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number; and much less without drawing an argument from the conduct of foreign Protestants, who at that very time were attempting to overthrow almost all the Catholic thrones in Europe! I with my prefent opponent and fome others of the fame description to found well the depths of their hearts, and to examine whether they are not disguising to themselves, as well as to others, real sentiments of intolerance under fallacious pretences.

Dr. S. winds up his long note with the following weighty but inconsistent charge: “I am much difposed to think well of the English Catholics ; but I do not think well of a church, the heads of which have employed their spiritual power in deposing princes and absolving subjects from their allegiance, and I conclude with confidence, that the principles of such a church, when carried to their utmost extent, are pernicious to government and destructive of civil society." The importance of the matter in question to the Catholics, to the government, and to the nation at large, will, I hope, excuse the freedom which I shall take in discussing it, by comparing the conduct and doctrine of Catholics with those of Protestants, as far as they relate to the present question. I ask then in how many instances fince the Reformation, or, during the last 300 years, have Popes attempted to depose sovereigns and to absolve subjects from their oaths of allegiance. My adversary speaks of this as the general practice of the Popes, particularly of Pius V, p. 152. The fact however is, that only two attempts of that nature, to the best of my remembrance, have taken place during the aforesaid long period, one against our Elizabeth, the other against Henry IV. of France, in the time of the League, both which proved fruitless through the opposition of the Catholic subjects of these sovereigns. And yet we are to observe that a great number of princes, in the course of these centuries, have abandoned the Catholic faith, and not a few of them have even taken up arms against the government and person of the reigning Pontiff. I now ask, on the other hand, how many Catholic princes during the space of one hundred years after the Reformation, were deprived by their Protestant subjects of the whole of their dominions, or of such part of them as the latter could deprive them of! The prefent occafion does not permit me to enter into particulars, I fhall therefore satisfy myself with referring to the histories of Germany, the Low Countries, Sweden, France, England, Scotland, Geneva, &c. during that period.. But the circumstance which is chiefly deserving of notice is, that the revolutionary transactions here alluded to, were carried on not only “ under the encouragement, fanction, and authority' of the very patriarchs and gracles of the new religion, but in most instances by their express orders. Did not Luther issue more bulls than one to absolve the Germans from their obedience to Charles V,? Did not Calvin and Beza require the Huguenots to rebel against their sovereigns ? Did not Knox and the Presbyterian clergy of Scotland in general with thundering anathemas impel their fol. lowers to shake off the dominion of the queen regent, and afterwards that of the unfortunate Mary? What elfe were the sermons and writings of Cranmer,

other

R 3

Ridley,

Ridley, Jewel, Poynet, and other fathers of the new religion at home, in the reign of our queen Mary, but so many decrees in favour of rebellion and so many absolutions from the duty of allegiance? Did not a new set of Protestant do&ors, proceeding however

upon the fundamental principle of the for. mer, viz. that of private judgment in the interpretation of scripture and in all matters of religion, preach up, on the alleged authority of God's word, the justice and neceflity of deposing and murdering their king, the gallant Charles I. and subverting the constitution ? Did not the same doctors, on the same pretended sacred authority, absolve theprisoners of war who were released to them at Brentford from the oaths they had severally taken of not serving again in the republican army? (1) Did not the most famous prelates and divines of the establishment, a few

years before, pretend to absolve the said king from his sworn duty to his subjects and the very law of nature, by deciding that he was at liberty to send his trusty minister, Strafford, to the scaffold, notwithstanding he himself was conscientiously persuaded of his innocence. (2) But what most calls for consideration ; is there not at the present time a numerous and, in many respects, a powerful sect of religionists lately established called Jerusalemites or Ezekielites, who, from misinterpreting a certain passage of the prophet Ezekiel, (3) fancy them

selves

(1) See Lord Clarendon's History of the Rebellion.

(2) Williams, archbishop of York, Usher, primate of Ireland, the bishops Potter and Morton, both famous controversial writers.

(3) See Ezech. xxi, 25, 26, 27.

selves called upon to destroy every species of monarchical government as far as it is in their power? I grant that in this, no less than in the preceding instances, the scriptures are abused and perverted ; but how will Dr. S. prove this point to the Jeru• falemites, when they are prepared to answer him, that they have the same right of interpreting the scriptures which he has and which all the prelates and divines in the world have !" I conclude then with confidence," to make use of my adversary's words, that no danger whatsoever can arise to the state or to civil society from the principle which he so strongly objects to Catholics, viz. that of the depofing power; ist, because it is not and never was considered as an article of faith, but merely as a scholastic opinion; 2dly, because the Popes them. selves have, for many generations past, ceased to 'act upon it or even to assert it; 3dly, because the Catholics themselves have rejected and abjured it upon their most folemn oaths. On the other hand I maintain, with equal confidence, that upon the fundamental principle of the Reformation, namely, the right of each individual to explain the fcripture for himself, no creed is fixed and no government is secure. The church of England indeed has set bounds to that right in her articles, homilies, &c. But of what advantage are these, if her own pastors and dignitaries preach and publish in direct opposition to them?]

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LETTER VII.

SIR,

IF
you

have been unable to make good your charge of disloyalty against the English Catholics under the last fovereign of the house of the Tudors, you will find still greater difficulty in proving them to have been disloyal to the different princes of the Stuart family. It is true, you will not want pretexts for accusing them; because the heat of popular prejudice against them continuing rather to increase than diminish during the whole 17th century, a succession of conspiracies and other crimes were continually imputed to them. Hence, whatever party prevailed, the penal laws went on increasing in number and severity, and the general cry was kept up for a more rigorous execution of them. Just fo' we read with respect to the Pagan persecutions, that under every foreign and domestic misfortune, the people of Rome were accustomed to clamour for tlie Christians to be devoured by wild beasts. (1)

It must appear extraordinary to those who have not searched into the causes of this fact, that the Catholic religion, amongst all others, should have been so long the peculiar object of national prejudice and persecution. The Calvinists or Puritans, wher

ever

(1) “ Christianos ad leonem." Tertul. Apolog.

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