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were its patrons by their power and authority, as well as ornaments of it by their exemplary lives.

First, St. Paul tells us, there must be heresies in the church, that the truth may

be manifest; and therefore, by due course of reasoning, the more heresies there

are,

the more manifest will the truth be made. This being maturely considered by these lovers of the church, they endeavoured to propagate as many heresies as they could, that the light of truth might shine the clearer.

Secondly, To shew their zeal for the church's defence, they took the care of it intirely out of the hands of God almighty (because that was a foreign jurisdiction) and made it their own creature, depending altogether upon them; and issued out their orders to Tindal, and others, to give publick notice of it.

Thirdly, Because charity is the most celebrated of all christian virtues, therefore they extended theirs beyond all bounds; and, instead of shutting the church againft dissenters,were ready to open it to all comers, and break down its walls, rather than that

any

any should want room to enter. The strength of a state, we know, consisteth in the number of people, how different soever in their callings; and why should not the strength of a church consist in the same, how different soever in their creeds ? For that reason they charitably attempted to abolish the test, which tied up

fo

many hands from getting employments, in order to protect the church.

i know very well, that this attempt is objected to us as a crime by several malignant tories; and denied as a Nander by many unthinking people among ourselves. The latter are apt, in their defence, to ask such questions as these; Was your test repealed? had we not a majority? might we not have done it, if we pleased ? To which the others answer, You did what

you

could : you prepared the way, but you found a fatal impediment from that quarter, whence the sanction of the law must come; and therefore, to save your credit, you condemned a paper to be burnt, which yourselves had brought in. But alas ! the miscarriage of that noble project for the safety of the church had another original; the knowledge whereof

depends

depends upon a piece of secret history, which I shall now lay open.

These church-protectors had directed a presbyterian preacher to draw up a bill for repealing the test. It was accordingly done with great art; and, in the preamble, several expressions of civility to the established church; and when it came to the qualifications of all those, who were to enter on any office, the compiler had taken special care to make them large enough for all christians whatsoever, by transcribing the very words (only formed into an oath) whích quakers are obliged to profess by a former act of parliament; as I shall here set them down : I, A. B. profess faith in God the father, and in Jesus Christ bis eternal son, the true God; and in the Holy Spirit, one God, blessed for evermore; and do acknowledge the holy fcriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by divine inspiration. This bill was carried to the chief leaders, for their approbation, with these terrible words turned into an oath. What should they do? Those few among them, who fancied they believed in God, were sure they did not believe in Chrift,

Or

or the Holy Spirit, or one fyllable of the Bible; and they were as sure that every body knew their opinion in those matters, which indeed they had been always too sincere to disguise; how therefore could they take such an oath as that, without ruining their reputation with Tindal, Toland, Coward, Collins, Clendon, and all the tribe of free-thinkers, and so give a scandal to weak unbelievers ? Upon this nice point of honour and conscience the matter was hushed, the project for repealing the test let fall, and the facrament left as the smaller evil of the two.

Fourthly, These pillars of the church, because the harvest was great, and the lebourers few, and because they would ease the bishops from that grievous trouble of laying on hands, were willing to allow that power to all men whatsoever, to prevent that terrible consequence of unchurching those, who thought a hand from under a cloak as effectual as from lawn sleeves. And indeed what could more contribute to the advancement of true religion, than a bill of general naturalization for priesthood?

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Fifthly, In order to fix religion in the minds of men, because truth never appears fo fair as when confronted with falshood, they directed books to be published, that denied the being of a God, the divinity of the Second and Third Person, the truth of all revelation, and the immortality of the soul. To this we owe that great sense of religion, that respect and kindness to the clergy, and that true love of virtue, so manifest of late years among the youth of our nation. Nor could any thing be more discreet, than to leave the merits of each cause to such wise, impartial judges; who might otherwise fall under the slavery of believing by education and prejudice.

Sixthly, Because nothing so much distracts the thoughts, as too great variety of subjects, therefore they had kindly prepared a bill to prescribe the clergy what subjects they should preach upon, and in what manner, that they might be at no loss; and this no doubt was a proper work for such hands, so thoroughly versed in the theory and practice of all christian duties.

Seventhly,

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