NOLI ME TANGERE Is A THINGE TO BE THOVGHT ON Or Vox carnis sacrae clamantis ab Altari ad Aquilam sacrilegam Noli me tangere ne te perdam.

Vidit offensus oculus supremi

Percutit extensa manus supremi

Animadvertit in peccatorem poster [...]s pl [...]ctendo

Advertit peccatorem in progr [...]diendo

Aspicit peccatorem in peccando

Acceptat sacrificia pecc­atorem condonando

Accipit peccatorem sacrificia comburendo

Aquil [...] ni [...]

Por [...] ad pullos in nido

Offam rapit Aquila carbone adh [...]e­rente.

Sancto numini caro sacra

Ignis Sacer

Ardet carbone nidus quo perit soboles impiae [...]

ALTARE

NOLI ME TANGERE: Or, A THING TO BE THOUGHT ON. SCILICET, Vox carnis sacrae clamantis ab Altare ad Aquilam sacrilegam, noli me tangere, ne te perdam.

Percutit extensa manus supremi

Vidit offensus oculus supremi.

Animadvertit in peccato­rem posteros plectendo.

Advertit peccatorem in progrediendo.

Aspicit peccatorem in peccando.

Acceptat sacrificia pecca­torem condonando.

Accipit peccatorem sacri­ficia comburendo.

Aquilae nidus.

Ignis Sacer.

Sancto numini caro sancta.

Offam rapit Aquila carbone adhae­rente.

Portat ad pullos in n [...]do.

Altare.

Ardet carbone nidus quo perit soboles impiae genitricis.

Eccles. 5.4. When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it, for he hath no pleasure in fooles; pay that which thou hast vowed; better it is thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow, and not pay: Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin, nei­ther say thou before the Angel that it was an error, wherefore should God be angry at thy voyce, and de­srroy the worke of thine hand.
Malachi 3.8. Will a man rob God? yet yee have robbed me a but ye say, wherein have we robbed thee? in Tithes and Offerings [...] ye are cursed with a curse, for yee have robbed me, even this whole nation.
August. de tempore, Serm. 219. Iustissima consuetudo Domini est, ut si tu illi deci­mam non dederis, tu ad decimam revoceris.
August. Hom. 48. ex lib. 50. Hom. Majores nostri ideò copiis omnibus abundabant, quiae Deo decimas dabant, & Caesari censum reddebant; modò autèm quia discessit devotio Dei, accessit in­dictio fisci: noluimus partiri cum Deo decimas, modò autem totum tollitur: hoc tollit fiscus, quod non accipit Christus.

Noli me tangere: OR, A Thing to be thought on.

THE Thoughts of one, that hath no relation for the present, to, nor any expectation for the fu­ture, from the Bishops, or Ca­thedralls, unlesse it be this; that the one would preach oftner in the other, and both of them governe, and bee governed better hereafter, than heretofore; labouring to advance the Gospell, to promote Religion, to oppose error in Doctrine, and viciousnesse in manners; that our Church may be called a Praise and Beauty all over the world, and become terrible as an Army with Banners, to all Hereticks and Sectists, that, like Foxes spoyle our Vines, and like little Foxes destroy our tender Grapes. Which Reformation hee prayes for in a way of righteousnesse, that it may have the blessing of the just upon it.

Aelian hath this Story: Aelian. lib. 5. cap. 16. Var. Hist. When a certaine boy, who had stolne away a golden plate that fell from Diana's Crowne, was brought in judgement before the Areopagitae: those Iudges caused Cock-hall Bones, Rattles, and the golden plate to bee laid be­fore the Child, in whom perceiving an inclination againe to the golden plate, rather than to the Rat­tles, and other things more suteable to his Child­hood, without pity to his infancy, they condemned him to death, as a Sacrileger; thinking it sit to crop that sinne, and wickednesse which they discer­ned to be in him, being yet but in the Blade and Herbe.

The Desires, Discourse, and Thoughts of some men are to abolish Episcopacy, and the Cathedrall Churches, and to take away their Lands, and to give them to the King, or to use them for the ne­cessitie of the Common-wealth, or to mend with them the maintenance of preaching Ministers, or alienate them to some other persons or imploy­ments, it matters not greatly with them to whom, or to what, so they can sweep the Clergy of their Revenue that remaines, as heretofore already hath beene done in some other part of their Main­tenance.

Now if the true cause of these Desires were dis­covered, it would appeare to bee such a disposition of minde as was in Aelians Boy, and a naturall in­clination to Dianas golden plate, as wise King Hen­rie the eighth told a Courtier that was busie this way. Mr. Fox relates the Storie in this manner.

After the riches and treasures of the Monasteries [Page 3]were brought into the Kings hands; in the dissol­ving whereof many Cormorants were sed and sa­tisfied; yet not so fully but that in few yeares they began to waxe hungrie againe; and no more being to be looked for out of the Abbies, they be­gan to tickle the Kings eares with the rich revenues of the Bishops Lands; and set Sir Thomas Seimor, a Knight of the privie Chamber on worke to pro­mote it. Hee complaines in the Kings eares; that Arch-Bishop Granmer feld Woods, and let Leases to enrich his wife, and her kindred, keeping-little Hospitality, and that it was the opinion of many wise men, that it were fitter the Bishops should have a yearely stipend in money out of the Kings Exchequer, than bee troubled with the temporall affaires of their revenues, being an impediment to their studie and pastorall charge, and his Highnes to have their Lands and Revenues to his proper use; which beside their yearely stipend, would bee no small profit to the King. The wise King fin­ding him by the sent, sends the Knight over to Lambeth, to bid the Arch-Bishop come over in the after noone to the King. The Knight findes the Arch-Bishops Hall full of people, some of the poo­rer sort, others of indifferent quality: all the tables covered for Dinner for them; and being carryed up to the Bishop, after his Errand done, the Bishop makes him stay Dinner with him among persona­ges of good quality at his Table, which was furni­shed as might beseeme a Prince. The Knight after Dinner returnes to the King, falls downe before him on his knees, acknowledgeth the injury hee [Page 4]had done the Bishop, being abused by the misre­port was made unto him by others. O Sir, quoth the King, have you found the truth out now? Hee was a very varlet that told you that tale; but I per­ceive which way the winde blowes. There are a sort of you to whom I have liberally given of the revenues and possessions of the suppressed Mona­steries; which, like as you have lightly gotten, so you have unthriftily spent, some at Dice, others on gay apparrell, and other wayes worse, I feare: and now you would make another Chievance of the Bishops Lands, to accomplish your greedy ap­petites: And so charged him hee might heare no more of that marter.: So far Mr. Fox. Now in these Catchpoles see the cunning of the Devill, that is called Sacriledge, the very uncleane Spirit, that breaths the same motions now in the mindes of our Burres and Tenterhooks. Is hee not a de­vout Devill, and carefull of Gods Service, that it may bee well performed by the Clergy? For, for this purpose hee will take away their Lands, that they may follow their studies, and not bee encom­bred about them. Is he not carefull of the Clergie, that they may have an honest competent Stipend? Is he not carefull of the Kings profit, that hee may have the Bishops Lands to his Highnesse use and commoditie? The very Spirit of many of our peo­ple at this time, to the same purpose, but in an high­er degree of Sacriledge: for whereas they sought onely after the Bishops Lands, these seeke after the Cathedrall Churches also; evill proceeding al­wayes to more evill, and waxing worse and worse [Page 5]in time. But all these goodly pretences are hypo­criticall, and the masks of vile iniquity and holy Theft: for it was not the Clergies profit they loo­ked at, for that they grudged them; neither the Kings commodity, for that was but their Shooing­horne to draw him on to fit their foot; but it was their owne covetousnesse, by which they sought to satisfie their pride, riot, wanton and greedie Lusts; being herein like unto the Master of their Art, the Traytor Iudas, that grudging Christ the womans oyntment, as a waste, would willingly have had it sold, pretending that it might have beene given to the poore; not that he cared for the poore, but was a Thiefe, and carryed the Bag; in­to which if hee could have got the oyntment, hee would have wiped the poore of it, and licked his owne fingers, which were already in Christ his pocket, and itched after Maries cost bestowed on his Lord and Master. Such were these Harpies, and such are many now, talking in their very streine; who if they faile of their desired oyntments, will not stick, rather than faile, to sell the Lord Christ Iesus himselfe, as Iudas did, for thirty pieces of sil­ver. Now nothing is wanting to these mens deser­ved punishment, but a grave Bench of such Iudges as the Areopagitae, who adjudged the sacrilegious boy to death.

Surely, this is a mighty disgrace to the Religion we professe, that since the Reformation, all mens Thoughts do runne, even in times of greater la­bour, and learning in the Church, than heretofore, to pill and poll the Ministerie, and bring it to un­comely [Page 6]and deformed Beggerie; the sweetnesse of the bread of God, as William Rufus said, begetting a greater desire of it (since the statute of Dissoluti­on) even as the sucking of the sheeps bloud begets desire of bloud, and brings that desire in the Ma­stive, into a trade of ravening and devouring, after he hath once rasted the sweetnesse of it. So that, as the old Patriarch Iacob said of his Children, when Benjamin was sent for by Ioseph into Egypt, Yee have bereaved me of my Children, Gen. [...]2.36. Ioseph is not, and Simeon is not, and yee will take Benjamin also; all these things are against me. So may the Clergie of England complaine and say: yee have taken a­way my Tithe and my Glebe, and many other pro­fits are not, and now yee will take away the rest of my Revenue: all these things are against mee, may the Church of England say; unlesse putting up that prayer of the Patriarch, shee prevaile in it with God: Gen. 43 14. Now God Almighty give me favour in the eyes of the men, that they may send back that that is taken away already, and let That alone that yet remaineth.

Certainly, there is such a Sin as Sacriledge to this day; and if this be not that sin; I am deceived by So­lomon:Prov. 20.5.It is a snare to the man who devoureth That that is holy, and after vowes to make inquirie, (id est) That which is consecrated and devoted, and so se­parate to any service of God in his Church, will prove a snare to that man. Now it is out of hu­mane power by Donation to God, that shall, after such Donation, fall on Enquiries, whether such a Service or Imployment be needfull; and then con­cluding it is not, to alienate and take back againe [Page 7]to humane usage, That, that is thus devoted, and so devour it: which was his intention, when he en­tred into his Enquirie.

Certainly, the Sinne of Sacriledge is great, Rom. 2.22. Thou that abhorrest Idolls, committest thou Sacriledge? By which it appeares to bee as bad at least as is Ido­latrie. And this place is specially to bee noted, by them that pretend mainly against Superstition and Idolatrie, and yet are hotly set for sacriledge.

Idolatry hath beene ever bountifull in the ser­vice of Idolls: Hos. 2.8. Thou hast taken my Flaxe and my Wooll, my Corne and mine Oyle, my Silver and my Gold, and prepared them for Baal. Ezek. 16. And wee read of decking and adorning of Idolls in most costly manner. 1 King. 18.19. And we read also of liberall and honou­rable maintenance for Priests that served about the worship of these Idolls. Iezabel allowed many hundreds of them an Ordinarie at her Table. Gen. 41.22. And in the great seven yeares Famine of Egypt, when all the Egyptians lands were sold to Pharaoh for bread, onely the Lands of the Priests Ioseph did not buy; for the Priests had a portion of Pharaoh, and did eate their portion which Pharaoh gave them: wherefore they sold not their Lands.

Now this the Devill attempts not to hinder, neither cries he out, ad quid haec perditio? because it advanceth his Kingdome. But sacriledge with us strikes at the root of Gods true service & religion, being a meanes in time to introduce Barbarisme, to destroy Learning, and to ruine the worship of the true God. And this is the reason why the Devill is so busie (hearing of a Reformation and purgation [Page 8]of the Church from superstitious Roman Dregs; (which is as it were an abhorring of Idolls) to ad­vance Sacriledge, and set that on foot, as a thing well serving his turne, to strike withall at root and branches of true pietie and religion, that it may not prove so much a Reformation, as a Destructi­on thereof in the later end. Which course Iulian the Apostata himselfe thought fittest to extirpate the Christian Name and Faith.

Certainly, the sinne of Sacriledge is dangerous more wayes than one. Dangerous it is to private men that commit it. Psal. 83.12. Make them like a Wheele, as stubble before the wind, persecute them with thy tempests, fill their faces with shame, let them bee troubled and confounded for ever, who said, Let us take the houses of God to our selves in possession. A­nanias and Saphira were smitten dead for this sin. And Peters speech teacheth us what it is, saying, While it remained, Act. 5 2.5.10. Vers. 4.was it not thine owne? and when it was sold, was it not in thine owne power? imply­ing, when it was once devoted, it was not in their powers to take it backe againe: which thing be­cause they did, in keeping back part of the price, they were smitten and perished with untimely Death. And the punishment of Achan is notorious, that for taking a wedge of Gold, Ios. 7. and a Babylonish Garment from among the devoted things of Ieri­cho, was stoned unto death.

Dangerous is it also to more publike persons, e­ven to the heads and principall members of the Common-wealth, the Kings and Princes thereof. Wee read how Belshazzar, in a great Feast sends for [Page 9]the golden Vessells which his Father Nebuchadnez­zar had taken out of the Temple at Ierusalem, Dan. 5. to drinke Wine in them himselfe, his Princes, his Wives and Concubines: Now, Verse 5. at the very instant appeared the Fingers of an Hand, on the plaister of the wall of his Palace, where hee sate; which the King seeing, his countenance was changed, and his minde so troubled, that his joynts were loosed, and his knees smote one against the other; Verse 26. and the Fin­gers wrote these words on the Wall, God hath numbred thy Kingdome, and finished it, thou art weighed in the Ballance, and art foundwanting; thy Kingdome is divided from thee, and given to the Medes and Persians: Then marke the end of Sa­criledge, In that night was Belshazzar slaine. Verse 26. Which present exemplarie judgement fell upon him im­mediately upon the private misusage of the sacred Vessells, at his owne Table, that had beene conse­crated and devoted to the service of Gods Temple. And his Father Nebuchadnezzar, that brought them away, out of the Temple at Ierusalem, was thrust, by God, out of his Kingdome, Dan. 4.21. and driven from the sonnes of men, and had his heart made like unto a Beasts heart, and his dwelling was with the wilde Asses, and he was fed with Grasse, like Oxen, and his Body was wet with the dew of hea­ven, till seven times, that is, seven yeares had pas­sed over him.

And he that shall look into storie shall find feare­full examples of his justice, on-Sacrile-dgers, who spares not Kings in his wrath, when they will sinne proudly, in this kinde against him.

Our owne Annalls tell us of King William Ru­fus, and his Nephew the Sonne of Robert Duke of Normandy; both slaine, in hunting in that same Forrest, that the Conqueror, his father, and grand­father to his Nephew, had made, and himselfe had augmented, with the utter ruine of many Chap­pells, Churches, and religious houses.

And it may be observed, that Henry the eighth, (in whose time the Statute of Dissolution was, and the Tithes alienated by Statute, in revenge of the Popes delaying his divorce, rather than for any other reason) was met withall by God: for all his posterity, though they came respectively to en­joy the Crowne; yet were they written childlesse, and he quickly, in them, turned out of the Kingly possession, and the Crowne transferred to a branch, that sprang from his father Henrie the seventh, un­der whose shadow wee have had rest for many yeares, and have cause to pray, that God would make that branch to flourish, and blesse and wa­ter the Buds of it, that they may thrive and prosper in Princely vertue, Dignity and Honour, while the Sun and Moon shall shine in heaven.

But the fore-mentioned judgements on Sacri­legious Princes considered, doe discover unto us, That those that talke so much of taking away the Lands of the Church, and returning them to the Crowne, from whence they say they came (and from whence, no doubt, but some of them came indeed) deale childishly with God, who expects our Vowes should be paid and kept; for he hath no [Page 11]delight in Fooles that are off and on, Eccles. 5.4. in and out with him; giving now, and anon taking away what hath been formerly given, like foolish Babes: and also deale injuriously with the King, seeking to enrich his Crowne, with That that will shake it on his head, and endanger both himself, and his Royal Progeny and posterity to such fearefull judgements as have beene executed, even on Kings, for similar sinne. So that of such men, however their Tables please the Sacrilegious multitude, and whatever paint of Eloquence may seeme to speake, of their Respects and service this way for the King: yet Truth will never say of them, they bee of the num­ber of those, that, for the grace of their lips shall have the King their friend; who is wise, like an Angel of God, in discerning Sacriledge to bee a sin detestable before God, and therefore holds it odi­ous to his Princely heart.

And it is dangerous also to the Common-wealth it selfe. This sinne in Achan became not onely a snare to himselfe, in which he was taken, and held unto destruction; but all Israel was troubled by the sinne of that one Achan, and the army of Israel discomfited, againe and againe, before the men of Ai, till such time, as, by their solemne humiliation, and the death of Athan, the Sacrileger, Ios. 7. the ini­quity was purged, and the Lord appeased.

Neither let any man thinke that this will take a­way the nature of sinne from the alienation of Church Lands, that it is done by a nationall Assem­bly of the States in Parliament; whose proceedings [Page 12]and Sanctions must bee by rule from God; other­wise, they become more out of measure sinfull, than actions of like quality in private men. The Lawes of State are not therefore just, because enacted by the State; but when they agree with the common Rules of Iustice, that God hath given to everie sonne of man. The truth is, many proud and foo­lish men doe Idolize a Nationall Assembly, as if it had not a superior Rule, to which it ought to frame all its Actions and Decrees; but, like a kind of omnipotent creature, (like the Pope to the Ca­nonists) it were a Lord God upon earth, and might enact, with Iustice, according to its owne Vote and Will; which is a singular dotage, a prophane con­tempt of God, the high and Soveraigne Law-giver, and a mighty derogation to the true worth and pietie that is in the Breasts (of many, I am sure) of our wise and godly Patriots; who have so learned Christ, that they will make his Will their Rule and Law, and his Glory their ultimate and small ayme.

It will not therefore, I say, take from sacriledge the nature of sinne, that it is committed by a Na­tionall Assembly, giving their Sanction thereunto: but it will encrease the evill, and make it a Nation­all sinne, involving the Common-wealth therein. First, Psal 83.12. in her Nobility, as, Make their Nobles like Oreb and Zeeb, yea, all their Princes like Zebah and Zalmunnah, that say, Let us take to our selves in pos­session the houses of God in the Land; and lap up the Gentrie, the Citizens, the Knights and Bur­gesses, [Page 13]the whole Commons, and all the Commons of England, yea, the whole Nation in the sinne; for so saith God, Yee are cursed with a curse, even the whole Nation, for yee have robbed mee; and yee say, Psal. 3 8, 9.wherein? for they would not believe it, more, than many of our people at this present; yet God tells them, They had robbed him in Tythes and Offerings: A thing which Heathens would not doe to their Idolls: Will a man spoyle his god, saith the Lord? that is, Hee will not: Yet yee have spoyled mee, in Tithes and Offerings, saith the Lord of Hosts, that hath an Host to avenge himselfe at pleasure, on the most mighty Sacrilegers; for hee is stronger than the Hills, or Mountaines of Robbers. Adde unto all this, That it will make it the more sinfull in that it shall bee committed by a Law; which should bee enacted for the prevention of sinne, and not for the commission. Psal 94. Shall the Throne of ini­quitie have fellowship with thee, that frameth mischief by a Law? Shall not the people thus fall under the judgements which God hath threatned to them, that walke after unrighteous Ordinances, and the Law-givers themselves bee branded, as Jeroboam was, that they make the people sinne? The Lord threatens the people thus, Thou shalt sow much, Mich. 6.15.but thou shalt not reap: thou shalt tread the Olives, but thou shalt not anoynt thee with the Oyle; and sweet Wine, but shalt not drinke Wine: Verse 16. now see the rea­son of this threatning, For the Statutes of Omri are kept, and all the workes of the house of Ahab. and yee walke in their Counsells, that I should make thee [Page 14]a desolation, and the inhabitants an hissing. And see the issue and danger of their naughty Lawes, as the Prophet Hosea sets it forth more fully in the Law-makers themselves: Hos. 5.10. The Princes of Iudah are like them that remoove the Bounds, (id est, The Land-markes, to encroach on others Lands) therefore I will poure out my wrath upon them, like water: Verse 11.And in the people; They are oppressed and broken in judgment, because they willingly walked af­ter the Commandement: therefore I will bee to E­phraim a moth, and to the house of Iudah like rot­tennesse. And for any thing wee know, the swee­ping away of Tithes and Things consecrated here­tofore, although by a Law, have brought some of the common pressures and calamities, for which there are such perplexed thoughts of heart, or, at least, have made our miseries the more heavy and grievous, from the hand of God.

However, certainely it is a thing inconsistent with Reason, That Things Consecrated to Gods service, in the intention of the Donor, although with some Errour about the Service, should bee taken altogether away from God, and alienated to any private usage, and perso­nall service of men uncapable of attendance on any holy imployment.

And it is a thing sencelesse, That any Lay­man should have the Tithes, the onely main­tenance, appoynted by GOD to Levi, while [Page 15]his Tabernacle stood, for his service therea­bouts; and after to Christ in his Ministers, for their labour in his service, as long as Christ doth live, which is, for ever, Heb 7.8. where one diffe­rence betwixt the Leviticall Priests and Christ, is placed in this, That they, under the Taber­nacle, take Tithes that dyed; But here, hee ta­keth them, of whom it is said, He liveth for e­ver. Of which Text this is the meaning, That Tithes are not a Leviticall and mutable mainte­nance, but the eternall maintenance of Gods ser­vice, used, before the Law, when the Priesthood was in the Father of the Family, for the provi­sion of Sacrifices,Gen. 28 20.according to the intent of Ja­cobs vow; stated on (not first invented for) Le­vie, during Levies Service: But when the body came, which was Christ, and Levi, with all his ty­picall service, was to be abolished, then ceased not the Tythes, in right, (though in practice, by rea­son of the Paganisme of Princes, in whose Domi­nions the Christian Faith sprang up, they were not payd in the Church) but were transfer­red to Christ, and his Servants and Mini­sters, to bee their Maintenance, as long as Christ should live, which is, for ever. This seemes to mee, the true sence of the place: And, indeed it is a sencelesse thing to thinke, That God hath left the Ministers of his Go­spell, whose service is more honourable than that of Levi, both for cleare Revelation of Christ, and also for labour and paines: 2 Cor 3.9. for the [Page 16]Levites were but Butchers to the Ministers of the Gospell; 1 Tim. 4.13. 5 & 16. & 1 Tim. 5.17. & 1 Tim. 4.2. and their labour was bodily, that tended to preservation of their health; in which they continued notwithstanding but from five and twentie yeares to fiftie. But ours is mentall and verball, and never at an end: That God, I say, should leave these Ministers to the mercy and charity of men, to bee provi­ded for, by the Almes and charitable Benevo­lence of the ill-disposed people of the last times; whom hee fore-saw so to love their pride, pleasures, and lusts, that they would rake and scrape, by hooke and crooke, not onely one from another, but from his Heavenly Maje­sty also; although the Lawes of former gene­rations, had as firmely estated, and established him in his possession, as the Lawes of Man, with the Curses and Imprecations of those that endowed God Almightie, could possibly e­state, and give an interest unto him.

And the rather, if we consider that hee fore­knew, that even many, that would professe Religion, in an exacter way than others, would yet pretend, his Ministers should have a com­petency, (as Sir Thomas Seymor, before men­tioned, did to Henrie the eighth) which when it should come to their Standard, would bee a base unworthy Salary, able onely to preserve a Minister alive, in a thousand wants, while hee doth live, and to leave his Wife and Chil­dren [Page 17]to begge after his disease. And the Lord fore-knew the ungodly Reason would bee pre­tended, viz. That Riches in the Clergie are not suteable to the simplicity of Christ, and his Apostles: A plausible thing with foolish people, That, since Christ dyed on the Crosse, never think a Minister in his Element, unlesse hee bee in prison, or on the pillory. But alas! was the povertie of Christ and his Apostles, any part of their simplicitie? Because our Sa­viour, that was Heire to the Crowne, which was usurped by Herod, was kept from it, must a Minister, that hath an inheritance, be put by it, and it be given to another, because it is more agreeable to the simplicity of Christ, who was so dealt withall? I had thought our case, living under Christian Kings and Lawes, had been dif­ferent from the case of Christ, that came to be a man of nothing, by voluntarie subjection, to worke out our Redemption; and, neither to teach us, to become begging Friers, nor you to become cruell persecuters, and crafty and bloudy Herods. And I did think, and do think, That there is no thing necessary concerning the simplicity of Christ and his Apostles, but binds every common Christian, to the verie Kings and Princes, as well as the Ministers of Christ: nei­ther doe I see any thing, in the Scriptures to the contrarie, nor in right reason: neither why hundreds and thousands by the yeare, should be thought fit enough, for an ordinary Gentleman, [Page 18]or Citizen, sometimes a Dunce and a sor­did fellow too, and suteable enough to the sim­plicity of Christ and his Apostles, in them; and that there should bee no suteablenesse in Mini­sters, as wise, as godly, as charitable as other men, unlesse they be kept downe in beggery and poverty. It is a thing hath guld the world much, in poynt of Church-government, That the A­postles times, and matters of fact, incident to their condition under persecutors, are accoun­ted Rules for the Kingdome of Christ: where­as Lawes be our Rule; and their examples bind us no farther, than the things they give us ex­amples in, be examples of morall Duties char­ged upon us by Divine precept, the onely thing commands a duty, Rom. 3 and forbids a sinne, and makes it transgression sinfull.

It were therefore a worthy work, and fitting a Parliamentary Reformation, to thinke of re­storing the Tithes to the proper owners (for now they are in an improper hand) rather than of taking away the residue of the Lands, that having escaped the Talons of the Harpie, re­main yet to the Clergie: especially considering, That the Impropriations are one maine cause of scandalous and ignorant Ministers, in many places of the Land; which thing (blessed be God) the Parlament proposeth a redresse of; and which, how the impropriators will answer to Christ, in the day of judgement, (when all [Page 19]the soules that have perished, through want of sufficient maintenance for a sufficient Miniestry, by reason of their Sacriledge, shall bee required of them) let them bethinke them.

The Lands of Cathedrall Churches are the Bequests of men dead long agoe, with fearefull Imprecations made against those, That should alter their Wills and Testaments. Now the A­postle saith, If it bee but a mans Testament, Gal. 3.15.no man altereth it. No man? Why, there be many men now set that way, and they pretend zeale in Religion, and a purpose of doing God service, in so doing too: Why then saith the Apostle, No man altereth a mans Testament? Surely, his meaning is, no man ought, or, no honest man will alter the Testament of a man that is dead, his Will being made lawfully, though haply, not so wisely, or conveniently, as it might have beene, nor to so good a purpose as hee might have bestowed his goods and Legacies, or Lands: for, That which he might lawfully have done with his goods, while he was alive; there is no reason, if he bequeathed them to the same purpose, when hee dyes, but his Will should stand and remaine to that use, after his Death, as intemerate, as if he were now present and a­live, to dispose his Beneficence.

But you will say unto me, They may bee bet­ter imployed in some other use, as, to mend [Page 20]the maintenance of preaching Ministers; and that now they serve onely to support idle­nesse.

And I say unto you, if you phansie any thing better, or know any other good worke, either better in truth, or better in your conceit and esteem, on Gods Name, give something of your owne to the maintenance thereof, permit­ting them that bee dead, to enjoy their owne Will and Desire, in that, in which they put you to no charges.

VVe know, that Christ our Lord, who was Wisedome and justice it selfe, Matth. 20.15. in that Parable, takes it for an undoubted Maxim, that a man (in a lawfull way) may doe what hee will with his owne: for, giving a penny to him, that la­boured but one houre, and a penny also to him, that endured the heate of the Day; when this man murmured, that the former was e­qually rewarded; the Master pleads his owne lawfull liberty, for the disposure of that which was his owne, contesting with the murmu­rer, as a man of an evill eye, at his goodnesse and bounty to the other; and maintaines his owne displeasure, in that hee had not injured the o­ther by his liberality. By force of which pas­sage, this is emergent, That if men be dispo­sed to honour some of the Clergy, although not laboring so sweatily in the work of the Ministe­rie as others doe, if the conferred honour bee of their owne charges, there is no reason, why [Page 21]any mans Eye should be evill at their goodnesse, who, by the common right of Nature and Nati­ons (that hold propriety against Anabaptisticall community) may doe what lawfull thing they will, with that that is their own, even as others doe dayly; who, though they give nothing to the Clergy, yet commonly leave estates of great a­mount to men, that obtaining these estates, give over all imployment, laborious and profitable in the Common-wealth, and live idly and like Drones; and yet no man questions the gift of their friends, nor their unprofitable life, although they be but burthens to the Earth; nor talke they of a better imployment of the things that have been bequeathed to them; notwithstanding the Persons, peradventure, be Idiots, Sotts, de­bauched persons, and such as be not onely idle and unprofitable, but wicked and noxious to those among whom they live, basely wasting and consuming in drunkennesse, whoredome and riot, that great substance thus befallen unto them: many of which kinde of men we have, that call themselves Gentlemen, who are not of the wor­thy descended Gentry of the Land, but a disgrace to that Name and Title: and yet no man grud­geth them the fortunes left them by their Bene­factors, sometimes no kinne to them at all; much lesse doth any of the people wish, or once speak of the taking from them that that they possesse; but think it both just and reasonable they should still enjoy that that was given to them; and the contrary injurious both to the living and the dead.

Secondly, this is that that makes men so barren in these daies, in giving any thing to the Ministe­ry, or to other pious support of Gods service; be­cause they see no assurance, the things they would should continue to the end of the World, shall continue three Generations after them; but, on the contrary, that the Wils of Men of former times, be altered, perverted, reversed by succee­ding times, according as they phansie, and to save their own purses, or to enrich themselues and their posterity on the maintenance, God cals, his own portion.

Thirdly, I say, they gave their Lands to such and such a Church; for such, or such a service of God, that in their darke times was most in use, and in their intention, and as they were instru­cted, most honourable to God. Now, if we in times of greater light, see better service may be done to God, by the same Persons, viz. Deanes, Cannons, Brebendaries, in the same Churches, thus endowed; on Gods Name, let us reforme those Persons, and put them on such employment, as is competent with the will of the dead, in the same Churches which they endowed; and not take away the maintenance that is consecrate to Gods service, nor that service neither to which it was given, but onely superadd some service to the former remembring the charge of God to Moses, That Eleazar should take the Brasen Censures of the seditious Levites, Numb. 36.37. which God appointed them not to make, nor appointed that service to be so performed by them; yet must they be searched and [Page 23]scraped out of the Dust and Ashes of the burning, to make broad plates for a covering for the Altar, and not to be turned to any private use; for, saith the Text, They are hallowed (that is, consecrate) to the Lord, although in a strong and a preposterous way.

Now this may be done with the Cathedrals, in my apprehension, with great glory and beauty to the Christian reformed Religion, in this, or some such way.

First, Where every Cathedrall hath Revenues enough, to maintain the Deanes, Canons, Pre­bend, without any other Benefices, that have cure of Soules; let them drink the water of their own Cisterne, without drawing from any other Well, and be denied the possession of any Ecclesiasticall endowment, and kept to their motions within their own Sphere, id est, their Cathedrals.

Secondly, Whereas every Prebend that hath a Corp, might afford a sufficient maintenance, but that it is let out at present in a long Lease, for a small Rent; some one singular Prebend, now and then, making benefit of a great time, to whose Let it falls; the lesse living bravely on the Lease in the meane time, and the Prebend having little yearely Income; It would doe well to raise a year­ly maintenance of one hundred, two hundred, or three hundred pound per Annum, or, as much as the Prebend will beare. And where the Prebend will not beare it, as in small Prebends, or those that have no Corps, to put two or three of them together, and so lessen the number of them, or let [Page 24]the bigger helpe the lesser, that so there may be a sufficient maintenance for every Prebend, with­out any other Ecclesiasticall Living.

This may be done, by letring the Prebends to the Tenents in Fee Farme for ever, onely yeel­ding such an Annuall Rent, as the perpetuall In­heretance were worth to purchase; unlesse we can be content with patience, to suffer the Leases to run out neerer their end, till they would af­ford sufficiency of maintenance; which were the better way of the two, to produce a sufficiency for so excellent a worke, as this may prove, if wise men have the handling of it.

Then let every Deane, Canon and Prebend, be bound to residence at the Cathedrall Church, and therein to Preach duely in his course. Where let there be two Sermons every Lords-day, and two every Holyday, and one every other weeke day; and these Sermons to be preached by themselves in their turnes, and not by Substitutes; the case of sicknesse, necessary absence, or other inavoyda­ble imployment or impediment onely excepted.

Fourthly, Let these Prebends, when any of them is void, be fetched out of one of the Universitie; in their turnes; out of one Universitie this time, and out of the other the next time, of the Fel­lowes of the Colledges, of the best Learning and Life, that be willing to leave the Universitie and let them have liberty to marry and attend their study at the Cathedrall, to Preach, to answer all Books of Controversies that come forth, and be ready by often preaching and study of Divinity, to [Page 25]come abroad into the Church, to some pastorall charge, when they shall be called.

Thus shall the Church, when any Church is void, have place, in every part of the Kingdome to repaire unto, to fetch a Man prepared and fit­ted for the Ministery, in a pastorall charge. And so also shall many, that have not a capacity to live unmarried in the Universitie, finde a reliefe hereby, to sustaine them in honourable sinlesse Matrimony. And many good Schollers, whose Gifts languish and die in the Universities, with­out any benefit to the publike (because as the poore man at the Poole, they have none to helpe them out, to the Service of the Church) shall be brought forth, by this meanes, to the great bene­fit thereof.

Or, if it be not thought so fit, to make the Ca­thedralls Colledges of young Divines: it may, to my apprehension, doe very well, or rather better, to make them Colledges of old Divines. Numb. 8.24. God gave Moses charge concerning the Levites, that they should not goe in to wait on the Service of the Tabernacle till twenty five years of age; and that from the age of fifty, they should cease wai­ting on that Service, and should serve no more, but Minister with their Brethren in the Taber­nacle to keep the charge, and shall serve no more, id est, tanquam milites emeriti, they are exempted from the carrying of Burthens and other laborious workes, and are now, ad placitum, in respect thereof; onely overseeing about the Tabernacle, and directing the younger Levites, or helping [Page 92]them voluntarily, as it seemed good to them, and as they found themselves able; without that tye and obligation, that lay upon the younger. Which hath in it, no doubt, a morality, referring to the Ministers of the Gospell; whose labour is more consuming than that of the Levites, and requires a maturity of judgement; in which respect, Saint Paul would not have a Minister be [...] so al­so requires it that strength of body and minde, that in age (and the infirmities, that a sedentary and studious life brings on affiduous and diligent Preachers) are withered and decayed. Now it is neither fit that a Minister, when he is worne out by labour, should live in want; nor that any per­ticular Flocke, should want a pastorall supply, which some may, possible, be unfit and unable to, by age or sickenesse. Therefore now if it may so seeme good, it were not amisse, That the Cathe­dralls (every Prebend being made a sufficient maintenance) might be a place of rest and ease to those old Veterani, that have served in the Mini­stery; who may be chosen (in case of unfitnesse to a pastorall charge) into the Society of the Prebends (as any Prebend shall fall void) out of the Ministers of the same Diocesse, where the Cathedrall is: upon which choice, he may give over his pastorall charge to one younger, stronger, and more fit and able for the constant duties of a pastorall Ministery; and finde both a remission from labour, in his age and infirmity, and attend upon the dayly service of God in the Cathedrall, and performe the duty of preaching therein; [Page 28]which will not befall him so often, by far, as is requisite in him that hath the charge of a Con­gregation; which requires constant and uninter­mitted labour. And here also, by this meanes, may younger Ministers or any other, in doubtfull and difficult cases of Conscience, finde resolution from experienced Divines; who, being many of them together, shall be able to give the better sa­tisfaction. Yet I thinke it not fit, in my opinion, to deprive any, that are in present possession of any dignity in the Church, of that dignity so long as they live, be they young or be they old; but that the usage projected, whichsoever of the twain it be, may begin in them that are in present pos­session; considering, that what they have obtai­ned, they have obtained it in a way established, in their time, by the Law of the Land.

And because the badnesse of our Government in the Church, comes from the badnesse of the Go­verners, and that, from the bad Election of the Bi­shops. To prevent future mischiefe, it were good to reduce the Election of Bishops againe, unto the Election of the Clergy, to whom of right it belongs, to prefer one of themselves to that Go­sernment (for peace and order sake) which is in them all in communi, by the ordinance of Christ, who bequeathed the Keyes equally to them all and the prelation of one above the rest, is questi­onlesse, an Ecclesiasticall, not a Divine Ordi­nance. It were therefore fit, when any Minister is chosen into the number of the Prebends, that he be chosen of the Clergy of the Diocesse, a man [Page 28]of good Life and Learning, and one that hath bin laborious in his Ministery, and not under the age of fifty yeares. And then, That the Deane and Chapter, with the Prebends of the Church, may have the free Election of the Bishop out of them­selves, as of old they have had, and whereof there remaineth yet a shew, (though a meere shew) in the Writ of Congedeleire, or, at least, that they may nominate two or three, and the King to pre­fer which of the two or three shall seeme plea­sing to him. By this meanes shall the Bishop be, in the fairest probability, a fit Governour; and the Clergy the more willingly and freely live un­der his Government, in whose Election they have had some hand and stroke; and the Bishop be the lesse likely to comply with the meere will and pleasure of Courtiers, whether Clericall or Lai­call, by whom now they are brought into their Bi­shoprickes, and with whom they must comply or be removed to a worse or poorer Bishopricke than that they now possesse. Against which, provision would be made, and it provided, That no Bishop upon displeasure be put from his Bishopricke, nor removed to a worse, dum bene se gesserit; so shall they freely and without feare discharge their Con­science, both in Government and in Parliament: onely the case of their removall, carrying them­selves well, would be thus ordered, That what Bi­shop soever dies, all the Bishops inferiour to him in place and order of Dignitie, may be removed, the next to the dead succeeding the dead, and the next him &c. and the now Bishop to come into the [Page 29]lovest and meanest Bishopricke: so shall we not have young men set up in the highest Bishopricks, to the envie and disgrace of the elder, and more fit for superiour places: so shall the younger by time, be fitted for places of greater dignity, and more concernment in the Church; and so shall the Revenue of the King be the more augmented, (with the contentment of all the Bishops) by so many removes. And it would also be provided, That the Archdeacons and the Deanes of the Ca­thedrall Churches may be chosen by the Cathe­drall Churches themselves, out of the Prebends, formerly chosen by the Clergie of the Diocesse, into the number of the Prebends: so shall the Convocation be brought into a better state than now it is, when both the Bishops, Deanes and Archdeacons shall at the first bringing of them into the number of the Prebends, be chosen after fifty yeares of age, of the best men of the Clergy, by the whole Clergy; who, upon knowledge of their labours and deportment in the Ministery, have worthily elected them for it canot but be sup­posed, that such men will be more sensible of the good of the Church, than young fellowes, that by gaping at the Court for these preferments, being proud, vaine, idle, and often wicked and vicious, altogether unfit for, and unworthy of such high Dignity and preferment in the Church; and more unfit and unable to governe others, that never yet knew how to governe themselues; and most uuca­pable of advancing Gods glory, and the salvation of the people, or to promove and further the [Page 30]preaching of the Gospel; these being things they never thought of, sought after, or were acquainted withall.

Fifthly, and for the dayly Service of the Cathe­drals, it is the Service of God, although, to speake the truth, it is in some part not fitly carried: and it is that Service, for the performance whereof, some part of the Lands were given. It would ther. fore be continued, but read plainely and distinctly, as in other Churches, without counterfeited voy­ces, or the mixture of Musicke or musicall Respon­ces in Prayers, that are of an higher straine than to be played withall: yet the Musicke not to be alto­gether abolished, but used onely before or after, or in the middle; and alone, or in the singing of Psalmes and other Hymmes or Spirituall Songs, or whensoever for their sakes that delight in Musicke, as David did; yet soe, as it be no abu­fing, darkning of, or dishonour to the Service of God, or the understanding of the People. And for the Singingmen, they are Musitians, and Musicke is a lawfull & a laudable Science; and some of them imploy themselves in the time they are not im­ployed in the Church, in teaching Musicke to others. And the Choristers, being poore Mens Children, become by being taken into the Church, silii charitatis, and by the care and charge of the Church, may be bred up, for the service of it in Musicke, if they be fit thereunto; and may be also bred to writing and cyphering by the Singing­men, who would be chosen fit for that purpose; that so the children, whose voyces faile, or are, for [Page 31]their capacity, unfit for the Service of the Church, may be placed out to Apprentices, to some honest Trades, and Occupations, by the Church, at her owne charges.

This, or some such way may be taken, for resto­ring of the Cathedrals, and making them profita­ble to the Church. But to abolish or destroy them, is just such a reformation, as if Almighty God, seeing faults in mankinde, to amend them, should sweepe mankinde, at once, from the face of the Earth, as he did in the time of Noah; but promised to doe so no more. Now if any choose rather to be like unto God, in the execution of that judge­ment, than in his repenting of it; liking no way but at once, to sieze on all, and to sweepe it away; let him take heed God sweepe not him and his posterity, his House, and Name, and Memory from off the Earth, Psal. 83.12. That he be no more mentioned among the Sons of Men. Remembring withall these dread­full Imprecations: on which, who so will reade the briefe, but excellent Paraphrase, of that learned Knight, Sir Henry Spelman, in his Treatise, De non temerandis Ecclesiis, written to his Uncle, by occasion of a complaint he made of the unprospe­rous successe he had in building upon a piece of Glebe, belonging to an Impropriation he had in his hands; it would move his Heart, unleffe it were more hard and sencelesse than the neither Milstone. Of which nature also is the Propheti­call curse of good old Jacob, on the sacrilegious enemies of Levi; against whom (after he had de­scribed Levies Office, To teach Jacob Gods Judge­ments, [Page 32]and Israel his Law; to put Incense before him, and whole burnt Sacrifice on his Altar: and then put up a Prayer for Levi, thus, Blesse, O Lord, his sub­stance, and accept the worke of his Hands) he doth thus Prophetically denounce Judgement against his Enemies, Smite through the Loines of them that rise against him, and of them that hate him that they rise not againe.

And it is a thing to be thought on, That many ancient Families (as some intelligent men have observed) who inherited the Lands of their Ance­stors longa serie diducta a Majoribus; when they took in some of the spoiles made in Tithes and Globe, by the Statute of Dissolution; their pos­sessions quickly spued out of the old possessors of them as a loathsome thing; the Bread of God pro­ving as the Bread of deceit, gravell in their Teeth; and the Portion of Gods Ministers becomming like Antimony, or some such poyson; that, dranke into the Stomacke, provokes such a nauceous ab­horrence in it, that it never rests till it hath emp­tied it selfe both of the poyson that troubles it, and of whatsoever else before lay quietly, and inof­sencively therein.

I could therefore wish, That all our Gentry that would preserve their Inheritances, without ruine to their posterity; would beware they bring not any spoiles of the Church into their Houses, lest they be spoyled by them: for they are like the Ea­gles Feathers, by which the Aegyptians in their Hieroglyphicks signifie, pernitiosa potentia; for they are said to consume all Feathers among [Page 33]which they be mingled, as Pierius relateth of them.

And to preserve them from this sin, That they would have a Tablet hang up alwaies in the Di­ning Roome, where they ordinarily take their re­past; in which should be drawne an Altar with Flesh and Fire on it, for Sacrifice, with an Eagle ready to take wing, having in her Talons a piece of Flesh, with a burning coale at it, and somthing beside it, and higher than the Altar, a tall Tree, with an Eagles Nest in it,, and the Heads of her young ones discovered above the Nest, and the Nest flaming with a light fire about them, with this Infcription over the Altar, Noli me Tangere, ne te & tuos perdam: For things belonging to the Altar, will certainely prove a snare to the devou­rers of them; and like the Gold of Tholouse, or Seius Horse, as learned Master Selden saith, in his Review, ever fatall to the unjust possessors of them.

Concerning the increase of Preaching Ministers maintenance by these Lands, as some would have it; I say, it is the shame of our Church and Na­tion, That in all this time, there is not one able Preacher in every Congregation of the Kingdome but that in many places, the people sit, as it were, in darknesse and in the shadow of Death, through want of preaching. And also a shame and sin it is, there is no better provision for them in many pla­ces where they be already: for there ought to be an honourable maintenance for every Preaching Mi­nister as a reward of the Gospel of Christ, the [Page 34]Lord and Possessor of all the Earth. And enough would be for them in every place; but for the cur­sed plague of Impropriations, together with the unjust and Antichristian customes, prescriptions, exemptions from Abby Lands, and such like tricks of the Popes Legerdemaine; which, even men, that in things of an indifferent nature, cry out of Rome and Antichrist, can here be content to treade the step, the idle Monks, and filthy Nunnes, the craw­ling Vermine of the Pope, did tread before them, without any scruple of their conscience. The Tithes are the most proper maintenance of the Miristery: and it were fit every Cocke should transfer the Water of its own proper Cisterne: and to endeavour some increase of Preaching Mi­uisters maintenance in every poore Vicaridge of the Kingdome; that way were to doe it the right and proper way. But while men talke of mainte­nance for able Ministers, and think not of allowing any thing, to that purpose, out of the Tithes that have bin unjustly taken from them heretofore, and are yet as unjustly and unconsionably detained from them, in hands improper for them; but thinke to mend them out of other Lands of the Clergie; who will thinke this talke the talke of Men truely Religious, and not rather an imitation of the Pha­risees Hypocrites, That lay heavie burthens on other Mens shoulders, which they will not put forth one of their own fingers to touch, Mat. 23.4.

When A [...]ranah offered David his Threshing-foore to build an Altar on, and diverse other things munificently for the Sacrifice; David would not [Page 35]receive it of gift, but would buy it, and pay for it; saying, God forbid I should offer Sacrifice to God of that that costs me nougth, 2 Sam. 24.24. And shall we thinke we have acquitted our selves well in Reformation, by taking away the Lands and Glebe and Tithe given formerly by others, or by giving part of those Lands to the maintenance of painefull Ministers that were well enough con­tent with the Tithes and Glebe they had before, if we could have let them alone, and nor have gone on in the deformity the Pope had brought upon them; but beene content to have taken them away from the Abbies, in the Dissolution, and have restored them to every Pastour and Vicar, which was our dutie; and the defect whereof, will continue a Sin upon our Nation, while the Impropriations con­tinue, which yet I doe not see any desires of a­mendment in: For, though we talke of nothing more then Reformation; yet we thinke of nothing lesse than effecting any part thereof by any cost of our owne, but of robbing Peter to pay Paul, and in stead of making any restitution of that violent­ly taken away before, we bethink us of feizing in­to our hands the possessions left behinde, that hi­therto have scaped our fingers, which other before us, have bequeathed to the Service of God, with­out any burthen of one penny to be laid on our shoulders. A practice, doubtlesse, discovering no true and hearty good will to the Preachers of the Gospel; but an evill eye at the prosperity of the Clergy: which some expresse, when they say, If their Revenue were lesse, they would be better, and doe [Page 36]more Service to Christ and his Church: Deut. 33.10.11. Whereas, I know not, why there should be supposed an in­consistence of Grace, and a desire to glorifie God with riches, more in a rich Clergie Man, than in a rich Layman: and Times, and Histories, and ex­perience afford us examples of rich Ministers, as painefull as any that be poorer; and of as idle and wicked, and proud poore, as be any of the rich, and of as ungodly rich men of all other conditions, and as unprofitable, as griping Usurers, as vile Oppres­sors, as cruell and unjust Lords to their Copyhol­ders and Tenents, as ordinary violaters of Parlia­mentary Lawes, as well as of Divine Lawes, as any rich Clergy Man that was ever in the Church. Certainely sirs, if a Man have Riches, hee may doe that good hee cannot in poverty, and goe the more cheerefully through his calling, if God sanctifie his Riches by his Grace; without which, it is not poverty that makes a Man the bet­ter. The truth is, both Riches and Poverty are Rocks; on which many split, both Ministers and People: and Agars Prayer is best, To be fed with food convenient. And if, letting that alone, to the Clergie that be Rich, that God hath given them, Men would take care, that poore Ministers, might be taken off from the distractions of Poverty, by their cost, that ought to be at the cost; all the prea­ching Ministers in the Kingdome would thanke God, and thinke they had lived to see that happy day, which many have defired to see, but never saw; and which, I feare, mine eyes shall never see, while they enjoy the light of the Sunne.

It would therefore be a good worke of us, to pray God our Parliament would bend themselves this way; a way that would be much for the ho­nour of that great assembly, for the safety of the King and State, the Land and Nation, and the pre­serving it from the fearefull Judgements, of that God, that hath threatned a curse on a whole Nati­on, for this sin of Sacriledge; He being a God that professeth to hate Robbery for burnt Offering; and to let that alone, that yet the Church enjoyes; and to thinke of some way for the reduction of Tithes, the proper maintenance of the Pastorall Ministry againe to the Church, for their support and encouragement, that labour in Preaching.

First, beginning with the Bishops and Cathedral Impropriations, and restoring the Tithe to every Pastor where it is impropriate, together with such Glebe, as belongs to every impropriate Church respectively; considering, That these are not part of the Lands given them by pious Men, but a con­tinuation of the Sacriledge, and violent Ablations of the Pope; whose sin is but maintained alive to this day, in the Impropriations, what Statute Law soever have succeeded, to confirme the retention of these sacred spoiles; Mutavimus fures non fur­tum.

Secondly, and for themselves. First, either resto­ring them freely againe, as some pious and consci­encious men have done, and as they may doe, by an Act, with greater Justice, than they can take one foot of ground from the Church; because Church [Page 38]Lands are the gift of others, given lawfully, of that that was in their power to give onely, and with which no Man may meddle, now it is given more than before, when they were alive and pos­sessed it; but the Tithes have been violently taken away, by their own Act, and are acknowledged (both by the invented Law-terme of Appropriation, and by the common name, more properly given them in ordinary speaking, viz. Impropriations) to be improperly handled or usurped.

Secondly, or else by setting on foot the Teoffees for Impropriations (one of the best workes that hath been undertaken, in this last age of the world) that they, in time, may buy them in if (at least) any man will now give mony to that wotke, which may be doubted, if the Lands remaining should be alie­nated; for how can they expect the good they aime at shall continue, and the Tithes not be taken away againe, after they have bought them with their own mony, and returned them to the Ministery a second time, if they shall see so little regard had to things already bestowed on them, at the cost of others▪ and so small consideration had of Christs Mini­sters, and such a low account made of them, as men de faece plebis, not worthy, peradventure, to be com­pared with the groomes or horsekeepers of great Personages; but rather to be likened to the dung of their stables, which the Groomes (who are nost ad haec idones) were wont to sweepe away from the face of the earth, and caste it to the Dunghill, the filthe of the World and the ofscouring of al things, [Page 39]as the Apostles were accounted by Pagans, when they lived amongst them, a people unworthy of any esteeme, or thought, both base of birth and bree­ding, not onely humi-serpent, but like Job his ab­jects, the sons of villaines and bondmen, more vile than the Earth they crawle upon, fit for nothing, but to bee exposed to the spoile and rapine of catch and snatch, worthy only to be bought, sould, undone, and beggerd, given away at the pleasure of men, as men unworthy of that common Justice, that all other Subjects enjoy even the very Sacri­legers themselves, in their Impropriations: which many men doe thinke, though erroniously, can with no Justice be taken from them. Yet t'were good to set up these Feoffers▪ if, peradventure, God may move the Hearts of men to give to the worke, and leave the successe to God; that so, in time, by Gods blessing, the Impropriations may be bought in: and in the meane time, till they can be bought in, the Feoffees may advance, as they did sometimes, in a just and godly way, the honour of the Gospel, by sending painefull and godly Mi­nisters into many great Congregations, starved be­fore, by reason of the Impropriations; which, with­out question, are one of the unjustest and absur­dest things, and one of the greatest sinnes of the Land, at this day. I except not Non-residency, though it be one of the great banes of the Church, and rubb in the way of the cleere and free passage of the Gospel, by the preaching of it: which it might have gotten into, before this time, since the rise of it in this Nation, had such godly care been [Page 40]taken for it, as ought to have been taken that way. And if the furtherance of this worke, concerning the reduction of Impropriations be approved; two things would bee thought on, very availeable to advance it.

One is, the removing that great rub in the way, to many, that are willing, freely to restore Im­propriations, that is, the Licence of Allienation, that they may not be put to great charge, in pur­chasing Licences to restore the Tithes to the Church; and also to facilitate the Feoffees, in their buying in what they buy; that the money entru­sted with them, may goe the further, in accompli­shing their intention that give this way.

The other thing is, that a certaine rate may be set on the purchase of Impropriations, not to be exceeded, and that it may not be Lawfull, for any man, upon the tender of that value, to refuse to part with his Impropriation: without which pro­vision, covetous men, when they see the worke be­gin to thrive, will take advantage, to inhance the value of their Impropriations, or on other respects, refuse to part with them, in places that are most Populous. and where there may be the greatest good done, by a Preaching Ministry; and so, ei­ther prevent the maine intention of our Parliament; which is, To settle a Preaching Ministery, and to advance the knowledge of Christ Jesus, or at least, retard the worke, and make it move forward more slowly than is convenient.

God grant the Parliament the assistance of his [Page 41]Grace and Blessing, to atchieve this great worke, in an holy and just way. But for the things that yet remaine to the Clergie, God grant them wisedome, to see the Injustice and Impiety of the Peoples desires this way; who are, for the most part, led by wicked Passions and distemper, rather than by reason and Religion; especially, at this time, wherein the Brownists much increase, and aboundance of People looke that way, and, with all their might, cry downe the Maintenance of Learning; desiring an Anabaptisticall Liberty, to doe every man what he lists: which Liberty will not be obteyned, till the Clergie be brought to live on Almes; which is the thing they ayme at, and call it, a Maintenance ordeined by Christ. But I hope, the wisedome of our Sages, being of a sublime and Noble straine, will be inabled to discerne that Inscription, that is written on all things consecrated and devoted to God; (which, after devoting, he accounts his Portion, and Sa­cred to himselfe) Noli me Tangere, ne te pardam; that they may feare, and Learne to doe no more presumptiously in this kinde, as some have done, that have gone before them; who have given their account before now, to that Iudge, to whom, they also shall give account, in due season.

FINIS.

Errata.

Pag 6. lin. 28. for to that man. Now it is. reade to that man now it is. p. 7. l. 1. for to humane usage. That it is, r. to humane usage, that that is. p. 11. l. 9. for Tables, r. Fa­bles. p. 17. l. 1. for disease, r. decease. p. 20. l. 25. for displeasure r. disposure. p. 22. l. 20. for Cannons, r. Canons. p. 23. l. 5. for strong r. wrong. l. 23. for time r. fine. l. 24. for lesse. r. leaser. p. 24. l. 5. for tenents r. tenants. p. 25. l. 9. for honorable sin­lesse. r. honorable and sinlesse.p. 26. l. 16. for possible, r. possi­bly. p. 29. l. 22. for elected them for, r. elected them. For. l. 24. for by gaping r. lye gaping. p. 31. l. 2. for to Apprenti­ces. r to be Apprentices. l. 30. for Jacob r. Moses. p. 32. l. 15. for spued out of the old possessors, r. spued out the old pos­sessors. p. 34. l. 5. for from Abby lands, r. Abby lands. p. 36. l. 22. for Agars, r. Agurs.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. Searching, reading, printing, or downloading EEBO-TCP texts is reserved for the authorized users of these project partner institutions. Permission must be granted for subsequent distribution, in print or electronically, of this EEBO-TCP Phase II text, in whole or in part.