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ENGLANDS SETTLEMENT, UPON THE Two ſolid foundations OF The Peoples Civil and Religious LIBERTIES.

COLLECTED Out of divers Petitions, Declarations, and Re­monſtrances; wherein is diſcovered the General Genius of the NATION.

By a Well-wiſher of the Peace and Happineſs of the Three Nations.

LONDON, Printed in the Year MDCLIX.

1

ENGLANDS SETTLEMENT.

OUr great Miſeries and Diſtractions are known with amazement all the world over, but they are only ſadly felt by the poor people of theſe Nations; to whom theſe miſeries are the more grievous, that they have fought themſelves into them, and have reaped no other fruites of their Victories, after long expectation of greater happineſs, but increaſe of their afflictions. For they experience, that their ſo much talkt of, and ſo often promiſed liberty, has prov'd nothing but Reall and almoſt intolerable Slavery: their plenty has been turned into Miſerable poverty; and their Peace into endleſſe Troubles.

They find alſo that there has been a Curſe upon the Go­verment theſe 10 years; for it has been all that time a rolling, like Siſiphus ſtone, and inconſtant as the Moon. Inſomuch, that there be few perſons of any prudence or piety, who do not ſee the hand of God (who is much known in his works) to lye heay upon theſe Nations. For his chaſtiſments or judgments have been very terrible and Univerſall, both over Church and State, and have gone round over all ſorts of perſons as well of high, as of low de­gree. For the late Engliſh Church has been quite over­turned, the King himſelf the Head thereof Tragically be­headed,2 and his Poſterity rigorouſly excluded: The No­bility is in a manner degraded, the houſe of Peers aboliſh­ed, the ancient Gentry, ſlighted, the Merchants and Com­mons by decay of Trade, and by the unhappy conjuncture of extraordinary Taxes, impoveriſhed and exhauſted. Yea the Parliaments themſelves (which are neither Infallible nor Impeccable,) have not gone without ſome chaſtiſ­ment. For their own hired Servants have oftner then once lifted their heels againſt them, and without any lawfull Au­thority, but according to their pleaſures or intereſts, have diſſolved, called, annihilated, and revived them. Only the Souldiers, whom God has uſed as inſtruments to pu­niſh others, may ſeem to have gone hitherto unpuniſhed.

But every thing muſt have its time to come to maturity; and God Almighty has already begun to manifeſt his judgments upon ſome of their principall Heads and firſt Movers. For though their late Generall Oliver was by Gods permiſſion very fortunate during this Life, in his own Perſon; yet ſoon after his death he became very Miſera­ble both in his Poſterity, and in his Memory: and beſides, ſome other Viſitations and croſſes have fallen upon ſome of his chief officers and inſtruments, which may ſerve as a warning for all the reſt, to prevent Gods judgments, leaſt they fall heavily upon them, either here, or hereafter.

As theſe judgments and Viſitations of God over thoſe Nations, which make us a ſpectacle to the World, are very evident, ſo it's certain ſome very hainous ſin or ſins have provoked them. But what theſe ſins are in particu­lar, is not ſo eaſie to determine, eſpecially to every mans ſatisfaction. Yet it may be probably affirm'd, if not aver­red for a certain Truth, that ſoul Tyranny or Coercive pow­er over Mens Conſciences, is the principall ſin that has drawn down theſe judgments from Heaven. For 1. it's a3 moſt hainous ſin in it ſelf (as we ſhall ſee ſhortly) and eſpecially if it be exerciſed againſt the true Religion. 2 This Nation has been deeply guilty of it, above a hundred year. And 3. every party objects it to another, as the chief cauſe of all their Miſeries, and it was indeed the principall ground of the late wars between King and Par­liament. For the Papiſts do alleadg, that the afore ſaid judgments have fallen upon theſe Nations for their ſchiſme from the Roman Church, and for perſecuting thoſe of their profeſſion, meerly for their Conſciences, as may be ſeen in Monſieur de la Militiers Remonſtrance. Again, it's known how the Presbyterians do, or at leaſt did impute all the Miſeries of theſe Nations to the ſins of the Kings houſe, and particularly for impowering the Bi­ſhops, to ſtrain their tender Conſciences, and for oppoſing, as they call it, the bleſſed Work of Reformation: Upon the other part, the Royaliſts and old Proteſtants lay all the blame upon the Presbyterians reſtleſſe ſpirits, which will not ſuffer their own Conſciences to be touch'd, and yet will tear other mens Conſciences in pieces, by fear­full Oaths and Combinations. Then Laſtly, the Indepen­dents do accuſe both Royaliſts, and Presbyterians, as well of Temporall as of Spirituall Tyranny; and upon this pretence they have outed and maſtered them both. But yet the judgments do not ceaſe, which ſhows clearly enough, that the cauſe is not removed. For indeed it is very ſtrange to conſider, how each of theſe parties has practiſed what they blamed in others. They ſaw the Mote in their brethrens eys, but could not ſee the beam in their own. When any party was under the laſh, then they cry'd for compaſſion on ten­der Conſciences, and inveighed againſt all Coercive power as a moſt hainous ſin, and cruell Tyranny: but they no ſoon­er ſnatcht the whip into their own hands, then they pre­ſently4 laid about them without any compaſſion of their brethren, or any memory of their own former Condition, ſo much does proſperity blind men, making a vaſt diſtance between their Words and Actions.

But whatſoever the chief ſin be that has drawn down the foreſaid judgements upon theſe Nations, it is certain with almoſt all prudent and unbyaſſed men, that this State, eſpecially as matters now ſtand in ſuch a variety of Religi­ons, ſhall never be firmly ſetled under any form of Govern­ment, either Monarchical, Democratical, &c. unleſs it be built upon ſuch a ſolid Foundation, as may aſſert and ſecure the Peoples Liberties, both Religious and Civil. This the Parliament wiſely foreſaw, and graciouſly promiſed in their Declaration 7 May 1659. The principal Reaſons whereof are here briefly collected, for the moſt part out of divers Petitions, Declarations and Remonſtrances, and now as it were in one view humbly preſented to the Parlia­ments grave and ſerious Conſideration: Whereon alſo the Officers of the Army may be pleas'd to vouchſaſe an im­partial look; and it cannot be much doubted, but that they as good Patriots and Chriſtians will yeeld to Reaſon and Juſtice; and preferre their Countreys good, to their own private Intereſts and Paſſions.

The two chief Pillars then whereon this State muſt be founded, are the Spiritual and Civil Liberties of the Peo­ple, that is in the Parliaments Language, their Liberties both as Men, and as Chriſtians. Of the peoples Civil Li­bertie we ſhall ſpeak but a little, in regard there can be no queſtion, but that it's requiſite for the ſetling of any State or Government: For all Governments were at firſt ordain­ed to make the people live happily under juſt Laws, and free from Slavery in their perſons, and Oppreſſion in their goods. Now when theſe good ends of Government are not5 purſued, but inverted, the people cannot but reſt diſcon­tented, and they ordinarily watch their opportunity to ſub­vert that perverſe Government, that they may ſo free their necks from the yoak of Slavery and Miſery. And conſe­quently that Government can never be well ſetled, which is not founded upon, and does not conſtantly ſecure the peo­ples Civill liberty, as they are Men. Experience ſhewes this to be true in the late Troubles, for Arbitrary Govern­ment and Encroaching upon the peoples Civill liberty, was one of the alleadged grounds of the warre between the late King and Parliament; whereby the former Government came to be ſubverted. Wherefore to ſettle this ſtate and Government well, the evils of Slavery and oppreſſion muſt be removed; and the good of juſt Civil Liberty muſt be ſecured.

Now it is well known to all unbyaſſed, and unintereſted men, and to the whole people, that their Civil Liberties both in their perſons and eſtates, have been much more vio­lated ſince the Kings Death, then they were before in the Kings time.

For firſt, The peoples Civil Liberty has been generally and highly violated in their Repreſentatives: when the major part of the Parliament Members were violently thruſt out of the Houſe, and divers of them impriſoned: and much more when whole Parliaments were diſſolved, without any lawful Authority, but by meer force and the power of the ſword, which the peoples ſervants turned againſt themſelves.

Again the peoples Liberty was generally infringed by the change of Government, and by election of a new Su­pream Magiſtrate, without the ſuffrages of the people, to whom only that Right and priviledge does belong, even in their principles who made all thoſe alterations. And beſides6 the people was generally abuſed, when they were kept in great ſubjection and ſlavery under that new Magiſtrate by the power of the Sword.

But the peoples Liberties were more particularly vio­lated, when divers free-born perſons among them were impriſoned by arbitrary power, without any known Law, and unchriſtianly and inhumanely uſed in priſon. And when ſome very ſimple and innocent perſons were drawn into Traps by Trepanning Plots; and then were cruelly execu­ted, as Traitors, under the colour of Juſtice. The Inſtru­ments of which miſchiefs did imitate their Father the De­vil, who firſt tempteth man to ſin, then accuſeth him of it, and puniſheth him for it.

Lactly, the people ſuffered extreamly in their goods, by exorbitant and continual Taxes, and that under pretence of neceſſity to maintain an Army: whereas the Army-Offi­cers in that fatal Remonſtrance from St. Albans, anno 1648. did pretend that the Removal of the King was neceſſary for disbanding of the Army, and caſing the people of their heavy burdens and taxes; but we ſee neither the one nor the other has followed on it, but that rather our miſe­ries have encreaſed. Now if we ſhall joyn to thoſe intole­rable taxes, the great decay of Trade, occaſioned princi­pally by making an unneceſſary war with Spain, upon the ſcore of private intereſt, againſt the general good, and to the great damage of the three Nations, as may be ſeen at large in that excellent Remonſtrance of the Merchants, preſented to the late Protector and Parliament, it may be clearly ſeen, that nothing has been wanting to make the people of theſe Nations perfectly miſerable, both in their perſons and eſtates. If the farthing Taxe of Ship-money was thought ſo heavy and intolerable a burthen in the Kings time, when Gold was almoſt as plentiful as Silver is now,7 and when our Trading admirably flouriſhed all the world over; What may be juſtly thought of all the Taxes, that have been raiſed ſince the beginning of theſe Trou­bles, or particularly ſince the Kings death? May it not be juſtly concluded, that theſe Taxes being compared with the ſhip money, &c. To which they have ſo Vaſt a diſpro­portion, have been and are a burthen to the people more then Intolerable? And therefore its no wonder that the people reſts ſo much unſatisfyed, and the State unſetled.

Theſe are the great evills that muſt be removed, before the Government can be ſetled, upon the ſolid baſis of the peoples juſt and civill liberty. Ex malis moribus bonae leges oriuntur. Wherefore to attain this good end of ſettle­ment, it's neceſſary,

1. That ſome ſolid courſe be taken to make the power of the ſword ſubordinate to the Civill and ſupream power of the Nations: and that the Souldiers be not ſuffered any more to domineer over their Maſters: otherwiſe our Miſe­ries and Confuſions will never end, but ſtill increaſe; as may be known by the practiſes of the Pretorian bands a­mong the Romans, and of the Janiſaries among the Turks.

2ly. That no perſon be impriſoned nor his goods touched, without the breach of a known law.

3ly. That now at length the people may be freed from their long and exorbitant Taxes, and eaſed of their other heavy burthens, which they may juſtly expect as a reward of their long Patience, if they cannot reap it as a fruit of their Victories. And for this end, it will be neceſſary to reduce the Army to as ſmall a competent number as can be conveniently; which in reaſon ought not to breed any great difficulty. For the Officers, who have got good e­ſtates, maybe well contented to enjoy them, and live up­on them: and the Souldiers being pay'd their Arrears and8 ſome of the beſt deſerving among them rewarded according to their merits, may be eaſily encouraged to returne to their former Trades; and not remain any longer a burthen and ſcourge to their diſtreſſed Countrey, which may be ſufficiently ſecured without them by ſetling a good Coun­try Militia.

Laſtly, all poſſible means muſt be uſed to quicken and advance Trade and Commerce, which are the Golden Mines of England, and are now ſo much decayed. By all which meanes the peoples juſt and Civill liberty will be ſecured, and the State in a part ſetled; but with out them this Common-wealth will be quickly transform'd into Com­mon-poverty.

Hence it may appear by the way, that though all the a­foreſaid evils be remedied, yet the people of theſe Nati­ons ſhall hardly be in ſo good a condition, in reference to their Civill Liberty and property, as they enjoyed under the King, againſt which they did ſo much repine: which comes farre ſhort of the great happineſs and freedom they propoſed to themſelves, and that were held out to them in many Declarations.

The other main Baſis or pillar, that muſt uphold the great fabrick of this State, to make it ſtand firm and ſure, is the ſpirituall liberty of the people as they are Chriſtians; which conſiſts in this, that no perſon profeſſing faith in Chriſt be moleſted or oppreſſed in his Conſcience for his judgment in matters of religion, or in things meerly relating to the worſhip and ſervice of God. This appears to be the ſenſe of the Parliament it ſelf, this is the deſire of the moſt peaceable and Godly people of the Nation, and this is the common judgment of almoſt all men, who have a grain of Solid prudence. The Parliament has ſhown ſufficiently their ſenſe of the buſineſs, in two Declarations, in the firſt9 whereof. 17. March 1648. Bringing their reaſons for changing the Government from Monarchy into a Common­wealth, they ſay Art. 4. That it is to procure a juſt liberty for the Conſciences, Perſons and Eſtates of all Men conformable to Gods glory and their own peace. And in their laſt Declarati­on of the 7th. May 1659. They promiſe, by the aſſiſtance of Almighty God to endeavour the ſettlement of this Common-wealth, upon ſuch a Foundation, as may Aſſert, eſtabliſh, and ſecure the property and liberties of the people, both as Men and Christians. The peaceable and Godly people have manifeſted their de­ſires, by many petitions, Remonſtrances and printed books to this purpoſe. And all men, whoſe inconſiderate Zeal does not weigh down their wits, do ſee with the Par­liament wherein ought to be centred the wiſdome of the whole Nation, that the Government of theſe Nations, as the caſe now ſtands, cannot be firmly ſetled without ta­king away of all reſtraint over mens Conſciences, and granting an innocent Toleration, which may be evinced by theſe following Reaſons.

1. All men of Conſcience do know that freedom of Conſcience in matters of Religion, is the laſt and higheſt intereſt of man, Valued by him above all earthly things; and therefore nothing can be more earneſtly deſired by him. And upon the contrary, nothing is more repugnant to man then a reſtraint or Coercive power over his Con­ſcience, as being againſt his laſt and higheſt intereſt: and therefore it cannot but raiſe a deep diſcontent in him, with an earneſt deſire to be free of that ſoul-Tyranny; and not only to wiſh, but alſo if it be in their power, even to work and make a change of that Government, by which mens ſouls are ſo racked. Whence it clearly follows that that State which puts a reſtraint upon mens Conſciences, eſpe­cially when variety of Religions has got a footing in it,10 can never be well & ſolidly ſetled, but is expoſed to unavoy­dable Troubles and jealouſies, and to manifeſt danger of ruine and ſubverſion.

Experience the Miſtriſſe of fooles may teach them this truth, who will not ſuffer themſelves to be convinced by reaſon. For is it not well known, not only what an Oce­an of blood did overflow France, during the Civill wars for Religion, but alſo how that great Monarchy by keeping a reſtraint upon the proteſtants, was expoſed at the riſing a­bout Amboys, and diverſe other times, to the manifeſt dan­ger of ruine and ſubverſion? and how their State never ſet­led, not their evils ended, till all reſtraint was taken away, after which time that State wonderfully flouriſhed. Lid not the ſame reſtraint of Conſcience, cauſe the long and bloody wars of the Low-Countreys, yea and make ſuch a Rent in that famous State, with a change of Government, that it cannot be pieced up to this day? What fearfull Tragedies and Revolutions did the ſame quarrell of Religi­on produce in Scotland, in the raign of Queen Mary Stuart. Was not alſo this State of England for the ſame reaſon, twice expoſed to manifeſt danger of ruine and ſubverſion. 1. by a mighty forrain invaſion in the year 88, and again by a deteſtable Gunpowder-plot, of ſome few deſperate Papiſts, whom others of that profeſſion, do alleadg to have been ſtirred up,The Politi­cians Cate­chiſme. and Trepann'd, by old Cecil the great State Machivilian of his time, to render them all odious and incapable of ſome intended favours. And though by Gods mercy, this State was preſerved from both thoſe dangers, yet did it not ſtill continue in fears and jealouſies of the Pa­piſts? And has it not lately in our own time been ſtrangely overturned without the Papiſts, by thoſe who were little ſuſpected or much ſlighted, to wit by ſome more preciſe ſort of Proteſtants, who paſt all before under the name of Puri­tans,11 and that upon the ſame ſcore of Religion, to be free of all reſtraint of their Conſciences, & enjoy a greater freedom.

Hence it may appear to all ſober peaceable and judicious men that this State (eſpecially as the caſe now ſtands) can­not be peaceably and ſolidly ſetled, unleſſe all reſtraint o­ver mens Conſciences be removed, and an innocent Tolera­tion granted, and the former Reaſon alone joyned with ſuch ſad and freſh experiences is ſufficient to evince it. For the Safety of the people and the perſervation of the State (in which is alſo included the Conervation of the Magiſtrate) ought to be the ſupream Law. All which we have ſeen by many experiences of Proteſtants againſt Papiſts, and of Papiſts againſt Proteſtants, and of Proteſtants againſt one another, to be in manifeſt danger by keeping a Reſtraint over Mens Conſciences. Whereas upon the contrary an innocent in-offenſive Toleration in matters of Religion, ſecures all, and cements the peoples greateſt intereſt to preſerve and defend the Common-wealth whereof we ſee a near and clear example in the Common-wealth of Holland,

But let us hear ſome other Reaſons againſt this Coercive power over mens Conſciences. Mr. Colier a Miniſter proves learnedly in his new book preſented to the Parlia­ment, entitled The Deciſion of the great point now in Contro­verſie, about the Intereſt of Chriſt, and the Civill Magiſtrate, in the Rule of Government in this World that it's unlawfull for the Civill Magiſtrate to pretend any right of Coercive pow­er over〈◊〉Conſciences; and that it's a moſt hainous ſin in the Magiſtrate to exerciſe any ſuch power: for which Mr. Colier brings divers grounds, whereof we ſhall touch ſome few. 1. The Civill Magiſtrate has received no ſuch power from Chriſt, for no place of the New Teſtament preſents us with the Lords giving up of Authority to world­ly Magiſtrates in matters Eccleſiaſticall, i.e. in things re­lating12 to Faith and Worſhip. From which he inferrs that Chriſt hath reſerved the power over the Conſcience to him­ſelf, as being the only Lord of the Conſcience. 2. Chriſt has left in Scripture clear and abſolute Rules for his people to walk by in point of Faith and Worſhip; in which they are obliged to obey him. Therefore he has not commited that Authority to the Magiſtrate. For the Magiſtrate may, and that probably too, (as it's too frequently ſeen) contradict Chriſts commands. 3. If Authority in Divine things were committed to the Civill Magiſtrate, it muſt be neceſſary to know, to what Magiſtrate, whither to all Ma­giſtrates alike, or only to ſome, to wit to Chriſtian Ma­giſtrates. If to all: then two impieties will follow. 1. That the Lord has ſubjected his Word and Will to the judgment of Heathen and profane Magiſtrates: Or 2ly. Has ſub­jected his people to their Wills in point of Worſhip. If only to Chriſtian Magiſtrates, then the doubt will be to whom of them it is, there being many of them ſuppoſing themſelves to be Chriſtian Magiſtrates, though they be of very different or contrary beliefs: and yet all think them­ſelves to be in the truth, and moſt of them think them­ſelves concerned to make proviſion in worſhip, and to ex­erciſe their power in theſe things. And ſo upon this ground which is common to all, every one that has the power will perſecute another, the Papiſts may perſecute the Proteſtants, the Proteſtants the Papiſts, and the Pro­teſtants one another. And conſequently〈◊〉principle throwes the whole world into confuſion, which ſhewes that it does not proceed from Heaven. 4ly. We finde clearly in Scripture that Chriſt has committed his Authori­ty in matters relating to worſhip to his Church, and not to the Civill Magiſtrate. Hence he promiſeth his preſence with the Church unto the end of the world, Math. 28. v. 20. 13And therefore in caſe of offence directs his to tell it to the Church, Math, 18.17. there being no higher Appeall on earth for believers in divine things. And as the Church, ſo is its Government diſtinct, from the world and the worldly Government: and the Government Chriſt has left in his Church is ſpiritually to be exerciſed; all Church cenſures reaching in the higheſt extent to reject and caſt out to the world and Satan, not to inflict bodily puniſh­ments, but to endeavour in all the ſaving of the Soul. Hence Mr. Colier inferrs that the Civill Magiſtrate who uſurps to himſelf Authority in Divine things, robs the Church of that Authority the Lord hath given her; and who exerciſeth Coercivo power over mens Conſciences, treacherouſly invades the Dominion and Kingdom of Je­ſus Chriſt, the only Lord of the Conſcience, and ſo be­comes guilty of higheſt Treaſon againſt the King of Kings and Lord of Heaven. Thus Mr. Colier.

Here we may obſerve that as the firſt Reaſon proves Coercive power over the Conſcience to be againſt the ſecu­rity of the ſtate, and temporal peace both of the Magiſtrates and People; ſo this ſecond Reaſon evinceth that it is a­gainſt the ſpirituall good of the Magiſtrate, making him guilty of the moſt haynous ſin of high Treaſon againſt the Lord Jeſus. Now the third Reaſon, which we draw out of that prudent and moderate booke, entitled The Vindica­tion of Sir Henry Vane, againſt the lies and calumnies of Mr. Baxter, Minister, &c. ſhall ſhew, that coercive power is a­gainſt the ſpirituall good of the people.

3. Nothing can be more againſt the ſpirituall good of the people then to make them Hypocrites, that is Diſſem­blers in matters of Religion, profeſſing to beleeve what they do not beleeve, and ſo conſequently damning their own ſouls, But coercive power over the Conſcience in mat­ters14 of Religion does make men the greater Hypocrites, and ſeven times more the Children of the Devil, then they were before, as the aforeſaid booke affirms, and expe­rience ſhews. Therefore coercive power, or perſecution for Religion is againſt the ſpirituall good of the people, and conſequently ought not to be exerciſed, ſince it's certain with all Rationall men, that all power is ordained by God and Nature, for the good of the people, and not for their prejudice. But this Reaſon will be more illuſtrated by the fourth, which we collect out of the booke entitled, the Maximes and Principles of the Levellers, who are not ſuch men, as their Enemies give them out to be.

4. Coercive power, &c. Is againſt the nature of Faith and true Religion. For all true Religion in men is founded upon the inward conſent of their Underſtandings to the truths revealed; and Faith it ſelf is an Aſſent of the Un­derſtanding to the ſaid Truths: which Aſſent muſt proceed from inward illumination of God, and externall inſtruction of men, according to thoſe Scriptures, No man, ſaith our Saviour, can come unto me unleſſe my Father draw him, John. 6.44. and S. Paul ſaith, Faith comes by hearing. Now what can be more againſt an inward conſent or Aſſent of the Under­ſtanding, proceeding from divine illumination and humane inſtruction; then a violent conſtraint and rape on the ſoul, to extort an Aſſent of the Underſtanding, by meer force and compulſion. And therefore nothing can be more againſt the nature of faith and true Religion, and againſt the meanes ordain'd by Chriſt for propagation of them, then coercive power or perſecution for Religion. Hence the Levellers do wiſely inferr, that Chriſt hath ordained the preaching of the Goſpell to be the outward means for con­verting ſouls, and appointed ſpirituall Ordinances for the inſtruction and puniſhment of erronious and hereticall per­ſons,15 the Scripture commanding the erronious to be in­ſtructed with the ſpirit of meekneſs, and Chriſt never men­tioned any penaltie to be inflicted on the Bodies or Purſes of Misbeleevers, becauſe of their misbeleef.

5. Coercive power, &c. is againſt our Saviours expreſſe command in the parable of the Tares, as the Author of Sir Henry Vanes Vindication does obſerve, where our Savi­our commands that both the Tares and the wheat ſhould re­main together in the World,Aug. lib. quest evang. in Math. c. 13. num. 4. and not be pluckt up till the day of harveſt, which is the end of the World, Math. 13. Now by wheat, is underſtood the true beleevers, and by Tares the erronious beleevers, or hereticks, as S. Auguſtin on this place ſhowes. Therefore they who by perſecution would pluck up all Misbeleevers, goe di­rectly againſt our Saviours command, and may pluck up the wheat with the tares, whereof our Saviour forewarn­eth them. They go alſo againſt the Apoſtle, who would not have the Servant of God to ſtrive, but to be gentle to­wards all men, in meekneſs, inſtructing thoſe that are contrary minded, if peradventure God will give them Re­pentance to the acknowledging of the truth. 2 Timoth. 2.24.25.

6. Coercive is againſt the judgment of many of the An­cients,Lactant. and againſt the practiſe of the primi­tive Chriſtians. Lanctantius ſaith, no man is forced by the Chriſtians againſt his Will, ſeeing he that wants faith and devotion is unſerviceable to God; and God not being contentious would not be worſhipped of the unwil­ling. Tertullian ſaith,Tertull. ad Scapulam. It's of humane right and naturall liberty that every man worſhip God un­compelled, and beleeve what he will; nor doth it beſeem any Re­ligion to compell another to be of their Religion, which willingly and freely ſhould be embraced and not by conſtraint, foraſmuch16 as God requires a free-will offering. See more Teſtimonies cited in the Vindication of Sir Henry Vane. Vindicat. of S. H. V. p. 16. 17.And that it was the practice of the ancient Chriſtians, when they became Maſters, to perſecute none for their Religion, is acknow­ledged in a little book lately printed, entitled The Com­mon-wealth of Iſrael, where it is ſaid in the Anatomy of Mr. Prins good old cauſe, Primitive Chriſtianity under Chriſtian Emperours allowed and avowed an Vniverſall Tole­ration with a capacity for each not differing in opinions, but Re­ligions, to be preferred to the higheſt dignities. Ergo, this is the Good old cauſe. The ſame practice of the ancient Chriſtians is acknowledged alſo in that New book, entitled, Light ſhining out of darkneſs, and it's certain in it ſelf by the Hi­ſtory of the Church, that the Chriſtians becoming Maſters, under Chriſtian Emperours, did not perſecute the Hea­thens, by whom themſelves had been ſo cruelly perſecuted, but gave them a Toleration. And this was very conſo­nant to Reaſon, laying aſide all Divinity, in regard the Heathen Religion, was the Religion that had been before publickly profeſt for many Ages, and had taken deep roots in the peoples hearts; and therefore it required a Toleration, till by the force of Truth, (which ever at length prevailes) it ſhould be rooted out. Yea this princi­ple is ſo reaſonable, that the Turkes themſelves though mighty Zealous in their own ſuperſtition, do grant per­miſſion and liberty to Chriſtians, whoſe Countries they conquer, of the Religion they finde there profeſt, though they will not grant the ſame liberty to new Sects that may ariſe. Whence may appear the unreaſonableneſſe of King Harry the 8, who quitting the Popiſh Religion though upon no religious pretence (as is well known) and uſur­ping to himſelf that fatal Title of Supream Head of the Church of England, did perſecute moſt fiercely that Religi­on71 on which he himſelf had profeſt from his Infancy, and which had been the publick Religion of the Nation for many Ages; intending preſently and unſeaſonably to ex­tirpate it by force and violence, and putting many brave men to death, who would not take the oath of his Supre­macy againſt their Conſciences. Hence alſo may be ſeen the unſeaſonable deſigns of ſome new fiery Zelots, who would have Toleration granted to all Religions, though never ſo new and ridiculous, but would have a reſtraint put upon Popery and Prelacy; which being the two Religions formerly and publickly profeſt in the Nation, ought above all new Religions, to enjoy ſome Toleration. Neither can that exception of Popery and Prelacy proceed from a­ny other root, but from cruelty and deſire of revenge, or from Diffidence of their own cauſe: for if theſe Zelots were ſure of the truth on their ſide, as the ancient Chriſti­ans were, they would be alſo confident of the victory in a calme and Chriſtian way, without any force or com­pulſion. Wherefore it may be well concluded againſt them, that theſe new Chriſtians are not only irrationall, but ſhew much leſſe charity and compaſſion to Chriſtians, then the ancient Chriſtians ſhew to the Pagans: yea that they are more inhumane and cruell to their Country-men, and Bretheren, profeſſing the name of Chriſt; then the Turks, profeſt enemies of the name of Chriſt, are to Chri­ſtians their conquer'd enemies and ſtrangers. And the Turks may riſe up as witneſſes againſt them in the day of judgment, manifeſting to the World, that though theſe Zelots pretended to be Saints, yet they were nothing but masked Furies, coming ſhort of them in Moral Vertue, and exceeding them in cruelty.

7. Coercive power, &c. is againſt that golden Rule of righteouſneſs known by the light of Nature, That we ſhould do unto others, as we would have them do to us; and do18 nothing to them, which we would not wiſh to be done to our ſelves. Now who amongſt us would be content that others ſhould perſecute us for our Religion and Conſcience? If then we perſecute others for their Religion and Conſcience; do we not oppoſe that great light, that God has implanted in our hearts, and violate that law of Righteouſneſs which our Saviour recommended to us in his Heavenly Sermon on the Mount, as the ſumme of the law and the Prophets? And will we not come fart ſhort of the perfection of the Saints, who according to our Saviours precept ought to pray for their perſecutors, when on the contrary, we per­ſecute our Bretheren, who would do us no harme, but would live peaceably, and ſerve God according to their Conſciences.

8. Coercive power, &c. Is againſt our own principles and pretences, and therefore it's a greater ſin (as being more irrationall) in us then in others, who do not hold the ſame principles. For firſt we profeſs our ſelves to be falli­ble in judging and determining Vniverſally in matters of Religion, and object as a haynous crime to the Papall Church, that ſhe pretends to infallibility, which the Re­formed Churches eſteem onely proper to Jeſus Chriſt. But by perſecuting others for their Conſciences, we pro­claim our ſelves in effect to be infallible, as Mr. Colier wiſely obſerves, and ſo we become guilty of the ſame crime in deeds, which we deny in words, and which we lay to the charge of others. And conſequently according to our other principles we uſurpe upon the Prerogative of Je­ſus Chriſt. We ſhow I ſay our ſelves in effect to be infalli­ble for perſecuting others for their Religion. For we can­not rationally perſecute any man for his conſcience, un­leſſe we do not only know that he is in an errour, but alſo be infallibly ſure that we are bringing him to an undoubted truth: Otherwiſe as it would be a leſſe ſin in a man to19 follow an errour according to his Conſcience, then to be driven into an errour againſt his Conſcience, ſo it would be better for us, to let him alone in his errour, then to force him to ours which we falſly ecteem Truth. And there­fore if we force men to be of our Religion, we ought to be infallibly ſure of the truth of it, and ſo in effect we pro­claim our ſelves to be infallible; whereas God knowes we may be oftentims in actuall errors, and by our perſecution force others into them. As it cannot be denyed by us but that the late Biſhops, forced both the Papiſts and many Proteſtants into errours, when they perſecuted them ac­cording to the ſtrict Laws made by Harry the 8. Queen Elizabeth, and their Succeſſors, to take the Oath of ſupre­macy, and to hear the book of Common Prayer, both which we our ſelves have aboliſhed and condemned as er­rours. And thereby we juſtifie before the world, that the Recuſants were unjuſtly perſecuted, ſeeing they were princi­pally or rather only perſecuted for not embraceing theſe errours. But withall we leave a great blemiſh on our ſelves, when we having renounced thoſe errours, which were the grounds of the laws made thereupon, and having laid aſide the Kings, by whom and for whom thoſe laws were made, which indeed is to aboliſh thoſe laws; yet we ſtill keep up the penalties of the ſame laws in vigour a­gainſt the Recuſants; which ſeems to be a very irrationall act. Yea we are more faulty in another reſpect then the late Biſhops. For they at leaſt propoſed ſome poſitive points (though they were errours,) to be beleeved by the Recuſants, that theſe being put from their own, might not be without all Religion: whereas we by our new oath of Abjuration, ſtrive only to ſpoile the Recuſants of their own Religion, and as we have not one particular poſitve Religion, ſetled for undoubted truth among us, ſo we pro­poſe not any one Religion to the Recuſants to be followed20 by them, but at the moſt, we hold them out a medley of all the Religions and new Sects profeſt among us, that they may put out their hands and blindly chooſe or draw out a­ny of them. Which is indeed to ſpoile the Recuſants of all Religion and make them flat Atheiſts.

2. We have always pretended a generall Toleration for all tender Conſciences, But how are we ſure there are no tender Conſciences of the Popiſh and Prelaticall party among us? Or rather is it not moſt certain that there be tender Conſciences among them. For what can be more ridiculous then to judg that a poor ſueeking fooliſh fellow, who can ſcarce ſpeake ſenſe, and has hardly a groat to loſe for his Conſcience, has forſooth a Tender Conſcience; and that Men of Honour, Prudence, and Eſtates, who have ſuffered in their perſons, and Eſtates, meerly for their Con­ſciences, have no Tender Conſciences: And what more ridiculous then to grant, upon the ſcore of Tender Conſcien­ces, Toleration to the firſt and not to the laſt? Therefore if we perſecute theſe for their Conſciences, we do very ir­rationally and go againſt our own pretences.

3. We allow people to have the Bible in their vulgar language, and preſſe them to ſearch the Scriptures to find out the minde of God, &c. And when all is done, we will have them by our Coercive power, to beleeve as the Church beleeves, i.e. as the Miniſter and Magiſtrate ſhall conclude, which is, as Mr. Colier ſaith, to invite to ſearch and ſee with their own eyes, and yet compell to beleeve what ano­ther ſees; doubtleſſe it's not only an irreligious but an irrationall thing to allow people to ſearch and know, and yet will put out their eyes, and compell them to ſee with others. This Mr. Colier.

9. Coercive power, &c. is againſt the judgment of King James, and ſome of the moſt learned and famous Princes of Chriſtendom, and is diſavowed by all the more Godly and peaceable people of theſe times. King James in his ſpeech21 to the Parliament ſaith that it's a moſt ſure Rule in Divinity, that God never loves to plant his Church by violence and blood­ſhed. And in his Apology, p. 4. and 60. he profeſſeth that he never intended any perſecution againſt the Papiſts, for Con­ſcience ſake, but only deſired to be ſecured for civill Obedience, which in Conſcience they cannot deny. See in the Vindication of S. H. V. p. 18. the Teſtimonies of Steven that wiſe King of Poland, and of the King of Bohemia to the ſame purpoſe with the concurrence of judgments in this matter of that famous Emperour Charles the fift, and of Henry the third, and Henry the fourth Kings of France. Whence we may ob­ſerve by the way, that if coercive power over the Conſcience be ſtill kept up, our new Magiſtrates will be greater Perſe­cutors then the old were. For the old Magiſtrates did not perſecute for Conſcience ſake, at leaſt as themſelves al­leadged, but meerly to be ſecured for civill Obedience. But our New Governours if they perſecute at all, muſt perſecute meerly for Conſcience, by reaſon that cloak and pretence of the old Proteſtants is now taken away, and can ſerve the turn no longer. For it cannot be pretended now with the leaſt colour of Truth, that the Papiſts for example, (and the like may be ſaid of all other Chriſtians demeaning themſelves peaceably and obediently, to the Government, as they do and have done for many years in Holland) muſt ſuffer now as Traitors, and not as Chriſtians, or which is all one, for Treaſon and not for Religion. Or elſe it muſt be ſaid that the Papiſts ſuffered as Traitors under Monarchy, when Kings were in, becauſe it was alleadged, the Papiſts would have turn'd Kings out: and now again they muſt ſuffer as Traitors under Common-wealths when Kings are out, as though they would bring Kings in: that they ſuffe­red before as being Enemies to Kings, and now they muſt ſuffer as friends to Kings: which is ſo clear a contradiction and ſo perfect a cheat to rob ſome men of their lives, and o­thers22 of their goods, that it would be manifeſt to all men. And as this pretence, if it were now uſed by us would be very ridiculous, if not impious, (ſuppoſing the Papiſts did live peaceably and obediently under the Government) ſo that cloak of the old Proteſtants againſt the Papiſts was more ridiculous, as being more irrationall, and againſt their own principles. For the Biſhops and Divines to prove the lawfulneſſe of their vocation againſt the Puritanes whom they branded with want of lawfull vocation, derived their Vocation and orders from the Roman Church; and yet they concurred with the State to make a law, decla­ring all their Country-men who received any orders from the Roman Church, to be Traitors, and put divers to cruel deaths upon the ſame ſcore. Now what could be more irrationall and ridiculous then that the late Biſhops and Divines would have themſelves eſteem'd lawfull Paſtors, for deriving their Vocation and orders from the Roman Church; and yet the ſame man would have o­thers for receiving orders from the ſame Church, to be eſteemed and condemned as Traitors and puniſhed accor­dingly. This ſhewes that the late Biſhops and Divines and others who concurred with them in this buſineſſe, have not been ſo innocent and rationall, in the time of their proſperity, as they are reputed by many to have been.

Yea I add further that if our preſent Governours keep up Coercive power over any ſort of Chriſtians, that they will not only be greater Perſecutours, then the late Biſhops, but alſo greater then the Spaniſh Inquiſition it ſelf, which we eſteem ſo odious. For the Engliſh Merchants who re­ſided and traded many years in Spain writ thus in their a­bove mentioned Remonſtrance to the late Protectour and Parliament. The Inquiſition of Spain does concern properly the King of Spaines own ſubjects and ſuch as reſide in his Kingdome and profeſſe the Romiſh Religion, for both Mores and Jews that23 are of Barbary, and profeſſe themſelves to be ſuch, are not at all queſtioned, much leſſe any Proteſtant, that hath never profeſt himſelf to be of their religion. And if any Engliſh or Proteſtant hath been moleſted or troubled by the Inquiſition, it has been for his misbehaviour, and for the publick ſcandal he gave, and not for being a Proteſtant, But if we keep up Coercive power, &c. As we have done, we muſt perſecute Papiſts, who never were Proteſtants; and perſecute Proteſtants, who never were Puritans, And that more then the Inquiſition doth to any. For it queſtions no Proteſtant for being a Proteſtant, but only ſuch Proteſtants as misbehave them­ſelves, and give publick ſcandall againſt the laws and cuſtome of the Nation: and ſo conſequently the Inquiſition does not trouble any for their Conſcience, but for their misbehaviour. Whereas we do perſecute men meerly for their Conſcience, though they carry themſelves never ſo inoffenſively or without ſcandall. For we propoſe the oath of Abjuration (in place of the Oath of ſupremacy that was propoſed in the Kings times) to divers though they live never ſo peaceably and ſhut up within their own doores, giving ſcandall nor offence to no body: and ſo we drive them into that ſtraite that they muſt either take that oath, againſt their Conſcience, and ſo damne their own ſouls; or refuſe it, and ſo loſe their eſtates. Moreover the ſame Remonſtrance ſheweth, that the Juſtice of Spain puniſheth the Natives who affront Proteſtants carrying themſelves in offenſively, for thus it ſpeaketh. As the In­quiſition bounds us; ſo the Common Juſtice puniſheth the Na­tives that affront us; whereof many examples may be produced. For many Spanjards have been baniſhed for calling an Engliſh­man heretick, others fined, whipt, &c. But it may be much doubted, if a Merchant of the Spaniſh Nation and Religi­on, had been affronted by any Proteſtant here in England, and called an heretick, idolater, or the like, if he had got24 ſuch juſtice in England againſt a Proteſtant; as the Pro­teſtants found in Spain againſt the Papiſts. And hence may be ſeen that both the former perſecution under the Biſhops, and that which has been ſince under others, which ſome fiery Zelots would ſtill keep up, or augment, do ex­ceed the Spaniſh Inquiſition in diverſs reſpects, even by the Confeſſion of Proteſtants.

Having now ſhown the judgment of King Jamos and of other famous and learned Princes againſt all perfecution for Religion; let's now ſee how the good people of this Nati­on does concurre with them in the ſame judgment. For to ſpeak no more of the Inclination of the Parliament (the peoples great Repreſentative) expreſt above in their two Declarations; the good peoples Genius may be known more particularly, by their many Petitions preſented to the Parliament, where ever that is one of their main de­ſires, that all who profeſſe faith in Chriſt Jeſus, and live peaceably in Godlineſſe and honeſty, may be equally pro­tected and encouraged: as may be ſeen in the Petition of many inhabitants in and about the City of London, preſented to the Parliament by Mr. Samuel Major and others 12. May. 1659 for which they received the thanks of the Houſe: as alſo in the Petition of many Thouſand Gentle­men, Freeholders, &c. Of the County of Kent and City of Canterbury, and in innumerable others. The ſame Genius alſo of the people is much ſeen by the many Remonſtran­ces and Declarations lately printed and particularly by Mr. Coliers book entitled the Deciſion, Sic. So often above cited and praiſed: by the book entitled The Vindication of Sr. H. Vane, out of which we have drawn ſome arguments: By the Proclamation or Declaration of the Army of God, where the firſt article propoſed for the ſetling the State is, That there may be liberty of Conſtience, but not of ſin, By the Princi­ples and Maximes of the Levellers, &c. Where is ſhewed25 that Perſecution ſor Religion is againſt the Nature of Faith and true Religion, and deſtructive to humane Society. By the book entitled, The Common-wealth of Iſrael, where is ſhewed that the ancient Chriſtians under Chriſtian Empe­rours, gave toleration to pagans, and did not perſecute them for their Religion: And that ſuch Toleration is the Good old Cauſe, and not Perſecution for Religion, which is a Bad new Cauſe. By the book entitled, No Returne to Mo­narchy, where the firſt fundamentall layed down to ſettle this Common-wealth, is that no man be oppreſt or trou­bled for his Conſcience, and judgment in matters of Faith and worſhip. Englands ſafety p. 11.And laſtly to paſſe by many o­others, by that excellent booke entitled, En­glands ſafety in the Laws ſupremacy, where theſe remarkable words may be ſeen. It is a ſhort and low Con­ſideration to think to ſatisfie the people with giving them only liberty of Conſcience; the whole (to wit, both Civill and Re­ligions liberty) is their Right, and freedom in matters of Religi­on is but a branch thereof: which is therefore not to be avowed or accepted as a favour or indulgence to ſome perſons, but the due right of all; not granted as a policy to oblige a party, but publiſhed as a particular; not ſubject to truſt no man in Religion being a capable Judge for another, &c. with much more to this pur­poſe. And hence may be clearly ſeen how much coercive power over the Conſcience is againſt the judgment and de­ſire of the good people of the Nation, and how ſatisfactory an innocent in-offenſive Toleration would be to them: which could not diſpleaſe any but ſome very dangerous perſons, who cannot be content, to enjoy all the poſſible liberty they can defire of their own Conſciences, unleſſe they have power alſo to domineer and Tyrannize over o­ther mens Conſciences: and therefore theſe mens judg­ments and deſires are not to be much heeded and regarded, but themſelves rather are to be cloſely lookt to, leaſt they26 ſet all on fire again.

Laſtly Coercive power is againſt our own intereſt at home, and againſt the Common intereſt of the Proteſtant cauſe abroad. 1. It's againſt our own intereſt: For as Mr. Colier wiſely obſerves, by Coercive power, the Magiſtrates and others lay a foundation of perſecution to themſelves and their Poſterity. For if it be lawfull for them to exer­ciſe a Coercive power in Religious things towards others; then by the ſame Rule of Reaſon, it is lawſul for another power, if it ſhould ariſe, whoſe apprehenſions may be dif­ferent from theirs, to compell them and theirs contrary to their Conſcience, to that Religion be what it will, ſo they ſuppoſe it to be Truth. Thus Mr. Colier. And ſo it will be juſt with God to ſuffer us to be puniſhed, in what we have ſinned, and to make us receive that ſame meaſure of Rigour and Tyranny, that we have met out unto others. Whereas if we carryed our ſelves with Chriſtian Modera­tion, and Compaſſion on tender Conſciences, other powers ariſing, if they had any reaſon or Conſcience, would be moved to have compaſſion on us. 2ly. Coercive power is againſt the good of the Proteſtant cauſe abroad. For Prin­ces and States of another profeſſion, (under whom many Proteſtants live and enjoy the liberty of their Conſciences and Religion) ſeeing we carry our ſelves ſo Tyrannically over other mens Conſciences, and particularly over thoſe of their beleef, will ſtrive according to the Maximes both of Policy and Prudence, to keep their Proteſtant ſubjects in great ſubjection, and it may be, uſe them as rigorouſly as we uſe others. And other Princes and States, which have not as yet granted Proteſtants that full permiſſion and freedom in their Dominions will be deterr'd from doing them that favour, for juſt fear, leaſt they coming to power and ſtrength would by open force and Tumults take away all liberty from themſelves and their ſubjects, and ſo Tyran­nize27 over their Conſciences; of which inſolency there paſt a ſad Preſident in Scotland. For the Lords of the Congre­gation (ſo are the chief heads of the Proteſtants tearmed in Knoxes Chronicle) having obtain'd liberty of Conſci­ence for themſelves and for all thoſe of their profeſſion, were not contented therewith; but finding their power encreaſe, by the inſtigation of the Miniſters who had come well diſciplin'd from Geneva, they fell immediately to pulling down of all Abbeys, Monaſteries, Nunries, yea and of Churches too, plundred all the plate, money, hangings, and other furniture belonging to them, and then began not only to take away all liberty of Conſcience from their fel­low ſubjects, divers whereof were the chief nobility of the Nation, but alſo from their Soveraign Queen, Mary Stuart, to whom after ſhe came from France they would not grant ſo much as the private exerciſe of her Religion, till at length by interceſſion of ſome more moderate Pro­teſtant Lords it was not without difficulty extorted from the reſt: againſt which notwithſtanding the Miniſters and other Zelots did not ceaſe to cry: till by ſuch means that Noble Lady was caſt into great miſery, and brought to a Tragicall end. Whence all Princes and States have reaſon to beware of ſuch Violent Reformations, which indeed tend to the prejudice of Proteſtants rendring their cauſe o­dious: whereas if we would be more moderate and com­paſſionate, forraign Princes and States might be moved to ſhew compaſſion and moderation to our bretheren abroad.

Thus have we briefly ſhown not only the principall evils that have ſo long obſtructed the ſetling of this State, but alſo propoſed the Remedies againſt them; which have been ſeen not to be private fancies, but the joynt judg­ments of the moſt prudent and peaceable perſons of theſe times, not averred upon weak and idle conjectures, but aſſerted and proved by Solid Reaſons, both of Divinity28 and ſound policy, collected out of their writings, and con­firmed by many freſh and undenyable experiences. And therefore as they are with all humility propoſed to the Parliaments grave and ſerious conſideration; ſo it is con­fidently expected that their grave wiſdomes will be con­firmed and encouraged thereby to proſecute ſpeedily their pious intentions, and now at length fulfill their gratious promiſes held out in their above mentioned Declarations; that ſo an end may be put to our long miſeries and diſtracti­ons and the State ſetled upon the two Solid foundations of the peoples civill and Religious Liberties. And becauſe Mr. Clark of Threed-needle Street and ſome other hot­ſpur Zelots his complices do ſtrive by all means to oppoſe the peoples ſpirituall liberty, and would ſtill keep up Coer­cive power over mens Conſciences, which they do not ſo much out of Reaſon, as out of paſſion, and out of an itching thing deſire to domineer over the ſoules of their brethren, the Parliament and others may be pleaſed to minde the former Reaſons as Antidotes againſt their poyſons. For it has been demonſtrated that Coercice power over mens Conſciences, eſpecially in theſe Countrys, where there is ſuch variety of Religions, is againſt the ſecurity of the State and Temporall peace of the people which ought to be the Supream law. It's alſo againſt the ſpirituall good of the Magiſtrate, who never receiving any ſuch power neither from the people, who never had it, nor from Chriſt, who as only Lord of the Conſcience, has received all power o­ver it to himſelf, by exerciſing it, renders himſelf guilty of high Treaſon againſt the Lord Jeſus. It's againſt the ſpiri­tuall good of the people, who are thereby not made better Chriſtians, but greater Hypocrites. It's againſt the Na­ture of Faith and true Religion, which are voluntary con­ſent or Aſſents of the ſoules raiſed in it by divine illumina­tion and humane inſtruction, and not forced Conſtraints on29 the ſoul by humane Violence and compulſion. It's againſt the command of our Saviour, who ordered the Tares ſhould not be pluckt up till the harveſt, leaſt the wheat ſhould be pluckt up with them. But our fiery Zelots will have them pluckt up, though the world ſhould be thereby brought into Confuſion. It's againſt the judgment of many Ancient Divines, and againſt the practice of the primitive, Chriſti­ans under Chriſtian Emperours, to the very Pagans, and of the Turks to Chriſtians their conquer'd enemies, who re­ceive more favour and freedom of Conſcience under the Turks, then Chriſtians Countrey-men and Brethren can en­joy under our new Saints. It's againſt the Rule of Righte­ouſneſſe known by the light of nature and recommended to us by our Saviour. That we ſhould do unto others, what we would have them do to us. It's againſt our own prin­ciples, and therefore moſt irrationall. As firſt when we profeſſe our ſelves to be Fallible and yet will force people a­gainſt their Conſciences to be of our judgment as though we were infallible, and ſo we may drive men into actuall errours, in ſtead of Truths, as the old Proteſtants did to the Papiſts and the Presbyterians did not only to the Papiſts but alſo to proteſtants, Independents, &c. It's againſt our pretence of Toleration for Tender Conſciences, many of which may be found in all profeſſions, It's againſt our prin­ciple of exhorting the people to ſearch the Scriptures to find out the mind of God, and yet we will force them to be­leeve what they cannot find. It's againſt the judgment of many famous Princes and particularly of King James, who profeſt it was unlawfull to perſecute any man for his Con­ſcience. And therefore if our new Magiſtrates keep up co­ercive power, they will be greater perſecutours then the old, yea they will be more irrationall then the Spaniſh in­quiſition, which we have ſeen, queſtions no man but for their misbehaviour and ſcandall, and nor for their conſci­ence30 or Religion. And laſtly, it's againſt our own intereſt at home; for thereby we lay a foundation of perſecution to our ſelves, whereof the Biſhops and their adherents found ſome experience, when the Presbyterians aroſe: and it's a­gainſt the good of the Proteſtant cauſe abroad, which by our ſeverity and cruelty is rendred more odious and ſu­ſpected to forraign Princes and States.

Theſe Reaſons, we hope, will counterballance with all judicious and ſober men, all Mr. Clarks thread-bare Argu­ments, which he heaps together by wreſting the Scriptures and by perverting Reaſon. And as it cannot be doubted but there be many, more moderate Presbyterians, who ab­horre ſuch violent courſes, which produce ſo many bad ef­fects both on the ſoules and bodies of men, and are ſo pre­judiciall both to their Temporall and ſpirituall peace, as we have ſeen: So it were juſt, that thoſe boutefeus, who are ſo much for perſecuting of others, did only ſuffer the brunt of perſecution in themſelves, till they came to their right wits, as being enemies not only to true Divinity and right Reaſon, but alſo to humane Society, of which nothing is more deſtructive, as the Levellers do well remark, then Perſecution for Religion. However, it is expedient or ra­ther neceſſary, that all Chriſtians in theſe Nations, whate­ver perſwaſion they be of, ſhould joyn their heads, and bend their forces, to keep under thoſe enemies of their Chriſtian liberty, and of humane Society, that they may ne­ver riſe to ſuch power as may ennable them to exerciſe their Tyranny: for if they once get up again, and graſpe the ſupream Authority; All Chriſtians of other profeſſions, may expect to be forced to pinne their Religion to thoſe mens ſleeves, and to ſwear all their fancies againſt their Conſciences.

If the Founders of the Common-wealth of Holland had ſuffered themſelves to be directed by ſuch wile Counſel, as31 Mr. Clark ſuggeſts to the State here, that Republick had ne­ver been fetled, nor arrived to that proſperity and plenty it now enjoys: but upon the contrary their United provinces had been diſtracted provinces, and their Common-wealth, had been Common-poverty: for by their own inteſtive diviſions and perſecutions for Religion they had ruined one another; as may be known by the great danger of ſubverſion they in­curred, through the factions and tumults that aroſe among them between the Arminians and the Gomariſts. Where­as by putting no Reſtraint upon mens Conſciences, and by granting an innocent Toleration, they ſetled their State firmly, and ever ſince upheld it conſtantly: for thereby all the peoples intereſt were cemented and United to concurre for defence of that Common-wealth, under which they enjoyed ſo great ſoul-freedom and happineſſe. Yea the Pa­piſts themſelves, who, though equall in number to any one Religion in the United provinces, yet do not enjoy the pub­lick exerciſe of their Religion, (which is granted to diverſe other profeſſions,) but rather a connivance of private ex­erciſe, then a Toleration, though without any reſtraint up­on their Conſciences, have been ſo tyed by that favour to the State, that they have been moſt faithfull to it, contri­buted and concurred for the defence of it, and that againſt a Prince, who both by Nature and Religion might ſeeme to have a great intereſt in them, and an influence on them. Which ſhowes ſufficiently that the Papiſts, if they be not preſt in their Conſciences, (and what Proteſtant does not kick, if he be prickt there) are not ſuch Enemies to Go­vernment, and depend not ſo much upon any externall power in Temporall matters as we have been made be­leeve a long while.

Wherefore to Conclude, it's no ſmall ſhame for this Noble Nation, wherein there are ſo many refin'd wits, to be overwitted by the Hollanders, whom yet we eſteem in­feriour32 to us. For they by a prudent moderation in matters of Religion have ſetled and maintained their Republick, raiſing it almoſt from nothing to a great height and per­fection: Whereas we by our imprudent, if not un-Chriſti­an perſecuting one another for Religion can ſettle nothing, but put the State alwayes a rolling. The only means then to ſettle this State beſides the ſecurity of the peoples civill liberty, which we have laid above as the firſt foundation of this Fabrick, is to grant the people, the juſt and ſpiritu­all liberty of their ſoules, that they may be free of all re­ſtraint upon their Conſciences, by Oaths, Abjurations, im­priſonments, Sequeſtrations, and the like old paltrie courſes, unfit for Chriſtians. And as this freedom from all re­ſtraint of conſcience, ought to be common to all Chriſtians of theſe Nations, ſo the liberty of exerciſing their reſpective Religions, may be diverſly diſpenced according to the Rules of prudence, and conveniency of the State: for to ſome Religions publick exerciſe may be granted, and to others only private. But to prevent all Diſorders that may ariſe, it will be neceſſary to preſcribe ſtrict lawes a­gainſt all thoſe who ſhall preſume to diſturb others in the peaceable and warrantable exerciſe of their Religion; or who by violent courſes ſhall endeavour to ſpoile others of the juſt liberty of their Conſciences; and to execute thoſe laws ſeverely and exemplarly upon all ſuch offenders: as alſo it will be juſt to puniſh rigoronſly all others, who ſhall be found to act any thing againſt the State, under which they enjoy ſo great happineſſe. Provided always, that the innocent perſons of any profeſſion may not ſuffer with or for the guilty, but every one may only carry his own bur­then. And ſo by this moderate and juſt procedure, which is chiefly neceſſary in a Common-wealth, it's humbly con­ceived that our long diſtractions and Miſeries would ſoon ceaſe; our former rancours would be quickly buried in ob­livion,33 Chriſtian Charity and Moderation would ſpring up among us, Peace and plenty would reflouriſh, the deſires of the peoples hearts would be ſatisfyed. Gods judgments might be removed, and the State firmly ſetled. The perfor­mance of all which goods, would bring no leſſe Honour to the Parliament then it would create joy and comfort in the hearts of all the Godly and peaceable people of theſe ſo long afflicted Nations.

FINIS.

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TextEnglands settlement, upon the two solid foundations of the peoples civil and religious liberties. Collected out of divers petitions, declarations, and remonstrances; wherein is discovered the general genius of the nation. By a well-wisher of the peace and happiness of the three nations.
AuthorWell-wisher of the peace and happiness of the three nations..
Extent Approx. 66 KB of XML-encoded text transcribed from 18 1-bit group-IV TIFF page images.
Edition1659
SeriesEarly English books online.
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(EEBO-TCP ; phase 2, no. A84001)

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Images scanned from microfilm: (Thomason Tracts ; 148:E995[17])

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Bibliographic informationEnglands settlement, upon the two solid foundations of the peoples civil and religious liberties. Collected out of divers petitions, declarations, and remonstrances; wherein is discovered the general genius of the nation. By a well-wisher of the peace and happiness of the three nations. Well-wisher of the peace and happiness of the three nations.. [2], 33, [1] p. [s.n.],London :printed in the year MDCLIX. [1659]. (Annotation on Thomason copy: "Sept 12.".) (Reproduction of the original in the British Library.)
Languageeng
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  • Church and state -- England -- Early works to 1800.
  • Great Britain -- Politics and government -- 1649-1660 -- Early works to 1800.

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