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future interest, should teach him moderation, any longer than till he hath power to oppress us : and, if he should, by a thousand promises or oaths, engage to rule by law, his frequent breach of both hath given us no reason to trust him; and the religion he professes can so easily dispense with both, that neither of them give us any security from that sort of obligations. The interests of popery and France require he should be absolute, and his nature spurs him on to it, and nothing but fear can for a moment restrain him from being so. What a shadow of a dream then must this be of protestant subjects being happy, under a bigotted popish prince of such a temper?
Thirdly, Whereas it is said, we have changed our old hereditary monarchy into one merely elective, and, by degrees, shall bring it to a commonwealth; nor can any thing prevent this, which will be of fatal consequence to the church, but our restoring the late king; I answer, the position is false, and the consequence a mere sham : the government of England always was, and ever must be monarchical; that twelve years, when it was endeavoured to make it otherwise, convinced all men, that all projects to the contrary must come to nothing. As for this revolution, it is not likely, a parliament which made an entail of the crown, in a lineal succession, should be for setting up a commonwealth, or altering the hereditary monarchy. If it be alledged, there was a great breach as to the person of the reigning king, it is replied, he himself made it, and they did not make, but find the throne void. And there have been greater breaches since the conquest, as to the true lineal succession, and laying aside, yea, deposing the reigning king, and setting up his son, or a remoter person, which indeed was an injury to the kings so deposed; but still the monarchy was called and continued to be hereditary. In our case, the king deserted us, yea, left us without any government; but we applied to his next certain heir, with whom, at her request, and for our safety and her's, by general consent, a title was given to her husband and our deliverer, but this only for life, though he be much nearer in blood to the right of succession than either Henry the Fourth, or Henry the Seventh, successively made kings of England. And the saving the succession to the Princess of Denmark, and her heirs, shews how far that parliament was from designing any such thing as a commonwealth. We see Philip of Spain, who had no title to be king of England, but by his marriage with Queen Mary, was made king at her request, and in her right; but he had not merited so much as our king, and therefore his title was to ceasę at her death. As for the Prince of Wales, there are so clear indications of his birth being an imposture, and the design of forming that project is so known to be revenge on the princesses, for adhering to their religion, and to get more time to force popery and slavery upon us; yea, his health and strength make it so unlikely, he should proceed from such crazy parents, that till the parties concerned prove the affirmative by better witnesses and clearer evidence, and the people of England in parliament own him for the heir, we need not go about the un
reasonable task of proving a negative. Wherefore, since the breach in the succession was the late king's own act, and only concerns his person, and a supposed unknown heir, we are not to answer for that; and, considering the hurry his unexpected desertion put all things in, and the absolute necessity of a speedy settlement, the friends of the old English monarchy have just cause to rejoice it was made so near the old foundation, with a small and only temporary variation from it, which was also absolutely necessary in that juncture of affairs : and it is evident, that there are many of the best quality and interest, who hate the notion of a commonwealth in England, and love monarchy as well as any of the late king's abettors; who freely consented, and firmly adhere to this establishment. If it be objected, that King William was bred up in a commonwealth, and inclines to that form of government; it is answered, he doth and may like it in Holland, but they must shew sonie instances, that his zeal for a commonwealth is as hot and as blind as King James's for popery, before they can prove him so desperate a foe to his own interest, as to uncrown himself
, and make himself the people's vassal, when he is and may be their gracious lord. If it be urged, that it is a dangerous precedent for future kings, to allow the people a liberty to take away their prince's right, and set up another, on pretence of misgovernment: the reply is, the late king was the occasion of this precedent, by first attempting to alter the whole frame of our laws, government, and religion, and then deserting us. And, if it be an ill precedent for the safety of princes, that the advantage was taken, it was however necessary to take it for the safety of the people, for whose good heaven made kings. Sure I am, there are as dreadful consequences of arbitrary tyranny, as there are of rebellion, witness the misery and slavery of the poor French at this day; and it seems as necessary, there should be some precedents to deter princes from abusing their power, as well as to restrain the people from abusing their liberty : for both tyranny and rebellion are great sins, and of most mischievous consequence. Wherefore, this unexpected example may make our kings more just, and more apt to rule by law, but it can never hurt the monarchy itself, or countenance a rebellion, while a king is in the throne, that will stay to hear and redress his people's grievances, which will never be denied by the present, or any other good king.
The last pretence is the most surprising of all, that there is no way to preserve the church of England, no nor the protestant religion, but by restoring the late king, who, it is said in his declaration, promises this as liberally, as he did at his first accession to the throne.
If mankind were not the oddest part of the creation, one would wonder, how it is possible for protestants to believe, that the wolves design good to the sheep. When the late king was here, be involved himself in infinite mischiefs, and did the most odious things in the world to destroy the protestant religion, and especially, to ruin the church of England; and hath he given any evidence of changing his temper, his principles, his zeal, or his methods ? He shewed in Ireland a greater spite to protestants than ever; he hath lived in France ever since, where he hath seen how much it tends to ad. vance his dear absolute power, to dragoon all men into the king's religion; his only motives to draw in this Frenchified pope, to lend him money to invade us, is, by convincing him, he lost all by his zeal to restore popery, and by engaging he will use his power (if he can regain it) only to promote the catholick interest. His other ally, the French persecutor, cannot be endeared by any better interest, till the principal of the sums lent are repaid by poor England, than by assurance, that he will make one kingdom in the world as miserable by absolute empire, and forcing one religion, as France now is; that his barbarity, cruelty, and treachery may not be the infamous single instance of such proceedings, his promises to his allies, his zeal, his principles, and his nature all engage him to destroy the protestant religion. He attempted it when he was not half so deeply obliged, and can we think he will not pursue it now? It is next to frenzy to think the pope and king of France furnish him with money, ships, forces, &c. only to secure the protestant religion, and church of Engand; he must be tied, in more than ordinary bonds, to endeavour the ruin of both, or no such favours had been shewn by such a pope, and such a persecutor : it cannot be ease to Roman catholicks he desires ; they are more at ease under King William than under any protestant king ever since the reformation : it must therefore be the suppressing all other religions, and setting up that alone, must engage Rome, France, and Lucifer in his restoration. As for his promises to us in his declaration, alas! he hath already given greater and stronger to the pope and French king to the contrary, and though his interest, and the hopes that some will be so mad to believe him, put him upon renewing these promises to England; yet, his confessor can soon resolve him, which promise is to be kept, whether-thar pious catholick promise to the holy father, and the hector of that cause, or that extorted one to hereticks : besides, we should remember the Italian proverb, God forgive him, who deceives me once ; but God forgive me, if one man deceives me twice. No prince in the world ever promised with more solemnity than the late king, to protect the protestant religion, or the church of England; yet nothing is more clear, than that he designed to gull us only, not to oblige himself by this protestation ; and the first thing he did was to break it as soon as he durst, and can we be so distracted to believe him again ? He declared in Ireland, that the church of England stunk in his nose, and that he abhorred it. He cannot truly love either any person of that persuasion, or any other protestant; he may flatter some of them to get into the saddle, but, when they have mounted him, he will ride over their heads; his own friends of the protestant religion · are very few, and his revenge on the far greater number, who have opposed his designs, will out-weigh the kindness of a few inconsiderable hereticks, who abetted his interest, and who will be told, that it was not sense of duty, but despair of obliging his enemies, that forced them into his quarrel. They had sufficient experience
after Monmouth's rebellion (suppressed only by the church of England men) how little any acts of those, he counts hereticks, can oblige him ; his carriage in Ireland to the loyal protestants writ this in capital letters, and it must be supposed, they have drunk deep of Lethe, who can forget all this. But, I pray, what is it the church of England wants, or any other protestant? This king is as serious and sincere a protestant, and as true a lover of that interest, as King James is a professed enemy to it; and, why may not he be more likely to preserve the religion he professes, than the other to maintain that religion which he vilely deserted, and mortally hates ? The churchmen say, King William is too kind to dissenters; but, hath he given them any other or more liberty than King James did? That king begun with toleration, and it was not for a new prince in a troublesome state of things to alter any thing of that 'nature: besides, at the same time, the dissenters do think the present king too kind to the established church, not considering, that it is the national religion which he found, and keeps in possession of all its rights, as his duty and oath oblige him; yet, so as the dissenters have ease, and every thing but empire, which from a prudent King of England they can never expect, being not only a less part of the nation, but so divided amongst themselves, that nothing can please all parties of them; and, therefore, freedom to worship, in their several ways, is all the favour they can be capable of in the best of times, and so they are most unreasonable to hope for more
Besides, let it be considered, that our king is not only the head and protector of the protestants of England, but of all the reformed churches in Europe; and the French king, the main wheel in this designed restoration, is so mortal an enemy to the whole reformation, that he desperately weakened himself, and banished 30,000 families of useful subjects, only to root the whole profession out of his own dominions: and now can any rationally pretend, this present king will destroy the English church, or the French persecutor, and his client, the late King of England, uphold it? My dear brethren and countrymen, do not so infamously abuse yourselves to believe so incredible a fiction, so manifest a cheat: Alas! all these good words are only to lull you asleep, till you, at the peril of your necks, get him power enough to extirpate you and your religion also: I doubt not, but, for a while, he would maintain the established church, and renew his indulgence, because he can get footing no other way; but it is easy to foresee how shortlived all these sham-favours will be: they spring from fear, and desire of opportunity to be revenged, and, so soon as ever the fear ceases, and that opportunity comes, he will most certainly kick down the ladder by which he ascended, and pull off the mask, appearing what he is in bis nature and principles, and not what his necessities have made him seem to be. So that, if this disguise be credited, the persons imposed on will, and must pay, for their credulity, with the woeful price of helping to destroy the most pure and flourishing church in the world, in assisting to re-instate him, and fighting for him, they fight against their own religion, which
the primitive christians, for all their heroick loyalty, would not do, and which no'man ought to do, either for interest or revenge. For my part, I think true religion so far above all worldly concerns, and the preservation of it, so principal an advantage of government, that the prince, who will certainly suppress that, must be more intolerable than he that would take away my liberty, estate, or my life; and it must be a damnable sin in me to assist him in it, or put him into a capacity to do it. No oath or allegiance can bind me to this; it may oblige me to suffer, but not to act for such a design: wherefore, for shame, let his Irish and English popish subjects alone carry on this impious design, who can only hope for advantage by his restoration, and who are only bound in conscience to help him ; neuter we must stand at least, and that will suffice to shew how contemptible a party that is, which must be set up on the nation's ruin, and how impossible it is for him to cut down the protestant religion in England, without borrowing a handle from the tree he would fell. Take warning by what is past, and what must be the inevitable consequence of your deserting this king, or assisting the late prince, even the ruin of this most famous church of England, and the endangering the whole estate of protestantism through all Europe: in vain will you complain of this consequence, when it is too late to remedy it; your guilt, shame, and sorrow will then only remain, for having had a hand in so deplorable a mischief; for my part. I have delivered my own soul, and given you fair warning; God of his infinite mercy open your eyes in time, and grant you a right judgment in this and in all things.
THE TRUE. AND GENUINE
KING JAMES'S DECLARATION.
PRINTED IN THE YEAR 1693.
(of which ourself was the occasion)
After mature deliberation,
Promising in our wonted fashion,