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through the body of Christians , If it were necessary to submit to a spiritual rule , many of them would choose the Episcopal as soon , and some sooner than any other - but they maintain that all ^ ecclesiastical
authority is unsupported by the New Testament , and rests only on human po-Hcy , ambition or mistake . Disconnect the authority of the Church from that of the State , and they would regard it with more apprehensive vigilance , and dissent from it with yet
stronger disapprobation . They are better pleased that its powers , if such as can reach temporal condition , should emanate from the chief magistrate , and be subject to temporal controul , than that they should be established on the assertion of divine right ,
and exercised independently of civil regulation . It is probably on some such ground as this that several of them are of opinion that the veto upon the constitution of a Catholic episcopacy should not be conceded by the civil authority in any country , that
wishes to remain free . If any portion of Christian professors , say they , will be subject to an absolute ecclesiastical rule , or if they believe that the Christian religion binds them in this subjection , they are entitled to their opinions ; no man can wrest them
from them , and the attempt would be injustice and violence . At the same time , they who think with the English Dissenters that all spiritual authority is usurped , and they who think with the laity and many of the clergy of the Church of England , that Christianiry does not sanction , and
sound policy will not allow the exercise of any authority , ( and ecclesiastical least of all ) independent of civil jurisdiction , are also entitled to their opinions , and should not be called upon to surrender them to the assertors of a spiritual authority , subject to no civil controuL The principle of such a claim is bad , and the experience of mankind has not taught us that the practice can be safe . Spiritual authorities might not indeed shoot up into active tyrannies , unless fostered iu their infancy by political men ; but powerful laymen have generally been found , who thought it might be worth their while to foster them \ and it would be ah « xpei > ment full of hazard to civil and religious liberty to set them above civil
inspection , ( placing at the same time tljeir vassals of the laity on - the same political level with other men , ) now that antiquity has made those authorities venerable , and the suspension of power has not made the possession of it less an object of desire . If any
principle is incompatible with good government , and , when put into action , fatal to the civil rights of mankind , it is the divine right of a hierarchy : and if it can ever be right to guard a civil constitution , by disqualification to legislate , annexed to opinions , that doctrine deserves to stand
first upon the list . He whose faith enslaves him to a hierarch , irresponsible on earth , is ill-fitted to assist in the legislative assembly of a free state . Such a faith is essentially intolerant , and he urges toleration to suicide , who requires her to arm intolerance against her own life . JOHN MORELL-
Sir , f | 1 HE following instances of the ex-5 istence of Unitarian sentiments came within my notice during a late tour in Norway . A Captain S , master of a
merchant vessel , a man both of family and education , he being connected with people of the first consequence , happened to be a fellow lodger with myself in the same room , at an inn at Christiania . We were much
together during a period of three weeks , and living in the same room , it naturally occurred ( as he spoke English remarkably well ) that we often communicated our ideas upon various subjects to one another . Amongst others was also religion , and in the course of a conversation on this head , I took occasion to inform him that . I did not
myself belong to the Established Church of my country , for that I could not believe many things which were asserted to be true by its advocates . I instanced the doctrine of the Trinity in Unity , the Godhead of our
Saviour , original sin , and I think some other points which I do pot now recollect . I also declared my belief that Christ was simply a hu ^ man being , extraordinarily gifted for wise purposes . Captain S who
had hitherto studiously avoided religious topics , and once before checked me when I accidentally touched upon theKi , was greatly surprised to find
12 ' Unitarians hi Norway .
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Jan. 2, 1816, page 12, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2448/page/12/