A Second Discourse OF THE RELIGION OF ENGLAND: Further Asserting, That REFORMED CHRISTIANITY, Setled in its Due Latitude, is the Stability and Advancement of this KINGDOM. Wherein is included, An ANSWER to a late Book, ENTITVLED, A Discourse of TOLERATION.

LONDON, Printed in the Year 1668.


Of the Foundation of our Peace already laid in the Religion of the Nation, and the Structure thereof, to be perfected by the Vnity of that Profession.

COncerning Religion in this Kingdom, there have been, and still are great thoughts of heart, and the troubled state thereof hath much disturbed the Minds of Men, and the whole course of Human Affairs. Doubtless, Religion it self is not in fault, which in its right and sound state, being an Institution holy, just and good, must needs be of great efficacy to compose and quiet our minds, and to heal and settle the Nations. But that which in it self is Excellent, is by the Errors and Corrupti­ons of men, made subject to much vanity. And the Adver­sary [Page 2] of Mankind being not able to raze out the deep impres­sions thereof that are in our Nature, hath made it his Master­piece so to corrupt or discompose it, as to disorder the Passi­ons of Men, and the Affairs of the World about it.

Concerning the Cure of these Distempers, and the Re­dress of the Evils thence arising, there is no cause of Despair or Despondency, if Men cease from their high Provocati­ons, and God from his righteous Indignation. The most effectual means of Reconciliation between the Disagree­ing Parties, is, For all of them to be reconciled to God. Then would that Spirit of Perversness, which by the Divine Displeasure hath been mingled in the midst of us, be con­troled and vanquished; and Offences and Prejudices being removed, we might discern the Way of Peace. God for­bid that Sentence should pass upon this Generation, De­struction and misery is in their paths, and the way of peace they have not known.

Next, under the Divine Favour and Blessing, our Help standeth in the Wisdom and Piety of our SOVEREIGN and His PARLIAMENT. But this Grand Affair is ac­knowledged to be full of difficulties, caused by the Passi­ons, Prejudices and Interests of the several Parties. Ne­vertheless, the Prudence and Patience of those that sit at the Helm of Government, is able to Master it: For, the Ground-work of Peace is laid to their hands, in the Religi­on of the Nation; and the Impartial may descry the oppor­tunity of such a Settlement as may accommodate all those Parties in which the Nation's Peace is bound up.

The true Interest of Soveraignty, is the self-same with that of the Universality, or whole Body of the Kingdom; and this is founded in such a Common-Good, as belongs to all sorts of men, by whom the Publike Weal consists. And where there are, and inevitably will be different Perswasi­ons among them, the Wisdom of the Government is to con­tract [Page 3] and lessen their differences, as much as it is possible; but, howsoever, to prevent or heal divisions, and to hold them united among themselves, in the common Benefit, and all of them necessarily dependant upon the State. This is a firm Basis of the perpetual stability of Empire, as also of the Subjects Tranquility and Prosperity; and the present Discourse rests upon this Principle as its sure Founda­tion.

Now in this Realm, the joint Stock of those several Par­ties, for matter of Religion, is REFORMED CHRISTIA­NITY, for which they are all jealous, even unto discompo­sure, upon any Encroachments of the Popish Party. Where­fore, it is the Wisdom of this Government, to remove or lessen the Differences, and to cure the Divisions which now disturb and divide the Protestants, and to hold them united among themselves, and all of them in firm depend­ance upon this State, and consequently, to give them all their due encouragement, not indeed in loose and irregular wayes, but in a ruled Order, consistent with stable Polity, and agreeable to the Government of this Kingdom.

The Ground-work being already laid in the Protestant Religion, which is the general and grand Interest of this Nation, the Structure and Fabrick of the Unity and Peace of this Realm, is more or less perfected, as the Unity of this Profession, and the Peace and Concord of its Professors, is more or less acquired. And now this great Question lyes before us, Whether the Vnity of Religion be obtained by re­quiring a Conformity of Judgment and Practice in matters of perpetual difference from the beginning of the Reformation un­to this very day; or, by permitting a latitude of Opinion and Practice in those points; and that not infinite and inordinate, but limited by the Publike Rule.


The Good of the several Parties is best secured by common Equity, and the good of the Vniversality.

HOw happy might the disposition of Human Affairs be, if that were acknowledged in mens Practice, which is most clear and obvious to Human Understanding, That things of common Equity and regard to all sorts, who are ne­cessarily included in the Publike State, be preferred by each particular Party, before great Advantages to themselves apart, with disregard of all others. For, all particular Interests which are uncorrupt, and will hold firm, are imbarked in the Interest of the Universality, and must sink or swim therewith: Whereupon, not onely the Commonwealth, but the more appropriate Concernments of men, are better secured for continuance, by this Moderation and common Equity.

There lye before us the Protestant Religion, (which is the true Primitive Christianity) and the Ancient, Equal and Happy Constitution of the Government of this King­dom. The Conservation and Advancement of both These, are infinitely more valuable than the prevalence of Parties, by all true Protestants, and true English men. A publike Spirit is that which is truly pious and generous. But, over and above this Noble and Christian Consideration, this also should be very prevalent, That those Two great things before named, in which all do share, and by which all subsist, are the Basis even of the more private and contra­cted Benefits of the several Parties; and by disturbing these, they weaken their own hold, and disturb their own safety. Those that hate Moderation, and follow Extremes on ei­ther hand, consider not the true state of England. It is an unhappy Error when divided Parties, who when all is [Page 5] done, in their divided state, can be but Parties, and not the Whole, shall so act in their turns, as if they took themselves to be the whole Body of the Nation, or equi­valent thereunto. And it is a calamitous aversness, when such as must live together either as Friends or Enemies, shall refuse lawful and safe terms of mutual agreement.

As for Conscience, and its high Concernments, if it be guided by that Wisdom which is from above, which is first pure, then peaceable, it puts in no caution against the healing of this breach: For, Order and Peace may be ob­tained upon terms not repugnant to the Principles of ei­ther Party. His Majesty's Wisdom hath rightly compre­hended this matter, in His Declaration concerning Eccle­siastical Affairs, where He saith, We are the rather indu­ced to take this upon Vs, (that is, to give some deter­mination to the matters in difference) by finding upon a full Conference that we have had with the Learned men of several Perswasions, That the Mischiefs under which both Church and State do at present suffer, do not result from any formed Doctrine or Conclusion which either Party maintains or avows; but from the Passion, Appetite, and Interest of particular persons, which contract greater pre­judice to each other by those Affections, than would natu­rally arise from their Opinions. It is apparent, that the avowed Doctrines on either side, could not set the Parties at this distance, if their Spirits and Interests were recon­ciled.


What may be esteemed a good Constitution of the State Ec­clesiastical.

AS concerning the publike Order, it imports exceed­ingly to discern and make a difference between things desirable, but morally impossible, or extreamly [Page 6] improbable, and things necessary and attainable. Perfect unanimity about matters of Religion, and a harmony of Opinion in all Theological Truths, is very desirable; but it was never yet found in any Age of the World, among those that owned the same Religion, and consequently it cannot be necessary in all those that ought to be compre­hended in the same Church, or Religious Communion. For which cause, a precise Uniformity in matters of meer Opinion, will hardly ever pass with general satisfaction: Neither is it of that importance, that some make it to be, for Peace and Edification. There is another thing not onely desirable, but the indispensable duty of all particu­lar persons, which is Brotherly Love among all that re­ceive the common Faith once given to the Saints. This is of far greater consequence than the former, and more large­ly attainable, because it is a Catholick Disposition, and the right Spirit of true Christianity; and indeed, the fail­ing hereof is lamentable and reproachful. Howbeit, this excellent Christian Vertue is commonly much interrupted and impaired in many, by prejudicate Opinions, and de­praved Affections; and it must not be expected, but that Animosities and Jealousies may remain between men of dif­ferent Perswasions, by reason of the corruption of man's nature, and the infirmities of the best of men. Aud there­fore the foundation of a solid National Settlement, must not, and need not be laid in mens good dispositions and inclinations: For, although the distemper of many minds continue, yet publike Order, and steddy Government, is in no wise impossible.

Things are necessary, either as the End, or the Means. The things here considered, that are necessary as the End, are, The Advancement of the Protestant Religion, and the Kingdom of England, the Tranquility of Church and State, and the Security of all sound Protestants, and good [Page 7] Subjects. That which is necessary as the Means, is the Publike Rule and Standard by which these blessed Ends may be obtained; that, notwithstanding the remainder of mens Perversness, the common high Concerns of Re­formed Religion, and of this Kingdom, be not disturb­ed, impaired, or cast back by the Altercations that may chance to arise between men of different private Opinions, and different partial Interests. The high Importance and Necessity of a stated Rule of such Force and Efficacy, evinceth the possibility thereof: For, so Noble and Ne­cessary Ends, cannot be destitute of all possible Means leading thereunto. Evil Dispositions and Manners are the rise of Good Laws: And Law-makers, that are subject to like passions with other men, have the Wisdom to limit themselves and others, for the Universal Good, wherein the good of every Individual is secured.

The Publike Rule being to be framed to the proportion of the People that are to be setled under it, the chief re­gard must be had to their fixed and unmovable Perswasions and Inclinations, lest They should break the Rule, or the Rule break them. In a Nation whose Active Part is zealous of Religion, and able to discern, and addicted to discourse the Grounds thereof, the Order of Things ought, in the first place, to be directed to the satisfying of the Just and Reasonable Demands of Conscience, which being trou­bled, is a restless thing; and then to the outward Incou­ragements of Piety and Learning, and withall, to the brid­ling of Ambition, Avarice, Faction, and all depraved Appetite. It must be expected, That divers Obliquities and Deficiencies may remain, and Troubles will arise: but if that which is Wholesom and Good, be so predominant as to Master the Evils, though not to extinguish them, it is to be esteemed a Good Constitution.


The Comprehensiveness of the Establishment, and the Allow­ance of a just Latitude of Dissents, is the best Remedy against Dissentions.

THere was lately published a Discourse for a due Lati­tude in Religion, by Comprehension, Toleration and Connivence, directed to this End, That the occasions of those Discords which divide the Members, and distract the whole Body of the Protestant Profession, might cease; and that the common Concernments, wherein the disagreeing Parties have a large joint Stock in things of greatest mo­ment, might be pursued. This is encountred with an ad­verse Discourse, which is here to be examined, and the state and reason of the aforesaid Latitude, is to be further cleared.

Toleration being commonly understood of the permissi­on of different ways of Religion, without the Line of the Approved Way, A Discourse of Toleration doth not hit the Discourse of the Religion of England, in the main thereof, whose chief Design is the Extension of the Esta­blished Order, and the Moderation therein required; and then Toleration is treated of analogically, with respect not only to common Charity, but to the Safety of the setled Polity. It is no less besides the mark, to argue from the Mischiefs of a boundless and licentious Toleration, against that which is Limited and well Managed, and hath for the Subject thereof, nothing that is intolerable.

But, if under this Name be comprehended also the Per­mission of diversity of Opinion in the same Established Order, let it be considered, Whether any ample Polity can consist without such Permission. For, it is a thing ut­terly unknown, and seems morally impossible, for any [Page 9] numerous Society of Inquiring men, to be of the same judgment in all points of Religion. And though the Sons of the Church, as they are called, agree in those points wherein they all differ from the Nonconformists, yet they differ among themselves in far weightier Matters, and such as have caused great Schisms, and have been the subjects of the Debates and Determinations of some Synods in the Reformed Churches. Now if Charity among themselves, and their appropriate Interest, dispose them to this mutu­al forbearance, a more extensive Charity, and the common Interest of Reformed Christianity, should incline them to a forbearance in those other matters.

There is yet a greater Error committed about the Subject of Toleration, which the Answerer, by mistake, will have to be Dissentions in Religion, but is nothing so in the design of that Discourse to which he pretends an Answer. And this hath brought forth a large Impertinency, which takes up more than a third part of his Book: For, those whose Liberty He seeks to withstand, are not touched with that which he writes at large of the nature of Dissentions, with their Causes and Consequences, and the Magistrates duty concerning them, whether it be right or wrong, setting aside the injurious application thereof. And all that la­bour had been spared, if he had put a difference between Dissention and Dissent, words that are near in sound, and perhaps, sometimes, promiscuously used; but in their strict and proper sense, far distant: For, Dissention is no sooner presented to the mind, but it is apprehended as something either culpable and offensive, or calamitous and unhappy: But Dissent is of a better notion, and is not necessarily on both sides, either a Fault or a Grievance. But if this Au­thor means by Dissentions, no more then dissents or dif­ferences of Opinion, with what truth and justice can he charge them all (as he doth) with such execrable Causes [Page 10] and Effects. Dissentions have been, and may be remedied, and their fuel being taken away, those flames will be ex­tinguished: But diversity of Opinion seems in this state of Human Nature, to be irremediable. It is therefore hoped, that the state of this Church and Kingdom is not so deplo­rable, as to want a Settlement while these Dissents remain. Moreover, there are private dissents between particular men, within the latitude of the Publike Rule; and there are dissents that may be called Publike, as being from the Publike Rule, or some parts thereof. Now the broader and more comprehensive the Rule is, the fewer will be the Dissenters from it. And the permission of private diver­sities of Opinion, in a just Latitude within the Rule, is the means to lessen Publike Dissents, and consequently, Dissentions much more. And this was the main scope of the first Discourse.

The great importance of Vnity in the Church of Christ, is acknowledged and contended for as much on this side, as on the other: Howbeit, we do not believe that Christ our Head hath laid the Conservation and Unity of His Church, upon unwritten and unnecessary Doctrines, and little Opinions, and Sacred Rites and Ceremonies of meer Human Tradition and Institution. But He hath set out the Rule and Measure of Unity in such sort, as that upon Dis­sents in those things, the Members of this Society might not break into Schisms, to a mutual condemnation and ab­horrency. The imposing of such things (except in those Ages whose Blindness and Barbarism disposed them to stu­pidity and gross security in their Religion) hath been ever found to break Unity, and to destroy, or much impair Charity, Goodness, Meekness and Patience, which are Vital Parts, and chief Excellencies of Christianity.


Whether the present Dissentions are but so many Factions in the State.

ONE grand Objection is, That the Dissentions among us, are but so many several Factions in the State. But, meer dissents in Religion, are no State-Factions at all, but pro­ceed from a more lasting Cause, than particular Designs, or any temporary Occasions, even from the incurable In­firmity of our Nature. And if it were granted, That the Dissentions were State-Factions; yet, they are not so ori­ginally and radically, but by accident. Some may take ad­vantage to raise and keep up Factions by them. For this cause, take out of the way the stumbling-block of need­less rigors, and then Dissentions will cease or languish, and consequently, the State Factions (if there be any such that are kept up by them) will come to nothing.

It is so evident, that Toleration, which came not in till after the breach between the Late King and Parliament, did not open the avenues to our Miseries, that one may won­der any should say it did. But, meet Indulgence to all sound Protestants, is the likeliest means of stopping such avenues. And, if it be for the Interest of England to have no Factions, the best way is to remove those burdens, which, like a par­tition-wall, hath kept asunder the Professors of the same Religion: Then the Masters of our Troubles (whosoever they be) cannot have that advantage by their Eminency in their Parties, to drive on their Designs in the State. Factious Spirits are disappointed, when Honest Minds are satisfied and secured.

This Author relates the Aims of several Parties on this manner: The Papists are for the Supremacy of the Bishop of Rome; some of the other Sects are for a Commonwealth; [Page 12] others are for the Fift Monarchy. But, if the true state of the Nonconformists be well considered, it will be found, that in Them, as well as any others, the King and Kingdom is concerned, and the good of Both promoted. It is not with them, as with the Popish Party, who have such a severed Interest to themselves, that the State is little concerned in it, save onely to beware of its Incroachments. But the Protestant Dissenters, are such as do much of the Business of the Nation, and have not their Interest apart, but in strict conjunction with the whole Body-Politick. Yea, they have no possible means of ensuring their Interest, but by Legal-Security obtained from the Higher Power, and by comporting with the general tranquility both of the Church and State of England. They cannot flye to the Refuge of any Foreign Prince or State, (as the Papists have done fre­quently) they acknowledg no Foreign Jurisdiction, (which is a Principle of the Popish Faith) but all their Stake lies at home, and they can have no sure Hold that is aliene from the Happiness of the King and Kingdom. An Impartial Observer cannot but discern this. If it be lawful to name a thing so much to be abhorred, as a Change of the Ancient Laws and Government, they could not be happy, nor do their Work by such an unhappy Change. Experience wit­nesseth, That their Interest is not for hasty and unstable Victory, or unfixed Liberty; but, for a state of firm Con­sistence and Security; and that they cannot hold their own, but by the common Safety both of Prince and People.

The summ of this Matter is, That a Party not onely comporting with the good Estate of this Realm, but even subsisting by it, and therefore firmly linked unto it, should not be cast off.


Whether the NONCONFORMISTS Principles tend to Sects and Schisms.

SOme Reasons were offered to shew, That Indulgence towards Dissenting Protestants, did much concern the Peace and Happiness of this Realm. And the Prudent will judg Arguments of that sort to be of the greatest weight in the Affairs of Government. There is no need to reinforce the cogency of those Reasons: The Adversary hath wrested them to an odious meaning, contrary to their manifest true intent; but whether he hath indeed evinced them to be of little or no moment; or, whether they stand in full force, let judicious men consider. The whole reason­ing in that particular, rests upon this Maxime, That it is the SOVEREIGN's true Interest, to make his divided People to be one among themselves, and to keep them all in de­pendance upon Himself, as the Procurer of their common safety.

The Prejudices that have been conceived, and the Ca­lumnies that have been raised against the Nonconformists, gave occasion of resolving this Question, Whether they be of a judgment and temper that makes them capable of being brought under the Magistrates Paternal Care and Conduct, to such a stated Order as will comport with this Church and King­dom? This, by the Answerer, is termed a Dialect of Canting, and is wilfully wrested into a Question of another nature. Whether he had occasion given him to speak so scornfully, let any judg that understand sober language. But, that they might appear uncapable of a Comprehension, he sticks not to affirm, That the Principles of Presbyterian Per­swasion, do not admit of any stability, but may be drawn out to patronize the wildest Sects that are or have been. And his [Page 6] main proof is taken from the bare word of Two of their Eminent Adversaries. He might have remembred, That the same Reproach is cast upon the Principles of Protestan­tism, by Romish Writers. One may well ask, Where is the Truth and Candor of those men that write after this manner? Consider the French, Dutch, Helvetian Churches, how intire they keep themselves in Orthodox Unity, from the Gangrene of Sects and Schisms. The Church of Scot­land, whilst it was Presbyterian, was inferior to none in the Unity of Doctrine and Church-Communion. Did Prelacy ever effect the like Unity in the Church of England? And shall the Sects that now are, or lately were in this Nation, be charged upon Presbytery, that was never setled among us; and against which the Sectaries had the greatest indignati­on? Though that Way never obtained in England, nor was favoured with the Magistrates vigorous aid, yet it is very untrue, that the first admirers and friends thereof, grew sick of it, and hissed for the other Sects to affront, reproach and baffle it. It is well known, that it received those disgra­ces from another sort of men.

The asserting of this Government, is far from the design of this or the former Treatise; yet it may be lawful to vin­dicate it from unjust aspersions. The Answerer is pleased to stile it, No other but a Sect. I hope he doth not intend to make the Foreign Reformed Churches, but so many Com­binations of Sectaries. If his meaning be, that is no better than a Sect in England, because another Government is esta­blished by Law, let him tell us, Whether Episcopacy would be a Sect, if it should appear in those Countries where Pres­bytery is the Legal Government? No less will follow, if the Notion of Sect be extended so far, as to fetch in whatsoever dissents from the Order by Law established.


Of their Principles touching OBEDIENCE and GO­VERNMENT.

ANother great Prejudice taken up against the Noncon­formists, is, That they are inconsistent with any Regular Government: And this Author reports, that it is a common Maxime among the Dissenters, That an Indifferent Thing becomes Vnlawful by being Commanded. But let the World hear them speak for themselves out of their Account to His Majesty concerning the Review and Alte­ration of the Liturgy.

We humbly beseech Your Majesty to believe, That we own no Principles of Faction or Disobedience, nor patronize the Errors or Obstinacy of any. It is granted us by all, That nothing should be commanded us by man, which is contrary to the Word of God: That, if it be, and we know it, we are bound not to perform it, God being the Absolute Universal Sovereign: That we must use all just means to discern the Will of God, and whe­ther the Commands of Men be contrary to it: That, if the Command be sinful, and any through neglect of suf­ficient search, should judg it Lawful, his culpable Error excuseth not his doing it, from being sin: And there­fore as a reasonable creature must needs have a judg­ment of discerning, that he may rationally obey it; so is he with the greatest care and diligence, to exercise it in the greatest things, even the obeying of God, and the saving of his Soul: And that where a strong probability of a great Sin and Danger lieth before us, we must not rashly run on without search: And that to go on against Conscience where it is mistaken, is sin and danger to him that erreth. And on the other side, we are remembred, [Page 16] that in things no way against the Law of God, the Com­mands of our Governors must be obeyed; but if they command what God forbids, we must patiently submit to suffering, and every soul must be subject to the Higher Powers for Conscience sake, and not resist: The Pub­like Judgment, Civil or Ecclesiastical, belongeth only to publike persons, and not to any private man: That no man must be be causlesly or pragmatically inquisitive into the reasons of his Superiors Commands; nor by Pride and Self-conceitedness, exalt his own understand­ing above its Worth and Office; but all to be modestly and humbly self-suspicious: That none must erroneously pretend to God's Law, against the just Command of his Superiors, nor pretend the doing of his duty to be a sin: That he who suspecteth his Superiors Commands to be against Gods Laws, must use all means for full informa­tion, before he settle in a course of disobeying them: And that he who indeed discovereth any thing comman­ded, to be a sin; though he must not do it, must manage his Opinion with very great care and tenderness of the Publike Peace, and the honour of his Governors. These are our Principles: If we are otherwise represented to Your Majesty, we are mis-represented: If we are accu­sed of contradicting them, we humbly crave that we may not be condemned before we be heard.

This is sound speech that cannot be reproved. Where­fore if the Clemency of their Superiors shall remit those Injunctions that may wellbe dispensed with, and unto which they cannot yeeld conformity for fear lest they sin against God; their Principles will dispose them with an humble and thankful acquiescence, to receive so great a Be­nefit.


Of placing them in the same rank for Crime and Guilt, with the PAPISTS.

THE Answerer hath not feared to set the Papists, and the Protestant Dissenters, upon the same level, in the guilt of Rebellion, Cruelty and Turbulency. For a high Charge having been made good against Popery, That it di­sposeth Subjects to Rebellion: That it persecutes all other Re­ligions within its reach: That wheresoever it finds encourage­ment, it is restless, till it bear down all, or hath put all in disorder: He comes and tells the World, That the Noncon­formists are no more innocent of the same Crimes. Can men of sound minds and temperate spirits, believe this? And what greater advantage can be given the Popish Party, then that a Protestant Writer should declare and publish, that so great a part of Protestants are equally involved with them in those heinous Crimes with which the Protestants have al­ways charged them? And that such a one should tell them, That it will seem unequal to deny a Toleration to them, and grant it unto others that are here pleaded for; which is in effect to say, They have as good reason to expect an In­dulgence from this State, as others that maintain the Do­ctrine of the Church of England, yea, such as communicate in her publike Worship. Is there no better way of exalt­ing Prelacy, and disgracing its supposed Adversaries, then by this Reproach and Damage done to the whole Protestant Profession? Yea, he so far extenuates the guilt of Papists, and brings it down so low, as to make it common to all other Sects. In which one would think he should have been more wary, who in one place stretcheth the notion of Sect so far, as to make its reason to lye in being different from the Established Form of Church Government. Now [Page 18] for matter of practice, he imputes the same guilt to all other Sects; And if the Papists (saith he) have any Doctrines which countenance those Practises, that is to be accounted as the issue of their insolency in their own greatness. And he im­plies, That it is onely the want of strength, that other Sects are not so bad as they for such kind of Doctrine, as well as Practice. Such passages falling from a Protestants Pen, may do the Papists better service than their late Apo­logy. But why doth he say, If the Papists have any such Doctrines? Doth he not know they have? The Church of England was assured of it, when concerning the Adherents of Rome, she used this expression in a publike form of Prayer, Whose Religion is Rebellion, and whose Faith is Fa­ction. We wish their eyes were open, who cannot see more permanent and effectual causes of the aforesaid Crimes pe­culiar to that Religion, and rooted in the Principles there­of. The evidence hereof given in the former Discourse, is not needful to be rehersed in this place.

This Author (as others that oppose the wayes of Amity and Peace) loves to grate upon a string that sounds harsh, To renew the remembrance of the late Warr. Those di­stracted Times, are the great Storehouse and Armory, out of which such men do fetch their Weapons of offence; and the great Strong-hold, unto which they always retreat when they are vanquished by the force of Reason, and then they think they are safe, though therein they contra­dict the true intent of the Act of Oblivion. Some of those that now so importunately urge the Injury and Tyranny of those Times, did then suf [...]iciently comply with Usur­pers; and left Episcopacy to sink or swim; and did partake of the chiefest Favours and Preferments that were then conferred. And on the other hand, such as they upbraid, and are now Sufferers, did as little comply with those that subverted the Government, and did as zealously appear [Page 19] for the rescue of our late Sovereign, and for the restitution of His present Majesty, as any sort of men in the Realm. But to intermeddle in the Differences of those Times, and to repeat Odious Matters, and to use Recriminations that will disturb the minds of men, and tend to a perpetual Mis­chief, is aliene from, and opposite unto my Pacifick Endea­vours. As for his charging the Nonconformists with certain Doctrines and Positions by him there mentioned (which I know none that maintains) and other Accusations and Re­ports relating to the time of the Warr; the Truth or Fals­hood, the Equity or Iniquity, the Candor or Disingenuity of his Testimony in those things, is left to the judgment of the Righteous God, and of Impartial Men.


Whether their Inconformity be Conscientious or Wilful.

ANother part of the Proceeding is very Unrighteous and Presumptuous. The Dissenting Ministers appeal to God, That they dare not Conform for Conscience sake. This Author hence inferrs, The force of the Argument is, There is a Necessity of Toleration, because they Will not con­form. Is a Cannot for Conscience sake, of no more force than a bare Will not? But who best knows their hearts, themselves or their Adversaries? He would make the world believe, that not Conscience, but Obstinacy and Faction, is the cause of their holding out, and that the greatest part were trapann'd into Nonconformity. That trifling story of their being trapann'd, is not worthy of serious discourse. It is so evident, as not to be denied, That about the time the Act of Uniformity was to be put in practice, there were motions and overtures of Indulgence from the King and some of the great Officers of State, who were known to have high af­fection and esteem for the Church of England, yet did ap­prove [Page 20] and promote those Overtures as the best Expedient for the setling of this Church and Kingdom. But to let that pass, Can men of Understanding and Candor think, that so many serious persons, who as well as others, may be thought to love themselves, their Families and Relations, should continue such egregiously obstinate Fools, as to re­fuse the Comforts of their Temporal Being, for a Humor, and remain in a state of Deprivation, into which they had been meerly trapann'd? As for the objected unprofitable­ness of their returning, how doth it appear? What hinders their Capacity of gaining Benefices, yea and Dignities, if they could Conform? Why should they not find as good acceptation as others, in their Preaching and Conversation? It may be they would enter too fast, for the good liking of some, into those Preferments, who therefore would set such Barrs against them, as they should not be able to break tho­rough.


Of their peaceable Inclinations, and readiness to be sa­tisfied.

IN the late Times of Usurpation, there were apparent predispositions in this sort of men to Peace and Concord. The longing desire and expectation that was in them, as much as in any others, of a National Settlement, and ge­neral Composure, did accelerate His Majesty's Peaceable Restauration. Surely they were not so stupid as to ima­gine that great Turn of Affairs, without the thoughts of their own yeilding, and such as they hoped would be effe­ctual with those of the other Perswasion. Their early and ready Overtures of Reconciliation, which are publikely made known, will testifie their Moderation, to the present and future Ages. Their Offers of Acquiescing in Episcopacy Regulated, and the Liturgy Reformed, was on their part, a [Page 21] good advance towards Union. His Majesty hath given this Testimony of them in His Declaration: When We were in Holland, We were attended by many Grave and Learned Mi­nisters from hence, who were looked upon as the most able and principal Assertors of the Presbyterian Opinions, with whom We had as much Conference as the multitude of Af­fairs which were then upon Vs, would permit Vs to have; and to Our great Satisfaction and Comfort, found them persons full of Affection to Vs, of Zeal for the Peace of the Church and State, and neither Enemies (as they had been given out to he) to Episcopacy or Liturgy, but modestly to desire such altera­tions as without shaking Foundations, might best allay the present Distempers which the indisposition of the Time, and the tenderness of some mens Consciences had contracted.

I wonder at the confidence of that Assertion in the An­swer, That it is sufficiently known, That none of the present Nonconformists did in the least measure agree in the use of those little things; and though desired by the King to read so much of the Liturgy as themselves had not exception against, and so could have no pretence from Conscience. For it is well known, that some of them did in compliance with the Kings desire, read part of the Liturgy in their Churches. As for others that did not, perhaps for the prevention of scandal they might use their liberty of forbearance till some Reformati­on were obtained. The truth is, the Concessions on this side have been abused, to the reproach and disadvantage of the depressed Party; and from their readiness to yeild so far as they can, for the common peace sake, a perverse inference is made, That they might yeild throughout, if Humor and Faction did not rule them. Is there any Justice or Charity in such dealing? May not men of upright Con­sciences, and peaceable Inclinations, forbear the insisting upon some things to them very desirable, and give place to some things not approved by them as the best in that kind, [Page 22] if so be they might obtain their Peace and Liberty, by In­dulgence granted them in other things, wherein Conscience binds them up that they cannot yeild? Moreover, some Concessions made by particular men of very Catholick spirits, in the earnest pursuit of Peace, have been wrack'd and wrested to a sense beyond their true import; and then they that so handle them, triumph in their own conceit, over them, as if they had given up the whole Cause. Cer­tasnly they are ill employed, who from their Brethrens yeelding offers, raise Opposition against them, and endea­vour to set them further off.


The propounded Latitude leaves out nothing necessary to secure the Church's Peace.

TO set forth the propounded Latitude in the particu­lar Limits thereof, is not agreeable to a Discourse of this nature: For it were presumptuous both in refer­ence to Superiors, and to the Party concerned in it. And it is unnecessary; for Prejudices being removed, and the Conveniency of a greater Latitude being acknowledged, the particular Boundaries thereof will easily be descried: And indeed, the generals that are expressed, are a sufficient indication thereunto. His Majesty's Declaration concern­ing Ecclesiastical Affairs, hath mentioned particular Con­cessions on both sides, and that Harmony of Affections therein, He calls excellent Foundations to build upon. The Moderation and Indulgence there specified, would do the work; I mean not so as if all Dissenters would instantly be thereby brought in; but that our wide breach would pre­sently be healed in great part, and be in the surest way for a total and absolute healing; and so much would be gained at present, as might be able to conquer the remaining Diffi­culties.

[Page 23] The former Discourse had this position, That the Ends of Church-Discipline do not require a Constitution of narrower bounds, then things necessary to Faith and Life, and Godly Order in the Church. The Answerer saith, That this Establishment is not enough for a Settlement, because it doth not secure the Peace. And to shew the insufficiency thereof, he giveth two instances of Discord between the Parties; First, about the Persons to whose care the great things of Christianity should be intrusted to see them conveyed unto Posterity, whether they shall be a Single Person, or a Con­sistory, or each single Congregation. Secondly, About the means of conveying those things, the Worship of God, and the Circumstances thereof. From hence he draws this Conclusi­on, Therefore to preserve Peace among her Members, the Church had need to determine more then the great things of Christianity; and to injoyn more then what is barely necessary to Faith and Order. Verily, it may much amuse one to think what that thing should be in the Ecclesiastical Polity, which is not necessary to Christian Faith and Life, and godly Order in the Church, and yet necessary to secure the Church's Peace. And if the aforesaid Instances of discord between the Church of England and the Dissenters are not necessary to Faith or Order, what reason can be rendred of the inexo­rable Imposition thereof, upon dissenting or doubting Consciences? Can it be necessary to the Church's Peace, to exclude or deprive men for such Differences in which neither Faith nor Order are concerned? Or is this the An­swerer's meaning, That the Church's Peace consists in the exclusion of the Nonconformists; and that the necessary use of some Injunctions, stands in keeping them out; so that not their Conformity, but their Exclusion is the thing ther­by intended?

The Comprehension doth not suppose (as it is mis-report­ed) That Presbytery should be permitted or encouraged. All [Page 24] intermedling with the Form of Church-Government, was declined; only the prescribed Uniformity was considered. Besides, for the exact Presbyterial Form to be comprehend­ed in Episcopacy, is contradictory; yet that something of Presbytery should be included in it, is not repugnant. And such a Comprehension is approved in His Majesty's afore­said Declaration. Likewise King CHARLES the First, in His Discourse touching the Differences between Himself and the Two Houses, in this point, declares that He is not against the managing of the Episcopal Presidency in one man, by the joint Counsel and Consent of many Presbyters; but that He had offered to restore it as a fit means to avoid those errors, and corruptions and partialities which are incident to any one man; also to avoid Tyranny, which becomes no Christians, least of all Church-men. But neither this nor the former Treatise, inter­poseth in this Matter, but leaves it to the Wisdom of our Superiors.

The desired Latitude leaves not the Concernments of Church or State to the Ingenuity of Men, nor casts out any Injunctions that are means of Peace and Unity; yea, or of that necessary Decency which the Apostle requires; only of Rites and Opinions long disputed, it would take in no more then needs must; and not meerly because they have been long disputed, but because they are also of little va­lue, (and here confessed not to be necessary to Faith and Order) yet are matters of endless Controversie in this Church, and occasions of great separation from it.

It being asserted, That the indisputable Truths of Faith, and the indispensable Duties of Life, are the main Object of Church-Discipline, the Answerer demands, What are those indisputable Truths, since there is scarce any Truth of Faith that hath not been disputed against? What manner of arguing is this? Because All Truths have been disputed, doth it follow, that there are no indisputable Truths? That [Page 25] is called Indisputable, that cannot reasonably or justly be disputed, though men of corrupt minds, and reprobate concerning the Faith, will call the greatest Truths in que­stion, and resist the clearest Evidence. When the Apostle mentions matters of doubtful disputations, he implies there be matters that are indubitable.


Of acquiescence in the Commands of Superiors, and the pro­per matter of their Injunctions.

IN the former Treatise this Argument was used. The Church doth not claim an Infallibility, therefore the cannot settle the Conscience by her sole Warrant, but still leaves room for doubting. The Answerer makes this to be either a piece of ignorance, or of portentous malice, and an Assertion that would disturb all Government both in Fami­lies and in the State, that would confound all Society, and ex­tirpate Faith and Justice from among the sons of men. But this his strange Inference rather is portentous. That the Church cannot settle the Conscience by her sole Warrant, is it not a Principle maintained by all Protestants in oppo­sition to the Popish implicit Faith, and blind Obedience? But is this person consistent with himself? For after he hath a while expatiated in his imaginary hideous Consequences, he comes himself to deny that the Church bindeth the Con­science by her own Authority. And yet it is a lesser thing to bind the Conscience, than to settle it, and leave no room for doubting. For Conscience may be obliged, when it is not setled. And if the Church cannot oblige, doubtless she cannot settle the Conscience by her sole Authority. How then could a man of reason draw such hideous Inferences from that Position? If I may give way to conjectures, I su­spect that he might take check at the word Infallibility, by [Page 26] which I intend no more then Infallible Direction; and I fear not to own this Assertion, That whosoever have not Infallible Direction, or the certain assistance of an Infalli­ble Guide, so as to be exempted from all error in what they propound for Belief or Practice, cannot settle the Consci­ence by their sole warrant.

I still aver, That in prescribed Forms and Rites of Reli­gion, the Conscience that doth its office, will interpose and concern it self. And it is matter of astonishment that a Learned Protestant should say, this Position must needs be false. For Conscience guided by the fear of God, will use all just means to discern his Will, and cannot resign it self to the dictates of men in the points of Divine Worship. If the Judgment of Discerning, which makes men differ from Brutes, be to be exercised in any case, it is chiefly re­quisite in these matters wherein the Glory of God, and the Saving of the Soul is so much concerned.

It is granted, That to maintain Peace and Unity in the Church, and to be obedient to the Higher Powers in those things which are proper matter for their Commands, are most strictly injoined Duties. But the Injunctions here con­sidered (though to the Imposers they are but things Indiffer­ent, that is, neither Commanded nor Forbidden of God) in the Consciences of Dissenters, are Unlawful. To instance in some controverted Ceremonies, They think that God hath determined against them, though not in particular, yet in the general Prohibition of all uncommanded Wor­ship. And they reply, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto men more then unto God, judg ye. To restrain that of the Apostle, He that doubts is damned if he eat, only to things wherein the Church hath not interposed her Au­thority, is a false gloss, and a begging of the Question. What human Authority can warrant any one to put in pra­ctice an unlawful or suspected Action, or to make pro­fession [Page 27] of a known or suspected Falshood? As concern­ing the Rights of Superiors, it is the Church's Duty and Honour to teach and command her Children to do whatso­ever Christ hath commanded. And it is the chiefest Glory, and most proper Work of the Magistrate, who is Gods Mi­nister and Vicegerent, to be custos & vindex utrius (que) Tabulae, To incourage and inforce Obedience to the Divine Laws, whether written in the Bible, or imprinted in our Nature; and in subserviency thereunto, to have power to deter­mine such things as are requisite in the general, but in the particulars are left undetermined of God, and are to be or­dered by Human Prudence, according to the Light of Na­ture, and the general Rules of Gods Word. But things in­different in their nature, and either offensive in their use, or needless and superfluous, are not worthy to be made the proper matter of his Commands. It is a grave and weighty saying of a Learned man (of whatsoever Perswasion he were) ‘If the special Guides and Pastors of the Church, would be a little sparing of incumbring Churches with superfluities, or not over-rigid, either in reviving obsolete Customs, or imposing new, there would be far less cause of Schism and Superstition; and all the inconvenience that were likely to ensue, would be but this, That in so do­ing they should yeeld a little to the imbecillity of their Inferiors; a thing which St. Paul would never have refu­sed to do.’


Of the alledged Reasons of the Ecclesiastical Injunctions in the beginning of the Reformation.

THE Answerer relates at large the proceeding of this Church in the beginning of the Reformation. The sum of the Relation is, That there being Two sorts of men, [Page 28] one that thought it a great matter of Conscience to depart from the least Ceremony, they were so addicted to their old Customs; the other so new-fangled, that they would innovate all things, and nothing would satisfie them but that which was new; It was necessary for the Church to interpose for Peace sake, and casting off neither Party, to please each to their edification; and also to injoyn some things to the common observance of all, and therefore she took away the excessive multitude of Cere­monies, as those that were dark, and abused to Superstition and Covetousness, but retained those few that were for Decen­cy, Discipline, and apt to stir up the dull mind of man to the remembrance of his duty to God. We have good warrant to call in question the truth of his Narration in things of the greatest weight. First, It is not true that the Party that were for Ceremonies, comprehended all those who staid at home, and did not flye in the time of Queen Mary's Persecu­tion. For such as dissented from the Ceremonies in the time of that Persecution, had their Assemblies for the Wor­ship of God in this Land, and indured among others, in the Fiery Trial. And we can find but little zeal in the Martyrs of those days for this kind of Conformity. Like­wise it is not true that the Party that were against Ceremonies, were but small, as being but some few of those that fled beyond Sea: There is clear evidence to the contrary. An Histori­an zealous for Conformity, even unto bitterness, reports in his Ecclesia Restaurata, That in the beginning of Queen Elizabeth's Reign, many that were disaffected to Episcopacy and Ceremonies, were raised to great Preferments. Besides, those that were in Ecclesiastical Dignities, he observes, That the Queens Professor at Oxford, and the Margaret Professor in Cambridg, were among the Nonconformists. For the multitude of Dissenters in those dayes, there is a notable te­stimony of a Friend of Prelacy, in his Letter to Mr. Ri­chard Hooker, about the writing of his Ecclesiastical Polity, [Page 29] in these words: It may be remembred, that at the first the greatest part of the Learned in the Land, were either eagerly affected, or favourably inclined to that way; the Books then written, savoured for the most part, of the Disciplinary stile; it sounded every where in the Pulpits, and in the common phrase of mens speech; and the contrary Part began to fear they had taken a wrong course.

There is as little Truth and Justice in that report, That the Party that were against Ceremonies, caused the Troubles at Frankford, and brought a Dishonor to the Reformation, and Infamy upon our Nation. The English Congregation at Frankford, was setled after the Discipline of the Foreign Reformed Churches, and enjoyed much Peace, till certain eminent men, zealous of the English Forms and Rites, came among them, and by a high hand brought in the Li­turgy, and brake them to pieces, and forced away the Mi­nisters, and those Members that were in the first forming and setling of that Church. Afterward, they that remain­ed and received the Liturgy, continued not long in unity, but in a short time an incurable and scandalous Schism brake out between the Pastor, and almost the whole Con­gregation.

Lastly, There is a great mistake in the main business of the Narrative, in representing things as setled by the Church of England in the beginning of the Queen's Reign, to please each Party in the abolishing of some, and the re­taining of other Ceremonies: Whereas at the reviving the Reformation at that time, the Ceremonies then abo­lished were offensive to all Protestants, and nothing appears to be done in favour of the Anticeremonial Party, about the points in difference. But things were carried to a greater height against their Way, than in King Edward's time, whose Reformation was thought to incline more to that which was afterwards called Puritanism. For which [Page 30] cause the Historian before mentioned, hath written, That that King being ill principled, his Death was no infelicity to the Church of England. The truth of the matter is, That in the first Times of the Queen, whose Reign was to be sounded in the Protestant Religion, the Wisdom of the State intended chiefly the bringing over of the whole Body of the People, and to settle them in that Profession; and therefore thought fit to make no more alteration from their old Forms, then was necessary to be made. Care was ta­ken, that no part of the Liturgy might be offensive to the Papists, and they accordingly resorted to our Divine Ser­vice for the first Ten years. Also the retaining of the Ce­remonies, was a matter of condescention to the Popish Par­ty, the State thereby testifying how far they would stoop to gain them, by yeelding as far as they might in their own Way. Now long Experience hath shewed, That what was done with respect to the Peace of former Times, and reconciling of Papists to Protestants, is become an occasion of dividing Protestants from one another, without hope of converting Papists.


The alledged Reasons, why the Ceremonies are not to be taken away, Examined.

DIvers Reasons are alledged to prove a continued ne­cessity for these Ceremonies, as, Because they that are for the Church, are unwilling to have them taken away: To revoke them, is to comply with those that will never be satis­fied: Imputations have been laid upon the Things injoyned, as Antichristian, Idolatrous, Superstitious: A Warr was under­took to remove them: And it is a reproach to the Church, whose Foundation is upon the Truth, to be various. Hereunto we make answer: Whosoever delight in the use of the [Page 31] Ceremonies, may enjoy their liberty; but let it suffice them to use it, without laying a stumbling-block before others, or intangling their Consciences, or hindring all of a contrary Perswasion from the Ministry, from teaching School, yea, and from taking any Academical Degree. With what soberness can it be said, the Dissenters will ne­ver be satisfied, when hitherto they were never tryed with any Relaxation or Indulgence, although they have given evident proofs of their unfeigned desires of Accom­modation? They do indeed esteem the Ceremonies an ex­cess in the Worship of God; but suppose that some have been immoderate in disparaging those Rituals; on the other hand, shall their value be so inhansed, as to be thought more worth then the Church's Unity, and the exercise of mutual Charity among its Members? May not the Church salve her Honour, by declaring, That in remitting these Injunctions, she meerly yeelds to the infirmity of weak Consciences? As St. Paul declared concerning abstaining from meats, who had as much power to make a Canon, as any sort or number of Ecclesiastical persons can now pretend unto. As concerning the late Warr, it is easier said then proved, That it was undertaken to remove the Ceremonies; and it was not so declared by those that ma­naged it. But if it were so indeed, as it is here suggested, let this Argument be well weighed, A dreadful Warr that had a dismal issue, was undertaken to remove certain Ce­remonies that at the best are but indifferent, therefore let them never be removed, but still inforced to the uttermost upon Consciences that disallow them. As for the reproach of the Church by the appearance of being various, we conceive the controverted Ceremonies are no Foundation of the Church of England, nor any substantial part of her Religion, and do therefore hope, that some Indulgence therein will not fix upon her any brand of Inconstancy. [Page 32] It is objected, That the Popish Priests would hereby take advantage. It seems then, that greater care must be taken that the Papists, who are implacable Adversaries, be not offended, then that many thousand honestly minded Prote­stants should be relieved. But the strangest Reason comes up last. Dissentions about things indifferent, have necessitated the Church to make these Injunctions: That is, say the things are but indifferent, yet great dissentions have risen about them, and are like to continue without end; therefore the Church hath been necessitated to impose them with great severity upon multitudes who esteem them unlawful, and all for this end, That dissentions may be removed. We are astonished at this Argument from the Pen of a Learn­ed man. The truth is, these alledged Reasons have more of Animosity in them, then of Equity; Charity, or good Advice. Indeed the Apostle saith, Mark those that cause divisions and offences contrary to the Doctrine that ye have re­ceived; but he doth not so brand those that scruple unwrit­ten Traditions, and needless Ceremonies, but adhere to the intire Doctrine of Christ, and all Divine Institutions.


Of the diversity of Opinion and Practice already permitted in the Church of England.

THE Moderation of the Church of England in the Articles of Predestination, Divine Grace, and Free­will, being urged against the rigorous imposition of the controverted Orders and Ceremonies, this Answer is made, That the case is not the same, for that those points are so full of difficulty, that they, and questions of that nature, have been matter of dispute in all Ages, and in all Religions; but about the Orders and Ceremonies, this is the only thing to be resolved, Whether the Church hath power to injoin an indifferent Cere­mony? [Page 33] But there is no such difference in the case. The Que­stion of things Indifferent, hath been mistaken for the Grand Case of the Nonconformists; for those points which are the main reason and matter of their inconformity, are by them accounted not indifferent, but unlawful, and there­fore not to be admitted in their practice, till their Consci­ences be better satisfied. And it is not irrational to think, that serious doubtings may arise in sober minds about some parts of the injoyned Uniformity, and particularly, about those Ceremonies which seem to draw near to the signifi­cancy and moral efficacy of Sacraments, and thereupon may appear to some not as meer circumstances, but as parts of Divine Worship, and their Consciences may be struck with Terror by the sense of God's Jealousie about any in­stituted Worship which Himself hath not prescribed. Moreover, these Orders and Ceremonies have been matters of dispute in all times since the beginning of Protestant Reformation. But under the degenerate state of the Chri­stian Churches, by the great Apostacy of the later times, there could be no occasion of disputing these things, when Will-worship was generally exalted, and the grossest Ido­latries had prevailed.

I question the truth of that Assertion, That the Dissent­ers cannot name one Church besides ours, in which there was a Schism made for a Ceremony. For a great Rent was made in the Christian Church throughout the World, about a Ceremony, or as small a matter, to wit, the time of cele­brating the Feast of Easter. But whensoever a Schism is made, let them that cause it, look to it, and lay it to heart. Wo to the world because of offences, and wo to that man by whom the offence cometh▪ But we still insist upon this Argu­ment, That these Rites being at the best but indifferent in the opinion of the Imposers, the observation of them can­not in reason be esteemed of such importance to the sub­stance [Page 34] of Religion, as the different Opinions about the Ar­ticles aforesaid are. And who knows not with what animo­sity and vehemence the Parties that are called Arminian and Antiarminian, have fought against one another; and what dreadful and destructive Consequences they pretend to draw from each others Opinions? Now put case the more preva­lent Party in the Church of England should go about to de­termine those Controversies on the one side, or the other, (and truly they were sometimes determined by a Synod in His Majesty's Dominions, namely by that of Dublin in the year 1615, also by the greatest Prelates, and most eminent Doctors in England, in the Lambeth-Articles; and what hath been, may again come to pass) would not that side against whom the Decision passeth, be ready to cry out of Oppression? Yea, how great a Rent would be made by it through the whole Fabrick of this Church? Furthermore, in Ceremonies publikely used, and matters of open pra­ctice, the Church of England hath thought good to indulge Dissents, as in that of bowing toward the Altar, or the East, unless it be required by the local Statutes of particular So­cieties. And in this the Sons of the Church do bear with one another, according to the direction of the Canons made in the year 1640. Unto which may be added, That the Mode of Worship in Cathedrals, is much different from that in Parochial Churches. Likewise some Mini­sters before their Sermon use a Prayer of their own con­ceiving; others onely (as the phrase is) bid Prayer. If these and other Varieties, be no reproach to our Church, will it reproach her to suffer one to Officiate with a Sur­pliss, and another without it?


Men differently perswaded in the present Controversies, may live together in Peace.

IT is no vain speculation, to think we may have peace, if men perswaded in their Consciences that the controverted Ceremonies are superstitious, or at the best but Trifles, and that the Liturgy and Ecclesiastical Polity, need some Reformation, should be joined with men far otherwise perswaded. And the preserving of Peace in that case, doth not suppose or re­quire that all these differently perswaded men, will be wise on both sides to content themselves with their own opinions: But it supposeth the State, and the chief Guides of the Church, to be wise, (as it is always requisite they should be) and that many of Reputation and Eminency on both sides, will be prudent and temperate, and examples of Moderation to others, (and not to suppose this is to disparage and debase our present Age) but above all, it supposeth the Publike Constitution so well stated and setled, as to be able to curb the Imprudent and Unsober, and to encourage the Modest and Well-advised.

Surely all Dissenters upon Conscience, will not be prevail­ed with by the same Conscience, to endeavour the propagation of their own way in these differences, to the depression of others. If some offer to disturb the Peace, can no Rule of Go­vernment restrain them? It is a deplorable case indeed, if there be no remedy but for those that are favoured by the Higher Powers, utterly to exclude and reject those that want the like favour and countenance.

At this day the Church of England by Her present La­titude, or at least Connivence, keeps peace among Her Sons of such different Perswasions, as formerly stirred up great Dissentions in this Church. Who is ignorant of the [Page 36] Contentions raised about the Arminian Controversies in the several Reigns of Queen Elizabeth, King James, and King Charles the First? But in the present Times, the mu­tual forbearance on both sides, but chiefly the Church's Prudence, hath lay'd asleep those Controversies; whereas if one side presuming upon its Power and Prevalency, should go about (as formerly) to decry and depress the other, and to advance and magnifie themselves, and ingross the Preferments, doubtless the like flames would break out again. For there is a great dislike and abhorrency setled at the Heart-root of both these Parties against each others Opinions; and a sutable occasion would soon draw it out to an open Contestation. Now if the Church's Peace and Unity be already maintained in such seemingly dangerous diversity of Opinion among her Members and Officers, and those not of the meanest rank, why should her Prudence and Polity he suspected as insufficient to maintain Unity and Peace in the indulging of the differ­ently perswaded in the now disputed Rites and Opi­nions?


Of DISSENTERS of Narrower Principles, and of TOLERATION.

THE Latitude discoursed in the former Treatise, is un­justly impeached, as providing onely for the Presby­terians, and relinquishing all other Dissenters; for it com­prehends within the Establishment, those of all sorts that are of Principles congruous to stated Order in the Church; so that no sort is excluded, whose Principles make them capable. And was this Capacity any where restrained to the Presbyterians? Some Nonconformists are for Moderated Episcopacy, after the form of the Ancient Churches; and [Page 37] divers others, as to particular forms of Government, are Latitudinarians; and others there are besides these, who would live peaceably under the present Hierarchy, might they be spared from the personal profession or practice of some things which they think unlawful or doubtful.

Moreover, beyond the Established Order, the Latitude includes a Toleration for those that are of sound Faith, and good Life, but have taken up some Principles of Church-Government less congruous to National Settle­ment. I cannot yeeld to that position, That only Necessity can give colour to Toleration, for that it is by the confession of all, one of those things that are not good in their nature. I suppose that Christians bearing with one another in tole­rable differences, is a branch of Brotherly Love; and therefore Charity, as well as Necessity, may plead for this Way of Indulgence.

But it is objected, That we want an instance of the safety of Toleration, in any Nation where the Supreme Governour had not a standing Army to circumscribe and confine the Heats of Dissenters in Religion, to their own breasts, and keep off the destructive Effects of Schism.

Let me reply, That this Maxime, That no Toleration of Dissenters, howsoever regulated, can be safely granted by the Supreme Governour that hath not a standing Army, makes little for the Safety and Liberty of true Religion. The Protestants that live under the Princes of the Roman Faith, are little beholding to one that publisheth to the World, That those Princes can with safety tolerate them no longer then they keep up a standing Army to keep off the destructive effects of that which they call Schism. One may see by this and other instances, what bias the Judg­ment hath, by the Zeal of a Party, and how it is brought to assert such things as may expose the true Religion to the danger of Suppression or Extirpation in many Countries. [Page 38] But hath the French King less assurance of the Loyalty of His Protestant Subjects, then of the Roman-Catholicks? Would a Necessity be laid upon Him to maintain constant Forces to keep the Protestants in obedience, when he could rule the rest of his People without such Terror? Or is To­leration the reason of a standing Army in the United Pro­vinces of the Netherlands? In this Latitude no other To­leration is pleaded for, then what can be made safe and se­cure by the ordinary ways of Legal Government.

Both Duty and Interest obligeth all sorts to proceed as far as it is possible in complying with their Superiors; and if the uncontrolable Power of Conscience inforce them to lye without the Pale of the Established Order, they should deem that Exclusion their great Unhappiness. But so it is, that Prudent and Pious men may be of exceeding Narrow Principles about Church-Order and Fellowship. Christian Charity pleadeth for Indulgence towards them; and we hope Political Prudence doth not gainsay it. For although their Way may fall far short of setling a Nation, yet they may have Spirits and Principles very consistent with Publike Tranquility. And their Indulgence may be obtained by a good Understanding and Confidence be­tween Them and the Higher Powers, the Clemency of the One shewing Favour in that extent which the Pub­like Order may safely tolerate; and the Humility and Di­scretion of the Other, causing them to prise the Favour, and to use it rightly. That such Condescention and Cle­mency should be used on the One side, and such Humility and Modesty on the Other, why should it seem impossi­ble? For the One may see, that by granting some Limit­ed Liberty, the Protection of Christs Flock, and the Satisfaction of well-minded Subjects may become more Universal: And the Other may likewise see, that a smaller Party, and those of Narrow Principles, are of [Page 39] themselves in no wise proportionable to the State of this Nation; and therefore that they cannot well subsist, but in conjunction with, and subordination unto an Establish­ment more commensurate to the whole Body of the People. This necessary Subordination, may beget a mutual Con­fidence and Security. If it be said, The Tolerated Party may become Dangerous or Suspected, it is always suppo­sed that they stand by their Good Behaviour, and the Rulers Favour. But they are not like to prove Danger­ous, if the Establishment be large enough. For the Nar­rowness thereof makes the Dissenters numerous, and still encreaseth their Number.


It is the Interest of the NONCONFORMISTS to pre­fer Comprehension before Toleration, where Conscience doth not gainsay.

IF it can be made evident, That the Nonconformists should embrace a Comprehension as the surest means of their particular Good, it will conduce exceedingly to evince, That the Favour of Rulers will not be in vain towards them; and that their Petitions, Discourses, and other In­stances for Moderation, were not feigned, because ground­ed on their true Interest that cannot lye.

Were they united among themselves, and did the Times highly favour them, even then it were their Wisdom not to insist too far upon their own Perswasions, but to comply with such moderate Order as is most passable in the Nati­on, (their Consciences not gainsaying) much more doth it now behove them, by Moderation and Submission to dispose themselves for the Favour of their Superiors.

They should chuse rather (if it be possible for them) to be Comprehended in the Approved, then to be Tolerated [Page 40] in a Severed Way. For there is not so much lost thereby in point of Liberty, but as much or more is gained in point of Safety.

It is a happiness to be secured from dangerous wander­ings, perplexities, breaches, and manifold inconveniences, into which they may be led that are wholly left without the Line of the Established Order. Those persons that by their Wisdom and Learning can the better defend them­selves from the aforesaid Evils in a severed State, cannot be ignorant how precipitate and unadvisable many of their Number may be, and not so easily to be governed by their more prudent Guides. Men of discerning and stable judg­ments, would do their uttermost to preserve the more in­considerate people from falling into a full and absolute Separation from all Christian Societies that are not of their Perswasion. For they may easily apprehend into how great and dangerous Errors that Vortex may carry about those that fall into it.

They that are best able to govern themselves, do see most need of a Publike Government, and how necessary it is, that both People and Teachers be under the Regu­lation and Influence of Authority, for the avoiding of many and great Inconveniencies. And there are many and great Benefits, by being comprehended in the Approved Order, not otherwise to be obtained. Their Peace is bet­ter insured, their Influence is more diffusive, their Instan­ces and Motions for the Common Good, will be more re­garded. They have a larger scope for imploying their Ma­sters Talent in the Publike Service of the Gospel, and they may speak with more Authority, and better success among all ranks and sorts of men, who will look upon them as theirs, when they hold their Publike Stations.

Unto all this may be added, That the Ancient Noncon­formists earnestly opposed the Separation of the Brownists, [Page 41] and held communion with the Church of England in its Publike Worship.

And doubtless it is the Ministers Interest, not to have their Subsistence by the Arbitrary Benevolence of the peo­ple, and so to live in continual dependance upon their mu­table dispositions for a Maintenance that is poor and low in comparison of the Publike Encouragements. Hereby one may partly judg, whether Learned and Prudent men be Nonconformists by the pleasure of their own will, or the constraining-force of Conscience.

Now their Consciences may be relieved, if they be not made personally to profess or practice any thing against the dictates thereof. And retaining their own private judg­ments, they may well hold to this Catholick Principle, That in a Church acknowledged to be sound in Doctrine, and in the Substance or main Parts of Divine Worship, and not defective in any vital part of Christian Religion, they are bound to bear with much which they take to be amiss in others Practice, in which they do not personally bear a part themselves▪

As concerning a Form of Church-Government, and Rule of Discipline, Men that understand their own Inte­rest, cannot for self-ends (as they have been upbraided) couet the Power of such a Discipline as inevitably pro­cures envy and ill-will, without any temporal profit or dig­nity. And if the Higher Powers will not admit such a Form, (I deliver my own private judgment, without pre­judice to other mens) this may tend to satisfie the Subjects Conscience. That Ecclesiastical Government is necessari­ly more directed and ordered in the exercise thereof, by the Determinations of the Civil Magistrate, in places where the true Religion is maintained, then where it is persecuted or disregarded. And they that have recei­ved the Power, must answer to God for it: They that [Page 42] are discharged from it, shall never account for that where­of they have been bereaved.


It behoves both the Comprehended and the Tolerated, to prefer the common Interest of Religion, and the setling of the Nation, before their own particular Perswasions.

AS those Dissenters, whose Consciences will permit, will best comply with their own good, by entring into the Establishment, if a door be open for their access: So they of Narrower Principles, that cannot enter into it, will be safest within the Limits of such Indulgence as Au­thority would vouchsafe to grant them, with respect to the Common Good. Men of all Perswasions should rather chuse to be limited by Publike Rules, with mutual Confi­dence between their Governors and Themselves, then to be left to the liberty of their own Affections, upon terms uncertain and unsecure.

Besides the Concernment of their own Peace, there is this great Perswasive, That this Advice is a compliance with that state of things which will best satisfie and set­tle the Nation, and maintain Reformed Religion against Popery, and Christianity against Atheism and Infidelity.

True Englishmen, and Lovers of their dear Countrey, which is impaired and reproached by these breaches, should yeeld as much to its Wealth and Honour, as their Consci­ences can allow. Loyal Subjects and good Patriots should consider what the Kingdom will bear, and prefer such bounded Liberty of Comprehension and Indulgence, as tends to Union, before a loose, though larger Liberty, that will keep the Breaches open, and the Minds of Peo­ple unquiet and unsetled. And it is not of little moment to mind this, That the high Concerns of Conscience can­not [Page 43] be better secured then in the Peace and Safety of the excellent Constitution of this Kingdom.

For the Amplitude of Reformed Religion, all true Protestants should promote an ample Establishme [...]t there­of, both for the incompassing of all that be sound in that Profession, as also for the more capacious reception of those that may become Converts thereunto. And not one­ly the encrease and glory thereof, but its stability in these Dominions, is promoted by such an ample Establishment. Witness our great Defence against Popery, by the common zeal of all Protestants of the several Perswasions, for Pro­testancy in general. By this concurrent Zeal, the insolencies of the Papists have been repressed, and their Confidences defeated. Could the Protestant Conformists or Nonconfor­mists, either of them upon their own single account, if one should exterminate, or utterly disable the other, be so well secured against Popery, as now they are by their common Interest? And to imagine by rigor to compel the depressed Party to incorporate with the Party advanced, so that one should acquire the Strength of both, would in the issue be found a great Error. By such proceeding▪ indeed, a Par­ty may be wounded and broken, and rendred unservice­able to the common good, but shall never be gained as an addition of Strength to those who have so handled them. But an Accommodation would make both to be as one. And seeing in their present divided state, the concurrent Zeal of Both hath been so formidable, as to dash the hopes of the Popish Party, how much more in a state of Union, might their Strength increase against their common Adver­saries! Wherefore, the One should open the Way, and the Other should readily come in upon just Terms. This should be the rather minded on both sides, because the Considerate Nonconformists will never promote their own Liberty by such ways and means as would bring in a To­leration [Page 44] of Popery; yea, they would rather help to bear up the present Ecclesiastical state, then that Popery should break in by Anarchy, or the Dissolution of all Church-Government.

Moreover, an ample, fixed state Ecclesiastical, is neces­sary to uphold and encrease true Religion, as well against In­fidelity, as against Popery. The loose part of the World would turn to a weariness and contempt of Divine Institutions, and Christianity it self would be much endangered in a state of Ataxy and unfixedness. By what ordinary means hath the Doctrine and Institution of Christ been propaga­ted and perpetuated in large Kingdoms and Nations, and in the Universe, but by incompassing under its external Rule and Order, great Multitudes that may fall short of the Life and Power thereof. And it doth not root and spread in any sort considerable, in a Region, where the ex­ternal Order is set by the Rigid and Narrow Principles of a small Party, and the general Multitude lyes open as wast ground, for any to invade or occupy. Let considerate men judg how much the ample state of a meer Orthodox Profession, is to be preferred before Infidelity, or Popery, or any other Sect of the Christian Name, that is Idolatrous or Heretical. There be few Converts to the Power of God­liness, from Infidelity or Popery, or any Heresie, but they are generally made out of the Mass of People of an Or­thodox Profession.

If it be the will of God that one must suffer for the Cause of Religion, it is more for the Honour of Christia­nity to suffer from Infidels, then from Papists; likewise it is more for the Honour of Reformed Religion, to suffer from Papists, then from Protestants. And if it were at ones own choice, One should much rather (caeteris paribus) suffer in defence of the main Truths of Christianity, then for refusing a Ceremony, or for any other part of Incon­formity. [Page 45] For this cause a Union is so desirable, that these Bitternesses, Reproaches and Scandals, might cease from among us.

Lastly, Whatsoever Enlargement we have granted by the Favour of our Lawful Superiors, we have it in the best way, and a Blessing is in it.


EPISCOPACY will gain more by Moderation, then by Severity in these Differences.

THE Answerer enumerates many Reasons why a Form of Church-Government should meet with many Diffi­culties in its return after a proscription of Twenty years; and concludes it must be a Generation or two, not seven years, that can wear out all those Difficulties. On the other side he saith, Presbytery languished almost as soon as it had a being, &c. I perceive Presbytery is a great Eye-sore. Per­adventure I may be reckoned a Presbyterian; and to say the truth, I am not ashamed of their company that are commonly called by that Name; yet I have no pleasure in such Names of distinction. I am of a Perswasion, but not of a Party; and whatsoever my Perswasion be, it is Moderate, Catholick and Pacifick. Neither my Design nor my Principles engage me to maintain the Presbyterial Government. Nevertheless I cannot but take notice with how little reason the intrinsick Strength of Prelacy, or Weakness of Presbytery, is argued from the duration of the one and the other in this Kingdom. Had Presbytery the Strength of the Civil Power? Or was it ever formed in England? Was it not crush'd while it was an Embryo, by the prevailing Potency of its Adversaries? Look into those States where it hath been Established, if you would judg aright concerning it. On the other hand, hath not Prelacy [Page 46] had all the Strength of Law and Power engaged in its de­fence, by the Encouragements of Worldly Grandure for its Favourers, and by Severities inflicted on its Impugners for above Fourscore years? In which space of time, none could appear against it without the hazard of utter undo­ing, or great Suffering. And though it were thus born up, not for Seven years, but almost a Century, yet we do not find that it had worn out the Difficulties of those Times, which were not so Many and Great as this Author reports its present Difficulties to be, in its return after a proscripti­on of Twenty years. But there is a more excellent and surer Way, which, it is hoped, may attain to a happier End in less time then a Generation or two. If the Distemper of Minds were healed, and Unchristian Enmities laid aside, then Moderation being sincerely begun, would hold on, and make the Disagreeing Parties to be still more yeeld­ing, and mutually obliging; those Provocations and Pre­judices would then cease, by which they have been mu­tually alienated, and hurried into such Hostilities, and they would not be tempted in their own Defence (as they think) to strengthen themselves by Evil Advantages.

If Episcopacy yeeld to a Moderate Course, why should any prudent Dissenters go about to molest it? For in so doing they would but perpetuate their own trouble and unquiet state, seeing that diversities of Opinions, and oc­casions of Discord are like to continue about Forms of Church-Government, until Forms shall be no more. On the other side, Why should the Episcopal Clergy dread that Moderation that would render Episcopacy more gene­rally inoffensive and acceptable, and put some end to the hitherto uncessant struglings against it? Are they jealous that the Structure of their Government may be weakned, and at length dissolved? They might rather apprehend it might gain Assistance and Reputation from many that [Page 47] now either by constraint and necessity, or by provocation and prejudice are made its Adversaries. Who so search­eth to the root of the matter, shall find, That not so much the Species of Government, nor the Forms that are used as weightier matters, have been the chief stumbling-block, and the occasions of the greatest disgust and aversation. Neither the Episcopal Office nor Habit, doth affright this sort of People from hearing a Bishop preach to their E­dification.

The right and sure way to establish Episcopacy in a Land where Reformed Christianity is established, is not to urge precise Conformity in Opinions and Orders, and doubt­ful things of meer human determination; but to encou­rage soundness in the Faith, Ability and Industry in the proper Work of the Ministry, and a Conversation becom­ing the Gospel; and to discourage Pluralities, Nonresiden­cies, Licentiousness and Idleness in all sorts, who serve not Christ, but themselves, in their Sacred Functions, and whose End is onely to live in Pomp, Wealth and Pleasure. Will the Church-Governors say (as it hath been answer­ed) they are bound up by the Laws; and if Patrons present unworthy persons which have the Qualifications the Law re­quires, the Bishops must not reject them; nor can they turn them out at their pleasure, but must give an account to the Laws. To this I reply, If the Admission and Permission of unworthy Ministers, comes to pass not by the Bishops Administration, but by the defectiveness of the Laws, why hath not their Zeal excited them in the space of so many years, and several Princes Reigns, to endeavour the ob­taining of Laws effectual on that behalf, as it hath to pro­cure and make, from time to time, stricter and stricter In­junctions about Conformity and Ceremonies? For we know no reason why as full and vigorous Laws may not be made against Ignorant, Negligent and Scandalous Mi­nisters, [Page 48] as against Nonconformists. Conscience, Honour and Safety, obligeth the Episcopal Clergy to turn the edg of their Discipline the right way, and to shew its energy and vigor, not about Ceremonies, but the great and weighty matters of Christian Religion. And I believe that many worthy Ministers of the Church of England, are so perswaded. Wherefore, in the former Discourse I cast no evil reflection upon the Latitudinarians, or any moderate persons; nor represented them as conforming not sincerely, and as becomes the Ministers of Christ. They may sincerely, according to their Principles, submit to these Impositions, and yet not like the Imposing. The expression of their lukewarmness in Conformity, signified no more but this, That they set a rate upon these Matters according to the value, and that they bear but an indifferent respect to things that at the best are but indifferent.

It is objected against me, That having provided a place of rest for my self and my Party, in the stated Order, I am little sollicitous for others. I do here solemnly profess, That I am chiefly sollicitous for the Tranquility and Rest of a troubled Nation. As for my own Concernment, my De­privation is an Affliction to me; and I would do any thing that were not sin to me, to recover the liberty of my pub­like Service in the Church: But if it cannot be, I submit to His good pleasure, by whose determinate Counsel all things are brought to pass, and am contented to remain a Silenced Sufferer for Conscience towards God. Yea, I should much rejoice in such Enlargement of the Publike Rule, as might give a safe entrance to others, though I my self by some invincible strictness of Apprehension, should remain excluded; for I have no Faction to uphold, and by others Gain I am nothing lessened. And in my opinion, it will be no dividing of the Nonconsormists, or weakning of their In­terest, if a part of them might close with the Approved [Page 49] Order of the Nation, enlarged to the latitude of their judgments, when others of streighter judgments are left without. Indeed, if they were a Faction, they might lose or lessen themselves hereby: But Reformed Christianity is their Grand Interest, and their main Cause lyes not in any avowed difference of Doctrines between them and the Epi­scopal Protestants, nor in any Secular Advantages to hold to themselves in a divided state, but in the Advancement of Gods Kingdom by the encrease of true Christian Faith and Piety.

The Answerer hath used many hard speeches against me, and charged me with Malice in divers passages, which I an­swer not in particular, because the innocence and inoffen­siveness of my words will clear it self; and because I would not make this Discourse tedious, by replying to things im­pertinent to the main scope. It shall suffice me to add, That I have written these things, as knowing that the Judg stand­eth before the Dore.


THE Contents.

  • Sect 1. OF the Foundation of our Peace already laid in the Religion of the Nation, and the Structure thereof, to be perfected by the Vnity of that Profession.
  • 2. The Good of the several Parties is best secured by Common Equity, and the Good of the Vniversality.
  • 3. What may be esteemed a good Constitution of the State Ecclesiastical.
  • 4. The Comprehensiveness of the Establishment, and the allowance of a just Latitude of Dissents, is the best Remedy against Dissentions.
  • 5. Whether the present Dissentions are but so many Factions in the State.
  • 6. Whether the Nonconformists Principles tend to Sects and Schisms.
  • 7. Of their Principles touching Obedience and Government.
  • 8. Of placing them in the same rank for Crime and Guilt, with the Papists.
  • 9. Whether their Inconformity be Conscientious or Wilful.
  • 10. Of their peaceable Inclinations, and readiness to be satisfied.
  • 11. The propounded Latitude leaves out nothing necessary to secure the Churches Peace.
  • 12. Of acquiescence in the Commands of Superiors, and the proper matter of their Injunctions.
  • 13. Of the alledged Reasons of the Ecclesiastical Injunctions in the begin­ning of the Reformation.
  • 14. The alledged Reasons why the Ceremonies are not to be taken away, Examined.
  • 15▪ Of the diversity of Opinion and Practice already permitted in the Church of England.
  • 16. Men differently perswaded in the present Controversies, may live to­gether in peace.
  • 17. Of Dissenters of narrower Principles and of Toleration.
  • 18. It is the Interest of the Nonconformists to prefer Comprehension before Toleration, where Conscience doth not gainsay.
  • 19. It behoves both the Comprehended and the Tolerated to prefer the common Interest of Religion, and the setling of the Nation, before their own particular Perswasions.
  • 20. Episcopacy will gain more by Moderation, then by Severity in these Differences.

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