Smectymnuus was a signature composed of the initials of

the names of five writers of a pamphlet against episcopacy, controverted by Bishop Hall and supported by

Milton. The lowing extracts are from the fourth and thirteenth

of thirteen sections.





F you require a further answer, it will not mis


nanimous or more devout than Scipio was; who, instead of other answer to the frivolous accusations of Petilius the tribune, “This day, Romans, (saith he,) I fought with Hannibal prosperously; let us all go and thank the gods that gave us so great a victory:" in like manner will we now say, not caring otherwise to answer this unprotestantlike objection : In this age, Britons, God hath reformed his church after many hundred years of popish corruption; in this age he hath freed us from the intolerable yoke of prelates and papal discipline ; in this age he hath renewed our protestation against all those yet remaining dregs of superstition. Let us all go, every true protested Briton, throughout the three kingdoms, and render thanks to God the Father of light and Fountain of heavenly grace, and to his Son Christ our Lord, leaving this Remonstrant and his adherents to their own designs ; and let us recount even here without delay the

patience and long-suffering that God hath used toward our blindness and hardness time after time. For he being equally near to his whole creation of mankind, and of free power to turn his beneficent and fatherly regard to what region or kingdom he pleases, hath yet ever had this island under the special indulgent eye of his providence; and pitying us the first of all other nations, after he had decreed to purify and renew his church that lay wallowing in idolatrous pollutions, sent first to us a healing messenger to touch softly our sores and carry a gentle hand over our wounds : he knocked once and twice, and came again opening our drowsy eyelids leisurely by that glimmering light which Wicklef and his followers dispersed ; and still taking off by degrees the inveterate scales from our nigh perished sight, purged also our deaf ears, and prepared them to attend his second warning trumpet in our grandsires' days. How else could they have been able to have received the sudden assault of his reforming Spirit, warring against human principles, and carnal sense, the pride of flesh, that still cried up antiquity, custom, canons, councils, and laws, and cried down the truth for novelty, schism, profaneness, and sacrilege? whenas we that have lived so long in abundant light, besides the sunny reflection of all the neighbouring churches, have yet our hearts rivetted with those old opinions, and so obstructed and benumbed with the same fleshly reasonings, which in our forefathers soon melted and gave way, against the morning beam of

reformation. If God had left undone this whole work, so contrary to flesh and blood, till these times, how should we have yielded to his heavenly call, had we been taken, as they were, in the starkness of our ignorance ; that yet, after all these spiritual preparatives and purgations, have our earthly apprehensions so clammed and furred with the old leaven? O if we freeze at noon after their early thaw, let us fear lest the sun for ever hide himself and turn his orient steps from our ingrateful horizon, justly condemned to be eternally benighted. Which dreadful judgment, O thou the ever-begotten Light and perfect Image of the Father ! intercede may never come upon us, as we trust thou hast ; for thou hast opened our difficult and sad times, and given us an unexpected breathing after our long oppressions : thou hast done justice upon those that tyrannized over us, while some men wavered and admired a vain shadow of wisdom in a tongue nothing slow to utter guile, though thou hast taught us to admire only that which is good, and to count that only praiseworthy which is grounded upon thy divine precepts. Thou hast discovered the plots, and frustrated the hopes, of all the wicked in the land, and put to shame the persecutors of thy church : thou hast made our false prophets to be found a lie in the sight of all the people, and chased them with sudden confusion and amazement before the redoubled brightness of thy descending cloud, that now covers thy tabernacle. Who is there that cannot trace thee now in


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