« AnteriorContinuar »
Answ. Moulin fays in his book of the calling of pastors, that because bishops were the reformers of the English church, therefore they were left remaining: this argument is but of small force to keep you in your cathedrals. For first it may be denied that bishops were our first reformers, for Wickliff was before them, and his egregious labours are not to be neglected: besides; our bishops were in this work but the disciples of priests, and began the reformation before they were bilhops. But what though Luther and other monks were the reformers of other places? Does it follow therefore that monks ought to continue? No, though Luther had taught so. And lastly, Moulin's argument directly makes against you; for if there be nothing in it but this, bishops were left remaining because they were reformers of the church, by as good a consequence therefore they are now to be removed, because they have been the most certain deformers and miners of the church. Thus you fee how little it avails you to take fanctuary among those churches which in the general scope of your actions formerly you have disregarded and despised; however, your fair words would now smooth it over otherwise.
Remonst. Our bishops, some whereof being crowned with martyrdom, subscribed the gospel with their blood.
Answ. You boast much of martyrs to uphold your episcopacy; but if you would call to mind what Eusebius in his fifth book recites from Apollinarius of Hierapolis, you should then hear it esteemed no other than an old heretical argument, to prove a position true, because some that held it were martyrs; this was that which gave boldness to the Marcionists and Cataphryges to avouch their impious heresies for pious doctrine, because they could reckon many martyrs of their sect; and when they were confuted in other points, this was ever their last and stoutest plea.
Remonst. In the mean time I beseech the God of Heaven to humble you.
Answ. We shall beseech the fame God to give you a more profitable and pertinent humiliation than yet you know, and a less mistaken charitableness, with that peace which you have hitherto so perversely mifasfected.
AS A N
APOLOGY FOR SMECTYMNUUS.
ly, readers, to that fame great difficulty of well-doing what we certainly know, were not added in most men as great a carelessness of knowing what they and others ought to do, we had been long ere this, no doubt but all of us, much farther on our way to some degree of peace and happiness in this kingdom. But since our sinful neglect of practising that which we know to be undoubtedly true and good, hath brought forth among us, through God's just anger, so great a difficulty now to know that which otherwise might be soon learnt, and hath divided us by a controversy of great importance indeed, but of no hard solution, which is the more our punishment; I resolved (of what small moment soever I might be thought) to stand on that side where I faw both the plain authority of scripture leading, and the reason of justice and equity persuading; with this opinion, which esteems it more unlike a christian to be a cold neuter in the cause of the church, than the law of Solon made it punishable after a sedition in the state. And because I observe that fear and dull disposition, lukewarmness and sioth, are not leldomer wont to cloak themselves under the affected name of moderation, than true and lively zeal is customably disparaged with the term of indiscretion, bitterness, and choler; I could not to my thinking honour a good cause more from the heart, than by defending it earnestly, as oft as I could judge it to behove me, notwithstanding any false name that could be invented to wrong or undervalue an honest meaning. Wherein although I have not doubted to single forth more than once such of them as were thought the chief and most nominated oppofers on the other side, xvhom no man tile undertook; if I have done well
either either to be confident os the truth, whose force is best seen against the ablest resistance, or to be jealous and tender of the hurt that might be done among the weaker by the intrapping authority of great names titled to false opinions; or that it be lawful to attribute somewhat to gifts of God's imparting, which I boast not, but thankfully acknowledge, and fear also lest at my certain account they be reckoned to me rather many than few; or is lastly it be but justice not to defraud of due esteem the wearisome labours and studious watchings, wherein I have spent and tired out almost a whole youth, I shall not distrust to be acquitted of presumption: knowing, that if heretofore all ages have received with favour and good acceptance the early industry of him that hath been hopeful, it were but hard measure now, if the freedom of any timely spirit should be oppressed merely by the big and blunted fame of his elder adverfary; and that his sufficiency must be now sentenced, not by pondering the reason he shows, but by calculating the years he brings. However as my purpose is not, nor hath been formerly, to look on my adverfary abroad, through the deceiving glass of other men's great opinion of him, but at home, where I may find him in the proper light of his own worth; so now against the rancour of an evil tongue, from which I never thought so absurdly, as that I of all men should be exempt, I must be forced to proceed from the unfeigned and diligent inquiry of my own conscience at home (for better way I know not, readers) to give a more true account of myself abroad than this modest confuter, as he calls himself, hath given of me. Albeit, that in doing this, I shall be sensible of two things which to me will be nothing pleafant; the one is, that not unlikely I shall be thought too much a party in mine own cause, and therein to see least: the other, that I shall be put unwillingly to molest the public view with the vindication of a private name; as if it were worth the while that the people should care whether such a one were thus, or thus. Yet those I entreat who have found the leisure to read that name, however of small, repute, unworthily defamed, would be so good and so patient as to hear the fame person not unneedfully
defended, defended. I will not deny but that the best apology against false accusers is silence and sufferance, and honest deeds set against dishonest words. And that I could at this time most easily and securely, with the least loss of reputation, use no other defence, I need not despair to win belief; whether I consider both the foolish contriving and ridiculous aiming of these his slanderous bolts, shot so wide of any suspicion to be fastened on me, that I have oft with inward contentment perceived my friends congratulating themselves in my innocence, and my enemies ashamed of their partner's folly: or whether I look at these present times wherein most men, now scarce permitted the liberty to think over their own concernments, have removed the feat of their thoughts more outward to the expectation of public events: or whether the examples of men, either noble or religious, who have fat down lately with a meek silence and sufferance under many libellous endorsements, may be a rule to others, I might well appease myself to put up any reproaches in such an honourable society of fellow-sufferers, using no other defence. And were it that slander would be content to make an end where it first fixes, and not seek to cast out the like infamy upon each thing that hath but any relation to the person traduced, I should have pleaded against this confuter by no other advocates than those which I first commended, silence and sufierance, and speaking deeds against faltering words. But when I discerned his intent was not so much to smite at me, as through me to render odious the truth which I had written, and to stain with ignominy that evangelic doctrine which opposes the tradition of prelaty; I conceived myself to be now not as mine own person, but as a member incorporate into that truth whereof I was persuaded, and whereof I had declared openly to be a partaker. WhereT upon I thought it my duty, if not to myself, yet to the religious cause I had in hand, not to leave on my garment the least spot or blemish in good name, so long as God should give me to fay that which might wipe it off. Lest those disgraces, which I ought to suffer, if it so befall me, for my religion, through my default religion be made liable to suffer for me. And, whether it 'Vol. I. V might might not something reflect upon those reverent men, whose friend I may be thought in writing the Animadversions, was not my last care to consider; if I should rest under these reproaches, having the fame common adverfary with them, it might be counted small credit for their cause to have found such an assistant, as this babbler hath devised me. What other thing in his book there is of dispute or question, in answering thereto I doubt not to be justified; except there be who will condemn me to have wasted time in throwing down that which could not keep itself up. As for others, who notwithstanding what I can allege have yet decreed to misinterpret the intents of my reply, I suppose they would have found as many causes to have misconceived the reasons of my silence.
T'o begin therefore an apology for those animadversions, which I writ against the Remonstrant in defence of Smectymnuus; since the preface, which was purposely set before them, is not thought apologetical enough, it will be best to acquaint ye, readers, before other things, what the meaning was to write them in that manner which I did. For I do not look to be asked wherefore I writ the book, it being no difficulty to answer, that I did it to those ends, which the best men propose to themselves when they write: but wherefore in that manner, neglecting the main bulk of all that specious antiquity, which might stun children, and not men, I chose rather to observe some kind of military advantages to await him at his foragings, at his waterings, and whenever he felt himself secure, to solace his vein in derision of his more serious opponents. And here let me have pardon, readers, if the remembrance of that which he hath licensed himlclf to utter contemptuously of those reverend men, provoke me to do that over again, which some expect I should excuse as too freely done; since I have two provocations, his latest insulting in his short answer, and their final patience. I had no fear, but that the authors of Smectymnuus, to all the show of solidity, which the Remonstrant could bring, were prepared both with skill and