Page:Tetrachordon - Milton (1645).djvu/11

This page needs to be proofread.


THat which I knew to be the part of a good Magistrate, aiming at true liberty through the right information of religious and civil life, and that which I saw, and was partaker, of your Vows and solemne Cov'nants, Parlament of England, your actions also manifestly tending to exalt the truth, and to depresse the tyranny of error, and ill custome, with more constancy and prowesse then ever yet any, since that Parlament which put the first Scepter of this Kingdom into his hand whom God and extraordinary vertue made thir Monarch, were the causes that mov'd me, one else not placing much in the eminence of a dedication, to present your high notice with a Discourse, conscious to it self of nothing more then of diligence, and firm affection to the publick good. And that ye took it so as wise and impartial men, obtaining so great power and dignitie, are wont to accept, in matters both doubtfull and important, what they think offer'd them well meant, and from a rational ability, I had no lesse then to perswade me. And on that perswasion am return'd, as to a famous and free Port, my self also bound by more then a maritime Law, to expose as freely what fraughtage I conceave to bring of no trifles. For although it be generally known, how and by whom ye have been instigated to a hard censure of that former book entitl'd, The Doctrine, and Discipline of Divorce, an opinion held by some of the best among reformed Writers without scandal or confutement, though now thought new and dangerous by some of our severe Gnostics, whose little reading, and lesse meditating holds ever with hardest obstinacy that which it took up with easiest credulity, I do not find yet that ought, for the furious incitements which have been us'd, hath issu'd by your appointment, that might give the least interruption or disrepute either to the Author, or to the Book. Which he who will be better advis'd then to call your neglect, or connivence at a thing imagin'd so perilous, can attribute it to nothing more justly, then to the deep and quiet streame of your direct and calme deliberations; that gave not way either to the fervent rashnesse, or the immaterial gravity of those who ceas'd not to exasperate without cause. For which uprightnesse and incorrupt refusall of what ye were incens'd to, Lords and Commons, (though it were don to justice, not to me, and was a peculiar demonstration how farre your waies are different from the rash vulgar) besides those allegiances of oath and

A 2