A PREFACE TO THE Ensuing Discourse.
[Sect. 1] THat the Liturgie of the Church of England, which was at first as it were written in blood, at the least sealed, and de∣livered down to us by the Martyrdom of most of the com∣pilers of it, should ever since be daily solicited, and call'd to the same Stage and Theatre, to fill up what was behinde of the sufferings of those Fathers, is no strange or new peice of oeconomy in the Church of God. This proposition I shall take liberty briefly to prove by way of introduction to the ensuing discourse, and shall hope that you will acknowledge it with me, if you but consider these severals.
[Sect. 2] First, That there is not a surer evidence and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 by which to discern the great excellencie of moderation in that book, and so the apportionatenesse of it, to the end to which it was designed, then the experience of these so contrary fates, which it hath con∣stantly undergone, betwixt the persecutors on both extream parts, the assertors of the Papacy on the one side, and the consistory on the other, the one accusing it of Schisme, the other of Comply∣ance, the one of departure from the Church of Rome, the other of remaining with it, like the poore Greek Church, our fellow Martyr, devoured by the Turk for too much Christian profession, and damn'd by the Pope for too little, it being the dictate of naturall Reason in Aristotle, (whose rules have seldome failed in that kinde, since he observed them) that the middle virtue is most infallibly known by this, that it is accused by either extreame as guilty 〈◊〉 the other extreame: that the true liberalitie of minde is by this be• exemplified, that it is defamed by the prodigall for passimony, and by the niggard Page [unnumbered] for prodigality, by which (by the way) that great block of offence, which hath scandalized so many, will be in part removed, and the reproaches so continually heaped upon this book, will to every dis∣cerning Judge of things, passe for as weak an unconcluding argu∣ment of guilt in it, as the scarres of a Military man doth of his co∣wardice, or the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the every Topick of rayling Rhetorick, Mal. 5. of the unchristiannesse of the person on whom they are powred out.
[Sect. 3] Secondly, That ever since the reproaches of men have taken con∣fidence to vent themselves against this book, there hath nothing but ayre and vapour been vomited out against it, objections of little force to conclude any thing, but onely the resolute contuma∣cious, either ignorance, or malice of the objector, which might at large be proved, both by the view of all the charges that for∣mer Pamphlets have produced, all gathered together, and vindi∣cated by Mr. Hooker, and that no one charge of any crime, either against the whole, or any part of it, which this Directory hath of∣fered; which as it might in reason, make such an act of malice more strange, so will it to him that compares this matter with other practises of these times, (whose great engine hath been the calumniari fortiter, the gaining credit by the violence of the cry, when it could not be had by the validity of the proofs, most men being more willing to believe a calumnie, then to examine it) make it but unreasonable to wonder at it; It being an experiment of daily observation, that those which have no crime of which they are ac∣cusable, are therefore not the lesse, but the more vehemently accu∣sed, prosecuted, and dragg'd to execution, that the punishment may prove them guilty, which nothing else could, it being more probable in the judgement of the multitude, (who especially are considered now adayes, as the instruments to act our great designs) that a nocent person should plead not guilty, then an innocent be condemned; which prejudice, as it might be pardon'd from the charitie wherein 'tis grounded, that they who are appointed to punish vilenesses, will not be so likely to commit them, so being ap∣plyed to usurping judges, (whose very judging is one crime, and that no way avowable, but by making use of more injustices) will prove but a peice of Turcisme, which concludes all things honest, that prove successefull, or of the moderne Divinity in the point of Scandall, which makes it a sufficient exception against any indif∣ferent Page [unnumbered] usage, that it is by some excepted against, a competent cause of anger, that men are angry at it though never so without a cause.
[Sect. 4] Thirdly, That it hath been constantly the portion, and prero∣gative of the best things (as of the best men) to be under the crosse to have their good things of this world 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, with persecutions. Mar. 10. 30. and so no strange thing that that which is alwayes a dealing with the Crosse, should be sometimes a panting, and gasp∣ing under it; There was never any surer evidence of the cleannesse of a creature amongst the Jews, then that it was permitted to be sacrificed; the Lamb, and the Turtle emblems of innocence, and charity, and the other Christian virtues, were daily slaughter'd and devoured, while the Swine, the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and all the uncleaner creatures, were denyed that favour, placed under a kinde of Ana∣thema, or Excommunication sentence, of such it was not lawfull, no not to eat; and so it must be expected in the anti-type, that all the heat of the Satanicall impression, all the fire of zeal, the sentence to be sacrifized, and devoted, should fall as now it doth, on this Lambe-like, Dove-like creature, of a making not apt to provoke any man to rage, or quarrell, or any thing, but love of commu∣nion, and thanksgiving to God for such an inestinable donative.
[Sect. 5] Fourthly, That a Liturgie being found by the experience of all ancient times, as a necessary hedge, and mound to preserve any profession of Religion, and worship of God in a Nationall Church, it was to be expected that the enemy and his instruments, which can call destruction mercy, embroyling of our old Church the founding of a new (we know who hath told one of the Houses of this Parlia∣ment so, that they have laid a foundation of a Church among us, which if it signifie any thing, imports that there was no Church in this Kingdom before that Session) should also think the destroying of all Liturgy, the onely way of security to Gods worship, the no-form being as fitly accommodated to no-Church, as the no-hedge, no∣wall to the Common, or desert, the no inclosure to the no-planta∣tion.
[Sect. 6] Fifthly, That the eradication of Episcopacy, first Voted, then Acted, by the Ordination of Presbyters by Presbyters without any Bishop, which begun to be practised in this Kingdom, about the end of the last yeer, was in any reason to be accounted prooemicall and preparatory to some farther degree of 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, or disorder, Page [unnumbered] and to be attended by the abolltion of the Liturgy in the begin∣ning of this new yeer, (Episcopacy and Liturgie being like the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, among the Aegyptians, this Daughter to attend that Mother, as among the Barbarians when their Prince died, some of the noblest were constantly to beare him company out of the World, not to mourn for, but to die with him) A thing that the People of this Kingdom could never have been imagined lowe or servile enough to beare or endure (I am sure within few yeers they that sate at the stern of action conceived so, and therefore were fain by Declaration, to disavow all such intentiōn of vio∣lence) till by such other assayes, and practises, and experiments, they were found to be, satis ad servitutem parati, sufficiently prepa∣red for any thing that was servile, almost uncapable of the benefit or relief of a Jubilee, like the slave in Exodus, that would not go out free, but required to be bored thorow the eare by his Master, to be a slave for ever.
[Sect. 7] Sixtly, That it is one profest act of Gods secret wisdom, to make such trials as this, of mens fidelity, and sence, and acknowledge∣ment of his so long indulged favours, to see who will sincerely mourn for the departing of the glory from Israel, whether there be not some that (with the Captive Trojan Woman in Homer, who wept so passionately at the fall of Patroclu•, but made that publick losse the season to prowre out their private grifes) are sensible of those sufferings of the Church onely wherein their interests are involved, and more neerly concerned; whether not some that count the invasion of the Revenues of the Church a Sacriledge, a calamity, and unparal∣lell'd, but think the abolition of the Liturgie unconsiderable, a veniall sin and misery; whether that, wherein Gods glory is joyned with any secular interest of our own, that which makes the separation betwixt Christ and Mammon, may be allowed any expression of our passion or zeal, i. e. in effect, whether we powre out one drop for Christ in all this deluge of tears, or whether like uncompounded selflovers, whose onely centre and principle of motion is ourselves, we have passion to no spectacle but what the looking glasse presents to us, with a 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, making God the pret•nce and apology, for that kindness, which is paid and powered 〈◊〉•nto another shrine. For of this there is no doubt, that of •ll the changes 〈◊〉〈◊〉 designed and offered to authority, there is none for which flesh and blood, passions and interests of men can allow to •ree a suf•rage, so Page [unnumbered] regertlesse a consent, as this of the abolition of the Liturgie, (The s•uggishnesse of ungifted men, the onely thing that is affirmed to be concerned in, or to gaine by it, is perfectly mistaken, as shall a non appear) and were there not a God in Heaven, the care of whose ho∣nour obliged us to endeavour the preservation of it, were not a fu∣ture growth of Atheisme and Prophanenesse the feared consequent of such abolition, and notorious experience ready to avow the just∣nesse of this feare, I have reason to be confident that no Advocate would offer Libell, no Disputer put in exception, against this pre∣sent Directory; I am privy to my own sence, that I should not, I have rather reason to impute it to my selfe, that the want of any such carnall motive to stir me up to this defence, might be the cause that I so long deferr'd to undertake it, and perhaps should have done so longer, if any man else had appear'd in that argu∣ment. And therefore unlesse it be strange for men, when there be so many tempters abroad, to be permitted to temptations, sure Gods yeilding to this act of the importunity of Satan (who hath desired in this new way to explore many) will not be strange neither.
[Sect. 8] Lastly, that our so long abuse of this so continued a mercy, our want of diligence, in assembling our selves together (the too ordinarie fault of too many of the best of us) our generall, scandalous, unex∣cusable disobedience to the commands of our Church, which re∣quires that service to be used constantly in publike every day, the vanity of prurient tongues and itching eares, which are still thirst∣ing news and variety, but above all, the want of ardor and fer∣vency in the performance of this prescribed service, the admitting of all secular company (I meane worldly thoughts) into its pre∣sence, preferring all secular businesse before it, the generall irreve∣rence, and indifference in the celebrations, may well be thought to have incouraged Satan to his expetivit, to the preferring his petition to God, and his importunity at length to have provoked God to deli∣ver up our Liturgy to him, and his ministers, to oppose and maligne, to calumniate and defame, and at last to gaine the countenance of an Ordinance, to condemne and execute it as at this day. The Lord be mercifull to them that have yeilded to be instrumentall to that great destroyer in this businesse.
[Sect. 9] I have thus far laboured to presse home that part of St. Peters ex∣hortation 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, not to think the calamity strange which hath befallen this Church in this matter, on no other purpose, but to Page [unnumbered] discharge that duty which we owe to Gods secret providence, of observing the visible worke of it, that discerning our selves to be under his afflicting hand, we may, I. Joyn in the use of all pro∣bable means to remove so sad a pressure, by humbling our selves, and reforming those sins which have fitted us for this captivity, then 2. that we may compassionate and pardon, and blesse, and pray for those whose hands have been used in the execution of this vengeance and reproach upon the land: and Lastly, That we may endeavour, if it be possible, to disabuse and rectifie those, who are capable, by more light, of safer resolutions; To which purpose these following animadversions being design'd in the bowels of compas∣sion to my infatuated Countrey-men, and out of a sincere single desire that our sins may have some end or allay, though our mise∣ries have not, and therefore framed in such a manner, as I concei∣ved, might prove most usefull, by being most proportionable to them, who stood most in need of them, without any oblation pro∣vided for any other shrine, any civility for the more curious Rea∣der) are here offered to thee, to be dealt with as thou desirest to be treated at that last dreadfull tribunall, which sure then will be with acceptation of pardon, and with that Charity (the but just re∣turn to that which mixt this antidote for thee) which will cover a multitude of sins.