Project Canterbury

Life and Writings of Charles Leslie, M.A., Nonjuring Divine
by the Rev. R. J. Leslie, M.A.

London: Rivingtons, 1885.

Chapter IX.


PARTY nomenclature ought to undergo alteration when, owing to any causes, former principles are abandoned. Thus properly Sir Robert Peel relinquished profession of Toryism from a conviction that he no longer was prepared to stand upon the old lines. Since then more than one new departure has taken place; even what he intended by Conservatism ceased to form the policy of the party professing it. A fresh style is required to indicate with any propriety of meaning their aims and object. Conservative as much as Tory is a misnomer out of date in application to those who are concerned to defend the Throne without the Altar, the Crown but not the Mitre, the Temporalty in the State without the Spiritualty, and what are sometimes termed "sacred rights of property" apart from the rights of sacred property. How this great party in the State ought in future to be designated, or what service it can usefully perform for the remnant of a much-altered constitution, its leaders may be left to define, but its interests cannot be forwarded by retention of this palpable contradiction. A similar observation does not apply with equal force to the other large political party. For although Liberality is absurdly employed to designate free handling of other people's property and ancient institutions, nevertheless these have a reasonable claim to the old appellation of Whigs who still favour Democracy, Republicanism and Dissent even if their ultimate intentions be occasionally kept in the background. Originally Whig and Tory were designed to be terms of reproach and opprobrium, nicknames bestowed by their respective adversaries, but speedily adopted and gloried in by the parties themselves upon whom they had been affixed. It is worth while to note what changes occurred in their significance during the period in which their use continued most common, with some reference to their first intention. They began almost simultaneously, the one derived from Ireland, the other from Scotland, though Tory had somewhat the start of Whig; in 1697 being taken to describe those previously called Royalists, Loyalists, or Yorkists, who resisted the proposal for depriving the Duke of York of his right of succession to the throne. Tories in Ireland meant Romanists and plunderers, who committed depreciations upon owners of property, especially of estates which had been confiscated to Protestants. There long continued on the statute-book, perhaps is still unrepealed, an act authorizing arrest and imprisonment of "all rogues, vagabonds, Tories, and Irishmen calling themselves gentlemen." Such a nickname suggested itself as very suitable and happy to imply the predatory and lawless character of a party who objected to a new and enormous stride in legal confiscation on behalf of Protestants. Its sting was extracted immediately that they accepted and boasted of it.

Within a year those called Exclusionists and True Blues, to signify Protestantism of deeper colour than the Church's, or "Birmingham Protestantism," a name for spurious courage, after casting about in various directions for a short, pithy, and contumelious epithet like the other, got the title of Whigs--meaning sour milk or whey, as illustrating their acrid, distempered character in general. [Burnet ("History of his Own Times," vol. i. p. 58), not liking this, suggested Whigomers or drivers.] But no sooner did they also in turn adopt their new designation than it lost all its odour of contempt. Historians have failed to discover and record who were the authors of these appellations, or else, in an age so conspicuous for its love of memorials, testimonials, and centenary celebrations as the present, those departed worthies could hardly fail to have a church, a conventicle, a monument, or a new university erected to their honour. At the Revolution the terms went somewhat out of fashion, because it was felt to be a manifest incongruity either for the partisans of a Usurper to style themselves as defenders of Hereditary right on one hand, or on the other for Democrats and Republicans to have become the powerful supporters of a stolen crown. Under Anne their use revived with a partial return to former meanings, but involving an inconsistency still on the part of Tories who were Exclusionists in fact, while professing to support old constitutional principles. With extinction of the Stuart race hereditary right has ceased; and the settlement of the Hanoverian dynasty upon a parliamentary basis opened quite a new question for debate between the rival partisans of monarchy and republicanism in this country. [Stanhope makes Macaulay virtually to agree with him. Both, for obvious reasons, omit the real point.] The Church has now no necessary connection with either party; members of both are equally capable of honourably engaging in her defence, and the promotion of her material interests for the sake of the nation at large. From which alternately she has suffered more in the past it might be difficult to determine; but the fault lay mainly in the short-sighted Erastian policy of prelates and priests trying to wed and confuse her with the State.

Charles Leslie regarded Whigs in his time with an utter abhorrence. He had no friends among them. It never occurred to him to separate men from their principles and professions, as is done in the present day, and in private life be on terms of intimacy and cordial alliance with those who in public are denounced as holding dangerous opinions, and prejudicial to the welfare of the nation. He did good unto all men, especially those of the household of faith, so far as lay in his power. He was affable and courteous in demeanour towards schismatics with whom he was brought into personal contact, but his charity was based upon truth, therefore he abstained from all spurious or hollow intimacies which involved a departure from principle. For this reason he laboured the more to win converts to his own opinions through the public press or discussions, which were the only means left open to him; nor these without some severe and inconvenient restrictions. It speaks well for the general good temper and fairness of English people that a man thus rigid in adherence to a particular standard, making no attempts to win popularity, and subject to continual misrepresentations, should, notwithstanding, have secured so large an amount of favour among all classes as he did. He never met, in the most excited times of political turmoil, with any rudeness or interruptions in the streets of London, though his appearance was pretty well known. With exception of Burnet no unkind words or allusions concerning him occurred in Parliament from speakers of very opposite sentiments. And if a few Quakers had formed a plot against his life, a far more numerous portion of the Sect upon another occasion invited him to a public entertainment in testimony of their esteem and good will, which afforded him great gratification, because so spontaneous on their part and unexpected on his own. Little option or choice was afforded to him if he engaged in politics at all as to the course he must adopt. [He disapproved of all plots and conspiracies of a secret or private character, nor desired any question to be raised concerning Queen Anne's title on several accounts. What affected him most was the condition of the Church of England, both spiritually and temporally. Already he had exerted himself to great advantage for her in the former way. Defence seemed requisite in the latter, and only the Tory party could be said to have this at heart. Therefore he allied himself with them--when, too, they most needed writers of credit and ability. What he thought of the Whig party at that date one or two passages of his writings will most clearly demonstrate. "I now say that a true Whig is not so good as a pagan, for the pagans did and do acknowledge a God, and never had so foolish and blasphemous a notion as that His power over them was derived from themselves. . . . Are not these men literally heathens? For what is a heathen but he that denies the Holy Scriptures of God? They are worse than Mahometans. For the Alcoran acknowledges the Scriptures of both the Old and New Testament. . . . Behold! O Englishmen, and consider a set of men among you combined to depreciate and overthrow your whole religion! To run down revelation by which only we know that Christ came into the world and died for our sins. In short, they would turn us all heathen, would wrest your Bible out of your hands, and bid you believe it no more, but follow the green boughs of corruption against which you have declared war at your baptism. Therefore your giving heed to these men, or bidding them God-speed, is directly lifting yourselves under the banner of the devil. Who else could or durst call the Holy Scriptures of God a withered branch? . . . I have long made it my observation of the Whigs that they pay the least regard of any to men of quality or place. They take a particular pleasure to despise men in power, and treat them with the greatest malignity and contempt; they think none above themselves, and themselves above all others; they have a perfect aversion to the word superior, to keep their distance or pay respect. And this comes upon them as a natural consequence of their principle deriving all power from the people. For while they look upon themselves as the original of kings and parliaments, and that all these are accountable to them as their substitutes and servants, how can they think anything of lesser honours derived from the crown? What is a lord or a duke to me? I am an Englishman! is their common saying. This makes them insolent even in conversation with any that are above their own level, and they love to expose them. The less respect they pay to others they think themselves the greater men. But none value power more when they get it into their hands. Then they think Government is upon its right basis, for they look upon themselves as the original and foundation of it; and that therefore they have a right to exercise it without control. For you may take this as a sure rule that, whenever you hear men cry up the power of the people, they mean only themselves; not other people. No, but they seek to depress them; and whoever opposes themselves, they say are against the power of the people, and ought not to be suffered in a commonwealth. This is their language, and ever has been in all popular commotions. They will suffer none to judge but themselves; if any differ in opinion from them, they reckon such not to be of the people. . . . Hence, when one of this stamp comes into any little magistracy his crest rises above the moon, and he thinks himself equal to the greatest man in the nation. He is busy and restless and pragmatical, and keeps the neighbourhood perpetually in hot water; none can be quiet for him. But if he can affront any man of quality or in high post, then he is in his element, and cries about justice and putting the laws in execution without respect of person. ... A true Whig is for religion a Deist; he will own a God, but banters revelation; he believes no Church, but complies with any which is in fashion, and will overturn one Church and set up another as he thinks it serves his interest and ambition to be the head of a party. . . . He is as dangerous in the State as in the Church; he loves revolution and hates hereditary government because it is a settlement, and the worse title the better king with him, because it keeps the king more at the mercy of the people, and makes way for new changes. And yet he may think these changes for the better, and really may design what he thinks most for the public good; and many of them endeavour after it in earnest, and do many generous and popular things; are men of probity and honour, and sincere in what they profess, and have many noble and lovely qualities as the patriots among the Greeks and Romans, who durst even sacrifice themselves for their country. But their misfortune is, not rightly understanding the nature of government, its original, and the obligation of conscience to it, as to God, and not to man. . . . Our Whigs, not consulting the Scriptures in this case, or little regarding them, have fallen into the error of the heathen, of placing government upon the foot of the people, and in that frame can find no end or last resort; but every man makes himself judge, and nothing can follow but eternal confusion."

No person still enamoured of the title Whig will be expected to recognize his own portrait in these selections from many passages in the Rehearsal to the same effect--a new publication, at that time only in embryo, which will follow for consideration almost directly in these pages. It may be presumed that if Toryism has become extinct, Whiggery has improved from the same causes. Even then the picture was not intended to apply personally to individuals, but to be taken as one typical of the Whig character in those who put themselves forward prominently to represent and speak for the whole party. A great mistake or omission on their part was the leaving of principles and objects in the hands of low scribblers, when certainly there were many noble and generous men amongst them who must have shared to the full Leslie's disgust and indignation at the profane and abominable writings issued in their name to inoculate the masses; when also men of ability were not wanting in their ranks to rescue their cause from such degradation. Entertaining the view our author did of the principles of Whigs in their natural and necessary tendency to set popular authority above revelation itself, it is no wonder that he lent the whole weight of his influence to resist them.

Before embarking in the project which he had conceived of doing this by publication of a weekly paper, lie committed to the press some other pamphlets, which formed a sort of transitional stage between theological treatises and mere political ones. Not that he intended such a graduation of proceedings, but in actual fact it occurred. What he wrote in the interval was all of a semi-theological and political character, which could not be correctly referred to the same class as that of preceding or subsequent publications, yet partaking largely of both. "New Associations" may be placed at one end of this line of demarcation, and the "Wolf Stript" at the other. To the first was added a second part, which also acquired an extensive popularity, running through three editions in a few months. It continued discussion of the same subject, occasioned by remarks of several belligerents, the chief of which was in a tract on the "Danger of Priestcraft to Religion," the purpose of which is sufficiently indicated by its title, but written with a good deal of vigour. In all these great abhorrence was expressed of Leslie's proposals for union with the Gallican Church, as a step towards Rome; and the "Regale" with its supplement which had contained that, came up for fresh animadversion, but none of them attempted any argument concerning the proposal itself. [This was written much later than the "Regale" in its first state.]

Another subject introduced by him was the illiberal treatment of Episcopalians in Scotland. They had been deprived of their establishment, and now were refused even the barest toleration by Presbyterians. When they applied for permission to have their own bishops and use the Liturgy in their churches, the most violent outcry was raised against them. At the very time when not only toleration but equal civil rights were being demanded on behalf of Dissenters in England, in Scotland any toleration at all was refused to Episcopalians. To justify so flagrant an inconsistency, the only reply deemed necessary was a comparison between the numbers of Dissenters in the two countries, and the fact of a legal establishment of Presbyterianism across the border; although that only had been of recent institution, and as if the converse were not exactly the case on this side! Deficiency in argument had to be supplied by invectives against Jacobites and Nonjurors, with insinuations against the character of priests in Scotland who had to be ordained in England, for which not a vestige of foundation in fact existed. Nothing, indeed, testified more clearly their disinterestedness, sincerity, and integrity than the simple fact of seeking Orders for ministering in a country where they were certain of exposure to ill-treatment from enemies, at a scanty pittance scarcely sufficient to provide them with necessaries of life, when they could if disreputable have found a safer, more congenial, and remunerative sphere of employment in the ranks of their opponents in either country. A Mrs. Astell volunteered to interpose in this controversy with amusing impartiality, recommending to Dissenters their extinction as a party because "it would make for their interest and real good," while she carefully assured the public that her publication was "not writ by Mr. L------y, or any furious Jacobite."

Her compliment and proposal were accepted with a similar impartiality of silence on both sides, nor did her reputation ever incur the suspicion which she had sought to obviate by this anticipatory disavowal.

"Cassandra (but I hope not) telling what will come of it" was in reply to an occasional letter criticizing his "New Associations," the anonymous author of which he "supposed to be of a higher figure than the senseless scribblers." No attempt to identify him can be deemed satisfactory, therefore he must be left in the disguise which he preferred to assume. He termed "New Associations" "the most malicious and virulent book of the age," and consigned Leslie to the pillory as a writer who had the best way of turning everything to his own humour of any man he ever met with. The pamphlet showed thought and education, but hardly deserved so complete an examination as it received, because what its author opposed to the Scriptural scheme was only that which De Foe and other Whig champions had already sufficiently explained concerning the origin of government from the people by election. [Leslie's was not identical with Filmer's.] He was willing to admit its institution by God in this sense, that if He set a ruler over every nation, the people had as much a divine right to his protection as he to their obedience. The question, however, remained, if the right of protection were invalid, did this justify the people in taking arms, deposing the ruler, and appointing another in his room? For this the Occasionalist contended upon ground of necessity, which Leslie deemed a usurpation of divine authority. He repeated that mistake so frequently objected to by our author in Whig writers, and so common still, of making the Sovereign one of the three Estates of the realm, and the Balance of power to consist in their good agreement; a false assumption which of course involved the main point in dispute. King, Lords, and Commons are not these Estates, but the three are the Spiritualty, the Temporalty, and the Commons under the sovereign, and deriving their powers and privileges from him. Whether this constitution be a good one or not, whether also it be derived from divine authority, will remain open to question with all who are not convinced by Leslie in "Cassandra," and Sir Edmund Filmer's work on Patriarchal government; but that it is an established thing in England from Henry VIII. to the present day, and for centuries preceding, no one conversant with Acts of Parliament can reasonably doubt; even though in practice for a century the authority of the crown has been limited by consent of the three Estates, and though either Temporalty or Spiritualty should suffer further restriction in the future. Calves'-head feasts were an institution among Republicans and Dissenters in mockery of the annual Church fast to commemorate King Charles's martyrdom on January 30. When Leslie censured them severely in "Cassandra" and other publications, a majority protested entire ignorance on the subject, and even questioned their existence at all. But the fact was abundantly proved, that in London, Oxford, and other places these revels were practised and attended by considerable numbers. It is not necessary to suppose they received any countenance from the more religious or respectable persons of Whig sentiments, or that they had extended beyond a few principal towns. [Milton was accused of being the founder.] Yet, as was pointed out, the matter for consideration was not how many deemed it prudent openly to participate in such proceedings, but who held calves'-head notions regarding the dismal tragedy of that day in secret triumph, or treated the Church's Fast with profane contempt. "It was not the meat, but the principles, which rendered them detestable;" nor was Leslie far wrong in surmising there were not only a few profligate men, but many more of the party on behalf of whom the Occasional letter writer undertook to answer. At one of these impious meetings a sort of symbolical ceremony was performed of sticking knives into the largest calf s head all at once, in token of their union for the restoration of a commonwealth and extirpation of monarchy, with music and verses to travesty and burlesque Church services on this anniversary. Had, therefore, "New Associations" and "Cassandra" possessed no other merit, their author deserved thanks for bringing public opinion to bear so decidedly against these parodies of a solemn observance, that men became alarmed to be even suspected of attendance at them, and they had to be completely abandoned. If the "higher figure" were not Dr. Burnet himself, yet he had admission to some of his most intimate counsels, and undertook to defend it in his "History of his Own Times," then in course of preparation, with more than ordinary partiality for a stranger. Leslie had been made acquainted with a portion of that book's contents, while yet unpublished, through a deceased friend, to whom they had been shown without any condition of secrecy expressed or implied. Accordingly, he ventured to protest against reflections upon men of honour and reputation still alive, and against sweeping accusations upon the whole body of the clergy, not only of the Restoration period, but of that date, being reserved for publication when none should be able to defend themselves. Burnet's apologist or amanuensis took him severely to task for this exposure, complaining of the manner in which his information had been acquired, but not able to deny the fact of such calumnies being in the manuscript. They remain to this day unaltered, and have furnished the sole authority upon which many gross attacks on the clergy have been repeated. Had Burnet's charges been true, his mode of dealing with them was most unbecoming and ungenerous for a prelate; but they were not true. What made the matter worse was that when thus challenged as an "accuser of the brethren," who vilified his own contemporaries and predecessors in the ministry, "not as an admonition to amend, but to asperse them to after ages," neither had the honesty to verify his accusations by any evidence or retract them; while admitting that he could "not speak from personal observation, for he so abhorred the clergy in general as to avoid their conversation, but kept better company among statesmen and politicians." His book had been pretty well discounted already from this disclosure before its appearance in print, and because that was confirmed by his notorious practice of discrediting and reviling the clergy upon every possible occasion. In the pulpit of S. James's Church, Piccadilly, Leslie heard him denounce "the corruption of them all over Christendom," and stentorically declare "priestcraft, a modish term borrowed from Dryden," to be its spring and source--he the one Elijah left stainless and immaculate in evil days.

"High" and "Low Church" had been terms already frequently employed to distinguish men holding different opinions on several ecclesiastical and theological subjects; but more happily designated as "schools of thought" by a late Dean of Ripon (McNeile). Now they began to be more generally and invidiously applied, dividing clergy and laity of the Church into separate and hostile camps, according as these were presumed to uphold or derogate from her ancient doctrine and discipline in their integrity. If has never been discovered who was the ingenious inventor of these unfortunate epithets any more than of Whig and Tory, or perhaps even he, too, might have some memorial from posterity! But Burnet never more boldly displayed his customary recklessness than when he publicly attributed the first adoption and recognition of them within tlit-Church to Leslie, for at that very time he had before him in "Cassandra" and other publications of his a statement directly the reverse. Leslie correctly ascribed their origin and first application to Whigs and Dissenters, saying here, "They have invented this name of distinction on purpose to give themselves full liberty to vent all their spleen, unseen as they think, against the whole Church." Again, elsewhere, "The distinction of High and Low Church was invented of late on purpose as a handle to blacken the whole Church of England more securely and run down her whole constitution." Therefore it was obviously a very wanton piece of spite to cast the odium of their introduction upon him; but of course Leslie had, like Burnet himself and many others, while objecting to the terms upon principle, occasionally to adopt them when in general use so far as to signify his own unmistakable adhesion to one party rather than the other. Here lay an essential difference, of course, which has continued ever since; for the terms unfortunately have not fallen into desuetude. Burnet explained Low Church to mean those that "treated Dissenters with temper and moderation, and were for residing constantly on their benefices and for labouring diligently in them, that expressed a zeal against the Prince of Wales" (a slip with him for the person otherwise denominated pretended, and Pretender) "and for the Revolution "--in which excellent class of course he included himself. High Church were "those who loaded the other with false and invidious characters, were not for those moderate counsels, and took all pains to enforce their tragical apprehensions concerning the Church being in danger into the nation." ["History of his Own Times," vol. iii. 484; iv. 120.]

Dean Swift, who now began to appear above the political horizon, concurs with Leslie as to the origin of the names, and in his characteristic method of sarcasm defines and describes both parties rather in regard to their political than ecclesiastical aspect. "Some time after the Revolution the distinction of High and Low Church came in, which was raised by the Dissenters in order to break the Church party, by dividing the members into high and low; and the opinion raised that the high joined with the Papists inclined the low to fall in with the Dissenters. . . . To be against a standing army in time of peace was all High Church, tory and tantivy; to differ from a majority of bishops was the same. To raise the prerogative above law for serving a turn was Low Church and Whig. The opinion of the majority in the House of Commons, especially of the country party or landed interest, was high-flying and rank Tory. To exalt the king's supremacy beyond all precedent was Low Church, Whiggish, and moderate. [Swift's Works, vol. vii. 258.]
. . . The Church thermometer is supposed to have been invented in the reign of Henry VIII., about the time when that religious prince put some to death for owning the pope's supremacy, and others for denying transubstantiation. . . . It is adapted to the present constitution of our Church as divided into high and low. . . . The Church is placed in the middle point of the glass between zeal and moderation, the situation in which she always flourishes, and in which every good Englishman wishes her who is a friend to the constitution of his country. However, when it mounts to zeal, it is not amiss; and when it sinks to moderation, it is still in admirable temper. . . . Whether zeal or moderation be the point we aim at, let us keep fire out of the one and frost out of the other. But alas! the world is too wise to want such a precaution. The terms High Church and Low Church, as commonly used, do not so much denote a principle as they distinguish a party." [Ibid., vol. viii. 222, 224, 226.]

Leslie objected to the terms in limine on account of their invidious origin, and further because of their constant misapplication, as of another word, "Nonconformist," which is a misnomer still as absurdly and injuriously employed by Church-people to designate Dissenters. What he said upon both subjects is well worth notice. "The Church of England is but one, though there may be in her men of different complexions. She has for all one and the same charter, canons, articles, homilies, liturgies, rites, and ceremonies. Whoever keep not up to these are transgressors against the rules of her society. Those whom they call High Church are for supporting these, and those Low Church who would give them up. . . . Whoever lives in a society and do not conform to the rules, are thereby nonconformists to that society. These are they who are called Low Church; that is, who have but a low regard to the preservation of that society of which they are members, and therefore take upon themselves to dispense with its rules and orders. Not to mind the rubric, to mangle and curtail the Liturgy, and to speak very indifferently of episcopacy and our whole constitution. ... A Dissenter ought not to be called a Nonconformist, for he who quite forsakes any church or society, and is no longer a member of it, cannot properly be said not to conform to its rules. If a man quits any club or company he may be said to dissent from them, but cannot be said not to conform after he has left them. Or if I turn off a servant, or he leaves me, he cannot after that be said to be an irregular servant. . . . From henceforth let the word Nonconformist be applied only to the Low Church, and that of Dissenter to those of separate communions; then we shall understand who is who."

In more recent times the appellation "Broad Church" has been adopted and appropriated by the members of another party, not imposed upon them by outsiders or opponents. So far from being affronted or taking umbrage, they ostentatiously profess it, as an indication of intellectual superiority and comprehensive charity, which disdains to study theology or recognize its distinctions. In this indifference they resemble the latitudinarianism of the seventeenth century and its general political character. But they are deficient in the simple, unselfish piety which often accompanied the excessive Protestantism of their predecessors. What is worse, the new school or system chiefly finds favour among professors and schoolmasters. If priesthood be not regarded as conveying an indefectible character, but only a title to some ministerial profession of indefinite signification, then its solemn duties and obligations are best left to those who believe in its reality. Low Church prelates and priests do sometimes perform functions in a strange manner, as if they had little conception of their proper meaning; but such exhibitions do not occasion the painful sensation produced by Services and Sermons which betray a radical and instinctive scepticism concerning essential doctrines of the Church. Papal usurpations and mediaeval accretions upon the Primitive Faith have been distinctly discarded by the Church of England, with the cumbrous ceremonial required for their expression; nor will any high party ever succeed, if it wish, in restoring them. Puritanism and Calvinism, on the other hand, have struggled ineffectually to graft themselves upon our Prayer-book, for their exotic origin and character are manifestly incongruous to its whole system. Still more alien is the Sadducean and semi-heathen philosophy which would evacuate the whole doctrine and discipline of the Church of their real meaning and continuity. Theology is a history and a science with which reformers ought at least to make themselves fully acquainted, and the more extensive this acquaintance the less disposed they will probably be towards crude suggestions for improvement and new-fangled experiments. Height in faith, depth in humility, and breadth in charity have ample scope for exercise among the varied wants and distinctions of a teeming population without tension in any direction of the terms of communion definitely prescribed for clergy and laity.

The soul of wit did not lie in Leslie's title to his pamphlet, "Cassandra," etc., nor obscurity arise from brevity, for to understand its meaning requires more than ordinary consideration. A strange thing is, that he did not in the first instance volunteer that explanation which was afterwards elicited. Some anthologists of the press, in presenting him with a nosegay of their appreciation--" son of a Jesuit, high-flying, tyrannical, nonjurant, renegade, tantivy, hare-brained priest, as mad as a Bethlemite, inspired by the devil"--therefore ridiculed his view of Priam's daughter, asserting that she was "a mad prophetess;" whereas, of course, the Trojans rather were infatuated who disbelieved her prediction of their city's destruction. His application of the classical story stands thus: "There are a parcel of Greeks within the walls of London, called New Troy, covered with a wooden wall of pretence to religion, liberty, and property, who will come out armed men and set her on fire, as they did once before, if she believe not Cassandra in time. That these men would have us pull down the walls of our laws, the Corporate and Test Acts, which exclude Dissenters from places of power and trust, to let in this horse, which we must not look into as being sacred, though we hear the clashing of armour within." The story made her prophecies to be true, and the moral of it is to express the fatality attendant upon those whom God has determined to destroy--"that no advice or ever so plain demonstration will convince them." This application stands on all fours with the story; but had it not, their criticism would have lost nothing of its value by being couched in decent language. If Cassandra misconceived the best mode of preserving the citadel by penal laws and restrictions, none the less was the wooden horse intended for its ruin, and the principles she denounced of a most fatal tendency. "The Jesuit Unmasked," by De Foe, in reply, requires no other notice than that it endeavoured to turn against him an idea of his own with an impertinent address and accusations.

Difficult to keep pace in perusal with the swarm of pamphlets which appeared, any answer to more than a very small portion would have been impossible. It was said that a society existed among Whigs and Dissenters for the support and encouragement of writers on their side--a much more justifiable course than has frequently been adopted for keeping alive an agitation. What remains for regret is that such a topic as "Occasional Conformity" should have occupied the time and talents of some other men, to the exclusion of much more important subjects. Such a one was Dr. Charles Davenant. He had distinguished himself as the author of Essays upon "Public Grants and Pensions," "The Treaty of Paris," and other subjects, which not only contained valuable information in a compact and convenient form, but were lucidly and forcibly written. That, however, which had gained him most reputation was not the more solid and useful productions of his pen, but an inimitable satire in a dialogue between Mr. Whiglove and Tom Double. Even the party against whom his shafts of ridicule had been directed did not fail to appreciate its humour, and they soon had a much deeper satisfaction. For a man cannot live upon fame, so Davenant turned round and realized his own ideal by devoting his talents to the Whigs, if not for, yet simultaneously with, an appointment to a Scotch secretaryship worth £1200 per annum. Leslie could hardly be expected to regard such a recusant with much respect, and he dismissed his remarks in a few words of severe contempt. He selected as a foeman more worthy of his steel with whom to cross swords the top and chief among the faction, and wielding the most masterly pen. Yet it does not say much for his estimate even of him, that he proceeds to accuse him of being a notorious "plagiarist," who had borrowed from and abused the speech of a noble lord in Parliament. This person was Mr. James Owen, a Dissenting minister at Shrewsbury, who had some reputation for learning, and had previously engaged in public controversy. His present pamphlet, "Moderation a Virtue," in favour of Occasional Conformity, and undertaking to defend it by Scriptural and Ancient precedents, had an extensive popularity, and was deemed by his own party to be unanswerable. Therefore Leslie found a congenial occupation in replying to it, in the "Wolf Stript of his Shepherd's Clothing," to which Mr. Owen again replied, though he had pretty well exhausted his stock of arguments, in a second essay, "Moderation Pursued." The "Wolf Stript," etc., was dedicated to "the Queen and three Estates of Parliament," following the example of opponents, which they affected to deem a piece of presumption on his part. It was an indirect testimony of allegiance, and showed that he entertained no desire to question Anne's title to sovereignty under existing circumstances. Much of the contents were occupied with the same subjects treated of in "New Associations" and "Cassandra," and defence of High Churchmen as the truest friends of moderation, and reconciliation with Dissenters, because they are the most sensible of the evils of separation which the soothing practice could contribute nothing to effect. For why should men change their principles if they were sound and safe? It concluded with a challenge to the leaders of Dissent that they should furnish to Convocation a list of "indifferent things," the removal of which would satisfy them, and test whether the high or low party in the Church would go further for reconciliation, especially prelates who had already been concerned in schemes of comprehension. De Foe undertook to scout such a proposal as useless, considering the character of the majority in the Lower House of Convocation. That, of course, was only an evasion, and Dissenters disclaimed his authority to speak on their behalf. The rest maintained a prudent and very intelligible silence, for they knew full well that any acceptance of the challenge could only serve to confirm Leslie's statements about the unreality of their pretences and incurable differences among themselves. If separation be only on account of things admittedly indifferent, its sin must be very great. If any things necessitate or justify it, they cannot be deemed indifferent. Dissenters have not a single point of union or cohesion but political antagonism to the Church, and some are far more widely separated from others in principle than from her. The Hampton Court conference remains on record a proof of the futility of all attempts at union based on removal of indifferent things. To remove only some would leave the door of schism as widely open as before; to remove all would be simply a clean sweep of the whole formularies of the Church, together with her episcopate and priesthood. What a medley of confusion and discordant elements would ensue, no Cassandra true or mad can predict.

"A letter from a country divine to his friend in London" concerning the education of Dissenters in their private academies was printed in 1703, which declared that destruction of Episcopacy root and branch was a maxim commonly inculcated, with several other statements of a similar kind. What gave these importance was the fact of their coming from one who professed to have been trained in one of these Seminaries, and therefore spoke from experience of the poison instilled into young minds evidently incapable of judging. His testimony, therefore, most legitimately was cited in the "Wolf," and startled a great many people into reflection upon the dangers of what was silently in their very midst, under a pretence of Christian education. Dissenters naturally felt much disturbed by the exposure; and the facts, though questioned, were not disproved by DC Foe or any of those who volunteered for the task. The author of this letter was Samuel Wesley, father of a more famous man, John, who had renounced his schismatic connection to be admitted into the Church, and been ordained. Stories are told, similarly authenticated, of this sort of teaching being still pursued in some of these Seminaries which need not be detailed. But the reflection is immediately suggested by Wesley's letter, how moral as well as physical qualities often reappear and reproduce themselves in a second or third generation. It had become an adage then that men conspicuously engaged in undermining and subverting her principles were "Fathers of the Church who never had been her sons." It is true now as then, and the mischief wrought by them is incalculable. Converts are proverbially zealous, but the value of their zeal depends materially upon the disinterestedness of their convictions. A fatal love of proselytizing often renders their admission and welcome far too easy; or they pass muster in the crowd of a University simply to gain thus a passport to temporal advantages. But even in cases of unquestionable sincerity, conversion affords no security that the neophytes have fully grasped the extent of renunciation properly required before embracing a new system. So, when the first fervour of emotion has subsided, old tastes and tendencies deeply ingrained resume their suspended power,' and, it may be quite unconsciously to the persons themselves, but all the more fatally, are at work. The seeds of schism and insubordination must have been deeply sown in John Wesley's constitution to blossom so freely as they did, and so speedily. Again, the Nemesis he inflicted upon his father's memory has been terribly repeated upon his own by the schism which so falsely bears his name.


When God has determined destruction to a nation, He takes away their senses, that they have eyes and see not, ears and hear not; they will not understand.

The Ten Tribes who never returned after their second defection were finally cut off, and their name lost. And it is observable that in the succession of nineteen kings there was not one good, though all of their own choosing. The root and foundation of republican schemes and pretences for rebellion is this supposed radical power in the People, as of erecting government at the beginning so as to overturn and change it at their pleasure. To obviate this the author of the "New Associations" carries us to matter of fact, how political government did begin in the world, and how the world was divided into several nations; and shows that this was not done by the election of the People, but by that stupendous miracle of the division of tongues, whereby, all of one language sorting together and God placing a governor over them, they became a distinct nation.

That hypothesis of the election of the People would render all government precarious, and eternally liable to change and confusion. It was never known, nor can be, what is meant by the People in this scheme. The whole never chose, and a part is not the whole. The question remains as to the Origin of government, whether by election or the institution of God. I grant that people have a right of protection of their governors by the divine law, and that right cannot be invaded. The king is called the one Supreme Head and King. The body Spiritual were not taxable by king and Parliament, but only by themselves, till the Revolution of 1641, which overturned all foundations. A precedent once being made it has been carried on to this day. The division of nations was one act, done at one time, when the name of Peleg was given to the son of Eber (Gen. x. 25), which was one of the most memorable eras of the world, and ought not to be forgotten by us. This was about a hundred years after the Flood, when mankind were so increased as to be thus divided. Before which time we may well suppose that Noah had the chief government. Several families might have a distinct government of their own, with a due subordination to their common parent. But before this time of the division of the earth we read nowhere of nations. It will follow, from the original of political government being immediately from Divine institution, that no ruler can be limited by the people or any of them, and consequently all governments must be absolute and arbitrary, which makes a dreadful sound to English ears.

There are limitations of concession and limitations of coercion. Thus God is pleased to limit Himself, when He makes covenants and grants conditions to mankind. Thus fathers may limit themselves to their children. And thus kings may limit themselves to their subjects by granting them such and such laws, and giving them the assurance of their solemn oaths to observe them. Laws are made by kings,- therefore kings must be before laws; and these are wholly concessions from them, as our Magna Charta proves.

Lord Bacon sets this down as a maxim of our law, as well as of reason, that "the supreme power may dissolve itself, but cannot limit itself." The best security we can have against tyranny in our governors is by a dutiful submission to encourage them to be good to us. And by loyal principles to render them safe and secure in whatever concessions they shall please to give us. Moses was the meekest man upon earth, yet never was any so tormented with continual insurrections. The Israelites were for popular elections, and to choose for themselves a captain.

They rebelled twice against David, a man after God's own heart. Solomon, of his own choosing also, gave the people perfect peace and plenty unparalleled; yet they complained of taxes, and rebelled against his house. God did once vouchsafe to be King Himself. But they grew weary of this Theocracy, and in the days of Samuel rejected Him and chose for themselves.

No kingdom was ever yet destroyed by the tyranny of a king, but by rebellion many have been. Let the "jure divino doctrines" be true or false, it cannot surely be called "slavish" to submit myself to one royally born, sprung from many kings, whom I believe to be invested with a divine commission? There can never be any government fixed without a certain foundation, centre, and ultimate arbitrator, which can never be the people. They are the party to be governed, and therefore cannot be the , governors.

In the contests of York and Lancaster, both parties pretended to be next in blood to the crown. That was the whole dispute, which shows that hereditary right was the rule. Many Acts of Parliament in England acknowledge the crown to be hereditary, and that jure divine too. . . . Our laws know of no treason but against the king.

Murder of Archbishop Sharp, of S. Andrew's, in Scotland, by the Presbyterians, May 3, 1679:--It is related that one of them "fired a pistol at him, which burnt his coat and gown, but the shot did not go into his body." [Burnet.] For what end this is told you shall see presently. But first, for the falsehood of it, I refer to the certificate of the Doctor of Physic and three Surgeons, who by order of the Privy Council in Scotland viewed and embalmed the body of the Lord Archbishop, which is upon record in the Council-books. It was propagated to countenance another invention of theirs, that the archbishop was a wizard, and had purchased a magical spell from the devil to keep him shot-proof. A true account of the murder was published by authority the same year, 1697, and from the depositions of many witnesses examined upon oath, which has since silenced their clamours, being undeniable matter of fact. This author pursues him with a stroke more barbarous than any the assassinators ever gave, and says "he begged his life in a very abject manner of them, and was in great disorder." The contrary of which appears in the narrative last mentioned. No man could show a more Christian courage and resolution. He gave them caution of shedding innocent blood, and when he saw they were resolved to murder him, he prayed them to spare his daughter, who was with him in the coach, and to give him a small space of time to recommend his soul to God; which they refused, saying God would not hear the prayers of such a dog, and cut and mangled his hands while he held them up in prayer even for them, that God would forgive them; which were the last words' he uttered while they were hacking and hewing him. No history since S. Stephen can show a greater example of composure of mind and true Christian magnanimity under so sudden and cruel a martyrdom.

If King Charles I. would have turned Presbyterian, have destroyed the Church and revenged the Presbyterians upon the Independents, then the Presbyterians, having no other game to play, would have let him live a little longer till they could have done their business without him, and set up their commonwealth in the State as well as the Church. And I doubt not but the Independents would have clone the same if they had been hewed down by the Presbyterians, and that they could have made the king a tool to have set them in the saddle again. The like would the Anabaptists, or any other of the then sectaries have done, if it had been their case; and have had as much cause to boast of their loyalty as the Presbyterians! But the destruction of the Church was the causa sine qua non with them all. None of them would have the king preserved upon any other terms, They all agreed in that point, though they quarrelled with one another about dividing of the spoil and setting up their own different models. But Episcopacy was their common enemy. Let the Dissenters of several sorts divide the murder of the king among them; they were all guilty of it. The Presbyterians began the rebellion against him, and brought him to the block; and just as they were ready to strike the stroke, the Independents snatched the axe out of their hands, and did it themselves. There is no difference betwixt rebellion and regicide; the one is in order to the other. In vain, therefore, do these rebels lay the murder of the king upon one another! One disarms him, another binds him, and a third cuts his throat! Which are most guilty? Even all alike! However, it is among the Dissenters and Whigs.


Socrates wished Aesop had written one fable more on this moral of the new resemblance of virtue and vice, insomuch that one is often taken for the other; and yet there is so vast a distance in their nature as that no things upon the earth are more opposite. Thus, Laodicean latitude and indifferency in religion which God abhors recommends itself to us at this day under the specious name of moderation. Therefore it is necessary to inquire what sort of moderation is a virtue, and what sort is a vice, seeing the name of moderation may be applied to both. This word is found but once in all our Bible, and there it is mistranslated. It is in Phil. iv. 5, "Let your moderation be known unto all men." The word means, plainly by the context, a patient and cheerful suffering of afflictions, with full reliance and trust in God in all distresses. In the vulgar Latin the word is translated "modestia," cheerful and modest suffering. The same Greek word is rendered by our translations "patience," in I Tim. iii. 3; "gentleness," in 2 Cor. x. i; and "clemency," Acts xxiv. 4. And as to the word moderation, I have no quarrel to it, it is a good word; but in Phil. iv. 5 there is nothing meant or intended of the sense that is screwed from it--of moderation that is indifferency as to religion, which speaks wholly upon another subject.

Moderation is generally understood as the opposite to zeal, but in this sense it must be understood to be a vice, and a great one, as zeal is a most necessary and heroical Christian virtue. Therefore, to make moderation a virtue, we must take it in such a sense as not to be inconsistent first with zeal for the faith; for we are commanded "to contend earnestly for the faith which was once delivered to the saints." Secondly, not with zeal for the Church and her unity, without which all faith and all knowledge profit nothing. The sin of Schism is called by no less dreadful a name than the tearing of Christ's body in pieces. But this heinous sin makes no impression at all upon the Church of Laodicea, where moderation is a virtue; which is very angry with those who mention it, or hinder their flocks from straying into schismatical congregations. We should have little quarrel with Dissenters if it were not for that fulsome word Schism. If they did not gather separate congregations in opposition to the Church, they would be no Dissenters. I will go as far as any man in extending moderation to other matters and persons. But I must give heed to that earnest exhortation of the apostle (Rom. xvi. 17), "Mark them who cause divisions and offences, and avoid them." And he tells us how they make these divisions: "By good words and fair speeches they deceive the hearts of the simple." Again, he pronounces that "they serve not our Lord Jesus Christ." None can do so who would divide His body. The apostle says, "charity beareth all things," but they would bear nothing from the Church, their mother. Yet quarrel with her for the colour of her clothes, for her gestures, habit, and everything; for her very looks.

They make the difference small to justify Occasional Conformity for obtaining profitable places or employments. They plead their right as children to have their share in the management of her family, though they own themselves not of it, and to have adopted a new mother, whom they love better, and who has more than once got her house from her, turned her out of doors, and dashed her children against the stones. Let us see the utmost that can be said in defence of this Occasional Conformity.

The title is, "Moderation a Virtue, or Occasional Conformity justified from the Imputation of Hypocrisy." He does not justify it merely for a place, which is "scandalous, a reproach to religion, and offensive to all good Christians." Who can prove it was merely for a place? But men must judge by actions; no hypocrite can be otherwise discovered. If a man never came to church before he was called to it by a good place, can any one judge otherwise than that he was brought to it for that reason? And if he return afterwards to the Dissenters and rail at the Church as before, can any judge him not guilty of hypocrisy? Error and false principles are never true to themselves, for to serve another turn they are forced to declare the practice "scandalous," etc., till they have another occasion of taking it up again. It is a sure mark of some mischief when these saints cry out about persecution. But let us examine their precedents. They bring in our blessed Saviour, because He taught in private houses, on mountains, and in the wilderness. Had He not authority to do so, superior to that of the Jewish establishment? But can Dissenters plead such authority over that Church which He established? They observe not that moderation towards His Church which He did to that of Moses. He never dissented from public worship, but was a constant, not occasional conformist; and confirmed the authority of those who sat in Moses' seat, though very wicked men. He observed not only feasts ordained by the law, but the feast of dedication, which was purely of Church authority.

S. John Baptist never separated from the communion of the temple, nor taught men to do so. So the apostles and Jewish converts. Certain things (Acts xv. 28) were made necessary than by the decree of the Church, which are indifferent in their own nature. Let Dissenters look to this, who quarrel at things enjoined by the Church.

Our author shows that sacrifices and supplications were offered in the temple for heathen kings. It would have been more to his purpose to prove that the Jews held occasional conformity with the heathen. But is desiring the prayers of another conforming to the worship and religion? The Thirty-nine Articles are not made articles of communion, far less of faith, and required only from the clergy for an uniformity in doctrine publicly preached. It is well known what a slight esteem Dissenters had of the Sacraments while they had the government. At Oxford the Sacrament was not once administered from the time Episcopacy was thrown out, 1648 to 1660; the like was in Ireland and Scotland.

I would have no Dissenter come to the Holy Sacrament with us till he were fully satisfied in his own mind, and then he ought not to leave us. But to be at one time of different and opposite communions is dissolving the very notion and being of a Church. There is but One, and one Episcopate (as S. Cyprian speaks) throughout the whole world, and there ought to be but one Communion; whoever break this are guilty of schism.

Now, the Dissenters have set up communions not only different, but opposite to the communion of the whole Catholic Church; for they have thrown off the episcopate itself, which is, and was ever thought in the primitive Church to be, the principle of unity. The Church will not admit any presbyters without reordination. If Dissenters would agree among themselves and set down a list of such indifferent things as, if granted, they would comply and come into the Church, herein would be a proper subject for the exercise of moderation; but to deform our worship and scandalize the best part of those in our own communion who find themselves greatly edified, and their devotion much raised and enlivened in the excellent composure of our Liturgy and the decency of our ceremonies, perhaps dispose them to be Dissenters, or run over to the Church of Rome, and all this to gain nobody--this is what would happen. But as we are not to give just offence to those that are without, so neither to the Churches of Christ; we are not to disgust the members of our own church merely to gratify the petulant humour of Dissenters and yet not reconcile them. The beauty of a face is in the symmetry which gives a pleasant air, and the way to bring over Dissenters is to keep our Liturgy entire. Episcopacy is the thing they strike at, though their advocates would cast a mist before our eyes. There is no curing without settling the true notion of the Church and the priesthood, as instituted by Christ and practised in all ages of Christianity since. All must be thrown loose, even to the heart's desire of the Socinians and the very Deists; while they continue to despise and trample upon Church authority, which God has made "the pillar and ground of the truth." They are but wolves in whatever sheep's or shepherd's clothing; for without the belief of a Divine authority lodged in the character of bishops and of kings, it is impossible for any one to be a sound Churchman or a loyal subject.

I end as I began, with the near resemblance of virtues and vices, though there is the greatest opposition in their nature. An enthusiasm which is the excess of pride recommends itself to many well-inclined and religiously disposed people, under the notion of abstraction from the world, of humility and self-denial. What greater delusion than to think that we can contrive a shorter and a surer way to heaven than that which God has commanded? All this is the effect of enthusiasm. Most heresies and schisms have come from this fountain, and generally have begun with setting a low esteem upon the outward Ordinances.

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