TEACHING ALL MEN MOST PLAINLY AND BRIEFELY, HOW to behaue themselues iustly, consciona­bly, and vprightly, in all their dealings, toward all men.

TO THE GLORY OF GOD, AND good of Gods Church, explaned: BY RICAARD EBVRNE Minister of the Gospel at Hengstridge in Somersetshire.

IAM. 2. vers. 8.

If yee fulfill the Royal Law, according to the Scripture, which saith: Thou shalt loue thy neighbour as thy selfe: yee doe well.

LONDON, Printed for Thomas Adams. 1616.


TO THE RIGHT WORSHIPFVLL, MAISTER IOHN DACKOMBE ESQVIRE, ONE OF THE MAISTERS of Requests, to the Kings Maiestie, &c. Health and happinesse temporall and eternall.

AS it is most certaine (Right VVorshipfull) that Christian knowledge aboundeth in our land, by reason of the manifold plentie and long continuance of the sa­cred truth of Christian veritie by Gods vnspeakeable mercy, and admirable blessing, setled and taught amongst vs: so can it not be denied, that Practise, that is, conuersation according with our knowledge, and an­swerable to our profession, very much faileth and wanteth among vs. For (besides those, the number or rather swarme whereof is not small,2. Thess. 1.8 Eph. 4.18. that know not God, and obey not the Gospel of our Lord Iesus Christ: who ha­uing their cogitations darkened, and being meere strangers from the life of God, (as the Apostle spea­keth) thorough the wilfull ignorance that is in them, haue giuen themselues ouer Heathen-like, or hellish-like rather, to worke all manner of vncleannesse and wickednesse, euen with greedinesse) many can say, Lord, [Page] Lord, Math. 7.21. which doe not the will of their heauenly father: and not a few are contented to seeme rather then to be sincere Christians, as taking more delight to professe in words with their mouthes, then expresse with deedes in their liues the Gospel of Christ. So that it seemeth to mee (howsoeuer, notwithstanding the false imputation and vile slander of our Romish aduersaries, the Preachers of the word amongst vs, haue not beene vnmindfull thereof, nor negligent or sparing therein hitherto) very necessarie and fit, that they should henceforth bend themselues more then vsually that way, that is, some-what forbearing do­ctrine of Faith and matter of knowledge, to insist especially and vrge chiefly and ordinarily such doctrines, such ex­hortations and admonitions as concerne sinceritie of life and integritie of conuersation: that so (if it be possible) they may prouoke our people more carefully to walke aswell as to talke the Gospel, and to haue an holy and vertuous life as­well as a sound and true beleefe; whereby the mouthes of our aduersaries may be stopped, and men may be occasioned, see­ing our people to shine by our good life and honest dealings as lights in the world, Math. 5.16. 1. Pet. 2.12. to glorifie God on our behalfe.

To this purpose, I among others, hauing oft times bent my speach, and by occasion of late handled that parcell of our Sauiours Sermon,Math. 7.12. the Sermon on the mount, viz. Quaecunque igitur, &c. Whatsoeuer yee would that men should doe to you, euen so doe yee to them: Ob­seruing it (being An absolute Rule of all true Iustice and equitie betwixt man and man, which therefore we may (mee thinkes) very aptly terme, as S. Iames doth, it, or its coequall, Iam. 2.8. The Royal Law) to bee verie profita­ble and auaileable to the vse and intent before mentioned, I haue beene willing of a priuate Sermon to make it a publike Treatise, and to conuey it, the forme somewhat altered, and the matter enlarged, from the Pulpit to the Presse.

This little labour of mine, I am desirous (Right Wor­shipfull) [Page] vnder the Patronage of your worthy Name, might be shielded and set foorth. First in regard of my dutie vnto your Worship; namely, that thereby I may, lest any note of vnthankefulnesse, or spot of forgetfulnesse be as­persed vpon mee, somewhat testifie my gratefull minde and mindfull remembrance of your speciall fauour and bountifull kindnesse vnto me from time to time shewed and continued: and then in regard of the Argument it selfe, which is of Equity and conscionable dealing: which by reason of your Honourable place, and worthy employ­ment vnder the Kings most excellent Maiestie in his Court of Requests, seemeth vnto me verie fit to be De­dicated vnto your Worship aboue some others, as to one that by his place, and (I doubt not) his often practise, doth see the vse and necessitie, and oft is mooued to vrge and require the obseruation and performance thereof: which alone, well regarded and fulfilled among men, would vndoubtedly cause much more peace and agreement to be in the land, and fewer Petitions by many to passe your hand.

I haue heerein, among other particulars, some-what vrged (an Argument wherein Viz, in my Maintenance of the Minist. and my two-fold Tribute. otherwhere, and in other wise, as vnto your Worship it is not vnknowne, I haue more plentifullie laboured) more equall and consciona­ble dealing toward the Ministers of the Church. That, in some mens opinions, may happely seeme to require some Cleargie rather then any Lay-man to patronize the worke. But partly, since that is but the least and the last part thereof, and partly for that I haue found your Wor­ship as a sincere louer of the Gospell, so a speciall fauou­rer of the Cleargie, and in particular in some of the points vrged, so conscionable and respectiue, as I haue shewed others should be, but I haue knowne none but your selfe to be; I suppose that fitly and iustly both it, and I for it, may craue your speciall Protection, and fauourable accepta­tion thereof.

[Page]Which trusting, according to your accustomed kindnesse, that courteouslie many times reacheth out the hand to many a meaner suite, you will accordingly vouchsafe, I doe with all dutifull affection commend it vnto you, and by you to the godlie and vertuous Reader: Heartily beseeching Al­mightie God, as he hath enriched you with no small mea­sure of his graces and blessings, and adorned you with sun­dry worthy ornaments and endowments both of bodie and mind, so to continue and increase the same in and vpon you, as may be best to the furtherance of his glorie, the bene­fit of our Countrey, and your owne, both temporall and eternall good. Amen.

Your Worships in all humble dutie, euer to be commaunded: RICHARD EBVRNE.

The summe of the Treatise.

The Rule of Equitie: wherin are considered the

  • i. Authour, arguing the
    • 1. Perfection & goodnes of this law.
    • 2. Largenesse or extent of this law.
    • 3. Blessing or curse that attends the obseruers or breakers thereof.
  • ij. Forme, very
    • 1. Briefe
    • 2. Plaine
    for the
    • Memorie.
    • Capacitie.
  • iij. Sence for
    • 1. matter, com­prehending our
      • 1. thoughts, and opinion of others.
      • 2. speeches and reports to, or of others.
      • 3. deeds & dealing toward others.
    • 2. manner, and that
      • 1. Negatiuely, (viz.) Not as
        • 1. we will or lust to do.
        • 2. others do to vs.
        • 3. others doe to them.
        • 4. themselues would.
        • 5. we haue accustomed.
        • 6. our laws bid orpermit
      • 2. Affirma­tiuely, viz,
        • 1. we would others should doe to vs.
        • Prouided that our will be
          • iust,
          • reasonable,
          • orderly.
  • iiij. Vse in regard of the
    • 1. Law of God: for the
      • 1. hardnesse thereof.
      • 2. largenesse thereof.
    • 2. Lawes of men, for
      • 1. President that they be
        • 1. Briefe.
        • 2. Plaine.
        • 3. Needfull.
        • 4. Equall.
      • 2. Precept cōcerning the
        • 1. Executing of hu. Lawes.
        • 2. Vsage of hu. Lawes.
        • 3. Want of hu. Lawes.
        • 4. Ignorance of hu. Lawes.
  • v. Applica­tion, viz. in
    • 1. General touching our Lawes needing some Reformation.
    • 2. particular, concerning our Ministers, for the
      • 1. Liuings prouided them.
      • 2. Bestowing of their Liuings vp­on them.
      • 3. Hauing of their dues.
      • 4. Recouerie of their dues.
  • vj. Conclusion, with Admon. to
    • 1. England.
    • 2. Impropri­atours.
    • 3. Patrones.
    • 4. Parishioners.
    • 5. all men.


HOW necessarie Lawes are a­mong men, as daily experi­ence doth declare: so the pra­ctise of God the Creatour doth make manifest, who creating man, wrote in his heart an eternal Law,Rom. 2.15. the Law of nature; and placing man in Paradise,Gen. 2.17. gaue him apositiue law, the law of Abstinence from the tree of good and euill: and the doing of God the Redeemer doth argue it, who so deliuered vs from the curse of the law,Math. 19.17. that he left vs lyable to the obedience of the law: was so farre from abrogating the law,Math. 5.17. that he protesteth, He came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it, being indeede the end of the Law, but as S. Aug. long agoe obserued,August. Finis perficiens non interficiens: consummating not consuming. And for our better furtherance both in the vnderstanding and obseruing thereof, at one time abridged the whole Law and the Prophets, into these two precepts, 1. Diliges Dominum, Math. 22.37. &c. Thou shalt loue the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, with all thy soule, with all thy minde, [Page 2] and with all thy strength: and 2. Diliges Proximum, &c. Thou shalt loue thy neighbour as thy selfe: and at another time summed vp both the law and the Prophets, so farre as concerneth mans duty to man, into this Com­pendium, Quaecunqueigitar, &c. Whatsoeuer ye will that men do to you, Math. 7.12. euen so do ye vnto them. Al which shew that men can no more liue without lawes, then a blinde man walke without a guide. It cannot therfore (I suppose) be a labour vnfit, or a worke vnnecessary, to spend some time on this argument, and by meditating a little on this principall and notable Ground of humane lawes, that Royal Law propounded vnto vs, and enacted for vs by Christ himselfe,Iam. 2.8. to open a way to vertuous and godly mindes, how to examine their actions, and conforme their liues some-what answerable to that integritie which the lawes both of God and Nature, doe require at their hands.

Wherein that I may conteine my selfe within con­uenient compasse,The Diuisi­on. I haue resolued to confine my pen within these ordinarie limits. viz.

  • The 1. Author. of this Law.
  • The 2. Forme. of this Law.
  • The 3. Sence of this Law.
  • The 4. Vse of this Law.

To the which in fine, I will adioyne some speciall Application thereof, according to the state and time wherein we doe liue. The consideration wherof, will, if I be not deceiued, present some, and intimate many more profitable and worthy obseruations vnto our eyes and minde.

The Au­thor is Christ. Which argues 1. This law to be perfect and good. Math. 16.16. Ioh. 1.14. and 17.In all lawes The Author thereof, who made it, as the efficient cause, is worthy to be considered. For vpon the worthinesse or vnworthinesse, the great or small estimation of him, doth the force and vigor, the state and nature of the law much depend. To which point, if we doe but a little cast our eye, forsomuch as the maker of this law is Christ our Lord, he that is the Sonne of God, and wisedome of the Father: he by whom [Page 3] and for whom all things were made,Prou. 8.22. Collos. 1.6. Heb. 1.2. Ioh. 1.3. 1. Cor. 15.27. Heb. 2.8. Math. 28.18. Gen. 18.25. and vnto whom all things are made subiect (for vnto him is giuen all power both in heauen and in earth) we shall easely perceiue this law to be most equall and iust, most holy and good, most fit and necessarie. For who should enact what is iust and equall, if not Iustice it selfe? decree what is holy and good, if not Goodnesse it selfe? or pre­scribe what is fit and necessarie, if not Wisedome it selfe? In lawes made by men, wee may euer sus­pect their soundnesse, and therefore as men that are to buy wares, will view them well before they bargaine for feare of deceipt; or that are to receiue money, will trie it well least else they take crackt for currant, and base for good coyne: it is not a­misse, that wee examine and prooue them well by this and other rules of perfection, before wee ap­prooue and practise them; assured, that it is said in this case no lesse then in any other,1. Thess. 5.21. Probate omnia, & tenete quod bonum est: Prooue all things, and hold fast that which is good. But in lawes made by God, by Christ, we cannot suspect their sinceritie without sinne, nor deferre them to tryall, without iniurie to him that made them, and danger to ourselues that are to vse them.

This sheweth vs likewise the large extent that this law hath,2. To extend & pertaine vnto all. namely: That it reacheth to as many, as are or ought to be in subiection vnto the Author there­of, that is, euen vnto all people, of all times, all pla­ces, and all degrees whatsoeuer. As none is so migh­tie that he can be more, nor any so meane that he can be lesse then a subiect to this Lawmaker, so is there no person that iustly can pretend, Hee is from this law exempt. Likewise no place that can pleade Pri­uiledge, as if thither it could haue no accesse: No time, no age, of which it may be affirmed, either yet it is not in, or now it is out of Date and vse.

[Page 4] 3. To con­teine a bles­sing to them that keepe it: and a curse to them that breake it.The same serueth also well to promise vs blessing and fauour, mercy and good, If we carefully obserue: and to threaten vs iudgement and wrath, trouble and euill, If we carelesly transgresse this law. There is in­deede no promise nor penalty hereunto in expresse words annexed, but inasmuch as it proceedeth from him in whose hand is life and death, Reuel. 1.18. good and euill, blessing and curse, his very person must assure vs, that he will neither leaue them vnrewarded that keepe, nor them vnpunished that breake it. And yet when as he doth after adde, that This is the Law, and the Prophets, he doth sufficiently thereby intimate vnto vs, that it also hath dependant vpon it, those promises and threats, those benefits and plagues, those blessings and curses,Leuit. 26. which the Law and the Prophets doe either generally or particularly denounce vnto those that ob­serue or breake,Deut. 28. &c. regard or contemne the same. Wher­fore let no man lightly regard or rashly reiect this law, but know for surety: Whatsoeuer particular it is, that can aptly, properly and rightly be from this ge­nerall deducted; If he obserue it, there will a particular blessing: If he obserue it not, a particular iudgement correspondent to the action, good or euill, attend him for it.

The forme wherein Bre­uitie and Per­spicuitie.Touching the forme of it, we may therein ob­serue the Breuitie and yet Perspicuitie thereof: points though alwaies fit, yet seldome found together. So­much the more commendable in this place, as they satisfie the scope intended, which is to inlighten the minde, and vnloade the memorie. For in these few words, so good prouision is made for both, that nei­ther is ouercharged: because there is lightly no me­morie so weake, but may easely carry it, nor any capa­citie so shallow, but may quickely conceiue it. And therefore if in the artificiall operations of skilfull men, the forme of any notable peece of work reduced [Page 5] into a very fine and curious frame, as the engines of a great clocke into a small watch, the description of the whole world into a little globe, and of a large countrey into a narrow map, doe for the curiousnesse and rarenesse thereof, delight the minde, and please the eie of the iudicious beholder, how much more this short Compendium of the law and the prophets, which hath in it length so little, and plainenesse so much, as pos­sibly the minde of man could not haue desired more, nor the wit of man haue deuised the like.

Wherein the wisdome, the goodnesse, the care and prouidence of Christ for man doe notably shine and shew forth themselues, while as he hath thereby so prouided euery man as it were of a little booke that wil neither lade his body,D. Bois. Dom. Trin. 18. p. 130. nor cloy his memory, nor comber his minde, and yet alwaies be in readinesse, rather in his head then in his hand, in his breast, then his bosome, to instruct & aduise him, in euery action and duty toward his neighbour, what and how hee ought to doe: that all pretence of ignorance and ex­cuse of charge and incombrance is taken away from all sorts of persons. The poore cannot complaine, That hee hath not wherewith to buy him a booke that he might read and learne: nor the ignorant that he cannot vnderstand: nor the busie Labourer that he cannot attend: nor the delicate Idler that he can­not endure, to study the law and the Prophets. For hauing this Bible about him, he wanteth not where­with to informe him: and being neuer without this, (for it is writtē in euery mans heart) he hath enough, if he doe amisse, to accuse and condemne him.

These points for the present briefly, The Sence twofold. viz.& but briefe­ly touched, least I should hold the Reader ouerlong from matter of greater moment, I hasten to the third point, viz. the sense and meaning of the words: the matter. the manner.which for more plainnesse I thinke fit to be considered two [Page 6] waies, that is, according to the matter, and accor­ding to the manner. The matter, Doe, the manner, So doe.

The matter or doing heere mentioned, is, accor­ding to the operations of man, 1. Matter, cō ­prehending our thoughts.our words.our deeds. threefold, that is;

  • of the 1. Mind.
  • of the 2. Mouth.
  • of the 3. Members.

For it comprehendeth 1. our thought and opinion of o­thers: 2. our speeches and reports to, or of others: and 3. our outward deeds and dealing toward others.

This is apparent by the precedent obseruation, the Authour of this Law;Gathered, frō the nature and vse of this law. Rom. 7.14. which being Christ, the Sonne of God, verie God, necessarily argues, the law to bee like himselfe, spirituall, extending as well to the in­ward as to the outward man, and speaking no lesse to the soule then to the bodie: Calu. Instit. l. 2 cap. 8. sect. 6. this being the true and principall difference betwixt Lawes diuine and hu­mane, That each sort is correspondent to the nature and condition of the Authour thereof. By which note alone, wee must acknowledge them, as to ex­ceed, so to excell the one the other, no lesse then doth the soule the body, heauen the earth, and the euerli­uing God a mortall man. This also appeareth by the obseruation subsequent, I meane the vse of this Law, which (as heereafter more at large happely we shall see) concerneth all the s econd Table of Gods Law, our whole dutie to man, taught at large by the Law and the Prophets, all the precepts whereof extend aswell to our thoughts as to our words and deeds. When as therefore our Sauiour saith, Doe to them, we must take it al one as if he had said, deale with them; think and imagine of them: speake to or of them, and in outward works render vnto them so as, &c. So that heere we haue a rule, a lesson for our whole man bo­dy and soule, inward mind and outward members: by which wee are to be guided and ordered as well [Page 7] touching our internall affections, as our externall acti­ons toward our neighbour from time to time.

This obserued,Which there­fore is not ve­ry easie to be obserued. may somewhat intimate vnto vs, that it is not so easie and slight a matter to obserue this rule, as at the first sight it may happely seeme. For whosoeuer is priuy to the natiue corruption and imbecillitie of our sinful flesh and vicious nature,Ferus in loc. fol. 119. as he seeth it is a matter of much difficultie and labour to conteine the eies, the hands, the feete, and other outward parts within their due bounds: so must hee needs say, that it is harder yet, to order well that vn­rulie euill, Iam. 3.6. that world of wickednesse the tongue: but hardest of all to mortifie the affections, to bridle the will, and guide well the mind & whole inward man, that they swarue not from that integritie and sound­nesse which this law of God, and rule of righteousnes or equitie diuine doth require.

Let no man therefore, like the young man in the Gospel, bold of his strength, brag in haste, Haecomnia, &c. Math. 19.20. All this haue I kept from my youth vp. I neuer did, nor euer will offer other measure vnto any. He that standeth most vpon, and presumeth farthest of his innocency in this behalfe, is often most deceiued, while indeed hee considers aright and knowes well, neither what he should doe, nor what he should will, but with some corrupt affection blinded, and with some vaine conceipt carried farre wide of the way, wandereth he knowes not whither, and doth he wots not what; the sentence which he giues, the conceipt of himselfe which hee hath, proceeding from no mature deliberation, or due examination of the cause and his owne conscience, but from some suddaine motion and vnsetled resolution of his igno­norant heart or negligent mind. I will not stand to giue examples of this kind, as which are so obuious to euery eye, that with ease enough they may bee [Page 8] seene. Onely hasting to passe this point, 1. I aduise e­uery man to take heede he deceiue not his owne hart with the shadow of equitie in stead of the substance. 2. I assume the premisses onely considered,Ludolph. de vit. Chr. par. I. c. 39. That if there were no other Law extant but this, it alone were abundantly enough to conuince euery man to be a sinner, as who swarueth and cannot but often swarue from that integritie of bodie and mind, that perfection of life and manners, which this most vp­right Leuell and absolute Rule of morall Iustice and Equitie requireth at his hands. So that he hath need to pray with the Prophet,Psal. 19.12. Ab occultis Domine, &c. Lord free my life, and cleanse my soule from secret sinnes:Dan. 9.5. and cry with the people of God, Peccauimus, &c. We haue sinned, O Lord, we haue sinned and committed iniquity: we haue grieuouslie offended and transgressed (this) thy Law, &c. For as the Apo­stle saith,Iam. 3.2. true it is, In multis labimur omnes: In many things we do all amisse.

From the matter I come to the manner of doing,2. Manner, and that 1. Nega­tiuely. 2. Affirma­tiuely. which I suppose not vnfitly may bee considered also doublewise, viz. Negatiuely and Affirmatiuely. 1. Ne­gatiuely, what is not, 2. Affirmatiuely, what is the right and proper sense thereof. To which purpose I say.

1. The sense is not, That we should doe to others what we will,Negatiuely. 1. Not as we will or lust or doe. and deale with them as it pleaseth vs. Our Sauiour doth not say, Whatsoeuer you lust to doe to others, so doe to them. This neither Gods Law nor mans Law doth allow. For though euery man should be a Law vnto himselfe, hauing the Law of God from the beginning written in his heart, and thereby his thoughts accusing or excusing him, Rom. 2.15. yet seeing this Scrip­ture is now so defaced, by the fall of man, that none can rightly reade it: and since the will of man, being become vtterly peruerse vnto any good, and prone on­ly [Page 9] to euill, Gen. 6.5.hath therby so gotten the mastery ouer rea­son, that it which should rule, cannot, and it which should obey, doth not, wil not, there is now no hope, nay no possibility, that man following his will, should al­waies do well, and follow the thing that is good and right. Our will is now like a blind man groaping his way, and therefore must be guided: or rather like an vntamed horse, that knowes no pace, and can keepe no path, and therefore it must with the bit of Religion be curbed, with the reines of reason be ruled, and with the hand of discretion be held aright. Indeed the Num­rods and Neroes of the earth readily runne this race,

Sic volo, sic iubeo, stet pro ratione voluntas:

So I will, so I commaund,
Let will in roome of reason stand,

is their common course. But cursed be their course, for it is cruell, and their way, for it is wicked. And among men but of inferior place, so licentious is the age and time wherein we doe liue, a man may some­times heare verie peremptorie tearmes, as, May I not vse mine owne childe, mine owne Seruant, as pleaseth me? It is mine owne Money that I spend, mine owne goods that I waste, and what hath any to doe therewith? &c. But surely such sayings sound ill in the mouth of a Christian, who should know, That there is but one absolute Lord, The Lord of the Vineyard, Math. 20. Rom. 9.20. 1. Chro. 29.11 Luke 16.1. mentioned Matth. 20. Who alone may doe to euerie man, as the Potter with his clay: and with euerie thing, for all is his, what hee will: and not bee ignorant that euerie one of vs is but a Steward at most to this Lord, a Labourer in that Vineyard, and accordingly hath an order assigned him, a course set, how and whereafter hee ought to dispose himselfe in euerie thing, and shall haue his counting day reserued him, wherein hee must red­dere rationem, yeelde a reckoning, and receiue there­after [Page 10] his penie or his paine, and heare either to his Com­mendation, Euge serue bone & fidelis: Math. 25. Well done good and faithfull Seruant, &c. Or to his Condemnation, Serue nequam & ignaue: Thou vngracious and igna­uious seruant, &c. In summe for both: As the Sea is conteined within its bounds, beyond the which it may not passe; for he that made it, hath said vnto it,Iob. 38.11. Hitherto thou shalt come, and shalt not exceed: ‘so haue we our bounds set, and our Sea-marke pitcht, and those are, not our will, but his word, not our lust but his Law, not our intention but his directi­on, who hath said aswell concerning our neighbour as himselfe,Deut. 5.32. & 12.8. Ye shall not doe euerie man what seemeth good in his owne eyes, but what I commaund you, that shall you doe.

Not as o­thers do to vs.The sence is not, we should doe to others as they doe to vs. Our Sauiour doth not say, As others do to you, so doe to them likewise. Not so neither. If this were a current course, then many times we should do euill to others in stead of good. If this were the rule, I suppose it would bee obserued more then now it is. For euen now though it be not the rule, yet as if it were the rule of Equitie, and the right course, many doe excuse and seeke to iustifie themselues thereby. Why? What haue I done? I haue vsed him, but as he did me. Such bread as hee brake to me, haue I broken to him againe, &c. as who would say, In doing but so, they had done but well. Hence it comes, that many are so readie, if they be stri­ken to strike againe: if they be euill spoken off, or euill spoken to, to speake euill againe: if they be hurt, to hurt againe: if defrauded, to defraud a­gaine: and that it is growne by common practise to a common prouerbe, Fallere fallentem non est fraus, &c.

But thus it ought not to be. For this wee haue [Page 11] no warrant at all. Gods Law condemnes it. Recom­pense to no man (saith the Apostle) malum pro maelo: Rom. 12.17. 1. Pet. 3.9. e­uill for euill, or rebuke for rebuke. Also our Sauiour before, If any man take away thy coate, what then? take thou away his for it?Math. 5.40. No, rather let him haue thy cloak also. And, If any giue thee a blow on the cheeke, what? Giue him twaine? No, but rather, Turne to him the o­ther also: that is, Bee ready, be content rather to re­ceiue more wrong, then by requitall to doe any. But what speake I of Gods Law in this case? Mans law also condemneth this course. For what Nation is there whose Lawes ordinarilie hold it not vnlawfull for priuate persons retaliare, to repay (in euill) like for like. And not onely so, but by the very light of nature the Philosophers heathen-wise somtimes saw it was our dutie, not onelie not to doe euill for euill, but that we ought likewise to doe good for euill. Inso­much that Xenophon when one railed at him,Xenophon. an­swered him not an ill word againe, but Thou (saith he) hast learned to raile and speake euill, and I (my consci­ence cleering me) to contemne railings, and I speake no­thing but good. Pericles.And another, when one in an eue­ning followed him home to his house, all the streetes as hee went rayling at him, returned him not an euill word, but being come home called forth one of his Seruants, and bad him take a Torch and light home that fellow that could no better see what to say.

Learne we then, learne we I say this lesson from hence, That it is naught, vngodly, vnnaturall, and not warrantable to doe to others alwaies as they doe to vs: and therefore know we, it is no good excuse, no iust ground why to doe euill to any. But know we this; Whatsoeuer others doe to vs, yet we must be­ware, that we doe nothing to them but good. Their doing will not excuse vs. When euery cause shall [Page 12] come to iudgement before him;2. Cor. 5.10. whose eyes cannot be deceiued, and whose hands will not be bribed, e­uery man shall answere for himselfe. They for do­ing ill to vs, wee for doing the like vnto them a­gaine.

Not as o­ther men doe to them.Our Sauiour doth not say, As other men doe to others, so doe you to them likewise. Example though it be a common, yet it is not alwaies a currant rule; Viuitur legib. non exemplis: We ought to liue by Pre­cept, not by president.Aug. ep. 89. ad Casulan. Laert. Diog. de vi. & mor. Phi­losoph. Senec. in Pro­uerb. Truth it is, men are much addicted this way, so that hardly will many bee per­swaded, that can be ill done of any, which is ordi­narily done of many: or they walke amisse, which follow the mightie. Tutumest peccare autoribus illis: There can be no danger in going ill, if such goe be­forevs still. But the Scriptures are plaine and per­emptorie to the contrarie. The gate is wide, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, Math. 7.13. and many goe in there at: therefore wee must not follow the most. Doe any of the Rulers beleeue on him (Christ?) There­fore followe not the greatest:Iohn 7.48. if the great bee good, and the most be best, we may follow both: o­therwise, Better is good company vnto heauen, then great company vnto hell: and safer to fast with La­zarus alone,Luke 16.20. Leo Pap. ser. de Ieium. Nic. I. act. Mich. Im­parat. then feast with Diues and all his bre­thren. Numerus pusillus non obest, vbi abundant Pietas, nec multiplex prodest, vbi abundat Impietas. The smalnesse of a number (that fauour a cause) no­thing hurteth, where Pietie doth abound (saith one:) nor doth the greatnesse of the number a­ny thing helpe, when as Impietie beares the sway. His reason is, Non multitudo, sed causa damnatio­nem vel iustificationem adducit: It is not the num­ber, but the cause it selfe, that doth either iustifie or condemne. Wherefore to conclude our point, howsoeuer others deale with other men, yet must we [Page 13] not make that a President for vs, vnlesse we beassu­red they haue so dealt with them, as of right they should. And then is not so much their example, as that whence they tooke their example, our direction. According whereunto, he said well and worthiethe obseruatiō, that said thus:Cicero. Non exempla aliorum quaeren­da, sed consilium est eorum a quib. exempla nata sunt obser­uardum: Wee are not so much to looke vpon other mens examples, as to obserue their purpose and in­tent from whom the examples are taken or drawne▪

Neither doth our Sauiour say,Not as men them­selues would. Whatsoeuer others would, or say they would, you should doe to them, so doe to them. This also is not the right sence nor rule. For though euery man should best know what is good for himselfe, yet since as women troubled with the disease Pica doe often long for things scant whole­some or naturall,Galen. lib. 4. de morb. cap. 10. Valesc. de Tar. in Philon. lib. 4. cap. 8. and regard little meates good and nourishable: so men and women both surprized with passions of feare, loue, &c. with the affections of co­uetousnesse, licenciousnesse, &c. may either will and desire, or at least, being asked or vrged, say they doe will & desire that which indeed either they doe not, or should not. Their will or their words, may not therefore be our warrant. By examples I shall hap­ly bee more plaine.Gen. 39. Potiphers wife is willing Ioseph shall come into her companie: but Ioseph notwith­standing her offer end desire, cannot be perswaded it may be lawful for him to condescend therto.2. Kin. 5. Naa­man is very desirous to bestow vpon Elisha for cu­ring him of the leprosie, talents of siluer, and chan­ges of rayment: but may it bee a question, whe­ther, as his man did, the Prophet also might not haue taken them? A drunkard is content thou shalt make him drunke, but yet I beleeue his consent can­not free thee (if thou doe it) from the curse which God hath threatned to such beasts.Hab. 2.15. The old Rule, [Page 14] Volentium fit iniuria:Reg. iur. ant. Aug. cont. mend. ad Consent. c. 7. No force, no harme, in such ca­ses holds not. Such voluntarie consent, can neither rectifie nor iustifie the Action, when there is nothing but viciousnesse and corruption in the intention.

Not as we haue beene accustomed.Nor doth our Sauiour say, As you haue beene ac­customed to doe to others, so doe to them still. Euen as you and your forefathers haue hitherto vsed them, so continue. Vse them no worse then heretofore you haue done, and then though you vse them no better, it is no matter. Not so neither. This also is no safe nor sound course, many things may bee customable, which yet are not commendable: and vsed to bee done, which often were fitter and better vndone. Such practise is rather Heathenlike then Christian-like, and drawes neerer the doctrine of the Pharisies of old, and of Antichrist of new, then either of Christ himselfe once, or good Christians since. For what is it else that the Pharisies did so much stand vpon vn­der name of the traditions of their Elders? and what did they censure our Sauiour and his Disciples so hardly for, but their customes? And what was it that our Sauiour did again so deepely taxe them for, whē he saith,Math. 15.3. Mark. 7.9. Full well yee haue cast away the commandements of God, to obserue your owne traditions, but the obseruati­on of their superfluous or superstitious customes? The pretence whereof may carry a shew with men, but with God is of no force: and may preuaile In soro communi in the temporall court, but in soro conscientiae in the (truly) spirituall Court, the Court of Consci­ence, can not stand.

The Fathers of the Church that had many a fight with the heathenish customes and foolish fashions vsed in and before their daies, bee most plaine and pregnant in this point.Aug. De vnic. [...]apt. lib. 2. Veritate manifestata, cedat consue­tudo veritati: After the truth is manifested, (saith S. Aug.) let custome giue place to truth: and a little after: [Page 15] Nemo sit, qui ausit Consuetudinem praeferre veritati: Let none presume to preferre custome to verity.Cypr. cont. Aquar. So S. Cy­prian, Omnis consuetudo quantumuis antiqua cedat verita­ti: Let any custome, how ancient soeuer it be, giue place to verity. His reason is, Consuetudo sine veritate, vetustas erroris: Custome without truth, is but an old errour: Quae quò magis obtinuit, tanto magis grauat: which the longer it hath held, the more it doth hurt.

The Lawyers likewise both ciuill and common,Iustin. Cod. li. 8. tit. 55. lib. 2. Const. ff. de leg. & Senatus l. be also of the same Iudgement. Consuetudo non valet quae rationem vincit: That custome is of no worth, which is against reason. Consuetudo absque ratione non habet vim. Custome without reason is without force.Greg. decr. lib. 1. tit. Consuet. cap. 10. & 11. & lib. 3. tit. de vi. honest. cler. c. 12. &c. The Gre­gorian Decretals tell vs thus: Consuetudo non derogat iuri naturali seu divino: Custome doth not preuaile against the law of nature or Gods law. For, Christus dixit, Ego sum veritas, non consuetudo: Christ said, I am the truth, not, I am the custome. Further yet, Mandamus qua­tenus huiusmodi consuetudinem, vel potius corrupte iam cu­retis extirpare: We command (saith he, speaking of some vnreasonable custome,) that yee endeauour to roote out such a custome, or corruption rather. And againe, Tenore Praesentium declaramus vos non teneri ad huiusmodi consuetudines obseruandas: By the tenour of these presents, we declare that you are not bound to obserue such manner (vnreasonable) customes.

And it is,Bb. Iewel, Reply. p. 21. Pet. Mart. loc. commu. class. 1. cap. 10. §. 7. R. Gualt. in Math. hom. 64. A. Will. in Sy­nop. contr. 2. q. 3. and many o [...]hers. as an ordinarie, so one of the best defen­ces wee haue against the Papists at this day, for the breach, the cutting off, and casting away of many of their old customes and fashions, which haue nothing but time and vse to shield or shadow them withall. We tell them wee are not bound to beleeue or hold, to obserue or doe any thing, how long soeuer it hath beene accustomed and vsed, vnlesse it may withall appeare vnto vs to bee agreeable to right reason, and consonant, not contrariant, to the word of God, [Page 16] against the which (say we,) No custome can be currant.

And in truth without this limitation and regard, if men will bee carried away with the name of cu­stome onely, and thinke it must needs be all currant which is customarie, and that they neede inquire no further in any thing, but, what is the custome? what hath beene vsed heretofore? many a mischiefe may be practised, and much iniurie and euill be commit­ted. Take for it an example or two.Gen. 28.26. Laban pretends, deceiuing Iacob, the custome of the place. It was not (forsooth) their custome, to marry the yonger before the elder: but vnder that pretence, he falsifies his promise, abuseth his daughters, and deceiues his friend. The Iewes had a custome,Ioh. 18.39. Mark. 15.8. That the Deputie must at the Passeouer set at libertie vnto them one prisoner, whomsoe­uer they would require, how notable a malefactour soe­uer he were: but vnder colour thereof, they, Pilate and the lewes let goe Barabbas a seditious fellow, a thiefe and a murtherer;Act. 3.14. 1. Pet. 2.22. See P. Mart. loc. com. class. 1. cap. 10. Graft. chron. par. 7. pag. 81. & 82. and crucified Christ, the Lord of glorie, in whom was no sinne, neither was there guile found in his mouth. It were euen a shame, but to name some of those bestiall and sauage practises, which vn­der the name of Customes either now be, or haue here­tofore beene vsed in sundry regions and nations, yet seemed to them no sinne. And in our owne countrey at this day, it is a custome too common with some, spe­cially at one time of the yeare aboue the rest, to robbe vpon the plaines: likewise, to couzen and deceiue in shops: to lie, yea to sweare falsly for an aduantage in bargaining. But by these and other like, which vsed be, in any in­different eye, none other then vsuall sinnes and accu­stomed abhominations, wee may sufficiently see, That to doe as we haue beene accustomed, is no certaine rule. Wee must haue better warrant then that. And that therefore we ought better to examine euery cu­stome, and consider more of that we vse to doe, whe­ther [Page 17] it be lawfull and good, consonant to reason, and conformable to the word of God, or not. Otherwise, the longer we run on in it, the further we runne out of the way, and the more we practise it, the more we sinne.Fem. Mon. in the cond. Babing in Gen. c. 19. Aug. Ench. ad Lauren. cap. 80. Obiect. Continuance, Custome in euill doth not exte­nuate but aggrauate the sinne. Tollit sensum, (non reatum) it takes away the sence and feeiing thereof, and makes it seeme as nothing to them that vse it (as one well obserues) but it doth not, it cannot alter the nature of sinne.

Some haply will alledge (for this is a hold which many blinded with couetousnesse and other sinister affects, are loath to forgoe,) That all that I haue said is true in things diuine, that concerne the religion and worship of God, and respect the obseruation of the first table, but in things humane, for the second table, concerning our duty vnto man, not so.

Let such consider well,Answ. and they shall see. 1. That the sentence and iudgements of the Auncients are ge­nerall, and doe extend to any euill custome whatso­uer. 2. That they doe define that to be an euill cu­stome, in what kinde of thing soeuer it be,Decret. lib. 1. tit. 4. De consu. cap. vlt. Quae verbo Dei, velnaturae, vel iuri communi, vel rationi repugnat: which is repugnant either to the word of God, or to the law of nature, or common equity, or to sound reason. 3. The examples aboue produced, doe necessarily in­ferreit, vnlesse any will say, Such customes to haue beene tollerable.Math. 5. & 15. 4. Lastly, our Sauiour both Math. 5. and 15. in the one place correcting the false inter­pretations of the law brought in of old, and in the o­ther reproouing Pharisaicall traditions of his time, speakes aswell against those that concerned the se­cond table as the first: and in the latter giueth an in­stance from the second table, and not from the first, the precepts whereof are Gods commandements no lesse then those of the first.

[Page 18] Not as the lawes of the land bid or permit you.Neither doth our Sauiour say, Doe to them as the law of the land wherein you liue, doth allow: As the lawes of your countrey will beare, so I bid you deale: whatsoeuer they permit, that practise one to another. This is not alwaies a safe nor a sound coarse. Great Reuerence and regard, I grant, ought to be giuen to the lawes of nations and ciuill ordinances of superi­our powers,Rom. 13.1. 1. Pet. 2.13. for the Powers that be are ordained of God, and therefore we must euen for the Lords sake submit our selues vnto them. But yet, as I thinke all Diuines wil grant, We must not relie on ordinances humane as on diuine: nor thinke whatsoeuer is by mans law or­dained, may euer safely be performed: whatsoeuer is thereby tollerated, may boldly, and with good con­science be practised: as if so long as we haue the law of man on our side, wee cannot possibly doe amisse.

Doth this seeme strange to any? No case more cleare? no position more plaine. For not only the Di­uine will say,Act. 5.29. That we must obey God rather then men: but also the very heathen, the morall man can see, That Summumius, Tul. Offic. l. 1. p. 17. Cat. de mor. lib. 3. is summa iniuria: Extreame law is (many times) extreame iniurie: and doth confesse, that Ipse etiam leges cupiunt vt iure regantur: The very lawes themselues, doe often neede to bee guided or mode­rated and qualified by the rule of reason and equitie: and experience doth euince, that partly by corrup­tion of times wherein they are made, and partly by the currant of time, by which they passe, they some­times are, and sometimes doe become not iust and good, not fit nor equall.

Examples.Examples to this purpose, if a case so cleare needed light by demonstration, I could produce both at home & abroad, of the present and precedent times, very many: but as wares by a shew, so this by a few, may sufficiently be made apparant and plaine.1 In temporall. Our lawes doe (as I take it) permit men to put their mony to [Page 19] vsurie, and that way to take ten of the hundred; yet who knowes not that our Diuines do commonly hold and teach, Such putting of mony to vse, to be iure diuino by Gods law vtterly forbidden and vnlawfull? Our 2 lawes doe allow men (in poenam Damni) to take the for­feiture of bands for debts vnpaid; but whether a man may with a good conscience and without sin and offence to God alwaies take the benefit of the law that way, I thinke may well be doubted. Though Land-lords at 3 this day in racking of rents and raising of fines, and some other their dealings toward their pooretenants: though buyers and sellers in venting their wares and making their bargaines, doe haply doe no more then by the law in its strictnesse they may iustifie, yet their doings many times, if they be well considered, will be found, the one sort to be neerer the nature of oppres­sion then of right, and liklyer the fruits of great cruel |tie then of good conscience: and the other to sauour more of deepe deceit, then iust dealing, and prooue rather plaine couzenage then honest carriage. And, to adde vnto these one or two of another nature,4. In eccle­siasticall causes. It is a common course at this day with Patrons, to sell (or assigne to such as will sell) the Advowsons of Benefi­ces, and, as they say, it is currant in law. By our common (but not by our canon) law, a man may doe it. But how lawfull soeuer it bee, this I am sure of, If things may bee estimated, not by their names but by their effects, and wee may iudge of the tree, not by his leaues but by his fruits, it is a course (in my iudgement) most sinfull & vile, as by which Sacriledge and Symonie (if they be rightly defined) are openly and vsually committed, or rather made to bee no sinne: and wee (if this impious course be continued) must from henceforth looke for no other dealing (ordi­narily) at their hands, but to buy our spirituall li­uings, (Deposita Pietatis, Doctrinae praemia, laborantium [Page 20] stipendia, sanctorum munera, &c.) of them, before wee haue them, as other men (Lay-men) doe buy their temporall reuersions, leases and copy-holds. For what men may be allowed to sell, they will not lightly giue: and he that hath first bought for his mony, will hard­ly beleeue, but that vendereiure queat, he may sell by Authoritie. For obteining Ecclesiasticall preferments, the world cries out,Lindw. provinc. lib. 5. tit. de ac­cus. cap. Nulli. and almost euery body talkes of the shifts and subtilties, wherewith, one thing beeing done, and another intended, men couer their couetousnesse, cloake their Symonie, and elude the lawes, our weake lawes, now in force. But may we beleeue, that so long as men can blinde the world or auoid the law of man, all is well? the conscience cleare? God pleased? and such assure themselues they haue not sinned, in this, nor sold their soules with their sales vnto the diuell for filthy gaine? And, by our lawes a great number of the best of our spirituall liuings are taken from the Church, and many spoiles and wrongs vnto the Church, vnder the name of Customes, compositions, pre­scriptions, and other like titles, all countenanced by law, are vpheld and borne out; which yet, as I In my two-fold Tribute. and others As Master Carlt. in his treat. of Tithes. D. Ridl. in his view of lawes. Mr. Butl. in Fem. Monar. D. Gard. in Scourge of Sacriledge. Mr. Sklaters Min. portion. Mr. Roberts in The reuenues of the Gos­pel, &c. more learned then I, haue in our writings formerly published prooued and shewed, and (in a manner) all the godly learned of the land doe hold, ought not to be done, but are sacrilegious, vngodly, iniurious, and vn­conscionable courses: for the not reforming whereof by law, God no doubt is highly displeased.

So that besides reason, very experience referred to due examination, doth necessarily inferre and in­forme vs, That it is not alwaies pium & tutum: good and safe to walke by the way of humane lawes. Men bee but men, and may misse. Neither their mul­titude, nor their magnitude: neither their place, nor their purpose: their wealth, nor their wit; no, nor their pietie or their policie, can secure vs, that they [Page 21] haue not erred. Wherefore we must know, that as in things Diuine and Ecclesiastical, our obedience to the Lawes, and ordinances of men, ought to be but quá­tenus, so farre forth as the commaund is not against God and a good conscience: so in things humane and temporall, our practise and conformitie must be with such limitation as exceeds not the rule of Equity, crusheth not the veine of true Iustice, and crosseth not the right forme of sincere carriage heere prescri­bed vs by him that could not erre. A Christian sustai­neth a double person, that is, of a Moral man and of a Diuine. And therefore he must so satisfie the one, that hee may also condignely represent the other: which can onely then be, when he doth so conforme himselfe vnto, and follow the directions of men, that his conformity thereto be alwaies subordinate and a­greeable vnto the precepts of God. It is sufficient for a friend, that he be a friend Vsque ad aras; and as much as can be required of a Christian, that he obey man in Domino, 1. Pet. 2.13 [...] in the Lord, and for the Lords sake, inde­uouring in all things to keepe a good conscience both toward God and toward men. Acts 24.16.

We doe liue (God be praised) vnder so happy a go­uernment, that wee may boldly compare with any els, for multitude and goodnesse of Lawes; but yet it would bee (I suppose) a hard taske for any to vnder­take to proue them all, euery one in particular, so cur­rant and absolute, that none of them need, nor can be amended: and it is more I thinke then is expected at any mans hand, to receiue them all, and to practise them euery one without any caution or scruple at al, none otherwise then a man may or must the very lawes of God. But in asmuch as the Lawes of Nations and seuerall Countries and Dominions are not all a­like, but do fall farre wide each of others perfection, and the best of them, of that which Gods Law doth [Page 22] require; the rule we seeke extending to all as well as some, I may safely conclude, The Lawes of men, in e­uery seuerall countrey for it selfe, Neither are, nor can be any setled or certaine Rule, for those that bee or liue therein, in this behalfe.

And thus for the Negatiue, we may partly see, (for since via erroris multiplex: the way of error hath many by-waies and turnings therein, happely I haue not remembred all,) What is not the right sense. Let vs now for the Affirmatiue consider what is or may bee the right sense and true meaning of these words.Affirmatiuely Which as the words themselues doe plainely sound,The right sense, viz. As we would others should do do to vs. may briefely bee explaned and expressed thus, that is: Whatsoeuer you being well aduised and rightly mo­ued, would wish, desire, or expect, that any other, friend or foe, neere neighbour or stranger, if they were in the same case and state toward you, as yee are toward them, should by thought, word, or deed, for bodie, goods, or name, performe or offer vnto you, that euen so, and none otherwise but so, you like­wise at all times, and in all things doe and offer vnto them.

This being the true sense of the words, thereby it appeareth: That euery man is to measure by him­selfe, what is good for another: and to iudge by his owne heart and desire, what he ought to doe to ano­ther. Wherein this Caution onely needeth to be ob­serued,A Caution: so as our will be iust, reaso­nable, and or­derly. this limitation allowed, which thing also the words aboue doe sufficiently intimate, That wee vn­derstand it not of euery will and desire, as of lawlesse and inordinate lust, but of such a will onely as is rea­sonable and iust, lawfull and well ordered. Which, the Ancients aboue any other, so carefully respected, that in manner, it onely they insisted vpon: and ac­cordingly for the better expressing of their minde, and explaning the sense of the wordes, they did [Page 23] sometimes reade the Text thus: Omnia igitur quaecun­que vultis vt faciant vobis homines Bona: Therefore whatsoeuer good things ye would that men should do to you, the same doe ye to them likewise: or else leauing out the word Bona, which they knew to bee in none of the Originals, they did other-whiles in their explications vse a distinction vpon the word vultis (ye will) as ambiguous. Thus Saint Aug. Id. n. quod dictum est. S. Aug. de serm. Domini in monte. lib. 2. c. 34. Quaecunque vultis, non visitate ac passim, sed proprie dictum accipi oportet: Voluntas nam­que non est nisi in bonis. Nam in malis flagitiosisque factis Cupiditas propriè dicitur,. Iansen. Com. in Concord. Euang. cap. 43. non voluntas, &c. That is, For that clause, whatsoeuer you would, must bee ta­ken not as vsuallie, and in most places it is; but proper­ly. For Will is not but in good things: but in wic­ked and flagitious facts properly Lust is said to bee, not will. Not that the Scriptures doe alwaies pre­cisely so speake, but where it is needfull, they doe so keepe the word in its strict sense, that they suffer not any other but it to bee vnderstood, &c. By which exposition he will haue vs to vnderstand, that our Sauiours words must be vnderstood, not large­ly of any kinde of will, good or bad, right or wrong, but strictly of such a will as is iust and good, such as properlie and sincerely our will ought to bee. Many desire euill vnto themselues,Examples. Perkins in loc. p. 460. Fer. in loc. fol. 119. Hun. in loc. pag. 219. & others. as, Children that they may haue their willes, to take pleasure, and not to bee held to good education: and idle persons, for they would not be set to worke. It fol­lowes not therefore, either that they should haue their will now, or that they in time to come, ought to doe to others according to that disordered and cor­rupt will of theirs.

Againe, the malefactour that is punished for his euill deeds, his robbing or stealing, his murther or treason, his violence and wrong, his filthy life and [Page 24] lewd courses, his foule tongue and slanderous spee­ches, and in a word, for any euill that hee hath com­mi [...]d, would that hee might escape: but must the Iudge and Officer therefore spare him, because it is likely, if the Iudge were in the Malefactours case, his will would then bee, as that mans is? God forbid. More: A father would haue his child honour him, a Prince his subiect to obey him, and may iustly say, If I be a Father, Mal. 1.6. where is mine honour? If I bee a Lord, or a Maister, where is my feare? if a Prince, my Obe­dience? But it were absurd to vnderstand, or inferre therefore, that the Prince must obey his Subiect, the Maister doe seruice to his Seruant, or the Father ho­nour his Childe, because the words be, He must doe, as he would be done vnto. For, Christ in whom was no sinne, questionlesse is no Patrone for sinne, nor main­tainer of vnlawfull or disordered desires or deedes: ‘And therefore his rule must be vnderstood to hold onely in things iust and lawfull, vertuous and neces­sarie; and be limited to such deeds or desires onely, as are honest and good, right and orderly; propor­tionable vnto, and befitting the person and calling of him whom they concerne; and lastly, rectified and reformed either by grace and the word of God, or at least Natures true instinct and a good con­science.’

All this is confirmed by our Sauiours owne words other where;Math. 22.39. namely, Math. 22. where he doth ab­bridge the second Table of the Decalogue into this Compendium, Diliges proximum sicut teipsum: Thou shalt loue thy neighbour as thy selfe. Which being but the same in effect that the words now in hand are, (as the Apostle shewes,Rom. 13.10. and all good Expositours consent) necessarily respects anothers good onely, and not his hurt. Whence it followes apparantly, As that Law, howsoeuer some haue hated themselues, permitteth [Page 25] vs not to hate our neighbour,Ephe. 5.29. because properly and na­turally no man hateth his owne flesh, but loueth and cherisheth it: so this, howsoeuer some men may will e­uill to themselues, permitteth vs not to doe euill to others, because properly and naturally euery man de­sireth those things only to be done vnto him, which are profitable and good, iust and right.

And thus taken with his due limitations, this rule is a direction so equall and iust, so perfect and abso­lute, as none more indifferent and right,Chrysost. hom. in Math. 7. Ludolph. de vi. Chr. par. 1. c. 39. more fit and reasonable can possibly bee found. For if euery man could and would truely and sincerely consider what he would bee content, the case altered, that another should do to him, and then do the same and nothing but the same vnto another, he should neuer do amisse. ‘The very lacke, and the onely want of which con­sideration and course in mens proceedings and dealings one with another, is one maine and ordi­nary cause of so much violence and wrong, deceit and fraud, slander and reproach: and in a word, of all the vniust and iniurious dealing, the vnhonest and intemperate courses that be in the world, while men can consider and conceiue rightly enough, what they would haue other men to doe to themselues, but not versa vice what they ought to do to others. And to this purpose it hath so well liked all indifferent and honest minds,Zepper. de leg. l. 1. c. 5. that many notable and worthy Law-makers and Gouernours aswell humane as diuine,Hun. in loc. pag. 219. & others. heathen as Christian, haue held it The ground of their Lawes, and propounded it to themselues as their prin­cipall rule, after which they framed no small part of their lawes and legall proceedings. Among whom worthy speciall remembrance is Alexand. Seuerus the Romane Emperour,An History. of whom Aelius Lamprid. rela­ting the manner how that Caesar was wont to deale with offenders,Ael. Lampridi­us. writeth thus: If any man had turned [Page 26] out of his way into another mans possession to take spoile or prey there-hence, according to the qualitie of the fact, he was either beaten in his own sight with cudgels, or scourged with rods, or put to death: or, if happely the dignity of the person ouerswayed these penalties, he was sharply rebuked, the Emperor him­selfe saying vnto him, Visne hoc in agro tuo fieri, quod in alieno feceris? Wouldst thou be content another man should haue made such spoile & wast in thy ground, or in thy vineyard, as thou hast done in this mans? &c.’ And hee did often vtter that notable sentence, which he had learned of some Christians, to be one of their lawes: and when he corrected any, he comman­ded it to be proclaimed by a Cryer, Quod tibi fieri non vis, alteri ne feceris: what thou wouldst not haue to be done to thy selfe, that do not to another. Which sen­tence (saith he) he so much delighted in, that both in his pallace at home, and in publike places abroad, as of iudgement and other like, he ordained it should be written vp or painted, for all men to reade and doe thereafter. And (as other haue it) he being no Chri­stian, for it alone much fauoured the Christians, affir­ming often, that those men could not be bad, that had a­mong them lawes so good.

Of the hardnesse and difficultie to performe this precept no man hath need greatly to complaine, see­ing no more is required at his hands to be done to an­other, then he desireth & iudgeth fit another should render vnto him, the performance whereof can bee no harder for the one, then it is for the other. Rather it will behooue euery man, as of a precept most plaine and pregnant, most iust and necessary, to be take him­selfe with all sedulity and readinesse of mind to the performance and obseruation thereof. It is a part of our humane corruption and home-bred (or rather in­bred) imbecillity, while we should bee studying how [Page 27] to do that which is commaunded, and fulfill that is taught vs, to bee thinking on excuses for our negli­gence, and defence of our transgressions. But the issue thereof will be, onely to take from vs all iust excuse of our disobedience, and to conuince vs to haue had more knowledge then loue of well doing: and grea­ter ability then purpose, strength then desire to keep what is prescribed vs.

The Vse of this Law (our fourth principall point) is manifold and exceeding great:iiij. The vse: in regard, but for auoiding Prolixitie, and that which comes thereof Tediousnesse, I will reduce it vnto a two-fold consideration onelie, that is, of the

  • 1. Law of God.
  • 2. Lawes of men.

In regard of the law of God,1. Of the law of God. as it is the summe both of the Law and the Prophets, so it serueth well as a reme­dy and an helpe against the largenesse and the hard­nesse of them both. For whereas the Law and the Pro­phets conteine many volumes of writings, too much to bee of euerie ordinarie head comprehended and kept in mind and memory,Perkins in loc. p. 460. the summe and substance of them both,Hunn. and o­thers. is so contracted into this Compendium, that therein alone is conteined and infolded as the quintessence of that greater masse, the very summe and effect of all that which in those many and larger Bookes and writings, exhortations and dehortati­ons, Lawes and ordinances is explaned and enlar­ged. And whereas many places, sentences and words in the Law and the Prophets be darke and ob­scure, hard and intricate to bee vnderstood and ex­pounded, the sense of them all may be found in these few words alone, as which doe conteine whatsoeuer in them or any of them is intended: assured, that on­ly is and must be the true sense thereof, which accor­deth, as the worke to the rule, with this Ground of lawes, and foundation of equitie.

[Page 28]This vse is plainly deliuered vs by our Sauior him­selfe in the words annexed,Math. 7.12. Haec est n. Lex & Prophetae. This is the Law and the Prophets. By which clause he doth clearely intimate, that al that is conteined in the Law and the Prophets concerning our dutie vnto man, is but as it were so many seuerall and particular explications, members, branches and clauses of this one principall precept and originall statute, Doe to others, as by others thou wouldest bee done vnto. And therefore hee that knoweth this, knoweth all: and hee that doth this, doth all that in and by them to that purpose, is more at large taught and commaun­ded.

Obiect.If this be the law and the Prophets; (for so bee the words) and this be (as I haue said, and happely soone will be granted) so plaine and easie to be vnderstood, what needeth then (may some say) so much teach­ing and preaching?Perk. in loc. p. 474. A great many Sermons might be saued, and lesse Seruice a good deale well enough suffice. This charge and cost to maintaine Ministers and Teachers, Schollers and learning, &c. is it not superfluous? As Iudas said, when hee minded his purse, howsoeuer hee pretended the poore, so may not we,Math. 26.8. Quorsum haec perditio? What needeth al this waste? For al that they can say and teach in their so long and so laborious Sermons, words and works, it is all but this, Doe as thou wouldst be done vnto: And this, I trow, one man may tell and teach another quickly. Who cannot learne this without any great labour? and therfore their pains and their place too may be spared. Farther, what need so many lawes and statutes? so many proclamations and edicts? so ma­ny Canons and Constitutions to be enacted, made & published? Kings and Princes, Gouernors and Rulers of Kingdomes and Countries, of Common-wealths, and cities, haue taken more labour (belike) then they [Page 29] needed, and troubled themselues very much without any great cause, in making so many lawes and ordi­nances, in enacting so many statutes, and publishing so many orders and decrees, when it might haue suf­ficed to haue proclaimed nothing but this, Quaecun (que) vultis, &c.

But take heede,Answer. take heede I say, of such suggesti­ons. This wisedome descendeth not from aboue, Iam. 3.15. but is earthly, sensual and diuellish. Such as so reason, and so speake, if they thinke as they speake, doe not despise men but God, 1. Thess. 4.8. and presume themselues to be wiser then he.Perk. in loc. pag. 468. and others. For, first of all, That which is conteined in this law, is but so much only as concernes our disposition and conuersation vnto man, that is, the obseruation of the second table of Gods law, which is but the one halfe and that the lesser and inferiour halfe of the whole. For we owe besides this, as I thinke euery bo­dy knowes, a dutie also vnto God, which consisteth in the profession and practise of true religion, according to the tenour of the first table of Gods law, of all which this rule hath not a word. Be it then, that for our duty toward men, this law, this abridgement of the second table might suffice, yet for our duty to God, we must haue a further direction, and other helpes. And there­fore, if not in this, yet in that regard at least the labour and diligence of the Ministers of the Church is most necessarie, and the vse of knowledge and learning ex­ceeding expedient.

2. If this alone were instruction sufficient for our dutie vnto man, then did God the Father very much for­get himselfe (with reuerence of his Diuine Maiestie be it spoken) in that he did command and send forth his Priests and Prophets from time to time to set forth to the people, in their many and large speeches and exhortations, not only such things as concerned Gods worship alone, but also and withall, those and so [Page 30] many of those that concerned our dutie vnto man. Nei­ther did the Sonne of God well, that he would giue this in charge to his Apostles, his Ministers and Prea­chers of the Gospel, to call the people to amendment and newnesse of life: to exhort them to all and singu­lar particular duties: & to insist no lesse on these kind of doctrines then on those which pertaine to religion only.2. Pet. 1.21. Nor yet the holy Ghost, by whose inspiration all scripture was written, in causing the Law and Pro­phets, and a great part of the new Testament too, to be pend and published in so many and so large volumes, as out of which might haue beene left all whatsoeuer cōcerneth this point. And it is their fault likewise, that so many kings and princes, so many gouernours and rulers among the people, haue beene so laborious in penning and publishing good and holesome lawes as­well for our conuersation as for our religion. For had they not had both precept and president from them, no doubt they would haue beene more sparing and lesse diligent that way. If these things may not be imagi­ned without despite to God, and blasphemie against the most high, as indeed they cannot, then are all those obiections and cauils both vile and vaine.

3. Let vs consider well, first the natiue dulnesse of mans heart, and the blindnesse of his vnderstanding, specially in spirituall and good things: and then the peruersenesse of his will, the backwardnesse or rather vntowardnesse of his nature, vnto either godlines or goodnesse: so shall we see, That not only this Law a­lone is not sufficient, vnlesse it be to his condemnation, and to take away all excuse from him, but likewise that all those helpes, which God knowing our wicked­nes & weakenes both, hath added thereto, out of the Law & Prophets, in the vse of his word & Ministerie, and in the care and indeauour of the higher powers by humane lawes and policie, are all little enough.

[Page 31]For though it be true in generall, That for our du­tie one to another, This is the summe of all that can be said, yet when we come to particulars, how few be there that can or at least that wil conceiue when they doe, or doe not accordingly? No man almost will yeeld that hee doth amisse, vnlesse hee can bee con­uinced thereof by some expresse commandement or law. Nay, when as men are so craftie in wicked­nesse, and so ingenious and cunning in euill, that they can and doe deuise daily new shifts and subtil­ties, whereby they doe wrest the law of God, delude the apparant sence and meaning, and auoide and frustrate the intent and penaltie of many an hu­mane law; what boldnesse, what rashnesse, would they not aduenture vpon, if there were no particu­lars at all, nothing but this generall Compendium to bee their guide? I report mee herein to euerie mans knowledge, and most mens practise. Who is he, that can not tell you at his fingers end, how ano­ther man should vse him, and what he should in this and that case doe to and for him: but change the person, and say to him, as Christ to the Lawyer, Vade & tu, Luk. 10.37. & fac similiter: Goe thou also, and doe likewise; doe so to thy neighbour too: then the case is altered. Of examples in this kinde, the world is full.

Then for the other point, I meane our peruersenes and vnaptnes vnto good, who sees not, who knowes not, That neither the instructions & directions, the exhortations and admonitions, the reprehensions and comminations of the Prophets, Preachers and Mini­sters of God, some while with the sweete promises of Gods mercies and blessings perswading and allu­ring: some while with the sharpe threats of Gods iudgements and cursings terrifying and enforcing: nor yet the ecclesiasticall censures of the Church [Page 32] by suspension, excommunication, aggrauation, depri­uation and other like on the one side; or the temporall punishments by the purse and paines, by prisonment and banishment, by tortures and torments, yea, or death it selfe most sharpe and shamefull on the other side, can so bridle and conteine men within the lists and bounds of their duties, but that still, as daily wee see and heare, some or other doe and will breake out of order: what then were to be hoped or expected, if those helpes and spurres to vertue and goodnesse, and those staies and stops from vice and wickednesse were away? That therefore which these say, This one sentence were enough for all; Doe as thou wouldest be done to, is easier vttered then prooued, and sooner said then performed. It were enough, if euery man did, or could, or would vnderstand and apply it well. It were enough, if we were al as prone and apt to good, as we are to euill. But beeing, as we are, so blind and bad, both this short remembrance, and those many and long additions and helpes are (for their successe and operation) all too little and too few. Wherefore it is our duty indeede seriously to consider, and inge­nuously to acknowledge Gods great mercy and pro­uidence toward vs, in affoording vs so many furthe­rances and meanes for our good, and carefully and thankfully to make vse of them all accordingly: e­specially and by name, of those two principall bre­thren the Magistracie and the Ministerie, which the one with the word, the other with the sword, the one spiritually, the other corporally, doe so much further and auaile to the publique and priuate good of all, that the two eyes, and the two hands of the body naturall and organicall, cannot bee thereto more beneficiall and necessarie, then are those two to the state and staie of the body politicall and mysticall, and of the life ciuill and spirituall.

[Page 33] Of the lawes of men.And thus much of the first vse of this law, which concerneth the law of God. The other vse con­cerning the lawes of men, is not indeede, as the for­mer, expressed by our Sauiour,Zepper. de leg. lib. 1. cap. 5. & 13. l. 5. cap. 14. but in asmuch as all hu­mane lawes either haue or ought to haue the law of God their foundation, and are, or ought to be deriued, as riuers from the fountaine, from this Originall, it doth necessarily follow, that the vse of this law no lesse extendeth vnto these of men, then vnto those of God.

This vse is also twofold,And that 1. For Presi­dent. that is, for President and for Precept. For first, This Law of Christ, is a president or patterne, by & according to which the lawes of men ought to be formed & made. In the which if men will consider what I haue before partly obserued, that is, for the manner, the Breuitie and Per spicuitie therof, for the matter, the Necessitie and Equitie thereof; they may easely learne, That, according to this patterne, their lawes ought to be, briefe and plaine; necessarie and e­quall: for such is this, as we haue already seene.

1. They ought to bee contriued succinctly and briefly.That they be briefe. Breuitie is either in the whole corpse of the law, that it be reduced to a compendious forme, and con­uenient number: which shall be the better had and held, if the superfluous & vnnecessary particulars and clauses thereof, withered by age, impertinent for vse, vnnecessary for the place, vnfit for the time, &c. be pared away. Or it is in the particular lawes them­selues, that they be conceiued in such apt and concise termes, as may only suffice to expresse the minde of the lawmakers, and may better resemble the Maiestie of a Commander, then the manner of a Commentator. Legem, Seneca. epist. 95 breuem esse oportet, quo facilius ab imperitis tenea­tur: vel, ut emissa divinitùs vox esse: Iubere, non disput are debet: A Law (saith Seneca,) must be briefe, that it may the more easily be conceiued and remembred of the [Page 34] vnskilful: or, as a word from heauen vttered: It ought to command, not to discourse, or dispute.

Plaine.2. They must haue asmuch perspicuitie and plain­nesse as may be. Perspicuitie, is either in the words themselues, wherewith the law, or in the language wherewith the words of the Law are expressed.Ridl, View of lawes. pag. 198. If the one be such as is familiar and naturall to them, and the other such as is plaine and easie to be vnderstood of them, for whome the lawes are made. If a trumpet giue an vncertaine sound, 1. Cor. 14.8. who will make himselfe readie to the battaile?

Needfull.3. They must be needefull and necessary for the time and place wherin they doe liue for whom they are made. The due regard whereof cannot but require many repeales and alterations, many qualifications and exceptions, to be made from time to time. Legum etenim humanarum tanta varietas, Zepper. de leg. lib. 1. cap. 10. & lib. 5. c. 8. imperfectio, & instabili­tas est, ut singulapoenèiam non secula amplius, sed lustra ferè, novas leges, restrictiones, ampliationes, modificationes novas, &c. ferant & importent. For (saith one) So great is the variety, imperfection and vnstabilitie of humane lawes (and affaires) that not only euery age, but also euery other yeare in manner, they admit and require new lawes, restrictions, and extensions, new qualifications, &c. to be had and made.

Equall.4. They must be equall and indifferent. And this aswell in respect of the persons, indifferent to all, not easing some and grieuing others, nor respecting these and neglecting those, as if they were aliis mater, aliis no­verca: to some a mother, to other some a step-mother: as of the penaltie, which must be such, as may by the sharpenes & seuerity thereof suffice to conteine those within their bounds whom precept alone cannot pre­uaile withall, and not by the lacke or leuity thereof, as if they were counsels rather then lawes, open gaps and leaue way at will, to those that will violate and [Page 35] breake them.Cicero ad Brut. ep. 2. Salutaris seuerit as quam dictat communis ratio, & ordo publicus postulat, inanem speciem clementiae vincit: For, Holesome Seueritie which common rea­son appointeth and publike order requireth, easily putteth downe the vaine shew of Clemencie, as saith that worthy Polititian Tullie.

Secondly,For pre­cept. as it is a precept, the vse thereof concer­neth, 1. the executing, 2. the vsage, 3. the want, 4. the ignorance,Concerning. and 5. the defects of humane lawes.

The exe­cuting.In executing lawes already extant, this Rule of Equitie doth require, That such fidelitie and sincerity be vsed, that the lawes may haue their due course and effect: which is, to maintaine vertue and suppresse vice,Zepper. de leg. lib. 3. cap. 7. pag. 200. defend the good and correct the euill: that the common good be sought and preferred: that partiali­tie and respect of persons be auoided: that the Law be not wrested, nor true Iudgement peruerted: that Iu­stice be not denied or delaied, that none with vnne­cessary suites or vnreasonable expenses be vexed and consumed,Pag. 779. &c. Which courses, if Magistrates, if Officers and others to whome the managing of the lawes is committed, doe not carefully and con­stantly obserue, in vaine doe they pretend, that they due to others as they would bee done vnto; and they well deserue to bee numbred among those, which as the Prophet saith, Convertunt iudicium in absinthium, & iustitiam in terra relinquunt:Amos 5.7. turne Iudgement into wormwood, and leaue off righteousnesse in the earth.

The Vsage.For the vsage of Lawes by such as take the be­nefite thereof, it is too truly obserued, and too often seene, that diuerse that doe goe to law, doe egre­giously abuse it,Zepper. de leg. lib. 5. cap. 11. in that albeit they know in their own consciences that they haue a bad cause, yet will needs proceede; or not respecting, whether their cause be good or bad, will not bee quiet: and this, ei­ther vpon a vaine desire and diuellish delight they [Page 36] haue to be quarrelling; vpon which noxious humour they do feede themselues & liue none otherwise then doth the Salamander by the fire, as who be no longer well at ease in themselues, then while they be at trou­ble & variance which others: or for that in the aboun­dance of their malice and hatred toward them, (for they can not goe to law but with a spitefull minde and malicious spirit) they desire to plague the aduerse par­ties, to vexe them extreamly, to make them spend their mony, and, if they can do it, to vndo them: or for that trusting in their owne subtilties & craftie heads, they take a glorie, that they are able by some or other indirect and cunning courses, to make an ill cause (seeme) good: to blinde the iudge, & cast a mist before wise mens eyes, that they may not (easily) see what is truth & right: or finally for that counting themselues wronged and discredited, if any cause good or bad go against them, they resolue neuer to giue ouer, while possibly they can finde any delaies, any shifts or deui­ces whatsoeuer, till they haue so worne & wearied out their aduersaries, that at length, they must be enforced to forsake & giue ouer their good cause and iust title.

But detesting such wicked, vnconscionable and prophane courses, too commō in these our euil daies, we must know, That then only (in this respect) we doe as we would be done vnto, 1. Tim. 1.8. if we vse law, which of it selfe is good and holy, if a man vse it lawfully) not as fooles and children do their daggers, which are out at euery flie, but as wisemen doe their armour, that is, as our last re­fuge, when all other and easier helpes doe faile: If we make it not a rigorous Iudge to reuenge our wrongs in the highest degree & sharpest measure, but an in­different Arbitratour, with all lenity and moderation to decide a cause, or resolue a question twixt vs and our neighbour. Lastly, if we reckon him we contend and goe to law withall, not our enimie but our friend, [Page 37] considering as we should, it is the cause and not the party, the matter not the man, wee must prosecute and haue to doe withall: and accordingly therefore doe so deale with him and follow the suite, that it may appeare, we seeke not his trouble but our owne ease; his losse but our right; nor haue any minde or delight to vexe or hurt him, but to quiet and benefit both him and vs, him as well as ourselues.

The want.For the want of Lawes. If there fall out, as oft there may and doth, any new case, in which there is yet no nationall,Perk. in loc. pa. 460. no positiue law enacted; till this be done, for supply thereof, wee must haue recourse to this Ground of lawes, and in that case, so doe, and so deale, as it doth informe vs: Assured, we cannot doe amisse, so long as wee doe not decline from this. A man may not thinke in such an Accident: There is no law for it, no statute, no Act of Parliament, therefore I will doe, or I may doe, what I list. No: If there be no statute or law for it made by man, yet here is a Lawe, which will tell thee, if thou wilt heare it, what thou oughtest to doe: and will conuince and condemne thee for a man vniust and wicked, if thou heare it not.

The igno­rance.Against the ignorance of Lawes. Suppose a po­sitiue Law or Constitution is extant in this or that case, but it is eyther so large that thou canst not com­prehend it: or so intricate and obscure that thou canst not vnderstand it: or so farre out of mind that thou canst not remember it: in such a case, haue thou re­course to this law and generall rule, and it alone shall suffice. This will suggest vnto thee the same in effect, which that positiue law thou seekest for, or vnderstan­dest not, if it be iust & good, would direct & informe thee more at large. A ready way to saue a great deale of that cost and waste, which is vainly and needlesly [Page 38] many times (what if I said wickedly also?) bestowed on Counsellours and other Lawyers, who rise apace by the fals of litigious men, that either ignorant of law, or negligent of right, chuse rather to be acquain­ted with the subtilties of men, then the sinceritie of God; and care litle what equity & a good conscience doth require, so as they may finde out some quaint quirk, or nice euasion in Law for that they desire.

The defect of humane Lawes.Sometimes there is in some Law or Statute a defect in words, matter or other like. Let it seeme much or strange to none, that I lay such an imputa­tion on the lawes of men.Zepper. de leg. l. 1. c. 5. & l. 5. c. 10. For as in other humane wri­tings, so in lawes too, doubtlesse by reason eyther of the weake apprehension, contrarie opinion, corrupt affection, or other humane infirmitie of those that make lawes, Who are al but men, some fault and errour, some want and imperfection may sometimes bee found, which time and truth hauing better exami­ned, do discouer to the same or other mens eies. Som­times also, the very alteration of times, and therwith the state of things not foreseene at first, nor happely to be foreseene by humane reach, may breede a defect where before was none. To help this, the best reme­dy for the present, is, to haue recourse to this Law of Lawes, which apted to time and place, to occasion present and vrgent, will informe vs to supply in our selues, what is defectiue in our lawes, and to carrie our actions aright, when the lawes doe carrie them a­wry.

These things (though but briefly) obserued, con­cerning the vse of this principall precept, I may by good consequence conclude, That in truth it is not so much the multitude of lawes and varietie of pre­cepts humane that are necessarily required vnto vertu­ous courses, and to light vs the way to well doing, as, [Page 39] (hauing euer in our minds, and before our eies this sum of all, for an infallible rule in all our doings) the care and indeuour to practise well thereafter, and to conforme thereto, both our liues & our lawes: which will and can then onely be vpright and good, truely iust and honest, when as they and it do wel agree and suite together. It is recorded of a certain Philosopher,Aristot. apud Laert. l. 7. c. 14. & Aristipp. apud. cund. l. 2. c. 8. that asked on a time, What he had gotten by that kind of studie? (Philosophie:) he answered, Inprimis summum hoc, Quòd quae alii non nisi legibus coacti faciunt, sponte faciam: This principall and speciall good; That those things which others do by compulsion of their lawes, I can doe of mine owne accord, without any lawes. What he as a louer of learning with some good reason did ascribe to his humane studies, that with reason farre better, (this one heauenly sentence, as a gemme most pretious the stones in the streets, sur­passing all naturall and Morall precepts of men) wee may attribute to this diuine Oracle and absolute law of our heauenly Law-giuer, the Sonne of God, as which without all doubt, is of that weight and worth, that if it onely were euer had in mind: if it onely about al our actions, were duly meditated vpon, and sincere­ly put in practise, it would better guide vs, Nowel. in De­calog. pag. 37.and more preuaile with vs vnto true Iustice and weldoing be­twixt man and man, then without it, all the lawes, decrees and constitutions of men can doe: which for the most part do litle auaile, wheresoeuer of this one Law and principall ordinance diuine, there is among men no due regard.

Hauing thus considered the vses to bee made of this law, Some Application, viz.if I should now descend by way of Appli­cation to a seuerall examination of all particulars, to see how conformable and sutable thereunto the acti­ons and dealings of men of all sorts are carried, I [Page 40] might sooner finde where to beginne, then where to make an end, and rather satiate then satisfie the indu­strious and godly Reader: yet as well to satisfie som­what my promise in the beginning, as also to open at least a way to this worke, that euery man may take occasion in his owne practise and state of life thereof to consider, I will adde something also in this kinde, answerable to that already said.

In generall touching our lawes needing some refor­mation.For President, touching the making or amen­ding of (Our) Lawes, I will of my selfe, (that so I may conteine my selfe within mine owne bounds) say little or nothing, but onely referre the honest and godly minded Reader to these considerations following.

First to the words of his most indicious heart and head, in whose hand it is, aboue any one else, to helpe it too, and who will, I trust, in time see that somewhat done, which heretofore so earnestly hee hath wished might be done. I could wish (saith he) some three things specially to be purged and cleered in the common law. The Kings Maiesties speech at white hall. Anno. 1609. First, I could wish, it were written in our owne vulgar language: for now it is an old, mixt, and corrupt language, only vnder­stood by Lawyers, whereas euerie subiect ought to vnder­stand the law vnder which he liues. For since it is our plea against the Papists, that the language in Gods seruice, ought not to be in an vnknowen tongue, according to the rule in the law of Moses.Num. 15.38. That the law should be written in the fringes of the Priests garment, Deut. 31.10. and should be publiquely read in the eares of all the people: so me thinkes ought our law to bee made as plaine as can be to the people, for that the excuse of ignorance may be taken from them, for not conforming them­selues thereunto.

Next, Whereas our common law hath not a setled Text in al Cases, being chieflie grounded either vpon old customes, or else vpon the reports and cases of Iudges, which wee call [Page 41] Responsa Prudentum, I would wish that some more cer­taintie were set downe in this case by Parliame [...]. For since the verie Reports themselues are not alwaies so bin­ding, but that diuerse times Iudges doe disclaime them, and recede from the Iudgement of their Predecessors, it were good, That vpon a mature deliberation; the exposition of the law, were set downe by Act of Parliament, and such Reportes therein confirmed, as were thought fit to serue for law in all times hereafter: and so the people should not depend vpon the bare opinion of Iudges, and vncertaine Re­ports.

And lastly, There bee in the common law diuerse con­trarie Reports and Presidents: and this Corruption doth likewise concerne the statutes and Acts of Parliament, in respect there are diuerse Crosse and Cuffing statutes; and some so penned, as they may be taken in diuers, yea, contrarie senses. And therefore I would wish both these statutes and Reports, aswell in the Parliament as common Law, to be once maturely reviewed, and reconciled. And that not only all Contrarieties should be scraped out of the bookes: but also that euen such penal statutes as were made but for the vse of the time, (from breach whereof no man can bee free) which doe not agree with the condition of this our time, might like­wise bee left out of our bookes. And this Reformation might, (mee thinkes) be made a worthie worke, and well deserues a Parliament to bee set of purpose for it.

Secondly, to the Iudgement of former Parlia­ments, which so oft, as a matter very serious and need­full, viz. An. 25. & 27. & 35. Hen. 8. and An. 3. Edu. 6. enacted, That the King should haue Authoritie to assigne a certaine number of his subiects as well spiri­tual as temporall, learned in the lawes of this Realme, to examine certaine lawes, then and yet in force, to the end that such of them, as the King and the said persons, or the more part of them, should adiudge [Page 42] worthy and conuenient to be vsed and obeyed, might be executed & continued, & the rest to be abrogated.

Babing. in Gen. c. 47.Thirdly, to the continuall spoile, wast and impeach­ment of the Churches in our land, which (as is too apparent to the eye of all that will see) daily increaseth and spreadeth it selfe like a wilde canker in the flesh, that it is likely in a little time, if due & speedy remedie be not prouided, so to consume and ruinate them all, that little more (as in many places already (alas) doth appeare) then the bare name shall be left remaining.

Postnati. pag. 47.And lastly, to the very nature of all humane lawes, which properly haue (as all things vnder sunne) or­tum, statum & occasum: Zepp. de leg. l. 1. c. 10. their rising, standing and fal­ling: wherein it is more then probable, that the very alteration of times, and of the manners of people with time, cannot but now & then call for a change. For (to vse not mine owne, but the very words of S. Aug. as he is cited also to like purpose by that worthie Diuine the learned Zepper, Aug. epist. 5. ad Marcellin.) That is not alwaies true, which some do say,Zepper. de leg. l. 1. c. 11. Semelrecte factū, nullatenus esse mu­tandum: A thing once well done, is by no meanes to be altered or changed, because the case of the time being altered, true (or sound) reasō doth so necessarily require, that which before was well, to be altered and now made otherwise, that whereas they say, It is not well done, if it be changed con­trariwise, the variety it selfe (of the time) cries out, It is not well, vnlesse it be changed. So that both wil only then be right, if with and according to the varietie of the time, they bee made variable, or to differ each frō other. Hitherto S. Aug.

These considerations weighed, it seemeth to mee, (if it may be free and lawful in a good & honest cause, and in a Christian and religious common wealth, to speake the truth,) That such as haue place & power in condendis legibus for forming of lawes, do not do as they would be done vnto, nor obserue that equitie, which they [Page 43] ought principally and precisely to maintaine, if some thing be not by them done in this behalfe, but all things left, as if nothing were amisse, without any re­formation or redresse.

Secondly touching precept, 2. In particu­lar. for particular practise, passing by the manifold occurrents, that doe or may fall out betwixt Prince and people, magistrate & sub­iect, man and wife, parents and children, maister and seruant, teacher and learner, buyer and seller, borower and lender, lawyer and client, plaintife and defendant, Iudge and Iurie, accuser and witnesse, neighbour and stranger, friend & foe, with sundry other like, al which ought to be tried by this touch, Do as thou wouldest be done vnto:Touching the state and Maintenance of our Mini­sters: intima­ting, I will (for brevitie and examples sake) insist only on some such as concerne the Ministers of our Church alone, and shew by some Instances how wel or rather how ill, this rule, by our people, toward them, is ob­serued.

They are the men, which for the exceeding necessi­tie of their labours, and the singular, yea, vnspeakable good that comes vnto vs thereby: which for the wor­thines of their calling & excellency of their vocation, should aboue many other,1. Thess. 5.13. be had in singular regard, and accounted worthy double honour. 1. Tim. 5.15. They are the men, vnto whom, certaine it is, whatsoeuer wrong & iniu­ry: whatsoeuer force or fraud: whatsoeuer reproach, or disgrace, contempt or abuse is offered & done, Christ protesteth, he taketh it as done to himselfe. They be his owne words,Luk. 10.16. Qui vos audit, me audit: He that heareth you, heareth me: and, Quivos spernit, mespernit: He that despiseth you, despiseth me. They are the men whom whosoeuer deales not vprightly & iustly withall, it is no maruel, if he do not deale iustly and well, conscio­nably and vprightly with any others. Now how are they dealt with?

[Page 44] What small and vnsuffici­ent prouision is left and al­lotted them.First of all, What prouision is there made for their maintenance? And what due courses taken that they may bee according to their places and calling, their Learning and labours condignely prouided for? Is it not too too euident, that the whole land thorough, neere one halfe (in number or worth) of their liuings, are seazed into lay-mens hands? and the remainder for allowance left them, is so meane and beggerly, that in many places it is not one halfe, nor a quarter enough for their sustenance?

It is true indeed that Ministers haue some goodly and sufficient liuings left them. But, 1. They are but a few in respect of those of like or more valew that are taken from them: and in respect of the remainder of poore and vnsufficient liuings. 2. They are (all) but such as were left them by the Papists, to whom, though their enemies in religion, they are beholding for prouision, as which came to them better (though much rent and mangled) out of their fingers, then it is either confir­med or continued to them by our hands: and who, in this point & practise (if we will giue them their due) haue shewed themselues more sound and constant, more righteous and religious, more reasonable and conscionable then some of vs (Protestants) that in pro­fession & knowledge go so far before them. For (if my obseruatiō faile me not) there is scant a lay-man found among vs, in all this time of the Gospell, that hath (I say not, religiously added & giuen, he indeed were rara avis in terris, nor I say not wholly, but) conscionably at least restored to the Church any one, or any part of one of those liuings, which I wil not now say sacrilegiously, but vncō ­scionably sure were taken, & more vnconscionably are so held & deteined from church-men: and, so do men seeme rather sorry that they caught no more, then a­shamed that they haue gotten so much from the church, [Page 45] that likely it is, if they (the Papists) had left vs those Liuings three times worse then they did, all had been one; Our ministers must haue had but that which had beene left, were it much or little, enough or not.

Now being thus dealt with, doe men herein deale with them, as they would bee dealt with themselues? Which of them would thinke, if hee were a Minister, and had but such an allowance: or, had so much of that which properlie, and in all right is his, taken and kept from him, that yet he were condiguely, conueni­ently and minister like prouided for? Is it likely, I say, that they which are not content with their owne lands and inheritances, though the same surmount hundreds, yea thousands per an. vnlesse they can hide and huddle in among it as Achan his prey, two or three Church-mens liuings to boote,Iosh. 7.21. would thinke they had reason to be content, if they were in the Ministers place, with those spare leauings, and beggarly scraps, that little peece of a liuing, which yet many times they can scant (freely) affoord them?

I doe not now make question, whether Tithes be a matter of diuine right? and as properly annexed and belonging to the ministery of the Gospell, as once to the Priesthood of Leui? nor doe I now enquire, whe­ther things once consecrated to God; and deuoted to sacred vses, (as were both tyths and gleeb, and that with bitter and fearefull execration against any, and all those that should by laying his prophane hands on them, infringe the gift, alienate the right, and con­uert the thing againe to common vse,) may yet be de­uoured with open mouth, and taken away for euer from God and his Church? For these points I referre him that ey­ther doth doubt, or would reade, to what I and others haue alreadie written otherwhere. But I doe now aske:

Two very ne­cessary questi­ons.Whether in conscience and common equitie the Mi­nister of the word ought condignelie and competent lie to be prouided for, since, though the word of God did (as some dreame, and many would faine perswade them­selues) prouide him of nothing in particular, nor teach that he can demand any thing by name, yet the rule of reason, the ground of equity, and the law of na­ture doth teach vs,Math. 10.10. 1. Tim. 5.18. that The labourer, euery Labourer, much more so worthy and needfull, so profitable and painefull a labourer, is worthy of his hire, such a hire as is fit for such a labourer that is, (to speake in their owne termes) to haue (at least) a competent liuing▪

I doe aske likewise, Whether that be competent, which in many places is left or allowed him for his liuing? None I thinke so prophane and voide of religion, which will not Verba [...]tenus in words at least, acknowledge the former: nor any so deuoid of reason and common experience, that wil auouch the latter. Now, be it that that which once was, and in right still should bee the Ministers liuing, and would, if it might bee had, bee competent too, be surprised into other mens hands, must he therefore haue no liuing at all? Must he serue and sterue? pray and pine? preach and perish, because that once was his, is taken from him? Or rather, ought not in all reason and conscience, in all iustice and equity, if not the whole, at least yet so much ther­of be restored to him, as is fit, and according to their ow [...] phrase, competent for him? When such Alie­nations were made, was it not euer intended and thought necessarie and fit, That the Church should be left so conuenably endowed or prouided for,An. 15. Ric. 2. cap. 6. an. 4. Hen. 4. cap. 12. Octobon. cap. Quoniam de Appropriat. ec­clesiarum. that he that had curam animarum charge of soules there, might be able, 1. to do diuine Seruice, 2. to informe the people, and 3. to keepe hospitalitie? And is it not great reason the intent and mind of the Law, being so reaso­nable [Page 47] and necessary, [...] 1. Edu▪ 6. cap. 14. and in the common formes of the Ordinations of vicaridges. should rather be vrged and ob­serued, then the Letter and Word of the Law, being so farre from reason and equitie? And if the first V­surpers did this in some measure answerable to the time and Cleargie which then was, ought not their successours (be inforced to) doe it likewise answera­ble to the time and Cleargy that now is, that so we in these daies may haue no more cause to complaine of such vsurpations and spoiles then had our ancestours in their times? Or if any where there were euer any thing heretofore, any thing I say, either tythes or of­ferings, stypend or stay assigned him, and such times there haue beene, and such cases there may fall out e­uenin our time, are not his hearers bound to main­taine him? and they among whom he soweth spirituall things, to allow him to reape their carnall, in at least a competent measure?

Oh that England which professeth the Gospel,An Apostro­phevnto Eng­land. and which by Gods great mercy, was so soone, so aboun­dantly and so peaceably aboue other lands, vouchsa­fed the Gospel, should to the Ministers of the Gospel, the bringers and Preachers of those glad tydings of her saluation, be so cruell and vnkind? Oh that Eng­land, which God hath made aboue many, yea, aboue any of her neighbours to flow in milke and honie, should as if it were some empty and barren soyle, deuoyd of sustenance for Man and Beast, hold the Messen­gers of her God, 2. Cor. 5.20. D. Bois Dom. Sexag. p. 260. the Embassadours of her Celestiall King, aboue any other nation, in so base regard, and meane account, as to suffer them which are worthy by the Lords owne testimony double honour, 1. Tim. 5.16. to be so dis­honoured and forsaken, that they are (in many pla­ces) left destitute euen of necessary food and ray­ment; made daily to striue with needines and want, the vtter enemies of learning and knowlestge; and [Page 48] enforced,King on [...] Lect. 33. p. 462. as Clean the [...] the Mill, to putt heir hands to many a seruile labour and base employment.

Oh England mine heart bleedeth, and mine eye weepeth to see the blindnesse of thine eyes, and ob­serue the hardnesse of thine heart in this respect. A­las, to there no Balme in GIlead,, Iere. 8.22. is there no Phisition there, that the health of the Daughter of my people might be reco­uered? Could there a day bee found, and a way bee made, euen when thou wast reforming Religion, to deformethe Church? and when thou shouldest haue restored the spoyles thereof, to make of her a greater prey? And can there since that, in all this long and lei­sure time of peace and freedome of Religion, be found no way, no meanes be deuised to right her againe? and to restore (at least in some measure) those things which by sundry false pretences and many forged ca­uillations were vniustly and sacrilegiouslie,Terms of law tit. 51. to the great hindrance of learning, impouerishment of our Ministerie, and infamie of the Gospel, Math. Westm. stor. hist. an. 1261. Ioan. Sa­risb. de na. curi­al. l. 7. c. 17. and vs the Professours thereof, taken from her? Call to mind the daies of olde, and aske (I pray thee) the yeeres that are past, if there were not once a time when not onely these that now are pulled from the Church, but also all those that yet it hath, were not in her hands? Yet behold the piety of our fore-elders; the zeale and deuotion of holy men of ancient time, did in time, and in short time too af­ter the Christian faith receiued, render vnto and con­ferre vpon her all those, and that in more ample and seemely forme then now shee enioyeth any of them. ‘Why may wee not then hope, that if the like zeale vnto the truth, like deuotion to the Church, and like loue vnto the Gospel and Preachers thereof could once inflame thine heart and possesse thy mynd, that it would be as easie at least for our Church to recouer that it hath lost, as once to get the whole; and [Page 49] thy people of this age to be as prouident and studious of the good of our Church, and Ministers thereof, as those former were of theirs?’

How cru­elly and vn­conscionably Patrons doe oftimes han­dle them.Think we vpon the bestowing of those few good Liuings, and pieces of Liuings which are yet left vs, and what an heape of euils doth there present it selfe vnto vs? For whereas reason would, and Religion doth require, that for our better incouragement to Learning, for the better reward and recompence of our time, expenses and studies past, and to the better enabling of vs in our places, as well to that ho­ly and excellent worke, whereby mens soules are sa­ued, the worke of the Ministerie, as also that, whereby the bodies of many poore Christians are refreshed, the vertue of Hospitality, both so peculiar and annex­ed to his calling,1. Tim. 3.2. that as S. Paul, by his description of a good Minister in the house of God, doth seeme to intimate, vnlesse he do the one, he is not worthy the dig­nitie, and vnlesse he be giuen and ready to the other, he is not worthy the degree of a Minister; our Liuings should be bestowed vpon vs,Babing. in Gen. cap. 41. D. Bois Dom. Palm. p. 143. & Dom. Trin. 10. pag. 227. Io. Down. of Brib. cap. 1. § 5. & cap. 5. totum. fully, franklie and freelie: doth not all the world know, and to the great infamy and discredit of our Church tel and talke, how deare­ly some of vs are oft inforced to pay? how deepelie many of vs are constrayned to ingage our selues and our friends for such things, before wee can attaine them? Yea, is not this sin come now to that height, that Gentlemen doe (and often shame not to glorie that they doe) make as great profite (though vnder­hand) of their Church-liuings, as of any other lands they haue? More, that now vnder name and colour of next advousons the present Presentation is so ordinari­ly and openly sold and bought, as if Simonse were no sinne, and Sacriledge a vice in name but not indeede? By meanes whereof many times, and of the vo­luntarie [Page 50] (though cloaked) periurie wee cast, and they thrust vs into, we enter into them like slaues, we liue in them like beggers, and wee leaue them like bankrupts.

Doe such Patrones, such I say, for I condemne not all, though happely they bee but a few that are not faulty, patrons in name, latrons in deed, deale with vs as they would be dealt with? Would they, thinke you, think themselues well intreated and handled with equity, if hauing spent all their time and youth in labour and learning, and wasted of their owne and their friends goods no small quantitie in hope of Preferment at last, they should either haue none at all bestowed vpon them, or if any, such only as they must paie for as largely, and buy as dearely, as if they had deserued nothing? And so see their labours, all their labours and their studies, their deserts and expenses so little respected, that for mony and rewards, for gold and gaine (for Aurea sunt verè nunc secula:Ouid. de art. am. lib. 2. These now bee golden times indeed, &c.) any vnlettered Asse or lewd Loiterer shall bee preferred before them? What can pierce the very soule, and euen kill the heart of an in­genious Scholler, and ingenuous nature, if not this?

Doe such discharge the trust of old, partly by the first founders of their church, partly by the Pa­rishioners reposed in them, with that fidelitie and sin­ceritie, which becometh, I say not godly & Christian, but euen vertuous and honest men? Which of them,Simile. I appeale to their owne consciences, if hee should betrust his friend by word or will, for the time present, or to come, with the bestowing of his goods or lands, to such and such vses, would acknowledge himselfe wel dealt with, and his friend an honest man, if he should see or know, the same to bee bestowed [Page 51] quite contrarie in other sort then hee intended or ap­pointed? And therefore when as they conuert these Liuings, those goods to their owne most profit and be­nefit, and diuert them from those good and pious vses whereto they were assigned, can they say, or with any shew of equitie and a good conscience, but pretend, that they doe but as they would willinglie desire to be done vnto?

Among particulars,The chiefest point of a Pa­trons dutie. it is chieflie required of a Patron that he prouide the Church of the worthiest and a­blest Incumbent he can procure. But doth he doe this dutie, and satisfie the charge hee hath vndertaken, that seekes not who is best worthy to receiue such a Li­uing, but most able to giue for a Liuing? And cares not how good, Simile. but how golden hee is that seekes it? I would aske such a man, (the comparison is grosse, but it is good enough) vpon his conscience (if hee haue any) if hee should deliuer his owne Seruant a summe of Money, and bid him with it buy him the best meat for his Table, or the best Horse for his Stable, which he can get for so much Money, whether he would thinke himselfe well vsed, and his Seruant an honest fellow, if he should buy, and bring him the worst and least worth of that kind that hee can finde, and put vp into his owne Purse, or play a­way the rest of the money? I neede not apply it, it is plaine enough, and that such is their common practise no man can denie.

Indeed of late these kind of Church-robbers begin to bee a little wiser in their kind. For now they haue learned forsooth, not as heretofore, to take one of their owne seruing men, or some Taylor, Cobler, or other like, that could reade a litle English, but to seek out some reasonable Scholler, a Preacher, a Graduate at least, which being in want, (for now Learning goes [Page 52] a begging as once Liuings did) will be content to take what he can get for the present, and counts the en­trance into any Liuing, how bad soeuer, a staie for the time, and a step to a better. But as it pittieth me to see such men, men I say, for learning and schollershippe worthy better place, faine for verie neede, (as they that account halfe a loafe better then no bread) to vndergoe such extremities, and staine their consciences and their calling in such a sort: so I cannot but condemne such Latrones the more, which for to cloake their sinne, and hide their abhomination, feare not, shame not, to draw Schollers so good, vnto conditions so vile and base, as are too bad to be offered to the oddest and meanest the Countrey yeelds.Iudg. 17.13. These Micahs may well glorie among such as be of their owne haire, and them that know not chalke from cheese, that they haue gotten a Leuite to their Priest; but such glorie is to their grea­ter confusion and condemnation. Men of iudge­ment doe know, that with lesse sinne, they might, as Ieroboam, haue set vp some of the lowest of the people, to fill the roome, and serue their owne turnes withall.1. Reg. 13.33.

When wee are admitted or instituted to any pre­ferment ecclesiasticall,Lindw. Prou. lib. 2. tit. De Praesumpt. cap. Praesenti statu­to diffinimus. Const. and Can. eccles. cap. 40. and as in formes of Instit. to Be­nesi. doth ap­peare. wee must take a corporall oath De Simonia per nos in hac parte, vel aliam interpo­sitampersonam, directè vel indirectè non commissa, nec in posterum aliqualiter committenda. Now when they know the bargaine, and haue not let goe the Li­uing, till they haue, seeking and waiting who will giue most, gotten one that hath, or will satisfie their greedie desire, faine would I know, what conscience, what equity, yea or what pietie is there in such men to see vs, what in them lyeth, runne into such wilfull periurie? I grant it is our great [Page 53] fault and grieuous sinne,I speake but of them that be faulty. that wee will so misera­bly for gaine, for liuing, bee drawne into so dange­rous a course: but out of all doubt, their sinne is no lesse then ours, in that they tempt and induce, they vrge and force vs thereunto: and, so they may haue, (and that they will haue of one or other) their coue­tous humour and sacrilegious desire accomplished and satisfied, care not what becomes of vs for bodie or soule.Exod. 23.4.5. God in his law commandeth, if we see our e­nemies oxe or his asse fall vnder his burther, that we helpe him vp: if we see our neighbours, yea, our enemies beast goe astray, that we bring it home againe: if not, it shall be sinne vnto vs.1. Cor. 9.9. Hath God care for oxen? much more then for our brother, our friend. If thou shoul­dest see a man wilfully goe about to cast him selfe a­way,Simile as to cut his own throat, oughtest thou not with all speede to thy vttermost, let and hinder him? If not, shall not his bloud be required at thy hands? ‘How then canst thou be innocent, if thou shalt see thy brother desperately ready by periurie to destroy his owne soule, and shalt not only not reclaime and perswade him from it, but all thou canst, shalt fur­ther and prouoke him thereunto? And doest thou herein, but as thou wouldest be done vnto?’

Lastly, when they haue by some such impious course gotten into their hands the greatest part (or the worth thereof) of that which they should freely and wholly giue; and haue brought the poore and wret­ched Incumbent to (a portion of the plague of Elies house) a piece of siluer and a morsell of bread,1. Sam. 2.36. likelyer to begge then giue reliefe, I aske, Haue they done to him, but as they would be done vnto? Would any of them be content with a halfe, or a quarter (sometimes not somuch) of his liuing, and patrimony? and account that he is honestly vsed, and that no wrong, no iniurie is [Page 54] done to him, so long as he hath some pittance and lit­tle part thereof left him?

Iosh. 7. totum. Nehem. 13.4.7.Oh that these Achans and Tobiahs would once bee ashamed of such cruell and vnconscionable courses, and learne to deale more iustly and vprightly, more sincerely and religiously in this so great and weightie a cause: or if Admonition or Reprehension will not preuaile, (and indeede venter non habet aures: it is hard perswading against profit) would to God our lawes might bee so sharpned as might make them feele the smart of it,Deut, 13.11. & 17.13. and therefore at least to feare to commit any more such heynous sins and abhominations amongst vs.

It was thought, likely it is, at the enacting of them, that the lawes alreadie extant were strong e­nough to bridle such insolencies and cut off all such mischiefes; but since dangerous experience (for them notwithstanding, our Churches daily goe to wracke and ruine:A very neces­sary motion. as more then abundantly would appeare, if due notice and diligent view were taken (a thing much wished, and exceeding needfull to bee done) of all such sacrilegious and symoniacall spoiles, alienations, vsurpations, compacts and conueiances, which since the making of those sta­tutes, haue beene made and committed, and are yet in esse and beeing, vnpunished and vnreformed a­mong vs,) hath made the contrary too, too apparant, it cannot but be necessarie, that (as in other, and in­feriour cases many) farther prouision bee made a­gainst those euasions and eruptions, which this kinde of couetousnesse and impiety hath found out and put in vre.

iij. When wee haue Viis & modis by one hard shift or other,Act. 22.28. happely as the President his Burgeship, got­ten a (peece of a) poore liuing; whereas of those [Page 55] Dues that are yet left vnto the Church,That their Parishmorsby customes, pre­scriptions, &c. do very much wrong and defraud them no small part is, vnder the name of Customes, Prescriptions, and o­ther like sacrilegious deuices, deteined and wrested from vs: Let men but examine their owne consci­ences aright, whether they would be content, if the case were theirs, so to be dealt withall? What man is there that doth not looke to haue the libertie, to take the benefit of the time, and to make of his goods and commodities as other men of theirs? What other man would thinke himselfe vsed like a subiect, I had almost said like a Christian, if he alone should be infor­ced, to take for his goods, but as they were worth for an hundred or 200. yeares agoe? to take but such wages for his labour, such paie for his seruice, as was allotted in like cases sixe or seauen score yeares a­goe? Such dealing is offered vs daily by many pa­rishionors we haue: and yet which of them hath the grace or the conscience to thinke, Doe I doe, as I would be done vnto?

They thinke they haue gaily salued this sore, when they haue said;Obiect. Answ. The Law is so: or, This is the Cu­stome: as who would say, Lawes or customes of men could make iniquitie to be equity, and sinne no sinne: euill to be good, and good euill. If it be lawfull and iust in one, or in some particulars, so is it, so may it be also by Consequ. in all: nor can that bee sinne, whatsoeuer it be, extreame needinesse, verie begge­rie or whatsoeuer else, that may or shall thereof insue. If it bee a course conscionably good, and fit for vs, thus to be tyed to one rate still, why is it not also good for themselues? Is that good for vs, which is ill for them? If wee must sell them (or let them haue) our goods at (the old) a low rate, why doe not they also fell to vs of their goods, at least what we, for our necessaries, neede to buy, at the like rate, [Page 56] as they haue ours? can Wee alone endure to buy at one price,An. 25. Ed. 3. 12. Ric. 2. 13. Hen. 6. An. 6. Hen. 8.7. & 23. & 24. An. 5. Eliz. c. 4. 1. Iac. c. 6. & cap. 25. 3. Iac. c. 11. 7. Iac. c. 14. & 16. and sell at another? Tyme was, that by law too, other men were tyed to sell their goods and wares at the accustomed and former prices: to take no more wages for their worke and seruice, then as the statute did ap­poine, and had beene accustomed? why were not these lawes continued against others, aswell as against vs? was there reason? was it equitie? Was it necessarie vp­on alteration of the times, notwithstanding any Custome to the cōtrary, to repeale such statutes, alter such lawes, and breake or let goe such customes for other men, and is there not the like for vs? O vnhappie men that wee are! that all other sorts of subiects, all other members of this common wealth, seruants, labourers, bouchers, shoomakers, artificers, vinteners, husbandmen, & who not? can bee prouided for, and respected somewhat accor­ding to the tymes; and only wee, wee I say, that are their Pastours and teachers, that are Ministers and ser­uants of the high God and Sauiour of vs all, can not once be lookt vpon, or in any measure, considered and eased? Nor (so hardly are we ouerborne) must wee (if some mens obseruation faile them not) looke for any ease or amendment of these vnconscionable and iniurious dealings, but account it well with vs, if no­thing harder or worse bee done against vs. On a time,A fable. as I haue heard it told, A Lyon and a man, mee­ting at a Painters shop, did both view the pictures there: among which they spied one wherein was painted a man strangling a lyon. Thou seest, quoth the man, that men are stronger then lyons. But, said the Ly­on, If Lyons could paint as men do, thou shouldest see more men strangled by lyons, then lyons by men. Apply it well, and this is a true tale still.

Obiect.Some may happely maruell, why now of late, wee doe more complaine of, and repine at customes, [Page 57] prescriptions, &c. then formerly men haue done?

The reason or cause is apparant.Answ. 1. Because now they are become, thorough the alteration of times, farre more preiudiciall to the Church then heretofore they were. While prices of things continued at any in­different rate, the ods twixt them and the tithe it selfe, for which they were paid, was not much: but now, the one by many degrees (ten or twelue-fold some­times) so farre exceeding the other, we are not able to beare the inequality and detriment thereof any lon­ger. The truth whereof in this little Table, may easily be seene.

Inprimis for grounds,A Table of customarie rates. where the Customarie paie is but 10. or 12. shillings, per an. the tithe is worth 3. or 4. lib. at least.

Item for a

  • goose,
  • pigge,
  • lambe,
  • clafe,
  • colte,
    • vnder seauen a
      • qu.
      • ob.
      • ob.
      • ob,
      • i.d.
        • worth at least
          • j.d.
          • ij.d.
          • iij.d.
          • viij.d
          • ij.s.
  • garden,—but
  • orchard
  • acre of medow.
  • cowes milke.
    • j.d.
    • ij.d.
    • iij.d.
    • ij.d.
      • worth at least
        • iiij.d
        • xx.d
        • ij.s.
        • ij.s.

Summa, but x.d.ob.qu. insteed of ix. s.ij.d.

All which rates at first, no doubt, were equal at least to the worth of the thing rated, as to him that is any thing versed in the stories of our land, and acquain­ted with the course of Tithing in ancient times, may easily appeare.

A tast whereof (passing by the more ancient yeares,Graftons Chron. and others. An. 1190. wherin wheat at xvj. shillings, and xij shillings, a quarter, was counted a great dearth: because in plentifull yeares it was but at xviij, pen. or ii. shillings, and in ordinarie yeares at iii. shillings iiii.d.iiii. shillings, [Page 58] the quarter,1205. 1286. and by conseq. other things (for backe and belly) both at the like rate. For, note it who so will, with corne the prices of all things else, doe rise and fall.) the vnpartiall Reader may take of this one in­stance, which tels vs. That in the time of King Ed­ward the second,1314. 1336. by a generall proclamation (the pri­ces of victuals, belike, beginning, beyond their former and vsuall rates to rise) strict order was taken, That no oxe stalled or corne-fed, should be sold for more then—xvj. s. a fat-stalled cow at xij. s. another cow at x.s. Item that a fat mutton corn-fed, or whose wooll is well growne, be sold but at xx. d. a fat mutton shorn at xiiij. d. and a fat hogge of two yeares old at iij. s. iiij. d. Item a fat goose but at ij. d. ob. in the citty,1363. at iij. d. a fat Capon at ij. d. but in the Cittie at two ij. d. ob. a fat hen at j. d. but in the citty at j. d. ob. two chickens for j. d. in the citty at j. d. ob. 4. pigeons for j. d. in the citty but 3.24. egges for a penny, and in the citty but 20. &c. These being the highest prices then, what were they, may we ghesse, in some former yeares, before they came to this height?

And that the succeeding yeares, from age to age, euen till the end of K. Hen. 8. his reigne, little differed from those, not only the generall report of many a­ged men, yet, or but lately liuing, may assure vs, but al­so, besides the historie of those times, the sundry sta­tutes from time to time enacted,An. 1436. do declare: as name­ly that An. 15. Hen. 6. That it shall be lawfull to trans­port corne, when wheate doth not exceede vj. s. viij. d. and barly iij s. iiij. d. the quarter: and that 24. Hen. 8.1444. That Beiffe and Porke must be sold not aboue an half-penny,1532. mutton or veale not aboue 3. farthings the pownd weight: and that in such places or coun­ties where such flesh is vsually sold for lesse prices, they must so continue. By which little glance ouer the course of times, euen from the Conquest till our age, for [Page 59] some hundreds of yeares together it appeareth eui­dently that the prices of things continued at so low a rate, that (as I haue said) the tithe thereof could not exceede those customarie valewes, which now appeare so vnequall.

2. When any custome maketh more for the church then for the parishionor, then we can not hold it. It is then forsooth, Penium in Vatinium right, not a custome, but a Case or some thing else without conscience. As if it were not as good and as great reason, that a custome should stand, when it makes for vs, as when it makes against vs.

3. Heretofore we had the fauour in law, now and then to interrupt an euill custome, so that there was some hope that in time diuers of them might haue beene broken, and we haue recouered our ancient right: but now by a new kinde of doctrine, & strange sense of the law, the force of them is so confirmed a­gainst vs, that not onely there is no possibility of brea­king of any that now stand, but also there is feare, that some of those (I speake but what I know) which formerly were dead and extinct, may be reuiued a­gaine.

4. And generally such way or rather so many waies are put in vre for the ingēdring & multiplying of this viperous brood, that likely it is, that in time, and that in short time too, all our tithes wilbe turned, as already no smal part are, into Customes, Prescriptions, &c.

All which considered, Let no man blame vs, that wee so much disclame them, nor dislike that wee so farre condemne them: but rather, Let euery one that wisheth well vnto the church, that hath a loue vnto the cleargie, and desireth the prosperity and furthe­rance of the Gospell amongst vs, ioyne his hand with ours in this so holy aad necessarie a worke, and helpe what hee may, to pull vp by the rootes these noxious [Page 60] weedes and pestiferous plants, with our heauenly Fa­ther neuer planted, assured, so long as they stand, the church can not but fal, and the more they do increase and grow, the more will both learning and religion fade and decay.

We craue herein no other fauour nor benefit, then such as in like cases others haue obtained at full; and then can by no iust reason and sufficient cause bee denied vs: and therefore doe hope, we shall at length, though with much importunitie, obtaine.

The yeilding whereof, and so the restoring vs all our tithes in Kind, would yeild vs these great, needfull and present commodities.

The benefits that would a­rise of the re­moouing of customes, &c.1. The minister should haue (in most places) a sufficient Liuing: the on halfe whereof, and more ma­ny tymes, his parishnors, by your customes, prescrip­tions, &c. deteine from him.

2. The Condition of all places would bee alike, whereas now a man knowes not, what his liuing is, how great soeuer the parish be, till he know, what cu­stomes and prescriptions, &c. are there: which com­monly, the greater the parish is, the worse, and the more they are.

3. We should be the better able to keepe Hospita­litie and releeue the poore.

4. Wee should bee well able to paie to the Kings Maiestie his Tenthes and Subsidies, which now to many of vs, is a burthen heauie to bee borne.

5. Wee should with the better ease bee able to forbeare (that whereof there is great neede but lit­tle hope) the Restoring (I meane) of Impropriations, while as the rest paide vs in kinde, if the Compo­sition for the Vycaridge bee any thing indifferent, would of it selfe, for the most part, be a tollerable maintenance.

[Page 61]6. Suytes for Tithes, would be both fewer and easier. For neyther would they be so lyable to the common law: nor could they be so clogged with o­dious and sencelesse prohibitions, as now they are.

These motiues beeing so reasonable,Ridl. View of L.p. 113.115. & the spoiles and losses which other waies we do sustaine, so great; little can our people doe for vs, if in part of recom­pence, they cannot finde in their hearts these one­ly viz: our Tithes in kinde, to restore vnto vs at full.

That in recouering of their Rights, the difficul­ties they en­dure, are verie many and ex­treame.Fourthly and lastly, many times we are by co­uetous and contentious persons denied our dues, and in for­ced, if we will haue ought, to recouer it by force of Law. But then good Lord, what a Labyrinth of la­bours, what an heape of mischiefes and perills by vex­ations and troubles, by combinations and plots, by expense and charge, by losse of time and study, distra­ction of minde and distast of men, doe we cast our selues into? that better were it many times for vs to haue lost more then we sought to recouer, then to haue attempted it: and too late doe we repent our in­fortunate course.

Wherein we aboue all the members of this com­mon wealth, aboue all the Inhabitants of this land, may iustly bewaile our miserie, and hard condition, for that whereas for our office and callings sake verie fit and necessarie it were, that our things might, so plainely and peaceably be setled vnto vs, that we might not need to goe to law for them at all; or if, through the peruersenesse of men, that sometime be requisite, that we might be dispatched with such fauour and ease both to our bodies and our purses, as might not either weary out the one, or wast out the o­ther, nor distract vs from the performance of our du­ties. Now alas, so are we vexed with long and tedious suites; so are we crossed with Prohibitions and Con­sultations, [Page 62] so are we remooued from one court to an­other; so are we driuen from one law to another; so are we consumed and exhausted with trauell and ex­penses, as if either men delighted aboue other to vexe vs: or cared little what wrong and despite is done vs: or were agreed by such extremities so to handle and encomber vs, as either they would wring from vs, or we should be weary of altogether: this being the ordi­nary euent of our trials, let the case and cause be neuer so plaine and iust, that we must returne by loosers lane, or beggers bush.

Happie therefore were we in dieb. illis, when our cau­ses (in manner all) were tried within our owne Consi­stories, and we needed seldome to goe farther for tri­all of our right by day, then we could returne home a­gaine at night: when ordinarily the charge of a suite was fewer shillings then now it is pounds, and the time not aboue so many moneths as now yeares: when Prohibitions were as rare as now they are common, and the statutes on which they are grounded, had ei­ther their names not knowne, or their sense otherwise deliuered.

We deny not, but that some Prohibitions, (P. de iu­re.) be necessarie as a pale or partition wall betwixt the 2. Iurisdictions, ecclesiasticall and temporall, to keepe, as banks each riuer within its owne channell; each cause within its owne court: and we easily grant that there is and must be a twofold Iurisdiction. But till the one bee so confined and limited, that it in­trude not nor vsurpe vpon the other: and (which is the thing we specially complaine of) vntill the meanes of Limitation, bee onely such, or at least onely so vsed, as may performe their proper and right vse and originall intention, and bee not made (as Prohibitions de facto commonly fall out to be) as sluces that conuey all water to one Mill, meanes to [Page 63] bring all causes into one Court, wee can hope of no tollerable condition, nor acknowledge that men doe to vs as they would be done vnto. So that (to conclude) better were it for vs, rebus sic stantibus, that our causes for Tythes were translated wholly from the one into the other iurisdiction. For then should we not be en­forced, as now full oft without any iust cause,Cic. pro Murena. Iason ­like to runne hither and thither to trie and take them vp peece-meale: and so at least our vexation would somewhat bee diminished: our vndoing would the longer be deferred.

These Christian Reader,The Conclu­sion with an Admonition. these I say, be some, and but some, of those hard measures and vnequall dea­lings which are offered to vs of the Ministerie. Which who so well considereth off, must needs acknowledge that that rule of Equitie, which should guide and order all mens actions, is little obserued toward vs: that few they be, that doe to vs, as they would (if the case were theirs) looke to be done vnto: and the most part are toward vs aboue others, most carelesse of rendring vn­to vs that double honour, that condigne regard and re­ward, which the Lawes of God and Nature, the rule of Equitie and true Iustice requireth at their hands.

Oh that England, 1. To Eng­land. England, I say would once awake out of this sinfull sleepe, open her eyes to see this her ouer sight; settle her heart, and set her hands to re­forme this euill now at the last. It is enough my deare Countrey, that all this while thy name hath beene dis­honoured with this corruption. Returne, returne there­fore yet at the last,Reuel. 2.5. and doe (those which should haue beene) thy first workes.

You lay impropriatours, bethink yourselues, before it be too late,2. Impropria­tours. 1. Cor. 9. v. 11. & 13. Damas. Decret. 3. what it is▪ and whose it is that you keepe from the Church. Think with what equitie and con­science you can be partakers with the altar, and not attend at the altar? and reape so great an haruest of [Page 64] carnall things, not sowing any spirituall? Think what warrant you haue from God, that he is pleased to for­goe his hallowed things? Leuit. 27.28. and lose his sacred right? and what assurance, that yee shall escape his Iudgement, and not incurre the danger of his curse,Iosh. 6.15. Mal. 3.8. Capit. carul. lib. 6. cap. 285. Acts 5.1. for laying your prophane hands vpon his holy things? his so many, and so great things? so long ere you were borne, gi­uen vp, deuoted and consecrated to his vse and seruice? ▪ Thinke well whether it be a truth in Diuinitie, that without Restitution of any goods vnlawfully gotten or kept,Aug. ad Mace­don. epist. 54 Latim. on the L. Pr. ser. 5. & 6. there is no Remission? and (therefore) if you will haue any hope of pardon, any peace of consci­ence, any rest with God, whether you are not bound to a Restitution, to some tollerable restitution at the least, of that, which you thus deteine? ‘And consider in your hearts, whether you do deale indifferently, with equitie and a good conscience, in that you see and suffer, both Pastour and flocke, Priest and Peo­ple, to lie and liue in want and need, the one of tem­porall, the other of spirituall things, you, the while deuouring that which should, and would supply and fullfil them both? and which properlie and originally was by God and man to that verie end and purpose allotted and allowed? At whose hands wil the liues & of those men, and the blood of those soules be required?’

3. To PatronsYou Patrons remember your charge, and indeuour to bee, as you are termed, not robbers and spoilers but Helpers, Maintainers, Preseruers and Defenders of your churches, and the Rights thereof. Leaue off, leaue off in time, that buying and selling, that chop­ping and changing of Benefices, which is now so common among you. Giue vp, render backe and re­store againe those tythes and portions of tythes and Gleebe, which as sweet and sat morsels, many of you haue so greedily swallowed, and most vniustly and sa­crilegiouslie extorted from the Church. Thinke it [Page 65] not too much to serue God with your own goods,1. Chro. 21.24 2. Sam. 24.24. and to pay him the tenth of your increase, as well as any other of your parish. Thinke not that you must, or can haue a priuiledge aboue the rest to be free from tithing, or exempted from maintaining the Minister.Gal. 6.6.7. Bee rather an example vnto others of well-doing, and a president to the whole Parish of vpright dealing and true deuotion in that kind. Discharge the trust reposed in you, as becommeth honest men, and see that freely and faithfully you bestow that which is committed to your care. As you would be ashamed but once to rob any man by the high waies side, so much more (for of the two this is the greater sinne) be ashamed to rob the Minister of the Church from yeere to yeere, Fenton on Pro. 20.25. pag. 49. of that which he should liue vpon. Deceiue not your selues with his consent, which either wicked­ly for greedinesse of filthy gaine, conspireth with you to worke iniquity: or cowardly, as a true man his purse to a thiefe, yeeldeth to you, for feare: or miserablie for his need, is contented, as a poore man in his want, to hold his peace, and take what you will spare, and hee can get. His consent in this case is nothing, both be­cause it is coacted, and not meerely voluntarie, and be­cause the right Originallie is in God, not in him. Think not that Money, that goods so vniustly, so wickedly, so sacrilegiouslie gotten,Prou. 9.17. can prosper. Stolen waters are sweete: but how long? and hid bread is pleasant: but to whom? When you haue stript the poore Mi­nister of all that hee hath, and haue brought him to that miserie that the Iaile is readie to eate him; and to that low estate that he cannot possibly, probably at least, recouer himselfe in 7. happely not in 20. yeares after, do now laugh in your sleeues at his needinesse? and make your selues merry with your prey?Hab. 1.16. Doe you sacrifice to your net, and burne incense vnto your yarne, be­cause by them your portion is fat, and your meate plenteous? [Page 66] Are you resolued heathen-like,Vespasian. that Dulcis lucri odor, ex re qualibet: Gaine is good, how euer it be gotten? Yet be you assured, and know it well, yee godlesse wretches and mercilesse bloodsuckers,Deut. 24.14. Iam. 5.4. Psal. 83.12. Esay 5.8. Am. 8.4. Hab. 2.6. Zech. 5.3. That the crie of the poore, of such poore Ministers & their families, whom you haue thus beggered and spoiled, and also of the poore of their Parishes, that should and might, if you had not thus rifled & disabled their Ministers, haue beene relieued and refreshed by them, doth as­cend into the eares of the Lord of Sabbaoth, and will procure a heauy curse, and pull downe a hasty venge­ance on you and your posterity, that shal root out and cut off from you,Esai. 9.14. head and taile, branch and rush in one day.

4. To Pari­shioners. Num. 18. Ecclus. 35 9. ad. 13.Ye Parishioners, defraud not your Pastors of their due and necessary maintenance. Let them haue those portions, which God out of his owne, and not your goods, hath allotted them. Diminish no part thereof by your Customes, Prescriptions, and other like vnconsciona­ble courses now adaies among you too common, but doing to them as you would be done vnto, let them as your selues do in your goods, enioy the benefit of the time in theirs. You cannot but know in your hearts and consciences, that it is no more possible for them to liue after the rates of former times, then for your selues: and therfore you ought no more to vrge them thereto, then you would bee content to be vrged to the like:Zanch. de oper. D. lib. 4. cap. 1. thes. 7. pag. 703 Dig. l. 2. tit. 14. De Pact. L. 32. Amb. in 1. Thes. 5. which not one of you would be. Think not you can be excused by colour of custome, or pretext of humane law, to breake the law of God, to debarre them of their due, and deteine them in needines and want. Looke not, while they are so euil dealt with, that they should watch well for your soules, or yeeld you plen­tifull store of heauenly things. While they doe it with griefe, Heb. 13.17. and great distraction of body and mind, it cannot but be vnprofitable for you. They cannot [Page 67] labour for you, as they might and would, if they had fit and conuenient meanes. Well worthy are you to beare the losse and lacke of their labours, and not worthy to reape better fruite, which sustaining such hurt, see the cause, and seeke not the remedie; more, are the cause and will not be the amendment. I verily beleeue, many of you are ashamed to see in what pe­nurious case and needie state (many of) your Mini­sters do liue: and therefore I wonder how either your eyes can be so blind, as not to see, or your hearts so hardned, as (seeing it) not to redresse the cause there­of. ‘The law of God bids you: no law of mans forbids you to doe it: and yet, as if either you ought not, or else dared not, you leaue it vndone.’ In ill doing ma­ny of you can be ready to runne one before another, and to encourage and draw-on one the other: how commeth it then to passe, that in weldoing all are so backward, euery one is so afraid to be foremost, and (in manner) none willing to be a leader, or an ensam­ple to the rest? Be you assured that euen in this case too,Iosh. 24.15. if you will not be of Ioshuahs minde, that is, resol­ued, whatsoeuer others do, that yet each one of you for his part will doe that is right and fit, it will neuer be well. While you all tarrie to looke for all to ioyne and goe on with you, it must needs be, that all abide in sinne and none amendment be found among you.

Lastly, Let euery man in his seuerall place and cal­ling, from the highest to the lowest,5. To all men in generall. make this Rule the Leuell of all his actions, his internall & externall actions, viz. his thoughts, his words, and his deedes, to all men-ward for bodie, goods and name. Let him by it examine still what measure it is he doth offer to any other: assured, that only is, and can be the right and iust, which is sutable to this rule, and can abide, as good gold the touch, the tryall of this stone. Let him offer and do to another no way any thing that is [Page 68] contrary to this course. He doth but deceiue his own heart and blinde himselfe, that thinkes his owne or other mens peruerse and disordered wils or desires; other mens doings or examples; any Custome or hu­mane law; or any other like precept, can iustifie or beare him out therein. The Rule is so iust and perfect, so plaine and pregnant, so large and generall, that a­gainst it no iust exception can bee taken, no lawfull priuiledge or sufficient exemption can be pretended. Wherfore, and in a word, as the wise man saith, What­soeuer thou takest in hand, Ecclus 7.36. Remember thy end, and thou shalt neuer doe amisse: so I, Let euery man in all passages be­twixt him and other men, remember well this one sentence, and do thereafter, Doe as thou wouldest be done vnto, and surely he shall not, he can not doe amisse. Such dealing, such doing shal make equity to abound in the land, and integritie to ouerflow the earth. It shall make mens workes to shine before men:Math. 5.16. and men themselues being blamelesse and pure, euen as the sonnes of God without rebuke in the midst of a naughtie and croo­ked nation to shine,Philip. 2.15. as lights in the world. Finally, it shall make them of their calling and election sure: 2. Pet. 1.10. and minister to them assured hope, when these their mortall daies are ended, with the immortall Angels and blessed Saints, to inhabite those celestiall and glorious mansi­ons, and inherite those eternall and vnspeakable ioyes, which there are prepared for those that haue done and doe here the will,Math. 7.21. euen this will of their Father which is in heauen. To whom with his only sonne Ie-Christ our Lord and Sauiour, and the blessed spirit of them both the holy Ghost our Sanctifier and Comfor­ter, three persons and one euerliuing God, be ascribed and rendred all praise, honour and glory for euer and euer. Amen.


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