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secrating, &c.” Suppose we held it unlawful to do so: how can we help it? But does that make it rightful, if it be not so? Suppose the author lived in a heathen country, where a law would be made to call Christianity idolatrous; would that be a topic for him to prove it so by, &c. And why do the clergy incur a premunire; to frighten them? Because the law understandeth, that, if they refuse, the chosen cannot be a bishop. But, if the clergy had an order to do it otherwise than they have prescribed, they ought and would incur a hundred rather.
Page 402. “ I believe the catholic church, &c." Here he ridicules the Apostles Creed. Another part of his scheme. By what he says in these pages, it is certain, his design is either to run down Christianity, or set up popery; the latter it is more charitable to think, and, from his past life, highly probable.
Page 405. “ That which gave the papists so great advantage was, clergymen's talking so very inconsistent with themselves, &c.” State the dif. ference here between our separation from Rome, and the dissenters from us, and show the falseness of what he says. I wish he would tell us what he leaves for a clergyman to do, if he may not instruct the people in religion, and if they should not receive his instructions.
Page 411. “ The restraint of the press a badge of popery." Why is that a badge of popery? why not restrain the press to those who would confound religion, as in civil matters? But this toucheth himself. He would starve perhaps, &c. Let him get some honester livelihood then. It is plain, all his arguments against constraint, &c. vfavour the papists as much as dissenters; for
both have opinions that may affect the peace of the state. Page 413.
“ Since this discourse, &c.” And must we have another volume on this one subject of independency? or, is it to fright us? I am not of Dr Hickes's mind, Qu'il vient. I pity the readers, and the clergy that must answer it, be it ever so insipid. Reflect on this sarcastic conclusion, &c.
MR COLLINS'S DISCOURSE, &c.
ANTHONY COLLINS, the celebrated Deist, who, notwithstanding his sceptical opinions, retained the friendship of Locke, published, in 1713, his “ Discourse of Freethinking, occasioned by the Rise and Growth of a Sect called Freethinkers.” It is believed to have been printed at the Hague, though the title-page bears London. Like Tindal, Collins pretended only to assail the encroachments of the Pagan and of the Romish priesthood, while his real drift was to undervalue and bring to contempt the established clergy of all countries and ages, to ridicule the Mosaical law, to weaken the evidences of revealed religion, and even to controvert, by insinuation at least, the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. The treatise attracted much notice, and drew forth an host of answerers, among whom Whiston, Hare, Hoadley, and Bentley, were most conspicuous.
Swift also mingled in the controversy, yet rather with a political than a religious view. For, although the politics of the learned men and divines above-mentioned were opposite to his own, he has not hesitated, in his ironical defence of Collins, to assume the character of a Whig, as if to identify the deistical opinions of that author with those of the opponents of the Tory ministry. What gave a colour, though only a colour, to this charge was, that Toland, Tindal, Collins, and most of those who carried to license their abhorrence of church-government, were naturally enough enrolled among
that party in politics, who professed most attachment to freedom of sentiment; and in this, as in many other cases, the vices, or scandalous opinions, of a small part of a political body were unjustly held up as its general characteristics. Swift, himself, had reason loudly to complain of similar treatment in the succeeding reign, when, because the Jacobites were the enemies of government, all who opposed the ministry were called Jacobites. Laying aside consideration of this ungenerous advantage, the treatise is in itself most admirable.