A SCRIPTURE-VVORD AGAINST INCLOSURE; Viz: Such as doe Un-People Townes, and Un-Corne Fields. As also, Against all such, that daub over this black Sinne with untempered morter.

By JOHN MOORE, Minister of the Church at Knaptoft in Leicester-shire.

Isaiah 5. 20. Woe unto them that call evill good; and good, evill: that put darknesse for light, and light for darknesse; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.

LONDON, Printed for Anthony Williamson, at the Queens Armes in S. Pauls Church-yard, 1656.

To his Highnesse the Lord PROTECTOUR of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and his most Honourable Councell.

May it please your Highnesse,

IN this discourse I plead the cause of the Publique and Poore of your true-hearted County of Leice­ster, and the Counties ad­jacent. Else (had it been any thing of private interest) my hand and heart would have trembled to have put any thing into your hands, to turn off your eye but a few minutes, from the won­derfull weighty affaires of these three Nations; which are all Incumbents up­on your Highnesse and Councell. The onely wise, great, good God support you with his owne wisdome, counsell, and strength. Though the main of my businesse is for soules, even to get out of [Page] them selfe, world, sinne and Devil, and to get in God, Christ, grace and the Gospel: Yet I have borrowed some weeks (which by double pains, I blesse God I have repayed) to wait upon Par­liaments formerly,Chari parē tes, chari li­beri, chari quo (que) amici, sed omnes omnium cha­ritates com­prehendit pa­tria. Tullius de officiis. and now upon your Highnesse and Councel with Petitions, to prevent the ruine of my Countrey (which is dear unto me) so endeavou­red & indangered by self-ish men truly delineated in these Papers: whatsoever specious pretences may be made to the contrary of Regulated Inclosure, and of a may-be Inclosure, without ruine either of Publick or Poor. In these Inland Coun­tyes wofull experience tells us, It is not so. And that Inclosure is now making, is likely to be in time as desolating as any, if not speedily prevented by your Highnesse and Councell. Such Incol­surists in the very making of them, ha­ving [Page] no respect to the Publique, or right in Law, or the Consciences of men. As in the severall Petitions from Leicester-shire now before you it ap­pears: which Petitions your Highnesse (our hearts rejoyce in you, and blesse God for you) without delay heard, and referred to your Councell: which also they have read and committed to the Lord Viscount Lisle, Sir Gilbert Picke­ring, Mr. Strickland, and Charles Wolsley or any two of them, who are speedily to speake with the parties that attend the businesse, and to consider of the matter therein contained, and to offer to the Councell what they shall conceive fit to be done thereupon. And as your Leicester-shire Petitioners have petitio­ned your Highnesse, and Councell-men upon earth; so they daily Petition the High God of heaven to incline your hearts to [Page] relieve the oppressed of these Inland Counties. And truly God hath set it upon my Spirit, That you are (Hester 4. 14.) Come to the rule of this nation for such a time as this. And my soul wrestles with my God that you may still be ser­viceable to God, and his Church, the Publique and the Poore, till you goe a­way hence and shall be seen no more, and then be gathered to our Christ, who then shall say, Mat. 25. 35, 36. &c. Come ye blessed of my Father, receive a kingdome prepared for you from the beginning of the world. I was hungry and you gave me meat, thirsty and you gave me drinke, naked and you cloathed me, &c. Amen saith the soul of him who is

As your Highnesse most humble servant, so also the Churches, the Publiques, and the Poors, John Moore.

An Advertisement of three things, to such Reader, who as he loves God, loves his Neighbour also.

FIrst, if thou chance to meet with a Book, called [A Vindication of Regulated Inclosure:] thou hast very little reason to believe much in it. The man speaks of what may be, and not of what usually is. He hath fancyes, notions and dreams of Innocent Inclosure both from Depopulation and Decay of Tillage. And for the Townes he names to be free, they are grosly guilty either of the one, or of the other, or of both.

Secondly, whereas that Book tells thee, That such deso­lations are Vitia Personarum non rei, It is the fault of the Persons and not of the Thing. I must confesse with him they are vicious persons indeed that produce such Inclosure. What better issue can we look for from such Parents? In­closure, making of hedges and ditches, is not a sinne, but such inclosure that is destructive to Publique, and Poore is a crying sinne. Lastly, I complaine not of inclosure in Kent or Essex, where they have other callings and trades to maintaine their Country by, or of places neer the sea or Ci­ty, but of inclosure in the Inland Countreys, which takes away Tillage, the onely Trade generall they have to live on; and whereby they are so beneficiall to the rest of the Nation, in times of scarcity. Pray with me, God speed the Plough.

Thy Friend, if thou be so to the Publique and the Poore, John Moore.

A Scripture-word against Inclosure, &c.

Amos, ch. 2. ver. 6, 7.

Thus saith the LORD, for three transgressions of Israel, and for foure, I will not turn away the punishment thereof, because they sold the righteous for silver, and the poor for a payre of shooes.

That pant after the dust of the earth on the head of the poor, and turn aside the way of the meek.

THe Lord assist me his poor under sheepherd with his own holy Spirit, that I may deale as faithfully and plainly with England, as Amos an honest-hearted heardsman, and GOD's Prophet dealt with Israel.

For England (especially Leicester-shire, Viz: by such inclosure that doth un-people Towns, and uncorn Fields. For it will pa­rallel the sinne in the Text. and the Counties round about) stands now as guilty in the sight of God of the sinnes in the Text, as Israel did then: And therefore the Lord may justly say to us,

For three transgressions, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof, because &c.

The Text contains Israels sinne, and Israels punishment. I shall first open the sinnes of Israel, and then tell me if England be not as guilty as Israel; and if so, why should not she par­take [Page 2] of the same punishment? I entreat therefore, as I open the sinnes of Israel, bear in your minde the Inclosure in the middle of England.

First then, what is meant by three transgressions, and for four? In plain tearms is meant, adding of sinne to sinne, Isa. 30. 1. and transgression to transgression.

And so Tremellius expounds three and four transgressions,Tremellius up­on this Pro­phesie, id est, propter quam. plurimae numero finitus pro inde­finito, &c. that is saith he, for very many. A finite number is put for an indefinite. And then God seemed to speak thus, If Israel had had a moderation in sinning, I would have turoed away their punishment, I would have been moderate in punishing; but since to three sinnes they have added four, and to many they daily adde more, I am determined to perfect my judgements upon them, and to be avenged on them once for all.

If we take three and four for seven: Know we seven is emi­nently in Scripture put for a multitude. So 1 Sam. 2. 5. (saith Hannab) The barren hath born seven, that is, many, and is be­come a mother of many children. Seven devils were cast out of the woman, Luke 8. 2. that is, a multitude. The just falleth seven times a day, Prov. 24 16. that is, often: so the sense is, They multiply their sinnes, and I will multiply my judgments.

Lastly, we may expound for three transgressions, and for four; by the twelfth verse of this Chapter. Whereas here he complains of three transgressions, and foure; so there he complains, I am pressed under you as a cart is pressed with sheaves: Now this is a plain Countrey-comparison: When we load a cart, we begin with a few sheaves at the first, with two, or three, or four; and so goe on to lay on more sheaves one after another, till we over-load, and are ready to presse the cart into pieces. So Israel layd on one sheaf after another, one sinne after another, still burthening God with their sinnes, that he seems to groan under the burthen of them, as one that is weary to bear them any longer. Isaiah 1. 24. they make him sigh. Ab, I will ease me of my adversaries, and avenge me of mine enemies. I can hold my hands no longer for their multiplied transgressions.

They sold the righteous for silver, and the poor for a payre of shooes.

If we put that of our Prophet (Amos 8, 6.) to these words [Page 3] of selling the Righteous that they may buy the Poore for sil­ver, &c. They buy and sell the righteous Poor for silver, that is, for the gain and profit, use them they doe as they use their beasts, keep them or put them off for their advantage. So long as serviceable, drudge them, rack their rents, buy them to get by them, and then sell them; yea, away with them out of house and harbour, town and field, take away their calling, and lively­hood that should maintain themselves, wives, and children, &c. When lesser gain comes in by them; They sell them or buy them upon that account as may serve their turns (Judas-like) to fill the bagge, and make no more account of them than a payre of shooes, yea old shooes that they cast to the dunghill.

That pant after the dust of the earth on the head of the poore.

That pant after the dust of the earth, Vid. The clear-spirited Expo­sitor upon holy Writ Mr. Caryll upon Job, c. 24. ver. 3. That is, (saith Mr. Caryll) exceedingly desire and long for it. As David describes his holy desires, Psal. 42. 1. As the Hart panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after thee O God: that is, I extremely desire thy presence and communion with thee: even as the Hart be­ing hunted and heated desireth the waters. Thus they panted after the dust of the earth, that is, after those things which are but as the dust of the earth, or whose originall and matter is but the dust of the earth, gold, of silver. These are but the re­fined dust of the earth. But whose dust did they pant after? It was the dust upon the head of the poor. If they did but see a poor man to have gotten a little about him, though onely enough to keep life and soule together, to preserve himself and his family from starving, or begging, they presently panted after it: they were passionately desirous of it: they cast about how to get it. They who are inflamed with covetousnesse are busie to finde out, and having found out, are greedy to pursue all advantages and occasions to enrich themselves though it be with the ruine of the poor. They are glad to get something even from them, who (according to common speech) have nothing. They scrap't from them who have but scraps to live on. Thus sweetly hath that heavenly man interpreted these words to our hand.

And turn aside the way of the meek.

That is, first they turn aside the way of Justice and E­quity, [Page 4] which is the means of recovering their right. They can­not have that justice and right done them, which is due unto them. By reason of the greatnesse of the estates and power of these men, they stop the current of justice and equity, whereby these meek ones should be delivered from their oppressours.

Secondly, they turn aside the way of the meek, that is, they take away the way of their livelyhood. We use commonly to aske this Question, How doth such a man live? And 'tis an­swered, He lives in a very good way, he hath such a way of living, such a trade, calling, or profession, that's his way. Thus to turn aside the way of the meek, is to put them besides the way of getting their bread, and maintaining themselves, wives, and children with necessary provisions.

To take away the calling they live by, is a turning aside the way of the meek to all purposes.

Thirdly, they turn aside the way of the meek. Why? what is the way of the meek? The Psalmist tells us, Psal. 25. 9. it is Gods way, the meek he will teach his way. Now these great ones either first force them to make shipwrack of faith and a good conscience, or else undoe them if they will not consent unto them in their unjust and uncharitable designes. And so of necessity these meek ones must be undone either in the inward, or outward man. Or else secondly, they become tempters unto these meek ones by their often alluring perswasions and ill eg­ging, or else by their ill examples to turn them out of Gods way.

Thus having explained the Text, I come to shew, That Eng­land (especially Leicester-shire, and the Counties adjacent) is as guilty of the sinnes in the Text now, as Israel was then: yea, especially in that aggregated sinne of Inclosure, viz: such as doth un-people Towns, and un-corn Fields, which I chiefly intend in this present discourse. And that principally, because there are so many ready to make Helmets to save this great Goliah sinne, harmlesse; making this great sinne a little sinne, and so at last no sinne at all. For indeed, all the workmen of this occupation rise up together, crying, Great is the Diana of Inclosure, because by this craft we have our wealth, Acts 19. 25. And therefore to defend it they prate much, and print something: yet I never [Page 5] heard of any so audaciously impious as to preach the lawfulnesse of such Inclosure. But I shall shew that this Inclosure is not a single sinne, but will admit for the aggravation of it all those sinnes, and black circumstances in the Text: And then we may conclude, it is a transgression for which the Lord will not turn away the punishment thereof. Now then it is my businesse to rip up such Inclosure, and to manifest how many sins lye within the bowells of this monster, &c. And for the proof I shall bring herein, it is undeniable. Such inclosure shall be discovered by his bloody hands, and in the very Fact be found guilty. If the Lord PROTECTOR his Highnesse; and most Honourable Councel should impannel a Jury of all the honest hearts in Leicester-shire, and North-hampton-shire, and Counties adjacent, they must bring therein a Verdict against such Inclosure, guilty of De­population and decay of Tillage generally, very few if any at all excepted. Our proof is De Facto: it is so. Behold it with your eyes. Oh wofull experience! And that Inclosure is now about in Leicester-shire is like to be as sordid and base as any of the former, if not worse: for, Depopulation comes by degrees; in the next generation, if not present. Behold what desolation of houses and tillage of Farmers, Cottagers, Men-servants, Mayd-servants, &c. which all lived by the Plow.

But I hasten for the Conviction of such Inclosure to be guilty as asoresaid. And for such conviction I shall follow the method of the Text, as those sinnes lye in order there:

For three Transgressions of Israel and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof.

First, It cannot be denyed that if such as make such Inclosure be guilty of all the sinnes in the Text, then they are guilty of three transgressions and of foure, (that is, as hath been opened) they adde sinne to sinne, they accumulate very many sinnes, they commit a multitude of sinnes: To three sinnes they adde foure, they presse God as a cart is pressed with sheaves, Amos 2 12. laying on one sheafe after another, burthening God with their sinnes, and make him serve with their sinnes. But the for­mer is true, Therefore they are guilty of three transgressions and of four. We shall prove the former true in the ensuing par­ticulars of the Text.

[Page 6]They sold the righteous for silver.

That is, if we put to this selling of the righteous for silver, the buying of the poore for silver, Amos 8. 6. they make chaffer and merchandize of them for gain and profit: they use them as they doe their beasts, keep them or put them off for advantage: they buy them, and sell them, as may best serve their turns to get by them. But what is that they thus buy and sell the righteous for? For silver, that is, for advantage, profit, gain. Oh base! And then why such Inclosure made I pray you? Is it not for silver, advantage, gain? Doth not silver, filthy lucre lye at the bot­tome? Doe they not call such Inclosure an Improvement of their lands? We shall gaine by it, we shall treble our rents. Hence those Heathenish speeches of theirs. May I not make the best of mine own? May I not doe what I list with mine own? Who shall hinder us? And they say of their estate [...], as he in Psal. 12. 4. of his tongue, Our estates are ours, Who is Lord over us? I answer, whereas thou talkest of thine own: that although thou art a civill Owner, yet thou art a spirituall Vsurper. Thou must look whether thou hast right in the Court of Conscience, as well as in the Court of Law. Whether thou hast right in the Consistory of God, as well as in the Common pleas of men. What, mayest thou doe with thine own what thou listest? No: thou must doe what God would have thee to doe with it. He is thy Soveraigne Lord of whom thou holdest all in chief. Thou art but his Stew­ard, and he hath committed to thee all these Talents of thy Estate, and one day thou must give an account of thy steward­ship, viz: whether thou hast improved these talents, (not to thy own) but to thy heavenly Masters advantage, even to the glory of his name, the good of all with whom thou livest, especially of the saints, and to thy own poor soules advantage. What, mayest thou doe with thy own what thou listest? No: He that is Lord over thee, and hath made thee rich, 1 Tim. 6. 17. and hath given thee all things richly to enjoy, hath layd a charge upon thee (in the 17, 18, & 19 verses) what thou shouldest doe with all he hath given thee, even To doe good, to be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate, laying up unto thy selfe a sure foundation against the time to come, that thou mayest lay hold on eternall life. Oh! what a sandy-foundation doe these [Page 7] build on for eternall life, who walk contrary to this charge? &c. What, mayest thou doe with thine own what thou listest, and improve it to thine own advantage? No: hear that complaint, Phil. 2. 21. All seek their own, not the things that are Jesus Christs. I tell thee Jesus Christ must share with thee in land, house, food, clothing, (Mat 25. 41. to the end of the Chap:) that is, in his members: or else, Depart from me ye cursed must be your eternall doome. But may I not improve mine owne estate to my best advantage? No: thou must have a care of thy brothers also, Phil. 2. 4. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others, even that they may thrive as thy self. But yet I have not touched this sin in this particular to the quick. Thou must then ask this Question, may I not improve mine own to the hurt and damage of others? But here I know thou wilt startle, and say, Whose hurt? Whose damage? I will make it ap­pear, thou raisest thy own estate upon the ruine both of Publick & Poor. First, on the ruine of the Publicke, Thou takest away Til­lage, which is the generall Trade we live on in Leicester-shire, and the Counties adjacent: By which Trade or Tillage and Hus­bandry we have been as beneficiall to the rest of the Common­wealth of England as any Countyes whatsoever. We have fed them not onely with our wheat, corn, and mault, not onely in plentifull years, but also in times of famine and dearth, we being the onely magazine for corn in the middle of the Nation; But also we have fed them with fat mutton, and swines flesh, yea also with victualling our ships by our pease and beans that come by the plow. As our open-fields breed abundance of sheep, so the plow provides abundance of the aforesaid provisions to feed them fat; yea, at such times when no fat flesh is to be had elsewhere in the Nation. If the Tillage of these inland Countyes be turned into grazing, the rest of the Nation must be in a starving condition whensoever the Lord shall slack his hand of this abun­dance of corn, he seems of late years to have rained from heaven amongst us. Thus are we as beneficiall by our Trade of Tillage to other Countyes, as they to us by other Manufactures which are so commodious, they lying neer to the Sea and City which we are so farre from.

Yea, to shew the Intolerablenesse of such Inclosure: Behold [Page 8] it takes away the general Trade that all the Inhabitants of these Counties live on, except some great ones and Trades-men in Market-Towns, &c. Can any deny but that the Farmer lives of the plow, the Cottagers live of the plow, and the Children of both brought up to the trade of the plow, and doe not the Children of the poor become Men-servants and Mayd-servants to the Plow-man? Doth not that antient, honest, venerable, and profitable Trade of Husbandry maintain all these? Yea, and all these lived as happily, plentifully, and richly of this Trade of Tillage in these Countyes before so much Inclosure, as any in other Countyes whatsoever, or of what other Trade soever they were of. What must become of these thousands and ten thousands if such Inclosure be not speedily stopped? As every honest heart prayes GOD SPEED THE PLOW, so every every good Minister will have a word to uphold it, and every good Magistrate make use of his power [...]o save it from ruine. What now, mayest thou doe what what listest with thine owne, and advance thine own nest on high thus upon the ruine of the Publique? Why art thou not content with thine own? since especially thy lands in Common are worth as much and more than ever thy fore-fathers purchased them at, or thou of late hast purchased thine at. If they that sold thy lands in Common had had thy evil conscience to have improved them upon the ruines of the Publique and Poor, thou and thy Fore-fathers must have paid twice as much, if not thrice as much more for them. But now these covetous wretches have got the trick of it to buy lands in Common, and presently improve them, and so double if not treble their money upon a Publick account. These cruell ones care not how many they ruine so they may be rich, nor how many they make Beggars so they may be Gentle­men; Let them answer me this one Question, viz: How so many thousand Families can subsist, when their Livelyhood is taken away, to wit, their Trade of Tillage? And how shall so many thousands of Children be disposed of from starving, Va­grancy or thieving, since so much Inclosure hath caused so ma­ny Tradesmen already they cannot live one by another?

But it will be objected, some Books have been printed of late that prove Inclosure both lawfull and laudable. Surely my [Page 9] heart bleeds within me to see some hands at such Books of whom I hoped better things, That they should daub ore this black sinne with such untempered morter. Oh how men will scrabble for gain! They would not have a spade called a spade. They would not (though they are such) be called oppressours, unjust, unconscionable, uncharitable, unmercifull. And surely such Books are stuffed so full of levity and untruths, that the Authors of them deserve rather to be pitied than answered. I but these Books say there may be an innocent Inclosure. What then? The Petitioner: to Parliament formerly, and the Petitioners now to his Highnesse and Councell seek a redresse against such In­closure that doth depopulate Townes and decay Tillage. And such the authors of these books hold to be hatefull to God and man. Yes, but they say there may be an inclosure without decay of Tillage or Depopulation. Surely they may make men as soon believe there is no sun in the firmament as that usually depopu­lation & decay of Tillage will not follow inclosure in our Inland Countyes. We see it with our eyes: It is so. De facto, it is so. And we see the inclosure that they are so now about will be as sordid or more then any formerly. They having not so much as one Covenant amongst them to uphold Tillage. And then we know what followes in his time, even an utter depopulation. It matters not what they pretend in their books, provision for the poore, &c. In one place they speake of fourteene acres given to the poore, what will this doe when they have taken away their whole trade of maintenance for themselves and familyes? Yet but they say they doe not intend depopulation and decay of Til­lage. If in charity I could believe them, Yet I must answer, it is finis operis, though not operantis: It is the end of the worke, though not of the work-man, as every where appeares. It is true indeed, Infant inclosure may be somewhat in his nonage free from depopulation, but never from decay of Tillage. Yet I know not where gray-headed inclosure is free from depopulation as well as decay of Tillage. If any where it is rare indeed. For they would never inclose to keep Farmers, Tenants, Cottagers, Servants, teames &c. Yea, but the books tell of some townes free from both Depopulation and decay of Tillage. They scrabble up a few townes that are innocent (as they say) which are just none [Page 10] at all in comparison of those many hundreds are guilty of both. And these few they are forced to fish out of the County of Lei­cester, Warwicke, Northampton, &c. Let's see what truth is in this. For I know two or three of these places, because they are neer unto me. They bragge of the innocency of Ashby magna, which hath been inclosed above fifty yeares. The truth of this businesse stands thus, The Lord of that place gave most of his Tenants Leases for three Lives, and one and twenty years after, which are not yet expired. And therefore the time of depopula­tion of that Towne is not yet come. But they name Misterton and Poultney as innocent also. I wonder they dare doe so, since in regard of depopulation there is no house at all lest in either of them but the Ministers. And the Closes now are called by the Towns name that were antiently there. And as for decay of Tillage in those places they have not been plowed in the me­mory of man, except some part of them of late: And the Te­nants that rent them must plow them now but for Four years onely. How dare they print such Falshoods? And as little cre­dit I heare and believe is to be given to the innocency of the rest of the Townes named.

I have one word to speak to men that have not put off huma­nity, naturall compassion towards their own flesh, and to Chri­stians that love much, because God hath forgiven them much. Which is this. If you did but hear what complaining and lamen­tation is made of Farmers that rented land turned out of those Inclosed places, and of poor Cottagers together with them, that the one cannot get no not at any excessive rate a little land to plow, whereby he might keep his teame and cattell, that himself and family might be employed in husbandry, to get a poor living by, but is constrained to sell all these to all their utter undoings: That the other cannot get a house any where to harbour himselfe and his poore babes.

Surely, it would make all Ministers and others, yea Ministers above others, to ride and run, spend their pains and estate to pe­tition, entreat, begge, wait, and never cease to be importunate for reliefe for these oppressed Fellow-creatures, and many of them Fellow citizens of heaven together with us.

Behold now the oppressions of Townes in open fields and [Page 11] Market-towns! for when these Inclosures have made Farmers, Cottagers; and Cottagers, Beggars; no way of livelihood being left them: These poor with their families are forced into Mar­ket-townes, and open-fielded Townes, hoping they may finde some employment there to preserve them and theirs from perishing. Whereupon, these open-fielded places are so loaden with poor, that the Inhabitants are not able to relieve them. I but these Book-men for Inclosure say they pay more Taxes. And truly well they may, when they lay such burthens upon open fields that they are not able to bear them; not onely all those poore the Inclosure have beggered, but all carriages the State hath need of, free quarter, attendance at the assizes and sessions, &c. The Inclosures got the gaine, and have the ease; and poor open fields pay the shot, and endure all the drudgery. What enemies to the Publique are these Inclosures? observe how few or no service-able men or horses in these places, for the defenee of the Nation when need is: whereas before they were inclosed there were twenty, thirty, fourty, &c. of both kindes, now scarce one or two. Yes, but one of the last Book-men for Inclosure tells us they are jaded tyred horses. Oh impudence! let the whole Coun­trey speake, whether four or five of these open-fielded Townes (yea sometimes one of them alone) are not able to raise a whole Troop of gallant Horses, and to set valiant men on their backs too, in so for­midable a manner, that they were able to make the stoutest Troop to quake that opposed the Parliament formerly, and his Highnesse the Lord Protectour of late: yea, which they have done too, under both Governments. Whereas such Inclosed places can (I believe) scarcely raise one Troop either for men or horses, &c. Oh! let not these valiant spirited men for the Publique in Leicester-shire, and their forces be trampled in the dirt by such Inclosure, to raise a few private persons upon the ruine of the strength of the Nation. Surely if a Jericho was again to be besieged, there would be found good store of Rams hornes, though but few persons to winde them in these Inclosed places. But these Book-men for Inclosure say, that the common fields cause many Law suits &c. I shall (God willing) answer all as I passe through this Text of Scripture. First, there are offenders both within hedges and without too, and loving hearts will passe by an offence.

[Page 12] Secondly, in common fields they live like loving neighbours together for the most part, till the spirit of Inclosure enter in­to some rich Churles heart, who doe not onely pry out but feign occasions too to goe to law with their neighbours, and no re­concilement to be made till they consent to Inclosure. For this is the trick they fall together by the eares with their honest neighbours, that they bring their designe about. Yea, but there is so much stealing and filching by the Poore. But thank Inclo­sure for that, which hath filled openfield Towns so full of Poore they cannot live one by another, For, Poverty is a provoking argument to steale. And therefore Agur prayes, Prov. 30. 8. Give me not poverty, and why so? the ninth Verse tells us, lest I be poore and steale. And thus Inclosure makes thieves, and then they cry out of thieves.

Because they sold the Righteous for silver, and the poore for a payre of shooes.

The Righteous: who are those? Not to stand upon the divers acceptations of the word [Righteous,] Ile shew what is meant by a righteous man, viz: The Evangelicall righteous man is one, who, as he hath the Righteousnesse of Jesus Christ imputed unto him, so he hath in some measure the righteousnesse of Christ imparted unto him, desiring and endeavouring to keep the Com­mandements of God, and the faith of Jesus, Rev. 14. 12. He is one that loves God above all, and his neighbour as himself, Mat. 22. 37, 38, 39. He is one, 1 Joh. 4 21. who as he loveth God, loveth his neighbour also. Oh! how pretious are these Righteous ones in heaven? They are the Lords people, his portion, the lot of his Inhe­ritance, Deut. 32. 9. They are the Lords owne, his very jewells: All the rest of a Town are but the rubbish amongst whom these his jewells lye and live for a while. And to speak the truth (for truth must be spoken however it be taken) if the Lord had not had two of these Righteous ones, or three of these Iewels, that as they love God they love their neighbour also, in many Townes of these Inland Counties, what desolations had there been made ere this time by such Inclosure?

These inclosurists sell the Righteous for silver. What care they for Gods jewells, his portion, his inheritance, so they may im­prove their own inheritance? what cared Judas for Jesus Christ [Page 13] the Righteous, so he might get thirty pieces of silver by him? What care these men for the tender consciences of any of these Righ­teous ones, that dare not consent to such inclosure? They will make them make shipwrack of faith and a good conscience, or else estates and liberties and all must be ruined by multiplicities of triviall Law suites in common Law and Chancery, threatning they will not leave them a shift to their backs, nor a cow to their payle. I could here give you a large Catalogue of the un­just vexations of such Righteous ones, but because some of their vexers pretend to religion, I will spare them, One of these two evills are incident to such as dare not in conscience consent to such inclosure, viz. Either to be undone in the inward, or el [...]e in the out­ward man, choose them which. If they goe against conscience in the inward man; if they will keep a good conscience in the outward man, and here let the inclosurists of Cat thorpe in Leicester-shire trem­ble, to have no respect to the conscience of one of these righ­teous men (their owne consciences I believe judging him such a one) nor to his vow to his God made upon good ground in the sight both of God and good men, nor to his right in law, ac­cording to a petition that is now depending before his Highnesse and his most Honourable Councell, in which there is made a good progress and good hopes (praised be God) of a happy issue. It mat­ters not what one of the Book-men for inclosure truely prattles to the contrary. He makes but a Jeer of a good conscience in his Book. And as for his right in Law, because it is but a little to their great deale, they may alter the propriety of it as they list, without his consent, and set hedges and ditches upon his com­mon whether he will or no. I wonder who made these men di­viders of his common from theirs, when he hath a right and propriety in every foot of common in all their fields. Is there not the same right in Law to a little as a great deale? &c.

And the poore for a paire of shooes.

The Poore. Well may they sell the Poore for a paire of shooes, when they sell the Righteous for silver. When Judas sold his Master That Righteous one for silver (let Ministers remember Judas was a Disciple) no wonder if he cared not for the Poore. But these inclosurists have the poore much in their mouthes, and how they provide for the poore. My exhortation to them is [Page 14] 1 Joh. 3. 18. My little children let us net love in word neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth. Saint James shewes us that a few words will not warm, nor feede, nor cloath poore people, James 2. 16. If one of you say unto them, depart in peace, be you warmed, and filled, notwithstanding you give them not these things which are needfull to the body, what doth it profit? Alas, what will all their good words profit the poore, when they doe not only not give them those things which are needfull for the body, but take away at once all things that are needfull for the body, even the Trade of Tillage which should warme, cloath, feede them and their families. But these book-men for inclosure have arti­cles, yea, and acres for the Poore too. What would these men be thought charitable men? Let Iudas be thought so too. For he would have the oyntment sold for three hundred pence, and gi­ven to the Poore, John 12. 5. Truth is, former Inclosurists have been very specious and pretending for the poore in their Pro­mises, Articles, Acres, when they were hot upon their busi­nesse of inclosure, to stop the mouthes of Poore and Country from clamours; and these inclosures of the last Edition which they are now about are but sordid in respect of the former in that kinde. But wofull experience tells us, a short time forced all the Tenants and Cottagers out of most of those places into the open fielded Towns to seek for a livelyhood where they can finde it, to the great oppressions of those Townes.

That pant after the dust of the earth upon the head of the Poore.

Pant, that is, exceedingly desire it, and long for it. After the dust of the earth, that is, after those things which are but as the dust of the earth, and whose originall and matter is but the dust of the earth. Oh the excessive desire (after such Inclosure and the gain that comes by it) execeding the bounds of piety, equi­ty, charity, and humanity it self, as you have heard! Improve­ment of estate is this mans bayte. And if any thing goe about to hinder that, he is like a Lyon stirred up at the sight of his prey, and makes no conscience of devouring men, women, and chil­dren that stand in his way.

The serpent feeds upon the dust of the earth: It feeds upon base and low things, vile and venomous: so doe covetous, mer­cilesse [Page 15] men. As the Serpent licks the dust of the earth; so doe they lick the dust of the earth, they feed upon blood, upon op­pression; They pant after the dust of the earth, they pant after the estate and means that poor men have in Town or Field, and feed upon it, to satisfie (if it were possible) their greedy appe­tites in sucking the estates and crushing the bones of the poore. The Prophet Habakkuk hath a woe for these, Hab. 2. v. 6. Woe to him that encreaseth that which is not his (to wit, in the Court of Conscience aswell as in the Court of the Law) and ladeth himself with thick clay. Lutum scite pictum, with gold and silver, the finest dust and pieces of the earth, whereby all the rest of the commodities of the earth are valued. This dust of the earth, this thick clay doth but load and burthen their soules and consciences, and makes them drive heavily heaven­ward, Gods glory ward, and their own salvation-ward. This thick clay doth them no more good than that gold and silver and embroydered cloath of arras a sumpter-horse is burthen'd with all day, and at night is turned with the rest of the Jades with a gauled and bruised back into the stable. Oh take heed of a gauled conscience loaded and bruised with such hedges and ditches as hedge out Publique and Poor; lest at the night of Death thou be turned with the rest of the Jades of worldlings, Dives-like, into the Devils stable.

Vpon the head of the Poore.

They pant after the dust of the earth, but upon whose head? upon the head of the Poore. These beasts will be sure to goe over where the hedge is lowest. In any towne where there is any rich men Publique spirited, and have bowels toward the Poore, there these greedy gripes dare not meddle with their matches, and cannot force them to such inclosure, because they are able to defend themselves. But on the contrary in any towne where there are mercifull men, Publique spirited men &c. That dare not in conscience consent to such inclosure, If these be men but of meane estates, these mercilesse wretches joyne purses, and make no more conscience to trample upon these righteous poor, yea, upon their consciences, estates, liberties, and whole fami­lies, then they doe to trample upon the mire in the streets.

[Page 16]And turne aside the way of the meek.

These incl [...]surists turne aside the way of the meek these three wayes. First, they turne aside the way of Justice and Equity which is the meanes of keeping and recovering their right. A great purse will make a good cause though it be starke naught. What say these Mammonists when any crosse them in such in­closure, their word is, I'le undoe him if he will not yeild. And how is that? By suites in Law and Chancery. And have not these men been as good as their words? I could here tell sad stories. But I intend to name no man in this present discourse.

Secondly, they turne aside the way of the meeke when they take away the way of their livelyhood. Now Tillage is the way, the calling, the profession which most of the inhabitants of Inland Counties live of, as we have proved.

Thirdly, they turne aside the way of the meeke: Why? What is the way of the meek? The Psalmist tells us (Psal. 25. 9.) it is Gods way. The meeke he will teach his way. They endeavour to turne them out of the way of faith and a good conscience, in perswading them if that will not doe, and compelling them to doe against conscience, or undoe. But I conclude with the wise mans exhortation, Prov 22. 22, 23. Rob not the poor because he is poore, neither oppresse the afflicted in the gate. For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoyle the soule of those that spoyled their.

FINIS.

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