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should, from his royal seat, so universally assert this royal principle, that conscience ought not to be restrained, nor people forced for matters of religion.”* The several ad . dresses above-mentioned express their humble dependance op his majesty's royal promise to secure their rights and properties, and that be will endeavor to engage his two houses of parliament to concur with him in this good work. Here are no flights of expression, nor promises of obedience without reserve, but purely a sense of gratitude for the restoration of liberty.t
And though it must be allowed that some fer dissenters, from an excess of joy, or it may be, from a strong resentment against their late persecutors, published some severe pamphlets, and gave too much countenance to the measures of the court, as Mr. Lobb, Alsop, and Penn the quaker, yet the body of them kept at a distance, and," as
* There are, it has been justly observed to the editor, some errors in the above extract : viz. the word royal instead of glorious, before principle ; and the omission of mere before religion. Ed.
+ Though Mr. Neal's character of the addresses which he quotes, be admitted as just, it will not apply to all which the dissenters present, ed on this occasion : “Some of them," Dr. Calamy observes, "ran high.” Bat for the strong language in which they were expressed, or, for the numbers to which they amounted, an apology may be drawn from the excess of joy with which the royal indulgence, though an insidious measure, naturally inspired those who, for many years, had groaned under the rod of persecution. It should also be considered, that but very few, comparatively, think deeply or look far. Present, pleasing appearances mislead and captivate the generality. There is also a propensity in mankind to follow those who take the lead, and a readiness to credit and tatter royalty and greatness. The dissenters, however, not without reason, incurred eensure for 6 a vast croud of congratulatory addresses complimenting the king in the highest manner, and protesting what mighty returns of loyalty they would make :" and were called "the Pope's journeymen to carry on his work.” But these censures came with an ill grace, as Dr. Calamy remarks, “ from the church party, who had set them the pattern ;" who in a most loxuriant manner had thanked King Charles for dissolving one of the best parliaments; who were mighty forward in the surrender of ebarters ; and who, in their fulsome addresses, made no other claim to their liberties and civil rights than as concessions from the erown, telling the king, "every one of his commands was stamped with God's authori. ty." The university of Oxford, in particular, promised King James to obey him without limitations or restrictions. Dr. Grey and Calamy's Life of Howe, p. 187-8. Ed.
tbankful as they were for their liberty, (says lord Halifax) they were fearful of the issue ; neither can any number of consideration among them be charged with hazarding the public safety, by falling in with the measures of the court, of which they had as great a dread as their neigbbors."* And the lords, in a conference with the house of commons upon the occasional bill, in the first year of queen Apne, say, “ That in the last and greatest danger the church was exposed to, the dissenters joined with her, with all imaginable zeal and sincerity against the papists their common enemies, shewing no prejudice to the cburch, but the utmost respect to the bishops when sent to the Tower."
But as the king and ministry carried all before them, the church party were io despair, and almost at their wits end ; they saw themselves on the brink of ruin, imagining that they should be turned out of their freeholds for not reading the king's declaration, and that the non-conformists would be admitted into their pulpits; as Dr. Sherlock, master of the Temple, acknowledged in conversation to Mr. Howe;t and that, as the papists had already invaded the universities, they would in a little time overset the whole hierarchy. Io this distess they turned their eyes all
** The churchmen on their side,” says Dr. Warner, “did all that Jay in their power 10 establish an union, as the only possible means of their joint security. They published pamphlets from time to time, acknowledging their error in driving the presbyterians to extremities; confessing that they were not enough upon their guard against the arti. fices of the court, and promising a very different behavior on the reestablishment of their affairs. It must be owned, that this conduct was dextrous, and sensible, and just. It must be said, however,” observes this author, “that they had not attained this wisdom, till it was almost too late ; at least, not during the space of twenty years, and til by their absurd principles of passive obedience, taught in their pulpits, and acts of parliament, they had enabled the king to become arbitrary and tyrannical. It is no less true, thut an accusation lies against them of having forgotten this promise after the revolution, as they did at the restoration of Charles II." Eccles. Hist. vol. ii. p. 639, 40. Ed.
+ " Who knows," said Dr. Sherlock, “ but Vir. Howe may be offered to be master of the Temple ?" Mr. Howe replied. “ that he should not baulk an opportunity of more public service if offered on terms he had no just reason to except against.” But then he added, " That he would not meddle with the emolument, otherwise than as an haud to convey
around them for relief: they applied to the dissenters, giv. ing tbem the strongest assurances of a comprehension, and toleration in better times, if they would but assist in delivering them out of their present troubles. Bishop Burnet says, that the clergy here in England wrote to the prince of Orange, and desired him to send over some of the dissenting preachers, whom the violence of the former times had driven into Holland, and to prevail effectually with them to oppose apy false brethren, wbom the court might have gained over; and that they sent over very solemn assurances, which passed through bis own hands, that in case they stood firm now to the common interest they would in a better time come into a comprehension of such as could be brought into conjunction with the church, and to a toleration of the rest. Agreeably to these assurances, wlien the reverend Mr. Howe, Mr. Mead, and other refugee ministers, waited on the prince of Orange, to return him thanks for the protection of the country, and to take their leave, his highness made them some presents to pay their debts and defray their charges home; and having wished them a good voyage, he advised them to be very cautious in their addresses, and not to suffer themselves to be drawn into the measures of the court so far as to open a door for the introducing of popery, by desiring the taking off of the pe. nal laws and test as was intended. * He requested them also to use their influence with their brethren to lay them under the saine restraints. His highness sent orders like. wise to monsieur Dykvelt his resident, to press the dissenters to stand off from the court; and to assure them of a full toleration and comprehension if possible, when the it to the legal proprietor.” Upon this the doctor, not a little transported with joy, rose up from his seat and embraced him; saying, “ that had always taken him for that ingenuous honest man that he now found him to be." Mr. Howe afterwards told this passage to a dignitary of the eburch, to whom the doctor was well known : signifying, how little he was prepared to reply to a supposition that had not so much as once entered into his thoughts before. The gentlemau answered ; “Sir, you say you had not once thought of the case. or so much'as supposed any thing like it ; but you must give me leave to tell you, if you had studied ühe case seven years together, you could not have said any thing more Lo the parpose, or more to the doctor's satisfaction.” Calamy's Life of Ilowe, p. 141-2. Ed.
* Calamy's Life of Howe, p. 132.
crown should devolve on the princess of Orange. Agents were sent among the dissenters to soften their resentments against the church, and to assure them, that for the future they would treat them as brethren, as will be seen in the next chapter.
The dissenters had it now in their power to distress the church party, and it may be, to have made reprisals, if they would have given way to the revenge, and fallen heartily in with the king's measures. They were strongly solicited on both sides; the king preferred them to places of profit and trust, and gave them all manner of countenance and encouragement, and the church men loaded them with promises and assurances what great things they would do for them, as soon as it should be in their power. But, alas! no sooner was the danger over than the majority of them forgot their vows in distress; for when the convocation met the first time after the Revolution, they would not hear of a comprehension, nor so much as acknowledge the foreign churches for their brethren, seeming rather inclined to return to their old methods of persecution. So little dependence ought to be placed on high church promises !
But in their present circumstances it was Becessary to flatter the non-conformists, and weaken the king's hands, by dissuading the dissenters from placing any confidence in their new friends ; for this purpose a pamphlet, written by the marquis of Halifax, and published by advice of some of the most eminent dignitaries of the church, was dispersed, entitled, A letter to a dissenter upon occasion of his majesty's late gracious declaration of indulgence. It begins with saying, “that church men are not surprised nor provoked at the dissenters accepting the offers of ease from the late bardships they lay under; but desired them to consider, 1. The cause they have to suspect their new friends. And, 2. Their duty in christianity and prudence not to hazard the public safety by a desire of ease or revenge.
“ With regard to the first, the church of Rome (says the author) does not only dislike your liberty, but, by its principles, cannot allow it; they are not able to make good their vows; nay, it would be a habit of sin that requires absolution ; you are therefore bugged now only that you may be the better squeezed another time.
To come se
quick from one extreme to another is such an unnatural motion, that you ought to be on your guard : the other day you were the sons of Belial, now you are angels of light. Popery is now the only friend of liberty, and the known enemy of persecution. We have been under shameful inistakes if this can be either true or lasting.”
The letter goes on to insinuate, “that some ministers had been bribed into the measures of the court; that they were under engagements, and impowered to give rewards to others, where they could not persuade. Now if these or others should preach op anger and vengeance against the church of England, ought they not rather to be suspected of corruption, than to act according to judgment. If they who thank the king for his declaration should be engaged to justify it in point of law, I am persuaded it is more than the addressers are capable of doing. There is a great difference between enjoying quietly the advantage of an act irregularly done by others, and becoming advocates for it; but frailties are to be excused. Take warning by the mistake of the church of England, when after the Restoration they preserved so long the bitter taste of your rough usage to them, that it made them forget their interest, and sacri. fice it to their revenge. If you had now to do with rigid prelates the argument might be fair on your side, but since the common danger has so laid open the mistake, that all former haughtiness towards the dissenters is for ever extinguished, and the spirit of persecution is turned into a spirit of
peace, charity, and condescension, will you not be moved by such an example? If it be said the church is only humble when it is out of power; the answer is, that is uncharitable, and an unseasonable triumph; besides, it is not so in fact, for if she would comply with the court, she could turn all the thunder upon yourselves, and blow you off the stage with a breath ; but she will not be rescued by such unjustifiable means. You have formerly very justly blamed the church of England for going too far in her compliance with the court; conclude, therefore, tbat you must break off your friendship, or set no bounds to it. The church is now convinced of its error, in being too severe to you; the next parliament will be gentle to you; the next beir is bred in a country famous for indulgence; there