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Good Old Cause they resolve to stick to; and without some satisfaction in these things we have reason to be jealous, that they have, after so ma. ny other disappointments, pitched upon this Contrivance, as a very likely one, whereby the Church may, by their admission, become divided a gainst it self: The Pulpits may quickly be brought to speak in very different Languages, and the Hearers strangely distracted between the several abettors of the very distant Measures of the old and new Conformity.
They who have kept out of the Church thus long, rather than they would not have their Wills in such and such Matters in debate between us; it is scarce to be hoped, that when . they are brought into the Church, by being yielded to in them, that they will not with the same Art and Industry keep up in the Minds of Men a' good opinion of that Cause which they have so long contended for : At the least they will take what care they can, that those of their former
Hearers whom they shall be able to bring along with them, (if they shall be able to bring any store of their Hearers along with them, which is no small question) shall for ever be kept under bondage to every one of all those scruples, by which they have been able to retain dominion over them : And they who have all along been, observably upon all occasions, admirably expert at interpreting all things to the utmost possibilities of all advantage, as to themselves and their Cause, it is not to be expected from them, that they will not interpret this Condescention as a complete Justification. And unless the Modesty and Gratitude of these men be strangely increased of late, beyond what it hath used to be, our Governours are not like to receive any other return than this; That God hath at length begun to return again, and in some fort to own his People and his Cause : He hath now opened the Eyes of the Parliament, and let them fee their Error in imposing the renouncing the . Covenant į and who knows what
more a gracious God may do for, so gracious a People? And that Repu. tation which hath thus long engaged them to pretend their Cause of Sepa. ration to be just, can do no less than continue to engage them to avow its having been necessary. So that the Church will by this means be weakned by having one great Security taken from her ; those Men will be admitted into her, of whose Affections and Designs Ihe hath abundant cause to be highly jealous ; and who, by obtaining their present Demands, will, according to their old Customs, be thereby emboldned with the like restless importunity to make more demands, and perhaps in a little time be inabled to take what farther they please, without so much as asking it: And by this means the People will become extremely divided, both amongst themselves and from the Government. And when that is done, there will be so many left out of this Comprehension, that the noise will not be much less than it is already : And whatever accession can be sup
posed to be made to the Church by the coming in of her new Friends, will be more than over-ballanced by the loss she will receive in the stability of her Principles and the Unity of her Children : She will be the less able to defend her self against the Exceptions of the Romanists, and be at no small loss for an answer to the Clamours of other Sectaries, who can pretend as great grievances, and alledge as plausible Reasons why they should be gratified; so that the Work of Coalition ( as it is called in the newest word) as often soever as it is done, will be just as often to begin again.
As to any other Particulars of that Comprehension which is now so much endeavoured, seeing they have not thought fit to let us know them, I shall not venture to make a guess at them, but shall go on to another Contrivance, and in the Opinion of many a more promising one, and that is, Toleration, which is frequently faid to be an Expedient which will gratifie many more, and more Considerable
Persons than can be hoped to be brought within the Compass of any one Comprehension.
Now it is by no means a thing to be wondred at, if so be that the proposal of Toleration be in it self at the first view very plausible, and in the eyes of very many Persons exceeding acceptable: It looks like a Privilege which every man hath an interest in, which, seing it is enjoyed by all alike, no man should take himself to have any cause to envy it to any o. ther. Now this Liberty of Conscience, however it hath obtained to be the general Darling , yet, methinks, in the very name there is something which offers it self to our Consideration, which is at least worth our Enquiry; Whether the very demand doth not carry in it an Exception against it self? How doth it appear chac Conscience hath any such absolute Right to Liberty? Hath it no Rule which it ought to walk by ? hath it no obligation to follow any besides its own Light? If this be not the Case, then Liberty and Consci