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THE

DISCOURSES

OF

John Selden, Esq j

aiifcepi, yitiatieg, &c.

i. ' I ""HE unwillingness of the Monks to part with I their Land, will sall out to be just nothing, "*- because they were yielded up to the King by a Supream Hand (viz.) a Parliament. If a King conquer another Country, the People are loth to loose their Lands, yet no Divine will deny, but the King may give them to whom he please. If a Parliament make a Law concerning Leather, or any other Commodity, you and I for Example are Parliament Men, perhaps in respect to our own private Interests, we are against it, yet the Major part conclude it, we are then involv'd and the Law is good.

2. When the Founder of Abbies laid a Curse upon those that should take away those Lands, I would sain know what Power they had to curse me; 'Tis not the Curses that come from the Poor, or from any body, that hurt me, because they come from them, but because I do something ill against them that deserves God should curse me for it. On the other side 'tis not a man's Blessing me that makes me blessed, he only declares me to be so, and if I do well I shall be blessed, whether any bless me or not.

3. At the time of Dissolution, they were tender in taking from the Abbots and Priors their Lands and their Houses, till they surrendred them (as most of

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them did) indeed the Prior of St. John's, Sir Richard We/Ion, being a stout Man, got into France, and stood out a whole year, at last submitted, and the King took in that Priory also, to which the Temple belonged, and many other Houses in England, they did not then cry no Abbots, no Priors, as we do now no Bishops, no Bishops.

4. Henry the Fifth put away the Friars, Aliens, and seiz'd to himself 100000/. a year, and therefore they were not the Protestants only that took away Church Lands.

5. In Queen Elizabeths time, when all the Abbies were pulled down, all good Works desaced, then the Preachers must cry up Justification by Faith, not by good Works.

arttcter.

i. r I A HE nine and thirty Articles are much another I thing in Latin, (in which Tongue they were -*- made), then they are translated into English, they were made at three several Convocations, and confirmed by Act of Parliament six or seven times after. There is a Secret concerning them: Of late Ministers have subscribed to all of them, but by Act of Parliament that confirm'd them, they ought only to subscribe to those Articles which contain matter of Faith, and the Doctrine of the Sacraments, as appears by the first Subscriptions. But Bishop Bancroft (in the Convocation held in King James's days) he began it, that Ministers should subscribe to three things, to the Kings Supremacy, to the Common-prayer, and to the Thirty nine Articles; many of them do not contain matter of Faith. Is it matter of Faith how the Church should be govern'd? Whether Insants should be Baptized? Whether we have any Property in our Goods? &*c.

XxptOtat.

i. " I ''Was a good way to perswade men to be I christned, to tell them that they had a Foul-*- ness about them, viz. Original Sin, that could not be warned away but by Baptism.

2. The Baptizing of Children with us, does only

prepare a Child against he comes to be a Man, to understand what Christianity means. In the Church of Rome it hath this effect, it frees Children from Hell. They say they go into Limbus Infantum. It succeeds Circumcision, and we are sure the Child understood nothing of that at eight days old; why then may not we as reasonably baptise a Child at that Age? in England of late years I ever thought the Parson baptiz'd his own Fingers rather than the Child.

3. In the Primitive times they had God-sathers to fee the Children brought up in the Christian Religion, because many times, when the Father was a Christian, the Mother was not, and sometimes when the Mother was a Christian, the Father was not, and therefore they made choice of two or more that were Christians, to see their Children brought up in that Faith.

3BajStartr.

i. ""T^IS said the 23d. of Deuteron. 2. [A Bastard 1 shall not enter into the Congregation of the "*- Lord, even^to the tenth Generations Non ingredietur in Ecclefiam Domini, he shall not enter into the Church. The meaning of the Phrase is, he shall not marry a Jewish woman. But upon this grosly mistaken; a Bastard at this day in the Church of Rome, without a Dispensation, cannot take Orders; the thing haply well enough, where 'tis so setled; but 'tis upon a Mistake (the Place having no reference to the Church) appears plainly by what follows at the third Verse \An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the Congregation of the Lord, even to the tenth Generations No you know with the Jews an Ammonite, or a Moabite could never be a Priest, because their Priests were born so, not made.

JSflile, £>crtj>tu«.

i. "~T"*IS a great question how we know Scripture

I to be Scripture, whether by the Church, or

-*- by Mans private Spirit. Let me ask you

how I know anything? how I know this Carpet to be

Green? First, because somebody told me it was Green; that you call the Church in your Way. Then after I have been told it is green, when I fee that Colour again, I know it to be Green, my own Eyes tell me it is Green, that you call the private Spirit .

2. The English Translation of the Bible, is the best. Translation in the World, and renders the Sense of the Original best, taking in for the English Translation, the Bishops Bible, as well as King James's. The Translation in King /ama's time took an excellent way. That part of the Bible was given to him who was most excellent in such a Tongue (as the Apochrypha to Andrew Downs) and then they met together, and one read the Translation, the rest holding in their Hands some Bible, either of the learned Tongues, or French, Spanish, Italian, &c. if they found any Fault they spoke, if not, he read on.

3. There is no Book so translated as the Bible for the purpose. If I translate a French Book into Englifi, I turn it into Englisli Phrase, not into French English [// fait froid] I say 'tis cold, not, it makes cold, but the Bible is rather translated into English Words, than into Englijh Phrase. The Hebraisms are kept, and the Phrase of that Language is kept: As for Example [he uncovered her Shame] which is well enough, so long as Scholars have to do with it; but when it comes among the Common People, Lord, what Gear do they make of it!

4. Scrutamini Scripturas. These two Words have undone the World, because Christ spake it to his Disciples, therefore we must all, Men, Women and Children, read and interpret the Scripture.

5. Henry the Eighth made a Law, that all Men might read the Scripture, except Servants, but no Woman, except Ladies and Gentlewomen, who had Leisure, and might ask somebody the meaning. The Law was repealed in Edward the Sixth's days.

6. Lay-men have best interpreted the hard places in the Bible, such as Johannes Picus, Scaliger, Grotius, Salmanfius, Heinfius, &c.

7. If you ask which of Erasmus, Beza, or Grotius did best upon the New Testament, 'tis an Idle question, for they all did well in their way. Erasmus broke down the first Brick, Besa added many things, and Grotius added much to him, in whom we have either something new, or something heightned, that was said before, and so 'twas necessary to have them all three.

8. The Text serves only to guess by, we must satisfie our selves fully out of the Authors that liv'd about those times.

9. In interpreting the Scripture, many do, as if a man should see one have ten pounds, which he reckoned by i. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. r0. meaning four, was but four Unities, and five, five Unities, <s*c. and that he had in all but ten pounds; the other that fees him, takes not the Figures together as he doth, but picks here and there, and thereupon reports, that he hath five pounds in one Bag, and six pounds in another Bag, and nine pounds in another Bag, &*c. when as in truth he hath but ten pounds in all. So we pick out a Text here, and there to make it serve our turn; whereas, if we take it all together, and consider'd what went before, and what followed aster, we should find it meant no such thing.

10. Make no more Allegories in Scripture than needs must, the Fathers were too frequent in them, they indeed, before they fully understood the litteral Sence, look'd out for an Allegory. The Folly whereof you may conceive thus; here at the first sight appears to me in my Window, a Glass and a Book, I take it for granted 'tis a Glass and a Book, thereupon I go about to tell you what they signifie; afterwards, upon nearer view, they prove no such thing, one is a Box made like a Book, the other is a Picture made like a Glass, where's now my Allegory?

1i. When Men meddle with the Litteral Text, the question is, where they should stop; in this case a Man might venture his Discretion, and do his best to satisfie himself and others in those places where he doubts, for although we call the Scripture the Word of God (as it is) yet it was writ by a Man, a mercenary

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