Page images


[ocr errors]

And a test it was of the strongest kind, even an oath. A copy of which is preserved by Stobæus *, who transcribed this curious fragment from the writings of the Pythagoreans, the great school of ancient politics f. It is conceived in these words : “I will not “ dishonour the sacred arms, nor desert my comrade « in battle: I will DEFEND

COUNTRY AND DIY RELIGION, whether alone, or " in conjunction with others : I will not leave the

public in a worse condition than I found it, but in a better: I will be always ready to obey the su

preme magistrate, with prudence: and to submit “ to the established laws, and to all such as shall be “ hereafter established by full consent of the people : “ and I will never conuive at any other who shall

presume to despise or disobey them; but will avenge “ all such attempts on the sanctity of the republic, “ either alone, or in conjunction with the people: “ and lastly, I WILL CONFORM TO THE NATIONAL

So help me those Gods who are the avengers

of perjury.” Here we see, that after every man had sworn, I will defend and protect the religion of my country, in consequence of the obligation the state lies under to protect the established worship, he concludes, I will conform to it: the directest and strongest of all tests. But


* Ου καλαισχυνώ όπλα τα ιερά, εδ' Γκαλαλείψω τον παραγάτην, όπε αν τοιχήσω. ΑΜΥΝΩ ΔΕ ΥΠΕΡ ΙΕΡΩΝ, και υπέρ οσίων, και μόνο, και μεία πολλών. την πατρίδα δέ έκ ελάσσω, παραδώσω πλείω δε και αρεία, όσην άν παραδέξομαι. και ευηκοήσω των αει κρινόνων εμφρόνως, και τους θεσμούς τους ιδευμένους πείσομαι, και ές τινας αν άλλες το αληθ. ιδρύσηίαι ομοφρόνως, και άν τις αναιρη τες θεσμες και μη πείθηλαι, εκ έπρέψω, αμυνώ δε και μοί», και μελά σάνων. και ΙΕΡΑ ΤΑ ΠΑΤΡΙΑ ΤΙΜΗΣΩ iroçes Good tétwy. Joan. Stobäi de Repub. Serm. xli. p. 243. Edit. Lugdun. 1608. + Sie The Divine Legation.

T 3

a test

a test of conformity to the established worship was
not only required of those who bore a share in the
civil administration, but of those too who were chosen
to preside in their religious rites. Demosthenes has
recorded the oath which the priestesses of Bacchus,
called repaipai, took on entering into their office: “I
“ observe a religious chastity, and am clean and pure
" from all other defilements, and from conversation


[merged small][ocr errors]


* "

[ocr errors]

So that those, with whom the authority of the WISE ANCIENTS have so much weight, will, we hope, from this example in the wisest of them, begin to entertain a better opinion of a test-law, and of a religion so established.

But a stronger evidence of the indispensable necessity of these things, for the support and security of government, can hardly be given, than in the example of the famous William Penn, one, who by his principles was most averse to it, who strove most to avoid it, and yet is forced to have recourse to it. We have seen before, how the same man, as head of a sect, had, by a side-wind, introduced society into religion. We shall now see that, when become a lawgiver, he found an equal necessity of having that society ESTABLISHED, and securing his establishment by a test-law. In his Frame of Government for the Province of Pennsilvania in America, we have amongst his fundamental constitutions these following; That

[ocr errors]

Αλισεύω, και είμι καθαρά, και ανη από των άλλων και καθαρευόνων, και απ' ανδρός Cυνεσίας, και τα Θεοίνια, και Ιοβακχεία γεραίρω το Διονύση ΚΑΤΑ ΤΑ ΠΑΤΡΙΑ, και εν τοίς καθήκοσι χρόνοις.

Orat. cont. Neæram,

« all

“ all Persons living in this Province, who confess and

acknowledge the one Almighty and Eternal God to “ be the Creator, Upholder, and Ruler of the World, “ shall in no wise be molested or prejudiced for their

Religious Persuasion or Practice in matters of “ Faith and Worship.” And, “That all Treasurers, ,

Judges, Masters of the Rolls, Sheriffs, Justices of " the Peace, and other Officers and Persons what

soever relating to Courts or Trials of Causes, or

any other Service in the Government; and all Mem“bers elected to serve in Provincial Council, and " General Assembly, and all that have right to elect “ such Members, shall be such as profess Faith in « Jesus Christ.”

By these laws an established religion is first of all constituted, which is the Christian : and, secondly, a test, which excludes all, but such, from a share in the adıninistration, even the remotest share, as electing representatives to serve in provincial council and general assembly. And, all this, in as good legal form as the Priest himself could wish: only as arising froin a necessity not to be gloried in) a little disguised in the expression, by the use of affirmative rather than negative terms. As to the large and extensive conditions of this establishment and test, that is another question. What these CONSTITUTIONS are here cited for, is to shew the necessity of the things themselves.

I have but one further observation to make, before I end this chapter: it is, that the grand and palmary argument against a test concludes, with equal strength, against an establishment; unless, perhaps, our adversaries have discovered, that the clergy are to have no share with the laity, in the common rights of subjects. For it hath been shewn above, that one of the essential



privileges of an established church is a public maintenance for its clergy, given by the state, in reward for their services in teaching the people virtue and obedience. Now as the ministers of all the tolerated churches do, or profess to do, the same; they seem to have something a better pretence to a share in these places of profit, possessed by the endowed clergy, than their lay-brethren have to what the laity of the established church hold from them. At least it must be said, that the injustice of debarring either, for matters of opinion, is equal. I make no question but those with whom we have to do, like their principle the better for this generous and impartial consequence. But it is not their approbation I am so much concerned to procure. I now address myself to the lovers of their country under the present constitution of church and state. I would shew them, in what our adversaries' principles necessarily terminate; a total subversion of all established religion. For this last claim puts an end to it at once. And shall we believe it will not be made whenever the other is obtained ? Are not the ministers of the tolerated sects amongst the first to push on this demand of the common rights of subjects ? have they less regard to their own advantage than to that of their flock? or are they, good men, persuaded, that these common rights extend not to churchmen?

However, the state, we may be sure, will be impartial in its justice. So that when once we see sectaries of all kinds supply the civil administration; the next place to look for them is in the pulpit and the






I HAVE now, at length, and I hope to the reader's satisfaction, performed what I undertook; which was, to demonstrate the equity and necessity of an established religion and a test-law on the principles of the law of nature and nations. It only remains to shew, (as I promised in the beginning of this discourse) what FALSE PRINCIPLE it was, which, embraced in common, hath misled both parties; and brought, one to conclude, that an established religion was of divine right; and the other, that a test-law was a violation of all human oncs. For, as the excellent Hooker says,

a common received error is never utterly overthrowne, till such time as we go from signes to

causes, and shew some manifest root or fountaine “ thereof common unto all, whereby it may clearely

appeare how it hath come to passe that so many “ have beene overseene.” By this, likewise, we shall add new strength to our conclusions (as it will afford us a view of the defects in the other scheme of defence), and remove any remaining doubts that may have arisen from the authority of great names against us.

When a love for truth, my sole motive to this inquiry, had engaged me in an examination of the nature



« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »