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if ye think ye may with a pious prefumption ftrive to go beyond God in mercy, I fhall not be one now that would diffuade ye. Though God for less than ten just perfons would not fpare Sodom, yet if you can find, after due search, but only one good thing in prelaty, either to religion or civil government, to king or parliament, to prince or people, to law, liberty, wealth, or learning, fpare her, let her live, let her spread among ye, till with her fhadow all your dignities and honours, and all the glory of the land be darkened and obfcured. But on the contrary, if the be found to be malignant, hostile, deftructive to all thefe, as nothing can be furer, then let your fevere and impartial doom imitate the divine vengeance; rain down your punishing force upon this godlefs and oppreffing government, and bring fuch a dead fea of fubverfion upon her, that he may never in this land rife more to afflict the holy reformed church, and the elect people of God,
THE REMONSTRANT'S DEFENCE
ALTHOUGH it be a certain truth, that they who undertake a religious cause need not care to be men-pleafers; yet because the fatisfaction of tender and mild confciences is far different from that which is called men-pleafing; to fatisfy fuch, I fhall addrefs myself in few words to give notice beforehand of fomething in this book, which to fome men perhaps may feem offenfive, that when I have rendered a lawful reafon of what is done, I may truft to have faved the labour of defending or excufing hereafter. We all know that in private or perfonal injuries, yea in public fufferings for the caufe of Chrift, his rule and example teaches us to be fo far from a readiness to speak evil, as not to answer the reviler in his language, though never fo much provoked: yet in the detecting, and convincing of any notorious enemy to truth and his country's peace, efpecially that is conceited to have a voluble and finart fluence of tongue, and in the vain confidence of that, and out of a more tenacious cling to worldly refpects, ftands up for all the reft to juftify a long ufurpation and convicted pfeudepifcopy of prelates, with all their ceremonies, liturgies, and tyrannies, which God and man are now ready to explode and hiss out of the land; I suppose, and
more than fuppofe, it will be nothing disagreeing from chriftian meeknefs, to handle fuch a one in a rougher accent, and to fend home his haughtiness well befpurted with his own holy-water. Nor to do thus are we unautoritied either from the moral precept of Solomon, to anfwer him thereafter that prides him in his folly; nor from the example of Chrift, and all his followers in all ages, who, in the refuting of those that refifted found doctrine, and by fubtile diffimulations corrupted the minds of men, have wrought up their zealous fouls into fuch vehemencies, as nothing could be more killingly fpoken: for who can be a greater enemy to mankind, who a more dangerous deceiver, than he who, defending a traditional corruption, ufes no common arts, but with a wily ftratagem of yielding to the time a greater part of his caufe, feeming to forego all that man's invention hath done therein, and driven from much of his hold in fcripture; yet leaving it hanging by a twined thread, not from divine command, but from apoftolical prudence or affent; as if he had the furety of fome rolling trench, creeps up by this mean to his relinquished fortress of divine authority again, and still hovering between the confines of that which he dares not be openly, and that which he will not be fincerely, trains on the eafy chriftian infenfibly within the clofe ambushment of worft errours, and with a fly fhuffle of counterfeit principles, chopping and changing till he have gleaned all the good ones out of their minds, leaves them at last, after a flight resemblance of sweeping and garnishing, under the sevenfold poffeffion of a defperate ftupidity? And therefore they that love the fouls of men, which is the dearest love, and ftirs up the nobleft jealoufy, when they meet with fuch collufion, cannot be blamed though they be tranfported with the zeal of truth to a well heated fervency; efpecially, feeing they which thus offend against the fouls of their brethren, do it with delight to their great gain, ease, and advancement in this world; but they that feek to discover and oppofe their falfe trade of deceiving, do it not without a fad and unwilling anger, not without many hazards; but without all private and perfonal
fpleen, and without any thought of earthly reward, whenas this very courfe they take ftops their hopes of ascending above a lowly and unenviable pitch in this life. And although in the ferious uncafing of a grand imposture (for to deal plainly with you readers, prelaty is no better) there be mixed here and there fuch a grim laughter, as may appear at the fame time in an auftere vifage, it cannot be taxed of levity or infolence: for even this vein of laughing (as I could produce out of grave authors) hath ofttimes a ftrong and finewy force in teaching and confuting; nor can there be a more proper object of indignation and fcorn together, than a falfe prophet taken in the greateft, deareft, and moft dangerous cheat, the cheat of fouls: in the difclofing whereof, if it be harmful to be angry, and withal to caft a lowering fmile, when the propereft object calls for both, it will be long enough ere any be able to fay, why thofe two. most rational faculties of human intellect, anger and laughter, were firft feated in the breaft of man. Thus much, readers, in favour of the fofter fpirited chriftian, for other exceptioners there was no thought taken. Only if it be afked, why this clofe and fuccinct manner of coping with the adversary was rather chofen, this was the reason chiefly, that the ingenuous reader, without further amufing himself in the labyrinth of controverfal antiquity, may come to the speedieft way to fee the truth vindicated, and sophistry taken fhort at the firft falfe bound. Next, that the Remonftrant himself, as oft as he pleafes to be frolic, and brave it with others, may find no gain of money, and may learn not to infult in fo bad a caufe, But now he begins,
Remonftrant. My fingle remonftrance is encountered with a plural adversary.
Anfwer. Did not your fingle remonftrance bring along with it a hot fcent of your more than fingular affection to fpiritual pluralities, your finglene's would be lefs fufpected with all good chriftians than it is,
Remonft. Their names, perfons, qualities, numbers, I care not to know.
Anfw. Their names are known to the all-knowing Power above; and in the mean while, doubtlefs, they reck not whether you or your nomenclator know them
Remonft. But could they fay my name is Legion, for we are many?
Anfw. Wherefore fhould ye begin with the devil's name, descanting upon the number of your opponents? Wherefore that conceit of Legion with a by-wipe? Was it because you would have men take notice how you efteem them, whom through all your book fo bountifully you call your brethren? We had not thought that Legion could have furnished the Remonftrant with fo many brethren.
Remonft. My caufe, ye gods, would bid me meet them undismayed, &c.
Anfw. Ere a foot further we must be content to hear a preambling boaft of your valour, what a St. Dunstan you are to encounter Legions, either infernal or human. Remonft. My caufe, ye gods.
Anfw. What gods? Unless your belly, or the god of this world be he? Show us any one point of your remonftrance that does not more concern fuperiority, pride, eafe, and the belly, than the truth and glory of God, or the falvation of fouls.
Remonft. My caufe, ye gods, would bid me meet them undifmayed, and to fay with holy David, "though a hoft, &c."
Anfw. Do not think to perfuade us of your undaunted courage, by misapplying to yourself the words of holy David; we know you fear, and are in an agony at this prefent, left you fhould lose that fuperfluity of riches and honour, which your party ufurp. And whofoever covets, and fo earnestly labours to keep fuch an incumbering furcharge of earthly things, cannot but have an earthquake ftill in his bones. You are not armed, Remonftrant, nor any of your band; you are not dieted, nor your loins girt for fpiritual valour, and chriftian warfare, the lug