THE MEASURES AND OFFICES OF FRIENDSHIP: WITH RULES of conducting it. To which are added, Two Letters written to persons newly changed in their Religion.

The second Edition.

By JER TAYLOR D. D.

Dion. Orat. 1. de Regno.

[...].

LONDON Printed by J.G. for R. Royston at the Angel in Ivie-lane. 1657.

A DISCOURSE OF THE Nature and Offices OF FRIENDSHIP. In a Letter to the most Ingenious and Excellent M.K.P.

MADAM,

THe wise Bensirach advised that we should not con­sult with a wo­man concerning her of whom she is jealous, nei­ther [Page 2]with a coward in matters of warre, nor with a merchant concerning exchange; and some other instances he gives of in­terested persons, to whom he would not have us hearken in any matter of Counsel. For where ever the interest is secu­lar or vitious, there the bias is not on the side of truth or rea­son, because these are seldome serv'd by profit and low re­gards. But to consult with a friend in the matters of friend­ship is like consulting with a spi­rituall person in Religion; they who understand the secrets of Religion, or the interior beau­ties of friendship are the fittest to give answers in all inquiries concerning the respective sub­jects; because reason and expe­rience are on the side of interest; [Page 3]and that which in friendship is most pleasing and most useful, is also most reasonable and most true; and a friends fairest inte­rest is the best measure of the conducting friendships: and therefore you who are so emi­nent in friendships could also have given the best answer to your own inquiries, and you could have trusted your own reason, because it is not onely greatly instructed by the direct notices of things, but also by great experience in the matter of which you now inquire.

But because I will not use any thing that shall look like an excuse, I will rather give you such an account which you can easily reprove, then by decli­ning your commands, seem more safe in my prudence, then [Page 8]open and communicative in my friendship to you.

You first inquire how far a Dear and a perfect friendship is authoriz'd by the principles of Christianity?

To this I answer; That the word [Friendship] in the sense we commonly mean by it, is not so much as named in the New-Testament; and our Re­ligion takes no notice of it. You think it strange; but read on before you spend so much as the beginning of a passion or a wonder upon it. There is men­tion of [Friendship with the world,] and it is said to be en­mity with God; but the word is no where else named, or to any other purpose in all the New Testament. It speaks of Friends often; but by friends are meant [Page 9]our acquaintance, or our Kin­dred, there latives of our family or our fortune, or our sect; something of society, or some­thing of kindnesse there is in it; a tendernesse of appellation and civility, a relation made by gifts, or by duty, by services and subjection; and I think, I have reason to be confident, that the word friend (speaking of humane entercourse) is no other-wayes used in the Go­spels or Epistles, or Acts of the Apostles: and the reason of it is, the word friend is of a large signification; and means all re­lations and societies, and what­soever is not enemy; but by friendships, I suppose you mean, the greatest love, and the greatest usefulnesse, and the most open communication, and the noblest [Page 6]sufferings, and the most exemplar faithfulnesse, and the severest truth, and the heartiest counsel, and the greatest union of minds, of which brave men and women are capable. But then I must tell you that Christianity hath new christened it, and calls this Cha­rity. The Christian knowes no enemy he hath; that is, though persons may be injurious to him, and unworthy in them­selves, yet he knowes none whom he is not first bound to forgive, which is indeed to make them on his part to be no ene­mies, that is, to make that the word enemy shal not be perfect­ly contrary to friend, it shall not be a relative term and signifie something on each hand, a rela­tive and a correlative; and then he knows none whom he is not [Page 7]bound to love and pray for, to treat kindly and justly, liberally and obligingly. Christian Cha­rity is Friendship to all the world; and when Friendships were the noblest things in the world, Charity was little, like the Sun drawn in at a chink, or his beams drawn into the centre of a Burning-glasse; but Chri­stian charity is Friendship, ex­panded like the face of the Sun when it mounts above the East­ern hills: and I was strangely pleas'd when I saw something of this in CICERO; for I have been so push'd at by herds and flocks of people that fol­low any body that whistles to them, or drives them to pa­sture, that I am grown afraid of any Truth that seems chargeable with singularity: [Page 12]but therefore I say, glad I was when I saw Laelius in Cicero di­scourse thus: Amicitia ex in­finitate generis humani quam con­ciliavit ipsa natura, contracta res est, & adducta in angustum; ut omnis charitas, aut inter duos, aut inter paucos jungeretur. Nature hath made friendships, and soci­eties, relations and endear­ments; and by something or other we relate to all the world; there is enough in eve­ry man that is willing, to make him become our friend; but when men contract friend­ships, they inclose the Com­mons; and what Nature inten­ded should be every mans, we make proper to two or three. Friendship is like rivers and the strand of seas, and the ayre, common to all the world; but [Page 13]Tyrants, and evil customes, wars, and want of love have made them proper and pecu­liar. But when Christianity came to renew our nature, and to restore our lawes, and to in­crease her priviledges, and to make her aptnesse to become religion, then it was declared that our friendships were to be as universal as our conversati­on; that is, actual to all with whom we converse, and poten­tially extended unto those with whom we did not. For he who was to treat his enemies with forgivenesse and prayers, and love and beneficence was in­deed to have no enemies, and to have all friends.

So that to your question, how far a Dear and perfect friend­ship is authoriz'd by the princi­ples [Page 10]of Christianity? The an­swer is ready and easie. It is warranted to extend to all Mankind; and the more we love, the better we are, and the greater our friendships are, the dearer we are to God; let them be as Dear, and let them be as perfect, and let them be as many as you can; there is no danger in it; onely where the restraint begins, there begins our imperfection; it is not ill that you entertain brave friend­ships and worthy societies: it were well if you could love, and if you could benefit all Mankind; for I conceive that is the summe of all friend­ships.

I confesse this is not to be expected of us in this world; but as all our graces here are but [Page 11]imperfect, that is, at the best they are but tendencies to glo­ry, so our friendships are im­perfect too, and but beginnings of a celestial friendship, by which we shall love every one as much as they can be loved. But then so we must here in our proportion; and indeed that is it that can make the difference; we must be friends to all: That is, apt to doe good, loving them really, and doing to them all the benefits which we can, and which they are capable of. The Friendship is equall to all the World, and of it selfe hath no difference; but is dif­ferenced onely by accidents, and by the capacity or inca­pacity of them that receive it. Nature and Religion are the [Page 16] bands of friendships; excellency and usefulnesse are its great in­dearments: society and neighbour­hood, that is, the possibilities and the circumstances of converse are the determinations and actu­alities of it. Now when men either are unnatural, or irreligi­ous, they will not be friends; when they are neither excellent nor useful, they are not worthy to be friends; when they are stran­gers or unknown, they cannot be friends actually and practically; but yet, as any man hath any thing of the good, contrary to those evils, so he can have and must have his share of friend­ship. For thus the Sun is the eye of the world; and he is in­different to the Negro, or the cold Russian, to them that dwel under the line, and them that [Page 17]stand near the Tropicks, the scalded Indian, or the poor boy [...]hat shakes at the foot of the Riphean hills; but the fluxures of the heaven and the earth, the [...]onveniency of abode, and the [...]pproches to the North or [...]outh respectively change the [...]manations of his beams; not [...]hat they doe not passe alwaies [...]rom him, but that they are not [...]qually received below, but [...]y periods and changes, by lit­ [...]e inlets and reflections, they [...]eceive what they can; and [...]ome have onely a dark day and [...] long night from him, snowes [...]nd white cattel, a miserable [...]fe, and a perpetual harvest of Catarrhes and consumptions; [...]poplexies and dead palsies, [...]ut some have splendid fires, [...] aromatick spices, rich wines, [Page 14]and well digested fruits, great wit and great courage; because they dwell in his eye, and look in his face, and are the Courtiers of the Sun, and wait upon him in his Chambers of the East; just so is it in friendships: some are worthy, and some are ne­cessary; some dwell hard by and are fitted for converse [...] Nature joyns some to us, and Religion combines us with others; society and accidents parity of fortune, and equal di­spositions do actuate our friend­ships: which of themselves and i [...] their prime disposition are pre­pared for all Mankind according as any one can receive them We see this best exemplified b [...] two instances and expressions o [...] friendships and charity: viz. Almes and Prayers; Every on [Page 15]that needs relief is equally the object of our charity; but though to all mankind in equal needs we ought to be alike in charity; yet we signifie this se­verally and by limits, and di­stinct measures: the poor man that is near me, he whom I meet, he whom I love, he whom I fancy, he who did me benefit, he who relates to my family, he rather then another, because my expressions being finite and narrow, and cannot extend to all in equal significa­tions, must be appropriate to [...]hose whose circumstances best it me: and yet even to all I give my almes: to all the world that needs them; I pray for all mankind, I am grieved at every sad story I hear; I am troubled when I hear of a pretty Bride [Page 20]murdered in her bride-cham­ber by an ambitious and en­rag'd Rval; I shed a tear when I am told that a brave King was mis-understood, then slander­ed, then imprisoned, and then put to death by evil men: and I can never read the story of the Parisian Massacre, or the Sicili­an Vespers, but my blood cur­dles, and I am disorder'd by two or three affections. A good man is a friend to all the world; and he is not truly charitable that does not wish well, and do good to all mankind in what he can; but though we must pray for all men, yet we say speciall Letanies for brave Kings and holy Prelates, and the wise Guides of souls; for our Bre­thren and Relations, our Wives and Children.

The effect of this considera­ [...]ion is, that the Universall [...]riendship of which I speak, must be limited, because we are so: In those things where we stand next to immensity and in­finity, as in good wishes and prayers, and a readinesse to be­nefit all mankind, in these our friendships must not be limit­ted; but in other things which passe under our hand and eye, our voices and our material ex­changes; our hands can reach no further but to our arms end, and our voices can but sound till the next air be quiet, and therefore they can have enter­course but within the sphere of their own activity; our needs and our conversations are ser­ved by a few, and they cannot reach to all; where they can, [Page 18]they must; but where it is im­possible it cannot be necessary. It must therefore follow, that ou [...] friendships to mankind may ad­mit variety as does our conver­sation; and as by nature we ar [...] made sociable to all, so we are friendly; but as all cannot actu­ally be of our society, so neithe [...] can all be admitted to a special [...] actuall friendship; Of some en­tercourses all men are capable but not of all; Men can pray for one another, and abstai [...] from doing injuries to all the world, and be desirous to doe all mankind good, and love all men; Now this friendship we must pay to all because we can but if we can do no more to all we must shew our readinesse to do more good to all by actually doing more good to all them to whom we can.

To some we can, and there­fore there are nearer friendships to some then to others, accor­ding as there are natural or civil nearnesses, relations and socie­ties; and as I cannot expresse my friendships to all in equall measures and significations, that is, as I cannot doe benefits to all alike: so neither am I tied to love all alike: for although there is much reason to love every man; yet there are more reasons to love some then o­thers, and if I must love because there is reason I should; then I must love more, where there is more reason; and where ther's a special affection & a great rea­dinesse to doe good and to de­light in certain persons towards each other, there is that spe­ciall charity and indearment [Page 24]which Philosophy calls friend­ships; but our Religion calls love or charity. Now if the in­quiry be concerning this spe­ciall friendship. 1. how it can be appropriate, that is, who to be chosen to it; 2. how far it may extend; that is, with what ex­pressions signified; 3. how con­ducted? The answers will de­pend upon such considerations which will be neither uselesse nor unpleasant.

1. There may be a speciall friendship contracted for any speciall excellency whatsoever; because friendships are nothing but love and society mixt toge­ther; that is, a conversing with them whom we love; now for whatsoever we can love any one, for that we can be his friend; and since every excel­lency [Page 21]is a degree of amability, every such worthinesse is a just and proper motive of friend­ship, or loving conversation. But yet in these things there is an order and proportion. There­fore

2. A Good man is the best friend, and therefore soonest to be chosen, longer to be re­tain'd; and indeed never to be parted with, unlesse he cease to be that for which he was chosen.

[...],
[...].

Where vertue dwells there friendships make,
But evill neighbourhoods for­sake.

[Page 22]But although vertue alone is the worthiest cause of amabi­lity, and can weigh down any one consideration; and there­fore to a man that is vertuous every man ought to be a friend; yet I doe not meane the severe, and philosophicall excellencies of some morose persons who are indeed wise unto them­selves, and exemplar to others: by vertue here I doe not meane justice and temperance, charity and devotion; for these I am to love the man, but friendship is something more then that: Friendship is the nearest love and the nearest society of which the persons are capable: Now justice is a good entercourse for Mer­chants, as all men are that buy and sell; and temperance makes a Man good company, [Page 23]and helps to make a wise man; but a perfect friendship requires something else, these must be in him that is chosen to be my friend; but for these I doe not make him my privado; that is, my speciall and peculiar friend: but if he be a good man, then he is properly fitted to be my cor­relative in the noblest combi­nation.

And for this we have the best warrant in the world: For a just man scarcely will a man die; the Syriac interpreter reads it, [...] for an unjust man scarcely will a man die; that is, a wicked man is at no hand fit to receive the expression of the greatest friendship; but all the Greek copies that ever I saw, or read of, read it as we doe; for a righteous man or a [Page 24]just man, that is, justice and righteousnesse is not the nearest indearment of friendship; but for a good man some will even dare to die: that is, for a man that is sweetly disposed, ready to doe acts of goodnesse and to oblige others, to doe things usefull and profitable, for a lo­ving man, a beneficent, bounti­full man, one who delights in doing good to his friend, such a man may have the highest friendship; he may have a friend that will die for him. And this is the meaning of Lae­lius: Vertue may be despised, so may Learning and Nobility; at una est amicitia in rebus hu­manis de cujus utilitatc omnes consentiunt: onely friendship is that thing, which because all know to be usefull and profi­table, [Page 25]no man can despise; that is [...], or [...], goodnesse or beneficence makes friend­ships. For if he be a good man he will love where he is belo­ved, and that's the first tie of friendship.

[...].

That was the commendation of the bravest friendship in Theocritus,

They lov'd each other with a love
That did in all things equal prove.

[...]
[...]

The world was under Saturns reign
When he that lov'd was lov'd again.

For it is impossible this neer­nesse of friendship can be where there is not mutuall love; but this is secured if I choose a good man; for he that is apt enough to begin alone, will never be behind in the relation and cor­respondency; and therefore I like the Gentiles Letany well.

[...]
[...]
Let God give friends to me for my reward,
Who shall my love with equal love regard;
Happy are they, who when [Page 27]they give their heart.
Find such as in exchange their own impart.

But there is more in it then this felicity amounts to. For [...] the good man is a pro­fitable, usefull person, and that's the band of an effective friendship. For I doe not think that friendships are Metaphy­sical nothings, created for con­templation, or that men or wo­men should stare upon each o­thers faces, and make dialogues of newes and prettinesses, and look babies in one anothers eyes. Friendship is the allay of our sorrowes, the ease of our passions, the discharge of our oppressions, the sanctuary to our calamities, the counsellour of our doubts, the clarity of our [Page 28]minds, the emission of our thoughts, the exercise and im­provement of what we medi­tate: And although I love my friend because he is worthy, yet he is not worthy if he can doe no good. I doe not speak of accidentall hinderances and misfortunes by which the bra­vest man may become unable to help his Child; but of the naturall and artificiall capacities of the man. He onely is fit to be chosen for a friend, who can doe those offices for which friendship is excellent. For (mistake not) no man can be loved for himself; our per­fections in this world cannot reach so high; it is well if we would love God at that rate, and I very much fear, that if God did us no good, we might [Page 29]admire his Beauties, but we should have but a small propor­tion of love towards him; and therefore it is, that God to en­dear the obedience, that is, the love of his servants, signifies what benefits he gives us, what great good things he does for us. I am the Lord God that brought thee out of the land of Egypt: and does Job serve God for nought? and he that comes to God, must believe that he is, and that he is a rewar­der: all his other greatnesses are objects of fear and wonder, it is his goodnesse that makes him lovely: and so it is in friend­ships. He onely is fit to be cho­sen for a friend who can give me counsel, or defend my cause, or guide me right, or relieve my need, or can and will, when I need it, doe me good: onely [Page 30]this I adde: into the heaps of doing good, I will reckon [lo­ving me] for it is a pleasure to be bloved; but when his love signifies nothing but kissing my cheek, or talking kindly, and and can goe no further, it is a prostitution of the bravery of friendship to spend it upon im­pertinent people who are (it may be) loads to their fami­lies, but can never ease my loads: but my friend is a wor­thy person when he can be­come to me instead of God, a guide or a support, an eye, or a hand; a staffe, or a rule: There must be in friendship something to distinguish it from a Compa­nion, and a Countryman, from a School-fellow or a Gossip, from a Sweet-heart or a Fel­low-traveller: Friendship may [Page 31]look in at any one of these doors, but it stayes not any where til it come to be the best thing in the world: and when we consider that one man is not better then another, neither to­wards God nor Man, but by doing better and braver things, we shall also see, that that which is most beneficent is al­so most excellent; and there­fore those friendships must needs be most perfect, where the friends can be most useful. For men cannot be useful but by worthinesses in the several instances: a fool cannot be re­lyed upon for counsel; nor a vitious person for the advanta­ges of vertue, nor a beggar for relief, nor a stranger for con­duct, nor a tatler to keep a se­cret, nor a pittiless person trust­ed [Page 32]with my complaint, nor a covetous man with my childes fortune, nor a false person without a witnesse, nor a su­spicious person with a private design; nor him that I fear with the treasures of my love: But he that is wise and vertu­ous, rich and at hand, close and mercifull, free of his money and tenacious of a secret, open and ingenuous, true and honest, is of himself an excellent man; and therefore fit to be lov'd; and he can do good to me in all capacities where I can need him, and therefore is fit to be a friend. I confesse we are forced in our friendships to abate some of these ingredients; but full measures of friend­ship, would have full mea­sures of worthinesse; and [Page 33]according as any defect is in the foundation; in the relation also there may be imperfection: and indeed I shall not blame the friendship so it be worthy, though it be not perfect; not onely because friendship is cha­rity, which cannot be perfect here, but because there is not in the world a perfect cause of perfect friendship.

If you can suspect that this discourse can suppose friend­ship to be mercenary, and to be defective in the greatest worthinesse of it, which is to love our friend for our friends sake, I shall easily be able to defend my self; because I speak of the election and rea­sons of choosing friends: after he is chosen do as nobly as you talke, and love as purely as [Page 34]you dream, and let your con­versation be as metaphysical as your discourse, and proceed in this method, till you be confu­ted by experience; yet till then, the case is otherwise when we speak of choosing one to be my friend: He is not my friend till I have chosen him, or loved him; and if any man enquires whom he shall choose or whom he should love, I sup­pose it ought not to be answer­ed, that we should love him who hath least amability; that we should choose him who hath least reason to be chosen: But if it be answered, he is to be chosen to be my friend who is most worthy in himself, not he that can do most good to me; I say, here is a distinction but no difference; for he is [Page 35]most worthy in himself who can do most good; and if he can love me too, that is, if he will do me all the good he can, that I need, then he is my friend and he deserves it. And it is impossible from a friend to separate a will to do me good: and therefore I do not choose well, if I choose one that hath not power; for if it may con­sist with the noblenesse of friendship to desire that my friend be ready to do me bene­fit or support, it is not sense to say, is is ignoble to desire he should really do it when I need; and if it were not for pleasure or profit, we might as well be without a friend as have him.

Among all the pleasures and profits, the sensual pleasure and the matter of money are the [Page 36]lowest and the least; and there­fore although they may some­times be used in friendship, and so not wholly excluded from the consideration of him that is to choose, yet of all things they are to be the least regar­ded.

[...]
When fortune frowns upon a man,
A friend does more then mo­ney can.

For there are besides these, many profits and many plea­sures; and because these onely are sordid, all the other are no­ble and fair, and the expectati­ons of them no disparagements to the best friendships. For can [Page 37]any wise or good man be angry if I say, I choose this man to be my friend, because he is able to give me counsell, to restrain my wandrings, to comfort me in my sorrows; he is pleasant to me in private, and usefull in publick; he will make my joyes double, and divide my grief between himself and me? For what else should I choose? For being a fool, and uselesse; for a pretty face or a smooth chin; I confesse it is possible to be a friend to one that is ig­norant, and pitiable, handsome and good for nothing, that eats well, and drinks deep: but he cannot be a friend to me; and I love him with a fondnesse or a pity, but it cannot be a noble friendship.

[...]
[...]
[...]
[...] said Menander.
By wine and mirth and every dayes delight
We choose our friends, to whom we think we might
Our souls intrust; but fools are they that lend
Their bosome to the shadow of a friend.

[...]. Plu­tarch calls such friendships, the Idols and Images of friendship. True and brave friendships are between worthy persons; and there is in Mankind no degree [Page 39]of worthinesse, but is also a de­gree of usefulnesse, and by eve­ry thing by which a man is ex­cellent, I may be profited: and because those are the bravest friends which can best serve the ends of friendships, either we must suppose that friendships are not the greatest comforts in the world, or else we must say, he chooses his friend best, that chooses such a one by whom he can receive the grea­test comforts and assistances.

3. This being the measure of all friendships; they all par­take of excellency, according as they are fitted to this mea­sure: a friend may be counselled well enough though his friend be not the wisest man in the world, and he may be pleased in his society though he be not [Page 40]the best natured man in the world; but still it must be, that something excellent is, or is apprehended, or else it can be no worthy friendship; because the choice is imprudent and foolish. Choose for your friend him that is wise and good, and secret and just, ingenuous and honest; and in those things which have a latitude, use your own liberty; but in such things which consist in an indivisible point, make no abatements: That is, you must not choose him to be your friend that is not honest and secret, just and true to a tittle; but if he be wise at all, and usefull in any degree, and as good as you can have him, you need not be asha­med to own your friendships; though sometimes you may be [Page 41]ashamed of some imperfections of your friend.

4. But if you yet enquire further, whether fancy may be an ingredient in your choice? I answer, that fancy may mi­nister to this as to all other actions in which there is a liber­ty and variety; and we shall find that there may be pecu­liarities and little partialities, a friendship, improperly so called, entring upon accounts of an innocent passion and a pleas'd fancy; even our Blessed Savi­our himself loved Saint John and Lazarus by a speciall love, which was signified by special treatments; and of the young man that spake well and wisely to Christ, it is affirmed, Jesus loved him: that is, he fancied the man, and his soul had a cer­tain [Page 42]cognation and similitude of temper and inclination. For in all things where there is a la­titude, every faculty will en­deavour to be pleased, and sometimes the meanest persons in a house have a festival; even sympathies and naturall incli­nations to some persons, and a conformity of humours, and proportionable loves, and the beauty of the face, and a witty answer may first strike the flint and kindle a spark, which if it falls upon tender and compliant natures may grow into a flame; but this will never be maintain­de at the rate of friendship, un­less it be fed by pure materials, by worthinesses which are the food of friendship: where thse are not, men and women may be plea­sed with one anothers compa­ny, [Page 43]and lie under the same roof, and make themselves companions of equall prosperi­ties, and humour their friend; but if you call this friendship, you give a sacred name to hu­mour or fancy; for there is a Platonic friendship as well as a Platonic love; but they being but the Images of more noble bodies are but like tinsell dres­sings, which will shew bravely by candle-light, and do excel­lently in a mask, but are not fit for conversation, and the ma­terial entercourses of our life. These are the prettinesses of prosperity and good natured wit; but when we speak of friendship, which is the best thing in the world (for it is love and beneficence; it is cha­rity that is fitted for society) [Page 44]we cannot suppose a brave pile should be built up with no­thing; and they that build Ca­stles in the aire, and look upon friendship, as upon a fine Ro­mance, a thing that pleases the fancy, but is good for nothing else, will do well when they are asleep, or when they are come to Elysium; and for ought I know in the mean time may be as much in love with Mandana in the Grand Cyrus, as with the Infanta of Spain, or any of the most perfect beau­ties and real excellencies of the world: and by dreaming of per­fect and abstracted friendships, make them so immateriall that they perish in the handling and become good for nothing.

But I know not whither I was going; I did onely mean [Page 45]to say that because friendship is that by which the world is most blessed and receives most good, it ought to be chosen a­mongst the worthiest persons, that is, amongst those that can doe greatest benefit to each other; and though in equal wor­thinesse I may choose by my eye, or ear, that is, into the con­sideration of the essential I may take in also the accidental and extrinsick worthinesses; yet I ought to give every one their just value; when the internal beauties are equal, these shall help to weigh down the scale, and I will love a worthy friend that can delight me as well as profit me, rather then him who cannot delight me at all, and profit me no more; but yet I will not weigh the gayest [Page 46]flowers, or the wings of butter­flies against wheat; but when I am to choose wheat, I may take that which looks the brightest; I had rather see Thyme and Roses, Marjoram and July­flowers that are fair and sweet and medicinal, then the pret­tiest Tulips that are good for nothing: And my Sheep and Kine are better servants then Race-horses and Greyhounds: And I shall rather furnish my Study with Plutarch and Cicero, with Livy and Polybius, then with Cassandra & Ibrahim Bassa; and if I doe give an houre to these for divertisement or plea­sure, yet I will dwell with them that can instruct me, and make me wise and eloquent, severe and usefull to my self & others. I end this with the saying of [Page 47] Laelius in Cicero: Amicitia non debet consequi utilitatem, sed a­micitiam utilitas. When I choose my friend, I wil not stay till I have received a kindnesse; but I will choose such an one that can doe me many if I need them: But I mean such kind­nesses which make me wiser, and which make me better; that is, I will when I choose my friend, choose him that is the bravest, the worthiest and the most excellent person: and then your first Question is soon an­swered; to love such a person and to contract such friendships is just so authorized by the prin­ciples of Christianity, as it is warranted to love wisdome and vertue, goodness & beneficence, and all the impresses of God upon the spirits of brave men.

2. The next inquiry is how far it may extend? That is, by what expressions it may be sig­nified? I find that David and Jonathan loved at a strange rate; they were both good men; though it happened that Jonathan was on the obliging side; but here the expressions were; Jonathan watched for Davids good; told him of his danger, and helped him to escape; took part with Davids innocence against his Fathers malice and injustice; and be­yond all this, did it to his own prejudice; and they two stood like two feet supporting one body; though Jonathan knew that David would prove like the foot of a Wrestler, and would supplant him, not by any unworthy or unfriendly action, [Page 49]but it was from God; and he gave him his hand to set him upon his own throne.

We find his parallels in the Gentile stories: young Atheno­dorus having divided the estate with his Brother Xenon; divi­ded it again when Xenon had spent his own share; and Lucul­lus would not take the Consul­ship till his younger brother had first enjoyed it for a year; but Pollux divided with Castor his immortality; and you know who offer'd himself to death being pledge for his friend; and his friend by performing his word rescued him as brave­ly: and when we find in Scri­pture that for a good man some will even dare to die; and that Aquila and Priscilla laid their necks down for S. Paul; and [Page 50]the Galatians would have given him their very eyes, that is, eve­ry thing that was most dear to them, and some others were neer unto death for his sake; and that it is a precept of Chri­stian charity, to lay down our lives for our brethren, that is, those who were combined in a cause of Religion, who were u­nited with the same hopes, and imparted to each other ready assistances, and grew dear by common sufferings, we need enquire no further for the ex­pressions of friendships: Greater love then this hath no man, then that he lay down his life for his friends; and this we are oblig'd to do in some Cases for all Christians; and therefore we may doe it for those who are to us in this present and imperfect [Page 51]state of things, that which all the good men and women in the world shall be in Heaven, that is, in the state of perfect friendships. This is the biggest; but then it includes and can suppose all the rest; and if this may be done for all, and in some cases must for any one of the multitude, we need not scruple whether we may doe it for those who are better then a multitude. But as for the thing it self, it is not easily and lightly to be done; and a man must not die for humour, nor expend so great a Jewel for a trifle: [...]: said Philo; we will hardly die when it is for nothing, when no good, no worthy end is served, and become a Sacrifice to redeem a [Page 52]foot-boy. But we may not give our life to redeem another: un­lesse 1. The party for whom we die be a worthy and an use­ful person; better for the pub­lick, or better for Religion, and more useful to others then my self. Thus Ribischius the Ger­man died bravely when he be­came a Sacrifice for his Master, Maurice Duke of Saxony; Co­vering his Masters body with his own, that he might escape the furie of the Turkish Soul­diers. Succurram perituro, sed ut ipse non peream, nisi si futurus ero magni hominis, aut magnae rei merces, said Seneca. I will help a dying person if I can; but I will not die my self for him, un­lesse by my death I save a brave man, or become the price of a great thing; that is, I will die [Page 53]for a Prince, for the republick, or to save an Army, as David expos'd himself to combat with the Philistin for the redemption of the host of Israel: and in this sense, that is true; Praestat ut pe­reat unus, quā Unitas, better that one perish then a multitude. 2. A man dies bravely when he gives his temporall life to save the soul of any single person in the Christian world. It is a worthy exchange, & the glorification of that love by which Christ gave his life for every soul. Thus he that reproves an erring Prince wisely and necessarily, he that affirms a fundamental truth, or stands up for the glory of the Divine attributes, though he die for it, becomes a worthy sa­crifice. 3. These are duty, but it may be heroick and full of [Page 54]Christian bravery, to give my life to rescue a noble and a brave friend; though I my self be as worthy a man as he; be­cause the preference of him is an act of humility in me; and of friendship towards him; Hu­mility and Charity making a pi­ous difference where art and nature have made all equall.

Some have fancied other mea­sures of treating our friends. One sort of men say that we are to expect that our friends should value us as we value our selves: which if it were to be admitted, will require that we make no friendships with a proud man; and so far indeed were well; but then this pro­portion does exclude some humble men who are most to be valued, and the rather be­cause [Page 55]they undervalue them­selves.

Others say that a friend is to value his friend as much as his friend values him; but neither is this well or safe, wise or suf­ficient; for it makes friend­ship a meer bargaine, and is something like the Countrey weddings in some places where I have been; where the bride­groom and the bride must meet in the half way, and if they fail a step, they retire and break the match: It is not good to make a reckoning in friendship; that's merchandise, or it may be gratitude, but not noble friendship; in which each part strives to out-do the other in significations of an excellent love: And amongst true friends there is no fear of losing any thing.

But that which amongst the old Philosophers comes nea­rest to the right, is that we love our friends as we love our selves. If they had meant it as our Blessed Saviour did, of that generall friendship by which we are to love all man­kind, it had been perfect and well; or if they had meant it of the inward affection, or of outward justice; but because they meant it of the most ex­cellent friendships, and of the outward significations of it, it cannot be sufficient: for a friend may and must some­times do more for his friend then he would do for himself. Some men will perish before they will begge or petition for themselves to some certaine persons; but they account it [Page 57]noble to do it for their friend, and they will want rather then their friend shall want; and they will be more earnest in praise or dispraise respectively for their friend then for them­selves. And indeed I account that one of the greatest demon­strations of reall friendship is, that a friend can really endea­vour to have his friend advan­ced in honour, in reputation, in the opinion of wit or learning before himself.

Aurum & opes, Martial. l. 8. ep. 18.& rura frequens donabit amicus:
Qui velit ingenio cedere rarus erit.
Sed tibi tantus inest veteris respe­ctus amici,
Carior ut mea sit quam tua fama tibi.
[Page 58]
Lands, gold and trifles many give or lend;
But he that stoops in fame is a rare friend:
In friendships orbe thou art the brightest star,
Before thy fame mine thou preferrest far.

But then be pleased to think that therefore I so highly va­lue this signification of friend­ship, because I so highly value humility. Humility and Cha­rity are the two greatest graces in the world; and these are the greatest ingredients which con­stitute friendship and expresse it.

But there needs no other mea­sures of friendship, but that it may be as great as you can ex­presse [Page 59]it; beyond death it can­not go, to death it may, when the cause is reasonable and just, charitable and religious: and yet if there be any thing great­er then to suffer death (and pain and shame to some are more insufferable) a true and noble friendship shrinks not at the greatest trials.

And yet there is a limit even to friendship. It must be as great as our friend fairly needs in all things where we are not tied up by a former duty, to God, to our selves, or some pre-obliging relative. When Pollux heard somebody whi­sper a reproch against his Bro­ther Castor, he killed the slan­derer with his fist: that was a zeal which his friendship could not warrant. Nulla est excusa­tio [Page 60]si amici causâ peccaveris, said Cicero. No friendship can ex­cuse a sin: And this the braver Romans instanced in the matter of duty to their Countrey. It is not lawful to fight on our friends part against our Prince or Countrey; and therefore when Caius Blosius of Cuma in the sedition of Gracchus appea­red against his Countrey, when he was taken he answered, that he loved Tiberius Gracchus so dearly, that he thought fit to follow him whithersoe­ver he led; and begg'd par­don upon that account. They who were his Judges were so noble, that though they knew it no fair excuse: yet for the honour of friendship they did not directly reject his motion: but put him to death, because [Page 61]he did not follow, but led on Gracchus, and brought his friend into the snare: For so they preserved the ho­nours of friendship on either hand, by neither suffering it to be sullied by a foul excuse, nor yet rejected in any fair pre­tence. A man may not be perjured for his friend. I re­member to have read in the History of the Low-coun­tryes, that Grimston and Red­head, when Bergenapzoom was besieged by the Duke of Par­ma, acted for the interest of the Qu: of Englands forces a nota­ble design; but being suspected and put for their acquittance to take the Sacrament of the Altar, they dissembled their persons, and their interest, their design & their religion, and did [Page 62]for the Queens service (as one wittily wrote to her) give not onely their bodies but their souls, and so deserved a reward greater then she could pay them: I cannot say this is a thing greater then a friendship can require, for it is not great at all, but a great villany, which hath no name, and no order in worthy entercourses; and no obligation to a friend can reach as high as our duty to God: And he that does a base thing in zeal for his friend, burns the golden thred that ties their hearts together; it is a conspi­racy, but no longer friendship. And when Cato lent his wife to Hortensius, and Socrates lent his to a merry Greek, they could not amongst wise persons ob­tain so much as the fame of be­ing [Page 63]worthy friends, neither could those great Names legi­timate an unworthy action un­der the most plausible title.

It is certain that amongst friends their estates are com­mon; that is, by whatsoever I can rescue my friend from ca­lamity, I am to serve him, or not to call him friend; there is a great latitude in this, and it is to be restrained by no pru­dence, but when there is on the other side a great necessity nei­ther vitious nor avoidable: A man may choose whether he will or no; and he does not sin in not doing it, unless he have bound himself to it: But cer­tainly friendship is the greatest band in the world, and if he have professed a great friendship, he hath a very great obligation [Page 64]to doe that and more; and he can no wayes be disobliged but by the care of his Naturall re­lations.

I said, [Friendship is the great­est bond in the world,] and I had reason for it, for it is all the bands that this world hath; and there is no society, and there is no relation that is wor­thy, but it is made so by the communications of friendship, and by partaking some of its excellencies. For friendship is a transcendent, and signifies as much as Unity can meane, and every consent, and every plea­sure, and every benefit, and every society is the Mother or the Daughter of friendship. Some friendships are made by nature, some by contract, some by interest, and some by souls. [Page 65]And in proportion to these wayes of Uniting, so the friend­ships are greater or lesse, ver­tuous or naturall, profitable or holy, or all this together. Na­ture makes excellent friend­ships, of which we observe something in social plants; growing better in each others neighbourhood then where they stand singly: And in ani­mals it is more notorious, whose friendships extend so far as to herd and dwell together, to play, and feed, to defend and fight for one another, and to cry in absence, and to rejoyce in one anothers presence. But these friendships have other names lesse noble, they are sympathy, or they are instinct. But if to this naturall friendship there be reason superadded, [Page 66]something will come in upon the stock of reason which will ennoble it but because no Ri­vers can rise higher then Foun­tains, reason shall draw out all the dispositions which are in Nature and establish them into friendships, but they cannot surmount the communications of Nature; Nature can make no friendships greater then her own excellencies. Nature is the way of contracting necessary friendships: that is, by nature such friendships are contracted without which we cannot live, and be educated, or be well, or be at all. In this scene, that of Parents and Children is the greatest, which indeed is begun in nature, but is actuated by society and mutuall endear­ments. For Parents love their [Page 67]Children because they love themselves, Children being but like emissions of water, symbolicall, or indeed the same with the fountaine; and they in their posterity see the ima­ges and instruments of a civil immortality; but if Parents and Children do not live toge­ther, we see their friendships and their loves are much aba­ted, and supported onely by fame and duty, by customes and religion, which to nature are but artificial pillars, and make this friendship to be com­plicated, and to passe from its own kind to another. That of Children to their Parents is not properly friendship, but gratitude and interest, and reli­gion, and whatever can super­vene of the nature of friend­ship [Page 68]comes in upon another ac­count; upon society and wor­thinesse and choice.

This relation on either hand makes great Dearnesses: But it hath speciall and proper sig­nifications of it, and there is a speciall duty incumbent on each other respectively. This friendship and social relation is not equall, and there is too much authority on one side, and too much fear on the other to make equal friendships; and therefore although this is one of the kinds of friendship, that is of a social and relative love and conversation, yet in the more proper use of the word; [Friendship] does doe some things which Father and Son doe not; I instance in the free and open communicating coun­sels, [Page 69]and the evennesse and pleasantnesse of conversation; and consequently the significa­tions of the paternal and filial love as they are divers in them­selves and unequal, and there­fore another kind of friendship then we meane in our inquiry; so they are such a duty which no other friendship can annul: because their mutual duty is bound upon them by religion long before any other friend­ships can be contracted; and therefore having first possessi­on must abide for ever. The duty and love to Parents must not yeild to religion, much lesse to any new friendships: and our Parents are to be pre­ferred before the Corban; and are at no hand to be laid aside but when they engage a­gainst [Page 70]against God: That is, in the rights which this relation and kind of friendship challenges as its propriety, it is supreme and cannot give place to any other friendships; till the Father gives his right away, and God or the Lawes consent to it; as in the case of marriage, eman­cipation, and adoption to ano­ther family: in which cases though love and gratitude are still obliging, yet the societies and duties of relation are very much altered, which in the proper and best friendships can never be at all. But then this also is true: that the social re­lations of Parents and Children not having in them all the ca­pacities of a proper friendship, cannot challenge all the signifi­cations of it: that is, it is no [Page 71]prejudice to the duty I owe there, to pay all the dearnesses which are due here, and to friends there are some things due which the other cannot challenge: I meane, my secret, and my equal conversation, and the pleasures and interests of these, and the consequents of all.

Next to this is the society and dearnesse of Brothers and Sisters: which usually is very great amongst worthy persons; but if it be considered what it is in it self, it is but very little; there is very often a likenesse of naturall temper, and there is a social life under the same roof, and they are commanded to love one another, and they are equals in many instances, and are endeared by conver­sation [Page 72]when it is merry and pleasant, innocent and simple, without art and without design. But Brothers passe not into noble friendships upon the stock of that relation: they have fair dispositions and ad­vantages, and are more easie and ready to ferment into the greatest dearnesses, if all things else be answerable. Nature dis­poses them well towards it, but in this inquiry if we aske what duty is passed upon a Brother to a Brother even for being so? I answer, that religion and our parents and God and the lawes appoint what measures they please; but nature passes but very little, and friendship lesse; and this we see apparently in those Brothers who live asun­der, and contract new relations, [Page 73]and dwell in other societies: There is no love, no friendship without the entercourse of con­versation: Friendships indeed may last longer then our abode together, but they were first contracted by it, and established by pleasure and benefit, and unlesse it be the best kind of friendship (which that of Bro­thers in that meer capacity is not) it dies when it wants the proper nutriment and support: and to this purpose is that which was spoken by Solo­mon: [better is a neighbour that is near, Prov. 27.10.then a Brother that is far off:] that is, al­though ordinarily, Brothers are first possessed of the entries and fancies of friendship, because they are of the first societies and conversations, yet when [Page 74]that ceases and the Brother goes away, so that he does no advantage, no benefit of enter­course; the neighbour that dwells by me, with whom if I converse at all, either he is my enemy and does, and receives evill; or if we converse in wor­thinesses and benefit and plea­sant communication, he is bet­ter in the lawes and measures of friendship then my distant Brother. And it is observable that [Brother] is indeed a word of friendship and charity and of mutual endearment, and so is a title of the bravest society; yet in all the Scripture there are no precepts given of any duty and comport which Brothers, that is, the descendents of the same parents are to have one towards another in that capacity, and it [Page 75]is not because their nearnesse is such that they need none: For parents & children are neerer, and yet need tables of duty to be described; and for Bro­thers, certainly they need it in­finitely if there be any peculiar duty; Cain and Abel are the great probation of that, and you know who said,

Fratrum quoque gratia rara est:

It is not often you shall see
Two Brothers live in amity.

But the Scripture which often describes the duty of Parents and Children, never describes the duty of Brothers; except where by Brethren are meant all that part of mankind who are tied to us by any vicinity [Page 76]and indearment of religion or country, of profession and fa­mily, of contract or society, of love and the noblest friend­ships; the meaning is, that though fraternity alone be the endearment of some degrees of friendship, without choice and without excellency; yet the relation it self is not friendship, and does not naturally infer it, and that which is procured by it, is but limited and little; and though it may passe into it, as other conversations may, yet the friendship is accidental to it; and enters upon other ac­counts, as it does between strangers; with this onely dif­ference that Brotherhood does oftentimes assist the valuation of those excellencies for which we entertain our friendships. [Page 77]Fraternity is the opportunity and the preliminary dispositi­ons to friendship, and no more. For if my Brother be a fool or a vitious person, the love to which nature and our first con­versation disposes me, does not end in friendship, but in pity and fair provisions, and assistan­ces; which is a demonstration that Brotherhood is but the in­clination and addresse to friend­ship; and though I will love a worthy Brother more then a worthy stranger; if the wor­thinesse be equal, because the relation is something, and be­ing put into the scales against an equal worthiness must needs turn the ballance, as every grain will do in an even weight; yet when the relation is all the worthinesse that is pretended, [Page 78]it cannot stand in competition with a friend: for though a friend-Brother is better then a friend-stranger, where the friend is equal, but the Brother is not: yet a Brother is not better then a friend; but as Solomons ex­pression is [there is a friend that is better then a Brother,] and to be born of the same pa­rents is so accidental and ex­trinsick to a mans pleasure or worthinesse, or spiritual advan­tages, that though it be very pleasing and usefull that a Bro­ther should be a friend, yet it is no great addition to a friend that he also is a Brother: there is something in it, but not much. But in short, the case is thus. The first beginnings of friendship serve the necessities; but choice and worthinesse are [Page 79]the excellencies of its endear­ment and its bravery; and be­tween a Brother that is no friend, and a friend that is no Brother, there is the same dif­ference as between the dispo­sition, and the act or habit: a Brother if he be worthy is the readiest and the nearest to be a friend, but till he be so, he is but the twi-light of the day, and but the blossome to the fai­rest fruit of Paradise. A Bro­ther does not alwayes make a friend, but a friend ever makes a Brother and more: And al­though nature sometimes finds the tree, yet friendship engraves the Image; the first relation places him in the garden, but friendship sets it in the Temple, and then only it is venerable and sacred: and so is Brother­hood [Page 80]when it hath the soul of friendship.

So that if it be asked which are most to be valued, Brothers or friends; the answer is very easie; Brotherhood is or may be one of the kinds of friendship, and from thence onely hath its value, and therefore if it be compared with a greater friend­ship must give place: But then it is not to be asked which is to be preferred, a Brother or a Friend, but which is the better friend; Memnon or my Bro­ther? For if my Brother sayes I ought to love him best, then he ought to love me best; Ut praestem Pyladen, aliquis mihi praestet O­resten Hoc non fit verbis, Marce ut ameris, ama. Mar. l. 6. ep. 11. if he does, then there is a great friendship, and he possibly is to be preferred; if [Page 81]he can be that friend which he pretends to be, that is, if he be equally worthy: but if he sayes, I must love him onely because he is my Brother, whether he loves me or no, he is ridicu­lous; and it will be a strange relation which hath no cor­respondent: but suppose it, and adde this also, that I am equally his Brother as he is mine, & then he also must love me whether I love him or no; and if he does not, he sayes, I must love him though he be my Enemy; and so I must; but I must not love my Enemy though he be my Brother more then I love my Friend; and at last if he does love me for being his Brother, I confesse that this love de­serves love again; but then I consider, that he loves me upon [Page 82]an incompetent reason: for he that loves me only because I am his Brother, loves me for that which is no worthinesse, and I must love him as much as that comes to, and for as little reason; unlesse this be added, that he loves me first: but whether choice and union of souls, and worthinesse of man­ners, and greatnesse of under­standing, and usefulnesse of con­versation, and the benefits of Counsel, and all those endear­ments which make our lives pleasant and our persons Dear, are not better and greater rea­sons of love and Dearnesse then to be born of the same flesh, I think amongst wise persons needs no great enquity. For fraternity is but a Cognation of bodies, but friendship is an [Page 83]Union of souls which are con­federated by more noble liga­tures. My Brother, if he be no more, shall have my hand to help him, but unlesse he be my friend too, he cannot challenge my heart: and if his being my friend be the greater nearnesse, then friend is more then Bro­ther, and I suppose no man doubts but that David lov'd Jonathan far more then he lov'd his Brother Eliab.

One inquity more there may be in this affair, and that is, whether a friend may be more then Husband or Wife; To which I answer, that it can ne­ver be reasonable or just, pru­dent or lawfull: but the reason is, because Marriage is the Queen of friendships, in which there is a communication of all [Page 84]that can be communicated by friendship: and it being made sacred by vowes and love, by bodies and souls, by interest and custome, by religion and by lawes, by common counsels, and common fortunes; it is the principal in the kind of friendship, and the measure of all the rest: And there is no abatement to this considera­tion, but that there may be some allay in this as in other lesser friendships by the incapa­city of the persons: if I have not chosen my friend wisely or fortunately, he cannot be the correlative in the best Union; but then the friend lives as the soul does after death, it is in the state of separation, in which the soul strangely loves the body and longs to be reunited, but [Page 85]the body is an uselesse trunk and can do no ministeries to the soul; which therefore prayes to have the body reformed and re­stored and made a brave and a fit companion: so must these best friends, when one is useless or unapt to the braveries of the princely friendship, they must love ever, and pray ever, and long till the other be per­fected and made fit; in this case there wants onely the bo­dy, but the soul is still a rela­tive and must be so for ever.

A Husband and a Wife are the best friends, but they can­not alwayes signifie all that to each other which their friend­ships would; as the Sunne shines not upon a Valley which sends up a thick vapour to cover his face; and though [Page 86]his beams are eternall, yet the emission is intercepted by the intervening cloud. But howe­ver all friendships are but parts of this; a man must leave Fa­ther and Mother and cleave to his Wife, that is [the dearest thing in Nature is not compara­ble to the dearest thing of friend­ship: and I think this is argu­ment sufficient to prove friend­ship to be the greatest band in the world; Adde to this, that other friendships are parts of this, they are marriages too, lesse indeed then the other, be­cause they cannot, must not be all that endearment which the other is; yet that being the principal, is the measure of the rest, and are all to be honoured by like dignities, and measured by the same rules, and con­ducted [Page 87]by their portion of the same Lawes: But as friendships are Marriages of the soul, and of fortunes and interests, and counsels; so they are brother­hoods too; and I often think of the excellencies of friendships in the words of David, who certainly was the best friend in the world [Ecce quam bonum & quam jucundum fratres habitare in unum:] It is good and it is pleasant that Brethren should live like friends, that is, they who are any wayes relative, and who are any wayes social and confederate should also dwell in Unity and loving society, for that is the meaning of the word [Brother] in Scripture [It was my Brother Jonathan] said Da­vid; such Brothers contracting such friendships are the beauties [Page 88]of society, and the pleasure of life, and the festivity of minds: and whatsoever can be spoken of love, which is Gods eldest daughter, can be said of vertu­ous friendships; and though Carneades made an eloquent oration at Rome against justice, yet never saw a Panegyrick of malice, or ever read that any man was witty against friendship. Indeed it is pro­bable that some men, find­ing themselves by the pecu­liarities of friendship excluded from the participation of those beauties of society which en­amel and adorne the wise and the vertuous, might suppose themselves to have reason to speak the evil words of envy and detraction; I won­der not for all those unhappy [Page 89]soules which shall find heaven gates shut against them, will think they have reason to murmur and blaspheme: The similitude is apt enough, for that is the region of friend­ship, and love is the light of that glorious Countrey, but so bright that it needs no Sun: Here we have fine and bright rayes of that Celestial flame, and though to all mankind the light of it is in some measure to be extended, like the trea­sures of light dwelling in the South, yet a little do illustrate and beautifie the North, yet some live under the line, and the beams of friendship in that position are imminent and per­pendicular.

I know but one thing more in which the Communications [Page 90]of friendship can be restrained; and that is, in Friends and E­nemies: Amicus amici, amicus meus non est: My friends friend is not alwayes my friend; nor his enemy mine; for if my friend quarrel with a third per­son with whom he hath had no friendships, upon the account of interest; if that third per­son be my friend, the nobleness of our friendships despises such a quarrel; and what may be reasonable in him, would be ignoble in me; sometimes it may be otherwise, and friends may marry one anothers loves and hatreds, but it is by chance if it can be just, and therefore because it is not alwayes right it cannot be ever necessary.

In all things else, let friend­ships be as high and expressive [Page 91]till they become an Union, or that friends like the Molionidae be so the same that the flames of their dead bodies make but one Piramis; no charity can be reproved, and such friend­ships which are more then sha­dows, are nothing else but the rayes of that glorious grace drawn into one centre, and made more active by the Uni­on; and the proper significati­ons are well represented in the old Hieroglyphick, by which the ancients depicted friend­ship: ‘In the beauties and strength of a young man, bare-headed, rudely clothed, to signifie its activity, and la­stingness, readiness of action, and aptnesses to do service; Upon the fringes of his gar­ment was written Mors & [Page 92]vita, as signifying that in life and death the friendship was the same; on the forehead was written Summer and Winter, that is, prosperous and adverse accidents and states of life; the left arme and shoulder was bare and na­ked downe to the heart to which the finger pointed, and there was written longè & propè: by all which we know that friendship does good far and neer: in Summer & Win­ter, in life and death, and knows no difference of state or acci­dent but by the variety of her services: and therefore ask no more to what we can be obli­ged by friendship; for it is e­very thing that can be honest and prudent, usefull and neces­sary.

For this is all the allay of this Universality, we may do any thing or suffer any thing, that is wise or necessary, or greatly beneficial to my friend, and that in any thing, in which I am per­fect master of my person and for­tunes. But I would not in bra­very visite my friend when he is sick of the plague, unlesse I can do him good equall at least to my danger, but I will procure him Physicians and prayers, all the assistances that he can receive, and that he can desire, if they be in my power: and when he is dead, I will not run into his grave and be stifled with his earth; but I will mourn for him, and performe his will, and take care of his relatives, and do for him as if he were alive, and I think that [Page 94]is the meaning of that hard say­ing of a Greek Poet.

[...]
[...].
To me though distant let thy friendship flye,
Though men be mortal, friend­ships must not die.
Of all things else there's great satiety.

Of such immortal abstracted pure friendships indeed there is no great plenty, and to see bro­thers hate each other, is not so rare as to see them love at this rate. The dead and the absent have but few friends, say the Spaniards; but they who are the [Page 95]same to their friend [...], when he is in another Coun­trey, or in another World, these are they who are fit to preserve the sacred fire for eternall sa­crifices, and to perpetuate the memory of those exemplar friendships of the best men which have filled the world with history and wonder: for in no other sense but this, can it be true; that friendships are pure loves, regarding to doe good more then to receive it: He that is a friend after death, hopes not for a recompense from his friend, and makes no bargain either for fame or love; but is rewarded with the conscience and satisfaction of doing bravely: but then this is demonstration that they choose Friends best who take [Page 96]persons so worthy that can and will do so: This is the profit and usefulnesse of friendship; and he that contracts such a no­ble Union, must take care that his friend be such who can and will; but hopes that himselfe shall be first used, and put to act it: I will not have such a friendship that is good for no­thing, but I hope that I shall be on the giving and assisting part; and yet if both the friends be so noble and hope and strive to do the benefit, I cannot well say which ought to yield, and whether that friendship were braver that could be content to be unprosperous so his friend might have the glory of assist­ing him; or that which desires to give assistances in the grea­test measures of friendship: [Page 97]but he that chooses a worthy friend that himself in the dayes of sorrow and need might re­ceive the advantage, hath no excuse, no pardon, unlesse him­self be as certain to do assistan­ces when evil fortune shall re­quire them. The summe of this answer to this enquiry I give you in a pair of Greek ver­ses.

[...]
[...].
Friends are to friends as lesser Gods, while they
Honour and service to each o­ther pay.
But when a dark cloud comes, grudge not to lend
Thy head, thy heart, thy for­tune to thy friend.

3. The last inquiry is, how friendships are to be conducted? That is, what are the duties in presence and in absence; whether the friend may not desire to enjoy his friend as well as his friend­ship? The answer to which in a great measure depends upon what I have said already: & if friendship be a charity in socie­ty, and is not for contemplati­on and noise, but for materiall comforts and noble treatments and usages, this is no peradven­ture, but that if I buy land, I may eat the fruits, and if I take a house I may dwell in it; and if I love a worthy person, I may please my self in his socie­ty: and in this there is no excep­tion, unlesse the friendship be between persons of a different sex: for then not onely the in­terest [Page 99]of their religion, and the care of their honour, but the worthiness of their friendship requires that their entercourse be prudent and free from su­spicion and reproch: and if a friend is obliged to bear a cala­mity, so he secure the honour of his friend, it will concerne him to conduct his entercouse in the lines of a vertuous pru­dence, so that he shall rather lose much of his own comfort, then she any thing of her honour; and in this case the noises of people are so to be regarded, that next to innocence they are the principall. But when by caution and prudence and se­vere conduct, a friend hath done all that he or she can to secure fame and honourable reports; after this, their noises are to be [Page 100]despised; they must not fright us from our friendships, nor from her fairest entercourses; I may lawfully pluck the clusters from my own vine, though he that walks by, calls me thief.

But by the way (Madam) you may see how much I differ from the morosity of those Cynics who would not admit your sex into the communities of a noble friendship. I believe some Wives have been the best friends in the world; and few stories can out-do the no­blenesse and piety of that Lady that suck'd the poysonous, pu­rulent matter from the wound of our brave Prince in the holy Land, when an Assasine had pierc'd him with a venom'd ar­row; and if it be told that wo­men cannot retain counsell, [Page 101]and therefore can be no brave friends; I can best confute them by the story of Porcia, who being fearfull of the weak­nesse of her sex, stabb'd her self into the thigh to try how she could bear pain; and fin­ding her self constant enough to that sufferance, gently chid her Brutus for not da­ring to trust her, since now she perceived that no torment could wrest that secret from her, which she hoped might be intrusted to her. If there were not more things to be said for your satisfaction, I could have made it disputa­ble whether have been more illustrious in their friendships men or women? I cannot say that Women are capable of all those excellencies by which [Page 102]men can oblige the world; and therefore a female friend in some cases is not so good a counsellor as a wise man, and cannot so well defend my ho­nour; nor dispose of reliefs and assistances if she be under the power of another: but a wo­man can love as passionately, and converse as pleasantly, and retain a secret as faithfully, and be usefull in her proper mini­steries; and she can die for her friend as well as the bravest Roman Knight, and we finde that some persons have engag'd themselves as far as death up­on a less interest then all this amounts to: such were the [...], as the Greeks call them, the Devoti of a Prince or General, the Assasines amongst the Saracens, the [...] a­mongst [Page 103]the old Galatians: they did as much as a friend could do; and if the greatest servi­ces of a friend can be paid for by an ignoble price, we cannot grudge to vertuous and brave women that they be partners in a noble friendship, since their conversation and returns can adde so many moments to the felicity of our lives: and there­fore, though a Knife cannot en­ter as farre as a Sword, yet a Knife may be more usefull to some purposes; and in every thing, except it be against an enemy. A man is the best friend in trouble, but a woman may be equall to him in the dayes of joy: a woman can as well increase our comforts, but cannot so well lessen our sor­rows: and therefore we do not carry [Page 104]women with us when we go to fight; but in peaceful Cities and times, vertuous women are the beauties of society and the prettinesses of friendship. And when we consider that few per­sons in the world have all those excellencies by which friend­ship can be useful and illustri­ous, we may as well allow wo­men as men to be friends; since they can have all that which can be necessary and es­sential to friendships, and these cannot have all by which friendships can be accidentally improved; in all some abate­ments will be made; & we shall do too much honour to women if we reject them from friend­ships because they are not per­fect: for if to friendships we admit imperfect men, because [Page 105]no man is perfect: he that re­jects women does find fault with them because they are not more perfect then men, which either does secretly af­firm that they ought and can be perfect, or else it openly ac­cuses men of injustice and par­tiality.

I hope you will pardon me that I am a little gone from my undertaking, I went aside to wait upon the women and to do countenance to their ten­der vertues: I am now re­turn'd, and, if I were to doe the office of a guide to unin­structed friends, would adde the particulars following: Ma­dam, you need not read them now, but when any friends come to be taught by your precept and example how to converse [Page 106]in the noblest conjurations, you may put these into better words and tell them

1. That the first law of friend­ship is, they must neither ask of their friend what is Undecent; nor grant it if themselves be askt. For it is no good office to make my friend more viti­ous or more a fool; I will re­strain his folly, but not nurse it; I will not make my groom the officer of my lust and vani­ty. There are Villains who sell their souls for bread, that offer sin and vanity at a price: I should be unwilling my friend should know I am vitious; but if he could be brought to mini­ster to it; he is not worthy to be my friend: and if I could of­fer it to him, I do not deserve to clasp hands with a vertuous person.

2. Let no man choose him for his friend whom it shall be possible for him ever after to hate, for though the society may justly be interrupted, yet love is an immortal thing, and I will never despise him whom I could once think worthy of my love. A friend that proves not good is rather to be suffered, then any enmities be enter­tained: and there are some outer offices of friendship and little drudgeries in which the less worthy are to be imployed, and it is better that he be be­low stairs then quite thrown out of doors.

3. There are two things which a friend can never par­don, a treacherous blow and the revealing of a secret, be­cause these are against the Na­ture [Page 108]of friendship; they are the adulteries of it, and dissolve the Union; and in the matters of friendship which is the marriage of souls; these are the proper causes of divorce: and there­fore I shall adde this only, that secrecy is the chastity of friend­ship, and the publication of it is a prostitution and direct debau­chery; but a secret, treache­rous wound is a perfect and un­pardonable Apostacy. I re­member a pretty apologue that Bromiard tells, A Fowler in a sharp frosty morning having ta­ken many little birds for which he had long watched, began to take up his nets; and nipping the birds on the head laid them down. A young thrush espying the tears trickling down his cheeks by the reason of the ex­treme [Page 109]cold, said to her Mother, that certainly the man was very mercifull and compassionate that wept so bitterly over the calamity of the poor Birds. But her Mother told her more wisely, that she might better judge of the mans disposition by his hand then by his eye; and if the hands do strike trea­cherously, he can never be ad­mitted to friendship, who speaks fairly and weeps pitti­fully. Friendship is the greatest honesty and ingenuity in the world.

4. Never accuse thy friend, nor believe him that does; if thou dost, thou hast broken the skin; but he that is angry with every little fault breaks the bones of friendship; and when we consider that in so­ciety [Page 110]and the accidents of every day, in which no man is con­stantly pleased or displeased with the same things; we shall find reason to impute the change unto our selves; and the emanations of the Sun are still glorious, when our eyes are sore: and we have no reason to be angry with an eternall light, because we have a changeable and a mortall faculty. But how­ever, do not think thou didst contract alliance with an An­gel, when thou didst take thy friend into thy bosome; he may be weak as well as thou art, and thou mayest need pardon as well as he, and

[...]
[...].
[Page 111]
[...]
[...].
Theog.

that man loves flattery more then friendship, who would not onely have his friend, but all the con­tingencies of his friend to humour him.

5. Give thy friend counsel wisely and charitably, but leave him to his liberty whether he will follow thee or no: and be not angry if thy counsel be re­jected: for, advice is no Em­pire, and he is not my friend that will be my Judge whether I will or no. Neoptolemus had never been honoured with the victory and spoiles of Troy if he had attended to the tears and counsel of Lycomedes, who be­ing afraid to venture the young [Page 112]man, faine would have had him sleep at home safe in his little Island. He that gives advice to his friend and exacts obedience to it, does not the kindnesse and ingenuity of a friend, but the office and pertnesse of a Schoolmaster.

6. Never be a Judge be­tween thy friends in any matter where both set their hearts up­on the victory: If strangers or enemies be litigants, what ever side thou favourest, thou get­test a friend, but when friends are the parties thou losest one.

7. Never comport thy self so, as that thy friend can be a­fraid of thee: for then the state of the relation alters when a new and troublesome passion supervenes. ODERUNT quos METUUNT. Perfect love [Page 113]casteth out feare, and no man is friend to a Tyrant; but that friendship is Tyranny where the love is changed into fear, equa­lity into empire, society into o­bedience; for then all my kind­ness to him also will he no bet­ter then flattery.

8. When you admonish your friend, let it be without bit­ternesse; when you chide him, let it be without re­proch; when you praise him, let it be with worthy pur­poses and for just causes, and in friendly measures; too much of that is flattery, too little is envy; if you doe it justly you teach him true measures: but when others praise him, re­joyce, though they praise not thee, and remember that if thou esteemest his praise to be thy [Page 114]disparagement, thou art envi­ous, but neither just nor kind.

9. When all things else are equal preferre an old friend be­fore a new. If thou meanest to spend thy friend, and make a gain of him till he be weary, thou wilt esteeme him as a beast of burden, the worse for his age; But if thou esteemest him by noble measures, he will be better to thee by thy being used to him, by triall and ex­perience, by reciprocation of indearments, and an habituall worthiness. An old friend is like old wine, which when a man hath drunk, he doth not desire new, because he saith the old is better. But every old friend was new once; and if he be worthy keep the new one till he become old.

10. After all this, treat thy friend nobly, love to be with him, do to him all the worthi­nesses of love and fair endear­ment, according to thy capacity and his; Bear with his infirmi­ties till they approch towards being criminal; but never dis­semble with him, never despise him, never leave him. * Give him gifts and upbraid him not, and refuse not his kindnesses, and be sure never to despise the smallness or the impropriety of [Page 116]them. Confirmatur amor beneficio accepto: A gift (saith Solomon) fasteneth friendships; for as an eye that dwels long upon a star must de refreshed with lesser beauties and strengthened with greens and looking-glasses, lest the sight become amazed with too great a splendor; so must the love of friends sometimes be refreshed with material and low Caresses; lest by stri­ving to be too divine it becomes less humane: It must be allow­ed its share of both: It is hu­mane in giving pardon and fair construction, and openness and ingenuity, and keeping secrets; it hath something that is divine, because it is beneficent; but much because it is eternal.

THE END.

TWO LETTERS TO PERSONS Changed in their RELIGION.

A Copy of the First Let­ter written to a Gen­tlewoman newly se­duced to the Church of Rome.

M. B.

I Was desirous of an opportunity in London to have discoursed with you concerning something of nearest concern­ment to you, but the multitude of my little affairs hindred me, and have brought upon you this trouble to read a long Let­ter, which yet I hope you will [Page 120]be more willing to do, because it comes from one who hath a great respect to your person, and a very great charity to your soul: I must confesse I was on your behalf troubled when I heard you were fallen from the Communion of the Church of England, and entred into a vo­luntary, unnecessary schism, and departure from the Lawes of the King, and the Commu­nion of those with whom you have alwayes lived in charity, going against those Lawes in the defence and profession of which your Husband died, go­ing from the Religion in which you were Baptized, in which for so many years, you lived piously and hoped for Heaven, and all this without any suffici­ent reason, without necessity [Page 121]or just scandall ministred to you; and to aggravate all this, you did it in a time when the Church of England was perse­cuted, when she was marked with the Characterismes of her Lord, the marks of the Crosse of Jesus, that is, when she suf­fered for a holy cause and a ho­ly conscience, when the Church of England was more glorious then at any time before,; Even when she could shew more Martyrs and Confessors then any Church this day in Chri­stendome, even then when a King died in the profession of her Religion, and thousands of Priests, learned and pious men suffered the spoiling of their goods rather then they would forsake one Article of so excel­lent a Religion; So that seriously [Page 122]it is not easily to be imagined that any thing should move you, unlesse it be that which troubled the perverse Jewes, and the Heathen Greek, Scan­dulum crucis, the scandall of the Crosse; You stumbled at that Rock of offence, You left us because we were afflicted, lesse­ned in outward circumstances and wrapped in a cloud; but give me leave only to reminde you of that sad saying of the Scri­pture, that you may avoid the consequent of it; They that fall on this stone shall be broken in pieces, but they on whom it shall fall shall be grinded to powder. And if we should consider things but prudently, it is a great argument that the sons of our Church are very conscien­tious and just in their perswa­sions, [Page 123]when it is evident, that we have no temporall end to serve, nothing but the great end of our souls, all our hopes of pre­ferment are gone, all secular regards, only we still have truth on our sides, and we are not willing with the losse of truth to change from a persecu­ted to a prosperous Church, from a Reformed to a Church that will not be reformed; lest we give scandall to good peo­ple that suffer for a holy con­science, and weaken the hands of the afflicted; of which if you had been more carefull you would have remained much more innocent.

But I pray, give me leave to consider for you, because you in your change considered so little for your self, what fault, [Page 124]what false doctrine, what wick­ed or dangerous proposition, what defect, what amisse did you find in the Doctrine and Liturgy and Discipline of the Church of England?

For its doctrine, It is certain it professes the belief of all that is written in the Old and New Testament, all that which is in the three Creeds, the Aposto­lical, the Nicene, and that of Athanasius, and whatsoever was decreed in the four General Councels, or in any other truly such, and whatsoever was con­demned in these, our Church hath legally declared it to be Heresie. And upon these ac­counts above four whole ages of the Church went to Hea­ven; they baptized all their Catechumens into this faith, [Page 125]their hopes of heaven was upon this and a good life, their Saints and Martyrs lived and died in this alone, they denied Com­munion to none that professed this faith. This is the Catho­lick faith, so saith the Creed of Athanasius; and unlesse a com­pany of men have power to al­ter the faith of God, whosoe­ver live and die in this faith, are intirely Catholick and Christian. So that the Church of England hath the same faith without dlspute that the Church had for 400 or 500 years, and there­fore there could be nothing wanting here to saving faith, if we live according to our be­lief.

2. For the Liturgy of the Church of England, I shall not need to say much, because the [Page 126]case will be very evident; First, Because the disputers of the Church of Rome have not been very forward to object any thing against it, they cannot charge it with any evil: 2. Be­cause for all the time of K. Ed. 6 and till the eleventh year of Queen Elizabeth, your people came to our Churches and prayed with us till the Bull of Pius Quintus came out upon temporal regards, and made a Schism by forbidding the Queens Subjects to pray as by Law was here appointed, though the prayers were good and holy, as themselves did be­lieve. That Bull enjoyned Re­cusancy, and made that which was as an act of Rebellion, and Disobedience, & Schisme, to be the character of your Ro­man [Page 127]Catholikes. And after this, what can be supposed wanting in order to salvation? We have the Word of God, the Faith of the Apostles, the Creeds of the Primitive Church, the Articles of the four first generall Coun­cels, a holy Liturgy, excellent Prayers, perfect Sacraments, Faith and Repentance, the ten Commandements, and the Ser­mons of Christ, and all the pre­cepts and counsels of the Go­spel; We teach the necessity of good works, and require and strictly exact the severity of a holy life; We live in obedience to God, and are ready to die for him, and doe so when he re­quires us so to doe; We speak honour of his most holy Name, we worship him at the mention of his Name, we confesse his [Page 128]Attributes, we love his Ser­vants, we pray for all men, we love all Christians, even our most erring Brethren, we con­fesse our sinnes to God and to our Brethren whom we have offended, and to Gods Mini­sters in cases of Scandall, or of a troubled Conscience, We com­mnicate often, we are enjoyn­ed to receive the holy Sacra­ment thrice every year at least; Our Priests absolve the peni­tent, our Bishops ordain Priests, and confirm baptized persons, and blesse their people and in­tercede for them; and what could here be wanting to Salva­tion? what necessity forced you from us? I dare not suspect it was a temporal regard that drew you away, but I am sure it could be no spirituall.

But now that I have told you, and made you to consider from whence you went, give me leave to represent to you, and tell you whither you are gone, that you may understand the nature and conditions of your change: For doe not think your self safe, because they tell you that you are come to the Church; You are indeed gone from one Church to another, from a better to a worse, as will ap­pear in the induction, the parti­culars of which before I reckon, give me leave to give you this advice; if you mean in this af­fair to understand what you do; it were better you enquired what your Religion is, then what your Church is; for that which is a true Religion to [Page 130]day, will be so to morrow and for ever; but that which is a holy Church to day, may be he­retical at the next change, or may betray her trust, or ob­trude new Articles in contradi­ction to the old, or by new in­terpretations may elude anci­ent truths, or may change your Creed, or may pretend to be the Spouse of Christ when she is idolatrous, that is, adulterous to God: Your Religion is that which you must, and therefore may competently understand; You must live in it, and grow in it, and govern all the actions of your life by it; and in all que­stions concerning the Church, you are to choose your Church by the Religion, and therefore this ought first and last to be enquired after. Whether the [Page 131]Romane Church be the Catho­lique Church, must depend up­on so many uncertain enquiries, is offered to be proved by so long, so tedious a method, hath in it so many intrigues and La­byrinths of Question, and is (like a long line) so impossible to be perfectly strait, and to have no declination in it when it is held by such a hand as yours, that unlesse it be by material enqui­ries into the Articles of the Re­ligion, you can never hope to have just grounds of confi­dence. In the mean time you can consider this; if the Roman Church were the Catholike, that is, so as to exclude all that are not of her communion, then the Greek Churches had as good turn Turks as remain damned Christians, and all that [Page 132]are in the communion of all the other Patriarchal Churches in Christendome, must also pe­rish like Heathens, which thing before any man can beleeve, he must have put off all reason, and all modesty, and all charity; And who can with any probabi­lity think that the Communion of Saints in the Creed is no­thing but the Communion of Ro­man Subjects, and the Article of the Catholike Church was made up to dispark the inclo­sures of Jerusalem, but to turn them into the pale of Rome, and the Church is as limited as ever it was, save onely that the Synagogue is translated to Rome, which I think you will easily beleeve was a Propositi­on the Apostles understood not. But though it be hard [Page 133]to trust to it, it is also so hard to prove it, that you shall never be able to under­stand the measures of that que­stion, and therefore your sal­vation can never depend upon it. For no good or wise person can beleeve that God hath ty­ed our Salvation to impossi­ble measures, or bound us to an Article that is not by us cognoscible, or intends to have us conducted by that which we cannot understand, and when you shall know that Learned men, even of the Ro­mane party are not agreed concerning the Catholique Church that is infallibly to guide you, some saying that it is the virtual Church, that is, the Pope; some, that it is the re­presentative Church, that is, a [Page 134]Councel; Some, that it is the Pope and the Councel, the vir­tual Church and the represen­tative Church together; Some, that neither of these, nor both together are infallible; but one­ly, the essentiall Church, or the diffusive Church is the Catho­lique, from whom we must at no hand dissent; you will quick­ly find your self in a wood, and uncertain whether you have more then a word in exchange for your soul, when you are told you are in the Catholique Church. But I will tell you what you may understand, and see, and feel, something that your self can tell whether I say true or no concerning it. You are now gone to a Church that protects it self by arts of sub­tilty and arms, by violence and [Page 135]persecuting all that are not of their minds, to a Church in which you are to be a Subject of the King so long as it pleases the Pope: In which you may be absolved from your Vows made to God, your Oathes to the King, your Promises to Men, your duty to your Pa­rents in some cases: A Church in which men pray to God and to Saints in the same Form of words in which they pray to God, as you may see in the Of­fices of Saints, and particularly of our Lady: a Church in which men are taught by most of the principal Leaders to worship Images with the same worship with which they wor­ship God and Christ, or him or her whose Image it is, and in which they usually picture God [Page 136]the Father, and the holy Tri­nity, to the great dishonour of that sacred mysterie, against the doctrine and practice of the Primitive Church, against the expresse doctrine of Scripture, against the honour of a Di­vine Attribute; I mean, the immensity and spirituality of the Divine Nature; You are gone to a Church that pre­tends to be Infallible, and yet is infinitely deceived in ma­ny particulars, and yet endures no contradiction, and is impa­tient her children should en­quire into any thing her Priests obtrude. You are gone from receiving the whole Sacrament to receive it but half; from Christs Institution to a hu­mane invention, from Scripture to uncertain Traditions, and [Page 137]from ancient Traditions to new pretences, from prayers which ye undestood to prayers which ye understand not, from con­fidence in God to rely upon creatures, from intire depen­dence upon inward acts to a dangerous temptation of re­sting too much in outward ministeries, in the externall work of Sacraments and of Sacramentals: You are gone from a Church whose wor­shipping is simple, Christian and Apostolical, to a Church where mens consciences are loaden with a burden of Ce­remonies greater then that in the dayes of the Jewish Re­ligion (for the Ceremonial of the Church of Rome is a great Book in Folio) greater I say then all the Ceremonies [Page 138]of the Jews contained in Levi­ticus, &c. You are gone from a Church where you were exhor­ted to read the Word of God, the holy Scriptures from whence you found instruction, institution, comfort, reproof, a treasure of all excellencies, to a Church that seals up that foun­tain from you, and gives you drink by drops out of such Ci­sterns as they first make, and then stain, and then reach out: and if it be told you that some men abuse Scripture, it is true, for if your Priests had not abu­sed Scripture, they could not thus have abused you, but there is no necessity they should, and you need not, unlesse you list; any more then you need to a­buse the Sacraments or decrees of the Church, or the messages [Page 139]of your friend, or the Letters you receive, or the Laws of the Land, all which are liable to be abused by evil persons, but not by good people and modest un­derstandings. It is now become a part of your Religion to be ignorant, to walk in blindnesse, to believe the man that hears your Confessions, to hear none but him, not to hear God spea­king but by him, and so you are liable to be abused by him, as he please, without remedy. You are gone from us, where you were onely taught to worship God through Jesus Christ, and now you are taught to worship Saints and Angels with a wor­ship at least dangerous, and in some things proper to God; for your Church worships the Vir­gin Mary with burning incense [Page 140]and candles to her, and you give her presents, which by the con­sent of all Nations used to be esteemed a worship peculiar to God, and it is the same thing which was condemned for He­resie in the Collyridians, who of­fered a Cake to the Virgin Mary: A Candle and a Cake make no difference in the wor­ship; and your joyning God and the Saints in your worship and devotions, is like the de­vice of them that fought for King and Parliament, the latter destroys the former. I will trouble you with no more par­ticulars, because if these move you not to consider better, no­thing can.

But yet I have two things more to adde of another na­ture, one of which at least may [Page 141]prevail upon you, whom I sup­pose to have a tender and a re­ligious Conscience.

The first is, That all the points of difference between us and your Church are such as do evidently serve the ends of co­vetousnesse and ambition, of power and riches, and so stand vehemently suspected of design, and art, rather then truth of the Article and designs upon Heaven. I instance in the Popes power over Princes and all the world; his power of dispen­sation, The exemption of the Clergy from jurisdiction of Princes, The doctrine of Pur­gatory and Indulgences which was once made means to raise a portion for a Lady, the Neece of Pope Leo the tenth; The Priests power advanced beyond [Page 142]authority of any warrant from Scripture, a doctrine apt to bring absolute obedience to the Papacy; but because this is possibly too nice for you to sus­pect or consider, that which I am sure ought to move you is this.

That you are gone to a Re­ligion in which though through Gods grace prevailing over the follies of men, there are I hope, and charitably suppose many pious men that love God, and live good lives, yet there are very many doctrines taught by your men, which are very ill Friends to a good life. I in­stance in your Indulgences and pardons, In which vitious men put a great confidence, and rely greatly upon them. The do­ctrine of Purgatory which gives [Page 143]countenance to a sort of Chri­stians who live half to God and half to the world, and for them this doctrine hath found out a way that they may go to Hell and to Heaven too. The Do­ctrine that the Priests absoluti­on can turn a trifling repentance into a perfect and a good, and that suddenly too, and at any time, even on our death-bed, or the minute before your death, is a dangerous heap of falshoods, and gives licence to wicked people, and teaches men to reconcile a wicked debauch­ed life, with the hopes of Hea­ven. And then for penances and temporal satisfaction, which might seem to be as a plank after the shipwrack of the duty of Repentance, to keep men in awe, and to preserve them from [Page 144]sinking in an Ocean of Impiety, it comes to just nothing by your doctrine; for there are so many easie wayes of Indulgen­ces and getting Pardons, so ma­ny con-fraternities, stations, pri­viledg'd Altars, little Offices, Agnus Dei's, amulets, hallowed devices, swords, roses, hats, Churchyards, and the fountain of these annexed indulgences the Pope himself, and his po­wer of granting what, and when, and to whom he list, that he is a very unfortunate man that needs to smart with penances; and after all, he may choose to suffer any at all, for he may pay them in Purgatory if he please, and he may come out of Purgatory upon reasonable terms, in case he should think it fit to go thither; So that all [Page 145]the whole duty of Repentance seems to be destroyed with de­vices of men that seek power and gain, and find errour and folly; insomuch that if I had a mind to live an evil Life, and yet hope for Heaven at last, I would be of your religion above any in the world.

But I forget I am writing a Letter: I shall therefore desire you to consider upon the pre­mises, which is the safer way. For surely it is lawfull for a man to serve God without Ima­ges; but that to worship Ima­ges is lawfull, is not so sure. It is lawfull to pray to God alone, to confesse him to be true, and every man a liar, to call no man Master upon Earth, but to re­lie upon God teaching us; But it is at least hugely disputable [Page 146]and not at all certain that any man, or society of men can be infallible, that we may put our trust in Saints, in certain extra­ordinary Images, or burne In­cense and offer consumptive oblations to the Virgin Mary, or make vows to persons, of whose state, or place, or capa­cities, or condition we have no certain revelation: we are sure we doe well when in the holy Communion we worship God and Jesus Christ our Saviour, but they who also worship what seems to be bread, are put to strange shifts to make them­selves believe it to be lawfull. It is certainly lawfull to believe what we see and feel; but it is an unnaturall thing upon pre­tence of faith to disbelieve our eyes, when our sense and our [Page 147]faith can better be reconciled, as it is in the question of the Reall presence, as it is taught by the Church of England.

So that unlesse you mean to prefer a danger before safety, temptation to unholinesse be­fore a severe and a holy religi­on, unlesse you mean to lose the benefit of your prayers by praying what you perceive not, and the benefit of the Sacra­ment in great degrees by fal­ling from Christs institution, and taking half instead of all; unlesse you desire to provoke God to jealousie by Images, and Man to jealousie in profes­sing a Religion in which you may in many cases have leave to forfeit your faith and lawfull trust, unlesse you will still con­tinue to give scandall to those [Page 148]good people with whom you have lived in a common Reli­gion, and weaken the hearts of Gods afflicted ones, unlesse you will choose a Catechism with­out the second Command­ment, and a Faith that grows bigger or lesse as men please, and a Hope that in many de­grees relyes on men and vain confidences, and a Charity that damns all the world but your selves, unlesse you will doe all this, that is, suffer an abuse in your Prayers, in the Sacra­ment, in the Commandments, in Faith, in Hope, in Charity, in the Communion of Saints, and your duty to your Su­preme, you must return to the bosome of your Mother the Church of ENGLAND from whence you have fallen, rather [Page 149]weakly then maliciously, and I doubt not but you will find the Comfort of it all your Life, and in the Day of your Death, and in the Day of Judgment. If you will not, yet I have freed mine own soule, and done an act of Duty and Charity, which at least you are bound to take kindly if you will not entertain it obe­diently.

Now let me adde this, that although most of these obje­ctions are such things which are the open and avowed do­ctrines or practices of your Church, and need not to be proved as being either notori­ous or confessed; yet if any of your Guides shall seem to question any thing of it, I will bind my selfe to verifie it to a [Page 150]tittle, and in that sense too which I intend them, that is, so as to be an objection obli­ging you to return, under the pain of folly or heresie, or dis­obedience, according to the sub­ject matter. And though I have propounded these things now to your consideration, yet if it be desired I shall represent them to your eye, so that even your self shall be able to give sentence in the behalf of truth. In the mean time give me leave to tell you of how much folly you are guilty in being moved by such mock-arguments as your men use when they meet with women and tender con­sciences and weaker understan­dings.

The first is; where was your Church before Luther? Now if [Page 151]you had called upon them to speak something against your religion from Scripture, or right reason, or Universal Tradition, you had been secure as a Tor­toise in her shell; a cart pressed with sheavs could not have op­pressed your cause or person; though you had confessed you understood nothing of the my­steries of succession doctrinal or personall. For if we can make it appeare that our religion was that which Christ and his Apo­stles taught, let the truth suffer what eclipses or prejudices can be supposed, let it be hid like the holy fire in the captivity, yet what Christ and his Apo­stles taught us is eternally true, and shall by some means or o­ther be conveyed to us; even the enemies of truth have been [Page 152]conservators of that truth by which we can confute their er­rors. But if you still aske where it was before Luther? I answer it was there where it was after; even in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament; and I know no warrant for any other religion; and if you will expect I should shew any society of men who pro­fessed all the doctrines which are now expressed in the con­fession of the Church of En­gland; I shall tell you it is unreasonable; because some of our truths are now brought into our publick confessions that they might be oppos'd against your errors; before the occasion of which there was no need of any such confessions, till you made many things necessa­ry [Page 153]to be professed, which are not lawfull to be believed. For if we believe your superinduc'd follies we shall do unreasona­bly, unconscionably, and wick­edly; but the questions them­selves are so uselesse abstract­ing from the accidental ne­cessity which your follies have brought upon us, that it had been happy if we had never heard of them more then the Saints and Martyrs did in the first ages of the Church; but because your Clergy have inva­ded the liberty of the Church, and multiplyed the dangers of damnation, and pretend new necessities, and have introduc'd new articles, and affright the simple upon new pretensions, and slight the very institution and the Commands of Christ [Page 154]and of the Apostles, and invent new Sacramentals constituting Ceremonies of their own head, and promise grace along with the use of them, as if they were not Ministers but Lords of the Spirit, and teach for doctrines the commandments of men, and make void the Commandment of God by their tradition, and have made a strange body of Divinity, therefore it is neces­sary that we should immure our Faith by the refusal of such vain and superstitious dreams: but our faith was completed at first, it is no other then that which was delivered to the Saints, and can be no more for ever.

So that it is a foolish demand to require that we should shew before Luther a systeme of Ar­ticles [Page 155]declaring our sense in these questions: It was long be­fore they were questions at all; and when they were made que­stions, they remained so, a long time; and when by their seve­rall pieces they were determi­ned, this part of the Church was oppressed with a violent pow­er; and when God gave oppor­tunity, then the yoke was bro­ken; and this is the whole pro­gresse of this affair. But if you will still insist upon it, then let the matter be put into equall ballances, and let them shew any Church whose confession of Faith was such as was obtru­ded upon you at Trent: and if your Religion be Pius Quartus his Creed at Trent, then we al­so have a question to ask, and that is, Where was your Religion before Trent?

The Councel of Trent deter­mined that the souls departed before the day of Judgment en­joy the Beatificall Vision. It is certain this Article could not be shewn in the Confession of any of the ancient Churches; for most of the Fathers were of another opinion. But that which is the greatest offence of Chri­stendome is not only that these doctrines which we say are false were yet affirmed, but that those things which the Church of God did alwayes reject, or held as Uncertain, should be made Articles of Faith, and so become parts of your religion; and of these it is that I again ask the question which none of your side shall ever be able to answer for you, Where was your Religion before Trent? I [Page 157]could instance in many particu­lars; but I shall name one to you, which because the thing of it self is of no great conse­quence, it will appear the more unreasonable and intolerable that your Church should adopt it into the things of necessary belief, especially since it was onely a matter of fact, and they took the false part too. For in the 21. Sess. Chap. 4. it is affir­med, That although the holy Fa­thers did give the Sacrament of the Eucharist to Infants, yet they did it without any necessity of sal­vation; that is, they did not be­lieve it necessary to their salva­tion, which is notoriously false, and the contrary is marked out with the black-lead of every man almost that reads their Works; and yet your Councel [Page 158]sayes this is sine controversiâ cre­dendum; to be believed with­out all controversie: and all Christians forbidden to believe or teach otherwise. So that here it is made an Article of Faith amongst you that a man shall neither believe his reason nor his eyes: and who can shew any confession of Faith in which all the Trent doctrine was professed and enjoyned under pain of damnation? De potest. Eccles. cons. 12. and be­fore the Councel of Constance, the doctrine touching the Popes power was so new, so decried, that as Gerson sayes he hardly should have escaped the note of Heresie that would have said so much as was there defined: so that in that Article which now makes a great part of your [Page 159]belief, where was your Religion before the Councel of Con­stance? and it is notorious that your Councel of Constance de­termined the doctrine of the half communion with a Non ob­stante to Christs institution, that is, with a defiance to it, or a no­ted, observed neglect of it, and with a profession it was other­wise in the Primitive Church. Where then was your Religion before John Hus and Hierom of Pragues time, against whom that Councel was convened? But by this instance it appears most certainly that your Church cannot shew her confessions im­mediately after Christ, and therefore if we could not shew ours immediately before Luther, it were not halfe so much; for since you receded from Christs [Page 160]Doctrine we might well recede from yours; and it matters not who or how many or how long they professed your doctrine, if neither Christ nor his Apo­stles did teach it: so that if these Articles constitute your Church, your Church was in­visible at the first, and if ours was invisible afterwards it mat­ters not; For yours was invisi­ble in the dayes of light, and ours was invisible in the dayes of dark­nesse. For our Church was al­wayes visible in the reflections of Scripture, and he that had his eyes of faith and reason might easily have seen these truths all the way which consti­tute our Church. But I adde yet farther, that our Church before Luther was there where your Church was, in the same [Page 161]place and in the same persons; for divers of the errors which have been amongst us reformed, were not the constituent Arti­cles of your Church before Lu­thers time; for before the last Councels of your Church a man might have been of your Com­munion upon easier terms; and Indulgences were indeed a pra­ctice, but no Article of Faith be­fore your men made it so, and that very lately, and so were many other things besides. So that although your men cozen the credulous and the simple by calling yours The old Religion, yet the difference is vast be­tween Truth and their affirma­tive, even as much as between old Errors and new Articles. For although Ignorance and Su­perstition had prepared the oare, [Page 162]yet the Councels of Constance and Basil, and Trent especially, were the forges and the mint.

Lastly, if your men had not by all the vile and violent arts of the world stopped the mouths of dissenters, the que­stion would quickly have been answered, or our Articles would have been so confessed, so ow­ned and so publick, that the question could never have been asked; but in despite of all op­position, there were great num­bers of professors who did pro­test and professe and practise our doctrines contrary to your Articles; as it is demonstrated by the Divines of Germany in Illyricus his Catalogus testium veritatis, and in Bishop Mortons appeale.

But with your next objection [Page 163]you are better pleased, and your men make most noise with it. For you pretend that by our confession salvation may be had in your Church; but your men deny it to us; and therefore by the confession of both sides you may be safe, and there is no question concerning you; but of us there is great question, for none but our selves say that we can be saved.

I answer; 1. That salvation may be had in your Church, is it ever the truer because we say it? If it be not, it can adde no confidence to you, for the pro­position gets no strength by our affirmative. But if it be, then our authority is good or else our reason; and if either be, then we have more reason to be believed speaking of our [Page 164]selves; because we are con­cerned to see that our selves may be in a state of hope; and therefore we would not venture on this side if we had not grea­ter reason to believe well of our selves then of you. And there­fore believe us when it is more likely that we have greater rea­son, because we have greater concernments, and therefore greater considerations.

2. As much charity as your men pretend us to speak of you, yet it is a clear case our hope of your salvation is so little that we dare not venture our selves on your side. The Burger of Oldwater being to passe a river in his journey to Daventry, bad his man try the ford; telling him he hoped he should not be drowned, for though he was a­fraid [Page 165]the River was too deep, ye he thought his horse would carry him out, or at least, the boats would fetch him off. Such a confidence we may have of you, but you will find that but little warranty, if you remem­ber how great an interest it is that you venture.

3. It would be remembred that though the best ground of your hope is not the goodnesse of your own faith, but the greatnesse of our charity; yet we that charitably hope well of you, have a fulnesse of assu­rance of the truth and certainty of our own way; and however you can please your selves with Images of things as having no firm footing for your trifling confidence, yet you can never with your tricks outface us of [Page 166]just and firm adherencies; and if you were not empty of sup­ports, and greedy of bulrushes snatching at any thing to sup­port your sinking cause, you would with fear and trembling consider the direct dangers which we demonstrate to you to be in your religion rather then flatter your selves with collateral, weak, and deceitful hopes of accidental possibili­ties, that some of you may es­cape.

4. If we be more charitable to you then you are to us, ac­knowledge in us the beauty and essential form of Christian Re­ligion; be sure you love as well as make use of our charity; but if you make our charity an argument against us, remember that you render us evil in ex­change [Page 167]change for good; and let it be no brag to you that you have not that charity to us; for therefore the Donatists were condemned for Hereticks and Schismaticks because they damn'd all the world, and affor­ded no charity to any that was not of their Communion.

5. But that our charity may be such indeed, that is, that it may do you a real benefit, and not turn into Wormwood and Colliquintida, I pray take no­tice in what sense it is that we allow salvation may possibly be had in your Church. We war­rant it not to any, we only hope it for some, we allow it to them as to the Sadduces in the Law, and to the Corinthians in the Gospel who denied the resur­rection; that is, till they were [Page 168]sufficiently instructed, and com­petently convinced, and had time and powers to out-wear their prejudices and the im­presses of their education and long perswasion. But to them amongst you who can and do consider and yet determine for error and interest, we have a greater charity, even so much as to labour and pray for their conversion, but not so much fondnesse as to flatter them into boldnesse and pertinacious ad­herencies to matters of so great danger.

6. But in all this affair though your men are very bold with God and leap into his judg­ment-seat before him, and give wild sentences concerning the salvation of your own party and the damnation of all that dis­agree, [Page 169]yet that which is our charity to you, is indeed the fear of God, and the reverence of his judgments; we do not say that all Papists are certainly damn'd; we wish and desire vehemently that none of you may perish; but then this cha­rity of judgment relates not to you, or is derived from any probability which we see in your doctrines that differ from ours; but because we know not what rate and value God puts upon the article; It con­cernes neither you nor us to say, this or that man shall be damn'd for his opinion; for be­sides that this is a bold intrusion into that secret of God which shall not be opened till the day of judgment, and besides that we know not what allayes and [Page 170]abatements are to be made by the good meaning & the igno­rance of the man; all that can concern us is to tell you that you are in error, that you de­part from Scripture, that you exercise tyranny over souls, that you leave the Divine insti­tution, and prevaricate Gods Commandement, that you di­vide the Church without truth and without necessity, that you tie men to believe things under pain of damnation which cannot be made very probable much less certain; and therefore that you sin against God and are in danger of his eternal displea­sure; but in giving the finall sentence as we have no more to do then your men have, yet so we refuse to follow your evil example; and we follow the [Page 171]glorious precedent of our Bles­sed Lord; who decreed and declared against the crime, but not against the Criminal before the day. He that does this, or that, is in danger of the Coun­cel, or in danger of judgment, or liable and obnoxious to the danger of hell fire; so we say of your greatest errors; they put you in the danger of pe­rishing; but that you shall or shall not perish, we leave it to your Judge; and if you call this charity, it is well, I am sure it is plety and the fear of God.

7. Whether you may be sa­ved, or whether you shall be damned for your errors, does neither depend upon our affir­mative nor your negative, but according to the rate and value which God sets upon things. [Page 172]Whatever we talk, things are as they are, not as we dispute, or grant, or hope; and there­fore it were well if your men would leave abusing you and themselves with these little arts of indirect support. For many men that are warranted, yet do eternally perish, and you in your Church damne millions who I doubt not shall reign with Jesus eternally in the Heavens.

8. I wish you would consi­der, that if any of our men say salvation may be had in your Church, it is not for the goodnesse of your new propo­sitions, but onely because you doe keep so much of that which is our Religion, that upon the confidence of that we hope well concerning you. And we [Page 173]doe not hope any thing at all that is good of you or your Re­ligion as it distinguishes from us and ours: we hope that the good which you have common with us may obtain pardon di­rectly or indirectly, or may be an antidote of the venome, and an amulet against the danger of your very great errors, so that if you can derive any confi­dence from our concession, you must remember where it takes root; not upon any thing of yours, but wholly upon the excellency of ours; you are not at all safe, or warranted for being Papists, but we hope well of some of you, for having so much of the Protestant: and if that wil doe you any good, pro­ceed in it, and follow it whi­thersoever it leads you.

9. The safety that you dream of which we say to be on your side, is nothing of al­lowance or warranty, but a hope that is collateral, indirect and relative; we doe not say any thing whereby you can con­clude yours to be safer then ours, for it is not safe at all, but extremely dangerous; we af­firm those errors in themselves to be damnable, some to con­tain in them Impiety, some to have Sacrilege, some Idolatry, some Superstition, some pra­ctices to be conjuring and char­ming and very like to Witch­craft, as in your hallowing of Water, and baptizing Bels, and exorcizing Demoniacks; and what safety there can be in these, or what you can fancy we should allow to you, I sup­pose [Page 175]you need not boast of. Now because we hope some are saved amongst you, you must not conclude yours to be safe; for our hope relies upon this. There are many of your propositions in which we differ from you, that thousands a­mongst you understand and know nothing of, it is to them as if they were not, it is to them now as it was before the Coun­cell, they hear not of it. And though your Priests have taken a course that the most ignorant do practise some of your abo­minations most grossely, yet we hope this will not be laid upon them who (as S. Austin's expression is) cautâ sollicitudine quarunt veritatem, corrigi parati cum invenerint: do according as they are able warily and di­ligently [Page 176]seek for truth, and are ready to follow it when they find it; men who live good lives, and repent of all their evils known and unknown. Now if we are not deceived in our hopes, these men shall re­joyce in the eternall goodnesse of God which prevailes over the malice of them that mis­guide you; but if we be decei­ved in our hopes of you, your guides have abus'd you, and the blind leaders of the blind will fall together. For,

10. If you will have the secret of this whole affair, this it is. The hopes we have of any of you, (as it is known) princi­pally relies upon the hopes of your repentance. Now we say that a man may repent of an er­ror which he knowes not of; [Page 177]as he that prayes heartily for the pardon of all his sins and errors known and unknown; by his generall repentance may obtain many degrees and in­stances of mercy. Now thus much also your men allow to us; these who live well, and die in a true though but general repentance of their sins and er­rors even amongst us your best and wisest men pronounce to be in a saveable condition. Here then we are equal, and we are as safe by your confession as you are by ours. But because there are some Bigots of your faction fierce and fiery who say that a general repentance will not serve our turns, but it must be a particular renunciation of Protestancy; these men deny not only to us but to them­selves [Page 178]too, all that comfort which they derive from our Concession, and indeed which they can hope for from the mercies of God. For be you sure we think as ill of your er­rors as you can suppose of our Articles; and therefore if for errors (be they on which side it chances) a generall repentance will not serve the turn without an actuall dereliction, then flat­ter not your selves by any thing of our kindnesse to your party; for you must have a particular if a generall be not sufficient. But if it be sufficient for you, it is so for us, in case we be in error as your men suppose us; but if it will not suffice us for rmedy to those errors you charge us with, neither will it suffice you; for the case must [Page 179]needs be equall as to the value of repentance and malignity of the error: and therefore these men condemn themselves and will not allow us to hope well of them; but if they will allow us to hope, it must be by affir­ming the value of a generall re­pentance; and if they allow that, they must hope as well of ours as we of theirs: but if they deny it to us, they deny it to themselves, and then they can no more brag of any thing of our concession. This onely I adde to this consideration; that your men doe not, cannot charge upō us any doctrine that is in its matter and effect im­pious; there is nothing positive in our doctrine, but is either true or innocent, but we are ac­cus'd for denying your super­structures: [Page 180]ours therefore (if we be deceived) is but like a sin of omission; yours are sins of commission in case you are in the wrong (as we believe you to be) and therefore you must needs be in the greater danger then we can be supposed, by how much sins of omission are lesse then sins of commission.

11. Your very way of argu­ing from your charity is a very fallacy and a trick that must needs deceive you if you rely upon it. For whereas your men argue thus: The Protestants say we Papists may be saved; and so say we too: but we Pa­pists say that you Protestants cannot, therefore it is safest to be a Papist; consider that of this argument if it shall be ac­cepted, any bold heretick can [Page 181]make use, against any modest Christian of a true perswasion. For, if he can but out-face the modesty of the good man, and tell him he shall be damn'd; unlesse that modest man say as much of him, you see impu­dence shal get the better of the day. But it is thus in every er­ror. Fifteen Bishops of Jerusa­lem in immediate succession were circumcised, believing it to be necessary so to be: with these other Christian Churches who were of the uncircumcisi­on did communicate: Suppose now that these Bishops had not onely thought it necessary for themselves but for others too; this argument you see was rea­dy: you of the uncircumcision who doe communicate with us, think that we may be saved [Page 182]though we are circumcised, but we doe not think that you who are not circumcised can be sa­ved, therefore it is the safest way to be circumcised: I sup­pose you would not have thought their argument good, neither would you have had your children circumcised. But this argument may serve the Presbyterians as well as the Papists. We are indeed very kind to them in our sentences concerning their salvation; and they are many of them as un­kind to us; If they should ar­gue so as you doe, and say, you Episcopall men think we Pres­byterians though in errors can be saved, and we say so too: but we think you Episcopal men are Enemies of the King­dome of Jesus Christ; and [Page 183]therefore we think you in a damnable condition, therefore it is safer to be a Presbyterian; I know not what your men would think of the argument in their hands, I am sure we had reason to complain that we are used very ill on both hands for no other cause but because we are charitable. But it is not our case alone; but the old Catho­licks were used just so by the Donatists in this very argu­ment, as we are used hy your men. The Donatists were so fierce against the Catholicks, that they would re-baptize all them who came to their Chur­ches from the other: But the Catholicks, as knowing the Donatists did give right Ba­ptisme, admitted their Con­verts to Repentance, but did [Page 184]not re-baptize them. Upon this score, the Donatists triumphed, saying, You Catholicks con­fesse our Baptisme to be good, and so say we: But we Dona­tists deny your Baptisme to be good; therefore it is safer to be of our side then yours. Now what should the Catholicks say or doe? Should they lie for God and for Religion, and to serve the ends of Truth say the Donatists Baptisme was not good? That they ought not. Should they damne all the Do­natists, and make the rent wi­der? It was too great already. What then? They were quiet, and knew that the Donatists sought advantages by their own fiercenesse, and trampled upon the others charity; but so they hardened themselves in error, [Page 185]and became evill, because the others were good.

I shall trouble you no further now, but desire you to consider of these things with as much caution, as they were written with charity.

Till I hear from you, I shall pray to God to open your heart and your understanding, that you may return from whence you are fallen, and repent, and do your first work. Which that you may doe, is the hearty de­sire of

Your very affectionate Friend and Servant, JER: TAYLOR.

The Second Letter: Written to a Person newly converted to the Church of Eng­land.

MADAM,

I Blesse GOD I am safely ar­rived where I desired to be after my unwilling depar­ture from the place of your a­bode and danger: And now be­cause I can have no other ex­pression of my tendernesse, I account that I have a treble Obligation to signifie it by my care of your biggest and eter­nall [Page 188]interest. And because it hath pleased God to make me an Instrument of making you to understand in some fair mea­sure the excellencies of a true and holy Religion, and that I have pointed out such follies and errours in the Roman Church, at which your under­standing being forward and pregnant, did of it self start as at imperfect ill-looking Propo­sitions, give me leave to doe that now which is the purpose of my Charity, that is, teach you to turn this to the advan­tage of a holy life, that you may not only be changed but converted. For the Church of England whither you are now come is not in condition to boast her self in the reputation of changing the opinion of a [Page 189]single person, though never so excellent; She hath no tem­porall ends to serve which must stand upon fame and noises; all that she can design, is to serve God, to advance the ho­nour of the Lord, and the good of souls, and to rejoyce in the Crosse of Christ.

First, Therefore I desire you to remember that as now you are taught to pray both pub­lickly and privately, in a Lan­guage understood, so it is inten­ded your affections should be forward, in proportion to the advantages which your prayer hath in the understanding part. For though you have been of­ten told and have heard, that ignorance is the Mother of de­votion, you will find that the proposition is unnaturall and a­gainst [Page 190]common sense and ex­perience; because it is impossi­ble to desire that of which we know nothing, unlesse the de­sire it self be fantasticall and illusive: it is necessary that in the same proportion in which we understand any good thing, in the same we shall also desire it, and the more particular and minute your notices are, the more passionate and materiall also your affections will be to­wards it; and if they be good things for which we are taught to pray, the more you know them the more reason you have to love them; It is monstrous to think that devotion, that is, passionate desires of religious things, and the earnest prose­cutions of them should be pro­duced by any thing of ignorance [Page 191]or less perfect notices in any sense. Since therefore you are taught to pray, so that your understanding is the praecentor or the Master of the Quire, and you know what you say; your desires are made humane, religious, expresse, materiall (for these are the advantages of prayers and Liturgies well understood) be pleased also to remember, that now if you be not also passionate and devout for the things you mention, you will want the Spirit of prayer, and be more inexcusa­ble then before. In many of your prayers before (especially the publique) you heard a voice but saw and perceived nothing of the sense, and what you understood of it was like the man in the Gospel that was [Page 192]half blind, he saw men walking like Trees, and so you possibly might perceive the meaning of it in generall; You knew when they came to the Epistle, when to the Gospel, when the In­troit, when the Pax, when any of the other more generall pe­riods were; but you could have nothing of the Spirit of prayer, that is, nothing of the devotion and the holy affecti­ons to the particular excellen­cies which could or ought there to have been represented, but now you are taught how you may be really devout, it is made facil and easie, and there can want nothing but your consent and observation.

2. Whereas now you are ta­ken off from all humane con­fidences, from relying wholly [Page 193]and almost ultimately upon the Priests power and exter­nall act, from reckoning pray­ers by numbers, from forms and out-sides, you are not to think that the Priests power is lesse, that the Sacraments are not effective, that your prayers may not be repeated frequently; but you are to re­member, that all outward things and Ceremonies, all Sa­craments and Institutions work their effect in the vertue of Christ, by some morall In­strument; The Priests in the Church of England can absolve you as much as the Roman Priests could fairly pretend; but then we teach that you must first be a penitent and a returning person, and our ab­solution does but manifest the [Page 194]work of God, and comfort and instruct your Conscience, direct and manage it; You shall be absolved here, but not unlesse you live an holy life; So that in this you will find no change but to the advan­tage of a strict life; we will not flatter you and cozen your dear soul by pretended mi­nisteries, but we so order our discourses and directions that all our ministrations may be really effective, and when you receive the holy Sacrament of the Eucharist, or the Lords Supper, it does more good here then they doe there, be­cause if they consecrate ritely, yet they doe not communicate you fully; and if they offer the whole representative Sacrifice, yet they doe not give you the [Page 195]whole Sacrament; onely we enjoyn that you come with so much holinesse, that the grace of God in your heart may be the principall, and the Sacra­ment in our hands may be the ministring and assisting part: we doe not promise great ef­fects to easie trifling disposi­tions, because we would not deceive, but really procure to you great effects; and there­fore you are now to come to our offices with the same ex­pectations as before, of pardon, of grace, of sanctification; but you must doe something more of the work your self, that we may not doe lesse in effect then you have in your expecta­tion; We will not to advance the reputation of our power de­ceive you into a less blessing.

3. Be carefull that you doe not flatter your self, that in our Communion you may have more ease and liberty of life; for though I know your pious soul desires passionately to please God and to live religi­ously, yet I ought to be care­full to prevent a temptation, lest it at any time should dis­compose your severity: There­fore as to confession to a Priest (which how it is usually practi­sed amongst the Roman party, your self can very well account, and you have complain'd sadly, that it is made an ordinary act, easie and transient, sometime matter of temptation, often­times impertinent, but) sup­pose it free from such scandall to which some mens folly did betray it, yet the same severity [Page 197]you'l find among us; for though we will not tell a lye to help a sinner, and say that is necessary which is only ap­pointed to make men doe themselves good, yet we ad­vise and commend it, and doe all the work of souls to all those people that will be sa­ved by all means; to deout persons, that make Religion the businesse of their lives, and they that doe not so in the Churches of the Roman Com­munion, as they find but little advantage by peroidical con­fessions, so they feel but little awfulnesse and severity by the injunction; you must confesse to God all your secret actions, you must advise with a holy man in all the affairs of your soul, you will be but an ill [Page 198]friend to your self if you con­ceale from him the state of your spirituall affairs: We de­sire not to hear the circum­stance of every sinne, but when matter of justice is concerned, or the nature of the sinne is changed, that is, when it ought to be made a Question; and you will find that though the Church of England gives you much liberty from the bon­dage of innumerable Ceremo­nies and humane devices, yet in the matter of holinesse you will be tied to very great ser­vice, but such a service as is perfect freedome, that is, the service of God and the love of the holy Jesus, and a very strict religious life; for we doe not promise heaven, but upon the same terms it is promised us, [Page 199]that is, Repentance towards God and Faith in our Lord Jesus: and as in faith we make no more to be necessary then what is made so in holy Scri­pture, so in the matter of Re­pentance we give you no easie devices, and suffer no lessening definitions of it, but oblige you to that strictnesse which is the condition of being saved, and so expressed to be by the infal­lible Word of God; but such as in the Church of Rome they doe not so much stand upon.

Madam, I am weary of my Journey, and although I did purpose to have spoken many things more, yet I desire that my not doing it may be laid upon the account of my weari­nesse, [Page 200]all that I shall adde to the maine businesse is this.

4. Read the Scripture dili­gently, and with an humble spirit, and in it observe what is plain, and believe and live accordingly. Trouble not your self with what is difficult, for in that your duty is not descri­bed.

5. Pray frequently and ef­fectually; I had rather your prayers should be often then long. It was well said of Pe­trarch, Magno verborum fraeno uti decet cum superiore colloquen­tem. When you speak to your superiour you ought to have a bridle upon your tongue, much more when you speak to God. I speak of what is decent in re­spect of our selves and our in­finite [Page 201]distances from God: but if love makes you speak, speak on, so shall your prayers be full of charity and devotion, Nullus est amore superior, ille te coget ad veniam, qui me ad multilo­quium; Love makes God to be our friend, and our ap­proches more united and ac­ceptable; and therefore you may say to God, the same love which made me speak, will also move thee to hear and par­don: Love and devotion may enlarge your Letanies, but no­thing else can, unlesse Autho­rity does interpose.

6. Be curious not to com­municate but with the true Sonnes of the Church of En­gland, lest if you follow them that were amongst us, but [Page 202]are gone out from us, because they were not of us) you be offended and tempted to im­pute their follies to the Church of England.

7. Trouble your self with no controversies willingly, but how you may best please God by a strict and severe conversation.

8. If any Protestant live loosely, remember that he dishonours an excellent Reli­gion, and that it may be no more laid upon the charge of our Church, then the ill lives of most Christians may upon the whole Religion.

9. Let no man or woman affright you with declamations and scaring words of Heretick, and Damnation, and Changeable; [Page 203]for these words may be spoken against them that return to light, as well as to those that goe to darknesse, and that which men of all sides can say, it can be of effect to no side upon its own strength or pre­tension.

The End.

Post-script.

MADAM,

IF you shall think it fit that these papers passe further then your own eye and Closet, I desire they may be consig'nd into the hands of my worthy friend Dr. Wedderburne: For I doe not only expose all my sicknesse to his cure, but I submit my weak­nesses to his censure, being as con­fident to find of him charity for what is pardonable, as remedy for what is curable: but indeed Ma­dam I look upon that worthy man as an Idea of friendship, and if I had no other notices of Friend­ship or conversation to instruct me then his, it were sufficient: For [Page]whatsoever I can say of Friend­ship, I can say of his, and as all that know him reckon him a­mongst the best Physicians, so I knew him worthy to be reckoned a­mongst the best friends.

A Catalogue of some Books Printed for R. Royston at the Angel in Ivie-lane, London.

I. Books written by H Hammond, D.D.

A Paraphrase and Annotati­ons upon all the Books of the New Test. in fol.

2. The Practical Catechisme, with other English Treatises of the same Author, in two vol. 4.

3. Dissertationes quatuor, qui­bus Episcopatûs Jura ex S. Scri­pturis & Primaeva Antiquitate adstruuntur, contra sententiam D. Blondelii & aliorum. in 4.

4. A Letter of Resolution of six Queries. in 12.

5. Of Schisme. A Defence of the Church of Engl. against the Exceptions of the Roma­nists. in 12.

6. Of Fundamentals in a no­tion referring to practice. in 12.

7. Paraenesis, or seasonable exhortatory to all true sons of the Church of England. in 12.

8. A Collection of several Replies and Vindications, most of them in defence of the Church of England, lately pub­lished in three Volumes in 4.

9. A Review of the Para­phrase and Annotations on all the Books of the New Testa­ment, with some additions and alterations, in 8.

II. Books and Sermons written by Jer: Taylor, D.D. viz.

[...], A Course of Ser­mons for all the Sundayes of the Year; together with a Discourse of the Divine Insti­tution, Necessity, Sacrednesse and Separation of the Office Ministeriall, in fol.

2. The History of the Life and Death of the Ever-blessed Jesus Christ, second Edition, in fol.

3. The Rule and Exercises of Holy Living, in 12.

4. The Rule and Exercise [...] of Holy Dying, in 12.

5. The Golden Grove, [...] A Manual of daily Prayers [...] ­ted [Page]to the dayes of the Week, together with a short method of Peace and Holinesse, in 12.

6. The Doctrine and Pra­ctice of Repentance rescued from Popular Errours, in a large 8. Newly published.

7. A Collection of Polemi­cal and Moral Discourses, in fol. Newly published.

The Mysterie of Jesuitisme, discovered in certain Letters, Written upon occasion of the pre­sent differences at Sorbonne, be­tween the Jansenists and the Mo­linists. New.

III. Books written by M. Th: Pierce, Rector of Brington.

1. THe Sinner Impleaded in his own Court, wherein are re­presented the great discouragements from Sinning, which the Sinner re­ceiveth from Sin it self.

2. A Correct Copy of some Notes concernig Gods Decrees, es­pecially of Reprobation. The 2. E­dition. Now at the Presse with some Additionals.

3. The Divine Philanthropie de­fended.

4. The Divine Verity defended.

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