« AnteriorContinuar »
distinction between religious cominusions, wlien objects of affliction present themselves to her notice:-in that trying hour, she extends .the hand of the most affectionate tenderuess and charity, to all; and the east and the west, and Catholic, Jew, Turk, and Infidel, alike experience the effects of her sympathy and christian love.—But, in matters of religion, the case assumes a different shape—the errors, prejudices, corruptions, and false notions in religion of her nearest and dearest friends, are not subject to the same laws of neigbbourhood :.“ parents, brethren, wives, children,” are all to be left, when their opinions and manners, inili. tate against the truth, and the establishinent of the righteous kingdom of Christ.-A stronger proof of the impropriety of associating with inen), whose doctrine is not according to god. liness, and whose worship is idolatrous, cannot be adduced, than this prescribed law or direction of the head of our faith. Indeed, the tender hearted good Samaritan seems to have recollected the opinions of the Jews upon this subject, and in consequerce, completed his character for kindness and benevolence, by withdrawing, the moment he had placed the wounded Jew in safety, and given orders that every attention should be paid to him, and passed his word that he would bear the whole cxpence, on his return —He then, with a feeling and delicacy of mind, worthy of the most enlightened Christian, departed, that his presence might not occasion the unfortunate mun any pain and uneasiness, and that he might not have to offer bis thanks on his recovery, to a person of a religious persuasion he abhorred Men, who lay claim to the title of the real followers of Christ, are not always possessed of the same gentle and courteous demeanour;-they are not always so considerate, so little obtrusive,--so ready to observe the golden rule of the religion they possess.-A few years ago, England, with ready affection, " poured oil and “ wine” into the bleeding wounds of her afflicted neighbour.-The difference of religious opin- .. jons, was entirely forgotten ;-every protest ant pulpit in this country, resounded with exbortations to charity and exertion in her cause: and every protestant heart, was warmed with compassion and sympathy, for the suffering of Catholic Ireland :-every hand was stretched out for her iminediate relief;—and the deadly effects of farine and disease, quickly yielded to the healing influence of benevolence and love. Relief being administered, England like the Samaritan, withdraws, first having promised further assisstance of a similar kind, if necessary ;-but, Ireland recovered from her tempo. rary affliction, follows her, and clamorously demands other favours, which she cannot grant, without endangering her own happiness, by a breach of duty and allegiance to the king of kings.-She turns, therefore, to Ireland, and in the language of entreaty, and of sincerity, and
truth, thus addresses her:-you ask of me what. I dare not, what I cannot grant:--1, like you, was once attached to Rome—[ embraced her false doctrine-I bowed the knee before her images and pictuies ;-and was like you, wretched and miserable. The iron yoke of ecclesiastical tyranny pressed me down to the very earth, and drove ine to a state of desperalion-By one mighty effort, I broke the papal chain, and set myself at liberty.-Then, first I knew what truth and happiness were.--I ask you to follow my example-I entreat you to re-examine your religion, and to look into it with care and diligence, as I did, and to strip it of every false doctrine, till it becomes the religion of truth-the religion of the gospel—the pure unadulterated religion of the messenger of the most bigb.-Do you think my ancient nobility, my rich and powerful families were not quite as jealous of the religion of their ancestors, as any of your nobility and people can possibly be at the present time or do you think, they were not as competent to distinguish between truth and error, as your nobility and leading men now are ?-Do you believe, they would have relinquisbed tbe doctrine of Rome, bad they not been really convinced of its error —Why then, do you persist in that, which so many millions, of equal consequence, of equal ability, and of equal pride too, have deliberately renounced for ever?-Are not Newton and Locke, writers, whose talents are
equal to any of those, who have written, or still write in defence of the Romish Church? But if, notwithstanding all this, you are so violently attached to your ancient religion, that you are determined to continue in it,-it you froin the heart believe that your's alone, is the true cburch of Christ, and that you are bound to follow your divine master in all things—then, are you to imitate his bumility-then are yon to follow his example, and avoid giving unnecessary offence to the government under which you live, and under which you enjoy in tranquillity and peace the religion of your choice.Need I remind you of the determination of Christ, to give no offence to the civil magistrate, under whom he lived ?-Need I direct your attention to the following short narratives, as given by St. Matthew and St. John, or attempt. to explain their meaning "When Jesus and “bis disciples were come to Capernaum, they “ that received tribute money came to Peter, “ and said, doth not your master pay tribute " he saith, yes. And when he was come into “ the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, what “ thinkest thou Simon ?-of whom do the kings “ of the earth take custom or tribute-of their “ own children, or of strangers -Peter saith "unto him, of strangers :-Jesus saith unto “bim, then are the children free.-Notwith“standing, lest we should offend them, go thou “ to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the “ fish, that first cometh up;—and when thou
"past opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece 6 of money ;-that take, and give unto them “ for me, and thee.” “When Jesus, there. “ fore, perceived that they would come and take " him by force, to make him a king, he depart“ed again into a mountain biinself alone." - If you conscientiously think you have sufficient reason for not following my example in renouncing the papal doctrine and jurisdiction, have you, can you have a sufficient reason for not conscientiously imitating the example of Christ?
“Religious liberty-Liberty of conscience“Interference in matters of religion between a “inan and his God,” are expressions very much used in discussions, relating to the claims of the Roman Catholics of Ireland.-Men of learning and authority, should use no expressions that are not clearly understood.-Liberty of conscience respecting triflir.g ceremonies and unessential forms, is one thing—Liberty of conscience respecting God, and the worship due to him, on which “ life” depends, is another. The deity expects men to observe the laws he has given them—“this do and thou shalt live."-Here is no alternative--no choice-The religion of heaven, when known, must be obeyed, or we shall not “ see life.”—Men, who are once acquainted with it, have no more liberty with respect to their obedience to the laws of God, than they have with respect to dying at any time, and in any way they think proper.-Left