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law established, who envy not liberty of conscience to diffenters; as being well satisfied that, according to their own principles, they ought not to perfecute them. Yet thefe, by reafon of their fewness, I could not distinguish from the numbers of the reft, with whom they are embodied in one common name. On the other fide, there are many of our fects, and more indeed than I could reasonably have hoped, who have withdrawn themselves from the communion of the Panther, and embraced this gracious indulgence of his majesty in point of toleration. But neither to the one nor the other of thefe is this fatire any way intended: it is aimed only at the refractory and disobedient on either fide. For thofe, who are come over to the royal party, are confequently fuppofed to be out of gun-shot. Our phyficians have observed, that, in process of time some difeafes have abated of their virulence, and have in a manner worn out their malignity, fo as to be no longer mortal: and why may not I fuppofe the fame concerning fome of thofe, who have formerly been enemies to kingly government, as well as Catholic religion? I hope they have now another notion of both, as having found, by

comfortable experience, that the doctrine of perfecution is far from being an article of our faith.

It is not for any private man to censure the proceedings of a foreign prince: but, without suspicion of flattery, I may praise our own, who has taken contrary measures, and those more fuitable to the spirit of Chriftianity. Some of the diffenters, in their addreffes to his majesty, have said, "That he has restored God to his empire over "confcience." I confefs, I dare not ftretch the figure to so great a boldness: but I may safely fay, that confcience is the royalty and prerogative of every private man: He is abfolute in his own. breast, and accountable to no earthly power, for that which paffes only betwixt God and him. Those who are driven into the fold are, generally speaking, rather made hypocrites than con

verts.

This indulgence being granted to all the fects, it ought in reason to be expected, that they should both receive it, and receive it thankfully. For, at this time of day, to refuse the benefit, and adhere to those, whom they have esteemed their perfecutors, what is it elfe, but publicly to own, that

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they fuffered not before for confcience-fake, but only out of pride and obftinacy, to separate from a church for thofe impofitions, which they now judge may be lawfully obeyed? After they have fo long contended for their claffical ordination (not to speak of rites and ceremonies) will they at length fubmit to an epifcopal? If they can go fo far out of complaifance to their old enemies, methinks a little reason should persuade them to take another step, and fee whither that would lead them.

Of the receiving this toleration thankfully I fhall fay no more, than that they ought, and I doubt not they will confider from what hand they received it. It is not from a Cyrus, a heathen prince, and a foreigner, but from a christian king, their native fovereign; who expects a return in fpecie from them, that the kindness, which he has graciously shewn them, may be retaliated on those of his own perfuafion.

As for the poem in general, I will only thus far fatisfy the reader, that it was neither imposed on me, nor fo much as the fubject given me by any man. It was written during the last winter, and the beginning of this fpring; tho with long

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interruptions of ill health and other hindrances. About a fortnight before I had finished it, his majesty's declaration for liberty of confcience came abroad: which, if I had so foon expected, I might have fpared myself the labor of writing many things which are contained in the third part of it. But I was always in fome hope, that the church of England might have been perfuaded to have taken off the penal laws and the test, which was one defign of the poem, when I proposed to myself the writing of it,

It is evident that some part of it was only occafional, and not first intended: I mean that defence of myself, to which every honeft man is bound, when he is injuriously attacked in print: and I refer myself to the judgment of those, who have read the Anfwer to the Defence of the late King's Papers, and that of the Dutchefs (in which last I was concerned) how charitably I have been reprefented there. I am now informed both of the author and supervisors of this pamphlet, and will reply, when I think he can affront me: for I am of Socrates's opinion, that all creatures cannot. In the mean time let him confider whether

he deserved not a more fevere reprehenfion, than I gave him formerly, for ufing fo little respect to the memory of thofe, whom he pretended to anfwer; and at his leisure, look out for fome original treatise of humility, written by any Proteftant in English; I believe I may fay in any other tongue for the magnified piece of Duncomb on that fubject, which either he muft mean, or none, and with which another of his fellows has upbraided me, was tranflated from the Spanish of Rodriguez; tho with the omiffion of the seventeenth, the twenty-fourth, the twenty-fifth, and the last chapter, which will be found in comparing of the books.

He would have infinuated to the world, that her late highness died not a Roman Catholick. He declares himself to be now fatisfied to the contrary, in which he has given up the cause: for matter of fact was the principal debate betwixt us. In the mean time, he would dispute the motives of her change; how prepofterously, let all men judge, when he seemed to deny the fubject of the controverfy, the change itself. And because I would not take up this ridiculous challenge, he tells the world I cannot argue: but he

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