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and denominations. No one can be ignorant of the various opinions that have been j held concerning church-government; all of which, under a general toleration, would; have a free stage to act upon. In one district, every parish would be a diocese,, and every pastor a bishop^without any political connection with other pastors or parishes. In other districts, many parishes would associate, and put themselves under the direction oi an ecclesiastical senate^ unless they; happened to prefer a monarchicaT^reginien. / And I can see no reason, why under any of these forms, or all of them together, the common cause of christianity might not both subsist and prosper, while the moderating hand of the magistrate preserved the several parties from mutual wrong and violence.
We come now to a few short political remarks on the subject before us.
1. A toleration such as here described,^ would apparently much contribute to the 1 public strength and safety. As all good citizens would in this case be united as in one family, they would naturally look up, with \ the same duty and affection, to the state as
\ to their common parent. Or, should this more ingenuous principle be wanting, they would still be held by that tie, which is indeed the great bond of the world in its present corrupt condition, I mean a sense of interest; since they all would have an equal stake in the community, as being equally
/ free to participate in its offices, its honours, and its emoluments. Every citizen would
i then say emphatically my country, and would I defend it with the zeal of a man who con
j tends for his own patrimony.
2. Secondly: Of whatever religious so
( ciety the magistrate may choose to be a
J member, he should take care to conduct I himself in that relation as a private in
> dividual, and not as a public functionary; otherwise, by his political influence, he would probably corrupt the principles of his own sect, and excite the jealousy of others; and this might gradually proceed to a general depravity in religion, and at last terminate in civil disturbances *. It
/ * "To maintain civil government in due vigour, and I to allow a general liberty of conscience; to act like a might therefore become his prudenc^as well as his piety, to stand at such a distance from all appearance of partiality in his public administration, that, if he made any difference in dispensing his political favours, he should rather deal them out with a sparing hand to those of his own church than to others, as such a conduct would serve to convince the world that religion was no secular interest, would' tend to allay the jealousies of other churches, and promote the purity of his own; and would be a probable way to settle the' country at large in a state both of civil and religious tranquillity.T"" 3. Lastly: While the religion of a country is divided into a multitude of sects, of which no one, either'iti numbers or influence, is much superior to the rest, the civil power may, without much difficulty, keep them all in due order. One sect would oppose another, and by their mutual counteraction . a balance would be produced; and should this at any time be disturbed to
king rather than a priest, is a sure way to preserve a state from those tempests, which a dogmatical spirit
a degree inconsistent with the public peace, a gentle interposition of the magistrate's authority might be sufficient to restore it. But should any one sect, whether by the
* if s force of truth, by the influence of a popular leader, or some other, cause, obtain a decided ascendancy, it might come to sway the government, and, by degrees, get it entirely into its hands; and then the result would be an establishment: a result which, sooner or later, under a general toleration, would almost with certainty take place; just as a monarchy is the usual and natural termination of a republic. And as a monarchy is either absolute or limited, so an establishment may either entirely exclude a tolerai tion, or admit it under certain terms and
) restrictions. . -
On an Establishment without Toleration.
By an establishment is here meant these three things; an order of men set apart to attend on the offices of religion; a legal provision for their maintenance; and a restriction of this provision to teachers of a certain description. It is such an establishment, exclusive of a toleration, either complete or partial, whose merits we are now to examine.
It is evident this is a system which can never be maintained without force; for as men differ widely in their opinions on almost all subjects, and on none more than those which are of a spiritual nature, they can never be brought without coercion (nor perhaps with it) to a perfect uniformity in their creed, worship, or discipline. Every reason therefore which can justly be urged