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concerns them nearly to ftudy the times more than the text, and to lift up their eyes to the hills of the court, from whence only comes their help; but if their pride grow weary of this crouching and obfervance, as ere long it would, and that yet their minds climb ftill to a higher ascent of worldly honour, this only refuge can remain to them, that they muft of neceffity contrive to bring themselves and us back again to the pope's fupremacy; and this we see they had by fair degrees of late been doing. These be the two fair fupporters between which the strength of prelaty is borne up, either of inducing tyranny, or of reducing popery. Hence alfo we may judge that prelaty is mere falfehood. For the property of truth is, where fhe is publicly taught to unyoke and fet free the minds and fpirits of a nation firft from the thraldom of fin and fuperftition, after which all honeft and legal freedom of civil life cannot be long absent; but prelaty, whom the tyrant custom begot, a natural tyrant in religion, and in ftate the agent and minifter of tyranny, feems to have had this fatal gift in her nativity, like another Midas, that whatfoever fhe fhould touch or come near either in ecclefial or political government, it fhould turn, not to gold, though the for her part could with it, but to the drofs and fcum of flavery, breeding and fettling both in the bodies and the fouls of all fuch as do not in time, with the fovereign treacle of found doctrine, provide to fortify their hearts against her hierarchy. The fervice of God who is truth, her liturgy confeffes to be perfect freedom; but her works and her opinions declare, that the fervice of Prelaty is perfect, flavery, and by confequence perfect falfehood. Which makes me wonder much that many of the gentry, ftudious men as I hear, fhould engage themfelves to write, and speak publicly in her defence; but that I believe their honeft and ingenuous natures coming to the univerfities to ftore themfelves with good and folid learning, and there unfortunately fed with nothing elfe but the fcragged and thorny lectures of monkish and miferable fophiftry, were fent home again with fuch a fcholaftical bur in their throats, as hath ftopped and hindered all true and generous philofophy from entering, cracked their voices for
ever with metaphyfical gargarifms, and hath made them admire a fort of formal outfide men prelatically addicted, whofe unchaftened and unwrought minds were never yet initiated or fubdued under the true lore of religion or moral virtue, which two are the best and greatest points of learning; but either flightly trained up in a kind of hypocritical and hackney courfe of literature to get their living by, and dazzle the ignorant, or elfe fondly overftudied in useless controverfies, except thofe which they use with all the fpecious and delufive fubtlety they are able, to defend their prelatical Sparta; having a gofpel and church-government set before their eyes, as a fair field wherein they might exercise the greatest virtues and the greatest deeds of chriftian authority, in mean fortunes and little furniture of this world; (which even the fage heathen writers, and those old Fabritii and Curii well knew to be a manner of working, than which nothing could liken a mortal man more to God, who delights moft to work from within himself, and not by the heavy luggage of corporeal inftruments ;) they understand it not, and think no fuch matter, but admire and dote upon worldly riches and honours, with an easy and intemperate life, to the bane of chriftianity: yea, they and their feminaries fhame not to profess, to petition, and never leave pealing our ears, that unless we fat them like boars, and cram them as they lift with wealth, with deaneries and pluralities, with baronies and stately preferments, all learning and religion will go under foot. Which is fuch a fhameless, fuch a beftial plea, and of that odious impudence in churchmen, who fhould be to us a pattern of temperance and frugal mediocrity, who fhould teach us to contemn this world, and the gaudy things thereof, according to the promise which they themselves require from us in baptifm, that fhould the fcripture ftand by and be mute, there is not that fect of philofophers among the heathen so diffolute, no not Epicurus, nor Ariftippus with all his Cyrenaic rout, but would fhut his fchool-doors against fuch greasy fophifters; not any college of mountebanks, but would think fcorn to discover in themfelves with fuch a brazen forehead the outrageous defire of filthy lucre. Which the prelates make fo little confcience of, that they are ready
ready to fight, and, if it lay in their power, to maffacre all good chriftians under the names of horrible fchifmatics, for only finding fault with their temporal dignities, their unconscionable wealth and revenues, their cruel authority over their brethren that labour in the word, while they fnore in their luxurious excefs: openly proclaiming themfelves now in the fight of all men, to be those which for a while they fought to cover under sheep's clothing, ravenous and favage wolves, threatening inroads and bloody incurfions upon the flock of Chrift, which they took upon them to feed, but now claim to devour as their prey. More like that huge dragon of Egypt, breathing out wafte and defolation to the land, unless he were daily fattened with virgin's blood. Him our old patron St. George by his matchlefs valour flew, as the prelate of the garter that reads his collect can tell. And if our princes and knights will imitate the fame of that old champion, as by their order of knighthood folemnly taken they vow, far be it that they should uphold and fide with this english dragon; but rather to do as indeed their oath binds them, they should make it their knightly adventure to pursue and vanquish this mighty fail-winged monster, that menaces to fwallow up the land, unless her bottomlefs gorge may be fatisfied with the blood of the king's daughter the church; and may, as fhe was wont, fill her dark and infamous den with the bones of the faints. Nor will any one have reason to think this as too incredible or too tragical to be spoken of prelaty, if he confider well from what a mass of flime and mud the flothful, the covetous and ambitious hopes of church-promotions and fat bishoprics, fhe is bred up and nuzzled in, like a great Python, from her youth, to prove the general poifon both of doctrine and good discipline in the land. For certainly fuch hopes and fuch principles of earth as these wherein the welters from a young one, are the immediate generation both of a flavifh and tyrannous life to follow, and a peftiferous contagion to the whole kingdom, till like that fen-born ferpent fhe be fhot to death with the darts of the fun, the pure and powerful beams of God's word. And this may ferve to deferibe to us in part, what prelaty hath been, and what, if she ftand
ftand, fhe is like to be towards the whole body of people in England. Now that it may appear how the is not fuch a kind of evil, as hath any good or ufe in it, which many evils have, but a diftilled quinteffence, a pure elixir of mischief, peftilent alike to all; I fhall fhow briefly, ere I conclude, that the prelates, as they are to the subjects a calamity, fo are they the greatest underminers and betrayers of the monarch, to whom they seem to be most favourable. I cannot better liken the ftate and perfon of a king than to that mighty Nazarite Samfon; who being difciplined from his birth in the precepts and the practice of temperance and fobriety, without the frong drink of injurious and exceffive defires, grows up to a noble ftrength and perfection with thofe his illuftrious and funny locks, the laws, waving and curling about his godlike fhoulders. And while he keeps them about him undiminished and unfhorn, he may with the jawbone of an afs, that is, with the word of his meaneft officer, fupprefs and put to confufion thoufands of those that rife against his juft power. But laying down his head among the ftrumpet flatteries of prelates, while he fleeps and thinks no harm, they wickedly fhaving off all those bright and weighty treffes of his laws, and juft prerogatives, which were his ornament and frength, deliver him over to indirect and violent counfels, which, as those Philiftines, put out the fair and far-fighted eyes of his natural difcerning, and make him grind in the prisonhouse of their finifter ends and practices upon him: till he, knowing this prelatical rafor to have bereft him of his wonted might, nourish again his puiffant hair, the golden beams of law and right: and they fternly thook, thunder with ruin upon the heads of thote his evil counfellors, but not without great affliction to himself. This is the fum of their loyal fervice to kings; yet these are the men that still cry, The king, the king, the Lord's anointed. We grant it, and wonder how they came to light upon any thing fo true; and wonder more, if kings be the Lord's anointed, how they dare thus oil over and befmear fo holy an unction with the corrupt and putrid ointment of their bafe flatteries; which, while they fmooth the fkin, ftrike inward and envenom the lifeblood.
What fidelity kings can expect from prelates, both examples paft, and our prefent experience of their doings at this day, whereon is grounded all that hath been said, may fuffice to inform us. And if they be fuch clippers of regal power, and fhavers of the laws, how they ftand affected to the lawgiving parliament, yourselves, worthy peers and commons, can beft teftify; the current of whofe glorious and immortal actions hath been only opposed by the obfcure and pernicious defigns of the prelates, until their infolence broke out to fuch a bold affront, as hath justly immured their haughty looks within ftrong walls, Nor have they done any thing of late with more diligence, than to hinder or break the happy affembling of parliaments, however needful to repair the fhattered and difjointed frame of the commonwealth; or if they cannot do this, to cross, to difenable, and traduce all parliamentary proceedings. And this, if nothing elfe, plainly accuses them to be no lawful members of the house, if they thus perpetually mutiny against their own body. And though they pretend, like Solomon's harlot, that they have right thereto, by the fame judgment that Solomon gave, it cannot belong to them, whenas it is not only their affent, but their endeavour continually to divide parliaments in twain; and not only by dividing, but by all other means to abolifh and deftroy the free ufe of them to all pofterity. For the which, and for all their former misdeeds, whereof this book and many volumes more cannot contain the moiety, I fhall move ye, lords, in the behalf I dare fay of many thousand good chriftians, to let your juftice and speedy fentence pass against this great malefactor prelaty. And yet in the midft of rigour I would befeech ye to think of mercy; and fuch a mercy, (I fear I fhall overfhoot with a defire to fave this falling prelaty,) fuch a mercy (if I may venture to say it) as may exceed that which for only ten righteous perfons would have faved Sodom. Not that I dare advife ye to contend with God, whether he or you fhall be more merciful, but in your wife efteems to balance the offences of thofe peccant cities with thefe enormous riots of ungodly mifrule, that prelaty hath wrought both in the church of Chrift, and in the ftate of this kingdom. And