Concerning the Case of taking the New Oath of FEALTY and ALLEGIANCE With a DECLARATION, &c.

THE Gentlemen concerned in this Case, professing still to adhere to the Doctrines formerly Professed and Practised in our Church, they cannot take it for a begging of Principles, if we reason with them on those same Principles which themselves have for­merly owned, and which they are unwilling to have it so much as thought they have de­serted. It will therefore concern them to con­sider whether their Old Notions be any way consistent with this New Declaration?

The Declaration is, that they Conceive, That all that the Oath obliges them to, is to live peaceably under the present Government. If they will mean fairly and sincerely, they must necessarily intend Two things: 1. That, Though they do not think themselves obliged to be active in Maintaining the Government in its present possession, in Opposition to the K. de jure, yet they promise at least, not to disturb the Government in possession, and therefore never to be active in Assisting even the K. de jure, against it. That they must mean this, if they mean veraciously, is plain from the whole design of imposing this New Oath, in our present Circumstances, which is, with a particular and a principal regard to the K. de jure, that the Swearers may secure the Possessors in Opposition to him. And the Oath is designedly contrived in such general terms as may reach all the Cases that may fall out during the whole life of the K. de jure, at least whilest his Competitors are living also. And therefore the Swearers must mean, not only at present, but neither also for the future, to assist the K. de jure against his present Compe­titors, if they will mean what is expected from them by the Imposers of the Oath, that is, if they will mean really, as in honesty they ought to be presumed to mean. And 2. They must intend not only to abstain from real di­sturbances of the Peace (for that might be consistent with endeavours to restore the K. de jure, as the only means of setling a Peace on solid and lasting Foundations) but from such things also as shall be called and voted distur­bances of the Peace by the present Possessors. For the design of the Oath being to satisfie the Possessors, the Swearers ought to mean it so, as that it may in reason give them the sa­tisfaction desired by it. But the Interpreta­tion of the Oath by any others can never be meant by the Imposers. And it certainly be­longs to the Party concerned to interpret pro­mises made to satisfie himself, especially when he is a Governour. Then it may be presumed notorious what is meant by breaking the Peace. That is, whatsoever it may be ex­pected will be Judged a breach of Peace by them who are already possessed of all the Le­gal Tribunals in the Execution of those Laws which were never designed by the Legislators, for the support of the Government de Facto, which were not also de Jure.

If therefore the Swearers can indeed and veraciously mean these things now mentioned, I shall then confess that they may bonâ fide take the Oath with the annexed Declaration.

But it will then deserve a further enquiry whether the Duty of their former Oaths be consistent with such a meaning? That is, Whether their Oaths to the K. de jure, be con­sistent [Page 2] with a Neutrality? that is, Whether they do not oblige them to be Active in con­tributing towards his Restauration? For we have now to deal as I said, with such persons as own themselves still obliged by their for­mer Oaths. Such all must be who stand by Bp. Sanderson's Principles, so much magnified by them who differ extremely from him in their Application. And such must All be who stand by the Practices of our Fathers in Crom­well's days, who did not think that either Cromwell's Possession, or K. Ch's disability to protect them, did any way excuse them from their Obligations to K. Ch. the II. though neither he had taken any Coronation Oath to them, nor they any Oath to Him, otherwise than he was included in the Lawful Successors of his Royal Ancestors to whom they had Sworn. Let us therefore see whether these former Oaths did not Oblige them who took them, to be Active for the Interests of the Prince to whom they were made. If they did, Two things will thence follow against the sense of these Swearers: 1. That these New Oaths being made to our New Possessors with the same design, and in the same sense of the words already known from ancient Practice, must also oblige them to be Active for our present Possessors, which themselves will not excuse from Perjury, if the action be particu­larly designed against the K. de Jure. 2. That, on the same parity of Reasoning, the same Oaths being made to the excluded K. de Jure, will also oblige Swearers to be Active for him, which must necessarily oblige them to do that which the Possessors will certainly judge in­consistent with what they have Sworn to them, that is, with living peaceably under their Government.

And if we were to decide this Question by the Practice and Precedent of our Church in the last Case, that now mentioned one of Cromwell; it seems plain, that our Brethren then thought their Oaths to the Royal Fami­ly obliged them to be Active, when a favour­able occasion should serve, and not only to a bare Neutrality. What should otherwise have hindred them from taking the Engagement, when they might thereby have so much bet­tered their own condition in this world, if they might have done it without prejudicing their condition in the next? The same pre­tences that are made use of now, were as truely appliable then. The Government was then also already setled without K. and House of Lords, without any Sin of the Royal Party, from whom this security was required for the future. K. Ch. the II. was as unable to pro­tect them as K. J. II. is now. The probabi­lity of their being likely to be in any Capa­city of Contributing to the Restauration with any likelyhood of success, was then as little as it is now. And therefore, supposing that to be the only Case wherein the Actual Ob­ligation of their Oaths for active Contribu­tion would return, as many of them do sup­pose; yet the taking of the Engagement had been much less Culpable than the taking of This present Oath is now. The only Condition that can make it lawful for us to promise we will never do that which, in some Circum­stances we think our selves obliged to do, can only be the assurance we have at the making of the Promise, that those Circumstances which may reduce the Obligation shall never return upon us. And therefore by how much the more or less probable the returning of those Circumstances is, by so much the more a Promise or an Oath not to do what in those Circumstances we are obliged to do, will also be more or less excusable. But whilst the Controversie is depending, whilst the Right is on Legal (and Ch. of Engl.) Principles, unquestionable there can be no excuse for Promising or Swearing not to do that which, in so little and not unlikely a change of Cir­cumstances, we may notwithstanding think our selves obliged to do.

They say indeed, and say truly that even their former Oaths could not oblige them [Page 3] to Impossibilities; That even the Legislators and Imposers of them cannot in reason be presumed to have obliged the Subject to an active assistance that should certainly ruine himself without any probability of being Ser­viceable to the Government; that therefore there can be no obligation for single Subjects to oppose a K. de facto, who is once established in a full and compleat Possession; that in such a case it must therefore be lawful to live quiet­ly, that when it is lawful to live so, it must also be lawful to Promise and to Swear to live so. This Reasoning would indeed be very good, if the Promise and the Oath ex­tended no further than the Case supposed in the Argument, that is, if their Promise and Oath were no longer to forbear active endea­vours to restore the K. de jure, then their endeavours were destitute of any prospect of any probability of Success, or of any other publick advantage that might make amends for the hazard to which they must thereby necessarily expose themselves. But if they would speak out, and express the limitation intended, how could they expect that such a taking the Oath could ever be accepted by the Imposers? Why should they thank them for Swearing no more than what they must have been obliged to, though they had never sworn it, by the dictates of common pru­dence, and their natural concernment for their own preservation. Why should they thank them for qualifying themselves for fa­vours by seeming theirs when there was no need of them, and at the same time owning an Obligation to leave and betray them in the very Case in prospect of which the Oath it self was designed, that is, in the time of danger, and danger from that very Enemy against whom the Imposers expected to be secured by this Oath? If they go no fur­ther than the case supposed, they can never give the Government de Facto that security that is expected. If they Swear and Promise more, that will be more than they can justifie by their own Principles, who both suppose their former Oaths to remain as obligatory now as ever, and to require more than an indifferent Neutrality, and to require active Endeavours for restoring the K. de jure, when ever they may attempt it with any probabi­lity of Success. Such, though they do not think themselves obliged to endeavour it at present, yet cannot promise, much less Swear, that for the future, they will never endea­vour it.

This was the sense of our Ancestors, and is the sense of our Brethren, with whom we are at present dealing. But we will not ob­lige them to continue any longer of the same mind than their own Principles oblige them. Let us therefore see whether their other Principles do not oblige them to believe the Inconsistency of their present and their for­mer Oaths. Indeed, if by living peaceably they mean no more than Non-opposition, a perfect Neutrality would satisfie the Oaths on both sides, both to the K. de facto and to the K. de jure also. By not contributing to the War against the K. de jure, they would satisfie their old Oaths; and withal by not contributing to the Restoration of the K. de jure, they would satisfie their new Oaths to the K. de facto. But it is strange how they can fall into such a mistake as this is. There is no doubt but the Possessor, whoever he be, will never be content with a bare Neutrality, but will expect active assistances from his liege Subjects, and this by vertue of their Allegiance and their Oaths. If they do not serve him in their own persons, they must at least do it by their Contributions for the maintaining others to do that duty for them. And what reason can they give, why Allegiance sworn to a K. de facto, should signifie more, than the same Allegiance when sworn to a K. de jure.

But let us lay aside the Opinions of Men, and consider nakedly the things themselves. The things sworn in both Oaths are Fealty [Page 4] and Allegiance, Terms taken from the barba­rous Feudal Laws, and with them most cer­tainly signifying, not a Neutrality, but an active Contribution. Feudum among them, upon which the Oath of Fidelity was groun­ded, signified a Tenure of Lands by the Bene­ficiary from the favour of the Benefactor, the Liege Lord, on which account the Tenant be­came his Liege-man or Vassal. And can we think that all this Endearment and Obligati­on was designed to hire them only to a Neu­trality? No, it is plain they intended thereby to oblige them to all that gratitude that might in Reason be expected from Persons so behol­den to them for their worldly maintenance. The Duty was very much the same as between the Liberti and the Roman Patrons. For here, as well as there, was allowed an action of In­gratitude only with this difference, that where­as, among the Romans, the Person convicted of Ingratitude was reduced into his former state of slavery, here the Tenure, which alone was servile, the Person being free, was forfeited on that Conviction. The Vassal therefore was obliged to help his Lord in all wars wherein he thought the Cause was just, or at least, doubted whether it might not be so.Feud. L. 1. Tit. 5. l. 11. Tit. 24. 28. This in case of offensive Wars. In defensive wars he was to help him, whatever the Cause was, without Exception. Nay, if the Lord were besieged, and by that means dis­abled to protect him, the Vassal was yet ob­liged to use all his endeavours to restore him to his liberty. If he did not, that was also an Ingratitude that forfeited his Tenure. And therefore the doing of it must undoubtedly have been a condition of it, and therefore a a particular of the Oath he was to take to his Liege Lord for the performance of Conditions. This was the case in those Feudatory Tenures for which the Feudal Laws in the Body of the Civil Law were framed by the Modern Empire. Much more of the Fees depending on the Emperor himself, from whom these inferior Feudal Lords derived their Authority, and that with a parti­cular exception of such cases where­in they might any way interfere with it.Feud. l. 11. tit. 7. And certainly the Rights of the Empire by these barbarous Feudal Laws are common to the Emperour with all other So­veraign Princes where the same Feudal Laws have obtained, (as they have done generally in these Northern Countreys) but most espe­cially to such as those of our Kingdoms whose very Crowns are called Imperial.

Fealty in the new Oath is called Faith, and so it is by the Feudalists them­selves with particular regard to the Etymology of Feudum. Feud. l. 11. tit. 3. As if this Fealty were essential to the very no­tion of Feudal Tenure. But it is certain this Fealty required more than an empty Neutra­lity. So the Collector of the Books de Feudis tells us in express Terms:ib. tit. 6. Sed quia non sufficit abstinere à malo nisi fiat quod bonum est, restat ut in sex prae­dictis (what those are may be seen in the place) consilium & auxilium Domino praestet, si beneficio vult dignus videri, & de Fidelitate esse salvus. And it appears in all the parti­culars promised and sworn to, in all the Oaths of Fealty and Allegiance. Such are the con­cealing all the secrets of the Lord, and disco­vering all conspiracies against him. Such are also the maintaining and defending his life and limbs and terrene honour. These things are generally expresly mentioned in all the Oaths of those times, in all the places and Nations where-ever the Feudal Laws obtained, by which we may easily gather that they are not singular cases separable from the Nature of Feudal Tenure in general. And therefore where-ever Fealty and Allegiance are promi­sed and sworn in general, without any ex­press mention of any particulars; As we can­not be so absurd as to think no particulars are intended, (which would make the whole Oath insignificant) so neither can we doubt, [Page 5] but if any were, these certainly were so. And so it always appeared in practice. Whoso­ever had sworn Fealty and Allegiance, with­out mentioning any particulars, was notwith­standing called to an account, and deprived of his Fee, if it could be proved against him, that he had violated any of the particulars now mentioned. And that this maintenance of life, and limb, and terrene honour was meant of doing it in an active way, will the more easily appear, if we consider that this was originally a Military Tenure. It was the Tenure of a Miles in that Italian colle­ction incorporated into the Civil Imperial Laws. It is Knight-service with us, of the Fensible men, in the Civilian language of Scotland. The Feudatory was obliged to keep a Coat of Arms, and to maintain his pro­portion of Soldiers to be commanded by the Liege Lord, as often as he had occasion for them. This I take to be the original of our Coats of Armour, that used anciently to a­dorn our Gentlemen's Halls, that they an­swered the number of Men at Arms, that their Feudatory Tenants were bound to find them, and they to find their Soveraign Lord the King, when required by him. And per­sonal service was generally expected at first, which made it more difficult for Women to be admitted to this Tenure then. However contribution of the Purse towards the Hire of Soldiers to perform the duty for them was indispensibly expected from all. By which we easily understand how far a neutrality is from satisfying the duty of it.

And now it will concern our well-meaning Brethren to consider whether this same Feal­ty thus explained as sworn to a K. de Facto, and a K de Jure, be any way consistent. Is it possible for them to maintain the life and limbs and terrene Honour of the K. de Jure, without opposing the K. de Facto, at the very time when he deprives the K. de Jure of his terrene Honour? whilst he is engaged in an actual War against him, not only to maintain the Honour he has deprived him of, but to put him also to further hazards of his life and limbs? Will not the Law call all such coun­tenancing the Title of a Rival Prince, and li­ving in his peace, a breach of his peace whom the Law calls our Soveraign Lord the K? And will not, on the other side, the same Laws, as expounded by the Tribunals of the K. de facto, condemn all peaceable behaviour to the K. de Jure, as a breach of the peace of that K. for whom they are concerned? And then how can they mean veraciously that they will not disturb the peace, in the sense of the present Possessors? How can they keep the secrets of the K. de Jure, against the K. de facto, without violating their Fealty, and breaking their Oath, to the K. de facto, which (as I have shewn) oblige them to discover all Designs and Conspiracies against him? Or how can they conceal the secrets of the K. de facto, against the K. de Jure, without breaking their former Oaths to the K. de Jure?

This was plainly the nature of this Fealty and this Allegiance in their first originals, that they were Military duties, and there­fore perfectly inconsistent with Neutrality, and inconsistent also with themselves when promised to Princes in hostility with each o­ther. And several expressions in the Act of H. vii. so much misunderstood of late, seems plainly to imply that this Military Fealty a­lone was that for which the favour of that Act was intended. Which, if true, will, by the way, cut off all others, who either hold no Lands from the Crown, or hold them not in Military service, from even that Indemp­nity which seems to be the uttermost favour designed by that Act. Afterwards this Alle­giance and Fealty was extended farther by the Oath of Allegiance introduced by K. James the I. This Oath might be tendred to all Persons living in the Kingdom above Sixteen Years of Age, supposing therefore that even such Persons living in the Realm, [Page 6] under the King's Protection, were, on the very account of their enjoying that protecti­on, under the same obligations of gratitude to the K. that the Knights were formerly, though neither Soldiers by profession, nor holding any Lands on that condition from the Crown. This is that which we call usu­ally natural Allegiance, due on account of our being born in these Kingdoms, and of those benefits in Law to which we are in­titled by being born Subjects, of Purchases, and Inheritances, and benefit of Wills and Testaments, and some liberties of Trading which strangers cannot attain to otherwise than by an Act of Parliament for their Na­turalization. And this is the present Notion of Allegiance alluded to in the Act for im­posing these present Oaths. They are sub­stituted in the Room of these Oaths of Alle­giance, and are therefore required from all persons qualified by Law to take the former Oath of Allegiance, from all persons above sixteen years of Age, though neither Soldi­ers, nor holding any Military Tenures. This therefore being the Fealty and Allegiance concerned in our present Oaths, we are fur­ther to consider whether the duties of them be consistent with a Neutrality between the K. de Facto, and the K. de Jure?

In order whereunto I consider that the change made in this enlarged Notion of Al­legiance is rather in the Motives and induce­ments on which the Duties are grounded, than in the Duties themselves. In both Al­legiances the Liege-man is supposed to be a Beneficiary of a Liege-lord, and the duties thence resulting are also supposed obliging in gratitude for the favours received, not bare­ly on account of the Authority requiring them. Only in the Benefits on which the Obligation is grounded the difference is con­siderable. In the former case were favours uncommon to all the Subjects, particularly that of a Beneficial Tenement for life. In the latter, onely that protection which all Subjects receive from the Government, and the common beneficial capacities which all free-born Subjects have a Right to on ac­count of their being free-born Natives of the Government. The reason of the Fealty or Allegiance in these two cases is indeed very different, yet the Notion is very much the same. The Obligation, being in both cases due antecedently in point of gratitude, cannot be understood to imply no more than a bare Neutrality, or a duty of not hindering the Benefactor from his Right. But as there are supposed positive favours from the Benefactor to the Beneficiary; so the natural Return that might be expected, in point of gratitude, can be no less than positive and active assistances from the Be­neficiary for maintaining his Benefactor in his just Rights. And the same terms of Fealty and Allegiance being made use of for expressing the nature of this new duty of the Subject, without any intimation of any new signification, the most obvious and likely way of understanding them will be to take them in the same sense in which they were used as terms of Art be­fore, as near as the change of the reason, and circumstances in deducing the secon­dary signification will give leave. Other­wise the words Fealty and Allegiance would not have been mentioned in the late Oaths without instancing in particu­lars meant by them, if it had not been supposed notorious, what particulars used formerly to be designed by them in their Original signification, and that the same were also intended in this secondary deri­vative extended one, as far at least as the Circumstances of the Obliged Person will give way. For if the Person be also Mili­tary that will go far towards the continu­ance of the Military obligation.

And if so, then all the Duties of the former Fealty and Allegiance will return in this Na­tural Allegiance also, and consequently this [Page 7] new Fealty and Allegiance will be as incon­sistent with a Neutrality as the other was. The Liege-man must here also, not only not oppose, but maintain, the Life, Limbs, and terrene Honour of his Liege Lord. He must also keep his secrets, and discover all Plots and Conspiracies against him. And this new extended Notion of Fealty and Allegiance being introduced by the Laws, it cannot be more Authentically interpreted than by the Laws that introduced it. Whatever the Laws punish as a Breach of Allegiance that certainly the Law-maker intended that it should be included in the Oaths imposed for the securing Allegiance. And whatever the Laws punish as not maintaining the Life, Limbs, and terrene Honour of the Liege Lord, or as a Violation of his Secrets, or as a concealing or abetting Conspiracies against him (which were all of them directly con­trary to the duties of the original Allegiance) those things they certainly look on as a violation of Allegiance, and consequently of the Oath imposed by them for the se­curing that Allegiance. Hence it will follow that whatever the Laws, if they had their course, would punish as Treason, all that must be understood to be contrary to the Promise and Oath of Allegiance. For all forms of Indicting for Treason are, that the Facts concerned in the Indictment are against the Duty of the Subjects Allegiance expres­ly, or, at least, for depriving the K. of his Royal State and Dignity, which is directly contrary to the maintaining his terrene Ho­nour, which was the principal design of the forementioned Original Allegiance. But is certain that the very owning of another as K. the very abetting him, the holding cor­respondence with him where it may be avoid­ed, the entertaining him, and voluntarily relieving him, especially after a warning by Proclamation, is always judged and condem­ned for High Treason whenever Laws are allowed to take their course. Thus a volun­tary corresponding with Enemies, on either side, is contra pacem Domini Regis in the In­terpretation of the Law. The Peaceable cor­responding therefore with a K. de facto set up in opposition to the K. de jure, will be a breach of the Peace of the K. de jure; and on the contrary, the living peaceably under the Government of the K. de facto, will oblige them, by the Interpretation of the Legisla­tive Power under him, to renounce all cor­respondence with the K. de jure, to betray his Secrets, and his Person too, if ever it should come to be in their power to do so, which I am confident our Brethren would abhor to do from their very Souls. To be sure it will oblige them to conceal Conspiracies against him, and many ways to contribute to the depriving, or at least, to the detaining his Right from him. This will certainly be the Interpretation of living Peaceably under the present Government, in the sense of those to whom the Oaths are made, and therefore ought to be their meaning also; if they will mean sincerely with the present Government which requires these Oaths from them, and to whom they pretend to give satisfaction by taking them. But then it will concern them highly to enquire further how this will be reconcileable with the Allegiance themselves believe due to the K. de jure. Certainly it can never be reconciled, if they will but al­low the K. de jure the same favour of Inter­pretation for determining his Rights, which they must be forced to allow the K. de facto, whether they will or no. And it would be strange if they should allow him less.

The Reasoning now mentioned concerns all Subjects equally, how far distant soever their Profession may be from being Mili­tary. The Practice of the Law and of the Courts does punish these things indifferently in all Subjects, though not Souldiers, as breaches of the duties required by the Origi­nal Allegiance. So that is plain, that this new extended Notion of Allegiance may con­cern [Page 8] Ministers, and Scholars, and others who have no Sword at all, and who cannot there­fore be obliged to maintain the Life and Limbs, and terrene Honour of their Liege Lord by the Sword, unless they be otherwise lawful­ly called to it. But it is certain, the old Mi­litary Allegiance did oblige the Feudatory Vassal to maintain the Rights of his Liege Lord by the Sword. And I cannot tell how far the same Obligation may hold still, when the Liege Lord, who has the Right of the Sword, requires and obliges them to use it in his defence. In most of these Northern Na­tions, from whom the Feudal Laws are de­rived, the Arrierban may be called by the Soveraign Power in distress, wherein all Sub­jects are concern'd who are any ways capable of Military Service. Answerable whereunto, we have here our Ancient Laws of the Stan­dard, which whether they oblige all Subjects personally, especially since the settlement of the Militia, perhaps in lieu of them, I leave to them to determine who are better skilled in our common Law. For our present pur­pose it is sufficient that, even to men who are not concerned in the Sword, there are so many interfering Duties between a K. de jure and a K. de facto, as that it is impossible they can ever be obliged to them both by Oaths. Especially on their Principles who think themselves obliged to their Allegiance to the K. de jure, notwithstanding the Posses­sion of the K. de facto.

I might content my self with this Rea­soning, from the Principles of the Persons with whom I am at present concerned. And I am sure this must be the sense of as many as take the Oaths on Bishop Sanderson's Doctrine, so much of late urged on this oc­casion. He plainly denies all disobligation from their old Allegiance, notwithstanding the Possession of another, and by no means allows any sideing with the Possessor de facto against the Rightful Prince, which yet must needs be understood to be the principal reason of imposing and requiring these Oaths in this particular juncture. I add farther, that this very Principle seems to be granted them by the Imposers themselves. What can they else mean by the distinction they so much insist on between the K. de facto and the K. de jure, but that the Possessor is so a K. de facto, as that he is not also a K. de jure; and that the K. de jure is the only K. in Right, though he be not in Possession? And when they plead the Laws which own, as they say, this distinction: that, sure is more than ar­guing ad homines. And what can they mean less by it than, that the Laws do also not own such a Possessor for a Rightful K? He is a pretensed K. indeed and not in Right. This is the very language of the Statute of Edw. IVth. concerning his rival Predecessors of the Lancastrian Line. This being there­fore granted by the Imposers, that the ex­cluded K. is the Rightful K. how can they avoid our Brethrens consequence, that Alle­giance must still be due to him? And, it be­ing on the other side, granted, that the Pos­sessor is, in the Law, a pretensed K. indeed, and not in Right; how can they pos­sibly defend the giving him the Rights of him whom they own for their Rightful K. and confirming that gift by a Promise and an Oath, against so many antecedent Solemne Promises and Oaths? What can the name of a K. de jure signifie but that he has still a Right to the Kingship, or, that the Jura Coronae are still his in Right, though not in Possession? How can they then avoid but that he must still have a Right to the Government, to all the profits and dependences of it, and (above all) to the Fealty and Allegiance of his Subjects? And what reason then can they have to be angry at our Brethren, for drawing just and un­avoidable Consequences from Principles al­ready given by themselves? And is it not a strange thing, that at the same time they should understand the words, due Allegiance, [Page 9] in the Act of H. vii. of a truly due Allegi­ance, and not only of such a one as will be judged due by the Possessor? How can any thing be truly due to him who has no Right to it? Or how can he have a Right to that Allegiance, which is only the Right of law­ful Kings, who is himself only a pretensed K. in deed, and not in Right? What would they say of Wives that should also take Husbands de facto, and promise and swear to give them all the Rights of Husbands de Jure? They may assure themselves such pra­ctices of Wives would not be more incon­sistent with the Laws of Monogamy intro­duced by our Saviour, than these repugnant Rights of opposite pretenders are to the es­sential Law of Monarchy. Thus solidly our Brethren reason from the Principles of our new Legislators themselves, and so little rea­son have they to desert or suspect those Principles.

The good God awaken the Consciences of Persons concerned in this Dispute, and give a timely stop to that Deluge of Perjury that may prove in the event so fatal to our be­loved Churches and Countreys. In vain do we think to save our Protestant Religion by Practices so naturally destructive of all Reli­gion. How can we, for shame pretend Con­science against Popery when secular Punish­ments do so easily and so universally drive us from our Principles? And what will the Imposers gain by this unhappy victory over Consciences? The obvious event will be, when the first modesties and Reluctancies of Conscience are overcome, that then all their Tests will be taken, and yet their Trusts will be betrayed, and it will be impossible for them to reckon on the faith of Men. If I might give them my advice, it should have been this, and I assure them I now do it with as hearty a good will to them as any of their Flatterers. Considering their proceedings were directly contrary to the Oaths of the Nations, perhaps it would have been better policy, rather to have taken away the Oaths in being, than to have added new ones, (ha­ving made such pretences for Liberty of Conscience) and to have obliged the subject in Interest, by making their burden easier than it had been under K. J. Interest, which with ill men would certainly have prevailed more than the Conscience of any Oaths. And it would have so far influenced good men, who had sussiciently discovered their aversion to Popery, that they would not have super­erogated in their duty against them, which is more than ever they are likely to gain by their new Oaths, which have disobliged them in point of Interest who think themselves otherwise under no obligation to them in point of Conscience. This may yet be done in some measure, and whether it be not for the common Interest, I leave it to their se­cond and sedate thoughts to consider of.


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