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Cuba sixty-eight leagues, and in breadth, from those islands to the main, twenty leagues, the current there setting N. N. E. the swiftness or slackness whereof dependeth on the falling of the rains, which about the month of August, are constantly very great; many exceeding large American rivers being augmented thereby, the spacious Bay of Mexico becomes their receptacle, and so disburtheneth its swelling floods, through this narrow streight, into the Virgivian Ocean; it is therefore of some called the Gulf of Mexico.
August 4. The fleet gained the length of the Bermudas, since when, for the generality, being favoured with fair winds and seasonable weather, the twenty-second of this instant, they had also the length of the Western islands.
August 30. They descried the English shore, near the Lizard, and having a strong gale, S. S. W. the day following the fleet anchored at Spithead, near Portsmouth; three sail, having been separated from the rest by obscure weather in the night, before their entrance into the gulf, came in hither also this day, some few hours before the other.
And now for ever blessed be the divine Creator, who hath dealt thus mercifully with us, the unworthiest of his servants, giving us so large experience of his abundant goodness towards us, and bringing us once more unto the land of our nativity. The Lord in mercy so incline the hearts of this nation, that those grand sins of presumption and covetousness may no longer reign amongst them, lest, seeking after shadows, they lose the real substance; or covering the good, or gold of others they incur the high displeasure of Almighty God upon themselves, and so become the scorn and decision of their enemies, and a by-word to other nations. Avertat Deus.
THE ENGLISH HERMIT",
WONDER OF THIS AGE.
Being a relation of the life of Roger Crab, living near Uxbridge; taken
from his own mouth; shewing his strange, reserved, and unparalleled kind of life, who counteth il a sin against his body and soul, to eat any sort of Aesh, fish, or living creature, or to drink any wine, ale, or beer. He can live with three farthings a week. His constant food is roots and herbs; as cabbage, turneps, carrots, dock-leaves, and grass; also bread and bran, without butter or cheese : his cloathing
This is the 125th Number in the Catalogue of Pamphlets in the Harleian Library.
is sack-cloth. He left the army, and kept a shop at Chesham, and hath now left off that, and sold a considerable estate to give to the poor, shewing his reasons from the Scripture, Mark x. 21. Jer.
Wherefore if meat make my brother to offend, I will never eat flesh
while the world stands, 1 Cor. viii. 13.
London, printed, and are to be sold in Pope's-Head Alley, and at the Ex
change, 1655. Quarto, containing twenty-two pages.
The Publisher to the Reader. Honest reader, Before you come to the author's own epistle, and narration, I shall mention some remarkable passages, which I had from his own mouth, and find them not mentioned in his writing; and, I can assure thee, this relation is no feigned story, or fable, but thou hast it presented to thy view, as I received it from the author himself, with all the verses of his own composing.
This Roger Crab is well known to many in this city, and the county; and, while this book was printing, he staid purposely here, in the city, till it was published, and, I think, is in town still; he lodged at the Golden Anchor, in Whitecross-street, at one Mr. Carter's house, a glover, where divers people resorted to see him, where such, as doubt of it, may be satisfied. I am informed by himself, and others, how that, three years since, he was a haberdasher of hats, and kept a shop at Chesham, in Buckinghamshire; and hath since given over his trade, and sold his estate, and given it to the poor, reserving a small matter to himself, being a single man; and now liveth at Icknam, near Uxbridge, on a small rood of ground, for which he payeth fifty shillings a year, and hath a mean cottage, of his own building, in it; but that which is most strange, and most to be admired, is his strange, reserved, and hermetical kind of life, in refusing to eat any sort of flesh, who saith it is a sin, against his body and soul, to eat flesh, or to drink any beer, ale, or wine; his diet is only such poor homely food, as his own rood of ground beareth, as corn, bread, and bran, herbs, roots, dockleaves, mallows, and grass ; bis drink is water; his apparel is as mean also; he wears a sackcloth frock, and no band on his neck; and this, he saith, is out of conscience, and in obedience to that command of Christ to the young man in the gospel, and in imitation of the prophets, and the Rechabites in Jer. xxxv. who neither planted vineyards, nor built houses, nor drank wine, and were highly commended by the Lord for it. I reasoned the case with him, and told him, that I conceived Christ's meaning, when he bad the young man sell all he had, and give to the poor, was, that he should part with all his dearest sins, that were as dear to him as his possessions, or else to try him for his covetousness; he answered, how can a man give that money to the poor, which he selleth his sins for? I perceive he is well read in the Scrip
tures; he hath argued strongly, with several ministers in the country, about this, and other strange opinions which he holds; but I will not beso tedious to the rearter, as to mention them all. He approves of civil migistracy, and is neither for the Levelers, nor Quakers, nor Shakers, nor Ranters, but above ordinances. He was seven years in the wars for the parliament; he is the more to be admired, that he is alone in this opinion of eating, which, though it be an error it is an harmless error. I have heard, since this was in the press, that Captain Norwood was acquainted with Roger Crab, and, inclining to his opinion, began to follow the same poor diet, till it cost him his life; Felix quem faciunt aliena pericula cautum. In the primitive times, we read of such persons that were weak, who did eat herbs, and made a great scruple of eating flesh; but the apostle saith, That every creature of God is good, if it be received with thankfulness, 1 Tim. iv. 4. And in 1 Cor. viii. 13, saith he, If meat make my brother to offend, I will eat none while the world stands. And in Rom. iv. 2, 3, 4, One believeth that he may eat all things, another, who is weak, eateth herbs; let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not, &c. The reason why this man betook himself to this hermit's reserved life, he saith, was, that he might be more free from sin, as lust, priile, and because of the many lyes, swearing, and deceiving, that are too frequently used by most shopkeepers, and tradesmen, as the prophet complains in Hos iv. 1, 2, 3. For the Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God. but by swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and whoring, they break out, and blood toucheth blood; therefore shall the land mourn, &c. But, horr. ever, we may see how apt men are to err, both on the right hand, and on the left, and to run into extreams; yet, of the two estreams, this is the better, and more tolerable, which this English hermit hath chosen, rather than that of our English anticks, and prodigals, who give themselves over to run into all excess of riot and uncleanness, committing all sorts of wickedness with greediness; some given up to drunkenness, others to whoredom, and a third sort to gluttony, as, of late days, it was reported of one Wood, called the great eater of Kent, who could eat a whole sheep at a meal, besides other victuals; also Mr. Marriot, the great eater of Gray's- Inn, was such anviber glutton. Euscbius reports of one Domitius, who receiving more meat at supper than his stomach could digest, or his belly contain, died suddenly, sitting at the table; and Doctor Taylor, that famous preacher of Aldermanbury, in bis book of the Theatre of God's Judgments, makes mention of Maximinus the emperor, who was given to such excess and gluttony, that every day, for his allowance, he had forty pounds of Hesh, and bread answerable, and five gallons of wine for his drink, which he constantly devoured, besides sallets, and made dishes.
Also the Emperor Bones us would drink healths, and eat excessively; both these came to miserable ends, this emperor was hanged, and the former cut in pieces by his soldiers; see more at large in the second part of that book, page 102. I will add but one more relation be mentions, which, had I not so good an author for, I should not give credit to it. A rich citizen's son, having left him, by his father, thirty-thousand
pounds in ready money, besides jewels, plate, and houses richly furnished, was so prodigal, as to consume all his whole estate in three years; and he had a great longing to please all all his five senses at once, and did accomplish it, allowing to every sense a several hundred pound; it would be too tedious to mention all the story; he grew, at last, to all debauchedness that could be named, and was forced, shamefully, to beg of his acquaintance, and was, after, pressed for a common soldier; see the last page of that book above-mentioned. I shall no longer detain the reader from the hermit's relation; these things, I thought, would be most pertinent to impart to thee, hoping thou wilt make this good use of it, by avoiding these two extreams, and walking in the golden mean of true godliness, which hath the promise of this lise, and of that which is to come. Vale.
One more remarkable thing he told me: That, when he was in Clerkenwell prison, the seventeenth of this January, 1654, his keeper, having a prejudice against him, ordered the prisoners not to let him have bread with his water, and shut him down in the hole all night. The next morning, being something hungry, walking in the prisonyard, there came a spaniel, and walked after him three or four turns, with a piece of bread in his mouth. He looked upon him, and wondered why the dog walked, as he thought, with a chip in his mouth; he looked at the dog, and he laid it down, and perceived it was bread; he walked away again, and the dog walked after him with it again; then he stopped, and the dog laid it down to his hand; then he took and wiped i:, and eat it.
To Mr. Godbold, preacher at Urbridge, in Middlesex, I dedicate this my discourse, because he was my friend to help conquer my old man, by informing my friends of Chesham, that I was a witch, and was run away, and would never come again. You, being a publick preacher, may do me great service, in helping me to dishonour him; for I have been almost three years conquering my old man by dishonour. Therefore, if you can stir up any more to forward this work, pray do, if it be not hurtful to yourself, and they that do so. I rest
Your reserved friend,
To the impartial reader. IN whom malicious envy delights, to be for birds of a feather, draw together But such a constitution is not to be condemned, lest we should condemn the work of God in the flesh, but rather to be instructed with the light of the Scriptures, that thereby he may know himself, and judge himself to be undone and empty, that love and zeal may take
possession, and then he will be more valiant, and bold for God and the scripture, than he that is moderately constituted. Then let us labour for a single eye, which maketh the whole body light; I mean a single heart in single designs, which cannot stand with lindsey-woolsey garments, nor with double tongues, nor varieties of fancies after meats and drinks; for Christ himself was to eat butter and honey, till he came to knowledge to chuse the good, and refuse the evil, Isa, vii. 15. And if natural Adam had kept to this single natural fruit of God's appointment, namely, fruits and herbs, we had not been corrupted. Thus we see, that, by eating and drinking, we are swallowed up in corruption; for, ever since Noah came out of the ark, the world being drowned, and no fruits nor herbs on the earth, man was ordered to eat the flesh of the creature which cane out of the ark; so that, by that means, our desires were made strong after flesh; that, when the herbs and innocent food was come forth, weslighted it, calling it trash in comparison of a beast, or beastly flesh; so that, by that means, the fleshdestroying spirits and angels draw near us, and frequently attend mankind. This you may see by the angels that came to Abraham, to destroy the flesh of the Sodomites. Abraham, knowing their design, killed them a calf, and made them a fleshly feast; so that we may see, God hath all sorts of creatures for all sorts of designs, and for all sorts of food, both in heaven and in earth; innocent creatures for innocent food, and beastly creatures for beastly and fleshly food.
I rest your friend as you please,
Roger CRABB. From my poor cottage near
Uxbridge, Jan. 1654.
"EEING I am become a gazing-stock to the nation, and a wonder
ment to many friends, in this my reserved life, I shall, therefore, indite a few lines, as the Most High shall direct me; wherein I shall give an account of this my undoing, owning Christ and the prophets to be exemplary, both in prophesying and practising, as far as God shall give power to any man. I having truly examined it, and often disputed it, with all sexes and ministers in most counties in England, and most of them grant me, that the practice of Christ and the prophets is written for our learning; and if this be granted, that we ought to be imilators of their righteousness, hereby the judgment of God may be seen to a Sodomite generation, living now upon English ground. But first I shall begin with myself, who have transgressed the commands of God, and so am found guilty of the whole law; living in pride, drunkenness, and gluttony, which I upheld by dissembling and Tying, cheating and cozening my neighbours. But, now, that light which enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world, according to John's writing, hath discovered the love of God to my understanding, which causeth me to withdraw from what I have done; and, instead of strong drinks and wines, I gave the old man a cup of water; and, instead of roast