« AnteriorContinuar »
length to be discovered, that no such doctrine was contained in the New Testament. But had those excellent persons done nothing more by their discovery, than abolished an innocent superstition, or changed some directions in the ceremonial of public worsbip, they had merited little of that veneration, with which the gratitude of Protestant Churches remembers their services. What they did for mankind was this : they exonerated Christianity of a weight wbich sunk it. If indolence or timidity had checked these exertions, or suppressed the fruit and publication of these inquiries, is it too much to affirm, that infidelity would at this day have been universal?
I do not mean, my Lord, by the mention of this example to insinuate, that any popular opinion which your Lordship may have encountered, ought to be compared with Transubstantiation, or that the assurance with which we reject that extravagant absurdity is attainable in the controversies in which your Lordship has been engaged; but I mean, by calling to mind those great reformers of the public faith, to observe, or rather to express my own persuasion, that to restore the parity, is most effectually to promote the progress of Christianity and that the same virtuous motive which hath sanctified their labours, suggested yours. At a time when some men appear not to perceive any good, and others to suspect an evil tendency, in that spirit of examination and research which is gone forth in Christian
countries, this testimony is become due, not only to the probity of your Lordship's views, but to the general cause of intellectual and religious liberty.
That your Lordship’s life may be prolonged in health and honour; that it may afford whilst it continues an instructive proof, how serene and easy old age can be made by the memory of important and well-intended labours, by the possession of public and deserved esteem, by the presence of many grateful relatives ; above all, by the resources of religion, by an unshaken confidence in the designs of a “ faithful Creator,” and a settled trust in the truth and in the promises of Christianity, is the fervent
CARLISLE, Feb. 10, 1785.
9. Of the Duty of Parents