REFLECTIONS ON A LATE LIBEL, INTITULED, OBSERVATIONS On a Late Famous Sermon, INTITULED, Curse ye Meroz.

In a Letter to our old Friend, R. L.

LONDON, Printed for John Williams, at the Crown in St. Paul's Church-yard, 1680.

REFLECTIONS On a Late LIBEL, &c.

SIR,

YEsterday came to my hand the said Libel (so I call it, be­cause) it is throughout false and slanderous, and with­out a Name, no, not so much as of the Bookseller or Printer, that durst Print or vend such a venemous Pamphlet.

Besides this, I have seen many a private Letter written to him, but without any Name subscribed, since the publishing of—Curse ye Meroz.— One threatens he shall be stab'd; another says, he wonder the Bishops do not pull his Gown off his Back, he is such a Common-swearer, Common-drunkard, Common-Barrater, and Com­mon Debauchee; another threatens, that the Sermon shall be an­swered very speedily in Print; and then he shall see, how pub­lickly they would make a very Rogue of him, and prove he was a Rebel against K. Charles I. But that the mischief on't is, K. Charles was Beheaded before Mr. Hickeringill was 16 years old. And to compleat his misery, yesterday he received a Letter, that begun (with a witty Anagram upon his name) thus, Mr. Hickeringill. Anagr. Mr. Hectoring Devil. So mad they are, you see, that they throw their very Brains as well Gall at him. All which I was un­willing to conceal from you that loves him so dearly, and to beg of you, that as you love your self, your Life, your Wife and Chil­dren (or which is dearest to you) your Reputation, take warn­ing by Mr. Hickeringill's Fate, and never dare to Print or Preach against Fanaticks; for they are old Dog at Lying and Slander­ing, Murthering, and wounding Reputation.

Indeed, Solomon says, Answer not a Fool according to his Folly, lest thou also be like unto him; that is, lest thou be accounted, by taking notice of his Folly, as foolish and impertinent as he. [Page 2]And yet in the very next verse, Prov. 26.5. as if upon second thoughts, he had chang'd his Opinion, he gives quite contrary Advice, saying, Answer a Fooll according to his Folly, lest he be wise in his own Eyes; lest he plume himself (like this Observator) Crow and Strut, as if he was unanswerable and uncontroulable, in reviling a Sermon that has carefully asserted his Majesties Pre­rogative, and the Parliament and Peoples Properties and Im­munities.

'Tis true, Holy David knew not any Remedy for a slande­rous and venemous Tongue; What shall be given thee, and what shall be done unto thee? Oh, thou false Tongue! There is no such Antidote against the Poyson of Asps and Vipers, as their own Flesh, they carry about them their Alexipharmacon; and all the Remedy that I shall make use of at present against this viperous Libeller, (the poyson of Asps being under his Lips) is only taken out of the Body of the Libel it self, and shew the Falshood of those Scandals, by their own Incongruity and Inconsistency.

For the Observator (so I'le call him, as he calls himself) shoot­ing in the dark at Mens Reputations, and wounding them with­out Fear, (as well as without Controul) instead of making Ob­servations upon the said Sermon, says not one word that is sig­nificant in Answer, or to confute the same; but according to the wonted Attacques of such Adversaries, falls foul upon the Per­son, and shaking hands with the Argument, lets drive at Mr. Hickeringill, when he has first aspers'd him with his smutty Ink.

And because he knew Mr. Hickeringill [...]s Conversation to be so innocent and unblamealble, that nothing but Malice and Falshood conjoyn'd, can vilifie him, therefore he dare not say, but yet makes a wild and impertinent Suppo­sal, p. 7. of a Graceless Villain, insinuating slily, that Mr. Hickeringill was that same Graceless Villain; but lest he should be taken by the Beard for it, with — What do you mean, Sir? He presently cries peceavi, and Oh Lord, Sir! I beg your Pardon, &c. For when he has made his Suppo­sal of that same Graceless Villain, &c. immediately he sub­joyns — But what is all this to our Sermon? Nothing [Page 3]at all I hope; but why may not a man be impertinent now and then?

So that I say, all the Venome of the said Libel, may be heal'd by it's own self, its own confessed Impertinence and Incongruity.

But lest the Observator should be wise in his own Con­ceit, and puffed up, as thinking and hoping that Mr. Hickeringill and his Friends will scorn to answer such a Tri­fler, (for he that throws a stone at every bawling Curr, shall have work enough) and also because the Author of the said Sermon (Mr. Hickeringill) is so unblameable in his Life and Conversation, that this Libeller is the first that ever durst Print (whatever they might mutter behind his Back) any thing against the Uprightness and Integrity of his Life. Therefore I (that have (as well as you) been in­timately acquainted with him above thirty years) thought it my Duty as well as Honour, thus to make his Apo­logy.

Some Passages of the said Sermon, the Observator does indeed Re-print, but confutes not one word thereof, except by telling an apparent Falshood pag. 5. concerning Deborah, who (he says) was no Sovereign over Israel, but a Pro­phetess, &c. as if he should say, (and he might with equal Truth say it) David was no Sovereign over Israel, but a Prophet, and Solomon was no Sovereign over Israel, but a Preacher. The man flings, and kicks, and rails as if he was gaul'd and wounded, and by that therefore he must be either a Papist or a Fanatick, for no other are aggriev'd at that innocent Sermon, and plain and honest Interpreta­tion of the Text; or else the Observator is some envious and malicious Scribler, whose Spleen as well as Gall over­flows.

And I am apt to think he is one of this last Character, by the Care he takes to blast the Reputation of the Author, as appears by such Expressions as these: (p. 5.) This Gentle­man [Page 4]would engross the Glory (and to the Prejudice of all his Brethren too;) and p. 4. There are many honest Divines (without Necessity of including this Gentleman) who are as active Preachers up of Loyalty.

So that the fear lest Mr. Hickeringill should get a Mono­poly to be the Loyal-Preacher, and the Sermon on—Curse ye Meroz—a None-such, and so engross all the Glo­ry (and to the Prejudice of all his Brethren too) whilst they (good men, if they could tell how) are as active Preachers up of Loyalty. This, this made the Observator in hast call for Pen and Ink, and resolve before People have given in their Verdicts, and before the Term be done, to make Observations enough upon it, to brand it, as guilty, guilty of engrossing the Glory (and to the Prejudice of his Brethren too,) who are as active Preachers up of Loyalty. And therefore resolv'd to write something if he could, true or false, to lessen the Reputation of the Sermon, and its Author.

If I be not much mistaken in this same Observator, this same—As active a Preacher of Loyalty, was in Oliver's Time, as active a Preacher up of Oliver, and during all the seve­ral Vicissitudes and Changes of Government, kept his Fel­lowship, and in the Rump's time was a Rumper; in Oliver's time for Oliver; in Queen Dicks time for Richard; and in the Committee of Slavery's Time for them, and in the hap­py Restauration and Reign of his Majesty, he takes it in Dudgeon, that any man should engross the Glory of a more Loyal Preacher, than this same will for the King.

He makes me think of the Story Dr. Fuller tells of the Vicar of Bray, that in Henry the Eighth's days was a Papist, in Edward the Sixth's Reign a Protestant, in Queen Mary's Time a Papist, and in Queen Elizabeth's Time a Protestant again; of all which, when his Parishioners complain'd to him, for making them (and that from the same Pulpit and the same Throat) with several Notes and Tones dance in [Page 5]and out in the Church, as if they were (in Religion too) dancing the Hay; he answered, good People, whatever were the Premises, I always did and will hold me to this Conclusion, To live and dye Vicar of Bray.

Such another Mercury is (and has been) our Observa­tor; with the Fanaticks he'l snivle and groan, with the Church of England he is as 'piscopal and as active a Preach­er up of Loyalty, as the best of them: and rather than not be the Fore-horse, he will with Envy burst his Gir­dle, though he thereby make himself the Fore-ass.

Yes, yes, 'tis he indeed—now I look better at him, 'tis he, that same Vicar of Bray, (but I spare his name, tho' perhaps I'll pull him out of his lurking-hole e're it be long) I know him by the same old, insipid, phlegmatickstyle, the same old Supposals, Dilemma's, and venturing-pins, 'tis some sneaking, peevish, envious, and spightful Black-coat, (and where shall a man find less good Nature, more envy­ing, slandering or undermining of one another, greater Make-bates than are some of them, or—as the Sermon has it, tell me of any Mischief, Tumults, or Rebellion, that some of these same Black-coats have not had a great hand in,) such as think they can never look fair except they make a black-patch of others, especially of their next Neighbours, or such as are near them; and though such sneaking Rascals never meddle but to their own Shame, yet their Envy prompts them on to lying and slandering, tho' in Conclusion they always meddle to their Hurt.

And as they are the worst natur'd men, so certainly the most dangerous to the Peace and Quiet of Mankind, they are always finding Fault with others, despising others, railing at others, undermining other mens good name, lest they should shine to eclipse and benight their twinckling Puny-ships, conscious of their own Baseness and Demerit; like the poor Levellers, they would pull down their Bet­ters, and render them (if they could by any base ways, [Page 6]false News and lying Pamphlets) as low, that is, as base as themselves.

But all their Attacques are sneaking and cowardly, clan­destine and in the dark, still robbing men of their good Names with a Vizard on, for fear of due Chastisement and Discovery, for fear (not of being belyed and slander'd, the only Weapons with which all the Antagonists can as­sault Mr. Hickeringill) but for fear of being expos'd in his own Colours, and then he would look as black as Vulcan himself, (or which I dare say he is) the Son of a Black­smith; That sneak't into the University by lacqueying it to a Gentleman, that got a Degree and a Fellowship by his Dexterity in making (clean) his Tutors Shoos, and Coal­fires, that always thrive by Flattery only, base-complyance, and supplanting other men; and therefore since he is such a Littany-man, I'll joyn in Prayer with him with some Ad­dition, and conclude him, as he does his lying Pamphlet, with the same or the like Petitions—From the Kilne that calls the Mill burnt-Arse; from all drunken, debaucht, and envious Black-coats; from undermining and supplanting Rascals, and graceless Villains; from Lyers and Slanderers, and the Vicar of Bray; from Pulpit-Fools, as well as Pul­pit-Enthusiasts—deliver us—and let all good English­men say, Amen.

His words p. 5. are—‘For suppose one that from other places is throughly satisfied, that Subjects are bound to be obedient to, and aid their Princes against all Rebelli­ons, should yet be so dull, as not so clearly to apprehend it, informed by this Particular Text, because Deborah was no Sovereign over Israel, but a Prophetess, and acting by an extraordinary Call against Invaders of her Coun­try. Cap. 4.4.’(Note by the way, if it were her Country, then she was Sovereign, and Chief Magistrate of the same) ‘And so the Notes of our English Bible (but E. H. has declared [Page 7]himself no Friend to our English Bibles) expound those words, She judged Israel, that is, sayes the Mar­gin, — by the Spirit of Prophecy, rosolving of Contro­versies, and declaring the Will of God. And indeed, had she been their Princess, Barak had talked very sawcily, when he sayes, verse 8. If thou wilt go with me, I will go; but if thou wilt not go, I will not go. Now if the case were so extraordinary, the Consequences he draws (though in themselves Positions true and warranted by other places of Holy-Writ) may yet not seem to arise from hence, so necessarily as to qualifie it with the ranting Title of the most Loyal Text in all the Bible.’

She judged Israel, — that is, saith the Margin, by the Spirit of Prophecy.

I know not what English or Geneva Bible the Obser­vator has got for his turn, but (except himself) no man, I dare say, did ever see such a Margin in the Bible, whether English or Latine, Greek or Hebrew.

There is no Marginal Notes to Judg. 4.4. but the Words are these, And Deborah a Prophetess, the Wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time.

Oh! but she had an extraordinary Call thereunto.

Not so extraordinary (it seems) but Barak durst talk sawcily, or rather familiarly to her; But worse men than Barak did, not onely talk sawcily, but act scurvi­ly and disloyally, as cursed Meroz, in the said Text; yet not so sawcily and scurvily, as Rebels in our times have both talk't and acted against their Sovereigns.

Nor more extraordinary was her Call to the Sove­reignty, than was all other the Judges in those dayes; Moses, and Joshuah, and Gideon, Jephthah and Sampson, Samuel, Saul, and David; for none of them had it by Succession, but by special Appointment.

Now, except the Observator means, that no Subjects are bound to aid their Sovereigns, except their Sove­reigns have an extraordinary Call; (no which extra­ordinary Call of Deborah does appear in the Text) and which seems to be the consequence of his Ob­servation, I cannot Divine what he would be at, but sure he might as pertinently turn Augur, and observe the flying of Birds, as observe at this extravagant rate.

Besides, To abuse the Reader with an untruth, (in alledging Marginal Notes that were never heard of,) is not the first he has told, as I will shew by and by.

But the first Cavil he makes, is against the Author's Veracity and Memory, because he sayes — That this Text was never before insisted on by him at any time: ‘yet notwithstanding he finds a Sermon made of it by the same Author in Gregory Father Gray-beard, three or four Octavo pages long:’ which is an Instance that the man was resolv'd to find fault right or wrong, or otherwise he had not at the beginning tyr'd upon so impertinent a Quarry, that he can get so little by, except shame and contempt by all inge­nuous men. Does the Observator think indeed and in­deed that that was a Sermon? and ever preach't in any Pulpit by Mr. Hickeringill? which he confesses was onely a little Ryme Burlesque? But such a Trifler is not worth the answering, no more than his Cavil against those fix Verses in Greg. which a far better, but as immodest a Pen as his, answered onely, as he does, by giving it as he does (an ill Name) Ryme Dogge­rel: namely,

By the Liturgy learn to pray,
So pray, and praise God every Day.
[Page 9]
Th' Apostles Creed believe also,
Do as you would be done unto.
Sacraments take as well as you can,
This is the whole Duty of man.

He is a Stranger in England that does not know that Papists and Fanaticks, Atheists and Debauchee's are ve­ry considerable Parties in the Kingdom; now if no man can be any of these, if he observes those six verses, they are certainly the most useful Rymes doggerel that ever were made. Another Untruth we meet with p. 4. where the Observator alledges out of the said Sermon—‘That the most Loyal Text in all the Bible, is now (like a piece of Apocrypha) laid aside, antiquated and out of Date; which he calls an odd, indeed a sawcy Reflection on ;all the Loyal Clergy in England.

This lying Libeller says so, but there is no such Asser­tion in the whole Sermon: there is indeed a quaere in the said Sermon in these words—shall this Text now (like a piece of Apocrypha) be laid aside, antiquated and out of Date?

Not asserting it is so, but querying whether it be not so? which, whether it be not a very inoffensive Quaere? and whether the said Text be not very seldome (if at all) insisted upon in these times, I leave to you the inge­nuous Reader to judge, craving your Pardon that I should vouchsafe to trouble you with pointing at Mi­stakes in this same thick-skull'd Observator, that to every vulgar Capacity are so obvious, and readily discern'd without this Index.

But I must either mind such Untruths or nothing in the whole Libel; for it is but one continued and scurri­lous Lye and Slander, a whole Sheet full; from one end to the other.

And therefore I shall take notice of no more, but that for which the whole Pamphlet seems to be writ, and that is to cast an Aspersion, very slyly though, and by way of Supposal, which yet he recants, and retracts immediately, his own Conscience (if he have any) telling him that it is (as he acknowledges) impertinent, and no more to the Reverend man (as he styles) the Author in his first Line, than to the man in the Moon.

Yet p. 7. we are entertain'd, (as indeed all the Enter­tainments in the whole Pamphlet, and all the Truths therein, are only the Expressions he Re-prints out of the said Sermon) as in these Words—

But above all that Passage p. 26. (namely of the Sermon) is remarkable—A Holder-forth may yawl and yawn, snivle and whine, thump and bawl, 'till his Lungs and his Heart ake, and yet neither make open-hearted nor open-handed their close-fisted Disci­ples; nay, he shall turn up the white of his Eye, and play as many Tricks as Hocus Pocus at a Fair, and yet not get so much Money at Night as a common and prophane Hocus— This well consider'd as a most enlightning Paragraph; are things thus indeed? Well, Suppose then there were ever a graceless Villain in a Country, that had first cou­sin'd his Tutor of a Fellowship, by gobling up the Co­venant himself, whilst he perswaded the old man, there was Rats-bane in it, that had renounced his Christen­dom and been publickly dipt in hopes to thrive among the Anabaptists, that had listed himself in the Rebbels Army; and both preach't and fought against his Sove­reign, that had-afterwards got a Shipboard, and even there kik't for fear of debauching the Tarpaulins; after all these Disappointments, and trading being so horrible dull amongst the Conventiclers, do you imagine such a Fool would not think it high time to change Note and Coat, if it were possible to get into some fatter [Page 11]Pastures, and rave and rant to the purpose, to be ta­ken notice of? Yes marry would he, and kiss the Mass-Book most reverently I'le warrant him, if there were any thing to be got by it.

But what is all this to our Sermon? Nothing at all, I hope; But why may not a man be impertinent now and then?

Pretty heart! take breath after all this impertinence.

But if he means (or else he means nothing by this Impertinence) to reflect upon, or calumniate the Au­thor of the Sermon on — Curse ye Meroz; I'le give this plain and true, short and yet full Narrative of Mr. Hickeringill's Life; which had been as needless, as fool­ish and impertinent, as his idle Supposal, if the Obser­vator's Impudence and falshood had not given this just Provocation, and occasion to this Vindication.

I have known Mr. Hickeringill since first he came to the University of Cambridge, where he was admitted Pen­sioner in St. John's Colledge at fourteen years of Age; he got not, nor possibly could get his Tutor's Fellow­ship, for he was made Fellow of Gonvile and Cajus Col­ledge, when he was eighteen years of Age, and junior Batchelor, Anno Domini 1650. He never swallowed nor gobled up the Covenant in his Life, not but that per­haps he might have had stomach enough to it, but it was off the Stage before he came on; yet both he and the whole University were (sufficiently) of Fanatical, Rebellious, Anabaptistical and Factious Principles and Practises, as all men living are (in their Infancy) of that Religion alone in which they are educated; and he when he was a child, did as a child, nay, as wiser men than he did; and if he had been educated at Rome or Constantinople, in the National Religion there profess'd, [Page 12]he had also certainly been a Papist or Mahometan with­out a Miracle.

Thus St. Paul by Education became a Jewish zealot; Luther, Calvin, Beza, and our Fore-fathers, all Papists: upon better Information they became Protestants, as St. Paul, a Christian: The Devil and Devillish men rag'd, and call'd them Apostates, but the Saints said, He that persecuted us in times past, now preacheth the Gospel, and they glorified God in me, saith St. Paul; they did not rail, rage, upbraid, and calumniate, as Devillish men do: The Strength, the Spirit and Activity (with which God and Nature had blest Mr. Hickeringill, inclin'd him to a Military, rather than a Colledge-life; he there­fore visiting the English Army, (and some of his nearest Relations) in Scotland, first accepted of a Commission to be a Lieutenant; but after some few years he re­solv'd to see the Wars in Foreign Countreys, none where­of was then so famous, as the Wars of Carolus Gustavus, King of Swede, whose Fame perswaded him to accept a Captains Commission in Major-General Fleetwood's Re­giment, then Swedish Ambassador in England: carrying six score brave English-men to the Swede's Service; where he continued till the Peace concluded between the Swede and Dane, when he return'd to his Native Coun­trey in York-shire, where he rais'd his Company, and soon after was Captain of a Troop of Volunteer-Horse that rise under the Lord Fairfax and Duke of Buck­ingham, declaring for a Free-Parliament, the happy Pro­logue to His Majesties Restauration. After that, he had the Command of a Man of War under the King of Por­tugal, as he formerly had been Commander of the North-Star, a Man of War, under the Swedes King; after­wards, his desire of Travel, and seeing Foreign Coun­treys, made him visit the Indies, Surinam, Barbadoes, [Page 13]St. Christophers, Jamaica, &c. from which last-men­tioned Island, he brought the Governour Doyly's Let­ters to His Majesty and Duke of Albemarle, with a Map of the Countrey, and Description of that Island, which he Printed and dedicated to his Majesty. And having rambled enough, (by the Bishop of Lincoln, Dr. Saunderson) he was both perswaded to be (and made) a Priest, and his first Preferment eighteen years ago (was what he now enjoys) the Rectory of All Saints in Colchester; a place that perhaps has more than any other exercised his Patience, and other Virtues; they that know Fanaticks, they that know the men and their Communication, must believe that a man of his Integrity, Loyalty, and plain dealing must meet with Calumnies and Opposition enough; he was indicted for a Common-swearer, and perhaps may be indicted for a Common-Barretor, and what not? But for a Common-swearer he stands now convict in the High-Court of Chan­cery, and That never a word comes out of his Mouth, but an Oath comes out, attested and sworn by three Colchester men; and yet it is as certain and commonly known for an undoubted Truth, that he never swore a rash Oath in all his Life time, or ever took the Sacred name of God in vain, which scarce one man in Colchester can say, ex­cept himself, and yet he is the only man that stands con­victed as aforesaid for a Common-swearer; but 'tis his Por­tion, Innocence, the most sacred Innocence and Integrity is no Fence or Skreen against Malice. But that he should by Flattery or baser means hunt after Preferment, is so senceless a Calumny against the Plainness and Austerity of his Conversation, (even unto Morosity,) (as some construe it) is a Supposal so ridiculously suggested, that none can believe it that knows him; and that large and plentiful Temporal Estate of Inheritance, that God has [Page 14]blest him with above all or any of his Neighbour-Mini­sters; and how smilingly, careless, and unconcern'd he is at the foolish and malicious Attempts of his Adversa­ries, which hitherto has always ended in their own Shame and Confusion. And why may not a man that was a Souldier in his juvenile years, accept of an Eccle­siastical Office, and be a Clergyman in his graver Hours, and when he has sown his wild Oats, rather than bring them up into the Pulpit with him?

St. Ambrose was first Governour, then Bishop of the same City; St. Peter was a Fisherman and then a Divine, and after that followed the old Fishing trade still. St. Paul was a Weaver and a Taylor, (for a Tent-maker im­plyed both these Trades) and then a Divine; and whilst he was so, he sometimes fell to his Needle and Shuttle again.

Here's a Doe with what men have been; certainly, if every mans Faults were exposed and writ in their Fore­heads, few men would look with any better Complecti­on than this so slander'd Author. And certainly, if Mr. Hickeringill had still been a Fanatick, he had been cry'd up as much for a precious godly Man, as any Spiritual Pick-pocket amongst the Crew; and as much as the Noyse-Makers now cry him down for a Villain.

Methinks I see how zealously and devoutly those ho­ly Juglers rate and set on their silly Votaries to bawl and bark against the Author of that Sermon, that disco­vers and bewrays the Craft by which they get their Wealth, when they see that almost the Hopes of their Gain is gone. And if his Sermon and Comment on that darling Text of Curse ye Meroz—which has done such Feats, had been Stylo vetere, interpreted against all Sence, Reason, Reli­gion, or the Context, not a Conventicle in the Nation, but by this time had made Bonfires for Joy of that, [Page 15]which (as now it is) they would gladly make a Bon­fire on, and another of him, if they had their Wills. But let them proceed as far and as fast as their old Father drives them, He that sitteth in the Heavens shall laugh them to scorn, the Lord shall have them in derision.

Nor could they readily have had a man to be the ob­ject of Fanatick-wrath, who is more cheerfully Ar­mour of Proof (by long and large Experience) against it, than he: for the more they have rag'd and ray'ld, slander'd and calumniated, fretted and fum'd, Almighty God has blest him the more with Mercies both of the right hand and the left, having given him so many com­fortable and promising Heirs for his Estate, and so com­fortable and plentiful an Estate for his Heirs; whilst his Adversaries grin and rail, snarl and shew their Teeth, and pine away.

In a little time it will be no Apocrypha, that Truth is strongest, and no weapon formed against it shall prosper.

Indeed the silly Observator nibbles, p. 6. at that Pas­sage in the Sermon, p. 17. (namely) That all men's Faith must bottom upon some Humane Authority or other.

The Sermon does not assert, that the Top and bottom of all men's Faith is Humane Authority; for the Top of a man's Faith is the Grace of God. So p. 19. of — Curse ye Meroz — you find these words—Through the Grace of God enabling us to believe, what such good men and true did depose upon their own knawledge; Faith is the Life of a Christian, &c. And p. 17. All true Faith is the Gift of God, as all other Gifts and Graces are, for without Gods special Grace no man can believe the truest Humane Authority or Church upon Earth to be true.

Now where was the Observator's Eyes that he could not see those Passages of the Sermon, and where was his Honesty to expose some bit of the Sermon, without what [Page 16]went before and after; and then too not to have one word to say by way of Answer, but onely holding up his hands, and falling to his Prayers, and wishes that the Parliament might sit as soon as may be, to authorize the Bi­ble by an Act, and furnish People with Bottoms of Faith.

If the Observator was not very illiterate in the Laws of the Land, he might find Acts of Parliament enow, (before he was born, and almost as old as Paul's, for England was the first Christian-Kingdom) to make the Bible Canonical, and to furnish People with bottoms of Faith.

For though the Holy Bible was and is the Word of God, though never a King or Parliament had told us so, yet it does not become Canonical, (that is, a Canon, or Law to Subjects) till it be commanded by Lawful Authority; and therefore our Holy Bible is not onely the Word of God, and so Sacred, but also the Law of the Land, and so Canonical; and all the Laws of the Land, lawfully made, and by lawful Authority, are al­so the Laws of God, to which we ought to submit, not only for wrath, but also for conscience-sake.

And then where would there be place for Mutinies and Rebellions, for the Spirit of Popery or spirit of Foppery? This makes that Devil rage at Mr. Hicker­ingill, having great wrath, because his time is short: but to attacque or answer him or his Sermon only with Ca­lumnies, Lyes, and Slanders. Is this Scholar-like, Man­like, or Christian-like?

Truth is Truth, whoever proclaims it, and 'tis a base Requital of Ingenuous men, onely to load them with false Invectives, and Hatred instead of good Will; such Returns will make men of more than Vulgar Learn­ing and Attainments, say, with the Popish Cardinal, —Si Populus vult decipi, decipiatur: If the People have [Page 17]a mind to be blockish, so let them continue, for all me.

Yet the Observator seems to be in great trouble of mind that the Sermon should p. 38. call the English (the most Generous and ingenuous Nation (ah, Sycophant!) in the world) the blockish English.

Was it not greatly done of our little Observer, to reflect so severely upon that innocent Passage in the Sermon — The most loyal Text in all the Bible. Whereupon he very gravely observes, p. 4. in these words — Comparisons are generally odious, especially when between things incomparable.

Why? Are they so indeed, Beloved? Some of the blockish English (that are not so concern'd to lessen the Reputation of the Author or his Sermon,) would have past by so innocent a Passage, and never have knit their brows at it, nor yet have mark'd it with so sharp-pointed an Asterism.

Whil'st you live, look to your hits, and place your words in order, when you come within ken of a little Ob­server.

Such a Fool was I, that I had thought a man might be very innocent, though he had said (by way of compari­son) more Spiritual knowledge and comfort is to be had from the New Testament than the Old, and from some Texts and Verses therein than from other, and from the latter end of the first Chapter of St. Matthew, than from the middle or beginning, and yet the Holy Bible is In­comparable (that is) above all other Books, but not when compar'd within its self. I never, till now, knew where or how much St. Paul was a Sinner, and to be blam'd (by the Observator) for saying — (I thought harmlesly) 1 Cor. 15.10. I labour'd more abundantly than they all: namely, All the Apostles.

Happy St. Paul, that never met with such an Observa­tor amongst all the Corinthians! that had a Design to les­sen the Reputation of him and his Writings; if he had, how might they have descanted upon him, in the words of our Observator—Comparisons (Paul) are generally odi­ous, especially when between things incomparable.

Surely the Corinthians were very blockish Corinthians, that could not spy faults, at least, not so ill-natur'd and malicious as our Observator, and willing to spy faults, and expose them, to lessen mens Reputation: or else our Observator is as blockish as envious, to make such severe. Observations upon so innocent an Expression; and more blockish to imagine, that any of the Generous and ingenu­ous English can be such blockish English as not to see that, whilst the Observator is so trivially and keenly busie to lessen the Reputation of Mr. Hickeringil. He has onely thereby lessen'd his own (if ever he had any) amongst the generous and ingenuous English, at least.

This Trifler is, (I say) like Mercury in the Planets, good with the good, and bad with the bad; sometimes he cokes's the Clergy, sometimes the Fanaticks, as p. 7. because Mr. Hickeringill sayes, p. 23. If there was not a Papist in England, yet they would fright the People with fears of Popery.—

Now, for my part, such a plain blockish Englishman was I, that I could not spy where the Mischief, or the Popery lay in that harmless and true Expression. — But comes me our Observator, and very gravely and formally, (as he never opens, but he makes up his Mouth in Mood and Figure) nay, you 'scape well, if he does not gore you with one or other of his dilemma's, a keen tool, with which (just such another, W.S. gall'd him that writ concerning the Contempt of the Clergy) sagely observing, That — This Aphorism is but borrowed from another Brother of the Quill.

Now if the Observator had not a mischievous Design to spoil Mr. Hickeringill's Credit for ever borrowing any more, he need not have told every Body how much he was indebted and did borrow of a Brother of the Quill—

But, (dear Sir) why may not one Brother borrow of another, but that the Observator must be concern'd? I dare say, that neither of the said Brothers of the Quill, (nor are there any other Brothers of the Quill in Eng­land) but would make shift with their own Pittance and scanty Store, rather than go a borrowing to our little Observator; and if they should, he would tell all he met, and lessen their Credit, spoil them for ever borrowing any more.

But as honest and Loyal Hearts may joyn, so good Wits may jump, as well as bad ones; and if so, then (though the Observator would seem to tell Tales out of School) 'tis but a Tale, and a Story of his own making, like all the rest of the Sham's he would gladly put upon the Author of that Sermon, with Design to make them both odious; but such a Rayler will but be the black-patch to—Curse ye Meroz. And most People think that the Author has hired this Zany to set him off with greater Lustre; and provoke him or his Friends to a Vindicati­on of himself and his Sermon, both which (but that Comparisons are odious, except when a mans Credit and Reputation lyes at stake) may possibly appear in good time, as innocent, polite, unblemisht and unreproveable, as any other of his Coat; let Lyers and Slanderers vent their utmost Gall and Bitterness; our blessed Saviour, the holy Apostles, pious King Charles, the greatest Inno­cence cannot escape them.

Nor can the worst of the Authors Adversaries be able to prove in any the worst Instances of his whole Life, that any Infirmity, Sin or Temptation has befallen him, [Page 20]but such as is common to all men, to all men, to the best of men, and common to the times wherein he was educa­ted: which if so, the graceless Villain has as good Com­pany as any in England, which is more than modestly should ever have been said, except on this Occasion, when vile men (not for the Evil he has done, nor be­cause he was bred up a Fanatick and in fanatical times, but because he and the times are not still so, and there­fore) would render him odious and contemptible above others, because above others he does so sharply take a­way their Weapons, (in such a beloved Text,) that has done great Service, and more than ever it will do again; thanks to the Book called Fides Divina, (says the Ob­servator) but let who will go away with the Thanks, I dare say, Mr. Hickeringill has as much Thanks for his great Pains, as he cares for, or needs, or did, or could expect from the Blockish English.

And now I am quite tyred with this Observator, and weary with having to do with such an impertinent, (as he justly styles himself,) happy both you and I if we could say with a safe Conscience, we had done with him; (this Aphorisme also was borrowed from another Brother of the Quil.) But his sharpest Thrust is yet behind, and if that can be put by, I hope he is foyl'd.

Observe his Observation p. 7.—‘A Fright is a scur­vy thing, and therefore there are some that would have the most frightful and notorious Popish Trea­sons hush't up, and go Scot-free, rather than fright People with Fears of Popery.’

What cannot a Schollard do and an Observator? He shall make you white, black; and black, white; 'tis such a Proteus and a Changeling, and would have all others so.

In this same 7. page, he makes the Author kiss the Mass-book, and then (by Consequence he is) a graceless [Page 21]Villain; but here he hooks and draws him to be guilty of the Plot, the Popish Plot, at least Misprision of Treason, a Concealer, and one that designs to have the most fright­ful and notorious Treasons bush't up and go Scot-free.

This is a deadly Thrust; well, I see there's no escaping him, the man has discover'd Gall in his Ink already against the Author, but here he mingles it with Blood; open him, and I'll lay aneven Wager, there's Blood in the very Heart of him, but 'tis insipid, and without Salt.

I think he has fairly observ'd and observ'd, 'till at last he has observ'd (instead of the old Presbyterian Plot) a plain Popish Plot in—Curse ye Meroz.

And I suppose in his next Observations (for tell him I expect them, but I fear his Taplash wants tilting, and is drawn dry) the next News (I suppose) he chearfully intends to tell you, and also observe when and where this graceless Villain was hang'd, drawn, and quarter'd and that Jezabel-like, when Naboth is dead, he is (what he gapes for) his Successor in the Vineyard.

Well then, so let it go, dye men must, and as good at first as at last, rather than an Observator of so much Me­rit should be disappointed. There's Difficulty in making escape, the Judges (nay better men than Judges) can­not escape the Lash of such Jehu's, if they do not drive as furiously, (as these men) like mad; They also would have the most frightful and notorious Popish Treasons hush't up, and go Scot-free; They, even Privy-Counsellors, some have sworn it.

Ay, but the said Sermon was indeed to some purpose brisk against the Spirit of Popery, but was not this all Umbrage and Colour, and though not discernable by the Blockish English, yet comes me the Eeagle-ey'd Obser­vator, and anatomizing it without Fear or Wit, most cruelly rips it up, and taking out his Jack in a Box, pores [Page 14]into't with his two Eyes, and spyes Treason, a Popish Plot, at least a Design of hushing it up, and that's Mis­prision of Treason.

Some there are too that have declared that Oliver Cromwell and his Army that invaded Scotland Anno 1650. were bejesuited and influenc't by the Pope and Papists to that March and War. Mr. Love that zealous Presby­terian and Mr. Gibbons (that were beheaded on Tower-Hill for prosecuting the ends of the Solemn League and Covenant, by the Rump-Parliament, who all of them had taken that solemn Oath and Covenant) tells us thus much in their dying Words. See Mr. Love's clear and ne­cessary Vindication written by himself, p. 33. His Words are—‘But Cromwell (through the Counsel of the Pope, King of Spain and the Jesuits) had rather fight with the Protestant-covenanting Party, than with the Rebels of Ireland. By this means most grievous and burthensome Taxes are continued and increased. I shall mention one thing which to the vulgar may seem incredible, viz. That the Juncto (meaning the Rump) at Westminster have (by the Excise, Customs, Seque­strations and Taxes) received more Money in one year than all the Kings of England, put them all together since the Conquest, did raise upon their Subjects for such a space of time, yet the Kings called Oppressors, and these called Saints, &c. And so on at a great Rate, making them all Sons of the Whore of Babylon.

And in Mr. Gibbons's Speech upon the Scaffold I find these Words Printed with the said clear Vindication.—‘But yet a more joyful sight do the Eyes of Antichrist behold, such an one (I dare say) as he never saw in England before, that is, a most faithful Minister and blessed Servant of God (meaning the said Mr. Love) put to Death by Protestants, and such as call themselves [Page 23]the most Pious, Religious People upon Earth. Next to him, I am brought upon the Stage to encounter with Death, and fight the bloody Battel; the Lord knows how many may follow. I pray, that I may be the last. But is not Joab's hand in this? Are not the hands of Papists and Jesuits in all this? I need bring no Argu­ments to perswade you to believe it; I think, very few but are convinced, that they both sit at the stern, and are the chiefest actors, &c.’

So that in all our Age, all Rebels and Designers of In­novation, have made Popery, Jesuitism, Popish-Plot, and Popishly affected, to be the Common Bear-skin to clap up­on any man or Party they had a mind to worry.

Thus all the Cavaliers and the Royal Party were made to be all Papists, or, (which will equally do the feat) Po­pishly affected; and when they had thus arrayed them in every Church and Market, they clapt their hands, and cryed Hallou, setting the People on them; and this did their business, and made the Presbyterians Rampant, till the Independents with the same stratagem pull'd them down, making the People believe, that between the Equivocating, Covenanting, Make-bate, Rebellious Presbyterian, and the Equivocating, Covenanting, Make­bate, Rebellious Jesuit, there went but a pair of Sheers; whilst the Presbyterians eccho'd the same scolding Cramp­word into their Teeth again, saying, all the Fry of Secta­ries and Independents were but the Spawn of Popery, and that they are all Sons of the Whore of Rome. And a notable man tells us (and I believe he'l take his Oath up­on't too) that Lambert has been a Papist, I know not how many years, and that there are Jesuits and Papists in all the Conventicles and Field-meetings in England and Scotland, that craftily stir up the People to Discon­tent, Mutiny and Tumult; Prologueing their Popish-Plot [Page 24]with encouraging them to despise Dominion, and speak evil of Dignities: And whether this Observator be not al­so set on to lye, rail, and find fault with so innocent a Sermon, and its Author, that only detects such Jesuitical and Fanatical Plots is a fit Quere; and though he dare not shew his Head, I doubt not but I shall prove e're long he is è Societate Jesu.

And if so, I think he has observ'd and observ'd at a fine rate, till he himself is observ'd, and Popishly-suspect­ed, if not Popishly-affected; This 'tis, to bring the old House over his own head: and who will be the Grace­less Villain then? But since we are got into the suppo­sing vein, for once I'll suppose another graceless Villain, who hath also less Wit than Grace, that was basely bred, and worse born, being the Son of a Black-smith, and kept at School by the Alms of the Parish, whose chiefest qualification for admittance in the Ʋniversity was his dexterity in wiping his Fellow-Commoners shooes, and his best accomplishment to capacitate him for a Degree, his dexterity in making Coal-fires, that got a Fellowship amongst the Jesuits, by the Tuneableness of his Throat in crying Adsum, and the glib voracity of it, in swallow­ing all the Oaths that came to hand, whose Lust lost him his Fellowship, in exchange for an over-worn Widow, and got a Vicaridge by the Symony of Flattery, and by the same Methods of back-biting, lying and slandering, still keeps himself in plight to write Observations, to les­sen the Reputation of his Betters, &c. Nay, if he be for Supposals, I'le fit him in my next, for at present I am quite tired with thinking thus long upon this Thred-bare Levite, that would wheedle himself into some Reputation, by making himself a Kin to the Author, as if they were both of a Tribe (forsooth,) The Tribe of Levi, p. 7.

The Author, on all accounts, but more especially for his sake, disclaims the Kindred, and the whole Jewish Tribe: if he were in Spain, this his Folly, as well as Am­bition, would bring him into the Inquisition: But in England the Clergy are all of them as much (and some of them much more) of the Tribe of Simeon rather than Levi.

Could any, without impudent Cavil and Forgery say, as the Observator does, p. 3. That All, and every bit of the said Sermon that is worth reading, is Printed before in three or four octavo pages, by N. Brook, with very small variation of words, from that preach'd at Guild-hall?

'Tis very strange then there should be such a pother about the latter, if it only contain three or four octavo pages, and most of them too Ryme Burlesque? as he calls it.

The Author does not say, he never read the Verse be­fore, or never spoke a word of it before, but never preach'd upon it before; for, insisting upon a Text in a Pul­pit, is certainly all one with preaching upon it.

No doubt but multitudes have found out the true meaning of that Text before we were born, there's more wonder any man should miss of the meaning thereof, than not find it. The Author does not in the least re­commend himself as the first, or onely Finder and Disco­verer; but humbly supposes that other men (besides Columbus) may Trade in the Indies. How fearful the Observator is, lest the Author should get any Reputation by the said Sermon, how early and carefully does he bestir himself to lessen it?

But if he knew the Author's temper, as well as I know it, he should not need thus to afflict himself: The Au­thor never daign'd to stoop to such Methods and Arts which some men take to be the Common Road to Pre­ferment, [Page 26]but leaves them to supple pick-thanks, Dissem­blers, Symonists, and Flatterers, whilst the Author thinks he scapes fair, if great men do him no mischief, no wrong, nor injustice; further favour he never did, nor, I dare say, ever will crave; but had alwayes rather have gone ten miles another way, than meet any Great man, and Lordly. Quae supra nos, nihil ad nos.

Preferment is onely for men of more pliant, suppliant, cringing and crouching Arts, and great Aims and Abili­ties; why should men trouble their heads with him, that troubles his Head with no man in particular, but onely studies the quiet of himself and mankind, if they would take his Advice.

But hereafter, who (that's wise) will trouble himself with the rabble? Is this the Reception, this the Enter­tainment and Encouragement? then, Si populus vult de­cipi, decipiatur. I say again, Let them run as fast as they have a mind, to their Ruine, Mutiny, Tumult, and De­struction: Let them run and be hang'd, and let the Spi­ritual Free-booters in the mean time wheedle the Cox­combs, and pick their pockets, till they leave them as em­pty as their pates. Here's a doe with a pack of sneaking Vaux's, Observators and Dark-lanthorn-men, underminers of mens Reputations; nay, 'tis a baser Employ than Vaux's, in one sense, namely, insomuch as a man's Reputation is and ought to be dearer to him than his Life: These same Slanderers, amongst the Lydians were adjudged Felons, and punished with Death, as murtherers of mens Names and good Fame.

And justly, for they make thousands to hate a man mortally, and to death, whom yet possibly they never saw, but in the false and ugly colours they pourtray him, nor ever knew any harm in him, or by him, of their own knowledge.

But, you'l say, none but Knaves and Fools will judge and condemn when they hear but of one Ear, when they hear the Plaint onely, much less hate a man they ne­ver knew, nor saw no hurt in; but onely by Fame, which is commonly a Lyar.

I grant it; But, is not the World well stock't with Knaves and Fools, and England with Blockish English enow? Facilè credimus quae volumus; if any man, (how worthy, how innocent soever,) do but speak against or thwart our darling Lusts, or beloved Opinions and darling Sins, we are apt to believe the worst of such an one that Malice can forge and invent.

Thus it was of old, the old Cry was — Away with such a Fellow from the Earth, for it is not fit that he should live; when perhaps the most of the People knew not for what, nor wherefore they were met together.

Thus the Observator rayles and Lyes, without the least colour or resemblance of Truth; for how is it possible a man can by any stratagem get his Tutour's Fellowship, except he be Fellow of the same Colledge where he had a Tutour? Or how is it probable that the Tarpaulins should be so All-Devout upon the sudden, that they should kick their Captain from aboard, lest he should tempt them to Debauchery with a Dram of the Bottle?

For the aforesaid Graceless Villain was never at Sea since he was a Clergy-man, but once (sixteen or seventeen years ago) when the late Reverend Father in God Gilbert Lord Arch-Bishop of Canterbury, with great importunity, prevail'd with him, and over-perswaded him to accept of the Honourable Employment of Chaplain at Sea to his Highness Prince Rupert, contrary to the mind and Petitions, and Endeavours of the Parishioners of All-Hallows-Barking, Tower-Hill, London; where the said Graceless Villain was Lecturer; many Boats-full of the chief [Page 28]Parishoners, rowing to Lambeth to beg of the Arch-Bi­shop, that Mr. Hickeringill their Lecturer might not be taken from them; but not prevailing, they promis'd (and perform'd faithfully) never to chuse a Lecturer till he return'd, but hire one from Sunday to Sunday where they could; and his Return was sooner than any of them did expect, he voluntarily and with much a Doe, got Leave to leave that honourable Employ, chiefly, because the Tarpaulins were so irreclaimably debaucht.

Some People then of the most eminent City of Eng­land, and all the most eminent of that famous Parish of the City, were many years ago, as well as the said Arch­bishop, enamour'd with that same Graceless Villain; and yet knew all the Passages of his Life, a thousand times better than the lying Observator; I scorn to write any thing but what is Truth to a Tittle.

And the Author had (in all probability) been Lectu­rer there at this day, (for he is no Starter, nor Shifter, nor Swapper of Livings) but for one peevish old man, whose name I spare at present, because he is dead and gone: the Bishops have hinder'd Mr. Hickeringill, but they ne­ver further'd him in their Lives, nor ever will, I dare say; plain Dealing is a Jewel, but it prefers no man, tho' it beggars many. 'Tis Justice (not Favour) that is requir'd for a man in Mr. Hickeringill's Circumstances, and they wrong him that gives him less; and if they do, he knows how to write himself upon them.

What? cannot a man be naturally of a chearful ruddy Complection, but he must be forthwith proclaim'd— Debaucht? Cannot a man be merry and wise? Can no man be religious, but he that interferes Sighs and Groans with his Words, and disfigures his Face and Voice with Snivels and Tones? that he may appear unto men to be devout, precise, and religious? a Religion unworthy [Page 29]the Author, and fit only for a Spleenatick and Hypocriti­cal Observator, who would make every man a Pulpit-Droll, that puts a little more Wit in a Sermon, than he is guilty of, though but just as much as should keep up At­tention, and keep men from sleeping.

But, Why should observing Black-Coats endeavour thus to lessen any mans Reputation, especially of their Bre­thren, when there are enow to pick Holes in the Coats of all of them, though there be none? Where is the Wisdom, the Prudence, the Religion of it the while? I see a mans chief Enemies (as our Saviour says) shall be them of his own Houshold, of his own Coat, of his own Neighbourhood.

But let the Observator proceed, (I cannot bid him— God-speed in such an unchristian, unmanly, unscholarlike, uncharitable, lying and slandering Atttempt, but) let him go on, and if in Conclusion he comes off boasting of his Gettings, he is the first man that did so, that either here or beyond Sea ever grapell'd with that same grace­less Villain he so calumniates, and falsly reviles; creeping behind the Loyter, and dare not show his Head, nor justi­fie his Words; whereas my Bookseller has Order to make known my Name on just Occasion, if the Truth of any Word in this Reply be lawfully question'd, 'tis due Mo­desty, not Fear that conceals it now.

And whereas the Observer says, that the Author was of Anabaptistical Principles, I dare say, it is true, and the only Truth in all his Observations; and every man has Ground enough from the Letter of Scripture, to be either Pro or Con, so that till the Restauration of our Laws in his Majesties happy Restauration to his Rights, in the sole executive Power of the Laws, and the Settle­ment of the Church by Act of Parliament, any man might be an Anabaptist without Sin: For as the Learned Dr. [Page 30]Saunderson, de Sabbatho, in his Cases of Conscience, well does distinguish betwixt Jus Divinum positivum, and Jus Humanum Ecclesiasticum: of the first Divine Right, and strict sense, namely, things that are enjoyned by the ex­press Commandment of God in his Holy Word, or may be deduced therefrom by necessary, evident, and demon­strative illation; there are not many things de Jure Di­vino under the New Testament.

But for Divine Ecclesiastical Right, it sufficeth that it may be by Humane Discourse upon Reasons of Congrui­ty probably deduced from the Word of God, as a thing most convenient to be observed by all such as desire unfeignedly to order their wayes according to God's Holy Will.

This Distinction of Jus Divinum is to be observed the rather, because it may be of very good Use (if rightly understood and applied.)

  • 1. For cutting off the most material Instances, which are usually brought by the Romish Party, for the maintenance of their unwritten Traditions.
  • 2. For the clearing of some, and the silencing of other some Controversies in the Church, which are disputed pro and con, with much heat, as, viz. concerning,
  • 1. The Government of the Church by Bishops.
  • 2. The Distinction of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons.
  • 3. The Exercise of Ecclesiastical Censures, as Suspen­sion, Excommunication, &c.
  • 4. The Building and Consecrating of Churches for the Service of God.
  • 5. The assembling of Synods, upon needful occasions, for the maintenance of the Truth, and for the set­ling of Church-Affairs.
  • [Page 31]6. The forbidding of Marriages to be made within cer­tain degrees of Consanguinity and Affinity.
  • 7. The Baptizing of Infants.
  • 8. The maintenance of the Clergy by the Tythes of the People, and sundry other things.

None of all which, to my understanding (saith that Learned and Good Bishop of Lincoln) seem to be de Jure Divino, in that first and proper sence, but yet all, or most of them to be de Jure Divino in this latter and larger signification.

So that in the Judgment of this (I would say unparal­lell'd Bishop, but that Comparisons are generally odious, espe­cially about things and men incomparable) these latter are Moot-cases, and onely in Abeyance, and in nubibus, till the Law decides them, and turns the Scales; till then they are in equilibrio and suspence; and a man may be a good Christian, and go to Heaven, and believe either way, or neither way, either any of them, or none of them.

And this, Mr. Observator, I dare say, the Author will be ready to vindicate against you, or any of your Jewish Tribe of Levi. And why beholdest thou the Mote that is in thy Brother's Eye, but considerest not the Beam that is in thy own Eye?

The man from first to last, it seems, stares all the Ser­mon over, to spy faults, or any thing that looks but faul­ty, by his dis-joynting it from the rest of the Sentence, to lessen the Reputation (as he us'd to phrase it) of the Sermon and the Author; and therefore tells the most Generous and Ingenuous Nation in the World, that there's a Plot, a Popish Plot, or a Plot by one that would (as he phrases it page 7.) kiss the Mass-book, and all against their Generosity and Ingenuity, and make them Blockish English.

Sure the Observator has got the Sermon printed for his own turn, for that printed for J. Williams has not one word in it of a Plot against Generous and Ingenu­ous English; but onely those English that were gull'd, (that surely was not all the English) nor any part of the English that were either generous or ingenuous, but onely such blockish English, as in spight of all Sence, Grammar, and the Context, by wresting the plain and easie sence thereof, were gull'd to their destruction; these are the very words of the Sermon.

And is not this Observator also a keen Sophister, to im­pose upon men that in sensu diviso, which is and ought to be taken in sensu composito? to pick out a word and a scrap of a Sentence, here and there, and then expose it, not in its own colours, but even what he is pleased to bedaub it with; and whether this be like a Member of the most Ingenuous and Generous English Nation, or more like the Knavish and Blockish English, judge you.

Has he not cause to wish in all haste that the Parlia­ment might sit, to make Bottoms for Ingenuity, Truth and Honesty, as well as Bottoms for his Faith; for by his Discourse, his Honesty as well as his Faith is bottom­less, I having been searching for a little of either of them, either Honesty or Faith, and cannot yet find a Bit; (sure then it is so, his Honesty and Faith is bot­tomless.

I wish he would read St. Austin, and he'l tell him, his Faith was not bottomless, but bottom'd on Humane Authority; nay, saith he, I would not believe, nor had not believ'd the Scriptures, but for the Church that handed them to him, of which Church he had a good opinion.

The bottom of a mans Faith must be either private or publick; if private, then his own or other mens private [Page 33]Dreams, Fancies, Madness and Enthusiasms may as well be obtruded under Pretence of Divine Testimony, for ought any man knows to the contrary, excepting only where there is supernatural and miraculous Revelation (in the case) to convince others, as was in the Apostles. Nay, at this day, if there should come an Angel from Heaven, or a Worker of Wonders, endeavouring to stagger or alter the Faith held out unto us by the holy Scriptures, infallibly as they are interpreted to us by the Laws of the Land, and by them only, the Lord our God does it to prove us, as Moses said, and we are not to believe him or them, contrary to our said Laws; much less should we believe the Comment and Interpretation of every Jugler, that cannot work any one Miracle, and is so far from the Gift of Tongues, that he has scarce one Tongue that can speak Sense or good English, though he may, like other Hocus's, speak hard Words, and new Words, or instead of old Jingo, Tanutus, &c. cries Incomes, Outgoings, &c. which are indeed Nothingnesses.

For all men that believe, either believe with or with­out Reason; either they do know, or they do not know wherefore.

He that believes and knows not wherefore, is an Ass or a Beast, not a man; at least, a very silly man with a bottomless Faith, like our Observator, and then at best, is but an Enthusiast or Dreamer, a Fanatick or Frantick, alias a Madman, and knows not why nor wherefore he thinks so and so; and no man in England can have a cer­tain humane Authority to trust to, but only our sacred Laws.

The Church of England and People of England are (or should be) one and the same, of and over which, under God and Christ, the King (in the executive Pow­er) and the King and Parliament (in the Legislative [Page 34]Power) is the Head; and all Canons and Laws that are not confirmed by Acts of Parliament are not Canons nor Rules to an English Christian, nor bottoms of any god­ly and wise English-mans Faith or Works.

And People for want of being thus truly taught, are led to follow blindly a Stranger, whose own the Sheep are not; as the English Papists who have nothing to do with the Laws of another Country, another Bishop or Potentate, nor can never be True and Loyal Subjects whilst they think themselves under such an Obliga­tion.

Neither can a Fanatick be a Loyal Subject and a good Christian, if he thinks he may without Sin transgress and disobey the Laws of the Land; for passive Obedience is no Obedience (that will justifie a Man) 'tis but Gal­lows-Obedience, and the Obedience of Devils, for they obey Gods Laws passively.

But to pursue this Discourse will raise as much Dis­course as did that innocent Sermon, and the unblemisht Author, I mean, (justly and truly unblemisht) and as for Fools and Knaves, that will hear but of one Ear, and being credulous to believe any Slander of one they hate; though perhaps they hate (but as they believe) not knowing wherefore; for the Judgments or condemn­ing Sentences of such men, the Author is so much plac't above them, and as little concern'd, as the Moon is, when the Dogs bark.—And all the Dirt and Stones which Malice has (now on this Occasion) cast upon Mr. Hicker­ingill, will have no worse Effect than those Stones which the Jews and Mahometans (as their Custom is to this day) do cast upon Absalom's Pillar, as they pass by, namely, to build him a fairer (that is) a greater and a more last­ing Monument.

In a little time—graceless Villain, spightful Rascal, popishly affected, Masse-book-kisser, and jesuitical Dog, &c. (as the Fanaticks are old excellent at calling of Names,) will be accounted but words of Course, and only the familiar Results of frenzical Wrath, and of a silly Obser­vator; and will rather heighten than lessen Reputation amongst the generous and ingenuous English.

If the Sermon on —Curse ye Meroz—had only spoke against Popery, Arbitrary Government, &c. the Fanaticks had made a precious godly man of that same graceless Vil­lain, all England over before this; and if it had only smartly check't Fanatical-plots and designs, another sort of People would have almost canoniz'd and besainted the Preacher: but to be such a plain-dealer, and to spare nei­ther Papist, Fanatick, nor cursing Debanchee (which three include a great part of the Blockish-English) That, That makes the Sermon on —Curse ye Meroz, the com­mon-eye-sore to some, as well as the common-Talk to all.

But if no man can answer, nor save old Calvin's-Ears, with Scholar-like, Man-like, and Christian-like At­tacques, they seem to yield the Cause, the Cause; or at least, make it very precarious, if they can only justifie it by stiling the Preacher graceless Villain, Mass-book-kis­ser, &c. whilst the said Sermon will so much the more carry the Vogue still, notwithstanding all the Dirt en­deavour'd to be cast upon the Author, which like Dirt and Stones thrown at Heaven will neither hurt nor en­danger any thing but their own Pates; and (observe it,) none rail so busily, and concern'd both against the said Sermon and its Author, as those that are Demagogues and Partizans, men of Designs, as desperate as their For­tunes; being afraid—any man should clarify the Wa­ters, and spoil their fishing, which never thrives but in troubled Waters.

In the Name of God, What would men be at? Ought any thing to be grateful and acceptable to men, if Phy­sicians be not so, especially such as bring certain and sound Medicines to cure and prevent the Distempers of Soul and Body, chiefly the Body Politick, and all this without a Fee?

Is he not a Friend that saves mens Lives, and saves some from the Gallows? such, such a dear Friend is Mr. Hickeringill to mad Fanaticks (they are not all so mad, God forbid) and by them he ought to be hug'd and esteem'd for the Physick he prescribes them, it's so good and wholsom, though it be not so sweet and toothsome to Flesh and Blood, the old man, and the old Principles and leven within them.

By the false Comments —on Curse ye Meroz, thousands and multitudes, nay the Kingdom has been ruin'd;— By this true Interpretation and Prosecution, thousands and Multitudes may be kept from Ruine, Arms, and Civil-War: and is he a Physician of no Value (but to be rail'd at, threatned and revil'd) that can stop a breed­ing Plurisie in a Body rank of Blood, before it come to the last Remedy, breathing a Vein, and Blood-let­ting?

Omnia cum liceant, non licet esse pium?
Since some (to Sin) plead Libetty,
Why (to reprove it) may not I?

But the sagest of all his Observations I had almost neglected, p. 6. concerning the cutting in two the man of Sin, or Son of Perdition (by contradistinguishing him, as he calls it) into the Spirit of Popery, and the Spirit of Fop­pery, as if any thing in the World could be more a Fop­pery than Popery, and thus he bestows upon us most li­berally [Page 37]at once a Taste of his Logick, (as good) as his Rhetorick.

I thought a man might have divided a Crab into Two, very Logically and Mathematically, and yet it was not very necessary that those Two (Parts) should be con­tradistinguish'd.

But the aptest Reply (if such observations require any other Reply, save Neglect and Scorn) is an Aphorism too, borrowed from a Brother of the Quill; namely, — Com­parisons are generally odious, especially betwixt things in­comparably good, namely, Popery and Fanaticisme, Pope­ry and Foppery.

I am in the Observator's Debt, (I confess) thus by bor­rowing of him, but if he will take my word, (though I am now (like a Great man when his Creditors dun him) in great haste, and cannot stay) yet, upon my Word and Ho­nour, I give it here under my hand, that I'le pay him off in my next; if it be but for belying Mr. Hickeringill so im­pudently out of his own Book, Greg. Gray-beard, when every Body can contradict and convince him of his Lyes in Print.

I would call them Frailties, if the Observator was one­ly flesh and blood, but his Brow is Brass, or else he durst not say, p. 3. ‘That All and every bit, that is worth the reading, in this Elaborate Sermon, and with very small variation of Words, we have in the said Book, Greg. Gray-beard; whereas there is not one word in that Book concerning — Curse ye Meroz, — but the Interpretation of it, every word whereof the Observator has Re-printed, (picking it here and there) in his p. 3. And is all that's worth the reading in the whole sheet.

I wonder he did not also Re-print his Brother Hugh Peter's Sermon there also in Rhithm-Burlesque, as well as in Print, and so have serv'd up also more Cold-pye, with [Page 38]his additional Oleo's, that are onely for shew not Ʋse: How concern'd the Poor-man is, to undervalue Mr. Hicke­ringill's Treat to the City? But Envy never speaks well, and seldom true; How early he bespeaks their Ingrati­tude? But (God be thanked) there are more Generous and Ingenuous; they are (not all) blockish English, though (you know) in the dayes of yore (and darkness) mul­titudes of them were such blind and tame things as to be led by the Nose to their Ruin, with Foppery and foppish Comments on — Curse ye Meroz, — to that height, that England became a Lamentation as well as a Laughing-stock to all Nations.

Till our vertiginous Round-head, giddy-crown-tricks and various overturnings, overturnings of Governments, (as if we had a mind to shew tricks in Politicks, and the double-Sommerset with our Governours) convinc't our selves at long run, as well as all the World, how ridicu­lous and blockish the Generous English were become; and that instead of Gospel-Light, we had been gull'd with Whimsies, Fancies, Fopperies, and Phanatismes, by Jesuits, or (their Apes) the Presbyterians; and so, at last were willing, in the Restauration of His Majesty and his Laws, to be also restor'd to our Wits.

But some men would perswade us, we have yet onely our lucida Intervalla, and that there is some fear of a Midsummer Moon.

HƲGH PETERS's SERMON UPON Judg. 5.23. Curse ye Meroz — Represented, like it self, in this Drolling Pulpit-stuff.

HID in these words, it plain appears,
Lie Men and Arms, 'gainst Cavaliers:
I see them clear as any thing,
Both Foot and Horse, against the King:
Couchant, I grant, Perdue they lie,
Nor seen indeed by Carnal eye;
Because they lye in Ambuscade;
But ready are for a Parade:
Arm'd Cap-apee; and One and All,
To come when we do beat a Call.
Drum-major I, on Pulpit Drum,
Am therefore now, beloved, come
With Bible in Geneva Print,
To turn up All, this Text has in't.
In which, two Parts, at least, I count,
Here's Gerazim, there's Ebal Mount:
Here lies the Blessing, there the Curse:
Take you the better part; the worse
Is good enough for Cavaliers;
And such as dare not shew their Eares,
As Round-heads do, in Good Old Cause,
For Liberty, Religion, Laws:
For which, who dies, is cursed never,
From which, who flies, is cursed ever.
For which, who dyes, is blessed ever,
From which, who flies, is blessed never.
Since I was with you last, I've been,
To tell you Truth, in Hell and Heaven:
You'l say, perhaps, it is a great way,
Yet to the first, it is a neat way;
And to be found out very easie,
And down-hill alway to't, an't please ye:
Nor is't far off, ye may come to't
In one day, though ye go on foot:
And Bare-foot, without shooes or hose.
Of all dayes in the Week, I chose
The Sabbath (taught by Master Gurney;)
To speed the better in my Journey:
For one may Preach, and Cant, and Pray;
Yet never be out of the way:
Gallants may whore, and roar, and play,
Yet all the while Post thither may:
Others may whine, snivel, and fast,
And yet may thither come at last;
Still the more idlely men live,
With greater speed they thither drive.
When I came there, who (do you think)
I spy'd, as I stood at Pit's brink?
Except the Cavaliers, not one:
And onely one Committee-man,
With Sequestrators three, at th' door;
Only condemn'd for being poor,
And balking of a Bishop's Land,
Sentenc'd for ever there to stand.
My foot stood just at brink of Pit,
A little more I'd been in it:
Truly, I durst not come too near,
As I good reason had to fear:
Long Prayers there are no assistance,
I therefore still did keep my distance:
And loth to stay, the Fiends to shun,
Like Hare before the Hounds, I run,
And I, though fat, away did hie,
To see what I in Heaven could spie.
And to that purpose I did gather
In Arabs a great Phoenix feather
To fly withall, a pretty thing,
Daedalus ne're imp'd such a Wing;
Resolving with my self to flie
Above the Clouds, and Starry skie;
Hoping the better to get in,
Because my Name-sake is in Heaven,
St. Peter at the door: yet I,
Thinking on't better, (loth to fly
So high a Pitch) had cause to fear
I never should find Entrance there,
On that account (but was to blame)
Peter was not my Christian-name.
Besides, I fear'd St. Peter should
Owe me a Grudge, because I would
Often (for which I now am vex't)
Make a bold sally from my Text
Against the Pope, who is ally'd
To Peter by the surer side.
Fearing Success, and loth to climb,
I put off till some other time
The Journey: I desisting then
Can tell you no great News from Heaven.
Therefore I'll keep me to my Text,
That with some doubts is much perplext;
But I'll resolve All out of hand,
And first, in order as they stand,
Curse ye Meroz— What is Meroz?
Some Infidel will not come near us,
Nor to us will Horse and Arms bring,
But rather send them to the King,
And go himself, and men to boot;
But for the Cause not stir one foot.
This is that Cursed Meroz, that
To th' Parliament will send no Plate,
But from us if he can, will look it,
And keep his money in his Pocket.
So much for that. Another word
There is to clear: — Help of the Lord.
Help of the Lord! What's that? Lord Bishop?
Or House of Lords?Not so, I hope:
Nor Lord Newcastle, nor Lord Goring;
(With whom the Wicked go a Whoring;)
Help of the Lord, is One and All
Help the Lord Essex, General.
But that's not All, for Moneys are
The Nerves and Sinews too of War;
For Powder must be had for Gun;
(We had as good else ne'r begun;)
If the Red-Coats have not their Pay,
They'l from their Colours run away;
Nor will they willing be to die:
Nay, and perhaps may may mutiny
For want of Pay; where are we then?
We may go hang our selves for men,
Except we money have. The Gold
Must here be found, as I'l unfold;
Help of the Lord then, is, Dear Honeys,
Help the poor Red-Coats with your Moneys.
Down with your Dust then; come be nimble,
Plate, Bodkins, Tankards, Spoon, or Thimble:
All these (then as if at a stand,
And into Pocket putting his hand)
All these (like Barber's Teeth, being strung
On red Cloth, ready as they hung)
(Holding forth, said, All these (good People!)
From Colchester, St. Peter's Steeple
Are all clear gains; and I assure ye
As many more I got at Bury.
Then (lest the People should discover
His sleight of hand, and so give over,
Finding the Juggle out, and mock it)
He put his hand in th' other Pocket,
As feeling for some other strings:
(But in the interim slily flings
His right hand into th' lest behind,
And then the better them to blind,
His hands met under's cloak, in brief,
As the Receiver with the Thief)
He held it out then to be seen,
(As if some other string 't had been,
And said) This other string of Plate
I, from the Wives of Ipswich got.
The Butcher's Wife did freely give
All the poor Soul had, I believe:
I got all to her very Plackit,
And can have more still when I lack it.
Help of the Lord then, is, Dear Coneys!
Help us, dear Petticoats, with moneys!
List; for I hear this Text plain lye,
Fine Ends of Gold and Silver cry:
(Beggars must be no chusers) whether
Silver broken or whole; bring 't hither;
Good Wife or Wench; the Widows mite:
Oliver C. shall you requite;
If you'l not credit what he saith,
I'l give you then the Publick Faith.
Methinks I hear the Proverb started,
A Fool and's Money is soon parted:
That Proverb does belong to those
That part with money to our Foes.
Help, who? the King? No. No such thing,
Help Parliament, not Help the King:
When we say King and Parliament,
The Parliament alone is meant.
So much for this time then I say.
Desiderantur Caetera.

Let all Ingenuous English judge, if this Burlesque Ser­mon, and that preach'd at Guild-Hall, be the same, with very small variation.

But I must withdraw my Pen, and not transgress at this Rate the bounds of a Letter; wherein, if I have given you but slender Entertainment, attribute it to my great haste, that forces me to write off-hand, hav­ing not time to Copy it more fair and dextrously, being diverted also by more necessary Employes, but chiefly ascribe it to that slender occasion that is giv­en by this Bo-peep Observator, and they must be very blockish English that have not observ'd the false Quota­tions, [Page 45]Calumnies, sly Insinuations and Reproaches, yet crafty Evasions, if he should be discover'd, in that his so putid and impertinent Scribble.

Whilst in the Interim I thus prove how ready I am to take all occasions to approve my self,

Your Servant A. B.
FINIS.

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