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man leaves by will an establishment for preaching, such as Boyle's lectures, or for charity sermons, or funeral sermons, shall any one complain of an hardship because he has an excellent sermon upon matrimony, or on the martyrdom of King Charles, or on the restoration, while I, the trustee of the establishment, will not pay him for preaching Jenyns' Origin of Evil ? Such is the hardship they complain of under the present establishment, that they have not the power of taxing the people of England for the maintenance of their private opinions.

The laws of toleration provide for every real grievance, that these gentlemen can rationally complain of. Are they hindered from professing their belief of what they think to be the truth ? If they do not like the establishment, there are an hundred different modes of dissent, in which they may teach. But even if they are so unfortunately circumstanced that of all that variety none will please them, they have free liberty to assemble a congregation of their own; and if any persons think their fancies (they may be brilliant imaginations) worth paying for, they are at liberty to maintain them as their clergy, nothing hinders it. But if they cannot get an hundred people together, who will pay for their reading a Liturgy after their form, with what face can they insist upon the nation's conforming to their ideas, for no other visible purpose than the enabling them to receive with a good conscience the tenth part of the produce of your lands?

Therefore, beforehand, the constitution has thought proper to take a security, that the tax raised on the people shall be applied only to those who profess such doctrines, and follow such a mode of worship as the legislature representing the people, has thought most agreeable to their general sense; binding, as usual, the minority not to an assent to the doctrines, but to a payment of the tax.

But how do you ease and relieve? How do you know that in making a new door into the church for these gentlemen, you do not drive ten times their number out of it ? Supposing the contents and not contents strictly equal in numbers and consequence, the possession, to avoid disturbance, ought to carry it. You displease all the clergy of England now actually in office, for the chance of obliging a score or two, perhaps, of gentlemen, who are, or want to be, beneficed clergymen; and whom do you oblige ? Alter your Liturgy,will it please all even of those who wish an alteration ? Will they agree in what ought to be altered ? And after it is altered to the mind of every one, you are no further advanced than if you had not taken a single step ; because a large body of men will then say, you ought to have no Litargy at all. And these men, who' now complain so bitterly that they

are shut ont, will themselves bar the door against thousands of others. Dissent, not satisfied with toleration, is not conscience, but ambition..

You altered the Liturgy for the directory; this was settled by a set of most learned divines and learned laymen. Selden sat amongst them. Did this please? It was considered upon both sides as a most unchristian imposition. Well, at the Restoration, they rejected the directory, and reformed the common prayer, which, by the way, had been three times reformed before. Were they then contented ? Two thousand (or some great number) of clergy resigned their livings in one day rather than read it; and truly, rather than raise that second idol, I should have adhered to the directory as I now adhere to the common prayer. Nor can you content other men's conscience, real or pretended, by any concessions : follow your own; seek peace and ensure it. You have no symptoms of discontent in the people to their establishment. The churches are too small for their congregations. The livings are too few for their candidates. The spirit of religious controversy has slackened by the nature of things; by act you may revive it. I will not enter into the question, how much truth is preferable to peace. Perhaps truth may be far better. But as we have scarcely ever the same certainty in the one that we have in the other, I would, unless the truth were evident indeed, hold fast to peace, which has in her company charity, the highest of the virtues.

This business appears in two points of view : first, whether it is a matter of grievance ; second, whether it is within our province to redress it with propriety and prudence. Whether it comes properly before us on a petition upon matter of grievance, I would not inquire too curiously. , I know, technically speaking, that nothing agreeable to law can be considered as a grievance. But an over attention to the rules of any act does sometimes defeat the ends of it, and I think it does so in this parliamentary act, as much at least as in any other. I know many gentlemen think that the very essence of liberty consists in being governed according to law, as if grievances had nothing real and intrinsic; but I cannot be of that opinion.

Grievances may subsist by law. Nay, I do not know whether any grievance can be considered as intolerable until it is established and sanctified by law. If the act of toleration were not perfect, if there were a complaint of it, I would gladly consent to amend it. But when I heard a complaint of a pressure on religious liberty, to my astonishment I find that there was no complaint whatsoever of the insufficiency of the act of King William, nor any attempt to make it more sufficient. The matter therefore does not concern toleration, but establishment; and it is not the rights of private conscience that are in question, but the

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propriety of the terms which are proposed by law as a title to public emoluments; so that the complaint is not, that there is not toleration of diversity in opinion, but that diversity in opinion is not rewarded by bishoprics, rectories, and collegiate stalls. When gentlemen complain of the subscription as matter of grievance, the complaint arises from confounding private judgment, whose rights are anterior to law, and the qualifications which the law creates for its own magistracies, whether civil or religious. To take away from men their lives, their liberty, or their property, those things, for the protection of which society was introduced, is great hardship and intolerable tyranny; but to annex any conditions you please to benefits, artificially created, is the most just, natural, and proper thing in the world. When e novo you form an arbitrary benefit, an advantage, pre-eminence, or emolument, not by nature, but institution, you order and modify it with all the power of a creator over its creature. Such benefits of iustitution are royalty, nobility, priesthood; all of which you may limit to birth ; you might prescribe even shape and stature. The Jewish priesthood was hereditary. Founders’ kinsmen have a preference in the election of fellows in many colleges of our universities ; the qualifications at All Souls are, that they should be optime nati, bene vestiti, mediocriter docti.

By contending for liberty in the candidate for orders, you tako away the liberty of the elector, which is the people, that is, the state. If they can choose, they may assign a reason for their choice ; if they can assign a reason, they may do it in writing, and prescribe it as a condition; they may transfer their authority to their representatives, and enable them to exercise the same. In all human institutions, a great part, almost all regulations, are made from the mere necessity of the case, let the theoretical merits of the question be what they will; for nothing happened at the Reformation but what will happen in all such revolutions. When tyranny is extreme, and abuses of government intolerable, men resort to the rights of nature to shake it off ; when they have done so, the very same principle of necessity of human affairs, to establish some other authority, which shall preserve the order of this new institution, must be obeyed, until they grow intolerable; and

you shall not be suffered to plead original liberty against such an institution. See Holland and Switzerland.

If you will have religion publicly practised and publicly taught, 'you must have a power to say what that religion will be, which you will protect and encourage, and to distinguish it by such marks and characteristics as you in your wisdom shall think fit. As I said be'fore, your determination may be unwise in this as in other matters,

but it cannot be unjust, hard or oppressive, or contrary to the liberty of any man, or in the least degree exceeding your province.

It is, therefore, as a grievance, fairly none at all-nothing but what is essential not only to the order, but to the liberty of the whole community.

The petitioners are so sensible of the force of these arguments, that they do admit of one subscription, that is, to the Scripture. I shall not consider how forcibly this argument militates with their whole principle against subscription, as an usurpation on the rights of Providence; I content myself with submitting to the consideration of the house, that if that rule were once established, it must have some authority to enforce the obedience; because you well know a law without a sanction will be ridiculous. Somebody must sit in judgment on his conformity; he must judge on the charge; if he judges, he must ordain execution. These things are necessary consequences one of the other; and then this judgment is an equal and a superior violation of private judgment; the right of private judgment is violated in a much greater degree than it can be by any previous subscription. You come round again to subscription as the best and easiest method: men must judge of his doctrine, and judge definitively, so that either his test is nugatory, or men must first or last prescribe his public interpretation of it.

If the church be, as Mr. Locke dcînes it, 2 voluntary society, then it is essential to this voluntary society to exclude from her voluntary society any member she thinks fit, or to oppose the entrance of any upon such conditions as she thinks proper; for otherwise it would be a voluntary society acting contrary to her will, which is a contradiction in terms. And this is Mr. Locke's opinion, the advocate for the largest scheme of ecclesiastical and civil toleration to Protestants -for to Papists he allows no toleration at all.

They dispute only the extent of the subscription ; they, therefore, tacitly admit the equity of the principle itself. Here they do not resort to the original rights of nature, because it is manifest that those rights give as large a power of controverting every part of Scripture, or even the authority of the whole, as they do to the controverting any articles whatsoever. When a man requires you to sign an assent to Scripture, he requires you to assent to a doctrine as contrary to your natural understanding, and to your rights of free inquiry, as those who do require your conformity to any one article whatsoever.

The subscription to Scripture is the most astonishing idea I ever heard, and will amount to just nothing at all. Gentlemen so acute have not, that I have heard, ever thought of answering a plain ob

vious question—what is that Scripture to which they are content to subscribe ? They do not think that a book becomes of divine authority because it is bound in blue morocco, and is printed by John Basket and his assigns. The Bible is a vast collection of different treatises : a man who holds the divine authority of one, may consider the other as merely human. What is his canon? The Jewish ? St. Jerome's that of the Thirty-nine Articles ? Luther's ?

There are some who reject the Canticles, others six of the Epistles; the Apocalypse has been suspected even as heretical, and was doubted of for many ages, and by many great men.

As these narrow the canon, others have enlarged it, by admitting St. Barnabas's Epistles, the Apostolic Constitutions, to say nothing of many other Gospels. Therefore, to ascertain Scripture you must have one article more, and you must define what that Scripture is which you mean to teach. There are, I believe, very few, who, when Scripture is so ascertained, do not see the absolute necessity of knowing what general doctrine a man draws from it, before he is sent down authorised by the state to teach it as pure doctrine, and receive a tenth of the produce of our lands.

The Scripture is no one summary of doctrines regularly digested, in which a man could not mistake his way; it is a most venerable but most multifarious collection of the records of the divine economy -a collection of an infinite variety of cosmogony, theology, history, prophecy, psalmody, morality, apologue, allegory, legislation, ethics, Carried througlı dinerent books, by different authors, at different ages, for different ends and purposes.

It is necessary to sort ont what is intended for example, what only as narrative; what to be understood literally, what figuratively; when one precept is to be controlled and modified by another; what is used directly, and what only as an argument ad hominem; what is temporary, and what is perpetual obligation; wbat appropriated to one state and to one set of men, and what the general duty of all Christians. If we do not get some security for this, we not only permit, but we actually pay for all the dangerous fanaticism which can be produced to corrupt our people, and to derange the public worship of the country. We owe the best we can (not infallibility, but prudence) to the subject--first sound doctrine, then ability to use it.

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