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equally true, and yet be determined by very
other law of the same importance. And when this particular religious cult or Laws respect. worship shall have once received the civil tablishment of fanction of the state, it is certainly equally ing as other binding and coercive upon the community to support it in an external civil way, as any other civil sanction whatever. So, *“ when the paffing of the supreme authority has debated and deter- an obligation in mined a conclusion of law, a private subject and not to opmay not, consistently with the
of the society, and the common duty of subjection, be permitted to continue on the debate, or revive it as often as he please in a public way, (i. e.) print and publish books and arguments against the justice or expediency of the law. The intention, or at least the con. sequence of such actions must be disparaging the wisdom or justice of the legislature, taking from them the esteem and confidence of
a law induces
all to submit to,
• Rogers's Vindication, p. 224.
their subjects, disquieting the minds of those, who are satisfied with the law, and raising up parties in opposition to it. The laws establishing religion stand, as laws, on the same foot with all others; and if such acts of opposition to other laws would justly be esteemed mutiny and sedition, they will have the same characters, when done in opposition to the
laws establishing religion.”
liberty, that all the lawful acts of the com-
* « To say
I might tell of frightful things. Was it of no advantage for subjects to have religion, it would still be of some, if princes had it, and if they whitened with foam the only rein, which can retain those, who fear not human laws. A prince, who loves and fears religion, is a lion, who stoops to the hand, that strokes, or to the voice that appeases him. He who fears and hates religion, is like the savage beaft, that growls and bites the chain, which prevents his flying on the passenger. He, who has no religion at all, is that terrible animal, who perceives his liberty only, when he tears in pieces, and when he devours. *“ The general consent of mankind in any one conclusion, though it be not, in strictness, a proof of truth or justice, yet it is a fair prefumption of it. In all civilized nations, of whom we have any account past or present, we find some established religion. Hence the dues of a I take leave to conclude, that the wisest men hive a civil in all ages (for such the founders and gover- of religion. nors of societies may equitably be presumed) have judged it their right and duty to establith some religion, and that the peace and interests of society required, that some should
Rogers's Vindication of the Civil Establishment of Religion, p. 21, and 22.
be established. All the disputes and contentions, which have happened on this subject, have related to the choice of the religion ; but in this conclusion, that some should be established, the wisdom of all ages and countries has concurred; and this concurrence I insist on, as a full reply to all those authorities of private writers, which are or can be cited, as favouring a contrary judgment. So said the elegant and learned author of Principles of Penal Law*. “Religion hath been wisely established by law, as useful and necefsary to society; and is so wrought into the very frame of our government, as to become a main part
of the constitution. The magistrate, therefore, though the well being of the state be his peculiar object, is by no means exempted from a due concern for the religion of his country. But it is no consequence from these premises, that men should be debarred liberty of conscience, and the free use of reason and enquiry ; much less can any argument be drawn from them in favour of persecution. Freedom of thought is the prerogative of human kind; a quality inherent in the very nature of a thinking being; a pri
* By Mr. Eden, now Lord Auckland, p. 91.
vilege, which cannot be denied to him, or
It would far exceed the intended bounds of
for not making be allowed, that in the present situation of human affairs, many very cogent arguments may government be alledged against the adoption of such an justify the aboestablishment in a new government, which do lition of it in an not in the least weaken the necessity of maintaining and preserving it, when once established in an old one. As the latter case alone affects our constitution, I shall drop every consideration of the former.
a civil establish ment in a new