Page images

ground two considerations: the one, that this censure be restored to the true dignity and use thereof; which is, that it proceed not but in causes of great weight; and that it be decreed not by any deputy or substitute of the bishop, but by the bishop in person; and not by him alone, but by the bishop assisted.

which the bishop did ordain ministers but at four set times of the year; which were called "Quatuor tempora;" which are now called Emberweeks: it being thought fit to accompany so high an action with general fasting and prayer, and sermons, and all holy exercises; and the names likewise of those that were to be ordained, were published some days before their ordination; to The other consideration is, that in lieu thereof, the end exceptions might be taken, if just cause there be given to the ecclesiastical court some were. The third consideration is, that if the case ordinary process, with such force and coercion as of the Church of England be, that were a compu- appertaineth; that so the dignity of so high a tation taken of all the parochian churches, allow-sentence being retained, and the necessity of ing the union of such as were too small and mean process supplied, the church may be indeed adjacent, and again a computation to be taken of restored to the ancient vigour and splendour. To the persons who were worthy to be pastors; and, this purpose, joined with some other holy and upon the said account if it fall out that there are good purposes, was there a bill drawn in parliamany more churcnes than pastors, then of neces- ment, in the three-and-twentieth year of the reign sity recourse must be had to one of these reme- of the queen deceased; which was the gravest dies; either that pluralities must be allowed, parliament that I have known; and the bill reespecially if you can by permutation make the commended by the gravest counsellor of estate in benefices more compatible; or that there be parliament; though afterwards it was stayed by allowed preachers to have a more general charge, the queen's special commandment, the nature of to supply and serve by turn parishes unfurnished: those times considered. for that some churches should be provided of pastors able to teach, and others wholly destitute, seemeth to me to be against the communion of saints and Christians, and against the practice of the primitive church.



EXCOMMUNICATION is the greatest judgment upon earth; being that which is ratified in heaven; and being a precursory or prelusory judgment of the great judgment of Christ in the end of the world. And, therefore, for this to be used irreverently, and to be made an ordinary process, to lackey up and down for fees, how can it be without derogation to God's honour, and making the power of the keys contemptible? I know very well the defence thereof, which hath no great force; that it issueth forth not for the thing itself, but for the contumacy. I do not deny, but this judgment is, as I said before, of the nature of God's judgments; of the which it is a model. For as the judgment of God taketh hold of the least sin of the impenitent, and taketh no hold of the greatest sin of the convert or penitent; so excommunication may in case issue upon the smallest offence, and in case not issue upon the greatest: but is this contumacy such a contumacy as excommunication is now used for? For the contumacy must be such as the party, as far as the eye and wisdom of the church can discern, standeth in state of reprobation and damnation: as one that for that time seemneth given over to final impenitency. Upon this observation I


FOR non-residence, except it be in case of necessary absence, it seemeth an abuse drawn out of covetousness and sloth: for that men should live of the flock that they do not feed, or of the altar at which they do not serve, is a thing that can hardly receive just defence; and to exercise the office of a pastor, in matter of the word and doctrine, by deputies, is a thing not warranted, as hath been touched before. The questions upon this point do arise upon the cases of exception and excusation, which shall be thought reasonable and sufficient, and which not. For the case of chaplains, let me speak that with your majesty's pardon, and with reverence towards the other peers and grave persons, whose chaplains by statutes are privileged: I should think, that the attendance which chaplains give to your majesty's court, and in the houses and families of their lords, were a juster reason why they should have no benefice, than why they should be qualified to have two: for, as it standeth with Christian policy, that such attendance be in no wise neglected; because that good, which ensueth thereof to the church of God, may exceed, or countervail that which may follow of their labours in any, though never so large a congregation; so it were reasonable that their maintenance should honourably and liberally proceed thence, where their labours be employed. Neither are there wanting in the church dignities and preferments not joined with any exact cure of souls; by which, and by the



hope of which, such attendants in ordinary, who ought to be, as for the most part they are, of the best gifts and sort, may be farther encouraged and rewarded. And as for extraordinary attendants, they may very well retain the grace and Touching church maintenance, it is well to be countenance of their places and duties at times weighed what is "jure divino," and what "jure incident thereunto, without discontinuance or non- positivo," It is a constitution of the divine law, residence in their pastoral charges. Next, for the from which human laws cannot derogate, that case of intending studies in the universities, it those which feed the flock should live of the will more easily receive an answer; for studies flock that those that serve at the altar should do but serve and tend to the practice of those live at the altar; that those which dispense spistudies: and, therefore, for that which is most ritual things should reap temporal things; of principal and final to be left undone, for the which it is also an appendix, that the proportion attending of that which is subservient and sub- of this maintenance be not small or necessitous, ministrant, seemeth to be against proportion of but plentiful and liberal. So, then, that all the reason. Neither do I see, but that they proceed places and offices of the church be provided of right well in all knowledge, which do couple such a dotation, that they may be maintained, acstudy with their practice; and do not first study cording to their several degrees, is a constitution altogether, and then practise altogether; and permanent and perpetual: but for particularity of therefore they may very well study at their bene- the endowment, whether it should consist of fices. Thirdly, for the case of extraordinary ser- tithes, or lands, or pensions, or mixed, might make vice of the church; as if some pastor be sent to a question of convenience, but no question of prea general council, or here to a convocation; and cise necessity. Again, that the case of the church likewise for the case of necessity, as in the par-"de facto" is such, that there is want in the ticular of infirmity of body, and the like, no man will contradict, but that there may be some substitution for such a time. But the general case of necessity is the case of pluralities; the want of pastors and insufficiency of livings considered, "posito," that a man doth faithfully and incessantly divide his labours between two cures; which kind of necessity I come now to speak of in the handling of pluralities.

church of patrimony, is confessed. For the principal places, namely, the bishops' livings, are, in some particulars, not sufficient; and therefore enforced to be supplied by toleration of Commendams, things of themselves unfit, and ever held of no good report. And as for the benefices and pastors' places, it is manifest that very many of them are very weak and penurious. On the other side, that there was a time when the church was rather burdened with superfluity, than with lack, that is likewise apparent; but it is long since; so as the fault was in others, the want redoundeth unto us. Again, that it were to be wished that impropriations were returned to the church as the most proper and natural endowments thereof, is a thing likewise wherein men's judgments will not much vary. Nevertheless, that it is an impossibility to proceed now, either to their resumption or redemption, is as plain on the other side. For men are stated in them by the highest assurance of the kingdom, which is, act of parliament; and the value of them amounteth much above ten subsidies; and the restitution must of necessity pass their hands, in whose hands they are now in possession or interest.

For pluralities, in case the number of able ministers were sufficient, and the value of benefices were sufficient, then pluralities were in no sort tolerable. But we must take heed, we desire not contraries. For to desire that every parish should be furnished with a sufficient preacher, and to desire that pluralities be forthwith taken away, is to desire things contrary; considering, "de facto," there are not sufficient preachers for every parish: whereunto add, likewise, that there is not sufficient living and maintenance in many parishes to maintain a preacher; and it maketh the impossibility yet much the greater. The remedies "in rerum natura," are but three; union, permutation, and supply. Union of such benefices as have the living too small, and the parish not too great, and are adjacent. Permutation, to make benefices But of these things, which are manifestly true, more compatible, though men be overruled to to infer and ground some conclusions. First, in some loss in changing a better for a nearer. Sup- mine own opinion and sense, I must confess, let ply, by stipendiary preachers, to be rewarded with me speak it with reverence, that all the parliasome liberal stipends, to supply, as they may, ments since 27 and 31 of Henry VIII., who gave such places which are unfurnished of sufficient away impropriations from the church, seem to me pastors: as Queen Elizabeth, amongst other her to stand in a sort obnoxious, and obliged to God gracious acts, did erect certain of them in Lan-in conscience to do somewhat for the church, to cashire; towards which pensions, I see no reason but reading ministers, if they have rich benefices, should be charged.

reduce the patrimony thereof to a competency. For since they have debarred Christ's wife of a great part of her dowry, it were reason they made

Thus have I in all humbleness and sincerity of heart, to the best of my understanding, given your majesty's tribute of my cares and cogitations in this holy business, so highly tending to God's glory, your majesty's honour, and the peace and welfare of your states: insomuch as I am persuaded that the Papists themselves should not need so much the severity of penal laws, if the sword of the Spirit were better edged, by strengthening the authority, and suppressing the abuses in the church.

her a competent jointure. Next, to say, that im- | before God. But of this point, touching churchpropriations should be only charged, that carrieth maintenance, I do not think fit to enter into farther neither possibility nor reason. Not possibility, particularity, but reserve the same to a fitter time. for the reasons touched before: not reason, because, if it be conceived, that if any other person be charged, it should he a recharge, or double charge, inasmuch as he payeth tithes already, that is a thing mistaken. For it must be remembered, that as the realm gave tithes to the church, so the realm since again hath given tithes away from the church unto the king, as they may give their eighth sheaf or ninth sheaf. And, therefore, the first gift being evacuated, it cannot go in defeasance or discharge of that perpetual bond, wherewith men are bound to maintain God's ministers. And so we see in example, that divers godly and well-disposed persons, not impropriators, are content to increase their preachers' livings; which, though in law it be but a benevolence, yet before God it is a conscience. Farther, that impropriation should not be somewhat more deeply charged than other revenues of like value, methinks, cannot well be denied, both in regard of the ancient claim of the church, and the intention of the first giver: and, again, because they have passed in valuation between man and man somewhat at the less rate, in regard of the said pretence or claim of the church in conscience

To conclude, renewing my most humble submission of all that I have said to your majesty's most high wisdom, and again, most humbly craving pardon for any errors committed in this writing; which the same weakness of judgment that suffered me to commit them, would not suffer me to discover them, I end with my devout and fervent prayer to God, that as he hath made your majesty the corner-stone, in joining your two kingdoms, so you may be also as a corner-stone to unite and knit together these differences in the church of God; to whose heavenly grace and never-erring direction, I commend your majesty's sacred person, and all your doings.







The pains that it pleased you to take about some of my writings, I cannot forget; which did put me in mind to dedicate to you this poor exercise of my sickness. Besides, it being my manner for dedications, to choose those that I hold most fit for the argument, I thought, that in respect of divinity and poesy met, whereof the one is the matter, the other the style of this little writing, I could not make better choice: so, with signification of my love and acknowledgment, I ever rest Your affectionate friend,

[blocks in formation]

* Of translating part of the Advancement of Learning into Latin.

Now, for the bitter sighing of the poor,

The Lord hath said, I will no more forbear The wicked's kingdom to invade and scour,

And set at large the men restrain'd in fear. And sure the word of God is pure and fine, And in the trial never loseth weight; Like noble gold, which, since it left the mine, Hath seven times pass'd through the fiery strait.

And now thou wilt not first thy word forsake,

Nor yet the righteous man that leans thereto; But wilt his safe protection undertake,

In spite of all their force and wiles can do. And time it is, O Lord, thou didst draw nigh; The wicked daily do enlarge their bands; And that which makes them follow ill a vie, Rule is betaken to unworthy hands.

The life of man is threescore years and ten,

Or, if that he be strong, perhaps fourscore; Yet all things are but labour to him then,

New sorrows still come on, pleasures no more. Why should there be such turmoil and such strife,

To spin in length this feeble line of life?

But who considers duly of thine ire?

Or doth the thoughts thereof wisely embrace? For thou, O God, art a consuming fire: Frail man, how can he stand before thy face? If thy displeasure thou dost not refrain, A moment brings all back to dust again.

Teach us, O Lord, to number well our days,
Thereby our hearts to wisdom to apply;
For that which guides man best in all his ways,
Is meditation of mortality.

This bubble light, this vapour of our breath,
Teach us to consecrate to hour of death.

THE TRANSLATION OF THE XCth PSALM. Return unto us, Lord, and balance now,

O LORD, thou art our home, to whom we fly,
And so hast always been, from age to age;
Before the hills did intercept the eye,

Or that the frame was up of earthly stage,
One God thou wert, and art, and still shalt be;
The line of time, it doth not measure thee.

Both death and life obey thy holy lore,

And visit in their turns, as they are sent; A thousand years with thee they are no more Than yesterday, which, ere it is, is spent:

Or as a watch by night, that course doth keep, And goes, and comes, unwares to them that sleep.

Thou carryest man away as with a tide :
Then down swim all his thoughts that mounted

Much like a mocking dream, that will not bide,
But flies before the sight of waking eye;
Or as the grass, that cannot term obtain,
To see the summer come about again.

At morning, fair it musters on the ground;
At even it is cut down, and laid along:
And though it spared were, and favour found,
The weather would perform the mower's wrong:
Thus hast thou hang'd our life on brittle pins,
To let us know it will not bear our sins.

Thou buryest not within oblivion's tomb

Our trespasses, but enterest them aright;
Ev'n those that are conceived in darkness' womb,
To thee appear as done at broad daylight.

As a tale told, which sometime men attend,
And sometimes not, our life steals to an end.

With days of joy, our days of misery; Help us right soon; our knees to thee we bow, Depending wholly on thy clemency;

Then shall thy servants, both with heart and voice,

All the days of their life in thee rejoice.

Begin thy work, O Lord, in this our age,

Show it unto thy servants that now live; But to our children raise it many a stage, That all the world to thee may glory give. Our handy work likewise, as fruitful tree Let it, O Lord, blessed, not blasted be.

FATHER and King of powers, both high and low,
Whose sounding fame all creatures serve to blow;
My soul shall with the rest strike up thy praise,
And carol of thy works and wondrous ways.
But who can blaze thy beauties, Lord, aright?
They turn the brittle beams of mortal sight.
Upon thy head thou wear'st a glorious crown,
All set with virtues polish'd with renown:
Thence round about a silver veil doth fall

Of crystal light, mother of colours all.
The compass heaven, smooth without grain, or

All set with spangs of glittering stars untold,
And striped with golden beams of power unpent,
Is raised up for a removing tent.
Vaulted and arched are his chamber beams
Upon the seas, the waters, and the streams:
The clouds as chariots swift do scour the sky;
The stormy winds upon their wings do fly.

« PreviousContinue »