Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

himself with secretly abhorring a savage despotism, which he could not controul, and probably would avail himself of Hobbes's maxim. He used to say, that, if he was in a deep pit, and the devil should put down his cloven foot, he would take hold of it to be drawn out by it. Suppose his majesty should indulge him with an audience, would he dare to say to him, Sire, I am an ambassador of the great spirit, who made, who preserves, and who, after death, will judge, and reward or punish, all mankind. The obedience which he requires, is partly dictated by mens'consciences, and fully explained in this book in my hand; a book which the great spirit commanded to be written for our instruction, and received under pain of his displeasure, Your majesty however has the same authority in this nation, as other kings have in their dominions, and it remains with you to determine whether these things be true or false. Not only have none of your subjects a right of examining and determining for himself, but I myself, consistent with my notion of your majesty's supremacy, am ready to renounce all but what your majesty believes as long as I am in your dominions ?

O say you, all this is nothing to the purpose, a king has no right over conscience quatenus* king, but as a christian king; without this just distinction, you will be able to prove that if a Canadian king be wrong, his subjects however are right; for they do what God requires, that is, they submit their faith and consciences to the king as supreme. Very well. See now what all your fine theory comes to. Suppose a jesuit should convert the king; has he a right to establish christianity as the papists profess it? No, say all the reformed churches. The right belongs to him quatenus protestant christian king. Quatenus episcopalian, says one ; quatenus presbyterian says another; not at all says a third, whose voice ought to silence all :-Render unto Cæsar, the things that are Cæsar's, and unto God, the things that are God's. Farewell

* Considered merely as a king.

Π Ε Τ Τ Ε R V.

ON

Ι Ν Ν ο ν Α Τ Ι ο Ν.

Laudamus veteres, sed nostris utimur annis. Ovid.

)

LETTER V.

SIR,

DONT you recollect before the petitions for relief in the matter of subscription were presented to parliament, that a gentleman in company foretold their fate, and grounded his prophecy on a very singular opinion ? An opinion, which then the company made light of, but which since has appeared too well founded. The company expatiated on the equity, the reasonableness, the modesty, of the petition; they urged the good sense, the generous and candid spirit of the government in religious matters; they said there was not an intolerant member of the British senate; they passed the highest and justest encomiums on the known benevolentspirit of the royal family; they put all together and concluded that the bill would pass. I beg leave to differ from you gentlemen,said the good man in question, and to assure you that it will not pass. Not that I doubt any thing you have advanced, but it is an innovation, and statesmen always fear, and often justly, innovations. It is not enough added he, that the whole legislature approves, the people must also be disposed to an act of this kind, and the people you know love the old pad. The

« EdellinenJatka »