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remain in Babylon will have no part or portion in it, as one says, that such as oppose the work of the Lord,”
“No portion have, who do the work condemn,
For, as Solomon says, “The heart knoweth its own bitterness, and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy;” wherefore, come out of Babylon, and come unto Zion, all ye that love her; “be not partakers of her sins, that ye receive not of her plagues;” which are, as her sins, many, and which are begun already, as appears by the sequel.
Cotton Mather, Introduction, page 2, column 1.—“I am far from any such boast, concerning these churches, that they have need of nothing; I wish their works were more perfect before God.” Obs. I wish so too; but is this the way to mend it, to persecute such as come amongst them for that end, and to imprison, banish, and put to death such as see their defects and needs and seek to rectify them; and not only so, but revile them afterwards, in such a manner as he hath done? Is this the way to have their works more perfect before God? Oh, nay I but more imperfect and defective still. It is modestly confessed, but why, then, does he extol them so elsewhere? As if, though he
doth not say, the Churches of New England are the most regular
that can be ; yet he doth say, and is sure, that they are very like those in the first ages of Christianity, that never persecuted any, when they are so imperfect and persecuting, and not only so, but traduce, judge, and censure, in such a bitter, envious manner as he does, those that are more righteous than themselves. He says, Ibid., chap. ii., page 4, “My judgment of desert hath not been biased by persons being of my own particular judgment. If you be of a religion contrary to theirs, to be defamed, condemned, and pursued with a thousand calumnies, I thank heaven, I hate it with all my heart l’’ Obs. yet this he hath done in the highest degree imaginable, by being biased to his own particular judgment, and defaming, condemning, and pursuing with the utmost calumnies, like his forefathers the persecutors of old, that smite with the fist and with the tongue those that are of a religion contrary to them, as the sequel will show; therefore out of his own mouth shall he be judged. He says, Ibid., “It becomes him that writes an history, sometimes to extol enemies in his praises, when their praiseworthy actions bespeak it; and at the same time to reprove the best friends, when their deeds appear worthy of reproof.” Obs. But hath he done this? Hath he ever extolled his enemies, as he calls them, though his best and truest friends? Nay, hath he ever spoke truth of them, except in what he could not speak otherwise, and hardly that? Was there nothing praiseworthy in the Quakers' innocent and harmless lives, behaviours, and death for religion? Was nothing but reviling their due, and the basest reflections that ever an Allen Cope could give the martyrs? Does he relate things as they were, or as an historian ought to do, any better than him or Bale? It is true, (I will give him his due,) he seems sometimes to blame some of their persecutors as going too far, or as if he would not excuse them, or vindicate it altogether; but does he not at other times go to excuse them all he can P. Or does he ever show any charity to our Friends in the least, or ever speak a good word for them? Nay, does he not endeavour all along to cast the blame on them, to cover the others' guilt? Is this impartial, or like an impartial historian? Did ever any Popish author exceed him? Surely, very hardly in that respect; and therefore his saying, “Inasmuch as history is good for nothing, if truth be not in it,” and his not having this truth in it, but, instead thereof, stuffed with so much falsehood, as anon shall appear, what is it good for? And let him not think to excuse himself by saying, as he does, chapter ii., page 7, “We are not yet arrived unto the day wherein God will bring every work into judgment; for we are come near together to judgment.” God hath brought your works into judgment already, though the aged understand it not; wherefore awake to judgment, for the Lord is known by the judgments which He executeth, which executeth judgment for the oppressed; and Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness, and purged with the spirit of judgment and burning; and wisdom leads in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment, that He may cause those that love Him to inherit substance; wherefore we love judgment, and will sing of mercy and judgment; and blessed are they that keep judgment; and some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment, and some men they follow after; and therefore we cry to people to arise and come to judgment now; and if he will be of the latter, and one that doeth evil, hateth the light, and will not now come to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved, he shall know it in that day, “when God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil,” and will then execute judgment upon him, and convince him of all his ungodly deeds and hard speeches which he hath spoken against Him and His servants. Book I., chap. ii., page 15.—“Persecution, a fury which we consider, not as possessing the Church of England, but as inspiring a party which have unjustly challenged the name of the Church of England, and which, whenever the Church of England shall any more encourage, her fall will become like that of the house which our Saviour saw built upon the sand.” Well, be it so; but what will become of the Presbyterian church, if she should ever encourage it again, as she hath done in New England and Old England too, and doth at present in Scotland? And what name do they deserve among them that are inspired with that fury? Does he think it was unjust in the Church of England to persecute the Presbyterians, and yet just for them to persecute the Quakers? How partial is interest How blind is envy | If he is impartial, let him speak and declare against their brethren's late practices in Scotland, ay, and England too, formerly, as well as their own in New England; or else, as he says in another case, Book VII., page 96,-'' It will be thought by some (and justly, too) that they own it.” Chap. i., page 38.—“Certainly the power of godliness is now grievously decayed among us. Cannot you remember that, in your days, those abominable things did not show their heads that are now bare-faced among us?” Obs. A certain sign of their declension and growing worse and worse, as seducers used to do; but this is no more than was often told them by our Friends, how they were declined from that zeal and sincerity that was in some of them, when they fled thither for conscience' sake, from the persecution of the bishops; but they would not hearken to them, but hated and persecuted them and counted them their enemies, “because they told them the truth;” and rejected their testimony, and the further discoveries of the light; but now it is manifest, and the effects that have followed. And no wonder that they that have only a form of godliness, and scarce that, but deny the power thereof, should decay as to that, though the power of godliness never decays in itself, only withdraws from such as reject it, as they have done, and so they grow darker and darker, though the light shines brighter and brighter. And when such as believe in it, and follow on to know the Lord, and hold on their way, each one in his uprightness, walk in the light of the Lord, not sticking in the form, when the power is departed and the Lord withdrawn from it; but, like Israel of old, decamping and going forward, when the cloud removed from off the tabernacle. These are they that follow the Lamb wheresoever He goes, and will not stay behind in the form or shadow, when He departs and draws further; but go from strength to strength, and from one degree of grace unto another, till they appear before God in Zion, the perfection of beauty (out of which God hath shined) and city of our solemnities; even unto Mount Zion, which cannot be removed; “and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven; and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,” &c.; the mountain of the Lord's house, that is established on the top of the mountains, that have been as obstacles in the way, and exalted above the hills of lofty but dry profession, where the rain never falls. But here the dew descends, for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore. Book II., chap. ii., page 67.—“It is true he (Sir William Phips) was very zealous for all men to enjoy such a liberty of conscience as he judged a native right of mankind; and he was extremely troubled at the overboiling zeal of some good men, who formerly took that wrong way, of reclaiming heretics by persecution.” Answer. That he was for liberty of conscience, and against persecution, I do not question, by what I have heard of him; but the question is, what liberty of conscience it is, that they judge a native right of all mankind? If such a liberty of conscience as for all to worship God, as they are persuaded in their own consciences (which is the undoubted right of all mankind), I could not understand that they were for such a liberty, or that they would ever allow it to others, if they could help it; but the contrary, as their persecutions in all countries, where they have prevailed and while they had power in their hands, manifest; but when it was taken out of their hands by the forfeiting of their charter, if they pretend otherwise, because they cannot act otherwise, that is no thanks to them, but to a kind Providence that hath tied up their hands; and I have the more cause of suspicion of it, in that they are of the same spirit still, as appears by their calling those old persecutors “good men,” and the persecuted, “heretics;” which is so much like the Papists reviling of Protestants, that instead of a sweet smell there is a stink; for if those that imprison, whip, cut off ears, spoil goods, banish, and put to death only for religion, be good men, I know not who are bad; and at the same rate, not only all the old persecutors, but such as rob and murder on the highway may come in for a share of the character, for they have commonly some excuse or other. But to try them a little further, I shall recite a few branches of their laws, and their proceedings upon them, to see whether they were good or bad, leaving their preambles, as the effects of their envy and refuge of lies, which have been already swept away in other books, as follows:—
* T. E.'s Rogero Mastix, page 30.