AN APOLOGY FOR The Service of Love, AND The People that own it, common­ly called, The Family of Love.

Being a plain, but groundly Discourse, a­bout the Right and True Christian Religion: Set forth Dialogue-wise between the Citizen, the Countreyman, and an Exile: as the same was pre­sented to the High Court of Parliament, in the time of Queen Elizabeth; and penned by one of her Majesties menial servants, who was in no small esteem with Her, for his known wisdom and godliness.

With another short Confession of their Faith, made by the same people. And finally some Notes & Collections, gathered by a private hand out of H.N. upon, or concerning the eight Beati­tudes.

LONDON, Printed for Giles Calvert, at the Black-spread-Eagle at the West end of Pauls, 1656.

To all courteous Cour­tiers, the Exile sen­deth greeting.

YOu courtly Courtiers, courteous by kind,
Lowly, wise, and pleasant in mind.
This little Device from the ground of his heart
The Exile hath sent you, take it in good part:
And when you have read it, peruse it again,
For the matter is weighty, true, and eke plain.
Weigh well the fire, do nothing in hast,
And measure you likewise the wind as it blows:
So call me again the day that is past,
For that is the right way Gods wisdome to know.
Both ear, yea and heart, so that ye prepare,
O ye lovely Courtiers, courteous all,
These things for to mark, which I now declare,
Left Gods wrath once kindled, unawares hap to fall.
Where godly Love as a marriage weed,
In lowly hearts works all things new,
There is the truth exprest indeed
In holy life, it is very true.
The head of the Spring where ever it lye,
If it be kept sweet pleasant and clean;
From thence then all Rivers, descending thereby,
Much sweetness of taste, shall there through obtain.
First sound ye the water, and measure the wind,
Then mark well the matter, and sup up the mind;
The Libertines herein, are set out full plain:
So are Christians likewise, that in peace would remain,
But when ye perceive who the Libertines be,
Then wish that all Christians might be set free.
[Page]Gods blessing shall fall, vpon their heads full sure,
That first shall begin the same to procure
By way of Petition, when they shall think time,
And God shall the Rulers hearts thereto incline.
God save the Queens Majesty, and give her the might,
Good Christians to defend, and subdue Libertines quite.

The Argument.

IN few words, the Exile hereafter doth approve,
That wonderful and necessary, is the service of Love.
If you weigh well his words, you shall easily espy;
That among some of our learned there is a wedg awry,
But to redresse the same, that can no earthly man do,
Each man to amend one, is the next way thereto.
But yet by no other mean, may a man thereto attain,
Save alone by the mean exprest in Loves service certain.
And the chief of all vertues he doth likewise approve,
To be a meek minded spirit, fast grounded in Love.

An Apology for the Service of Love.

A Marvellous Matter manifested by an Exile, through a short Communication, in manner of a Dialogue: And pointing as it were with his finger, upon an unconfutable truth: He giveth to all Courteous hearts, that shall vouchsafe advisedly to read the same, great cause of care­ful Consideration.

The Citizen, the Countrey man and the Exile, Interlocutors.
And first, the Citizen to the Countrey-man.

THou knowest right well Coun­trey-man, that the Citizen hath oft times need of the Countrey-man, both for clothing, victuals, and other necessaries; wherefore I pray thee, let us two hold friendship still, and [Page 2] be merty together in honest pastime, like as we alwaies in times past have done: But now I pray thee Countrey-man, tell me, how happeneth it, that thou art so sad now a daies, over thou wast wont to be?

Countrey-man.

I have not any cause to be merry, consi­dering the state of the world, and dange­rous time that now is.

Citizen.

Why Countryman of fellowship tell me the cause, is it for want of worldly things? or else what is the matter? shew me, for thou knowest me to be thy friend; yea, in very deed, I am thy neer kinsman; there­fore thou mayst be bold to express thy mind freely unto me, and I shall truly, and trustily keep thy Counsel; for I in­tend to be merry and follow my trade, and not to busie my self in other mens matters.

Countrey-man.

I shall then tell thee, as unto my very friend, the cause of my heaviness: when [Page 3] I consider what great cause we have to be thankful to God for his manifold good­ness, mercifulness, and great benefits ex­tended on us his creatures in our creation: And in that he hath also given us his ho­ly law, as a glasse of righteousnesse, therein to look into and behold our sinfull spots, and deformities, and so learn thereout the way or mean, to become purged from the same filthynesse; yet now, although we have seemed to look therein a long time, I see that our spots and deformities general­ly; are waxen worse and worse. And about the law or holy Scriptures, there is risen every where great contention, and this I see come to passe, through all Christendome, so well among those which are counted for men of high knowledge, and great lear­ning, as likewise among all other sorts of smaller understanding, in consideration whereof I have both for my self and others more cause to lament, then for to laugh or be merry.

Citizen.

Notwithstanding Countryman, thou knowest right well, that we have been taught these many yeares, by our learned [Page 4] preachers, and that as it seemeth accord­ing to the Scriptures, that all our spots are cleansed, and washed away, onely by the death of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and by no other means, whereof we may in no wise doubt or mistrust, but must acknowledge that he hath made a full reconcilement, and satisfaction to God his Father, upon the Altar of his Cross, once for all our sins, and for the sins of the whole world: yea moreover as thou knowest, that we all have our freedom there­by; though yet, as it cannot be denied, we have been deceived in times past, by many false prophets, and teachers, which have craftily crept in amongst us, in sheeps Cloathing, under pretence of holinesse: But yet Christ sayeth, you shall know them by their fruits, and those you know were the superstitious papists, which brought in all Idolatry and abuse: But now, God be thanked, all such Abominations with worshipping of Images, &c. is gone, you hear, and Banished quite out of this land, truth is set up in place, the Gos­pel of Gods Kingdom is sincerely preach­ed, all over, by Gods true prophets, elect ministers, and upright disciples of Christ, and is thankfully received, you see, of all [Page 5] people to their salvation, and so the bands of Antichrist, sonne of perdition, which is the Pope, are broken, and we now by that means, are set free from all thraldom, wherein we were once captivated, & are re­stored into the liberty of the Gospel; for e­ven so you know we are taught, to this day.

Country-man

We are so taught I grant, and have not much presently to say there against: But yet how many in these dayes, amongst such as accompt themselves for wise and learned, are likewise still deceived and do deceive others, I keep silence thereof: for thou knowest well enough that I have been shent heretofore, therefore I mean not to contend, or once seem to medle in such high matters, as are above my capaci­ty: & you know moreover; that it is thought some were constrained, to sing a song at Paul's Cross, in which one among the rest, overreached himself so high above his ac­customed note, that soone after in quaver­ing, he lost his voyce for ever.

Citizen.

I know of whom you mean: Well, it is [Page 6] a lamentable case that such things should be wrought among Christians; yet never­theless happily he had not otherwise than his desert.

Countrey-man.

And again happily he was set on, or entred into so high a Note by others, and by such means, mought perhaps be con­strained to over-reach himself as it were unawares; yet will I not judge herein, but leave it to him that knoweth all secrets, and will reward every one according to his deeds.

Citizen.

But I pray thee Countrey-man, who is he that standeth yonder to still all this while? he seemeth to be neither Citizen nor Country-man; but rather a wildman that were clothed in moss, and coming late out of the wilderness or mountains: his hair, as seems to me, hangs strangely over his shoulders, and his garments seems to be torn with wild beasts, or else rent with bushes.

Countrey-man.
[Page 7]

Alack he is a poor Exile, and is indeed our very near kinsman: for he was born of my mother, and was her second son begotten of my father, but is not my brother. He is now termed of the Fa­mily of Love, or of God; and because ma­ny seek after his blood, he may not there­fore well as yet shew his head; notwith­standing happily, if be were here, foras­much as he is an Exile, and hath no cer­tain dwelling place, he durst with more boldnesse answer thee in all thy doubts, and these deep and dangerous points (whereof thou hast spoken before) than I dare do: For you know that it is meet for a Countrey-man to follow his calling, and not for to meddle in divine causes, that are above his capacity.

Citizen.

That is well said Countrey-man, for in­deed, I would gladly talk with such a one as would answer me boldly plainly, and fully to all whatsoever I should demand of him. Ho, thou poor fellow come hither, I would speak with thee.

Exile.
[Page 8]

Here I am, what is your pleasure with me?

Citizen.

How sayest thou, Exile? wilt thou an­swer directly, plainly, and fully to all things that I shall ask of thee, and that ac­cording to truth?

Exile.

Yea, according to my simple understan­ding, and as one unlearned; wist I that you would credit me, when as I have told you the truth.

Citizen.

Then first of all tell me, Where is thy dwelling?

Exile.

My dwelling place as yet is uncertain on earth, though often times in the wilder­ness, and mountains among wild beasts.

Citizen.

And what are thy garments made of, [Page 9] wherewith thou seemest to be so strangely clothed?

Exile.

Of the skins of wild beasts.

Citizen.

How happeneth that?

Exile.

Lest otherwise I might hap to be de­voured of them.

Citizen.

And why art thou, as an Exile, fain to fly?

Exile.

Because that I being nevertheless a Chri­stian & a true hearted subject to the Queens Majesty, and in all things obedient unto her Laws and Ordinances, may not yet be suffered to live in rest and peace: and that only by reason of some envious and blasphemous tongues.

Countrey-man.
[Page 10]

I pray thee Citizen, spend not the time about such trifling matters and questions; but rather go to the former matters, whereof you spake to me erewhile, and know his understanding therein.

Citizen.

Very well, content, though this be no trifling matter, that Christians, and true hearted subjects to their Prince, and li­ving obediently under her Laws and Or­dinances (might it so be proved) should be thus persecuted, especially in the daies of our most gracious Queen Elizabeth: and also in the daies of preaching the Go­spel. First of all then, this is my question, How sayest thou Exile? Are not all our spots and deformities washed clean away, and we so cleansed from our sins, by the death and passion of Jesus Christ only?

Exile.

Yea, all theirs are to whom such words are spoken, or promise made in holy [Page 11] Scripture, neither is there any other wash­ing, or cleansing of sinfull spots I confess, but alone by the death and passion of Jesus Christ.

Citizen.

To whom are such words spoken, and who are they then, that shall be saved, or whose spots are done away by Christ?

Exile.

Onely to such, as through the preaching of the word of the Gospel, are in true repentance converted, under the obedi­ence of the love, or life of the same word, to the faith, doctrin, and life of Jesus Christ and his apostles; and even like as were the Congregations of the faithfull, to whom such comfortable words of sal­vation and cleansing, or freedom by Christ, were written in times, past: To all such-like I say, are such Comfortable promises made, and do so stand fast established for ever, and not to the obstinat unregenefate or unrepenting sinners.

Citizen.
[Page 12]

But yet tell me, how sayest thou, Are not all free by Christ?

Exile.

So many as are thus cleansed as aforesaid, or are delivered by Christ, through the Re­generation of the true Baptisme, of re­pentance and newnesse of life from the sin, death, Devill and Hell, wherein they were captived, and so restored, into the glorious liberty of the Sons of God, they are all no doubt free through Christ.

Citizen.

Wilt thou then deny the Sacrament of Baptisme?

Exile.

Though I speake of the true Baptisme, or regeneration through repentance, and newnesse of life, yet do I not deny the ho­ly Sacrament of Baptisme, which signifieth regeneration in Christ, and is ministred [Page 13] to Infants, thought some have most unjustly so reported of us.

Citizen.

It seemeth unto me by thy words, that thou shouldest partly stand in doubt con­cerning the manifold mercies and bene­fits of God extended towards us and all mankind, in giving over his Son unto the death of the Crosse, as though he had not sufficiently therein fulfilled and accom­plished upon the Altar of that his Cross a fall satisfaction and sacrifice for the sins of the whole world: the which thing who secret doth deny doubtless he erreth very much & is against the holy Scriptures.

Exile.

I do nothing doubt or mistrust, con­cerning the manifold graces of God the father, extended towards us all: Nor yet concerning the full and perfect satisfacti­on sacrifice or oblation offered up by Jesus Christ, once for all, upon the Altar of his Crosse, when as he give his holy body to be Crucified, and his most pretious bloud to be shed, for the redemption of all mankind, for to bring again through [Page 14] himself, the generation of mankind, which is altogether estranged from God and his righteousnesse, by the disobedience of A­dam, in his Innocent and glorious estate, wherein he was first created: And there­fore I have no doubt at all, but do believe assuredly according to the Scriptures, that Jesus Christ hath of his part accomplish­ed it all. Notwithstanding of this one thing I stand in doubt, viz. Whether ma­ny at this day amongst us, which boast our selves for Christians, and for partak­ers of all the merits of Christs death and passion, have any earnest lust or inclina­tion, with all Gods elect, to accomplish that which on their part is lacking of the passions of Christ, and is neverthelesse ear­nestly required of us, in the holy Scrip­tures, viz. to repent us earnestly of our sins past, to forsake our selves taking, up our Crosse, and following Christ; to dye unto sin, to crucifie the flesh with her lusts, to put on the new man of rigteousnesse, to dwell in Christ, and to have him to dwell in us, or to put on Christ, to have the same minde in us that was in Christ, to become as little Children, to believe in him, to keep his word, and to do all whatsoever he commandeth, to love one [Page 15] another, to obey our governors, and to live under their Lawes; and even so to eate the flesh of Christ and drink his blood, that so we might have life in us: doubtless whosoever doth not thus endeavour him­self to walk as is aforesaid, in this infallible Christian rule, which is expressed more at at large unto us in the Service of Love, in the after following of Christ; he may not know the truth, or Christ, become made free of the truth, nor inherit the Kingdom of heaven, or be saved.

Citizen.

Thou hast put me in mind of a marvel­lous matter: But tell me, can any man live so pure (whilst he is in this mortal life) but that he shall sin?

Exile.

Understand, there is no man living, be he what he is, but he shall sometimes sin or offend, whiles he is this mortal life; notwithstanding, He that is born of God (namely Christ Jesus the man of God from heaven, that new Creature in whom the seed of God remaineth) sinneth not. And [Page 16] then know this also, that there is a great difference between sin unto death, and sin not unto death.

Citizen.

That is so indeed; but yet then, what thinkest thou herein? have we not been deceived in times past, by many false Pro­phets and false Teachers, which have wal­ked among us in sheeps clothing, being inwardly ravening Wolves? And were not those the superstitious Papists, which brought in all abuses, as worshipping of Images, with much more idolatry into this Land, although it be now banished quite.

Exile.

Yes, we have been no doubt in times past much deceived, and yet are to this day. The superstitious Papists, I grant, were false Prophets, and false Teachers, which brought in many abuses with idola­try (for covetousness is idolatry) and the Prophet complaineth saying, This people carrieth unclean, or foul Idols, in their hearts, meaning still to go on in their wicked­ness, [Page 17] &c. Yea, all what the man esteem­eth more of in his heart, than of God and his holy Law that same is to him an Idol; he falleth down before it, serveth and ho­noureth it, prayeth likewise unto it.

Citizen.

Wilt thou say then, that many of us in this Land are yet deceived, and that we have now in these last days, false Prophets and false Teachers among us?

Exile.

Yea, for so it is prophecied or fore spo­ken in the holy Scriptures, to come to pass in the last times: notwithstanding yet must I needs think well of all such Preach­ers, as hunger and thirst after the truth, righteousness, love, obedience and peace, expressing likewise the same in their good and godly conversation.

Citizen.

How shall men know then the false pro­phets and false Teachers?

Exile.
[Page 18]

By their Fruits.

Citizens.

That is very true: but shew me I pray thee, by some certain notes or manifest to­kens, how I might henceforth know them with their fruits; for that I and all men might-ever after beware of the false, and give heed to the true.

Exile.

Then mark well these six Notes fol­lowing.

1. They are such as presume to teach others the way to eternal life, before ever they have walked therein themselves, or yet have once desired to become first the disciples of Christ, or of his word, to a re­formation of their own lives, &c.

2. Such as will be taken for perfect Christians, and godly teachers, ere ever that Christ, who is the truth, the right spi­rit and the life, have gotten a living shape in them, whereby they might first preach [Page 19] Christ aright, out of a good conversion in all love, even so then go before the peo­ple, having both oyl in their vessels, and light in their Lamps, &c.

3. Such as will seem to have put on the new man of righteousness, and yet never took in hand, nor have known how to do off the old man of sin and wickedness first: notwithstanding, they take upon them to understand, and to expound Gods secret mysteries out of the Scriptures, &c.

4. Such as will be free by Christ, and teach men so, ere ever they seen into their Captivity and thraldom of the sin, death, devil and hell, whole bond-slaves and captives they themselves yet are: and ere ever they have repented them rightly from their sin, in such sort, that it might e­ver after appear among all men, in their holy walking.

5. Such as will take on them to under­stand, and publish forth the secret myste­ries of Gods divine wisdom, contained in the holy Scripture, by the ingeniousness of the fleshly wisdom, they themselves being as yet unregenerate & given to lying, blas­pheming, traytors, oppression, covetousnes, persecuting, with all kind of malicious­nesse, wickedness and licentiousness of life.

[Page 20]

6. Such as boast of their deliverance, in the last resurrection, and teach men so­ere ever they have got any part in the first, or are renewed in the Spirit and mind, or yet stand up with Christ, from the death &c.

All these and such like, say I, are false prophets, though covered in sheeps cloath­ing, but inwardly they are ravening woulfs; men shall know them by their fruits: with their mouth indeed, they confess Christs but in their deeds deny him; they are likewise blind guides such as have ta­ken on them to lead the Ignorant out of darknesse into he light, and yet them­selves, as those that love not the light, will still remain in darknesse: These are very Libertines, inclined alwayes to hatred and iniquity, stirring up strife , setting variance amongst Princes, breaking lawes, despi­sing autority and ordinances of men, re­sisting Gods love and mercifullnesse, Blas­pheming the truth, and persecuting the Innocent or simple, which love God and his righteousnesse, and walk in all obedi­ence and peace: Wherefore those be the children of Beliall, and void of all wisdom, such as unlesse they repent in time, must be shut out amongst the foolish, rejected [Page 21] for the workers of iniquity, and with all Hypocrites receive their portion in the hellish condemnation consider advised­ly of it, for it is very true.

Citizen.

But wilt thou say, that all those and such like are no Christian?

Exile.

Yes verily, by signe or outward show, and name they be.

Citizen.

And must not such preach the truth notwithstanding, & shew forth the many high knowledges, and secret mysteries out of the Scriptures.

Exile.

Yea, all what they heart spoken or chance to read in any writing, that can they readily speak out againe: But not like as all those true prophets of God, and di­sciples of Christ have alwayes done, out [Page 22] of any Godly understanding through the holy Spirit of God or Christ; for that were impossible, because the same Spirit is not with them. For allbeit they have the Scriptures, and the Godly witnesses, wherethrough they mean to be under­standing and wise, yet forasmuch as they give not all their understanding over as captive, under the obedience of the love of Christ, and his holy word, as under that same Being or life, whereunto the Scripture witnesseth, but run still forth with the knowledge, so have they verily neither light, truth, spirit, nor being of God, Christ, nor of his word. And there­fore they neither know, nor yet under­stand any thing at all rightly of that whereof they then praie or speak forth un­to others.

Citizen.

If all such as thou hast here spoken of, were libertines having neither light, truth, nor spirit of God or Christ; then God be mercifull unto us, for then were it all in vain for many a one in these dayes to stand up or teach in a Congregation: notwithstanding I cannot be perswaded as [Page 23] yet, although I most needs grant, that for the most part, they do not live the same which they do teach to others, like as they themselves have confessed, but that they neverthelesse preach unto the people both Gods word & the truth out of the right spi­rit; be they themselves never to evil, else God forbid: And I pray you Sirs, did not Judas, amongst the rest of the apostles, go and preach the Gospel, and yet was not he a wicked one, and betrayed his ma­ster? And did not Peter, which denied his master, preach Gospel also? And it is written, The Scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses seat or Chair; what they bid you ob­serve that observe and do: But as they do; do you not, for they sayd and do nor: There­fore why may not wicked men preach the truth?

Exile.

Let us consider advised by of the Scrip­tures, and be no longer deceived: Foras­much as it standeth written, that Christ is the light of the world, the Heavenly truth, the right spirit, yea and the word of God it self: Then how were it possible that those which are void of Christ, should [Page 24] preach or prophesie aright, the true to inde or word of God, contained in the holy Scriptures, the whilst I say, that the same spirit of truth is not in them; for it is written, that the Scripture never came by the will or mind of man, but holy men of God did speak as they were inspired by the holy Ghost; And it is written also, that the naturall or fleshly minded man, perceaveth not the things of God, &c. And again wisdom will not dwell in a froward soul, nor yet in a body that is sub­dued to sin: For, where wickednesse hath the upper hand, the holy Ghost doth flie from thence: And yet note then more­over, that after such time that man hath once entred into Judas; he preached not [...] Peter▪ perceaving afterward what he had done, he wept bitterly: wherefore I am not against any one that will weep with Peter: And as for such as sit in Moses seat or chair, which teach the law uprightly, I have not once touched; I speak onely of them that sit in their own chair of pesti­lence which reach their own law, or Im­agination of their fleshly parts and good thinking, but not the holy lan [...] of the Lord, which is spirituall and containeth the truth, the life, or Christ it self. And [Page 25] therefore for want of the true spi­rit of understanding, there ariseth in these dayes great contention, about the Scriptures.

Citizen.

The more is to be lamented: But yet I pray thee answer me herein, for I am not resolved in this matter: Have we not now the truth amongst us? Is not now the Gospel preached sincerely, and recei­ved of all people thankfully to their salva­tion: where through the bonds of Anti­christ, which is the Pope of Rome, that had us long in captivity, are now broken, and we all by that means set at liberty?

Exile.

We have no doubt the holy Scriptures which bear witness of the truth, and there­in the minde or meaning of the truth is contained amongst us: So have we many wholsome Sermons preached, and decla­red unto us, notwithstanding had we the truth amongst us, so had we Christ amongst us: and had we Christ amongst us, so world we no doubt lo [...]e him or his word, and neither would persecute him nor his members: And then, had he once [Page 26] a form or shape in us, so should he like­wise manifestly appear out of us, in our good conversation and holy walking: For it is written, If Christ be in you, then is the body dead or mortified concerning sin: And again, Whosoever hath not the spirit of Christ the same is none of his. And were the Gospel preached sincerely out of the truth, that is, out of the spirit of God or Christ, through a good conversation under the o­bedience of the word, in all meek-min­dedness, and godly love: so would many thousands in this land, doubtless have re­pented them of their former life, and a­mended their ways upon the preaching of the same Gospel: and would have more­over followed the footsteps of such godly Preachers or Prophets, as had even so imi­tated Christ; and so then in very deed the people should have received the Gospel thankfully to their salvation: and by that means should the bonds of Antichrist, (which is the sin, the devil, or will of the flesh) which hath long time held us cap­tive, be broken in us: and we then rightly through Christ, should have been delive­red there-from, and set at liberty; Not­withstanding, how many in these days are set at liberty, or have taken to themselves [Page 27] at liberty to do all manner of uncomliness both against God and man; I refer that to the Testimony of their own Conscien­ces,

Citizen.

I perceive then thou art not against any godly Preachers, that walk forth in all o­bedience of the word, and in whom Christ doth live and dwell, which also do shew forth, through the same meek-minded spi­rit, all due obedience to God and Gover­nours, as likewise an upright, lovely, peaceable and brotherly life towards all men: and that preach forth the same word of truth and life (which they as then have both felt, handled, and tasted of) un­to others moe.

Exile.

No verily, but I do reverence in the Lord all such, as the true ministers, and distributers of the heavenly riches and treasures of God and Christ: and only to such is that high office of preaching or pro­phecying committed, and to none o­ther; for such will not resist the godly life [Page 28] in the Love, whereunto we are all, out of grace, undeservedly and lovingly called, and warned in the service of Love, now in these last days of our preservation.

Citizen.

I think no less, but that thou hast ex­pressed unto me thy mind aright herein; but yet tell me, Wilt thou then say the Pope is not Antichrist?

Exile.

I know not the man: notwithstanding to say what I conjecture of him, I do not otherwise imagine of him, but that he is or may be possessed with the spirit of An­tichrist, which is the will of the flesh or of the devil, the contrary anointed one, and enemy to Christ, rhrough which spirit many ignorant ones in these perilous days, as well among the high learned, as among the ignorant, have taken to them­selves a freedom to work all manner of blasphemies, oppressions, persecutions, with all other uncomely abuses, both a­gainst God and men. But yet such a free­dom and liberty, understand, doth not the [Page 29] Gospel of Christ bring in, or teach, but ra­ther the Devil, and that spirit of Anti­christ.

Citizen.

Thou hast doubtless made me afraid, and also astonied at these thy wonderful answers: so that, I dare scarce demand any more matter of thee, lest haply any one should ly in waite in some secret place and over-hear us, and so carry this our communication, to some of our learned that now be in authority; for then we all haply, if they might find us, should sing a Counter note, unless we did recant all the same, and yet hast thou spoken an un­confutable truth.

Exile.

The case is lamentable, the whilst the truth may not be spoken freely, notwith­standing, if you have ought else to demand of me, either touching naturall or Heavenly things, ask of it freely, and I, under permission, and according to my un­derstanding, will answer as the Lord shall give me in minde: for as much as all [Page 30] things needfull both naturall and spiritu­all are expressed at large unto us, in the Service of Love.

Citizen.

Of fellowship then, shew me a little of thy understanding, touching the natu­rall creatures, that are earthly and ele­mentish, how and in what manner they live, move, and have their course of being, for that my dull capacity might the bet­ter conceive of the Lords workes in the Spirituall creatures.

Exile.

I find out and perceave (according to my simple understanding) that the Lord the maker of Heaven and earth, hath ordain­ed and set all things naturall, that they should remain in the upright form and or­der, and that likewise the whole masse of the earth, as man, beast, fish, foule, hearb, tree, with all else that is earthly, and ele­mentish, which is under the Sun, is to be beheld and considered of him in five parts, of the which, four be elements viz. Ayr, Earth, Fire, and Water, of whose substances [Page 31] every particular living creature is partak­er: The fifth part is a naturall living Being, wrought through the almighty power of the heavenly word whereby every creature is sustained, and liveth in his naturall kind or being, and bringeth forth likewise there­out his fruit or increase. And there is no visible substance or creature, being earthly and elementish, that is not or hath not been partaker thereof: And allbeit now that this whole masse, hath from in the beginning of Creations in­creased it self mightily, in many creatures on the earth, yet do we see in as much as every element (so soon as the life is ta­ken away from the creature, or the crea­ture from it) claymeth or taketh him his own, viz. the fiery element his, the ayry his, the watery his, and so leaveth to the earthly onely his own: yet the earth is not therefore any whit the bigger: the water, not any whitt the more increased: the ayre, never the fuller or larger: ne yet the fire any thing at all augmented there­by.

And why? Like as the same increase out of Gods workmanship, hath proceed­ed from them in the life; even so doth every element (at the departure of the life) [Page 32] claim again to himself no more but his own, like as is said &c.

Citizen▪

I perceive more by these thy words, then ever I could consider of before; For I see now that God hath ordained, or set the na­tural creatures, and every one in his course, for to remain in a comely order, to an everlasting praise of his holy name. But yet I pray thee, like as thou hast spoken some what of thy understanding things natural: so let me also hear a little of thee, concer­ning the spiritual and heavenly workman­ship of God in man, for his preservation in Christ Jesus.

Exile.

The great mercifulnesse of God the Fa­ther, concerning his gracious workman­ship in the man, and how he hath in the beginning formed him, according to his own Image and similitude, is to be behol­den, or considered in an heavenly or spiri­tual manner, viz. in the very like being of his God-head, in perfect righteousness and holiness. Notwithstanding now, the man [Page 33] being fallen away through Adams trans­gression; from this his former glorious e­state wherein he was set, so is there no way or mean for him, to come again to be brought therunto, but through faith in Je­sus Christ, and that only by his death, and passion, blood-shedding and resurrection, when we as Christians become turned clean about, viz. When we out of Gods grace, upon the founding forth of the Go­spel of Jesus Christ, do repent us unfainedly of our sins past, amend our lives, take up our cross daily on us against the sin, and e­ven so crucifie the flesh with the lusts and desires thereof, &c. according to the Scri­ptures, and also like as we are raught, and counselled thereunto at large, in the Service of Love.

To this end, and to the mans preserva­tion, will the Almighty God now in the end of the world, prepare him his Angels or Ministers: And all what is gone out from God & enranged, & would gladly re­turn to him again; the same shall they now (through the sounding forth of his Gospel or last trump) gather together as good wheat: All those shall be brought again through Christ unto God. And contrary­wise, all middle walls, ignorant know­ledges, [Page 34] false wisdoms, wicked imaginati­ons, which are not proceeded of God, but are risen up out of the bottomless pit of darknesses, together with all whatsoever hath handfast it self, or holden fellowship therewith, and will not have any better, shall be in like manner gathered together as unprofitable weeds; yea, all those shall be found as incorporated members to the iniquity, and thrown (soul and body) into the bottomless pit of the everlasting con­demnation, as likewise into the hellish fire which is prepared for the Devil and his Angels from the beginning: Lo thus shall every one claim his own: The bottomless pit of the condemnation (from whence all evil doth proceed) shall, through the soun­ding forth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, claim his. And the mighty God (from whom all good doth proceed) shall, through his Christ, claim unto him, all godlinesses or vertues which are proceeded from him, together with all whatsoever se­parateth it self from the iniquity, hath handfast it self, or held fellowship with the godlinesses; all those as incorporated members to the godlinesses, and godded or spirited with God in one spirit, shall go to God again, and shall reign with God [Page 35] and Christ (soul and body) in the kingdom of heaven, and live in joy everlastingly. It is very true.

Citizen.

But is there not some Predestinate unto preservation, and again some predestinate unto condemnation, as also elected there­to from the beginning?

Exile.

Yes verily, there are two with their members, that are predestinated or preor­dained thereunto from the beginning: The one is, Christ the man of God, predestinate unto preservation, and with him all his in­corporated members: The other is, the man of sin Antichrist, predestinate unto condemnation, and in him all his incor­porated members. As for any other pre­destination then this, (come it out of Tur­key or else where) I know not of it.

Citizen.

Thou hast told me the truth, and also fully answered me to all things natural [Page 36] and spiritual, which I have demanded of thee. What shall I ask more? God be merciful unto us, and unto all such as err of ignorance, and give them eys of under­standing, and ears of pure hearts, that they seeing in what estate they yet do stand, and hearing also which is the right way to come out, might repent them, turn from their wickedness, believe rightly, and so come to the knowledge of truth, and be sa­ved, Amen.

Now Countrey-man, thou hast heard this fellow, and his wonderful answers, what sayest thou to it, for I am almost at my wits end, and marvellously astonied.

Countrey-man.

Doubtlesse Citizen, he is in great Here­sies and misbelief, or else I may tell to thee in counsel, in any of the learned in these days are far out of the way that lead­eth to life, and also ignorant of the ground of the heavenly truth; wherefore I think it not amiss, that thou examine him con­cerning his belief in God the Father, in Je­sus Christ the Son, and in the Holy Ghost the Comforter; and whereupon he hath grounded his Religion: how he came by [Page 37] this understanding: what he thinks of our learned Preachers in these days: as al­so of other matters as thou shalt think meet, lest haply we might be seduced, through some subtil heretick; infidel, or disobedient person, which perchance might be against the Queens Religion, or else pretended to bring confusion over the Land.

Citizen.

Thy counsel is very good but then I pray thee rather talk with him thy self; for I am brought into such a trembling perplexity, and sorrow of heart since I have heard him, and that as well for mine own cause, as also for others; which I yet see going a­stray, that I dare ask no more questions.

Countrey-man.

Very well then, I will talk with him my self. Come hither Exile, shew us I pray thee, whereon thy belief, and thy re­ligion standeth grounded?

Exile.

I protect before God and man, That [Page 38] my belief is in God the Father, in Jesus Christ the Son, and in the Holy Ghost the Comforter, and is grounded on the Faith of the Holy Fathers, Prophets and Apo­stles mentioned in the holy Scriptures: also according to the common Apostolick Creed, the Creed of Athanasius, and the Nicene Creed, to even so far forth as I may obtaine grace and power thereto, of the Lord.

Secondly, I acknowledge, there is no other way or mean, either of remission of sins or of salvation for us to be had, or yet mercy to be obtained at Gods hand; but alone in, by, and through the death, passi­on, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour: And that he hath offe­red once for all, upon the Altar of His Cross, a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice and oblation, for the sins of all the whole world.

Thirdly, I do acknowledge, that none shall be partakers thereof, but only such as upon the publishing forth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, do shew forth an unfained repentance for their sins past, and walk in new obedience or in a new life, according to the requiring of the Gospel: also such as believe aright in God, and Christ and [Page 39] are even so baptized into the death of Christ: Such as are regenerate of the wa­ter and of the spirit, and forsaking them­selves and their own lives, do take up their cross on them, and follow after Christ in death and sinful lusts and desires: and so stand as those that are waking and waiting for the coming of their bridgroom, ready prepared, having both oyl in their vessels, and light in their Lamps: Such as love God and his Christ, and as his very disci­ples keep his Commandements, and walk in all love towards God, and their neigh­bour, and in all dutiful submission and allegiance towards their Governors; and also live obediently under all their manly Ordinances: And finally, such as in whom Christ liveth and dwelleth, or those that incline themselves under the obedience of the love of Jesus Christ, and of his holy word, with all diligence thereunto.

Now, as touching my Religion, this I say, so often as I call to mind and consider the great love and kindness of God the Fa­ther, shewed on me unworthy one, in that he hath created me like unto his own I­mage, and given me also his Law, for that I might live therein; And, which is much more, hath out of his meer love and mer­cy, [Page 40] and of our part undeserved, sent his sonne Christ to be a Saviour of the world, &c. So stand I Religatus or bound again, (that is to say, Religious) to love my Lord and God (which loveth me so in­tirely) with all my soul, heart, and might; and for His loves sake to love my neigh­bour as my self: To love my Prince and all that bear authority under her; to live as a subject under her Laws, and humane Ordinances: And finally, to walk upright­ly, peaceably, and brotherly among all people in all love: And this is only to be obtained at Gods hand by prayer, and humble submission under the obedience of Gods holy word, through the comforting of the Holy Ghost, or Spirit of Love, of which spirit God hath promised to shed forth, upon his sons and daughters plenti­fully, now in these last days, like as is ma­nifest in the Service of Love. And there­fore I acknowledge, that whosoever now shall refuse to incline or indeavour himself, for to walk in the same small or nar­row way, being called or warned thereto out of love, by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to live in such a groundly faith of Jesus Christ, in such a true Religion, and upright obedience to God and Governors, and in [Page 41] all subjection under Gods holy Laws, and manly Ordinances: and likewise in such a brotherly love towards his neighbour, and peaceable life towards all men, as I have here rehersed, and likewise, as is more at large expressed, in the holy Scriptures and in the Service of Love: He is doubtless out of the true faith of God and Christ, and erreth very much, and shall not, nei­ther now, nor hereafter (unlesse they re­pent in time) find mercy with God, or yet through Christ obtain remission of his sins, inherit the kingdom of heaven, or yet be­come saved. It is very true: therefore con­sider advisedly of it in time.

Countrey-man.

Tell me how comest thou by this under­standing,? or by what means was it made manifest unto thee?

Exile.

Through the obedience of the word of God the Father, ministred out of the love of Jesus Christ, through the holy Spirit of love, and in the Crosse of Jesus Christ, &c. out of which ministration, all things need­full [Page 42] to be known, so well things natural as spiritual, are at large laid open, the true discipline frequented, all grounds of Reli­gion, with all manner of errors, nakedly declared, the truth manifested: And also all people both Christian and Heathen, Jew or Gentile, or of what Nation or Re­ligion whatsoever, &c. are lovingly called and warned, to repentance and reforma­tion of life: likewise fore-warned of the great plagues, unlucky misery and wo, that will speedily, and unawares come upon all unrepenting sinners, and licentious Scrip­ture-learned, to their utter condemnation in the fire of hell, among whom I have been chief; and now what am I poor sin­ner, that I should not submit my self, to such a gracious warning, and repent ere ever Gods heavy wrath and indignation, in his righteous judgement fall upon me to my utter destruction.

Countrey-man.

But what thinkest thou of our learned Preachers in these our days, whilst many of them haply, have not heard or read of such a ministration out of love, as thou speakest of here; or else, if they have heard [Page 43] of it, they have not perhaps so well consi­dered thereof as it seems thou hast done, art thou against them?

Exile.

I am against no learned Preacher, which advertizeth the people to repentance, god­linesse, peace, obedience, and love; and so long as they love God, and his righte­ousness, they have, I suppose, all heard of the ministration of Love; and have many read and seen of the Books, though per­haps they have not understood them effe­ctually, or rightly considered the mind of the Author therein; for had they so done, then would they not verily have spoken so much evil of them, as they have done, un­lesse (as I cannot so think as yet) they did obstinately hate God, and abhor all righ­teousnesse, peace and love, neither yet would they have imprisoned, not so shamefully slandered so many simple souls, which upon admonition from the destruction, given them in the Service of Love, have had an unfained desire to re­pent and amend their lives, although some of them haply are, in certain points through ignorance or fear.

Countrey-man.
[Page 44]

Wilt thou then take part with, and ju­stifie the Author and his Books, and so condemn our learned Preachers?

Exile.

I will neither take part with, nor yet justifie the Author, nor yet any of his Bookes, but will leave them to answer for themselves; neither do I meddle with things therein, which are above my capa­city. Notwithstanding, all what I finde therein written (or else where) that ad­vertiseth me to repentance, godliness of life, obdience to God and Governours, love towards God and my neighbour, and peace towards all men, according to the Scriptures; that must I needs think well of. Nevertheless, if he or his Books be not able to answer for themselves, so then will not I answer for them: neither will I before a Law-judge, condemn any, whether learned or unlearned, but leave that unto those, unto whom judgement doth belong.

Countrey-man.
[Page 45]

I cannot mislike thy Answers, yet not­withstanding, some may haply gather of such like words, as thou hast here spoken unto us, That the Author of those afore­said Books, with all you that are now tear­med of the Family of Love, go altogether about to put down that Religion which her Majesty hath now set up and allowed, and to bring it to nought: And in so do­ing, forasmuch as she is chief Governess of the same Church, &c. it may be imaged that ye are so against the State: yea and perhaps such like matters, have been put either into her Majesties head, or else into some of her honorable Counsellors heads: And thereupon it is come to passe, that you are by some of our learned Preachers, tearmed for Libertines; yet all this not­withstanding, I will not give any rash cre­dit or judgement therein, until I have first heard thee speak of it.

Exile.

I give you most hearty thanks therefore: Then first of all I beseech you, let me know [Page 46] what you call the Religion that is set up, or at the least wise willed so to be, by her Majesty, and allowed: so shall I the bet­ter give you an answer therein, according to my simple skill.

Countrey-man.

It is to preach the Gospel plainly and sincerely, out of Gods holy Spirit, that all people learned or unlearned, may so well by their life as by their Doctrine, under­stand the same to their endless com­fort and salvation; and so to express a true belief in God the Father, and in Christ our Saviour, to expel all idolatry, to abandon and abolish all forreign pow­ers, to administer the Sacraments and Ceremonies of the Church uniformly in their right Order: To obey the Queens Majesty, and live under her Laws and hu­mane Ordinances, acknowledging her as chief Governess in all causes, &c. here (under Christ) in this Realm of England and Ireland, &c.

Exile.

This certainly is a good Religion, were [Page 47] it once generally put in ure: notwithstan­ding, whatsoever men list to imagine of us; that may they, we cannot let them: But hear me, and I will tell you, as it shall be found in the truth; Were all his Books of whom we spake, rightly considered of with indifferency, so should they be found assistances in all, to this aforesaid Religi­on, and not hinderances: For, did the Preachers first, and then the people, accor­ding to his writing, and admonition in the Service of Love, viz. repent them, and follow such counsel as is expressed by him, in the same: so should no doubt the Go­spel then be sincerely preached, according to her Majesties mind, and the true belief published to the salvation of many: All idolatry and forreign power, as well in­wardly as outwardly, expulsed and driven away: The Sacraments and Ceremonies of the Church should then be rightly ad­ministred: The Queens Majesty obeyed, not for fear, but rather out of love, and acknow­ledged as chief Governess in all causes, &c. as is meet; And which is more, the Lords heavy wrath whereof he hath often war­ned us, in the Ministration of Love; and alas, which also I fear me is at hand, for our wickedness cause, should then be [Page 48] easily appeased. And then yet moreover, whereas many times it happeneth, that the Prince is taken away for sins cause of the people, her Majesty should then reign prosperously amongst us, in all those her good enterprizes; and should also live un­to a good old age; all discord should then cease and come to an end; and so we, in the Realm of England, should live joyful­ly, in all tranquillity, godliness, obedience and love; and be safely protected of God and his holy Angels, from the danger of any adversary worldly or ghostly: But to say, that we be Libertines, that is not so: and who so shall look rightly into the Ser­vice of Love, he shall well perceive, that therein is no liberty to sin given or taught. We are indeed fraile, and full of infirmi­ties, and have all need of Gods mercy; therefore our desire is, that we might ob­tain such grace and power with God the Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ, whereby we might so repent us of our sins past, that we might henceforth leave off from our wicked ways, more and more take up our Crosse on us against the sin, dy even so daily with Christ, and so imitate him in death and life, until such time as we become raised up again, with Jesus [Page 49] Christ in a new true life; for that we might by such means escape, the horrible plagues and miseries, which now in these last times, are in coming over all licentious Libertines, and unrepenting obstinate sin­ners: For other rejoycing have we not, then alone in the crosse, death, blood­shedding, and resurrection of our Savi­our Jesus Christ. And as for the Liber­tines and who they be, I have sufficiently expressed before in six notes. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear, and who lists not, may choose.

Countrey-man.

But yet, this one thing I know for a surety, that thou and thy company, are not only suspected to be superstitious Pa­pists; but also it is thought that this mi­nistration called the Service of Love, is published forth to the end, to maintain all superstition and abuse in the Roman Religion: and wist we two so much, then doubtless we would not once deal there­with, nor yet talk with thee any farther, wherefore I pray thee yet once again, that thou wouldst for my further satisfying in this behalf, shew us thy mind therein, ere ever we do part hence.

Exile.
[Page 50]

The truth is (so far forth as I can per­ceive) that the Author of those Books, in his Ministration out of Love, doth neither maintain or allow any manner of Super­stition, frequented in the Roman or Popish Church; But he, indeed, seemeth to open and disclose the first ground of the same Religion, and the signification of every thing, so well Sacraments as Ceremonies, frequented and allowed in the same Church, willing every one that shall hap to dwell, where he must live under the same Sacraments and Ceremonies, and where the same are by the Laws of the Land allowed and commanded, to obey the Rulers and their Laws, and for obedi­ence cause, not to rebel in any case against their Rulers, but rather to go to the Church where the same are administred; and there to mark only upon the significa­tion of the same; and what a Christian life and obedience to God and Governours, the same in their right signification, do ask and require of them.

And yet he acknowledgeth them no o­therwise, [Page 51] but as Sacraments, Ceremonies, Signs, Images, Figures, or shaddows of good and holy things, &c. But above all, he exhorteth all to the humble obedience, peaceable and Christian life, which those do figure forth: And as for us, I put you out of doubt, we do likewise utterly detest all superstitious Papistry; but we most chiefliest do desire, that the same true obe­dience and godly life (which is Christ Je­sus) might increase it self more and more, in us, and in many.

Countrey-man.

That life indeed is the best, but why doth he call his ministration the Service of Love, and those that take warning thereat, why are they termed the Family of Love? shew me thy understanding herein, be­cause such a name seemeth to me, as also to many as yet, very straying?

Exile.

I will tell you according to my simple understanding, and as I gather by such writings of his, as I have read in the Ser­vice of Love, Forasmuch as all the gene­rations [Page 52] of men on earth, so well Jew as Gentile, Christian as Heathen, Papist as Protestant, yea of what Religion soever, have now in these last horrible days, not only most grieviously transgressed Gods holy Commandements; but also (every one in his) is far away digressed, from the first ground whereon they were set: and are yet moreover (even with the old world, and with those of Sodom and Go­morah) run into all licentiousness and care­lesnesse of life provoking thereby Gods just wrath and heavy indignation: So that of his justice, he might therefore worthily have destroyed us (like as in the days of Noah) even all the children of men. Yet notwithstanding he hath now, as a graci­ous Father, and according to his wonted mercy, pittied the generations of men: And therefore hath once again, according to his promises, warned all people upon the earth, through this his ministration out of Love, to repent and turn, every one from his wicked ways, believe the Gospel, become baptized, & so be preserved ere e­ver the great wo, misery, plagues & unlucky judgments fall suddainly & unawares up­on all unrepenting, and unbelieving sin­ners, and licentious Scripture-learned, [Page 53] or Libertines, to their condemnation in the fire of hell: All these plagues (saith he) and many more are like to come shortly on us all, if we take scorn to be warned by these latter lovely admoniti­ons, &c. which he termeth, A service of ministration out of the Spirit of Love or of God, wherewith the man is served or mi­nistred unto, to his preservation: & there­fore he calls it oftentimes The Service of Love; Further, why he calleth all those that repent and amend their waies, upon the admonition thereof the Family of Love is this, because he thinks them meet to bear such a high name, the whilst, that be­ing so gratiously served and warned there­by, they so desire as Gods children, to love God as chief, and their neighbour as themselves, to obey their Prince and Go­vernors, to live obediently under their Laws: as also to deal uprightly, brother­ly, and faithfully with all men in all love, testifying even so aright, and according to the truth, that they only are the true Christians, which lead a Christian life, and not the talkers thereof; And thus much concerning my understanding there­in.

Countrey-man.
[Page 54]

But how cometh it to passe then (tell me) that you are now almost of all men, as well great as small, yea rich as poor, but especially of the learned Preachers, bruted forth and that most odiously; for the most detestable Sectaries or Hereticks, that ever reigned on the earth; yea, and as people not worthy to live in a Com­mon-wealth?

Exile.

What be those brutes wherewith we are so bruted? tell me, and I will answer you so near as I can according to truth.

Countrey-man.

These they are: Some say, you deny Christ, the Trinity, and the Lords prayer; others say, that you are Libertines, and lye one with anothers wife, desiring to have all mens goods in common; likewise some say, you would have no Magistrates, and that you account whoredom, murder, poysoning, &c. to be no sin: as likewise that you deny the resurrection of the flesh, and the immortality of the soul: Others say, you justifie your selves by your works without Christ, and that you condemn [Page 55] the Scriptures, and would not have them used; as also that you say, you live with­out sin: yea and some say, you are against the State. And moreover, that you will obey Turke, Pope, or any other of what Religion whatsoever, under whom you dwell: as likewise whatsoever you say, when you are commanded by a Magi­strate, to render an account of your Faith or Religion, you use to dissemble, and mean not the same that you say; with hundreds more, too much here to re­cite.

Exile.

O Almighty and most merciful Father, thou which alwaies shewest mercy to such as love Thee, and keep thy Comman­dements, thou knowest, our Religion, is on­ly to love Thee as chief, & our neighbour as our selves, according to thy holy word: To obey our Governors, and to live under their Laws, not once calling in doubt, that this Church is now in subjection under heathenish Magistrates, which command the things that thou hast forbidden. Look down O Lord we beseech thee, and behold our misery; let us not now be driven a­way from our dutiful obedience, which [Page 56] we owe to thee, and to these thy Magi­strates and Governors, for any manner of fear, tyranny, and false brutes, of such as live not under thy Law. Alas, Countrey-man, alasse! we are indeed grossly abused, by some that teach men disobedience to Magistrates and Laws, falsly citing that piece of Scripture, It is better to obey God then men: by that, drawing the peoples hearts from obedience to fantasies: and which of all is most dangerous, when even their own company, are by the high pow­ers dealt withal herein, then their teachers say of us, Those be they that will have no Governors, &c. Thus grievously slande­red are we, as thou hast said: So while they set all men to wonder at us, for the thing wherein they are guilty themselves, and not we; they have (the more is the pitty) sufficient opportunity, to perform their malice, and to establish their pur­pose; which God grant that the Magistrates may at last, though now very late, discern throughly. Notwithstanding, if these their false brutes, should be credited of the Ma­gistrate, (as God forbid) then alas we were without remedy, or hope of justice at their hands, and must be condemned, yea, although we were never heard.

Countrey-man.
[Page 57]

Be of good chear, Exile, and let no such things astonish thee; for be sure thou shalt finde the Magistrates, not only wise, ho­norable, and learned; but also such as will gratiously hear every ones cause with justice, and reform in time that which is amiss: Wherefore I pray thee yet further, shew me the cause where out such brutes are raised and proceed against you.

Exile.

It cometh to passe hereout, forasmuch as many in reading the Books of H. N. (out of which Books we also are charged to have gathered Heresies) will take upon them contrary to all justice and equity, to judge, determine, and expound our mind and understanding therein, according to their sinister conceiving of the matter. And thereupon have not only thrown us into dungeons and prisons, to our great losse and hinderance; but also have pub­lished forth such like innumerable lyes, and most horrible defamations against us; reporting the same notwithstainding to [Page 58] the people, and that out of their preaching places, for an infallible truth, whereas many of them, never as yet talked with a­ny of us, whereby they might first know what Heresies we hold, and have gathered out of the said Books, and so are these their unjust brutes and slanders, believed of ma­ny, and published abroad for an infallible truth; and no marvel: for (will you see the devil) who would have thought I pray you, or supposed, that the learned Prea­chers of these days, could have spoken forth (whether it were out of report, of of malicious envy) so many horrible lyes, and blasphemies against so harmless a people, which never as yet gave them, not any man else any cause thereto.

Countrey-man.

Yet hast thou not fully satisfied me, as what manner of people those be that thus shamefully use to blasphem and persecute you, wherefore I pray thee tell me that.

Exile.

Mark my words and I shall tell you a great and dangerous matter, and also satis­fie [Page 59] your demand, what they be that now chiefly seek thus injuriously to deal with us: Understand, there are by her Majesty and her good Laws, appointed for every spiritual promotion, and office within her dominion, chosen men to perform all that function, as Bishops, Deans, Parsons, Vicars, Prebendaries, Preachers, &c. Besides which Officers and spiritual Go­vernors, there are crept in also, some by the favour of one man, and some by ano­ther, certain others, which are scattered almost the land through, which also have gotten great stipends, out of mens Benevo­lence: And these preach without either or­der from her Majesty, or any publick Au­thority; yea, & supposed to be to the num­ber of four or five thousand: & note more­over, these pay no Tenths nor Subsidies, and yet impoverish them that should. Also, they cry out against al spiritual Offices and Officers, although they be found meet for that function by learned men, and there­to have authority by Laws and Statutes confirmed: They say notwithstanding & teach others to call them dumb-dogs, and sleeping-hounds, with such like names: which thing to redress, her Majesty hath granted Commission: But wot you what, [Page 60] those for whose reformation the same was graunted, have so prettily handled the matter, that they either by substitution of Commission, or else by some other trick, have now to deal in the Commission themselves by their own hands, and so compel men to yield to these dangerous attempts, by whom also now we are thus strangely handled.

Now see, Countrey-man, whether this be not a strange Metamorphosis, when the offenders against all Laws, are made Judges over the true observers of all good Laws, and reverence [...]s of all Authority: let all wise, honorable, and courteous hearts consider advisedly hereof; for it is high time.

Countrey-man.

But yet, although they be not able to recompence you touching such injuries, as you have sustained at their hands, may not they all notwithstanding possibly re­pent them thereof and amend; and so you and they henceforth joyn together in one heart of godly love, viz. To love God a­bove all, and your neighbour as your selves: to obey the Queen, and Gover­nors, [Page 61] and to live under her [...] and Or­dinances, as likewise to use all reasonable dealing and friendliness, amongst all men, like as becometh true Christians to do, according to the Scriptures, and Service of Love?

Exile.

Yea verily; the possibility thereof is of the Lord to all, and among all that stand good willing thereunto, and can believe; And that it might even so come to pass we all do, and will pray unto the Lord both night and day: upon our knees.

Countrey-man,

Yet one thing more I have to demand of thee, which is this: For asmuch as our learned Preachers, yea, and especially, those which have done you such injuries as aforesaid, do in words ad­vertise the people to love God and their neighbours, obey the Queen and her Go­vernours and to live under their Laws; as also to lead an upright life like as H.N. doth admonish all the generations on earth, in the same Service of Love▪ What [Page 62] then is the difference between them and you▪

Exile.

Look a little into the matter with me, I beseech thee: There are very many found in these days, that believe of God and of Christ, but yet very few that endea­vour themselves, through true repentance and newness of life, under the obedience of Gods holy Word, as is aforesaid, for to believe rightly in God and in Christ, that is, so as God and Christ might dwell in them, and they in him: Lo hereby are the children of God known from the children of the devil: and this is the very diffe­rence between them and us. And there­fore the holy Law of God or Commande­ments, which they teach to be observed upon pain of damnation; and yet have not any lust thereunto themselves; and then again in the end, confess it to be impossible for any man to accomplish or live the same; That do we with all our hearts desire to observe and keep, belie­ving the possibility thereof to consist only in the Lord our God; and that the ac­complishment of the same, shall in time [Page 63] come to passe in us, and all that believe, by the might of God the Father, through Jesus Christ. Consider advisedly thereof, all you that be wise.

Countrey-man,

Now I do perceive that the difference betwixt them and you, is not much to speak of, and in few words this: what they say the same, you desire to do: and this is not any more then is betwixt hea­ven and earth, light and darkness, flesh and spirit, &c. Selah▪ And I think thou hast spoken all this out of the ground of three heart without either dissimulation or guile.

Exile.

Yea verily, and even so the Lord in­crease his love in me, and in many, Amen. Neither have I done this without cause, as some both honorable and worshipful with others in her Majesties Court know­eth: But like as I have sustained many great and grievous injuries: so have I also, according to Gods holy word, expressed in the Ministration of Love, humbled my self in all stillness and patience, under the [Page 64] obedience of the [...] of Jesus Christ, and h [...] Crosse▪ And now again hath the same love constrained hee; partly for the clea­ring of my self, against so many odious and intolerable brutes and defamations, that have been spread forth against me to my utter undoing, and also partly for the satisfying of others which are brought there through into great mistrust fulnesse of us and our Religion, to write this lit­tle devi [...]e, [...] will to any one of the ignorant resisters of the Love of God, & his mercy towards them, neither yet to­wards any one of any adversaries; O no, but I rather wish unto them, as also to all peo­ple on earth, gra [...]e so to humble them­selves, under the obedience of the word of God the Father, which is ministred out of the love of Jesus Christ now in these las days, that they with us, and we with them, through true repentance, in one consent of godly love and one obedience might [...] stones be coupled, and fast buil­ded up in Jesus Christ, to one holy Ta­bernacle, Temple, Family, Habitation or house of Love or of God: for asmuch as God is Love, and so henceforth to be no more but one God, one Faith, one Bap­tism, one Christ, one Lord, one Saviour in [Page 65] us all, over us all▪ and amongst us all, in all love, Amen. To whom with the Holy Ghost, be all laud and thanksgiving for ever and ever, Amen.

Countrey-man.

The God of love & peace make us al meet to be of such an holy Family, Amen. In ve­ry deed Exile, now am I fully perswaded and do find it in the truth, that the obedi­ence to the word of God the Father, through the ministration of the Love of Jesus Christ, which consequently requi­reth all dutiful obedience to Magistrates and Governors, is the very way to attain to the right spirit of wisdom, or key of the holy understanding without which spirit, the holy Scriptures have alwaies been, and so shall still remain for ever, as a fast sealed Book, which no man amongst all the wise of the world, or Scripture-learned, could ever open or unlock; forasmuch as it apper­taineth to the Lamb Christ only, that meek-minded spirit, fast grounded in Love, to open the same; But what shall I say more? Alas Exile alas, that ever it should be found true, or recorded in writing, e­specially in these days of our most graci­ous [Page 66] Queen Elizabeth, that upright Chri­stians, and true-hearted subjects, should suffer such cruel persecution. Oh alas wo is me, who shall give to mine eys tears suf­ficient, that I might weep enough for the miseries cause, which I now see coming swiftly over the face of the whole earth▪ Alas, how will it now go with all those Libertines, and licentious Scripture-lear­ned, which have out of their good think­ing knowledge, and without the spirit of the Lord, thus seduced the ignorant, abu­sed her Majesties Laws and Ordinances, blasphemed the Love of God and her Mi­nisters, and persecuted simple and true hearted subjects, which have not resisted them: Now shall they be found happy which have done well, and whose days are ended on the earth; for they shall not see the misery, which for the wickednesses cause that presently do abound, must fall over all the children of men. Alas, whi­ther then shall all the children of men fly, that they might escape all those horri­ble plagues? Well, we are right sorry for thee and thy company; and yet much more sorry for those which have brought this trouble upon you; for we do well perceive, that you have been injured, slan­dered, [Page 67] and persecuted overmuch. God give them hearts to repent, that have wrought you this injury, and give you all in the mean time patience to bear the same: God be merciful and gracious to thee and thy company, which now are spoken evil of, and give to the persecuted and Exiled such favour, in the eyes of her gracious Majesty, that they may in some conveni­ent time, have liberty, to walk forth free­ly unmolested; and that your orderly and good life, may shew that you love God and his Laws.

That they all may at some convenient time have liberty, to walk forth freely, unmolested; and your orderly and good life may shew that you love God and his Lawes, and that your subjection may te­stifie, that you live under her Laws obedi­ently, not disturbing any one about Reli­gion, but walking your selves uprightly, and brotherly among all men, as becom­meth the Gospel.

FINIS.

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