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CO LASTERIO N:
A Reply to a nameless Answer against the Do&rine and
Discipline of Divorce,
Wherein the trivial author of thạt answer is discovered,
the licenser conferred with, and the opinion, which they traduce, defended.
Prov. xxvi, 5. “ Answer a fool according to his folly, left he be wise in
his own conceit."
AFTER many rumours of confutations and convictions, forthcoming against the Doctrine and Discipline of Dirorce, and now and then a by-blow from the pulpit, feathered with a censure strict indeed, but how true, more beholden to the authority of that devout place, which it borrowed to be uttered in, than to any found reason which it could oracle; while I still hoped as for a blessing to see some piece of diligence, or learned discretion come from them, it was my hap at length, lighting on a certain parcel of queries, that seek and find not, to find not seeking, at the tail of anabaptistical, antinomian, heretical, atheistical epithets, a jolly flander, called “Divorce at Pleasure." I stood awhile and wondered, what we might do to a man's heart, or what anatomy use, to find in it fincerity; for all our wonted marks every day fail us, and where we thought it was, we see it is not, for alter and change residence it cannot sure. And yet I see no good of body or of mind secure to a man for all his past labours, without perpetual watchfulness and perseverance: whenas one above others, who hath suffered much and long in the defence of truth, fall after all this give her cause to leave him fo destitute and fo vacant of her defence, as to yield his mouth to be the common road of truth and falsehood, and such falsehood as is joined
with a rash and heedless calumny of his neighbour: For what book hath he ever met with, as his complaint is, “printed in the city,” maintaining either in the title, or in the whole pursuance, “ Divorce at Pleasure?” It is true, that to divorce upon extreme necessity, when through the perverseness, or the apparent unfitness of either, the continuance can be to both no good at all, but an intolerable injury and temptation to the wronged and the defrauded; to divorce then, there is a book that writes it lawful. And that this law is
And that this law is a pure and wholefome national law, not to be withheld from good men, because others likely enough may abuse it to their pleafure, cannot be charged upon that book, but must be entered a bold and impious accusation against God himfelf; who did not for this abuse withhold it from his own people. It will be just therefore, and best for the reputation of him who in his Subitanes hath thus cenfured, to recall his sentence. And if, out of the abundance of his volumes, and the readiness of his quill, and the vaftness of his other employments, especially in the great audit for accounts, he can spare us aught to the better understanding of this point, he shall be thanked in public; and what hath offended in the book shall willingly submit to his correction. Provided he be sure not to come with those old and stale fuppositions, unless he can take away clearly what that discourse hath urged against them, by one who will expect other arguments to be persuaded the good health of a found aniwer, than the gout and dropsy of a big margin, littere l and overlaid with crude and huddled quotations. But as I still was waiting, when these light-armed refuters would have done pelting at their three lines uttered with a sage delivery of no reason, but an impotent and worse than Bonnerlike cenfure, to burn that which provokes them to a fair dispute ; at length a book was brought to my hands, intitled “An Answer to the Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce.” Gladly I received it, and very attentively composed myself to read ; hoping that now fome good man had vouchsafed the pains to instruct me better, than I could yet learn out of all the volumes, which for this purpose I had visited. Only this I marvelled, and other men have since, Vol. II.
whenas I, in a subject fo new to this age, and fo hazardous to please, concealed not my name, why this author, defending that part which is so creeded by the people, would conceal bis. But ere I could enter three leaves into the pamphlet, (for I defer the peasantly rudeness, which by the licenser's leave I met with afterwards) my fatisfaction came in abundantly, that it could be nothing why he durft not name himself, but the guilt of his own wretchedness. For first, not to speak of his abrupt and bald beginning, his very first page notoriously bewraya him an illiterate and arrogant presumer in that which he understands not, bearing us in hand as if he knew both Greek and Hebrew, and is not able to fpell it; which had he been, it had been either written as it ought, or scored upon the printer. If it be excused as the carelessness of his deputy, beit known, the learned author hims felf is inventoried, and summed up to the utmost value of his livery-cloak. Whoever he be, though this to some may seem a flight content, I shall yet continue to think that man full of other secret injustice, and deceitful pride, who thall offer in public to assume the skill though it be but of a tongue which he hath not, and would catch his readers to believe of his ability, that which is not in him. The licenser indeed, as his authority now stands, may license much; but if these Greek orthographies were of his licensing, the boys at school might reckon with him at his grammar. Nor did I find this his want of the pretended languages alone, but accompanied with such a low and homespun expression of his mother English all along, without joint or frame, as made me, ere I knew further of him, often stop and conclude, that this author could for certain be no other than fome mechanic. Nor was the style flat and rude, and the matter graveand solid, for then there had been pardon; but fo thallow and so unwary was that also, as gave sufficiently the character of a grofs and sluggish, yet acontentious and overweening pretender. For first, it behoving him to show, as he promises, what divorce is, and what the true Doctrine and Discipline thereof, and this being to do by such principles and proofs as are received on both sides, he performs neither of these; but lhows it first from the judaical practice, which he himself disallows, and next from the practice of canon law, which the book he would confute utterly rejects, and all laws depending thereon; which this puny clerk calls“ the Laws of England," and yet pronounceth them by an ecclefiaftical judge: as if that were to be accounted the law of England which dependeth on the popery of England; or if it were, this parliament he might know hath now damned that judicature. So that whether his meaning were to inform his own party, or to confute his adversary, inftead of howing us the true Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, he shows us nothing but his own contemptible ignorance. For what is the Mosaic law to his opinion? And what is the canon, now utterly antiquated, either to that, or to mine? Ye see already what à faithful definier we have him. From such a wind-egg of definition as this, they who expect any of his other arguments to be well hatched, let them enjoy the virtue of their worthy champion. But one thing more I observed, a fingular note of 'his ftupidity, and that his trade is not to meddle with books, much less with eonfutations; whenas the “ Docirine' of Divorce” had now a whole year been published the second time, with many arguments added, and the former ones bettered and confirmed, this idle pamphlet comes reeling forth against the first edition only; as may appear to any by the pages quoted : which put me in mind of what by chance I had notice of to this purpose the last fummer, as nothing so serious but happens ofttimes to be attended with a ridiculous accident: it was then told me, that the « Doctrine of Divorce" was answered, and the answer half printed against the first edition, not by one, but by a pack of heads; of whom the chief, by circumstance, was intimated to me, and since ratified to be no other, if any can hold laughter, and I am sure none will guess him lower than an actual serving-man. This creature, for the ftory muft on, (and what though he be the lowest person of an interlude, he may delerve a canvasling) transplanted himself, and to tire improvement of his wages, and your better notice of his capacity, turned folicitor. And having conversed much with a ftripling divine or two of those newly-fledged probationers, that R2
usually usually come scouting from the university, and lie here no lame legers to pop into tbe Bethesda of some knight's chaplainship, where they bring grace to his good cheer, but no peace or benediction elle to his house; these made the cham-party, he contributed the law, and both joined in the divinity. Which made me intend following the advice also of friends, to lay aside the thought of mispending a reply to the buz of such a drone's neft. But finding that it lay, whatever was the matter, half a year after unfinished in the press, and hearing for certain that adivine of note, out of his good-will to the opinion, had taken it into his revise, and something had put out, something put in, and stuck it here and there with a clove of his own calligraphy, to keep it from tainting: and farther, when I saw the stuff, though very coarfe and threadbare, garnished and trimly faced with the commendations of a licenfer, I resolved, so soon as leisure granted me the recreation, that my man of law should not altogether lose his foliciting. Although I impute a share of the making to him whose name I find in the approbation, who may take, as his mind serves him, this reply. In the mean while it shall be seen, I refuse no occasion, and avoid no adversary, either to maintain what I have begun, or to give it up for better reason.
To begin then with the licenser and his censure. For a licenser is not contented now to give his fingle Imprimatur, but brings his chair into the title-leaf; there fits and judges up, or judges down, what book he pleases: if this be suffered, what worthless author, or what cunning printer will not be ambitious of such a stale to put off the heaviest gear; which may in time bring in round fees to the licenser, and wretched misleading to the people? But to the matter: he“ approves the publishing of this book, to preserve the strength and honour of marriage against those sad breaches and dangerous abuses of it.” Belike then the wrongful suffering of all those fad breaches and abuses in marriage to a remediless thraldom is the strength and honour of marriage; a boisterous and bestialstrength, adishonourable honour, an infatuated doctrine, whose than the Salvo jure of tyrannizing, which we all fight against. Next he faith, that “common dif