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of darkness, and scorning the fiery rage of the old red dragon.”
He pronounces a high encomium upon “ Wickliffe's preaching, at which all the succeeding reformers more effectually lighted their tapers.” How nice is the distinction he draws when speaking of those who hinder the progress of the Reformation; he classes them “into three sorts :-). Antiquitarians (for so I had rather call them than Antiquarians, whose labours are useful and laudable); 2. Libertines; 3. Politicians;" here are descriptions of bishops ;-do our readers know such ? -are there any now so fearfully conformed to worldliness of life?
“So that in this manner the prelates, both then and ever since, coming from a mean and plebeian life on a sudden, to be lords of stately palaces, rich furniture, delicious fare, and princely attendance, though the plain and homespun verity of Christ's gospel is unfit any longer to hold their lordship's acquaintance, unless the poor threadbare matron were put into better clothes : her chaste and modest veil, surrounded with celestial beams, they overlaid with wanton tresses, and in a staring tire bespeckled her with all the gaudy allure
ents of a whore."
Here is the process for transforming a modern into a primitive bishop
“He that will mould a modern bishop into a primitive, but yield him to be elected by the popular voice, undiocesed, unrevenued, unlarded, and leave him nothing but brotherly equality, matchless temperance, frequent fasting, incessant prayer and preaching, continual watchings and labours in his ministry; which, what a rich booty it would be, what a plump endowment to the many-benefice-gaping mouth of a prelate, what a relish it would give to his canary-sucking and swan-eating palate, let old Bishop Mountain judge for me."
His definition of the Fathers, and summary of the value of Patristic Theology is admirable. “Whatsoever Time,” he says, “ or the needless hand of blind Chance, has drawn down to this present in her huge drag-net, whether fish or sea weed, shells or crabs, unpicked, unchosenthese are the Fathers.” And yet once more a passage of strong and biting irony, but not more severe than the times demanded ; if the reader shall think so, let him remember the torrents of blood shed by the bishops of those
“ Let us not be so over credulous, unless God hath blinded us, as to trust our dear souls into the hands of men that beg so devoutly for the pride and gluttony of their own backs and bellies, that sue and solicit so eagerly, not for the saving of souls, the consideration of which can have no place here at all, but for their bishoprics, deaneries, prebends, and canonries : how can these men not be corrupt, whose very cause is the bribe of their own pleading, whose mouths cannot open without the strong breath and loud stench of avarice, simony, and sacrilege, embezzling the treasury of the church, on painted and gilded walls of temples, wherein God hath testified to have no delight, warming their palace kitchens, and from hence their unctuous and epicurean paunches, with the alms of the blind, the lame, the impotent, the aged, the orphan, the widow? For with these the treasury of Christ ought to be, here must be his jewels disposed, his rich cabinet must be entered here, as the constant martyr, St. Lawrence, taught the Roman Prætors. Sir, would you know what the remonstrance of these men would have, what their petition implies? They intreat us that we would not be weary of those insupportable grievances that our shoulders have hitherto cracked under ; they beseech us that we would think them fit to be our justices of the peace, our lords, our highest officers of state, though they come furnished with no more experience than they learned between the cook and the manciple, or more profoundly at the college audit, or the regent-house, or, to come to their deepest insight, at their patron's table. They would request us to endure still the rustling of their silken cassocks, and that we would burst our midriffs, rather than laugh to see them under sail in all their lawn and sarcenet,--their shrouds and tackle,-with geometrical rhomboides upon their heads! They would bear us in hand that we must of duty still appear before them once a year in Jerusalem, like good circumcised males and females, to be taxed by the poll, to be sconced our head-money, our twopences, in their chandlery-shop book of Easter. They pray that it would please us to let them hale us, and worry us with their bandogs and pursuivants; and that it would please the parliament that they may yet have the whipping, fleecing, and flaying of us in their diabolical courts; to tear the flesh from our bones, and into our wide wounds, instead of balm, to pour in the oil of tartar, vitriol, and mercury. Surely a right-reasonable, innocent, and soft-hearted petition. O, the relenting bowels of the fathers ! Can this be granted them, unless God have smitten us with frenzy from above, and with a dazzling blindness at noon-day?”
But if Milton writes against bishops, it must not be supposed that he pleads for a lawless church; on the contrary, he contends : for discipline.
“He that hath read with judgment of nations and commonwealths, of cities and camps, of peace and war, sea and land, will readily agree that the flourishing and decaying of all civil societies, all the moments and turnings of human occasions, are moved to and fro upon the axle of discipline.' So that, whatever power or sway in mortal things weaker men have attributed to fortune, I durst, with some confidence, the honour of Divine Providence ever saved,) ascribe either to the vigour or the slackness of Discipline. Nor is there any sociable perfection in this life, civil or sacred, that can be above Discipline; but she is that which, with her musical chords, preserves and holds all the parts thereof together. And certainly Discipline is not only the removal of disorder, but, if any visible shape can be given to Divine things, the very visible shape and image of virtue, whereby she is not seen in the regular gestures and motions