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chievous to the state. Nor did this come of the prince's neglect or indulgence; there are other reasons to be assigned; of which, the opportunities domestick troubles gave to their increase and power, and the se. verities used to suppress them, may go for none of the least. So that it was as involuntary in the prince, as to the church anxious. And under this neceffity to tie the magistrate to old measures, is to be regardless
of time, whose fresh circumstances give aim to the : conduct of wise men in their present actions. GovernÉ ments, as well as courts, change their fashions: the
fame clothes will not always serve: and politicks, made obsolete by new accidents, are as unsafe to follow, as antiquated dresses are ridiculous to wear.
Thus seamen know, and teach us in their daily practice: they humour the winds; though they will lie as near as they can, and trim their sails by their compass; and by patience under these constrained and uneven courses, they gain their port at last. This justifies the government's change of measures from the change of things; for res nolunt malè administrari.
And to be free, it looks more than partial, to elect and reprobate too. That the church of England is preferred, and has the fat of the earth, the authority of the magistrate, and the power of the sword in her sons hands, which comprehend all the honours, places, profics, and powers of the kingdom, must not be repined at: let her have it, and keep it all, and let none dare seek or accept an office that is not of her. But to ruin diffenters to complete her happiness, (pardon the allusion) is Calvinisın in the worst sense for this is that borrendum decretum reduced to practice : and to pursue that ill-natured principle, "Men are
civilly damned for that they cannot belp;' since faith is not in man's power, though it sometimes exposes one to it.
It is a severe dilemma, that a man must either renounce that of which he makes conscience in the light of God, or be civilly and ecclesiastically reprabated : there was a time, when the church of England herself
stood stood in need of indulgence, and made up a great part of the non-conformists of this kingdom ; and what The then wanted, she pleaded for, I mean a toleration, and that in a general ftile, as divers of the writings of her doctors tell us :, of which let it be enough but to mention that excellent discourse of Dr. Taylor, Bishop of Down, intitled, Liberty of Prophecy.
And that which makes severity look the worse in the members of the church of England, is the modesty The professes about the truth of the things she believes : for though, perhaps, it were indefensible in any church to compel a man to that which she were infallibly assured to be true, unless she superseded his ignorance by conviction, rather than authority, it must, doubtless, look rude, to punish men into conformity to that, of the truth of which the church herself pretends no certainty.
Not that I would less believe a church so cautious, than one more confident; but I know not how to help thinking persecution harsh, when they ruin people for not believing that, which they have not in themselves the power of believing, and which he cannot give them, and of which herself is not infallibly assured. The drift of this is moderation, which well becomes us poor mortals, that “ for every idle word we speak, is must give an account at the day of judgment,” if our Saviour's doctrine have any credit with us.
It would much mitigate the severity, if the diffent were sullen, or in contempt : but if men cannot help or hinder their belief, they are rather unhappy than guilty, and more to be pitied than blamed. However they are of the reasonable stock of the country; and though they were unworthy of favour, they may not be unfit to live. It is capital, at law, to destroy bastards; and bye-blows are laid to the parish to keep : they must maintain them at last: and shall not these natural fons, at least, be laid at the door of the kingdom? Unhappy fate of Dissenters ! to be lefs heeded, and more deftitute than any body. If this should ever happen to be the effect of their own folly, with
submiffion, it can never be the consequence of the government's engagements.
Eleétion does not necessarily imply a reprobation of the rest. If God hath elected come to salvation, it will not follow of course that he hath absolutely rejected all the reft. For though he was God of the Yews, he was God of the Gentiles too, and they were his people, though the Jews were his peculiar people. «God re“ spects not perfons,” says St. Peter; the good of all nations are accepted. The difference at laft, will not be of opinion, but works : fheep or goats, all, of all judgments, will be found : and « Come, well done;" or,« Go, ye workers of iniquity,” will conclude their eternal state: let us be careful therefore of an opinion-reprobation of one another. * We see the God of nature hath taught us softer doctrine in his great book of the world: his fun shines, and his rain falls, upon all. All the productions of nature are by love ; and shall it be proper to religion only to propagate by force? The poor ben instructs us in humanity, who, to defend her feeble young, refuses no danger. All the seeds and plants that grow for the use of man, are produced by the kind and warm influences of the sun. It is kindness that upholds human race. People do not multiply in spite : and if it be by gentle and friendly ways, that nature produces and matures the creatures of the world, certainly rem ligion should teach us to be mild and bearing.
« Let your moderation be known to all men," was the faying of a great doctor of the Christian faith; and his reason for that command cogent, « For the “ Lord is at hand.” As if he had said, "Have a
care what you do; be not bitter nor violent; for " the judge is at the door : do as you would be done
to ; left what you deny to others, God should refuse to you.'
And after all this, shall the church of England be less tender of mens consciences, than our common law is of their lives; which had rather a thousand criminals should escape, than that one innocent should
perish? Give me leave to say, that there are many innocents (conscience excepted) now exposed; men honest, peaceable and useful; free of ill designs ; chac pray for Cæsar, and pay their tribute to Cæfar.
If any tell us, ? They have, or may, ill use their toleration ;' I say, this must be looked to, and not liberty therefore refused : for the English church cannot so much forget her own maxim to Difsenters, that Propter abufuni non est tollendus usus. It suffices to our argument it is no necessary consequence, and that fa£t and time are for us. And if any misuse such free dom, and intitle conscience to misbehaviour, we have other laws enough to catch and punish the offenders, without treating one party with the spoils of fix. And when religion becomes no man's interest, it will hardBy ever be any man's hypocrisy. Men will chuse by conscience, which at least preserves integrity, though it were mistaken : and if not in the wrong, truth recompenses inquiry, and light makes amends for diffent.
And since a plain method offers itself, from the circumstances of our case, I take the freedom to present it for the model of the intreated toleration.
Much has been desired, said and pressed, in reference to the late king's being head of a Protestant league, which takes in but a part of the Christian world; the Roman and Grecian Christians being excluded. But I most humbly offer, that our wise men would please to think of another title for our king, and that is head of a Christian league, and give the experiment here at home in his own dominions.
The Christian religion is admired of all in the text, and by all acknowledged in the Apostle's Creed. Here every party of Christians meet, and center as in a general. The several species of Christians, that this genus divideth itself into, are those divers persuasions we have within this kingdom; the church of England, Roman-Catholicks, Grecians, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Independents, Anabaptists, Quakers, Socinians: these I call so many orders of Chriftians, that unite
queinionis adime apo lentes
in the text, and differ only in the comment; all owning one Deity, Saviour, and Judge, good works, rewards and punishments : which bodies once regulated, and holding of the prince as head of the government, maintaining charity, and presling piety, will be an honour to Christianity, a strength to the prince, and a benefit to the publick: for in lieu of an unattainable, (at best an unsincere) uniformity, we shall have in civils unity, and amity in faith.
The Jews before, and in the time of Herod, were divided into divers fects. There were Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians, and Effenes: they maintained their dissent without ruin to the government; and the magiftrates fell under no censure from Christ for that toleration.'
The Gentiles, as already has been observed, had their divers orders of philosophers, as disagreeing as ever Christians were, and that without danger to the peace of the state.
The Turks themselves show us, that both other religions, and divers sects of their own, are very tolerable with security to their government. .
The Roman church is a considerable instance to our point; for she is made up of divers orders of both fexes, of very differing principles, fomented sometimes to great feuds and controversies; as between Franciscans, Dominicans, Jesuits, and Sorbonists ; yec without danger to the political state of the church. On the contrary, she therefore cast herself into that method, that she might safely give vent to opinion and zeal, and suffer both without danger of schism. And these regulars are, by the Pope's grants, privi. leged with an exemption from episcopal visitation and jurisdiction.
God Almighty inspire the king's heart, and the hearts of his great council, to be the glorious inftruments of this blessing to the kingdom.
I shall conclude this persuasive, with the judgment of some pious fathers, and renowned princes.