« ПредишнаНапред »
manhood in the Britons, both those, and these lately, we must impute the ill-husbanding of those fair opportunities, which might seem to have put liberty, so long desired, like a bridle into their hands. Of which other causes equally belonging to ruler, priest, and people, above have been related; which, as they brought those ancient natives to misery and ruin, by liberty, which, rightly used, might have made them happy; so brought they these of late, after many labours, much bloodshed, and vast expence, to ridiculous frustration; in whom the like defects, the like miscarriages notoriously appeared, with vices not less hateful or inexcusable,
For, a parliament being called to redress many things, as it was thought, the people, with great courage, and expectation to be eased of what discontented them, chose to their behoof in parliament such as they thought best affected to the publick good, and some, indeed, men of wisdom and integrity; the rest, to be sure the greater part, whom wealth or ample possessions, or bold and active ambition, rather than merit, had commended to the same place.
But, when once the superficial zeal and popular fumes, that acted their new magistracy, were cooled, and spent in them, straight every one betook himself, setting the commonwealth behind, his private ends before, to do as his own profit or ambition led him. Then was justice delayed, and soon after denied : spight and favour determined all: hence faction, thence treachery, both at home and in the field: every where wrong, and oppression : foul and horrid deeds committed daily, or maintained, in secret, or openly. Some who had been called from shops and warehouses, without other merit, to sit in supreme councils and committees, as their breeding was, sell to huckster the commonwealth. Others did thereafter as men could sooth and humour them best; so he who would give most, or, under covert of hypocritical zeal, insinuate basest, enjoyed unworthily the rewards of learning and fidelity; or escaped the punishment of his crimes and misdeeds. Their votes and ordinances, which me'n looked should have contained the repealing of bad laws, and the immediate constitution of better, resounded with nothing else, but new impositions, taxes, excises; yearly, monthly, weekly. Not to reckon the offices, gifts, and preferments bestowed and shared amongst themselves: they, in the meanwhile, who were ever faithfullest to this cause, and freely aided them in person, or with their substance, when they durst not compel either, slighted, and bereaved after of their just debts by greedy sequestrations, were tossed up and down after miserable attendance from one committee to another with petitions in their hands; yet, either missed the obtaining of their suit, or, though it were at length granted (mere shame and reason oftentimes extorting from them at least a shew of justice) yet, by their sequestrators and sub-committees abroad, men for the most part of insatiable hands, and noted disloyalty, those orders were commonly disobeyed ; which, for certain, durst not have been, without secret compliance, if not compact with some superiors able to bear them out.
Thus were their friends confiscate in their enemies, while they forfeited their debtors to the state, as they called it, but indeed to the ravening seizure of innumerable thieves in office; yet
were withal no less burthened in all extraordinary assessments and oppressions, than those whom they took to be disaffected : nor were we happier creditors to what we called the state, than to them who were sequestered as the state's enemies.
For that faith, which ought to have been kept as sacred and inviolable as any thing holy, the publick faith, after infinite sums received, and all the wealth of the church not better employed, but swallowed up into a private gulph, was not before long ashamed to confess bankrupt. And now, besides the sweetness of bribery, and other gain, with the love of rule, their own guiltiness, and the dreaded name of just account, which the people had long called for, discovered plainly that thete were of their own number, who secretly contrived and fomented those troubles and combustions in the land, which openly they sat to remedy; and would continually find such work, as should keep them from being ever brought to that terrible stand, of laying down their authority for lack of new business, or not drawing it out to any length of time, though upon the ruin of a whole nation.
And, if the state were in this plight, religion was not in much better; to reform which, a certain number of divines were called, neither chosen by any rule or custom ecclesiastical, nor eminent for either piety or knowledge above others left out; only as each memher of parliament in his private fancy thought fit, so elected one by one. The most part of them were such, as had preached and cried down, with great shew of zeal, the avarice and pluralities of bishops and pluralities; that one cure of souls was a full employment for one spiritual pastor, how able soever, if not a charge rather above human strength. Yet these conscientious men (before any part of the work done for which they came together, and that on the publick salary) wanted not boldness, to the ignominy and scandal of their pastòr-like profession, and especially of their boasted reformation, to seize into their hands, or not unwillingly to accept (besides one, sometimes two or more of the best livings) collegiate masterships in the universities, rich lectures in the city, setting sail to all winds that might blow gain into their covetous bosoins : by which means these great rebukers of non-residence, amongst so many distant cures, were not ashamed to be seen so quickly pluralists and non-residents themselves, to a fearful condemnation doubtless by their own mouths. And yet the main doctrine for which they took such pay, and insisted upon with more vehemence than gospel, was but to tell us, in effect, that their doctrine was worth nothing, and the spiritual power of their ministry less available than bodily compulsion; persuading the magistrate to use it, as a stronger means to subdue and bring in conscience, than evangelical persuasion: distrusting the vertue of their own spiritual weapons, which were given them, if they be rightly called, with full warrant of sufficiency to pull down all thoughts and imaginations that cxalt themselves against God. But, while they taught compulsion without convincement, which not long before they complained of, as executed unchristianly, against themselves, these intents are clear to have been no better than anti-christian; setting up a spiritual tyranny by a secular power, to the advancing of their own authority
above the magistrate, whom they would have made their executioner, to punish church delinquencies, whereof civil laws have no cognisance.
And well did their disciples manifest themselves to be no hetter principled than their teachers, trusted with committeeships, and other gainful offices, upon their commendations for zealous and (as they sticked not lo term them) godly men, but executing their places, like children of the devil, unfaithfully, unjustly, unmercifully, and, where not corruptly, stupidly; so that, between them the teachers, and these the disciples, there hath not been a more ignominious and mortal wound to faith, to piety, to the work of reformation; nor more cause of blaspheming given to the enemies of God and truth, since the first preaching of reformation.
The people, therefore, looking one while on the statists, whom they beheld without constancy or firmness, labouring doubtfully beneath the weight of their own too high undertakings, busiest in petty things, trifling in the main, deluded and quite alienated, expressed divers ways their disaffection, some despising whom before they honoured, some deserting, some inveighing, some conspiring against them. Then, looking on the churchmen, whom they saw, under subtle bypocrisy, to have preached their own follies, most of them not the gospel; timeservers, covetous, illiterate persecutors, not lovers of the truth; like in most things, whereof they accused their predecessors: looking on all this, the people, which had been kept warm a while with the counterfeit zeal of their pulpits, after a false heat, became more cold and obdurate than before, some turning to lewdness, some to flat atheism, put beside their old religion, and foully scandalised in what they expected should be new.
Thus they, who of late were extolled as our greatest deliverers, and had the people wholly at their devotion, by so discharging their trust, as we see, did not only weaker and unfit themselves to be dispensers of what liberty they pretended, but unfitted also the people, now grown worse and more disordinate, to receive, or to digest any liberty at all. For stories teach us, that liberty, sought out of season, in a corrupt and degenerate age, brought Rome itself into a farther slavery: for liberty hath a sharp and double edge, fit only to be handled by just and virtuous men; to bad and dissolute it becomes a miscbief unwieldy in their own hands; neither iş it completely given, but by them who have the happy skill to know what is grievance and unjust to a people, and how to remove it wisely; what good laws are wanting, and how to frame them substantially, that good men may enjoy the freedom which they merit, and the bad the curb which they need. But to do this, and to know these exquisite proportions, the heroick wisdom, which is required, surmounted far the principles of these narrow politicians: what wonder, then, if they sink, as these unfortunate Britons before them, entangled and oppressed with things too hard, and generous above their strain and temper? for Britain, to speak a truth not often spoken, as it is a land fruitful enough of men stout and courageous in war, so is it, naturally, not over-fertile of men able to govern justly and prudently in peace, trusting only in their mother-wit; who consider not justly, that civility, prudence, love of the publick good, more than of money or vain honour, are, to this soil, in a manner outlandish; grow not here, but in minds well implanted with solid and elaborate breeding, too impolitick else, and rude, if not headstrong and intractable to the industry and virtue either of executing, or understanding true civil government; valiant, indeed, and prosperous to win a field, but, to know the end and reason of winning, unjudicious and unwise; in good or bad success alike unteachable. For the sun, which we want, ripens wits, as well as fruits; and, as wine and oil are imported to us from abroad, so must ripe understanding, and many civil virtucs be imported into our minds from foreign writings, and examples of best ages, we shall else miscarry still, and come short in the attempts of any great enterprise. Hence did their victories prove as fruitless, as their losses dangerous, and left them, still conquering, under the same grievances, that men suffer, conquered; which was indeed unlikely to go otherwise, unless men more than vulgar bred up, as few of them were, in the knowledge of ancient and illustrious deeds, invincible against many and vain titles, impartial to friendships and relations, had conducted their affairs; but then, from the chapman to the retailer, many, whose ignorance was more audacious than the rest, were admitted, with all their sordid rudiments, to bear no mean sway among them, both in church and state.
From the confluence of all their errors, mischiefs, and misdemeanors, what in the eyes of man could be expected, but what befell those ancient inbabitants, whom they so much resembled, confusion in the end?
But on these things, and this parallel, having enough insisted, I return to the story which gave us matter of this digression.
THE BISHỌP'S POTION :
A DIALOGUE, BETWEEN THE BISHOP OF CANTERBURY
AND HIS PHYSICIAN;
Wherein hé desireth the Doctor to have a Care of his Budy, and to pre
serve him from being let Blood in the Neck, when the Sign is in Taurus.
Priuted in the Year 1641. Quarto, containing six Pages,
Doctor.' I understand, by one of your gentlemen, your grace was pleased to send for me?
Cant. Not without cause, good Mr. Doctor, for I find niyself diseased in all parts, insomuch that, without some speedy remedy, cannot long continue; I have a great desire to take physick, in case the time of the year be seasonable.
Doct. Yes, the time of the year may be seasonable, but we must have a care of the constitution of your lordship’s body, the nature of the disease, and the quality of the inedicine. Our cordials, potions, electuaries, syrups, plaisters, unguents, clysters, vomits, baths, supe positories, and the like, must be duly regarded, with a due care what planét is predominant.
Cant. I approve your learned skill, good Mr. Doctor, in having respect to the constellations, for I am of opinion, which the brethren, forsooth, call superstition, if I be let blood in the neck, when the sign is in Taurus, I shall certainly bleed to death.
Doct.' That may very well be, unless your surgeon have a more saving skill than my lord deputy's had: but I pray, my Lord, let me see your Grace's water, for by it, I shall easily perceive the state of your body?
Cunt. Reach that urinal there: look you, Mr. Doctor, this water I made last night, after my first sleep; what do you think
Doct. My Lord, your water is a most thick, dense, solid, heavy, almost ragged, putrid, stinking, and rotten urine; your Grace hath kept a very bad diet; there are certain raw crudities, that lie heavy and undigested upon your stomach, which will, without remedy, and that speedily, ascend so high, until it stifle and suffocate your Grace,
Cant. I pray, good Mr. Doctor, use your skill, in removing them; I must confess I owe a death, which I would be loth to pay, before it be due; wherefore, if it be within your power to prolong my life, spare no cost for the effecting it.
Doct. My Lord, it is within the power of my art to prolong your life, in case it be not cut off untimely. I have here prepared a vomit for your Grace, which, I doubt not, but will have a speedy operation; down with it, my Lord, fear not, it will bring something up by and by, and see, it begins to work already.
Cant. Hold my head, good Mr. Doctor, oh! oh!
Doct. Well done, up with it, my Lord: what is here? A great piece of parchment, with a yellow seal to it, the writing is obscure, I cannot read it: but what is this that comes next? A root of tobacco; I protest it is pure Spanish ; how comes this to pass, had
Grace any hand in the tobacco patent?
Cant. Yes, it hath stuck on my stomach these four years at least, and I could never digest it before. Hold the bason.
Doct. What is this? A book, Whosoever hath been at church may exercise lawful recreations on the Sunday; what is the meaning of this ?
Cant. It is the book for pastimes on the Sunday, which I caused to be made: but hold, here comes something, what is it?