For further information see the following:
T.79 [1646.10.29] William Walwyn, A Parable, or Consultation of Physitians upon Master Edwards (29 October 1646).
William Walwyn, A Parable, or Consultation of Physitians upon Master Edwards. Doctors: Love. Justice. Patience. Truth. Observers: Conscience. Hope. Piety. Superstition. Policie.
London, Printed by Thomas Paine, for Giles Calvert, and are to be sold at his shop at the Black spread Eagle, at the west end of Pauls Church. 1646.
29 October 1646.
TT1, p. 472; E. 359. (8.)
(Placeholder: Text will be added later.)
Men, for the most part, of all opinions, are bread up with so much feare and scrupulosity, that they no sooner arive to some measure of knowledge in their particular way, but they become meere Pedants; fierce and violent censurers of all things; they are not accustomed to themselves, instantly engaging, and condemning, before they have deliberately examined, or maturely debated the thing they judge: which is an evill and unhappy temper of mind, because unsociable: and proceedeth from want of that generall knowledge, which freedome of consideration would beget.
It is therefore worth our labour, to study how to reduce our minds into the most friendly disposition, to be ready, and alwayes provided of harmlesse and friendly thoughts of men and things, untill evident cause appeare to the contrary; not to looke with an evill or a growling eye, as if we desired to find matter to except against, it is a shrewd signe of disease, when the stomock hankers after unwholesome things.
It cannot proceed from true Religion rightly understood, to beget melancholly, moody, angry, frampoll Imaginations, for that rightly understood begets cheerfulnesse of spirit: which is ever accompanied with love, and maketh the best construction: for love thinketh no evill: but hopeth all things: and is very kind to all men.
The ensuing discourse, would not need this preparative, but that there is an aptnesse in the most to misconster; and a readinesse to give eare gladly to any that shall shew either wit, passion, or mallice, in finding fault: it is a pitie good people should so easily be deluded: or evill men so easily worke their ends upon them: or good intents be so easily frustrated: the unusualnesse of the Title and method of this discourse will minister occasion to the Weake and to the Perverse: but if the authority, antiquity and use of Parables, be considered with some ingenuity, the Author will not loose to end of his discourse, nor of this preface, which is, to worke amendment in some, where there is cause enough.
Doctor Love: Mr. Edwards, I have knowne you long, and have considered your complextion, & inclination; & am no stranger to your alterations and changes: your turnings and returnings: your loathing, and againe liking, one and the same thing: and was alwaies willing to have advised you, to take some fit course in time; as being too well assured, you could not but fall into some desperate distemper; which now we all see hath proved too true: but you ever shunned my acquaintance; and at present, seem so little to regard my words, as if you wished my absence.
Doct. Patience, Sir, excuse him, you see his distemper is very violent.
Doct. Love, Nay Sir, it moves me nothing; nor shall not hinder me from doing him all the good I am able.
Mr. Edwards: Gentlemen, as desperately violent as you judge my distemper; I have not yet lost the use of my sences, I know you all; and have heard Mr. Loves wise exordium: I have known him as long as he has known me, but I was never yet so simple, as to think him wise enough to counsell me, in case I had needed any; nor doe I know by what strange meanes, he or any of you (of his politique tribe) thus thrust your selves upon my privacy.
Piety, Sir, it was my care, and their loves that brought them hither for in my apprehension, you are in a most dangerous condition: and the more, because you are altogether insensible thereof.
Truth, He is either very insensible as you say, or very obstinately desperate.
Mr. Edw. As for both your judgements, I value them no more then I desire your companies: and as for you friend Piety, you and I of late have had no such great familiaritie that you should presume to be thus officious, and indiscreetly troublesome: you see I am not friendlesse, here are friends whose friendship and counsel I much esteem: Pray friends, what is your opinion of me, am I not as sound of wind and limme, as ever I was in my life? have I need think you of the counsell of these learned Doctors or not?
Superstition, Mr. Edwards, you know I am your faithfull friend, I have received much good by you, I would not for anything in the world, the least hurt should befall you: It is from you, I have received that little knowledge and comfort that I have, for which I have not been unthankfull; if it had not been for you, I might ere this have run into one strange Sect or other, but through your care, I keep close to my owne Church, and to the Churches Doctrine, through which I live quietly, and for which I am respected in the place where I live, and may in time be some body in my parish, if not in the City: and therefore I love you, and will be plaine with you: I professe Sir, I judge the Doctors to be very simple persons, for it is as evident, as the light that is in me, that you are in as perfect a good condition as I my selfe am at this time, and I am confident you will say I were very unwise, to ask their advice.
Conscience. For all this Sir, you must know these Doctors, are of approved judgement and fidelity, and how ever you may desire to be flattered, you very well know, the ignorance and weaknesse of this your friend Superstition, whom yet you sooth and keep company with all, and make to much use off contrary to my counsell: you were better abandon him, and all the advantages you make of him: and whilst you have time, give eare to the counsell of these Doctors: if you neglect this opportunity, you are likely never to have the like.
Super. Sir, you are too rash in judgeing, but Mr. Edwards knows me, and I know him, better then to be estranged by you, or any such as you are.
Justice. By your favour Sir, you may sooner be too rash then he: for what he hath said wee shall find both just and true:
Policy. Truly Mr. Edwards, I am glad I have a further occasion to shew my love unto you at this time: you and I for some yeares now have been bosome friends; you cannot imagine, I meane any otherwise to you, then your owne heart; and I must needs tell you, I do see some symtomes of disease upon you: but what it is, these learned men can best judge: and if I may perswade with you, you shall for your owne good; thankfully except their loves, and submit to their judgements, and directions: but this I must also say, that I evidently see there is no cause of hast, some few dayes hence may be time enough, in which time, you and I shall have setled that busines which you know I am now come about: A work gentlemen, that being finished, your selves will say, was worthy the hazard of his and all our lives; no lesse then the building of Gods owne house, sweeping out of hereticks & schismaticks, stopping the mouthes of illitterate mechanicall preachers: and beautifying this holy building, with the glorious ornament of uniformity, the Mother of peace and all blessed things.
And if it will please these worthy Physitions, and the rest of your friends, to give you and I leave for the present, to goe on with this pious work, and to repaire to you when you shall find cause to call upon them, I think they shall in so doing shew not only a care of you, but of the whole Church of God: nor shall I leave it only to your own care Mr. Edwards, for truly gentlemen, he is too apt to neglect his health and all that is deare unto him, for the good of his brethen: I speake my conscience, and the very truth from my heart and am confident no hurt can come to him, but a great deale of good to the publique; if you allow of this my counsell, and I judge you so prudent and pious, as to preferre the publique, before your owne private trouble.
Cons. Although (Mr. Edwards) when you and I, and your friend Pollicy, are together, and no body else, he alwaies overswaies you, ever proposing things sutable to your corrupted humours, yet now here are others present that can impartially judge betwixt us, and therefore I shall use my accustomed plainnesse, though I have never any thankes for my labour. (Pray Sir, turne not from me, but heare me, and let these worthy men judge betwixt my perswations, and the perswations of Pollicy) gentlemen, I pray observe well this darling of his: This is hee whose councell he hath long time followed, he it was that first inticed him to undertake this unhappy worke, which contrary to all reason and Religion, he calleth the building of Gods house, &c. though I shewed him plainly, he went about therein to destroy the living houses of God: the vexing and molesting of his most deare (because most consciencious and peaceable) servants: though I told him plainly, any that differed with him, might as justly compell him to conforme unto them, as he could compell them: though I manifested that he was as liable to errour, as any that he complained off, and that therefore there was no reason why he should endevour to make men odious for opinions: I shewed him it was impossible, so long as knowledge was imperfect, but men must differ: I shewed how neverthelesse, every man was bound equally as himselfe, to worship God according to his own and not another mans understanding of the word of God. I told him he would bring upon himselfe, the odium of all judicious Religious people.
I put him in remembrance, how extreamly he himselfe complained of compulsion and restriction of worship; in the Bishops times: laid before him their miserable endes, and the great disturbances, that have arisen from thence to the Commonwealth, shewed how much it tended to devision, and confusion, to set up one way of worship and to persecute or dispise all others, that it was not Gods way to bring men to truth by force, but the devills and Antichrists, to fasten men in errour: that there was no sin more unreasonable nor more odious in Gods sight, then to enforce men to professe practice, or worship, contrary to knowledge and beleefe: and that to enforce is as justly punishable by man, as any other violence.
This and much more I told him continually: yet this wretched Pollicie finding him ambitious, and covetous, applyed his arguments, to these his corruptions; and in an instant, swayed him into an engagement: for he said no more but this: if conscience heere will undertake to secure unto you the honour, domination and profit, due to you as you are a Clergy man, then follow his councell: but if his, tend to make you esteemed, but as a lay man, and (not regarding your learning and venerable calling) to mix you amongst the vulgar, and (in effect) bidds you to labour with your hands the things that are lawfull, that you may no longer be a receiver of tythes, offerings, &c. but from your owne labours and sweat, to give to them that need: if he bids you, having food and rayment be herewith content: and I shew unto you a way to abound with superflueties, like the men of this world, and to have a large share in controwling the unlearned, and shall manifest unto you the defects of the prelatick Clergy, and shall supply you with rules that cannot faile to effect our desires: then let you and I joyne our force and councell together.
And if we doe not in the end, share between us all the honours and glories of this world, saye Machevill was not so wise as Ignatius loyola the Father of the Jesuites: upon this they struck hands, and ever since have plyed their work, and though successe hath failed, and time hath produced contrary effects, those increasing in number, and reputation, whom they labour to suppresse and defame; though Mr. Edwards through malencholly, and vexation, be fallen into this desperate condition, you now see him in: yet you see this wicked Pollicy labours in a most cunning manner to diswade him from taking your present councell, least you should direct him for his recovery, into some such course, as would frustrate his wicked designe, and deprive him of this his most speciall instrument: this is the intent of this crafty pollicy.
And if you interpose not with your wisedome, he will prevaile, to the ruine of this our distressed Friend, for a few houres more, in this ungodly worke (falsly and deceitfully called the building of Gods House) will put him past hope of recovery; therefore admit of no delay: but if Piety will help: you, and I, & he and hope: will thrust this varlet Pollicy downe the stayers, and out of doores, and then I shall not doubt but some good may be done; come, pray set your hands too’t, suffer him not to speake a word, for he will delude a whole nation, and make you beleeve no man is so godly, or so charitable as he—what a sturdy strong devil it is, you have had so good entertainement heere; you are loth to depart; stand too’t Piety; Justice, Love, Truth, (Patience, where are you now; you will still befoole your selfe) down with him,—so out with him, and lie shut the doore fast enough I hope, for his entrance heere any more: —how this one ungodly wretch has made us all sweat; Superstition, I thought you would have been so vainly zealous, as to have helpt him, but an you had, you had gone too, but was well you were quiet, you shall now stay and see what usage your woefull friend here finds amongst us.
Love: Conscience, Let us sit still a while: I judge your violence against Pollicy, (being unexpected) hath put our distressed Friend here, into a kind of extacie; let us observe the issue: I doubt not after this, wee shall find him sencible of his distemper, draw the Curtaines close; if he rest twill do well.
Justice, Conscience, I cannot but approve your faithfulnesse to your friend, in the course you have taken against Pollicy I must confesse, had not you by your pertinent discourse, kept my eyes open his subtill speech had deluded me, as I see it did Patience, who was at the doore to be gon, but it is: better as it is: let us consider what is to be done.
Truth, As old as I am, I confesse ingeneously I never yet was called to such a consultation, the distemper is of such a nature, as I have not scene the like, that a man should discourse, labour, studdy, watch, write, and preach, and all these to the continuall vexation of honest, religious, peaceable people, and yet seemeth not to be sencible of any evill he doth therein: though nothing in it selfe be more opposite to the true end of labour, study, writing, or preaching, and what to advise in this case, I professe I am at present to seeke.
Justice, What think you of an issue, if the humors be not too much setted, they may gently, and by degrees be so drawne from him.
Patience, Happily I may speake some what properly of his disease, because I have had much to doe with him of late: and it will be a good step to his cure if we can but discover his disease: All my reading will not furnish me with any definition or denomination I must therefore take the boldnesse to transgresse our common rules, and for your information; coyne a name and call it a fistula in the brayne: whose property is to open, and vent it selfe once a month, and though the matter it issues, be to a sound nostrill the most intollerably odious that can be imagined, yet to himselfe it is not so offensive; and the great profit he makes thereof, makes him beare with the stinke thereof.
For to such as this man is whom you call superstition, nothing sells at a deerer rate, nothing is more exceptable, it is their meat and drink, without it they are as dead men, with it, who but they: and this makes him instead of seeking after a remedy, to studdy how to increase the humour, and nothing shames or grieves him more then when it flowes not monthly having proclaimed a market once every month: as beggers live by their sores so doth he by this fistula, cure him and you undoe him: a Phisitian is as death to him, divers have undertaken him but all his study is how to mischeife them and he only, is welcome, that feeds his humour: I think he speakes pray let’s listen.
Mr. Edwards, Welcome Sir, you are very kindly welcome, pray sit downe, I see you faithfully labour, and take paines, in the sweeping of Gods house; come what Rubbish have you discovered—so, I have heard indeed, he is a stirring Sectarie, but have you nothing else against him, but Rebaptizing and generall redempsion, I had as much before; and have publisht it, with as much reproach as I could, and yet I heare their numbers increase dayly, is there none amongst them, adicted to drunkennesse, or whoredome, or theivery—come, speak all you have, I can not be my seife in every place, if you bring me not matter to reproach them and they thrive and increase, the fault’s yours, and not mine— A Tayler and Porter Preach, whats this now adayes? tis nothing twill doe nothing; they are heard with as much respect as I am: for shame abroad againe, and bring some extreordinary matter, or all our labours lost?
O tis well yee are come—you spake with him your selfe you say, and provoak’t him to discourse all you could; what, and bring away nothing? Devillish cunning indeed; ask’t two questions, for you one; go, you are simple, and for want of wit, and dilligence, the Sectaries increase dayly, and will doe except you bring something dayly for me to make them odious withall; goe; mend for shame, and let not them out-strip you.
So, tis well you are come— I am almost out of breath, with chiding the simplicity of those I employ as intelligencers:—Your kinsman you say, dyn’de in your company; at your friends house, very familiar you were, and merry; he suspecting nothing, but friendship from you (an excellent opportunity) well, and there he uttered the words in your note, which you say, you can safely swear to—Yes, you did say you could sweare to it? and why should you now scruple it, since you presume it is truth? Well leave me your note.
I shall now pay this great Favourorite of the Sectaries, your note shall not be lost, nor a little of it, never feare it: pray be continually watchfull in this great worke, you know your labour shall not be lost.
I thought I should have seen no body to day: I am glad yet you have not forgot the worke: A great meeting you say, and a Petition read, somewhat tending to liberty of conscience; and they talk of the King, and the Parliament, and assembly, and Scots, and the Army, and you were there all the while: but whats all this, without some perticular words that can be taken hold off.
Ile not give a rush for such informations, can you make me believe, so many Sectaries could be together, and nothing to be, taken hold off; away for shame, be sure you be at next meeting, and take somebody with you, that is able to bring away somewhat to purpose; begon I say.
O come, I have been so vext, men bring a great deale of circumstance. but no substance at all: What is it you have got: —Mr. Peters you say, spoke the words in this paper: you are sure of it: and M. John Goodwin these in this paper: and Mr. Kiffen these: this the copy of a letter written from the North: A woman dipt, and dyed tenne daies after: and this the parties name that dipt her: An Anabaptists wife very well in health, and in five daies dead of the Plague: so, you have no more you say; truly yee have done very commendably; never feare the losse of your trade.
Ile take a care, some friends I have shall be better to you then twise your trade: Olack, I would not for any thing you had forgot it: is that active youth (say you) suspected to be a Jesuite; you say you have strong presumption of it; and what is said by him you wot on—How an Atheist and blasphemer—and the other a drinker, and loose companion: truly I am glad I know it: if I doe not set them out to the life; let me Perish: heres matter worth the publishing: this will be welcome newes to my deere friend Pollicy, who is now setting the greater wheeles a going, and hath prevailed very farre already; nor doe I doubt, but all will be as he and I doe wish; but I must be carefull to keepe all close from my busie companion Conscience, hee’s one that knowes too much of my secrets, and I know not well how to be rid of him; I think Pollicy and I must each him alone, and stifle him.
Love, How strangely his mind runnes upon the unhappy worke, he hath undertaken: if we interupt him not, he will spend all his spirits, and expire in this extacy: Conscience, pray take hold on this occasion, and speake to him.
Conscience, Mr. Edwards, I know all your proceedings, observe all your waies, and have ever faithfully advised you for your good to leave the wayes of Pollicy, and to walke in the waies of Christ; but you are so farre from following my advice, that you lay plots to stifle me; but?
Truth, Conscience, save your labour: your voice no sooner sounded in his cares, but he fell fast asleep, tis wonderous sad to consider, but I hope the issue will be good.
Justice, Twere but just, he should never wake; I never observed the most wicked man in the world, delight in so abominable a worke.
Patience, Deare Justice, Let us take this opportunity, to consult what may be done for his recovery? for that is now our worke.
Piety, I pray yee friends, bring the light and come hither, I begin to smell the most filthy savour that ever was smelt; see, see, what a black froth his mouth fomes with all; see, it riseth more and more, some thing must be brought to receive it from him: out upon’t, I am not able to hold the light any longer, if it continue thus, we shall no be able to endure the roome.
Superstition, Pray let me doe that office, I wish I might never have a better sent, I am sure some of you smell of ranke heresie, if I mistake, not.
Truth, Wee must beare with your weaknesse, till you are better informed, how abundantly it flowes: he is now extreame weake: but were he in his wonted strength, with this most filthy Gangrenous matter, would he mix his inke, and whilst it were even hot, and boyling, fall to writing as he hath done lately, some huge volumne; with which he poysons the spirits of thousands (otherwise) well minded people; and fils them with a violent, masterfull disposition, with which they goe up and downe, vexing and molesting all they meet, if any man refuse to doe as they would have them, in the worship of God (though never so peaceable and well minded) him they revile, at him they raile, call him Anabaptist, Independent, Brownist, Seeker, Antinomian: worry and vex him, by all the waies and meanes they can: instigate the Magistrate, and rude people, to wearie them out of all societyes: and will joyne with their owne enemies, to their owne ruine, rather then these should have a quiet life amongst them: It flowes extreamely stoop him a little (humillity is alwaies good) I feare it will blister his mouth, it is so hot, but I hope it will all come from him, and then wee shall have no more to doe, but to get out the bagge for that must be done, other wise the humour will fill againe, and he will never be perfectly cured.
Hope, Sir, the couler begins to alter from its blacknesse, and turneth red.
Patience, There is now some hope of a good event: it doth not smell so strongly:
Love, Pray hold this soveraigne Pomander to his nostrill, lest his spirits faint.
Piety, I should be exceeding glad to see his recovery, which if he doe, truly Conscience, you deserve the greatest thankes.
Justice, There comes now perfect blood; my opinion is, wee must instantly proceed to open his head, and take out the blader, and in roome thereof, to leave some ingredients, proper for rectifying the temper of the brain and to bring it into a good constitution. I have instruments ready, and he sleeps very soundly.
Love. Patience. Truth, Wee all agree: but let us be very tender: Superstition, you had best withdraw a little, lest you fall into a sound, or your hand shake: give the light to Piety: Conscience and Hope, lend us your heipe: who should that be that knocks so loud. Conscience, pray step and see—
Conscience, What an inpudent wretch is this? who should it be but Pollicy, returnd in a grave Doctors habit, pretending to be sent hither, by a Colledge of friends, to lend his assistance: twas well I went to the doore, for he would have deceived any that had not knowne him so well as I, he was so like a Collegiate, sure his familier tels him, his agent is likely to be dispossest; but I have sent him packing, with a vengeance: pray goe on with your worke.
Justice, I pray bow him a little more to me-ward, so, give the pan to superstition, I am not able to stand neere it.
Piety, Rather let it be burnt, for Superstition is too much infected already.
Conscience, By no meanes, Ile keep it untill my friend wakes, that he may see, what filthy matter, his head was stuft with all.
Piety, It is well considered: and if he loath the avon himselfe, his cure will the better appeare to us to be perfect.
Love, Doe ye not lance too deep think you? Pray be very carefull.
Justice, Pray Piety hold the light neerer: come all hither, see-what mighty large bag it is, I professe I never saw the like—except in the late head of great CANTERBURY; but it was not discovered till after his death: but the savour of this is much worse; what shall we doe with it, now we have it out? sure it is best to reserve it, to shew him with the matter it contained, otherwise he will never beleeve it: and I pray be all ready, with your severall ingredients to fill up the empty place, that the humours may be rectified; and that thence may issue forth, no more such unsavory pestilent matter, odious to good men, but such as may bring honour to God, and peace to all good men: come let us see what wee have amongst us, for this work will admit of no delay.
Love, I have a most excellent powder, the maine agent therein, being the eyes of Turtle doves: and the property thereof, is to expell all sinister apprehentions, and hard constructions of men and things.
Justice, I have a balsome; approved by long experience, for the clensing, and drying, of all violent, hot, and grosse humours.
Patience, I have found much profit, by carrying about me the well known plant, called Al-heale: and I judge it very usefull in this cure.
Truth, I have an ingredient, which though of a strange nature, yet without it, I am parswaded the cure cannot be perfect: it is an extraction from the braine of a Serpent: which gives quicknesse of apprehension and foresight.
Justice, I pray you truth be carefull you ecceed not the just proportion, because if you should, yould marre all: Hope, what think you of our course.
Hope, I approve thereof, so farre as I understand: but here is Piety, is better able to judge.
Piety, I exceedingly approve of all: and if you please Ile mix them and work them into a body, and forme the same, fit for the place: and then Justice, when you please you may goe on with your worke.
Justice content:—so—tis very well he stirs not: Ile close up all, and wee will all with draw, and leave him to rest: for rest now will be his best friend: Conscience weele pray you to stay with him: if he stirre youle call us, weel be but in the next roome.
Love, This Conscience is of true temper to make a friend off, he neither flatters nor feares: no unkindnesse alienates him, nor danger affrights him, from doing the office of a true friend at all times: one would not be without such a friend, for anything in the world: this distressed man hath extreamly abused him; and yet you see with what fervency of affection he sticks to him.
Justice, I know abundance of the name, and of his kindred, and truly all the generation of them are such.
Patience, Whence is hee, is he a Scholler? What profession is he off?
Truth, I never saw no signes of schollership in him; nor doth he make any profession (that I know of) of any one calling now in use: but he is of a wonderous publique spirit: you shall have him at all meetings, that are for publique good, finding fault with the lazinesse of one sort of men, with want of charity in another, with pride and disdaine in another: telling them they glory to be esteemed Christians, and talke much of Religion, go much to Church, heare and read, and pray, and fast frequently, because these are the cheapest parts of Religion; but to deliver the captive, and set the oppressed free, or to feed the hungry, cloath the naked, or visit the Fatherlesse Widowes, to all these they are very backward, when they are called to these, one hath a great family, another hath married a wife, another hath but one servant at home, & cannot be spared from his trade, & getting of mony; I says he, you are rare Christians that can aboud in this worlds goods, & see your brother lack.
His dealing is so plaine, & to the point; that very few regard his company, and that’s the reason, those great meetings produce so little good as they do; for without his company, you shall never see any effect worthy the name of Christian: he hath had no breeding, neither in the Universities, or Ins of Court: never was a Courtier, nor Trauailer; & yet he is ignorant of nothing: & speaks very shrewdly to purpose; owneth every just & publick cause, without respect to persons or opinions: he will not weare finer cloathes, if you would give them to him gratis: & yet to an ingenious & vertuous man, there is not a more pleasant companion.
Hope, Pray yee, what Religion is he off.
Truth, For matter of outward formes, he is very reserved, as if he were not fully satisfied; I have often heard him say, God is a Spirit, and will be worshipped in spirit and truth: but he professeth himselfe, to be clearely for liberty of worship; and the greatest enemy to compulsion or restriction that can be; affirming there is no sinne so unreasonable, or un-Christian, as for one man (especially one erring man) to persecute, punish, or molest another for matters of Religion, or to make Lawes, concerning any thing supernaturall: he saies it proceeds not from any savour of Christianity, that men doe so: but from an imperious domineering spirit, that takes it in foule scorne, that any man should doe any thing, but by Licence from him: I assure yee Conscience allowes no such dealing; and this is the maine quarrell twixt him, and our Patient Mr. Edwardse but I hope wee shall see them good friends againe.
Superstition, Well, if this man dye under your hands, your lives shall go for his: Ile take my oath, you are the cause of his death. Piety, Spare your teares. Superstition, you shall find we have done him a good office, you will see him a new man: and your selfe too I doubt not ere long,
Conscience, Hoe, friends, pray yee all come in quickly.
|Justice. }||Whats the matter?|
Conscience, Doe you see this posture wherein he lyeth? thus he hath layne about a quarter of an houre, his lips moving, his hands and eyes lifted up, just as if he were praying in the Pulpit.
Hope, It is very wonderfull: He takes notice of nobody, what will be the issue? See, he now strives as if he would raise himselfe, as if his prayer were ended, and he were preparing to Preach; Conscience, help to hold him up, and see what he will doe: certainly he supposeth himselfe to be in some great presence, for just thus is his manner at such times—peace, and listen for he begins to speake.
Mr. Edwards, Men of England, my purpose is not now (as formerly) to promote my owne work: but to prosecute what is just and necessary, without respect of persons, or opinions: which hath occasioned me to make choice of this place of Scripture.
The whole commandement is fulfilled in this one word, LOVE.
It hath often come to my thoughts why the Apostle Saint John is called in a peculer manner, the Disciple whom Jesus loved; but it never made so deep impression in me as at present: certainly there could be nothing more joyous to his own spirit, then to consider it; and my heart at present panting after the reason thereof: tels me that John certainly was of a mild, a loving, and tender disposition, more eminently then any of the rest; so soft, that our Saviour chose his brest, for a place of his repose: and I am strengthened herein, because I find it recorded of him, that when he was so old that he was hardly able to come in to the speaking place, or to speake, he prosecuted this most blessed and amiable theame: little children love one another, repeating it often, little children love one another: as having throughly disgested this lesson of his Masters: the whole commandement is fulfilled in this one word LOVE; Love is the true touch-stone of all Christian performances, it instantly manifesteth how things are; so much love, so much of God.
It is the surest guide in all private and publique undertakings; without a due regard to the rule of love, all things will goe wrong: observe it, & it will be like the North pole to the Marriners, to guide you to the quiet harbour of justice and peace: it is a rule easie to be understood, the meanest capacity is capable thereof, none can excuse themselves that swarve from this rule.
If you would know your duty to God, it will tell you that in equity you are to love, as he hath loved: hath he so loved, as to give himselfe an offering and a sacrifice for you, then ye ought to waike in love as Christ hath loved; would you know how you should manifest your love to Christ? Love will set before you the sick, the naked, the aged, and impotent; it will lead you to prisons, and houses of distresse, and shew you the captives, the widowes and fatherlesse Children, and it will assure you that in as much as you ministred to the necessities of these, you have done it unto him, but if you have this worlds goods, and see, and suffer these, or any of these to lack, there is not the love of God in you.
Would you have a rule for your conversations? Why, the love of God which bringeth salvation to all men, hath appeared teaching us to deny all ungodlinesse and worldly lusts, and to live righteously, godly, and soberly in this present world: Are yee publique persons? Are yee intrusted to judge righteously in all causes: Love is the best property even in a judge, for God is Love, who is the righteous judge of all the earth, and slayeth not the righteous with the wicked: Love (rightly so called) putteth no difference betweene high and low, rich and poore, but loveth all men (as they are men) alike: but the proper object of Love is vertue, the more vertuous, the more it loveth; the lesse vertuous, the lesse it loveth: what so ever justly deserveth the name of infirmity, Love can beare with all: but it is contrary to its nature to beare with wickednesse, because mercy to the wicked, tends to the ruine of the just, and so becomes the greatest cruelty: Love is just, as God is; spares not the greatest, for his greatnesse, nor the wealthy for his money, nor any for any by respect; so that hold but up your love to God, and you can never be partiall in judgement.
Love doth as it would be done unto, in which respect it is a motive to the compleat performance of trust: for would it not grieve you to have your love abused, in the trust you have given for your good: doubtlesse it would? Why then (sayes Love) grieve not those that have loved and trusted you: but be watchfull for their safety; tender of their freedomes, and then you shall certainly reape the fruite of love, which is an aboundance of love and reall thankfulnesse.
Are you in dispute what you shall doe in matters of Religion! take Love along with you, to light you through this laborinth, whence never any Authority returned without prejudice? Say now, is Religion of that nature that you can referre it to him (whom you must love) to set you rules in such sort, as you can assure your selfe, you shall without sinne obay those rules.
Nay when your friend hath done all he can doe; are you not to follow your own understanding of the word of God & not his? and if you doe not so, doe you not sin? if so, how can any trust Religion? And if none can trust, none can be trusted? And love will never meddle with matters not intrusted, by way of injunction, but only by perswasion: whilst we live here knowledge will be imperfect, and whilest it is so, that which seemeth truth to one, seemeth an errour to an other: If I now shall be so unadvised, as to call him an heretique who differs from me, I doe but provoke him to call me so, for he is as confident of his, as I am of my judgement: and here the rule of Love is broken, that ought not to love in reference to opinion but according to vertue and godlynesse of conversation; for this were a way otherwise, to bring all into confusion, there being so many severall opinions; if one should revile and reproach another, with the names of Heretiques and schismatiques. Anabaptist, Brownist, Antinomian, Seeker, Sectarie, Presbyter, this tends to nothing but to devide the honest party, and to make way for your common enemy; for in whatsoever the true and evident rule of Love is broken, it tends to dissolution, it being love that preserveth all things.
Therefore my humble advice is in this great cause, (upon which more dependeth, then is presently seen) that you give not countenance to one before another, for that begets a high conceite in those you favour, and makes them dispise all others, though they may be as nigh the truth as those; in the one you beget pride, in the other feare; the fruit of both being the worst that can come to any people; none are now infallible, truth and errour are two easily mistaken; but love; is easily understood; to doe as you would be done unto, is a rule generally agreed on.
Let those that conceive they can justly submit their consciences to others arbitration in the worship of God, give in their names for themselves and the places they represent; I beleeve upon a little consideration few would be found; tis not what formerly hath been done, but what may justly be done, that is to beare sway with all true reformers; No man hath been more earnest then I, for compelling all to uniformity, and for punishment of all contrary practisers, but I now see my errour; and will doe all I can to make amends for the evill I have done; the books I have written, I will burne with my owne hand: for I judge no opinion so evill as molestation for Religion.
What I have in hand, shall never see the light, because I now see it to be a work of darknesse, and I exceedingly rejoyce that I have this opportunity to declare thus much before you: if ever men shall kindly be brought to be of one mind, I see it must be by liberty of discourse, and liberty of writing; we must not pretend to more infallible certenty then other men, this distinction of Clergy and layety, how I loath it, Ile no longer abuse the world therewith, nor with any thing appertaining there unto, I will henceforth magnifie nothing but love: I am the devoted servant of Love, and his lovely companions. Justice, Patience, truth, Piety, and Conscience, shall be my fortresse to defend me from the wiles and force of Machiavilian Pollicy: O Love! how thou hast melted me, how thou hast refined me, and made me all new; perfect thy worke O! Love, that I may become all love, and nothing but love.
Piety, Here is a happy change indeed: certainly the cure is absolute, we have great comfort of our poore indeavours: how his discourse fell at last from the publique to his particular content: my advice is, that wee all silently depart, and let all things be removed as if no man had been here: as for you Conscience, I know you will not leave him, and when he wakes, your presence doubtlesse will be most acceptable.