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we had not now miffed and bewailed a worthy and undoubted patron of this argument. Ye know him, I am fure; yet I for honour's fake, and may it be eternal to him, shall name him, the lord Brook. He writing of epifcopacy, and by the way treating of fects and fchifms, left ye his vote, or rather now the laft words of his dying charge, which I know will ever be of dear and honoured regard with ye, fo full of meeknefs and breathing charity, that next to his laft teftament, who bequeathed love and peace to his difciples, I cannot call to mind where I have read or heard words more mild and peaceful. He there exhorts us to hear with patience and humility thofe, however they be mifcalled, that defire to live purely, in fuch a ufe of God's ordinances, as the best guidance of their confcience gives them, and to tolerate them, though in some disconformity to ourselves. The book itself will tell us more at large, being published to the world, and dedicated to the parliament by him, who both for his life and for his death deferves, that what advice he left be not laid by without perufal.
And now the time in fpecial is, by privilege to write and speak what may help to the further difcuffing of matters in agitation. The temple of Janus with his two controverfal faces might now not unfignificantly be set open. And though all the winds of doctrine were let loofe to play upon the earth, fo truth be in the field, we do injuriously by licenfing and prohibiting to mifdoubt her ftrength. Let her and falfehood grapple; who ever knew truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter? Her confuting is the best and fureft fuppreffing. He who hears what praying there is for light and clear knowledge to be fent down among us, would think of other matters to be conftituted beyond the difcipline of Geneva, framed and fabricked already to our hands. Yet when the new light which we beg for fhines in upon us, there be who envy and oppofe, if it come not firft in at their casements. What a collufion is this, whenas we are exhorted by the wife man to ufe diligence, "to feek for wisdom as for hidden treasures" early and late, that another order fhall enjoin us, to know nothing but by ftatute? When a man hath been labouring the hardest labour
labour in the deep mines of knowledge, hath furnished out his findings in all their equipage, drawn forth his reafons as it were a battle ranged, fcattered and defeated all objections in his way, calls out his adverfary into the plain, offers him the advantage of wind and fun, if he please, only that he may try the matter by dint of argument; for his opponents then to fculk, to lay ambushments, to keep a narrow bridge of licenfing where the challenger should pafs, though it be valour enough in foldiership, is but weakness and cowardice in the wars of truth. For who knows not that truth is strong, next to the Almighty; fhe needs no policies, nor ftratagems, nor licenfings to make her victorious, thofe are the fhifts and the defences that errour uses against her power: give her but room, and do not bind her when the fleeps, for then the speaks not true, as the old Proteus did, who fpake oracles only when he was caught and bound, but then rather the turns herself into all shapes, except her own, and perhaps tunes her voice according to the time, as Micaiah did before Ahab, until the be adjured into her own likenefs. Yet is it not impoffible that she may have more shapes than one? What elfe is all that rank of things indifferent, wherein truth may be on this fide, or on the other, without being unlike herfelf? What but a vain fhadow elfe is the abolition of "thofe ordinances, that hand-writing nailed to the crofs ?" what great purchase is this chriftian liberty which Paul fo often boafts of? His doctrine is, that he who eats or eats not, regards a day or regards it not, may do either to the Lord. How many other things might be tolerated in peace, and left to confcience, had we but charity, and were it not the chief ftrong hold of our hypocrify to be ever judging one another? I fear yet this iron yoke of outward conformity hath left a flavish print upon our necks; the ghoft of a linen decency yet haunts us. We ftumble, and are impatient at the leaft dividing of one vifible congregation from another, though it be not in fundamentals; and through our forwardness to suppress, and our backwardness to recover, any enthralled piece of truth out of the gripe of cuftom, we care not to keep truth feparated from truth, which is the fierceft rent and
difunion of all. We do not see that while we still affect by all means a rigid external formality, we may as foon fall again into a grofs conforming ftupidity, a ftark and dead congealment of "wood and hay and ftubble" forced and frozen together, which is more to the fudden degenerating of a church than many fubdichotomies of petty fchifms. Not that I can think well of every light separation; or that all in a church is to be expected "gold and filver and precious ftones:" it is not poffible for man to fever the wheat from the tares, the good fish from the other fry; that must be the angels miniftry at the end of mortal things. Yet if all cannot be of one mind, as who looks they should be? this doubtlefs is more wholefome, more prudent, and more chriftian, that many be tolerated rather than all compelled. I mean not tolerated popery, and open fuperftition, which as it extirpates all religions and civil fupremacies, fo itself should be extirpate, provided first that all charitable and compaffionate means be used to win and regain the weak and the mifled: that alfo which is impious or evil absolutely either against faith or manners, no law can poffibly permit, that intends not to unlaw itfelf: but thofe neighbouring differences, or rather indifferences, are what I fpeak of, whether in fome point of doctrine or of difcipline, which though they may be many, yet need not interrupt the unity of fpirit, if we could but find among us the bond of peace. In the mean while, if any one would write, and bring his helpful hand to the flow moving reformation which we labour under, if truth have spoken to him before others, or but feemed at least to speak, who hath so bejesuited us, that we should trouble that man with afking licence to do fo worthy a deed; and not confider this, that if it come to prohibiting, there is not aught more likely to be prohibited than truth itself: whofe firft appearance to our eyes, bleared and dimmed with prejudice and cuftom, is more unfightly and unplausible than many errours; even as the perfon is of many a great man flight and contemptible to fee to. And what do they tell us vainly of new opinions, when this very opinion of theirs, that none must be heard but whom they like, is the worft and newest opinion of all
others; and is the chief caufe why fects and fchifms do fo much abound, and true knowledge is kept at distance from us; befides yet a greater danger which is in it. For when God fhakes a kingdom, with ftrong and healthful commotions, to a general reforming, it is not untrue that many fectaries and falfe teachers are then bufieft in feducing. But yet more true it is, that God then raifes to his own work men of rare abilities, and more than common industry, not only to look back and revife what hath been taught heretofore, but to gain further, and to go on fome new enlightened steps in the dif covery of truth. For fuch is the order of God's enlightening his Church, to difpenfe and deal out by degrees his beam, fo as our earthly eyes may best sustain it. Neither is God appointed and confined, where and out of what place these his chosen shall be first heard to speak; for he fees not as man fees, chooses not as man chooses, left we should devote ourselves again to fet places, and affemblies, and outward callings of men; planting our faith one while in the old convocation houfe, and another while in the chapel at Weftminfter; when all the faith and religion that fhall be there canonized, is not fufficient without plain convincement, and the charity of patient inftruction, to fupple the leaft bruise of confcience, to edify the meaneft chriftian, who defires to walk in the fpirit, and not in the letter of human truft, for all the number of voices that can be there made; no though Harry the feventh himfelf there, with all his liege tombs about him, fhould lend them voices from the dead to fwell their number. And if the men be erroneous who appear to be the leading fchifmatics, what witholds us but our floth, our felfwill, and distrust in the right caufe, that we do not give them gentle meetings and gentle difmiffions, that we debate not and examine the matter thoroughly with liberal and frequent audience; if not for their fakes yet for our own? Seeing no man who hath tafted learning, but will confefs the many ways of profiting by thofe who, not contented with ftale receipts, are able to manage and fet forth new pofitions to the world. And were they but as the duft and cinders of our feet, fo long as in that notion they may yet ferve
to polish and brighten the armory of truth, even for that refpect they were not utterly to be caft away. But if they be of those whom God hath fitted for the fpecial ufe of these times with eminent and ample gifts, and those perhaps neither among the priests, nor among the Pharifees, and we in the hafte of a precipitant zeal fhall make no diftinction, but refolve to ftop their mouths, because we fear they come with new and dangerous opinions, as we commonly forejudge them ere we underftand them; no lefs than wo to us, while, thinking thus to defend the gofpel, we are found the perfecutors!
There have been not a few fince the beginning of this parliament, both of the prefbytery and others, who by their unlicensed books to the contempt of an imprimatur firft broke that triple ice clung about our hearts, and taught the people to fee day: I hope that none of those were the perfuaders to renew upon us this bondage, which they themselves have wrought fo much good by contemning. But if neither the check that Mofes gave to young Joshua, nor the countermand which our Saviour gave to young John, who was fo ready to prohibit those whom he thought unlicensed, be not enough to admonifh our elders how unacceptable to God their tefty mood of prohibiting is; if neither their own remembrance what evil hath abounded in the church by this lett of licenfing, and what good they themselves have begun by tranfgreffing it, be not enough, but that they will perfuade and execute the most Dominican part of the inquifition over us, and are already with one foot in the firrup fo active at fuppreffing, it would be no unequal diftribution in the firft place to fupprefs the fuppreffors themselves; whom the change of their condition hath puffed up, more than their late experience of harder times hath made wife.
And as for regulating the prefs, let no man think to have the honour of advifing ye better than yourselves have done in that order published next before this, "That no book be printed, unless the printer's and the author's name, or at least the printer's be registered." Those which otherwise come forth, if they be found mifchievous and libellous, the fire and the executioner will