About freedom of religion

Gently persuasive conversion

Actual experience and universal history provide incontrovertible proof that, with the blessing of God, mildness, patience, enlightenment and gentle instruction are the only means by which people who have gone astray may truly be converted. And may any such lack of faith in God’s revealed Word and our holy Evangelical doctrine be banished from all of us who constitute the clergy of the Kingdom of Sweden that might cause us to fear some alteration in them merely because a few strangers might settle among us, including some of other religions, who, if they do not immediately accept our faith, quietly and peacefully worship the Eternal and Almighty God, our common Father, each according to his own conviction. No, Stockholm has not become Calvinist, although members of the Reformed Church have conducted public services here for several years. Denmark is not Jewish, although that unhappy people lives there in peace and publicly attends its synagogues. Prussia is not Roman Catholic,4 although these and all other foreign believers are free to practise their religion there.

Memorial Regarding Freedom of Religion (1779), p. [5]. Translated by Peter C. Hogg.

Opression in the name of Christianity

Pitiful it is to read in History of the English and Dutch Batavian Colonies, what a life the many Heathen there used to lead, and what astounding plentitude of goods was shipped therefrom, while during the tyranny they now have been subjected to for a multitude of years, the land has been largely devastated, and her population reduced to two thirds of what it once was. Nor can one without shedding tears regard the Spanish dominions in the Mexican territories, where the most delightful lands are completely raped by evident violence and aristocratic rule. Humanity weeps when it beholds Heathen lands prosper and grow under their own Rulers, but being spoilt whilst under an Authority which acts in the Holy Name of Jesus. Untold examples within Europe bear equal witness to the same situation.

The Improvement of Finnish Agriculture (Svar på K. Finska Hushållningssällskapets prisfråga om det finska landtbrukets upphjälpande, 1799, § 19, s. 585). Translated by Johan von Willebrandt and Viveka Malmberg-Elliot.