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And now I have lived to see the Dissenters themselves very quiet, if not very well pleased with an Act of Parliament to prevent it. Their friends indeed laid it on; they would be friends indeed if they would talk of taking it off again.
Again, I had a breach with honest men for their maltreating King William ; of which I say nothing, because I think they are now opening their eyes, and making what amends they can to his memory.
The fifth difference I had with them was about the Treaty of Partition, in which many honest men are mistaken, and in which I told them plainly then that they would at last end the war upon worse terms; and so it is my opinion they would have done, though the Treaty of Gertrudenburgh had taken place.
The sixth time I differed with them was when the old Whigs fell upon the modern Whigs, and when the Duke of Marlborough and my Lord Godolphin were used by the Observator in a manner worse, I must confess, for the time it lasted, than ever they were used since; nay, though it were by Abel [Roper) and the Examiner; but the success failed. In this dispute my Lord Godolphin did me the honour to tell me I had served him and his grace also both faithfully.and successfully. But his lordship is dead, and I have now no testimony of it but what is to be found in the Observator, where I am
plentifully abused for being an enemy to my country, by acting in the interest of my Lord Godolphin and the Duke of Marlborough. What weathercock can turn with such tempers as these ?
I am now on the seventh breach with them, and my crime now is, that I will not believe and
say same things of the queen and the late treasurer which I could not believe before of my Lord Godolphin and the Duke of Marlborough, and which, in truth, I cannot believe, and therefore could not say it of either of them ; and which, if I had believed, yet I ought not to have been the man that should have said it for the reasons aforesaid.
In such turns of tempers and times, a man must be tenfold a Vicar of Bray, or it is impossible but he must one time or other be out with everybody. This is my present condition, and for this I am reviled with having abandoned my principles, turned Jacobite, and what not. God judge between me and these men. Would they come to any particulars with me, what real guilt I may have I would freely acknowledge ; and if they would produce any evidence of the bribes, the pensions, and the rewards I have taken, I would declare honestly whether they were true or no. If they would give a list of the books which they charge me with, and the reasons why they lay them at my door, I would acknowledge my mistake, own what I have done, and let them know what I have not done. But these men neither show mercy, nor leave place for repentance; in which they act not only unlike their master, but contrary to his express commands.
It is true, good men have been used thus in former times; and all the comfort I have is, that these men have not the last judgment in their hands; if they had, dreadful would be the case of those who oppose them. But that day will show many men and things also in a different state from what they may now appear in. Some that now appear clear and fair will then be seen to be black and foul, and some that are now thought black and foul will then be approved and accepted; and thither I cheerfully appeal, concluding this part in the words of the prophet: “I heard the defaming of many, fear on every side. Report, say they, and we will report it. All my familiars watched for my halting, saying, Peradventure he will be enticed, and we shall prevail against him, and we shall take our revenge on him " (Jer. xx. 10).
Mr. Poole’s “Annotations” has the following remarks on these lines, which, I think, are so much to that part of my case which is to follow, that I do not omit them. His words are these :
“The prophet,” says he, “ here rendereth a reason why he thought of giving over his work as a prophet; his ears were continually filled with the obloquies and reproaches of such as reproached him; and, besides, he was afraid on all hands, there were so many traps laid for him, so many devices devised against him. They did not only take advantage against him, but sought advantages, and invited others to raise stories of him ; not only strangers, but those that he might have expected the greatest kindness from ; those that pretended most courteously. “They watch,' says he, ‘for opportunities to do me justice, and lay in wait for my halting, desiring nothing more than that I might be enticed to speak, or do something which they might find matter of a colourable accusation, that so they might satisfy their malice upon me.' This hath always been the genius of wicked men. Job and David both made complaints much like this." These are Mr. Poole's words.
And this leads me to several particulars, in which my case may, without any arrogance, be likened to that of the sacred prophet, excepting the vast disparity of the persons.
No sooner was the queen dead, and the king, as right required, proclaimed, but the rage of men increased upon me to that degree, that the threats and insults I received were such as I am not able to express. If I offered to say a word in favour of the present settlement, it was called fawning, and turning round again ; on the other hand, though I have meddled neither one way or other, nor written one book since the queen’s death, yet a great many things are called by my name, and I bear every day the reproaches which all the answerers of those books cast as well upon the subjects as the authors. I have not secn or spoken to my Lord of Oxford but once since the king's landing, nor received the least message, order, or writing from his lordship, or any other way corresponded with him, yet he bears the reproach of my writing in his defence, and I the rage of men for doing it. I cannot say it is no affliction to me to be thus used, though my being entirely clear of the facts is a true support to me.
I am unconcerned at the rage and clamour of party men; but I cannot be unconcerned to hear men, who, I think, are good men and good Christians, prepossessed and mistaken about me. However, I cannot doubt but some time or other it will please God to open such men's eyes. A constant, steady adhering to personal virtue and to public peace, which, I thank God, I can appeal to Him has always been my practice, will at last restore me to the opinion of sober and impartial men, and that is all I desire. What it will do with those who are resolutely partial and unjust, I cannot say, neither is that much my concern. But I cannot forbear giving one example of the hard treatment I receive, which has happened even while I am writing this tract.