Chillingworthi novissima. Or, The sicknesse, heresy, death and buriall of William Chillingworth. (In his own phrase) Clerk of Oxford, and in the conceit of his fellow souldiers, the Queens arch-engineer, and grand-intelligencer. Set forth in a letter to his eminent and learned friends, a relation of his apprehension at Arundell, a discovery of his errours in a briefe catechism, and a shorr [sic] oration at the buriall of his hereticall book. By Francis Cheynell, late fellow of Merton Colledge. Published by authority.
Cheynell, Francis, 1608-1665.
Page  [unnumbered]

  • Doctor
    • JOHN PRIDEAUX Bishop of Worcester,
    • FELL Deane of Christ-Church,
    • BAYLY Deane of Sarum,
    • SHELDEN Warden of All-soules,
    • POTTER Provost of Queenes, and
    • MORLEY Canon of Christ-Church.


YOur deceased friend is not yet speechlesse, he calls upon you to beware and repent; some preach more, at least more practically, when they are dead, then ever they did whilst they were alive. You that were his Patrons and Encouragers, as hee ac∣knowledged ever,* when he was in the heigth of his Rebellion, doe you beware lest a worse thing come unto you. You that were the Licensers of his subtile Atheisme, Repent, Repent; for he Page  [unnumbered] was so hardened by your flattery, that (for ought the most charitable man can judge) hee perished by your Approbation: he ever appealed to his works even to his very dying day, and what was it, which made him dote upon them, but your Licence and Approbation? Heark what hee saith, The third and last part of my Accusation was, That I answer out of principles, which Protestants themselves will professe to detest: which indeed were to the purpose, if it could be justified. But besides that, it is confuted by my whole Book, and made ridiculous by the Approbation premised unto it, &c. read Mr Chil∣lingworth his Preface to the Author of Charity &c. Sect. 30. Sure I am, that the Accusation may bee justified, and therefore is to the purpose; but the Approbation cannot bee justified, and is therefore justly Reprobated: The Accusation is so serious, that the Approbation cannot make it (but may well make the Approvers and their Church) ridiculous. O what a ridiculous Church doe the Licensers make the Church of England to be, by saying that there is nothing in Mr Chillingworth his Book contrary to the doctrine of the Church of England; sure they meant the Church of Canterbury. But Dr Fell, and Dr Bayly are not ashamed to say, that there is nothing in that Book contrary to good manners, which Dr Prideaux would not say; but enough of that.

Sirs, the following History will testifie my compassion towards your deceased friend, whom I ever opposed in a charitable and friendly way.* I doe not account it any glory to trample upon the carkasse of Hector, or to pluck a dead Lion by the beard; should I misquote his Book, and make that errour mine owne by a false citation, which I pretend to be his in an Accusation, you that were the unhappy Licencers of his Book would soone take me tripping. If you conceive that he deserved a more Honou∣rable buriall, bee pleased to answer my Reasons, and patronize his errours with all the learning Bodleyes Library can afford: or else study his Catechisme, pardon my boldnesse, some Cour∣tiers never learnt, and some Doctours have forgot their Ca∣techisme, or else this man we speak of had never beene so much admired, his Book extolled, or these Antichristian warres Page  [unnumbered] fomented by such great Clerks and busie wits.

I looked upon Mr Chillingworth as one who had his head as full of Scruples as it was of Engines, and therefore dealt as ten∣derly with him as I use to doe with men of the most nice and tender consciences: for I considered, that though Beefe must bee preserved with salt; yet Plums must be preserved with sugar. I can assure you I stooped as low to him as I could without fal∣ling, and you know he is not a wise man in the judgement of the Philosopher, who stoops so low to another mans weaknesse, that he himselfe falls into weaknesse: and it is a Rule with us at Westminster, that he falls into weaknesse who falls into sinne.

Doe not conceive that I snacht up my pen in an angry mood, that I might vent my dangerous wit, and ease my overburthened spleene. No, no, I have almost forgot the Visitation at Mer∣ton Colledge, the Deniall of my Grace, the plundering of my house and little Library: I know when and where and of whom to demand satisfaction for all these injuries and indignities. I have learnt Centum plagas Spartanâ Nobilitate conco∣quere. I have not yet learnt how to plunder others of goods or living, and make my selfe amends by force of armes. I will not take a living which belonged to any civill, studious, learned Delinquent, unlesse it be the much neglected Commendam of some Lordly Prelate condemned by the knowne Lawes of the Land, and the highest Court of the Kingdome for some offence of the first magnitude: I can, without straining my conscience, swallow such a gnat, a camel I should say, for every one of their Commendams hath a bunch upon its back, and may well make a bunch upon their conscience. I shall not trouble you with any long discourse about State matters, only you will give me leave to say what the Lacedemonian slave said, when he stood to be sold in the market;* and one asked him what he was? I am (saith he) a Free man, and so am I, for though I have not taken Antidotum contra Caesarem, yet I have taken Antido∣tum contra Tyrannidem. I could never yet stoop so low to the most tyrannicall Prelate as to cry Your humble Slave.

Sirs, we heare you have made a New Almanack at Oxford;Page  [unnumbered] and some conceive that you hold correspondence with all the swore Planets, and that you have enticed the trusty Sunne from his Ecliptick line, and taught him to goe Retrograde. We wonder, I must tell you, that the Sunne never came into Libra, that Opi∣nions, Protestations, Actions were seldome or never weighed in the ballance of the Sanctuary: and we wondered more, that Venus (I had almost forgot my Astronomy, and said Iuno) was shufled into Virgo's place, and the signe was in the Dogs head, when we did expect it in a more propitious place, the Lions heart. I remember that of Tertullian, Habet & Ecclesia dies Cani∣culares, the Church of Christ hath cause to complaine of Dog dayes; for the Dog doth not only shew his teeth; we heare him bark and feele him bite; we may in every month write the Dog dayes in capitall letters, nay you write them for us (so capitall are your crimes) in letters of blood. What is England become a Wildernesse? if it be not, why are so many wilde beasts suffered to goe loose and prey upon the zealous Protestants? for shame chaine up those beasts before the first of March: if shame work not, feare may, the same feare which falls upon the men of Northumberland, the feare of a Scottish Reformation: I will not listen at the doore of your Iunto to heare what newes, nor will I peepe into your pretended Parliament, no nor into Merton Colledge, for feare I should see some sights like those in the eighth of Ezekiel,* some with their backs towards the Temple of the Lord, and their faces towards the East; and if I should look farther, one that is no Prophet tells me, that I may see greater abominations then these. Sir, I beseech you keepe downe your staffe: but if you will hold it up, as Eury∣biades did, I must cry as Themistocles did, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, strike if you please; yet heare me, or at least heare what the Prophet saith to me, doth he not speak of you? Then hee said unto me,*Hast thou seene this O sonne of man. Is it a light thing to the house of Iudah, that they commit the abominations which they commit here? for they have fil∣led the Land with violence, and have returned to provoke me to anger: and lo they put their branch to their nose. Therefore—read and tremble at the rest. Come, come Page  [unnumbered] away with this learned Atheisme, your Iudge looks upon you, the searcher of hearts and discoverer of secrets is acquainted with all your plots. The Lord sees what the Ancients of Oxford doe in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery: the Lord heares what you say—O doe not say as the Ancients of Israel said, The Lord seeth us not, the Lord hath forsaken the earth. I am afraid that you have the same temptations at Oxford, which were presented to Origen, an Ethiopian woman, and an Idoll; he was (you know) put to this unhappy choice, to commit folly with which he pleased. Some lust as mnch after idols, as others doe after women; if in these dayes of liberty you restraine from neither, you doe in effect tempt to both, and are the grand seducers of the hopefull Gentry: but alasse you are guilty of a more ambitious wickednesse, it is your study to seduce a King.

I remember an old story of King Canutus, who (as the Chro∣nicler relates) took off the Crowne from his owne head, and set it upon the Crucifixe at Westminster: But tell me (you that have read some Italian Jesuite more subtile then the Politicians Saint, Saint Machiavel) doe you conceive that you can perswade our King to take off his Crowne from his owne head, and place it upon your idoll the Queene, or her idoll the Crucifixe, at Oxford? We have none at Westminster. Well, plot on my Masters, and walke in the light and warmth of that fire which you have kind∣led; * but heare what the Prophet saith, Behold all you that kin∣dle a fire, and compasse about your selves with sparkes, walke in the light of your fire, and in the sparks which you have kind∣led; This shall ye have of mine hand, ye shall lay downe in sor∣row. Pardon our just feare, if we dare not say a confederacy to all those Welch Atheists, Irish Rebels, bloudy Papists of the French or Spanish faction, to whom you say, A confederacy; As∣sociate your selves together (you know what followes) take counsell together (in your pretended Parliament) and it will be brought to nought,* enact and pronounce a decree, imagine mis∣chiefe as a Law, yet you shall not prosper, for God is with us. I know you urge the 13 to the Romanes, to justifie your royall cru∣elty; but you know what Chrysostome, and many others, have Page  [unnumbered] said upon that place: But I shall onely aske you one queshion (with which I stopped your friend Chillingworths mouth) be pleased to answere it: Doe you beleeve that Tyrannie is Gods ordinance? I ever held it a violation of Gods ordinance: and whether the su∣preme Judicatory of the Kingdome may not repell that force with force, which would violate Gods ordinance, judge ye; for it is ab∣surd to talke, as Doctor Ferne doth, of a morall restraint in such a case. Sure I am, the Parliament hath power to raise an Army to preserve Gods ordinance inviolable,* when it cannot be preser∣ved by any other meanes: They doe certainly resist Gods ordi∣nance who seeke to violate it; You endevour to violate it, We to preserve it; who is in the fault?

I have examined your great Champion Doctor Ferne his three bookes, and cannot finde any thing in them, whereby the con∣science of an impartiall Scholar may be fully resolved or satisfied. It is very impertinent, in my weake judgement, to talke of the pri∣viledges of the Kings of Judah, who were immediately elected by God; or to discourse of the power of the Romane Emperour, or the first draughts of Government in the Saxon and Norman lines; for Doctor Ferne doth acknowledge that it is not injurious to his Majesties posterity,*that the King sweares to a limited power, a power limited by priviledges and immunities, granted, or re∣stored to the people since the conquest; which priviledges grants,* liberties, though not originall, yet are they irrevocable. Doctor Ferne distinguishes betweene the Title of the King, and the Power of the King; but wee did never so much as once question his Majesties Title, whether it be limited or no? It is confessed that his power, and therefore much more the exercise of his power, is limited by the Priviledges of the Parliament, the immunities of the Subject, and the Kings owne oath: Nay, it is acknowledged that the two houses of Parliament are in a sort co-ordinate with his Majesty,*to some act or exercising of the supreme power, by a fundamentall constitution Truely here is, in my judge∣ment, so much granted, that the rest need not be disputed. But what if these powers be divided, and clash one against the other? why then the power is not fully in King or Parliament, for the power which is in the three Estates is suspended, whilest one part Page  [unnumbered] suspends:* So Doctor Ferne. Give me leave to aske him, and you, whether the power of the Militia be not in the three Estates, as well as the power of making Lawes? if it be not, then sure the power of making Lawes is to no purpose, because they have no power to defend or enforce I aw: and if the power of the Militia be in the three Estates, then the Kings power of levying, arming men, &c. is suspended by the severall Ordinances of Parliament; for it is Doctor Fernes conclusion, that the power which is in the three Estates is suspended whilest one part suspends; Ergo, much more if two Estates suspend.

But on the other side, I desire Doctor Ferne to shew how the Kingdome is secured by the government of three Estates, if the two houses of Parliament have not sufficient power to preserve the King and the Kingdome, in case the King refuse to preserve it or him.*It is unreasonable (saith Doctor Ferne) that the supply should be made by the body onely, without the head: nay ra∣ther, Doctor, it is unreasonable for the Head to neglect the pre∣servation of it selfe, and the body; but it is very reasonable for to lift up both armes, to defend the head, and the whole body; and therefore reasonable for both houses to take up armes, and lift up their armes, put forth their whole strength to defend the King and themselves.* Doctor Ferne talkes of a Fundamentall constitution, which hath provided this temper of three Estates, as the reaso∣nable meanes of our safety. But I must confesse, that it cannot enter into my dull pate to conceive, that our Government is of any setled temper; or that we have any reasonable meanes provided for the safety of this Kingdome, by that fundamentall constitution, if the King may doe what he pleases, seize on our goods, ('tis Do∣ctor Fernes supposition) imprison our persons, kill us outright, and (which is worse) overthrow our Lawes, our iberties, our Reli∣gion, and all at once, and by consequence enslave not onely the bo∣dies, but the consciences of our posterity; and there is no more power in both houses of Parliament to protect us by force against force, then if we had no such remedy provided, as the government of three Estates. Are we not subjected to an absolute Monarch, if the other two Estates have no legall power to releeve our negle∣cted or oppressed Common-wealth? how are we secured by the Page  [unnumbered] temper of three Estates? or how can it be called a temper? or a temper of three Estates? if the first of the three may oppresse us, and the other two have no power to releeve us? Sure I am, that by this account there is but one Estate that hath a true power, and therfore that Estate must be an estate of absolute Monarchy, which Dr Ferne himselfe seemes to abhorre; and yet so vaine is that Doctor, as to call the Power of Supply legally placed in both Houses of Parliament, a Conceit, nay a vaine Conceit; his words are these; The Conceit of Supply by the two Houses in case the King refuse (to preserve the Kingdome) is a vaine Conceit:* and if that be true, then I must conclude, that this provision of a Temper of three Estates is no Temper, no provision, two of the Estates are no Estates; or else this pro∣vision is in the phrase of Doctor Ferne,* a lame provision, which argues the first contrivement of our Ancestors very inconsiderate; because then it followes, that there is no Rea∣sonable Meane of safety provided for this Kingdome by that Fundamentall Constitution which provided this Temper of three Estates,* so the Doctor loves to call it, though he make one Estate so praedominant, that as there is no Temperamen∣tum ad pondus, so there will bee no Temperamentum ad justitiam neither by his conceit. How say you Sir John, are not you of my perswasion, or are you ashamed to tread in the steppes of your learned Countrey-man? The Lord open your eyes, and cleare your eye-sight; you are naturally sharp-sighted, but if your eye look red or yellow, you know your disease by the symptome. It sball be my prayer, that your eye may nei∣ther be dimme nor blood-shotten.*

Consider that the blood of the 70 was laid upon Abime∣lech their brother who slew them, and upon the men of She∣chem, which had ayded him by strengthning his hands to kill his brethren. Whether you have strengthned their hands who slew their Brethren, only for being too zealous in the maintenance of that Religion which you professe, I appeale to God, your Conscience, and the evidence of the fact. If you have dealt truly and sincerely with this* Reforming Parlia∣ment, nay with your owne party, rejoyce and flatter your selves Page  [unnumbered] with hope of a desired successe; but if not, then take heed the curse of Iotham doe not fall upon you:* there may be an evill spirit sent between the Irish and English, the French and Spanish facti∣ons; nay, fire may come out from the Queen and consume the Pre∣lates, and fire from the Prelates and consume the Papists; or else there may come a fire from the North, a fire to purge and refine, not to destroy; which is my prayer, and will be your happinesse.

I will not hold you any longer upon the racke: Learne the first lesson of Christianity, Self-deniall; deny your owne will, and sub∣mit your selves to Gods; deny your reason, and submit to faith: Reason tells you that there are some things above reason, and you cannot be so unreasonable as to make reason judge of those things which are above reason: Remember that Master Chilling∣worth (your friend) did runne mad with reason, and so lost his reason and religion both at once: hee thought he might trust his reason in the highest points; his reason was to be Iudge, whether or no there be a God? Whether that God wrote any Booke? Whe∣ther the bookes usually received as Canonicall be the bookes, the Scriptures of God? What is the sense of those books? What Re∣ligion is best? What Church purest? Come, doe not wrangle, but beleeve, and obey your God, and then I shall be encouraged to sub∣scribe my selfe

Your Friend and Servant, FRANCIS CHEYNELL.