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limest points, by the bare repetition of words; to
towards a reformation, in your church, have been
-- The two first often go together. There is often,
in the uneducated, a real ignorance, without a false learning; whereas, in the others, there cannot be a false learning, without a real ignorance. But both put together would have little effect against the nature of things, and the irresistible force of truth, without the last of the three. Were it not for that, you would quickly find that the mask would drop from the face of things; and the clouds, which false learning had wrapt about the most important points,
would be dissipated, and leave truth, in its lovely simplicity, naked and open to every honest eye. But your security, you find, lies in the last. Whilst the church and the world are so closely and vitally united, and the immense riches of your archbishoprics, bishoprics, deaneries, canonries, abbies, monasteries, cardinalships, and popedom, are all confined to the worship of the mass book, and to the creed and decrees of the council of Trent ; the sons of your church find little occasion for any such learning, as may tend to poverty; but a great deal of comfort in another sort of it, which carries as big a sound amongst the vulgar, and turns to a much better account, as it brings along with it defence and riches, both ; and serves to support those opinions, which support that church, which is endowed with those riches. I do not mention this with a view to your affairs only ; but to remind you, that you have so much of this yourselves, and find so prodigious a benefit in it, that you have the less occasion to wonder at, or envy, the something like it, amongst us protestants. Your Holiness needs not, I think, call in the assistance of your infallibility, to judge, from all this put together, in what a condition we really are ; whilst, all the while, we are boasting of our glorious separation from you; and deafening the by-standers, and tiring ourselves, in our several ways, with loud tries about our own apostolical purity and perfection.
As far, indeed, as we are, in practice, separated from you, in what we ourselves condemn in your church ; so far we may, consistently enough, boast. But, as far as we are united to you in our practice, though irreconcileably separated in words; methinks, to confess the truth, you have rather a handle of boasting against us, that we ourselves think fit to practise, in some instances and some degrees, what we profess so severely to cry out against in your church.
I forget that your Holiness hath the affairs of the world upon you. But I cannot persuade myself to make any apology, when I consider it is your interest that I should go on in this odd, unusual way of speaking truth.
I have freely laid before you, what may reasonably enough give you and your cardinals a sensible pleasure. I have, without reserve, showed you many of the follies, weaknesses, unhappinesses, inconsistencies, and wickednesses, of us protestants. It is but just to ourselves now, that I should change the scene a little, and take down your satisfaction, a few degrees, from that height, to which it may, by this time, be raised. I scorn to flatter you, any more than ourselves; and how should you know the true measures, either of your hopes, or of your fears, about Great Britain, if you be not truly informed of our advantages and happinesses, as well as of the contrary. Nor is it any thing more than what is
reasonable, that I, who have, in the former part of this address, made no scruple to give myself pain, in order to give your Holiness pleasure, should now be permitted to give you pain, in order to give myself pleasure; especially since I promise, that, if any thing offers, which it may be a satisfaction to you to know, I will without reserve intermix it, to mitigate the affliction.* The old primate still breathes; and breathes the same spirit of christian liberty, which he ever did ; and the same hatred of all spiritual usurpation and tyranny that bears any resemblance to yours. May he long breathe. And may his last days be made serene and easy, by the returns of all that regard and deference, which his former labours and constancy have merited.t He sees himself surrounded by a bench of brethren, who have stood the shock of the day of trial, and brought off immortal glory. I forbear, out of tenderness, to tell you, what excellencies they are possessed of; or what a confidence all true Britons place in them. One, indeed, is removed from us; and one, to whose services this nation owes an eternal monument. I have a passion for his great name; but no words of mine ought to be joined to it. I would pay some tribute to a memory, dear to liberty and religion, if any thing I could say could add to a reputation and character, acquired, supported, and enlarged, by pastoral labours unintermitted from his earliest youth to his latest old age; and by writings, which will give life to the name of BURNET, long after the names of his enemies shall cease to be remembered. Your church hath ever paid him the respect of fear; and the world will, in ages to come, pay to his memory that love and admiration, which the ungrateful of the present age denied to himself. Were there no other reason to think so, I should be certain, that this news will give you, and your friends abroad, some joy; because it hath given it to that party of Protestants, as they call themselves, amongst us, who always partake in your Holiness’ pleasures. I will hasten from this unpleasant subject; and take leave of your Holiness, with a proposal, as odd and romantic, in appearance, as this whole address may seem ; but, in reality, neither odd nor romantic, any otherwise, than as all justice, and simplicity,
* [A few paragraphs are omitted here, which relate to king George, and to the local politics of Great Britain at that time. However applicable and pointed they may have been when written, they have little to interest readers in this country at the present day. Editor.]
# The Most Reverend Dr Tenison, Archbishop of Canterbury, called by all friends of liberty, Old Rock, from the steadiness of his conduct in this time of trial, in spite of all the arts of tories, agreeably with his motto, Rupe Immobilior.