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these shall have autority to kraw out the choisest periods of exquisitest books, and to commit such, a treacherous fraud against the orphan reinainders of worthiest men after death, the more sorrow will belong to that haples race of men, whose misfortune it is to have understanding. Henceforth let no man care to learn, or care to be more then worlddy wise ; for certainly in higher matters to be ignorant and slothfull, to be a .common stedfait dunce will be the only pleasant life, and only in request.

And as it is a particular disesteem of every knowing person alive, and most injurious to the writt'n labours and monuments of the dead, fo to me it seems an undervaluing and vilifying of the


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whole Nation. I cannot set so light by all the invention, the art, the wit, the grave and solid judgement which is in England, as that it can be comprehended in any twenty capacities how good foever, much lesse that it should not passe except their fuperintendence be over it, except it be fifted and strain'd with their ftrainers, that it should be uncurrant without their manuall stamp. Truth and understanding are not fuch wares as to be monopoliz'd and traded in by tickets and statutes, and standards. We must not think to make a staple commodity of all the knowledge in the Land, to mark and licence it like our broad cloath, and our wooll packs. What is it but a fervitude like that im

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pos’d by the Philistims, not to be allow'd the sharpning of our own axes and coulters, but we must repair from all quarters to twenty licencing forges. Had any one writt'n and divulg'd erroneous, things & scandalous to honest life, milusing and forfeiting the esteem had of his reason among men, if after convic, tion this only censure were adjudg’d him, that he should never henceforth write, but what were first examin’d by an appointed officer, whose hand should be annext to pafle his credit for him, that now he might be safely read, it could not be apprehended lefle then a disgracefull punishment. Whence to include the whole Nation, and those that never yet thus offended, under such a


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diffident and suspectfull prohibition, may plainly be understood what a disparagement it is. So much the more, when

, as dettors and delinquents may walk abroad without a keeper, but unoffenfive books must not stirre forth without a visible jaylor in thir title. Nor is it to the common people lesse then a reproach ; for if we be so jealous over. them, as that we dare not trust them with an English pamphlet, what doe we but censure them for a giddy, vitious, and ungrounded people; in such a fick and weak estate of faith and discretion, as to be able to take nothing down but through the pipe of a licencer ? That this is care or lore of them, we cannot pretend, whenas in those Popith places X 2


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where the Laity are most hated and difpis’d the same strictnes is us'd over them. Wisdomn we cannot call it, because it stops but one breach of licence, nor that neither; when as those corruptions which it seeks to prevent, break in faster at other dores which cannot be shut.

And in conclusion it reflects to the disrepute of our Ministers also, of whose labours we should hope better, and of the proficiencie which thir flock reaps by them, then that after all this light of the Gospel which is, and is to be, and all this continuall preaching, they should be still frequented with such an unprincipl’d, unedify'd, and laick rabble, as that the whiffe of every new pamphlet should stagger them out of thir cate


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