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now be taken for the better and more perfect establishment of it. It was visible to all the nation, that the more moderate Dissenters were generally so well satisfied with that stand which our divines had made against Popery, and the many unanswerable treatises they had published in confutation of it, as to express an unusual readiness to come in to us. And it was therefore thought worth the while, when they were deliberating about those other matters, to consider at the same time what might be done to gain them, without doing any prejudice to ourselves.
The scheme was laid out, and the several parts of it were committed, not only with the approbation but by the direction of that great prelate, to such of our divines as were thought the most proper to be entrusted with it. His grace took one part to himself; another was committed to the then pious and reverend * dean, afterwards a bishop of our Church. The reviewing of the daily service of our liturgy, and the communion-book, was referred to a select number of excellent persons, twot of which are at this time upon our bench; and 1 am sure will bear witness to the truth of my relation. The design was, in short, this: To improve, and if possible, to inforce, our discipline; to review and enlarge our liturgy; by correcting of some things, by adding of others; and if it should be thought advisable by authority, when this matter should come to be legally considered, first in convocation, then in parliament, by leaving some few ceremonies, confessed to be indifferent in their natures, as indifferent in their usage, so as not to be neces-` sarily observed by those who made a scruple of them; till they should be able to overcome either their weaknesses or prejudices, and be willing to comply with them."
How far this good design was not only known to, but approved of by, the other fathers of our Church, that famous petition, for which seven of them were sent to the Tower, and which contributed so much to our deliverance, may suffice to shew. The "willingness there declared of coming to such a temper as should be thought fit with the Dissenters, when that matter should be considered and settled in parliament and convocation;" manifestly referred to what was then known to several, if not all, of the subscribers, to have been at that very time under deliberation. And that nothing more was intended than I before said, is as evident from what was publicly declared in a treatise purposely written to recommend the design, when it was brought before the two Houses of Parliament, in the beginning of the late reign; and licenced by the authority of a noble peer, now present, who was at that time secretary of State: In the very beginning of which there is this remarkable passage, which I shall beg leave to read to your lordships: "No altera
* Dr. Patrick, bishop of Ely. Former Edit. †The archbishop of York and bishop of Ely. Former Edition.
tion, that I know of, is intended, but in things declared to be alterable by the Church itself. And if things alterable be altered upon the grounds of prudence and charity; and things defective be supplied; and things abused be restored to their proper use; and things of a more than ordinary composition revised and improved; whilst the doctrine, government and worship of the Church remain intire, in all the substantial parts of them; we have all reason to believe that this will be so far from injuring the Church, that, on the contrary, it shall receive a very great benefit by it."*
And now, my lords, let any impartial person consider, what was there in such a design that could be justly esteemed prejudicial to the constitution of our Church? Wherein would our canons have suffered, if those already made had been more strongly enforced; and some new ones had been added, for the reformation of manners; for the better punishing of notorious offenders; and to render our public discipline more strict and severe? This we have been wishing for ever since the Reformation. What harm would it have done our Church, had it now been effected? Or how would our excellent liturgy have been the worse, if a few more doubtful expressions had been changed for plainer and clearer; and a passage or two, which, however capable of a just defence, yet in many cases seem harsh to some even of our own communion, had either been wholly left at liberty in such cases, to be omitted altogether; or been so qualified as to remove all exception against them in any case? If such collects, as are not yet adapted to the festivals or gospels to which they belong, had been made more full, and apposite to both; if some of the occasional offices had been enlarged, and new ones added: If, for example, there had been a greater variety of prayers, psalms and lessons appointed by authority, instead of the compositions of private persons, now necessarily to be used, for the visitation of the sick; and new forms composed for the use of prisoners for debt or crimes: For the greater solemnity of receiving proselytes into our Church; of reconciling penitents to it; and of casting notorious offenders out of it: These were some of the main things that were then designed. As for any favour to the Dissenters, none that I know of was intended, but what should have been entirely consistent with our own constitution:
And I hope it will not be thought any crime for the bishops and clergy of our Church to be willing to enlarge its communion, by any methods which may be likely to gain others, and yet not injure our own establishment.
But to satisfy your lordships that nothing could have been designed to the detriment of the Church; be pleased farther to consider,
* A Letter to a member of parliament in favour of the Bill for uniting Protestants: Licenced by the command of the earl of Shrewsbury, April 1, 1689. Ja. Vernon, pag. 3. Former Edition.
how what was thus at first projected in private, by select persons, and in a difficult time, when no countenance was to be expected from authority to any such purpose, was afterwards, if ever, to have been brought to maturity? And this being a matter of public notice, the relation of it will admit of no exception.
No sooner were their late majesties, of glorious memory seated in their thrones but this design was openly espoused by them. A commission was issued out, under the great seal of England, to a large number of bishops and other eminent divines, to meet together, and to consider of these matters. What they did, having not had the honour to be one of them, I shall not presume to say. This we know, that whatever they did, it was to have been car ried on from them to the two convocations of Canterbury and York: And after it should have passed their approbations, it was finally to have been laid before the two Houses of Parliament, and so to have gone on to the royal assent. This, my lords, was the course through which all that was designed, or should have been done in this matter, must have passed: And I am persuaded aothing very injurious to our Church's welfare will ever be able to pass through all these.
Having thus given your lordships a true account of that design which Dr. Sacheverell mentions under the name of Comprehension, I doubt not but that your lordships will now be amazed to hear, what a false and scandalous report he has made of it. In the 16th page of his Sermon he thus speaks of it: "The worst adversaries of our Church says he, were to be let into her bowels under the holy umbrage of sons; who neither believed her faith; owned her mission; submitted to her discipline; or complied with her liturgy. For the admitting of this Trojan horse, big with arms and ruin, into our holy city, the straight gate was to be laid quite open; her walls and enclosures to be pulled down; and a high road made in upon her communion. Her articles to be taught the confusion of all senses, nations, and languages." This my lords, is a very strange representation of so good a design as that I before recounted to your lordships. Yet this representation did this bold man, as confidently, as falsly, make of it in the House of God, and publish to the view of the whole nation. For thus he goes on: "This pious design of making our house of prayer a den of thieves, of reforming our Church into a chaos, is well known to have been attempted several times in this kingdom, and lately within our memory, when all things seemed to favour it; but that good Providence which so happily interposed against the ruin of our Church, and blasted the long projected scheme of these ecclesiastical Achitophels." To say nothing more of the design itself, of which I have given an account before; pray, my lords, who were the Achitophels that projected it, and must have concurred to the execution of it? I have already named the first and chiefest of them, the late archbishop San
The next who openly approved of it were the commissioners who met upon it in the Jerusalem-Chamber: A set of men, than which this Church was never, at any one time, blessed with either wiser or better since it was a Church: Who it was that presided in the convocation of this province, to which this project was next to be referred; and who had it gone on, must have had a chief hand in the management of it, I need not say. Every one who knows any thing at all of his character (and I am sure your lordships are none of you strangers to it) knows him to be too good a friend to the establishment of our Church, to have been capable of being engaged in such a villainous design, as Dr. Sacheverell pretends, for the subversion of it: or had he been otherwise, yet still the major part of that venerable body must have been as great Achitophels as himself, or no harm could have been done by him. Pardon me, my lords, if the course of my argument obliges me to rise yet one degree higher, and to say, that the like majority of your lordships, and of the House of Commons, together with his late majesty, must all have come into the plot against the Church; or all the skill and malice of the inferior Achitophels would have signified nothing. And what censure that man deserves, who has the confidence to insinuate to the world, that the bishops, the other clergy, the convocations, the parliament, nay, and the late king himself, our glorious deliverer; or at least the greater part of all these, were engaged in a project “so monstrous, so romantic, and absurd," (for here I am content to use his own expressions) "that it is hard to say whether it had more of villainy or folly in it;" I shall submit it to your lordships to consider. All I design in taking notice of this part of his Sermon, is only to clear the memory of many excellent persons who are dead; and to vindicate the reputation of some still living, and in the highest stations of the Church, from that load of infamy which this rash man has with so much virulence of speech cast upon them: And to let your lordships see that nothing was intended in all that affair but what was both honourable to those who engaged in it, and, I am persuaded, would have been for the interest and peace of our Church and State, had it been accomplished.
I come now to that which is the proper subject of the present debate; namely, to offer such passages to your lordships, as I humbly conceive do plainly and fully make out the Second Article of the Commons' Impeachment against the preacher; and prove him to have spoken with more freedom than he ought, not only of the Dissenters themselves, but of the Toleration, or, (as he had rather we should call it) the indulgence granted by law to them.
And here, as I remember, it was not denied either by his counsel or himself, but that be had spoken, and spoken with warmth too, against Toleration. The only question is, What
* The Lord Bishop of London.
for High Crimes and Misdemeanors. the Toleration is against which he spake? | Whether it was that which has been granted by law to the Dissenters? Or whether it was only against a general Toleration of Atheists, Deists, Socinians, men of no principles, perhaps of no religion? Or at most, against such of the Dissenters as abused the indulgence granted them by law; and made use of it to purposes not at all warranted by it? The former of these the Commons charge upon him: the latter he pretends; the better to clear himself of their | Charge.
To determine this point, I must in the first place beg leave to observe, that among the several sorts of False Brethren enumerated by the preacher, with relation to God, Religion or the Church; the second kind is of those, who give up any point of the Church's discipline and worship, page 8. To this he adds, "that those are False Brethren who defend Toleration and Liberty of Conscience. And that we may the better know what Toleration and Liberty of Conscience he means, he specifies the very persons to whom he refers, and of "If, (says whom he speaks; the Dissenters: he,) to comply with the Dissenters both in pubiic and private affairs, as persons of tender conscience and piety, to promote their interests in elections, to sneak to them for places and preferments, to defend Toleration and Liberty of Conscience, and, under the pretence of moderation, excuse their separation, are the criterions of a true Church-man; God deliver us all from such False Brethren!"
page 15. And that these again are the same
And first, he tells us, page 18. "That it
The Toleration, therefore, and Liberty of Conscience, against which he speaks, must necessarily be that of the Dissenters; those who separate from our Church: he names no others; but carries the same persons through the whole sentence, both before and after those expressions. Either therefore it is no reflection upon the Act of Indulgence to say, that all those who defend the Toleration of the Dissenters, and are for allowing Liberty of Conscience to them, are False Brethren with relation to God, Religion or the Church, page 6, 7, and such against whom we ought to pray to God to deliver us all, page 8: or if this cannot with any reason be either said or supposed, then it must remain that Dr. Sacheverell has here said what the Commons charge him withal; and that in express terms, viz. That he is a False Brother who defends the Toleration, not of Deists, Socinians, and I know not | what monsters of irreligion, but of the Dissenters: those same Dissenters, who by the Act of Indulgence have a right to that Liberty of Conscience of which this gentleman speaks 30 very hardly; and prays God to defend us from all such False Brethren as shall presume to excuse it.
But not to insist upon a single passage which may be supposed to have dropt unwarily from him: in the second part of his Sermon, he proceeds to shew the great perils and mischiefs of those False Brethren against whom he was before speaking, both to the Church and State,
But what then must we do to secure ourselves against these dangerous enemies? Why first, the Doctor assures us, that they are never to be gained by any favour that can be shewed to them. "That he must be very weak, or something worse, that thinks, or pretends that
the Dissenters" (for of these he still speaks) "are to be won over by any other grants and indulgences than giving up our whole constitution." This shews the folly of trying the soft way of indulgence with them: and therefore he concludes, "That he who recedes the least tittle from it" (our constitution) "to satisfy or ingratiate with these clamorous, insatiable church-devouring malignants, knows not what spirit they are of; or he ought to shew who is the true member of our Church."
This, I think, comes fully up to what is objected against him; namely, "That Dr. Sacheverell does in his Sermon suggest and maintain, that the Toleration granted by law is unreasonable and the allowance of it unwarrantable." For so it needs must be, if the Dissenters be such men as he tells us they are; and will be satisfied with nothing less, than he assures us they will. And yet what next follows, is, if possible, still more express to the same pur pose. It is objected against him by the Commons, that he had affirmed in his Sermons, "Queen Elizabeth was defuded by archbishop Grindall," (whom he scurrilously calls a false. son of the Church, and a perfidious prelate) "to the toleration of the Genevian discipline." The fact is not denied, but the expressions are excused; and the truth of the allegation is endeavoured to be made out by historical memoirs and it is hoped that your lordships will not account it a High Crime and Misdemeanor, to have spoken too hardly of a prelate who has been so many years in his grave.
this means, "His son fell a martyr to their fury; his unhappy offspring suffered such dis astrous calamities, as made the royal family one continued sacrifice to their malice." And all this for want of those wholesome severities, which the wise queen, his predecessor, had used utterly to suppress that factious people.
This, my lords, is the Doctor's narrative; and I have given it you in his own words. The application is plain and home. The Dissenters are now again tolerated, as they were heretofore under queen Elizabeth: there is a perfidious prelate (perhaps in his opinion a great many) who, like archbishop Grindall, help to delude another queen into the toleration of them. These eight years past (for the very number of years is remarkable) her majesty has borne the restless spirits of this factious people; and had no quiet for them. It is now high time for her to alter her measures, as queen Elizabeth wisely did. It is the only way to make the crown sit easy and flourishing upon her head. And if this be not plainly to speak out what he would have done with the Act of Indulgence, I must despair of ever be ing able to know any mau's meaning by his expressions. Such examples are not only the most likely to enforce, but the most proper and lively methods to convey a man's sense, even to the dullest capacity; and make him clearly perceive, if not what he ought, yet I am sure what the preacher would have him to do.
The truth is, so plain was his meaning, that he himself began to fear that he had gone a I am, my lords, very far from thinking, that little too far in what he said of this matter. And the Commons ever intended to charge Dr. Sa- for that reason, he added that one poor sencheverell as guilty of High Crimes and Misde- tence which immediately follows, and of which meanors for speaking scandalously of that good he has made such good use since: "That he archbishop. Their concern was not for his would not be misunderstood as if he intended person, what respect soever they may have to cast the least invidious reflection upon that had (as all true friends of the Reformation indulgence the government had condescended must needs have a very great one) for his me- to give them (the Dissenters) :" but what then mory. But the truth of the matter is this: did he intend by all this bitter invective against the preacher complains, page 19 of his Sermon, them; and that very instructive piece of his"That queen Elizabeth was deluded by arch- tory with which he concluded it? He has told bishop Grindall, to the toleration of the Gene- us, "That the Dissenters are False Brethren, vian discipline." He adds, "That the arch- destructive both of our civil and ecclesiastical bishop was a perfidious prelate, for deluding rights: that they are occasional loyalists to her to tolerate that discipline. That she found the State, as well as occasional conformists to it such a head-strong and encroaching monster, the Church; and will betray both whenever that in eight years she saw it would endanger they have it in their power, and it shall be their the monarchy as well as the hierarchy and interest to do it: that it must be a sottish inlike a queen of true resolution, and pious zeal fatuation to believe that the same latitudinarian for both, she pronounced that such were the and republican notions, should not bring forth restless spirits of that factious people,† that no | the same rebellious and pernicious consequiet was to be expected from them, till they quences that we shall be convinced to our were utterly suppressed. That this, therefore, sorrow, if we do not apprehend that the old like a prudent princess, she did by wholesome leaven of their forefathers is still working in severities; and the effect was, that by this the present generation: that they have already means the crown for many years sat easy and made dangerous encroachments upon the goflourishing on her head: but that her succes- vernment, and published treasonable reflections sor, king James, did not follow her wise poli- upon her majesty that they have advanced tics." And the result was as deplorable on his their indulgence into a civil right, and justled side, as it had been glorious on hers: for by the Church out of her establishment, by hoist ing their Toleration into its place: that they have by their abominable hypocrisy, unde mined the foundation of the Church, and en
* Sermon, p. 19.
might the better draw a sense out of them, contrary to his meaning. I shall trouble your lordships but with one part more of it, to the same effect, page 24, 25, where he comes to consider, what should be the result of his long discourse? I shall read it to your lordships in his own words, page 25, "Let us therefore," says he, "as we are unhappy sharers of St. Paul's misfortune, to have our Church in perils amongst False Brethren, follow his example and conduct in a parallel case. He tells us in bis Epistle to the Galatians, c. 2, that he was obstructed and pestered in preaching the Gospel, by False Brethren unawares brought in, who came privily to spy out his liberty which he had in Christ Jesus, that they might bring him into bondage. To whom he gave place by subjection, no not for an hour, that the truth of the Gospel might continue with the Church. Doubtless this brave and bold resolution did the Apostle take by the peculiar command and inspiration of the Holy Ghost: and yet if our Dissenters had lived in those times, they would have branded him as an intemperate, hot, furious zealot, that wanted to be sweetened by the gentle spirit of charity and moderation forsooth."
Here we have again the persons of whom the preacher speaks: they are our Dissenters, not the Deists, Atheists, Socinians, Hypocrites, of our times. And accordingly what follows, plainly refers to them: for thus he goes on,
dangered the government, by filling it with its professed enemies that they are clamorous, insatiable,church-devouring malignants; whom no other grants or indulgences can win over, but the giving up our whole constitution: that ever since their first unhappy plantation in this kingdom, they have improved, and rose upon their demands in the permission of the government: that queen Elizabeth, who tolerated them for eight years together, was forced at last to suppress them by wholesome severities: that this made her crown sit easy and flourishing on her head; whereas king James the first, by not pursuing the like methods, ruined the whole royal family: that nothing better could be expected from such miscreants, begot in rebellion, born in sedition, and nursed up in faction." All this Dr. Sacheverell has said in these very plain, and emphatical words. If he did not intend by all this to shew the necessity of suppressing these factious people, these vipers, who are just ready to sting us all to death, I would be glad to know what it was that he did intend by it? Could he say all this,and with such a singular strain of impetuous eloquence, and yet, "not intend to cast so much as the least invidious reflection upon that indulgence which the government has thought fit to give them ?" I must freely own, my lords, I could never have imagined this: nay, I must be excused if I add, that notwithstanding this poor evasion, I cannot yet believe it. But the Act of Indulgence stood in his way that Act the queen had declared her resolution to maintain: your lordships and the Commons had often shewn your steadiness to the same effect. Even those who pressed so violently against occasional communion, yet thought it necessary to say, in the very preamble of that Bill, That the Act of Indulgence ought inviolably to be observed: and therefore Dr. Sacheverell thought it needful to add somewhat that he knew would not take off any thing from the force of his invective, yet might serve to excuse the severity of it, and be made use of to the purpose it now is, if he should chance to be called to account for it. This, my lords, I conceive to be the true meaning of that one single passage, so utterly repugnant to all the rest of his discourse; nor can I put any other interpretation upon it. For had I the same opinion of these men, their principles and their designs, that Dr. Sacheverell has, I should be so far from thinking them fit to be indulged, that I should account it my daty, and the duty of every true friend to our Church and Government, to take the same methods of wholesome severities with them that queen Elizabeth did and I hope, by God's grace, that should I be questioned for it, I should not dissemble my opinion; but should have the courage honestly to own it, whatever I might chance to suffer for it.
I have, my lords, insisted the longer upon this part of the Doctor's Sermon, because I would not willingly fall under the censure of picking out disjointed sentences, and putting them together from distant places, that so I
Schism and faction are things of impudent and encroaching natures; take permissions for power; and advance a Toleration" (for so the Doctor is still at liberty to call what we must stile Indulgence) "immediately into an establishment." Your lordships will please to observe, by the way, that this was the very thing he had before said of these same persons, page 19, and thereby plainly shews, that he speaks in both places of those Dissenters who have a right to the Toleration or Indulgence, granted by law to Protestant Dissenters. Let us now hear what he would have done with them. Why he would have them "treated like growing mischiefs, or infectious plagues; kept at a distance, lest the deadly contagion spread." And the method he proposes in order thereunto, is this, "Let us therefore," says he, "have no fellowship with these works of darkness; but rather reprove them." These works, schisin and of faction; for these, and these only, he here speaks. This is the people's part, and the inferior pastors: "As for the superior pastors, let them do their duty, in thundering out their ecclesiastical anathemas against them." Against whom, my lords? what works of darkness? Still the same he before mentioned: our Dissenters, those are the persons: their schism and faction; those are the works of darkness to which he refers. "And
let any power on earth dare reverse a sentence ratified in heaven."
This, my lords, was the last part of the Commons' Impeachment upon this second Article: and it is so plainly expressed by the