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spot apparently where a boat can land with safety , and perhaps not more than one where it can land at all ; an everlasting swell of the ocean rolls in on every side , and breaks into foam against its rocky and iron bound shores .
Dr . M . orell on Church Authority * Kent Koad 9 Nov SOth , 1815 . Sir , rr is impossible that a thinking Christian , of whatever class , should read the history of the Christian Church without melancholy and disgust : for in almost every page he is
compelled to remark how ill it has hitherto performed the promiafe of its commencement . The religion of Christ rose upon the world with an illumination , that proclaimed its author to be the fountain of light . Before it pagan superstition melted away ;
and the grosser vices that had grown rank in that foul atmosphere began to shrink and wither in the light of heaven . Those " gay religions full of pomp-and gold , " though in full alliance with the temporal authorities , were unable to maintain their ground
against the force of truth . The arm of power was raised in vain on the side of the priests of idolatry : they and their gods were deserted by the people , who acknowledged in the simplicity of Christian faith and worship , a deep and moral interest , which the pageantry of pagan temples could
not inspire . This was the proper triumph of Christianity ; from such a rising , what divine splendors were not to be expected in the perfect day ? But it was decreed by God , and foretold in his revelation , that this day , » o glorious in promise , should soon
be overcast . The prediction was , however , accomplished by natural means , and by human agency ; and it concerns every Christian to trace the process and detect the principles
of the degeneracy of * the Church . Most Protestants agree in ascribing it to the inordinate ambition of the Bishop of Rome , and this is as far as it Js generally safe , for them to push the inquiry - but it is easy to see ,
O happy people 1 happy in your sequestered state ! May no civilized barbarian lay waste your peaceful abodes ; no hoary proficient in swinish sensuality rob you of that innocence and simplicity which it is peculiarly your present lot to enjoy !
that the cause lies deeper , and that the ambition of the pastor of the church at Rome would have done as little harm to the great body of Christians as the pretensions of the most obscure enthusiast , had he attempted spiritual conquest , armed only with spiritual authority . Whether his
succession to the Apostle Peter were real , or pretended , he could never have persuaded the Christian world to bend beneath his supremacy , had he not found more efficient support in temporal authorities , than in his boasted apostolic succession . It was the coalition of civil , and
ecclesiastical powers that first broke down the freedom of the Christian Church , and made it pass under the yoke , *—that most degrading yoke , which bows down the soul itself in voluntary slavery . It is lawful , and may not be useless to imagine what might have been the history of Christianity , had its ministers never been admitted into
civil alliance . Intolerant spirits would have existed , for positive and severe men will be bigots j but wanting the instrumentality of the secujar arm , their intolerance would only have wasted the heart that cherished it .
Errors would have sprung up ; but as they could not have twined their parisitical fibres round the pillars of the state , they would not long ha ? ve sustained themselves where the growth of truth 1 was unchecked by power . Sophistry would have been combated by argument , assertion by fact ,
ignorance by knowledge , and error by truth , and he'must think meanly of the power of truth , who can doubt what would . be the issue of em open conflict in a duration of many centuries . If miiformity of opinion had not been produced , it is probable that discussion unbiassed and unawed would have gained a nrach tianntr
Dr . Morell on Church Authority . 7
MISCELLANEOUS COMMUNICATIONS .
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Jan. 2, 1816, page 7, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2448/page/7/