Imatges de pÓgina

made manifest.' I only foretell him, that I greatly doubt that if he repent not speedily, (which is not likely,) he is in great danger of dying a papist or an infidel. As to the reproach used in your letter, it doth but shew that you are so much more impatient of plain truth and of being contradicted, than other ordinary men, that we have little reason to believe that you have more of the spirit of humility, meekness and patience, than those whose communion you renounce, as not being spiritual, and that they call not for an answer but for pity. What you charge my landlord with, debate it with him. I was sorry you began with him, and that with so provoking incivility; but you dream not, sure, that I undertook for any one but myself; though I told you and them what was meet and what was my request. I will say what at our first meeting I said to you, that I suppose you were never acquainted with the persons whom you revile, otherwise I cannot excuse you from downright malignity. My great acquaintance with abundance of the reviled ministers and people did cause me to perceive that they lived in mortification of the flesh, and contempt of such riches as you possess, few of them having more than mean food and raiment, and being therewith content; the greatest adversaries in a way of sobriety, to worldliness, sensuality, lordly pride or laziness in ministers, that ever I knew; frequent and fervent in prayer, watching over the flock with love and diligence, unweariedly labouring in preaching the ancient, simple Christianity, faith, repentance, obedience, love and concord; humbly stooping to the lowest, and doing good to the souls and bodies of all according to their opportunity and talents; and living exemplary in peace among themselves, following peace with all and abhorring usurpations, rebellions, heresy and schism; and to this day preach for nothing, through sufferings with patience: I say, I know so much of these, that he that would persuade me to hate them, or to believe them to be as odious as you have described them, doth to me seem to be the messenger of Satan; and if I know God's Spirit speaking in the Scripture and in me, it teacheth me to say, 'Get thee behind me, Satan, the accuser of


[blocks in formation]

"I have received a long letter from thee, which I shall answer with what brevity I can. The first part of it contains an evasion of meeting; the last, a repetition of thy old refuted clamours, and both wrapped up in terms only fit for the devil, such is the sweetness of thy nature, and the great charity of thy new-modelled religion. But to the first part: thy words are these, I shall stand to the offer I made of another day's conference, but not at your time nor rates.' But who concluded thee? Not I: it is true I offered those things, but so as I left room for exceptions: yet why should not I have the giving the laws of the second, when thou hadst the giving of the laws of the first, conference? It was my turn in equity. But thou art weak and full of pain; if so, God help thee: I cannot say so of thy cause, though its more infirm. Well, but thou canst not meet me this week, because of preaching the next Lord's-day; when, then? After it I shall be ready; what day? The first opportunity; who shall judge of that? It is not at my command;' nor mine thou hast told me already; who may I ask for Richard Baxter? Where may I find him? When will he be at leisure to make good his false insinuations against the poor Quakers? In this wood he leaves us, or rather hides from us; and then tells the lamentable story of being driven from books, house, goods, &c. O, Richard Baxter, and is this a time to draw diabolical pictures of the poor Quakers, to render them hateful and their religion accursed, and that in the face of magistracy, whilst thou complainest of persecution for thy dissent from others? Where is sweetness, meekness




and charity now? However, if I were Richard Baxter, no man should go to prison for me, as one, he says, hath done for him; nor should it be a troubled pulpit, but a troubled conscience that should make me fly. to London and go to gaol, if that must be the consequence, and learn charity by bonds, and thou wilt, perhaps, practise it better when at liberty. Well, but thou sayest, I have a de signing, wrathful, persecuting spirit in me: how am I designing? By coming so near to dinner-time, as thinking I could not have held out fasting till night:' what a prodigious design was this to blow up poor R. Baxter! But did he really think I could stand him so long? Doubtless his disciples (especially above other gifts in that of patience) fancied nothing less than that we, like poor selfcondemned mortals, should cry out, Men and brethren, what shall we do to be saved? But to help R. Baxter's perception, that is as dim here as his eyes or his notes were the other night, I will inform him, that I came late from London the night before the conference, and knew no more of the hour than the unborn child; nay, in the letter sent from London about the meeting, no time was so much as mentioned. What a designing man was I, R. B., all this while? Well, but I am wrathful; why? Because I take so much pains, and am so zealous in discovering and reprehending his and his brethren's cruelty to us. And in what persecuting? In writing bolder against it (without vanity I say it) than any man in England; witness my several pieces to the Parliament, and that impartially, while R. Baxter and his brethren are for casting us and others to the dogs by a comprehension, leaving us under the clutches of merciless men. Thus much to the first part of the letter.


"To the second, which contains two sides and a quarter, and all upon this strain, what hope can I have of a man that will say and unsay, that hath a spirit that judgeth the ministry that laboured twenty years ago?' &c., I shall, by retortion and inversion, as also by some additional exceptions, give, I hope, a full and convincing


"What hope can I have of him that

subscribes a book of foulest charges against a whole people, that I have cause to believe he never read, and yet justifies it: he that authorizes quotations he never compared, and justifies consequences that he never examined: he that says we deny the Holy Scriptures to be any means of good, when we maintain the contrary; that we set them and the Spirit in opposition, who affirm their exaet unity in testimony? What shall we say of him, and what is he that makes us to deny Christ, his manhood one while, his godhead another while, and that says we despise, reject and deny his transactions at Jerusalem for man's salvation, when our writings plentifully mention them with honour: he that says we deny the ministry (be cause we deny theirs); yea, thrice over in the debate, (though I warned him of it as a gross abuse,) instead of proving the ministry of his us and we the true gospel ministry he that makes us to deny a gospel church, which we believe he that renders us to deny heaven and hell, rewards and punishments; and gives these things under his hand, as the doctrines and principles of the Quakers, that are not to be found in any of their writings, nay, that are confessed to be but consequences of his or his friends drawing, never consented, agreed or acknowledged by us, but detested and abominated: he that will recommend them after being confuted, at least answered, without reading our justification; which was either by downright denial, as in some cases, or clear distinctions, as in other places: he that shall maintain another's allegations and citations out of men's books, that are plainly false and forged: again, he that shall begin a dispute between we and you, and shall require what the you are, and refuse to tell what the we are: he that shall charge hand, that never thought what to say, his opposer with studying beforewhilst himself had writ his matter, and therefore contended for his method, because else he had been at a loss: he that turns disputation into preaching: he that evades answers, and runs all into reflections or perversions: he that counted us no Christians, (though he allowed it to Papists,) yet neither said in what, nor disproved our Confession: he that made us to deny any

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

force their maintenance? He that calls this taking a malicious advantage of the times, when, God knows, I was grieved to mention it, but driven to it by such extravagant praises of them as being of the best, which I think, in a sense, is corruptest; and to shew it must tell their story: he that calls the law, which forces maintenance from people to a ministry they own not, one of those laws of the land, that is the rule of property, and yet denies the law that distrains religious meetings as against property: he that makes us deny any Christianity at all to be in any but ourselves, that infers from our words, that all else are antichristian but ourselves, &c., because we acknowledge this way to be more excellent, as that which has given life to our souls, and in which we have found the redeeming power of Christ in our souls; which we never felt under other ministry and in other ways: he that, from our declining the fashions and customs of the world in pure conscience to God, the only token of our esteeming ourselves Christians, and that says we go out of one extreme into another: he that chargeth us with maintaining Popery, and yet counts the Papists Christians, whilst he denies us to be such, at least questions it: he that admits not particular instances to conclude against generals, and himself draws reflections from I. Nayler upon the whole people called Quakers, and their faith: he that chargeth me with believing, and bids me repent of what never was, but what if it were, I told him I utterly detested, and that after he was told so, yet suns up his discourse in the same terms, without proving his accusation or taking any notice of my abhorrence of any such thing as that he charged: and he that can make a people guilty of such fault as I. N. might commit, when they so solemnly, and in print renounce and censure it: he that finds fault with aggravating evil against persons, as a way that tends to destroy love, and yet practises it by a dull and envious repetition of stories thrice over, not at that time to be particularly disproved: he that makes it a

ministry but that of the Spirit in us,
only to ourselves individually, though
we proved particularly the contrary,
and that never takes notice of it, but
perseveres with dreaming repetitions:
he that made me to say I cared not a
farthing for Christ's church, that only
said it of a persecuting, mercenary,
adulterated, divorced church: he that
represented me to cry down Christ's
ministry, that only denied a perse-
cuting, bloody-minded clergy, full of
temporizing and flattery: he that
made me accuse Marshall, Ward, Bur-
gess, Edwards, &c., of fawning upon
O. Cromwell, that only mentioned
them as some of those that cried
'down with Baal's priests,' &c., on the
one side, and that most bitterly with-
stood the Independents, &c., as schis
matics, on the other; calling upon
the civil magistrate to sweep the land
of them, on purpose to give proof of
some Presbyterian charity: he that
charges schism upon us, and is by his
separate meeting, and flying for doing
so a detected Separatist himself: he
that cries us and we, taking in Pro-
testants of all sorts, and Papists too,
under some Christian qualification,
but leaving us out; that hath abetted
the beginning of those troubles that
are charged with sedition and schism:
he that had the confidence to say he
and his friends had no hand in separa-
tion or persecution, nor daubing of
the powers; who writ an Holy
Commonwealth' to an usurper to
practise, and raise his new monarchy
upon, and that hath preached up the
use of civil power to restrain con-
sciences, and countenanced severity
upon Thomas Goodier, so as he had
been killed, but for Lt. Salsberry;
and whose brethren said, at Manches-
ter, let us blow up this Quaker,' at
G. Boothe's rising, and cried, 'Banish
them, and for the children do as the
Irish did: nits will be lice, my wit-
nesses are near he that cries up the
ministry of 1655, for the best in the
world, and when put close to it, runs off
and quits the field, and of above 9000
preachers with 1800: were the 1800
the ministry, and not the 9000? And
did none of those call Oliver, 'Moses,'
"the light of their eyes and breath of
their nostrils,' and Richard, the
Joshua that was to lead them to the
Holy Land'? Did none of these flatter
the powers, persecute Dissenters, and omitted. ED.




Part of the sentence is evidently

mark of a false church in us, that we contradict and write one against another, (which is still false, we never did so,) yet justifies the Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Independents and Baptists, that have done the like, and continue to do so: he that pretends they are all his brethren, and the Papists too, for he calls them Christians, (which must be by being born of one stock,) yet says that this spirit of schism, this rending spirit that leads into these perverse ways, began with those that cried Down with Baal's priests,' &c., descended thence into the Sectaries, that is, Independents, (for so the Presbyterians called them,) from them to the Anabaptists, so to the Ranters, and then to the Quakers: he that can justify a man in calling the Quakers' light within, a sinful, sordid and corrupt thing, and yet appeal to it in print, and say its but what we have of him and his brethren: he that reproves us for railing, that defend ourselves in Scripture terms, rightly applied, as we offer to prove, to both use it and abet it in others: he that can call a man brother one hour, and devil the next; first extol and hosanna, then debase and crucify, bid me get me behind him, and God rebuke me,' as if I were a devil:-he that can do all these things, I hope I may say, is so far neither a good man, a charitable man, nor a fair disputant. And whether R. Baxter be not this very man, I leave it with him seriously to consider, as he will answer the great God at his tribunal. Oh! do not so harshly represent, nor cruelly character a poor people, that are given up to follow the leadings of that Jesus, abundance of you have long told us, has stood even all night at the door of our hearts, knocking that he might come in, whose pure spirit and fear we desire to be subject to, and wait upon God, when together in true silence from all fleshly thoughts, that we may feel our hearts replenished with his divine love and life, in which to forgive our opposers, and those that spitefully use us: in which dear love of God, R. Baxter, I do forgive thee, and desire thy good and felicity; and when I read thy letter, the many severities therein could not divert me from saying, that I could freely give thee an apartment in my house, and thy liberty therein, that I could visit,

[blocks in formation]


Two Original Letters of Tillotson's. The first of these is without an address. An indorsement on the envelope, in the hand-writing of Dr. Calder, formerly librarian at Red-Cross Street, states that it was supposed to have been written to Baxter, but more probably to Mr. Howe, and given to this Library by Mr. Calamy, Feb. 28, 1753." It refers to a memorable incident in Tillotson's life, the narration of which, in Calamy's Life of Howe, would rather lead to the conclusion that it was not addressed to Mr. Howe. The tradition of its having been sent to Baxter is probably correct. To render it perfectly intelligible, we think it fit to extract Dr. Birch's account of the affair to which it relates, in his Life of Tillotson. The extract is long and has been partly anticipated in our IIIrd Vol. pp. 147, 148; but we had rather run the risk of tediousness or repetition than omit any thing necessary to the elucidation of this valuable relic of so great and good a man as Tillotson.

Having related the publication of Dr. Burnet's History of the Reformation, as a "most seasonable service to the nation amidst the alarms of Popery," Dr. Birch proceeds: "And the same reason induced the Dean (Dr. Tillotson, then Dean of Canterbury), to take all opportunities to oppose the progress of that religion, especially at court, whence the greatest danger of it was then apprehended. Being called upon, therefore, unexpectedly to preach out of his turn before the King at Whitehall, on the 2d of April, 1680, he took for his text Josh. xxiv. 15, and his sermon was soon after published by his Majesty's special command at London, in 4to. under the title of The Protestant Religion vindicated from the Charge of Singularity and Novelty.' But this

discourse, though an excellent and judicious one in the main parts of it, yet contained some incidental assertions, which gave no small offence to many both of the Church and Dissenting communions, particularly the following passages: I cannot think (till I be better informed, which I am always ready to be), that any pretence of conscience warrants any man, that is not extraordinarily commissioned, as the apostles and first publishers of the gospel were, and cannot justify that commission by miracles, as they did, to affront the established religion of a nation, though it be false, and openly to draw men off from the profession of it, in contempt of the magistrate and the law. All that persons of a different religion can in such a case reasonably pretend to, is to enjoy the private liberty and exercise of their own conscience and religion, for which they ought to be very thankful, and to forbear the open making of proselytes to their own religion, (though they be never so sure that they are in the right,) till they have either an extraordinary commission from God to that purpose, or the providence of God make way for it by the permission of the magistrate.' Dr. Hickes stiles + this downright Hobbism; and tells us, that a witty Lord, standing at the King's elbow, when it was delivered, said, Sir, Sir, do you hear Mr. Hobbes in the pulpit? And that Dr. Gunning, Bishop of Ely, complained of it in the House of Lords, as a doctrine that would serve the turn of Popery. He cites, likewise, the following extract of a letter of Dr. Simon Patrick, afterwards Bishop of Ely, to Dr. Samuel Parker, then Archdeacon of Canterbury: 'A passage, I assure you, which I and some of our common acquaintance read not without a great deal of trouble when we first saw it. . . . They think it would be well to admonish him in a letter of this error, and to represent the consequences of it to him, exposing his opinion. . . is plain, by another passage in that



"Pp. 11, 12, edit. 1680." " + Some Discourses, p. 48." " Mr. Leslie, in his Charge of Socinianism against Tillotson considered, p. 13, says, that it was the E. of D.".



sermon, that he was not awake, nor had his wits about him, as he used to have, when he wrote it. The place I mean is page 9. There the very existence of a God may be thought to be called into question by him, and to be, in his account, but a politic invention. For thus he writes, pressing religion as the strongest band of human society: God is so necessary to the welfare and happiness of mankind, if the being of God himself had been purposely designed and contrived for the benefit and advantage of men. In which his meaning is so untowardly expressed, that you cannot but think he was indisposed when he wrote so untowardly. He hath altered this passage, I hear, in the second edition; but so it is, as I have received it in that, which he sent me at its first coming out. And, indeed, that parenthesis, in the first part of the sermon, (till I be better informed,) shews he was in too great haste at least, when he composed it; else he would never have adventured to deliver his opinion in a matter of such moment, till he had been better informed of its truth. . . . I do not write this out of any change there is in my mind concerning persons or things, having the very same thoughts I had, when you and I conversed more frequently together, but the lamentable case of things. . . . I cannot but have a love to Dr. Tillotson's person, though I have none for his opinion. I, therefore, would gladly have him well treated, though he be never so sharply reproved.' Dr. Hickes adds, that Dr. Patrick confirmed all this to Dr. Parker, when he met the latter in London, and said, that Dr. Tillotson ought to give satisfaction by a retractation, or else be exposed. If he will not,' says he, be reduced, he ought to have no mercy, but to be hunted out of the Christian church, when he will not own it.'


"The Dean's doctrine was likewise animadverted upon by Mr. Simon Lowth, Vicar of Cosmus Blene, in the diocese of Canterbury, in his treatise, ' Of the Subject of Church Power, in whom it resides, its Force, Extent and

"The words in the first edition are, as he could not have been more, if we could suppose the being, &c,"

« AnteriorContinua »