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secret had been searched a little farther, or had transpired of itself, I find an author, and I believe, a very honest one, afferting in the plainest terms, that those authors were adually diffenters; and taxing the party very roundly with their prevarication, in these words: “ Amidst the greatest indulgence, and in open defiance of the laws, they impugned and libelled our liturgy, and our conAtitution--without the least proof or foundation: they charged our liturgy with all the defects, with all the faults, improprieties, and corruptions, which had been suggested by Papifts, Heretics, Enthusiasts, and the most inveterate enemies of our conftitution. And for fear the people should say that an enemy had done this, they, by the most solemn and repeated infinuations, declared themselves to be true and dutiful fons of the established church." If, after such professions, these, writers were Dilsenters, their Disquisitions exhibit such a scene of treachery, prevarication, selfadulation, and ingratitude, to the government under which, and the established church with which they live, as is scarcely to be paralleled in history.
On this supposition, all the fine things those authors thought fit to say of the Diffenters, and their virtues, and the nature and merits of their separation, are of no authority; for, that Diffenters should praise Dissenters, is nothing wonderful; but, if Diffenters did this, under the name of true and dutiful sons of the church, then such praise is against them in every word of it. What sort of principles they must be, which can reconcile men's consciences to such jesuitical frauds and disguises, they who practife them are bound to consider.
If the Dissenters think they can justify their separation by the praise of men, let them proceed fairly, and take it, such as it is, all together. They should remember, and estimate properly, how much of it comes from the bench of our bishops, and how much from the seat of the scornful : how universally they are befriended and admired by Deists, free-thinkers, Socinian philofuphers, and loose-livers ; who delighting to fee the church oppored, and Christian people divided, are exactly of the same opinion with some of those great ornaments of the establishment of whose testimony our apologist hath fo loudly boasted. “ I heartily thank God,” says the author of The Independent Whig,
Case of the Royal Martyr considered with candour, p. 333, 334
" that we have Diflenters, and I hope we shall never be without them."
13. The last and the most general argument on which the Diffenters depend, and which, if it were just, would render all other arguments superfluous, is this; that all men“ have a right to judge and chuse for themselves in matters of religion.”
This is an extenfive principle, which juftifies all sects, and fun persedes all institutions and facraments whatsoever. It also shews the Dissenters of this day, who have recourse to it, to be quite 3 different class of men from the Puritans in the days of Elizabeth; for here they extend their claims from schism up to heresy, and beyond it, even into the privileges and iinmunities of infidelity itself. The Puritans formerly judged against us in our discipline; but the Diffcnters and their friends now judge against us in our doctrines. For thus faith the author of the Independent Whig, another apologist of the Diffenters:-“ No man ought to pay any submillion to that doctrine or discipline which he does not like;" and the war, which was once carried on against prelacy and ceremonies, is now turned against articles and creeds.
If the Diflenters at large have this right of chusing what they like, and rejecting what they dislike, then the Quakers have it: and why not the Jews and the Mahometans? For I desire to know what there is betwixt us and them, but matters of relia gion?
As to this affair of chusing, especially in matters of religion, there are strange examples of human perverseness and wickedness. How often did the people chuse new gods? Herely is so called, because it is a doctrine which a man doth nat receive, but chuse for himself; and if his choice is of right, there can be no such thing as heresy in the world. But heresy is reckoned among the works of the fiçíh; and they that heap up teachers to themselves, are said to do it of their own lusts. Thus every case becomes desperate : for luft being an irrational, brutal principle, hears no reason ; and nothing but disorder and confusion can follow, when this principle takes the lead in religion. When men took wives of such as they chose, and had no rule but this rule of choice: the earth was foon filled with violence: and if men may take what they chuse in religion, feets and divisions, strife and envying, rebellion and sacrilege, without end, must be the conse. quence; and so it is already recorded in the annals of this kingdom,
* Vol. iii. p. 223.
AN ACCOUNT OF THE FIRST SEPARATION OF THE DIS
SENTERS FROM THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND.
Church and the Disfenters, having brought the authors of
The public never did, and probably never will, receive formation from these papers; but to me they have been very entertaining and instructive. In one of the author's notes upon a large quotation from the epistles of St. Cyprian, I find the fol. lowing account of the rise and progress of the schism, which hath troubled the state of the church, more or less, ever since the re. formation; and as this little work may fall into the hands of some readers, who never heard whether our Diflenters originally divided from us, or we from them, it may be useful to shew how the case stands. The fact is this; they went out from us, after the foll establishment of this church.
“ For, in the year 1548, 2 Ed. 6. the archbishop of Canterbury, and twelve of the other principal bishops and divines, joined in a committee, drew up the form of celebrating the Lord's fupper; and, after that, of the rest of the common prayer, chiefly from the best primitive formularies of public prayer they could find; which was soon after confirmed by authority of parliament, with this testimony subjoined, viz. that “ none could doubt but that the authors were inspired, and allifted therein by the Holy Ghoft.” At the same time (as Nichols, in his Defenfio Ecclefiæ Anglicanæ, observes) it was the peculiar happiness of our reformation, that as it had been established by the concurrent authority of the church and state, so we enjoyed the most perfect agreement and unanimity of all orders of men among us; the
very name of those swarms of sectarists (the filthy pollutions whereof have, fince, infected fo far and wide) being then not so much as heard of in our land. Neither did any one, either at home or abroad, (the envy, ill-nature, and heterodoxy of Calvin, only excepted) charge us, in the least, with any remains of popish leaven, as mixt with our services and orders, or any thing that looked that way: but all men honoured our church, as the most holy mother of the people of God committed to her, as well as the most ftrenuous opposer of antichrift, and the chief bulwark of the reformation. And fo matters continued ; not a dog moving his tongue, or fowing the least feed of schism, or diffention, to corrupt her: till under the persecution in queen Mary's time, when many flying (as it was to be expected) into the Protestant states abroad, there settled themselves into little chapelries, or churches, by permission of the magistrates, according to the order of the common prayer, and service of the church of England. Only, at Frankfort, one Fox, a man of a turbulent innovating fpirit, with others associated to him, were drawn into fondness for Calvin's plan, (fchifmatical, as it was, from all Christian churches since the Apostles) and made themselves a new farrago of public prayers, as opposite to the English, and consequently to those of all the primitive churches, as they could devise: which, upon queen Mary's death, they brotight home with them; and, in preaching and writing, endeavoured to force, or palm upon the people, but yet without any direct and open schism; till one Cartwright, in a theological disputation held at Cambridge before the queen, (Elizabeth being rebuked by her for his unreasonable and turbulent manner of conducting himself in it, thereupon went off, full fraught with spleen and spite, to Calvin: from whence returning, with new ulcers added to his old fores, and causing fresh disturbances, he was expelled his college, and deprived of the Margaret professorship, by Dr. Whitgift, who was head of the same college, [Trinity] and vicechancellor of the university. Whereupon, with others of his own Calvinistical caf, he began to set up his novo-puritanical fchifm, with classes, conventicles, &c. in avowed contempt, and rebellion against the church. The smoking brands of which fire of schism being blown up by the tainted breath of his followers, broke out, in half an age, into a flame that once set three kingdoms into a blaze, brought one of the best of kings to the block, extirpated episcopacy, and the peerage, fu as without the visible
interposition of Providence, there appeared no more hopes of their restoration for ever. Neither are the coals of the old brands yet quenched, but they burn still under the embers of sedition, wherewith they are raked up, and threaten yet new and worse fires, perhaps to the civil, but certainly to the religious state of things among us; which God avert!”
This good man did not live to see the dismembering of the British empire, by the separation of the American colonies, begun and carried on by the same party both here and there, to the loss of so many thousand lives, and the oppressing of the people with new and endless burthens of taxes. So notorious was the case, that even the gentlemen of the arıny, who had an opportunity of making proper observations, and were properly disposed to make them, brought home this report with them to the mother country, that if the church of England had but obtained that timely support in the colonies, for which it had so often petitioned, the American rebellion had never happened ; and if this government shall be as remiss toward itself, in the mother country, as it has been towards the colonies, the same evils will soon break out at home.