Obrazy na stronie

I have been no great writer, and yet in the few things which I have been called on to publish, I have fully declared myself on this argument; and I will show the reader,

1. That in a sermon* published before that of the 5th of November, and in one published after it,+ I have asserted and maintained the magistrate's authority to preserve true religion and the honor of God in the world.

2. That in the 5th of November sermon I did, as the occasion led me, consider how far the magistrate's power extended, in points of opinion and speculation, with respect to the consciences of men; and that I have so asserted his authority as not to subject him and his government to all the extravagant efforts of what men call conscience; so confined it, as not to give him a right to hurt men for mere opinions and speculations in matters of religion.

But that we may not lose sight of the main point, the agreement with the bishop, I shall show his lordship's opinion from the sense which his words seem to me to carry; not intending hereby to preclude his lordship from any other sense or meaning which he shall think fit to insist on.

And as to the particular passages

of my sermon, confronted with passages from his lordship’s by the letter-writer, they shall be considered in the close of this paper.

The first passage I shall produce out of his lordship’s sermon will be found in p. 13. and 14. octavo edition.

It is the same thing, as to rewards and punishments, to carry forward the great end of his kingdom. If any men on earth have a right to add to the sanctions of his laws; that is, to increase the number or alter the nature of the rewards and punishments of his subjects in matters of conscience or salvation; they are so far kings in his stead, and reign in their own kingdom, and not in his." This passage

has been controverted between the bishop and Dr. Snape; and it is but fair to consider his lordship’s explication.

* The one preached before the Queen, Jan. 30, 1704. See Vol. iii. p. 258.

+ The one preached before the House of Commons, March 8, 1714. See Vol. jii. p. 309.

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The doctor tells the bishop that this passage amounts to saying, “ that if any king, parliament, &c. shall encourage religion by any temporal rewards, &c. they usurp the dominion of Christ, and dethrone him from his spiritual kingdom :" Doctor's Letter, p. 29. The bishop, in answer, says,

" that whoever alter the nature of these (that is, Christ's rewards and punishments) or add to them, do truly themselves affix rewards and punishments; therefore they are so far kings themselves. That according to me, they dethrone Christ from his spiritual kingdom, is your own hard and unjust comment. But that as far as they alter his sanctions or add new ones; that, I say, so far they reign in their own kingdom, is in my opinion as clear a proposition as this; that as far as new sanctions are brought into Christ's religion, so far new sanctions are brought in.'

According then to this explication, one end of his lordship's rejecting the word church because of the inconsistent notions belonging to it, and making choice of the clearer image of the kingdom, was for the sake of advancing this very consistent notion, " that as far as new sanctions are brought into Christ's religion, so far new sanctions are brought in.” I believe the world will not part with their old notions for such improvements as these ; nor would his lordship have given such a sense of his words, had he not been so surrounded with difficulties as to be able to give no other. A cause seems to me to be gasping for life, when it is brought so low as to hang on identical propositions: they are generally the last pangs, and portend a sudden dissolution.

But his lordship has not taken his own words fairly in this explication ; for he does not say barely, they are so far kings and reign in their own kingdom : but his words are, “they are so far kings in his stead,” &c. To be king in another's stead is to exercise his authority either with or without his commission ; and therefore his lordship must prove that he meant here to assert that kings have Christ's commission, and are his vicegerents, to add sanctions to his laws; and that he meant in his sermon to commend them for so doing; as they deserve to be commended, when they act in pursuance of a commission received from Christ; or he inust be content to be told that he

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charges them with acting, when they add sanctions to the laws of Christ in the kingdom of Christ, against his consent; and that is, I think, as the doctor says, “ to usurp the dominion of Christ.” But farther; let the connexion of this passage, as it tands in his lordship’s sermon, be considered. He affirms, p. 12. “ if any absolute vicegerent authority-were lodged in any men on earth, the consequence would be that what still retains the name of the church of Christ would not be the kingdom of Christ, but the kingdom of those men vested with such authority." His lordship pursues the argument in this and the following page, and concludes it in these words: “ if such an absolute authority be once lodged with men under the notion of interpreters, they then become the legislators, and not Christ; and they rule in their own kingdom, and not in his.” You see, hy comparison of these passages, that to rule in their own kingdom is, in his lordship’s sense, to throw Christ out of his; for what retains the name of the church would not, he says, in this case be the kingdom of Christ, but the kingdom of these men, &c.

Immediately after this argument follows the passage quoted : “ it is the same thing as to rewards and punishments,” &c. What is the same thing? Why his lordship tells you, that to add to the sanctions of Christ is the same thing as to pretend to an absolute authority of interpreting his laws; and such absolute authority, he had said before, made the church cease to be the kingdom of Christ, and to become the kingdom of those men, &c. And consequently, when he affirms in the passage now before us that whoever adds sanctions to Christ's laws are kings in his stead, and reign in their own kingdom, and not in his, his meaning must be that they divest Christ of his kingdom.

I was surprised to find his lordship accusing the doctor of making a hard and unjust comment on his works, when he himself makes the same comment on them in the very next passage, which is joined to that quoted, by this connexion; so it is-whenever- How is it? Why look to the end of the passage ; his lordship will tell you, p. 14. “ this is so far taking Christ's kingdom out of his hands, and placing it in their own.” That is, if I can understand, it is dethroning Christ from his spiritual

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kingdom. His lordship explains himself to the same purpose in his first observation from the doctrine of his sermon, p. 24. “substituting others in his place as lawgivers and judges in the same points in which he must either alone or not at all be lawgiver and judge.” And in p. 20. where his lordship treats of this very point of adding such sanctions, his words are, “there is so far a change from a kingdom which is not of this world to a kingdom which is of this world ;” which is something more than only saying, where sanctions are added, there sanctions are added ; for a change from the kingdom of Christ to a kingdom of this world is a manifest invasion of the kingdom of Christ by a kingdom of this world. I think it is evident then what his lordship must mean by reigning in their own kingdom; and if there be occasion, there are still more passages in the sermon to confirm this sense of the expression.

The letter-writer's exposition of this passage is very extraordinary : “ His lordship says, if any men on earth have a right, &c. thereby excluding laity or clergy, church or state, from altering the nature of rewards and punishments in matters of conscience and salvation.” What does the good man mean by excluding them from altering what it is impossible they ever should alter. The rewards and punishments, his lordship tells us, are the future rewards and punishments of another world; how then should any mortal alter them; add what you will, yet still they will remain unalterable. And therefore I could never understand what his lordship meant by altering the nature of Christ's rewards and punishments; much less can I understand the letter-writer, who makes this altering to be the whole of what his lordship affirms. And now I will venture to say that his lordship's words in this passage carry the following sense: that if any men on earth (that is, as the letter-writer explains him, either church or state) have or claim a right to add to the sanctions of Christ's laws, they so far become kings in his stead, and divest him of his power.

And here I must once more remind the reader what the laws of Christ are in his lordship’s opinion; "they are almost all general appeals to the will of God, to his nature known by the common reason of mankind; and to the imitation of that nature.” That is, they are almost all laws and dictates of rea


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son and nature: to which his lordship adds, “ the being subjects to Christ is to this very end, that we may the better and more effectually perform the will of God.”

Hislordship's doctrine then being laid together, amounts to this:

It is an invasion of the kingdom of Christ to add sanctions to the laws of Christ.

But the laws of Christ are almost all laws of reason and nature, and are intended to make us perform the will of God.

Therefore, for princes to add sanctions to make men obey the laws of reason and nature, or perform the will of God, is an invasion of the kingdom of Christ.

I have put this into form, that his lordship's doctrine may more evidently appear, and in imitation of his lordship, who seems in his late performances to be grown very fond of mood and figure. The letter-writer has another exposition in favor of his lordship, which he meant, I suppose, to extend to all that his lordship has said on this head. His words are: “his lordship asserts that to apply force or flattery, worldly pleasure or pain, in order to make men profess this or that opinion, (for this is evidently his meaning,) is to act," &c. This passage was, I confess, to me a strong presumption that the letter had not gone through his lordship’s hand; he must be too much aware of what he has delivered in his sermon to use so poor an evasion. The letter-writer has offered it to his consideration, and when it lies before him, he will find that something he must part with, and I heartily wish him the happier choice.

In the meantime I will show the letter-writer that his evasion is not applicable to the passage before us. His lordship's

“ if any men on earth have a right—to add to the sanctions of his laws, to increase the number—of the rewards and punishments of his (that is, Christ's) subjects,” &c. His lordship, you see, speaks of increasing the rewards and punishments of the subjects of Christ, and with regard to the laws of Christ; that is, with regard to the laws they already profess. In this case therefore the profession is supposed, for they are subjects; and doubtful opinions are out of his lordship's case, for he speak's only of adding sanctions to the laws of Christ. And that justice may be done his lordship, I desire his own account of the subjects of Christ may be considered : “ the

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