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quaintnefs in ordinary prayer. The like, or worse, may be faid of the litany, wherein neither prieft nor people fpeak any intire fenfe of themselves throughout the whole, I know not what to name it; only by the timely contribution of their parted stakes, clofing up as it were the schism of a fliced prayer, they pray not in vain, for by this means they keep life between them in a piece of gafping sense, and keep down the faucinefs of a continual rebounding nonsense. And hence it is, that as it hath been far from the imitation of any warranted prayer, fo we all know it hath been obvious to be the pattern of many a jig. And he who hath but read in good books of devotion and no more, cannot be fo either of ear or judgment unpractifed to diftinguish what is grave, pathetical, devout, and what not, but will presently perceive this liturgy all over in conception lean and dry, of affections empty and unmoving, of paffion, or any height whereto the foul might foar upon the wings of zeal, deftitute and barren; befides errours, tautologies, impertinencies, as thofe thanks in the woman's churching for her delivery from funburning and moonblafting, as if she had been travailing not in her bed, but in the deserts of Arabia. So that while fome men cease not to admire the incomparable frame of our liturgy, I cannot but admire as faft what they think is become of judgment and taste in other men, that they can hope to be heard without laughter. And if this were all, perhaps it were a compliable matter. But when we remember this our liturgy where we found it, whence we had it, and yet where we left it, ftill ferving to all the abominations of the antichriftian temple, it may be wondered how we can demur whether it should be done away or no, and not rather fear we have highly offended in ufing it fo long. It hath indeed been pretended to be more ancient than the mass, but fo little proved, that whereas other corrupt liturgies have had withal fuch a feeming antiquity, as that their publishers have ventured to afcribe them with their worft corruptions either to St. Peter, St. James, St. Mark, or at least to Chryfoftom or Bafil, ours hath been never able to find either age or author allowable, on whom to father those things therein which S 3
are leaft offenfive, except the two creeds, for Te Deum has a fmatch in it of Limbus Patrum: as if Chrift had not "opened the kingdom of Heaven" before he had "overcome the fharpnefs of death." So that having received it from the papal church as an original creature, for aught can be shown to the contrary, formed and fashioned by workmafters ill to be trufted, we may be affured that if God loathe the beft of an idolater's prayer, much more the conceited fangle of his prayer. This confuter himself confeffes that a community of the fame fet form in prayers, is that which "makes church and church truly one;" we then ufing a liturgy far more like to the mafs book than to any proteftant fet form, by his own words must have more communion with the Komifh church, than with any of the reformed. How can we then not partake with them the curfe and vengeance of their fuperftition, to whom we come fo near in the fame fet form and dress of our devotion? Do we think to fift the matter finer than we are fure God in his jealoufy will, who detefted both the gold and the spoil of idolatrous cities, and forbid the eating of things offered to idols? Are we stronger than he, to brook that which his heart cannot brook? It is not furely because we think that prayers are no where to be had but at Rome? That were a foul fcorn and indignity caft upon all the reformed churches, and our own: if we imagine that all the godly minifters of England are not able to newmould a better and more pious liturgy than this which was conceived and infanted by an idolatrous mother, how bafely were that to efteem of God's fpirit, and all the holy bleffings and privileges of a true church above a falfe? Hark ye, prelates, is this your glorious mother of England, who, whenas Chrift hath taught her to pray, thinks it not enough unless she add thereto the teaching of Antichrift? How can we believe ye would refuse to take the ftipend of Rome, when ye fhame not to live upon the almsbasket of her prayers? Will ye perfuade us, that ye can curfe Rome from your hearts, when none but Rome muft teach ye to pray? Abraham difdained to take fo much as a thread or a fhoelatchet from the king of Sodom, though no foe of his, but a wicked king; and
fhall we receive our prayers at the bounty of our more wicked enemies, whofe gifts are no gifts, but the inftruments of our bane? Alas! that the spirit of God should blow as an uncertain wind, fhould fo mistake his infpiring, fo misbestow his gifts promised only to the elect, that the idolatrous fhould find words acceptable to prefent God with, and abound to their neighbours, while the true profeffors of the gospel can find nothing of their own worth the conftituting, wherewith to worship God in public! Confider if this be to magnify the church of England, and not rather to difplay her nakednefs to all the world. Like therefore as the retaining of this Romifh liturgy is a provocation to God, and a difhonour to our church, fo is it by thofe ceremonies, thofe purifyings and offerings at the altar, a pollution and disturbance to the gospel itself; and a kind of driving us with the foolifh Galatians to another gospel. For that which the Apoftles taught hath freed us in religion from the ordinances of men, and commands that "burdens be not laid" upon the redeemed of Chrift; though the formalift will fay, What, no decency in God's worship? Certainly, readers, the worship of God fingly in itself, the very act of prayer and thanksgiving, with those free and unimpofed expreffions which from a fincere heart unbidden come into the outward gesture, is the greatest decency that can be imagined. Which to drefs Which to drefs up and garnifh with a devised bravery abolished in the law, and difclaimed by the gofpel, adds nothing but a deformed uglinefs; and hath ever afforded a colourable pretence to bring in all those traditions and carnalities that are so killing to the power and virtue of the gofpel. What was that which made the Jews, figured under the names of Aholah and Aholibah, go a whoring after all the heathen's inventions, but that they faw a religion gorgeoufly. attired and defirable to the eye? What was all that the false doctors of the primitive church, and ever fince have done, but "to make a fair fhow in the flesh," as St. Paul's words are? If we have indeed given a bill of divorce to popery and fuperftition, why do we not fay as to a divorced wife, Those things which are yours take them all with you, and they fhall fweep after you? Why were S 4
not we thus wife at our parting from Rome? Ah! like a crafty adulteress she forgot not all her smooth looks and enticing words at her parting; yet keep these letters, these tokens, and these few ornaments; I am not all fo greedy of what is mine, let them preferve with you the memory of what I am? No, but of what I was, once fair and lovely in your eyes. Thus did those tender-hearted reformers dotingly suffer themselves to be overcome with harlot's language. And the like a witch, but with a contrary policy, did not take fomething of theirs, that the might ftill have power to bewitch them, but for the fame intent left fomething of her own behind her. And that her whorish cunning fhould prevail to work upon us her deceitful ends, though it be sad to speak, yet such is our blindness, that we deferve. For we are deep in dotage. We cry out facrilege and mifdevotion against those who in zeal have demolished the dens and cages of her unclean wallowings. We stand for a popifh liturgy as for the ark of our covenant. And fo little does it appear our prayers are from the heart, that multitudes of us declare, they know not how to pray but by rote. Yet they can learnedly invent a prayer of their own to the parliament, that they may ftill ignorantly read the prayers of other men to God. They object, that if we must forfake all that is Rome's, we must bid adieu to our creed; and I had thought our creed had been of the Apoftles, for fo it bears title. But if it be hers, let her take it. We can want no creed, fo long as we want not the fcriptures. We magnify those who, in reforming our church, have inconfiderately and blamefully permitted the old leaven to remain and four our whole lump. But they were martyrs; true, and he that looks well into the book of God's providence, if he read there that God for this their negligence and halting brought all that following perfecution upon this church, and on themselves, perhaps will be found at the last day not to have read amiss.
But now, readers, we have the port within fight; his laft fection, which is no deep one, remains only to be
forded, and then the wifhed fhore. And here firft it pleases him much, that he had defcried me, as he conceives, to be unread in the councils. Concerning which matter it will not be unneceffary to fhape him this anfwer; that some years I had spent in the ftories of those Greek and Roman exploits, wherein I found many things both nobly done, and worthily fpoken; when coming in the method of time to that age wherein the church had obtained a Chriftian emperor, I fo prepared myself, as being now to read examples of wifdom and goodness among those who were foremoft in the church, not elfewhere to be parallelled; but, to the amazement of what I expected, readers, I found it all quite contrary; excepting in fome very few, nothing but ambition, corruption, contention, combuftion; infomuch that I could not but love the hiftorian Socrates, who, in the proem to his fifth book profeffes," he was fain to intermix affairs of state, for that it would be elfe an extreme annoyance to hear in a continued discourse the endless brabbles and counterplottings of the bifhops." Finding, therefore, the most of their actions in fingle to be weak, and yet turbulent; full of ftrife, and yet flat of spirit; and the fum of their best councils there collected, to be moft commonly in queftions either trivial and vain, or else of fhort and easy decifion; without that great buftle which they made; I concluded that if their fingle ambition and ignorance was fuch, then certainly united in a council it would be much more; and if the compendious recital of what they there did was fo tedious and unprofitable, then furely to fet out the whole extent of their tattle in a dozen volumes would be a lofs of time irrecoverable. Befides that which I had read of St. Martin, who for his laft fixteen years could never be perfuaded to be at any council of the bishops. And Gregory Nazianzen betook him to the fame refolution, affirming to Procopius, "that of any council or meeting of bishops he never faw good end; nor any remedy thereby of evil in the church, but rather an increase. For," faith he, "their contentions and defire of lording no tongue is able to exprefs." I have not therefore, I confefs, read more of the councils fave here and there; I should be forry to have been fuch a prodigal of