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misapprehension of the word religion. For when once the ignorance or prejudice of men has persuaded them to lay more weight upon their own opinion, or dissent of their neighbours, than in truth the thing will bear, to excuse their zeal, or justify their spleen or credit, they presently heighten the difference to a new religion; whence we so frequently hear of such reflections as these, new gospels and faiths, upstart religions and lights, and with the like scarecrows they amuse the vulgar, and render their own design of ruining honest men the more practicable. But I would obviate this . mischief; for a new religion has a new foundation, and consequently where there is the same foundation, there cannot be a new religion. Now the foundation of the Christian religion is Christ; and that only is another religion than the Christian which professes another foundation, or corruptly adds to that foundation ; by adding of other me. diators, and introducing a new way of remission of sin : which, at least, cannot be said of the several sorts of protestants. For protestants therefore to reproach each other with new religions and gospels; and by their indecent and unchristian behaviour to inflame their own reckoning, and draw into more discord, is a sin against God, an injury to the common cause of protestancy, and to the security of the civil interest of that country, where the inhabitants are of that religion, as well as a real injustice to one another : for protestants do not only agree in the same fundamentals of Christianity, but of protestancy too; that is, in the reasons of separation from Rome, which was also Christian. Let not every circumstantial difference or variety of cult be nicknamed a new religion; neither suffer so ill an use to be made of such dissents, as to carry them beyond their true bounds: for the meaning of those arts of ill men, is to set the people farther off from one another than they really are, and so aggravate differences in judgment to contrariety in affection : and when they have once inflamed them to variance and strife, nothing can hinder persecution but want of power; which being never wanted by the strongest side, the weakest, though truest, is oppressed, not by argument, but worldly weapons.
VII. The seventh and last cause I shall now assign. for persecution is this, That holy living is become no test among us, unless against the liver.' The tree was once known by its fruits : it is not so now : the better liver, the more dangerous, if not a conformist, and so the more in danger; and this has made way for persecution. There was a time, when virtue was venerable, and good men admired ; but that is too much derided, and opinion carries it.
He that can persuade his conscience to comply with the times, he he vicious, knavish, cowardly, any thing, he is pro tected, perhaps preferred. A man of wisdom, sobriety and ability to serve his king and country, if a dissenter, must be blown upon for a fanatic, a man of faction, of disloyal principles, and what not?
Rewards and punishments are the magistrate's duty, and the government's interest and support. Rewards are due to virtue, punishments to vice. Let us not mistake nor miscall things; let virtue be what it always was in government; good manners, sober and just living; and vice, ill manners and dishonest living. Reduce all to this: let such good men have the smiles and rewards, and such ill men the frowns and punishments of the government: this ends persecution, and lays opinion to sleep. Il men will make no more advantages by such conformity, nor good men no more suffer for want of it.
In short, as that religious society deserves not the protection of the civil government, which is inconsistent with the safety of it; so those societies of Christians that are not only not destructive of the civil government, but lovers of it, ought, by the civil government, to be secured from
God Almighty open our understandings and hearts, and pour out the spirit of thorough reformation upon us; for it is in the spirit, and not in the words of reformation, that the life and prosperity of reformation stands; that so we may be all conscientiously disposed to seek and pursue those things which make for love, peace, and godliness, that it may be well with us and ours, both here and for
"For yet a little while and the wicked shall not be; yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be but the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in abundance of peace. The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth; the Lord shall laugh at him; for he seeth that his day is coming." Psal. xxxvii. 10, 11, 12, 13.
The Judgment of King James and King Charles the First, about Persecution for Religion.
We find it asserted by king James, in his speech to the parliament in the year 1609, That it is a pure rule in divinity, that God never loves to plant his church with violence and blood.' And he furthermore said, 'It was usu
ally the condition of Christians to be persecuted, but not to persecute.'
And we find the same things in substance asserted again by his son, king Charles the first, in his book known by the name of EIKON BAZIAIKH, printed for R. Royston, as followeth :
Page 67. In his prayer to God, he said, 'Thou seest how much cruelty, amongst Christians, is acted under the colour of religion; as if we could not be Christians, unless we crucify one another.'
Page 28. 'Make them at length seriously to consider, that nothing violent and injurious can be religion.'
Page 70. Nor is it so proper to hew out religious reformations by the sword, as to polish them by fair and equal disputations, among those that are most concerned in the differences; whom not force, but reason ought to convince.'
'Sure, in matters of religion, those truths gain most upon men's judgments and consciences, which are least urged with secular violence, which weakens truth with prejudices.'
Page 115. It being an office not only of humanity, rather to use reason than force; but also of Christianity, to seek peace and ensue it.'
Some Words of Advice from King Charles the First, to the then Prince of Wales, now King of England, &c.
Page 165. My counsel and charge to you is, that you seriously consider the former real or objected miscarriages, which might occasion my troubles, that you may avoid them, &c.
'Beware of exasperating any faction, by the crossness and asperity of some men's passions, humours, and private opinions, employed by you, grounded only upon differences in lesser matters, which are but the skirts and suburbs of religion, wherein a charitable connivance, and Christian toleration, often dissipates their strength, when rougher opposition fortifies, and puts the despised and oppressed party into such combinations, as may most enable them to get a full revenge on those they count their perse
Page 166. Take heed that outward circumstances and formalities of religion devour not all.'
Saul Smitten to the Ground:
A BRIEF BUT FAITHFUL NARRATIVE
The Dying Remorse of a late living Enemy to the People called Quakers, and their Faith and Worship,
Attested by Eye and Ear Witnesses, whereof his Widow is
Published, in Honour to God, for a Warning to Gainsayers, and a confirmation to the Honest-hearted.
WITH AN APPENDIX,
both to Foes and Friends, on this Occasion.
BY WILLIAM PENN.
"Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh; I was ashamed, yea, even confounded."-Jer. xxxi.
Published in the Year 1675.
WHEREAS after near twenty years public opposition, made by Matthew Hide, against the people called Quakers, and their principle of the light within, in their public assem blies, chiefly in and about London, it hath pleased the Lord immediately and secretly to smite and awaken him in his conscience, and to bring the burden of his iniquity upon him a few days before his death (though he was not the worst of open opposers and disturbers) so that he was necessitated to make a solemn confession thereof, and unto the truth, in the presence of Almighty God, and several of the said people, his wife, and some others, before he could quietly or with satisfaction depart this life: this is given out as a true and faithful narrative of his last and dying words, as a testimony for God's truth and people, against all apostates, gainsayers and opposers thereof, that such may take warning, for whom there yet remains a place of repentance.
On the 19th of the 12th month, 1675, Cotton Oades, hearing that Matthew Hide was willing to speak to some of our friends, called Quakers, went to him, and told him, if he had any thing to say, to clear himself, he might speak; seeing he had opposed friends in their declarations and prayers.
M. Hide signified thus much, 'That he was sorry for what he had done; for they were the people of God.'
C. Oades asked him, if he had any thing in his mind to any particular friends; nominating G. Whitehead, and W. Gibson, or any other; and whether he would be willing any of them should be sent for?
M. Hide replied,' As many as please may come.'
Whereupon Cotton Oades presently sent for George Whitehead, who accordingly went with the messenger to visit Matthew Hide after the ninth hour in the night. So the said George Whitehead, Cotton Oades, and John Ball, near the tenth hour in the night, visited Matthew Hide on his sick bed, though so weak, that it was very hard for him to utter words, yet these were understood from him, when spoken to, as followeth C. O. told him, 'Here is George Whitehead come to see thee, Matthew.'
G. W. I am come in love and tenderness to see thee.' M, Hide. I am glad to see you.
G. W. If thou hast any thing on thy conscience to speak, I would have thee to clear thy conscience.'
M. Hide. What I have to say, I speak in the presence of God as Paul was a persecutor of the people of the Lord, so have I been a persecutor of you, his people, as the world are, who persecute the children of God; (with more words, which then could not be understood.)
G. W. Thy understanding being darkened, when darkness was over thee, thou hast gainsayed the truth and people of the Lord; and I knew that that Light, which thou opposedst, would rise up in judgment against thee: I have often, with others, laboured with thee, to bring thee to a right understanding.'
M. Hide. This I declare, in the presence of God, and of you here, I have done evil in persecuting you, who are the children of God, and I am sorry for it: the Lord Jesus Christ show mercy unto me, and the Lord increase your number, and be with you!
G. W. (after some pause)
I would have thee, if thou art able to speak, to ease thy conscience as fully as thou