A Vindication OF THE DIVINES OF THE Church of England, Who have Sworn Allegiance to K. William & Q. Mary, From the Imputations of APOSTASY and PERIURY, Which are Cast upon Them upon that Account, in the Now Publish'd History of Passive Obedience. By One of those DIVINES.

It is impossible but that Offences will come, but woe unto him through whom they come, &c. Luke, 17. 1.

Licens'd August 27th. 1689. I. Fraser.

LONDON, Printed for Brabazon Aylmer at the Three Pidgeons over against the Royal Exchange, Cornhill, 1689.

A Vindication OF THE DIVINES OF THE Church of England, &c.

I Should hardly have thought it much worth any ones while, to Concern himself about the now Publish'd Book, Intituled, The History of Passive Obedience, were it not to prevent Atheistical and Debauched Per­sons making use of it, to the Scandalizing of weak and inconsiderative People against Religion; and the more hardening themselves in their Contempt thereof, by seeing so great a Body of the Mini­sters of this Church, so exposed to the World for [Page 4] Apostates and Perjured Wretches, as they are in this Book.

But it seems to me to be absolutely necessary, for this Reason, to take, at least, the Design of this Book into Consideration, which is all I intend to do. And the apparent Design of it is, as I now intimated, to make the World believe, That the Generality of the Divines of the Church of England are fallen under the Guilt of most Shameful Apo­stasy, and consequently, of Perjury too, in the Oaths they have Taken to King William, and Queen Mary. Had this History come abroad some considerable time before the First of August, I con­fess I should not have pass'd such a Censure upon it, but had been obliged to hope, That 'twas pi­ously and charitably intended to prevent our Cler­gy's Scandalizing their People, and Violating their own Consciences: But since it comes thus late, the Exposing of those who have taken these Oaths, 'tis most evident, is at least the principal Design of it. And how well such Work as this does become Christians, and Protestants, and Members of our Church, who, to justifie their Refusal of these Oaths, and to commend themselves to the World as Stanch-men, and steady to their Principles, are content to sacrifice to their own Reputation, the Good-Names of all but a very inconsiderable Num­ber of their Brethren, I leave to their own Con­sciences and serious Thoughts; if ever they are at leisure to think seriously, or are capable of making sedate Reflexions.

All those of the Clergy that have taken these Oaths, are as expresly as can be, without running [Page 5] the most Apparent Danger of the Law, blackned with Apostasy from the Doctrine of the Church of England subscribed by them; and very many of the most Eminent of them by Name, with basely deserting that Principle, which they have hereto­fore publisht to the World in Print, and been Zealous Maintainers and Avowers of, viz. That of Passive-Obedience, or Non-Resistance of the Higher Powers, upon any Pretence whatsoever.

But I can scarcely desire a more easy Task, than to shew that these New Oaths are no whit re­pugnant to the Asserting of the most Absolute Pas­sive-Obedience; and that those who have skrewed up this Point to the very highest Peg (as I ever thought some have done it much too High, thro' their Non-attendance to the Constitution under which we live) may Lawfully take these Oaths, without recanting any thing they have Preached or Prin­ted upon this Argument: And own William and Mary, without Fear of Contradicting what they have held about this Matter, as not only de Facto, but de Iure too, their King and Queen: For,

First, Can a Prince who is Justly provoked by another Prince, to whom He oweth no Alle­giance, gain a more unquestionable Title to His Crown than that of Conquest, when reasonable Sa­tisfaction hath been first Denied Him? And will the highest Asserters of Passive-Obedience, affirm it to be due from Those, who are under no Obli­gation of Allegiance?

Now this was the Case of the Prince of Orange: For,

1. He was no Subject to King Iames.

[Page 6]2. King Iames had given Him very just Pro­vocations. Surely his making so great Advances towards the setting up of Popery in his King­doms, and the bringing in of a Foreign Power consequently, and the overthrowing of the Laws, and quite Changing the Government, must needs appear to all impartial Persons to be just Provo­cations, since He was so very nearly Concerned in these Actings, by Reason of His PRINCESS'S and His Own Right of Succession, to the Govern­ment of these Kingdoms. But what more Sensi­ble Provocations could the Prince receive, than was King Iames his giving Him so great Reason to believe, that 'twas his Design to Deprive His Princess of Her Title of next Successor to the Crown, and for ever to Exclude the immediate Line?

3. The Prince having Demanded in His Decla­ration, Satisfaction from King Iames, and promis'd to Referr His Cause intirely under God, to a Free Parliament; and that He would make no worse use of His Army in the mean time, than for His own necessary Security, he would by no means yield to any thing of Compliance; but betook himself to the most Vigorous Opposition of Him, he could possibly make. And when he found him­self forsaken of the best Part of his Army, and that the Prince grew much too strong to be En­countered by him, instead of yielding to His De­mand of a PARLIAMENT, he Revoked that Summons of one, which before the Princes Land­ing, He was perswaded to send forth; and leaving those who had to the last adhered to him to shift [Page 7] for themselves, as well as they could; away he Fled, both a First, and a Second time Fled, Flung away the Seals, and leaving no Representative be­hind him, left the Nation without Government: Not to mention Here his putting himself wholly into the Hands of the Greatest and most Formida­ble Enemy, his three Kingdoms, and all Protestant Nations, have in the World.

Now, What was this but a plain Conquest? 'Twas such a Conquest in all its Circumstances, as hath ever been acknowledged to give an unquestiona­bly Just Title as far as concerns the Conquered Prince. I give this Limitation, because I am a­ware 'twill be Objected, that though King Iames was Conquered, the Nation was not, they not liking his Cause so well as to side with him; but generally Received the Prince of Orange, as a Glorious Instrument, which they hoped God Al­mighty had raised up, to bring them Deliverance from the Evils they Suffered, and the much Greater they saw very near Approaching them. And those that now refuse to Swear Allegiance to Him, were observed to be as forward as others, in Ex­pressing their Affection to Him; at least many of them. In Answer hereto, it must be acknowled­ged that the Nation was not Conquered: But all that follows from hence, is, That the Prince would not have acquired a Right to the Crown against the Nations Consent. He had a very Justifiable Plea against King Iames, but not against his Subjects, had He gone about to make Himself their King, whether they would or no; since, having had no Contest with them, He could notbe said to have made [Page 8] a Conquest of them. And, as He never Claimed the Crown by the Right of Conquest (which He could not have done Prudently, nor Justly neither, in Regard of the Engagement He was under from His Declaration, as well as because He had no oc­casion given Him of Conquering the Nation) so their Consent He had, if an Assembly of the Three Estates may be call'd the Nation: And I need not say, that He had more than their bare Consent too. And as to the Collective Body of the Nation, if it be divided into Fourty Parts, I believe I shall be thought sufficiently modest should I say, that He had the Consent of no fewer than Thirty Nine of them.

And as King Iames had no Wrong done him, since he must altogether blame Himself, for being disabled to hold his Crown, and for ought that appears to Us, for leaving the Nation without Go­vernment; so the Princess of Orange being Crown­ed with the Prince, and She giving Her Consent to His being Crowned with Her, suffered no Wrong neither; and She lost nothing of the Honour, and nothing but the Trouble of a Crowned Head. Nor did Her Royal Sister receive any injury, or met with the least unrighteous dealing, since her being put one remove farther from the Crown, was first Consented to by her self, for His sake to whom (under God) she was obliged for her being in a Capacity (a Moral Capacity I mean) of ever wearing it.

Now whether the Lords Spiritual and Tempo­ral, with the freely Elected Commons of England, did light upon the very Best Method, for the Set­tling [Page 9] of the Government, and Satisfaction of all Parties, as it is not material to Enquire; so I doubt 'tis impossible for Us that are in an inferi­our Station, to Determin: But I dare affirm, that the much greater Part of the Nation, and of the Members of the Church of England too, do think they did, from the general great Satis­faction that hath been in all places Expressed there­with. But as for those who do not approve of this Method as the most desirable, if they cannot make evident Proof of its being unjust, I am sure their refusing to Acqui [...]ss in it, would be a Noto­rious Contradiction to the Doctrine of Passive-Obedience; since 'twas pitched upon by those whose Business alone it was to adjust this Af­fair; and to whom also they intirely Referred it, in their Voting for Persons to be their Representa­tives in the Convention, which was Summoned for no other purpose. And nothing is more evi­dent, than that 'tis inconsistent with all Govern­ment, for private Persons not to Rest Satisfied with the Decisions of those, whose Office it is to judge in the disputable and difficult Points that Relate to it.

If the Compilers of this Goodly History will Ob­ject to us, That King Iames his Subjects, ought to have stood by him against the Prince of Orange; and therefore since it was through their Default that he was Conquered by Him, they ought not to fetch an Argument from thence, for their owning the Prince as their Rightful King. I Reply,

First, Why then did not themselves stand by KING Iames? Why did themselves so silently [Page 10] Look on, and see HIM Conquered? Why did they not at least mind their People of their Duty, and on Pain of Damnation Excite them to it? Suppose there were Hazard in the Case, ought that to Discourage the Ministers of Jesus Christ from the Performance of a necessary Duty? Nay, how came it to pass, that so many of their Party, did seem no less than others, highly to Ap­prove of the Prince's Enterprize, and to wish Him Success? If they will ingeniously Acknowledge, that these were inexcusable Faults in them, Why don't they make their Repentance as publick as these Faults were? And believe it, very Hainous ones they are, if they are Faults.

Secondly, Do they think that our not siding with King Iames, which hath brought upon us these New Oaths, is a Contradiction to our Doctrine of Passive-Obedience? I have ever thought, that this Doctrine makes it a Duty to Suffer, not to Act; and should we think that we are bound to stand by our King in wrong Doing, and an unrighte­ous Cause (as we must verily believe His was, since we believe the Prince's was very Righteous) we must be Asserters of as Unlimited an Active-Obedience to our Kings, as these Gentlemen are of a Passive: And when we do so, we will give them leave to call us Apostates with a Witness: Apostates from Christianity it self, as well as from that one Doctrine of Passive-Obedience: And to Accuse us of bidding adieu to our Baptismal Vow, as well as of breaking an Oath of Allegiance. Of which more anon.

[Page 11] Secondly, Another Argument for our owning William and Mary, as our Rightful King and Queen against King Iames, shall be taken from the Cir­cumstances he is brought into; or rather into which he hath cast himself: Which Circumstances are such as make it absolutely necessary to the Pre­servation of our Religion, Liberty and Property, to the saving us from utter Ruine, and from a De­luge of all manner of Miseries, zealously to stand by the present Settlement. We know upon whom King Iames hath cast himself, and in whose Power he hath been, ever since he left this Kingdom. We know that all the hopes he can now com­fort himself with, of Re-gaining his Kingdoms, if by this time he despair not of it, are from the Assistance of the most Iesuited Prince in the World but one, and the most Barbarously Cruel Tyrant, and who hath not his Match for horrible Perfi­diousness, that we know of, under the Cope of Heaven. We know that, if by his help he should at last have Success, the Protestants of the King­dom of France, as fearfully Deplorable a State as he hath brought them into, cannot be more Mi­serable, than will be these three Protestant King­doms. Nay, we know too, that then this Monster must be our King, and that King Iames can scarce reasonably hope for so great an Honour, as to be his Vice-Roy. These things I say, that Humanly speaking, we know there is no avoiding; and that without Miracles from Heaven, no means can save us from being the greatest Objects of Compassi­on, in all the World. And what shall we call those, who having so scaring a Prospect of things [Page 12] before their Eyes, shall refuse the only Humane means for their Preservation, in hope of Miracles? Which only Means no man can be so blind as not to see, is Faithfully Adhering to King William and Queen Mary. I need not add, that we know too, by sad Experience, the strange Wilfulness▪ of King Iames his Temper, and that the Iesuits have gotten him so perfectly under their own Power, as to be the sole Masters of his Judgment and Con­science; That he hath been all along Acted by such an implicite Faith in their Counsels, that his continual Experience of the Foolishness of them, could never make the least abatement of his con­fidence in them. And therefore, what Wise Man can hope, from the greatest Security he can pos­sibly give us, that our condition may be so much as Tollerable under him, should he return to sway the Scepter in these Kingdoms, though the King of France had no Hand in it?

Those that so insist still on the perpetuity of the Obligation of their Oath to King Iames, are inconsiderative to Amazement, of the Prior▪ Obli­ligation they are under, to their▪ Religion, and to the Community of which they are Members: Which no After Obligation can by any▪ means Cancel. And 'tis the absurdest thing imaginable to sup­pose, that that for the sake of which Principally, we are obliged to Swear Allegiance to our Kings, viz. the Safety and Wellfare of the Community over which they are placed, ought upon the Account of this Oath to be dis-regarded. As it is not a less Profane thing, to think our selves bound to give them Assistance, in such a Cause, as their Success [Page 13] wherein 'tis Morally impossible should not End in the utter Ruine of our Religion. Those that Pro­pogate the contrary Doctrine, I will not stick to say, make Idols of their Kings; and they are the People to whom the World is chiefly beholden for Arbitrary and Tyrannical ones. And for my part, I must needs Profess, that I could not with a safe Conscience Swear Allegiance to the best King that ever held a Scepter, while I thought my self obliged by that Oath, to preferr his Per­sonal Interest before his Political, before the Ap­parent Interest of Religion, or of the Community.

I can be sure of nothing, if I am out in this notion, That no Oath can bind any longer, than the Obligation thereof is consistent and reconcila­ble with the Salus Populi; the Well fare (the Spi­ritual and Temporal Well-fare) of the People; which is the sole End of all Government. By Salus Populi I cannot be thought to mean the Well-fare of any Party; I mean the Well-fare of the Whole, or of the Generality of the Community. And every private Subject, who is capable of ma­king a true Judgment in any Case, is easily able to make a Judgment, when the Safety of the Com­munity is in Eminent Danger. And though I know that Maxim▪ Salus Populi est Suprema Lex: The Well-fare of the People, is the Highest Law; may be liable to be abused to most Villanous Pur­poses, and likewise that it hath been very great­ly abused in our own Nation, yet 'tis therefore never the less True; but as Evident a Principle as any in Nature. Nor is it capable of being a­bused to worse purposes, than hath been the Gospel [Page 14] of the Grace of God, or the Apostles Doctrine of Christian Liberty. Those that will mis-understand and abuse this Maxim of Government, shall dear­ly Pay for it either in this World, or in that to come▪ if not in both; but Wise Men will not sooner part with it, because it may, or hath been the occasion of great Mischiefs, than our Good PRO­TESTANTS will throw away their English Bi­bles, in Regard of the Mischief which the Papists tell them hath been done by them. And I could adventure to Appeal to any unby­assed Person, that competently understands the nature of Government, in general, Whether this Great and Unrepealable Law alone, would not, in our present Circumstances, devest King Iames of his Title to the Governing of these Kingdoms; would not perfectly dissolve our Obligation to him, and transfer the Right to Those who now Reign over us. And methinks, though Providence alone, be a very fallible Topick to Argue from, yet the ve­ry many Amazing Providences, by which these Princes have been brought to the Throne, and have carryed them through many Extreme Diffi­culties here, and are now a displaying in Scotland, but especially in Ireland, should add Strength enough to other Arguments to Convince our grea­test Unbelievers of their Right to be our Sovereigns; and that they have the Broad Seal of Heaven for it. And I wish, that those, on whom such Asto­nishing Appearances of the Hand of God can have no Influence, would consider those Words of the Pro­phet Isaiah, Ch. 26. 11. Lord when thine Hand is lifted up, they will not see; but they shall see and be asha­med, &c.

[Page 15]And thus have I kept to my Resolution when I first set Pen to Paper, to write no more Lines than needs must, upon this Argument. And the little that hath been said, as I am verily perswa­ded, is a sufficient Vindication, even of Their ta­king the New Oaths, whom I cannot Vindicate from having gone too far in their Doctrine of Passive Obedience.

Nor shall I have the least Controversy with these my Brethren, though they should never change their Minds about that Point; since having transferred their Allegiance, they must needs also transfer their Passive Obedience to Those, of whom we are mighty secure, they'll make no such Ad­vantage of their making it so Absolute, as King Iames was preparing himself to do.

FINIS.

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