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[266] which, with all true Americans, is a kind of instinctive belief, to diffuse itself through the mass of society. The two together may justly be regarded as forming a bulwark of American liberty, upon which the intelligent mind of the country may repose with great confidence. But still, history scarcely leaves us room to doubt that a politico-religious priesthood, firmly established in the superstitious devotions of a strong minority even of menials, who at the same time are political sovereigns, presents fearful odds in the strife of principles with the β€œman of sin.” Nor need we be surprised at this. A large mass of our population β€” however they may constitute but a minority of the whole population β€” have been educated from their cradles in the firm belief that it is a sin, involving the damnation of the soul, to read God's word, or to exercise private judgment upon any matters which such a priesthood may choose to affirm are taught therein, and who are equally established in a superstitious opinion and feeling of devotion and submission, not only to its right to decide all such matters, but also its authority to punish with the highest spiritual torments all who shall heretically disregard its decisions. This power has proved itself an overmatch for the genius of liberty in the states of Europe. Thrones and kingdoms have fallen before it. To this day the despots of

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