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the farmer much relieved ; if it should be thought proper to reward a people so deserving, and so loyal by their principles. Every bishop, upon the vacancy of a church-living, can sequester the profits for the use of the next incumbent. Upon a lapse of half a year, the donation falls to the archbishop, and after a full year to the crown, during pleasure. Therefore it would be no hardship for any clergyman alive, if (in those parts of Ireland, where the number of sectaries much exceeds that of the conformists) the profits, when sequestered, might be applied to the support of the dissenting teacher, who has so many souls to take care of: whereby the poor tenants would be much relieved in those hard times, and in a better condition to pay their rents.
But there is another difficulty in this matter, against which a remedy does not so readily occur. For, supposing the test act repealed, and the dissenters, in consequence, fully qualified for all secular employments; the question may still be put, whether those of Ireland will be often the persons on whom they shall be bestowed; because it is imagined there may be another seminary * in view, more numerous, and more needy, as well as more meriting, and more easily contented with such low offices; which some nearer neighbours hardly think it worth stirring from their chimneysides to obtain. And I am told, it is the common practice of those who are skilled in the management of bees, that when they see a foreign swarm at some distance, approaching with an intention to plunder their hives, these artists have a trick to divert them into some neighbouring apiary, there to make what havoc they please. This I should not have hinted, if I had not known it already to have gotten ground in many suspecting heads: for it is the peculiar talent of this nation to see dangers afar off; to all which I can only say, that our native presbyterians must, by pains and industry, raise such a fund of merit, as will answer to a birth six degrees more to the north. If they cannot arrive at this perfection, as several of the established church have compassed by indefatig. able pains, I do not well see how their affairs will much mend by repealing the test : for, to be qualified by law to accept an employment, and yet to be disqualified in fact, as it will much increase the mortification, so it will withdraw the pity of many among their well-wishers, and utterly' deprive them of that merit they have so long made, of being a loyal, true, protestant people, persecuted only for religion.
If this happen to be their case, they must wait maturity of time; until they can, by prudent gentle steps, make their faith become the religion established in the nation; after which, I do not in the least doubt that they will take most effectual methods to secure their power, against those who must then be dissenters in their turn; whereof, if we may form a future opinion from present times, and the dispositions of dissenters, who love to make a thorough reformation, the number and qualities will be very inconsiderable.
Thus I have, with the utmost sincerity, after long thinking, given my judgment upon this arduous affair; but with the utmost deference and submission to public wisdom and power.
RELATING TO THE SACRAMENTAL TEST, 1732.
Query. WHETHER hatred and violence between parties in a state, be not more inflamed by different views of interest, than by the greater or lesser differences between them, either in religion or government.
Whether it be any part of the question at this time, which of the two religions is worse, popery or fanaticism; or not rather, which of the two (having both the same good-will) is in the hopefullest
condition to ruin the church? Whether the sectaries, whenever they come to prevail, will not ruin the church as infallibly and effectually as the papists ?
Whether the prevailing sectaries could allow liberty of conscience to dissenters, without belying all their former practice, and almost all their former writings?
Whether many hundred thousand Scotch presbyterians are not fully as virulent against the episcopal church, as they are against the papists; or as they would have us think the papists are against them?
Whether the Dutch, who are most distinguished for allowing liberty of conscience, do ever admit any persons, who profess a different scheme of worship from their own, into civil employments, although they may be forced by the nature of their government to receive mercenary troops
of all religions?
Whether the dissenters ever pretended, until of late years, to desire more than a bare toleration ?
Whether, if it be true, what a sorry pamphleteer asserts, who lately writ for repealing the test, that the dissenters in this kingdom are equally numerous with the churchimen, it would not be a necessary point of prudence, by all proper and lawful means, to prevent their farther increase?
The great argument given, by those whom they call low churchmen, to justify the large tolerations allowed to dissenters, has been; that, by such indulgencies, the rancour of those sectaries would gradually wear off, many of them would come over to us, and their parties, in a little time, crumble to nothing
Query, Whether, if what the above pamphleteer asserts, that the sectaries are equal in numbers with conformists, be true, it does not clearly follow, that those repeated tolerations have operated directly contrary, to what those low-church politicians pretended to foresee and expect?
Whether any clergyman, however dignified or distinguished, if he think his own profession most agreeable to Holy Scripture and the primitive church, can really wish in his heart, that all sectaries should be upon an equal foot with the churchmen, in the point of civil power and employments ?
Whether episcopacy, which is held by the church to be a divine and apostolical institution, be not a fundamental point of religion, particularly in that essential one of conferring hoiy orders ?
Whether, by necessary consequences, the seve