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from all ranks of men; all men, statesmen, merchants, churchmen, and princes above all, will find their account in it.
Happy the man whose mind does not float on the surface of christianity! whose soul, not content with the mere ceremonial, rises into the benign system of the gospel; who, neither benumbed by indolence, enslaved by prejudice, nor frightened by nominal bugbears, nobly dares to think and act for himself: a lover of truth, a friend of benevolence, an imitator of Christ, and of that God who causeth his sun to rise on the just and unjust his rain to descend on the evil and the good.
Whatever be the issue, worthy Sir, of this controversy, you will not refuse joining in that prayer which the established church directs her members to use on St. Simon and St.Jude's day; O ALMIGHTY GOD, WHO HAST BUILT THY CHURCH UPON THE FOUNDATION OF THE APOSTLES AND PROPHETS, JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF BEING THE HEAD CORNER STONE; GRANT US SO TO BE JOINED TOGETHER IN UNITY OF SPIRIT BY THEIR DOCTRINE, THAT WE MAY BE MADE AN HOLY TEMPLE ACCEPTABLE UNTO THEE THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD. Amen.
THE HISTORY, &c.
IT has always been accounted good policy in the church of Rome to withhold the holy scriptures from the laity, and to perform the public worship of Almighty God in latin, a language unknown to the people. A religion founded on the infallible judgment of one man, and requiring of all the rest of mankind an absolute submission to his dictates, ought not to be examined; for, should the people emerge from credulity, and rise into reason and faith, the bold pretender to infallibility would tumble from the pinnacle of pontifical dignity, into a gulf of universal contempt.
That wise and vigorous set of men, the protestant reformers, broke open the papal cabinet, exposed the pretended titles of the pope to public view, and did all in their power to simplify religion, and to reduce it to its original plainness and purity. They laid open the inspired writings, they taught the right of private judgment, and they summoned all mankind to enter into that liberty with which Jesus Christ had made them free.
If these men had a fault, it lay in the breadth of their scale; they aimed to convert whole nations at once, and to change their customs in a day. Many religious customs were incorporated with