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shewn both by evident autorities of Scripture, together with the writings of the ancient Fathers, and other teftimonies. Only the Lord grant that we may learn to prefer his ever just and faving Word, before the Comments of Antichrift, too deeply rooted in many, and the falfe and blafphemous expofition of our Saviour's words. Amen.
Hus far Martin Bucer: Whom where I might without injury to either part of the cause, I deny not to have epitomiz'd; in the rest observing a well-warranted rule, not to give an Inventory of fo many words, but to weigh thir force. I could have added that eloquent and right Christian discours, writt'n by Erafmus on this Argument, not disagreeing in effect from Bucer. But this, I hope, will be anough to excuse me with the meer Englishman, to be no forger of new and loofe opinions. Others may read him in his own phrase on the first to the Corinthians, and eafe me who never could delight in long citations, much lefs in whole traductions; Whether it be natural difpofition or education in me, or that my mother bore me a speaker of what God made mine own, and not a tranflator. There be others alfo whom I could reck'n up, of no mean account in the Church (and Peter Martyr among the first) who are more then half our own in this controverfy. But this is a providence not to be flighted, that as Bucer wrote this tractat of Divorce in England and for England, fo Erafmus profeffes he begun here among us the fame fubject, especially out of compaffion, for the need he faw this Nation had of fome charitable redrefs herin; and seriously exhorts others to use thir best industry in the clear
ing of this point, wherin custom hath a greater sway then verity. That therfore which came into the mind of these two admired ftrangers to do for England, and in a touch of highest prudence which they took to be not yet recover'd from monastic superstition, if I a native am found to have done for mine own Country, altogether futably and conformly to thir fo large and clear understanding, yet without the leaft help of thirs, I fuppofe that hence-forward among conscionable and judicious perfons, it will no more be thought to my difcredit, or at all to this Nations difhonour. And if these thir Books, the one shall be printed often with beft allowance in most religious Cities, the other with express autority of Leo the tenth a Pope, shall for the propagating of truth be publisht and republifht, though against the receiv'd opinion of that Church, and mine containing but the fame thing, shall in a time of reformation, a time of free speaking, free writing, not find a permiffion to the Prefs; I refer me to wifeft men, whether truth be fuffer'd to be truth, or liberty to be liberty now among us, and be not again in danger of new fetters and captivity after all our hopes and labours loft: and whether Learning be not (which our enemies too profetically fear'd) in the way to be trodd'n down again by ignorance. Wherof while time is, out of the faith owing to God and my Country, I bid this Kingdom beware; and doubt not but God who hath dignify'd this Parliament already to fo many glorious degrees, will alfo give them (which is a fingular bleffing) to inform themselves rightly in the midst of an unprincipl'd age; and to prevent this working myftery of ignorance and ecclefiaftical thraldom, which under new shapes and disguises begins afresh to grow upon us.
A Reply to a Nameles Anfwer against the Doctrine and Difcipline of Divorce.
Wherein the trivial Author of that Answer is difcover'd, the Licencer conferr'd with, and the Opinion which they traduce defended.
PROV. 26. 5.
Anfwer a Fool according to his folly, left hee bee wife in his
Fter many rumors of confutations and convictions forth comming against The Doctrine and Difcipline of Divorce, and now and then a by-blow from the Pulpit, featherd with a cenfure ftrict indeed, but how true, more beholding to the autority of that devout place which it borrowd to bee utterd in, then to any found reafon which it could oracle, while I ftill hop'd as for a bleffing to fee fom peece of diligence, or lerned difcretion come from them, it was my hap at length lighting on a certain parcel of Quaries, that feek and finde not, to finde not feeking, at the taile of Anabaptifical, Antinomian, Heretical, Atheistical epithets, a jolly flander, call'd Divorce at pleasure: I ftood a while and wonder'd, what wee might doe to a mans heart, or what anatomie ufe, to finde in it fincerity; for all our wonted marks every day fail
us, and where wee thought it was, wee fee it is not, for alter and change refidence it cannot fure. And yet I fee no good of body or of minde fecure to a man for all his past labours without perpetual watchfulnes, and perfeverance. When as one above others who hath fuffer'd much and long in the defence of Truth, shall after all this, give her cause to leav him fo deftitute and fo vacant of her defence, as to yeild his mouth to bee the common road of Truth and Falfhood, and fuch falfhood as is joyn'd with the rash and heedles calumny of his neighbour. For what book hath hee ever met with, as his complaint is, Printed in the City, maintaining either in the title, or in the whole perfuance, Divorce at pleasure? "Tis true, that to divorce upon extreme neceffity, when through the perverfnes, or the apparent unfitnes of either, the continuance can bee to both no good at all, but an intolerable injury and temptation to the wronged and the defrauded, to divorce then, there is a book that writes it law full. And that this Law is a pure and wholfom national Law, not to be withheld from good men, because others likely anough may abuse it to thir pleasure, can not bee charg'd upon that book, but must bee enterd a bold and impious accufation against God himself; who did not for this abufe withhold it from his own people. It will bee juft therfore, and beft for the reputation of him who in his Subitanes hath thus cenfur'd, to recall his fentence. And if, out of the abundance of his volumes, and the readiness of his quill, and the vaftness of his other imploiments, especially in the great audit for accounts, hee can fpare us ought to the better understanding of this point, hee fhall bee thankt in public, and what hath offended in the book, fhall willingly fubmitt to his correction. Provided he bee fure not to come with those old and stale fuppofitions, unless hee can take away cleerly what that
difcours hath urg'd against them, by one who will expect other arguments to bee perfwaded the good health of a found answer, then the gout and dropfy of a big margent, litter'd and overlaid with crude and huddl❜d quotations. But as I still was waiting, when these light arm'd refuters would have don pelting at thir three lines utterd with a fage delivery of no reason, but an impotent and wors then Bonnerlike cenfure to burn that which provokes them to a fair difpute, at length a book was brought to my hands, entitl'd An Answer to the Doctrine and Difcipline of Divorce. Gladly I receiv'd it, and very attentively compos'd my felf to read; hoping that now fom good man had voutsaft the pains to inftruct mee better, then I could yet learn out of all the volumes which for this purpos I had visited. Only this I marvel'd, and other men have fince, when as I, in a Subject fo new to this age, and fo hazardous to please, conceal'd not my name, why this Author defending that part which is fo creeded by the people, would conceal his? But ere I could enter three leaves into the Pamflet, (for I deferr the peasantly rudenes, which by the Licencers leav, I met with afterwards) my fatisfaction came in abundantly, that it could bee nothing why hee durft not name himself, but the guilt of his own wretchednes. For first, not to speak of his abrupt and bald beginning, his very first page notoriously bewraies him an illiterat, and arrogant prefumer in that which hee understands not; bearing us in hand as if hee knew both Greek and Ebrew, and is not able to spell it; which had hee bin, it had bin either writt'n as it ought, or fcor'd upon the Printer. the Printer. If it bee excus'd as the carelesnes of his deputy, bee it known, the lerned Author himself is inventoried, and fumm'd up, to the utmost value of his Livery cloak. Who ever hee bee, though this to fom may seem a flight con