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3. Of unlawful love.
But many more remain in private hands, of which one is of Simony; and I wish the world might see it, that it might undeceive so many mistaken Patrons, who think they have discharged that great and dangerous trust, both to God and man, if they take no money for a living, though it may be parted with for other ends less justifiable which I forbear to name.
And in this time of his retirement, when the common people were amazed and grown restless and giddy by the many falsehoods, and misapplications of truths frequently vented in sermons; when they wrested the Scripture by challenging God to be of their party, and called upon him in their prayers to patronise their sacrilege and zealous frenzies; in this time he did so compassionate the generality of this misled nation, that though the times threatened such an undertaking with danger, yet he then hazarded his safety by writing the large and bold Preface now extant before his last twenty Sermons ;—first printed in the dangerous year 1655;-in which there was such strength of reason, with so powerful and clear convincing applications made to the Non-conformists, as being read by one of those dissenting brethren, who was possessed of a good sequestered living, and with it such a spirit of covetousness and contradiction, as being neither able to defend his error, nor yield to truth manifested, his conscience, having slept long and quietly in that living, was yet at the reading of it so awakened, (for there is a divine power in reason) that after a conflict with the reason he had met, and the damage he was to sustain if he consented to it,—and being still unwilling to be so convinced, lose by being over-reasoned, he went in haste to the bookseller of whom 'twas bought, threatened him, and
told him in anger, ‘he had sold a book in which there was false Divinity; and that the Preface had upbraided the Parliament, and many godly Ministers of that party, for unjust dealing. To which his reply was,—'twas Tim. Garthwaite, — That 'twas not his trade to judge of true or false Divinity, but to print and sell books : and yet if he, or any friend of his, would write an answer to it, and own it by setting his name to it, he would print the Answer, and promote the selling of it.'
About the time of his printing this excellent Preface, I met him accidentally in London, in sad-coloured clothes, and, God knows, far from being costly. The place of our meeting was near to Little Britain, where he had been to buy a book, which he then had in his hand. We had no inclination to part presently, and therefore turned to stand in a corner under a pent-house,—for it began to rain,and immediately the wind rose, and the rain increased so much, that both became so inconvenient, as to force us into a cleanly house, where we had bread, cheese, ale, and a fire for our ready money. This rain and wind were so obliging to me, as to force our stay there for at least an hour, to my great content and advantage ; for in that time he made to me many useful observations of the present times, with much clearness and conscientious freedom. I shall relate a part of them, in hope they may also turn to the advantage of my Reader. He seemed to lament, that the Parliament had taken upon them to abolish our Liturgy, to the grief and scandal of so many devout and learned men, and the disgrace of those many martyrs, who had sealed the truth and necessary use of it with their blood : and that no Minister was now thought godly that did not decry it, and at least pretend to make better prayers ex tempore and that they, and only they, that could do so, prayed by the Spirit, and were godly; though in their sermons they disputed and evidently contradicted each other in their prayers. And as he did dislike this, so he did most highly commend the Common Prayer of the Church, saying, The Holy Ghost seemed to assist the composers : and that the effect of a constant use of it, mercy of
would be, to melt and form the soul, into holy thoughts and desires, and beget habits of devotion. This he said and that, the Collects were the most passionate, proper, and most elegant comprehensive expressions that any language ever afforded ; and that there was in them such piety, and that so interwoven with instructions, that they taught us to know the power, the wisdom, the majesty, and God, and much of our duty both to Him and our neighbour: and that a congregation, behaving themselves reverently, and putting up to God these joint and known desires for pardon of sins, and praises for mercies received, could not but be more pleasing to God, than those raw, unpremeditated expressions, which many understood not, and to which many of the hearers could not say, Amen.'
And he then commended to me the frequent use of the Psalter, or Psalms of David ; speaking to this purpose : • That they were the Treasury of Christian comfort, fitted for all persons and all necessities ; able to raise the soul from dejection by the frequent mention of God's mercies to repentant sinners ; able to stir up holy desires : to increase joy; to moderate sorrow; to nourish hope, and teach us patience, by waiting God's leisure for what we beg: able to beget a trust in the mercy, power, and providence of our Creator ; and to cause a resignation of ourselves to his will; and then, and not till then, to believe ourselves happy: This, he said, the Liturgy and Psalms taught us; and that by the frequent use of the last, they would not only prove to be our soul's comfort, but would become so habitual, as to transform them into the image of his soul that composed them.
mposed them. After this manner he expressed himself and sorrow concerning the Liturgy and Psalms ; and seemed to lament that this, which was the devotion of the more primitive times, should in common pulpits be turned into needless debates about Freewill, Election, and Reprobation, of which, and many like questions, we may be safely ignorant, because Almighty God intends not to lead us to Heaven by hard questions, but by meekness and charity, and a frequent practice of devotion.
And he seemed to lament very much, that, by the means of irregular and indiscreet preaching, the generality of the nation were possessed with such dangerous mistakes, as to think, they might be religious first, and then just and merciful; that they might sell their consciences, and yet have something left that was worth keeping ; that they might be sure they were elected, though their lives were visibly scandalous; that to be cunning was to be wise ; that to be rich was to be happy, though 'tis evidently false : that to speak evil of Government, and to be busy in things they understood not, was no sin.' These and the like mistakes he lamented much, and besought God to remove them, and restore us to that humility, sincerity, and singleheartedness, with which this nation was blessed before the unhappy Covenant was brought amongst us, and every man preached and prayed what seemed best in his own eyes. And he then said to me, ' That the way to restore this nation to a more meek and Christian temper, was to have the body of Divinity-or so much of it as was needful to be known by the common people—to be put into fiftytwo Homilies or Sermons, of such a length as not to exceed a third, or fourth part of an hour's reading : and these needful points to be made so clear and plain, that those of a mean capacity might know what was necessary to be believed, and what God requires to be done ; and then some applications of trial and conviction : and these to be read every Sunday of the year, as infallibly as the blood circulates the body, at a set time ; and then as certainly begun again, and continued the year following. And, he explained the reason of this his desire, by saying to me,
All grammar scholars, that are often shifted, from one to another school, learn neither so much, nor their little so truly, as those that are constant to one good master : because by the several rules of teaching in those several schools, they learn less, and become more and more confused; and at last, so puzzled and perplexed, that their learning proves useless both to themselves and others. And so do the immethodical, useless, needless notions that are delivered in many Sermons, make the hearers ; but a
clear and constant rule, of teaching us, what we are to know, and do, and what not, and that taught us by an approved authority, might probably bring the nation to a more conscientious practice of what we know and ought to do.' Thus did this prudent man explain the reason of this his desire: and oh! that he had undertaken what he advised; for then, in all probability it would have proved so useful, that the present age would have been blessed by it : and, posterity would have blessed him for it.
And at this happy time of my enjoying his company and this discourse, he expressed a sorrow by saying to me, 'Oh that I had gone Chaplain to that excellently accomplished gentleman, your friend, Sir Henry Wotton! which was once intended, when he first went Ambassador to the State of Venice : for by that employment I had been forced into a necessity of conversing, not with him only, but with several men of several nations; and might thereby have kept myself from my unmanly bashfulness, which has proved very troublesome, and not less inconvenient to me; and which I now fear is become so habitual as never to leave me : and besides by that means I might also have known, or at least have had the satisfaction of seeing, one of the late miracles of mankind for general learning, prudence, and modesty, Sir Henry Wotton's dear friend, Padre Paulo, who, the author of his Life says, was born with a bashfulness as invincible as I have found my own to be : a man whose fame must never die, till virtue and learning shall become so useless as not to be regarded.'
This was a part of the benefit I then had by that hour's conversation : and I gladly remember and mention it, as an argument of my happiness, and his great humility and condescension. I had also a like advantage by another happy conference with him, which I am desirous to impart in this place to the Reader. He lamented much, that in those times of confusion [in] many Parishes, where the maintenance was not great, there was no Minister to officiate; and that many of the best sequestered livings were possessed with such rigid Covenanters as denied the Sacrament to