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to be convinced, that I shall always strive to be a faithful and impartial patron of genuine, vital religion.
RELIGIOUS TENETS AND CIVIL RIGHTS.
We have abundant reason to rejoice, that, in this land, the light of truth and reason have triumphed over the power of bigotry and superstition, and that every person may here worship God, according to the dictates of his own heart.
In this enlightened age, and in this land of equal liberty, it is our boast, that a man's religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the laws, nor deprive him of the right of attaining and holding the highest offices that are known in the United States. 1793.
CIVIL AND RELIGIOUS LIBERTY.
It shall be my endeavor to manifest, by overt acts, the purity of my inclinations for promoting the happiness of mankind, as well as the sincerity of my desires to contribute whatever may be in my power, towards the preservation of the civil and religious liberties of the American people.
The liberty enjoyed by the people of these States, of worshipping Almighty God agreeably to their con
sciences, is not only among the choicest of their blessings, but also of their rights.
While men perform their social duties faithfully, they do all that Society or the State can, with propriety, demand or expect; and remain responsible only to their Maker, for the religion, or modes of faith, which they may prefer or profess.
Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by a difference of sentiments in religion, appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought most to be deprecated.
I was in hopes, that the enlightened and liberal policy which has marked the present age, would at least have reconciled Christians of every denomination, so far, that we should never again see their religious disputes carried to such a pitch, as to endanger the peace of society.
TOLERATION OF THE JEWS.
May the same Wonder-working Deity, who long since delivered the Hebrews from their Egyptian oppressors, and planted them in the Promised Land;
whose providential agency has lately been conspicuous, in establishing these United States as an independent nation, still continue to water them with the dews of heaven, and to make the inhabitants, of every denomination, participate in the temporal and spiritual blessings of that people whose God is Jehovah.
REGARD TO CONSCIENTIOUS SCRUPLES.
In my opinion, the conscientious scruples of all men should be treated with great delicacy and tenderness; and it is my wish and desire, that the laws may always be as extensively accommodated to them, as a due regard to the protection of the essential interests of the nation may justify or permit.
Believing, as I do, that religion and morality are essential pillars of civil society, I view, with unspeakable pleasure, that harmony and brotherly love, which characterize the clergy of different denominations, as well in this, as in other parts of the United States; exhibiting to the world a new and interesting spectacle, at once the pride of our country, and the surest basis of universal harmony.
RELIGIOUS DIFFERENCES, AND POLITICAL UNITY.
It gives me the most sensible pleasure to find, that, in our nation, however different are the sentiments of citizens, on religious doctrines, they generally concur in one thing; for their political professions and practice are almost universally friendly to the order and happiness of our civil institutions.
RIGHTS OF CONSCIENCE.
As the contempt of the religion of a country, by ridiculing any of its ceremonies, or affronting its Ministers or Votaries, has ever been deeply resented, you* are to be particularly careful, to restrain every officer and soldier from such imprudence and folly, and to punish every instance of it.
On the other hand, as far as lies in your power, you are to protect and support the free exercise of the religion of the country, and the undisturbed enjoyment of the rights of conscience in religious matters, with your utmost influence and authority.
Avoid all disrespect of the religion of the country
and its ceremonies.
* Col. Arnold, in his expedition to Quebec.
Christian spirit, will lead us to look with compassion upon their errors, without insulting them.
While we are contending for our own liberty, we should be very cautious, not to violate the rights of conscience in others, ever considering, that God alone is the judge of the hearts of men, and to Him only, in this case, they are answerable.
UNIVERSAL RELIGIOUS LIBERTY.
I have often expressed my sentiments, that every man, conducting himself as a good citizen, and being accountable to God alone for his religious opinions, ought to be protected, in worshipping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience. 1789.