Desiring him to shew the Causes or Reasons of his silence, in that he neither by his Ministeriall Office, charged the Magistrates that were present to redresse, nor so much as shewd any sign of grief or detestation, as became a sincere Christian;

Against that most strange and shamefull late Act of an impudent woman, in the midst of his Sermon on a Lords day at Whitehall Chapell, concerning the Resur­rection, before the chief States of this Nation.

A satisfactory Answer he returned; which with a loving accep­tion thereof, are here also printed; very worthy the observation of all, both sexes and degrees of People in these Nations.

Prov. 7. 25, 26, 27.
Let not thine heart decline unto her wayes, go not astray in her paths, for she hath cast down many wounded, yea many strong men have been slain by her: her house is the way to Hell, going down to the chambers of death.

LONDON Printed for E. Blackmore, at the Angel in Pauls Church-yard, 1652.

The PROLOGUE to the impartial Reader.

THe causes wherefore I write to this Preacher are three in number, the first is, That all the warres of the three Nations were not only contrived by the speciall advice and means of the Lordly Preachers, who both lived in stately Palaces, and were the chief associates of Kings; but likewise all along these troubles, they whiles they had any pow­er and authority remaining on their side, gave speciall directions to their in­feriour Preachers for blowing the bellows to the fire of contention, by conti­nuall railings and threatnings in their Pulpits; although many of those tem­porizers have been, and are still in fatter Benefices, than they were even when they used all their flatteries, both with cap in hand and bowed knees, to those their Lords and Masters; yea and though divers of them have not ceased from conspiring against the present State, whereof one was made ex­emplary, as there was one likewise of the Prelates to all the rest.

The second is, That whatsoever digressions, false doctrines, and unjust ap­plications, either the superiour or inferiour sort of those self-seeking men were pleased to deliver in publique, from such texts of Scripture, as they commonly used (or rather abused) to serve their present occasions, even to alienate the Peoples [...]ctions from truth and godliness to falshood and wic­kedness; and so by that and other deceitfull means at last, to unjust and un­naturall Wars, there was no man of whatsomever degree (who was then called a Subject) throughout all the three Nations, that durst upon pain of his life, yea and estate too, if he had any, oppose the meanest of those Clergy­men in that place, and at that time, I mean, immediately after they had finished their Sermon, although it pleaseth God to give all the men of any Church absolute liberty to oppose as need doth require, 1 Cor. 14. 29, 30, 31. So that whatsoever expressions those hirelings uttered in their Pulpits, were generally received both by most of the vulgar, and all the profane mul­titude, even better oftentimes than if they had been the Oracles of God: and as for the learned Nobility, Gentry, Judges, Lawyers, Physicians and chief Citizens, who for the most part had more illumination than sanctification, verily their lands, possessions, riches & great trades, yea and fear both of Per­secution and want of those their perishing gods, proved like as many gaggs to stop their deceitful mouths; as that young rich man menti [...]ned in the Gospel, [Page] who alleged that he had kept the whole Law of God from his youth, and yet lacked the doing only of one thing, did chuse rather to leave Christ▪ than to do that thing, though it was as subject to perish in the using, as he himself was in his mortall condition.

And the third cause is, That seeing after three moneths patient expe­ctation, either of some course or other to have been taken concerning the pre­sumptuous attempt of t [...]at shameless woman in this Letter mentioned, or at least some well-affected parties to have written their minds unto this Prea­cher therein, he being the mouth of that high Assembly; I to supply the last and least of these defects, though not in the measure I could wish, but in the manner I am (through divine Providence) abl [...], (being all those moneths sick, as yet I am not well) have thought it a part both of my Christian du­ty, and as a well-wisher to this Commonwealth, even to write unto him, both for mine own and many other peoples satisfaction, yea and undeceiving of all the three Nations, even to know the causes or reasons of his silence and neg­ligence, both in so pertinent a time, and so urgent a business as is here trea­ted, he being the only man who might, if not to have prevented, yet to have gotten remedied both whatsoever was amisse then, or hath, by means and oc­casion of the very same his silence and negligence, occurred since.

Therefore, as upon other occasions both of enormities, defects and extre­mities of some peoples carriages, I have, through Gods assistance, used my best endeavours according to my liberty, in witnessing against such irregular things; Even so through the same assistance, I have here concerning this matter, done the like to this Preacher, who of a hundred I would not have expected, that any such absurd act should have so publikly escaped his cen­sure: and so much the rather, in that he was not only interrupted on his stage, from acting his own part, whereby all his Auditors for a time became spectators of the other impudent act, but carefully attending likewise what after his so long silence he would expresse: I wish that the matter here writ­ten, as it is both illustrated and compared with others of the like nature, may sink so deeply both in his heart and all theirs whom it doth especially, or may any wise concern, that they may not only repent both publikely and privately for this so hainous and notorious an offence to God and his People, but like­wise all the rest of their dayes bring forth such fruits worthy amendment of life, that through Gods grace they may learn to walk in the way of wisdom, christianity, modesty and sobriety. Fare-well.


Mr. Sterry,

ALthough neither I know you, nor, I suppose, you me by face, yet in regard that I al­ways hoped better things of you, in that you served the late worthy Lord Brooks, than of many others of your profession, and that there is a strange report of a very barbarous act, or misdemeanour of very high nature, which hath lately occurred, where you, by your Ministeriall office, might have charged those that had power, to have timely redressed; and it's confir­med by many credible persons, whereof some were both eye and ear witnesses; which is no lesse grievous to the Godly, than ridiculous to the wicked; I am therefore the more earnest to intreat you by these lines, that you will be pleased to declare unto me, by your direct answer in wri­ting, the true causes or reasons of your silence, which is usually taken for consent seeing you only filled up the room of your Pulpit, much worse than any meer or bare cipher, which although of it self it signifieth no value of any thing, yet it maketh most of all the figures about it, to be­token a far greater value than they would without it, whiles a signifying [Page 2] figure is not in place of it; for you made all the well-affected about you, yea and of all these united Nations much worse, both through grief and evill example of that your silence and negligence, besides the strengthning of the wicked in that respect, you being esteemed to have been far more conscionable, than to have been so utterly carelesse in do­ing such a needfull point of your duty, as it doth seem to many even to be a conniving with such a brutish and vile attempt, both at such a so­lemn time, and in such an eminent place, which indeed doth greatly en­danger your reputation, in that you was the only man then appointed, or at least allowed to be the mouth, pastor, overseer, and watchman of that honourable assembly; howsoever, I conceive you both was and are there in the generall or common way of the Nationall practice, and not according to the constitution, purity, sincerity, nor order of the totally separated Churches mentioned in Christs glorious Gospel, See Rom. 7. 4, 5, 6. 2 Cor. 6. 17, 18. and Rev. 18. 4, 5, 6. with abundance of other places, which would be tedious to expresse.

Again, to go another way to worke, both for the better search­ing the depth, trying to find out the secrecie of this most barbarous at­tempt, in such a civilized Nation, chiefly by the spirituall illumination of the Gospell, and that must be by serious consideration of all the circumstances so pretermitted, and not regarded, but smoothed over by your silence; neither King Solomon the wisest of mankind, nor any other writer of the Scripture, did ever forbid any wise or discreet man, to speak in time and place convenient, if they have a lawfull call, charge, or office to that purpose, but only all fools whatsoever or whosoever they be, and that because they lack wisdom and discretion to discern between good and evill; and I am confident that its a greater and more inexcusable fault for a wise and discreet man to be silent, when in the du­tifull discharge of his office, he ought of necessity to speak, than for a simple fool when he should hold his peace, even freely to deliver his mind, although it should not be pertinent to the matter in hand; for the one may do both much good, and hinder much evill, by his timely, discreet and wise speech, as Hushai did to King David, but the other can doe little either good or evill, by his unadvised and frivo­lous speech; for the first hath not only a call appropriated to his function to speak, but likewise wisdom, discretion, moderation, con­science, reason, and it may be religion also, all concurring to enable him; whereas the second is destitute and void of all these gifts and gra­ces, yea, and cannot by any kind of human endeavours reach to the true understanding of any such precious favours. But the same divine [Page 3] Author speaketh sometimes of those wicked fooles, who having too much knowledge, though little true wisdom, do use it as a weapon of unrighteousness, even to offend the almighty and great God of whom they received it, in that they are thereby as much enabled as they are willing to offend his people, which he always accounts, as an injury done to himself.

Moreover, by the way, it will be no lesse needfull than seasonable, to shew an Example very worthy (I suppose) both of your, mine own, and all mens observation, not for a day, a week, a month, a year, but whiles we are in this mortality; I knew a man about 30 years ago, that being an older teacher (I think) than you are in years, who being all his time untill the last year of his life (to my best remembrance) in so high esteem for the excellency of his gifts, and gravity of his con­versation too, (so far as man could discern) that King James often hea­ring him, and his name being Master John Hall, did call him Master Iohn All (sine aspiratione) meaning, that the true copy of all the knowledge, memory, learning, expression, and diversity of gifts re­quisite in a preacher of the word, which were respectively in all others of that nation at least, were fully registred and found in him alone, sa­ving only the shortnesse of his tongue, whereby the ripenesse of hs me­mory, and speedinesse of his delivery did precipitate and out-run ma­ny people who were of dull or slow apprehension; but he proving at last, when persecution began to arise for the Gospell (never being acquainted with the feeling, but only with the hearing and reading thereof before) to be such an open hypocrite and hireling, that he quite left those his simple sheep, by whose yeerly Fleeces he was very richly and constantly maintained with all his family, as their Pastor a­bove forty years space, even when both the great Woolf him­self, and all his hungry followers, came to tear and devoure them to peeces

Yet a little while afterwards, when his Conscience began to be wakened for his most hainous sins, and receiving (I hope) a little blink of Christ's joyfull countenance, as Peter who also denyed him in another case had in the hall of Caiphas, and he being ashamed to be seen any more in the streets, if he had been an universal Monarch, he would have given the whole world for licence onely to have preached one Sermon more on a first day in that most eminent City of the Nation, and chief high-place thereof, unto which he was externally advanced, and that (as may in re­gard of his great earnestness afterward appear to be wel conjectured) to have asked forgiveness publickly both of God and all his Flock, for his so [Page 4] sinful, undutifull, and ingratefull both offending his infinite Majesty, and them, and that merely for fear to incur the indignation, or (at worst) the persecution of a finite and perishing Majesty, even by leaving and expo­sing them to the arbitrary will and lust of that implacable enemy, that he might impose upon them all the gross Popery both transacted between him and the Pope long before that time, and intended to have been begun there, and then, both by the military and all other witty aid of that nature, after they had embraced the same, even to have brought it with a high hand here, they being alwayes (by their travels abroad) expert in wars, and this Nation in long peace, and out of use untill of late years; which business because he was not able to effect in his own dayes, therefore, even as King David gave his Sonne Solomon charge to deal with Joab and Shimei after his death, so he left his Sonne to prose­cute that Romish design to his utmost power after he was gone; and in reference thereunto, upon his and the Bishops of both Nations urging that grosse Service-Book in that Nation, untill the rest of that poysona­ble stuff should have followed, all the cruell Wars throughout all the three Nations, which have been almost ever since, have procee­ded.

Furthermore, it may be upon good grounds imagined, that this an­tient Preacher not only intended to have given his best advice to his Flock, as his last Will and Testament, even to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made them free, and not to be entangled again with the yoke of bondage: but likewise as touching his own grievous fai­lings, to have intreated them, That they would be pleased (out of their tender compassion towards his everlasting weal) to adde their fervent prayers to his, for mercy and reconciliation to him, through a lively faith laying hold on the all-sufficient merits of Iesus Christ, before he should goe hence and be seen no more, and to have besought them, that as they hoped to be saved at the great day of Retribution, never to make his nor any other mens wanderings their examples to reiterate and follow, but altogether as so many terrors (like Sea-marks or Beacons set on Rocks) for ships to avoid and eschew: And concerning the event of what great diligence his friends and acquaintances (howsoever very numerous and powerfull) did use, to have obtained the Licence before mentioned, both of superiour and inferiour powers, they being often reproved for so high an attempt, which then was so hot in prosecution; after they were long delayed, at last, they were absolutely refused: whereupon in great grief, but I hope with such godly sorrow as through Christ he found mercy, God himself favourably accepting the will for the deed, and private re­pentance, [Page 5] when publick is hindered by man, he finished his course.

By whose example, even from the beginning to the ending of his Mi­nistery, all of us, yea the best of us, have very great need to observe, that we ought not upon any kind of terms, preferments, promises, bribes (now called gratuities) fears, terrors, threatnings, losses, yea or perse­cution it self, though inflicted in the highest degree, that either Sathan or his Instruments can devise, to deny Christ before men, and that by walking contrary to the purity of his Gospell, if we any wise aim at the glory of God, and salvation of our own soules, at the great day of his glorious appearing, and confessing us before his heavenly Father▪ but to work out our salvation in fear and trembling, and to make our calling and election sure by wel-doing, chiefly in performing all and whatsom­ever our duties, both spiritual and temporal, to our utmost in due time, even whiles it is called to day, and not boast off untill to morrow, because we know not what a day may bring forth; for time is one of the most precious jewels under the Sun, and upon the well or ill spending of time dependeth Eternity either of weal or wo.

But to conclude all these first particulars tending to the dehortation of all people from such a shamelesse attempt as is here with great detesta­tion witnessed against, and insist also in another sort thereof, before we adhere to the matter it self, wherein I shall be as brief as is requisite; if King Solomon who wrot by the inspiration of the Spirit, did not only say, That a word in his place is like Diamonds of gold set in pictures of sil­ver, but likewise did direct every man who hath received knowledge, ei­ther to doe or devise any temporal work for the benefit of the Common­wealth, not to delay the same, but to accomplish it with all their power; then how much more ought those who are intrusted with any kind of charge, to perform their duties to their utmost, chiefly when they are ei­ther spirituall, or tend to any spirituall use? Yea, and he also giveth such a strong reason as can admit of no opposition; For (saith he) there is neither work, nor invention, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave whither thou goest.

And as in one respect, modestie be sufficient to make any sincere Chri­stian both very much grieved and perplexed, only to mention that most presumptuous and impudent act, both for matter and manner as it came to passe, even by one of the female sex, whose duty was to have been most shamefac'd, chiefly as it tendeth to open, universall, avowed and allowed wickednesse; though I know by undoubted proof, that all such absurd things, are utterly abhorred by divers both of those Worthies that sit at the helm, and of those also who under God defend them by the sword: [Page 6] so in another respect, howsoever necessity may seem to require an ex­pression both of the matter and manner thereof, because the same may be a speciall means to move both that strange-like woman, and such others as be guiltie, either of that shamelesse act, or the like, unto a godly sor­row, for I hear there are many sprung up of late in and about this sinfull City; yet in regard of the wicked and profane sort, who (as Solomon saith) make a mock of sin, its far more expedient (as I conceive) that it be henceforth concealed, than any more, chiefly in Print, revealed, even to avoid imitation, as its said; there was no particular law made, forbidding any man to kill his Father, but in generall, that no man should doe any murther: And that Sir, you and I may know one ano­thers mind, in order to the satisfaction both of me (who in stead of a better, doe here write unto you for that purpose) and of many thousands of others, who have only heard of your name in that particular, and daily after so long delay, do ardently expect the same, yea, and doubtless will be very ready henceforth both to speak and respect of you according as you shall be able and willing to clear your self by your punctual answer, concerning your so countenancing with silence, such a notorious evill, as I much doubt if any record can parallel.

Again, you know its upon divine record, That Queen Vasthi the wife of King Ahasuerus (though a Heathen as well as he) so preferred her modesty, sobriety, and chastity above all other earthly things she could lose, that she absolutely refused at an inconvenient time to humor the King her husband so much, as to vouchsafe to come unto that incompara­ble Feast, when he was merry with Wine, amongst the midst of his chief Princes, Nobles and People, though in a very solemn manner he himself sent not only his chiefest Officers, but likewise the Crown-Royall for her, even to shew his Princes, Nobles and People her beauty, for she was fair to look on; and doubtlesse had the richest both jewels and or­naments, as well as apparell, wherewith to deck her self, that the world could afford, her husband being so great a Monarch, that he had a hun­dred seven and twenty Provinces under his jurisdiction and command, yea and of such a noble and ingenuous disposition likewise, as appeared concerning his unrequired, but not undeserved thankfulnesse to Morde­cai▪ though he was both a stranger to him, and one of another Nation as well as Religion: all which modesty, sobriety and gravity of this wor­thy Queen, yea and discretion also in observing fit times and seasons, as Solomon saith there is to all earthly things, do so much the more aggra­vate the evill of that most impudent and presumptuous act, which had not any the least reason or warrant, and far lesse any call to doe it, as [Page 7] this famous Queen had to have appeared in a most magnifick order and manner, before her husband and King: so that both that shamelesse womans presumption (of whom we speak) and your silent beholding her, even like other spectators, whereof many lookt far more on you, than her, admiring much that you by your Ministeriall charge, and be­ing also in the Pulpit and middle of your Sermon, yea, and none other then having authority to speak, how you in your conscience could both in so needfull a time, so eminent a place, and upon so urgent an occasion, be so negligent in the discharge of that your duty as well as the delivery of your Sermon it self, which also you being forced to forbear, during the time and presence of that shamefull spectacle, was the more free to have expressed your mind concerning her mis-behaviour.

For you as well know as I can expresse, that you ought to have used the best and speediest means, by the most pertinent and moving expres­sions you could, both unto the Magistrates and chief Military Officers there present, even for justice of such a presumptuous and shamelesse woman for so barbarous and uncivill an action, as both at so solemn a time and in so eminent a place, she so unhappily, and I fear too exem­plarily brought to passe, if it be not as exemplarily punished; by which strange kind of disturbance not only your self had intermission in the midst of your Sermon, but likewise all the honorable Auditors discredit, by such a base opposition: for although you saw some well-affected people remove her, without any the least of your aid, encouragement, yea or allowance, so much as a bare word; yet (as I said) you being the only man that was set there to speak, it was your duty so to have confir­med that their worthy act of removing her, that you should have given them charge likewise by vertue of your own Ministerial charge, to have kept her close and safe from any escape, untill the matter had been exact­ly tryed, and so much the rather, that the like in our dayes at least, ne­ver occurred.

And if such enormities be not permitted where there are neither civill Magistrates, nor temporall punishments, without the highest spirituall censures that can be inflicted, even in any totally separated Church frō all kind of antichristian worship, worshippers, officers, Government, mainte­nance and high places; then ought not such grosse, vile, and presump­tuous enormities, to be condignly punished in a nationall Church, where they pretend to have as lawfully the spirituall sword, as they have the temporall? and so much the rather, in that this absurd act came to passe in one of the chief assemblies of this Nation, even by one member both of your own Church, and Commonwealth before your eys; and as touch­ing [Page 8] the particulars which by your silence were omitted, in that the party by occasion of that your negligence was not kept, but escaped, (even to the shame of all concerned therein,) they are these. 1 She ought to have been to sure custody committed, untill the matter had been through­ly examined, and not (as she was half an hour) for the fashion sake, un­till she put on her cloathes, even most likely by means of some either of her own friends or favorers of her evill ways. 2 She ought to have been demanded both what were the reasons and intentions of that her so presumptuous, impudent, and barbarous attempt? 3 Whether such kind of lascivious and licentious cariage, be the custom of the company where she useth to walk? 4 With what Company she walketh? 5 How long? 6 Whether or no she was sent by them? 7 If not, then by whom? 8 If by none at all, then did she not run unsent? 9 What her name was? 10 If she hath a husband? 11 If yea, what his name was? 12 where he dwelleth? 13 And if he and she live together? So that by knowing these or most of these particulars, both the neighbours where they dwell, and others who would have visited her in her im­prisonment, might have possibly in short time declared divers things which her self would have alwayes obscured: But it passeth all expressi­on, both the multiplicity and diversity of evils (as was said in the Pre­face) which have come to passe in these distressed Nations, both be­fore and during these destructive wars, as well by the silence of hundreds o [...] your profession, and not pressing the best things, as by their most ve­hement urging the worst, the Lordly sort, for the Bishopricks and Dean­ries, and the inferiour sort, for the Tithes and other antichristian forced maintenance.

And as the Apostle Paul writeth to the Church of Corinth, It's repor­ted (saith he) that there is fornication amongst you, and such fornicati­on as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, even that one should have his fathers wise; so upon such an abominable account, as unto which that Sodom-like act tendeth, though not expedient to be here men­tioned, not only a man may have his own mother or sister, but a woman likewise her own father or brother, even like the brute beasts of the field, which not being made according to the Image of God, but only subor­dinate to serve the use of man, are not capable of law nor reason: so that it may be no lesse grievously than truly said, to the sin and shame of this Nation, yea and scandall both of profession and reformation, that be­sides lascivious apparell (which sheweth a licentious life) there be many such strange spectacles as this shamelesse act, now a dayes both in City and Countrey, to be seen day and night, as (I suppose) the like was ne­ver [Page 9] since the innocency of our first parents, neither in these Nations nor any others, in the dayes of the Law nor Gospel, where there was no extremity of cold to be endured, or either skins or figtree-leaves where­with to be covered: and that especially in such sad dayes of blood, ter­rors, tears, sighs, groans, depopulations and desolations; yea and for any thing I could ever hear, (for I was never to see) the like shamelesse spectacle hath not been so publikely and impudently shewed nor acted in all the vile shews, and whorish masks, (where many thousands of pounds have been spent in one night) even to provoke God to wrath, and mankind to wickednesse, amongst the grossest either heathe­nish or Popish Tyrants of these Nations in former times, and not a little at Whitehall Palace before these Wars, even where this vile act came to passe, which would be a great shame to expresse. Only upon the 17th day of the 5th moneth called Iuly 1652. being the first day of the week, a bold woman of about 30 years old, sober in her speech, came in a most Strumpet-like posture, mocking you, and that your Sermon of the Re­surrection, and all that honourable Congregation, consisting of the chief States of this Land, who were conveened neither to hear nor behold any sports, masks, playes, shewes, yea nor to fulfill sinfull lusts, as mul­titudes both of inferiour Souldiers and others doe frequently in carnall Whore-houses; yea, nor to hear the word of man, but as it is indeed, the blessed and good word of the almighty, great, dreadfull, and onely wise God; howsoever by the means of Sathan, and his great Deputie, that man of sin, and child of perdition, to the great offence of his divine Majesty, and all that love the Lord Iesus in sincerity, it be for the most part delivered both in unseasoned earthen vessels, like King Ieroboam's Priests, and high places also like his, yea and most of all the ordinances administred as well to the profane, as other both ignorant and unfit per­sons, who onely make a meer shew, but quite deny the power of godlinesse.

It is yet more seriously to be considered by occasion of this lewd-like womans escape, through your not being so zealous even in word, as Phi­neas was in deed for God and his people, in getting her punished (if you be not of her mind, and that she came thither by consent, as I hope your answer will clear) the rest of that diabolicall sect, are not only since that time much more hardened, strengthened and encouraged to proceed in their professed wickednesse, both of renting constituted Churches, and making Gods word of none effect by their infernall inventions; but like­wise their arrogancie and presumption do reach now unto such a height, (and so much the higher by thus escaping and mocking Gods Ordinan­ces, [Page 10] his solemn day, and both mans authority and presence in keeping thereof) in that they have begun to beat Ministers out of their pulpits in London, even on that solemn day which he hath sanctifyed and appoin­ted for his divine worship.

Thus by your negligence and deficiency in using the means to have had justice done in due time, which I verily beleeve the State or Magi­strates would not have refused upon that Strumpet-like woman, who durst be so bold in out-facing shame, even on the Lords day in the fore­noon and midst of your Sermon, to come in such a posture which is a shame to expresse, and publickly offer such a vile disgrace, provocati­on, contempt, yea and (as it were) a defyance to God, his ordinances and people, you (so far as I can learn, untill I see your answer) and which is also the opinion doubtlesse of multitudes who never heard of you before, are by your silence and negligence the instrumentall cause that all of her mind and faction are not only waxed both more audaci­ous, outragious and numerous, but likewise doe think themselves to be more confirmed and allowed, thus by outfacing Authority to proceed in their wickednesse, than ever since we heard that there was any such mis­creants in this valley of tears, according to that worthy saying of Solo­mon, Eccles. 8. 11. Because sentence against an evill work is not speedi­dily executed, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evill.

But in order to a redresse, I am confident, that if those wanton peo­ple, who almost like those of old that sate down to eat and drink and then rose up to play, were as scarce both of food and rayment as many of Gods dear children are in these long and toylsom days of affliction (to them, howsoever they be prosperous to others) and not only they put to work and labour, with exact overseers to take a strict accompt of them daily, and that in such sure places as Bridewell in all the Counties of these united Nations; but likewise all Thieves that cannot be proved murtherers, who usually boast, (even which is too evidently true,) that they care far lesse for a quarter of an hours hanging, than to work and labour a moneths time, and so the putting of such to death is so far from proving to be warrantable or good, that not only the practice thereof offendeth the Majesty of God, in that it crosseth his sacred word, but it never cometh to any successfull period: for is there not constantly (not­withstanding all such indirect means using) a number of both sexes exe­cuted both every moneth at London, and at every Sessions and Assizes in the Countries throughout all the three Nations? so that there is no amendment by using that most unwarrantable and uncharitable means [Page 11] of mans devising: Therefore if the remedie before mentioned of both these evils for recovering those parties in their respective degrees and de­merits were wisely and discreetly used in all these united Nations, doubt­less it might prove very effectuall, both to abandon the lasciviousnesse of the one sort, and besides the obedience in that respect to Gods revealed will, it would save the pretious lives of the other, which though one Iudge can take, who perchance is guilty himself of a thousand times grea­ter offences, yet those lives cannot be restored by all the Iudges of the world, as the stoln goods may in some considerable time by work and labour, be to the owner recovered, and so the party released.

And if this most charitable, easie, profitable, needfull, vertuous and commendable means were thus tryed, there would not only much glory redound thereby to God, by obeying his word, and great advantage by their industry to the whole Commonwealth; but likewise there might be an Army of above an hundred thousand men, alwaies trained, prepa­red, and in readinesse upon all occasions for whatsomever either Sea or Land services, throughout all the three Nations, either against forreign Invasions, or intestine Insurrections; and that by chusing out all the best affected and trained from among them at all needfull times, who after they have been broken off from their wonted both associates, idle­nesse and practices, might in some considerable time, prove as good souldiers under discreet and expert Commanders, as any who are at present in those services of the three Nations: so that neither any more pressing of housholders, nor sound of drum for voluntiers should be u­sed, but those prisoners happily reduced from being malefactors to be both manufactors and souldiers, yea and many of them to be also well informed in the sincere wayes of God, from which like lost Sheep they have far strayed; thus should these Nations be patterns of such godly and vertuous works to all other Nations, who have not already the use and practice thereof, which yet we want.

Verily, all honest men (who are most subject to be deceived, they cha­ritable judging the best of others to be like them, as I have dearly bought some experience both in that and other kinds) did expect, that when all the Playhouses in London were quite discharged, and also that great Timber barn in the Palace of Whitehall it self demolished, which was ere­cted for the vile exercises of masks and playes, and those to be alwayes in the night season (even crossing the Ordinance of God, which he hath appointed for people to rest, and in the day to travell) yea and the de­luge of Gods temporall judgements were so abundantly powred out in these bloody, cruell, durable and destructive Wars throughout all the [Page 12] three Nations for the great abominations and crying sins thereof, even when they were ripe for the sickle, and by which the former State being quite overthrown, there remained no more excuses of any intestine op­position, to hinder a thorough and full Reformation, both in matters spirituall and temporall; so that long before any forraign troubles began there might and should have been far better seed, proceeding from a god­ly sorrow, not only sowed but sprung up, that there might have been a joyfull reaping before this time, than any more such of the Enemies tares (though of other kinds, as he wanteth not a magazine of temptations as God hath of judgements) to have been either in our own days or the posterities, which now do begin of fresh so to spring up and flourish, that if they and their blossoms be permitted to bear seed and ripen untill another harvest, then doubtless the last error will be worse than the first, for that will highly provoke God in his justice, to powr out both more remarkable and inevitable judgements than the former.

We have upon holy record for our learning, or at least for rendering us the more inexcusable, abundance of examples, whereof for avoyding prolixity, I will only mention two of the most pregnant and pertinent, as both times do change, and we also change in them, some being advan­ced to the skyes, and others humbled to the ashes; the First is, That because the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, who being overcom by four Kings, and through Gods providence in using Abraham and his Family as his instruments both to destroy those Kings, and bring back the priso­ners and spoil of those Cities, did not walk answerable unto such unde­served favors, but did wax much worse in all kind of voluptuousness and wickedness afterwards, than ever they themselves, or those their friends and neighbours who were destroyed before their eyes; did not the same righteous God then punish them to the full, even by an extraordinary extirpation of them all, saving one Family, from off the face of the earth at last, as both he did the whole world in the dayes of Noah, and the Amalekites for their cruelty to his own own people, in their distress? which wonderfull visitatious are sufficient enough to terrify us and all posterities from following those wicked people in their most hainous sins, if our hearts were not hardned (I much fear) as both theirs and and King Pharao's were, unto the day of destruction: So that the So­domites slight punishment at first, by so many thousands, who doubt­less, were as guilty as the rest, being freed, (according to the Lords usuall remembring mercy in the midst of his judgments) and yet that so great and undeserved mercy to those who so much enjoyed it, not being in a­ny the least measure regarded, but rather their hearts so much the [Page 13] more hardened, presuming if such another visitation should come again, that they should have the like escape; and upon that false ground they most ungratefully and undutifully, (not at all considering the goodnesse of God towards them,) both increased and multiplyed all their former abominable wickednesses: and therefore it may be justly said, that that gentle visitation by so many thousands of as guilty people as the rest e­scaping which at first in much mercy they had, was no preservation, and far lesse any allowance of them either in their former or latter abo­minations, whereby in the least either so suddenly or at all to have grown secure, and much lesse to have proceeded in wickednesse; neither was the victory which God gave them over their enemies, any sure token of his favour to them above their brethren in evil whom he had destroyed, but it was rather a reservation of them, unto a more generall, inevitable, compleat, remarkable, and extraordinary judgment.

And the second Example is, that when certain men told our blessed Saviour of the Galileans, whose blood P [...]lat had mingled with their sa­crifices, he answered and said unto them, Suppose ye that those Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans, I tell you, Nay, but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish? Or think ye, that those 18. men upon whom the Tower in Shilo fell and slew them, were sinners above all that were in Jerusalem, I tell you, Nay, but except ye amend your lives, ye shall all likewise perish?

Sir, I could even in this most rare accident, as well as in other matters which are frequent, much enlarge my self, both from the word of truth, and occurrences in our own dayes, yea and besides the dear buying of some experience in other kinds, I have not been at small both charges and travels, besides other great losses and troubles of persecution, in be­ing driven by wicked men with my Family, oftentimes from our habita­tions and possessions, even from one Nation to another, whereby to gain some experience also in this kind; For I have not only been divers times Excommunicated in Nationall Churches by the Priests of the high places, and their Lords, the late Bishops, even for witnessing against their manifold evils, either by word, writing, not countenancing their antichristian worship, or refusing to maintain them in such indirect courses, by paying Tythes or other exactions, which they call duties, they neither being Christs servants, nor content with his wages, although I was not a member of any National Church these 35 years, which is about the half of my few and evill dayes; but likewise I was once Ex­communicated in a Church in London, where I was a Member indeed in obedience to Gods Word, which I esteemed to be of totall separation [Page 14] from all kind of such evills, and to walk in the order and purity of the Gospell, even because I protested first against the owners of a disorder­ly boy between 3. and 4. year old, whom both they and all other their confederat members saving one, allowed (as it seemed) to trouble the ex­ercise, both on first days, fast days, and other days of weekly meetings, for the space of divers moneths, I being the oldest in years of any Mem­ber saving one Woman, who had no liberty to speak, and for which as I heard by one of themselves, that if I insisted to have such peace, silence and order observed, that they had resolved I should be Excommunica­ted. Secondly, because I witnessed against the evils of divers false do­ctrines which were by Samuel Chidley one of their Teachers delivered, and by the ignorant members received. And Thirdly, because I both discovered, and after privat dealing with him brought famous Witnesses to prove many haynous sins against him, for which he was cast out of Worcester house from the States service, which I both procured for him, taught him, and kept him in it two years, after he was deposed, until he got great riches, and notice of discoveries, to my own great prejudice, through his deceitfulnesse, and the best recompence I received for all I was Excommunicated, which as one of Gods chief Ordinances, he and his Confederates most unjustly used, as a weapon of unrighteousnesse, whereby to execute their malice against me, even to their own sin and shame, for as Solomon saith, As the Swallow and Sparrow by flying doe escape, so the curse that is causlesse shall not come.

And besides all these, whereof I have the particulars, and many o­ther worthy matters ready for the Presse, I and my Family once, even upon an occasion also of a Sermon, where there were about 2000 peo­ple gathered to a Fair neer Greenwich, where we had a house and dwelt in the Summer time, and we being a long time warned according to the penalties then imposed, to come unto the antichristian worship of that high-place, where there was a high Altar erected for the late Queen, at last went thither on that day which is unjustly called St. Lukes day, be­fore the eys of all those Kentish and other Malignants, although to our great damage and danger of our lives, both in tearing the Surplice to pieces, and witnessing to the full all their spirituall evils, without ei­ther fear or favour, as that faithfull Prophet whom God sent from Judah to Bethel, did deliver his Message against King Ieroboam's pra­ctice, in offeriug sacrifice there, contrary to the word of God, so that his salt did not lose it's savour, but still contiuued good.

But in regard I affect brevity, howsoever I be oftentimes driven other­wise, either for conveniencie or necessity, and that it would be needlesse [Page 15] to carry water to a spring, as it must be sometimes carried to a Pump, (though I have had for many years, divers both higher and greater mat­ters in debate with the chiefest of your profession.) I therefore con­clude with those pretious words of the Apostle Paul to the Philippians, 4. 8, 9. Whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoe­ver things are of good report; if there be any vertue, or if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do, and the God of peace shall be with you, in whom I desire to be

where I ex­pect your answer in writing, within a fortnight, that for generall satis­faction it may be Printed with this Letter, which after the time is expi­red, I intend to doe howsoever▪
Yours as you are his, and do clear your self in this, DAVID BROWN.

SIR, I would have written to you so soon as I heard of this business, were it not, that I have been sick ever since, as I was a little before.

For Mr. Peter Sterry Minister, at his Lodging in Whitehall.



YOu charge me in your Letter for being in the Pulpit, and being silent there at the time, when a very great offence was committed in the Congregation. You all along take that for granted, which is altogether a Mistake, namely, that I understood the present Fact. Wherefore to remove this Mistake, and to inform you rightly, will be at once your Satisfaction, and my Vindication. Vpon this account I shall give you a plain Narration of those passages, which relate to my self.

I was in the midst of my Sermon, when I saw at one end of the Cha­pell a great disturbance among the people, with a sudden fear. I cast my eye on the other end, where I saw in the midst of the crowd a Woman as I guest b [...] her head, bare to the middle of her back, the rest of her being hid from my sight in the throng: Hereupon I turned to the disturbed people to quiet them, by telling them, that there was no danger, that it was a mad-woman onely that occasioned the Stir.

No other imagination upon that sudden glance entred into my Spirit. Before I could again turn my eye towards that place, the VVoman was suddenly carryed out by Souldiers, who alwayes keep a court of Guard close by the door of the Chapell; It was when I came down out of the [Page 17] Pulpit, that I first was acquainted with the Truth of that Story, which for the monstrousness of it seemed incredible to me, untill it was confir­med by many hands.

Sir, I appeal to those who hear me in publick, how farre in a constant course upon all occasions; how far after a more particular manner in the first Sermons which I preached after that enormous Scandall, I have de­clared my self against the heynous evill of such Practises, and those cor­rupt Principles which lead to such Practises. I doe not therefore think it needfull for me to say more in a private Letter, seeing I say so much, so frequently in Publique.

I had much rather, that the good savour of my Name should arise freely from the precious Oyntment of Christs Love in his Providence, of the Spirit of Christ in my Life, in my Doctrine; than from my own Endeavours concerning it. Only, as a Christian, I have thus far taken this care to give to you, who are a professed Brother in Christ, that sa­tisfaction which you have desired from me.

Having therefore kindly thanked you, for that zeal to the glory of our Lord Iesus, for that respect and love to me, which you expresse in yours Letter; Praising you for the heat of your affections, so farre as you are carefull to joyn it with Light, I commend you to the grace of God, and rest

Your faithfull Friend and Servant in Christ. Peter Sterry.

For Mr. David Brown at the New great Brick house, at the North end of Soho in the Fields, streight up Hedge lane from Charing Cross.

The EPILOGUE, to Mr. Peter Sterry, Minister, being cleared of that negligence wherewith he was charged.


I Have received your Answer to my Epistle, whereby for mine own part, as one honest man should trust another, I am sufficiently satis­fied, even as I was also of a discreet Military Officer, who at the same juncture of time commanded the guard, when the impudent woman before that high Assembly appeared; and I hope, that all the people of these united Nations, who have either so much christianity as to trust a Christian, or wish in other matters to be trusted themselves, or have heard, or may happen to hear or read of this businesse, as it is in this small volume both questioned and answered, or have been otherwise informed, yea, or have so much moderation and discretion as to submit unto such circumstances as are grounded upon reason, cannot chuse but rest likewise satisfied, even with those probable causes or reasons of that silence, wherewith in the Epistle you are so strictly charged, which are in your answer so evidently expressed; yet, that no man mistake me, I do not professe to speak or write infallibly, but trust every honest man, as I would be trusted by all honest men: for revealed things belong to us, but secret things to God, and therefore it's justly said, That man judgeth by outward appearance, but God judgeth righteous judge­ment.

Howsoever as King Solomon saith, He that rebuketh a man shall find more favour afterwards, than he that flattereth with his lips, and that a reproof entreth more into a wise man, than a hundred stripes into a fool, Prov. 28. 23. & 17. 10. so the truth and validity of both which para­bles I have found, by that discretion, moderation and affection, yea and both thankfulnesse and commendation, which (out of your ingenuity) you are pleased in your modest answer to use and expresse towards me, though a very weak instrument of God, for the peoples satisfaction and your good, according to the first words of that divine Author, Pro. 15. 1. howbeit I charged you as a most negligent Christian, even to the very [Page 19] utmost of my evidence, which from divers famous people I heard, and so far as to them in such a tumult appeared.

And as concerning the difference of your judgement or practice from the separated Churches, mentioned in the New Testament, whereof I gave you a hint both in the beginning and midst of what I wrote, a few words being sufficient to the wise; so still in brief, I wish from my heart, seeing the most sincere Christians, do but know, practice, believe, and prophecie only in part, that none of all our endeavours, who are but weak in respect of others, may tend in the least to the quenching of the Spirit, or despising of prophecie, but to prove all things, hold fast that which is good, and abstain from all appearance of evill, chiefly by exact obedience to Gods heavenly call, even in comming quite out of Babel, touching no unclean thing, and offering all our gifts and sacrifices in Sion, which is the perfection of beauty, where God hath promised his own glorious presence in the sincere practice of all his holy Ordinan­ces.

For (to speak impartially, which we are bound alwayes to doe) as those who come short of the mark, have very great need to strive for­wards, and forget what's behind; so have they as great need who stand very near it, alwayes to take heed▪ lest they should fall backwards from it: so that I argue not for any immunity, in regard of stability concer­ning totall separats, though I conceive that to be the very height of Religion; but that all who have the title of Christians, may both attain thereunto, and persevere therein without apostacy or decling▪ See Heb. 10. 26, &c. and 2 Pet. 21. 22. Which excellent duties if we could but fervently desire to perform, and earnestly beseech God for the gracious assistance alwaies of his blessed Spirit, to strengthen and lead us into all truth; then doubtless, as Paul prayeth for the Church of the Thessa­lonians, The very God of peace would sanctifie us wholly, and preserve our whole Spirit, soul and body blameless untill the comming of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom I rest,

Your faithfull friend to serve you in all duties of love, David Brown.

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