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tions juftify their treafon to the royal blood of this realm, by diverting and entailing the right of the crown from the true heirs, to the houses of Northumberland and Suffolk? which had it took effect, this prefent king had in all likelihood never fat on this throne, and the happy union of this ifland had been fruftrated.
Laftly, whereas they add that fome the learnedeft of the reformed abroad admire our epifcopacy; it had been more for the ftrength of the argument to tell us, that fome of the wifeft ftatefmen admire it, for thereby we might guess them weary of the prefent difcipline, as offenfive to their state, which is the bug we fear: but being they are churchmen, we may rather fufpect them for fome prelatizing fpirits that admire our bifhoprics, not epifcopacy.
The next objection vanishes of itself, propounding a doubt, whether a greater inconvenience would not grow from the corruption of any other difcipline than from that of epifcopacy. This feems an unfeasonable forefight, and out of order, to defer and put off the most needful conftitution of one right difcipline, while we ftand balancing the difcommodities of two corrupt ones. Firft conftitute that which is right, and of itself it will discover and rectify that which fwerves, and eafily remedy the pretended fear of having a pope in every parith, unless we call the zealous and meek cenfure of the church a popedom, which whofo does, let him advife how he can reject the paftorly rod and sheephook of Chrift, and thofe cords of love, and not fear to fall under the iron fceptre of his anger, that will dash him to pieces like a potsherd.
At another doubt of theirs I wonder, whether this difcipline which we defire be fuch as can be put in practice within this kingdom; they fay it cannot ftand with the common law nor with the king's fafety, the government of epifcopacy is now fo weaved into the common law. In God's name let it weave out again; let not human quillets keep back divine authority. It is not the common law, nor the civil, but piety and juftice that are our foundreffes; they stoop not, neither change colour for ariftocracy, democracy, or monarchy, nor yet at all interrupt
rupt their juft courfes; but far above the taking notice of thefe inferior niceties, with perfect fympathy, wherever they meet, kifs each other. Laftly, they are fearful that the difcipline which will fucceed cannot ftand with the king's fafety. Wherefore? it is but epifcopacy reduced to what it should be: were it not that the tyranny of prelates under the name of bithops had made our ears tender, and ftartling, we might call every good minister a bishop, as every bishop, yea the apoftles themfelves are called minifters, and the angels miniftering fpirits, and the minifters again angels. But wherein is this propounded government fo fhrewd? Because the government of affemblies will fucceed. Did not the apostles govern the church by ailemblies? How fhould it elfe be catholic? How fhould it have communion? We count it facrilege to take from the rich prelates their lands and revenues, which is facrilege in them to keep, ufing them as they do; and can we think it fafe to defraud the living church of God of that right which God has given her in aflemblies? O but the confequence ! affemblies draw to them the fupremacy of ecclefiaftical jurifdiction. No furely, they draw no fupremacy, but that authority which Chrift, and St. Paul in his name, confers upon them. The king may ftill retain the fame fupremacy in the affemblies, as in the parliament; here he can do nothing alone against the common law, and there neither alone, nor with confent, against the scriptures. But is this all? No, this ecclefiaftical fupremacy draws to it the power to excommunicate kings; .and then follows the worft that can be imagined.. Do they hope to avoid this, by keeping prelates that have fo often done it? Not to exemplify the malapert infolence of our own bishops in this kind towards our kings, I fhall turn back to the primitive and pure times, which the objectors would have the rule of reformation to us.
Not an affembly, but one bishop alone, Saint Ambrose of Milan, held Theodofius the moft Chriftian emperor under excommunication above eight months together, drove him from the church in the presence of his nobles; which the good emperor bore with heroic humility, and never ceafed by prayers and tears, till he was abfolved;
for which coming to the bifhop with fupplication into the falutatory, fome outporch of the church, he was charged by him of tyrannical madnefs against God, for coming into holy ground. At laft, upon conditions abfolved, and after great humiliation approaching to the altar to offer (as thofe thrice pure times then thought meet), he had fcarce withdrawn his hand, and stood a while, when a bold archdeacon comes in the bishop's name, and chaces him from within the rails, telling him peremptorily, that the place wherein he ftood, was for none but the priests to enter, or to touch; and this is another piece of pure primitive divinity! Think ye, then, our bishops will forego the power of excommunication on whomfoever? No certainly, unless to compass finifter ends, and then revoke when they fee their time. And yet this moft mild, though withal dreadful and inviolable prerogative of Chrift's diadem, excommunication, ferves for nothing with them, but to prog and pander for fees, or to display their pride, and fharpen their revenge, debarring men the protection of the law; and I remember not whether in fome cafes it bereave not men all right to their worldly goods and inheritances, befides the denial of Chriftian burial. But in the evangelical, and reformed ufe of this facred cenfure, no fuch proftitution, no fuch ifcariotical drifts are to be doubted, as that fpiritual doom and fentence fhould invade worldly poffeffion, which is the rightful lot and portion even of the wickedeft men, as frankly beftowed upon them by the alldifpenfing bounty as rain and funfhine. No, no, it feeks not to bereave or deftroy the body; it feeks to fave the foul by humbling the body, not by imprisonment, or pecuniary mulet, much lefs by ftripes or bonds, or difinheritance, but by fatherly admonishment and Chriftian rebuke, to caft it into godly forrow, whofe end is joy, and ingenuous bafhfulnets to fin: if that cannot be wrought, then as a tender mother takes her child and holds it over the pit with fearing words, that it may learn to fear where danger is; fo doth excommunication as dearly and as freely, without money, use her wholesome and faving terrours: fhe is inftant, the befeeches, by all E 3
the dear and sweet promifes of falvation fhe entices and woos; by all the threatenings and thunders of the law, and rejected gofpel, fhe charges, and adjures: this is all her armory, her munition, her artillery; then fhe awaits with long-fufferance, and yet ardent zeal. In brief, there is no act in all the errand of God's minifters to mankind, wherein paffes more loverlike conteftation between Chrift and the foul of a regenerate man lapfing, than before, and in, and after the fentence of excommunication. As for the fogging proctorage of money, with fuch an eye as ftruck Gehazi with leprofy, and Simon Magus with a curfe; fo does fhe look, and fo threaten her fiery whip against that banking den of thieves that dare thus baffle, and buy and fell the awful and majeftic wrinkles of her brow. He that is rightly and apoftolically sped with her invisible arrow, if he can be at peace in his foul, and not smell within him the brimftone of Hell, may have fair leave to tell all his bags over undiminished of the leaft farthing, may eat his dainties, drink his wine, ufe his delights, enjoy his lands and liberties, not the least fkin raised, not the leaft hair misplaced, for all that excommunication has done: much more may a king enjoy his rights and prerogatives undeflowered, untouched, and be as abfolute and complete a king, as all his royalties and revenues can make him. And therefore little did Theodofius fear a plot upon his empire, when he stood excommunicate by Saint Ambrofe, though it were done either with much haughty pride, or ignorant zeal. But let us rather look upon the reformed churches beyond the feas, the Grizons, the Swiffes, the Hollanders, the French, that have a fupremacy to live under as well as we; where do the churches in all thefe places strive for fupremacy? Where do they clash and justle fupremacies with the civil magiftrate? In France, a more fevere monarchy than ours, the proteftants under this churchgovernment, carry the name of the beft fubjects the king has; and yet prefbytery, if it must be fo called, does there all that it defires to do: how easy were it, if there be fuch great fufpicion, to give no more scope to it in England? But let us not, for fear of a scarecrow, or
elfe through hatred to be reformed, ftand hankering and politizing, when God with fpread hands teftifies to us, and points us out the way to our peace.
Let us not be fo overcredulous, unlefs God hath blinded us, as to truft our dear fouls into the hands of men that beg fo devoutly for the pride and gluttony of their own backs and bellies, that fue and follicit fo eagerly, not for the faving of fouls, the confideration of which can have here no place at all, but for their bishoprics, deaneries, prebends, and canonries: how can these men not be corrupt, whofe very caufe is the bribe of their own pleading, whofe mouths cannot open without the ftrong breath and loud ftench of avarice, fimony, and facrilege, embezzling the treasury of the church on painted and gilded walls of temples, wherein God hath teftified to have no delight, warming their palace kitchens, and from thence their unctuous and epicurean paunches, with the alms of the blind, the lame, the impotent, the aged, the orphan, the widow? for with these the treafury of Chrift ought to be, here must be his jewels beftowed, his rich cabinet must be emptied here; as the conftant martyr Saint Lawrence taught the Roman prætor, Sir, would you know what the remonftrance of these men would have, what their petition implies? They intreat us that we would not be weary of thofe infupportable grievances that our fhoulders have hitherto cracked under, they befeech us that we would think them fit to be our juftices of peace, our lords, our higheft officers of ftate, though they come furnifhed with no more experience than they learnt between the cook and the manciple, or more profoundly at the college audit, or the regent houfe, or to come to their deepest infight, at their patron's table; they would requeft us to endure still the ruftling of their filken caffocs, and that we would burst our midriffs, rather than laugh to see them under fail in all their lawn and farcenet, their fhrouds and tackle, with a geometrical rhomboides upon their heads: they would bear us in hand that we must of duty still appear before them once a year in Jerufalem, like good circumcifed males and females, to be taxed by the poll, to be fconced our headmoney, our twopences in their chandE 4