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prived of the inestimable privilege of worshipping Almighty God in a manner agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience.”

NEW YORK (I., 3): “ The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed in this State to all mankind; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of this State.”

NORTH CAROLINA (I., 26): “All men have a natural and unalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences, and no human authority should in any case whatever control or interfere with the right of conscience."

Ohio (I., 7): “ All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience ; nor shall any interference with the rights of conscience be permitted."

OREGON (I., 2, 3): “All men shall be secured in their natural right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences. No law shall in any case whatever control the free exercise and enjoyment of religious opinions, or interfere with the rights of conscience.”

PENNSYLVANIA (I., 3) : “ All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences.

No human authority can in any case whatever control or interfere with the rights of conscience." RHODE ISLAND (I., 3): "Every man shall be

) free to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience and to profess and by argument to maintain his opinion in matters of religion."

South CAROLINA (I., 9): “No person shall be deprived of the right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, provided that the liberty of conscience hereby declared shall not justify practices inconsistent with the peace and moral safety of society.'

TENNESSEE (I., 3): "All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences.

No human authority can in any case whatever control or interfere with the rights of conscience."

TEXAS (I., 4) : “ All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences.

No human authority ought in any case whatever to control or interfere with the rights of conscience in matters of religion."

VERMONT (I., 3) : “ All men have a natural and inalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences and understandings, as in their opinion shall be regu.

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lated by the Word of God.

No authority can or ought to be vested in or assumed by any power that shall in any case interfere with or in any manner control the rights of conscience in the free exercise of religious worship.”

VIRGINIA (I., 18): “All men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion according to the dictates of conscience.

WEST VIRGINIA (III., 15): "Nor shall any man be enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened in his body or goods, or otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain their opinions in matters of religion.”

WISCONSIN (I., 18): “The right of every man to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience shall never be infringed. Nor shall any control of, or interference with, the rights of conscience be permitted."

Here are thirty-five State constitutions that in express language, somewhat various in the words used, yet essentially identical in substance, formulate a definite doctrine in regard to the rights of conscience and give to it the authority of constitutional law. The same doctrine is implied, but not so fully expressed, in the constitutions of Arkansas and Mississippi ; and, hence, they are not quoted in the above list. What then is this doctrine? We answer as follows:

1. These provisions assume the existence of conscience as an attribute of human nature. They also assume the doctrine of a God as existing in the faith of men, and the fact of worship or religious service rendered to God as a prevalent practice among the people. These facts are not created by being thus assumed and implied. They are simply recognized as existing antecedently to, and independently of, all constitutions; and what and all that is sought to be accomplished by the above provisions is to establish certain guaranties in respect to the rights of conscience.

2. These rights are simply those that relate to religion, to the faith involved, to the various modes of expressing that faith, and the duties by which men may deem themselves bound to God. They are purely and exclusively religious rights. They are not the rights which law creates, or which grow out of the relations that men hold to each other as members of the State. They spring from the relations which men hold to God, as the creatures of his power and the subjects of his moral government. Outside of this sphere of rights, the provisions have no application.

3. These rights are referred to as existing by nature-as being natural, indefeasible, and inalienable -and as being universal, or equally common to all men. These four conceptions are, in our State constitutions—in some by express words, and in others by implication-associated with the rights of conscience.

4. The phrase, "dictates of conscience,”—a phrase implying command, precept, or an authoritative rule of action—is the common form in which these constitutions express the voice or requirement of conscience. They mean thereby the affirmation and sense of obligation, as existing in the individual soul, and in respect to that soul prescribing a law which cannot be disregarded without self-condemnation. This deeply-rooted and universal fact of our nature is designated by the phrase “dictates of conscience."

5. These rights and these dictates of conscience in respect to religion are constitutionally withdrawn from the jurisdiction of civil government.

The form of the withdrawal varies somewhat in different constitutions, yet the thing aimed at is the same in all. The reader, by simply casting his eye over the provisions previously quoted, will readily see the different modes of expression by which the State constitutions exempt the rights of a religious conscience from regulation, control, interference, restraint, or constraint by civil government. Their design is to secure religious freedom, by imposing limitations upon the civil power. On this vital question they all hold and all assert one doctrine.

6. The guaranty thus afforded, makes no distinction between different kinds of consciences. The conscience of a Protestant, and that of a Catholic, stand on the same footing. Neither, for the purposes of the guaranty, is any better than the

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