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truth, be published and republished, though against the received opinion of that church, and mine containing but the fame thing, fhall in a time of reformation, a time of free speaking, free writing, not find a permiffion to the prefs; I refer me to wifeft men, whether truth be fuffered to be truth, or liberty to be liberty now among us, and be not again in danger of new fetters and captivity after all our hopes and labours loft: and whether learning be not (which our enemies too prophetically feared) in the way to be trodden down again by ignorance. Whereof while time is, out of the faith owing to God and my country, I bid this kingdom beware; and doubt not but God who hath dignified this parliament already to fo many glorious degrees, will also give them (which is a fingular bleffing) to inform themfelves rightly in the midst of an unprincipled age, and to prevent this working myftery of ignorance and ecclefiaftical thraldom, which under new fhapes and difguifes begins afrefh to grow upon us.
The four chief places in Scripture which treat of Marriage, or Nullities in Marriage.
GEN. I, 27, 28, compared and explained by Gen.ii, 18, 23, 24.
On DEUT. XXIV, 1, 2.
MATT. V, 31, 32, with Matt. xix, from ver. 3, to II,
Wherein the Doctrine and Difcipline of Divorce, as was lately published, is confirmed by explanation of fcripture, by teftimony of ancient fathers, of civil laws in the primitive church, of famouseft reformed divines; and laftly, by an intended act of the parliament and church of England in the last year of Edward the Sixth. Σκαιοῖσι καινὰ προσφέρων σοφά
Δόξεις ἀχρεῖς, καὶ σοφὸς πεφυκέναι·
Κρείσσων νομισθεὶς ἐν πόλει, λυπρὸς φανῇ.
TO THE PARLIAMENT.
THAT which I knew to be the part of a good magiftrate, aiming at true liberty through the right information of religious and civil life, and that which I faw, and was partaker of, your vows and folemn covenants, parliament of England! your actions alfo manifeftly tending to exalt the truth, and to deprefs the tyranny of errour and ill cufiom, with more conftancy and prowess than ever yet any, fince that parliament which put the first fceptre of this kingdom into his hand whom God and extraordinary virtue made their monarch; were the
causes that moved me, one else not placing much in the eminence of a dedication, to prefent your high notice with a difcourfe, confcious to itself of nothing more than of diligence, and firm affection to the public good. And that ye took it fo as wife and impartial men, obtaining fo great power and dignity, are wont to accept, in matters both doubtful and important, what they think offered them well meant, and from a rational ability, I had no less than to perfuade me. And on that perfuafion am returned, as to a famous and free port, myself alfo bound by more than a maritime law, to expofe as freely what fraughtage I conceive to bring of no trifles. For although it be generally known, how and by whom ye have been inftigated to a hard cenfure of that former book, entitled, "The Doctrine and Difcipline of Divorce," an opinion held by fome of the best among reformed writers without fcandal or confutement, though now thought new and dangerous by fome of our fevere Gnoftics, whofe little reading, and lefs meditating, holds ever with hardest obftinacy that which it took up with eafieft credulity; I do not find yet that aught, for the furious incitements which have been used, hath iffued by your appointment, that might give the leaft interruption or difrepute either to the author, or to the book. Which he who will be better advised than to call your neglect or connivance at a thing imagined fo perilous, can attribute it to nothing more juftly, than to the deep and quiet ftream of your direct and calm deliberations, that gave not way either to the fervent rafhnefs, or the immaterial gravity of those who ceafed not to exasperate without caufe. For which uprightnefs and incorrupt refufal of what ye were incenfed to, lords and commons! (though it were done to juftice, not to me, and was a peculiar demonftration how far your ways are different from the rafh vulgar) besides thofe allegiances of oath and duty, which are my public debt to your public labours, I have yet a ftore of gratitude laid up, which cannot be exhaufted; and fuch thanks perhaps they may live to be, as fhall more than whisper to the next ages. Yet that the author may be known to ground himself upon his own innocence, and the merit of his caufe, not upon
the favour of a diverfion, or a delay to any juft cenfure, but wishes rather he might fee thofe his detractors at any fair meeting, as learned debatements are privileged with a due freedom under equal moderators; I fhall here briefly fingle one of them (because he hath obliged me to it) who I perfwade me having fcarce read the book, nor knowing him who writ it, or at leaft feigning the latter, hath not forborn to fcandalize him, unconferred with, unadmonished, undealt with by any paftorly or brotherly convincement, in the moft open and invective manner, and at the most bitter opportunity that drift or fet defign could have invented. And this, when as the canon law, though commonly moft favouring the boldness of their priefis, punishes the naming or traducing of any perfon in the pulpit, was by him made no fcruple. If I fhall therefore take licence by the right of nature, and 'that liberty wherein I was born, to defend myself publicly against a printed calumny, and do willingly appeal to thofe judges to whom I am accufed, it can be no immoderate or unallowable course of seeking fo just and needful reparations. Which I had done long fince, had not thofe employments, which are now vifible, deferred me. It was preached before ye, lords and commons! in Auguft laft upon a fpecial day of humiliation, that "there was a wicked book abroad," and ye were taxed of fin that it was yet "uncenfured, the book deferving to be burnt;" and "impudence" alfo was charged upon the author, who durft "fet his name to it, and dedicate it to yourselves!" Firft, lords and commons! I pray to that God, before whom ye then were proftrate, so to forgive ye those omiffions and trefpaffes, which ye defire moft fhould find forgivenefs, as I fhall foon fhow to the world how eafily ye abfolve your felves of that which this man calls your fin, and is indeed your wifdom, and your noblenefs, whereof to this day ye have done well not to repent. He terms it "a wicked book," and why but "for allowing other caufes of divorce, than Chrift and his apoftles mention?" and with the fame cenfure condemns of wickednefs not only Martin Bucer, that elect inftrument of reformation, highly honoured, and had in reverence by Edward the Sixth, and his whole VOL. II, parliament
parliament, whom alfo I had published in English by a good providence, about a week before this calumnious digreffion was preached; fo that if he knew not Bucer then, as he ought to have known, he might at least have known him fome months after, ere the fermon came in print; wherein notwithstanding he perfifts in his former fentence, and condemns again of wickednefs, either ignorantly or wilfully, not only Martin Bucer, and all the choiceft and holiest of our reformers, but the whole parliament and church of England in those best and pureft times of Edward the Sixth. All which I fhall prove with good evidence, at the end of these explanations. And then let it be judged and feriously confidered with what hope the affairs of our religion are committed to one among others, who hath now only left him which of the twain he will choofe, whether this fhall be his palpable ignorance, or the fame wickedness of his own book, which he fo lavishly imputes to the writings of other men: and whether this of his, that thus peremptorily defames and attaints of wickednefs unspotted churches, unblemished parliaments, and the most eminent reftorers of chriftian doctrine, deferve not to be burnt firft. And if his heat had burst out only against the opinion, his wonted paffion had no doubt been filently borne with wonted patience. But fince, against the charity of that folemn place and meeting, it ferved him further to inveigh opprobrioufly againft the perfon, branding him with no lefs than impudence, only for fetting his name to what he had written; I muft be excufed not to be fo wanting to the defence of an honest name, or to the reputation of thofe good men who afford me their fociety, but to be fenfible of fuch a foul endeayoured difgrace: not knowing aught either in mine own deferts, or the laws of this land, why I fhould be fubject, in fuch a notorious and illegal manner, to the intemperances of this man's preaching choler. And indeed to be fo prompt and ready in the midft of his humbleneis, to tofs reproaches of this bulk and fize, argues as if they were the weapons of his exercife, I am fure not of his miniftry, or of that day's work. Certainly to fubfcribe my name at what I was to own, was what the