TO THE READER
Eale to promote the common good, whether it be by deuiſing any thing our ſelues, or reuiſing that which hath bene laboured by othersThe beſt things haue been calumniated, deſerueth certainly much reſpect and eſteeme, but yet findeth but cold intertainment in the world. It is welcommed with ſuſpicion in ſtead of loue, and with emulation in ſtead of thankes: and if there be any hole left for cauill to enter, (and cauill, if it doe not finde a hole, will make one) it is ſure to bee miſconſtrued, and in danger to be condemned. This will eaſily be granted by as many as know ſtory, or haue any experience. For, was there euer any thing proiected, that ſauoured any way of newneſſe or renewing, but the ſame endured many a ſtorme of gaine-ſaying, or oppoſition? A man would thinke that Ciuilitie, holeſome Lawes, learning and eloquence, Synods, and Church-maintenance, (that we ſpeake of no more things of this kinde) ſhould be as ſafe as a Sanctuary, and ǁἔξο βέλους. out of ſhot, as they ſay, that no man would lift vp the heele, no, nor dogge mooue his tongue againſt the motioners of them. For by the firſt, we are diſtinguiſhed from bruit-beaſts led with ſenſualitie: By the ſecond, we are bridled and reſtrained from outragious behauiour, and from doing of iniuries, whether by fraud or by violence: By the third, we are enabled to informe and reforme others, by the light and feeling that we haue attained vnto our ſelues: Briefly, by the fourth being brought together to a parle face to face, we ſooner compoſe our differences then by writings, which are endleſſe: And laſtly, that the Church be ſufficiently prouided for, is ſo agreeable to good reaſon and conſcience, that thoſe mothers are holden to be leſſe cruell, that kill their children aſſoone as they are borne, then thoſe nourſing fathers and mothers (whereſoeuer they be) that withdraw from them who hang vpon their breaſts (and vpon whoſe breaſts againe themſelues doe hang to receiue the Spirituall and ſincere milke of the word) liuelyhood and ſupport fit for their eſtates. Thus it is apparent, that theſe things which we ſpeake of, are of moſt neceſſary vſe, and therefore, that none, either without abſurditie can ſpeake againſt them, or without note of wickedneſſe can ſpurne againſt them.
Yet for all that, the learned know that certaine worthy menAnacharſis with others. haue bene brought to vntimely death for none other fault, but for ſeeking to reduce their Countrey-men to good order and diſcipline: and that in fome Common-wealesLocri. it was made a capitall crime, once to motion the making of a new Law for the abrogating of an old, though the ſame were moſt pernicious: And that certaine,Cato the elder. which would be counted pillars of the State, and paternes of Vertue and Prudence, could not be brought for a long time to giue way to good Letters and refined ſpeech, but bare themſelues as auerſe from them, as from rocks or boxes of poiſon: And fourthly, that hee was no babe, but a great clearke,Gregory the Diuine that gaue foorth (and in writing to remaine to poſteritie) in paſſion peraduenture, but yet he gaue foorth, that hee had not ſeene any profit to come by any Synode, or meeting of the Clergie, but rather the contrary: And laſtly, againſt Church-maintenance and allowance, in ſuch ſort, as the Embaſſadors and meſſengers of the great King of Kings ſhould be furniſhed, it is not vnknowen what a fiction or fable (ſo it is eſteemed, and for no better by the reporterNauclerus. himſelfe, though ſuperſtitious) was deuiſed; Namely, that at ſuch time as the profeſſours and teachers of Chriſtianitie in the Church of Rome, then a true Church, were liberally endowed, a voyce forſooth was heard from heauen, ſaying; Now is poiſon powred down into the Church, &c. Thus not only as oft as we ſpeake, as one ſaith, but alſo as oft as we do anything of note or conſequence, we ſubiect our ſelues to euery ones cenſure, and happy is he that leaſt toſſed vpon tongues; for vtterly to eſcape the ſnatch of them it is impoſſible. If any man conceit, that this is the lot and portion of the meaner ſort onely, and that Princes are priuiledged by their high eſtate, he is deceiued. As the ſword deuoureth aſwell one as the other, as it is in Samuel;2.Sam.11.25. nay as the great Commander charged his ſouldiers in a certaine battell, to ſtrike at no part of the enemie, but at the face; And as the King of Syria commanded his chiefe Captaines1.King.22.31. to fight neither with ſmall nor great, ſaue onely against the King of Iſrael: ſo it is too true, that Enuie ſtriketh moſt ſpitefully at the faireſt, and at the chiefeſt. Dauid was a worthy Prince, and no man to be compared to him for his firſt deedes, and yet for as worthy an acte as euer he did (euen for bringing backe the Arke of God in ſolemnitie) he was ſcorned and ſcoffed at by his owne wife.2.Sam.6.16. Solomon was greater then Dauid,