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deserve well, and wait with patience for the favourable hour of generous return.
But, perhaps, by the state, is really meant the church alone; and by the operation of the test laws, is meant nothing more than a security for obedience to the church! Ay! it is loyalty to her alone which we cannot furnish, and this is the fear and this is the bugbear, for which this great and mighty empire is to be frighted into acts of the most disreputable injustice. Loyalty to the church! A peaceful and respectful behaviour is all that the magnanimity of the church
meditated, there is then a wisdom in the discouragement of Dissenters, and in summoning the dogs of superstition to hunt them out of the society. If this be their real, and religious dissent only their pretended crime; it becomes every honest churchman to consider, that those administrations which have been favourable to Dissenters are those which a Briton glories to review; while the disgrace of English story is found in those periods of our government in which the Dissenter has been suspected, harassed, and persecuted. It becomes him also to fear, lest in the oppression and ruin of Dissenters he may involve the ruin of his country, and abandon it to the views of its betrayer.
ought to expect from a Dissenter, and she ought to have that good opinion of herself, and to place that confidence in her own situation, as to be above the fear of a Dissenter. The Dissenter is not disposed to operate to the detriment of the church
any further than as his not being of her communion, and as his reasonings in defence of his own faith may conduce thereto. Will the churchman say, that he distrusts his own cause, or that he is not actuated by equal zeal in its defence ? Thinking and judging only for ourselves, we contest not even the plea of the church to truth, to purity and excellence. Is not this high idea of her purity and excellence a sufficient security for her protection, aided by so vast a majority of the subjects confederated for her defence, guarded by the strong enclosure of law, by her contract with the state, and the allurement of peculiar honours and rewards, consecrated to her glory and to her strength? We have no smiles of government, no favour of the great, no honours and rewards, no
temptations of fashionable example, to allure a convert; but only the supposed merits of our cause wherewith we can invite him to embrace a despised and expensive religion.
The state is hostile to us, but friendly to the church, and will not this appease her fears? We ask not for offices of trust, but for simple eligibility; and that this odious brand, the infamy and iniquity of which is confessed by the partiality of churchmen for themselves, may be removed from us and from our country, which it dishonours. The state has adopted the church; to the state we commit the church, to be protected and cherished, or to be abandoned by the state, as the state shall please. Our very faith forbids us even to wish her downfall, but with her own will; for as we disclaim the right of molesting us in the free choice of our own religion, so we abhor the thought of molesting this freedom in another. Her honours and emoluments we would not participate if we could, they would be destruc
tive of that purity in religion, which we wish to preserve.
It is another principle of our opponents, that government has a right to prescribe the terms, on which she will extend her favours to any members of the society. There is a strange confusion of ideas in this argument, and it would be well, if our opponents would previously understand the nature of government, and what it is that Dissenters ask of the state.
A government that is founded on the principles of justice and common good bas not that discretionary power, which every
individual claims in the management of a private estate.
a private estate. The estate of government, in whatever form this estate appears, is a trust committed to the
governor by all, and to be returned to all, in the way of equal protection and equal favour, where equal services and equal merits. support an equal claim. That in a civil view, and it is the discriminating character of government that it ought to know no other view, the Protestant Dissenters have
equal mërits and render equal services, is a truth; which is admitted by all. As an individual man in exercising the freedom of choosing his own religion is not released from the obligation of justice to every fellow man; so neither is the state, when she adopts a state-religion, at liberty to narrow the debt of equal justice to all the subjects of every description; who can answer to the rest of civil allegiance. The extending of this equal justice is not a favour, but a duty of the governor, and the right of the governed ; änd the withholding it in whole or in part is the violation of the fundamental-law and condition of the state. We ask for no special favours, we maintain our own religion, We contribute to the maintenance of the state's religion; we ask only for those rights, which are not committed to the governor' as a discretionary éstáte, but a sacred and inviolable trust.
But if this position, that offices are the discretionary estate of the governor, be unYOL. II.