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SLANDERS refuted.


have removed the seat of their thoughts more outward to the expectation of public events; or whether the examples of men, either noble or religious, who have sat down lately with a meek silence and sufferance under many libellous endorsements, may be a rule to others, I might well appease myself to put up any reproaches in such an honourable society of fellow-sufferers, using no other defence.

'And were it that slander would be content to make an end where it first fixes, and not seek to cast out the like infamy upon each thing that hath but any relation to the person traduced, I should have pleaded against this Confuter by no other advocates than those which I first commended, silence and sufferance, and speaking deeds against faltering words. But when I discerned his intent was not so much to smite at me, as through me to render odious the truth which I had written, and to stain with ignominy that evangelic doctrine which opposes the tradition of prelacy, I conceived myself to be now not as mine own person, but as a member incorporate into that truth whereof I was persuaded, and whereof I had declared openly to

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be a partaker. Whereupon I thought it my duty, if not to myself, yet to the religious cause I had in hand, not to leave on my garment the least spot or blemish in good name, so long as God should give me to say that which might wipe it off; lest those disgraces which I ought to suffer, if it so befall me, for my religion, through my default religion be made liable to suffer for me. . . And against such kind of deceivers openly and earnestly to protest, lest anyone should be inquisitive wherefore this or that man is forwarder than others, let him know that this office goes not by age or youth, but to whomsoever God shall give apparently the will, the spirit, and the utterance.' . . . (Here follow those long extracts which we have given at page 3 and 32, referring to his early education and especially vindicating his private character during his University career.)

'But he proceeds, and the familiar belike informs him, that "a rich widow, or a lecture, or both, would content me;" whereby I perceive him to be more ignorant in his art of divining than any gipsy, For this I cannot omit without ingratitude to that Providence above, Who hath ever bred me up in


plenty, although my life hath not been unexpensive in learning, and voyaging about; so long as it shall please Him to lend me what He hath hitherto thought good, which is enough to serve me in all honest and liberal occasions, and something over besides, I were unthankful to that highest bounty, if I should make myself so poor as to solicit readily any such kind of rich hopes as this fortune-teller dreams of. And that he may further learn how his astrology is wide all the houses of heaven in spelling marriages, I care not if I tell him thus much professedly, though it be the losing of my rich hopes, as he calls them, that I think with them who, both in prudence and elegance of spirit, would choose a virgin of mean fortunes, honestly bred, before the wealthiest widow. The fiend, therefore, that told our Chaldean the contrary, was a lying fiend.'

To the charge of being unread in the Councils,' he answers, 'Some years I had spent in the stories

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Milton's three wives were virgins. But since his 'marriagechoices,' with perhaps the exception of the second, were such as we can neither approve' nor 'praise,' his opinion on this subject will only go for what it is worth. The next year after writing this, he married Mary Powell, abandoning 'his rich hopes, his Maronilla.'

of those Greek and Roman exploits, wherein I found many things both nobly done, and worthily spoken when, coming in the method of time to that age wherein the Church had obtained a Christian emperor, I so prepared myself, as being now to read examples of wisdom and goodness among those who were foremost in the Church, not elsewhere to be paralleled; but to the amazement of what I expected I found it all quite contrary; excepting in some very few, nothing but ambition, corruption, contention, combustion; insomuch that I could not but love the historian, Socrates, who, in his poem to his fifth book, professes, "he was fain to intermix affairs of state, for that it would be else an extreme annoyance to hear, in a continued discourse, the endless brabbles and counterplottings of the bishops." I have not, therefore, I confess, read more of the councils, save here and there. I should have been sorry to have been such a prodigal of my time; but, that which is better, I can assure this Confuter, I have read into them all. And if I want anything yet I shall reply something toward that which in the defence of Murena was answered by Cicero to Sulpitius the lawyer. If

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ye provoke me (for at no hand will I undertake such a frivolous labour), I will in three months be an expert councilist. (Itaque, si mihi, homini vehementer occupato, stomachum moveritis, triduo me jurisconsultum esse profitebor, c. xiii. § 28.) For do but winnow their chaff from their wheat, ye shall see their great heap shrink and wax thin, past belief.

'But I that was erewhile the ignorant, the loiterer, on the sudden, by his permission, am now granted "to know something ;" and that "such a volley of expressions" he hath met withal, "as he would never desire to have them better clothed." For me, readers, although I cannot say that I am utterly untrained in those rules which best rhetoricians have given, or unacquainted with those examples which the prime authors of eloquence have written in any learned tongue; yet true eloquence I find to be none, but the serious and hearty love of truth; and that whose mind soever is fully possessed with a fervent desire to know good things, and with the dearest charity to infuse the knowledge of them into others, when such a man would speak, his words, like so many nimble and airy

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