Page images

ftian Moderation, and the Communion of Saints. Quid dignum tanto ferat hic Promillor hiatu ? If the Book it felf had been truly answerable to the Title, I ihould have esteemed it as a Jewel in these divided troublesoine times, and have had the Author in no small Veneration; but, alas, Falsbood is forc'd to hang out Truth's Colours, and the fouleft things stand in need of being covered with the fairesē pretences. It is reported of the Hydna, that the hides her Head, that the Beasts being attempted to approach near her to behold her beautiful Skin, she may leap on them, and seize them for her Prey: And so here, one thing is pretended, another intended; and therefore beware, latet anguis in berba : For if that may be called an History of Schism, which gives neither a fair account of the Principles and Diforderlinefs of Schifmaticks, nor of the Fudgment and Praštice of the Church, in reference to them, but lightly glides over Matters, the Author taking only what he thinks makes for his purpose, and modelling that also to his pleasure; then this may be called a History, which fome will think they may modestly call a Misrepresentation. It muit be confeft, that it is fort, if we consider the variety of Sects it pretends to account for ; and yet is too long, unless it had been better. For a little is too much, when it is artificially fitted to deceive. This relates to the Matter of his Book, thie Design of it (if you can believe himn) is to Promote Cbriftian Moderation, and the Coniinunion of Saints. Now this his Christian Moderation is fuch an Unconcernedness for the Religion a Man profeffes, that he can approve of what he dilbikes, and be hail fellow well met with those, whom in his real Thoughts he condemns. And his Communion of Saints is the running the Rounds through all the feveral Communions, that call



themselves Protestant, be they never so perverse, silly or ridiculous. The Lord deliver me from the new Notions of these fruitful times; for, till of late, I never heard that the Communion of Schimaticks was the Communion of Saints. If his Book had the Title it deserves, it might have been this, or to this effect: A Sham-History of Scbism, for the promoting Confufion in Church and State, and the destroying all Rules of Christian Communion. The Truth of which will appear from the Consideration of his Book, which I shall now enter upon,


[ocr errors][merged small]

The State of the Case considered, §. 1. The unwar,

rantable Design of that Author, 2. He avoids
the main Question, and for what reason, 3. Two
Assertions maintained by him in the negative
against all the Ancient Fathers, 4. His Pretenca
confuted, 5, A saying big with false and mali-
cious Infinuations, 6. The Plea of Impofitions
considered, 7. Of Things doubtful, 8. Of Mat-
ters needless, 9, 10. The Case of the turn'd-out
Ministers by the Bar. Aft, 11. Disobedience to
Laws, how far damnable, 12. The Opinions of
Dr. Stillingfleet, Dr. Owen, and Mr. Baxter, con-
cerning the Scbism, 13. Of the Rule, whereby to
judge of Schism, 14. His Army-argument, 15,
Of Uniformity in Worship, 16. A frivolous In-
stance from Papists, 17. His Notion of "Schism
examined, and Bp. Sheldon vindicated, 18. Au-
thority justified against bis Fears and Jealoufies,
19. Whether Persons guilty of Schifm are Schif:
maticks, 20. Äis Notion of Schism confider-
ed, 21. Concerning damnable Schism, and who


[ocr errors]

guilty, 22. Contraditory to himself, 23. A false Charge, 24. (1.) TH

HE present business of this Author (tho' think it only p1

preparatory to a farther design) is not to state Matters right, but confound them; that he may lose his Reader in a Labyrinth, and make him renounce all steady Principles, and set up for an indifferency in the affair of Religion: To this end he is so full of doublings and turnings, faying and unsaying, that I shall be forc'd to follow him a Wildgoose-Chase, and of necessity must make a rambling Argument of it; though I hope to make some amends for it in the close. He begins with a Charge upon other Men: It is said (faith he) by divers among us, that Schism is as damning as Murther or Adultery; that they who die in it, cannot be saved ; that it's a fin to worsip to God with such at any time: And they apply this to the Protestant Dissenters in England, &c. And then adds, That this is industriously instilled into the Minds of People, &c. (p. 1.) I wish it had been so : For it might have prevented much of that mifery we now labour under, and those mischiefs which are like to ensuc. For what more Christian Course can be taken to prevail with Men (as holy Scripture directs) to mind and speak the same thing? What better way to preserve the Peace and Unity of the Church, and to procure fincere Love and Affection among Christians, than to make them sensible of the malignancy and danger of the Sin of Schism? But Schism is a Darling, and it will be scandalous to speak against it. For he tells us,That these Assertions seem very false to many wife and good Men, and a great means to binder the power of true Religion, &c. (p. 1.) Thus, when they want better Arguments, we are popt i'th' Mouth at every turn with the


Names of Great and Good Men, or Wise and Good Men. The Sećtaries never fail to have their own good Word; they will even out-do him that said to his Neighbour, Stand off, for I am bolier than th04. For they will scarce allow any other but themselves to have any Holiness at all. But were not St. Ignatius, St. Clemens Romanus, St. Cyprian, and other blessed Fathers of the Primitive Times, who couragiously propagated the Christian Religion in their Lives, and Tealed the Faith with their Blood in their Deaths, as wife and good Men, as our upstart Presbyterians and Independents, or a Mongrel fort of Lukewarm Dočtors, who upon occafion can be of this, that, or any Religion whatsoever? And I am sure those holy Fathers have said as fevere things against Schilin and Schifinaticks, as any that are here objected to us: And if we muft be led by wise and good Men, I think it is no great question, which we should rather follow. And such is the force of Truth, that even Mr. Tallents himself, (forgetting himself and his Cause) as tender as he is of Schilm, hath in this very Book given it as hard words as thofe he complains of, as shall appear in due place. I cannot understand how Peace and Unity, upon good grounds, and according to the measures left us by the Primitive Christians, should either hinder the power of true Religion, or weaken the Church and Civil Government ; but that it is rather Unchristian Divisions, and the fierce bickering of Parties amongst themselves, that sets the Hearts of People against each other, and provokes God's fore Judgments. To prevent this, he declines the good old Way as unjust and insufficient, and sets up for a new Project, to cure Schifin by not regarding it. But this, if it were not unwarrantable in it felf, would not do for other reasons. For all those who were firm to, and sincere in their way, would grow jealous,


that by this means they should be represented as indifferent or regardless to all others; and this would make them stand up for themselves more zealously, and enrage them against these Men of unreasonable Charity, who would render their Profeilion needless or precarious : And so instead of curing any of the old Schisms, we should have a new Sect of Latitudinarian Schismaticks. But this is his way, and we must try what he will make of it.

(2.) I could easily agree with him in his Inference, That if Schism in whomfoever it is, be as great a Sin as Murther or Allultery, then tbey that live in it, whether Conformists or Nonconformists, are in a state of Damnation, and none may worship God with them. But that which he principally aims at in this, and seems tacitly to suppose, is, That Schism is not so great a Sin, nor fo damnable, but that Men may unconcernedly worship God with them : This I cannot comply with, . For (not to Reason the Case at present) I cannot think so highly of Mr. Tallents's liberal Judgment, as for that to condemn all the first and purest Ages of Christianity, which had quite another Opinion of Schism than he would recommend to us. For you will scarce find, that they wrote and acted against any Sin with more vehemency and that because they accounted none more dangerous to the Souls of Christians in particular, of to the Church in general.

(3.) He tells us, That he will not discuss this, pbether the Diflenters be guilty of Schism; for that batb been largely done by many. If so many have done it, his Work would have been the easier for such Helps; and at this time, and in this case, it seems necessary, That that matter should have been first discuss'd. For to what purpose should wę spend our Breath in enquiring concerning the


« PreviousContinue »