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when men talk to me here of charity, I shall always suspect hypocrisy; and that they only wish to blind my eyes with a false glare, which after all cometh not from the Gospel. I am not ashamed to make a scourge of small cords, to drive the buyers and sellers out of the temple; for an example has been set me to do that very thing, and every Christian has not only a right to do so, but it is expected of him that he should. Neither am I ashamed to follow the example of Grosseteste, Lord Cobham, Reynold Pecock, Bishop of Chichester, Wickcliffe, William Sautre, Bilney, John Bradford, and Bishop Latimer; the greater part of whom testified the sincerity of their opinions by a glorious and painful death. Many hundred persons have been burnt alive in this country, for daring to resist the abuses of the Church ; and many hundreds more would be burned in these days, if Providence had not shielded us against sacerdotal tyranny with the printing press. For great is that mistake, which leads men to suppose that the Clergy of our púre and reformed “faith' are incapable of such violence. The Priest is always the same when you give him wealth and fortify his arm with power; to talk of his religious opinions is mere ignorance, for the purer the faith of a secular Priest, so much the more sanguinary is his practise. The Priests of the Jews had the Law of God from Mount Sinai, the Priests of Rome had the Gospel, and the Priests of Canterbury have the Gospel, but where has been the mildness and charity' of these men? The Discourse that follows this Preface will answer the question satisfactorily.
If, however, every man had reposed with his hands before him, sighing in secret, and never opening his mouth against the corrupters of religion, where would have been our Reformation ?where would have been Luther?—who would ever have heard his name, and what tongue would now be blessing his memory?--if this pseudo-charity was to have silenced men, and kept them dumb in their hiding places, who would ever have heard of the Prophets or the Apostles ? All revival of religion is of necessity an attack on existing abuses, and no one can urge the Gospel, and tell men that they are ignorant of it, without offending and hurting the Clergy of the day. But not only must the Gospel be preached, but those who
have turned the house of prayer into a den of thieves must be driven out; and they that move not their hands in this pious labor, become partners with the thieves, and whoso is partner with a thief, hateth his own soul. Prov. xxix. 24.
Let, therefore, charity rule all our thoughts and words and actions in private life, but when we are in the battle with the enemies of Christ, let us drive out, and disperse, and throw down, and scatter abroad; let us blow the trumpet throughout all the coast, and call all the servants of the Lord to take shield and spear, and let us set a mark on the children of Ephraim, who being armed and carrying bows, turn back in the day of battle.
In the Letter which I addressed to the Archbishop, my weapons were carnal, for I determined to view the subject in two aspects—the secular vileness, and the spiritual whoredoms of the Babylonish heresy. The first division has been treated in the Letter, the second has been reserved for this Discourse; and though sarcasm has been suppressed, I trust that energy has not been laid aside; for as long as the truth is told, I cannot conceive it possible to speak too strongly against these crying grievances of Anti-Christ.
One word to those pious persons whose timidity, and, I must add, want of faith, has led them to expostulate with me on the harm that may come to religion, if the Church of England is abolished.
The error of this notion is to be traced partly to a confusion of terms. A Church and the Church are not synonomous. A Church, called the Church of England, may be, and certainly will be, ere long, reduced to the condition of a sect; but this will not touch the Church of Christ : no pamphlets, no books, no writings, no, not all the scribes and philosophers of the world, can injure that Church, because the gates of hell shall never prevail against it, and because one pilots the ship who can silence even the winds and waves. But Churches made by men, and fortified with gold and silver and secular strength and carnal helps, may tumble down any day; they are always in danger; and when their ruin comes, nothing will remain
but what was spiritual, all the rest will crumble into dust, and the hirelings will flee, because they are hirelings.
Let every pious Christian, then, who is bewitched with a love of "Church, inquire diligently what Church it is that he loveth? If he is in love with Christ's Church, nothing can injure the object of his affections; for the true spiritual eternal Church is the whole company of the faithful, who form Christ's mystical body, a body not made of stones and timber and gothic arches, but built on the A postles and Prophets, of which Jesus Christ himself is the chief corner stone.
Against this building the people furiously rage together, and the heathen imagine a vain thing, for the ark may shake, but it cannot fall: the ship of the Church may be tossed but it cannot sink, for Christ is in it, and will wake time enough to prevent its wreck: there is, therefore, no cause for us, when the storm beats hard upon it, to disturb him, as once the disciples did, with outcries of unbelief as if all were lost. Our faith is more in danger of sinking at such a time, than the cause of Christ and his Church.*
THE TOMBS OF THE PROPHETS.
MATTHEW, xxiii. 29–33.
•Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites;
because ye build the tombs of the Prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, and say if we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the Prophets : wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the Prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of
your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell ?'
Man, being shapen in iniquity and conceived in sin, is always the same evil creature in all times and in all countries, and he always shews the same propensity to wickedness, in spite of all the laws and wisdom of man to prevent it. His evil nature is constantly exhibited in these two reigning vices-superstition and cruelty ; but so ignorant are law-givers of the plague of man's heart, that in endeavouring to prevent crime, they always pull down with one hand what they build up with the other : for it has been a constant maxim ever since the art of government was invented, that nothing tended so much to increase virtue and discourage vice as the setting up a Church Establishment. Now all Church Establishinents connected with the State are machines of despotism and superstition ; and if history be well considered, it will be found that very many of the wars which desolated the world before the time of Constantine the Great, were caused either directly or indirectly by State-Priests—whilst since that time nine-tenths of the battles fought on the earth have owed their origin to Established Churches. Hence a question may arise whether Soldiers or Priests bave done most mischief to mankind; but the palm of mischief must surely be given to Priests, because they are the nurses and patrons of war; they invent pretexts for battles, but soldiers fight them.
Christ, our Lord and Saviour, came to rid the world of all mischief, but the greatest of all possible evils, a Church connected with the State, his blessed Gospel is especially meant to destroy, and it will destroy it ere long, never to rise again; for it is written in his word that Babylon must fall, the mother
of harlots and the abominations of the earth.' Now who or what is Babylon ? and who or what is Anti-Christ? It is simply religion endowed and enforced by the State, that hateful union, worse than all heresies ever devised by the heart of man, against which the whole of the New Testament, from the first chapter of St. Matthew to the end of the last verse of the book of Revelations, thunders with an awful voice, though the hearts of many are hardened, like the heart of Pharoah, so that they will not hear nor heed the warnings of the Almighty.
We, who are now living in this country, and who are sitting in the midst of a blaze of what is called intellectual light, imagine that we are very pure Protestants, and perfect samples of what genuine Christians ought to be; we are constantly praising one another for the free course given to our pure and reformed faith,' and we bless God and ourselves (though we bless ourselves much the most) for the liberality of our excellent religion. But all this time we forget that we are riding on the beast of abominations in a pillion with the GREAT WHORE, round whose waist our arms are entwined in most amicable gallantry, fighting her battles like her true knights, and worshipping her majesty as her most loyal subjects. The imperial harlot has a golden cup sin her hand !' (Rev. xvii. 4.) that cup, which the Scriptures declare is filled with her fornications, is always brim-full of intoxication for her lovers; it is the cup of riches and worldly power, from which the Clergy of the Church of England drink more thirstily than any other Priests under the broad sun: they are drunken with her delicious draught, and though the Established Churches of England and of Ireland are reeling with her delirious liquor, yet, like the two daughters of the horse-leech, they still cry-Give, give.' (Prov. xxx. 15.)
The effect of the Babylonian vintage is like that of all other old wines, when swallowed largely. The intellect is clouded, the sight dimmed, the hearing obscure, the gait reeling and uncertain, the language slobbering and idiotic, the memory confused, and the appetite beastly. Thus the Church of England, which has drunk profusely of the delirious liquor contained in the golden cup, is also utterly given up to spiritual blindness; she has the Scriptures in her hand, but she sings them topsy-turvy, she has the name of Christ on her frontlet, but it is written backwards way, and the iron cross, which was given to her in her maiden days to carry with pain on her shoulders,