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It is now pretty generally agreed, tat receiring the holy sacrament merely as a qualification for a place of civil profit or trust, is contrary to the ends of its institution, and a snare to the consciences nomen ;s for though the law is open, and they who obtain offices in the state know • beforehand the conditions of keeping them,” yet when the bread of a numerous family depends upon a qualification which a man cannot be satisfied to comply with, it is certainly a snare.
And though I agree with our author, that “if the minds of such persons are wicked, the law does not make them so," yet I am afraid it hardens them, and makes them a great deal worse. How many thousands come to the sacrament of the Lord's supper with reluctance ! and, perhaps. eat and drink judgment to themselves; the guilt of which must be chargeable either upon the imposers, or receivers, or upon both. Methinks therefore charity to the souls of men, as well as a concern for the purity of our holy religion. should engage all serious christians to endeavor the removal of this grievance; and since we are told, that the appearing of the dissenters at this time is unseasonable, and wili be ineffectual, I would humbly move our right reverend fathers the bishops not to think it below their high stations and dignities, to consider of some expedient to roll away this reproach from the church and nation, and agree upon some security for i he former (if needful) of a civil nature, that may leave room (as King William expresses it in his speech to his first parliament) FOR THE ADMISSION OF ALL PROTESTANTS THAT ARE ABLE AND WILLING TO SERVE THEIR COUNTRY.
The honor of Christ, and the cause of public virtue, seem to require it. And for as much as the influence of these acts affects great numbers of the laity in a very tender part, I should think it no dishonor for the several corporations in England, as well as for the "fficers of the army, navy, custums, and excise, who are more peculiarly concerned, to join their interests in pe. titioning the legislature for such relief. And I fatter myself that the wise and temperate behavior of the protestant dissenters in their late general assembly in London ; with the dutiful regard that they lave always shewn to the peace and welfare of his majesty's person, family, and government, will not fail to recommend them to the royal protection and favor; and that his most EXCELLENT MAJESTY, in imitation of his glorious predecessor King William III. will in a proper time recommend it to his parliament to strengthen his administration, by taking off those restraints which at present disable his protestant dissenting subjects from shewing their zeal in the service of their king and country.
DANIEL NEAL. London, March 6, 1732-3.
though not a sacramental test, that to this proposal, that “ dissenters should be exempted from all pains and penalties for not serving their couniry in offices of trust," he gave his hearty assent by adding in the margin, most certainly! Ed.
$ History of the Test, p. 22.
From the death of Archbishop Bancroft to the death of King James I.
Abbot made archbishop. Account of all the translations of the bible
ment of King Charles II. in the year 1625.
From the death of archbishop Abbot, to the beginning of the commotions
in Scotland, in the year 1637.
Charch-wardens' oath. Abstract of Bishop Wren's articles.