Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

leavs his kind entertainer in the shop trading all day without his religion.

Another sort there be who when they hear that all things shall be order'd, all things regulated and setl'd; nothing writt'n but what passes through the customhouse of certain Publicans that have the tunaging and the poundaging of all free spok'n truth, will strait give themselvs up into your hands, mak’em and cut'em out what religion ye please; there be delights, there be recreations and jolly pastimes that will fetch the day about from sun to sun, and rock the tedious year as in a delightfull dream. What need they torture their heads with that which others have tak’n lo strictly, and so unalterably into their own pourveying. These are the fruits which a dull ease and cessation of our knowledge will bring forth among the people. How goodly, and how to be wisht were such an obedient unanimity as this, what a fine conformity would it starch us all into? doubtles a stanch and solid peece of framework, as any January could freeze together.

Nor much better will be the consequence ev'n among the Clergy themselvs; it is no new thing never heard of before, for a parochiall Minister, who has his reward, and is at his Hercules pillars in a warm benefice, to be easily inclinable, if he have nothing else that may rouse up his studies, to finish his circuit in an English concordance and a topic folio, the gatherings and savings of a sober graduatship, a Harmony and a Catena, treading the constant round of certain common doctrinall heads, attended with their uses, motives, marks and means, out of which as out of an alphabet or so! fa by forming and transforming, joyning and difjoyning variously a little book-craft, and two hours meditation might furnish him unspeakably to the performance of more then a weekly charge of sermoning: not to reck’n up the infinit helps of interlinearies, breviaries, Synopfes, and other loitering gear. But as for the multitude of Sermons ready printed and pil'd up, on every text that is not difficult, our London

trading St Thomas in his vestry, and adde to boot St. Martin, and St Hugh, have not within their hallow'd limits more vendible ware of all sorts ready made: so that penury he never need fear of Pulpit pro vision, having where so plenteously to refresh his ma. gazin. But if his rear and flanks be not impal'd, if his back dore be not secur'd by the rigid licencer, but that a bold book may now and then issue forth, ana give the assault to some of his old collections in their trenches, it will concern him then to keep waking, to stand in watch, to set good guards and sentinells about his receiv'd opinions, to walk the round and counterround with his fellow inspectors, fearing left any of his flock be seduc't, who also then would be better instructed, better exercis'd and disciplin'd. And God send that the fear of this diligence which must then be us'd, doe not make us affect the lazines of a licencing Church.

For if we be sure we are in the right, and doe not hold the truth guiltily, which becomes not, if we ourselves condemn not our own weak and frivolous teaching, and the people for an untaught and irreligious gadding rout, what can be more fair, then when a man judicious, learned, and of a conscience, for ought we know, as good as theirs that taught us what we know, shall not privily from house to house, which is more dangerous, but openly by writing publish to the world what his opinion is, what his reasons, and wherefore that which is now thought cannot be sound. Christ urg'd it as wherewith to justifie himself, that he preacht in publick; yet writing is more publick then preaching; and more easie to refutation, if need be, there being so many whose businesse and profession meerly it is, to be the champions of Truth ; which if they neglect, what can be imputed but their sloth, or inabilty ?

Thus much we are hinder'd and dis-inur'd by this cours of licencing towards the true knowledge of what we seem to know. For how much it hurts and hinders the licencers themselves in the calling of their Min

E

istery, more then any secular employment, if they will discharge that office as they ought, so that of neceflity they must neglect either the one duty or the other, I insist not, because it is a particular, but leave it to their own conscience, how they will decide it there.

There is yet behind of what I purpos'd to lay open, the incredible lofse, and detriment that this plot of licencing puts us to, more then if som enemy at sea should stop up all our hav'ns and ports, and creeks, it hinders and retards the importation of our richest Marchandize, Truth ; nay it was first establisht and put in practice by Antichristian malice and mystery on set purpose to extinguish, if it were possible, the light of Reformation, and to settle falfhood; little differing from that policie wherewith the Turk upholds his Alcoran, by the prohibition of Printing. 'Tis not deny'd, but gladly confest, we are to send our thanks and vows to heav'n, louder then most of Nations, for that great measure of truth which we enjoy, especially in those main points between us and the Pope, with his appertinences the Prelats : but he who thinks we are to pitch our tent here, and have attain'd the utmost prospect of reforma. tion, that the mortalle glasse wherein we contemplate, can shew

us, till we come to beatific vision, that man by this very opinion declares, that he is yet farre short of Truth.

Truth indeed came once into the world with her divine Master, and was a perfect shape most glorious to look on : but when he ascended, and his Apostles after him were laid asleep, then strait arose a wicked race of deceivers, who as that story goes of the Ægyptian Typhon with his conspirators, how they dealt with the good Ofiris, took the virgin Truth, hewd her lovely form into a thousand peeces, and scatter'd them to the four winds. From that time ever since, the fad friends of Truth, such as durft appear, imitating the carefull search that Ifis made for the mangld body of Osiris, went up and down gathering up limb by limb ftill as they could find them. We have not yet found them

2

all, Lords and Commons, nor ever shall' doe; till her Masters second comming; he shall bring together every joynt and member, and shall mould them into an immortall feature of loveliness and perfection. Suffer not these licencing prohibitions to stand at every place of opportunity forbidding and disturbing them that continue seeking, that continue to do our obsequies to the torn body of our martyr'd Saint. We boast our light; but if we look not wisely on the Sun it self, it smites us into darknes. Who can discern those planets that are oft Combuft, and those stars of brightest magnitude that rise and set with the Sun, untill the opposite motion of their orbs bring them to such a place in the firmament, where they may be seen evning or morning. The light which we have gain’d, was giv'n us, not to be ever staring on, but by it to discover onward things more remote from our knowledge. It is not the unfrocking of a Priest, the unmitring of a Bishop, and the removing him from off the Presbyterian shoulders that will make us a happy Nation, no, if other things as great in the Church, and in the rule of life both economicall and politicall be not lookt into and reform'd, we have lookt so long upon the blaze that Zuinglius and Calvin hath beacon'd up to us, that we are stark blind. There be who perpetually complain of schisms and fects, and make it such a calamity that any man difsents from their maxims. 'Tis their own pride and ignorance which causes the disturbing, who neither will hear with meeknes, nor can convince, yet all must be supprest which is not found in their Syntagma. They are the troublers, they are the dividers of unity, who neglect and permit not others to unite those dissever'd peeces which are yet wanting to the body of Truth.. To be still searching what we know not, by what we know, still closing up truth to truth as we find it (for all her body is homogeneal, and proportionall) this is the golden rule in Theology as well as in Arithmetick, and makes up the best harmony in a Church ; not the forc't and outward union of cold, and neutrall, and inwardly divided minds.

Lords and Commons of Engiand, consider what Nation it is wherof ye are, and wherof ye are the governours: a Nation not flow and dull, but of a quick, ingenious, and piercing spirit, acute to invent, suttle and sinewy to discours, not beneath the reach of any point the highest that human capacity can foar to. Therefore the studies of learning in her deepest Sciences have bin so ancient, and so eminent among us, that Writers of good antiquity, andableft judgement have bin perswaded that ev'n the school of Pythagoras, and the Persian wisdom took beginning from the

old Philosophy of this Iland. And that wise and civill Roman, Julius Agricola, who govern'd once here for Cæfar, preferr'd the naturall wits of Britain, before the labour'd studies of the French. Nor is it for nothing that the grave and frugal Transilvanian sends out yearly from as farre as the mountanous borders of Russia, and be yond the Hercynian wildernes, not their youth, but their stay'd men, to learn our language, and our theologic arts. Yet that which is above all this, the favour and the love of heav'n we have great argument to think in a peculiar manner propitious and propending towards

Why else was this Nation chos'n before any other, that out of her as out of Sion should be proclam'd and sounded forth the first tidings and trumpet of Reformation to all Europ. And had it not bin the obftinat perversnes of our Prelats against the divine and admirable spirit of Wicklef, to suppreffe him as a schismatic and innovator, perhaps neitherthe Bohemian Husseand Jerom, no nor the name of Luther, or of Calvin had bin ever known: the glory of reforming allour neighbours had bin compleatly ours. But now, as our obdurat Clergy have with violence demean'd the matter, we are become hitherto the latest and the backwardest Schollers, of whom God offer'd to have made us the teachers. Now once again by all concurrence of signs, and by the generall instinct of holy and devout men, as they daily and folemnly expresse their thoughts, God is decreeing to begin some new and great period in his Church, ev'n to the reform

us.

« AnteriorContinuar »