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under in virtue of the test act, is in truth a restraint on the crown in bestowing of offices : and as long as it is thought necessary for the preservation of the established religion to confine the crown itself to the communion of the church of England, so long it cannot be unreasonable to confine the crown from deriving power into such hands as there is reason to think would destroy it: nay, the very reason for confining the crown to the communion of the church of England, is to secure the

powers of the government which are lodged in the crown on the side of the establishment; and it seems preposterous to suppose

that any power should issue from the crown so confined, into hands not well affected to the church.

I do not find that the bishop or any body else who argues for the repeal of these laws, does so much as pretend to complain of them with respect to the restraint which they bring on the crown in the disposal of offices, nor indeed can any body justly do it; for his majesty's declared affection to our constitution in church and state will never permit him to think any law a burden to himself, which is made for the preservation of public peace both in church and state.

But with respect to the limitation which requires that “the person possessing the crown shall join in communion with the church of England as by law established.” The bishop perhaps may say there is a difference in the case, because the receiving the sacrament as a test, and giving evidence thereof, is not required of the crown. It is true it is not; and the reason of the difference is this : in the case of private men the public cannot judge what communion they belong to, and therefore a proof, a test of their communion with the church established is required of them; but a king is a public person, and lives in the eye of all his subjects; and it is as easy to know of any king what communion he belongs to as what kingdom he governs; and consequently no particular test of joining in communion need be required.

I would observe here (what some seem very desirous to forget,) that one great end of the Revolution was to secure and preserve the church established ; and that to labor to burt this church cannot be a mark of friendship to the Revolution. I have turned over some of his lordship's latest pieces. to see


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whether this part of the argument in the behalf of the Revolu: tion has had any improvement under his hands; and to my great surprise I cannot find he has once had it in his thoughts: He talks indeed of religious rights preserved or restored by the Revolution; but he plainly means such rights as he now pleads for; such as are inconsistent with the establishment of any church, except perhaps the church of England “truly so called," as he speaks; and what kind of church that is, neither I nor I believe his lordship can tell; for if the church of England commonly so called is not the church of England truly so called, then the church of England truly so called is some church not yet established, and what it may be who can tell ? · The legislature knows no religious rights but what are contained in the establishment of the church of England ; and therefore the Lords and Commons tell King William that after the settlement of the crown on himself, &c. in his first year, “his Majesty's good subjects were restored to the full and free possession and enjoyment of their religion, rights and liberties :" 12, 13. Will. III. cap. 2. They knew of no religious rights restored by the settlement of the crown on King William, &c. but what are implied in the people's being restored to the free enjoyment of their religion, as professed in the established church. If his lordship knows of any other, yet he ought not to recommend them as restored at the Revolution, which plainly knew nothing of them.

In a word : if all governments in the world have a right to defend themselves as well against their own subjects as others, and in consequence thereof to provide that the powers of the constitution should be lodged in such hands only as are well affected to the establishment;—if all men have a right to guard their own consciences against the force of such as would impose that for religion which they do not approve ;-and if it be reasonable to suppose that those who have once attempted, and succeeded in their attempt, to use their fellow subjects in such manner, are ready to do it again when they have power ;-and lastly, if it be justifiable to limit the crown to the communion of the church established in order to secure and preserve the church ;-it is on all these reasons justifiable to confine offices of power and trust to the hands of such as are well affected to the ecclesiastical establishment of this realm; and the statutes which do so confine them are not chargeable with oppression, but are founded in the highest reason, the security and preservation of our constitution.

But besides all this, there is one consideration more arising from the very nature of our constitution, that makes the test with respect to corporations highly reasonable. It is well known what an influence the corporations have in one part of the legislature : there are instances where a very few subjects in a little town are represented in parliament by as many members as the largest county chooses ; and this being the constitution, it concerns the whole to take particular care that corporations be under the government and direction of such as are friends to the whole; and to guard those posts especially,

the adversary possessed, it would make one of them become equal in strength to a thousand. The natural strength of any constitution lies in the affection of the people to it; and it may be allowed that the ecclesiastical establishment (as far as it is in its nature changeable by human laws) ought to be agreeable to the sense of the nation; but no common sense will allow that the little towns of a county ought to govern the consciences of a county; and therefore since many little towns have by our constitution (of which it is not my intent to complain) such an influence, there is nothing more reasonable than to provide that such only as are friends to the establishment in church and state should have the direction of them. Either this is reasonable, or else it is reasonable to affirm that the constitution in church and state ought not to be what the nation likes, but what the towns corporate shall think

proper for them.

This consideration may be made more general, and extended to other offices in the state; for though there are many offices which men might execute without being thereby enabled immediately to hurt the constitution, yet the influence which such offices give in the election of parliament men, (a power which accrues not from the particular nature of the office, but from the nature of our constitution,) makes it reasonable that such offices should be contined to the friends of the constitution in church and state. This, I say, is in some degree the case in



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general; but it more evidently appears in the case of corporation officers.

The non-conformists of all sorts (including papists as well as others) were computed to be in proportion to the members of the church of England in the year 1676, as one to twenty;* a number in proportion too small to have any natural strength to hurt the constitution ; but if they were at liberty, and should apply themselves heartily to gain the corporations, they might soon get such strength as might make them formidable ; whilst others relying on their numbers sat securely by. Whether this advantage in these circumstances ought to be given to the one, the twenty, I think, have a very good right to judge.

The case of the corporations, and the influence they have in one part of the legislature ought to be well considered, by such especially as seem willing to part with the test as far as it affects corporations, and to preserve it with respect to other offices. If it be reasonable to keep any power out of dissenters' hands, that power certainly which gives them an influence in the legislature, in making laws for church and state, ought especially to be kept from them; and it must on the least reflexion appear very strange to advance a man to a share in making laws for the nation, and yet to deny him all other power.

Were the dissenters fewer in number than they are; were they one to a thousand, yet I should think it unreasonable and unlawful to endeavor to end the difference by force; and so far am I from disliking the indulgence allowed them, that I like the establishment itself the better for this abatement in the rigor of its laws. But if peace and security of conscience will not satisfy without power and authority in the state, it ought to be no offence to them to be told that we owe a regard to our own consciences as well as theirs; and that though we rejoice in their liberty, yet we see no reason to part with our own security.

I have hitherto spoken of the corporation and test acts in general, and the reasons on which they are founded. There

* This is founded on a survey of the province of Canterbury, which was in the hands of the late excellent Bishop of London, and now in possession of his worthy executor.

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will want but little to be said of the 25th of Charles II. in particular; and that only in respect of an objection which concerns that act.

This act, when it was made, related particularly to papists ; and his lordship, who can distinguish between a man's religion and the certain necessary effects of it, can see, without doubt, the reasonableness of a test, or any other disqualification in this view. For my own part, as far as the argument for persecution is concerned, I make no difference between one religion and another, and can as little justify hanging a papist merely for his religion as a protestant. If therefore the test act be in truth a persecuting law, it is bad in every view; but if it be only a reasonable provision for the security of the establishment against suspected enemies, it is good in every case where there is probable ground for such suspicion.

I need not say how much the nation is indebted to this act; it has once already saved us from the



popery, a barrier to the protestant religion in all King James's reign : this was so evident that there was nothing this unhappy prince labored so much as the repeal of this act; and when he could not get an English parliament to concur with him, he took a bold step to compass his design, and endeavored to lay it asleep by a dispensing power. His declaration to this purpose is on record in the annals and histories of that time ; and if the reader will be at the trouble to turn to it, he will find that the bishop has been beholden to King James's declaration for his arguments against the test.

But this act being designed for papists in particular, it has been complained of that it was extended to protestant dissenters; though it is well known that this effect was foreseen at the time of making the act, and might have easily been prevented, had the legislature intended to prevent it. But let this pass;

it cannot be denied that this effect on protestant dissenters was understood at the time the toleration act passed; and yet so far were the legislature from preventing it then, that they expressly declared all protestant dissenters to be liable to it: which declaration was indeed a re-enacting of the test act with respect to the dissenters; and from this time (at least) the test act does as directly affect the dissenters as the papists; and it


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