The Curtaine of Churchpower and Authoritie in Things Called Indifferent

Drawne and laid open, to shew the many infectious sores and maladies they bring in, and cover.
Together with sundry infallible reasons, proving that the service of God, and the generall good of the Church and Common wealth require that they should be abolished.
By Ja: Henric.

Isai. 29.13, 14.
Forasmuch as this people draw neere me with their mouth, and with their lips doe honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their feare towards me is taught by the precepts of men: Therefore behold, I will proceed to doe a marvellous worke amongst this people: for the wisedome of their wisemen shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.

Jer. 8.22.
Is there no balme in Gilead? is there no Physitian there? Why then is health of the daughter of my people recovered?




[Page 20]

Notwithstanding all these things, many say, so long as the Gospel may be, and is freely preached, why should wee trouble a Church, or leave it, our places, and meanes for such faults and ordinances? Marke how God hath suffered these men to be punished, and deceived: the Gospel is there freely preached, by them that will needs preach so; but not by the care of the Bishops, nor yet in all points, much lesse in all places; Ministers are called upon to urge these ordinances of men, yet in the meane, they are not suffered to preach Gods ordinance, the Eldership, nor yet against Arminianisme. It is true, that after the prohibition, the Parliament immediately succeeding, many couragiously preached against Arminianisme, and so doe some to this day: but not in the Court, nor in the Universitie, much lesse before the [Page 21] Bishops, who are still against such and have troubled many in the universities, and elsewhere. Neither can they rest heere: the fruite of the Hierarchie, that is not a tree of Gods planting, must needes grow worse, and Joh. 15. 2.worse: which shewes it concernes the faith it self to have the hierarchie abolished.

All which things considered doe manifest, that their pretended devotion in commanding to kneele at the Sacrament, is but like that of signing children with the signe of the Crosse, wherein they straine at a gnat and swallow a Camel, God must needes regard their kneeling verie litle (as that of the Papists, who exceede in that, and all other humble, and devout gestures) because they are not better, or more obedient Christians, they doe not more feare God, nor indeed so much as Protestants, that kneele not when they receive. For they ordaine that men should bow the knee, so oft as they heare the name Jesus mentioned in the Church, which they doe not at any other name of God, nor when Ruffins sweare by it, as also that all should kneele at the Sacrament. But what a mockerie is this, while in the meane, with the Papists, they themselves neither bow to the word, and ordinances of God, nor consequently to Christ Jesus who is the word, nor suffer others that would, in such proofes of Scripture, as prove that there ought to be Act. 14.23. Acts. 20.17.28. Tit. 1.5. 1 Pet. 5. Elders in every flock to govern the same, and no such Lords of Gods heritage, as Diocessan Bishops: no such edicts against confutation of Arminians, nor no such traditions, canons, set fasts as make the word of none effect. It is true that the Lent fast is very ancient: but so is the mysterie of iniquitie, the Popes usurped primacie, & dominion, and many other parts of Romish superstition, and errour: that English Bishops doe not yet affirme plainly, that it ought to be observed, as an ordinance [Page 22] of God, or pari pietatis affectu, ac reverentiae, because it is an ordinance of the Church: but they so hover about it, that men feare it will come to that, if their dominion stand.

As to this reason that Christ fasted fortie dayes; they might as well tel us, because he walked on the water, or suffered for sinners: so therefore should wee. And what a mockerie is it to make this time of the yeare, the time of repentance and mortification, when that is not to be put off till Lent, but is due at all times of the yeare, as mens soules, by reason of daylie sins, doe oft stand in need of bodily fasting, and humiliation, the better to fit them for praier? Or if it were necessarie, what a mockerie is it to ordaine abstinence from all flesh, when men have libertie to eate the daintiest fish, and other delicates used in fish dinners, banquets, and feasts, and that as much, and as oft as they lift? And if the Prelates themselves did not use it, they would not be so fat and lustie as they are. B. Bangor. March. 4. 1631. They make great feasts at their consecration in Lent.

But, say they, it makes much for the increase of cattel, that the subject may have them in more plentie, and better cheape. I could say, this might be much better effected by forbidding many great, and superfluous feasts as was partly practised in that dearth 1630; but I answer, They might as well tell us, that the great feasts used in the twelve daies, and at other festivall times cause plenty, and cheapnes, as Lent, which costs men more in fish. For who sees not that both the one, and the other make all things the dearer? That when they approach all men striving to store their houses with flesh and fish, the markets are raised to that extremitie, that mens purses find a dearth in the midst of plentie. Butchers and Poulterers pay deere for their licences, which makes all extreame [Page 23] deere to such poore, and sick, or weake persons, as must needs eate some flesh: and Lent ended, people buy, as if they had never eaten flesh before, which makes it want for no price. Besides, how many thousands are there, who are not sick, and yet of such weake constitutions, that they cannot live six weekes without eating some flesh? all these must needes abstaine to their hurt, or bee reckoned Rebels, and vexed by promoters, resembling them of the Inquisition.

But fishing and shipping would otherwise decay. This were somewhat if they had beene, or were like to be, used in the defence of Religion, or against the enimies thereof, and not against such as the Rochellers, but howsoever, if men were free to eate fish, when they list, they would desire it more, as experience shewes in other countries, where such freedome is. Or if there were but one or two daies in a weeke, as wednesday, saterday or both, wherein it were prohibited to all under great penalties, sick persons excepted, and especiallie to Inholders, Alehouses, Vintners, Cookes, and Victuallers, that none should dresse, or sell dressed any flesh, on that day, on paine of having his house shut up, and paying some great fine, all thorow-fare, and market townes, would strive to be furnished with fish for those daies and there would be more fishing, and fish spent in the land, in one yeare, then now there is in two; and this being only a common law and but for a day or two in a weeke, and not imposed as a fast, would be no burthen.

But the lawes are alleadged, for this Lent fast, as for the dominion of the Prelates, and observation of other their traditions, and ceremonies. I might answer that the way to have lawes observed, is to commaund things reasonable and agreeable to Gods word, & such as may without hurt be observed: things burthensome to little [Page 24] purpose, are as little regarded: That Ministers of the Gospel should rather alleadge the law of Christ, that fasts, and almes, ought to be voluntarie, or obtained by the word preached, for private humiliation; or publick, being commanded by authoritie, when there is a publick calamitie, or some great enterprise in hand, needing such humiliation to obtaine the assistance of God; and thus only are they used in the reformed Churches;

This is a selection from the original text


authority, calamity, feast, fish, plenty, sick

Source text

Title: The Curtaine of Churchpower and Authoritie in Things Called Indifferent

Author: James Henric

Publisher: Successors of G. Thorp

Publication date: 1632

Edition: 2nd Edition

Place of publication: Amsterdam

Provenance/location: This text was transcribed from images available at Early English Books Online: Bibliographic name / number: STC (2nd ed.) / 13071 Physical description: [4], 107, [1] p. Copy from: Bodleian Library Reel position: STC / 1207:08

Digital edition

Original author(s): James Henric

Language: English

Selection used:

  • 1 ) tp
  • 2 ) pp. 20-24 (from "Nothwithstanding all these things" to "reformed Churches")


Texts collected by: Ayesha Mukherjee, Amlan Das Gupta, Azarmi Dukht Safavi

Texts transcribed by: Muhammad Irshad Alam, Bonisha Bhattacharya, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Muhammad Ehteshamuddin, Kahkashan Khalil, Sarbajit Mitra

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Genre: Britain > non-fiction prose > religion: theological treatises

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