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THE Independent Whig. - Thomas Gordon, The Independent Whig, vol. 4 (1747) 
The Independent Whig. Being a Collection of Papers All written, some of them published During the Late Rebellion (London: J. Peele, 1747). Vol. 4.
Part of: The Independent Whig, 4 vols.
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THE Independent Whig.
A View of the Romish Church, in her Heads, Theology, Canons, Miracles, and Saints; taken chiefly from her own Writers and Champions.
I Am well pleased with the seasonable public Zeal against the double-headed Tyranny with which we are threatened. I therefore here present the Public with such a Display of Popery, as may serve to rouse the most stupid and lukewarm Protestants, and undeceive Papists, who are kept by their Priests from the true Knowlege of it.
According to the Popish Historians, and even by the Testimony of the best and ablest Popish Writers, no Throne, no Pagan Throne, was ever filled with such Monsters of Immorality as the Papal Throne; Monsters most detestably wicked in themselves, and the constant Authors of universal Wickedness, Imposture, Delusion, Oppression, Robbery, Tyranny, Murder, and Massacre; pestilent Enemies to all good Men, and to whatever was good in the World.
These Popes even bear Testimony against one another: Stephen VII. thought his Predecessor Formosus so horrid a Criminal, that he had him pulled out of his Grave, and his Body thrown into the Tyber. Stephen himself was strangled as a Criminal equally horrible.
baronius, that great Advocate for Popery, to which he often sacrifices Truth and History, declares Pope Sergius to have been the most abominable of Men, living in a Brothel, particularly with two celebrated Harlots, Mother and Daughter, who governed the Pope, and the Roman Church, and made the most of both. By one of these Harlots he had a Son, who came to be Pope by the Name of John XI.; a Pope who lived in Incest with his own Mother. Her Name was Marozia, a Lady of uncommon Fortune, Mistress To two Popes, one of them her Son.
john XII. professed the Black Art, and paid Divine Worship to Venus and Jupiter: He debauched Ladies on the Steps of the Altar, and was famous for all diabolical Excesses. This infernal Father of Christendom was deposed by a Council summoned and supported by the Emperor Otho. A Deposition which the same keen Churchman Baronius is not ashamed to censure as an Act of Presumption, as passing Judgment, upon one whom no Man on Earth had a Right to judge. So that he was accounted a regular and genuine Pope; and if he was, why may not the worst and most accursed Being be one?
boniface VII. murdered Benedict VI. in order to succeed him; and they were commonly expelling and butchering one another.———Cardinal Benno mentions one Gerard Brazet, who was appointed and paid as Poisoner-General to the Holy See, and who poisoned Seven of Eight Popes, at the Instigation of such as wanted to be Popes. These Popes were in Truth such Sons of Perdition, that even Baronius owns “the End of the World to have been then thought at hand, as no Time had produced such Monsters, and so many Scenes of Horror.”
The famous Hildebrand, Gregory VII. filled all Germany with Blood, and Fire, and Famine; and carried every Curse of human Tyranny, and diabolical Pride, as far as they could go. MatthewParis, a Papist and Ecclesiastic, calls Innocent III. a Lion in Cruelty, and a Blood-sucker in Avarice. Observe, that this was the Pope who oppressed and plundered this poor Nation so long and so unmercifully, during the miserable Reign of Henry III. Benedict XII. purchased a Lady of Condition and Beauty from her Family for so much ready Money. She was Sister to the celebrated Petrarch. Lucretia, Daughter to Alexander VI. was likewise his Mistress, and Mistress to his Son Cæsar Borgia, as also Wife to another of his Sons,
———Pontificis Filia, Sponsa, Nurus.
innocent VIII. left Sixteen Children. I need not say, all spurious; for no Pope can marry. Leo X. boasted “what Treasure the Church had derived from the Fable of Christ.” Paul III. not only lay with his Daughter, but, to have her all to himself, poisoned her Husband.
Can That be the Church of God, which hath such Heads? Does it become the Champions of that Church to reproach the Reformation as derived from the Lewdness of Harry VIII.? And can the humble and merciful Jesus own such polluted, such bloody Successors? Have such carnal, such worldly, and such devilish Abominations, any thing to do with Religion, or spiritual Characters, but to disgrace and extirpate both?
If we descend from the Heads of that Church to her great Champions and Supports, the Schoolmen; the Extravagancies and Fooleries of the latter are incredible. They are the Metaphysics of the Heathen Philosopher Aristotle, prostituted to maintain the lying Claims of Churchmen: What is incredible, is explained by what is impossible; and what is impossible, is maintained by what is unintelligible: Imposture is founded upon Subtleties; Nonsense defended by Sophistry; Contradiction by Names and Authority; and a monstrous Theology is recommended under barbarous Terms. Here follow a few of the important Points there discussed, “Whether it be possible for the Deity to become feminine? Whether the Foreskin of our Saviour (cut off in Circumcision) be yet taken in the Eucharist, where he is supposed to be swallowed Whole? Whether the Body of Christ comes into the Elements of Bread and Wine by the way of Deduction, or of Re-production; or if his Body had been made of Flint, how it could have been crucified?”
These are some of the deep Questions amongst their principal Theologians, and are called Divinity; as if the further from Common Sense, the nearer to Religion; and the more mad, the more Orthodox.
The Catholic Canons are of a Piece with the Catholic Theology, shameless, immoral, and extravagant. It is a System of Chimeras, extracted from the Authority and Writings of old Popes and Doctors; the Dreams and Distinctions of Pedants, and the Decretals of designing Pontiffs, set up against the Civil Law, Reason and Morality. They assert, for instance, that Meum and Tuum, and the Ascertaining of Property, was introduced by Injustice and Violence; and that, according to the wisest of all the antient Sages, all Things are common amongst Friends, especially Women: That the Crimes and Failings of the Pope are as excusable, as the Robberies committed by the Hebrews upon the Egyptians. By the same Ecclesiastical Laws, and for the sake of Ecclesiastical Men, Lewdness and Adultery are treated rather as Levities than Crimes, and stiled lucky Adventures, Leve peccatum, & quod Galli vocant BONAM FORTUNAM, Gallantries.
The Miracles of Rome are so numerous and impudent, so ridiculous, and so impossible, that Protestants, as well as sensible Turks and Heathens, would think them invented to disgrace the Roman Church, did not the Roman Church avow and affirm them; none of them performed before Heretics, who only want them, but only before Catholics, who want them not; never worked in Public to render them uncontested, but in Corners and Chapels, as if on purpose to raise Suspicion about them.
In the Lives of the Popish Saints, all published by Authority, are found the following Miracles gravely asserted, with a Thousand others equally ridiculous: The Blessed Virgin visiting Friers in the Night: Jesus Christ playing at Cards with a Nun in her Cell, courting Nuns, and marrying Nuns, his Virgin Mother being the Match-maker: Beasts and Birds adoring the Host: The Devil bearing Testimony for the Church against Heretics: An Oven heated with Snow by St. Patrick; and a Pound of Honey converted into a Pound of Butter, to please his Nurse: St. Anthony preaching to the Fishes, St. Francis to the Beasts; and neither Congregation willing to depart, till the Saints had blessed them: The wet Habits of Friers hung upon the Sun-beams: The Monks enter tained in Heaven under the Blessed Virgin’s Robes: A Nun sweetening a Vessel of sour Wine, and her Image upon an empty Tub filling it with Oil, and continuing it full for some Months, for the Use of the Convent: St. Dominic forcing the Devil, in the Shape of a Monkey, to hold his Candle, till Satan’s Fingers were burnt to the Bone: A Ship carrying the Body of a dead Saint, piloted by a Raven, for many Leagues: The Blessed Virgin’s successful Dispute with some Devils in Behalf of a lewd Priest, who had been assiduous in his Devotions to her.
These strange Dreams, full of Nonsense and Blasphemy, are the great Proofs, that the Roman Church is the true Church. But these Fooleries and Frauds, however subversive of Religion, and the genuine Marks of Imposture, are pardonable, in comparison of her bloody and persecuting Spirit, the Consequence of her cruel want of Charity, the most signal Christian Virtue. She damns all who are not of her horrid Communion, and murders, or would murder, all that she damns; Witness her universal Practice, and constant Massacres, at Paris, in Ireland, her Crusades against the best Christians, the daily Fires of the Inquisition, and the Burnings in Smithfield, especially under Queen Mary.
Be warned, O Protestants; continue what ye are, Christians and Freemen: Your All is at Stake, Liberty, Property, Conscience: Abhor the Harlot, and oppose the Tool of the Harlot.
An Idea of the French Government. The Spirit of Popery, how terrible to Protestants.
I HERE offer some further Thoughts upon Popery; as also upon the French Government. Ours is a Government by Laws: Theirs is a Government by Will. By whatever Prefaces or Pretences the King recommends his Laws, his own Will and Pleasure is the last and strongest: This is his constant Stile to his Parliament, which is only an Assembly of the Judges of the several Courts of Justice, all the King’s immediate Creatures, created by him, paid by him, and commanded by him. The General States of the Realm, representing the Kingdom, and resembling our Parliaments, are long since laid aside there. The King has no other Rule or Limitation in raising Money, formerly raised only by the States, than his Humour and Passions, or those of his Ministers. A mean Capacity, or want of Capacity, Royal Folly, or Royal Frenzy, are no Disqualifications. His Will is still sacred, however extravagantly or stupidly exerted; and still his Pleasure is his Law.
henry IV. with all his great Abilities, had no more Power than his weak Son Lewis XIII. nor was ever half so copiously flattered. His Grandson, Lewis XIV. had he studied to give Proof (as indeed he needed not) how little he resembled his Grandfather, could not have done it more effectually than in his revoking the Edict of Nantz: An Act of such inimitable Treachery, as could not be charged upon the most faithless Pagan Princes; of such prodigious Cruelty, as was never matched by Nero; of such amazing Folly, as would have put the Emperor Claudius out of Countenance.
This too shews fully, how little the Promises and Oaths of Popish Princes are to be relied on: They are rather Snares and Wiles, and when they are most plausible, and sound the strongest, generally infer the most Danger. He had not only frequently ratified that sacred Edict, which was the inviolable Band of the inward Peace of France, but in all his Infringements of it (which might proceed from his Weakness, or the subdolous Advice of his Ministers) he always declared, that he would preserve it inviolable.
Did not our late King James say, and promise, and swear every Thing, take every Oath, submit to every Engagement; yet the next Moment violate them all openly, as if they had been Words of Course, by which he had meant nothing but Deceit and Insult? I will be bold to add; as an alarming Proof how little Protestants can trust any Security or Assurance from Papists, that, had King James been sincere and willing to observe his Oaths and Promises, his Religion, or, which is the same thing, his Priests, who led him by his Bigotry, would not have permitted him. What was an Oath to the Cause of Religion? And why should he, how durst he, keep an Oath so pernicious to the Church, and given for the Security and Success of Heresy? Such Reasoning, from the Keepers of his Conscience, would have convinced him of the great Guilt of observing an Oath to Heretics, and of the great Merit of breaking it. It was Lawful, and even Politic, to take it, as by it he lulled his Protestant Subjects into Security; but it was absolutely necessary, and his Duty, to break it, as it was injurious to his Friends the Papists, and obstructed the Growth of Popery.
The Question is not Whether it be a Doctrine of Popery, to keep no Faith with Heretics? I think it a needless Question: The proper Question is, Whether the Papists have ever done it, at least upon Principle, or longer than Times and Necessity forced them? History and universal Experience are Demonstrations, that they never did.
The Edict of Nantz, the wise Work of Henry the Great, was an Eye-sore to the Papists from the Beginning, though the surest and only Remedy for the long and furious Civil Wars in France; but Bigotry was too strong for public Peace, for Christian Charity, and all human Wisdom. The Extirpation of Protestants, however accompanied with War and Desolation, was the great Point in View, and the assiduous Drift of Papists. The perpetual Pursuit of that Court (constantly Bigotted after the Death of Henry) was therefore to destroy that perpetual Edict; for such it was in the Name, Tenor, and Design of it. After continual Breaches made in it, Lewis XIV. had the Honour to finish its Destruction, when he found, that the Bigotry, Perjury, and Tyranny of King James, co-operating with his own, made it safe for him to do it. Yet James was not then ashamed to contend for Liberty of Conscience to all Sects here, on purpose to enable Popery to devour them all: A black Snare, worthy of that Religion, but easily seen through, and frustrated with great Spirit by those whom it was spread to destroy.
QueenMary was raised to the Throne by Protestants; gave them all fair Words, and Royal Assurances; then made it the great and constant Business, nay, the Glory of her Reign, to burn Protestants. She proved so faithless and furious a Bigot, that the most bloody Bigot of his Time, her Husband, Philip II. was, or pretended to be, ashamed of her Fury, and bore his Testimony against it.
The Behaviour of that perjur’d Tyrant to his Subjects in the Low Countries, is another Instance of the Mockery of the Faith of a Popish Prince. He had solemnly sworn at the Altar to maintain them in all their Privileges (and surely Religion is the tenderest of all) and immediately after manifested the same Contempt for their Privileges, and his own Oath, as he did for their Persons and Properties, seizing the one, and butchering the other, with infinite Wantonness and Cruelty. His Defence was (Pray mind his Defence!) “That the Pope had absolved him from his Oath to Heretics.”
Can Protestants possibly trust Papists, when the Papists, even with good Intentions, can be under no Tye to Protestants? Who is it that governs them in all Points of Religion, but their Priests? The Priest may be said to give them their Religion: For all that they have, or can have, is upon his Word; even the Books that they read, they read by his Permission, and are permitted to hear no Arguments but his Arguments.
As the Papists are guided implicitly by their Priests, so are their Priests by the Pope. Can any Man of Common Sense keep his Countenance, and say, that the Pope, or Popish Priests, are Friends to this Protestant Establishment, or to this Protestant Royal Family? The Popish Laity are, by being Papists, obliged to love or hate by the Direction of the Popish Clergy. Have the Popish Clergy ever hesitated to propagate their Faith by Fire and Sword, and to employ both against Protestants, whenever they had Power, Opportunity, or even Temptation? Where-ever they fail to execute such Treason and Cruelty, it is where they dare not: Nor have they, nor can they have, any other Restraint. Where Violence is like to succeed, and promises them the Abasement of Heretics, the Extinction of Heresy, and the Exaltation of Popery, it is impious in them not to exercise Violence.
All their Declarations of being peaceably disposed, and Enemies to public Disturbances, are insidious: Perhaps too they may be in Earnest just at the Time when they say so: But when Opportunity offers; when their Bigotry is awakened by the Call of their Priests; when the Cause of Religion is to be served, Heaven opened to the Zealous and Active, and Hell to the Backward and Slow; dare they reason, or hesitate, and look on with Unconcern? Dare they then preach Peace and Submission to an Heretical Government?
There are, doubtless, God forbid that I should deny but there are, worthy, moderate, and peaceable Men amongst the Papists. Nature hath formed them like other Men: But their Religion is stronger than Nature; and their Priests having the Direction of their Religion, have of Course the Management of their Conscience, and can rouse it or calm it at Pleasure. What will not a Man do for his Soul? And who is to advise a Papist but his Priest? If he be assured, that Rebellion and Treason are his Duty, will he pause to commit them, when by them he saves his Soul, or damns it by his Refusal? Will he scruple to burn a Heretic, though a Kinsman, or a Neighbour, when excited by the same Premium, and the sam Terrors?
I am far from calling for any Hardships upon Papists: It is none to be upon our Guard against them. They are the professed Subjects of the Pope: The Pope is a professed Enemy to our Constitution: Can they be, will he suffer them to be, Friends to it? They are assiduous in making Converts to their Superstition: I wish others were equally so in recovering such, and exposing the fraudulent and miserable Arguments of the Perverters. To me it seems Blasphemy against God, to make Nonsense, and Self-Contradiction, necessary to please him; such as Transubstantiation, and making the Salvation of Souls depend upon the Word or Consent of a Priest: It seems a Denial of Jesus Christ, to kill or punish Men in his Name, for taking the best Course they can to serve him, though it were even a foolish one. It seems an abolishing of civil Society and Morality, to persecute, or even to tax and mark Men for differing in Opinion from one another, or to settle penal Opinions by a Majority, or by the Power of One, or by any Power whatsoever.
That of the Pope is established in Fraud and Blood, trampling upon the Scriptures of Truth, the Power and Mercies of God, and the Reason of Man; supported by Fear and Ignorance, by egregious Nonsense, Impudence, false Terrors, and real Cruelties.
Further Observations upon the French Government. The Excellence of our own, confess’d by French Writers.
THE French Government, though a mild one for an arbitrary one, is yet a very terrible one to an Englishman. All the Advantages in it are not comparable to one single Advantage in ours; I mean the Act of Habeas Corpus, which secures, at least rescues, you from all wanton and oppressive Imprisonment. In France, by the Word of a Minister, the greatest, the most innocent Subject, may, from Caprice, or a Whisper, or the Pique of a Mistress, be committed to a Dungeon for his Life, or the best Part of it, or as long as the Minister, or his Mistress or Minion, pleases. Some have been thus shut up in dismal Durance and Solitude for Years together, though no Harm was meant them; not for any Offence, real or imaginary, but only through Mistake and Likeness of Names. Thus a Minister has sometimes committed his Favourites, and useful Agents, who lay in Misery for Years, and might have perished in it, had not Accidents contributed to undeceive him. I think it is Cardinal de Retz that says (I am sure it is some good French Author), that he always dreaded the Favour of being removed from a bad to a better Apartment in the Bastile, because in the Passages there were Trap-Doors suspected, and armed Wheels beneath, where a Prisoner was in an Instant so minced and grinded as to leave behind him no Memorial of his Person.
Next to their arbitrary Imprisonments, come their arbitrary Banishments; and for small Offences they are often inflicted, as well as for great. If any Member of the Parliament have the Honour and Courage freely to remonstrate against registring an oppressive Edict (for no Edict is valid, unless registred by the Parliament) a few Lines presently dispatch him from his Seat there, and from the City, into Exile: How far and how long, depends, like all Things else, upon the Anger or Mercy of the Monarch, or of those who direct the Monarch.
Such Orders, called Letters of the Signet, lie in the Hands of the Ministers, as well as in those of the Under-Governors of Provinces, to be used at their Discretion, frequently to gratify their own Vengeance. Is an Intendant piqued against any Man of Quality; or a Minister against a President of Parliament? Such a Letter is strait sent to him, and be instantly from Home, sometimes into a remote Province. Is the Governor’s Lady, or Daughter, disgusted at another Lady in the Place, finer and more admired than herself? Her Punishment is decreed, and the poor Rival sent a Wandering; a Crime is easily forged, and the Sufferer has no Remedy. The smallest Affront to a Monk in Favour (and Monks, God knows, are soon offended!) finds the same Compensation; a Victim must be offered to his holy Rage. I saw, at Vannes in Bretagne, a Lady in Years, banished thither from her Family in Perigord (some Hundreds of Miles off) for speaking slightly of that libidinous Impostor the Jesuit Girard, famous for his pretended Devotion, and real Debauchery, committed with the devout Damsel Cadiere.
The Abuse of raising and sinking the French Coin, at the Pleasure of the French King, is most alarming to all Men of Property: An industrious Merchant lies down to Rest, happy in his Wealth, perhaps Twenty or Thirty thousand Pounds, the just Effects of his Industry; and wakes next Morning reduced to Half, stripped by the Edict of a Night. When the King’s Coffers were filled with the Money of his Subjects, and he had Payments to make, he raised the Coin to an enormous Value: When his Finances were exhausted, and he wanted to replenish them from the Purses of his Subjects, he sunk the Coin extravagantly low. How would the English relish or bear such Grinding and Robbery?
TheFrench King levies Money, and raises Taxes, at his Pleasure; and punishes such Officers of Justice in Parliament, as dare dispute his Pleasure. He furnishes the Farmers of his Revenue (generally Upstarts and Bloodsuckers) with all his boundless Power to raise it how they can. Nor can we be surprised at any the most merciless Treatment from such Sons of Rapine, thus armed with sovereign Power to spoil and oppress. It is common to see a whole Village stripped of all the Effects and Furniture in it; nay, to see the very Houses pulled down, the Roofs and Timbers carried off, and the wretched Inhabitants exposed naked to wander and starve.
Has not the English Freeholder, Farmer, Manufacturer, Cause to bless his own Government, and different happy Lot? These have no arbitrary Demands to apprehend, and know to a Farthing what they have to pay, long before the Payment is asked. If they be injured in their Portion of Payment, they have easy Recourse to Tribunals and Protectors of their own, generally their Neighbours, who will chuse to do them Justice, or dare not refuse it.
a french Gentleman, who travelled through England after the Peace of Utrecht, says in his Travels, which are printed, “That he believes that there is no Instance in any Nation whatsoever, of so great a Revenue raised with so much Ease to the Subject, at so small an Expence to the Public, and with so little Danger to the Liberties of the People.” A remarkable Testimony from a Frenchman! What is more remarkable, he is speaking of an English Tax much decried, our Excises. He adds, “What an Army of Officers does the French King employ, only for his Duty upon Salt, in the several Provinces? What an Army in his Customs? The Excise in England (says he) is collected with all possible Ease, whilst in France, they are every Day making terrible Examples, hanging, confiscating, and tearing the poor People to Pieces.” Mind this, O my Fellow Citizens! Learn to love your own desirable Condition, and to hate the Parricides, who would labour to make you sick of it, and willing to risk or change it. This Author observes, candidly, “That the Tyranny of Farmers of the Revenue, who exact Payment with Rigour, is not felt in England, as it sadly is in France.”
“In all the Cities and great walled Towns in France (says another French Author of Quality, and great Family) there are armed Men posted at the Gates by the Farmers of the Revenue, to examine all who pass. If any one is found defrauding the Excise, perhaps under Half-a-Crown, the Offender, if a Man, is sent to the Gallies; if a Woman, and poor, she is whipped by the Hangman; if she have an Estate, she forfeits it all, or most of it, and lies at the Mercy of a brutal Farmer. If a Man of the first Fashion, a great Lord, should be found, after severe Searches, to have in his Baggage a Pound of Salt, of about a Penny Loss to the Farmer, his Lordship’s whole Equipage is forfeited, his Person is imprisoned, and he is fined in a great Sum.”
Remember this, O Britons! Rejoice and tremble!
Persecution and Cruelty, Marks of Apostasy from Christianity. The Doctrine of Transubstantiation, how impious and impossible. The Inconsistency, Impotence, and Absurdity of all Popish Miracles.
A Religion which damns all Others, exposes itself at first Sight to be suspected of Imposture, as it breathes a Spirit so opposite to the Spirit of the Gospel. Nothing but the clearest and most express Warrant from the Mouth of God, can excuse any Man for pronouncing such a horrid Sentence against another Man: The very Name of the Man, as well as the Name of his Maker, ought to be seen in that Warrant. No less Authority will do: Whoever pretends to it, impiously apes the Almighty; presumes to do, in the Name of God, what God himself never did; and impudently practises a Cheat covered and recommended under the Name and Attributes of Truth and Piety.
These blaspheming Impostors usurp the Place of Almighty God, and act like Satan in it. They turn Religion into a Trade, and damn all that refuse to deal with Them, and Them only. This Charm and the Gains they make of it, are Symptoms of a Spirit truly Worldly and Devilish, of wicked Combination and Mountebankry, destructive of all Religion, and of all human Liberty; a Design which none but the most unrelenting Tyrants can Attempt, and which the most successful Tyranny can never Accomplish.
It is against common Reason, ’tis against the Wisdom and Mercy of God, and indeed against all his Attributes, and very Essence, to presume, that he divests himself (All wise and Infallible as he is!) of his indispensable Power of eternal Rewards and Punishments, which He only is able to inflict and bestow; and transfers the same to any frail human Creature, subject to constant Weakness, Passions, and Folly, as all human Creatures are. To suppose that he does so, is an Imputation of Wantonness or Frenzy, upon the Deity, as if he contrived to make Sport of the Creation, and render Men Dupes and Slaves to one another; as if he delighted in exalting Pride, and oppressing Innocence; delighted in the Tyranny and wicked Craft of One or a Few; and in the Delusion and Vassalage of all the Rest.
Whom has the Almighty created resembling himself, able to dictate, without Opposition, in his Name, or to exercise his infinite Power without Appeal? How much the Popes are unlike him, or rather, how profanely most of them have belyed him, and how absolutely renounced his Rules and Laws, I have shewn in a former. The best of them were Counterfeits, all Usurpers, assuming all Earthly, indeed all Heavenly Power, to which no earthly Creature was equal, or indeed had any Pretence. Did it appear upon their Election, that they had then gained one Ability or Talent, which they had not before, or lost one Failing which they had before? The Father of Christendom, the infallible Guide of Christians, the unerring Vicar of Jesus Christ, instead of better, grew generally worse, more addicted to sinful Pursuits, more Proud, more Unforgiving, more Craving, less Merciful, and less and less resembled our Blessed Saviour. The same Behaviour, (still continued, or a worse) inferred the same Character still to continue, or to grow worse, and consequently the Vanity and extreme Impropriety, and even Forgery of his new Titles. His Infallibility was a flagrant Jest and Imposition. As Infallibility implies the present Aid of the Divine Spirit, which does not hesitate, nor proceed by Examination, nor stay for better Lights; it was plain that the Pope had no such Aid; for he always acted in Form in all perplexed Questions, called Consistories from time to time; consulted learned Men; put off the Decision from Year to Year; sometimes durst not decide at all, and sometimes decided wrong: At least, the next infallible Head (his Successor) was in the Wrong, by deciding it a contrary Way. For it, was no new Thing for Pope to contradict Pope, and to curse one another, each of them always first invoking the Holy Ghost.
The Infallibility of Councils is equally ridiculous; and so were many of their Decisions, generally carried by Balloting, often by Faction, sometimes by Fighting; the Members cursing and contradicting one another; and guided, or rather infatuated and inflamed, by the worst and most unchristian Passions.
Infallibility is not to be found amongst Men; it is one of the Perfections of God, peculiar and incommunicable; whoever claims it, may with the same Craziness, or from the same Craft and impious Purpose, claim Omnipotence. Whoever is subject to Sin, is subject to Error: Are not all Men subject to Sin? Have there been greater Sinners than the Popes? And are Offenders against the Majesty of God, and the Purity of the Gospel, proper Vehicles of Godlike Infallibility, or proper Explainers of the Gospel, of itself so plain as to want no Explanation, at least for Gospel Ends; and it is profaned, when wrested to any other! Who can discover the Simplicity of the Gospel in the various and intricate Grimaces of the Mass, or any of the meek Gospel Spirit in such as follow the Mass?
TheMass, like the Whole of Popery, is invented and calculated for the Exaltation and Profit of the Popish Clergy, and to bind, and blind, and plunder the Laity. What can be added to the Imposture of creating God by consecrating Bread, but that it is the highest Blasphemy that ever shocked the Reason of Man, or gave the Lye to Demonstration, and the Five Senses? Other Impostors have devised lying Genealogie; for the Eternal Being, related false Wonders about him, pretended great Interest in him, with a Power to mollify or inflame him, and got a good Livelihood out of him, with suitable Reverence from Dupes and the Rabble, and were always striving to frighten such as they could not persuade nor plague; but none of them pretended to make the Deity by a Word. To Popish Cheats, falsly call’d Catholics, the Glory hath been reserved of surpassing the highest Cheats in Paganism, as well as the highest Cruelty and the most extravagant Forgeries of Pagans. Holy Lyes and holy Rage, generally found necessary to support all pious Impostures, are essentially so to uphold the greatest of all.
For a Creature to create the Eternal Creator of all Things, is a wonderful Falshood to assert, and impossible to be believed, as it is a Contradiction too glaring to be conceived by the Heart of Man, or to be uttered by any Mouth, where the Mind is not first awed by Terrors, or intoxicated by Delusions, or corrupted by Craft. Can they believe in God, who assert, that the One God can be eaten Whole by Millions, every Day, can be created and renewed and multiplied daily, and still remain One God? Yet, with these Omnipotent Blasphemers, it is Atheism to deny his Multiplication; so that it is at once Atheism to doubt his Unity, and Atheism to deny that he may be new-created every Hour, and a Box of consecrated Wafers contains a Host of Gods, all one and the same God. Could the Wit of Demons invent higher or more profane Mockery? Nor would it be higher Mockery in these shameless Conjurers to pretend to annihilate their Creator. They might wrest a Text as literally to their Purpose. Has not our Blessed Saviour said to his Disciples, A littlewhile, and ye shall not see me? A Text tending as much to the Power of the Priest in unmaking God, as the other Text, from whence they would derive Power to make God.
What reasonable Man, what Christian Man, would be of a Church where this is the prime Article of Faith, and where Damnation is denounced against all who doubt it? Who would hear, much less follow, such dreadful Guides, who maintain such impious Contradictions, and burn all who will not profess a sacred Lye and Impossibility, which is an Affront to the Deity, an Insult upon the Almighty, or rather a Denial of his Existence?
A Piece of Bread, Bread to the Sight, Bread to the Touch, Taste and Smell, becomes at once, in the Logic of Priests, and by their Legerdemain, the Almighty and Immutable God, and is sliced into infinite Gods: Though they impudently maintain, that they believe no more than One God; yet would burn you alive, if you question’d daily their Power and Practice of creating Gods without Number.
They practise the same barefaced Inconsistency in their Treatment of Saints, Male and Female; some of them Idiots, many of them Murderers, most of them Mad, all unblessed with Christian Charity. They fear and adore these Saints; pray to these Saints; compliment these Saints with Offerings and Divine Praises; ascribe Divine Attributes, Power and Miracles to these Saints; yet deny that they worship Saints.
Methinks that Men thus Omnipotent, possess’d with Power to Damn and Save, and enabled by the Deity to make their Maker, should condescend, for the Conviction of Gainsayers, to do some Miracles of a lower and easier Nature; such as the creating a Fly, or ordering a dead Insect to live; such as animating a Corpse, as well as deifying a Wafer; ordering a common Lock to open, or a common Door to shut, as readily as they do the mighty Gates of Heaven and Hell; for these last are Miracles which they pretend to work daily.
They indeed tell us of other Miracles wrought by their Saints; but we desire to see them wrought. Nor can they with any Face complain of our want of Faith, whilst we reasonably complain of their want of Miracles. What less than Miracles can prove the miraculous Power which they pretend to exercise, their marvellous Mysteries, and incredible Operations? If they can damn a Heretic by a Word, why not imprison and punish him by the same Word? If they can open Heaven to a suffering Catholic, perhaps imprisoned for the meritorious Offence of commiting Treason for the Service of the Holy Church, against an heretical State, why not order the Prison Doors to fly open, to the Releasment of the pious Catholic, and to the Confusion of his heretical Judges and Persecutors? Why not award Heretics to Death, by the Word of Command, as well as to Hell? Why not command Heretics to the Stake and the Gallows, or command the Stake and the Gallows to burn or hang Heretics? Such Exertion of Power and Orthodoxy would soon frighten Heresy out of the Land, and re-establish the Catholic Faith, Unity and Revenues, with Renown and Triumph.
A famous Impostor amongst the Jews, and one of their Messiahs (for the poor People have had many, and none without Followers) Sabatai Sevi by Name, the Deliverer of Israel by Profession, undertook to restore the whole Nation to Canaan, with a high Hand, and heavenly Power and Wonders. He gain’d easy Belief and numerous Adherents, some of them in the Stile of Prophets, confirming his Divine Mission, and foretelling miraculous Effects and Events forthwith to ensue. Great Commotions followed; the Turkish Divan was alarmed, and sent for the Impostor: He was put in Irons, yet still asserted his own Divine Character; though he, who was to release and re-establish a Nation, could not release himself. His bewitched Followers too still believed in him, averred what Miracles he wrought, and prophesied that he was to dethrone the Grand Seignior, and even to drag him along in Chains. That Monarch ordered him into his Presence, and with Imperial Brevity offered him his Choice, either to work a present Miracle, or to turn Turk, or to be impaled alive. Sabatai, unable to comply with the first, and not liking the third, made no Scruple of the second; he declared himself a Mahometan without Hesitation, and thenceforward laboured to convert the Jews to Mahometism, a Change he alleged necessarily previous to their final Restoration. As a Proof of the strange Force of Delusion, his Followers still believed in him, even after such open, such avowed Apostasy: They said Sabatai was carried up into Heaven, and a Dæmon had assumed the Shape and white Hair of the old Man, on purpose to disgrace him.
Transubstantiation is the most wonderful Miracle that ever was wrought; and if it be false, the pretended Authors of it are the greatest Impostors that ever pretended to Miracles, as all Impostors do. I would only have such as pretend to maintain it, either to abjure their daring Pretences, or to work a small Miracle. If they perform any Miracle before competent Witnesses, we Protestants may venture to turn Papists: If they can work none, we ought to expect their Conversion to Protestantism. We have no Authority but their Word for the mighty Miracle of Transubstantiation; Human Reason, and the Five Senses, which alone attest and confirm other Miracles, contradict this. We offer them no painful Alternative; we call for no Impaling, no Racks, nor Dungeons; though these be their last and most conclusive Arguments to us.
The natural and dreadful Consequences attending the Success of the Rebellion.
IN the Midst of all our public Difficulties, and the Evils that threaten us (I hope only for a short Time) it must give high Joy, and equal Hopes, to all Britons and Protestants, to behold such an universal, such an ardent Spirit in Protestants and Britons, upon the present Trial and Exigency; with such a glorious Abhorrence of the desperate Attempts, and bloody Designs, of our Enemies abroad and at home.
The very Attempt to change the Government, is a Proof of the Excellence and Freedom of the Government. If our Government were wretched and weak, and the Subjects oppressed and miserable, France would be the first to support an oppressive Government, and strengthen the Oppression. As the Administration is just, and the People free, France will never cease plotting and labouring the Destruction of Government and People. If in our present Situation we are dreadful to France; if we thwart her persidious Counsels, and cripple her Tyranny, will not France strive to disable, to enslave, and to ruin, her capital and most formidable Foe?
This is her present Scheme; she is pursuing her Interest, let us pursue ours; if she succeed, we are undone; if we prevail, she is sunk; she must truckle to Terms of our imposing; and thus humbling herself to her Neighbours, whom she has long insulted, against all Shame, and contrary to all Faith, she must accept such a Peace as they will grant her.
To carry her Point, she chuses a Person very proper for her Purposes, if they succeed; but very proper likewise to mar their Success, by letting us see our notorious and alarming Danger, in imposing upon us for our King a Nursling of the Pope, a Pupil of her own, bred in Romish blind Bigotry, nurtured in all the Principles of lawless Sway; one destitute of all Property, subsisting by Food and Raiment from France, taught by his Father, and his own Fate, to hate us; and now armed to punish us, or rather to destroy us.
It hath been truly observed, that whoever comes from Banishment to Sovereignty, will exercise it with infinite Havock and Cruelty: He hath suffered supreme Injury, and must be satisfied with equal Vengeance. Whoever forced him out, or kept him out, is his rightful Victim: Life and Property are claimed together. Great Property is always certain Guilt in the Eye of a Tyrant; and it is easy to prove it forfeited, by calling the Owner a Traitor: What numberless Sacrifices, what copious Forfeitures, must this devoted Nation furnish out? A Nation almost all Heretics; all Enemies to the Tyranny of France, thence all proper Objects of Slaughter and Bondage; all accursed by Rome, therefore worthy of Fire and Extirpation.
We must even pay France for keeping this our Enemy, for his Education, and for all the Efforts made for him against us; for her Expence and Supplies in the last Rebellion, in the present Rebellion, and ever since the Revolution; pay her for establishing him our Tyrant, and ever afterwards as the Deputy of France: For, if he do not enslave us, he cannot reign over us; and as he cannot enslave us, without the Power of France, we must be Slaves, in Reality, to France; in Name, to her Viceroy, who will have the Honour to be the chief Slave, and consequently the most contemptible, as all are who wear a Crown by foreign Permission, and reign by Command.
To answer all the Demands of France, all his own Demands (which will still be as great and real, as if he were a real King) together with the Demands of his needy and craving Followers, who will plead their Wants of Wealth and Land, as abundant Titles to both, especially when forfeited to the Usurper by Resistance and Heresy; all the Estates and Treasure of Heretics and Rebels, will hardly suffice. Even the Bank of England, and all the public Funds, are all justly liable to Forfeiture, as they were established to keep him out, and to secure Rebels and Heretics against his coming in. What can be more obvious, what more tempting, to be so seized, and so distributed? What more agreeable to the Maxims of France and Rome in particular, and to the Maxims of Popish and Arbitrary Sway in general? The Church Preferments, so long possess’d by an heretical Clergy, the Church-Lands, so sacrilegiously usurped by the heretical Laity, Gentry and Nobility, will be hardly sufficient to gratify the Hopes, and to compensate the Merits of an Army of Confessors, holyMen, who have laboured incessantly, wrote and railed, cursed the Heretics, and starved for above half a Century, in the blessed View of seeing an obstinate Nation ruined, as well as damn’d Protestants in the Flames, and the Holy Church in Triumph.
The old Laws must likewise succumb and bend to new Masters. Who will dare to hold up an Act of Parliament against the Mass? What Heretic venture to plead for Heretics? What Protestant Lawyer (if any Protestants be left, or one Protestant Law) will venture to affront the Pope, or a popish Sovereign, by defending Liberty, Law, and Conscience, in Opposition to Powers who hold Liberty to be Rebellion, Law to be Treason, and Conscience to be Schismatical and Damnable; all to be punish’d with a high Hand, and instantly rooted out, or crushed by Fire and Sword?
A Bloody Host of Robbers from the Woods and Bogs of Ireland, Droves of Savages from the Rocks and Caverns of the Highlands, void of Letters, and even of Humanity, armed with Ignorance, Brutality, and barbarous Zeal, must be turned into an Army, to secure a violent Establishment by Acts of Violence; crazy Monks, without Mercy or Knowledge, must be our Teachers, to instruct us in the Guilt of Christian Charity, and the Danger of Human Reason: A new Nobility of Upstarts, Fugitives, and Outlaws, raised from Obscurity, chiefly known for their Barbarity, original Macs and O’s, shall swagger (I had almost said wallow) in the highest Stations and Dignities, bear the grandest Titles, without being able to read them, and sink and defile them by wearing them. The old Nobility must be extinguished, or beg, or perish; or, which is worse, be Converts, and feed upon the Bounty of an Usurper, at least subsist at his Mercy.
Such wide and wasting Violence, and these dreadful Changes, are rather certain than improbable. The Invader knows, that all able, all wealthy, all discerning Men; all sober and religious Men; all who love Liberty Sacred and Civil, their Property, their Bible, and their Conscience, must necessarily hate his Person, and abhor his Education, his Principles and Dependencies. They can never be safe till he be defeated: He can never thoroughly succeed till they be thoroughly destroyed.
Confusion, Extirpation, and Massacre, are the known, the approved, the tried Measures of Popery, and of popish Tyrants. They think that by Cruelty to Heretics, they do Service to God and themselves: The more Cruelty the more Service. This Principle justifies all Rigour and Acts of Rage and Perfidy, and even consecrates them all as holy and meritorious.Charles the IXth of France, in Obedience to the Dictates of his Faith, by a long Train of fair Usage, kind Words, and a thousand Caresses to the Hugonots, deluded the Heads of them to Paris; where he renewed and enlarged all his friendly Professions, distinguished them as his most welcome Guests at the Wedding of his Sister, betrothed to their Chief, the King of Navarre; granted them many Favours, and pretended to be guided by the Counsels of their favourite Leader, the celebrated Admiral de Coligni. When he had thus drawn the Principals of the Religion together, and lulled them into due Security (for when they were prepared and armed, a small Number of them was dreadful to any Number of their Enemies) he ordered them all to be massacred at once, upon a Signal given: He was himself a keen Instrument in the Massacre. The Tyrant, as cruel as faithless, not only animated and applauded the most eager Murderers, but shot from his Window such of the innocent betrayed Victims as were like to escape their Butchers, the raging Catholics. The Carnage was pursued at the same Hour all over France. An Hundred thousand Protestants fell Sacrifices to the Moloch of Popery, and to the Maxims of French Tyranny. The Pope, one of the ablest that ever filled the papal Chair, but still a Pope, approved all the bloody Guilt, all the infernal Slaughter, and particularly the Murder of Coligni, one of the first Heads in Christendom for War and Counsel, but unpardonably zealous for the Gospel of Christ, and the Rights of Men.
In one of the Croisades against the Waldenses, Two hundred thousand Souls in one City were doomed at once to Sword and Fire, though many of them were Papists. The Lay-Commander, a Man of great Quality, was for saving those of his own Communion; but a Monk, commission’d by the Pope, insisted that the Slaughter should be general, and left to God the Care of his own.
What was the Irish Massacre, but an Effort of Irish Papists, to restore Popery? Popery, and the Spirit of Popery, is still the same. King James, in Ireland, enabled the wild bigotted Irish, the old Murderers in the Year 1641, or their murdering Descendants, universally to plunder the Protestants there, to divest them of Land, Dwelling, and daily Bread, and to force Numbers of them to starve, or to beg their Bread in England and Scotland. It was natural to fear that the worst was not past, that the Lives of Protestants would soon follow their Property, and another Carnage would complete the Restoration of Popery. The King, who had Weakness enough to go such dreadful Lengths, had Bigotry enough (the most mischievous Weakness of all!) to have gone Lengths still more dreadful, mad as he was for Popery and lawless Power; since he was persuaded, that they supported each other: The only sound Judgment which he seems ever to have made.
The Views of the Pretender not to be disguised. His Defence an Insult.
THE young Pretender is not the less an Invader for his coming accompanied with so few Persons. If all that are now about him had come from Abroad with him, he would not have been more an Usurper, or they greater Enemies. The Natives are always the greatest Enemies to their Country, when they are Enemies. The Turks are not fiercer Enemies to Christians, than the Popish Irish and the Popish Highlanders are to English Protestants. If they have, besides, long smarted as Fugitives, Traitors, and banished Outlaws, do they not return with heightened Rage, with Vengeance still more direful and bloody? Or, though they have never been Abroad, nor felt the Punishment and Ignominy of Traitors; yet, if they have nourished continual Rancour against the Government, been continually bent upon its Overthrow, and long sought its Ruin, are they not habitual and ardent Foes to all that love and support it? Can any Croud of Intruders from Abroad be conceived more fierce or implacable? Could a Herd of invading Tartars have proved more eager Thieves, more merciless Butchers and Plunderers, than the wild Clans following the Young Pretender? There is one Good resulting from all this shocking Evil; namely, that it is so shocking, and that by it he gives us a Sample of his Government, and of his Notions of Government. This is so glaring, that they who are not alarmed by it, deserve the sharpest Whips, and the heaviest Chains, without Redemption or End.
Does he talk of a Free Parliament? Mockery and Insult! Never was a more Free Parliament than ours, or so much Property in any Parliament. There are several single Members in either House, able to buy every Follower he has, with all their Chiefs. I could name to him the Lady of one Member, who has more Wealth upon her Toilet than would cloathe his Army, much better than they now are, after all their boundless Plunder.
WhatEnglish County, or even what small Borough, would own him, or his Writ, or chuse a Man fit for his Purpose? He can have no Prospect of any Parliament, but a Parliament of Highland-Robbers, or Irish Rapperees, at best such as they shall choose and admit. What Parliament can he possibly have, but a Parliament like his Army, composed of Indigents, Outlaws, and Savages? What other Parliament would serve his Turn? He cannot but see the Dread and Antipathy of the Nation, flaming fiercely from every Corner of it against him: Yet he has the Modesty and Consistency to talk of a new Parliament. The whole Nation are his Enemies, except some unnatural Desperadoes, in it; nor can he ever hope for any Parliament but a Parliament of Desperadoes, such as the Nation will never choose. Does he mean to have a Free Parliament chosen by Force? This was the Scheme of his pretended Grandfather; who, like a true Tyrant, robbed the Electors of their Charters, and filled them with Creatures of his own: But even his own Creatures, abhorring his Religion and his Tyranny, abandoned the Bigot and the Tyrant. Is better to be hoped from this proscribed Invader?
Parliaments, he knows, sound charmingly to English Ears; and therefore tries with that Sound to charm Englishmen: But, whilst they have the Thing itself, they will not be mocked with the Grimace, and mere Sound.
He comes from Rome, to protect the English Church; from France, to defend English Liberty; a Papist, to protect Protestants. Can there be greater or more insulting Drollery? We enjoy more Liberty than any, than all, the Nations of the Earth ever enjoy’d, now or heretofore. We enjoy Religion in higher Perfection than ever, because every Man enjoys his own Religion. The Church is more secure than ever, because her Sons do not disgrace her by seeking to persecute Dissenters, nor endanger her by the false factious Cry of her Danger. His Majesty protects Property, and defends the Laws; his Subjects love and trust him. Never were there known such ardent, such active Proofs of popular Confidence in a Prince.
Here is a System of national Felicity, a System unparallel’d thoughout the World! A Change from this System implies a Fall to final Misery and Destruction. The Bait of a new Parliament is an old Snare, the Cant of a Pretender. His Religion and Principles (Popish and Arbitrary) are our Dread and Abomination: He is a Stranger in his Person; his Counsellors and Exiles are starving and desperate Outlaws; his Measures are barbarous; his Soldiers are Savages. If he regarded Parliaments, he would have staid till the Parliament had sent for him. He has intruded against the Voice of Parliament, and of the Nation, the loud and repeated Voice of both. He tramples upon Law, he plunders Property, he imprisons and executes Men, he commits universal Spoil, yet talks of Right; he profanes the Name of Authority, and jests with that of Parliament. Did his pretended Grandfather love Parliaments? Would he be advised by Parliaments? Or did he keep his Oaths to Parliaments?
His very Claim, the Claim of Descent, is a Defiance of Parliament, and Law, and Oaths. If the Parliament can exclude one King, and choose another, then is his Claim by Blood a Bawble; nay, ’tis Treason against the Constitution. But, if that Claim prevail, then there is an End of Parliaments, and a Man may destroy a Nation, because he is called, or calls himself, King of it, or because his Ancestors, nay, because his pretended Ancestors, were Kings of it. If no Disqualification can disable him, then a Person unfit for the lowest Office in Life is fit for the highest; one that is dumb may utter Laws; a deaf Man may listen to Counsel, and hear Petitions; a frantic Enthusiast may dictate in Religion; and an Idiot, or, which is worse, a wilful and perjured Tyrant, may govern the State.
Such is his latent Claim; it must be such; and he dare neither give it up, nor explicitly assert it. The Parliament, many, all Parliaments have settled the Succession, as it is now settled; forced to do so by the Perfidy, the Bigotry, the Frenzy and Tyranny of his pretended Grandfather. Yet he mocks those that will be mocked, with an Appeal to Parliament. He does not, he dares not describe what sort of Parliament he means, how chosen, and how principled; neither need he describe it; we can guess his Meaning: He must either have no Parliament, or one worse than none. In the Members, a desperate Fortune, and an implacable Spirit, will be the first Qualification; blind Bigotry, the next; and an abandoned Submission to his Will, the last and greatest, recommended by the other two.
So that, whether he should have such a Parliament, or no Parliament, there will be an End of genuine Parliaments. And then—what follows? Ask him, and he will not tell you: But I will, and all Men may guess; even whatever he pleases, final Bondage, and the Inquisition; Monks and Fraud triumphant, Conscience oppress’d, the Bible banish’d, Popery and Flames in Fashion, and Protestants burned, or their Bodies secured at the Expence of their Faith, and their Souls. Here is a Catalogue of Woes, dreadful ones, yet not all. Behold them, Britons, abhor them, and prevent them.
A PopishGovernment, and a Protestant Parliament, are a Contradiction: They are Fire and Water to each other. A Popish Parliament, in a Protestant Country, is equally impossible. Will he declare himself a Protestant? He dares not. Nor shall we believe him, if he do. The most furious Papists are his keenest Emissaries, the most active to poison and pervert Protestants: The grossest Papists, almost Savages, are armed for him, and for our Destruction.
Are these Tokens of his being a Protestant, or inclined to be? His pretended Grandfather long feigned himself a Protestant: His pretended Grand Uncle carried on the Fraud to his Death. Both of them continually nurtur’d Popery, and betray’d the Protestants; one of them openly attempted their Destruction.
We have already a Protestant King, one of our own seeking and approving, never suspected of Popery, or of any Fraud, or of any Equivocation; his Progeny all Protestants by Principle and Education: Shall we risk a desperate Change, because the young Pretender talks civilly, and makes Promises? Are not all his Actions lawless, most of them barbarous? And is Success likely to mend such a wild lawless Adventurer? He labours to be Master by Violence. What he gains by Violence, he must keep by Violence; and can never be safe, till all Men be undone, till Will determine Law, and the Sword decide Property.
Such is thy threatened Fate, O England! Rouse, and extirpate the Parricides that threaten it. The Spirit of the Nation hath loudly displayed itself, and gloriously from Sea to Sea, with noble Ardor and Disdain, against a wanton Intruder, against Savage Traitors, and a Rebellion unprovoked. What remains but to nourish and pursue that glorious Spirit? The Alternative is short, To save all, or to lose all, To destroy, or be destroyed.
In my next, I shall illustrate and confirm all that I have here advanced, by an Example out of the History of England.
The Norman Invasion, how sanguinary and fatal to England. The Invader how faithless and barbarous to Englishmen.
IN the following Extracts from the Reign, or rather the Usurpation and Tyranny of William the Norman, we have a Specimen of what may as reasonably be dreaded from the Pretender (either old or young) who like the other Invader, claims an airy fictitious Right, and would assert it by Force, against Law and Religion; and, to enjoy it, would make three Kingdoms perjur’d Slaves or Victims.
WILLIAM the Norman, improperly call’d Conqueror, invaded England at the Head of Forces mix’d and collected from many Countries, most of them needy Adventurers, allured by Promises of Plunder and Settlements in this Kingdom, which, when subdued, was to be turned into Spoil, and parted amongst the Spoilers, with proper Preference and Allotment to the principal Spoiler. It was an Attempt as desperate as wicked; and they might all have probably perished in it, though they were victorious at first, had not the Clergy deserted the Common Cause, and broken their Engagement to the Nobility and the Londoners, purely to make early Court to the Usurper, and to gain proper Advantages to themselves, whatever became of the rest. The Case, I bless God, is different now, and we have a different Clergy, who being convinced, that they have a Common Interest with the Laity in the Cause of Liberty, join cordially with them, and have borne an illustrious Testimony against unnatural Rebels and barbarous Usurpation.
Yet, with all the Advantage of this fatal Defection, he could never have succeeded, had he not submitted to Conditions. He found himself encompassed with so many Distresses, and still threatened with so many more, that, to prevent Famine, and to divert the continual Demands of his Followers, he agreed to Terms, the more readily, as he intended to keep none. He swore to the English, upon receiving the Crown from them, to preserve all their Laws and Liberties. He added many magnificent Promises, which, with his fair Behaviour, disposed them frankly to trust him.
His Deceit lasted not long, but gave way to his innate Appetite for Power, and to his devouring Avarice. He had another constant Stimulation to rob and oppress, from the restless Discontents and Importunities of his Comrades in the Usurpation, calling upon him for Donatives and Gratifications, boldly pleading their many Wants and many Services, together with his Promises and Treaty with them. To answer all their Demands, and all his own, he had no other Resource but to rob the English, and, by perjuring himself to them, be able to keep his Faith with his Brother Robbers; besides, he took Tyranny to be his best Policy, to disable the Oppressed from avenging their Oppression.
This is the eternal Oversight and false Craft of Tyrants; as if a People wealthy and well protected (Blessings that naturally dispose them to be content) were more to be seared by their Protector, than a People plundered and desperate. The Dread of lawless Power may reduce the Bodies of Men, perhaps their Lips, to acquiesce; but their Spirits will remain the more ulcerated and implacable.
It is plain, that William the Norman came into England a determined Enemy to the English. He was in his own Nature a Tyrant, as almost all that aim at Conquest are, and engaged by Compact to exercise endless Tyranny: Yet he swore and promised, and made fair Professions; talked of his pretended Title, and Kindred to the Throne, and referred all his Pretensions to the Decision of the English, in other Words, to a Free Parliament, who to be sure must act from pure Conviction with Norman Swords at their Throats.
He was obliged to impoverish the whole Nation to gratify those, who, upon that Condition only, joined with him in invading the Nation. His Course of Reigning was therefore naturally a Course of Plunder, and of Cruelty to such as dared to complain of being plundered: Complaint was a Proof of Disaffection, and the Complainers were hanged as Traitors. The first Tax that he raised was oppressive and arbitrary, and levied with all the Excesses of Rigour; the whole contrary to his Oath. The Motives for it were equally odious, as it was for Money to pay his Confederate Spoilers; a doleful Reason to the poor Natives: Yet all this was not the worst: He had such Contempt for his Honour and his Oath, as well as for his Subjects, that not a Farthing of this terrible Tax was paid to the Normans, though for them only he avowed to have raised it. He kept the whole to himself, as a Fund against the miserable People from whom he had squeez’d it; miserable indeed, thus mocked and drained, yet liable to be again equally drained, upon the same Pretence.
Hitherto he had robbed them but in Part: He next proceeds to strip them to the Skin, upon a Charge against them, founded upon downright Impudence, namely, their Adherence to their late lawful King, Harold the Second, when they had no other to adhere to. Had that brave Prince been alive, the English Throne would not have been defiled by the rough William, who had no Peace whilst the English had any Land: No Argument will do against a naked Sword. He seized a great Number of Estates, with as little Ceremony as Mercy.
When by this, and every furious Oppressions he had made the miserable Nation stark-mad, his next Step was to punish them for being so. He, therefore, besides infinite Vengeance, corporal and capital, at once seized into his own Hands all Baronies, and all Fiefs of the Crown, whatsoever. Thus he reduced all the Nobility and Landholders in England to Nakedness and want of Bread. Their Misery, which seem’d complete, bad yet a heavy Aggravation, and they had another shocking Scene to behold: Their Estates were granted to the Favourites and Champions of the Usurper, desperate Adventurers, and the needy Hunters or Fortune.
TheseUpstarts and Spoilers were incredibly exalted. Some of them rioted in the Revenues of whole Counties; many of them counted their Manors by Hundreds. Others were made Lords of Cities, others Proprietors of great Towns; the rest commanded strong Forts and Castles, now purposely built to insure the everlasting Bondage of the wretched English. All these lofty Upstarts had it now in their Option, to starve, or to seed, the genuine Lords and Owners; I mean, such of them as the cruel Mercy of the Invader had left to live bereft of Dignity and Bread.
These new Lords, governed by the Maxims and Spirit of their Master, admitting none to hold under them but their own Adherents, England was in a direct Way to lose its Name, which was absurdly derived from any Number of Slaves and Beggars.
THIS wonderful Revolution of Ranks and Property, so universal and so sudden, as hardly to be matched in any Country, under any Tyrant, upon any Provocation, contracted fresh Guilt and Horror from the insidious Behaviour of the Usurper just before. It was unusually soft, and even fatherly. He seemed to affect Popularity. He had relaxed the severe Exercise of Power, recalled Exiles, released Prisoners; shewn Tenderness to the English, and punished the insolent Normans. He had again talked of calling a Free Parliament, and even assembled from all Parts of the Kingdom, such Men of Note for Quality and Knowlege as were fittest to acquaint him with the national Customs and Laws.
This Change of Behaviour in him cheated the poor English, and recovered the Tyrant their Hearts. In him it was all a faithless Feint, the Effect of his present Dread from an actual Invasion in the North, from Denmark. As soon as he had bribed away that Peril, by Money to the Danish General, he strait returned to his Rage, heightened by this last Danger. Besides all the human Victims to his Fury, he vented it upon Buildings and the Soil. In the best Part of the North, for Sixty Miles together, he spread Desolation so complete, that in all that Tract not a Tree or Shrub was left; not a House or Church, nor Subsistence for Man or Beast. He was indeed least merciful to such as he did not forthwith destroy, but left to the Pangs of Famine, to seek Relief from Carrion, from the most loathsome Insects and Vermin, and from the Flesh of one another, till they at last expired, bereft of that horrible Food. The whole Region was convered into so absolute a Desert, that for many Years together the Marks of the Plough were not seen in it.
WhenWilliam had as it were extinguished the English Nobility and Landholders, he extended his savage Scheme to the English Clergy, despising their Privileges, trampling upon their Charters, and subjecting them to what Burdens he pleased. Where they submitted, he used them like Slaves, and half-starved them; where they asserted their Rights, he treated them like Traitors, stripped them of their Freeholds, and put Normaus in their room. Most of the Army too was quartered upon them. He caused all religious Houses to be searched, and seized all the Wealth in them; for That was what he wanted, though he pretended to look for concealed Rebels and Traitors. It proved a lucrative Search to him, as he spared nothing that was valuable, the rich Ornaments of their Saints and Shrines, their massy Plate, nor any of their precious Furniture, however consecrated to holy Purposes.
With all this Outrage upon Clergymen, he had no Aversion to the Clergy. For, like many other cruel Men, he was a great Bigot, full of Reverence, and even of Liberality, to Monks. William hated the English Clergy because they were Englishmen (just as any Popish Tyrant will always hate English Protestants). His Hatred and Mistrust of them was so excessive, that by Juggling with the Pope (the Father and Encourager of all Mischief and Impiety) he procured his Consent to deprive all the obnoxious Dignitaries at a Blow. Some he banished, others he imprisoned, and supplied all the Vacancies with Strangers, Creatures of his own, or of the Pope.
Such was the Return which he made to the English Clergy, for their early Submission to him and their Treachery to their Country. A different Spirit, because a different Religion, actuates our modern Clergy, who oppose the Advances of a Foreign Yoke and Foreign Superstition, with true English Courage and true Protestant Zeal.
His whole Reign was a Series of Robbery and Cruelty. He was so singularly abhorred, that when a whole Army of Conspirators was formed to destroy him, not a single Conspirator was found to inform him of his Danger. He saw it before be heard of it, and had no Resource but to offer them their own Terms, and implicitly submitted to the Meanest. He owned all their Reproaches to be just, condemned himself and all his barbarous, faithless Tyranny, solemnly promised a thorough Reformation, and gave them his Soul for a Pledge. He took an awful Oath, upon the Holy Gospel, and expresly submitted to be damned, if he failed, for the future, to rule according to the known Laws of England.
Thus he stripped them of their Fears, as he did the credulous Fools their Followers of their Weapons; the only avenging Devils that he dreaded. The Leaders broke their Army, against all Sense, and he his Oath, against all Conscience and Shame. Nay, his Oath did but whet his Vengeance. They who had been the Witnesses and Depositaries of his sacramental Engagement, first felt his Perjury and Revenge, and he pursued the Slaughter with profuse Barbarity, which was more bitterly felt by such whom he starved in Dungeons and Exile, than by those whom he only butchered. The Massacre was extensive and unrelenting. This was rash Rage against true Policy. A Prince who acts like a Destroyer, is in perpetual Danger of being destroyed. William had one constant Encouragement to the blackest Perjury and Tyranny, the Pope’s Warrant and Absolution: A Consideration worthy of the Thoughts and Abhorrence of all Englishmen at this Day!
His constant Perfidy, Oppression and Cruelty, begot more Conspiracies, and these fresh Barbarity and Carnage. Suspicion was a Proof of Guilt, and whomsoever he disliked, he suspected; so that having Criminals without Number, he made Victims without Mercy. Hanging was the gentlest Punishment: To be banished and starved was accounted a Favour. Numbers perished in loathsome Dungeons: Many had their Eyes pulled out; many had their Feet and Hands lopped off, and both Sorts were left with the Burden of Life and Carcasses, without Organs to guide and support Life.
After he had long waded in Blood, shed all the best, and thinned the Nation, at least of its English Inhabitants, he set himself to accumulate Money, and spared no Oppression, nor Device to oppress. It was a Course not of Taxing and Collecting, but of Rapine and Grinding. He had got a Kingdom by Robbery and Slaugh ter, and afterwards intensly and eagerly pursued the Trade. He came to the Kingdom by Force and Treachery, and he ruled it as he got it. Neither did the consuming Tyranny cease with him: His Son Rufus was rather worse than he; indeed, a wolfish Tyrant. Several of the same Line were as bad. They claimed the Kingdom as their Property, and a Right to it from Conquest. It had been much the same thing to the Nation, had they claimed it by Divine Right, only the latter must be owned better calculated for Delusion and Tyranny, as it carries a more awful Sound, and derives itself from Heaven. We know what dreadful Conclusions were forged for unlimited Servitude, during the arbitrary Times when it was in Fashion here.
God and his Majesty defend us from such Times, and from all such as would revive them!
P. S.In this Character of William, called the Conqueror, I have taken the Facts and Circumstances as I found them in History; so far am I from inventing either, to serve any Purpose of my own. That he is not generally seen in so black a Light, I conceive to be owing to the favourable Account given of him by Sir William Temple; a Performance unworthy of so able and candid a Writer.
The curious Speech of a Fugitive Protestant - Popish - Jacobite Priest to Lewis the Well-beloved.
THE following Speech in French is handed about in MS. at Paris, and commended for its Smartness and Eloquence. His Excellency Mynheer Van Hoey has sent a Copy of it to the Hague: An important Piece of Intelligence from such an able Hand! A Friend of mine having transmitted a Transcript of it to me, I think it well worth the Perusal of English Readers. In order to be quite exact in my Translation of it, I have even preserved some Gallicisms, that none of the Pith and Scope of so curious a Piece might be lost.
Mr. KELLY, the Nonjuror, Secretary to the late Bishop Atterbury, now Envoy from the Young Pretender in Scotland to the King of France, his Speech to that Monarch.
I HAVE the Honour to wait upon your Majesty from my Royal Master, the Prince Regent, and am fully instructed by him (your Ministers, Sire, have seen my Instructions) to display to your Majesty what a profound and lively Sense he fosters in his princely Heart, of your generous Friendship to himself and his Cause; of your bountiful and seasonable Assistance; and of your Cordiality in continuing to assist him; Assistance, Sire, so signal and successful, as to have raised him from a forsaken Wanderer, to command an Army, to the Possession of almost all one Kingdom, and to the fair Hopes of another.
His R. H. Sire, is so passionately penetrated with a Spirit of Gratitude towards your Majesty, his gracious Benefactor and Founder, that he ardently longs to publish his Gratitude to your Majesty before the Face of the whole World, by returning you your own Gift again, and laying his Crown at your Feet. A Title to it he had before, but, at best, disputed, always ineffectual: Your Majesty, Sire, in giving him Possession, has, as it were, substantially purchased the Title to yourself. His highest Ambition will be, to have the Honour to wear, for your Majesty’s Use, a Crown conferred upon him by your Majesty’s Bounty.
For this pleasing Reason, Sire, he earnestly applies to your Majesty, to facilitate to him the Means of thus signalizing his Thanks to your Majesty. Be pleased, Sire, to enable him to a final Triumph; since he cannot, he will not, triumph finally, but for your Majesty.
He has the Honour, Sire, to offer other Views of Advantage to your Majesty, from such a happy, such a seasonable Revolution in England; as that vain, ill-judging Nation, long infatuated with the deceitful and dangerous Pride of Liberty, and with a damnable Antipathy to the true Apostolic Church, shall then no longer obstruct your Majesty’s paternal Schemes for the Glory of your Crown, and for the just Abasement of such Princes and States, as would, for narrow Interests and presumptuous Ends of their own, dare to dispute your Majesty’s wise Measures for your own Honour and their Humiliation.
His R. H. Sire, incapable of the low Policy of such ungenerous Caution and Neutrality, will ambitiously seek his own Glory in advancing that of your Majesty, in humbling all who are so blind as to refuse to receive Laws from so great a Monarch. In such Assistance given to your Majesty, Sire, for such laudable and pacific Ends, his R. H. besides the Reasonableness of paying a just Debt, will have the Pleasure and Merit of imitating the Examples of his Royal Grandfather, and his Royal Grand Uncle (of pious Memory) in their Behaviour towards your Majesty’s Great Grandfather, Lewis the Great, a glorious Champion against Schismatics and Commonwealths, and against all who stood so obstinately in Defence of their own pretended Rights, as not to submit them to his Godlike Power.
His R. H. Sire, hath planned out Measures for effectually reducing untractable Spirits, when, by your Majesty’s Favour, he is once settled. He likewise hopes and even intreats, your Majesty’s Concurrence in this his noble Design: He the less doubts your Aid, Sire, as it is a Common Cause, almost equally interesting to both your Majesty and himself. He purposes to begin with Persuasions and gentle Methods, and is so moderate as to be content with all his Subjects who will embrace the Apostolic System of the Nonjurors (of whom, Sire, I have the Honour to be one) neither can our Faith or Discipline, though we be Protestants, offend your Majesty, since they so intimately square with those of the Gallican Church, which we have been ambitious to resemble and imitate, in all her essential Tenets and Practices, “Prayers for the Dead; Adoration of the Host; the Invocation of Saints; the Fire of Purgatory; the Power of Priests to open the Gates of Heaven and Hell; the Doctrines of Auricular Confession, Priestly Absolution, Chrism, Penance, Altars, and the Unbloody Sacrifice thereon; but above all, the princely Power, and indelible Character, with their uninterrupted Apostolic Succession, of Bishops and Priests.”
We hold too, Sire, the Divine Hereditary Right and irresistible Authority of Kings. We detest Schismatics, and consider the present Clergy as Intruders, Presbyterians, and Time-servers, ever since the Revolution; and we reclaim the Church Lands from the sacrilegious Usurpers of them.
These Catholic Principles, Sire, will, we hope, warrant us, in the equitable Eyes of your Majesty, for assuming, as we do, the Title of the Catholic Church of Great Britain. These Catholic Principles, Sire, and our steady Loyalty, have so endeared us to his R. H. the P. R. that he professeth to have our Restoration at Heart, as much as we have his. We burn, Sire, with servent Zeal, to see the Churches gloriously filled with a staunch Apostolic Ministry, Confessors, who have a common Claim, common Sufferings, and a common Interest with himself.
He hopes, Sire, that your Majesty will graciously please to behold him, with sympathizing Eyes, in the same tender and just Light as he doth us, engaged, Sire, in a Cause in which your Majesty has an equal Concern with himself; since, as he will rule by you, Sire, he will be ever animated with the same glowing Ambition to rule for you, Sire, according to the illustrious Precedent set him by his last and best Predecessors.
It is thus, Sire, that his R. H. has the pleasing Prospect of lessening, in Part, that immense Heap of Obligations, which have been so long and so plentifully showering upon him and his House from the august House of France, particularly by yourself, Sire, the Representative and living Glory of that Imperial House. As to the literal Method of discharging those Debts, he has the Honour to leave it intirely, Sire, to your Majesty’s Wisdom and Discretion; determined, as he is, when all is paid, still to consider himself your Debtor, and the Debt itself as immortal and irredeemable. For your present Security, Sire, he offers your Majesty his Heart and his Kingdoms, which are indeed already yours; and he graciously consigns to me, Sire, the Glory of making your Majesty that Offer.
It transports my Soul, Sire, and even softens it, as your Majesty may be pleased to perceive by these sincere Tears, to foresee, as I do, with an unchangeable Hope, the blessed Time approaching, when your Majesty shall have given to England a new Face, fixed the true Heir upon the Throne, and Uniformity in the Church; when the Hierarchy shall no longer be invaded and defiled by Schismatics, nor insolent Republicans limit and affront the Crown; when Church and Monarchy shall go Hand in Hand, and give Laws without Controul, except when honoured with your Majesty’s enlightening Commands, or warned by your wise Measures: Both Church and State will be the Work of your own Hands. Condescend, Sire, to enable us to complete your own glorious Work. Be, Sire, be, to our Three Kingdoms what you are so conspicuously to France, Louis the Well-beloved.
Your Majesty’s great Wisdom will acquaint you, Sire, that present Success depends upon present Supplies. The usurped Government in England grows every Day more formidable, especially at Sea, at your Majesty’s grievous Expence, and to our lamentable Misfortune. It wounds us, Sire, it wounds us with Grief, to see Merchants and Republicans so boldly seizing the Ships and Wealth of so great a Monarch. Be speedy, Sire, to avenge yourself and us; shorten their saucy Triumph and immoderate Gains, and give them a rightful Governor; a Governor of your own, who will cure them of their drunken Insolence from Wealth, and of their wild Wantonness from Liberty; teach them, Sire, proper Respect for your Majesty, with due Loyalty and Obedience to his R. H. your Majesty’s grateful Ward and faithful Ally.
It will doubtless touch your Royal Heart, Sire, with the most pleasing Sensations, to heat the agreeable Information which I have the Honour to communicate to your Majesty, that there is an intire and equitable Plan fixed for securing the Royal Throne, as soon as it is recovered. All who served or favoured the Usurpation, are, not only never to be trusted, but to be dispatched and forfeited, like the Regicides, Sire, at the last Restoration. They are, however, to be treated in the mean time with gentle Language, and even to be fed with fair Hopes, since it would be premature and imprudent to terrify them into more desperate Measures of Defence than they are even now taking.
These Forfeitures, Sire, and the Stocks, which have been rather Funds of public Rebellion, than of the public Revenue, will competently exalt and enrich his M———’s Court and Followers. The present Churchmen, who have so long and wilfully lopped themselves off from the ApostolicSuccession, are to be divested of all their usurped Emoluments; their Ministry will be declared Schismatical, and all their Ordinations null. Many of the Church Lands will be resumed, most of them perhaps forfeited, and the rest purchased. Thus, Sire, the Church will be brought to flourish with the Monarchy, and to crush all Sectaries, and all Republicans. For, at present, alas! none but Presbyterians govern the Church; none but Republicans administer the Monarchy.
Permit me, Sire, to acquaint your Majesty with one successful Stroke of our Policy, which hath done us marvellous Service. We have convinced all our Adherents, that the present complying Churchmen, Bishops and Clergy, are Presbyterians; and that Presbyterians are much worse Christians than Papists, a Nick-name which Schismatics give to Catholics. In this Step, Sire, we do but confirm our Esteem and Charity for the Gallican Church, with which we have long studied to unite our own, and even agreed to a Scheme for that Purpose; a Scheme which Mr. Lesly, a celebrated Champion of ours, had the honest Boldness to present to an English Convocation in the Reign of Queen Anne.
We have, Sire, many Writers, and many Books ready written, to prove all our Claims, as soon as we can Master the Kingdom, and the Press; Passive Obedience, and indefeasible Right, shall be again our constant, and our affectionate Themes, loudly and awfully echoed by every Divine from every Pulpit; Doctrines, Sire, ever dear to his R. H.’s best Predecessors, and tenderly nourished by them. We shall produce, Sire, voluminous Histories (purposely composed) to prove the Succession of the Stuarts from the antient Monarchical House of Noah, and that the said Succession was never interrupted, whatever Breaches Time and Violence, Necessity and Accidents, may have made in it. An egregious Performance this, Sire, worthy of the Countenance of all rightful Kings, and of all offended Patriots who oppose Kings whom they cannot approve.
It is the firm Purpose of his R. H. (for to him his Royal Father, your Majesty knows, will resign) it is, Sire, his fixed Resolution, to revive, and even to sharpen the old Laws, and to reign with Vigour, like an absolute Master, at least by the Direction of the greatest of all. For it will be, Sire, his Study and his Pride, always to reign according to your Model, and by your sage Counsel; and to shew himself worthy of such a revered, such a superior Pattern and Director.
Such,Sire, are the Sentiments, Views, Hopes, and Situation of his R. H. the P. R. Heaven and your Majesty have rendered him hitherto victorious. He hopes that the greatest King upon Earth will concur with the King of Heaven, in accomplishing a Work so favoured and forwarded by both.
I shall impatiently wait, Sire, for the Honour of your Majesty’s Commands, and still more impatiently for the Execution of them from your Majesty’s Ministers.
The Loyalty of Papists never to be trusted by Protestants. Religion and Liberty inevitable Sacrifices to a Popish Revolution.
IN the latter End of the Year 1639, in the Irish Parliament, the Irish Popish Members, who were many, were extremely forward to shew themselves well affected and zealous Subjects, and concurred unanimously in a Vote for Four Subsidies to the King. In the Middle of the Year 1641, the Irish rebel against the King, they massacre all his Protestant Subjects, and are led and animated in all their brutal Outrages, by these very Papish Members, lately so complaisant, so loyal, and so zealous for the King, now desying his Authority, overturning the Government, and butchering his only true Subjects.
It is remarkable enough, that so able a Man as the Earl of Strafford (he was then only Lord Wentworth, and Lord Deputy, but was afterwards Earl of Strafford, the Name which he is chiefly known by) then Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, had, but the Year before, in all his Dispatches from thence flourished, in high Strains, upon the Loyalty and Affection of the native Irish: He even upbraids the Scots, then forced by Oppression into Arms, with the exemplary and peaceable Behaviour of the Irish.
This Representation that great Man partly meant as a Compliment upon his own Management, and, probably, found it well-pleasing at Court, where Popery was too much in Fashion, and the Irish too much caressed for being Papists, especially by the Queen, who governed the Spirit of the King. He too, tho’ a Protestant, was partial to Popery, as a Religion favourable to high Monarchy, such as, it cannot be denied, he was fond of. Yet the discerning Lord Lieutenant is so candid as to warn the King against employing the Earl of Antrim to quell the Troubles in Scotland, as the King was inclined he should; for this Popish Earl was then in great Favour with the King, and even with Archbishop Laud. “I neither hope much (says the sagacious Wentworth) from his Parts, nor from his Power, nor from his Affections.—As he is a Papist, and Grandson to that famous Rebel, the Earl of Tyrone, he is not to be trusted with any Store of Arms which he is now applying for.”
In another Letter to the King, about raising Forces in Ireland against Scotland, “He beseeches his Majesty, not to grant the Earl of Antrim a Troop (which he would surely be a Suitor for) as a Thing which would prove very unpopular to all the English, from his Religion, his Race, his Unfitness for Trust, his interested Views, his evil and traiterous Designs, &c.” Besides, Lord Strafford, in all his Letters, treats him as a very weak, vain Man.
After all this weighty Warning, the King is still favourable to this Popish Earl, talks of his free and noble Spirit, at that Conjuncture, and recommends him to the Lord Lieutenant, as worthy to be trusted and employed. His Majesty, soon after, in a Letter to Strafford, tells him, “I should be glad you could find some way to furnish the Earl of Antrim with Arms, though he be a Roman Catholic; for he may be of Use to me at this Time, to let loose upon the Earl of Argyle.”
antrim, thus encouraged, applied for Six thousand Arms, and even purposed to put the Forces he raised under the Command of his Cousin O Neal. “I am astonished, says Lord Strafford, with his Lordship’s Purpose, Colonel O Neal, understood to be in his Heart and Affections a Traitor! What a Prospect for all us English here, to see Six thousand Men (Irish Papists) armed with our own Weapons (ourselves by that means turned naked) Men led by Tyrone’s Grandchild, the Son of old Randal Mac Donald, in the same Country, formerly the very Heart and Strength of those mighty, long, lasting Rebellions?”
But though the Lord Lieutenant had excellently exposed the Danger of arming Lord Antrim, the misled King orders him to give the Earl all possible Assistance, and even to give him a Commission under the Great Seal, to levy Forces. An Army of Irish Papists were accordingly raised, and officer’d by a savage List of frightful Names, Macs and O’s, all of rebellious Race; all, two Years after, bloody Butchers in the Irish Rebellion, and, even now, all ready to begin it, with a Commission from his Majesty, turned against himself, as well as against his Subjects. At best the Earl of Antrim did no Service to the King; he had other Aims, though he had not Capacity, nor, just then, an Opportunity, to pursue them. He took the first Opportunity, and most barbarously improved it; yet, after the Restoration, he pleaded King Charles the First’s Commission for all he did, and actually got a Pardon from King Charles the Second, I think, upon that Plea.
One thing is extremely remarkable. It appears to be the Opinion of Lord Strafford, that before the Earl of Argyle declared himself, and took the Covenant, his Country was given away by the King to the Earl of Antrim and others.
If King Charles the First, so true a Protestant, was thus perniciously misled and betrayed by Papists; what Wonder that Charles the Second, a real Papist, the more dangerous and guilty as he was a pretended Protestant, a Prince of such loose Principles, and a Libertine in Life, was as fond of Popery as he was of arbitrary Power, a known Foe to Law and Virtue, and Protestants; a known Dissembler, partial to Papists, their constant Friend and Dupe? He was in all their Measures hearty; though he was too lazy and timid, and too much devoted to Voluptuousness, to risk his Ease and Pleasures, and Crown, by openly declaring for the Pope, and introducing Popish Superstition barefaced, both so odious to the English.
His Brother, whose Zeal, like his Blindness, was extreme, tried the mad Experiment, and madly perished in the Trial. He was baffled and deposed; and surely it was worse than Death, to fall from a Throne, to live upon Alms from the Enemy of the English Name.
His pretended Son is a saturnine Bigot, full of the Dreams of his Divine Right, which implies blind Slavery in his Subjects: He is drunk with fell Vengeance against them for the damnable Crimes of Sacrilege and Rebellion, in renouncing him and his Oracle and Prompter, the Pope. What Hope can be conceiv’d of his Off-spring? Neither he nor they dare, if they would, abjure the Pope or arbitrary Power. Without the Pope they may want Bread, and hereditary Right implies a Right to be arbitrary. The Blood they pretend to is but a discouraging Recommendation, yet they have no other.
It must appear gross Mockery, Mockery even to barbarous Highlanders, to employ such bloody Savages, to rob the Property and to confine and murder the Persons of Men, under the crazy Pretence of restoring Liberty. The great Grievance is, that Liberty is too fix’d and flourishing; that it tramples upon Superstition and Tyranny, and must be pull’d down before these can be set up.
By what Law does the Invader pretend to come in, but that he has Right against Law, and to destroy Law? His Intrusion, by all the Steps of Violence and Blood, infers that no Violence can disqualify him, nor could disqualify his pretended Father; that therefore he hath, and his pretended Father had, a Right to rule by Violence, and that no Man in the Three Nations, nor the Three Nations themselves, have any Right to oppose Violence. Concise Reasoning! “All that is in them, all the Lives, all the Property in them, are mine by Right, and I will take it by Force.”
His Auxiliaries from Abroad are as shocking as his Claims at Home, the Power of France, the Curses and Demands of the Pope. France pants for our Destruction, and shows that the sure Way to destroy us, is to enslave us; to render us forlorn and even double Slaves at once to French and Papal Tyranny; nay, Slaves at second Hand to a King of Straw, a Royal Shadow, set up by Rome and the House of Boarbon. What dare he refuse to his Masters and Creators? His own Bigotry, his Hatred of Protestants, his Dread of Liberty, and the Merit of extirpating Heresy, will all excite him to execute his Deputation with Zeal. Religion, Liberty, Trade, all odious to his Masters and to himself, must fall sudden Sacrifices to their joint Policy and Zeal.
What think you, Englishmen, Protestants, and Freemen, of the shocking Scene? For all this is no more than the necessary Effects and natural Operations of Popery and Tyranny. Gratian, the famous Canonist, the great Oracle of the Vatican, maintains, “That a Christian City (or Community) may be totally and lawfully burned for a few Heretics dwelling in it.” This Decision, so positive and bloody, is but agreeable to the universal Spirit and Practice of Popery. Nor can there be such a thorough renouncing of Christ by the strongest Words of Apostasy, as the Butchering of Men and Christians in his Name, and blasphemously urging his Authority.
If the Heresy of a few draws down and warrants this fiery Doom upon a Community, What hath a whole Nation of Heretics to expect? What indeed, but incessant Fires, and Furnaces seven Times heated?
Take Warning, O Britons! when your Government is gone, your Liberty is gone, and your Religion must follow. Foreign Politics, and indefeasible Right, will, must, soon swallow your dear Liberty, and all your Fortunes: Papal Zeal, for ever burning and bloody, must, will, furiously extinguish your Religion, and burn your Persons and Bibles. Remember Queen Mary: Remember the French and Irish Massacres: Remember the Spanish Inquisition, with the unrelenting Racks and Flames there: Remember the swift and inhuman Destruction every-where brought upon Protestants by Popery; and may God give you Understanding in all Things!
Remarks upon the Appeal of the Pretender (young or old) to the People.
BY the Stile of the Pretender’s Declaration he seems to rely, for his principal Support, upon the Stupidity and Infatuation of the Nation. He says, “his only Intention is, to reinstate his Subjects in the full Enjoyment of their Religion, Laws and Liberties.” When we are in the most copious Possession of all these Blessings, even to Profusion and Satiety, beyond all the Nations of the Earth, he comes from Rome, where Religion is founded in Fraud, Rapine and Cruelty, to reinstate us Protestants in the full Enjoyment of our Religion, which is accursed by Rome, and we are damned by Rome for holding it.
Just so Queen Mary reinstated her Subjects in the full Enjoyment of their Religion, by setting up the Papists to burn the Protestants, and pursued this her motherly Goodness and Protection of them in all their Rights, to the End of her detestable Life. She promised as fair as he does, promised the very same Things, and prosessed the same public Spirit.
What Reason can we have to believe that he will not follow her catholic Example, educated, as he is, in the same catholic Principles, which eternally infer the same catholic Spirit? Before we can take his Word, he must shew us, what he never can shew, that ever a Popish Prince kept his Engagements to Protestant Subjects, or that the Genius of Popery, and the Maxims of the Pope, will suffer him to keep them. Did his pretended Father keep them? He does not pretend to say that he did; he cannot pretend to say it: He knows that he did not; yet does not condemn, not even censure him, for not doing it, nor for breaking all his solemn Oaths, and invading all our Rights.
What therefore does he mean by his Intention “to reinstate his Subjects in the Enjoymen: of all their Rights?” I doubt he hath a double Meaning; first to mislead, if he can, such as already enjoy all their Rights; when at the same Time he intends, as his Education and Religion direct him, to spoil them of all. He would draw them the while to think that they are wrong’d of their Right, and he comes to restore them. Thus he gives weak Minds Hopes, in order to bring them to give him Admittance; and then, when they have made him Master, he will teach them what their Rights are; namely, to be redeemed from Heresy, and to be forced, for their Good, into the Bosom of the Catholic Church; to be ruled by an hereditary, indefeasible Sovereign, who will recal them from the Guilt of Rebellion, and rule them by the salutary Laws of absolute Monarchy. Liberty, as it is now understood and practised, can be none of their Rights, as by it his Father was dethroned, and himself stands excluded.
He therefore cannot mean English Protestant Liberty: If he did, his Declaration would be ridiculous; for what People upon Earth have so much Liberty as we? His present Attempt would, for the same Reason, be a Contradiction; since, whilst we enjoy our present Liberty, he can never reign. As little can be mean the present Protestant Religion, which excluded his Father for ever, and him from ever succeeding his Father.
This Language and these Promises are therefore mere Mockery to all Men of Sense, and Sugar-Plums to Children and Fools. It is equally absurd and deceitful to call us his Subjects: He is an Exile by Law, and can have no Subjects. We are not, we scorn to be his Subjects. By calling us his Subjects he disowns the Law; yet, mocking Sovereignty, and deriding us, he offers us a gracious Impossibility, of reinstating us in what we never wanted; what we enjoy above all Men, our Religion, Laws and Liberties.
Is not this pleasant? His Father ran Headlong to destroy all these, the Moment after he had sworn to preserve them all: King William restored them: King George has enlarged them; and steadily preserves them. In what Sense are they to be reinstated, but by being re-destroyed? As he is the visionary Representative of all his Subjects, that is, of all us, who are not his Subjects, by reinstating himself he concludes that we shall all be reinstated,—for we are all his.
Neither are such extravagant Doctrines and Demands unlike those preach’d up by the Court Sycophants in his Father’s Time, and too long before. It would be endless to cite Quotations and Sermons, and the Abuses then put upon God’s Word, on this Subject, by Men profanely calling themselves Religious, and prostituteing the Name of Protestants to Popish Purposes. One Illustration shall suffice here out of Thousands. Doctor Ball, Master of the Temple, taking for his Text the Words of our blessed Saviour, “Render unto Cæsar the Things that are Cæsar’s,” desired his Audience to observe, that the Words were Renderunto Cæsar, not Giveunto Cæsar; for that all was Cæsar’sbefore. The courtly Doctor goes on to shew all Men, that no Man had a Right to any Thing; that whatever Men had was Cæsar’s, and Cæsar ad a Right to all Things.
Ineed hardly add, that by Cæsar the Doctor meant King James, or King Charles (I forget which) Princes not very Cæsarean, but greedy of all the Rights which Doctor Ball conferred upon Cæsar; nor had he any other Reason for so conferring them. Had it been necessary to have derived these Princes from the Blood of Cæsar, ’tis not improbable that the courteous Divine would have invented a lineal Descent from him, found a Text for it, and branded as Atheists all who disputed it.
I cannot but here remark, with Concern, that the Divines of those Days, even some able Divines, whilst they contended against the Frauds and Horrors of Popery with irresistible Force and Success, yet with strange Inconsistency, and strange Zeal, maintained the wild Tenets of indefeasible Right, and blind Bondage to the Will of a Tyrant; even of a Popish Tyrant. It is one of the many and mighty Blessings attending the Revolution and Protestant Succession, that our Divines breathe a different Spirit, and contend, like good Englishmen, for Civil Liberty; and, like good Christians, for Liberty of Conscience,——Doctrines odious and decried in former Reigns.
The Pretender therefore, by Religion, Laws and Liberties, means such as his pretended Father, King James, pleased to allow his Subjects; for he strove to extinguish all the Laws of Religion and Liberty, which they claimed to themselves. By these Laws and Liberties, therefore, he cannot intend, and therefore we cannot understand him to intend, Ours. His Words are manifest Cant, the Cant of all Invaders. Who, that invades a Country, would not flatter it to obtain it? There is not a Tyrant in Europe but pretends to allow his Slaves great Rights and Privileges, and professes how tenderly he will maintain them in such. Old Louis, in every Step he took, and in every Edict he published, purposely to destroy the Edict of Nantz (and he was continually, by all Steps and Edicts, pushing that persidious Design) was careful constantly to declare, “That he would never violate the Edict of Nantz,” which he still faithlesly stiled the perpetual, the irrevocable Edict.
The only literal Meaning which the Pretender’s Words will bear, is a Meaning which he will not publicly own, nor like to have it discovered. “To reinstate all his Subjects in the Enjoyment of their Religion, Laws and Liberties,” is a very proper Declaration and Encouragement to most of those who own him for their Sovereign; to all bigotted Papists and hotheaded Nonjurors; to desperate Out-laws, starving Exiles, savage Highlanders, and Irish Rapparees; to all who claim Estates, forfeited by their own, or their Father’s Treason; and to all Traitors who gasp for the Estates and Properties of all real and true Subjects, who incur the Treason of opposing them.
To all that hungry Host such a Promise is a delicious Bait; a Redemption from Misery; a Call to Happiness; an Invitation to take Possession of the promised Land, with all its Wealth, and Milk and Honey. But it is a terrible Denunciation of Woe to us, the present Possessors, to be stripped and extirpated, destroyed or expelled, like the accursed Philistines: For, as God gave Canaan to the Jews, the Pope can give England to the Catholics; just as he did Half the Globe to the Spaniards, who have rendered it, by every Effort of savage Cruelty and devouring Tyranny, almost as waste as when God first created it.
By the same Rule of just Construction we find what he means by removing the Encroachments made upon aFreePeople. These Encroachments are the Revolution, the Protestant Succession, the Disestablishment of Popery, the Restraints upon Papists, the Settlement of Heresy, the Exclusion of Catholic Princes, and our Resistance of Catholic Tyranny.
These are Encroachments and Grievances with a Witness; terrible Grievances to the Pope; terrible Encroachments upon the Pope’s Pupil. Can he come, encouraged by the Pope, to mend the Condition of Protestants? For, by the Pope’s Encouragement he comes, armed with the Pope’s Blessing upon his Popish Endeavours, and with the Pope’s Curse against Protestants. Can he come by the Aid of France and Spain, to increase the Happiness and Strength, and to improve the Liberties of Englishmen? For, by the Aid of these Catholic Powers, he comes armed against England.
His Promises therefore, in any other Stile, are Derision———His Argument from Success, is a most rash and profane Argument, most used to wicked Purposes, and to colour wicked Courses: The blackest Criminals have at all Times urged it, as often as they have been successful. By the same Argument, Providence hath been much longer against him and his Family than for them: They have been Fifty-seven Years in Exile, and he hath had a Mock-Reign of a few Months over Out-laws in Arms. We, who oppose him, can more justly urge his own best Argument against him; we act under the Gospel and the Law, in Conformity to both, and have the best Claim to Favour from Providence. We therefore faithfully trust to Providence, and own ourselves indebted to it for the Revolution and Protestant Succession, as we hope soon to be for his utter Defeat and final Expulsion. Why such a Defeat hath not happened sooner, all Men lament, and most Men foresaw.
If he reason consistently, he must confess, that Providence hath forsaken him, and forced him to fly from the same antient Capital. How he got thither we all know, and he ought with Compunction to recollect. It was by the Treachery of Parricides in Authority, Men always gently used, faithfully protected, and even favoured by the Government.
He made War upon his Majesty, and his Majesty’s best Subjects, by the Aid of the worst. He did it by Surprize, at the Head of Barbarians and Rebels unprovoked, all of them mercifully used; many of them pardoned for former Treasons; many of them trusted; some of them preferred by his Majesty, ungratefully and unnaturally turning his own Arms against him; unfurnished with any Plea from Oppression, any Persecution for Conscience, any Encroachment upon the Laws, any Alarm from Arbitrary Power; under the most legal, the gentlest Administration; in full Possession of Liberty, surfeited with it, unworthy of it, and wantoning in it.
Such is the mad, the unhallowed Spirit and Character of this Rebellion, and such Glory does it reflect upon the Revolution, which was only an Effort and Scheme of Self-Defence, or rather, of Self-Preservation, against a crazy Tyrant’s defying Oaths, rending Piecemeal the Laws of God and Man, and making War upon Law and Conscience, and human Society.
Equally unfortunate is he in his Attack upon the Government, from the Faults found with it. The mildest Government is always the most boldly blamed; Fulness of Liberty is constantly exposed to the Abuse of Liberty; like Health and Wealth, and all other worldly Blessings: Ambition and Discontent will readily find Grievances, or as readily make them. Nay, the necessary Defence of Society is a Grievance to those who want to distress Society, or even to alter it for Ends of their own. Places and Employments, which are inseparable from Society, as without them it cannot be governed, are Grievances to such who want them and cannot get them; and the Possession of them is the surest Cure for railing at them. The Abuse of Parliaments comes with an evil and ill-judged Grace from his Pen, and is a preposterous Grievance out of his Mouth. King James hectored and defied Parliaments, would have extinguished Parliaments, and set up his weak Will, that is, Popery and Tyranny, in the Room of Law, of Gospel, and of Parliaments. The Excellency of our Laws is a Proof of the Excellency of our Parliaments, and a glorious Defence of them; neither can they have higher Praise, than that the Pretender and other Papists dislike them.
PENAL Laws are the stale Common-Place of all disaffected Men, and the eternal Subject of their Invectives, because they set Bounds to their Fury. It is natural fot Rebels to rail at the Laws that hamper and hang them. I wonder that the Pretender’s Manifesto should venture to mention Penal Laws, when before the Revolution almost every Penal Law was wrested into a Capital Law. Even the Defence of Law was made Capital; and so worthy an Englishman, and so great a Man as Algernoon Sidney, was arraigned for Libelling; for, so that excellent Book of his in Defence of Liberty against Tyranny, since printed and read with Applause, was then called; and that true Patriot was executed for publishing it, though it never went out of his Closet, nor was proved to be his Hand-writing. Harmless Words and Conversation became the Objects of Penal Laws, which were virulently stretched to make public Martyrs. I doubt it is the greatest Misfortune of this Government, that Penal Laws have been so little exerted; we see the Numbers and Boldness of Papists: Pray God we may not feel it.
He talks idly and loosely about former Miscarriages under King James, and the Outcries against them. He calls Outrages and Tyranny Miscarriages; the Invasion and Suspension of the Laws; the High Commission, an Inquisition set up to destroy this Protestant Church; the exacting of Money from the Subjects, without Law, and against Law; the Imprisonment of the Bishops of the Church, a Third of the Bench at once, for their modest Petition to be relieved from crying Oppression; an Army maintained against Parliament and People; many of the Officers Papists, commissioned against Law; many of them Irish Papists, the Butchers of Protestants in 41! or sprung from such Butchers, and still raging with the same Spirit of Butchery; Cities and Boroughs robbed of their Charters, their dear Birthright! Parliaments extinguished; Protestants displaced and oppressed; some burned, many banished; Popish Priests governing public Councils; Popery itself advancing with dreadful Strides, already possess’d of the Throne, and just invading the Church; barefaced Tyranny set up; Jefferies, and the other Instruments of Tyranny, wantoning in Oppression, sporting with the Lives and Fortunes of Men, and wading in Blood: All these frightful and consuming Woes; all this Train of Horrors, he calls Miscarriages; neither does he call them by this gentle Name explicitly, but only for Argument-sake, supposes them, and boldly adds, that “They have been more than atoned for by an Exile of his Family during Fifty-seven Years.”
This may pass for Reasoning amongst Banditti; Ruffians, desperate Partizans, and the Enthusiasts of Party; amongst savage Papists, attending him from Ignorance, Bogs and Mountains; but it is an Insult upon Common Sense; the more so, because he does not once blame King James for having committed such a Group of Tyrannical Excesses: So far is he from declaring that he is sorry for them, ashamed of them, and that they shall never be repeated; though had he so declared, we should not have so believed: His Religion permits him to promise fair, but damns him if he keeps his Promises.
By this odd Language, and as odd Silence, we may clearly see what he intends, and what we may certainly expect, even to see all reversed that was done at and since the Revolution, and all revived that was done before. What that was I have just shewed, and could still shew more tragically, had I Time to retail here all the Doings of James II. whose whole History is but one continued Strain of Perfidy Perjury, Bigotry and Tyranny; a little Heart full of great Ambition; a weak Head; and neither Head nor Heart in his own keeping.
It seems we have had an unlawful Government ever since the Revolution. Unhappily for him, this his Complaint hurts him bitterly. It is certain, that we have enjoy’d more Felicity and Liberty, since the Revolution, than this Nation ever knew since it was a Nation. It is certain, that Tyranny was never carried to such a Height as before the Revolution under his pretended Father.
Here is a Choice offered us, to continue what we are, Happy and Free; or, to relapse into the Servitude and Yoke put upon the Necks of our Forefathers by his Father. We have a hopeful Specimen, from his Son’s Behaviour in Scotland, what we may assuredly hope for in England. There he rules by wanton Will, by Sword and Target, chiefly by the Aid and Counsels of Mountaineers, who neither obey Law, nor can read it. These are his Measures of Government, for which he has full Powers from his Father at Rome. Whilst he is openly trampling upon all Laws, and all that Free Parliaments have done, and is acting what every Parliament must abhor, he mocks us with an Appeal to a Free Parliament: So acted and so talked King James, but would never stand the Trial. His whole Trust was in an Irish Army, as that of his Son is in one like it.
The Argument from Providence, taken from his Success, is equally ridiculous. Hath Providence led him to Victory, and the antient Capital of Scotland? Then Providence justifies lawless Invasion and Outrages, and the Violence of the Sword against the sacred Sanction of Laws.
With the same Inconsistency and Impotence, he talks of the miserable Situation of the Kingdom at Home and Abroad. Who hath contributed so highly as himself to make it miserable? Before he embroiled us, we rioted in Ease and Plenty; this gauled his great Patron, who therefore sent him to reduce Free Britons to the Condition of his own Subjects, who are hungry Slaves; nor is there so sure a Way to exalt France, as to sink and inslave Britain. Without this Design we should not have had this Visit. It is the Interest of France, and therefore the Business of France, to undo us. This is the Use she means to make of the Pretender; it is the Use which she made of King Charles and King James; who, from powerful Independent Sovereigns, demeaned themselves to be the Deputies and Co-adjutors of the French King, to enthral Europe; a Task never to be effected till they had enthralled their People. They became the Instruments and Confederates of France against their own Subjects. Thence arises the Zeal of France to establish, or, if you will, to reinstate the Pretender, as of a Race propitious to France: Thence her Hatred to King William, to King George, and to Liberty; and thence her Partiality and Succours to the Pretender. If France apprehended any Good from England, France, far from helping him, would help England against him.
This is, at present, the Persuasion of every true Englishman, and justly fills them All with their present universal hostile Hatred to France; and to the Pretender, as the Implement of France. The same Persuasion endears to them, with seasonable and unexampled Affection, their own excellent and matchless Constitution, and their own brave and excellent King George: God bless and prosper him, and blast the Devices of his Enemies!
Popery tried by Christianity and Reason, and proved an Enemy to both.
WHATEVER tends to the general Good of Men, will easily be believed to come from God. Whatever only promotes the Interest of particular Men, especially if it be burdensome and injurious to the rest of Men, is only the Contrivance of particular Men, and can never come from God, who made all Men, and is no Respecter of Persons. To say, that he countenances any narrow, selfish Craft, to cheat and plunder, and oppress All for the sake of a Few, or of Many, is not only to belye, but to blaspheme him; as, if the all-wise Creator of Men, and Preserver of Heaven and Earth, could descend to low Confederacies and Imposture, the more detestable and impious, for profanely usurping the Name of Piety.
I shall not here enter into a Display of the infinite Machinery of Popery, obviously framed to cheat and engross the World, to mock God, and to rob and abuse Men. I shall at present inquire a little into the Notions of Charity entertained by the Romish Church.
If she want that great Characteristical Grace, she wants Christianity. Alms and Partiality to those of her own Fraternity, are only Flattery for Flattery, the Wages of Credulity and Bondage, all to keep her Dupes in good Humour, at the Expence of Truth and their Eye-sight.
The genuine Trial of Charity is, to apply it to People of a different Persuasion. If it shew Mercy, and Tenderness, and good Will, there; and hope the Salvation of their Souls, though it condemn their Opinions; it is genuine, it is Christian Charity. But where it hates, and damns, and persecutes all others; it renounces Christianity, and bears the blackest Mark of Imposture; at best, of Fanaticism.
It is a preposterous Notion of God, who formed us all, to conceive, that he is addicted to Modes, and guided by Names and Caprice; and that he hates, and will damn, any human Soul for striving to please him the best Way it can; much less for disliking any Worship, which, however followed and magnified, seems more likely to offend and contradict, than to please the Almighty God, if it be no-where commanded in his Word, but rather clearly forbidden there. How can a Man, who has read the Second Commandment, bow to an Image, much less pray to it? He, who contradicts this Divine Command, is a daring Impostor, a Revolter from God, and a Tyrant to Men. His Guilt and Tyranny are still greater, if he curse or punish any Man for obeying God, rather than Men. By it he avows himself an Idolater, a Champion for Idolatry, an Apostate from God, and an implacable Foe to all who worship God in Spirit and in Truth.
If an uncharitable Sentence could be warranted in any Christian, it would surely be warranted against such, who contradict the most explicit, the most positive Laws of God; and at the same time pretend to be his only Followers and Favourites; and therefore deny his Mercy and Salvation to all human Race besides. If ever Persecution can be justified, it is so, when ’tis inflicted upon Persecutors. Do not they, who are armed to destroy all, invite Destruction from all? Are they, who want all Charity, and shew no Mercy, intitled to Mercy or Charity? Whoever follows Reason, and the Bible, is an Object of Horror and Vengeance to Papists, who lock up the Scriptures, and banish the Use of Reason: Popery damns all who adhere to either, burns all that it damns, and thus exposes itself to be used by others, as it always uses others.
The Plea, that They only are in the Right, and all others in the Wrong, is the stale Plea of all Persecutors and Fanatics, from the Pope down to Muggleton; and may be turned by every one upon every one. Muggleton was as free of his Damnation to all who would not believe implicitly in him, as his Holiness could be: He even endowed his Wife Mary with the Power of damning. And doubtless the Sentence of that cursing Pair would have proved equally tragical with that of the Pope, had their Means been equal.
All these profane Cursers, whether they act from Craziness or Craft, set up at once for Omnipotence, and indeed for all the Attributes of God, in attempting to do what God never did, by fixing all the endless Roamings of the human Soul, and obliging all Men to reason and to dream alike, with Faculties infinitely unlike. What two Men upon Earth had ever exactly the same Person, Features, Sensations, and Perceptions? Are not the Speculations of Men still more various, infinitely more wandering and unfixed? And what can be more frantic, than to blame Men for differing, when Nature itself, and consequently Necessity, hath made them to differ? To curse Men for so differing, is profane; to torture and burn them for it, is diabolical.
Persecutors therefore, having renounced Christianity and Reason, ought to be renounced by both. Persecution is destructive of human Society. Men eternally differing in Notions one from another, must, when thus animated, for ever be destroying one another: And, to drive all such Difference out of the World, there must be but one Man left in it. This is the only, and the last, certain Expedient. So that Persecution infers the Extirpation of Men, as well as of Religion and Reason; at least, unless all Men surrender themselves implicitly to Hypocrisy, and to eternal Vassalage.
Such are the Genius, such the Principles, and such the everlasting Practices, of Popery. Papists are bound in Conscience to destroy us Protestants. He is no Catholic who will not destroy Heresy, and consequently Heretics; and he, who is not a Catholic, is, according to Catholic Charity, surely damned.
Could the Wit of Man, could the Malice of Judas, or of Satan, frame a more shocking System, a more dreadful Conspiracy against human Reason, human Society, human Peace, Religion, and the Lives of Men?
Such a shocking System, such a dreadful Conspiracy, is Popery, yet Papists call themselves the only Christians. To profess the Name of Christ to believe in him, to imitate him, and die for him, is all nothing, without being a Papist; nay, you are damned for all this, unless you are a Papist; damned in the next World, and burned in this. Had Popery been contrived by the bitterest, and most sanguinary Enemies of Popery, it could not have been contrived more shocking and incredible, than it really is.
Yet this dreadful Picture, this devilish Spirit of Popery, are so far from provoking its Votaries to abhor it, much less to forsake it, that the more dreadful it is, the more They reverence it; they awfully admire, nay, adore, its highest Extravagances, which therefore hold them still the faster. Their Priests are Masters of their Senses. Who, that believes his Senses, can believe what contradicts them all, believe an Impossibility, Transubstantiation? Their Priests govern them by their Fears. Their Priests can damn or save them; at best they cannot be saved without their Priests. Dare they after this contradict their Priests?
Warning to Britons, upon the present Rebellion supported by France.
A french Invasion implies a French Conquest; Conquest implies Servitude. He must be fit for Bedlam who dreams that France can mean any thing but our Desolation and Ruin by endeavouring to force a King upon us, or that they even mean that he shall be King, whatever Mock-Royalty they nominally give him. It is their own Interest and Dominion only that they seek, to master and crush us for beating and disappointing them: They know that they can never flourish and domineer till they have impoverished and oppressed us: And none but an absolute Creature of theirs, one pliable into every Form and Impression, obsequious to their Dictates, and supple to their Will, can serve them by domineering over Us.
If they found such Complaisance from King Charles II. without any Claim to the Merit of restoring him: If that Prince shewed so little Gratitude to the English Nation, for their Zeal and Generosity in recalling him, as to sacrifice, as he did during his whole Reign, so loyal a People to the unjust Views and pernicious Ambition of France, and but seemed a Protestant the better to betray his Protestant Subjects. If King James II. blindly and ungratefully followed the same Course, and whilst he had the aukward Ambition of aiming at absolute Power here, yet was meanly subservient to the Dictates and Grandeur of France, still more meanly owning the Sovereignty of the Pope; though neither France nor the Pope had any Share in giving him his Crown. If both these Princes, only for the sake of makeing their weak and depraved Will a Law to their good Protestant Subjects, truckled to the Will and Craft of France and Rome, what is to be expected from one who has no Support but theirs, no Principles but those of Popery and Tyranny; or, if he had other and better Principles, dares not maintain them, though he may be allowed to profess them, and practise Guile the better to serve the Purposes of these his Protectors, and his own Purposes?
A Ruler imposed upon a Country may claim Right, but will rule by Force where his Right is not owned. They who help him to rule will rule for him, and be his Masters, though he bear the Name. Neither he nor they will trust a People whom they have once forced. He will not be suffered to trust them if he would. For then he ceases to be independent of those who imposed him. Whoever call in Question his Right, will pay for their Sauciness with their Lives. The Laws that oppose it will be Treason: The Acts of Violence that support it will be called Laws, and the Sword will direct, as well as execute, the Process. Hungry Harpies will be craving after Prey; Vengeance will be hunting for Victims; to gorge both Sorts, the Rich and the Guiltless must perish. Whereever there is Property there will be Guilt: All Men will be exposed to suffer, the Best most: Suffering will be followed with Complaint, Complaints with Punishment. Wise Men will excite Jealousy: Great Men will be the Objects of Fear: And as Discontents will be constantly and plentifully furnished; fresh Terrors to extinguish them will continually be increased, and continually be renewing such Diseontents.
Here is a dreadful Series and Intercourse of Enmity, where one Side only is armed, and void of Mercy; as the other is of Help and Hope. Title, Quality, Fortune, will be obnoxious and marked; every Virtue will become a Snare, and whatever furnished out the Ease and Ornament of Life, will become a Call for taking Life away. The Industry of Years, the Acquisition of Ages, the Fruits of a Thousand Cares, will be swept away in a Moment, all to reward the guilty Authors of such horrible Iniquity and Combustion. Such will be the Penalty exacted for the Guilt of Fortune and Merit; such the Price imposed upon public Ruin; a Price always paying, but never finally paid till All is paid. The Course of Law and even of Nature will be inverted, Nobility demeaned; Meanness exalted; Worth punished; Guilt rewarded: Whatever was once Law will be Treason; whatever was once Treason will be Law.
Thus tragical and perishing must be the State of England. What must be the State Abroad, but that all Europe must follow the general Servitude begun here; and thus deprived of its chief Protection and Resource, sorrowfully bear the Yoke of a restless Nation, eager to put Chains on all others, though they bear the heaviest themselves?
They had never accomplished the grand Design, without the Help of the two Royal Brothers, the English Monarchs above-mentioned. For, though France made them not, she moulded and managed them. Far from attending to the Call of National Interest and Honour, and asserting the Glory of the English Diadem, by preserving the Balance, and checking the Encroachments of France; the Two Royal Brothers encouraged all her Encroachments upon all her Neighbours, upon the Empire, upon Spain, and upon the Dutch, our more intimate Neighbours and Fellow-Protestants; nay, assisted to exterminate the whole Dutch Nation, in order to make England a more contiguous Member of the French Monarchy, to which the English Monarchs were become mean Pensioners and Auxiliaries, with the preposterous Pride of aiming themselves at absolute Power over free Subjects, who were too proud to be Slaves, especially second-hand Slaves to France.
The Monarchs of England descended to be the unnatural Instrument of exalting France, and were the Authors of all the Expence, answerable for all the dreadful Wars in Europe ever since. A Frown from a King of Great Britain would have made the Grand Monarch a very harmless Neighbour. Would Edward III. would Henry V. nay, would Oliver Cromwell, in King Charles’s Place, have suffered him to spoil his weakest Neighbours, or once to have displayed the Flower-de-luce upon the Rhine or Moselle? Oliver kept him in constant Awe; though, for his own Ends, such was the unhappy Situation of an Usurper, he allowed him too much Line. The Two Brothers lacquied to him as their Superior, took his Hire, and, as it were, wore his Livery, and encouraged him in all his perfidious, in all his barbarous Invasions.
It was this, this infamous Acquiescence and Venality from hence, that made him the Terror, the Oppressor of Europe, and raised his Vanity, and his Power with it, so high, that it required a William III. and a Duke of Marlborough to tame him and take him down. That these two great Genius’s in State and War did not thoroughly humble him, was owing to the devilish Spirit of Party, which generally destroys a Country by a Pretence of saving it.
FRANCE knows that in order to enslave Europe she must begin with Great Britain. Great Britain ought to know, all wise Men in it do know, that England has nothing but Chains and Misery to hope from the Policy and Friendship of France. This is a dreadful Prospect to Britons and Protestants, and the only one, if she succeed. Ought it not to be the first and last Resolution of Englishmen and Protestants, that she shall not? What Indignation must they not naturally feel against the perfidious, the insolent, and sanguinary Efforts of France, and against all who impiously take Part with France? Her Partizans here, if there be any such, must be the most unnatural of all Parricides: A glorious Spirit appears amongst all Classes of Men, in spite of all the late Pains taken, all the traiterous Misrepresentations used to prevent it, to damp it, and to turn the Resentment of Englishmen upon the Guardians of England, without sparing the Highest.
The last Revolution was a manifest Deliverance from Popery and Tyranny. This would be as manifest a Delivery into both. King James deposed himself: He would abolish Parliaments, he would establish Popery; his Will was to be a Law to his Subjects; their Consciences must submit to his Bigotry. These were Grievances indeed, not made, nor to be aggravated, but felt. No wonder he at once lost Lords and Commons, Army, Clergy and People. He had incited and even warranted them to desert him, and effectually warned them never to trust him more, whom no Oaths nor Laws could bind, and who had set up Superstition against the Gospel, Jesuitism against the English Hierarchy, Acts of State framed by his Popish Wife, and his Popish Priests (all carefully tutor’d by France) against Acts of Parliament.
What are the Grievances at present? War and Taxes, and Foreign Subsidies: Heavy Evils, without doubt. But, from what Causes, and when did they begin? Were they not all derived from the same Root, from the same Quarter and devilish Policy, from whence we are just now threatened with Relief? They all came from France, and from the pernicious Subserviency of our former Princes to France. All that was sacred and valuable to England was then sacrificed to France; English Honour, the Religion, the Trade of England, with a Balance of Millions yearly in favour of France. These are, most probably, the intended Blessings under which we are to be reinstated by the Revolution now threatened.
Religion too often follows Power, or is changed and subverted by Power. France, by extending her Sway, will extend Popery; and if by planting a French Deputy upon the English Throne, she can master this great Source and Asylum of Protestantism, Religion will too naturally end, where there is an End of Liberty.
What can be a more alarming Call, what a more interesting Quarrel? It is literally pro Aris & Focis, for whatever concerns God or Conscience, whatever concerns our Liberties and Fortunes, to keep them or to lose them; nay, to keep them or lose them for ever, is the Dispute. Our Enemies will be as eager to keep Footing, as to gain it. If present Defence and Spirit be wanting, future Remedies will probably be ineffectual.
What can be a more sensible Insult, or higher Provocation, than that a Nation, whom we have always beaten, and are now beating, should dare to face our Coasts, and audaciously threaten to conquer us, and even to rule us by a Deputy? Indeed, if they carry this Point, they carry all. If they fail in this, they fail in all. The Decision is short and comprehensible on both Sides. If she succeed, we are undone: If she miscarry, she is finally baffled and vanquished.
The shocking Antipathy of Popery to Common Sense and Christian Charity.
THE further Enthusiasm departs from Reason, the more secure it is against Reason. Moderate Nonsense, Nonsense that comes near the Reach of Reason, may be cured by Reason; but downright Nonsense and Contradiction is an Overmatch for all the Reason of Mankind, especially when such Nonsense is accounted sacred, and Reason reckoned profane. Popish Craft is aware of all this; it knows where its chief Strength lies, and never cheats by halves. Its Delusion is above all human Comprehension, and scorns Argument as the Work of carnal Reason, perhaps a Temptation from Satan.
By the same Craft and Fanaticism, the Scriptures may be grosly abused by such as think that they believe the Scriptures; Cruelty may be made to pass for Charity; Imposture for Instruction; and the Gospel itself for a Book altogether unintelligible, and even dangerous, without the Explication of the Priest; who therefore carefully keeps it from his poor Dupes, and lets them have neither a New Testament nor a Saviour, but what are of his own making.
Their Tenets, like their Miracles, are foolish enough to raise Laughter, were it not for their Cruelty, which is without Bounds, and, but for the daily Practice of it, would be beyond Belief. Whatever Follies and Extravagancies are found in all other Religions, come far short of those in Popery, all wonderfully improved by all the Visions of dreaming Monks, and by all the adopted Drolleries of Paganism.
But, reserving the Fooleries of Popery for another Paper, I shall observe here the mad Assurance of Papists, in damning at once whole Nations and Empires; indeed all that are not perverted into their own Complication of Frauds, Nonsense, Fanaticism, Contradiction, Hypocrisy, and Cruelty. A Pagan, perverted into Popery, is to be pitied; yet, to make such Proselytes, is the great Boast and Pursuit of their Missionaries, who thence make them Ten times more the Children of——Delusion.
Father Alexander de Rhodes, makes a bold, and, I think, an impious Observation concerning the Chinese, though he makes it from what he thinks a Spirit of Piety. After he has computed the Number of Souls in that immense Empire to be Two hundred and Fifty Millions, he adds, with a Sigh, That at least Five Millions of them are damned every Year. That is, the whole Nation are as surely damned as they die, and as fast as they die. Helas! J’ay souvent fait le Compte, que tous les ans au moins cinque Millions descendent aux Enfers.
Would any rational Man, can any Christian Man, be of the same Religion with this blasphemous Enthusiast, or bear to see such Blasphemy and Enthusiasm propagated in the World? Such a Principle charged upon Christianity would deter all who consult Reason, and honour the Deity, from embracing it. Who, that does either, can believe that all the Souls whom God creates, or hath created, are damned, unless they learn the Popish Creed, which, perhaps, they never heard, or, perhaps, wanted Capacity to understand; or thought themselves not obliged to believe upon the Word of a Missionary? Could it be half so great a Crime to deny the Existence of a Deity, as to conceive the Deity to be such a cruel, such a diabolical Being?
That crazy Father adds, “That yet we remain with our Arms across, whilst Jesus Christ suffers such a mighty Reproach.” A mighty Reproach! Who is it that offers it, except this Father, and such Enthusiasts or Impostors, who turn God into a Tyrant, and Religion into Blasphemy?
FatherDandini breathes the same Antichristian Spirit, which is indeed the Spirit of that Church. He was Missionary and Apostolic Nuncio to the poor Christian Maronites upon Mount Lebanon. He says, that they defer the Baptism of their Children till they are Fifty or Sixty Days old: and then adds these horrible, these Antichristian Words: It thence happens, that they (the poor Infants, guiltless, and incapable of Guilt) die with the Loss of their Souls. Such Madmen and Blasphemers are called Teachers! What Tyrant, what Demon, was ever charged with such transcendent Cruelty, as is here charged upon the Father of Mercies and of Men?
Can Protestants be too often warned against this restless, this bloody Imposture, which abolishes Truth and Reason, and the Mercies of God; an Imposture which professes to banish Scripture, enslave Conscience, and persecute Protestants; to usurp their Wealth, to damn their Souls, and to burn their Bodies and Bibles.
Dialogue between a Noble Convert and his late Confessor.
MY Lord, I am sorry, seriously sorry, for the Danger of your Soul, from your Wavering in the Faith.
Father, I doubt I shall increase your Sorrow when I assure you, that I do not waver—I think my Soul safe in my present Faith.
This fatal Change touches my Heart.
I dare say it does—You have lost me, and I have found myself.
My Lord, you have made a sad Change, and you are the chief Loser by it.
One of us is—I have gained my Senses, and you have lost the keeping of them:
That Gain, I fear, will prove your Perdition—Would your Lordship trust to the Guideance of your Senses, rather than to the Guidance of the Church?
You mean to your Guidance; for you Priests call yourselves the CHURCH. Do you, or do any of you, permit your Followers to know any Thing of the Church, or of Religion, but what you tell them?
We tell you what are the Duties of Religion, and teach you how to practise them: Your Senses may deceive you.
Or shew us that you do—An unpardonable Offence and Presumption!
In that very Thing they deceive you, and ruin you, by depriving you of our Guidance.—
And in this very thing you deceive us, by depriving us of the Guidance of our Senses.
Alas! my Lord, they are dangerous Guides? They are Snares, by which Satan leads us into all Error and Peril, with our own Consent and Approbation.
That were dreadful indeed, if it were true!—But, Father, I beg your Pardon, I cannot take your Word; for you are pleading your own Cause. I am maintaining the Use and Clearness of my Senses, in all Duties Moral, Civil, and Religious. My Senses can have no Interest in misleading me; nay, ’tis their Interest to lead me right; for they are part of me, and in acting for me they act for themselves: Neither can they hurt me without hurting themselves.—And if you have any Interest in view, different from that of our Senses, as it is manifest you have; it is likewise manifest, that it cannot be our Interest.
How, my Lord! Are not we your spiritual Guides, engaged in your Interest, your best Interest, the Interest of your Soul?
What! against my Senses?
Yes; I have told your Lordship, that your Senses may prove a Snare, and a false Light.
You have, indeed, often told me so; and I, too long, believed you: But I now plainly perceive that my Senses are my best Preservatives against Snares and false Lights. Suppose my spiritual Director imposes upon me, and carries on Designs against me for his own Advantage (Father, such Things have been!) how am I to detect him, and escape his Frauds? Must I not consult and follow my Senses?
If your Lordship will be making uncharitable Suppositions—
Father, do not force me into a Detail of the Cheats and Combinations, and Usurpations of you Romish Priests—You know I have lately read some of your History.
We are not exempt from human Frailty.
’Tis too soft a Name for such Doings—But, if you are subject to these terrible Frailties (and surely, spiritual Fraud and Villainy are the greatest of all) are you proper Guides to conduct us to Heaven? Or can we be so injurious to God and Religion, as to think you have any Credit there?
My Lord, had not even the blessed Apostles their Infirmities?
Not such as I mentioned—They were the best Teachers, because they were the best of Men. They wrought Miracles publicly, which were therefore never suspected of Forgery—They claimed no Power, but Persuasion. They did not turn the Souls of Men into Commodities of Price, nor Salvation into a Market—They neither sold, nor said, Masses.
Perhaps they might not celebrate public Devotion just in the same Form that we do—But our Forms are still Apostolic, because framed and injoined by the Church—For the Model and Direction of Religion are left by the Apostles to the Church; and therefore whatever the Church does is Apostolic.
However unlike the Apostles it be, it is well for you, that those first and true Followers of Christ are above all Vengeance: And whoever is not, is no Follower of his. What dreadful Examples they might make of you, for your infinite Slander upon them? Did the Apostles convey to you what they had not themselves, nor sought; and what their Master had not, Wealth and worldly Dominion?
My Lord, nothing is perfect at first; no Institution ever was.
How, Father? Could not he, who was perfect, make his own Institution perfect!
It is plain he did not: He left it to his Apostles to improve it, and they to us, their Successors.
Soyou were to complete what they did not, what the Son of God and his chosen Twelve did not?
He left us to explain his Will, and to perform his Ordinances.
As if he could not himself explain what himself revealed and dictated. And as to his Ordinances, as they were the Means of Edification to all, they were left to all alike. The particular Modes of administring them were framed and limited by the Consent of Societies, and the Policy of States.
Can your Lordship possibly think them valid without us?
God forbid that I did not—What a shocking Notion it would convey of the Father of Wisdom, and of Mercies, and of Men, to suppose him to leave the Salvation of Men, whom he has made and redeemed, to the Mercy, and Discretion, and Designs of Monks, passionate and greedy Monks?
What Designs can they have, but to save Men?
Yes; to enslave Men, and to enrich themselves—Have they not, under all the Vows of Poverty, engrossed, and are still engrossing, endless Wealth? Do they not labour to govern the World, which they have renounced? And are these spiritual Men exempt from the Works of the Flesh?
I have owned to your Lordship, that we have human Frailties like other Men.
If you be like other Men, frail and fallible (for the former will for ever imply the latter) how are you better qualified than any others to save all?
Becausewe have a Commission—
From one another, to serve yourselves, by selling the Favours of Heaven: For you do nothing for nothing; and whatever you have, you are still craving for more—Can Men be more abused, or the Almighty more belyed, than to suppose that any Set of Men, especially the most worldly of all Men, the most vain, proud and vindictive, and equally vicious, should be trusted with a Power to save all Men? This would be to make the Almighty their Confederate in a Fraud.
Whatever mean Opinion your Lordship has lately conceived of us, we have his Commission.
Yousay that you have, and never was any Thing more untruly said, even by you. Christ bad the Apostles, “Go and speak to all Nations.” But what are you the better for that? He did not apply himself to you, Father Ambrose, and direct you “to count your Beads, or say Mass, nor order me, Lord—, to pay you for your Pains.”
I hope, my Lord, he hath not left the Christian Flock without Christian Guides.
No, he left them the Bible.
The Bible! Alas, what a Nose of Wax?
You make it so, and pervert it abominably, to warrant all your Impieties, Contradictions, Frands, and Usurpations.
A heavy Charge! What Impieties, my Lord? What Contradictions, Frauds, and Usurpations?
Whatever you assume, without Warrant, is Usurpation. The Scriptures gave you neither Lands, nor Dominions, nor Titles.
Is not the Labourer worthy of his Hire?
No, if he be not hired, and yet would measure his own Wages.—Father, you no longer labour for me, and I shall no longer give you Hire.
Hath not the Protestant Church of England Ministers; and have not these Ministers a stated Livelihood?
Yes, the Law gives it them—The King is, by the Law, supreme Head of the Church; and it is the King that executes the Laws. An ecclesiastical Establishment infers the Necessity of ecclesiastical Revenues.
I believesome of them claim a Right more than merely legal.
I hope but few. They who do so belong to you, rather than to us. If they be in earnest, they are Enthusiasts, and to be pitied: If they be not in earnest, they are Impostors; a worse Character, and undeserving of Pity.
What your Lordship advances is true of Heretics, who can claim no Divine-Mission, and consequently no Divine Succession.
They may claim both as well, and as much as Catholics do. Calling Men Heretics is only calling Names, and shewing Spite or Folly. They are chiefly Madmen or Impostors, who scatter and apply such Names. Perhaps there is not a Man in the World but who is a Heretic to every other Man. Thinking and Imagination have no Standard; they are as various as Taste, Features, and Complexion.
Then you reject the Authority of the Church to settle Faith.
If by the Church you mean the Clergy, I do intirely. With your Church the most profane Extravagancies pass for Faith. What can be more so than the unsizeable Monster of Transubstantiation, which alone contains all Impiety and Imposture, all Assurance and Nonsense?
I shall not enter into any Discussion or Defence of the profound Mystery of Transubstantiation.
I would not have you—It has been often, and lately, well exposed;—but you must not renounce such gainful and flattering Blasphemy, which sets you above God, and makes Men your Slaves, Body and Soul, by frightening them out of their Senses. Men that can make God, may well set up to rule in his stead; may well give away and direct both the upper and nether World, much more this little one that lies between them.
My Lord, this pierces me—
I doubt it does not change you.
My Lord, I own it does not. But surely, if God institutes Priests, he gives them some Power, Power to be useful.
He never gave you any Power; and whereever you have it, you make it only useful to yourselves, and by it destroy Many, and deceive All.—All Men have Power to be useful to one another.
Is your Lordship then against all Priests?
Against all that would enthral and deceive me.
I am glad you allow that some do not.
I mean that our own do not.
My Lord, are they exempt from Error?
No Man is; but if they deceive us, ’tis our own Fault. They are of our own Choice and Establishment. We allow them no Power, but that of Persuasion and the Law of the Land.
Do they not claim the Power of making one another?
we give them that Power, as we suppose them best acquainted with one another.—We even appoint and limit the Manner of applying and exercising it.—
Is there not such a Thing as Absolution amongst you?
Yes, the Priest tells the People, what the Word of God tells both him and them, and what any of us could tell them, if the Law appointed us, “That God pardons and absolves “Sinners who truly repent.” May not any Christian declare as much?
It is a very singular Absolution which Heretics and Laymen can pronounce.
OfHeretics I have spoke already: And as to Laymen, why may they not (if appointed thereunto) read out of a Book, what God has plainly written in his Book, or what any other Book takes out of God’s Book.
Are not the Clergy only so appointed?
TheLaw may appoint any Man;—it even declares what is Scripture; why not declare too, who is to read the Scripture, and to do all the Duties of Religion?
This is discharging all Clergymen at once.
Why so? Whoever does the Offices of Religion, as the Law appoints him, will be a Clergyman in the Eye and Language of the Law. The leaving you, the Romish Clergy, to be Masters in Religion, has made you Masters of Mankind.
So the Law is to take care of your Souls.—
It appoints us Teachers, and leaves us the Bible to teach them and us too. We dread Forcers of Faith, and all who would punish us for not having Theirs.
O my Lord, consider what a Relief Absalution is to a doubting and despairing Soul.
our Absolution is sufficient, and the only one; any other is Imposition and Tyranny. Where God pardons, can you, dare you, condemn? Where God condemns, can you, dare you punish?
We know who are proper Objects of his Mercy, and who of his Wrath.—
What then? Can you obstruct his Wrath or Mercy from reaching such Objects?
We can labour to hasten his Mercy, or to avert his Wrath.
So can I and every Man labour;—but neither you nor I can inform God, or help him by our Instruction.—To the Submissive and Liberal, be they ever such Offenders, your Absolution is ready; and you damn the most Innocent, who refuses to obey and pay. What can be more impudent and profane? There are no such impious Doings amongst Protestants.
My Lord, pray consider——
I do, Father; how tender you are upon this Article?—It is indeed of high Moment to your Craft, to be thought to carry the Fate of human Souls in your own Hands, to damn and save Men, and to manage your Maker;—but, Father, it is dreadful Imposture and Blasphemy; as your Penalties and Severities are dreadful Cruelty.
I do not wonder to find your Lordship, when you had gone so far, going still further, and declaring against Church Discipline too.
Father, if by Church Discipline you mean Punishment for Errors (which are generally involuntary, else Men would not suffer for them) I think it diabolical; and if there be a Hell upon Earth, it is your Inquisition; a lying, bloody, fiery, torturing Tribunal, set up to guard Craft against Conscience, and, under the cheating Name of the Holy Office, fatal to all Truth and Religion.
Perhaps in some Countries it may be carried too far, I wish it were not. There are many Catholie Countries where it never was, nor would be suffered.
True, Father, and you give the Reason—No Thanks to your Religion and your Priest——The true Catholic Spirit is for it every-where. In England its Treachery began to operate, and its Fires to flame, under the Catholic Queen Mary, a Zealot for Popery, and a murdering Demon to her Protestant Subjects. These had set her upon the Throne, and in Requital she burned them. What think you, Father, of her Faith, pledged to Heretics?
They may have forfeited their Right to it——
By being Heretics. A fair Confession! If you had not made it, we know your Meaning. At least I do, who have conversed with you often upon the Subject.
Is the World to be over-run with Heretics, without Restraint or Remedy?
CanFire and Sword remedy or restrain Opinion? Or ought such Remedies ever to be tried? Heretics may be good Subjects to a State, as well as good Christians, and thence merit the Protection of it. Have Catholics always been so?
Yes, to Catholic States.
A good Hint, Father—But often not then. Have not Catholic Priests frequently plagued, sometimes murdered Catholic Princes? And were they not prompted to it by the Heads of the Catholic Church?
Explanations may be offered——
To justify the Church in her greatest Foulness and Enormities. You know she cannot err, and all her Frauds and Massacres are Holy.
My Lord, Times and Circumstances, and the Insolence of Heretics——
Sanctify what never can be defended—The Butchery of Heretics is a just Sacrifice to the offended Catholic Church—What do we deserve, Father, we English Heretics?
I never heard an English Catholic wish you the least Violence; they abhor it.
I know the sensible Lay Catholics do—But what if the Pope should decree our Chastisement (I will not call it by the worst Name) and you Priests, sworn blindly to obey him, and warmed with your own Zeal, should urge the Damnation of disobeying the Pope?
My Lord, I cannot suppose any such Thing.
Father, I will not press you—I know you must either evade the Question, or give an insincere Answer. For the same Reason I shall not perplex you with Questions about the Government, and the present Attempts against it. Only I would beg you constantly to believe, that they will be blasted, and then you will be under no Temptation to promote them.
My Lord, I love Peace, and am in no Plot.
Persist there. Give me leave, however, to tell you what an unfortunate Faith you hold. It flatters you with your own Importance, even to Blasphemy. For, not to meddle with the glaring, bold, and wonderful Lye of Infallibility (an incommunicable Attribute of the Omnipotent and Omnipresent God, never to be found in frail Men) can there be greater Blasphemy than your Doctrine of making your Maker, and that of disposing of Heaven and Hell, and the Souls of Men?
Do not your Clergy assert the real Presence in the Sacrament, after they have blessed the Elements?
They who mean more than the Divine Blessing and Efficacy of that Holy Ordinance upon their Souls, are not Protestants.—Then, Father, your Antichristian Principles of punishing Men for religious Opinions, Principles so destructive of Religion and human Society, make you dreadful, not to say odious, to all Men who follow Reason and the Gospel.
ThePolicy of the Church was devised for the Preservation of the Church; which cannot be done without Power, nor Power be exerted without Penalties.
There is no such Policy in the Gospel, no Church Power, no Civil Penalties.
It was found necessary——
Not by Christ, nor by his Apostles. Was it not Apostasy to relinquish and contradict their Example?
Have not the Protestant Clergy been for wholsome Severities?
Notrue Protestants——Bigots and Apostates, if you please——And such, if there be any such remaining, the civil Power curbs, as it should the Ecclesiastics every where. They are too subject to Zeal without Knowlege. Our present Clergy, especially their Chiefs, are famous for Moderation. This is true Christian Merit. Whatever be the Cause, let them have their due Praise.
Continuation of a Dialogue between a Noble Convert and his late Confessor.
MY Lord, Heretics must not pretend to——
As much as you do, and as reasonably to do Mischief.——Suppose they were to retaliate upon you, to entertain no Charity; to keep no Faith towards you, and to return your own wholsome Severities upon you; to set up an Inquisition, to imprison and torture, confiscate and burn Catholics, as Catholics do Protestants; and, in short, none of you were suffered to live unmolested amongst them,——with what Face could you complain?
They themselves own, that Salvation is to be had in our Church; we deny it to them. Is not this a Proof that we are the only Orthodox Church?
It is an evident Proof of the contrary. That Church which wants Charity, wants Christianity. Whoever has most Charity is the best Christian. Men had better be without Religion, than Savages for it. The most barbarous Socts, Turks and Tartars, flatter themselves, and damn all others, in the same Stile. The most flaming Enthusiasts, such as took Madness for Religion, have boldly claimed an exclusive Heaven, and wantonly configned all the rest of the World to Hell.
My Lord, we would punish and suppress all such Enthusiasts.
And do yourselves just what they do. This damning Spirit is a Sign that Religion is perverted into Faction, and that they who possess it would frighten Men, in order to enslave them. It is a studied Fraud, to acquire Dominion and Money, and a plain Renouncing of the Spirit of Christ. I wonder bow a Man, who finds himself possessed with such a Spirit, can have Peace of Mind, or expect Favour from God or Man.—But Enthusiasts can reconcile Contradictions. All Uncharitableness tends to Persecution; and ’tis high Assurance in a Man of a persecuting Spirit, to offer to make Converts. If ever any Man could warrant Persecution, the Persecuter warrants it against himself.
My Lord, I have said nothing to provoke you to all this Bitterness against the Catholic Church; I only alleged, that you Protestants gave it the Preference to your own.
No, we do not: We say that yours is a corrupt, idolatrous, and Antichristian Church; but we are not bold enough to confine the Mercies of God, which are infinite; and therefore allow his infinite Mercies to extend even to uncharitable Papists, who are the more to be pitied for their cruel Want of Charity. So that, in allowing Salvation to be had in your Church, we make a Compliment to our own, by owning, that it abounds in Charity.—Father, I have been the longer upon this Head, because I know it to be your great Bait to catch old Women, Children, and the Rabble. Your Argument is shocking to common Sense. The more I think of you and your Church, the gladder I am to have left you. Where has God said, that he will damn any Man for not going to Mass, or for diffenting from any religious Mode, or any clerical Institution?
My Lord, must not the Church be supported with proper Sanctions and Terrors?
You support yours with dreadful ones indeed; but the Church of Christ abhors all such. If you claim any such, he disclaims you. Dungeons, Flames, and Tortures, are no Legacy from him; nor can there be a stronger Proof that any Church is not from God, than that she exercises any Vengeance and Fury in his Name. There cannot be a higher Insult upon the Name of Christ, nor a greater Affront to the Reason of Men, than the alleging a Warrant from that holy, meek, and humble Name, for any sort of Severity, much more for any Cruelty, or even for any Share of Power or Pride.
What thinks your Lordship of the Jewish Church? Did not the Almighty environ her with Authority and Penalties?
Yes; but the Civil Magistrate had the Application of them; and God always speaks to the Priests by Moses, his Representative. Father, how do you like the Example? Besides, every Ceremony, and the whole Jewish Discipline, were precisely described and limited by God himself, and nothing left to the Direction of the Priests, not even their own Garments, nor the Utensils of Sacrifice, nor the Forms at the Altar. Can you shew any such Authority for your endless Grimaces, or for any of your pious Tricks and Postures? Did the wise God indite your motly Mass? Did the God of Mercy frame your Inquisition, or command you to murder or torture your Fellow-Creatures, for Words and Forms, and Opinions, which are for the most part involuntary, and often thought godly, and therefore indispensable? But pray, Father, why do you urge Judaism? Is it not abolished? And do not you burn Jews?
I ownJudaism to be abolished; but I deny that we burn Jews, or any body else.
How! Are not both Jews and Christians burned in Catholic Countries every Day?
It is done by the Civil Power—we wash our Hands of it;—nay, we bear our strongest Testimony against it, and even beseech the Civil Magistrate, in the Bowels of Jesus Christ, not to hurt Life or Limb of Heretics condemned.
Impudent Mockery of God and Man! If the Magistrate did not burn the Heretic, you would soon burn the Magistrate as a Favourer of Heretics. Such an Atheistical Stretch of Hypocrisy is beyond any of the Frauds or Barbarities of Paganism, and new in the Creation till devised by Catholic Priests.
I own the Severity of the Inquisition may be carried too far.
How gently spoken of such an infernal Tribunal?
It is not, perhaps, to be justified in all Points.—But it is always represented worse than it is.
Father, it cannot; the most innocent Man is obnoxious to it; the most pious Man is most obnoxious; all that he hath is seized as soon as he is accused; and his Family, without being accused at all, are left to perish. He is secured in a dismal Dungeon, bereft of all Comfort, surrounded with all Terrors, with the Menaces of the Rack, and continual Alarms from the Gaoler to prepare for it. After lying many Months in this hideous Situation, under dreadful Tumult of Mind, without knowing for what Offence (for no Witnesses appear) he must at last accuse and convict himself: Though he cannot, he must confess unknown Guilt, by the Force of Torture, all his Limbs disjointed, his Bowels burst with a Torrent of Water, poured into him by Force, and all Vent carefully stopp’d; his Back broken, his Feet scorched up to a Scroll; and against Relief from Death, an attending Physician declares how much more he can bear. After several Repetitions of the Rack, always a full Hour at a Time, he must invent Crimes against himself, and then be consigned to perish in Flames, often made slow to prolong the Torture. Neither, for all these his hellish Sufferings, must his nearest Relations, his tender Wife or Infants, venture to bewail him, much less complain for him; unless they have a Mind to undergo the very same. During all this frightful Process, the poor Victim is deafened with the Cry of the Mercies of the Holy Office: For so these bloody Hypocrites call their Slaughter-House.
My Lord, it is still Holy, though it may be stretched too far.
That is indeed strange: How can such a Complication of Avarice, Fraud, and Blood be Holy?
To prevent Souls from going astray by punishing those that do.
Monstrous Position! Who but such who make a Market of Souls can maintain it? Another, and an equal Horror, attends all this Group of Horrors;—the wretched Martyr is continually tempted to damn his Soul, by sacrificing his Conscience to save himself from the Flames.
Can a Man damn his Soul by reconciling himself to the Catholic Church?
Catholic Church! Priestly Cant! It is a Conspiracy against God and Man; such a System of Fraud and Cruelty, as none but the Enemies of God and Man could invent. Could the Devil devise, or inflict any Thing more devilish than the Inquisition?
My Lord, I am against its Excesses; but are there no Terrors, no Restraint to be laid upon Heresy, to secure the Catholic Church from its Ravages?
Truth, and Sense, and Conscience, are Heresy in the Eye of your Church; and a Restraint upon these is Impiety and Tyranny in any Church. The smallest Penalty upon Conscience implies the highest and last Penalty, which must be exerted when smaller Penalties fail;—so naturally do Racks and Flames follow Fines and Gaols.
How is Obstinacy to be conquered?
By Persuasion, or not at all. But what you often call Obstinacy, I call Reason and Piety. With you all steady Protestants are obstinate Heretics;——and you have often kindled your Fires, even here in England, to punish their Obstinacy. Nay, when some of them, terrisied by Flames, have declared themselves Catholics, you have burned them, lest they should relapse. Father, with what Face can you tempt any Protestant into your Church?
Because it is the only true Church.
Then there never was, there never can be, a false Church. The Truth is, the Proselytes you gain (generally the Lowest and the most Ignorant of the People) you gain by downright Falshoods.
That, my Lord, is a very heavy Charge.
The more so for being true, your Conversions, like your Miracles, are done in Corners, and wrought upon none but the Superstitious and Blind.
My Lord, we make Converts by bringing them into new Light.
So say the Mahometans, and so say all Impostors; and so all misled Enthusiasts believe. Transubstantiation, and other lying Wonders, are some of your new Lights. That all Protestants are damned, is another of your new Lights; with other the like Antichristian and damnable Positions.
Continuation of a Dialogue between a Noble Convert and his late Confessor.
WE do maintain that ours is the Catholic, that is, the Universal Church of Christ.
Another false Light as obvious and shameless as the rest.
It is what your Lordship once believed.
The more Fool I. I may thank you; I took your Word for all Things, and trusted in you implicitly: I heard nothing but what you told me; I read nothing but what you permitted me.
Surely I put the best Books into your Hands.
The best to blind my Eyes: The Lives of your crazy Saints, and their ridiculous Miracles; Panegyricks upon Popery, and Invectives against Protestants. Don’t you remember, when I had a mind to look into the Works of Locks and Tillotson, and Hoadly, as Writers remarkable for sound Reasoning and Candor, you told me that Tillotson was an Atheist, Locke a Hobbist, and Hoadly a Presbyterian, a Name that you had taught me to detest. And when I was curious to see Milton, and asked you about him, you said he had a Devil.
I spoke but the Sense of the Church.
The Universal Church?
Yes, my Lord. That she is Universal, is as true as that her being so is a Proof that she is the only Church of God.
mahomet may offer the same Proof for his Church. His hath more Members, and more Unity, than yours; and is less bloody. She tolerates all Sects, even all Sects of Christians; and you destroy all, or terrify them into Hypocrites, many into Atheism; such especially, who judging of all Religion by yours, rather than believe such a Chaos of Nonsense, Contradictions, Pride, Lust and Rapine, Fraud and Cruelty, to be from God, conclude that there is none.
My Lord, there are Men of Parts and Learning in our Church; if they saw or thought her such a Monster, would they continue in her?
Yes, they must, or be undone and destroyed. Besides, Learning is often found accompanied with Enthusiasm, as well as with other Weakness and Follies. Monsieur Paschal, a learned, candid, and acute Writer, as any of his Age, to prove the Church of Rome the true Church, from her possessing the pretended Power of Miracles, is so simple as to urge the Blood of Januarius melting annually upon the Anniversary of his Martyrdom.
O my Lord! Is not that wonderful?
It is wonderfully alleged. Father, I have seen that false Miracle, which is work’d to no End but to cheat the People, and to feed Monks. None are suffered to examine it, and all the rest believed it before. It is like all the rest of yours, a ridiculous Forgery!
What! All our Miracles Forgeries, my Lord?
Father, I have but one Rule to guide me: As there is no Use of Miracles, but to convince Unbelievers, they ought to be worked chiefly, if not only, before Unbelievers. Strange Feats, said to be done, but done in Hugger-mugger, amongst interested Men and Bigots, will always pass for Cheats amongst Men of Sense. The Vial said to contain the Blood of Januarius, is carefully and leisurely heated with the warm Hands of the officiating Friars; and sometimes, with all that Help, the Miracle is very dilatory in appearing.
My Lord, Heretics are so hardened as not to see, and even disown what they really see.
Theymust see what is done before their Eyes, unless they put them out. Besides, their Curiosity would prompt them to fee, to say nothing of their Interest. Father, work me but one fair Miracle, and I will return to you again, without another Argument.
My Lord, did I ever pretend to work any?
You are for ever urging those of your Church, and they are one of the great Topicks of your Reasoning with the Wretches you convert; and, whilst you mislead them with what is false, you conceal from them, and utterly deny, what is notoriously true.
My Lord, what do we deny that is true?
Every Thing that shews the Deformity and cruel Spirit of your Church. I shall not repeat your many and continued Misrepresentations to myself; but I cannot forget your Behaviour to my Servants, as I have since learned.
I hope, my Lord, I have done my Duty towards your Servants.
Yes, the Duty of a Romish Emissary. When you were converting my Postillion Natt (for John the Coachman was too hard for you, and laughed at your precious Relique of a Cord from St. Peter’s Drag net, by which you would fain have convinced him that all Protestants were damned) as poor Natt, who was of Irish Protestant Parents, abhorred the Irish Massacre, you assured him solemnly, that it was all a vile Forgery, maliciously framed to blacken the Catholics. You wept for the poor persecuted Catholic Church, herself the most merciful, the most charitable, Church in the whole World, and an utter Enemy to all Persecution.
I gave him a true Account.
A moving one you did, and by it melted the Heart of Natt. This, with your pious Kindness in rescuing his poor Soul from Damnation, finished his Conversion.
I bless God, he perseveres in it.
You keep him in it. The like Rhetoric made the Dairy-maid your Convert. You found her one Sunday Morning reading Fox’s Acts and Monuments, and shedding Tears over the Memory of the Protestant Martyrs burned in Queen Mary’s Reign.—You too shed Tears, to see such an innocent Soul so misled: You conceived a passionate Kindness for her Soul, tenderly undertook to save it; then defended the poor, belyed, meek Church, and that pious Queen, who had, sore against her Will, seen her Council condemn so many of her poor Subjects, tho’ Heretics, for Treason against her Person. To confirm the Maid, and effectually to ensure her Salvation, you gave her a Bead of St. Bridget’s, one that the Devil, abhorring its intrinsic Value, had often stole away, but was always forced to bring back again: A further Proof of its Value, from its Power over the Devil.
My Lord, you are pleased to laugh at my poor pious Endeavours to do Good.
I wish I could call them poor. My poor Servants, for you have perverted three or four of them, are so bewitched with the Raree-shews and Symphonies in the Mass, and with your Absolution, which sets their Consciences so much at rest, let them wrong me as much, and commit as great Disorders as they will, in my Family or out of it, that I doubt they have taken leave of our Church (which affords them no such Shews nor Comfort) for ever.
My Lord, you yourself found Comfort amongst us once, and then you disliked the Religion in Fashion.
I own it: You taught me to abhor it, and to adore yours; and you did so, by the same fraudulent Wiles and Misrepresentations. You persuaded me, particularly, that the Pope did not pretend to give away Kingdoms; but studied, like a Father, the Peace of Society. My Parson has since shewn me a Decree of the Council of Lateran, under Innocent III. expresly ordaining, That the Pope shall discharge the Subjects of an heretical Prince from their Allegiance and give away his Kingdom to a Catholic Prince, in order to exterminate Heretics: A devilish Power, which the Pope hath often exerted, and still pretends to.
The Thing has been subject to Dispute—
To a knavish Distinction rather.—“The Pope, says Bellarmin, allows you to obey your King; but when he is a Heretic he is no longer your King.”
My Lord, this is at least fair Warning.
Yes, and we take it—Nor, amongst all the just Prejudices against your Church (and God knows they are many and shocking!) need there be a greater than your treating, as your Head and sovereign Director, an old frail Friar, complimenting him with Infallibility, and the Attributes of God; investing him with the Power of God, to damn and save; and, as the same Bellarmin maintains, to make Virtue to be Vice, and Vice to be Virtue. What Blasphemy! Many Popes have been Monsters in all Wickedness and Pollution, chosen by Harlots, and living in Brothels: All of them subject to common Frailties; some of them downright Changelings; none of them, amidst all this wonderful Power, able to restore a lost Tooth, or to cure his own Cough.
My Lord, the Abuse of Authority doth not infer its Nullity.
Yes certainly, in such extravagant and impious Trusts as cannot but be abused.
Will your Lordship allow no Head to the Church?
Yes surely; Christ and his Word; and, under him, the Christian Heads of Society.
Are such Heads likely to be free from Error?
They will certainly err the less, for not pretending to be free from Error.—No Church in the World has ever produced such tragical Abominations as your infallible Church has produced; but you keep most of these carefully concealed from your poor blind Dupes; I know it by Experience: And such of your Impostures and Fooleries as you cannot conceal, you disguise and adorn as holy Mysteries.
My Lord, I hope it is lawful to revere Mysteries—
Not such as cannot come from God. You may as well bring your Gun-powder Treason out of the Gospel, as your Transubstantiation.
We are unjustly reproached with that Treason.
So you have often told me, and so you are all instructed to tell your Bubbles—Just as, for the Credit of your Church, you persuade most of your Popish Thieves to die innocent—I know something of your Policy in that Matter.
Surely your Lordship knows the Gunpowder Treason to be a Trick of State.
Yes, one of your Tricks of State; so do you. The Evidence was all from those of your own Communion;—many died justifying it; none denied it:—But when it was found that a Design to blow up the Three Estates of the Realm; a Design concerted by Papists, all Men of Condition, some of them of great Quality, and approved by all the Heads of the Papists, brought a horrible Stain upon Popery, then your Preachers, and Confessors, and Writers, were taught boldly to deny it.
My Lord, I always thought it too bad to be probable.
What think you of the Massacre of Paris?
I never justified it.
The Pope did;———therefore you must. Then there is that of which we have spoken, the Inquisition, I think the worst of all. A horrible Tribunal! settled for the constant Execution of Cruelty and Fraud: You are far from giving up that.
Remainder of a Dialogue between a Noble Convert and his late Confessor.
MY Lord, I have blamed its Excesses—Lord.Without naming them.—Father, the Thing itself is an Excess, an infernal Excess. You know the Whole of it as well as I do; but dare not own it, in any of its just Colours, to your English Penitents. You cannot but remember what you told my Bricklayer’s Labourer when he broke his Leg, and you, in the poor Fellow’s Affright and Distress, plied him about his being a Heretic, and insinuated to him, that this was the Cause of so heavy a Judgment upon him.
Perhaps it would have been well for him if he himself had believed so.
Yes; then you would have had him sure. I say you must remember, that when you were haranguing to him upon the matchless Charity and tender Mercies of the Catholic Church, in order to bring him into it, and the poor Man mentioned the Inquisition, of which it seems he had read a good deal more than you cared he should, you cried out, with Hands lifted up; and a heavy Sigh, “O the flagitious Malice of Men!”—Then turning to the poor Man, you added, You see, dear Child, how one fatal Error brings on another, and many. Had you been of the Church, you would have found how grievously the Church is wronged.” You then assured him, that the Inquisition was a Criminal Court, set up chiefly by the State, against apostate Infidel Moors and Jews, who were all public Traitors; but that it never hurt any good Catholic; or, which is the same Thing, any good Christian.
Was there not great Truth in this?
There was great Truth concealed—Was this a Picture of the Inquisition?
I think it was pretry near the Matter.
Not the least Resemblance. Your Authority, with your gracious and devout Manner, stagger’d the weak Fellow, and you might have probably got him over: But my old Steward, Goulding, over-hearing you when you least thought of it, asked you, with a great Zounds, “Are not the Inquisitors all Priests, and the only Masters there; and are not all Protestants burnable by the Laws and constant Practice of the Inquisition?”—A Question which you chose not to answer, but went away, pitying, as you went, the poor passionate Man for cursing so abominably. Goulding replied, “Whoever it is that curses, by—I know who it is that lyes.” You then complained of Persecution, and retired.
Your Lordship is very particular.
I had it from La Trappe, my Valet de Chambre, whom you once attacked, but soon gave over.—He produced you Mons. Daillé and Dr. Tillotson—No wonder the latter is so great an Atheist. I cannot say but I then first began to doubt, next to examine; and whoever does both will soon leave you. A Church of such a lying, cruel, damning, burning Spirit, ought to be the Abhorrence of all Men.
Could you not leave us without becomeing our Enemy?
An Enemy to your System I own I am, without any Prejudices purely personal. All that leave you are in your Opinion certainly damned, tho’ they left you upon the fullest Inquiry and Conviction.
It is possible that they may be too rash, whatever they think.
They can never be too hasty in going over to you, but are always rash in deserting you. Nothing can be more dishonest than this your Conduct; you pretend to convince People by Reason and the Bible, but will you suffer them to be re-convinc’d when they find ever so just Cause from both to leave you?
When they are in the right Way, my Lord, we are willing to keep them there. Are we to be blamed?
Yes, if you would keep them against their Conscience, when you had gained them by appealing to their Conscience. They must then follow you, and obey you, and renounce their Reason, their Conscience, and their Bible. This is ensnaring and enslaving Men, and not converting them.
Their Conscience may mislead them, and often does.
If they mean conscientiously it is sufficient, and God will pardon their involuntary Mistakes. Conversion, not founded upon Conscience and Conviction, is Hypocrisy or Servitude. The Truth is, as you teach an implicit Faith, that is, Religion without Reason; and as Ignorance is confessed to be the Mother of Devotion, that is, of Devotion without Sense, you hold your Followers not by Conviction, which only can make People religious, and keep them so; but by the Force of Superstition, by fairy Menaces, or by temporal Terrors; all which keep them fast in your Chains. Your true Catholics are not Followers of Christ, but Followers of you. He who is not a Christian by Conviction is no Christian; and Conviction implies Reason.
We deny no Man the Use of his Reason.
When he uses it not against you, nor in religious Points. But dare a Spaniard, dare an Italian, dare any Papist whatsoever, reason with you upon Religion, and oppose his Doubts to your Dictates? If any Man dares to do so Abroad the Inquisition waits for him with all its Flames and Rage. If any Man thwarts your Authority and Teners even here, he will have Hell set open to swallow him, and all its Furies let loose upon him.
Are Men always to wander in Uncertainty?
Yes, till they are fixed by Conviction and Conscience.
What if they never fix?
If they never do, no Man can force them; they must be left to God. Better their Minds wander (a Thing that hurts no Man) than be cowed, and their Bodies punished or enslaved.
Is it not a great Blessing to be restrained from foul Error?
No Error is foul if it be harmless; besides, if what would restrain Error, would also restrain Reason and Truth (the genuine End of all your Restraints) I detest the impious Policy. The noblest Notions of God appear atheistical to all Bigots; and all Bigots are Persecutors. Socrates was put to Death for his rational Sentiments of the Deity; nor was he the last. The wisest Men are often sacrificed to what mad Zealots call Holy. It was Capital in Egypt to kill one of their sacred Beasts, a Wolf, a Crocodile, or a Cat.
Do we, my Lord, defend heathen Idolatry and heathen Cruelty?
No, you only imitate them, and exceed them: These Heathens, though mad enough to destroy such, who hurt their ravenous Objects of Worship, were not so mad as to kill or punish Men for refusing to worship them.
My Lord, what wild Beasts do we worship?
You worship worse Objects, Ignatius Loyola, and that most bloody Priest, Dominic, Founder of the Inquisition. What ravenous Beast ever proved such a Pest to Society as Thomas à Becket did to England?
He was indeed passionately zealous for the Church.
For Popery, and for Tyranny in his own Person; a lawless and vindictive Incendiary, who defied the Laws of the Land, and even those of the living God.
Your Lordship is assuredly too just to think him an Atheist.
I think him worse; as no Atheist ever did so much Mischief. Under that Character a Man can never do much, but will rather frighten Men than convert them. But Becket played the Devil by affecting Saintship; and, to the eternal Infamy of your Church, obtained it: The dead Traitor had more Oblations paid him, than our blessed Redeemer and his blessed Mother.
My Lord, this is a wide Field your Lordship is got into, and——
Father, I see that you are tired, and so am I—Let me, however, offer to your Consideration a Passage from the judicious Plutarch: Speaking of human Sacrifices offer’d to Saturn by the Carthaginians, during a Famine, Five hundred at once, Two hundred of them pick’d from the best Families, the rest Voluntiers from amongst the Citizens, he asks, “Whether that People had not acted more wisely, if they had chosen for their Legislator a Critias or Diagoras, both known Atheists, than to have establish’d such a sanguinary Institution?”
What would your Lordship infer from all this to our present Purposes? Not surely, that Catholics are worse than Atheists!———
The Word Catholic hath a solemn, indeed a deceitful Sound, and is very boldly assum’d, to exclude all other Christians from Christ’s Church and from the Benefit of his Death: But it is of a Piece with the devilish Spirit of Popery, which avowedly damns, and, where it can, actually destroys all those of a different Faith.———This, Father, you cannot deny.
We would willingly save all Men.———
And allow none to be saved but yourselves—Those who will not submit to your Terms of Salvation, must be Victims and Fuel to the Inquisition.———
Still, my Lord, this is not Atheism.—
It is human Sacrifice, and worse than Atheism.——Nor can I conceive so wicked, so dreadful a Being, in the whole Compass of Nature, as a Papist heated with Bigotry and Vengeance, and acting up to the Rigor of Popish Principles——Is a Devil worse than an Inquisitor, who is only a Punisher for Religion, or a Persecutor, acting in his highest Sphere?——What a pestilent Ingredient must a zealous Papist be in a Community of Protestants?——His Zeal makes him a busy Seducer; and every Person seduced is, must be, a keen Enemy to the Community. And as the Seducers are many and indefatigable, the Seduced are without Number. Let the Legislature attend to this. Moreover, the Conscience of every Convert to Popery is the Pope’s, and obliges him to hate all who abjure the Pope and the Pope’s Pupil. Yet what tender Usage you all find, Father, under this Government! Dare any Popish State be guilty of the like Tenderness to Protestants?
My Lord, your Lordship will allow—
Father, I will allow nothing to the Temper of you and your Converts.—I know how determined, how ready you all are, and for What. You and they are all warm Zealots. They are mostly as poor as ignorant, and subject to none of those Pauses which retard Men of Fortune and Families, and who have some Sense, in spight of Bigotry.—I know your Ardour and Influence, and the Spirit of your Religion, so well, that I often rejoice and wonder, that I am not hang’d. Ah! Father, had I been advised or frightened by you (for you importunately tried both Ways) where must I have been?
If not here, I hope in Heaven.—
By your Help and that of Mr. Ketch.—After all, as much as I dread Popery, I am not for destroying Papists, though they have always, and every-where, shewn us the Way, and wantonly tempted us to follow them in it.—But I am earnestly for disabling Popery from destroying Protestants; and if some such Scheme is not effectually pursued, I shall think the Parliament in a Lethargy, the Government infatuated, and the Nation desperate.—
Adieu, Father, I shall be glad to see you sometimes.—But no Whispering, no Closeting, no dark Applications to my Family.—I shall heartily endeavour to reclaim those of them whom you have already poison’d.
King James II. his disgraceful Reign. His Impotence and Cruelty. He exposes and deposes himself.
AN hereditary Right to preserve the Laws, is inherent in all lawful Kings; an hereditary Claim to break the Laws, is a Forfeiture of all kingly Right. Indefeasible hereditary Right is Jargon, the Cant of Usurpers and Impostors, to cheat the Many, and to abuse all Men.
Blood is only one Qualification in a Prince, and not the highest; Justice and Capacity are the Greatest and the Best. As the Prince may be a Child, and yet must reign like a Man, because he reigns over Men, the Laws must govern those who govern the Prince; else the Will of his Ministers, or his Playfellows, must be the Law. If he prove a Lunatic, the next of Kin, or a Council, must rule in his stead. He who hath no Sense cannot exercise Government, which is the Direction of the public Sense. He who wants Justice and Integrity, and regards not Oaths and Laws, is at least under equal Disability. This is moral, as well as political Lunacy; therefore a moral and political Disqualification.
Whoever is intrusted with Government, having the Interests of all Men under his Direction, has the highest Occasion for a good Heart, as well as a sound Head: But where the Laws prevail, tho’ he be weak, yet by letting the Laws take place, his Government may be easy. If he be wilful, as well as weak, yet will needs be wiser than the Law, dispense with Law, and set up his own Humour, his Peevishness, or his Superstition, for Law, he becomes a public Enemy, a Tyrant, who deposes himself.
Such a public Enemy was King James, an obstinate Bigot, a perjured Oppressor, an open Foe to the Laws and to his People: He therefore regularly dethroned himself. He can scarce be said to have ever filled the Throne: He began to forfeit it e’er he was warm in it. The English Throne, established and limited by Laws, ceased to be his, when he became a Tyrant in it. Whilst he held it, he held it not for himself, but for miserable Monks and hot-headed Zealots, who set up a Government against Law, a Religion against Sense, and the Shadow of a King to support both. He never had much Understanding; what little he had he forfeited, and with it his Crown, to the Infatuation of Popery.
A weak Man makes a very good Papist, indeed the best; but a weak Papist makes a wretched King. I own, that a Man of Sense may be a Papist; but I deny, that he makes use of his Sense: The Grimace and Frauds of Priests blind him, and fairy Terrors awe him.
KingJames, the Weakest of his Race, (tho’ not the Worst nor the Falsest) yet strove for some Time to dissemble; but wanting Capacity even for that (which requires so little, and is often found in the silliest Women) soon exposed his Heart quite bare, contracted with Bigotry, panting for Tyranny, and cankered with Rage.
He had professed fairly, promised strongly, sworn solemnly, to maintain Religion and Law; because his Priests told him, that Falshood and Perjury were necessary to advance their Cause, and seasonable to lull their Enemies asleep: For what Falshood, what Villainy, what Cruelty, will not such Priests promote, to serve their pestilent Cause? When his Priests thought their Point sure, they taught him to throw off the Cloke of Deceit and Perjury, roundly to assert the determined Tyrant, and the implacable Bigot.
He thus called upon the Nation to turn him out of it, or rather fled from the Nation. He ran to the French King, the inveterate Enemy to his People, for Succour against his People. It was upon Promise of Assistance from that King, that both this Bigot, and the abandoned Voluptuary his Brother, had ventured to enslave this Free Nation.
lewis XIV. was as dark a Zealot as James II. with no exalted Genius; but judging the Ruin of England to be for the Glory of France, sent Forces to King James, then in Ireland, who put himself at the Head of these and his Irish Troops: He indeed continued at their Head, for he was the first that ran away.
Again he took Refuge in France, where he remained, despised, to the End of his Life; the more for his continual Solicitations to France, to force him and Slavery upon England: For, rather than England should remain free, he would have enslaved it as the Deputy of France.
Had he an hereditary Right to sacrifice England to France? Can the Heart of Man conceive, that any Man, with any Name, has a Right to violate any Trust? Hath Folly a Right to dictate to Wisdom; Perjury, Pride and Oppression, to abolish wholsome Laws; Fraud and Imposture to crush Truth and Religion?
InIreland his Government was as brutal as the Manners of the native Savages there: He set out with deceitful Promises, as he had done here; and continued repeating them all the while that he was breaking them. One constant Declaration of his was most ridiculous, especially as he imagined it to be deep and wise, and as his Flatterers applauded it for its Candor: “That he would make no Distinction between his Popish and his Protestant Subjects.” A Declaration (if not a Blunder) terrible to Protestants, who saw him thus, contrary to his Oath taken to maintain them in their Religion and Laws, declare equal Favour to their barbarous bloody Enemies, who in fact reaped all his Favours.
He was so notoriously shameless in his Breach of Faith to Protestants, and in his bigotted Partiality to the Irish, that, by a Set of infamous perjured Irish Judges, he discharged all the Charters of the Kingdom in a Term or Two. The Estates of the Protestants, Nobles and Commons, were by the same Judges surrendered as fast as claimed by any of the wild Irish, who had long forfeited them by Rebellion and Massacre. The Protestant Proprietors, who had earned them by their Blood and Money, improved them by their long Industry, and held them by Acts of Settlement, were thrust out of their Freeholds and Bread by the brutal Butchers of their Predecessors, of their Parents and Kindred.
But as Process at Law, however sudden and arbitrary, was too slow, an Irish Parliament of the furious Natives, chosen by the King’s new Charters, or rather by his Direction and Nomination, did, in a solemn Act, confiscate most of the Estates of the Protestants in the whole Kingdom, and condemned the Owners to die as Traitors. They were all thus charged with Treason, and all in a Lump condemned to Death and Forfeiture; for they were declared convicted of High Treason, tho’ never tried, nor even summoned. The frighten’d Victims had many of them recourse to England for Bread; and Families of fair Fortunes in Ireland saw themselves reduced, for Support, to Alms and parochial Collections in England.
This was adjudging awhole Protestant Kingdom, at once, to Execution and Destruction. It comprehended near Fifteen hundred of the Nobility, Gentry, Clergy, and Men of Fortune, all said in the Act to have been attainted and convicted, and were therefore adjudged to Death and Confiscation. To render the deadly Snare the more fatal and secure, no Copy of the inhuman Act was suffered to be issued for four Months.
After this Flight of Tyranny (so wild and merciless!) no other Excess of it need be wondered at. Subjects were imprisoned; their Money, Horses, Houses, and Furniture seized, by a mere Order from the King; sometimes a mere verbal Order. And James, one of the weakest Men in the Kingdom, and as blind a Bigot as the blindest, acted like the confirmed Master of the Persons and Property of all Men in it; yet was himself all the while the wretched Property and tame Instrument of the Pope, and even of his own Priests. Whilst it was made Treason and Death for Five Protestants to be seen together, even in Churches, the King’s Chaplains, in their public Sermons, maintained to his Face the Pope’s absolute Sovereignty over Kings.
Strange Inconsistency! for a frail, vicious, silly Man to claim Godlike Power over God’s Creatures, made after God’s Image (many of them wiser and better, few worse or weaker than himself;) yet confess himself the implicit Vassal of an usurping Impostor at Rome, cheating the World with pious Cant and Mountebankry, impudently boasting lying Wonders, and subsisting by manifest Frauds!
Can there be a greater Demonstration, that Power without Controul belongs to no human Creature; than that such as have most loudly claimed it over all, were unblessed with any superior Capacity, or any better Morals than the rest? Is it conceivable, that the God of Wisdom should adjudge the Government of the World to such as have none; the Care of Men to such as oppress Men; should convey his own Power to those who abuse it, or invest with a sacred Character Men who swear falsly by his holy Name, or injure and cheat in it?
KingJames delighted in lawless Proceedings, merely because they were lawless. Even when the Law would have served him in some of his Measures, it was answered, That the King would be served his own Way; which was a Confession. That he would abolish Law.
james, when Duke of York, and High Commissioner in Scotland, had given a Specimen of his Spirit and Government sufficient to deter all Men from ever wishing him upon the Throne. He opposed and defeated, or cancelled, every good Law: He promoted all that were tyrannical and bad: He had the Earl of Argyll condemned to die, because he would not forswear himself. The Earl was a good Protestant, had a great Estate, great Interest and Abilities; all dreadful Eye-sores to the small Spirit and great Bigotry of the Duke of York. His Royal Highness besides, delighting in frequent Victims and Executions at Edinburgh, distinguished himself by a Symptom of Cruelty almost peculiar to himself, and almost always avoided by the most cruel Princes, by such as were proverbial for Cruelty, even by Nero. James, besides encouraging the Use of the Rack, to force Confessions from such who were obnoxious to the Tyranny of the Times, sat pleased with the shocking Spectacle of seeing Men racked, their Bones crushed, broken, and bursting with their Blood through the Flesh: A horrid Sight to Britons! A hopeful Successor to the British Crown! It was a Sight singular in Britain, and even at Rome, under the Tyranny of the Cæsars, for near a Century after the Usurpation of the First Cæsar. That Monster Domitian was the first of the Roman Imperial Tyrants that ventured upon it.
Neither did any of these Imperial Tyrants ever exercise such a Piece of Tyranny as was exercised in Scotland under Charles the Second. Besides all the daily Oppressions and Barbarities upon the Presbyterians there (forced out of their Establish’d Church, and fiercely persecuted) to oblige the Court, especially James the King’s Brother, there was an Order of Council for placing Soldiers on the public Roads, with Instructions to ask such as passed by, insnaring Questions, about the King and Religion; and if they appeared to be Presbyterians (People conscientiously tender in the Point of Religion and Oaths) and refused the Test offered them by the Soldiers, the Soldiers had express Orders to put them to present Death. ——A Stretch of Tyranny unmatched by the most decried Tyrants!
These were some of the Miscarriages, before the Revolution, such as the present Invader supposes to have happened, without owning any; and he claims the same Right and Power claimed by King James, nor offers one Limitation or Amendment. The Government ever since then, that Government, from which has been derived such a Series of Ease and Liberty, and such an utter Absence of all violent Measures, as are matchless in History from the Creation; has, he says, been all Usurpation. It has been indeed a total Deviation from the Government of his Ancestors, a Government which he comes to restore. To prove his Right and Descent, and to recommend his future Measures, he invades the Kingdom, defies the Laws, robs, ravages, and goes to Mass.
These are the Proofs which he gives of his Lineal Claim, and he is welcome to the Fame of them. He, and his barbarous Train, act as if they studied and were paid to make themselves odious to Heaven and Earth, and were industriously calling for quick and signal Vengeance from both. I bless God it hastens apace;—let us pray for its sudden Completion.
How boldly the Popish Clergy abuse their Followers, by teaching them to deny with a Curse, the most obvious Impieties of their Church.
I HAVE lately read a very seasonable Pamphlet, of real Use, good Sense and Knowlege, called An Inquiry how far Papists ought to be treated here as good Subjects, and how far they are chargeable with the Tenets commonly imputed to them. It is written in answer to a Popish Pamphlet, carefully distributed, full of glaring Deceit, boldly denying all the detestable Tenets and Horrors of Popery; and, still further to cheat the Ignorant, denying them with a Curse, as Peter did his Master, and with the same Sincerity. For Example:
cursed be he (says the Popish Apologist) that commits Idolatry, that prays to Images or Relics, or worships them, for Gods. To this Curse, and to all that follow, he makes his miserable Votaries say, Amen.
This sounds strong, and is indeed strong Fraud. Do not Papists adore Relics? Do they not openly worship Images, and pray to Saints? as the Author of the Inquiry clearly proves. Yes; but it seems that this is no Idolatry, for they do not worship them as Gods; that is, they do not call them God Jehovah, nor God the Creator of all Things; they only invoke them as Deputy Deities, generally in the same high devotional Strain: And such Divine Invocation, implying a Divine Prerogative to relieve and save the Invoker, is a Declaration of Deity in the Being invoked: It is therefore Idolatry, when made to any Being except the Supreme.
They ascribe Godlike Power to their most ridiculous Relics, Stocks and Stones, old Iron, Bones, Nails and Hair, by making them work Miracles, heal the Sick, raise the Dead, and exert the like Acts and Attributes of Omnipotence. Neither do they pray to their Saints as only Mediators and Intercessors with God, as is sometimes pretended; they pray to them directly, and for what none but the Godhead only can grant, all the Blessings of this Life and the next. This is all obvious in their Breviaries and Catechisms, where Prayers are framed immediately to the Saints, and in a Stile as high and rapturous as to God himself, as is at Length explained in the Inquiry.
This Apologist pronounces another bold Curse upon every Goddess-Worshiper, who believes the Virgin Mary to be more than a Creature. I must own, that amongst all the Extravagances of the Papists, I never knew a Papist deny that God created the Virgin Mary; but I never heard of a Papist who did not treat her beyond the Quality of a Creature, and with all the awful Epithets of a Deity. They all pray to her, they all worship her. Is such Divine Treatment due to any Creature?
But there follows a Reserve that justifies all;—Cursed is he who honours her, worships her, or puts his Trust in her as much as in God. A curious Come-off! He makes his Votaries own, that the Omnipotent God is superior to one of his Creatures; but still they are to adore and invoke this human Creature with the Worship and Language due only to God, her Creator. They implore her in Form, “to deliver them from Sin, “to protect them from Evil, and to receive them at the Hour of Death.” What could they ask more of their Maker? Is not all this treating her as a Deity, a Sovereign Deity? Did the blindest Heathens ever apply such Strains of Adoration to any of their Deities, even to the Highest of all, Jupiter Optimus Maximus!
The Curse is, however, repeated upon him who believes her above her Son, or that she can in any Thing command him. Above her Son, is an odd Phrase, but hath its Art and Meaning here.—It founds as if they denied the Idolatry of worshiping her as well as the Son. We know it to be Idolatry to worship her at all, and we know that they worship her. This is enough to fix the Charge upon them.—Or, that she can in any Thing command him. If she can protect and pardon Sinners, and receive their Souls into eternal Bliss, without him, she need not command him; she hath thus sufficient Godlike Power without him. But, if I am not mistaken, I have seen a Popish Prayer, invoking the Virgin to command her Son, in Terms, Impera Filio tuo: Nor can such Language appear strange in Popery.
The next Curse is upon him who believes the Angels and Saints in Heaven to be his Redeemers, who prays to them as such, or who gives God’s Honour to them, or to any Creature whatsoever. Was ever such mock Defence! We do not charge them with believing Saints and Angels to be their Redeemers, but with worshiping Saints and Angels: Nor can they deny that they do. It is the constant Practice of their Church, and it is injoined by the Authority of the Church, to worship and invoke the Angels, who are always in the Presence of the Lord, and willingly watchfor our Security, which is committed to them. They are also ordered to invoke the dead Saints, and to reverence their Relics. All this is amply proved in the Inquiry.
’Tis a miserable Subterfuge to say, that they reverence the Deity more, or, in their own Words, that they do not give God’s Honour to them; and yet, in reality, they do it, by putting them in God’s Stead, and complimenting them with God’s Power. Out of the vilest amongst dead Men they chuse their heavenly Protectors and Idols. The implacable Traitor, Becket, had infinitely more Worship and Oblations paid him than all the Host of Heaven; not only than Jesus Christ, but even than the Mother of Christ, though she was then infinitely more revered than the Deity. Indeed, for many Centuries, consummate Madness, or consummate Villainy, was the chief Recommendation to Saintship; and the blackest Character upon Earth, the Roman Pontiffs presumed to furnish Heaven with such Rivals to the Deity, as were too infamous to live amongst Men. It is certain, that many who had adorned Gibbets, or deserved them, helped to swell the Roman Calendar, and were complimented with a Seat on the Right-hand of God, with the Title of His chief Favourites and Counsellors.
The pleasantest Curse follows: Cursed be he that worships any Breaden God, or makes Gods ofthe empty Elements of Bread and Wine. A safe Curse! Well may the Framer of it make his true Catholic say Amen to it! Before it is consecrated ’tis not God; and he deserves to be cursed who will worship bare Bread as God. After it is consecrated ’tis God, our Blessed Saviour in Person; and who can be cursed who worships our Blessed Saviour?
This Fallacy is too gross; but a gross Imposture will bear no better. A Wafer is no God; but a few Words and Grimaces of the Priest make it a God; whilst, to Taste and Touch, and Sight, and Smell, ’tis still a Wafer. Weigh it, dissect it, separate and examine its Parts, ’tis a manifest Composition of Flouer and Water, just as it was before. But you are damned if you believe Demonstration. These very Particles of Water and Flouer are, in spite of Demonstration, changed in an Instant, without the least Alteration, into the whole Body of Jesus; and, tho’ there be but one Jesus, he is multiplied into Millions every Day.
At this Rate a Priest has Power over God himself, and more Power than God himself can have; for God cannot reconcile Contradictions, nor convert Bread into Flesh and Blood, whilst it continues still to be Bread. There never was such an impudent Imposture in all the Visions and Chimeras of Paganism. The many Transformations of Vistnum, God of the Indian Bramins, into a Fish, a Hog, a Lion, a Bramin, a Flying Horse, are credible Impossibilities, compared to Transubstantiation, the highest Affront to the Eyes and Reason of Man, and the most shocking Indignity to the Deity, every offered or invented by the most daring Impostors known amongst Men.
The next Curse is not more modest or sincere:—Cursed is he that believes, that Priests can forgive Sins, whether the Sinner repents or no; or that any Power in Heaven or Earth can forgive Sins, without a hearty Repentance, &c.
A repenting Sinner has satisfying Assurance, from the Word of God, that “God forgives all who truly repent.” The Almighty does not add, That he wants the Interposition of a Priest. His Mercy is not mock Mercy, to be awakened or applied at the Request of the Priest; the All-seeing Eye needs no Voucher for the Sincerity of the Sinner’s Heart. When the Framer of the Curses denies, that any Power in Heaven or Earth can forgive Sins without Repentance, he seems to put God upon the same Foot with the Priest, and disables him equally with the Priest from bestowing Mercy. Surely the Almighty can pardon, if he will, even the Impenitent; but a Priest cannot pardon the Penitent, already pardoned by God, who does not create Souls to be the Vassals of Priests, less still their Dupes and Property.
If Repentance opens Heaven to Sinners, as God himself has told us it does, all the Use of a Priest to a Sinner, dying or living, is to exhort him to repent; an Office to be performed by any pious Relation or Friend. Yet, for asserting this Truth in a Popish Country, you would be burned alive in the Inquisition. But such bloody Cruelty is never to be owned in England, at least this is not the Time; therefore careful Hypocrisy, and all false Softenings, are to be employed.
I know not how this Casuist can exempt the Council of Trent from his Curse. Those Reverend Faith-makers have decreed Absolution from a Priest to be a Judicial Act, that is, final and peremptory. A most blasphemous Decree! divesting the Almighty of his Prerogative, and conferring it upon a Priest; yet a Decree naturally made by Priests. The Fathers of that Council were chiefly the Pope’s Implements and Registers; and it was too truly said, that the Holy Ghost was, from time to time, conveyed from Rome to Trent in a Portmantua.
ThisPopish Advocate yields too much; yet I doubt not but he knows what he does. A Popish Dispensation to deceive Protestants is no new Thing; and I defy the ablest Missionary to convert any sensible, well-informed Protestant to Popery, without deceiving him. He dare not tell all; no, not to Papists. I doubt few Papists know that it is another decreed Point and Doctrine of the Church of Rome, That, in performing the Office of the Sacrament, of any Sacrament, the Words and Gestures and Operations of the Priest, however full and formal they be, yet are of none Effect, without his Intention accompanying them. No; the most momentous Ordinance of Religion is invalid and none, unless the Priest pleases to make it so, by intending it to be so.
As these Sacraments, Seven in Number, are all necessary to Salvation, and the Priestly Performance necessary to the Sacrament, so is his Intention and good Pleasure necessary to make a Sacrament; and the eternal Fate of immortal Souls depends upon his Caprice. An impious, or a revengeful Priest (both very common Characters) may damn his whole Flock. Is not this representing the good God as a terrible Tyrant to his Creatures, and a Confederate with cruel Impostors?
Thus high is the Power of Priests carried in that godless, that apostate Church, where it is safer to be a Traitor, a Sodomite, a Poisoner, or an Assassin, than to follow Christ and Conscience, in Opposition to Fraud and Idolatry. Yet a Priest of that very Church ventures, in this enlightened Country, to represent the Romish Priests as Lambs, Lovers of Truth, and claiming no other Privilege, no Power, no offensive Weapons. Even the Pope is a disinterested Soul; and cursed is he who believes that there is Authority in the Pope to forgive Sins, or to give Leave to commit Sins, for a Sum of Money. The Pope needs not pretend to it; he has other Pretences, even when Money is the Motive. Offenders submit, they beg Pardon, and the Money convinces him that they are sincere. There is a Rate for Sins, according to the Quality of each, fixed in the Office of the Rota at Rome, where the most heinous and hideous are not excepted, even the Murder of a Parent, or the Debauching of a Sister.
This pecuniary Traffic for Sins is claimed and practised by the Priests, under the soft Title of Commutations; and why not by the highest of all Priests, the Sovereign Pontiff? Whoever takes Money to absolve Sinners, gives them Leave, nay Encouragement, to commit Sin; and the Pope, for a round Sum, given not to him, but to the Church, though he fingers it all, grants Indulgences for many Generations: And because this is not called Absolution nor Forgiveness, but is only an Exemption from Perdition, and equally effectual with Absolution, therefore this candid Defender of Popery curses all who believe that the Pope claims Authority to forgive Sins for a Sum of Money; or any Priest to grant present Absolution for future Sins.
Mind what Art and Reserve in the Expression, Present Sins, and Sins in Time to come! Does not the Pope make a Market of the Sins and Souls of Men? And do not the Priests (his Brokers, and their own) retale Pardons, for a Price, to Sinners and their Heirs? What set the Reformation on foot in Germany, but the scandalous Traffic of Indulgences, sold openly at Wirtemberg by the Pope’s infamous Agents, the strolling Friars, living in Debauchery, practising all Frauds and Falshoods to cheat People of their Money, by such tempting Baits as the Pope’s infallible Receipts for Salvation? They were sold in Parcels to the best Bidders, who, to make the most of their Bargain, hired the popular preaching Friars to extol their sublime Excellency as infallible Passports to Heaven, and to revile and frighten all who hesitated a Moment to save their Souls by so cheap a Commodity.
The Curses go on: Cursed is he that contemns the Word of God, or hides it from the People, on design to keep them from the Knowlege of their Duty, and to preserve them in Ignorance and Error.
“Here, says the Author of the Inquiry, is a most shameful Account of the Papists biding the Scriptures from the People. The Question is, Why are the Scriptures kept at all from the People? The Answer, continues he, is, that they do not so keep them for this or that particular Purpose. It may be so; but you may have other Purposes, other Ends, other Designs, all bad in themselves.”———He then shews, “That the free Use of the Bible is restrained from the People by the Authority of the Council of Trent, and the Constitution of Pope Pius IV. and that the same Restraint extends to every particular Layman, without Leave from the Bishop or Inquisitor; nor then without the Advice of the Minister or Confessor, nor after all this, without a Licence in Form; and whoever presumes to read or have the Bible without such Licence, cannot receive Absolution of his Sins, unless he first surrenders up his Bible to the Ordinary.”
After some lively and unanswerable Expostulations, our Protestant Author adds upon this Head: “Now, if for these, or for such-like Reasons, you do in fact hide the Scriptures from the People, is it not a most shameful Chicanery, solemnly to curse those who hide them for other Reasons?—A Man charged for robbing on the Highway, to clear himself, wishes that he may be hang’d if ever he robbed on Design to keep People from travelling such a particular Road, or from travelling with Money about them; but still he is a Robber, which is what he is charged with.”
In my next I shall continue the Chace of this Romish Fox, with the Assistance of my Protestant Coadjutor.
The same Subject continued.
I PROCEED to examine the Sincerity and good Faith of the Catholic Curses. I find them all worded with notable Craft, to deceive the Ignorant, but with equal Assurance; since the Deceit is obvious to-every discerning Reader, as the Author of the Inquiry has demonstrated.
The Tenth in Order is, Cursed is he that undervalues the Word of God, or that, forsaking Scripture, chuses rather to follow human Traditions than it. Whatever the Popish Clergy do in this Respect, ’tis not safe to own, that they esteem the Traditions of Men more highly than the Word of God. If they value such Traditions as highly as they do God’s Word, they slight and undervalue that Word. The Author of the Inquiry shews, that the Council of Trent injoins “these Traditions to be received and reverenced with equal Affection of filial Piety with the Scriptures of Truth.” Most of the Popish Traditions are fabulous, many of them ridiculous, great Part of them framed by Priests, and injoined by priestly Authority for priestly Ends; few of them instructive, all precarious; yet all reverenced by the Papists as much as Scripture.
It is Cant to deny that they reverence Traditions more than Scripture: That they do it at all is Crime enough; nor dare they plead Not guilty. It is indeed much safer, in their Church, to neglect the Scripture, than their priestly Traditions and Impositions. Without being obliged to know, or suffered to know, one Chapter in the Bible, ’tis dangerous (often capital) to omit or neglect the Injunctions of their Priests, tho’ not one of them be found in the Bible. Penance, Auricular Confession, Absolution, Transubstantiation, Infallibility, Purgatory, the Power of Priests to damn and save, to open the Gates of Heaven and Hell, are all so many human and priestly Devices, or rather Frauds, to rule the World, and to cheat the Creation: Not one of them mentioned or meant in Scripture, yet all guarded with Sword and Fire; and all who dare doubt or deny them, tortured and burnt in this World, and doomed to eternal Burning in the next.
Then, as they command and practise openly what no Scripture commands, they notorioufly slight and omit Duties which the Scripture explicitly injoins. Our Saviour commands, that all should drink of the Cup of his Blood. In the Popish Sacrament there is no Cup, at least none for the People: The Priest keeps all that to himself, as if he thought it enough for the Laity to be half Christians. St. Paul makes it a Mark of Apostasy to forbid to marry. The Romish Clergy are all forbid to marry. St. Paul makes it another Mark of Apostasy “to abstain from Meats, which God hath commanded to be received with Thanksgiving.” The Popish Church forbids the Use of Meats for a great Part of the Year; but, for Money, permits you the Use of them during the strictest Fast in the Year. The Apostle condemns the Worship of Saints as a Doctrine of Devils. The Papists are more copious, more assiduous in their Devotions to Saints, than to all the Three Persons in the Godhead.
The Curse about the Ten Commandments is expressed in the same equivocal Way. I shall take no further Notice of it here, than that I wonder the Commandments should at all be brought into it, since the Second explicitly forbids what the Papists so grosly practise, the Worship of Images; or (which is just the same Thing) the Worship of the Persons represented by the Images. Their poor People, always ignorant, only worship what they see; and if they worshiped a Saint or an Angel in Person, they would be still Idolaters.
The small, but well-meant Craft in the next Curse, is plain enough to be diverting.—Cursed is he that preaches to the People in unknown Tongues, such as they understand not; or uses any other Means to keep them in Ignorance. Pray observe: Nobody charges them with preaching in an unknown Tongue; the Charge is, That they pray in an unknown Tongue; and the Charge is true. They dare not deny it by the most elusive Terms which they can invent. Their Practice in it is in direct Defiance of Scripture, which largely condemns it; of common Sense, which it affronts; and of all the Purposes of rational Devotion, which it can never raise. Can there be any Edification where there is no Knowlege? For aught the People know, the Priest, in the Mass, may be applying to Mahomet, or to Simon Magus. All that they hear from him is a doleful Tone; all that they see in him is Bowings, Turnings, Grimaces, and making Mouths. By these Tricks and Accents he may amaze them and warm them, and so he might by the Words of Petronius Arbiter, or any other profane Strains, fanatically and wailingly pronounced.
Can there be greater Impiety, or a higher Insult upon true Piety and the Understandings of Christians, than thus daringly to debar them from the Duty of praying for themselves and their own Souls, yet to mock them with the Appearance of doing it? Can there be more successful Means used, by Art and Imposture, to keep the People in Ignorance? Fi, fa, fum, or any other Jargon, would be as edifying.
In the Romish Church, Ignorance is allowed to be the Mother of Devotion; and ’tis carefully cultivated there, as the first Foundation and Elements of popular Superstition, and of Papal Tyranny, to which all Religion, all Reason and Conscience, must be enslaved or sacrificed. In that Church the Instruction, the Correction, the Commands of the Priests, are all authoritative and uncontroulable; to contradict him is Heresy; Heresy is Death and Damnation. Where profound Ignorance is the Mother of Devotion, blind Submission is naturally her Daughter.
This last Curse, equivocal as it is, I doubt involves the Framer of it in it; nor can any thing but Ignorance clear him of it; a Plea which I doubt he cannot offer.
As the Aim of this good Catholic is to conceal and deny all the real Deformities and Horrors of Popery, he would seem to deny the Pope’s dispensing Power:—Cursed be he that believes that the Pope can give to any, upon any Account whatsoever, Dispensation to lye or swear falsly; or, that it is lawful for any, at the last Hour, to protest himself innocent, in case he be guilty.
There is great Boldness in this Curse; for, tho’ the Pope must be a Madman if he averred, in these unwary Words, that he could encourage any Man to swear falsly, and to lye, he notoriously claims a Power to dispense with Oaths, the most awful and important Oaths, all Oaths and Engagements to Princes and States, and all Oaths and Engagements from Princes and States. For many Centuries successively (in the dark Ages, when the Papal Power flourished most) hardly a Year passed but his Holiness discharged some Sovereign from his Oath to his People, or some People from their Oath to their Sovereign, as often as his Wrath or his Avarice prompted him; for one or other, or both, of these pious Motives, generally swayed the holy Father. He frequently tempted and incensed Prince and People to violate Laws and Oaths, and to oppress one another. He particularly warranted the repeated Perjuries of our Henry III. who was continually oppressing the Nation, and as often frightened by the Barons into Oaths and Concessions; then as readily discharged by the Pope from fulfilling them, but never without a competent Price.
This Practice was as common in most Catholic Countries, as horrible in all. The Popes were for ever dispensing with Laws, Oaths, Canons, and even with their own Decrees; and they had a Non-obstante to all Engagements, Secular and Sacred, to God and Man. Was not all this owning, as well as practising, Dispensations to lye, and to swear falsly? “It is as easy to grant a Dispensation to Sin for the future, as to absolve for Sin that is past,” as the Author of the Inquiry truly observes.
cursed is he that believes it lawful for any, at the last Hour, to protest himself innocent, in case he be guilty.
“Aye, says the Author of the Inquiry, or at any Hour. But when a Man is absolved from his Guilt by a Priest, is he then guilty?”—When the Priest has restored him to a State of Innocence, he will think it just to assert his Innocence.
All the other Curses are excellently explained, and the Drift and Artifices of the Framer fairly exposed, by the Author of the Inquiry; for there are several more Curses that I have for that Reason omitted. It is remarkable, that after the Framer of the Curses had denied or disguised the most shocking Positions and Practices of Popery, he yet adds the following and last Curse: Cursed are we, if, in saying Amen to any of these Curses, we use any Equivocation or mental Reservation, or do not assent to them in the common and obvious Sense of the Words.
To all which I answer, Lord have Mercy upon us! The full and particular Answer to that, and to them all, I leave to the discerning Inquirer, who handles this last, as he has the rest, with proper Discernment and Strength.
I end where the Protestant Author begins. He tells us, that this Popish Performance is called, A Vindication of the Roman Catholics, being their most solemn Declaration of their utter Abhorrence of the following Tenets vulgarly laid to their Charge: And then follow the Curses. He says, that it was first published in order to introduce Popery here, in the Beginning of the Reign of the late King James, of whose detestable Government, blind Popish Bigotry, and furious Tyranny, I have lately given a short but true Account. It was reprinted at London, by the present Popish titular Bishop of London, in the Year 1743, when an Invasion was designed against England in favour of the Pretender. It was again republished “at a Time when a Popish Prince was attempting to drive out a Protestant one! a Time when Popery was thought likely to get into Power! a Time when Papists began to think themselves secure of gaining their Ends.”
The professed Purpose of this Popish Pamphlet is to persuade Protestants, that Papists merit equal Protections as equally good Subjects. Strange Assurance, after all that Protestants have suffered from Papists! Can Protestants ever forget the Popish Fires and Protestant Victims under Queen Mary, with their incessant, perfidious, and bloody Plots ever since, to restore Popery here; the dreadful Conspiracy to extirpate this whole Protestant State by Gunpowder; the Irish Massacre, fomented by the Pope, and the Popish Priests the keenest Butchers in it; the Massacre of Paris, approved and hallowed by the Pope; the daily Butcheries in the Inquisation; no Faith to be kept with Protestants; all Protestants persecuted, robbed, starved, and slaughtered, in all Popish Countries where Popish Priests have any Credit; all Protestants extirpated in all Countries where Popish Priests have Sway; the Spirit of Popery still the same, sanguinary and devouring; the Popish Emissaries ever busy, deluding and perverting the Simple and Credulous, daily making Proselytes, every Proselyte an Enemy to their Country, ready to turn against it, and zealous to destroy it?
The following Quotation is taken from one of the Political Discourses upon Sallust the Roman Historian: It is the Fourth Section of the Discourse, Of the Mutability of Government. The Passage is extremely curious, and, I think, seasonable.
“THE Settlement made by the Jesuits, upon the River Paraguay in America, is extremely remarkable. These good Fathers, every-where indefatigable in improving their Apostolic Talents, and turning Souls into Ecclesiastical Traffic and Power, began there, by drawing together, into one fixed Habitation, about Fifty Families of wandering Indians, whom they had persuaded to take their Word implicitly for whatever they told them: For this is what they call Conversion; and is, indeed, the true Art of making Catholics, who have no other Ground for their Faith, but the Assertions of their Priests.
“From this Beginning, and such Encouragement, the assiduous Fathers, ranging the Country, and dazling the stupid Savages with their shining Beads, charming them with their pious Tales and Grimaces, their tuneful Devotions and high Professions, made such a Harvest of Converts as to form a Commonwealth, or rather an Empire of Souls: For every Convert is a Subject most blindly obedient.
“The holy Fathers, not Fifty in Number, are thus Sovereigns of a noble Country, larger than some Kingdoms, and better peopled. It is divided into several large Districts, each of them governed by a single Jesuit, who is, as it were, a provincial Prince; but more powerful and revered, and better obeyed, than any European, or even any Eastern Monarch. His Word is not only a Law, but an Oracle; his Nod infers supreme Command: He is absolute Lord of Life and Death, and Property; may inflict capital Punishment for the lightest Offence; and is more dreaded, therefore more obeyed, than the Deity. His first Ministers and Officers, Civil and Military, are doomed by him to the meanest Punishments, and whipped not only like common Slaves, but like common Felons: Nor is this all their Punishment at least all their Abasement, which to a Man of Spirit is the worst Punishment. Whilst they are yet marked and mangled with the Lash, they run (Colonels and Captains run) and kneel before their holy Sovereign, condemn themselves for having incurred his pious Displeasure, and humbly kissing his reverend Sleeve, thank him for the fatherly Honour he has done them, in correcting them like Dogs.
“So much Tameness and Vassalage is part, and an important Article, of their Conversion. They are even pleased with their Servitude, and care not what they do and suffer here, for the mighty Treasures of Joy and Liberty which are insured to them hereafter by the good Father, who gives them all that he has to give in the next World, and, by way of Barter and Amends, takes all that they have in the present.
“The poor Indians cultivate the Ground, dig and plough, and reap and sow; they make Stuffs, and other Manufactures; they rear Fowls, they breed Cattle, they carry Burdens, and labour hard above Ground, as well as under it, where, in Sweat and Darkness, and in Peril of perishing, they drudge in the Mines: Yet, with all this Industry, they earn nothing, nothing for themselves: All their Earnings, all the Profit and Advantages, appertain not to them, but solely to the good Father, their spiritual Sovereign, who rewards them to the full with what costs him nothing; Blessings, and Masses, and distant Prospects. Their Grain and Manufactures are all carried into his Warehouses, their Cattle and Fowls into his Yards, their Gold and Silver into his Treasury: They dare not wear a Rag of their own spinning, nor taste a Grain of their own sowing, nor a Bit of Meat of their own feeding, nor touch the Metal of their own producing; nor so much as an Egg from the Hens they rear: They themselves are fed and subsisted, from Day to Day, by a limited Allowance, furnished them by the Appointment, and at the Mercy, of their great Lord, a small Priest.
“Yet, under all these Discouragements (which are none to them, who seem to have sacrificed their Feeling, as well as their Reason, to the Sorcery of Superstition) they are diligent and laborious to the last Degree, and vie with one another for the high Price and Distinction bestowed by the Father upon such as excel most in their Work and Industry, even the bewitching Honour of kissing his Sleeve. The second Commandment in their Table of Duties is, To fear the Jesuit, and obey him; as the two next are much akin to it, and of the like Tendency, even, To study Humility, and to contemn all worldly Goods. The Precept, of fearing God, seems to be prefixed for Form, and in Policy only, since it is impossible there should be any Knowlege of God where the Exercise of Reason is not known, nor permitted; nor can God be said to be regarded by those who use the Images of God like Beasts.
“All these Stores and Warehouses, so much Grain, so many Manufactures, so much Gold and Silver, so many Commodities, from so fine, so large, and so plentiful a Country, abounding in Mines, in Rivers, and Meadows full of Horses and Sheep and Black Cattle, of Timber and Fruit-Trees, of Flax and Indigo, Hemp and Cotton, Sugar, Drugs, and Medicinal Herbs, must enable these good Fathers, who have renounced all Wealth, and the World itself, to carry on an infinite and most lucrative Trade, in which, though they have vowed Poverty, they are extremely active, and consequently must make that Jesuitical Government a most powerful one. It hath Advantages which no other Government ever had; an absolute Independency upon its People, or their Purses; the whole Wealth of the Country in its present Rossession; the People absolutely submissive, and resigned to its good Pleasure, and all its Calls; no Factions; not a Malecontent; an Army of Sixty thousand Men, all tame and tractable, devoted to blind Obedience, commanded in Chief by a Jesuit, and obstinately averse to be commanded by any other General; a vast Revenue of many Millions; no Trouble in Taxing, no Time lost in collecting Taxes.
“Such a Government, whilst it proceeds upon the same Principles, is unchangeable. No wonder these Jesuits are extremely jealous and tender, not only in keeping the poor Indians Slaves to Ignorance and Bigotry, in order to keep them Slaves to themselves; but in concealing so much Empire and Wealth from all the World, especially from Spain, from whence they were sent, at the Expence of that Crown, to convert the Indians, and make them Subjects to the Spanish Monarchy. The good Fathers are so far from meaning any such Thing, that they not only carefully avoid teaching them the Spanish Tongue, but press it upon them as a Point of Conscience, not to converse with the Spaniards. It any Spaniard happens to come amongst them (a Thing which the Jesuits are so far from encouraging, that they care not to see it) he is indeed civilly used, but carefully confined within the Walls of their holy Citadel, the Presbytery; or if, by earnest Intreaty, he obtain Leave to walk through the Town, he is closely guarded by the Jesuit at his Side, and sees not an Indian in the Streets; for the Indians are ordered to shut themselves up, and fasten their Doors, upon any such Occasion.
“Besides, these vigilant Fathers keep Five or Six thousand Men, employed in several Detachments (Apostolic Troops!) to watch and scour the Frontiers, in order to cut off all Intercourse with the neighbouring Countries, not yet subjected to the good Fathers. Towards one of their Frontiers particularly, left the rich Mines in it might invite a Settlement from abroad, they have destroyed all the Horses, in order to discourage any such Settlement. For these self-denying Friars, who are sworn to Poverty, have an ardent Zeal to secure all these wealthy Mines to themselves for Religious Uses.
“These poor, rich, humble, sovereign Missionaries, as they are Masters of such immense Wealth, all consecrated to their own Use, that is, to the Use of Religion, make a proper Display of it. The Churches are spacious, magnificent in their Structure, and set off with all Pomp and Decorations, grand Porticoes and Colormades, rich Altars, adorned with Bas Reliefs, Pictures in Frames of massy Gold, and Saints of solid Silver, the Foot and Sides covered with Cloth of Gold, and the Pedestals with Plates of Gold; the Tabernacle made of Gold; the Pyx or Box for the Sacrament, of Gold, set round with Emeralds and other Jewels; the Vessels and Candlesticks made of Gold; the Whole, when illuminated, making a Shew almost beyond Belief. A proper Bait for the Eyes of deluded Indians, who, by such fine Sights, and the pious Mountebankry attending them, are retained in due Awe and Wonder!
“The princely Person of the poor Jesuit is suitably lodged in a spacious Palace, containing grand Apartments, furnished with many Pictures and Images, with proper Lodgings for his Train of Officers and Domestics; the Quadrangles and Gardens all in Proportion; the whole Court making a Square of some Miles. Observe, That all the many opulent Warehouses belonging to the holy disinterested Man are contained in it.
“Such is the Situation, such the State and inimitable Authority, of every Jesuit in Paraguay. There are but Forty odd of these Monks in all that great Tract of Country, and in it they have above a Million of Souls, not only to obey them, but to worship them; nor do these, their sightless and abject Slaves, know any other God: For where the true God is ever so little known no Man will worship Friars, who always paint him as like themselves, as they themselves are, in reality, unlike him.”
The Quaker’s Advice to the young Pretender.
THY venturing thyself into Britain hath produced a Discovery, which ought to wound thee with sore Remorse; namely, that however sorry and wretched the Friends whom thou hast picked up in Scotland are, even barbarous Highlanders, Strangers to Humanity and our Language, Enemies to our Religion and Laws; yet thou hast no better Friends in England, none who are blessed either with Religion, or with Property, or with Sense. Neither canst thou wonder at it. Thou art an Outlaw, and canst hope no sincere Assistance but from such as are as desperate as thyself. Whoever joins with thee, or stands up for thee, by doing so forfeits all he hath, whether thou dost miscarry or succeed. If thou failest, he is forfeited and hanged: If thou carriest thy Point, all that he hath is thine, or at thy Mercy. For whether thou becomest Master by Force, or by Claim of Inheritance, it will be equally treasonable to contend with thee, when thou art Master. Thou needest only sanctify thy Usurpation with the profane Colour of Divine Right, and then all thy Violence is Law.
All the Laws in being are against thee. Canst thou give us any satisfying Reason, why all our Laws, and with them our Conscience, our Bible and our Property, should be sacrificed to thy Will? What is it to us that thou callest thy Name Stuart? A Name that will gain thee no Man that was not bewitched to thee before, by desperate Superstition, or desperate Ambition, or a desperate Fortune.
Under thy pretended Grandfather (to go no further back) we had a Struggle for our All; and by God’s Blessing and the Assistance of William the Valiant Prince of Orange, our Struggle was successful; as we trust, in God, our present Struggle will be. God hath blessed us with another William; we trust another Deliverer, a Hero and a Protestant, like his renowned Namesake; a Youth inured to Dangers and Battles, and ennobled by them; the Champion of Freemen, the Scourge of Rebels, the Terror of France, and thy Terror. Thou flyest before him, thou and the desperate Host: We firmly hope that thy Flight will soon be final. We have now, as we had then, the zealous Concurrence of all Ranks of Protestants, Churchmen and Dissenters. Nor do we fear the Power and Malice of the Papists, thy only unchangeable Friends, and our unchangeable Enemies. Thou hast no Argument to offer but thy Will, and thy Sword: And this was thy pretended Grandfather’s best Argument. The Defence of our Religion and our Laws (the only Glory of a King and his only Support) was so far from his Heart, that though he promised and swore to preserve both inviolably, he openly strove to extirpate one and to abolish the other.
What canst thou promise that he did not swear? And what were his Oaths and all his Engagements to his Protestant Subjects, but Snares laid to lull them fast asleep, and then to destroy them before they were thoroughly awake? His mad and ungodly Zeal hurried him too fast. He would not allow his People sufficient Time to be well deceived. His sacred Oaths were violated almost as soon as made. Verily, he broke some Parts of his Oath before he took it, by seizing the Revenues to be settled by Parliament before the Parliament had granted them; and then asked the Parliament to grant him what he had seized. His blind Bigotry to Popery (as Bigotry is always without Bounds in a narrow Genius) made the Protestant Faith, as well as the English Councils, odious to him. He was blindly led by the Jesuits, and other Emissaries from Rome, particularly by an idolatrous Woman of that Communion, his Italian Wife. His whole Conduct was such, so perfidious, so precipitate and arbitrary, that whoever is not for ever warned by it against Popery in their Princes, and against a Popish Prince on the English Throne, will never take any Warning, never be a real Englishman.
Thou canst not deceive us with thy Promises; we shall not trust thee even upon thy Oath. We know how Papists reason, and how easily Popish Priests can absolve Popish Princes. No Oath must be kept that mars the Catholic Faith, and Catholic Tyranny. Neither canst thou convince any reasonable Man, that ever Popery prevailed without Tyranny, or that any Tyranny was complete without Popery in any State called Christian: Nor canst thou prove, that ever any Popish Prince kept Faith with a Protestant People.
But thou hast indeed in Fact dispensed with thyself from imposing upon us, by any artful faithless Engagements in form, to maintain our Rights; whether from thy own Modesty, that thou wilt not profess what thou art far from intending; or that thy Priests do not think it good Policy to seek by fair Means, what they hope, and perhaps make thee hope, to gain for thee and themselves by a strong Hand. Thou didst therefore mock the People of Glasgow, with notable Bitterness, when in Defence of the Demands of thy wild Mountain-men, sent to rob them of a great Sum, thou toldest them, “Thou wouldest maintain them in all their Rights;” when, in Fact, thou wast convincing them, that they hadNone. The good People of Scotland may say the same Thing to Thee, and yet drive thee out of their Country the Day after. Had not the Men of Glasgow a Right to their own Money? Pray, what Right hadst thou to it, besides the great Swords of thy half-naked Highlanders, who make no Distinction between Robbery and Right, and are therefore proper Defenders of thine?
Thy Mockery of poor Men in Distress was still more bitter, when thou didst acquaint the forlorn Inhabitants of that City (trembling with the Daggers of Savages at their Throats) with what great Success thou hadst had, and “how it became them to be glad, that thou hadst had so much.” As thou wast stripping them with an unfeeling Heart (for Heretics deserve no Pity) couldst thou thus banter them too with an unmoved Countenance? Whatever thou didst mean, or howsoever thou didst look, thy whole Conduct, and thy Words, on this Occasion, furnish an instructive Lesson to every Briton, and will, I hope, make as deep and proper Impressions upon all Britons, as they did, and do, and still shall upon me.
Young Man, I pray thee, who sent for thee, and what didst thou come for? That thou comest in the Name of thy Father may be a Plea in the Mouth of a Child; but instead of an Argument for thee, rather excites an Alarm against thee. Thy Father is a Name of Contempt and Aversion to Protestants and Englishmen; and none but the Ungodly, the Unenlightened Dwellers upon the Mountains, have invited thee or stood by thee; Sons of Belial and of Blood, chosen to support thy Reign by committing universal Plunder, and cutting Throats. Or if France and Spain and Rome espouse thy Cause, can it be any other than the Cause of Babylon and of Antichrist? Canst thou conceive a Cause more odious, more execrable and alarming to the Ears of Englishmen and Protestants?
What comest thou for? Is it to restore thy Father to what he never had, a Crown? Thy Father is debarred from the Crown; and common Fame says, is as much unqualified as disqualified for it. And how well qualified thou art, let the Laws declare, together with thy lawless Intrusion, and the barbarian Rule exercised by thee and thy Savages in Scotland. We know of no Restoring in England but what we dread to see restored, Popery and Slavery. Is it because thy pretended Grandfather attempted to establish both, that thy Father pretends to succeed him? Thy true Errand is to abolish our dear and sacred Birthright, the matchless Blessings of Liberty, with all the Laws that secure these heavenly Blessings, as also the illustrious Protestant King, who secures all these Laws. The Laws are the Rule of his Reign; as Veracity and Magnanimity are the Rules of his Life. He never, in one Instance, deceived his Subjects; never wronged, never defrauded, much less oppressed, one single Subject. His Heart is too manly to be false. He abhors Popery, as it promotes Contradiction and Falsehood, and inspires Cruelty and Deceit, with Perjury and Tyranny, the true Marks of the Beast and her Followers!
What thinkest thou of thy pretended Grandfather? What thinkest thou of thy Father and thyself, and of what thou art now doing and pursuing? Was the Reign of King James any more like the Reign of King George, than insolent and merciless Oppression is like fatherly Protection; than mean Deceit (very mean in a King) is like princely Sincerity and the open Spirit of a Man; or than diabolical Perjury is like the pious and heroic Adherence of our Great King to Faith and Oaths?
How dost thou like this Explanation and true Comparison? What is in thy Father to recommend him to Englishmen and Protestants? Is it the Blood of thy presended Grandfather? This is a Distinction that would do him or thee but little good: None but Enthusiasts regard it: We true Protestants and Englishmen disown it. I doubt many despise it. Dost thou hope to bring it into Esteem, and with it thy Popery and thy murdering Robbers, half-clad Highlanders, in sported Blankets?
Whatever Name thou dost assume, thou art an Usurper: Whatever Title thou dost claim, thou hast in reality none but Violence. Thy Success must be our Destruction.———With what Face canst thou desire a Free People to be Slaves to an Outlaw and an Exile? The Laws, the Laws of God and Man, are on our Side: By these Laws thou art a Criminal condemned. Thou art indeed a desperate Adventurer. All thy Way is paved with Guilt and Danger. Dost thou set up thyself, or the Phantom thy Father, both Strangers, both Outlaws, against the Peace and Felicity of Three great Kingdoms? Must He or Thou reign, though They perish; as surely they must, if either of you do? This argues a desperate Spirit. It is bidding Defiance to the Living God: It is denouncing Perdition to his Creatures.
Whenever this Nation hath wanted a King, they have chosen a King. William the Third; the late King George; and this King George, came all to the Throne by the Invitation and Authority of Parliament. These Kings we know; but, What art thou? Surely not a King, but a very strange Character, a Wanderer and a Robber, attempting to seize a Kingdom. Thy Abettors and Followers suit thy Person and Fortune. Any one of them though unable to read thy assumed Title, might, with equal Pretences, produce a longer Genealogy for himself than thine, and as sounding. For, according to thy Example and Demand, every Man that can, may rob and master human Society.
I bless God, we want not a King: If we did, we should never chuse nor admit thee. I bless God, we have a good and a gracious King, a just and a brave King. Is it likely, that we shall change him for one descended from thy pretended Grandfather? So thou mayest depart. God bless King George; God bless and multiply his Race; God protect his Family and these Nations, and blast the Hopes of all Pretenders with the Devices of all Papists, at home and abroad.
O young Man! this is the warm and devout Prayer (however thou mayst dislike it) of thy upright Monitor,
A True Englishman, and