« PreviousContinue »
But for any man hence to infer, that some spiritual person may not, occasionally, be in a special service of his king or country, and, when he is so required by his prince, give his advice in the urgent affairs of the kingdom (which I suppose is the main point driven at,) is such an inconsequence, as I dare boldly say cannot be made good, either by divinity or reason, by the law either of God or man; whereas the contrary may be proved and enforced by both.
As for the grounds of this bill, that the minister's duty is so great, that it is able to take up the whole man, and the apostle saith, Who is sufficient for these things? And that he who warfares to God, should not entangle himself with the world:
It is a sufficient and just conviction of those who would divide themselves betwixt God and the world; and bestow the main part of their time upon secular affairs: but it hath no operation at all upon this tenet which we have in hand, that a man, dedicated to God, may not so much as when he is required, cast a glance of his eye, or some minutes of his time, or some motion of his tongue, upon the public business of his king and
Those that expect this from us, may as well, and upon the same reason hold, that a minister must have no family at all, or, if he have one, must not care for it; yea, that he must have no body to tend, but be all spirit. My lords, we are men of the same composition with others, and our breeding hath been accordingly. We cannot have lived in the world, but we must have seen it, and observed it too; and our long experience and conversation, both with men and books, cannot but have put something into us for the good of others; and now, having a double capacity, quasi cives quasi ecclesiastici, as members of the commonwealth, as ministers and governors of the church, we are ready to do our best service in both; one of them is no way incompatible with the other; yea, the subjects of them both
are so united with the church and commonwealth, that they cannot be severed; yea, so as that not the one is in the other; but one in the other is both. So, as the services which we do upon these occasions to the commonwealth, are inseparable from our good offices to the church; so, as upon this ground, there is no reason of our exclusion.
If ye say that our sitting in parliament takes up much time, which we might have employed in our studies or pulpits; consider, I beseech you, that whilst you have a parliament, we must have a convocation; and that our attendance upon that will call for the same expence of time, which we offer to this service; so, as herein, we have neither got nor lost.
But I fear it is not, on some hands, the tender regard of the full scope to our calling, that is so much here stood upon, as the conceit of too much honour that is done us in taking up the room of peers, and voting in the high court; for surely those that are averse from our votes, yet could be content we should have place upon the woolsacks; and could allow us ears, but not tongues. If this be the matter, I beseech your lordships to consider that this honour is not done to us, but to our profession; which, whatever we be in our several persons, cannot easily be capable of too much respect from your lordships; non tibi sed Įsidi.
Neither is this any new grace that is put upon our calling, (which, if it were now to begin might perhaps be justly grudged to our personal unworthiness) but is an ancient right and inheritance inherent in our station: no less ancient than these walls wherein we sit; yea, more.
Before ever there were parliaments, in the magna consilia of the kingdom, we had our places; and as for my predecessors, ever since the conquest's time, I can shew your lordships a just catalogue of them that have sat before me here; and truly, though I have just cause to be mean in my own eyes, yet why, or wherein there should be more unworthiness in me than the rest, that I should
be stripped of that privilege which they so long enjoyed. tho' there were no law to hold me here, I cannot see, I confess.
What respects of honour have been put upon the prime clergy of old, both by pagans, and jews, and christians; and what are still both within christendom and without, I shall not need to urge; it is enough to say, this of ours is not merely arbitrary, but stands so firmly established by law and custom, that I hope it neither will, nor can be removed, except you shall shake those foundations, which, I believe, you desire to hold firm and inviolable.
In short then, my lords, the church craves no new honour from you, and justly hopes you will not be guilty of pulling down the old. As you are the eldest sons, and next under his majesty, the honourable patrons of the church, so she expects and beseeches you to receive her into your tenderest care; so to order her affairs, that ye leave her to posterity in no worse case than you found her. It is a true word of Damascus : Uti vilescit nomen episcopi, omnis status perturbatur ecclesiæ. If this be suffered, the misery will be the church's; the disho. nour and blur of the act, in future ages, will be yours.
To shut up, therefore, let us be taken off from all ordinary trade of secular employments; and if you please, abridge us of intermeddling with matters of common justice; but leave us possessed of those places and privileges in parliament, which our predecessors have so long and peaceably enjoyed.
Another by the same.
This speech has more feeling in it than the Bishop generally discovered. It shews that "passion makes men eloquent."
MY LORDS, I have long held my peace, and meant to have done so still; but now, like to Croesus's mute son, I must break silence; I humbly beseech your lordships VOL. I.
to give me leave to take this too just occasion to move your lordships, to take into your deep and serious consideration, the woeful and lamentable condition of the poor church of England, your dear mother. My lords, this was not wont to be her style. We have heretofore talked of the famous and flourishing church of England; but now your lordships must give me leave to say, that the poor church of England humbly prostrates herself at your lordships' feet, (next after his sacred majesty) and humbly craves your compassion and present aid. My lords, it is a foul and dangerous insolence this which is now complained of to you, but it is but one of a hundred of those which have been of late done to this church and government.
The church of England, as your lordships cannot choose but know, hath been, and is, miserably infested on both sides; with papists on the one side, and schismatics on the other. The psalmist, hath of old, distinguished the enemies of it into wild boars out of the wood, and little foxes out of the boroughs; the one whereof goes about to root up the very foundation of religion, the other to crop the branches, and blossoms, and clusters thereof; both of them conspire the utter ruin and devastation of it. As for the former of them, I do perceive a great deal of good zeal for the remedy and suppression of them; and I do heartily congratulate it, and bless God for it, and beseech him to prosper it in those hands who shall undertake and prosecute it; but for the other, give me leave to say, I do not find many that are sensible of the danger of it, which yet, in my apprehension, is very great and apparent.
Alas! my lords, I beseech you to consider what it is that there should be in London, and the suburbs and liberties, no fewer than fourscore congregations of several sectaries, as I have been too credibly informed, instructed by guides fit for them; coblers, taylors, felt makers, and such like trash, which are all taught to spit in the face of their mother, the church of England, and to defy and
revile her government. From hence have issued those dangerous assaults of our church governors; from hence that inundation of base and scurrilous libels and pamph lets, wherewith we have been of late overborne; in which papists and prelates, like oxen in a yoke, are still matched together. Oh! my lords, I beseech you, that you might be sensible of this great indignity. Do but look upon these reverend persons. Do not your lordships see here, sitting upon these benches, those that have spent their time, their strength, their bodies, and lives, in preaching down, in writing down, popery? and which would be ready, if occasion offered, to sacrifice all their old blood that remains, to the maintenance of that truth of God which they have taught and written; and shall we be thus despitefully ranged with them whom we do thus professedly oppose? But, alas! this is but one of those many scandalous aspersions, and intolerable affronts, that are daily cast upon us.
Now, whither should we, in this case, have recourse for a needful and seasonable redress? The arm of the church is, alas! now short and sinewless; it is the interposing of your authority that must rescue us. the eldest sons of your dear mother, the church, and therefore most fit and most able to vindicate her wrongs. You are amici sponse; give me leave, therefore, in the bowels of Christ, humbly to beseech your lordships, to be tenderly sensible of those woeful and dangerous conditions of the times; and if the government of the church of England be unlawful and unfit, abandon and disclaim it; but if otherwise, uphold and maintain it; otherwise, if these lawless outrages be suffered to gather head, who knows where they will end?
My lords, if these men may with impunity and freedom thus bear down ecclesiastical authority, it is to be feared they will not rest there, but will be ready to affront civil power too. Your lordships know that the Jack Straws, and Cades, and Wat Tylers, of former times, did not more cry down learning than nobility; and