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Written in the Year 1663. By Samuel
Butler, Author of Hudibras.
***INCE nothing can be dearer unto poor
Christians than Liberty, or the free exercise of their Judgments and Confciences, the pursuit of
which Happiness hath kindled that fire in the Bowels of the Three Kingdoms, which all the precious Blood that hath been shed, during the late Troubles, hath not been able totally to extinguish : And since many of Us, whose Names are affixed, were
fo profitably instrumental in those late Combustions, as appears all along in our Sermons before the Honourable House of Parliament, in the Years 1642, 43, 44, 45, 46, in exciting the good People of this Nation, to seek and maintain their Christian Liberty, against all Prelatical and Antichristian Imposition whatfoever. And considering that the Little Finger of Apostacy from our first Love, would be a greater Burden upon our Tender Consciences, than the Löyns of Epifcopacy. We being more bound in Honour than Conscience, canlanot totally defift; neither need any Man fear, or so much as suspect, leit any Inconvenience or Alteration should happen in Religionz by the great diversity of Opinions, Tongues, and Languages, tolerated among us, unless in the great Babel of Episcopacy, that may possibly be pulled down and destroyect: by this our notable Confusion ; for, if the Gospel was wonderfully spread abroad by every Mans speaking in his own Language, and the very Enemies thereof aitonithed, and miraculously wrought into a Belief of it; how it is likely to be now obstructed in the free exercise of our Spiritual Gifts, with
these our cloven and divided Tongues. And since many worthy Persons, from whom we mnight little expect it, but far less deserve it, out of their Goodness and Clemency, are pleased to encline to fome Liberty, did not fome Perfons, Aliens and Strangers to the Comnonwealth of Israel, take up a Reproach against us, as Persons reprobated into an unpossibility of submission to Principles of Concord, Peace, and Order, in Church or State, never being able hitherto to come to any Consistency ainongst our felves; the Ark of God having for twenty Years together, been exposed to By-ways, Streets, and worse places, for want of an Agreement amongit our own Brethren where to rest it, or how to entertain it. If this be Our Case, and could we be sure of so much Favour as Saul once desired of Saniuel, that the Bishops would but bonour us before the People, we would in a private Christian way, lay our Hands upon our Hearts, and acknowledge the hand of God, and the Justice thereuf, in turning us out of his Vineyard, as wicked and unprofitable Sere vants, and to suffer the Iniquity of our Heels to overtake us; crying out with
Reverend Mr.Calaniy, The Ark of God is juftly departed from us ; but being not yot thus alsured, do hope the People will yet believe these to be only Bears-lkins lap'd about us by Episcopal Hands: And therefore, to the end that a Consistency, and Onenefs of Judgment of the whole separating Brethren, and their Moderation, may be known unto all Men, and that the World may know, that there is a Spirit of Rule and Government refting in us; IT is humblyproposed to the sole Power
of granting Licenses and Indulgences for Liberty of Conscience, within the Kingdom of England, Dominion of Wales, and Town of Berwick, may be vested in the Perfons under-named, for the Term of seven years, under the Farm Rent of an Hundred Thousand Pounds
per An. to commence from the twenty-fifth Day af March next, under fuch Rates and Qualifications as are hereafter Specified.
The Names of the Grand Commissioners
and Farmers of Liberty of Conscience; proposed on Monday March 2. 1662, being the Day of a private Fast, kept by Mr.Calamy, Mr. Baxter, and others, at Mr. Beal's Houte, near My Lord of Ely's Chappel, in Holbourn.
and Testament of James Nailor,
deceased. Dr. Lazarus Seaman. Mr. Dell, late of Cambridge. Dr. Owen. Mr. Bryan, late of Coventry. Mr. Matthew Mead. Mr. John Coppin. Dr. Manton. Mr. Kiffen. The Executor of Mr. Venner, lately
Executed.. Mr. Thomas Cafe.
Ir. Reynor, late of Lincoln.