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to the distresses of mortal suppliants: and it were a shame to leave these serious thoughts less piously than the heathen were wont to conclude their graver discourses.
Thou, therefore, that fittest in light and glory unapproachable, Parent of angels and men! next, thee I implore, omnipotent King, Redeemer of that lost remnant whofe nature thou didft assume, ineffable and everlasting Love! And thou, the third subsistence of divine infinitude, illumining Spirit, the joy and solace of created things ! one Tripersonal godhead! look upon this thy poor and almost spent and expiring church, leave her not thus a prey to these importunate wolves, that wait and think long till they devour thy tender flock; these wild boars that have broke into thy vineyard, and left the print of their polluting hoofs on the souls of thy servants. o let them not bring about their damned designs, that stand now at the entrance of the bottomless pit, expecting the watchword to open and let out those dreadful locusts and scorpions, to reinvolve us in that pitchy cloud of infernal darkness, where we shall never more fee the sun of thy truth again, never hope for the cheerful dawn, never more hear the bird of morning sing. Be moved with pity at the afflicted state of this our fhaken monarchy, that now lies labouring under her throes, and struggling against the grudges of more dreaded calamities.
O thou, that, after the impetuous rage of five bloody inundations, and the succeeding sword of intestine 'war, foaking the land in her own gore, didst pity the sad and cealeless revolution of our swift and thick-coming forrows; when we were quite breathless of thy free grace didst motion peace, and terms of covenant with us; and having first wellnigh freed us from antichristian thraldom, didst build up this Britannic empire to a glorious and enviable height, with all her daughter-islands about her; stay us in this felicity, let not the obftinacy of our half-obedience and will-worship bring forth that viper of fedition, that for these fourscore years hath been breeding to eat through the entrails of our peace; but let her cast her abortive fpawn without the danger of this travailing and throbbing kingdom: that we may still
remember remember in our folemn thanksgivings, how for us, the northern ocean even to the frozen Thule was scattered with the proud shipwrecks of the Spanish armada, and the very maw of Hell ransacked, and made to give up her concealed destruction, ere she could vent it in that horrible and damned blast.
O how much more glorious will those former deliverances appear, when we shall know them not only to have saved us from greatest miseries paft, but to have re. ferved us for greatest happiness to come? Hitherto thou haft but freed us, and that not fully, from the unjust and tyrannous claim of thy foes, now unite us entirely, and appropriate us to thyself, tie us everlastingly in willing homage to the prerogative of thy eternal throne.
And now we know, I thou our most certain hope and defence, that thine enemies have been consulting all the forceries of the great whore, and have joined their plots with that sad intelligencing tyrant that mischiefs the world with his mines of Ophir, and lies thirsting to revenge his naval ruins that have larded our seas : but let them all take counsel together, and let it come to nought; let them decree, and do thou cancel it; let them gather themselves, and be scattered ; let them embattle themselves, and be broken ; let them embattle, and be broken, for thou art with us.
Then, amidst the hymns and hallelujahs of saints, fome one may perhaps be heard offering at high strains in new and lofty measures, to sing and celebrate thy divine mercies and marvellous judgments in this land throughout all ages; whereby this great and warlike nation, instructed and inured to the fervent and continual practice of truth and righteousness, and casting far from her the rags of her old vices, may press on hard to that high and happy emulation to be found the foberest, wisest, and moft Chriftian people at that day, when thou, the eternal and shortly-expected King, shalt open the clouds to judge the several kingdoms of the world, and distributing national honours and rewards to religious and just commonwealths, shall put an end to all earthly tyrannies, proclaiming thy universal and mild monarchy through heaven and earth; where they undoubtedly, that by their
labours, labours, counsels, and prayers, have been earnest for the common good of religion and their country, shall receive above the inferiour orders of the blessed, the regal addition of principalities, legions, and thrones into their glorious titles, and in supereminence of beatific vision, progrefsing the datelels and irrevoluble circle of eternity, shall clasp inseparable hands with joy and bliss, in overmeasure for ever.
But they contrary, that by the impairing and diminution of the true faith, the distresses and servitude of their country, aspire to high dignity, rule and promotion here, after a shameful end in this life (which God grant them), shall be thrown down eternally into the darkest and deepest gulf of Hell, where, under the despiteful control, the trample and spurn of all the other damned, that in the anguish of their torture, shall have no other ease than to exercise a raving and beftial tyranny over them as their Naves and negroes, they shall remain in that plight for ever, the basest, the lowermost, the most dejected, most underfoot, and downtrodden vaflals of perdition.
EPISCOPACY, as it is taken for an order in the church above a presbyter, or as we commonly name him, the minister of a congregation, is either of divine conftitution, or of human. If only of human, we have the fame human privilege that all men have ever had fince Adam, being born free, and in the mistress island of all the British, to retain this episcopacy, or to remove it, consult. ing with our own occasions and conveniencies, and for the prevention of our own dangers and disquiets, in what best manner we can devise, without running at a loss, as we must needs in those stale and useless records of either uncertain or unsound antiquity; which, if we hold fast to the grounds of the reformed church, can neither skill of us, nor we of it, so oft as it would lead us to the broken reed of tradition. If it be of divine constitution, to satisfy us fully in that, the scripture only is able, it being the only book left us of divine authority, not in any thing more divine than in the allsufficiency it hath to furnith us, as with all other spiritual knowledge, fo with this in particular, setting out to us a perfect man of God, accomplished to all the good works of his charge : through all which book can be nowhere, either by plain text or folid reasoning, found any difference between a bishop and a prefbyter, save that they be two names to fignify the same order. Notwithstanding this clearness, and that by all evidence of argument, Timothy and Titus (whom our prelates claim to imitate only in the controlling part
of of their office) had rather the vicegerency of an apostle. ship committed to them, than the ordinary charge of a bishopric, as being men of an extraordinary calling; yet to verify that which St. Paul foretold of succeeding times, when men began to have itching ears, then not contented with the plentiful and wholesome fountains of the gospel, they began after their own lusts to heap to themselves teachers, and as if the divine scripture wanted a supplement, and were to be eked out, they cannot think any doubt resolved, and any doctrine confirmed, unless they run to that indigested heap and fry of authors, which they call antiquity. Whatsoever time, or the heedless hand of blind chance, hath drawn down from of old to this present, in her huge dragnet, whether fish or seaweed, shells, or shrubs, unpicked, unchofen, those are the fathers. Seeing, therefore, fome men, deeply conversant in books, have had so little care of late to give the world a better account of their reading, than by divulging needless tractates stuffed with specious names of Ignatius and Polycarpus; with fragments of old martyrologies and legends, to distract and stagger the multitude of credulous readers, and mislead them from their strong guards and places of safety, under the tuition of holy writ; it came into my thoughts to persuade myself, setting all distances and nice respects aside, that I could do religion and my country no better service for the time, than doing my utmost endeavour to recall the people of God from this vain foraging after straw, and to reduce them to their firm stations under the standard of the gospel; by making appear to them, first the insufficiency, next the inconveniency, and lastly, the impiety of thefe gay testimonies, that their great doctors would bring them to dote on. And in performing this, I shall not strive to be more exact in method, than as their citations lead mer.'
First, therefore, concerning Ignatius shall be treated fully, when the author fhall come to inlift upon some places in his epistles. Next, to prove a succession of twenty-seven bishops from Timothy, he cites one Leontius. bishop of Magnesia, out of the 11th aet of the Chalcedonian council: this is but an obscure and single witness, and for his faithful dealing who shall commend him