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man catholics can enjoy any of these, either in England or in any other protestant country. In this case, therefore, there is no occafion for granting great privileges, or delivering strong holds into the hands of a faction, but only to suffer a quiet set of people to breathe their native air ; to foften the rigour of some edicts, which in former times might perhaps have been necessary, but at present are no longer so. It is not for us to direct the ministry what it has to do; it is sufficient, if we presume to plead the cause of an unfortunate and distressed people.
Many and easy are the methods to render these people useful to the state, and to prevent them from ever becoming dangerous: the wifdom of the legislature, supported by the military force, will certainly find out these methods, which other nations have employed with fo much success,
It is certain, that there is ftill a number of enthusiasts among the lower kind of Calvinifts; but, on the other hand, it is no less certain, that there is still a greater number among the lower kind of bigotted Roman catholics. The dregs of the madmen of St. Medard are pafied
over unnoticed in the nation, while the greatest pain's is taken to exterminate the Calvinist prophets. The most certain means to lessen the number of the mad of both forts, if any still remain, is to leave them entirely to the care of reason, which will infallibly enlighten the understanding in the long run, though she may be flow in her operations. Reafon goes mildly to work, she persuades with humanity, the inspires mutual indulgence and forbearance; she ftifles the voice of discord, establishes the rule of virtue and sobriety, and disposes those to pay a ready obedience to the laws, who might start from the hand of power when exerted to enforce them. Besides, are we to hold for nothing that contempt and ridicule which enthufiafm every where meets with in the present enlightened age, from persons of rank and education ? This very contempt is the most powerful barrier that can be opposed to the extravagancies of all feciaries. Past times are as though they never had been. We should always direct our views from the point where we ourselves at present are, and from that to which other nations have attained.
There has been a time, in which it was thought a duty to isfye edicts against all such
who taught a doctrine contrary to the cathegories of Aristotle, or who opposed the abhorrence of a vacuum, quiddities, or the whole of the part of a thing. There are above an hundred volumes in Europe, containing the writings of civilians against magic, and the manner of diftinguishing real sorcerers from pretended ones. The excommunication of grafhoppers and other infeets hurtful to the fruits of the earth, was. formerly much in use, and is still to be found. in several rituals; that custom is now laid aside, and Aristotle, with his sorcerers and the grashop. pers, are left to themselves. Innumerable are the examples of these grave follies, which formerly were deemed of great importance; others have succeeded from time to time, but as soon. as they have had their effect, and people begin to grow weary of them, they pass away and are, no more heard of. If any one was, at present, to take it into their head to turn Eutichean, Nestorian, or Manichean, what would be the consequence? We should laugh at him in the same manner as at a person who should appear dressed after the antient fashion, with a great ruff and fathed leeves.
The first thing that opened the eyes of our nation was, when the Jesuits Le Tellier and
Doucin drew up the bull Unigenitus, and sent it to the court of Rome, imagining they lived still in those times of ignorance, in which people adopted, without examination, the most absurd affertions. They even dared to profcribe a proposition, which is universally true in all cases and in all times, viz. “ That the dread of an “ unjust excommunication ought not to hinder
any one from doing his duty." This was, in fact, proscribing reason, the liberties of the Gallican church, and the very foundation of all morality; it was saying to mankind, “ God commands you never to do your duty, “ when you are apprehensive of suffering
any injustice.” Never sure was so gross. an insult offered to common sense, and yet this never occurred to these correspondents of the church of Rome. Nay, they even perfuaded that court, that this bull was neceffary, that the nation defired it. Accordingly it was figned, sealed, and sent back to France; and every one knows the consequences : afluredly, had they been foreseen, this bull would have been mitigated. Very warm disputes ensued upon it ; but however, by the great prudence and goodness of the king, they were at length appeased,
It is much the same with regard to most of those points, in which the protestants and us at present differ; some of them are of little or no consequence, others again are more serious; but even in these latter, the rage of disputation is so far subfided, that the protestants now-a-days, no longer preach upon controversial points in any of their churches.
Let us then feize this period of disgust or satiety for such matters, or rather, indeed, of the prevalence of reason, as an epocha for restoring the public tranquility, of which it seems to be a pleafing earnest. Controversy, that epidemical malady is now in its decline, and requires nothing more than a gentle regimen. In a word, it is the interest of the state, that these wandering feets, who have so long lived as aliens to their father's house, on their returning inafubmiffive and peaceable manner, should meet with a favourable reception; humanity seems. to demand this, reason advises it, and good policy can have nothing to apprehend from it.