« PreviousContinue »
meditation might furnish him unspeakably to the performance of more then a weekly charge of sermoning: not to reck'n
up the infinit helps of interlinearies, breviaries, synopses, and other loitering gear. But as for the multitude of Sermons ready printed and pild up, on every text that is not difficult, our London trading St. Thomas in his vestry, and adde to boot St. Martin, and St. Hugh, have not within their hallow'd limits more vendible ware of all sorts ready made : so that penury he never need fear of Pulpit provision, having where so plenteously to refresh his magazin. But if his rear and flanks be not impal'd, if his back dore be not fecur’d by the rigid licencer, but that a bold book may now
and then iffue forth, and give the assault to some of his old collections in their trenches, it will concern hin then to keep waking, to stand in watch, to set good guards and sentinells about his received opinions, to walk the round and counter-round with his fellow inspectors, fearing left any of his flock be seduc't, who also then would be better instructed, better exercis'd and disciplin’d. And God fend that the fear of this diligence which must then be us'd, doe not make us affect the lazines of a licencing Church.
For if we be sure we are in the right, and doe not hold the truth guiltily, which becomes not, if we ourselves condemn not our own weak and frivolous
teaching, and the people for an untaught and irreligious gadding rout, what can be more fair, then when a man judicious, learned, and of a conscience, for ought we know, as good as theirs that taught us what we know, shall not privily from house to house, which is more dangerous, but openly by writing publish to the world what his opinion is, what his reasons, and wherefore that which is now thought cannot be found. Christ urg'd it as wherewith to justifie himself, that he preacht in publick; yet writing is more publick then preaching; and more easie to refutation, if need be, there being so many whose bufineffe and profession meerly it is, to be the champions of Truth; which if they
neglect, neglcet, what can be imputed but their foth, or unability ?
Thus much we are hinder'd and difinur'd by this cours of licencing toward the true knowledge of what we seem to know. For how much it hurts and hinders the licencers themselves in the calling of their Ministery, more then any secular employment, if they will discharge that office as they ought, so that of necessity they must neglect either the one duty or the other, I infist not, because it is a particular, but leave it to their own conscience, how they will decide it there.
There is yet behind of what I purpos'd to lay open, the incredible losse, and detriment that this plot of licencing
puts us to, more then if som enemy at sea should stop up all our hav'ns and ports, and creeks, it hinders and retards the importation of our richest marchandize, Truth : nay it was first eftab- ., lisht and put in practice by Antichristian malice and mystery on fet purpose to extinguish, if it were possible, the light of Reformation, and to settle falfhood; little differing from that policie wherewith the Turk upholds his Alcoran, by the prohibition of Printing. 'Tis not deny'd, but gladly confest, we are to fend our thanks and vows to heav'n, louder then most of Nations, for that great measute of truth which we enjoy, especially in those main points between us and the Pope, with his appertinences