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many years past, even in the presence of viceroys) who takes that course as a means for promotion, may not be thought to step a little out of the common road, in a monarchy, where the descendants of that most blessed martyr have reigned to this day?
I ground the reason of making these queries on the title of the act; to which I refer the reader.
SOME FEW THOUGHTS
CONCERNING THE REPEAL OF THE TEST.
Those of either side who have written upon this subject of the test, in making or answering objections, seem to fail, by not pressing sufficiently the chief point, upon which the controversy turns. The arguments used by those who write for the church, are very good in their kind; but will have little force under the present corruptions of mankind, because the authors treat this subject tanquam in republicâ Platonis, et non in fæce Řomuli.
It must be confessed, that, considering how few employments of any consequence fall to the share of those English who are born in this kingdom, and those few very dearly purchased, at the expense of conscience, liberty, and all regard for the public good, they are not worth contending for: and if nothing but profit were in the case, it would hardly cost
me one sigh, when I should see those few scraps thrown among every species of fanatics, to scuffle for among themselves.
And this will infallibly be the case, after repealing the test. For every subdivision of sect will
, with equal justice, pretend to have a share; and, as it is usual with sharers, will never think they have enough, while any pretender is left unprovided. I shall not except the quakers; because, when the passage is once let open for sects
to partake in public emoluments, it is very probable the lawfulness of taking oaths, and wearing carnal weapons,* may be revealed to the brotherhood: which thought, I confess, was first put into my head by one of the shrewdest quakers in this kingdom. +
* The quakers were more likely to admit this relaxation of their peculiar tenets, as, upon their first appearance as a sect, they did not by any means profess the principle of non-resistance, which they afterwards adopted.
+ The quaker hinted at by Dr Swift was Mr George Rooke, a linen-draper. In a letter to Mr Pope, Aug. 30, 1716, Dr Swift says, " There is a young ingenious quaker in this town, who writes verses to his mistress, not very correct, but in a strain purely what a poetical quaker should do, commending her look and habit, &c. It gave me a hint, that a set of quaker pastorals might succeed, if our friend Gay would fancy it; and I think it a fruitful subject : pray hear what he says.”-Accordingly Gay wrote “ The Espousal, a sober Eclogue, between two of the Peor ple called Quakers."
HEYLIN'S HISTORY OF THE PRESBYTERIANS. *
This book, by some errors and neglects in the style, seems not to have received the author's last correction. f It is written with some vehemence, very pardonable in one who had been an observer and a sufferer, in England, under that diabolical fanatic sect, which then destroyed church and state. But by comparing, in my memory, what I have read in other histories, he neither aggravates nor falsifies any facts.
His partiality appears chiefly in setting the actions of Calvinists in the strongest light, without equally dwelling on those of the other side ; which, however, to say the truth, was not his proper business. And yet he might have spent some more words on the inhuman massacre of Paris, and other parts of France, which no provocation (and yet the king had the greatest possible) could excuse, or much extenuate. The author, according to the current opinion of the age he lived in, had too high notions of regal power; led by the common mistake of the term Supreme Magistrate, and not rightly distinguishing between the legislature and administration : into which mistake the clergy fell or continued, in the reign of Charles II. as I have shown and explained in a treatise, &c.
* Written by the dean in the beginning of the book, on one of the blank leaves.
+ It was published in 1670.