MALICE Against MINISTRY MANIFESTED By the Plain and Modest PLEA and DEFENCE OF ZACH. CROFTON Minister of the Gospel at Buttolphs Aldgate London Unto the False and Frivolous Charge of Tho. Harrison, and John Levet against him exhibited unto the Commissi­oners for the Ejection of Ignorant, Scandalous and Insufficient Ministers, &c. within the City of London. In which you have His Past Credit Attested. Present Plea demurred. Particular Articles duly and distinctly answered.

Acts 26.2. I think my self happy King Aggrippa, because I shall this day answer before thee of all things whereof I am accused by the Iewes.
Neque tu bonus Poeta esses, si preter legem carminis caneres; Neque ego Civilis Praetor essem, si preterquam quod leges permittunt tibi gratificarer. Themi. ad Sim.

London, Printed for James Nathal, and are to be sold at his house in the Minories next door to the Dolphin, and at Book-sellers Shops, 1657.

To the Right Worshipful and Reverend, The Commissioners for the Ejection of Ig­norant, Scandalous and Insufficient Ministers, &c. within the City of London.

Right Worshipful and Reverend Sirs,

THIS ensuing plea is to you presented, not as a Book which begs your Patronage, nor yet to prejudge the cause before you depending, or in the least to supersede your proceedings, but to acquaint you with the real truth to facilitate your debates, and answer the desire of some among you, whom (if I did not mistake) I heard (in my last appearance be­fore you) say, They expected my answer in writing, which now you have; and this Epistle is to apologise this publick approach unto you: unto which I have been constrained By your multitude to whom one Copie could be little advantage, and transcription is a burden I cannot bear, and I believe your Clerks would find ve­ry heavy: By the clamors of mine enemies who have loudly said, They had laid in before you a Charge, by which they should discover me to be the vilest Minister in England, even more vile then those Centuries silenced by the late Committee for plun­dered Ministers: and therefore did provoke my friends to per­swade me to run away, and (have since my appearance) clamored that I cover my guilt by denying your cognisance; and demur to your jurisdiction, because I dare not plead to the charge; here­by the world may see the charge though detecting some infirmities is not so criminal; and although I would not represent you arbi­trary who are bound up to a law; and therefore by advice of Counsel learned in law, I have demurred; yet I had a full answer ready on which I dare join issue. By the pragmatick readi­ness of some over-busie spirits to be printing the passages of last dayes proceedings (which was by a Printer of my acquaintance providentially prevented:) lastly, I have made thus bold to en­treat a speedy result of your present debate, that if within your [Page] cognisance we may proceed to triall: if not you will please ju­dicially to declare it so, and not keep it in deck and me and my people under suspitious delayes: mine accusers have said it shal be Lady-day before it be by you decided: but I hope you will consider the great work of God upon my hands, and one way or other set me at libertie: and if (as mine accusers blaze abroad) the charge be to be returned to his Highness and Councel (whose cognisance I cannot but believe it is much below) I crave that you will please with the charge to return this plea, that if possi­ble by it their prejudice against me may be removed, and I and my people (by their favor) be restored to our Sabbaths liberty in our own Church; and erroneous John Simpson be removed from among us: the which if you, or any of you, could obtain in our behalf, our restored peace and order, the advancement of Gods truth and ordinances should be your blessing; and I should be no more suspected of disaffection to the present Government then I was before his intrusion. Worthy Sirs, I will hold you no longer, save to tell you, I doubt not but you see how ready Satan is to make use of you (who are piously intended to reform the Mi­nistrie) unto the ruine of this holy function: and how ever it may fare with me, I hope it will make you cautious what charge and by what kind of persons is laid against a Minister: and if I have offended in coming a little out of my way to meet you with this answer, I pray remember you stept something out of your way to call him hither, who is

Your humble Orator expecting your piety and justice, ZACH. CROFTON.

Page 3. l. 10. r. unrighteous Judge. p. 5. l. 4. r. godly. p. 19. l. 33. r. unjust. p. 20. l. 2. r. judg. p. 22. l. 16. r. violent. l. 34. r. at the. l. 38. r. on p. 23. l. 5. r: These. p. 10. against line 4. in marg. r. Hence their cry in all this contest is, We will know whose is the Pulpit.

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