« PreviousContinue »
To His EXCELLENCY J A M E ES Duke, Marquess and Earl of Ormond,
Earl of ofory and Brecknock, Viscount Thurles, Lord Baron of Arclo and Lanthony, Lord of the Regalities and Liberties of the County of Tipperary, Chancellor of the University of Dublin Lord Lieutenant General and General Governor of His Majesties Kingdom of Ireland, Lord Lieutenant of the County of Sommerset, one of the Lords of His Majesties most Honourable Privy Councils of His Majesties Kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland, Lord Steward of His Majestics Houshold, Gentleman of His Majesties Bed-Chamber, and Knight of the most noble Order of the Garter.
May it please your Grace,
Hat little Presents have been acceptable to mighty Princes, is their usual Apology, whe draw rbore precedents into examples but it cannot be mine, in confecrating this small
Trad to Your Excellencies bands : They pre. sented their Governors with what was their own, I offer to your Grace, not what is mine, but Tours : Ton, as bis Majesties Vicegerent, are appointed to defend the faith, and under him and our Saviour, are the chief officer,both over the Civil and Ecclefiaftical affairs of this Kingdom. This Discourse concerns the faith in its visible profession, and the order settled.by Christ, for the Government of his Church; and therefore it is yours by those Titles. The weakmers of the stile, and manifold imperfections of the Composer, would deter me from returning you what is Tours, in such a ragged dress, and by such an unknown band's
were not I verily perswaded, that as bis Sacred Majestic is Divinely shofen, fikę apother Zerubbábel, to raise a ruined Temple, lo Tour Excellency is one of the most eminem of the Subordinatë Rulers, to carry on that glorious work;wherein as well poor Labourers must be employed to remove ibe rubbish, and clear the foundation as Mafter-workmen,to rear and compleat the Fabrick. Il. lxftricus Sir, I humbly begney, admission into the Roll of thefe Gibeopitori Industry and due obfervance of my şuperiors directions, are wiyonely commendatory Letters ; if their certificatemáy procure me tbeoffice.Ivil oblige my self to what conformity they enjon me in my work. But wherea fare this? Behold, I see the Head-stone already brought forth with flšauting, and hear the inhabitants of these several Kingdomes from every quarter, crying, Grace, grace unto it.Nam God Almighty bless our Zerubbábel,ftrengthen his bands, level all Mountains before him, make him the blessed finisher of what he hath happily. begun, give him and bis Kingdoms peace ont of this Temple , and cause its glory to exceed the glory of the former ; and may your Grace live long, and long to see its and abundantly share in the comforts of it: May you no minute of your life be wwafured of your indearment to God, tbe King, the church and Kingdoms. Let the Everlasting eyes be always over you, to direct; and let the Everlasting arms be always under you, to uphold and protect you in all your ways: And when
full of days, full of bonors, full of all joy and peace in belaèving, you skall be gathered to your Fathers, may you be translated and for ever fixed as a Star of the greatest magnitude, transcendently differing from others in glory. This the God of all blessings effecinally grant, as is moft affectionately implaredby, My Lord,
Your inost obedient Servant,
To the Rigidest Dissenters of the
Or your sakes is this Treatise principally in-
ty, nor to get a Party to own an old (though by you endeavoured to be antiquated) truth: But to free it from caufless oppofition. How farr I have done, or come short of it, I am unfit to Judge. God and my conscience witnesseth, my sincere labour to do it. Arguments on both sides, I have diligently, and indifferently weighed, and never wittingly cast the scale, where the weight of faith or reason did not carry it. Own what is of God; dispute, and shew me the erTour of what is mine. I will more readily retract it, then I published it. 'Tis truth I seek, not name, nor vi&ory, let her triumph, I can as cheerfully follow chained to her chariot, 23 ridsin it.
If you do prepare for opposition, be pleased to remember, we dispute about a Divine Intftjútiin, if we must fight, let us try it out, within facred lifts; And not disorderly skiimilh, about the vices, or virtues of men, lealt we elevate Gods, and Christs authority, to establish man's. Outward. Piety, zeal, and earnestness, in, or for a way, or profession, are no infallible marks of the truth ofit: Fairer flowers grow oftner in the by way, then, in the road. A Divine right consists in the Divinity of the instituter of an ordinance, nor is it more Divine, in the zeal, or less divine in the negligence of its Admi
Firft, 'twas not, because there was no rule to restrain them.
charge of personal failings in some Officers had been true. Much more should you have held your hands, when some of your Con[ciences could not but bear you witness, that
you accused many, if not most of them falsely; for had all the Bishops been remiss, or luke-warm, you could have had neither occasion, nor pretence to cry out so pitiously of persecution under them. A cry, which formerly procured them envy, and malice ; you pity and compassion, but how deservedly, inpartial Pofterity may determine, when the faithful Records of those, and the immediatly following times shall exhibit, many of your loudest complainers, equally as violent, and seditious againft all other Church Governments, although of their own erection.
But granting, without disadvantage to truth; that some of the Bishops were faulty; others were not so, even by the confession ofthe most Rigid of your Party; And what if more had been blame worthy, what is that to their Order ? Judas be trayed, St. Peter denied, all the rest of the Apostles forfook Christ at his apprehensioni, & St. Thomas doubted the truth of his Resurrection, but who ever charged their crimes upon the
Apoftolate?. Hophni and Phineas (the high Priests) were out. 1 Sam. 2. 19
ragiously wicked, but who excuseth the peoples improvement of their diftast against them, to an abhorrency of the offerings of the Lord? Who blames the fountain, which after long running passeth through miry, or boggy places? If the abuse, or accidental corruption of things, take away their essence, and use,
abolish we Preaching, the Sacraments, and the Scripture, as Nihil boni well as Episcopacy. Tis a notable case of Conscience, and aut liciti eft well resolved by Amesius, That no good, or lawful thing is to be omittendum omitted, because men of a Pharissical Spirit take fcandal against Lalum acceptum hominum But you will say, the estate of the inferiour Clergy, and pharisaico in- People, was corrupt under the Episcopal discipline. senio predito- I answer, your endeavours to vilifie the former are sufficientcat. consc. lib. ly known, and I doubt not, but your partiality, and unbro 5. ca. 11. thef. therliness, (to say no worse of it) will in due time be manife
fted to the world by an abler Pen; I am resolved to deal libe-