[Page] [Page] A LETTER TO A FRIEND, IN ANSWER to a LETTER Written against Mr. LOWTH, IN DEFENCE OF Dr. Stillingfleet.

LONDON, Printed, and are to be sold by Randal Taylor, near Stationers-Hall, 1688.



YOU seem to be much concern'd, that such consi­derable Members of the Church of England should be whetting their Pens against each other, whilst they are inclosed with their Adversaries: And I think every good Man will bear a part with you; and doth heartily wish, that there had been no occasion, or that it could be taken away. But since you require my thoughts concerning the late Answerer of Mr. Lowth's Let­ter, I will answer your Request with as much brevity and impar­tiality as my mean skill will enable me: The Man wants not wit, but indulgeth it so far, as to renounce both Civility and Reason, good Manners and Religion. I had perused his Letter with the same pleasure I read a Play, or hear a Prevaricator's [Page 2] Speech, but that the seriousness of the Matter, wherein it was concerned, was a continual check upon me, and converted that Pleasure into Grief, to think that any Man who pretends to Gra­vity and Reverence to Religion, should allow himself the liberty to Wantonize at that rate, in most sacred Things. So that I think the Man is so far from doing the learned Dean any real Service, that he will prove a disparagement both to his Cause and Person; and the more for this reason, That being the Dean had formerly justly lashed Mr. Alsap, for his lightness in a Case near a-kin to this; it will seem very indecent for him now to set up a Jack-Pudding or Merry-Andrew in his own De­fence; and that it should come forth without his privity and consent, scarce any Man will believe, who considers how long and by whom Mr. Lowth's Book of Church Power was stopp'd, in despight of all the interest he could make. Neither is the at­tempt to jeer Truth out of Countenance less intolerable at this time, when it is apparent from the Letter it self, that the Dean doth endeavour to come up to Mr. Lowth; and it is much the best part of the Scriblers Plea to own it in his behalf. Several Pages are spent meerly in pickeering at Words and Phrases, without one Syllable as to the merits of the Cause, though there be no want of Malice as to Mr. Lowth's Person. But I love not to rake in Canals, though I have to do with Scavengers, and therefore shall pass it all over; but where I meet with any thing material, I shall give you a concise account of my Thoughts of it.

The chief Ground of this bitter Quarrel I find to be this; That he (the Dean) is imperiously Summoned, and little less than commanded (viz. by Mr. Lowth) to satisfie the Church of God, by a Recantation as publick as his Error, Scandal and Offence. This latter Clause I remember in Mr. Lowth's Book; but the imperious Summons is anothers Interpretation, and the little less than com­manded is added by the Author, least he should seem to do no­thing, if he did not lay on more load. But in what manner so­ever it was done, I confess that in one respect it was very un­reasonable to call for such a Recantation, for we are all too fond of our selves to appear against our selves: But when a Man hath gotten a name in the World, is admired by his Followers, ap­plauded for his Parts and Learning, and look'd on as the Co­riphaeus of his Age, this Man is above all Recantations, and it is well if he do not think himself above any Error, Scandal or Offence. For such a one to lessen himself by the publick ac­knowledgment [Page 3] of Error, is such a prodigious piece of Inge­nuity, as cannot reasonably be expected; and indeed it is never to be expected from any, but those who can be content to take the shame to themselves, that God may have the Glory; and who value Truth above all their Reputation, yea, all their In­terest in the World; and such are rare Birds, whether they have Pockets or not.

But then, if we lay aside Mens over-dearness to themselves, and the frightful tenderness of their Reputation, (as we ought in this Case) and look into the reason of the thing, the Case will be quite altered; and it will appear altogether unreasonable, that the Church of God should be wronged, or the Truth suffer, for the Advancement, or salving any Man's Reputation. And if any offend in this kind, they ought to give satisfaction, though few are willing to do it. I have no prejudice against the Dean's Person, and shall readily do him all the right I can. I acknow­ledge, that he hath taken a great deal of pains in defence of the Church of England; I honour him as a Man of extraordinary Parts, Learning and Industry, second to few, if any, of his Age. But doth this secure him from Error? Doth this make him infal­lible? Are we so zealous to pull down the Pope at Rome, that we may set up another at St. Paul's? Or have not meaner Men sometimes corrected the Errors of far greater? Apollinaris was a Man of such curious Parts and Learning, that he was the Admi­ration of his Contemporaries, and he did the Church great service, by his clear and convincing way of writing against He­reticks; and yet (as some think) the very confidence in his Parts betrayed him into a foul Error; and even those who pitied him, who admired him, who acknowledged themselves much inferior to him, wrote against his Error, and have trans­mitted him to posterity, branded with the name of an Here­tick. Tertullian, for acuteness of Parts, and variety of Learning, doubtless out-stripp'd all the Men of his Age; and I question whe­ther any thing written in behalf of Christianity against Heathens hath out-done his Apology, or any thing hath been more con­vincingly penned against all sorts of Hereticks than his Book de Praescriptionibus: And yet this very Man, not without much ado, hath escaped the Title of an Heretick himself, if he have escaped it. However it is notorious, that he maintained some such foul Errors as are rejected on all hands. In these we may see, that the Church of God did not suffer the singular parts, or even [Page 4] merits of any Man to patronize his Errors; but in that cafe always left him to the Merits of his cause; and perhaps it is most reasonable, that the more considerable the person is, the more severe Trial he should be put upon; because the Authority of his Person is more like to make the Error spread, than if it came from another Man. And in this particular, even the Author of the Letter, though, like the Fish Saepia, he muddles himself in his own Ink, yet is forced sometimes in down-right terms to confess, that the Dean hath been guilty of Error in that very matter, wherein Mr. Lowth accuseth him; and when he doth his best to wash it off, he doth only plaster the Sore over.

To make this good I must descend to particulars, and then we shall quickly see, whether the Letter-maker be as good at his reasoning, as he is at trifling and railing. The first thing he lays hold of is a civil Concession of Mr. Lowth, as to the Deans unreasonableness of Separation; whereby he grants it to be com­petently well done upon the Dean's Principles, and that he had abundantly set forth the reasonableness of our Book of Common-Prayer, &c. and urged Obedience thereto, from the destructive consequences that must inevitably follow. And when he hath got this by the end, he will not endure to hear that any thing is left as Matter of Dispute, but runs away with it full cry, That every Man is bound to yield to reason, and then tramples on Mr. Lowth at pleasure: But his heat could not stay to consider, that all this amounted to no more than motives to Compliance, in the judgment of Interest or Discretion, and were for the most part such as, mutatis mu­tandis, might be urged for any setled Constitution, even at Ge­neva or Amsterdam: And though they might incline Men to a pre­sent Obedience, yet they did not so link men to the Church of England, but that they still had a fair Pretence to join with any other Church Government, which in time the Civil Power might advance or favour. Upon this account I suppose it is, that Mr. Lowth writes thus to the Dean. In your Treatise of the Ʋnrea­sonableness of Separation, you no where (that I could take notice of) have pressed Christians to Obedience; as they are a Corporation im­bodied under Government and Laws of their own (which is the ori­ginal and fundamental Obligation to Submission and Conformity) ari­sing from the nature of that Kingdom, which Christ hath erected by the promulgation of the Gospel, of which Kingdom every true Christi­an is a Subject. (p. 78.) And had the Arguments been taken from this Topick, they would have proved the Obedience not only [Page 5] reasonable but necessary, secured Persons to the Church of Eng­land, and kept things in the right Chanel. And there is the more reason to urge this at this time, when in a Paper attributed to no less person than the late King, I find a charge drawn up a­gainst our whole Body in these Words, That that part of the Nation, which looks most like a Church, dares not bring the true Arguments against the other Sects, for fear they should be turned against them­selves. Now, though for my own part I am possessed with no such fear; yet I must confess, that when men purposely avoid such Arguments, when the nature of the thing requires them, it gives a shrewd suspicion, that either they do not approve them, or are afraid to use them. And it is by some thought that the Dean's way of manageing the Argument, as well against Romanists as Fanaticks, gave no small occasion to that and some other ex­pressions in the Paper; and indeed to the whole Discourse that is level'd against Erastianism, which is there supposed the Sence of the Church of England, because it is so represented by Mr. Dean and his Party: And when you have considered these things, I leave you to think whether there was any great reason for that immoderate triumph over Mr. Lowth's civility.

The next thing, which after some idle, foolish, flourishings of Wit the Epistolizer adventures on, is the business of the Iraeni­cum; and truly he adventures hardly, who trips up his own heels, and gives up the cause at the same time that he undertakes to defend it. He tells us, that at his late Majesty's Restauration in those Ecclesiastical Confusions, the Dean at that time but a very Young Man, boldly ventures upon the reconciling part; it must (saith he) be confessed, and he has acknowledged it himself, that according to the fate of most Reconcilers, he was too liberal in his Concessions. And 'pray', was this Mr. Lowth's fault, or the Deans? But then if those Concessions were such as were not only prejudicial to the Church of England, but injurious to the Church of God (as it is apparent they were) might not Mr. Lowth or any other Man, lawfully tax them for being so; and step in, at least, for the defence of that Church of which he was a Member, and to which he was engaged by most sacred Obligations? Is the Dean's Reputation so great, that it over-weighs the good, yea the very being of the Church? or must he have the liberty with applause to make erroneous Concessions, whilst the other must not speak Truth, without being shamefully Reproached and Abused? For, as to the main of the Controversie, I do not find, that even the very [Page 6] Enemies of Mr. Lowth do lay the Error at his Door; but hence their Indignation swells, that a poor Country Vicar should cor­rect the Dean's Errors, and dares to see that Truth, which the Dean either did not or would not. A Man accustomed to Hob­nail-Proverbs, (as our Letter-man expresses it) would have said in this Case, That some may better steal a Horse, than others look over the Hedge, though with an intent to make a discovery.

But he thinks amends is made for all this, because though some enamoured on their own Fancies, could not be moved; yet such as gave themselves the liberty of considering calmly, were gained over to our Church, and it did not want success in that way, both here and in a Neighbour Nation. And he tells us, That there is no reason to question the Truth of this. But, with his good leave, I am of ano­ther Opinion; and, notwithstanding his confidence, shall either question the Truth or the honest meaning of it. For what was this mighty gain and success, but the filling the Church with men of no steady Principles? The stubborn Dissenters obstinately made good their party, and continued expecting a time for their Advantage; but those who were of more moderate Perswasions, or more favourable to their own Interest, found a more gentle Temper in the Iraenicum to justifie their compliance with any Church Government; and so these Luke-warm persons flock'd into the Church, thereby corrupting its Body, and ready to serve their purposes who stood out, when any fit opportunity should be offered: They were so far satisfied as to make their Benefit of the Episcopal Government; but if that should hap­pen to be removed, they were as ready to embrace the Presbyterial or Independent, and perhaps more heartily. And, for my part, I do not think that the Church was any gainer by the Conversion of any such professed Dissenters into false Friends: I should think it safer to see the Serpent hissing before me, than to put him into my Bosom. By such means it hath been brought to pass, that in the Church of England we have had so few Church of England Men, and that many who fed plentifully at her Table, either durst not maintain her upon her own just Grounds and Principles, or have been ready to betray her by their new Models, and under­hand dealings; and this dreadful Out-cry against Mr. Lowth, seems to me a thing utterly unaccountable, but from the Churches abounding with Men of Latitudinarian and Erastian Principles, who are resolved to maintain the positions of the Rector of Sutton, though the Dean of St. Paul's pretend to disclaim them; and [Page 7] therefore I think Mr. Lowth might well call it an unlucky Book.

And yet no one living can believe this, who admits the Cha­racter which is given of the Book. It might be compared (saith our Learned Author) to one of those Trees, that are thick hung with plenty of Fruit of several growths; some ripe, some green, some in the blossom, and some in the bud, which altogether affordeth a very pleasant Prospect, argue an exceeding luxuriency and fertility in the Soil, and may be all brought to perfect Maturity in their due time. God forbid, that all these should come to perfect Maturity! for what can this Fruit be, but the several sorts of Church Government mentioned in the Iraenicum? There a curtailed kind of Episco­pacy is coldly and faintly allowed, Presbytery strongly pleaded for, Independency much favoured; and (if my memory fail me not) in the matter of Tithes, there is a spicing of Anabaptistry and Quakerism. Now certainly Episcopacy must be the pre­sent ripe Fruit, and therefore fit to be cropp'd; and no doubt but Presbytery, as green as it is, will be quickly ready for its place: Independency, though in the bud, yet upon occasion is a very great grower, and ripens apace, and will soon be endea­vouring to lend the Presbyter a lift; and others that are only in the blossom, upon these incouragements, will doubtless come on as fast as they can; now would it not be a brave World to see all these come to perfect Maturity; i. e. to thrust out one another, to take their place by turns, and run round by the help of some of J. O's. Providential Revolutions? I cannot tell what else to make of this Orainge-Tree Similitude, and if any one can give a kinder and more natural Interpretation of it, I should be glad to hear it. If the Author had said of the Fruit that it was some Ripe, some Rotten, I think he had given a much truer, though nothing so glorious a Character. I have formerly read the Book, and truly my thoughts of it then were, that in all my Life I had never seen so many ill things so confusedly put toge­ther; and the best excuse that I can make for it, is, to plead our near Twenty Years Confusions; the variety of Opinions which then got in Vogue; the prejudices which prevailed, and the great disadvantages most Men laboured under, as to their Stu­dies, who were forced to lanch forth into the World before his late Majesty's Restauration. But if any Man plead for it in downright terms at this time o'th' Day, he deserves to be casheired, not only out of the Church of England, but the Society of Learning.

[Page 8] But for this I had best look to my self; for the Author of the Letter assures us, that the Bishops were of another mind, and that the Prudent and Reverend Governors of our Church did admire the performance. Well then there is no help for such as I, unless we can shelter our selves under such Imprudent and Irreverend Governors as did not admire it. So perhaps the Letter-Maker may think, and that he is safe now he hath set the Bishops on their Backs, who shall dare to open their Mouths against the Iraenicum. And yet for all this I am nothing concerned, for I have learn'd that there is a great deal of difference betwixt admiring and approving; and we more often admire Mens Folly and Wickedness, than their Wisdom and Goodness. I shall easily grant, that, con­sidering the Time, the Person, and his Age, there is much in that Book to be admired, and perhaps more to be censured; and I hardly think that the Bishops have a better Opinion of that Book, than the Dean professeth to have himself, who for some Years of late hath been sick of it: But it would be the strangest Paradox in the World, that they should be so desperately enamour'd on a Script, which Sacrificeth their whole Order to the pleasure of the Magistrate, or the Mobile, and actually degrades them into the Rank of Presbyters. What will such Insinuations make men think of our Bishops? It is insufferable Impudence thus covertly to expose the highest Order in God's Church. But let the Re­verend Bishops look to themselves, for our Author thinks he can prove what he saith, and tells us, that the great Sufferers for Re­ligion and Loyalty had such an Opinion of Mr. Stillingfleet (and that doubtless upon the account of the Iraenicum) that they made choice of him to undertake the Defence of the Conference with Fisher. And what of all this? Doth it thence follow that they approved the Iraenicum? I rather think the contrary. I suppose our Au­thor may have heard of Mr. Prynn, a Man of a restless Spirit, and unsetled Judgment, who spared no Times or Persons: Now because they could not tell what to do with him, but put him to the Records in the Tower to employ his busie Mind, will our Author conclude that they applauded all he wrote? But to bring an instance yet nearer to our Case, of all the Schismaticks that ever assaulted the Church of England, possibly none will be found more Inveterate, nor yet more able and learned than T. Cart­wright; and yet some of the Governors of our Church thought sit to put him upon Writing against our Country-men at Rhemes: And I suppose their design was to sweeten his bitter Spirit, by [Page 9] such an honour done to him, and to win him what they fairly could, or at least to divert a direct War upon the Church, and to hinder his making the People run mad, at which he was an excellent Artist. 'Tis true that his ill Principles stuck so close to him, that his Performance did not answer expectation, and other hands were forced to be set on work; but if this Author had been then living, it seems he would have hence concluded, that not only all the Bishops, but even Archbishop Whitgift himself. who had wrote against him, did approve of what Cartwright had wrote before; and he had done the Bishops no mean favour, if he had not made them all Fanaticks. Some­thing more perhaps may be said in behalf of the Rector of Sutton; for the Irenicum, though a pernicious Book, yet did vouch thus much for its Author, That he was a Man of luxuri­ant Parts, and indefatigable Industry; and being he seemed himself to be unsetled, who shall accuse the Wisdom of our Go­vernors for endeavouring to take him off, before he was too far gone; and to employ him in an honourable Work, which might at once oblige him, and better instruct him? And he that had maintained an ill cause, with so good appearance of Learning, might reasonably be thought to manage a good one with much more advantage. And I am apt to think that this course had totally secured him, had not some men, who applaud his Failures above his best Performances, perswaded him that he could do nothing amiss, and made him cling too close to his early mistakes: For doubtless the Dean, after so long Experience and vast Reading, cannot but discover the mischievous Conse­quences of many things in that Book, which his Juvenile Heat and too forward Zeal sent over hastily into the World: And I am willing to believe, that we might in time see as great Evidences of Candor and Ingenuity, as of Parts and Learning from him, could these men leave him to himself. But this I think may sa­tisfie you of the reasons of those persons employing him at that time, though they could not approve the Irenicum. It may be needless perhaps to add more in respect of you, yet for the sake of some others, who may be more difficult, because unwilling to be convinced, I will fling you in a Royal Instance double twist­ed: It is no unknown thing, That Bishop Bilson let drop some passages from his Pen, which might be interpreted to savour too much of Commonwealth Principles, and were particularly distastful to King James the First; and yet that Wise King not [Page 10] only suffered him to enjoy the richest Bishoprick in his Kingdom, but seem'd to afford him some particular Favour and Counte­nance. This some Schismaticks afterwards laid hold of, and made use of it to their Advantage; against whom our Royal Martyr thus defends his Father (in his Third Paper to Mr. Henderson.) As for Bishop Bilson, I remember very well what Opi­nion the King my Father had of him for those Opinions, and how he shewed him some Favour in hope of his Recantation, as his good Nature made him do many things of that kind. And had this occurr'd to the Dean's Memory, as it could not escape his Reading, it might have been a strong Temptation upon him to have drawn the Father into his Party, as well as he hath done the Son; and indeed they are both much alike on his side: But I think that it better serves to shew, that, respect to mens Per­sons, and approbation of their Opinions, are very distant things, and that he who passeth judgment upon no better Evidence, fol­lows a very fallacious Rule.

From this we are lead to consider the design of this unlucky Book, which I could wish had never been design'd at all. And we are told, That but two designs can be tolerably pretended, the one is the Dean's own, the other Mr. Lowth hath made for him. The one is applauded, the other insolently and scornfully condemn­ed: they are represented as inconsistent with each other; and yet, with this Author's leave, I think it not impossible that they may be both true. And, First, I must tell you, that a man though very zealous and serious may be mistaken, as to the Justice and Goodness of his own design, and may actually design that which is really evil, and effect it too, whilst he thinks to do great good. Thus it was with no less a person than St. Paul before his Conversion in persecuting the Christians. And our Blessed Saviour himself tells us (John 16. 2.). The time cometh, that who­soever killeth you, will think he doth God Service. And I believe the Author of the Letter would be very unwilling to have his Throat cut with such a Religious design, notwithstanding he is so brisk an Advocate for Mens well meaning. And there is not a Presbyte­rian, Independent, Anabaptist, Quaker, or any Sectary what­soever, who seriously desire and endeavour to ruine the Church of England, but they think they design well; and our Author, if he please, may undertake their defence. Well, but the Dean hath solemnly profossed, that his design was to heal the Wounds of the Church. Now, though I never liked the Plaster, yet I am willing [Page 11] to believe this to have been his design, and it is a very Christian and noble Design. But then, in the next place we are to consi­der, that a Man, who carries on a very just and laudable de­sign, may yet proceed in such untoward methods, and use such unagreeable and unhappy means, that he may not only miscarry as to his design, but may do as much hurt as he designed good. And in this case it is apparent, that there is a Twofold design, the one personal, the other natural, the one which the person intends and fails in; the other, that which the means he useth naturally tend to. And therefore, when Mr. Lowth saith, That the design was meerly or mostly (or what you will) against the re­establishment of the Church of England, I cannot believe that he meant to enter into the Dean's Thoughts, but that he did judge what was the natural tendency of his Arguments; and so let the Dean's design be what it will, he might be in the right as to the design of the Book; and whether he was or not, must be tried by the proofs he brings for it. And our Author confidently asserts, That all that he (Mr. Lowth) offers in proof of this, is his (the Dean's) denying Episcopacy to be by the Laws of Christ always binding and immutable, and that he attributes too much power to the Civil Magistrate in Ecclesiastical Affairs; and this (saith our Author) will be freely confessed. A pretty fair Confession: And is it not an admirable way to procure the Establishment of the Church of England, by pleading, that Episcopacy may be turned out of doors at the pleasure of the Civil Magistrate? For, sup­posing the mutability of Episcopacy, and the power of the Ma­gistrate there asserted, this will be the natural consequence. And is it not hard, that a man should confess Mr. Lowth to be in the right, and in the same Breath revile him? But our Author has a trick to prove that this Argument will not hold; and tells us, That he will turn the Tables, and suppose Mr. Lowth a zealous Presbyterian; and then, (because the Irenicum denies that Govern­ment to be immutable, as well as Episcopal, and gives away some of the power to the Civil Magistrate, which is wont to be assumed by their Clas­sical and Synodical Assemblies) he might have made the same complaint in favour of the Consistory, &c. Very true, and there is no doubt but Mr. Lowth would have done so, had he been such a zealous Presbyterian; or else he must have been false to his Principles. But could not this man turn the Tables, without turning Mr. Lowth into a Presbyterian? I pretend not to much skill at Tables, but I had thought, that those who turned the Tables had left the [Page 12] Persons as they were; and if he had done so, he might have turn'd and overturn'd his Tables till his heart had aked, before he could have made Mr. Lowth open his mouth in favour of the Consistory, though the Dean's Design and Arguments had been never so violent against it. And let us suppose it true which this Author alledgeth, That the design of the Irenicum may be as easily levelled against the Presbyterian, as the Episcopal Church, yet it doth not follow hence, that Episcopacy and Presbytery stand upon equal terms; and though both proceeding upon the same su [...]position, do equally complain, yet that part which really suffers wrong doth justly complain: And if he please now to set his Tables right again, I am apt to think that he will give it on the Episcopal side. But there is something farther, for which the Presbyterian my justly complain, though this Author had cast such a mist before his own Eyes, that he could not see it. For the Presbyterian in the general Notion asserts a great Truth; and it is not his fault that he pleads a divine right of Church Government, but that he takes it out of those Hands, wherein Christ and his Apostles left it, to commit to those to whom it was never intrusted, and thus licks up Aerius's Vomit. Now in this case Mr. Lowth had proved the Presbyterian con­cerned as well as the Episcoparian. For when the Author of the Irenicum, to avoid the Argument from the Superiority of the Apostles, and their Jurisdiction over the Pastors of the Church by an Act of Christ, had pleaded, That it must be farther proved, that it was Christ's intention, that Superiority should continue in their Successions, or it makes nothing to the purpose. To this Mr. Lowth replies, That at this rate of Arguing, though the Apostles, by an Act of Christ were invested with the ministerial Authority, yet it must be farther proved, That it was Christ's intention, that the same power should continue in their Successors, or it makes nothing to the purpose for a setled Ministry; and the same Argument which overthrows a Superiority of Churchmen, for want of an express of Christ's intention, overthrows the very Ministry it self, both having the same bottom and alike promises. And here the Episcopal Man was not left alone to complain, but the Presbyterian might honestly put in for a share. And this indeed was a fatal Argument, for it overthrew the whole pro­ject of the Irenicum; for, if you well observe, you will find the Scheme of that Author to lie thus: He asserts in general a divine Right of Government, or that it is the Will of Christ, that his [Page 13] Church should be Governed one way or other; but then, as for any particular Form of Church Government, he doth not think that Christ or his Apostles erected any with an Obligation of its continuance, but that it was left to some body, I know not who, to establish the particular Form according to the necessity, convenience, and circumstances of Times, Places, and Persons, and from time to time to new mould and change the same, as they should find cause, yet always containing themselves within the bounds of what the Author thinks lawful. I grant that he is not always true to this, but the whole Work seems to be bot­tomed upon this supposition, and for his inconsistencies, he him­self may take care of them. Now the Argument here used hath undone himself, and is levelled not only against the divine Right of any one particular Form, but against the divine Right of a Ministry, and all Church Government whatsoever. Neither do I know to what purpose we should wrangle, whether the House shall be built in this or that Form or Shape, when it doth not appear that we have any Right or Authority either to build any at all, or to enter any formerly built. And now let any man judge, whether this was an effectual way of arguing ei­ther for the re-establishment of the Church of England, or for mens complying with it.

But tho this be enough to prove what Mr. Lowth hath alledged; yet it is untruly said of the Letter-maker, that this is all: For Mr. Lowth had accused the Author of the Irenicum, that, notwith­standing his Pretence of the Mutability of Church Government, he had invested the Presbyter with the full Power of Order and Jurisdiction, and that he had perpetually fixed him by divine Right un­alterable, and he there proves his Charge (p. 29.) and you may find several other things in Mr. Lowth's Letter to this purpose, to which I refer you; for they having received no Answer, I am no further at present concerned for them; only I think this a ve­ry unlikely way of perswading the establishment of the Church under Bishops; and leave you to judge, let the Author's Design be what it will, whether the Book do not carry on the Design which Mr. Lowth pretends.

I fear I grow troublesom to you, but now my Hand is in, I am resolved to follow this Author to see, if he have done the reverend Dean any better Service in the remaining part of his Letter: And the next thing he falls on, is, the Business of a Recan­tation. And here, supposing what I had read in the former [Page 14] part of the Letter would have been of the same piece with what followed, I expected to have met with strange tragical Exclama­tions, and that the unreasonableness of the Demand should have been bitterly cryed out against: But I was quite disappointed, and he is clear too quick for us, for he saith, That a Recantation hath been already made, and that as publick as the Error, Scandal and Offence, and too before the Demand was made. This Lan­guage I confess surprized me. It seems then, that Mr. Lowth and the Dean were agreed, and did not know it. What pity is it, that such a Noise should be made all over the Kingdom, and such Disturbance among Church of England Men about a Quarrel between Two Peasons, who are both become of the same Mind? But is it not a stark Shame, that when Mr. Lowth is acknowledged to be in the Right, and the Dean hath receeded from his former Tenets to come up to an Opinion which Mr. Lowth hath always maintained, he should be reviled and ex­claimed against in all places for this, with as much Fierceness and Bitterness as if he had set the Church on Fire? At least those, who confess thus much, ought to condemn the Practice as Un­reasonable. And if this be true, I think the Quarrel ought to be at an end. But now I am afraid to read on, least in looking after the Proof of this I should meet with a second Disappoint­ment, and I find all to amount to little better than a meer Say so. And indeed much thus it happens: For tho I am willing to perswade my self, that the Learned Dean is really and truly of another Mind, and hath quitted many of the loose Opinions of the Rector of Sutton, yet this Author is so Unfortunate in the Proof of it, that he hath done him no small Diskindness. And the First thing which he cites from the several Conferences is so far from a formal Retractation, as he would bear us in hand, that it is indeed only a scurvy Palliation of the matter, and I am sorry there to find this Assertion; That what Proposals he makes about tempering Episcopacy, they were no other than what King Charles 1st. and Mr. Thorndike had made before him. How? No other? If there be not some Propositions (which when you please go for Proposals) in the Irenicum relating to Episcopacy, which King Charles 1st. and Mr. Thorndike, were they living, would abominate, I will never more pretend to any common Under­standing of what I read. As for our glorious Martyr, it is very hard to say what Concessions any man could have made, who had been reduced to those miserable Straits, which he was by the [Page 15] most impudent and barbarous Rebels. And yet thus far I am confident, that nothing stuck more close to him, than his Opini­on concerning the Government of the Church by Bishops; no­thing rendred him more suspected both to the Presbyterian and Independent; nothing was a greater Obstacle in all Treaties; nor was any thing pleaded for by him with more Vigor and Smart­ness. But I will trouble you no farther on this Account, because I know that the blessed King Charles and judicious Mr. Thorndike will be vindicated in this Point by another Hand. But I could not forbear smiling at a pretty Fetch of this Author, who when he had cited the King's Proposal (as he calls it) from the Deans Epistle Dedicatory, and made his Comment upon it, immediate­ly adds, This is very consistent with the Practice of the First Ages, and this I take to be the same that by Law is established in our Church. Surely the Dean did himself much wrong to talk of tempering Episcopacy. For let him say what he would, he was for it just the same that it is now. And do you not think that our Author had good Eyes, who could discover how Episcopacy hath been all along by Law established, just according to the Propo­sals in the Irenicum? I should commend him at a dead Lift, but that he over does it so unmercifully. Some other passages in­deed this Author cites, which seem to imply some kind of re­tractation; and I am [...]pt to believe that the Dean really intended them with reference to some things, which he had formerly al­ledged in prejudice of the Church of England; but then what the particulars are we are left to guess: And I remember I have read of an old Hob-Nail'd Axiom, that dolus versatur in univer­salibus. And for any thing contained in those Expressions, any Man upon occasion may easily get of them; and each Party, as the Tide turned, might apply them to their own advan­tage for any thing that could be said to the contrary, with­out a more particular Explanation from their Author.

But, to put the whole matter out of Dispute, this Author at last descends to particulars, and instances in three things, where­in lies the main Charge, i. e. the Manuscript, the Power of Church Officers, and Episcopacy. And if this be satisfacto­rily done, I know no reason but that the Quarrel should die; but instead of that I rather meet with idle Cavils, than fair An­swers. As to the Manuscript, the first thing charged is, the al­tering the general Method of it; and of this he in some measure clears the Dean, and lays it upon Doctor Burnet, and undertakes [Page 16] to give the reason of it. But whatever might be the reason, yet it is confessed, That it was altered, and no Record ought to be altered upon any reason whatsoever, without Forgery; and therefore Mr. Lowth spake Truth, and ought not to be abused at this rate upon that account. And though this Au­thor tells us how easie a matter it is to put it in its first Order, yet I believe many might have been to seek in it, had not this Contest given occasion for the fuller explaining the mysteries of it. And for my part I like not of mens doing thus unwarrantably, and worse of their giving reasons for it.

The other charge in reference to the Manuscript, is, That they have left out Bishop Cranmer's Subscription to Doctor Leighton's Opi­nion concerning Church Power, by which he retracted his former er­roneous Judgment. This the Author acknowledgeth to be so soul a thing, that it would leave those without any excuse, who should be proved guilty of it. but he quarrels Mr. Lowth's proof, and finds no less than four mistakes in it; and if he had pleased he might have made them fourscore, and I know not who could have contradicted him, for the Manuscript is to be seen only by choice Friends, and whilst they keep it so close to themselves, they may say what they please of it, without any bodies being able to disprove them. But if there had been so many mistakes, they cannot fairly be laid at Mr. Lowth's [...]or; for he doth not pretend to have seen the Manuscript, but took it upon the cre­dit and relation of Doctor Durel, late Dean of Windsor; and therefore at him the Argument ought to have been levelled: And yet I do not see how the Dean of Windsor can be blamed, not only because they took no notice of it in his life time, nor in the least offered to disprove him; but also, because that learned person doth intimate, that he had perused the Manu­script, and followed his own Eye sight in what he wrote. And it is farther considerable, that Mr. Lowth gave notice of this by Letter, whilst the Dean of Windsor was living. All this while no mistake was heard of, but now the Dean is dead, and can tell no Tales, here are four of a cluster. But until this Author's Re­putation can out-weigh that of the Dean of Windsor's, (which I think it will not do in haste) amongst all disinteressed persons it will remain a Quaery where the mistake lies, and give a suspicion of Jugling.

I was in hope that we had now done with this Mushroom Ma­nuscript, which surely either sprung out of the Ground, or like [Page 17] the Trojan Palladium, or Image of Diana fell down from Jupiter for I can yet learn nothing further of its Pedigree, than that it came by Providence. But this Author is not content to maintain the abuse of it, unless he may also justifie the publication of it; and most basely and unchristianly insinuates, as if Mr. Lowth were a Man for Fire and Fagot, meerly because relating a Story out of Livy he seems to dislike it. I wish the Author would consi­der with what manner of Spirit he wrote that Paragraph; I am ashamed of the malice of it. Surely this Livy is an Ʋnlucky Book too. I have heard the Story told, That during the long Parliament-Rebellion, an honest Loyal Gentleman was soundly Plundered, and carried Prisoner to the next Rebel Garrison; those Janizary Troopers finding Titi Livii Patavini Historiae Ro­manae Principis, to lie in his Parlour; and they had just so much Latin and Sence as thence to conclude him a Roman Catholick. But though Mr. Lowth hath met with such hard usage for a slight insinuation of his Thoughts, I will run the hazard of telling you more plainly, that I think the Manuscript to have been much sitter for the Fire than for the Press; nor can I think to what end it was published, unless to scandalize our Reformation, or to expose the greatest Prelate that was concerned in it. I have known some very good men who have been very solicitous, that such Papers which might any ways discover their indecencies, their weakness, their over-sight, or their neglects, might be burnt, and they never so much as suspected, that this was an unwarrantable Ar­tifice, or that they or others should get the Title of Roman Senators, either for desiring or performing of it. And what is there in these Papers, that deserves such an extraordinary Care? Why truly no great matter of Good is pretended, but this Author thinks they can­not do us much Hurt. For (saith he) we do not think we can suffer so much by any private Opinion of his (i. e. Cranmer's) that we should be tempted to destroy his Papers. Nor do I think the suffering much or little could be a Temptation to publish them. If that was his private Opinion, I wish they had suffered it to be so still; and that they had observed a Difference between destroying and making publick. But suppose it was his private Opinion, yet it was not so long; nay it received such faint Entertainment at best, that it scarce deserved to be called his Opinion. For this Author tells us, that he subscribed it with much Dubiousness: And he was so far from being satisfied in the Point, that it seems he retracted it not long after. And Doctor Burnet expresly says, [Page 18] That he subscribed the Book that was soon after set out, which is directly contrary to those Opinions set down in these Papers. And now is not this wise Work, that an Opinion which Cranmer ne­ver heartily embraced, which upon Debate he grew ashamed of, discarded, and under his Hand frankly retracted, should be re­trived from Darkness, and not only set up for the Pole Star, where­by the Rector of Sutton steers his Course thorough that fluctua­ting Irenicum, but published with all Advantage to debauch o­thers, and lead them into the loosest and most extravagant Opi­nions concerning Church Government? And here I cannot but observe the unpardonable Partiality of this Author; who, with­out any Remorse, rakes into the very Ashes of poor Cranmer, and revives a supposed Opinion of his, from which he certainly de­parted, that he might lay him to open Shame; and at the same time will have the Dean to be Sacred and Inviolable, and not suffer the least Reflection to be made upon him, though he for­merly printed the same Opinion only new vampt, which they would father on the Archbishop. Certainly some deference ought to have been paid to Cranmer, either upon the Score of his Sufferings, or his Station in the Church, or the Distance of Time, or the Uncertainty of the Thing; and if none of these could prevail with this Author, yet methinks he should have been more Merciful, than to trample in a mans Urn, and to expose one, who hath been so long dead, and can say nothing for him­self. As for the Dean, he is alive and well, and a Thousand times better able to defend his own Cause, than this Whiffler. And therefore such Tenderness over the one, and such Neglect, or rather Severity, towards the other, is neither fair nor ingenu­ous. And after all, it is not improbable, that it never might have been Cranmer's Opinion, which is set down in the Papers: For the great management of Affairs passing thorough his Hands, he might state the Case by way of Experiment, to put others upon a more full, free Debate and Consultation of the Matter, and to discover the true Grounds and Reasons of the Right, as well as the Mistakes of the Wrong; and by a contrary Determination to give a Check to some Opinions, which it is probable some Court Parasites might be then setting on Foot. For it is scarce Credible, that a Man of his Greatness and Influence should so quickly, so easily, so spontaneously depart from an Opinion of such moment, if he had been really possessed with it, and not only used it by way of Tryal of others. For that such an Opi­nion [Page 19] would have been grateful enough to the then prevailing Court Party, there can be no Question, and (except the bare perusal of Leighton's and others Papers) we do not hear of any considerable Means used to take him off this Opinion; and that such a Person as Cranmer should leave an Opinion so lightly, and that at a time, when it served his particular Interest, seems to me very unlikely. And therefore, though the Authority of the Manuscript should be good (which to me seems very suspicious) it may fairly be supposed, that not a fixed Opinion, but some o­ther Reason, which we see not, moved him to state the Case at that manner, and at that time. And whilest a Matter is under Debate, it may for removal of Objections, and for the better beating and clearing up the thing in Question, be useful some­times induere personam alterius, and to start and move such things, which he may have no Kindness for. But when the thing is determined, and he as freely yields to it as any other, he hath very hard Measure if all his Proposals must be fixed on him as his setled Opinions, and be represented to the World ever after as heterodox or heretical.

But though Cranmer be sufficiently exposed by the Manuscript, yet, since others will have it so, for me let him bear his own Burthen, provided that the publishing of it may serve either our Church or the Reformation: For otherwise I see no reason why Men should be so enamoured of it. And as for so much as con­cerns Cranmer, what Service can that do our Church, which yeilds up its peculiar Rights and Powers to be ravished at Plea­sure by lay Hands? What Honour can it do our Reformation, which represents the greatest Instrument of it, and him, who had the best Authority to promote it, as a Man tainted with the loosest Principles? It is true, that things in themselves not only good but commendable may be done by ill Men; but though that doth not alter the Nature of them, yet it is apt to create Jealousies, and cause a Prejudice in mens Minds against them. And therefore it was wisely done of the Athenians, who, when they had received excellent Council from a very bad Man, to a­void the scandal of following so ill a Person, caused another of unblemished Reputation to give the same Advice in open Senate as from himself. I must therefore beg your Pardon, if I cannot but think it ill done, that upon so weak Grounds as the Credit of a musty Manuscript, which hath no other Voucher but Pro­vidence, so great a Man as Cranmer should be blasted, even in [Page 20] such matters, that the Shame will in some measure rebound upon our selves. And it seems strange to me that these Men should decry Doctor Heylin for his impartial Dealing, in exposing some ill things done in the Entrance of the Reformation, which cer­tainly is best defended by separating the Cause from the Rapaci­ousness, self Ends, and ill Actions of some particular Persons; and yet they themselves unnecessarily and groundlesly should pub­lish some pretended Opinions of Cranmer's, which border too near the Cause it self; and are not content so to do, unless they may also espouse them. And it is still worse, in that it mini­sters too fair an Opportunity for our Adversaries to reproach us, who doubtless will not be wanting to improve every thing of that Nature to their utmost Advantage. And of this I will give you only one Instance, in a Book lately printed at Oxford, whose Author was apparently of greater Temper than is usual with most Romanists, who is conversant in our best Authors, and hath the Skill to convert even our Sufferings into our Ruine; in that Book (I say) I find this severe Charge drawn up against both Clergy and Reformation, occasioned purely and solely from this pretended Manuscript. As for the King's Supremacy (saith he) how far now some of the complying Clergy extended or acknowledg­ed the just Power thereof, even as to Ordination and Excommunica­tion, and administring the Word and Sacraments, I think I cannot more readily shew you, than by setting down the Quaeries proposed con­cerning these things, in the first Year of this Kings Reign (he means Edward the VI.) to Archbishop Cranmer, and other Bishops and learned Men, when assembled at Windsor for establishing a publick Order for divine Service; and the Archbishops Answer to them, printed lately by Mr. Stillingfleet out of a Manuscript of this Archbishop (Iren. 2 par. 8 chap.) and then he sets down the Quaeries, and the wild Answers thereunto; and for any thing I can see, very fairly; and what he subjoins, is, I think, as modest a Reflection as could be expected to flow from the Pen of an Adversary. This Text (saith he) needs no Comment, it is plain enough; and perhaps Posterity might have done better to have covered this Nakedness of their Forefather; than to have published it after so long a Silence. (Church Government par. 5. concerning the English Reformati­on, cap. 8. pag. 120, &c.) Now is it not mad Work to beray our own Nest, and persist in it still, after our Enemies shew themselves ashamed of our Unadvisedness, though it be their great Advantage.

[Page 21] By this you may perceive, that some still remain unsatisfied, as to the Manuscript, and by no means approve the publishing of it; and I wish our Author may give a better account of the next particular, which is the Power of Church Officers. And here the Appendix to the Irenicum comes in the Van, a Treatise writ­ten on purpose to help out the defects of the former, and to purge himself from Erastianism; and therefore with some rea­son one might expect, that that matter of Church Power should have been clearly stated; and certainly he did intend it so far as his Thoughts were; for why else doth he refer Mr. Lowth to this very Book on that Scorce, and upbraid him, That he had not produced one considerable Argument which he had not made use of in a Discourse published above Twenty Years since? which saying can be meant of no other than his Appendix. Against this (as this Author tells us) Mr. Lowth's exception is, That it is limit­ted to the Power of Excommunication. And this he wipes of with a wet Finger, saying, That was the Subject to be treated of, and to have extended it farther in that place had been to little purpose. It seems then, that to come up to a Case is to little purpose, but to do it by halves is to mighty purpose. But it is observable of this Author, that he rarely mentions an Objection of Mr. Lowth's, but he represents it either not in his Sence, or not in its due force. For Mr. Lowth's Objection lay thus, That it was so limited to the Power of Excommunication, that all other Acts and Offices of the Church (teaching and administring the Sacraments ex­cepted) were left in the hands of the civil Magistrate; so that the power over sacred Things, was annexed entirely to the civil Power. Now with the Epistolizers leave, I think it had been nothing impertinent so to have handled the matter of Excom­munication, as not to have left so considerable an Objection always dashing at his Heels. To the Objection in this sence there is not a tittle of Answer, and now we may go look for the so much boasted Satisfaction elsewhere; for on all hands it is agreed, that it is not here to be found.

To help out this matter we are led to the Treatise in Vin­dication of Archbishop Laud, a laborious and learned piece: But as I will not be bound to Answer for all things in that Book, so neither will I raise any new Quarrels against it; I wish Mr. Lowth's Objections could be fairly answered. For though he thence cites many intricate perplexed Passages; yet our Author with his wonted Ingenuity, tells us only, That he had happened [Page 22] upon a little piece of a Sentence, which he thought might have an ill Aspect upon Church Power, and it is this, The being of a Church supposes this antecedent belief (or assent to the Doctrine of Christ) in Christians. And this piece of a Sentence is more, I fear, than he ever well understood, though he thinks it may be so easily defended: For though in a Church to be constituted or gathered out of Heathens it holds true, yet in a Church already consti­tuted, he ought to distinguish between an actual and federal Belief. For in all Societies both sacred and civil, Children follow the common Condition of their Parents, unless by their own subsequent act they alter the case. Thus the Children of Slaves are born Slaves, and the Children of Freemen born Free. And as under the old Law, the Children, as parts of their Parents, and in the same Covenant with them, were initiated by Circum­cision, so under the Gospel or new Law, by virtue of a cove­nant-Right, without any express declaration or consent of their own, Children are admitted into the Church by Baptism: And for want of distinguishing between those who are Born to Rights and Privileges in the Church, and those who are not capable of acquiring them, but by an explicite Belief of their own, that proposition became liable to very ill construction, and gave too much advantage to the Socinians and Anabaptists; and yet I take this to be the least of the Quarrel in that particular; and if this Author can so easily defend that proposition, he ought either to defend it in the Sence, in which Mr. Lowth alledgeth the Dean to have wrote it; or he must prove that not to have been the Dean's Sence. For there is no question but the Pro­position it self might have been so qualified, that both might have easily agreed in it. But hence arose the Contest, that they drew very different or rather opposite inferences from it; for Mr. Lowth from this antecedent Belief infers, not only a capacity but an indispensable Obligation upon such to enter into a Church Society and Ecclesiastical Communion (i. e.) ordinarily, and where there is a setled Church; for they were not discoursing about the State of Men in the Isle of Pines. And he gives a rea­son of his Assertion to this effect, That, as no Man ought to limit God's Power and Mercy in extraordinary Cases, so nei­ther ought any to enlarge them, where God by his revealed will hath set bounds and limits; and consequently, that the promises and assurances of Salvation ought to be given to none out of the Church, where God hath a Church, as to her Offices and Ad­ministrations [Page 23] in actual Being and Settlement. But quite con­trary hereto, upon this supposition of antecedent Belief, the Dean infers, That a Man may be in a State of Salvation in his single and private Capacity apart, and out of all Church Society and Ecclesiastical Communion, though he live where it is to be had, which utterly overthrows any necessity of attendance to Ordinances, and all Church Communion: And to prove this Mr. Lowth cites several passages out of that Book. Now if this Author will not see how this Opinion can be destructive of Church Power, he must be blind still for me; but then he will be very ill able to disburthen the Dean of those consequences wherewith Mr. Lowth hath loaded him; and indeed, supposing the Truth of the charge, the Dean himself can never be able any other ways to do it, than by quitting the Opinion.

And thus this Book not doing the Business, is laid aside to make way for The Answer to several Treatises, wherein the Dean (as our Author saith) has reduced the Authority of the Gover­nours of the Church to three Heads. And to much purpose, if it be arbitrary whether men shall enter or continue in any such Society. But we will suppose them obliged; (which is so much more than I need grant to the foregoing Principle, that it is rather directly against it) and then the first Two Heads may be easily allowed; only it is objected, that what the Dean gives with one Hand he takes away with the other; and by his un­constancy both in Opinion and Practice hath undermined his own Positions. To this the Author says nothing, nor will I urge it further; but quietly take what is at any time well given. The Third Head is, An Authority of proposing Matters of Faith, and directing Men in Religion. And this is such a cautious mincing Expression, that I cannot tell what to make of it, nor where to find any distinct Authority in it. For, as for proposing, I do not know but that any private Person upon a just Occasion, and in a lawful manner may do the same: And if any thing of that nature be pretended to be peculiar to the Clergy, yet Proposals in their own Nature are so far from inferring an Authority to command their Reception, that they rather imply a Power in those to whom they are proposed, at Discretion to reject them; and so in the issue gives the Authority to the People. But that I may do him no wrong, besides the proposing Matters of Faith, there is also mentioned an Authority of directing Men in Religion. And truly this is a very liberal Grant, which allows as much to [Page 24] the Church as was given to the Statues of Mercury, which of old were set up to direct Passengers in their Way, and leaves men much at like Liberty to regard either. I think this far from a Power to make her Declarations Law. And yet our Author with his accustomed Confidence affirms, That it is plain that here is an Authority to Command attributed to the Church, and a Power to enforce her Commands by inflicting of Censures, &c. But to what matters this Authority reacheth, he durst not acquaint us, for fear this great Mountain should dwindle into a Mole-hill: For, as the Matter is here laid, the Exercise of what he calls the Power of the Keys must be limited to the Churches Authority in making Rules and Canons about Order and Decency. For in other matters she can only propose or direct, which is so preca­rious a sort of Authority, that I see not how her Censures can be justifiable, where it extends no farther. And thus he hath made some kind of Fence about the Church against Schismaticks, but laid her open to all manner of Hereticks. And thus far I can­not find that abundant Satisfaction, which he tells us we must be convinced has been made for any former Mistakes. For, as for what he repeats concerning the Treatise of the unreasonableness of Separation, it hath received its Answer already; and I am not willing to follow this Man through all his Vagaries, who is wil­ling to say any thing but to the Purpose.

We are now come to the last thing, which is Episcopacy, as to which it seems Mr. Lowth had charged the Dean, that he had not asserted it in the number of those Institutions and Practices Apo­stolical, which are perpetual and immutable. To prove the contrary we are bid to look into the Discourse of the unreasonableness of Separation. But why should he send us to look that which he could not find himself? And I have another Reason, why I shall not follow the Advice; because I have looked long ago, and could not find it. Though otherwise I had no mean esteem of the Book. And here it is very observable, that all the Dean's Treatises fail our Author: We may if we please go pore out our Eyes in the unreasonableness of Separation, but not one word is thence cited; and no other Book so much as mentioned: And for his last Re­fuge he is forced to fly to the Ordination Sermon and Epistle, which ought not to be admitted for Proof; the Controversy being what was done before, and the Performance of that acknow­ledged. And had the Dean's Wrath suffered him to have the Ingenuity to acknowledge, what he had the Honesty to retract, [Page 25] and had he not disparaged so excellent a Sermon with that in­considerate, angry Epistle, I am apt to think he had heard no more of Mr. Lowth, unless in respect and kindness. But when he endeavours to agree with Mr. Lowth in the Sermon, and loads him with Crimes and Reproaches in the Epistle, I think he gave him a just Provocation in that manner to defend himself.

And yet here Mr. Lowth hath granted more, than our Au­thor knew how to prove. For he is so unlucky, that he would tempt one to think that he had rather a design to expose than vindicate the Dean. In the Epistle Dedicatory, which he is mightily pleased to call the Two-Penny Paper, the Dean (as he saith) tells us, That he does now think much more is to be said for the Apostolical Institution of Episcopacy, than he at that time apprehended; (that is, when he wrote the Irenicum) and I believe the Dean did mean honestly, but our Author did unadvisedly to write this passage, because it comes not up to the Case. For how much that more was, or whether it was enough to prove Episcopacy of Apostolical Institution, is not expressed: And it is well known, that very much is often said for a thing, and yet it doth not mount to a just proof. And though I should grant more than I need, viz. That Episcopacy is here acknowledged of Apostolical Institution, yet that doth not imply it to be perpetual and immutable, as he would perswade us. 'Tis true, that it happens to be so in this case; but he is more beholden to his luck, than any good Cunning for being in the right, for his consequence is not simply good, because the proposition is not universally true, That what­soever is of Apostolical Institution is perpetual and immutable: Nei­ther is his distinction between Apostolical Practice and Institu­tion of any force here: For there were Institutions as well as Practices Apostolical, which related to matters temporary and of indifferency: And amongst several of these he might have found Episcopacy herded in the Irenicum, though Mr. Lowth here mentions only the order of Widows. And I have known some persons, who have refused to eat black Puddings, alledging for themselves that Text, Acts 15. 29. which sure our Author will not deny to be an Apostolical Institution; and had he been ac­quainted with them, do not you think that his way of arguing would have excellently enabled him to convince them of their Folly? He ought not therefore barely from the Institution to infer the immutability, but rather from the terms of the Institu­tion, [Page 26] the design of the Author, the nature of the Thing, or the constant judgment of the Church, to have proved it to have been of that sort of Institutions, which are unalterable. There only remain two more passages, and those cited from the Ordination-Sermon; in one of which, the Dean mentions the consent of the Ancients; in the other the judgment of the Church of England concerning Episcopacy. Now, though I believe the Dean did use their Authority both to express and confirm his own sence, yet in strict arguing it will not follow, that he must be of the same mind. For it is well known, when Doctor Owen readily granted what was the Opinion of the Fathers concerning Schism, and yet at the same time knock'd them all down at a Blow, most Magisterially (and indeed most Impudently) asserting, That they were all out. But since enough might have been fetch'd from that Sermon, which speaks home, and to the present purpose; nothing of this ought to be urged in prejudice of the Dean, though it discover the injudiciousness of our Author in his choice, and how miserable a Defender he makes, when he becomes any thing serious. For my part, in a Case of this Nature, I am so far srom upbraiding any Man with what he publickly disown'd, and much more for the very disowning of it (as the Dean complains) that I think he hath attained to a greater measure of that Ver­tue so peculiar to Christianity, Self-denial, than is usual among Men, who can prevail with himself to do it, and certainly a particular honour is due unto him for it. But then I ought to be so just to Mr. Lowth as to say, that upon the best search I could make, I could not find any thing, that could fairly amount to such a thing, till that Sermon was published. And though the Dean, following his judgment in the Sermon, depart from the Irenicum, yet in the Epistle, gratifying his displeasure, he takes too much pains to defend it. And being he there causelesly falls so foul upon Mr. Lowth, I think he might justly defend himself in proving what he had formerly wrote to be true. And indeed he has very hard measure; for as to the Tenets controverted I do not find that any accuse Mr. Lowth to be in the wrong; and it is somewhat odd at one and the same time to acknowledge the goodness of his Cause, and rail against his Person. As for the Epistolizer, he pretends to no more in the Dean's behalf, than to prove that he had publickly disowned his juvenile Mistakes, which if he had done, he might well have charged Mr. Lowth with disingenuity; but failing in his proof, it returns upon [Page 27] himself. For certainly nothing can be more disingenuous than for a Man to clamour against another for maintaining the Right, whilst he himself hath the confidence at the same time to defend the wrong. As for the Ordination-Sermon, I grant, that it gives much Satisfaction to the matter of Episcopacy, but not in Mr. Lowth's particular Case, which was concerning what the Dean had wrote and done before. However I am glad that some Sa­tisfaction comes at any time, and I hope it will prove a means to sopite the Quarrel, and that when men meet in their Judg­ments, they will not maintain a War for the sake of their Pas­sions; for I am ready to perswade my self, that he, who hath thought fit to assert the immutability of Episcopacy, will not de­vest Church Officers of that power, which will render them un­capable of performing their Trust.

I had now done with the Letter, but that there remains some scattered passages, which though they reach not the merits of the Cause, yet are very Scandalous, and therefore some cursory Notice may be taken of them. He often accuseth Mr. Lowth of dealing severely and coursely with the Dean, and therefore thinks he hath just cause to expose his ill Manners. (as he calls it) though he doth it much after the same rate, that Diogenes trampled on Plato's Pride. To this I return, that I have often observed, that Mankind bears nothing with more impatience, nor thinks of any thing with greater bitterness, than Contempt: A real Injury, or considerable Damage, doth not touch them half so near the quick. And possibly, upon a due examination, good reason may be found at the bottom of this. Now Mr. Lowth had dealt fairly; he had privately acquainted the Dean with his Intentions, he had promised upon honest Conditions to expunge his name out of his Book; but to this he received no other Answer than scorn, and some foul Play. And it is likely, that this migh [...] make his Pen somewhat the keener: Besides, he is, in nature, no great Cour­tier; and we Countrymen are accustomed to plain dealing; or, as our Polite Epistolizer phrases it, Hob-nail'd Proverbs, to call a Spade, a Spade; and an Error, an Error. And though it may be no great Crime in a justifiable Case for men to act like them­selves, yet perhaps it might be very displeasing to this Author, who writes at that capering rate, as if he had been bred at a Dancing School, and at this time kept one.

Mr. Lowth had requested, That if an Answer was returned to his Letter, it might be done in a Scholar-like way (i. e.) by [Page 28] Argument. Upon this our Author huffs and swaggers, and pours out such a deal of Filth and frothy Stuff, as would turn a Man's Stomach; he is clearly for cashiering the Man, not ar­guing the Case. And indeed I think he might be very excusa­ble for not answering like a Scholar, who throughout his whole Letter never gives us any occasion so much as to suspect him to be one. But it doth reflect upon the Dean, that he should de­cline the Scholar-like way in a matter of such weight, and set up a Fellow, who is mightily pleased to think that he shall gain the Reputation of so vile a Man as Andrew Marvell. Men's Humours may be tickled, but their Judgments are rarely satisfied with fooling: And serious Persons will be apt to think, that there was great scarcity of Argument, where they betake themselves to such a course.

Another Quarrel against Mr. Lowth is, That he made his Animadversions no sooner. But he might have considered, that Mr. Lowth's business was to state the Case of Church Power, and the subject wherein it resided; which was a matter too nice to be done over-hastily; and what he Animadverted on the Dean, was only by the way, wherein he had forestall'd and laid a pre­judice against his Opinion; and it was in the Dean's power to prevent any Animadversions at all, by a civil Answer to his first Letter: And after all it matters not whether they were sooner or later, if they be true, unless he will admit Error to the Privilege to plead Prescription: and then he that girds at Mr. Lowth for Animadverting on the Dean after Twenty years space, and in his life time, would certainly have been very se­vere (had he been then living) upon Theophilus Alexandrinus, and Epiphanius, for condemning some Opinions of Origen above Five times twenty Years after he was dead. But though few may be concern'd for persorns at that distance; yet there are many who would not have so easily pardoned him upon the score of our Reverend Hooker, who must necessarily have fallen into the same condemnation, for taking T. C. to Task above Forty Years after he had appeared in Print against the Church of Eng­land; and that too when he had been answered long before in every minute particular by A. Whitgift. It is well for us, that the judicious Author of the Ecclesiastical Polity, was not of the same mind with our Letter-man, for then we had been deprived of one of the best pieces that ever was wrote in that kind.

[Page 29] But he is mightily troubled, and cannot imagine, what should give Mr. Lowth the Confidence to attack the Dean. And for once I care not, if I tell him: It was the Dean's printing several things in Prejudice of the true State and Exercise of Church Government; and what gave Mr. Lowth that Confidence, would have been any other Man's Warrant to have done the same. And he, who had all along laboured to be the Dean's Compurgator, could not (had he so pleased) but have seen this, and been so far in the right: But, that he might run from that as far as might be, he has devised another scandalous Reason, and with abundance of Circumlocution, and Coffee-house Phrases, tells us to this effect, That Mr. Lowth pretending to have been Conversant in some of the best Authors, had associated himself with Men of little or no Skill in that way, that he used to dictate to his ignorant Ad­mirers, give Laws to his Companions, and to swagger with the great Names of Bishops, Doctors, Fathers, &c. whilest all stood amazed and took him for an Oracle; and this puffed him up, that he thought himself an over-Match for the Dean, (i. e.) a parcel of Fools made him think himself Wiser than he was, and enterprize beyond his Strength. Whether he hath or not must be left to others to judge from the Arguments used on both sides. If the Dean must have no Equal, I wish him Joy of the Prero­gative: But could this Man no otherways raise his Reputation than upon the Ruines of others? Could not he make him a pub­lick Concern, without making the country Clergy publick Ninnies? What Necessity was he under to represent the Clergy of the prime Diocess of England as a company of Sots and Dunces, who understand little or nothing in their own Business and Employ­ment? Or doth he really think that whilest all sorts of Persons are really tripping at our Heels, we are so senselesly stupid as not to consider upon what Legs we stand? Is it not an effectual way to perswade People to adhere to the Church of England to tell them, that they are led by a parcel of blind Guides, who gape and stare at a Discourse of Antiquity, as if News were brought them from another World? 'Twas kindly done thus to sacrifice us by whole Hecatomb's to the Honour of his Idol. Surely if he be not an ignorant, yet he is a very malicious Ad­mirer. But had he thus causelesly blasted a whole Rank of Men in any regular Times, he would have been enjoined to a severer Pennance, than to walk to Highgate with Pease in his Shooes.

[Page 30] After he has thus set us out for Fools, he thinks he has frighted us away; and would perswade us, that Mr. Lowth is left as Me­lancholy as the poor Vicars Cow, and that all have deserted him. But I can assure you, that Mr. Lowth is not destitute of Friends; and though they are such as are not willing to become Partizans, yet they are Men who dare stand their Ground; and are so far from being driven from their Judgments by Noise and Buffoonry, that they are rather confirmed, seeing so little of Reason ap­pear against them. His talk of siding smells of Faction: But for me, he may be of what Persons Side he pleaseth. For my own part, I am without Respect of Persons on the Church of Eng­land's side, and shall neither be of the Dean's, nor any other Man's side, farther than they come up to her Constitutions: And in Matter of that Concern, the Honour and Interest of the Church will with me ever overweigh the Reputation of any single Per­son, be he otherwise never so great or learned. And by how much more Difficult the Times, or greater the Danger, so much the more necessary is it with all Carefulness to preserve our Body entire and sound. For therein, with Gods Blessing, consists her Strength and Safety. But if one Man may be allowed to depart from her Constitutions in one thing, another will take the like Liberty in another thing, till in the End she either fall in pieces of her self, or become an easy Prey to any Adversary, who cannot want Temptation to set upon such a shattered, dis­jointed Body; which Mischief, that God would prevent, shall be the daily Prayers of,

Your obliged Friend and Servant.


I Did suppose that the Author of the Letter in defence of the Dean, had been some little flurting Wit of the Town, who had been wheedled in to lend a Lift to a desperate Cause, and supply the Penury of Argument with Tricks and Trifling: But since I wrote these Papers, and had put them out of my own Pow­er, I am credibly informed, that he bears no less a Character than D. D. and is withal of considerable Reputation. On this Account some Reflections upon him may be thought severe: But he that will leave his Station, and make himself a Buffoon, may thank himself, if he be treated accordingly. And I am sorry, that my Apology must be to tell you, That he deserved some­what worse, who would hackney out himself to defend a particular Interest against his own Sence, and the true State of the Church; and that he stood in need of strong Diversion from Merriments and Jests, whose Conscience flew in his Face for what he forced himself to write; for that his private Judg­ment agrees not with his publick shew in this Matter, I could (if one Person give me Leave, who I think will not deny it) make appear from his own Letters, if it be required. But he, who will suffer himself to be a Tool, though otherwise sharp and good, must be content to be put upon such ill Services as his Masters please; and though he deserve better Usage, yet shall be allowed neither the Choice nor Judgment of his own Employment. But possibly upon better Consideration he may perceive that there is much Difference between writing against Mr. J a Nonconformist Teacher, and running his Head against a downright Church of England-Man, who thinks primitive Posi­tions and Practice, to be the fairest Comment on the Charter of Christ Jesus.



This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.