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183 [1719]

shall be expedient for some, except with speady repentaunce they do waxe wise and amēd: the which that it may the better be brought to passe, suffer me a little by your licence, gentle reader to talke with these cruel bludsuckers, wherby they being admonished may repēt, or least if they will not, they may behold to their great shame and rebuke, whether they wil or no, their wicked cruelty and great slaughters laide before them, as it were vppon a stage. Surelye it was a worthy sayinge of a gester, whiche was but a prophane manne, that it was as vnsemely for a Prince to abounde in tiranny, as for a Phisition, to haue many corses. What shall we then saye vnto these reuerent Prelates of the churche: if they be Prynces, why do they bring in so great tormentes into the pore cottages of Christe? if they be Phisicians, how happeneth so great death amongst the shepe? But before I will take this quarrell in hand, I do once again admonishe the, gentle reader, of that which I must oftentimes repeat in this argument. Firste of all that you do not interpreat any thinge whych shall be here spoken, in suche manner, as thoughe I woulde maintaine anye improued doctrine: for as I doo not fauoure heritickes, which are heretickes in dede, euen so muche lesse do I not fauoure false Byshoppes. And againe as I do not geue licence vnto neither of these, neither to the one to vse his tiranny, or to the other to proceade in his erroures, so likewise doo I not goo aboute here to take away the power of þe ciuil sword, because it is not borne by the Magistrate in vaine. For they haue their lawes, their iudges and their punishmentes, necessary in a common welth wythout the which ther should be no society, neyther any discipline amongst menne. But this my complaint doth only touch them, the whiche professinge a perfectnesse of spirituall life aboue all the reast of the common sorte of the people, and oughte to be the maysters of all pitie and godlinesse, yet shall you scarslye find any mē more venemus in hatred, anger, malice, reuenginge, and all kinde of tirannye. Who was the first that broughte in amongst Christians, these recantations, faggottes and fire, and these lamentable funeralles by burninge of the liue bodies of menne, vnder the name of herctickes, who, but only this flocke of religious menne and the cleargye? Whose part it had bene rather to healpe those that had erred, and not to kil them: accordyng to þe example of their high master, which came not to destroy, but to saue al men. For it is neuer so certaine amongest mennes opinyons. But that oftentimes some erroure wyll entermedle it selfe: the firste puritie of the churche alwayes excepted. Neither doth euerye erroure by and by make a man an heriticke excepte ithaue ioyned therewyth an obstinate and frowarde will, neither do I knowe whether in thys poynte also the extremities are to be attempted or no: But the qualiti of the heresy is to be marked, and the rule of the Gospell is to be considered, what it dothe require, and what is conuenient for euery mannes profession, the profession of a seculer iudge is one, the conditiō of an Euangelical minister is an other. As S. Austine wryteth in Psal. Aliud est sella terrena aliud tribunal cæleste. &c.

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But our Pseudoeuangelicall papistes, neyther marking the qualitie of the one, nor the condition of the other, nor their owne profession, neither loking vpon one thing, nor vpon an other, without all respect or difference, like furious Donatistes, or homicides rather vnder the cloke of religion, of euery litle woorde spoken againste their pompe and ambitious preeminance, make a matter of heresye, wherby to murder and make hauocke of Christes people. What did the hart of Bonner, and of such of his affinitie, differ from the hart of the strongest pirate or homicide, murdering by the hie way? Yea, in so muche that the very Pirates them selues, (if it be true that is reported of Bonners receiuinge into prison) be ashamed of his comparison, and to be recounted of his society. And yet neither pity can stay him from cruel bloudshed, nor shame cā dryue him to repent such horrible tiranny. Wherin the case of these sicares and theues yet maye seme better, then of these catholicks. For they at the execution of Goddes iudgement, as they can not dissemble their trespasse, so are they soner touched with repentaunce: The other either with ignoraunce drowned, or choked with malice, as they haue spoiled the lyfe of many mo, than euer did any these: so much more be thei farther of repēting their iniquity þt they see not their iniquitie, but think it good seruice done to God, that they haue done to the deuel, who is a murderer from the beginning: and thinke them selues good pastoures, whan they deuoured the pore flocke, & played the wolues. So dāgeros a thing it is, to haue an ignorant zele, wher true knowledge wanteth. Of these did Christ premonish vs before, declaring the blind ignorance of such, who of their preposterous zeale shuld turn iniquitye and cruelty, to Gods seruice: and vnder the title of þe church shuld impugne the church, & of sincere veritie, shuld make herisy. But such as these neuer raigned more, or raged further, then in these latter daies of the church, as the monumēts of this history wil declare: as who hauing no regard of mannes life, make euery matter spoken, against their priuate cōmodity to be heresy, heresy. In times past it was not accoūted as an herisy, except if did cōtain blasphemy, & did bring in some great pearil to the

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