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of some part of the prerogative, or exercise thereof for the present such? I believe you cannot say so. Wherefore labour, labour you to take off those exasperations that are amongst men with you, and do not still put your unguem in ulcere ut recrudescat dolor. Tell the people amongst whom you are, of that sinful way wherein they now are, so shall you liberare animam tuam. But if you will not, it may be those words which you read in Ezek. iii. 12, will lie hard on your conscience another day. Now the God of all peace give us peace, but truth with peace in Christ Jesus. Amen.
Quæris uter melius, rex ne imperet anne senatus
Reader, if thou wouldst read any more such poetry as this, see Thom. Morus Anglus, where there is much to this purpose.
TO THE HONEST-HEARTED READER.
"READER. I HERE protest* before the Searcher of all hearts, that I have no end, either of faction or relation in this ensuing treatise. 1 am no papist,† no sectary, but a true lover of reformation and peace: my pen declines all "bitterness of spirit, all deceitfulness of heart; and I may safely, in this par"ticular, with St. Paul say, I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not, my con"science bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I neither walk nor write in "craftiness, nor handle the Holy Scriptures deceitfully:' therefore if thy cause "be Jesus Christ, § in the name of Jesus Christ I abjure thee to lay aside all "wilful ignoranee, all prejudice, all private respects and interests, and all uncha"ritable censures: deal faithfully with thy soul, and suffer wholesome admoni"tions: search the several scriptures herein contained, and where they open a gate, climb not thou over a stile; consult with reason herein exercised, and where it finds a mouth, find thou an ear: and let truth prosper, though thou perish; and let God be glorified, although in thy coufusion."
* When you have taken the protestation to shew yourself any thing for the Searcher of hearts, then I shall be persuaded to give you some credit, and shall desire the honest-hearted reader to think he hath to do with such a writer; but such gentlemen as you seem to me to be, can take a solemn national covenant and spit it up again, and without conscience fall into that desperate jesuited maxim, That no promise is to be held with such, whom you can soon call, heretics, or schismatics, or any thing. The Searcher of hearts hath a controversy with covenant breakers. I would you did read such places as Jer. xxxiv. 18, 20, and would learn to apply them better than you have done any scripture than I can see in this treatise, and yet I desire to see without prejudice.
You do not know what you are, nor indeed doth any carnal man; he that doth not stand only for the one thing, Luke x. 42, may and indeed, at some time or other, will fall into an any thing: better men than you have confessed, that they did never think a man had need to be converted, till they themseives were converted. But you are even the same that thousands of your stamp are, that is to say, sure service-book men, and (the worst of men) moderate men, falsely so called, lukewarmness, neutrality, and ignorant pride with obstinacy, see the wisdom of God concluding them inseparable, Rev. iii. 15, 16, 17.
Your sectary, we know what it is, namely, any one that is truly religious, a reformation and a religion at large is the thing such as you love, that is to say, Sundays no Sabbaths; and the book of liberty put into practice again, wakes, church-ales, rushbearings, &c. Oh, it was a merry world in those days: upon which terms I must say of your peace, as once the father said, Ubi non hoc bellum ibi pax diabolica; Where there is not this strife (namely, between the better and worse part) there is a devilish peace. With this introduction, commonly, these men begin such pamphlets, and they think they prevail much upon the reader's affection: I say to the honest-hearted reader, Look about thee, in nomine Domini incipit omne malum: Satan can transform himself into an angel of light, VOL. V.