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ment with him gives me a right of common on his manor, I violate my compact, if I afterwards voluntarily
, offer him a right of common upon mine. Are we told that the Test and Corporation acts are among the statutes which secure the doctrines, discipline, worship, and government of the established church of England, and are therefore by the act of Union declared to be unalterable? Sir, the government and discipline, the doctrines and the worship of the English church were the same before the statutes were enacted, and would continụe the same if those statutes were repealed ; and consequently do not derive their security from them ; whereas the act which relates to the patronage of the church of Scotland, and which did seem to affect its discipline, was held to be no breach of the articles 'of Union; neither was that Union understood to be weakened by the subsequent act, which gave a complete toleration in Scotland to episcopal disa senters. When the articles of Union were under the consideration of parliament, a proposal was made in the House of Lords that the perpetual continuance of the Test act, and in the House of Commons that the perpetual con. tinuance of the act of Corporation, should be declared a fundamental condition of the intended Union; but the motions were both rejected—a proof that the legislature did not mean to give to them the same perpetual existence as to the act of Uniformity, and to the statute that was passed in the 13th of ELIZABETH; both of which were specifically named as conditions of the compact, and expressly declared irrevocable. If the Test and Corporation laws are deemed unalterable parts of the articles of Union, it follows of course, that every alteration in those laws must be deemed a breach of the Union, and that every suspension of those laws must be considered as a suspension of the Union. Now both these acts are al.
tered, and in part repealed, by subsequent statutes, and, for six months in almost every year, are wholly suspende ed; but who will assert, that the articles of Union are dissolved, or that their obligation on the two countries is suspended for six months in every year? or who will deny, that the same power, which alters a part, may alter the whole of these laws ? Who will deny, that the same authority, which suspends a law for six months, may abolish it for ever? That many of the natives of North Britain, who are members of the established church, have taken the sacrament, as a qualification for naval or military employments, I readily admit; for those men, who consider the service of their country as the first of all duties, and their obligation t) thei: Sovereign as the first of all bonds, will make great sacrifices indeed, rather than forego the right of bearing their part in the general defence of the kingdom. But does it therefore follow, that the necessity of making these sacrifices is no hardship: Does it therefore follow, that he, who renounces the religion rather than renounce the service of his country, has no reason to complain of the alternative? Others of the natives of that kingdom, too much attached to their religious profession to abandon it on any consideration, yet much too ardent for their country to relinquish the satisfaction of engaging in her service, are at this very hour exposed to the penalties of the law : exclusion from the right of receiving a legacy ; exclu. sion from the right of acting as the guardian of a child ; exclusion from the right of suing in any court, or on any occasion for justice.
“ Am I asked how often of late years has the law been enforced? My answer is, the lethargy of the law gives no security to the subject; for an hungry informer may at any time rouse it to exertion, and direct it to its prey.
But though the fierceness of the statute should not be called into action, yet in the insult which is offered to the Scots, in the dishonour of being placed on the same level with men whose claim to confidence is blasted by the crime of perjury established in proof against them,-in that dishonour, in that insult, there is no intermission, there is no pause. It is time, that these odious distinctions—these hateful signs of difference between the two countries which compose Great Britain, should entirely be done away: that every scar and seam, which marks the lips of her ancient wound, should disappear for ever; and that her offspring should have leave to consider themselves as one nation, and one people.
“ Nothing now remains, but that I should briefly mention the hardships imposed by the Test act on the ministers of the established church a class of our fellowsubjects to whose concerns the members of this House cannot be indifferent. The law which declares that every man, who accepts a commission in the army, or is appointed to a civil office, shall take the sacrament of the Lord's supper, compels the clergyman to administer this sacrament to every person who shall demand it
that ground; for, if he refuses, a ruinous prosecution for damages is the obvious and inevitable consequence. The very expence of the trial would probably exhaust his means, and leave him nothing but his body to answer by imprisonment the adverse judgment of the court. Since then the law, by menaces too terrible to be resisted, compels him to administer the holy sacrament to every man who shall demand it, as a qualification for an office; in what manner must he proceed? Shall he give the invitation in the usual words of the service, All you
that do truly and earnestly repent of your sins, and are in love and charity with your neighbours, and intend to
lead a new life, following the commandments of God, and walking from henceforth in his holy ways, draw near with faith, and take his holy sacrament to your comfort.' Considering the motives which bring them to the holy table, such an address might be deemed an insult to their feelings. Or shall he tell them, with a better chance of speaking in unison with their thoughts, all you that are lately appointed to offices under his Majesty, that do truly and earnestly desire your continuance therein, and are in love with the profits thereof, you that are lately become Excise-officers, or Custom-House-officers, or Salt-officers, or Officers of the Stamps, and have a charitable hope of enriching yourselves with the spoils of the illicit trader, draw near in faith, and take this holy sacrament to your comfort, that you may have a legal title to your places.'
“ By the duties of his function, by the positive precepts of his religion, the minister is enjoined to warn from the sacred table all blasphemers of God, all slanderers of his word, all adulterers, and all persons of a profligate life yet to those very persons, if they demand it as a qualification, he is compelled by the 'Test act to administer the sacrament, though they come to him drunk from the protracted revels of the night, or warm from the neighbouring stews. And what is the nature of the sacra. ment, which the clergyman is thus compelled to administer? One sentence, one single sentence from the service of our church, with the permission of the House, I will beg leave to read. After having exhorted the persons, who are preparing to communicate, diligently to try and examine themselves before they presume to eat of that bread, and drink of that cup,' it thus proceeds,
For as the benefit is great, if with a true penitent heart and lively faith we receive that holy sacrament (for then we spiritually eat the flesh of Christ, and drink his
blood : then we dwell in Christ, and Christ in us, we are one with Christ, and Christ with us') so is the danger great, if we receive the same unworthily; for then we are guilty of the body and blood of Christ our Saviour; we eat and drink our own damnation, not considering the Lord's body: We kindle God's wrath against us; we provoke him to plague us with divers diseases and sundry kinds of death.
« Sir, if there be any thing serious in religion ; if the doctrines of the church of England be not a mere mockery of the human understanding; if to talk of peace
of mind here, and of eternal consequences hereafter, be not the idle babbling of a weak and childish superstition, (and I trust that in the judgment of those who hear me it will be admitted to be something more,) then it will necessarily follow, that no pretexts of state policy can justify this enormous profanation of the most sacred ordi. nance of the Christian faith, this monstrous attempt, as irrational as it is profane, to strengthen the church of England by the debasement of the church of Christ.
“ Shall I be told that the law, which enjoins the sacrament of the Lord's supper, is not more an insult to the Christian faith, than the law which enjoins an oath ? A weak, and inconsiderate assertion! In what respect is an oath, an ordinance of the Christian faith? Do not the Mahometan, the Jew, the Deist, and the Ido. later equally swear? It is not an ordinance of religion, it promotes none of her interests, is applicable to none of her purposes ; for the object of an oath is merely civil : it is an human institution, and is applicable only to concerns that are merely temporal. I have heard it said, that the law does not compel the clergyman to admi, nister the sacrament to the unworthy-Sir, the terror of the suit for damages, the mere expence of which, inde.