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lities to make them forget those fundamental duties which they owe to the powers that be," even if they do not approve of all their proceedings. The following is the extract:
In regard to the government of our country, while we are thankful to the Bestower of all good for our popular privileges, we ought to be careful not to misuse them, by permitting them to detract from the obligation of those injunctions of Holy Writ, which sustain the civil authority in its constitutional rights, and which subject citizens or subjects of all descriptions to the controul of the laws. We consider this counsel as independent on any question concerning existing limitations of power, or what ought to exist in a well-regulated commonwealth, being desirous of committing every such question, so far as the morality of action is concerned, to a rule which we cannot express better than in the words of an eminent bishop of the Church of England (Sherlock), where he says, The Scriptures stand clear of all disputes about the rights of princes and subjects of course, of those of republican rulers and their fellow-citizens—so that such disputes must be left to be decided by the principles of natural equity, and the constitution of the country.'
Whatever difficulties may arise from interfering claims, and it is evident that there may occasionally be cases of this description, they have no bearing on that of quiet possession, as under the present circumstances of the United States; which renders every endeavour for the disturbance of the present order an offence against the precepts of our holy religion, given for its preservation.
"It is not intended to deny the right of every individual of our combined commonwealth, guaranteed to him by its constitution, of expressing his opinions concerning public measures and public men, provided it be done under the controul of justice and of charity. But these are violated, when civil freedom is so prostituted as to be a pretence for what is or may be ungrounded censure, and for proceedings tending to violence and to confusion. It is a remark of one of the wisest men who have ever written in our mother Church of England (Hooker), that he who goeth about to persuade a multitude that they are not so well governed as they ought to be, shall never want attentive and favourable hearers.' The same sagacious author has accounted for the fact, partly from ignorance, and partly by an appeal to certain frailties of human nature, operative in all countries, and at all times. This is a consideration which should make us cautious of admitting the charge of an abuse of power; and, where it can be proved, should induce the seeking of redress by constitutional and peaceable proceedings; and in the mean time to abstain from whatever may loosen the bonds of society; bringing the agents under the censure of the precept, - Not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.'
"It is an error extensively propagated, that religion and civil policy have no necessary connexion: which is in contrariety to the declarations of Scripture referred to. The connexion is liable to abuses;—that of making religion the engine of oppression in various ways; and especially in directing the civil authority to the purpose of ecclesiastical intolerance. One of the greatest achievements of political wisdom is the guarding against these results. Still, there is the connexion affirmed; and the necessity of it is generated by the evil passions of our nature, seeking private interest, to the injury of that of the public. There cannot be any counterbalance, except in the supply of restraints looking beyond the boundaries of time. Of the said connexion it is a proof, found in all the various states of society, that they require an appeal to the Rewarder of the good and the Punisher of the wicked in the administration of justice between man and
man, and in securing the obedience of all orders of men to the laws which the public authority has ordained. It is on the same principle that our courts repel from the character of a witness, and from that of a juror, the man who denies the existence of a future state of rewards and punishments. These are expedients which must be perceived to be useless and arbitrary, except on the ground of looking beyond human law, to the decision of the monitor in the hearts of men, resting on sanctions connected with the belief of an eternal state of being.
"It would be a misapprehension of these sentiments, if it should be imagined that they are a restraint on the religious freedom which is so happily possessed by the citizens of the United States, and ought to be the possession of citizens and subjects throughout the world. So far as men are concerned individually, it is a blessing which no violence can withhold from them; and for the use of it, every man is accountable to God only. His public profession of his faith, and his public exercise of devotions suited to it, are a resulting privilege, in which he cannot be interfered with, unless it should be abused to the injury of society, and in opposition to laws ordained for the security of public peace and of the rights of individuals. But these are considerations which do not abrogate the right, or dispense with the duty, attached to civil rule, of sustaining those fundamental truths of religion, independently on which there cannot be any social tie, or any obligation of law extending to the conscience.
"On various occasions, and in various ways, our national legislature has manifested its sense of the obligation of those provisions, contained in the several constitutions of the individual states, which presume the Christian religion to be a part of the law of the land. But this establishment is of such a liberal cast as secures freedom of profession and of worship to every denomination of Christians living in obedience to the laws. It is the duty of every member of this church to sustain by the weight of his character, whatever it may be, this spirit of our institutions, and to transmit it to posterity. But it is a duty not interfering with the right of those who govern to acknowledge God in his providential dealings to our nation; and this on the terms of a code which, from the time of the settlement of the colonies, and to this day in their later character of states, has been sanctioned by public law and by the public voice. As government thus holds out its support to the profession of religion, and to the performance of its devotional exercises, there is the greater reason for submission to what public authority may ordain; and for requiring of the clergy in particular, that in their ministrations they apply the sanctions of religion to the sustaining of peace and order in the community, conformably to the injunction of the Apostle, to be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.'
"It is often a misconstruction of the sentiments expressed, that the maintainers of them act on the impulse of their views of political expediency, and from their being aware of the need of the arm of government to the support of the Gospel, in return for its being the support of power. Far from this, we consider our faith as begun and carried on by a Heavenly Interposition, and the church as founded on a Rock, where it will be perpetuated through whatever changes may ensue in the constitutions of commonwealths and kingdoms. But whether these can endure the discontinuance of the acknowledgment of religion as the spring of the conduct conducive to the safety of the state, is a problem the affirmative of which the experience of the world will not warrant us to assume. On the contrary, there never has existed any political establishment in which the magistracy has not found that acknowledgment necessary for purposes which cannot be reached by any human authority, or by the operation of any CHRIST. OBSERV. APP.
human law. This end can be obtained no otherwise than by legislative countenance of what is so essential to the safety and to the interests of persons of all orders in the commonwealth.
"In thus affirming the connexion between these two subjects on the ground of their nature and their end, it is reasonable to expect that it would be recognised by those holy Scriptures which are not only the law for individuals in their several capacities, but enter into the relation which they bear to the governments under which they live. In the Old Testament, and under the theocracy established by it, while God himself is announced as the immediate Governor and King, they who ruled by a delegated authority under him are required to be such men as 'fear God;' and they are admonished, 'Ye judge not for man, but for the Lord, who is with you in the judgment; and, Thus shall ye do in the fear of the Lord, faithfully, and with a perfect heart;' and, 'He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.' Also, the great Sovereign of heaven is introduced saying,' By Me kings reign, and princes decree justice.' Responsive to such claims from the seat of authority are such passages as where those subject to it are enjoined, 'Fear thou the Lord and the king, and meddle not with them that are given to change;' and, Thou shalt not revile the gods'-men who govern, sometimes so called-' nor curse the ruler of thy people.' In these, and in very many passages applicable to civil rulers, by whatever names they may be called, the contents are built on the foundation, that there is a bond of religion on governors, and on those subject to them, to their superiors and to one another-a bond which applies to their consciences, and which is necessary to the supplying of the defects of whatever can be set forth in human, and even in Divine law, for the governing of the conduct.
"When we pass to the New Testament, although its blessed Author distinctly announced, 'My kingdom is not of this world,' yet we find him providing for the peace and the order of all kingdoms and states, in the memorable injunction, Render unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's' -of course unto rulers under whatever name. His Apostles sustain the same high duty; as in the instance of St. Peter, who, addressing a people among whom kingly government was established, admonishes them to honour and submit to the king;' and as in the instance of St. Paul, who, writing to another people, among whom the authority was partly in an individual with the name of Emperor, and partly in a Senate, with their respective rights not exactly defined, uses the more cautious language, 'Let every soul be subject to the higher powers; for the powers that be,' under whatever name they may be known, are ordained of God.' And in another place he enjoins, Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work.'
"If we have been diffuse on the present point, it has been owing to what we think a duty lying on us, of contradicting a theory hostile to social order, and rested on the plea, that, government being founded on compact, and having for its object the security of person and property, the contracting parties, if so inclined, may discard all reference to a state to come. That every particular form of government is founded on compact, either express or implied, may be acknowledged consistently with the present argument. But government itself is so imperiously called for by the necessities of the human condition, and by the sinfulness of human nature, that there is no degree of arbitrary rule to which men will not be subject, rather than be exposed to injuries from one another, uncontrouled by an authority to which they must all submit. Accordingly, the subject must be resolved into the will of God.
'Whatever may be thought of the origin of government, there can be
no doubt, in the mind of any Christian, of the obedience due from him to that under which he lives, and the protection of which he enjoys. The position is especially true in reference to the constituted authorities of the United States of America, which were established by the public voice; and in which there is security to the citizens against oppression and wrong of every sort, so far as human wisdom can provide. It is highly sinful to disturb such an organization by a rage for innovation. And although this does not forbid any improvements which may be proposed, in virtue of a privilege secured to every individual, yet it should be exercised with moderation, and conducted consistently with the maintaining of the public peace, and by means permitted in the provisions of the Constitution. Whatever is diverse from these restraints, brings the author and the abettors of it under the denunciation of St. Paul: 'They that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.'
"If these are obvious dictates of Christian duty, they extend to the shewing of respect to the persons of civil rulers, and to the giving of the most charitable construction to their acts. So powerful is the law of association, in the imperfect condition of humanity, that there cannot be contempt poured on those who frame or on those who execute the laws, without its extending to the law itself; endangering the sense of the obligation of it; and causing that power, instead of common right, shall be the only security for peace.
"Owing to the imperfection of human affairs, there is no blessing without its peculiar dangers. This is especially true in reference to the right possessed by the American citizen, of giving his voice in the choice of the persons by whom the government of the country is to be administered. Far be the thought of denying, or of prescribing limits to the exercise of, this right but while, as a Christian man, he should conduct himself in it under the sense of his responsibility to God; this is a principle which will keep him at a distance from all the unworthy arts, from all the angry contention, and from all the slander, sometimes practised; and from all those acts of violence which too often characterise popular elections, arming hostile parties with enmities which go along with them into all the relations of life; and may, ultimately, render insecure the privileges which they abuse. For the exercise of them to the prosperity and the honour of our common country, and consistently with the precepts of our holy religion, they should never be in contrariety to the end of it, announced by its adorable Author, that of peace and good will to men.'
"Whatever is contrary to the recommendations here offered, would tend to the overthrow of any species of government. As to that of the United States in particular, how deplorable will be the issue, if when, after the experience of nearly the half of a century, we have had cause to hope for its perpetuity, and when there is a growing conviction of its advantages throughout the world, there should be a confirmation of the theories which pour contempt on popular privileges, and look for legitimate government only to the strong arm of power.
"It falls in with the design of this letter to caution alike the clergy and the laity to avoid the giving of countenance to any associations of men, who, in that their combined character, and under the profession of advancing the cause of religion, may arrogate an influence in elevating to seats of civil distinction and of power. We do not deny the right of every man, in his individual character, and we even maintain that it is his duty, in giving his voice for public trusts, to prefer their being bestowed on men who, so far as can be judged from their conduct, are under the influence of those religious considerations, independently on which there can be no security in any department for the integrity of those who fill it. But when
this object is attempted by organized combinations unknown to the laws, and subjecting the sense of the individual to that of the body of which he is a part, there intrudes into them the same diversity of views as in associations constituted by the laws, with this difference, that, in addition to the usual arts of a crooked policy, they have on them the stamp of ecclesiastical ambition, not without the mixture of hypocrisy."
From the duties thus set forth as relating to the state-and in the greater part of the description of which, with such modifications as may render the advice applicable to our own country and the circumstances of an Established Church, we cordially concur-the Address proceeds to the duties which the American Bishops consider their church owes to other bodies of Christians. And here also we find so much valuable counsel that we shall extract the passage for the edification of our readers; only remarking, in regard to the last paragraph, that we have not any reason to believe that the writers had the slightest intention of including Bible Societies within the scope of their remarks, to which, in truth, they are not applicable. "The next point on which we propose to offer our counsels, is the relation in which we stand to the other denominations of professing Christians. We are necessarily brought into contact with them, by the intercommunity of civil privileges, by concurrent exertions for the advancement of the interests of our common religion, by the various occupations of secular life, and by family connexions and friendships, sometimes hereditary, and sometimes the result of choice. This is a subject which should be entered on with caution; lest, on the one hand, there should be a departure from the law of charity; and even manifested a spirit which, if circumstances permitted, would proceed to persecution; and lest, on the other hand, there should be a sacrifice to a species of intolerance assuming the name of liberality, and made a cover of insidious designs.
"The positions in which our different denominations stand to one another is peculiar, in respect to their common level. This is unlike to what prevails generally over the Christian world, of a dominant form of profession, from which every other form is dissent-perhaps tolerated, yet considered as inimical to the public good, and more or less under the pressure of penal law; while, on the other hand, every suffering and every privation is either resisted or indignantly endured.
"We do not enter on the question, how far rulers are permitted in reason, or are under religious obligation, to call in the church as their ally for the giving of stability to civil government. Sufficient for the present purpose is the circumstance, demonstrated by experience, that the supporters of an establishment will, whether with or without cause, accuse the seceders of ungrounded scruples, perhaps tending to sedition; while these will complain of oppression, in their being excluded on account of their religious theories from the honours and the emoluments of their country. Whatever weight there may be, or whether there be any, in the arguments used by either of these classes of persons, with us there is not any ground for such mutual jealousy and hostility as have been alluded to; there being no dominant profession, and all being equally allowed to worship God in such public exercises as they the most approve of.
"This is a motive to mutual forbearance-although not at the cost of preventing decided testimony, given, as an Apostle has required, 'with meekness and fear,' against whatever we hold to be contrary to the faith or to the morals of the Gospel; whether its holy declarations be directed to the defence of the Foundation, other than which no man can lay;' or against those who build on it, not the gold, the silver, and the precious stones' of Evangelical truth, but the wood, the hay, and the stubble' of human weakness.