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tion, yet, because they were not regulated or guided by God's word, he did wickedly, and was therefore both justly resisted by the priests) and punished (by God.] This note you shall find in the margin of your English bibles, which I wish were well observed by our too forward zealots, who flatter and deceive themselves with their good intentions, when the means they use are not lawful but unrighteous.
Fourthly, He that can prove it by any plausible argument (as I am sure none can, though he were as powerful in invention, and witty in arguing, as * Perronius, once a cardinal of Rome) that it was lawful under the old law for any butcher, because he had skill in killing of a beast, to slay the sacrifice, which was only proper to the † Levites. And he that shall demonstrate to my understanding, that he is not guilty of great presumption, and much pride, who shall first think himself fit for that office, which St. Paul so admired, and trembled at, that he brake forth into a ris inavos #, Who is sufficient for it? He that thinks himself so, is most insufficient; especially when he shall want all those gifts, which are usually seen and required in ministers, as, skill in the languages, fathers, councils, school-men, church-bistories, with other modern writers; together with the arts and sciences.
Fifthly, He that shall clear this point unto me, that the practice of Christ and his apostles, together with the whole church, for sixteenhundred years, and upwards, is not to be allowed of; especially, when that practice is confirmed and ratified by precept in the Holy Scriptures, where we find ll directions to the then bishops for the laying on of hands upon those who were then, and now are to be admitted into holy orders.
And, Lastly, He that can evince it, that besides the inward testimony of a man's own conscience ş, there is not, upon the former grounds required the outward call or testimony of the church, to whom he is to give trial of his gifts, and then receive the church's blessing, with solemn prayers to God to prosper the work which he is going about, i. e, that he may convert souls, and thereby enlarge the kingdom of Christ,
He, that is able (as I am sure none ever was, or will be,) 10 prove all these particulars, shall subdue my reason, and bring me to a confession, that it is lawful for a lay-man to preach.
Till this be proved (as it never can be expected) I shall with the authority of God's word, the consent of all antiquity, and the practice of all reformed churches, conclude and stand firmly to this position:
That no man ought to take upon him this sacred function, or office, but he that is called as Aaron was **, i. e. by God. The voice of the church is the voice of God; ergo, lay-men that call themselves by a bold intrusion, we may lawfully call usurpers of the priests office, of the stock of Korah, of the race of Jeroboam's priests. He made of the lowest of the people, priests of the high places, which thing became a sin to the house of Jeroboam, even to cut it off and destroy it from the face of the earth tt.
• Persuadebit gobis quicquid volet, ita de Perronio Paulus Sanctus, in vita Perronii opusculis ejus præfixa. + Levit. i. 4. He shall kill the bullock. * 2 Cor. ij. 16.
Tím. iv. 14. v. 29. Tit. i. 5. Acts xiv. 23, &c.
That he is both willing and able to discbarge the pifice of a minister. " Heb. v. 4. # 1 Kings xiii. 33.
And unless the divine justice shall speedily stop the mouths of the apron-rabbies, and russet-levites, by some strange judgment, and so cut them off who have kindled a flame in state and church (that hath blasted all good order, consumed all God's ordinances, and caused a general ebb of devotion and piety amongst us) who also have crept in like thieves into the church by back-ways, have secretly insinuated themselves into the society of God's people; professing themselves to be teachers of the true faith, but are, indeed, the destroyers of it, and disturbers of our peace, ungodly men, who were of old προγεγραμμένοι, , ordained *, appointed (as if it had been set down in a book) to this condemnation, or to this judgment, to be flagellum ecclesiæ, to try, to t exercise and molest the church by their false doctrine; and, when they have done their worst, to receive for a recompence, or reward of their impiety and wickedness, damnation.
Till these incendiaries be suppressed and silenced, we cannot expect but this our now distracted nation, which was once the scourge of others, and the praise of all the world, shall become the scorn of all nations; whilst, as the Jews f once did, we destroy ourselves at home by our multiplied divisions, and so prevent the mischievous malice of our foreign enemies: which thing will make us a derision to those that are round about us, to the men of Gath and Askalon, the uncircumcised Philistines, bloody Jesuits and papists : Which God avert, for his mcrcies sake, and the merits of his son Christ Jesus.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, Psalm cxxii. 16.
The author's prayer to God, for the suppressing of heresy, and happy com
posing of our unhappy divisions. O THOU who art one and infinite in power, the center of perfection, and the God of love, collect our scattered thoughts from perverse diso putes, and worldly distractions; draw in our hearts from hunting after vanities; confine them to thine heaven, and to thyself, who art the heaven of that heaven. Make us to love thy truth, which is the brightness of thy everlasting light, the undefiled mirror of thy Majesty, and the image of thy glory. And, because there is but one heaven, and one way to it, that living way of faith and obedience, oh let the bright brams of thy grace shine in the hearts of thy people, who are now turned to the by-ways of error, and wander in the desarts of sin and heresy; reduce them, good father, into the way of truth, that with one heart, and one mind, they may serve thee, the only true God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Tri-uni Deo sit honos, laus, et gloria.
• Jude iv. + Idcirco doctrinam Catholicam contradicentium obsidet impugnatio, ut fides nostra non otio torpescat, sed multis exercitationibus elimetur. Aug. * See Joseph. Hist.
THE LAWS DISCOVERY:
Or a brief detection of sundry notorious errors and abuses contained in
our English Laws, whereby thousands are annually stripped of their estates, and some of their lives. By a well-wisher to his country,
London, printed in 1653. Quarto, containing five pages.
The author was a gentleman born to a fair estate, by degree a barrester,
who, partly through sickness, and partly for conscience, deserted the profession of our laws, as epidemically evil; he spent divers of his last years in supervising the defects thercof. Amongst many grievances, wherein he desired redress, personal imprisonment for debt was one, and the insufficiency of our laws, for charging the debtor's estate, another. Therefore, several of these subsequent proposals tend chiefly for securing of creditors, out of the debtor's estate, whereby the debtor's person may go free.
I. WHEREAS the lands of a copyholder, who is a tenant at will,
according to custom, are not subject to extent in his life-time, nor liable to his debts in the hands of his heirs; it were convenient that some plenary act were made for redress hereof, securing the lord's fine, and preserving the custom of the manor.
II. That leases taken for other men's lives, whether in possession of the general or special occupant, may be subjected to payment of debts; the creditor, whose money bought the lease, or preserved it from sale, hath better right thereto, than either of these occupants. Such defects as these protect heirs in Burrough English ; also when lands fall to the youngest son of a copyholder; neither of these can be charged upon ancestors bonds, because not heir-general at common-law.
III. That an heir of a tenant in tail may be liable to pay his father's debts.
IV. That some remedy be used for payment of debts, where parents urchase lands in their children's names, with other men's monies.
V. That where heirs alien lands before action brought by the creritor, they may pay such debts, and not leave the creditor to a suit in chancery in such plain cases.
VI. That the creditor, for securing his debt, have liberty to charge the heir and executor, both together; because it is uncertain which is best able to pay; if he recover of one, the other may stay his suit.
VII. That younger brothers, and grand children enjoying lands upon descent, be liable to pay debts.
VIII. That coheirs in gavolkind, where brethren inherit equally,
may all, as well as the eldest, be liable to pay debts; also that lands, left in trust for children, be liable to payment of debts.
IX. That creditors have liberty to extend more than half the debtor's lands for payment of debts, which cannot be done at present.
X. Whereas rich debtors get their lands extended by one creditor or other, thereby to defraud the rest; therefore, that, as leases, goods, and bankrupt lands are sold, so where the landed debtor will not sell, within convenient time, that the creditors should have the debtor's lands to sell and dispose of, returning the overplus to the debtor, or else that some other convenient remedy be used herein.
XI. That there were some place in every shire for registering all leases, bargains, conveyances, statutes, judgments, recognisances, and the like, which any way concern the lands in that shire; in former times, care hath been used for recording of bargains, sales, and statutes, within six months, but none at all for leases, feoffments, deeds of covenants to stand seized to uses, with leases and releases after them.
XII. That writs to take a debtor be dirigible, particularly to one, and generally to all other sheriffs or justices within England.
Xill. That the privileges and abuses of palatines, which extremely hinder payment of debts, be laid by with us, as they are in Portugal.
XIV. lhat, in regard attachments prevent arrests and bloodshed, they may be used as well in other parts of England, as at London.
XV. That, as was used by the antients, against sanctuary-men, so instead of appearances, notice by justices of the peace, or the like, may be given or left; and, in case of contumacy the second or third time, process may be made against the offender. This would prevent those grievances by outlawry, also the great expences in chancery, the abuses in palatinates privilege, the exchange and fairs from arrests avoided, tryals by ejectione firmæ, and abuses by under sheriffs.
XVI. T'o prevent the abuses practised in wills and administrations, that, in every great town or hundred, standing commissioners should be chosen by the neighbourhood (and sworn before some justices) for seizing and selling of estates, unless executors, or the like, give sufficient security to such commissioners for the absolute payment of all debts, and that all debtors be paid alike; this course might very much help orphans, also the just payment of debts and legacies; likewise it were good some strict laws were made against imbezzling any part of such estates.
XVII. That insolvent debtors be freed from imprisonment, or else detained some short time at the creditors charge, till their cause be determined, and that their estates he seized for satisfaction of creditors.
XVIII. To help the creditor for matter of proof, that the debtor, or what others the creditor or judges think fit, may be examined upon oath, as in case of bankrupt.
XIX. for the encouragement of merchants, and some special manufacturos, as at Antwerp, some immunities from arrests, at least for small sums, be conferred on the professors.
XX. Whereas pror men can seldom put in bail, for want whereof, they suffer unheard many months imprisonment, till their day of hearing comes, and are thereby often utterly ruined; therefore for preven
tion, that the plaintiff by his own vath, or of some credible person allowed by the judge, declare the truth of the cause; wherein, if he failed, the prisoner, giving authority for his appearance, to be dismissed without bail; or which is better, that the judge be authorised to determine of law, fact, and equity, to avoid the formality and charge of pleading
XXI. That no person be held to bail, who hath offered to pay without suit of law, neither should his persun be liable to execution,
XXII. Whereas, by that barbarous and senseless law of pressing to death, rich and landed men are encouraged to steal, and accessaries wholly escape; therefore, if such manner of offenders were attainted by verdict, such inconveniences might be prevented.
XXIII. Whereas by clergy many times murderers, and notorious thieves, are but warmed a little in the hand, because they can read; and another for a sheep, or trifle, is hanged, not for his offence, but because he cannot read: Therefore it were requisite, that this senseless and barbarous character, which admits of much knavery, and cannot be read by every good and able scliolar, were banished, as well as French, Latin, and Court-band, especially in such cases which concern men's lives.
XXIV. That persons, accused for life, be permitted council, in regard their fears render them often both speechless and unadvised; bare accusations are not such sufficient condemnations, as to deprive any (though innocent) of council in such extremity.
XXV. That there may be but one statute for one matter, and repeals made total, not in part, so that men may know what is in force, what not, and live under such laws, as it is possible to know, which now they cannot.
XXVÍ. That reversioners have free power to dispose of their estates without the tenants consent. This would both prevent many chancerysuits, and secure purchasers.
XXVII. That the statute of Merton may be totally repealed, and thereby those antient local customs confirmed in behalf of the tenants and inhabitants.
XXVII. That the uncertain fines of copyholders may be reduced to a certainty, either of an easy yearly rent, or moderate tine; also that the like might be done, in servile tenures and heriots; this would prevent many chancery-suits and oppression by lords.
XXIX. That the suborner, as well as the corrupted witness, should be stigmatised and disabled for future matters; also, that whosvever unjustly takes away another's testimony, by making him a party, should lose his suit, if proved. This is an old chancery trick.
XXX. That tryal by combate may be suppressed as a reasonless law, and unwarrantable by God's word.
I HAVE narrowly epitomised the author, partly because others have (especially Mr. William Leech) treated at large upon some of these grievances; and partly, that, as a compendium of many necessary mementoes, it inight produce an active remembrance, in all true-hearted Englishmen, and worthy patriots of their country.