Confiftent Proteftant.


Hoc liberiores et folutiores fumus, quod integra
nobis eft judicandi poteftas: nec, ut omnia,
quae praefcripta, et quafi imperata fint,
defendamus, neceffitate ulla cogimur.

CIC. Acad. Quaest. lib. iv.


Printed for W. WILKINS, A. WARD, R.


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S you profefs, not only that general impartiality, with which every new writer bespeaks the favour of the publick; but alfo, by the character you claim, a certain zeal for liberty, and the right of private judgment; all in confiftency with itfelf, and with truth of every fort; I addrefs myfelf to you, in VOL. II. A favour

favour of a little treatife, lately published, called The Alliance between Church and State; that I may recommend to your readers a cool difpaffionate defence of our proteftant ecclefiaftical conftitution, at a time when several interefts and oppofitions have been darkening the caufe.

THIS excellent performance is none of thofe ranting schemes of interest and zeal which claim a dangerous independency or implicit fubmiffion: On the contrary, the Alliance is left to be perfectly voluntary, founded on mutual advantage: It does not even make pretenfion to truth; but only to the most prevailing and numerous opinions. Our author has indeed made fuch conceffions in favour of truth and liberty, that fome may imagine they can argue from them pretty ftrongly against all establishments; as, that the religion establish'd may be either true or false; that religion and policy are quite diftinct views; that perfect liberty fhould be fecured to all opinions; that the magiftrate has no concern with the foul; that civil offences and moral crimes are diftinct confiderations; that laws cannot preserve purity of opinion; that religion is neceffarily independent; that a legal and religious church are two different things; that establishment rather hurts true religion; and that oppreffion by laws is rather a mark of truth: Thefe, and fuch like, are bold conceffions, and apt to miflead: But it should be remembered


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that our author is not pleading for an establishment in order to promote truth and virtue; but to advance civil interest on both fides. He propofes great benefits to church and ftate by this free and voluntary contract. He indeed infifts upon fome few great principles, fuch as, the belief of a Deity, difference of moral good and evil, and expectation of a future judgment, as previously neceffary to every religion capable of establishment: But for the reft, 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 fhort, the establishment he pleads for, is neither more nor lefs 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 intereft upon all occafions: The state covenants that they fhall enjoy certain honours and revenues, and be empowered to punish certain offences against their legal rights and the publick good; not fins and immoralities, as fuch: And moreover, fhall be intitled to a teft law, to fecure them against any encroachments of fuch as would root them out, to eftablish themselves and their opinions. This teit-law is not intended to bring people into their perfuafion, which not being neceffarily the truth, might probably be injurious, but to fecure their separate rights.

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