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world. They know that the legislature ought to have contempláted all the profanation which has ensued; they know that it could not but contemplate it; they know that the voice of religion was not heard, that she was deliberately and rudely submitted to civil views*.
The * There is a passage in a publication of this very year, though probably written years ago, so very apposite to this subject, that we shall make no apology for insertiug it, as an auxiliary to our reasoning.
“ A political union of Christianity with interests and views that are altogether of a worldly nature, that are befriended by guilt, and are therefore friendly to guilt, is that national offence which is not estimated in proportion to its malignancy. It is directly opposed to the precepts and to the spirit of the New Testament; it is most probably the object of that wo, which is denounced against those who interpose offences and stumbling-blocks in the way of Christianity; it is the foul source to which Christianity imputes her debasement in the Greek and Roman churches; it is and must be of an evil operation; it corrupts the hearts and annibilates the office of the clergy; it spreads a general taint, and will be sure to find out that last refuge of vitiated man, in the lethargic bosom of superstition and form. The design of the Gospel, and of all pure religion, is to.
The intermixture of secular interests with the acts of pure religion could have no other tendency than to repel the honest and corrupt the weak, while only to the profligate and absolutely irreligious could the compliance be a matter of perfect indifference. Religion brooks not the very suspicion of being actuated by any motive but what is proper to herself; she would not even prefer a prayer to her God at the bidding of a
counteract the passions of men and the dangerous influence of a worldly spirit, by infusing other views and another spirit. The character of all worldly and state religion has been to cherish the passions and to feed the baser views of man; to confer a sanctity on vice itself, and abuse human nature and profane God by an odious league, which God will not ratify in the other world. To what degeneracy this evil may further operate in these kingdoms is not to be determined; but no favourable augury can be collected from the experience of the present day. As a man, a Briton, and a Christian, I smile at every enemy, while I can repose on the friendship of the Almighty ; but alienated from God, I have that faith in a moral providence, as to be assured, that the Briton, no less than the Jew, the Greek, or the Roman, will be given up to destruction." X4
worldly passion, and still less as the very means to promote a worldly end: nor does man ever so completely taint the heart of fellow-man, and commit him to dishonour, as when he corrupts, the purity of the religious principle within him. Whenever therefore men plead the cause of worldly policy in opposition to these maxims, we are authorised to infer that they either have themselves no knowledge of religion, or that they have no regard to religion.
We can ascribe no better character to the plea, that the admission to civil offices through the medium of the Lord's supper is no more a profanation of religion, than is the admission to credit in a court of justice through the medium of an oath. Now an oath is merely a declaration that, in bearing a testimony to the truth, the witness has a regard to the God of truth, and to the favour of the God of truth, which is not more than ought to be supposed in every transaction of simple honesty between man and man. An oath is no act of proper devotion, nor
ever was considered as such by the common
nation. Truth, and a present sense of truth, and a respect to a God of truth, enter into the very nature, and into the very act of judicial testimony; but he must be hardy who will say that the sacrament of the Lord's supper enters into the natnre, and into the act of obtaining an honourable or a 'lucrative office. The rest of a witness in a court of justice is of the same spirit with his act, but the churchmen and politicians of the present day are the first who have discovered that gain and devotion are of the same spirit, and that, without injury to either, they may be tied together, and made the instruments of each other. It may also be inferred from the New Testament itself, that judicial oaths were contemplated by the authors of that venerable book; while no one has yet ventured to suppose that a sacramental test for offices of power or gain was contemplated by Christ or by his apostles. But the summons 'to an oath upon every trivial movement of the subject is not a 3
pleasant feature of our country, and it is but an ill defence of a greater and more daring profanation that it bears some resemblance to a less*.
Devotion is the most delicate act of man, and contracts pollution from every 'foreign mixture. If the operation of the Test Laws · were extended, and it is a fair inference from the reasoning of our opponents, that religion has no objection to the extension, if, for instance, on the celebration of every marriage, on the presenting of every child to be baptized, if on the ratification of every civil contract, or the succession to every estate or legacy, and on a thousand other occasions, it were required that the parties should comply with a sacramental test, we may venture
* The minister who brought forward this argument in parliament, and seemed to be not a little proud of the ingenuity of the conceit, assuredly exhibited therein not the most favourable specimen either of his good sense or of his piety. Religion owes him no thanks, and the church of England, we trust, will render him none, She can derive no honour from such patrons and advocates. In defending a prostitution, he prostituted himself.