« PreviousContinue »
sity, that he might see how so celebrated a Man would manage the matter in those difficult times; and there, to his amaze. ment, he saw Mr. Marshal marry his Daughter to one of the Saints, exactly in alì Punctilio's according to the Book of Common Prayer. At their return to the Vicaridge House, my Kinsman, taking him aside, asked him, How he, who had spoken so much and so veheniently against the Book of Common Prayer, could satisfic himself in what he had done? To whom he reply'd in words to this effect: That the Objection was true, but yet he did not know, that the Book of Common Prayer was as yet by any Authority abrogated, and he was sure that no oiher legal way of Marriage was yet eftabliseed; and seeing he gave his Daughter a very good Portion, be Jould be loth, if any thing foould fall out
beyond his expectation, to see his Daughter turn'd out of doors as a Whore, and her Children made Bastards, for want of a les gal Marriage. Various Applications may be made of the Story, but I leave that to others. Allow me for onze the liberty to mention only one more of these extorted Privileges, because I take it to be a Scandal to the rest of the Nation, and then I will have done. There are a sort of Men, who have made up a Religion out of a Complication of Old Hereftes, which strike at the Root and very Being of Chriftianity: These Men flatly refuse to make Oath in any Court upon any Civil Cause or Tryal. But by the way you ought to know, that whatever they may pretend, the true Reason is, that it is a Privilege annex'd to their Perfection; for it is a Do Etrine taken from the Popish Schools, that Juramentum non cadit in perfectos; and there is not one of these Men, but lays claim to Perfection, at least they did lo when they first set up this Practice. But, alas, how perfect Men are we know not? and few or none such are to be found in this Life, which is not a State of Perfection : And be they what they will, Oaths are the highest Security, and made to satisfie the weakness and incredulity of others; and even God himself, who a. lone is absolutely perfect, so far conde. scended to the Infirmities of Man, that
when he could swear by no greater, he fware by himself, (Heb. 6.13.) And the Apostle tells us, That an Oath for confirmation is the end of all ftrife, 'Heb. 6. 16.) But be the Concern never so great, and the Conjequence never lo dangerous, yet these Men will not Swear : And upon this they have obtained a Privilege, that their Asseveration shall pass in such cases, wherein an Oath is required of all others, as if there was not a Man in the whole Kingdom to be believed upon his Word but a Quaker. Those, who are so apt to accuse them of Lying, cannot but think it unreasonable, that this Privilege should be granted them. And truly I fear that others would look upon us as the most infamous Nation under the Heavens, if it should be granted, that there are none among us so honest and truly Religious as thele Men; and doth not such a Privilege tend to create such an Opinion of us? But if others be as credible Persons as they, why should they not have the fame Privilege, especially seeing that in all probability they might obtain it, if they would lefs.de
serve it, by being as obstinate as the
If it were deliberately enquired into, in how many unreasonable Particulars Government seems to accept Laws from some sort of Men, rather than give any to them, it might make some bethink themselves. But I know I have done more already, than I shall receive any Thanks for; and therefore I will trouble them no farther, but leave them to themselves, and let Ziba take all for me. As a Clergyman, I think I ought to have a particular Zeal for the Establishment of true Religion; as a Christian, I wish well to all Men; as a Native, I heartily desire the safety and prosperity of my Country : But if I think such courfes are not taken, as tend to procure and pro. mote these things, I wish that I alone were mistaken, that all others might enjoy the happiness of it.