T.37 [1644.06] [William Walwyn], The Compassionate Samaritane Unbinding The Conscience (June or July 1644).
[William Walwyn], The Compassionate Samaritane Unbinding The Conscience, and powring Oyle into the wounds which have beene made upon the Separation: recommending their future welfare to the serious thoughts and carefull endeavors of all who love the peace and unity of Commonwealths men, or desire the unanimous prosecution of the Common Enemie, or who follow our Savious rule, to do unto others, what they would have others do unto them.
The Second Edition, corrected, and enlarged.
Printed in the Yeare 1644.
2nd ed. 5 January 1645
TT1, p. 355; Thomason E. 1202. (1.)
(Placeholder: Text will be added later.)
Si populus vult decipi, decipiatur.
To him that reads.
If after this, when all the guiles, That have misled you, and the wiles
Are manifested cleare as day, So that you must say, these are they: You yet will be befoold, you may, Errours have some excuse, when they’r not knowne, But being known once, wilfulnesse has none.
To the Commons of England
To you whom the People have chosen for the managing of their affaires, I present this necessary Treatise without boldnesse and without feare: for I am well assured, that as it is mine, and every man’s duty, to furnish You with what we conceive will advanse the Common good, or bring ease and comfort to any sort of men that deserve well of their Countrey (as You cannot but know the Seperation doe, if You consider with what charge and hazard, with what willingnes and activity they have furthered the Reformation so happily begun) so likewise it is, Your duty, to heare and put in execution, whatsoever to Your judgments shall appeare conducing to those good ends and purposes. I recommend here to Your view the oppressed Conscience, and the despised Separation: They have been much wounded (I believe every body can say by whom) and the people have passed by without compassion or regard, though they themselves must necessarily partake in their sufferings There are none left, to play the good Samaritanes part but Your selves, who as You have power; will, (I make no question) be willing too, when You have once well considered the matter, which this small Treatise will put You in mind to doe. It is not supposed, that You (who have so long spent Your time in recovering the Commons Liberties of England, should in Conclusion turne the Common into Particular; let the insinuations and suggestions of some in the Synod, be what they will, I make no question, but You will see both through and beyond them; and will never be swayed from a good conscience to maintaine particular mens Interests.
In the beginning of Your Session, when our Divines (as they would have us call them) wrote freely against the Bishops, & the Bishops made complaint to You for redresse; some of You made answer, that there was no remedy, for as much as the Presse was to be open and free for all in time of Parliament: I shall make bold as a Common of England to lay claime to that priviledge, being assured that I write nothing scandalous, or dangerous to the State, (which is justly and upon good grounds prohibited by Your Ordinance to that effect) only I humbly desire You to consider whether more was not got from You by that Ordinance then You intended, and that though it was purposed by You to restrain the venting and dispersing of the Kings writings and his Agents, yet it hath by reason of the qualifications of the Licensers wrought a wrong way, and stopt the mouthes of good men, who must either not write at all, or no more then is sutable to the judgments and interests of the Licencers. The Seperation (I guesse) would have tooke it for better dealing, if the Divines had in expresse tearmes obtained of You an Ordinance for suppression of all Anabaptisticall, Brownisticall, or Independant writings; then to have their mouthes stopt so subtlely, so insensibly, and their just Liberty in time of Parliament taken from them unawares. There can be no greater Argument, that the Divines intend not well, then their taking uncough, and mysterious, subtile wayes to effect their ends; even such as far better become Polititians, then Ministers.
It is high time O Commons of England, to put an End to the sufferings of the Seperation, who have for many yeares been the object of all kind of tyranny, Papisticall, Prelaticall, and Regall: The first Foundation of honor, and respect was certainly from publike service and protection of the distressed: Make it Your worke, and assure Your selves, you will find not only the universall love of all good men accompaning You, but a quiet and cheerfull Conscience, which is above all honour and riches, Others may weary themselves in plots and contrivances to advance selfe-ends and interests, to the peoples damage and molestations; sadnesse and distraction will be their companions for it. But make it Your businesse, Ye chosen men of England according to the trust reposed in You to protect the Innocent, to judg their cause impartially, to circumvent men in their wicked endeavours; and so You will become the beloved of God, the beloved of good men.
Liberty of Conscience Asserted,
And the Separatist vindicated.
Having heretofore met with an Apologeticall Narration of Thomas Goodwin, Philip Nye, Sydrach Sympson, Jeremy Burroughs, William Bridge; I did with gladnesse of heart undertake the reading thereof, expecting therein to find such generall reasons for justification of themselves, to the world, as would have justified all the Separation, and so have removed by one discourse those prejudices and misapprehensions, which even good men have of that harmelesse and well meaning sort of people: But finding contrary to that expectation that their Apologie therin for them selves and their Toleration was grounded rather upon a Remonstrance of the nearnesse between them and the Presbyterian, being one in Doctrine with them, and very little differing from them in Discipline, how they had been tolerated by other Presbyter Churches, and indulgd with greater priviledges, then the Separatist, how they differed from the Separatist, and had cautiously avoyded those roks and shelves against which the Separatist had split themselves, confirming by these words, the peoples disesteem of Separatists, suggesting by that phrase of theirs, as if there were amongst the Separatists some dangerous by-pathes or opinions, which they warily shund, though no mention be made what they are, which is the worst sort of calumny.
Finding to my hearts greife the Seperatist thus left in the lurch, and likely to be exposed to greater dangers then ever by the endeavours of these men, my heart abounded with greife, knowing the Innocency of their intentions, and honesty of their lives, that they are necessarily enforced to be of the mind they are, upon long examination of their owne tenents that they desire nothing more then that they should be publikely and impartially reasoned, knowing likewise their affection to the Commonwealth, their forwardnes of assistance in purse and person, knowing their Meetings to be so innocent, so far from confederacy or counterplots (though they are very sensible of the sad and perplexed condition that they are in) that they have not yet so much as spoke ought in their owne defence, but trusting to the goodnesse of God, the equity of the Parliament, the simplicity and integrity of their owne wayes, doe quietly enjoy themselves and their worship, let what will be brewing against them, being resolved like Hester to doe their dutyes, and if in doing thereof they perish, they perish: Me thinkes every man is bound in conscience to speak and doe what he can in the behaife of such a harmelesse people as these: what though you are no Separatist (as I my selfe am none) the love of God appeares most in doing good for others: that love which aimes only at it selfe; those endeavours which would procure liberty only to them selves, can at best be called but selfe love and selfe respects: ’Tis common freedome every man ought to aime at, which is every mans peculiar right so far as ’tis not prejudicall to the Common: Now because little can be done in their behalfe, unlesse Liberty of Conscience be allowed for every man, or sort of men to worship God in that way, and performe Christs Ordinances in that manner as shall appear to them most agreeable to Gods Word, and no man be punished or discountenanced by Authority for his Opinion, unlesse it be dangerous to the State: I have endeavoured in this Discourse to make appeare by the best reason I have, that every man ought to have Liberty of Conscience of what Opinion soever, with the caution above named: In doing whereof, I have upon occasion removed all prejudices that the people have concerning the Separatist, and vindicated them from those false aspertions that are usually cast upon them to make them odious; wherein, my end, I make account, will evidently appeare, to be the peace and union of all, and to beget this judgement in the People and Parliament, that ’tis the principall interest of the Commonwealth, that Authority should have equall respect, and afford protection to all peaceable good men alike, notwithstanding their difference of opinion, that all men may be encouraged to be alike serviceable thereunto; liberty of Conscience is to be allowed every man for these following reasons
1. Reason. Because of what judgment soever a man is, he cannot chuse but be of that judgement, that is so evident in it selfe, that I suppose it will be granted by all, whatsoever a mans reason doth conclude to be true or false, to be agreeabe or disagreabe to Gods Word, that same to that man is his opinion or judgement, and so man is by his own reason necessitated to be of that mind he is, now where there is a necessity there ought to be no punishment, for punishment is the recompence of voluntary actions, therfore no man ought to be punished for his judgment.
Objection. But it will be Objected, That the Separatists are a rash, heady People, and not so much concluded by their Reason, as their Fancie, that they have their Enthusiasms, and Revelations, which no body knowes what to make off, and that if they were a people that examined things rationally, the Argument would hold good for them.
Ans. That I suppose this to be the Argument not of the present, but of the loose witted times before the Parliament, where some politike Bishop, or Dr. Ignorant University man, or knave Poet would endeavour by such a suggestion to the people to misguide their credulous hearts into hatred of those good men, who they knew to be the constant enemies to their delusions: but let all men now have other thoughts, and assure themselves that the Brownist and Anabaptist are rationall examiners of those things they hold for truth, milde discourseres, and able to give an account of what they beleive; they who are unsatisfied in that particular, may, if they please to visite their private Congregations which are open to all commers, have further satisfaction; perhaps here and there amongst them may be a man that out of his zeale and earnestnes for that which he esteemes truth, may outrune his understanding, & shew many weaknesses in his discourse, I would the like frailty and inabilities were not to be found in many of us; but if the slips and wanderings of a few, and those the weakest, be an Argument sufficient to discountenance the Separation, and worke them out of the worlds favour, I pray God the same Argument may never be made use of against us; amongst whom, many, and they not esteemed the weakest neither, would give great advantages that way: In the mean time I wish with all my heart we could all put on the spirit of meeknes, and rather endeavour to rectifie by argument and perswation one anothers infirmities, then upbraid the owners of them with a visible rejoycing that such things are slipt from them to their disadvantage.
One Custome they have amongst them which doth make even the generality of them able arguers in defence of their way, and that is either an use of objecting against any thing delivered amongst them, or proposing any doubt, whereof any desires to be resolved, which is done in a very orderly manner, by which meanes the weakest becomes in a short time much improved, and every one able to give an account of their Tenets, (not relying upon their Pastors, as most men in our congregations doe) which may serve to remove the objection, and put us to consider, whether the like custome be not wanting amongst us.
2. Reas. The uncertainty of knowledg in this life: no man, nor no sort of men can presume of an unerring spirit: ’Tis knowne that the Fathers, Generall Councells, Nationall Assemblies, Synods, and Parliaments in their times have been most grosly mistaken: and though the present times be wiser then the former, being much freed from superstition, and taking a larger liberty to themselves of examining all things, yet since there remaines a possibility of errour, notwithstanding never so great presumptions of the contrary, one sort of men are not to compell another, since this hazard is run thereby, that he who is in an errour, may be the constrainer of him who is in the truth.
Ob. But unity and uniformity in Religion is to be aimed at, and confusion above all things to be avoyded, by Toleration new Opinions will every day breake forth, and to the scandall of the Nation, we shall become a very monster in matters of Religion, one part being Presbyter, another Anabaptist, Brownist another, and a fourth an Independent, and so divers according to the diversity of opinions that are already, or may be broached hereafter.
Ans. I answer, that in truth this objection appeares specious at the first glosse, and therfore is very moving upon the people, which the Bishops well knew, whose it was, and taken up as the fairest pretence for the suppression of those, who it is to be feared, will prove the suppressors. For answer whereunto I averre, that a compulsion is of all wayes the most unlikely to beget unity of mind, and uniformity in practice, which experience will make evident. For,
The Fines, Imprisonments, Pillories, &c. used by the Bishops as meanes to unite, rather confirmed men in their judgments, and beget the abomination and odium which these times have cast upon the Hierarchie, being in the worst kind tyrannicall, as endeavouring by the punishment of the person, the bowing and subjecting of the Conscience. And if it be it instanced, that some there were that turned with the wind, and were terrified by feare of punishment into a compliance. I answer, that such men are so farre from being examples to be followed, that they may more justly be condemned for weather-cokes fit (to be set up for men to know which way blowes the wind) of favour delicacy, ease and preferment.
Secondly, The conscience being subject only to reason (either that which is indeed, or seems to him which hears it to be so) can only be convinced or perswaded thereby, force makes it runne backe, and strugle; it is the nature of every man to be of any judgment rather then his that forces. ’Tis to be presumed, that ’tis upon some good grounds of reason that a man is of that Judgement whereof he is. Wouldest thou have him be of thine? Shew him thy grounds, and let them both worke, and see which will get the victory in his understanding. Thus possibly he may change his mind, and be of one judgment with thee: but if you will use Club Law, instead of convincing and uniting, you arme men with prejudice against you, to conclude that you have no assurance of truth in you, for then you would make use of that, and presume of the efficacy thereof, and not fight with weapons which you (doe or at least should) know not to be the weapons of truth. But I feare there is something more in it: I cannot thinke that the Bishops in their times used so many stratagems of vexation and cruelty against good people, to gaine them to be of their mind, they could not be ignorant that they set the Nonconformists of all sorts thereby at an irreconcilable hatred against them. No, there end rather was this. They had consulted who were opposite to their designes, and finding the Puritane and Sectary so to be, their interest was by all possible meanes to suppresse them, that so they might without opposition trample upon the people. And therefore in these times men should consider what they doe. For if they who have the publique countenance doe beare themselves after the same manner towards the Anabaptists and Brownists, or whatsoever other sect there is, or may be, that cannot comply with them in judgement or practice (as by their beginnings we feare they will) what can we judge of them but that their ends and intentions are the same with the Bishops? For by their fruits (saith our Saviour) ye shall know them: we may be deceived by words their turnings and contextures are so infinite, that they may be framed so, as to make the worst seeme good. The actions of men are the best rules for others to judge them by. Now upon view of the actions of the Divines that are now in favour, men doe speake very strangly, some say the tyrannie over conscience that was exercised by the Bishops, is like to be continued by the Presbiters: that the oppressours are only changed, but the oppression not likely to be removed. Others say, that the Anabaptist and Brownist are like to find harder masters, for that the Bishops made the punishment of them a matter of sport and profit to themselves, and reserved their punishments to be diversions of the peoples mindes from taking too much notice of their intrenchments upon the lawes and common liberty, suffering their societies notwithstanding to remaine, though so low and dejected that they were past feare of them. But the Presbiters, as it is conceived, will be more violent, as slaves usually are when they become masters: and thus talke not onely the Anabaptist and Brownist and Antinomian (being chiefly in danger) but other the most moderate ingenious men, that are not swayed by the Divines interest.
They say too, that as it is not just, so neither is it politike, that in the beginnings and first rise, when the Divines are but laying the foundation of their greatnesse, wealth, and sway over the peoples consciences, and twisting their interest insensibly with the Parliaments, that in the infancy of their tyrannie they should carry themselves so high and presumptuous as they doe over other men, shewes that their wisedome here comes somewhat short of the Serpents, or else that they are so impatient at the not compliance of other men, that they break, out even against their owne interest. Nay some say further, that they did well indeed in being so zealous against the Bishops, those Drones and Caterpillers of the Commonwealth, in making deservedly odious to the people their oppressive Courts, Fines, Censures, and Imprisonments. But they begin to fear that some bad ends of their owne were aimed at herein, and not so much the liberty of the people, as that they might get up into the Chaire and become to them instead of a Lord Bishop, a ruling Presbytery, which they feare will bring in more rigidnesse and austerity, no lesse ambition and domination then the former. And the reason they have to feare, is, because our Divines have not dealt clearely with us in many particulars, but continue certaine interests of the Bishops, which they find advantagious to advance their honour & esteeme with the people and have entered already into many of their steps, which in them at first they did seem so much to abominate. That the interest only of the Bishop in particular, and of that sort of Prelates is exploded, but the generall interests of the Clergie, whereby another Prelacy may be erected, and the mystery of the Divines maintained in credit amongst the people, is still with all art and industry preserved. I will take the paines both to tell you what those generall interests are, and what in reason may be said against them.
I. Their first interest is to preserve amongst the people the distinction concerning Government of Ecclesiasticall and Civill, though upon consideration it will be found that two Governments in one Common-wealth hath ever been, and will ever prove inconsistent with the peoples safety: The end of Government being to promote virtue, restraine vice, and to maintaine to each particular his owne, one sort of Government which we call the Civill, either is sufficient, or by the wisedome of the Parliament may be made sufficient for these ends. At the beginning of this Parliament it was confessed, that it was both too burdensome for the Divines, and too hazardous for the State, that they should bee trusted with any thing of Government, their preaching and instructing the people being, if well discharged, sufficient to take up the whole man. But the times change, and the men with them; the designe is feasible, and it must now againe be thought necessary that the Divines should have a stroake in the Government, and therefore that distinction is againe maintained, which being taken up at first by proud Church-men for ambitious ends, is still continued for ends though not in every thing the same, yet differing (I feare me) rather in the degrees than nature of them, we cannot tell what else to thinke of it, but that finding our Divines aiming at authority and jurisdiction, have judged it most politicke to gaine a preheminence, (lesse stately and pompous, but) altogether as imperious and awfull over men as the former, which because it is not so garish outwardly as the Bishops, they may presume will therefore be the easier admitted, and prove of longer continuance.
II. The second interest of the Divine, is to preserve amongst the people the distinction of Clergie and Laity, though not now in those termes, because they have been unhappily discovered. The Scriptures so evidently makeing the people Gods Clergy by way of distinction from the Ministers, I Pet. 5. 3. but never the Ministers by way of distinction from the people. And then for Laity, a people (as the word signifies) I hope the Ministers are such as well as any others. Well, the distinction by words is not so materiall, as a reall distinction with their interest is to preserve. They would not have us to thinke that a Minister comes to be so, as an other man comes to be a Merchant, Bookeseller, Taylor, &c. either by disposall of him by his friends in his education, or by his owne making choyce to be of such a Trade; no, there must be something spirituall in the business, a Jure Divino must be brought in, and a succession from the Apostles, and even as some would have us thinke Kings to be annoynted of God, because the Israelitish Kings were by his command, so we are made to beleive, that beccause the Apostles were ordained by God to be Teacheers of the people, and endued with guifts for that end; that therefore there is a like divine, though secret ordination from God in making of our Ministers, and spirituall guifts & qualifications thereunto: Because otherwise, if the people did not beleive so, they would examine all that was said, and not take things upon trust from the Ministers, as if whatsoever they spake, God spake in them: they would then try all things, and what they found to be truth, they would embrace as from God, for God is the Authour of truth; what they found to be otherwise, they would reject, and then for the most part they might spare their notings and repetions too, unlesse the more to discover the groundlesnesse of the doctrine, and the giddinesse of the Divinity which they generally heare. They would then handle their Ministers familiarly, as they doe one an other, shaking off that timorousnesse and awe which they have of the Divines, with which they are ignorantly brought up. He that bade us try all things, and hold fast that which was good, did suppose that men have faculties and abilities wherewithall to try all things, or else the counsell had beene given in vaine. And therefore however the Minister may by reason of his continuall exercise in preaching, and discoursing, by his daily study, and reading, by his skill in Arts and Languages, by the conceit of the esteeme he hath with a great part of admiring people (in whom is truly fulfilled the prophecie of St. Paul, 2 Tim. 4.3.4.) presume it easie to possesse us, that they are more divine then other men (as they style themselves) yet if the people would but take boldnes to themselves and not distrust their owne understandings, they would soon find that use and experience is the only difference, and that all necessary knowledge is easie to be had, and by themselves acquirable: and that it is the Ministers interest, their living depending thereupon, to frame long methods and bodies of Divinity, full of doubts and disputes, which indeed are made of purpose difficult to attaine unto, that their hearers may be alwyes learning, and never come to the knowledg of the truth, begetting disquiet and unsetlednesse of mind, continuall controversies, sadnesse, and many times desperation: All which makes for them, for that upon all occasions men have recourse to them for comfort and satisfaction, which how weake and short soever it be in it selfe, must be currant, because from them: the Keyes of the Church (a prerogative which our Saviour gave to his Apostles,) they arrogate to themselves, a new Authority they make mention of in their Sermons, which they call Ministerial (though no such thing belongs to them, nor is yet setled upon them, nor I hope ever will be) thus their interest is to make of themselves a peculiar Tribe, of a nearer relation to God then other men: His more immediate Servants the Labourers in his Vineyard, the Co-workers with him, and all other titles they claime, given in Scripture to the Apostles, though neither for their abilities, much lesse for their vertues or conversations, or in any other respect can be due unto them.
III. The third interest is to perswade the people, that the Scriptures though we have them in our owne tongue, are not yet to be understood by us without their helpe and interpretation, so that in effect we are in the same condition with those we have so long pitied, that are forbid to have the Scripturs in their own tongue: for ’tis all one not to have them in our own tongue, and to be made beleive, that we cannot understand them though we have them in our owne. Is the Cabinet open to us, and doe we yet want a Key? has so much labour been spent? so many Translations extant, and are we yet to seeke? Let us argue a little with them: either the Scriptures are not rightly Translated, or they are: If they are not, why have wee not beene told so all this while? why have wee beene cheated into errours? If they are rightly Translated, why should not Englishmen understand them? The Idiomes and properties of the Hebrew, and Greeke Languages, which some say, cannot word for word be exprest in English, might all this while have beene Translated into as many English words as will carry the sence thereof. There is nothing in the Hebrew or Greeke but may be exprest in English, though not just in so many words (which is not materiall) so that it must be contest, that either we have not beene fairly dealt withall hitherto in the conveyance of the Scripture, (a thing which few dare suspect) or else the Scriptures are as well to be understood by us, as by any Linguist whatsoever.
Well, notwithstanding all this how evident soever it be, a great part of us, people doe beleeve just as they would have us, and therefore silly men (as we are) in case of doubt to them we goe to be resolved: and hereby is maintained the necessity and excellency of learning, and the Languages, and so of Universities, and a supposall that the arts likewise are of necessity to a Divine: seven yeares at least are allotted for the attaining thereof, to fit and dispose men for the study of Divinity, the Arts being, as they say, handmaids and preparations to Theologie. But I heare wise men suspect all this, and say, that the Divines of what sort soever, have other ends in urging all these things to be of necessity.
First, they have hereby made it a difficult thing to be a Minister, and so have engrossed the trade to them selves, and left al other men by reason of their other professions in an incapacity of being such in their sense.
And therefore, Secondly, if any doe take upon them their profession without University breeding and skill in the Arts and Languages (how knowing a man so ever he be otherwise) they have fastened such an odium in the hearts of most of the people against him, that a theif or murderer cannot be more out of their favour then he. Thirdly, they being furnished with these Arts and Languages, have a mighty advantage over all such as have them not, & are admirers therof, (as most men are) so that hereby they become masters of all discourses, and can presently stop the peoples mouthes, that put them too hard to it, by telling them that it is not for Lay-men to be too confident, being no schollers, & ignorant of the Originall; That the Originall hath it otherwise then our Translations: And thus they keep al in a mystery, that they only may bee the Oracles to dispence what, & how they please: so that this third interest is of much concernment to them.
I know what the scruple of most men wil be, in reading of this last particular; almost all wil be the Divines Advocate for Learning, & have him in great hate & derision, that is an enemy thereto. For as Diana was, so is Learning those Crafts-mens living & the peoples goddesse. However, I will make no Apologie for my selfe, but desire, that every man would give his reason scope, boldly to examine, what it is, what good the World receives from it, whether the most learned, or unlearned men have been the troublers of the World. How presumptions and confident the learned Scribes, Priests, and Doctors of the Law were, that they best understood the Scriptures: How the poore and unlearned Fishermen and Tent-makers were made choyce of for Christs Disciples and Apostles, before any of them: How in processe of time they that tooke upon them to be Ministers, when they had acquired to themselves the mysterie of Arts and Learning, & confounded thereby the cleare streames of the Scripture, and perverted the true Gospell of Jesus Christ, and by politicke Glosses, and Comments introduced an other Gospell sutable to the covetous, ambitious, and persecuting spirit of the Clergie (which their esteeme with the people made authentick) they then began to scorne the simplicity and meanesse of the Apostles, to call that the Infancy of the Church, and to engrosse great Livings, Lordships, Territories and Dominions; to embroyle States in warres, to supplant one an other and divert the people from the prosecution of their owne interest, (which is their safety and libertie) to maintaine their quarrells, and erect that Governement the then rising part of them could agree upon. So that the Preists and Ministers of Christendome (though others have the name) yet they are indeed the Lords and leaders thereof, as at present by Englands sad experience may evidently appeare: For I would have all wise men consider, whether the party who are now in armes to make us slaves, consists not cheifly of such as have had esteeme for the most learned Arts men in the Kingdome; or of others, (who if not learned themselves) are admirers of such as are. Yea, to examine whence most of the warres of Christendome have sprung, and whether these artificiall Clergie men have not been the cheife causers and still are the grand Incendiaries of our present miseries which threaten our utter ruine, and although the Episcopall Clergie pretend to strive for the Regall Prerogative on the one side, and the Presbiterian Prelacy for Reformation, and the Liberty of the Subject on the other side; yet both of these mainely intend their owne respective profits, and advancements; so that which side soever prevaile (if such may have their wills, both aiming at their own greatnesse and Dominion over the consciences of their Brethren) extreamest miserie, and basest kind of slavery will unavoydably follow; whilst each of them by all slye insinuations and cunning contrivances seeke to obtaine authority to compell the whole Nation to be subject to their doubtfull, yea groundlesse determinations, which of all other is the greatest and worst sort of oppression and tyranny. The people may, if they please, dote upon that which ever hath been, and will be their destruction: It would be more safe for them (I am sure) to distinguish of Knowledge, and to reject what is uselesse (as most of that which hath hitherto borne the name of learning, will upon impartiall examination prove to be) and esteeme that only which is evidently usefull to the people; to account better of them that having no by-ends or respects, have studied the Scriptures for their owne and others information, and doe impart the same to the people out of a desire of their good, for nothing, (as the Anabaptists doe to their Congregations) than of such men as use all meanes to augment their tythes and profits, who being rich and abundantly provided for, yet exact them from poore people, even such whose very bellies can hardly spare it; whose necessities ought to be releeved by them, and not the fruite of their labours so unreasonably wrested from them, as oft it is, and the same so superfluously spent, or so covetously hoarded up, as for the most part is knowne to be. When they commend Learning, it is not for Learnings sake, but their owne; her esteeme gets them their Livings and preferments; and therefore she is to be kept up, or their Trade will goe downe. Have a care therefore O yee Clergie, as you esteem your honour and preferment, your profit and observance, that you keep this Diana of yours high in the peoples esteem: Rouze up your selves, and imagine some new wayes to quicken the admiration of this your Goddesse; for I can assure you, mens eyes begin to open, they find that she is not so beautifull as she once seemed to be; that her lustre is not naturall, but painted and artificiall: Bestirre your selves, or your Diana will downe. But why should I excite you, who I know are too industrious in the preservation of your owne interests.
Divers other interests they have plied, as to make themselves the only publike speakers, by which meanes whome, and what they please they openly condemne, cry up, or cry downe, what makes for or against themselves: There they brand men with the name of Hereticks, and fasten what errours they thinke are most hatefull to the people, upon those men they purpose to make odious: There they confute all opinions, and boldly they may doe it, for as much as no liberty of reply or vindication in publike is allowed to any, though never so much scandalized by them. And that men may not vindicate themselves by writing, their next interest is to be Masters of the Presse, of which they are lately become by an Ordinance for licensing of Bookes, which being intended by the Parliament for a good & necessary end (namely) the prohibition of all Bookes dangerous or scandalous to the State, is become by meanes of the Licencers (who are Divines and intend their owne interest) most serviceable to themselves (scandalous Books being still disperst) in the stopping of honest mens writings, that nothing may come to the Worlds view but what they please, unlesse men will runne the hazard of imprisonment, (as I now doe) so that in publike they may speake what they will, write what they wil, they may abuse whom they will, and nothing can be said against them: well may they presume of making themselves Masters of the people having these foundations laid, and the people generally willing to beleive they are good. I might proceed, to shew what usage wise men expect from their Government, being once establisht how rigid and austere some thinke they will prove, countenancing no recreations but what themselves are addicted to: how covetous others deem them, observing that they have more regard to the Benefice then the people, and doe usually change and shift upon proffer of a better Parsonage. Some say that they are a people sicke of the Pharises disease, they love to sit upermost at feasts, & to be reverenced in publike places, that their respects towards men are as they are rich and beneficiall to them, and that a pore man can hardly obtaine a visite, though at the time when the world conceives there is greatest necessity of it: that they hover about dying men for their Fee, and hope of Legacy, & many other things are commonly talked of them, which because I suspect to be true I will set myself hereafter more narrowly to observe.
The Objection wereupon all this (I hope) necessary digression is built, was that men may be compelled (though against conscience) to what the Synod or present Ministery shall conclude to be good, and agreable to Gods Word, because unity and uniformity in the Church is to be endeavoured. To which I further
Ans. Answer, That to force men against their mind and judgment, to beleeive what other men conclude to be true, would prove such tyranny as the wicked Procrustes (mentioned by Plutarch) practised, who would fit all men to one Bed, by stretching them out that were too short, and by cutting them shorter that were too long. If we beleive as the Synod would have us, what is this but to be brought into their miserable condition that must beleive as the Church beleives, and so become, as said an honest man, not the Disciples of Christ, but of the Synod?
3. Reas. The third Reason for Liberty of Conscience is grounded upon these foundations, that whatsoever is not of faith is sin, and that every man ought to be fully perswaded of the truenesse of that way wherein he serveth the Lord: upon which grounds I thus argue, To compell me against my conscience, is to compell me against what I beleive to be true, and so against my faith; now whatsoever is not of faith is sin; To compell me therefore against my conscience, is to compell me to doe that which is sinfull: for though the thing may be in it selfe good, yet if it doe not appeare to be so to my conscience, the practice thereof in me is sinfull, which therefore I ought not to be compelled unto.
Againe I am counselled by the Apostle to be perswaded in my owne mind of the truth of that way wherin I serve the Lord; I am not therefore to be compelled to worship God in such a way, of the justnesse whereof I am not yet perswaded, much lesse in such a way as is against my mind.
Ob. Nothing is more dangerous to a State, espeacially in these times, than division and disturbance by severall wayes of Brethren which have encreased our miseries, and therefore to avoyde division they who wil not of their own accords comply, are for the quiet of the state to be compelled and punished.
Ans. I Answer, that it is verily thought that the harshnesse only of this proposition hinders that it is not yet put in execution, till time & cunning have fitted it for the people; for we are told in the last consideration tending to diswade from further gathering of Churches, that suffering is like to be the portion of such as shall judge the right rule not to be delivered to them. A man would thinke that those people that so lately were the sufferers, the noyse of whose exclamations against such courses, is scarce yet out of the peoples cares, that they should not so soone thinke of being the Tyrants. But to the Objection I answer, that the diversity of mens judgments is not the occasion of division, because the word division hath reference to a falling off from the Common cause. Now, though the provocations and incitements, against the Brownists, and Anabaptists and some of the Independents have beene many, yet their affections to the Publike weale are so hearty in them, and grounded upon such sound principles of reason, that no assay of the Synod can make them cease to love and assist their Countrey; and it is more then evident by the prosperity of our neighbours in Holland, that the severall wayes of our brethren in matters of Religion hinder not, but that they may live peaceably one amongst an other, and the Spaniard will witnesse for them that they unite sufficiently in the defence of their common liberties and opposition of their common enemies: Besides, its very materiall to consider, that it hath ever been the practice of those that are countenanced by Authority to endeavor the suppresion of those that are not: who is therefore in the fault? the quiet Separatist, who being perswaded in his conscience of the truth of that way he desires to serve the Lord in, peeceably goes on to do his duty as he thinkes himselfe bound to doe, or they who out of a lordly disposition care not what injury they doe to others, though to the hazard of the Common-wealth, to advance themselves and their government, they defame the Separation in their writings and Sermons, bid their proselites beware of them, as of a dangerous and factious people, stoppe their mouthes, keep the Presse from them, provoake them by all wayes possible, and then like the crafty Politian cry out upon them as the causers of division.
I heare some men say, that it concernes the Minister so to doe, because his living (depending upon his tythes and guifts) is the greater, the more rich and numerous his audience is; and therefore the Separatists are not to be suffered, who they find by experience draw many people after them, and though not the devout honourable women, nor the cheife men of the City, yet many whose number might much encrease the yearly revennue of the Minister, and therefore you must thinke it has concerned them to meet together, and to say amongst themselves, Sirs, you know that by this our craft we have our wealth: moreover ye se & hear, that not alone at London, but in most parts of the Kingdom these Separatists have perswaded & turned away much people, saying that our Ministry is no true Ministry, our Church, no true Church, our Doctrine in many things erronious, that our succession from the Apostles is but a pretended thing, & as we our selves do derive it descended for many 100. yeares through the detestable Papacy & Romish Ministry, so that if these men be suffered our game, and the magnificence of the Ministery, wich not England only, but all Christendome doth highly magnifie and reverence, would quickly downe:
For what other reason then this can be imagined, why the Separation should bee the eye-sore of our Ministers? It cannot be instanced in one particular whereby the Common-wealth receives prejudice from them: And then for the charge of Separating, for their making a Scisme, which is endeavoured, to be cast so heavily upon them:
I answer, That by reason of the Church of Romes corruptions, the Church of England did long since make a Scisme from the Church of Rome, for which cause likewise many of the present Ministers in lieu of the Antichristian domineering Bishops thought it no robbery to make scisme from England; and even this Idolizing Synod, which though not yet upon her Throne, sticks not to let her clients see she sayes in her heart; Behold I sit a queen, I am no widdow, and shall see no sorrow, Rev. 18.7. May not I say this, Reverend Synod: if to be proceeded against by such carnall sandy principles, such humane ordinances, by which the Separatists stand prejudiced, be legally found, to have made the greatest and most transcendent scisme which England ever knew or heard of, since the Papistrie was discarded; If then the Separation have gon a little further, and not only with the Bishops separated from Rome, with the Ministers from the Bishops but by reason of some corruptions still remaining among the Ministers, are by their consciences necessitated to separate from them likewise: In all these separations there was difference in judgment; the Bishops differ in some things from Rome, our Ministers from the Bishops, and amongst themselves too, which differences by the Scriptures they cannot determine, as appeareth both by their writings and preachings, wherein with much vehemency they urge the same against other; of little force then will the major vote of a Synod be for the determining thereof, having so lately most notoriously discovered themselves to be men-pleasers and temporisers, by crying downe the things which but yesterday they so highly magnified in their Pulpits, and also practised with much devotion (at least seemingly) and having withall their owne interests so much concerned therein (as is before in part declared.) And further, knowing that the same persons themselves, and their Tenets, (as well as the opinions of Independents, Brownists, and Anababtists, whom they oppose) doe stand condemned not by the major vote of divers Synods only, but by many generall Counsells also, (who are accounted to represent the whole Church upon Earth) no whit inferiour to them either in Arts or Learning, or any other qualification: Let it be then no wonder, nor so much as seem blameable hereafter, that the Separatists should differ in some Opinions from this present Synod, since the Ministers therein no little differ amongst them selves, much more than yet appeares, and will do so, while Sun and Moon endures untill we have courage and strength enough to abandon all private interests and advantages.
All times have produced men of severall wayes, and I beleive no man thinkes there will be an agreement of judgement as longe as this World lasts: If ever there be, in all probability it must proceed from the power and efficacie of Truth, not from constraint.
Objection. An assembly of Divines, men that have imployed all their time in the study of Religion, are more likely to find out the truth, then other men, that have not so spent their time; who being now consulting, what Doctrines, and what Discipline is most agreeable to the Word of God, it is but meet that all men should waite their leasure, till it be manifest what they shall produce.
Answ. To this objection I say first, That they being now in consultation, not for themselves, but as they say, for the whole people; it is but reasonable that they should publish to the world whatsoever is in debate amongst them, and invite every man to give them their best light and information, that so they may heare all voyces, and not conclude ought against mens judgments before it be heard what they can say for themselves: This might peradventure be a meanes to find out all truth, and settle things so as that every man might be satisfied. You will say, that they consider of all objections amongst themselves. I reply, that is not sufficient, for ’tis a knowne case men are generally partiall to themselves and their owne judgments, urging the weakest objections, and that but slightly: and it can give no satisfaction to men to have their causes pleaded by their Adversaries.
Secondly, how palpable soever it appeare, that an Assembly of Divines are more likely to find out truth then other men; yet it is to be considered, that it will puzzle any man to instance when they did so. Besides, grant it be more probable, yet it may be otherwise, and ’tis well knowne hath proved so. The Liturgie was by universall consent approved, and by the Parliaments Authority authorised, particular men being for these many yeares averse to it, and separating from the publike Congregations because of it: it now appeares who were in the right. How confident soever therefore the Divines (as they style them selves) are that they shall find out the right rule; yet since it may be, and hitherto hath been otherwise, it is but meet that they should decree only for themselves and such as are of their owne mind, and allow Christian Liberty to all their Brethren to follow that way which shall seem to them most agreable to truth.
Ob. But we are told in the Divines Considerations that all men must wait, otherwise the Parliament are like to be provoaked.
Answ. I marry Sir, this is a good strongue Argument, and speakes home to us: I cannot blame the Separatists now for crying out, they feare your Club more then your Reason. I see what they might expect, if the sword and authority were in your hand, your nine Considerations informes me, wherin are these two suppositions. First, that the right rule may not be delivered us: And secondly, that then men may be called to suffer. It is a wonder to observe the wretched condition of man, and his foule ingratitude: Is it so long since the yoakes were broaken off these mens necks, that they forget the burthen & injustice of them, or that assistance they had from their separatist Brethren in breaking those yoakes, that now so soone as they are got into reputation, they should suppose a time of suffering for their brethren for doing what to them appeares to be their duty! Regard O God, since man is become thus forgetfull, take thy distressed Servants, the Separatists into thine owne protection: Thou O Lord, that are the Judge of all the Earth, put into the hearts of the Parliament to doe right in this cause, and to suffer those afflicted people no longer to endure reproach or molestation for doing of their duties.
Ob. But some may say, I beat the Aire all this while, there is no purpose in the Divines to force the conscience, they are sufficiently informed that, the conscience cannot be forced, being in no wise subject to compulsion, only it concemes them they say to prevent the grouth and encrease of errours, which cannot otherwise be done but by punishing those that are the authors and maintainers of them, that so truth only may flourish, and the Gospell with the Ordinances according to the true institution of them, be maintained and practised by all the people of the Nation.
Answ. I answer, that though it were certaine that what they esteeme truth were so indeed, and that the true Gospell and Ordinances were in every part and circumstance of them that which they judge them to be: however, though they are earnestly to endeavour by argument and perswation to reduce all men to the same beleife and practice with themselves, yet those that cannot be thereunto perswaded, they ought not by any meanes to punish, for the first and third Reasons afore given. But then for the assurance of the Divines that their conclusions and Articles are certainly true, if it be built upon certaine foundations, they need not avoyde the combate with any sort of men of what opinion soever: Truth was not used to feare, or to seeke shifts or stratagems for its advancement! I should rather thinke that they who are assured of her should desire that all mens mouthes should be open, that so errour may discover its foulnes and trueth become more glorious by a victorious conquest after a fight in open field; they shunne the battell that doubt their strength. Wise men are at a stand to see that whilest the Presse was open no man undertooke the Anabaptists, and that now their adversaries have bound their hands they begin to buffet them; what can they doe else but necessarily suspect that our Divines have not the truth, nor by any evidence thereof are able to make good their owne standings or practices. To stop mens mouths or punish men for speaking their mindes, was profitable indeed, and necessarie for the Bishopes who had proposed to themselves such endes as could endure no discourse upon them, and framed such constitutions, ceremonies and doctrines, as must be received without scanning, or else would appeare empty and groundlesse. But that the reforming Clergy, that pretend to have truth in its simplicity, and the Gospell in its purity, and seeme to abominate all by-endes or respects, should yet take the same course of prohibitions with the Bishops, locke up the Presse, and then vent themselves in a furious and (evidently) scandalizing way, as in their late preachings and Pamphlets against the Anabaptists, will make, I beleeve, all wise men suspect that either they doubt their owne tenets, or know some grosse errours amongst themselves, which yet their interests and professions engage them to maintaine. To say they goe not about to compell the conscience, which is uncapable of compulsion, but will only punish the person, is as if they were sportfull in their cruelty, and shewes as if it proceeded from men setled, and long practised in tyranny, I could wish for Christianity sake they had more wisedome then to play with mens afflictions: I professe unto you, did I still dote upon the persons and seeming holynesse of our Ministers (as I have done) such carriage as this I thinke would open mine eyes, and make me see they are not the men they seeme to be, that in so short a time can grow so wanton with their owne estate and preheminence, as to gibe and scoffe at their brethrens miseries. Is it not a shame to our profession, and scandall to our cause, that well affected men, reall, and irreconcileable enemies to tyranny, and our common Adversaries, should be necessitatd to leave their native Country, because they can hope nothing from you, our Divines, but to be imprisoned or punished for exercising their consciences, though by their helpe you should be setled in your liberties, I cannot tell what else to make of this for my part, but that you had rather be slaves to the King, and hazard the freedome of the whole Nation, then that these men should have freedome with you; yee may flatter your selves, that yee are rich in spirituall graces, and presume that you are in the right, and have found out the truth of the Gospell and Ordinances, but so long as yee want the maine evidences thereof. Love and lowlinesse of mind, so long as yee propose dominion and the sway over your Brethren, which our Saviour said his followers should not doe, Matth. 20. 25. 26. Marke 10. 42. you must give men that are unwilling to be deceived leave to thinke that yee have yet but the forme and shew of Religion, but want the inward sweetnesse and most excellent fruites and effects thereof; I could wish I had no occasion for speaking thus much, but when sores begin to fester, they must not be nourished and swathed, but lanc’d and corraciv’d, ’tis no time to hide and excuse mens imperfections, when they strive to take roote for perpetuity. Were it in mine own cause, I could not speak so much, but in behalfe of such a harmelesse people as I have found those of the Separation to be, after much inquiry and examination of their Tenets, and practice, I thinke my selfe bound in conscience to breke silence and become their advocate.
Ob. There is one Objection more against the Anabaptists in particular, and that is, that they allow not of Civill government and therefore not to be tolerated because they hold an opinion directly destructive to the Common-wealth.
Ans. Who saies they hold this opinion? why the Divines commonly in their Pulpits, and what ground have they for their so saying? They find it in bookes that they who have written of them affirme that they maintaine this opinion. But how if the societies of Anabaptists in this Kingdome are most Zealous and rationall defenders of our Government? as to my knowledge they are, and that experience can testifie for them, that noe men have more forwardly and constantly then they assisted the Parliament against those that would disolve our free govemement, and bring in tyranny; how is it true then that the Anabaptists hold such an opinion? O then they tell us that our Anabaptists are no Anabaptists: To what purpose then doe they exclaime against Anabaptists that have been of that opinion? (as they say) (though for my part I beleeve neither them, nor the books that tells them so) when they cannot but know, if they know any thing, that the Anabaptists which now are, be not of that opinion; why for this end and purpose, they resolve to make the Anabaptists odious to the people, and nothing they thinke will sooner doe it, then by making the people beleeve that they are the harbourers of such an opinion as would dissolve all societie, and bring into confusion the state.
Now this they speake of the Anabaptists in generall, knowing that the people will apply it to the Anabaptists in England, concerning whom how true it is you may judge by that which followes.
The Anabaptists opinion concerning Government is, that the world being growne so vitious, and corrupt as it is, there can possibly be no living for honest men without Government: That the end of making Government, is the Peoples quiet and safety, and that whatsoever doth not conduce thereto is tyranny or oppression & not government. That the Government of England is of all others that they know the most excellent, the people by their chosen men, being the makers & reformers therof: That therein the Parliament is the supreme power, and that the King is accountable to them for the not performance of his Office, as all other Officers of the Common-wealth are: That the Parliament only are the makers and alterers of Lawes for the regulation and ordering of the people: That of right they are to be called by those Lawes they have made in that behalfe, and to dissolve when they themselves see good: that it is not at the Kings wil or pleasure to signe or refuse those Bills the Parliament shall passe, but that he is of duty to signe them: That all great Officers and Majestrates of the Kingdome are to be chosen by them: That the King is to have his personall abode neer the Parliament, that they may have free conference with him at pleasure touching the former discharge of his Office, or the present state of the Commonwealth: That to Parliaments alone belong the disposall of Shipping, Forts, Magazines, and all other the Kingdomes strengths, both by Sea & Land: The making of peace & war, the pressing of souldiers, the raising of monie for the preserving or regaining the safety or freedome of the people, which for any other person to doe, is treasonable. These grounds & principles of our government they knowing, could not but see the exorbitances of the King, & whereto al his lawles courses & designes tended, & therefore have not ignorantly (as perhaps others) but upon these grounds assisted the Parliament, and will doe till the last.
Judge by this then whether these men hold an opinion against government, or at what wretchlesse passe those men are that would make the people beleive they doe.
I might insist here upon a Booke called The Confutation of Anabaptists lately set forth, which saies, They are absolute and professed enemies to the essentiall Being of Civill Government, but I find people so little regard the Booke, it being so full of nonsence, and in this particular so evidently contrary to truth, and the experience of every man, that lookes abroad, and knowes any thing of the Anabaptists; that it will be but losse of time to take notice of it, only it were worth observation to see how easily it obtained an Imprimatur, and how open the Presse is to any thing true or false, sence or non-sence, that tends to the Anabaptists scandall or disgrace.
In the beginning of the Parliament a Booke was published, called the History of the Anabaptists in High and Low Germany, the aime whereof was by fastning odious errours and feigned mutenies upon the Anabaptists to deter this present Parliament in their Reformation of Bishops, for feare, as the booke saies, least they who now cry out for Christs rule, strike not so much at the misrule of Episcopacy, as quarrell at all rules, so that what course was taken by the Bishops and their friends to hinder the Reformation of that Hierarchie, namely, the affrighting the Reformers by airy and imaginary consequences, the same are used by our Divines to prevent a through Reformation: of many erroures, and mistakes in our Clergie, which they exceedingly feare, and therefore they have, and doe continue early and late to render the Anabaptists as odious to the people as their wits and inventions can make them. But as the Bishops then failed of their ends by the wisedome of the Parliament; so I trust the present endeavoures of our Divines in striving to raise themselves upon their Brethrens disgrace and ruine, will by the continued courage and prudence of the Parliament prove vaine and fruitlesse.
They who echo the Kings words and take the Bishops course (I will not say have the Kings ends but) so farre doe the Kings worke.
The King, I confesse, has reason to cry out upon the Anabaptists, because he knowes them to be enemies not of Government, but oppression in Government, and all those who intend to oppresse in any manner, ought, if they will be true to themselves to doe so too; for the Anabaptists are oppressions enemies, whoever be the oppressours.
And whereas they say, they find in Bookes, that the Anabaptists are enemies to all Government, it were well if they would consider who wrote those Bookes: it may be they were written either by mistake, or for the same end that they repeate them. We can shew you books too, that say the Parliament are Brownists & Anabaptists; And past all question, if the King should thrive in this unnaturall warre, this Parl. should in their Court Histories, not only be called Anabaptists, but branded also to all posterity with that opinion faisly and maliciously fathered upon the Anabaptists, That they were enemies to Government, and went about to bring all into confusion, little credite therefore is to given to Bookes in matter of obloquie and scandall: but the men, and their judgments in the times they live, are to be considered: And then I am confident it will appeare, that the Anabaptists be of well affected mindes: and peaceable dispositions, meriting a faire respect from the State, and may well challenge amongst others, the quiet enjoyment of themselves as they are men, and the ordinances of Christ as they are Christians.
I will adde one thing more to the Brownists and Anabaptists glory; that in the times of the Bishops domineering, when many of the Presbyterians complyed, some to the very top of Wrens Conformity, and preached for those things they now pretend cheifly to reforme, and the Independants fled to places where they might live at ease, and enjoy their hundred pounds a yeare, without danger; the Brownist and Anabaptist endured the heate and brunt of persecution, and notwithstanding the severall wayes of vexing them, continued doing their duties, counting it the glory of a Christian to endure tribulation for the name of Christ: And the times altering the Presbyterian soon comes about, and the Independant comes over, to be leaders in the Reformation, when forgetting the constancie and integrity of those who bore the heat and burden of the day, they hold the same heavy hand over them, that their fathers the Bishops did. And as the Brownists & Anabaptists affection to the common good of all, was then firme, & able to endure the triall of persecution, so hath it in these present searching times continued constant & unshaken, notwithstanding the many almost unsufferable Injuries & provocations of the Divines on the one side, & the faire promises & frequent invitations of the King on the other; so that had any ends of their owne beene aimed at, they could not have continued such resolved & immoveable enemies of Tyranny, & freinds to their country: I beleeve if we would suppose other men to be in their Condition, we could hardly expect the like even & upright carriage from them, amidst so many stormes and temptations surrounding them. I hope all good men will take all that hath been said into consideration, especially the Parliament who I presume are most ingenuous and impartiall of all others and whom it cheifly concernes, they being called and trusted to vindicate and preserve the peoples liberties in generall, and not to enthrall the Consciences, Persons, or Estates of any of them unto a pregmaticall pretended Clergy, whether Episcopall, Presbiteriall, or any other whatsoever. The greatest glory of authority is to protect the distressed; and for those that are Judges in other mens causes to beare themselves as if the afflicted mens cases were their owne; observing that divine rule of our Saviour, Whatsoever yee would that men should doe unto you, even so doe yee to them And if to the Parl. it shall appeare for the reasons given or other better reasons they can suggest to themselves, that it is most unjust, and much more unchristian, that any man should be compelled against his conscience to a way he approves not of, I doubt not but they will be pleased for Gods glory, and union sake and likewise for these good mens sake, which for the present it principally concernes, at least for their owne sakes (for who knowes how soone this may be his owne case) speedily to stop all proceedings that tends thereunto: and for the future provide, that as well particular or private Congregations, as publike, may have publike protection, so that upon a penalty no injury or offence be offered either to them from others, or by them to others. That all Statutes against the Separatists be reviewed, and repealed, especially that of the 35. of Eliz. That the Presse may be free for any man, that writes nothing scandalous or dangerous to the State. That so this Parliament may prove themselves loving Fathers to all sorts of good men, bearing equall respect to all, according to the trust reposed in them, and so inviting an equall affection and assistance from all: that after Ages may report of them, they did all these things, not because of the importunity of the people, or to please a party, but from the reason and justnesse of them, which did more sway with them, than a Petition subscribed with Twenty thousand hands could have done.