A Proposal for Revising the Ten Commandments

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A Proposal ſor Revising the Ten Commandments  (1738) 
by John Hildrop
[1]
Revising Commandments.PNG
A LETTER TO A MEMBER oſ PARLIAMENT, CONTAINING A PROPOSAL FOR Bringing in a BILL to Reviſe, Amend, or Repeal certain OBSOLETE STATUTES, Commonly called Ten Commandments

SIR,

THE friendship with which you honour me, and the ardent Zeal you have always exerted in the Cauſe oſ Liberty, in Oppoſition to Prieſtcraſt and Superſtition, have determined me to lay beſore you my impartial Thoughts upon a Subject, which has more than once 'been ſtarted in the Courſe oſ our Converſation. How oſten have I heard you \v\ſh that the abſurd Reſlraints that are made uſe oſ by cunning and deſigning Men, to limit the freedom oſ our Actions, as well as our faith and Judgment in Religious Matters, were intirely removed j that all our Creeds^ Articles oſ faith ^ moral Precepts^ and religious Inſtitutions, were ſairly and impartially examined by Men oſ free and unprejudiced Underſtandjngs, and we were reſtored to that unbounded Liberty oſ acting as well as thinking, which Nature, Reaſon, and common Senſe, allure us to be the undoubted Birthright and natural Privilege oſ all free Agents !

This Liberty oſ thinking and judging, in Oppoſition to all CREEDS and Creed-makers, has been ſo ſucceſsſully pradiſed and deſended oſ late Years, that I think it is now become almoſt an univerſal Principle; that every Man's natural Reaſon and good Senſe is, and ought to be, the ſole Rule, Meaſure, and Standard oſ his ſaith, becauſe no Man can rcaſonably be ſuppoſed to believe what he does not understand ; ſo that, by neceſlary Conſerence, he that has but liltle Knowledge can have but little ſaith, and he that undcrſtands nothing at all, can believe nothing at all.

So far is right, but not ſuſſicient ; this is leaving oſſ in the middle, and doing a good Thing but by halves : Iſ we are only at Liberty to think, and not to aſt, our Liberty is incomplete, we are ſtill in a Degree oſ Bondage. That our Will is abſolutely ſree C is agreed on all Hands, but to what Purpoſe ? What are we the better ſor that ſreedom j iſ, whilſt we are allowed the Liberty oſ Thought and Will, we are ſtill debarred the Liberty oſ Action ? Iſ the ſober Dictates oſ Nature, Reaſon, and good Senſe, are ſuſſicient to regulate our Thoughts, why not our Actions too ?

This then is the Point I am endeavouring to clear ; and to ſhew that the latter is quite as reaſon- able, iſ not more ſo, than the ſormer. In order to ſet this Matter in the trued Light, I ſhall not meddle with thoſe general Principles which have been ſo ad- mirably dated and deſended by the late Dr. Tmdal, pr. MdUe, and other ingenious Writers, as being oſ ſo abſtracted and delicate a Nature, that they require more Genius and Application to apprehend and purſue them through their natural Conſequences, than can be expected ſrom common Read- ers. My Buſineſs {hall be to enter into a more particular Examination oſ that ſummary Rule oſ our moral and religious Conduct, commonly called The Ten Commandments ; which, in their moſt extended Senſe, are generally ſuppoſed to be oſ moral, (nay /bme ſay oſ natural) Obligation to all Chriſtian People, even in reſormed Proteſtant Countries; which is a Point that well deſerves our attentive Conſideration.

That theſe Commandments were originally given to the Jews, is beyond all Dispute ; and as their great Lawgiver himſelſ declared, and their whole Hiſtory conſirms, that they were a Jliſſ-necked, perverſe Generation : So it is more than probable that theſe Commandments were ſolely intended to correct the Miſunderſtandings, reſtrain the ExceſTes, and regulate the Conduct oſ \hz\.Jlubborn, wrong-headed People, who had not Reaſon, nor Learning, nor Politeneſs enough to regulate their own moral Behaviour ; but are no more binding to a ſcnſtbk, learned^ juſt, righteous, polite, free-thinking People, than the Laws concerning Circumciſion and Sacriſices. And as the happy Inhabitants oſ theſe reformed Nations have long ago got rid oſ all the ſuperſtitious Impoſitions oſ Chriſtian Prieſtcraſt, it is a Shame and Reproach to them to be ſtill in Bondage to Jewiſh Ordinances ; eſpecially iſ it can be made appear, that they are an intolerable Impoſition upon a free People, without having the leaſt moral or natural Aptitude to promote the Welſare oſ Civil Society, and the temporal Good and Beneſit oſ Mankind, which are now generally acknowledged to be the great End and ſoundation oſ all civil, moral, and religious Inſtitution.

The firſt oſ theſe Commandments (I preſume my Readers can remember it, without having it repeated) is an arbitrary Impoſition upon the Reaſon and Liberty oſ Mankind. Every Man's Belieſ and Practice neceſiarily ſollows the Kind and Degree oſ Evidence he has ſor either: Now iſ a Man ſees no more Evidence ſor one, than he does ſor ſive hundred, it is quite indiſſerent to him whether he have ſive hundred or one, or none at all.

The Second, depending on the firſt is but an Abſurdity improved ; and if the firſt be a mere Matter oſ Indifference, the Second muſt be much more ſo, and by Conſequence, impertinent and unneceſſary.

The Third) however vulgarly miſunderſtood, is capable oſ a rational and uſeſul Meaning;. It is generally ſuppoſed to forbid uſing the Divine Name without a ſuperſtitious Reverence, ſuch as the Jews are known to pay to the Tetragrammaton, which plainly ſhows that this Prohibition was intended principally, Iſ not intirely, ſor them ; which, to us Chriſtians, appears highly abſurd and unreaſonable. ſor it is a certain and inſallible Rule, laid down by a certain celebrated Author, That no other Meaning or Interpretation is to be put upon the Words oſ Scripture, but what is agreeable to the comtnon Rules of ſpeaking upon the like Occajions. Now let any Man, that underſtands the Propriety oſ the English Language, judge what is the plain and obvious Senſe oſ ſaying or doing any thing 'in vain'; it can only mean the doing a Thing to no Purpoſe or to no Advantage. Thus, we ſay, when a Man talks a whole Hour by the Clock, and makes nothing oſ it, and gets nothing by it, that he ſtretches his Lungs and ſpends his Breath in vein. If a Man were to take a long Voyage, and return without any Gain or Advantage to himſelf, he may be juſtly ſaid to have traveled ſo ſar, and laboured ſo much in vain.

This is too plain to need any ſurther Prooſ or Explanation, and gives us a rational and uſeſul Senſe oſ this Commandment, i. e. that we ſhould never make uſe oſ that Holy Name, but to anſwer ſome Purpoſe, to ſerve ſome End, or procure ſome Advantage, ſuch as the qualiſying ourſelves ſor a good Employment, ſupplzvting a Rival, amuſing a ſuſpicious ſriend, or ruining a proſeſled Enemy, by ſolemn Declarations, which we neither believe nor intend to perſorm, or any ſuch-like Caſe, which may poſſibly happen in the Courſe and Buſneſs oſ Liſe.

The ſourth is miſerably perverted ſrom its original Deſign, being generally ſuppoſed to be oſ univerſal Obligation to all Jews and Chriſtians 'to keep holy one Day in ſeven. Whereas it appears at ſirſt Sight to be only a political, good-natured Contrivance in ſavour oſ the laborious Part oſ Mankind, People oſ Quality and ſaſhion have no Concern in it : It was only intended ſor the Canaille, ſor the Scrubs and Drudges oſ Mankind, as appears ſrom the very Letter oſ the Commandment : Six Days Jhalt thou la* bour, and do all that thou hajl to do ; but the ſeventh Day &c. You ſee plainly the Command is directed only to thoſe that labour ſix Days in the Week ; ſor them only is the ſeventh Day appointed to be kept holy, or a Day oſ Reſt ſrom their Labours, which is determined beyond all Contradiction by theſe Words, and do all that tbou hajl to do, which plainly reſtrain it to thoſc only that have ſometbing to do ; they thereſore that have nothing at all to do, are no ways concerned in the Com- mandment. The Caſe is plainly this : They who are obliged to labour ſix Days in the Week, and on each oſ theſe Days \\wtſomething to do, are indulged by this Commandment in having the ſeventh Day allowed them ſor a Day oſ Reſt. They thereſore whoſe eaſy Circumſtances exempt them ſrom the Neceſlity oſ any kind oſ Labour, ſo much as one Day in the Year, who have nothing at all to do but to eat, drink, and ſleep, and divert themſclves, cannot ſairly and confidently be ſuppoſed to have any Concern, or be under any Obligation about it. This appears yet plainer ſrom the common and vulgar Prejudices about the Manner oſ keeping holy this Sabbath-day or Day oſ Reſt j which is to go to Church to ſay their Prayers, to read the Bible and other religious Books. But this would be ſo ſar ſrom making it a Day oſ Reſt and Refreſhment to many People oſ Rank and Quality, that it would rather be the ſevereſt Penance you could impoſe upon them. How barbarous and unieaſonable would it be to expect to ſee People oſ ſaſhion and Diſii notion take as much pains in dre/ſing to appear at Church among a Set oſ miſerable Sinners, as in the beſt Company at the Drawing-Room or the Opera ; and all this only to be told oſ their ſaults, and put in mind oſ their Duty ? What an Impoſition would it be upon People oſ ſigure and Pleaſure to be ſet to con over a Set oſ old-ſaſhioned Prayers wliich they had learnt in the Nurſery, and never thought oſ ſince, or to ſit ſpelling over the Bible or a Book oſ Devotion ſor an Hour .together, which they could better employ at Hazard, Backgammon, or Quadrille, or in a Party oſ Gallantry and Pleaſure. But to put this Matter beyond all doubt : It is plain that this Commandment was intended only ſor the labouring Part oſ Mankind, becauſe you ſind that the Cattle are included in the Indulgence, as well as their Owners or Drivers ; ſor iſ the Beaſts oſ the Earth did not reſt, how ſhould the Beaſts oſ the People ? As the People were commanded to reſt, it was neceſlkry the Cattle mould do ſo too. Iſ the Horſes muſt be put to ſor a Sunday's Journey, John muſt get up and drive, unleſs his Honour or his Worjhip will be ſo humble and ſo good-natured as to drive himſelſ one Day in the Week, and let the Servants go to Church. But aſ- ter all, there is nothing more enjoined or implied in this Commandment, than what common Senſe and Neceſlity could teach us : ſor neither Cattle nor Servants can work always, they muſt oſ neceſſity have ſome reſt ; and thereſore there ſeems to hiive been but little Occalion ſor a Commandment ſrom Heaven in an Aſſair where common Senſe is a ſuſſicient Guide. Upon the whole, theſe ſour ſirſt Commandments ſeem to be oſ very little Conſequence to Mankind ; ſor the Conduct oſ Men oſ Senſe and Taſte ever was, and ever will be, the ſame, as iſ theſe Commandments had been never given.

The fifth Commandment ſeems as unneceſTary as the other ſour, and was plainly calculated ſor the Jews, to ſerve ſome political Purpoſes, as appears plainly ſrom the Promiſe oſ Length oſ Days, or long Enjoyment oſ their new Poſitions, Whereas, among us it is generally a Rule, that Children oſ courſe will honour their Parents, iſ they think they deſerve it i that is, iſ they provide ſor them according to their State and Condition, iſ they indulge and gratiſy ail their juſt and rcaſonable Deſires and Inclinations, iſ they lay no Reitraints upon them, nor teaze their tender Ears with diſagreeable Le&ures about Religion, Temperance, Soberneſs, and Chaſtity, ſuch Parents will be ſure to be honoured by ſuch Children j but thoſe that a& otherwiſe are not like to receive much Honour ſrom their Children in this polite, well-bred Generation though there were ten thouſand Command- ments to enjoin it.

The ſive Injl Commandments lie under a general Prejudice, upon a Suſpicion oſ Corruption and Interpolation. It has been ſuſpecled by ſome very ſagacious Critics, that the negative Particle (not) has by Negligence or Deiign been inſerted into each oſ them, though no direct Prooſ has been yet made oſ the ſraud. The ſirſt Hint that was publicly given oſ this Kind was in an accidental Converſation betwixt the Devil and the late Dr. Tindal, as the Story is merrily told by the Author oſ the Apparition. And a deviliſh unlucky Diſcovery it would prove, iſ the Thing could be ſairly made out, and the Interpolation directly proved. Though, to ſay the Truth, the Suſpicion ſeems to have been much antienter than the aſoreſaid Converſation ; ſor we are told, that in the Reign oſ King Charles the ſirſt, ſome bold Printer had the Courage to leave out the ſuſpicious Particle only in one oſ the Commandments, to ſeel the Pulſe oſ the People, and ſee whether they were ripe ſor further Diſcoveries, and a tho- rough Reſormation j and that accordingly in a ne\tſ Edition oſ the Liturgy, the ſeventh Commandment was printed thus, Tſwu Jhalt commit Adultery. But as the poor Devil happened to live in evil Days oſ Biggotry and Superſtition, under a grave ſormal Prince, and an old, ſour, moroſe Archbiſtiop, who had no more Taſte oſ Gallantry than Criticiſm, he was ſeverely ſwinged, and the whole Impreſlion called in, to the great Diſcouragement oſ all Attempts oſ that kind ſor the ſuture. Though in the merry Reign and Court oſ his moſl religious and gracious Son, the clever polite People oſ both Sexes ſeemed ſo well ſatisſied with the new Reading, that they thought it an excellent Emendation, and directed their Conduct accor- dingly. And I cannot but hope that conſidering the great Encouragement that is now publicly given ſor ſree Debate and Inquiry into theſe and ſuch-like ſuperſtitious frauds, we mall ſoon ſee this dark Aſſair ſet in a true Light, and perhaps it may be thought worth while to give public Encouragement to the Learned to bend their Thoughts this Way, by propoſing a competent Reward to any that mall be able to make and publiſh a ſull Diſcovery oſ this Corruption and Interpolation, as it would contribute to the Quieting oſ many Conſerences, and promoting and eſtabliming an unbounded Liberty in Thought, Word, and Deed. However, till ſuch Diſcovery can be made, let us ſuppoſe the preſent Reading to be genuine, and then conſider them in their natural Meaning, without thoſe unreaſonable Interpretations which Prejudice and Cuſlom ſeem to have ſixed upon them.

The Sixth Commandment could never be intended as an abſolute Prohibition not to take away the Liſe oſ another ; it only ſorbids that clumſy butcherly way oſ Murdering, made uſe oſ by the vileſt and meaneſt Part oſ Mankind : Whereas People oſ Rank and Diſtin&ion, who kill in an honourable gentleman-like way, are iio ways concerned in this Commandment, or aſſected by it. This is ſo agreeable to the natural Senſe oſ Mankind, that the very ſame Action may be criminal in one Man, and not in another. Iſ one Scoundrel happen to kill another, it is truly and properly called Murder - but iſ a Man oſ Rank and ſigure happen to kill a Domeſtic or Inſerior, with or without Provocation, or even an Equal, in an honourable way, it alters both the Name and Nature oſ the Crime, and becomes no more than Manſlaughter : And the Gentlemen oſ the Sword, who happen to kill their Man in a genteel Way, are no more guilty oſ Murder, than an honed peaceable Citizen, that kills a ſly or a Spider, or ſwallows an Oyſter alive.

The Seventh Commandment is moſt certainly to be underſtood with the ſame Reſtri&ions and Limitations as the Sixth, and could only be meant to reſtrain little People within ſuch Bounds as are abſolutely neceſſary ſor their Rank and Station in Liſe. ſor iſ Tradeſmen, Artiſicers, and Labourers mould take it in their Heads to turn ſine Gentlemen, and prtend to mimic their Betters, mould they neglect the Care oſ their Shops and Employments in queſt oſ Gallantries, it muſt end in an abſolute Decay oſ Trade, Negled oſ Buſmeſs, and the Ruin oſ many poor ſamilies, and bring an unſupportable Burden upon the Public. Beſides, as Aſſairs oſ this kind are not to be transacted without very great Expence, Addreſs, and Application, it cannot be ſuppoſed that People oſ mean Birth, low Education, and ſmall ſortunes, can ever manage them in ſo polite and genteel a way as to avoid Diſcovery and Scandal, or carry it oſſ with that intrepid AſTurance as is abſolutely neceſſary ſor People in ſuch delicate Circumſtances. But then this cannot be ſuppoſed to aſſect People of ſuperior ſortune and Quality, who have ſo much Time and Money upon their Hands, that they ſcarce know how to employ it otherwiſe. Now iſ a Man oſ Quality ſhould condeſcend ſo low as to beſtow the Exuberancy oſ his Blood and ſortune in relieving the Neceſlities oſ ſome pretty Neighbour ; ſhould he beſtow a Daſh oſ this noble Blood upon a deſending plebean ſamily, and pay well into the Bargain, it ought to be conſidered as an Honour, as well as an Advantage, to the above-ſaid ſamily, and as a way oſ mending the Blood and ſortune, iſ not the Morals, oſ the next Generation. And as People oſ Rank and Condition are exempt ſrom the Obligation oſ this Precept, ſo, by an Argument a ſortiori , are Legtſlators and Governors oſ every ſort and kind, who are preſumed oſ courſe to be the beſt Judges oſ the Duty and Neceſſity oſ their Subjects, and are accountable to nobody but themſelves.

The Eighth Commandment is certainly to be underſtood with the ſame Reſtrictions and Limitation? which is directly employed in the very Letter oſ the Precept, Thou Jhalt notſteal. Stealing we all know is the molt pitiſul ſcoundrel Act oſ Infrauding one's Neighbour. Every Seſlions-paper ſhews you with what Contempt and Deteſtation thoſe poor Dogs are treated ſor ſtealtng three Silver Spoons, the Property eſ G. IV. Inholder, Value one Pound ten Shillings - a Pair oſ Breeches, and two Shirts, the Property of L. C. Labourer, Value ſix Shillings ; ſour Sheep, the Property oſ M. C. Eſq; Value three Pounds ſixteen Shillings ; not to mention the Heroes oſ this Cluſs, the Horſe-ſtealers, who are tucked up every Aſlizes without Mercy or Pity. But this can by no means bs thought to extend to the numberleſs Arts and Branches oſ Indulhy and Policy, by which People oſ Rank and Diſtinction increaſe their ſortunes, and ſupport their State and ſigure in the World -, this would be an eſſectual way oſ cutting all the Nerves oſ Induſtry at one Stroke, a ſatal Check to all the Myſteries oſ Trade and Commerce, and an abſolutq Diſcouragement to all ſorts oſ Jobbers, Gameſters, ſortune-hunters, and Jockeys, who are the Directors and Managers oſ all our Parries oſ Buſmeſs and Diyerſion ; and would be an inſuſſerable Reſlection upon the Memory oſ ſome oſ the greateſt Men in all Ages, whole Names are tranſmitted to Poſrerity under trig glorious Titles oſ illuſtrious Conquerors, able Miniſters, cunning Stateſmen, and conſummate Politicians.


The Ninth Commandment I think as little liable to Exception as any oſ them ; but yet I cannot think it amiſs iſ it were a little qualiſied by two or three Exceptions in ſavour oſ public Miniſters, Courts oſ Juſtice, and Tea-tables. There are many weighty and political Reaſons ſor indulging public Miniſttrs in certain Deviations ſrom Truth, which however criminal they may appear in private Perſons, are, in thoſe public Stations, expedient and neceſlary. Sir Harry Wctton^ who was himſelſ a ſoreign AmbaſTador, has long ago declared, that lying dextrouſly and cunningly, and with a good Intention, is the chieſ Buſineſs oſ ſuch Miniſters : And thereſore has given us the Deſinition oſ an Ambaſſador' in theſe Terms, Legatus eſt vtr bonus, peregrl rmj/us ad mentlmdum reipublics cauſtJj i. e. An Ambaſſador is an honeſt Man ſent to lye abroad ſor the Good oſ his Country. And whatever Reaſons can be oſſered in Vindication oſ Ambaſſadors ſor lying abroad, may, with equal Juſtice, be pleaded ſor thoſe Miniſters who are lying at home ſor the ſame good and laudable Purpoſes.

So alſo the tedious Delays oſ Juſtice, eſpecially in Chancery Suits, are ſo notorious to the whole Nation, that it has oſten been ſound, that, by the long Continuance oſ the Suit, he that gets a Decree in his ſavour, is oſten undone beſore he can obtain it. Now where would be the Hurt, iſ ſbme good-natured Perſon, in mere Compaſlion to both the Suitor?, ſhould, by an oſſicious ſalſhood, determine the IſTue oſ the Cauſe, and ſhorten the Suit, to the maniſeſt Advantage oſ them both \ Never tell me that the Action is in itſelſ unjuſt and ſinſuJ. I deny it. The Action is not malum inſe; any more than giving a Coup de grace to a dying Criminal, which puts him out oſ his Pain. And though the giving ſuch a mortal Stroke to an innocent uncondemned Perſon would be highly cruel, barbarous, and wicked ; yet it is an Acl: oſ Mercy and Charity to the expiring Maleſactor.

And as to our Tea-tables, it is well known that Scandal, which is one Species oſ ſal;e Vrirneſs, is the Liſe oſ thoſe little polite Aſlcmblics ; and iſ they were conſined to utter nothing but ſtrict Truth, there would be an End oſ all Converſation, and the prettied Orators in the Circle would grow as dull as a WatchLight, and as inſipid as an old Almanack ; and, aſter all, where is the Hurt oſ making an ingenious Story, or an embroidering and embelliming a real ſact, where the Deſign is only to divert and inſtrudt the Company ? Inventers oſ ſables have always been ranked among the wiſe Men and Philoſophers oſ antient Times, nor has it ever been objected to any oſ the wiſe Antients or Moderns, that they have made Beaſts and Birds, Trees and ſlowers, talk like Men oſ Senſe, ſor the Correction and Inſtruction oſ their Betters.

The Tenth Commandment , aſter all that has been ſaid about the reſt, ſeems perſectly needleſs and ſuperſluous, and commands direct Impoſiibilities. ſor ſhew me the Man that is tied ſor Liſe to an ill-natured, ſour, proud, diſagreeable Rib, who would not wiſh to make an Exchange ſor the chcarſul, good-natured, agreeable Spouſe oſ his Neighbour ? Who would not wiſh to change his own old, inconvenient, ruinous Houſe, ſor a new and convenient one oſ his Neighbour's ? So that a Prohibition oſ this kind is a direct Contradiction to the very Law and Light oſ Nature, which muſt, in all Caſes, be conſulted and obeyed, as the inſallible Rule oſ our moral and religious Condud.

The Premiſes tenderly conſidercd, we cannot but hope that care will be taken ſo to explain, amend, or repeal theſe obſolete Statutes, that they may no longer give Qjſſence to People oſ Rank, Diilin&ion, and ſigure, in Purſuit oſ their Intereſt or Pleaſurea.

But iſ it ſliall be thought ſit, by theWiſdom oſ our Superiors, to continue them ſtill in ſorce, it may be with ſuch Reſtrictions and Limitations, as not to extend to any but the low uneducated Part oſ Mankind, who have neither Senſe, nor Reaſon, nor Politeneſs enough to govern and conduct themſelves. And, iſ I may be allowed the ſurther Liberty oſ giving my Opinion and Advice in the preſent Caſe, J beg leave to propoſe certain Heads oſ a Bill to be offered to the Houſe upon a proper Occaſlon, as ſol- lows :

THAT whereas a certain immemorial ſuperſtitious Practice has prevailed in theſe Nations, ſor certain old Women oſ both Sexes, ſuch as Grandmothers, Nurſes, Maiden Aunts, School-dames, and Parſons, to teach and inſtrudt the Children even oſ Proteſtant Parents in certain antient Jewish Laws, commqnly called Tlje Ten Commandments ; which ſaid ſuperſtitious Practice, notwithſtanding the many Attempts which, ſrom time to time, have been made by certain judicious and well-meaning Perſons towards a thorough Reſormation, ſtill ſubſiſts among us, in Deſiance oſ all the natural and religious Rights and Privileges oſ a ſree Proteſtant People; it has been long thought, by all true Lovers oſ Liberty, to be almoſt an inſupportable Burden, who thereſore wiſh and hope to be relieved ſrom it by a proper Authority. But whereas the old Jewiſa Laws and Precepts have been, by the Ignorance and Superſtition oſ our ſoreſathers, unhappily incorporated in the Laws oſ our Country, and made a Part oſ our legal Conſtitution, and cannot, without the Appearance oſ Diſſiculty and Danger, be intirely repealed ; it is thereſore thought proper ſo to limit and explain their Meaning and Obligation, as in a great meaſure to prevent the ſeveral Hardſhips and Inconveniences ariſing ſrom the miſtaken Notions and Prejudices about them. And whereas it is now univerſally agreed and conſeſTed, that the Good oſ Society, and the civil Intereſts oſ Mankind, are the ſole ſoundation, Rule, and Meaſure oſ all religious Inſtituttons, and that nothing ought to be deemed to be oſ religious Obligation, but ſo far as it contributes to that important End. And whereas it appears ſrom the concurrent Teſtimony oſ all Ages, that there have been great Princes, mighty Conquerors, able Miniſlers, cunning Politicians, gallant Commanders, eminent Lawyers, wiſe Magiſrrates, ſldlſul Phyſicians, and eloquent Preachers, who had either never received, or utterly renounced, theſe popular Superſtitions, and acted with an apparent Contempt oſ all Obligations vulgarly ſuppoſcd to ariſe ſrom them ; we are thence induced to believe, that the ſollowing Explanation and Limitations oſ the ſaid Precepts will be oſ Angular L T ſe and Beneſit to the Subjects oſ this Realm, the Eaſe oſ tender Conſciences, and the natural and religious Liberties oſ all his Majeſty's loving Subjects.


The ſirſt Commandment is a maniſeſt Impoſition upon the natural Rights and Liberties oſ Mankind. It is conſeſicd on all hands, that every tnie ſree-born Proteſtant has a Right to judge ſreely oſ all Articles oſ Religion that mall be propoſed ſor his Relieſ or Practice, and to determine according to the Kind or Degree oſ Evidence that may be oſſered him; but to a Man may ſee no more Evidence ſor one than ſor ſive hundred, or none at all, it will be an extreme Hardſhip to require oſ him any Belieſ or Practice, which he, upon the beſt Evidence, mall judge unreaſonable.

The Second is quite an unneceſlary Commandment; ſor iſ a Man ſees no Evidence oſ a Subſtance, he will be little concerned about the Shadow: And ſor a Man oſ Senſe to be ſolicitous about the Picture, Image, or Statue oſ a Perſon in nubibus, which he has no Reaſon to believe ever did or could exiſt in rerum natura, is a Suppoſition too groſs to be admitted.

Be it thereſore enacted, &c. That, from and after the Day oſ next enſuing, no Perſon or Perſons may preſume to declare, aſſirm, or teach, by Word, or Writing, that theſe two Commandments are, in their own Nature, oſ univerſal Obligation to all Sorts oſ People ; but ſhall freely own, teach, and declare, that they are Points oſ mere Speculation, oſ an indiſſerent Nature, oſ which every true Proteſtant has Liberty to judge, pronounce, and pracliſe according to the beſt Light and Evidence that he or me ſhall have, and no otherwiſe.

The Third Commandment however intended ſor the Good and Beneſit oſ Society, in which the Good and Beneſit oſ every particular Member oſ the ſaid Society is neceſſarily included, has been perverted to certain ſnpecſtitious Uſes and Purpoſes, as iſ there were an inherent ſjolineſs in the Sound oſ that Namc^ and the very Letters that compoſe it j ſo as that it ought never to be mentioned but on certain ſolemn and ſigniſicant Occaſions, ſuch as Prayers, Benedictions, tſſ. and with certain Marks and Tokens oſ Reverence and Devotion, which are no ways ex-. preſled or implied in the Letter oſ the ſaid Commandment, as interpreted by the beſt Critics and Commentators. One oſ theſe, a celebrated Writer, a great Critic, and an excellent Caſuiſt, has laid dowti an inſallible Rule oſ Interpretation in his matchleſs Book called, A plain Account oſ the Sacrament oſ the Lord's Supper *, That no other Meaning or Interpretation is to be put upon the Words oſ Scripture^ but j'uch as is agreeable to the common Rules oſ Speaking upm the like Occaſions. Now the E^preſlion oſ ſaying or doing a thing in vain, is ſo plain and obvious, that no Man, even oſ common Senſe, can miihike it. It always does, and can, ſigniſy no more nor no leſs, than the doing or ſaying a thing to no Purpoſe, to no Advantage, to ierve no Intercſt, or procure no Good to the Perſon that does or ſays it, or to his ſamily, ſriends, and Dependents ; and can never include thoſe who never uſe that Name, but with ſorqe direct Proſpec"t oſ Interelt and Advantage to themſelves, which (according to the ſundamental Rule beſore laid .down) is neceſiarily included in the Intereſt oſ the Public, and conſequently inſeparable ſrom it. So then he cannot be ſaid to take that Name in vain, who makes uſe oſ it by way oſ Oath, Promiſe, Aſſirmation, Negation, Declaration, or Aſi'irtiou oſ any ſort or kind, as a Qualiſication or Means oſ obtaining any honourable or gainſul Poſt, Oſſice, or Employment, Eccleſiaſtical, Military, or Civil ; or who makes uſe oſ it to ſupplant a Rival, amuſe a ſuſpicious ſriend, or ruin a proſeſled Enemy.

Be it thereſore enacted, that iſ there be any I\-i ion pr Perſons ſo weak and ſuperſtitiou -, .io to underſtand and practiſe this Commandment according to the vulgar Prejudices, it mall be lawſul ſor him or her to think and a<5t accordingly, without any Let, Hindrance, or Moleſtation ſrom any Perſon orPerſons whatsoever; but that the true and ^genuine Senſe and Meaning oſ the ſaid Commandment be declared to be as is above ſully recited and explained.

The ſourth Commandment, however particularly calculated and intended ſor the Eaſe and Beneſit oſ the lower Part oſ Mankind, has been notoriouſly per- verted and abuſed,to the great Detriment and Annoy- ance oſ ſeveral excellent and well-diſpoſed Perſons, who have, by certain weak and ſuperſtitious Prejudices, been diverted ſrom attending to the neceſiary Calls oſ Buſineſs and Pleaſure, and ſuſtered themſelves to be crouded up ſor ſeveral ſlours together in the Heat oſ Summer in a greazy Congregation oſ milerable Sin- ners, which they could have ſpent more agreeably with a Set oſ ſelecl ſriends in a ihady Garden, or a cool Arbour - y and to ſit ſtarving and ſreezing in the inidſt oſ Winter, when a good ſire, or a warm Bed, would have done them quite as much Good, and been much more agreeable. Whereas the Letter oſ die Commandment ſhews it plainly to be intended only ſor the Eaſe and Beneſit oſ the laborious Part oſ Mankind, who are obliged to labour ſix Days in the Week, and Jo all that they have to do ; which plainly ſhews, that they who never labour, and have nothing at all to do, are no way concerned in this Command- ment.

Be it thereſore enacted, That ſrom and aſter the Day oſ no Perſon or Perſons ſhall preſume to teach or declare, either by Word or Writing, that this ſourth Commandment is equally and indiſſerently binding and obliging to all ſorts oſ Perſons, oſ what Rank or Quality ſoever. but to ſuc^ 1 , and ſuch only, as arc herein aſter ſpeciſied, declared, and expreſlſed ; that is to ſay, all Day-labourers, ſarmers and their Servants, Artiſicers and Tradeſmen, who being neccſTarily obliged to attend the Buſineſs oſ their ſeveral Proſeſſions ſix Days in the Week, ought to reſt ſrom their ſeveral Labours on the ſeventh Day ; but that the Obligation does not extend to People oſ the higheſt Rank and Condition, nor to any Gentle- man who can ſupport the Dignity oſ his Perſon and ſamily without any Labour or Buſtneſs whatſoever, ſo as to make it neceſiary ſor him to come to Church, or ſpend the Day in Prayer and Devotion with his ſa- mily at home ; except where the great Men oſ the Pariſh happens to be the Impropriator oſ the Reſlorr, and enjoys the Whole, or any Part oſ the great Tythes ; ſor it is hereby expreſsly provided, that every ſuch Impropriator mall be bound to attend the Service oſ the Church, with as many oſ his ſamily as can be ſpared, every ſirſt Sunday in the Month, as an Acknowledgment that they hold and enjoy the ſaid Tythes, by a ſort oſ religious Tenure, as a kind oſ Eccleſiaſtical ſee ; and that upon Deſault by Non- attendance, the ſaid great Tythes ſhall immediately revert to tſie Church, and be annexed to the Vicarage ſor ever. And whereas it may poſlibly happen, that certain Eccleſiaſtical Perſons may imagine themselves intitled to the Beneſit oſ this Adt, as Perſons that are obliged to no ſort oſ Labour, that have no manner or kind oſ thing to do ſor the above-ſaid ſix Days oſ the Week j it is hereby expreſsly provided and declared", That they lhall attend at leaſt, iſ not perſorm, the ^Service oſ the Church, every Sunday Morning ; unleſs prevented by any neceſſary and allowable Impediment, oſ which themſelves ſhall be the ſole Judges. And whereas a ſurther Doubt may hereaſter ariſe, how ſar the Domeſtics oſ noble ſamilies, and others excepted out oſ this Act, may be aſſe&ed by it, it is hereby expreſsly declared and provided,That the Chaplain (iſ there be any) and all the other Servants out oſ Livery, with my Lady's Woman, and her Gentle- women ſellow-Servants, are to be conſidered in a diſtinct Capacity, being a ſort oſ Mixta Perſonee^ as People not quite idle, nor quite employed, as People that may be ſaid to have ſome ſort oſ Labour, though not to take much Pains j who may be ſaid to have ſomething to do, though not a great deal, nor to any great Purpoſe. The Chaplain, thereſore, iſ it appears that he perſorms no EccleſiaſKcal Oſſice, ſuch as reading; Prayers, or ſaying Grace in the ſamily, ſhall be obliged to attend the Service oſ the Pariſh-Church every Sunday Morning, with as many oſ the better Sort oſ Servants as can be ſpared ſrom the Service oſ the ſamily ; but that the Matters and Heads oſ theſe ſamilies, and all other Perſbns above-mentioned and qualiſied as this Act directs, are, and (hall be, at ſull Liberty to ſpend that Day in Traveling, Parties oſ Pleaſure, Smoking, Drinking, Gaming, Walking, or Sleeping, as he or (he (hall think ſit, without being accountable to any Perſon or Perſons whatſoever ſor ſo doing ; which we cannot help thinking to be a juſt and reaſbnable Indulgence to People oſ Rank and ſigure, that they may be diſtinguiſhed ſrom their In- ſeriors, who are deſigned ſor nothing higher than the Service oſ God, and their Superiors.

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The ſiſth Commandment ſeems to be a Precept oſ a very indiſſerent Nature ; ſor as, it is ceitain that no Children oſ tolerable Senſe or good Manners, would leſuſe to pay due Honour and Reſpecl to ſuch Parents as (hall appear to deſervc it ; ſo it is as certain that they neither will nor can to thoſe that do not. Which neceſſarily implies a Duty in all Parents ſo to behave towards their Children, as to deſerve that Honour ſrom them, which this Commandment obliges them to pay j and what are the Terms oſ this mutual Obligation, Nature itſelſ Jeems to determine. The State and Condition oſ young People requires that they ſhould dreſs, converſe, and behave in ſuch a manner, as to mine in all public Aſlemblies, and diſlinguiſh themſelves by an apparent Superiority oſ ſigure, Dreſs, and Equipage, agreeable to the Superiority oſ their Birth, ſortune, or Expectation : On the other hand, the State and Condition oſ Parents, ?'. e. oſ, Old Men and eld Women^ require nothing but the mere wholſome and cleanly Neceſlaries oſ Liſe ; that they, who are, or ought to be, oſ courſc excluded ſrom the gay Meetings and polite Aſlemblies oſ the ſair, the Witty, and the Young, where they only ſerve to ſpoil Sport, to damp the Mirth, and lay a Reſtraint upon the ſrolics oſ the good Company, have really no Occaſion ſor any thing, but warm Cloathing and comſortable nouriming ſood, Soups, Broths, and Jellies, good ſires, warm Beds, and a ſew Religious Books j Nature itſelſ dictates that they ſhould betimes reſign to the Heirs oſ their Bodies thoſe Superſluities oſ ſortune, which they neither want, nor know how to enjoy with Reliſh or Decency.

Be it thereſore enaſted , That iſ any ſather or Mother are bleſled with any IſTue Male or ſemale, who are arrived at the proper Age oſ Deſire and Diſcretion, warm Inclinations and good Underſtandings, who are too big to be corrected, and too wiſe to be taught, that is to ſay, Sons that have attained to the ſull Age oſ ſeventeen or eighteen at the moſt, and Daughters to the Age oſ Thirteen or ſourteen at the moſtj That the ſaid ſathers and Mothers oſ ſuch Children ſhall ſorthwith reſign to the ſaid Heirs oſ their Bodies, all that Superſluity oſ ſortune, which their ſaid Heirs ſhall judge reaſonable and convenient ſor themſelvcs, and anneceſTary and burdenſome to their ſaid Parents. Which reaſonable Condition, iſ their ſaid Parents ſhall reſuſe to comply with, they ſhall be taught by their ſaid Children, who are reaſonably preſumed to be better Judges than themſelves, the Abſurdity and Injuſtice oſ ſuch their Conduct and Behaviour toward their own Oſſspring, by that negligent and contemptuous Treatment as ſuch Parents may be reaſonably preſumed to deſerve ſrom any ſenſible, polite, well-bred Children. But iſ any Parents ſhall be ſound ſo diſcreet and indulgent as ſreely and chearſully to reſign all ſuch unneceſTary Superſluity oſ Eſſates, Jointures, Settlements, Penſions, or Payments whatſoever, ſor the Behooſ and Beneſit oſ their ſaid hopeſul Progeny, that they ſhall ſrom thenceſorth be mtitled to all that Honour, Reſpecl, and Eſreem, which they may be juſtly and reaſonably preſumed to deſerve, according to the ſull Intent and Meaning oſ this Commandment.

The Sixth Commandment, though capable oſ a very ſober and rational Meaning, has been, like the reſt, iniſerably perverted by a Set oſ cowardly low-ſpirited ſuperſtitious Expoſitors, who make it criminal even in Men oſ Spirit and Quality to do Juſtice to themſelves and their Characters, by puniſhing the ill Manners oſ any little dirty Poltron that mail preſume to aſſront them, by running him through the Body, beating out his Brains, or any other ſuch Ways and Means as have in all Ages been thought rcaſonable and reputable, to ſccure the Regard due to their Rank and ſortune, and chaſtiſe the Inſolence oſ their Inſeriors. Whereas it is generally preſumed, that this Commandment was only intended to teach the lower and uneducated Part oſ Mankind to be quiet and peaceable in their Behaviour, not to be quarrelſome in their Cups, not to oſſer any outragious Acts oſ Violence to the Diſturbance oſ their Betters in any polite Aſlembly, where the Little Vulgar are too apt to mingle with the Great; as at Horſe-Races, Bull-baitings, Country ſairs, Wakes, ſeaſls, and Revels, by killing or murdering one another, in a rude, clumſy, paſſionate, butcherly Way.

Be it thereſore enacted, That iſ any Perſon, below the Degree oſ a Gent, bearing Coat-Armour ſor three Deſcents, oſ which undoubted Prooſ mull be produced out oſ the Heralds Oſſice, under the Seal and Sign-Manual oſ King at Arms, (hall preſume to kill or demoliſh any oſ his ſellow- Subjects, upon any Sort or Kind oſ Provocation whatſoever, it ſhall be deemed a Violation oſ this Ccmihar.dnunt, and he (hull be eſleemed guilty oſ Murder. But iſ any Nobleman or Gentleman, qualiſied as above directed, mall exerciſe the ſame Act oſ Violence upon any Equal or Inſerior, upon any juſt and reaſonable Provocation, oſ which he himſelſ ſhall be the proper Judge, it ſhall be conſidered only as Manjlaughter ; and that it be an Inſtruction to all Coroners, to give it in Charge to their ſeveral Inqueſts to bring in their Verdicts accordingly With a ſaving Clauſe, in ſavour oſ all Oſſicers oſ the Army, who, being by their Proſeſſion, Gentlemen oſ Blood, ſhall not be obliged to produce ſuch Certiſicates ſrom the Heralds Oſſice, as are above mentioned and required i but that a Regimental Coat, and a laced Hat and Cockade, ſhall be to all Intents and Purpoſes, equivalent to ſuch Certiſicates and Teſtimonials required to be produced by others. Always provided, that this Clauſe, in ſavour oſ the military Gentlemen ſhall, by no means, be extended to the Oſſicers oſ the Militia, who being a Kind oſ Mixtce. Perſona^ halſ civil and halſ military, are not obliged to look ſierce, or appear terrible, to their peaceable Neighbours, but upon the ſield oſ Muſter, or on a Day oſ Engagement in TotUll- ſields^ or any adjacent Plain or ſield oſ Battle, or upon being interrupted in their March through the narrow Streets and Lanes oſ this City, by ſaucy Draymen, Hackney-Coachmen, or ſuch like Impediments ; Iſ, on the Over- ſlowings oſ their martial ſury, - on ſuch Provocations, they ſhall take it in their Heads to kill. either Man or Beaſt, they ſhall, ſo ſoon as they are diverted oſ their regimental Terrors and Accoutrements, and ſettled in their civil State oſ Trade and Tranquillity, be liable to the ſame Sentence oſ Guilt and Puniſhment, as any other oſ their civil and peaceable ſellow-Subjects.

The Seventh Commandment, like the reſt, could be only intended to ſecure and promote the Good oſ the Public, by preſerring the Order oſ Society, and diſcouraging Luxury and Idleneſs among the lower Part oſ the People, who alone need or require ſuch Reſtraints to be laid upon them, as not having Senſe, Taſte, or Politencſs enough, to direct and govern themſelves. Should ſuch People as theſe, give themſelves up to Intrigues and Gallantries, the neceſſary Expence, Application, and Addreſs, that ſuch Aſſairs require, would have as ſatal an Inſluence upon the Welſare oſ the Nation, as ſuſſering unqualiſied Perſons to poach and deſtroy the Game. And, indeed, to ſay the Truth, it is the Opinion oſ my worthy ſriend, Mr. Serjeant ſribble, that this Caſe comes directly within the Game-Aſt. He aſlerts, that all theſe IVJwt d'ye call ' ems , arc certainly ſera nature?, however tame and tractable they may, on proper Occaſtons, appear to their Keepers. And mould the induſtrious and laborious Part oſ the People be per- mitted to interſere with their Betters in theſe Diververſions, it would tend to impoverilh the induſtrious and laborious Part oſ their People, by diverting them ſrom their proper Employments, would be greatly detrimental to our Trade and Manuſacture, ruin many ſamilies, and increaſe the Number oſ our Poor, ſo as to be an inſupportable Burden to the Landed Intereſt oſ this Nation. But this ought, by no Means, to be extended to People oſ ſigure and ſortune, whoſe Exuberancy oſ Blood and Riches may require ſuch Expedients to reduce them to a ſober Degree oſ Mediocrity and Coolneſs j much leſs can U be ſuppoſed to aſſect our Governors and Superiors in Church or State, who, by the Nature oſ their ſeveral Oſſices, are preſumed to be the proper Judges oſ their own or their People's Neceilities, and are obliged to provide ſor both.

Be it thereſore enacted, &V. That iſ, ſrom and aſter the Day oſ next enſuing, any Labourer, Servant, Artiſicer, or Xradeſinan, or any Perſon under the Degree oſ a Gentleman, qualiſied as above directed, ſhall wantonly and unadviſedly ſo ſar negleil the proper Buſmeſs oſ his Proſeſſion, and the Care oſ his ſamily, as to enter into any Intrigues or ſamiliarities with any other Woman, than Law and Cuſtom ſhall allow ; that is to ſay, any married Man with any Woman, except his own lawſul Wiſe ; or any unmarried Man, with the lawſul Wiſe oſ any other Man ; he ſhall be deemed guilty oſ the Breach oſ this Commandment. But it is hereby declared, that this Commandment does, by no means, extend to People oſ ſortune, Rank, and Quality, who may condeſcend ſo low as to beſtow the Redundancy oſ their Blood and ſortune to the ennobling the Breed, relieving the Neceſlities, and raiſing the ſortune, oſ a clever, deſerving, plebean ſamily, or the giving and receiving mutual Marks oſ warm Benevolence and Aſſection to their Equals or Superiors j eſpecially iſ, by ſuch Engraſtment or Inoculation, the Breed ſhould happen to be mended, and a booby ſamily, that have been Blockheads ever ſince the Conqueſt, mould viſibly and apparently improve into a Race oſ Wits, Smarts, and clever ſellows ; but more eſpecially, iſ Matters can be ſq managed, that the Huſband can, upon a valuable Conſideration, be brought to conſent to this Method oſ improving the Genius and ſortune oſ his ſamily, it being a Maxim oſ Law and common Senſe, that Volenti non ſit injuria.

The Eighth Commandment appears plainly, by the very Letter oſ it, to be intended purely to diſcourage thoſe mean, pitiſul, ſniveling Rogues, that, in a ſar cret cowardly Way, cheat and deſraud their Neighbours j ſuch as Robbers oſ Hen-rooſts and Orchards, Sheep-ſtealers, Horſe-ſtealers, Shop-liſters, and Pickpockets j but can, by no means, be ſuppoſed to aſſect the open, generous, undiſguiſed Methods, by which Men oſ Genius and Penetration increaſe their ſortunes, and ſupport their Rank and ſigure in the World ; it could never be intended ſor Men oſ Parts and Induſtry, who are the great Supports oſ Civil Society ; it could never be ſuppoſed to condemn the improving thoſe Advantages, which Men oſ ſuperior Abilities in the ſeveral States and Proſe/ſions oſ Liſe, have always thought themſelves intitled to, ſrom the lazy, indolent, undiſcerning, booby Part oſ Mankind, who want Talents to preſerve or enjoy thoſe Superſluities oſ ſortune, which Men oſ ſuperior Genius want and deſerve. Much leſs can it be ſuppoſed to aſſect thoſe who have the good ſortune to be the Directors and Governors oſ great ſamilies, Provinces, or Kingdoms, who have an undoubted Right to all ſuch Emoluments, Proſits, and Advantages which they {hall think ſit and reaſonable, to reward the Labour, Attention, and Time, which they are ſorced to employ in the Diſcharge oſ their ſeveral Oſſices and Employments, ſor the Good oſ the Public.

Be it thereſore enabled, &c. That iſ ſrom and aſter the Day oſ next enſuing, any

little pitiſul Rogue {hall be ſound ſilching, ſtealing, or ſeloniouſly purloining any Sum or Sums oſ Money, any Piece or Parcel oſ Goods, cither dead or alive, whether Apples, Pears, Eggs, Poultry, Meat, Drink, or Wearing Apparel, Linen or Woollen Cloth, Sheep, Horſes, or Oxen, ſans, Gloves, Ribbons, or Pins, or any Piece or Parcel oſ Goods whatſoever, not exceeding the Value oſ ten Pounds'": Every ſuch little Raſcal ſo detected ſhall be deemed guilty oſ the Breach oſ this Commandment. But it is at the ſame time expreſsly provided and declared, That this ſhall not be conſtrued to extend to People oſ higher Stations oſ Liſe, nor to thoſe greater Articles oſ Loſs or Gain which may chance to be in diſpute between them, eſpecially to the ſeveral Ranks and Degrees oſ illuſtrious Perſons commonly called, and known in all polite AſTembles, by the honourable Title oſ The Knights oſ the Induſtry. Nor ſhall it extend to thoſe whoſe ſuperior Skill in the Myſteries oſ the Law, Trade, Commerce, or ^Change-Alley^ (hall enable them to raiſe Eſtates out oſ the ſollies and Superſluities oſ their Clients, Dealers, ſriends, or Correſpondents, becauſe they are thereby ſerving and promoting the Good oſ Society, by tranſſerring a Property in Lands, Goods, or Chattels ſrom the lazy, ſtupid, worthleſs Part oſ Mankind, who know not how to uſe, preſerve, and enjoy them, and making them circulate ſor ſome time, till at laſt they ſettle in the Poſleſſion oſ ſome notable clever ſellow, whoſe Poſterity may come to be the Ornaments and Supports oſ their Country ! Mch leſs ought it to extend to thoſe, who having the ſecret Management and Direction oſ any Great ſamily, Company, Society, Membly, Poſt, Oſſice or Oſſices within theſe Realms, {hall ſecure to themſelves ſuch Emoluments, Salaries, Grants, Penſions, Proſits, and Advantages, as have been always deemed the juſt and reaſonable Perquiſites oſ their ſevcral Ports and Oſſices, and which the ſenſible and judicious Part oſ Mankind, who have been in the Secret oſ their Aſſairs can ſcarce think to be a proper and ſuſſicient Reward ſor all the Labour, the Vigilance, the Attention, the Application, and Integrity they have exerted in the Courſe oſ a long Adminiſtration.

The Ninth Commandmcrt ſeems, upon a general View, to be a very juſt and reaſonable Injunction, ſor ſecuring the Credit, Reputation, Peace, and Welſare oſ private Perſons, ſamilies, and Societies, by diſcouraging and ſorbidding all ſalſe Evidence, malicious Lyes, abuſive Stories, and injurious ſictions, that may tend to the Obſtruction oſ Juſtice, the Prejudice oſ any Man's ſortune, the Rujn oſ his Credit, and the Loſs oſ his Character j but it is thought reaſonable and adviſable to qualiſy this general Prohibition by three Salvo's or Exceptions in ſavour oſ public Miniſters, Courts oſ Juſtice, and Teatables.

Be it thereſore enacted, That ſrom and aſter the Day oſ next enſuing, no Per-

ſon or Perſons ſliall preſume to bear ſalſe Witneſs, or give ſalſe Evidence, beſore any oſ his Majeſty's Juſtices oſ the Peace, either in their Petty, or Quarter-Seſlions, in any Cauſe or Matter whatsoever, to the Obſtruclion or Delay oſ Juſtice, to the Prejudice oſ any Party, to the ſeveral Suits that may, ſrom time to time, be brought beſore them. Nor (hall it be lawſul ſor any Perſon or Perſons to contrive, utter, or publiſh malicious Lyes, oſſicious ſalſhoods, or unjuſt Reſlections, upon any Perſon or Perſons, to the Prejudice oſ their Credit, the Loſs oſ their Characters, the Grieſ and Diſquiet oſ their Minds, or any other Kind or Degree oſ Loſs or Suſſering whatſoever, ſaving and excepting ſuch Perſons and Caſes as are herein aſter excepted. That is to ſay,

I. That this Command mall not be deemed to extend to Court-ſavourites, Royal Minions, ſirſt Miniſters, Secretaries oſ State, Privy-Counſellors, Decipherers, Spies, Pimps, and Inſormers j nor to their ſeveral Oſſicers, Servants, and Domeſrics, who, by their Places and Stations, may reaſonably be preſumed to be in the Intereſt and Secrets oſ their reſpective Maſters and Superiors ; who could not duly diſcharge the Duties oſ their ſeveral Stations, iſ they were to be conſined to the ſtricteſt Rules oſ Trutn and Sincerity : On the other hand, it appears, that political ſalſhoods have in all Ages been ſound to be oſ ſmgular Uſe and Beneſit to Kings and Princes, as well as to their Countries and Subjects ; ſuch as the diſgracing and removing corrupt Miniſters, and getting the Adminiſtration into cleaner Hands, keeping out oſ the Royal Preſence and ſavour ſuch Perſons as would certainly make a corrupt Uſe oſ it ; the ſupplanting Rivals and Competitors ſor Poſts oſ Honour and Truſt about their Royal Maſter j the attainting and demoliſhing a dangerous over-grown Subject, in prder to prevent his doing Miſchieſ, and getting his great Eſtates and Riches divided amongſt a Number oſ honeſt Gentlemen, who ſpend their whole Time, and exert all their ſaculties, in the Sen-ice oſ their King and Country. Now, as all thcſe ſicYions, Inventions, and ſalſtioods, were intirely calculated ſor the Beneſit and Good oſ Society, they have not the ſorm and Eſlence oſ Lying, but arc to be conſidered under the Notions oſ ſeints and Stratagems in War : Do/ut an virtus quis in hcſte requirit ? Laſtly, it appears plainly ſrom Hiſtory, that they have more than once been oſ excellent Uſe in promoting and procuring the unſpeakable Bleſling oſ glorious and happy Revolutions in many Kingdoms and Countries j beſides many other excellent and uſeſul Purpoſes, too long and too many to be particularly enumerated.

2, That this ſhall not extend to any oſ his Majeſty's Courts in eJlminJler-Katt ; where an Evidence, literally and materially ſalſe, may yet be intentionally and ſormally good, and anſwer all the Uſes and Purpoſes oſ Juſtice, Truth, and Charity, by determining and ſiniſhing a tedious, expenſive Suit, that would otherwiſe inſallibly terminate in the Ruin oſ both Parties ; and, notwithſtanding all Appearance oſ Injuſtice and Cruelty, may be in its Conſequences as great an Act oſ Mercy, as giving a Coup dc Grace to a dying Maleſactor, which ihor^ens his Agonies, and at once puts him out oſ his Pain.

3. This ſhall not be extended in its extreme Rigour to thoſe little polite Aſlemblies, called Tea-tables ; becauſe, iſ they were ſtri&ly conſined to the Words oſ Truth and Soberneſs, and ſorbid thoſe little ſlights, Kxcurſrons, -an'd Deviations ſrom Truth, which generally enliven and brighten the Audience, the Converſation would quickly grow ſlat and inſipid, and the prettieſt Orators in the Circle would be inſenſibly deprived oſ the Beneſit and ſreedom oſ Speech. And as it is univerſally known and acknowledged, that the dear Angels have no Gall nor Malice at Heart, no Spleen, Jealouſies, Emulations, Competitions, or Envy againſt the reſt oſ their Sex j but only utter the Overſlowings oſ their good Senſe, good Nature, and Zeal ſor Virtue ; thereſore, iſ any very pretty Creature ſhould, whilſt ſhe is cooling her Diſh, or doubling her Bread and Butter, let ſall any Word or Expreſlion that has the Appearance oſ Invective or Satire, any ſling, ſlirt, Hint, or Inuendo, that may ſeem to expoſe or ridicule the Shape, Air, Mien, Complexion, Dreſs, good Senſe, or Conduit oſ any oſ her pretty ſellow-creatures j in all ſuch Caſes, they muſt, and ought, and ſhall be indulged in ſuch innocent Liberties, which are apparently intended only to divert and inſtrur, the Company, and diſplay their own good Taſte, Wit, and Eloquence, in Oppoſition to the ſalſe Taſte, the ill Manners, the ſollies and Vices oſ the reſt oſ their Sex.

The Tenth Commandment appears to be quite unreaſonable, iſ not abſolutely im practicable, being a direct " Contradiction to the great and ſundamental Ar- " tide oſ natural Religion, which is TO ſOLLOW NATURE, /. e. thoſe Inclinations, Pro^ " penſions, and Deſires, which the Author oſ our " Nature has implanted in us, in order to determine " our Conduct and Behaviour; ſor to be ſure he " would never have planted thoſe Inclinations in us,

  • ' iſ he had not deſigned we ſhould gratiſy them ; it being utteily inconſiſtent with his Wiſdoni and

" Goodneſs to give us. Appetites and Dcſires, ſor no " other End but that we Ihould check and retrain " them *." Now let us put the Caſe, that a Man has no Wiſe oſ his own, and can ſind no agreeable ſemale that he could like to make his Companion ſor Liſe, or ſuppoſe him to be already yoked to a-ſour, <liſagreeable, ill-nature Creature, that has extin- gutſhed the very Sparks oſ conjugal Aſſection ; and that he ſees his ſriend or his Neighbour happy in the Enjoyment oſ a beautiſul, tender, ſenſtble, good- natured Spouſe, is it not natural ſor ſuch a Perſon to wiſh at leaſt that he could make an Exchange, or ſhare in the Happineſs oſ his Neighbour? Is it not natural ſor him to wiſh himſclſ in his Neighbour's Condition ? Is arty thing more common, or more natural than to hear People wiſhing they had ſuch a charming Wo- man, ſuch a ſine Houſe, ſuch a pretty Eſtate, ſuch a beautiſul Horſe, or Set oſ Horſes, Plate, or China, Jo that nobody were the worſe ſor it. This is a righteous laving Clauſe, and takes away all the Iniquity and In- juſtice that can be ſuppoſed in the A& oſ coveting or deſiring -any kind or manner oſ Thing, that is the Poſleſlion or Property oſ another. No manner oſ Queſlion can be made, that, iſ I like any other Man's Eſtate, Houſe, Goods, or Chattels, and he conſent to part with them ſor a valuable Conſideration j it is conſident with the moſt rigid Notions oſ commutative Juſtice, that I have a legal Intcreſt, Right, and Title to the ſaid Eſtate, Houſe, Goods, and Chattels, ſo conveyed to me by their true and lawſul Owner. But in the Caſe oſ a Wiſe, the Right is IBM clearer, and the Title more unexceptionable ; ſor iſ any one Man take it in his Head to covet or be in love with another Man's Wiſe, and the Huiband oſ the ſaid Wiſe think it reasonable, ſor certain valuable Conſiderations, to transſer the Uſe at lead, iſ not the Property, oſ his ſaid Wiſe, to the Perſon ſo bargaining, covenanting, and purchaſmg the ſame ; and iſ the ſaid Wiſe be conſidered as a Party willing and conſenting to the ſaid Deed oſ Bargain, Sale, Loan, Giſt, or Exchange, you have then clearly three Parties to the Deed ; whereas, in the other Caſes above-mentioned, you could have but two. Upon theſe Conſiderations,

Be it thereſore enacted, That ſrom and aſter the Day oſ next enſuing, no Perſon or Perſons, oſ what Rank, Quality, or Degree ſoever, mall preſume to attempt, by ſraud or Violence, to take, hold, or enjoy any Man's Wiſe, Hcuſe, Servants, Cattle, or any manner or kind oſ Property whatſoever, unleſs by mutual Contract, Agreement, Bargain, or Sale, the Uſe or Properry oſ the ſaid valuable Goods, Chattels, Eſtates, or Commodities be ſairly transſerred ſrom the one to the other ; and that upon ſuch Contract, ſairly and legally made and executed, a Man ſhall be deemed to have the ſame Right and Title to the Uſe, Occupation, Enjoyment, or Poſleſlion oſ the ſaid valuable Goods, Eſtates, and Commodities as the ſormer Owner or Poſleſlbr was ever conceived to have, or could poſlibly convey to another.

And ſor the better and more eſſectual Publication and Obſervance oſ the ſeveral Articles and Matters enjoined and commanded by this A&, it is hereby ſurther provided and enacted, That ſrom and aſter the Day oſ next enſuing, This Act ſhall be conſidered and regarded as a legal and parlia* mentary Expoſition oſ the ſaid Ten Commandments; and that all Parſons, Vicars, and Curates, in their Expoſition oſ the Church Catechiſm, commonly ſo called, do, on every ſuch Occaſion, make the aſoreſaid Declaration with a diſtincl: and audible Voice, repeating the ſame three ſeveral times. And ſoraſmuch as People oſ Rank and ſigure, who, by the Indulgence oſ this A6t, are excuſed ſrom attending the Service oſ the Church, may poſſibly, through ſorgetſul- neſs, or Prejudices oſ Education, relapſe into the old SuperſHtion, it is ſurther provided, that it be an Inſtruction to the ſeveral Clerks oſ the Peace in every County in Great-Britain^ that this Acl: be read by the Cryer oſ the Court at every Quarter-Seſlions, that all Gentlemen there preſent may be duly appriſed oſ the many Privileges and Exemptions to which they are intitled by the Beneſit oſ this A&.

And, ſor the ſurther Security and Enſorcement oſ the ſeveral Articles and Matters contained in this A<5r, it is ſurther provided and enjoined, That ſrom and aſter the Day and Month above-ſaid, no Printer, Publiſher, Bookſeller, Pamphletſeller, Hawker, or Pedlar, or any other Perſon or Perſons whatſoever, ſhall preſume to print, publiſli, vend, ſell, or ſet to ſale any Edition oſ the ſaid Ten Commandments^ in any Volume, ſorm, Shape, or Manner whatſoever, without having this Act printed, and bound up together with them, under the Penalty oſ ſive Pounds ſor every ſuch Oſſence.

You ſee, by this rough Draught, the Nature and Deſign oſ this Propoſal, in which, iſ our Repreſentativcs ſhall diſcover nothing, but what is highly reaſonable and expedient ſor the Welſare oſ the Public, I cannot but hope ſor their ſavourable Attention; arid I cannot doubt but that there will be ſound proper Eerſbns enough, who {hall be both willing and able to prepare and bring in the ſaid Bill.

I am, SIR,
Your ſaithſul humble Servant.


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