« 上一頁繼續 »
cracy, from the indiscriminate view of the wondering, cheated multitude, and let it fall again, after exhibiting but a glimpse of the miseries they produce; but alas! agreeably to our plan, we are necessitated to raise another curtain, and give another glimpse, and only a glimpse, of the horrors of hierarchy; which, though less destructive to the body, yet is far more destructive to the soul, than even absolute monarchy. In comparing the primitive and present power of royal princes, in the antecedent pages, we have seen a great similarity; but the very reverse we find is the case, when we compare the present with the primitive power of the minis. ters of the gospel. Let any candid person compare the character, conduct, and ministry of the apostles in general, and the prince of the apostles in particular, I mean St. Paul, with those who pretend to be their successors, in Eu. rope and America, and the contrast, will be astonishing. Then they preach. ed with power, in private and markethouses, and lanes, and alleys, the
everlasting gospel, wbile thousands were convicted and converted; but now their successors* read, with a cold dead monotony, the gospel, in magnificent pulpits, ornamented with crimson velvet fringed with gold, while thousands of their hearers either go to sleep, or get disgusted. Whereas the apostles, like their gracious Master, went about continually doing good, and preaching the gospel ; but now, their successors are established in local stations, (like kings) over priest-ridden people, who support them in pomp and elegance, and array them in sacerdotal silk and cambrick. Then the most learned and laborious of the apostles, St. Paul, laboured for his own support, sooner than take the people's money
• The above animadversions are by no means applicable to the true ministers of Christ, (but only their APES!) no set of men do I love and adınire so much as them. Let no man be so ungenerous as to say or insinuate that I pass a reflection on the true minisrers of Christ; nothing can be more false. None bu clerical impostors are exposed and those who would screen them are almost as guilty as themselves. The man who winks at priest-craft, shares the crime, because he in so doing virtually infringes the Rights of God.
unnecessarily, (although they would have given him almost their very eyes) and yet preached and travelled more, and did more good in one year, than all the dignified clergy now do in twen. ty; althougb the latter receive from 2,000 to 20,000 dollars per annum, for reading a sermon once or twice every sabbath. But the contrast is so glaring, that if I was to give it at its full length, the most of our ministers would appear ten-fold more criminal and unprincipled, than the most artful swindler in the calender of our criminal courts, or the recesses of our common prison. Although king-craft is totally, and I bope, eternally extirpated from the United States, I am sorry to have it to say, that priest craft* is far from be
* In order to prove the authenticity of the above assertion, I will take the liberty to exhibit a candid statement of facts, which have transpired in the Eastern States, from a Book lately published in Boston, entitled, “ A Blow at the root of Aristocracy, or an Appeal to Matters of Fact in support of Religious Freedom." In order to shew the deformity of intolerance in this free country, I will begin with the quotation from our excellent and equitable “ Bill of Rights, Art. III. last paragraph."
ing so: I know a reverend divine, who does not even profess to believe in the
“Every denomination of Christians, demeaning themselves peaceably, and as good subjects of the commonwealth, shall be equally under the protection of the law; and no subordination of any one sect or denomination to another, shall ever be established by law." Bill of Rights, art. iii. last paragraph.
• This is worthy to be written in letters of gold; and to be worn as frontlets between our eyes, and bracelets on our arms we should teach it to our chil. dren, and our children to their children, even to many generations.
"Let it now attract the notice of every reader, that a majority of the people by their delegates in conven. tion, have declared that EVERY DENOMINATION shall have EQUAL PROTECTION by the law. But though the subject is so plain, and as one would think, rendered indisputable yet it is a fact, which can be abun. dantly proved, and is known by hundreds, that the law has been so administered, that all have not enjoyed equal protection, but some have been favoured and others oppressed. It is a fact, that in the town of Narick, there are a number of church members, of a denomination different in their religious creed, from the ma. jority of the town. These regularly attend a stated ministry at a meeting-house of their own, standing near the line of Weston and Needham. They gave in their certificate according to the law of March, 1800, and after paying their ministerial tax, went with their minister, and made a legal demand of the same as specified in that law, but were refused. They were therefore under the necessity of raising other money towards the support of their own minister; while a man they did not hear, nor even wished to hear, was fed and clothed with money, for which their own
spirituality of the religion of our blessed Redeemer; yet a congregation of priest-ridden people, pay this ungodly parson 1,500 dollars per annum, to teach them to be godly; or, if you please, for reading in a superb church in this city, two sermons every Sunday. ; I have said so much on this subject in my other works, particularly my 6 Paradise Displayed,” and “ Beauties of Philanthropy," and have got such a host of enemiest for the same, that I
minister and his family suffered. It is a fact, that a respectable farmer in Waltham was constrained to pay a tax to the minister in that town for fifteen, or eighteen years after he was a member in full communion in another church: and paid largely for the maintainance of his own minister. This same man was also one of the committee, chosen according to the before mentioned law of 1800, to sign the cer. tificates, which according to that law, were to free the persons holding them from having their money appropriated to the use of ministers they did not chuse to hear. It is a fact, that in Lunenburgh sey. eral church members were taxed to a minister of a different denomination, against their express wish; and were highly teazed and threatened with having their property attached and sold,-if it were not actually done.
+ The bitterness and hostility of priest-ridden people, to those who expose their stupidity and servility, and the knavery of their priests, reminds me of a