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wholly exempt from prejudice , from pride , from obstinate adhesion to what candour calls upon us to alter or to yield . Are there no violent and mistaken members of our own community , by whose conduct we should be loth to be guided , by whose tenets we should not choose that our faith should be judged ? Has
time , that improves all , found nothing in us to change for the better ? Amid all the manifold divisions of the Christian world , are we the only sect of Christians who , without having any thing to learn from the contributions of knowledge and civilization of the last three centuries , have started up without infancy or error , into consummate wisdom and spotless perfection ?"
The last rule Is , " that many differences between sects are of less importance than the furious zeal of many men would make them . " We cannot allow ourselves more extracts , but we must be indulged in announcing that the entire sermon is printed in the number of The Christian Reformer for the present month
IL Mr . Bird , ( who , we understand , was tutor to Mr . Wentworth Beaumount , the Member for Northumberland , ) after shewing the evidence in favour of Christianity , which arises from the candour with which our Lord forewarns his disciples of the consequences , evil as well as # ood , which would follow the preaching * of
the gospel , the unhappy fulfilment of the prophecy in his text , ( Matt . x . 34 , ) and the incompatibility of a persecuting spirit with the spirit of Christianity , thus proceeds to apply his forcible arguments to the particular case of the English and Irish Catholics :
" Let not any one , therefore , m defiance of such authority , imagine that lie shall do God service and his Saviour honour , or in any way advance the cause of religion or tlie interests of humanity by any species of persecution , positive or negative ; whether it affect the body or
the nmid ; whether it take away what is already possessed , or withhold what ought to be granted ; for the law of Christ is infringed , and his spirit resisted , whenever we render a man ' s condition worse , or refuse to make it better , on account of bis religious persuasion . " Shall we then suffer an adverse or erroneous creed to make its way unrefiisted ? Certainly not . Such a conduct would be a dereliction of our Christian
duty in the other extreme . We ought always to be ready to give a reason for our own faith to him that asketh us , and to resist with meekness those that oppose themselves . But let us take care that our resistance be characterized with both reason and meekness . Let us first of all
accurately ascertain what the tenets of our opponents really are , and then expose them , not by the dim reflection of our own systems , but by those direct beams of truth which emanate from the Father of lights . Nor let us be in haste to do this , till we are sure we can do it in such spirit and temper as * may
convince both them and our own conscience that we are not labouring for the purpose of acquiring the strength and confidence of numbers for our own party , or the acclamations of a triumph for ourselves , but that our heart ' s desire is to convert the wanderer from the error of his ways , and to save his soul from death .
"If this mode of resisting the progress of religious delusion does not succeed , our own personal experience and the history of our country might serve to convince us of the futility of any other . It is in vain that our statute book has
been disgraced by edicts more ingeniously cruel and absurdly oppressive than ever disgraced the codes of Imperial or Papal Rome . Tt is iti vain that parents were compelled to surrender the nurture
and education of their children , and the child bribed to rebel against his parents , to expel them from their homes , and consign them and their helpless families to beggary and famine . In vain have we attainted as a traitor the minister for
performing at the altar the established offices of his religion , and branded as a felon the pious devotee , who assisted at the solemn service . You have beaten them down to the earth , indeed , but they
have risen up from it with Anfaean energy and hydra-like fecundity . They sprung up frolii your ungenerous oppression with renovated vigour and multiplied numbers , to shame and amaze vou . These
sanguinary decrees , ( for laws they were not , if law have indeed ' her seat in the bosom of God , and her voice be the harmony of the world , ' ) those decrees are rescinded , and milder restrictions have
been substituted in their place : but being conceived in tb ( 3 same spirit , their issue , though less pernicious , will not be more fortunate . They serve no other purpose , and never can , but to inflame their zeal , and to rivet their affections more fondly
and closely to a faith which they conceive to be unfairly assailed , and for which they are obliged w make daily sacrifice s o ( earthly emoluments and honours . Just
616 Review . —Sydney Smith ' s and Bird ' s Sermons .
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Oct. 2, 1825, page 616, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2541/page/40/