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publishing books against those doctrines in religion, wherein all Christians have agreed; much more to connive at such tracts as reject all revelation, and, by their consequences, often deny the very being of a God. Surely, it is not a sufficient atonement for the writers, that they profefs much loyalty to the present government, and sprinkle up and down some arguments in favour of the difsenters; that they dispute as ftrenuoufly as they can, for liberty of conscience, and inveigh largely against all ecclefiaftics, under the name of bigh-church; and, in short, under the shelter of fome popular principles in politics and religion, undermine the foundations of all piety and vira tue.
As he doth not reckon every schism of that damnable nature which fome would represent, so, he is very far from closing with the new opinion of those who would make it no crime at all; and argue at a wild rate, that God Almighty is de-. lighted with the variety of faith and worship, as he is with the varieties of nature. To such ab. surdities are men carried by the affectation of free-thinking, and removing the prejudices of education ; under which head, they have, for some time, begun to lift morality and religion. It is certain, that, before the rebellion in 1642, though the number of Puritans (as they were then called) was as great as it is with us, and though they affected to follow pastors of that denomination; yet, those pastors had episcopal ordination, pos
seffed preferments in the church, and were fometimes promoted to bishoprics themselves. But, a breach in the general form of worship was, in those days, reckoned fo dangerous and finful in itself, and so offensive to Roman Catholics at home and abroad, that it was too unpopular to be attempted : neither, I believe, was the expedient then found out, of maintaining separate pastors out of private purses.
When a schism is.once spread in a nation, there grows at length a dispute, which are the schismatics. Without entering on the arguments used by both sides among us, to fix the guilt on each other, it is certain, that, in the sense of the law, the schism lies on that fide which opposeth itself to the religion of the state. I leave it among the divines to dilate upon the danger of schism as a spiritual evil; but I would consider it only as a temporal one. And I think it clear, that any great separation from the established worship, though to a new one that is more pure and perfect, may Þe an occasion of endangering the public peace ; because it will compofe a body always in reserve, prepared to follow any discontented heads, upon the plausible pretexts of advancing true religion, and opposing error, superstition, or idolatry. For this reason, Plato lays it down as a maxim, That men ought to worship the gods according to the laws of the country; and he introduces Socrates, in his Jast discourse, utterly disowning the crime laid to his charge, of teaching new divinities, or methods
of worship. Thus, the poor Hugonots of France were engaged in a civil war, by the specious pretences of fome, who, under the guise of religion, sacrificed so many thousand lives to their own ambition and revenge. Thus was the whole body of Puritans in England drawn to be instruments or abettors of all manner of villany, by the artifices of a few men, whose designs, from the first, were levelled to destroy the conftitution both of religion and government*. And thus, even in Holland itself, where it is pretended, that the variety of fects live fo amicably together, and in fuch perfect obedience to the magiftrate, it is notorious, how a turbulent party, joining with the Arminians, did, in the memory of our fathers, attempt to deftroy the liberty of that republic. So that, upon the whole, where sects are tolerated in a state, it is fit they should enjoy a full liberty of conscience, and every other privilege of freeborn fubjects, to which no power is annexed. And, to preferve their obedience, upon all emergencies, a government cannot give them too much ease, nor trust them with too little power.
The clergy are usually charged with a persecuting Spirit, which they are faid to discover, by an implacable hatred to all difsenters : and this appears to be more unreasonable, because they suffer less in their interests by a toleration, than any of the conforming laity; for, while the church remains in its present form, no dissenter can possi
bly * Lord Clarendon's history,
bly bave any share in its dignities, revenues, or power; whereas, by once receiving the sacrament, he is rendered capable of the highest employments in the state. And it is very possible, that a narrow education, together with a mixture of human infirmity, may help to beget among some of the clergy in poffeffion, fuch an averfion and contempt for all innovators, as physicians are apt to have for empirics; or lawyers for pettifoggers, or merchants for pedlars · But, since the number of fectaries doth not concern the clergy, either in point of intereft or conscience, (it being an evil not in their power to remedy,) it is more fair and reasonable to fuppose, their dislike proceeds from the dangers they apprehend to the peace of the commonwealth, in the ruin whereof, they must expect to be the first and greatest sufferers.
To conclude this section, it must be observed, that there is a very good word, which hath, of late, suffered much by both parties ; I mean moderation ; which the one fide very justly disowns, and the other as unjustly pretends to. Beside what paffes every day in conversation, any man who reads the papers published by Mr. Lefley, and others of his ftamp, must needs conclude, that, if this author could make the nation fee his adverfaries under the colours he paints them in, we have nothing else to do, but rise as one man, and destroy such wretches from the face of the earth. On the other side, how shall we excuse
the, advocates for moderation among whom, I could appeal to a hundred papers, of universal approbation, by the cause they were writ for, which lay such principles to the whole body of the Tories, as if they were true; and believed, our next business should, in prudence, be, to erect gibbets in every parish, and hang them out of the way. But, I suppose it is presumed, the common people understand raillery, or at least rhetoric ; and will not take hyperboles in too literal a sense; which, however, in some junctures, might prove a desperate experiment. And this is moderation, in the modern sense of the word; to which, speaking impartially, the bigots of both parties are equally intitled.
The sentiments of a church-of-England man, with
espect to government.
W E look upon it as a very just reproach,
V though we cannot agree where to fix it, that there should be so much violence and hatred, in religious matters, among men who agree in all fundamentals, and only differ in some ceremonies, or, at most, mere speculative points. Yet, is not this frequently the case between contending parties in a state? For instance, do not the generality of Whigs and Tories among us, profess to agree in the same fundamentals, their loyal