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of my time: but that which is better, I can assure this confuter, I have read into them all. And if I want any thing yet, I shall reply something toward that which in the defence of Muræna was answered by Cicero to Sulpitius the lawyer. If ye provoke me (for at no hand else will I undertake such a frivolous labour) I will in three months be an expert councitist. For, be not deceived, readers, by men that would overawe your ears with big names and huge tomes that contradidt and repeal one another, because they can cram a margin with citations. Do but winnow their chaff from their wheat, ye shall see their great heap shrink and wax thin past belief. From hence he passes to inquire wherefore I should blame the vices of the prelates only, seeing the inferiour clergy is known to be as faulty. To which let him hear in brief; that those priests whose vices have been notorious, are all prelatical, which argues both the impiety of that opinion, and the wicked remissness of that government. We hear not of any which are called nonconformists, that have been accused of scandalous living; but are known to be pious or at least sober men. Which is a great good argument that they are in the truth and prelates in the errour. He would be resolved next,t: What the corruptions of the universities concern the prelates?" And to that let him take this, that the Remonstrant having spoken as if learning would decay with the removal of prelates, I showed him that while books were extant and in print, learn ing'could not readily be ata worse pass in the universities than it was now under their government. Then he seeks to justify the pernicious sermons of the clergy, as i^they upheld sovereignty; whenas all Christian sovereignty is by law, and to no other end but to the maintenance of the common good. But their doctrine was plainly the dissolution of law, which only sets up sovereignty, and the creeling of an arbitrary sway according to private will, to which they would enjoin a slavish obedience without law; which is the known desinition of a tyrant, and a tyr.-nnised people. A litde beneath he denies that great riches in the church are the baits of pride and ambition ; of which errour to undeceive him, I shall allege a reputed divine
authority, authority, as ancient as Constantine, which his love to antiquity must not except against; and to add the more weight, he shall learn it rather in the words of our old poetGower than in mine, that he may fee it is no newopiiiion, but a truth delivered of old by a voice from Heaven^ and ratified by long experience.
"This Constantine which heal hath found,
"Within Rome anon let found
"Two churches which he did make
"For Peter and for Paul's fake:
"Of whom he had a vision,'
"And yase thereto possession
"Of lordship and of worlds good;
"But how so that his will was good
"Toward the pope and his franchise,
"Yet hath it proved otherwise
"To fee the working of the deed:
"For in cronick thus I read,
"Anon as he hath made the yeft,
"A voice was heard on high the lest,
"Of which all Rome was adrad,
"And said, this day venim is (had
"In holy Church, of temporall
"That meddleth with the spiritual;
"And how it stant in that degree,
"Yet may a man the sooth see.
"God amend it whan he will,
"I can thereto none other skill."
But there were beasts of prey, faith he, before wealth was bestowed on the church. What, though, because the vultures had then but small pickings, shall we therefore go and fling them a full gorge? If they for lucre use to creep into the church undiscernibly, the more wisdom will it be so to provide that no revenue there may exceed the golden mean; for so, good pastors will be content, as having need of no more, and knowing withal the precept and example of Christ and his Apostles, and also will be less tempted to ambition. The bad will have but small matter whereon to set their mischief awork; and the worst and subtlest heads will not come at all, when they shall see the crop nothing answerable to their capacious greediness; for small temptations allure but dribbling offenders; but a great purchase will
It call such as both are most able of themselves, and will be most enabled hereby to compass dangerous projects. But, faith he, "a widow's house will tempt as well as a bishop's palace." Acutely spoken! because neither we nor the prelates can abolish widows houses, which are but an occasion taken of evil without the church, therefore we shall set up within the church a lottery of such "prizes as are the direct inviting causes of avarice and ambition, both unnecesfary and harmful to be proposed, and most easy, most convenient, and needful to be removed. "Yea but they are in a wise dispenser's hand." Let them be in whose hand they will, they are most apt to blind, to puff up, and pervert, the most seeming good. And how they have been kept from vultures, whatever the dispenser's care hath been, we have learned by our miseries. But this-which comes next in view, I know not what good vein or'humour took him when he let drop into his paper ; I that was ere while the ignorant, the loiterer, on the sudden by his permission am now granted '* to know something." And that " such a volley of expressions" he hath met withal, " as he would never desire to have them better clothed." For me, readers, although I cannot fay that I am utterly untrained in those rules which best rhetoricians have given, or unacquainted with those examples which the prime authors of eloquence have written in any learned tongue; yet true eloquence I find to be none, but the serious and hearty love of truth : and that whose mind soever is fully possessed with a fervent desire to know good things, and with the dearest charity to infuse the knowledge of them into others, when such a man would speak, his words (by what I can express) like so many nimble and airy servitors trip about him at command, and in well-ordered files, as he would wish, fall aptly into their own places. But now to the remainder of our discourse. Christ refused great riches, and large honours at the devil's hand. But why, faith he, "as they were tendered by him from whom it was a sin to receive them." Timely remembered: why is it not therefore as much a sin to receive a liturgy of the masses' giving, were it for nothing else but for the giver? "But he could make no use of such a high estate," quoth the confutes; opportunely. For w.hy then should the servant take upon him to use those things which his master had unsitted himself to use, that he might teach his ministers to follow his steps in the fame ministry? But "they were offered him to a bad end." So they prove to the prelates, who, after their preferment, most usually change the teaching labour of the word, into the unteaching ease of lordship over consciences and purses. But he proceeds, "God enticed the Israelites with the promise of Canaan;" did not the prelates bring as slavish minds with them, as the Jews brought out of Egypt? they had left out that instance. Besides that it was then, the time, whenas the best of them, as St. Paul faith, "was shut up unto the faith under the law their schoolmaster," who was forced to entice them as children with childish enticements. But the gospel is our manhood, and the ministry should be the manhood of the gospel, not tp look after, much less so basely to plead for earthly rewards. "But God incited the wisest man Solomon, with these means." Ah, confuter of thyself, this example hath undone thee; Solomon asleed an understanding heart, which she. prelates have little care to ask. He asked no riches, which is their chief care; therefore was the prayer of Solomon pleasing to God; he gave him; wisdom at his request, and riches without asleing, as now he gives the prelates riches at their seeking, and no wisdom because of their perverse asleing. But he gives not over yet, "Moses had an eye to the reward." To what reward, thou man that lookest with Balaam's eyes? Tq what reward had the faith of Moses an eye? He that had forfaken all the greatness of Egypt, and chose a troublesome journey in his old age through the wilderness, and yet arrived not at his journey's end. His faithful eyes were fixed upon that incorruptible reward, promised to Abraham and his feed in the Messiah; he sought a heavenly reward, which could make him happy, and never hurt him, and to such a reward every good man may have a respect; but the prelates are eager of such rewards as cannot make them happy, but can only make them worse. Jacob, a prince born, vowed that if God 'would would te but give him bread to eat and raiment to put On, then the Lord should be his God." But the prelates of mean birth, and ofttimcs of lowest, making show as if they were called to the spiritual and humble ministry of the gospel, yet murmur, and think it a hard service, unless, contrary to the ten our of their profession, they may eat the bread and wear the honours of princes: so much more covetous and base they are than Simon Magus, for he profered a reward to be admitted to that work, which they will not be meanly hired to. But, faith he, "Are not the clergy members of Christ, why should not each member thrive alike?" Carnal textman! as if worldly thriving were one of the privileges we have by being in Christ, and were not a providence ofttimes extended more liberally to the infidel than to the christian. Therefore must the ministers of Christ not be over rich or great in the world, because their calling is spiritual, not secular; because they have a special warfare, which is not to be entangled with many impediments; because their master Christ gave them this precept, and set them sisis example, told them this was the mystery of his coming, by mean things and persons to subdue mighty ones: and lastly, because a middle estate is most proper to the office of teaching, whereas higher dignity teaches far less, and blinds the teacher. Nay, faith the confute^ fetching his last endeavour, fe the prelates will be very loth to let go their baronies, and votes in parliament," and calls it "God's cause," with an insufferable impudence. "Not that they love the honours and the means," good men and generous !" but that they would not have their country made guilty of such a facrilege and injustice!" A worthy patriot for his own corrupt ends. That which he imputes as facrilege to his country, is the only way left them to purge that abominable facrilege out of the land, which none but the prelates are guilty of; who, for the discharge of one single duty, receive and keep that which might be enough to fatisfy the labours of many painful ministers better deserving than themselves; who possess huge benefices for lazy performances, great promotions only for the, execution