Written by a Protestant.

Dedicated to the Citizens of LONDON.

With Allowance.

LONDON: Printed for F. Smith, and are to be Sold by R. Jenaway, in Queens-Head-Alley in Pater-Noster-Row, 1688.

To the Honoured and Worthy Gentlemen, the Citizens and Inhabitants of the most Eminent and Famous City of London.


THese Papers are directed to you, in regard your City hath been the chiefest Scene of many of those things, which their design is for the future to prevent. I do not direct them to you as consi­dered in your Body Politick, but to each man by himself (that may happen to look on them) in his indivi­dual Capacity. And having said this, I think it proper in the next place to give you some account of the Reasons that chiefly induced me to this undertaking, which you may briefly take, in what follows.

I was for several Years a very unpleasant Spectator of the proceedings of the Church of England, towards those her Dissenters, that could not Worship God with their Liturgy and Ceremonies. Which as I did deeply dislike, so I would fain have excused her, and laid the blame if I could some­where else, (as themselves it seems now would do.) But I found it impossible to satisfie my reason in that Attempt, while I daily met with, and heard of such inveterate Sermons, against that Rank of Persons, aswere then Preached by the most Capital Men of the Function, and as the Old Cocks crew, so did the young Ones learn, who are not to be exempted from acting their part in the Clamour; divers of them being no sooner allow'd to tread the Stairs of the Pulpit, but with their little Declamations that way, were quickly as loud as the best of their Doctors.

Had the Supreme Civil Magistrate or his Subordinates, dri­ven on those Prosecutions, while the Clergy had interposed [Page]with their Christian perswasions to the contrary, it would have gone very far towards the lessening the Complaint; but when the Civil Magistrates shall draw back, and the Di­vine shall Spur forward, I know not who in this case can be the Clergies Advocate.

But I shall say no more of this; only entreat you to look back, and consider how exceeding uneasie all things that re­lated to your Station (as Citizens) were made to you. Do you not remember what commotions, inquietudes, strange and unfriendly Divisions, were all that time among you, and how one Neighbour was put upon destroying another, and every Man in fear of himself, and jealous of whomsoever he spoke to?

Do you not likewise remember what huge Interruptions many of you met with in your dealings with your Country Shop-keepers, Traders and Manufacturers, even to a great stop of your wonted Traffick? And (as other bad effects these proceedings had upon your City) what a Stand most Men were at, who had let out their Moneys at Interest, or Lodged them with the Gold-Smith-Lankers, or the Chamber of Lon­don? While divers of them thereupon conceived those Dis­satisfactions, as caused the calling in so much of those Monies, in so suddain a manner, as to beget that Insolvency, which disappointed the future settlement of many of the Sons and Daughters of your sellow Citizens. A thing perhaps would make your Hearts Bleed, should you see the like Mis-fortunes happen to your own Widows and Children.

But Blessed be God, the State of Affairs are now much al­tered by his Majesties late Declaration, taking away the oc­casion of these Distractions, insomuch as there seems to me to be the beginning of a General happy Settlement, while I see Men of different perswasions in Religion, that before stood at a distance each from the other now, amicably to intermix and unite in their Trade, Correspondencies, and Business; yea, and in the publick Government both of the City and [Page]the Kingdom, from whence it is already perceived, that the difference of opinion, in Religion, hinders nothing from an unanimous agreement of all Persons, managing those Trusts in a due Loyalty to the King, and for the general good and peace of the Kingdom, while one party is not set to oppress the other in his Religion.

Nor need any Man to doubt, but such a good beginning would soon grow up to an absolute Perfection, did not some Men (who have little reason more than the Gratifying their own Jealousies) make the opposition. For what Foundation can be better laid for the Flourishing State of any Kingdom, then that assurance His Majesty hath given in the two parti­culars of his Declaration, which he would have to be Esta­blished in a more perpetual Law, viz. That the Administra­tion of his Government shall fully be with such Justice, as every Man shall be preserved in his Temporal property. And in Spiritual concernments as to Worshipping of God, shall have his free Liberty. Which two things being firmly setled; from whence can it be imagined, any pretence should be found for the worst of Spirits, to set on Foot any Disturbances, Plots, or Insurrections? He that now should but so much as offer at any such thing, will presently fall under that general Dis­gust with all English Men, as they will think him to deserve no less punishment, than to be presently Hung up by the Heels, until he Spew out his Gall and Die.

Who they are that make the opposition I speak of, and by what means they manage it, you will find in the Book it self: I shall only say here, that it is by some of those that heretofore have carried all the Crack for Loyalty; and this is the true cause that hath drawn these Disquisitions and Expostulations from me; that so I may know how they can make what they do of this kind consistent, with their present Loyalty: In order to which you will meet with a necessary question, put to them for that purpose.

The Matters of Fact on which I often touch, and upon [Page]which a great part of my Discourse doth proceed; having been many of them done within the Lines and Limits of your Liberties. I have thought no other Persons sitter to be made Arbitrators in them (as they are here Controverted) than your Selves.

And that there may be no mistakes, or needless Disputati­ons in the present case, I have plainly laid down my own No­tions of Loyalty: wherein I have thought the Nature of it more especially to consist, That so if any Person hath a mind to appear against what I have Written, I do first pray him to contradict me in those Notions, and then he will recover me from my first Error: or if he finds he cannot do that, I shall then pray him to shew me my bad Arguings from such good Principles, and that will recover me from my second Error, (if, of any such Error I should be guilty) and this is the Method I intreat any such Person to take, that may so concern himself.

I have been a Man who have always thought, that there was much more in the Duty of Loyalty, than to Write or Preach against Rebellion; or cry up the Doctrine of a meer external Non-resistance, always believing, that Men may be guilty of high Disloyal Acts even to the introducing of a Re­bellion) while themselves declare they abhor it. This I learn'd from the Writing of King Charles the First,Vide Page 18.30. as you will meet with in its place.

If any think I have written more favourably of the Roman Catholick Religion, than becomes a Protestant, I must reply to him, I have written nothing at all, either for or against one way of Religion or other, but rather Refer (as I said just now) to such matters of Fact, relating to the Three perswasions of the R. Catholicks: The Church of England, and Protestant Dissenters, as were necessary to carry on what I in­tended, and if in doing so, and in comparing some things or practices of the Church of England, with the Church of Rome. I find that the Church of England hath upon its Prote­stant [Page]Principles, made Laws for the punishing her Prote­stant Dissenters (producing as bad Effects, as those of the Church of Rome) and thereupon say that the Prote­stants Sufferings from the Church of the England, were in their Extent harder upon them, since the last Settlement of their Uniformity, than they can be said to have been under Queen Mary: it doth not follow from hence, that I Write for her Religion, but rather that I am one that desire to Write impartially.

Or if while I see the Church of England Ministers, either in their Printed Books, or Sermons, exposing as they have done of late, some Doctrines or Practices of the other Church, more to a Popular Contempt, than for an Edifying Infor­mation of the People, as they formerly dealt by the Dissen­ters, and take occasion from thence to shew them in some particulars, how very many of their own Practices and Doctrines, may be in the same manner exposed. I hope I may not be the worst Protestant for so doing.

If I reverence that Divine Principle, viz. That Consci­ence in the matter of Gods Worship is not o the forced, I am not to be blamed, until I be otherwise convinced; no, nor if I Write against those who oppose His Majesty in settling the Kingdom (upon that Principle) in a Freedom from those Distractions, which the practices of many upon the contrary Principles, have ever since the Reformation brought upon it. The principle is such as I cannot but va­lue and love with all my Heart, because I know it to be so agreeable to the Sence of every Mans mind, That no Man, who knows what belongs to the Sincere worshipping of God, dare allow himself to be unwilling in any part of his Life, to live otherwise than under its Benefit, when I am otherwise convinced I may recal much of what I have Written; but until then I am like to go on in the same way I am in.

If my Stile or way of writing be offensive to you, as any [Page]whit too sharp, I must crave your remission of that (if you judge it to be a fault and for my excuse, must say, I unhappily learn'd it from the Church of Englands chiefest Doctors. He that shall Read their Controversal Books and Sermons, as I have done, written against the Roman Catholicks and Pro­testant Dissenters, will tell you it is next to an impossibility, not to imbibe the Faculty of their way of Writing.

Gentlemen, I have no more to say here, but wish your Citty, all imaginable happiness, and each of your Selves and Families; the Blessings of this World, and that which is to come.

Some necessary Disquisitions, and Close EXPOSTULATIONS WITH THE Clergy and People OF THE Church of England, &c.

HOW highly the Church of England hath valued Her Self, both upon the account of Her Loyalty, and the super excellency of Her Constitution and Admi­nistrations, is so well known among us, as no Man needs my telling him any thing about it. This is that Her Preachers and Members have so much boasted of; as if in the point of Loy­alty they were the only choice Persons in all his Majesties Domi­nions, and in the case of Church Excellency, they were the best and purest of all Churches in the World.

If all this were true, it is pity they should have ever done any thing, that might in the least wise lose or darken the Glory of such Excellencies; or to make any Persons think otherwise of them, than they think of themselves: But I am in great doubt, that if the People of England were divided into four Parts, more then three of the four would be found to be of another Mind; not only as to the excelling goodness of their Church, but from some things they have lately done, as to their Loyalty too. In the [Page 2]former it is apparent, for why else have such a Multitude of in­telligent and well disposed Persons (as to Religion) with-drawn themselves from Her? choosing father to bear all sorts of Afflictions then to be held in its Communion. Not only a great number of Catholicks (for so we commonly in compliance with their own phrase, call those who hold to the Religion of the Chruch of Rome) but even among Protestants also, far greater numbers are found Zealous Dissenters from Her, which surely must be from some­thing they both of them find to give them great Dissatisfaction.

And as to their Loyalty, I could likewise with that they had given no occasion to considerate Men to find as much defect in that as the other; being such as in many Mens Opinions hath drawn upon it so great a Blemish, as will not easily be wiped off; especially while they cannot but take notice of two things. The one is, for so many of Her Clergy Mens Vehement Preaching against the Kings Religion. The other is, of the Irreverent Speeches and Censures many of Her Members have been found to express against His late Declaration.

I must acknowledge, they have had the Advantages heretofore of tendring their Loyalty very specious; when as all the Kings after the Reformation were wholly of their Perswasion, and yielded themselves very much to be led by them, but now when we have a King from whose Religion they considerably differ, their Loyalty seems to be like that of those Mens which they formerly Condemned. I do not say they take up Arms, but as some Men have ordered the matter, they have done that them­selves which heretofore did in others too much lead the way un­to such bad practises.

When I first observed that strain of Preaching, in which ma­ny of them run, immediately upon his Majesties coming to his Throne; I must confess my self amazed at it, for I saw him no sooner proclaimed King, but all on a sudden we had such ratling Sermons, both in City and Country against his Religion, as if the Preachers had seen in a Vision that the Religion of Rome had been to be set up here in the first Month of his Reign. Their hearers also, and among them some of the chiefest ranck as to external quality (too much influenced it may be, by such kind of Preaching) have not been wanting to express themselves at the same rate of Ill Reflections against his Declaration; touching which I have heard such hard Speeches as I could not possibly [Page 3]have thought could have ever come from Persons in Member­ship with that Church. To be plain and short, they have not only in the general suggested that there would be an Alteration in the National Religion; but they stick not to say, that the pre­sent Liberty granted for the free Worshipping of God, is purpo­sly to introduce Popery; and contemptuously compare the Li­berty granted by the Declaration to a Scaffold, set up for that intent which must be so much the worse said of them, as that the De­claration it self assures them the Protection of their own Religion as it is now Established.

I shall not Expatiate on the Occasions, Grounds, and Methods, of our English Reformation, either in Doctrinals or Discipline; but only observe, that after some beginnings in K. H. 8ths time, and further progress made under K. E. 6th all turned Retrograde by Q. Mary. In the Reign of Q. Elizabeth things were brought again to some seeming Consistency; and then, that which we now term the Church of England by a Sanction of State, re­ceived its full Estabishtment.

The Constitution and Nature of which Church is now become to be an Independent National Hierarchy, of Arch Bishops, Bishops, Deans, Arch-Decons, Prebendarys, &c. whose chief Worship was at first made to be with a Liturgy, but such an one as wherein it was in Ʋnity with no other Church upon the face of the Earth; tho by this time, there were divers other Protestant Churches in being: Yet was this set up and setled with as much absoluteness, as if it had been all indited by the Apostles, or our Saviour Himself. Un­to this Worship, whosoever came not, or absented by the space of a Month, was to be punished in the forfeiture of twenty pounds successively for every Month so offending. This was the be­ginning of the Penal Laws for the support of the Reformation; after which others were made more severe, especially, against those who were in Church Orders of the Catholick Religion, for Death was to be inflicted upon any of them that were but so much as found to be within the Kingdom.

This Reformation had not long continued before divers Pro­testants themselves began to find it faulty; it was much wondred on all hands, when it was observed, how all was pretended to be done in it according to the Rule of the Scripture, while that Rule and their whole constitution did so much disagree. That they should keep up among themselves a Superiority of Pastors, and [Page 4]reject the having one to be universal. That they should with great violence inforce a few Ceremonies singled out for some un­known use, and yet cast off others (used in the Church from whence they reformed) no less inviting and significant; There were also great Exceptions against their Liturgy, the R. Catholicks complain'd, that tho' indeed it was taken almost all out of their Service, yet, it was so mingled and mangled as that they had made it utterly defective to the ends of a compleat rule of Wor­ship for them to joyn with. Many Protestants who liked well enough to see a Reformation begun, yet thought the first under­takers went but half way; but above all other things it was great­ly misliked, that such new things and so different from all others Churches should be so severely imposed.

These things (as Cambden writes) presently bred great distra­ction: 'Tis incredible (saies he) what Controversies and Disputa­tions arose upon this, which he speaks in relation to Queen Eliza­beths time, and the new impositions that followed the first Setle­ment, and the prosecutions to inforce that uniformity; for he gives us an Account how about the Year 1583. Bishop Witgift who was advanced from the See of Worcester to that of Canter­bury, propounded to the Ministers three new Articles for their Subscribing, which set on foot those differences. But more to my purpose, is the Lord Treasurer Burleghs Letter to the Arch-Bishop himself upon these Commotions, dated July 5th, 1584. Wherein he complains of the Arch Bishops proceeding, and the ill effects thy were like to have upon the Queens Safety.

May it please your Grace (saith he) I am sorry to trouble you so often as I do, but I am more troubled my self: not only with many private Petitions of Sundry Ministers recommended from Per­sons of Credit for peaceable Persons (yet greatly troubled) but also I am dayly now charged by Councellors, and publick Persons to neg­lect my Duty in not staying these your Graces proceedings so Vehement and so General against Ministers, and Preachers, as thereby evil dis­posed Persons are animated, and the Queens Majesty endangered. It seems from hence that this has been an Old Trade among our Episcopal Clergy; first, to make very uncouth Impositions, and then perplex peaceable Ministers that cannot Conscienciously sub­scribe them. And a little while after he tells His Grace again, how these proceedings were rather a device to seek for offenders, than to re­form any: I wish we had not as much occasion to say the same [Page 5]thing now in reference to some of our late Contrivances, as this grate State Man did then; however, from the premises the con­clusion may be fairly made, how unsutable a thing it appears to have been then judged for the Reformation, to think to settle it self and its Princes in peace by such Methods.

Nor did these Distractions cease with the Death of that Queen, for though the Non-conformists might not have been dealt with so severely upon Kings James the firsts coming to the Crown (in regard the manner of the Church of Scotlands worship differed much from the Liturgy and Ceremonies of England, by which means things might continue in the more quietness and peace for a while) yet in some competent time, the Clergy who were always working both with him and King Charles the first, to keep the Reigns of their Church Discipline as strait and hard upon them as may be, prevail'd much upon both those Kings to countenance them in divers of their new injunctions, until all things broke our into a most woful Confusion.

I know the Church of England are unwilling to own, that the rigorous Imposing and Prosecuting their new Articles, Oaths, and Subscriptions, brought on the War in 1641. but those that will give themselves the trouble to look into the Printed Speeches still remaining with us, spoke then in the House of Commons, may there be satisfied how they improved were to bring an Odium up­on the Kings Government, and inflame the Spirits of the People into a War, which ever since may justly be called Bellum Episcopale.

What deplorable miseries this War produced to the Royal Fami­ly first, to the Nobility and Gentry next; yea, and to the Clergy themselves at last. How their Liturgy was trod under foot, their Bishops and whole Hierarchie rooted up, their Church Lands sold, and a second Reformation proclaimed to correct the first, are all things fresh in Memory to those who are still living and saw them, and all the world has wondered how the Church of England did so soon forget them, as it appears She did; for She was no sooner out of the Fiery Furnance of her Afflictions by the Resto­ration of King Charles the 2d, but down right she falls upon her old pollicies of effecting an uniformity by vertue of Penal Laws, when they had seen before the event of them in their Predecstors, to have given them so much discredit; and when they might have sufficiently learned how impossible it is upon Protestants Prin­ciples, to erect and enforce a National uniformity in Religion to [Page 6]any one way of Worship; but that there would still be Dissenters who upon their own Principles may plead an Exemption from it.

However, they resolved to make a second Experiment, and once more to try if they could make the whole People in England to be in their Religion all of one Complexion; to which purpose a new Act of Uniformity is made, more strict than that which went before, with a new Test of Assent and Consent annexed there­to; for bare Conformity in the use of the Liturgy will not now do, there must be Swearing also: All other waies of Religious publick Worship are made Conventicles, and the Act of 20 l. a Month for not coming to Church revived; and tho' it was alwaies thought to have been made directly against R. Catholicks, it must now be made a sharp Scourge equally to all Dissenters.

What Confusions and Troubles these things brought upon His Majesties Subjects, may be understood something from those who have given a publick Account of them, a Printed Catalogue has informed us of neer 2000 Ministers turned out of their Livings by the Uniformity Act, which was soon followed by another made at Oxford, that turned them also out of their Houses to seek their Bread where they were no wise like to find it. Another who was well able to make the Estimation, informs us of fifteen thou­sand Families ruined by the Conventicle Act, by proceedings against their Estates, and Imprisonment of their Persons; among whom (he saies) five thousand dyed under their bonds: And if we suppose but three Children a peice to belong to those Fami­lies one with another, we must compute no less than forty five thou­sand sufferers in their Estates by these Penal Laws; for if the Pa­rents be ruined, their Children cannot but be deep Sufferers with them.

Do we talk of Queen Maries daies, as times of sharp Persecuti­ons? Alas! they were little to this, Doctor Burnet gives an account but of 284. that suffered death in Her time, and what is this to 5000. that have dyed under this Church of Englands Persecuti­on; nor doth he say any thing of loosing their Estates, or the Childrens being deprived of what their Parents had. I know a great matter is made by punishing Persons with Death; but for my part I see little difference between suffering by the present Executi­on of Death, and being stifled or starved to Death by the necessi­ties and hardships of a Prison, and supposing it lawful to make such a choice in case I must necessarily suffer by one of the two; I [Page 7]should choose to suffer by the former rather then by the latter, and I know many more to be of my mind.

How those of the Church of England can defend Her, from being the only procuring cause of all these Miseries to those Multi­tude of afflicted Persons and Families. I can no waies apprehend, let them that can do it, begin their Work as soon as they please; in the mean time I hope they will not be angry, if I endeavour to shew them how much all their proceedings this way was against the mind of King Charles the second; who all along endeavoured to put a stop to their Severities, from the desires he had that his Subjects might have injoyed the Liberties in Religion which they now do; and this before he came into England, as well as after­wards, so soon as he saw what work was like to be made by the Execution of those Laws they had got him to sign, chosing other more pious and peaceable Methods for his Subjects Ease. Let us hear some of his own Words, viz.

His Declaration from Breda, April 4th, 1660. gives the first assurance of this. We declare a Liberty to tender Consciences, and that no Man shall be disquieted or called in question for differences in Opinion, which do not disturb the Peace of the Kingdom. Then again Feb. 10th. 1667. Speaking to the Parliament one thing (saies he) I hold my self obliged to recommend to you, at this present; which is, that you would seriously think of some course to beget a better Ʋnion and Composure in the Minds of my Protestant Subjects in matters of Religion, &c. Which undoubtedly must be intended towards the mi­tigation of the Penal Laws, for in his Declaration, March 5th. 1671. He complains again of the severities then in use, saying, That it was evident by the sad experience of 12 years, that there was little fruit of all those forcible courses, and many frequent waies of Co-ertion that we have used for the reducing of all erring and dissent­ing Persons. Again, in his Speech to both Houses of Parliament, 1678. I meet you here with the most earnest desire, that a Man can have to Ʋnite the Minds of my Subjects, both to me and one another, and resolve it should be your fault if the success be not sutable to my desires.

Thus for neer twenty years together, was this King labouring against the Violences of the Church of England, towards those his Subjects whose Worshipping of God differed from theirs; and who were the Men, but themselves that then opposed Him in it? And at whose door but theirs must all these deplorable Calamities [Page 8]be laid, that have happened by the want of that Indulgence, that King would have given, and is now granted by his Royal Bro­ther and Successor, they may if they please consider it more fully at their Leisure.

His Majesty that now is, by a Gracious and most Wise Retrospe­ction, upon all that had been Transacted in these Affairs, during the four last Kings Reigns; and from a God-like compassion to­wards his Oppressed Subjects, in the midst of their Calamities, sends out his most refreshing Declaration, suspending the Executi­on of all those Penal Statutes, that had been but very little before so fiercely Executed. Upon this, many thousands of the Prote­stant, Dissenters, of all perswasions through out the Kingdom (who had been formerly by the Church of England represented to the late King, as a sort of Humoursome, Fanatical, Disobedient Persons, and Enemies to Monarchy, and every thing else that looked that way) come in with their Humble Acknowledgments. First, of Gods goodness to them, as believing such a publick Mercy, could not be but by immediate his guidance of the Kings Heart in the thing; after this they declare their Joy and Thanks to His Majesty, as far as Honest and Dutiful Words can express, as­suring him of their Loyalty, and Prayers for his long and prospe­rous Reign.

They humbly tell Him also, that to his Three Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland, he hath now established to him­self a fourth Kingdom in the Hearts of those his formerly oppressed Subjects, which as I believe to be true; so was it modestly spoken inasmuch as the Dissenters are known to be, far exceeding the quan­tity of a fourth part of the People of the three Kingdoms. Seve­ral others testify their joy, in that so good an opportunity is given them to express the truth of their Loyalty, which the Church of England had hitherto presumed to have been entailed wholly on themselves. A great many engage to Live and Die with him, to the utmost of their lives and fortunes. But passing by all others, I would especially mark those who in the Capacity of a Grand Jury, thank the King for his Declaration as it has preven­ted honest Neighbours from indicting one another in the things of Religion, which to many Consciencious Men was a very great burthen; and to the whole Kingdom a greater vexation then I can now stand to speak of, begiting ill will, and irreconsitable dif­ferences between one and the other of his Majesties Subjects; which [Page 9]being by this means now taken away, it is hoped their old Corre­spondency will be henceforth renewed in a true love of each Man to his Neighbour.

In the midst of this happy Union, between His Majesty and his Dissenting Protestant Subjects, the Church of England like the Chur­lish Elder Brother, mentioned by our Saviour in the Parable of the Prodigal, stand at a distance and Grumble: They will neither thank their Princely Parent for the Favour He vouchsafeth to themselves, nor will they come in to rejoyce with their Younger Brethren upon their Dutiful return, and the Kings kind reception of them; a thing so much the more culpable since none of the fatted Calfs (I mean the Church Revenues) are in the least killed for them, but are as they were before wholly in the Church of Englands own Possession.

'Tis almost beyond rehearsals, the dislike they shew of this Ʋnion; as if they delighted to keep up the same, or raise other and worse Confusions, during his present Majesties Reign, as they begot in the time of his four last Predecessors.

The bond of this Ʋnion which I may say, is His Majesties Gra­cious Declaration, many of them can scarce hear named, but they are ready to fly back like Men that had trod on a Serpent: One shakes the Head, another bites the Lip, a third Scouls and Frowns; with as many other Evidences of their dislike, as Bodily Gestures can shew: And it would have been well, could they have contented themselves within the Bounds of those tacite Intimations of their displeasure; but this they could not do, they must also break into Words and open Censures, such as I have named before.

I do not charge all with this, but I must say, I daily find and meet with an abundance too many that are so doing; insomuch as I think it highly necessary for every Man in his place to put a Stop as far as he can, to the further progress of it. For my self, I know no better way that I can take, then to mind them of the Inconsisten­cy of such deportment with their boasted of Loyalty; a thing of which they have seemed to be as tender, as of the Aple of their Eye. And if they are still so serious therein, as they would be esteemed, they should as I conceive judge themselves not a little concerned in a Question I have here to propose to them, and the rather, because, I undertake to maintain the Negative.

The question is plainly this, viz. Whether it be Consistent with that high degree of Loyalty so much boasted of by the Church of England, for their Preachers in the manner they have done to Preach against their Kings Religion, and both them and their Church Members to speak as [Page 10]they too frequently, do against His Proceeding by his late Declaration?

This question is the bottom of all my following Expostulations, wherein that I may proceed with the more perspecuity; I shall do no more then make inquiry into two things.

First, I shall examine wherein the highest degree of Loyalty accord­ing to the sence of the Scriptures may be said to consist.

Secondly, I shall inquire how the present Behaviour of many of the Church of England, both Clergy, and Layety agrees, with that Loyalty which I shall discribe.

In the first, I am guided by two Texts of Scripture, from whence I may argue as much as I shall need to my purpose, the one is that of Rom. 13, 1, 2. Let every Soul be Subject to the higher Power, where Subjection is required to be given for Conscience sake, which makes it become a Religious Act. To give Subjection only because we cannot avoid it, or because we are compelled, is the Subjection of an Infidel or a Turk rather than a Christian. The opposite to this is Resistance, which is twofold. First, That which is by open Violence to the Person of him that is our Soveraign, or to his Subordinate Ministers. The second is, when we Disobey or Speak against His Precepts, Edicts, or the Declaration of His Will, which be sends forth in the Execution of His Government; for not to Submit, or to Speak against what he Directs is to resist. So Luke 21.15. To gain-say and resist are made the same thing; a Man may make resistance as well by his Tongue, as his Sword, from whence I infer that one part of the highest de­gree of Loyalty, is a cheerful and willing compliance with the decla­red will of the King in all things, (without gain-saying) not contrary to the Law of God.

The other Passage is that of St. Peter, where we are bid to Ho­nour the King. This is a degree much higher than a bare forbaring of Resistance, or disputing his Commands; for a Man may give O­bedience and be outwardly Silent towards Him, who in his Heart he Slighteth: To Honour the King, contains in it many Acts, both In­ternal and External; our Internal Honouring Him lyeth chiefly in that reverential Esteem we have of His Person, as he hath the stamp of Gods Authority on him, [the valuation we give to His Vertues; The Faith we have in his Words and Promises, the Acquiessence of out Minds in the Administrations of His Government, and judging the Best of His Actions, the contrary, to these are Jealousies, Prejudices, all bad wishes and evil surmisings, and judging of His Actions in the worst sence.

The External way of Honouring Him, consists likewise of seve­ral [Page 11]parts, as when we are in his Presence, to use those bodily Ge­stures as may best and most decently express our inward reverence and sence of his Dignity; the giving him his Honourable Titles, To speak Reverently of him in the hearing and presence of others, and pre­vent what we can all others from doing the contrary, that, thereby those we Converse with, may Honour Him as we our selves do.

And to come more closs to the present Circumstances of the times, I must say, that I judge one great part of our Honouring the King, to consist in Addressing our selves to him in waies of publick and greatful acknowledgment of what special savours we receive from him; for I cannot believe otherwise, but that our Honouring the King must bear a great similitude to our Honouring of God; and if so, then I am sure Addressing when we would Honor Him, must not be left out as often as he gives occasion. For Men to talk of Loyalty where these things are wanting, is but to abuse the King and them­selves too. These things I shall illustrate further by two Examples.

When King Saul delired Samuel to Honor him, wherein did he place that Honor? was it not by something the Prophet should do, that was to support his Credit among the People? 1 Sam. 15.30. Honor me now I pray thee; before the Elders of my People. Saul was to be laid aside, and put out of the Government, and he knew as much, but it is like he thought it not convenient to his present Condition that the People should know it, which they might have done in all likely hood, had Samuel denyed his Request. But, what doth Samuel in the case? Doth he not readily and openly shew his complyance? So Samuel turned again after Saul, and Saul Wor­shipped the Lord, for that was the thing requested of Samuel, viz. that he would go with the King to Worship God, before the Elders of the People.

I hope no body Imagins that I extend this example, so far as to oblige all Subjects to Worship as their King doth (what Religion soever he professeth) it proves my Argument better another way, viz. As it is an instance of the Obligation that lyeth upon Men in sa­cred Office as Samuel was, to maintain the Kings Honor in as pub­lick a manner as their Place and Station give them Oppertunity, and forbiding them doing any thing that may render him mean in the eyes of the People, though they be not satisfied in all the King doth. Sa­muel thus honoured the King when he knew that God had rejected him in the Government; how then ought we to act towards a King, who we all know God by most remarkable Deliverances hath set upon the Throne.

The like we have in the instance of King Ahasuerus, mentioned in [Page 12]the Book of Esther; who, when he asked Haman, what should be done to the Man the King delighteth to Honor? was thus directed, viz. Let there be put on him the Royal Appareland bring him on Horse­back through the streets of the City, and proclaim before him, Thus shall it be done to the Man whom the King delighteth to Honor. Wherein tho Haman mistook the Person at whom the King aimed (as think­ing it had been himself (he did yet hit right in the Notion of the thing, how that honor the King intended was to be effected, and what other thing was it, that he directed? but such an act as should render that Person to be great and worthy in the eyes of the Peopl.

This being the true Notion of Loyalty, as it may be considered in its highest degree. The question will now come more easie to a re­solution, I see no need of explaining any of its Terms, those upon which the whole stress of it depends, are only concerning the manner of many of their Ministers Preaching, and of their, and the Peoples Speaking; for I am not going about to tie-up either the People or any sort of Preachers from asserting the Religion they profess, but when it so falls out, that there is any difference between theirs and their Kings Religion; I would not have it done in any way not con­sistent with their Loyalty. Now what that manner and method is, which divers of the Church of England have taken up in these things, (both by their Ministers in Preaching, and by their People in Speaking about the Kings Declaration, and his late proceedings in those affairs,) which I conceive to be very inconsiestnt with those high degrees of Loyalty they pretend to, and these Texts lay before us; I shall men­tion in the particulars following, and first of the Preaching.

1. When there is more Preaching this way than there seems to be need for; or the supposed danger of the People requires, which seems to be much our present case: For I can no waies understand what necessity there is, or hath been for all the Preaching we have had of late against the Catholick Doctrines. Surely, our Preachers must think the People to be in great Danger of their Faith; but then, how comes it about to be so? Have they so much neglected them all the time before, as that now when a R. Catholick King comes to the Crown, they must be all new taught? Or, what is the Ground of all this fear? For certainly, some most Lamentable Apprehensions must have struck even to their very Souls, or else, they who have stood so mightily upon their Loyalty, would not run upon such Me­thods, as now to make it be called in Question.

I confess, Men in a Panick fear may do strange things, but then I must still be asking them What is it they Fear? or, what is that which [Page 13]thus excites them unto this Preaching? Do they fear the People will all on a sudden become R. Catholicks? By many Mens Sermons in­deed some are apt to think so, and that these Methods of the Pulpit are taken up as the only means to prevent it; Well! but then, I would know again of whom it is, and of what rank of People are they most afraid? For to speak my own thoughts Freely, this seems to me to be a needless fear, and more imaginary than real; and could I suppose that the imparting such Observations as I have made of these things, would in any wise obviate our Church-Mens Fears in this mat­ter, I would then particularize the Case as to the People, and say,

The Protestant Dissenters I think need not be Doubted, for they are a People so Anti-ceremonial in their Worship; and so much against any kind of Liturgies, or imposed Prayers, as that they upon that reason are many of them withdrawn from the Church of England, and therefore very unlikely to go to any Mass. And among those that go to the Parish Churches, there are divers Serious People who so approve of the Dissenters Worship, as that they steal oftner to it than their Ministers are aware of; and these may be supposed (upon the same reason) to be in as little danger as the other.

There being then no great ground of fear for these, it must fol­low, that those they are most afraid of, are such as are of their own Church; and here the Dissenters cannot refrain Smiling, to see that af­ter the Church of England hath so fairly Coppied out Her Liturgy, Ceremonies, and Hierarchie from the Church of Rome, they should now be afraid their own People of all others should like the Original better than the imperfect Copy.

To come then to their own Church, are they the Gentry or the Commonalty? and among them, are they those that are most intelli­gent and sincere, or those who are more indifferent and remiss in the true parts of practical Piety that have given them this Extraordinary fear? Which of these ranks of Persons in their Church they aim at in these Preachings is to me unknown; though under such a Division the quali­ty of their Members may be considered. If I may guess by likely Circumstances, I must needs say, I should think it were the Gentry. First, because, Three of our chief Inns of Court Doctors, whose Au­ditors are generally Gentlemen, are (as I hear) much addicted this way; so also are many of those Preachers in whose Parishes the Gentry most inhabit, and to whose Churches or Lectures the Coaches chiefly throng. But Secondly, that which strengthens me in these Conjectures as much as any thing else, is because, I am told also, these kind of Sermons are managed with many Arguments, Inferences, and Di­stinctions [Page 14]too Subtile and Sublime for most of the Commonalty to un­derstand; but whether it be the one or the other, I think we need not much inquire, since there are good grounds to induce a ratio­nal Man to believe there is no reason for the fearing of either; espe­cially, to that degree as to require all that Preaching, we meet with in that kind.

For the Gentry, I see not why they should be questioned. I shall not say any thing, how many of them being concerned in the Old Church Lands, have thereby their secular interests to strengthen their Religious Sentiments; for I believe them to proceed upon higher and better Principles. That which to me seems to be a kind of in­dissolvable tye, to hold them firmly where they are, is what I ob­serve of most Men in all Religions, who when they do first under­standingly believe such or such a way of Religion to be best for them to chuse, those former satisfactions which they may be supposed to have then received, do so keep them to it, as they seldom admit of any future thoughts to call it in question; not caring to engage themselves in any new Controversies, in things wherein they judge that they have long ago been satisfied, but are rather improving themselves (I speak now of the most serious sort of the Gentry) in those pious practices which their Religion directs them to, where­in divers of our Gentry are very Eminent. And this I take to be the true Natural Reason, why we find so few changing their Reli­gion after a good maturity in Years and Judgment, but those whose designs leads them to do it either in Hypocrisie or Policy.

And besides all this, I look upon our Gentry in England to be Per­sons of that Ingenuity and Learning, as that many of them under­stand the grounds upon which they are Protestants, as well as any of the Clergy can Teach them; so that I should think these fresh and of­ten repeated arguings and pressing them against the R. Catholick Religion, now used by our Church-Men, are rather a kind of Im­peaching them of weakness in their Profession, then any necessary support the Gentry stand in need of; Multiplyed cautions and di­rections being only needful for them that are weak.

As for those others of the Gentry, and so also of the Commonalty, who carelesly take up their Religion, and are more relax in their Piety, they may be the least feared of all. Those strict observances that are used in the R. Catholick Chappels, as also the Abstinencies, solemn Confessions and Penances that must be submited to by such as are of that Religion, will keep these Men more from it, then all the florid Sermons they can hear Preach against it. Nay, to speak [Page 15]a bold Truth, Persons indifferently disposed to the Mortifications Donations, and self Denials which the Christian institution directs, and are withal told by their Consciences that they must be of some Religion or other, have scarce any Church else so accommodated for them to take shelter in, as the Church of England; the Reins of whose Discipline and Castigation are left so loose, as Men may there­in injoy several of their sensual gratifications; yea, and be in a fair (or rather very foul) degree prophane too, without being called to any account, or fall under the censures of the Church for it; which neither in the R. Catholick Church, nor in the Dissenters Churchs will be allowed them; wherefore there is no fear of them neither.

The Commonalty which are indeed the greater Bulk of the People, may (I confess) come under some other Consideration, as they are not so Learned as we may judge the Gentry to be; but then we must know that vast Numbers of them are Protestant Dissenters, others are loose and remiss in their lives, both which stand upon the same points I have mentioned before; and as for those who keeping to the Church of England, are Serious and Sober in their Lives though not so intelligent as the Gentry are, it will appear to any that shall observe things as I have done; that the very Manner and Principles of their Education, wrought in them so great an A­version to the R. Catholick Religion, as that though (it may be) they understand little of the Difference between the one Religion and the other; they yet carry on their opposition equally with those who presume themselves the chief Masters of Knowledge, and need no Preaching to increase their prejudice. And for those of the Commo­nalty that are more intelligent, I may say, they stand upon the same terms with the intelligent Gentry.

Upon the whole, therefore I must say, I see no kind of Necessity why so much of many Mens Sermons, which ought to be chiefly in­tended to promote Practical Duties and true Devotions, should be spent this way against the R. Catholicks, unless it be to Prejudice the People against their Soveraign, which is the most natural effect it is like to have; for if the People be already thus prejudiced against his Religion, this superabundant Preaching, and Haranguing against it in the Pulpit, is like to produce little betterfruit upon the Minds of such Men, then the overcharging their Stomacks with meat doth upon their Bodies; though the meat of it self be never so good, yet it most commonly begetteth more Crudities and sower Belchings then good Nourishment, nor can I see any better event liklier to pro­ceed from many of these Sermons then the raising an abundance of [Page 16]popular Talk, prejudice and dissatisfactions against the King; for all People will be Discoursing of what they hear Preacht, especially, when the Subject Preach'd upon, hath any relation to Persons in a su­pream Station, who they think and look upon to be chiefly pointed at in such Sermons, and the higher these Persons are in Dignity, whose Religion is thus levelled at, the more busie will the People be in their Censures and Reflections: and how the King is like to be Honored by all this, I leave to all these Preachers to Judge.

Secondly, Preaching against the Kings Religion, must then be in­consistent with the Loyalty as before described; when it is so managed as to beget in Men those Jealousies, Censures, and Suspicions as shall in any wise alienate their Hearts and Affections from him, and their service of him: When I consider this well, and call to mind what a kind of influence irresistable I have observed in such kind of Preaching (where the Kings Religion, or the Government is any wise con­cerned) to have had on the minds of Men. I cannot but pray our Doctors to consider well with themselves, what prejudice they may do the King before they are aware; and perhaps repent when it is too late: As those London Preachers did, Anno. 1641. 1642. who then extravagantly Preacht against the Liturgy, Bishops and their Injun­ctions, as our Church-Men have lately done against the R. Catho­licks, and I pray what followed but that fatal War, whose sad effects we all to this day deplore.

The prejudices raised in Persons upon the account of difference in Re­ligion, are hardly possible to be related; let me instance in Protestants only where the distance is not so great (even according to the Church of Englands own acknowledgments) as it is between the R. Catholicks and the Protestants; and yet how have they carryed it one towards another (as they have gotten power successively into their hands) where let the Church of England come in for as great an Example as any of the rest; have not they thought so hardly of their Non-con­forming Brethren in the Ministry, that could not comply with them in things which themselves say are but indifferent, as that those that refused to wear a Surplice, must be kept so poor as not to be able to buy a Shirt. Ay! I might go yet a great deal higher, did not the prejudice of many (and those some of them zealous enough for the Church of England) influence them so far as to conceive that, be­cause his Majesty was of the R. Catholick Religion, he was not fit to be their King?

Church-Men may think of these things as they please, but I am sure our wisest sort of States Men were of another Opinion, as ap­pears [Page 17]pears by what was enacted in the Parliament, Anno. 13. Car. 2d. who sensible of the ill effects such prejudices may produce, where the King is the object of them, made a Law, That whosoever should publish, or affirm the King to be an Heritick or a Papist, or that he en­deavoured to introduce Popery, they should be disinabled to hold any Office or promotion Ecclesiastical or Civil; making equal provision against either Catholicks or Protestants that might offend this way. And the reason of this may be collected from the words of the Act it self, which was because they knew the representing of the Religion of a King, in a way of odium to the People, was a thing tending to excite them to the hatred or dislike of his Person and Government.

Among other things I hear of as to this Preaching, there is one dislikes me Exceedingly; as having in it the most potent influence of any thing I know tending to the setting of the People in opposition to the King, and that is those Sermons, especially, that intimate to them as if a time of PERSECƲTION were coming on, and the Obligation that lies upon all Persons to suffer, whatsoever Persecu­tion they meet with rather than to renounce any part of their Reli­gion. A Doctrine of excellent goodness in it self, but I suppose now much mistimed, unless we fear that Millions of Jews will invade us, and set up the Mosaical Sacrifices again, for I know not from whence Persecution can otherwise come; if his Majesties Declarati­on (as he desires) be turned into an establish'd Law, which I con­ceive, none but the Church of England will endeavour to hinder.

While some Considering Men think with themselves, how little this of Doctrine they have heard Preacht upon for twenty years be­fore; and now to be taken up since the King is come to the Crown, and made the Common Theam of the Pulpit, they know not how to interpret it, otherwise than that the Preachers would have the peo­ple believe that their Religion is like to be denyed them; and if they will stand to it, they must expect to Suffer, which that they may the better do, it is necessary that they learn before hand how to be­have themselves under such Providences.

And here again, it would make a Man Smile to see how the World turns round; I well remember, that when the Dissenting Ministers were first displaced at St. Bartholomews, 1662. Divers of them took their leave of their People the Sunday before in some Farewel Ser­mons; divers of which were Printed (by a good token that some of my acquaintance were soundly Punished for Printing them.) In these Sermons such Texts were chosen as from a Moral Prognostication they then made from the Conventicle Act, they thought fittest to induce [Page 18]the People of a Patient Bearing of what was coming upon them; I shall name only that of Heb. 10.14. about taking joyfully the spoil­ing of their Goods, which was pertinent to the manner of their Suf­ferings since by that Act, all their Moveables lay liable to the in­formers distresses.

The same course is now taking by Divers Church of England Doctors, they have their particular Texts also fitted to what their Opinions are of the Times. One Preaches upon taking up the Cross, as if a new Persecution were indeed coming on. Another calls up­on us (by his Text) to contend earnestly for the Faith once delivered to the Saints, as if a new Creed were to be immediately introduced. A third forewarns us of the Apostacy of which St. Paul speaks, and this is applyed to the R. Catholick Religion; I mention these but as Specimens by which we may judge of the rest, but here they would do well to take notice what some Men say of themselves, viz. that they do the same things which they before condemned in others, and for which they caused them to be punished, which is so much the worse in them than in the Dissenters; for the latter had some shadow of rea­son to Preach as they did, when they saw a sharp Law newly made against them; but for the Doctors of the Church of England to Preach thus, who have all the Laws on their side, and the Kings De­claration to protect them, for them to do this, and no other ground to proceed upon but their Misbelieving the Kings Word; what else is it but a Disingenious Disloyalty, and that of the highest kind? Or what would they have the People think under all these things? And how can they do otherwise than produce most desperate Jealousies. The fatal Consequences whereof, and the Resentments that a Roy­al Breast cannot but have of such Treatment. I shall refer to the Judgment of King Charles the First to be informed of; who in his Meditations, Chap. 15. Touching the jealousies raised against him, who hath these Words: The worst effects of an open Hostility come short of these designes, this was the opinion he had of the Loyal­ty of such kind of dealing.

Thirdly, much what of the same Nature, and also to the Effect, is that way of Preaching when Men exert the utmost of their skill to Wyer-draw out of Texts such thing againsts that Religion, those Texts in their prime aspects and genuine sence to have little of any such things in them. This can shew nothing else but a ve­ment intention to the management of this opposition; this, an eminent Person who I care not to name hath lately done, when Preaching upon Psalm. 47.5. God is gone up with a Shout, &c. takes occasi­on [Page 19]on from thence to argue against the Popes Supremacy, and the Ro­man Catholick notion of the real presence (as an ingenuous Person who in Print animadverted on the Sermon, hath observed) what­soever ground he may have for the first, because, the Text speaks of an Eminent Exaltation of God, as he had shewn his Power and Glo­ry to the Church in those daies, and from whence those Believers might in some measure conclude the Supremacy of Christ in his spiri­tual Kingdom, I will not dispute: Though I believe our Doctors do not think this Supream Dignity of Christ exclusive to the Supremacy of Arch-Bishops or Bishops in England, for then they would destroy their own Hierarchie; only they would have no one that should be universal, but keep the Principality to themselves. I say, whatever ground he had for the first, the other was drawn out of it no other wise than by Head and Shoulders, for there is not the least semblance of any such thing in the Text.

Another I have met with, and that is, of a certain Person who finds Arguments from a Text before Noahs Flood, against some Ca­tholick Practices, he Preacht upon those words: And Enoch walked with God, and because it was said of him that he begat Sons and Daughters (the Dostor for that was the degree under which the Preacher stood) applyed it to rebuke the R. Clergies abstinence from Marriage; but I think it had been better spared, because, the R. Ca­tholick Church Men, if I understand them aright, do not decline Marriage, for that they hold it inconsistent with Purity and Piety, but are guided rather by that Maxim of St. Paul, 2 Tim. 2.4. No Man that Warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this Life; and though we affect not their inforced abstinence that way, yet, certainly the freer any Man is from the care of providing for a Wife and Children, the more he is at Liberty for the Ministerial Function. That which I would say, is, that all such distorted Applications of Texts seem to me to be more of a kind of Peevishness, than intended for Edificati­on; for it states not the Case fairly, unless the R. Catholick Doctors had declared themselves in the same Manner, so that I know not what all these odd Applications of things mean, unless it be for fit­ting the People with matter for their tongues to talk of, and filling their minds with fears and jealousies that something is coming upon them more than in their own reason they can any wise apprehend.

And what indeed, as I said before, is like to be a more natural is­sue of such Sermons, then to draw the Peoples thoughts into a Multi­tude of Musings, and fill their Mouthes with as much discourse, to know what all these things Mean, and where they will Center; for [Page 20]to come to plain English, either they must think these Preachers to Preach very Impertinently, and as an exercise of Wit, when they see them thus fetch things about and about, that they may at every turn have a blow against the Catliolick Religion; or they must think them under some profound Discoveries of the Catholicks doing or ten­ding some strange things, which no body else can find out or imagine. For surely (say the People among themselves) our Ministers would never thus lay about them if something more than Ordinary were not in the Case. Oh! (saies one, soon after such Sermons are ended) how notably did our Doctor pay off the Papists to Day. Ah! (saies a second) and is he not a Man of rare Parts, that can find such matter against them out of such a Text, which I never understood before? Oh! (saies a third) they would not be so much upon this Subject, but they fear we shall be over-run with Popery; we little think (adds he) what Sad Times are a coming. Thus, and ten times degrees worse, do the People Banter among themselves, upon their hearing such kind of Sermons. In the midst of all this talk, let me (I pray) put in a word or two among the rest, and ask according to the purport of my Que­stion, how these things consist with the Church of Englands Loyal­ty? and the Passive Obedience they have formerly urged against the Dissenters? and whether they believe the People by all this talk are like to Honor their King, while they are suggested to believe that he is suffering such hard times to come upon them as they are hinting at.

4. And which is as bad as bad can be, and as much against true Loy­alty, if not Piety also, as any course that can be used; this is when they so order their expressions in these Preachings, as to turn any of the parts of that Religion into Redicule, or expose them in a way of con­tempt. Those that know any thing very well, know, that this hath been a Common way taken up by the Church of England Divines, wherein they have not only many Masters in the Art, but very Famous Do­ctors also; that study to make a Merriment of that way of Religion, which hath been different from theirs: Witness the beloved Books of our old Friendly Debates, and Doctor Sherlocks knowledge of Christ, wherein he so notably abuses and derides the Notion of our Primi­tive Reformers in the Doctrines of our Ʋnion with Christ, Justifica­tion, Perseverance, &c. which were afterwards generally held by the Church of England Bishops and Preachers until some few years be­fore our last new Ʋniformity Act; some of which together with the friendly debate it self, as also the designs of such undertakings, may possibly before another year go about be re-debated in a new Friendly Debate like his own. But I must now proceed to my instance under [Page 21]this head, as I have done before, wherein I shall bring only two. The first is, from a Sermon Printed, the other is from a Sermon Preacht, and that in the City by a Lecturer there, sometime the last Spring.

The Printed Sermon is that of Doctor Tennisons, before the Lord Mayor and Aldermen, &c. at an Aniversary Meeting to Comme­morate the Eminent Charity of the City Hospitals; I confess the Sermon was Preacht before his present Majesty came to the Crown; however, I shall make use of it, first, because, it is a Publick Testi­mony of the Strain and Vain of these Mens Preaching against any way of Religion which themselves oppose. 2. Because, the Passage I am to take out of it, shews how sharply they have rediculed upon the Kings Religion.

To this grave Auditory he Preaches upon the Text, Psalm. 112.5. Where after he had handled all things very well, and sutable to the occasion of exciting Men prudently to give Alms, he falls upon scoffing the R. Catholick Charity, and especially, touching the Scope and Event of it, which he most strangely reprensents. The best way will be to recite his own Words. ‘The Scope (saies he) they too often vainly aim at, 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 Ecclesiastical Magick which these very Spirits invent and incourage.) Avoidance of those Causeless Curses and Anathamas, which are with terror denounced from their seven hill'd counterfeit Sinai; preservation from, or deliverance out of the Imaginary Flames of Purgatory, blown on purpose by Jesuitick Breath for the melt­ing of the Treasures of the Credulous People.’

‘The Event is the Alienation of Alms from their proper uses, the increase of Superstition, and the maintaining of an Universal Usur­per, for the pence of St. Peter conducted to the buying of such a Yoak, as neither we nor our Fathers were able to bear.’

‘The things we purchased conducive to those ends, are the wares of dark Impostures, namely such as these, viz. Shrines, Images, Lamps, Incense, Holy Water, Agnus, Dei's, Blessed Grains; Roses, Peebles, Rings, Beads, Reliques, Pardons, &c.’ after all which he concludes with an Ironical Jeer.—The goodly Inventory of Super­stition.

If the Church of England think these Expressions to become the Gravity of a Doctor, or be like the form of sound Words in which Timothy was advised to Preach, or Words of [...]erness in which St. [Page 22] Paul Preached to Festus, or meet to be spoken in the greatest and most Honourable Audience of the City of London, or fit to agree with the Solemnity of a Divine Institution, I must then bid fare­well to all reverence in their Religious Assemblies, such stuff I might have expected in the Comedy called the Spanish Curate, written I think to abuse the Catholicks, but never expected them in a Church of England Doctors Sermon.

These Passages are so Notorious, as that another Writer hath Pub­lished some of them before my self, which made me think once to have left them out; but then I found that either the Doctor or some body for him, had made Exceptions against the Writer for leaving out the Word [frequently,] while he represented him saying, That the Scope of their Charity did vainly Aim at the Blessing of a pre­sumed Saint, &c. Well! since he hath left it out, I have placed it in: but I know not what good it will do him, unless it be that he intends thereby to take shelter under the common Proverb: [Almost and hard by, saves many a Lie.] And so when his design is to render the R. Catholick Charity wholly Ridiculous, he would think to hide it by saying that [frequently or too often] they make those vain Aims; but this will not serve his turn, since all the Charity they shew towards any poor Protestants is not capable of such an Aim as he mentions, and therefore I must, never the less his complaining, affirm two things to be very soul in these Passages, viz. The Unrighteous­ness of his dealing, and the Scurrulity of his terms.

There are I believe many hundred Protestants in England, who from their own experience of the R. Catholicks Charity towards them, will have occasion to oppose him in saying that the Scope and Event of their Charity (too often aimed at) was to have them prayed out of Purgatory, or buy Lamps, Beads, Incense, &c. Because, the R. Catholicks in all the Charity they have bestowed on Protestants, knew before-hand that those Protestants they Liberally reliev'd were never wont to make any such purchases, or use any such Prayers, and therefore could have none of those ends in the doing of it. I have in my own knowledge this 50 years understood it to have been the standing Characters of the English Catholick Gentry to have been Exceeding Liberal in all the Eminent parts of Charity; such as Relieving the Sick, giving Money freely to those that have wanted Bread, Lending as freely to others that only came to Borrow, Cloathed such as have been Naked, putting out the Children of many to be Apprentiees, whose Parents could not do it themselves; all which have been so great towards Protestants, as in divers places the Catholicks have been [Page 23]esteemed to have out done those of the Church of England in the same things, taking the like number in any County of the one as of the other, therefore this must needs be an Unrighteous Aspersion.

The scurrulity is such as to find it in a Sermon, exceeds all I have met with, what kind of words hath he here pickt up? Monkish Con­jurations, Jesuitick Breath, the seven hill'd Counterfeit Sinai, the Good­ly Inventory of Superstition, Ecclesiastical Magick, &c. he talks also of Spirits, and Charms, and Spells; but certainly all this Language must be minted in some infernal Cell among such Spirits where God is seldom named, unless it be very vainly: I hope he did not con­clude his Sermon with the Prayer that many of them do, viz. That all these Words which we have heard with our outward Ears, may be in­grafted in our hearts; for I take him to be the happiest Man that could first forget such Words as these are, and be delivered from the snare of following his bad Example in getting a habit of such ill Language.

I shall only tell him again of another part of his Unrighteous­ness, and that is, in his Inventorying (as he calls it) of the several things he names, without giving his Auditory an account of the R. Catholicks use of those things (supposing they have so many things in use in their Religion as he speaks of,) for this in honesty he ought to have done, that so his Auditors might have judged whether they did not give as good a Rational for them, as the Church of England gives for her use of the Surplice, the Ring in Marriage, Prayers over the Dead, and repeating such words as these in putting the body of eve­ry deceased Person into the Grave, as a part of their worship. For as much as it hath pleased Almighty God, to take to himself the Soul of our Brother, &c. We commit his Body to the Ground, &c. in sure and cer­tain hope of Resurrection to Eternal Life, when they often know not how they liv'd or dyed: I may mention also, together with these, their standing up at reading the Gospel in the Communion Ser­vice, and sitting when the same Scripture is read in a second Lesson, &c. I am of Opinion the R. Catholick Doctors do give reasons for what they do in their Ceremonies, as well as the Church of England doth of Hers, which he ought to have told People, if he had designed in a Christian way to have to reprehended them; but his not doing this, and jumbling and jingling all of them together as he doth, is equally Unrighteous as it is Scurrulous, but let's go to the next.

The other is a Sermon Preacht upon that Text, Mat. 16.6. When ye fast not as the Hypocrites, from whence the Preacher would needs [Page 24]have a fling against Catholicks keeping Lent (for it was in that time that the Sermon was Preacht (whereby a subtile way he had found out, he would have them guilty of the Hypocrifie here intended; because, while they abstain all that time from Flesh, yet said he, they make full Meals of other food. I never yet heard any Man twitted or told of his full Meals or great Eating, but it was either to deride him, or break a jest upon him: and so I look upon this to be, and by the smiling of some of the People (I was told of) that heard the Express [...], I suppose they thought so too.

Now I shall neither take upon me to justifie the Observation of Lent, nor the manner of Fasting used in the Church of Rome; yet this I cannot but say, if what the Gentleman speaks of, be Hypocrisie in them, what is it in the Church of England? who keep it as a Reli­gious Fast, but yet teach their People no abstinence at all, but leave them to seed on all sorts of Flesh, and well pallated Sauces as often, and to as full meals as they please.

That the Church of England keep Lent as a Religious Fast, their Commissioners at the Savoy Meeting with the Non-conforming Mi­nisters shall speak for them, for when the Non-conformists opposed the keeping it a Religious Fast, they answered them. ‘That their Fasting of 40 daies may be in imitation of our Saviour, for all that had been said to the Contrary, for tho' we cannot arrive to his per­fection, abstaining wholly from Meat so long, yet, we may fast forty Daies together, either as Cornelius his Fast till three of the Clock in the Afternoon, or St. Peters Fast till Noon, or Daniels Fast abstaining from Meats and Drinks of Delights; and thus far we imitate our Lord.’ Thus they setled their Lent as a Religious Fast, but by what has followed, it seems they never intended to in­joyn their People any of those abstinencies in which that Fast ought be kept, if it be kept at all; so that I may ask, where is the Hipo­crisie now?

But while I am thus Writing, I call to mind two great Reasons (as they are esteem'd) which I hear alledged in justification of their present Preachings. First, they say all Ministers are to declare to the People the whole Council of God, and by vertue of their Ministe­rial Office, they have a power of Preaching what they think most fit. Secondly, they tell us, that there are a great number of R. Ca­tholick Priests up and down the City, privately Alluring and Per­swading the People to embrace that Religion, which tenders their Preaching against it at this time absolutely Necessary. Unto both these I shall give a distinct answer.

[Page 25] First, I shall not dispute their Power in Preaching upon what Sub­jects they please, nor do I know so much as one Man that would deprive them of that Liberty; so that it be alwaies exercised and kept within the bounds of those things, which the People may as­suredly know are indeed the absolute Counsel of God but in contro­versial matters, I know not how this can be; for the People must needs know that one part in all such Sermons, must not be the Coun­sel of God but against it, for though both parties Preach upon that pretence, yet there is but one Truth, which hath alwaies made me think that Controversies were not fit for Sermons, but rather Books or private Conferences; for while a controversial point is handled in a Sermon, the hearer may start some Objection in his thoughts, which it may be the Preacher never so much as toucheth at whereby the whole matter is left in doubt, which as often as it happens, such hearers cannot receive those things as the Counsel of God, though they should really be so, and there all the labour that way is lost.

Again, it may be questioned that supposing those Doctrines against which our Clergy Men are so frequently Preaching, should not be the Councel of God; it may yet be considered, whether or no, it be according to the Councel of his will, they should just at this time, above all others, shew their opposition to them, when they can hardly manage it without endangering the People from falling off from a very great Duty towards their King, in which we are sure it is the counsel of God they should in no wise be defective. It was the Councel of God that Circumcision, an Ordinance which himself had made for the Jewish Church, should not be continued in the Christian Church, and St. Paul so Vehemently Preached against it to some Churches, as that he told them if they were circumcised, Christ should profit them nothing; yet, upon another Considerati­on he Circumcised Timotheus at Lestria. It is a weighty point, I leave it to our Doctors to consider, how far the Councel of God is to be Preached with respect to the different Circumstances both of Time and of different Cases.

Again, do not all Men know what great prophanness there is among Multitudes, of those who profess themselves Members only of their Sanctuary, some are great Drunkards, others as great Oppres­sors, some common Swearers, and that also of those horrible Oaths, or Expressions which ought not to be Named, and not a few most desperate Whorers, too many also Sabbath Breakers, whereof divers to my knowledg come frequently to Church, and very often receive the Sacrament. Now I should think there are no Councels of God [Page 26]more necessary to be Preach'd to such Sinners than those that should convince them of the Evil of these desperate Courses, and set them right in their Morals, before their Heads are filled with Disputations in the Controversal parts of Religi­on, and yet, who but such Men as these, after a Sermon Preach'd against the Catho­lick Religion, talk more of it than they. I hope the Church of England Doctors do not think, that the only Capital Sins in England, are the Worshipping of God without their Liturgy and Ceremonies, as the Dissenters do, or to be of the R. Catholick Re­ligion; and yet many wise Men of my acquaintance, have been tempted to believe so, by the Cursory Sermons we have had this Twenty Years, wherein we have had Preaching against these two Ranks of the Christian profession, than can be heard a­aginst all those gross Impieties I have named.

To the Second Objection, that supposes a Multitude of Persons, in holy orders of the Catholick Religion, to be privately inticing the Protestant People to leave their Religion. I thus Answer, That whether this be true or no, I cannot tell; but if it be, then I say our Church of England. Priests, and Doctors, may be as busie and careful, if they please, to Counter-work them, by the like private Conferences with their Parishoners, and by inquiring who have been with them upon any such occasi­on, which no Body that I know of will be against, but greatly commend it, as a most excellent way to secure their People from the Dangers they fear them to be in, as to their being drawn to the R. Catholicks, and prevent much of that Preach­ing, which is now so much doubted to be consistent with their Loyalty.

I would suppose that every Pastor should know all of his own Flock; or if he doth not, or hath taken a bigger charge upon him, than himself can overlook, he ought in such cases to take in those, that may assist him to hold up so good a Work, so much to the advantage of their Ministry, as such a Knowledge of the particulars of their Flock would do; for every Soul is to be looked after, by those that take the Charge thereof, and are well paid for it too. By this means they may come to know all that the Catholick Priests do, and apply proper and pertinent Discourses to the particular Cases of their People, as they find most needful, and thereby Sta­blish them in those points, wherein they find them most Wavering, which indeed cannot be well known, but by such private Conferences, and therefore much more profitable than Preaching at Randum, sometimes against this point, and sometimes against that, when they know not at what joint particularly any of the People Stum­ble; and in so doing, they would not only Letter secure their People, but better testifie also their Honor of the King.

To watch, is their Work, as well as to Preach, and they are denominated as much by the one as by the other. Watching of the Flock includes the Knowledge of all Individuals. I sear it is not so with us, because many of our Parochialists have gotten their Parishes so large, as to render this Knowledge, and the Execution of this part of their office impracticable, and perhaps some will plead their Inability from thence, of doing that I recommend to them; but I must answer, that that they go ill to work, that will justifie one Irregularly with another, and to make the King suffer for their disorder.

How they will approve of this Expedient, I now propose, I do not well know; but since the Catholick Religion is the Kings Religion, I am certain something ought to be done by them, in a Prudential way, how to behave themselves under the present Circumstances, as they are in a different way of Religion from him, other­wise than I, yet hear many of them have done, let the Religion be what it will, doth not the King's profession of it, alter the Cale in no manner, as to our behavi­our? When. John according to Gods command, had Executed Judgment upon Je­zebel, [Page 27]by ordering her to be thrown out of a Window; he would not have her Bo­dy left to be exposed to all Spectators, but orders her to be Buried upon this very reason, because she was a Kings Daughter.

When the Apostles planted the Christian Religion first in the World, they setled most of their Churches under Princes, who were wholly Strangers to the Christian Faith, and as things were represented to those Princes, by what the Jews had done in putting our Saviour to Death, as one that had made Mutinies, by stirring up the People, Luke 23.3. those Princes according to humane Pollicies, had little reason to receive any of those who were his Followers; which I believe was one great Reason of their Persecutions; and yet we find the Ap stles (fearing it may be that the Chri­stians, because of that, and their gross Idolatries might dispise those Princes) do as carefully injoyn them to keep their Loyalty, as to abstain from their Idol Worship. St. Paul most earnestly presseth them to give all due subjection, and St. Peter com­mands to Honor them, and this while they were not so much as Believers of the Chri­stian Faith, sutable to what our Soviour had done before, by his own Example to the Jewish Magistracy, when he was condemned to Death by them: He opened not his Mouth: He answered them nothing, as three of the Evangelists observe; he could not approve of what they did, yet would he not reproach them in the thing they were about, and by this passive obedience, gave Honor to those that wickedly put him to Death.

I do very much question, whether the Preachers in the first Age of Christianity, under the Pagan Roman Emperors, did Preach against the Religion, and Worship of those Princes; as our Divines now do against the Religion of Rome, by what I find upon Scripture record; it appears to me, that they did not, but had other ways, such as Conferences, Epistolary Writings, to secure the People in the Christian Faith. When St. Paul Preach'd in the midst of Mars-Hill at ATHENS, among a Company of Heathen Philosophers and common People; it is observable, how gently he touch'd upon their Idolatrous Religion: He told them indeed, that they were too Superstitious, but he made not any Goodly Inventory of the particulars, as Doctor Teni­son did for the Catholicks, but falls presently upon declaring to them the Doctrine of the only true God, and his Creating the World: His sending of Christ; The Eternal Judgment, and the Resurrection, choosing rather to fix them in the Great Articles of the Christian Faith, and the Sutable Practices of a Holy Life, to which such Doctrines would lead them, than to be Crying out against their Idolatries: as knowing if once they come to embrace the Christian Doctrines, their Heathenish Worship would fall of its own accord.

If after all this, nothing will prevail, but our Church-men will be still Preaching in this way. I have one thing to say more, which is to wish them to follow the Exam­ple of those Apostles, who when they wrote to the Churches against a Religion so gross, as that of the Pagan Idolatry, did withal give the Christians positive Commands, to keep up their Subjection and Honour to their Kings: The like would I have our Preachers do at all such times, as they Preach against any part of the Kings Religion, viz. to teach the People at the very same time, in some special manner, how they should preserve in themselves the Honour, and Loyalty they owe to his Person; ne­vertheless their differing from him in their Religion. If they do not put in some spe­cial Caveats of this kind, as often as they Preach upon such Subjects (which hitherto I cannot hear they have done) I must for my self say they will hardly ever be able to vindicate the Loyalty they have so much boasted of in the World.

I have done with the Preaching, I would proceed now to say something (tho but a little) about theirs and the Peoples Speaking; more especially, their Speaking [Page 28]against his Majesties Proceedings by his Declaration, and the odd Carriages of them both in that concern.

What the discourses of the Church of England People have been, and still are up­on this Subject, I have mentioned already; I am not so in love with repeating ill Lan­guages, as to name it over again. It is no wonder the People should talk at the rate they have done, while they hear and see what has been said and done by their Lea­ders in the Clergy. The Declaration was no sooner dispersed about the Kingdom, but Doctor Stillingfleet Re-prints his Sermon, called, the Mischief of Separation, Preacht be­fore the Lord Mayor of London against the Dissenters Worship, in as sharp a manner as his wonted Oratory useth to do towards those he hath a mind to lash; (of which he may hear more at another time.) What he intended by the new setting it out, him­self best knows▪ I inquire not after it, I shall only inform him that this Act of his is looked upon by many as a direct affront to the Declaration, as if he would have the People to believe that His Majesty had tollerated a Mischievous thing.

The Oxford Clergy do as good as call it by the opprobrious Name of a Suspected Ar­tifice, for when their Liocesan moved them to make some publick Testimony (as a few others of their Church had done) of their thankful sense of what the King had declared, touching their being protected in their present Station and Worship; they excuse themselves by making it one Reason of their refusal, that by doing so they should forfeit their Reputation with the Nobility, Gentry, and Commonalty of their Cum­munion, and that it may tempt those Persons to disgust them for their rash Compliance with suspected Artifices. Language I should have scarce expected from the greatest Clown in the Country; however, I perceive they resolved to speak their thoughts Freely, by which we may a little know their Minds

From the Preaching I spoke of before, the People were taught how to form their Jealousies against the King, as that he would alter their Religion, and these Men now tell them the Declaration is the Artifice they suspect for the bringing it about.

If they say I strain this too far, and put upon it a sense they intend not, I must then pray them to explain their own sense more fully, and tell us what it is that in that Expression they do intend; for until they do, I cannot understand them other­wise than I now Write, there being such a near Relation between the Peoples Ad­dressing to the King, and the Declaration it self from whence they take the occasion, as none can hardly say, the one is a Suspected Artifice, but they must say the other is so too.

But there are other strains not inferiour to this I have last named. They will not thank the King by an Address, because, forsooth it will make the Exercise of their Established Religion to be Precarious: As if when a Father shall say to any Son at his coming to Age, SON! Care was taken upon the Marriage of your Mother to setle an Estate upon you, which now you shall injoy so far from any interuption from me as I promise to give you the best protection I can in your possession of it. The Son shall say, Sir, I must not thank you for any thing of this, least I make my Title to what I have too Precarious: I wish they come not at last to say, we must not thank Almighty God for the Spiritual Blessings he bestows upon us by his Cove­nant of Grace, since that Covenant was made and Established with our fore Fathers long before we had a being, and that in a firmer manner than all our humane Establish­ments can pretend to be. I cannot believe otherwise but that all subordinate rela­tions stand bound (upon every signal Testimony of Special Favour they receive from their Superiors) to make their acknowledgements of thanks, whatsoever Obligation they may conceive their superiors might have before-hand put themselves under, while it was in their Power to have done otherwise with us if they had pleased; nor do I see any thing in all these Doctors Arguments, that is like to alter my Opinion.

[Page 29] Had all the People in England told me four or five years ago, that I should have seen and heard such things as these, and others I have lately met with from divers of our Church Men towards the King; I do professedly declare; I should never have believed them. I hear also they have Question'd or Disobey'd rather his Orders in disposing of some Places which his Majesty would fill up, or where he thinks it convenient to make an Alteration. Ay! is it come to this alreeady? will they thus dispute it with their King? if they begin thus, I know not where they will make an end; as Men when once but of the way of their Duty, no body knows where they will Stop.

There is one thing more in these Oxford Mens Reasons, for their Non-Addressing with their thanks to the King, which I cannot pass by without some Remark. They say, they do not offer those Reasons as the sense of their own Minds only, but undertake to affirm them to be the Opinion also of the best part of the Clergy of the Kingdom; by the best, I presume they mean the greatest part, but, how they came so soon to know each others Minds in so great a Kingdom as this, is unto many no small won­der: I hope they are not hatching another Association, for securing the Protestant Reli­gion as that which they so much exploded in one of the late Parliaments; if they are, much good may do them, I intend not to be of the Fraternity; but supposing them to have this intelligence one from another more then I am aware of. I may still wonder how they undertake so far for the Nobility and Gentry as to know their thoughts so much in the case, while they seem to fear that thanking the King for his promised Favours, will forfeit their Reputation with them, as Men that had too rashly complyed with suspected Artifices.

I think by the Carriage of many, both of the Nobility and Gentry towards the Kings Person, and his afairs in the Court and Country, I may reasonably conclude they give them no grounds for such a Conjecture. In my apprehension, therefore this looks too much like a Substile insinuating their own dislikes into those that are in that honourable Station; that thereby they may be pre-ingaged against his Majesties proceedings than any real ground they had to fear their displeasure, if they should have returned the Kings thanks for the assurance he hath given of his protecting and Supporting their Church. To say no worse of the matter, it is no fair dealing towards persons so much their betters, nor hath it so much as one spark of Loyalty in it towards the King.

How the people should avoid the being ensnared in their Loyalty, by such bad Ex­amples as these, I no waies apprehend, my fears (I must profess) are not a few, and I shall crave so much leave as to lay before them two or three Considerations, where­by they may see how much such kind of Speeches and Discourses as I spoke of before, carry in them of Disloyalty.

First, as they are directly opposite to that subjection we owe to the Kings pro­ceedings, they must ever be disloyal; that they are so opposite is plain, because, such kind of Speaking is no better then resistance, which is contrary to Subjects Du­ty, I pray observe, how the Duty of persons who are alwaies in a State of Subordi­nation (such as Women and Servants) is set out in sacred Writ towards their Superi­our; and you will find it to be a State of silence. Let the Woman keep silence in all Subjecti­on, saith the Apostle, &c. The servant also is strictly warned not to answer again, but give obedience without disputing his Masters Commands. The distance is the same, between the King and his Subjects, and I see no reason why the obligation should not be the same in the Subject towards his Prince; as in a Servant to his Master, or a Wife to her Husband. It cannot but follow then, but that all these peremptory Discourses, and Questionings of things about the Kings Proceedings, we so frequently meet with [Page 30]among the Body of the People, are much besides their Duty as they are Subjects and great Tokens of Disloyalty, in as much as they intimate their Minds and Hearts, to be in a way of Resistance against them.

The plain case of Obedience is given us by St. Peter. Submit your selves to every Or­dinance of Man, for the Lords Sake. And what is this Declaration, but the Kings Or­dinance, relating to the Execution of his Government. This General Rule of Obedi­ence is capable but of one Exception, that I could ever hear of, allowed in the Chri­stian Religion, and that is only when the thing ordained or commanded, appears to be against some Command of God, wherein God must always be obeyed before Man, but this Exception hath no Shadow of place here; for the Declaration hath no Command at all in it. It is only his Majesties Prohibition of his Subordinate Officers, to suspend their Execution of some punishments, which an hundred Years experience have made appear to be very hurtful to the publick Peace, and grievously oppressing to the Sub­jects, with promises of Liberty in Religion, for the promoting of Godliness, and preser­vation of Property, for the main maintaining of Honesty. Now is any thing of this against a Command of God, that we should refuse to give Subjection to it?

Had the King dealt by us, as we have dealt by him, and by one another, or had he required of us, to give Assent and Consent to any thing in his Religion, that is doubt­ful to us, or imposed upon us any new Oaths, or Subscriptions to controveried propo­sitions, or any different ways of Religions, than what we now profess, something might have been said, to have justified our Dissatisfaction: But for such a Declaration as this is, which to every Man is but a Negative thing, to see Men rise up against it with full Mouth, as if some thin horrible Evil were commanded in it, may become the Worlds wonder.

Secondly, the Speaking I have mentioned against his Majesties Declaration must be very Guilty of Disloyalty, because it cannot be excused from a down-right dishonouring him; what is a greater Dishonor to an ordinary Man, than to have the Truth of his word or promise called in question? how much more then to a King? How can it consist with Honouring the King, to say, he either useth or indulgeth suspected Artifi­ces? Or that he will do such things as against which he hath declared? what are these Speeches then, but manifest Reproaches, tending only to alienate his peoples good opinion of him. I need say no more, but only recite another passage from King Charles the First, who had been served in much what the same manner.

I can more willingly (saith he) lose my Crown, than my CreditThose foul and false Aspersions (meaning the Scandals cast upon him, that he would alter the Religion, and Government of the Kingdom) were secret Engines imployed against my Peoples love of me. That undermining their opinion and value of Person; mine and their Enemies might at once; blow up their Affections, and batter down their Loyalty. You have all this in the same 15. Chapter of his Meditations I quoted before, who from a very sharp Suf­fering he underwent by such kind of doings, was best able to express their deadly mischievous consequences, and do any of us pretend to Loyalty, that are still doing the same things?

3. My Third Reason against all such Discourses, is drawn from the bad Quality of them, as they must come within the compass of Unchristian Censoriousness, what the difference is between Cursing the King in our Bed-chamber, and censuring him in the open World; as to the foulness of each of these Speeches, I shall not now determine, but of this I am sure, that Censoriousness was ever made Criminal in the Christian Religi­on, Who art thou (saith the Apostle) that judgest another mans Servant. I need say no more, but change the Word a little, and ask who art thou that Judgest the Lords Vicegerent.

[Page 31] I expect it will be demanded here, how I make any such Discourses, or Preaching as I have named to be a Censuring the King? I answer, let but Church Men if they can, assign me any true Notion of Censoriousness, whereby they can defend some of their own Sermons, and the peoples discourses of them, from coming within the guilt of that Crime, and I will read what I have Written: I know Accademical Doctors may do strange things, yet, I confess, I never heard them pretend to the working any Miracles in things Natural, but I must here suppose them to make a kind of Miracle in Mortality, if they can bring off themselves, and their Loyalty fairly in this thing.

Our plain way of understanding censoriousness is this, we say it is nothing else but judging another Mans Words or Actions to be ill or evilly intended without apparent evidence; or to be otherwise intended than he hath made us believe. This is the common evil Censuring that is between Men towards each other of equal rank, that of inferiours censuring Superiours is made some what stricter; but I shall not take the advantage of that but pass it by, because if our Censuring the King be against the most ordinary Notion of it, we shall find it much worse when we come to consider it in a Notion that is higher; so that the present case I am upon will be this The King hath declared he will protect the Church of England in the way of their Worship, as it is now Established; but divers of them Judge otherwise, looking upon his Decla­ration as an Artifice to be suspected as set on foot for another purpose, wholly against what they ought to believe of him, until they see apparent cause to Judge otherwise, either by acting or declaring himself different from what he now doth. The conclu­sion then is this, not to believe him is to censure him, and to censure him is to do evil against him, and every evil thing done against him is against our Loyalty.

Now this consuring must be so much the worse in as much as while Men follow the consequences of their own Reasonings, they can see no grounds to believe that the Protestant Religion can receive any prejudice by any thing that can arise by the De­claration, without offering a kind of violence to their own reason. There are some persons, who have given very great Reasons against the likely-hood of the Catholicks Religion overthrowing or suppressing Protestantism, none of which I shall repeat; I shall only take notice of two other things, which I perceive to be much overlookt, which to me seem of very great force in giving Protestants a full assurance as to this Case.

The first is, in that the Declaration indulgeth those of the Protestant Religion, which are at the remotest distance from his Majesties own Way; for so I must repute the Pro­testant Dissenters in England to be: as using no kind of Liturgy or Ceremonies in their Worship, nor so much as acknowledging the office of a Protestant Diocessan Bishop, which is indeed the great Protestancy of Christendom; whereas the Church of Eng­land, rigidly imposing the one, and stilly maintaining the other, together with their Symbolizing in both these respects with the R. Catholick Church and Worship. Yea, and in many Doctrines too of late, which the first Reformation opposed, have been thought to have been so near them, as the effecting of an union to the extirpation of the Dissenters was the only thing feared, and this not without ground, while those Dissenters saw the Church of England upon the Death of his late Majesty, to renew their prosecutions somewhat sharper than before. But these fears are now abundant­ly removed, which (truly) I must say could hardly have been done by any other means, than that which his Majesty hath taken by his Declaration, which must be to all Men of understanding an evidence on his behalf, that he can have no designs against the Protestant interest, nevertheless the Church of England judging otherwise.

2. The Admission of the French Protestants in such Multitudes as are come over hither, doth also confirm me in the same belief. They are a kind of Presbiterians, [Page 32]who because they would not become Papists, are fled hither, where they have not on­ly the Exercise of their Religion, but also very large Relief raised for their Necessities, and that too by his Majesties own order. What greater Testimonies than these, can be given of his readiness to support Protestanisme? And that He Acts in the highest degree of Sincerity to that Principle, upon which he Grounds his Declaration; viz. that Conscience is not to be forced, from which we that are Protestants, cannot but repute our selves exceeding safe, and may conclude the Exercise of our Religion to be con­stantly continued to us, and that because the Protestant Interest, from all these things is more and more strengthened, and allowed to make its utmost advantage to maintain it self in his Majesties Kingdoms, all which may be so pleaded against the Censoriousness I here condemn, as to make it appear to be every whit as irrational as it is disloyalty.

The utmost that can be said as to the benefit designed to the Catholicks by the Declaration, is only that his Majesty would have those of his own Religion enjoy the same Liberty of Worship he hath given to the Protestant Dissenters; and that they may be capable of serving him in Publique Employments as Protestants do: which, as it is all that is allowed them, so as (far as I perceive) it is as much as they desire.

To the First, I would ask how can the King well do otherwise, according to that Divine Principle upon which he proceeds, and how can Protestants deny it that hold the same Principle with him, which I find none of them oppose, when the case is put home, and they have been pinch'd upon the point: for even our Church of England Divines themselves choose rather to plead the obligation men are under to obey the Laws of the Land, whereby their Liturgy and Ceremonies are setled, than to insist upon the denying this principle; and most generally justifie all their compulsions and penal inflictions from the Authority of our humane Laws; telling the people that the Dissenters were not punished for their disobeying the Law; a fine way indeed to turn the odium of those things upon the Parliament, which themselves are ashamed to own, and yet procured, and so much struggle to have continued.

To the Second, I would ask also, how we shall object against it, when we consider that His Majesty must needs in Equity have the same right to the service of all his Subjects, as any Parents have to the Service of all their Children, or any men have to that which they call their Property. Tell me I pray, why we should insist upon holding our own property, and deny the King His? I would be glad to see our Doctors (who lately preach'd up Morality, so much in the Socinian way as if they would make the whole Institution of Christianity, and of Christ's coming into the World to be only a subservient thing to the Establishment of the Primitive Moral Religion) to shew upon what principles of Moral right a King shall be denied the choice of those that shall Serve him, more than a Noble Man the choice of his Steward, or the Master of a Family, his own Servants. As yet I would never understand that human Laws could supercede any Moral Right fixt in the Original Divine Constitution of things.

I am no States Man, but judging naturally according to the ancient usages of the Kingdom, the King is not to be imposed upon in this particular, when a King dyeth, all publick Commissions formerly granted to his respective Officers become void: Nay, which is more, if a Parliament be then in being his Death dissolves them, the reason whereof I could never hear to be Grounded upon any other bottom, but that a King was not to be imposed upon, or bound up as to his Publick Ministers and Officers, by any Act of his Predecessors.

[Page 33] There is [...] thing more I would take notice of at this time, which I have not [...] so much [...], to which I would say something here, if I knew how to [...] it in; and this only what I observe from many of the Church of England, who when they have little to [...] against that excellent Principle his Majesty proceeds up­on, in granting [...] for Gods free worship, nor the Moral Justice we owe him in choosing his own Officers; they would fain pick a Quarrel with his Power, and [...] these things should [...] come to us in a Parliamentary way. I must confess the Power of a King is a thing so sacred, and so strongly Lodged and Seated in himself, as I have not [...] the least to peep into it: Only what has been done this way be­fore, and universally approved of without being any wise called in question, may (I [...]) be [...] of without offence to any.

That which I aim at in this, is only to note, how when something of the same na­ture was passed by the late King Charles the Second, dispensing by his Proclamation with two distinct particulars enjoyned by Act of Parliament, as firmly as any of our Penal Laws about Religion can be, not a word was ever objected against it, as that it could not be done without a Parliament: The one was for prohibiting of Spices from being brought into England otherwise than in English Bottoms, and the place of their growth. The other, about the form of Cart and Waggon Carriages for the preservati­on of the Roads, in both which Statures his late Majesty made a suspention, and yet was never questioned in any Session of that or future Parliaments, or by any of the Judges or Lawyers of the Kingdom, which to this day continues still without any mans making the least noise about it. Though no Parliament ever since gave that proceeding any confirmation, as being Judged to have been done firm enough by the power that made the alteration.

This quarrel therefore is very unhandsome, as it denies this King that Power in matters of Religion, which they allowed the former King in things civil, and is so much the worse in this Case as it questions His Majesties Prerogative in Ecclesiastical affairs, which the Laws of the Kingdom have ever acknowleged to him in a peculiar manner. In that very Act which was last made against Conventicles. A Clause was put in as a special proviso, &c. That nothing in that Act shall make void his Majesties Supremacy in Ecclesiastical affairs, but His Majesty his Heirs, &c. shall injoy the same amply as himself or any of his predecessors have done nevertheless the said Act. Un­doubtedly when this proviso was made, the Parliament did acknowledg, that the King was not bound up by that Act; so as that he could not grant any Liberty against its injuctions, or suspend the Execution of the Law it self, when it was wholly made, upon an Ecclesiastical Account: It must certainly be so also with the Ʋniformity Act, for his Prerogative is not less in that, because, the like pro­viso is not made there, no nor to the Test about Capacitating Men for holding of publick Offices, since the matter of it relates chiefly to propositions that concern mat­ters of Religion.

Of all Men in the World, a Man would think our Clergy Men should forbear so much as to have the least thought of Questioning His Majesties Power, touching what he has done by His Declaration, when as Praying for him in their Pulpits, they constant­ly present him to God, as being over all Persons, and in all Causes, as well Ecclesiastical [Page 34]as Civil, Supream Governor and Moderator: For them therefore upon this small and first instance of his Moderatorship, to call in question this his Supremacy, either by preach­ing or speaking against what he hath done, must give the People very strange Sug­gestions, for while they do so, what will the giving these Titles to Him be looked up­on otherwise, but as Hypocrisie towards God, or a kind of Mock-Complement to the Kings Supremacy; let them therefore either acknowledg the Power he hath exerci­sed, or else I know not how they will be able sincerely to say Amen to their own Pray­ers.

There are divers other things I had thought to have added to these Discourses, but I fear what is writen already, is more than many Mens leisure will allow them to read: therefore I shall now forbear going any further, and rather because it is like I may meet with some answerers, or at least some better opportunity than I have at present; which may draw them forth, until which time I shall bid my Reader heartily Farewel.


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