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turn to the right nor to the left, and that the people hate to be reform'd: Mark then, Judges and Lawgivers, and ye whofe Office it is to be our teachers, for I will utter now a doctrine, if ever any other, though neglected or not understood, yet of great and powerfull importance to the governing of mankind. He who wifely would reftrain the reasonable Soul of man within due bounds, must first himself know perfectly, how far the territory and dominion extends of juft and honeft liberty. As little must he offer to bind that which God hath loos'n'd, as to loos'n that which he bath bound. The ignorance and mistake of this high point, hath heapt up one huge half of all the mifery that hath bin fince Adam. In the Gofpel we shall read a fupercilious crew of masters, whofe holineffe, or rather whofe evil eye, grieving that God fhould be fo facil to man, was to fet ftraiter limits to obedience, then God had fet; to inflave the dignity of man, to put a garrifon upon his neck of empty and over dignifi'd precepts: And we shall read our Saviour never more griev'd and troubl'd, then to meet with fuch a peevish madnele among men against their own freedome. How can we expect him to be leffe offended with us, when much of the fame folly fhall be found yet remaining where it left ought, to the perishing of thousands. The greatest burden in the world is fuperftition; not only of Ceremonies in the Church, but of imaginary and fearcrow fins at home. What greater weakning, what more futtle Stratagem against our Chriftian warfare, when befides the groffe body of real tranfgreffions to encounter ; we shall be terrifi'd by a vain and shadowy menacing of faults that are not: When things indifferent shall be Set to over-front us, under the banners of fin, what wonder if we be routed, and by this art of our Adverfary, fall into the fubjection of worst and deadliest offences. The fuperftition of the Papift is, touch not, taste not, when God bids both: and ours is, part not, feparat not,
when God and charity both permits and commands. Let all your things be done with charity, faith St. Paul: and his Mafter faith, She is the fulfilling of the Law. Yet now a civil, an indifferent, a fometime diffwaded Law of mariage, must be forc't upon us to fulfill, not onely without charity, but against her. No place in Heav'n or Earth, except Hell, where charity may not enter: yet mariage the Ordinance of our folace and contentment, the remedy of our lonelinesse will not admit now either of charity or mercy to come in and mediate or pacifie the fiercenes of this gentle Ordinance, the unremedied lonelines of this remedy. Advife ye well, fupreme Senat, if charity be thus excluded and expulft, how ye will defend the untainted honour of your own actions and proceedings: He who maries, intends as little to confpire his own ruine, as he that fwears Allegiance: and as a whole people is in proportion to an ill Government, so is one man to an ill mariage. If they against any authority, Covnant, or Statute, may by the foveraign edict of charity, fave not only their lives, but honeft liberties from unworthy bondage, as well may be against any private Cov'nant, which he never enter'd to his mifchief, redeem himself from unsupportable disturbances to honeft peace, and just contentment: And much the rather, for that to refift the highest Magiftrat though tyrannizing, God never gave us expreffe allowance, only he gave us reafon, charity, nature and good example to bear us out; but in this economicall misfortune, thus to demean our felves, befides the warrant of thofe foure great directors, which doth as justly belong hither, we have an expreffe law of God, and fuch a law, as wherof our Saviour with a folemn threat forbid the abrogating. For no effect of tyranny can fit more heavy on the Common-wealth, then this houshold unhappines on the family. And farewell all hope of true Reformation in the State, while fuch an evil as this lies undifcern'd or unregarded
in the boufe. On the redresse wherof depends, not only the Spiritfull and orderly life of our grown men, but the willing, and carefull education of our children. Let this therfore be new examin'd, this tenure and free-hold of mankind, this native and domeftick Charter giv'n us by a greater Lord then that Saxon King the Confeffor. Let the ftatutes of God be turn'd over, be fcann'd a new, and confider'd; not altogether by the narrow intellectuals of quotationists and common placers, but (as was the ancient right of Counfels) by men of what liberall profeffion foever, of eminent Spirit and breeding joyn'd with a diffufe and various knowledge of divine and human things; able to ballance and define good and evil, right and wrong, throughout every state of life; able to fhew us the waies of the Lord, ftrait and faithfull as they are, not full of cranks and contradictions, and pit falling difpenfes, but with divine infight and benignity meafur'd out to the proportion of each mind and fpirit, each temper and difpofition, created fo different each from other, and yet by the fkill of wife conducting, all to become uniform in vertue. To expedite thefe knots were worthy a learned and memorable Synod; while our enemies expect to fee the expectation of the Church tir'd out with dependencies and independencies how they will compound, and in what Calends. Doubt not, worthy Senators, to vindicate the facred honour and judgement of Mofes your predeceffor, from the Shallow commenting of Scholafticks and Canonifts. Doubt not after him to reach out your teddy hands to the mifinform'd and wearied life of man; to restore this his loft heritage, into the houshold state; wherwith be fure that peace and love, the best fubfiftence of a Chriftian family willreturn home from whence they are now banifht; places of prostitution will be leffe haunted, the neighbors bed leffe attempted, the yoke of prudent and manly difcipline will be generally fubmitted to, fober and well order'd living will foon Spring up in the Common-wealth. Ye have an
author great beyond exception, Mofes; andone yet greater, he who hedg'd in from abolishing, every smallest jot and tittle of precious equity contain'd in that Law, with a more accurat and lafting Maforeth, then either the Synagogue of Ezra, or the Galilean School at Tiberias hath left us. Whatever else ye can enact, will scarce concern a third part of the Brittish name: but the benefit and good of this your magnanimous example, will eafily Spread far beyond the banks of Tweed and the Norman Iles. It would not be the firft, or fecond time, fince our ancient Druides, by whom this Iland was the Cathedral of Philofophy to France, left off their pagan rites, that England hath had this honour vouchfaft from Heav'n, to give out reformation to the world. Who was it but our English Constantine, that baptiz'd the Roman Empire? who but the Northumbrian Willibrode, and Winifride of Devon with their followers, were the first Apoftles of Germany? who but Alcuin and Wicklef our Country men open'd the eyes of Europe, the one in arts, the other in Religion. Let not England, forget her precedence of teaching nations how to live.
Know, Worthies, know and exercise the privilege of your honour'd Country. A greater title I heer bring ye, then is either in the power or in the policy of Rome to give her Monarchs; this glorious act will file ye the defenders of Charity. Nor is this yet the highest infcription that wil adorn fo religious and fo holy a defence as this; behold heer the pure and facred Law of God, and his yet purer and more facred name offring themselves to you first, of all Chriftian reformers to be acquitted from the long Juffer'd ungodly attribute of patronizing Adultery. Defer not to wipe off inftantly thefe imputative blurrs and ftains caft by rude fancies upon the throne and beauty it felf of inviolable holines: left fome other people more devout and wife then we, bereav us this offer'd immortal glory, our wonted prero
gative, of being the first afferters in every great vindication. For me, as far as my part leads me, I have already my greatest gain, affurance and inward fatisfaction to have don in this nothing unworthy of an honest life, and ftudies wel employ'd. With what event among the wife and right understanding handfull of men, I am fecure. But how among the drove of Custom and Prejudice this will be relisht, by fuch whofe capacity, fince their youth run ahead into the eafie creek of a Syftem or a Medulla, fails there at will under the blown phyfiognomy of their unlabour'd rudiments, for them, what their taft will be, I have alfo furety fufficient, from the entire league that hath bin ever between formal ignorance and grave obftinacie. Yet when I remember the little that our Saviour could prevail about this doctrine of Charity against the crabbed texuifts of his time, I make no wonder, but reft confident that who fo preferrs either Matrimony, or other Ordinance before the good of man and the plain exigence of Charity, let him profeffe Papist, or Proteftant, or what he will, he is no better then a Pharife, And understands not the Gospel: whom as a mifinterpreter of Christ Iopenly protest against; and provoke him to the triall of this truth before all the world: and let him bethink him withall how he will foder up the shifting flaws of his ungirt permiffions, his venial and unvenial difpences, wherwith the Law of God pardoning and unpardoning hath bin fhamefully branded, for want of heed in gloffing, to have eluded and baff'd out all Faith and chaftity from the mariagebed of that holy feed, with politick and judiciall adulteries. I feek not to feduce the fimple and illiterat; my errand is to find out the choifeft and the learnedeft, who have this high gift of wisdom to anfwer folidly, or to be convinc't. I crave it from the piety, the learning and the prudence which is hous'd in this place. It might perhaps more fitly have bin writt'n in another tongue; and I had don fo, but that the esteem