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tion; and, I think, as little doubt can be made of the other. Do but imagine all fear of God discarded, conscience and the expectation of future reckoning thrown off, and thereupon every wild passion let loose, and every lust excited; and what could be further added to make an hell
upon earth? It is a pretty amusement for these gentlemen to be drawing infidel schemes, while they sit secure by the prevalence of religion still remaining amongst us: but if once their schemes were to prevail, and become general, they would soon find, that they themselves would no longer have liberty or leisure to sit down to write either in favour of infidelity or against it.
XIII. “When any of my Lords the Bishops do thus declare “ against persecution, whilst they are carrying on prosecu“ tion, or when they declare for liberty, whilst they thus “ solicit such a general restraint, all good Christians are
highly concerned and deeply affected; and they have a “ due sense of that unblemished integrity and inviolated “ sincerity which ought ever to accompany the episcopal “ eharacterh.” Grave banter and contemptible grimace ! As if this writer or his clan knew any thing of good Christians, or would regard their sentiments if they did: when their professed design is, (if they could effect it,) that there should not be one good Christian, nor so much as a Christian left in the kingdom. As to the difference between persecution and prosecution, enough hath been said above, whither I refer the reader,
XIV. “ His Lordship maintains, that infidels who hate super“ stition must naturally favour the Pope: and that be“ cause they declaim against all sort of superstition, there“ fore they must approve the worst sort; namely, the “ Roman Catholic religioni.” This is misrepresentation.
I am confident that his Lordship has no suspicion of their favouring either the Popish or any religion. But wiser men than they have been made dupes of: and it is demonstrable, and has often been demonstrated, that they are really doing their dirty work for the Papists, whether they know it or no. A nation of atheists or infidels never was, never will be: but when they shall have shattered the fences, and broken down the barrier, which is the established Church, Popery will flow in like a torrent upon us. This consequence is very plain, but not altogether so plain as the being of a God and a providence, or as the truth of Christianity, or of human liberty, moral virtue, or a future reckoning; so that it is very possible that they who are blind in so many other respects may be here blind also.
XV. " And as he could not wholly deny his good-liking of
persecution, yet to soften that terrifying word, his “Lordship will have it to be only nominal in England, 66 while he allows it to be real in the Church of Rome. “ Thus fire and faggot are real persecution; but phllory, “ fine, and imprisonment, are only nominal k.” This again is malicious perverting the Bishop's sense, and grossly abusing the reader. His Lordship justly supposes the legal penalties to be no persecution, or persecution falsely so called. The Preston rebels might have called it persecution when they were punished; and with more colour of reason, because many of them might act upon conscience, misinformed. But the teachers of infidelity are plainly disturbers of the public peace, and have no pretence at all to conscience, in doing it. It is not the gentleness of the penalty, as being pillory and fine, (rather than fire and faggot,) that makes our legal penalties in this case no persecution: but it is that the penalties are just, and that infidel teachers are grievous offenders both against Church and State.
k Page 14.
XVI. “ His Lordship would make her Majesty's learning to “ preside in the debate between his Lordship and Wool“ ston, though the royal authority is implored to prejudge “ the controversy, which is an insult to her high under“ standing, and a mockery of her illustrious person;
for “ he asks that judgment from her knowledge, which is “ beforehand awarded by her power!.” This gentleman is mistaken, if he imagines that her Majesty was desired to judge whether Christianity or infidelity ought to have the preference with her. That would indeed be an “in166 sult to her high understanding, and a mockery to her “illustrious person," to suppose that she could have a thought towards infidelity, or entertain any doubt of the truths of Christianity. But the dispute was laid before her Majesty to apprise her of the folly, madness, wickedness, and outrageousness of the insults made upon religion, that so her royal wisdom might judge of them, and of the necessity of suppressing them.
XVII. “ The Queen must undoubtedly relish his doctrine very " ill, if we consider her frequent and pious interpositions,
at foreign courts, in behalf of unhappy men distressed “ for their religious opinions m.” Revery and chicane ! What, because the Queen has a tenderness for men of true religion, therefore she must have the like for men of no religion ! because she supports those that maintain the Christian faith, therefore she must support those that oppose and overthrow it! because she favours innocent, honest men, therefore she must of course favour evil men and delinquents ! which is just as much sense and as good logic, as if it were said, because she loves those that love their king and country, therefore she must of consequence love traitors or rebels. Is there not as wide a
difference as possible in the cases, insomuch that the inference from the premises is the very reverse of what this writer draws from them. For if 66 we consider her fre
quent and pious interpositions abroad in behalf of un
happy men” there, because they profess the true Christian and Protestant religion, how is it possible she should interpose in behalf of infidels at home, who are destroying that very religion which these distressed foreigners maintain ? Would not that be pulling down with one hand what she builds up with the other? Insolent affront to majesty, and unpardonable, if it were not contemptible. I know, the party are perpetually harping upon it, that Christ and his Apostles, and our first reformers, opposed establishments. They did so, and they had good cause for doing it. They disturbed the peace of the world, but they had an equivalent to offer, and made us more than sufficient amends for it: otherwise their attempts had been irregular and unjustifiable; and they had died impostors and rioters, and not martyrs. But what equivalent do these gentlemen offer us for disturbing the peace of the world? Rewards in heaven? They believe no such thing ; or if they do, what rewards are we to have for infidelity or irreligion? Oh, but they give us truth. No, but it was the primitive martyrs, and the reformers that gave us truth; else why are they appealed to as examples? If our new doctors are in the true scheme, then the primitive martyrs and our reformers disturbed the peace of the world for no good end, for error only and mischief, and for the deception of mankind, and are no precedents to follow. Either therefore condemn them for causelessly disturbing the world, and then appeal thither for precedents : or if they did well, then these men, who teach directly contrary, do amiss, and can claim no countenance from their examples.
XVIII. “ Their (the Indians) present condition is a much more eligible state than conversion on any such terms; for all
men had better be savages than slaves; and whilst “ Christianity, by the cruelties of wicked men, is against “ liberty and happiness, it has but a poor recommenda6 tion to favour and esteem n.” On the contrary, it would be to very little purpose to endeavour the conversion of the Indians, if every apostate Christian shall be suffered to publish scandalous libels against Christianity, to flout its Founder, to spread lies and slanders of him and his miracles, to misrepresent his doctrine, and to throw all the malicious reflections they can invent upon it, to hinder honest and well meaning men from looking into it, or from seeing the truth. Such conduct is wicked and immoral, and falls under the correction of the magistrate, as much as any other cheat or imposture. There can be no true liberty where such licentiousness is suffered with impunity. This is part of the savageness of corrupt nature, and is a contradiction to modesty, civility, humanity, and to every other virtue that can preserve society and make mankind happy. Not to mention what has been before hinted, that to seduce men to infidelity is making them. slaves to every lust, passion, and folly imaginable; and what is more, it makes them tigers and cannibals to each other, while there is neither fear of God, nor conscience, nor future account to restrain them. Where every man is a tyrant, or disposed to be so, slavery is inevitable, and the most dreadful slavery that can be imagined. Yet these are the men that talk, as they love to talk idly, of the liberties of mankind.
XIX. “ If every man by law ought to believe, what necessity “ have they for doctors to convert them 0 ?." We are not talking of forcing belief upon any man, but of repressing insults and petulance against the religion established; of correcting their conceitedness and arrogance, in not being content to enjoy their opinions to themselves, but striving