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parliament in queen Mary's days, after their reconciliation with the fee of Rome, held themselves to possess the same power or controul over the church lands, as did the parliament in the time of king Henry her father; for although they might have been induced by many political reasons to confirm the possessions of the church lands to the then lay proprietors, yet the fame reasons for peace and quiet could not apply to the crown, as to private individuals; and by that very act' were all such lands and revenues confirmed to the queen, which had not been divested out of the crown during the two preceding reigns. Whence we must neceffarily conclude, that although parliament be never justifiable in misapplying any part of the national fund ; yet do they command the same power and controul over the revenues of the church, as over any other part of that fund; and are equally bound by their duty and trust to model and regulate it, as they shall think the preservation and welfare of the community require.

The statutes for the clergy and of provisors of benefices (25 Ed. III) and of premunire for fuing in a foreign realm, or impeaching of judgment given, (27 Ed. III.) are founded in the power of parliament, over the temporalities of the church,

C H A P,

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O man of the Nightest obfervation or the malena

reflection can at this day be ignorant tented with of the confidence, with which the malcontents establifurnent. of the hour inveigh against the ecclesiastical and civil establishment of our present conftitutional polity; insisting upon the absolute fubversion of the one, and a general reformation and alteration of the other. But it is an obvious question, Who are these malcontents? They are not only composed of the remains of fome of the old fets of diffenters from the established church, such as anabaptists, puritans, independants, &c. but more generally of the various sets of modern subdifsenting improvers upon their ancient masters, whom Dr. Price seems, with unbounded affection and zeal, to have admitted as his worthy associates and fellow labourers in the good common cause of diffent from the principles, and resistance against the establishment of the national church. Of these Mr. Burke speaks,

Dr. Price's encouragement to Lillent.

with his usual elegant and nervous poignancy,
* “ If the noble seekers should find nothing
to satisfy their pious fancies, in the old staple
of the national church, or in all the rich va-
riety to be found in the well-assorted warea
houses of the dissenting congregations; Dr.
Price advises them to improve upon noncon-
formity, and to set up, each of them, a se-
parate meeting. house; upon his own parti-
cular principles t. It is somewhat remark-
able, that this reverend divine should be so
earnest for setting up new churches, and fo
perfectly indifferent concerning the doctrines

may be taught in them. His zeal is of
a curious character. It is not for the pro-
pagation of his own opinions, but of any opi-
nions. It is not for the diffusion of truth,
but for the spreading of contradiction. Let
the noble teachers but diffent, it is no matter
from whom or from what. This great point
once secured, it is taken for granted their re*

* Refilections on the Revolution in France, p. 14,

and 15.

+ “ Those who dislike that mode of worship, which is prescribed by public authority, ought, if they can find no worship out of the church, which they approve, to set up a separate worship for themselves; and by doing this, and giving an example of a rational and manly worship, men of weight, from thcir rank and literature, may do the greatest service to fociety, and the world." P. 18, Dr. Price's Sermon.

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ligion will be rational and manly. I doubt whether religion would reap all the benefits which the calculating divine computes, from this great company of great preachers. It would certainly be a valuable addition of rion-descripts to the ample collection of known classes, genera, and species, which at present beautify the hortus ficcus of diffent.”

Whenever, in the course of this work, I shall have occasion to mention any sets of persons known by a common description or appellation of religious societies, or sectaries diffenting from the established church, I do not mean even to hint at the religious or theological tenets, doctrines, or principles, by which they differ from it or from each other.

Polemical discussion is not my province. And I have no other motive nor reason to re- difcus the per fer to or animadvert upon the tenets, doctrines, litical prin. or principles of any such focieties or sectaries, dilsenters. but inasmuch as they contradict or counteract those general and fundamental principles of civil

government, upon which the system of our present constitution and government is formed and preserved. The inhabitants of this iNland certainly form one entire community, to whom it is fully competent to model and establishi that constitution and syftein of government, which they shall chuse; and


The author's


from this competency arises the indefeasible right, which the community poffefses, of

checking and punishing such refractory and The right of the seditious members of her body, who, by their community to Check and puc open and avowed principles and actions, ennish refractory

deavour to weaken, disturb, or subvert that political economy of the state, which is the deliberate and free choice of the community. It will therefore be more proper in future to treat and speak of these persons, rather as political opponents of the principles of the state, than religious dissenters from the doctrines of

the church of England. Dr. Priestley's By examining the doctrines of Dr. Priestley, doctrine's about resistance exa- upon this very important subject, the appli

cation of the principles, which I have already laid down, as admitted by all, will more clearly appear. * “ In examining the right of the civil magistrate to establish any mode of religion, or that of the subject to oppose it, the goodness of the religion, or of the mode of it, is not to be taken into the question ; but only the propriety (which is the same with the utility) of the civil magistrate, as such, interfering in the business. For what the magistrate may think to be very just, and even conducive


• Dr. Priestley's Essay on the firit Principles of Go«. vernment, p. 141.

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