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sue them further through the obscure and entangled wood of antiquity, fathers and councils fighting one against another, is needless, endless, not requisite in a minister, and refused by the first reformers of our religion. And yet we may be confident, if these things be thought needful, let the state but erect in public good store of libraries, and there will not want men in the church, who of their own inclinations will become able in this kind against papist or any other adversary.
I have thus at large examined the usual pretences of hirelings, colored over most commonly with the cause of learning and universities; as if with divines learning stood and fell, wherein for the most part their pittance is so small. And, to speak freely, it were much better there were not one divine in the universities, no school divinity known, the idle sophistry of monks, the canker of religion; and that they who intended to be ministers, were trained up in the church only by the scripture, and in the original languages thereof at school, without fetching the compass of other arts and sciences, more than what they can well learn at secondary leisure, and at home. Neither speak I this in contempt of learning, or the ministry, but hating the common cheats of both; hating that they who have preached out bishops, prelates, and canonists, should, in what serves their own ends, retain their false opinions, their pharisaical leven, their avarice, and closely their ambition, their pluralities, their non-residencies, their odious fees, and use their legal and popish arguments for tithes; that independents should take that name, as they may justly from the true freedom of christian doctrine and church discipline, subject to no superior judge but God only, and seek to be dependents on the magistrate for their maintenance; which two things, independence and state hire in religion, can never consist long or certainly together. For magis
trates at one time or other, not like these at present, our patrons of christian liberty, will pay none but such whom by their committees of examination, they find conformable to their interest and opinions; and hirelings will soon frame themselves to that interest, and those opinions which they see best pleasing to their paymasters, and to seem right themselves, will force others as to the truth.
Heretofore in the first evangelic times, and it were happy for Christendom if it were so again, ministers of the gospel were by nothing else distinguished from other Christians but by their spiritual knowledge and sanctity of life, for which the church elected them to be her teachers and overseers, though not thereby to separate them from whatever calling she then found them following besides, as the example of St Paul declares, and the first times of Christianity. When once they affected to be called a clergy, and became as it were, a peculiar tribe of Levites, a party, a distinct order in the commonwealth, bred up for divines in babbling schools, and fed at the public cost, good for nothing else but what was good for nothing, they soon grew idle; that idleness, with fulness of bread, begat pride and perpetual contention with their feeders, the despised laity, through all ages ever since, to the perverting of religion, and the disturbance of all Christendom. And we may confidently conclude, it will never be otherwise while they are thus upheld undepending on the church, on which alone they anciently depended, and are by the magistrate publicly maintained, a numerous faction of indigent persons, crept for the most part out of extreme want and bad nurture, claiming by divine right and freehold the tenth of our estates, to monopolize the ministry as their peculiar, which is free and open to all
able Christians elected by any church. Under this pretence, exempt from all other employment, and enriching themselves on the public, they last of all prove common incendiaries, and exalt their horns against the magistrate himself that maintains them, as the priest of Rome did soon after, against his benefactor, the emperor, and the presbyters of late in Scotland; of which hireling crew, together with all the mischiefs, dissensions, troubles, wars merely of their kindling, Christendom might soon rid herself and be happy, if Christians would but know their own dignity, their liberty, their adoption, and let it not be wondered if I say, their spiritual priesthood, whereby they have all equally access to any ministerial function, whenever called by their own abilities and the church, though they never came near commencement or university. But while protestants, to avoid the due labor of understanding their own religion, are content to lodge it in the breast, or rather in the books of a clergyman, and to take it thence by scraps and mammocks, as he dispenses it in his Sunday's dole, they will be always learning and never knowing; always infants; always either his vassals, as lay papists are to their priests, or at odds with him, as reformed principles give them some light to be not wholly conformable; whence infinite disturbances in the state, as they do, must needs follow.
Thus much I had to say; and, I suppose, what may be enough to them who are not avariciously bent otherwise, touching the likeliest means to remove hirelings out of the church, than which nothing can more conduce to truth, to peace, and all happiness both in church and state. If I be not heard nor believed, the event will bear me witness to have spoken truth; and I, in the mean while, have born my witness, not out of season, to the church and to my country.
READY AND EASY WAY
TO ESTABLISH A
AND THE EXCELLENCE THEREOF,
COMPARED WITH THE INCONVENIENCES AND DANGERS OF READMITTING KINGSHIP IN THIS NATION.
Consilium dedimus Syllæ, demus populo nunc.
ALTHOUGH, since the writing of this treatise, the face of things hath had some change, writs for new elections have been recalled, aud the members at first chosen, readmitted from exclusion, yet, not a little rejoicing to hear declared the resolution of those who are in power, tending to the establishment of a free commonwealth, and to remove, if it be possible, this noxious humor of returning to bondage, instilled of late by some deceivers, and nourished from bad principles and false apprehensions among too many of the people, I thought best not to suppress what I had written, hoping that it may now be of much more use and concernment to be freely published, in the midst of our elections to a free parliament, or their sitting to consider freely of the government, whom it behoves to have all things represented to them that may direct their judgment therein; and I never read of any
state, scarce of any tyrant grown so incurable, as to refuse counsel from any in a time of public deliberation, much less to be offended. If their absolute determination be to inthral us, before so long a Lent of servitude, they may permit us a little shroving time first, wherein to speak freely and take our leaves of liberty. And because in the former edition, through haste, many faults escaped, and many books were suddenly dispersed, ere the note to mend them could be sent, I took the opportunity from this occasion to revise and somewhat to enlarge the whole discourse, especially that part which argues for a perpetual senate. The treatise thus revised and enlarged, is as follows.
The parliament of England, assisted by a great number of the people, who appeared and stuck to them faithfullest in defence of religion and their civil liberties, judging kingship by long experience a government unnecessary, burdensome, and dangerous, justly and magnanimously abolished it, turning regal bondage into a free commonwealth, to the admiration and terror of our emulous neighbours. They took themselves not bound by the light of nature or religion to any former covenant, from which the king himself, by many forfeitures of a latter date or discovery, and our own longer consideration thereon, had more and more unbound us, both to himself and his posterity; as hath been ever the justice and the prudence of all wise nations that have ejected tyranny. They covenanted to preserve the king's person and authority, in the preservation of the true religion, and our liberties; not in his endeavouring to bring in upon our consciences,' a popish religion; upon our liberties, thraldom; upon our lives, destruction, by his occasioning, if not complotting, as was after discovered, the Irish massacre; his fomenting and arming the