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politics, mystery, and secrets of government, both in church and state, than this hath been; of which noble design no part is owing to any of the country lords, for several of them begged, at the first entrance into the debate, that they might not be engaged in such disputes as would unavoidably produce divers things to be said, which they were willing to let alone. But I must bear them witness, and so will you, having read this; that they did their parts in it, when it came to it, and spoke plain, like old English lords.
I shall conclude with what, upon the whole matter, is most worthy your consideration, that the design is "to declare us first into another government more absolute and arbitrary than the oath of allegiance, or old law, knew; and then "make us swear unto it," as it is so established. And less than this the bishops could not offer in requital to the crown for parting with its supremacy, and suffering them to be sworn to be equal with itself. Archbishop Laud was the first founder of this device. In his canons of 1640, you shall find an oath very like this, and a declaratory canon preceding, "that monarchy is of divine right;" which was also
* In the constitutions and canons ecclesiastical; treated upon by the archbishops of Canterbury and York, &c. in the year 1640, and published for the due observation of them, by his majesty's authority, under the great seal of England; the I. canon contains an explanation of the regal power, ordained and decreed to be read by every parson, vicar, curate, or preacher, upon some one Sunday in every quarter of the year at morning prayer; wherein it is said: "The most high and sacred order of kings is of divine right, being the ordinance of God himself, founded in the prime laws of nature, and clearly established by express texts both of the Old and New Testament . . . . . ."
"For any person or persons to set up, maintain, or avow in any (king's) realms or territories respectively, under any pretence whatsoever, any independent co-active power, either papal or popular (whether directly or indirectly) is to undermine the great royal office, and cunningly to overthrow that most sacred ordinance, which God himself hath established: and so is treasonable against God, as well as against the king."
"For subjects to bear arms against their kings, offensive or defensive, upon any pretence whatsoever, is at the least to resist the powers, which are ordained of God: and though they do not
affirmed in this debate by our reverend prelates, and is owned in print by no less men than archbishop Usher, and bishop Sanderson*; and I am afraid it is the avowed opinion of much the greater part of our digni
invade, but only resist, St. Paul tells them plainly, they shall receive to themselves danination."
And, by the VI. canon, an oath against all innovation of doctrine or discipline is decreed and ordained to be taken, not only by all archbishops, and bishops, and all other priests and deacons; upon pain, if they refuse to take it, of being deprived of all their ecclesiastical promotions whatsoever, and execution of their functions, which they hold in the church of England; but likewise by all masters of arts, bachelors, and doctors in divinity, law or physic; all schoolmasters, &c. which hath these words: "I A. B. do swear, that I do approve the doctrine and discipline or government established in the church of England, as containing all things necessary to salvation...... Nor will I ever give my consent to alter the government of this church by archbishops, bishops, deans, and archdeacons, &c. as it stands now established, and as by right it ought to stand," &c.
These canons were no sooner published, but there was a general outcry made against them. How they were treated by the puritans, may be seen in a pamphlet printed in 1640, with this title: England's Complaint to Jesus Christ, against the Bishops Canons, of the late sinful Synod, a seditious Conventicle, a Packe of Hypocrites, a sworn Confederacy, a traiterous Conspiracy against the true Religion of Christ, and the weale Publicke of the Land, and consequently against the Kingdome and Crowne. In this Complaint are specified those Impieties and Insolencies which are most notorious, scattered through the Canons and Constitutions of the said sinful Synod. And confuted by Arguments annexed hereunto, in 4to. Several petitions being at the same time presented to the king against the new canons, and particularly against the oath before mentioned: his majesty was pleased to suspend their execution which, however, could not prevent their falling under the censure of the house of commons; for on the 16th of December 1640, they declared that those canons did contain many matters contrary to the king's prerogative, to the fundamental laws and statutes of this realm, to the rights of parliament, to the property and liberty of the subject, and matters tending to sedition, and of dangerous consequence. These public censures of the canons," says a learned and ingenious historian," however grounded on prejudice and faction, have made them ever since reputed null and void, &c." See the complete History of England, &c. Vol. III. ad ann. 1640. p. 113. Lond. 1719, in fol.
Archbishop Usher did, by order of king Charles I, write a treatise, intitled, The Power communicated by God to the Prince, and the Obedience required of the Subject, &c. which
fied clergy. If so, I am sure they are the most dangerous sort of men alive to our English government;
was published, in the year 1660, by Dr. Sanderson, bishop of Lincoln; and in that treatise, after having observed that the commands of princes are either of such things as may and ought to be done, or of such as cannot or ought not to be done, he puts this question: but how are subjects to carry themselves, when such things are enjoined as cannot or ought not to be done? To which he answers," Surely not to accuse the commander, but humbly to avoid the command. . . . . . And, when nothing else will serve the turn, as in things that may be done, we are to express our submission by active, so in things that cannot be done, we are to declare the same by passive obedience, without resistance and repugnancy; such a kind of suffering being as sure a sign of subjection as any thing else whatsoever." And some pages lower, he proposes an objection, and answers it." But, says he, if men's hands be thus tied, will some say, no man's state can be secure; nay, the whole frame of the commonwealth would be in danger to be subverted and utterly ruined, by the unbridled Just of a distempered governor."
"I answer, God's word is clear in the point, (Rom. xiii. 2. 5.) Whosoever resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God; and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation; and thereby a necessity is imposed upon us of being subject even for conscience sake; which may not be avoided by the pretext of any ensuing mischief whatsoever. For, by this means we should have liberty given unto us to (James iv. 11,) speak evil of the law, and to judge the law. But if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge, saith St. James. It becomes us, in obedience, to perform our part; and leave the ordering of events to God, whose part only that is." The power communicated by God to the Prince, &c. page 147. 149, 150. 157. London, 1683, in 8vo.
Dr. Sanderson was of the same opinion, as it appears by his long preface to archbishop Usher's treatise just mentioned; wherein, among other things, he says, that a mixt monarchy is an arrant bull, a contradiction in adjecto, and destroyeth itself; but more particularly by that famous passage in a sermon of his preached at Hampton-Court, in the year 1640: "No conjuncture of circumstances whatsoever can make that expedient to be done at any time, that is of itself, and in the kind (Ou yap u naλòv, TOT EQU xaλòv. Eurip. Phoeniss. Act. 3.) unlawful. For a man to blaspheme the holy name of God, to sacrifice to idols, to give wrong sentence in judgment, by his power to oppress those that are not able to withstand him, by subtilty to over-reach others in bargaining, to take up arms, (offensive or defensive) against a lawful sovereign; none of these, and sundry other things of like nature, being all of them simply, and de toto genere, unlawful, may be done by any man, at any time, in any case, upon any colour or pretension whatsoever; the express command of God himself only excepted, as in the case of Abraham for sacrificing
and it is the first thing ought to be looked into, and strictly examined by our parliaments. It is the leaven that corrupts the whole lump. For if that be true, I am sure monarchy is not to be bounded by human laws; and the 8th chapter of 1 Samuel will prove (as many of our divines would have it) the great charter of the royal prerogative; and our " Magna Charta;" that says, "Our kings may not take our fields, our vineyards, our corn, and our sheep," is not in force, but void and null; because against divine institution. And you have the riddle out, why the clergy are so ready to take themselves, and to impose upon others, such kind of oaths as these. They have placed themselves and their possessions upon a better and surer bottom (as they think) than " Magna Charta ;" and so have no more need of, or concern for it. Nay, what is worse, they have trucked away the rights and liberties of the people, in this and all other countries, wherever they have had opportunity; that they might be owned by the prince to be " jure divino," maintained in that pretension by that absolute power and force they have contributed so much to put into his hands; and that priest and prince may, like Castor and Pollux, be worshipped together as divine, in the same temple, by us poor lay-subjects; and that sense and reason, law, properties, rights, and liberties, shall be understood, as the oracles of those deities shall interpret, or give signification to them; and never be made use of in the world to oppose the absolute and free will of either of them. Sir, I have no more to say, but beg your pardon for this tedious trouble, and that you will be very careful to whom you communicate any of this.
his son (Gen. xxii.) Not for the avoiding of scandal, not at the instance of any friend, or command of any power upon earth, nor for the maintenance of the lives or liberties either of ourselves or others; nor for the defence of religion; nor for the preservation of a church or state; no, nor yet, if that could be imagined pos sible, for the salvation of a soul, no, not for the redemption of the whole world. Sermon XII. ad Aulam, preached at HamptonCourt, July 26, 1640, on 1 Cor. x. 23. But all things are not expedient.... But all things edify not." See XXXIV Sermons, &c. by Robert Sanderson, &c. page 522, of the 8th edit. London, 1686, in fol.
UPON SOME OF
MR. NORRIS'S BOOKS,
Wherein he asserts P. Malebranche's Opinion of our seeing all Things in God.
THERE are some, who think they have given an account of the nature of ideas, by telling us, "we see them in God" (1), as if we understood, what ideas in the understanding of God are, better than when they are in our own understandings; or their nature were better known, when it is said, that "the immediate object of our understandings are the divine ideas, the omniform essence of God, partially represented or exhibited" (2). So that this now has made the matter clear, there can be no difficulty left, when we are told that our ideas are the divine ideas; and the "divine ideas the omniform essence of God." For what the divine ideas are, we know as plainly, as we know what 1, 2, and 3, is; and it is a satisfactory explication of what our ideas are to tell us, they are no other than the divine ideas; and the divine essence is more familiar, and level to our knowledge, than any thing we think of. Besides, there can be no difficulty
(1) See Cursory Reflections upon a book called, An Essay concerning Human Understanding, written by John Norris, M. A. rector of Newton St. Loe, in Somersetshire, and late fellow of All-Souls' college, in a letter to a friend; printed at the end of his Christian Blessedness, or Discourses upon the Beatitudes of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, page 30. Lond. 1690, in 8vo. (2) Ibid. page 31.