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PART OF A LETTER
NOT LONG AFTER THE COMING FORTH OF DR. HEYLIN'S
THE HISTORY OF THE SABBATH.
As for Dr. Heylin's relation”, concerning our Articles of Ireland, it is much mistaken. For first where he saith, they did pass when his Majesty's commissioners were employed about the settling of the Church, in the year MDCXV. and chargeth them with this strict austerity (as he termeth it) in the prescript observation of the Lord's day, he sheweth himself very credulous, there having been no such commissioners here at that time, and our Articles having been published in print, divers years before the commissioners (whom he meaneth) came hither, as Sir Nathaniel Rich (who was one of them himself) can sufficiently inform you. Secondly, where he saith, he is sure, “that till that time, the Lord's day had never attained such credit as to be thought an article of the faith,” he speaks very inconsiderately. He that would confound the ten Commandments (whereof this must be accounted for one, unless he will leave us but nine) with the articles of the faith, he had need be put to learn his catechism again : and he that would have every thing, which is put into the articles of religion (agreed upon in the synod for the avoiding of diversity of opinions, and for the maintenance
a Hist, of the Sabbath, part. 2. cap. 8.
of peace, and uniformity in the Church) to be held for an article of the faith, should do well to tell us whether he hath as yet admitted the book of the ordination of bishops, and the two volumes of homilies into his creed; for sure I am, he shall find these received in the articles of religion, agreed upon in the synod held at London, MDLXII. To which Dr. Heylin himself having subscribed, I wonder how he can oppose the conclusion, which he findeth directly laid down in the homily of the time and place of prayer in the fourth commandment, viz. “God hath given express charge to all men that upon the Sabbath day which is now our Sunday, (for these are the plain words of the homily, which the Doctor with all his sophistry will never be able to elude,) they shall cease from all weekly, and week-day labour, to the intent that like as God himself wrought six days, and rested the seventh, and blessed, and consecrated it to quietness, and rest from labour, even so God's obedient people should use the Sunday holily, and rest from their common and daily business, and also give themselves wholly to the heavenly exercise of God's true religion and service." By the verdict of the Church of England, I am sure the Lord's day had obtained such a pitch of credit, as nothing more could be left to the Church of Ireland in their articles, afterward to add unto it. Thirdly, he shameth not to affirm, that "the whole book of the articles of Ireland is now called in;" which is a notorious untruth. And lastly, that the articles of the Church of England were confirmed by Parliament in this kingdom, anno MDCXXXIV." where it is well known that they were not so much as once propounded to either house of Parliament, or ever intended to be propounded. The truth is, that the house of Convocation in the beginning of their canons, "for the manifestation of their agreement with the Church of England, in the confession of the same Christian faith, and the doctrine of the sacraments," as they themselves profess, and for no other end in the world, did receive and approve of the articles of England ; but that either the articles of Ireland were ever called in, or any articles, or canons at all, were ever here confirmed by act of Parliament, may well be reckoned among Dr. Heylin's fancies. Which shows what little credit he deserves in his Geography, when he brings us news of the remote parts of the world, that tells us so many untruths of things so lately, and so publicly acted in his neighbour nation.
6 These two here instanced were not by way of diminution, for he did highly approve of both, as being excellent composures, but because they are either for the most part to be reckoned among the agenda, rather than the credenda, or that in both there are some circumstantials observed, and exhorted unto only for decency and order, according to the wisdom of the Church, which come not within the compass of the creed, as upon the view of them, without descending to particulars, may easily appear.