliament; two Presbyterians in our own days have been Chancellors of England, Episcopals are Judges and Commanders-in-Chief in Scotland, and yet this strange medley has never interrupted the prosperity or peace of Britain; and the clergy of both countries have enjoyed, what they could not boast of formerly, the undisturbed and secure possession of their temporalities.
Towards our Catholic countrymen, we act with a very different spirit. We still withhold from them the full restitution of their civil rights; we still exclude their nobility and gentry, their men of fortune and education, from eligibility to Parliament, and the higher offices of the State, although they have