A Brief Survey OF THE Legal Liberties OF THE DISSENTERS: AND How far the BILL now Depending consists with Preserving the Tole­ration INVIOLABLY: WHEREIN The present Bill is Published; and also the TOLERATION ACT at large, that they may be compar'd with One Another.

EDINBƲRGH, Re-printed in the YEAR 1714.

A Brief Survey OF THE Legal Liberties OF THE Dissenters, &c.

IT is no Time now to make Flou­rishes, and lay down Aphorisms to debate upon: Matters of Fact must speak themselves; and that they may do so, let us bringthem together.

The Toleration was granted to the Dissenters at the Beginning of the Revolution; he that told us, It was not a Courtesy, but a Capitula­tion, the Performance of an Agreement, not an Act of meer Tenderness and Charity, said True, or he said False; for my Part, I never heard him Confuted, or much said to contradict it.

[Page 4] If the Toleration of Dissenters was a Grant of meer Charity and Mercy, yet it was no other Charity and Mercy than the Church of Eng­land, as Christians, were obliged to shew: Persecution for Conscience being contrary to the Principles of the Christian Religion; and if they were oblig'd to grant it, they are equally oblig'd to continue it, unless they can alledge, the Dissenters have done any Thing to forfeit it, which we challenge all the Tories in Eng­land to prove.

If the Toleration of Dissenters was a Capitu­lation, all Capitulations ought to be perform'd; all Agreements ought to be executed; and it is as much their Right to demand the Preser­ving of it, as it was to demand the Enacting it.

But the Queen, besides all this, has pro­mis'd to continue it, and to preserve it Inviol­ably; we doubt not Her Majesty meant to do so when She said it, and means so still: But what mean they who would oblige Her, or perswade Her to break Her Word?

We do not say the Parliament offer this; and we doubt not but some People flatter them­selves, that all these Things are not only Con­sistent with, but will be Effectual for the Invi­olable Preservation of the Toleration; we shall see presently how it will be prov'd.

The Managers of Persecuting Principles have very pretty Ways with them to cover and guild over the most effectual Measures of De­stroying us, with fair Pretences of Preserving us. Perhaps this Taking away the Schools and Academies of the Dissenters is done the better to preserve, &c. Inviolably.

[Page 5] We find in the first Section of the last Occa­sional Bill, the Enacting Clauses thus Introdu­ced, ‘"Now for the better Securing the said Church, so far is Good, and Quieting the Minds of Her Majesty's Protestant and Dis­senting Subjects, and Rendering them Secure in the Exercise of their Religious Worship, &c.

Be it Enacted

I do not say, That the Bill following those Words, did abridge the said Dissenters of any of their Liberties, in the Exercise of their Re­ligious Worship: But this I will say, That if the Dissenters were so abridg'd by that Act, then joining the Words together, it will follow, That their said Liberties were so abridg'd, the better to Quiet their Minds, and for the Securing them in the Exercise of their Religious Worship; perhaps other Laws may be Bless'd with the like Congruity.

Before we go on to Examine what may, or not be deem'd an Attempt upon, and Inconsi­stent with the Religious Liberties of the Dissen­ters, it may be very useful for us to enquire what those Liberties really are; to which Pur­pose, and that the Dissenters may know how far those Liberties do or do not extend, and when they are or are not Invaded, I believe it very much to the present Purpose to publish the said Toleration Act at large, which, altho' it be put at the End of this Tract, the Reader is desir'd to turn to it, and Peruse it before he goes on any farther.

HAVING now Suppos'd, that the Readers of this Tract have Perus'd the Act of Toleration [Page 6] deliberately, and have thereby a clear Account of what the Dissenters Liberties really are, it will be also Necessary to let them see what it is that the present Depending Bill is to Enact against them, and so we shall presently judge about the Word INVIOLABLY, &c.

It is true, and this is the great Pretence of those who promote this Matter, That the keep­ing of Schools and Academies for the Instruc­ting and Educating our Children, is not ex­presly a Part of the Toleration Bill; And there­fore say they, The Toleration may be Inviol­ably preserv'd, notwithstanding the Passing the present Bill

But the Dissenters will refute this by alledg­ing, That the Liberty of Teaching and In­structing our Children, is such an Essential, in the Meaning of a Toleration, that it needs no more to be express'd therein, than a Liberty of going out of our own Houses, or rising out of our Beds, and putting on our Clothes, in Order to a religious Assembly, need to be ex­press'd in that Part of the Act which allows Places to be appointed for that Worship.

If any essential Part of the Toleration be ta­ken away, altho' not express'd, how is the Toleration then preserv'd Inviolably?

Farther, the educating of Children is a Part of the religious Duties of a Christian, and a­mong these of the Protestant Religion, more e­specially regarded as such: If the Dissenters are abridg'd of what is their indispensible Duty, they are persecuted in the most extreme Sense of Persecution; For the Consequence is, they must offend against this Law, because they are [Page 7] bound to obey GOD rather than Man. In of­fending this Law they must incur a Penalty; not being able to pay the Penalty, they must go to Prison, and in Prison they must perish: So that in Consequence of this Law, the Dis­senters will suffer Death for their Religion, and and yet the Toleration be preserved INVIO­LABLE.

I think the Plainness of this Case is not to be found Fault with, Religion is nothing more or less than a Serving or Worshipping GOD, our Maker and Lawgiver. The Method is prescrib'd by His Word; Conscience is to every Man the Judge of his own Duty, and the Man­ner of Performing is this, Conscience is a So­vereign Dictator in the Mind of Men, and it must be obey'd; So it is not meet to make Laws to restrain it, human Power having no judicial Right over it.

As then Conscience must be obey'd, in which the Scripture is clear, Whether it be lawful to obey GOD rather than Man, judge ye? When Laws are made restraining us to such Things as Conscience forbids to do, or commands not to omit, what must we do?

The Answer is plain, We must suffer. True, but then we must say, That this is PERSECU­TION: If then Persecution is contrary to the Principles of the Christian Religion, as we have the Authority of Parliament, in the Preamble to the first occasional Bill, to prove; what fol­lows? But that every persecuting Act is an Un­christian Act.

Whether the present depending Bill be a Persecuting, and consequently an unchristian still, let others judge; this Deponent faith not.

[Page 8] It may however be of some Use to enquire into some of the Consequences which the Dis­senters may expect from this Law, that those who are to suffer by it, may prepare their Minds for Martyrdom; and they who are to pass it, may consider what Ruin of Families, what Blood of Conscientious Sufferers, what Encrease of Igno­rance, and consequently of Error, they are go­ing to be the Cause of; and what terrible Havock they are going to make in the Reforma­tion, which has Enemies enough, and Wounds enough already. Perhaps when these Things come to be seriously reflected upon, they may consider.

Since then the Persecution is thus reviv'd, what must the Dissenters do? Negatively, I'll tell you what they cannot do.

1. They cannot say their Toleration is IN­VIOLABLY preserv'd: They that think this Bill does not interfere with the Toleration, may here compare them together; The one says, Ease is to be given to tender Consciences; The o­ther says, The tenderest Consciences shall be op­prest; one says, The Dissenters shall have Liber­ty to assemble, and their Children may worship GOD with them: The other says, They shall not have School-masters to instruct them how to Worship; one gives them a Liberty of professing their Dis­sent; The other denies them the Liberty of being Taught to know why they dissent: This is the ready Way indeed to make Dissenting be a Faction in the next Age, as they pretend it is now not a religious Principle. Thus the Tole­ration is preserv'd, and not preserv'd at the same Time. The Letter of the Toleration is preserv'd [Page 9] in Deed, but the Substance and essential Parts are destroy'd.

2. They cannot say, they are kindly treated by the Church; and when they look back upon their own Conduct to the Church, they tell them plainly, they have not deserv'd this Usage at their Hands; When they rescued the Church from an evident Ruin in King James's Time, mighty Promises of Temper and Tenderness were made them; let us suppose now the Dis­senters parting with them at that Time in this Manner, ‘"Yes, yes, Gentlemen, you promise us fair now, while you are under Apprehen­sions of the Popish Party. Now you call us Brethren, and talk well of the small Differ­ences between us; and how Charity ought to bury what is past, and to bind us closser for the Time to come, that you find now you have been mistaken, and that we are as faithful to the Protestant Interest as your selves; and you will for ever esteem us the same Christians as your Selves, allowing us a Legal establish'd Liberty, and living in Love and Charity with us; will never more suffer the indifferent Things which are in Dispute among us to divide us. But when, by our Assis­tance, you are establish'd again, you will for­get all these Things. When a Generation rises up, That knows not Joseph, they will call us all Schismaticks, and Recusants again; Couple us with Papists, say we are Danger­ous to the Church, and Enemies to Monarchy, and make new Laws against us, destroy the Toleration you now offer us, and persecute us as bad as ever.’

[Page 10] When the Dissenter says thus to them, Suppose a certain Grave Divine stands up and Quotes the Words of Hasael the King of Assyria, Is thy Servant a Dog, that be should do this thing? What now would that Grave Divine say, for the Passage is not a Fable, if he were to see this Bill passing the House? would he Plead, that this is not Persecution?

The Question is not only upon the word Persecution, tho' that is answer'd plain e­nough too: But is it Just? Is it Kind? Is it Grateful? Is it Agreeable to former Pretences? Is it what was Solemnly Promised, when the Church stood in need of the Assistance and Sup­port of the Dissenters, in the time of their Ex­tremity? Is this the Performance of So­lemn Engagement to the Dissenters? Is this the Temper you promis'd to come to? Is this the Love and Charity you resolv'd to live in? Monstrous! Perfidious!

3. They cannot say, they are not Persecuted; Persecution is the Constraining and Restraining Conscience by Force and Punishment. To Restrain from what we dare not Omit, is as much Persecution, as to Constrain to what we dare not Comply with. Can any Christian Omit Instructing his Children in the Christian Religi­on? Dare any Dissenter Educate his Child in that Way which he dares not Conform to himself? Is not that Condemning himself, and Abandoning his Child? Does he not, by that single Act, either declare that he Dissents without any Foundation, or that he Values not the Salvation of his Child?

Conscientious Dissenters have never yet shewn [Page 11] such an Indifferency in the Matter of Con­formity; if they had, they could not have been suppos'd to Suffer such Hardships as they now do, to be expelled any Share either in the Trust, Honour, or Profits of their Country's Service.

4. They cannot say, that they are at all oblig'd by this, to farther and future Services; and altho' it is true, that the Dissenters may not withdraw their Hands from the Necessary Services of their Country, as English Men, yet all those Voluntary Services, which, upon all Occasions, they have appear'd Freely and Generously to join in, they must now Restrain, in Order to carry on the more needful Ex­pence of Educating and Instructing their Chil­dren Abroad, and keeping Tutors for them in their own Houses, and in Assisting Poor Families to do the same.

There are Affirmative Consequences of their Persecution, which it is not so proper to Men­tion, only I take the Freedom to tell these Warm People, that there will not one Dissen­ter's Child the more be brought up in the Church of England by this Persecuting Act; neither will this Lessen, but Encrease the Schism, and the Number of Dissenters in En­gland. It is true, it will straiten the Dis­senters in their Educating their Children, put them to Difficulties and Expence. As to the first, they must Suffer it, as an Effect of Perse­cution: And as to the last, the Money wh [...]ch the Dissenters now freely▪ Contribute to the Church, over and above what the Law demands, (viz.) on Subscription to Charities, to Lectu­rers, [Page 12] to Poor Clergy, to Briefs, &c. Which it would be the greatest Madness in the Dissen­ters not to Restrain: These, I say, will Pay all the Difference in the Expence of the Edu­cation of their Children, and assist them to Educate the Poor that cannot do it them­selves.

Again, seeing the Clergy of the Church are so Sensible of the Effect of our Schoolmasters Teaching the Dissenters Children the Assem­blies Catechism, that they should make a Law that they shall not be Instructed in that man­ner at School, it is a Warm Admonition to the Dissenters to Revive the Ancient Family Discipline and Instruction, which was the O­riginal Method by which the Reformation was begun in this Nation; and by duly Catechi­sing their own Children and Servants, and giving Catechises to the Poor Families that want them, effectually supply the Deffect; and thus the End of these Church Christians (viz.) to lessen Christian Knowledge, instead of encreasing it, shall be Defeated, till they think fit to make another Bill to take the Dis­scurers Children away from them, as the Pa­pists did to the Protestants in France, or as the Mahometans do now to the Armenian Christians Ge [...]rgia and Moldavia to make Janizaries.

Besides this, the Inhumanity of this Law, which admits of a large Description, and which has many Branches Tending to Cruelty, cannot but fill the Minds of our Posterity with Abhorrence of the Church it self, and so make the Breach wider than ever it was before: As all the Sangninary Laws against the Refor­mation, [Page 13] and against the Primitive Church, could never stop the Progress either of the Christian Religion at first, or of the Protestant Religion afterwards, so neither will this, but will Confirm, Establish, and Encrease the Bo­dy of the Dissenters in this Nation. To con­clude all,

The Methods which will also be still less to the Dissenters to evade this Act, will of Course have one of these two Effects; either, which we earnestly wish, it will cause the Church to see the Mistake, and Repeal the Rigorous Law; or, as those who run into many Evils, to Support, and rather than Recant the first, it will oblige them to such other and farther Steps of this Kind, as must revive the severest Perse­cutions, even to Death and Torture; the Con­sequences we may reasonably expect will end in Judgment from Heaven, and the Confusion of the Nation.

We cannot but hope that these Things may prevail with our Legislators to consider what is before them, and to examine as well the Political as the Christian Arguments which may be offer'd to them against this Bill.

Particularly, how it strikes at the Founda­tion of Religion, as Christian, and tends to the Destroying the Light and Knowledge of Divine Things in the World, which is the Ho­nour of the Reformation: Whereas, if the In­struction of Children in the Knowledge of Re­ligion is restrain'd, loaded with Difficulties, or limited, it is thereby discouraged, lessen'd and put backward, which is contrary to the Prac­tice of all the Protestant Nations in the World.

[Page 14] Neither is it enough to say, That the Dis­senters are the Cause of such Discouragement, for that they may send their Children to Learn the Church Catechism, and to Church Tutors and School-masters. For if the Dissenters can­not in Conscience Conform, neither can they in Conscience teach their Children to Conform; and if that Principle, Conscience, obliges them to keep their Children without any Degree of Learning and Instruction, which they would otherwise have had; the Law that limits their Education to Terms which their Parents can­not comply with, is the unrighteous Cause of that Defect, and thus Ignorance flows in of Course. It is to be hop'd, the Church of Eng­land will not be thought to plant it self best in the Ignorance of the People. Christian Knowledge is the Fountain of the Reforma­tion of the Christian Religion. Popery, indeed, may be said to be Founded in Ignorance, and propagated in Superstition, which is the Child of Stupidity and Blindness. But Knowledge, and the Light of the Scriptures, were the Nur­ses and Founders of the Reformation; and Woe be to that Nation, or People, or Body of Men, who pretend to propagate the Christi­an Religion by Restraining the Knowledge of Religion in the Minds of the Younger Part of the Nation, who it is their Duty by all possi­ble Means to Instruct.

We find in the Heads of the Bill now De­pending, some Things also more particularly Tending to Persecution than is yet mention'd (viz.) The Engaging every one who shall have a License to Teach School, never to be [Page 15] present at a Meeting. This is Restraining the said Teacher, or Schoolmaster from his Liber­ty of Conscience to preserve his Livelyhood, and making the Salary, or Gain of his Employ­ment, to be a Snare to his Principles.

What the Fines and Penalties are; how Ri­gorous the Prosecution; how the Dissenters are debarr'd from their Liberty of Appeal to Her Majesty's Superiour Courts of Justice, and left to the Mercy of the Justices of the Peace, without Appeal; and how to be prosecuted in Ecclesiastical Courts, where the Church-Men, who in this Cause are Parties, are made Judg­es. As these Things are apparent in the Bill, so are they the Height of Persecution, unprece­dented; and in their Nature, an Oppression of our Civil Rights as Englishmen.

To close all. How these Things agree with the Toleration, is a Mystery I can by no Means reconcile. Perhaps those who read the Bills both together, and see how and where the Clau­ses join, and where they part, may see less of Persecution than I can; and that all Men may do so, and judge for themselves, therefore are the Copies Published in this Manner.

The BILL against Schism.

THAT whereas by an Act of Parlia­ment in the Thirteenth and Four­teenth Years of his late Majesty King Charles the Second, intituled, An Act for the Uniformity of Publick Prayers, and the Admi­nistration of the Sacrament, and other Rites and Ceremonies; and for Establishing the Form of Making, Ordaining, and Consecrating Bishops, Priests and Deacons in the Church of England; it is among other Things enacted, that every School-master keeping any Publick or Pri­vate School, and every Person Instructing and Teaching any Youth or Private Family, as a Tutor or School-master, should sub­scribe before his or their Respective Bishop, or Arch-bishop, or Ordinary of the Diocess, a Declaration or Acknowledgment, in which among other Things is contained as follows,—viz ‘I A. B. do declare, That I will con­form to the Liturgy of the Church of England, as it is now by Law Establish'd.—And if any School-master or other Person instructing or teaching Youth in any Private School or Family as a Tutor or School-master, before License ob­tained from the Respective Arch bishop or Ordi­nary of the Diocess, according to the Laws and Statutes if this Realm, for which he should pay 12d, only, and before Subscription and Acknow­ledgment make as aforesaid; then every such School-master or other instructing or teaching as [Page 17] aforesaid, should for the first Offence suffer Three Months Imprisonment without Bail, and for every second, and other such Offence, should suffer Three Months Imprisonment without Bail or Mainprize, and also forfeit to His Ma­jesty the Sum of 5l.

And whereas notwithstanding the said Act, sundry Papists and other Persons dissenting from the Church of England, have taken up­on them to Instruct and Teach Youth as Tu­tors and School-masters, and have set up Schools and Seminaries for the Education of several Persons in Reading, Scholastick, Aca­demical or other Literature.—Where­by, if due and speedy Remedy be not had, great Danger might ensue to this Church and State, for the making the said recited Act more effectual, and for preventing the Dang­er aforesaid,

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excel­lent, &c. That every Person or Persons who shall from and after the [...] Day of [...] next ensuing, keep any Publick or Private School or Seminary, or Teach or Instruct any Youth as Tutor or School-master, or School-mistress, in Read­ing, Scholastick, Academical, or other Li­terature, within that Part of Great Britain called England, the Dominion of Wales, or Town of Berwick upon Tweed, before such Person or Persons shall have Subscribed the Declaration or Acknowledgment before re­cited, and shall have had and obtain'd a Li­cence from the Respective Arch-bishop or Bishop, or Ordinary of the Place, under his [Page 18] Seal of Office, for which the Party shall Pay [...] and no more: And in Case such Person or Persons shall be thereof convicted by the Oath of [...] or more credible Witness, or Witnesses, before any [...] or more Justice or Justices of the Peace with­in any County, Riding, City, or Town Cor­ [...]rate, where such Offence shall be commit­ted in that Part of Great Britain called Eng­land; which Oath such Justice or Justices are hereby impowered and required to Admini­ster and shall, and may. Provided always, and be it hereby enacted, That no Licence shall be granted by any Arch-bishop. Bishop, or Ordinary, unless the Person or Persons who sue for the same, shall produce a Certi­ficate of his, her, or their having received the Sacrament according to the Usage of the Church of England, in some Parish Church within the [...]pace of [...] next before Grant of such Licence under the Hand of [...] [...]or until such Person or Persons shall have taken and sub­scribed the Oaths of Allegiance, and Supre­macy, and Abjuration, as appointed by Law, before the said Arch-bishop, Bishop, or Or­dinary; which said Oaths the said Arch-bi­shop, Bishop, or Ordinary are hereby impow­e [...]d and required to Administer. And be it [...] by the Authority aforesaid, [...] Person who shall have obtain'd a [...] the Declaration, and taken and subscribed the Oaths above ap­pointed▪ and should at any Time after, du­ring the [...] of his, her, or their keeping [Page 19] any Publick or Private School or Seminary, or instructing any Youth a [...] Tutor or School­master, in Reading, Scholastick, Academi­cal, or other Literature, knowing or willing­ly resort to, or be present at any Conventi­cle, Assembly, or Meeting, within England, Wales, or Town of Berwick on Tweed, for the Exercise of Religion in any other Manner than according to the Liturgy and Practice of the Church of England; or shall knowing or willingly be present at any Meeting or Assembly for the Exercise of Religion, altho' the Liturgy be there used, where Her Maje­sty (whom God long preserve) and the Prin­cess Sophia, or such others as shall from Time to Time be lawfully appointed to be pray'd for, shall not there be pray'd for in express Words, according to the Liturgy of the Church of England, shall [...]

Provided always, That any Person who shall find him or themselves aggrieved by any such Judgment of the said Justice or Justi­ces, may appeal to the general Meeting of the Justices of the Peace of the next Quarter-Sessions, to be held for the County, Riding, City, or Town Corporate, where the Offence shall have been committed; who are here­by impowered there and then finally to hear and determine the same, and no Certiorari shall be allowed to remove any Conviction, or other Proceeding for or concerning any Mat­ter or Thing in this Act contained, but the Justice of Peace shall proceed thereupon, any such Writ or Writs of Certiorari notwithstan­ding. And be it further Enacted by the Au­thority [Page 20] aforesaid, That if any Person licensed as aforesaid shall Teach any other Catechism than the Catechism set forth in the Liturgy of the Church of England, or an Exposition thereof allowed or hereafter to be allowed by the Bishop of the Diocess, the Licence of such Person shall from thenceforth be [...] and such Person shall be liable to [...] And be it Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That it shall and may be lawful to and for the Bishop of the Diocess, or other proper Ordinary, to cite any Person or Per­sons whatsoevet keeping Schools or Semina­ries, or Teaching without Licence as afore­said, and proceed against and punish such Per­son or Persons by Ecclesiastical Censure, this Act or any other Law to the contrary not­withstanding. Provided always, That no Person offending against this Act shall be pu­nished twice for the same Offence.

An ACT made in the First Year of the Reign of King William and Queen Mary, for Exempting Their Maje­sties Protestant Subjects, Dissenting from the Church of England, from the Penalties of certain Laws.

FOrasmuch as some Ease to Scrupulous Consciences in the Exercise of Reli­gion may be an effectual Means to Unite Their Majesties Protestant Subjects in Interest and Affection, Be it Enacted by the King and Queen's most Excellent Majesties by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spiritual and Tem­poral and the Commons in this present Parlia­ment Assembled, and by the Authority of the same, That neither the Statute made in the Three and twentieth Year of the Reign of the late Queen Elizabeth, Intituled, An Act to Re­tain the Queen's Majesty's Subjects in their due O­bedience; Nor the Statute made in the Twenty ninth Year of the said Queen, Intituled, An Act for the more speedy and due Execution of certain Branches of the Statute made in the Three and twentieth Year of the Queen's Majesty's Reign, viz. The aforesaid Act, nor that Branch or Clause of a Statute made in the First Year of the Reign of the said Queen, Intituled, An Act for the Uniformity of Common Prayer and Service in the Church, and Administration of the Sacraments; [Page 22] whereby all Persons having no Lawful or Rea­sonable Excuse to be Absent, are required to Resort to their Parish Church or Chappel, or some usual Place where the Common Prayer shall be used upon Pain of Punishment by the Censures of the Church, and also upon Pain that every Person so Offending shall forfeit for every such Offence Twelve Pence; Nor the Statute made in the Third Year of the Reign of the late King James the First, Intituled, An Act for the better Discovering and Repressing Po­pish Recusants; Nor that other Statute made in the same Year, Intituled, An Act to prevent and avoid Dangers which may grow by Popish Re­cusants; Nor any other Law, or Statute of this Realm made against Papists or Popish Recu­sants, Except the Statute made in the Five and twentieth Year of King Charles the Second, In­tituled, An Act for preventing Dangers which may happen from Popish Recusants; And except also the Statute made in the Thirtieth Year of the said King Charles the Second, Intituled, An Act for the more Effectual Preserving the King's Person and Government, by Disabling Papists from Sitting in either House of Parlia­ment; Shall be Construed to Extend to any Per­son or Persons Dissenting from the Church of England, that shall take the Oaths mentioned in a Statute made this present Parliament, Inti­tuled, An Act for Removing and Preventing all Questions and Disputes concerning the Assembling and Sitting of this present Parliament; And shall make and subscribe the Declaration mentioned in a Statute made in the Thirtieth Year of the Reign of King Charles the Second, Intituled, [Page 23] An Act to Prevent Papists from Sitting in either House of Parliament; Which Oaths and Decla­ration, the Justices of Peace at the General Sessions of the Peace to be held for the County or Place where such Person shall live, are here­by Required to Tender and Administer to such Persons as shall offer themselves to Take, Make, and Subscribe the same, and thereof to keep a Register: And likewise none of the Persons aforesaid, shall give or pay as any Fee, or Re­ward to any Officer, or Officers belonging to the Court aforesaid, above the Sum of Six pence, nor that more than once for his or their Entry of his taking the said Oaths, and Making and Subscribing the said Declaration; Nor a­bove the further Sum of Six pence for any Cer­tificate of the same to be made out, and Signed by the Officer, or Officers of the said Court.

And be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That all and every Person and Per­sons already Convicted, or Prosecuted in order to Conviction of Recufancy by Indictment, In­formation, Action of Debt, or otherwise ground­ed upon the aforesaid Statutes, or any of them, that shall take the said Oaths mentioned in the said Statute made this present Parliament, and make and subscribe the Declaration afore­said, in the Court of Exchequer, or Assizes or General, or Quarter-Sessions to be held for the County where such Person lives, and to be thence respectively Certified into the Exche­quer, shall be thenceforth Exempted and Dis­charged from all the Penalties, Seizures, For­feitures, Judgments and Executions, Incurred by Force of any the aforesaid Statutes, without [Page 24] any Composition, Fee or further Charge what soever.

And be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That all and every Person and Per­sons that shall as aforesaid, take the said Oaths, and make and subscribe the Declaration afore­said, shall be liable to any Pains, Penalties, or Forfeitures, mentioned in an Act made in the Five and thirtieth Year of the Reign of the late Queen Elizabeth, Intituled, An Act to Re­tain the Queen's Majesty's Subjects in their due Obedience; Nor in an Act made in the Two and twentieth Year of the Reign of the late King Charles the Second, Intituled, An Act to Prevent and Suppress Seditious Conventicles Nor shall any of the said Persons be Prosecuted in any Ecclesiastical Court, for or by reason of their Nonconforming to the Church of England.

Provided always, and be it Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That if any Assembly of Persons Dissenting from the Church of England shall be had in any Place for Religious Worship with the Doors Locked, Barred or Bolted during any Time of such Meeting together, all and every Person or Persons that shall come to and be at such Meeting, shall not receive any Be­nefit from this Law, but be liable to all the Pains and Penalties of all the aforesaid Laws re­cited in this Act for such their Meeting, not­withstanding his taking the Oaths, and his making, and subscribing the Declaration afore­said.

Provided always, That nothing herein con­tained shall be Construed to Exempt any of the Persons aforesaid from paying of Tythes or o­ther [Page 25] Parochial Duties, or any other Duties to the Church or Minister, nor from any Prosecu­tion in any Ecclesiastical Court or elsewhere for the same.

And be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That if any Person Dissenting from the Church of England, as aforesaid, shall here­after be Chosen or otherwise Appointed to bear the Office of High Constable, or Petit Con­stable, Church Warden, Overseer of the Poor, or any other Parochial or Ward Office, and such Person shall Scruple to take upon him any of the said Offices in regard of the Oaths, or any other Matters or Thing required by the Law to be taken or done in respect of such Office, Every such Person shall and may execute such Office or Employment by a sufficient Deputy, by him to be provided, that shall comply with the Laws on this Behalf.

Provided always the said Deputy be Allow­ed and Approved by such Person or Persons, in such manner as such Officer or Officers re­spectively should by Law have been Allowed and Approved.

And be it further Enacted by the Autho­rity aforesaid, That no Person Dissenting from the Church of England in Holy Orders, or pretended Holy Orders, or pretending to Holy Orders, nor any Preacher or Teacher of any Congregation of Dissenting Protestants, that shall make and subscribe the Declaration afore­said, and take the said Oaths at the General or Quarter Sessions of the Peace to be held for the County, Town, Parts, or Division where such Person lives, which Court is hereby impower­ed [Page 26] to administer the same, and shall also De­clare his Approbation of, and Subscribe the Articles of Religion mentioned in the Statute made in the Thirteenth Year of the Reign of the late Queen Elizabeth, except the Thirty fourth, Thirty fifth, and Thirty sixth, and these Words of the Twentieth Article, Viz. [The Church hath Power to decree Rites or Cere­monies, and Authority in Controversies of Faith, and yet] shall be liable to any of the Pains or Penalties mentioned in an Act made in the Seventeenth Year of the Reign of King Charles the Second, Intituled, An Act for restraining Non-Conformists from inhabiting in Corporations; Nor the Penalties mentioned in the aforesaid Act made in the Two and twentieth Year of his said late Majesty's Reign; for or by reason of such Persons preaching at any Meeting for the Exercise of Religion; Nor to the Penalties of One hundred Pounds mentioned in an Act made in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth of King Charles the Second, Intituled, An Act for the Uni­formity of publick Prayers and Administration of Sacraments, and other Rites and Ceremonies: And for establishing the Form of Making, Ordaining and Consecrating of Bishops, Priests and Deacons in the Church of England, for Officiating in any Congregation for the Exercise of Religion per­mitted and allowed by this Act.

Provided alwise, That the Making and Sub­scribing the said Declaration, and the Taking the said Oaths, and Making the Declaration of Approbation and Subscription to the said Ar­ticles, in Manner as aforesaid, by every re­spective Person or Persons herein before menti­oned, [Page 27] at such General or Quarter Sessions of the Peace, as aforesaid, shall be then and there Entred of Record in the said Court, for which Six Pence shall be paid to the Clerk of the Peace and no more.

Provided that such Person shall not at any Time Preach in any Place, but with the Doors not Locked, Barred, or Bolted, as aforesaid.

And whereas some Dissenting Protestants Scruple the Baptizing of Infants, Be it En­acted by the Authority aforesaid, That every Person in pretended Holy Orders, or preten­ding to Holy Orders, or Preacher, or Teach­er, that shall Subscribe the aforesaid Articles of Religion, Except before Excepted, and also Except Part of the Seven and twentieth Arti­cle touching Infant Baptism, and shall take the said Oaths, and Make and Subscribe the De­claration aforesaid, in manner aforesaid, eve­ry such Person shall enjoy all the Privileges, Benefits and Advantages which any other Dis­senting Minister, as aforesaid, might have or enjoy by virtue of this Act.

And be it further Enacted by the Autho­rity aforesaid; That every Teacher or Preach­er in Holy Orders, or pretended Holy Orders, that is a Minister, Preacher, or Teacher of a Congregation, that shall take the Oaths here­in Required, and Make and Subscribe the Declaration aforesaid, And also Subscribe such of the aforesaid Articles of the Church of Eng­land, as are Required by this Act in manner a­foresaid, shall be thenceforth Exempted from serving upon any Jury, or from being Chosen or Appointed to hear the Office of the Church [Page 28] Warden, Overseer of the Poor, or any other Parcenial or Ward Office, or other Office in any Hundred of any Shire, City, Town, Parish, Division or Wapentake.

And be it further Enacted by the Authori­ty aforesaid. That every Justice of the Peace, may at any time hereafter Require any Per­son that goes to any Meeting for Exercise of Religion, to Make and Subscribe the Decla­ration aforesaid, and also to take the said Oaths or Declaration of Fidelity herein after men­tioned, in case such Person Scruples the tak­ing of an Oath, and upon Refusal thereof such Justice of the Peace is hereby Required to Commit such Person to Prison without Bail or Main prize, and to Certifie the Name of such Person to the next General or Quarter Sessions of the Peace to be held for that County, City, Town, Part or Division where such Person then Resides, and if such Person so Committed, shall upon a second Tender at the General or Quarter Sessions refuse to Make and [...] the Declaration afore­said, [...] Persons refusing shall be then and there Recorded, and he shall be taken thence­forth to all [...] and Purposes, for a Popish Recusant [...] and [...] accordingly, and incur all [...] Penalties and Forfeitures of all the aforesaid Laws.

And wh [...]reas there are certain other Per­sons, [...] the Church of England, [...] of any Oath, [...] it Enacted by the Authourity aforesaid, That e­very such Person shall Make and Subscribe [Page 29] the aforesaid Declaration, and also this De­claration of Fedelity following, viz. ‘I A. B. Do Sincerely Promise and Solemnly Declare before God and the World, that I will be True and Faithful to King William and Queen Mary; And I do Solemnly Profess and Declare, that I do from my Heart Abhor, Detest and Renounce as Impions and Heretical, that damnable Doctrine and Position, That Princes Recommunicated or Deprived by the Pope, or any Authority of the Sec of Rome, may be Deposed or Murthered by Their Subjects, or any other what­soever. And I do Declare, that no Foreign Prince, Person, Prelate, State or Potentate hath, or ought to have any Power, Jurisdiction, Supe­rimity, Preeminence or Authority Ecclesiastical or Spiritual within this Realm.’

And shall Subscribe a Profession of their Christian Belief in these Words,‘I A. B. Profess Faith in God the Father, And in J [...]sus Christ his Eternal Son, the true God, And in the Holy Spirit, one God blessed for ever­more; And do acknowledge the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine Inspiration.’

Which Declarations and Subscription shall be made and Entered of Record at the Gene­ral Quarter Sessions of the Peace for the Coun­ty, City, or Place where every such Person shall then Reside. And every such Person that shall Make and Subscribe the Two De­clarations [Page 30] and Profession aforesaid, being there­unto Required, shall be Exempted from all the Pains and Penalties of all and every the aforementioned Statutes made against Popish Recusants, or Protestant Nonconformists, and also from the Penalties of an Act made in the Fifth Year of the Reign of the late Queen Elizabeth Intituled, An Act for the Assurance of the Queen's Royal Power over all Estates, and Subjects within Her Dominions; For or by reason of such Persons not taking or re­fusing to take the Oath mentioned in the said Act; And also from the Penalties of an Act made in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Years of the Reign of King Charles the Se­cond, Intituled, An Act for Preventing Mis­chiefs that may arise by certain Persons called Quakers, refusing to take Lawful Oaths; And enjoy all other the Benefits, Privileges and Advantages under the like Limitations, Provisos, and Conditions which any other Dissenters shall, or ought to enjoy by Vir­tue of this Act.

Provided always, And be it Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That in case any Person shall refuse to take the said Oaths, when tend­red to them, which every Justice of the Peace is hereby Impowered to do, such Person shall not be admitted to Make and Subscribe the Two Declarations aforesaid, though required thereunto either before any Justice of the Peace, or the General or Quarter Sessions be­fore or after any Conviction of Popish Recu­sancy, as aforesaid, unless such Person can within Thirty one Days after such Tender of [Page 31] the Declarations to him, produce Two suffici­ent Protestant Witnesses to Testify upon Oath that they believe him to be a Protestant Dissenter, or a Certificate under the Hands of Four Protestants who are Conformable to the Church of England or have taken the Oaths or Subscribed the Declration above mention­ed, and shall also produce a Certificate under the Hands and Seals of Six or more sufficient Men of the Congregation to which he belongs, owning him for one of them.

Provided also, and be it Enacted by the Au­thority aforesaid, That until such Certificate under the Hands of Six of his Congregation, as aforesaid, be produced, and Two Protestant Witnesses come to attest his being a Protestant Dissenter, or a Certificate under the Hands of Four Protestants as aforesaid, be produced, the Justice of the Peace shall, and hereby is Required to take a Recognizance with two Sureties in the Penal Sum of Fifty Pounds, to be [...]evyed of his Goods and Chattels, Lands and Tenements, to the Use of the King and Queen's Majesties, Their Heirs and Successors, for his producing the same, and if he cannot give such Security, to Commit him to Prison, there to remain until he has produced such Certifi­cates, or Two Witnesses, as aforesaid.

Provided always, and it is the true Intent and Meaning of this Act, That all the Laws made and provided for the frequenting of Di­vine Service on the Lord's Day commonly cal­led Sunday, shall be still in Force, and Execu­ted against all Persons that offend against the said Laws, except such Persons come to some [Page 32] Congregation or Assembly of Religious Wor­ship, allowed or permitted by this Act.

Provided always, and be it further Enact­ed by the Authority aforesaid, That neither this Act nor any Clause, Article, or Thing herein Contained shall Extend or be Constru­ed to Extend to give any Ease, Benefit, or Ad­vantage to any Papist, or Popish Recusant whatsoever; or any Person that shall deny in his Preaching or Writing the Doctrine of the Blessed Trinity, as it is Declared in the afore­said Articles of Religion.

Provided always, and be it Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That if any Person or Persons, at any Time or Times after the Tenth Day of June do and shall willingly and of purpose, Maliciously or Contemptuously come into any Cathedral or Parish-church, Chappel, or other Congregation permitted by this Act, and Disquiet or Disturb the same, or misuse a­ny I reacher or Teacher, such Person or Per­sons upon Proof thereof before any Justice of Peace, by Two or more sufficient Witnesses shall find Two Sureties to be bound by Recog­nizance in the Penal Sum of Fifty Pounds, and in Default of such Sureties shall be Committed to [...]rison, there to remain till the next General or Quarter Sessions; And upon Conviction of the said Offence at the said General or Quarter Sessions, shall suffer the Pain and Penalty of Twenty Pounds to the Use of the King and Queen's Majesties, Their Heirs and Succes­sors.

Provided always, That no Congregation or Assembly for Religious Worship, shall be per­mitted [Page 33] or allowed by this Act, until the Place of such Meeting shall be Certified to the Bish­op of the Diocess, or to the Arch-deacon of that Arch-deaconry, or to the Justices of the Peace at the General or Quarter-Sessions of the Peace for the County, City, or Place in which such Meeting shall be Held, and Registred, in in the said Bishops, or Arch-deacons Court re­spectively, or Recorded at the said General or Quarter-Sessions; The Register or Clerk of the Peace whereof respectively is hereby Requir­ed to Register the same, and to give Certifi­cate thereof to such Person as shall Demand the same, for which there shall be none great­er Fee nor Reward taken than the Sum of Six Pence.

QUERIES Humbly Propos'd to My LORDS the BISHOPS, upon Occasion of the BILL now Depending in the HOUSE of PEERS, to prevent (as is pleaded) The Growth of Schism.

Query I. HOW Schism can be prevented, before 'tis clearly determined what it is? And whether those Men canjustly be charged with it, who are united to the Com­mon Head of the Christian Church by Faith, and to all its Members by an hearty Love? And whether Dissenters are not within the Church, as it is defin'd by the 19th Article of the Church of England; having the pure Word of God preach'd amongst them, and the Sacraments duly administred according to Christ's Ordinance, in all Things that of Necessity are requisite to the same?

II. HOW any National Church, as far as it is favour'd or warranted by the Holy Scrip­tures, which all Protestants own for their Rule, can be in any Real Danger from such Persons [Page 35] as those describ'd, or from their being left at Liberty to Educate their Children in their own Way?

III. WHETHER it be not a Piece of Wisdom to learn from our Enemies? And when even in the Romish Communion, notwithstanding their High Pretensions to Unity and Uniformity, there is yet a great Diversity admit­ted amongst their Religious Orders, why should not Protestants inlarge and strengthen themselves, by enclosing All they can, in a Way of Forbearance, especially when they hearti­ly fall in with the same Civil Government?

IV. ARE not the French and Dutch Prote­stant Churches (to our great Satisfaction) al­lowed to Educate their own Children, without Dishonour or Damage to the Church or State? And shall this Privilege be deny'd to Natives, that are Faithful and Peaceable, meerly be­cause they are Dissenters?

V. WHETHER the treating such as Schis­maticks in the Reign of King Charles II. (to look no farther back) was not sensibly found to promote the Growth of Popery? And whe­ther it may not reasonably be expected, that a like Cause should have a like Effect?

VI. WHETHER in the Reign that succeed­ed, it was not own'd by some Eminent Prelates of the Church, with Archbishop Sancroft at their Head, as well as by the Noble Marquess of Halifax, in his Letter to the Dissenters, (in which so many eminent Persons concurred, and which all at that Time applauded,) that too much Rigour had been us'd towards Persons of the same Religion, for differing in smaller [Page 36] Matters? And whether Promises were not then freely made, of a different Treatment and a better Temper for the Future, from the Pulpit and the Press, and in all Conversation?

VII. WHETHER the Bishops that have been advanc'd to that Honour since the Revo­lution, who have generally been Persons of the greatest Eminence for their Worth and Mo­deration, have not met with more Respect from the Dissenters, than from many who pre­tended to be zealous Members of their own Church? And whether it is a suitable Return for Persons of their Lordships Candour, to deal more hardly by us as to our Children, than their Predecessors ever attempted to do by our Fa­thers, as to their Descendants?

VIII. WHETHER any Thing more tender­ly affected the Protestants in France, than the denying them Liberty to Educate their Chil­dren in their own Principles? And whether that Method which has all along been repre­sented as so severe in a Popish Prince, can ne­ver be fit to be countenanced by Protestant Bi­shops, in a Protestant Country?

IX. WHETHER if Popery should once more prevail among us, which some who are Orna­ments to the Bench of Bishops have owned to be no very remote Supposition, it would be a most grating Reflection when the Legislators should demand the Education of the Children of all Protestants, to hear them insinuate, That their Lordships had set them the Pattern, by demanding the Education of the Children of Dissenters?

[Page 37] X. WHETHER it can reasonably be ex­pected that they should ever have the Courage to endure the Fiery Trial, (which is what, ac­cording to the foregoing Supposition they may be called to) who, by any Political Considera­tions, should be kept from sheltring the Inno­cent? And whether upon Supposition any Members of their own Church should threaten them, if they acted according to the Princi­ples by which they obtained their Preferments, it would not be more becoming to inform them better, and yield more Comfort to set them an Example of Steadiness, than to harden and embolden them, by yielding to them in a Me­thod of treating Brethren, that is neither Scrip­tural nor Rational?

XI. WHETHER it be seemly for Guides of the Church, to pass such a Censure upon the Assemblie's Catechism, as if it were not fit to be Taught, when there is nothing to be found in it, but what agrees with the Doctrine, and nothing that is opposite to the Government of their own Church? And how it can be recon­cil'd with the Honour and Veracity of their Lordships to allow no other Catechism than that, which cannot be answer'd to with Truth by the Children of Dissenters, who had no Godfathers or Godmothers to give them their Names, or promise for them?

XII. WHETHER the Ecclesiastical Courts have not from the first Reformation been own'd a great Grievance by the best Prelates and Mem­bers of the Church of England? Whether they have not upon Occasion been freely inveigh'd against, by many who are at present on the [Page 38] Bishops bench? And, Whether there be any such Evidence of their Amendment, as can justify their now concurring to support and in courage them?

AND, Lastly, WHETHER the passing such a Bill into a Law, be not more likely to spread Animosity, increase Uncharitableness, and perpetuate Division, than prevent the Growth of what is call'd Schism? And, Whether this be not as evident, as that publickly branding a Body of Men, will inflame the Populace against them; and that Severity on the other Hand tends to exasperate the Sufferers?

My Lords the Bishops are earnestly re­quested to take these Things into their serious Consideration, by several of the Descendants of those very Pres­byterians, who earnestly ( tho' in­vain) implor'd the Compassion of their Predecessors in 1661; and by many that have join'd with them in waiting for the fulfilling their Pro­mises in 1687 and 1688: And who most heartily beg of Almighty GOD, they may never fall into the same Ex­tremities, or worse, by having our Common Hopes, which depend upon the Protestant Succession in the Illus­trious House of HANOVER, defea­ted, according to some Mens Desires and Wishes, which we pray may never take Effect.


This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.