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subscription, that I neither can, nor will have any.
« For this resolution I have but one reason against a thousand temptations to the contrary; but it is 'év Méya, against which if all the little reasons in the world were put in the balance, they would be lighter than vanity. In brief, this it is: as long as I keep that modest and humble assurance of God's love and favour, which I now enjoy, and wherein I hope I shall be daily more and more confirmed; so long, in despite of all the world, I
may, and shall, and will be happy. But if I once lose this, though all the world should conspire to make me happy, I shall and must be extremely miserable. Now this inestimable jewel, if I subscribe (without such a declaration as will make* the subscription. no subscription). I shall wittingly, and willingly, and deliberately throw away. For though I am very well perswaded of you and my other friends, who do so with a full perswasion, that you may do it lawfully; yet the case stands so with me, and I can see no re-. medy but for ever it will do so, that if I subscribe, I subscribe my own damnation. For though I do verily believe the church of England a true member of the church; that she wants nothing necessary to salvation, and holds nothing repugnant to it; and had thought, that to think so had sufficiently qualified me for a subscription; yet now I plainly see, if I will not juggle with my conscience, and play with God Almighty, I must forbear.
“ For, to say nothing of other things, which I
have so well considered, as not to be in a state to sign them, and yet not so well as to declare myself against them; two points there are, wherein I am fully resolved, and therefore care not who knows my mind. One is, that to say, the fourth commandment is a law of God appertaining to Christians is false and unlawfull. The other, that the damning sentences in St. Athanasius's Creed (as we are made to subscribe it) are most false, and also in a high degree presumptuous and schismaticall. And therefore I can neither subscribe, that these things are agreeablet to the word of God, seeing I believe they are certainly repugnant to it; nor that the whole Common Prayer is lawful to be used, seeing I believe these parts of it certainly unlawfull; nor promise, that I myselfe will use it, seeing I never intend either to read these things, which I have now excepted against, or to say amen to them.
“I shall not need to intreat you, not to be of-. fended with mee for this my most honest, and (as I verily believe) most wise resolution; hopeing rather, you will do your endeavour, that I may neither be honest at so dear a rate, as the losse of preferment, nor buy preferment at so much dearer a rate, the losse of honesty.
“I think myselfe happy, that it pleased God, when I was resolved to venture upon a subscription, without full assurance of the lawfulnesse of it, to cast in my way two unexpected impediments to divert me from accomplishing my resolution. For I profess unto you, since I entertained it, I have never enjoyed quiet day nor night, till now that I have rid myself of it again. And I plainly perceive, that if I had swallowed this pill, howsoever guilded over with glosses and reservations, and wrapt up in conserves of good intentions and purposes; yet it would never have agreed nor stayed with me, but I would have cast it up again, and with it whatsoever preferment I should have gained with it as the wages of unrighteousness; which would have been a great injury to you and to my Lord Keeper. Whereas now res est integra; and he will not lose the gift of any
* to these things as agreeable.
t I now have.
any preferment by bestowing it on mee, nor have any engagement to Mr. Andrewes
“ But however* this would have succeeded, in case I had then subscribed, I thank God, I am now so resolved, that I will never do that while I am living and in health, which I would not do, if I were dying; and this I am sure I would not do. I would never do any thing for preferment, which I would not do but for preferment; and this, I am sure, I should not do. I will nevert undervalue the happiness, which God's love brings to mee with it, as to put it to the least adventure in the world, for the gaining of any worldly happinesse. _I remember very well, quærite primum regnum Dei, et cætera omnia adjicientur tibi: and therefore whenever I make such a preposterous choice, I will give you leave to think I am out of my wits, or do not believe in God, or at least am so unreasonable, as to do a thing, in hope I shall be
sorry for it afterwards, and wish it undone. “ It cannot be avoided, but my Lord of Canter
* howsoever. VOL. I.
t never so.
bury must come to know this my resolution;, and, I think, the sooner the better. Let me entreat you to acquaint him with it (if you think it expedient); and let me hear from you as soon as possibly you can. But when you write, I pray remember, that my foregoing preferment (in this* state wherein I am) is grief enough to me; and do not you add to it, by being angry with me for doing that, which I must do, or be miserable.
“I am your most loving and true servant, &c.
“ So much of my defence of Dr. Potter as I have done, I intend to review and perfect before I proceed; and, if it shall be thought fit to publish it, annexing a discourse to this effect, that if this be answered, all the rest is so; which by the strict dependance of that which follows on that which goes before, I shall be able very easily to demonstrate.
“Direct your letters to me at my father's house in Oxford, and it will be sufficient.
“I am sorry to hear, that Mr. Craven continues ill still. I fear he is in more danger than he imagines. Pray, if you can see him, send me word how he does."
Dr. Sheldon's answer to this letter of Mr. Chillingworth has not yet been discovered; but by a paper containing the heads or hints of another
answer of his to our Author, it appears, that • there passed several letters between them on that
subject; some, for greater secrecy, written in a third person. For Mr. Chillingworth being in
* being in this.
tent upon a full inquiry into the sense of the Artieles, every new examination afforded him new scruples. Dr. Sheldon's paper is as follows:*
God forbid I should persuade any to do against his conscience: be it in itself good or bad, it must be a sin to lie.
“ It was in a third person; else I would not have told you what I did.
“I must deal plainly with you; I am much afraid it will ruin you here, and not advantage you at the last day.
“ I put not the title of conscience upon an humour of contradiction.
“ Accordinge) if not against, for 'tis according to Scripture, that the church hath power to establish ceremonie or doctrine, if occasion require, not against the Scripture.
· The end of these general forms of peace, if capable of any construction, lies against the papists.
“ No evangelical counsels, as the papists, such as presuppose a fulfilling of the law, and going beyond it, to satisfy and merit for us, that's according to Scripture.
« In this sense the article condemns them. Consider it well.
“ No such offering of Christ in the Scripture, where you will find it once afford for all : in that manner they did it, against whom the article was framed; taken with all aggravating circumstances of corporal presence, as if another satisfaction for sin: the consequences, which may be drawn from transubstantiation, amount to little less than blas-phemy.
* Des Maizeaux, ubi supra, p. 103, 104.