« PreviousContinue »
quick men, wives, and children, and devours lives as well as livings, as if he were born in that pagan province, where none might marry till he had killed twelve Christians. This makes him kneel to lieutenant-general Cromwell, as Indians to the devil; for he saw Oliver first threw
then —, and can, with a wink, do as much for --; like Milo, in the Olympicks, who, by practising on a calf, grew strong enongh for a bull, and could with ease give a list to an ass. The great Turk was sending his ambassador to congratulate the assembly's proceedings against the Christians; he ordered them thanks for licensing his alcoran to be printed in English; but hearing Ottoman Cromwell bad talked of marching to the walls of Constantinople, that ambassy was stopped. The only difference betwixt the assembler and a Turk is, that one plants religion by the power of the sword, and the other by the power of the scimeter: Nay, the greatest strife in their whole conventicle is, Who shall do worst; for they all intend to make the church but a sepulchre, having not only plundered, but anatomised all the true clergy; whose torment is heightened in being destroyed by such dull instruments, as the prophet Isaiah was sawn to pieces with a wooden saw. The assembler wonders that the King and his friends live still in hope ; he thinks them all St. Clemens's case, drowned with an anchor tied about his neck. He has now got power to visit the universities; where these blinking visitors look on eminent scholars (as the blind man, who saw men like trees) as timber growing within the root-and-branch ordinance. The assembler has now left scholars so poor, that they have scarce rags, wherewith to make paper. A man would think, the two houses intend to transport the universities, since they load asses with col. lege-revenues : For though these assemblers made themselves heads, they are rather the hands of colleges, for they all are takers, and take all. And yet they are such creeping tyrants, that scholars are expelled the two universities, as the old Thracians, forced from their country by rats and mice; so that learning now is so much advanced, as Arrowsmith's glass-eye sees more than his natural They never admit a good scholar to a benefice ; for the assembly's balance is the lake of Sodom, where iron swims and feathers sink. Their divinity-disputations are with women or laymen; and it is only on one question, episcopacy, where the assembler talks all that he and his friends can say; though his best me dium, to prove presbyters more ancient than bishops, is, That scribes, pharisees, priests, and elders were before the apostles; yet, if a scholar or good argument come, he flies them, as much as if they were his text. This made him curse Dr. Steward, Dr. Laney, and Dr. Hammond; and, had he not had more brass in his face, than in his kitchen, he had hanged himself at Uxbridge, and ended with that treaty; for he has nought of logick, but her clutched fist, and rails at philosophy as beggars do at gentlemen. He has very bad luck, when he deals in philology, as one of them (and that no mean man) who, in his preface to the reader, says, That St. Paul had read Eustathius upon Homer; though the apostle died a thousand years before Eustathius was born. The assembler's diet is strangely different; for he dines wretchedly on dry bread at Westminster, four assemblers for thirteen pence; but this sharpens and whets him for supper, where he feeds gratis with his citylandlord, to whom he brings a huge stomach, and news; for which cranimed capons cram him. He screws into families, where there is some rich daughter, or heir; but whoever takes him into their bosom, will die like Cleopatra. When it rains, he is coached (a classis of them Logether) rolling his eyes, to mark who beholds him.
His shortest things are his hair and his cloke; his hair is cut to the figure of three; two high cliffs run up his temples, whose cape of shorn hair shoots down his forehead, with creeks indented, where his ears ride at anchor. Had this false prophet been carried with Habbakuk, the angel had caught fast hold of his ears, and led him, as he leads his auditory. His eyes are part of his tithe at Easter, which he boils at each sermon; he has two mouths, his nose is one, for he speaks through both; his hands are not in his gloves, but his gloves in his hands; for betwixt sweatings, that is, sermons, he handles little else, except his dear mammon. His gown, Í mean his cloke, reaches but his pockets : When he rides in that manner, with a hood on his shoulders, and a hat above both, Is he not then his own man of sin with the triple crown? You would swear some honest carpenter dressed him, and made him the tunnel of a country chimney. His doublet and hose are of dark blue, a grain deeper than pure Coventry; but of late he is in black, since the loyal clergy were persecuted into colours. His two longest things are his nails and his prayer; but the cleanest thing about him is his pulpit cushion, for he still beats the dust out of it. To do him right, commonly he wears a pair of good lungs, whereby he turns the church into a belfry; for his clapper makes such a din, that you cannot hear the cymbal for the tinkling. If his pulpit be large, he walks his round, and speaks as from a garison ; his own neck is palisadoed with ruff. When he first enters his prayer before sermon, he winks and gasps, and gasps and winks, as if he prepared to preach in another world. He seems in a slumber, then in a dream: then rumbles a while; at last he sounds forth, and then throws so much dirt and nonsense towards heaven, as he durst not offer to a member of parliament. Now, because scripture bids him not curse the King in his thought, he does it in his pulpit, by word of mouth; thoug strike him dumb in the very act, as it did Hill at Cambridge, who, while he prayed, * Depose him, O Lord, who would depose us,' was made the dumb devil. This, one would think, should gargle his foul mouth; for his only hope, why God should hear him against the King, is, The devil himself, that great assembler, was heard against Job. His whole prayer is such an irrational bleating, that, without a metaphor, it is the calves of his lips; and commonly it is larded with fine new words, as, savingable, muchly, Christ-Jesusness, &c. and yet he has the face to preach against prayer in an unknown tongue. Sometimes he is foundered, and then there is such hideous coughing! but that is very seldom, for he can glibly run over nonsense, as an empty cart trundles down a hill. When the king girt round the Earl of Essex at Lestwythiell, an assembler complained, That God had drawn his people into the wilderness, and told him, he was bound in honour to feed them; for, “Lord, said he, since thou givest them no meal, we pray thee, O Lord, to give them no stomachs. He tore the liturgy, because, forsooth, it shackled his spirit, he would be a devil without a circle; and now, if he see the book of common prayer, the fire sees it next, as sure as the bislrops were burnt who compiled it. Yet he has mercy on Hopkins and Sternhold because their meetres are sung without authority (nio statute, canon, or injunction at all) only, like himself, first crept into private houses, and then into churches. Mr. Rous moved those meetres might be sequestered, and his own rhimes to enjoy the sequestration; but was refused, because John Hopkins was as ancient as John Calvin; besides, when Rous stood forth for his trial, Robin Wisdom was found the better poet. It is true, they have a directory, but it is good for nothing, but Adoniram, who sold the original for four-hundred pounds, and the book must serve both England and Scotland, as the directory needle points north and south. The assembler's only ingenuity is, that he prays for an extempore spirit, since his conscience tells him, he has no learning. His prayer thus ended, he then looks round, to observe the sex of his congregation,and, accordingly, turns the apostle's men, fathers, and brethren, into dear brethren and sisters. For his usual auditory is, most part, female; and as many sisters flock to him, as, at Paris, on St. Margaret's day, when all come to church, that are, or hope to be with child that year. He divides his text, as he did the kingdom, makes one part fight against another; or as Burges divides the dean of Paul's house, not into parts, but tenements, that is, so as it will yield most money. And properly they are tenements; for each part must be dwelt upon, though himself comes near it but once a quarter, and so his text is rather let out, than divided. Yet sometimes, to shew his skill in Keckerman, he butchers a text, cuts it, just as the Levite did his concubine, into many dead parts, breaking the sense and words all to pieces, and then they are not divided, but shattered, like the splinters of Don Quixot's lance. If his text be to the occasion, his first dish is apples of gold in pictures of silver, yet he tells not the people what pictures those were, His sermon and prayer grin at each other, the one is presbyterian, the other independent; for he preaches up the classes, yet prays for the army. Let his doctrine and reason be what they will, his use is still to save his benefice, and augment his lecture. He talks much of truth, but abhors peace, let it strip him as naked as truth; and therefore hates a personal treaty, unless with a sister. He has a rare simpering way of expression; he calls a married couple, saints that enjoy the mystery, and a man drunk, is a brother full of the creature; yet at wedding-sermons, he is very familiar, and like that picture in the church at Leyden, shews Adam and Eve without fig-leaves. At funerals, he gives infallible signs, that the party is gone to beaven; but his chief mark, of a child of God, is to be good to God's ministers. And hence it is, he calls his preachment, manna, fitted not to his hearers necessity, but their palate, for it is to feed himself, not them. If he chance to tire, he refreshes himself with the people's hum, as a collar of bells chears up a pack-horse. It is no wonder he will preach, but that any will hear hiin, and his constant auditors do but shew the length of their ears ; for he is such an 'ABentegonóst, that, to hear him, makes good scholars sick, but, to read him, is death. Yet, though you heard him three hours, he will ask a fourth, as the beggar at Delph craves your charity, because he eats four pounds of bread at a meal. It was from his alarum, the watch-makers learned their infinite Screw. His glass and text are equally handled, that is, once an hour ; nay, sometimes, he sallies, and never returns, and then we should leave him to the company of Lorimers, for he must be held with bit and bridle. Who ever once has been at his church, can never doubt the history of Balaam. If he have got any new tale or expression, it is easier to make stones speak, than him to hold his peace. He hates a church where there is an eccho, for it robs him of his dear repetition, and confounds the auditory as well as he. But, of all mortals, I admire the short-hand men, who have the patience to write from his mouth; had they the art to shorten it into sense, they might write his whole sermon on the back of their nail ; for his invention consists in finding a way to speak nothing upon any thing; and, were he in the grand seignior's power, he would lodge himself with his mutes; for nothing, and nothing to purpose, are all one. I wonder in conscience, he can preach against sleeping at his opium-sermons. He preaches, indeed, both in season, and out of season ; for he rails at popery, when the land is almost lost in presbytery, and would cry fire, fire, in Noah's flood. Yet all this he so acts with his hands, that, in this sense too, his preaching is a handicraft. Nor can we complain, that plays are put down, while he can preach, save only his sermons have worse sense, and less truth. But he blew down the stage, and preached up the scaffold ; and, very wisely, lest men should track him, and find where he pilfers all his best similies, (the only thing wherein he is commendable, St. Paul himself having culled sentences from Menander's Thais, though it was his worst, that is, unchiste comedy.) Sometimes the assembler will venture at the original, and then, with the translator of Don Quixot, he mistakes sobs and sighs for eggs and collops. But commonly, for the want of Greek and Latin, he learns Hebrew, and straight is illuminated, that is, mad; his brain is broke by a brickbat, cast from the tower of Babel ; and yet this empty windy teacher has lectured a war quite round the kingdom: He has found a circulation of blood for destruction (as famous Harvey for preservation) of mankind. It was easy to foresee a great mortality, when ravens were heard in all corporations; for, as multitude of frogs presage a pestilence, so croaking lecturers foretold an assembly. Men come to church, as the great Alexander went to sacrifice, led by crows. You have seen a small elder-tree grow in chinks and clefts of church-walls; it seems rather a weed, than a tree, which, lend it growth, makes a rent in the wall, and throws down the church. Is not this the assembler? Grown from schisms, which himself begot, and, if permitted, will make the church but a floor or churchyard : Yet, for all this, he will be called Christ's minister and saiut, as the rebels against King John, were the army of God. Sure, when they meet, they cannot but smile; for the dullest amongst them needs must know, that they all cheat the people; such gross low impostors, that we die the death of the Emperor Claudius, poisoned by mushrooms. The old hereticks had skill and learning, some excuse for a seduced church; those were scholars, but these are assemblers, whose very brains, as Manichæus's skin, are stuffed with chatf; for they study little, and preach much, ever sick of a diabetes; nor do they read, but weed authors, picking up cheap and refuse notes, that, with Caligula,
they gather cockle-shells, and, with Domitian, retire into their study to catch flies. At fasts and thanksgivings, the assembler is the state's trumpet, for then he doth not preach, but is blown, proclaims news very loud, the trumpet and his forehead being both of one metal; and yet, good man, he still prays for boldness; he hacknies out his voice, like a crier, and is a kind of spiritual adjutant, receives orders, and spreads them. In earnest, the states cannot want this tool, for, without him, the saints would scarce asse
ssemble; and, if the zealots chance to fly out, they are charmed home by his sounding brass. There is not, on earth, a baser sycophant; for he ever is chewing some vote or ordinance, and tells the people how savoury it is; like him, who licked up the emperor's spittle, and swore it was sweet. Would the two houses give him cathedral lands, he would prove Lords and Commons to be jure divino; but, should they offer him the self-denying ordinance, he would justify the devil, and curse them to their faces; his brother kirk-man did it in Scotland. It is pleasant to observe, how finely they play into each other's hands; Marshall procures thanks to be given to Sedgwick, for his great pains; Sedgwick obtains as much for Marshall, and so they all pimp for one another; but yet, to their great comfort be it spoken, their whole seven years sermons, at Westminster, are now to be sold in Fettere lane and Pye-corner. Before a battle, the assembler ever speaks to the soldiers, and the holding up of his hands must be as necessary as Moses's against the Amalekites; for he pricks them on, tells them, That God loves none, but the valiant; but, when bullets fly, himself runs first, and then cries, All the sons of Adam are cowal is! Were there any metempsychosis his soul would want a lodging; no single beast could fit hịm, being wise as a sheep, and innocent as a wolf; his sole comfort is, he cannot out-sin Hugh Peters; sure as Satan bath possessed the assembler, so Hugh Peters hath possessed Satan, and is the devil's devil; he, alone, would fill a whole herd of Gadarenes; he hath sucked blood ever since he lay in the butcher's sheets, and now, like his sultan, has a shambles in his countenance, so crimson and torrid, you may there read, how St. Laurence died, and think the three children were delivered from his face. This is St. Hugh, who will level the assembler, or the devil's
Yoke these brethren, and they two couple like a sadduce and a pharisee, or a Turk and a Persian, both Mahometans. But the assembler's deepest, (highest abomination, is his solemn league and covenant; whereby he strives to damn or beggar the whole kingdom, outdoing the devil, who only persuades, but the assembler forces to perjury or starving. And this, whoever lives to observe it, will, one day, sink both him and his faction ; for he, and his oath, are so much
one, that, were he half-hanged and let down again, his first word would be, covenant ! covenant!
But I forget, a character should be brief, though tedious length be his best character ; therefore I will give you, what he denies the sequestered clergy, but a fifth part; for weigh him single, and he has the pride of three tyrants, the forehead of six jailers, and the fraud of twelve brokers; or take him in the bunch, and their whole assembly is a club of hypocrites, where six dozen of schismaticks spend two hours for four shillings a-piece.