Church and State in the Modern Age: A Documentary History

By J. F. MacLear | Go to book overview
other for his or her different persuasion and practice in matter of religion, such shall be looked upon as a disturber of the peace, and be punished accordingly. But to the end that looseness, irreligion, and atheism may not creep in under pretence of conscience. . . . be it further enacted . . . that according to the good example of the primitive Christians, and for the ease of the creation, every first day of the week, called the Lord's Day, people shall abstain from their common toil and labour, that whether masters, parents, children, or servants, they may the better dispose themselves to read the Scriptures of truth at home, or to frequent such meetings of religious worship abroad as may best suit their respective persuasions.
3. . . . . all officers and persons commissionated and employed in the service of the government of this province, and all members and deputies elected to serve in assembly thereof, and all that have right to elect such deputies, shall be such as profess and declare they believe in Jesus Christ to be the Son of God, and Saviour of the world, and that are not convicted of ill-fame, or unsober and dishonest conversation, and that are of one and twenty years of age at least. And . . . whosoever shall swear, in their conversation, by the name of God, or Christ, or Jesus, being legally convicted thereof, shall pay for every such offence five shillings, or suffer five days' imprisonment in the house of correction, at hard labour, to the behoof of the public, and be fed with bread and water only, during that time.
4. . . . . whosoever shall swear by any other thing or name . . . shall, for every such offence, pay half a crown, or suffer three days' imprisonment . . . at hard labour, having only bread and water for their sustenance.
5. And . . . whosoever shall speak loosely and profanely of Almighty God, Christ Jesus, the Holy Spirit, or the Scriptures of truth . . . shall, for every such offence, pay five shillings, or suffer five days' imprisonment . . . at hard labour, . . . and be fed with bread and water only, during that time.

Source: Samuel Hazard, Annals of Pennsylvania, from the Discovery of the Delaware ( Philadelphia, 1850), pp. 619-620.


SUGGESTIONS FOR BACKGROUND AND REFERENCE

E. Beatty, William Penn as Social Philosopher ( New York, 1939).

E. B. Bronner, William Penn's Holy Experiment ( New York, 1962).

R. M. Jones, The Quakers in the American Colonies ( New York, 1911), pp. 417-494.


19
Pennsylvania Constitution (Extract) September 28, 1776

With independence most of the states produced new constitutions, more or less influenced by the prevailing natural rights philosophy of the revolutionary era. The Pennsylvania document was typical of several that excluded Establishments and proclaimed freedom of religion, but officially retained some Christian or Protestant confessional basis. In the case of Pennsylvania this appeared in the religious test for office,

-53-

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