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truth, be published and republished, though against the received opinion of that church, and mine containing but the same thing, shall in a time of reformation, a time of free speaking, free writing, not find a permission to the press; I refer me to wiseft men, whether truth be suffered to be truth, or liberty to be liberty now among us, and be not again in danger of new fetters and captivity after all our hopes and labours loft: and whether learning be not (which our enemies too prophetically feared) in the way to be trodden down again by ignorance. Whereof while time is, out of the faith owing to God and my country, I bid this kingdom beware; and doubt not but God who hath dignified this parliament already to so many glorious degrees, will also give them (which is a fingular blessing) to inform themfelves rightly in the midst of an unprincipled age, and to prevent this working mystery of ignorance and ecclefiaftical thraldom, which under new shapes and disguises begins afresh to grow upon us,
TETRA CHORD ON:
The four chief places in Scripture which treat of Marriage,
or Nullities in Marriage. Gen. I, 27, 28, compared and explained by Gen.ii
18, 23, 24. On Deut. XXIV, 1, 2.
MATT. V, 31, 32, with Matt. xix, from ver. 3, to it, 1 Cor. VII, from ver. 10, to 16.
Wherein the Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, as was
lately published, is confirmed by explanation of fcripture, by testimony of ancient fathers, of civil laws in the primitive church, of famouseft reformed divines; and lastly, by an intended act of the parliament and churchof England in the last year of Edward the Sixth,
Σκαιoίσι και να προσφέρων σοφα
TO THE PARLIAMENT.
THAT which I knew to be the part of a good magistrate, aiming at true liberty through the right information of religious and civil life, and that which I saw, and was partaker of, your vows and folemn covenants, parliament of England! your actions also manifestly tending to exalt the truth, and to depress the tyranny of errour and ill custom, with more constancy and prowess than ever yet any, since that parliament which put the first fceptre of this kingdom into his hand whom God and extraordinary virtue made their monarch; were the
causes that moved me, one else not placing much in the eminence of a dedication, to present your high notice with a discourse, conscious to itself of nothing more than of diligence, and firm affection to the public good. And that
took it so as wise and impartial men, obtaining so great power and dignity, are wont to accept, in matters both doubtful and important, what they think offered them well meant, and from a rational ability, I had no less than to persuade me. And on that perfuafion am returned, as to a famous and free port, myself also bound by more than a maritime law, to expose as freely what fraughtage I conceive to bring of no trifles. For al· though it be generally known, how and by whom ye have been inftigated to a hard cenfure of that former book, entitled, “ The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce,” an opinion held by some of the best among reformed writers without scandal or confutement, though now thought new and dangerous by some of our severe Gnoftics, whose little reading, and less meditating, holds ever with hardest obstinacy that which it took up with easiest credulity; I do not find yet that aught, for the furious incitements which have been used, hath issued by your appointment, that might give the least interruption or disrepute either to the author, or to the book. Which he who will be better advised than to call your neglect or connivance at a thing imagined fo perilous, can attribute it to nothing more juftly, than to the deep and quiet stream of your direct and calm deliberations, that gave not way either to the fervent rashness, or the immaterial gravity of those who ceased not to exafperate without cause. For which uprightness and incorrupt refusal of what ye were incensed to, lords and commons! (though it were done to justice, not to me, and was a peculiar demonftration how far your ways are different from the raih vulgar) besides those allegiances of oath and duty, which are my public debt to your public labours, I have yet a store of gratitude laid up, which cannot be exhaufted; and such thanks perhaps they may live to be; as thall more than whisper to the next ages. Yet that the author may be known to ground himself upon his own innocence, and the merit of his cause, not upon
the favour of a diversion, or a delay to any just cenfure, but wishes rather he might see those his detractors at any fair meeting, as learned debatements are privileged with a due freedom under equal moderators; I shall here briefly single one of them (because he hath obliged me to it) who I perswade me having scarce read the book, nor knowing him who writ it, or at least feigning the latter, hath not forborn to fcandalize him, unconferred with, unadmonished, undealt with by any paftorly or brotherly convincement, in the most open and invective manner, and at the most bitter opportunity that drift or set design could have invented. And this, when as the canon law, though commonly most favouring the boldness of their priests, punishes the naming or traducing of any person in the pulpit, was by him made no fcruple. 'If I îhall therefore take licence by the right of nature, and that liberty wherein I was born, to defend myself publicly against a printed calumny, and do willingly appeal to those judges to whom I am accused, it can be no immoderate or unallowable course of seeking fo just and needful reparations. Which I had done long since, had not those employments, which are now visible, deferred
It was preached before ye, lords and commons ! in August last upon a special day of humiliation, that “there was a wicked book abroad,” and ye were taxed of sin that it was yet “uncensured, the book deserving to be burnt;” and “impudence” also was charged upon the author, who durst “set his name to it, and dedicate it to yourselves!” First, lords and commons ! I that God, before whom ye then were prostrate, so to forgive ye those omissions and trespasses, which ye desire most should find forgiveness, as I shall foon fhow to the world how easily ye abfolve yourselves of that which this man calls your fin, and is indeed your wisdom, and your nobleness, whereof to this day ye have done well not to repent. He terms it “a wicked book," and why but “for allowing other causes of divorce, than Christ and his apostles mention?" and with the same censure condemns of wickedness not only Martin Bucer, that elect inftrument of reformation, highly honoured, and had in reverence by Edward the Sixth, and his whole VOL. II.
pray to parliament, whom also I had published in English by a good providence, about a week before this calumnious digression was preached; so that if he knew not Bucer then, as he ought to have known, he might at least have known him some months after, ere the sermon came in print; wherein notwithstanding he persists in his former sentence, and condemns again of wickedness, either ignorantly or wilfully, not only Martin Bucer, and all the choicest and holiest of our reformers, but the whole parliament and church of England in those best and purest times of Edward the Sixth. All which I shall prove with good evidence, at the end of these explanations. And then let it be judged and serioully considered with what hope the affairs of our religion are committed to one among others, who hath now only left him which of the twain he will choose, whether this shali be his palpable ignorance, or the same wickedness of his own book, which he so lavishly imputes to the writings of other men: and whether this of his, that thus peremptorily defames and attaints of wickedness unspotted churches, unblemished parliaments, and the most eminent restorers of chriftian doctrine, deserve not to be burnt first. And if his heat had burst out only against the opinion, his wonted passion had no doubt been filently borne with wonted patience. But since, against the charity of that folemn place and meeting, it served him further to inveigh opprobrioully against the person, branding him with no less than impudence, only for setting his name to what he had written; I must be excufed not to be fo wanting to the defence of an honest name, or to the reputation of those good men who afford mę their fociety, but to be sensible of such a foul endeavoured disgrace: not knowing aught either in mine own deserts, or the laws of this land, why I should be subject, in such a notorious and illegal manner, to the intemperances of this man's preaching choler. And indeed to be fo prompt and ready in the midst of his humbleneís, to tofs reproaches of this bulk and size, argues as if they were the weapons of his exercise, I am sure not of his ministry, or of that day's work. Certainly to subscribe my name at what I was to own, was what