« 上一頁繼續 »
Seal of the Kingdom of France." I need not enlarge on this relation: it is evident from hence, that the Sorbonnists were the original, and our Schismatics in England were the copiers of rebellion; that Paris began, and London followed.
The next lines of my author are, that "a gentleman of Paris made the duke of Mayenne's picture to be drawn, with a crown imperial on his head;'' and I have heard of an English nobleman, who has at this day a picture of old Oliver, with this motto underneath it,—Utinam vixeris. All this while, this cannot be reckoned an act of state, for the deposing king Henry III., because it was an act of overt rebellion in the Parisians; neither could the holding of the three estates at Paris, afterwards, by the same duke of Mayenne, devolve any right on him, in prejudice of king Henry IV.; though those pretended states declared his title void, on the account of his religion; because those estates could neither be called nor holden, but by, and under the authority of, the lawful king. It would take more time than I have allowed for this Vindication, or I could easily trace from the French history, what misfortunes attended France, and how near it was to ruin, by the endeavours to alter the succession. For first, it was actually dismembered, the duke of Mercaeur setting up a principality in the dutchy of Bretagne, independent of the crown. The duke of Mayenne had an evident design to be elected king, by the favour of the people and the Pope: the young dukes of Guise and of Nemours aspired, with the interest of the Spaniards, to be chosen, by their marriage with the Infanta Isabella. The duke of Lorraine was for cantling out some part of France, which lay next his territories; and the duke of Savoy had, before the death of Henry III., actually possessed himself of the marquisate of Saluces. But above all, the Spaniards fomented these civil wars, in hopes to reduce that flourishing kingdom under their own monarchy. To as many, and as great mischiefs, should we be evidently subject, if we should madly engage ourselves in the like practices of altering the succession, which our gracious king in his royal wisdom well foresaw, and has cut up that accursed project by the roots; which will render the memory of his justice and prudence immortal and sacred to future ages, for having not only preserved our present quiet, but secured the peace of our posterity.
It is clearly manifest, that no act of state passed, to the exclusion of either the King of Navarre, or of Henry the fourth, consider him in either of the two circumstances; but Oracle Hunt, taking this for granted, would prove h fortiori, "that if a protestant prince were actually excluded from a popish kingdom, then a popish successor is more reasonably to be excluded from a protestant kingdom; because," says he, "a protestant prince is under no obligation to destroy his popish subjects, but a popish prince is to destroy his protestant subjects:" Upon which bare supposition, without farther proof, he calls him insufferable tyrant, and the worst of monsters.
Now, I take the matter quite otherwise, and bind myself to maintain that there is not, nor can be any obligation, for a king to destroy his subjects of a contrary persuasion to the established religion of his country; for, quatenus subjects, of what religion soever, he is infallibly bound to preserve and cherish, and not to destroy them; and this is the first duty of a lawful sovereign, as such, antecedent to any tie or consideration of his religion. Indeed, in those countries where the Inquisition is introduced, it goes harder with protestants, and the reason is manifest; because the protestant religion has not gotten footing there, and severity is the means to keep it out; but to make this instance reach England, our religion must not only be changed, (which in itself is almost impossible to imagine,) but the council of Trent received, and the Inquisition admitted, which many popish countries have rejected. I forget not the cruelties, which were exercised in Queen Mary's time against the protestants; neither do I any way excuse them; but it follows not, that every popish successor should take example by them, for every one's conscience of the same religion is not guided by the same dictates in his government; neither does it follow, that if one be cruel, another must, especially when there is a stronger obligation, and greater interest to the contrary: for, if a popish king in England should be bound to destroy his protestant people, I would ask the question, over whom he meant to reign afterwards? And how many subjects would be left r
In Queen Mary's time, the protestant religion had scarcely taken root; and it is reasonable to be supposed, that she found the number of papists equalling that of the protestants, at her entrance to the kingdom; especially if we reckon into the account those who were the Trimmers of the times; I mean such, who privately were papists, though under her protestant predecessor they appeared otherwise; therefore her difficulties in persecuting her reformed subjects, were far from being so insuperable as ours now are, when the strength and number of the papists is so very inconsiderable. They, who cast in the church of England as ready to embrace popery, are either knaves enough to know they lie, or fools enough not to have considered the tenets of that church, which are diamctrically opposite to popery; and more so than any of the sects.
Not to insist on the quiet and security, which protestant subjects at this day enjoy in some parts of Germany, under popish princes; where I have been assured, that mass is said, and a Lutheran sermon preached in different parts of the same church, on the same day, without disturbance on either side; nor on the privileges granted by Henry the fourth of France to his party, after he had forsaken their opinions, which they quietly possessed for a longtime after his death.
The French histories are full of examples, manifestly proving, that the fiercest of their popish princes have not thought themselves bound to destroy their protestant subjects; and the several edicts, granted under them, in favour of the reformed religion, are pregnant instances of this truth. I am not much given to quotations, but Davila lies open for every man to read. Tolerations, and free exercise of religion, granted more amply in some, more restrainedly in others, are no sign that those princes held themselves obliged in conscience to destroy men of a different persuasion. It will be said, those tolerations were gained by force of arms. In the first place, it is no great credit to the protestant religion, that the protestants in France were actually rebels; but the truth is, they were only Geneva protestants, and their opinions were far distant from those of the church of England, which teaches passive obedience to all her sons, and not to propagate religion by rebellion. But it is further to be considered, that those French kings, though papists, thought the preservation of their subjects, and the public peace, were to be considered, before the gratification of the court of Rome; and though the number of the papists exceeded that of the protestants, in the proportion of three to one, though the protestants were always beaten when they fought, and though the pope pressed continually with exhortations and threatenings to extirpate Calvinism, yet kings thought it enough to continue in their own religion themselves, without forcing it upon their subjects, much less destroying them who professed another. But it will be objected, those edicts of toleration were not kept on the papists' side: they would answer, because the protestants stretched their privileges further than was granted, and that they often relapsed into rebellion; but whether or no the protestants were in fault, I leave history to determine. It is matter of fact, that they were barbarously massacred, under the protection of the public faith; therefore, to argue fairly, either an oath from protestants is not to be taken by a popish prince; or, if taken, ought inviolably to be preserved. For, when we oblige ourselves to any one, it is not his person we so much consider, as that of the Most High God, who is called to witness this our action; and it is to Him we are to discharge our conscience. Neither is there, or can be any tie on human society, when that of an oath is no more regarded; which being an appeal to God, He is immediate judge of it; and chronicles are not silent how often He has punished perjured kings. The instance of Vladislaus King of Hungary, breaking his faith with Amurath the Turk, at the instigation of Julian the Pope's legate, and his miserable death ensuing it, shews that even to infidels, much more to Christians, that obligation ought to be accounted sacred *. And I the rather urge this, because it is