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fettled by law on the pastors and profeffors

of it.

"The first particular effect I obferve of thefe laws is, that they give the profeffors of that religion a legal property, in the privileges and advantages, they confer on them, and confequently a right to be protected by law in the enjoyment of them.”

The legislature

fubjects not the

intellect to its

I have before faid, that our intellectual operations are not under the controul of the civil or political power of the fociety. The requifitions. legislature, therefore, never attempts to enjoin the internal mental approbation, but only the external peaceable fubmiffion to its requifitions. * "It was never in my view to offer the civil authority, as a ground of affent in matters of religion, even thus far, much less as an authority, which ought to over rule our own convictions. The magiftrate or legiflator, as fuch only commands, and the fubmiffion due to him under that character, is not affent of judgment, but obedience of practice, fo far as may confift with prior obligations. The nature and ends of fociety. require an obedience, either active or paffive to his laws, whether we approve the matter of them or not; but the

Rogers's Vindication, p, zó7.


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nature and ends of fociety do not acquire affent to his judgment: and my denying to private fubjects a right publicly to oppose his laws, does not in the leaft imply an obligation to affent to his judgment in the matter of them." When, therefore, the community or legiflature paffes a new law, the freedom of my thoughts upon the fubject of it, is in no of the majority. manner impaired nor affected by the enacting

The diffent of
fome invali-
dates not the act

of it; but my internal or intellectual difap-
probation or diffent, can never warrant any
pofitive or external contempt of, or refif-
tance to the law. If fuch refiftance were
permitted, no law could acquire a binding
force without the univerfal confent of every
individual member of the legislature. It is
an univerfal maxim of legiflation, that when
a law has once been enacted by the majority
of the legiflature, it is as binding upon thofe,
who oppofed, as upon thofe, who confented
to the paffing of it. When, therefore, the
legislature enacts, that a certain religious wor-
ship shall be fanctioned and fupported by
the state, * "the conclufion afferted by
the law is not, This is a true religion; much
lefs, this is the only true religion (for he may
believe feveral other fchemes of religion

• Rogers's Vindication, p. 207.




equally true, and yet be determined by very
good reasons to establish that); but the con-
clufion of the laws is precifely this: this is
the religion fhall be favoured with a civil eftab-
lifhment in this community. This conclufion
is a civil law of that. community, ftands upon
the fame foot, and is equally protected from
the public oppofition of private fubjects,
other law of the fame importance."
And when this particular religious cult or
worship shall have once received the civil
fanction of the state, it is certainly equally
binding and coercive upon the community
to support it in an external civil way, as any
other civil fanction whatever. So," when
the fupreme authority has debated and deter-
mined a conclufion of law, a private fubject
may not, confiftently with the peace of the
fociety, and the common duty of fubjection,
be permitted to continue on the debate, or
revive it as often as he pleafe in a public
way, (i. e.) print and publish books and ar-
guments against the juftice or expediency of
the law. The intention, or at least the con-
fequence of fuch actions must be difparaging
the wisdom or justice of the legislature, tak-
ing from them the efteem and confidence of

Rogers's Vindication, p. 224.

Laws refpect

ing the civil ef

tablishment of

religion as bind

ing as other


The paffing of

a law induces

an obligation in

all to fubmit to,

and not to op

pose it.

their fubjects, difquieting the minds of thofe, who are fatisfied with the law, and raising up parties in oppofition to it. The laws eftablishing religion ftand, as laws, on the fame foot with all others; and if fuch acts of oppofition to other laws would juftly be esteemed mutiny and fedition, they will have the same characters, when done in oppofition to the laws establishing religion."

The civil effects of religion upon

It is the general opinion of the most ap

a community. proved writers upon political and civil

liberty, that all the lawful acts of the com-
munity must neceffarily tend to the peace,
welfare, and prefervation of the community;
and it is alfo their general opinion, that reli-
gion tends mainly to those ends.
* "To fay
that religion is not a reftraining motive, be-
cause it does not always restrain, is equally
abfurd as to fay, that the civil laws are not
a reftraining motive. It is a falfe way of
reasoning against religion, to collect in a large
work a long detail of the evils it has produced,
if we do not give at the fame time an enumer-
ation of the advantages, which have flowed
from it. Were I to relate all the evils, that
have arisen in the world from civil laws, from
monarchy and from republican government,

• Montefquieu's Spirit of Laws, b. xiv. x. c. ii.

I might

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I might tell of frightful things. Was it of
no advantage for fubjects to have religion,
it would still be of fome, if princes had it,
and if they whitened with foam the only rein,
which can retain those, who fear not human
laws. A prince, who loves and fears religion,
is a lion, who ftoops to the hand, that strokes,
or to the voice that appeafes him. He who
fears and hates religion, is like the favage
beaft, that growls and bites the chain, which
prevents his flying on the paffenger. He,
who has no religion at all, is that terrible
animal, who perceives his liberty only, when
he tears in pieces, and when he devours.
*"The general confent of mankind in any
one conclufion, though it be not, in ftrictness,
a proof of truth or juftice, yet it is a fair pre-
fumption of it. In all civilized nations, of
whom we have any account paft or present,
we find fome established religion. Hence
I take leave to conclude, that the wifeft men
in all ages (for fuch the founders and gover-of religion.
nors of focieties may equitably be prefumed)
have judged it their right and duty to eftab-
lifh fome religion, and that the peace and
interests of fociety required, that some should


Rogers's Vindication of the Civil Establishment of
Religion, p. 21, and 22.


The duty of a

community to

have a civil

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