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stand, she is like to be towards the whole body of people in England. Now that it may appear how fhe is not fuch a kind of evil, as hath any good or ufe in it, which many evils have, but a diftilled quinteffence, a pure elixir of mischief, peftilent alike to all; I fhall fhow brietly, ere I conclude, that the prelates, as they are to the fubjects a calamity, fo are they the greatest underminers and betrayers of the monarch, to whom they feem to be most favourable. I cannot better liken the flate and person of a king than to that mighty Nazarite Samfon; who being difciplined from his birth in the precepts and the practice of temperance and fobriety, without the ftrong drink of injurious and exceffive defires, grows up to a noble ftrength and perfection with thofe his illuftrious and funny locks, the laws, waving and curling about his godlike fhoulders. And while he keeps them about him undiminished and unfhorn, he may with the jawbone of an afs, that is, with the word of his meaneft officer, fupprefs and put to confufion thousands of those that rife against his juft power. But laying down his head among the ftrumpet flatteries of prelates, while he fleeps and thinks no harm, they wickedly fhaving off all those bright and weighty treffes of his laws, and juft prerogatives, which were his ornament and ftrength, deliver him over to indirect and violent counfels, which, as thofe Philiftines, put out the fair and far-fighted eyes of his natural difcerning, and make him grind in the prifonhouse of their finifter ends and practices upon him: till he, knowing this prelatical rafor to. have bereft him of his wonted might, nourish again his puiffant hair, the golden beams of law and right: and they fiernly fhook, thunder with ruin upon the heads of thofe his evil counsellors, but not without great affliction to himself. This is the fum of their loyal fervice to kings; yet these are the men that still cry, The king, the king, the Lord's anointed. We grant it, and wonder how they came to light upon any thing fo true; and wonder more, if kings be the Lord's anointed, how they dare thus oil over and belmear fo holy an unction with the corrupt and putrid ointment of their bafe flatteries; which, while they fmooth the fkin, ftrike inward and envenom the lifeblood.
What fidelity kings can expect from prelates, both examples paft, and our prefent experience of their doings at this day, whereon is grounded all that hath been faid, may fuffice to inform us. And if they be fuch clippers of regal power, and fhavers of the laws, how they ftand affected to the lawgiving parliament, yourselves, worthy peers and commons, can beft teftify; the current of whofe glorious and immortal actions hath been only oppofed by the obfcure and pernicious defigns of the prelates, until their infolence broke out to fuch a bold affront, as hath juftly immured their haughty locks within firong walls, Nor have they done any thing of late with more diligence, than to hinder or break the happy affembling of parliaments, however needful to repair the fhattered and disjointed frame of the commonwealth; or if they cannot do this, to crofs, to difenable, and traduce all parliamentary proceedings. And this, if nothing elfe, plainly accufes them to be no lawful members of the houfe, if they thus perpetually mutiny against their own body. And though they pretend, like Solomon's harlot, that they have right thereto, by the fame judgment that Solomon gave, it cannot belong to them, whenas it is not only their affent, but their endeavour continually to divide parliaments in twain; and not only by dividing, but by all other means to abolish and destroy the free use of them to all posterity. For the which, and for all their former misdeeds, whereof this book and many volumes more cannot contain the moiety, I fhall move ye, lords, in the behalf I dare fay of many thousand good chriftians, to let your juftice and fpeedy fentence pafs againft this great malefactor prelaty. And yet in the midft of rigour I would befeech ye to think of mercy; and fuch a mercy, (I fear I fhall overfhoot with a defire to fave this falling prelaty,) fuch a mercy (if I may venture to fay it) as may exceed that which for only ten righteous perfons would have faved Sodom, Not that I dare advise ye to contend with God, whether he or you fhall be more merciful, but in your wife efteems to balance the offences of thofe peccant cities with thefe enormous riots of ungodly mifrule, that prelaty hath wrought both in the church of Chrift, and in the ftate of this kingdom. And
if ye think ye may with a pious prefumption strive to go beyond God in mercy, I fhall not be one now that would diffuade ye. Though God for lefs than ten juft perfons would not spare Sodom, yet if you can find, after due fearch, but only one good thing in prelaty, either to religion or civil government, to king or parliament, to prince or people, to law, liberty, wealth, or learning, fpare her, let her live, let her fpread among ye, till with her shadow all your dignities and honours, and all the glory of the land be darkened and obfcured. But on the contrary, if she be found to be malignant, hoftile, destructive to all these, as nothing can be furer, then let your fevere and impartial doom imitate the divine vengeance; rain down your punishing force upon this godlefs and oppreffing government, and bring fuch a dead fea of fubverfion upon her, that she may never in this land rife more to afflict the holy reformed church, and the elect people of God.
THE REMONS TRANT'S DEFENCE
LTHOUGH it be a certain truth, that they who undertake a religious caufe need not care to be men-pleafers; yet because the fatisfaction of tender and mild confciences is far different from that which is called men-pleafing; to fatisfy fuch, I fhall address myself in few words to give notice beforehand of fomething in this book, which to fome men perhaps may feem offenfive, that when I have rendered a lawful reafon of what is done, I may trust to have faved the labour of defending or excufing hereafter. We all know that in private or perfonal injuries, yea in public fufferings for the caufe of Chrift, his rule and example teaches us to be fo far from a readiness to speak evil, as not to answer the reviler in his language, though never fo much provoked: yet in the detecting, and convincing of any notorious enemy to truth and his country's peace, efpecially that is conceited to have a voluble and fmart fluence of tongue, and in the vain confidence of that, and out of a more tenacious cling to worldly respects, ftands up for all the reft to juftify a long ufurpation and convicted pfeudepifcopy of prelates, with all their ceremonies, liturgies, and tyrannies, which God and man are now ready to explode and hifs out of the land; I fuppofe, and
more than fuppofe, it will be nothing disagreeing from christian meeknefs, to handle fuch a one in a rougher accent, and to fend home his haughtiness well befpurted with his own holy-water. Nor to do thus are we unautoritied either from the moral precept of Solomon, to anfwer him thereafter that prides him in his folly; nor from the example of Chrift, and all his followers in all ages, who, in the refuting of those that refifted found doctrine, and by fubtile diffimulations corrupted the minds of men, have wrought up their zealous fouls into fuch vehemencies, as nothing could be more killingly fpoken: for who can be a greater enemy to mankind, who a more dangerous deceiver, than he who, defending a traditional corruption, ufes no common arts, but with a wily ftratagem of yielding to the time a greater part of his caufe, feeming to forego all that man's invention hath done therein, and driven from much of his hold in fcripture; yet leaving it hanging by a twined thread, not from divine command, but from apoftolical prudence or affent; as if he had the furety of fome rolling trench, creeps up by this mean to his relinquifhed fortrefs of divine authority again, and ftill hovering between the confines of that which he dares not be openly, and that which he will not be fincerely, trains on the easy chriftian infenfibly within the clofe ambushment of worst errours, and with a fly fhuffle of counterfeit principles, chopping and changing till he have gleaned all the good ones out of their minds, leaves them at laft, after a flight resemblance of fweeping and garnishing, under the fevenfold poffeffion of a defperate ftupidity? And therefore they that love the fouls of men, which is the dearest love, and ftirs up the nobleft jealoufy, when they meet with fuch collufion, cannot be blamed though they be tranfported with the zeal of truth to a well heated fervency; efpecially, feeing they which thus offend againft the fouls of their brethren, do it with delight to their great gain, eafe, and advancement in this world; but they that feek to difcover and oppofe their falle trade of deceiving, do it not without a fad and unwilling anger, not without many hazards; but without all private and perfonal