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This year was published the first of his printed works, under the title of “ Truth Exalted;” which is retained in this Collection.
About this time, two of the hearers of one Thomas Vincent, a presbyter in the Spittle-Yard, came over to the Quakers: their pastor thereat transported with fiery zeal, (a thing fertile of ill language) railing to his auditory, accused the Quakers of holding moit erroneous and damnable doctrines. This coming to our author's ears, he, together with George Whitehead, demanded of Vincent an opportunity to defend themselves and friends: a conference was agreed to be held at his own meeting-house, at which several points of doctrine were started and debated, but nothing fairly determined: from hence our author took occasion to write a little book, intituled, “The Sandy Foundation “ shaken,” which gave great offence to some then at the helm of the church, who presently took the old method of reforming what they call error, by advancing at once their strongest argument, viz. An
order for imprisoning him in the Tower of London.' There was he under close confinement, and even denied the visits of his friends : but yet his enemies attained not their purpose; for when, after some time, his servant brought him word, that the bishop of London was resolved he should either publickly recant, or die a prisoner, he made this reply : ' All is well: I wish
they had told me fo before, since the expecting of a releafe put a stop to fome business. Thou mayest tell my father, who I know will ask thee, these words: " that my prison shall be my grave, before I will budge rajot; for I owe my conscience to no mortal man: ' I have no need to fear, God will make amends for
all: they are mistaken in me; I value not their (threats and resolutions; for they shall know I can " weary out their malice and peevishness; and in me "Ihall they all behold a' resolution above fear; consci
ence above .cruelty ; and a baffe put to all their de
signs, by the spirit of patience, the companion of all the tribulated Rock of the blessed Jesus, who is the author and finisher of the faith that overcomes the world, yea, death and hell tco: neither great nor e good things were ever attained without loss and hardchips. He that would rear, and not labour, muft
faint with the wind, and perish in disappointments;
but an hair of my head shall not fall, without the pro<vidence of my Father that is over all."
A fpirit warmed with the love of God, and devoted to his service, ever pursues its main purpose : our author, restrained from preaching, applied himself to writing: several treatises were the fruits of his folitude, particularly that excellent one, intituled, “ No Cross, « No Crown ;” a book which tending to promote the general design of religion, was well accepted, and hath passed sundry impressions.
He also writ from the tower the following Letter to Lord' Arlington.
To the Lord ARLINGTON.
! | Know none to whom this paper may so properly "I be directed as thyself: for as thou art principal < secretary of state, the person to whom I surrendered ( myself, by whose warrant I was committed, and who I was pleased to come to this place to take my exami
nation about a note that was by some suspected to < have dropt from me the day of my surrender; I so the great civility I found, and the candid promifes • thou wast pleased to give me of thy assistance, as ( well there as here, are great encouragements not I only to present thee with this brief remonftrance, (which by the mouth of one of thy attendants may
easily be run over, but to expect an answer altogeother suitable.
"Truly were I as criminal as my adversaries have I been pleased to represent me, it might become me
to bear my present sufferings, without the least re( fentment of injustice done; and to esteem a vindi
cation of my cause, an aggravation of my guilt: but since it is so notorious that common fame hath maliciously belied me, and that, from invisible testimonies, I stand not guilty of what mine adversaries would have so pereinptorily fastened on me; confessing that ETERNAL DEITY of CHRIST; what better interpretation can be given of their zeal, than meer peevishness, and their great learning, than foul ignorance? Strange, that men esteemed Christians, should " seem so indefatigabie in writing, preaching, and dif
coursing down the reputation of an innocent man, by the most foul aspersions, black characters, and ex
asperating imputations, that spirits most incendiary I could invent or collect; in a word, to banish me the
world, forbid me heaven, and furiously denounce me sequestered of all, with the reserve of hell only, r and there itself have intituled me to the last and most dismal station ! But what is more admirable, those very persons have all this while mistaken the very question, and in reality have been accusing their own shadows, making me suffer their punishment, who
least of all, sincerely, am concerned in their heat. · Others there be, I know, who
---------- Crimina Rasis
Librant in Antithetis ---can insinuate their displeasure under more plausible 'expressions,
------ doftas pofuisse figuras
Laudantur -------and consequently more securely to themselves, though less to me, may obtain their ends: but to indulge those poor pretences, and give reception to those threadbare and hackney phrafes of feditious fellow, erroneous person, factious, and troublesome to the state, under the counterfeit of illumination, &c. methinks needs not a jury of twelve to convict them of very great indiscretion; as well as I am persuaded they have no room with thee. However, mine ad"versaries ammunition hath been worse bestowed than upon wool-facks, who have, alas, got to their old
r whimsies whimsies of fanfying enemies in the air, wherein chey I have been so hotly skirmissing, that hard it is to per
suade them they only dream, and make reality of
fictions: my common residence is on a more solid . bottom. But, as I am willing to believe, had my rinnocency been well observed, my confinement should ' not have given so great an approbation of their im
postures; fo, on the other hand, since they are un
questionably manifested to be such, and that the to more moderate of the authors have given their re
tractations in publick conversation, expressing their
great trouble to have so readily entertained and proi moted such foul aspersions, to the incensing of the ( civil magistrate against me; the cause, I say, being " thus removed, it is time the undeferved effect should ( cease, otherwise my liberty seems to be sacrificed to " the inordinate passions of the most inveterate part
of a faction, or strongly to confirm those in their
conjectures and reports, who confidently have told sit up and down, that my restraint is not continued con any religious inatter, but for forne points deeply I concerning the safety of the king, both most unwor<thy the equity, greatness, and honour of authority. < But alas ! shall these impudent forgeries, and ma
licious aggravations, longer prèvail against a man " that hath broke no law, despised no government, de" throned no deity, subverted no faith, obedience, or
good life; but, in words and actions, hath incessantsly endeavoured the effectual promotion of all.
i What if I differ from some religious apprehen<fions ? am I therefore incompatible with the being < of human societies ? Shall it not be remembered with
what success kingdoms and common wealths have < lived under the balance of diverse parties and if the
politicks of the most judicious and acute inquisitors
after these affairs are of any worth, they are not at a • stand in delivering their sense with great sharpness, " That it is the securest prop of all monarchical go« yernments.” Let it not be forgotten, that under the Jewish constitution, the utmost they required
from strangers, to entitle them to freedom, was an acknowledgment to the Noachical precepts, (never «denied by me); nor was it better with them in latter
days, than whilst the Pharisees, Scribes, Effeans, - Sadducees, &c. had the free exercise of their con
sciences, all differing among themselves. Neither was it otherwise amongst the infidels: who knows not that almost every family and tribe in Rome had rits particular Sacra? nay, the Egyptian Isis and Se
rapis obtained a place for publick temples, and di'vine honours, among those wise people. Nor can I somit the great candor of (that otherwise most inhu(man) Tiberius to the Christians, who, if Eusebius
Pamphilus be to be credited, not only made it death for any to perfecute the Chriftians, but had a rare good opinion of Christ, and the Christian faith, though both were so immediately destructive of his
religion and the whole world's. Nay, fince the • Chriftian times, who is not a stranger to ecclesiastical 'story, and doth not know the great variety of opinions that reigned in Egypt, Constantinople, Antioch and Alexandria ; indeed, where not ? nor do I read it ever entered into the hearts of any to molest them. And had not fecular power been the Diana and great goddess courted by the Arians and AntiArians, they might have lived with great security in their sentiments, and not have troubled the whole world, and perplexed themselves for so many ages. And they who will reflect upon the carriage of both
thofe parties, may find reasons enough to dread the rapprehensions of a faction, and palpably discover
and read the natural, but fatal consequences that unavoidably follow the exaltation of a single party, ' to the detriment of others, rather than to keep a « moderate and well-advised balance upon all. This maxim Socrates Scholafticus reports to have been not unseen, nor wholly unpractised by the great
wisdom of the emperor Jovianus, first suggested by I his beloved friend and philosopher Themistius, whose
time, though short, had a most differing success