AN ANSWER OF HƲMPHREY CHAMBERS, D. D. Rector of PEWSEY, in the County OF WILTS,
To the CHARGE of WALTER BVSHNEL, Vicar of BOX, in the same County.
Published in a Book of his entituled; A Narrative of the Pro∣ceedings of the Commissioners appointed by O. Cromwel for eject∣ing scandalous and ignorant Ministers, in the case of Walter Bushnel, &c.
With a Vindication of the said Commissioners annexed.
Humbly submitted to publick Censure
Job 31. 35, 36.
1 Cor 4. 4, 5.
LONDON, Printed for Thomas Johnson, at the Golden-Key in St. Pauls Church-yard. 1660.
TO THE HONOƲRABLE, Sir Anthony Ashlie-Cooper, Knight and Baronet: AND, John Earnly Esq; Knights of the Shire for the County of Wilts: As also to the Honourable, the Citizens and Burgesses returned for this present Parliament, for the respective City and Burroughs of the same County.
Honoured and Honourable Gentlemen,
I Account it my great happinesse that Mr. Bushnel of Box having published a heavy charge against the Commiss. of the County of Wilts, appointed for the ejecting of scan∣dalous and ignorant Ministers, and therein bent himself most fiercely against mee as a most grievous offender, hath, by dedicating his Narrative to you, put a necessity upon mee, (unlesse I would plead guilty to all hee Page [unnumbered] chargeth mee with) to publish my answer, and make you the Judges (which I do with all readinesse and chearfulnesse) be∣tween him and mee. I will not speak a word to fore-stall your judgement, but hum∣bly beg your pardon for my enforced bold∣nesse, in directing this my Answer unto you, at whose feet I lay, and leave it and my self with all content. Whereas Mr. Bushnel, towards the end of his Narrative, having immediately before spoken of mee, by name, and the Commissioners, writes in his Scoffing Dialect, and Character, Page 208. These men (as godly as they are) love dearly to bee fingring mony; for my part (I am sure) I never fingred a farthing, but spent many a pound whilst I was im∣ployed as an Assistant to the Commissioners; and I cannot otherwise apprehend but that all the Commissioners are so free from fingering a penny in the execution of their Commission from first to last, that they are all ready (as I have heard some of them protest they are, and by name Mr. Blis∣set) to purge themselves by oath from this crime, and challenge any man to speak, who Page [unnumbered] can testifie the contrary of them; I will no further trouble you who are taken up in the weighty affairs of the Nations, where∣in that the Lord would graciously direct and assist you, and that Honourable Court whereof you are members, to act to his glo∣ry, the honour of his Majesty, and the hap∣py establishment of peace, truth, and righ∣teousnesse in our Land, is the earnest prayer of
Your most observant (though unworthy) servant, Humphry Chambers.
TO THE Christian Reader.
IF ever a Book hath come under thy view and per∣usal, intituled, A Narrative of the Proceedings of the Commissioners appointed by O. Cromwell for ejecting of scandalous and ignorant Ministers, in the case of Walter Bushnel, Clerk, Vicar of Box, in the County of Wilts, thou hast then received a heavy charge against my self, amongst others, into one of thy ears, all that I shall beg of thee, is, but to keep the other ear open to hear the Answer, and then bee thou an impartial Umpire between us. Si accusasse sufficiat, &c. If a charge go for proof, none can bee innocent. Mr. Bushnels Book came first to my hand and view on Thursday the sixteenth of August, in the evening; Friday I spent in reading of it, on Saturday I imployed as much time as I could spare from my studies preparatory to the Lords day, in writing my Answer, which on Tuesday, August 21. I delive∣red to a friend to bee transcribed for the Press; I acquaint thee with this, onely, to shew that Truth (needing no invention or art to set it off) may speedily bee spoken without any long study. I shall add no more but those never to bee forgotten words of our blessed Saviour; Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgement.
Thine in the Lord HUMPHREY CHAMBERS.
AN ANSVVER to a CHARGE against the Commissioners, for ejecting scandalous and ignorant Ministers, in the County of Wilts, published in Print by Walter Bush∣nel Vicar of Box, so far as it concerns Humphrey Chambers, Rector of Pewsey, submitted to publick cen∣sure.
ALthough I have no fear, that what Mr. Bushnel hath written, will impair my Reputation, with those to whom wee are both known (who are not a few) seeing wee were born, and for divers years lived within few miles one of another; And though I de∣sire not to put Mr. Bushnel to bestow a∣ny more of his invention and eloquence upon mee, by re∣plying upon what I shall write, yet being told by one who is a common and real friend* both to Mr. Bushnel and my self (before I had read this Book) That I was so deeply concerned in the Charge contained therein, that if I did not some way vindicate my self, Religion would suffer greatly through mee; and finding the same appre∣hension in some other Christian friends, I was induced to write this Answer for my self, leaving others to clear themselves from the crimes objected, as they shall see occasion, which I conceive without much difficulty they may do.
* Mr. Bushnel saith, that hee had no revengeful thought, nor had hee in the publication of his Narrative, any aim to asperse those of whom hee wrote, which if any (who reading his book) can beleeve to bee true, I shall not per∣swade Page 2 them to the contrary: Certain it is, that hee is with∣out hesitation, to bee credited in his whole Narrative, if what hee writeth in his Epistle Dedicatory were true, viz. I have not charged them with a syllable which I am not able by proofs to make good upon them. This brings the business to a direct and short issue, which I heartily desire it may bee put upon, as far as I am concerned in it; and wish for no other Judges, than those Honourable Gentlemen to whom Mr. Bushnel hath dedicated his Narrative. I do not intend to varnish or puzzle the business with multitude or affectation of words, but with affected brevity and plainness, to lay down Mr. Bushnels Charge against mee, that hee may apply his proofs to the several branches of it, and then let all wise and good men judge between us.
*So it was, that some of the Commissioners, Ministers, Witnes∣ses and others, who have eaten my bread, have, and do still, upon all opportunities offered or sought, report mee to the world for such a one, so scandalous and ignorant, as altogether unfit either to return to my own living, or to bee admitted to any other.
* This I say is utterly and wholly untrue as to my self, and it resteth upon Mr. Bushnel to prove,
1 That I did ever eat a bit of his bread, yea, I bless the Lord I know not that (in the late Troubles) I was ever possessed of what any other man had a legal right to, unto the value of one penny.
2 That I did ever (to bate him that of all opportuni∣ti•s offered or sought) report him to bee so ignorant, and so scandalous, as to bee altogether unfit to return to his own, or to bee admitted to any other Living; I am well assured that no such words ever passed from my mouth.
*These respective persons▪ I shall charge, and make good this Charge upon them: First, The Ministers, that they were ever medling with that which they had nothing to do withall. And page 216, 217. It may bee upon this very account, might the Doctor, and Mr. Byfield intrude so much and act so fiercely as the• did in matters of that cognizance which they had nothing to do withall: And after, All which notwithstanding none tookPage 3so much upon them in matter of scandal, as these two.
* This, as to my self, is a palpable and thorow untruth, as all the Commissioners, the Council, and the Officers, who attended the business, can well testifie: I have many a time left the Commissioners, when there was no busi∣ness of examination about insufficiency before them, and have hardly spoken in a whole day to any matter of scan∣dal, when I have been present. It lyeth on Mr. Bushnel to prove the contrary, to make his words good, which I am sure hee can never do.
*I charge them all, Commissioners, Ministers, Clerk, for coun∣tenancing and incouraging infamous persons, such who had for∣sworn themselves, and touching some of themselves, in their hea∣ring, &c.
* This I utterly deny as to my self, and am confident hee will never bee able to prove it, against my self, or any the Commissioners, which will bee better tried, when wee come to particulars included in this general.
* Writing of John Trevers, (who exhibited the first Ar∣ticles •gainst him) as a mercinary wretch, saith, And, for some such kinde of man was hee looked upon by Mr. Chambers himself when hee first delivered in these Articles against mee, who (as hee hath reported) called for the Articles, with a purpose to have torn them, because they were exhibited by such a hand.
* I trust Mr. Bushnel intended not this as any part of his Charge against mee, seeing it pleadeth strongly and truly for mee, that I had no evil intention against him, nor thought of promoting any Articles to his prejudice, as indeed I had not, and was greatly troubled in my spirit, that such a fellow as I had heard Trevers to bee, should bring in Articles against a Learned Minister, as I then took Mr. Bushnel to bee.
*And here (for an introduction to the honesty and discretion of the Doctor) I shall observe this unto thee, that (as I have been told) hee observed it, that although there were several names subscribed, yet they were all written in the same hand, from which it must needs follow, that by the Doctors confession, Page 4 the whole writing, both Articles and hands, might bee all forged, as indeed they were; so that mee thinks, the Dr. hath very much over-shot himself in point of discretion, for hee looks upon the Articles the more, because subscribed with such and so many names, and yet hee acknowledgeth all the names to bee written with one hand, which would have made any sober man the more to have suspected it.
* And upon this ground I did the more suspect the paper, and openly declared my dissatisfaction, as to the tender of these Articles by Trevers; And for my part (I con∣ceive) they were then looked upon by the Commissioners, as of no value, and do still conceive, that they were not the Articles which were insisted on by the Commissioners; But that another paper of Articles was afterwards by o∣ther hands exhibited against him, which were read unto him as his charge: What cause therefore hee had in this place to make such an out-cry about my honesty and dis∣cretion, Let others judge.
*But yet the Doctor had an evasion for this, for at my appearing before them at Calne, some of those whose names were subscri∣bed, desired a sight of the paper, that they might know who had thus abused them, which they could not obtain, yet the Doctor (that wee might not prove his friends guilty of forgery) indeavours to preserve their Reputation with a Salvo to some such purpose, That their names were written onely by way of a Memorandum, that in case they were called upon, they could depose to these Articles, that that might bee done without their knowledge (I think hee added) that it was an usual course in the proceedings of these Commissioners.
* This appeareth to bee no strange Relation, being onely of words spoken by mee to some such purpose, and depending onely on Mr. Bushne•s, I think; And indeed I cannot say what I then spake, but I beleeve, if Mr. Bushnel do well re∣call himself, whatever I spake, it was spoken in a by-dis∣course to him, and those with him; I am confident hee can never prove, that I was unwilling that they whose names were subscribed, should have had a fight of the pa∣per, or willing to give any countenance to that paper, Page 5 or the hand which delivered it, or the persons who contrived it, who are wholly unknown to mee, and e∣ver were.
*But now I must tell thee, that many of them whose names were subscribed unto those Articles did touching my self, first under their own hands, certifie to these Commissioners the quite contra∣ry to these Articles, and afterwards being before them and sworn, were so far from testifying any thing to the sense of the Articles, as that all they said was to my vindication, all which was in∣dustriously declined by the Dr. and his Commissioners.
* Passing by your tart, groundless and frequent jear of my Commissioners, Try, if you can prove this Syllable, that I did industriously decline your vindication by your witnes∣ses; prove that I was active, and stirring in that way, ei∣ther in your case, or any other case, which was ever be∣fore the Commissioners, I am sure you will never prove it.
*Reporting that one who was summoned for a witness, appre∣hended that two of the witnesses sworn against him, spoke out of malice; Mr. Bushnel writes, which (said hee) the Commissio∣ners having more understanding than wee, must needs perceive, and so they did some of them, and one of them a Minister* too, (to the Doctors credit bee it spoken) And yet, which is strange in this man, although hee discovered their leaven, and so must know them to act from base principles, and with reference to a base end, yet hee alwaies vouchsafed to these men whom hee knew thus to act, his favourable countenance and furtherance.
* That I may at once draw this, and all charges of the like nature in the Narrative to a plain issue, that Mr. Bush∣nel may see what hee is to apply his proofs unto; I will here briefly relate, according to truth, how far I was in∣teressed in this business of Mr. Bushnel. At the first ten∣dring the Articles by Trevers, I was disquieted, and much unsatisfied, and expressed my apprehension therein, as before appeareth: Afterwards, when William Pinchin, and Obadiah Cheltnam (altogether without any thought or knowledge of mine) tendred Articles against Mr. Bushnel, which were read to him, I did then (if hee call himself to remembrance) go from the table to Mr. Bushnel, as Page 6 owning his acquaintance, and hee and I exchanged some friendly words, hee expressing a great defiance of the Articles, and sense of the vileness of them (if they could bee proved) and then and there it was that I said to him, (hee calling for witnesses to prove the Articles) That the several parties should bee brought face to face, as hee truly reports, pag. 4. At that time I looked on Mr. Bushnel as a friend, from whom I should have expected, and who might have expected from mee, any common friendly courtesie, there having never been any unfriendly passage between Mr. Bushnel and my self all our daies. After this William Pinchin, and Obadiah Cheltnam came to mee, as be∣ing both known to mee, to speak with mee about Mr. Bushnels business; They well know with what earnestness I pressed them both, to take heed what they did, and to look carefully to it, upon what grounds, and to what end they moved therein, telling them, that if from private discontents, malice, covetousness, or any such wretched grounds they did prosecute this Charge against the said Mr. Bushnel, the Lord would surely require it of them; Whereupon they did with extraordinary earnestness pro∣test to mee, that they had no enmity against Mr. Bushnel, nor desire or thought of making advantage by his remo∣val, but that they did minde the good of their own (and others) souls in what they were doing, saying, that hee preached in such a Scholar-like way, that his Parishioners were little profited by him, and that the scandalous mis∣carriages charged in the Articles would bee fully proved against him; Upon this (being prevailed upon by their often and earnest protestations.) I left them to do what they thought fit, onely I did take knowledge of them when they appeared before the Commissioners, as persons known to mee, but never opened my mouth in their commendation, nor to further them, or any witness which they brought to prove the Articles against Mr. Bushnel: The Articles of scandal (as Mr. Bushnel often and truly in∣timateth) I had nothing to do with, being no Commissio∣ner; Neither did I take upon mee to stickle about them Page 7 one way or other; And as for Mr. Bushnels last appearance at Lavington, when the Order was drawn up against him for his ejectment, as hee tells us, pag. 223. I was not then present, nor know I what was passed against him.
And at Sarum, when the order of Ejection was publish∣ed against Mr. Bushnel, how very unwilling I was to have had any thing to do in the examination of him, they who were present know, and with what fair respect I managed that part of his examination which fell to my share, Mr. Bushnel may, and if hee do not, others do very well re∣member. Thus having made a true Relation how far I was concerned in Mr. Bushnels business; That which rests upon him to prove in the former Charge, is,
1 That I did know that Pinchin and Powel (the two wit∣nesses) did act from base principles, and to base ends, which I utterly deny.
2 That I afforded unto them furtherance in what they did, whereas Powel I knew not, nor spake I any thing (that I know) to the furtherance of Pinchins testimony, but left it according to my place, to the Commissioners to consider of it.
But now having related how able and ready hee was to prove horrid and barbarous crimes acted by Pinchin a∣gainst his Father,* and other his nearest Relations (to take off the force of his testimony) None, saith Mr. Bushnel, was more forward to withstand and oppose this, than Dr. Chambers, who knew much of it to bee true, but was not willing ('tis like) that it should come to the knowledge of these Gentlemen, for fear that hee should thereby have* lost so precious a witness, or per∣haps for fear*that hee should have heard something which would have meerly reflected on himself; This Dr. then acknowledging that there had been some small differences between them, pray∣ing that no more words might bee made of it; together with an intimation that all differences were now composed, or to some such purpose.
Ans. The last words (or to some such purpose) evidence that Mr. Bushnel doth not well remember what I said, neither indeed do I; But this I am confident of, that I did never Page 8 speak those words, wherein the main weight of this Charge lieth, viz. That there had been some small differences be∣tween William Pinchin and his Father: for though I never knew so much of the difference between them, as Mr. Bushnel hath here expressed, yet by what I had heard a∣bout William Pinchins wicked and horrid carriage towards his Father, I did in my heart greatly loathe it, and could never mince it under the name of small differences, possi∣bly I might (though I do not now remember it) upon William Pinchins earnest protestation which hee made to mee, of his desire of becoming a new man, say some∣thing of that business as a matter that was then past, but that I did colour it over with the name of small differences, or words to any such purpose, I assuredly beleeve is not true, nor will ever bee proved, and shall gladly imbrace Mr. Bushnels counsel laid down, pag. 73. In these words, I could advise Mr. Chambers to admonish William Pinchin, that hee would sadly consider of it in this his day.
* Upon the recital of Jane Hendyes deposition in his be∣half Mr. Bushnel addeth, But now William Pinchin, at La∣vington boldly interposes, and tells the Commissioners, that his Mother (this Jone Pinchin) had told him that this Jane Hendy had said so much to her, on which Mr. Chambers adds, that if Goodwife Pinchin had said so, hee was bound to beleeve her. And again at Marleborough, May 8. When there were papers delivered in by William Pinchin, written by him∣self, wherein it was affirmed under her mark, that Jane Hen∣dy should say so, the Doctor adds again, That if Goodwife Pinchin said so, hee was in conscience bound to beleeve her: Now by the Doctors leave, I conceive these words of his, I am bound, and I am bound in conscience to beleeve her, were not spoken by him, either with discretion or charity.
* I am yet to learn that I transgressed the Rules, either of discretion, or charity, in saying of a woman, whom I had for many years often conversed with, and taken to be a stayed Christian woman, that I was bound, and bound in conscience to beleeve, what shee said and attested under her hand; But Mr. Bushnel adds.
Page 9Not with so much advisedness or discretion: For it is well known that William Pinchin had that power over his Mother, that shee dared not but to say, and to do as her son would have her, I beleeve so well known, that the Doctor himself could not bee altogether ignorant of it.
*To beleeve that I would say that I was bound in con∣science to beleeve a woman of whom I knew that her son had power over her to make her say or do what hee pleased, I take it doth savour of little charity in Mr. Bushnel, I hope I durst not (whatever Mr. Bushnel beleeves of mee) upon any tearms have said, that I was bound in conscience to beleeve Goodwife Pinchin, if I had known, or in the least suspected her to have been so little a Christian, as to bee under the power of her son, to make her say and do what hee please: I did fully beleeve it was otherwise with her, when I shewed my beleef of what shee spake.
*And why might not the Dr. bee mistaken in her, (viz. Good∣wife Pinchin) as well as hee hath been in many others (Wo∣men I mean, for there his acquaintance did especially lye, and these, many of them such, who had the hand over their hus∣bands) who have followed him as far, and as oft as Jone Pinchin, and yet are now fallen off both from his Doctrine and Acquaintance.
* I know nothing in any man which may exempt others from a possibility of being deceived in him, whilst hee hath the deceitful heart of man in his bosome: No doubt therefore I might bee deceived in Goodwife Pinchin; but I was so far perswaded of her Christianity at that time, when I spake, that I had good ground to beleeve, that she would not wilfully speak and swear against her own knowledge; And I am still bound to beleeve as much of her, until I see the contrary proved upon her, by some who afford her liberty to answer for her self: That my acquaintance did e∣specially lye with women, as Mr. Bushnel doth here confidently and jeeringly (in another Character, for fear it should not bee noted) affirm, is utterly untrue, as the whole coun∣try (where I then lived) knows, wherein I had the happi∣ness to bee intimately acquainted with very many men of Page 10 best repute in all ranks, who afforded mee a large share in their loving respects. It is true, that my Ministry found acceptance with divers Christian women, whose acquain∣tance I have no cause to bee ashamed of; if any of them, (for no doubt Mr. Bushnel greatly outlasheth in the word many) had the hand over their husbands, it was matter of grief to mee, wheresoever I saw it; and if many who used to hear mee, bee fallen oft from my Doctrine and Acquain∣tance, I hope their defection cannot bee charged upon mee, as my crime. The Lord shew them mercy, and return them into the way of truth.
And now for Dr. Chambers (a man of so much reve∣rence and learning) to say (when it had been good manners in him to hold his peace) that if Goodwife Pinchin had said so,* hee was in conscience bound to beleeve her, was (upon the mat∣ter) to say to this Jane Hendyes face, that shee had twice fore∣sworn her self.
* Here again Mr. Bushnel puts in his jeer of, a man of so much Reve•ence and Learning, in other Characters, fearing belike that his Readers would bee so thick-sented, as not to smell the sweetness of his tart Sarcasm, without some sig∣nal Indication, for which end, belike, hee thought the mentioning of good manners, immediately after, would not bee sufficient: Whether this bee dealing suitable to a Mi∣nister of the Gospel let others judge: But as for what hee publisheth as an evidence of want of chari•y in mee to∣wards Jane Hendy I am confident all the Logick in A∣ristotles Organon, will never joyn his Premises and Con∣clusion together; For what Jane Hendy sware and Good∣wife Pinchin said, and confirmed by oath, may be all true, and no contradiction bee found between their two oaths; for Jane Hendy swore cautelously, that shee did not remem∣ber that shee ever spake of any such thing to Jone Pinchin, which Jone Pinchin sware shee did speak to her, and both oaths may be true, for it may (possibly) bee true, that Jane Hendy did speak something to Jone Pinchin, which shee did not at that present remember; so that I might say, that I was in conscience bound to beleeve Goodwife Pinchin,Page 11 and yet not say (upon the matter) that Jane Hendy had twice for sworn her self; And therefore what I said, did not at all amount to what Mr. Bushnel collects from my words, and makes a horrible out-cry upon, pag. 95. That I did pronounce one of them infallible, and the other perjured: They did both swear according to truth, for ought I know, I am sure they might do so, and my charity in∣clines mee to think that they did so, for I know no suffi∣cient ground why Mr. Bushnel should peremptorily af∣firm, that the testimony of these two women are contra∣dictory, and that one or other of them must needs bee for sworn.
*And now I shall add further, that I beleeve that this, and many other false oaths had never been taken, had not the Doctor by those words, I am bound in conscience, hinted unto them a kinde of faculty, or dispensation of swearing, and that now they might bee bold.
* I refer it to the judgement of any rational Christian to determine whether my saying of Goodwife Pinchin, that I was bound in conscience to beleeve what shee said, upon upon that perswasion which I had of her, that shee was a consci∣entious Christian, did hint a dispensation to her, and much more to any other, whom I had no knowledge of, to swear falsly: I am confident Mr. Bushnel will never bee able to shew any rational ground of his beleef, that my saying that I was bound to beleeve Goodwife Pinchin, did contain in it an incouragement or dispensation for her, or any other, to swear falsly.
*And one thing further, this oath being false (as I am confi∣dent it was) and (as it is very probable) this oath being caused by such an invitation, I am bound in conscience, if an incou∣rager, or an abetter, or a perswader bee an Accessary, I cannot acquit some body (the Dr. may guess whom I mean) from being guilty of this and many following perjuries.
* Here Mr. Bushnel is peremptorily confident, that Good∣wife Pinchins oath was false, and that the perjury lies with her, as before hee expressed himself; had I said so much of Jane Hendy, I should have heard of want of charity on Page 12 both ears: But I shall leave Mr. Bushnel to consider whe∣ther there bee not some want of charity in this his confi∣dence: But that my saying, I am bound in conscience to be∣leeve what Goodwife Pinchin said, being spoken in relati∣on to what she had said and testified under her hand, should bee in any probability a cause and invitation to induce her to swear what shee did, is a most senseless and irrational conjecture, because I spake the words after shee had fully declared what shee could and would swear; The relation of what shee would swear, given under her hand, caused mee to say, as himself relates it, pag. 89. That I was bound in conscience to beleeve what shee testified: And therefore it is not onely improbable, but utterly impossible that my words should bee a foregoing cause, and invitation to her Oath. But that my saying of one whom I lookt upon as a Christian woman of great-fidelity, that if shee would swear, I were bound in conscience to beleeve her, should make mee an Incourager, an Abetter, and Accessary to her false Oath, in case shee should swear falsly, and much more to the perjuries of others (as Mr. Bushnel doth here in a ca∣lumniating injurious way charge mee to bee) I am con∣fident will seem rational to no intelligent person whatso∣ever; And therefore this high and groundless calumny, being built upon such a false and sandy foundation, I do not fear, but it will fall of it self, without any derogation from my good name.
*Now I must tell the Reader, That not long before this, shee, (viz. Goodwife Pinchin) having some discourse with several persons, ever acquitted mee, saying, That shee beleeved that I was wronged, or to that purpose; but now shee changes her note, and saies. Shee cannot judge: Doubtless her own son William, or the Doctor (for I have heard that hee was at her house betwixt April 28. and June 4.) had instructed her, and taught her to fall short, and why might hee not make the whole, as well as alter a part of it?
* By what Mr. Bushnel here relateth of Goodwife Pinchin• former words, it appeareth, That there were some re∣ports then going of what Goodwife Pinchin testified, that Page 11Jane Hendy spake about Mr. Bushnels carriage towards her, But then Goodwife Pinchin (as hee relates it) beleeved hee was wronged in those reports; I leave this wholly as not being concerned in it: Whereas Mr. Bushnel layeth it down as an undoubted truth, that either William Pinchin or I, and leaveth it doubtful, whether hee or I, instructed Goodwife Pinchin, and taught her upon her oath, to fall short of what shee knew, and had formerly spoken; I de∣ny and defie this charge, as most untrue and injurious; if Mr. Bushnel can make the least proof, or shadow of proof of it, I require him to do it, as hee tendereth the being free from the blot of a false and malicious Accuser: I acknow∣ledge that I called at Goodwife Pinchins house (the high way lying close by her door) as I rode by, and spake with her as an antient Christian friend, but that I instructed her, or taught her to swear against her knowledge, is a spight∣ful and most untrue insinuation, which must bee answered for at the appearance of the Lord Jesus.
*Mr. Bushnel writeth, that it was testified against one Wil∣liam Cottle, who was a witness against him, amongst other things, that hee should say, that your Parsons were greedy, and that hee would trust none of them all, no not Mr. Chambers, who had left Claverton, and was gone to Pewsey: And when Cottle (being still upon his Oath) denied these words to bee spoken by him, after they were testified and sworn to his face, hee acknowledged that hee had spoken them, adding further, why? what if I did say so? The truth is, that the thing being barely considered in and of it self, it mattered not, if hee had said so, for it was true as hee said; Mr. Chambers had left Claverton (nor was this the first time hee had left it) and was gone to Pewsey, and this to his great advantage too, for the re∣port goes that hee is three hundred pounds a year gainer by this Re∣move.
* That I left Claverton before I came to Pewsey, & afterwards came to Pewsey, with a considerable advantage as to out∣ward state, I do freely acknowledge; Nor was I ever offen∣ded with any, who before they had heard what account I could give of my Removal, had spoken of it, as importing Page 14 some earthly-mindedness in mee; But not to trouble the world with tedious relations about personal businesses, if Mr. Bushnel be pleased to afford mee a private occasion, as divers Christian friends have done, to discover to him the grounds and reasons of my removal from Claverton, and coming to Pewsey, I doubt not, but I shall so far satisfie him, as to cause him to desist from making this a matter of publick reproach and defamation against mee.
*It were not amiss to tell thee that John Trevers, sitting by, during this debate, and hearing and noting all the passages, observed it (and so did others besides) and (as I have heard) hath reported it elsewhere with some complacency, that Mr. Chambers did hang down his head the while; Now wee know, that hanging down of the head doth usually signifie that there is shame and sorrow in the heart.
And whereas shame doth usually produce either an amend∣ment in the person so exposed; or else indignation, which the per∣son so exposed conceives against him whom hee looks on as the cause of this exposal; I have some conjecture, that this wrought af∣ter the latter and worser way with Dr. Chambers; and that hee did for this, store up a good turn for mee against hee had an opportunity; of which the Readers shall have some account in due time and place.
* It is very strange that Mr. Bushnel, being present all the time of this debate, and being a diligent observer of all my words and carriages (as appears throughout his Narra∣tive) did not himself take notice of my hanging down my head, if it were so considerable as hee would have the world beleeve it was, from the testimony of Trevers, and other unn med witnesses; But to speak this once for all to Cottles words concerning mee, though Mr. Bushnel makes often use of them for his purpose, I bless the Lord I have so much quiet in my own heart, as concerning my Remo∣val from Claverton, and coming to Pewsey, that I was never Page 15 ashamed to hear of it in any place, or to bee called to shew my grounds for it; whether I held down my head, when Cottles words were proved upon him by oath, I know not; This I am most assured of, that it was not out of any shame which surprized mee upon the hearing of Cottles words, in relation to my self: I was so little affected with the words, that though upon Mr. Bushnels Relation, I do beleeve that it was attested upon oath, that such words were spoken by Cottle, yet this I can truly take my oath of, that I had utterly forgotten it, and did not in the least remember any such passage; And as for Mr. Bushnels un∣charitable conjecture, that I did store up a good turn for him, by reason of those words of Cottle, I call the great God to witness, who can onely testifie in this Case, that I never had, nor have I, the least indignation against Mr. Bushnel, in regard of Cottles words; if hee knew my heart, hee would beleeve mee.
*Having called the witnesses which appeared against him, the Doctors, Mr. By fields, and Mr. Blissets witnesses, Mr. Bush∣nel adds; Nor can these men have any just cause to distaste mee, that I call them their witnesses, when I have given my reasons of it. I have told thee already, that I beleeve that many a one which hath appeared before them, and have been sworn against mee, had never so done, had it not been for their invitation and countenance, which as before, so at this time appeared most visible.
* What hath before been produced by Mr. Bushnel, to prove mee an Inviter and Countenancer of the witnesses a∣gainst him, hath been answered by mee, and I leave it to the censure of the judicious Reader. Now it seems by his words hee hath met with a most visible Evidence in the Case, which is next to bee considered.
Having named the solicitors against him, Mr. Bushnel adds, And in their addresses (neglecting the Gentlemen to whom alone of right this business did belong.) Their Applica∣tions were to Mr. Chambers, and Mr. Byfield, John Tre∣vers, and William Pinchin, at the upper end of the Table stand∣ing at the Elbow of the Dr. and Obadiah Cheltenham to∣wards Page 16 the lower end, waiting upon Mr. Byfield: And this I conceive to bee reason enough wherefore I call them their witnes∣ses.
* I dare not return Mr. Bushnel any jeers, but in good ear∣nest, it is strange to mee, that Mr. Bushnel being (as I know him to bee) a Scholar, and a Logician, should think there is sufficient strength in this Reason why hee should call the solicitors, Mine, Mr. Byfields, and Mr. Blis∣sets witnesses, because two of them stood at my elbow, and one by Mr. Byfield: For if this bee the reason why hee calleth them our winesses, then by the same reason, they should not bee called Mr. Blissets witnesses, because never a one of them stood at his elbow, or waited upon him: But if Trevers and Pinchin did stand by mee, which is more than I can tell: Did I entertain any friendly discourse with them? Did I take any special notice of them? Did I speak a word in favour of them or their business? Of this here is, Altum Silentium, which wee may bee sure proceeded not from any willingness in Mr. Bushnel, to sup∣press any thing which hee had any hope might make a∣gainst mee.
* Upon the Relation of the Testimony of Henry Sheyler, upon oath, that hee was told by one Nowell (who with his wife had dep•sed something against Mr. Bushnel) that Tre∣vers and Pinchin made profers and promises of mony to him, if hee would appear and swear against Mr. Bushnel, it followeth: I must tell thee further, that soon after this de∣position of Sheyler was taken, Nowells wife (being before at a window, and hearing what had passed) comes towards the Dr. (for unto him were the most especial addresses made) and after a long and a low courtesie, adds, yea, surely if Mr. Bushnel had not to pick a thank with Coll. Eyre, told him of my Husbands Gun, and said, that therewith hee used to kill Hares and Pigeons, wee would not have been here to day to have sworn against him. And still continuing * courtesing to Mr. Chambers (who then turned his head a∣bout, Page 17 and looked towards her) shee adds further, That hee had known her of a long time.
* By this it appeareth, that Nowells wife claimed acquain∣tance with mee (and indeed her Father was my Clerk when I lived at Claverton) But did I take any special no∣tice of her? or shew her any special favour? by this story it seems I did not, who did not suddenly turn my head to∣wards her, and when I did, though shee spoke to mee, yet here is no intimation of any thing I said to her, which would have been the Principal Verb in the Sentence, if any such thing could have been alledged against mee. And now Christian Reader, judge indifferently what reason Mr. Bushnel had to write, page 139. that Nowell and his wife conceiving themselves injured formerly by him, ha∣ving this opportunity, and countenance of the Dr. her antient acquaintance (which is written in the jeering cha∣racter) they were resolved to bee revenged on us both (I mean the Collenel and my self.)
* Having related four depositions taken against one San∣ders, who was a witness against him, to prove the said Sanders to bee a very vicious person, Mr. Bushnel adds; It must not bee forgotten, that before these three last deposit ons were taken at Marleborough, the Dr. (belike having before either instructed William Pinchin what was to bee done, or else having been informed by William Pinchin what hee had done) beckning to William Pinchin with his hands, and twinkling of his eyes, it seems as doubting that William Pinchin had for∣gotten himself. Whereupon William Pinchin approacheth, and with a low congee, delivers to the Dr. a peece of Paper, which the Dr. conveyes to Mr. Blisset, with some such words; There is a Testimony of this mans (meaning Sanders) behaviour; which was by Mr. Blisset read accordingly. The business was but short, and my thoughts so much upon this Doctor, that I little noted it; onely I remember there were the names of some whom I knew, set to it, and the names of others which I have heard of.
* Because Mr. Bushnel maketh much ado about this San∣ders, as if I had been under great guilt in relation to him, Page 16〈1 page duplicate〉Page 17〈1 page duplicate〉Page 18 I will relate all that I know about the business of San∣ders: This Sanders is one whom I never knew, nor had heard a word of him, till the time that hee appeared as a witness before the Commissioners: William Pinchin came to mee in the Chamber before the sitting of the Commis∣sioners, and shewed mee a Certificate in the behalf of the said Sanders, subscribed by the hands of some men of ho∣nesty and credit in Chippenham, whose Reputation prevail∣ed with mee to think it to bee of some credit, and it is likely, as Mr. Bushnel relateth it (though it bee gone out of my memory) that I might becken to William Pinchin to have the Certificate from him, and give it to Mr. Blissett to bee read, when Sanders name was in question: not out of any purpose to bolster up Sanders in any wick∣edness, but onely that it might bee weighed by the Com∣missioners, whether Sanders were a man any way to bee credited, yea, or no, wherein I was able to say nothing: This is all I know about Sanders, which whether it amount to a guilt, let the Reader judge.
*I shall tell thee here, that William Sanders being questioned for the Sacriledge (mentioned, but now) fled, and that hee stands answerable for this Sacriledge even to this hour. And was it not a handsome thing for the Dr. to countenance this man (against the Minister) that had robbed the Church.
* I am beholding to Mr. Bushnel for an answer to this Charge, which else my memory would not have helped mee unto: Hee tells us, that before the three last deposi∣tions were taken against Sanders, I handed the Certificate in his behlaf from William Pinchin to Mr. Blissett; now one of those three last Depositions concerneth the Sacrilege here spoken of, and therefore if hee will needs interpret my de∣livering in the Certificate for a countenancing of this man (which is more than it amounteth unto) yet I am free from countenancing a Church-robber against a Minister, seeing the Deposition concerning Sanders Sacriledge was not given in, neither had I ever heard a word of it when I handed the Certificate to Mr. Blissett.*
Having related the wicked and fraudulent course (sup∣posing Page 19 it to bee as hee relateth) which was taken for the obtaining the Certificate for Sanders from the Chippenham∣men, Mr. Bushnel adds: Now I do not wonder that William Pinchin, Nicholas Spencer, William Sanders, and Obadiah Cheltenham should contrive and practise such unworthy courses; My wonder is, that the Doctor should so demurely put to his helping hand for the promoting of them; nay, that hee should bee more forward than William Pinchin, and readier to call for it, than William Pinchin was to deliver it. But doubtless the Caln-business did yet stick in the Doctors stomach; there were a generation of men heretofore great pretenders to godliness, that were touchy, and very implacable; and perchance before I make an end of this discourse, I shall make some* observes to the Dr. of the Agagite in the Old Testament, and the Scribes and Phari∣sees in the New.
* I do from my soul abhor all such false and fraudulent waies▪ as Mr. Bushnel makes mention of in the relation of the getting the Certificate for Sanders: If I had had the least knowledge or jealousie the Certificate had been in such wise obtained, I would never have taken it into my hand, unless it had been to tear, or burn it: But the names subscribed to it, did keep mee off wholly from such a suspicion, and was the onely cause why I delivered it. And as for Mr. Bushnels saying, that doubtless the Caln-business stuck in my stomach, doubtless hee can make no proof of that, and the Lord knows it is utterly false, and against the Rule by which I make conscience to walk, which is to forgive others, as I desire to bee forgiven of God: But as for Cottles words, I can truly say, I never va∣lued them more than a puff off wind.
*I have told thee, that at such time, as (amongst other notorious Infamies) wee had proved Sanders to have fallen upon his own Father, to have thrown him down, and beaten him, saying, Hee would make an end of the old Rogue, Mr. Chambers calls for a Certificate, and promoteth it in this Sanders behalf: And this is the second time that hee shewed himself very forward, either to countenance, or defend such as by the Law of God had forfei∣ted their lives.
Page 20*Mr. Bushnel may remember what hee hath told us, that I had delivered the Certificate to Mr. Blisset before Sanders his cursed violence offered to his Father was testified upon oath by one of the three last witnesses, and so before I had the least thought of any such execrable carriage of his, and therefore Mr. Bushnel doth very injuriously charge mee with countenancing or defending such as by the Law of God were adjudged to death: I could willingly give my voice for the reviving of that Law, and the Lord knows Mr. Bushnel doth mee open wrong, when pag. 161. hee writes that the Doctor did look upon a sons couzen∣ing, cursing, frequent beating of his Parents, after a barbarous manner, throwing them down, laying hands upon them, taking of them by the throat, drawing his knife upon them, calling them old Rogue, and threatning to make an end of them, as onely some small differences, or matters, not much to bee noted, or easily to bee excu∣sed: No, no, Mr. Bushnel, there is one that knoweth this to bee a very false and injurious accusation, before whom you and I shall one day stand with open hearts, when not hee that commendeth himself shall bee approved, but hee whom God commendeth.
*I had at this time, and before, several witnesses with mee, which I desired might bee examined upon such Queries as should have been proposed unto them; but a word of exception against them from William Pinchin (the Solicitor) and Mr. Byfield (the Advocate) soon silenced, or put them all by; and thus they served no less than four at this time, some whereof would have told pretty stories of William Pinchin, John Tre∣vers, Obadiah Chel•enham, William Cottle, William Sanders, yea (perchance) of the Doctor too, if they might have been heard.
* Mr. Bushnel doth not here accuse mee of stopping the Examination of his Witnesses, and therefore to that I shall say nothing; But I desire Mr. Bushnel not to Lye in the clouds, and raise blind suspicions of unknown crimes a∣gainst mee: If hee knows any that knew any secret actings of wickedness whereof I am guilty, let them speak out, Page 21 that I may know what to answer to. Though I know so much of no mans sinfulness, as I do of mine, own, yet (I bless the Lord) I have no cause to fear the Testimony either of friends, or foes against mee, as to such crimes as come under the worlds condemnation and censure.
*Mr. Bushnel writing of Col. Eyre, saith, All which, not∣withstanding all these men, by Collonel Eyre thus proceeded a∣gainst for several Infamies, are by Mr. Byfield, the Doctor, and their friends at Marleborough encouraged to testifie a∣gainst him to his reproach, and yet hee not permitted to say any thing in his defence.
* This as to my self I avow to bee a notorious untruth, and require a proof of it: Col. Eyre hath ever been my lo∣ving, and I beleeve my intire friend, and I am sure I have, and do unfeignedly desire his welfare in all kinds, nor will it ever bee proved (I am sure) that I have trans∣gressed the Rules of Love▪ so far towards him, as to en∣courage any to testifie any thing to his reproach; I am sure it hath occasioned trouble of heart unto mee, when I have heard any reports of that nature carried about of him.
*I was told that one neer related to the persons and practices of the Commissioners, should say to this purpose, seeing us come in to Town, That Mr. Bushnel had brought such and such along with him, but that it was to no purpose for hee could not stay at Box, because that place was appointed for another man, &c. As to mine own particular, I shall say onely this; 1 That by their own confession, my place was appointed for another man; which 2 I beleeve was the man who hath since my ejectment held it, viz. Mr. Sterne, who lived formerly in a Living sequestred of Mr. Walkers at Chilmark, and it may bee was there as a kinde of a Curate to Mr. Sanger, Dr. Chambers Brother-in-law: But at this time was destitute and therefore right or wrong, a place must bee provided for him elsewhere.
* This passage maketh it evident, that any groundless and improbable probability is sufficient for Mr. Bushnel to build vehement complaints upon, against mee and the Com∣missioners: For here is an uncertain tale taken up at a dist∣ance from one, who told another, who told Mr. Bushnel, Page 22 something to this purpose, that Mr. Bushnel must not stay at Box, because that place was appointed for another man; I cannot but think, that if this tale were brought back to the first Author of it, hee would disclaim it as spurious; But bee it as it may bee, doth this tale (if true) warrant Mr. Bushnel to note from it, 1 That by their own confes∣sion his place was appointed for another man; where is any such Confession of the Commissioners? who ever heard it? what if hee that first spake the words (related) spake without book, or upon some uncertain conjecture, than which no∣thing is more frequent? doth this prove a Confession of the Commissioners themselves in the case? Hee is very willing to beleeve, that taketh such proofs; And as to Mr. Bush∣nels second note upon this uncertain story, wherein hee thinks (belike) hee hath paid mee home, hee may know that Mr. Stern was never any kinde of Curate to my brother Sanger, nor any way related to mee, nor had I any spe∣cial cause in the world to look after his settlement. And therefore Mr. Bushnel doth mee and himself open wrong, to write, that because Mr. Stern (it may bee) was a kinde of Curate to my brother Sanger; Therefore (being destitute of a place) right or wrong a place must bee provided for him, and so, which is the Conclusion driven at, I and the Com∣missioners must needs bee guilty of prejudging Mr. Bushnels case. Let any rational man judge whether Mr. Bushnels passion did not here put him quite out of his Argumenta∣tive faculty.
*I was told likewise, that there were heavy exceptions taken against mee, that I came not amongst them, Mr. Chambers Mr Byfield &c. and that I did not make one at their meetings, That I did not associate, but rather, that I not onely neglected but despised them, or to some such purpose.
* If any one spoke these words▪ or to some such purpose, to Mr. Bushnel, certainly hee abused Mr. Bushnels eares, by putting a most notorious falshood into them which can never bee proved, And therefore I cannot but stand a∣mazed at what Mr. Bushnel adds.
Page 23And doubtless with the Dr. and Mr. Byfield, this was enough to make a man scandalous in the highest degree.
* Doubtless this is a most notorious untruth, as may bee proved by many instances of divers persons not associating, yet dearly loved, and highly prized, both by Mr. By∣field and my self.
*Shewing some reasons why Mr. Bushnel did not associate with us, hee saith one reason was, Because the persons who were the leading men amongst them were as fierce and rigid in their way as are any (I beleeve) on this side or beyond Tweed.
* If Mr. Bushnel doth beleeve this, then I am sure, hee be∣leeveth as utter an untruth as was ever told: The men hee aims at, I know, are profest enemies to fierceness and ri∣gidness in their way, and desire nothing more than that Brethern of several perswasions may walk in a way of Christian moderation:
* Relating how Mr. Byfield insisted upon the Order, that none might bee present at the Examination but the Com∣missioners and th•ir assistants, hee writes, And what if they had heard or known them? Were your questions such that you were ashamed to have them known; or was it for fear the Country should (hearing your questions and my answers) think better of mee than you were willing?
* It is well known that I earnestly moved, that all that would might bee present at your examination, and had prevailed therein, had not the fore-going Order obstruct∣ed it.
* Speaking of the time when the order of ejection was published against him, Mr. Bushnel writes; I observed that while my sentence was reading Mr. Chambers had pulled down his hat somewhat low on his face, but the residue of his face which might bee seen looked very big, and possibly might say within himself, That now hee had taught mee to bring a man of 〈◊〉 it upon the stage, to make him the discourse and laughter of the Country for leaving Claverton and going to Pewsy.
* I easily beleeve Mr. Bushnel that hee did observe mee, at this, as at all times, most watchfully, if hee might possibly Page 24 espy any thing in mee to be complained of: But whereas hee saith, that hee observed mee, that whilst his sentence was read, I pulled down my hat somewhat low upon my face, but for the residue of my face which might be seen, I looked very big; any man without much observation may see much irrational spite in this relation, which can hardly, if possi∣bly bee made to consist with it self; For if I pulled down my hat somewhat low upon my face, how could I then at the same time look bigg with a little part of my face? I suppose that, in common understanding, bigge looks are such, when men do not cover their faces somewhat low, as men ashamed, or afraid, but do, if possible, make more of their faces, than they are, by high looks, that they may out-face such persons or things as are before them. I am confident in true reason before unbiassed Judges) there is a more palpable contradiction between the two parts of this Relation, than between the two oaths of Jone Pinchin, and Jane Hendy, upon which Mr. Bushnel doth, tanto hiatu, tragediate, pag. 94, 95. And as for that spiteful, jeering, groundless, and most uncharitable comment which hee made upon my looks, and wherein hee seems to have a fa∣culty of looking into my heart, which I could wish hee had, when hee wrote, and possibly hee might say within himself, That now hee had taught mee to bring a man of his me∣rit upon the stage, to make him the discourse and laughter of the Country for leaving Claverton, and going to Pewsey; I defie it, and such revengeful thoughts as it most injuriously fa∣thers upon mee, whereas they were conceived and born in his own breast, and begotten of his own revengeful ima∣gination; and I further say, that the coining of such cross comments upon the carriages of others, is a most unwar∣rantable practice, unbecoming a Christian, and much more a Minister of the Gospel. I can never sufficiently bless the Lord that it is beyond the reach of Mr. Bushnel, and his witnesses, to make mee (though a most unworthy ser∣vant of Jesus Christ) the discourse and laughter of the Country, though possibly some prophane persons, and scoffers at godliness,* on an Ale-bench, may make them∣selves Page 25 very merry with Mr. Bushnels jeering relation con∣cerning mee.
*Nay more, should I have chanced to have met your Dr. on the way, I should have given him) not such reverence as hee looks for, but) such respect as I thought fitting: and upon some such weighty Accompt, I have been told that hee was distasted at mee; and so was Haman the Agagite against Mordecay.
* Mr. Bushnel might do well to keep in his bitter revilings, till hee have some ground of truth, upon which to bring them forth: doubtless his nameless reporter informed him of a wretched untruth, who told him that I was distast∣ed at him, for want of shewing respect to mee, and hee himself wanted some graines of Charity in mentioning great reverence, as that which I lookt for from him or any other under pain of Discontent: If I know my self, a very little Reverence and Observation will content mee, but if I bee mistaken in my self, let all that know mee, speak, though I finde Mr. Bushnel in his Narrative, often rubbing (as hee thinks) upon that sore of my loving to bee reve∣renced.
*Now Mr. Chambers hearing Henry Sheyler (for so was his name, that made this pro•er) promising one hundred pounds, and having heedfully eyed him all the time, asks, (belike, fea∣ring that the Commissioners should have forgotten so necessary a Question) Whether hee were sufficient? ('tis like hee meant) to pay the rent, which hee proffered: And here to see how these Doctors, Mr. Byfield, and Mr. Chambers, concurr'd in que∣stions (fundamentals) What is your Living worth a year, quoth Mr. Byfield? Is hee sufficient to pay the rent, quoth Mr. Chambers? This business did in no wise concern Mr. Cham∣bers, unless hee mistook the Examination of the sufficiency of the Tenant, for an Examination of the sufficiency of the Mini∣ster.
*For Henry Sheyler, a man that I had never any thing to do with in my life, why I should so heedfully eye him, as Mr. Bushnel reports, I cannot imagine, But whether I did, or did not, possibly sitting by, and hearing the discourse about renting the Living, such a speech might fall from Page 26 mee; Is hee sufficient? you may bee confident I said no more, nor pressed it any further, if I had, Mr. Bushnel doubtless would not have made little of much, who makes so much of so little spoken by mee; And whether it gives ground to such a loud (jeering) out-cry about Funda∣mentals, as Mr. Bushnel here makes, let the Christian Rea∣der judge.
*The Dr. must give mee leave to tell him, that I have read of such, who were of this judgements. That right and propriety to a thing were founded in grace; and that all men were Usurpers who were not of the godly. Now wee know well to whom this E∣pithet Godly hath been by some men appropriated in these latter years, and for what purposes: And therefore might the Dr. bee so fierce against mee, as one (I being not of their mark) on whom even an Alms were cast away.
* That I was fierce against Mr. Bushnel, will never bee proved by him, unless hee hath an Art to prove an untruth. That propriety is founded in grace, is (I know) an er∣rour that hath met with entertainment in too many, which Mr. Bushnel doth very injuriously in a way of sly insinua∣tion, charge on mee. As for the inclosing the name Godly, within the pale of particular parties, I have ever abhorred it as a very unchristian practice: And as for Mr. Bushnel (for all his words) I never did, nor will take upon mee to judge him; to our own Master, hee and I must stand and fall, and the Lord give him and mee grace impartially and duly to judge our selves, that wee bee not judged of the Lord.
*Writing most bitterly (after his manner) of Mr. Byfield, hee saith, I beleeve, that were hee living, hee would confess that hee did mee as much mischief as hee could; and yet I beleeve that one of the same tribe did mee more, although hee were more se∣cret in it.
* For Mr. Byfield (of the integrity of whose heart in what hee did, I have ground to bee much assured) I cannot hin∣der Mr. Bushnel from beleeving of him what hee pleaseth; But if I bee the other of the same Tribe which hee here speaketh of, in beleeving that I did him more mischief Page 27 than hee did, who (as hee saith) did him as much mischief as hee could, hee beleeveth that which the day of manifesta∣tion will shew to bee an utter uncharitable, unjustifiable untruth.
Christian Reader, I will now onely offer to thy view, two or three of Mr. Bushnels scurrilous passages (amongst many) wherein hee maketh mee his But, and whereby hee thinks to cast shame upon mee, and then leave it to thy judgement to consider, whether it bee credible that hee had not in the Publication of his Narrative any alm to asperse mee (amongst the rest.)
*Which is much worse than those worst of men, the hypocritical Pharisees and Scribes, The Godly of those times Mr. Chambers.
*Why may not the Doctor bee mistaken in her, as many hundreds have been mistaken in the Doctor?
* William Pinchin, and John Trevers have their varieties of baits, and flyes suitable to the appetites of their fish. Wee know that Cataline had such heretofore, yea, Mr. Chambers, the chief Priests and Elders made use of the like, Mat. 26. 61. compared with Luk. 23. 2.
By these amongst others his sly and cutting scoffs the Reader may judge, whether Mr. Bushnel had not a design to asperse mee in his Narrative.
After all these reproaches, and most slanderous irrational insinuations, I finde not in the whole Narrative the least intimation of any dram of charity which Mr. Bushnel hath for mee; For although hee pretends to have a little good beleef of Mr. Byfield,* if he were living, yet all things therein and almost every line thereof, speaks forth the highest de∣spight and contempt of mee; yet all the revenge that I will take of him, is to pray for him as for my self, that the Lord would forgive him all his trespasses, and renew his heart by his grace, and guide him with such faithfulness and tenderness in relation to precious souls, to fulfil the work of the Ministery, that hee may give up his account with com∣fort to the great Shepherd of souls in the day of his glorious appearing.
A Vindication of the Late Commissioners for the Ejecting of Scandalous Ministers in the County of Wilts, (so far as it concerns Mr. Blisset, and other the Commis∣sioners of Marleborough) from the Aspersions of Wal∣ter Bushnel, Vicar of Box.
VVHen Wee consider how frequently (almost in every page) and how falsely Mr. Bushnel doth ac∣cuse and asperse so Eminent a person as Dr. Chambers, whose integrity wee thought had been beyond the reach of envy, wee suppose wee might bee silent, and leave the unprejudiced Reader to guess at the truth of his several char∣ges against us, by his impudency and rashness in attempt∣ing to fasten such Notorious Calumnies on that Reverend Doctor; but fearing lest herein hee may gratifie the Ge∣nius of such who delight in aspersing pamphlets, and are too ready to beleeve the same, wee thought fit to say some∣thing for the vindication of our selves from the odious re∣proaches which Mr. Bushnel endeavours to fasten on us.
In the first place wee shall only take notice of one pas∣sage in his Epistle dedicatory, where, in a Vaunting man∣ner hee ushers in his Narrative with plenty of reviling lan∣guage against the Commissioners, thus.
You shall finde mee charging them with such Crimes which are not onely odious in men as Christians, but with such which were looked upon as vild and odious by the most civil sort of Heathens, and yet I have not charged them with a syllable which I am not a∣ble by proofs to make good upon them.
Ans. Tis very obvious that Mr. Bushnels design herein is to prepossess those honourable Persons to whom hee dedicates his book, with prejudice against us, and to Page 29 beget in them a beleef of what he saies▪ but what lit∣tle reason hee hath to bee so confident, will appear when wee come to the tryal of his proofs, Parturiunt montes nascetur ridiculus mus.
In his Epistle to the Readers hee saith? VVent hey meet with the word Commissioners, they are not to understand mee, as intending thereby all those Gent. whose names were put into the Ordinance, as charging them with those unworthy and unjust proceedings, many whereof (as to my business) never acted: But the Commissioners which I here speak of, are those that made ejecting of Ministers a kind of Trade, and unquestionably to them∣selves it was a beneficial one, such who were constant, and frequent, and furious in the business, and were these, Mr. Blisset, Mr. Thomas Baily, and Mr. Hunt of Marlborough.
Ans. It is to bee noted again, how Mr. Bushnel doth anticipate the Reader, having not so much modesty or patience as to give him Liberty to judge upon the whole matter as hee finds it, but hee will bee (as our Accuser, so) our judge in passing sentence: The charge which hee brings against us is complicated, or made up of these two parts.
1 That wee made the ejecting of Ministers a Trade, and questionless a beneficial one.
2 That wee were constant, frequent, and furious in the business.
To the first of these wee have five several things to say by way of answer for our selves.
1 Tis sufficiently known that wee of Marlborough have ever had an indignation against that generation of men that have vilified the Ministers, as if they made a Trade of Preaching (though hapily some have been too guilty here∣of) But the Vicar of Box is the first that hath made a dis∣covery to the world of a new Trade of ejecting Ministers; But how unlikely it is that this should prove beneficial to us (whose Commission was only to remove scandalous and insufficient Persons from their livings, but had no power to settle any into either Parsonage or Vicaridge) we leave to the indifferent Reader to judge.
2 Mr. Bushnel may conceit what hee pleaseth to bee un∣questionable, Page 30 wee cannot hinder that, nevertheless wee challenge him or any other whatsoever to make proof of the least Emolument which ever did redound to us, and this from the hand of any person that either was brought before the Commissioners on a charge exhibited, and not ejected, or upon a charge proved, was ejected, or any one person that was presented and approved by the Com∣mittee of approbation in London, to the living of such per∣son as by us was removed; yea (as well knowing our own in∣nocency) wee do conjure Mr. Bushnel to perform the pro∣mise which hee makes in his Epistle, that hee would not charge us with a syllable which hee was not able by proof to make good, and let the impartial reader judge whether Mr. Bushnel who would bee taken for a faithfull Minis•er of Christ) bee not bound in point of honour to himself, and his profession▪ yea and in point of conscience to (if there bee the sense of either of these upon him) to make good by proof the foul charge which hee laies upon us (thorow out his book) of being mercinary persons, and such as have been brib'd with monyes, Plate, Horse, and hay: For to this effect h•e speaks in several places of his book, particularly in Pag. 227▪ where also our wives cannot escape his vene∣mous pen.
3 Wee were so far from making this work of ejection, a beneficial Trade (as Mr. Bushnel terms it) that in carrying on the same, wee all along, from first to last, acted upon our own private charge to the expence of above twenty pound apeece, to several of us, which monyes wee can prove (if occasion require) was spent in our several jour∣nies, and sittings, the which was never reimbursed by any persons, nor yet out of the monies raised for incident charges.
4 Wee appeal to the great God, the searcher of all hearts, to whom all our actions and waies are fully known, that wee are cleer and guiltless of the charge which Mr. Bushnel hath laid upon us, as to the value of one penny in Plate or mo∣ney, or in any other kinde whatsoever: yea further for our vindication,
Page 31 5 Wee do freely offer (if ever required thereunto) to take our oaths before any Judge of Assise, or Justice of the peace; that wee have not either directly or indirectly taken any such Bribe, Gift, or reward, or ever knew that in the work ejection wee lay under such a temptation from any person whatsoever, and therefore wee do again re∣quire Mr. Bushnel to produce any person within our Coun∣ty, or any other part of the Kingdome, that can testi∣fie the Giving, or our receiving any such Bribe or Gift, to us, or by us, in relation to this ejection work, and wee are sen∣sible (as who is not) that at this day men will not bee shy or backward to make out any such thing (if they could do it) as Mr. Bushnel in his Narrative doth accuse us of.
Now to the second part of Mr. Bushnels charge, That wee were constant, frequent, and furious in the business.
Answ. Wee shall make but a short reply to this, as be∣ing not so considerable as to require many words; It is confest that wee were more constant and frequent than some others of the County, because the sitting of the Commissioners was usually in Marlboro•gh, the place of our habitation (for of fifty four meetings there were above thirty in the said Town) and most of our work was in the Northern part of the County, below us or neer unto us (there being little to bee done in the Southern part, which was formerly purg'd of scandalous Ministers by the Commit∣tee long since appointed by Order of the house of Lords and Commons: Moreover, several of the Commissioners dwelt neer Marlborough, who did as frequently attend the meetings (for some of them) as wee our selves; and here wee would have Mr. Bushnel know that as wee can with boldness appeal unto God as to our ends and aimes, in our diligent attendance upon that imployment, that they were worthy and becoming the trust reposed in us, so to this very day (notwithstanding all his aspersions) wee do not in the least repent of being instrumental in the removal of any scandalous person, nor are wee conscious to our selves of being furiously transported at any time in the management of that work, against Mr. Bushnel or any other, but conscien∣ciouslyPage 32 made it our business to proceed secundum allegata & probata.
In the same Epistle to the Reader hee saith, The Com∣missioners did often violate that Ordinance by which they sate, and according to which they were to act, and that in many par∣ticulars. As in admitting and countenancing such to swear (if they appeared against mee) which their Ordinance excepted against, in excluding such witnesses, if appearing for mee (yea after they had been sworn) which by their Ordinance they were to admit of; and at last making a peremptory Order, that such as would, might appear against mee, but no more in my behalf; and I charge them for discountenancing, interrupting, and thwarting with many witnesses, &c.
Answ. Here is a long Chain of Calumnies that hath not one link of truth in it, and doubtless hee did on purpose set his invention on work, how to asperse us, and wee must needs acknowledge his sigular dexterity herein; But let Mr. Bushnel prove that wee did ever knowingly admit or countenance any person (by our Ordinance excepted a∣gainst) to swear, or refuse witnesses produced by him, then wee are contented to undergo his censure; if hee means, that, of our admitting Pinchin and Sanders to swear, hee cannot but remember they had given in their Depositions against him before the Crimes hee charges them with were proved unto us, and as to the making that Peremptory Or∣der, what rational man will beleeve it? it's as false a sug∣gestion, as those that follow, viz. our discountenancing, interrupting and thwarting his witnesses.
It follows in the Epistle, And I charge them all, Commis∣sioners, Ministers, and Clerk, for countenancing and incou∣raging infamous persons, such who had forsworn themselves, and touching some of themselves, in their hearing, such as ap∣peared out of malice, by their own confession, and were proved guilty of suborning, and of being suborned, to their faces; yea, and such as we should have proved guilty of forgery likewise, had not these Commissioners and Ministers by a notorious peace of in∣justice prevented it.
Answ. Here Mr. Bushnel doth exactly observe the Rule Page 33 to Machiavel, hee hopes that by calumniating lustily, some∣thing will stick: To this horrid and unjust Charge the Dr. hath sufficiently (so far as it concerns himself especially) replied, and shewed the impertinency and invalidity of the several proofs, whereby Mr. Bushnel hath indeavoured to fasten this accusation on him, and 'twill bee evident to any one who hath the patience to peruse his Book, that hee makes no conscience of what hee saies, for throughout his whole Narrative there is not one Argument or Proof suf∣ficient to ground this charge upon the Commissioners. We do therefore once more desire Mr. Bushnel to be so ingenuous, as to instance and declare which of the Commissioners did ever countenance such kind of persons as here mentions, and to shew wherein the Commissioners were so unjust as to prevent the discovery of any who were guilty (as hee saies) of Forgery: Wee do acknowledge that (amongst se∣veral substantial witnesses produced against him) there were some few whose testimonies (after some crimes al∣ledged against them) were not so authentick as others, and doubtless Mr. Bushnel means these: to conclude this, if the Articles offered by Trevers bee that which hee intends for forgery, it is well known, and Mr. Bushnel cannot but remember, that they were disowned and rejected, and hee not prosecuted thereupon, but upon others; and if this bee not it which hee strikes at, wee cannot guess at what hee means.
Page 212. But since I have heard that some body hath fur∣nisht one of the Marlborough Commissioners with a horse, yea, and that some body hath presented him with a parcel of hay since that, so that it may bee that the horse or the hay made the speech and not the master.
Answ. To this blinde story of some bodies giving these things to some body of the Commissioners, wee shall say no more, than that wee know not of any persons giving, or of any ones receiving the same, and do challenge Mr. Bushnel to discover the persons (if hee can) according to what hee declares in his Epistle dedicatory, who saith that hee hath not charg'd us with a syllable which hee is not able by proof to make good upon us.
Page 34 In pag. 249. Mr. Bushnel saies (as Mr. Stern reported it) that the Commissioners demanded fifteen pound of him for their incident charges in thrusting mee out.
Answ. How true this is that Mr. Stern reported it, wee know not, nor do wee beleeve Mr. Stern will justifie it, nay, we are sure, hee cannot, for Mr. Stern well knows that there was never more than ten pound demanded from him for incident charges for the Vicaridge of Box, but upon what ground Mr. Bushnel doth impute this demand to bee meer∣ly for thrusting him out, wee cannot imagine: Reader, see the Ordinance by which wee acted, and thou wilt perceive for what incident charges (at which Mr. Bushnel so often ca∣vils) was demanded.
In pag. 252. I have not yet done with this fifteen pound charg∣es incident (and when I have done with that I have done with all) for let mee now observe unto thee, what a beneficial Trade these Marlborough men made of it, Let the winde sit which way it would: I think in this particular out-doing the Jews themselves, for they would so far improve their opportunities, that fall out what could, they would turn it to their advantage.
Answ. What causeless Outcry doth this man make? the relation it self being false, as wee have shewed, and what was paid came from Mr. Stern, not Mr. Bushnel; Hee tels us, having done with this, hee hath done with all, and if this bee all that hee can bring by way of charge against the Marlborough Commissioners, let the Reader judge, whe∣ther it amounts to any thing? No doubt Mr. Bushnel mak∣ing it his design (as it appears) to render the Commissi∣oners odious, consulted with the rest of his brethren that had been in the same praedicament with him, to finde out what other sums came to our hands. But hee could hear of none, therefore makes the ten pound incident charges re∣ceived of Mr. Stern (to which himself invents and adds five more) as it were his Text, upon which hee raiseth an Ob∣servation what a beneficial Trade the Marlborough men made of it; this is as natural as some of those Reasons by which hee proved his doctrine at his examination before the Commissioners and Ministers.
Page 35 Mr. Bushnel having not yet sufficiently disgorged him∣self, wee finde him again at the fifteen pound, pag. 255. And (saies hee) fifteen pound they demanded for thrusting mee out; 'tis good being a hang-man upon such terms; and que∣stionless this was enough to make mee scandalous, because I would not daub, and they were resolved to get by mee, one way or other.
Answ. This as to the matter of Fact is before answered, wee shall not (with Mr. Bushnel.) reiterate, as to what follows, 'tis very unsavoury and unbecoming the mouth of a Mini∣ster; and truly the Commissioners need not bee suspected of injustice, in outing Mr. Bushnel for a scandalous person, when the very language which comes from his Pen for the vindication of himself, speaks him scandalous, and wee doubt not but the Reader will judge him so, if hee casts his eye onely upon thee 154 page of his Book, where hee discovers the froth and filth of his spirit, in comparing the Commissioners to Hang-men, Sheep-stealers, &c.
In the same page Mr. Bushnel makes sport for his Reader, in relating a story which hee heard of a theevish Miller, to whom hee compares the Commissioners, his words are these; And now one would think that they had undone mee, as much as possible, and yet Mr. Sterne hath told mee, that hee is a greater loser than myself, that I am four hundred pound the worse, but that hee is five hundred pound the worse: so that to mee hee seems to have met with some of such a disposition▪ whereof I have heard a Miller to bee, who stole five pecks out of a bushel.
Answ. This shews that Mr. Bushnel in the want of truth hath a minde to make himself merry with his own lyes, for hee was removed from Box in September, 1656. and this Vicaridge reputed worth but ninety pound, per annum, and hee entring to it again before harvest 1660. So that hee was deprived of the profits of the same, not full four years, the which Mr. Sterne took fully to his own use (excepting on∣ly the tend pound incident charges) so that what Mr. Bush∣nel lost, Mr. Sterne had and* received, how then doth it follow that these two men can bee losers of nine hundred pounds between them? This is much like the Millers Page 36 stealing five Pecks out of a Bushel.
And now as to what concernes Mr. Blisset (one of the Commissioners) in particular, the Reader is desired to ob∣serve what followes.
* As to my self in particular, whereas in page 208. he boldly chargeth me (though upon a bare report) with the receiving of xx. l. his words are, viz. These men as Godly as they are, love dearly to be fingering mony, Mr. Sterne hath said that Mr. Blisset had xx. l. of him (I believe half the mony would have made him my friend) which in all probabi∣lity he had an eye to of a long time.
* Now let the Reader judge of the spirit of this man, who is not onely void of charity, but common Ingenuity; to make such a Conclusion from a bare reported Premisses, and to pass such a positive sentence upon such a report, as will appear to be a very grand mistake between them, (I mean Mr. Bushnell and Mr. Sterne) and I refer him to Mr. Sterne for the rectifying thereof, & then I doubt not but he will quick∣ly see his over-forwardness in censuring, conjecturing and believing so much amiss of me, but more of this by and by▪
* Mr. Bushnell hath another fling at me, in page 239. hope∣ing that some of his dirt will stick. It seems (saith he) that Mr. Blisset was well acquainted with Mr. Sternes recei•••,I doubt not but he and his son William hath been well acquain∣ted with some of Mr. Sternes diflursements.
* It seems, and I doubt not, proves nothing, but is a far∣ther manifestation of his spleen, Laying the stress of all he saith, upon conjectures, and his own bare suppositions. A∣gain, he harps upon the same string, lest it should be for∣gotten, in page 249.
*Besides the xx l. Mr. Blisset had from him, of which I have spoken already.
* And so have I also.
* Again page 253. That he might be sure his Reader should not forget, yea that he might the more certainly confirm him in the beleef of that which before he affirmed barely upon the report of another, the same is now become a truth upon his own knowledge, for saith he, And here I Page 37 can speak upon my own knowledge, xx l. Mr. Blissett had, I know not for what else,*but for putting Mr. Sterne in.
Herein Mr. Bushnell doth imitate those who by often telling incredible stories come at length to believe them to be truthes; And were it true, yet it must be a lye in him, since here he affirms that to be true on his own knowledge, which in several pages before he confesseth he took up onely on the bare Report of Mr. Sterne: But however Reader for thy satisfaction, I shall farther add, for the clearing my self in this particular,
That I never saw one penny of Mr. Sternes mony in all my life, nor did I (or any other to my use) ever receive one penny, much lesse such a sum from him, or from any other by his appointment; nor was I ever under that temp∣tation from him, nor did I know or was I made acquainted with what contracts Mr. Sterne made with any person in order to his coming into Box: Though (I believe) Mr. Sterne will acknowledge he received from me as many ci∣vilities as he could in reason expect (being a stranger to me) which he hath often acknowledged to many persons, and fully expressed the same in a letter long since unto me. Therefore knowing my own innocency as to this charge, I do appeal to Mr. Sterne to Justifie the truth of this my Pro∣testation, who is quoted by Mr. Bushnell to be the Authour of this scandalous Report.
* Again in page 254. Mr. Bushnell adds, And if it be as Mr. Sterne hath reported it, Mr. Blisset hath not been wan∣ting to himself in this business; for he hath not onely made the Vicaridge of Box bring him in plentifull returns to his Treasury for the present, but also he hath so providently provided it, that it shall yield him a crop after we are dead and gone, for as Mr. Sterne told me, he hath got the next Presentation to the place, so that it is not to be wondred, that he ruined me first, and (af∣ter he had received his largess from him) cared not how soon Mr. Sterne were gone from the place, in order whereunto, it was indeavoured that he should be made weary of it, because his turn was next, and so upon Mr. Sternes avoidance, he might make use and benefit of his presentation.
*This charge against me will soon be brought to a short Page 38 issue, It consists of two parts, The one (though expressed in other termes) I have already answered, viz. Box Vi∣caridge bringing in plentifull returns to my Treasury (I sup∣pose hee means the twenty pound) I shall say▪ no more to this. The second is as false a suggestion as the first; Let this bee the issue between us: I appeal to that honourable person Sir Hugh Speak, Knight and Baronet, who is the undoubted Patron thereof; I say, I have nothing to do in the next Presentation, nor had I in the last, more than in telling Sir Hugh Speak that I thought Mr. Sterne to bee an able & honest man, & one that might deserve his favour▪ so that these premises having no foundation, I doubt not but the impartial Reader will adjudge his Conclusion, pag. 255. as rotten. I abhor that saying of his, that I ruined him, hee may very well remember my inclinations to∣wards him were otherwise*. I require Mr. Bushnel to make good (if hee can) that I indeavoured to weary Mr. Sterne of Box, that I might make my advantage upon the next Presentation*. These, Mr. Bushnel, of all assertions in your Book▪ are the most diabolical: I challenge you, or any person whatsoever, to make good these, or any other passages of the like nature upon mee throughout all the Actions of my whole Life (having been in publick im∣ployment neer fourteen years last past.)
Reader, wee thought fit to tell thee, that wee have had no greater allowance of time, than some forty eight hours, both for the reading of Mr. Bushnels Book, and composing an Answer to those Passages that seem to reflect upon us; for till within this two daies wee had no thoughts of entring upon this ungrateful work, neither did wee know of any Reply that the Doctor intended, which might give us an opportunity to annex something thereunto for our vindi∣cation, and if wee mistake not, wee do not finde any thing in his Narrative, save what the Dr. and our selves have fully answered to, that carries any matter of Reflection with it. As for his oblique charges, scurrilous expressions, and quibbles, and Mr. Blissets Circumstance so often itera∣ted and sported with, wee are resolved not to take no∣tice Page 39 of them: But if in this undertaking of his hee had had so mnch modesty and ingenuity as to have forborn his invective and satyrical language both against Commissi∣oners and Ministers, and had fairly set before the Reader the whole proceedings in the business of his Ejection, with∣out such monstrous Comments and Inferences, and not put the stress of the Truth of what hee principally chargeth on us, upon [As I conjecture] [as I think] [as I beleeve] [as I was told by some body] [as it hath been reported] [and in pro∣bability] [and it seems so] [and 'tis evident enough to mee] and as I remember] [and the like.
Risum teneatis amici? wee should have thought the judge∣ment of his Ejection (as to the Matters charged on him, and the proofs thereof made by such witnesses (as hee ren∣ders them) and the defence made by himself, and his wit∣nesses for him) would have lain with the more clearness before the Reader, as to the Sentence of his Ejection, whe∣ther it was just or unjust.
A WORD from the CLERK—TO THE VICAR of BOX.
CAsting mine eye upon your Narrative, I finde you squirting out many scurrilous pas∣sages against my self, which I can bear well enough, but I am troubled to see how you load others, and that you, who profess your self a Minister of Christ, should so far adulterate your fancy with the spirit of darkness, and at length bring forth into the world such a monster, whose ugliness (I doubt not) will bee offensive to any that shall behold it with a Christian eye. And although the Charge you bring against mee for entring Depositions by halfs, confounding the Or∣der in which they were taken, and for leaving out material clauses, which might have been to your behalf, deserves no other answer than a Mentiris Bushnelle, yet for mine own Vindication, the world shall know that I had a peculiar re∣spect and tenderness for you when you were upon the Stage, desiring you might come off with honour and safe∣ty, and that my management of your business (so far as concerned mee) did argue as much, I dare appeal to your own conscience, as well as to your own Counsellour Ed∣ward Carter Esq; I must also minde you with a shrewd, and (I beleeve) wilful mistake of yours, or rather a subtil e∣quivocation about the name of Blisset, by which you in∣deavour to cast a blot upon the untainted Reputation of my Father, as if hee had received twenty pounds for being Page 41 an Instrument to help Mr. Sterne into Box: Sir, this mony was given by him unto* Mr. Blisset, the Clerk, and not Mr. Blisset the Commissioner, and this not to mee, as Clerk to the Commissioners, but as I undertook to bee his Soli∣citor to Sir Hugh Speak the Patron of Box, under whose displeasure* Mr. Sterne was fallen, for addressing himself to Oliver Cromwell for the gift of the same, and for entring on the Vicaridge upon that Title without the consent of Sir H. S. M. Sterne knowing the interest I had in that ho∣nourable person* applied himself to mee to become his Advocate, and voluntarily offered mee, by way of reward, twenty pound: I did therefore after much pains and labour work him into the favour of Sir. H. S. and got his Pre∣sentation for him. To conclude, I do protest, that both the proffer, and receipt of this summ of mony from Mr. Sterne, was altogether unknown to Mr. Blisset (my Fa∣ther) until by accident hee had some hint of it at the least six months after; and as I wish you may now repent the aspersing him by your clamorous report of falshood; So I advise you to an Index expurgatorius, if there bee ano∣ther Edition of your unsavoury Narrative.
William Blisset Jun.