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on, Conscience should not be forced, and this is his Answer ; why do you think that Hereticks were not as conseionable in the old Testament as now? If any man had a Conscience to turn men from God, he would have men of as much Conscience to cut them off : So that upon the whole matter it doth appear that this loud demand of Toleration is a very disingenious, nay a dishonest one; because it is asked by those who (if the Power were in their hands) would neither allow it to those they now ask it of, no nor so much as permit it to one another. One Instance of their Barbarity in this kind will not be tedious; the Presbyterians denied His late Majesty the Attendance of His own Chaplains in His own Family, for the Exercise of His own Devotion; and as the Presbyterians denied Him the use of the CommonPrayer whilst he was alive, the lodependents would not allow Him to be buried by it after he was dead. Let them reflect a little upon their own demeanour in this Case, and then be as loud as they please in crying out
for Moderation, Tenderness, For. bearance, Condiscension.
And so I go on to the last Objectiwn, that Civil Penalties do only make Hypocrites. This were an Excellent Argument against all Laws whatsoever if it were well pursued; but on the other side I take it to be a very clear Case, that Toleration makes Hypocrites; for it renders it safe for any man, in order to whatever end, to pretend some dissatisfactions against the present Ecclesiastical Constitutions, when in his own Mind he hath none : And this effect it hath had from the first moment of His Majesties Restauration, unto this time: Many Preachers then posessed of Benefices went away from them, because the Right Owners returned to them again, and yet these men pretended Scruples against the Common Prayer and Ceremonies, and so were looked upon as Cufferers for their Conscience, and have ever since fubfifted upon the (trength of such pretensions : Of those who by the Death of the Right Incumbents continued in their ill-got
Poffessions till the Ad of Uniformity : How many refused to conform more out of shame than Conscience? They could not without blushing practise those things which they formerly preached against , especially in the same place where they had done fo; and accordingly some have conformed in other countries than where they lived before, and more did proffer it, if they could have obtained to have been provided for: And of those who did go out at Saint Bartholomews Day, 1662. How many were there who went out upon the great assurance which they had from their Agents in Londin of returning again in a few Weeks with Honour > And among the People how many are there who go to Conventicles meerly to get Custom, as finding it to be a succesful way,by becoming Members of such a Church, to get ihe Trade of such a Party.
I have now considered the Inconveniencies of that Fine Project called Liberty of Conscience, and the various pretences by which of late it hath
been recommended to us: How much soever these imperfect Reasonings of mine may have fallen below the digni. ty of the Argument, I shall be so just to my Cause, as to refer the Reader where he may receive compleat and abundant satisfaction , viz. to those Excellent Votes of the Honourable House of Commons, February 25,1662. where there is a full Stare of this Affair drawn up with an equal height of Piety and Wisdom; the Reasons full and clear, carrying in them all the Advantages of Strength and Evidence: Those Renowned Gentlemen did then shew that they were able with their Pens to give an account of that Cause, for which very many of themselves, and Fathers did honourably draw their Swords, and knew very well how to assert that Church by all the Rules of Christian Prudence, as well as they did formerly set inimitable Patterns of Christian Courage in suffering for it. There we may see and admire how those Glorious Worthies came up to the greatness of them. selves, and of the Argument; and indeed they were both worthy of one another, they to defend, and that to be defended, and as nothing was ever better penned than those Reasons, so there was scarce ever a better Occasion ; the best Church in Europe, was then bore witness to by the best House of Commons which ever fat in this Nation: Those Votes shall for ever remain as a lasting Monument as of the Zeal and Religion, so of the incomparable Endowments and Abili. ties of those who drew them up
And now I shall presume to offer a few words to our diffenting Brethren, that they would seriously bethink themselves what the Causes of their Separation are, how few, how slight; that they would with them compare the Effects of it, what they have been, what they are, what they may come to be: Such things have already been brought about in Church and State (by means of those Divisions which the foberest among you did begin and foment, and none but they were valuable enough to give Support and Countenance unto) as they themselves