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|The Perils of False Brethren, both in
Church, and State
Henry Sacheverell 1709
|Consider the Perils of A new Age
Henry Sacheverell's Sermon delivered on the fifth of November 1709 calls upon his country and state to return to a time when the church was the foundation for the state and nation. New thinking, interpretation of a foundation created by God by mere mortals had undermined the premise that the protection of the state depended upon the will of God. How could we re-interpret things to suit the human mind? Dissenters and secular philosophers? How could we be protected as in 1605 when we have tampered with the church for political and financial gain and have killed a King.
This sermon marked an important turning point. effigies of Guy Fawkes turned up more often than the devil and the pope. The country had stepped out of the miracle play mentality, placed the Eye of God on the sidelines and placed Guy within a mortal political framework. He was no longer the devil in the vault but just another politician. He was not a divine force but a political force which could be overcome by the hand of man. This was the beginning of his long decline. By the middle of the 19th century Guy was not even strong enough to threaten to blow up parliament even if you wanted him to. By the end of the 19th century he was a clown with his role in pantomimes known more closely than the threat he once posed to civilization and the role of the eye of God in saving us all from him.
Sacherverell gives us a good idea of how threatening this change was at
the time. It is a good reflection upon the growing Enlightenment and the
significance of regicide sanctioned by government.
The Sermon lead to Sacherverell's impeachment and the fall of the Whig government. Read the articles of impeachment and the censure click here.
Set forth in a
Before the Right Honourable
Aldermen, and Citizens of London,
Cathedral- Church of St. Paul,
On the 5th of November, 1709
-Haud impendenter Speculatus Neminem celerius Opprima (?) quan Qui nihil timeret, & Frequentissimum Initium esse Calamitatis Securitatem,. V. Paterc. L. 2.c.118.
--When they shall say Peace and Safety, then Sudden Destruction cometh upon them as Travail upon a Woman with Child, and they shall not escape, 1 Thess, c.5.v.3.
By Henry Sacheverell, D.D. Fellow of Magdalen-College, Oxon, and Chaplain of St. Saviour's, Southwark.
Printed for Henry Clements, at the Half-Moon in
St. Paul's Church-Yard, 1709
To the Right Honourable
Sir Samuel Garrard,
Lord-Mayor of the City of London.
By your Lordship's Command this discourse ventures to Appear in Public, in Contempt of all those Scandalous Misrepresentations the Malicious Adversaries of Our Church have Traduc'd it with, and that Impartial Sentence it had the Honour to receive from some of those Acute, and Wise Judges, who Condemn'd it without Sight, or Hearing. But 'tis no New Thing with some Men to Censure at Random, what lies out of their sphere; Examining a Cause may prove Dangerous for Fear of their Own Conviction of it's Merits. When Men are Resolv'd to Leap into a Gulph, the best way is to shut their Eyes, for fear they should See their Danger, and Repent of their Folly: When they are thus Abandon'd, and Given up to Ruin, the Charitable Hand, that would hold out an Unwelcome Light to Prevent it, must expect to be Treated with that ungrateful Insolence, and Reproach, which usually Attends the Generous Freedom of those who Dare speak Seasonable, and Necessary Truths. That Patient's Case doubtless is very Desperate, that sets himself against His Cure, and when Men are so stupidly harden'd in their Errors as to Resist the most Glaring Evidence, there's no Room for Argument, or Gospel. Moses, and the Prophets, may with Christ, and his Apostles, be Banish'd from Our Synagogues, when Truth must be Oppress'd by Number, and Noise, and Rebellions Appeals to the People as the only Judges of Right, and Wrong, and the Dernier Resort of Justice, and Dominion. Are not these the Fashionable Methods now made use of to Over-bear, and Silence Our Church, to Affront, and Revile Our Legislature, in order to Break in upon the Prerogative of the Crown? By Threatening them with Imaginary Legions, and a Popular Tribunal, where their Authority, and Establishment are to be Try'd, and Determin'd. To put a Stop to which Dangerous, and Encroaching Mischief, that now with Impunity walks up and down thro this Distracted Kingdom, I thought it my Duty, (being Summon'd to this Office by Your Lordship) to Discharge it in the Best Method I could; to Preserve Us from these Malicious Designs by endeavouring if possible to Open the Eyes of the Deluded People, in this Our Great Metropolis; being Conscious of what prodigious Importance it is to the Welfare of the whole Nation, to have its Rich, and Powerful Inhabitants set right in their Notions of Government, both in Church, and State; that they may not be Flatter'd into their Ruin, but seeing the Fatal Coonsequences of these Damnable False Doctrines, which some Seditious Impostors have Labour'd to Poison 'em with, may Forsake, and Detest them. I am confident, My Lord, that this Glorious, and Renown'd City can Boast of so many Excellent Examples of Unshaken Steadiness, Disinterested Probity, and true Zeal, and Loyalty for Our church and Sovereign, that if they would Act with the same open and undaunted Resolution Your Lordship does, these Affrighting Phantoms must Vanish: But if Honest Gentlemen will sit still, and give up their Cause thro' want of Courage, or a Just Sense of the Dangerous Attempts of our Enemies, without the Spirit of Prophecy We may forget what will become of Our Constitution, when 'tis so Vigorously Attack'd from without, and so Lazily Defended from within.
We are told by these Men, who would fain shut both Our Eyes and Our Mouths, in order the more effectually to Undermine and Destroy Us, that the Pulpit is not a Place for Politicks, and that 'tis the Business of a Clergy-Man to Preach Peace, and not Sound a Trumpet in Sion, so expressly contrary to the Command of God, to Cry aloud, and Spare not. My Lord, I was always humbly of Opinion, that the Fifth Commandment was Genuine; the Fanaticks would do well to strike that Dangerous Precept out of the Decalogue, as the Papists have the Second, and that neither might Rise in Judgment against these United Friends and Brethren. Now as this stands the First in the Second Table, is it not of the utmost Importance to be rightly Understood, as containing the Principal Duty that We Owe to God's Vice-Gerents, which has been so Scandalously, and Villainously Misinterpreted of late, to the Great Dishonour of Both? Certainly Our Church thought so formerly, when it took such Care to Guard Our Obedience, with more Homilies, concerning the Peril of Rebellion, than of any other Sin. And when was more Reason for Enforcing their Doctrines than now, when We see these admirable Dissuasives against Faction and Sedition maliciously Wrested to Countenance, and Support it? If our Excellent Constitution apprehends no Hazard from these Licentious Proceedings, I am sure those who would Defend it from them, have reason to do so with regard to their Own Persons: Our Pastors can't do their Duty without being Menac'd for it, and Slander'd by the Vile Amanuenses of the Mob, to expose us to their Fury, as Papists, and Men Disaffected to Her Majesty's Government, whose Safety, Rights, and Establishment, together with those of the Church, We so earnestly contend for; which I solemnly here Declare (as I did before in this Discourse) to be my only Aim and Intention; and in an humble way to follow the Footsteps of Your Lordship, who is so Bright an Ornament, and Support of them, that this Great City may Flourish under Your auspicious Conduct, and never want a Magistrate of your steady Principles to Guide and Govern it, is the Hearty Prayer of,
Most Humble Servant,
2 Cor. xi. 26
In Perils among False Brethren.
Among all the most Dreadful Plots that ever Threatn'd this Church, and Kingdom, the Dismal Tragedy contriv'd as this Day to be Executed on Both, may justly Claim the horrible Precedence, and consequently the Highest Expressions of Our Gratitude for so Astonishing and Miraculous a Deliverance from it. For whether We consider the Black Depth of it's subtle Contrivance, the Destructive Extent, and Sanguinary Consequences of it, or it's Surprizing and Unaccountable Disovery, We must Confess, that nothing but the All-powerful, and Gracioius Hand of God, interposing against the utter Subversion of Our Nation, and religion, could have prevented such a Fatal Conspiracy. A Conspiracy! so full of the most Unheard-of Malice, most Insatiable Cruelty, most Diabolical Revenge, as only could be Hatch'd in the Cabinet-Council of Hell, and brought forth in a Conclave of Romish Jesuits! Now, tho' the History of this Unparallell'd Mystery of Iniquity, was Design'd against Us at such a Distance of Time, and the Fact so evidently Acknowledg'd, that the Papists themselves are so far from Denying, that they Extol it with the Highest Panegyrics; so that there needs neither Proof of the One, or the Repetition of the Other: Yet doubtless 'tis as much Our Duty, as interest, to keep up the Annual Celebration of this Never-to-be-forgotten Festival. For that the very Face, and Shadow of Our Church, and Constitution, is yet Surviving; That this Good, and Pious Relict of the Royal Family, Sits now Happily upon the Throne of Her Great Ancestors; That our Hierarchy, and Nobility was not finally Extirpated, and cut off; That Our Country was not made an Aceldama, a Field of Blood, and a Receptacle of Usurping Robbers; That we yet, without Slavery, Superstition, or Idolatry, enjoy the Benefit of our Excellent Laws, and most Holy Profession Undefil'd: In a Word, That God has yet Vouchsav'd Us this Opportunity of coming into his Presence, to Acknowledge these Inestimable blessings, is owing to his Mercy so signally shewn to Us, in Disappointing the Barbarous Massacre intended This Day. A Day! which ought to stand for Ever in the English Kalender, as an Eternal Aera at the One end, as the Thirtieth of January at the other, for Indelible Monuments of the Irreconcileable Rage, and Blood-thirstiness of both the Popish, and Fanatick Enemies of Our Church, and Government! For these are equally such Treacherous False Brethren, from whom we must always expect the utmost Perils, and against whom we can never sufficiently Arm Ourselves with the greatest Caution, and Security. These Two Days indeed, are but One United Proof, and Visible Testimonial of the same Dangerous, and Rebellious Principles, these Confederates in Iniquity Maintain: And as the One is but a Thanksgiving of our Deliverance from what the First Projected; so is the other an Humiliation, for what God permitted the Latter, by Their Help and Direction, to put in Execution. I think therefore, the Best way of Acknowledging These Great Mercies, and Judgements of God, and Acquitting Both Solemnities in a Proper way, is by so justly Considering Our circumstances with respect to Each Side as to Guard against Their Malicious, and Factious Designs for the future; that we may never Trust Either, to need a Second Deliverance from those Villainous Enterprizes, they will never cease to put in Practice, whenever they see an Opportunity of doing it with Security.
Now as Persecution, and Affliction, were the Distinguishing Badges of the Messiah, who was a Man of Sorrows, and Acquainted with Griefs, so to Convince his Disciples, that his Kingdom was not of this World, He Bequeath'd the same sad Legacy to them, to share the Character, as well as imitate the Example, of their Dying Lord, and Master. With unshaken Courage, and Resolution, to take up His Bloody Cross, and follow the Great Leader of their Salvation; to March with a Cheerful Magnanimity thro' all the Powers of Darkness, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of Their Faith, who for the Joy that was set before Him, Endur'd the Cross, despising the Shame, and is set down at the Right-hand of the Throne of God. Thus was His Church to expect no Better Treatment than her Great Founder, and Original, to pass thro' the same Fiery Trial, to be made Perfect through Sufferings, to be Militant here, in order to be Triumphant hereafter; and like Him, to be Crown'd with thorns in This World, to obtain a Crown of Glory in the Next. Not only to Encounter the Open Fury and Violence of Her Profess'd, and Inveterate Enemies; but (which was the Bitterest Part of Her Sufferings) like Her Saviour, to be Betray'd, and perfidiously Given up by Her Own False-hearted, and insidious Apostles.
As the Histories of the Church in All Ages, are as 'twere but One continu'd Ramification of this Melancholy Truth, made up of so many Mournful Narratives, of the Unhappy Lives, and Disastrous Deaths of Saints, Martyrs, and Confessors, who Bravely Seal'd the Faith with their Blood, so it is Exemplify'd in no One Instance more than in that Primitive, and Heroic Champion of Christianity, the Author of this Epistle. Wherein, for the Wonder, and Emulation of Posterity, He has Recorded a Long and Frightful Catalogue of those Astonishing Calamities He had underwent in the Propagation of the Gospel. Such Ample Satisfaction, did the Pious Labours of the Convert, make for the wicked Persecution of the Few; when by a Miraculous Turn of Providence, the Greatest Sinner was Chang'd into the Devoutest Saint, and the most Zealous Bigot against, into the most Resolute Sufferer for, Religion. Yet however this Great Apostle might have Attain'd so Extraordinary a Degree of Merit, as to Out-shine all that Noble Army of Martyrs, which Adorn the Bloody Kalender of the Church; nay, as He Expresses it, to come never a whit Short of the Greatest Apostles, and as 'twere to Vye Characters with the very Chosen of the Son of God; Does it not seem a little to carry the Air of Ostentation, and Vain-Glory, thus to Claim the Pre-eminence and Supremacy, and to Boast himself in that Pompous Shew of Services, that he had done for God, and the Church? But We shall easily Reconcile the Apostle and the Orator, and find no Imputation upon His Modesty, if we Consider the Occasion of it. He had (as He informs Us) with much Pains, and Expence Planted Christianity in Corinth, where He had no sooner by a Miraculous Ministry Established it, but several False Apostles and Seducers(?), were in his Absence Crept into the Church, to Vitiate, and Corrupt his New Proselytes, under the Pretence of More Purity, and Holiness, (like Our Modern Sectarists to raise a schism amongst 'em, and to Draw them off from the Opinion they had of St. Paul; by Ridiculing Him for his Person, and Address, as a Little, Unedifying, Un-gifted Preacher, of a weak Bodily Presence, and Contemptible Speech; thus Wounding the Ministry, thro' the Sides of the Minister. Such Slights, and Provocations, certainly were a Sufficient Ground for the Apostle to Insist upon his Character, lest the Gospel should Suffer by it; And with Authority to Rebuke the Ingratitude of the Corinthians, and Vindicate his Dignity, and Transcendent Excellencies, against the base Lyes, and Calumnies cast upon Him by such False Apostles, Deceitful Workers Transforming themselves into the Apostles of Christ, like their True Father the Devil, Transforming himself into an Angel of Light. With what Justice then might He here stand upon the Comparison, when thus vilely Run down, by such Wretched, Empty, Hypocritical Sophisters? To Appeal to his Spiritual Gifts, and Revelations, and Sufferings, in Competition with such Impudent Boasting, Self-conceited Pretenders, was the Lowest Act of Humility, and Good-Nature; to Condescend to Dispute with such as ought to be Answer'd not with Arguments, but Anathemas! Yet behold the Singular Modesty of this Great Apostle! He cannot enter upon his Own Justification, without much Reluctance, and a long Apology to introduce it. I am become a Fool in Glorying, (says He,) but You have Compell'd Me to it. I Speak as concerning Reproach, as tho' We had been Weak: Howbeit, wherein any is Bold, I Speak foolishly, I am Bold also. Are They Hebrews? So am I! Are they Israelites? so am I! Are They the seed of Abraham? so am I! Are they Ministers of Christ? I speak as a Fool, I am more. In Labours more Abundant, in Stripes above Measure, in Prisons more frequent, in Deaths often; of the Jews Five times receiv'd I Forty Stripes, save One. Thrice was I beaten with Rods, Once was I Ston'd,. Thrice I suffer'd Shipwreck, a Night and a Day have I been in the Deep. In Journeyings often, in Peril of Waters, in Perils of Robbers, in Perils by my Own Country-men, in Perils by the Heathen, in Perils in the City, in Perils in the Wilderness, in Perils in the Sea, in Perils amongst FALSE BRETHREN. In this Rhetorical Abridgment of the Sufferings, and Dangers of his Life, there's a very Observable Gradation; the Apostle Still Rises in his Calamities, and puts this Last as the Highest Perfection of his Misery, as that which made the deepest Impression upon his Passions, and what He bore with the Greatest Resentment, and Difficulty. The many severe Pains, and Tortures inflicted on his Body, were nothing to This; nay, the Good-Nature, and Mercy of Highway-Men, and Pagans, and even the Devouring Bosom of the Deep, were to be Preferr'd before, and sooner (it seems) to be trusted to than the more certainly Destructive, and Fallacious Bosom of a Treacherous, FALSE BROTHER.
I shall take the Expression in its full Latitude, without confining it to the express Design of the Place; tho' it were very Obvious to draw a Parallel here, betwixt the sad circumstances of the Church of Corinth formerly, and of the Church of England at present; wherein Her Holy Communion has been Rent, and Divided by factions, and Schismatical Imposters; Her Pure Doctrine has been Corrupted and Defil'd; Her Primitive Worship and Discipline Prophan’d, and Abus'd; Her Sacred Orders Deny', and Villify'd; Her Priests, and Professors (like St. Paul,) Calumniated, Misrepresented, and Ridicul'd; Her Altars, and Sacraments Prostituted. to Hypocrites, Deists, Socinians, and Atheists; and this done, I wish I could not say, without Discouragement, I am sure without Impunity, not only by Our Profess'd Enemies, but which is worse by Our Pretended Friends, and FALSE BRETHREN. But to proceed to the Matter before Us: In my Discourse upon these Words, I shall endeavour,
I. First, To shew in what sense, and upon what Accounts Men may be Denominated FALSE BRETHREN.
II. Secondly, I will lay before you the Great PERIL, and Mischief of such, both in Church, and State.
III. Thirdly, I will set forth the Heinous Malignity, Enormous Guilt, and Folly of this Prodigious Sin.
IV. Lastly, As a Consequence from the Whole, I will undertake to Evince what mighty Reason We have at all Times and more especially as present, to Stick firmly to the Principles both of Our Church, and Constitution; and how much it concerns Us to Beware of all those FALSE BRETHREN, that Desert, or Betray them.
I. And First, I will shew in what Sense, and upon what Accounts Men may be denominated FALSE BRETHEREN. IN order to which it will be Necessary to State the full Extent of the Nature of FALSE BROTHERHOOD.
This term being of a Relative Signification, must Respect Men as consider'd under all Social Cases, or as they are plac'd under such Regards, and Circumstances, as in Duty Oblige them both to Think, Speak, and Act with truth and Integrity, correspondent to their Inward Principles, and Outward Professions. And wherein they are found Deviating Willfully from Either, by an Unreasonable Alteration of Judgment, by any Tacit Mental Reserve, or Equivocation, upon any Indirect Ends, or Designs, or Guiding their Expressions, and Actions contrary to these Stated Rules, they are Guilty of Falsehood, both in Conscience, and Practice, of a Breach of that Veracity, Justice, and Trust, that they owe to God, Themselves, and the World, and are properly what are styl'd in the Text FALSE BRETHREN. For whereas every Man that either Believes, Speaks, or Acts Rationally, must be suppos'd to have some Standing-Ground, and Measure of Judgment, settl'd upon some Grand, Primitive Maxims of Truth both Speculative, and Practical whether founded upon Revelation, Reason or Honour, which are what we call any Man's Principles either in Religion, Society, or Friendship: if these Fundamental Axioms have with true Deliberation been sifted, and weigh'd, not only as to their Intrinsic Nature, and Goodness, but as to their Outward Tendency, and Consequences, they must appear tho' not perhaps as Infallible in Themselves, yet with Respect to the Person so considering them, as Demonstrative Truths, as the Light, and Oracles of God, and Reason, set up in his Breast; by which He is always Oblig'd to Direct, and Govern his Thoughts, Resolutions, and Actions; and which if He swerves from, Disowns, or Betrays, upon any Sinister Motive whatsoever, (tho' after this Nice Search they should prove Erroneous) involve the Man in a very Heinous Sin, Treacherously acting against his Judgements, and Giving the Lye both to his Faith, his Reason, and his Knowledge. This Matter being thus briefly Premis'd, it is Evident, that with Regard to the several Objects it is Conversant about, Men may in Three Respects be term'd Guilty of FALSE BROTHERHOOD.
1. First, With Relation to God, the Church, or Religion, in which they hold Faith, or Communion.
2. Secondly, With Relation to the State, Government, or Society, of which they are Members.
3. Thirdly, With Relation to those Private Persons, with whom they have either Friendship, Correspondence, or Dealing.
1. And First, He is a FALSE BROTHER with Relation to God, Religion, or the Church in which He holds Communion, that Believes, Maintains, or Propagates any False, or Heterodox Tenet, or Doctrin, Repugnant to the Express Declarations of Scripture, and the Decrees, or Sense of the Church, and Antiquity thereupon. For as in the First Alone are contain'd the Essential Points, and Articles of our most Holy Faith; so the Primitive Expositions, Decisions, and the Practice of the Ancient Writers of the Pure, and Uncorrupted Ages of Christianity, must certainly be acknowledg'd the Best, and most Authentick Comments upon their Meaning. In Opposition to which, if any Upstart, Novelist, or Self-conceited Enthusiast, out of Pride, as setting Himself above these Genuine Oracles of Truth; or out of Ignorance, as being Unacquainted with the Learning, and Records of Antiquity; or out of Perverseness, scorning to submit his Understanding to the Dictates, or better Reason of Others; or out of Ambition, and Vain-Glory, as Affecting to be the Head, and Leader of some New Self, or Party; (All, or Either of which have, and will be found for ever the Parents of Heresy) and should Break in upon this Sacred Depositum of the Church; and should attempt Blasphemously to Corrupt that Inviolable Fountain of Truth, with Erroneous Conjectures, and Vain Philosophical Systems; to Prophane, and Degrade the Holy Mysteries of Religion, by Absurd Interpretations, and Impudent Reasonings; should we stick to call such a Rebel to God, and Traytor to his Church, a FALSE BROTHER? If a Man should Dare not only to Revive, but to Justify any Execrable, Exploded Heresies, as those of Arrius, and Nestorius, denying the Hypostatical Union, or the Eternity of the Son of God; or should affirm that He was God in Man, or that the Godhead was only located in his Manhood, as God was in the Cloud, or that should Presume to Evacuate the Great Sanction of the Gospel, the Eternity of Hell Torments; or Expound any of the Articles of Our Faith, in such a Loose, and Vagrant way, as may suit 'em as well to a Mahometan's as a Christian's Creed; and to lay open all those Sacred Boundaries of the Church to let in all sectarists, and Schismaticks, of whatsoever Wild, Romantic, or Enthusiastic Notions, so as to make the House of God: not only a Den of Thieves, but a Receptacle of Legions of Devils: Should we cover such a False Apostle under the sacred Umbrage of a True Church-Man? In short, whosoever presumes to Recede the least Tittle from the express Word of God, or to explain the Great Credenda of Our Faith in New-fangl'd Terms of Modern Philosophy, must publish a New Gospel, Un-God his Saviour, and Destroy his Revelation; and by unsettling the Universal, Receiv'd Doctrin of the Church, give up Christianity into Scepticism, and Atheism; and to speak the best of his Character, is FALSE both to his God, and his Religion, and shall be call'd hereafter, The least in the Kingdom of Heaven, how Great soever he may be in the Kingdoms here below. And as a Man may thus Betray the Doctrin of his Church, so is he no less FALSE to it's Interest, that gives up any Point of her Discipline, and Worship. These are the Exterior Fences to Guard the Internals of Religion, without which they are left Naked, without Beauty, Order, or Defence. Should any Man, out of Ignorance, or Prejudice, to the Ancient Rights, and Essential Constitution of the Catholic Church, affirm, That the Divine Apostolical Institution of Episcopacy, is a Novel Doctrin, not sufficiently Warranted by Scripture, and that 'tis Indifferent whether the Church is Govern'd by Bishops, or Presbyters; Is not such a One an Apostate from his Own Orders.? Let the Christian World be Judge, who best Deserve the Name of Church-Men, those that strickly Defend, and Maintain the Catholic Doctrines upon which the Church, as a Society, is Founded; or those who would Barter them for a Mongril-Union of All Sects? Those who Zealously support her Mission, which only can Support her, or those who would Destroy it, to take in Schismatical Presbyters without Episcopal Ordination, which would Un-Church the very Church, and Annihilate her Constitution? Is this the Spirit, and Doctrine of Our Holy Mother? To assert separation from Her Communion, to be no Schism; or if it was, that Schism is no Damnable Sin; that Occasional Conformity is no Hypocrisy, but rather for the Benefit of the Church; that any One may be an Occasional Conformist with Schismatics, and yet not Guilty of Schism; that a Christian may serve God in any Way or Congregation of Worship, as well by Extempory Prayers, as by a Prescrib’d Form, and Liturgy; that Conformity to the Church, and Ecclesiastical Authority, are no Parts of Morality, and a Good-Life, which are only necessary to Salvation: That the Orders and Ceremonies of the Church, are only Carnal, Arbitrary Ordinances, to be Dispens'd with as Men please, both by Clergy and Laity; that the Censures, and Excommunications of the Church, are meer Bruta Fulmina, Canonical Obedience, and Absolution, Spiritual Tyranny, and Usurpation; and in a Word, that the Whole Body of Worship, and Discipline of the Church of England, is nothing else but Priestcraft and Popery in Masquerade. If upon all Occasions to comply with the Dissenters both in Publick, and Private Affairs, as Persons of Tender Conscience, and Piety, to promote their Interests in Elections, to Sneak to 'em for Places, and Preferment, to Defend Toleration, and Liberty of Conscience, and under the pretence of Monderation, to excuse Their Separation, and lay the Fault upon the True Sons of the Church, for carrying Matters too high; if to Court the Fanaticks in Private, and to hear 'em with Patience, if not Approbation; Rail at, and Blaspheme the Church, and upon occasion to Justfy the King's Murder; If to Flatter both the Dead and the Living in their Vices, and to tell the World, that if they have Wit, and Money enough they need no Repentance, and that only Fools and Beggars can be Damn'd; If these, I say, are the Modish and Fashionable Criterions of a True-Church-Man, God deliver Us All from such FALSE BRETHREN.
There is another sort of them who are for a Neutrality in Religion, who Really are of None, but are a surer sort of Reserv'd Athiests, who always pretend to be of the Church, Join in the Herd, and will sometimes frequent Our Public Communion, as long as the Government appears on Our side; but if any thing is to be got by it, can with as false a Conscience slide privately into a Conventicle, and look as Demure as the finest saint amongst 'em. They are equally of All, and of No Communion, they are the Gallios that care for none of these things; They tell Us they are for the Religion Establised by Law, but no longer than 'tis so; they can see neither Sin nor Danger in that Ecclesiastical Bugbear, as they call Schism, yet talk very loud about Union, Comprehension, and Moderation, by all which Canting Expressions, they mean nothing but Getting Mony and Preferment, by holding in with Persons of all Parties, and Characters, Halting betwixt a Diversity of Opinions, and Reconciling God, and Belial for Gain. To these we may add those who either out of Fear, or Complaisance, can tamely, and without Vindication, hear their God, and Religion Blasphem'd and Abus'd. But there are another sort of FALSE BRETHREN, who set up for a greater Perfection in Piety than their Neighbours, who like their Originals, the Pharisees in the Gospel, are always pleading their merits before God, and the World, with an Ostentation of Sanctity in comparison with their Profane Brethren, with a Stand-off, for I am Holier than Thou! These are the Saints, that under the Pretence of Conscience, shall Commit the most Abominable Impieties, and Justify Murder, Sacriledge, and Rebellion, by Texts of Scripture. There are yet another Sort of FALSE BRETHREN, of quite Opposite Character to these, who wish well to the Church of England, and really Believe that Her Constitution in Doctrin, Discipline, and Worship, the Best, and Purest in the Christian World; and when either their Tongues, Hands, or Purses are wanting in Her Defence, are ready to Sacrifice their Parsons, and Estates in Her Vindication. These indeed are Noble Qualifications, and 'tis pity so Good a Character should want any thing to Compleat it. And to turn the Words of our Blessed Savior, to the Rich Man, Yet One thing thou lackest, thy Zeal is to be shewn In, as well as For, the Communion of the Church, in Obeying Her Precepts, as well as Defending Her Rights. In all these Cases there is a Serious and Deliberate Act of Treachery against conscience and Conviction, a Base Forfeiture of that Spiritual Allegiance We owe to God, and Our Church, as a Sacred Body, and Fraternity, that ought to Preserve Inviolable Unity, professing One Faith, One Baptism, One God and Saviour of Us All.
2. But Secondly, Men may be Denominated FALSE BRETHREN, with Relation to the State, Government, or Society of which they are Members. The Constitutions of most Governments differing according to their several Frames, and Laws, upon which they are Built, and Founded, it is impossible to lay down any One Universal Rule, as the Scheme, and Measure of Obedience, that may square to every one of them. Only this Maxim in general, I presume, may be, Establish'd for the Safety, Tranquility, and Support of All Governments that no Innovation whatsoever should be Allow'd in the Fundamental Constitution of any State, without a very Pressing, nay Unavoidable Necessity for it; and whosoever Singly or in a Private Capacity should attempt it, is Guilty of the Highest Misdemeanour, and is an Enemy to that Politick Body of which he is a Member. To apply this Maxim to our Government, in which the Truth of it will very evidently Appear. Our Constitution both in Church and State has been so admirably Contriv'd, with that Wisdom Weight and Sagacity, and the Temper, and Genius of each, so exactly Suited, and Modell'd to the Mutual Support, and Assistance of One another, that 'tis hard to say, whether the Doctrins of the Church of England contribute more to Authorize, and Enforce Our Civil Laws, or Our Laws to Maintain, and Defend the doctrines of Our Church. The Natures of Both are so nicely Correspondent, and so happily Intermixt, that 'tis almost impossible to offer a Violation, to the One, without Breaking in upon the Body of the Other. So that in all those Cases before mention'd, whosoever Presumes to Innovate, Alter, or Misrepresent any Point in the Articles of the Faith of our Church ought to be Arraign'd as a Traytor to our State; Heterodoxy in the Doctrins of the One, Naturally producing, and almost Necessarily Inferring Rebellion, and High-Treason in the Other, and consequently a Crime that concerns the Civil Magistrate, as much as to Punish, and Restrain, as the Ecclesiastical. However this Alteration at first View may look like a High-flown Paradox, the Proof of it will fully appear in a few Instances. The grand Security of our Government, and the very Pillar upon which it Stands, is founded upon the steady Belief of the Subject's Obligation to an Absolute, and Unconditional Obedience to the Supream Power, in All Things Lawful, and the utter Illegality of Resistance upon any Pretence whatsoever. But this Fundamental Doctrin, notwithstanding it's Divine Sanction in the Express Command of God in Scripture, and without which, it is impossible any Government of any Kind, or Denomination in the World, should subsist with Safety, and which has been so long the Honourable, and Distinguishing Characteristic of Our Church, is now, it seems, quite Exploded and Redicul'd out of Countenance, as an Unfashionable, Superannuated, nay (which is more wonderful) as a Dangerous Tenet, utterly Inconsistent with the Right Liberty and Property of the PEOPLE; who as our New Preachers, and New Politicians teach us, (I suppose by a New, and Unheard of Gospel, as well as Laws) have in Contradiction to Both, the Power Invested in Them, the Fountain and Original of it, to Cancel their Allegiance at pleasure, and call their Sovereign to account for High-Treason against his Supream Subjects, forsooth! nay to De-throne, and Murder Him for a Criminal, as they did the Royal Martyr by a Judiciary Sentence. And what is almost Incredible, presume to make their Court to their Prince, by maintaining such Anti-monarchical Schemes. But God be Thanked! neither the Constitution of our Church or State, is so far Alter'd, but that by the Laws of Both, (Still in Force, and which I hope for ever will be) these Damnable Positiors, let 'em come either from Rome, or Geneva, from the Pulpit, or the Press, are condemn'd for Rebellion, and High-Treason. Our Adversaries think they effectually stop our Mouths, and have Us Sure and Unanswerable on this Point, when they urge the Revolution of this Day in their Defence. But certainly They are the Greatest Enemies of That, and His Late Majesty, and the most Ungrateful for the Deliverance, who endeavour to cast such Black and Odious Colours upon Both. How often must they be told, that the * King Himself solemnly Disclaim'd the Least Imputation of Resistance in his Declaration; and that the Parliament declar'd, That they set the Crown on his Head, upon no other Title, but that of the Vacancy of the Throne? And did they not Unanimously condemn to the Flames, (as it justly Deserv'd) that Infamous Libel, that would have Pleaded the Title of Conquest! by which Resistance was suppos'd? So Tender were they of the Regal Rights, and so averse to infringe the least Title of Our Constitution! We see how ready these Incendaries are to take the least Umbrage, to charge their own Cursed Tenets on the Church of England, to Derive their Guilt upon it, and Quit Scores with it for Their Iniquity! Thus do they endeavour to draw Comparisons, and to Justify the horrid Actions and Principles of Forty One, which have been of late Years, to the Scandal of Our Church, and Nation, so Publickly Defended, not only by the Agents and Writers of the Republican Faction, but by some that have the Confidence to Style themselves Sons, and Presbyters of the Church of England; who in open defiance of the most peremptory Declarations of God in Scripture, (never to be evaded by any Shifts or Misinterpretations) and the Universal Doctrin, and Expositions of the Catholick Church upon it in all Ages, with the express Testimony, and Concurrence of Our Church, from it's Reformation down to the Present Times, Corroborated with the Sense of Our Legislature, so unexceptionably Confirm'd in Our Laws, Dare in Delight and Contempt of all this Evidence, manifestly Defend the Resistance of the Supream Power, under a New fangl'd Notion of Self-Defence; the only Instance they shew of Shame, that they dare not YET, maintain Rebellion by it's Proper Name, Yet, if those silly Pretences, and weak Excuses for it alledg'd, carry any Strength or Reason in them at all, they will equally serve to Justify All the Rebellions that ever were, or can be committed in the World. Now as the Republicans Copy after the Papists in most of their Doctrins and Practices, I would fain know in this, where the diference lies, betwixt the Powers Granted to, (as 'tis suppos'd Originally invested, but from what Commission God Knows) in the People to Judge and Dethrone their Sovereigns, for any Cause they think fit, or a no less Usurp'd Power of the Pope, to solve the People from their Allegiance, and dispose of Scepters, and Diadems to his Favourites, whenever he thinks it his Interest to pluck them from his Enemies Heads. Comparisons are generally Odious; but a Learned Bishop of our Kingdom, whose Aversion to Popery I hope, is not
**His Highness Declares, in Opposition to those who give out, That We do intend to CONQUER and ENSLAVE these NATIONS, that we have thought fit to add a few Words to Our Declaration; "It is not to be imagin'd that either those who have Invited Us, or those who are already come to Assist Us, can Joyn in a WICKED ATTEMPT of CONQUEST to make void their Own Lawful Titles to their Honours, Estates and Interests. See the Prince of Orange's Declaration. Dr. Kennet's History of the Four Last Reigns, p. 493
Doubted, I mean the *Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of Sarum, has been Bold Judiciously to Determine, even on the Papist's side in this Case, That if such a Deposing Power is to be entrusted in Mortals Hands, less Inconveniencies will ensue in placing it in One, than in Many, tho' God forbid it ever should be Lodg'd in any other than that of God himself, the Original of all Power, from whom it proceeds, and to whom it must Return, the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and ONLY Ruler of Princes. So that these Romantick wild Notions will carry Us into something worse (if 'tis possible) than Popery itself; more Fatal to the Rights and Interests of the Crown, and the Welfare, and Tranquillity of Our Constitutions, which can never be Safe under such Precarious Dependencies, and Despotic Imaginations. A Prince indeed, in another Sense, will be the Breath of his Subject's Nostrils, to be Blown in, or out, at their caprice, and Pleasure, and a worse Vassal than even the meanest of his Guards. Such Villainous and Seditious Principles as these, Demand a Confutation from that Government they so insolently Threaten, and Arraign, and which are only Proper to be Answer'd by that Sword they would make our Princes bear in Vain, by the So-long call'd -for Censure of an Ecclesiastical Synod, and the Correction of a Provok'd and Affronted Legislature, to whose Strict Justice, and undeserv'd and Affronted Legislature, to whose Strict Justice, and undeserv'd Mercy, I commit both them and Their Authors. Only give me leave to dismiss 'em with a Remark of the Pious and Learned Bishop Andrews upon some of their FALSE BRETHREN in his Time. *** "What (says that good Prelate) is now become of those Words of God, Touch not mine Anointed? are we not fallen into Strange Times, that Men dare thus Print and Publish, yea, even Preach and Proclaim their Sins; even those sinful and shameless Positions, to the Eyes, and Ears of the Whole World? Whereby God's Anointed are Endanger'd, Men's Souls are Poysond, Christian Religion is Blasphem'd as a Murtherer of her Own Kings; God in his Charge is openly Contradicted and Men made Believe, they shall go to Heaven in breaking God's Commandments. What could have been spoken with a more Prophetical Spirit, of these filthy Dreamers, These Presumptuous and Self-will'd Men, Despisers of Dominion and Government, who are not afraid to speak Evil of Dignities, who wrest the Word of God to their Own, and their deluded People.s Perdition, and think to Consecrate even the world of Sins, which what is almost Analogous to the Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost! These FALSE BRETHREN in Our Government, do not Singly and in Private spread their Poyson,
** LessDisorder may be apprehended from the Pretensions of the Roman Bishops, than from these Minions(?) that put the Power of judging and Controlling the Magistrate in the PEOPLE's Hands, which opens a Door to Endless Confusions, and indeed, sits every Private Person upon the Throne, and introduceth an Anarchy, which will never admit of Order, and Remedy, whereas, Those who have but One PRETENDER over Them, could more easily deal with Him and more Vigorously RESIST Him. (Vindication of the Church of Scotland, Printed at Glasgo, 1675,p. 68,69.
***Sermon 3. on the Conspiracy of the GOWRIES, Preach'd before the King at Holdenbeigh, Aug. 5, 1610,p. 802.
But (What is lamentable to be spoken) are suffer'd to combine into Bodies, and Seminaries, wherein Atheism, Deism, Tritheism, Socinianism, with all the Hellish Principals of Fanaticism, Regicide, and Anarchy, are openly Profess'd and Taught, to Corrupt and Debauch the Youth of the Nation in all Parts of it, down to Posterity, to the Present Reproach, and Future Extirpation of Our Laws, and Religion. Certainly the Toleration was never intended to Indulge, and Cherish such Monsters, and Vipers in our Bosom, that scatter Their Pestilence at Noon-day, and will Rend, Distract and Confound, the firmest and Best-Settl'd Constitution in the World. In short, as the English Government can never be Secure on any other Principles, but strictly Those of the Church of England, so I will be bold to say, where any Part of it is Trusted in Persons of any Other Nations, They must be False to Themselves, if They are True to their Truths; or if They are True to Their Opinions, and Interests, must Betray That Government They are Enemies to upon Principle. Indeed, We must do 'em that Justice, to confess, That since the Sectarists have found out a way (which their Fore-fathers, God knows, as Wicked as they were, would have Abhorr'd) to swallow not only Oaths, but Sacraments, to Qualify themselves to get into Places, and Preferments; these Sanctify'd Hypocrites can put on a shew of Loyalty, and seem tolerably Easy in the Government, if they can Engross the Honours and Profits of it: But let Her Majesty reach out Her Little Finger to touch their Loyns, and these Sworn Adversaries to Passive Obedience, and the Royal Family, shall fret themselves, and curse their Queen, and their God, and shall look upwards. And so much for Our Political FALSE BRETHREN, till I come to speak with 'em again by and by. I proceed,
3. In the Third Place, to a more Inferior Species of Them, that Act in a Lower Sphere, namely Those who in their Private Capacities, are FALSE either in their Friendship, Correspondence, or Dealing But these Sins of Unfaithfulness, as the Psalmist calls them, being of so Copious and Extensive a Nature, and Respecting the Private Concerns of Human Life, I shall only trouble You with enumerating some of the General Instances of them: Such as are, Betraying Our Friend in his Secrets, Deserting him in his Misfortunes, in not Defending his Reputation, when falsely Accus'd, in an Obsequious Compliance with Him in any Indirect, or Dishounourable Measures, in a Nauseous Flattery of his Follies, or Vices, in Permitting him in any Error, without Admonition, and in giving him wrong Advice, and not leading him out of it. Such are also, with regard to Our Neighbour, the Concealing, or Misrepresenting any Truth that he is Concern'd to know, Playing upon his Faith with Doubtful and Ambiguous Insinuations, with Double Equivocations, and Dissimulatory Expressions, an Actual Breach of Word, Promise, or Profession, Clandestine Undermining by Circumvention, Fraud, or Craft, Back-biting, and secretly Slandering, Propagating Scandal, and Bearing False-Witness, and Partaking several ways in his Sins; which are all the Characteristcks of an Insidious, Treacherous, and False-hearted Knave. But these Vices being of a Private Consideration, I hasten to the next General Head propos'd, Namely.
II. Secondly, to lay before You the Great Peril and Mischiefs of these FALSE BRETHREN in Church and State; which I shall endeavour to do, by Proving that They Weaken, Undermine, and Betray in Themselves, and Encourage, and put it in the Power of Our Profess'd Enemies, to Overturn and Destroy the Constitution, and Establishment of Both.
1. And First, as to the Church. But here it is very Necessary to Premise, that by the Church of England, We are to understand the True Genuine Notion of it, as it stands Contra-distinguish'd in it's Establish'd Doctrin, Discipline, and Worship, from all Other Churches, and Schismaticks, who would Obtrude upon Us, a Wild, Negative Idea of a NATIONAL CHURCH, so as to Incorporate Themselves into the Body, as True Members of it; Whereas 'tis evident that this Latitudinarian, Heterogenous Mixture of all Persons of what Different Faith soever, Uniting in Protestancy, (which is but One Single Note of the Church of England) would render the most Absurd, Contradictory, and Self-Inconstistent Body in the World. This Spurious, and Villainous Notion, which will take in Jews, Quakers, Mahometans, and any thing as well as Christians, as ridiculously incongruous as 'tis, may be first Observ'd as One of those Prime, Popular Engines, Our FALSE BRETHREN have made Use of, to Undermine the very Essential Constitution of Our Church; which, as it stands Guarded with it's Own Sacred Fences, with Her only True Sons in Her Bosom, may Defy all the Malice of the Devil, and Her Enemies, to Prevail against Her. But such is Her hard Fortune, Her worst Adversaries must be let into Her bowels, under the holy Umbrage of Sons, who neither Believe Her Faith, Own Her Mission, Submit to Her discipline, or Comply with her Liturgy. And to admit this Religions Trojan Horse, big with Arms, and Ruine, into Our Holy City, the Streight Gate must be laid quite Open, Her Walls, and Inclosures pull'd down, and an High-Road made in upon Her Communion, and this Pure Spouse of Christ Prostituted to more Adulterers than the Scarlet Whore in the Revelations. Her Articles must be Taught the Confusion of all Senses, Nations, and Languages, to render Her a Babel, and Desolation. This was indeed the Ready way to Fill the House of God, but with What? with Pagan Beasts, instead of Christian Sacrifices, with such Unhollow'd, Loathsome, and Detestable Guests, as would have Driv'n out the Holy Spirit of God with Indignation. 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 seem'd to Favour it, but that Good Providence, which so happily Interpos'd against the Ruine of Our Church and Blasted the Long projected Scheme of these Ecclisastical Architophels. A Scheme so Monstrous, so Romantic, and Absurd, that 'tis hard to say, whether it had more of Villainy; or Folly in it, and which even the Sectarists of all Sorts (who will not be satisfy'd with any thing less than Sovereignty) Exploded, and Laugh'd at as Ridiculous, and Impracticable. It was doubtless a Wise way to Exemplify Our brotherly love and Charity for the Souls of Men, to put both Them and Ourselves into a Gulph of Pernition, by throwing up the Essentials of our Faith, and the Uniformity of our Worship. But since this Model of an Universal Liberty and Coalition Faild, and these FALSE BRETHREN could not carry the Conventicle into the Church, they are now Resolv'd to bring the Church into the Conventicle, which will more Plausibly, and Slily Effect her Ruine. What could not be gain'd by Comprehension, and Toleration, must be brought about by Moderation, and Occasional Conformity, that is, what they could not do by Open Violence, they will not fail by Secret Treachery, to accomplish. If the Church can't be Pull'd down, it may be Blown up; and no matter with these Men How 'tis Destroy'd, so that it is Destroy'd. Now let Us, I beseech You in the Name of God, fairly consider what must be the Consequence of this Scandalous Fluctuation, and Trimming betwixt the Church and Dissenters, both in Conscience, and Prudence. Does not this Innovating in, Giving up, or Receding from any One Point, or Article in our Faith, Violate, and Affect the Whole Frame, and Body of it? Can we either Add to, or Deminish from, the Least Jot of our Religion? Are we to take it's Constitution as our Saviour, and his Apostles Deliver'd it down to Us; or have we Authority to Curtail, Mangle, or Alter it to Suit it to the Pride, Humours, Caprice, and Qualm Sick Stomachs of Obstinate, Moody, Wayward, and Selfconceited Hypocrites, and Enthusiasts? Will not such a Base, and Time-serving Compliance give the Enemies of Our Church an Occasion of Blaspheming Her as Weak, and Inconstant? Will it not Argue the Illegality of Her Ordinances, and Laws, or that they were too Rigid, and wanted an Abatement? Will not this Harden, Encourage, nay Justify the Dissenters in their Opinion of their Separation, when they see such large Allowances, and Concessions made in it's Favour? What Dishonourable, and Unworthy Opinions must they entertain of the Priests of that Church, who can Sacrifice their most Solemn Declarations, and Oaths to Compliance, and Preferment? What would be the End of All this, but to Establish Heresy, and Erastianism upon the Ruines of our Faith, and Discipline? Would not his Spiritual legerdemain, this Fallacious Tricking, and Double-dealing, Eradicate all the Principles of Truth, and Honesty, or Piety out of Men's Minds, make 'em Unconcern'd whether there is Any, or No Religion, Run 'em into an Universal Scepticism, and Infidelity, and make 'em ALL Athiests or Papists? For when they had Turn'd about and about, and were grown Giddy with Change, they would either Give up Themselves to the Disbelief of all things, or Rest their Weary'd Judgments in the Authority of that Church alone that can Delude 'em with the Specious Pretences of an Infalliable Guide. Thus Our FALSE BRETHEREN, as the Jews did our Blessed Saviour, Crucify his Church Betwixt Thieves; and as they committed that Execrable Villainy under a Pretended Fear lest the ROMANS should come and take away the their Place, and Nation, which by that very Fact They brought upon Themselves: So these, Men out of a Fictitious Fear lest the Modern ROMANS should come, and Destroy Our Church, are Working that Ruine they pretend to Avoid, and under a False Zeal of Keeping out Popery, are Themselves infallibly Bringing in That very POPERY into Our Kingdom with which they so Falsely, and ungratefully endeavour to Attain. The Church of England, the Greatest Bulwark and only Safe-Guard against Popery in the whole World! Tho' it were highly to be will'd that those Excellent Laws made for Her defense, and Security were at present put Stirctly into Execution; for the Roman Catholic Agents, and Missionaries that swarm about this Great City, as it were in Defiance and Contempt of them, were never more Busy in makng Proselytes to their Superstition, and Idolatry, and Perverting and Debauching Her Majesty's Subjects in every corner of our Streets.
2. Thus we see how Dangerous these FALSE BRETHREN are to Our Church, which is so Great, and Considerable a Branch of our Civil Constitution, that the Support of Our Government depends upon it's Welfare, and what Affects That, must strike at the Foundation of Our State; innovations in Either tending to the Subversion of their Laws, and the Unsettling their Establishments, and consequently to Anarchy, and Confusion. But to draw this Argument more home to the Point; I will endeavor to Prove, that our FALSE BRETHREN are as Destructive of our Civil, or Ecclesiastical Rights. For first it cannot be deny’d, that tho' They do submit to the Government, their Obedience is Forc'd, and Constrained, and therefore so Treachereous, and Uncertain, as never to be Trusted, because proceeding upon no Principle, but meer Interest and Ambition; and when ever that changes,their Allegiance must follow it; and therefore (to use their Own Expression) are as much Occasional Loyalists to the State, as They are Occasional Conformists to the Church, that is, They will Betray either, whenever it is in their Power, and They think it for their Advantage. FALSEHOOD always implies Treachery; and whether That is a Qualification for any One to be Trusted, especially with the Guardianship of our Church, or Crown, let our Governors consider. And certainly nothing but the most Sottish Infatuation, can so far Blind both our Eyes, and our Judgments, as to make us Believe, that the same Causes should not produce the same Effects, and that the same Latitudinarian, and Republican Notions should not bring forth the same Rebellious, and Pernicious Consequences. They are pleas'd now to soften their Lewd Principles, and cover their Dangerous Tenets with the Name of Speculative Opinions; but what Fatal Practices they have created, and whether these Seditious Thoughts will not again Exemplify themselves in the same Bloody Actions, We shall be convinc'd to our Sorrow, if We don't apprehend that the Old Leaven of their Fore-fathers is still Working in their Present Generation, and that this Traditional Poyson still remains in this Brood of Vipers, to Sting Us to Death, is sufficiently Visible, from the Dangerous Encroachments They now make upon our Government, and the Treasonable Reflections They have Publish'd on Her Majesty, God Bless Her! Whose Hereditary Right to the Throne, They have had the Impudence to Deny, and Cancel, to make Her a Creature of their own Power, and that by the same Principles They plac'd a Crown upon Her, They tell Us They (that is the Mob) may Re-assume it at their Pleasure. Nay, now They have Advanc’d themselves from the Religious Liberty Our Gracious Sovereign has indulg'd them, to Claim a Civil Right, as they Term it, and to Justle the church out of her Establishment, by Hoisting their Toleration into it's Place; and to convince Us what alone will satisfy 'em, insolently Demand the Repeal of the Corporation, and Test Acts, as an Ecclesiastical Ursurpation, which indeed under Her Majesty (whom God long Preserve for it's Comfort and Support) is the only Security the Church has to depend upon. And which they have so far Eluded by their abominable Hypocrisy, as to have Undermin'd Her Foundations, and Indanger the Government, by filling it with it's Profess'd Enemies. These Charges are so Flagrant, and Undeniable, that a Man must be very Weak or something worse, that thinks or Pretends, the Dissenters are to be Gain'd, or won over by any other Grants, and Indulgences, than giving up our Whole Constitution: And he that recedes the least Tittle from it, to satisfy, or Ingratiate with these Clamorous, Insatiable, and Church-Devouring Malignants, knows not what Spirit They are of, or He ought to shew who is a True Member of Our Church. Have They not ever since their first Unhappy Plantation in this Kingdom, by the Intercession of That False Son of the Church, Bishop Grindhall, always Improv'd and Rise upon their Demands in the Permission of the Government? Insomuch that Queen Elizabeth, that was Deluded by that Perfidious Prelate to the Toleration of the Genevian Discipline, found it such an Headstrong, and Encroaching Monster, that in Eight Years, She foresaw it would Endanger the Monarchy, as well as the Hierarchy: And like a Queen of True Resolution, and Pious Zeal for Both pronounc'd, "That such were the Restless Spirits of the FACTIOUS People, that no Quiet was to be Expected from them, till they were utterly Suppressd: Which, like a Prudent Princess, She did by Wholesome Severities, that the Crown for Many Years sat Easy, and Flourishing on Her Head. And had Her Successor, King James, but follow'd Her Wise Politicks, his Son had never faln a Martyr to their Fury, nor any of his Unhappy Offspring further'd those Disastrous Calamities, which made the Royal Family One continu'd Sacrifice to their Malice. And what better could have been expected from Miscreants, Begot in Rebellion, Born in Seduction and Nurs'd up in Faction? I would not here be Misunderstood, as if I intended to call the least Invidious Reflection upon that Indulgence the Government has condescended to give 'em, which I am sure all those that wish well to Our church are very ready for Grant to Consciences truly Scrupulous; let Them Enjoy it in the full Limits the Law has Perscrib'd. But let them also move within their Proper Sphere, and not grow Eccentrick, and like Comets that Burst their Orb, Threaten the Ruine, and Downfall of Our Church, and State. Indeed they tell us they have relinquish'd the Principles, as well as the Sins of their Fore-fathers. If so, why do they not Renounce their Schism, and come Sincerely into Our Church? Why do they Pelt Her with more Blasphemous Libels, and Scurrilous Lampoons, than were ever Publish'd in Oliver's Usurpation? Have they not lately Villainously Divided us with Knavish Distinctions of High, and Low-Church Men? Are not the Best Characters they can give Us, those of Papists, Jacobites, and Conspirators? And what do they mean by all this Insidious Cant but by False Insinuations, and raising Groundless Jealousies, and Fears, to Imbroil the Publick, and to bring it into that Confusion, they are Suggesting upon Us? Whether these Men are not Contriving, and Plotting our utter Ruine, and whether all those FALSE BRETHREN, that fall in with these Measures, and Designs, do not contribute basely to it, I leave every Impartial Man that wishes the Welfare of Our Constitution to Determine: And if we find this true in Fact, What Reason have we to think, but that the National Sins are Ripen'd up to a full Maturity, to call down Vengeance from Providence on a Church and Kingdom, thus Debauch'd in it's Principles, and Corrupted in it's Manners, and instead of the True Faith, Discipline, and Worship, given over to all Licentiousness, both In Opinion, and Practice to all Sensuality, Hypocrisy, Lewdness, and Atheism? And now are We under no Danger in these Deplorable Circumstances? Must We Lull Ourselves under this sad Repose, and in such a Stupid, Lethargic Security, Embrace Our Ruine? When Elisha, the Great Prophet of God, was Surrounded with an Host of Enemies, that Sought for his Life, his Blind Servant beheld not the Peril his Master was in, till his Eyes were Open'd by Miracle, and he found himself in the midst of Horses and Chariots of Fire. I pray God We may be out of Danger, but we may remember the King's Person was Voted to be so, at the Same Time that his Murtherers were Conspiring his Death. What I have thus freely spoken, I hope is as much without Offence, as it proceeds from a Good Intention, and a Tender Concern for Her Majesty's Person, and Government, and an hearty Zeal for the Honour and Safety of our Excellent Church and Constitution. I entreat Your Patience.
III. Briefly to set forth the Heinous Malignity, Enomoust Guilt, and Folly of this Prodigious Sin of FALSE BROTHERHOOD.
1. And First, with Regard to God and Religion. It is a most Perfidious Apostacy from, and Reproach upon Both: It is no Less than Renouncing Our allegiance to our Almighty Sovereign, an Open Denial, and Prostitution of our most Holy Faith, and Church, upon which Crime God has Entail'd so many Dreadful Threats, and Anathema's. It is Betraying our most Solemn Oaths, proving False to our Sacred Truth, and Commission, Administering to, and Indulging Men in the most Mortal Sins, Endangering both our Own, and the Salvation of that Dear Flock, for which Christ Dy'd, by Exposing it to the Corruptions of Heresy, and Schism, the Impostures of False-Apostless, and the Deceit, and Malice of Wolves in Sheep's-Cloathing. It is Deriving the highest Blasphemy and Dishonour upon the Holy Spirit of God, thus to Prevaricate with his Immutable Oracles of Truth, in Wresting 'em to maintain the most Diabolical Falshoods, and Errors, and making Veracity itself the Author, and Patronizer of Lyes. It is Forsaking Our Babtismal Covenants, basely Defeating the Glorious Colours we are Listed under, Turning Refugees from our Saviour, and Adherents to his Abjur'd Enemies. IN a Word, to Acomplish any wretched Secular Design, to Gratify their Pride, or Revenge, out of Envey, or Disappointment, for a Little, Paultry Honour, Money or Preferment, These FALSE BRETHREN will Renounce their Creed and Read the Decalogue backward, be the very Reverse of Our Blessed Saviour (whom like their Primitive Pattern they first Sell, and then Betray) Fall down and Worship the very Devil himself, for the Riches and Honours of this World.
2. Secondly, In Regard to the World. What a vast scandal, and Offence must it give to all Persons of Piety, and Integrity, to see Men of Character, and Stations, thus Shift, and Prevaricate with their Principles, and Stating from their Religion upon any Occasion of Difficulty or Trial, and like the Disciples, flying from, and forsaking Our Saviour, when his Life lay at Stake? To see Men's Opinions sit as Loose about 'em as their Garments, to be put on, or off, for Convenience? What can Unwary Persons conclude from such Tergiversation, and Hypocrisy but that All Religion is State-Craft, and Imposture? That All Godliness is Gain; and that the Doctrines of the Church, Be not so much in Her Articles, as Her Honours and Revenues? Without doubt, this Modern Latitude, and infamous Double-Dealing, as it can proceed from nothing but the Rankest Atheism, so it must Propagate it wherever it goes; and 'tis not to be Question'd but that the Wonderful Increase, and Impudent appearance of all Sects and Heresies, in this Kingdom at present, beyond what was ever known in Former Ages, is chiefly to be Attributed to it. But this Crime is as Pernicious to Human Society, as Religion, for it Destroys All Common Honesty, Faith, and Credit in the World, and in the place of it, sets up a Universal Trade of Credit in the World, and in the place of it, sets up an Universal Trade of Cousenage, Sharping, Dissimulation, and downright Knavery. For, what Dependence can there be upon a Man of no Principles? What Trust in Equivocations, Evasions, and Lyes? Nor indeed could any One be suppos'd so Sottish, as to place the least Confidence in these Men, did they not Bait their Hook, and cover their Treachery with the Sacred, and Plausible Pretenses of FRIENDSHIP, whereby they are capable of Doing much more Mischief, than a bare-fac'd and profess'd Enemy. In what moving and Lively Colours does the Holy Psalmist Paint out the crafty Insidiousness of such wiley Volpones? Wickedness, (says he) is therein, Deceit and Guile go not out of their Streets. For it is not an Open Enemy that has done me this Dishonour, for then I could have born it: Neither was it mine Adversary that did Magnify himself against Me, for then peradventure I would have hid myself from him: But, it was even Thou! my Companion, my Guide, and mine own Familiar Friend. We took sweet Counsel together, and walked in the House of God as Friends. There is no Faithfulness in their Mouths, their inward Parts are very Wickedness; their Throats are Open Sepulchres, and their Words are smoother than Oil, yet be they very Swords. Like Joab, they pretend to speak Peaceably, and smite Us Mortally under the Fifth Rib.
3. Thirdly, With Regard to a Man's Self, it is hard to Distinguish whether our FALSE BRETHREN prove themselves Guilty of more excessive Knavery, or Folly. For whatever these Cunning, Temporizing Politicians may think, they will find, after all their shuffling, and Compliance, that the Plain Road, of Truth, Honesty, and Integrity is both the most Prudent, as well all the Safest Way they can follow, and that the Wisdom of this World is as much Foolishness with Men, as 'tis with God. For certinaly there is no Sin that so much Disappoints it's Own Ends as This does. Perhaps the Man may Obtain the Present Advantage He has in Prospect, by relinquishing his Old Friends, and Principles; but is ever such a Mercenary Convert receiv'd heartily into the Bosom of his Former Enemies? Or are they ever found so Credulous, and Goodnatur'd, as to Forgive, and Believe such an Apostate Cordial, and Sincere, and fit to be Trusted in any Matter of Weight, or Importance, who has Betray'd his Own Party for the Little, sorded Lucre of a Place, or Preferment? And is agen ready to be Retrogade, whenever the Word shall Change, and Veer about? Such a FALSE BROTHER may swerve the Present Turn of his Adversaries, who may seem whilst they want the FOOL, to Flatter, and Caress him; but let such a Turn-Coat rest assur’d, He shall meet with Hypocrisy, for Hypocrisy; and since He is got upon the Stage, shall Act his Part, and be Hiss'd when He has done? Such a Wise Game do our Projectors Play, they Barter, and Betray their Friends only to Sell themselves Slaves into the Hands of their Enemies, who shall Treat them with more Insolence, Disdain and Tyranny, than Honest Men do with Scorn, and Contempt, if they don't go the whole lengths of their Party, stick at nothing, tho' never so impious; and absurd, and run from one Extream to a quite Contrary. Thus Little, thus Base, thus odious, thus Contemptible, thus Servile, nay thus Exerable is the Traytor, and Double-Dealer in the Sight, not only of all Honest Men but the most Profess'd Knaves and Hypocrites, Who cannot but have a Tacit Regard, and Veneration for a Man of Steadinesss, and Probity, that upon All Occasions is True to Himself, and his Cause, is above the Threats, as well as Flatteries of this World, still Trusting in his God, and in his own Integrity, and justice, Despising his Intersts, or Success, and is under all Circumstances like that God, and Religion He Believes, and Serves without Variableness, or Shadow of Change, but is the same today, tomorrow, and forever. Farther, these FALSE BRETHREN cannot be more Odious to God, and Man, than they are to Themselves, who are always a Self-Contradiction, full of Confusion, and Perplexity, perpetually Haunting themselves, the Worst of Deamons, maintaining an Irreconcilable War betwixt the Outward, and Inward Man, Conformists in Profession, Half-Conformists in Practice, and Non-Conformists in Judgement. Such a Mixture of Inconsistency, and Nonsense, that any one that has the least Spark of Conscience, or Reason, must Renounce, and Detest. But this dismal Effect has such a State of Habitual Hypocrisy that it quite Damps and Extinguishes Both, Quenches the Holy Spirit of God, and Crucifies his Son afresh; and as it finds a Man void of Shame, generally without a Miraculous Conversion leaves him incapable of Repentance, and both Damns him here, and hereafter; and as He chose it in This World, Appoints him in the Next, his Portion with Hypocrites, and Unbelievers, with all Lyars, that have their Part in the Lake which Burns with Fire and Brimstone, with the Grand-Father of Falsehood, the Devil, and his Angels. And To here We leave our FALSE BRETHREN in the Company they always keep Correspondence with.
IV. Now what should be the Result of this Long Discourse, but that if We bear any True Concern for the Interest, Honour, and Safety of Our Church and Government We ought steadfastly to Adhere to those Fundamental Principles, upon which Both are founded, and upon which their Security under God alone depends; and consequently that it highly Behoves Us, Cautiously to Watch against, to Mark, and Avail All those that thus Treacherously Desert them. And indeed it would be both for Our Advantage, as well as Their Credit, if such Men would throw off the Mask, entirely Quit Our Church, of which They are no True Members, and not fraudulently Eat Her Bread and lay wait for Her Ruin, Purloin Her Revenues, and ungratefully Lift up their Heels against Her. For then We should be One-Fold under One Shepherd, all those Invidious Distinctions that now Distract and Confound Us Loss'd, and We should be Terrible like an Army of Banners to our Enemies, who could never Break in upon such an Uniform, and Well-compacted Body. This indeed would be a True Peace, and Solid Union, when We should all with One Mind, and one Mouth, Glorify God, and not with a Confus'd Diversity of Contradicitious Opinions, and inconsistent Jargon of Worship, which the God of Peace, Purity and Order cannot but Abhor. As it is a Maxim in Politicks, that All Governments are best supported by the same Methods, and Councils upon which they are Founded; so it will appear undeniably True in its Application to Our Constitution, which can be Maintain'd by no Other Principles, but Those on which it is Built, and like their Basis, the Gospel, if there's any Violation, or Breach made in any Branch of it, it Shakes and Endangers the whole Frame, and Body. These Things, however Little they may be Represented by Our Adversaries, will be found of the most Considerable Consequence. Let us therefore, as We are Unhappy Sharers of St. Paul's Misfortune, to have Our Church in Perils among FALSE BRETHREN, follow his Example, and Conduct in a Parallel Case. He tells Us in his Epistle to the Galations, c. 2. That he was Obstructed, and Pester'd in his 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 Liv'd in those Times, they would have Branded him as an Intemperate, Hot, Furious Zealot, that wanted to be Sweetn'd,. by the Gentle Spirit of Charity, and Moderation forsooth. Schism, and Faction, are Things of Impudent, and Incroaching Nature, they Thrive upon Concessions, take Permission for Power, and Advance a Toleration immediately into an Establishment. And are therefore to be Treated like Growing Mischiefs, or Infestious Plagues, kept at a Distance, least their Deadly contagion spreads. Let Us therefore have no Fellowship with these Works of Darknesss, but rather Reprove them. Let Our Superior Pastors do their Duty in Thundering out their Ecclesiastical Anathemas, and let any Power on Earth Dare Reverse a Sentence Ratify'd in Heaven. Let Them Discountenance all these Seditious, Luke-warm, Almost-Christians, and Promote Men of Probity, Conscience, and Courage. I say Conscience, and Courage, for the One without the other, is like Faith without Works, Dead, and Insignificant. A Christian, and a Coward, are such Contradictions as were never Found in the Church Militant. Men of Timorous, and Bastardly Spirits, who are Asham'd to Own, or Afraid to Defend their Principles, least they should Loose, or Suffer by it, will prove very Poor Disciples of the Cross! Such Men (as an Ingenious Prelate Wittily expresses it) are only Honest by Chance. Let us Despise the Sneaking, Shuffling Compliances of such as Consult their Safety, and not their Innocence, and Dare to be True in the Worst of Times, with this All-sustaining, Cordial, Comfort, that whatever Enemies We Gain, or Friends We loose, We carry One within Us, that can Confront, Vanquish, and Counterballance All. (a) Woe! unto them that have a Fearful Heart, and to the faint Hands, and to the Sinner that goeth no Manner of Ways
(A) Excles. 2.12.
Says the Wise-Man. And agreeable to Him, the Apostle in very sarcastic Expressions, (a) Woe unto them that have gone in the Way of Cain, and run greedily after the Errour of Balaam for Reward, and Preish'd in the Gainsaying of Corah. These are spots in your Feasts of Charity, Clouds without Water, carry'd about of Winds, Trees whose Fruit's Wither'd, without Fruit, Twice Dead, pluck't up by the Roots, Raging Waves of the Sea foaming out their Own Shame, Wandring Stars to whom is Revers'd the Blackness of Darkness for Ever. Let us therefore, being well assur'd how much Our cause Deserves, and how much at present it Requires Our Bravest Resolutions, hold fast our Integrity, and Religion without Wavering, and earnestly Contend for the Faith, which was once deliver'd unto the Saints. (b) My Brethren, be Strong in the Lord, and in the Power of his Might. Put on the whole Armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the Wiles of the Devil. For we Wrestle not only against Flesh and Blood, but against Principalities, against Powers, against the Riders of the Darnkess of this World, against spiritual Wickedness in High-Places. Wherefore take unto you the Whole Armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the Evil Day, and having done All to Stand. Not doubting but that if we shew the same Courage and indefatigable Zeal, and Labour to Defend, as Our Adversaries to Reproach, Divide, and Ruine Our Church, neither their United Malice, nor Power, nor all the Plots and Machinations of Rome; nor the very Gates of Hell itself shall ever be Able to prevail against Her. And let Us Trust in that Gracious Providence which so Miraculously Deliver'd Her on this Day, that tho' She (c) lies Bleeding of the Wounds She has Receiv'd in the House of Her Friends, (d) tho' the Ways of Zion may Mourn for a Time, and Her Gates be Desolate, Her Priests Sigh, and She in Bitterness, because Her Adversaries are Chief and Her Enemies at present Prosper; Tho' among all Her Lovers, she has Few to Comfort Her, and many of Her Friends have dealt Treacherously with Her, and are become Her Enemies, (e) tho' there are Few to Guide Her among all the sons whom She has brought forth, neither are there many that take Her by the Hand, of all the Sons that She hath brought up, tho' Her Enemies Cry, Down with Her, Down with Her even to the Ground, yet there is a God that Can, and Will Raise Her Up, if We Forsake Her not. Let Us not therefore, Ungratefully contribute to Her destruction but let us (f) continue Steadfast, immoveable, always abounding in the Work of the Lord, forasmuch as We know that our Labour will not be in vain in the Lord. Now the (g) God of all Grace, who hath call'd Us into his Eternal Glory by Christ Jesus, after that Ye have Suffer'd a While, make you Perfect, Stabilish, Sthrengthen, Sende You. To Him be Glory, and Dominion for Ever, and Ever. Amen.
Let Us Conclude All in that Excellent Collect of Our Church.
O Lord! We beseech Thee let thy continual Pity Cleanse, and Defend thy Church, and because it cannot continue in Safety without thy succour, Preserve it evermore by thy Help, and Goodness, thro' Jesus Christ, Our Lord.
(a) Jude 11.12,13
(b) Eph. 6,10 &.
© Lam. 2,2,4,
(e) Isa. 51,18
(f) 1 Cor. 15,58
(g) let 5,1,11
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Articles of Impeachment against Sacherverell:
"1st, He, the said Henry Sacheverell, in his said Sermon preached at St. Paul's, doth suggest and maintain, "that the necessary Means used to bring about the said happy Revolution, were odious and unjustisiable; that His late Majesty, in His Declaration, disclaimed the least Imputation of Resistance; and that to impute Resistance to the said Revolution, is to cast black and odious Colours upon His late Majesty and the said Revolution.
"2d. He, the said Henry Sacheverell, in his said Sermon preached at St. Paul's, doth suggest and maintain, "that the aforesaid Toleration granted by Law is unreasonable, and the Allowance of it unwarrantable;" and asserts, "that he is a false Brother, with relation to God, Religion, or the Church, who defends Toleration and Liberty of Conscience; that Queen Elizabeth was deluded by Archbishop Grindall, whom he scurrilously calls a false Son of the Church and a persidious Prelate, to the Toleration of the Genevian Discipline; and that it is the Duty of superior Pastórs, to thunder out their Ecclesiastical Anathemas against Persons entitled to the Benefit of the said Toleration;" and insolently dares or defies any Power on Earth to reverse such Sentences.
"3d. He, the said Henry Sacheverell, in his said Sermon preached at St. Paul's, doth falsely and seditiously suggest and assert, "that the Church of England is in a Condition of great Peril and Adversity, under Her Majesty's Administration;" and, in order to arraign and blacken the said Vote or Resolution of both Houses of Parliament, approved by Her Majesty as aforesaid, he, in Opposition thereto, doth suggest the Church to be in Danger; and, as a Parallel, mentions a Vote, that the Person of King Charles the First was voted to be out of Danger, at the same Time that His Murderers were conspiring His Death; thereby wickedly and maliciously insinuating, that the Members of both Houses, who passed the said Vote, were then conspiring the Ruin of the Church.
"4th, He, the said Henry Sacheverell, in his said Sermons and Books, doth falsely and maliciously suggest, "that Her Majesty's Administration, both in Ecclesiastical and Civil Affairs, tends to the Destruction of the Constitution; and that there are Men of Characters and Stations, in Church and State, who are false Brethren, and do themselves weaken, undermine, and betray, and do encourage, and put it in the Power of others, who are professed Enemies, to overturn and destroy, the Constitution and Establishment;" and chargeth Her Majesty, and those in Authority under Her, both in Church and State, with a general Maladministration; and, as a public Incendiary, he persuades Her Majesty's Subjects to keep up a Distinction of Faction and Parties, instills groundless Jealousies, foments destructive Divisions among them, and excites and stirs them up to Arms and Violence. And, that his said malicious and seditious Suggestions may make the stronger Impressions upon the Minds of Her Majesty's Subjects, he, the said Henry Sacheverell, doth wickedly wrest and pervert divers Texts and Passages of Holy Scripture.
"All which Crimes and Misdemeanors the Commons are ready to prove, not only by the general Scope of the same Sermons or Books, but likewise by several Clauses, Sentences, and Expressions, in the said Sermons or Books contained; and that he, the said Henry Sacheverell, by preaching the Sermons and publishing the Books aforesaid, did abuse his Holy Function, and hath most grievously offended against the Peace of Her Majesty, Her Crown and Dignity, the Rights and Liberties of the Subject, the Laws and Statutes of this Kingdom, and the Prosperity and good Government of the same. And the said Commons, by Protestation, saving to themselves the Liberty of exhibiting, at any Time hereafter, any other Article or Impeachment against the said Henry Sacheverell; and also of replying to his Answers, or any of them, and of offering Proofs of all the Premises, or any of them, or of any other Article or Impeachment that shall be exhibited by them; as the Case, according to Course of Parliament, shall require; do pray that he, the said Henry Sacheverell, may be put to answer to all and every the Premises; and that such Proceeding, Examination, Trial, Judgement, and exemplary Punishment, may be thereupon had and executed, as is agreeable to Law and Justice."
- House of Lords Journal Volume 19