Page images
PDF
EPUB

* * * *

and the defences that error uses against her power: give her but room, and do not bind her when she sleeps, for then she speaks not true, as the old Proteus did, who spake oracles only when he was caught and bound, but then rather she turns herself into all shapes, except her own, and perhaps tunes her voice according to the time,

as Micaiah did before Ahab, until she be adjured into s her own likeness.

If all cannot be of one mind, as who looks they should be? this doubtless is more wholesome, more prudent, and more christian, that many be tolerated rather than all compelled. ***

. 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 worst and newest opinion of all others; and is the chief cause why sects and schisms do so much abound, and true knowledge is kept at distance from us; besides yet a greater danger which is in it. For when God shakes a kingdom, with strong and healthful commotions, to a general reforming, it is not untrue that many sectaries and false teachers are then busiest in seducing. more true it is, that God then raises to his own work men of rare abilities, and more than common industry, not only to look back and revise what hath been taught heretofore, but to gain further, and to go on some new enlightened steps in the discovery of truth. ****

There have been not a few since the beginning of this parliament, both of the presbytery and others, who by their unlicensed books, to the contempt of an imprimatur, first broke that triple ice clung about our hearts, and taught the people to see day: I hope that none of those were the persuaders to renew upon us this bondage, which they themselves have wrought so much good by contemning. ***

But yet

1

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

***

* And as for regulating the press, let no man think to have the honour of advising ye better than yourselves have done in that order published next before this, “That no hook be printed, unless the printers, and the author's name, or at least the printer's be registered." Those which otherwise come forth, if they be found mischievous and libellous, the fire and the executioner will be the timeliest and the most effectual remedy that man's prevention can use. Errors in a good government and in a bad are equally almost incident; for what magistrate may not be misinformed, and much the sooner, if liberty of printing be reduced into the power of a few? But to redress willingly and speedily what hath been erred, and in highest authority to esteem a plain advertisement more than others have done a sumptuous bride, is a virtue (honoured lords and commons !) answerable to your highest actions, and whereof none can participate but greatest and wisest men.

а

Tenure of the Magistrate.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »