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SMALL AND SIMPLE REASONS,
IN WALTHAM FOREST,
IN A LECTURE,
THIRTY-THIRD OF MARCH LAST.
BY AMINADAB BLOWER,
A DEVOUT BELLOWS-MENDER OF PIMLICO.
Shewing the Causes in general and particular, wherefore they do, might, would, should or ought, except against and quite refuse the Liturgy or Book of Common-Prayer.
Printed, Anno Millimo, Quillimo, Trillimo. Quarto, containing eight pages.
MY dear beloved and zealous brethren and sisters here assembled in this holy congregation, I am to unfold, unravel, untwist, untye, unloose, and undo, to your uncapable understandings, some small reasons, the matter, the causes, the motives, the grounds, the principles, the maxims, the why's and the wherefores, wherefore and why, we reject, omit, abandon, contemn, despise, and are and ought to be withstanders and opposers of the service-book, called by the hard name of Liturgy, or Common-Prayer, which hath continued in the church of England eighty-four years.
I have exactly examined and collected some notes and observations out of the learned Hebrew translated volumes of Rabbi Ananias, Rabbi Ahitophel, Rabbi Iscariot, Rabbi Simon Magus, Rabbi Demas, and Rabbi Alexander the coppersmith, and all nor any of their writings doth in any place so much as mention that book, or any such kind of service to be used at all by them. I have farther taken pains in looking over some Chaldean, Persian, Egyptian, Arabian, and Arminian authors, of which I understood not one word; I also (with the like diligence and understanding have viewed the Turkish Alchoran, and there I found not a syllable concerning either liturgy, commonprayei, or divine service. As for Greek Authors, I must confess I understand them not, or negatively, for which reason I leave them as impertinent; and, touching the Latin writers, they are partial in thi* case, the tongue being Romanian, and the idiom is Babylonish, which teems to me an intricate confusion.
I, bavingcarcfully viewed the tomes and tenets of religion, and books of all manner of hieroglyphicks, writings, scrolls, tallies, scores and characters, and finding nothing for the maintaining of that book or liturgy, I looked into the ecclesiastical history, written by one Eusebius, and another fellow they call Socrates, wherein I found many arguments and incitements to move men to such doctrine as is comprised and compiled in the liturgy. After that I searched into the acts and monuments of this kingdom, writen by old Fox, and there I found that the composers of it were bishops and doctors, and great learned schoolmen of unfeigned integrity, of impregnable constancy, who, with invincible faith, suffered most glorious martyrdom by the papal tyranny, for the writing and maintaining that book, with the true protestant religion contained in it.
Brethren, I must confess, that I was somewhat puzzled in my mind at these things, and I could not be satisfied, till I had consulted with »ome of our devout brothers. Our brother How, the cobler, was the first I broke my mind to, and we advised to call or summon a synod to be held in my Lord Brook's stable, the Reverend Spencer, the stable groom, being the metropolitan there. At our meeting there was Greene the felt-maker, Barcboncs the leather-seller, Squire the taylor, with Hoarc a weaver, and Davison a bonelace-maker of Messenden, and Paul Hickeson of Wickham taylor, with some four or five bakers dozens of weavers, millers, tinkers, botchers, broom-men, porters, of all trades, many of them bringing notes with them fitting for our purpose; which notes they had taken carefully from the instructions of the demi-martyrs and round and sound confessors, St. B. St. P. and St. B. out of which, with our own capacities and ingenuities to boot, we have collected and gathered these sound and infallible objection* against the book of common-prayer, or liturgy, as followeth.
For our own parts, my brethren, it is for the reputation and honour of our holy cause and calling to contest, malign, and cavil, where we are not able either to convince by reasons or arguments; therefore I having traced the book from end to end, and yet, upon the matter, to no end for such ends as we would conclude upon, I find nothing in it disagreeing to God's word or agreeing with our doctrine. The first prayer, called the Confession, is quite contrary to our appetites, and profession, for to confess, that 'we have erred and strayed like lost sheep,' is to acknowledge ourselves to be silly horned beasts and cuckolds; our children, by that reckoning, should be lambs, our wives ewes, and we, their innocent husbands, must be rams; and every lay preacher or preaching tradesman would be accounted a bell-wether to the flock or herd.
Neither do we think it fit to make ourselves appear so weak-witted or pusillanimous as to confess, that' We have left undone those things which we ought to have done, and done those things which we ought not to have done ;' for such a confession will lay open our disloyalty, our intrusion, or transgressions, rebellions, and treasons; wc shall therein acknowledge ourselves, by omitting of duties, and committing of villainies in church and state, to deserve justly the severity of God, and the King's laws to be our deserved wages: besides, we hold it to be a retractive diminishing of valour, a popish kind of cowardly effeminate submission, which our stout hearts, stiff necks, and stubborn knees will never stoop and bow to, for the old proverb is, Confess and be, &c.
Concerning the second prayer, called the Absolution, for the remission of sins through Christ; though Christ hattygiven power and commandment to his lawful ministers, to declare and pronounce in his name, to all true repenting sinners, the absolution and remission of their sins, yet wc will not believe it to be available, but esteem it as popish and superstitious.
As for the Lord's Prayer, which the Papists call by the Romish or Latin name of Pater Noster, we must confess it is pithy and short; but, had our advices been at the making of it, it should have been two yards and a half longer, by London measure. Besides, we would like it better, if it were not commanded or enjoined upon us, for our faiths cannot brook to be limited with the compass of any command, decree, edict, law, statute, order, rule, ordinance, government, or authority either of God or the King; besides, in that prayer there is mention made of ' forgiving such as trespass against us,' which our doctrine or natures cannot incline to, for we do never remember a good turn, and very seldom or never forget or forgive an injury. Therefore, for these considerable causes, and many more, we think it requisite to forbear that brief prayer, and zealously to advance the altitude of our spacious ears, to receive the longitude of a three hours repetition, for our fructifying edification.
Thirdly, for the desiring the 'Lord to open our lips, that our mouth might shew forth his praise:' It is known we can do that extempore, by the spirit, and it belongs to our teacher to open his lips and pray; but it is our parts to give spiritual attention, and not to open our lips, but only at the singing of old Robert Wisdom's madrigal, or the like. And, whereas we arc commanded to stand at the saying of Gloria Patri, to avoid that ceremony we hold it best not to say it at all.
As for the xcvth Psalm, (or, O come let us sing, &c.) we object against it for two reasons: The one is of falling down, and worshipping, and kneeling: And the other is, we will neither kneel, fall down, or worship, because it is an expression of humility and reverence, which wc utterly refuse to give either to God or man. As for the order of reading the first lesson, we could like it better, if it were not so ordered; it were necessary we had freedom to read what, when, and where we list, for order is odious; and, whereas there is appointed a hymn, culled by a Latin name, Te Deum laudamus, wc do conceive the matter of it to be very good, but that it was composed by a bishop, one Ambrose, of a city and province in Italy called Milan, and that the said Ambrose was not only a bishop, but, for his godly life and holy writings, he was made a saint; for these causes we leave him and his hymn too, as being too much conformable to edification, decency, order, and obedience.
Likewise the second lesson may be read, but not that which is appointed for the day; for, as is aforesaid, we cannot abide any thing that is appointed or ordered by authority, that, our consciences being at liberty, we may the more freely shew ourselves the lawless sons and daughters of confusion.
And, though it hath been a custom very significant, and as ancient as the primitive times of Christian religion, to repeat the articles of the belief standing, our understanding, notwithstanding, doth withstand that kind of posture, for no other reason, but because the church ordained it, and the law commands it; and truly we do know no sense or reason to stand to any saying of faith, for it is one of our principles, ' that, whatsoever we say, we will stand to nothing.'
Next followeth the Lord's Prayer again (as the protestants call it) and a prayer composed of versicles, wherein the minister and people do (as it were by questions and answers) desire 'God's mercy, and the granting of salvation,' after which they pray, ' O Lord save the King,* which is, by us, wonderfully disliked and omitted; and, when we arc to render the cause of it, we shall not want insufficient answers, which we have studiously pondered in the learned colleges of Amsterdam and New-England. Then there followeth, * Give peace in our time, O Lord,' which we utterly detest; for, if once that prayer be granted, many of us (except the King be more merciful than we deserve) shall be hanged for rebellion and treason, and glad wc escape so too; the best, wc can look for is the advancing again the protestant religion, and then down go wc, with all all our spiritual inspirations, and longwinded repetitions; we shall be silenced (which is a terrible torture) or banished from our zealous sisters; our collections and contributions will be abrogated and annihilated, our puddings and plum-broth will be in the forlorn-hope, and ourselves excluded, extirpated, exiled, excommunicated, as extraordinary, extravagant, unexampled rascals and coxcombs; for these considerations of martial validity, weight, and deep consequence (altogether repugnant and malignant to the holy profession of Brownism and Anabaptism) we will neither have peace (although we dare not fight in war) no peace I will pray for; therefore, good brethren, I pray you no prayer for peace.
And for saying, 'God make our hearts clean within us, and take not thy Holy Spirit from us;' these words are impertinent for us to speak, for we know our hearts to be clear and pure already; and, for the Spirit, it is tied so fast to us, that it cannot be taken from us, or from any that will believe us.
In the Evening Prayer, there is one collect for peace, and another for the enlightening of our darkness; we have already declared our minds, though all the world knows us to be hypocrites; yet we do know, that a godly loyal peace will confound us, therefore we will not hypocritically pray for that which we desire not to have: And for our darkness, though it be palpable to be felt (like the darkness of /Egypt, yea, more dark than ignorance itself) yet we have, by instigation, found light in abundance: Our weights are light, our mothers, wives, sisters, aunts, nieces, daughters, and female servants, are light; our invisible horns are light, our words, deeds, thoughts, consciences, payment of debt, and religion, is light (or of light account) ; our faith in God, and loyalty to the King, are most translucently light, apparently light, refulgently light, illustrately light, transparently light, internally light, externally light, infernally light, emblazoned, pcrspicuated, cognominated, propagated, and promulgated, to all the world to lie light (lighter than any thing that we call lightness), lighter than vapour, air, smoke, flame, dust, chaff, wind, feather, froth, cork, yeast, fog, puff, blast, a whore, vanity, yea more light than vanity itself.
As concerning Quicunque vult (or whosoever will be saved) it is an argument that he, that will be, may be, and he that will not, may chuse whether he will or no; which implies a free-will (avery popish conclusion), also that creed is concluded to be called Catholick, which word we like not.
Next followeth the litany, which is a hard word to us, and sounds in our spacious ears as it were Latin, or the beast's language; we confess there are some few sentences, that may be tolerated; but we ought to remember ourselves, and take heed that we avoid praying against fornication, sedition, conspiracy, false doctrines, heresy, hardness of heart, and contempt of God's word and commandment; for you know, brethren, that these arc daily and nightly contemplations, and recreations: Besides, it seems to be a swearing kind of invocation (as) 'By the incarnation, by the nativity and circumcision, baptism, fasting, temptation, agony, bloody sweat, cross, passion, death, burial, resurrection, aseension, and coming of the Holy Ghost,' (all which is most certainly true) but we ought to find out some other by-word, than the word by; for, though by them all true believers are saved, yet that is no warrant or argument we should swear by them.
Then there is praying, that the church may bo ruled and governed in the right way; which, if that be granted, what will become of us, that do know ourselves to be none of the true church? therefore that prayer belongs not to us.
Then follow beseechings for blessings to be upon the King, Quetn, and royal posterity, and that they may have victory over all their enemies; all the world knows, we are none of their friends, therefore these prayers are Apocrypha to us, neither will we he so simple to pray against ourselves; and the case is plain, that rebellion must be tamed, before the King can be victorious.
Then follows praying for bishops (whom we cannot abide, nor can we shew wherefore) and, amongst the rest, theie is a prayer ' for all women labouring with child,' in which prayer many a loose harlot may be comprehended; therefore it had been fitter to have prayed 'for all women labouring with child lawfully begotten,' for, verily, it is sinful to pray for cither root, stock, limb, bough, branch, sprig, leaf, fruit, or seed, of the wicked. 1 like well of the last verse, except one, of the same litany, wherein we pray, 'that the fruits of the earth may be given and preserved to our use,' but with this proviso, that we alone, and none but we, who labour in the holy cause, ' should enjoy them in due time,' or at any time.
Then there are prayers for mercy, for grace, for defence and victory