To the Ingenuous READER.
WHEN it was but noysed abroad, after my returne from my last imprisonment, that I was writing a∣gainst Independency, it would exceed beliefe if. I should relate the indignation of all that party, and their severall expressions of the same against me, so that at that time there were no lesse nor fewer ignominious calumnies cast upon mee, nor more variety of viru∣lent censures given out against me, then were uttered by them all to my disparagement, upon the late comming forth, but of the Title and Frontispice of the ensuing Discourse, many of them affirming, that I was a vaine glorious wicked fellow, that I was mad, that I was a base rogue, and that I deserved hanging, and that I would never be quiet till I were hanged, with innumerable other unchristian expression of like nature. So that it seems, it is a grea∣ter piaculum by farre now to write against the Independents and Sectaries then scandalum magnatum was a few yeares since.
Truly at that time, I could scarce passe by any of them (as I cannot at this day) without some contumely or other, all which I beare with patience. And amongst others, I could never meet my Brother Burton, but he would alwayes after his salutation, in a deriding and scornefull manner, aske me, when my Book came forth, telling me that he expected some Monster.
It seemes, he thought I was bringing forth such a prodigious brat as he not long after laid at my doore, which though it were a Monster indeed borne with teeth and nayles, and did nothing but scratch and bite me, yet comming from his loynes my Brother Page [unnumbered] and quondam Fellow-sufferer, I gave it entertainment, and for the love I beare to him, I have ever since danled it upon the knee of my election: Now as soone as I had satisfied his expectation, and sent him my Booke so long looked for, he very liberally expressed his thankes for it, and his opinion concerning both it and my selfe, and that with many opprobrious words; amidst others he asserted, I was crased in my braine, and that I had need of some hellebore, and spake of me as an Apostate and a Persecutor, who before he new my differing opinion from him, both prayed for me, and immoderately praysed me, such is the uncertainty of all that is un∣der the Sunne, there being no stability in any creature; and with∣all, hee triumphed that he would give me a speedy answer, making nothing of what I had written (as it is usuall with all the Inde∣pendents to vilipend and slight whatsoever the Presbyterians ei∣ther speake or write) and meeting with an other Independent not many dayes after, he told me that there were twenty pens at worke against me, and that I should have my hands full. And how∣soever it was some moneths before I heard from any of them in print, yet all that interim they whetted their tongues against me like so many Razors, Swords and Arrows to wound me in my reputation; yea, there was scarce a weapon in all the arsenall of calumny that they used not against me.
Now after some moneths one Hanserdo Knollys comming to me, told me he had writ a moderate Answer unto my Booke, com∣playning that the Presses were all shut against them (though the whole Kingdome know, and their daily scriblings in print can witnesse the contrary; whereupon, to take away (if it were possible) all occasion of their calumnious tongues, I writ unto Reverend and Learned Master Cranford, intreating him that hee would for the stopping of all their mouths license his Booke, which he willingly, to pleasure me condescended unto, giving his reason withall in writing under his owne hand why he made such a trans∣gression, the which Master Knollys concealed, wherein he dealt not candidly, for it gave great occasion to the Sectaries to traduce Master Cranford not a little. And after this was printed, came forth an other Pamphlet by one I. S. called Flagellum Flagolli, or Doctor Bastwicks quarters beaten up, which was the cause of the Title and Inscription of this Booke; and I being not many weeks after at Westminster, some asking me there why I had not yet re∣plyedPage [unnumbered]unto them, I answered not in a triumphing manner (as my bro∣ther Burton relateth) but merrily, yet in respectful terms, that I un∣derstood my Brother Burtons Booke was comming forth against me, and when once that appeared I would answer them altogether. This is all as I remember was spake by me.
Now they having their Emissaries and Lisners in all corners, it seemes some of them over-heard that which was spoken by me, which they related to my Brother Burton in other language then I uttered it, the which provoked him a fresh (as he saith, page 1.) in ar•nam descendere, and to take both my bookes in hand, and so una fidelia duos parietes; and although he was disswaded from fowling his fingers with my Post-script (as hee confesseth) yet being (as hee saith) bound by a double ingagement, the one for the cause, the other for his person, he hasted at length as fast as be∣fore hee was slow to give me an answer to them both; and howsoe∣ver I had not so much as named him in either of my Bookes, but onely sent him them (he having desired it) yet he being not ca∣pable of the good counsell that was given him by his friend, fouled not only his fingers with me, but the whole man, soule and body, picking a groundlesse quarrell with me, telling me though I na∣med him not, that I had vellicated him, and pluckt him by the very beard; and as the Prelate of Canterbury said once, that when I writ against the Pope I meant him; so my Brother Burton imagined I meant him, because in my Post-script, pag. 44. I had these words, that not onely the Novices, Younkers, and Fresh-water souldiers, but grave men in their great white-basket-hilted Beards with their swords in their hands came out to fight against their brethren for their Independency, &c. which merry expression of mine, though I spake in the number of multitude, he applying unto himselfe, affirmes, that I meant him, as if there had beene none amongst the Independent in white-basket-hilted▪beards but himselfe, which moved him to great choler and indignation against mee, and so inraged him, that he sheweth nothing but passion through his whole Booke (as will easily appeare to every one that readeth it) in the which he tels mee that the Wise man saith, Prov. 20. ver. 29. & 16. 31. the beauty of old men is their gray head, yea a crown of Glory being found in the way of Righteousnesse, which I shall ever assent unto; but if a gray head be found in the way of error, Schisme and Vnrighteousnesse; then that place is not for his Page [unnumbered] purpose. Now I shall referre these two Questions or Queries to the judgement of all solid Christians.
First, Whether or no my Brother Burton be found in the way of Righteousnesse?
Secondly, Whether Independency be the way of Righteousnesse?
And to begin with the first; in the second page of his Booke he promiseth me, that I shall not find with him so much as a white staffe to lift up against me, and yet in the seventh pag. he comes out against me with Phocions black Hatchet, which is his Pole-axe, with which he fals upon me soule and body, cleaving both my head and heart, sparing no part of me; and in the same se∣cond page he promiseth me that he will answer me in the words of truth and sobernesse, and in the spirit of meeknesse and love.
These are his words; who would not thinke, that should heare him speak, but that he herad the sweet voice of Iacob? yet if hee looke but into his Booke, before he commeth halfe way to the con∣clusion, he will soone see the rough hands of Esau, and well perceive that he answers me in the words of error and passion; and in the spirit of bitternesse, insolency, and hatred, and that he hath learned that Lesson well Calumniare audacter, aliquid haerebit, calumniate boldly, something will sticke, which he hath done with as much acrimony, as I thinke any man ever did against a Bro∣ther, and quondam Fellow-sufferer, all which 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉hard and harsh termes; I can no lesse then spread before the Lord, the Righteous judge ever remembring Regium est male audire cum bene feceris. Now whether or no my Brother Burton in breaking thus his promise with me in all respects, and dealing so unrighte∣ously and injuriously with mee, though he come out in his beauti∣full Gray Head, be found in the way of Righteousnesse, and be one of those men Solomon speaketh of, I referre it to the judgement of the Learned.
But before I passe on to my second Querie, I shall take liberty to make use of some of Reverend and Learned Master Calamies words for the more corroborating the judgement of the Reader concerning this first question: He in his just and necessary Apology against my Brother Burtons unjuct invective concerning Truth shut out of doores, page 2. hath this expression concerning my bro∣ther Burton. His words (saith he) are swords and speares, rather then words. Hee fights with his heeles, rather then with his head, Page [unnumbered] and kicks rather then argues, and whips rather then answers. Scarce any man since Montagues Appeal hath written with more bitterness. I may say of him as Dr Rivet doth of Bishop Montague, Non potest vir ille sine convitiis quenquam a quo dissentit vel in le∣vissimis nominare, Rivet. Apol. this man cannot so much as mention any one from whom he differs in opinion, though it be but in the sligh∣test matters, without reproach. And as Plato said to Diogenes, when hee trode upon the pride of Plato, thou treadest upon my pride with a greater pride: So (saith Master Calamy) doth Mr Burton tread upon me, and whatsoever is blame-worthy in me, with a pride more then episcopall; and surely if to be railed upon and reviled be suf∣ficient to bring a man into discredit, then I must be esteemed as the dung, off▪scouring, and filth of the world, &c.
Thus that learned man truly spake of my brother Burton, whose faculty chiefly lies in abusing most men that differ from him, though but in the least things.
But what Mr Calamy says of him, may also truly be said of Cre∣tensis and all those of that fraternity, whose words are swords and spears, who all fight rather with their heels, then with their heads, and kick rather then argue, and whip rather then answer. Whether therfore such men as my brother Burton and his complices, though they come to us in gray heads, be found in the way of righteousnesse, when their dealings are so palpably unjust, and their opinions so schismaticall, hereticall and erroneous, I leave it to the judge∣ment of all such as know what the way of righteousnesse is.
And now I come to my second quaerie: viz. Whether the way of Independency be the way of righteousnesse?
My brother Burton writing in the name of all the Indepen∣dents, pretends unto the people, and would make the world be∣leeve, that they are all Dependent upon Gods Word for all their proceedings, and affirmes moreover in the fifth page, that all their new gathered Churches and severall Congregations are all Depen∣dent one upon another, both which assertions of his are most false, as will evidently appear to all those that know their practices and will vouchsafe but to read the insuing discourse, where they shall find, that they have neither precept nor president for their way of In∣dependency in all Gods holy Word, and that there is not so much as one example in all the sacred Scriptures for any of their new practi∣ces▪ wherein they differ from us; and which is more that they all ofPage [unnumbered]them withhold the truth from the people in unrighteousnesse: How then can the way of Independency bee the way of righteous∣nesse, when it is a deviation from that way, as by their practices will be evidenced; therefore for the confirmation of what I have now said, I will briefly examine some of their proceedings, and first whereas my brother Burton affirmeth that all their Chur∣ches are Dependent one upon another.
This I say is most false. For all their proceedings in their se∣verall congregations are carryed on in an arbitrary way; whatso∣ever they publish in their writings and pretend to the people (as all the learned and those that are acquainted with their method well know); So that it lies in any one of their Churches breasts, and is at their pleasure, whether they will so much as confer or consult with each other; and if they do at any time vouchsafe one another that courtesie, yet it is stil voluntary whether they will give each other an account of either their censures or proceedings (for they all pretend as absolute a soveraignty and jurisdiction within themselvs severally as any free-states or common-wealths) & have no authority one over another, neither can they appeal for any re∣liefe if wronged, one to or from another: And if any Member in any one of those Churches, or any one of those Churches divided amongst themselvs, or upon some eminent received wrong should fondly complain to another neighbour Church, that Church hath no power to relieve them no more then one private man can re∣lieve another if he should be appealed to by another; And if that Church should desire an account of the other Churches procee∣dings, that Church may refuse it, if it please them. But if to gra∣tifie their desire, that Church should vouchsafe to condescend so far unto the other Church, as to give them a reason of their pro∣ceedings; all this is but gratis, and out of their good nature; they have still no power to call that Church in question that hath done the wrong, if that Church stands upon its points and priviledges, and saith that they have nothing to do with them. And what then is to be done in this case? Then forsooth, they will withdraw com∣munion from that Church, which, say they, is the highest censure any one Church can proceed to against another Church. Is not this, I pray, fine Dependency? What more unrighteous dealing can be found in the world then this of the Independents, to professe themselves Independents, and yet to pretend a Dependency? And Page [unnumbered] when that comes to the tryall, they have no more reall Dependen∣cy one upon another, then we have with them? Yea, what a great unrighteousnesse is this to pretend a Dependency one upon ano∣ther and a communion amongst their new gathered Churches, when it is well known there is no more union and communion, nor true friendship amongst them then was between Herod and Pilate, they refusing the right hand of fellowship each to other in many of them? Yea they are deadly enemies one to another, as can suf∣ficiently be proved (although they all agree together to persecute the Presbyterians, as Herod and Pilate did well accord to perse∣cute Christ); For I my selfe have heard the Independents pro∣test against the Brownists, Anabaptists, Antinomians, and See∣kers, and many other of the new fraternities, proclaming them all Sectaries: And on the other side, I have heard those severall soci∣eties rail against all the Independents, especially those Homothu∣madon dissenting brethren in the reverend Assembly, saying, that they had a better and a more charitable esteem of any of the Pres∣byterian Ministers then of them, and they do unanimously accuse all the Ministers of New-England of as great tyranny as the Pre∣lates: And it is well known, that many of the Independent con∣gregations here amongst us have their different laws and customs, every one of them dissenting more or lesse from each other in their severall new gathered Churches; yea they are ignorant of each o∣thers practices: For my Brother Burton and I. S. know not that the women in some of their congregations have their voices there; and yet it can be proved, that they also have Peters keyes at their girdles as well as any of their Presbyters: And therefore their new Churches are not Dependent one upon another, as my brother Burton asserteth Page the fifth, when as they all of them exercise an absolute soveraignty amongst themselves Independent: What unrighteousnesse then is this in my brother Burton and in all the Independents to affirme that in all their Churches there is a Dependent Independency, or an Independent Dependency, which is but a contradictory bull at best, at the baiting whereof a man, if he regarded not mispending his time, might make far better sport, then he did some years since, in baiting the Popes Bull.
The truth is, as their Religion is but a meer Babell, so all their language is confounded, and they are divided in their opinions,Page [unnumbered]principles and practices, they being all really Independent: And therefore whether the way of Independency be the way of righteous∣nesse, where they are so unrighteous in all their proceedings, and when they say one thing and do and practice another, and when they with∣hold the truth from the people in unrighteousnesse, as all the Indepen∣dent Predicants do, I refer it to the wisdome and judgement of the godly and consciencious Reader. But the unrighteousnesse of their way will yet more perspicuously appear if we but look into some other of their practices, which I shall by and by instance, the very consideration of the which (the better to stirr up thy attenti∣on) makes me boldly to conclude of them all, That whatsoever they pretend and whatsoever shews of seeming holinesse they hold out to the world, they are unsound, root and branch; and neither the godly party, nor the praying people, nor the only Saints, but the most phari∣saicall brood that ever yet appeared in the world, and more injurious to Christ the King of his Church and to his royalty, and to all his holy, faithfull Ministers and Servants, then ever the Pope or any of the Prelaticall party were, and more malicious and treacherous to the Saints, and truly godly and precious ones, and more opposers of all Reformation, then ever the Cavaliers were; and many of them greater enemies to Church and State, and the welfare of both, then either Strafford or the Prelate of Canterbury.
And as for the Independent government, as it is most certain it hath neither precept nor president for it in all Gods holy Word, so it is far more tyrannicall and lordly then that of the Pope or Pre∣lates tending to nothing but an Anarchy and confusion in Church and State: And therefore that they with all their trumperies and desperate practices, with all their unrighteous dealing, ought to be abhorred and abominated, whatsoever seeming sanctimony they make shew of, by all such as truly fear God and wish the peace of Zion and the good of the State and Kingdomes in which they live.
Now they that have a desire to see this charg made good against them, shall find it with the whole impeachment fully proved and made evident in the following discourse.
But in the interim it will not be amisse to produce some few instances more of their practices for the proving of their Indepen∣dency not to be the way of righteousnesse.
If a man but look upon their superlative pride, especially the Page [unnumbered] conceit they all of them have of their own holinesse and san∣ctity we shall find that it exceeds that of the very Scribes and Pharisees, for all the Independents and Sectaries stile themselves the holy people, the godly party, the praying people, the generation of the just, the Saints; yea esteeming the very retrimentitious part of them (to speak in their own dialect) Saints, calling their most blasphemous opinions and practices, the infirmities of the Saints, in the mean time excluding the most godly Presbyterians from those titles, calling them the Antichristian brood, the enemies of Jesus Christ and his Kingdome, the sons of Beliall, and what not? all which dealing with their brethren is not the way of righteous∣nesse: yea in their very prayers to God, they like the Pharisees boast of their own knowledge, slighting and vilifying all their Presby∣terian brethren, disdaining so much as to pray for them; yea in their publike Assemblies, and in their publike prayers they have been heard contemptuously to speak of those in authority asser∣ting that they were not worthy of the prayers of the Saints, and it is well known that many of them will neither publickly nor privately joyn with their Presbyterian brethren in any duty of piety accounting them all as an Antichristian and unsanctified ge∣neration of men, and all this out of a strong and confident per∣swasion of their own holiness & out of an uncharitable opinion of their brethrens impurity, then the which strain of pride, the very Pharisees never exercised a greater; all which practices of theirs sufficiently declare, that the way of Independency is not the way of righteousnesse: for greater unrighteousnesse there cannot be then this, as will by and by appear.
But I will now come to some instances.
Not long since at a great entertainment and festivity on the Lords day, when they were all met together, one of the Homo∣thumadon brethren, a great man amongst them, beginning the duty of the day, in his Prayer before his Sermon, speaking unto God by way of complaint against the Presbyterians, said unto Him with many tears, Lord, they (meaning the Presbyterians) hate us because we know more of thee then they do; but we beseech thee Lord give us still to know more of thee, and let them hate us more, if they will.
But before I come to speak of this their prayer, and of some other passages of their other good prayers, I shall take the liberty Page [unnumbered] here to say something of the difference between these mens practices, and the old Puritans of ENGLAND; and so much the rather I do it, because they would perswade the world that there is little difference between them and the old Puritans; yea one of their Itinerary Predicants not long since preaching in a publike Assembly, affirmed that there was no other difference between the Independents at this day and the old Puritans of ENGLAND but that the Independents were over-grown Puritans; which I conceive, he meant in this sense, that the Independents outstrip∣ped them in all duties of piety and charity, and in all comely, seemly, orderly, and temperate walking in an unblameable con∣versation before God and men: This, I say, I conceive to be his meaning by the word overgrown: for I would not willingly put a worse interpretation upon his expression, and understand by o∣vergrown, that he meant they were become monstrous (Which notwithstanding too too many of them are); therefore if his words be taken in the better sense, by overgrown he understands that the Independents have attained unto a higher degree of perfecti∣on then ever the old Puritans had attained unto, and that they now walke more closely in the way of righteousnesse then ever they did.
I will first therefore set down some of the practices of the old Puritans, with the paths and wayes of righteous∣nesse they walked in, omitting many things for brevity sake though worthy of eternall memory and our everlasting imita∣tion.
For the old Puritants of ENGLAND, as those that have read their writings and knew their practices and were familiarly ac∣quainted with them, they can testifie of them, that they were an humble, self-denying people, ever groaning under that burden of the remnant of sin, crying out with the Apostle Paul Rom. 7. Oh wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of death? they never dreamed of a perfect holiness, nor never thought themselves more holy then others; or presumed to call themselves Saints; and if that title had at any time been given unto any of them by such as truly honoured them for their singular graces, you should ever hear them complain of their imperfections, and with the Apostle, Phil. 3. ver. 8, 9. counting all things losse for the ex∣cellent knowledge of Jesus Christ, esteeming all their righteousnessePage [unnumbered]but dung, that they might win Christ and be found in him not ha∣ving their own righteousnesse, &c.
Now they that are acquainted with the Independents doctrine, words, and practices, hear them talk of nothing but of their own sanctity, and of their perfection, saying God can see no sin in them; and although some of them do not professe so much in words, yet in deeds they allow of that doctrine, proclaming themselves to be the only Saints, the holy people, and the godly party, the gene∣ration of the just, and separate from their brethren as impure crea∣tures: Therefore the Independents do not walk in that old way of righteousnesse the old Puritans of ENGLAND walked in, who made no separation in the worst times from the publike As∣semblies, or ever refused to pray with their Christian brethren; and therefore in this point they have not outstripped them nor o∣vergrown them; from which I boldly conclude, that herein that Predicant did abuse the world, in saying that there is no difference between the Independents and the old Puritants of ENGLAND; For the old Puritans were humble, self denying men, and the In∣dependents are pharisaicall boasters of their own holinesse and san∣ctity; and therefore in this, their way is not the way of righteous∣nesse, but a great aberration from it.
Again, the old Puritans of England, though never so learned, and never so sufficiently furnished with all accomplished abilities of divine knowledge, which many of them by their indefatigable pains, study, and industry, and by their prayers unto God night and day, and by their continuall waiting upon the Ordinances, and Gods blessing upon all their endeavours, had attained unto, so that they were taken notice of by all men, both in the Uni∣versities and amongst all the learned, to be incomparable men, many of the which I could name, yet not any one of them ever preached either in publike or private without great study and prayer, yea and without a speciall call; and they alwayes with Saint Paul, exercised their Ministery in fear and much trembling, 1 Cor. 2. ver. 3. saying with him, 2 Cor. 2. 16. Who is sufficient for these things? Those holy and godly Puritans, though transcen∣dently learned, yet were always conversant in all holy duties, e∣specially in preaching and prayer with fear and trembling, think∣ing themselves never sufficiently enough provided for, for those duties. And truly Saint Paul's example is worthy alwaies to be Page [unnumbered] looked upon, who though he were immediately inspired by God himselfe and had alwayes the assistance of his spirit, and ten thou∣sand times more learning then all the Independents put together, yet he preached alwayes with fear and trembling, and cryed out who is sufficient for these things?
Now if we compare the Independents and their Predicants with the old Puritans of England, we shall find the old Puritans al∣waies and in all things imitating the example of holy Paul and the other Apostles in their Ministery, which they had a command to follow, Phil. 3. ver. 17. who intruded not themselves rashly upon the Ministery, as the false Apostles and Seducers usually did, and as all the Independents and Sectaries daily do; they cryed out who is sufficient for these things? and how can any preach except he be sent? Rom. 10. saying No man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as Aaron, Hebr. 2. 4. Those old Puri∣tans were all men of Saint Paul's spirit, they durst do nothing with∣out a call, nothing without great study, nothing without their parch∣ments and books, imitating Saint Paul in this, who would alwaies have his parchments with him (that is his books) bring me my parchments, saith he; they preached not without fear and trem∣bling; this was the continuall practice of the old Puritans, they could never be seen in a Pulpit before they had some dayes pre∣pared themselves by prayer and study; and yet after all this, they would then cry out, Who is sufficient for these things? Whereas all the Independents and Sectaries assert, that every man may preach, and every man of them is sufficient, and many also hold that women may preach; yea and to manifest that they are all sufficient for these things, and for the dispensing of the great mysteries of Heaven, which the very Angels desired to pry into, they run through Town and Country, and wheresoever they come get up into the Pulpits and preach with such impudencie, impiety and blasphemy, as it is not lawfull to name, their very doctrines being so destructive to all piety, goodnesse, and good manners, and Ruffian▪like they go in their hair and apparrel, and so insolent and proud they are, that one would rather take them for Luciferians then Saints; and such un∣beseeming expressions they have in their prayers to God, as would terrifie a truly consciencious and godly man to hear them, as not long since one of them in London publickly speaking unto God in his prayer, said, Right Honorable Lord God, which kind of ex∣pressions Page [unnumbered] as they are blasphemous, so ridiculous exposing Religion and the sacred Ordinances of God to ludibry and derision. But yet this is the dayly practice of the Sectaries through the King∣dome, far different from that of the old Puritans of England, and therefore in this point of fear and reverence, and of an holy awe of Gods divine Majestie and a reverend adoring of the ministe∣ry and mystery of the Gospell, the way of the Independents is not that either of the holy Apostles or of the old Puritans, there being as vast a difference between them, as between light and darknesse; and therefore the way of Independency in this particular also is not the way of righteousnesse, but the way of rebellion and impu∣dency.
Againe, the old Puritans of England had all of them a reverend opinion of all in authority, and did ever beleeve that there was no power but of God, and that all powers were ordained of God, Rom. 13. and they beleeved that every soule ought to be subject to the higher power, and that whosoever resisted the power resisted the Ordinance of God, and for that their Rebellion they should receive to themselves damnation, and they ever believed that every soule ought to be sub∣ject unto authority, not onely for wrath, but also for conscience sake; this was the Doctrine of the old Puritans of England; and their practice in yeelding continuall obedience to them, and pray∣ing for them is knowne to all men; yea, they did acknowledge, that as all power was given unto Jesus Christ in Heaven and Earth, Matth. 28. Psal. 2. so they did beleeve that all power in Church and State was derived from him, as the head of all Prin∣cipalitie and power, who had said, Prov. 8. 15. 16. By me Kings raigne, and Princes decree justice; by me Princes rule and Nobles, yea, all the Iudges of the earth, &c. this doctrine the old Puri∣tans of England had learned and taught and were obedient unto, as having precept upon precept for it, as from the words above quo∣ted out of the thirteenth of the Romans, so out of 1. Pet. chap. 2. verse 13, 14. who said submit your selves to every Ordinance of man for the Lords sake, whether it be to the King as supreme, or unto Governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punish∣ment of evill Doers, and for the prayse of them that doe well; for so is the w•ll of God, that with well doing, yet may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. The old Puritans of England had fully learned this Lesson of obedience to all authority, both civill Page [unnumbered] and Ecclesiasticall, being commanded to obey them that have the rule over them, and to submit themselves unto them, as who wat∣ched over their soules, as those that were to give account, &c. Hebr. 13. 17. and this doctrine they did inculcate incessantly unto the people; and for the government Ecclesi•sticall the old Puritans of England did beleeve it was that Presbyterian Government that is now contended for by all the Presbyterians, as is to be seene at large in the learned Workes of that ever to be honoured Master Cartwright in his disputations against Bishop Whitgift, who for his zeale to that government was called the Father of all the Puri∣tans. They also did beleeve that all government, both Ecclesi∣asticall and Civill, was radically, originally, and inherently in God, and Christ, and from them derived to the Kings, Princes, Nobles and Iudges of the earth, and to all the true Ministers of the Gospel in his Church, who all have their authorities immediatly from God, and by whom alone according to the Holy Scripture they rule and command; they never durst be so blasphemous as to rob God of his honour and glory, and the Kings, Nobles, and Judges of the earth, and the Ministers of the Gospel of their se∣verall powers, saying, that Kings and Nobles, and the Rulers of the earth, and Ministers in Christs Church and Kingdome were the creatures of the people, and that the people were the sove∣raigne Lord, both of Kings, Nobles, Parliaments, and Ministers, and that the authority which they exercised was inherently in the people, and that they might give it and deposite it into whose hands they pleased, and where they lusted, and call any of their Rulers and Governours to an account, and appoint them their times and seasons when they should meet, and tell them what they should doe, and displace them at pleasure as they shall thinke fit; all these Lessons of Blasphemy the old Puritans of England were ignorant of, which learned nescience of theirs is commendable: They had beene better taught from all the Holy Prophets, and blessed Apostles, who both by precept and example have instructed the people of God in all ages to yeeld obedience to those that were Governors over them, as wee may reade through all the Holy Scripture of the Old Testament, where we find what reverence even Father Abraham, the Father of the faithfull, shewed unto all Kings, under whose government he lived in the time of his Peregrination, and where wee reade also what reverence IosephPage [unnumbered] yeelded unto Pharaoh, and how Iacob his Father demeaned him∣selfe with all the Patriarks to Pharaoh, and those that were over them in authority, and how Ieremiah behaved himselfe to the King in his time, and how the three Children and Daniel carried themselves to the very Kings of Babylon, though heathen Prin∣ces, never speaking unto them, nor comming before them but with all reverence, deprecating all evil from them upon all occasi∣ons, & praying for their welfare; yea, Christs example ought to be for our imitation, who opened not his mouth; the same we find in all the Apostles, whensoever they were brought before authority, with what sweetnesse of language they carried themselves to∣wards them, and what reverent expressions they used to all in au∣thority, though never so wicked, when they were brought before them; yea, if they had fayled but in the least expression, how soone they would recall themselves; for when Ananias comman∣ded them that stood by Paul to smite him on the mouth, Act. 23. and he in passion beholding his injustice, said, God shall smite thee thou painted wall, when it was replyed unto him, revilest thou Gods High Priest? Paul stands not upon the justification of his words, but meekly answers, I wist not brethren that it was the High Priest; for it is written (saith he) Exod. 22. 27. thou shalt not speake evill of the Ruler of the people; Paul had learned his Lesson well, and soone recollected himselfe, acknowledging his er∣ror that he had deviated from the rule which is there recorded for all mens imitation in after times to the end of the world, to square their lives and obedience by; they are not by that to speake evill of the Ruler of the people, whether he be Ecclesiasticall or civill; and if they may not speake evill, then they may not resist their autho∣rity, and unihilate their power, which is the extremity of evill and rebellion; yea, all men are forbid so much as in their Bed-cham∣ber to curse or think evil of those in authority; how much more are those then blame▪worthy, that not only think evill, but speak evill; yea, write and publish evill against Kings, Nobles, and Judges of all sorts, both civill and Ecclesiasticall, and divest them all of their authority, speaking evill of Dignities, and assuming the Soveraignty of them all to themselves, & that from God him•elfe, calling them∣selves the soveraigne Lords of them all, giving them Lawes to rule by, and denying them their due reverence in the face of the King∣dome, as lately some of the Independents and Sectari•s have Page [unnumbered] done, both to the House of Lords and Commons? Surely such mens damnation sleeps not, whatsoever they pretend, and how highly soever they carry themselves, and by whom soever in these their evill doings they are supported, backed, and seconded: For Saint Peter in his second Epistle, that knew very well the mind of God concerning such men, in the second chapter saith this of all the wicked, verse 9, 10▪ 11, 12. &c. The Lord knoweth how to de∣liver the Godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgement to be punished, but chiefly them that walke af∣ter the flesh, and despise Dominion and Government, whom hee cals presumptuous, selfe-willed, that are not afraid to speake evill of Dignities, which the very Angels (saith hee) though they were greater in power and might, would not doe against the Devill be∣ing in authority, though it were usurped; but those as naturall brute beasts made to be taken, and destroyed, speake evill of things they understand not, and shall utterly perish in their owne corruption, and shall receive the reward of unrighteousnesse. Here is a fearfull Doome pronounced against all such people as spake evill of Dig∣nities; and Saint Iude likewise in his Epistle seconds Saint Peter, verse 8▪ 9, 10, &c. calling such men as despise authority, and speake evill of Dignities, filthy Dreamers; and compares them to brute beasts, and unto Cain, and unto Balaam, and unto Corah, Da∣than and Abiram, pronouncing woe unto them all, and proclaim∣ing them spots and deformities in all companies and societies, cal∣ling them moreover clouds without water, creatures empty of all goodnesse, trees whose fruit withereth, yea, without fruit, twice dead, here in this world in their sinnes and trespasses, and eternally in the world to come, and as if hee could never have spake enough of such men as despise Dominion, and speake evill of Dignities, hee cals them raging waves of the Sea, foming out their owne shame, wandring stars, to whom is reserved the blacknesse of darkenesse for ever, against whom he saith, the Lord will execute judgement for all their ungodly deeds, and for all their hard speeches, stiling them Murmurers, complayners, whose mouths speak great swelling words, having mens persons in admiration because of advantage, desiring all men to remember the words of the Holy Apostles, and of our Lord Jesus Christ, who fore-told the people of God, that there should be such Mockers in the last times, who should walke after their ungodly lusts, and that they might the better take notice of Page [unnumbered] them and know who these men both Christ and the Apostles spake of, he saith they were such as should separate themselves, sensuall, not having the spirit; he describes them to be an unsanctified race of men, whatsoever seeming holinesse they make a shew of, and such as ought to be avoyded and shunned of all such as desire to please God and avoyd that condemnation that was denounced a∣gainst all such as despised dignities and resisted authority; and even as the Lord by his servants commanded the people to sepa∣rate from the company of Corah, Dathan, and Abiram, and to goe from their tents lest they were involved in the same mise∣ries and calamities that were coming upon them for their rebel∣lion against Moses: so ought all the people that indeed do truly fear God decline the companies and societies of all such as now oppose authority and make themselves the soveraign Lords of the Kings and Rulers and Judges that God hath appointed over them: for surely a greater unrighteousnesse cannot be perpetrated against God, then thus superciliously to trample upon authority, and to despise those that are over them, which is the dayly practice of the Independents and Sectaries; all which unrighteousnesse the old Puritans of England were not guilty of having been better taught; and therefore in this part of duty the Independents are different from the old Puritans of England, who walked not in this way of unrighteousnesse; and therefore the Sactaries have not out∣stripped them in this point of obedience to authority, but they are indeed overgrown, and are become monstrous in their rebelli∣ous practices: Yea, so far they are from reverencing those in au∣thority, as they are grown to that height of pride and unrighte∣ousnesse, as many of them will not so much as pray for the very Parliament or the Assembly either privately or publickly, as can sufficiently be proved by such as are acquainted with them and their practices: for not long since in a great Assembly and Con∣gregation of Independents; one of their Predicants being in pray∣er, after he had put up many petitions and requests in behalfe of their fraternity, thus expressed himself, speaking unto God, Now Lord (saith he) we should come to pray for the Parliament and As∣sembly, but they are not worthy the prayers of the Saints; and so with disdain he passed them by as unworthy of their prayers, then the which what could be spake more wickedly and contrary to the practice of all the old Puritans of England, who in all their prayers Page [unnumbered] and supplications private and publick, ever with tears prayed for all in authority; I affirme that this practice of the Indepen∣dents is not onely one of the highest strains of all unrighteousnesse, and contrary to the practice of all the old Puritans of England, but contrary to all the practice of all the Saints that ever yet lived in the world, and contrary to all the commands of God both in the Old and New Testament. For we have read how earnestly Moses prayed for the rebellious Israelites, wishing himselfe ra∣ther to be blotted out of the book of life then that the Lord should destroy them; and so did Paul wish for his Countrymen the Jews: Samuel also when the people desired him to pray for them, 1 Sam. 12. v. 23. God forbid (saith he) that I should sin a∣gainst the Lord in ceasing to pray for you &c. So that the holy Pro∣phet makes it a sin in either Ministers or people not to pray for their brethren, and especially those in authority: for this was the practice of all the Prophets; the Lord told a heathen King that Abraham his servant should pray for him; yea father Abraham prayed for the very Sodomites, and the Kingdoms in which they dwelt, Gen. 18. And the people of Israel when they were in captivity in Babylon, had a command from God himselfe to pray for the welfare of very Babylon and the Princes of the same; and we have read what supplications Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah put up in behalfe of those heathen Princes under which they lived, as well as for their own Countrymen. And Saint Paul gives it in charge to all Ministers and people, 1 Tim. 2. to pray for all men, ver. 1, 2. I exhort (saith he) that first of all supplications, prayers, and in∣tercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men: For Kings, and all that are in authority, that we may lead a peaceable and quiet life in all godlinesse and honesty: For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour. So that here there is not onely an exhortation to all Christians in generall, but in speciall to Mini∣sters to pray for all men: but primarily for those in authority; and reasons & grounds are also given by the Apostle of incouragement to this duty: viz. because that it is a good and acceptable thing in the sight of God, tending also for the peace, quiet, and tranquillity of them all; and which is more, to all godlinesse, which is the glo∣ry of all peace; and therefore that they ought to pray for those in authority.
And this exhortation of the Apostle, all the old Puritans of Page [unnumbered]England did ever most diligently observe and follow, praying for them that were in authority night and day; whereas the Secta∣ries were never in private heard pray for either King, or Parlia∣ment, or the Scots, or Assembly. How wicked a thing therefore is it in the Independents and Sectaries, and what a part of unrigh∣teousnesse is it in them, dayly to omit this duty, who will neither pray with their brethren nor for them, but separate from all their societies as from a people unholy? yea how impious and rebelli∣ous a thing is it in them, against both God and all authority, to say, and that in a disdainfull manner, even in their publike meet∣ing places and congregations, that neither the Parliament nor As∣sembly are worthy their prayers? yea it is well known and can be proved, that they pray against them and the King himselfe, and that not onely privately, but in their congregations publikely.
Surely if either the Parliament, or Assembly, or the Presbyte∣rians were as bad as the Kings of Babylon, or the persecuting Jews, yet they ought to be prayed for; For we have a command to pray for all men, yea for our enemies, and those that persecute us and revile us; and we have Christs example for it, who said, Father forgive them, they know not what they do, speaking of those that persecuted him, which Saint Stephen imitating, said, Lord lay not this sin to their charge; supplicating likewise for his enemies. And so Saint Paul prayed for all those that forsook him when he appeared before Nero.
Now when the Independents and Sectaries transgresse thus a∣gainst precept upon précept, and against the example of all the ho∣ly Prophets, and Christ himselfe, and his blessed Apostles and Martyrs, and dayly by these their practices fight against God him∣selfe, and are in every thing so unlike the old Puritans of England, it is manifest that they have not outgrown them in this point of duty, and that the way of Independency is not the way of righteousnesse, but the way of error and open rebellion against God; so that those glorious titles they assume unto themselves, of being the onely ho∣ly and praying people, and the Saints, and but the old Puritans of England overgrown, do not belong unto the Independents and Sectaries when they are so like the devill in all their practices: For it is sufficiently known & can be abundantly proved, that many of the Independents & Sectaries wil neither pray with the Presbyterians nor for them, no nor for King and Parliament, nor for the As∣sembly,Page [unnumbered]nor for the Scots; yea if need be, it can be proved, that they have prayed, and that publickly, against them all: yea their dayly Pamphlets witnesse what good affection they have towards them all, whose chiefe imployment it is (except it be now and then by the way of slattery when they coaks the Parliament a little to gain their favour, that by their party in the house they may do the more mischiefe against the Presbyterians); I say, except it be at such a nick of time, the whole imployment of all the Secta∣ries generally is abominably to abuse them and to raile and revile both the House of LORDS and COMMONS and the Assembly, and the Scots, and the City, and for the King they cannot hear of his very name with patience; I can say thus much of them, and men also of good rank and reputation, that I never have heard more reviling speeches in my life against any men then they have utter∣ed in my hearing, and in the audience of many, and that at the Parliament door; affirming openly, that they were more tyranni∣call then either Strafford or the Prelate, and greater persecutors then those of the High Commission Court, and this was the gene∣ral language of all the Sectaries through the Kingdome, within this twelve Moneths, indeed since the recruiting of the House and since by that means they have strengthned their party, and they have of late shewed lesse favour to the Presbytery and the City, they have not been altogether publickly so boysterous in their expres∣sions, yet notwithstanding privately amongst themselves they can speak daggers both against many worthy Members in the House of Commons, and against many of the Lords, and against the City, and against the Scots, and especially against the Assem∣bly; all the which they traduce at pleasure, with most of the pro∣ceedings of the House of Commons, if at least they do not humor them to their desires and designes; yea many of their printed Pamphlets can witnesse for me that I wrong them not, and a∣mongst others those that were writ by John Lilburne, who is but the mouth of the rest, who dares speak out what the other Secta∣ries dare but mutter, and therefore he is adored and exceedingly animated and countenanced by them all, and superlatively cryed up as the onely man of courage and animosity amongst all those of that fraternitie, and he makes all the Lords but Prerogative and King creatures, and the very House of Commons but the creature of the people, who may call them to an account when they Page [unnumbered] please, and therefore (for all their flatterie in their Petition) it highly concerns the Great Councel and the whole kingdom, time∣ly to look into their proceedings, & their clandestine machinations, lest that in recruting of the Parliament they doe so strengthen their faction, that in fine they destroy not only the Parliament it selfe, but the whole Kindome, and make themselves soveraigne Lords indeed (as they pretend they are) over both the King and Parliament, and all the people, and so become really our Lords and Masters, so that whereas formerly this nation was called the Popes and Prelates Asses, we may now justly be called and termed the Independents Mules, a monstrous brood indeed; for it is sufficiently knowne, and can be proved, and that by good wit∣nesse that it is their maxime, that the Saints only ought to rule the world, and to have the sword in their hand, aud they prove this their Doctrine out of the 149. Psame, where the Prophet saith, v. 5, 6, 7. &c. Let the Saints be jeyfull in glory, let them sing abroad upon their beds; let the high prayses of God be in their mouth: and a two edged sword in their hand to execute vengeanee upon the Heathen, and punishments upon the people, to bind their Kings with chaines, and their Nobles with fetters of Iron, to execute upon them the judgement written; this honour have all his Saints; prayse yee the Lord.
Upon this place of Holy Scripture they ground their opinion, that the Saints only ought to rule the Earth; now they account none Saints but themselves, and all the Presbyterians enemies of Jesus Christ; yea, they have beene heard say when they are a∣mongst themselves, where they may speake freely, that they see no reason why the Saints may not compell any nation by the sword to come under obedience to Christs Kingdome. So that howsoever they challenge liberty of conscience now, saying that conscience is a tender thing, and that it ought not be forced; yet if they but once get the day, they will give no toleration I beleeve to any Presbyterians; yea, I am most assured, had but the Parlia∣ment voted for Independency as they did for the Presbyterie, they would have found Scripture enough then by which they would have proved that the Christian Magistrate might have forced any to come under obedience to Christs yoake, and then the example of Nehemiah would have beene exceedingly urged by them all, who seeking a through Reformation, would not suffer so Page [unnumbered] much as the language of Ashdod to be spoke within his jurisdi∣ction, but constrained them all to imbrace the true Religion, and sweare by God, that is to set up Gods true worship; this example of Nehemiah I am confident would have beene urged, and that eagerly by them all, who at their first comming over from their pretended banishment (I meane the Homothumadon Brethren, and those of New-England) as long as they had any hopes of setting up their Independency were very frequently heard speake of a through Reformation, and alwayes commend noble Nehemiah for his zeale that hee would not suffer any false worship in Ierusa∣lem; but since they perceive their hopes are frustrate, now they labor for a toleration of all Religions, which both God, noble Nehemiah, and Ioshua, & all the Holy Prophets, Christ and his blessed Apostles continually were displeased with, and denounced judgements a∣gainst; all which holy Lawes now they desire may be dispensed with to gratifie them with a ful toleration of all religions, or at least with an indulgence for their new-fangled Independency, which by all their indeavours they make way apace for: and howsoever it was thought a thing worthy of death in Strafford and the Pre∣late of Canterbury, that they but laboured to alter the Lawes of the Land, and the Religion that was established by publick autho∣rity, and for the which they both suffered, the very Sectaries and Independents themselves being the principall Agents to bring them both to their end, who by their tumultuous and disorderly running up daily to Westminster, were never satisfied in craving justice at the Parliament against them, saying, that as resolution was the life of action, so execution was the life of the Law and ju∣stice, and would never be contented and appeased till they had ob∣tained their desires against them, and only for this very cause as they pretended, that they indeavoured to alter the Lawes of the Land, and the Religion established by publick authority; and many of our Fugitives were as eager in that busines as any of the rest, some of them standing upon the Scaffold to see the executi∣on of them, and rejoycing at the justice done upon them; and yet behold the very same men, are all of them guilty of the very same crime that they dyed for; yea, of a farre greater; for the Prelate and the Earle of Strafford were adjudged for but indea∣vouring to alter the Religion and Lawes established in the King∣dome; but all the Sectaries and Independents they have really Page [unnumbered] altered Religion, and have set up many new Religions, and that without any authority; yea, they have altered both Law and Go∣spel, rejecting all the Holy Scriptures, and making nothing of the glorious Word of God, as can be proved, and they have not only established by their sole authority divers Religions amongst us that were never knowne before, but they proclame all the Pres∣byterians enemies of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the sons of Beli∣al, and esteeme of them as so many Infidels in no wise to be com∣municated with in holy things. And for the fundamentall Lawes of the Land, they not only speake against them as a yoake of ty∣rannie and bondage unsupportable to be borne, but they write whole bookes against them, desiring they may be altered, not∣withstanding all men injoy their lives and estates by them; yea, they write not only in general against all the laws of the land, but a∣gainst the very Ordinances of Parliament, daily publishing Pam∣phlets against all their proceedings, and especially they have taken great paines to dismount the Ordinance of Tythes established both by Law and a particular Ordinance of Parliament, they would faine starve the Presbyterians, preaching and practising hourely against the Covenant, and many knowne Ordinances: for whereas it was by Ordinances injoyned that none should preach publickly, but such as were authorised, and thought fit for the soundnesse of their Doctrine, and for the sufficiency of their parts and abilities; and that nothing should be printed but by authority; notwithstanding these Ordinances, the Sectaries and In∣dependents both preach & print whatsoever they please to the se∣ducing of the people, and for the perverting and corrupting of re∣ligion, and disturbance both of Church and State; and whereas by an Ordinance of Parliament, the manner of government con∣sisting of the three States, King, Peers and Commons, hath been againe and againe confirmed, & established with the sitting of the Reverend Assembly of Divines, and the ratifying of the Dire∣ctory, and for the establishing of the Presbyterian government, neverthelesse they write against them all, especially the King, Peers, and Assembly, making nothing of them; no nor of the •ouse of Commons it selfe, if at any time they displease them, but they dash them all a peeces, subverting the whole government at once, proclaming the people the soveraigne Lords of them all; and some of them have beene so temerarious, as they have abused the whole Page [unnumbered] Parliament to their faces; first the King, then the House of Com∣mons, and then the House of Lords, slighting their authority and power, affirming that they could not so much as commit any freeborne subject to prison which every Justice of peace or Con∣stable may doe; yea, it is well knowne that in insolency they have exceeded all Delinquents that ever appeared before the great Councell of the Kingdome; so that it may be spake to the honour both of Strafford and the Prelate of Canterbury, that they both of them behaved themselves with far greater modesty and reve∣rence towards both Houses then many of the Sectaries have done, for they ever yeelded due honour and reverenciall respect unto them all, both with bowed knees, and gracefull and seeming lan∣guage; which those paultry Fellowes out of an insulting impu∣dency denied them, despising Dignities and Dominions; and these creatures have had their complices to applaud them in these their Rebelliouspractises, yea some of them have beene so bold as to petition the Parliament in their behalfe, though they could not be ignorant how unchristianly, unreverently, and undutifully they behaved themselves before them, which was the greatest affront that was ever offered to any Parliament, and the greatest breach of the priviledge of Parliament that hath beene knowne in any nation; and yet all these things have beene perpetrated by the In∣dependents and Sectaries, all which gracelesse proceedings the old Puritans of England abhorred, as the way of unrighteousnesse. This also can be proved that many of their Independent itinerary preachers run from place to place, preaching against the Nobility and Gentry, against the Citie, and against the Reverend Assem∣bly, against the Directory, against Tythes, against the Presby∣tery; yea against all that is called authority, and against all our gallant, renowned, and valiant presbyterian souldiers, saying in their Sermons, come out yee old base drunken whoremasterly rogues, shew what you have done for the safety of the Kingdome, ascri∣bing all the glory of those noble victories to their owne party. Truly if I should make but a repetition of the very contents of their prayers, Sermons and diabolicall practises, and set downe but the very heads of them, it would fill a mightie volume, by all which it would evidently appeare that they are greater Delinquents a∣gainst the Religion and Lawes established by publicke authority, then ever Strafford and the Prelate were, and greater Malignants Page [unnumbered] to the State then ever the Cavaliers were, yea, greater enemies to all Reformation in Religion then ever appeared in the world be∣fore they were hatcht, and which is not the least thing of admi∣ration and wonder in all these creatures, they are fledge in wic∣kednesse as soone as they are disclosed. Truly, these their pra∣ctises manifest unto the whole world that they are not the onely Saints, nor the old Puritans of England over-growne; for it is no∣torious that all of them abhorred all these their ungodly proceed∣ings, and therefore the way of Independency is not the way of righ∣teousnesse, but the open way of sinne, heresie, and apparent Rebel∣lion.
But I will yet in a few things more compare the old Puritans of England, and the Sectaries and Independents together, before I come to speake of the prayer of that Homothumadon brother, I first made mention of. It is well knowne, that the old Puritans of England were all of them very zealous for the sanctifying of the Lords day, and their whole imployments on that day sufficiently declared to all those that were familiarly acquainted with them, that they were heavenly minded men, and such as were truly morti∣fied, and dead unto the world, who denyed unto themselves usually those ordinary necessaries on that day, that at other times they would more freely partake in; they dressed but little meat on that day, no more then very necessitie called for, not out of any penuriousnesse, but for this end, that their servants might be eased from all toyl∣ing workes, that they might the better attend upon the duties of the day; and they were especially carefull, that both they and their children, with the strangers that were within their gates, should sanctifie that day; they left none of them to ramble whether they pleased, they had well learned that Lesson, that they and their men-servants and maid-servants, with the stranger within their wals should keepe holy the Sabbath day, and did both by themselves and with their families take order, that no duty of the day should be omitted, the whole day being taken up either in prayer or medita∣tion, or reading of the holy Scriptures, or hearing the Word, or repea∣ting of Sermons, or singing of Psalmes, or instructing and catechising their Families, or in the works of charity, or visiting the sick, or in ho∣ly conference, or in reading godly books, or in performing of some duty or other that might bring glory to God, and honour to their holy pro∣fession, and their houses were generally so well ordered, and allPage [unnumbered]things carried in such comelinesse and decencie, as he that had beene brought up in profane company, and had accidentally lighted into owne of their houses, would as much have wondred to see the excellent carriage of all things there, as the Queene of Sheba did to behold the ordering of Solomons house. I may truly speake this to their immortall praise, that I never saw in their Families the least disorder on those dayes; nor never saw a Feast on that day, though at other times they were very free in their en∣tertainments, and much given to Hospitalitie, and nigardly in nothing, and commonly they caused their Table-cloath to be spread on the Saturday before they went to bed, and they were carefull that all that were well in the Family should go to Church with them, and they had a singular care that all their servants might have no hindrances or impediments by any worldly im∣ployments that might in the least disturbe them or dictract them from the duties of the day; all these things I can witnesse with thousands more besides my selfe, were the practices of the old Pu∣ritans of England, and this was the way of Righteousnesse that they walked in, for the sanctifying of the Lords day.
Now if the practice of the Independents and Sectaries about this busines and point of obedience be looked into, there will be found a vast difference betweene them and the old Puritans of England; for it is well knowne that they ordinarily make all their greatest entertainments on that day, as that I spake of before for instance, (and many more that I could mention) where the whole Church was feasted to no small distraction to their poore and godly servants, that were taken up with more attendance that day, then Martha was on an ordinary day in entertaining of Christ himselfe, which not withstanding hee then blamed in very godly and belee∣ving Martha, who had learned to give Christ an honourable con∣fession of her faith concerning her beliefe in him; and doubtlesse if Martha were then blamed by Christ, and had from him a re∣proofe for her too much care about many things in entertaining himselfe; I beleevee the Independents and Sectaries will receive but little thankes at his hand for profaning his owne day, and cau∣sing others to doe the same, and for their thus breaking and viola∣ting his holy Lawes, and hindring of his servants by their need∣lesse entertainments, from the duties of pietie and holinesse that he requires at their hands on those dayes, and he will say to them Page [unnumbered] at the last judgement, as for these their disorderly walkings, so for their new and needlesse traditions, who required these things at your hands? nay, did I not forbid these things will the Lord say? Truly it is most notorious that the Sectaries and Indepen∣dents are very loose in the sanctifying of the Lords day; and al∣though many of them before they fel into the way of Independen∣cie were very conscionable observers of that day, and were greatly displeased with the King for granting but a toleration for sports on that day, and could then say, that very sinne alone had beene enough to bring downe the judgements of God upon the whole Land, yet since they turned Sectaries, they can now not only feast and ryot on that day, but if need be work on the same in their ordinary im∣ployments, as can be proved, and many of them that were then great zealots for the performances of all duties of holinesse that day with all their Families, now regard not that day no more then an other, nay, they let their servants and children goe whether they please, leaving them all to the liberty (as they speake) of their owne con∣sciences, and it is ordinarily observed, that all the Independents and Sectaries in the Armie, and through the whole Kingdome will frequently journey on that day, and for the Homothumadon Predicants, they are trundled about on the Lords day in their Coaches with foure Horses, needlessely disquieting both men and beasts that they have a command to give rest unto. A Tumbrell or a Dung-cart were fitter for these proud and profane Fellowes to be carried about in; and if they will not leave these their licen∣tious courses, and surcease thus to profane the Lords day, I see no reason but that the Magistrate should take some order with them, and punish them for profaning it, it being not only against the Lawes of God, but contrary unto the Lawes of the Land. It may be that is one of the Lawes that the Sectaries would have ab∣rogated and made null; for most certaine it is their practises are both contrary to that Law, and the knowne Law of God, and the practise of all the old Puritans of England, and therefore the way of Independency in this point also is not the way of Righteousnesse, but of profanesse and licentiousnesse, neither are they overgrowne Puritans in this.
But seeing I have upon this occasion, began to compare the old Puritans of England with the Independents and Sectaries, who their Predicants assert are but the old Puritans over-growne,Page [unnumbered]that is, Christians in all respects, transcending them in all duties of piety and godlinesse, and in all offices of Love and Charity towards others, and in the whole frame of their lives and conversations, and for their uprightnesse and honesty in their dealings, and for their sincerity in all their actions, and for their moderation in the temperate use of all the creatures, and for their humble walking towards others. I shall briefly here set downe the practices of the old Puritans concerning some of these particulars, and paral∣lel them with the proceedings of the Independents and Sectaries of our times.
It is sufficiently knowne, that the old Puritans of England ever loved and honoured all the Orthodox, faithfull, painefull, and di∣ligent Preachers of the Word of God through the Land, whether Conformists or non-Conformists, and they never thought they could yeeld them reverence enough, and were willing at any time to the uttermost of their abilities to relieve and supply them with all necessary accomodations, for the support of themselves, and their Families, and they were so farre from taking from them any thing, or hindring them of their dues, either in respect of ho∣nour, or maintenance; that they would run and ride in their be∣halfe for the maintaining of their reputations and livelyhoods, and if at any time they had beene oppressed by the power and tyrannie of the Prelates in any Court, or by any wicked enemies of the Church, they had the assistance, and ever the good word of the old Puritans, and their prayers, and their purses to support them, and sustaine both them and their Families; they were never knowne to desert them, or to give them an ill word; and this was the carriage of the old Puritans of England towards their godly and painfull Mi∣nisters of all sorts, and they never favoured any hereticall, and schismaticall Teachers, and this was that way of Righteousnesse they walked in.
Now if we looke upon the practices of the Independents and Sectaries they are chiefest enemies of all the painefull and godly Ministers through the Kingdome, and the only friends of all Se∣ducers, schismaticall and hereticall Preachers, so that it is well knowne, they doe not only reproach, and abuse them in words, calling them Baals Priests, the limbs of Antichrist, and the Devils Ministers, and a thousand such ignominious names, but so persecute them in word and deeds that they cannot safely dwell Page [unnumbered] by them where there is any number of the Sectaries; yea, there is scarce a Committee through the Kingdome where they have not persecuted their most faithfull Ministers, yea it is their chiefe designe to take away their Tythes from them, and to deprive them of their Livings, by which they should support themselvs, and their poor Families, and they have made the lives of many of them so irkesome unto them, and so wearied them with their calumnies and carriage towards them, that though they highly honoured them before they tur∣ned Sectaries, yet after that, they became their mortall enemies, and for no other reason but that they continued still to preach those or∣thodox doctrines they had formerly taught, & inveighed against the dangerous and blasphemous opinions that were now preached up every where by the Seducers of these times, & for this cause alone, and for no other ground they have wearied many of them out of their very lives, and forced others to leave their places of their habitations; many presidents of this kind I could produce, but one I cannot but instance, and that is of one Master Beton of Rye, in Sussex, a most painefull, orthodox, and laborious Prea∣cher, and a man of no small fame, as well for his godly life, and diligence in his Ministry, as for his singular knowledge in He∣brew, and all the orientall tongues, and yet this man every way so unblameable and accomplished, did the Sectaries joyning with all the Malignants of that place, drive from his habitation there. The ful story of that particular businesse would make a pretty larg book, which would sad the hearts of all such as are truly godly, to hear that any that pretend unto Christian Religion should practise so contrary unto all Christian principles and the practice of the old Puritans of ENGLAND; and yet what those Sectaries of Rye with their complices have done against that godly and learned Minister, is generally practiced by all the other Sectaries and In∣dependents through the Kingdome, as can sufficiently be proved, who generally implacably hate those that they have formerly loved, and have still a cause to honour; as who next under God have been a means of their conversion, if ever they were really converted: So that in these their proceedings, they are not the old Puritans of ENGLAND overgrown, which walked in the way of righteous∣nesse in honouring their faithfull Ministers according to Gods com∣mand, 1 Thess. 5. and Heb. 13. Which way the Independents do not walk in, but in the contrary way of malice and hatred to∣wards Page [unnumbered] them, as all their practices proclame: Therefore inthis respect also the way of Independency is not the way of Righteous∣nesse.
And as for their charity and practice of love, and their integri∣ty and sincere dealing towards their brethren, the old Puritans of ENGLAND were famous for their re•dinesse to pleasure them in any thing, who would at any time ride, •un, or go, to do any neighbour that dwelt peaceably by them a good turn, yea though they differed some thing from them in judgement; whereas it can be proved that the Independents will take great and dangerous journeys to do any of their Presbyterian brethen m••chi•fe, to de∣fame and traduce them, and to hinder their preferment; yea and they will do it to such also as they seem to be very loving, and shew an outward kindnesse to: And yet at that very infrant of time they most faune upon them, they will fearfully betray them; yea it is well known, that some of the Independents have betrayed their own fathers, their masters, their most familiar friends and acquaintance after they have turned from the Tresbyterian way to that faction, especially they use exceedingly to hate such as they professed greatly to love, if they have found them rigid, as they speak, or unmove∣able in their Religion, and would not connive at their Independent wayes.
I could say much upon my own experience, how many of the Sectaries seemed not a little to honour me, and spake as well of me as of any man living, before they saw they could not prevaile with me to be of their mind, nor to favour them in their erroneous opinions; but as soon as they perceived that I was immoveable in my resolution, their love turned into implacable hatred, as it is well known. And I am confident there might be thousands of presidents produced of the like nature, many of which I know; yea I may truly say this, that I have not known any Presbyterian now living that was formerly familiarly acquainted with any that afterward turn'd Sectary or Independent (notwithstanding what∣soever courtesies they had formerly received from them) that have not either betrayed him or done him some ill office after∣ward, or at least would never do him the least kindnesse, though he were in need, or shew him any favour; So that in this point of love and charity, they walk not in the way of the old Puritans, who were kind to all men and sincere towards those they had famili∣arlyPage [unnumbered]conversed with, it never being known that they betrayed any of them or did them any ill offices; and therefore in this point also, the way of Independency is not the way of righteousnesse nor the way of the old Puritans of ENGLAND, but the way of treachery, un∣thankfulnesse and unrighteousnesse.
But to instance the practices and wayes of the old Puritans in a few things more, and then to compare them with the wayes of the Independents and Sectaries.
The old Puritans of ENGLAND, as all can witnesse that knew them, were all of them generally men no way addicted to the pleasures of the world, and in their apparell and outward garbe commonly they were ever out of fashion: It was, to my knowledg, counted a great sin amongst them, to exceed in apparrell, or to be fashionably clad, or to go with long hair, or Rufsian▪like, or to be seen in gorgeous attire; You should rarely or seldome behold any gold or silver lace on any of their apparrell, except they had been of noble Parentage, or of some very great and rich Families, or in some eminent place of authority, and that was alwayes very sparing; and for cuffs at their hands, not one of a thousand of the old Puritans were ever seen in any; and if they at any time upon any festivity, or at any solemn entertainment, or upon such like occasion appeared in any, they were commonly such little suck∣ing ones as a man could scarse discern them.
Now if you look upon all the Independents generally through Town and Country, though they were never born to any estates, nor were of any repute, till that out of the ruines of the Kingdome by their Sectarisme and indirect dealings they have attained to some wealth; You shall find them the only gallants of the world, so that one that should meet them would take them for Roarers and Ruffi∣ans rather then Saints; Yea you shall find them with cuffs, and those great ones, at their very heels, and with more silver and gold upon their clothes, and at their heels (for those upstarts must now be in their silver spurs) then many great and honourable persona∣ges have in their purses; so that those that behold them, if they knew them not, would take them to be the Gentry and Peers of the Kingdome rather then a company of obscure fellows, in so much that some taking notice of the great change in this Kingdome said not long since, that Gentlemen and Noblemen were become beggers, and beggers were become Lords and Gentlemen.
Page [unnumbered] Truly the like pride in apparell was never seen amongst such as made profession of Religion before these our times; Whereas the old Puritans of ENGLAND, both men and women, were all mo∣destly cladd and attired, and went very plain, and thought it rather a scandall to Religion to be attired or cladd in the least manner after the fashion of the Court, then for an honour to their profession; and I have known them blame those that abhorred all pride as much as any men did, and onely for that they went handsomely cladd and apparrelled, although it were onely for the gracing of their profession, as they then told them, for the which they were at that time sufferers.
So that if those people were now alive, those old Puritans, and should see our Sectaries and Independents who predicate themselves to be the onely Saints, those good old Puritans would lift up their hands with admiration, and say, as one of New Eng∣land said not long since seeing a brother of his coming over thi∣ther very gallant whom he had known live in a meaner condi∣tion, that in beholding him he thought he saw one of the seven won∣ders of the world, and profest that he believed they would ere long grow mad with pride in Old ENGLAND, saying moreover that in his time (he having then been but ten years in New England) he that should have been seen go in those fashions the Sectaries and In∣dependents usually and daily now go in, would have been thought to have had little Religion in him, and he exceedingly marvelled at the liberty all those of the Congregationall way now take, saying, that he much suspected their sincerity that now made that a vertue and counted that an honour to Religion which the old Puritans of Eng∣land deemed a dishonour to God, and a disgrace and dishonour to their holy profession. So that in this point also, the practices and way of the Sectaries is not the way of the old Puritans of England and the way of righteousnesse, it being the way of vanity and the world, and contrary unto the command of the Apostle Saint Paul Rom. 12. ver. 2, 3, 4.
Again whereas the old Puritans of ENGLAND had their fare, diet, and houshold▪stuffe, how rich in estate soever they were, according to their severall degrees, were it a Yeoman or but an or∣dinary Gentleman, or a Knight, they ever observed their rank; whatsoever, I say, or how great soever the estates of each of them were; the Yeoman had his house furnished and fared like a Yeo∣man Page [unnumbered] and not like a Gentleman; the Gentleman he also fared like a Gentleman, and had his house furnished accordingly, and not like a Knight; the Knight in like manner fared like a Knight, and had his house furnished according to his rank, and not like a Lord; All the old Puritans of ENGLAND every one of them out of conscience observed and kept their rank, and lived and fared ac∣cording to that degree and order God had placed them in this world, and used their superfluity for the clothing of the naked, and feeding of the necessitated, and relieving of the poor, many of the which rich Yeomen, Gentlemen, and Knights I could name, some of the which to my knowledge layed by yearly out of their estates and revenues some two hundred pounds, some three hundred, yea some five hundred pounds all their life time, which they sent to the godly Ministers here and there dispersed through the King∣dome to be distributed amongst the poor and necessitated Christians in those parts, and this was the practice of the old rich Puritans of ENGLAND; yea, many of them maintained a preaching ortho∣dox Minister in some blind corner of the Kingdome at their own charges; others of them alwaies entertained one silenced Minister or other, or took poor necessitated Christians children into their Fa∣milies and bred them as their own: I can speak much to the praise of God and to many of their immortall honours upon my own experience concerning the charity of the old Puritans of ENG∣LAND, who ever kept their ranks, whatsoever their wealth and riches were, and would never exceed in houshold-stuffe, in fare, or diet, whatsoever their hospitality was; which notwith∣standing was many times very great; and this order and decency they observed out of conscience, and that they might the better relieve the necessities of others; and this was the way the old Pu∣ritans of ENGLAND, to my knowledge, walked in, and this was the way of righteousnesse as approved on and commanded by God himselfe, and yet the old Puritans of ENGLAND knew their Christian liberty and what right they had to the creature, as well as any Sectary or Independent in our times.
Now if we compare the Independents and Sectaries, in respect of this custome, with the old Puritans of ENGLAND, we shall not find them the old Puritans of ENGLAND overgrown, that is, to exceed them in all these graces of charity, wisdome, mo∣deration, frugality, and orderly walking every one according toPage [unnumbered]that rank and station God hath placed them in: for the Sectaries have all of them changed this ancient custome and way of righte∣ousnesse, and are all run, as in their opinions, into the way of error, so in this, into the by▪path of luxury and sensuality: So that the Sectaries generally, although the greatest part of them through the Kingdome as it is well known, are such as are but newly sprung up out of the ruines of the State, and that were never borne to any thing, yea many of them, before the troubles of the Kingdome, having scarce bread to put in their mouths; yet now are grown to such a height of pride and luxury and sumptuosity, that you shall find their houses furnished rather like Noblemen and Peers, then ordinary men; and ye shall see more plate in their dwellings, and all things with more bravery and elegancy, then in the pallaces of the Grandees of the Earth; and their fare and dietis so delicious, and set out with such curiosity of cookery and all things corre∣spondent to it, in respect of all sorts of wines and dilicacies and whatsoever rarities the seasons and time of the year will afford, as they exceed the very Princes of the world, by report of those that have been at their entertainments; so that Dives in all his glory exceeded them not. Yea, it is well known and can be pro∣ved, that many of them that were never born to three halfpence a year of inheritance, nor never were worth any thing but what they have got in these troublesome times by the ruines and miseries of o∣thers, that these very fellows are tasters to all the Noblemen and Peers of the Kingdome: And their very Predicants are grown so dainty that they must be served before the Lords and mighty rich men in all markets; for they will outbid the greatest of them for the satisfying of their pallates: So that whatsoever rarities, accor∣ding to the severall seasons of the year, whether from sea or land, are stirring, they are ordinarily the men that have the first gusto of them; So that they exceed the daintyest and most delicate Dames and Ladies, by the relation of those that are acquainted with their diets; so that all fine things are tasted and eat in their houses before they are so much as heard of in Noblemens Fami∣lies, whereas the old Puritans of ENGLAND denyed them∣selves all these things, who were usually, according to the pro∣verbe, the first that were last served.
This I have heard affirmed by great Gentlemen and travellers, very gallant men, that were sometime very intimate with the Page [unnumbered] Sectaries and Independents, whose familiarity they made use of onely to pry into their severall humours, and whom the Secta∣ries had some hope to have gained to their party; and therefore spared not in their entertainments; these very Gentlemen, I say, have asserted unto me, that whatsoever things were thought some ten years since to be rarities in all Princes, Dukes, Marquesses, and Noblemens houses, and were rarely to be found in any other pla∣ces, they met dayly with them in every ordinary Independent and Sectaries house upon all occasions; So that they vowed unto me, they thought them the onely Helieogabalists in the world, and the greatest Sensualists; and they observed that generally there was more luxurious entertainments now amongst them in these times that called for mourning and fasting, then ever were in the richest Subjects houses in the times of the Kingdomes prosperity; So that if ever there were a generation of men in the world that in their fulnesse of bread and in their felicity forgot the afflictions of Joseph, they were the Independents and Sectaries who are al∣wayes feasting, which was one of the principall causes, as they profest unto me, that made them beleeve they were not the onely Saints, their actions being so unsaint-like; which made them also pry farther into their dealings and proceedings, which they found to be altogether contrary unto the royall law of Love: for as they said, all their charity was ever limited within the confines of their own fraternity, and to such onely as were either of their party or they had hopes to gain; in all which things they are different from the old Puritans of ENGLAND, who walked in that way of righteousnesse which teacheth every man a moderation and right use of the creature, and to keep within their bounds, and to extend their charity towards all, especially towards the poor and indigent; and not to spend all upon themselves in luxury and vanity, and that at such times as call for mourning and fasting, and when there are such multitudes of distressed godly families as are drove from house and home and have been made a prey to the spoilers, whom the Sectaries will see lie famishing in the streets, rather then they shall receive the least reliefe from them, unlesse they will become of their fraternity, which many of them to my knowledge out of meer necessity were forced to be, or else they could not have had the least reliefe from them, which is not the way of righteous∣nesse, and that way God hath chalked out through his holy Word Page [unnumbered] for all his Saints and Servants to walk in, saying, that they should always have the poor amongst them, and that their charity should be extended to all; and therefore commands all his servants Mat. 5. ver. 48. to be perfect as their heavenly father is perfect, and ver. 44, 45, 46, 47. injoyning them, That they should love their ene∣mies, and blesse them that curse them, and do good to them that hate them, and pray for them that despightfully use them and per∣secute them. And telling all his servants, That by their so doing, they shall shew themselves to be children indeed of their heavenly father, who makes his Sun to rise on the evill and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust; saying, If you love them only that love you, what reward have you? Do not even the Publi∣cans the same? And if you salute your brethren only, what do you more then others? Do not even the Publicans so? And then the Lord set before all his people his own example for their imitation, to teach them to do good unto all; and this was the way of righ∣teousnesse the old Puritans of ENGLAND walked in, doing good to all; which the Sectaries have quite forsaken: For it can suffi∣ciently be proved, that all their charity is confined to those of their severall sects: So that if at any time they have been sent unto and solicited by such as knew how wealthy they were, and able to relieve others, and how ready also and open▪hearted and handed they had formerly been (which was their praise and honour) to the relieving of any that were in necessity, especially if they were godly; those men, I say, having no ability to relieve them, they being themselves poor, yet with speciall recommendations, as perfectly knowing them to be such as feared God, sent them to such of the Sectaries as they knew were very able, and at that time very free to all those that were necessitated of their own party, yet could not obtain the least reliefe from them in the be∣halfe of others, though withall they made known unto them, that those they commended unto their charity had formerly re∣lieved many, and were now brought to that great poverty, that they had not bread to put in their own mouths nor their childrens bellies, through the cruelty & robbery of their barbarous enemies, and were escaped only with their lives; I say, notwithstanding all the importunity of those that solicited those Sectaries, and not∣withstanding the great indigency and present necessity they were all in, they could not extort the least reliefe from them, it being Page [unnumbered] replyed and answered, that they had enough to relieve of their own, telling them, that they should go to those that were of their own party, and to the Collectors in every parish; saying, that they must have a care of such as were in Church fellowship with them; and thus they have shut up all bowels of compassion to all those that are of a different opinion from themselves, especial∣ly to all those that are of the Presbyterian way, as can be proved by innumerable witnesses. Yea, they are come to such a height of indignation against the Presbyterians, and so far they are from re∣lieving any of them, as they will wish their ruine, and this is the way the Sectaries now walk in, which is not the way of righteous∣nesse nor of the old Puritans of ENGLAND; for the way of righ∣teousnesse is, that they should love their enemies, and do good to them that hate them.
Now all the Independents say that the Presbyterians hate them, for so in their very prayers they intimate to God himselfe, that I may now returne to that prayer I formerly mentioned made by the Homothumadon Brother at the great Venison Feast on the Lords day in one of the grand Sectaries houses, where all their Church was entertained: He in his prayer spake unto God in this manner, Lord (saith he) they (meaning the Presbyterians) hate us, because we know more of thee then they doe; we beseech thee Lord give us to know yet more of thee, and then let them hate us more if they will, &c. Here we see they complaine unto God himselfe (though falsely) that we hate them; now if they wal∣ked in the way of Righteousnesse that God hath appointed them to walke in, they should doe us good and pray for us, and not be so uncharitable as to pray against us, and to requite evill for evill, which is the way they walke in, and which was not the way of the old Puritans of England, who had better learned their Lesson of love and charity. But now to consider this prayer a little, and some other of their expressions, and the high prayses that upon all occasions they give of themselves, by all which it will yet the better appeare that they are not the old Puritans of England over-grown in goodnesse, and exceeding them in selfe-de∣niall, and in all points of piety, godlinesse, and charity, and in truth and righteousnesse; for this very prayer of theirs, with their other speeches and practices, proclame to the world the quite contrary; for I affirme, first that the old Puritans never Page [unnumbered] magnified their owne graces: And secondly, that both this prayer and many of their other prayers to God, & prayses of themselves, are both untrue, Pharisaicall and uncharitable; for the Presbyte∣rians doe not hate them, as they falsely accuse them, but it is they that hate the Presbyterians, as all their words and actions, and Pamphlets can testifie. The Presbyterians as they are bound, hate all false wayes, but they hate not the persons of any, that is the practice of all the Sectaries, as it is well knowne. But where∣as this Homothumadon Brother said, that they knew more of God then the Presbyterians, it is most false; for all the workes and writings of the Presbyterians in all the Reformed Churches can prove and witnesse the contrary, so that the Sectaries are all of them beholding to the learned Workes and Writings of the Presbyterians for all that is in any of them worthy the name of knowledge, out of whose learned Bookes they have stole it; and I undertake it, and shall ever by the grace of God be able to make it good, that in all their preachments they deliver nothing that can deservedly be called truth, but it hath beene taught by the Presbyterians before they were borne, and that far better then any of them can teach it; and it is most certaine that there is more knowledge in some one of Calvins Workes, as that of his Insti∣tutions, then is in all the Independents and Sectaries put toge∣ther, which very Booke alone, with the Holy Scripture had it beene diligently read and studied by the people, the Independents and Sectaries, with all their plots and devices could never have gained an hundred Proselytes. Yea, if young Divines would but well reade and study learned Mr. Calvins Workes, and but Gualter Tigurinus his Writings, with Peter Martyrs, and Zanchius, passing by thousands of other most learned and orthodox Di∣vines, I say if they would but diligently reade and study these I have now named, the Independents would never be able with all their skill to seduce any one of them. Or did but ordinary Chri∣stians now adayes, reade but Calvins Institutions, and but Ma∣ster Perkins upon Iude, with the Holy Scripture, they would quickly relinquish all their Independent companies, and their new gathered Churches, and would soone perceive that the Se∣ctaries know not more of God, and of Jesus Christ then the Pres∣byterians doe; and if poore deluded soules would but carefully and seriously reade the learned Writings of our owne countrey Page [unnumbered] men, as the Workes of Reverend Master Richard Rogers, of Ma∣ster Dod, Master Iohn Rogers of Dedham, Master George Walker, Master Bolton, Master Iackson of Woodstreet, Master Scudder, Ma∣ster Bal, or any one of a thousand of our godly Divines that have writ before these Sectaries appeared in the world, they would find that for all both Theoricall and Practicall Divinity, they knew as much of God, yea farre more then any Independents and Sectaries in the world: And yet this is the daily language of the Sectaries, both in their prayers and in their prattle, that any one of their congregationall way, knowes more then a thousand Presbyterians; yea, they have beene often heard say, that every boy and woman in their society can confute any Presbyterian; and upon all occasions they say that they never heard so much of Jesus Christ before these Sectaries appeared, affirming, that free grace was never so richly taught, as it is now by the Independents, when notwithstanding it is most certaine that for all saving knowledge whatsoever can be taught or spake concerning the knowledge of God, and of Jesus Christ, wherein consists life eter∣nall, Iohn 17, it hath beene a thousand times better taught, and farre more orthodoxly by the Presbyterians then the Sectaries can teach it; and therefore when they say, that never so much of Jesus Christ and of free grace was taught before these times, it is not only injurious to all the Protestant Divines at home and a∣broad, and exceedingly derogatory to them all; but to all the ho∣ly Prophets and blessed Apostles which have taught us as much concerning God and Jesus Christ, as in the wisdome of God himselfe was thought fit for mortall men to know of God and Christ, whether wee speake either of the divine Essence of God, or of the persons of the blessed Trinity, or of the glorious Workes, names, titles and attributes of God, or whether we speake of both the natures of Iesus Christ, the divine and humane nature, or of the hypostaticall union of them both, or of what Christ hath either done or suffered for us, or of his offices, either Kingly, Priestly, or Propheticall, or of whatsoever is necessarily to bee knowne for our salvation: I say and affirme, that whatsoever is requisite for our learning, is abundantly and clearly set downe in the Holy Word of God, by the holy Prophets and blessed Apostles, and hath faithfully and orthodoxly beene taught and delivered by our holy, godly, painfull, and learned Presbyterian Ministers in all the Re∣formed Page [unnumbered] Churches beyond the Seas, and in these Churches of England, Scotland and Ireland, and that far better, and more soundly and solidly then ever it was or can be taught by any Se∣ctaries; for it is well knowne, that our religious Presbyterian Ministers had as much of the assistance of the holy Spirit, as ever any Sectaries had, and far more learning then they are either ca∣pable of, or can attaine unto; and therefore it is not truly nor humbly spake by the Independents, continually to say they know more of God then they, and to assert that Jesus Christ, and free grace was never so much, and so well taught, as by the Sectaries; and yet these are their daily brags and boasts, and by the which they with-draw multitudes of simple people to their Predicants and Tub-men, and then under pretence of preaching Jesus Christ and free grace, they teach their errors and heresies, and vent all their blasphemous doctrines, and destructive opinions amongst them to the destroying of their poore soules. But should I grant unto these men (which were wickednesse in me to doe) that they did truly and indeed preach Jesus Christ and free grace, yet to say that they preached them more clearly, more fully, and bet∣ter then ever they were formerly taught, is not farre from blas∣phemy, and exceedingly injurious and derogatory to the holy Scripture; for all knowledge that wee are to take notice of con∣cerning God and Christ, is shut up and contained in the holy Scrip∣tures, out of whose confines we are not to seeke for any know∣ledge concerning either God or Christ; for wee have a speciall command given us by Christ himselfe, Iohn 5. to search the Scrip∣tures, and we are sent to Moses and the Prophets by Father A∣braham, Luke 16. 29. and in the 8. of Isaiah, wee are sent to the Law and the testimony, so that they that speake not according to that word, it is because there is no light in them; and Saint Paul in the 1. of the Galat. 8, 9. saith that if an Angel from Heaven should teach us any other doctrine concerning Iesus Christ then that which wee have heard, and learned in the holy Scriptures, we should count him accursed; and therefore if the Sectaries and Indepen∣dents teach but according to the holy Scripture, then all they teach concerning Christ and free grace was taught long before any of the Sectaries were borne, and all they say boastingly vaunting of this their owne knowledge and preaching, and of these their new wayes, they are not the way of Righteousnesse, Page [unnumbered] which teaches all men meanly and humbly to think of themselves, and in honour to prefer others before themselves, Rom. 12, ver. 10. and in lowlinesse of mind, to esteeme others better then themselves, Phil. 2. verse 3, 4. and this is the way of Righteousnesse God hath appointed his people to walke in, and this was the way the old Puritans of England kept in, who never boasted they knew more of God and Jesus Christ then their Christian Brethren, as the Independents and Sectaries daily doe, which is the very height of Pharisaicall pride in them to assume these Prerogativesunto themselves, and to receive them from others as to be the only Teachers and Preachers of Iesus Christ and free grace, and to be the most illuminated and eminent Saints and servants of Christ, and the most excellent lights, which titles are given lately to the Homothumadon dissenting brethren by one of the Sectaries in a frothy Pamphlet, called Independency no Schisme, in a pretended answer to Master Iohn Vicars, who hath writ nothing concerning them but what is Vox populi, and most of it knowne to all men to be true: Yea, they are growne to that height of pride and impu∣dencie that they vent their singular knowledge of divine myste∣ries above others, as we may see in Saint Dels Epistle to the Rea∣der before his Sermon, (where he speaketh) of the great familia∣rity he hath with Iesus Christ, and of some rare knowledge that hee hath received from him of the mind and bosome of the Father, &c. these are his own words, and he esteems of his Presbyterian bre∣thren as of the off-scouring of the world, saying, that he was counted worthy to be taken into some Fellowship with Christ in his sufferings, and to endure the contradictions of sinners, and oft times to encounter the rage and madnesse of men, yea and to fight with men after the manner of beasts, altogether brutish and furious. This high esteeme S. Del hath of himselfe, and counts all his Presbyte∣rian brethren, though in all mens judgements that know them he writes against, far more pious and orthodox then himselfe, but brute beasts. Now because these men talke so much of their singular knowledge before their Presbyterian Brethren, and of that great familiarity they have with Christ, and what transcen∣dent knowledge they have received from the mind and bosome of the Father, it will not be amisse here to recite some passages of that seraphicall Doctors Sermons, he preacheth in the Army. I will take them out of the booke called the Vindication of certainPage [unnumbered]Citizens, where page 9. they set downe certaine points of do∣ctrine that Saint Dell taught in the Army in their hearing, viz.
1. That there are no more of a Church of God in a King∣dome, then there be such as have the Spirit of God in that King∣dome.
2. Neither Old nor New Testament doe hold forth a whole nation to be a Church.
3. Whatsoever a State, an Assembly, or Councell shall say, ought not to bind the Saints, further then the judgement of those Saints shall leade them.
4. The Saints are those that are now stiled Anabaptists, Fami∣lists, Antinomians, Independents, Sectaries, and the like.
5. The power is in you the people, keepe it, part not with it.
6. The first party that arose against you, namely the prophane ones of the Land, are already fallen under you; and now there is an other party, Formalists and carnall Gospellers rising up against you; but I am confident they shall all fall under you.
7. They are willing to become subjects, to make the Saints slaves, nay, they are all willing to become slaves themselves, that they may tread upon the necks of the Saints.
These points of sublimated doctrine I find set forth publickly, and published by authority, as delivered by Saint Dell in one of his sermons at the Army, which I had not put in to this my Epi∣stle to the Reader, had I not some dayes after the publication of them inquired whether Saint Dell had answered to this accusa∣tion against him, and understanding that he had replyed nothing to it (which he might have done in two houres, if he had beene innocent and not guilty) I tooke it pro confesso, knowing that the Presses are open for all mens just Apologies and defence, especi∣ally when I find them open to all wicked and impious Pam∣phlets, and this as not all that made me beleeve the charge is true against him, but because I have heard, and that from men of re∣putation, and worthy of beliefe, that it is ordinary with him and his complices to preach such doctrines as these are, publickly and privately, and to maintaine them wheresoever he comes; all the which I shall ever be able God assisting me to prove he never had nor received from the mind and bosome of God the Father, nor from Jesus Christ, though he boasts much of the Familiarity he hath with Jesus Christ.
Page [unnumbered] If this be the knowledge the Sectaries vaunt so much of, and if these be the things they pretend they have received from the mind and bosome of the Father, I must confesse in these their notions they out-strip the knowledge of the Saints of old, and of all the holy Prophets and Apostles, and of the old Puritans of England, who were ignorant of them all, which was a learned ignorance in them, knowing that God the Father taught a far different do∣ctrine to his people, as I shewed a little before, and shall more fully declare in the insuing Discourse. But this I will againe and againe assert, that neither the old Puritans of England, nor our godly Presbyterians now, are inferiour to any of the Sectaries for an holy and conscionable outward walking in all manner of con∣versation, or in the knowledge of God or of Jesus Christ, or in any kind of knowledge that may truly be called learning or science, whatsoever the Independents and Sectaries may glory and boast of themselvs; & I do farther assert that al the godly Presbyters in the church of England do preach Jesus Christ, faith & repentance, and free grace, and that in every Congregation upon all occasions more orthodoxly, solidly, sincerely and learnedly, with all pra∣cticall divinity, then ever any of the Sectaries did or can doe; and therefore they do not know more of God then the Presbyterians doe, as that Homothumadon Brother pharisaically and falsely glo∣ried, and all the Sectaries with him vaunt. So that I see no rea∣son why wee may not here make use of the Apostle Saint Pauls words concerning this busines, who in the second of the Cor. 10. v. 7. 12. 18. Doe you looke on things after the outward appearance (saith he)? if any man trusts to himselfe that hee is Christ's, let him of himselfe thinke this againe, that as he is Christ's, even so are wee Christ's. For we doe not make our selves of the number, or compare our selves with some that commend themselvs, but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing them∣selves amongst themselves are not wise (or understand not) for not he that commendeth himselfe is approved, but whom the Lord com∣mendeth. So that it seemes by Saint Pauls words, not only in this Epistle but in others, that the false Apostles and Seducers of his time had some high esteeme of themselves, and of their own holinesse, knowledge and abilities above others, yea above the Apostles themselves, as the Independents and Sectaries of our times have of their great piety and sufficiencie above their bre∣thren, Page [unnumbered] as all their words, Pamphlets and Vindications daily wit∣nesse, in which they slight all that oppose their novelties, and stile them vaine men, and such as neither know what to say, norhow to hold their peace, vilifying them all as the off-scouring, and things of nought, which practice of theirs when it was blamed in the false Apostles as sinfull, it cannot be prayse-worthy in the Sectaries now in our times, who walke in that way of unrighte∣ousnesse those false Teachers then did, and contrary to that rule prescribed by God, which is to preferre others before themselves in honour, which way the old Puritans of England walked in, and not in the way of the false Apostles, and the Sectaries of our times; for they kept the road way, and the royall way of righte∣ousnesse, esteeming of their brethren better then of themselves. But the world was never without such a sort of men: for Solo∣mon speaks of the like, There is a generation of men (saith hee) and how lofty are their eyes, and their eye-lids lifted up? and of such creatures Saint Paul speaks, 2 Cor. 11, ver. 22 which made him compare himselfe with them after this maner; are they Hebrewes? (saith he) so am I; are they Israelites? so am I; are they the seed of Abraham? so am I; are they the Ministers of Christ? I speake (saith he) as a foole, I am more, &c. Thus the holy Apostle laughs at these seducers and vaine boasters, and to make them more ashamed, he compares himselfe with them, not fearing to be counted a Jeerer and scorner of piety and religion, though hee made himselfe merry with them, whom he knew very well for all the shewes they made of being the Ministers of righ∣teousnesse, that they were a company of Impostors, and therefore assimilates and likens them to the Devill; for the which if he had lived in our times hee would have been termed a boysterous and froward spirited man, shamelesse, deserving the name of Creten∣sis, against whom there would have come out many vindications, telling him that it became not the gravity and wisdom of old age, and an old professor of Religion to charge, and that publickly, his brethren of unworthy double dealing, and unfaithfulnesse, though they were all guilty of those crimes. And therefore I see no reason why any godly conscientious man should now fear to use the same method with the deceivers and seducers of these our times, that Paul did with those in his dayes, and to laugh at them; for it would be an abuse of gravity to spend it upon them who continu∣ally Page [unnumbered] glorie of their parts, knowledge and sanctity, as the sedu∣cers did in Pauls time, as by the Apostles expressions through all his Epistles is manifest, seeing it is well known that the Indepen∣dents and Sectaries of our times in their words and very prayers, and in all their vindications & Pamphlets confesse, that they sepa∣rate from us as an unholy people, & that they know more of God then the Presbyterians, and that all their brethren are the only protious and holy people, and the godly party, the Saints; and for their Mi∣nisters and Pastors they account them the only Preachers of Iesus Christ and of free grace, the most illuminated and eminent Saints and servants of Christ, and the most excellent Lights, all which their expressions move mee without feare of being counted a jeerer and scorner of piety and religion (which from my soule I reverence and honour in all in whom I truly see and discerne those graces) to make use of the Apostles example, and to laugh at their grolleries, and imitate him in comparing the Presbyterians with the Independents and Sectaries, which I am confident I may doe without any just offence, and therefore with Saint Paul I say unto all the Sectaries and Independents, whether people or Ministers, doe any of them looke on things after the outward appea∣rance? if they trust to themselves that they are in Christ, let them also thinke this againe, that as they are in Christ, even so are the Presbyterians Christ's; are they beleevers? so are the Presbyteri∣ans; are they Israelites? the people that wrestle with God day and night by prayers and supplications, and by groanes of the spi∣rit, and teares prevaile with God? so doe the Presbyterians; are they the seed of Abraham? the children of the faithfull, and doe they walke in Abrahams steps? so are the Presbyterians as well the children of the faithfull as they, and walke as carefully, consci∣enciously, and unblamably in all manner of conversation before God and towards all men; and therefore in nothing inferiour to them, if the Sectaries and Independents be really and indeed such as they pretend to be; are the Independent Predicants and Pastors, Ministers of Christ? I may truly say the Presbyterian Ministers are more, as having had the honour of the conversion of them all, the seale of true Ministers, if they were ever truly converted, and of many hundred thousands besides, and they are more orthodox Mini∣sters; yea, such as stood to their Ministry faithfully, and indured the heate and brunt of the day, when all the Ministers of the Se∣ctariesPage [unnumbered]for the most part either ran away, or hid their heads, or most basely temporized, as the whole Kingdome knows. So that what∣soever they can speake of themselves, in respect either of know∣ledge, graces, or priviledges, or in regard of gifts or indow∣ments, the Presbyterians with far greater reason, and with farre better right, and without any vaine gloriation (giving the praise of all they have unto God) may challenge unto themselves, and may truly ever say, doe the Independents and Sectaries hope to bee saved? The Presbyterians beleeve, that through the grace of our Lord Iesus Christ, they also shall be saved, Act. 15. 15. God having put no difference betweene them and his chosen people the Iewes, pu∣rifying their hearts by faith, verse 9. So that I say, whatsoever the Independents and Sectaries can vainly glory in, or boast, of the Presbyterians can truly in all humility, and with farre better rea∣son speake of themselvs, yea and truly apply it unto themselves; so that there is no just ground why all the Sectaries should thus daily brag of their gifts and graces, and of the singularity of their parts, and priviledges, and of their familiarity with Jesus Christ, and of their holinesse and piety, appropriating all those prerogatives to themselves, and excluding all their Presbyterian brethren from partaking in them, making them all no sharers in them, procla∣ming them all the enemies of Jesus Christ, and the sonnes of Belial. I say and assert, that I can see no reason why they should thus make impropriations of all the priviledges and immunities of the true Saints unto themselves, and confine all the graces of God to their owne party, and rob all their brethren of all their Christian excellencies, as they in the Army spoyle and rob all the Presbyterian souldiers of their due honour and prayses in all those glorious victories God had crowned that whole Army with, and ascribing all the glory and honour of them all to themselves, which they call the godly party.
I say, I cansee no good reason of all these their practices; for thus did not the Saints of old, thus did not the old Puritans of Eng∣land assume to themselves to be the only people of God, preferring themselves before their brethren upon all occasions; they walked all of them in the way of righteousnesse that God had appointed them to walk in, which was, to give every one their due, and to love as brethren, Rom. 12, which was not to separate from the Assem∣blies of their brethren, counting themselves more holy then they,Page [unnumbered]for the which they have neither precept nor allowable president in all Gods holy Word; and therefore I may truly conclude of them they are not in this their practice the old Puritans of ENGLAND overgrown, exceeding them in vertue or in the way of righteous∣nesse they went in, though they come to us in gray heads, and ap∣pear unto us in most glorious gravity and in the beauty of old men. For in all these proceedings that I have now named, and in many more that I could enumerate, they are not in the way of righteous∣nesse, and in the paths of the Saints of old, and in the way of the old Puritans of ENGLAND and like them, but they may be truly compared, whatsoever they glory of themselves, to the enemies of the true Saints, I mean the Seducers in all ages, and with the Jesuites and all Popelins, whose actions and examples they better know how to imitate, then the actions and lives of the Saints of old, and the old Puritant of ENGLAND, for they tread rather in the steps of the Jesuites, as the following particulars and pra∣ctices of all those juglers and impostors will manifest.
For first, as the Jesuites and Papists separate from all our Assem∣blies counting themselves the onely Catholicks, and all our Con∣gregations Hereticall and all us Heretiques. Even so do the Secta∣ries deal with us, they separate from our Churches as prophane so∣cieties, esteeming themselves the onely Saints, and their new Con∣gregations the only Churches in which Christ is set up as King up∣on his Throne. And as the Jesuites and Papists magnifie them∣selves and their Masters for the onely seraphicall Doctors, and in all their writings boast of their eminent learning, and slight and con∣temn all the Protestant writers as nothing; so do the Independents and Sectaries highly magnifie themselves, and esteem of all the Pres∣byterians as the off-scouring of the earth, making them, the sillyest creatures of the world in comparison of themselves, as in all their Vindications and forthy Pamphle s dayly appeareth; yea, they write against them with more then an episcopall pride; So that in all these their dealings they are l•ke the Jesuites and Pa∣pists.
Again, as the Jesuites and Priests amongst the Papists make all the Protestant Ministers with the Presbyterian government odious and hatefull to the people, even so do all the Independents and Se∣ctaries incense the people against all our godly Ministers and Presby∣ters, and the Presbyterian Government, falsly perswading them, thatPage [unnumbered]children killed, Exod. 1. ver. 16. 22. that he might weaken the people of God, so the Independents and Sectaries labour to deale with us, for if amongst the Presbyterians any masculine spirits come forth with Christian manly courage to discover the evill of their wayes, having piety, wisdome, l•arning, abilities, gifts, and parts wherewith they are able to oppose their errors, these they indeavour to have supprest and to kill in their good names (which is better then life); and for the accomplishing of this they have their agents besides their scurrilous & reviling pamphlets) to ride from City to Country, and to go from house to and to cast all the males (that knowingly and conscienciously appear of a con∣trary judgement unto them) into the deep rivers of Calumnies, laying on their backs such loads of fals defamations as may for ever drown them in their credits and reputations in the torrents of this troublesome world, and by this their Egyptian policy they suppose in a short time to weaken the Presbyterians, making them by their reproaches unfit for any imployment in Church and State, as if they were dead men, by which means they bring in their own party, and so think to increase and strengthen themselves; but those their diabolicall practices with all their Agents God will in his due time fully discover and certainly destroy and down them all in the sea of his indignation, they being all contrary unto his holy Word and royall Commands; and therefore although they come to us in their gray heads, yet they are not in the way of righ∣teousnesse, nor in the way of the old Puritans of ENGLAND.
And t•uly if we look into the whole proceedings of the Inde∣pendents and Sectaries of our times, we shall find them most a∣greeable to all the practices both of the Jesuites and Aegyptians and the Pharisees of old, those cruell enemies of God and his people and dear servants; for the Pharisees would ever oppose Christ and interrupt him in his Ministery; and their weapons they deal with are all carnall, as those I have now mentioned, and that weapon my brother Burton cometh out against me with, viz, his Phocions hatchet, which I cannot but speak something of be∣fore I conclude this my Epistle to the Reader.
In the seventh Page of his book he hath these words.
You bring (saith he) the Scripture for you; Come on brother, let you and me try it by the dint of this Sword. And truly, I shall by the helpe of my God make no long work of it. You spend about Page [unnumbered] eleven sheets, wherein you have woven sundry long threaden argu∣ments, to measure out your Dependent Presbytery, as holding para∣lell with the line of Scripture. Now you m•nst pardon me (saith he) if I shall assay, according to an old Proverb, with one stroke of Phocions hatchet, to cut in two the long thred of your Alcibiadian fluent and luxuriant Rhetorications. Thus he.
Here my brother Burton seems to desire that he and I may try out the truth of what I have written by the dint of the sword of the Scripture: and I say as David did in another sense, 1 Sam. 21. 9.) There is none like that; but he immediately forsakes that weapon and betakes himselfe to Phocions hatchet, and that is his Pole-ax. Truly I exceedingly pity him, who strives to maintain a way that brings him into such a straight that he cannot cut in two the arguments brought against him without a hatchet: whereas the Sword of the holy Scripture is sharp enough to cut in two with one stroke any erroneous arguments: For the Word of God is quick and powerfull, and sharper then any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joynts and mar∣row, and is a discoverer of the thoughts and intents of the heart, Heb. 4. 12. But he knowing very well, that with the sword of the spirit (which is the Word of God Gal. 6. 17.) though it be a two-edged sword, &c. that he could never cut in two with that weapon my arguments, the truth and strength of them being drawn out of the Word of God upon which I have grounded all my assertions, which is a sure unmoveable and impregnable foun∣dation; therefore laying aside the sword of the Scripture, he va∣pours with an unknown hatchet (a desperate carnall weapon) and to please himself he assays to chop, hack and mangle my arguments, which he is never able to cut in two with all his strength and strokes. Surely none but a bad cause, and an unwarrantable way had need to make use of such a weapon.
Now for the Presbyterians, as their way is warrantable being grounded on the holy Scripture, the good Word of God, the practice of the Apostles, and all the Churches constituted by them; so the weapons of their warfare are not carnall, but mighty through God, to the pulling down of strong holds, 2 Cor. 10. 4. And for my part, I am resolved never to use any other but that hea∣venly weapon (the sharp sword of the spirit) for the hewing and pulling down of all the strong holds of the Independents and Page [unnumbered]Sectaries, and for the dividing and cutting in two all their errone∣ous opinions, and by the help of my God and through the power of his might and by his assisting grace I shall never doubt, but by the dint of that sword ever be able to try it out with my brother Burton and all those of his fraternity, and to oppose any adversaries of the truth, and to make no long work of it, and alwayes to be sufficiently armed to maintain it and all the wayes of God which I have for∣merly suffered for, and still continue to hold forth and persevere to walk in.
Now before I conclude, I cannot but speak something upon this occasion concerning Phocion whom my brother Burton makes mention of, that I may informe the Reader a little of the truth of that story, and to shew that he is mistaken concerning that Pro∣verbiall speech; but how fitly it belongs unto my brother Burton the sequell of the discourse will declare. Now he represents this Phocion to the world as if he had bin such another creatures as Her∣cules was, and that as he had his club by which he did many pretty feals, so he speaks of Phocion as if he had had his hatchet likewise. But Erasmus a man better skill'd in all Histories and in the Annals of the times, then my brother Burton or any of his way, who are for the most part strangers and enemies to all good litterature, out of Demosthenes setting down the truth of that story, describes Pho∣cion to have been some Sectary in Philosophie, but yet such a tri∣viall and worthlesse one, that Demosthenes speaking of him, saith, That Phocions Arguments were so far from having any strength or validity in them to perswade any man to imbrace his doctrine and opinion, that by the weaknesse of them and the contradicting of himselfe and the fond handling of the controversie, he affirmeth, that Phocion was his own executioner, and the only hatchet of his own Arguments, and who opposed, yea overthrew his own principles: Phocion (saith Demosthenes) is his own hatchet to destroy and cut in sunder his own Arguments. The words of Erasmus relating that story are these, In adagiis Erasmi printed Hanoviae M. D. C. XVII. fol. 485. Demosthenes (saith he) Phocionem appellare solet suorum Argumentorum securim. Thus Erasmus expresseth him self touching that businesse. And this is the true story concerning that matter in Demosthenes, who makes Phocion the hatchet and de∣stroyer of his own Arguments. Now my brother Burton speaks of Phocion, as if indeed he had been armed with such a weapon to Page [unnumbered] incounter his enemies withall, which was nothing so. But the story may truly be verified in my brother Burton, who is indeed like Phocion and is his own executioner and the very hatchet of his own arguments, that really divides the head and heart of all his own and of all the Independents doctrine; so that I may tru∣ly say of him, that he hath not onely sorely and desperately wounded his own cause, but absolutely murthered and taken away the life of Independency; Yea, whiles with this hatchet he came out against me to cut in two the long thred (as he speaks) of my Alcibiadian fluent and luxuriant Rhetorications, and to wound me soul and body, he hath wounded himselfe and all his brethren under the fifth ribb; and that when he seemed in love to take them all by their great white basket-hilted beards to kisse them; & that which I now say of him, I am confident that all those that shall vouchsafe to read the insuing discourse without prejudice, and see what I have an∣swered to him and all those of his society, will say.
It is usuall with all the Independents to say of any Presbyte∣rians that write against their wicked practices and novelties, al∣though they do it with most singular reason, wisdome, and mo∣deration, and with all evidence of demonstration, that by their writing against their wayes they not only wronged themselves and the Presbyterian cause, and that very much, but that they have been a great occasion of increasing Independents and advan∣cing their party, when notwithstanding it is well known to the judicious and learned that they have given the Sectaries a fatall blow by discovering the vanities and errors of their wayes to all men. But what the Independents and Sectaries falsly vaunt in this point, (as they do of their graces and vertues) may truly be said of Master Knollys, I. S. and my brother Burton, that if e∣ver any men have wronged their cause, and advanced their adverse party, they have done it; as I am confident all they will say that shall deliberately read the following discourse; for there they shall see how they not only upon all occasions contradict them∣selves, and through their ignorance and temerity overthrow their own principles, and are enemies to their own cause; but how they like the Midianites destroy one another with their own swords, and at that time when they thinke mortally to wound their adversaries and utterly to vanquish them and to obtaine the victory.
Page [unnumbered]All that I have more in this place to add, is this, That it con∣cerns all men seriously to look about them: and as they will not be deterred by any art of perswasion when either their lands or estates are questioned from searching into their evidences and the last wills and testaments of their fathers, Parents, and friends that gave them their inheritances, so they ought not by any perswasions of men to be disswaded now to search the good will and testament of their hea∣venly father and all the evidences of holy Writ, and to see what all their adversaries can pretend against their right & just title to them. Let them ever make those living Oracles Act. 7. their Counsel∣lors, they will advise them for their present good and shew them the right way to their eternall & everlasting Patrimony the king∣dome of glory. Now that they may be all made more studious and diligent in the scrutiny of those heavenly records when as so ma∣ny Sectaries and Independents lay false claim to their caelestial inheritance and pretend that the Presbyterians have no just title and claim to the way that leads thereto, shall ever be the prayer of him who from his soul wishes that all men may grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus: to him be glory both now and for ever, 2 Pet. 3. 17.