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with more honour and alacrity : for if there were no opposition, where were the trial of an unfeigned goodness and magnanimity? Virtue that wavers is not virtue, but vice revolted from itself, and after a while returning. The actions of just and pious men do not darken in their middle course; but Solomon tells us, they are as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. But if we shall suffer the trifling doubts and jealousies of future sects to overcloud the fair beginnings of purposed reformation, let us rather fear that another proverb of the same wise man be not upbraided to us, that“ the way of the wicked is as darkness; they stumble at they know not what." If sects and schisms be turbulent in the unsettled estate of a church, while it lies under the amending hand, it best beseems our Christian courage to think they are but as the throes and pangs that go before the birth of reformation, and that the work itself is now in doing. For if we look but on the nature of elemental and mixed things, we know they cannot suffer any change of one kind or quality into another, without the struggle of con, trarieties. And in things artificial, seldom any elegance is wrought without a superfluous waste and refuse in the trans, action. No marble statue can be politely carved, no fair edifice built, without almost as much rubbish and sweeping, Insomuch that even in the spiritual conflict of St. Paul's conversion, there fell scales from his eyes, that were not per ceived before. No wonder then in the reforming of a church, which is never brought to effect without the fierce encounter of truth and falsehood together, if, as it were, the splinters and shards of so violent a jousting, there fall from between the shock many fond errors and fanatic opinions, which, when truth has the upper hand, and the reformation shall be perfected, will easily be rid out of the way, or kept so low, as that they shall be only the exercise of our knowledge, not the disturbance or interruption of our faith. As for that which Barclay, in his “ Image of Minds," writes concerning the horrible and barbarous conceits of Englishmen in their religion, I deem it spoken like what he was, a fugitive papist traducing the island whence he sprung. It may be more judiciously gathered from hence, that the Englishman of many other nations is least atheistical, and bears a natural disposition of much reverence and awe towards the Deity; but in his weakness and want of better instruction, which among us too frequently is neglected, especially by the meaner sort, turning the bent of his own wits, with a scrupulous and ceaseless care, what he might do to inform himself aright of God and his worship, he may fall not unlikely sometimes, as any other landman, into an uncouth opinion. And verily if we look at his native towardliness in the roughcast without breeding, some nation or other may haply be better composed to a natural civility and right judgment than he. But if he get the benefit once of a wise and well-rectified nurture, which must first come in general from the godly vigilance of the church, I suppose that wherever mention is made of countries, manners, or men, the English people, among the first that shall be praised, may deserve to be accounted a right pious, right honest, and right hardy nation. But thus while some stand dallying and deferring to reform for fear of that which should mainly hasten them forward, lest schism and error should increase, we may now thank ourselves and our delays, if instead of schism a bloody and inhuman rebellion be strook in between our slow movings. Indeed against violent and powerful opposition there can be no just blame of a lingering dispatch. But this I urge against those that discourse it for a maxim, as if the swift opportunities of establishing or reforming religion were to atiend upon the phlegm of state-business. In state many things at first are crude and hard to digest, which only time and deliberation can supple and concoct. But in religion, wherein is no iminaturity, nothing out of season, it goes far otherwise. The door of grace turns upon smooth hinges, wide opening to send out, but soon shutting to recall the precious offers of mercy to a nation; which, unless watchfulness and zeal, two quicksighted and ready-handed yirgins, be there in our behalf to receive, we lose: and still the oftener we lose, the straiter the door opens, and the less is offered. This is all we get by demurring in God's service. It is not rebellion that ought to be the hinderance of reformation, but it is the want of this which is the cause of that. The prelates which boast themselves the only bridlers of schism, God knows, have been so cold and backward both there and with us to repress heresy and idolatry, that either, through their carelessness, or their craft, all this mischief is befallen. What can the Irish subjects do less in God's just displeasure against iis, than revenge upon English bodies the little care that our prelates have had of their souls? Nor hath their negligence been new in that island, but ever notorious in Queen Elizabeth's days, as Camden, their known friend, forbears not to complain. Yet so little are, they touched with remorse of these their cruelties, (for these cruelties are theirs, the bloody revenge of those souls which they have famished,) that whenas against our brethren the Scots, who, by their upright and loyal deeds, have now brought themselves an honourable name to posterity, whatsoever malice by slander could invent, rage in hostility attempt, they greedily attempted; toward these murderous Irish, the enemies of God and mankind, a cursed offspring of their own connivance, no man takes notice but that they seem to be very calmly and indifferently affected. Where then should we begin to extinguish a rebellion that hath its cause from the misgovernment of the church? where, but at the church's reformation, and the removal of that government which pursues and wars with all good Christians (under the name of schismatics, but maintains and fosters all papists and idolaters as tolerable Christians? And if the sacred Bible may be our light, we are neither without example, nor the witness of God himself, that the corrupted estate of the church is both the cause of tumult and civil wars, and that to stint them, the peace of the church must first be settled. “Now, for a long season,” saith Azariah to King Asa, “ Israel hath been without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law : and in those times there was no peace to him that went out, nor to him that came in, but great vexations were upon all the inhabitants of the countries. And nation was destroyed of nation, and city of city, for God did vex them with all adversity. Be ye strong therefore,” saith he to the reformers of that age, « and let not your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.” And in those prophets that lived in the times of reformation after the captivity, often doth God stir up the people to consider, that while establishment of church-matters was neglected, and put off, there “ was no peace to him that went out or came in; for I," saith God,“ had set all men every one against his neighbour.” But from the very day forward that they went seriously and effectually about the welfare of the church, he tells them, that they themselves might perceive the sudden change of things into a prosperous and peaceful condition. But it will here be said, that the reformation is a long work, and the miseries of Ireland are urgent of a speedy redress. They be indeed ; and how speedy we are, the poor afflicted remnant of our martyred countrymen that sit there on the seashore, counting the hours of our delay with their sighs, and the minutes with their falling tears, perhaps with the distilling of their bloody wounds, if they have not quite by this time cast off, and almost cursed the vain hope of our foundered ships and aids, can best judge how speedy we are to their relief. But let their succours be hasted, as all need and reason is; and let not there fore the reformation, which is the chiefest cause of success and victory, be still procrastinated. They of the captivity in their greatest extremities could find both counsel and hands enough at once to build, and to expect the enemy's assault. And we, for our parts, a populous and mighty nation, must needs be fallen into a strange plight either of effeminacy or confusion, if Ireland, that was once the conquest of one single earl with his private forces, and the small assistance of a petty Kernish prince, should now take up all the wisdom and prowess of this potent monarchy, to quell a barbarous crew of rebels, whom, if we take but the right course to subdue, that is, beginning at the reformation of our church, their own horrid murders and rapes will so fight against them, that the very sutlers and horse-boys of the camp will be able to rout and chase them, without the staining of any noble sword. To proceed by other method in this enterprise, be our captains and commanders never so expert, will be as great an error in the art of war, as any novice in soldiership ever committed. And thus I leave it as a declared truth, that neither the fear of sects, no, nor rebellion, can be a fit plea to stay reformation, but rather to push it forward with all possible diligence and speed.
THE SECOND BOOK. How happy were it for this frail, and as it may be called mortal life of man, since all earthly things which have the name of good and convenient in our daily use, are withal so cumbersome and full of trouble, if knowledge, yet which is the best and lightsomest possession of the mind, were, as the common saying is, no burden; and that what it wanted uf being a load to any part of the body, it did not with a heavy advantage overlay upon the spirit! For not to speak of that knowledge that rests in the contemplation of natural causes and dimensions, which must needs be a lower wise dom, as the object is low, certain it is, that he who hath obo tained in more than the scantiest measure to know any. thing distinctly of God, and of his true worship, and what is infallibly good and happy in the state of man's life, what in itself evil and miserable, though vulgarly not so esteemed; he that hath obtained to know this, the only high valuable wisdom indeed, remembering also that God, even to a strictness, requires the improvement of these his entrusted gifts, cannot but sustain a sorer burden of mind, and more pressing, than any supportable 'toil or weight which the body can labour under, how and in what manner he shall dispose and employ those sums of knowledge and illumination, which God hath sent him into this world to trade with. And that which aggravates the burden more, is, that, having received amongst his allotted parcels certain precious truths, of such an orient lusture as no diamond can equal, which nevertheless he has in charge to put off at any cheap rate, yea, for nothing to them that will; the great merchants of this world, fearing that this course would soon discover and disgrace the false glitter of their deceitful wares, wherewith they abuse the people, like poor. Indians with beads and glasses, practise by all means how they may suppress the vending of such rarities, and at such a cheapness as would undo them, and turn their trash upon their hands. Therefore by gratifying the corrupt desires of men in fleshly doctrines, they stir them up to persecute with hatred and contempt all those that seek to bear themselves uprightly in this their spiritual factory : which they foreseeing, though they cannot but testify of truth, and the excellency of that heavenly traffic which they bring, against what opposition or danger soever, yet needs must it sit heavily upon their spirits, that being, in God's prime intention and their own, selected heralds of peace, and dispens