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414 God's special Providence over England NOOK I. land see what a blessing sin and iniquity would not suffer it xiv. 7

to enjoy. Howbeit that which the wise man hath said con-
cerning Enoch (whose days were though many in respect of
ours, yet scarce as three to nine in comparison of theirs with
whom he lived) the same to that admirable child most worth-
ily may be applied, “ Though he departed this world soon,
- yet fulfilled he much time*." But what ensued? That work
which the one in such sort had begun, and the other so far
proceeded in, was in short space so overthrown, as if almost
it had never been: till such time as that God, whose property
is to shew his mercies then greatest when they are nearest to
be utterly despaired of, caused in the depth of discomfort and
darkness a most glorious star to arise, and on her head set-
tled the crown, whom himself had kept as a lamb from the
slaughter of those bloody times ; that the experience of his
goodness in her own deliverance might cause her merciful
disposition to take so much the more delight in saving others,
whom the like necessity should press. What in this behalf
hath been done towards nations abroad, the parts of Christen-
dom most afflicted can best testify. That which especially
concerneth ourselves, in the present matter we treat of, is the
state of reformed religion, a thing at her coming to the crown
even raised as it were by miracle from the dead; a thing which
we so little hoped to see, that even they which beheld it done,
scarcely believed their own senses at the first beholding. Yet
being then brought to pass, thus many years it hath continued,
standing by no other worldly mean but that one only hand
which erected it; that hand which as no kind of imminent
danger could cause at the first to withhold itself, so neither
have the practices so many so bloody following since been ever
able to make weary. Nor can we say in this case so justly,
that Aaron and Hur, the ecclesiastical and civil states, have
sustained the hand which did lift itself to heaven for them t.
as that heaven itself hath by this hand sustained them, no
aid or help having thereunto been ininistered for perform-
ance of the work of reformation, other than such kind of
help or aid as the Angel in the Prophet Zachary speaketh of,
saying, “ Neither by an army nor strength, but by my Spirit,
" saith the Lord of Hosts 1." Which grace and favour of
* Sap. iv. 13 † [Exod. xvii. 12.]

Zach. iv. 6.

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divine assistance having not in one thing or two shewed itself, BOOK IV. nor for some few days or years appeared, but in such sort so long continued, our manifold sins and transgressions striving to the contrary; what can we less thereupon conclude, than that God would at leastwise by tract of time teach the world, that the thing which he blesseth, defendeth, keepeth so strangely, cannot choose but be of him? Wherefore, if any refuse to believe us disputing for the verity of religion established, let them believe God himself thus miraculously working for it, and wish life even for ever and ever unto that glorious and sacred instrument whereby he worketh.

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BOOK V. Dedication.


Most REVEREND IN CHRIST. HE long-continued and more than ordinary favour which hitherto

your Grace hath been pleased to shew towards me may justly claim at my hands some thankful acknowledgment thereof. In which consideration, as also for that I embrace willingly the ancient received course and conveniency of that discipline, which teacheth inferior degrees and orders in the Church of God to submit their writings to the same authority, from which their allowable dealings whatsoever in such affairs must receive approbation, I nothing fear but that your 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, 'Otep nuev yevóueda, “ 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


Course of the Controversy hitherto.

417 conclude, uévouev őtep douév, “ although we continue the same BOOK V. “ 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.

[3.] Wherein considering the nature and kind of these 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, and other most judicious men, 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 power; and therefore the fear of external dangers causeth forces at home to


418 Eoils arising from Contentiousness in Religion. BOOK v. be the more united; it is to all sorts a kind of bridle, it maketh

virtuous minds watchful, it holdeth contrary dispositions in 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 favour

ly 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 of but with much commiseration and pity, thus were they 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

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