Imágenes de páginas

I say, that for the governors of our church to | presbyterian, and how utterly averse he was be ready, after all this, to yield up the received to the indulging of any of a different perconstitutions of it, either to the infirmity, or suasion from himself. And when his younger importuuity, or the plausible exceptions (as brother the Independent, the abler and more their advocates are pleased to term them) of thriving sectarian of the two, had tripped up our clamorous dissenters, is so far from being his heels " in the Lord,” (a word then much a part either of the piety or prudence of those in fashion,) and so brought in his indepenigovernors, (as the same advocates insinuate,)dency, with a kind of toleration along with that it is the fear of many, both pious and it; yet still prelacy, no less than papacy prudent too, that in the end it is like to prove itself, stood expressly excepted from any no other than the letting a thief into the benefit, favour, or toleration, from the one house, only to avoid the noise and trouble of party or the other; that is to say, both od his rapping at the door.

them were ready to tolerate Turks, Jers, And thus much for the first thing proposed, infidels, (and even all who will but acknow. which was, to examine and consider the pre- ledge one God,) rather than those of the comtences alleged by dissenters for our quitting munion of the church of England. This has or yielding up any of the constitutions of our been the way and temper of the persons church. I come now to the

whom we have to deal with. And now is it Second general thing, which is, to shew not pity but the whole government, civil and what are naturally like to be the cousequences ecclesiastical, should bend and veil to such of such a yieldance.

patterns of humility and self-denial, and forthIn order to which, I shall consider these with abrogate and destroy all its laws, only two things:

because there is a faction disposed to break 1. What the temper and disposition of those through and trample upon them? A faction men, who press for such compliances with which nothing can win, nothing oblige, and them, used to be. And,

which will be sure to requite such a favour 2. What the effect and consequence of such once done them, by turning it to the utmost compliances has been heretofore. And, reproach and ruin (if possible) of those who

1. For the temper of the men ; this certainly did it. And thus having given some short should be considered ; and if it ought to give account of the temper and disposition of these any force to their demands, it ought to be men, I come now in the extremely peaceable and impartial. But are Second place, to consider, what the effect there any qualities incident to the nature of and consequence of such compliances and man, which these persons are farther from ? relaxations has been heretofore. ‘And for this For do they treat the governors of the church I appeal to the judgment, reading, and expe with any other appellation but that of “ Baal's rience of all who have in any measure applied priests, formalists, dumb dogs, proud popish themselves to the observation of men and prelates, haters of God and good men, and things, whether they ever yet found that any, the like? I say, is not this their usual who pressed for indulgences and forbearadees, dialect? And can we imagine that the spirit did it with a real intent to acquiesce, and take of Christianity can suggest such language and up in those forbearances once granted them, expressions? Is it possible, that where true without proceeding any farther? None, I am religion governs in the heart, it should thus sure, ever yet did, but used them only as an utter itself at the mouth? And to shew yet art or instrument to get into power, and to farther, that this temper can manifest itself make every concession a step to a farther by actions as well as words, did not those who demand ; since every grant renders the pernow plead conscience against law, in the year son to whom it is made so much the more forty-one, persecute, plunder, kill, and murder considerable, and dangerous to be denied, those who pleaded and followed conscience when he shall take the boldness to ask more, according to law ? And can any one assure To grant is generally to give ground. And the government that they will not, under such persons ask some things only, in order the same circumstances, do the same things to get others without asking ; for no enagain?

croachers upon, or enemies to any public conAnd for their impartiality, did they ever stitution, ask áll at first. Sedition itself is grant allowance or toleration to any who modest in the beginning, and no more than were dissenters from them? The Presbyterian toleration may be petitioned for, when in the would grant none, and he has given the world issue nothing less than empire and dominion so much under his own hand, in those many is designed vehement books wrote by him on this sub The nature of man acts the same way, ject ; one of which, I well remember long whether in matters civil or ecclesiastical. And since, was by a kind of sanctified quibble can we so soon forget the methods by which entitled, “Iutolerable Toleration," a pamphlet that violent faction grew upon the throne mean enough, and of little note in the world, between the years forty and sixty? Did not but as it served to shew the temper of the the facility and goodness of King Charles I.

[ocr errors]

imbolden their impudence, instead of satisfy- let us here first of all suppose our dissenters ing their desires ? Was not every condescen to be dealt with upon terms of comprehension, sion, every concession, every remission of his (as they call it,) and took into the commuown right so far from allaying the fury of nion of the church without submitting to the their greedy appetites, that, like a breakfast, present conditions of its communion, or any it rather called up the stomach, and fitted .it necessary obligation to obey the established the more for a dinner? Did not craving still rules of it, then these things must follow : grow upon granting, till nothing remained to first, that men shall come into the national be asked on one side, or given on the other, ministry of the church of England full of the but the life of the giver ?

Scotch covenant, and all those rebellious Thus it was with the state; and I would principles fresh and keen upon their spirits, fain hear any solid reason to prove that it which raised and carried on the late fatal war. 'will not fare alike with the church. For how Then will it also follow, that in the same has the papacy grown to that enormous height, diocese, and sometimes in the very same and assumed such an extravagant power over town, some shall use the surplice, and some sovereign princes, but by taking advantage shall not; and each shall have their parties from their own grants and favours to that prosecuting one another with the bitterest rapacious and ungrateful see ? which still took hatreds and animosities. Some in the same occasion from thence to raise itself gradually church, and at the same time, shall receive to farther and farther pretensions; till cour the sacrament kneeling, some standing, and tesy quickly passed into claim ; and what others possibly sitting ; some shall use the was got by petition, was held by prerogative ; cross in baptism, and others shall not only 80 that at length insolence, grown big and not use it themselves, but shall also inveigh bold with success, knew no bounds, but and preach against those who do. Some shall trampled upon the neck of emperors, con read this part of the Common Prayer, some trolled the sceptre with the crosier, and in the that, and some perhaps none at all. And face of the world openly avowed a superiority where (as in cathedrals) they cannot avoid and pre-eminence over crowned heads. Thus the having it read by others, they shall come grew the papacy, and by the same ways will into the church when it is done, and stepping also grow other sects ; for there is a papacy up into the pulpit, (with great gravity no in every sect or faction; they all design the doubt,) shall conceive a long, crude, extempovery same height or greatness, though the rary prayer, in reproach of all the prayers pope alone hitherto has had the wit and for which the church, with such admirable prutune to compass it.

dence and devotion, had been making before. And thus having shewn what have been Nay, in the same cathedral you shall see one the effects of such concessions heretofore, as prebendary in a surplice, another in a long well as described the temper of the persons cloak, another in a short coat, or jacket; and who now press for them ; I suppose it will in the performance of the public service not be very difficult for us to judge, what are some standing up at the Creed, the Gloria like to be the future effects and consequences Patri, and the reading of the Gospel; and of the same amongst ourselves. Concerning others sitting, and perhaps laughing, and which I shall lay down this assertion, That winking upon their fellow schismatics, in what effects and consequences any thing has scoff of those who practise these decent orders had formerly and usually, and what in its of the church. And from hence the mischief own nature it tends to, and is apt to produce, shall pass from priest to people, dividing it is infinitely sottish and irrational to imagine them also into irreconcileable parties and or suppose that it will not produce and cause factions; so that some shall come to church in the world for the future. And I believe when such an one preaches, and absent themhardly any nation or government, but ours, selves when another does. I will not hear would suffer the same cheat to be trumped this formalist, says one; and I will not hear upon it twice immediately together. Every that schismatie, (with better reason,) says society in the world stands in the strength of another. But in the meanwhile the church, certain laws, customs, and received usages, | by these horrible disorders, is torn in pieces, uniting the several parts of it into one body; and the common enemies of it, the papists, and accordingly the parting with any one of and some (who hate it as much) gratified. those laws or customs is a real dissolution of These, I say, are some of the certain, unathe continuity, and consequently a partial voidable effects of comprehension ; nor indeed destruction of the whole. It certainly shakes could any other or better, be expected by and weakens all the fabric; and weakness is those who knew, that their surest way to but destruction begun ; it tends to it, and ruin the church would be to get into the prenaturally ends in it.

ferments of it. So that I dare avouch, that But to pass from argumentations founded to bring in comprehension, is nothing else upon the general nature of things, to the same but, in plain terms, to establish a schism in made evident to sense by particular instances; I the church by law, and so bring a plague into

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

the very bowels of it, which is more than general law of God, commanding, obedience sufficiently endangered already, by having to all lawful, though but civil and temporal one in its neighbourhood ; a plague which authorities ; and consequently oblige the conshall eat out the very heart and soul, and science, in the strength of that general divine consume the vitals and spirits of it, and this law, to an obedience to all that shall be ento such a degree, that in the compass of a few acted and enjoined by the said authorities years it shall scarce have any visible being or So that when God shall come to pass selsubsistence, or so much as the face of a na tence upon men for their disobedience to the tional church to be known by.

same, whether in this world or the next, I fear But now from comprehension it may be that no plea of toleration will be able to ward natural and proper enough for us to pass to off the execution. toleration. Concerning which latter, since it Most true it is, both from principles of philohas had the fortune to get a law (or some sophy and divinity, that the abrogation of the thing like a law) made in its behalf, I think positive declared penalties of a law is no abrothere cannot be a matter of greater moment gation or repeal of the law itself. And accoror truer charity, than to inform men's con- dingly upon this occasion I must declare, tha: sciences how far this new law will warrant penalties and rewards are not of the essence them in their separation from the church. of a law, but extrinsic to it; nor does any la For the vulgar and less knowing part of the owe its obliging power to them, but solely nation do verily reckon, that this, as an act to the sovereign will of the legislators : so that of toleration, has utterly cancelled all former the taking away the penalties of any law does obligations, which did or might lie upon but leave the obliging power of the law as it them, to join with the church in the public was before ; law being properly nothing else, worship of God. But this is a very great and but the will of the supreme power to the perdangerous mistake, and may, if persisted in, sons subject to it, concerning something to be cost them no less than their souls; for certain done or not done, possessed or not possessed it is, that there are laws extant amongst us, by, or any ways belonging to, the said persons enjoining conformity to, and communion This, I affirm, comprehends the whole nature with, the established church, as likewise of a law precisely considered ; and as for the obedience to the pastors thereof, legally set annexion of punishments to the violation, or over it and the respective members of the of rewards to the performance of it, they are same: and consequently, that as long as the not of the precise intrinsic nature and obliobligation of these laws continues, conformity gation of a law, but are added only as appelto it must be a duty, and nonconformity a sin: dages to strengthen it, and procure & more and lastly, that the obligation of these laws certain awe to it and performance of it: for does and must continue till the said laws are asmuch as man will be more likely not actually repealed ; which as yet, I am sure, transgress a law, being under the fear of a they are not, and I hope never will. Thus declared punishment for so doing, and to per therefore stands our case. But what effect form it upon a persuasion of a sure promise then, will some say, has this act for toleration? reward for such a performance, than if neither Why, truly, none at all, as to the nature and of these were added to it. Nevertheless

, but quality of the actions commanded or pro God said to mankind, I command you to da hibited by the preceding positive laws of the this, and my will is that you for bear tha

. church ; but as to the penalties annexed to without expressing any reward for doing the those laws against the violaters of them, these former, or penalty for not doing the latter indeed are taken off and rescinded by this it had been as duly and essentially a law, an! toleration, (or indulgence rather

, for strictly the obligation thereof as real, as if the reward it is no more.) So that it may, I confess, and penalty had been by an express sanction! give temporal impunity to such as transgress declared to either. And if any one shouli upon this account, but for all that, it can here object, How then could God punish for never by so doing warrant the transgression any neglect of his law, or reward for the dir itself; it may indeed indemnify the person, ing of it, had there been no sanction of but cannot take away the guilt, which, result punishment for the former, nor of reward for ing from the very nature of the action, is the latter ? I answer, that the sovereignty inseparable from it. Nor is it able to take and justice of God, together with the nature off all sorts of penalties neither; forasmuch and merit of every action of the creature as those enacted by the divine law can never will sufficiently account for this, without të be remitted

or abrogated by any human law curring to any positive sanction of penalties or temporal authority whatsoever. And or rewards ;' it being unquestionably just therefore our separatists will do well to con- with God (and natural conscience, with the sider, that the laws of our church, (admitting tò ywator Toù Ofov, is sufficient to teach ever them to be but human laws, yet) so long as man that it is so) to punish they neither require any thing false in belief nature of it worthy of punishment, vor immoral in practice, stand

ratified by that should not declare by any positive sanction

an action in the

beforehand, that he would punish it; and in like | increase of sects and heresies amongst us, which, manner le may freely reward any good action where all restraint is taken off, must of necesthough he should never oblige himself by any sity grow to the highest pitch that the devil precedent promise so to do. And upon this himself can raise such a Babel to; so that account it seems to me very remarkable, that there shall not be one bold ringleading knave in the ten commandments (which are so or fool, who shall have the confidence to set up many particular laws of God) there are seven a new sect, but shall find proselytes enough to of the ten without either reward or penalty wear his name, and list themselves under his in the decalogue annexed to them; and no banner : of which the Quakers* are a demondonbt, though God had never expressed stration past all dispute. And then what a either of them elsewhere in the writings of vast part of this poor deluded people must of Moses, they had, notwithstanding, been as necessity be drawn after these impostors! So essentially laws, and as really obliging, as that as number and novelty generally run they were afterwards upon the clearest and down truth and paucity for a while; the most express declaration of the said rewards church, and orthodox part of the nation in and penalties. And here, I confoss, I look communion with it, will probably in a short upon God's declaring the addition of penalties space be overborne and swallowed up by the and rewards to his laws, rather as an effect of spreading mischief. And moreover, since it his gooduess than of his strict justice; no is impossible for government or society to thing, that I know of, obliging him thereunto subsist long, where there is no national bond upon that account. Not but that I acknow or cement of religion to hold it together, it ledge also, that such a declaration adds great must quickly dissolve into confusion : and strength to his laws; as to their prevalence since confusion cannot last always, but that upon men to observe them. But for all that, to it must in the issue settle into something or prevail with men actually to do their duty, and other; that something here, no doubt, will to oblige them to it, are very different things, and must be popery, popery infallibly and and proceed upon very different grounds. The irresistibly: for the church of England being laws of men, I own, are extremely lame and once suppressed, no other church or sect defective without these two great props to sup- amongst us (for all besides it are no better) has port them, and very hardly able (especially any bottom or foundation, or indeed any tolersince the corruption of man's nature by sin) able pretence to set up and settle itself upon. to compass the proper ends of laws upon men And that this fatal consequence thus drawn barely by the sense of precise duty. So that is neither false nor precarious, we may be if there were no rewards or punishments pro assured from the papists themselves. For posed, there would hardly be any actual did not their late ageut,t who lost his life in obedienice. However, a law will still be their service, and whose letters are so well truly and properly a law, so long as it obliges known, tell us in one of them, “that the way, men, though it may be unable to bring them by which he intended to have popery brought actually to obey it. As a cripple, though in, was by toleration : and that if an act for never so lame and weak, and even with his general liberty of conscience could be obtained, legs cut off too, is a man still, and as essen it would give the greatest blow to the protestially, though not as integrally so, as he was tant religion here, that ever it received from before.

its birth ?" And did lie not also complain, This I thought fit to discourse about the “ that all their disappointments, miseries, and nature and obligation of laws, penalties, and hazards, were owing to that fatal revocation rewards, upon this occasion. But to return (as he calls it) of the king's declaration for to the high and nighty piece of policy sub- liberty of conscience ?" And lastly, does he limate, (as I may call it,) toleration. I am not afirm, that all the advantages they exfar from grudging our dissenters the benefit pected to make, was by the help of the nonof the law they have obtained, (if it be such,) conformists, as presbyterians, independents, and and farther from soliciting a repeal of it; but other sects (i transcribe his own words.) being providentially engaged in the subject I | And shall we not here believe, that the am now upon, I cannot but, as a divine, dis- papists themselves best knew what were the charge my conscience both to God and the properest and most efficacious ways for the world, by declaring what I judge, according prosecuting their own interest? Nay, and to the best of my reason, will, and unavoid did not King James II. with great ostentation ably must, be the consequences of a thing, as well as earnestness, often declare, that he which this church and kingdom, ever since would have a kind of magna charta, (forsooth,) they were a church and kingdom, have been or standing law for liberty of conscience, in wholly strangers to. And because such con this nation for ever? And can we believe, sequences, if drawu out to the utmost, would that his design was to keep out popery by be innumerable, I shall only mention one

* George Fox, an illiterate cobbler, first beginner an instead of all the rest, as being certain, obvious, and undeniable; and that is, the vast + Coleman,

2 L


of them.


this project? No, surely ; for such as believe And now if Almighty God should, for the even transubstantiation itself cannot believe nation's unworthy and ungrateful usage of so this. So that let all our separatists and dis- excellent a church, so pure and peaceable a senters know, that they are the pope's religion, bereave us of it, by letting in upon journeymen, to carry on his work, (and for us the tyranny and superstition of another, it ought I know, were but King James amongst is pity but it should come in its full force and us, might be treated, together with his power; and then, I hope, that such as have nuncio, at Guildhall.) They are, I say, his betrayed and enslaved their country will contools, to do that for him wbich he cannot do sider, that there is a temporal, as well as an for himself ; (as a carpenter cannot be a ecclesiastical interest concerned in the case, hatchet, how effectually soever he may use it.) and that there are lands to be converted, as In a word, they are his harbingers and fore- well as heretics; and that those who pretend, runners to prepare and make plain a way for that they can with a word speaking change him to come amongst us; and consequently the substance of some things, can with as they, even they, who are the loudest criers out much ease alter the property of others. Gol's against popery, are the surest and most indus- will be done in all things; but if popery ever trious factors for it. For it is evident to the comes in by English hands, (as I see not how whole world, that it is their weakening of the it can come in by any other,) I doubt not church of England by their separation from but it will fully pay the scores of those who it, and their insufferable virulent invectives bronglit it in. But, against it, which makes old Renard the pore, 3. I come now to the third and last general with his wolves about him, presume, that he thing at first proposed, which was to shew, may attack it now (being thus weakened by what influence and efficacy a strict adherence our encouraged dissenters to his hands) with to the constitutions of the churclı, and an victory and success. The thief first breaks absolute refusal to part with any of them, is : the hedge and mounds of the vineyard, to like to have upon the settlement of the church, fetch away a few clusters; but the wild boar and the purity of the gospel amongst us. enters by the same breach, and makes havoc As for this I shall shew three ways, by of all. But let us in the mean time with all which it tends effectually to procure such a Christian submission wait the good pleasure settlement. As, of Almighty God, and our governors, for one 1. By being the grand and most sorereign seven years, and by that time I question not means to cause and preserve unity in the but we shall see what this new project tends church. The Psalmist mentions this as one to, and is like to end in ; while, at present, of the noblest and greatest excellencies of the we have but too great reason to believe, that Jewish church, (Psalm cxxii. 3,) that it " was the chief design of some of the busiest con built as a city which is at uvity in itself." trivers, and most indefatigable promoters of Unity gives strength, and strength duration. it, was, and is, by such a promiscuous tolera- The papists abroad frequently tell the English, tion of so many sects and heresies amongst us, that if we could but once be united amongst to bring the church of England at length to ourselves, we should be a formidable church need a toleration itself, and not to have it, indeed. And for this reason, there was none when it needs it.

whom they so mortally hated (I speak upon As to which truly primitive church, (what- certain information) as that late renowned soever fate may attend it,) this may and must archbishop and martyr, whose whole endeabe said of it, that it is a church which claims vour was to establish a settled uniformity in nothing of secular power to itself, but, like a all the British churches; for his zeal ani poor orphan exposed naked and friendless to activity in which glorious attempt the presby. the world, pretends to no other helps but the terians cnt him off, according to the papists' goodness of God, the piety of its principles, heart's desire. and the justness of its own cause, to maintain Now a resolution to keep all the constituit: a church not born into the world with tions of the church, the parts of its service, teeth and talons, like popery and presbytery, and the conditions of its communion entire, but like a lamb, innocent, and defenceless, without lopping off any one of them, must and silent, not only under the shearer, but needs unite all the ministers and members of under the butcher too ; a church, which as it it, while it engages them, as the apostle so is obedient to the civil power, without any passionately exhorts the Corinthians, (1 Cor. treacherous distinctions or reserves, so would i. 10,) to “ speak all the same thing." Not! be glad to have the countenance and protec- that I think that the apostle's meaning is, *ion of that power in return for her hearty that all should speak the same thing in the obedience to it; though after all, if it cannot very saine words, (though I cannot disprove be protected by it, it is yet resolved to be this neither, as to a considerable part of the peaceable and quiet under it, and while it divine service.) But this I affirm, that the parts with every thing else, to hold fast its using the same words (still allowing for the integrity.

diversity of languages) is the readiest, the

« AnteriorContinuar »