REASONS WHY THE OATHS Should not be made A Part of the Test TO Protestant Dissenters.

1. WE do humbly conceive, that because these Oaths were Antiently made upon Occa­sion of the Conspiracies of Papists against the Government, and are now reviv'd upon the score of the late Discovery of their Horrid Plot; and that since they only ought at any time to be administred in Case of Just Jealousie or Suspi­tion had of any Person or Persons: We, who are no Papists, but by our Faith and Doctrine Repugnant to all Popery; And We, who have never shown the least Disallegiance or Vnfaithfulness, but on the Contrary have been patient and peaceable under all [Page 2] that Excess of Severity, that in several parts of this Nation hath been inflicted upon us, ought not to be brought under the same Jealousies with the Papists: It is suspecting an Integrity, that was never Tainted. For with submission, what is it but to say, The Papists have plotted against the King, Government and Protestant Religion; therefore the Quakers and such like Dissen­ters that have not plotted, shall take the Oaths, to try and bind them, as if they had plotted? This makes no Distinction, where really there is a great one. The Oaths were not revived upon the Papists till the Plot was discovered; pray why should you effect us, or question the Integrity of Protestant-Dissenters? Let the known Papists be proved and tested as Papists; but that can be no Reason why the known Anti-Papists or Protestant-Dis­senters should be so tested that are Unconcerned in the Occasion of it.

II. We are not yet preferred by the Government to such Charge, Trust or Employment, for which such Security is com­monly required, and since we ever liv'd a Sober and Peaceable Life under the King and Government, being neither Papists, Plotters nor Men in Power, we do not see the Reason or Equity, as to us, why the Oaths should be made a part of the Test.

☞ III. We conceive, we need not Swear to deny a Su­premacy or to pay an Obedience, where our Faith and Religion teacheth us both; which are a stronger Tie upon our Consciences, than all the Oaths in the World. And of the Truth of this we may appeal to your own Knowledge of our Conversations.

IV. We apprehend, that the Oaths answer not the Reason of their Imposition, and therefore Useless; for the Papists we see, take them: and consequently there is no Discrimination of Papists from Protestants by them. [...]o that they serve rather to Distinguish, what Prote [...]ant-Dissenters are Tender in taking these Oaths, than to discover who are Papists. But since the De­claration is of more weight to the Papists than the Oaths, be­cause that denyes their Religion, whereas the Oaths only deny [Page 3] the Popes Supremacy (which is not owned by the Gallican or French Church, that they now mostly pretend to adhere to) it will evidently follow, that all those Protestant-Dissenters, who can subscribe the Declaration, are not Papists, nor of the Romish Communion. In short; ☞Because the Papists will sooner take the Oaths than subscribe the Declaration; and that the Quakers and other Dissenters will sooner subscribe the De­claration than take the Oaths: And forasmuch as the point in hand is to discriminate Papists, and not such Dissenters; the adding of the Oaths, when the Declaration will most Effectually do, may serve to ensnare the said Protestant-Dissenters, but not to disco­ver the Papists, or secure the Government from them, which ought to be the only end of the Test.

Object. But it is objected, That some Papists will not take the Oaths, and therefore they ought to be a part of the Test.

To which we Answer, First, That the Concealed Papists, or those who are suspected to be such, are observ'd to swallow all, both Oaths and Declaration too, rather than bring themselves under Notice at this time of the Day. And Next, It is plain Fact, that the Generality of the Known Papists also take them. So that still these Oaths being made a part of the Test, rather shews that Papists will take the Oaths, than that they discriminate who are Papists: ☞And here it may be worth your Considera­tion, how much securer you are from those Papists, that do take the Oaths, than from those that refuse them. But admitting it to be a real Discrimination respecting a few Papists, yet we intreat you weigh, If the Number of the Protestant-Dis­senters, who may scruple taking these Oaths, is not far greater, than of those Papists that may refuse to take them: and if so, you will lose much more than you will get by taking the Oaths into the Test.

V. Be pleased to consider, that if you are not very Careful in this matter, by exposing such Protestant-Dissenters to be re­puted Papists, because of not taking the Oaths, you may be said, in a sort, to make more Papists by one Act, than the Popes and their [Page 4] Emissaries have done these Six score Years; though they abhor Popery as much as you your selves can do. We hope, the Wisdom of the Government will not thus suffer a great part of the Indu­strious people of the Nation to be vex'd & ruin'd for that which they are not; and at a time too, when it is your Interest to lend a hand to the Weakest Protestant-Separatist you have, against the Church of Rome; That so the Numbers of that Society may not be augmented, by enlarging that Scandalous Character to other Perswasions through the Prejudice, False Policy or Ill Designs of any.

VI. Your making the Oaths a part of the Test, will be very particularly Injurious to such Dissenters; ☞for you will punish them by Laws made upon Occasion of Popish Plots, who are unconcern'd in the Guilt of them. This is in Shew to charge your Canon against Papists, but they will ('tis to be fear'd) be dis­charg'd upon Protestant-Dissenters, as hath already been done: which is adding another misery to them, whom you should relieve, and making them lose by the Discovery of the Plot, that would have been expos'd as well as your selves, if it had taken Effect: So that those who would have suffer'd by the Plot, must suffer as of the Party of the Plotters. In short, this is punishing one Party for the Fault of another, and extending the Penalty, where there is no Transgression.

VII. Let it be consider'd, that such Dissenters will be of all People the most Miserable: For being expos'd to the Punish­ment of Papists and the Punishment of Protestant-Dissenters too, they must needs be in a worse Condition, than the Papists; for they will be at this rate ground between two Mill-stones. And this will rather deter Papists from embracing the Communion of any Protestant-Dissenters, then excite them to approach so near to the Church, as to become Protestant in any Sense: because they will be expos'd to more Suffering, unless absolute Church­men, then now they are, as Papists. For both the Laws made against Protestant-Dissenters, and the Laws made against Popish Recusants have been executed upon Protestant-Dissenters; but [Page 5] the particular Laws made against Protestant-Dissenters were never infflicted upon the Papists.

VIII. But it is Objected by some, that we are disguiz'd Pa­pists, or that Papists are concealed amongst us. To which we say, the Declaration will determine that; since (as was said) the Oaths only deny the Pope's Supremacy, which some of them­selves pretend to disown: But our Declaration denies both the Pope's Supremacy and their Religion too. Besides, those Dissenters that scruple the Oaths, do it not upon the same Terms with the Papists; for they own no forreign Supremacy, which the Pa­pists do. And to prove evidently, that it is no Trick or Ill design against the Government, they refuse to Swear in their own Right, having-frequently lost their Just Debts, and been greatly injur'd by other mens Vnjust Claims, because of not taking an Oath: which is not the Practice of Papists.

IX. But there is one Reason never to be answered, why we can neither be Papists, nor Popishly affected, as we must needs be, if we seek to Conceal the Papists at so much hazard to our selves; and it is this, You have been pleased in Parliament to Complain of the growth of Popery, of the Non-executing of Laws made against Papists, and that some of the Ministers of State were Popishly affected, and that things have generally been Transacted by them in favour of the Papists: On the con­trary we have been great Sufferers, our Houses broke open, our Goods riffled, and our Estates seized, and Treble values taken away from us by Laws made against Papists, under their Ministry. So that either we are no Papists, or such State-Mini­sters and Councils, whom you have reputed Popish, must not be such; for none can think that they should Exercise such Severi­ties upon People of the same Inclinations, when they were so indulgent to Persons notoriously of that Profession; but because you believe they were so, you must needs interpret from their being more severe to us than any other People, that they re­puted us most remote from Popery. What greater Demonstra­tion can we give, that we believe our selves, and are Sincere in [Page 6] this matter, than the Hazards and Losses we are daily expos'd to?

X. We have always shewn a good and steady Affection to the Just, Civil and Protestant Interest of this Nation; and a­mong other things, it may evidently appear in the late Election of the present Parliament, having generally adhered to, and through all Difficulties given our Voices for those Persons, that have been of the best Reputation in their Country for Protestants and English men. And indeed, there has been no such Discovery made these many years of the Inclinations of all Parties: ☞which being well observ'd, it will perhaps appear, that We and the Papists have as little joyn'd in the same Choice of Mem­bers, as some High Church-men (our great Prosecutors) have done, who would notwithstanding have us accounted Papists. And we may further add, that since our giving our Voices in the said late Election for those Persons, which are known to be hearty for the Protestant Religion and Civil Interest of the Nati­on, we have been afresh severely persecuted in several places, and that as well by Laws made against Papists as Protestant Dissen­ters.

Lastly, We do here humbly offer a DECLARATION, and pray, that it may be receiv'd as a Testimony of our good Af­fection to the Protestant Cause, and as our Assurance to live a sober and peaceable Life under the present Government. And in case any among us shall be found false to our Declaration and Engagement, let such be punisht as Perjured Persons.

These are the Reasons we render, why the Oaths should not be made part of the Test.

A Protestation or Declaration to Distinguish Protestant-Dissenters from Popish-Recusants.

I A. B. do in the Presence of Almighty God solemnly profess, and in good Conscience declare, It is my real Judgment, That the Church of Rome is not the Church of Christ, nor the Pope or Bishop of Rome Christ's Vicar; and that his or her Doctrines Of De­posing Heretical Princes, and Absolving their Subjects of their Obedience; Of Purgatory and Prayers for the Dead; Of Indulgences and Worshipping of Ima­ges; Of Adoring and Praying to the Virgin Mary and other Saints deceased; And of Transubstantiation, or changing the Elements of Bread and Wine into the Body and Blood of Christ at or after the Consecration thereof by any Person whatsoever, are False, Erroneous and Contrary to the Truth of God declared in the Holy Scriptures: And therefore the Communion of the said Church is Superstitious and Idolatrous.

And I do likewise sincerely testifie and declare, that I do from the bottom of my Heart detest and abhor all Plots and Conspiracies, that are or may be contrived against the King, Parliament or People of this Realm: And I do hereby Faithfully Promise, with God's Help, to live a So­ber and Peaceable Life, as becometh a good Christian and Protestant to do. And all this I do Acknowledge, Intend, Declare & Subscribe without any Equivocation or men­tal R [...]servation, according to the true Plainness, Simplici­ty and usual signification of the words.

Witness my Hand.

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