Neal - Houston-Packer Collection BX9333 .N4 1754 v1

xxii P R E F A C E. advocate for the facramental tell, whether the appointing proteftant diffen- ters for sheriffs of counties, and obliging them to qualify againft their confciences, under the penalties of a premunire, without the liberty of ferving by a deputy, or of commuting by a fine, is confrftent with fo FULL A TOLERATION, and exemption from penal laws, as this writer Hft. te. fays they enjoy? 'Tis true, a good government may take no advantage of P. 5' this power, but in a bad one men mull qualify, or their liberties and Oates be at the king's mercy; it feems therefòre but reafonable, (whatever the intent of the legfature may be), that proteflant di//enters jhould be ad- mitted to ferve their country with a good confcience in offices of truft, as well as of burden, or be exempted from all pains and penalties for not doing it. Ibid. p. 22. 'Dsnow prettygenerally agreed, that receiving the holy facrament merely as a qualification for a place of civil profit or truft, is contrary to the ends of its inflitution, and a fnare to the confciences of men ;for though the law is open, and " theywho obtain offices in the fiate, know beforehand the con- " ditions of keeping them," yet when the bread of a numerous family de- pends upon a qualification which a man cannot be fatisfied to comply with, 'tis certainly a 'hare. And though I agree with our author, that " if the minds offach perföns are wicked, the law does not make them fo," yet I am afraid it hardens them, and makes them a great deal werfe. How many thoufands come to the facrament of the Lord's flipper with relullance ! and, perhaps, eat and drink judgment to themfelves; the guilt off which muff be chargeable either upon the impofers or receivers, or upon both. Methinks therefore charity to the fouls of men, as well as a concern for the purity of our holy religion, lhould engage allferious chrfians to endeavour the removal of this grievance ; andfine we are told, that the appearing of the diffenters at this time is unfeafonable, and will be in.. eetlual ; Iwould humbly move our right reverend fathers the bithops, not to think it below their highßations and dignities, to confider offome expedient to roll away this reproach from the church and nation, and agree upon force fecurity for the former (if needful), of a civil nature, that may leave room (as king William expres it in his fpeech to his firjl par- liament), FOR THE ADMISSION OF ALL PROTESTANTS THAT ARE ABLE AND WILLING TO SERVE THEIR COUNTRY. The honour of Chrß, and the caufe of public virtue, Teem to require it. And for as much as the influence of theft ails afebls great numbers of the laity in a very tender part, I fhould think it no dfonour for the leverai corporations. in England, as well as for the officers of the army, navy, cufloms, and excife, who are more peculiarly concerned, to join their interfs in peti- tioning