THE Dissenter Vnmask'd: BEING SOME REFLECTIONS UPON THE BEHAVIOUR OF THE DISSENTERS TOWARDS THE Church of England, IN THE Last Reign to this Present Time.

LONDON, Printed for the Author, MDCXCI.

The Dissenter Unmask'd; being some Re­flections upon the Behaviour of our Dissenters towards the Church of England, &c.

I HAD forborn Publishing such a Paper as this, at a time when People ought to expect something that might rather lessen, and not make our unhappy Breaches wider, had not the consideration of the scandalous Carriage which our Dissenters has lately shew'd towards the Church of England, rouz'd my Pen; and, by giving me a sufficient insight into the meaning of these Persons, let me see, that they are so far from desiring a Ʋnion (whatsoever pretences they may feign,) that I really believe they dread nothing more, except a compulsion of Tender Consciences, and an apprehension of never getting the Reins into their own hands: But to proceed to my Title, let us look back upon their Behaviour in the late King's Reign.

One of the first Acts, we all know, which King James put out, was that which gave toleration to the Dissenters in matters of Religion, and which took off those Fines that the former Law had laid upon them for their Riotous and Seditious Meetings. This was so great a Favour to that discontented Party that they were at a loss how to demonstrate their Joy and Gratitude: Bonfires are ordered to be made in every Street, and the Elders largely contribute for so Pious a Thanksgiving. Sunday is very slow in coming, or else their Impatience for the opportunity of Blessing God for their their resto­red Liberty, makes 'em think it so. At last it came, and Hugh Peters's Successor at Covent-Garden, thanks God that he had liv'd to see that glorious Day, (and perhaps would have repeated the Nunc Dimittis, had not the Papishes us'd it in the Common-Prayer) a Day of Joy and Thanksgiving, a Day of Jubilee, and a Day of Hu­miliation [Page 4]for their deliverance out of Captivity, a Day which brought them out of the Land of Aegypt, out of the House of Bondage; a Day when Soul-saving, Heart-comforting Grace might be again graciously Taught and Delivered to the before-trampled-under-foot Saints of the living God: Nor were his Brethren less fervent in their long-winded Thanksgivings for their safe Deliverance from the Long-Nails of the Whore of Babylon.

Since then they are arriv'd to that happiness which their Preach­ers call'd the greatest upon Earth, let us take a view of their Beha­viour in it. Will they be so Elevated with this Freedom, and so ungrateful to their Benefactor, not to return due acknowledgments to him, to a Man who had given them the greatest happiness they could be possess'd of? No, this wou'd argue an unchristian Temper; and therefore those who were never True to any King, resolve now to turn Loyal and Faithful Subjects. And now, from all Counties in England flock Addresses, so long and fast, that we cou'd scarce enjoy the benefit of any Forreign News, unless the Printer had us'd Short-hand Characters; so little difference was there between their Prayers in the Pulpit, and their Addresses in the Gazette.

The Church of England was very much surpriz'd at this act, and began, by judiciously sifting the whole Matter, to perceive the Mask which covered the Designs of that King: And though seve­ral hinted their Sentiments of it to some of the Dissenters, yet they slighted it, and like grateful People, reply'd, they would stand and fall with him, for that the Lord had now gave them a King who lov'd and favour'd the Godly. And when one said, That the end of this Toleration was but to introduce Popery (being spoke in a Coffee-House, my self being by) a Dissenter reply'd, That it was equal to him if the Romish-Hydra came in, so the English-Dragon were put down. How! Is this the Voice of a Presbyterian? The Voice of a Reformer of the Ancient, True, and most pure Religion? a Miracle, and seems as fabulous as Hugh Peters's Stories.

They told some of the Members of the Church of England, That the Lord now had taken the Sword out of the hands of Saul, and put [Page 5]it into the hands of David. They behav'd themselves at last with that insupportable Pride and Sauciness, that in the Out-Countries they fear'd not to tell the Clergy, they would pay them no Tythes. And in Leicester-shire a Minister going to a Dissenter's House to number his Pigs, in order for the receiving his Tyth as in such cases, the Farmer seeing him, pointing him out to the Servants, See there, said he, there goes an authoriz'd Thief to Steal one of my Pigs: And, by his Instigation, his Men, from behind Carts and Dunghils pri­vately sent such a shower of Clods, that the Minister was glad to fly out of the Yard to avoid a worse consequence.

After this the Jesuits broach their Principles, and the most Learn­ed of them Challenge the Protestant Divines to a Pen-Battle. Who must be these Protestants? 'Tis a contradiction for the Church of England to Write against the Papists, because you know they were always Branded with the Title of Papists. Well, there remains nothing then to do, but for the Presbyterians to show their Learn­ing and aversion for Popery, which they always so much exclaim'd against. What! not a hand move? Not one Dissenter boldly vindicate the Protestant Cause? What! must Papists Write against Papists? Must the Babylonish Church of England, engage against the Babylonish Church of Rome? Sure, a House divided against it self falleth: Yes, the Church of England must stand and bear the shock, or else the Protestant Cause must go hang: And yet these Men will have Ʋs to be Papishes.

At last King James's Designs began to be visible, the Universi­ties (the source from whence the chiefest Pillars of our Religion flow) are the first that must suffer, that the Head being taken a­way, the Members may be less capable to Resist. Well, how do our Dissenters behave themselves now? If they will not lend a helping hand to save a sinking Reform'd Church, a Church that just before had bore up with so much Bravery against the Enemy of all Protestants, sure they'll pity it: No, they said openly, That the Angels had pour'd out their Viols of Wrath upon the Dragon and his Followers; That the Adulterers, Whoremongers, and Tythe­gatherers, [Page 6]were to be punish'd for afflicting the beloved of God.

At length the Seven Bishops are sent to the Tower, for not com­plying with a thing which they could not reconcile to their Con­sciences: Sure the Dissenters will take their Parts in This, because they themselves are such great Sticklers in point of Conscience: No, they have a Clue to disintangle themselves from this Laby­rinth: They said this proceeded not from any part of a Religious Conscience, but that they refus'd to read the Declaration, in order to the taking off the Penal Laws and Tests, meerly because it would deprive them of the Power of Persecuting the Lambs of God.

But now the Prince of Orange Lands, and we shall see whe­ther there is any Trust to be confided in such sort of Cattle. There is a great consternation over all England. King James had been very. Tyrannical over the Church of England, and therefore doubted of their Loyalty to him; but he had been kind, nay a Father to the Dissenters, and therefore ought to expect assistance from them, as they had Religiously protested in their Addresses. What! not a Man among our grateful Dissenters, neither Personally, nor from the Press nor-Pulpit, take the part of a King who had delivered them out of Captivity, who brought them out of the Land of Aegypt, out of the House of Bondage. What! will those Godly People for­sake their Benefactor now he most needs the effects of their Pro­mises? Will none of them lend their assistance to a Man who had freed them from the Long-Nails of the Whore of Babylon? What! the Lambs of God! the very Emblem of our Saviour, absolutely Pure and Innocent, and yet promise what they hardly ever meant, or at least never did perform! To reflect upon it would make the most Brazen Blush; but our Dissenters Foreheads are hardned a degree above Steel it self, or else they could not reflect upon those large Promises, and the Non-performance of them without a Guilt which would be as evident in their Countenances, and as lasting as Cain's Mark. I remember once I saw a Dissenter turn­ing over the Gazetts, in the last Reign, and (Monstrum horrendum!) his Face kept it's accustom'd Colour, without the least sign of a [Page 7]Confusion, which in any but a Phanatick would have bespoke a matter as strange as that of Pryn, Bastwick, and Burton, who fell together by the Ears when they had No Ears.

Nor is their Carriage towards the Church of England less noto­rious in This Reign than in the Last. They are so daringly Im­pudent, as to say, they don't question, but the Lawn Sleeves and the long Gown will make them as good a Bonfire in Smithfield, as did the Goods of the Spanish Embassador in the Strand. It was but the other day, that a Worthy and Learned Man heard some of this Crew, in a Coffee-House near the Temple, say, They question'd not but the Fast for King Charles's Martyrdom would be put down. Good God! To what Impudence are these Perjur'd Time-servers arriv'd? I wonder they did not Petition in the last Reign (to gratifie King James) that the Thanksgiving for the Fifth of November might be rac'd out of the Kalendar. They told a good Member of the Church of England, That they hop'd the Lord would put the Sword into Their hands, and then the measure which We measur'd to Them, might be measur'd to Ʋs again. How! is this the nature of the Lamb? Is it Revenge and Pride that entitles us to that sa­cret Epithet of Holy Lambs and Followers of the Living GOD? Sure these Men are little better than Atheists, when they seem to cast so little regard to the Almighty, as to appropriate to them­selves the very same Name and Title which is given to the Supream Being; and yet at that very time, design never to perform the thing they promise, and are hatching Revenge and Malice against their Enemies. The Church of England is now look'd upon by these Men as the meer dross of the Primitive Religion, and ought to be cast away; that the Members of it are defil'd with the Sins of the Dragon, and that the Bottomless Pit will receive them at the end. What is this but depriving God of his Mercy, and taking away one of the greatest Attributes of the Deity, by condemning their Fellow Christians to the Bottomless Pit? But to insist no more upon their barbarous and unchristian Expressions, let us take a survey of their Behaviour only. I am not going to Vindicate the Bishop of [Page 8] Ely; but is it not a horrid Shame that that Learned Man should be expos'd by every saucy Pamphleteer? and that with all the scurri­lous and opprobrious Titles that Hell can invent and they publish: And not only Him, but, for his sake, the whole Church must be vil­lify'd by this Rabble of Writers, whose Style is as nausceous as their Sense, and both as inconsistent as the Covent-Garden Sermons. Is it not a wretched Shame that a Fellow who Styles himself the O—r should have the Impudence to call upon the Reverend Bishops to clear themselves? as though it was not below the Dignity and E­minency of those Learned Prelates, to be at the beck of a saucy Scrib­ler that Writes for Bread, and who, I believe, values Religion just as much as his Brethren, when it will consist with his Interest to con­tinue it. I know they think they have already their Foot in the Stirrup, and that they shall speedily mount the Saddle; but I have reason to bel [...] His present Majesty's Prudence is too great to re­pose any [...] in such unfaithful Perjur'd People, who never were True [...] [...]heir own Interest▪ I know they carry a very fair outside to King [...] but if we scan their Principles we shall have reason to think they love him no more than the great Turk. For if they love a King, as King, then they love Monarchy, but they hate Monarchy, therefore cannot love a King.

I shall conclude this Paper with this Expression, That if His Majesty (whom God long preserve in the Throne of England) should rely upon these People, upon the account of any Love they pretend to Him, He will be found to have trusted to a broken Reed, if ever He should have occasion to try Them: And that though too many of our Church of England have been Wheedled away from valuing this present Government with as great a Veneration as is really due to it, yet I don't question but there are above an hundred for one, who will be True to It; if so, there will not be much need of depending upon a People whose very Hearts seem to be com­pounded with those Two Ingredients of Malice and Falsehood: From whose Principles Libera nos, &c.


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