A LETTER TO THE JESUITS in Prison, Shewing them how they may get out.

Honoured Dear SIRS,

DO not vainly flatter your selves with the hopes of Martyrdom; You know as well as I can tell you: 'Tis the Cause, not purely Suffer­ing, which makes a Martyr. If the State of Venice might lawfully prohibit you their Territories, so may our Gracious Sovereign law­fully prohibit you his Dominions; provided he tolerate (as he does) a sufficient number of Christian Priests and Bishops to Preach the Doctrine, and Administer the Sacraments of our Lord Jesus to his People. Seing therefore (con­trary to His Majesties Prohibition) you have entred his Kingdoms, to the distur­bance of the Ecclesiastical and Civil Peace, and to the disquieting of his pious Subjects Consciences, by telling them they are damned for not communicating with a Prelate as their supream Pastor, a thousand Miles off, who has no autho­rity over them: Confess your fault and ask pardon, and be gone; or else hearti­ly joyn with your Natural Liege and his Bishops, in reforming abuses crept into the Christian world through the negligence of Ecclesiastical Prelates, and in re­storing the true primitive Christian Doctrine and Discipline to our poor Country. Say no more falsly, you are hardly dealt with, to be prohibited your Native Soyl under pain of being Hang'd, Drawn and Quarter'd, for loving your Neighbours as your selves, for gently admonishing them they are precipitating themselves into eternal Misery by all manner of sins and wickedness. Say no more neither, our [Page 2] Blessed Lord bids you go teach all Nations his holy Gospel; but no says King James; I except my three Kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland. You are mistaken, you are not prohibited England either by our gracious Soveraign or his Royal Grandfather, for your preaching Christs holy Gospel; but for your superadded Doctrines of the Popes Temporal and Spiritual Supremacy, of new de­vised Indulgences and other Trashy Tenents and practices prejudicial to our Souls health, and destructive of the Civil Polity. Joyn your selves to our Communion, and bring a long with you as much zeal as you please against all manner of sin and wickedness, only leave your Treasonable and Trashy Doctrines behind you, and you are welcom.

Know my Dear Friends, God is deservedly angry with your Society for your Deposing, and other Trashy Doctrines. Do not die with an Equivocation in your Mouths, but confess (to the glory of God and the confusion of your Order,) that not a man of your Society hath writ against the Popes power of Deposing Heretical Princes, but either they treated not the question, or else they posi­tively held he had such a power: As have done you know, your Santarel, Bel­larmine, Suarez and others. And if your later Writers teach no such Doctrine, 'tis not because they hold it not, but because they are politickly prohibited to meddle with the Controversy. Your silence in this matter is a tacit consent, unless you would positively renounce what your prime Doctors have positively taught: If this be Christian Doctrine, doubt not to die for it, if not, abjure it. And know, if you suffer Imprisonment or other Grievances for such Treasonable Doctrines, you are in the sight of God no more Confessors, or Martyrs, then common Highway-men, or other Fellons. Acknowledge all your damnable Doctrines of Deposing Princes for Heresie or Mis-government, of Equivocation, and forswea­ring by Oath what you are guilty of, to defend your honor, &c. For these and your other damnable Doctrines God evidently punishes you and your Party. Hear­tily renounce these and God and men will favour you. To say you renounce King-killing Doctrine is an Equivocation: 'Tis ill halting before a Cripple; a Deposed King is no King, but an Usurper and Rebel, if he go on after his deposition to exercise Regal power: And consequently it becomes lawful to the next man that meets him to Kill him, if the next Heir so command. So that, whosoever holds the Deposing Doctrine, necessarily holds King-klling Doctrine. And therefore if it be your unhappy fate to die at Tyburn, which I hope it will not be, renounce candidly the Deposing Doctrine, and confess ingenuously withall, that your Writers universally either teach it, or else say nothing of the Question. Our Lord Jesus is purging his Church, he abhorres the Papal Infallibility, his Spiri­tual and much more his Temporal universal Supremacy, your Indulgence Doctrine, your Attrition Doctrine, &c. And so must you too, if you ever expect his fa­vor in this World or the other.

If ever any ones sin was legible in their punishment, your and your parties is: Take notice then of these seroius Reflections. By a Breue from the Pope your General Licensed Santarel's Book for Deposing of Princes for Heresie or Mis-go­vernment: And you are accused that your General by a Breue from the Pope appointed Officers Military and Civil in our Gracious Soveraigns Dominions. You commonly teach the people that our Blessed Saviours natural Body is in Heaven and on Earth at the same time; and your chief accuser must (you say) prove himself to have been in two places at once to make his Testimony valid. You say its Pride and unsufferable Arrogancy to question the Decrees of General Coun­cils, undoubtly after they are in a manner universally received; and they are looked [Page 3] upon as willfully blind who question your guiltiness after a whole Parliament has resolved you guilty, especially after this has been also in a manner generally belie­ved by the whole people. You falsly maintain an usurped Papal Power, and you are accused to make use of it to Treason and Rebellion. You have notoriously abused the power of Ecclesiastical Dispensation, partly by extending it to Divine Obligati­ons in Oaths and Vows made to God, and manifestly by making use of it to avarice and gain: And you are believed to have a Dispensation for Lies and Perjuries in the very Article of Death. Your exacting a set mulct upon Priests for Con­cubins, looked much like a giving leave to keep one for the increase of the Church's Treasury: And you are accused to have leave to commit most horrid Villanies for the Church's interest. You have abused the Power of Absolution, to absolve as oft as customary sinners pleased: And you are accused with perjury to attest your innocency, and then to absolve one another afterwards. Not that I accuse you of the Crimes laid to your charge, I leave you to God and your own Consciences. But I say, your Doctrines are the just cause of all your sufferings. You have taught the World to equivocate and deny with Oathes the Crimes they are guilty of, and every one is laughed at as sensless who believes a word you say or swear in your own defence. If in your persons you be innocent of the crimes you are charged with, your Doctrines are more manifestly punished by the Providence of Heaven. At length acknowledge not onely your Personal, but your very Church-faults. 'Tis a notorious cheat, that your Church is chargeable with nothing but the mistakes of General Councils. If I cannot meet with an imme­diate Ghostly Guide, one in ten but he teaches me dangerous Doctrines▪ and Practises, my Soul is in no less danger by my being in your Communion, than if the Errors and Fopperies of every petty Confessor were so many Decrees of Oecumenical Assemblies. That which influences our Souls either to good or bad, are the notoriously known Sentiments of our immediate Guides, and not the secret and to few known Decisions of Christian Councils. I will not say with a Friend of yours, Calumny was your crime, and by Calumuy you are punished: yet I wish you would reflect how falsly and undeservedly you calumniated the Great Mr. White, and the Divine Mr. Arnauld (and indeed whom you pleased) in the Court or Rome, and disparaged amongst your Devotes their incomparable Writings with blind and surreptitious Censures. We are verily guilty concerning our Brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul when he besought us, and we would not hear: therefore is this distress come upon us, Gen. 42. 21.

You may say, and perhaps truly, you never were taught your selves the De­posing Doctrine, nor never taught it others; because the teaching of it by some of your Authors made you odious to Christian Princes, and thereupon your General prohibited all medling with the Question. You may also perhaps truly say, you do not believe the Doctrine to be true, that is, as an Article of your Faith. But what security is this to Christian Princes, whom you deem Hereticks, if in your hearts you generally think it a probable opinion, partly for intrinsecal reasons, but manifestly for the Authorities of your own, and other Doctors of your Church? Especially you commonly maintaining as you do, that it's lawful to follow a probable opinion, though but even extrinsecal­ly probable, as you speak; and this without dispute, when great Good is likely to ensue upon your acting according to such an opinion. God forbid I should go about to add afflictions to your afflictions, but I would gladly shew you how you may appease God and Man's anger against you, by inducing you to an humble and penitent acknowledgment of your manifest and notorious [Page 4] faults. Your blind zeal for the Pope's Temporal and Spiritual Power, has brought all this evil upon you; examine it well and impartially, at least now when God afflicts you for the idolizing of it, lest you hear, and deservedly, Jer. 2. 30. In vain have I smitten your children, they received no correction.

Acknowledge the plain truth; the Pope, as from Christ, has no more power in England, than the Bishop of Canterbury has in Italy. All Bishops are abso­lute Spiritual Monarchs in their Diocesses; Archbishops, Primates, and Patri­archs, are purely humane inventions, for Union and Order sake, in the vacancy of General & Provincial Councils; as for a Supreme Pastor, that would be as inconve­nient, as a Civil Monarch of the whole World. The Government of the Church of Christ is not Monarchical, but Aristocratical; St. Peter was no more the Vicar of Christ, than any one of the other Apostles, they were all his Vicars, and so is every Christian Bishop, and has power all over the World to ordain Priests, to preach the Gospel, and to administer Christs Sacraments; but by mutual ac­cord for Order's sake, and to avoid confusion, they exercise not this power out of their particular Diocesses. The twelve Apostles divided the World amongst them, that so their labours might be more profitable, and no place left uncul­tivated; the like is done and to be done by all Christian Bishops till Dooms-day come. Consider attentively, whether seeing Jesus Christ resolved his Church should be spread all over the Earth, it be not as certain he would never ordain an Universal Monarch over it, as 'tis certain he would not appoint a Govern­ment which would be impracticable, useless, and sensless. A Monarch even over the Western part of the World, what mischief has it not done, in making strange Doctrines and Practises universal? such are the Doctrines of infusion of habitual grace by the words of Absolution, Indulgences, mock-Absolutions, &c. No less notorious mischiefs has it done, in exhausting vast Riches out of all the Pro­vinces of Europe to satiate the avarice and ambition of one Pompous See. Be­sides, the unanimous belief and practices of several Christian Provinces in the same Faith and Rites, what assurance does it not give for their being Aposto­lical? But when all are over-awed and commanded to believe or practise as one Spiritual Monarch pleases, their agreement has far less force. Nor is there fear of as many Christian Religions as there are Christian Provinces, provided they meet frequently in General and Provincial Councils, as they ought, and deter­mine nothing of Faith to others which is doubtful to themselves, and resolve no­thing to be Apostolical, but what is so clear to them all to be so, in the holy Scri­ptures, Tradition, &c. as they cannot doubt but it had its origin from the Apostles; for what's so clear to one Province, cannot be obscure to another, consulting the same safe means of not mistaking the holy Scriptures, holy Fathers, &c. Our Judgment are as agreeing as our Eyes▪ and no twenty men can so clearly see an object at such a distance, so as they cannot doubt they see it; but any three men of equal good eye-sight, at the same distance, must needs see the same. If Re­formers have disagreed, 'twas because they stuck not to this Rule, and therefore their disagreement ought to be no prejudice to those who are resolved rigidly to adhere to it.

In my next I shall hint to you the Reasons of my Change, which so much scanda­lizes you, but indeed ought to edifie you, and all good Christians.

Your real Friend, William Hutchinson.

London, Printed for the Author, and are to be sold at the Bear and Orange-tree in Prince's-street. 1679.

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