Good Advice to the PULPITS, Deliver'd in a few CAUTIONS For the keeping up the Reputation of those CHAIRS, And Preserving the Nation in Peace.

Published with Allowance.

LONDON, Printed by Henry Hills, Printer to the King's Most Excellent Majesty, for His Houshold and Chappel; And are sold at his Printing-house on the Ditch-side in Black-Fryers, 1687.

To the Reader.

WE have been a distracted Nation these many Years, and some are of opinion, that amongst other Causes, the Pulpits have in no small measure contributed to the improving its Misfortunes. I here meddle not with the Truth of this Suppo­sition; whilst in this Time of Liberty, every one may be of what Judgment they please; But being heartily sensible, that his Majesty do's at this Time earnestly desire the Peace and Welfare of the Na­tion, I think it ought to be the Concern of every good Subject, to endeavor, as much as in them lies, to remove all Obsta­cles that may any ways possibly hinder the effecting so good a Work. And because amongst the many Engines, that move [Page] the People, the Pulpits have the strong­est Influence; 'tis of some Concern, that all Abuses should be secluded from those Chairs, by the Moderation of a Chri­stian, a Loyal, and a Wise Spirit. What I speak here is of all Pulpits, whether of Conformists or Dissenters, of what sort soever, whether Protestant or Papist; and not at all concerning my self with their several Interpretations of the Gospel, and differing Sentiments in Mysteries of Faith, I only desire, that however they disagree in these, they be yet perfectly united in the Spirit of Loyal­ty and Love, and in desiring the Peace of the Nation: And to this end I know of no better Rule to be observ'd, than that of the Congregational Persuasi­on, in their Address to his Majesty from Great Yarmouth: We faithful­ly Gazette June 13. promise your Majesty, that we [Page] will neither Preach nor Teach, nor suffer any thing to be so Preach'd or Taught amongst us, which may any ways tend to a­lienate the Hearts of your Peo­ple from your Majesty's Person and Government; but shall en­deavor to contribute the utter­most Assistance thereunto we are capable of, in our several Stati­ons. This is a Promise and a Rule of Peace, and I wish 'twere writ over every Pulpit of the Kingdom, that it might there stand as a Test for Preachers; that nothing might be Dispens'd from those Places, but what did agree with these Measures. I would not have any Prea­cher boast of his Loyalty, till his Ser­mons have pass'd this Trial: for if it be the part of an Open Enemy and a Treacherous Mind, to alienate the [Page] Peoples Hearts from their Sovereign; I cannot tell how he that do's this in the Pulpit, should be Loyal, when he that should do it in the Field would be a Traitor. To the end therefore that these Abuses may have no access to Pul­pits, but that these may contribute to the Peace of the Nation, to the removing all Animosities, and establishing a general Satisfaction in the Hearts of all his Majesty's Subjects, to the uniting them in one Knot of Loyalty and Love; I think it may not be amiss to lay down a few Cautions, which may give some Directi­ons in order to the arriving at this End. 'Twould be a bold Presumption, I am sensi­ble, to undertake to Teach the Teach­ers; but if it be so contriv'd, as to let the Teachers Teach themselves, it may not be so obnoxious to Censure, especially when the Design is so General a Good.

Good Advice to the PULPITS.

First Caution.

FOR the preserving a Firm Peace, and good Understanding amongst his Majesty's Sub­jects, and shutting a Gate against all the Endeavors of Malice and Envy; 'tis very convenient for every Division of Believers in this Nation to take care, that if any Wicked Villains, or Prostitute Wretches, should appear against any one Party, blackning it with Infamous Crimes, charging it with the foulest of Wickedness, and then back all with Protestations and Oaths, and pawn their Souls for the Truth of what they assert; 'tis very conve­nient, I say, that Men of all other Persuasions, in this Case, should take care, that these Accusations do not presently get up into the Pulpit; and that their Teachers be Cautious, not to catch at every thing they hear thus protested at the Bar by an Informer with a Bible at his Lips, nor dispense it to their Congregation, as if they had discover'd it in the Gospel, which they hold in their Hands. This dif­ference [Page 2] betwixt the Bar and the Pulpit ought to be carefully observ'd, because the Pulpit is only for the Delivery of the Word of God; and all that is at the Bar is not so, but many times Lies, Perjuries, Malicious Inventions, Putid Calumnies are there ad­vanc'd: And, besides, that these do ill become the House of God; what a violation must there be of Charity, when the Oath of a Miscreant is made the Religion of the People; and they are taught to hate those for Conscience sake, whom by the Law of God they are commanded to love?

This Caution all Preachers ought to carry along with them, that so they be not Instrumental in di­sturbing the Peace of this Nation, which 'tis their Duty, both as they are Christians and Subjects, to preserve. And this I say, tho' the Parties accus'd happen to be such whose Principles they dislike, and to whose Interest they are highly disaffected▪ The Matter is of Concern, and therefore 'twill not be improper to elucidate it by Example; and be­cause the Aversion against those call'd Papists is most general, I'll let them be the Instance. Suppose therefore that they were accus'd by Men of Infa­mous Lives, of the worst of Crimes, of Designing against the Life of their Sovereign, against the Re­ligion Establish'd, against the Liberty and Property of their Fellow-Subjects, and these Accusations shou'd be press'd against them with the most Sacred Protestations and Repeated Oaths of the Accusers: yet would it not be convenient for the Teachers of any other Persuasion, to proclaim these Men Guilty from the Pulpit, and incense their Congregation against the suppos'd Criminals, however advantage­ous [Page 3] their Downfall might be to the Interest of their Party. And therefore 'twould be very Rash and Unchristian in this Case, if any Minister should get up into his Pulpit, and from thence declaim against that People at a Country Assizes, and declare them Guilty of all the Crimes of which they stand accus'd. Suppose after this manner.

Of late they have given us the Compen­dium Sermon July 17. 1681. at the Assize at Hunting. pag. 5. by B. Smith. and Abstract of all their Villanies, in that Horrid and Execrable Plot, which is yet on foot, and which in despite of all Dis­coveries and Opposition that can be made, they have the Face and Insolence still to push forward and manage with the utmost of a restless and implacable Vigor and Malice. A Design so horrid and ghastly in its Aspect, so contrary to all true Sentiments of Piety, Humanity and Allegiance, that I do not wonder, that they use all their Arts, either to stifle its Discovery, or to divert the Odium of it from themselves upon others.

Or thus, Of all those former Practices, Sermon on Mat. 8. 25. April 11. 1679. on the Fast-day. there is no one can parallel that execrable, hellish Plot, which was now set on foot a­gainst us, and is still going on; and if God have not mercy upon us, doubts not of suc­cess, to sink the Protestant Religion, which we profess, so far as never to rise again.

[Page 4] Or thus. Our Enemies slept not, they were Serm. before the Commons Decemb. 22. 1680. at S. Margar. West. p. 11. Dr. Burn. contriving how to make us return back into Egypt, or submit, not our Necks only, but our Souls and Consciences, to that Tyrannical Yoke of the Roman Slavery; and thought the Design so well laid, that it was upon the point of being Executed. Then did it appear, that God was still watching over us for Good; and he that saw all these secret Contrivances, so closely carry'd, and cement­ed with so many sacred Ties, disappointed all their Councils, and brought all their De­signs to light, when we were least aware of it; being, tho' sensible of a great Danger hanging over us, yet little apprehensive that it was so near us, and was to break out in such a manner.

Or thus. Their loud Cry is not for Diana, B. E. before the Lords in Westm. Ab. Nov. 5. 1678. p. 24. but for the Silver Shrines; not for the State of the Church, but for the State and Pomp of the Church-men, to make the Pope and his Clergy absolute Lords of all Powers, and Pleasures, and Profits of the World; as in the Discovery of the late horrid Plot for the Subversion of our Religion and Govern­ment, we find they design'd for themselves [Page 5] the most beneficial Places both in Church and State.

Or thus. Providence hath discover'd ano­ther Plot and Confpiracy, contriv'd by those, who act according to their Principles. A dangerous Plot, deeply laid, secretly car­ry'd on, and that stumbles at nothing that lies in their way; not at the Life of the King himself, tho' a Prince of so much Cle­mency and Mercy, that he is inferior to none that sways a Scepter, or sits upon a Throne.

And therefore I doubt not, but that you (My Lords) and the rest of the Great Coun­cil Ibid. p. 39, 40, 41. of the Nation, who have now the weighty Concerns both of Church and State before you, will consider, that ad Triarios deventum est, the Concerns of your Religion, your So­vereign, your Laws, your Lives are before you. Therefore, if you have any love of your Religion (as I know you have great love for it.—If you have any love of that True, Reform'd, Approv'd Religion; any Abhorrency of the Grossest Superstitions,—If any Regard for the Life and Safety of his Majesty; If any Concernment for the Peace and Welfare of the Nation; If any Care of [Page 6] Self-preservation, to escape horrid Massacres, and the utmost Rage of Persecution;—It highly concerns you to take into your speedy and serious Consideration, what Remedies are fit and suitable to be apply'd.

Or thus. O that God would give us all Hearts to consider this,—That so we may Sermon of Mr. Jane, April 11. 1679. before the Commons p. 27, 50. no longer expose our selves and our Coun­try, our Lives and Fortunes, and the best Religion in the World, to the Advantages of Blood-thirsty and deceitful Men, who have at this day conspir'd against us, to take away both our Place and Nation.—But it seems that we are not yet quite cast off, by that wonderful Discovery which God hath made amongst us of a Hellish Plot, for the Assas­sinating of our King, and the Subversion of our Government and Religion.

Or thus. How visibly and near did God in his infinite Mercy, by way of warning, B. H. Nov. 24. 1678. p. 40, 41. hold it (the Rod) forth to us in his late disco­vering that Hellish Plot of our Blood-thirst­ing Enemies, the Popish Priests, who had contriv'd to Murder, not only our Bodies, but our Souls also, by taking from us the Light of the Gospel, which is the Life of our [Page 7] Souls, and to cast us into the Dungeon of Popish Darkness?—Truly there needs no more than the Popish Priests, whom tho' you banish the whole Land, you may be sure they will not sit idle Abroad, but Night and Day labor to make assisting Parties in Italy, Spain, and France. We find they have all contributed Mony to carry on that Devilish Work; and doubtless they will go on to con­tribute both Mony and Men also, as occasion shall serve; they will not easily sit down and suffer themselves to be baffled in this De­sign, they thought themselves so sure of.

Or thus. The Instances are so many, and Dr. Sharp, April 11. 1679. to the Commons p. 33. so very well known, that I need not name them: but if they were all forgot, the late, shall I say, or the Present Popish Plot, for the taking away the Life of his Sacred Ma­jesty, and Subverting the Protestant Religi­on, and the Establish'd Government of this Kingdom, now brought to light; This a­lone, tho' all the other Instances were worn out of Memory, would sufficiently shew us, what we are to expect from these Roman Principles, as to the Security either of our Prince, our Liberties, or our Religion.

[Page 8] Or thus. At this very time, since the dis­covery Dr. Tillots. Nov. 5. be­fore House Com. 1678. p. 31, 32, 35. of so barbarous a Design, and the highest Provocation in the World, by the treacherous Murder of one of his Majesties Justices of the Peace, a very good Man, and a most excellent Magistrate, who had been active in the discovery of this Plot; I say, after all this, and notwithstanding the conti­nu'd and insupportable insolence of their Carriage and Behavior, even upon this Oc­casion, no Violence, nay not so much as any Incivility, that I ever heard of, hath been of­ferd to any of them.—And now what re­mains, but to make our most devout and thankful Acknowledgment to Almighty God—for the wonderful discovery of the late horrid and barbarous Conspiracy against our Prince, our Peace, and our Religion.

Or thus. Even this hath enrag'd our Ad­versaries Dr. Still. Nov. 13. 1678. before the Commons, p. 42, 43, 44. of the Roman Church, and made them the more restless to destroy it, (the Re­formation;) and to stick at no Means, which they thought might tend to its Ruin. O Bles­sed Jesus! That ever thy Holy Name should be assum'd by Traytors and Murderers; or that the promoting thy true Religion, should [Page 9] be made the Colour for the most wicked Practices!—Be astonish'd, O ye Heavens, and tremble, O Earth, that hast brought forth such a Generation of Vipers, who are conti­nually making way through the Bowels of their Mother, and, as we have reason to be­lieve, have design'd to destroy the Father of their Country. If these be the kind Embra­ces of one that pretends to be the Mother Church; if this be the Paternal Affection of the Holy Father at Rome; if this indeed be the Zeal for the Catholic Cause; if this be the way to reconcile us to their Communi­on: have we not great reason to be fond of returning into the Bosom of such a Church, which may strangle us as soon as it gets us within her Arms?—But there are some whose Concernment it is, to make Men be­lieve there was no such dangerous Plot in­tended; I meddle not with that Evidence, which lies before you; but there is one No­torious Circumstance obvious to all Persons, and sufficient to convince any, which is the horrid Murther actually committed on one of his Majesties Justices of the Peace, in cold Blood, with great contrivance and delibe­ration. [Page 10] Do Men imbrue their Hands in Blood for nothing? Why no other Person? Why at such a Time? Why in such a Man­ner? There was a Reason for all this; He had taken the Examinations; He knew too much to be suffer'd to live; and they hop'd by his Death to stifle the Evidence, and to affrighten others from searching too far: and they manag'd that Matter so, as tho' they had no other end in taking away his Life, but to prevent a farther discovery. And they whom his Death doth not convince, neither will they be convinc'd, tho' he should rise agen from the Dead.

Or thus. That we heard it bluster abroad for so many Years together in a formidable A.B.C. No. 13. 1678. before the Lords in West. Abby, p. 8, 9, 13, 26, 27. Tempest, which hath drench'd and drown'd so great a part of Christendom in Blood, and yet the Storm hath hitherto flown over us; That the Clouds have been gathering at home too, and so long hung black o're our Heads, and yet not pour'd themselves forth in Showers of Vengeance; That Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek, and the rest; That Hell and Rome, and their Partizans, our Enemies on all hands, both Foregn and Domestic, [Page 11] have been so long Confederate against us, saying, Come, and let us root them out, that they be no more a People, that the Name of the Reform'd Church of England may be no more in Remembrance; that they have so long look'd Grim and Soure, and Roar'd and Rampt upon us.—And now when rest­less and unquiet Men (the true Spawn of him, whose Tail drew the third part of the Stars of Heaven, and cast them to the Earth) would fain by their Hellish Plots and Con­trivances bring us down agen from thence, even down to the very Ground, and lay all our Honor in the Dust: When by their secret Machinations they are at work on all hands to hurry us back into the old Confusions; in hope, that out of that disorder'd Mass, they may at length rear up a new World of their own; (but what a World? a World made up of a new Heaven of Superstitions and Ido­latries, a new Earth too of Anarchy first, and pretended Liberty, but of Tyranny insuf­ferable at next Remove)—The Devils of Sedition and Faction, of Treason and Re­bellion, those Familiars of Rome, and Rhemes and St. Omers, (the Jesuits I mean, that have [Page 12] so long possess'd and agitated a wretched part of this Nation) will never go out from hence, and leave us at quiet, no not by Prayer and Fasting only. Nay, the best Laws we have, the best you can make (if they be not steddily and severely Executed) will prove too slight a Conjuration for those sturdy Evil Spirits of Disobedience. There is ano­ther and a better Flagellum daemonum, than that of Hieronymus Mengis and his Fellow Exorcists. Holy Water is a Trifle, and holy Words will not do it. There is no such thing as Medicina per verba, Words and Talk will never cure the Distempers of a Nation. Deaf Adders refuse all the Voice of the Charmer, Charm he never so wisely. If in good earnest we would be rid of this Legion, and say as our Lord to the deaf and dumb Spirit, Go out, and enter no more; (what shall I say?) Solomon's Rod for the Back of Fools that grow troublesom or dangerous, (as it may be prepar'd and manag'd) is a very powerful and effectual Exorcism. Untam'd Horses, and Skittish Mules, that will have no Understanding, are not edifi'd by calm Rea­sonings and Instructions, and meek Remon­strances, [Page 13] nor in any other Method so well as by David's Expedient; In Fraeno & Camo, their Mouths must be kept in with Bit and Bridle, that it may not be possible for them to fall upon you, and so you may be secure of them—Viriliter agite.

If any, I say, upon these Grounds, should after these, or other such like manners, declaim from the Pulpit against these People, and assert them Guilty of all the Crimes, that by villanous Informers are charg'd against them at the Bar, 'twould be highly prejudi­cial to the Peace of the Nation, much against Charity and the Love we owe to our Neighbor, contrary to the Christian Spirit of Meekness recommended in the Gospel, and consequently a very severe Reflection upon those that shall proceed in this manner. These and infinit other ill Consequences are the necessary Attendants of such Proceedings: For what Peace can there possibly be expected, when it shall be in the power of Men of Prostitute Consciences to di­stract the Nation, to fill it with Fears and Jealousies, and so to influence the Pulpits, as to make them square the Gospel, to the Support and Proof of their Calumnies? What Charity can there be in those, who upon such Mens Suggestions, can be positive in pronouncing their Neighbors Guilty of the blackest of Crimes? And what Meekness, whilst upon such Motives, they are so easily fill'd with Gall and Bitterness, and change their Gospel of Peace into such exasperating Invectives? And whilst these Christian Endowments are wanting [Page 14] in Teachers, how low must their Credit and Reputa­tion sink with all sober Men, who know that where these Qualities are not, there can be no more of a Preacher besides the Name and a Noise?

For my part, I think 'tis the Common Interest of all that call themselves Christians, to be careful in avoiding these Inconveniences, which do ill suit with that Name; and most especially it seems to be the Concern of all Pulpits, of what sort soever, to see that the Spirit that moves there, should be only that of the Gospel. For if once it be permitted, that in those Sacred Places there be access for Interest, Affection, Prejudice or Passion, &c. and that the Do­ctrins from thence enforc'd to the People, be not only according to the Dictates of the Holy Ghost, but likewise what is suggested from the Information and Narratives of such vile Men; 'twill bring all Preaching into a Disrepute, and give too plausible an Occasion to Atheists of ridiculing all Religion.

Will it not be a Temptation likewise to Thinking Men, to have a less value for those Chairs, when they find them subject to these Infirmities: when they see them lie as open to Passion and Railing and such like Weaknesses, as other Places, which for that Reason are esteem'd Prophane? Men are willing ge­nerally, where they trust their Consciences, to find something above the ordinary Mass, some more than ordinary Sanctity, a steddy Conduct, a Con­quest over the common Frailties and Temptations of other Ranks, and such other like Qualities, which may naturally work a Confidence in Men, and be as Arguments to convince them, that the Spirit that there moves is above Nature, and capable of direct­ing [Page 51] others in order to Vertue and Truth. But where they find not Men thus Qualifi'd, when they expe­rience those, who pretend to be Guides, to fall in with the Mobile, to be expos'd to their Levities, so as to take Fire at every Flash; when they see them instill Jealousies, look Grim and Soure, Roar, Ramp, and Insult over the Oppressed; 'twill only breed a Disesteem of them in the Observers, and put them upon thinking, that however they may go to Church to Hear for fashion sake; yet to rely upon such Mens Directions will not be very safe, whilst they see them go to the Bar for their Doctrins, and fetch their Proofs more out of the Law than the Gospel.

Besides, if any should hold forth in any of the Forms above, what a Scandal would it be to their Profession? How odious would it appear to Consi­dering Men, to hear Preachers out of their Pulpits, inciting Judges against the Defendants at the Bar; stirring up their Gall, and imbittering their Spirits, so to prepare them to a Hearing of the Cause? And how much worse would it still be, to hear them from those Chairs of Peace, pronouncing Sentence against the suppos'd Criminals, and then calling for the Halter and Ax for Execution, and the Effusion of Blood? To hear all this at a Sessions-house might be something tolerable; but to go to Church, and af­ter the Text out of the Gospel, to hear so much of Severity and of the Instruments of Death, makes it look more like a Slaughter-house, than the House of God; and lays Grounds enough to think, that such Harangues as these are only for the filling the Judges and Law-givers with Fury and Vengeance; and that 'tis fear'd These would be too Meek and [Page 16] Merciful, unless some Clergy-Cruelty were instill'd into them out of the Pulpits. And then how con­vincing an Argument will this be, that 'tis not only the State that Persecutes, and is for Penal Laws, but the Church too; whilst the State being Hearers, and for receiving Direction; these Churchmen are inciting them to the speedy and severe Execution of the Laws; conjuring them by the Love they have for the Approv'd and Reform'd Religion, to take into their speedy and serious Consideration, what Remedies are fit and sutable in such a Case: Assuring them, that the Best Laws will not serve, if they be not speedily and severely Executed? Will not this sound Penal Laws and Blood all over?

But above all, 'tis not fit Preachers should run out into these Cruel Extravagances; because, if after the Preaching up such Accusations and Hor­rid Crimes taken up against Men at the Bar, it should prove that the Informers were Villains, and the Accused appear Innocent, what a Reflection would this prove upon such Teachers, and upon their Religion; when it shall be manifest to the World, that They have Preach'd up so many noto­rious Lies in their Pulpits, have asserted the Truth of them, have spread so many unjust Calumnies a­gainst their Neighbor, have Expounded Libels and Narratives instead of Gospel, and been as positive in such Doctrins of Perjur'd Knights of the Post, as if they had been deliver'd by the Evangelists? And if these Preachers happen to be Men of Honesty and Conscience, will it not, do you think, be a distur­bance to their inward Peace, when they see the Men, they have so severely traduc'd from their [Page 17] Pulpits, and blackn'd with the Foulest Crimes; to be Clear and Innocent; and that those Villanies they so positively laid to their charge, prove only Calum­nies and Malicious Forgeries? What a damp must this be upon their Souls, when they consider how Instrumental they have been in wronging the Inno­cent, in attesting Lies and Perjuries, and promoting the Devil's Cause instead of God's? How will those Characters they have given of their Neighbor in their Sermons, look Ghastly and Tormenting, when they reflect upon them; when they consider how they have proclaim'd them Guilty of an Execrable and Horrid Plot; Of Insolence and implacable Malice; Of want of Piety and Humanity; Of a Hellish Plot; Of its being upon the Point of being Executed, for the Subversion of the Religion and Government; Of de­signing to themselves the most Beneficial Places both in Church and State; Of a Dangerous Plot, deeply laid against the Life of the King, against the Peace and Welfare of the Nation, for horrid Massacres, and the utmost rage of Persecution; Of being blood thirsty and deceitful Men, engag'd in a Hellish Plot, for Assas­sinating our King, and Subversion of our Government and Religion; Of being Traitors and Murderers, a Generation of Vipers; Of being the Spawn of the Devil, designing Hellish Plots and Contrivances for the setting up of Anarchy and Tyranny; Of being Devils of Sedi­tion and Faction, of Treason and Rebellion, &c. How will these Characters, I say, look, when they disco­ver, they have thus injur'd and abus'd their Inno­cent Neighbor, in such Choleric and Blood-draw­ing Expressions, in so vile and unworthy a Man­ner?

[Page 18] And if they consider again, that they have not only done this to the People, but likewise before the Judges and the Greatest Tribunal in the Nation; may not they have some Scruples, and begin to question, whether they have not been Instrumental, and concurr'd to the Death of such Persons, as wrongfully suffer'd for these Forgeries? May not their Consciences, if there be any Tenderness in them, begin to be troublesom, and suggest to them such afflicting Thoughts as these? So many Men were put to Death, condemn'd for those Crimes, which we pronounc'd them guilty of in the Pulpits: and who knows how far the Magistrates and Judges were Influ­enc'd by our Sermons? and that they receiv'd Dire­ctions from our Preaching, as well as from the Evi­dences, which they could not but have some reason to suspect of Malice and Subornation? It may be likely our Seconding the Witnesses, and Pleading their Cause, by urging the Circumstances, the Time, the Place, the Person, and then asserting that They whom this do's not convince, neither will they be con­vinc'd, tho' one should rise from the Dead; It may be likely that this might work more upon the Auditory, than all the Affidavits at the Bar. And if the Judges did not pronounce Sentence, nor Jury bring them in Guilty, meerly upon the Authority of our Attestations; yet 'tis very probable, that by our bitter Exaggerations and severe Reflections; we did heighten their Aver­sion, and incline them to Believe all that was urg'd a­gainst the Prisoners, and by this means, tho' not as Instruments, yet by way of Disposers, did concur to the Condemnation of the Accus'd, and the Effusion of Innocent Blood. May not the Consciences, I say, [Page 19] of such as have rashly inveigh'd against Innocent Men, suggest to them such afflicting Thoughts, and disquiet their Minds, for fear the many Wrongs, Abuses, Affronts, Banishments, Pillories Imprisonments, Chains, Racks, Starvings, Gibbets, and Blood of those that suffer'd upon the score of those suppos'd Crimes, should in some part lie at their door, and be requir'd at their hands, who in their Sermons did so far contribute to the Reputation of the Witnesses, to the incensing the People, the Juries and Judges? 'Tis very possible such may be the Effects of their more sedate and serious Thoughts; and that as they expect Mercy from God, 'tis their Obligation to make Restitution of all the Wrongs they have done their Innocent Neighbor, and publicly declare them Guiltless, whom to their Congregations they have so often proclaim'd for Criminals.

These and many other may be the Consequen­ces and Mischiefs of such kind of Preaching, and therefore 'tis evidently much better for the Peace of the Nation, for the Good of our Neighbor, for the Credit of the Clergy, to forbear all such kind of Re­flections and Invectives in their Sermons: If they leave State-Affairs to the State or Civil Magistrate, and make the Enclosure of their Province in the Gospel, 'twould be much more agreeable to the Order of things, and for the Peace of Christendom, and this is my First Caution and Desire that it be so.

Second Caution.

THAT, if Preachers do at any time think fit to lay open the Crimes of any People to their Auditory, they be careful not to urge their Accu­sations farther, than they are certain and know them to be True. And therefore for Instance; If there be found an ungrounded and ill-told Tale, of the Papists contriving the Death of Charles I. Of a Jesuit flourishing his Sword when the fatal Stroke was given, &c. 'Tis not convenient nor Christian, that this should be presently made a Pulpit Truth, nor infinuated into the People for a Matter beyond que­stion, to the defaming of so many Thousands. And therefore methinks, 'tis not warrantable, that upon such Grounds as these, any one should thus hold forth to the People, viz.

Before God and the World, I confess my self abundantly satisfi'd, that Popish Jesuits Pelling be­fore Judges at Westm. Jan. 30. 1683. p. 39. were in that Horrid Plot, (the King's Murder) to execute which some Protestant Jesuits were the Instruments and Hands.—That Ro­man Priest and Confessor is known (saith my Author) who, when he saw the fatal Stroke given to our Holy King, flourish'd with his Sword, and said, Now the Greatest Enemy that we have in the World is gone. And when the News of that Horrible Execution came [Page 21] to Roan, some Jesuited Persons there told a Protestant Gentleman (of good Credit) That now they were reveng'd upon the King of England, for not Re-establishing the Catholic Religion.

Or thus. It will be no improper thing, to shew you how justly the Church of Rome is Burn. before L. Mayor, Jan. 30. 1680/1 p. 11. accus'd of this (the King's Murder) and how unjustly it is cast on those of the Reform'd Religion.—What hand they had in this Execrable Crime, and how far they dis­guis'd themselves into all the Forms and Di­visions about Religion, that were among us, I shall not positively assert, it has been done with very much assurance, by Persons of great Worth and Credit; and there are many Probabilities to induce us to believe it.

Or thus. From the same Place (Rome) our B. Smith at Hunt. Assis. July 17. 1681. p. 5. late Dreadful Confusions were highly fo­mented: and that Sacred and Royal Blood, which so much sully'd the Honor of our Re­ligion, and still cries so loud for Vengeance, was not shed without their Concurrence and Assistance; the Mischievous and Busie Jesuit being so Wicked, as to promote the Design, [Page 22] and so Impudent, as to boast of it when it was done.

2. If there be a Story amongst the People, that such a sort of Men help'd to Fire the City; 'tis not Prudent for any, unless upon certain Grounds, to deliver this from the Pulpit, and thence endeavor to convince the Congregation of the Truth of it: As thus.

There might be evil Instruments in this H. Hesketh, before Lord Mayor at Bow, Sep. 12. 1682. Judgment (of the Fire of London) and it seems, we are satisfi'd, who they were—The Year 1666, had been long presag'd to be a Fatal Year, and been often assign'd for the Downfall of Rome, by some, that had been too busie with Apocalyptic Visions. There could never therefore be a fitter Time for them to consute these bold Predictions, nor any Confutation, that in all probability would more affect the World, and advan­tage their Cause, than to cause London to fall, just then when it expected Rome should; and it hath been said, how they have glory'd and triumph'd in this thing. For that sup­posing them their Craft-masters (and we have too many Reasons to think them to be so) it could not be well thought, that such an Opportunity would be let slip, or some [Page 23] such Counsel not pitch'd upon.—Such things as these are now become their last Refuge, it seems; and the Arguments in which (I am persuaded) they expect most Success: they find how miserably fruitless all Rational Attempts against us are, and how they still recoil against themselves; and they despair of ever convincing us like Men, and therefore are resolv'd to beat out our Brains (if they can) like Beasts.

3. If there be a Popular Rumor, that Jesuits in Disguise insinuate themselves among Dissenters, and from their Pulpits Preach to them Schism and Sedition; it do's not look Rational that this Re­lation should be made a Sermon-Discourse, preach'd up as a Truth, unless upon surer Grounds than a Report, or the Assurance, that such a one knows the Person that saw the Man beyond Sea that did it. And therefore how Ʋn-pulpit-like would such a Discourse as this look in a Sermon?

It is their Business and Endeavor to keep J. Okes, be­fore Judges at Reading, July 12. 1681. p. 19, 20. us at odds, the better to carry on their own Designs; and therefore they have their E­missaries up and down to Preach Schism and Sedition into Peoples Ears. By such Arts as these they insinuate themselves among the poor deluded People of our Separate Con­gregations, and joyning with them in their [Page 24] Clamors against the Church of England, cry­ing it down for Superstitious and Popishly affected, they pass there for Gifted Brethren, and real Popery is carry'd on by such Dis­guises.

Preachers, I think, ought to be very Cautious, how they carry up such kind of Stories as these into the Pulpits; because, tho' there may be Grounds enough to make them a Table or Coffee-house Di­scourse; yet scarce enough to qualifie them for a Sermon, or to make them a fit Attendance for a Text out of the Gospel: I am for having nothing have admittance into the Pulpit, besides what is certainly and unquestionably True: That Place ought to be kept Sacred, and nothing have access there, that is Prophane, or in any likelihood may prove to be a Lie.

'Tis necessary this Caution be observ'd, that so all Preachers and Sermons be maintain'd in their Just Authority and Respect. For nothing can more contribute to the lessening their Reputation with the People, than to hear Vulgar Rumors, Ill-grounded Stories, Peevish Jealousies, held forth, and as passio­nately defended by them, as if they had been In­spir'd Truths. What Respect can I possibly have for a Preacher, that makes no better choice of what he delivers? Is it likely he should prevail upon my Understanding or Will, that suffers himself to be impos'd on? When I go to Church, I expect to hear the Word of God, and such Solid Truths ex­pounded to me, as may be a Comfort to my Soul, [Page 25] and direct my Steps in the ways of Bliss. But if with a light Sprinkle of this, I am put off with Ful­som Invectives, and a Relation of such Stories, as I am confident, the Preacher knows no more the Truth of than my self; I cannot but be Scandaliz'd, and begin to fear, that such an one is better conver­sant in the News of the Town, than in the Sacred Text or Fathers; and me-thinks, it has so much the Relish and Air of a Coffee-house, that I cannot but look about me, to see where we are. And now if People should once seriously reflect on this, and consider with what empty Stories Preachers content themselves, for the patching up their Sermons, it cannot choose but raise a great Prejudice in their Minds, and discourage them from relying much upon their Teachers, whilst they see them either so very Credulous, in thus taking up every Vulgar Ru­mor for a Truth; or very Insincere, in delivering that to their Auditory, which they don't believe themselves. Either of which is a very ill Quality to recommend a Minister to his Congregation.

Upon which Score I cannot but heartily desire all Preachers, of what sort soever, to take this into a serious Consideration, and to be very careful in the Choice of the Matter and History, which they deliver to their People. I conjure them by their Sacred Function, by the Gospel they expound, by the Truth they pretend to; that they would think of nothing but Truth, that they would preach up nothing but Truth, and consequently that they would deliver nothing in their Sermons for a Truth, which may be a Lie for all as they know. This I press the more earnestly, because I am sensible how [Page 26] much Preachers may lose themselves for want of this Care. For besides the Offence against God, and the Wrong they may do their Neighbor, 'tis certain they ruin their own Reputation. 'Tis no small Re­flection upon a Preacher, when it is with Truth said of him, that instead of teaching the Gospel in Meekness, he has preach'd up Lies in a Passion. Every Man ought to be true in his Way; and if he that puts off Counterfeit Wares in his Shop for True ones, must of Necessity pass for a Cheat; how cir­cumspect is it necessary every Preacher should be, whilst to him his Pulpit is his Shop; and the Injury, if done there, is the more considerable, by how much the Affairs of the Soul and Eternity, are a­bove all the Concerns of this World?

And as these kind of Stories do not suit well with the Pulpit, so neither do they agree with a Dedicatory Epistle, especially from a Faithful Pastor addressing himself to his Parishioners: And there­fore when Dr. Tenison, making Apology for his True account of a Confe­rence betw. A. P. and Dr. T. Expressions of more Warmth and less Strength, in a Conference held about Religion with a Jesuit, pretends that he has reason above most others, to give severe Language to that sort of Men, because his Father being turn'd out of his Living by a Committee, and another taking his Place and Re­venue, without restoring any thing, who after a few Years, Preaching up Purgatory, and other Points, was turn'd out again by the same Commit­tee, and soon after (as it were) vanish'd away. When he makes this Apology, I say, for his peevish and severe Language to a Jesuit, he do's not seem to do the Office of a Good and Faithful Pastor; for [Page 27] besides the giving that ill Example to his Flock, of entertaining a Grudge in his Mind near about Thirty Years, and giving now ill Language to a Stranger, for a suppos'd Injury done his Father in the last Age, and so letting one Evil be the Excuse for ano­ther: besides his being mov'd with Indignation a­gainst a Person, who (as he tells the Story) did not turn his Father out of his Living, but did only take Possession of it, when his Father had been before outed by the Committee. Besides, his conceiving an Hatred against a whole Body of Men, for the sake of one suppos'd Member thereof, and being fill'd with Suspicion and Jealousie against them all, upon his score; which is a piece of Christianity and Justice fitly to be retaliated by the Jesuits, if they should be Jealous of every Parson they met, for fear he should by Perjury Swear them to the Gallows, be­cause one of that Coat help'd Five of their Brethren, not out of their Livings, but out of their Lives, most infamously and barbarously, not in the last Age but only Seven Years ago; besides the spite­ful Insinuation into his Parishioners, that the Fa­ther he Discours'd with, was a Hypocrit and a Dis­sembler, something of the like nature with his own Father's old Friend, and by this vile and undeserv'd Character, raising a Prejudice in the Minds of his Readers, that being thus prepossess'd, they might the easier give the Doctor the Victory over his Antagonist, whom they had found knock'd down in the very first Leaf with a Calumny.

Besides all this, I say, is it not a very uncharitable Presumption in the Doctor, thus by Insinuation to make a Jesuit of that Oubbard, who succeeded his [Page 28] Father, and Preaching up Purgatory prov'd an Hy­pocrit and Dissembler? Do's the Doctor know he was a Jesuit, that he so confidently, not now in the Heat of Dispute, but in the cooler management of his Pen, exposes all the Body of Jusuits, as infa­mous, to his Parishioners, upon his score? Is he certain he was a Jesuit, that now he serves up this Story to confirm his Flock, that the Jesuits in Dis­guise, become Teachers to the Dissenters? If the Doctor knows it to be a Truth, 'tis more than he has yet made appear; for all as I see in the Story, as he has told it, 'tis as likely he was a Church of En­gland Dissembler, as a Jesuit. Don't every body know, there's many a Church of England Divine has had Popery enough in them, to be mark'd for Jesu­its,, and to be censur'd and turn'd out for such, by the Men that made up the Committee in those Days? What if Mr. Thorndike had Preach'd to such a Con­gregation his Doctrin of Praying for the Dead, and requested of them (as he did in his Will) that they would Pray for his Soul, when departed? Don't the Doctor think, that he had said enough of Pur­gatory to have been cashier'd by the Committee, and outed for a Papist? If M. Montague had deliver'd there his Opinion of the use of Images, of the Cross, of Traditions, of admitting the Pope for Arbitrator in Controversie, &c. would not they as certainly have cast him by for a Papist, as they did Gubbard? So that, I believe, if the Doctor will seriously consi­der upon the Point, he'll find, that many Church-of-England-men have had Popery enough in them to have been turn'd out in those Times for Jesuits, and to have pass'd for so many Gubbards. This I say as [Page 29] to his Popery; and as to his pretending a Kindness to their Cause, 'tis more likely again he was a Church of England Divine than a Jesuit; whilst 'tis well known, what the Church-Divines did at that Time for Livings: of the Ten thousand Benefic'd Men, there being many hundreds, that comply'd with the Times, whether really or pretendedly, let the Doctor determine. If he can shew only Five Jesu­its that did as much, 'twill be more than ever was done yet; and if he should, 'twill be still, I believe, a thousand to one, that his Friend Gubbard was a Church of England Divine, rather than a Jesuit. And yet the Doctor will have him to be nothing but a Jesuit, he's still angry at the Jesuits, for his sake; and he tells his Parishioners the occasion of it, that this wrought upon him when he was young, and he cannot yet wear it off; but I hope there are some amongst them that will have so much compassion on him, as to be sorry, that in all this time the Doctor has not worn out the Impres­sions of his Childhood: for my part, I am sorry to find such a malicious Story set forth by a Pastor to his Parishioners, and that he has so little Considera­tion and Charity, as to expose the Reputation of so great a Body, under the black Colours of Dissimula­tion and Hypocrisie upon such a bare Presumption. Would the Doctor like well to be thus serv'd; and that He and his Brethren should be thus trampl'd upon, upon such slight Imaginations? These Me­thods, I know, serve well enough, to keep fast the People, and to make them averse to the Jesuits. But I hope those whom the Doctor has endeavor'd to make appear as Hypocrits, will shew themselves [Page 30] Men of better Consciences, than to follow him in so ill an Example. But let us now proceed to our Cautions.

Third Caution.

THAT if any Preacher be zealous to prevent his Flock from going over to any other Com­munion, which he judges to be Erroneous; he would be careful, not to use any Insincere or Un­warrantable Means, for the working this Effect: That he would not be so Passionately earnest in the discouraging his People from such a Change, as to forget both Honesty, Justice, Truth and Charity, while he's Warm in his Dissuasives. And there­fore if for the Setling his Congregation, and rid­ding them of all Uneasiness, Scruples and Pangs of Conscience, he chooses that Topic of Making the other Party Odious; he ought to be very Cautious in his Charges, and not to lay blacker Colours on them, than in Truth and Justice belongs to them. 'Tis a very difficult Task to make Characters of Adversaries, for such especially, whose Interest it is they should be contemn'd and thought Ridiculous. How easily do Passion, Aversion, Interest, Education here insensibly steal in? And when these influence the Pencil, there never wants any thing of Deformity or Monster, that's requisite to make the Bugbear out▪ 'Tis advisable therefore here, that Preachers be watchful that none of These stand at the Elbow while they are laying on the Colours: That they ab­stain from all indirect and unjustifiable Methods, while they are exposing their Neighbor: That they [Page 31] describe not the Doctrins of a Church from the Opi­nions of Private Authors, from the Extravagances of some Professors, from the Loose Practices of others: That they take not every thing by the Wrong Han­dle; give not out their own wrested Interpretations, horrid Misconstructions, for the Faith of the Church; and especially that they give not too much Rope to their Inferring Faculty. This one thing of Draw­ing Consequences, is enough to ruin the soundest Reputation in the World; and there is not any Church, Religion, Profession or Persuasion, of all that call themselves Christians that is so securely fenc'd, but may be soon made as deform'd as Tur­cism by this single Artifice, All these sinister Ways are therefore to be avoided, especially in Pulpits; for no Character can be Just where these are made use of, I instance in the Case of the Papists: If any one to discourage his Auditory from looking that way, should call in any of these Auxiliaries to his Assistance and thus describe Them or their Religion, viz.

Their different Orders of Religion a­mongst Sermon on Ʋnity, Eph. 4. 3. at Whitehall, March 10. 1675. pag. 107. them, are neither better nor worse than so many Sects and several Casts of Re­ligion; only they have that advantage in managing their Divisions, which we have not, to pack up their Fanatics in Convents and Cloisters, and so bring them under some kind of Rule and Government.

[Page 32] Or thus. In the Roman Church it (the Sa­crament) Th. Smith, August 17. 1679. at Oxford, pag. 19. must now be no longer a Represen­tative, but a Real Propitiatory Sacrifice for the Living and for the Dead; and Christ's Natural Body must be brought down from Heaven upon a thousand Altars at once, and there Really broken and offer'd up again to the Father, and his Blood actually spilt a thousand times every day.

Or thus. Popery is the worst Religion, or Mr. Johns. at Guildhall Palm-Sund. 1679. Epist. 9. p. 9, 10. Pretended Religion in the whole World, for she puts out the Understandings of those of her own Communion, and tears out the Hearts of all others: whom she cannot deceive, she will destroy. Upon which account she is the Common Enemy of Mankind, and of us in particular, whom she has threatned with Extirpation.—It would be endless to rip up the absurdity of Auricular Confession, where a Man unlades himself of all his Sins, by whispering them into Priests Ears.—Of Transubstantiation, where Men must re­nounce all their Five Senses at once.—The Doctrin of the Pope's Infallibility keeps a good decorum with the rest. For tho' he has by his Authority spread those false and [Page 33] absurd Doctrins over a great part of the World, and tho they seem to be unreasona­ble; yet they are really true, because he that delivers them is out of a possibility of Erring; he alone cannot Err, and all others, without some of his Assistance, cannot but Err. But it is very hard to believe, that one single Man in the World is more than a Man, and that all the rest are less than Men; That if he place himself in his Chair, he cannot Err, if he would, and that others lie under as Fatal a Necessity of Erring, if they be left to them­selves, without his Guidance and Direction,

Or thus. She professedly edifies the Peo­ple Dr. Stan­dish, Mar. 9. 1682/3;. at Hertford Ass. p. 16. in Ignorance, by Praying and Prophesy­ing in an unknown Tongue; She makes no other use or account of Confession, than what professed Drunkards do of Vomiting.

Or thus. It is still more detestable in the J. Turner, at Lincolns-Inn, Sep. 29, 1683. p. 23. Practice of the Church of Rome, that so long a Beadrol of Saints shall be Invoked by a Rabble of Worshippers in a solemn Proces­sion, as if neither they nor God could be pre­vail'd upon without abundance of Impor­tunity or Clamor.—It is much less lawful to pay our Devotions to any Saints departed, [Page 34] however Pious and Exemplary they may have been; and much less to those that have been Canoniz'd for Mony or for Treason, and owe their Saintship to their Friends on the one hand, and, which is still more horrid and detestable, to their Crimes and Villanies on the other; who are prefer'd to Heaven for disturbing the Earth, and mounted into the blessed Regions of Light, and Peace, and Love, as a Reward of Strife, Disobedience, Hatred and Contention, and every evil Work.—Neither is it sufficient to say in this Case, that his (God's) Substance being invi­sible, and not to be discern'd by Mortal Eyes, or Human Senses, there is therefore need of a sensible Memorandum, altho' the Worship be terminated in Himself; for at this rate all the Idolatry of the Heathen World may be excus'd; for no Man is so sensless to believe their Worship was terminated in a Stick or Stone, at least we ought not to believe it, without very good Proof; and if it could be prov'd, yet even this would be parallel'd in the Church of Rome, where they Pray (p. 26.) to the Crucifix of Wood or Stone, as well as to Christ himself, and attribute as [Page 35] much Satisfaction and Expiation to it, as they do to the Blood of their Crucifi'd Redeemer, as appears undeniably from the Romish Mis­sals, which are extant at this day, and may at any time be produc'd against them.—God do's not expect (p. [...]0.) that we should make a particular Confession of our Sins to Men, the consequence of which is only to make our selves uneasie in the Company of those to whom we have Confess'd, to run an apparent hazard of being undone in many Cases, by Knaves for Interest; or by Fools out of Levity, Inconstancy, and a blabbing Humor; and indeed I know nothing it can be good for, but to let Men, that have nothing to do, to pry into such Matters, into the Secrets of Families, and to put our selves perfectly at the Mercy of a Priest, who will sometimes be treacherous as well as other Men; be­sides, that instead of keeping up a wholsom Discipline, it is the way to corrupt it, and tends to the debauching both Laity and [...]l [...]r­gy, in as many ways as there are Sins to be committed, when the Confession and the Pe­nitent begin to discover and understand one another.

[Page 36] Or tbus. They have all along consecrated their devilish Practices by these glorious W. Wray, No. 5. 1682. pag. 14, 15. Names. The Churches Interest is the Cen­ter of their Religion, and their Consciences turn upon the same Pin; That every thing is Pious, Conscientious and Meritorious, that makes for the Cause; and there's no Sin with them like Ill-luck and Miscarriage—The supernumerary Articles of the Trent Conventicle, have almost every one of them a Plot in them, either to destroy others, or advance themselves. But their Politic Creed, wich serves to keep up the State and Gran­deur of Holy Church, is most fatally pernici­ous, tending to the Subversion of all Christi­an Monarchs in the World: The Articles whereof are such as these.—That the King is the Pope's or the Peoples Creature; for it is indifferent to their great Machiavils the Jesuits, whose he is, so he do but belong to either; Take him whole, or divide him, or how you please, so that God, to whom a­lone he belongs and is accountable, may have the least share in him.—If the Peo­ple contend to have him all to themselves, the Jesuit's a fair Chapman, and will rather [Page 37] give up the Spiritual Interest of the Chair, than dispute it. That if the People do but Depose him, (p. 17.) be it for Tyranny, be it for Heresie, nay, be it for Popery, or Su­spicion of Popery, do but Depose him, and he is contented.

Or thus. Whatever Doctrin gives licence J. James, at Guildhall Decem. 24. 1682. p. 29. to Sin, must needs proceed from the Devil.—Yet in the Church of Rome such Do­ctrins as these are solemnly constituted as Essential Parts of the Christian Religion, and impos'd upon the Christian World with the same Authority as the most Fundamental Ar­ticles of the Christan Faith.

Or thus. Would we but change our Scri­pture into Legends, our Service into a Mass-Book, Nat. Bisby, Serm. call'd The Modern Pharisees, 1683. pag. 11, 12. our Prayers into Beads, our Sacra­ments into Shows, our Priests into Puppets; would we Communicate in one Kind, Read Prayers in an unknown Tongue, Adore the Pope little less than we do God, Preach Purgatory instead of Repentance, sell Masses for a Groat, bestow Indulgences and Absolu­tions to the worst of Men.—Tho' instead of Scripture we set up rotten Tradition; Tho' instead of Faith we Preach up Faction; [Page 38] Tho' instead of Obedience we became guilty of Treason; Nay, should we murther Prin­ces, and prove false and deceitful to Man­kind, yet Euge bone serve, all would be well, and we in an instant thought worthy of a better Kingdom by the Papists.—If they (Je­suits) cannot peaceably compass the same, they are to do it by Fire and Sword, Halter or Poyson, never minding the lawfulness of the Means, provided the Thing be but done.—I confess, I should admire their Zeal, and applaud their Order; but since one of them must go with Dagger in his Hand, another with a Pistol, a third with a Bowl of Poyson, (most of them with one Mischief or other) to murder the King, and massacre the Peo­ple, to breed Confusions, and unhinge the Government, to destroy Religion, and plant Idolatry; I cannot but utterly quarrel and blame their Zeal; and yet no Pharisee ever Pag. 18. compass'd Sea and Land like them: No Difficulties scare them, no Improbabilities amaze them, no Dangers repel them: Tu Regina jube; Let but the Pope (He or She) command them, and away they go with as much alacrity and readiness, as the Evil Spirit [Page 39] to persuade A [...]ab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth gilead.

Or thus. There is great boast made of Alms in the Romish Church, they sound the Tho. Teni­son, at S. Se­pul. Apr. 6. 1681. p. 16. Trumpet of them perpetually in our Ears. But what is the End to which a great part of this Charity tendeth?—The Scope they too often vainly aim it, is the Blessing of a presumed Saint, who is ignorant of them; Security from the External force of Evil Spi­rits, by the Charms and Spells of Monkish Conjuration, a sort of Ecclesiastic Magic, which those very Spirits invent and encou­rage—Nay, sometimes the Scope is that very wicked one of Compounding with Heaven by their liberal Alms, for their unforsaken Sins. And here in this Nation (whilst the Island was enchanted with Popery) there were granted Indulgences ever for what they call Deadly Sins, for many thousand Years to come.

Or thus. A Jesuit being once ask'd, What W. Orme, at Guildhall March 27. 1681. p. 33. Ways and Means the Papists design'd to take for the introducing their Religion into En­gland? Gave this Reply.—We intended at first to do it either by persuading and convincing the People with strength of Reason and Argument; [Page 40] but because these have prov'd so often vain, there­fore of late Years we have pitch'd upon two new Methods and Resolutions. The one is to debauch and vitiate the Nobility and Gentry, and to bring them off by degrees from all Sense, and Care, and Kindness for Religion; which is easily to be done, by representing to them a Sinful, Pleasurable Life, both Lawful and Safe. The other is to divide the Commons into several Sects.—Now how far the Papists have thriven in these Designs, I shall leave to the Judgment and Determina­tion of every sober and unprejudic'd Reader.

Or thus. For maintenance whereof (their Hickeringil at Colchester July 10. 1681. Post­script, p. 30. Prelatical Pride and Rapacity) all their Pious Frauds and Cheats, all their Lying Miracles, Indulgences, Purgatories, Limbusses, Crosses, Images,—Fopperies, Plots, and Sham-plots are calculated, design'd and contriv'd. I do not think that every silly Papist knows these things; for they (poor Puppets) dance, creep to the Cross, cringe, bow, drop Beads, Cross themselves, sprinkle themselves with Holy-Water, mumble their Aves, and shew Tricks, as the Masters of the Puppet-Play, with Wires (within the Curtain) actuate them, and make them Frisk so ridiculously, Curvet, and shew As David did before the Ark [Page 41] such Gambols in Religion, especially at Pro­cessions (which I have seen in Portugal) that the soberest Countenance cannot forbear a Smile, mixt with Pity. But there's never a Jesuit amongst them, Pope nor Cardinal, but knows that I here write God's Truth, and cannot forbear Laughing among them­selves at these Frauds; only they Sanctifie these Cheats with a mollifying Epithet, call­ing them Pious Frauds.

They hold (p. 33.) that the Pope is Alter Deus in terra, God upon Earth; And others say, Christus in Coelo praesidet, Papa in terris resi­det; Christ is Prince in Heaven, the Pope on Earth. Nay, their Hebrew Gloss upon Deut. 17. 11. says, Si dixerint tibi quod Dex­tra sit Sinistra; talis Sententia tenenda est. If they (the Pope and his Emissaries) tell thee, that thy Right-hand is thy Left-hand, or thy Left-hand is thy Right-hand, yet you ought to believe them, and be of that opinion. Another says, Sit ergo Domina nostra Roma Baculus in aqua fractus, absit tamen ut crederem, quod viderim; Let our Mistriss Rome be a Stick that in the Water seems crooked, yet God forbid that I should believe my own [Page 42] Eyes.—No Man therefore (I say) can be a Papist, but he whose Eyes are blinded by Education, or he who puts his own Eyes out by Atheism.

Or thus. This Council (of Trent) expres­seth Dr. Fowler before the Judges at Glocester, August 7. 1681. p. 14. 15, 16. Quod si ali­quando Hi­storias & Narrationes Sacrae Scri­pturae, expri­mi & figurari contigerit, doceatur populus, non propterea Divinitatem figu­rari, quasi corporeis oculis conspici, vel coloribus, aut figuris exprimi possit. Concil. Trid. Sess. 25. its allowance of Picturing the Divinity it self; and accordingly Pictures of the Bles­sed Trinity, (Oh hateful Sight!) are ordi­narily to be beheld in Popish Churches.—Nay they Pray unto them (Images) not only for Temporal or Ordinary Blessings, but for Spiritual and Supernatural, such as the Par­don of their Sins.

What think you of their Doctrin of Tran­substantiation? This is the most prodigiously contradictious, Doctrin, that, I will not say, the Wit, but the Madness of Men can possibly invent; 'tis a most wonderful complication of most horrid Contradictions, and absolute Impossibilities. But this is not the worst of it; it is also the Foundation of so Gross and Foul Idolatry, as is scarcely to be nam'd a­mong the Gentiles, or to be found paral­lel'd [Page 43] in Peruvia it self, or the most Barba­rous Parts of India.—Here you see, that the Bread and Wine are Worshipped by them, not as Representations of God, but as God himself.

What say you to their Doctrin of Purga­tory?—By this Doctrin the poor People are brought into a most slavish State; by the means hereof their merciless Tyrants the Priests hale them into worse than an Egyptian Bondage; who instead of enjoyning them the most Reasonable Duties, to which the Precepts of their Saviour oblige them, and which are most admirably adapted to the cleansing of their Natures, &c. impose up­on them a great number of ridiculous Ser­vices of their own Invention.—And as this Doctrin of theirs is groundless, so is it as wicked; it being a most vile Affront to the Merits and Satisfaction of our Blessed Savi­our: For in order to the establishing of this Doctrin they teach, that the Passion of Christ takes away only the Gullt of Mortal Sins, (p. 19.) not their Eternal Punishment; which is as Nonsensical, as False and Impious.

What say you to their well-known Do­ctrin [Page 44] of the Non-necessity of Repentance before the imminent point of Death?—What say you to the Doctrin of Opus opera­tum? which makes the meer Work done in all Acts of Devotion, sufficient to Divine Acceptance: particularly the bare Saying of Prayers, without either minding what they say, or understanding it: and agreeably here­unto, the Romish Church enjoyns the saying of them in a Language unknown to the ge­nerality of her Children.

Or thus. He (the Pope) takes out of their Hands the Holy Scriptures, the greatest Gift Dr. Hooper before the King, No. 5. 1681. p. 16. of the Holy Ghost; —And instead of it puts a Legend; For the Word of Life and Truth, undeniable fabulous Traditions; For Bread, a Stone; For Fish, a Serpent. —He takes from them the knowledge of the Prayers offer'd in their Name, and lets them not un­derstand their own Desires. So are the Peo­ple to appear before God dumb and sensless, like one of their Idols. All is to be referr'd to the Priest, the Pardon of their Sins is to depend on his Discretion.—That Prin­ces may not complain of Respect of Per­sons, they Absolve in some Cases from the [Page 45] Obedience of God himself; and avowedly allow what he as positively forbids: autho­rize Incestuous Conjunctions, and licence Perjury, O monstrum horrendum! Pass Par­dons for all Sins committed against the Di­vine Majesty.—They give Divine Ho­nor to Bread; which they call (p. 18.) a God: and to an Image; which to the Eye they might better Transubstantiate: And to cover their Idolatry, they commit Sacrilege, steal away one of the Ten Commandments, and by their Index Expurgatorius blot the two Tables themselves.

Or thus. Tho' they (the Papists) have no­thing Dr. Wallis at S. Maries Oxon. before the Ʋniver­sity, Oct. 9. 1681. p. 43. of good Works at all; nay, tho' they be guilty of very great Immoralities, yet, if they Confess to a Priest, and receive Absolu­tion (which may be had at an easie rate) they are then declar'd as Innocent as the Child that is new born—Nor is it neces­sary to this Absolution, that they should be Contrite, or heartily Sorry; for Attrition; with Auricular Confession, shall pass instead of Contrition: that is to effect, if they be but sorry for the Penance, tho' they be not sorry for their Sin; or if all this should fail, 'tis but [Page 46] being at the charge of an Indulgence or Pope's Pardon; that is, to purchase so many Peny­worth of other Mens Merits,—which remain stor'd up in the Church's Treasury, to be di­spended at the Pope's Pleasure, to those who will give so much Mony for them.—And this is what they require, by way of Com­mutation, instead of Regeneration, Sanctifi­cation, Holiness and a Godly Life.

Or thus. We must not use any unlawful or indirect Means.—This is the most pernicious Dr. Calamy before the L. Mayor, May 29. 1682. p. 20. and damnable Doctrin of Rome, tho' not al­ways publicly own'd, yet greedily swallow'd among them, and prov'd sufficiently from their unwearied Practices; that in order to the propagation of their Faith or Church, any thing, every thing becomes lawful; Killing and Massacring no Murder, Lying and Perjury no Sin or Injury: that so good and great an End will Sanctifie all Actions.

Or thus. For Auricular Confession, their great Intelligencer and Lieger-Nuncio, the main B. E. before the Lords, No. 5. 1678. Curb of the Laity, whereby the Clergy hold them in awe, in being admitted to all the Secrets of States and Families, thereby to work their Purposes, their Plots and Pro­jects; [Page 47] and should that go down, then fare­wel Popery.—These and many other Do­ctrins of the like nature, are Matters of meer Interest and Advantage; and if there were no Gain to be reap'd from them, their chief­est Champions would be asham'd of them. To these we may add many other Inventions of that Church; as Ignorance, the Mother of their Devotion, which they are bound to vow, and under the severest Penalties; so that it is a Mortal Sin so much as to doubt of any part of their Religion. And this is their Children's Play, to blind-fold Men, that they may beat them.

Or thus. 'Tis a Religion, whose avow'd Dr. Sharp before Com­mons, Apr. 11. 1679. p. 28, 29. Principles, are to keep the People in Igno­rance as much as they can; for with them Ignorance is the Mother of Devotion.—It is a Religion, in which you are so far from being permitted to try all things, and hold to that which is good, according to the Apo­stle's Command, that you must wholly sub­mit your Reason and Understanding to the Dictates of an Infallible Judge, even so far (if one of their greatest Authors say true) to be bound to believe Vertue to be Bad, and [Page 48] Vice to be Good, if it shall please his Holi­ness to say so.—It is a Religion that will bring you back to the old Paganish Idolatry, or to that which is as near it as can be.—Nay, it is a Religion, that will engage you in a more unnatural Idolatry, than ever the Pa­gans were guilty of, &c.—All these things put together, may perhaps rid you of a great many Uneasinesses and Scruples, and Pangs of Conscience, with which you might (p. 32.) otherwise be troubled, and which would not be so easily cur'd in the Way that you are now in.

Or thus. Would the Doctors go to School again? A School where they shall be taught Dr. Butler at Windsor, Decemb. 8. 1678. p. 32. better Manners, than to rely upon the all­sufficient Merits of their Saviour; than to be subject to any other Power than that of the Pope. And in order thereunto, they must learn a new Lesson, to live a Single Life, (whether they can do it honestly or no, it makes no matter) for fear lest having Wives and Children, they should give the State Se­curity of their Obedience to their undoubted and lawful Sovereign.

[Page 49] If any Preachers (I say) in hopes to discourage their Flocks from looking towards Popery, should make use of these or such like Dissuasives, 'twould be a severe Reflection upon their Reputation, upon their Charity, upon their Prudence, upon their Sin­cerity, with most Sober and Thinking Men. For who is there, that would not discover these to be Inve­ctives and Satyrs, instead of Sermons and the deli­very of the Word of God? How much Heat and Passion do's appear in them at first sight? How do they seem drench'd in Choler and Gall? And what satisfaction can it be to a Christian Congregation, to see their Directors thus hurry'd away into all the Extravagances of an exasperated Mind, and la­boring to blow up their Flock to the same degree of Animosity, and make them as Furious as themselves? 'Tis certain, Anger and Passion never look so ill, as in a Pulpit: and it ought to be the chiefest care of a Preacher, to shake of those Weaknesses before he gets up into that Chair. For if once Men come to take the Bible in Hand, as others do the Sword, with a Mind embitter'd and gall'd, 'tis no wonder if they strike blindly; no wonder if they do more than is warrantable, and if for the working their Ends, they at last seem to st [...]er by that Principle of Dolus an Virtus, quis in hoste requirit? No question 'twas the ill Effects of this kind of Holding forth, Luther discover'd in his Days, when he complain'd, The Post Evang. dom. 1. Adv. World grows every day worse; Men are now more Re­vengeful, Covetous and Licentious, than they were ever in the Papacy. And upon the same score, no questi­on, Erasmus made this Challenge; Bring forth, says he, but One, whom this (Reform'd) Gospel has Spong. adv. Hatten. [Page 50] made Sober, Gentle, Meek, Modest, and I will shew you many, that by it are made Worse than they were before. And a little after: Truly it never happen'd to me, to know any one Man, that was not the Worse for this kind of Gospelling.

And indeed, what better Fruit can be expected from such kind of Preaching as this? When the Guides go out of the Way, ten thousand to one, but those that are under their Conduct, will keep 'em Company in all their Extravagances. How is it possible, that the Congregation should come out Meek and Sober, when Those that are in the Pulpit have been for a whole Hour beating an Alarm to them upon their Cushions, and sounding to Battel? How should they be otherwise than Furious and Re­vengeful, when so much Venom has been infus'd into them from those High-Places? 'Tis natural for the Sheep to follow their Pastors; and I know of no Benefit possibly to be reap'd from such Furious In­vectives; but only such as the Lacedemonians in­tended to their Children, when they shew'd 'em Drunken Men, thinking there could be no more pow­erful Argument to discourage them from being in love with that Vice, than to let 'em see the Defor­mity and Beastliness of it in those who were over­taken by it. Such as this indeed may be expected from these Pulpit-Satyrs; for to behold, how ill that Railing and Haffing Humor looks in those Pla­ces, is Caution enough to any reasonable Man, to make him take care of preventing the like Distem­pers in himself. And this most especially, if he con­siders the Manner and Methods by which these work.

[Page 51] For such kind of Dissuasives as These, are not on­ly bare Dissuasives, laying down solid Grounds and Reasons, why their Flock should not joyn with such a Communion; But they are made up of Prophane Scurrility, Unmannerly Jeers, Spiteful Exaggera­tions, Groundless Inferences, Unworthy Charges, Empty Sophistry, and all those Petty Artifices, which Wit and Malice can possibly invent, to make an Adversary odious. And what can be more odi­ous than all this in a Pulpit? To see a Man ascend into that Seat of the Gospel, with a Gospel-Gown, a Gospel-Look; and the Gospel in his Hand, and when he has taken his Text out of that Sacred Vo­lume, with a short Preamble of Prayer, immedi­ately to fall to Character-making, to an exposing of his Neighbor, with all the Arguments that Pas­sion and Prejudice can suggest to him, is so detesta­ble an Entertainment in the Church, that I know of nothing like it, but that of the Jews taking up Joh. 10. 31. Stones in the Temple to sling at Christ. For all this Declaiming is really nothing better than Flinging of Stones, 'tis to knock down their Neighbor, and break his Head. And those who will but look back, and see how many Heads have been broken by these kind of Stones slung out of the Pulpit, will easily be of my mind. Such as this may however be tolera­ble in a Rabble, who are suppos'd to know no bet­ter, and whose Complements are to Shout, Revile and Abuse: but to hear this from Scholars, from Gown-men, from the Clergy, from the Pulpits, is a most Absurd Prophanation, and most unworthy especially of those who pretend to a Reformation.

[Page 52] I cannot therefore but advise all sorts of Preach­ers, in case they fear their Congregation may be seiz'd with Doubts, and tempted to leave their Communion, that they would seek other sorts of Arguments to Secure and Settle them. For how­ever these kind of Ungentile Satyrs, may perhaps rid them of a great many Uneasinesses, and Scru­ples and Pangs of Conscience; yet I cannot think the Method to be Apostolical. 'Twould certainly be more according to the Spirit of the Gospel, to Preach nothing but Gospel Truths, to be Meek and Moderate, and Peaceable; to spread no Calumnies, inculcate no Falsities, to exaggerate nothing, to Mis­construe nothing, to make no False Inferences, and Half-Descriptions; and as not to encourage or con­nive at Vice, so neither to practise it in the way of Preaching against it. 'Tis very Ridiculous to see a Man doing the very thing he condemns; to hear a Man pronouncing Sentence against Equivocating and Lying, with an Equivocation or Lie in his Mouth: To hear another condemning Cruelty, and at the same time inspiring his Auditory with Blood and Revenge: To hear a Third reproving some Principles to be the Doctrin of Devils, with such Arguments, as require the assistance of a Fiend at the Elbow. These, I say, and such like, are very Ri­diculous; and therefore I look upon it more beco­ming all Pretenders to the Gospel, to avoid all such indirect and unjust Means. If they have any thing to say against the Doctrins or Practices of their Neighbors, let 'em do it as becomes Christians. Honesty and Plain-dealing are commendable every where, and most of all in the Pulpit; and amongst [Page 53] all sorts of Cheats, there are none worse than the Pulpit-Cheat.

If the Papists Religion be judg'd to be False and Erroneous, the way to shew it, would be to pro­duce their Avow'd and Receiv'd Doctrins, and prove them to be contrary to Scripture, and to the Practice of the Primitive Church; this done with­out Passion and Indirect Means, would not be unjust nor so offensive: but why should False things, and such Doctrins as they Disavow, be laid to their Charge? Why should it be positively asserted in the Pulpits,

  • 1. That the different Orders amongst them, are so many Sects, and nothing but Fanatics pack'd up in Convents.
  • 2. That the Sacrament with them is a Real, Propi­tiatory, but not a Representative Sacrifice. And that Christ's Body is really broken, and his Blood actually spilt on their Altars.
  • 3. That in Transubstantiation they renounce all their Five Senses.
  • 4. That the Pope in his Chair cannot Err, if he would; and all others, without his Assistance, cannot but Err.
  • 5. That they Prophesie in an Ʋnknown Tongue.
  • 6. That they make no other use of Confession, than what Profess'd Drunkards do of Vomiting.
  • 7. That their Saints are Canoniz'd for Treasons, detestable Villanies, as a Reward of Strife and every Evil Work.
  • 8. That they Pray to a Crucifix, as well as to Christ himself, and attribute as much Satisfaction to it, as to the Blood of their Redeemer.
  • [Page 54] 9. That Confession tends to the Debauching both Laity and Clergy.
  • 10. That every thing is Meritorious with them, that is for the Church's Interest.
  • 11. That they change Scripture into Legends, the Sacraments into Shews, Preach Purgatory instead of Repentance, and Faction instead of Faith.
  • 12. That to be False and Deceitful, is to become wor­thy of Heaven.
  • 13. That sometimes with Mony they Compound with Heaven, for their unforsaken Sins.
  • 14. That if the Pope and his Emissaries say the Right-hand is the Left, the Papists are bound to be­lieve it.
  • 15. That no Man can be a Papist, but he whose Eyes are blinded by Education, or he who puts out his Eyes by Atheism.
  • 16. That they Pray unto Images for Pardon of their Sins.
  • 17. That the Passion of Christ takes away only the Guilt of Mortal Sins, not their Eternal Punishment.
  • 18. That the bare Saying of Prayers, without mind­ing what they say, are acceptable to God.
  • 19. That they appear before God in their Churches Dumb and Sensless, like an Idol.
  • 20. That they avowedly allow, what God positively forbids.
  • 21. That to Confess and be Absolv'd, is sufficient for the Forgiveness of Sins, tho' there be no Sorrow for the Sins at all, but only for the Penance.
  • 22. That an Indulgence or Pope's Pardon purchas'd with Mony, serves with them instead of Sanctification and a Godly Life.
  • [Page 55] 23. That Auricular Confession is the Means whereby the Clergy work their Plots and Projects, 'tis a matter of meer Interest, and were there no Gain in it, their Chief Champions would be asham'd of it.
  • 24. That they are bound to Vow Ignorance under the severest Penalties.
  • 25. That their avow'd Principles, are to keep the People in Ignorance.
  • 26. That they teach their People better Manners, than to rely upon the all-sufficient Merits of Christ.
  • 27. That their Clergy must live a Single Life, whe­ther Honestly or no, it makes no matter.
  • 28. That the Reason why they must live Singly, is for fear, lest having Wives and Children, they should give the State Security of their Obedience to their So­vereign, &c.

Why should these things, I say, be so positively charg'd against them from the Pulpits? 'Tis cer­tain the Papists disown these Doctrins, and Preach against them as much as those very Doctors who appear so zealous to condemn them. If the Repre­senter had but read such Sermons as these, he needed not have look'd farther, to have made good his Charge of Misrepresenting. The most that can be said of these Points, is, that some of them are Mistakes of the Preachers; others Exaggerations; others Inferences from some single Author, or some Abuse in Practice others Absolute Falsities, and Wicked Calumnies. And which of all these sorts of Arguments are fit for the Pulpit? 'Tis cer­tain whatsoever is deliver'd thence, ought to be weigh'd with the greatest Caution and Exactness possible, because 'tis deliver'd with the Bible in [Page 56] Hand, which is little less than Swearing with the Hand upon the Bible; tis accepted by the People as the Word of God and Truth; 'tis suppos'd to be their Duty, and in the Service of God. And now if instead of all this, Mistakes, weak Inferences, peevish Exaggerations, Falsities and Calumnies are advanc'd, and as positively laid down, as the very Scripture; Good God! what an Abuse both of the Place, the Time, the Function and the Flock! What a Wrong to Neighbors, whilst they are most unjustly tradu­ced, made contemptible and scandalous! And what a Disturbance to the Nation, whilst Animosities are created and fomented among Subjects! And the Pulpit (I am asham'd to say it) become the Foun­tain of these Mischiefs both to Soul and Body. Is not this to turn the Seat of the Gospel, into a Chair of Pestilence? This is so Visible and Great an Abo­mination both before God and Man, that I hope there's no need of Arguments to lay it open; 'tis to be hop'd, that none that takes up the Gospel, will so lay by his Conscience at the same time, as to fall into these Unchristian Extravagances. For, to say all in a word, I think, He that will accuse his Neighbor falsly in the Pulpit, may with the same Conscience do the like at the Bar. The latter may be more In­famous; but the Former is the Greater Crime.

Fourth Caution.

THAT, when Preachers pretend to refute the Tenets of any other Church, they would for­bear all Scurrility, Prophaneness, Irreverent Expres­sions, and Comical Declamations, which do not at all [Page 57] suit with the Subject of Religion, and are no-where so Absurd as in the Pulpit. And therefore if in the Confuting some Doctrins or Practices of the Ca­tholics, any Minister should deliver himself after this manner:

Pilgrimages, going Bare-foot, Hair Shirts Dr. South before the Court at Christchurch Oxon. pag. 200, and Whips, with other such Gospel Artillery, are their only Helps to Devotion.—It seems that with them a Man sometimes cannot be a Penitent, unless he also turn Vagabond, and Foots it to Jerusalem.—He that thinks to expiate a Sin by going Bare-foot, do's the Penance of a Goose, and only makes one Folly the atonement of another. Paul indeed was scourg'd and beaten by the Jews; but we ne­ver read, that he beat or scourg'd himself: and if they think his keeping under his Body imports so much, they must first prove, that the Body cannot be kept under by a vertu­ous Mind, and that the Mind cannot be made vertuous, but by a Scourge; and con­sequently, that Thongs and Whipcord are Means of Grace, and things necessary to Sal­vation. The truth is, if Mens Religion lies no deeper than their Skin, it is possible they may scourge themselves into very great Im­provements.—But they will find that Bo­dily [Page 58] Exercise touches not the Soul;—and consequently that in this whole Course they are like Men out of the Way; let them Slash on never so fast, they are not at all the nearer to their Journeys end. And howsoever they deceive themselves and others, they may as well expect to bring a Cart as a Soul to Hea­ven by such Means.

Or thus. What say you to the Popish Do­ctrin Dr. Fowler before the Judges at Glocester, August 7. 1681. of the Sacrifice of the Mass?—Accor­ding to this Doctrin, our Blessed Saviour must still to the end of the World be laid hold on by Sinners, be ground with their Teeth, and sent down into their impure Paunches, as often as the Priest shall pro­nounce this Charm, Hoc est enim Corpus meum: and it seems that he was a false Prophet, when he said upon the Cross, It is finished, seeing there was such an infinit deal of Loath­som Drudgery still to be undergone.

Or thus. For Purgatory, 'tis not material in it self, whether it be, or where it be, no B. E. before the Lords, No. 5. 1678. more than the World in the Moon: but so long as that false Fire serves to maintain a true one, and his Holiness's Kitchin smoaks with the Rents he receives for releasing Souls [Page 59] from thence, which never came there, it concerns him and his to see to it, that it be not suffer'd to go out.

If any Minister, I say, in Confuting the Doctrins or Practices of the Catholics, should deliver himself in this manner, 'twould be a thing very unbecom­ing the Pulpit: because all things that concern Religion, ought to be treated with a certain Mode­sty, Gravity and Decorum. Every Minister should bear in mind, that as he is distinguish'd from other Ranks of Mankind, by the Modesty and Decency of his Habit; so he should be careful, that the same Good Qualities appear in the performance of every part of his Duty; and that every Action should speak as plainly his Character, as the Habit he wears. Upon this score it is, that as it would be very scandalous, to see Ministers Habited like Men of other Stations, of the Street, of the Court, of the Stage; so is it as Ridiculous, to hear them in their Pulpits, under shew of expounding the Gospel, fall into all the Scurrility of the Stage, the Profaneness of the Mobile, and the Drolling of Petty Declamators. 'Tis certain, no Men love to be laugh'd out of their Religion. And even those who have made choice of the Wrong, yet through Mistake are so fasten'd to it, that whosoever turns their Worship or Belief to Ridicule, shall most certainly raise their Animo­sity, and make them Peevish, but never win them from their Error. For who can be pleas'd to see that which is most Dear to them, abus'd, and treat­ed in Pulpits with the rudeness of the Streets? If [Page 60] any Churchmen have so much Charity, as to labor for the recovery of such, whom they judge to be in Error, they ought to deal with them with all the Moderation imaginable, open their Wounds with a Tender Hand: for as Compassion softens and heals, so Roughness and Inhumanity serve only to gall and increase the Sore.

When Men have done their best to secure their Salvation in the choice of Religion, and having search'd the Scriptures, examin'd Antiquity and Fa­thers, and amongst other Points of their Faith take the Real Presence, for Instance, for a Christian Truth; 'tis certain they must have a Respect for the Mystery, and adore the Goodness of God, who is wonderful in all his Works. And when they are thus affected, how must it move them, to hear this scoff'd and mock'd at under the Irreligious and Pro­phane Terms, of Legerdemain, Hocus pocus, A Trick, A Cheat, A Drudgery for Christ, &c. Can any thing appear to them more unworthy of a Christian Spi­rit, than this sort of barbarous Logic; than this in­human and enflaming Eloquence? To see things most Sacred thus daub'd over with Pulpit Dirt and Mire, far beyond all the Prophanation of Belshaz­zar, who only drank out of the Sacred Vessels of the Temple, but never so vilifi'd them, as to expose them to the Contempt of the Mobile! But the Scri­ptures are to be fulfill'd; these assure us there shall come Mockers in the last time: and the next Verse tells us who they are Th [...]se be they, who Separate Jude, Ver. 18, 19. themselves, Sensual, having not the Spirit: For tho' Michael, as 'tis observ'd by St. Jude, in Disputing even with the Devil, brought no Railing Accusation [Page 61] against him; yet these sort of Men, shall both Rail and Blaspheme; their very Mark being to Speak evil of those things which they know not. Hi autem, quae­cunque Ib. v. 9, 10. quidem ignorant, blasphemant. As therefore Preachers desire to have no share in this Character, I think 'tis convenient they should be careful to a­void all kind of contemptuous and mocking Re­flections upon the Religion of their Neighbor; treating all Parties with a becoming Modesty; and as not to approve of Errors, which soever they be, so neither to forget themselves while they under­take to refute them. Let all Mockery and Drol­ling be left to the Stage, and a decent Gravity be ob­serv'd in the Pulpits.

Fifth Caution.

THAT, if any Preacher should in his Sermon peevishly lash out against the Religion of his Prince, he would be careful not to Dedicate such a Sermon to his Prince, whose Religion he has expos'd as Infamous and Ridiculous. And therefore if any Doctor should in the heat of his Zeal in this or the like manner inveigh against the Church of Rome.

As to the Guilt of the Former, i. e. of the D. B. W. in a Sermon Preach'd Jan. 30. 1684/5. but Publish'd af­terwards, and Dedica­ted to King James II. pag. 26. Church of Rome, whom in the Parallel I here call Israel, will not their Usurped Su­premacy, so contrary to the Doctrin of Christ, Mat. 20. 25. and afterwards their pretended Infallibility, the only Prerogative of Heavens [Page 62] Crown, taken in to justifie that and every other Usurpation whatever, too too nearly resemble the Apostacy of Israel? And what have these Calves of Dan and Bethel (to follow the Allusion) ever since bleated out, but the Excommunicating, Deposing and Extirpa­ting of Princes, and Hell and Damnation to all, who would not joyn with them in the Holy Cheat? The ill Consequences whereof, have been felt no-where more than in these Kingdoms, whereof we are; witness the Sla­very in which (p. 27.) Prince and People, for so many Ages together were held by it; and when the Yoke was cast off, what Plots, Conspiracies and Treasons were still hatch­ing by those of that Communion? So noto­rious, so hateful were their Practices, till at length all that befel the Nation, was suspect­ed to arise from thence; so general was the Odium of that Name, that like a common Thief, every Felony, by whomsoever com­mitted, is charg'd upon them, &c.

If any Doctor, I say, should in this manner in­veigh against the Church of Rome, the Preacher ought to be careful, when he Prints his Sermon, not to Dedicate it to his Sovereign, a Member of that Communion. For certainly, a Sermon that ac­cuses [Page 63] the Church and Religion of Catholics, of Ty­ranny, Ʋsurpation, Cheating, of being Hateful and Odious, do's not seem very fit for the Patronage of a Catholic King. I think there can be no greater Affront, than for a Preacher thus to expose his Prince's Religion under all the hateful Forms that can be, and then to desire his Prince's Protection for the Infamy he has cast upon it. This is just as if he should say to him, May it please your Majesty, I have Abus'd and Ridicul'd your Religion behind your back to your Subjects; and now I am come to do it over a­gain before your Face, and I expect you shall uphold me in it. What greater piece of Confidence and Pre­sumption can there be than this? 'Tis a thing not to be ventur'd on to a Subject, tho' but of a middle Rank; for who is there so Phlegmatic amongst them all, that can hear his Religion derided and render'd odious, and think himself oblig'd by the Abuse? I am confident at least, there's no Preacher whatsoever, would take it for a Complement, to have his People and Persuasion made Contemptible in Print, and then to have a Present made to him of the Satyr. What a Rashness then must it needs be, to do this to a Prince? Is it to be thought, he has not as much Kindness for his Religion, as any Gown-man for his? Can he spend so many Hours in Prayer, be so Exemplary Pious in his Devotions, and so Exact in all Observances of his Church, and after all take it kindly to see his Church vilifi'd and contemn'd? At least, can it enter into the Heart of any Rational Man, that a Prince who has ha­zarded Three Kingdoms for his Religion, should be welcom'd to his Crown with the Present of a Ser­mon, [Page 64] in which his Religion is thus expos'd to the Scorn of all his Subjects? Certainly none can be so absurdly stupid. I hope therefore there's no neces­sity of enforcing this Caution with any farther Ar­guments, the improbability of the Attempt making that needless.

Neither would it be a Piece of much better Man­ners, if a Prince of the Catholic Communion being come to the Crown, and having call'd a Parlia­ment to Settle the Affairs of the Nation, a Doctor of another Communion should in these Terms Hold-forth to the Members of the Lower House.

To conclude, I would desire you to ob­serve, That 'tis a Church-of-England Loyalty Dr. Sher­lock to the Commons, May 29. 1685. pag. 31, 32. I persuade you to; This our King Approves, Commends, Relies on, as a Try'd and Expe­rienc'd Loyalty, which has Suffer'd with its Prince, but never yet Rebell'd against him; A Loyalty upon firm and steddy Principles, and without Reserve. And therefore to keep us true to our Prince, we must be true to our Church, and to our Religion. It is no Act of Loyalty, to Accommodate or Comple­ment away our Religion, and its Legal Se­curities; for if we change our Religion, we must change the Principles of our Loyalty too, and, I am sure, the King and the Crown will gain nothing by that; for there is no [Page 65] Lasting and Immoveable Loyalty as that of the Church of England.—I deny not, but some who are Papists, in some Junctures of Affairs, may, and have been very Loyal; but, I am sure, the Popish Religion is not; the English-man may be Loyal, but not the Papist; And yet there can be no security of those Men's Loyalty, whose Religion in any Case teaches them to Rebel.

If any Doctor should Hold-forth, I say, in these Terms, 'twould not be a Piece of the best Manners; Because there can be no greater Rudeness in the World, than for a Minister thus abusively to Reflect upon his Prince, and to tell his Subjects, that they have a Sovereign, whose Religion teaches to Rebel. What greater Affront can there possibly be offer'd to a Crown'd Head, than to be thus vilely expos'd to his own Subjects, and by a Subject too? 'Tis certain, to a Generous and Noble-Hearted Prince, who knows how to value his Word, and makes Conscience of his Duty, nothing can be no more Displeasing, than to hear of False-heartedness, Treachery and Disloyalty; to hear of it, I say, even in Subjects, must of necessity be Odious to him: and what must it be, when his own Subjects are assur'd from the Pulpit, that even He himself professes a Religion, which encourages Disloyalty, and in some Cases, even teaches to Rebel? Can a Prince who has an Abhorrence to Treachery and Disloyalty, be pleas'd to hear, that what he so much detests in others, is [Page 66] found in the Religion, he nourishes with in his own Breast? Certainly, next to the Striking at his Crown, as nothing can be more Disrespectful, so nothing can be more Offensive than this. Besides, must not a Prince be very sensible of such kind of Mockery in Preaching, whilst his Subjects are en­courag'd to be Loyal, but with an Argument in the Close, which is enough to blow a Trumpet to Rebellion: For what more powerful Argument to ill-designing Men, than to have this Assurance of the Religion of the Prince?

And then again, when a Prince has call'd a Par­liament in order to a Settlement of the Affairs of the Nation, what a kind of good Subject must he be, who in this manner sets himself to raise an A­version in the Hearts of this Assembly against their Prince, by exposing his Religion under so vile a Character, that 'tis impossible, where the Charge is believ'd to True, to entertain very kind Thougts for any that is a Professor of such Unnatu­ral Principles? 'Tis well known, that when a Prince and Parliament meet, 'tis the Sovereign's Desire, there should be a mutual good Understand­ing between [...]imself and that Council; and that none can more affront the Prince, than to raise Jea­lousies in their Heads, and disturb their Minds with Foul Idea's touching Himself and his Religion: What need then of further Arguments to discou­rage such kind of Preaching; since, however it may sound big of being Loyal and True to the King, it do's notwithstanding work the quite contrary Effect, and even answer the Wishes of the most wicked Enemies of the Crown?

[Page 67] In this manner it injures Him as Sovereign; and were there nothing of this in it; yet must it be very unwelcome to him, to hear such a Character of the Subjects of his own Communion, that there can be no Security in their Loyalty; since being but newly come to the Crown, he cannot but remember, that 'tis but a little time since he was a Subject himself. And how near this comes to his own Person, let every one consider. I meddle here nothing with the Controversie; but I believe, that all Honest Men, that know how hearty a Lover this our So­vereign is of Loyalty and Fidelity, and how Sincere in his Religion, need no other Argument to con­clude him a Calumniator, who has thus Aspers'd his Religion, and set it forth as Disloyal, and teach­ing to Rebel: Since if it really were so whosoever profess'd a Love to it, and Loyalty together, must of necessity be a Dissembler on the one Side or the other; there being no possibility of being heartily Loyal, and yet be True to a Church, which teaches to Rebel.

All that remains here worthy of Consideration, is, whether it be Wise or Mannerly for Preachers, to make their Prince's Religion Odious and Contempti­ble to his Subjects, tho they make no Dedications of it, or do not Preach it to a Parliament-House? The Reasons for the Doubt are these:

1. Because it do's not look like the part of a good Subject, to undervalue his Prince to his own People. And yet he that inveighs against his Reli­gion, seems to do so: For when such and such Points of his Faith are painted out and condemn'd as Ri­diculous, Nonsense, Prophane, Impious, the Effects of [Page 68] Madness, full of Contradictions, contrary to Sense and Reason, Charms, Hocus-pocus, Cheats, gross Idolatry, worse and more Ʋnnatural than that of Barbarians and Pagans. Are not all these most severe Reflections upon his Sense, his Judgment and Reason? Whilst He being suppos'd to approve and embrace all those Tenets, that are stampt with these Ignominious and Unworthy Titles, is at the same time suppos'd not to know the difference between Sense and Nonsense, Reason and Contradictions, Judgment and Madness, Christianity and Idolatry; and especially when after these Black Characters this Conclusion brings up, These things are so Plain, that any Man of Sense, any Child may see it. Is not this within one Step of rank­ing all of that Communion in the List of Madmen or Fools? It leaves 'em all, at least, at the Mercy of the Congregation, by their Inferring Faculty, to make what they please of them.

2. Because such a way of Preaching Reflects upon the Government of their Sovereign. The Reason is evident; because when They set forth the Religion of their Prince, as teaching and en­couraging Usurpation, Tyranny, Massacres, all sorts of Cruelty and Treachery, of introducing Slavery, and making no Conscience of any thing that is for the Interest of Mother-Church: This cer­tainly fills the Subjects with Fears and Jealousies, makes them uneasie under such a Government, and indisposes them for giving a hearty Service to such a Prince, who, they are made to fear, intends no­thing better for them, than Violence and Slavery. Whosoever considers the Temper of this Nation, how susceptible the People are of Fears, how jealous [Page 69] of their Liberty, how credulous at the Noise of Plots and Designs; cannot but know, how far a Hint or sly Insinuation will go with them; and that one Innuendo, that touches upon the right String, will set them more in a Ferment, than open Danger will do any other Nation in the World. 'Tis strange, how sensibly the Noise of a Cloud, or a Storm, or a Snake in the Grass, works upon them, tho' in the Quiet of a general Calm: To talk to them of Patience, Non-resistance, of being ready to suffer all that God shall permit for their Sins, is to fill their Heads with Fire and Fagots; and a Word of Slavery carries their Fancies into the middle of Egypt. Now when a People is thus dispos'd, how can those Preachers be good Subjects, who cannot get six Steps above their Congregation, but immediately they discover Clouds hanging over the People's Heads, they fright them with Storms and Tempests, and then pretending to allay their Fears with the Com­fort of Have but Patience, be ready to suffer, all this will blow over, they fright them ten times worse than before, and slily improve their Comforts into a Se­cond Storm? Now what kind of Subjects must these be, and how wonderfully Loyal, that by these Con­trivances and subtle Insinuations, can fill his Maje­sty's People with as much Disturbance, and render them as Ʋneasie under the most benign Influence of a Gracious and Indulgent Prince, as if they had the heavy Weight of Tyranny galling their Shoul­ders? I know the Pretence is Religion, and to pre­ferve them from Error: and 'tis no more than a Pretence; for 'tis certain, Men may be taught to be Good Christians, without being made Bad Subjects; [Page 70] and the disturbing the Government, is no necessary Preparation for directing People the Way to Hea­ven. Patience and Resignation may be easily taught without the help of Storms; the Scripture furnishes Matter and Examples enough without going up in­to the Clouds. And I wish this Modern way of teaching Patience, be not a new kind of Pulpit-Drum to alarm People into the Spirit of Rebellion.

I would not be for raising Scandals against any Society of Men much less against those who pre­tend to the Gospel. But when I see the Effects of such kind of Preaching, how it raises Discontents and Jealousies, and becomes an Aggrievance to the Prince, I cannot but wish, that such as follow this Method, and intend the Mischief, were more Loyal; and such as intend it not, were more Wise. Howso­ever it be, I am sure the Method is unwarrantable, and not at all becoming those, who would willingly be thought the Best Preachers in the World, and the Best Subjects.


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