A Bridle for the Tongue: OR, THE Trial and Condemnation OF WHISPERING-BACKBITER.

Being a profitable and pleasant Discourse, designed as an ESSAY to detect the Sin of Detraction, an Evil too common in this Age.

If any Man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his Tongue,—this Man's Religion is vain: James 1. 26.
landerous and malicious words discover the Evil of the Heart. Aristotle.
have opened my Mouth in a Parable: Psal. 78. 2
And used Similitudes; Hosea 12. 10.

LONDON; Printed for the Author, and sold by M. Fabian at Mercers-Chappel in Cheapside 1700.

To the Cordial and Single-hearted READERS.

My Friends and Country-men;

THIS small Tract was at spare times committed to Writing some years ago, with thoughts of sending it out into the World, but it was obstructed by a twofold Dis­couragement: First, Its vulgar Habit, or plain Dress, it being destitute of those high strains of Rhetorical Flourishes now in fashion; this, together with the Cost of changing the Character from Manu­script into Print, so powerfully check'd my Intentions, that I laid it by to sleep; but some having read it, and others having heard of it, have incouraged me to awake it, and send it forth into the World in its plain Dealing and mean Dress; so that I am willing to run the hazard both of its acceptance and success: Know­ing before-hand, there are some hard to be humoured in point of Curiosity, and others so sowr that nothing can please. We may also meet with some that will only study to cavil and pick Quarrels with it; but I am resolv'd before-hand to take no notice of it, knowing that one of the best ways to kill an Injury is by Con­tempt. Cordial Reader, to such I send it: know this, that the Tongue is that instrumental Member, by which Words are utter'd. Solomon informs us, That Life and Death are in the power of the Tongue, Prov. 18. 21. So that it's either a Tree of Life, Prov. 15. 4. or a sharp Sword, Psal. 64. 3. If the Tongue be a Fire, that is, either lighted with a Coal [Page 4] from God's Altar, or else is set on fire of Hell, James 3. 6. if not guided by the Bridle of God's Word; it's only those that have been under the Lash of that Rod that are best capable to judg of the Smart. I would not be taken for one that measures Mens Worth by their Applause or Esteem amongst the Vul­gar: for common Report hath many times a Blister upon the Tongue. Some there are that can find no medium when they are disposed to make others the Subject of their Discourse, but must either Diabolize them, or Canonize them for Saints: Like those barba­rous Highlanders concerning Paul, Acts 28. 4-6. Ei­ther they are Murderers, and so the worst of Men; or else that the Gods are come down. Some are of so un­lucky a Disposition, that they can sport themselves in playing the Butcher with the Reputation of others; like that cruel Duke of Savoy, that took pleasure in blinding and tormenting the innocent Birds: There are others whose Words do eat like a Canker, more privately. Eliphas counts it a Mercy to be hid from the Scourge of the Tongue, Job 15. 21. Yet, Rea­der, if it be thy lot, be not too impatient under it; it may, by the good Providence of God, prove a Scourge to drive thee closer to thy Duty, and nearer to him. Let me desire thee to peruse these ensuing Lines without prejudice, and take up the same Reso­lution with holy David, Psal. 39. 1. do not offend with thy Tongue, keep thy Mouth as with a Bridle. So I commend it to thy perusal, who am a Friend to all Lovers of Truth and Peace,

E. P.

A Brief NARRATIVE of the Appre­hending, Trial, and Condemnation of Whispering-Backbiter. Written by the Author in the Country, in a Letter to his Friend in the City.

Honoured Sir;

I Give you Thanks for your last obliging Lines; I have nothing of moment to communicate to you, save only the Detection of a mis­chievous Criminal, who it seems was ap­pearing in Disguise, admitted a Freeman of our Corporation of Christ-Church, and hath insensibly infected not only our Corporation, but also the whole Country of Christianity. Tho I doubt not but you have heard of the mischievous Effects of his pernicious Acts, yet I presume it will not be ungrateful to you, if I give you a Breviate of the whole Proceedings against him in these Parts: Which, as near as I could collect, take as follows.

1. His Father was of the City of Crete; and you know it upon Record, Titus 1. 12. that the Cretians were always Liars; and his Mother was an Athenian, whose Custom it was to hear and tell some new thing, Acts 17. 21. They having only one Child, who much resembled them both, they jointly agreed to call his Name Whispering-Backbiter: [Page 6] and tho, Sir, you know that some­times pious Parents have a wicked Offspring; for Grace is not entail'd to natural Descent; so wicked Parents may have pious Children. Even so it was hoped that Whispering-Backbiter had seen the Evil of his Parents ways, and was so far seemingly reform'd, that he renounc'd the Name given him by his Parents, and enter'd himself a Freeman of the Corporation of Christ-Church, &c. resolving upon a Reformation, he ingag'd to be a true Subject thereof, and perform'd his Corpora­tion-Vow for a time, being asham'd of his for­mer Name, and saw that the Freemen of Christ's Church must not act like either the Cretians or Athenians: Neither would the Corporation of Christ-Church allow his Nature to answer to his former Name, of Whispering-Backbiter, it be­ing directly opposite to his new Name of Chri­stianity: Moreover, he had been both instructed into, and had often read over the Charter of our Corporation. But,

2. In the next place, Christianity is an honoura­ble Name; so many lay claim to it, without just Title, as was too evident in this seeming Con­vert, who only chang'd his Name, but his Nature was not changed, and he trod in the steps of his natural, but degenerate Parents; we hoped he had been in love with the Work in use in our Corpo­ration of Christ-Church, namely, the mortifying of Corruptions, and a crucifying of the Flesh, with the Affections and Lusts thereof; Rom. 8. 13. Gal. 5. 2. tho alas, he quickly grew weary of [Page 7] this Work, and inclin'd to the steps of his Pa­rents, tho there had been no want of Means to instruct him, that the Snuffers of the Sanctuary must be of pure Gold, yea and the Snuff-dishes also, to shew that the Reporters and Receivers of others faults must be sure to be innocent themselves, Exod. 37. 23. But alas, he would pick up Reports right or wrong, true or false, and disperse them for currant Coin, tho in a dis­guise, till it came at last to be discovered, by that great strangeness and want of Love that hath ap­peared in the several Companies of our Corpora­tion. But there having some discovery been made of the preposterous Criminal, Information was given to the Recorder of our City and Cor­poration, the honourable Mr. Church-Discipline, who gave speedy Information to the Lord Chief Justice Fear-God, who is one ready to right the wronged, and to repair the damaged: So he forthwith grants his Warrant, issued out under the Great Seal, and by the Authority of our Sove­raign, to seize and apprehend the Criminal. The Warrant, as I remember, runs thus, or to this effect.

TO all Mayors, Sheriffs, Justices of the Peace, Constables and Headboroughs, in this our Corporation of Christ-Church, and Country of Christianity: Whereas Information hath been given in to the Recorder of our City and Corporation, the honourable Mr. Church-Discipline, of the un­lawful Practice, and ill-behaviour of a mischievous [Page 8] Member of our Corporation, who is properly known by the Name of Whispering-Backbiter, who for sometime hath gone about sowing Contention, de­stroying of Ʋnity, and breaking the Peace of our Corporation and Commonwealth. This is therefore, by the Authority aforesaid, to will and require you, and every of you, upon sight hereof, forthwith to make diligent search in your respective Liberties for the Criminal aforesaid—And when you have seized him, have him before the next Justice of the Peace, in order to his Commitment to the next Prison, to answer to such Crimes as are laid to his Charge the next Sessions of the Peace, to be holden in our Corporation: And herein you are not to fail. Signed by me L. C. J. Fear-God.

This Warrant was sent to the High-Constable of the Hundred of Try-all, his Name was Exami­nation; who having received the Warrant, takes with him the Petty-Constable, or Headborough, whose Name was Prove-all: So they search'd their own Houses first, as resolving to see they were clear of Backbiter at home, before they went to look for him abroad. First, Because they would give no offence to their Neighbours, by any shew of Partiality. And, secondly, Because they that are clear at home, are the fittest to examine and prove others. Thus they went, taking the Houses in order till they came almost through the Sub­urbs of our Corporation; they took up one on suspicion, her Name proved to be Mrs. Busi­body; and a Man also, for this Whispering-Back­biter [Page 9] goes sometimes in Mens Apparel, and some­times in Womens: this Mrs. Busibody's House was all out of order, and they asking her why she let her House lie so, she said she had so much bu­siness abroad, that she had no time to set in order things at home; so the Constable reproved her, telling her that the Lord of our Country allows of no such Custom, Luke 6. 41. and will have his Sub­jects to cast away their own Beam, before they look abroad for the Mote of others, shewing her it was dishonourable to our Soveraign. The Man they took up on suspicion, his Name was Mr. Liar, so they examin'd him, and found him in many false Stories; and then they asked him, if he knew one Whispering-Backbiter, that liv'd there or thereabouts: Yes, said Liar, I know him to be a good orderly Person, and a Christian too, and is respected and entertained by several in our Sub­urbs; he is my near Kinsman, we are Brothers and Sisters Children; my Mother was a Cretian, and so was his Father; good People, saith Liar.

Constable.

Shew me where your Kinsman lives.

No, said Liar, I know you have some wicked design. So they sharply reprov'd Liar, and went on; and as they passed along, they met with a Freeman's Wife of the Corporation, whose Name was Godly Jealousy: they enquired of her for Backbiter's House; she shakes her Head, wishing that Corruption of the Flesh, and Delusion of the wicked one were destroyed, that the Spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.

Constable.

That is design'd by our Soveraign.

Jealousy.
[Page 10]

You must go towards the outside of the Suburbs, and enquire for Prittle-prattle­street, and go up near the upper end, where you will see the sign of two Faces under a Hood, just at the corner of Dissembling-Alley. So they gave her thanks for her Directions, and went directly to Backbiter's House, and seiz'd him; but he huft and bounc'd, and told them he valued none of them of a farthing.

Constable.

Mr. Backbiter, the innocenter you are, the better it will be for you. So they had him along, but he would fain have been let go, and endeavoured to make his Escape, but they were able to manage him: Then he threatens them, say­ing he was not the Person. O, said Examination the H. Constable, search thy own Heart as we have searched for thee! Ay, said the Petty Constable Prove-all, it will appear whether thou art the Man, when thou comest to thy Trial. So they had him before Justice Order, who was also Sheriff for the Corporation and County that year, who takes him into Examination; but Backbiter de­nies his Name, and saith he scorns it. And please your Worship, said he, I had that Name given me by my Parents, but I renounced it.

Justice.

Pray, what may one call your Name now?

Prisoner. Christian, and please your Worship.

Ay, said Justice Order, and a disorderly one too; I have heard you changed your Name, but your Nature was never changed, as your im­moral Actions have demonstrated. I find you [Page 11] are the Person, and to Prison you shall go.

Backbiter.

I intreat your Worship to accept of Bail.

Justice.

Who are your Bail, Mr. Backbiter?

Backbiter.

Sir, I have a Kinswoman, Madam Fawning Widow, and Henry Hypocrite Esq;.

Justice.

No, Sirrah, I shall accept of no such Bail. Clerk, write his Mittimus, which runs to this effect.

‘To Nathaniel Newman, Prison-Keeper of the Corporation and County of Christ-Church and Christianity: This is to require you to take into safe Custody the Body of the Prisoner Mr. Whispering-Backbiter, and you shall keep him in close Confinement till he shall be dis­charged by due course of Law; for the which this Mittimus shall be your Warrant.’
Backbiter.

I pray your Worship to accept of Bail: I have a third Person, my near Kinsman, he is worth a thousand Pounds, and he is willing to be bound Body for Body for me.

Justice.

Where doth your Kinsman live? and what is his Name?

Backbiter.

And please you, Sir, his Name is Mr. Levi Liar, he lives in Prating-Row.

Justice.

If he were worth ten thousand Pounds, I would not take his word for a farthing.

The Constable and Headborough conduct him safely to Prison, and deliver him with the Mitti­mus into the hands and care of the Prison-Keeper, [Page 12] &c. Now Backbiter is much dejected: if you had been there and put your Ear to the Key-hole, you might have heard him mutter out these melancholy Verses.

Alas, alas, have I backbited many,
And whisper'd Falshoods into others Ears?
I little thought it should be known by any;
Alas, on the House-top it all appears!
The Mask I wore is pulled off my Face;
I think upon the Evil I have done:
I see there's coming on me great Disgrace,
And from it I can see no way to run.

THE Sessions being come, the Right Ho­nourable the Lord Chief Justice Fear-God is the Judg, with the honourable Mr. Rule-well Mayor, and Justice Order Sheriff; and Mr. Church-Discipline Recorder, as also the Attorny-General to prosecute the Laws of our Soveraign against the Criminal, with the Under-Sheriff Mr. Learn-Rule; with other Justices of the Peace and Quo­rum. The Bench being sat, the Sheriff com­mands the Prison-Keeper Mr. Newman to put Backbiter to the Bar, which is done accordingly. Then the Judg proceeds to read his Commission, which impowered him to hear Causes, and de­termine Matters in behalf of our Soveraign, and the great Charter of our Corporation and Common­wealth. In the said Commission was also inserted, [Page 13] the Duty of Mr. Rule-well the Mayor, and Mr. Church-Discipline Recorder; shewing that they must act in conjunction with the Judg, the ho­nourable Fear-God, for the suppressing all Dis­orders, that Justice be not perverted, the Innocent wronged, and the Guilty go free, but that the Right of all Heaven-born Subjects be preserved in Life, Name and Substance, according to that Statute-Law given to qualify Rulers, 2 Sam. 23. 3. He that ruleth amongst Men must be just, ruling in the fear of God: In which Diligence is re­quired, Rom. 12. 8. He that ruleth, with Diligence. That they must not judg according to outward appearance, but judg righteous Judgment; Joh. 7. 24. without knowing of Faces, or partially fa­vouring of Causes, &c.

The Jury being warned to appear, Mr. Ready-Scribe, Clerk of the Sessions, is commanded to read over their Names, and Mr. Conscience the Crier to call them by Name distinctly. The Clerk reads the List of their Names; and the Crier calls them aloud by Name.

  • Hate-Strife,
  • Love-Brother,
  • Society,
  • Condescension,
  • Patience,
  • Plain-dealing,
  • Faithful,
  • Charity,
  • Hope-well,
  • Pray-well,
  • Humility,
  • Concord.

Good Men and true. Stand forth and hear your Charge.

Crier.
[Page 14]

Silence about the Court there.

Judg.

Gentlemen of the Jury, you shall care­fully hear, and faithfully and impartially try the Cause depending betwixt our Soveraign and the Prisoner at the Bar; and according to the Evi­dence, and the Oath you have taken, a faithful and just Verdict you shall bring in according to the best of your Understandings; and so the Lord help and direct you. Whispering-Backbiter, Hold up thy Hand. Clerk of the Sessions, read his Indict­ment, which runs to this effect.

Clerk.

Whispering-Backbiter, Thou standest here indicted by the Name of Whispering-Backbiter; thou wast made free of this honourable Corpora­tion of Christ-Church, and admitted to the Pri­vileges thereof, as a Member of the same: But thou not having the Fear of God so before thine Eyes as thou oughtest to have had, hast been guilty of many foul Crimes; not only in offering Violence to our Sheriff, Mr. Order, and the Re­corder Mr. Church-Discipline, Persons to be highly honoured and esteemed in our Corporation, who are as Walls to our City; yea, thou hast been guilty of wounding of Love-Truth in his Name and Livelihood by thy laying him on the back­side; thou hast broken the Peace, and sowed and stirred up Strife in the Corporation, and Discord amongst Brethren; thou hast broken both the old and new Charters of our Corporation: Herein thou hast manifested not only the breach of thy Corporation-Oath, but also thy great Insolency and Rebellion against our Soveraign Lord, his Crown, and Dignity.

Judg.
[Page 15]

Mr. Backbiter, What canst thou say to this thy Indictment? Art thou guilty or not guilty?

Prisoner.

My Lord, I am indicted by a wrong Name; I changed my Name, as I told the Wor­shipful the Sheriff; my Name is Christian Pro­fessor, my Lord.

Sheriff Order. Yes, Mr. Backbiter, you did tell me of changing your old Name for a new; but you shewed no signs of any other change, no new Birth, no new Creature, or Newness of Life, in Qualities or Qualifications; and what advantage is it to have a new Name, when the old Man with his Deeds is not put off? Ephes. 4. 22. Rev. 3. 1.

Backbiter.

If I must go by this odious Name of Whispering-Backbiter, I must be content to bear it as my Burden, but I hoped my new would have carried me above all suspicion; or at least have preserved me from being called into question.

Recorder.

It will appear in his Trial, whether he be the Person expressed in the Indictment or not.

Judg.

What sayst thou? Art thou guilty or not guilty?

Backbiter.

I beseech your Lordship, that I may have the Liberties and Privileges of a Freeman; there are two of the Jury especially that I have great reason to object against, for I know they are diametrically opposite to me in their Minds and Dispositions.

Judg.

Who are the Persons you object against?

Backbiter.

My Lord, there is the Foreman, Mr. Hate-Strife, I cannot endure him; and the last Man Mr. Concord: and there is Mr. Charity, [Page 16] and Mr. Society, Men that have no kindness for me; yea I can justly object against them all.

Judg.

No, Sirrah, we know them to be good, faithful and honourable Persons; by the same rule you may object against Me, the Mayor, She­riff and Recorder. Answer to thy Indictment.

Backbiter.

I hope your Lordship will allow me to have a Counsel, for I cannot speak in my own Defence as some can.

Judg.

Yes, you shall be allowed the favour of a Counsel.

Backbiter.

I thank your Lordship.

Judg.

Answer: Art thou guilty or not guilty?

Backbiter.

Not guilty, my Lord.

Judg.

By whom wilt thou be tried?

Backbiter.

By my Soveraign and my Country.

Attorney General.

If your Lordship pleaseth, I shall open the Cause by way of Breviate, and shall discover the Disposition and manner of the Life and Actions of Backbiter ever since I was Discipline Recorder of our Corporation.

Judg.

Do so; but pray with what brevity you can.

Attorney General.

As for the Man, he is to be considered in the common Gender, Man or Wo­man: Some of the learned in our Laws, upon that Statute, Levit. 19. 16. compare him to a Pedlar, who carries Wares about to utter and dispose of to Customers: So he carries Reports and Tales from House to House. Another saith, on that Statute, Psal. 15. 3. He that backbiteth not with his Tongue, &c. or slandereth not, defameth not [Page 17] the Hebrew word ( [...]) from whence Regel a Foot is derived, properly notes a going to and fro, prying and spying, and carrying Tales and Rumours; and is used for defaming or calumnia­ting by craft or guile, as Ainsworth saith, Back­biting is used for all crafty deceitful abuse of the Tongue. Backbiters and Whisperers, saith Down­ham, go about after the manner of Spies, go up and down dissembling their Malice, that they may spy the Faults and Defects of others, of which they make a malicious relation to such as will give ear to the Slander: So that backbiting is a mali­cious defaming of one behind his back. A Back­biter speaketh openly evil of another behind his back: but Whisperer signifies privacy; the de­sign of whispering and backbiting is, the one to separate Friendship, the other to hinder ones Fame: Saith Mr. Leigh in his Crit. Sac. Obtrectatio or Detractio. Psal. 120. 3, 4. A deceitful Tongue, and a false Tongue are sharp Arrows of the Al­mighty, with Coals of Juniper, which are the hot­test Coals of all Wood, must be their Portion. It's one that by false or true report doth hurt the Name or Credit of another behind his back; and is expressed in our Charters, both old and new, under these six acceptations; a Slanderer, a false Accuser, a Whisperer, a Backbiter, a Tale-bearer, or Defamer, &c. and is ranked with the greatest of Criminals; Rom. 1. 30. Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, Boasters, &c. 2 Cor. 12. 20. Envyings, Wrath, Strife, Backbitings, Whis­perings, [Page 18] Swellings, Tumults: these go in con­junction. This is the Person that would fain be called Christian, the effects of whose Actions are so fatally hurtful to the Peace and Prosperity of our Corporation of Christ-Church, to the destroying of Christian Friendship, as further will appear.

Judg.

These are intolerable things, not to be suffered in the City or Country of Christianity: yea, the permitting such may be of a dangerous tendency; For he that bridles not his Tongue, his Religion is vain: James 1. 26.

Sheriff.

And please your Lordship, let the Evi­dence against Backbiter be called.

Judg.

Mr. Clerk, let the first Evidence be called.

Clerk.

Crier, call Mr. Moral-Heathen.

Crier.

Mr. Heathen, O yes, O yes, Mr. Moral-Heathen. Here: Ready, Sir; but I cannot get in. Make way for the Evidence there. He is sworn.

Judg.

Mr. Moral-Heathen; Do you know the Prisoner at the Bar?

Heathen.

Yes, my Lord.

Judg.

How long have you known him?

Heathen.

But since I came into the Coast of Christianity: And I have wondered to hear him defame others, and be suffered so long. Socrates, one of our Philosophers, saith, there is not a worse thing than a deceitful and defaming Tongue. Yea, my Lord, the Life and Acts of Whispering▪ Backbiter contradict the Doctrine taught us. [Page 19] Plato saith, We must not believe him that slanders or tells a Lie of another; for in like manner will he bely thee to another Man. It's the Caution of Philotas to beware of Spies and Tale-bearers. Yea, when that Alexander the Great heard of another's Defamation, he clapt his Finger on his Lips, conjuring as it were a strict silence of another's Disgrace. Theophrastus taught us, that it were safer to trust an unbridled Horse, than an untempered Speech, or an unbridled Tongue. It's foolish to let Words want Excuses or Apologies afterwards: For our Zeno taught that we should dip our Tongue in our Mind before we permit it to speak. And Plato taught his Scholars, that if one observed another commit a fault, he must first ask himself whether he had not done as bad or worse? and not proclaim it abroad. Tho we were allowed to hate our Enemies by some of our Philosophers, yet always to love our own So­ciety: But the Prisoner cuts with the Tongue those in the same Profession. Our Scipio could say, that he had rather Hannibal should eat his Heart with Salt, being his Enemy, than that Lil­lius his Friend should give him an ill word. So hatefully do we resent the backbiting Slanders of our professed Friends. And this is what I had to say at present, my Lord.

Judg.

Your Testimony is very clear, and much to the case in hand, Mr. Heathen, and I give you thanks for these Instances; you have said enough, I desire you to withdraw.

Crier.
[Page 20]

Make way for the Evidence to go out there.

Judg.

Dost thou hear, Mr. Backbiter? thou wouldst needs be called Christian, and keep thy Freedom in our Corporation; but here is a moral Heathen hath quite shamed thee: Are they tender of one anothers Disgrace, and dost thou dip thy Tongue in Gall, and whet it as a Sword, and bend thy Bow to shoot thy Arrows, even bitter words, Psal. 84. 3. to wound and grieve thy Brother?

Backbiter.

My Lord, as to what Mr. Heathen hath said, he may speak it in spite against me; for the Heathens were great Enemies to us Chri­stians formerly, and used to clothe us in Bear­skins: He hath only said this to make me odious, my Lord.

Judg.

Thou hast made thy self odious in the sight of the Heathen: when they persecuted us, they could say this of us; Behold how they love one another! But now they may say, Behold how they hate, backbite, and belie one another!

Attorney General.

And please your Lordship, let Mr. Love-truth be examined; I know he hath suffered much by the Prisoner as well as my self in that relation I stand to our Sovereign Lord.

Judg.

Call Mr. Love-truth into Court.

Crier.

Love-truth, O yes, O yes, Mr. Love-truth. Here. Ready. But I cannot get in: O Murder! Murder!

Judg.

What's the matter there?

Love-truth.
[Page 21]

My Lord, here is one of Backbiter's Friends had almost strangled me.

Judg.

What is his Name?

Church-Discipline.

I know him, my Lord, his Name is Carry-Tale, he dwells under the same roof with Backbiter.

Judg.

Mr. Newman, take him into custody.

Attorney General.

Mr. Love-truth, pray, as you are on your Oath, acquaint my Lord and the Jury with what you know concerning the Priso­ner at the Bar.

Judg.

Mr. Love-truth, look upon the Prisoner; Do you know him?

Love-truth.

Yes, my Lord, to my damage: but as for the wrong he hath done me, I could freely forgive him; tho as he hath been an Enemy to our Sovereign, and hath dishonoured the Truth, which should be dear to us, and hath grieved and wounded our Brethren, I shall give in my Testi­mony against him.

Judg.

Mr. Love-truth, be as brief as you can.

Love-truth.

My Lord, he is a Person full of Prejudice, and very credulous, believes any lying or flying report, especially against one that is not in his Affections, as few are that sincerely love the Truth: And when he hath got a false Report or Slander by the end, he makes it up so that besure it loseth nothing by carriage: Thus, like a grievous Revolter, he walks with Slanders; Jer. 6. 28. And where he comes, if there be any in the Room that will not hear, nor take up Reports, [Page 22] then he puts his Mouth to the Ears of them that will, and whispers it into their Heads, and then lifts up his Eyes and Hands as tho he were sorry, and so begets a belief in the Judgments of the ignorant, which have never rightly considered the Charters of our Corporation: And many times he enjoins them to secrecy; so that when they meet the Persons slandered, they cannot get open their Lips, but they look a squint, as tho they were casting their Eyes over the Beans to see if the Barley were ripe; for Suspicion is always pictured squint-eyed: Yea, my Lord, he hath come with his Pack to my House, as Mr. Church-Discipline hath observed out of our old Charter, Levit. 19. 16. that a Tale-bearer, or Backbiter, is compared to a Pedlar that goes up and down with his Pack: So he hath offered his Wares to me, but I being tender of Truth and my Neighbour; and remembring what an antient wise Preacher hath said, that as the North Wind driveth away Rain, so doth an angry Coun­tenance a backbiting Tongue, Prov. 25. 23. I frowned upon him, and told him he must go to the Person of whom he heard it, and to the Per­son that was thus defamed, and know the certain truth of the matter, before he run about declaring it at Dan, and publishing it at Askelon. And up­on this he takes up his Pack, and away he goes, and hath never come near me since: Yea, my Lord, if he can hear of any fault that hath been committed, if it were long since, if it hath been heard, determined, remitted and buried, yet this [Page 23] Backiter hath been for digging it up and reviving it, verifying a saying in our old Charter, Prov. 16. 27. An ungodly Man diggeth up evil; and in his Lips is a burning Fire. And this, fearing I have intruded upon your Lordship's Patience, is what I have to say at present, my Lord.

Judg.

These are foul and unsufferable Practices.

Love-truth.

My Lord, I could say much more of things of this nature, how hasty and diligent he hath been in this Evil of Detraction.

Judg.

There hath been enough said at present, Mr. Love-truth.

The Bench ariseth, and the Court is adjourned till two of the Clock in the Afternoon.

The Prison-Keeper Mr. Newman remands Backbiter to the Prison again, not denying his Friends to come to see him. So there came Mrs. Busy-body, Mr. Liar, Mr. Blind-Zeal, Pre­judice, Hate-Peace, and several others, whose Names I took no account of; so he sent for his Counsel Mr. Equivocator, and gave him his Fee, telling him he was afraid it would go hard with him if he did not speak, and his Evidence did not swear to the purpose, to justify his Proceedings.

The hour being come, Mr. Newman hastens the Prisoner to the Court. When the Judg, with the Mayor, Recorder and Sheriffs, with the Justices of the Peace and Quorum were sat, Mr. Newman was commanded to put up Whispering Backbiter to the Bar; which was done accordingly.

Attorny General.
[Page 24]

Mr. Clerk of the Sessions, What further Evidence have you against the Pri­soner?

Clerk.

Here is Mr. Ʋnity subpaena'd to appear.

Judg.

Let him be called.

Crier.

Ʋnity, O yes, O yes, Mr. Ʋnity. I am here, my Lord; but I dare not come into Court till Backbiter and his Friends are searched.

Judg.

What are you afraid of, Mr. Ʋnity?

Ʋnity.

Why, my Lord, I know they use to carry white Powder about them, with which they use to shoot those they have a prejudice against, and it murders a Man in his Name before he can hear the Report.

Judg.

That is Treason by the Law, there dare be no such an Attempt in Court.

Ʋnity▪

My Lord, They are not afraid to speak evil of Dignities; 2 Pet. 2. 10.

Being searched, it appeared they had left those Instruments at home.

Judg.

Mr. Ʋnity, Pray how long have you known the Prisoner?

Ʋnity.

My Lord, ever since there have been Swellings, Tumults, Wrath, Strife and Debates, they all came into our Corporation with Whisper­ing Backbiter, 2 Cor. 12. 20.

Attorny General.

My Lord, and Mr. Sheriff Order, you know right-well the Confusion that hath been in some Companies in our Corporation of Christ Church; and undoubtedly it hath been for want of regarding what you and I have en­deavoured [Page 25] to maintain in conjunction with Mr. Fear-God, namely, Discipline and Order; if it please your Lordship, let Mr. Ʋnity give in his Evidence.

Judg.

Mr. Ʋnity, be as brief and express as you can.

Ʋnity.

I desire to have the liberty to speak in the presence of this honourable Court; for he whose Hatred is covered by Deceit, his Wickedness shall be shewed before the whole Congregation, Prov. 26. 26, 28. For a lying Tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it, and a flattering Mouth worketh ruin. It was accounted good and pleasant to dwell together in Unity, Psal. 133. 1. especially Brethren in one Society; Endeavouring to keep the Ʋnity of the Spirit in the bond of Peace, Ephes. 4. 3. Till we all come to the unity of the Faith, ver. 13. But, my Lord, the Prisoner hath been a mis­chievous Instrument in setting particular Societies together by the Ears; by him also neighbourly. Union and Friendship hath been broken. May be some different apprehensions have been about some Sentences in our Charter; then Backbiter comes in and blows up the fire of Contention, and sets them at work to smite one another on the back­side with the Tongue, crying out, Hereticks, Ido­laters, &c. because they cannot see through their Eye-holes; as tho it were possible, yea the like­liest way to work a Reformation by Defamation; like him mentioned by Dr. Taylor, that seeing a Flea on his Neighbour's Forehead, goes to knock [Page 26] it on the head with his Hammer, and so knocks his Neighbour's Brains out. Thus, my Lord, doth Whispering-Backbiter think to slander Men out of the faults he imagines them to be in; when alas, instead of healing, The words of a Tale bearer are as Wounds that go down to the innermost parts; Prov. 18. 8. Yea, my Lord, I have known when that great Union and Amity hath been betwixt two Persons, yea and Companies in our Corporation, till Backbiter hath been at work, and In carrying his Pack with all he could pick up, hath uttered or whispered what hath soon broke the Bond of Unity. Prov. 16. 28. A fro­ward Man soweth Strife, and a Whisperer sepa­rateth chief Friends. Yea, my Lord, such Pre­judice and Inveteracy hath been begot by Back­biter's means, that it hath appeared next to an impossibility to reconcile them, as Mr. Sheriff Order, and Mr. Church-Discipline know right-well. And this is what I have to say at present, my Lord.

Attorny General.

My Lord, I very well know what Mr. Ʋnity saith to be true, and so doth Mr. Sheriff also. There are other Evidences may be called if your Lordship please.

Judg.

I think there have sufficient Testimonies been given in against him to prove him guilty according to his Indictment: And if further oc­casion should be, they shall be examin'd. Mr. Back­biter, what Reason canst thou give why Sentence according to the Law of our Corporation should [Page 27] not be passed upon thee? Thou hast heard what evident Testimonies have been given in against thee.

Backbiter.

My Lord, you were pleased to allow me Counsel to speak for me, and plead my Cause; for alas, my Lord, I know not how to speak for my self.

Attorny General.

No, Mr. Backbiter, you have spoken so much falsly against others, that you have nothing truly to say for your self.

Judg.

where is your Counsel? What is his Name? Let him appear.

Backbiter.

My Lord, his Name is Equivocator, a Kinsman of mine.

Judg.

Where is he?

Crier.

Mr. Equivocator. Here, Sir. Why do you not attend your Client's Cause?

Equivocator.

Here, ready, my Lord, and I am fee'd to plead the Prisoner's Cause; and I think, my Lord, he is a good Man in the main; and tho it may be true what hath been said by these Gentlemen, that have witnessed against him, that he carries Reports from one to another, this is no new thing, he first receives it, and why should he keep it in his Mind? If he hath heard of the defaming of many, and others saying, Report, and we will report it; Jer. 20. 10. Why should not he take the same liberty? Besides, my Lord, if he doth sometimes add to the Report or Accusation, he hath heard it is but to amplify it, and to make it more taking and convincing to them to whom [Page 28] he carries it; for what is a Report or Story if it finds no Credit in the Hearers? Moreover, seve­ral other Circumstances should be considered, as it may be he can hear but with one Ear, and so cannot hear both Parties, but reports it according as he hears it; as also they whom he backbites▪ as you are pleased to call it, may be such as are more esteemed and applauded in the Corporation than he, and their Graces and Virtue excels him and his: and therefore his design may be good, that so he may keep up his Fame equal with others. He is not the first that hath envied the commendable Fame and Deserts of others; there was David hated others Prosperity: And I have also read a Passage out of Plutarch of Aristides▪ Banishment, called Ostracism. His Accuser be­ing asked what Wrong Aristides had done him? he reply'd, None, neither do I know him, but it grieves me to hear every body call him a just Man. If this was a cause of Banishment, well might it procure hard words; for Men naturally hate to be out-stript either in worldly or spiritual Riches. And, my Lord, besides—

Judg.

Hold, Mr. Equivocator, you run too fast.

Attorny General.

You must not think, Mr. E­quivocator, to sham off the Crimes at this rate. You say he is a good Man in the main, pray in what main? The main of a good Man is to love our Sovereign above all, and his Neighbour as himself: This is inserted in our old Charter, and reviv'd in the new, Deut. 6. 5. Levit. 19. 16 - 18. [Page 29] and his Neighbour as himself, Mat. 22. 37 - 40. which cannot be done by a detracting Tale­bearer. And again, you'll see how he is resent­ed in our Corporation, as fair a face as you would put on his bad Cause. Envy, Murder, Debates, Deceits, Malignity, Whisperings, Back­biters, haters of God, &c. Rom. 1. 29, 30. Pray where is his Goodness when he is a Companion with such a Gang of mercenary Wretches? And saying, Report, and we will report, Jer. 20. 10. was the Practice of the great Enemies of our City and Commonwealth. And whereas you would vindicate his adding to a Report; I am satisfied that he that will add to a Report, will raise one too when he pleaseth, which is expresly contrary to our old Charter and new: for it is said, Thou shalt not raise a false Report; put not thy hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous Witness; Exod. 23. 1. Now if he takes liberty to add, what doth he less than put his hand with the wicked to be an unfaithful Witness? Again, by the same rule, he may improve every little Infirmity into a mountainous Guilt; and the little or small Freckle into a Leprosy. What Reputation can be secured from such, who have their dead Flies to cast a stink on their Brethren at pleasure, to corrupt all their odorous Virtues? And as to your Instance of Aristides's Banishment, it's recorded as an Instance of Heathen Cruelty; but Backbiter out-does the Cruelty of Ostracism, as far as Death is worse than Banishment: for in murdering the Name he [Page 30] destroys the Livelihood; and the Greeks have a saying, That a Life is no Life without a Liveli­hood. Yea a Backbiter or Detractor is a Thief, and robs a Man of that which is better than pre­cious Ointment, or great Riches, Eccles. 7. 1. Prov. 22. 1.

Equivocator.

My Lord, all I would further have said, was to desire that his bad Memory, and the want of the use of his right Ear may be consi­dered, and that his Evidences may be heard.

Judg.

Yes, he shall have all the favour that can be allowed by the Charter of our Corporation; and if his Evidences are Persons of any degree of Morality and Repute, they shall be heard. Let them be called into Court.

Equivocator.

Crier, pray call Mrs. Busy-body; she is own Cousin to the Prisoner.

Clerk.

Crier, call her into Court.

Crier.

Mrs. Busy-body, O yes, O yes, Mrs. Busy-body. She cannot leave her Twattle. Mrs. Busy-body. Ready, ready, Sir. Why do you not attend the Court?

Busy-body.

I have so much business betwixt one Friend or Neighbour and another, that alas I am seldom at home, or rarely out of imploy, my Lord.

Judg.

Pray what was your Imploy?

Busy-body.

My Lord, if I hear of any one fail­ing committed, it's my desire and endeavour that no body may be ignorant of it: But I remember I have read, That the Lips of the wise shall instruct [Page 31] many: And this, as my Cousin Backbiter hath told me, must be by carrying ones failings to ano­ther.

Judg.

Didst thou ever seriously read over the Charter of our Corporation? I fear that thou seldom lookest at home.

Constable.

No, my Lord, when I search'd for Busy-body, I saw her House all out of order, and she was just going out.

Judg.

How did you know she was going out?

Constable.

Why, my Lord, she had two Glasses in her hand, and I have been informed of it, and that by some that had experience of it.

Judg.

Hold: Pray, Mr. Constable, what Glasses were they?

Constable.

My Lord, one was a magnifying Glass, and the other a multiplying Glass; with the former she with her Cousin Backbiter makes a small failing a great one, and with the latter one failing many.

Judg.

It's a shame that such ignorant and per­tinacious Practices should be suffered in the Sub­urbs of our Corporation; let her be taken into Custody.

Crier.

She is withdrawn and absconded, my Lord: but I shall take care to have her apprehen­ded; for it's one Man's work to have a serious sight of his own Sins, and judg himself aright.

Clerk of the Sess.

Call Mr. Zeal into Court.

Crier.
[Page 32]

Mr. Zeal, O yes, O yes, Mr. Zeal. Ready, my Lord, but I cannot see the way into Court.

Whispering-Backbiter.

Pray take him by the hand, Mr. Equivocator, for he is almost as blind as a Post. He is handed up.

Judg.

Old Gentleman, what is your Name, Zeal?

Zeal.

My Name is properly Blind Zeal, my Lord.

Judg.

I thought so, I have heard much of you.

Zeal.

Yes, my Lord, I was with Saul when he would have slain the Gibeonites, 2 Sam. 21. 2. and with Jehu, 2 Kings 10. 16. and with Saul, now called Paul, Acts 9. 1. Phil. 3. 6. yea, and with those Jews, my Lord, Rom. 10. 2. Yea, my Lord, and I know Mr. Backbiter to be a very zealous Man by this, for he cannot rest if he hears the Report, true or false, of another's fail­ing; alas he can rest no more than he that lies upon a Bed of Thorns, till others know it; and this is his Zeal, my Lord. Yea I have observed, that he and Carry-tale that lives under his Roof, have strove to out-run each other to carry the bad News, as Ahimaaz and Cushi did, 2 Sam. 18. 21-23. this was their Zeal, and endeavour to ease their minds, my Lord.

Judg.

Old Gentleman, you are rightly named; but I fear you never learned rightly to distinguish about what your Zeal should be exercised in [Page 33] Gal. 4. 18. It's good to be zealously affected al­ways in a good thing: What if it be all false, and thou in censuring another dost but sentence thy self, like David in Nathan's Parable? 2 Sam. 12. 7. and thou shewest thy self rather to be an Accuser of the Brethren, than a Reclaimer of them that are supposed to have falled, such a Zeal will appear to be but diabolical. Application should be made to the supposed Sinner, Gal. 6. 1. 2 Tim. 2. 25. to regain him in a spirit of Meek­ness: but it's evident that Backbiter carries his Teeth in his Tongue. I remember I have read, that Bernard said of himself, that he never saw another Man sin, but he was distrustful and jealous of his own Heart; Ille heri, tu hodie, & ego cras, he was faulty yesterday, thou to day, and I may be so to morrow: But I do not speak this that Sins should be connived at or dispensed with, but that the Order and Discipline of our Corpo­ration may be observed.

Clerk of the Sess.

My Lord, here is another Evi­dence for the Prisoner.

Judg.

Let him be called into Court.

Crier.

Mr. Prejudice, O yes, O yes, Mr. Pre­judice. Here, I am ready, Sir.

Judg.

Pray what are you capable to say in be­half of the Prisoner? Do you know him?

Prejudice.

Yes, my Lord, he is my old Acquain­tance, I am his near Neighbour.

Judg.

What other Neighbours have you that are his and your Associates?

Prejudice.
[Page 34]

There is one Mr. Fawning that lives in Dissembling-Alley, next door to him; Mr. Ill­will, Mrs. Carry-tale that lives under his Roof, and a Relation of his that is much with us, one Mr. Liar: And if I may speak for the Prisoner, I never knew him backbite any of us, but he is very friendly to us all; and if he backbites any, there is Mr. Ill-will and my self are both commonly with him: and they are such as we have no affection for, my Lord, that he backbites, and we are sure they do not love us at all.

Mr. Liar. My Lord, I am desired by the Pri­soner to speak in his behalf; and if I may be permitted to swear, I will take my corporal Oath, that Whispering-Backbiter and his Friends are all good People.

Judg.

Hold, Sirrah, your Oath is not to be taken.

Attorny-General.

My Lord, and you Gentle­men of the Jury, it is evident there is not one Person of any Repute that appears to justify Whispering-Backbiter: What Prejudice hath said is invalid. What is Concord amongst the vilest of Men in their Wickedness, to the true Peace and Unity of Christ's Church? Herod and Pilate were made Friends, that they might be joint Enemies to our Sovereign, Luke 23. 12. Yea the Insernals are at an Agreement amongst them; Satan is not divided against Satan, Luke 11. 18.

Judg.

I shall proceed to sum up the Evi­dences.

Attorny-General.
[Page 35]

Here is one Evidence more that appears against the Prisoner.

Judg.

Let him be called.

Crier.

He is here ready, my Lord.

Judg.

I know him: Pray, Mr. Divine Know­ledg, do you know the Prisoner?

Knowledg.

Yes, my Lord, but I am a Stran­ger to him, I suppose.

Judg. Backbiter,

Do you know this Gentle­man?

Backbiter.

No, my Lord; I never had any real acquaintance with him in all my Life.

Knowledg.

My Lord, he is an ignorant shal­low Soul; had he but a dram of sanctified Wis­dom or Divine Grace, he would have learned of Mr. Morality, the Porter of our City, to do as he would be done unto: And I would have taught him, and shewed him that Frowardness was in his Heart; and that sowing Discord among Brethren is that which our Sovereign hates. But, my Lord, he scorned acquaintance with either of us; would put his Finger in his Ear, and scorned (Prov. 6. 14 - 19.) to hear Counsel. How could he expect to keep his Place and Privileges in our Corporation, who hath so long abused them and his Brethren?

Judg.

You have given a very cogent Testimo­ny against him, Mr. Knowledg. I shall sum up the Evidences.

Gentlemen of the Jury, you have heard what Mr. Heathen, Mr. Love-truth, Mr. Ʋnity, and [Page 36] now Mr. Knowledg have said, as also what scan­dalous Persons appeared in the Prisoner's behalf; but care will be taken to purge all such out of the Suburbs of our Corporation. Gentlemen, you have heard some of those Statutes mentioned that Whispering-Backbiter hath broken: that Sta­tute Exod. 23. 1. Thou shalt not raise (or, Hebr. receive) a false Report. Levit. 19. 16. Thou shalt not go up and down as a Tale-bearer. Yea it is condemned in our new Charter; Luke 3. 14. Accuse no Man falsly: This is expresly against Backbiter. Yea, how frequently is he ranked with the worst of Men? 2 Tim. 3. 3. Without natural Affections, false Accusers, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, &c. Yea, when the question is put, Who shall abide in thy Ta­bernacle? or ascend the holy Hill of Zion? He that backbiteth not with his Tongue; or, he that taketh not up, or receiveth not a Reproach against his Neighbour: Psal. 15. 2, 3. & 24. 2. You see, Gentlemen, the Evil is so great, that it shuts out of the Celestial City, and the presence of our Sovereign for ever. Yea, that moral Precept that is a binding Statute, of loving his Neighbour as himself, is violated. O but Backbiter he for­gets himself! never regarding that Precept, if a Brother of the Corporation be overtaken in a fault, to restore him in a spirit of meekness; con­sidering thy self, lest thou shouldst have the like occasion; Gal. 6. 1. As Mr. Moral Heathen gave a hint of Plato's Precept to his Scholars, if they [Page 37] heard a Report of Evil of another, or saw some failing, presently to ask themselves this question Num ego feci Tale? Have not I done the like my self, or worse? So that you are to consider how short he comes of Morality, who endea­vours to eat out the Repute of his Neighbour, as hath been witnessed. Mischief is in his Heart; yea, They sharpen their Tongues like a Serpent; the poison of Adders is under their Lips; Psal. 140. 2, 3. So that, Gentlemen, as you regard the Honour of our Sovereign, the Repute of the Worship and Devotion used in our City, and the Peace of the Companies in our Corporation, you must find for our Soveraign against the Prisoner at the Bar: And so the Lord direct you all.

The Jury went out, but soon agreed unani­mously to bring Whispering-Backbiter in guilty according to his Indictment, and the Evidences against him. They return.

Crier.

Make way for the Jury; make way there. They are all come up to the Bar.

Judg.

Gentlemen of the Jury, are you all agreed?

Foreman.

Yes, my Lord, and have also agreed to give in our particular Verdicts.

Hate-Strife.

My Lord, I ever hated to see things done through Strife, Phil. 2. 3. but to my Grief I have seen Strife and Violence in [Page 38] our City, Psal. 55. 9. and I have traced home one of the chiefest causes of it to Backbiter's very door; so that I am conscious to my self he is guilty according to his Indictment, and evident Testimonies.

Love-Brother.

I am sure, my Lord, he hath been a sower of Enmity, and a destroyer of Uni­ty: It's high time to take him off; for, where there is no Tale-bearer, Strife ceaseth; Prov. 26. 20. There is no greater a Demonstration of our being beloved Citizens of Christ's-Church, than to love one another, John 13. 35. the true Badg and Character of Christianity; and if this Backbiter be not taken off, our Charter will be broken and lost.

Society.

I assent to what Mr. Love-Brother saith; for, my Lord, if he be suffered to sow Strife as he hath done, alas a Nation, City or Family divided is brought to ruin, Luke 11. 17. And what can be a more effectual way to break Human and Divine Society? for as a false Wit­ness he speaketh Lies, and soweth Discord among Brethren; Prov. 6. 19.

Condescension.

My Lord, I agree that he is guilty; and indeed I have wondered at his obsti­nacy, that such plain Convictions, not only from the Freemen of our Corporation, but also by Mr. Heathen, enough to have melted him [Page 39] to confess and forsake, that he may find Mer­cy, Prov. 28. 13. should not work upon him: but he obstinately covered his Sins.

Patience.

My Lord, I think he hath been born with too long: tho I can bear as much as some, yet the very sight of Backbiter in our Corporation hath greatly provoked me: And tho by an angry Countenance I have drove him away, Prov. 25. 2, 3. yet I could never drive him out of his wicked Practice. I agree he is guilty.

Plain-dealing.

My Lord, I am not a Man of many words; but to be plain, if ever Man for­feited the Freedom and Privileges of Christ's Church, Whispering-Backbiter hath done it, for he hath proclaimed his Folly: for he that hideth Hatred with lying Lips, and he that uttereth Slanders is a Fool; his Wickedness ought to be shewed before the whole Congregation, Prov. 26. 26. that others may fear.

Faithful.

I have long wondered at the de­ceit and falshood of Backbiter; Christians that are free of our Corporation should carry their very Hearts in their Hands, and Meanings in their Fore-heads; but his Mouth hath framed Deceit, Rom. 3. 13. He is guilty according to his In­dictment, my Lord.

Charity.
[Page 40]

I cannot have a good thought of him, tho I have ever been unwilling to think any evil, 1 Cor. 13. 5. till it hath evidently appeared: but, my Lord, this Backbiter is still forging or picking up Thunder-bolts, against which no Innocency can be an Armour of De­fence: He is guilty. I can have no Charity for such a one that casteth Firebrands, Arrows and Death at his Neighbou [...], Prov. 26. 18. and counts it sport.

Hope-well.

I agree, my Lord, that he is evi­dently guilty; yet I would not be without some hopes that the Order and Discipline of our Cor­poration will effectually lash him into better manners; for tho Folly hath been bound up in his Heart, and he hath wrought Folly in our Israel, Deut. 22. 21. yet the Rod of Correction may drive it from him; Prov. 22. 15.

Pray-well.

My Lord, it shall be my request, that he may learn to take heed that he offends not with his Tongue, but that he may keep his Mouth as with a Bridle, Psal. 39. 1. and that he may learn to guide his Tongue, and not whet his Tongue like a Sword; and that he may shoot no more of his Arrows, even bitter words, Psal. 84. 3-8.

Humility.
[Page 41]

My Lord, I agree that the Prisoner is guilty according to his Indictment; and it's evident that it's the Arrogancy of his Spirit that causeth him to despise and scandalize others, like that Hypocrite of the Synagogue, Luke 18. 9-11. Pride, Suspicion and Envy are always for staining the clear Fame, and casting the first Stone.

Concord.

My Lord, I am clearly of the same mind with Mr. Hate-Strife the Foreman, and do say he is a sower of Contention, and where that is, there must needs be Confusion, and every evil Work; James 3. 16. and therefore my Verdict is, that he may be no longer suffered in our Corporation.

Judg.

Gentlemen, I am glad to see you all so harmonious in your Verdicts, and so unanimously shewed your Loyalty to our Soveraign: and in­deed you have spoke the very minds of our Mayor, Sheriff, and Recorder, namely, Rule­well, Order and Discipline; and I perceive you have given great Satisfaction to our Corporation in general. Backbiter, hold up thy hand, and hear thy Sentence.

Crier.

Silence about the Court on pain of Displeasure.

Judg.

Backbiter, thou hast so disorderly acted, that thou mayst be no longer a Member of our [Page 42] Society, Mr. Church-Discipline shall cross out thy Name inrolled in our Corporation-Book, and Mr. Newman Prison-keeper shall convey thee back to Confinement, and in thy Apartment there he shall cause thee to sit down upon the Stool of Repentance, and consider what thou hast done, whom thou hast wronged and defamed; what En­vyings, Strife, Debates and Whisperings thou hast caused, 1 Cor. 12. 20. Thy Lodging shall be upon a Bed of Sorrows; yea thy Meat and Drink shall be the Bread and Water of Godly Sorrow and internal Afflictions, till thou hast attained to a rent Heart, and a broken Spirit, and canst demonstrate a Repentance to Life; then thou shalt study to make Restitution for all the Wrongs thou hast done in causing the Reputa­tion of thy Brethren to lie bleeding; then he shall put thee upon the Heart-work and hard work of Mortification, that with the sound of thy Tongue, and blast of thy Lips thou mayst never cause the Reputation of thy Brethren to fall flat as the Walls of Jericho. I have read the saying of an antient Freeman of our City, that he observed that there was rarely a Member in our Corporation in his day, that had attained to any degree of Excellency, but there hath been ready a black Character by some defaming Tongue to clap upon him: So that Stars of the first Magnitude by this means have been eclipsed. And thou Backbiter shalt be taught by Mr. Newman: till thou dost learn to bridle [Page 43] thy Tongue, all thy Pretences to Religion will be vain, James 1. 16. And when thou art be­come a new Man, then, and not till then, shalt thou be restored to the Privileges and Immunities of our Corporation of Christ-Church. And so the Lord have Mercy upon thee, and grant thee Repentance to Life never to be repented of.

Amen.

BE gone my little Book, thy Message do,
Give thy Advice to all, both Friend and Fo:
Shew to the World the Evil of those Wrongs
That have been done by these defaming Tongues:
And if they slight thee, let them so, and spare not;
If thou art lov'd by Christians, then I care not.
I know there's some will say, their Tongues their own,
And do resolve to be controul'd by none;
Yet others will thee gladly entertain,
And by thy Counsel will advantage gain.
Thou speakest plain to sute each Corporation,
And dost afford Advice to all the Nation.
For Cato saith, that both in old and young,
Virtue begins with a well-guided Tongue.
If some detracting Reader shall amend,
Then thou obtainst the Writer's chiefest end.
Lend it not, but let them buy;
The Price is low, and so am I.
FINIS.

Advertisement.

NOte, That the Substance of what is here published, was wrote Anno 92. and now at the request of some is published in print, not to reflect upon any Person or Persons, but simply and sincerely to detect that Evil where-ever it is found, or amongst whomsoever it is tolerated; it being confessed by all, that it's very injurious and opposite to Love and Charity. Moreover, there are some other Criminals that according to this method, may e're long be apprehended and brought to their Trials.

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