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The Jesuit's Loyalty manifested in three several Treatise lately written by them against the Oath of Allegeance
by Edward Stillingfleet
London, 1677 Edition
HAIL & FIRE REPRINTS 2009
A U T H O U R S
OF THE FOLLOWING
T R E A T I S E S.
I hope you will forgive me the not setting your Names before this Address, although I am not wholly a stranger to them: for however it be against the usual custom, yet you have reason to take it more kindly from me. I assure you, my design is, not to do any injury to your Persons, but only to let you and the world know, we are not altogether unacquainted with your present Principles, or Practices. And although, like the Plague, you walk in darkness, and do mischief; yet I intend only to set such marks and characters upon you, that when others see them, they may take the wind of you, and avoid the Infection. It may be, men of your retirement and modesty may be somewhat surprised, to see themselves in print against their wills: but I hope you will pardon this preemption, and absolve me as soon as I have confessed my fault. For it is very agreeable to your Casuistical Theology so to do, without staying for the performance of Penance; and the contrary Doctrine is accounted one of the Heresies of Jansenism, which I know you love as little as the Oath of Allegeance. I find in a Supplication to the late Pope Clement X That to assert the necessity of Penance before Absolution, is to charge the Church with a dangerous Errour for four or five of the last Ages, and to revive an Opinion condemned by the Head of the Church. (Which are the very same Arguments used in the First Treatise, for the Pope's Power of deposing Princes.) You need not therefore wonder, if it be with me as it is with thousands of others, that when Absolution may be had at so easy a rate, I presume to offend. If I may be said to offend, in obtaining that for you, which you sometimes sadly complain of the want of, viz. a Liberty of printing your Books. You may by this see how frankly we deal with you, in that we do not only suffer, but procure the coming abroad of your most mischievous Treatises.
It may be you will be ready to ask me, if I account these Treatises such, why I venture to publish them. Because some Poisons lose their force when they are exposed to the open air: And it may do good to others, to let them understand what Doses you give in private to your Patients. We are to hear of nothing from you, but Professions of the utmoft Loyalty and Obedience to Government; and that it is nothing but a little squeamish Scrupulosity of Conscience which makes any of your stomachs check at the Oath of Allegeance: the Ingredients are a little too gross and fulsome for you to get it down; but if they were neatly done up in Pills and gilded over, to prevent the nauseousness of them, you could swallow them all, and they would work kindly with you.
We have been told over and over, that you only stick at some inconvenient Phrases and Modes of expression; but for what concerned any real Security to the Government, you would be as forward and ready to give it, as any of His Majestie's Subjects. If this really were the Case, you deserved both to be pitied and considered. But we thank you, Gentlemen, for the pains you have taken in these Treatises, to make usunderstand that this is not your Case. For it is easy to discern by them, what lies at the bottom of all, viz. the unwillingness to renounce the Pope's Power of deposing Princes. Which the Authour of the First Treatise, like an open plain-hearted man, avows and maintains: and the other two more craftily insinuate. I shall therefore deal freely with you in this matter, by endeavouring to prove these two things.
1. That if you do riot renounce the Pope's Power ef Deposing Princes, and Absolving Subjects from their Allegeance, you can give no real Security to the Government.
2. That if you do renounce it, you have no reason to stick at the Oath of Allegeance.
I. That if you do not renounce the Pope's Power of Deposing Princes, and Absolving Subjects from their Allegeance, you can give no real Security to the Government. I shall not insist on any of the beaten Topicks to prove this; but only make use of this Argument, That it is allowed by all Friends to our King and His Government, that the Commonwealth-Principles are destructive to it, and that none who do own them can give sufficient Security for their Allegeance. If I therefore prove, that all the mischievous Consequences of the Republican Principles do follow upon the owning the Pope's Power of deposing Princes, I suppose you will grant I sufficiently prove what I intend.
Now the Mischief of the Commonwealth-Principles lay in these things: I. Setting up a Court of Judicature over Sovereign Princes; 2. Breaking the Oaths and Bonds of Allegeance men had entred into; 3. Justifying Rebellion on the account of Religion. Every one of these I shall prove doth naturally follow from the Pope's Power of deposing Princes.
I. Setting up a Court of Judicature over Sovereign Princes; or, if you please, a Spiritual High Court of Justice at Rome, where Princes are often condemned without being heard, because they have no reason to acknowledge the Jurisdiction of the Court.
It is no satisfaftion, in this case, to distinguish of a direct and indirect Power: For however the Power comes, the effect and consequence of it is the same: as a man may be as certainly killed by a back blow, as by a thrust or downright stroke: But the Question is not, how the Pope came by this Power, which, I easily grant, was indirectly enough; but whether he has any such Sovereignty over Princes, as to be able by virtue thereof to depose them. And the Commonwealths-men do herein agree with you. For they do not say, that the People have a direct Power over their Princes; (which were a contradiction in it self, for Subjects to command their Sovereigns;) but only, that in case of breach of Trust, the People have an indirect Power to call their Princes to an account, and to deprive them of their Authority. But are the Commonwealth-Principles the less mischievous to Government, because they only assert an indirect Power in the People? Why then should the same distinction be of less pernicious consequence in this case? The main thing to be debated is, that which doth immediately concern the just Rights of Sovereignty, Whether Sovereign Princes have a Supreme and Independent Authority inherent in their Persons or no: or whether they are so accountable to others, that upon Male-administration they may be deprived of their Government. This is the first and chief Point: and the Republicans and Asserters of the Pope's Deposing power are perfectly agreed in the Affirmative of the latter Question, and only differ as to the Persons in whom the Power of calling Princes to an Account doth lie; whether it be in the Pope, or the People?
And even as to this, they do not differ so much as men may at first imagine. For, however the Primitive Christians thought it no Flattery to Princes, to derive their Power immediately from God, and to make them accountable to him alone, as being Superiour to all below him, (as might be easily proved by multitudes of Testimonies:) yet, after the Pope's Deposing Power came into request, the Commonwealth-Principles did so too, and the Power of Princes was said to be of another Original, and therefore they were accountable to the People.
Thus Gregory VII that holy and meek-spirited Pope, not onely took upon him to Depose the Emperour, and absolve his Subjects from their Allegeance; but he makes the first constitution of Monarchical Government to be a meer Usurpation upon the just Rights and Liberties of the People. For he saith, That Kings and Princes had their beginning from those, who, being ignorant of God, got the power into their hands over their equals, (through the instigation of the Devil,) and by their pride, rapine, perfidiousness, murther, ambition, intolerable, presumption, and all manner of wickedness. This excellent account of the Original of Monarchical Government we have from that famous Leveller Gregory VII that most Holy and Learned Pope, who, for his Sanctity and Miracles, was canonized for a Saint; as the Authour of the First Treatise notably observes.
Did ever any Remonstance, Declaration of the Army, or Agreement of the People, give a worse account of the beginning of Monarchy then this Infallible Head of the Church doth? What follows from hence, but the justifying all Rebellion against Princes, which, upon these Principles, would be nothing else, but the People's recovering their just Rights against intolerable Usurpations? For shame, Gentlemen, never upbraid us more with the pernicious Doctrines of the late Times as to Civil Government. The very worst of our Fanaticks never talked so reproachfully of it, as your canonized Saint doth. Their Principles and Practices we of the Church of England (profess to detest and abhorre: but I do not see how those can do it, who have that Self-denying Saint Gregory VII in such mighty veneration. I pray, Gentlemen, tell me what Divine Assistence this good Pope had,when he gave this admirable Account of the Original of Civil Government: and whether it be not very possible, upon his Principles, for men to be Saints and Rebell at the same time.
I have had the curiosity to enquire into the Principles of Civil Government among the fierce Contenders for the Pope's Deposing power; and I have found those Hypotheses avowed and maintained, which justifie all the Practices of our late Regicides, who when they wanted materials, and Examples of former Ages, when they had a mind to seem learned in Rebellion, they found no Smith in Israel, but went down to the Philistines, to sharpen their fatal Axe. Else, how came the Book of Succession to the Crown of England to be shred into so many Speeches, and licensed then by such Authority as they had, to justify their Proceedings against our late Sovereign of glorious Memory? Wherein the main design is, to prove, That Commonwealths have sometimes lawfully chastised their lawful Princes, though never so lawfully descended, or otherwise lawfully put in possession of their Crowns: and that this hath fallen out ever, or for the most part, commodious to the Weal-publick; and that it may seem that God approved and prospered the same, by the good Success and Successours that ensued thereof.
These were the Principles of the most considerable men of that Party here in England at that time. For it is a great and common mistake in those that think the Book of Succession to have been written by Father Parsons alone. For he tells us, that Cardinal Allen, Sir Francis Inglefield, and other principal persons of our Nation, are known to have concurred to the laying together of that Book, as by their own hands is yet extant; and this to the publick benefit of our Catholick Cause. First, that English Catholicks might understand what special and precise Obligation they have to respect Religion, in admitting any new Prince, above all other Respects humane under heaven. And this is handled largely, clearly, and with great variety of learning, reasons, dostrine, and examples, throughout the First Book.
This was purposely intended for the Exclusion of His Majestie's Royall Family, King James being then known to be a firm Protestant: and therefore two Breves were obtained from the Pope to exclude him from the Succession; which were sent to Garnet, Provincial of the Jesuits. One began, Dilectis Filiis, Principibus, & Nobilibus Catholicis; the other, Dilecto Filio, Archipresbytero, & reliquo Clero Anglicano. In both which the Pope exhorts them, not to suffer any person to succeed in the Crown of England, how near soever in Bloud, unless he would, not barely tolerate the Catholick Faith, but promote it to the utmost, and swear to maintain it. By virtue of which Apostolical Sentence Catesby justified himself in the Gunpowder Treason: For, saith he, if it were lawfull to exclude the King from the Succession, it is lawfull to cast him out of Possession; and that is my work, and shall be my care.
Thus we see the Pope s Deposing power was maintained here in England, by such who saw how necessary it was for their purpose to defend the Power of Commonwealths over their Princes, either to exclude them from Succession to the Crown, or to deprive them of the Possesion of it.
The same we shall find in France, in the time of the Solemn League and Covenant there, in the Reigns of Henry III and IV. For those who were engaged so deep in Rebellion against their lawfull Princes found it necessary for them to insist on the Pope's Power to depose, and the People's to deprive their Sovereigns. Both these are joyned together in the Book written about the just Reasons of casting off Henry III by one who was then a Doctour or the Sorbon: wherein the Authour begins with the Power of the Church; but he passes from that, to the Power of the People. He asserts the Fundamental and Radical Power to be so in them, that they may call Princes to account for Treason against the People; which he endeavours at large to prove by Reason, by Scripture, by Examples of all sorts, forrein and domestick. And he adds, That such cases they are not to statd upon the niceties and forms of Law; but that the necessities of State do supersede all those things. If this man had been of Counsel for the late Regicides, he could not more effectually have pleaded their Cause.
The next year after the Murther of Henry III by a Monk acted and inspired by these Rebellious Principles, came forth another virulent Book againft Henry IV under the name of Rossaeus; but written by W. Reynolds, a furious English Papist, who, with his Brethren, contributed their utmost assistence to the Rebellious Leaguers in France; as appears by then written. This man proceeds upon the same two Fundamental Principles of Rebellion, the Power of the People, and the Deposing power of the Pope. He makes all Obedience to Princes to be so far conditional, that if they do not their duty, their Subjects are free from their obligation to obey them: and saith, that the contrary opinion is against the Law . . .
"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear" 1 Peter 3:15 KJV
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