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Jesuitical frauds and disguises, they who practise them are bound to consider.
If the Dissenters think they "can justify their separation by the praise of men; let them proceed fairly, and take it, such as it is, all together. They should remember and estimate properly, how much of it comes from the bench of our Bishops, and how much from the seat of the scornful: how universally they are befriended and admired by Deists, Free-thinkers, Socinian Philosophers, and loose-livers; who delighting to see the Church opposed, and Christian people divided, are exactly of the same opinion with some of those great ornaments of the establishment of whose testimony our' apologist hath so loudly boasted- "/ heartily thank God," says the author of Tlxe Independent Whig, "that we have Dissenters, and I hope we shall never be without them*"
13. The last and the most general argument on which the Dissenters depend; and which, if it were just, would render all other arguments superfluous, is this; that all men have a rigid to judge and chuse jor themsclvss in matters of religion.
This is an extensive principle, which justifies all sects, and supersedes all institutions and
* Vol. iii. p. 223.
sacraments whatsoever. It also shews the Dissenters of this day, who have recourse to ity to be quite a different class of men, from the Puritans in the days of Elizabeth; for hefe they extend their claims from schism up to heresy, and beyond it, even into the privileges and immunities of infidelity itself. The Puritans formerly judged against us in our discipline: but the Dissenters, and their friends, now judge against us in our doctrines. For, thus saith the author of the Independent Whig, another apologist of the Dissenters.—" No man ought to pay any submission to that doctrine or discipline which he does not like:" and the war, which was once carried on against Prelacy and Ceremonies, is now turned against Articles 1 and Creeds.
If the Dissenters at large have this right of chusing what they like, and rejecting what they dislike: then the Quakers have it: and why not the Jeivs and the Mahometans? For, I desire to know, what there is betwixt us and them, but matters of religion.
As to this affair of chusing, especially in matters of religion, there are strange examples of human perverseness and wickedness. How often did the people chuse new Gods? Heresy is so cajled, because it is a doctrine which a
man doth not receive but chusc for himself; and if his choice is of right, there can be no such thing as heresy in the world. But heresy is reckoned among the works of the flesh ,- and they that heap up teachers to themselves, are said to do it of their ozon lusts. Thus every case becomes desperate: for lust, being an irrational, brutal principle, 'heats no reason; and nothing but disorder and confusion can follow, when this principle takes the lead in religion. When men took wives of such as they chose, and had no rule but this rule of choice; the earth was soon filled with violence: and if men may take what they chuse in religion, sects and divisions, strife and envying, rebellion and sacrilege, without end, must be the consequence: and so it is already recorded in the annals of this kingdom.
POST. POSTSCRIPT.^ V
t , * >, . * * „*
AN ACCOUNT QF THB F^RST SEPARATION OF THE DISSENTERS FRj>M THE CHURCH OF' ENGLAND.
Tphe preceding Short View of the Argument betwixt the Church and the Dissenters, having brought the authors of Free and Candid Disquisitions on the Liturgy of the Church of England, under our consideration; I cannot help mentioning on this occasion, that I have a manuscript in my possession of seventy-two sheets, containing Remarks' on that work, written immediately after its publication, by one of the best scholars and best divines of this century.
The public never did, and probably never will, receive any information from these papers; but to me they have been very entertaining and instructive. In one of the author's notes upon a large quotation from the Epistles of St. Cyprian, I find the following account of the rise
and Postscript. 509
and progress of the schism, which hath troubled the state of the Church, more or less, ever since the Reformation; and as this little work may fall into the hands of some readers, who never heard, whether our Dissenters originally divided from us, or we from them; it may be useful to shew how the case stands. The fact is this; they went oat from us, after the full establishment of this Church.
« For, in the year 1548, 2 Ed. VI. the Archbishop of Canterbury, and twelve of the other principal Bishops and Divines, joined in a committee, drew up the form of celebrating the Lord's Supper; and, after that, of the rest of the Common Prayer; .chiefly from the best primitive formularies of public prayer they could find; which was soon after confirmed by authority of Parliament, with this testimony subjoined, viz. that none could doubt, but that the authors were inspired, and assisted therein, by the Holy Ghost. At the same time, (as Nichols, in his Defensio Ecclesue Anglican^, observes) it was the peculiar happiness of our Reformation, that it had been established by the concurrent authority of the Church and State, so we enjoyed the most perfect agreement and unanimity of all orders of men among us; the very name of those swarms of sectarists (the filthy Vol. iv. L L pollutions