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which we labour under, if Truth have spok'n to him before others, or but feem'd at least to speak, who hath fo bejefuited us that we should trouble that man with afking licence to doe fo worthy a deed? and not confider this, that if it come to prohibiting, there is not ought more likely to be prohibited then truth it self; whose first appearance to our eyes blear'd and dimm'd with prejudice and custom, is more unfightly and unplausible then many errors, ev'n as the perfon is of many a great man flight and contemptible to fee to. And what doe they tell us vainly of new opinions, when this very opinion of theirs, that none must be heard, but whom they like, is the worst and neweft opinion of all others; and is the chief cause why fects and fchisms doe so much abound, and true knowledge is kept at distance from us; besides yet a greater danger which is in it. For when God shakes a Kingdome with strong and healthfull commotions to a generall reforming, 'tis not untrue that many fectaries and falfe teachers are then bufieft in feducing; but yet more true it is, that God then raises to his own work men of rare abilities, and more then common industry not only to look back and revise what hath bin taught heretofore, but to gain furder and goe on, fome new enlightn'd steps in the difcovery of truth. For fuch is the order of Gods enlightning his Church, to difpenfe and deal out by degrees his beam, fo as our earthly eyes may best fustain it. Neither is God appointed and confin'd, where and out of what place these his chosen shall be first heard to speak; for he fees not as man fees, chooses not as man chooses, left we fhould devote our felves again to fet places, and affemblies, and outward callings of men; planting our faith one while in the old Convocation house, and another while in the Chappell at Westminster; when all the faith and religion that shall be there canoniz'd, is not fufficient
without plain convincement, and the charity of patient inftruction to fupple the least bruise of conscience, to edifie the meaneft Chriftian, who defires to walk in the Spirit, and not in the letter of human truft, for all the number of voices that can be there made; no though Harry the 7. himself there, with all his leige tombs about him, fhould lend them voices from the dead, to fwell their number. And if the men be erroneous who appear to be the leading schifmaticks, what witholds us but our floth, our self-will, and distrust in the right caufe, that we doe not give them gentle meetings and gentle difmiffions, that we debate not and examin the matter throughly with liberall and frequent audience; if not for their fakes, yet for our own? feeing no man who hath tafted learning, but will confeffe the many waies of profiting by those who not contented with ftale receits are able to manage, and fet forth new positions to the world. And were they but as the duft and cinders of our feet, fo long as in that notion they may yet serve to polish and brighten the armoury of Truth, ev'n for that respect they were not utterly to be cast away. But if they be of those whom God hath fitted for the speciall use of these times with eminent and ample gifts, and those perhaps neither among the Priests, nor among the Pharifees, and we in the haft of a precipitant zeal fhall make no diftinction, but refolve to stop their mouths, because we fear they come with new and dangerous opinions, as we commonly forejudge them ere we understand them, no leffe then woe to us, while thinking thus to defend the Gospel, we are found the perfecutors.
There have bin not a few fince the beginning of this Parlament, both of the Presbytery and others who by their unlicen't books to the contempt of an Imprimatur first broke that triple ice clung about our hearts, and taught the people to fee day: I hope that
none of those were the perfwaders to renew upon us this bondage which they themselves have wrought fo much good by contemning. But if neither the check that Mofes gave to young Joshua, nor the countermand which our Saviour gave to young John, who was fo ready to prohibit those whom he thought unlicenc't, be not anough to admonish our Elders how unacceptable to God their tefty mood of prohibiting is, if neither their own remembrance what evill hath abounded in the Church by this lett of licencing, and what good they themselves have begun by tranfgreffing it, be not anough, but that they will perfwade, and execute the most Dominican part of the Inquifition over us, and are already with one foot in the stirrup so active at fuppreffing, it would be no unequall diftribution in the first place to fuppreffe the fuppreffors themselves; whom the change of their condition hath puft up, more then their late experience of harder times hath made wife.
And as for regulating the Preffe, let no man think to have the honour of advising ye better then your selves have done in that Order publisht next before this, that no book be Printed, unleffe the Printers and the Authors name, or at least the Printers be regifter'd. Those which otherwise come forth, if they be found mischievous and libellous, the fire and the executioner will be the timeliest and the most effectuall remedy, that mans prevention can use. For this authentic Spanish policy of licencing books, if I have faid ought, will prove the most unlicenc't book it felf within a fhort while; and was the immediat image of a Star-chamber decree to that purpose made in those very times when that Court did the rest of those her pious works, for which she is now fall'n from the Starres with Lucifer. Whereby ye may gueffe what kinde of State prudence, what love of the people, what care of Religion, or good manners
there was at the contriving, although with fingular hypocrifie it pretended to bind books to their good behaviour. And how it got the upper hand of your precedent Order fo well constituted before, if we may beleeve those men whose profeffion gives them cause to enquire moft, it may be doubted there was in it the fraud of fome old patentees and monopolizers in the trade of book-felling; who under pretence of the poor in their Company not to be defrauded, and the juft retaining of each man his feverall copy, which God forbid fhould be gainfaid, brought divers glofing colours to the House, which were indeed but colours, and serving to no end except it be to exercise a superiority over their neighbours, men who doe not therefore labour in an honeft profeffion to which learning is indetted, that they should be made other mens vaffalls. Another end is thought was aym'd at by fome of them in procuring by petition this Order, that having power in their hands, malignant books might the easier scape abroad, as the event fhews. But of thefe Sophifms and Elenchs of marchandize I skill not: This I know, that errors in a good government and in a bad are equally almost incident; for what Magiftrate may not be mif-inform'd, and much the fooner, if liberty of Printing be reduc't into the power of a few; but to redreffe willingly and speedily what hath bin err'd, and in highest autority to esteem a plain advertisement more then others have done a sumptuous bribe, is a vertue (honour'd Lords and Commons) answerable to Your highest actions, and whereof none can participat but greatest and wisest
Proving that it is Lawfull, and hath been held fo through all Ages, for any, who have the Power, to call to account a Tyrant, or wicked KING, and after due conviction, to depofe, and put him to death; if the ordinary MAGISTRATE have neglected, or deny'd to doe it.
And that they, who of late fo much blame Depofing, are the Men that did it themselves.
Published now the fecond time with fome additions, and many Teftimonies alfo added out of the best and learnedeft among Proteftant Divines afferting the pofition of this book.
F men within themselves would be govern'd by reason, and not generally give up thir understanding to a double tyrannie, of Cuftom from without, and blind affections within, they would difcerne better, what it is to favour and uphold the Tyrant of a Nation. But being flaves within doors, no wonder that they strive so much to have the public State conformably govern'd to the inward vitious rule, by which they govern themselves. For indeed none can love freedom heartilie, but good men; the reft love not