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iH t ^ . ^ ine pirpppl ^ iao they aJteftated from J ? W ^ ^ y tte abettor s of which t ^ ey connive themselves unkin dly treateiJ " ap ^ amjbut too ready to prociaim a sense pi tfeeir wrongs by a conduct equally pernicious to you and to , themselves . After every fresh legislative enactment
there succeeds a temporary calm . But the fire sleeps : it is not extinguished . Under a surface of ashes it is collecting fresh strength , to burst forth at some illomened hour , when you shall have no leisure either to direct its progress or repress its fury . Hopeless is the attempt
to compress such a volatile , elastic element by brute force , or subdue its spirit by military menaces . WhiJe the disease prevails , the symptoms will shew themselves . Men , indeed , are not to be coerced and menaced out of their religious prepossessions and affections . Were
they base enough , under the influence of fear , to betray the friends of their childhood , and apostatize from the faith of their forefathers , they are not bold enough to barter for personal security and civil immunities all those principles with
which , in their minds , is associated every thing that is lovely and of good report , every thing that enables them to bear the calamities of a precarious lite resignedly , and opens to them the prospect of a more durable existence , where * the wicked
shall cease from troubling , and the weary be at rest . ' It is to commit the ant in battle with the elephant , to array human penalties and-human terrors , still more , petty prohibitions and > vexatious disqualifications , against those mighty passions with which religion fortifies the soul . "
" Bui there is no particular in which we do so much injustice to our brethren of the Romish communion , and eventually to ourselves , as by misrepresentation of their principles . I have already luid occasion to say , that we ought to begin the controversy by ascertaining accurately their tenets—not from the
statements of their adversaries , not from the musty records of ancient days , but from their own acknowledged formularies of faith , and the avowed belief of living men "
After combating , with spirit and success , the allegations " that the Homan Catholic is unchanged , that lie keeps no faith with heretics , or regards the obligation of an oath , that . can get absolution for unrepented sl « s /> &c ., Mr- Bird proceeds ,
But of all the charges against the wman Catholics the most ; obnoxious is , « at they yield a divided allegiance . So uo Hotestants yield a divided allegiance
to their ternporal morvar ^ is ,: Mh ^ . gen - der to Caesar the things ^ a ^^ ej j ^^^ xfe , and uuto God the things that w § &q $ s - Both Romanists and Protestants , if they
are conscientious , fear God an ^ Mf ^ ui the King ; ' but wherever jiese . clajoas aj * e conflicting , both the one &ntl jtite Qther think it their duty to * obey Gqd rather than man / The limits of the two duties
are defined to each iu the same vvoijds and by the same authority ; wUh this difference , that the Romanists concede the interpretation of the scriptural precept to the Pope and the Church ; we reserve that as the privilege of private j udguient . As to the power of dispensing
with the duty of loyalty , it is one of those obsolete and antiquated pretensions , which , if not formally abrogated , has long fallen into desuetude \ but which , nevertheless , we rake up from the oblivious dust under which it lay , and insist upon its actual validity , in defiance of all their protestations , and all our own
experience . Thus have * their fathers eaten sour grapes , and the children ' s teeth are set on edge . ' Thus we * visit the sins of the fathers upon the children unto many generations . ' We see before our eyes that the Roman Catholics who live among us are as devout ,, virtuous , loyal , mindfui of their oaths and moral duties
as men of other sects , yet we persist in calling them in the mass hypocritical , idolatrous , perjured , and incapable of private faith or of public patriotism . But surely men who bring this ' railing
accusation against the brethren , ' without any examination into its truth , who take for proved every disgraceful imputation , however improbable or unnatural , incur a very serious responsibility , not to say a very heavy guilt .
" What should we say of these venerable judges of the land , if they deckled on the property , characters and lives of their fellow-men upon common rumour and hear-say evidence , or even upon the solemn testimony of one party alone ? Would their high office and their higher characters screen them from the reproach
of good men , and the compunctious n ~ sitings of their own consciences ? Yet (^ f just such iniquity , but in a much mm momentous case , are all those guilty , who undertake to pronounce on iht 2 fates and * fortunes of a great proportion of the empire , and on the happiness and peace of the whole , without hearing with
patience , and weighing with impartiality , the arguments and evidence of the jiavpy accused . To condemn unheard , is to condemn iniquitously , even thowgh the sentence may be merited . " After some excellent observations on
are- ' Revieiv . —Sydney $ mith \ s and Birds Sermons . B 17
V () ' - xx . 4 K
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Oct. 2, 1825, page 617, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2541/page/41/