Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

a

are the better gamesters, and will cog a die into heaven before you.

Remonst. No churches re-edified ?
Answ. Yes, more churches than souls.
Remonst. No learned volumes writ?

Answ. So did the miscreant bishop of Spalato write learned volumes against the pope, and run to Rome when he had done: ye write them in your closets, and unwrite them in your courts; hot volumists and cold bishops; a swashbuckler against the pope, and a dormouse against the devil, while the whole diocese be sown with tares, and none to resist the enemy, but such as let him in at the postern; a rare superintendent at Rome, and a cipher at home. Hypocrites! the gospel faithfully preached to the poor, the desolate parishes visited and duly fed, loiterers thrown out, wolves driven from the fold, had been a better confutation of the

pope
and
mass,

than whole hecatontomes of controversies; and all this careering with spear in rest, and thundering upon the steel cap of Baronius or Bellarmine. Remonst. No seduced

persons

reclaimed ? Answ. More reclaimed

persons

seduced. Remonst. No hospitality kept?

Answ. Bacchanalias good store in every bishop's family, and good gleeking.

Remonst. No great offenders punished ?
Answ. The trophies of your high commission are renowned.
Remonst. No good offices done for the public?

Answ. Yes: the good office of reducing monarchy to tyranny, of breaking pacifications, and calumniating the people to the king.

Remonst. No care of the peace of the church?

Answ. No, nor of the land; witness the two armies in the north, that now lie plundered and overrun by a liturgy.

Remonst. No diligence in preaching ?
Answ. Scarce any preaching at all.
Remonst. No holiness in living ?
Answ. No.
Remonst. Truly, brethren, I can say no more, but that the

Ι fault is in your eyes.

Answ. If you can say no more than this, you were a proper Remonstrant to stand up for the whole tribe!

Remonst. Wipe them and look better.

a

Answ. Wipe your fat corpulencies out of our light.

Remonst. Yea, I beseech God to open them rather that they may see good.

Answ. If you mean good prelates, let be your prayer. Ask not impossibilities.

Remonst. As for that proverb,“ the bishop's foot hath been in it," it were more fit for a Scurra in Trivio, or some ribald upon an alebench.

Answ. The fitter for them then of whom it was meant.

Remonst. I doubt not but they will say, the bishop's foot hath been in your book, for I am sure it is quite spoiled by this just confutation ; for your proverb, Sapit ollam.

Answ. Spoiled, quoth ye? Indeed it is so spoiled, as a good song is spoiled by a lewd singer; or, as the saying is, “God sends meat, but the cooks work their wills :" in that Sense we grant your bishop's foot may have spoiled it, and inade it “ Sapere ollam,” if not“ Sapere aulam ;” which is the same in old Latin, and perhaps in plain English. For certain your confutation hath achieved nothing against it, and left nothing upon it but a foul taste of your skillet foot, and a more perfect and distinguishable odour of your socks, than of your nightcap. And how the bishop should confute a book with his foot, unless his brains were dropped into his great toe, I cannot meet with any man that can resolve me; only they tell me that certainly such a confutation must needs be gouty. So much for the bishop's foot.

Remonst. You tell us of Bonner's broth; it is the fashion in some countries to send in their keal in the last service, and this it seems is the manner among our Smectymnuans.

Answ. Your latter service at the high altar you mean. But soft, sir, the feast was but begun, the broth was your own, you have been inviting the land to it this fourscore years; and so long we have been your slaves to serve it up you, much against our wills: we know you have the beef to it, ready in your kitchens, we are sure it was almost sod before this parliament begun; what direction you have given since to your cooks, to set it by in the pantry till some fitter time, we know not, and therefore your dear jest is lost; this broth

first service: alas, sir! why do you delude your guests? Why do not those goodly flanks and briskets march up in your stately chargers? Doubtless, if need be, the pope that owes you for mollifying the matter so well with him, and

a

for

your

was but

:

making him a true church, will furnish you with all the fat oxen of Italy. Remonst. Learned and worthy Dr. Moulin shall tell them.

Answ. Moulin says, 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 bishops. 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 ruiners of the church. Thus you see how little it avails you to take sanctuary 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 same 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 misaffected.

AN

APOLOGY FOR SMECTYMNUUS.

[FIRST PUBLISHED IN 1642.]

EDITOR'S PRELIMINARY REMARKS. MILTON's successive attacks upon the bishops, distinguished for their rough and vehement eloquence, naturally raised against him a multitude of enemies, whose rage and bitterness knew no bounds. Eloquence, however, was not, as Mr. Mitford * pretends, all he had to throw into the controversy, for his learning and logic were equally remarkable; but whatever were the talents or qualifications he brought to bear upon the question, he was pretty generally at the time, and tacitly even by his enemies, acknowledged to have come off triumphantly in the struggle; for, instead of opposing his arguments with arguments, they had recourse to calumny. Several of his friends also, who had written on the side of presbytery, were overwhelmed with obloquy ; particularly those five ministers, to whose talents and learn. ing one of the ablest of Milton's biographers bears honourable testimony. “ But the piece which seems most to have attracted the public attention,” says he, “ was a pamphlet, written by the united powers of five of the presbyterian divines, under the appellation of SMECTYMNUUS, a word formed with the initial letters of the names of the authors, Stephen Marshal, Edmund Calamy, Thomas Young, Matthew Newcomen, and William Spurstow. Upon the publication of this work, in which everything unfavourable to episcopacy that the learning of its authors could supply was brought forward, Bishop Hall replied in his Defence of the Remonstrance,” &c.

“ Milton's formidable pen,” as Dr. Symmons very justly denominates it, “ was now once more drawn in angry opposition to the prelate;" and his Animadversions on the Remonstrant's Defence, thrown into the form of dialogue, in which his adversary's book is made to sustain the part of an interlocutor, in order the more completely to overthrow and demolish it, may be regarded as one of the fiercest and least agreeable of his earlier controversial works. He who enters into controversy of any kind can seldom foresee how much it must consume of his time, or to what lengths he shall be led. Milton probably expected and wished to pause

* “ The fact was,” says this learned and generally unprejudiced writer, “the puritans were totally unable to compete with such men as Usher, Hall, Bramhall, and others of the established religion, in theological learning, and knowledge of ecclesiastical history, as may be seen by reading the controversy ; and they were glad even Milton's eloquence-for thut was all he brought them; and all the young scholar could be expected to bring.” -Life of Milton, &c., p. xxxi, note 43. The “ young scholar” was thirty

and his writings of this period exhibit a degree of knowledge and research, of which many an older scholar, whether laic or clerk, might be justly proud.

three;

[ocr errors]

here. But an author, supposed to be the son of Bishop Hall, and in Milton's opinion, assisted by his father, appearing with what he was pleased to call a Modest Confutation, &c., it became necessary he should once more enter into the contest ; and the Modest Confutation was met by the Apology for Smectymnuus.

In whatever regards the church, or the government of the church, I am willing to respect the opinions of its learned and able ministers ; but, in the present case, I can by no means agree with Mr. Mitford, that Milton,

as well as his brethren whom he defended, were infinitely inferior to Bishop Hall in theological learning and in controversial skill;" or that the “ learned prelate's victory over Smectymnus was complete.” * On the contrary, on whatever side right and justice may have been,- for that is a very different question, -victory was undoubtedly on the side of Milton ; since it was the part of the varquished and downfallen, who could no longer help themselves, to invoke the aid of the evil and furious passions of mankind, to excite their bigotry and fanaticism, and call, since they found the magistrate deaf, upon the people, whom they customarily disparaged, to support their cause by persecution, and avenge them by stoning their antagonist, as a miscreant, whose impunity would be their crime.” When such were the temper and conduct of his opponents, we cannot reasonably wonder,” says Dr. Symmons, at the warmth of his expressions, or at the little scruple with which he scattered his various instruments of pain.”+ But we may well wonder that out of a gladiatorial controversy of this sanguinary kind, anything should have arisen so richly teeming with beautiful thoughts, so full of youthful and cheering reminiscences, so varied, so poJished, so vehemently eloquent, as the Apology for Smectymnuus, which, as a noble and justifiable burst of egotism, has never, perhaps, in any language been excelled.

and hap

AN APOLOGY FOR SMECTYMNUUS. IF, readers, to that same 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 further on our way to some degree of peace

* Life of Milton, p. xxxiv. Why this writer chooses to be wrong in the orthography of this celebrated name is more than I can explain ; but it is no slip of the pen, for in page xxxi. he says that the W in William Spurstow's name must be pronounced U to form the word. Now he is the only author I remember to have met with who has written the name with one U. Both the ministers themselves and Milton invariably have Smectymnuus, where the Wis resolved into its proper elements. Dr. Sumner, perhaps by a typographical error, is made to say there were six divines engaged in the composition of the pamphlet ; (Pref. to Christian Doctrine, &c., p. xix. ;) but this is certainly a mistake.

+ Life of Milton, p. 240.

« PreviousContinue »