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Hoc liberiores et solutions fumus, quod integra
Ci c. Acad. Quaest. lib. iv.
Printed for W. Wi Lkins, A. Wa R D, R.
N tT M B. XLIX.
To the OLD WHIG.
S you profess, not only that general impartiality, with which every new writer bespeaks the favour of the publick • but also, by the character you claim, a certain zeal for liberty, and the right of private judgment j all in consistency with itself, and with truth of every sort; I address myself to you, in, Vol. It. A favour favour of a little treatise, lately published, called The Alliance between Church and State; that I may recommend to your readers a cool dispassionate defence of our protestant ecclesiastical constitution, at a time when several interests and oppositions have been darkening the cause.
This excellent performance is none of those ranting schemes of interest and zeal which claim a dangerous independency or implicit submission: On the contrary, the Alliance is left to be perfectly voluntary, founded on mutual advantage: It does not even make pretension to truth; but only to the most prevailing and numerous opinions. Our author has indeed made such concessions in favour of truth and liberty, that some may imagine they can argue from them pretty strongly against all establishments; as, that the religion establish'd may be either true or false; that religion and policy are quite distinct views; that perfect liberty should be secured to all opinions; that the magistrate has no concern with the foul; that civil offences and moral crimes arc distinct considerations; that laws cannot preserve purity of opinion; that religion is necessarily independent; that a legal and religious church, are two different things; that establishment rather hurts true religion; and that oppression by laws is rather a mark of truth: These, and siich like, are bold concessions, and apt to mislead: But it should be remembered
that that our author is not pleading for an establishment in order to promote truth and virtue j but to advance civil interest on both sides. He proposes great benefits to church and state by this free and voluntary contract. He indeed insists upon some few great principles, such as, the belief of a Deity, difference of moral good and evil, and expectation of a future judgment, as previously necessary to every religion capable of establishment: But for the rest, the magistrate need not to inquire into the truth or falfhood of them; only into the numbers and influence of those who maintain them. In short, the establishment he pleads for, is neither more nor less than a fair bargain with the majority of the people, who are willing to contract for what they can get. They are to covenant, that they will be faithful to the state, and promote its interest upon all occasions: The state covenants that they mall enjoy certain honours and revenues, and be empowered to punish certain offences against their legal rights and the publick good; not sins and immoralities, as such: And moreover, shall be intitled to a test law, to secure them against any encroachments of such as would root them out, to establish themselves and their opinions* This test-law is not intended to bring people into their persuasion, which not being necessarily the truth, might probably be injurious, but to secure their separate rights.