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Like Mules, who if th' have not their will
To keep their own pace, stand stoc-kstill;
But they are weak, and little know
What Free-born Consciences may do ;
Tis the Temptation of the Devil,
That makes all humane Actions evil:
For Saints may do the same things by
The Spirit, in Sincerity,
Which other Men are tempted to,
And at the Devil's instance do;
the Adions be contrary,
Just as the Saints and Wicked vary.
For as on Land there is no Beaft,
But in some Fish at Sea's exprest,
So in the Wicked there's no Vice,
Of which the Saints have not a Spice,
yet that thing that's pious in
The one, in tother is a Sin.
Is't not Ridiculous and Nonsense,
A Saint shou'd be a slave to Conscience ?
That ought to be above such Fancies,
As far as above Ordinances ?
She's of the Wicked, as I guess,
B'her Looks, her Language and her Dress;
And though, like Constables, we search
For False Wares one another's Church:
Yet all of us hold this for true,
No Faith is to the Wicked due ;
For Trutbis Precious and Divine,
Too rich a Pearl for Carnal Swine..
Quoth Hudibas, All this is true,
Yet'tis not fit that all Men knew
These Mysteries and Revelations;
And therefore Topical Evasions
Of subtile Turnis, and Shifts of Senfe,
Serve best with th' Wicked for
Such as the learned Jesuits use,
And Presbyterians, for Excuse
Against the Protestants, when th' happen
To find their Churches taken napping :
As thus: A breach of Oaths is Duple,
adınits a Scruple, And may be
ex parte o'th' Maker More Criminal than th' injur’d Taker.
For he that strains too far, a Vow,
Will break it like an o'er-bent Bom :
And he that made, and forc'd it, broke it,
Not he that for Convenience took it :
A broaken Oath is, quat’nus Oath,
Asfound t' all purposes of Troth,
As broken Laws are ne'er the worfe,
Nay, till th' are broken have no force ;
What's Justice to a Man, or Laws,
That never comes within their Claws;
They have no Pow'r, but to admonish,
Cannot controul, coerce or punish,
Untill they're broken, and then touch
Those only that do make them such.
Beside, n' Engagement is allow'd
By Men in Prison made for Good
For when they're set at liberty;"
They're from th’ Engagement too set free:
The Rabbins write, when any fem
Did make to God or Man a Vow,
Which afterward he found untoward,
And stubborn to be kept, or too hard;
Any three other Jews o’th Nation,
Might free him from the Obligation :
And have not two Saints pow'r to use,
A greater Privilege than three Jews ?
The Court of Conscience, which in Man
Shou'd be Supreine and Sovereign,
Is't fit should be Subordinate
To ev'ry petty Court i'th' State,
And have less Power than the lesser,
To deal with Perjurry at pleasure?
Have its Proceedings disallow'd, or
Allow'd, at fancy of Py-Powder ?
Tell all it does or docs not know,
For swearing ex officio ?
Be forc'd t' impeach a broken hedge,
And Pigs unring’d at Vis. Franc, Pledge.
Discover Thieves, and Bawds, Recusants,
Priests, Witches, Eve-droppers, and Nusance ;
Tell who did play at Games unlawful,
And who filld Pots of Ale but half-fulį.
And have no pow'r at all, nor shift,
To help it self at a dead lift?
Why shou'd not Conscience have Vacation
As well as other Courts o’th' Nations
Have equal power to adjourn,
Appoint Appearance and Return:
And make as nice distinction serve
To split a Case, as those that carve
Invoking Cuckolds Names, hit Joints,
Why shou'd not Tricks as flight do Points ?
Is not th' High-Court of Justice sworn
To Judge that Law that serves their turn?
Make their own Jealou sies High-Treason,
And fix 'em whomfoe'er they please on?
Cannot the Leårned Council there
Make Laws in any shape appear?
Mold 'em as Witches do their Clay,
When they make Pictures to destroy ?
And vex 'em into any Form
That fits their purpose to do harm?
Rack 'em until they do confess,
Impeach of Treason whom they please,
And most perfidiously condemn
Those that engag'd their Lives for them?'.