Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

- prevails with either, and a Coure-blast turns them about with equal Facility; but there are fome honest, true Sons of the Church, who, in the Simplicity of their Hearts, taking these Men for what they appeared to be, have been seduced to go along with them, and acted contrary to their own Intention and Meaning.; "so

r.1. : These are not a few, and therefore ought to be disabused, and have some Marks given them, by which they may discern and distinguish the Wolf in Sheep's cloaching. · The Inclinations of these Men are several Ways, to be discovered, by their avowed Principles, by their known Practices, by the Party they join, by their Conversation on publick Subjects, and by their Fixedness and wavering in their Resolutions.. i It is hard to discover what Men's Principles really are, but not so hard to discern whether they act according to the Principles they pretend to own. We have lacely known Men, who to the People have set a Value upon themfelves, and have been well received by them for it, who have laboured to destroy those Rights as Champions for which they recommended themselves. We need not go far for Instances, the Opposers of the Triennial Bill, the Promoters of a standing Army in Time of Peace, the Obstructers of necessary Impeachments, and those who are lately willing to give up the Rights of the People in that Point, are recent and undeniable Instances. Tamb

All thefę Men pretended to be Protectors of the Protestant Religion, and the best Friends to the Government; but had they half the Merit of the Roman Geese chat saved the Capital, had their Noise and Clamour been half so serviceable, or so innocent, they had deserved Consideration. It is true, they did like the Geese alarm those who were able to preserve the State, but it was so far from being meritorious in them, that they were the very Enemies against whom it was most necessary, and most dangerous to defend it.

By this Çlamour for Liberty and Property, and their Navish Obsequiousness to the Court, they wrigled themselves into Posts at Whitehall, and Credit with the Mob. Their Pretence was a great Zeal for the Government and Protestant Religion. What was meant by these Words may, be worth enquiring.. , ,!...... . .. ? !

. According to our Conftitution, no other Protestant Religion ought to be promoted here in England, than that of the Church, by Law established; and tho' a reasonable Indulgence be justly due to all Consciences truly, however erroneously tender, yet.no such Encouragement ought to have been given to any Sectaries whatsoever, as to animate so far as to push at the National Church. But these Men of meritorious Zeal for the Protestant Religion were not content to raise Disfenters of all kinds, even above the Church of England Men, unless they brought the latter into Disgrace likewise. They aspersed them unreasonably as Papists or Jacobites, and took Care to put all the diftruftful Hardships upon them that they could invent; they displaced them as fast as they could, and put Men of opposite Principles or none into their Room, and peçswaded the King that these were the only true faft Friends he had

The

theo believer between ei thinks

They were too sensible that by these Practices they did wrong to the Nation, and provoked the Gentlemen who understood they had, and were almost all the Men of the best Confideration in the Kingdom ; and therefore they laboured to secure to themselves the mifguided Rabble, whom they amused with idle Fears, and raised to an insufferable Insolence by the Countenance they gave them. They leť fy the publick Money among their Emiffaries, whom they employed to inspire the Mob with a Contempt of the best Gentlemen and Patriots ; and set those to work who had no Religion to pull down that Church which only could protect all. :.: · The Form of our Ecelefiaftical Policy resembles so nearly that of the Civil State, that the Plea of jus divinum apart from either, no Man can have an Abhorrence for one, who has not a hearty Aversion to the other, how well foever he may diffemble it. We ought therefore to observe very carefully those Men, who, in their late Conversations and Discourses, whether publick or 'private, have expressed a Contempt or Dislike of our Church Government and Discipline; for as the Authority of the Church in Spirituals stands almost on

the fame Foot, and is disposed in the same Manner, with that of the State in . Civil Matters, those Arguments (if its Enemies had any such) that were of

Strength to beat down one, would batter the other very forely, were they levelled against it. And we have no Reason to believe that any Man, who considering and understanding the Nearness of Relation between the Church and the State, and how much they stand on the fame Bottom, yet thinks fit to assaule the first, but he would attack the latter likewise, if he did not think the temporal Sword was longer and sharper edged than the spiritual one. ..3 Turn;

.

. But it is not from Men's Writings, or Talk only, that their Principles or Inclinations are to be collected; their Actions are yet a much furer Guide to their real Sentiments. To dissemble in Words is so easy, and grown fo familiar with most people, that it is scarce safe to trust to verbal Professions, especially when those that make them would recommend themselves to th: Persons to whom they are made. The fureft Method to form a right Judgment, is to retrospect Men's past Conduct, and enquire how they have behaved them felves on such Occasion's heretofore. If a Candidate for Parliament has ever set in the House before, the Electors ought to be satisfied how he attended, and how he voted, especially in all critical and important Questions, wherein Men more particularly distinguish themselves, either for Affection, Wisdom or Courage, or all of them. If they have misbehaved themselves upon such Trials, they ought not to be trufted any more, except a less obnoxious Per. fon is not to be found. .' · If the Candidate has never been a Member before, the next certain Indica tion is, his Conduct in his Country on all publick Occasions. The Electors fould examine what sort of Men he constantly favoured, what Party he has always joined ; and for want of furer and closer Information, they may weigh him in their Standard, without Danger of committing any Error of Consequence; but if he has been unsteady in his Management, wavering in

his

his Resolutions, and often changing Sides, it is then the Duty of the Elector to inform himself as well as he can of the true Reasons and Motivés of his Inconftancy; and if he finds it not to proceed from any Consideration of the publick Good, he ought to hold him inexcusable. He may then be sure that it is want of Judgment, Levity of Temper, or private Interest, or particular Pique, or Affection, none of which are honest warrantable Excuses, except those which carry an Incapacity for such Service along with them. For there is no Corporation, how inconsiderable foever, so low or vile in their own Esteem, as to think Fool or Knave a Qualification to represent them.

There is yet another plain Characteristick by which not only the Leaders, but all the active Men of the Party, whom we ought at this Time to beware of, are most effentially distinguished, that is, Lying and Defamation. By Virtue of this single Quality has their Faction been propagated, and their Projects carried on: By these Arts have great Numbers of our bravest Gentlemen, and the Nation's best Friends, been aspersed, and rendered unpopular in most Parts of England, and many Thousands of simple credulous People bantered almost out of their Faith and Principles, to the endangering' of our Church and Constitution. When therefore any of the Electors hear these Men lay about them with the tremendous Noise of Popery, and French Gold, those Bug-bear Words, which fright the poor silly Vulgar out of their Senses, they may prepare themselves to hear some egregious Lie without Proof or Author to defame, and blast the Credit of fome honest Gentle. man or other ; but when in the modestest Fit they find it convenient to stick to Generals, and deal out Slander by Wholesale, even then it is not without some Glance of particular Direction and Application, by which those that hear them may be led into their Meaning and Purpuses, and themselves. leit, at Liberty to disown it, if repeated again to the Perfons concerned, and resented by them. This Sort of Profanation there is scarce any kind of Thing or Place fu sacred as to have escaped ; even the Pulpit itself has been prostituted to these unhallowed Practices, and God's House employed in the Service of the Devil. We have been told from the Place from whence we were wont to hear sacred Truchs, b we must take Care at ibis Jun&ture whom we coule, and beware of a popishly affeEted Party; for fucha Party there is, who clogged the Prosecution of the late War, and bung upon ibe Wheels of the Government ;. who would tear from the King oppreffed Patriots, and true and faithful Ministers; and are now contending for Power, that they may, (as I believe) make a Present of us to a Foreign Tyranny. These and the like Words have been heard from the Pulpit a little before an Election, out of the Mouth of one who had no Foundation of Truth for it, or other Authority than a dishonest Forwardness to gratify the Lusts, and to serve the Purposes of an obnoxious Patron. It were scarce worth the while to have taken Notice of this Practice in particular, were it not to prevent the spreading of so scandalous an Abuse, and the Contagion of fo foul an Example, and to warn People, that they may sometimes be furpriz'd, unless they be very careful, from a Quarter whence they would least of all suspect it. ;, in Sermon preached at Cambridge before the laft Election, OEtober 1702.

It

· It may be just Matter of Wonder, that Practices fo detestable, and so notorious, should yet meet with such Success, contrary to the true Interest and Meaning of the Generality of the People. But there were two Things which, besides their Confidence and Lying, were their main Support ; first, a furious pretended Zeal for the Protestant Religion in indefinite Terms; and next, a singular and meritorious Affection for the Government: By these they recommended themselves to the People, the less difcerning Part of whom took their Noise and Confidence for certain Densonstrations of their Heartiness and Integrity ; but as they were indefinite in their Terms, fo were they likewise in their Actions ;' for they took care only to thew that they were neither Papifts, nor the true Church of England Men ; whom, because they found them the most understanding Part of the Nation, they represented as equally dangerous: For the rest, they took care to avoid appearing particular to any one Sect, but in the whole, very well and kindly disposed towards them all; and tho' the Principles of many of them were as opposite to each other as Fire and Water, yet they were equally welcome to them, and caress'd by. them at several Times, provided ftill they would oppose the Church of England upon all Occasions. All this while they went themselves to Church, and were as godly conformable Men, as the best that came there. Their Exceptions to the Liturgy and Church Service were Night, just enough to confirm to their Party, they did not heartily like them, and yet to support the Credit of their mercenary Instruments, the false Church-goers, that they were Lovers of the Church, tho they were Men of Moderation. It had been inuch for the Reputation of their Moderation, if they had shewn themselves as cool in the Pursuit of Riches, Power and Honours, as they have done in the Interests of the Church of England.. on

But as the Protestant Religion and Moderation, are Terms that have been made Use of to reduce Numbers of People, and shake their Resolutions for, and Adherence to, the Church of England, it may be worth while to enquire, in a very few Words, what these Terms naturally import, and what has been the Abuse of them..

The Word Protestant signifies no more than a Protester, and was first appropriated to Religion after the Defection of Luther from the See of Rome, when the Followers of him and other Reformers entered into a solemn Proteftation: against divers of the Errors and Corruptions of the Church of Rome. The. Name then included no more than those who had actually protested; : buc. came in Time to be given indiscriminately to all those who embrac'd the Doctrines of the several Reformers in Opposition to the Church of Rome. But it has since been extended to all Sorts and Sects of Men that call them. felves Christians, how opposite soever to one another in Doctrine, Discipline, and Worship, if they did not communicate with the Church of Rome..

The chief, and perhaps the only diftinguishing Marks upon which they assume the Denomination of Protestants are, Denying of Transubstantiation, and rejeeting the Supremacy of the Pope. These give us only a negative Idea of the Word Protestant ; nor has it any positive one, but that the Persons that

lay

lay Claim to this Name do protest against these two Things ; so that the Jews, Mabometans and Pagans, Men of any or no Religion, have a Title to the Name in the full Extent of it, Papists alone excepted. For tho' the firft Beginners of that Name were undoubtedly Christians, yet the Name it. self implies no Consent to any one Fundamental of the Christian Faith ; and we have lived to fee great Bodies of Men lay Claim to it, who would be hard put to it to prove their Title to Christianity. It is, therefore, a dangerous, and may be a fatal Error, equally to recommend and encourage all those that lay Claim to the Name, as if they were equally orthodox. The natural Consequence of such a Mistake is the Propagation of Heresies and Schism, which has too much disturbed the Christian Church, and sometimes shaken and overturned the Civil Government of this Nation. It therefore highly behoves all those who think themselves at present upon a Christian Bottom here, not to trust the Power of Representation to such Persons as are any Way to be suspected of Disaffection to our present Establishment, whether in Church or State, as they will answer to their own Consciences for any Miffortune that may befall either upon their contrary Conduct,

Moderation, which is the other Term, of which many people seem not to have a right Notion, deserves likewise to be considered. The Word imports no more than not to be violent or unreasonable in the Pursuit of any Thing whatsoever. As it is applied to Religion, it means only, that we should have a Christian Charity for our Brethren that diffent from us, how much soever we think them mistaken, and not to prosecute; with Rigour and Severities, simple Errors of Judgment, whatever is the natural Result of them, unless they tend to the Disturbance of our Peace and Security. Force is an Argument that never alters Men's Opinions, whatever it may do by their outward Profeffion; and those that are profelyted that Way through Fear, are made Hypocrites, not Converts : For this Reason it is, that Liberty in Point of Faith and Worship ought to be allowed ; but they are mistaken that think Moderation requires any more. True Christian Zeal allows no more than Compassion for erroneous Consciences, and Indulgence in Matters purely spiritual, such as relate only to the Worship of God after their own Way. They that demand more, under Pretence of Moderation, are either ignorant, of the Extent of the Word, or indifferent to the Profesion which they outwardly make; or, which is worse, betray fome evil Designs which they cover with that Pretence. For it is absurd to pretend a true Love and Zeal for any Faith, Discipline, or Worship, while we knowingly labour to put those into Power: who wish the Destruction of them, or fuch as particularly favour those that do. * The History of the last threescore Years here in England sufficiently inform us how little we are to trust to the Mercy of any of our Protestant Diflenters, of whatsoever Denomination, whenever in: Power'; and how little Candour

or Justice we are to expect, whenever they have but a Dawning of Hope to · arrive at it. Those therefore, who have any true Love of Value for their Church,, or Civil Constitution, ought to be very cautious that they be not

betrayed

« ZurückWeiter »