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their rule of faith, the word of God in general: that by this they understood the written word, or scripture, in contradistinction to the Roman rule of scripture and traditions; and as distinguished, both from the church of Rome, and from heretics and sectaries, they understood by it more particularly the written word or scripture, delivering a sense, owned and declared by the primitive church of Christ in the three creeds, four first general councils, and harmony of the fathers.
Dryden's argument, however, had been, by the Catholics, thought so sound, that it is much dwelt upon in a tract, called, "A Remonstrance, by way of Address to both Houses of Parliament, from the Church of England," the object of which is to recommend an union between the churches of England and of Rome. The former is there represented as holding the following language:
"You cannot be ignorant, that ever since my separation from the church of Rome, I have been attacked by all sorts of dissenters: So that my fate, in this encounter, may be compared to that of a city, besieged by different armies, who fight both against it and one another; where, if the garrison make a sally to damage one, another presently takes an advantage to make an attack. Thus, whilst I set myself vigorously to suppress the papist, the puritan seeks to undermine me; and, whilst I am busied to oppose the puritan, the papist gains ground upon me. If I tell the church of Rome, I did not forsake her, but her errors, which I reformed; my rebellious subjects tell me the same, and that they must make a thorough reformation; and, let me bring what arguments I please, to justify my dissent, they still produce the same against me. If, on the other hand, I plead against the puritan dissenter, and show, that he ought to stand to church-authority, where he is not infallibly certain it commands a sin; the papist presently catches at it, and tells me, I destroy my own grounds of reformation, unless I will pretend to that infallibility which I condemn in
"Matters standing thus betwixt me and them, why would it not be a point of prudence in me, (as I doubt not but you would esteem it in a governor of that city I lately mentioned,) to make peace with one of my adversaries, to the end I may with more ease resist the onsets of the other?"
HIND AND PANTHER.
DAME, said the Panther, times are mended well,
Alluding to the Popish Plot. See Note I.
↑ James II. then Duke of York, whom Shaftesbury and his party involved in the odium of the plot.
Plunket, the titular primate of Ireland, Whitebread, provincial of the Jesuits, and several other Catholic priests, suffered for the alleged plot. Derrick most absurdly supposes the passage to refer to the period of the Civil War.