« PreviousContinue »
Fan. Yca, that is in the scholes.
Pen. If that exercise, wherof yow and I meane I am sure, be in your confession warantable in the scholes and colleges, it is much more in the church and congregation; for the Lord, in his word, hath set downe the rules how the church and assemblies of his saincts should haue the vse and exercise of his holy word, and not that it should be brought to humane scholes, whither it neuer came into the Lordes minde to command 'that euer it should enter. Let the artes, tongues, and other humane knowledge be taught in scholes, and let the holy truth and exercises of religion be derived from the church of Christ, which the apostle for this purpose caleth the piller and ground of truth.
Fan. Wel, then yow beare no office in this your church, yow wil not tel vs whither cuer yow taught amongst them or not, but yow would, yow say, if they required yow.
Fan. But how came it to passe that yow were not made an officer amongst them?
Pen. Surely I was desired to take a charge, and to continue with them; but I would not, because it hath bene my purpose alwayes to - imploy my smal talent in my poore countrie of Wales, wher I know that the poore people perish for want of knowledge; and this was the onely cause of my coming out of that country, wher I was, and might have stayed privately al my life, euen because I saw my self bound in conscience to labour for the caling of my poore kinred and countrymen, vnto the knowledge of their saluation in Christ, purposing indeed, before I had gone thither, to haue offred my self vnto her Maiestie, or some of their honours, that it might be made knowne vnto her highnes, what I hold in religion, and how cleere I am of those greevous crimes of sedition, and disturbing of her Maiesties peaceable gouernment, wherwith I am wrongfully charged.
Fen. Why, yow labour to draw her Maiestics subiectes from their obedience vnto her lawes, and from this church of England, to heare yow, and such as yow are, teaching in woods.
Pen. Nay, I perswade al men vnto the obedience of my prince, and her lawes; onely I disswade al the world froin yeelding obedience and submission vnto the ordinances of the kingdome of antichrist, and would perswade them to be subiect to Christ Jesus, and his blessed lawes; and I know this enterprise to be so far from being repugnant vnto her Maiesties lawes, as I assure my self, that the same is warranted therby. Her Majestie hath graunted, in establishing and confirming the great charter of England whervnto, as I take it, the Kinges and Queenes of this land are sworne', when they come to their crowne) that the church of God, under her, should haue al her rights and liberties invjolable for cuer. Let the benefite of this lawe be graunted vnto me, and others of my brethren, and it shal be found, that we haue done nothing, but what is warrantable by her lawes.
Fen. What, is it meet that subiects should charge their princes to keep couenant with them, and enter to scanne what vathes they haue taken for this purpose ? Where finde yow this warranted by scripture?
Pen. The subiects are in a most lamentable case, if they may not allege their princes lawes for their actions, yea, and shew what their
princes haue promised vnto the Lord, and to them, when the same may be for declaration of their innocencie; and it is the crowne and honour of princes, to be knowne not onely to hold, but euen to be in couenant with their subiects; that they will maintaine and preserue them from violence and wrong: nay, heathen princes haue thought themselues honoured, when their ineane subiects haue charged them uery earnestly with the couenants wherby they were bound vnto their people. The lawes of this land ar so ful this way, as no man, conuersant in them, can be ignorant, that our princes haue preferred the observing of those equal couenants, wherby they are tied unto their people, before the accomplishing of their owne priuate affections, yea, and commandements in some cases. Hence. it is, that the judges of this land are bound by lawe to administer iustice and equitie vnto the poore subiects, notwithstanding that the princes letters be directed to them to the contrary. And, as to the law of God, al kinges and princes are bound therby, to be so far from thinking themselues tied by no bands ynto their subiects, as they are plainly forbidden cuen to be lifted up in minde aboue their brethren (Deut. xvii. 20.) for so the word, in that place, calleth their subiects and servants. The kinges of ludah, who had the greatest privileges and prerogatiue, both ecclesiastical and ciuil, ouer their people, that euer any kinges or prince's can haue, because they were types and figures of that great king of kings, the Lord lesus; entred into couenant, notwithstanding, with their people, euen particulerly, besides the general former law, wherby they were bound vnto them. Yea, the prophet leremie, being in no lesse daunger and disgrace, with al estates, then I and my brethren are at tbis present, required his soueraigne Lord and King Zedekiah, to promise that he would doe him no violence and wrong, nor yet suffer others to doe the same, for telling him the truth of the word, in the thinges wberin the king required, to be resolued at his handes; the which thing Zedekiah yeilded ynto, and that by an oath and couenant of the Lord, Ier. xxxviii. 15, 16. wherby it appeareth, that it is not without great warrant of the word, that princes should enter couenant with their subiects, and that subiects should require promise and oath to be kept with them, otherwise, wherto serueth the couenant? But, alas, I enter not to scanne her Maiesties oath, I onely tel yow what her lawes alow me and my poore brethren. And I am assured, if her Maiestie knew the equiție and vprightnes of our cause, we should not receiue this hard measure which we now susteine, We, and our cause, are neuer brought before her but in the odious weeds of sedition, rebellion, schisme, heresie, &c. and, therefore, it is no mervaile to see the edge of her sword turned against vs.
Fan. Hath not her Maiestie, by her lawes, established these offices, and this order that is now in the Church of England ?
Pen. Her lawes haue, I graunt, of ouersight, as taking them for the right offices and order, which appertaine vnto the church of Christ; the which, because we euidently see that they are not, therefore flie we vnto her former promise and act, wherby she graunteth vs the inioying of al the privileges of the church of Christ. Fan, Why then goe ye about to pul downe bishopes?
Pen. Alas, far be it from vs, that euer we should intend any such actions; we onely put her Maiestie, and the state, in mind of the wrath of God that is likely to come vpon this land, for the vpholding of many Romish inuentions. We labor to save our owne sowles, and al those that wil be warned by vs, in auoiding al corruptions in religion, and practising the whole wil of our God, as neere as we can. Further then this we haue no caling to goe, and therefore dare not so much as once in thought conceiue of any thing that we should doe, in the altering or pulling downe of any thing established by her lawes.
Fan. Why then meet yow in woods, and such suspicious and secret places, if yow purpose no insurrection for the pulling downe of bishopes?
Pen. I haue told yow the reason before; our meetings are for the pure and true worship of God, and ther is not so much as a word or thought of bishopes in our assemblies, except it be in praying for them, that the Lord would shew mercy and favour vnto them, which we wish, as to our owne sowles. Our meetings are secret, as I told. yow,
because we cannot, without disturbance, haue them more open. Our earnest desire and prayer vnto our God and our gouernours, is, that we might have them open, and not be inforced to withdraw our selues from the sight of any creature. Of the Lordes pure worship in the congregation of his people, are we bound to be partakers, and that in woods, in mountaines, in caues, &c. as I told yow, rather then not at al.
Fan. Then yow are privy vnto no practise or intent of any sedition, or commotion, against her Maiestie and the state, for the pulling downe of bishops?
Pen. No, I thanke God, nor euer was ; and I protest before heauen and earth, that, if I were, I would disclose and withstand the same, to the rttermost of mine abilitie, in al persons, of what religion socuer they were.
Young. But what meant yow, Penry, when yow told me at my howse, That I should liue to see the day, wherin ther should not be a Lorde Bishope left in England ?
Pen. You doe me great iniury, Sir, but I am contente to beare it. This was it that I said vnto yow, namely, That I gainsaid nothing in this whole cause, but what I could proue, out of the word of God, to be the remnants of the Popish antichristian kingdome; which religion, I said, the Lord hath promised vtterlie to ouerthrow and consume; in so much as yow, said I, may line, though yow be already of great yeares (for my self, I may be cut of by vntimely death) to see al the offices, calings, works, and liuings, deriued from, or belonging, at any time, vnto the kingdome of Antichrist, vtterly ouerthrowne in this land; for the Lorde hath promised, that that man of sin, that body of the antichristian reli, gion, shal be so consumed by the breath of his mouth, and the brightnes of his appearing in the power of his gospel, before his second coming, (2 Thes. ii.) as that false synagogue shal haue no power in any of her officers or partes, either to be lifted vp ouer the truth and saincts of God, viz, ouer any thing that is caled holy, or yet to oppose her self, as a bloody adversarie vnto those truthes and servants of Christ, who refuse to be in spiritual bondage and slauery to her. This I shewed yow to bę verificd in the type, Babylon of the Chaldeans, according to the word of
the Lorde, spoken by Isaiah and Ieremiah, and the casting of the stone into Euphrates, by Sheraiah, at Ieremees commandement (Isa. xiii. 19, 20. Ier. I. 40. and li. 61, 64.) and this I shewed to be decreed by the Lorde of Hostes, against the true body, the antichristian Babel, vnder the New Testament, for so we are taught by the Spirit of God, that she shal be consumed and be no more; that her chapmen shal in this life bewaile, and the saincts of God reivice at her viter ouerthrow, and at the spoile and decay of her merchandise, Revelat. xviii. The comparing of the act done by Sheraiah against the type, and what followed thervpon, with that of the angel against the true Babylon, I declared most fully to confirine my speech; for Sheraiah, throwing the stone into Euphrates, said, “Thus shal Babel be drowned, and rise no more;' and so it came to passe', the angel, in the Reuelation, casting the great stone into the sea, saith, · With such violence shal the great city Babylon be cast, and shal be found no more; and so it wil be accomplished I am sure. This was my speech vnto yow, Mr. Young, and I beseech yow, yea and charge yow, as yow shal answer in that great day, not to misreport my speeches, but to relate them as they are vttered by me.
Young. I conceiued some great matter of your speech, I tell yow.
Pen. Yow did me the greater wrong therin: I pray yow hereafter to conceiue of my wordes, according to my meaning, and their natural signification.
Fan. Yow say, that these offices and livings derived, in your conceit, from the body of Antichrist, shal be ouerthrowne by the Lord; we would know how you meane that this wil be accomplished ?
Pen. I haue already shewed yow, that this worke shal be done by the appearing of lesus Christ, in the shining brightnes of his gospel, thro' the efficacie wherof, the Lord shal so lay them open, as he wil put into the hartes of princes and states, wherin they are now mainteined, to abolish their offices, calings, and works utterly from among men, and to imploy their livings unto the holy civil vses of the princes and states wherin they are. After this sort did the Lord consume the Popes primacie, office, and maintenance, which he had in this land; and after this manner did he consume by his gospel the cardinals, priors, abbots, moncks, friers, and nunnes, out of this land; and after this, or some other way seeming best to wisedome, shall he (I doubt not) consume the rest of that body of iniquitie, now remayning wheresoeuer. The worke, I am assured, sbal be accomplished, because the Lord hath said it in his written word: The maner how, or the time when, it shal be performed, I leave to Him who ruleth all thinges according to the counsel of his owne wil, and whose wayes and iudgements are past finding out. Fan. and Young. What yow
doe or purpose
to do in these your assemblies, we cannot tel; but this is sure, that the Papists seeme to be so in. couraged by this dealing of yours, that ther were neuer so many in this land since her Maiesties reigne, as are at this present; and they them: selues say, that your separating from vs is a great stombling-block unto them, wherby also they take occasion to doe the like.
Pen. What we doe in our meetings, and what our purposes are, I haue told you simply, as in the presence of the Lord; and we are ready, by the grace of God, to approue our actions and purposes to be in al good conscience both towards the Lord and our Prince, and toward al men: If the number of the idolatrous ignorant Papists be increased, it is no wonderful case, by reason of the smal teaching that the poore people of the land haue; and their increase is in the iust judgement of God, in that so many remnants of Popery arc left vnbanished in the land, but specialy because these baits are retained here, wherby the Pope is continualy drawen to send ouer his Iesuits and Seminaries, wherby also they are most easily and willingly induced to come and pervert her Maiesties subiects froin their obedience unto the Lord and his lievetenant, and to bestow their natiue Prince and countrie into the hands of aliants and strangers.
Fan. What are those baits that yow meane?
Pen. I meane, the former Popish offices and their livings, wherof I spake, as the offices and livings of archbishopes, lord bishopes, deanes, archdeacons, canons, preists, &c. the continuance wherof, and of the Popish corruptions belonging to them, keepeth the Pope, and his sworne subiects, in daily hope of replanting the throne of iniquitie againe in this land, wherof I trust in the Lord that they shal be vtterly disappointed. The traiterous Iesuits, and seminary preists, hoping to possesse these execrable livings and offices againe, are also therby allured readily to become most vnnatural traitors against their natural prince and countrie; and the Papists at home are by this meanes kept stil in remembrance of that Romish Egypt, and in continual expectation of their longdesired day; whereas if these offices and livings were once removed (the devised works and calings would fal with them) the Pope and his trafiquers would be vtterly void of all hope, to set vp the standerd of the man of sin againe in this noble kingdome, here being not so much as an office, or one penny of maintenance, left for any of his members: The Iesuits and preists would haue no allurements to make them rebelles against their Prince, and the other seduced Papists at home would casily forget their idolatrie, ther being here neither office, nor any other monument of that antichristian religion left, to put them in mind of that Babel; and so the Lord would accomplish that which the apostle saithe shal be fulfilled, euen the vtter consuming of the man of sin in this land, (2 Thes. ii.) And therfor the reteining of these offices and livings are not onely joyned with the great dishonour of God, and the offence of his saincts, but turned in the just iudgement of the Lord to be a snare of the peace of this noble kingdome, yea, and of the prosperiție and welfare of her Maiesties most royal person (whom the Lord blesse, body and sowle, from al dangers both at home and abroad) as it is wel knowne by other many Popish treacheries intended against her, I marvaile not that the Papists dislike our separation, and yow may be assured, that, if they knew what may bring us into danger or discredit us 'ith her Maiestic, with any of our superiors, the honorable and worshipful magistrats, under her llighnes, or any els of our countrymen, they wil be sure to vitor the same, though it were in their owne consciences neuer so vntrue. For they know, that, of al the men vnder hcauen, we are the greatest enemies vnto their religion; we leaue the same neither branch nor root, but would haue al the world to be as clear of that spiritual contagion, as it was the same day wherin the Lord Jesus went' up on