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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 communion 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 farther 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 con
sciences. * 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 a humble laity too, since humility is a virtue, that perhaps equally befits, and adorns, every station of life.
* When this was written, there was no law against occasional conformity.
+ "I observed very well with what insolence and haughtiness some lords of the high church party treated not only their own chaplains, but all other clergy whatsoever, and thought this was sufficiently recompenced by their professions of zeal to the church." Vol. iii. p. 241.
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 confound 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 consti
* "I had likewise observed how the whig lords took a direct contrary measure, treated the persons of particular clergymen with great courtesy, but shewed much ill-will and contempt for the order in general."-Vol. iii. p. 241.
tution 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, beside the disgrace to the reformation, and to religion itself, cast an ignominy upon the kingdom, that it does
* De Foe's History of Addresses contains some humbling instances of the applauses with which the sectaries hailed their old enemy James II., when they saw him engaged in hostility with the established church.