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where in some time he had the bad luck to be distinguished. His scanty salary compelled him to run deep in debt for a new gown and cassock, and now and then forced him to write some paper of wit or humour, or preach a sermon for 10s. to supply his necessities. He was a thousand times recommended by his poetical friends to great persons as a young man of excellent parts who deserved encouragement, and received a thousand promises; but his modesty, and a generous spirit, which disdained the slavery of continual application and attendance, always disappointed him, making room for vigilant dunces, who were sure to be never out of sight.
He had an excellent faculty in preaching, if he were not sometimes a little too refined, and apt to trust too much to his own way of thinking and reasoning.
When, upon the vacancy of a preferment, he was hardly drawn to attend upon some promising lord, he received the usual answer, " That he came too late, for it had been given to another the very day before." And he had only this comfort left, that everybody said, "It was a thousand pities something could not be done for poor Mr. Eugenio."
The remainder of his story will be despatched in a few words: wearied with weak hopes and weaker pursuits, he accepted a curacy in Derbyshire of 301. a-year, and when he was 45, had the great felicity to be preferred by a friend of his father's to a vicarage worth annually 601., in the most desert parts of Lincolnshire; where, his spirit quite sunk with those reflections that solitude and disappointments bring, he married a farmer's widow, and is still alive, utterly undistinguished and forgotten; only some of the neighbours have accidentally heard that he had been a notable man in his youth.
AGAINST THE CLERGY.
May 24, 1736.
I HAVE been long considering and conjecturing what could be the causes of that great disgust of late against the clergy of both kingdoms, beyond what was ever known till that monster and tyrant Henry VIII., who took away from them, against law, reason, and justice, at least two-thirds of their legal possessions; and whose successors (except queen Mary) went on with their rapine till the accession of king James I. That detestable tyrant Henry VIII., although he abolished the pope's power in England as universal bishop, yet what he did in that article, however just it were in itself, was the mere effect of his irregular appetite, to divorce himself from a wife he was weary of, for a younger and more beautiful woman whom he afterwards beheaded. But, at the same time, he was an entire defender of all the popish doctrines, even those which were the most absurd. And while he put the people to death for denying him to be head of the church, he burned every offender against the doctrines of the Roman faith; and cut off the head of sir Thomas More, a person of the greatest virtue this kingdom ever produced, for not directly owning him to be head of the church. Among all the princes who ever reigned in the world, there was never so infernal a beast as Henry VIII., in every vice of the most odious kind, without any one appearance of virtue: but cruelty, lust, rapine, and atheism, were his peculiar talents. He rejected the power of the pope for no other reason than to give his full swing to commit sacrilege, in which no tyrant since Christianity became national
did ever equal him by many degrees. The abbeys endowed with lands by the mistaken notion of welldisposed men, were indeed too numerous and hurtful to the kingdom; and therefore the legislature might, after the Reformation, have justly applied them to some pious or public uses.
In a very few centuries after Christianity became national in most parts of Europe, although the church of Rome had already introduced many corruptions in religion; yet the piety of early Christians, as well as the new converts, was so great, and particularly princes, as well as noblemen and other wealthy persons, that they built many religious houses for those who were inclined to live in a recluse or solitary manner, endowing those monasteries with land. It is true we read of monks some ages before, who dwelt in caves and cells in desert places. But when public edifices were erected and endowed, they began gradually to degenerate into idleness, ignorance, avarice, ambition, and luxury, after the usual fate of all human institutions. The popes, who had already aggrandized themselves, laid hold of the opportunity to subject all religious houses, with their priors and abbots, to their peculiar authority; whereby those religious orders became of an interest directly different from the rest of mankind, and wholly at the pope's devotion. I need say no more on this article, so generally known and so frequently treated, or of the frequent endeavours of some other princes, as well as our own, to check the growth, and wealth, and power, of the regulars.
In later times this mistaken piety of erecting and endowing abbeys began to decrease. And therefore, when some new-invented sects of monks and friars began to start up, not being able to procure grants of land, they got leave from the pope to appropriate the tithes and glebes of certain parishes, as contiguous or near as they could find, obliging themselves to send out some of their body to take care of the people's souls; and if some of those parishes were at too great a distance from the abbey, the monks appointed to attend them were paid for the cure either a small stipend of a determined sum, or sometimes a third part, or what are now called the vicarial tithes.
As to the church-lands, it hath been the opinion of many writers that in England they amounted to a third part of the whole kingdom. And therefore, if that wicked prince above mentioned, when he had cast off the pope's power, had introduced some reformation in religion, he could not have been blamed for taking away the abbey-lands by authority of parliament. But, when he continued the most cruel persecution of all those who differed in the least article of the popish religion, which was then the national and established faith, his seizing on those lands, and applying them to profane uses, was absolute sacrilege in the strongest sense of the word; having been bequeathed by princes and pious men to sacred uses.
In the reign of this prince the church and court of Rome had arrived to such a height of corruption in doctrine and discipline as gave great offence to many wise, learned, and pious men, through most parts of Europe; and several countries agreed to make some reformation in religion. But although a proper and just reformation were allowed to be necessary, even to preserve Christianity itself, yet the passions and vices of men had mingled themselves so far as to pervert and confound all the good endeavours of those who intended well and thus the reformation, in every country where it was attempted, was carried on in the most impious and scandalous manner that can possibly be conceived. To which unhappy proceedings we owe all the just reproaches that Roman Catholics have cast upon us ever since. For when the northern kingdoms and states grew weary of the pope's tyranny, and when
their preachers, beginning with the scandalous abuses of indulgences, and proceeding further to examine several points of faith, had credit enough with their princes, who were in some fear lest such a change might affect the peace of their countries, because their bishops had great influence on the people by their wealth and power; these politic teachers had a ready answer to this purpose: "Sir, your majesty need not be in any pain or apprehension: take away the lands, and sink the authority of the bishops: bestow those lands on your courtiers, on your nobles, and on your great officers in your army; and then you will be secure of the people." This advice was exactly followed. And in the Protestant monarchies abroad little more than the shadow of Episcopacy is left; but in the republics it is wholly extinct.
In England, the reformation was brought in after a somewhat different manner, but upon the same principle of robbing the church. However, Henry VIII., with great dexterity, discovered an invention to gratify his insatiable thirst for blood on both religions. ****
CHURCH-OF-ENGLAND MAN With respect to Religion and Government. WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1708.
DR. SWIFT Wrote this treatise in the quality of a moderator between the two parties that then divided the nation, because he
could not possibly think so well or ill of either party as they would endeavour to persuade the world of each other and of themselves. For instance, he did not charge it upon the
body of the Whigs or the Tories that their several principles led them to introduce presbytery and the religion of the church of Rome, or a commonwealth and arbitrary power." As for himself, he says, "I believe I am no bigot in religion; and I am sure I am none in government. I converse in full freedom with many considerable men of both parties; and if not in equal number it is purely accidental and personal, as happening to be near the court, and to have made acquaintance there more under one ministry than another."-This appears to be an apology for the Tories, and a justification of them against the misrepresentations of the Whigs, who were then in the ministry, and used every artifice to perpetuate their power. Mr. Harley, afterwards lord Oxford, had, by the influence of the duke of Marlborough and lord-treasurer Godolphin, been lately removed from his post of principal secretary of state; and Mr. St. John, afterwards lord Bolingbroke, resigned his place of secretary-at-war, and sir Simon Harcourt that of attorney-general.a
SECTION THE FIRST.
WHOEVER has examined the conduct and proceedings of both parties for some years past, whether in or out of power, cannot well conceive it possible to go far toward the extremes of either without offering some violence to his integrity or understanding. A wise and a good man may indeed be sometimes induced to comply with a number whose opinion he generally approves, though it be perhaps against his own. But this liberty should be made use of upon very few occasions, and those of small importance, and then only with a view of bringing over his own side another time to something of greater and more public moment. But to sacrifice the innocency of a friend, the good of our country, or our own conscience, to the humour, or passion, or interest of a party, plainly shows that either our heads or our hearts are not as they should be: yet this very practice is the fundamental law of each faction among us, as may be obvious to any who will impartially and without engagement be at the pains to examine their actions, which, however, is not so easy a task for it seems a principle in human nature to incline one way more than another, even in matters where we are wholly unconcerned. And it is a common observaa This tract is written with great coolness, moderation, ease, and perspicuity.-JOHNSON.
tion that in reading a history of facts done a thousand years ago, or standing by at play among those who are perfect strangers to us, we are apt to find our hopes and wishes engaged on a sudden in favour of one side more than another. No wonder then that we are all so ready to interest ourselves in the course of public affairs, where the most inconsiderable have some real share, and, by the wonderful importance which every man is of to himself, a very great imaginary one.
And, indeed, when the two parties that divide the whole commonwealth come once to a rupture, without any hopes left of forming a third with better principles to balance the others, it seems every man's duty to choose one of the two sides, though he cannot entirely approve of either; and all pretences to neutrality are justly exploded by both, being too stale and obvious, only intending the safety and ease of a few individuals, while the public is embroiled. This was the opinion and practice of the latter Cato, whom I esteem to have been the wisest and best of all the Romans. But before things proceed to open violence, the truest service a private man may hope to do his country is, by unbiassing his mind as much as possible, and then endeavouring to moderate between the rival powers; which must needs be owned a fair proceeding with the world, because it is, of all others, the least consistent with the common design of making a fortune by the merits of an opinion.
I have gone as far as I am able in qualifying myself to be such a moderator: I believe I am no bigot in religion, and I am sure I am none in government. I converse in full freedom with many considerable men of both parties; and if not in equal number it is purely accidental and personal, as happening to be near the court, and to have made acquaintance there, more under one ministry than another. Then, I am not under the necessity of declaring myself by the prospect of an employment. And, lastly, if all this be not sufficient, I industriously conceal my name, which wholly exempts me from any hopes and fears in delivering my opinion.
In consequence of this free use of my reason, I cannot possibly think so well or so ill of either party as they would endeavour to persuade the world of each other and of themselves. For instance; I do not charge it upon the body of the Whigs or the Tories that their several principles lead them to introduce Presbytery and the religion of the church of Rome, or a commonwealth and arbitrary power. For why should any party be accused of a principle which they solemnly disown and protest against? But to this they have a mutual answer ready: they both assure us that their adversaries are not to be believed; that they disown their principles out of fear, which are manifest enough when we examine their practices. To prove this, they will produce instances, on one side, either of avowed presbyterians, or persons of libertine and atheistical tenets; and on the other, of professed papists, or such as are openly in the interest of the abdicated family. Now it is very natural for all subordinate sects and denominations in a state to side with some general party, and to choose that which they find to agree with themselves in some general principle. Thus, at the restoration, the Presbyterians, Anabaptists, Independents, and other sects, did all, with very good reason, unite and solder up their several schemes to join against the church; who, without regard to their distinctions, Thus, our treated them all as equal adversaries. present dissenters do very naturally close in with the Whigs, who profess moderation, declare they abhor all thoughts of persecution, and think it hard that those who differ only in a few ceremonies and speculations should be denied the privilege and profit of serving their country in the highest employments of state.
Thus, the atheists, libertines, despisers of religion and As to rites and ceremonies and forms of prayer, revelation in general, that is to say, all those who he allows there might be some useful alterations, and usually pass under the name of freethinkers, do pro- more which, in the prospect of uniting Christians, might perly join with the same body: because they likewise be very supportable, as things declared in their own preach up moderation, and are not so overnice to dis- nature indifferent; to which he therefore would readily tinguish between an unlimited liberty of conscience comply, if the clergy, or (though this be not so fair a and an unlimited freedom of opinion. Then, on the method) if the legislature should direct: yet, at the other side, the professed firmness of the Tories for same time, he cannot altogether blame the former for episcopacy, as an apostolical institution; their aversion their unwillingness to consent to any alteration; which, to those sects who lie under the reproach of having besides the trouble, and perhaps disgrace, would ceronce destroyed their constitution, and who, they tainly never produce the good effects intended by it. imagine, by too indiscreet a zeal for reformation, have The only condition that could make it prudent and defaced the primitive model of the church; next, their just for the clergy to comply in altering the ceremonial, veneration for monarchical government in the common or any other indifferent part, would be a firm resolution course of succession, and their hatred to republican in the legislature to interpose, by some strict and effecschemes: these, I say, are principles which not only tual laws, to prevent the rising and spreading of new the nonjuring zealots profess, but even papists them-sects, how plausible soever, for the future; else there selves fall readily in with. And every extreme here must never be an end: and it would be to act like a mentioned flings a general scandal upon the whole man who should pull down and change the ornaments body it pretends to adhere to. of his house, in compliance to every one who was disposed to find fault as he passed by; which, besides the perpetual trouble and expense, would very much damage, and perhaps in time destroy, the building. Sects in a state seem only tolerated with any reason because they are already spread; and because it would not be agreeable with so mild a government, or so pure a religion as ours, to use violent methods against great numbers of mistaken people, while they do not manifestly endanger the constitution of either. But the greatest advocates for general liberty of conscience will allow that they ought to be checked in their beginnings, if they will allow them to be an evil at all; or, which is the same thing, if they will only grant it were better for the peace of the state that there should be none. But while the clergy consider the natural temper of mankind in general, or of our own country in particular, what assurances can they have that any compliances they shall make will remove the evil of dissension, while the liberty still continues of professing whatever new opinion we please? Or how can it be imagined, that the body of dissenting teachers, who must be all undone by such a revolution, will not cast about for some new objections to withhold their flocks, and draw in fresh proselytes, by some further innovations or refinements?
But surely no man whatsoever ought, in justice or good manners, to be charged with principles he actually disowns, unless his practices do openly, and without the least room for doubt, contradict his profession; not upon small surmises, or because he has the misfortune to have ill men sometimes agree with him in a few general sentiments. However, though the extremes of Whig and Tory seem, with little justice, to have drawn religion into their controversies, wherein they have small concern, yet they both have borrowed one leading principle from the abuse of it: which is, to have built their several systems of political faith, not upon inquiries after truth, but upon opposition to each other, upon injurious appellations, charging their adversaries with horrid opinions, and then reproaching them for the want of charity; et neuter falso.
In order to remove these prejudices, I have thought nothing could be more effectual than to describe the sentiments of a church-of-England man with respect to religion and government. This I shall endeavour to do in such a manner as may not be liable to the least objection from either party, and which I am confident would be assented to by great numbers in both, if they were not misled to those mutual misrepresentations by such motives as they would be ashamed
I shall begin with religion.
And here, though it makes an odd sound, yet it is necessary to say that whoever professes himself a member of the church of England ought to believe a God and his providence, together with revealed religion and the divinity of Christ. For beside those many thousands who (to speak in the phrase of divines) do practically deny all this by the immorality of their lives, there is no small number who, in their conversation and writings, directly or by consequence, endeavour to overthrow it; yet all these place themselves in the list of the national church, though at the same time (as it is highly reasonable) they are great sticklers for liberty of conscience.
To enter upon particulars: a church-of-England man has a true veneration for the scheme established among us of ecclesiastic government; and though he will not determine whether episcopacy be of divine right, he is sure it is most agreeable to primitive institution, fittest of all others for preserving order and purity, and, under its present regulations, best calculated for our civil state: he should therefore think the abolishment of that order among us would prove a mighty scandal and corruption to our faith, and manifestly dangerous to our monarchy; nay, he would defend it by arms against all the powers on earth, except our own legislature; in which case he would submit, as to a general calamity, a dearth, or a pestilence.
Upon these reasons he is for tolerating such different forms in religious worship as are already admitted, but by no means for leaving it in the power of those who are tolerated to advance their own models upon the ruin of what is already established; which it is natural for all sects to desire, and which they cannot be justified by any consistent principles if they do not endeavour; and yet, which they cannot succeed in without the utmost danger to the public peace.
To prevent these inconveniences, he thinks it highly just that all rewards of trust, profit, or dignity, which the state leaves in the disposal of the administration, should be given only to those whose principles direct them to preserve the constitution in all its parts. In the late affair of occasional conformity, the general argument of those who were against it was, not to deny it an evil in itself, but that the remedy proposed was violent, untimely, and improper; which is the bishop of Salisbury's opinion in the speech he made and published against the bill: but however just their fears or complaints might have been upon that score, he thinks it a little too gross and precipitate to employ their writers already in arguments for repealing the sacramental test, upon no wiser maxim than that no man should on the account of conscience be deprived the liberty of serving his country; a topic which may be equally applied to admit Papists, Atheists, Mahometans, Heathens, and Jews. If the church wants members of its own to employ in the service of the public, or be so
unhappily contrived as to exclude from its communions such persons who are likeliest to have great abilities, it is time it should be altered, and reduced into some more perfect, or at least more popular form: but in the mean while, it is not altogether improbable, that when those who dislike the constitution are so very zealous in their offers for the service of their country, they are not wholly unmindful of their party or of themselves.
The Dutch, whose practice is so often quoted to prove and celebrate the great advantages of a general liberty of conscience, have yet a national religion professed by all who bear office among them: but why should they be a precedent for us either in religion or government? our country differs from theirs, as well in situation, soil, and productions of nature, as in the genius and complexion of inhabitants. They are a commonwealth founded on a sudden, by a desperate attempt in a desperate condition, not formed or digested into a regular system by mature thought and reason, but huddled up under the pressure of sudden exigencies; calculated for no long duration, and hitherto subsisting by accident, in the midst of contending powers, who cannot yet agree about sharing it among them. These difficulties do indeed preserve them from any great corruptions, which their crazy constitution would extremely subject them to in a long peace. That confluence of people, in a persecuting age, to a place of refuge nearest at hand, put them upon the necessity of trade, to which they wisely gave all ease and encouragement: and if we could think fit to imitate them in this last particular, there would need no more to invite foreigners among us; who seem to think no further than how to secure their property and conscience, without projecting any share in that government which gives them protection, or calling it persecution if it be denied them. But, I speak it for the honour of our administration, although our sects are not so numerous as those in Holland, which I presume is not our fault, and I hope is not our misfortune, we much excel them, and all Christendom besides, in our indulgence to tender consciences. One single compliance with the national form of receiving the sacrament is all we require to qualify any sectary among us for the greatest employments in the state, after which he is at liberty to rejoin his own assemblies for the rest of his life. Besides, I will suppose any of the numerous sects in Holland to have so far prevailed as to have raised a civil war, destroyed their government and religion, and put their administrators to death; after which, I will suppose the people to have recovered all again, and to have settled on their old foundation. Then I would put a query whether that sect which was the unhappy instrument of all this confusion could reasonably expect to be entrusted for the future with the greatest employments, or indeed to be hardly tolerated among them?
To go on with the sentiments of a church-of-England man: he does not see how that mighty passion for the church, which some men pretend can well consist with those indignities, and that contempt they bestow on the persons of the clergy. It is a strange mark whereby to distinguish high-church-men, that they are such who imagine the clergy can never be too low. He thinks the maxim these gentlemen are so fond of, that they are for an humble clergy, is a very good one: and so is he, and for an humble laity too, since humility is a virtue that perhaps equally befits and adorns every station of life.
But then, if the scribblers on the other side freely speak the sentiments of their party, a divine of the church of England cannot look for much better quarter thence. You shall observe nothing more frequent in their weekly papers than a way of affecting to con
found the terms of clergy and high church, of applying both indifferently, and then loading the latter with all the calumny they can invent. They will tell you they honour a clergyman; but talk at the same time as if there were not three in the kingdom who could fall in with their definition. After the like manner they insult the universities, as poisoned fountains and corrupters of youth.
Now it seems clear to me that the Whigs might easily have procured and maintained a majority among the clergy, and perhaps in the universities, if they had not too much encouraged or connived at this intemperance of speech and virulence of pen in the worst and most prostitute of their party; among whom there has been for some years past such a perpetual clamour against the ambition, the implacable temper, and the covetousness of the priesthood; such a cant of high church, and persecution, and being priestridden; so many reproaches about narrow principles or terms of communion; then such scandalous reflections on the universities for infecting the youth of the nation with arbitrary and Jacobite principles, that it was natural for those who had the care of religion and education to apprehend some general design of altering the constitution of both. And all this was the more extraordinary because it could not easily be forgot that whatever opposition was made to the usurpations of king James proceeded altogether from the church of England, and chiefly from the clergy and one of the universities. For, if it were of any use to recall matters of fact, what is more notorious than that prince's applying himself first to the church of England? and upon their refusal to fall in with his measures, making the like advances to the dissenters of all kinds, who readily and almost universally complied with him, affecting, in their numerous addresses and pamphlets, the style of our brethren the Roman Catholics; whose interests they put on the same foot with their own; and some of Cromwell's officers took posts in the army raised against the Prince of Orange. These proceedings of theirs they can only extenuate by urging the provocations they had met from the church in king Charles's reign; which, though perhaps excusable upon the score of human infirmity, are not by any means a plea of merit equal to the constancy and sufferings of the bishops and clergy, or of the head and fellows of Magdalen College, that furnished the prince of Orange's declaration with such powerful arguments to justify and promote the revolution.
Therefore a church-of-England man abhors the humour of the age in delighting to fling scandals upon the clergy in general; which, besides the disgrace to the Reformation and to religion itself, cast an ignominy upon the kingdom that it does not deserve. We have no better materials to compound the priesthood of than the mass of mankind which, corrupted as it is, those who receive orders must have some vices to leave behind them when they enter into the church; and if a few do still adhere it is no wonder, but rather a great one that they are no worse. Therefore he cannot think ambition or love of power more justly laid to their charge than to other men's; because that would be to make religion itself, or at least the best constitution of church government, answerable for the errors and depravity of human nature.
Within these last two hundred years all sorts of temporal power have been wrested from the clergy and much of their ecclesiastic, the reason or justice of which proceeding I shall not examine; but that the remedies were a little too violent, with respect to their possessions, the legislature has lately confessed by the remission of their first fruits. Neither do the common libellers deny this, who in their invectives only tax the church with an insatiable desire of power and wealth (equally
common to all bodies of men as well as individuals), but thank God that the laws have deprived them of both. However, it is worth observing the justice of parties; the sects among us are apt to complain, and think it hard usage to be reproached now after fifty years for overturning the state, for the murder of a king, and the indignity of a usurpation; yet these very men and their partisans are continually reproaching the clergy, and laying to their charge, the pride, the avarice, the luxury, the ignorance and superstition of popish times for a thousand years past.
He thinks it a scandal to government that such an unlimited liberty should be allowed of publishing books against those doctrines in religion wherein all Christians have agreed; much more to connive at such tracts as reject all revelation, and by their consequences often deny the very being of a God. Surely it is not a sufficient atonement for the writers that they profess much loyalty to the present government, and sprinkle up and down some arguments in favour of the dissenters; that they dispute as strenuously as they can for liberty of conscience, and inveigh largely against all ecclesiastics under the name of high church; and, in short, under the shelter of some popular principles in politics and religion, undermine the foundations of all piety and
As he does not reckon every schism of that damnable nature which some would represent, so he is very far from closing with the new opinion of those who would make it no crime at all; and argue at a wild rate that God Almighty is delighted with the variety of faith and worship, as he is with the varieties of nature. To such absurdities are men carried by the affectation of freethinking and removing the prejudices of education; under which head they have for some time begun to list morality and religion. It is certain that, before the rebellion in 1642, though the number of puritans (as they were then called) was as great as it is with us, and though they affected to follow pastors of that denomination, yet those pastors had episcopal ordination, possessed preferments in the church, and were sometimes promoted to bishoprics themselves. But a breach in the general form of worship was in those days reckoned so dangerous and sinful in itself, and so offensive to Roman catholics at home and abroad, that it was too unpopular to be attempted; neither, I believe, was the expedient then found out of maintaining separate pastors out of private purses.
When a schism is once spread in a nation, there grows at length a dispute which are the schismatics. Without entering on the arguments used by both sides among us to fix the guilt on each other, it is certain that, in the sense of the law, the schism lies on that side which opposes itself to the religion of the state. I leave it among the divines to dilate upon the danger of schism as a spiritual evil; but I would consider it only as a temporal one. And I think it clear that any great separation from the established worship, though to a new one that is more pure and perfect, may be an occasion of endangering the public peace; because it will compose a body always in reserve, prepared to follow any discontented heads, upon the plausible pretext of advancing true religion, and opposing error, superstition, or idolatry. For this reason Plato lays it down as a maxim, that men ought to worship the gods according to the laws of the country; and he introduces Socrates, in his last discourse, utterly disowning the crime laid to his charge, of teaching new divinities or methods of worship. Thus the poor Huguenots of France were engaged in a civil war by the specious pretences of some who, under the guise of religion, sacrificed so many thousand lives to their own ambition and revenge. Thus was the whole body of puritans in England drawn to be instruments or abettors of all manner of villany, by
the artifices of a few men, whose designs from the first were levelled to destroy the constitution both of religion and government. And thus, even in Holland itself, where it is pretended that the variety of sects live so amicably together and in such perfect obedience to the magistrate, it is notorious how a turbulent party, joining with the Arminians, did, in the memory of our fathers, attempt to destroy the liberty of that republic. So that, upon the whole, where sects are tolerated in a state, it is fit they should enjoy a full liberty of conscience, and every other privilege of freeborn subjects to which no power is annexed. And to preserve their obedience upon all emergencies, a government cannot give them too much ease nor trust them with too little
The clergy are usually charged with a persecuting spirit, which they are said to discover by an implacable hatred to all dissenters and this appears to be more unreasonable, because they suffer less in their interests by a toleration than any of the conforming laity: for while the church remains in its present form, no dissenter can possibly have any share in its dignities, revenues, or power; whereas, by once receiving the sacrament, he is rendered capable of the highest employments in the state. And it is very possible that a narrow education, together with a mixture of human infirmity, may help to beget among some of the clergy in possession, such an aversion and contempt for all innovators as physicians are apt to have for empirics, or lawyers for pettifoggers, or merchants for pedlers; but since the number of sectaries does not concern the clergy, either in point of interest or conscience, (it being an evil not in their power to remedy,) it is more fair and reasonable to suppose their dislike proceeds from the dangers they apprehend to the peace of the commonwealth, in the ruin whereof they must expect to be the first and greatest sufferers.
To conclude this section, it must be observed that there is a very good word which has of late suffered much by both parties,-I mean moderation; which the one side very justly disowns, and the other as unjustly pretends to. Beside what passes every day in conversation, any man who reads the papers published by Mr. Lesley, and others of his stamp, must needs conclude that, if this author could make the nation see his adversaries under the colours he paints them in, we have nothing else to do but rise as one man and destroy such wretches from the face of the earth. On the other side, how shall we excuse the advocates for moderation? among whom I could appeal to a hundred papers of universal approbation by the cause they were writ for, which lay such principles to the whole body of the Tories as, if they were true and believed, our next business should in prudence be to erect gibbets in every parish and hang them out of the way. But I suppose it is presumed the common people understand raillery, or at least rhetoric, and will not take hyperboles in too literal a sense; which, however, in some junctures, might prove a desperate experiment. And this is moderation in the modern sense of the word, to which, speaking impartially, the bigots of both parties are equally entitled.
SECTION THE SECOND.
The Sentiments of a Church-of-England Man with respect to Government.
WE look upon it as a very just reproach, though we cannot agree where to fix it, that there should be so much violence and hatred in religious matters among men who agree in all fundamentals, and only differ in some ceremonies, or, at most, mere speculative points. Yet, is not this frequently the case between contending