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The power of dispensing with any promise, oath, er vow, is another branch of the spiritual power of the pope; and all who acknowledge his spiritual power, must acknowledge this : but whoever acknowledges the dispensing power of the pope, can give no security of his allegiance to any government.
Oaths and promises are none: they are light as air: a dispensation makes them all null and void. ,
Nay, not only the pope, but even a priest, has power to pardon sins! this is an essential doctrine of the church of Rome: but they that acknowledge this, cannot possibly give any security for their allegiance to any government. Oaths are no security at all; for the priest can pardon both perjury and high treason.
Setting, then, religion aside, it is plain, that upon principles of reason, no government ought to tolerate men, who cannot give any security to that government for their allegiance and peaceable behaviour : but this no Romanist can do, not only while he holds, that *' No '*' faith is to be kept with heretics," but so long as he acknowledges either priestly absolution, or
the spiritual power of the pope.
.1 ,j. . . .. i . .•••.', "But
"But the late act," you say, "does not either tolerate or encourage Roman Catholics." I appeal - to matter of fact. Do not the Romanists themselves understand it as a toleration? You know they do. And does it not already, let alone what it may do by-and-by, encourage them to preach openly, to build chapels, at Bath and elsewhere, to raise seminaries, and to make numerous converts, day by day, to their intolerant, persecuting principles? I can point out, if need be, several of the persons: and they are increasing daily.
But " Nothing dangerous to English liberty "is to be apprehended from them." I am not certain of that. Some time since a Romish priest came to one I knew, and after talking with her largely, broke out, "You are no he** retic! You have the experience of a real "Christian!" "And would you," she asked, "burn me alive?" He said, "God forbid! "Unless it were for the good of the church."
Now what security could she have for her life, if it had depended on that man? The good of the church would have burst all the ties of truth, justice and mercy; especially, when seconded by the absolution of a priest, or, if
need were, a papal pardon.
O % If
If any one please to answer this, and to set his name, I shall probably reply: but the productions of anonymous writers I do not promise to take any notice of.
By J. W.
VARIOUS pieces, under different signatures, having appeared in the public prints, casting unjust reflections on the Protestant Association, and tending to quiet the minds of the; Protestants at the present alarming crisis, by insinuating that there is no danger arising from the toleration of Popery, and that such associations are unnecessary; I think it a piece of justice, which I owe to my countrymen, to give them a plain and true account of the views of this assembly, and lay before them the reasons which induced them to form this Association, and determined them to continue it.
Whether the gentlemen, who have favoured the public with their remarks on this occasion,
are really Protestants, or Protestant Dissenters, as they style themselves; or whether they are Rapists in disguise, who assume the name of Protestants, that they may be able to undermine the Protestant cause with the greater success, is neither easy nor necessary to determine; but it is easy to see that they are either totally ignorant of the subject on which they write, or else they wilfully disguise it.
The pieces I refer to are written with different degrees of temper. One gentleman in particular appears to be very angry, and loads the Association, and their friends, with the most illiberal and unmanly abuse. If this gentleman had clearly stated the cause of his resentment, he might have been answered; but as he appears to be angry at he knows not what, he can only be pitied. Others have written with more candour and moderation, and would have been worthy regard, had they not been deficient in point of argument. If these are sincerely desirous of being informed, they are requested to attend to the following particulars.
However unconcerned the present generation may be, and unapprehensive of danger' from the amazing growth of Popery -, how calmly soever they may behold the erection of Popish chapels, hear of Popish schools being