Imatges de pÓgina
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not malice, envy, spite, and disdain gather of words most truly and faithfully meant and written? And seeing charity and the laws of this realm, as it appeareth in an act of Parliament made in the first year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King Edward the Sixth, give liberty and license to him that shall be accused for a matter of religion, upon malice, evil will, hatred, disdain, or by made and suborned records, to repel and convict all such false records and their accusers by other faithful and indifferent records.

The which act of Parliament God forbid should be denied to any of the King's Majesty's preachers; for if the testimony of their audiences should not acquit them from despite and calumniation of malicious and uncharitable men, they shall not long preach the truth. For either the Papists will accuse them, because they wish the Pope and all monuments of Papistry to be taken out of the way, or the carnal Gospeller, that cannot abide to hear his faults and carnal life rebuked.

And I think if the King's Majesty and his most honourable council prepare not the sooner a bridle and correction for sin, the true preacher of God hereafter shall be more persecuted for reprehending of sin and ungodly life, than ever yet hitherunto he hath been persecuted by the Papists.

Thus I have declared my faith and belief towards God, according to the Scriptures, in the which I trust to continue until death doth end this miserable and wretched life. Now I will declare also the same towards the church of Christ, what I believe of the magistrates and ministers of the word, the people I dwell withal. And of these things I will speak according to the doctrine of the Prophets and Apostles. For many times, as well heretofore as in our days, have been superstitious hypocrites and fantastical spirits, that have neglected and condemned the office

of magistrates, judgments, laws, punishments of evil, lawful dominion, rule, lawful wars, and suchlike, without which a commonwealth may not endure. They have condemned also the ministry and ministers of Christ's church; and as for Christian love and charitable society, they confound them. They use the ministry of the church so, that it is out of all estimation, supposing themselves to be of such perfection, that they need neither the ministry of the word, neither use of Christ's holy sacraments, baptism and the supper of the Lord. And the other they use with such devilish disorder, that they would by a law make theirs their neighbours, and their neighbours theirs, confounding all property and dominion of goods. Before our time the fury and damnable heresy of Marcion and the Manichees against the magistrates troubled many a year dangerously both Asia and Africa; and not yet 400 years since agone a sort of people, called Flagelliferi, did the

same.

And now in our time, to the great trouble and unquietness of many commonwealths in Europe, the Anabaptists have resuscitated and revived the same errors, which is an argument and token of the devil's great indignation against civil policy and order. For he knoweth that where such errors and false doctrines of political orders be planted, two great evils necessarily must needs follow: the one is sedition, that bringeth murders, bloodsheddings, and dissipations of realms; the other is blasphemy against Christ's precious blood. For these sects think they be able to save themselves of and by themselves.

Farther, when the magistrates be cumbered with those dangerous sort of people, the devil knoweth they shall have no leisure at will to take some order by God's word to oppress such false doctrine. But this we be taught out of the Scripture, that even as

man is ordained to the order, change, and alteration of time; as the order of the year appointeth now to be subject unto summer, now unto winter, now to the spring, and now to the fall; so hath God ordained and commanded man to be obedient to policies and orders wheresoever he be, so they be not repugnant nor contrary to the word of God. As Joseph in his heart bore abroad wheresoever he went the true knowledge and invocation of God, also of Christ to come, yet outwardly in courts, judgments, contracts, and in possession of goods, he used the law of the Egyptians: even so did Daniel in Babylon.

There is no more to be taken heed of in laws and civil policies, but to see the law repugn not the law of God, and that the lawmakers, and those whom the execution of the law is commended unto, have a special and singular eye unto the effect and the meaning of the law, wherefore it was made a law, The which St. Paul wonderfully exhorteth people to understand, saying of the law and magistrates, "Let them be a fear and terror to the evil doers, and a praise and commendation to the well doers." Neither forceth it, though the form and manner of laws, of judgments, of pains, and punishments be not alike in all places, as the laws of feuderies be not alike in Italy, England, France, Spain, nor Germany, yet should every nation be subject to the laws of his own realm and civil policy: and in this doing, he shall offend God no more than the Englishmen that have longer days in the summer, shorter days in the winter than those that dwell nearer to the south; or St. Paul, that had longer days at the solstitium and pitch of the sun in Macedon than Christ had at Jerusalem. But even as we be content with our measure and length of day and night, and others be contented with theirs, so must both they and we submit our

selves, and be contented with the measure and order. of our own laws.

I do therefore bewail and lament, that the preachers in the church, and schoolmasters in their schools, and the householder in his household, do know no better what the dignity and honour of a civil policy. is, by whom it is ordained, and by whom it is preserved; how dangerous and damnable a thing it is before God and man to trouble and disquiet it by any furor or madness of opinion: as the Marcionites, Manichees, and Anabaptists do. I see and know by experience much trouble and danger to arise among the unlearned and ungodly people by ignorance. For when they see such deformities and confusions rise and chance, as we see many times to happen in kingdoms, courts, judicials, laws, governors that more fancy private profit and singularity than the profit of the whole commonwealth, and indifferency of all men, and all causes indifferently; they suppose verily (for lack of knowledge in God's word) that all orders, policies, kingdoms, and dominions be no other thing than cruel tyranny and oppression of the poor; and also to have their beginning and original either of the devil, or of pride and covetousness of

men.

This same evil upon the same occasion of ignorance caused natural wise men much to be troubled and vexed about the considerations of kingdoms, policies, rules, and dominions; because they perceived all kingdoms to be subject unto troubles and alterations; and not only that, but they perceived right well no kingdom to be perpetual, nor for ever. And indeed whoso beholdeth the beginning, the continuance, and end of the empire of Rome, shall see right well their imaginations to be no vain thoughts.

How much of her own blood and of strangers'

blood did Rome shed before she came to the regi men and rule of all the world? When she was aspired thereunto, and was a fear to all the world, how much blood of her own shed she by civil wars and contentions, the writings that mention of Sylla, Marius, Cinna, Cæsar, Pompeius, Brutus, Anto→ nius, Augustus, and others, declare. Thus when the Lord God would take from Rome for her sins the dominion of the world, he sent the Goths, Vandals, Huns, Arabs, and Turks, that wasted not only Italy, but also Egypt, Africa, and Asia, and so brought the empire of Rome to nought. As many times as I read and mark this history and other like, it causeth me to look upon many evil Englishmen, as Scipio looked upon the great city of Carthage, while it was a-burning, saying with a lamentable voice, "The inconstancy of fortune in human things is to be lamented." Which voice sprang upon this occasion, that Carthage being a city of great renown and do minion, was now become a prey unto the fire, and he turned, as wisdom always doth, the consideration of present evils unto others yet flourishing in high and prosperous felicity; and declared, as a man seeing before the ruin and fall of things that stood destinated, the fall of Rome to come, that should perish by like plague.

Even so, when I behold the evil, pestiferous, affected minds of Englishmen, and perpend and weigh the fruits of such corrupt minds, contempt, hatred, grudge, and malice against their King, magistrates, laws, orders, and policies; doubtless I cannot other think but these inen, as much as is in them, conspire and work the destruction of this realm. For it can no otherwise be, but as contempt of godly laws and sedition among the people and subjects, of what degree soever they be, have wrought the de

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