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set right. From thence it is deduced, 1. that to love, to fear, and to trust God, as governor of the universe, are the first and most essential duties of religion, &c. 2. that these essential duties are the religion on which an oath is founded. The meaning of the word test is next considered. It is shown in what sense religion is made a civil test; viz., that the magistrate is enabled from thence to draw a consequence which he applies to civil affairs. This applied to the two cases under consideration. But if it shall be allowed that the objection, drawn from the nature of religion in general, against its being made a test in civil matters, be not good; yet it remains to consider whether there be any thing in the institution of the sacrament that makes it unlawful to be so used. It is shown that there is nothing unlawful in this, provided that the statutes requiring the sacramental tests have neither added to nor taken away any thing from Christ's institution. Case of those who receive the sacrament unworthily, considered : that also of clergymen who are compelled to administer it to such : advice to the clergy on this point. Another result of the bishop' reasoning against the test act is, that it is a worldly motive to bring all Christians to the same profession and to the same form of words and ceremonies in public worship : this answered. Conclusion.
PART II.--Consideration of what the bishop has offered to show respecting the little religion there is in an oath, compared with the religion of the sacrament. Five preliminary observations intended to remove the two cases out of sight, commented on. His lordship's five heads of difference next displayed. The dean concludes with expressing his surprise that a Christian bishop should take so much pains to undervalue the religion and sanctity of an oath, which the very heathens held in the greatest veneration: this point enlarged on.
POSTSCRIPT, relating to a mistake made by the dean in supposing that King William did nothing to exempt the dissenters from the operation of the test,
It is now, I think, agreed on all hands that the design of the
I Bishop of Bangor's Sermon before the king was to make way for the repeal of the test act: his lordship seems to own this in his Answer to the Representation. And however he has, with more than Christian prudence, avoided declaring his own opinion in many things laid to his charge in the Representation, yet in this particular he has spoken out, and is willing to be understood by all. This, together with other
reader knows as well as I, has induced me to enter into the consideration of this point; hoping that a clear state of this case might be of service to the friends of our constitution, and guard them against the prejudices and popular outcries raised against those statutes which are the security of the established church, and the envy of those who bate it.
The corporation and test act, and others of the like kind, were founded on the experience the nation had of the spirit and temper of the many sectaries amongst us. This made it impossible to avoid speaking of that behavior of dissenters which gave occasion to these acts ; but I have endeavored so to speak of it as to give no just offence; and if any shall mislike the calling to mind, even in the tenderest manner, the miscarriages of former times, let him consider who are to blame, whether those who defend the constitution, or those who by their violent attack on it have made such defence necessary.
It was once in my thoughts to have considered all the incapacitating laws, as well those relating to papists as those relating to dissenters of all sorts ; and to have shown the common reason in which they are founded; but I declined this part of the argument, that I might not give a pretence to the lovers of scandal to raise a clamor, as if an odious comparison was intended between papists and protestant dissenters.
: I do not pretend to hope that all the care I have taken or can take, will stop the mouths of the enemies of our constitution; but I have laid in for myself this comfort, under all the reproaches I am to expect, that I have not deserved them; and
; after this point secured, I hope I may, without being charged with pride and arrogance, have leave to say that I shall not value them.
In the second part I have examined his lordship's reasonings, brought to show how little religion is concerned in oaths : I was chiefly moved by two considerations so to do.
1. This point about the religion of oaths is connected to the case of the test act, and is part of that controversy, and ought therefore to attend on it.
2. I was willing to give the reader a specimen of the bishop's fairness and good reasoning in this controversy. The whole Answer to the Representation is so made up of art, disguise, complaints, and bitter insinuations against the clergy, that whoever shall attempt to reply to it step by step, will find himself in a very low and yet very tedious employment. The world will soon be tired of a controversy that rises to no higher a point than, I did not mean so, and you did mean so ; and a writer must be at a great loss to spend his time, who can be willing to pursue such trifles through a quite of paper.
. I will give the reader an instance of his lordship’s art and disguise in a very material point, and on which one half of the controversy turns.
The bishop's sermon was intended to rectify the abuse of words in matters of religion, especially of the word church, which had been so altered and diversified, that it conveyed very wrong notions to the minds of Christian people. This he professes to be his design : “ It is with this view,” says the bishop, “that I have chosen those words in which our Lord himself declared the nature of his own kingdom.” Two things then he had to do; to set aside the corrupted notions of the church, and to introduce the true one : these two things he does attempt to do. Let the reader now consider whether his lordship, when he sets forth the true notion of the church in order to remove the false ones, must not necessarily speak of one and
the same sort of church ; for to give a man a true notion of one sort of church can never rectify his mistakes about another sort of church ; no more than the description of an elephant can convey the true image of a whale. The Committee of Convocation understood his lordship to speak of the same sort of church in both cases, viz. of the visible church ; and they found his true notion of a church (as he calls it) to be inconsistent with the very being of a visible church. His lordship, I suppose, on consideration found so too, and yet he was to answer the Representation. What does he do then? Why he roundly affirms that " what he said about inconsistent images, by daily additions, united in the notion of the church of Christ,” related to “modern notions of particular churches,” that is, visible churches; for all particular churches are such. But as to his
. true notion of a church, he professes, “ that he pretends in those words to describe no other but the universal invisible church.”
So then by this account his lordship, in order to rectify the mistakes about particular visible churches, gives us a true notion of the universal invisible church; though if I may have leave to guess, the bishop's great concern was to be invisible himself, and to hide from the eyes of the world what he was ashamed to own and defend. This ill-applied distinction is the foundation of his Answer to the first charge in the Representation; and the reader may judge of the Answer by seeing the ground on which it stands.
But his lordship, not content thus to misrepresent himself, and to take shelter in the darkness which he spreads around him, is perpetually lamenting over the frailties of those Christian divines who found any thing to dislike in his performances. To complain, to pity, to lament, are, you know, most tender things, and such as,
will make women and children cry. What advantage are such tears in a controversy about the powers of the church and of the Christian magistrate! And how decently does his lordship call out for such assistance !
But mistake not, reader; his lordship can do more than complain. These lamentations often end in the bitterest reflexions:
Hæ nugæ seria ducunt
I will transcribe one passage from his lordship, that the world may judge from what spirit it proceeds.
“I confess myself surprised and astonished in a very particular manner at this part of the Representation, and cannot but stop a few moments to lament the fate of Christianity and of the protestant cause, and even of the clergy themselves, when it shall be insinuated in the world, from the authority of this very report, that their aim is to obtain such a regard to themselves as is inconsistent with a close and immediate regard to Christ himself; and that they take it as an injury to their order, that the Christian people are encouraged to show themselves subjects of Christ, in the great affair of salvation, without fear of man's judgment.”
Here you see his lordship is surprised, astonished; he stops short to lament the fate of Christianity, of the protestant cause; nay, (such is his charity,) even of the clergy themselves, whenever those insinuations shall be made to the world which he himself in the very next words does expressly make. When he saw and declared how much the fate of Christianity and the protestant cause, and of the clergy, depended on such insinuations, how could he, a Christian, a protestant, and a bishop, make those
very insinuations, and that too when he had no just ground or pretence so to do; when he knew in his conscience there was no such aim in the report as he insinuates? Will such reflexions as these pass for charity, because they are introduced with surprise, astonishment, and lamentation ? Let me for ever want such charity!
It is with the same degree of goodness that his lordship professes that “ he cannot by any means persuade himself to call in question what they (the Committee) so seriously profess :"> and as soon as he has made this
goes on to give all the reasons he can think of, I may say all he could invent, (for some are false in fact,) why nobody else should believe them. How compassionate a part is this, to profess that
believe a man, and then to labor to show his falseness to all the world! I wish his lordship would seriously