Andrew Thomson John Owen.

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tliat supposition. I bewail the evil of them, and labour for mode-
ration about them, and have long since ventured to propose my
thoughts unto the world to that purpose. All that you suppose in
your discourse on this account I suppose also, yea^ and grant it; un-
less it be some such thing as is in controversy between you and Pro-
testants, which you are somewhat frequent in the supposal of unto
your advantage, and thereon would persuade them unto a relinquish-
ment of Protestancy and embracement of Popery: which is the end
of yoiur book, and will be thought so, if you should deny it a thou-
sand times; for " quid ego verba audiam, facta cum video?'" Your
protestation comes too late, when the iact hath declared your mind;
neith^ are you now at liberty to coin new designs for your " Fiat""
But this must be my mistake, which no man in his wits could pos-
sibly fall into; neither is it an evidence of any great sobriety to im-
pute it to any man, whom we know not certainly to be distracted.
But this mistake, you tell me, caused me '' to judge and censure what
you wrote as impertinent, impious, frivolous,'" eta No such matter;
my right apprehension of your hypothesis, end, or design, occadoned
me to show that your discourses were incompetent to prevail with
rational and sober persons to comply witk your desires.

You proceed to the same purpose, p. 15, and, to manifest my mis-
take of your design, give an account of it, and tell us that " one thing
you suppose, namely, that we are at differenca"' So did I also, and
am no^ therefore, yet fallen upon the discovery of my mistaka

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Secondly, You " commend peaca'^ I acknowledge you do, and join
with you tiierein; neither is he worthy the name of a Christian who
is otherwise minded. That is one great legacy that Christ bequeathed
unto his disciples : El^^9fiv, saith he, aftn/i'' ^fA^^y tipivnv riiv ifi^^f dtdufAi upkTy
— " Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you;" and he is no
disciple of Christ who doth not long for it among all his disciples.
This, you tell us, is the whole sum of " Fiat Lux" in few worda You
will tell us otherwise immediately; and if you should not, yet we
should find it otherwisa You add, therefore, " that to introduce a
disposition unto peace, you make it your work to demonstrate the
uselessness, endlessness, and unprofitableness of quarrels." Yet my
mistake appears not I perceived you did speak to this purpose, and
I acknowledge with you that quarrels about religion are useless and
unprofitable, any otherwise than as we are bound to " contend ear-
nestly for the faith once delivered unto the saints," and to " stand
&Bt in our liberty, not giving place to seducers," with labouring by
''sound doctrine to convince and stop the mouths of gainsayers;"
all which are made necessary unto us by the commands of Christ,
and are not to be called quarrelling. And I know that our quarrels
are not yet actually ended; that diey are endless I believe not, but
hope the contrary. You proceed, and grant that " you labour to
persuade your countrymen of an impossibility of ever bringing our
debates unto a conclusion, either by light, or spirit, or reason, or
Scripture, so long as we stand separated firom any superior judicative
power unto whidi all parties 'will submit; and, therefore, that it is
rational and Christian-like to leave these endless contentions, and
resign ourselves to humility and peace." This matter will now quickly
be ended, and that " ex ore tuo." Give me leave, I pray, to ask you
one or two plain questions: — 1. Whom do you understand by that
" superior judicative power," unto whom you persuade aU parties to
submit ? Have you not told us in your " Fiat" that it is the church
or pope of Rome ? or will you deny that to be your intention ? 2.
What do you intend by *' resigning ourselves to humility and peace?"
Do you not aim at our quiet submission to the determinations of the
church or pope in all matters of religion ? Have you not declared
yourself unto this purpose in your " Fiat ?" And I desire a little
&rther to know of you whether this be not that which formally con-
stitutes a man a member of your church, — that he own the judicative
power of the pope or your church in all matters of religion, and sub-
mit himself Uiereunto ? If these things be so, as you cannot deny
them, I hope I shall easily obtain your pardon for affirming that you
yourself bdieved the same to be the design of your book, which I and
other men apprehended to be so; for here you directly avow it If
you complain any more about this matter, pray let it be in the words

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of him in the comedian^ ^'Egomet meo indido mifidr, qtuud dorez, hodie
peril/' Ter. Eun. v. 7, 28; this incotiTemeiice you have brought upon
your own 8el£ Neither can any man long avoid such misadrentures
who dengDB to doud his aims; which yet cannot take effect if not in
some measure understood. Naked trutli, managed in sincerity, what-
ever perplexities it may meet withal, will never leave its owners in
the briers; whereas the serpentine turnings of error and fiJsehood, to
extricate themselves, do but the more entangle their promotera
I doubt not but you hope well^ that when all ara beoome Papists
again they shall live at peace; though your hope be v^ groundleeB,
as I have elsewhere demonstrated. You have at best but the shadow
or shell of peace; and, for the most part, not that neither.' Yea, it
may be ea^y showed that the peace you boast of is inconsistent
with, and destructive of, that peace which is left by Christ unto his

But the way you propose to bring us to peace is the embrsoement
of Popery: which is that that was fixed on by me as the design of
your book ; whidi now acknowledging, you have disarmed yourself of
that imaginary advantage which you flourish wittkal, from "a cspital
mistake," as you call it, in me, in misi^prebending your design. You
were told before, that if by ''moderation and peace" you intended a
mutual forbearance of one another in our several persuasions, waiting
patiently until Ood shall reveal unto us the precise truth in the
things about which we diffSor, you shall have all the fiittheranoe that
I can contribute unto you. But you have another aim, another work
in hand, and will not allow that any peace is attainable amongst us,
but by a resignation of all our apprehensions, in matters of religion,
to the guidance, determination, and decision of the pope, or jrour
church; — a way nowhere {described unto us in holy writ, nor in the
coimcils of the primitive ehiurch ; and, bendes, against all reason, law,
and equity, your pope and church in our contests being one party
litigant: yet '' in this persuasion," you say, " you should abide, were
there no other persons in the world but yoursdf diat did embrace it''
And to let you see how unlikely that principle is to produce peace
^and agreement amongst those multitudes that are at variance about
these tilings, I can assure you that if there were none left alive on
the earth but you and I, we should not agree in this thing one jot
better than did Cain and Abel about the saoifices; though I should
desire you diat we might manage our differences with more modern^
tion than he did, who, by virtue of his primogeniture, seemed to lay a
special claim to the priesthood. And indeed, for your part^ if your
present persuasion be as you sometimes pretend it to l^, that your
** Fiat Lux" is not a persuasive unto Popery, you have given a suffi-
cient testimony tiiat you can be of an opinion that no man else in

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4li6 world la o^ nor wQl be^ do what you can. Bat the insufficiency
of your principles and aiguments to aocomplish your design hath
been in part aheady OTinoed, and shall, Qod wiUii^ in our progress
be £Eurther made manifest This is the sum of what iq^pean in the
first part of your pre&tcory disoourse oonceming my mistake of your
design ; which, how little it hath tended unto your advantage, I hope
you begin to understand.

Tour next labour consists in a pacific, diaritaUe inquiry after the
author of the " Animadvernons,^ with an endeaTOur, by I know not
how many reasons^ to confirm your surmise that he is a person that
had an interest in the late troid>lfis in the nation, or, as you phrase it,
was ^ a part of that diffloal tempest wfaidi cyerboie all before it, not
only church and state, bul reason, right, Inmeaty, all true religion,
and even good nature toa'" See wtuut despair of managing an un-
deirtaking whtdd cannot be well deserted wUl drive men unto I Are.
you not aensibte that you ciry,

"^^ « Voi o mibi wuom
£itebqBi^<|«M)isms«])ecbaTQr»TQlaiiUAr' Tiig. iEn. ziL 646.

or like the Jews, who, when ihey were convinced c^ their errors and
widLednessby our Saviour,began to call him "Samaritan'" and ''devil,''

^aad to take up stones to east at him ? or as Cresoens the C^c dealt
with Justin Martyr, whom because he could not answer, after he
had engaged in a diqputa with him, he laboured to bring him into
suspidon with the emperor and senate of Rome as a person dangerous
to the oommonwealtht And so also the Arians dealt with Athan-
aeiua It were easy to manifest that the spring of all this <&cour8e
iji youra is smmf% and not loytHty, and that it pcoceeds from a sense
of your own disappointment^ and not seal for the welfure of others;
but how little it is to your purpose I shall show you anon, and could
quickly lender it as little to yoiur advantage For what if I should
smrmise that you were one cf the friars that stirred up the Irish to
their rebeUi(Mi and unparalleled murders? Assure yourself I can
quickly gi^e as many and as probaUe reasons for my so doing as
you have given, or can give, for your conjecture about the author of
the '* Animadvanicns" on your ^ Fiat Im.*' You little think how
much it Qonoems haxk to look to hims^ who undertakes to accuse
another; md how easy it were to make you repent your accusation,
as much as ever Crassns did his accusing of CWba But I was in
good h<q)e you would have left such reflections as are capable of
so easf a retortion upoft youmelf, especially being irregular and no

' way subservient unto your design, and beii^ warned beforehand so to
da Who could imagine t^t a man of so mudi piety and morti-
fication, as in your " Fiat" you profess youreelf to be, dK>uld have so
little regard unto common honesty and civility} which are direwdly

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intxenched upon by such uncharitable sunnises. I suppose you know
that the apostle reckons wr^w/a; ^rowj^Aj, whereof you have under-
taken the management of one, amongst the things that are contrary
to the doctrine that is according unto godliness; otherwise suspicion
is in your own power, nor can any man hinder you finom surmising
what you please. This he knew in Plautus who cried, —
<< Ne admittam oulpam ego meo som promus pectori,

Busi^cio est in peotore alieno sita.

Nam nuno ego te si sanipuiaBe sospioer,

Jovi coronam de capite e Capitolio,

Quod in cnlmine astat snmmo, bL non id feceria,

Atqne id tamen mihi lubeat sosinoarier,

Qiittaidprohib»«mepoteBne8iupioer7" Flaol Trin. L 1.

And I know that, concerning all your dispute and arguings in these
pages, you may say what Lucian doth about his "true story:" TpAfu
Tomv Vipi fitf y /(fr^r s7(5ov, /l^t i^ra^or, fi^rt irap* AXkw i^rvHfJi^v' — "Tou write
about the things which you have neither seen nor suffered, heard nor
much inquired after," Lua Ver. Hist L 4. Such is the force of fBtction,
and sweetness of revenge in carnal minds To deliver you, if it may be,
from the hke miscarriages for the future, let me inform you that the
author of the " Animadvendons" is a person who never had a hand
in, nor gave consent unto, the raising of any war in these nations, ^
nor unto any political alteration in them, — ^no, not to any one that
wsB amongst us during our revolutions; but he acknowledgeth that
he lived and acted under th^n the things wherein he thought his
duty consisted, and challengeth all men to charge him with domg the
least personal injury unto any, professing himself ready to give satis-
faction to any one that can justly claim it Therefore, as unto the
pubUc bSblvts in this nation, he is amongst them who bless Ood and
the king for the act of oblivion; and that because he supposeih that
all the inhabitants of the kingdom which lived in it when his ma-
lesty was driven out of it have cause so to do: which some priests
and friars have, and that in reference unto such actings as he would
scorn, for the saving of his life, to give the least countenance unto;
among whom it is not unlikely that you might be one, — which yet he
will not aver, nor give reasons to prove it, because he doth not know
it so to ba But you have sundry reasons to justify yourself in your
charge, and they are as well worthy our consideration as any thing
else you have written in your epistle; and shall therefore not be ne-
glected. The first of them you thus express, p. 12, " You cannot
abide to hear of moderation; it is with you most wicked, hypocritical,
and devilish, especially as it comes from me; for this one thing
^ Fiat Lux' suffers more from you than for all the contents of the
book put together. My reason is your passion; my moderation
inflames your wrath: and you are tiierefore stark -wild because I

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titter 80 much of sobriety/' This is your first reason; which you
have exactly squared to the old rule, " Calumniare fortiter, aliquid
adhaerebit;'' — " Calumny will leave a scar/' Would you were your-
self only concerned in these things! But among the many woful
miscarriages of men professing the religion of Jesus Christ, whereby
the beauty and glory of it have been stained in the world, and itself
in a great measure rendered ineffectual unto its blessed ends, there
is not any thing of more sad consideration than the endeavours of
men to promote and propagate the things which they suppose belong
unto it by ways and means directly contrary unto, and destructive
of, its most known and fundamental principles. For when it is once
observed and manifest that the actings of men in the promotion of
any reUgion are forbidden and condemned in that religion which they
seek to promote, what can rationally be concluded but that they not
only disbelieve themselves what they outwardly profess, but also
esteem it a fit mask and cover to cany on other interests of their own
which they prefer before it? And what can more evidently tend
unto its disreputation and disadvantage is not easy to conceiva Such
is the course here fixed on by you. It is the religion of Christ you pre-
tend to plead for and to promote ; but if there be a word true in it, the
way you take for that end, — ^namely, by openly fidse accusations, —
is to be abhorred; which manifests what regard unto it you inwardly
cherish. And I wish this were only your personal miscarriage, that
you were not encouraged unto it by the principles and example of
your chiefest masters and leadera The learned person who wrote
the Letters discovering the Mystery of Jesuitism gives us just cause
so to conceive; for he doth not only prove that the Jesuits have pub-
licly maintained that " calumny is but a venial sin,'' nay, none at all,
if used against such as you caJl calumniators, though grounded on
absolute falsities, but hath also given us such pestilent instances of
their practice, according to that principle, as Paganism was never
acquainted withaL — Let xv.* In their steps you set out in this your
first reason, wherein there is not one word of truth. I had formerly
told you that I did not think you could yourself believe some of the
things that you affirmed, at which you take great offence; but I must

» The " Provinoial Letters" by Blaise Pascal were pablished in this conntry in 1657,
aooording to the professicm on the title-page, *^ FaithMly rendered into English." The
first of Uiese celebrated productions appeared 18th January 1656; the last bears date
24th Mareh 1657. It illustrates the extent of their influence, and how rapidly their
fiune had spread, when the same year in which the series dosed should haye produced
a translation of them into English. The language of Owen shows that he must haye
seen them in this form, for the title of the yolume differs from the French title pre-
fixed to the Letters, and runs in the following terms : ** Les Prorindales ; or, the Mys-
terie of Jesnitisme Discorered in certain Letters, written upon occasion of the present
differences at Sorbonne between the Jansenists and the Molinists, from. January 1656
to March 1657, S. N."— Ed.

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now tell you, that if jou proceed in venting sndi notonoiis untruths as
here you hare heaped togetjier^ I shall greatly question whether seri-
ously you believe that Jesus Christ will odie day judge the world in
righteousness. For I do zkoi think you can produce a pleadable dis-
pensation to say what you fdease, be it never so false, of a supposed
heretic; for though^ it may be, you will not keqp fiuth with him^
surely you ought to observe truth in fipeaking of him. You t^ us^
in your epistle to your ^* Fiat," of your '^ dark obscurity wherein you
die daily;"' but take heed, sir, lesf^

— — " ladiilfenteii tenebns imnqne weeva
Sedis intspeciofl ocdo ndiiaqve ftauAm
Servaatem, tamen MsiduiB circumTolei alls
SeeTa dies animi, Bcdemmque in pectore dim.**

StBt. Theb. 1 56.

Tour next reason is, '^ Because he talks of swords and blood, fire
and fagot, guns and daggers; which doth more than show that he
hath not let go those hot and furious imaginationsL" But of what
sort, by whom used^ to what end? Doth he mention any of these
but such as your church hath made use of for the destruction of
Protestants? If you have not done so, why do you not disprove his
assertions? If you have» why have you practised that in the face of
the sun which you cannot endure to be told of? Is it equal, think
you^ that you should kill, bum, and destroy men, for the profession
of their &ith in Oturist Jesus, and that it should not be lawful for
others to say you do so? Did not yourself make the calling over of
these things necessary, by crying out against Protestants for want
of moderation i " It is one of the privileges of the pope," some say,
'^ to judge all men, and himself to be judged by none;" but is it- so
also, that no man may say he hath done what all the world knows
he hath done, and which we have just cause to fear he would do
again had he power to his will? For my part, I can assure you, so
that you will cease from chaiy'ng others with that whose guilt lies
heavier upon yourselves than on all the professors of Christianity in
the world besides, and give any tolerable security* against the like
practices for the future, I shall be well content that aU. which is past
may be put by us poor worms into perpetual oblivion ; though I know
it will be called over another day« Uniil this be done, and you leave
off to make your advantages of other men's miscarriages, pray ana
yourself with patience to hear sometimes a Ettle of your own.

said wise Homer of old; and another to the same purpose, ** He that
speaks what be will, mtust hear what be would not" Is it aetioiiable
with you against a Protestant, that he will not take your whole sword
into his bowels without complaining? Sir, the author of the '^ Ani-

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'inadveraioxis'^ dodi, and ever did, abhor swords, eaoA gmis, and crusades,
in matters of religion and conscience, with all violence, that may tan*
tamount' unto their usual effects. He ever thought it an uncouth
eight to see men maichixig with crosses on their ba^s to dee^oy
Christians, as if they had the Alkoran in their hearts; and therefore
desires your excuse if he hove reflected a little upon the miscarriages
of your chuidi in tiiat kind, ei^ecially being called thereunto by
7our present contrary pietenoea

^ Quia talent Oneebos de secfiiioM qverenieer* — Juy. iL 24.
;And, —

— »-*< ICajor tandem pavoaa insaoe miuorL" — ^Hor. Sat ii 8, 825.

It were well if your ways did no more please you, in the previous
proqiect you take of them than they seem to do in a subsequent re-
flection upon them. But this is the nature of evil, — it never comes and
goes with the same appearing countenance: not that itself chcuigeth
at any time, for that which is morally evil is always so; but men's
apprehensions, variously influenced by their affections, lusts, and in-
terests, do frequently diange and alter. Now, what conclusions can
be made from the premises rightly stated, I leave to your own judg-
xnent, at your better leisure.

Thirdly, Yon add, '^ Your pn^hetic asfluiance, so often inculcated,
that if you icould but once come to whisper me in the ear, I would
{Mainly acknowledge, either that I understand not myself what I say,
or, if I do, believe it not, gives a £ur diarscter of those iiaiiatic times
wfaerdn ^ocanoe and hypocrisy prevailed over worth and truth,
whereof, if yourself w^ie any part, it is no wonder you should think
that I or any man else should eidier speak he knows not what, or
believe not what himself speaks."' That is, a man must needs beras
had as you con imagme him, if he have not such a high opinion of
your ability and integrity as to believe that you have written about
nothing but what you perfectly understand, nor assert any thing, in
the pursuit of your design and interest, but what you i:eiJly and in
cold blood believe to be true. All men, it seems, that ivere no part
of " the former dismal tempest," have Una opinion of you; '^ credat
Apella." If it be so, I confess, for my part, I Iuh^ bo relief against
being oonduded to be whatever you please: Seek or not Sosta, the
law is in your own hands, and you may condemn all that adore you
not iiEto fanaticism at your pleasure; butas he said, ^'Obaecro per
pacem lioeat te aUoqui, nt ue vapulem.'" If you will but grant a little
truce from this severity, I doubt not but in a ebort time to take cS
from your keenness in the management of this chaige; for I hope
you wiU allow that a man jnay speak the truth without being a fana^
ticv Truth may get hatred, — I see it hath done so,— rbut it will make
no man hateful Without looking back; then, to your *' Fiat Lux,'" I

vol* XIV. 13

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shall, out of this very epistle, give you to see that you have certainly
failed on the one hand, in writing about things which you do not at
all understand, and therefore discourse concerning them likie a blind
man about colours; and, as I fear, greatly also on the other, — ^for I
cannot suppose you so ignorant as not to know that some things in
your discourse are otherwise than by you represented: nay, and we
shall find you at express contradictions, which, pretend what you
please, I know you cannot at the same time believe. Instances of
these things you will be minded of in our progress. Now, I must
needs be very unhappy in discoursing of them, if this be logic and
law, that for so doing I must be concluded a fanatia

Fourthly, You add, " Your pert assertion, so oft occurring in your
book, that there is neither reason, truth, nor honesty in my words, is
but the overflowings of that former intemperate zeal;'' whereunto
may be added what in the last place you insist on to the same pur-
pose, namely, that I *' charge you with firaud, ignorance, and wicked-
ness, when in my own heart I find you most clear from any such
blemisL" I do not remember where any of these expressions are
used by me; that they are nowhere used thus all together, I know
well enough, neither shall I make any inquiry after them. I shall
therefore desire you only to produce the instances whereunto any of
the censures intimated are annexed ; and if I do not prove, evidently
and plainly, that to be wanting in your discourse which is charged
so to be, I will make you a public acknowledgment of the wrong I
iave done you. But if no more was by me expressed than your
words, as used to your purpose, did justly deserve, pray be pleased
to take notice that it is lawftd for any man to speak the truth: and

Online LibraryAndrew Thomson John OwenThe works of John Owen, Volume 14 → online text (page 24 of 67)