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above his own genuine.baseness; and gives sentence that his confuting hath been employed about a frothy, immeritous, and undeferving difcourfe. Who could have believed fo much infolence durft vent itself from out the hide of a varlet, as thus to cenfure that which men of mature judgment have applauded to be writ from good reafon? But this contents him not, he falls now to rave in his barbarous abufiveness; and why? a reafon befitting fuch an antificer, because he faith the book is contrary to all human learning; whenas the world knows, that all both human and divine learning, till the canon law, allowed divorce by confent, and for many caufes without confent. Next, he dooms it as contrary to truth; whenas it hath been difputable among learned men, ever fince it was prohibited and is by Peter Martyr thought an opinion not impious, but hard to be refuted; and by Erafmus deemed a doctrine fo charitable and pious, as, if it cannot be used, were to be wished it could; but is by Martin Bucer; a man of dearest and most religious me mory in the church, taught and maintained to be either moft lawfully used, or moft lawfully permitted. And for this, for I affirm no more than Bucer, what cenfure do you think, readers, he hath condemned the book to? To a death no lefs impious than to be burnt by the hang man. Mr. Licenfer, (for I deal not now with this caitiff, never worth my earneft, and now not feasonable for my jeft,) you are reputed a man difcreet enough, religious enough, honeft enough, that is, to an ordinary competence in all thefe. But now your turn is, to hear what your own hand hath earned ye; that when you fuffered this nameless hangman to caft into public fuch a defpiteful contumely upon a name and perfon deferving of the church and ftate equally to yourfelf; and one who hath done more to the prefent advancement of your own tribe, than you or many of them have done for themfelves; you forgot to be either honeft, religious, or difcreet. Whatever the ftate might do concerning it, fuppofed a matter to expect evil from, I fhould not doubt to meet among them with wife, and honourable, and knowing men: but as to this brute libel, fo much the more impudent
impudent and lawless for the abused authority which it: hears; I fay again, that I abominate the cenfure of rafcals and their licenfers.
With difficulty I return to what remains of this ignoble task, for the difdain I have to change a period. more with the filth and venom of this gourmand, fwelled into a confuter; yet for the fatisfaction of others I endure all this.
Against the feventh argument, that if the canon law and divines allow divorce for confpiracy of death, they may as well allow it to avoid the fame confequence from the likelihood of natural causes.
First, he denies that the canon fo decrees.
I anfwer, that it decrees for danger of life, as much as for adultery, Decret. Gregor. 1. 4, tit. 19, and in other places: and the best civilians, who cite the canon law, fo collect, as Schneidewin in Inftit. tit. 10, p. 4, deDivort. And indeed, who would have denied it, but one of a reprobate ignorance in all he meddles with?
Secondly, he faith the cafe alters; for there the offender, "who seeks the life, doth implicitly at least act a divorce."
And I answer, that here nature, though no offender, doth the fame. But if an offender, by acting a divorce, fhall release the offended, this is an ample grant against himself. He faith, nature teaches to fave life from one who feeks it. And I fay, the teaches no less to save it from any other cause that endangers it. He faith, that here they are both actors. Admit they were, it would not be uncharitable to part them; yet fometimes they are not both actors, but the one of them moft lamentedly paffive. So he concludes, we must not take advantage of our own faults and corruptions to releafe us from our duties. But fhall we take no advantage to fave ourselves from the faults of another, who hath annulled his right -to our duty? No, fays he, "let them die of the fullens, and try who will pity them." Barbarian, the fhame of all honeft attorneys! why do they not hoife him over the bar and blanket him?
Against the eighth argument, that they who are desti
tute of all marriageable gifts, except a body not plainly unfit, have not the calling to marry, and confequently married and fo found, may be divorced: this, he faith, is nothing to the purpose, and not fit to be answered. I leave it therefore to the judgment of his masters.
Against the ninth argument, that marriage is a human fociety, and fo chiefly feated in agreement and unity of mind if therefore the mind cannot have that due fociety by marriage, that it may reasonably and humanly defire, it can be no human fociety, and fo not without reafon divorcible here he falfifies, and turns what the position required of a reasonable agreement in the main matters of fociety into an agreement in all things, which makes the opinion not mine, and fo he leaves it.
At laft, and in good hour, we are come to his farewell, which is to be a concluding taste of his jabberment in law, the flashieft and the fuftieft that ever corrupted in fuch an unfwilled hogthead.
Againft my tenth argument, as he calls it, but as I intended it, my other pofition, "That divorce is not a thing determinable by a compulsive law, for that all law is for fome good that may be frequently attained without the admixture of a worfe inconvenience: but the law forbidding divorce never attains to any good end of fuch prohibition, but rather multiplies evil; therefore the prohibition of divorce is no good law." Now for his attorney's prize; but first, like a right cunning and sturdy logician, he denies my argument, not mattering whether in the major or minor: and faith, "there are many laws made for good, and yet that good is not attained, through the defaults of the party, but a greater inconvenience follows."
But I reply, that this anfwer builds upon a fhallow foundation, and moft unjuftly fuppofes every one in default, who feeks divorce from the moft injurious wedlock. The default therefore will be found in the law itfelf; which is neither able to punish the offender, but the innocent muft withal fuffer; nor can right the innocent in what is chiefly fought, the obtainment of love or quietnefs. His inftances out of the common law are all
fo quite beside the matter which he would prove, as may be a warning to all clients how they venture their bufinefs with fuch a cockbrained folicitor. For being to show fome law of England, attaining to no good end, and yet through no default of the party, who is thereby debarred all remedy, he shows us only how fome do lofe the benefit of good laws through their own default. His first example faith, "it is a juft law that every one shall peaceably enjoy his eftate in lands or otherwife." Does this law attain to no good end? The bar will blush at this moft incogitant woodcock. But fee if a draught of Littleton will recover him to his fenfes. "If this man, having fee fimple in his lands, yet will take a leafe of his own lands from another, this fhall be an estopple to him in an affizë from the recovering of his own land."
Mark now and regifter him! How many are there of ten thousand who have fuch a fee fimple in their fconce, as to take a lease of their own lands from another? So that this inconvenience lights upon fcarce one in an age, and by his own default; and the law of enjoying each man his own is good to all others. But on the contrary, this prohibition of divorce is good to none, and brings inconvenience to numbers, who lie under intolerable grievances without their own default, through the wickedness or folly of another; and all this iniquity the law remedies not, but in a manner maintains. His other cafes are directly to the fame purpose, and might have been spared, but that he is a tradefman of the law, and must be borne with at his first setting up, to lay forth his beft ware, which is only gibberish.
I have now done that, which for many eaufes I might have thought could not likely have been my fortune, to be put to this underwork of féouring and unrubbishing the low and fordid ignorance of fuch a prefumptuous Hozel. Yet Hercules had the labour once impofed upon him to carry dung out of the Augean ftable. At any hand I would be rid of him: for I had rather, fince the life of man is likened to a fcene, that all my entrances and exits might mix with fuch perfons only, whofe worth erects them and their actions to a grave and tragic deportment,
deportment, and not to have to do with clowns and vices. But if a man cannot peaceably walk into the world, but muft be infefted; fometimes at his face with dorrs and horfeflies, fometimes beneath with bawling whippets and fhin barkers, and these to be fet on by plot and confultation with a junto of clergymen and licenfers, commended alfo and rejoiced in by those whofe partiality cannot yet forgo old papiftical principles; have I not caufe to be in fuch a manner defenfive, as may procure me freedom to pafs more unmolefted hereafter by thofe encumbrances, not fo much regarded for themfelves, as for those who incite them? And what defence can properly be used in fuch a despicable encounter as this, but either the flap or the fpurn? If they can afford me none but a ridiculous adverfary, the blame belongs not to me, though the whole difpute be ftrewed and fcattered with ridiculous. And if he have fuch an ambition to know no better who are his mates, but among those needy thoughts, which, though his two faculties of ferving-man and folicitor fhould compound into one mongrel, would be but thin and meagre, if in this penury of foul he can be poffible to have the luftinefs to think of fame, let him but fend me how he calls himself, and I may chance not fail to indorse him on the backfide of pofterity, not a golden, but a brazen afs. Since my fate extorts from me a talent of fport, which I had thought to hide in a napkin, he shall be my Batrachomuomachia, my Bavius, my Calandrino, the common adagy of ignorance and overweening: nay, perhaps, as the provocation may be, I may be driven to curl up this gliding profe into a rough fotadic, that shall rhyme him into fuch a condition, as instead of judging good books to be burnt by the executioner, he shall be readier to be his own hangman. Thus much to this nuifance.
But as for the subject itself, which I have writ and now defend, according as the oppofition bears; if any man equal to the matter shall think it appertains him to take in hand this controverfy, either excepting against aught written, or perfuaded he can fhow better how this queftion, of fuch moment to be throughly known, may receive a true determination, not leaning on the old and