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to those in low circumstances, effectual care was to be taken to keep them low. New methods were to be observed for letting of lands, disposing of children, and ordering of servants. The “Memorial” complains, “that in queen Mary's time, when so many were imprisoned, so many stripped of their estates, and so many burnt, there was a want of zeal, to the grief and discouragement of many; that some things were then tolerated upon constraint and fear of further inconveniences; and it is added, that matters are not to be patched up any more by such gentle and backward proceedings. For it is laid down as a first principle, that as soon as a good catholic prince should be established upou the throne of these nations, he must make account, that the security of bimself, his crown, and successor, dependeth principally on the assurance and good establishment of the catholic religion within his kingdom. The proposals, in this piece were brought forward, not merely as measures which the writer desired to see executed ; but such as he apprehended, nay, was confident, the temper and circumstances of the nation would soon afford au op. portunity to accomplish. Several tbings are reckoned up, which gave great force to the Roman catholics in England. It is said, that England would more easily receive popery than any other protestant country; nay, that difficulties wbich arose in some catholic countries, would not be found here. All now," says the author, “is zeal and integrity in our new clergy, (Almighty God be thanked for it!) and no less in our laity, and catholic gentlemen in England, that have borne the brunt of persecution."
These specimens of the designs formed, are proofs to what extent the scheme of combing the re-establishment of popery with arbitrary power was to be carried; and show what vast consequences were involved in the siiccess of the spirited opposition that led James to abdicate the throne.
Important, valuable, and happy, as was the state of things introduced by this event, especially as it affected religious liberty, the operation of it was partial and limited : when even a bill of rights, after the settlement of king Wil. liam on the throne, defined our constitution, and fixed the privileges of the subject, the rights of conscience were not ascertained, nor declared by that noble deed. The act
of toleration, moved by lord Nottingham in the house of peers, and seconded by some bishops, though more out of fear than inclination,* exempted from the penal statutes then in existence protestant dissentieuts only, and not all of them, for the socinians are expressly excepted, nor did secure any from the influence of the corporation and test acts. It left the English catholics under severe disabilities; it left many penal statutes unrepealed. The same reign which gave us the blessing of the toleration act, was marked by an act of another complexion ; for the prince, to wbom we owe the former, was prevailed on to pass another statute, adjudging heavy penalties, fines, and imprisonments, to those who should write or speak against the doctrine of the Trinity. There are claims of power over conscience not yet abolished : there are rights of conscience not yet fully recovered and secured. The very term toleration shews that religious freedom is not yet enjoyed in perfection; it indicates, that the liberty which we possess is a matter of sufferance, lenity, and indulgence, rather than the grant of justice and right. It seemeth to admit and imply a power to restrain conscience and to dietate to faith, but the exercise of which is generously waved. The time is, even now, at this distance from the Revolution, yet to come, when the enjoyment of religious liberty shall no longer be considered as a favor ; the time is yet to come, when christians, of religious forms and creeds, shall be on the equal footing of brethren, and of children in the house of the same beavenly parent ; the time is yet to come, when acts of toleration shall every where give place to bills of RIGHT.
But, though much is yet wanting to complete and perfect the blessings of the Revolution ; yet we cannot but review the act of taleration as a great point gained, as a no. ble effort towards the full emancipation of conscience.-The preceding periods had been only those of oppression and thraldom. The exertions of any to procure release from severe laws, were rather attempts to gain the power of tyrannising over conscience into their own hands, that they themselves might be free, and all other parties remain
Sir John Reresby's Memoirs, p. 323.
slaves, than liberal endeavors to ascertain and secure to every one security and peace, in following the judgment of his own mind. The preceding ages exbibit a series of severe statutes following each other; from passing the act for burning of heretics in the reign of Henry IV. to the enacting of that of uniformity, and of the Oxford conventicle acts, in the reign of Charles II. At the commencement of the Reformation, we have seen, that on the one hand they who could not admit, from religious reverence to the pope's authority, the supremacy of the king, and on the other, they who discarded any of the six articles which he formed into a standard of faith, were alike doomed to the sentence of DEATH. In the reign of Edward VI. the pious and amiable Hooper, for refusing to wear a particular dress, was imprisoned; and Joau Bocher, who religiously read and dispersed the New Testament, was burnt at the stake. Intolerant statutes marked the government of Queen Elizabeth. Persecution, in various forms, by laws and by prerogative, stigmatised the successive reigns of the Stuarts. In the interval, during the suspension of their power, a severe ordinance against heresy was passed : the livings of the episcopal clergy were sequestered; those ministers suffered under severe oppressions, and presbyterianism was found to be not more friendly to the rights of conscience, or averse from intolerance, than had been the fallen hierarchy. Amongst two despised sects, hated and persecuted by all parties, the baptists and quakers, amongst almost them only, the principles of liberty had found able and generous advocates; their writings placed the rights of conscience on a broad and liberal bottom.-But they could support them by the pen only; they were never in power, and consequently had never in this country,* an opportunity to carry their principles into practice, and to shew that they could rule according to the maxims for which, when oppressed, they could forcibly plead.
• It is said in this country; for when the forming the government of Pennsylvania and Rhode Island in America rested, the latter with the baptists, and the former with the quakers, to their honor it should be said, their conduct was consistent with the arguments they had advanced, and liberty of conscience, on an extensive and liberal scale, was a leading feature of each constitution.
This having been the state of things, the act of toleration, the consequence of the Revolution, was a great acquisition. It was the first legal sanction given to the claims of conscience; it was the first charter of religious freedom ; it was a valuable, important and permanent security to the dissenting subject. It opened to him the temple of peace, and afforded the long wished-for asylum. To adopt the language of high authority : “ The toleration act rendered that which was illegal before, now legal; the dissenting way of worship is permitted and allowed by that act; it is not only exempted from punishment, but rendered innocent and lawful; it is established; it is pat under the protection, and is not merely the connivance of the law."* It bath been followed with an aniversal good effect and bappy influence; it hath been the basis of the religious liberty enjoyed ever since that period; and with respect to the state of freedom and religious enquiry in these kingdoms, it was, as it were, a NEW CREATION. Before that period darkness, in a manner, hung over the spacious field of knowledge and divine truth, and the path to it was guarded by a flaming sword. That act said, Let there be light, and light there was.' “ The bounds of free enquiry were enlarged; the volume, in which are the words of eternal life, was laid open to examination.” And the state of knowledge and liberty has been, ever since, progressive and improving.
To this general view of the effects of the REVOLUTION, it is proper to add ; “ that it drew considerable consequen. ces after it all over Europe. It kept the reformed interest from sinking, secured the liberty of the British and the Netherlands, and disappointed the French of that universal monarchy, which they had been eagerly expecting, and had great bopes of reaching. And among other bappy fruits of it, it was not the least considerable, that it was the means of saving the poor Vaudois of Piedmont, from utter ruin, and of their re-establishment in their own country. These people were the remains of the primitive christians, who were never tainted with the papal corruptions and impurities. In the year 1686, the duke of Sa.
• Lord Mansfield.
voy, at the instigation of Lewis XIV. because they would not forsake their religion, drove them from their houses and possessions, forced them out of the vallies, and obliged them to take shelter among the Switzers and others that would afford them an asylum. But, in September 1639, eight or nine hundred of them assembled together in the woods of Nivn, not far from Geneva, crossed the lake Leman in the night, and entered Savoy ouder the conduct of their minister M. Arnold. They marched through that country, fourteen or fifteen days journey, in which march they were obliged to climb up high mountains, force divers strait passes, well guarded by soldiers, with swords in their hands, till at length they reached their vallies, of which they took possession, and in which, onder the singular protection of Providence, they maintained themselves, successfully encountering their enemies, who at any time assaulted them.”*
Here seems to be a proper place, before the history of this period is closed, to notice a noble and generous exertion of a few dissenters, which has with great good effect been resumed and perpetuated to the present times. It was the founding a school in Gravel-lane, Southwark, for the instruction of cbildren in reading, writing, and arithmetic, and the girls in sewing and knitting, and furnishing
* Calamy's History of his own Times, MS. Dr. Calam was told several remarkable particulars concerning this mareh, by Mr. Arnold, who came afterwards to England to solicit the assistance of king Wil. liam. One was, that w ben they were come pretty near to their vallies, they were in such straits for provisions, that they were in great feur of starving. But there came a sudden thaw, which in a night's tipe melted the snow, and in the morning they discovered a considerable quantity of wheat standing in the earth, ready for the sickle, which had been left there from the preceding summer, and had been covered all winter by the suow; the sudden fall prevented the proprietors from reaping it at the proper season. These destitute people beheld it with admiration and ilankfulness, reaped it with joy, and were supported by it after their return into their valties, where, without sueh a supply, they might have perished. Another resource, especially for their ministers and schoolmasters, was derived from the overplus of the collections made for them in England, during the protectorship of Cromwell, which had been lodged by them, when their wants had been effectually relieved, in the hands of the magistrates of Geneva, on condition of receiving such an allowance from year to year as was agreed on. Calamy, ut supra.