Neal - Houston-Packer Collection BX9333 .N4 1754 v1

P R E F A C E . xxi in the beginning of the reign of king James I. I save admitted, that the puritans might be too Ai. and rigid in their behaviour ; that they were unacquainted with the rights of confcience; and, that their language to their fuperiors, the bithops, was not always decent and mannerly : Oppref- fion maketh wife men mad. But furely, the depriving, impri%oning and putting men to death for theft things, will not be vindicated in our times. In the preface to the fir/t volume of this hiflory, Imentioned with plea- fire the growing fentiments of religious liberty in the church of England, but complained of the burden of fubfcriptious upon the clergy ; and of the corporation and tell aas ; as prejudicial to the caufe of religion and vir- tue, among the laity ; for which reafons theprotPlant dlinters throughout England, intended topetitionfor a repeal or amendment oftheft a ls, the then enfuing fefìon of parliament, if they had met with any encouragement from their fuperiors, or had the lea/l profpebt of fucc f .' The SACRAMENTAL TEST is, no doubt, a di/linguing mark of reproach which they have not deferved ; and, I humbly conceive, no very great fecurity to the church of England, unlefi it can be fuppofed, that one tangle at? of occafional con- formity, can take of the edge of all their imagined averfion to the hierar- chy, who worfhip all the re/t of theyear among non-conform f s. Nor can the repeal of theft ails be of any confiderable advantage to the body of diffenters, becaufe not one in five hundred can expeEt to reap any private benefit by it to himfelf or family ; their zeal therefore in this caufe muuft . arife principally, from a regard to the libertiesof their country, and a de- fire of refcuing one of the molt facred rites of chriftianity, from the pro- fanation to which it is expofed. But it feems this will not be believed, till the diffenters propofe force FT:ft. tJl. other pledge and fecurity, by which the end and intent of the facra- p 16,23, mental teft may be equally attained ; for (fags a late writer), the le- 25' giflature never intended them any (hare of truft or power in the govern- ment ; and he hopes never will, till they fee better reafons for it than have hitherto appeared. Mull the diffenters then furnifh the church with a law to exclude themfelvesfrom ferving their king and country? Let the &Agreeable work be undertaken by men who are better 'killed in fuch une- qual feverities. Iwill not examine into the intent of the legijlature in this place; but ifprotfant non-confirm/Is are to have no (hare of truf or power in the government, why are they chofen into fuch offices, andfa.- Jed to fines and penalties for declining them? Is it fir not ferving? This, it feetas, is what the legfature never intended. Is it then for not quali- fying? Surely this is a penalty upon confcience. I would aft the warmß advocate