Imatges de pÓgina
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settled by law on the pastors and professors of it.

“ The first particular effect I observe of these laws is, that they give the professors of that religion a legal property, in the privileges and advantages, they confer on them, and consequently a right to be protected by law in the enjoyment of them." I have before said, that our intellectual The legidature

subiects not the operations are not under the controul of the intellect to its civil or political power of the society. The requifit wie legislature, therefore, never attempts to enjoin the internal mental approbation, but only the external peaceable fubmiffion its requisitions. *“ It was never in my view to offer the civil authority, as a ground of assent in matters of religion, even thus far, much less as an authority, which ought to over rule our own convictions. The magiftrate or legislator, as such only commands, and the submission due to him under that character, is not affent of judgment, but obedience of practice, so far as may consist with prior obligations. The nature and ends of society. require an obedience, either active or passive to his laws, whether we approve the matter of them or not; but the

• Rogers's Vindication, p, ze 7.

nature

nature and ends of society do not acquire afsent to his judgment: and my denying to private subjects a right publicly to oppose his laws, does not in the least imply an obligation to affent to his judgment in the matter of them.” When, therefore, the community

or legislature passes a new law, the freedom The diffent of fome invali- of my thoughts upon the subject of it, is in no dates not the act of the majority. manner impaired nor affected by the enacting

of it; but my internal or intellectual disapprobation or dissent, can never warrant any positive or external contempt of, or resistance to the law. If such resistance were permitted, no law could acquire a binding force without the universal consent of every individual member of the legislature. It is an universal maxim of legislation, that when a law has once been enacted by the majority of the legislature, it is as binding upon those, who opposed, as upon those, who consented to the passing of it. When, therefore, the legislature enacts, that a certain religious worThip shall be fanctioned and supported by the state, * " the conclusion asserted by the law is not, This is a true religion ; much less, this is the only true religion (for he may believe feveral other schemes of religion

• Rogers's Vindication, p. 207.

equally

laws.

equally true, and yet be determined by very
good reasons to establish that); but the con-
clusion of the laws is precisely this: this is
the religion shall be favoured with a civil eftab-
lishment in this community. This conclusion
is a civil law of that.community, stands upon
the same foot, and is equally protected from
the public opposition of private subjects,
with
any

other law of the same importance. And when this particular religious cult or Laws respect. worship shall have once received the civil tablishment of fanction of the state, it is certainly equally ing as other binding and coercive upon the community to support it in an external civil way, as any other civil sanction whatever. So, *“ when the paffing of the supreme authority has debated and deter- an obligation in mined a conclusion of law, a private subject and not to opmay not, consistently with the

of the society, and the common duty of subjection, be permitted to continue on the debate, or revive it as often as he please in a public way, (i. e.) print and publish books and arguments against the justice or expediency of the law. The intention, or at least the con. sequence of such actions must be disparaging the wisdom or justice of the legislature, taking from them the esteem and confidence of

a law induces

all to submit to,

pose it.

peace

• Rogers's Vindication, p. 224.

their subjects, difquieting the minds of those, who are satisfied with the law, and raising up parties in opposition to it. The laws establishing religion stand, as laws, on the same foot with all others; and if such acts of opposition to other laws would justly be esteemed mutiny and sedition, they will have the same characters, when done in opposition to the

laws establishing religion.”
The civil effects It is the general opinion of the most ap-
of religion upon
a .
a community. proved writers upon political and civil

liberty, that all the lawful acts of the com-
munity must necessarily tend to the peace,
welfare, and preservation of the community;
and it is also their general opinion, that reli-
gion tends mainly to those ends.
that religion is not a restraining motive, be-
cause it does not always restrain, is equally
absurd as to say, that the civil laws are not
a restraining motive. It is a false way of
reasoning against religion, to collect in a large
work a long detail of the evils it has produced,
if we do not give at the same time an enumer-
ation of the advantages, which have flowed
from it. Were I to relate all the evils, that
have arisen in the world from civil laws, from
monarchy and from republican government,

* « To say

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• Montesquieu's Spirit of Law's, b. xiv. x. c. ii.

I might I might tell of frightful things. Was it of no advantage for subjects to have religion, it would still be of some, if princes had it, and if they whitened with foam the only rein, which can retain those, who fear not human laws. A prince, who loves and fears religion, is a lion, who stoops to the hand, that strokes, or to the voice that appeases him. He who fears and hates religion, is like the savage beaft, that growls and bites the chain, which prevents his flying on the passenger. He, who has no religion at all, is that terrible animal, who perceives his liberty only, when he tears in pieces, and when he devours. *“ The general consent of mankind in any one conclusion, though it be not, in strictness, a proof of truth or justice, yet it is a fair prefumption of it. In all civilized nations, of whom we have any account past or present, we find some established religion. Hence the dues of a I take leave to conclude, that the wisest men hive a civil in all ages (for such the founders and gover- of religion. nors of societies may equitably be presumed) have judged it their right and duty to establith some religion, and that the peace and interests of society required, that some should

establishmcat

Rogers's Vindication of the Civil Establishment of Religion, p. 21, and 22.

be

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