CONSIDERATIONS ON THE BILL Depending, for Preventing Occasional Conformity, Humbly Offered by the People called Quakers.

IN the latter part of the Preamble of this Bill, it is declared, that the Act passed in the First Year of the Reign of King William and Queen Mary, Entituled, An Act for Exempting their Maje­sties Protestant Subjects, Dissenting from the Church of England, from the Penalties of certain Laws, ought Inviolably to be Observed. Which Noble Declaration, would give us Ground to hope that nothing is designed in this Bill, to Infringe the said Act of Ex­emption; yet in the Beginning of the Preamble and following Clauses of it, we have, as we humbly con­ceive, Reason to think the Liberty, given by the said Act, is made liable to a Doubtful Sense, if not Infringed.

First, The Term [Truly] in the Preamble, not be­ing Limited in its acceptation, may be so construed, as to interfer with the Design of the Act for Exemp­tion, which is therein declared to be to Unite the Queen's Protestant Subjects, in Interest and Affection; which good End, that Parliament did hope Effectually to ob­tain, [Page 2] by giving some Ease to Scrupulous Consciences in the Exercise of Religion, as therein appears, with­out leaving it to any Subordinate Magistrate, to deter­mine what is, or is not Truly Scrupulous.

Secondly, It seemed meet to that Parliament, not to distinguish the Religious Assemblies, or Meetings of Protestant Dissenters, with the Term of Conventicles, as in this Bill, under which Term, by some former Laws, we have severely suffered.

Thirdly, To make any Person in Office, an Of­fender, and to forfeit his Office or Turst, with a Penalty, only for Resorting to, or being Present at any such Assembly as aforesaid, when the Occasion may be on the account of a Funeral, &c. we conceive, if En­acted, will not only infringe the Toleration, but render Illegal the Common Offices of Love and Huma­nity betwixt Friends and Relations, and not only to those, who do Occasionally Conform, but also to Constant Conformist [...]

Fourthly, That Act allows sundry Offices to be ser­ved by Deputy; this Bill makes no such Provision, ex­cept for Offices of Inheritance.

Fifthly, As we are Free-men of Corporations, and Members of Companies, by the Terms of Admission, we are bound to do in our Course the several Du­ties thereof; which by this Bill, we are not only ren­dred incapable of, but also subject to Fines and Pe­nalties for not doing them.

Sixthly, The Words Scandalous and Irreligious Pra­ctices, used in this Bill, being in the Plural, seems to conclude the Resorting to, or being Present at the Re­ligious Meetings of Protestant Dissenters, equally offen­sive with an Occasional receiving of the Sacrament, on­ly for a Place of Profit, or Turst in the Government, which we hope is not intended; for that would carry [Page 3] an unmerited Reflection on Religious Assemblies, and is, as we conceive, not agreeable with the Act for Ex­emption.

Seventhly, we have never sought after any Place of Profit or Trust in the Government, and therefore pray that the Conscientious Liberty, which we thankfully Enjoy, and was granted by that Act, may be kept entire.

Lastly, As it is our Christian Principle to suffer for Conscience, so the same makes us plead for the Liber­ty of it, to all whose Morals and Obedience to the Government cannot Justly be questioned; and we con­ceive, restraining from Proving all things, 1 Thes. 5.21. in order to hold fast that which may be most conducing to future Happiness (the Chief End of RELIGION) is opposite to the Apostle's Advice; And where such Restraint is, we cannot think the Toleration secure.

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