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in words agreed in, is here with us. To
in our families; to instruct our children or servants in the necessary points of faith and duty; to exhort a drunkard, a swearer, a covetous person, or other ungodly ones to repent, and to give up themselves to a holy life; to take up any serious speech of death and judgment, and the life to come, and the necessary preparations thereto; these and such like are the odious marks of a zealot, a precisian, or puritan, with the ungodly rabble : so that serving the great and glorious God is with them become a matter of scorn; while serving the devil is taken for their glory, if they can but do it in the plausible less, disgraceful mode.
But because some of the chief accusers of the brethren would needs persuade men, that the ordinary usage of the forementioned nicknames hath been less impious and more justifiable, against a sort of people only whom they feign to be unfit for human society, I shall only appeal now to the godly bishops, and conformable ministers, that mention it.
Bishop G. Downame (who, though he had written so much for bishops, hath written as much to prove the Pope to be the Antichrist) in his sermon called Abraham's Trial, p. 72, saith : “And even in these times, the godly live among such a generation of men, as that if a man do but labour to keep a good conscience in any measure, though he meddle not with matters of state, or discipline, or ceremonies ; (as for example, if a minister diligently preach, or in his preaching seek to profit, rather than to please, &c.—Or if a private Christian makes conscience of swearing, sanctifying the sabbath, frequenting sermons, or abstaining from the common corruptions of the time) he shall straightway be condemned for a puritan, and consequently be less favoured, than either a carnal gospeller, or a close papist.” &c. Such were the times then.
Dr. Robert Abbot, public professor of divinity in Oxford, and after bishop of Salisbury, in a sermon on Easter-day, 1615, saith: “ That men, under pretence of truth, and preaching against the puritans, strike at the heart and root of faith and religion, now established among us : that this preaching against the puritans was but the practice of Parson's and Campian's counsel, when they came into England to seduce young students; and when many of them were afraid to lose their places if they should professedly be thus, the counsel they then gave them was, that they should speak freely against the puritans, and that should suffice,” &c. So he.
Of Archbishop Laud's tract of Doctrinal Puritanism, drawn up for, and presented to, the Duke of Buckingham, see Pryne, in his Tryal, p. 156. Divers bishops have affirmed the Jesuits were the masters of this nickname here in England, and the promoters of it,
But of the common sense of this word, and the use of it, I shall now call in no more witnesses but Mr. Robert Bolton, a man that frequently published his judgment for conformity to prelacy and ceremonies; in his Discourse of Happiness, p. 163, he thus speaketh:
“I am persuaded there was never poor persecuted word, şince malice against God first seized on the damned angels, and the graces of heaven dwelt in the heart of man, that passed the mouths of all sorts of unregenerate men, with more distastefulness and gnashing of teeth than the name of puritan doth at this day; which notwithstanding as it is now commonly meant (N. B.) and ordinarily proceeds from the spleen and spirit of profaneness, and good fellowship, as an honourable nickname, that I may so speak, of Christianity and grace. And yet for all this I dare șay, that there is none of them all, but when they shall come unto their beds of death, and are to grapple immediately with the painful terrors of the king of fears, and to stand or fall to the dreadful tribunal of the living God,then (except the Lord suffer them to fall into the fiery lake with senseless hearts and seared consciences) would give ten thousand worlds, were they all turned into gold, pleasures, and imperial crowns, to change their former courses of vanity, &c., into a life of holy preciseness, strictness, sincerity, and salvation.. Oh! when the heavens shall shrivel together like a scroll, and the whole frame of nature flame about their ears; when the great and mighty hills shall start out of their places like frighted men; and the fearful reprobate cry and call upon this mountain, and that rock, to fall upon him; when as no dromedary of Egypt, nor wings of the morning, shall be able to carry them out of the reath of thy revenging hand; no top of Carmel, no depth of sea, or bottom of hell, to hide them from the presence of him that sits upon the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; no rock, nor mountain, nor the great body of the whole earth, to cover them from the unresistable power thạt laid the foundations of them; no arm of Hesh, or armies of angels, to protect them from those infinite rivers of brimstone which shall be kept in everlasting flames by the anger of God, when their poor and woful souls shall infinitely desire, rather to return into the loathed darkness of not being, and to be hid for ever in the most abhorred state of annihilation, than ņow to become the everlasting objects of that unquenchable wrath, which they shall never be able to avoid or to abide, and to be chained up by the Omnipotent hand of God among the damned spirits, in a place of flames and perpetual darkness, where is torinent without end, and past imagination : I say, at that dreadful day (and that day will come) what do you think would they give for part in that purity which now they persecute ? and for the comforts of true-hearted holiness that now they hate and yet without which (as it will clearly appear, when matters are brought before that high and everlasting Judge) none shall ever see the Lord, or dwell in the joys of eternity. Nay, I verily think there are no desperate despisers of godliness, or formal opposites to grace, which do now hold holiness to be hypocrisy, sanctification singularity, practice of sincerity too much preciseness,--but when the pit of destruction hath once shut its mouth upon them, and they are sunk irrecoverably into that dungeon of fire, would be content, with all their hearts, to live a million of years as precisely as ever saint did upon earth—to redeem but one moment of that torment.” So p. 159. “The common conceit of these men is, that civil, honest men are in the state of grace, and that formal professors are very forward, and without exception, but true Christians indeed, are puritans, irregularists, exorbitants, transcendants to that ordinary pitch of formal piety, which in their carnal comprehensions they hold high enough for heaven: they either conceit them to be hypocrites, and so the only objects for the exercise of their ministerial severity, and the terrors of God; or else, though the Lord may at last pardon perhaps their singularities and excesses of zeal, yet, in the mean time, they dissweeten and vex the comforts and glory of this life, with much unnecessary strictness and abridgment,
“Now, of all others, such prophets as these are the only. men with the formal hypocrite; exactly fitted and suitable to his humour; for however they may sometimes declaim boisterously (N. B.) against gross and visible abominations, (and that is well) yet they are no searchers into, nor censurers of, the state of formality; and therefore do rather secretly encourage him to sit faster upon that sandy foundation, than help to draw him forward to more forwardness," &c.
See also his Description of a puritan, p. 132.
“Good fellow-meetings and ale-house revellings, are the drunkard's delight : but all the while he sits at it, he is perhaps in a bodily fear of the puritan constable.”
Many such passages tell you how the word puritan was commonly interpreted in Oxford, Northamptonshire, and whereever learned and holy Mr. Bolton was acquainted.
And having mentioned his testimony of the use of the word, I shall add somewhat of his discovery of this spirit of malignity and detraction that worketh in the anti-puritans. In his Discourse of Happiness, p. 190, he saith:
“ The reverence and respectful carriage to godly ministers, which may sometimes be found in the formal hypocrite, doth grow towards distaste and disaffection, when they press them by the powerful sense, and piercing application of some quickening scriptures, to a fervency in spirit, purity of heart, preciseness in their walking, supernatural singularity above ordinary and moral perfections, excellency of zeal, and a sacred violence in pursuit of the crown of life : to an holy strictness, extraordinary striving to enter in at the strait gate, and transcendant eminency over the formal righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, to a nearer familiarity with God by prayer, daily examination of conscience, private humiliations, meditation upon the endless duration in a second life; to a narrow watch over the stirrings and imaginations of the heart, and expression of holiness in all the passages of both their callings, &c. Points and ponderations of which nature are ordinarily to him as so many secret seeds of indignation, and many times breed in his formal heart, cold affections, exasperation, and estrangement, if not meditation of persecution and revenge. Sanctification, preciseness, purity, holiness, zeal, strictness, power of godliness, spiritual men, holy brethren, saints in Christ, communion of Christians, godly conferences, conceived prayers, sanctifying the sabbath, family exercises, exercise of fasting, and mortifying humiliations, and such like; are commonly to men of this temporising temper, and luke-warm constitution, terms of secret terror, and open taunting.-And sometimes they villanously sport themselves with them, and make them the matter of their hateful and accursed jests, that so they may keep under as much as they can, in disestimation and contempt, the faithful professors and practisers thereof, whom
naturally they heartily hate, and also seem thereby to bear out the heartless flourishes of their own formality with greater bravery. Hereupon it is, that if they take a child of God but tripping in the least infirmity, (against which too, perhaps, he strives and prays with many tears, &c.) slipping only in some unadvised precipitant passage of his negociations, &c.,- then they take on unmeasurably! they cry out, these are your men of the Spirit; these are the holy brethren; these are your precise fellows; these are they which make such show of purity and forwardness! you see now what they are, when matters come out, and their dealings are discovered, when it comes to the trial indeed, or to a matter of commodity, &c. Are they not proud ? are they not malicious? are they not hard-hearted and covetous as well as others, &c. When by the mercies of God (in their sense) they are neither so nor so; but such censures as these are very often the mere evaporations of pure malice, and the bitter ebullitions and overflowings of their gall,” &c.
And p. 164. “The ordinary conceit which unregenerate men entertain of these experimental ministers) is—that they are troublers of Israel, preachers of terror, transgressors of policy, unfit to prophesy at Court, or in the King's Chapel, pestilent fellows, seditioners, factionists, born only to disquiet the world, and vex men's consciences. In these days of ours especially, which are strangely profane, and desperately nought, in what man soever the power of grace, undaunted zeal, resolute sincerity, are more working, eminent, and remarkable, ordinarily the more and more implacable, outrageous, and inflamed opposites shall that man find, wheresoever he lives.”
And p. 10. “The formal hypocrite is moved to think his state good, and the way of his life to be right, from a prejudice which he conceives from the imputations which the world layeth upon the children of God; such as are pride, hypocrisy, singularity, melancholy, simplicity," &c.
Page 38. “His form of godliness in his conceit is the only true state of salvation : whatsoever is short of him is profaneness; whatsoever is above him is preciseness. But, when upon his death-bed, he awaketh."
And Direct. for Walk. p. 131. “ The more forward he is in the narrow way, the more furiously is he persecuted by the spite of tongues : the most resolute for God's glory, and in good causes, is ordinarily railed against, and reviled. The foul spirit