Page images
PDF
EPUB

C. VI. THE Members of the Gallican Church, and all others that may be included under the fame Denomination, do not pretend to build their Right of perse·cuting Hereticks upon such Principles, but think they go upon Jurer Grounds, by ascribing to the Church, For to the Church and State, as professing the Catholick Religion: the Right and Power of an earthly Parent over ber Children. And as this Doetrine car. ries with it an Appearance of Regard for the Souls of Men, mixed with Tenderness and Affection to their Persons, the Unwary and Well-intentioned are the more easily deceived into an Approbation of it, as they may not see into the fatal Consequences of such a Claim. For under the Pretence of a Parent's using necessary Discipline, and wholesome Severities, for the Correction of a disobedient Child, all kinds of Persecutirn that do not extend to the taking away of Life itself, are allowed and justified. Nay even Death is infli&ted on the Protestant Ministers of the Gospel, who are considered as the Corruptors of these Children, whenever they exercise auy Part of their holy Function. Moreover, if a Lay Person should occasionally officiate, for want of a Minister, in any publick disembly, or be instrumental in calling it together, he is to be punished in the like Manner: It being the wicked Policy of the Romish Church to deprive the Protestants of having publick Teachers of any Kind; hoping thereby, that when the Shepherds are fmitten, their Flocks will be scattered, and become the more easy Prey. And this Treatment, cruel and unchristian as it is, is the very mildest de vouchSafes to Protestants. But before we enter more distinętly into the Consequences, let us first examine the Foundation of this Doetrine.

VII. NOW

[ocr errors]

VII. NOW tbe very Terms made use of, [Mater & Magistra] Mother and Governess, are figurative and metaphorical Expressions, and therefore, should not be supposed to extend to all Cafes belonging to ibe Original from whence they are borrowed. Nay, if they had been * Scripture Phrases, sohich I bumbly conceive they are not, they would not bave justified all the Conclusions the Romanists draw from them. For Do&trines of Importance, which have an immediate Reference to Practice, and on which bath the present and future. Happiness of Mankind are supposed to depend, are not to be built on Tropes and Metaphors especially where the Subject would admit of the plainest and most express Language, level to all Capacities. And yet there is not one word in all the New Testament, the Romanists themselves being Judges, that direitly, and ex profeffo, teaches ör inculcates.ibe. Doctrine of Perfecution; though they must allow, that it would bave been as easy to fay, Persecute Hereticks, as Love your Enemies.

And therefore, when they would defend these uncbris tian Tenets..by

. Scripture Arguments, they are forced to seek out for strained Interpretations, and to have recourse to very remote Conclusions, or ill. founded Hypotheses.. on cumstances of it under the P burch, the very Cirs

, Evidence enough to shew, wbat the Christians of thoje Times thought of Perfecution. But when the Empire

became

a

The Church Triumphant in Heaven, the Jerusalem that is Above, is faid to be The Mother of us all; but this Appellation is never given in Scripture to any Church Militant upon Earth.

became Christian, the Sweets of Power, and Thirst of Dominion and Revenge, soon began to corrupt the Gospel Doctrine of Love and Charity, and mutual Forbearance; and the Gentleness and Condescension so earnestly and pathetically recommended by St Paul to be shewn to a weak Brother, were turned into Bitterness, and Wrath, and Evil-Speaking And every Seet, when uppermofit, called upon the Secular Arm to support the good Caufe, by crushing their Adversaries. Hence arose new Claims of Right and Power; and subtle Diftinations tvere coined to justify the Persecution of the one Side, and condemn that of the other. Thus the Church of Rome, who finds fucb Difficulty to press a single Text into its Service out of the Holy Scriptures, is enabled to produce Authorities in Abundance

from the Fathers of the Fourth and following Centuries, in fupport of the worst of Causes, the Cause of Perfecution. Let us therefore more proceed to its Effeets and Consequences.

VIII. IN the first place, the Roman Church, as the Universal Mother, extends ber Claim of Parental Jurisdiction, not only over her own Members, but over every other Seet of Christians in the World; and never fails to exercise this Power wbenever the can: For all Hereticks are fill to be considered as ber Children, though disobedient and rebellious; and the more obstinately they perlift in their Crimes, ibe stronger are tbe Reasons wby the should exert a Parent's Rigbt in Chaftizing them, if tbey are not prevailed upon by gentle Methods.

IN the next Place, as the Churcb batb an unAlieniable Right to the filial Obedience of all ber Chil

drez,

dren, no temporal Prince, or civil Magistrate, ought to covenant or agree with the Delinquents, that this Obedience fbould not be paid; for ibis would be doing an Injustice to the common Parent: And the civil Magistrate, who is bound in Conscience, as a good Catholick, both to reverence and obey ber bimself, and not to consent to the Violation of ber Ayo thority by bis own Subjects, cannot disannul this superior and prior Obligation by any pretended Engagements to the contrary

SUPPOSE therefore be took an Oath to grant Liberty of Conscience, and the free Exercise of Religion, to Protestants or Hereticks; Suppose be stipua lated, that he would bold sacred the Rights of private Judgment, provided nothing was broached offenfive to good Manners and civil Society ;-Suppoje this was made tbe express Condition of his being admitted to reign over them; -Why, such Oaths, and fucb Conditions, are null in themselves; and be ought not to perform what be bad no Richt to promise. A Catholick Prince, who comes under any Engagements with bis Protestant Subjects, inconsistent with the Duty owing to the common Parent, was guilty of a Crime in coming under such Engagements, but will be guilty of a much worse in keeping them.

IX. THE Consequences of such Positions are very plain and obvious ;-and still the more dreadful, when we come to view them exemplified in Pračtice. For it is observable of all the States and Kingdoms of tbe Romisk Persuasion, that they NEVER CEASĖ to perfecute the Protestants in one Degree or other; so

bat

a 2

that the mildest Treatment they vouchsafe to give, would be reckoned barbarous and cruel in this bappy Land of Liberty, if the Catholicks in England were to meet with such Usage. Nor is it to be forgotten,* that the Laws in force against the Proteftants Abroad, are not only fevere, and in Joine InStances cruel and shocking, but also that the great Body of the Romilh Communion are led by the Spirit and Tenor of their Religion to esteem it meritorious to execute these Laws with the utmost Rigor. And the Do&trine of their Church, concerning the Piety of extirpating Heresy, joined to that of Pardons and Indulgences, bath a strange Effe& in disposing them to believe, that their personal Vices and favourite Sins may be atoned for by a warmer and fiercer Zeal for the Catholick Cause. As to the Popis Clergy in particular, it is their Unbappiness, not only to have these Prejudices in common with others, but also to be spurred on to act with the greater Violence by the Temptations of Self-Interest and present Advantage. And I cannot omit observing, that the Ediets of the present King of France are framed with so much Art and Policy, that they will in a great Measure execute themselves, both by the Encouragements given to Informers, and the Penalties which the new-converted Catholicks are fubjet to, if they are observed to favour in the leasi Degree the Meetings of Protefiants; nay, if they are not extremely vigilant in detecting and profecuting them, though they should happen to be their own Children, or nearest and dearest Relations. In short, the greatejt Favour tbe Protestants can expect from a Popis

Government; * See the Tract entiticd, Popery always the same, Printed for B. Dop in Ave-Mary Lane, Londot, 1746.

« PreviousContinue »