REFORMED CATHOLIQUE: OR THE True Protestant.

MATTH. 24. 26. There shall arise FALSE CHRISTS and FALSE PROPHETS.

DƲBLIN, Reprinted, M.DC.LXXIX.

The Reformed Catholique, or the True Protestant.

THIS Paper should have come into the World under the form of a Letter (as most Pamphlets of quality do of late) if the Author had not made a Conscience of co­vering the Simplicity of his purpose under any sort of Disguise; so that without so much as a single How do ye to usher it in, he comes point blank to the Business in the very Title. It may be look'd upon, I know, as a thing of Ill Omen, to begin with an Alias: But there's neither Priest nor Highway-man in our Case; and yet there be cause enough perhaps for a kind of Hue and Cry too; for 'tis a matter of great moment that every man should both go, and be known by his right Name; and (peradventure) never more necessary than in this juncture, and in this particular: and so to my Text.

A Reformed Catholique (properly so called) is an Apostolieal Christian, or a Son of the Church of England: a true Protestant may be so to; nay, and many times he is so; and many a Loy­al, Orthodox, Reformed Catholique calls himself so; and (according to the stile of the Age) he may be well enough said and accounted so to be. But all this is only by Adoption, and with­out any colour for it in the original of his Denomination. Now a Protestant, in strictness of speaking is a Lutheran, which this Church does not in all points pretend to be, and then the Characteristical Note of a Christian is Catholique; so that the Appellation is too narrow for the Principle, and draws on the very same Implication in a Protestant-Catholique, which we make sport with in a Roman-Catholique, that is to say, the Soloecism of a particular Ʋniversality.

Here is enough already (I suppose) to furnish an Extract of as much Popery out of it, as may recommend some hungry Informer to a Mornings-draught; for we have a sort of peo­ple now a days, that will read a mans Heart through his Ribs, though they can hardly see his Nose on's face; and that give more Credit to their Ears than to their Eyes. Now to ease the Reader in two or three peevish Points, if he should chance to be over-critical and im­perious, I will tell him before-hand, in a few words, what he is to trust to.

To the first Question or Objection fairly supposed; the Author is no disguised or concealed Papist, but of the Communion of the Church of England, train'd up in the strictest way of it, and standing firm to it against all sorts of Provocation, Discouragement, Temptation, and Ar­gument; and without warping to the Jesuits, either on the right hand, or on the left.

To the Second: He is not set on to write this Discourse, either directly or indirectly; by any Hint, Desire, or Appointment whatsoever; nor by any other Motive than the sense of what he owes to the Publique, and to his Conscience, and the Consideration of some small Present from the Book-seller, if there be any thing got by't. (A piece of Good Husbandry that he has learnt of his Superiors.) He has no design upon any Place at Court in't, nor upon any Church-Lease; no not so much as a Reversion: And all this is true, by the Faith of a poor Gentle­man, that has worn his Doublet out at elbows in his Majesties Service. It might be added, that he's grown old and Careless, and that even Malice it self were lost upon him. Now un­der these Circumstances, I hope he may securely advance to tell you a little more of his mind:

So [...]a [...] as Catholique and Protestant serve only as two several Names, intending the self-same thing, (though the one by Protriety, and the oth [...] but b [...] Translation) is all one to me whe­ther of the two any man calls me; all the danger is, the countenancing of an ill Thing under a good Name.

The word Protestancy falls under a double acceptation; the one, as it denotes the Reformed Religion; the other, as it is taken for the Genus Generalissimum of all Dissenters from the Church of [...]ome. The former I do heartily embrace, as transmitted to us from our Fore-fathers, and Signed by the Blood of Martyrs; authorized by the Holy Gospel, and by the Law of the [Page] Land; the common Bond of our Civil Peace, and (by Gods Blessing) the Hopes and Means of our Eternal Salvation.

Now to the latter Acceptation, I am not at all satisfied with it, and I have both Reason and Experience to warrant me in that d [...]slike. As to my Reason; First, It is an Agreement upon an Opposition; and next, it is an Agreement of several parties disagreeing among themselves, which carries the face rather of a Confederacy, than a Religion: For it is not the Opposing of Error, but the asserting of a Truth, that mast do the work. One Error may be opposed by another, even in a single person; as one man robs his Neighbour, and a third robs him. Here's one Injustice opposed by another: So that as it is an Agreement in Opposition, 'tis a hundred to one there will be Error in't: But the Opposers themselves being subdivided, 'tis impossible it should be Right; for the very Essence and Soul of Religion are here wanting; that is to say, Charity and Ʋnity. And for the proof of this, beyond all Contradiction; let but any man look back into the late Troubles, and see, when the Factions had destroyed the King and the Church (which they called the Common Enemy) how they fell presently to worrying of one another; when the Presbyterians, Independents, Anabaptists, Quakers, Seekers, Ranters, An­tinomians, and twenty other wild sorts of Sectaries, under the title of Protestants, and under the pretence of opposing Popery, destroyed the very Cause they covenanted to assert; a Pro­testant-Church, a Protestant Prince, and a Protestant-People, filled the Land with Confusion, Sacri­ledge, and Herefie; made the English Nation a Reproach and a Scandal to the Christian World: And so soon as they had possessed themselves of the Power and Revenue of the Kingdom, e­very mans hand was against his Brother for the Booty.

To proceed now to the matter of Experience: I would fain see any one Instance from the ve [...]y Reformation it self, to this day, when ever there was a Clamour advanced upon this Point, of a Conjunct Opposition of Popery, that the Church of England was not struck at in the Confe­deracy; and that too, not by blind Inferences and tacit Presumption, but by Overt Acts, and a Notoriety of Practice: That is to say, the Men that stickled under this Notion, did positive­ly declare the Government by Bishops, to be Antichristian; and the Discipline and Common Prayers of the Church, to be Popery and Superstition; yes, and the Civil Administration it self also to be downright Tyranny. They did just like the Fellows in Hatton-Garden, that stole Money and Plate under the pretence of Searching for Priests; and for the Credit of the Ex­ploit, they rob'd in Red Coats too, that they might the better pass for some of his Majesties Guards. The Similitude runs upon all Four, for it was the very case of our pretended Pro­testants, under colour of hunting for Priests, they seized Money and Plate, and committed Robberies in the very Livery of the Government.

This they did in Scotland under the Queen Regent, and King James; and in England, un­der Queen Elizabeth; and twice in Scotland again, under the late King; and after that, in England: Two actual Rebellions more in Scotland, under this present King, and now God bless us from another at home; and all this from that sort of people that stil'd themselves Protestants. The Principles, the Methods, and the Pretences the very same, from one end to the other.

The Story of these Phanatical Conspiracies is almost as nauseous as the thing it self is dete­stable; only this last in Scotland methinks seems to crown the Infamy of all the rest: For a Party that calls it self Protestant; a Party in full Cry upon the scent of Popery; a Popish Plot upon Oath too, at the same time upon the Life of the King, upon our Religion and Govern­ment; and that Plot at that instant, under a strict Examination; the same party at the same time also pressing for Justice upon the Conspirators, nay, and complaining of the remissness of the Prosecution, notwithstanding the most exemplary Rigor in the Case that ever was known in this Nation: For this Party, (I say) under these circumstances, to fly in the face of the Government, let the World judge if ever there was a more consemmated piece of Wicked­ness. [Page] They raise a Rebellion, and make Religion the Ground of it, they declare a War against the King, and the Church, and yet write themselves Loyal Subjects and Protestants. They cry out of the Danger of Popery, and yet in the same breath, draw their Swords upon their Prince, in the very attempt of Crushing it; and all these Aggravations complicated in one act. Is it not high time then; after an Imposture that has cost this Nation so dear, to learn at last to distinguish betwixt a Religion and a Faction? Betwixt what men are, and what they call themselves? Is a Renegado ever the less a Turk for putting out English Colours? Are the Blessed Spirits ever the less pure for the Devils transforming himself into an Angel of Light? Is the Kings Broad Seal one jot the less valuable for being counterfeited? So neither is our Profession. And he that dishonours Religion, or invades Authority under the Name of a Protestant, is no more to any sober man, than a Goth or a Vandal. Judas his Betraying of his Master was a most ungrateful and abominable Sin, but the doing of it with a Kiss, made it by many degrees the more execrable: And it was the height of the Prophet Davids Affliction, the Circumstance of a Familiar Friend. Where's the harm now of saying, Have a care of False Protestants: The Author and the Finisher of our Faith, is (I hope) of Authority sufficient to justifie that Caution. Does not our Saviour himself tell us that there shall arise False Christs and False Prophets? and why not False Protestants: And does he not bid us take heed that no man deceive us; for many (says he) shall come in my Name, saying I am Christ, and shall deceive many? Does he not bid us beware of Wolves in Sheeps Cloathing? And in his description of the Scribes and Pharisees, give us the very Picture of our Impostors.

We have it upon the Credit of Dr. Tongue and Dr. Oates, that the Sedition of 1641. was totally contrived and caryed on by Popish Counsels; and that not only the Conventicles in that bloody Revolution, but all our Separate Meetings to this day, and particularly the Scottish Commotions were and are influenced by Priests and Jesuits, under the Masque of Professors of those several Perswasions. Have we not reason then to use all possible circumspection, that we may not be imposed upon by such as these for Protestants? No man has a greater veneration for the memory of those Protestants that suffered Martyrdom for their Faith: no man a greater horrour for the Irish, the Parisian, & several other Massacres; no man a higher esteem or a more ar­dent affection for Protestancy it self, (so far as the Profession of the Church of England is intended by it) than I have. But for those turbulent Spirits that lay about them as if Heaven were to be taken by actual Violence, whose Zeal outstrips Christianity it self, imposing upon the world their own corrupt and impetuous passions, instead of the healing and pacifique motions of the Holy Ghost: These are a dangerous sort of people, and their ways are not only a Contra­diction to the undeniable Principles of our Institution, but to the common Interests of Man­kind, as well Individuals as Communities: for if it be true, that Charity is the great Lesson of the Gospel: If it be true that, Ʋnity in Faith, and Ʋnanimity in the the things of Civil Go­vernment would make up the most perfected Blessing that reasonable Nature is capable of in this Tabernac [...]e of Flesh; then must it necessarily follow, that the nearer we approach to that Agreement, the better Christians we are, and the happier Men; and the further we depart from it the more wicked & the more miserable we are. This is either true or false: If the former, there's no Treason in't; if the latter, we may burn our Bibles.

Before I wade any further into this Controversie, it may do well, I think, to give some Reason, why upon this Subject & at this Time; that the World may not take that for the Leaven of an unquiet Humour, which in great truth, is only an act of Conscience in the discharge of a sober and a seasonable duty to my Prince and Country.

To the undertaking of this Office, I have been induced, by the audacious Liberties of the Press, in the matter of Religion and Government, endeavouring to possess the Multitude with false and pernicious Principles and Opinions, and by artificial Hints and Scandals to dispose them (now toward the meeting of this next Parliament) to a partial and a factious [Page 5] Choice: So that my Business is only to encounter and lay open the Vanity and Weakness of those Libels, and without confining my self to any one in particular, to sum up the Malice of them all, for so much as concerns our present purpose, and to submit my self to the Rea­der in a fair and short Reply.

It is a Note worthy of consideration, that all the Papers here in question, (even to a single Sheet) are the Work of Men exceedingly by assed against the established Government, as Repub­licans, Anabaptists, and other sorts of Dissenters from the Church; for the Publishers of these Papers are known every one of them, and most of the Authors. Now what advice toward the Honour and Safety of the Government, these people are likely to give, who are united in common Principles of defaming, discomp [...]sing, and even of dissolving it, let Heaven and Earth be the Judges: And what work such a House of Commons would make, as these forward Un­dertakers would have, if they were to direct and influence the Election.

Now if these be the Counsellours, let us see next if the Matter of their Writings be not an­swerable to the Character of the Men; and if it be not most evident that it is their very scope and design (so far from endeavouring the Peace and Settlement of the Nation) to poi­son the people with seditious Maxims; to create Jelousies betwixt the King and his Subjects, and to undermine the very Foundation of the Government.

They support themselves with the Multitude, upon two general and popular pretensions, Re­ligion and Liberty: What Religion, or what Liberty they do not say; but only fill the peoples [...]eads with a confused Notion of things, and wild apprehensions of Popery and Tyranny: And [...]hen their next work is under colour of dating the Priviledges of King and People, to erect [...]editious Positions; and after all, to prescribe Remedies infinitely worse than the Disease. We [...]hall now make it appear that the Religion they talk of, leads to all sorts of Impiety; and that [...]heir pretended Liberty is the ready way to slavery. First, of Religion.

As to what concerns Religion, they do all of them sing the same Song in their Queries and [...]opesals to the Freeholders and Electors of England, and unanimously agree in the same me­ [...]hod of Advice to the people, how they are to govern themselves in their next Choice.

Their first Caution is, To pursue the Discovery and Punishment of the Plot, (the Trojan Horse [...]ith an Army in the Belly of it.) To secure us from Popery; and that no Papist may be allowed to well in the Land; Nor any man chosen into the House, that shall dare to open his mouth for a Popish [...]uccessor: And all this attended with a dreadful Enumeration of the Massacres, Fires, Trea­ [...]s, and Devastations that have been wrought by the Popish party.

To this first Point, the Replicant most willingly subscribes, so far as stands with Christian [...]harity, and the Law of the Land; But then he cannot forget on the other hand, that the [...]ounterfeit Protestant Horse of 1641. had an Army in the Belly of him, as well as the Trojan; and [...]e that would be safe, must look both ways at once.

Another Caution is, not to choose any man that is Popishly affected; (as another hath it) affected. But a third proceeds a little more warily, and recommends the chusing only of [...]ere Protestants, and not disguised Papists, who are ready to pull of their Mosque, when time serves, [...]d may be known by their laughing at the Plot, disgracing the Evidence, admiring the Tray­ [...]rs Constancy, &c.

This same Popishly and ill affected, lies open to several Exceptions; for one Man is made [...]dge of the Thoughts of another, which is only the Prerogative of Almighty God. I have [...]ard of a man that was indicted for Whistling; but never, till now, of any Man that was incapa­ [...]ated to serve in the House of Commons, for Thinking. Beside the unreasonable Latitude, [...]d the horrible iniquity of the Judgment; for if this be admitted, no man living can be se­ [...]e: It involves the Innocent with the Guilty, and puts a man out of all possibility to a [...] ­ [...]it himself. And them forward; It is but turning the Tables, and the Blot is hit on the [...] ­ [...]side: For why should not I be as well allowed to pronounce another man a disguised [Page 6] Protestant, as he to judge me a disguised Papist, and the same liberty of marking him too? You shall know him by his Shiboleth,; for the old Covenant sticks in his Teeth still, and the whole my­stery of his profession is wrapt up in that Oracle of the Priviledges of Parliament; the Kings Iust Pow­er and Greatness; the Protestant Religion against Popery, and Popish Innovations; the first point being wholly incomprehensible, and the other two, like Jugglers Knots, fast or loose at pleasure.

This equal Freedom being granted on all sides, takes away all Faith, Confidence, and Corre­spondence in humane Society. I know no difference in the world betwixt one mans Infallibility and anothers; nor any (but in Terms) betwixt a private mans infallibile Light, and the Popes infalli­ble Sentence: Nor is there any one Usurpation in Popery, that is either grievous to the Conscience or dangerous to the Government; but a man may shew very near an equivalent of it in Schism.

As to the Marks of distinction betwixt a sincere Protestant and a disguised Papist; the Immorality of Laughing at the Plot, favours more in my opinion, of an unmannerly Fool, than of a disguised Papist; though for my own part, I am so far from Laughing at it, that it wounds my soul, the very thought on't. Disgracing of the Evidence were something indeed; but to [...]ake a man a Papist fo [...] admiring the Traytors Constancy, that, methinks is very hard, and not answerable to what one would expect from an Advocate for Liberty of Conscience. It is much easier to relinquish an Opinion, tha [...] for a man to devest himself of natural Affection; and more unreasonable to claim a freedom in th [...] one, than to refuse it in the other. I must confess, I do admire that Constancy, and if I were to dye fo [...] so doing, I could not but admire it still: And these Impressions are humane, and not to be resisted▪

We fall now into the old Track of the whole party: They call for Toleration; complain o [...] persecution; cast all their Sufferings upon their worshipping according to their Consciences; and the [...] this lamentable condition of theirs must be remonstrated to the whole Nation. Of these four point [...] in order.

In the handling of their plea for Protestant Dissenters, there are many things to be taken into co [...] sideration. First, Is it in matters of conscience, or only of phansie, wherein they desire to be i [...] dulg'd? If the latter, the upholding of a Law is certainly of much greater concern, than the gra [...] fying of a Caprice. Now on the other side, if they demand it upon an exigen [...] of Conscience: Fir [...] why plurally, for Dissenters? When one man cannot honestly undertake for another mans Conscienc [...] Besides that (Secondly) they a [...]k an Indulgence for several parties, of divided Consciences and Opinion And in short, they would have the Magistrate favour all the Consciences, that will not endure [...] anothers. Again; They should do well to explain what they mean by Protestant Dissenters, up [...] points of Conscience; whether all in general, or only such and such parties: If all in general, Heathe [...] must be tolerated as well as Christians, for they have Consciences as well as we: Or if it be restrai [...] to Christianity, it opens a door to Heresies, more detestable then Paganism it self. So that an Ʋniv [...] sal Toleration is utterly unlawful; & a partial Toleration on the other hand, is as ineffectual; for up [...] a plea of Conscince they may all claim alike: So that it is an Act of Ʋniformity still, to those that exclud [...]d; and it is not fair, in the Government, to favour one [...]alf, and exasperate another, wher [...] may as well be taken in, as any▪ Beside, upon the supposal of a limited Toleration, who shall ju [...] which are fit to be admitted, and which not? If the People, every man justifies himself, and t [...] we are upon an universal Toleration again. They tell us stories of sound Faith, good Life, an [...] distinguishing betwixt Fundamentals and not Fundamentals; which is only treading of the s [...] Ring still; for it may be every bodies plea as well as any mans: That which the Magistrate judges one [...] the people shall determine another; and one mans fundamental Truth shall be anothers funda [...] tal Error, which will introduce as many Religions as phansies; bring Factions into Families as [...] as into Governments, and [...]ake the people both parties and Judges: And it is not to say tha [...] Word of God shall be the Judge; for that's only a Rule by which we are to judge; and by erro [...] judgments it is made the foundation of all Heresies; For when every man may make his own Other's nothing so impious, but he'l shew you a Text for't. Moreover, the very pretence of Lib [...] Conscience is f [...]ivolous; for Conscience is out of the reach of humane power; and the freedom of th [...] no Law can either punish or take away.

[Page] But it is the liberty of acting, as well as of thinking, that they insist upon, which upon the whole matter, is neither more nor less than a Licence to do what they please. The League in Flanders, under Maximilian: the holy League under Henry the 3d of France; Muncers Outrages in Germany; the Mur­therers of Henry the 4 [...]h. and the P. of Orange; and all the Villanies of the late times here at home, were acted under the Masque of Religion. It is not for the restraining of Opinions that Laws are pro­vided; but for the preventing of Overt deeds of Violence, and they are punished for Action, not for Conscience. Neither have we any means of distinguishing betwixt Faction and Religion, if every mans word shall be taken for his own Conscience; and then it is a dangerous way of dividing a Kingdom against it self.

Take notice all this while, that they urge a Toleration, no body knows for whom, or for what. Where are their Arcicles? where is the Model of their Accommodation? or how is it possible to contrive any common Expedient to gratifie them? For nothing less than a total Liberty of doing what they list, will please them, which must inevitably produce the Dissolution of the Government. If they would have the wilder and more extravagant Sects excluded, why do they plead for All in general, and not rather particularise the Opinions and Parties that they would have indulg'd? But they dare not do this, for fear of disobliging the rest, their business being to unite all Factions in the quarrel; when yet you may as soon bring Heaven and Hell together, as reconcile them in Re­ligion; so that either they ask an impious thing, in the allowance of all, or a impracticable thing in propounding any Limitation, upon a Plea of Conscience. But the truth is [...]o more than this: They ask a thing which can neither be granted, nor so much as understood; and the people are transported with the sound of Loyalty and Religon, to the desire of things wholly inconsistent with either Piety or Government.

We should do well to take notice, that against this plea for Liberty, there is one on the one side, the Authority of Law, and the solemn Judgment of the Church for the Equity of it; and on the other, the Kings personal and political Conscience for the Execution of it. There is also the Duty of a Subject for the Obeying of it; and the same reason that authorizes an Invasion of this Law, may as well invalidate all the rest. Now the Counterpoize to all this weight, is (at best) only the naked Conscience of some private persons. The peoples Consciences call for Liberty; and the Governors Conscience requires Order: Their Consciences will not down with this Law, nor this Law with such Consciences: Which of the two now shall yield to the other?

But what benefit might we now expect from this Indulgence here, if it were granted? Or rather, in [...]he first place, what colour of Conscience or of reason is there in the very demand it self (all the afore­ [...]aid Exceptions over and above?) Is it first reasonable for them to ask what they themselves think unreasonable to grant? Or to claim such an allowance to themselves, as a point of Conscience, which they themselves, upon a point of Conscience refuse to others? For there is not any one party [...]n the whole mass of Dissenters, that does not deny the same freedom to others which they do joynt­ly challenge to themselves: Nay, in their very Propositions to his Majesty in the Isle of Wight, Mar. 1647. [...]hey excepted the Use of the Common Prayer, when they gave Liberty to all other sorts of Worship. (To which Concession they were then compell'd by the Circumstances of that juncture.) Their Refusal must proceed either upon the Right of the thing, or upon Reason of State. If they did not like our way, neither do we approve of theirs: Or if if they excluded us out of a respect to the publik peace, the Government hath still the same reason against them.

But we shall better understand the Party, from their own words, wherein we shall first take a short view of their Opinions in matter of Fatith and Religion. Secondly, How they stand affected, one party to another: And thirdly, Their positions and practises, with Relation to the Civil Govern­ment.

As to their Opinions, first, see some Extravagances of the Sectaries, Cited by a Presbyterian, out of their own Writings, in Edwards's Gangrena, from p. 18. to 27.

[Page] They say that the Scriptures are insufficient and uncertain. God the Author of Sin, even of the [...]ness it self▪ That the Magistrate ought not to punish any man for denying of a God, if his Conscience [...] so perswaded. That every Creature is God, an Efflux only from God, and shall return to him: That there is but O [...]e Person in the Divine Nature. That the least Truth is of more worth than Jesus Christ himself. That the Doctrine of Repentance is a Soul-destroying Doctrine. That 'tis as possible for Christ himself to Sin, as for a Child of God to Sin. That the Moral Law is of no use at all to Be­li [...]vers. That Pe [...]ers trouble, after the denyal of his M [...]ster; issued only from the weakness of his Faith. That Infants rise not again. Nay, he speaks of a Sectary pleading for a Toleration of W [...]tches, with s [...]veral abominable Instances. And he charges the Nursery and Encrease of them upon the Presbyte­rians; and that it was their Indulgence, not Episcopal connivance that wrought our Mischief in that kind. They agree (says he) with J [...]lian the Apostate, Libertines, Athiests, Unclean, Incestuous, Drun­k [...]rds, Sabbath-breakers, Lyers, Jugglers, Slanderers, proud and boasting, insolent, outrageous, Hy­pocritical, false.

The S [...]ctaries on the other hand call the Assembly, Antichristian, Romish, Bloody, Plagues and Pests the Kingdom, Baals Priests, Southsayers: The Pre [...]byterian Government a Limb of Antichrist, Tyrannical, Lordly, an Aegyptian Bondage. An Anabaptist said, He hoped to see Heaven and Earth on fire, before Presbytery should be settled; and to see it trodden under foot, as the Bishops. Ster [...]y himself says, The Seed of God hath two Capital Enemies, Romish Papacy, and the Scotch Presbytery. See what the Presbyterians say now to Toleration.

It is much (says the London Ministers Letter to the Assembly,) Jan. 1. 45. that our Brethren should separate from the Church, but that they should endeavour to get a Warrant to authorize their Separation from it; and to have Liberty (by drawing Members out of it) to weaken and diminish it, till (so far as lies in them) they have brought it to nothing. This we think to be plainly unlawful.

And then the Harmony of the Lancashire Ministers, p. 12. Toleration would be the putting the Sword in a mad mans hand, a proclaiming Liberty to the Wolves, to come into Christs Flock, to prey upon his Lambs.

Toleration m [...]kes the Scripture a Nose of Wax; a Rule of Faith to all Religions. And this is the great Rabby of the party. Rutherfords free Disp. p. 360.

Liberty of Conscience, and Toleration of all, or any Religion, is so prodigious an Impiety, that this Religious Parliament cannot but abhor the very naming of it. Baileys Disswasive Epist. Ded. 1645.

It is unreasonable (says the Defender of the London Ministers Letter to the Assembly, Anti-tolera­tion, p. 16) that Indep [...]ndents should desire that Toleration of Presbyters, which they would not give to Presbyters.

Let it be observed from hence, that these people do first demand of the Government that Liberty which they deny to one another. And Secondly, That they pretend to do it upon Conscience, and yet hold the thing it self to be absolutely unlawful; so that they justifie the Conscience of our denying it to them, by the Conscience of their refusing it to others. And the only way to evade this, is to discover all by confessing, that though they now beg a Toleration from the Government, yet if they get power in their hands, they'l make a Conscience again (as they did before) of allowing any freedom to the Go­vernment.

It is a nlear case, that their demands are unwarrantable, impracticable, unreasonable, and not groun­ded upon Conscience, but directly in opposition to it; as we have it under their own hands.

Let us try now if we can discover what the design is, since it appears manifestly what it is not; and that, not only from the reason of the thing, but from their own deeds and writings; and those matters also, and positions, expounded by practise.

One thing remarkable is this; That they have been still fishing in troubled Waters, and taking ad­vantage of all D [...]stresses, and necessities of the Government. Did not Cartwright, Coppinger, Ar­thington and Hacket, take their time for that exeerable Conspiracy against Q. Elizabeth, when she was just upon the very point of securing the reformed Religion against the Power and Church of Rome? [Page] Did not the Sectaries in 1641. take the same advantage against the late King, when his thoughts were wholly taken up about suppressing the Irish Rebellion? And did not the latter Scotch Tumults take the same advantage of his Majesties being under many troublesome Circumstances about the Plot; and when the peoples minds were prepared to take ill Impressions in the matter of Govern­ment? So that the very timeing of this revived Clamour for Liberty of Conscience, looks suspiciously; and the more, because their Meetings here have of late been very little interrupted.

To run through those pestilent principles, which the Heads of the Sectaries have publish'd in their own names, were endless, Wherefore I shall content my self with some of their general positions, and refer the Reader to Husbands Collections, or the Authors themselves for the rest; as Milton, Good­win, Rutherford, and a hundred more.

They make the Lords and Commons the supream Power; nay, the people themselves in some cases; Princes, they say, may be deposed and put to death: They distinguish betwixt the Kings person and his authority, the Letter of the Law, and the Equity of it; and appeal from the written Law to the Law of Nature; and according to these maxims they govern their proceedings.

But will you see now the price of all our Blood, and Confusion?

Upon their Petition to his Majesty for a Reformation of the Liturgy, the King most graciously is­sued out a Commission for a Review of the Book of Common Prayer: An equal number of learned Divines, both Episcopal and Presbyterian were appointed to meet about it, and to agree upon such Alterations as should be thought most necessary. His Majesty earnestly desiring that the Ministers would not totally lay aside the Book of Common Prayer, but read those parts against which there could be no Exception. Now instead of most necessary Alterations, and those to be agreed upon by both Par­ties, they published a new Liturgy of their own, under the Title of the Reformation of the Liturgy, (which is indeed the Abolition of it.) I'le give ye only a tast of some of their important scruples that are cast into the ballance, against the Ʋnity of the Church, and the Peace of the Kingdom: They turn Wedded Wife into Marryed: Dost thou Believe into Do you Believe; and all this I stedfastly Believe, into this I do unfeignedly Believe.

Let us now suppose these people had their Askings: Let any man but shew me from the Minority of K. James, to this hour, where they were not the more violent and importune upon yielding (even to the hazard of a downright Rebellion) & the Author shall give any man his Head, for the President: Did not the Assembly in 1578. impose upon the Parliament in Scotland, fall foul upon the Archbishop of Glasgow, and the whole Order? pass a Decree against their votes in Parliament, command them to renounce their Temporal Titles, & Civil Jurisdiction, & set their Quarriers at work for the demolish­ing of Glasgow Cathedral? (which had been done too, if the Tradesmen had not by force prevented it.) And did they not grow bolder and bolder upon the Kings Lenity; and command the Bishops, upon pain of Excommunication, not to officiate as Pastors, without Licence from the General Assembly; and likewise order the Patrimony of the Church to be disposed of as they should see meet? And did they not after that, make a violent and treasonous Seizure of the King at Ruthven, and justifie it when they had done? And so on by degrees, till his Majesty was forc'd, by a Tumult at Edenbourgh, in 1596. and the Ministers Bond of Confederacy immediately upon it, to a Resolution of rigour and se­verity; which (as Spottswood observes) gave him more quiet and security for the future.

His Majesty was no sooner enter'd upon the Government of England, but he was assaulted in 1604. with the same sort of people, and at a Conference at Hampton Court, this Qustion was put, How far an Ordinance of the Church was binding, without offence to Christian Liberty? Where­upon the King gave this short Answer, Let's have no more of these Questions, but conform at your pe­ril. So that they gave him no further trouble upon that subject. And this was Queen Elizabeth's case too, to the hazard both of her Life and Government; till by that severe Act against them, of the Thirty fifth of her Reign, she gave her self ease for the remainder of her Life.

What did the late King gain by his Indulgence to the Scots in 1637. but farther Indignities and Contempt? First, the Service-Book and Canons were their Grievance; then the Five Articles of [Page] Perth, though established both by the General Assembly and, Parliament; The High Commission next and then the Bishops Session in Civil Judicatories. His Majesty gratifie [...] them in every point: Inso­much, that they had nothing further to complain of, but that the King would not abolish Episco­pacy, and admit the Authority of their Lay-Elders; upon which point they brake out into an open Rebelion. After this, upon the Interview of the two Armies at Berwick (when the King had them absolutely at his mercy) upon their Supplication for a Treaty, he trusted them again, and con­cluded upon a Pacification; of which, the Covenanters did not keep so much as one A [...]ticle.

Upon his Majesties return to London, he passes the Triennial Bill; abolishes the Star-Chamber and High Commissi [...]n-Court; passes an Act for the Continuance of the Parliament; and in fine, denys them nothing but his Crown and his Blood, and then by virtue of what he had given them already, they took away the rest, and stript him of his Friends, his Authority, his Revenue, and his Life.

They minister great cause of suspicion in their very stile and scruples: Why do they run so much upon ambiguities? As the settling of Religion in its due latitude; a due & necessary Reformation; found Relief; Principles congruous to a National Settlement; the Kings Iust Rights; Importance of Interests; Stated Order in the Church, &c. What is all this, but a jumbling together of so many Amusements, to pass a colourable pretence upon the people? And it signifies just nothing, but what Construction they shall think fit to allow it. If they would offer any pertinent, intelligible and practicable Proposition; and say, what Injunctions they would have abated; what Parties they would recommend for these qualifications; where to find them, and who shall judge of them. If they would state their Demands, and say, This is all we ask; and then rest there: If, 28 they plead for all Dissenters, they would produce some common Instrument, or Commission, to shew that they are au­th [...]riz'd by all to solicite in their Names, and to treat upon such or such Points; and to go no further, the business might be brought yet to some rational issue.

As their Stile is exceeding dark and mysterious, so are their Scruples of an extraordinary Quality too. They cannot kneel at the Sacrament, but they can hold up their hands at the Covenant; they can dispense with the Oath of Allegiance, and yet make a scruple of disclaiming the Solemn League: They can swallow a Schism (or worse) and yet a Ceremony choaks them. Add to all this; many of those very persons that promoted our former Troubles, this very way, are now at work again upon the same pretension; and may, without breach of Charity, be suspected to have the same design, and to remain in a state of impenitency, if they have not manifested their Repentance by some open Recantation: For (according to the Casuists) publique sins require publick confessions.

It is an ill sign too, for a man to leap upon the sudden, from matter of Conscience to Reason of State; and in the same breath, of a petitioner to become a reformer. It would seem a strange thing, for a man to request a special favour from the Master of a Family, and at the same time to put af­fronts upon his Domesticks, and to tell him that his Servants were all of them a pack of Rascals; which is not much from the point in hand.

We have had abundance of Advice to the Free-holders of England, toward the Choice of this next Parliament; as Sober and seasonable Quaeries, Englands great Interest, the Freeholders Choice, and twenty more; and all of them agreeing in the general Heads one with another: They tell us who are fit to be chosen, and who not.

The former such as will remove and bring to Justice evil Counsellors, corrupt and arbitrary Mini­sters of State; detect and punish the Pensioners of the former Parliament in the face of the Kingdom, and they must chuse such as will secure us from Slavery.

The people are directed on the other side, not to chuse a man that has been reputed a Pentioner, no Court-Officer, or whose Employment is durante bene placito; no ambitious men, or Non-resi­dents, that live here in Town, and seek Honour and preferments above.

This is the Counsel of Englands grand Interest: And methinks, in these Qualifications, there is both too much, and too little. As to the point of Evil Counsellors, corrupt Ministers and Pensioners, he should have done well to have advi'sd them all manner of caution and circumspection, for fear [Page] of mistaking their Men. This was the way that brought the Earl of Strafford, and the Arch-Bishop of Canterbury to their Ends. under the notion of evil Counsellors too, though perhaps the most ne­cessary Instruments that ever this Nation enjoyed, for the Common Good both of King and peo­ple. So that as it is a great Service to bring corrupt Ministers to publick Justice, it is yet a lewd method to make the Rabble the Executioners, and to punish Male-Administration by Sedition: For in this case the good and the bad fall indifferently without distinction; and instead of drawing here and there a piece of rotten Timber toward a Reparation, they fall foul upon the main pillars and supporters of the House; so that all falls into ruins. And then the mark of a Reputed Pensioner goes a little too far; for it lies in the power of two or three malevolent Tongues to make any man so. They that made the last King a reputed Papist, shall much more easily make any of his Majesties Subjects pass for reputed Pensioners.

The total Exclusion of all Court-Officers, or Bene-placito-men, is yet worse: For this sets up a direct Opposition betwixt the King and his people; as who should say, Trust no body that wears any Token of the Kings favour. And the same reason disables him as well to any other Trust whatsoever: So that the Kings Countenance is a kind of Incapacity. And it is the same thing with those he calls Ambitious Men; as if any Application to his Majesty made a man unfit for the Service of his Country. He should have done well to have warn'd them against the known Enemies of the Government, rather then the suspected Servants of the King.

The Free-holders Choice is a very Martin Mar-Prelate. His Language against the Clergy is too course for an honest man to repeat after him, but he has ranged them in good Company; for he says that they lay out themselves, to accommodate their Masters with the veriest Villains that can be pick'd up in all the Country; that so we may fall into the hands again of as treacherous and lewd a Parliament as the Wisdom of God, and Folly of Man has most miraculously freed us from. Methinks some of the Members of that Parliament should concern themselves to call for Justice upon so foul a Scandal.

The Author of the Seasonable Quaeries does not only recommend the same Cautions with the rest, but calls his Majesty himself to Shrift, and puts the Question, whether Prorogation and Disso­lution of Parliaments, at such a time as this, does not fill the hearts of Protestant Subjects with evi­dent fears of destruction?

And Secondly (says he) Whether it be not high time for all the Protestants in England, to resolve as one man, that they will it and by, and maintain the Power and Priviledges of Parliament, together with the Power and Iust Rights of the King, according to the Laws of the Kingdom, so as the One may not intrench upon th [...] Other.

The former Exp [...]ation upon the Reason of the Kings Proceedings, would have been more taken notice of perhaps, if it had not been followed with one of the most audacious Challenges that this Licentious season has produced; for the meaning of it is, to incourage a direct Rising, as if the King and the Parliament were going together by the Ears, (forgive the Expression) and the people to in­terpose, to see fair play.

This is the very Trace of the Old Covenant: They must resolve to maintain no body knows what on the one side; (for the Priviledges of Parliament are past finding out:) But then they are to stand by the King, on the other side, with a Limitati [...]n; only in his Iust Rights, and of those Bounds, they themselves are to be the Judges. This Epithete was applyed to the late Kings Case, by those very men that cut off his Head.

The Author of Englands great Interest, having directed the good people what persons to choose for the ensuing Parliament, and what not. His next work is to instruct them in the Know [...]edge of their Powers, which he divides into three Rights or Fundamentals. The First is Property, that is, a Right and Title to their own Lives, Liberties, and Estates. For the Law (he says) is Vmpire be­tween King, Lords, and Common [...]; and the Right and Property is one in kind, through all Degrees and Qualities in the Kingdom. Mark that.

Way does he not say that the King is Ʋmpire betwixt King, Lords and Commons, as wel [...] a [...] t [...]at [Page] the Law is so? For the Law is only the Kings Pleasure made known; and the whole force and autho­rity of it, is but an Emanation from Soveraign Power. And then for his Three Fundamentals: As I am a Commoner of England my self, I should be loth to lose any Right of an English man; and yet as I am a loyal subject also, I should be as unwilling to encroach upon the Priviledges of the Crown. I do not know what he means by his one in Kind; with the emphasis of Mark that upon it. If it be, that the people have as much right to their Lives, Liberties, and Estates, as the King himself has; though it be true in some sense, it will not hold yet, as he would have it understood. For the people may for­feit their Lives, Liberties and Estates but the King cannot forfeit his: Wherefore Mark that too.

His Second Fundamental is Legislation: Or the Power of making Laws; for no Law can be made or abrogated (he says) in England without them.

It is not candidly done, to call that the very Act of Legislation, which is only consultive and pre­parative towards it. The making of Laws, is a peculiar and incommunicable Prerogative of Soveraignty; so that to place the legislative power in the Commons, is to make them Supream; and to set a King of England once more at the Commons Bar. Beside that, his Inference is as inconsequent, as his Assertion is dangerous. As if a Law must necessarily be made by them, because it cannot be made or abrogated without them. Does he that furnishes the Ingredients, therefore make the Medicine, because the Me­dicine cannot be made without the Ingredients? What signifies the form of an Instrument to the pas­sing of an Authority or Obligation, without signing and sealing? Yet the one cannot be done with­out the other. Does the Councel that draws the Conveyance pass away the Estate; because the Act could not have been good without him? And again, the Law in this case, is no other then a Promise under the Kings Hand past to the people, and partakes of the nature of other promises. It was made by the Promiser, and cannot be discharg'd without the Consent of those to whom it was promised,

His third Fundamental is Executive, & holds proportion with the other two, in order to compleat both their Freedom and Security; and that is their share (as he says) in the Judicatory Power; in the Execution and Application of those Laws that they agree to be made.

A Judicatory Power without authority to Minister an Oath, is to me, I must confess, a new thing: And now for the word agree; though it may be pertinent enough to his purpose (for there needs no more to the undoing of the most regular Government upon the face of the Earth, then first to turn the peoples hearts against it, and then to possess them that they have a Legal Remedy in their own hands.) Yet that word (I say) in this place, is very improper? for it is but a Request pre­sented to his Majesty for his Approbation. The Request or Bill is, no doubt, agreed upon; but it were an unco [...]th kind of expression for a Petitioner to say, that he does agree that his Petition shall be granted.

The Business is fairly push'd already: but the Publisher of a pretended Speech lately printed car­ries it a step further. If a Prince (says he) be born to a Kingdom, who is either Lunatique, or other­wise disabled to do the Kingdom any good, shall not the Subjects, in this case, proceed to chuse another, who may preserve the Kingdom, when otherwise it must of necessity perish? as lately in the case of Portugal, they chose another to succeed, because of the Disability of the former.

This is in plain terms a Deposing principle: For if a King may be remov'd, in such case of Disability, the people being made Judges of the Case, it is but their saying that he is not fit to govern, & the work is done.

There is a Sheet printed under the Title of A Plea, &c. that has more brains and art in it than or­dinary. He says that a King is not for his own but his Subjects sakes only; and that we have▪ in truth, rather Title, &c. to H [...]m, then He to Us: Adding, that when Kings themselves be ill ones, God not only approves of their removal, but even himself does it: This he supports upon Texts extreamly misapply'd,

Let it be agreed now that a Prince is rather constituted for the good of the people, then the people for the advantage of the Prince. But let it be granted also on the other side, that Providence has made Order so necessary to the well-being of mankind, that Tyranry it self is yet more tolerable than either Anarchy or Sedition: So that in the matter of Obedience to Superiors, we find our convenience even in our Duty. He seems to infer, that because God himself does many times remove ill Kings, that [Page] therefore he approves of our doing so too. But first, we are not to draw Gods extraordinary ways into precedent. By the same Rule, plunder was formerly justified upon a Scriptural Commission for the spoil­ing of the Egyptians. Secondly, The very admittance, that an ill King may be remov'd, makes way to the destruction of a good one; for 'tis but saying he is so, to make him so, and it leaves him barely at the mercy of the people: And this is not all neither, for it turns up the very root of Government, and casts humane Affairs into a circulation of confusion. The two Houses depos'd the King; the Com­mons the Lords; the Multitude they deposed the Commons; and all upon the same Charge of Mis­demeanour. So that the Trustee being still accomptable to those that entrusted him, the Order of Go­vernment is inverted, and the last Appeal lodg'd in the Rabble. It is a strange thing that our Prote­stant Dissenters should so unanimously agree in their methods of opposing Authority, and yet keep at so grea [...] a distance in all things else; for how scrupulous soever they may may seem to be in set forms of Devotion, they are the strictest people in the world, in the observance of a set form of Wrangling with the Government: For an Out-cry of persecution dos as naturally follow a Plea for Liberty, as one foot follows another. Doth not such a day as this (says our Quaerist) loudly call for Repentance that Protestants have been persecuting each other; and for Unity in affection among all protestant Subjects, whether conforming or dissenting in some lesser points; and that as brethren they unite in such a Combi­nation of conjunction, as was in Q. Elizabeths time, with good success to defend the Crown, Religion and Kingdom, against the common Enemy of Mankind? Since the persecution of this Age lies so heavy up­on him, and that nothing will serve his tu [...]n, but the uniting of Protestants in such a Combination as was in the days of Q. Elizabeth, it will not be amiss to look a little into the Behaviour of the pro­testant Dissenters in those days, and the Indulgence which they received fom that Gracious Princess.

The Non-conformists that fled in Q. Maries time to Frankfort, and went off from the English re­formed Catholiques there to the protestant Dissenters at Geneva, these Non-conformists (I say) returned for England upon Q. Elizabeths coming to the Crown, and for the first ten years of her Reign, p [...]y'd her so hard with Libels, Clamours and seditious Consultations, that betwixt the Papists on the one hand, and the Protestant Dissenters one the other, she had much a do to secure the peace of her Go­vernment: And not being in condition to venture upon any course rigor or severity, the Pro­testant Dissenters in the 14th, year of her Reign, erected a Model of their own: call'd it the Church, libell'd the Queen, Parliament and Lords, and afterward entred into a formal Conspiracy against her Majesty and Council; which being detected, some were executed, and others imprison'd: So that, at last, by one severe Law of the 35th. of her Reign, she put an end to that Confederacy,

Here was the Ʋnity of the Combination our Pamphleter speaks of; and we'l give ye now the pro­vision it self that did the business, with the prescribed form of their Submission. The penalties were Imprisonment, without Bail or Main-prize, for being present at unlawful Conventicles. The Of­fender to be discharg'd if within three months be made his open Submission and Acknowledgment, in the Form by the said Statute appointed. But in case of Recusancy, to conform within that time, he was requir'd to abjure the Realm; and in case of refusing to abjure, or of not departing, within a limited time, or of returning without Licence, to be proceeded against [...]s a Felon, without Benefit of Clergy. Here follows the Form of Submission.

I A. B. do humbly confess and acknowledge that I have grievously offended God, in contemning her Majesties lawful Covernment, and Authority, by absenting my self from Church, and from hearing Divine Service, contrary to the godly Laws and Statutes of this Realm; and in using and frequenting disorder'd and unlawful Conventicles and Assemblies, under the pretence and co­lour of Exercise of Religion: And I am heartily sorry for the same, &c.

You see here what Quarter was both given and taken under Q. Elizabeth, which shews that the Quaerist was little read in History, to appeal to the practices of those times, either for the Innocence of the party, or the forbearance of them. But hear what Englands Interest says to this matter.

Oh! lay to heart (says he) the grievous Spoils and Ruins that have been laid upon your harmless Neighbours for near these twenty years, Sixty pounds distrain'd for Twelve. Two hundred for Sixty:

[Page] The Flocks taken out of the Fold; the Herd from the Stall: Not a Cow left to give Milk to the Or­phans, nor a Bed for the Widow to lie on: Whole Barns of Corn swept away, and not a penny returned. And all this for worshipping God according to their Conscience. If you (says he to the Free-holders) will either compel or persecute your selves, or chuse such as do, you hate the Papists, but not Popery.

This is so errant a Cant of Begging, as if the Protestant Dissenters had served their Trade in Moor­fields; and it runs too, in the very tone and stile of their petitions and admonitions to Q. Elizabeth, and so down by a clear Succession to this instant. There were Citations, Degradings, and Depriva­vations; some in the Marshalseas, some in the White-Lyon, some in the Gatehouse at Westminster, o­thers in the Counter, or in the Clink, or in Bridewell, or in Newgate. How many good mens deaths have the Bishops been the cause of? How many have they driven to leave their Ministry, and live by Phy­sick? Men have been miserably handled with Revilings, Imprisonments, Banishments, &c. If this persecution be not provided for, great trouble will come of it.

Under K. James, no man (they said) could be assured of his Lands or Life. And under the late King, how were these poor people oppressed by Fines, Imprisonments, Stigmatizings, Deprivations, suspensions, excommunicated, outlaw'd beggar'd, proceeded against with punishments p [...]cuniary and cor­poreal; nay, death it self: And now they are at the same lock again.

But what are these people (for the love of God) that are thus miserably us'd all this while? Why truly (if we may take their own words for't under Q. Elizabeth they were Loyal Subjects, and Gods faithful servants; most worthy, faithful, and painful Ministers, learned and godly, unreproveable before all men; the Strength of the Land, and the Sinew of her Majesties Government. Under K. James, they were men of Conscience, preservers of the Churches Right, and asserters of the Holy Dis­cipline. Under the late King, they took up the Titles of men of tender Consciences, well-affected; men that had the power of Godliness, painful, laborious preachers of the Word; faithful in their Generation, and men zealous in the defence of the Protestant Religion, the Priviledges of Parliament, and of his Majesty in his Iust Rights. And in our days, they call themselves Lovers of God, Or­dinances, and enemies of all humane Inventions; a people zealous of Religion; sound in the Faith, intelligent, sober, numerous, peaceable, orthodox: The Ceremonies they look upon as an Excess; they dissent from the outward Order of Worship, (for the Conscience will interpose in the Dictates and Injunctions of men, in Divine Worship) all these people agreeing in this common Complaint, that they are persecuted for worshipping according to Co [...]science. Whether they do well or ill; whether they speak true or false; whether they have Reason on their side or not, in these Re­monstrances let the Reader judge.

Let it be first observ'd, that the Author dates this persecution from his Majesties Return; near these 20 years (he say [...]) [...]s if there had never been any such thing before; whereas from the time of Q. Eliza­beths Act above-mentioned, to the very Act of Ʋniformity, (the late times excepted) [...]he Church was never without a legal provision for the preventing & suppressing of Conventicles; and the much Law more rigorously put in execution. Beside that, as they were more or less indulged, the N [...]tion was still more or less at quiet. Observe again, that there's no notice taken of the Liberty of the late times, or the deplorable Effects of that Licence, though the Presbyterians little F [...]nger was hea­vier then the Loyns of the Bishops, in the point of Restraint, as we have shew'd already, from the mouths of the other Sectaries. But they are too prudent to fall foul one upon another, when their business is to joyn in a Consederate party against the Government: so that they are now One and All, and every separate Opinion sticles for all the rest: And then comes on the Cry of the O [...]phans and Widdows against the cruelty of the Oppressor : Sixty pouunds distrain'd for twelve; Two hundred for Sixty, &c. Methinks the Plaintiff should have been so ingenuous, as to have refle­cted upon the persecu [...]ions that other men suffered even from these people that now complain of a persecution; & that they suff [...]red for worshipping according to their Consciences too, and they had not on­ly Religion on their side, but Law also; whereas the other founded a Rebellion upon a pretended [Page 15] scruple of Religion, and opposed the Rules of Christianity and Civil Authority, both in one: But it is a persecution to them, to be kept from persecuting.

Neither does this Clamour keep it self within the bounds of spiritual matters, but breaks in upon the Civil Administration, and alarms the multitude with the terrible apprehensions likewise of Tyranny & Slavery. Wherefore we are enforced to oppose the sensible Experiment of an actual Ty­ranny and slavery to the artificial and imaginary fears of it; to leave all mortals without excuse, that shall read these plain and well-meaning Papers, if ever they should fall into the same mistakes again.

The taking away of mens Goods and Liberties, the forcing of their Consciences, and tying them up to an implicit Obedience to the Decrees of Government, are terrbile things, I must confess: But yet much worse sure, where they run directly against the Stream of a receiv'd Authority and Ʋsage, then where the so doing is warranted by known Laws and uninterrupted Practice.

There are several sorts of persecution: A persecution in matter of Conscience, Good Name, Pro­priety of Goods and Estate; freedom of person, and that is the most odious aggravation of persecution, when it is set up in defiance of a publick Law, and introduced under a colour of kindness to all these Interests. We will be as short in these particulars as we can, and leave the Reader to say where the Odium of the Persecution lies.

First, to the point of Conscience. It was the judgment of the late Royalists, that they were ob­liged in conscience and duty, to pay Obedience to the Laws, both civil and ecclesiastical; and with the hazard of their Lives and Fortunes, to endeavour the preservation both of the Church and State. The Protestant Dissenters pretended the same respect for the King and Church, with the Royal party: And when by popular pretexts they had ingra [...]iated themselves with the multitude, they plaid their Game the contrary way, and took up Arms against the Government, which they swore to de­fend. Now see at what a rate they treated, not only the Friends of the Government, but the Govern­ment it self.

There were a hundred and fifteen Ministers ejected, within the Bills of Mortality; beside Pauls and Westminster; and in proportion all the Nation over, for refusing to comply with the Schism; and they were not so much as suffer'd to take the Employment of either a School-master or a Chap­lain, but under heavy penaltie. Several of our Divines were choak'd up, and poison'd in Peter-House, and other Goals, either for worshipping according to their Consciences, or refusing to act against them. No man admitted to compound, or so much as live in the Parliaments Quarters, without swearing. Men were sequester'd for not joyning in the Rebellion; for assisting the King according to the Law, and for not Covenanting, though in express Contradiction to the Oath of Allegiance. Up­on the Abolition of the Common Prayer, severe penalties impos'd upon any man that should use it; and their own Directory impos'd upon a Forfeiture too; nay, they would not allow the King him­self, in his Distresses, the Comfort of any of his own Chaplains, nor so much as the benefit of a Common-Prayer Book: And at Fife in Scotland, there was an Oath given at the Communion, not to ta [...]e the Kings Oath, nor any other then their own▪—Was all this an Invasion of the Liberty of Conscience or not?

Touching a persecution now upon the point of Good name: Though the whole course of the Hi­story is full of virulent and unchristian Reflections, I will only refer my self to that Diabolical Libel of Whites Centuries of scandalous Ministers; wherein, without any regard to truth or modesty, they have expos'd so many reverend Names to Infamy and Dishonour. In one word; After they had re­presented the King himself for a Tyrant, and an Idolater, it was but Consonant that they should cast Reproaches upon his Party.

Touching the Freedom of our Persons and Estates, the whole course of the late War, was but one [...]ntinued Usurpation upon our Rights to both: Noble mens Houses turn'd to Prisons, and peo­ [...]e committed, without knowing either their Accusers, or their Offence: Some clap'd on Ship- [...]ar [...] to be transported, no body knew whither; and others sold into Plantations for Slaves. To [...] nothing of those that fell by the Sword, in the Defence of their Country; or otherwise past [Page] the hand of the Executioner, in justification of their Religion and Allegiance. There was no taking of Threescore pounds for Twelve, in these days; nor of Two hundred for Sixty, But they took All for nothing; and there was no Living among them for any Honest man, that would not prostitute his Conscience. And who are they now, but either the very persons, or men however of these very Principles, that acted these Out-rages upon Ʋs, and yet now complain of being persecuted them­selves? When they startle the Common people with the Notions of Cruelty and Slavery, as a mat­ter now in prospect; methinks they should blush at the memory, and upon the Guilt of those re­al Calamities which we have both seen and felt, wherein our Blessed Soveraign had yet a greater share then any of his Subjects.

They abolished Kingly Government; sold the Crown Lands; imprison'd and murther'd the King; made it Treason to deny the Supremacy of the Commons; turn'd our Churches into Stables; burnt our Communion-Tables, and profan'd the very Ashes of the Dead. Let but any man read Scobels Acts, and say, if the English were not in those times, and under these Protestant Dissenters, the most de­spicable slaves in nature. See their Tax upon the Fifth and Twentieth part, their Excises upon Ex­cise; their Assessments for the Maintenance of the Army, and their monthly Taxes for the same end. Ninety thousand pounds; Sixscore thousand pounds, Sixty thousand pounds, Sequestrations, seizing of peoples Rents and Debts, appropriating to themselves the profits of Tonnage and Poundage, and Compositions for Wards, Authorizing the breaking open of Locks, and Examining upon Oath for discovery of Delinquents, Money and Estates. All this is as well known, as the very fact of the War it self; and if we have a mind to lie down under the same Bondage again, let us believe the Sto­ries of Arbitrary Government and Superstition, that these people tell us of, and they shall just so help us out of it again, as they did before.

There should be something further said to their pretence of being persecuted for Religion; but I find little to be added to what is already delivered. The Law stands still: They press upon the Law, and yet cry out, that the Law persecutes them. We may lay down this, I think, for a Maxim; That whosoever tells us that he makes a Conscience of complying with the Discipline of the Church, and yet manifestly makes none at all, of undermining, nay and of blowing up the whole frame of the Govern­ment, that man is most undoubtedly an Hypocrite.

To conclude: What's the meaning of this Remonstrating to the people? They are no Judges of the Controversie: But they do well however, in a Cause, where Force does a great deal more than Argument, to make their application to the multitude, with whom clamour and pretence are of more value than modesty and reason. It is a most ridiculous contradiction to common sense, to believe these men to be in earnest; for if they were, they would never defame the Government, at the same time that they beg a Dispensation from it.

Their Demand is unreasonable, the thing it self only notional and impracticable. By Liberty of Conscience, they mean a Freedom of doing what they please, which necessarily implies a total Dissolu­tion of the Laws. They offer it only a [...] a Decoy to the people; and when they have gain'd compassion to themselves (like beggars that move pity by shewing Ulcers of their own making) their next business is to draw Contempts upon the Government, and after that, to enter without more ado, upon the great Work of Reformation. Let me do this Right however to the Independents: I do not find that party [...]o have given the Government any trouble since his Majesties Return; but that they have kept themselves clear of all these late Broils: And if Authority had the same sense of them, with the Author of this Pam­phlet, they would be found both in their Principles and in their Manners, to have the most reasonable Claim of all sorts of Dissenters, to a favourable allowance from the Government. God in his mercy open our Eyes, that we may know our Friends from our Enemies.

THE END.

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