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« had fair Play ; Politeness prevail’d; Learn“ing and Science flourish’d; and wonderful “ was the Harmony, Temper, Friendship, “ Charity, and Peace, which arose from the “ Contrarieties allow'd among them. Enthusi“ asm and Superstition being mildly treated, " and let alone, never raged to that Degree, as “ to occasion Wars, or Blood-Thed, or Perse“cutions, or Devastations in the World.”
Are not the United Provinces remarkable for Liberty and Peace? There all Men, how different soever in Notions, live in such Peace and Friendship with one another, as is unknown to Men of the fame Religion in other Countries; where some foolish Question about the Antiquity and Authority of Hair, Teeth, Tears, Milk, Rags, Handkerchiefs, Smocks, Bones, and other Reliets, or about the immaculate Conception of the Virgin, or about Habits and Dress, or about (m) the Manner of holding their Fingers when they cross themfelves, and such like mere Ceremonies, or about metaphysical Speculations, (some of which are , as little understood by the Disputants themselves as by the Vulgar ) is Fuel for the most uncharitable Contention. There the Lyon and the Lamb, I mean, the Papist and the Mennonite, lye down in Peace together; the first forgetting his wonted Rage, and the latter preserving that Innocence, which he was born with, and which Liberty and Experience have cultivated in him. (n) “ It is hardly to be iina“ gined, says Sir W. TEMPLE, how all the « Violence and Sharpness, which accompanies ” the Differences of Religion in other Counso tries, seems to be appeased or softned in " the United Provinces, by the general Free“ dom, which all Men enjoy, either by AllowŚc ance or Connivance; nor how Faction and se Ambition are thereby disabled to colour their “ interested and seditious Designs with the « Pretences of Religion, which has cost the “ Christian World so much Blood for these “ last hundred and fifty Years. No Man can s here complain of Pressure in his Conscience; so of being forced to any publick Profession of « his private Faith ; of being restrain'd from ss his own Manner of Worship in his House, “ or obliged to any other abroad; and who
(m) Perry's State of Rulla, p. 153.
« EVER asks more in Point of Religion, with“ out the undisputed Evidence of a particular “ Mission from Heaven, may be justly fuf“pected not to ask for God's Sake, but for “ his own; fince pretending to Sovereignty, “ instead of Liberty in Opinion, is indeed pre“ tending the same in Authority too. But in this “ Commonwealth, no Man having any Rea“ fon to complain of Oppression in Confcience ; " and no Man having Hopes, by advancing his “ Religion, to form a Party, or break in upon “the State, the Differences in Opinion make “ none in Affections, and little in Conversa« tion, where it serves but for Entertainment "and Variety. They argue without Interest « and Anger; they differ without Enmity or “ Scorn; and they agree without Confedera“cy. Men live together, like Citizens of “ the World, associated by the common Tyes “ of Humanity, and by the Bonds of Peace, “ under the impartial Protection of indifferent “ Laws, with equal Encouragement of all Art “ and Industry, and equal Freedom of Specu“ lation and Enquiry; all Men enjoying their “ imaginary Excellencies and Acquisitions of “ Knowledge, with as much Safety as their “ more real Possessions and Improvements of
Fortune. And as in other Places, 'tis in “ every Man's Choice with whom he will eat “ or lodge, with whom go to Market, or to “ Court; so it seems to be here, with whom “ he will pray or go to Church, or associate “ in the Service and Worship of God; nor is “ any more Notice taken or more Censure " pass’d, of what every one chuses in these “ Cases, than in the other.
“I believe the Force of Commerce, Alliances, « and Acquaintances, spreading so far as they “ do in small Circuits, (such as the Province “ of Holland) may contribute much to make “ Conversation and all the Offices of common « Life so easy, among so different Opinions, “ of which so many several Persons are often “ in every Man's Eye'; and no Man checks “ or takes Offence at Faces or Customs or Ce“ remonies, he sees every Day, as at those he “ hears of in Places far distant, and perhaps “ by partial Relations, and comes to see late “ in his Life, and after he has long been pof“sess’d by Paffion or Prejudice against them. “ However it is, Religion may possibly do “ more Good in other Places, but it does less “ Hurt here; and wherever the invisible Effects
" are the greatest and most advantageous, i " am sure the visible are so in this Country, “ by the continúal and undisturb'd civil Peace “ of their Government for so long à Course “ of Years; and by fo mighty an Encrease “ of their People, wherein will appear to con“ fist chiefly the vast Growth of their Trade “ and Riches, and consequently the Strength “ and Greatness of their State.”
I will conclude this Article with an Observation of our most judicious and learned (P1 Archbishop. “Whilst instead of examining, “Says be, impartially, where the Truth lies, “ Men magisterially assume to themselves an “ Authority to denounce Añathemas against « their Brethren, who would convince them “ of their Deviations; it is in vain to hope, “ that either Truth should prevail, or PEACE “and Unity be establish'd among us. But “ would they once be perswaded to remove “this Obstacle out of the Way; would they “ know themselves to be but Men, and as “ such exposed to the same Frailties and In
W Wake's Pref. before fure and horelt Means for the Conversion of Hereticks, p. 6.