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RELIGION.                                    149
are. in the heat of controversy, put forth by their abettors as all-important; it must not be supposed as a matter of course that there is any want of good faith in those who thus elevate the insignificant into the essential. Let it be kept in view that disputes generally arise about non-essentials, for in great outhnes the leading sects agree. Each sect being based upon some peculiarity, and its existence and prosperity, as a sect, depending upon that peculiarity, it is natu­ral that this should be put in the foreground by its adherents: and. by being often attacked and as often defended, that it should gradually as­sume an undue magnitude in the minds of its champions. T have heard of a man. in the western country, who once mistook a musqueto, which chanced to be upon his spectacles, for a buffalo, which his imagination located at a dis­tance in the prairie. The mistake arose from bringing the object too near his eye, which thus acquired a false magnitude. So it is that dis­putants are ever tempted to exaggerate the im­portance of that about which they are contend­ing: their feelings become enlisted; the object is placed too near for the true point of vision, and the musqueto becomes a buffalo. It is the plain dictate of common sense that we should judge of these sectarian controversies as of 13*
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