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REV. JOHN WESLEY, M.A. TO THE PRINTER.
S I R,
O 0 M E time ago, a pamphlet was sent me, entitled, " An appeal from the Protestant Asso"ciation to the people of Great Britain." A day or two since, a kind of answer to this, was put into my hand, which pronounces, " Its "style contemptible, its reasoning futile, and "its object malicious." On the contrary, I think the style of it is clear, easy, and natural; the reasoning, in general, strong and conclusive; the object, or design, kind and benevolent. And, in pursuance of the same kind and benevolent design, namely, to preserve our happy constitution, I shall endeavour to confirm the substance of that tract, by a few plain arguments.
With persecution I have nothing to do: i persecute no man for his religious principles. Let there be " as boundless a freedom in reli"gion," as any man can conceive: but this does not touch the point. I will set religion, true 4a false, utterly out of the question: suppose the Bible, if you please, to be a fable; and the Koran to be the word of God. I consider not, whether the Romish religion be true or false: I butld nothing on one or the other supposition: therefore, away with all your common-place declamations about intolerance and persecution for religion! Suppose every word of pope Pius's creed to be true,—suppose the council of Trent to have been infallible,—yet, I insist upon it, That no government, not Roman catholic, ought to tolerate men of the Roman catholic persuasion.
I prove this by a plain argument: let him answer it that can :—
That no Roman catholic does or can give security for his allegiance or peaceable behaviour, I prove thus: It is a Roman catholic maxim, established, not by private men, but by a public council, that, " No faith is to be "kept with heretics." This has been openly avowed by the council of Constance: but it never was openly disclaimed. Whether private persons avow or disavow it, it is a fixed maxim of the church of Rome: but as long as it is so, nothing can be more plain, than that the members of that church can give no reasonable security to any government of their allegiance or peaceable behaviour: therefore, they ought not to be tolerated by any govern-" ment, Protestant, Mahometan, or Pagan.
You may say, '* Nay, but you will take an "oath of allegiance." True, five hundred oaths : but the maxim, " No faith is to be kept "with heretics," sweeps them all away, as a spider's web: so that still, no governors, that are not Roman catholics, can have any security of their allegiance. '- •
Again, those who acknowledge the spiritual power of the pope, can give no security of their allegiance-^ any government: but all Roman catholics acknowledge this; therefore, they can give no security for their allegiance.
The power of granting pardons for all sins; past, present, and to come, is, and has been, for many centuries, one branch of bis spiritual power •, but those who acknowledge him. to have this spiritual power, can give no security for their allegiance; since they believe thepope can pardon rebellions, high treasons, and all other sins whatsoever.