Page images

for every thing; and that they have, in a manner deprived themselves and the Church of a specia help and support, by embasing the authority of the fathers, they resort to naked examples, conceited inferences, and forced allusions, such as do mine into all certainty of religion.

Another extremity is the excessive magnifying of that, which though it be a principal and most holy institution, yet hath its limits, as all things else have. We see wheresoever, in a manner, they find in the Scriptures the word spoken of, they expound it of preaching; they have made it, in a manner, of the essence of the sacrament of the Lord's supper, to have a sermon precedent; they have, in a sort, annihilated the use of liturgies, and forms of divine service, although the house of God be denominated of the principal,“ domus orationis,” a house of prayer, and not a house of preaching. As for the life of the good monks and hermits in the primitive Church, I know, they will condemn a man as half a papist, if he should maintain them as other than profane, because they heard no sermons. In the mean time, what preaching is, and who may be said to preach, they move no question; but, as far as I see, every man that presumeth to speak in chair, is accounted a preacher. But I am assured, that not a few that call hotly for a preaching ministry, deserve to be the first themselves that should be expelled. All which errors and misproceedings they do fortify and in

ch by an addicted respect to their own opinions, an impatience to hear contradiction or argu

ment; yea, I know some of them that would think it a tempting of God, to hear or read what


be said against them; as if there could be a “ quod bonum est, tenete;" without an "omnia probate," going before.

This may suffice to offer unto themselves a thought and consideration, whether in these things they do well or no ? and to correct and assuage the partiality of their followers. For as for any man that shall hereby enter into a contempt of their ministry, it is but his own hardness of heart. I know the work of exhortation doth chiefly rest upon these men, and they have zeal and hate of sin : But again, let them take heed that it be not true which one of their adversaries said, that they have but two small wants, knowledge, and love. And so I conclude this point.

The last point, touching the due publishing and debating of these controversies, needeth no long speech. This strange abuse of antiques and pasquils hath been touched before: so likewise I repeat that which I said, that a character of love is more proper for debates of this nature, than that of zeal. As for all direct or indirect glances, or levels at men's persons, they were ever in these causes disallowed.

Lastly, whatsoever be pretended, the people is no meet arbitrator, but rather the quiet, modest, and private assemblies, and conferences of the learned. “ Qui apud incapacem loquitur, non disceptat, sed calumniatur.” The press and pulpit would be freed and discharged of these contentions ; neither pro


motion on the one side, nor glory and heat on the other side, ought to continue those challenges and cartels at the cross and other places ; but rather all preachers, especially such as be of good temper, and have wisdom with conscience, ought to inculcate and beat upon a peace, silence, and surseance. Neither let them fear Solon's law, which compelled in factions every particular person to range himself on the one side ; nor yet the fond calumny of neutrality; but let them know that is true which is said by a wise man, That neuters in contentions are either better or worse than either side. .

These things have I in all sincerity and simplicity set down, touching the controversies which now trouble the Church of England; and that without all art and insinuation, and therefore not like to be grateful to either part: Notwithstanding, I trust what hath been said shall find a correspondence in their minds which are not embarked in partiality, and which love the whole better than a part; wherefore I am not out of hope that it may do good ; at the least I shall not repent myself of the meditation.





The unity of your Church, excellent Sovereign, is a thing no less precious than the union of your kingdoms ; being both works wherein your happiness may contend with your worthiness. Having therefore presumed, not without your majesty's gracious acceptation, to say somewhat on the one,

I am the more encouraged not to be silent in the other: the rather, because it is an argument that I have travelled in heretofore.* But Solomon commendeth a word spoken in season; and as our Saviour, speaking of the discerning of seasons, saith, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say it will be a shower :” so your Majesty's rising to this monarchy in the west parts of the world, doth promise a sweet and fruitful shower of many blessings upon this Church and commonwealth ; a shower of that influence as the very first dews and drops thereof have already laid the storms and winds throughout Christendom; reducing the very face of Europe to a more peaceable and amiable countenance. But to the purpose. .

* Vide page 28.

It is very true, that these ecclesiastical matters are things not properly appertaining to my profession; which I was not so inconsiderate but to object to myself: but finding that it is many times seen that a man that standeth off, and somewhat removed from a plot of ground, doth better survey it and discover it than those which are upon it, I thought it not impossible, but that I, as a looker on, might cast mine eyes upon some things which the actors themselves, especially some being interested, some led and addicted, some declared and engaged, did not or would not see. And that knowing in my conscience, whereto God beareth witness, that the things which I shall speak, spring out of no vein of popularity, ostentation, desire of novelty, partiality to either side, disposition to intermeddle, or any

the like leaven ; I may conceive hope, that what I want in depth of judgment may be countervailed in simplicity and sincerity of affection. But of all things this did most animate me; that I found in these opinions of mine, which I have long held and embraced, as may appear by that which I have many years since written of them, according to the proportion nevertheless of my weakness, a consent and conformity with that which your Majesty hath published of your own most Christian, most wise, and moderate sense, in these causes ; wherein you have well expressed to the world, that there is infused in your sacred breast, from God, that high principle and position of government, That you ever hold the whole more dear than any part.

« PreviousContinue »