Imatges de pàgina
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vision of this establishment might be as stable
as the earth on which it ftands, and should
not fluctuate with the Euripus of funds and
actions."

I have now, I hope, adduced sufficient rea-
fons and arguments to convince my readers,
that every community is fully competent to
make a civil establishment of that religion,
which the majority of the community shall
find it their duty to adopt and follow; and
consequently, that our present church eftab-

lishment forms an essential part of the Eng-
Division of the lish constitution: and from hence arises the
people into
Clergy and laity. first constitutional division of the community,

or people, into clergy and laity, whose several
and respective rights and duties in the state,
I shall hereafter explicitly set forth.

" Had I inferred the truth of our reli-
gion from its civil establishment, the deists
might have treated the argument with that
levity which Mr. Chandler advises; but a
deist of common sense might perceive, that I
appealed to the laws of our establishment, not
for the conviction of his understanding, but
the correction of his infolence. Where the
truth of the Christian religion was the ques-

• Rogers's Vindication of the Civil Etablishment of Religion, sect. i. p. 191.

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tion before me, I used other arguments; but
when a private subject took upon him pub-
licly to oppose the right of the legislator to
enact any such law, to represent this power as
unjust and tyrannical, and under these charac-
ters to dissuade all submission to it, these I
think actions inconsistent with the obligations
of a subject, and that the execution of our
laws may justly be called for in restraint of
them. The truth of a religion depends on
its

proper grounds. If it was false before
it was established, the establishment will
not make it true; and he, who from the
evidence of the thing is convinced it is
false, cannot upon any authority believe it
true.”

From what has been said in this and the Civil establishforegoing chapter, I hope it will sufficiently gion of tixe fame appear, that the fanction, which the laws give bile civil Lawr. to the establishment of the church of England throughout England, and to presbytery throughout Scotland, is in its tendency and effects merely of a civil nature; consequently, that the obligation of submitting to it, is the very same as the obligation of submitting to any other civil law whatever. Now, every external and public disavowal of, or opposition to the civil exactions of the legis

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lature,

ment of reli

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lature, must be criminal in an individual subject to the power of that legislature: But I shall hereafter have occasion to speak more fully upon the nature of crimes against the state.

CHAP CH A P. VI.

OF THE EFFECTS OF DENYING TRUE PRIN

CIPLES.

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true source and

conftitution.

T has been usual for most writers both an

cient and modern, in discussing the subject of our constitution, to endeavour to trace its origin from the earliest antiquity, and to identify its form and substance through all the various modifications, changes, reformations, and revolutions, which it has undergone since the first establishment of society, or of a community in this country. I beg the liberty of following a very different course. I establish Principle the a principle, which, if it ever existed, must now origin of our exist, and if it now exist, must have always existed; for what gives existence to a principle, is its universal and invariable truth, which, if it exist in one moment, must essentially have existed from all eternity ; I need not, therefore, seek for its importation into this iNand by the Trojan prince Brutus ; nor enquire whether it were borrowed by our British an, cestors from their Gallic neighbours; nor whether it were the peculiar growth of our native foil; whether it grew out of the hedge-rowed towns or encampments of our warlike ances

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tors,

Principles true from all eternity.

tors, or issued out of the sanctuaries of their mysterious Druids ; whether it were imposed upon them by heathen Rome, or infused into them by Christian Rome; whether it were transplanted from Germany with our Saxon conquerors and progenitors, nor whether it attended the despotism of the Norman conqueror; nor, in a word, whether it flourished with vigour and luxuriancy, or withered in apparent decay, under the several houses of Tudor, Stuart, Nassau, and Brunswick.

At this moment, this principle, the fovereignty of power ever did, and now does, unalienably reside in the people, exists, because it is universally and invariably true; and it must for ever have exifted with the same force and efficacy, that it now does; for universal truth excludes all degrees. From this invariable and ever operative principle have arisen all the various changes, innovations, and improvements, which have at different times been effected in our constitution and government, by the means of reformation and revolution. The coercive introduction or imposition of new laws by the force of arms, can never make a part of the constitution and government of a free people, till they have been voluntarily submitted to, recognized, accepted, or confirmed by the act of the commu

“nity.

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