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other advantages occur to my iriind ; but I refrain from enumerating them . I am strongly impressed with the necessity that " something must be
done ; and have ventured to pen these remarks , only in the hope that it may lead others who may be more competent to form a judgment upon the matter , to give it their serious consideration .
One subject , in conclusion , I would beg to hint at ; namely , that congregations ought deeply and candidly to consider , whether the salaries generally paid are not inadequate to the maintaining of their ministers in that
comfort and respectability to which they are entitled by their education and the all-important nature of their services ; and whether a want of due consideration on that head has not
done more than any thing else , to lessen the number of those who are willing to devote themselves to the ministry . I . H .
Sir , Oct . 30 , 1820 . HAVING lately read a Sermon , preached by the Rev . Russell Scott , on the 25 th of last May , before the friends of the Unitarian Fund , on the almost worn-out subject of Coercion employed b y the Civil Power in defence of Christianity , and observing ,
that though the preacher does not expressly mention the Inquirer ' s Four Letters to the Rev . Mr . Fox , he has obviously alluded to them by censuring the application therein made of the case of Elymas , I take the liberty of
requesting you to allow the following observations to appear in your valuable Repository , as the easiest and surest way of claiming the attention of those who may have heard or read the Sermon of Mr . Scott , but are not acquainted with the Letters of the
Inquirer . I cannot help concluding that Mr . Scott himself has founded his censure on the report of others , since a person of his discernment and candour could not have read that application of the case of Elymas without observing , that it was not the intention of the writer
to justify the civil magistrate in using * severe and coercive measures towards those who cannot receive as the truth of God , what may have been ordained or established as such by the govern-
ment tender which tliey live . '* Thfo would be to sanction the tyranny of the Inquisition , and destroy every thing like liberty of conscience . The Inquirer never dreamed of supporting a
principle so repugnant to that perfect law of liberty ., which ever maintains its own privileges without invading the just rights of others $ he would go yet further , and grant that a mind may be
so constituted as to be really incapable of . receiving conviction from the evidences of our faith . It is certainly possible to imagine that there may be such a mind , and that it may be endowed with all the virtues which Mr .
Fox ascribes to his unbelieving friend in the 84 th page of bis celebrated Sermon ; but is there any probability that this lover of truth and goodness , this example of " pious feeling , pure and elevated , towards the Author of nature , and philanthropy the most diffusive /*
will forfeit his ** title to high esteem /* by acting the part of a seditious citizen , or by openly and scurrilously reviling those institutions which the majority of wise and good men revere as sacred ? Such characters may view with compassion what they consider as the delusions of ignorance or bigotry , but
they will doubtless feel , that " though freedom from prejudice is one part of liberality , yet to respect the prejudices of others is a greater . " They will state their arguments fairly and dispassionately , and they have a right to do so , but they will not dissolve the ties of moral obligation by scoffing at the doctrines which render those ties
binding on the bulk of the people . These are not the Deists with whom the civil magistrate of a Christian country has any pretext for interfering . Such Deists , if such there be , are the friends of social order and moral
virtue , and , consequently , the supporters of lawful authority . They may reason with the philosopher in his closet , but they will not corrupt the simple inhabitant of the cottage , or delude the starving manufacturer with impracticable schemes of reform .
Elymas is represented by Mr . Scott as the philosophic friend of Sergius Paulus , and I quite agree with that gentleman in believing that ** it was not merely the opposition which Bar-Jesus , as a man of science , made to the apostles that was culpable ; but the peculiar nature of that opposition ,
12 On the Punishment of Unbelievers .
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Jan. 2, 1821, page 12, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2496/page/12/