Title : Moral and Political Moderation recommended. Preached 13th Dec., 1776, at St. Mildred's Poultry.  
Author : Augustus Montague Toplady  

This sermon took Philippians 4:5 as the text:

Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand

This is a great sermon that shows how moderate Toplady was, he had no problem with differing opinions, what he could not tolerate were the attempts to undermine the true Church through the breaking of ordination vows. This extract is illuminating:

Intimately associated with civil, is religious liberty.

This consists, in that natural and indefeasible right, which every reasonable man has from God (and which no human authority can lawfully take away or abridge), of thinking for himself, of determining for himself, and of decently declaring his ideas, concerning all and every thing that relates to sacred matters. In worshipping God, both privately and publicly, according, to the dictates of his own conscience; and that as safely, and as fearlessly, as St. Paul preached in his hired house at Rome, without impediment, and no man forbidding him.

Every species of positive penalty, for differing modes of faith and worship, is at once antichristian and impolitic, irrational and unjust. While any religious denomination of men deport themselves as dutiful subjects to the state, and as harmless members of the community; they are entitled to civil protection, and to social esteem; whether they be Protestants, Papists, Jews, Mahometans,or Pagans. In this respect, among many others; the British legislature, for near a century put, have eminently made their moderation known to all men. And Judge Blackstone, in a treatise which does equal honour to his country and to himself, has lately observed, that, "undoubtedly, all persecution and oppression of weak consciences," on the score of religious persuasions, are highly unjustifiable upon every principle of natural reason, civil liberty, or sound religion. But" (as he justly adds) "care must be taken, not to carry this indulgence into such extremes, as may endanger the national church. There is always a difference to be made, between toleration and establishment.

"Certainly, our ancestors were mistaken in their plans of compulsion and intolerance. "The sin of schism, as such, is by no means the object of temporal coercion and punishment. If, through weakness of intellect, through misdirected piety, through perveneness and acerbity of temper, men quarrel with the ecclesiastical establishment; the civil magistrate has nothing to do with it, unless their tenets and practice are such as threaten ruin or disturbance to the state. He is bound indeed, to protect the established church; and, if this can be better effected, by admitting none but its genuine members, to offices of trust and emolument, he is certainly at liberty so to do: the disposal of offices being matter of favour and discretion. But, this point being once secured, all persecution for diversity of opinions, however ridiculous or absurd they may be, is contrary to every principle of sound policy and civil freedom. The names and subordination of the clergy, the posture of devotion, the materials and colour of the minister's garment, the joining in a known or an unknown form of prayer and other matters of the same kind, must be left to the option of every man's private judgment.

If we consider this branch of Christian moderation, merely in a civil view, nothing will be found more politically wise. The remark of a late philosopher must ever hold good: that, "The true secret, for the discreet management of sectarists, is to tolerate them." By which means, they are rendered less considerable; and, of course, less formidable. The more the children of Israel were oppressed in Egypt, the more they multiplied and grew.








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