« AnteriorContinuar »
themselves, that, by their consent, the parliament shall have none at all.
With Absalom, they steal the hearts of the people; and, if not prevented, will at length openly rebel; such a whirlwind must we expect to reap in England, whilst they sow the wind of their prating so much for Scotland. If the people, with Ephraim, feed on the wind of their words, no marvel if their stomach be nauseous towards the States advancement.
It is observed truly, that the people are like the sea, and the preachers are like to wind. As the sea ofitself would be quiet, if the winds did not move and trouble it; so the people would be tractable and peaceable, if such seditious orators did not set them in agitation. If such minstrels be permitted, no wonder if the people make a noise; if they shall be suffered to rail in the pulpits, let us not blame the people for murmuring in the streets; if they without controul may give a false alarm, the people will be too apt to take it. As the serpent Porphyrins is said to be full of poison, but wants teeth to vent it; so the presbyterian is full of malice, but wants strength to put it in execution. Their hatred is now like a subterraneous fire, and thunder in a cloud: they only wait fora fit time when it shall break forth into a flame, and affright us with a terrible clap, that they may set up their three-headed Geryon, honour, riches, and pleasure.
Some of the most crafty foxes, altho' they covertly endeavour to spoil our vines, by planting their stinking elders, yet they openly pretend their preservation; so that they altogether look one way, and rowanother. Others not so cunning, but as malicious, stand in a diametrical opposition to all orders of parliament; and when they should fast, they will feast; and when they should feast, they will be sure to fast; turning days of thanksgiving into days of humiliation, and calling adhering to the parliament, a backsliding from the truth. Surely, they mean their covenant; for as, if the way, the truth, and the life, were exactly drawn in that libel, as the world in a map, they pressed it with rigour, as necessary to the commonwealth's well-being; and now, with bitterness of spirit, reject the engagement, as an engine of destruction. Therefore, rebus sic stantibus, let the world judge, who are the malignants, either they that desire to live under their vines, and under their fig-trees, in peace, or these that labour to foment a new war; some of them having not only a finger, but a whole hand in the Scottish design against us?
Yet they would fain excuse themselves, by accusing others of malignancy, saying, or rather boasting with thePharisee, God, we thank thee, that we are not as other men are; neither indeed are they, for they are not half so honest.
As Augustine writes ofFaustus the Manichee; if this were to be just, to justify themselves; assuredly, this generation of vipers had long since flown up into heaven. But, alas! they prefer themselves before others, upon no better ground than the Marcionites did extol the serpent above the Creator, because the Creator did forbid to participate of the tree pf knowing good and evil, and the serpent freely did permit it.
yoL. vi. a
They would fain make us believe their entia to be transcendentia, and their sots to be Solomons; but let us examine their actions, and we shall find, that they travel with iniquity, conceive mischief, and bring forth falshood. Verbis proferunt virtutem, etfactk destruunt veritutem: In their words they may seem to advance virtue, but by their works they overthrow truth; not unlike the cunning lapidary, who sells a beryl for a diamond; but yet Christ suffereth such in his church, that the truth might break forth with brighter beams through the blackest clouds of opposition. ,
If Arius and Sabelliushad not exceedingly vexed the church of Christ, the deep mysteries of the Holy Trinity would never have been so clearly and accurately determined by the orthodox doctors. If Manichseus had not maliciously railed upon the Old Testament, Augustine, that walking library of learning in his time, would never have taken such indefatigable pains in answering all objections against it. So, if these mongrel Geneva proselytes had not, with a storm in their countenance, and a tempest in'their tongue, opposed the saints of God, the glorious mysteries of Christ's kingdom had not been so much revealed to his people. Had not these enemies come in like a flood, the spirit of the Lord had not thus lifted up his standard against them.
For brass God hath now brought gold, and for iron, silver; therefore let their stormy wind praise the Lord, and let the wrath of these men glorify his holy name. Let the antiperistasis of their malice make the fire of our zeal more intense; and altho' the interposition of these lunaticks, as that of the moon, may for a very little while eclipse our sun, yet it shall never go down; for the Lord himself will be our everlasting light, we shall be ever clothed with the sun, and therefore tread the moon of variableness under our feet; insomuch that the beast, which hath horns like a lamb, and speaks as a dragon, shall never exercise his power over us, though they say, Cursed be the man that obeyeth not the words of our covenant.
Whoso then is a wise man, and endued with knowledge, among the presbyterian party, let him lay his hand upon his heart, and consider, whilst oil is yet in his lamp, and those candles of nature, his eyes, not sunk down within their sockets; let him descend into himself, and search out the error of his ways; which being once found, let him not be ashamed to cry peccavi from the bottom of his heart; for this will be a key to open the wounds of Christ, and give a ready passage to the mercy seat.
This is all the harm I wish the worst of them; and, if Alexander the Great wept at the sight of Darius's dead corpse, and Julius Caesar at the spectacle of Pompey's head, certainly, as severely as they may censure me; I should turn lumina in Jlumina, in fontemjrontem, eyes into tears, and face into a fountain, to behold their destruction, altogether desiring their speedy conversion; for which shall be always my fervent prayer.
And, as for me, the Lord God will help me, therefore shall I not be confounded; therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. He. is near thaljustifieth me. Who will contend with me? Let us stand together. Who is mine adversary? Let him come near me.
THE LIFE OF THAT INCOMPARABLE MAN,
Described by a Polonian Knight,
Whereunto is added an excellent Discourse, which the same author would have had premised to the works ofSocinus; together with a catalogue of those works.
London, printed for Richard Moone, at the Seven Stars in Paul's Church-yard 1653. Octavo, containing forty-two pages.
TO THE READER.
THE life of Socinus is here exposed to thy view, that by the perusal thereof thou mayest receive certain information concerning the man, whom ministers and others traduce by custom, having for the most part, never heard any thing of his conversation, nor seen any of his works; or, if they have, they were either unable or unwilling to make a thorough scrutiny into them, and so no marvel, if they speak evil of him. To say any thing of him here by way of elogy, as that he was one of the most pregnant wits that the world hath produced; that none, since the apostles, hath deserved bdterofour religion, in that the Lord Christ hath chiefly made use of his ministry, to retrieve so many precious truths of the gospel, which had a long time been hidden from the eyes of men by the artifice of Satan; that he shewed the world a more accurate way to discuss controversies in religion, and to fetch out the very marrow of the holy scripture; so that a man may more avail himself by reading his works, than perhaps by perusing all the fathers, together with the writings of more modern authors; that the virtues of his will were not inferior unto those of his understanding, he being every way furnished to the work of the Lord; that he opened the right way to bring Christians to the unity of the faith and acknowledgment of the Son of God; that he took the same course to propagate the gospel, that Christ and the apostles had done before him, forsaking his estate, and his nearest relations, and undergoing all manner of labours and hazards, to draw men to the knowledge of the truth; that he had no other end of all his undertakings, than the glory of God and Christ, and the salvation of himself and others, it being impossible for calumny itself, with any colour, to asperse him with the least suspicion of worldly interest; that he, of all inter• z 2
preters, explaineth the precepts of Christ in the strictest manner, and windeth up the lives of men to the highest strain of holiness: To say these and other the like things (though in themselves true and certain) would, notwithstanding, here be impertinent, in that it would forestal what the Polonian knight hath written on this subject. To him, therefore, I refer thee, desiring thee to read his words without prejudice, and then the works of Socinus himself; and though thou beest not thereby convinced that all which Socinus taught is true (for neither am I myself of that belief, as having discovered that, in some lesser things, Socinus, as a man, went awry, however in the main, he hit the truth) yet for so much of Christ, as thou must needs confess, appeareth in him, begin to have more favourable thoughts of him and his followers.
TO pursue the life of Faustus Socinus, in a brief and perfunctory manner, would be below the dignity of so great a man; but to do it, fully and elaborately, would perhaps be above our strength. For to relate the praises of renowned men by snatches,and in a negligent fashion,is an injury to virtue; and, if there was ever any, certainly this is the man who deserveth to be described, not only with care, but also with wit. Yet since it is better, that excellent endowments should be commended below their merit, than wholly passed over in silence: It is unreasonable, either that the meanness of the relators should prove prejudicial to famous men, or the greatness of those, who are celebrated, be any prejudice to the wit of the writers. But, as for myself, pardon is due to me upon another account, being cumbered with many cares, and hurrying my discourse, within the limits prefixed, to a pittance of time.
Socinus was born in Sene, a most famous city ofTuscany. The nobility of his stock was ancient, and the splendor of his alliances exceeding the condition of a private man. His father, besides the honours of his own family, was, on his mother's side, further ennobled by the Salvetti, which family sometimes flourished with so great power amongst the Florentines, that Pandulphus Petruccius, being expelled out of Sene, was chiefly beholden to the assistance and wealth ofPaulus Salvettusfor the restitution of his country, and shortly after of his princedom. By which benefit, being obliged, he conferred on him the freedom of the city, and persuaded him to leave his country, and dwell at Sene. This Paulus was father to Camilla, who, being married to Marianus the younger, was mother to Alexander and Laelius Socinus, and grandmother to Faustus. His mother, born to the hope of more than a private fortune, was daughter to Burgesius Petruccius (sometimes prince of the commonwealth of Sene)and to Victoria Piccolominea, who being the- daughter of Andreas Piccolomineus, lord ofCastilio and Piscaria, and niece to Pope Pius the Second, and Third of that name; and either sister or kinswoman to cardinal John Piccolomineus, to the dukes of the Amalphitani, to the marquisses of Capistranum, to the earls of Calanum, and many other Italian princes, married into the house of the Petruccii, which then held the
fortune of the princedom of Sene. But Burgesius, succeeding his father Pandulphus, and not long after by a fatal change expelled out of his country, did not long survive his dignity. Nevertheless Cardinal Raphael Petruccius was his successor in the government ot his country, and held for a while the helm of that commonwealth. But Victoria, being left a widow, suffered not her mind, which, in the splendor of her former height, she had never lifted up, to be quailed with so disastrous a vicissitude of things. So that, for the space of fifty-six years, wherein she survived the life and common fortune of her husband, she did with singular modesty, and approved integrity and chastity, endure the solitary condition of widowhood. Herdaughter Agnes, whom, according to the dignity of so great a family, she had trained up in most holy manners, she gave in marriage toAlexanderSocinus, a young man of noble extraction, but private condition. He was the father of our Faustus, and born in such a family, as had, for a long time, not by arms and power, but by wit and scholarship, seemed to hold a kind of princedom in one sort of learning. For this very Alexander was called the master of subtleties; and his father Marianus the Younger, the prince of lawyers; and Bartholomew, the uncle of Marianus the Younger, was by Angelus Politianus, stiled the Papinian of his age; finally Marianus the elder, Bartholomew's father, a most grave lawyer, is by iEneas Sylvius so highly extolled, that the narration almost exceeds belief.
The son of this Marianus was Alexander the elder; the grandchild Marianus the younger; the great grandchildren, Alexander and Laelius, the one (as we said) the father, the other, the uncle of our Faustus. Both of them, for greatness of wit, and endowments of learning, exceeding famous; but to whom that of the poet may justly be applied, These to the earth the Fates will only show, Causing them presently away to go. For Alexander having a marvellous sharpness of wit, together with a divine memory and excellent eloquence, had scarce fulfilled the one and thirtieth year of his age, but he was suddenly snatched away, to the great grief of all Italy. And Laclius, having, in a short race of life, performed very great matters, exceeded not the seven and thirtieth year of his age.
The memory of this man I judge worthy to be exceedingly admired by posterity, who, in so short a space as he lived, not only smelt out so many grievous errors, which had privily crept into the church, but pulling them out of their very holes, first shewed the way how to kill them. He, being by his father Marianus put upon that study which was hereditary to his name, thought that the knowledge of human laws was to be fetched out of the very fountains of God's law. To which purpose, whilst he diligently turned over the sacred volumes, he without difficulty found that very many of those doctrines of the church, which are commonly received, are quite opposite to the divine testimonies. And that so much the more easily, because most of them are also repugnant to reason, and such principles, as nature itself hath implanted in us. Inasmuch therefore, as the height of his excellent wit and sharpness of his judgment were accompanied with a singular probity of mind, having detected the errors of the church, he did not (as the greatest part do)