that are withal such as love knowledge, and consequently take delight in finding out the meaning of the most hard texts, or in thinking they have found it, in case it be new and not found out by others. These are therefore they, that prætermitting the easy places which teach them their duty, fall to scanning only of the mysteries of religion. Such as are: how it may be made out with wit, That there be three that bear rule in heaven, and those three but one? How the Deity could be made flesh? How that flesh could be really present in many places at once? Where is the place, and what the torments, of hell? And other metaphysical doctrines: Whether the will of man be free, or governed by the will of God? Whether sanctity comes by inspiration or education? By whom Christ now speaks to us, whether by the King, or by the clergy, or by the Bible, to every man that reads it and interprets it to himself, or by private spirit to every private man? These and the like points are the study of the curious, and the cause of all our late mischief, and the cause that makes the plainer sort of men, whom the Scripture had taught belief in Christ, love towards God, obedience to the King, and sobriety of behaviour, forget it all, and place their religion in the disputable doctrines of these your wise men.
A. I do not think these men fit to interpret the Scripture to the rest, nor do I say that the rest ought to take their interpretation for the word of God. Whatsoever is necessary for them to know, is so easy, as not to need interpretation: whatsoever is more, does them no good. But in case any of those unnecessary doctrines shall be authorized by the laws of the King or other state, I say it is the duty of every subject not to speak against them: inasmuch as it is every man’s duty to obey him or them that have the sovereign power, and the wisdom of all such powers to punish such as shall publish or teach their private interpretations, when they are contrary to the law, and likely to incline men to sedition or disputing against the law.
B. They must punish then the most of those that have