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pute, since they come to reckonings, the charges of his needful library; which, though some shame not to value at 6001. may be competently furnished for 601. If any man for his own curiosity or delight be in books further expensive, that is not to be reckoned as necessary to his ministerial, either breeding or function. But papists and other adversaries cannot be confuted without fathers and councils, immense volumes, and of vast charges. I will shew them therefore a shorter and a better way of confutation: Tit. i. 9, " Holding fast the faithful word, as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine, both to exhort and to convince gainsayers:" who are confuted as soon as heard, frc G bringing that which is either not in Scripture, or And against it. To pursue them further through the ob15, the are scure 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, coloured over most commonly with the cause of learning and universities; as if with divines learning stood and fell, wherein for 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; bating that they, who have preached out bishops, pre-church, and imposition of hands, there will not want lates, and canonists, should, in what serves their own ministers elected out of all sorts and orders of men, for ends, retain their false opinions, their pharisaical leaven, the gospel makes no difference from the magistrate their avarice, and closely their ambition, their plurali- himself to the meanest artificer, if God evidently favour ties, their nonresidences, their odious fees, and use their him with spiritual gifts, as he can easily, and oft hath legal and popish arguments for tithes : that independ- done, while those bachelor divines and doctors of the ents should take that name, as they may justly from tippet have been passed by. Heretofore in the first the true freedom of christian doctrine and church-disci- evangelic times, (and it were happy for christendom pline subject to no superiour judge but God only, and if it were so again,) ministers of the gospel were by seek to be dependents on the magistrates for their nothing else distinguished from other christians, but by maintenance; which two things, independence and their spiritual knowledge and sanctity of life, for which state-hire in religion, can never consist long or certhe church elected them to be her teachers and overtainly together. For magistrates at one time or other, seers, though not thereby to separate them from whatnot like these at present our patrons of christian liberty, ever calling she then found them following besides; as pay none but such whom by their committees of the example of St. Paul declares, and the first times of examination they find conformable to their interests Christianity. When once they affected to be called a and opinions and hirelings will soon frame themselves clergy, and became, as it were, a peculiar tribe of Leto that interest, and those opinions which they see best vites, a party, a distinct order in the commonwealth, pleasing to their paymasters; and to seem right them- bred up for divines in babbling schools, and fed at the selves, will force others as to the truth. But most of all public cost, good for nothing else but what was good they are to be reviled and shamed, who cry out with for nothing, they soon grew idle that idleness, with the distinct voice of notorious hirelings; that if ye setfulness of bread, begat pride and perpetual contention tle not our maintenance by law, farewell the gospel; with their feeders the despised laity, through all ages
than which nothing can be uttered more false, more ignominious, and I may say, more blasphemous against our Saviour; who hath promised without this condition, both his Holy Spirit, and his own presence with his church to the world's end: nothing more false, (unless with their own mouths they condemn themselves for the unworthiest and most mercenary of all other ministers,) by the experience of 300 years after Christ, and the churches at this day in France, Austria, Polonia, and other places, witnessing the contrary under an adverse magistrate, not a favourable; nothing more ignominious, levelling, or rather undervaluing Christ beneath Mahomet. For if it must be thus, how can any Christian object it to a Turk, that his religion stands by force only; and not justly fear from him this reply, Yours both by force and money, in the judgment of your own preachers? This is that which makes atheists in the land, whom they so much complain of: not the want of maintenance, or preachers, as they allege, but the many hirelings and cheaters that have the gospel in their hands; hands that still crave, and are never satisfied. Likely ministers indeed, to proclaim the faith, or to exhort our trust in God, when they themselves will not trust him to provide for them in the message whereon, they say, he sent them; but threaten, for want of temporal means, to desert it ; calling that want of means, which is nothing else but the want of their own faith and would force us to pay the hire of building our faith to their covetous incredulity. Doubtless, if God only be he who gives ministers to his church till the world's end; and through the whole gospel never sent us for ministers to the schools of philosophy, but rather bids us beware of such "vain deceit," Col. ii. 8, (which the primitive church, after two or three ages not remembering, brought herself quickly to confusion,) if all the faithful be now a holy and a royal priesthood," 1 Pet. ii. 5, 9, not excluded from the dispensation of things holiest, after free election of the
ever since; to the perverting of religion, and the disturbance of all christendom. And we may confidently conclude, it never will 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 ac
cess 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 labour 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 borne my witness, not out of sezson, to the church and to my country.
LETTER TO A FRIEND,
THE RUPTURES OF THE COMMONWEALTH.
PUBLISHED FROM THE MANUSCRIPT.
UPON the sad and serious discourse which we fell into last night, concerning these dangerous ruptures of the Commonwealth, scarce yet in her infancy, which cannot be without some inward flaw in her bowels; I began to consider more intensely thereon than hitherto I have been wont, resigning myself to the wisdom and care of those who had the government; and not finding that either God or the public required more of me, than my prayers for them that govern. And since you have not only stirred up my thoughts, by acquainting me with the state of affairs, more inwardly than I knew before; but also have desired me to set down my opinion thereof, trusting to your ingenuity, I shall give you freely my apprehension, both of our present evils, and what expedients, if God in mercy regard us, may remove them. I will begin with telling you how I was overjoyed, when I heard that the army, under the working of God's Holy Spirit, as I thought, and still hope well, had been so far wrought to christian humility, and self-denial, as to confess in public their backsliding from the good old cause, and to shew the fraits of their repentance, in the righteousness of their restoring the old famous parliament, which they had without just authority dissolved: I call it the famous parliament, though not the harmless, since none wellaffected, but will confess, they have deserved much more of these nations, than they have undeserved. And I persuade me, that God was pleased with their restitution, signing it, as he did, with such a signal victory, when so great a part of the nation were desperately conspired to call back again their Ægyptian bondage. So much the more it now amazes me, that they, whose lips were yet scarce closed from giving thanks for that great deliverance, should be now relapsing, and so soon again backsliding into the same fault, which they confessed so lately and so solemnly to God and the world, and more lately punished in those Cheshire rebels; that they should now dissolve that parliament, which they themselves re-established, and acknowledged for their supreme power in their other day's humble representation: and all this, for no
apparent cause of public concernment to the church or commonwealth, but only for discommissioning nine great officers in the army; which had not been done, as is reported, but upon notice of their intentions against the parliament. I presume not to give my censure on this action, not knowing, as yet I do not, the bottom of it. I speak only what it appears to us without doors, till better cause be declared, and I am sure to all other nations most illegal and scandalous, I fear me barbarous, or rather scarce to be exampled among any barbarians, that a paid army should, for no other cause, thus subdue the supreme power that set them up. This, I say, other nations will judge to the sad dishonour of that army, lately so renowned for the civilest and best ordered in the world, and by us here at home, for the most conscientious. Certainly, if the great officers and soldiers of the Holland, French, or Venetian forces, should thus sit in council, and write from garrison to garrison against their superiours, they might as easily reduce the king of France, or duke of Venice, and put the United Provinces in like disorder and confusion. Why do they not, being most of them held ignorant of true religion? because the light of nature, the laws of human society, the reverence of their magistrates, covenants, engagements, loyalty, allegiance, keeps them in awe. How grievous will it then be! how infamous to the true religion which we profess! how dishonourable to the name of God, that his fear and the power of his knowledge in an army professing to be his, should not work that obedience, that fidelity to their supreme magistrates, that levied them and paid them; when the light of nature, the laws of human society, covenants and contracts, yea common shame, works in other armies, amongst the worst of them! Which will undoubtedly pull down the heavy judgment of God among us, who cannot but avenge these hypocrisies, violations of truth and holiness; if they be indeed so as they yet seem. For neither do I speak this in reproach to the army, but as jealous of their honour, inciting them to manifest and publish with all speed, some better cause of these their late actions, than hath
hitherto appeared, and to find out the Achan amongst | criminous in the judgment of both parties. If such a
union as this be not accepted on the army's part, be
October 20, 1659.
Next, That in every such capital place, they will choose them the usual number of ablest knights and burgesses, engaged for a commonwealth, to make up the parliament, or (as it will from henceforth be better called) the Grand or General Council of the Nation: whose office must be, with due caution, to dispose of
FIRST, All endeavours speedily to be used, that the ensuing election be of such as are already firm, or inchinable to constitute a free commonwealth, (according to the former qualifications decreed in parliament, and not yet repealed, as I hear,) without single person, or house of lords. If these be not such, but the contrary, who foresees not, that our liberties will be utterly lost in this next parliament, without some powerful course taken, of speediest prevention? The speediest will be to call up forthwith the chief gentlemen out of every county; to lay before them (as your excellency hath already, both in your published letters to the army, and your declaration recited to the members of parliament) the danger and confusion of readmitting kingship in this land; especially against the rules of all prudence and example, in a family once ejected, and thereby not to be trusted with the power of reFenge: that you will not longer delay them with vain expectation, but will put into their hands forthwith the possession of a free commonwealth; if they will first return immediately and elect them, by such at least of the people as are rightly qualified, a standing council in every city and great town, which may then be dignifed with the name of city, continually to consult the good and flourishing state of that place, with a competent territory adjoined; to assume the judicial laws, either those that are, or such as they themselves shall new make severally, in each commonalty, and all judicatures, all magistracies, to the administration of all justice between man and man, and all the ornaments of public civility, academies, and such like, in their own hands. Matters appertaining to men of several counties or territories, may be determined, as they are here at London, or in some more convenient place, under equal judges.
forces, both by sea and land, under the conduct of your excellency, for the preservation of peace, both at home and abroad; must raise and manage the public revenue, but with provident inspection of their accompts; must administer all foreign affairs, make all general laws, peace or war, but not without assent of the standing council in each city, or such other general assembly as may be called on such occasion, from the whole territory, where they may, without much trouble, deliberate on all things fully, and send up their suffrages within a set time, by deputies appointed. Though this grand council be perpetual, (as in that book I proved would be best and most conformable to best examples,) yet they will then, thus limited, have so little matter in their hands, or power to endanger our liberty; and the people so much in theirs, to prevent them, having all judicial laws in their own choice, and free votes in all those which concern generally the whole commonwealth; that we shall have little cause to fear the perpetuity of our general senate; which will be then nothing else but a firm foundation and custody of our public liberty, peace, and union, through the whole commonwealth, and the transactors of our affairs with foreign nations.
If this yet be not thought enough, the known expedient may at length be used, of a partial rotation.
Lastly, If these gentlemen convocated refuse these fair and noble offers of immediate liberty, and happy condition, no doubt there be enough in every county who will thankfully accept them; your excellency once more declaring publicly this to be your mind, and having a faithful veteran army, so ready and glad to assist you in the prosecution thereof. For the full and absolute administration of law in every county, which is the difficultest of these proposals, hath been of most long desired; and the not granting it held a general grievance. The rest, when they shall see the beginnings and proceedings of these constitutions proposed, and the orderly, the decent, the civil, the safe, the noble effects thereof, will be soon convinced, and by degrees come in of their own accord, to be partakers of so happy a government.