Page images
PDF
EPUB

gence are of no small Consideration. And this way of Procedure, that each Single Sect should speak by and for its self, and state its own particular Cafe, is methinks the fairest Course which can be taken; and such a one as those Dissenters, who are conscious to them. selves of no ill meaning, should look upon as highly advisable for their own fakes: It being very obvious to the most ordinary Prudence, that it may be frequently advisable upon divers particular and material Considerations, to indulge some kinds of Liberty to such and such sorts of Dić. senters, which is by no means fit to allow to others; much less to allow promiscuously to all. But to take that course which they have always done since his Majesties Restauration, that they should all joyn in a common Cry as ifthey had one common Cause, is very suspicious ; especially confidering that they are divided among themselves in this very point of Li. berty of Conscience , notwithstanding their Unanimity in calling for it. Some Kumours have of late been

Spread

spread indeed all over the Town concerning such a kind of Comprehension as should leave no room for Toleration : how well grounded such Re. ports have been I will not undertake; it is but in vain to make an uncertain guess at what kind of Proposals may possibly be offered by some Persons, and to fancy at all adventures who they are or may be who are in any likelihood to be concluded by them. But because it is said publickly enough and by no mean Persons, That the Presbyterians, at least the chief and leading Men among them, are ready now to enter into the Church, upon some reasonable Abatements to be made unto them: And when they are once gained, the other Sects will not be considerable enough to expect, that any Toleration should be allowe ed unto them. If this be the Care, as it is by some of themselves pretend. ed to be, then the Case is much al. tered from what it lately was : Reformed Christianity in its Latitude, which came out in 1667. and the Defence of it in 1668. are express, not

only

[ocr errors]

only for Comprehension but likewise for Toleration, and besides that for a Connivence also. And a later Treatise entituled, Indulgence not to be refused ; Comprehension humbly desired, which came out 1672. is express for Toleration ; and against that part of his Design he makes this Objection : The Presbyterians in former times wrote and preached against Toleration and Indulgence, and if they do now fall in with it, they contradi& themselves. To this he answers, That Some did, fome did not ; and there was a Reafon then which ceaseth now : and besides, many of those who declared against such a Toleration are dead and gone, and there are others postnati to those times who now suffer, p. 11, 12. So that it seems, these Two Advocates for the Comprehension were for a Toleration. If the minds of these men be changed since that time, it were not unfit that they should give Pub. lick notice of it, especially for this Reason: It is well known, that in the private Discourses and in their printed Books, the People have been moved to express much pity

toward

toward the Disienters, and not : a few exasperated against the Go. vernment by the perpetual noise of Persecution, Liberty ; Conscience, Moderation, Forbearance, Tenderness, Compassion, Indulgence; and that this : hath not been the peculiar Phrases of such or such a particular Sect, but the common language of all of them. Now if this device of Comprehension do take place, theo all those Pleas as to all Parties but one will remain as formerly.

But if the Presbyterians do really intend to come into the Church now,up. on such & such abatements to be made unto them, and finally and for ever to shake Hands with their old Brethrenzit were but reasonable to expect thatthey should do these two things : First, that in their present Meeting-Houses they should use so much of the Commons , Prayer as they can lawfully, and mean hereafter to use, and observe so many of the Orders and Ceremonies of the Church, as they are perswaded of the Innocency ofzand take the first oppor: : : tunity of declaring to their Hearers. their' Resolutions of Conformity, thereby to prepare them to conform

likewise. Secondly, they should de clare, as formerly, against Liberty of Conscience, as a thing which they do by no means approve, and are resolv. '! ed never hereafter to have any thing to do with. If, I fay, these men do de fire that any publick distinction should be made between them and others Diffenters, they themselves should do well to own such a distinction; if we go into their Conventicles we cannot find any such great difference in the way of Worship between the Pref byterians and others, as thence to be: able to distinguish them. If we go into their Company their Complaints are much of the same Itrain, and not feldom in the fame Syllables.

If there are any among them (as : it is to be hoped there are ) who are fincere, modest, and peaceable, who mean better than their Neighbours ;

The Law cannot help it if they suffer for being taken in bad Company : It is not unlikely that they might have fared much better themselves if they had not had such Partakers ; their own Cafe might have been looked upon as pitiable, if they had not joyo

« PreviousContinue »