T.201 [1649.06] William Walwyn, Walwyns Just Defence (June/July 1649).
William Walwyn, Walwyns Just Defence Against the Aspersions cast upon him, in A late un-christian Pamphlet entituled, Walwyns Wiles. By William Walwyn, Merchant.
Proverbs 12. ver. 6. The words of the wicked are to lie in waite for blood, but the mouth of the upright shall deliver them.
London, Printed by H. Hils, for W. Larnar, and are to be sold at the sign of the Blackmore, near Bishops-gate. X.DC.XLIX. (1649).
The Tract contains the following parts:
c. June/July 1649.
Not listed in TT.
(Placeholder: Text will be added later.)
I should be glad for the good of humane society, that those seven men whose names are subscribed to the Epistle of that Book, would set down a certain rule, or declare what rule theirs is, wherby in civil Communication, a man may know, when those he keeps company withall are reall; and when deceivers, when they mean as they seem, and when they carry two faces under one hood, which amongst honest men is called double-dealing; and this not so much in respect of themselves, for I have not had much familiarity with any of these seven; but in respect of those from whom they seem to have had their false informations concerning me; there being not one of them that ever reproved me to my face for any thing that I ever said or did, or that ever applied themselves to me with Friends in a Christian way, to shew me wherein I walked erroneously or scandalously: but all they have done or spoken to my disparagement, hath been behind my back; whil’st, wheresoever they met me, they nevertheless saluted me as a Friend: How this kind of behaviour can be justified, I professe I understand not.
And upon what grounds these seven men subscribe this Epistle, I do not apprehend; for, as for Mr Kiffin, I never had an unfriendly word or countenance from him; nor from Mr Rosier, but kind respects wherever I met them: for Mr Foster, and Mr Burnet, I know them not by name, nor can’t ghesse who they are: Mr Lordall, and Mr Price have been somewhat shy a good while, about our different judgment for seasons of petitioning; but especially, since at Kingston, before his Excellency, I gave my reasons against the raising of a new Regiment for the Tower of London; proposing the place to be guarded with Citizens, as a means to preserve trade, and the affection of the City to the Army; which I still judge was honest and good councel: but their Friends pursued the contrary, and prevailed; and ever since, these have cast an ill eie upon me, and as I have heard, have reproacht me much behind my back.
And for Mr Arnald, just before the New Model, he groundlesly reported to the Lieutenant Generall Cromwel, that I held correspondence with Oxford, though at the same time I held daily meetings, and intimate Discourse with Mr John Goodwin, Mr Henry Burton, Mr Peters, Mr Hilsly, Mr Lilburn, and others, and continued so after with the best respect; but I could never get so much satisfaction among them for so grosse an injury, as to know his Author, I only was answered, that I saw none of them had an ill thought of me: but since he understood I knew of this his injury to me, he hath ever hated me, and sought to do me mischief, giving out confidently, that I am a Jesuite; and he now fixes his name, I fear, malliciously, to things I am sure it is impossible for him to know or for any man in the world: for what is false hath no essence or reallity; but it is sutable to his practise towards me, and so I wonder not to finde his name there: though at others, I cannot sufficiently wonder:
In the yeer 1646, whilst the army was victorious abroad, through the union and concurrence of conscientious people, of all judgments, and opinions in religion; there brake forth here about London a spirit of persecution; whereby private meetings were molested, & divers pastors of congregations imprisoned, & all threatned; Mr. Edwards, and others, fell foule upon them, with his Gangreen after Gangreen, slander upon slander, to make them odious, and so to fit them for destruction, whether by pretence of law, or open violence he seemed not to regard; and amongst the rest, abused me, which drew from me a whisper in his ear, and some other discourses, tending to my own vindication, and the defence of all conscientious people: and for which had then much respect from these very men, that now asperse me themselves, with the very same, and some other like aspertions, as he then did.
Persecution increased in all quarters of the land, sad stories coming dayly from all parts, which at length were by divers of the Churches, my self, and other friends, drawn into a large petition; which I professe was so lamentable, considering the time, that I could hardly read it without tears: and though most of those that are called Anabaptists and Brownists congregations, were for the presenting of it; yet Master Goodwins people, and some other of the Independent Churches being against the season, it was never delivered.
But troubles still increasing, another petition, not so large, was prepared, and at length agreed to by all sorts of conscientious people, that were opposite to persecution: and all this while I was acceptable among them; only some grudgings I perceived in Master John Price, which I imputed to some weakness inclyning to emulation: and all the strife about this petition also, was the season: multitudes with me being for the presenting, and the Independents against it: in conclusion, a finall meeting there was, where before I came was disperst the most shameful assertion of me, that ever was uttered of man: and which did render me so obnoxious to that meeting, that all I spake was construed to the worst; and caused so great a clamour and discontent, that he who had the petition and hands in keeping, rent it in peeces; and so the meeting ended.
Towards the conclusion whereof, Major Robert Cobet pulls me by the arm to speak with me, so I took Master Davis, and Master Antrobus and others with me; and master Cobet told me before them, that one master Husbands a linnen draper in Corn-hill, being at Lieutenant Generalls house, there openly avouched that I was an Atheist and denier of Scriptures, a loose and vitious man, and that abusing my self with a lew’d woman, she puting me in mind of that place of Scripture, that whoremongers and adulterers God would judge, that I should make answer, what do ye tell me of that Idle book?
Telling me withall, that this report was gone all about the town, and was the cause I was so ill resented by the present meeting; I confess, I was amazed to hear this, but whilst he was telling me this foule story, he espies master Husbands, and calls him to us; telling him he was declaring to master Walwyn here, pointing to me, what he heard him declare at the Lieutenant Generalls, says master Husbands, I wish you had not spoken of it, for I find it is a mistake, the thing is not true of master Walwyn, it is another; so he suffered himself to be thorowly reproved by those present, and he seemed then to be sorry for it; but aspersions fly faster, then any man can fetch them back, and so did this, to my extream desparagement: and it served their turn at that meeting to blast all the reason I spake, and to destroy that petition:
And those who had made use of this reproach, and so made themselves guilty, as the manner of men is, resolved to disparage me to purpose, and thereupon some leading people of master John Goodwins, set themselves down as a Committee, calling before them, all they could finde had ever conversed with me, to inform whatsoever I had said, that might tend to my disparagement: this is some three yeers since: and so by way of articles, most of the aspersions now in this book, were then collected, which I had continuall notice of as they came in, and who did inform: and who would not, but declared confidently they were perswaded from long and much familiarity, that I was really honest and conscientious; amongst which Mr. Henry Brandriff, Captain Chaplain, Mr. Weekes and others;
Neverthelesse the violent party, as Mr. John Price, and others, would go on with their articles: me thoughts it was a strange work, for a people who called themselves the people of God: but so they did; and at length had possest divers, who formerly had well respected me, that I was a dangerous man and not fit for society; whereupon it was desired by my friends, and agreed unto by theirs, that a meeting should be on both parties; and their articles should be heard, and I have freedom to make my defence, and the place appointed was the Dolphin in Corn-hill, where I and my friends kept our time and continued there, but on their parts none came.
And Mr. Brandriff, my then intimate friend, perswaded me it was not fit, things should come to such a height, that it would make but rejoycing for our enemies; that he was confident, there was no real enmity, but only causes doubts and jealousies, and that if I would but vindicate my judgement concerning the Scriptures, and my owning of them, I should find they had nothing to object against me, and that they and I should be as good and as loving friends as ever.
Whereunto I was very inclinable, as having never born any man a grudge for any injury ever done me, esteeming the doer by wounding his own conscience; to be punished sufficiently; nor do I relate these things in way of revenge, but only as to do my self right, and to free my wife and children from the reproach of having so unworthy a husband and Father, and the cause I honour, from having so vile a servant as these would make me, I told him my whisper to Mr. Edwards and my other writings did sufficiently testifie I owned the Scriptures, and he confest it, but yet wisht me to do something particularly, to that end:
About this time upon occasion of Mr. Edwards, writings (I take it) came forth Mr. John Goodwins Haggio-Mastix, wherein to the apprehension of some eminent men: he in effect denied the scriptures to be the word of God, and much discourse, and great complaint there was about it, in so much as Collonel Leighs Committee had it brought before them, where it was my lot to be, when the passage concerning the Scriptures was read openly by one, that amongst others, informed against it: and where it was called a most impious, blasphemous Book, and ordered to be seized, all of them immediatly;
That Committee was of a most persecuting disposition, and dealt most frowardly with divers conscientious people; with whom, and in whose behalf, I continually appeared, as for Mr. Kiffin, Mr. Patience, and many others, I cannot now remember: and Henry, Mr. Overtons man the book-seller, that, as I am told, prints this unchristian book, called, Walwyns Wiles, might remember who it was that gave timely notice of the order for seizing his Master’s Books (for he printed Hagio Mastix) and in thankfulnesse for the courtesie done to his dead Master, might have forborn to have done me such a discourtesie: but it hath been my usuall payment for all my services to that sort of men.
Divers did observe a strange providence, that those who had so scandalized me for a denier of Scriptures, should from a pen, wherein they were all concerned, receive occasion of so great suspicion, and be put themselves upon a work of vindication on his behalf: And though they called it, a Candle to light the Sun (as esteeming it altogether superfluous) yet many still say, it needs to be more cleared.
And hence some of my Friends perswaded me I needed not to publish my Vindication concerning the Scriptures, for satisfaction of those, who had enough to do for their own Vindication: yet because I was willing to stand clear in the sight of all men, I published my Still and soft voyce, against which I never yet heard any objection: And one of Mr Goodwin’s People, namely, Mr Davenish, meeting me a few daies after in the Court of Requests, saluted me kindly, and gave me thanks for publishing that Book; I told him, I was glad understanding men approved it, and did hope it would be profitable to the publique: he replyed, it would be so, and that he should make it his rule.
And so a good while after this, I had much respect from many of them, and not an ill look from any: but though Mr Leigh’s Committee extremely perplexed honest people about their private meetings and doctrines, yet did this sort of men that traduce me appear very slenderly in comparison of others, that were thought to be lesse concerned.
In conclusion, that Committee and their Favourers in both Houses grew to so great a height, that the Generality of Congregations, and others, resolved to bear testimony openly against the same, as being contrary to the many Declarations of Parliament, and as doing the very same things they had condemned in the high Commission: and thereupon drew up a Petition, wherein they did parallel all the former practises complained of in the Star Chamber and high Commission, with the present proceedings; which Petition was drawn and debated by many persons chosen purposely thereunto, and indeed was the most serious of any that was presented (which the Author of this Pamphlet, I perceive, tearms sharpnesse and provoking) and imputes it unto me.
This Petition was taken before it was handed, and questioned as a scandalous and seditious paper, and committed to Mr Leigh’s Committee to enquire after the Authors and Promoters; and Mr Lamb, at whose meeting place it was taken, ordered to appear there: this occasioned a very great appearance in the owning of it, by aboundance of consciencious honest people, and that occasioned some discontent in the Committee, which begot the commitment of Major Tulidah, and Mr Tue; and that occasioned another Petition to the House, and that another, untill the last and the first large one were ordered to be burnt by the common Hangman; in all which time of motion and trouble, most of the uppermost Independents stood aloof, and look’d on: whil’st Mr Stasmore, Mr Highland, Mr Davis, Mr Cooper, Mr Thomas Lamb of the Spittle, and very many more, for many weeks continually plied the House.
The Petition is yet to be seen, and is fraught with aboundance of good things, such as I really desired the House would have granted; and I think it had been happy for them that burnt it, rather to have granted it, and most happy for the Commonwealth: So that it’s an extreme mistake to imagine, that I, or any that I ever knew, petitioned for such things as we did hope the Parliament would not grant: Indeed, we had cause to doubt they would not, but we conceived they ought, the things being evidently just; and we conceived if they would not, ’twas more then we knew before we ask’d; and we knew it was our duty to ask, and that upon such evidence of reason and equity which that Petition holds forth, as should leave a testimony to the world, that we understood our rights, and did in an humble petitioning way demand them.
But this bustling unkind dealing with Petitioners for many weeks together, and the burning of a Petition so just and necessary, so opened the eies of the people in all places, that it was both grieved and wondred at; all men evidently seeing, that we were likely, though the Common Enemy was vanquished, to be liable to the same, or worse bondage, notwithstanding all the bloud and misery it had cost to be delivered there from.
And when this was discerned, then some of my now Adversaries began to approve of our motions, and they and I began to come a little nearer together, and had joynt meetings and debates; and Mr John Price may, and cannot but remember an evenings journey he and I made into Drury-lane to the Lieutenant Generall, and what satisfaction we received; what aboundance of friendly discourse we had all the way going and comming, and parted in a most kind and cordiall manner; rejoycing on my part, as having no grain of rancour remaining in me, and thought it had been so on his; if it were not, God forgive him.
But the effect was, we all, both his Friends and mine, joyned in a Petition, the last and most sharp of any, as is yet to be seen; wherein he knows was not only his and mine advice, but many others: so that to say, I delight or design provocations to Authority, is a grosse abuse; if there were any, it is, he knows, to be shared amongst he knows whom, as well as us.
And, as unadvised, it is to lay to my charge the opposing of all Authority that ever was: for let them tell me what Authority they opposed not; the Kings and Bishops they cannot deny; and the Parliament and Presbyterian, I think, they will confesse; and truly I never opposed since, except to insist for such just things as were promised, when the Army first disputed, be called an opposition: and such as are not only fix’d in my mind, but in the minds of thousands more that then owned the proceedings of the Army, and ventered their lives for them, when these that now revile me, stood aloof, seeing it neither just nor seasonable.
And truly, that they have sate themselves down on this side Jordan, the reason is somewhat too evident, for men that would not be thought men of this world; it is but a promised land, a promised good that I and my Friends seek, it is neither offices, honours nor preferments, it is only promised Freedom, and exemption from burdens for the whole Nation, not only for our selves; we wish them peace, we repine not at any mans honour, preferment or advantage; give us but Common Right, some foundations, some boundaries, some certainty of Law, and a good Government; that now, when there is so high discourse of Freedom, we may be delivered from will, power, and meer arbitrary discretion, and we shall be satisfied: if to insist for this, be to oppose Authority, what a case are we in? Certainly were these men in our case, or were they sensible of the price it hath cost this Nation to purchase Freedom, they would think it deserved more then the meer name thereof.
And how I can be charged to make it my work to divide the Army, I cannot see; I only pursue the establishment of Freedom, and redresse of Grievances, I have ever pursued, and which are not yet obtained; so also have done many in the Army. It is in the Army, as it is between these mens Friends and mine; some content themselves with present enjoyments, others with the Commonwealth at more certainty in the foundations of Freedom; and for my part, I ever most earnestly desired their union, so it were in good, and for that Freedom and good to the Nation for which, I believe, most of them have fought; and if they divide for want of it, they divide them that keep them from it, and not I, that wish with all my heart that cause of division were not.
The Lieutenant Generall well knows (for I visited him often in Drury-lane about that time that Mr Price was there with me) how much I desired the union of the Army; and though it then divided, it was not esteemed a fault in those that separated themselves for good, but blameworthy in those that would not unite, except for evil: So that to unite, or divide, is not the thing; but whether in good, or evil, is the main of all; and by which, my Adversaries and I shall one day be judged, though now they have taken the Chair, and most uncharitably judge me of evil in every thing wherein I move, or but open my mouth.
And the Lieutenant Generall also knows, upon what grounds I then perswaded him to divide from that Body, to which he was united; that if he did not, it would be his ruine, and the ruine of the Generall, and of all those Worthyes that had preserved us; that if he did do it in time, he should not only preserve himself and them, and all consciencious people, but he should do it without spilling one drop of bloud; professing, that if it were not evident to me that it would be so, I would not perswade him; and that I would undertake to demonstrate to him that it would be so; and so, through God’s goodnesse, and the zeal and affections of these mens now despised Friends, it came to passe: so far was I ever from advising unto bloud: whereas these men would suppose me to be delighted with nothing more then slaughter and confusion.
Well, I had no shew of enmity from them all the time the Army disputed with the Parliament, but they would, divers of them, come home to my house day by day, and sit and discourse friendly, and cheerfully, and seriously, of the present affairs, and refresh themselves in my Garden with that simple entertainment I use unto my Friends; and when they had done, I would bring them on their way, and they as kindly bring me back; and so joy’d was I really with this (as I thought) renewed affection, that I would often say within my self, and to some others, I now see, The falling out of Lovers is the renewing of Love.
Nay, so great a testimony I then had, from my continued Friend Mr Brandriffe, that greater could not be; for it was his lot to discourse with one Major West, a Gentleman, I take it, of Cambridge-shire, who was to have gone for Ireland: this Gentleman told him divers secret things, that rightly ordered, were very usefull at that time: Mr Brandriffe thinks me the fittest man to be acquainted therewith, tels me of it, and brings him to my house, to whom I was not altogether a Stranger, so he opens his breast to me in such things, that as the times were, if I had been base, or false-hearted, might have cost him his life; I say, as the times were: but I proved as Mr Brandriffe had reported me to him, and kept his councel.
Well, very good Friends we were all; and I was by very eminent persons of the Army, sent for to Reading, to be advised withall touching the good of the people, a study my Conscience had much addicted me to; and after this, no jarr appeared amongst us till the Army had past through the City, nor untill the businesse of the Tower aforementioned befell: But then, instead of Arguments against mine, and my Friends Reason, aspersions were produced; and then afresh, we were Atheists, Non-Scripturists, jesuites and any thing to render us odious. This, whil’st I remained there, begot a great falling out amongst our Friends and theirs in London; which upon my comming (looking upon it as a thing of very ill consequence) I prevailed for a reconcilement: so far have I ever been from dividing, that I believe all those with whom I have most converst, judge no man more deserves the name of a Reconciler.
But about this time I met with that Gentleman, Major West, in the street, and he looks upon me somewhat ghastly, saying, what are you here? yes, said I, why not? why, saies he, being at my Lord Mayors, you were there said to be the most dangerous, ill-conditioned man alive; that you seek to have the City destroyed; that you would have no Government, and all things common, and drive on dangerous designs: saies I, who is it that avouches this? why, saies he, Henry Brandriffe, who saies, he knows it to be true, and that he hath kept you company these seven years, of purpose to discover you: I professe, I was so astonisht to hear this from Mr Brandriffe, that I had no thought (nor did not then call to mind) how upon intimate intire friendship, he had brought this Mr West to unbosome himself unto me, in a matter of so great concernment; so I past it over, and parted with him.
But in a little ruminating of the strangenesse and horriblenesse of this dealing, the businesse of Major Wests comming to me with Mr Brandriffe, withall circumstances came fresh into my mind; and about a week after, I met with Major West in Bishops-gate-street, and after a salute, askt him, if he had seen Mr Brandriffe: he told me, he had, and that he was of the same mind, and would justifie it, for he had kept me company seven years to discover me: upon this I askt him, whether he did not remember, that Mr Brandriffe (upon pre-discourse) did bring him to my house to discover such and such things to me, as the fittest Friend he had? he answered me, yes: and were they not such things, said I, that if I had been base and deceitfull, might have been much to your prejudice, as the times then were? yes, saies he: said I, did he then know me to be base, and to carry on dangerous designs, and had kept me company seven years to discover me, and would he bring you to discover such things, and to unbosome your self to me? said I, whether was he most false to you, or to me? he makes a stand a little while; truly, saies he, he must be very false and unworthy to one of us: So I wisht him to consider, what strange kind of men these were, and how a man might come to know when they meant good faith in their discourse and society amongst men.
This Discourse I have set down thus punctually, because a person of so good credit as this Major West is, is ready, as he told me lately, to avouch this that Mr Brandriffe said of me; and because it is their usuall way to beget credit in the foulest aspersions they cast upon me, by saying, this is certain, I kept him company so long of purpose to discover him, and will rather injure their own conscience then want of belief, for I am confident Mr Brandriffe in all his society with me, had not an ill thought of me; if he did keep me company so long for ill and unworthy ends, to entrap and make the worst of every thing I said (which I cannot believe) he was the more unworthy; and cannot but lament his condition, or any mans else that useth it: I blesse God, I never was a minute in his company, but upon tearms of true hearty love and friendship; nor ever circumvented him, or any man else; nor have used to carry tales, or to make the worst of mens discourses, but have set my house and heart open at all times to honest men, where they have had a most sincere and hearty welcome; and if any have turned my freedom and kindnesse to my prejudice, God forgive them.
Yea, so far hath it been from being my principle, or practice (as the uncharitable Subscribers of the Epistle Dedicatory to this vain Book, infer) to say or do any thing against him whom I thought engaged to destroy me; that both to those of the Kings Party, with whom I had some acquaintance, and those my old and many Friends of the Presbyterian judgment, in all times; I ever spake and advised them what I thought in my conscience was for their good; perswading with all men to place their happinesse so, as it might be consistent with the freedom, peace and prosperity of the Common-wealth; and, I believe, many will acknowledge they have found my councel good, and wish they had taken it; some having since confest, I have told them truth, when they did not believe it; nor can any of them justly say, and I believe will not say, that ever I abated one sillable of my principle of Common Freedom, nor ever discovered a thought to the prejudice of the Parliament or Commonwealth.
But would these men turn their sight inward, and look into their own hearts, there they would find such a latitude of dissimulation, as is hardly to be found in any sort of men pretending to Religion; as may not only appear by these mens fair carriages outwardly alwaies to me, and Mr Brandriffe’s strange discovery of himself, but in others also of the same people, as Mr Richard Price the Scrivener, the Author of one of the most notorious false scandals contained in the Book.
My first acquaintance with this Mr Richard Price, was by occasion of our Parish businesses in his trade, and that about our Ward; and after that, about a Remonstrance presented to the Common Councel, in all which I found him ingenuous, and so grew to intimacy with him: this was when Alderman Pennington was Lord Mayor, and before Mr John Goodwin had gathered his Church, or at least, before this Mr Price was a Member of it; and I took so much content in his company, that I brought such as I loved most entirely, acquainted with him.
I, through God’s goodnesse, had long before been established in that part of doctrine (called then, Antinomian) of free justification by Christ alone; and so my heart was at much more ease and freedom, then others, who were entangled with those yokes of bondage, unto which Sermons and Doctrines mixt of Law and Gospel, do subject distressed consciences: upon which point, I was frequent in discourse with him, and he would frequently come home to my house, and took much delight in that company he found there; insomuch, as we fell to practice arms in my Garden: and whither he brought his Friends; and Lords daies, and Fast daies he spent usually with us: As for Fasts then, some circumstances of the times and proceedings considered, neither he nor we were satisfied therein, nor hardly any of those that we called Sectaries (or Antinomians, which was then the beam in the eie) about the Town.
It fell out upon a Fast day in the morning, my Friend and I thought fit to give him a visit, to manifest our joy in his society: so comming to his house, he seemed to be exceeding glad, and hastned abroad with us, and we went at last to Basing-shaw Church, it being where my Lord Mayor was to be, as expecting to hear some excellent man there; being there some time, we found the matter so lamentable, as we were all three weary of it: For the truth is, whosoever is clearly possest with this one Doctrine of Free Justification, hath such a touchstone as presently discovers the least contradiction either in Praiers, or Sermons, and what is gold, silver, drosse, hay or stubble: so we all at once together went away, but so, as we could give no offence to the congregation, being not in the body of the Church; (so that the relaters, in saying we had been from Church to Church ) Mr. Cranfords being all we were at before, though he know it hath not been more usuall with any then with themselves, passing to and fro from place to place on the Lords, and Fasts dayes, 4 and 6 of a company spying, watching, and censuring of doctrines (as he that wrote the Book called the Pullpit incendiary, me thinks should be asham’d to seeme ignorant of.
Being come out of the Church, we past the way home-wards; much lamenting the condition of a people under such teachers, being taught scarce any thing to make them either knowing Christians, or good and usefull men; imputing much of the misery of the times to the ignorance or perversnesse of preachers; the greatest part of their time being spent to uphold their interest against Antinomians, Anabaptists, and others, that fell off from their congregations, seldom upon any necessary or usefull doctrine, or if they did, before they had done with it, they contradicted themselves much or little, sufficient to spoil all they had done.
So in short time, we came to my house, where we went on discoursing, from one thing to another, and amongst other things, of the wisdom of the heathen, how wise and able they were in those things, unto which their knowledge did extend; and what pains they took to make men wise, vertuous, and good commonwealths men; how pertinent they were in the things they undertook, to the shame of such Christians, as took upon them to be teachers of others, when they were to seeke in the main principle of their science, with which kinde of discourse, he was very much affected, though it did not appear he had been accustomed to the reading of humane authors; which for twenty yeers before I had been, but I used them alwayes in their due place; being very studious all that time in the Scriptures, and other divine authors, as some of Mr. Perkins works, Mr. Downhams divinity, I had, as it were, without book, also Doctor Halls meditations, and vowes, and his heaven upon earth, and those peeces annexed to Mr. Hookers Ecclesiastical pollicy; hearing, and reading continually; using Seneca, Plutarchs Lives, and Charon of humane wisdom, as things of recreation, wherein I was both pleased, and profited; and truly, I do not see I have cause to repent me of taking liberty in this kinde, having never in my life, I blesse God; made an ill use thereof, amongst which Lucian for his good ends, in discovering the vanity of things in worldly esteem, I like very well, whereof I can read only such as are translated into English; such a wise Jesuite I am, that with all my skill, I cannot construe three lines of any Latin author, nor do understand any, except such common proverbs, as are more familiar in Latine then in English, which sometimes I use not to dignifie my selfe, but because of the pertinency of them in some occasions.
For as this author would infer of me, I do not think any man much the wiser for having many languages, or for having more then one, & though I wish I had the Latin, yet I think it not worth that paines, and time, as is commonly spent in learning; and do beleeve, I had been furnisht with it, (for my parents, I thank them, were not wanting) but for the tediousnesse, and impertinency of my teachers; which since I understand, I often blame in them, which is all I have to say against Latin, or any kind of learning; except that part of it, which puffeth up, and makes men scornfull pedants, despisers of unlearned and illitterate men, a humour, if I mistake not puffeth my present Antagonist:
I see wise, and inconsiderate men too, skillfull in languages, and in arts, and science; I have not much to do with them; my care is rightly to understand my self in my native language, being troubled with no other; and of all I chiefly thank these that employ there charity in translation of well meaning authors, which I hope I may read without asking leave of these that through scrupulosity dare not.
Moses was skilfull in all the learning of the Egyptians, which the Scriptures testifie without reproof, and S. Paul certainly read the poets, and was not abasht to recite one of them; and I am certain most of the university men in England, and most of the liberaries are not without all Lucians works, some whereof, as I am informed, are much more offencive to Christianity then these in English.
And why then I might not without blemish read one of his dialogues to this, Mr. Richard Price, I cannot yet perceive? as I take it we read that which is called his tyrant; a discourse, though possibly not in all things justifiable, yet such as he might have made a better use of, being so pointed against ambition, pride and coveteousnesse as he might have been the better for it whilst he lived: as for me I count him a very weak man, that takes harm by reading it or any such like things.
The truth is, for many yeers my books, and teachers were masters in a great measure of me; I durst scarce undertake to judge of the things I either Read, or heard: but having digested that unum necessarium, that pearle in the field, free justification by Christ alone; I became master of what I heard, or read, in divinity: and this doctrine working by love; I became also, much more master of my affections, and of what ever I read in humane authors, which I speak not as Glorying in my self, but in the author of that blessed principle; which I did long before, and then (and do still) prize at so inestimable a value; that I was far from any such thought of impious blasphemy, as to say, here is more wit in this (meaning Lucian) then in all the bible: all our discourse was before my wife and children, and my friend, and a maid servant that had dwelt with us then three years, and since hath made them up nine yeers; I dare appeale to them all if ever they heard me value any, or all the Books, or Sermons either, in the world Comparable to the Bible; so as, but that I have since had some experience of the easinesse of Mr. Price his conscience? I should even expire with wonder, at his impudence, and at his uncharitablenesse, that he and his friends, people of a Church, that call themselves Saints, and a people of God, should harbour this wretched slander six yeares amongst them, and be bringing it forth this time, and that time, but finde no time their season but when I was violently taken out of my bed, and house, and made a prisoner: if this be their way of visiting of prisoners, would not it make men think they had forgot the Scriptures; nay, might they not go to the heathens to learn some Charity.
Where is Charity? Where is love? that true Christian love, which covereth a multitude of sins; but that there should be malice, inventive, inveterate malice, in place thereof: certainly were your Church truly a Church of Christs making, it would deserve a heavy Censure.
Our Saviour sends the sluggard to the Ant: the over carefull and distrustfull to the lilies of the field, and may not I send these to heathens, to get some charity?
Mr. Price, I blush not to say, I have been long accustomed to read Montaigns Essaies, an author perhaps youle startle at; nor do I approve of him in all things, but ile read you a peece or two, that will be worth your study; though he be an author scarce so modest as our Lucian.
Speaking in his 12 chap. page. 244. Of Christian religion, he saith thus,
“If this ray of Divinity, did in any sort touch us, it would every where appear: not only our words, but our actions, would bear some shew, & lustre of it. Whatsoever should proceed from us, might be seen inlightned, with this noble and matchlesse brightnesse. We should blush for shame that in humane sects, there was never any so factious, what difficulty or strangenesse soever his Doctrine maintained; but would in some sort conform his behaviour, and square his life unto it; whereas so divine and heavenly an institution, never marks Christians but by the tongue: And will you see whether it be so? Compare but our manners unto a Turk, or a Pagan, and we must needs yeild unto them: whereas in respect of our religious superiority, we ought by much, yea, by an incomparable distance outshine them in excellency, And well might a man say, Are they so just, so charitable, and so good, then must they be Christians. All other outward shows, and exteriour appearances, are common to all Religions, as hope, affiance, events, ceremonies, penitence, and Martyrdom; the peculiar badg of our truth should be virtue, as it is the heavenlyest, and most difficult mark, and worthyest production of verity it self: And in his twentieth Chapter, pag: 102. he saies, speaking of the Cannibals, the very words that import lying, falshood, treason, dissimulation, covetousnesse, envy, detraction, and pardon, were never heard of amongst them.”
These, and the like flowers, I think it lawfull to gather out of his Wildernesse, and to give them room in my Garden; yet this worthy Montaign was but a Romish Catholique: yet to observe with what contentment and full swoln joy he recites these cogitations, is wonderfull to consideration: And what now shall I say? Go to this honest Papist, or to these innocent Cannibals, ye Independent Churches, to learn civility, humanity, simplicity of heart; yea, charity and Christianity.
This hath been an old long-rooted slander, and hath therefore cost me thus much labour to stock it up: As for my breach of the Fast, one would think Mr John Goodwin’s playing at Bowls upon a Fast day in the afternoon, a while after this, and which he did not seem to judge a fault, but as it was an offence against the reputation of his faculty, might have stopt these mens mouths in that particular: Nor would I ever have revived the memory of it, but their triumphing thus in slanders against me, deserves their abasement and humiliation.
Of whom this Mr Richard Price receives instruction, I know not; but this is he that with knowledge, if not direction of their Church, undertook to betray the King into the hands of the Governour of Alisbury, under pretence of giving up Alisbury unto him, in lieu of Liberty of Conscience (that was the gold upon the bait) and did go, and spake with him; and how many untruths in such a case he was forc’d to utter with confidence, may easily be judg’d; and where he had a rule for this being a Christian, for my part I am to seek; the Apostle thought himself injured, that it was reported, he maintained that evil might be done, that good might come thereof. And since treachery seems so slight a matter, with these Churchmen, I shall make bold to send them again to this Lord Montaign, in his third Book, and first Chapter, pag: 443. he saith thus;
“To whom should not treachery be detestable, when Tiberius refused it on such great interest? One sent him word out of Germany, that if he thought good, Arminius should be made away by poyson; he was the mightyest enemy the Romans had, who had so vilely used them under Varus, and who only impeached the increase of his Dominion in that Country; his answer was, That the People of Rome were accustomed to be revenged on their enemies by open courses, with weapons in hand, not by subtilties, nor in hugger-mugger: thus left he the profitable for the honest, in 447. As for my part (saith Montaign) both my word and my faith are as the rest, pieces of this common body, their best effect is the publique service; that’s ever presupposed with me: But as if one should command me to take charge of the Rols or Records of the Pallace, I would answer, I have no skill in them, or to be a Leader of Pioners; I would say, I am called to a worthier office: Even so, who would go about to employ me not to murther, or poyson? but to lye, betray, or forswear my self, I would tell him, if I have rob’d or stoln any thing from any man, send me rather to the Galleys; for a Gentleman may lawfully speak, as did the Lacedemonians, defeated by Antipater, upon the points of their Agreement: You may impose as heavy burthens, and harmfull taxes upon us, as you please; but you lose your time to command us any shamefull or dishonest thing. Every man should give himself the oath which the Egyptian Kings solemnly and usually presented to their Judges, Not to swerve from their Consciences, what command soevior they should receive from themselves to the contrary. In 448. he saith thus, What is lesse possible for him to do, then what he cannot effect without charge unto his faith.”
It will, I know, be wondred at, that I thus enlarge my self; but these things are so rich and excellent, that I cannot but insist upon them, and am in some hope to convert my Adversaries, which hath ever been my aim, equall to my own vindication; for I recite these passages, because I am in love with them, wishing them also of the same mind, for I wish them no worse then I wish to my self: or if I fail of this, yet I am desirous and hopefull to better other men by the things I write.
These are the plainnesses wherein I have ever delighted; so far am I from that politique, crafty, subtil and hidden reservedness, which this Author would perswade the world I abound withall; exercising his wit so exquisitly in decyphering me out to be a man of so large capacity and ability, as for my part I do not believe there is any man in the world so; much lesse my self, who setting aside a little consideration and experience, united to an upright conscience, have nothing to please my self withall: Nor do I much desire those extraordinary parts, which are seldom employed to their right end, being commonly tempted, to serve some Politicians ends; as may be seen rather in the abilities and application of them, in this Author; for he hath drawn such a picture of mans ability, as shews only his own parts in so doing; and applyes them to me, that have no part of them, of purpose to make me vile, lifts me up to the top of the pinacle, that he may cast me down to my greater ruine.
Truly, I never thought a good cause ever needed such workings as he exalts himself (not me) withall: and I dare appeal to those many my Friends, that I daily and hourly converst withall for some years now in publique businesses, whether ever they saw more plainnesse and open-heartednesse in man: Indeed, if I suspected any man inclinable to ensnare me, as these mens practises, made me of late somewhat wary; I had reason to be carefull. And whereas he taxes me of heightening mens discontents, I believe till now, they are pleased (not without particular morsels) none were more apt thereto then themselves: but the world is well amended with them, and every other mans mouth must be stopt on pain of Treason.
I am not more pleased with the former sayings of Montaign, then with what he saies in pag: 449.
“I have therfore placed Epaminondas in the first rank of virtuous men, and now recant it not: unto what a high pitch raised he the consideration of his particular duty? Who never slew man he had vanquished; Who for the invaluable good of restoring his Country her liberty, made it a matter of Conscience to take away any mans life, without a due and formall course of Law; and who judged him a bad man (how good a Citizen soever) that amongst his enemies, and in the fury of a battail, spared not his friend, or his honor, to here a mind of a rich composition.”
And truly, I boast not, but these things have long since made so deep impression in me, that I have been extreamly mistaken by those, that gave out, there was a plot amongst us to murther the King, when he was at Hampton Court, and as much these that now start that other as base, of an intention to murther the Lieutenant Generall, they are wayes neither justifiable nor profitable; for where should such courses end, or what could more disparage that side that began it; I wish you would be but as carefull to preserve intirely, the due and formall course of Law to every man, without exception, friend, or foe, as we have been: and though at present you may please your selves with the sufferings of your adversaries (as you fancy them) yet you do therein but tread down your own hedges, and pluck up that Bank that lets in the sea of will, and power, overwhelming your own liberties.
But before I part with this Mr. Richard Price; I have another thing to lay to his charge, and that is; That he should say, I had a hand in that plot where Read, and Sir Basil-brook were in question: in so much as my friends came running to me with tears in their eyes, and all from his unadvised speeches: was this like a friend, with whom you had eaten, and drunk, and discoursed familiarly, and from whom you had taken some small tokens of sincere affection; as the books entituled Luthers Christian liberty, The benefits of Christs death, Freemans meditations, and as I remember; Christs Councell to Loadicea; and since I was so far from retorting this injury upon you, as that after it, I chose rather to convince you by love, and as a testimony of my good respects to you, sent you the Hystory of Thucidides, wherewith I was much delighted, truly I wonder nothing could keep you from bearing me rancour thus long, and to watch this time of any, to slay me with your unjust report.
And truly, upon occasion lately, making my moan of this kinde of usage to one of their own people, that had received extream prejudice against me upon these, & the like false reports, which upon some discourse with a friend of mine first, and afterwards with my friend, and I together, he did professe much greef, for my hard usage; and told me that he did impute most of all this to pride, and emulation, from this Mr. Price, and in that my pen in Petitions (which otherwise was his work and trade) was many times accepted, if it be so it is a sad story indeed, his own conscience only knows whether it be so or not.
Yet I cannot but fear most of all the injuryes of this nature I have received, have proceeded from this ground, for otherwise I am certain, I have given no occasion to that Congregation, whereas most of my reproaches come from them. And since I am thus fallen upon Mr. Richard Price, there is yet another of that name of this congregation, and is this Mr. Richard Price his unckle and Mr. Hilleslyes son in law: from this Mr. Price I heard the first aspersion, that ever I heard of my self, and it was thus,
Standing in Cornhill, at a Book-sellers shop, a man comes and looks me very earnestly in my face, I took little regard to it and went away, I was no sooner gone, but sayes he to the Book seller, You are acquainted with all the sparcks in the town; sparcks saies he, the man seemes to be a rational man: but, replied the party, I am told he is a notorious drunkard, and a whore master, and that he painted his face, but I see thats false: whereupon the Book-seller having some knowledge of me, became troubled on my behalf; and fell to be very serious with him, to know his author, and he honestly tells him, naming this Mr. Price a mercer; and the Book-seller soon after tells me the whole story, and the authors name, saying, he had been abused himself with base reports; and a man might be undone by them, and never know it, till t’was too late, and therefore had resolved to hear no evil of any man, but if he could he would learn the author, and tell the party concernd of it: this Book seller is Mr. Peter Cole at the sign of the Printing presse, and I esteem my self obliedged to him, ever since for his plain dealing:
So away went I to this Mr. Price, for I was somewhat troubled having never heard, evil of my self till then: and I found him at Mr. Hilslies, and in a friendly manner made him acquainted, with my businesse; he did not deny but he had spoken as much; and that walking in Westminister hall, he was called from me, and bid beware of me for I was supposed to be a Papist, and a dangerous man: but he had not spoken any evil of me, as beleeving any of it to be true? so I told him he and I had come acquainted upon a very honest businesses about the remonstrance presented to the Common-councel, and therefore why he should suffer such words to passe from him concerning me, I did wonder at it; I told him how with very little enquiry he might soon have been satisfied, that I was no such man; askt him if he knew any at Garlick-hill, where I had lived fifteen yeers together, in good and honest repute; and where he ought to have informed himself; and not so unadvisedly to disparage me: he seemed to be sorry for it: so I only desired him to let me know his author, he told me I must excuse him; he might not do it: nor could I ever get him to tell me: so being familiar with my then friend Mr. Brandiff, I askt, whether they had not some rule, or method in their Church, to give a man some satisfaction, that had received palpable injury by a member; come said he I know where abouts you mean; trouble not your self, nobody beleeves it: and this was all I could get in this case: wherein I yet stand injured, and since they are so desirous, more then truth should be beleeved of me: I think it fit this which is certainly true, should be known of their dealing with me.
Nor can any ingenious people now blame me, for being thus open, and particular, since this sort of independents have made thus bold with my good name so long a time, and since it is evident that manifestation dated the 14 of April 1649. Published by my self, and my other three fellow sufferers, that I was willing to have vindicated my self, from those common reproaches, they had asperst me withall without naming or reflecting upon any person, or any sort of men whatsoever, so carefull have I ever been, as much as in me is to have peace with all men; bearing, and forbearing to my own losse, rather then I would return evil for evil. But their malice breaking thus fouly out upon me, in this vile book; I should be unjust to my self, if I should not do my best endeavour to manifest so detestable falsenesse, uttered to so bad an end, in so unseemly a time (the time of my affliction) which I shall do with as much truth, as I can remember, professing withall from my very heart, and conscience, that I take no more pleasure in doing of it, then I should do in gathering up, and throwing away Snakes, and Vermin scattered in my Garden; and do wish with all my soul they had not necessitated me, nor my other fellow-prisoners, to have exceeded our joynt Manifestation; but that we might all have been good friends thereupon.
In which Manifestation, is to be seen all our very hearts, and wherein all our four heads, and hands were nigh equally employed, though this capritious author (Mr. John Price, its said) be pleased to suppose me to be all in all therein; yet I must, and truly professe the contrary: and must be bold to tell them, where my friend Lieutenent Collonel John Lillburn, appeares otherwise in any of his writings; I do not impute it to passion, as his adversaries politiquely are accustomed; to take weak people off from the consideration of what he says: but unto his zeal against that injustice, cruelty, hypocrisies arrogancy, and flattery, which he hath found amongst a sort of men, from whom of any men in the world, he expected the contrary virtues; being otherwise to my knowledge, and upon experience, a very lamb in conversation; and whom goodnesse, and love, and piety, justice, and compassion, shall as soon melt, and that into tears (I hope he will pardon my blabbing) as any man in the world: but he hates all kinde of basenesse, with a perfect hatred: especially that of ingratitude, which he hath found, I have heard him say, so exceeding all measure, in some of the subscribers of this pamphlet, that it loathes him to think of it.
And as for my friend, Mr. Prince, whom this self-conceited author, would make so weak in judgment, as to have no abillity towards such a work; it is his unhappinesse to be so exceedingly mistaken; yet I must tell him, he hath given him so true a character, for honesty, and sincerity of heart, towards the publick, which in my esteem, doth more commend him, then if he had attributed to him, all those parts & abilities, he falsly, and for an ill end, doth unto me: lifting me up to heaven, that he might cast me down to hell: making me an Angel, that he might make me a Devil: which parts are more abounding in himself, as is to be seen in this his unhappy Book, and for which he will one day sigh and groan, except he make a better use of them.
But Mr. John Price, Mr. Prince hath not a congregation to cry up his parts; amongst whom there is such a humor of flattery, as is not to be found the like again amongst any sort of men; Oh such a Sermon, such a discourse, such arguments, as never was heard of; when oftentimes ’tis meer lamp work, and ink horn termes; such as the three first yeers in the University; or the first yeer of a sound consideration, with a sincere conscience, would be ashamed of. But were Mr. Prince of one of your congregation, & had but run with the stream, and turned with the times, as most of you have done; could he but have changed his principles with his condition; would he (as he was tempted by some of you) have belyed his friends, & betrayed his cause, Oh what a man of parts Mr. Prince had been; what could Mr. Prince have wanted, that those men had to give: but to their shame, let them know, Mr. Prince values the integrity of his conscience above his life, or any thing in this world; and for which he deserveth the love of all sound hearted men.
But Mr. John Price, you that make it so strange a thing for any man, to own in the substance, what another hath penn’d; there is a book with Mr. John Prices name at it, of no long date; and the subject of it is about the King-ship of the People: to me it seems not to be the stile of Mr. John Price: I am against examining you, upon questions against your self; but there are (Knaves and Fools in Folio, a book so called) that seems to claim kindred of Mr. John Price in that peice; and if you be but a God-father; (and it be now against your judgement to be such) yet since the childe beares your name, and tis a pretty handsome one, be not ashamed still to own it; but if you be, the childe shall not want, I’le undertake to finde the right Father: so much for Mr. Prince.
And for the complexion of my Friend Mr Overtons pen, truly it commonly carries so much truth and reason in it, though sometimes in a Comick, and otherwhiles in a Satyrick stile, that I do not wonder you shun its acquaintance; and you did wisely by this touch and glance, think to passe him by without provoking of him: But look to your selves, and say, I gave you lawfull warning; for he, I assure ye, knows when, and when not, to answer such as you according to your folly: And truly, but that it is against the nature of impudence to blush, the complexion of the pen engaged in this your unseemly discourse, might well turn Cowler, in correction of his: but he is old enough, let him answer for himself,
But why come their lines from them, as through a Prison-gate, Mr Price? Are Prisons, in your Divinity, such ominous things? The Primitive Christians, and the Martyrs in Queen Maries daies, did not esteem them so. But it seems your Congregation is of a near relation to those that hold prosperity a mark of the true Church; and it will be good for those amongst you, that are yet sincere in their Consciences, in time to consider it, and to enquire amongst all those Churches the Apostles wrote to, where they find a Warrant for such slanderous and backbiting practises as you are accustomed unto, licking up the very foam and dregs of Mr Edwards his Gangrena; yea, your own vomit and poyson which then you cast out upon him.
But, I confesses you have notable waies to escape imprisonments; you can be for a Kingly Government, and publish to all the world, that Kings are, as the Consecrated Corn, not to be reapt by any humane sickle; and when occasion serves, you can change your copy, and say, you are not bound to declare why your judgment altered: But pray, Mr Goodwin, are you not bound to undeceive those whom by your errour you deceived, as soon as you saw your errour? Sometime your strength is not in an arm of flesh, nor in the power of the Sword, but you no sooner get, as you think, the least hold of it, but the power of the Sword is then the power of God, and then the Saints (meaning no body but your selves) must judge and rule the earth. Indeed Friends, you manifest to all the world, that your waies are the waies rather to good Offices and Benefices too (for else, why are ye now so high for tyths, that some years since were so much against them?) and led to honours, and preferments, and greetings in the market places, rather then to prisons.
Yet are ye furnisht with waies enough to send other men thither; you have one way, is called, Ah Lord! we thank thee we are not as other men: A way to make them first odious, by vindicating your selves in those things whereof no man suspected you, that others might be thought guilty; as you endeavoured by your Declaration, wherein you vindicated your selves from being against Magistracy, or liberty of Conscience, nor for Poligamy, or Community; and this in a time when you had freshly & falsely asperst us, to be opposite to you in all these, purposely to get your Guard into the Tower: and for your abatement, it will not be amisse to let you know how a weak woman answered your strength spent in this elaborate Declaration, at first and in the reading of it; but it was my Wife, and she having been (as you will have it) a Jesuit’s wife this two and twenty years, may have more wit then ordinary.
Saies she, They against Magistracy? Who can suspect them, that hunt and seek for Offices as they do? (now I am sure the City and Customehouse will cry, probatum est); and where you argued your selves to be for liberty of Conscience, saies she, Who have more need? I am sure none use so great a liberty, to raise such vile and false reports as they do (for she hears all you say of me, and about that time, that some of your tribe should report I used her very hardly, and used to beat her; whereas we both know and believe in our consciences, never two in the world lived more comfortably together then we have done, nor have more delighted in one another. And where you declared, you did not hold it lawfull to have more Wives then one, saies she, They that keep their Wives at such a rate as they do, had not need to have more then one apeice, they will find one enough: And where you declared, that you were not for to have all things common, saies she, No, I warrant you they know well enough how to hold their own: are not some of them Usurers? And you know it to be true: but if you deny it, we will find you for this also a probatum; and thus was your mighty Sisera struck through the temples by the hand of a silly Woman: The truth is, ye overween your selves exceedingly, because ye are a little skilfull in talking and writing: But why went ye not on boasting? ye were no hypocrites, no slanderers, no backbiters, no envious, malicious persons, no spies or intelligencers, no covetous or ambitious persons, no hard-hearted or cruell persons: truly you took the better way to vindicate your selves of those things only, that no men accused you of.
Another way ye have to get men into prison, by suggesting fears and jealousies of them into the minds of such as are in power and authority; playing the pick-thanks by such unworthy and uncharitable courses; buzzing continually in their ears, that we drive on dangerous designs; that we are Atheists, Jesuits, and the like, which hath been your common practice: insomuch, as being with Collonel Martin, and another Gentleman, about a month before I was made Prisoner, at Lieutenant Generall Cromwels; and amongst other discourse, wondering why he should suffer me continually at his table to be reproacht, as if I were a Jesuit, and a man of dangerous principles; whereas none in the world could have more testimony of any man to the contrary, then he had of me; and why he did not vindicate me, when he heard me so abused: he told me, that he could not believe those scandals, that he had profest often and again he could not, but they were brought continually to them by Citizens, that were esteemed honest godly men: And truly I do believe in my Conscience, we never had been thus dealt withall as we are, but by your reports; and that we are prisoners more by your occasion then any other.
And what a way did Mr Kiffin, & his Associates, find out as soon as we were in, to rivet us in, with a Petition somewhat like your forementioned Declaration? the scope thereof being truly Pharisaicall: Another, Lord, we thank thee, we are not as other men, &c. Nor as these Publicans. No Anabaptists of Munster (defiling their own nest, as supposing that lying story of that injured people true) and praying the Parliament to be carefull to suppresse all prophanenesse and licenciousnesse: as if we had been such a people: But so justly did this mischief (intended on us) turn on their own heads, that most of their own people abhorred the practice, as Un-Christian; and Mr Thomas Lamb of the Spittle, offered to prove the promoters of it guilty of injustice, arrogance, flattery and cruelty, and to give them a meeting to that purpose; but sure they were asham’d, and durst not, for none of them would undertake him.
Besides these waies of holding Prisoners fast, my back-friend, Mr Arnald, hath a way of going from house to house, to discover matter (there being none at all in these very mens opinions of me) For they all conclude, England’s New Chains, to be none of my indicting: I wonder why then they did not petition, or move for my enlargement. No, besides that I am not of their Church; ’twas good holding a man so hardly to be catcht, that needed horse and foot to catch and fetch him out of his bed: And therfore this Mr Arnald also sends Spies to ensnare and entrap us in our discourse: and for encouragement to those he sends, that they may not scruple, but think they do God good service therein; he professes continually, I am a Jesuit: And now, I believe, finding his errour (for it’s very easily found) he dreads my releasment, as believing I may have remedy at Law for so destructive a slander: and therfore hath thought even to overwhelm me with this floud of aspersions, that I should not possibly escape drowning. But the man’s mistaken, and so are his Abettors and Associates; ’tis but a Vision, a false fantastick apparition; they are all Nothings, meer falsnesses, Serpents of Magicians making, the meer works of a malicious imagination, that by crosse working, forcing and wresting of words and sentences, and by fames and opinions, hath made a kind of crawling thing, that might possibly serve to fright Children, or to please a Church that would go a wool-gathering for a miracle, to confirm its reallity: But truth, which is Moses his Serpent, you shall see will eat them up, and devour them all: Many of them, if you well consider what you have here and elswhere read, being consumed already.
That which remains in generall, is, that I aim at the destroying of Religion, and at the subversion of all Government: But why should I do either? Where’s the advantage? I have alwaies professd the contrary, and ever practised the contrary; as those that reade my Whisper to Mr Edwards, and my still and soft voyce, forementioned, will easily believe. And I begge and intreat both young and old to reade them, before they give sentence in their own hearts of me, that I should be so irreligious, as to utter such profane language concerning the Book of Psalms, or Proverbs, or that horrid expression of the Book of Canticles, as that it was nothing else but one of Salomons Epiphonemaes: a word that I never spake, nor yet know well how to pronounce, nor ever did apply the meaning of it to so vile an end (speak the rest, whoso will for me) and if the Author had had any modesty or Religion in him, however it had come into his thought, he would have silenc’d it, rather then such blasphemy should be seen in print; I abhor the words should be in any of my papers; having never entred my thought, or past my lips.
As true, likewise, are all the other unworthy passages in the 9 and 10 pages of that shamelesse book; they have been all malicious snatchings and gatherings from some officious tongues, at third, fourth or tenth hand; there being nothing but mistakes and misapplications in all of them, contrary to my judgment, or any thing ever intended by me, in my discourse of any of those subjects: And to shew some palpable token, that they are meer malicious smatterings, I appeal to all that know me, whether ever I were heard to commend Plutarch’s Morals to any mans reading; it being a Book, that although I have had above these twenty years, yet I am certain, I never read forty hours therein; though I somewhat blame my self for my neglect, it being so generally commended by wise and judicious men: yet I could never perswade my self to take the pains in reading of it, it being somewhat too tedious for my expectation. And as for Cicero’s Orations, I never had it, have only seen it; and (though very unadvisedly, as I was lately told by one whose judgment I love) am somewhat prejudiced against his writings, as esteeming him a verball and vain-glorious Writer.
I have, indeed, bemoaned the breeding of the Youth of this Nation, as being bred so, as to be artificiall and crafty, rather then truly wise and honest, to be Sophisters, and Pedantick Disputers, and Wranglers about words then of solid judgment: but as for feats of activity, it’s a light expression, to be applyed rather to tumblers, and the like, then to be a part of Childrens breeding; and for Geometry, there may be much in it, and of use: but I have not so much skill in it, as that I could make it matter for my commendation. So that these Intelligencers being engaged in evil designs, and knowing themselves guilty, are confused in their thoughts, their consciences ever flying in their faces; and so they hear otherwise then is uttered, and report different from what they hear, and so prove by a just providence destructive to those that employ them; and it were pity an ill end should be better served.
In the 11 page, because he would not want matter to disparage, he puls in I know not who, that, forsooth, must be of my acquaintance, and speaking absurd profane language, concerning things heavenly, and of God; that I professe I do not think any man in the world would utter, nor think them fit to be repeated, much lesse printed, to save a life: whereas this unhappy Author puts them in a particular character, lest they should passe unobserved; and that not to save, but to destroy me and mine: Who this should be, I cannot ghesse; but it seems, it is a man of parts, possibly, for to have made him an Intelligencer: if so you have given him your reward, slander him, and let him go; and ’tis well he scapes so, as the world goes.
For there are uses for Spies and Intelligencers, that few men dream of, and Mr John Price, and Mr Goodwin, and Mr Lavander, knows of the making of them, their instructions and oaths of employment and secrecy; an office and institution we never read of in all the New Testament: but what wonder if their practice be point-Blanck against the Scriptures, whose structure is not built upon (but borrowed, or rather forc’d upon) that golden foundation?
As for the next passage in the 11 page, that I should affirm the Scriptures to be, and not to be the Word of God; it is such a double way of expression, as I dislike in all men, and avoyd it in all my writings or discourse: but for this, or any thing relating to the Scriptures, I refer the honest-hearted Reader to my still and soft voyce.
And that I should perswade that Gentlewoman next mentioned, to ruine her self, is as false as ever was spoken, as her Husband, her Sisters, her Friend that was continually with her, her Servants and Children, I am confident are all ready to testifie, and some of them I am certain will witnesse, that I used my utmost skill to disswade her, and did manifest as much grief for her, as I never did more for any, except a Child I had, to whom she was Godmother, for she was my true Friend, and her Husband hath for these twelve years (as I have cause to believe) held me as dear to him as any Friend, and so hath continued to the time I came into prison; and her sister that hath been in the most extreme affliction for her, hath yet shewed so much respect to me (with the Gentlewoman that was alwaies with my distressed Friend) as to give me a visit in this my imprisonment, and so also hath two of her Sons: these are truths, and will be believed by all that truly knew both her and me; though Mr Goodwins whole Church should swear the contrary; and from whom she deserved a better regard. I am sorry their hate to me should awake the remembrance of that sad disaster from sleep, where it ought to have rested; she being very religious after the way of Mr Simpson of Allhallowe’s Thames-street, and no admirer of Mr John Goodwin: Insomuch as it was said to her, in her greatest extremity of pain in her head (the greatest, in my apprehension, and most continued, that ever was felt) you have a wise Religion, that cannot bear with a pain in your head: his profession that said it, required another remedy; but as he exceeded in his tongue, he was as short in his brain and hand: Not only she, but her Husband to this hour, being much distrest through such comforters: and it were well some skilfull man would administer some matter to cure the man of his vain-glory, and flashing self conceitednesse, with which he abounds to the destruction of some native goodnesse, & acquired parts; which would otherwise commend him: I could not be more particular in this story, lest I should grieve my friends, who I know cannot but desire this were buried in oblivion.
As false also is that other passage, concerning King James, and King David: it having never been my manner, to use such opprobrious language towards any men; much lesse towards persons of such Eminency; but Generally reproove it.
I have from a serious consideration of Davids offences, and Gods passing them by, and not rejecting of him for them; observed a different way from God, in those of our times, that call themselves Saints, and would be esteemed his nearest servants; for if any man be overtaken in a fault; they are so far from restoring such a one by the spirit of meeknesse: or, reproving him privatly, or by love, as Gods way is; passing by multitudes of sins, and failings; that they make it their meat and drink, yea, they hunger, and thirst after evil reports; yea, send out into the high-wayes, and hedges, and as it were compell men to come in to witnesses and article, against men too, that have hazarded their lives for their good: and with whom they have frequently, familiarly, and intimately conversed; never reproveing them in their lives to their faces: and keep things in boxes, three, four, six, yeers together, watching a season to divulge them to their ruin: as now in mine, & my friends cases.
They that are now advocates for David, if David lived in our dayes, and had not favoured Mr. Goodwins Church-way, and had been guilty of the matter with Bathsheba, and Uriah, where should David have found a place to have hid himself, who amongst them; (according to their present rule with us) would have pleaded for him? nay, had not Davids wiles (pardon the expression) been published in words at length, and not in figures: yet possibly (nay probably) Davids being King had altered the case with these men; especially, if he were supream in power: for they are ever carefull to row with, or not long against the tide: but what (think you) would they not give that they had such matter against me, that make so much to gather up false reports against me; what society should I keep; who would own me, no marvail? now I see, that David being put to his choice; chose rather to fall into the hands of God, then into the hands of men: for with him there is mercy, his mercies are over all his works; he delighteth in shewing mercy, he considers that we are but dust: and putteth away our sins out of his remembrance; as far as the East is from the West: whereas the mercies of men are cruelties: although I cannot so experimentally say it, of any other sort of men, as of these; for I have found the contrary from so many other sorts of people, upon divers of my particular occasions, that I have wondered to consider the difference.
For the next slander: that I should speak so slightly, of the sin against the holy Ghost; this I heard they have asperst me withall above these three yeers: and I have considered it seriously, and can professes with a sincere conscience, that I do not know that I ever uttered a syllable towards it: sure I am it never entred into my heart: nor could I, till now I see it in their book, learn, to what woman they charged me to have spoken it: but yet, because I ghessed, they might mean the gentle-woman forementioned, she being well known to them: I have told her of the assertion; and desired seriously if she could call to minde, whither ever any such unadvised speech had past from me to her; as I might meete her, and in a friendly manner chide her for not visiting my wife: and she hath very often solemnly protested, she could not for her life remember, that I did ever speake any thing towards it, and truly, if I had known any such thing by my self, though it had been never so unserious, I should have taken the shame of it to my self; and have manifested my sorrow for it, as not in the least justifying a carelesnes in things of so high a nature: and do fear, they come neer to scoffing, that dare thus liberally publish in print, expressions so unsutable to so divine a subject, for they may remain upon a readers mind, to prejudice, longer then he would have them.
And concerning the next slander; I might blame her for her sadnesse, and fear, which sometimes she would expresses as being contrary to the principle, of that love of God, she would constantly professe, to have assurance of: urging frequently that place, which saith, we have not received the spirit of bondage to fear any more; but the spirit of adoption whereby we cry, Abba, Father, and have boldnesse to the throne of Grace, and the like; but that I ever discouraged her in the hearing of Mr. Simpson; or in the wayes of religion, I utterly deny.
And being thus, as thus in truth it is, and no otherwise in all the particulars forementioned, let all impartiall, and judicious people judge, whether it had not been more for the honour of God, the Scriptures and Religion; that this authour; his assotiats subscribers, his abetters, and confederates; to have received in good part our clear manifestation; wherein we justly vindicated our selves in generall, from those aspersions that causlesly were cast upon us; without naming any person, or persons, as authors thereof, or reflecting, with the least rancour upon any condition of men; as being willing, if possible, to have buried for ever, all former unkindnesses, and evill offices done to any of us in this kinde: and as far as in us was to have renewed our former friendship with those, in whom we had formerly delighted, or at least to have expelled that enmity, which we knew was exceedingly prejudiciall to the Common-wealth: I say, had it not been much more Christian-like; then to have set their brains, and credits thus upon the tenters (stretching them past the staple that they will never in again) and to put upon record, so many unseemly expressions, as if they gladly took occasion through my sides, & friends, to give Religion, the scriptures, yea, God himself were it possible a deadly wound: for such I fear will be the effect; whither throw their malice, or indiscretion, or both, I leave to judgment: and for what cause, at best; but only to render me and my friends odious, to discredit us in the things we undertook for the publick.
And then to cry out of violence in some mens writings, and yet to abound, as here they do, with such new invented invectives, and provoking language, as is hardly to be parallel’d: Cheef secretaries of the Prince of slander: this English man-hunter, this wretch: this wretched man Walwyn: this worthy Champion: the venison, which his soul doth so sorely long for: as the serpent, that deceived our first Parents: this factor for the Region of Darknesse, these Jesuiticall-whistllers: this artificiall impostor, ill his Satan-like work: Good God, where is the cause, what hath moved them to this high flown mallice, these bumbaste poetick raptures, fit rather for stagers, then Preachers, for swaggerers, then Saints, (oh, but it must not be so taken; it must be esteemed their zeal, their Jehu-like affection to God, and his truth; yea, come see our zeal (say they in effect) which we have for God): why, be it so, O Jehu, yet what’s the cause?
The cause; why, heers Walwyn with his Wiles will overturn, destroy, and overthrow all Religion; and the Scriptures themselves? sure its not possible? no, have you ever heard such things uttered by man, as is recited in Walwyns Wiles? no, but he denies them to be true; gives reasons here; and refers to his Whisper: and other writings: and particularly to his still, and soft voice: and those are extant, and to be seen; and surely if he intend to destroy Religion, to publish such things as these is not the way; besides, uttered by one, that you your selves say is wary, and sober, and discreet. But I pray, friends what a religion is yours, that fears the breath of one man should overthrow it? what? is it built upon the sand? if so, you may doubt indeed; but if upon a rock? let the winds blow, and the waves too beat; what need you fear? sure your faith is built but upon Reason; look to it; some say it is your tenent; if so, you had need indeed to bestir your selves, for you finde he is a rationall man, and thats a shew’d thing; against Diana of the Ephesians, though all Asia, & the world worship her: if your Churches have but an imaginary foundation then indeed you had need betake your selves to Demetrius his Arguments; and to tell all men these Walwynites every where, turn the world upside down; breathing strange, and unwelcome doctrines, such as your Churches and people cannot bear.
And so it seems, indeed they do, as these authors Complain in the latter part of their 13 pag. where they say, I am ever harping upon the hard-heartednes and uncharitablenes of professors; and those that are religious men, how grinding they are in bargines: how pennurious: base, and backward in works of charity, and mercy, how undermining, and over-reaching they are in buying, in selling; how having and craving in the things of this life, how hardly any work of mercy, and charity comes from them; how they let their brethren starve, and dy, and perish, rather then help them; and how bountifull, free, and liberall the very heathens have been and how beneficiall even Papists, and many that do not so much as pretend to religion are to the poor; and Herein (he confesseth) I speake too true: yet immediately calls me devil for my labour (they pay their Pastors better, I beleeve, for worse doctrine).
But why devil? Why, say they, for speaking truth to wound, and destroy it; but say I, who art thou, O man, that judgest another mans Conscience, forbear the chair a while, & it may be the chair of the scornful: for God and my own conscience knows, I never yet in my life spake, or uttered one of these truthes but to the end the Scriptures warrant.
But they go further, and say, by doing thus, I cunningly insinuate into the discreet, and beget a disparagement of that that is called Religion amongst them. page the 14.
This is very observable: for by this expression, all men shall easily understand the ground of their quarrell against me: if they can but finde out, what it is that is called Religion amongst them: do not these men call such a thing Religion; as the Pharises did; Ile deal so kindly with them, yet; as to leave the comparing the one with the other to themselves: only, ’twas much in words, and to be seen of men: both which our Saviour reproves: and both by example, and precept invites to practice; possitively concluding, that not he that saith Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom, but he that doth the will of my father which is in heaven: requireth, That our light so shine forth before men, that they, seeing our good works, may glorifie our heavenly father and at the last day, he will say unto those on his right hand, Come ye blessed of my Father, receive the kingdom prepared for you; for when I was an hungry, ye fed me, naked, ye clothed me; sick and in prison, and ye visited me; in as much as ye have done it unto these, ye had done it unto me: when to others, (that yet have to say, Lord we have prophesied, and done many great things in thy name) he will say; Away from me ye workers of iniquity, I know ye not, for when I was hungry, ye fed me not: naked, ye clothed me not; sick and in prison, and ye visited me not; inasmuch as ye did it not unto these, ye did it not unto me.
And if now to invite to these, and to reprove the want thereof, be, to be a Devil, truly I’ll bear it, and rejoyce that I am accounted worthy to suffer reproach for this cause of Christ: I am sure the Apostle Paul (that abounded with reall, not pretended gifts, or acquisitions rather) boasted not of them; but proclaims to all the world, that though he spake with the tongues of men and Angels, and have no Charity, that he was but as sounding brasse, or a tinkling Cymball; and Saint James, his pure and undefiled Religion, is, to visit the fatherlesse, and the widowes in their distresses and to keep our selves unspotted of the world; and saith plainly, that he who hath this worlds goods, and seeth his brother lack, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion, how dwelleth the love of God in him? And truly, if I must be a Devil for insisting upon these most needfull doctrines, I had rather be these mens Devil then their Saint: And if the use and application of these, and the like, will overthrow that which they call Religion amongst them; certainly it is not pure and undefiled, and hardly of Gods making: I might enlarge my self upon this theme, but the little Book, called, The vanity of the present Churches, hath prevented me, unto which I refer the ingenious Reader, for satisfaction of what they call Religion among them.
And thus I think to all unbiassed men, I have acquitted my self from going about to destroy Religion; I mean, true, not false Religion, or superstition, too commonly dignified with the title of Religion.
And as for my designing, as the desire of my soul, the trouble, misery and ruine of this Commonwealth, it is so absurd a suggestion, that it seems not worth my answer; the utmost of my desire concerning this Commonwealth, being held forth and contained in the Agreement of the People, dated the first of May, 1649. And as a testimony of our acquiescence therein, is subscribed by Lieut: Col. John Lilburn, Mr Richard Overton, Mr Thomas Prince, and my self: so that all my designs are therein center’d; and if that imports the trouble, misery and ruine of this Commonwealth, I am extremely mistaken, and shall not refuse to acknowledge my errour when I see it: but till then, and whil’st I conceive it to tend to the good of all men, I cannot but wish it might be established with contentment and security of all sorts of people: I know not the man in the world, whose finger I desire should ake longer then he pinches another; nor that any man should be reduced to any extremity, by any alteration it might bring with it: but that authority would provide rather a change of interests, and remove men from that which is not, to that which is consistent with the peace, freedom and prosperity of the Nation; it having been all along a sad thing to me, to see men of parts, and breeding, and eminency, upon reformation of interests, or their reducements, to be left to the wide world, without any care or regard of a livelyhood for themselves, their Wives and Children, in some measure answerable to their former condition: such extremities commonly begetting greater, and more mischievous to the Commonwealth; and it should, in my poor opinion, be the care of the supreme Authority; no desire being more forcible in man, then to live answerable to his breeding, or to what he hath been long accustomed; every one finding it an easie thing to learn how to abound, but to abate, most difficult: and, I fear, our late and present times suffer much under these two extremes. He upbraids me, that I find fault, that riches, and estates, and the things of this world, should prefer men to offices, and places of trust: but say that virtue, though in poor men, should be more regarded, as in Butchers, or Coblers: And truly I know some Butchers, though not many, as fit as some in your Congregations; and I think you do not exclude for that trade: And as for Coblers, there are trades more in credit, hardly so usefull, and Mr Price knows it well; and were he as busy in self examination, as he is in reproaching others, he would have little time to trouble himself about others motes: he who thought it no robbery to be equall with God, and yet despised not to be esteemed the Son of a Carpenter, and chose simple herdsmen for his Prophets, and poor fishermen for his Apostles, did certainly judge other-wise then these Churchmen judge. Besides, there was a time, when Samuel How, a Cobler by trade, and a contented man in that calling, was not ashamed to preach before your most learned Pastor, and printed his Sermon afterwards; and your Pastor hath chang’d his mind since, and is come somewhat nearer to his judgment; and had done then, as is said, and can be proved, could any have shewed him a livelyhood with credit, upon the exchange.
But by the way, I am not so strong as to talk usually after this rule, I know the generality of our times cannot bear it; I indulge exceedingly towards the weakness of men for peace sake: who ever heard me speak either in behalf of Butchers or Coblers, as to places of government? I professes I know not where, nor when; though for their callings, I make no difference between them and my self; for the callings are honest, and mine can but be so.
And as for Riches, Saint James, whom I am exceeding in love with, had no great good opinion thereof: he demands positively, Do not rich men oppresse you, and leade you before the Magistrates? (the Magistrates, possibly, were no rich men) Nay, is there not such an expression again in Scripture, as, Go too, weep and howl, ye rich men, &c? But I shall be told anon, I have too much straw for this brick; truly, I wish I had none at all, and that you and your Associates had been more advised, then to have necessitated me thus to discover your weaknesse; but I comfort my self, that I shall turn it to your good. I hope you will say no more, that by these truths I shall destroy that which is called Religion amongst you, for this is a part of pure and undefiled Religion: And if you make one more change, and sell all that ever you have, all your uncertainties, vanities, and superfluities, for these reallities, it will prove the best bargain that ever you made; and, I believe, we should be Friends upon it; this difference being the only quarrell: And that Riches may no longer be a stumbling block in your way, reade, at your leisure, Montaign’s 52 Chapter, of the Parcimony of our Fore-Fathers.
And where you charge me, that I find fault that some abound, whil’st others want bread; truly, I think it a sad thing, in so fruitfull a land, as, through Gods blessing, this is; and I do think it one main end of Government, to provide, that those who refuse not labour, should eat comfortably: and if you think otherwise, I think it your errour, and your unhappinesse: But for my turning the world upside down, I leave it to you, it’s not a work I ever intended, as all my actions, and the Agreement of the People, do sufficiently evince, and doth indeed so fully answer all your remaining rambling scandals, that I shall pray the courteous Reader hereof to reade it, and apply it, and then shall not doubt my full and clear vindication: so far as that is, am I for plucking up of all the pales and hedges in the Nation; so far, for all things common.
So far from wishing printing had never been known, that I have alwaies said, that printing (if any thing in this age) would preserve us from slavery; and you that know how much I have been against the stopping of the presse, methinks should blush to talk thus.
As for Mr Pym, and Mr Hampden, it’s well known, I honoured them much, for what I saw was good in them, and never reproached them in my life; but was not satisfied, when they would make a war, that they would make it in the name of the King and Parliament; I could not understand it to be plain dealing, nor thousands more besides me.
As for any invectives against the Lieutenant Generall Cromwel, Commissary Generall Ireton, or Collonel Harrison, I shall refer this to be satisfied by one Mr David Brown, the Scotch Writing-Master, a man of integrity, and of a sincere Congregration, what I have done to the contrary: but I allow him not to be over-particular, in naming what particularly, that being inconvenient: And if Collonel Harrison would but remember my attendance on him at Collonel Fleetwoods, and but reflect upon a paper I then deliver’d him, methinks my integrity to my Country, and affection to all such as desire the liberty thereof, could not be question’d; and, I confesses I have wondered, he of any man in power, hath not appeared more to my vindication: indeed, I have no fawning flattering waies to work upon men, nor have used any towards them, I have been reall and plain-hearted towards them; and though you may have courted them more plausibly into an opinion of your way in the affairs of the Commonwealth; yet is it conscience and time that proves all things, and I refer my self to both; and if you prove not to them (and the rest in power, that give ear to you) like Rhehoboam’s young Counsellours, I shall be glad of it; I am sure you came in late to the work, and (to my apprehension) labour to build hay and stubble, if not worse, upon a golden foundation, laid by others for the Freedom of the Commonwealth.
But I must beware, for, as I hear, you much rejoyce in a new Act concerning Treason; so copious, that I may be in the verge of it, before I am aware; it makes me almost not sorry that I am kept close Prisoner, but that it’s no good sign of Englands liberty which I have earnestly labour’d for: but truly I may rejoyce that I am kept from you, and you from me; for certainly, should we passe but one hours discourse together (in the mind you are in) and as the case and law now is, I should not escape an information.
And truly, that ye are so well pleasd with this act proceeds, for that it serves your present turn, rather then any reason or consideration in you; for how soon the edge of it may be turned against your selves, you know not; and some who consider not how much ye have labour’d for it, wonder ye do not petition against it: for whil’st a Parliament sits, it is lawfull to petition against things, though established by Law; and it’s somewhat rare in the practice of Parliaments, for a law to take place, and be of force so soon as it is made, having commonly had a good distance of time, that men might digest, and consider and understand it, before the commencement or beginning of the power thereof; and that, at soonest, not before the end of the Parliament that made it: And there seems to be this reason for it, that the Parliament men that made it should be as soon, and as clearly subject thereunto, as any other persons whatsoever; otherwise they might make such, as might ensnare the people, and yet keep themselves out of danger.
And certainly, if this caution be necessary in any case, it must be where mens lives are concerned, as in Treason and Felony; wherein our forefathers were ever very carefull; as Sir Edward Cooke cloth sufficiently witnesses some particulars whereof concerning Treason, are worth yours, and every mans knowledge.
“Briefly thus: he saies, The Parliament holden the 25th of Ed. 3. was called benedictum Parliamentum; because of its particular expressing what was Treason: and that except Magna Charta, no other Act of Parliament hath had more Honour given to it, as appeareth by the Statute of the 1 of Hen. 4. chap. 10 reciting, That whereas a Parliament, holden the 21 of Rich. 2. Divers paines of Treason were ordained by Statute, insomuch as there was no man did know how to behave himselfe; to do, speake, or say, for doubt of such paines: It is enacted, &c. That in no time to come, any Treason be judged otherwise, then it was ordained by the Statute of 25 Ed. 3. the like honour is given to it, by the Statute 1 Ed. 6. chap. 12. and by the Statute of the first of Mary, chap. 1. Sess. 1.—different times, but all agreeing in the magnifying, and extolling that blessed Act Of 25 Ed. 3.”
And speaking of the care of our Ancestors, in avoiding nice and extreame Laws concerning Treason: he saith, And all this was done in severall Ages, that the faire Lillies and Roses of the Crowne (which now may be interpreted) the Government of England, might flourish, and not be stained with severe and sanguinary (bloudy) Statutes.
He saith further, That the Statute for Treason, is to be taken strictly; and the proofs to be direct and manifest; not upon conjecturall presumptions, or inferences, or straines of Wit: but upon good and sufficient proof, That none are to be proceeded against, but according to due course, and proceeding of Law, to be judged by men of our own condition; and not by absolute power, or other meanes, as in former times had been used; and affirmes it to be a received maxim, that bare words without an overt Act, could not make a Traytor.
But if you can rejoyce that these strong holds, and safegards of our lives, shall now in the first year of Englands Liberty, with the Petition of Right, be accounted of no value; but that we must be so exposed to danger, that no man shall know how to behave himselfe, to doe, speake, or say, for fear of the paines of Treason: I believe your rejoycing is but matter of grief to us, and the rest of the plain-hearted people in England: it being not who doth it, but what is done, that most concernes all men: you use to talke of something still, in the bottome of what I, and my friends proposed; but when shall we see what lies at the bottome of your hearts, if such as those rejoycings are aflote already?
You think it strange, that we should object against Martiall Law, in times of Peace, for Souldiers or others; and yet if you read the Petition of Right, you cannot but confesse it to be expresly therein provided against; you deny us all Legall proceedings, and yet thinke the proceedings of the Swisse a horrible thing; a story kept in Lavander about seven years, and next to one that now is not, is due to him that kept it in sweetning so long, for so unsavoury a season, and whose profession is nearer cutting of throats, then mine is; and as I remember, was very merry at the thought of it.
I am of opinion, there is much, if not more need of another kind of Law; and I could wish some good people would consider of it, but I have no hope of your Congregation: It is a Law against Lying; you know what a sad condition the Scripture holds forth to him that loveth, or maketh a lye: what thinke you of it? will our trades bear it? there needs no sanguinary punishment be annexed, but some easie punishment: besides, if you hear one that is not of your own Congregation asperst, and runne presently and tell it to others, before you are certaine of the truth your self, this need not passe for a lye, if you can but remember your author; though he had it only from the father of lies; being sure also, that you may confidently avouch, that you had it from a very pretious Godly man; so are all your Churchmen: or if you do but thinke ye remember a thing right, and witnesse it; this also had not need to be taken for a lie neither: and some such other indulgences, as the time, and your occasions require; there are some say, pia mendacia, those that are Learned amongst you, will expound the meaning; there may be a remission also for those, but certainly, yet a Law (though with allowance of a large latitude) were absolutely necessary for these times, and it would honour you exceedingly to seeke for it; you may have also allowance, for all false slanderous invectives, if once you have gotten them Licenc’d, and Printed, such as are in Walwyns Wiles; all such shall not be doubted for lies: but a Law would be wonderous necessary, though it were never kept, you can bear with that, though we, as you say, cannot, but are clamouring alwayes about the Selfe-denying Ordinance: well, pray get a Law, and draw it up as large as will serve your seared Consciences, that durst subscribe such abominable ones, as that booke containeth; it being a thousand pities, that you, who have ever been so forward for the good of the Commonwealth, should stay till some that are not of Churches, or some obscure inferiour Churches should move for it, nay, and may occasion a greater strictnesse, then will serve your turne.
Many considerations will be necessary in the making of it; for as you know in wrestling, three foiles, are valued a fall: so it must be exprest, how many mentall reservations shall make a lie; how many feignings, how many times appearing as a spie; whether a spie under an oath can lie, so long as he intends the service of his principals: how many times a man may walke and discourse familiarly in dissimulation, before it amount to a lie; how many lies a years hypocrisie amount to: that so, such as Mr Richard Price, Mr Brandriff and the like, may be reckoned withall: and then to proportion punishments to offences; you have time and leisure, and I perceive, meet together for worse purposes, so I leave it to you. Only thus much for encouragement; Almanzar the first (or third) of the Sarazens Emperors, made use of such a Law, by which (above any other meanes) a mighty people were kept in great quietnesse and prosperity, as you may read in a little Book, called the Life of Mahomet; and are we not in a low forme for Christians, when we are not so wise as such Schoole-masters? O miserable Reformation!
But I must take heed what I say, for it seemes the Petition of the 11 of September, is afresh come into their minds, and all the circumstances therein reckoned up, as matter of provocation to all interests, and of devision to the honest party; for of all Petitions, after that which was burnt, this contained most particulars; and then, and long after, was that wherein the wel-affected from all parts, and Countries, did agree and center; so that it proved a Petition of the greatest power of uniting, as ever was: and was by the heads, and chosen men of these mens friends agreed unto, to be the substance of an Agreement of the People; as Lieut: Collonel John Lilburne, Mr Doctor Parker, and others can testifie: and yet now by this author, must be raised against me, as if but for me, that Petition, had never been seen; & as if his judgement were to be valued to the blasting of that which received the approbation of many thousands of the most cordiall friends the Parliament, and Army had throughout England: I wonder of what honest party, this author reckons himself to be, if this Petition were so unworthy; an exasperating Petition, who did it exasperate? if this Petition did demonstrate my designe of mischief to the honest party, I say (as he saies) let any mans reason judge impartially and determine; certainly these people have resolved themselves to be, and have contracted some corrupt interest, that the matters of that Petition now so much troubles them: but why this must fall upon my accompt, more then upon any others, that I do not see; only he hath undertaken to try what work his wit can make of any thing; and out of the strength of his braine, presumes he can turne my promotion of the best things to my disadvantage, although (but that I will not favour his expectation with a blab) I could tell him how little I had to do in that Petition; but why should I take care to set that man right, that cares not which way he goes, to do mischiefs, and will not be disswaded? and whose ends are so unworthy, as to affright all men from Petitioning, without his, and his associates allowance?
I know not whether any body sets him to this unhappy work, or whether he officiously undertakes it of himselfe, but truely to me he seemes to be but an impertinent workman to his pretended ends; for as in the former part, no man (to my apprehension) ever more wounded Religion, and the honour of God and his Word, then he hath done, upon pretence of wounding me: so in this other part, which he pretends for the honour of the present Parliament; what man in the world would have made such a repetition of things? trumpeting out himselfe really such things, as I am confident, he never heard from me, nor any body else: it hath not been my use to stir much in what is past; but my way hath been to propose a passing by of what is gone, and laying a good foundation for the time to come; that there might be no need of such complaints, as he there more Rhetorically, then truly, reckons up as uttered against me.
“As how basely things go; what Oppressions, Taxations, and vexations, the poor people indure, how this poor betrayed Nation is bought and sold; how the cutting off some Tyrants, do alwaies make way for more, and worse to succeed them; how nothing is done for the Commonwealth; how basely the treasure of the Common-wealth is embezell’d; how Parliament-men Vote money out of the purses of the poor ridden people, into their owne; how they share the riches of the Nation among themselves; how to day, they Vote this Parliamentman into a great Office, and to morrow, another; and how they doe nothing for the Common-wealth, but Vote one another into places of power and profit; how that, though to abuse, and cast a mist before the eyes of the people, they made a Self-denying Ordinance, yet suffer no man to put it in execution; how they promote their Kindred and Allies, into great places every where; if any use be for men in the Custome house, in Excise office, or in any other places of profit, this, and that Parliamentman’s friends, or brothers, or sons, or nephewes must be the men; nay, Parliament-men and their allyes, have place upon place, and office upon office; as if they had severall bodies, to be imployed at one and the same time: What’s become of the infinite summes, the unconceiveable Treasure of the Nation; the late King’s Customes, Ship-money, Coat and Conduct money, Monopolies, &c. were nothing to the Customes, Excise, Taxations, Free quarter, Sequestrations, Papists monies, Bishops Lands, Revenues of the Crowne; besides all the Plate and monies, lent freely by the people, and yet nothing done: nay, how many for their zeal and good will to the State, have lent freely and bountifully, thereby beggaring and undoing themselves, and now cannot receive one peny to buy them bread, but may lie begging, petitioning, and starving at their dores, and cannot be heard; nay, it may be, have nothing but course, hard and cruel language from them; how one Faction tears the Commonwealth, & share it among them one while, & another another while, neither of them regarding the ease or grievances of the poor people all this while: And what have they done since this purge, and that purge? they have voted the continuance of tythes, the laying of more taxes and rates, they imprison honest men, &c.”
These he implyes, are my ordinary discourses, to the disparagement of the Parliament, and that too since the King’s Death; for my part, I must deny it; and that if I should have in any place, or at any time, spoken, or directed others to speak all what he there recites, I had spoken what I do not know to be true; for I have never made it my work to take a Catalogue of the failings of Authority, but have frequently proposed a generall remission and security to all men, for what hath been past (as I said before) without which I never expected peace, or an end of wars and miseries: And this my back friend, Mr Arnald, may averr on my behalf; to whom I once gave a paper (upon his sight and desire) to that end: so far have I been from blowing such coles as these, that if any ever cast water or milk upon this wild-fire, I have done my endeavour therein.
But I must not be what indeed I am, but what this and these men are pleased to give me out; unto whose secret suggestions, and false aspersions continually whisper’d by them at Parliament, and Derbyhouse, I impute all the hard measure I have found (and which, I fear, will be the undoing of me, my Wife, and Children) there being none of the Gentlemen of either place, I am certain, have any thing against me, but what these men bring; and some of them, I am confident, have that experience of my integrity and ingenuity in all I have done in relation to the publique, that they would do as much for my deliverance out of this affliction, as for any mans in the world.
And truly, whether he wounds me or the Parliament more, in making such a Rhetoricall recitall of so many particulars, as, whether true or false, will be apt enough to be believed in these sad, complaining and distracted times; let any man that hath reason, judge.
So that if he meant not to wrong the Parliament, but me, he hath overdone his work, which generally befals such as take not their Consciences along with them in what they undertake; they overdo, do, and undo, ordinarily; as you may observe by his so many firsts, seconds, thirds, his doubling and trebling of them, and his running over one and the same thing again and again, as if he labour’d with the disease of multiplication.
But truly, when I consider with what a continued, but secret malice, they have pursued me, and that all their pretended reconcilements and friendships, have been but counterfeit, I can impute the same to nothing more then emulation: for before this Parliament, I was accustomed to discourse much with Mr Goodwins hearers, upon what they and I had heard him preach; and my character of him usually was, that he spent much time (in my apprehension) to make plain things difficult to be understood, and then labour’d again to make them plain and easie to be understood; but he had so perplex’d them, as that he could not: this I know did sorely trouble them, though when they fell to congregate in a Church-way, they gave me good respect, as needing the help of every one, whose conscience (as mine did) led them out to stand and plead for liberty of Conscience.
I believe they were also not a little troubled, that I closed not with them, or some others, in their Church-way; for so I once perceived by one Mr Lamb, a Linnen Draper in Cornhill; to whom I having sold a good parcel of linnens, and taking it very kindly that he would deal with me, I would needs give him, and some Friends with him, a cup of beer and sugar one morning, and we were all free and chearfull: but Mr Lamb and I out-staid the rest, falling very largely into discourse, he putting all the questions and doubts he had concerning my opinions; which I answered one by one, upon condition that he would give himself and me time, then, and hear me out all I had to say, because (as I then told him) I never had received prejudice from any discourse that ever pass’d from me with ingenious men, but where they carried away things peece-meal, and by halts: So in a most friendly manner he heard me, and, in conclusion, approved exceedingly of all I had said, even with abundance of content and rejoycing: but when we had done, he fetches a deep sigh, saying, O, Mr Walwyn, that you had a good opinion of Churches.
To which I answered, that I had no evil opinion of them; that rather I did rejoyce to see with what amity and friendship they enjoyed each others society in a comfortable way, assisting and supporting one another; that I was glad they so contentedly enjoyed the exercise of their consciences in a way that was agreeable to their judgments; that I had made it my work, as far as I was able, to preserve unto them, and all others, the enjoyment of that just liberty; it being a principle in me, that every man ought to be protected in the use of that wherein he doth not actually hurt another; and that were I satisfied in some particulars, I could not but joyn my self to some such society; that I thought, as I was, I wanted much of that intimacy with good people which they had, but yet must not purchase it upon a doubtfull conscience, or against my judgment; that I wish’d them all happinesse in their way, and was not willing to disturb any, and hop’d they would not disturb me; hoping, that they would have as good an opinion of me, as I had of them, though I did not joyn in a Church-way: and with this he then seemed to be very well satisfied.
And so we held very fair and serious respects a good while, I giving him some visits at his house, where he would reade to me with much admiration, some of Mr Goodwin’s Books; the weaknesse whereof I made somewhat bold withall (as being never used to flattery, or to balk my judgment) which proved a noli me tangere: for Mr Goodwin is the apple of their eie, and in a short time, not only his familiarity ceased, but I was even slandered to death from this man’s mouth; no place wherever he came, but his aspersions flew abroad; as if to blast my reputation, had been given him in commission from the whole Congregation: this was the fruit of my intimacy with him.
Nor can I imagine any other reason why Mr Brandriff should deal so unworthily with himself and me; for when we have been together, he hath discoursed to me much concerning his Wife, his Father, his Children, what he had done for his Kindred, how ingratefull they were, the manner of his trade; how, and by what means he got good store of monies, in the midst of the wars, by rising early in mornings, and searching in Inns, what goods were brought to Town (indeed, most commendably and industriously) how he many times ventered to buy goods he had little skill in, nor knew not when he had bought them, where he was like to vent them; yet how well he sped, with abundance of things, I will not repeat, these being sufficient to shew the man, was not certainly feigned towards me so long a time as afterwards he pretended; only when we have been hearing Mr Goodwin together, and come from him discoursing, I have shewed suddenly some mistakes, and weaknesses, and drinesses in things which Mr Goodwin had much laboured to make good, but would not endure my touchstone; and Mr Brandriff hath been forc’d to confesse as much; sadly smiling and saying, well, what shall we say? where can we hear better? To which I would answer, that’s not the thing, you see what this is.
Indeed, but for this, which can be nothing but emulation, I know not any cause I have given them thus to persecute me; they have thank’d me for Books I have written, as my Whisper, and others forenamed; and for a Book, entituled, A help to the understanding of Mr Pryn, which they would no nay, but it should be mine, though my name was not to it; so good an opinion they had of my integrity: Nay, their Church disbursed fifty shillings towards the printing of ten thousand of that little Book, called, The word in season (they then judg’d the dispersing of Books no sin) which Mr Batcheler can tell who was Author of, and they know well enough; so far were they from believing what now they subscribe to; that in all times I ever opposed the present Government; but it will be found only, that I never flattered them by such undue expressions, as, by the womb that bare you, and the paps that gave you suck, and the like, more sutable to the liberty of Sycophants, then Christians: Nor did I ever oppose any just authority otherwise then as I have opposed men: not to destroy them, but their destructive errours and misapplications of their power.
Well, ye are the most strange conditioned people that ever I met withall, the most inconsistent; walking, not by any principles, but meerly by occasion, and as the wind turns; and I am heartily glad I have so nigh done with you, for I never shall be induced to bestow the like pains about you again: only I have this farther to acquaint the ingenious withall concerning you, viz: that you bear your selves very high and confidently upon your ability of proving whatsoever you alleadge by way of aspersion against any man: And indeed herein, I can resemble you to none so properly, as to a people are called, Gypsyes (I must intreat pardon, if there seem any lightnesse or despising in this simile) for if I could have found one more handsome so proper, I would not have stained my paper with this: but just so have I found them confederated together; if one but averr a thing, presently there are a cloud of witnesses; and not in a slighting way, but such as will take their oaths of it: Upon which accompt, upon the Exchange, all their affirmatives concerning others, and there negatives concerning themselves, are carried on; beating down, by this one trick, all their opposers.
And so they dealt in a most filthy scandall concerning an honest man I know abhorred such basenesse; and which was carried all over the Town by this kind of Congregationall men: I reproving of it, and saying, the party would not so put it up, but would seek for remedy at Law; one of them rounds me in the ear, If you are his Friend, advise him to be quiet; for I am told by as godly men as any in England, the thing will be witnessed upon sufficient mens oaths: whereas, I professe, the thing was of so abominable a nature, as I do not believe ever was, or ever could be proved by witnesses, all circumstances of day, and light, and open-street considered: And truly they are as cunning at dispersing, as they are confident in avouching, that the resemblance may well hold; for generally all their aspersions, though they are so vile, as, if believed, shall undo a man and his family, in respect of the loathings they will beget in all that know him: yet you shall ever have them such as by law you shall hardly ever take hold of them: so that they exceedingly presume, never giving over railing and writing, that there is no possibility of silencing them: shame they care not for, and no prejudice can come unto them; for touch one, and touch all; all have one purse for a common end, offensive and defensive; and if they should by these courses grow so odious, as that no body else would trust them; their Confederacy is so large, that by buying, and selling, and purchasing, and lending, they are able to enrich one another, so as they grow to a mighty interest, as distinct almost as the Jews in Amsterdam; and much to the same ends of gain, but have greater aims of power and dominion.
And I beseech God to deliver me out of their unmercifull hands, before they yet grow greater; for I look upon my self as their Prisoner, aspersed and imprisoned, and even ruin’d by their ingratefull, Un-Christian suggestions and machinations.
Mr Kiffin, I hear, since he hath subscribed Walwyns Wyles, desires I would give him a meeting, with others he will bring with him; and if proof be not then made of the truth of those things therein alleadged against me, effectually and sufficiently, he will then himself write against the Book: what an offer is here? he hath set his name already to the Book, as a witnesses and published the Book (before ever he, or any man else ever spake to me of it) to my disparagement, and undoing (were men as ready in believing, as they are in scandalizing) and now he offers a meeting to have those faishoods proved.
Is this like the Pastor of a Congregation of Christians? Good God! what are befaln to Congregations, that they can bear with such Pastors! Truly, Mr Kiffin, although your people will not deal with you as you deserve, I shall be bold to perswade you to leave them; and take such with you as are of your own mind, and colour your faces of a tauny colour, and pursue the profession, you have begun the practice already; and cease to (can’t, shall I say, I even tremble to think it is no better) to deceive, I will say, any longer, in the name of the Lord; for God is a jealous God, and will one day recompence it.
A man that looks upon these seeming Saints, no mervail if they take them for such indeed, they are so solemn in their countenances, so frequent and so formall in their devotions, so sad at others chearfulnesse, so watchfull over others tripping, so censorious over others failings, having a kind of disdainfulnesse at others, bespeaking them in effect to stand farther off, I am holyer then thou; it being a great scruple amongst many of them, the lawfulnesse of playing at Cards, or the like recreation, as being a vain expence of time.
Whereas all this is meer out-side, and but the washing of the outside of the pot, a but appearing holy before men, to gain the repute of Godlinesse; shut but the dores, and let them but be sure of their company, and they are as other men for sports, and jigs, and jeers, and idle jests and tales, and laugh and love it, and even lie down again; for if they would do thus before me, and some other of my Friends, what will they do when they are alone one amongst another? Collonel Tichburn himself, at Mr Hunts house at Whitehall, telling so nasty a tale of a Scotchman that would teach a Lord to give himself a vomit, crooking his fingers, and thrusting them as into one place, and then into his mouth, and down again, and up again, acting of it with so much art, and delight, and laughter, as that other solemn man, Mr Daniel Taylor, and Mr Richard Price, were ready to burst themselves with laughter; Mr Taylor calling out for more jests and sports, being, as he said, extremely troubled with melancholly; I would he were troubled with no worse.
For it was but a slippery trick of him, to allow of all I said against Excise, as an extreame burthen to Trades; and saying he felt it himselfe, and was at that time in question at the Office, and wishing it downe with all his heart, when at the very same time, or just upon it, he writes a Letter to the Commissioners of the Excise, advising them not to be so severe in dealing with him, for the times were like to be such, as they might need the least of their friends; whereas in an eminent place, he had appeared in no mean manner, in defence of the Excise, or to this effect; yet these, forsooth, must passe for the only holy, unspotted men of the times; so as a man that hath but a chearfull countenance is scarce fit for their company, and he that should be said in their company to carry two faces under one hood; O what a wretch were he! but these it seemes may do any thing; and as the proverb hath it, better steale a horse, then others looke over the hedge; but you must note, Captaine Lacy, and Mr Lamb, fellow members with Mr Taylor of Mr John Goodwins Congregation, have some hundreds of pounds in the Excise, which yeilds them good interest (what ere it doth the Common-wealth) and how many Congregationall mens cases it may be, they knew better then I, and so Mr Daniel Taylor, had more reason for what he did, then he would tell every body of: these relations are the tenter-hooks, upon which all oppressions hang, and cannot get off; if they but concerne one of a Congregationall way, you draw Dunne out of the mire, and none of that way will help, but hinder you.
And for Col. Tychburn’s jest as they call’d it, and their other gibbish pratling, how long one had been from his Wife, and how long another; which was to me no better than catterwawling; I was wondred at I was no merrier, being somewhat dumpish by thinking, why those men separated themselves from other men; and sadly considering, what a stroake this light easie people were like to have; through their seeming Godlinesse, in the greatest affaires of the Common-wealth, as soone after was, and hath been seen.
But its well knowne, I, and all that were with me, were so far from telling these things any where to their disparagement, or so much as speaking of it, that we agreed it should not be knowne, lest we should break those rules of society, which require honest men, not to talke to any mans discredit, whatever befell in company, where no evill to any man was intended; and truly, but that now these men seeme to stretch themselves and to walke on tiptoe, not only upon my ruines, but without all tendernesse of compassion, towards my dear Wife and Children; yea, and insult over our more dear Cause, and our Countries Liberties, bearing downe all upon an opinion of their godlinesse, and our licentiousnesse, which we more abhor then themselves; these stories had been buried in the grave of silence, but as they have borne themselves, not regarding our manifestation, but despising and jeering of it; and by their most uncharitable Book, raising up a whole legion of scandals and slanders against me; a necessity was upon me, to shew these men as they are, not as they labour by hypocrisie to appear unto the world.
I have onely one request to this sort of men, and I have done with them; and that is, That they would agree among themselves, to wear some very visible and remarkable thing, either upon their breasts, or in their hatts, in that company where they resolve to be sincere; and to make no perfidious use of that meeting, or conversation, whilst they weare it, and to keep it in their pockets, or concealed, when they intend to deceive; and it will be necessary in your next Book, to publish what this note shall be, that all men may expect it, and accordingly keep you company or not, and know how to behave themselves in their conversing with you; in the observation whereof also, you must advise all those that have been used to deceive; especially those that have profest to have kept me company, purposly to turn all I did to my prejudice; that they be very exact and sincere in the observation thereof, for otherwise it will come to nothing; and no body will know where to have you, or how to confer with you.
It hath been others cases, who have used over-much dissimulation, as Lewis the 11th of France, who in his transactions with Charles Duke of Burgundy, concluding Peace, Truce, and Articles upon Oathes; and nothing proving of force to hold him; neither oathes, nor sacraments, nor execrations, nor covenants, nor any such bonds as should hold inviolable all contracts amongst men; in conclusion, he discovers the image of St. Claud, which he continually wore in his hatt; and after he had offered any other obligation, in a thing he was suspected not to intend, or keep; he urging him to swear by that St. Claud, he refused; as not daring to break faith upon that oath; this was something yet; and truly, when you shall consider to what a pass you have brought your selves, you cannot but conclude upon some such course.
And having thus turned your insides outwards, though with unpleasing paines to himself and much trouble to the ingenious Reader (for I was hopefull I had done for ever with this kind of work, when our manifestation and Agreement of the People was once abroad) you may without spectacles, read in your own hearts, written in Capitall letters, what you through a great mistake intended to me, and my friends, in the first enterance of your Book: namely, “That the greatest hypocrisies is often palliated with the most specious pretences of the plainest sincerity; and the chiefest use that some men make of Religion, and the language thereof, is (after the similitude of Satan with our first parents) to muffle the understandings of over credulous and flexible men and then to cheat them, under a guilded bait of their seeming good, unto such actions, that are most conducible to their certaine misery”: If this be not true of you, and due to you, it hath no true owners in the world.
And so I have done with you all, and all your Wiles; and henceforth, he that is filthy, let him be filthy still, and he that is ignorant, let him be ignorant still; he that is so fouly partiall in his Conscience, as after this my Just Defence, to believe your slanders of me, let him remaine so still; and he that through a perverse ignorance, shall henceforth doubt my integrity, let him remaine ignorant still: I would gladly be free from this Restraint, because I fear it will prove prejudiciall to many more besides my selfe, if not already, and I trust, God will open some just way; however, I have peace within, because in all that hath befallen me; my will is not to harme any man, nor to dishonour God; affliction being still to me, a better choice then sin.