Excerpt from Speech of the Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone, on the Second Reading of the Dissenters' Chapels Bill, on the 6th of June, 1844
Was to bind their posterity. Permanently to the same profession of faith as that which they themselves possessed. Now it is there that you will find, as I am persuaded, an insuperable difficulty. You are dealing with the case of a body, which, if you examine its history, you will find was from generation to generation, almost from year to year, during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, in a state of perpetual change; and it affords no argument at all, and will only tend to bewilder and mislead the judgment, if you go back to the writings of the ancient Puritans, and ask what they thought upon these great questions of Christian doctrine. You must go on from year to year, and consider the direction which religious inquiry was taking, and its progress from time to time, as well as its con dition at a given time. May I venture so far to presume upon the patience of the House as to ask their attention to some historical particulars which I consider to be essential to the matter in issue? Although I know that there is a great indis position in this House to re31st the Bill, and debate may there fore be of less importance with a mere view to the division, yet I am well aware that there is a strong feeling against it out of doors, and I am, on the other hand, quite sure that if we can shew to the people of England that justice is concerned in the passing of this Bill - not only justice to the present holders of these chapels, but justice likewise to the real intentions of those who first established them - I am persuaded that the opposition which is made to this Bill will dwindle into nothing.
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