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at high strains in new and lofty measure to sing and celebrate thy divine mercies and marvellous judgments in this land throughout all ages; whereby this great and warlike nation, instructed and inured to the fervent and continual practice of truth and righteousness, and casting far from her the rags of her whole vices, may press on hard to that high and happy emulation to be found the soberest, wisest, and most Christian people at that day when thou, the eternal and shortly expected King, shalt open the clouds to judge the several kingdoms of the world, and, distributing national honors and rewards to religious and just commonwealths, shalt put an end to all earthly tyrannies, proclaiming thy universal and mild monarchy through heaven and earth, where they undoubtedly, that by their labors, counsels, and prayers have been earnest for the common good of religion and their country, shall receive, above the inferior orders of the blessed, the regal addition of principalities, legions, and thrones into their glorious titles, and in supereminence of beatific vision, progressing the dateless and irrevoluble circle of eternity, shall clasp inseparable hands with joy and bliss, in overmeasure forever.
But they contrary, that by the impairing and diminution of the true faith, the distresses and servitude of their country, aspire to high dignity, rule, and promotion here, after a shameful end in this life (which God grant them) shall be thrown
down eternally into the darkest and deepest gulf of hell, where, under the despiteful control, the trample and spurn of all the other damned, that in the anguish of their torture shall have no other ease than to exercise a raving and bestial tyranny over them as their slaves and negroes, they shall remain in that plight forever, the basest, the lowermost, the most dejected, most underfoot, and down-trodden vassals of perdition.
F it be of divine constitution, to satisfy us fully in that, the Scripture only is able, it being the only book left us of divine authority, not in anything more divine han in the all-sufficiency it hath to furnish us, as with all other spiritual knowledge, so with this in particular, setting out to us a perfect man of God, accomplished to all the good works of his charge. . . . . To verify that which St. Paul foretold f succeeding times, when men began to have ithing ears, then, not contented with the plentiful and wholesome fountains of the Gospel, they began after their own lusts to heap to themselves teaclers, and as if the Divine Scripture wanted a supplement, and were to be eked out, they cannot thin; any doubt resolved, and any doctrine confirmed, unless they run to that indigested heap and fry of authors which they call antiquity. Whatsoever time, or the heedless hand of blind chance, hath drawn down from of old to this pres
ent, in her huge drag-net, whether fish or seaweed, shells or shrubs, unpicked, unchosen, those are the fathers.
How can they bring satisfaction from such an author, to whose every essence the reader must be fain to contribute his own understanding? Had God ever intended that we should have sought any part of useful instruction from Ignatius. doubtless he would not have so ill provided or our knowledge as to send him to our hands in this broken and disjointed plight; and if he intended no such thing, we do injuriously in thinking to taste better the pure evangelic manna, by seasoning our mouths with the tainted scraps and fragments of an unknown table, and searching among the verminous and polluted rags dropped overworn from the toiling shoulders of tine, with these deformedly to quilt and interlace the entire, the spotless, and undecaying robe of ruth, the daughter not of time, but of Heaven, only bred up here below in Christian hearts, between two grave and holy nurses, the doctrine and discipline of the Gospel.
He that thinks it the part of a well-barned man to have read diligently the ancient stries of the Church, and to be no stranger in the volumes of the fathers, shall have all judicious nen consenting with him; not hereby to control and newfangle the Scripture, God forbid! butto mark how corruption and apostasy crept in by degrees, and
to gather up wherever we find the remaining sparks of original truth, wherewith to stop the mouths of our adversaries, and to bridle them with their own curb, who willingly pass by that which is orthodoxal in them, and studiously cull out that which is commentitious, and best for their turns, not weighing the fathers in the balance of Scripture, but Scripture in the balance of the fathers. If we, therefore, making first the Gospel our rule and oracle, shall take the good which we light on in the fathers, and set it to oppose the evil which other men seek from them, in this way of skirmish we shall easily master all superstition and false doctrine; but if we turn this our discreet and wary usage of them into a blind devotion towards them, and whatsoever we find written by them, we both forsake our own grounds and reasons which led us at first to part from Rome, that is, to hold to the Scriptures against all antiquity; we remove our cause into our adversaries' own court, and take up there those cast principles which will soon cause us to solder up with them again; inasmuch as, believing antiquity for itself in any one point, we bring an engagement upon ourselves of assenting to all that it charges upon us.