Page images

his protestant subjects, who were indepen


with many other made public, there were private ones, by which great liberty was given to those of the Romish church. For by these "Jama promised that the laws in being against them, should not be commanded to be put in execution; that no new laws for the suture should be enacted to their hurt, that there should be a perpetual toleration of the Roman cathosic religion, within private houses, throughout all his dominions; and that he Wou)d do his endeavour, that the parliament should ratifie all and singular articles, in favour of the Roman catholics. (/') About the fame time a declaration was (0 See signed by lord Conway, and others in his majesty's *"*«"i«'•» name, dated Aug. 7, 1623, touching pardons, fuspen-ggC_89.p' sions, and dispenfations for the Roman catholics, which, Frankiand** in the opinion of the earl of Bristol, the great negotia- *T^l' e' tor of the Spanish match, in effect was little less than a toleration. (/£) And " the king directed the lord keeper^) Rub,. "(Williams) and other commissioners, to draw Up a worth, VoU "pardon for all offences past, with a dispenfation for1,p'288* "those to come, to be granted to all Roman catholics, "obnoxious to any laws against recufants ; and then to "issue forth two general commands under the great "seal of England : the one to all judges and justices of "the peace; and the other to all bishops, chancellors, •* and commissaries, not to execute any statute against

"them." (/) The Spanish match took not place jOW-tS

but prince Charles was married to Henrietta Maria, of i0'' France; and James, before his death, signed articles cquatly as favourable to the English catholics, as conditions to that match, (m) This cardinal Ricblieu boasts (m) Hof. "The Spanish match, fays he, was broken off,?'1 ** "and soon after it, that of France was treated of, con- . p . "eluded and accomplished, with conditions three times testament, "more advantageous for religion, than thole which p. 7"were designed to be proposed in the 1 are king's |Se"e'f°y„| "(Henry the fourth) time." («) This was the man who i.p.»'265J oevtr intended to grant a toleration to papists, who8v0- ^oa^


dant of the court, approved, and many1


would spend the last drop of bis blood before he would do it, and whose heart bled when he heard of the encreafe of popery. Vile hypocrisy ! mean dissimulation f which could answer no other purpose than to expose himself to the scorn and contempt of those who knew him. What the favour which was shewn the catholics when the Spanish match was thought near a conclusion, was, will best appear from the following paragraph in a letter written, if 1 am not greatly mistaken, by Buckingham to count Gondomar, then in Spain.—" As for news "from hence, I can assure you* that they are, in all ** points, as your heart could wish: for here is a king, "a prince, and a faithsul friend and servant unto you, "besides a number of your other good friends, that ** long so much for the happy accomplishment of this "match, as every day seems a year unto us; and I can "assure you, in the word of your honest friend, that "we have a prince here, that is so sharp set upon the "business, as it would much comfort you to fee it, and "her there to hear it. Here are all things prepared "upon our parts; priests and recufants alfat liberty j *' all the catholics well fatisfied; and, which "will seem a wonder unto you, our prisons are emptied *' of priests and recufants, and filled with zealous mini"fiers, for preaching against the match; for no man "can sooner, now, mutter a word in the pulpit, tho' "indirectly against it, but he is presently catebed, and "set in streight prison. We have also published orders, "both for the universities, and the pulpits, that no "man hereafter shall meddle, but to preach Christ cru"cified ; nay, it shall not be lawsul hereafter for them "to rail against the pope, or the doctrine of the church "of Rome, surther than for edification of ours; and "for proof hereof, you shall herewith receive the or

(0 Ctbala, " ders set down and published." («) -This great li

p.»4». berty given to the catholics was highly offensive to the protestants, as we may learn from wbat follows, which


greatly murmured at. The church of England, under James, was in a happy state,


was written by archbishop Jbbal, to 'Jafnes on occasion of it. "Your majesty hath propounded a tole*

"ration of religion: I beseech you, to take into your "consideration, what your act is, and what the con"sequence may be. By your act you labour to set up "that most damnable and heretical doctrine of the "church of Rome, the whore of Babylon, how hate"sul will it be to God, and grievous to your subjects, "(the true professors of the gospel) that your majesty "who hath often desended, and learnedly writterl "against those wicked heresies, should now shew yourself a patron of those doctrines, which your pen hath *' told the world, and your conscience tells yourself, M are superstitious, idolatrous, and detestable.—Be"fides, this toleration you endeavour to set up by your "proclamation, it cannot be done without a parlia"ment, unless your majesty will let your subjects see, "that you now take unto yourself a liberty to throw "down the laws of the land at your pleasure. What "dreadful consequences these things may draw after, I "beseech your majesty to consider. And above all, "lest by this toleration, and discountenance of the true "prosession of the gospel (wherewith God hath blcsied "us, and under which this kingdom hath flourished

[ocr errors]


"these many years) your majesty doth draw upon the *' kingdom in general, and yourself in particular, God's "heavie wrath and indignation. Thus, in discharge "of my duty to your majesty, and the place of my *' calling, 1 have taken the humble boldness to deliver "my conscience. And now, Sir, do with me what "you please." (p) I will not here enter into the ques- {p) Csfcafy tion whether the intolerant principles of the Roman ca- ?.' 1*♦• , tholics do not render them unfit to be tolerated amongst Vol. U protestants. All I sliall fay, is, that it has been the p. ss. opinion of some of the best friends to liberty, that they ate to be excluded from it, for the preseivation of liberty Q. itself*

being highly praised, protected, and savoured by him, [4 D] yea, moreover advanced


l^?e.eva itself; with which it is thought their principles are article Mil- incompatible, [q) But be this as it will, it cannot be at ton, note all wondered at, that the protestants in James's reign E°J sliould be alarmed at an open toleration of those of the

communion of the church of Rome. For they could not but remember the bull of pope Pius the fifth, concerning the damnation, excommunication, and deposition of queen Elizabeth, and the plots which in consequence thereof, were laid against her lise: They could not but remember the detestable powder treason; nor could they forget that James himself had publickly avowed that the pope of Rome was antichrist, the man of sin, the mother of harlots, and abominations, who was drunk with the blood of the faints and' the martyrs of Jesus. And remembering these things, could they chuse but murmur against the toleration of so bloody a sect, or look on Buckingham the supposed instrument of it, but as a betrayer of king and country, and as odious, (r) Cabala, as ne himself declares they did. (r) p. 244.

[4 D] The church of England under James was in a flourishing state, being highly praised, protected, and favoured by him.] When I speak of the church, I would not be understood to mean" a congregation of "faithful men," as our articles in an antiquated man(a) See art!- ner define it; (a) but the clergy, who have for a long clc the i9th. time appropriated that term to themselves, and the places in which they officiate: And when I speak of the church as in a flourishing state, I mean, what I think churchmen generally mean by it, their possessing power, honor and wealth; and not the increase of unseigned piety, and real virtue.—That in this fense the church of 'England flourimed under James, is beyond all contradiction. In a speech in the star-chamber, in the year 1616, his majesty complains, "that churchmen were w had in too much contempt, I must speak trewth, fays


id riches, honor* and power j whereby me


*' be, great men, lords, judges, and people of all de

** grees from the highest to the lowest, have too much

"contemned them. And God will not bless us in out1

"own laws, if we do not reverence and obey Cod's

** law; which cannot be, except the interpreters of it

"be respected and reverenced, and it is a sign of thg

'' latter day's drawing on; even the contempt of the

"church, and of the governors and teachers thereof

"now in the church of England, which I fay in my

"conscience of any church that ever I read or knew of,

"present or past, is most pure, and the primi-

tl tive and apostolical church in doctrine and discipline,

"and is sureliest founded on the word of Goil, of any

"church in Christendome." (b) In the fame speech (4) Kirrg

he tells the judges, " God Will bless every good bust- J,n'ei's

." ness the better, that he and his church have the pre- ??,'' p"

"cedence."(s) And again, addressing himself tothe. ;<•) id. pj

judges, he fays, "Let hot the church nor churchmen 565.

,e be disgraced in your charges;—countenance and en

"courage the good churchmen, and teach the people

"by your example to reverence them: for if thev be

"good, they are worthy of double honor for their of

"sice fake; if they be faultie it is not your place to ad

"monish them; they have another Forum to answer

"to for their misbehaviour." (d) And ' in another rj\ \&, M

place, he tells us, " that as soon as a person hath made 5*9.

"his choice what church to live and die in, audi cam,

tl as Christ commands: for his conscience in this must

"only serve him for a guide to the right church, but

"not to judge her, but to be judged by her." (.e) {e)

This is very g6od, and what most churchmen woula 577-' be very glad their flocks did believe. For they then might teach authoratively, and a blind submission would be yielded. Profane wits would not think themselves at liberty to examine the reasonableness of the churches doctrine, but swallow down glibly the most mysterious unintelligible points, to their own great edification, and

« PreviousContinue »