For further information see the following:
T.65 [1646.06.10] William Walwyn, An Antidote against Master Edwards his old and new Poyson (10 June 1646).
William Walwyn, An Antidote against Master Edwards his old and new Poyson: intended to preserve this long distempered Nation from a most dangerous Relaps. Which his former, his later, and next Gangrenous Book is likely to occasion, if not timely prevented. By William Walwin.
Deut. 22.33. Their Wine is the poyson of Dragons, and the cruell venime of Aspes.
Rom. 3.13. Their throat is an open sepulcher, with their tongues they have used deceit, the poyson of Aspes is under their lips.
Proverbs 22.10. Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out: yea, strife and reproach shall cease.
London, Printed by Thomas Paine, dwelling in Red-Crosse-street, in Goldsmiths-Alley, over-against the signe of the Sugar-loafe. 1646.
The pamphlet contains the following parts:
10 June 1646.
TT1, p. 444; Thomason E.1184 
(Placeholder: Text will be added later.)
Though God hath given unto Mr. Edwards, parts and abilities, wherewithal to acquire a comfortable life, in a just and good way, and wherein hee might bee helpefull unto many, and hurtfull unto none; neverthelesse hee seemeth unhappily to have placed his contentment in being a Master and Comptrouler of other mens judgements and practises in the worship of God, (wherein the Word of God and a mans owne conscience is only to governe): and thereupon (necessarily) finding opposition from al consciensious people, hee growes most passionately impatient, and even violently madd against all such as either plead their cause, or take their part; plainly manifesting, throughout the whole course of his preaching and writing, that he would esteem it his greatest felicity, if he could prevaile with authority, or provoke any others to the perpetuall molestation and destruction, of all that will not (though against their consciences) submit to those rules which he approveth.
Now the piety and justice of this Honourable Parliament, having so lately freed this long oppressed Nation, from this very kind of Tyranny, in the Bishops and Prelaticall Clergy, and very many judicious, and considerate persons (through a blessed opportunity, freedeme of discourse, and cleerer search of Scripture then heretofore) being fully satisfied in their understandings, that to compell or restraine, any peaceable person in matters of faith, and the worship of God, is as reall a sinne, and as odious in the sight of God as murther, theft or adultery, and thereupon engaging themselves in the just defence of liberty of conscience, Master Edwards his worke (of bowing all to his rule) falls out to be very difficult, and impossible (by any arguments drawn from the word of God) to be effected, or proved just.
And this also, insteed of qualifying his spirit, or stopping him in his race, hath set him all on fire, that he rageth like an Irish, ravenous and hungry woolfe, deprived of his prey by generous and true English Mastives, that watch both night and day to save the harmlesse and benefitiall sheep (the Independants and Separatists) who from the begining of these our troubles, to this very day, have continually without repining contributed their fleece for clothing, and their limbes and lives for nourishment, and strength, to preserve not only their owne liberties, but the just liberties of this Nation; Yet nothing abateth the madnesse of this prophet; but even (as is to be feared) against his owne conscience, and as if hired thereunto by some politique Balacks, hee flieth from one hill to another, from authority to authority, hath his parables and his offerings, and Satan like, would tempt the Lord himselfe to fall downe and worship him, to go against his owne declared will, and to stir up a persecuting spirit in the Magistrate, against this his beloved Israel, to compell them to worship him (as doe the Hipocrites) against their minds and consciences, then which nothing could be more abominable in his sight.
And though he cannot but see the hand of God against him, and that notwithstanding all his opposition, or any others, the numbers of them are daily increased, and that their faithfulnesse to the Parliament & common-wealth, hath caused them to grow in favor with al the People; though (if he would speak his heart) he must as Baalam, perforce acknowledge there is no enchantment against Jacob, nor any divination against Israel; no prevailing for a coersive power, against this good people, in a time of refreshment from any just Authority: Yet persists he in his ungodly resolution, and seeing and knowing that God will by no meanes answer his eager desire, of cursing this part of his people; he seemeth to grow desperate, and like as Saul when God had cast him off, and refused to answer him, either by Urim or Vision, betooke himselfe to the witch of Endor, even so this most unhappy man, betaketh himselfe to Machivillian policy, for execution of his cruel purposes against them: and finding no just or judicious party that will afford him any countenance, or assistance, he applyeth himselfe to any that hate them, though enemies to the common-wealth, hazarding the doing of their work, so that with them, and by them, he may but doe his owne, whereunto the weaknesses of many wel minded people ministreth to great an advantage, their rashnesse and to easie credulity, being all the foundation which he hath now left, to build his hopes upon, for if these would but a while suspend their belief, and patiently consider the things he hath spoken or is about to publish, and would thereupon with-draw themselves from his wicked and delusive counsels, and insteed thereof would fall to councelling of him to forsake his violent Rayling, and reviling, of a people they know to be faithfull, it were then impossible for him to effect his unjust designes, wch also (if effected) must necessarily be the bondage or ruin of all sorts of wel minded people, as wel Presbiterians as others (however his charmings may for the present flatter them) that must and will be the conclusion, if they continue to take in his poysonous counsells, how pleasing soever they seem to a pallat corrupted by long custome; they are poysonous, and will in time both swell and destroy them.
And therefore unto this sort of people, doe I at this time principally addresse this discourse by way of Antidote, to prevent the working of his banefull Counsels, and to frustrate his accursed ends.
This unjust man, knoweth all just and judicious men, cannot but oppose his unjust designes, and therefore it is, he hath denounced so many of them by name in his books, as his enemies, his ablest enemies they are, and the more powerfull, because they are all knowne to be really faithfull to the Parliament: In this case saith Machivel there is but one help, that is, they must be brought into disgrace, and disrepute, with the people, for if these remain in credit, the people will give eare unto them, be rightly informed by them & be in no capacity to be deceived: well saies Mr. Edwards, how shall they be sufficiently reproached: Why saies Machivel, seek out unto your ayd honest zealous persons of godly life, and good repute in the world, such as you know are fiery hot against errours and heresies so called, and unto them sadly complaine of the dayly infinite increase thereof, & intreat their assistance in the extirpation of them, & for that end desire them to collect their memories, what they have heard in any discourse, what they have any waies observed or knowne, to proceed from such and such men, naming divers, that are taken and reputed to be either grand Hereticks, and Schismatiques themselves, or the defenders and maintainers of them, by word or writing, tell them you have heard that such and such, hold such and such blasphemous opinions, at such and such a time uttered, such & such horrible speeches, pray them to consider how exceeding necessary it is such things were knowne, and made publique to all the world, lest through ignorance such blasphemous and hereticall persons in time get into offices of Magistracy, if not into the Parliament it seife; lay before them the danger if it should be so, and intreat them (for prevention) that they will thrust themselves into all meetings, companies, and societies, to provoke discourses, and to take notice of what they observe, or can any waies learne of any of them or any others, and it shall be your care to divulge them to the world, in the strongest colours your Art can give them: And (saith Machivel) as they through eagernesse, will over-heare and make things worse then they were either spoken or intended, so it must be your care to make them rather wors then better, then their relations, you must be sure to cast durt enough upon them, some will stick, and a little (amongst those you would pervert) will suffice to blemish the clearest and most able amongst them, and to deprive them of all credit and repute for ever.
If you observe any man to be of a publique and active spirit, (though he be no Independent or Separatist) he can never be friend to you in your work, and therefore you are to give him out, to be strongly suspected of whoredom, or drunkennesse, and prophanesse, an irreligious person, or an Atheist, and that by godly and religious persons, he was seen and heard blaspheming the holy Scriptures, and making a mock of the Ordinances of Christ, or say he is suspected to hold inteligence with Oxford, or any thing no matter what, somewhat will be beleeved, you cannot be ignorant how much this hath prevailed against divers able persons.
If you see any such man but once talking with a Papist, or (though not) you may give out that very honest men suspect him to be a Jesuit: If any one but demand of you or any others, how you know the Scriptures to be the word of God, give it out for certain he denieth them, or if any put questions concerning God or Christ, or the Trinity, you have more then enough to lay accusations upon them, that shall stick by them as long as they live, if you will follow this my counsell throughly saith Machivel (as in part you have done) you cannot faile of your end, you can never want matter, you shall (amongst those you deceive) be taken for a most zealous, holy, and religious man, you may write book upon book, great and large ones, and make good profit (or great renowne) by them, and in after ages, be recorded as a famous Author.
Moreover if you prosecute this course, you may haply hereby not only hold your friends firme unto you, ready upon all occasions to petition what you would have them, or to doe any thing you shall require them, but you shall be sure to hold them for ever devided from your adversaries, in all things, they shall not regard any thing, though never so just or good, if they see they have but a finger therein, nay if you work wisely, you need not dispaire of dividing your most powerfull adversaries amongst themselvs, doubts & jelousies being of great force:
And you know it is an undoubted truth, a house divided within it selfe cannot stand.
This is Machivels way; and this hath been Mr. Edwards his way; and in this way hee goeth on, but the way of God have they not knowne, or rather have they not despised the way of the Lord.
This is the Poyson by which he hath envenomed the hearts and understandings of thousands (in themselves) honest, religious people, too too easily misse-led, for want of knowledge or consideration of these Machivelian courses; men that being sinceare in their owne intentions, are easily deluded by the least pretence of zeal and godlinesse.
And however his heart may be hardned that he will not regard any thing, that hath been written unto him; you that have been deceived by him, are not so farre gone but you may yet recover, & become untainted, with the least savour of his spirit, and in time abominate his waies:
But surely then you must consider things more seriously then hitherto you have done, you must suspect your owne waies, and compare them once more with the waies of God, commended to you in his holy Word; That is the only Antidote that is able to expell the Poyson you have taken, or shall be offered in his next book; you know the word of God is mighty to the casting down of strong holds, & to bring into subjection all Machivelian Imaginations.
I shall therefore pray you in reading his next book which (it is to be feared) is reserved for an accursed purpose, and to second some worke of Darknesse; that you will with open eyes see how farre, and how plausible Machivel may go with colours of religion transforming himselfe into an Angell of light.
Also that you will not hastily give credit to any thing spoken by him a professed adversary, lest in so doing, you become guilty of bearing false witnesse against your neighbour.
That you will consider and marke those that cause divisions and offences, contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them: Rom. 16.17.
That you will mind a speciall part of that doctrine to be expressed in the fourteenth Chapter thorow-out, and the beginning of the fifteenth, which I entreat you to reade without prejudice or preoccupation of judgment; and then I cannot doubt, but liberty of conscience will appeare more just in your eyes, then it hath done, and confesse that your selves cannot live without it.
That you will lay to heart how dangerous it may prove to the Common wealth, and to the cause you have hitherto joyntly maintained, (God prospering you in so doing) if by any policies you should stand divided from those your brethren of other judgments; beleeve it, the hand of Joab is in all your divisions, what-ever you see or judge, your common enemy, is the fomenter of them; and under what notion or colours soever they appeare, they are a common enemie to you both, that labour to divide you, and in the end, you will find it to be so to your cost, if not to your ruine.
An ancient Philosopher (somewhat to this purpose) hath a fable, That the Wolves being at long and deadly war with the sheep, and not prevailing by force; but contrary to their expectation almost vanquished: Resolved to try what they could doe by policie, and thereupon desired a treaty, which the sheep simply and easily granted: The principall thing in the treaty, which the Wolves insisted on, was, that the sheepe would but discharge & send away their dogs, and then there would be no cause of warre at all, but they should live quietly one by another, urging withall, that the dogs were of a quarrelsome disposition, had been the beginners and continuers of the war, that they were of a different nature & temper from the sheep, maintain’d the war only for their own ends, and in probability were like enough to make a prey of the sheep themselves, and the like; if they would discharge them, they would give them what security themselves would desire, for assurance of their peaceable neighbourhood. The poor sheep soon weary of the charge and trouble of war, yeelded thereunto, and discharged their dogges, their strongest help, (whereby they had not only preserved themselves, but by many battels and maine force had even quite vanquished the Wolves) wch was no sooner done, but the Wolves in short time muster up their force, (the dogs being out of call) and when the sheep least suspected, fell upon them and destroyed them utterly.
I conceive this could never have been effected, but that the Wolves had conveyed some of themselves into sheepes cloathing, who by flattering and dissembling cariage, got themselves into credit with the sheepe, and so perswaded to this goodly treaty, and wrought them to those destructive conditions.
And (if well considered) this fable (though dogs and Christians hold no fit comparison) may demonstrate, that whosoever doth, or shall endevour to perswade the godly and honest Presbyters to abandon, discourage or molest their faithfull, helpfull, valiant and assured friends of other judgements (whom Mr. Edwards would have to be used worse then dogs) they are at best, but Wolves, or Wolves friends, and seek the destruction of all honest people, of what judgement soever.
And whether Master Edwards do expresly ayme at so horrid an issue, or not; for certaine, his workes and endevours do mainly tend thereunto, and will help on the wicked purposes of any that intend the destruction of the sheepe.
But, blessed be God, we are not as sheepe without a shepherd, wee have had, and still have faithfull & resolved shepherds set over us by providence, in a most just and orderly way, a Parliament (the terror of the wicked, and comfort of the just) that for these 5 years and upwards, have been a strong Tower of defence to the sheep of the Lords Pasture, to all the godly party in the Land: and though many of our froward and weak sheepe have many times been tampring & harkening after offers and conditions as dangerous to the whole flocke, as the discharging of that strength, the Wolves most feared; yet hath the wisdom of those our faithfull Shepherds hitherto prevented the same; and according to the true rules of wisdom have made most use of those whom the Wolves most feared.
And we trust the same God that endowed them with such a new modelising wisdome, as hath been successefull to the astonishment both of their friends and enemies, will still guide and direct them, when the policies of the enemies, are most busie and strongly working; and when the weaknesse and frowardnesse of their friends are most troublesome & importunate for destructive things, yea though some should be wrought upon so farre, as to shew a wearisomnesse of these their Shepherds; the same God will then we doubt not, shew his mighty power and wisdome in them, and thereby preserve this whole Nation, from a most dangerous Relaps, which otherwise were to be feared:
The whole flock is their charge, God hath made them Overseers of the whole, and to our joy and comfort they have hitherto shewed, a greater care to preserve the whole People, then to please any part of them; in unreasonable things: and in so doing they have been (and cannot but be) blessed and prosperous:
And notwithstanding Mr. Edwards his venomous poyson, blowne abroad by his unhappy quill, to blast and destroy the repute of honest, religious, and faithfull men, yet (the tree being knowne by his fruite) the Parliaments wisdome expelleth his poyson and sheweth no disrespect to any honest religious person, and every juditious man followeth their worthy example therein: and when you that are weak and have been misled, and tainted with his poyson, shall consider it, your judgments I trust will be rectified, and strengthened so sufficiently, that you will no longer judge of men according to his malitious accusations, but according to their workes and what you see them doe:
Which if you doe, wee shall have done with his poysonous, and scandalous bookes, which serve for nothing but to deceive and destroy the people; great quietnesse will follow thereupon, and you will soone finde a nearer way to a finall end of your troubles, then the wrangling way he hath proposed, for if once you were united you would have no enemies; your warre would be at an end; your peace would be sure, and all the people safe and happy;
Which is my only ayme in this work and my most earnest desire:
Observing by some passages and occurrences of late, that all the labour bestowed towards the conversion and reducing of Master Edwards into a truly, charitable, and Christian disposition, hath proved no other, then as the washing of a Blackamoore; and thereupon, daily expecting a poysonous issue from his infectious braine. To prevent the mischiefe that might ensue: I prepared this little Antidote, intending to have had it in such a readinesse, as that it should have met his poyson in the instant he first spread it, wherein I did my part, but the Printers mistake hindred it.
Those therefore that have read his new Gangrenous and scandalous book, and doe find themselves any whit tainted with the poyson thereof, and have slept upon it: My friendly advise is, that they take double the quantity of this Antidote: that they reade this little Treatise twise over, and consider every part of it seriously and deliberately, and if they are any thing farre gone, and in danger: then it will be necessary they adde thereunto a good quantity more of true Christian love, it will be somewhat hard to find, there being abundance every where of that which is counterfeit, the best of which will do more hurt then good; and therefore it will be needfull you get the help of some that by experience can distinguish the true from the false, and such a one I can assure you is also very hard to find: but without it there is no hope, and with it there is infallible certainty of recovery.
If there were not much false and counterfeit love abroad, this wretched man with all his cursed diligence could never have been furnished with matter to have sweld his poysonous bulck to so vast a greatnesse.
And truly had those whoever they are that gave those malicious informations concerning me, as he reciteth them if they had had, but one scruple of true Christian love in them they never had administered to his (so unmanly) occasion.
I blesse God, I have through diligent seeking found this pretious liquor, and have enough to spare upon those his unadvised intelligencers, and through the power thereof can freely forgive their evill intentions, which my conscience assures me, I never deserved from any, I ever conversed withall, or that ever knew me.
As for himselfe, if passion and fore-judging did not blind mens understandings, and that most men are transported with flashy fancies, and are unapt to consider things judiciously, it would evidently appeare, that he hath not in any measure answered, either my Whisper or the Word more, both which wil live in despite of his utmost venome, and wil conceme him, and all such deceivers as he is, being there set forth in their truest colours, nor is his neglect of them, any other but a device to keep mens eyes off from reading or regarding them, wherein he hath indeed dealt very pollitiquely, and like one fully possest with a true Machivillian spirit, which more evidently appeareth in laying his charge upon me in such subjects, as wherein he knoweth the presses in these times are not admitted the lest measure of freedome, & if I should insist upon the mistakes, & nullities in the charge, I should be inforc’d to use the names of some persons, I much esteeme for that publique affection I have seen in them, and for the un-interupted friendship I have had with them, which is no waies sutable to my spirit: insomuch as I am yet unresolved what course to take, besides, since it concernes only my particuler, and that of necessity it will occasion a bulk in print beyond my temper, the world being also opprest with books of particuler contest, I beleeve I shall incline to forbeare, though I am not certaine.
As for those who know me, or throughly know him, with al those I shal remain unprejudiced in my repute, though he should have spet al his venome at once, and as for those that neither know him nor me, I shal (and I think may) safely trust my credit to the operation of my Antidote, & to the most powerful addition of true Christian love, wch (were there need in this cause) would cover abundance of evill: love is the balsome which in my Whisper I really commended to his use, but either he will not use it, or takes not that paynes to rub it in which I advised, but though I have cast my pearle amisse, and have sped accordingly; that shall not hinder or abate my esteem of so pretious a Jewell, it is the delight of life, and the joy of Heaven, and whilst I live I trust I shall live in love, and when I dye, that I shall dye in this love, and Rise and remain Eternally in love, that is in God (for God is love) in whose presence there is fulnesse of joy; at whose wright hand there are pleasures for evermore; and full amends for all reproches.