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Manners rather than Laws need Reform.
BOOK V. accustomed clemency will take in good worth the offer of
these my simple and mean labours, bestowed for the necessary justification of laws heretofore made questionable, because as I take it they were not perfectly understood.
[2.] For surely I cannot find any great cause of just complaint, that good laws have so much been wanting unto us, as we to them. To seek reformation of evil laws is a commendable endeavour ; but for us the more necessary is a speedy redress of ourselves. We have on all sides lost much of our first fervency towards God; and therefore concerning our own degenerated ways we have reason to exhort with St. Gregory 3, "Onep nuev yevớueda, “ Let us return again unto “ that which we sometime were :" but touching the exchange of laws in practice with laws in device, which they say are better for the state of the Church if they might take place, the farther we examine them the greater cause we find to conclude, uévouev Tep douév, “ although we continue the same “ we are, the harm is not great." These fervent reprehenders of things established by public authority are always confident and bold-spirited men. But their confidence for the most part riseth from too much credit given to their own wits, for which cause they are seldom free from error.
The errors which we seek to reform in this kind of men are such as both received at your own hands their first wound, and from that time to this present have been proceeded in with that moderation, which useth by patience to suppress boldness, and to make them conquer that suffer 4.
tioners' Company, in 1578, when mentioned in the postscript. See
Hooker, p. 58. Camden's Annals Mr. Francis Mills, private secre of Q. Elizabeth, ed. 1675. p. 289. tary to Walsingham, Reynolds's anno 1583. Wordsworth's Eccl. patron, was probably the person Biog. iv. 334.]
Internal Perils worse than External.
[3.] Wherein considering the nature and kind of these book v. controversies, the dangerous sequels whereunto they were likely to grow, and how many ways we have been thereby taught wisdom, I may boldly aver concerning the first, that as the weightiest conflicts the Church hath had were those which touched the Head, the Person of our Saviour Christ; and the next of importance those questions which are at this day between us and the Church of Rome about the actions of the body of the Church of God; so these which have lastly sprung up for complements, rites, and ceremonies of church actions, are in truth for the greatest part such silly things, that very easiness doth make them hard to be disputed of in serious manner. Which also may seem to be the cause why divers of the reverend prelacy 5, and other most judicious mens, have especially bestowed their pains about the matter of jurisdiction. Notwithstanding led by your Grace's example myself have thought it convenient to wade through the whole cause, following that method which searcheth the truth by the causes of truth.
[4.] Now if any marvel how a thing in itself so weak could import any great danger, they must consider not so much how small the spark is that flieth up, as how apt things about it are to take fire. Bodies politic being subject as much as natural to dissolution by divers means, there are undoubtedly more estates overthrown through diseases bred within themselves than through violence from abroad; because our manner is always to cast a doubtful and a more suspicious eye towards that over which we know we have least
and therefore the fear of external dangers causeth forces at home to be the more united; it is to all sorts a kind of bridle, it maketh virtuous minds watchful, it holdeth contrary dispositions in
[Bancroft, (who had been just “ment established in the Church made Bishop of London,) in his “ of England, 1587.” Sutcliffe, “ Dangerous Positions,” and “ Sur- Dean of Exeter, in his Latin tract,
vey of the pretended Holy Disci “ De Presbyterio,” 1591, and his * pline,” both 1593. Bilson, Bishop English, Remonstrance to the of Winchester, in his "Perpetual “ Demonstration_of Discipline, "
Government of Christ's Church," 1590, and “ The False Semblant of also 1593.]
“ Counterfeit Discipline detected,” [Saravia in his Tract de Diver- 1591: Cosins, Dean of the Arches, sis Ministerii Gradibus, 1590. in his “ Apology for sundry proBridges (afterwards Bishop of Ox- “ceedings by Jurisdiction Ecclesiasford) in his “ Defence of the Govern- “ tical,” 1593.]
Erils arising from Contentiousness in Religion.
BOOK v; suspense, and it setteth those wits on work in better things
which would else be employed in worse: whereas on the other side domestical evils, for that we think we can master them at all times, are often permitted to run on forward till it be too late to recall them. In the mean while the commonwealth is not only through unsoundness so far impaired as those evils chance to prevail, but further also through opposition arising between the unsound parts and the sound, where each endeavoureth to draw evermore contrary ways, till destruction in the end bring the whole to ruin.
[5.] To reckon up how many causes there are, by force whereof divisions may grow in a commonwealth, is not here necessary. Such as rise from variety in matter of religion are not only the farthest spread, because in religion all men presume themselves interessed alike; but they are also for the most part hotlier prosecuted and pursued than other strifes, forasmuch as coldness, which in other contentions may be thought to proceed from moderation, is not in these so favourably construed. The part which in this present quarrel striveth against the current and stream of laws was a long while nothing feared, the wisest contented not to call to mind how errors have their effect many times not proportioned to that little appearance of reason whereupon they would seem built, but rather to the vehement affection or fancy which is cast towards them and proceedeth from other causes. For there are divers motives drawing men to favour mightily those opinions, wherein their persuasions are but weakly settled ; and if the passions of the mind be strong, they easily sophisticate the understanding; they make it apt to believe upon very slender warrant, and to imagine infallible truth where scarce any probable show appeareth.
[6.] Thus were those poor seduced creatures, Hacket and his other two adherents?, whom I can neither speak nor think
? [In 1591. See Strype, Annals
“ thereof by Wm. Hacket, yeoman, IV. 95.....101. Camden, Ann. “ Edm. Coppinger and Henry Eliz. t. ii. 34-38. ed. 1627, and Arthington, Gent. out of others' chiefly Cosin's Conspiracy for “ depositions, and their own letters, “ pretended Reformation, viz. "Pres writings, and confessions upon “ byterial Discipline ;
“ examination ..... published by audiscovering the designs and “thority." London, Barker, 1592.] courses held for advancement
Case of Hacket and his Adherents.
of but with much commiseration and pity, thus were they BOOK V.
Dedication. trained by fair ways; first accounting their own extraordinary - love to this discipline a token of God's more than ordinary love towards them. From hence they grew to a strong conceit, that God, which had moved them to love his discipline more than the common sort of men did, might have a purpose by their means to bring a wonderful work to pass, beyond all men's expectation, for the advancement of the throne of Discipline by some tragical execution, with the particularities whereof it was not safe for their friends to be made acquainted; of whom they did therefore but covertly demand, what they thought of extraordinary motions of the Spirit in these days, and withal request to be commended unto God by their prayers whatsoever should be undertaken by men of God in mere zeal to his glory and the good of his distressed Church. With this unusual and strange course they went on forward, till God, in whose heaviest worldly judgments I nothing doubt but that there may lie hidden mercy, gave them over to their own inventions, and left them made in the end an example for headstrong and inconsiderate zeal no less fearful, than Achitophel for proud and irreligious wisdom. If a spark of error have thus far prevailed, falling even where the wood was green and farthest off to all men's thinking from any inclination unto furious attempts; must not the peril thereof be greater in men whose minds are of themselves as dry fuel, apt beforehand unto tumults, seditions, and broils ? But by this we see in a cause of religion to how desperate adventures men will strain themselves, for relief of their own part, having law and authority against them.
[Cosins has printed letters to me, (because I cannot come to you Cartwright, Udalī, P. W. (Peter “ without danger to yourself and Wentworth ?) and others, in illus me,) to look narrowly into me, tration of what is here affirmed : &c. Adding certain questions rep. 16, Coppinger writes to Cart- lating to "extraordinary callings, wright (4 Feb.) that “ he was stirred a waste of the Church," and the
up to such business of importance, like. In p. 15, is a similar commu" as in the eyes of Aesh and blood nication to P. W. a layman; p. 26,
were likely to bring much danger to Charke ; p. 36, to Údall. As to to himself, and unlikely to bring Wiggington, (who was a deprived any good success to the Church preacher from Yorkshire,) he was in
of God.” Then he relates certain constant communication with the fancied revelations, and adds, “I conspirators up to the very moment " desire the Church, I mean yourself of their outbreak.] " and such as you shall name unto
Erils of Controversy to the Orthodox.
BOOK V. Dedication.
[7.] Furthermore let not any man think that in such divisions either part can free itself from inconveniences, sustained not only through a kind of truce, which virtue on both sides doth make with vice during war between truth and error ; but also in that there are hereby so fit occasions ministered for men to purchase to themselves well-willers, by the colour under which they oftentimes prosecute quarrels of envy or inveterate malice: and especially because contentions were as yet never able to prevent two evils; the one a mutual exchange of unseemly and unjust disgraces offered by men whose tongues and passions are out of rule; the other a common hazard of both to be made a prey by such as study how to work upon all occurrents with most advantage in private. I deny not therefore, but that our antagonists in these controversies may peradventure have met with some not unlike to Ithacius"; who mightily bending himself by all means against the heresy of Priscillian, the hatred of which one evil was all the virtue he had, became so wise in the end, that every man careful of virtuous conversation, studious of Scripture, and given unto any abstinence in diet, was set down in his calendar of suspected Priscillianists, for whom it should be expedient to approve their soundness of faith by a more licentious and loose behaviour. Such proctors and patrons the truth might spare. Yet is not their grossness so intolerable, as on the contrary side the scurrilous and more than satirical immodesty of Martinism ; the first published schedules whereof being brought to the hands of a grave and a very honourable knight 10, with signification given that the book would refresh his spirits,
Sulp. Sever. Ep. Hist. Eccles. [Perhaps Sir F. Walsingham : [lib. ii. c. 63.] “Certe Ithacium who being Reynolds's patron, and
nihil pensi, nihil sancti habuisse generally inclined to favour the “ definio. Fuit enim audax, loquax, Puritan party, (Strype, Whitgift, i.
impudens, sumptuosus, ventri et 425.) might be supposed not unlikely “gulæ plurimum impertiens. Hic to be “ solaced with those sports." “ stultitiæ eo usque processerat, ut When the Marprelate pamphlets
omnes etiam sanctos viros, quibus first appeared, in 1587-8, his health “ aut studium inerat lectionis, aut was declining, so that he accepted
propositum erat certare jejuniis, the office of chancellor of the duchy tanquam Priscilliani socios aut of Lancaster, with an intention, as
discipulos, in crimen arcesseret. was reported, of withdrawing from “ Ausus etiam miser est, ea teinpes. the secretaryship; (Strype, Ann.
tate, Martino episcopo, viro plane III. i. 696;) and this agrees with Apostolis conferendo, palam objec- what is said of books being brought tare hæresis infamiain.” p. 472, to "refresh the knight's spirits." ed. Horn, 1654.]
And Hooker from his intimacy