Geo. Thorp Rev. in C. P. & D. Dom. Gulielmo Archiep. Cant. à sacris Domest.


Carolus Alston, R. P. D. Hen. Episc. Lond. à sacris domesticis.

CHRISTIAN LIBERTY Asserted in Oposition to the Roman Yoke, Delivered in a SERMON PREACHED IN His Majesties Royal Chappel OF WINDSOR.

The 8th. of Decemb. 1678.

By John Butler, D. D. Canon of the said Chappel, And Chaplain in Ordinary to His Majesty.

London: Printed by M. C. for Walter Kettilby, at the Bishops Head in St. Pauls Church-Yard. 1678.

TO HIS Illustrious HIGHNESS PRINCE RUPERT, Count Palatine of the Rhine, Duke of Bavaria and Cumberland, Vice-Ad­miral of all England, Knight of the most Noble Order of the Garter, Constable of His Majesties Ca­stle and Honor of Windsor, and One of His Majesties most Ho­norable Privy-Council, &c. The Publisher humbly Dedicates the ensuing Discourse.

May it please your Highness,

THat the following Discourse be­comes Publick, is chiefly owing to the earnest and often repeated in­stances of several Persons of Honor and Quality, who have persuaded themselves [Page] and me with them, that it may not be al­together useless in this dissolute and there­fore staggering age.

AND that it humbly approacheth your Highness is owing to your High­nesses Love to our Nation, your un­wearied industry for the support of the True Religion Established by Law a­mongst us, your known and just indigna­tion against the Roman yoke, and to the many and signal favours which I most humbly and gratefully acknowledg to have been conferred upon me by your High­nesses hands on all offered occasions, since I had first the Honor of depending on your Highness. By these considerations I think my self obliged as well out of gra­titude as equity to make your Highness this small Present. Which (however de­fective in it self) will receive no small advantage by your Highnesses favourable [Page] acceptance. With my hearty and dayly prayers for your Highnesses happiness here and hereafter, I humbly take leave in quality of

Your HIGHNESSES Most obliged most Faithful and most Humble Servant Jo. BUTLER.


‘Stand fast therefore in the liberty where­with Christ hath made us free, and be not intangled again with the yoke of bondage.’

WE find here the Galatians in dan­ger of dealing by the Holy A­postle and themselves just as the Israelites would have done by Moses and themselves, af­ter their deliverance from the Land of Egypt, out of the House of Bondage. Those, because in their journey towards the Land of Promise they met with some difficul­ties, would fain have been going back to serve [Page 2] again under their old tyrannical Oppressours: remembring indeed the Flesh-pots, the Leeks, the Onyons, and the Garlick; but stupidly for­getting their making Brick without Straw, or being severely chastised if they did not do it, and that their Male Children had been ordered to be strangled, or otherwise made away so soon as they were born into the world. And these (I mean the Galatians) hearkning to the sly insinuations of some false Prophets among them (converted Jews, who had a mind to glory in their Flesh) and weary also of sufferingGal. vi. 13. persecutions raised against them by means of those of the Circumcision, were wavering and staggering in their Religion and in great hazard of subjecting their necks to the yoke of the Ceremonial Law, wholly abrogated by the perfect active and passive obedience of Christ, contrary to the Doctrine which they had heard and believed, destructive of that liberty where­with Christanity had enfranchiz'd them, and particularly of all hopes of benefit by it in or­der to their salvation: for it follows immedi­ately after my Text, Behold I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcis'd, Christ shall profit you nothing.

AN unhappy parallel this! wherein how­ever the Israelites have this advantage of them: they were but in via, these in patria; those journeying towards their promised Land, these put into actual possession of it; having by the preaching of this blessed Apostle been freed from the slavery of Idol-Worship, having had Jesus Christ crucified so evidently set forth amongst Gal. iii. 1. them, as if it had been done even before their very eyes, and having embraced the Doctrine of Ju­stification by Faith without the works of the Law.

IT was high time therefore for their spiri­tual father to take care of them and to cry out, Stand fast therefore, &c.

AND I would to God that (as the Galatians imitated the Israelites in their senseless desire af­ter their former servitude, so) many, very ma­ny amongst us did not write after the Galati­ans Copy.

BUT now (that I may take up the La­mentation of the Prophet Baruch) Wo is me, for Isai. xlv. 3. the Lord hath added grief to my sorrow, I fainted in my sighing and I find no rest.

GOD hath long since wonderfully brought us out of the darkness of Superstition and Ido­latry into his marvellous light, set us at liberty [Page 4] one and all, King, Priest and People from most intolerable as well Temporal as Spiritual bondage under the Roman Yoke. And now after all we i. e. too many amongst us (some out of vincible and therefore criminal zeal, some out of worldly interest and some out of base Cowardise) are ready most ungratefully to be intangled with and subject our necks to the same insupportable yoke of bondage again. Nay (which is yet worse) as the Israelites had the better of the Galatians, in that those were only on their way towards their Promised Land, these in possession of it: So have the Galatians this advantage of us, that they were yet upon their feet, they were not yet quite fall'n; for otherwise the Apostle would not have bid them stand, but rise up.

BUT amongst us multitudes are fall'n a­way, being already intangled with this yoke of bondage; and for others nets and snares are dayly and hourly spread abroad not by Fishers but Hunters of men to intangle them. And all this done to the dishonor of Almighty God and his true Religion, the scandal and hazard of the State, the sorrow and anguish of all good men, and the exceeding great peril, if not utter loss of thousands of Souls.

IS any one therefore fall'n? Let him rise up again. Is any man yet standing, yet so as to stagger and waver in his Religion? Let him take heed lest he fall, always remembring (with which words the Apostle concludes the foregoing Chapter, and upon which he grounds the charge in my Text) that we are not children of the bond-woman, but of the free.

Stand therefore, stand fast in the liberty where­with Christ hath made us free and be not intangled a­gain with the yoke of bondage.

IN which words we have

  • I. A Persuasion or Exhortation, Stand fast.
  • II. A Dissuasion or Dehortation, Be not in­tangled.

I THE first, The Persuasion or Exhortation is back'd with two cogent arguments.

1. THE one drawn ab utili & jucundo; from the profit and pleasure of thus stand­ing; it is in liberty: The Galatians were and we are free.

2. THE other ab honesto: They were and so are we bound in honor and honesty to keep our ground and maintain our station in this liberty for the sake of him who had and hath made both them and us free; and that is Christ [Page 6] himself. Stand fast therefore in the liberty where­with Christ hath made us free.

II OUR Second part also is fortified with two unanswerable arguments.

1. THE former drawn ab incommodo, from the mischief of quitting their station and be­ing intangled: there was a yoke, a very hea­vy yoke of bondage in the case. Be not therefore intangled with the yoke of bondage.

2. THE latter ab absurdo; be not in­tangled again, q. d. Indeed if you had never been in bondage before, somthing might be said for you: your vacillation, your wavering and staggering would call rather for compassi­on than indignation. But for you, you who have been emancipated from the yoke to run your necks wilfully into it again, is such an e­gregious piece of folly and madness as deserves neither pitty nor forgiveness.

STAND Fast therefore, &c. and be not in­tangled, &c.

I. To begin with the first, The Persuasion or Exhortation. Stand fast.

IT was a very ill character that Jacob gave of his eldest son Reuben—unstable as water. Gen. xlix. 4. For that element falls under the definition of humidum (according to the old Philosophy) Quod [Page 7] difficilè suis, facilè alienis terminis continetur: which is morally true of an unstable irresolute man, you may empty him from vessel to vessel; indeed you may do what you will with him. Every wind of doctrine tosseth him, every tentation ensnares him, every passion over-rules him, every prosperous accident lifts him up, and every ill one throws him down. In a word (as the Wiseman expresseth it) he is like a City Prov. xxv. 28. broken down and without Walls, easily taken in and brought into bondage. And all this pro­ceeds from incogitancy. He cannot allow himself time to debate and consider (hardly to think, much less) to try all things; and therefore it is utterly impossible he should ever hold fast that which is good. The man lives by chance and not by choice; is just what every thing without will make him (neither more nor less) and so becomes an easie prey up­on every onset. Now certainly to be thus is beneath the dignity not only of a Christian, but of a Man.

FOR Gods sake therefore let us look about us; Stand fast and quit our selves like men. Let us not be like the Galatians here, of whom the Apostle says, that they could once run (ye did run well) and that now they were hard­lyVerse 7. [Page 8] able to stand: but let us be strong and of a good courage.

THE Merchant before he goes to Sea is intent day and night upon his Adventure, computes the charge, considers the dangers threatned from piracy or shipwrack; and yet at last in an uncertain hope of gain goes on at all adventures; nothing can divert him from his purpose.

THE good Souldier from five pounds to ten pence a day, considers that he must run through much hardship, and carry his life in his hand; yet in hope of Victory (which is not always to the strong neither) he resolutely wades through the one and hazards the other. And why (in the name of God) should not we put on equal resolutions for our perseverance in and defence of our Religion? having a sure and certain hope (if we keep our station and con­tinue in well doing) of the Resurrection to Eternal Life.

To which purpose give me leave season­ably to advise you not to trust too much to your own strength, but (in the words of our Apostle) to be strong in the Lord and in the power Eph. vi. 10. of his might; and to beg fervently and inces­santly, that he would strengthen our weak hands, Job iv. 4. [Page 9] that he would strengthen and confirm our feeble Isai. xxxv. 3. knees, that so we may be able to withstand in the Eph. vi. 13. evil day and having done all to stand.

IN the mean time taught and comman­ded by God himself, I am not afraid to say to them that are of a fearful heart—Be strong, Isai. xxxv. 4. fear not; behold your God will come with ven­geance, even God with a recompence, he will come and save you.

AND more than this I think I need not say upon the first general of my Text—Stand fast.

I shall now descend to the two prevailing arguments with which the Apostle enforceth this persuasion or exhortation.

I THE first (as we told you before) is drawn ab utili & jucundo, from the profit and pleasure of thus standing, it is in liberty; the Galatians were, and we are free.

BUT it fares now with us as it did then with them. The Jews had a mind by put­ting upon them the yoke of Circumcision (which was once a Commandment of God) to glory in their flesh: and the Church or CourtChap. vi. 13. of Rome ('tis all one to me which) would by making us receive for Doctrins the command­ments never of God but of men, fain glory in [Page 10] our flesh, but with a design undoubtedly to use it very coarsly; as I question not in the follow­ing part of my Discourse to make it most evi­dent. Stand fast therefore in the liberty where­with we are made free.

LIBERTY and Freedom! Why is it pos­sible that either the Galatians or we, or indeed any man should come to that pass as to stand in need of persuasions to preserve that? that, upon which no man could yet ever set any price? Certainly both they and we must be bewitched first.—I shall not desire to be ex­cused either for the harshness or homeliness of the expression: for it was the very case of the Galatians here, against whom our Apostle ex­claims thus.—O foolish Galatians, who hath Chap. iii. 1. bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth?

THE Truth is, they were bewitched with the fear of eternal Damnation which had been positively denounced against them by some of the Jews who were Zealous of the Law, and might possibly Zealously affect them, Chap. iv. 17. but not well. Of such you read Act. xv. 1. Cer­tain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren saying, except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.

BUT besides this, another charm by which they were bewitched, was their weariness of past and fear of future persecutions, if they did not comply with the Jews.

THESE were the Bugbears of the Galati­ans, and they are ours.

EXCEPT ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved, said some of the Jews to them. And except ye become Roman Catholicks (which yet every youth that hath but learnt half his Logic will tell you is non­sense) ye cannot be saved! No; but, with much more fierceness; you shall be damned, say the Papists with one mouth to us.—And I would fain know why so. To obviate what the Zea­lous Jews had said to terrifie the Galatians, the Apostle asks them this question—this only Gal. iii. 2. would I learn of you: received you the spirit by the works of the Law, or by the hearing of faith? q. d. did I who am a Jew, when I preached to you the Gospel of Christ (upon which, the Lord working with me, you received the Holy Ghost, and saw that Doctrine confirmed by miracles) did I oblige you to any such cu­stom?

AND This only would I learn of the Pa­pists, did we first receive the Gospel from [Page 12] them? I know very well that some of them want not confidence to affirm any thing, but we are better assured that Christianity was planted in this Island long before any of the Popes agents set their feet here. And when they did come, what did they do for us, but corrupt our Religion by degrees, and draw us into their yoke by making us believe, that if we did not keep close communion with and observe them in all things, we should certainly be damned?

BUT the Galatians were weary of their past and afraid of their future persecutions, if they did not comply with the Jews.

THE more Fools they.

ARE ye so foolish (says our Apostle) have Ch. iii. 3, 4. ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. q. d. Have ye embraced the Gospel with resolutions to suffer in the profession of it? have ye done it hitherto, and will ye now by foolishly thinking to avoid persecutions lose the Crown laid up in store for you on that ac­count?

THE more fools they, and the more cow­ards we.

WE have suffered in the defence of our Re­ligion, of the cause of God and his Vicegerents [Page 13] against a schismatical and rebellious generation of men, but yet such as were set on and mana­ged undoubtedly by our old implacable adver­saries of Rome. How many men of all ranks and degrees with an invincible courage lost their Estates, their Liberties, their Lives in the quarrel! and are we faint-hearted now? Have a care. He that seeks thus to save his life is in a fair way to lose it.

BUT stay, is the Liberty wherewith we are made free worth the contending for, i. e. so as to oblige us to die (if called to it) rather than yield to the Roman Yoke?

IS it! I do not in the least doubt it. I am sure the first blessed instruments of our happy Reformation and their followers thought so: else they would never have lost their Lives in the cause.

BUT (Good God!) in what an age do we live! when a sort of men among our selves of loose and corrupt principles have not stuck to affront the memory of those blessed men and women with the name of Foxian Martyrs! Such fellows will look to themselves I'll war­rant them.

NOW to satisfie you in the point, I will in as few words as I can give you an account of [Page 14] this liberty wherewith we are made free: and then tell me what you think on't.

WE have the Oracles of God, those Foun­tains of living water (which contain all things necessary for our Salvation) put into our hands2 Tim. 3. 17. and read to us, according to the Apostles times in a known tongue. We have the Word of God purely dispensed by Workmen that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. We have the Sacraments rightly and duely admi­nistred according to our blessed Lord and Savi­our Jesus Christ his own holy Institution. And all this (which characterizeth a true Church) in order to our future happiness. Then, which both tends to that and also to our present well-being, we are taught to obey our King, and all that are put in authority under him without resisting; to suffer death rather than lift up a fin­ger against him: never to expect to see the face of God with comfort unless we be of a peace­able disposition and live an holy life, so taking the holy Jesus for our pattern as yet (de­spairing most justly of all benefit from our own or others pretended righteousness) to rely upon his most meritorious Death and Passion for our Salvation. In a word, to honour all men, to love the Brother-hood, (nay our very enemies) [Page 15] to fear God and honour the King. These for brevity's sake I offer only as a specimen of that great and glorious liberty wherewith we are made free. And what think ye now? is not this liberty worth the contending for? worth every mans contending for? I will not so much as suspect that any person here thinks other­wise. But if any such there be, I shall only desire your patience a little while, till I come to paint out to them the yoke of bondage, which is to be given us in exchange for this liberty; and then I hope they will be satisfied. In the mean time let us stand fast in the liberty wherewith we are made free. Stand fast there­fore. For Christ his sake stand fast. Which is the Apostles second argument to enforce his exhor­tation—Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free.

CHRIST made the Galatians, us and the whole world free by his meritorious Death and Passion on his part, and by faith and re­pentance on ours. Christ made us free, by enjoining us no more than his own perfect law of liberty: leaving power indeed to the Guides of the Church to take care that all things should be done with decency and order; but not to alter or diminish, no nor to add a tittle that was not [Page 16] built upon that foundation. And all the Epi­stles of the holy Apostles are but so many Com­ments upon that Law. As for the straw there­fore and stubble which our adversaries of Rome have built upon this foundation in order to our making brick for the repair of their tottering Tower—away with it.

LET us follow Christ the author and finisher of our faith, and not the corrupter of it; Christ the Captain of our Salvation, the Shepherd and Bishop of our Souls, and not his pretended Lieutenant and Vicar who acts both beyond and contrary to his Commission. Remember I beseech you, your first Vow when you were baptized into Christ who purchased your liberty by shedding his own most precious Blood for you; and not into that man or Church who are most notori­ously known ready to take it from you at the expence of your bloud, if they cannot compass it by other means. Remember that at that time you promised faithfully to be the Soul­diers of Christ, and to fight manfully under his Banner: and do not run from your Colours by ungratefully and cowardly quitting your Post.

STAND fast therefore in the liberty where­with Christ hath made us free.

AND now one would think the Apostle had said enough to make his Galatians stand fast, by urging to them their liberty and the author of it; that there needed no more to be said in the case; and that therefore, if those would not prevail upon them, all other arguments would prove insignificant and useless.

NO such matter. He knew very well that if he did not shew them as well the danger and absurdity of quitting their station as the profit and pleasure of keeping it, they would be wavering still.

II TAUGHT therefore by this blessed Apostle (as well as by Moses who did not think it enough to set life and good before the people, unless he shewed them also death and evil) I shall pur­sue his method, and proceed to the second general part of my Text, the Dissuasion or Dehortation, Be not intangled, Nolite contineri, nè illaqueamini, nè implicemini, nè retiamini (for so many ways the original word [...] is tran­slated, and the sense in each rendition is much the same) as though the Apostle should have said, you are now in a state of liberty and free­dome which Christ hath purchased for you; have a care of such nets and snares, such arti­fices and cunning devices as are laid and pre­pared [Page 18] to deprive you of it. Have a care of their fair pretences. So our Apostle—as many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they con­strain Chap. vi. vers. 12. you to be circumcised. Have a care of being intangled by their fawning concessions and crafty distinctions. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump, saith the Apostle. And thereforeV. 9. h. c. as he tells them—I testifie again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to the whole Vers. 3. Law: So I testifie to all those that are waver­ing and ready to be intangled by the arts of those perverters, that they must sooner or later submit themselves to the whole law of that Church; unless they would be looked upon as half Papists, who are in the esteem of the ruling part of that Church little better than Protestants, and shall perhaps fare little better when occa­sion shall serve. The plain truth of it is this; and herein lies the cheat.

If any person whom they have a mind to make a Proselyte, boggle at their Antichristian doctrine and practice of giving the Sacrament under one kind only; they will tell him very softly that indeed it is true, the Church hath for many weighty reasons altered the primitive Institution; but that yet however if he cannot with a quiet mind submit to the Canon in that [Page 19] particular, he shall be dispensed with, and re­ceive it in both, till he be clearly convinced and fully satisfied. But then 'tis an hundred to one they impose upon him by giving him uncon­secrated Wine. If he startle and stand amazed (as well he may) at the horrid and barbarous doctrine of excommunicating and deposing Emperours, Kings and Princes from their rega­lities and dignities, not only for being Hereticks themselves, as they please to call them (nay their very being male morati will do it) but for not extirpating Hereticks out of their dominions with fire and sword, if warned so to do; and thereupon having absolved their Subjects from their allegeance, of giving their dominions to others if they cannot persuade any of their own people to dispatch them out of the way by the knife or poyson: If any one (I say) whom they are about to intangle, start or stare at such horrid and barbarous doctrines, they are dexterously ready to assure him that there is a very great mistake in this whole matter. For (alas) these are only the opinions of some few private Doctors amongst them, and not the doctrine of the Church. No, by no means. God forbid. Though all this while, as that Church hath never yet censured such positions, [Page 20] so one (not to mention more) of these Coun­cils which they call general, hath in a veryConcil. Lat. 4. great measure asserted them; and the Popes, whenever they have had a will and power enough in their hands, have not been sparing to justifie and put them in execution.

AS for their art of intangling by striking a terror into the minds of their intended prose­lytes on the account of persecution, telling them (which is a common Topick among them) Well, well; we shall be all of one Religion within these two or three years, or within such or such a time; and such like threatning expressions: indeed silly women laden with iniquity, and children void of understanding, if they be intangled here­with, may be pitied; but for men and women that have been well grounded in the Principles of our Religion to be catcht with such chaff—it is a crime unpardonable.

TO conclude this part of my discourse upon the Dissuasion or Dehortation. If you find that they would intangle you by telling you (as they seldom fail to do) that if you come over to them, undergo their penance (perhaps they will get some body or other to do it for you) and die in their Communion; whatever your crimes be, you shall be certainly saved: [Page 21] but that if you live and die, though never so full of faith and good works, out of their Com­munion, you stand Excommunicate, and will be as certainly damned: Fear them not; stand fast and be not intangled.

WHAT! Enter into Communion with, or fear the excommunication of such as stand excommunicate themselves! and that by an Apostle too! Let no man startle at what I say. I'le make my words good. This veryChap. i. 8. Apostle says expresly, though we or an Angel from heaven preach any other Gospel to you than that which we have preached unto you, Anathema sit, let him be accursed. And for fear such bold Innovators should not take his word for it, he repeats itVerse 9. again, as we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other Gospel to you than that you have received, Anathema sit, let him be accursed.

NOW that they have justly incurred this sentence of excommunication (let them get it off how they can) will easily appear if we take but a view of the yoke which upon our being intangled, they have prepared for our necks.

1. AND that is the first argument ab incom­modo, which our Apostle urgeth to enforce this Dissuasion or Dehortation—there is a yoke in the case.

BE not therefore intangled with the yoke of bondage.

I I will begin with the first part of their yoke (which we occasionally mentioned before) their denying to the people the Cup in the Holy Sacrament. A yoke which neither we nor our fathers were able to bear.

OUR blessed Saviour instituted eating and drinking the Symboles of his Body and Bloud apart; the Apostles and the Church after them constantly practised it for above a thousand years together: and now we must be sacrilegi­ously rob'd of it for reasons of their own inven­tion, (for Christs Vicar must be wiser than his Master) and because they will please to have it so.

THEY tell us that the Church hath an un­limited power to do such things, and to make such alterations. Believe it that list: I have something else to do.

BUT this is a very small matter with them.

HEAR what Bellarmine says of the un­bounded power of the Pope alone in all cases. If the Pope should so far err as to call viceDe Rom. Pont. lib. 4. c. 5. vertue and vertue vice, and command them to be accordingly practised and forborn, the Church were bound to submit and conform her self, unless she would sin against Consci­ence.

WELL said Cardinal!

THE good man had forgot that God him­self had accursed those that call evil good and good evil. But (to let that pass) how comes so great a man to suppose what he had taken so great pains to prove impossible, i. e. that his Holiness can err? and how comes he to pull down what he had before (as much as in him lay) built up, i. e. the Popes infallibility? For if we be not assured of the real and unalterable difference betwixt vertue and vice, we have no certainty: and where there is no certainty, it is impossible there can be any infallibility. Which doctrine of infallibility (for I must hasten) is the very beam of the yoke to be laid upon us in lieu of the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free.

WE are by Gods providence yet free from the yoke (we celebrate the Supper of the Lord with eating and drinking according to his own most holy Institution) Be not therefore intang­led with this yoke of bondage.

II, TAKE for a second part of their yoke the doctrine of Transubstantiation: than which I am sure Jacob Behmen has not any thing in all his enthusiastick writings more monstrously mysterious and unintelligible. As if no man [Page 24] could possibly become a good Christian, unless he threw away his memory and understanding at the same time.

TRANSUBSTANTIATION! a name and thing so unknown to all antiquity and so utterly impossible in it self, that I must shake hands with my nature before I can bring my neck to the yoke.

INDEED if the Assertors of that doctrine can once mould me into such a temper as that (with the Comoedian) I could run in their hand, and in one and the same breath affirm with them that a Cloud looks like a Camel, like a Weazel and like a Whale—much may be done. Till then they must give me leave (and if they will not give it me, I shall make bold to take it) to belive my senses both inward and outward, which I humbly conceive and am verily per­suaded God and Nature did not bestow upon me with a design to deceive and cheat me.

IF they ask (as they usually do) why do we then believe the doctrine of the Trinity, which on this occasion they will have to be as much against human reason? I answer by denying what they take for granted, i. e. That the do­ctrine of the Trinity and that of Transubstan­tiation are alike against reason. That I and [Page 25] two more can be one, or that any created be­ing can be in more than one place at the same is indeed against reason; because we have di­stinct beings and are distinctly circumscribed by our own proper limits and places: but that God who is infinite in power and fills all places with his unbounded presence, may be whatever he pleaseth to reveal and declare himself to be, as touching his Divine Nature, is (if above, yet) not at all against my rea­son.

BUT (to end this Paragraph) to what pur­pose should I be obliged in this matter to call white black, and black white? Cui bono? Can­not the same God who at the Preaching of the Gospel of his Son by his Apostles conferred the Holy Ghost on those that never heard of him before; and cannot that Son of God, who In­stituted Holy Baptism to the mystical washing away of sin, confer Grace and Spiritual nourish­ment to my soul upon my humble and grateful commemoration of his meritorious Death and Passion, in eating and drinking the Consecrated Elements, without the Priests turning by I know not how many unconceivable Miracles, not only the Bread and Wine, but even the Bread alone into his real Body and Blood?

IT cannot be expected that I should, with­in the time allotted me, say all that can be said (if I could do it) upon these and the following subjects; and therefore I refer you for your further satisfaction and confirmation, to the labours of those many Pious and Learned men of our Church, who have in this and all other points controverted betwixt us, so baffled our Adversaries of Rome, that though they will have the last word (there is no help for that) they have nothing left them which with modesty they can say for themselves. As for us, we are yet by the Grace of God free from this ground­less, useless and senseless yoke of Transubstan­tiation: Be not therefore intangled with this yoke of bondage.

III WHAT shall I say of the Doctrin of the Popes Supremacy over the whole World? his pretended power to confer and take away Crowns and Kingdoms? and in the stead of God himself (for King David makes it his pe­culiar Prerogative, and so doth his Son too) to pull down one and set up another? They tell us a great many fine stories of St. Peters Keys, and St. Pauls Sword: but alass! they are but sto­ries, ambitious imaginations of their own brains. Now before I give mine own opinion [Page 27] in the case so far as we are concerned, I crave leave to tell you what one of their late Pam­phleteers hath affirmed in it, viz. That Oliver Cromwel had as much right to exclude the Royal Family and set up for himself, as King Henry the Eighth had to throw off his Obedi­ence to the Pope. Spoken like a good Sub­ject, and a well read man! Is there no diffe­rence between an home-born Prince and a fo­rein Usurper? And for Gods sake, what power or profit had ever the Popes of Rome in this Kingdom, but what was either granted them by the indulgence and bounty of devout and unwary Princes, or else what they extorted by watching their opportunities and fishing in troubled waters? the last of which was no Title at all, and the first being abused was justly forfeited.

THE first considerable footing that his Ho­liness got here was by Austin the Monk about the year 600. and then the Foundation was laid in blood, in the blood of twelve hundred Monks. A truer story I am sure than that of their 11000 Virgin-Martyrs. And, as the Na­turalists say, ex quibus componimur, ex iisdem nu­trimur, so I may say of them. If you prove good children, believe as the Church believes and [Page 28] do what she bids you right or wrong; pay your first-fruits, tenths, Peter-pence and other perquisites which the Apostolic Sea claims (all which however I think better in the King of England's Exchequer than in the Roman Aerary) then his Holiness smiles at your easiness, and his word is—Si populus vult decipi, decipiatur, &c. but if you do not, look to your selves; the note is changed into that of Nebuchadnezzar (his Predecessor in old Babylon)—If you wor­ship not, you shall be cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. But suppose we should (not grant but) give them what they contend for, i. e. that they did first Preach the Gospel to our Fore-fathers in this Island; what will they get by it? Put the Case I should have the happi­ness to convert a rich Jew, or an Indian to the Christian Faith; am I thereby presently in­vested with a power over his Estate, Liberty and Life?

A blessed Reformation, this! Christ sent his disciples forth as sheep among wolves; but the Church or Court of Rome (for I protest I can make no distinction between them) sends forth her disciples as wolves among sheep, to kill, to tear and to destroy.

I do not find that Christs disciples received any Commission to cut the throats of all such as would not submit to the Gospel: but I am sure that both they and their followers chose ra­ther to suffer death than to cause any distur­bance in the State, otherwise than by Preach­ing that Gospel according to their Commission. Our Saviour wrought a Miracle to testifie his obedience to the Civil power: and had not that blessed Son of God himself given his fol­lowers an example by patiently submitting to the Sentence of Death under unjust Judges, because they were in Authority, we had at this day (for ought I know) wanted a Saviour our selves.

THE Jesuites tell us indeed that the Primi­tive Church and the First Bishops of Rome did not execute this power because they were then in Incunabulis, in the Cradle and under Perse­cution. But I hope the Son of God did not want that power—If my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight for me, saith he—and to Peter himself—Put up thy sword into his sheath, for cannot I pray now to my Fathe [...] and he shall give me more than twelve legions of An­gels? But I forget my self.

IV THE time would fail me to speak of their Divine Service in an unknown tongue;

V OF their invocations and adorations of Angels and Saints departed;

VI OF their worshipping of Images, and VII (in order thereunto) utterly abolishing the second Commandment;

VIII OF works of Supererogation, all expresly contrary to the written word of God, (which therefore they destroy or make void through IX their Traditions;)

X OF their Purgatory;

XI OF Indulgences;

XII OF Pilgrimages.

I will name no more, I am weary on't: they all being the unlawful Engins for the en­largement of their dominion, and support of their grandeur by filthy lucre.

THESE and many, very many more make up that yoke which is to be given us in exchange for that blessed liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and which by Gods super­abundant and no way deserved mercy we yet enjoy.

BE not therefore entangled with this yoke of bondage.

[Page 31] 2. ESPECIALLY considering the absur­dity of being so intangled; which is the Apostles second argument to fortifie this Dissuasion or Dehortation—be not intangled again.

SED quid valet istud Rursus? how comes the Apostle to dissuade the Galatians from being intangled again with the yoke of bondage, who never had the law of Moses delivered to them, and so had never before been circumcised? whatever others answer, I think there will be no great difficulty in the case, if instead of the yoke you read a yoke, which the original will bear as well as the other: and then the sense is this—you have by the preaching of Christ crucified among you been freed from one yoke, that of Idol-worship; no not run your necks into another of Circumcision.

BE not intangled again.

BUT then even here again the Galatians have the advantage of us: for they were submitting their necks to a yoke sometime imposed by God himself as absolutely necessary; but we by taking on us the Roman Yoke again submit our selves to a yoke of bondage made up of mere human inventions, contrary to Gods word, and destructive both of true Religion and civil Societies.

BE not therefore intangled again.

WOULD the Doctors go to School again? a School, where they shall be taught better manners than to rely only upon the all-suffi­cient merits of their Saviour: than to be sub­ject to any other power than that of our Lord God the Pope. And in order thereunto they must learn a new lesson, to live a single life (whe­ther they can do it honestly or no, it makes no matter) for fear lest having wives and children they should give the State security of their obedience to their undoubted and lawful So­vereign: Nay (which is more) to be the Popes executioners, and whenever heis angry and shall please to put their native Country under an interdict, to proclaim his Bull for Excommu­nicating their Prince and absolving themselves and fellow Subjects from their allegeance to him, and to surcease all religious Offices in the Church. Would the Doctors (I say) go to School again?

WOULD a Servant manumitted and ha­ving a good stock wherewith to set up for himself be bound apprentice again? Would a General of an Army turn private Souldier again?

WOULD a man become a child again?

A Patient lately recovered from an ill ha­bit of body or some desperate disease, re­lapse and fall sick again?

WOULD a Prince, who holds his Im­perial Crown only from God, lay it down at the feet of an insolent pretender to a power of kicking it off from his head, and giving it unto whomsoever he will?

AND if these things be absurd; it must needs be so in us, if we return to the Roman yoke again.

BE not therefore intangled again.

FOR Gods sake, whatever the genius of the Galatians was, let not us in so weighty a matter as this verifie our own Country-Pro­verb which says, that an English-man never knows when a thing is well.

STAND fast therefore in the liberty where­with Christ hath made us free, and be not intangled again with the yoke of bondage.

I have now finished my meditations upon the Text: in the delivery whereof I have dis­charged my bounden duty without any sinister ends; without either hope of good or fear of evil in this life; but (I confess) not without [Page 34] having an eye to the recompence of reward in that which is to come.

I hope no man will be displeased with me for what I have said. But if any such there be, I am not careful to answer them in this matter. I shall only make use of the Apostles honest Apology—Am I therefore become your enemy, be­cause I tell you the truth? Chap. iv. 16.

TO conclude; give me leave once more to pursue the Apostles method, who shuts up this Epistle with earnest persuasions that his Galatians would trouble him no more about theseChap. vi. 17. matters; but forsake the lusts of the flesh and live a vertuous and a pious life: the only way (if we could at last be persuaded to believe it) to beget unity among our selves, to avert Gods just and dreadful judgments and to make him favourable and gracious to our Sion.

I say therefore (in the words of the Prophet Daniel) as well to my self as to all that hear meChap. iv. 17. this day—Let my Counsel now be acceptable to you; let us break off our sins by Righteousness and our iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor, if it may be a lengthning of our tranquillity.

And to that end

WE humbly beseech thee, O Father, mercifully to look upon our infirmities, and for the Glory of thy Name turn from us all those evils that we most Righteously have deserved: and grant that in all our troubles we may put our whole trust and con­fidence in thy mercy, and evermore serve thee in holiness and pureness of living to thy Honor and Glory through our only Mediator and Advocate Jesus Christ our Lord.

AS many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them and mercy, and upon the Israel of God; to whom be ascribed and given all Power and Praise now and evermore.


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