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stand the king's promise to ber in a ruinous sense to all others; and I am sure she would understand her own interest better, if she were of the same mind. For it is morally impossible that a conscientious prince can be thought to have tied himself to compel others to a communion, that himself cannot tell how to be of; or that any thing can oblige him to shake the firmness of
those he has confirmed by his own royal example, [ Having then so illustrious an instance of integrity, 1. as the hazard of the loss of three crowns for conscience,
let it at least excuse Disfenters conftancy, and provoke the friends of the succession to moderation, that no
man may lose his birth-right for his persuasion, and us - to live dutifully, and so peaceably, under our own
vine, and under our own fig-tree, with Glory to God i on high, to the king honour, and good-will to all 6 men.'
I understand, S: But to settle thecem to have
M o deration, the subject of this discourse, is, in
VI plainer English, « liberty of conscience to i Church-difsenters: a cause I have, with all humility, undertaken to plead, against the prejudices of the times.
That there is such a thing as conscience, and the liberty of it, in reference to faith and worship towards God, must not be denied, even by those that are most fcandalized at the ill use some seem to have made of such prerences. But to settle the terms: By conscience, I understand, the apprehension and persuasion a man has
of his duty to God: by liberty of conscience, I mean, ra free and open profesion and exercise of that duty; ļ especially in worship :' but I always premise this conscience to keep within the bounds of morality, and that it be neither frantick nor mischievous, but a food subject, a good child, a good servant, in all the af. fairs of life; as exact to yield to Cæfar the things that are Cæsar's, as jealous of withholding from God the thing that is God's.-In brief, he that acknowledges the civil government under which he lives, and that maintains no principle hurtful to his neighbour in his civil property.
For he that in any thing violates his duty to these relations, cannot be said to observe it to God, who
ought ought to have his tribute out of it. Such do not reject their prince, parent, master, or neighbour, but God, who enjoins that duty to them. Those pathetick words of Christ will naturally enough reach the case, “ In that ye did it not to them, ye did it not to " me:" for duty to such relations hath a divine stamp; and divine right runs through more things of the world, and acts of our lives, than we are aware of; and facrilege may be committed against more than the church. Nor will a dedication to God, of the robbery from man, expiate the guilt of difobedience : for though zeal could turn gossip to theft, his altars would renounce the sacrifice.
The conscience then that I state, and the liberty I pray, carrying so great a salvo and deference to publick and private relations, no ill design can, with any justice, be fixed upon the author, or reflection upon the subject, which by this time, I think, I may venture to call a toleration.
But to this so much craved, as well as needed, 10leration, I meet with two objections of weight, the solving of which will make way for it in this kingdom. And the first is, a disbelief of the possibility of the thing. "Toleration of diffenting worships from
that established, is not practicable,' say some, withrout danger to the state, with which it is interwoven.' This is political. The other objection is, • That ad(mitting Disenters to be in the wrong, (which is al( ways premised by the national church) such latitude ( were the way to keep up the disunion, and instead
of compelling them into a better way, leave them « in the possession and pursuit of their old errors.' This is religious. I think I have given the objections fairly; it will be my next business to answer them as fully.
The strength of the first objection against this liberty, is the danger suggested to the state ; the reason is, " The national forin being interwoven with the < frame of the government. But this seems to me only faid, and not only (with submission) not proved,
but not true: for the established religion and worship are no other ways interwoven with the government, than that the government makes profession of them, and by divers laws has made them the current religion, and required all the members of the state to conform to it. • This is nothing but what may as well be done by the government for any other persuasion, as that. Ic is true, it is not easy to change an established religion, nor is that the question we are upon; but state-religions have been changed without the change of the states. We see this in the governments of Germany and Denmark upon the reformation : but more clearly and near ourselves, in the case of Henry the Eighth,' Edward the Sixth, Queen Mary, and Elizabeth; for the monarchy stood, the family remained and succeeded, under all the revolutions of state-religion; which could not have been, had the proposition been gene. rally true.
The change of religion, then, does not necessarily change the government, or alter the state, and if so, à fortiori, indulgence of Church-dissenters does not necessarily hazard a change of the state, where the present state-religion or church remains the same; for
Denmark i bes, in the case of and Elizabeth
Some may say, "That it were more facile to change < from one national religion to another, than to main<tain the monarchy and church, against the ambition s and faction of divers diffenting parties. But this is improbable at least, For it were to say, That it is an easier thing to change a whole kingdom, than, with the sovereign power, followed with armies, navies, judges, clergy, and all the conformists of the kingdom, to secure the government from the ambition and faction of Diflenters, as differing in their interests within themselves, as in their persuasions ; and were they united, have neither power to awe, nor rewards to allure to their party. They can only be formidable, when headed by the sovereign. They may stop a gap, or make, by his accession, a balance: