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another mind which he hath not seen; and if he undertake all, the length of man's life cannot extend to give him a full and requisite knowledge of what was done in antiquity. Why do we therefore stand worshipping and admiring this unactive and lifeless Colossus, that, like a carved giant terribly menacing to children and weaklings, lifts up his club, but strikes not, and is subject to the muting of every sparrow? If you let him rest upon his basis, he may perhaps delight the eyes of some with his huge and mountainous bulk, and the quaint workmanship of his massy limbs; but if ye go about to take him in pieces, ye mar him; and if you think, like pigmies, to turn and wind him whole as he is, besides your vain toil and sweat, he may chance to fall upon your own heads.
We shall adhere close to the Scriptures of God, which he hath left us as the just and adequate measure of truth, fitted and proportioned to the diligent study, memory, and use of every faithful man, whose every part consenting, and making up the harmonious symmetry of complete instruction, is able to set out to us a perfect man of God, or bishop thoroughly furnished to all the good works of his charge and with this weapon, without stepping a foot farther, we shall not doubt to batter and throw down your Nebuchadnezzar's image, and crumble it like the chaff of the summer threshing-floors, as well the gold of those apostolic
successors that you boast of, as your Constantinian silver, together with the iron, the brass, and the clay of those muddy and strawy ages that follow. . . .
"They cannot name any man in this nation, that ever contradicted episcopacy, till this present age." What an overworn and bedridden argument is this! the last refuge ever of old falsehood, and therefore a good sign, I trust, that your castle cannot hold out long. This was the plea of Judaism and idolatry against Christ and his Apostles, of Papacy against Reformation; and perhaps to the frailty of flesh and blood in a man destitute of better enlightening may for some while be pardonable for what has fleshly apprehension other to subsist by than succession, custom, and visibility; which only hold, if in his weakness and blindness he be loath to lose, who can blame? But in a Protestant nation, that should have thrown off these tattered rudiments long ago, after the many strivings of God's Spirit, and our fourscore years' vexation of him in this our wilderness since Reformation began to urge these rotten principles, and twit us with the present age, which is to us an age of ages wherein God is manifestly come down among us to do some remarkable good to our church or state, is as if a man should tax the renovating and reingendering Spirit of God with innovation, and that new creature for an upstart novelty; yea, the New Jerusalem, which, without your admired link of succession,
descends from heaven, could not escape some such If you require a further answer, it will not misbecome a Christian to be either more magnanimous or more devout than Scipio was, who, instead of other answer to the frivolous accusations of Petilius the Tribune, "This day, Romans," saith he, "I fought with Hannibal prosperously; let us all go and thank the gods that gave us so great a victory"; in like manner will we now say, not caring otherwise to answer this unprotestantlike objection: In this age, Britons, God hath reformed his Church after many hundred years of Popish corruption; in this age he hath freed us from the intolerable yoke of prelates and papal discipline; in this age he hath renewed our protestation against all those yet remaining dregs of superstition. Let us all go, every true protested Briton, throughout the three kingdoms, and render thanks to God the Father of light, and Fountain of heavenly grace, and to His Son Christ our Lord, leaving this remonstrant and his adherents to their own designs; and let us recount, even here without delay, the patience and long-suffering that God hath used towards our blindness and hardness time after time. For he being equally near to his whole creation of mankind, and of free power to turn his beneficent and fatherly regard to what region or kingdom he pleases, hath yet ever had this island under the special indulgent eye of his providence, and pity
ing us the first of all other nations, after he had decreed to purify and renew his Church that lay wallowing in idolatrous pollutions, sent first to us a healing messenger to touch softly our sores, and carry a gentle hand over our wounds: he knocked once and twice, and came again opening our drowsy eyelids leisurely by that glimmering light which Wickliff and his followers dispersed; and still taking off by degrees the inveterate scales from our nigh perished sight, purged also our deaf ears, and prepared them to attend his second warning trumpet in our grandsire's days. How else could they have been able to have received the sudden assault of his reforming Spirit, warring against human principles, and carnal sense, the pride of flesh, that still cried up antiquity, custom, canons, councils, and laws; and cried down the truth for novelty, schism, profaneness, and sacrilege? whenas we that have lived so long in abundant light, besides the sunny reflection of all the neighboring churches, have yet our hearts riveted with those old opinions, and so obstructed and benumbed with the same fleshy reasonings, which in our forefathers soon melted and gave way, against the morning beam of Reformation. If God had left undone this whole work, so contrary to flesh and blood, till these times, how should we have yielded to his heavenly call, had we been taken, as they were, in the starkness of our ignorance; that yet, after all
these spiritual preparatives and purgations, have our earthly apprehensions so clammed and furred with the old leaven? O if we freeze at noon after their early thaw, let us fear lest the sun forever hide himself, and turn his orient steps from our ingrateful horizon, justly condemned to be eternally benighted. Which dreadful judgment, O Thou the ever-begotten Light and perfect Image of the Father! intercede, may never come upon us, as we trust thou hast; for thou hast opened our difficult and sad times, and given us an unexpected breathing after our long oppressions: thou hast done justice upon those that tyrannized over us, while some men wavered and admired a vain shadow of wisdom in a tongue nothing slow to utter guile, though thou hast taught us to admire only that which is good, and to count that only praiseworthy, which is grounded upon thy divine precepts. Thou hast discovered the plots, and frustrated the hopes, of all the wicked in the land, and put to shame the persecutors of thy Church: thou hast made our false prophets to be found a lie in the sight of all the people, and chased them with sudden confusion and amazement before the redoubled brightness of thy descending cloud, that now covers thy tabernacle. Who is there that cannot trace thee now in thy beamy walk through the midst of thy sanctuary, amidst those golden candlesticks, which have long suffered a dimness amongst us through the violence of those that had