Mr. T. sees religion not as a sphere, but as a line; and it is the identical line in which he is moving. He is like an African buffalo,sees right forward, but nothing on the right hand or the left. He would not perceive a legion of angels or of devils at the distance of ten yards on one side or the other.
Any sect whose reasonings, interpretations, and language I have been used to will, of course, make all chime that way; and make another, and perhaps the genuine, meaning of the author seem harsh, strange, and uncouth to me.
It is true that he professed himself a supporter of toleration. Every sect clamours for toleration when it is down. We have not the smallest doubt that when Bonner was in the Marshalsea he thought it a very hard thing that a man should be locked up in a gaol for not being able to understand the words This is my body in the same way with the lords of the council. It would not be very wise to conclude that a beggar is full of Christian charity because he assures you that God will reward you if you give him a penny; or that a soldier is humane because he cries out lustily for quarter when a bayonet is at his throat. The doctrine which, from the very first origin of religious dissensions, has been held by bigots of all sects, when condensed into a few words and stripped of rhetorical disguise, is simply this: I am in the right, and you are in the wrong. When you are the stronger, you ought to tolerate me; for it is your duty to tolerate truth. But when I am the stronger, I shall persecute you; for it is my duty to persecute error.
Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay: Sir James Mackintoshs History of the Revolution, July, 1835.