« ZurückWeiter »
terrupted exercise of their zealous labors for a long series of years, and their acknowledged florishing state, I am at a loss to know what more favorable expectations they honestly entertain. But whilst unable to conjecture what advantages would accrue to the dissenters, I can well imagine, from such a calamitous event, many consequences resulting, highly mischievous to our common country and our common Christian cause. Reflecting on the almost endless changes, which the subversion of the present order of society, by such an event, would produce, it is impossible to imagine it effected, without a struggle that would excite and exercise all the worst passions of our nature. Instead of that forbearance, tranquillity, and toleration, for which our country stands distinguished, and which give such weight and efficacy to all our opinions, and even wishes, upon those public measures which concern the rest of the world as well as ourselves, England would become a scene of discord, violence, and confusion. Peace and freedom would be supplanted by tyranny and oppression. The government always acted upon and influenced by the state of the governed, would be compelled to exert the strong arm of power; and aided by the corrupt influences of a long established wealth, would probably never forego the increased power which it had, in the hour of confusion, obtained. And since the papal hierarchy is now, with renewed activity, aiming to reestablish itself, not the least among the evils of such a Protestant division, would be the confirmation of one of the arguments, and the fulfilment of one of the predictions, of the Roman Catholic Church, which constantly pronounced, that the Protestants would become a rope of sand, and that to open the Bible,
would be to open the door to dissensions, strife, and discord.'Justify not, therefore, this calumny on the Pro testant profession. And whether differing from the motherChurch in discipline or doctrine, consider that you have florished under her auspices, and that she is in fact your best shield and security. Sully not then the purity of your Christian profession by any unhallowed hopes-let not an inconsiderate zeal engender intemperate wishes in your minds hopes and wishes as uncharitable as they are unwise and vain-which to accomplish would be found incompatible with your interests-which to entertain is incompatible with your religion. Emanating from one stock, successful in one common object, of kindred and almost coeval prosperity, turn not thus unnaturally against the parent that produced you. Let not prosperity corrupt your hearts, and either stimulate or supplant your spiritual efforts by temporal objects. Brood not, with barbarous delight, over the vulgar propensity to pull down and destroy. And, as parts of the great Protestant community, rest assured, that were the vital spark of the body extinguished, the life and spirit of the members would be extinguished with it. Above all, in compliance with your
Upon this revival, as it were, of the papal power, I could not imagine a greater source of triumph, or earnest of success to that Church, than the downfall of our establishment. It would be to destroy our fortifications on the approach of the enemy. Indeed, it is become more than ever necessary to oppose establishment against establishment. And I trust the Church of England will ever continue, as it ever has done, to present an invincible barrier against the corrupt practices and despotic principles of that ambitious hierarchy.
great Master's example and injunctions, cultivate the solid principles of peace and love, rather than foster a spirit or indulge in views, which are as little supported by the pretences of reason as by the sanctions of religion.