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mation of the mode of trial by juries was one of the noblest advantages ever conferred on human society. Nor did the Norman conquest destroy our constitution, though it hindered its operation for a time, and gave occasion to the exercise of much tyranny. On the contrary, the English laws gradually recovered their vigour, and became the basis of the charter of Henry the First; of the celebrated Magna Charta, in the reign of King John; and of other charters. How strong a sense Englishmen had of their legal right to liberty, is manifest from the numerous instances, in which they demanded, that the great charter should be solemnly confirmed. Even the feudal policy, however defective it may be justly esteemed, compared with the benefits we now enjoy, was formed on the principles of freedom, with respect to those persons, who were poffessed of landed property. There was, likewise, in that system, a spirit of improvement; so that it gradually gave way, and naturally brought in a better state of things, as society advanced towards perfection.” In short, to the exercise of these indefeasible rights of the community is to be attributed every legal alteration or improve: ment of the constitution and government of this kingdom, fince the establishment of the English monarchy, in the person of king Egbert, to the present reign of his majesty King George the Third; the particulars of which we shall proceed to consider.
CH A P. IV.
OF THE CIVIL ESTABLISHMENT OF-RELIGION.
T Have already observed, that one of the choice of our
religion an in 1 natural rights, which each individual re- defeasible nao
ctural right. tains, even independently of the society; of which he is a member, is the uninterrupted communication and intercourse of the foul with its Creator; and Mr. Payne says, that amongst the natural rights, which he retains, are all the intelleétual rights, or rights of the inind; consequently religion is one of those rights.
We need not recur to schoolmen to understand or admit this universal maxim of religion, that our dependance upon our creator binds us indispensibly to a grateful acknowledgment of our existence, and a sincere and unreserved tender of our minds and hearts, to think and act as he shall require; for I conclude with all those, who are neither atheists nor deists, that the light and grace, which Almighty God communicates to his creature, in consequence of this offering, are personally binding upon the individual, to whom they are communicated, and consequently cannot be controuled by other
dividuals to fola
vions of God.
The duty of in, human beings collectively or individually, low the inspira- who stand in the same predicament of exclu
five responsibility to their Creator. The right, therefore, which each individual polfesses of this free and uninterrupted communication and intercourse with his Creator, is effentially paramount to all human, civil, or political power whatever.
*“Religion, gentlemen, appears to me to be a gift, which God bestows on every individual, fubject to his movements and inspirations, but in every other respect entirely free, and beyond the reach of any human jurisdiction; therefore, no one ought to associate against his will, or without some reasonable cause or motive, with any religious fociety
whatever.” And the great Fenelon, archthought in religious matters bishop of Cambray, a prelate of the estabnot subject to sivil controul. lihed religion in a Roman Catholic country
under an absolute monarchy, speaks the same language. † “ Liberty of thought is an impregnable fortress, which no human power can force; therefore, kings should not take upon themselves to direct in matters of religion.”
* Professor Noodt's Discourse upon Liberty of Canfcience, as translated by A. Macawlay, p. 27.
+ Fenelon, as quoted by Dr. Rogers, Vindication of the Civil Établishment of Religion, p. 42.
Every individual human being has not the rights and only a right, but is under an indispensible
ciety the same obligation to adopt that religious cult or as of indivimode of worship, which, after due deliberation, in the sincerity of his heart, he thinks his Creator requires of him; it follows of course, that a society composed of such individuals must, collectively taken, enjoy the same right, and be under the same duty and obligation. As, therefore, it is neither my intention nor purpose to examine, or even consider the reasons, grounds, or merits of the religious persuasion of any one individual, so shall I equally avoid the discussion or examination of the internal evidence of that religion, which the majority of this community has thought proper to countenance and fupport by civil sanctions. The civil establish- The civil estab
lishment of reInent of a religion affects in no manner the ligion affects truth or falsehood of the religion
the religion it*“ The magistrate (or supreme civil power) in Turkey has just the same uncontrouled civil right to establish the religion he ap. proves, as a Christian magistrate has to establish his choice: christianity made no alteration in this case; but left civil power as it found it; and if it was before the judge,
not the truth of