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blame the vices of the prelates only, seeing the inferior 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 error. He would be resolved next, "What the corruption 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, learning could not readily be at a worse pass in the universities than it was now under their government. Then he seeks to justify the pernicious sermons of the clergy, as if 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 erecting of an arbitrary sway according to private will, to which they would enjoin a slavish obedience without law; which is the known definition of a tyrant, and a tyrannised people. A little beneath he denies that great riches in the church are the baits of pride and ambition; of which error to undeceive him, I shall allege a reputed divine 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 poet Gower than in mine, that he may see it is no new opinion, but a truth delivered of old by a voice from Heaven, and ratified by long experience.
"This Constantine which heal hath found,
Two churches which he did make
For Peter and for Paul's sake:
Of whom he had a vision,
I can thereto none other skill."
But there were beasts of prey, saith 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 sc 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 call such as both are most able of themselves, and will be most enabled hereby to compass dangerous projects. But, saith 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 unnecessary and harmful to be proposed, and most easy, inost 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 say 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, saith he, 66 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 confuter, opportunely. For why then should the servant take upon him to use those things which his master had unfitted himself to use that he might teach his ministers to follow his steps in the same 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 saith, "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 to 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 asked an understanding heart, which the 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 asking, as now he gives the prelates riches at their seeking, and no wisdom because of their perverse asking. But he gives not over yet, "Moses had an eye to the reward." To what reward, thou man that lookest with Balaam's eyes? To what reward had the faith of Moses an eye? He that had forsaken 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 seed 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 "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 ofttimes 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 tenor 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 proffered a reward to be admitted to that work, which they will not be meanly hired to. But, saith 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 this 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, saith the confuter, fetching his last endeavour, "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 sacrilege and injustice!" A worthy patriot for his own corrupt ends. That which he imputes as sacrilege to his country, is the only way left them to purge that abominable sacrilege 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 satisfy the labours of many painful ministers better deserving than themselves; who possess huge benefices for lazy performances, great promotions only for the execution of a cruel disgospelling jurisdiction; who engross many pluralities under a nonresident and slubbering dispatch of souls; who let hundreds of parishes famish in one diocese, while they the prelates are mute, and yet enjoy that wealth that would furnish all those dark places with able supply: and yet they eat, and yet they live at the rate of earls, and yet hoard up; they who chase away all the faithful shepherds of the flock, and bring in a dearth of spiritual food, robbing thereby the church of her dearest treasure, and sending herds of souls starveling to hell, while they feast and riot upon the labours of hireling curates, consuming and purloining even that which by their foundation is allowed, and left to the poor, and to reparations of the church. These are they who have bound the land with the sin of sacrilege, from which mortal engagement we shall never be free, till we have totally removed with one labour, as one individual thing, prelaty and sacrilege. And herein will the king be a true defender of the faith, not by paring or lessening, but by distributing in due proportion the maintenance of the church, that all parts of the land may equally partake the plentiful and diligent preaching of the faith, the scandal of ceremonies thrown out that delude and circumvent the faith; and the usurpation of pre
lates laid level, who are in words the fathers, but in their deeds, the oppugners of the faith. This is that which will best confirm him in that glorious title. Thus ye have heard, readers, how many shifts and wiles the prelates have invented to save their ill-got booty. And if it be true, as in Scripture it is foretold, that pride and covetousness are the sure marks of those false prophets which are to come; then boldly conclude these to be as great seducers as any of the latter times. For between this and the judg ment day do not look for any arch deceivers, who in spite of reformation will use more craft, or less shame to defend their love of the world and their ambition, than these prelates have done. And if ye think that soundness of reason, or what force of argument soever, will bring them to an ingenuous silence, ye think that which will never be. But if ye take that course which Erasmus was wont to say Luther took against the pope and monks; if ye denounce war against their mitres and their bellies, ye shall soon discern that turban of pride, which they wear upon their heads, to be no helmet of salvation, but the mere metal and hornwork of papal jurisdiction; and that they have also this gift, like a certain kind of some that are possessed, to have their voice in their bellies, which, being well drained. and taken down, their great oracle, which is only there, will soon be dumb; and the divine right of episcopacy, forthwith expiring, will put us no more to trouble with tedious antiquities and disputes.
TO MASTER SAMUEL HARTLIB.
MASTER HARTLIB,-I am long since persuaded, that to say or do augh worth memory and imitation, no purpose or respect should sooner move us than simply the love of God, and of mankind. Nevertheless, to write now the reforming of education, though it be one of the greatest and noblest designs that can be thought on, and for the want whereof this nation perishes; I had not yet at this time been induced, but by your earnest entreaties and serious conjurements; as having my mind for the present half diverted in the pursuance of some other assertions, the knowledge and the use of which cannot but be a great furtherance both to the enlargement of truth, and honest living with much more peace. Nor should the laws of any private friendship have prevailed with me to divide thus, or transpose my former thoughts, but that I see those aims, those actions, which have won you with me the esteem of a person sent hither by some good providence from a far country to be the occasion and incitement of great good to this island. And, as I hear, you have obtained the same repute with men of most approved wisdom, and some of the highest authority among us; not to mention the learned correspondence which you hold in foreign parts, and the extraordinary pains and diligence, which you have used in this matter both here and beyond the seas; either by the definite will of God so ruling, or the peculiar sway of nature, which also is God's working. Neither can I think that so reputed and so valued as you are, you would to the forfeit
of your own discerning ability, impose upon me an unfit and overponderous argument; but that the satisfaction, which you profess to have received from those incidental discourses which we have wandered into, hath pressed and almost constrained you into a persuasion, that what you require from me in this point, I neither ought nor can in conscience defer beyond this time both of so much need at once, and so much opportunity to try what God hath determined. I will not resist therefore whatever it is, either of divine or human obligement, that you lay upon me; but will forthwith set down in writing, as you request me, that voluntary idea, which hath long in silence presented itself to me, of a better education, in extent and comprehension far more large, and yet of time far shorter, and of attainment far more certain, than hath been yet in practice. Brief I shall endeavour to be; for that which I have to say, assuredly this nation hath extreme need should be done sooner than spoken. To tell you therefore what I have benefited herein among old renowned authors, I shall spare; and to search what many modern Januas and Didactics, more than ever I shall read, have projected, my inclination leads me not. But if you can accept of these few observations which have flowered off, and are as it were the burnishing of many studious and contemplative years altogether spent in the search of religious and civil knowledge, and such as pleased you so well in the relating, I here give you them to dispose of.
The end then of learning is to repair the ruins of our first parents by regaining to know God aright, and out of that knowledge to love him, to imitate him, to be like him, as we may the nearest by possessing our souls of true virtue, which being united to the heavenly grace of faith, makes up the highest perfection. But because our understanding cannot in this body found itself but on sensible things, nor arrive so clearly to the knowledge of God and things invisible, as by orderly conning over the visible and inferior creature, the same method is necessarily to be followed in all discreet teaching. And seeing every nation affords not experience and tradition enough for all kind of learning, therefore we are chiefly taught the languages of those people who have at any time been most industrious after wisdom; so that language is but the instrument conveying to us things useful to be known. And though a linguist should pride himself to have all the tongues that Babel cleft the world into, yet if he have not studied the solid things in them as well as the words and lexicons, he were nothing so much to be esteemed a learned man, as any yeoman or tradesman competently wise in his mother dialect only. Hence appear the many mistakes which have made learning generally so unpleasing and so unsuccessful; first, we do amiss to spend seven or eight years merely in scraping together so much miserable Latin and Greek, as might be learned otherwise easily and delightfully in one year. And that which casts our proficiency therein so much behind, is our time lost partly in too oft idle vacancies given both to schools and universities; partly in a preposterous exaction, forcing the empty wits of children to compose themes, verses, and orations, which are the acts of ripest judgment, and the final work of a head filled by long reading and observing, with elegant maxims and copious invention. These are not matters to be wrung from poor striplings, like blood out of the nose, or the plucking of untimely fruit; besides the ill habit which they get of wretched barbarizing against the Latin and Greek idiom, with their untutored Anglicisms, odious to be read, yet not to be avoided without a wellcontinued and judicious conversing among pure authors digested, which they scarce taste: whereas, if after some preparatory grounds of speech by their certain forms got into memory, they were led to the praxis thereof in