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that, before the present law be repealed, another may be enacted : that no man shall receive any employment before he swears himself to be a true member of the church of Ireland in doctrine and discipline, &c., and that he will never frequent or communicate with any other form of worship. It shall likewise be further cnacted that, whoever offends, &c., shall be fined 5001., imprisoned for a year and a day, and rendered incapable of all public trust for ever. Otherwise I do insist that those pious, indulgent, external professors of our national religion shall either give up that fallacious, hypocritical reason for taking off the Test, or freely confess that they desire to have a gate wide open for every sect, without any test at all, except that of swearing loyalty to the king; which, however, considering their principles with regard to monarchy yet unrenounced, might, if they would please to look deep enough into their own hearts, prove a more bitter test than any other that the law has yet invented.

For, from the first time that these sectaries appeared in the world, it has been always found, by their whole proceedings, that they professed an utter hatred to kingly government. I can recollect at present three civil establishments where Calvinists, and some other reformers who rejected episcopacy, possess the supreme power; and these are all republics : I mean Holland, Geneva, and the reformed Swiss cantons. I do not say this in diminution or disgrace to commonwealths, wherein I confess I have much altered many opinions under which I was educated, having been led by some observation, long experience, and a thorough detestation for the corruptions of mankind : insomuch that I am now justly liable to the censure of Hobbes, who complains that the youth of England imbibe ill opinions from reading the histories of ancient Greece and Rome, those renowned scenes of liberty and every virtue.

But as to monarchs, who must be supposed well to study and understand their own interest, they will best consider whether those people who, in all their actions, preachings, and writings, have openly declared themselves against regal power, are to be safely placed in an equal degree of favor and trust with those who have been always found the truest and only friends to the English establishment. From which consideration I could have added one more article to my new test if I had thought it worth my

time. I have been assured, by some persons who were present, that several of these dissenting teachers, upon their first arrival hither to solicit the repeal of the Test, were pleased to express their gratitude by publicly drinking the healths of certain eminent patrons, whom they pretend to have found among us. If this be true, and that the Test must be delivered up by the very superiors appointed to defend it, the affair is already, in effect, at an end. What secret reasons those patrons may have given for such a return of brotherly love, I shall not inquire; “For, O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their asscmbly, mine honor, be not thou united; for in their anger they slew a man, and in their self-will they digged down a wall. Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce, and their wrath, for it was cruel. I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.”




WHOEVER writes impartially upon this subject must do it not only as a mere secular man, but as one who is altogether indifferent to any particular system of Christianity. And I think, in whatever

. country that religion predominates, there is one certain form of worship and ceremony which is looked upon as the established, and, consequently, only the priests of that particular form are maintained at the public charge; and all civil employments bestowed among those who comply (at least outwardly) with the same establishment.

This method is strictly observed, even by our neighbors the Dutch, who are confessed to allow the fullest liberty of conscience of any

Christian state, and yet are never known to admit any persons into civil offices, who do not conform to the legal worship. As to their military men, they are indeed not so scrupulous; being, by the nature of their government, under a necessity of hiring foreign troops of whatever religious denomination, upon every great emergency, and maintaining no small number in time of peace.

This caution, therefore, of making one established faith seems to be universal, and founded upon the strongest reasons; the mistaken or affected zeal of obstinacy and enthusiasm having produced such a number of horrible destructive events throughout all Christendom. For, whoever begins to think the national worship is wrong in any important article of practice or belief, will, if he be serious, naturally have a zeal to make as many proselytes as he can: and a nation


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may possibly have a hundred different sects with their leaders, every one of which has an equal right to plead, that they must “ obey God rather than man;" must cry aloud and spare not;" must “lift up their voice like a trumpet.”

This was the very case of England during the fanatic times. And against all this there seems to be no defence, but that of supporting one established form of doctrine and discipline, leaving the rest to a bare liberty of conscience, but without any maintenance or encouragement from the public.

Wherever this national religion grows so corrupt, or is thought to do so by a very great majority of landed people joined to the governing party, whether prince or senate, or both, it ought to be changed, provided the work may be done without blood or confusion. Yet, whenever such a change shall be made, some other establishments must succeed, although for the worse; allowing all deviations, that would break the union, to be only tolerated. In this sense, those who affirm that every law, which is contrary to the law of God, is void in itself, appear to be mistaken; for many laws in popish kingdoms and states, many more among the Turks, and perhaps, not a few in other countries, are directly against the divine laws; and yet, God knows, are very far from being void in the executive part.

Thus, for instance, if the three estates of parliament in England (whereof the lords spiritual, who represent the church, are one) should agree and obtain the royal assent to abolish episcopacy, together with the liturgy, and the whole frame of the English church, as burdensome, dangerous, and contrary to Holy Scripture ; and that Presbytery, Anabaptism, Quakerism, Independency, Muggletonianism, Brownism, Familism, or any other subdivided sect among us, should be established in its place, without question, all peaceable subjects ought passively to submit, and the predominant sect must become the religion established; the public maintaining no other teachers, nor admitting any persons of a different religious profession into civil offices, at least if their intention be to preserve the nation in peace.

Supposing then that the present system of religion were abolished; and Presbytery, which I find stands the fairest, with its synods and classes, and all its forms and ceremonies, essential or circumstantial, were erected into the national worship; their teachers, and no others, could have any legal claim to be supported at the public charge, whether by stipends or tithes; and only the rest of the

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same faith to be capable of civil employments. If there be any true reasoning in what I have laid down, it should seem that the project now in agitation for repealing the Test Act, and yet leaving the name of an establishment to the present national church, is altogether inconsistent, and may admit of consequences which those who are the most indifferent to any religion at all are possibly not aware of.

I presume whenever the Test shall be repealed, which obliges all men who enter into office under the crown to receive the sacrament according to the rites of the church of Ireland, the way

to employments will immediately be left open to all dissenters (except Papists) whose consciences can suffer them to take the common oaths in such cases prescribed; after which they are qualified to fill any lay station in this kingdom, from that of chief governor to an exciseman. Thus, of the three judges on each bench, the first


be a Presbyterian, the second a Free-will Baptist, and the third a Churchman; the lord chancellor may be an Independent; the revenues may be managed by seven commissioners of as many different sects; and the like of all other employments; not to mention the strong probability that the lawfulness of taking oaths may be revealed to the Quakers, who will then stand upon as good a foot for preferment as any other loyal subjects. It is obvious to imagine that, under such a motley administration of affairs, what a clashing there will be of interest and inclinations; what pullings and haulings backward and forward; what a zeal and bias in each religionist to advance his own tribe and depress the others. For I suppose nothing will be readier granted than that, how indifferent soever most men are in faith and morals, yet, whether out of artifice, natural complexion, or love of contradiction, none are more obstinate in maintaining their own opinions and worrying all who differ from them than those who publicly show the least sense either of religion or common honesty.

As to the latter, bishop Burnet tells us that the Presbyterians, in the fanatic times, professed themselves to be above morality; which, as we find in some of their writings, was numbered among garly elements: and accordingly at this day no scruples of conscience with regard to conformity are, in any trade or calling, inconsistent with the greatest fraud, oppressions, perjury, or any other vice.

This brings to my memory a passage in Montaigne, of a common prostitute, who, in the storming of a town, when a soldier came up

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to her chamber and offered violence to her chastity, rather chose to venture her neck by leaping out of the window than suffer a rape; yet still continued her trade of lewdness while she had any customers left.

I confess that, in my private judgment, an unlimited permission of all sects whatsoever (except Papists) to enjoy employments would be less pernicious to the public than a fair struggle between two contenders; because, in the former case, such a jumble of principles might possibly have the effect of contrary poisons mingled together, which a strong constitution might perhaps be able for some time to survive.

But, however, I shall take the other and more probable supposition, that this battle for employments is to be fought only between the Presbyterians and those of the church yet established. I shall not enter into the merits of either side by examining whlch of the two is the better spiritual economy, or which is most suited to our civil constitution : but the question turns upon this point, when the Presbyterians shall have got their share of employments (which must be one full half, or else they cannot look upon themselves as fairly dealt with), I ask whether they ought not, by their own principles and by the strictest rules of conscience, to use the utmost of their skill, power, and influence, in order to reduce the whole kingdom to an uniformity in religion, both as to doctrine and discipline, most agreeable to the word of God. Wherein if they can succeed without blood (as under the present disposition of things it is very possible they may), it is to be hoped they will at last be satisfied: only I would warn them of a few difficulties. The first is,

of compromising among themselves that important controversy about the old light and the new, which otherwise may, after this establishment, split them as wide as Papist and Protestant, Whig and Tory, or churchman and dissenter; and consequently the work will be to begin again; for in religious quarrels, it is of little moment how few or small the differences are, especially when the dispute is only about power. Thus the zealous Presbyterians of the north are more alienated from the established clergy than from the Romish priests ; taxing the former with idolatrous worship as disguised Papists, ceremony-mongers,

and other terms of art; and this for a very powerful reason; because the clergy stand in their way, which the popish priests do not. Thus, I am assured that the quarrel between old and new light men is managed with more rage and rancor than any other dispute of the highest importance; and this, because it



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