Supposing, however, that something like moderation were visible in this political sermon [Dr. B. Price at Old Jewry] ; yet politics and the pulpit are terms that have little agreement. No sound ought to be heard in the church but the healing voice of Christian charity. The cause of civil liberty and civil government gains as little as that of religion by this confusion of duties. Those who quit their proper character to assume what does not belong to them are, for the greater part, ignorant both of the character they leave, and of the character they assume. Wholly unacquainted with the world in which they are so fond of meddling, and inexperienced in all its affairs, on which they pronounce with so much confidence, they have nothing of politics but the passions they excite. Surely the church is a place where one day's truce ought to be allowed to the dissensions and animosities of mankind.— Reflections (IV. 12).
I can allow in clergymen, through all their divisions, some tenaciousness of their own opinion, some overflowings of zeal for its propagation, some predilection to their own state and office, some attachment to the interest of their own corps, some preference to those who listen with docility to their doctrines beyond those who scorn and deride them. I allow all this, because I am a man who has to deal with men, and who would not, through a violence of toleration, run into the greatest of all intolerances. I must bear with infirmities until they fester into crimes.— Reflections (IV. 158).
I well remember a great, and in many respects a good man, who advertised for a blacksmith; but, at the same time, added he must be a Protestant. It is impossible that such a state of things, though natural goodness in many persons will undoubtedly make exceptions, must not produce alienation on the one side, and pride and insolence on the other. — Langrishe (V. 201).
People who change, except under strong conviction (a thing now rather rare), the religion of their early prejudices, especially if the conversion is brought about by any political machine, are very apt to degenerate into indifference, laxity, and often downright atheism.— The Allies (V. 275).
Nothing is so fatal to religion as indifference, which is, at least, half infidelity. As long as men hold charity and justice to be essential integral parts of religion, there can be little danger from a strong attachment to particular tenets in faith.— Letter to Wm. Smith.
The body and substance of every religion I regard much more than any of the forms and dogmas of the particular sects.— Letter to Richard Burke.
Liberty is not sacrificed to a zeal for religion but a zeal for religion is pretended and assumed to destroy liberty— Letter to Richard Burke.
Let every man be as pious as he pleases, and in the way that he pleases; but it is agreeable neither to piety nor to policy to give exclusively all manner of civil privileges and advantages to a negative religion— Letter on the Affairs of Ireland, 1797.
Let him recollect, along with the injuries, the services which Dissenters have done to our church and to our state. If they have once destroyed, more than once they have saved them.— Speech on Uniformity (III. 292).
Every one knows that the Roman Catholic religion is at least coeval with most of the governments where it prevails; that it has generally gone hand in hand with them, and received great favour and every kind of support from authority. The Church of England too was formed from her cradle under the nursing care of regular government. But the dissenting interests have sprung up in direct opposition to all the ordinary powers of the world, and could justify that opposition only on a strong claim to natural liberty. Their very existence depended on the powerful and unremitted assertion of that claim. All protestantism, even the most cold and passive, is a sort of dissent. But the religion most prevalent in our northern colonies is a refinement on the principle of resistance : it is the dissidence of dissent, and the protestantism of the Protestant religion.—Conciliation (II. 187).