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TO THEM THAT SEEK (AS THEY TERM IT)
THE REFORMATION OF THE LAWS
CHURCH OF ENGLAND.
may know we have not loosely through silence permitted or handling things to pass away as in a dream, there shall be for men’s and what information extant thus much concerning the present state wished in of the Church of God established amongst us, and their whose sakes careful endeavour which would have upheld the same 1. pains is At your hands, beloved in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, (for in him the love which we bear unto all that would but seem to be born of him, it is not the sea of your gall and bitterness that shall ever drown, I have no great cause to look for other than the selfsame portion and lot, which your manner hath been hitherto to lay on them that concur not in opinion and sentence with you 2. But our hope is, that the God of peace shall (notwithstanding man's nature too impatient of contumelious male
[The same foreboding tone of “ and in many places by divers men thought is apparent in b. v. 79, “ not obscurelie broached, both in
sermons and in writing .... and (Christ. Letter, &c. p. 4.“ May “ verelie such a thing offered itselfe wee not trulie say, that under unto our eyes, in reading your “ the shewe of inveighing against “ bookes, and .we had not skill
Puritanes, the chiefest pointes of “howe to judge otherwise of the popish blasphemie are many times “ handling of your penne and of the
Ch. i. 2.
PREFACE, diction) enable us quietly and even gladly to suffer all
things, for that work sake which we covet to perform.
[2.] The wonderful zeal and fervour wherewith ye have withstood the received orders of this church, was the first thing which caused me to enter into consideration, whether (as all your published books and writings peremptorily maintain) every Christian man, fearing God, stand bound to join with you for the furtherance of that which ye term the Lord's Discipline. Wherein I must plainly confess unto you, that before I examined your sundry declarations in that behalf, it could not settle in my head to think, but that undoubtedly such numbers of otherwise right well affected and most religiously inclined minds had some marvellous reasonable inducements, which led them with so great earnestness that
But when once, as near as my slender ability would serve, I had with travail and care performed that part of the Apostle's advice and counsel in such cases, whereby he willeth to “try all
things 3,” and was come at the length so far, that there remained only the other clause to be satisfied, wherein he concludeth that “ what good is must be held;" there was
scope of your matter. Notwith us, and of thousands converted to standing because rash judgement “the gospel, you would in like
may prejudice honest travailes, publike manner (but plainly and “ and faithfull labourers may have “ directlie) show unto us and all “ their unadvised slippes, and we English protestants your owne “ could not tell how zeale, love, or “ true meaning, and how your
glorie, might carie a man of such “ wordes in divers thinges doe “ towardlie and excellent giftes, in agree with the doctrine established “ the first shewing of himselfe to among us.” On which Hooker's “ the worlde; or that an earnest note is, “ That because they are loth “striving and bending yourselfe in “to prejudice honest travailes by “ heate of disputation against the “rash judgment, and it might be
one side, might dazell your eyes, they mistooke my meaning, they “ and draw your hand at unawares thought it fittest in charity, in "to farre and too favourable to great care of my credit, and in “ the other side; or else peradven “ all Christian love, to set abroad “ ture we might mistake your mean “ their suspitions, and to give no“ing, and so wee should doe you “ tise of alarm throughout hir mawrong against our willes.
jestie's dominions, till such time thought it therefore our parte, in as my mind were explained unto
regarde of our dutie to the Church, “ them for satisfaction in their “and most agreeing to charitie, “ doubtes, wherby they might be “ both for your credit and our ease, “the better furnished to satisfy “ in all Christian love to intreat you, “ others in my behalf.”] “ that as you tender the good es 3 [1 Thess. v. 21.] “ tate of Christe's Church among
Ch. ii. I.
Expostulation with Reformers.
127 in my poor understanding no remedy, but to set down PREFACE, this as my final resolute persuasion : “ Surely the present “ form of church-government which the laws of this land “ have established is such, as no law of God nor reason “ of man hath hitherto been alleged of force sufficient to
prove they do ill, who to the uttermost of their power “ withstand the alteration thereof." Contrariwise, “ The “ other, which instead of it we are required to accept, is “ only by error and misconceit named the ordinance of “ Jesus Christ, no one proof as yet brought forth whereby “ it may clearly appear to be so in very deed.”
[3.] The explication of which two things I have here thought good to offer into your own hands, heartily beseeching you even by the meekness of Jesus Christ, whom I trust ye love; that, as ye tender the peace and quietness of this church, if there be in you that gracious humility which hath ever been the crown and glory of a Christianlydisposed mind, if your own souls, hearts, and consciences (the sound integrity whereof can but hardly stand with the refusal of truth in personal respects) be, as I doubt not but they are, things most dear and precious unto you: “ let not the faith which ye have in our Lord Jesus “ Christ” be blemished “ with partialities 4;" regard not who it is which speaketh, but weigh only what is spoken. Think not that ye read the words of one who bendeth himself as an adversary against the truth which ye have already embraced; but the words of one who desireth even to embrace together with you the selfsame truth, if it be the truth; and for that cause (for no other, God he knoweth) hath undertaken the burdensome labour of this painful kind of conference. For the plainer access whereunto, let it be lawful for me to rip up to the very bottom, how and by whom your discipline was planted, at such time as this age we live in began to make first trial thereof.
II. 5 A founder it had, whom, for mine own part, I think The first es. incomparably the wisest man that ever the French church of new disdid enjoy, since the hour it enjoyed him. His bringing Mr. Calvin's
industry in James i. 1.
tended Holy Discipline : in which [Compare the second chapter of a similar sketch is given of Calvin's Abp. Bancroft's Survey of the pre- proceedings at Geneva.]
Origin of the new Discipline.
PREFACE. up was in the study of the civil law. Divine knowledge
he gathered, not by hearing or reading so much, as by of Geneva; teaching others. For, though thousands were debtors to ginning of him, as touching knowledge in that kind; yet he to none bluemongst but only to God, the author of that most blessed foun
tain, the Book of Life, and of the admirable dexterity of wit, together with the helps of other learning which were his guides : till being occasioned to leave France, he fell at the length upon Geneva; which city the bishop and clergy thereof had a little before (as some do affirm) forsaken, being of likelihood frighted with the people's sudden attempt for abolishment of Popish religion: the event of which enterprize they thought it not safe for
themselves to wait for in that place. At the coming of A. D. 1536. Calvin thither 7, the form of their civil regiment was
popular, as it continueth at this day: neither king, nor duke, nor nobleman of any authority or power over them, but officers chosen by the people yearly out of themselves, to order all things with public consent. For spiritual government, they had no laws at all agreed upon, but did what the pastors of their souls by persuasion could win them unto. Calvin, being admitted one of their preachers, and a divinity reader amongst them, considered how dangerous it was that the whole estate of that church should hang still on so slender a thread, as the liking of an ignorant multitude is, if it have power to change whatsoever itself listeth.
Wherefore taking unto him two of the other ministers 8 for more countenance of the action, (albeit the rest were all against it, they moved, and in the end persuaded 9 with much ado, the people to bind themselves by solemn oath, first never to admit the Papacy
[Pierre de la Baume, of a noble ordinance of the Syndics. ibid. p. family in France, was the last bi- 366.) shop acknowledged in Geneva. “Il (Aug. 1536. He was on his
partit à la mi-Juillet (1533) pour way to Basle or Strasburgh, but
se ranger au party de Savoye went round by Geneva on account “ contre la Ville.” Besides the agita- of the war, and was persuaded by tion occasioned by the new opinions, Farel to remain. Spon. II. p. 14.] he was at the time engaged in a dis [Farel and Couraut. Beza, Vit. pute with the Syndics regarding the Calv. prefixed to his works. Gen. judicial prerogative. Spon, Hist. 1617: from which most of these de Genève, I. 344. Aug. 27, 1535, particulars are taken.] Protestantism was established by ' [20 July, 1537.]
Ch. ii. 2.
Generan Reform inconvenient.
129 amongst them again ; and secondly, to live in obedience PREFACE, unto such orders concerning the exercise of their religion, and the form of their ecclesiastical government, as those their true and faithful ministers of God's word had agreeably to scripture set down for that end and purpose.
[2.] When these things began to be put in ure, the people also (what causes moving them thereunto, themselves best know) began to repent them of that they had done, and irefully to champ upon the bit they had taken into their mouths; the rather, for that they grew by means of this innovation into dislike with some churches near about them, the benefit of whose good friendship their state could not well lack 10.
It was the manner of those times (whether through men's desire to enjoy alone the glory of their own enterprizes, or else because the quickness of their occasions required present dispatch; so it was,) that every particular church did that within itself, which some few of their own thought good, by whom the rest were all directed. Such number of churches then being, though free within themselves, yet small, common conference beforehand might have eased them of much after trouble 11. But a greater inconvenience it bred, that every later endeavoured to be certain degrees more removed from conformity with the church of Rome, than the rest before had been 12: whereupon grew marvellous great dissimilitudes, and by reason thereof,
[“ Sous pretexte de conserver “ les libertez de la ville, et de ce
qu'ils n'avoient pas voulu se con“ former à l'usage de Berne pour “ la Communion, ils firent pro
noncer un arrêt au Conseil,” &c. Spon. II. 18.]
(Chr. Letter, p. 39. “ blame them, that in that trouble
some time they wanted common “ conference.” Hooker, MS. note. “ No man blamed for those de“ fects, which necessity casteth upon him.”] [Chr. Letter, p. 43.
“ The “ Church of Rome favourablie “ admitted to be of the house of “ God; Calvin with the reformed “ churches full of faults, and most of all they which indevoured to be HOOKER, VOL. I.
“ most removed from conformitie
popery grown by that very meanes
not their heresies a thousand times
« Is it then a matter heinous to
as M. Calvin are nothing spared by you and yours in any such « conflict.
You honour Calvin as “ the father of discipline: this is “ the boil that will not be touched.”]