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count, between the restoration of King Charles and the revolution of King William ; five thousand of whom died in prison. The same Mr. White told Lord Dorset, that King Janies had offered him a thousand guineas for the manuscript, but he refused it, and concealed the black record, that it might not appear to the disreputation of the church of England, for which some of the clergy sent him their thanks, and offered him an acknowledgment, which he also refused. If we admit the dissenting families in England, of the several denominations, to be no more than an hundred and fifty thousand families, and that each fanıily suffered no more than the loss of three or four pounds per annum from the act of uniforinity, the whole will amount to twelve or fourteen millions. A prodigious sum for those times.” As much perhaps in value as twenty millions now. Vide Neal's Hist. of the Purit. . Vol. IV. p. 554.
And is it (any wonder, gentlemen, if persons broken and depressed by so long a scene of troubles, had shewn no great forwardness to embark again in a controversy they had before so well managed, and which they saw to be now in good hands ? Besides : whom did it so behove to en, gage and drive out the monster popery from the land, as those who had been chief instruments of bringing it in? When the dissenters joined heartily with the brave patriots of the former reign in a bill to exclude the Duke of York, and it went triumphantly through the lower house, what lost it in the house of lords ? A bench of obse. quious bishops put forth their reverend hands to lift the popish successor to the throne; they threw in their weight against it; whereas had but twenty of those fathers of the church given their votes for it, it had infallibly passed the house. And what gave the king that mad courage to attack the constitution, and exert the dispensing power? Was it not the high strains in which the clergy, for near a century, both from the pulpit and the press, had been complimenting the crown? Their addresses, decrees, &c. concerning the passiveness with which subjects ought to submit, and the damnable sin of resisting their prince, emboldened bim with so bigh an hand to break down the fences, and let popery in upon us. Who then were so obliged to put themselves forward, and stop the impending torrent, as those who had the chief band in opening the breach?
But, if the dissenters had not put an helping hand, they should not, like vile Samaritans, bave hindered the building of the house of God “ They rather encouraged the idolatry and superstition of Rome, and sided with it on all occasions-And had not the courage to obey God rather than men.”—But this is lasbing beyond all bounds, and all hope of belief. Let a noble lord (Hallifax) perfectly acquainted with the transactions of those times, be heard in our defence.“ As thankful as they (the dissenters) were for their liberty, they were fearful of the issue, neither can any number of consideration among them be charged with hazarding the public safety, by falling in with the measures of the court, of which they had as great a dread as their neighbours.” Next we call forth a learned and pious bishop, (Burnet) no less versed in that whole system of affairs, to give testimony upon the case. "The wise and generous behaviour of the main body of the dissenters in that juncture, has given them so just a title to our friendship, that we must resolve to set all the world against us, if we can ever forget it; and if we do not make them all the returns of ease and favour when it is in our
power to do it."-But we have a testimony yet behind, more august than even these ; the lords in a conference with the house of commons upon the occasional bill declare, “That in the last and greatest danger the church was exposed to, the dissenters joined with her, with all imaginable zeal and sincerity, against the Papists their common enemies, shewing no prejudice to the church, but the utnost respect to the bishops when sent to the tower."--More needs not, but might easily be added to purge us from this calumny. We will not return upon the incautious publisher bis own words.--"Mark the falsehood and hypocrisy " of our accuser !" He has not treated with due regard, surely, the character and judgment of the gentlemen before whom be cites us. Did he think them wholly unacquainted with the history of those times ? Or could he presume them of so narrow and ungenerous a turn of mind, as to like to see a body of worthy and brave men thus brought upon ilie stage, dressed in horrid forms, and baited by two furies, FALSEHOOD and PARTY-ZEAL? The mercy of God be praised, this is not so agreeable to the politer taste of the present, as it was to the bigotry and blindness of the former age.
We pretend not to justify every high-expres. sion of thanks which some dissenters then ad. dressed to the king for his indulgence : but does the doctor know of no bishops and clergy as, guilty as they ; guilty, without half the palliation or excuse ? Had two or three of our leaders, as he calls them, when brought from the darkness of deep oppression, into the bright sunshine of the royal favour, been a little dazzled at the mighty change ; had they been guilty of any mean compliance when warmly caressed and courted by their prince ; was it strange? Or a crime
meter to he forgot? Had not many mitred bead: for several preceding reigns been paying service: and unworthy obeysances around the throne Tea, were there not at this very time severai o: these renerable fathers of the church who - car * ried their compliances,” (as a brother * uí den own confesses) “ to a shameful pitch; ofarmy “ up their allegiance to the king without liputa“tion or reserve ?" Did any of our leaders si and act in that tyrannical illegal court, the ecris siastical commission, formed by the king, voz pretence of reforming, to humble and destroy me church? No. But there protestant bisbops sat and acted amongst popish lords; even popish lords exercising in concert with protestant bisbops an arbitrary ecclesiastical jurisdiction over a trenbling church. “ The bishops of Durban, Lincoln, Chester, Litchfield and Coventry, St. Davids, Rochester and Oxford, went all the lengths of the court, and set forward addresses of thanks to his majesty in the most exalted language.An address came from the clergy of Chester, joslifying the king's declaration as issuing from bis prerogative.”+-We are sorry to rake into these frailties of our predecessors ; let the faults of the former age lie buried with its persons : nothing but justice to the aspersed and insulted memory of our fathers, should force the unpleasant task upon us.-But we now leave it to our worthy judges, whether the ministers of the church of England are to be transmitted to posterity, with such unlimited applause, as the “ only persons " who had courage to obey God rather than men, "and to oppose increasing popery; but the dis“senters with the odious brand of chusing rather to encourage and side with
and side with it on all occasions?"
Burnet, Neal's Hist. of the Purit. Vol. IV. p. 588.
Whilst we are considering these sermons, gentlemen, which the editor has recommended to your particular regard, we beg leave to take notice of a doctrine delivered in them which is extremely dangerous and false : a doctrine which, should it generally be received and obeyed, (which God prevent) would immediately fill the world with ruin and confusion; would drive all honesty and virtue, religion and truth from it, as far as the combined power of men and devils could do it, and set up error, and tyranny, and vice in their stead. The doctrine we mean is Sermon ll. page 48, 49. where it is affirmed, that " the state may, by proper laws and penalties, hinder the growth and progress of heresies:-And heresy may be as lawfully animadverted on and punished as prophaneness and vice; and something may and ought to be done by way of punishment against hereticks.” If the civil magistrate has, according to this doctrinc, authority from God to punish beresy, he must have authority to judge of it, or to determine what it is. But if the magistrate in England has this authority from God to judge and determine what is heresy, the magistrates of Spain, Turkey, Jurlea, have the same : whatever then these magistrates judge to be heresy, they may, they ought to, crush by proper penalties, i. e. by such penalties as to them shall scem best; for of the propriety of penalties themselves only inust be the judges. Hence then it follows, that when the popish queen Mary judged her protestant subjects guilty of heresy, and worthy of death ; when Nero judged the same of the christians at Rorne; and Pontius Pilate, and the Jewish council judged the same of Jesus Christ, they had a right, an authority to inflict this penalty upon them.-We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, said the high priests and doctors,