A PARADOX Usefull for the Times.

Gentle Reader,

AS a preludium to the ensuing discourse, I would intreate you to take notice that some Sheetes of printed Paper that flies up and downe the Streetes of this City in Mercuries hands, are worthy of high estimation; such are those Observati­ons, Protestations, and Messages that truly passe betweene our gracious Sove­raigne, and his two Houses of Parliament, and some of our eloquent Tullies, and learned Demosthenes Ora­tions and Petitions that adhere to King and Parliament; but o­ther Pamphlets that are against both, are little to be regarded, such is your lying Diurnals, your absurd Passages, your diabolicall newes from Heaven, your horrible, terrible, and fearefull tydings, and such like: and to some of these I have seen an Order, a Vote, or the Clarke of Parliaments name inserted; But I beleeve the Honourable House, or Clarkes never did intend such things, and therefore rather thinke that the covetous Stationers doth it to make their Bookes sell. But such things being suffered, and wink­ed at, I doe greatly feare will be a cause of ruine to this Kingdome. In filling peoples mindes full of jealousies both against King and Parliament. For the people of England being a free State, feare as great a tyrannicall jurisdiction in an Aristocraticall, or Democrati­call government, as they doe in the knowne Monarchicall State of the Kingdome. In consideration whereof, I having plaid the foole to print 36. Sheetes of Paper at my own charge, being neither [Page] against King nor Parliement, but for both, I was bold to cast one shee [...]e of my diastrous losses into the Presse. And having acted my part therein, I thought good for the vindication of my reputation in this kinde of publique writing, to let this Paradox passe the Presse likewise: By which, I will briefly and plainly prove, That oftentimes good doth come of evill, wisdome from folly, and light out of darknesse. Yet Truth it selfe saith, That a good tree cannot bring forth evill fruit, neither can a bad tree bring forth good fruit: For answere whereunto: It is true, that a regenerate soule, though some Leaves of his profession may wither for want of fervent zeale in the time of temptation and though some rotten branches of bad actions may remaine upon him for want of carefull diligence; yet if he be sound at the heart, these leaves may be driven away by the tempe­stuous windes of afflictions, or pruned off with the sharp knife of Repentance, and the tree will not be much the worse, but rather the better: for instead of these old branches and leaves, there will spring strong sprigs, and wholesome fruit. Contrary, though an evill man may make a glorious shew of his profession to God­ward, and do some good workes of justice and charity towards his neighbour, to be seen of men, yet if they doe not spring from the roote of a true saving, justifying faith, he is but as the accursed Fig-tree, that quickly withers away in the time of temptation, or in the day of affliction: But from hence let none judge rashly of any mans election or reprobation, but judge charitably of all, though you may know them by their fruits, to learne to doe better, or to imitate their vertues. Yet notwithstanding this objection, I will affirme my assertion to be true, That God hath, can, will, and doth daily bring evill out of good, wisdome out of folly, and light out of dark­nesse. That God hath done this in former times, I can prove by many testimonies, but I will instance only in two. The first shall be of our first Parents. They did very evill in eating of the forbid­den fruit, in doing evill they committed folly, and so did sin a­gainst the command of God, and by that sin did walk in darkness, according to Christs rule, for they knew not whither to goe to hide themselves from the all-searching eye of omniscience. Now for this evill, God sends the promised Messias, the seed of the wo­man, according to the fulnesse of time: In hope whereof the Fa­thers, Patriarchs, and Prophets lived a godly and religious life, [Page] which by Divines is reputed to be a greater blessing than Adams being in Paradise, for that was an earthly Lordship, but by this he is heire [...]pparent, and joynt-heire with Christ of a heavenlie inheri­tance: for there he was to be but a man, but in heaven he shall bee as the Angels, nay more, as the Son of God. Thus the wisdome of God the Father was given for the folly of man, and for his sensuall blindnesse he had heavenly illuminations. Secondly, see this far­ther illustrated in the second Adam (Christ) did not that Traytor Judas very evill in betraying his Lord and Master with a kisse? And for a few pieces of refined earth, to sell a heavenly inheri­tance? Did not the Jews as bad, to seek the death of their Messias, and exclude a murtherer? Did not Pilate as bad as any, in giving judgement against an innocent, contrary to his owne knowledge, and the counsell of his wife? And were not the souldiers vile wretches to revile, and spit upon a meeke, and quiet Lambe, in whose mouth was no guile found? And were they not all fooles to put him to death, that could only give them life? Did they not walke in darknesse that blinded their eyes against the Son of righ­teousnesse? Therefore it appeareth plainly they loved darknesse better than light, and accordingly they had it, for sure that was a dismall day to Judas, when he went and hanged himselfe, so that for very paine and vexation of spirit his bowels gushed out, an ex­ample to all Traytors; and was it not as black a day to Pilate, when after he had caused many of the Jews, and his owne souldiers to be slaine, he went and killed himselfe? and are not the Jewes ever since in a cloud and mist of darknesse, knowing not whither they goe, being vagabonds upon the face of the earth, and dispersed, and hated of all Nations? Now see what good this evill brought. It is plaine, It brought forth the blood of Christ for the redemption of mankinde, one drop whereof were able to save ten thousand worlds. It is the beleevers lavor, wherein he bathes his leprous soule, and comes out as white as Snow. for by the bloody death, and bitter passion of Jesus crucified, he doth as truly trample upon sin, death, and hell, as if he had himselfe performed the same: Now what greater benefit than the salvation of the soule? None surely. Againe, out of their folly did arise wisdome to his redeem­ed, even the best of all, for the knowledge of Christ Jesus crucifi­ed is more, and above all the wisdome in the world: I desire nothing [Page] saith holy Paul) but the knowledge of Christ Jesus, and him crucifi­ed. Is not here then great light for darknesse, wisdome for folly, and good for evill, wee see it apparent, it hath been so: behold it in the second degree, that it may and can now be so; For God is as able and as willing as ever he was: then consider the time where­in we live. Is it not reported for certaine, That the Kings favou­rites, and the Lordly Gentlemen did intend to bring up a Tyran­nicall jurisdiction over the Commons of England, Scotland, and Ireland, as it is in France? did they not attempt it by Monopolies, Projects, exaction in Courts of justice, and other wayes, was this well done? No sure, it was very ill. Did not the Lordly Bishops, and imperious Clergy seek to Lord it over Gods Inheritance, so to eat the honey of the poore labouring Bee, to make themselves fat like idle Drones, was this well done? Surely no, It was very ill. Againe, It is said, That some would have an Aristocraticall go­vernment in this Island, that hath been so many yeares a free Mo­narchy, thereby to make the Prince a Subject to his Nobles, and the Commons slaves to many imperious Lords, will this bewell? Surely no, but very ill; for I had rather be subject to one Royall King, and his officers, then be under so many distinct Lords, and their favourites, as I here it is beyond the Sea, where they are in­forced to pay for their owne meat and drinke, and be exacted of all their labour, which would be as grievous to an ingenuous spirit, as the Aegyptian bondage.

Againe, there is of late sprung up a strange kinde of Pharisaicall Teachers, who though in words they despise the kingdome of An­tichrist, yet their deeds establish it. And because they would make people beleeve that all they utter is by the Spirit, they scorne the words of Christ, & at the close of their Sermons give God thanks that they have forgotten the Lords Prayer, and because they would seeme to excell the Law and the Prophets, they expunge the fifth Commandement out of the Decalogue, and that you may see they have a Revelation above the Apostles, they cancell the 5. Article in their Creed. And thus they preach, chusing a Text, from whence they draw an observation as far from it as the East is from VVest. Another he railes non-sense against the Booke of Common-Prayer for its well composed repetitions, and never considers his own vain babling, another is angry, that Cheap­side [Page] Crosse hath more gold than he hath in his purse: another like Diogenes in a Tub, b [...]bbles he knowes not what, and because the Church hath been used by Papists, he is afraid to come into it: &c. Are these things well done? surely no. Wherein we shew our folly, and contemning light, we walk in darknesse, so that we know not whether wee goe nor what to doe, for these differences raised the bloody rebellion in Ireland, and doth now threaten de­struction to this Kingdome. But God is the same God still, hee can and will when he sees best, bring out of all these evills much good in a well composed Monarchicall government. By this all men may learne wisdome, and grave Senators understanding: and out of all this darknesse of error and blindnesse, we may walke in the cleare light, and so shine Brighter and brighter, till it be perfect day, that so the Lord may continue to be unto us a good and a gracious God, and we may continue to be unto him a chosen ge­neration, a royall Priesthood, a holy Nation, a peculiar people, even his own pleasant plant. Thirdly and lastly, That good doth daily spring out of evill, I would prove by many Presidents, but I will only instance in my selfe: For I have lately made two Books, the one entituled Annuall world, and sacred Poems, the other A rare pattern of justice and mercy, with a Meteor & a Star, which I thought was a good work, and is so approved in it selfe by many judicious and learned men, but my ends was bad, for I did them for by re­spects, and not chiefly for the glory of God: which I will illustrate in this fable following. It is by Poets reported, that Phaeton, the too adventrous son of Sob, and Clymene, having with much intrea­ty obtained of his Father Phoebus, the guiding of his Chariot for one day, and being utterly unable to performe such an enterprise, let the horses raines slip, and had thereby almost set the whole world on fire, scorching Aethiopia, and many other places, till at length Jupiter perceiving his boldnesse, and fearing to be burnt himselfe, struck him with a Thunderbolt, and he fell into the Ri­ver Eridanus, now called Po, or Padus; which fable, as it doth lively represent the picture of inconsiderate, and ambitious men in generall, so in particular it is verified in me, for notwithstanding the grave advice of my late judicious, loving Master, Sir James Cambell, and other my friends, who wish [...] me to surcease my fruit­lesse labour in making Bookes, especially now in this paper-age, [Page] wherein many strive to vent the froth of their inventions into the Presse, so that lying and scandalous Pamphlets fly about the City in every corner, and prove vendible ware, whereas solid and learned mens workes are nothing regarded: And for mee to trouble my selfe in making Bookes, who never came within the view of double topt Parnassus, I meane the two Universities of this Island, and never proceeded beyond the Rudiments of learning, I meane the Grammer, it could not chuse but prove a fruitlesse la­bour: Yet having for some small time conversed with Star-crown­ed Ʋrania, that soul-ravishing, and heavenly Muse, I could not rest satisfied with a little taste of her divine Nactor, till I had so in­toxicated my sences, that in a frantique humour, I have set the frame of heaven in a combustion, for I have stated the Sun, Moon, and Stars upon such improper objects, as may cause amazement to the beholders. Therefore it is no wonder, if with the said Phaeton, or rather with foolish Icarus, if I with the wings of a vaine hope, and as you may thinke an unadvised pride, striving to ascend into a Bright firmament of favour, am cast down into an ocean of con­tempt and disdaine. Herein was my folly, and thus to obtaine Bright, I have walked in darknesse. But yet to vindicate my repu­tation in this particular, these Books may not unfitly be compared to those holy waters Ezekiel saw flow out of the Sanctuary, which from a shallow Forde, no deeper then his ancles, became a River impassable, and I my selfe may not unfitly be compared to kinde hearted Leander, a young man in Abidos, who for the love of Ero, a beautifull Damsell of Sestos, did oftentimes in the night swim over the narrow Sea of Hellespont, it being between those two Townes, to obtain the society of his Love; But at length one night the Sea being rough, he was drowned: so I in like manner have oftentimes waded over these waters, but at the first I only drencht my foot, as is to be seen in Libro Amoris, and by many chearefull perambulati­ous, and loving welcomes, I had free and easie accesse to my love, at the next time those Poeticall waters flowed up to my ancles, as appeareth in sacred Poems, and with much alacrity I oft visited her, but then these divine waters began to flow up to my chin, as is to be seen in my Annuall world, so that I drowned all worldly things in a spirituall sence. Yet these I passed over likewise, and had ma­ny times the society of my Love. But at the last these waters be­gan [Page] to be rough, and the winds blew, and a great tempest arose, as is to be seen in my Meteor, so that I was in danger to be drowned, yet these I passed over likewise, and had hopes of my love. But my Patterne of Justice and Mercy hath captivated my senses, so that in these waters I am like to be drowned, and have lost her who was never found by me in the way I sought her. Yet in maintenance of these my labours of love, I will hazzard my life and fortunes, for first in my Annuall world, I have not ascribed any inherent holi­nesse in one day above another, but made a reverend Memoran­dum, and divine meditation on every day through the year, which I thinke is lawfull, and am sure it is the duty of every Christian so to doe, and though I doe borrow a better forme of prayer then I am able of my selfe to compose according to my matter, though it be out of our Church Liturgy, which some call the English Masse­booke, I esteeme of my Booke never the worse, for I had rather speak 4. or 5. words with understanding, then a great deale of non-sense to no purpose. In my sacred Poems I have used the assi­stance of learned Du Bartas, and other Poets elegant expressions on the day in generall, and all the dayes in the weeke, for which I, and so I hope all understanding people will love my Apothecaries Shop the better for such variety of expressions, though some say this dead flie hath made all my Bookes of oyntment unsavoury. Thirdly, for my Patterne of justice and mercy, and my Star, there is few findes fault with, but in my Meteor they thinke to have a great advantage against me, beeause I compared my late honoured Ma­ster to Laban and Nabal, who in bad qualities is as far unlike them, as an Apple is like an Oyster, but for riches and honour, so it is true, I did compare him like them, and my unworthy self like Jacob and David, for penury and poverty, and my love to Rachel in her Christian name, but otherwise as unlike them, as Chalke is like Cheese: If it can be proved that Rachel is as faire and amiable as her name-sake, if I am as industrious as Jacob, or as holy as Da­vid, which is very well knowne to the contrary, then I will affirme my Master to be as covetous as Laban, and as churlish as Nabal. Besides, I thinke it no more presumption in me to use these com­parisons, nor dishonour to my Master, or Rachel, to be so compa­red, then it was for Moses to compare himselfe like unto Christ, Deut. 18. 15. for it is well knowne that Moses was borne in sin, [Page] and committed many actuall crimes, but Christ was free from [...] ­ther, Originall, he was conceived by the Holy Ghost, or actuall, there was no guile found in his mouth: but yet Moses, as he was a Man, a Prophet, and deliverer [...]f the Israelites out of Aegyptian bondage, so he was like Christ: a true man, of the flesh of his Vir­gin mother, The Prophet of the highest, and deliverer of Mankinde out of Satans slavery. Therefore now let the most Criticall Para­site joyne himselfe with the most holy that may be found, and shew me in particular, by writing under their hands, and not in reviling termes, with a big looke, and loud voice, (for I cannot endure scolding) wherein is my light with darknesse, or my holy and vaine unprofitable things mixed, which are altogether inconsistent and wherein I have dishonoured my Master in my Bookes, and if I doe not satisfie them in the view of all the world, I will endure the greatest punishment they can inflict upon me, but if they faile to do this, be they who they will that abused me, to my late Ma­ster living, and doe now endeavour to oversway my judicious lo­ving friends good opinion of me, and of my honest endeavours, I doe here pronounce in the sight of God, and before all the world, that they are a company of malicious detractors, wolves in sheeps clothing, flattering Sycophants, &c. But I am not alone thus wronged, for these kinde of people have abused Authority. There­fore I will commend them to study how they may vindicate their reputations, and give thankes to God, that out of my folly hee hath taught me to be so wise as to make no more Bookes, and that out of the most darkest sentence therein I can finde a great deale of light to comfort and cheare my soule after all her vexations, in all places, and at all times, from this time forth for ever more, Amen.

Soli Deo honor & gloria.
Printed in that same Climacterian yeare,
When Gods wondrous workes in this Land did appeare:
In abasing the proud, exalting the low,
As Christ and the Prophets foretold long agoe.

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