Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors]

capital cases; he who pleaded for that odious tyrant
Laud, and who thought Locke's essay dangerous
to the faith ; Stillingfileet, I say, preached a sermon
before the Lord Mayor on the mischief of seperation,
and became a fower of discord among brethren!
It was the price of perferment then. This was
printed, and in it the diffenters were all condemned
as schismaticks, and gravely advised not to com-
plain of persecution. Owen, Baxter, Allop, Howe
and others, answered this feditious libel with great
clearness and spirit. The priest, driven to distress,
got Compton, Bishop of London, to write to
Claude, Le Moyne, and other French presbyteri-
ans, for their opinion of English presbyterianism.
They gave complaisant: but wary answers. These
letters of French non-conformists were published
by Stillingfleet as fuffrages for episcopacy, and
against non-conformity, and they were tacked to
a book of his own about schism. There could
not be a more glaring absurdity; for no art can
make that a crime at Dover, which is at the same
time a virtue at Calais. Episcopacy and non-con-
formity rest on the same arguments in both king-
doms, and a man, who does not know this, is noc
fit to write on the controversy between non-con-
formists and episcopalians. Mr. Claude complained
bitterly of this ungenerous treatment: but the
letters, that contained these complaints, were con-
cealed till his death. Our historian, Neale, there-
fore, fell into the mistake of allowing, that the
French presbyterians favoured English episcopacy:
but very properly adds, their suffrages, supposing
them to be given against us, were of no value in
Vol. I.


[ocr errors]


an argument, which was not to be determined by a majority of votes. (6)

After Mr. Claude's decease, his son printed the letters. In one to a Lady, who had sent him the bishop's packet, dated at Paris, April 16, 1681, he declares that he was astonished to see his letter printed—that he wished to see chriftians united : but that he had written on the subject with great caution—that his chief design was to remove that calumny, which some had cast on them, charging them with denying the possibility of being saved in the episcopal church-that he had freely taxed the bishops with their severity—and that he had only expressed his desire of union in the form of a wish. All this is very different from a justification of episcopal tyranny. In another letter to Compton of the same date, he tells him that he had received the book and his own letter : but that he did not understand English enough to judge of them—that he never intended to have his letter printed--that, had Stillingfeet consulted him, he would not have agreed to the publication of it.

“ I am persuaded, adds he, you will not take it ill, if I say, on your side, you ought to contribute all you can to an union with the non-conformists without a party fpirit, and with all prudence and moderation. You, my lords the bishops, are blamed for your eagerness to persecute others by penal laws as if they were enemies. You are blamed for your churchgovernment, which, it is said, is as arbitrary and despotic over ministers as that of the popish prelates. You are complained of for not admitting any person to the ministry without making oath that episcopacy is of divine right, which is a cruel

rack (6) Hif. of Pur.

rack for conscience. You are complained of for requiring the ministers of other protestant churches to be re-ordained, when they come among you, while you admit others, ordained by popish prelates, to exercise their ministry without re-ordination. Your bishops are blamed for their rigid attachment to offensive ceremonies, for which they contend tanquam pro aris et focis. In the name of God, my Lord, endeavour to remove these grounds of complaint, if they be true ; or, if they be not, clear yourselves, and let all Europe know, that there is nothing, which the glory of God, and the good of his church require of you, that you are not ready to do ; for, allow me to tell you, it is not enough for your justification to affirm, that your own ministry is lawful, and that they, who separate from you, are guilty of schism ; you must go on, and prove that you give no cause, no pretext for separation--that on the contrary you do all in your power to prevent it and that, far from chafing and irritating people's minds, you endeavour by all gentle methods to conciliate them. I beg pardon, my Lord, if I have given too freely into the emotions of my own zeal, &c."

The case, then, is this. Episcopalians, not being able to maintain their cause by argument, endeavoured to do it by majority of votes. In order to procure these, they fent a false state of the case to the French protestants. The French, as soon as they understood the true state of the case, complained of having been treated with duplicity, aud declared against the bishops, and against the cause, which they were endeavouring to support. h 2


Had Mr. Claude lived a hundred years longer, he would have seen now and then a Burnet and a Hoadley making a few feeble efforts to relieve confcience: but generally suspected, often abused, and always carried along the stream by a succession of Stillingfleets and Comptons. He would have feen a modest petition for freedom from penal laws, unaccompanied with any request for establishment, incorporation, preferment, or even the crumbs that fall from rectorial tables, rejected by English bishops. He would have been convinced, that it would be doing such men too much honour ever hereafter to ask their votes in favour of religious liberty, either in the daftardly fawning style of free and candid disquisitions, or in the nero vous language of petitioning non-conformists, habituated to free inquiry at home, and frankness of expression abroad. In a word, he would have been more non-conformable than ever; he would have laid with one of old,( 711 will WALK AT LIBERTY, FOR I SEEK THY PRECEPTS, I WILL SPEAK OF THY TESTIMONIES ALSO BEFORE KINGS, AND WILL NOT BE ASHAMED. REMOVE FROM ME THE WAY OF LYING, AND GRACIOUSLY GRANT ME THY LAW!

(7) Psal. cxix. 45. 46. 29.


Contents of the First Volume.

CH A P. I.

On the Choice of Texts,


Examples Page Parts of a Sermon five Each text must contain the complete sense of the writer

2 Cor.i. 3,4.

4 Must not contain too little matter

4 nor too much

5 The end of preaching

5 Whether Protestants should preach on Romish festivals

6 What subjects are proper for stated days of publick worship

6 for occasional days

7 for ordination-days

8 for sermons in strange churches



« ZurückWeiter »