Page:Behemoth 1889.djvu/46

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endeavoured to keep themselves from uncleanness only, or at least from the scandal of it. And, whereas they did, both in their sermons and writings, maintain and inculcate, that the very first motions of the mind, that is to say, the delight men and women took in the sight of one another’s form, though they checked the proceeding thereof so that it never grew up to be a design, was nevertheless a sin, they brought young men into desperation and to think themselves damned, because they could not (which no man can, and is contrary to the constitution of nature) behold a delightful object without delight. And by this means they became confessors to such as were thus troubled in conscience, and were obeyed by them as their spiritual doctors in all cases of conscience.

B. Yet divers of them did preach frequently against oppression.

A. It is true, I had forgot that; but it was before such as were free enough from it; I mean the common people, who would easily believe themselves oppressed, but never oppressors. And therefore you may reckon this among their artifices, to make the people believe they were oppressed by the King, or perhaps by the bishops, or both; and incline the meaner sort to their party afterwards, when there should be occasion. But this was but sparingly done in the time of Queen Elizabeth, whose fear and jealousy they were afraid of. Nor had they as yet any great power in the Parliament-house, whereby to call in question her prerogative by petitions of right and other devices, as they did afterwards, when democratical gentlemen had received them into their counsels for the design of changing the government from monarchical to popular, which they called liberty.

B. Who would think that such horrible designs as these could so easily and so long remain covered with the cloak of godliness? For that they were most impious hypocrites, is manifest enough by the war their proceedings ended in, and by the impious acts in that war committed. But when