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Bible Dictionaries

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary


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Is a word chiefly used in reference to those persons, churches, or societies, who do not allow men to think for themselves, but impose on them articles, creeds, ceremonies, &c. of their own devising.

See TOLERATION. Nothing is more abhorrent from the genius of the Christian religion than an intolerant spirit, or an intolerant church. "It has inspired its votaries with a savage ferocity; has plunged the fatal dagger into innocent blood; depopulated towns and kingdoms; overthrown states and empires, and brought down the righteous vengeance of heaven upon a guilty world. The pretence of superior knowledge, sanctity, and authority for its support, is the disgrace of reason, the grief of wisdom, and the paroxysm of folly. To fetter the conscience, is injustice: to ensnare it, is an act of sacrilege; but to torture it, by an attempt to force its feelings, is horrible intolerance; it is the most abandoned violation of all the maxims of religion and morality. Jesus Christ formed a kingdom purely spiritual: the apostles exercised only a spiritual authority under the direction of Jesus Christ; particular churches were united only by faith and love; in all civil affairs they submitted to civil magistracy; and in religious concerns they were governed by the reasoning, advice, and exhortations of their own officers: their censures were only honest reproofs; and their excommunications were only declarations that such offenders, being incorrigible, were no longer accounted members of their communities." Let it ever be remembered, therefore, that no man or men have any authority whatever from Christ over the consciences of others, or to persecute the persons of any whose religious principles agree not with their own.

See Lowell's Sermons, ser. 6; Robinson's Claude, vol. 2: p. 227, 229; Saurin's Ser. 3d. vol. p. 30, preface; Locke on Government and toleration.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Intolerance'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. 1802.

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