shew their Sentiments upon this Head. In how many Shapes have they appear'd? What Pretences, what Intrigue, what Disguise have they not employ'd, to begin or carry on those Animosities, in which they have found too great Success? 'Tis rather to be wish'd than expected, that all who have separated from the Church of Rome should agree in the fame Opinions, or the same external Rites ; but in mutual Forbearance and Charity they may all concur. 'Tis more than time they should: Duty as well as Interest oblige them to it. While Popery is gaining continually upon the declining Interest of the Reformation; while our persecuted Brethren feel, in the most sensible manner, the daily Progress of this cruel Superftition upon the Continent; and while the Emissaries of Rome are so far from being inactive in this Island, at such a Juncture 'tis extreamly unseasonable, and may be very prejudicial, to kindle or revive any Disputes among those of the same Faith. No Benefit fure can arise to the general Interest of Protestantism, from endeavouring to convince its Adversaries, that different Parties of Protestants have treated one another as severely as Papists have treated them


Disputes was in the main very infignificant or groundless, the Revival of them is still more improper. For the fake of Christianity, therefore, and the Protestant Cause, 'tis to be hoped, that every Attempt to awaken the Passions of Mankind upon such Points, will be for ever discouraged by the Friends of Truth and Liberty. Why should Protestants bite and devour? why calumniate or reproach each other? or why endeavour to asperse and blacken the great Founders of the Reformation ? The common Enemy can do enough of This. 'Tis pity a History of the Puritans lately published by Daniel Neal, M. A. should give Occasion for such Reflections! If either Party has offended, as it may be each in its Turn has done, since those Offences now cease, let them be buried in eternal Oblivion; not only be forgiven, but absolutely forgot. Iliacos intra muros peccatur & extra. If the Laws were somewhat severe upon the Puritans, they, when they had got the Power into their own Hands, took ample Revenge contrary to Law. These things are past; for the future, if the Nation is not to be bless'd with a more perfect Agreement, yet, as Christians, and as Protestants, let us

B 2


join our best Endeavours in the important Cause of Christianity, Protestantism, and practical Religion. When united Attempts have got the better of the Infidelity and Immorality of the Age (which certainly demand the first Regard) it will then be time enough for Fellow-Christians and Fellow-Protestants to dispute Matters of so little Consequence as an Organ or a Surplice, a square Cap, or a Gold Ring. It may even then be too soon to engage the Minds of people upon Subjects of so little Moment; but, at present, 'tis, upon many Accounts, greatly unseasonable and improper. Contentions of this Sort, among many other Evils, are apt to produce a Coldness and Disregard for the necessary Duties of Piety and Virtue. Men of all Persuasions are too prone to fall into this Mistake, and substitute a disproportion'd Zeal against, as well as for, the external and disputed Parts of Religion, in the Place of true Devotion and real Goodness. When the Mind is thus warmly engaged in such Disputes, either on one side or the other, it generally becomes too careless of more weighty Matters. Nor is this Effect at all unnatural. One of the common Arts in this religious Controversy (for even that, to the great


Hurt of real Christianity, is now become a Science) is to heighten the Importance of the Point in Dispute. Matters which to a cool and impartial Man, not engaged in the Controversy, appear of little Moment, by a skilful Management in this sort of Disputation, may be represented as of the utmost Confequence. Hence Men are led to a vast Opinion of themselves, for being, as they imagine, so much wiser than their Neighbours, in an Affair thought very momentous. Mr. N's History amply confirms this unpleasant Truth. In this Narration the World is reminded of those Disputes equally fierce and unhappy, which had for their chief Foundation nothing of greater Consequence than the Habit in which the Clergy were to officiate, and a few (very few they were) harmless Ceremonies of the, fame indifferent Nature. By thus dividing the Protestants, they weakened that Interest in the Infancy of it, when its whole united Strength seem'd scarce fufficient against Popery. And for what Reason was this ill-tim'd hurtful Contention raised, but chiefly that divine Service might be perform'd in a black Garb rather than a white one; that the Cloak of Geneva, and not the common Surplice, might be the esta

B 3


blish'd Dress? when, after all, the one is dressing, in a manner, as the Jesuits do ; the other, at worst, is only wearing a part of the Habit of the ParishPriests. 'Tis natural for a Protestant to wish a Veil drawn over such a Scene as this; so warm and hurtful a Contention for so small a Matter. This is no

Aggravation of the Cafe, Mr. N. himN's Hift. felf declares, “ Had the Habits and p. 230. " a few Ceremonies been left indiffe

“ rent, both Ministers and People had Ibid. p. 594.“ been easy." Again, “ the Contro

“ verfy with the Puritans had but a
“ fmall Beginning." How much Di-
fturbance was raised in the Nation up-
on that Account, his whole History is
á Proof. This Gentleman, upon En-
quiry, will find, that the Revival of
this Controverfy, and the opening those
Wounds which all good Men hoped
were effectually healed, meets with lit-
tle Applause from the best Protestants,
and the most moderate Men in the
Kingdom. Does he imagine there can-
not be as frightful Pictures drawn of
Calvinistic or Puritanical Perfecutors,
as any he has drawn of the Church of
England? But what Purpose could this
answer, except to make the different
Parties of Protestants more cold to each


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