The Glory of England
About this text
The Glory of England was published in 1618. It was written by Thomas Gainsford. The book is a comparison of different countries with that of the English kingdom written in a way that would manifest the superiority of England. Thomas Gainsford’ s year of birth is not known. He served as the third officer under the regiment of Richard de Burgh, the fourth earl of Clanricade. He passed away around 1624. The selections from The Glory of England have been made showcasing the writer’s as well as the prevailing attitude of the British towards the Indians and other countries. In the process of such colonial castigation different aspects of Indian life are looked at. Primary Reading Gainford, Thomas, The Glory of England, Edward Griffin, 1618 Suggested Reading Van Linschoten, Jan Huygen, John Huighen van Linschoten, John Widet, 1598.
A TRUE DESCRIPTION
of many excellent prerogatives and remarke-
able blessings, whereby She Triumpheth
over all the Nations of the World:
With a justifiable comparison betweene
the eminent Kingdomes of the Earth, and Herselfe;
plainely manifesting the defects of them all in regard
of her sufficiencie and fulnesse of
‘SENECA. Quicquid patimur, mortale:
Quicquid facimus, venit ab alto.’
By T. G.
Printed by EDWARD GRIFFIN for
TH: NORTON and are to be sold at his shop in Pauls-Churchyard at the signe of the Kingshead. 1618.
PUBLISHED BY EDWARD GRIFFIN
PUBLISHED FOR TH: NORTON
THE third part of the worlds glory is enclosed within the store-houses of rich and opulent India, a countrey not onely invested with magnificence, but arrogating a preheminence over other nations, both for spaciousnesse of ground, and all such blessings, wherewith the divine providence hath made the oyes of men exceed. For the two great rivers of Indus and Ganges water the same, and divided into many thousand brookes, like the children of a blessed mother, and plentifull housekeeper, bring glad tidings to the family extraordinary allowances: and thus it insulteth for two summers, temperature of aire, duplicity of encrease, and that we are adventurers for such things as she vilipendeth: [Page 15] not yet admitted to understand the one halfe of her secrets, The men and women doe now imitate a noble pomp as not encountred abroad, nisi ma na comitante terua, using many odours in their bathes and washing; nor are they without oyles and perfumes, jewels, pearles, and other ornaments, not onely befitting the bu [...] nesse in hand, but to please one another in matters of incontinency: yet have they many wives, who strive with all cting demeanour to bee best beloved of their But you have divers bookes of this subject, both an and moderne, as Herodotus, Pliny, and other Cosmographers, who thus relate the matter: that since the conquest of Bacchus, whom by another name they call o [...]er Pa [...] r they have settled in their countrey with magnificent eq [...] page 5000. principall cities, advancing a fashion le government to equall the best Common-wealths, onely they adored Bacchus for a God, and Hercules for a giant: they never intruded into any other princes territories, but have defended their owne from all innovation of strangers, as Q. Curtius relateth, adding withall a delicate commentary of their famous exploits and noble greatnesse, even against the Conquerour of the world, in the time of the He [...] e Porus, who with great majesty, valour, and armies of Elephants would have maintained their freedome and glory: but that Fortune and Successe had condescended to the conditions of ratifying Alexanders prosperity. And although the many Princes have sometimes repined one against another, and for superiorities sake, shewed the ety of their owne glories and mightinesse: yet still combined in the prop [...] ing of for , appeasing private encombrances, not reaching [...] civill deciding, and hating injustice and co [Page 16] much as may bee. They love and reverence their Kings, (amongst whom the great Mogull, having us in some estimation before other Princes of Europe, and with whom we have a kinde of correspondency, as by reciprocall letters may appeare, is principall and of greatest reputation) making holy-day when hee shaveth his head, and attending his chariot with pompous bravery, spredding the way where he must passe, with costly ornaments and delicate perfumes. For hee is carried in great pomp on the shoulders of men, adorned with purple, golde, and precious stones, the chaire hanging with orient pearle, and all thing so ordered, as if the best of our ceremonies should adde an honor to Majesty. His Guards for his person are many and the best of his souldiers, who suffer no neerer approaches to his stately throne, then hee himselfe shall command, which is publikely knowen by the disrobing of his head of common ornaments, and investing himselfe with a magnificent Diadem, then are Embassadors admitted, and divers lawes enacted for the good of the people.
Another booke will discover, that when hee disposeth himselfe to pleasure, his concubines are sent for to be partakers of the hunting, and then in open view the beasts are killed, being chased before hand into certaine straight enclosures for the purpose: but if he determine a longer progresse, their chariots are drawne with Elephants, and their honourable Queenes left at home: but the wantons are enstructed to make proud incontinency swell with variety, not accustoming their wives to be partaker of such lascivious changes, but reserving them for necessity of children, or moderation of contentment: when he determineth to sleepe, or peradventure is overloded with wine, that he must resettle his spirits and senses with rest and [Page 17] ease, the loveliest dames bring him to bed, singing a song of invocation to the God of silence, and the night.
Another will relate, how worthily their honest matrons live after they have had children, how ever they yeelde their chastities at the first to their lovers for the price of an Elephant, which yet never exciteth any exprobation against them. In some places, when a virgin desireth marriage, her parents bring her to publike view amongst a number of young men, where shee electeth whom shee fancieth. In their mutuall commerces they hate usury, disclaime injustice, denie indentures of covenant, contracts of writing, and have many seeming excellencies of love, confidence, and trusting one another: onely they are impatient of wrong, and thinke it a glory to take revenge, but will not offer the occasion.
Another will tell you, that they once esteemed two sorts of wisemen, by the names of Samaraei and Brachamanes, both which were charactered for Gymnosophists: but the Samaraei for their precisenesse were better esteemed of the Kings; for living more moderate then the rest, as eating neither fish nor flesh, it added to their reputation, that the peace of their Kingdomes was established by their orizons, and the prosperity of the countrey confirmed through their holinesse.
Another will demonstrate, how St. Thomas converted them to Christianity, how ever with the Syrians in Samaria, they have since intermingled horrible idolatry, and untill the Portugals came amongst them, would scarse reforme the most grossest abuses.
Another will enlarge the conquest of their countrey by the Portugals and Spanyard, with a full description of all things, which may shew you the perfect portraiture of [Page 18] their kingdomes, courts, common-wealth, riches, pleasures, civill administration, and mightinesse: yet (as I take it) so farre from a conquest, as wee were over France, when we had only Callis in Picardy, or Turwin and Tornay, which cost more the reedifying, then all the country about it was worth. Heere you shall also finde how they have strived with the Aegyptians for antiquity and cunning, how many Ilands are subjected unto them, amongst whom Summatra, in times past called Taprobana, mustreth the power of eight Kings. Japan affoordeth our English a harbour; and at Bantam they receive the commodities of China from the Indian Marchants, who are only admitted to commerce amongst them: and divers others, as are therein variated with many particulars.
To conclude no one Countrey comes neere it for greatnesse, which without other addition lifteth up her title alone, as challenging all the territories betweene China and Persia; yea in times past China it selfe, almost 1200. English mile, and amongst many Kings, hee is principall, that obtaineth by force or popularity. But of late they have overexalted the high Priest called Voo, who in spirituall matters (as I may say) hath absolute power and authority, and upon whose blessing or cursing dependeth the expectation of future happinesse. Yet hath this idolatrous superstition acknowledgement of a God, whom they invest with a triple crowne, not yeelding any reason for the same, but that he commandeth Heaven, Earth, and Hell. The Jesuites have taught them to baptize infants in some places, and to fast, wherein they are now tedious observants (as barbarous people are best maintainers of customes and ceremonies) and they use the signe of the crosse, but it is where they are enforced by the Spanish garisons, [Page 19] otherwise, what I spake before of China: for all their silkes, clothes of gold, delicate beds, houses of canes, Serpents, Elephants, precious stones, minerals, pearles, perfumes, drugs, spice, sweet wood, barkes of trees, shels, nuts, and other things of estimation, I may with a Christinn-like sorrow amplifie, concerning their turpitude and morosity. As for their cities, every one would affoord a story, and I am unwilling to runne into the errour of fiction or miracle, considering your best Cosmographers have onely extended the relations of others, and besides the variety of contradicting one another, would now be amazed to see so bewtifull a face of many countries, which they left most glorious, so deformed: and so unpleasant a countenance, as they imagined, so illustrious and exalted.
And thus much for that part of Asia, who are all Idolaters, barbarous, inhumane, treacherous, haters of strangers, and so remote from the happinesse I would relie upon, as my joy exceedeth for not being a native amongst them.
THE last of all Countries, and as many thinke the least, but such a least, as if a pretty sparke of a pure Diamond should triumph over a border of soft topasses, is the kingdome of ENGLAND; now proclaimed under the royall standard of Great Britaine, France, and Ireland, stile enough, [Page 143] if the desire of man know what is enough. But alas, [...] nisi ab orbe Britanni: wherein I thinke nature and glory plaied the silken Artist or Artificer, chuse you whether, who in sorting out his commodities laies the principall aside for a friend, or his owne use: so did our first mother deale with this ILAND, allowing it a double portion of blessings before the other countries of the world for her owne honour. But at this time you shall not heare mee stammer out my words, considering Mr Cambden hath spoken so well and distinctly, as if a Lawyers cunning had not onely inlarged some excellent matter, but doubly graced the same with good deliverie, and pleasing elocution: Besides, I must in the second booke untie her boundup fardell, and come to more neerer particulars, and therefore there shall be now no further disputing of the same: yet Ireland hath made me amased to see such an impossibilitie to reduce her, which mee thinks cannot proceed from any innated hatred against us particularly (though it be an unsavoury truth) because in affecting Spaine and France shee disclaimeth their formalitie, and would faine besprinkle the beautifull faces of civilitie, government, formes of Cities, courtlines, majestie, and state, with the untoward termes and abuses of policie, restraint of libertie, covetousnes, flattery, pride, and licentiousnes: therefore I will bee the bolder to speake a word or two of her unkindnes.
ALthough (as I said before) concerning these idolatrous countries, I might with Jehu cast out the Priests of Baal, breake downe the altars, and overthrow the idols of the heathen, and so neede not once name them for want of true religion, and acknowledging the mysterie of saluation: yet will I overpasse that principall point, and come to their Citie walls and plenteous fields with neerer approches of confutation: [Page 171] nor shall their two summers, double increase of fruit, plentifull rivers, temperature of aire, strange wolly and tailed sheepe, great fowle, and unheard of wormes, with rindes of trees, silkes, pretious stones, canes, and many other trifling marchandice, which they receive for the most part by commutation out of China, terrifie me from my assertions, considering, if God send temporall blessings, and they are either not wrought upon with comfort, and orderly profit; or abused in their use and service, it were better for a kingdome not to enjoy the same at all. If then inIndia, and the many countries and kingdomes marching under the flourishing colours of her prosperitie, be as many filthy customes of incontinency, that they prostitute their daughters for money, and are contented to sell their chastitie for reward, nay in sundry places to bring their virgins before beastly idols, and cause them to fill their wombe with the priapus of the same, whereat, if so be the tender maide seemeth terrified, or ashamed, the mother shall stand behinde, and thrust her most violently forward: with divers other lamentable customes tending to abomination: how can it come neere our example, when adultery was punished with death in Israel, and there was not a whore to be found (especially by toleration) amongst the daughters of Juda? If then in India the Kings and Princes swell against one another with tyranous ambition and revenges, raising violent hostilitie against their neighbours and confederates, and practising horrible cruelty in their slaughters and victories: how can it come neere our example, when Salomon was denominated the Prince of peace, and confirmed a league of amitie and confederation with all adjoyning Princes? If then in India the Kings and Princes suppose it a glory to [Page 172] bee sequestred from their people, to terrifie them with cruell lookes and imperious controuling, not to be seene abroad, but in times of feares and terrors, to deny them orderly accesse for their complaints and greevances, and to live, as commanding obedience by tyranny, rather than love: How can it come neere our example, when Salomon made a porch before his Pallace to determine the controversies of his people in person; offred sacrifice in publike upon an Altar, and for seven daies feasted all commers with cheerefulnes; admitted the harlots to plead before him; and advanced his mother on a throne by his right side in the open view of the congregation, and proclaimed free audience and accesse for all commers, that had cause of complaint, and oppression? If then in India theft and intrusion by strong hand be common matters, and however there is great punishment inflicted on offenders in this kinde, as also in China, yet do they live in continuall feare one of another, and the rich are hardhearted against the poore, not onely suffering them to sterve without releefe, but in a manner hastning their deaths by authoritie, if either they grow aged, or impotent, and have not of their owne to releeve their necessities: How can it come neere our example, when in Israel there was neither vagabond, or begger, no man durst remove the marke in his neighbours field, no man oppressed his brother with usury, and even contrary families were entertained with mutuall entercourses; yea when nature came to challenge her due, and sent her harbinger death to demand the same, they brought the body to the grave in peace, and solemnized the exequies with a fashionable ceremonie? If then in India there is a maine want both of flesh, fish, and other provision for the sustenance of man, especially [Page 173] to feede any multitude, or satisfie the meaner sort of people, who know not, what orderly feasting, and neighbourly meetings meane: How can it come neere our example, when Salomon spent 30 oxen, with infinite other acates every day, and the people met in abundance, eating and drinking every man under his vine & fig tree, and sent presents and gifts to one another with mutuall conversation & reciprocall love: If then in India neither are the Cities hansomly contrived, nor well furnished with houses, want civill government, and administration of justice, if the country villages are rude, and disordered, living in suspition of one another for spoile and robbery, if they faile in all comelines and morall fashioning themselves to hansomnes, and good order: How can it come neere our example, where Salomon reedified the Cities of store, the Cities of fortification, the Cities of refuge, the Cities of pleasure, when Salomon had his orderly officers of visitation, and gave commandment to overlooke the manifold disturbances of the kingdome, and redresse the same with a strong hand against the mighty & insolent, and with a supporting arme for the poore and afflicted? If then in India they care not to visit other countries, sell their people for slaves, make marchandice of one another, barbarously scorne to gratifie other Princes, and will in no sort practise the exploration of remote countries: How can it come neere our example, when Salomon built a Navie at the red sea, had another to joyne with Hiram, and sent abroad for gold and other provision into forreine nations; when he lived in peace and amitie with Pharaoh, contracted a mariage with his daughter, and maintained all the honorable customes to inlarge the glory and happines of a kingdom? And so in divers other particulars. [Page 176] senting from Salomons prosperity and happinesse. So that to conclude in a word, neither are they to defend their owne glories, which so spred abroad former estimation, not to come neere our comparison in this her moderne di [...] unction. For in their wants they are almost unwilling to make triall of any fortune, considering they have had such disastrous events, as both the Turkes have mightily encroached and prevailed against them. The Arabians with divers roads and overwatchings have dilacerated their government, and the other countries adjacent to the Caspian sea stood at defiance with them: so that they not onely live in continuall feare of further mischeefe, but are compelled to maintaine frontire garisons, to prevent finall overthrow and extirpation, and this they doe with extraordinary charge on all sides, and want indeed the martiall bravery, and forcible possibility of their former armies. In their best peace (which is now still poysoned with the dregs of mischeevous insurrections) they are deficient in orderly traphique of marchants, in wellrigged navies for exploration of other countries, or maintaining confederacy with remoter Princes: in pleasant and secure passages and wayes to travellin: in cities or townes of entertainment, to lodge and repose the wearied company: in provision of the countrey to sustaine nature, according to the blessing exposed in that kinde: in the countrey-mans honest vocation, who is heere worse then a miserable slave: in the honourable liberty of women and conversable meetings, who are heere debarred friendly entercourses, except wantons and strumpets, whom they invite against festivals, to lengthen out their pleasure, and lascivious delight in voluptuousnesse: all which with divers other, as there are divers others to bee brought to the triall, if wee [Page 177] should dispute the matter more forcibly, come so farre short of our example, that they are rather meer contraries, and by reason of opposition, utterly to bee excluded from any fulnesse of reputation, or true example of a Kingdomes prosperity.
WIthout preface or circumloquution, you shall finde the Kingdome of England in geographicall dimension equall to the country of Canaan, and the people praysing of God, in regard of their great and extraordinary blessings. For begin where you will, wee shall come so neere the comparison, as a close order in ranging a battalion. Concerning the generall view of the same, did you ever heare or read of any so well divided into shires and hundreds, with Lords, Lieutenants, Sheriffs, [Page 243] Justices, and other inferiour officers: insomuch, that it hath layd an imposition on the endeavours of a principall scholler, and hee (according to the secret of satisfaction) hath most worthily unclasped the records of antiquity, and with such sufficient ampliation, that our adversaries have beene silent in excepting against it. But to my first purpose: I say, that to match all the particulars, wherwith I have stored Salomons magnificence and the countries prosperity, there is not at this houre any Kingdome in the world, so ready, apt, or worthy to take him by the hand, to pace out the measures of true glory and happinesse, as the Kingdome of England.
Concerning our glory abroad, what worthy voyages have we made? I hope no people or nation ever equalled us, witnesse Sr. John Mandevill into India by land; Stafford over Europe, much about the same time; Jenkinson, Willoughby, Borogh, and many others into Russia and Muscovia; Forbisher and Hawkins to discover the northerne passages: the Fenners, Ralph Lane, John Clarke, and divers into America; another voyage, where of Sr. Walter Raleigh was the proposer; our setling in Virginia; our traffique to the West Indies, Brasill, Peru, Caribana, and Guiana; Captaine Drake round about the world, twice or thrice; Thomas Candish the like, our travels to the East Indies, or Philippines; the Earle of Cumberlands worthy voyages, & amongst others, that to Santo Port-Ricco; the Portugall voyage; Cales voyage; the Iland voyage, and sundry others; as in Master Hackluits booke about this subject only. Besides moderne travellers, both of Noblemen & Gentlemen, although every man is not a free Denizon of prosperities Kingdom, nor can boast of natures bounty in the gifts of understanding, or fortunes liberality in disposing her treasures. If [Page 244] you would see how our marchants are bestowed, look into all the Ports of the world, you shall find them setled, & our shipping in harbour? If you could view all the countries of the earth, where men dare or can come, we are nobly dispersed, & I beleeve might be pull'd out of the center of the same, if such a passage did ever excite man to explore for secrets, marchandize, or wealth. If you were admitted into the remotest palaces of Emperours & Kings; yea Tartary it selfe, English-men would salute you, and speak your owne language: and if you have a purpose to affright idlenesse with any enterprize in the world, especially to make them beleeve, that the hand of profit will fill their laps with plenty, English-men dare set endeavours on their best feet, and can tell how to tumble all blockes and hindrances aside, which may either terrefie them from such enterprizes, or detaine them from the glory of the actions: only heere lies a secret of traducing them, that a supposition of the wants of others, or feare of cumbersomnesse, when they meet with an indigent countreyman abroad, hath debarred free conversation, and doth make the mutuall supplying the necessity of strangers, a harshkinde of welcome; yea, an absolute leaving them to misery, if they have not bills of exchange or letters of credit, to overbeare mischances.
But our glory abroad is truely expatiated, when you shall know how helpefull wee have beene to other nations, both with purse and forces; yea, contrary to the opinion of the world, concerning our penury, opened the enclosures of riches, and hononrably supplyed the defects of other Kingdomes. Wee have made peace betweene Denmark and Sweden, and pacified those troubles long agoe. We have releeved the Estates of Holland with men, [Page 245] money, and munition, underpropping them, as if a man should undershore a ruinous wall, untill the foundation were repaired. We have assisted the Protestant Princes of of France in their first civill warres, and beene auxiliary to many noble houses of Germany, we setled the last King in his greatnesse, and lifted him up to that honour, that none of his Predecessours had their crownes shining with such a lustre. We playd the Physician with Geneva, and administred her such an antidote, that no aconite of Pope or Savoy could envenom her to death, or contrive her destruction. We brought the distressed Prince Antonio to knock at the gates of Lisbone, and had he not found a fatall vicissitude of times and occasions; yea, the minds of inconstant men corrupted with by-respects, and private following the stronger side, we might questionlesse have prevailed in the proiect, and upon the least filling the sailes of our expectation with the winde of home assistance, brought recovery to receive the fulnesse of life. Wee have made Spaine weary of the warres, and at last desire a peace, which I would be loth to resemble to still waters, wherein are the deepest gulphs and most dangerous places to adventure. We returned the Polish Ambassadour, with admiration at our Princes greatnesse and magnanimity. We have setled the good opinion of the Muscovite. Wee have emboldned the Venetians in their last dissentions against the Pope. Wee have accorded the Arch-Duke, who not onely admitteth us into entertainment, but giveth wayunto such, as yet maintaine the cause of the contrary. We have welcomed the Prince of Moldavia, and as farre as policy or charity could goe, brought him along into the faire fields of expectation to regaine his enheritance. We have lately overlooked the fields of Sweden and Russia; yea, [Page 246] thought it befitting to send a martiall supply into Denmarck, and however the Polander repine, must in the end (I beleeve) determine those controversies. To conclude, (though it shall be no cause of ostentation) wee have prospered in so many glorious thrivings, that the Spanyard in his prophanation hath sworne JESUS CHRIST to become a Lutheran, and railed on report, for filling the world with the sound of so many memorable actions.
Concerning our glory at home, lay abroad our example and spare not, and marke the emptiest place, which we will not fill up with comparison. First, the best manner of government from Gods own mouth, which is monarchal; and philosophicall principles, which is a King; and morall enstructions, which is a distributer of Justice; and peoples desires, which is an honourable preserver of Commonwealths: all united in one person, from a continuall descent of princely ancestours, gaining the love and obedience of many nations, by excelling induments of nature, as wisdom, learning, judgment, peaceable desires, honorable liberality, magnanimity, & such like. And did it please him to add some glorious repairing, or rather magnificent quadrant, to his palace at White-hall, being the principall place of entertainement, and the eye to overlooke such a city, as is not in the world, it would come neere our example indeede. For the Kings house in Jerusalem was thirteene yeere a building, and no one thing addes more honour to a nation, then regardable edifices, and eminent workes of Majesty, being the very fruit of peace, and (as it were) the birth-right of prosperity, whether it bring forth sumptuous structures or adorning monuments. And (if it were not a pride & elation of hart to number the people, looke how many nations and languages are under subjection: [Page 247] namely English, Scottish, Irish, Welch, Cornish, Ments, Ilanders both Hebrides and Orchades, & the French of Gersy and Jersy: so that if the honour of a King consisteth in the multitude of his subjects, what Prince hath more, and such variety? If you looke on his palaces, where are so many, and so good, belonging to any Kingdome in the world? If you will behold his court; I hope for state, good order, expences, entertainment, and continuall attendancy, other places come farre short? If you will view his shipping and navies, I am sure you passe away with astonishment, when you are enstructed in the secrets of their service and strength? If you will behold his armours and munition, they exceede report, and the Arsenalls of other countries have neither such equipage nor sufficiency; but when you shall finde every Noble-man and Gentle-mans house so well furnished, every Hall and Company so well provided, every Shire so willing to continue their preparation, every Master so cheerefull in storing himselfe, and every man so ready to give eare to any martiall summons, and prepare with joy to attend the service; you must needs returne, not loving us with feare and trembling, but affecting us with triumph and well wishes, for our prevailing against the proudest adversary? If you will number us at sea, I know there is not so many good Mariners and Saylours in Europe, excepting the Low Countries. If you will muster us at land, who can shew such companies of foot? such troopes of horse? so many worthy servitours? and so well appoynted? Insomuch that I know divers Gentlemen of England, who can conduct 3000. men into the field (in their King and Countries name) of their owne tenants, servants, and friends. If you will examine our Nobility, I confesse they doe not boast of factious greatnesse, as in [Page 248] France, & the Princes of Germany: but their number, noble disposition, & willingnes to be obedient, may passe in the best items of Fames account. If you would see our Councellors, prepare a reverence, and settle your estimation toward them for their orderly life, probity of manners, integrity in deciding controversies, & affability in admitting suters: & though you come from the Grandes of Spaine, the Principalities of Italy, the Electors of Germany, the Dukes of France, & the States of other Countries, yea, the ostentous pomp of Cardinals: yet bee not too prejudicate, nor transported with selfe-conceited wilfulnes; for you shall see as great bravery, retinue, & observation amongst us, as any subjects in the world dare challenge or put in practise, for outward glorious ostentation: nay more, the order of our Garter, and the ceremonies of enstalling, are continued with that triumph and majesty, that no one celebration of petty Princes dare lift up a countenance of such jollity & regardable honor. And if you will behold the other Courtiers, they are generally so many, so handsome, so serviceable, & of their own retinues so well provided, that I protest they so farre exceede other places, both for gracefull shewes and sufficient estates, that I wonder, how such a corner of the world should have such a generall confluence of all happinesse and courtship, as if a raised winde should beat the swelling sea of prosperity to one shore.
But if you will be ravished indeede, or transported with the love of the world, come and behold the beauty of our Ladies, and the disposing them at a night of solemnity, to which if you adde the generall contentment, which our English women affoord generally, without sophisticate and adulterate additions, either to comelinesse or favour, there is no man can hold his peace, but proclaime our preeminence. [Page 249] Againe, if you would see Justice proud of her entertainment, and how shee presents both praemium and poena to the severall attendants on her throne of equity; looke into our Starre-chamber, and view the Sunne in most perspicuous splendour, without so much as the least clowdy respect of persons. If you will enter our Gentlemens houses, I hope, there is no such cupbords of plate, beds of of velvet and embroidery, hangings of tapistry, variety of roomes, duty of servants, order of house-keeping, store of pastime, and all that man can desire in any countrey in the world. If you will search our cities and townes, what they want in outward deceit of formality (and yet I cannot so extenuate our buildings) is supplyed in sweetnesse and delicacy, and within doore surpasseth the best of them for wealth and furniture. As for expences, I am sure some Citizens of London are at more annuall charge of diet, then the Dukes of Venice, Florence, or Genoa, for their own palaces. If you will examine our marchants, however some great Foulker or agent for a whole Kingdome, in Genoa, Antwerp, Brussels, or other citties may surpasse us for usury, venting commodities, or supposition of wealth: yet I am sure, there died not two such in one yeere, out of one towne in the world, as Spencer and Sutton. As for the rest, they surpasse for curious fare, statelinesse, following their pleasures, handsome education, comely entertainment, and orderly contribution, Besides, they live at home in ease, purchase land with security, bring up their children in daintinesse, maintaine their families in obedience, and cannot be matched by any forraine opposition. Would you be acquainted with the Trades-man, Artezan, and others of mannuall occupation, looke how hee lives, looke how he fares, looke where he dwels, looke what he [Page 250] weares, looke whether he goes to buy his meat, to such markets and shambles, that the very sight astonisheth all strangers, and once made acquainted with their variety and goodnesse, they are amazed at our blessings, and wonder, how so much provision can bee orderly devoured. Would you be refreshed with the pleasant countrey aire; our Yeoman and Husbandman liveth in such delight and sweetnesse of situation, that you may repine at his health and prosperity: but if you consider in what comelinesse and decency, in what peace & tranquility, in what neatnes and hospitality, in what wealth and good condition; you will fall to praising of God, for imparting his blessings to our nation, and wishing the like to your owne deficient countrey in this kinde: For beleeve it (as you shall heare heereafter) whether he be Purchaser or Farmer, our enemies have repined at our prerogatives in this kinde, and our friends embtaced our noble customes with desire of imitation. I could adde many things to the ampliation of our glory, as our havens and harbours, especially in Ireland, our rivers, high wayes, secure travelling, universities, castles, bathes, mines, and honorable orders of watchings, trainings, and musters: but I referre them to their due places, when I shall proove our excellency and transcending prerogatives beyond other nations. And thus much for our glory.
WE will begin with the blessing of all blessings, and as the Logicians say, Causa sine qua non, which is RELIGION, or the true worshipping of God, and to bee found amongst us, or no where in the world: For I hope without further disputing, as I have spoken else where, wee will exclude even out of our thoughts, heathenish prophanation, and the filthinesse of idolatry, against which the sharpest arrowes of Gods quiver are darted, and the Prophets sound out his judgement, as terribly, as the Angels the trumpets to summon the inhabitants of the earth against the day of doome. But because the Devill before the generall dissolution must appeare like an Angell of light, and hath taught us cunning to deceive our owne soules with false interpretations [Page 271] of scripture, with the impostures of aequiuocation, with adding and diminishing to and from the booke of life, to which most formidable curses are belonging, with quite extinguishing the second commandement, & other dangerous pollutions infecting the Churches of Europe: I thought it not amisse both to discover the enormities of the 1. Greeke, and 2. Latine superstition, and muster together some pretty forces out of Gods campe against the 3. pride of the Popish Cl [...] rgy: 4. the worlds vilipending the true Saints of God: 5. and that deceivable worshipping of images under a covert praying to the Saints, upon a supposition of being our Mediators in heaven: of all which in order, and first against idolatry.
When Rahel stole her fathers idols, there was much adoe in the search, and Laban would faine have pickt a quarrell with Jacob: but God foreseeing the wretchednes of his minde, prevented the mischiefe, and laughed mans invention to scorne, even before the Law was established: But presently so soone as the L O R D had prescribed them, what to relie upon, even twise in one chapter the gods of silver and gold were forbidden, and a sentence pronounced, that hee which offred unto any gods save unto the L O R D should be slaine: whereupon by a divine inspiration, Jacob reformed his houshold by putting away the idols, termed in scripture, clensing, purging, and pleasing of God. If you come forward to Moses government: never any temptation traduced him for impatience, being the meekest man on earth, as at the making the golden calfe in Horeb, and the folly of Aaron, which brought 3000 men to destruction: but looke a little further, and all fellowship with Idolaters is forbidden; [Page 272] and whereas the wickednes of mans invention had so farre enlarged it selfe, as to terrifie one another with the mischiefe wrought by Devils, imposturing them yet withall by a cunning art of pacification in offering sacrifices, and vowes to that purpose, God interdicted the same, and Moses flatly prohibited such abomination: yea in the 20 of Leviticus it was absolute death to offer their children unto Molech, meaning any kinde of idoll: nay more, such was the jelousie of Gods honor from the beginning, that it was losse of life to blaspheme the name of the living, mighty, and onely true God.
In the 26 of Leviticus idolatry is forbidden againe, and the very making of images reputed an unanswerable sinne; and because the policie of man should be quite defeated, the eternall providence is contented to yeeld reasons for the same in the 4 ofDeuteronomie 15: yea such sufficient reasons, that we may conclude them positive lawes to all Nations. First in the third verse, to prevent their destruction, lest they might utterly perish, as they did, because of Baal Peor. Secondly, because it was wisdome and understanding, wherein the naturall man delighted, to keepe the ordinance of God, vers. 6. Thirdly, because the Lord had done more for them in their deliverances, than for other Nations, v. 7. Fourthly, because the lawes of God were better, more upright, and had a fuller justice in them than the lawes of other Nations, v. 8. Fiftly, because they saw no image in that day, wherein the Lord spake unto them in Horeb, and out of the fire, v. 15. Sixthly, because we must not worship either sunne, or moone, and starres, which are most glorious; therefore much lesse the inferior creatures, much lesse idols and images the worke of mens hands: [Page 273]Argumentum à fortiori, or à maiore ad minus, v. 19. Seventhly, because God was angry with Moses for speaking in their behalfe, when they had worshipped the golden calfe inHoreb, and punished him for their sakes, with debarring him from entring into the land of Canaan, v. 21. Eightly, and last of all, because they might be blessed in performing the will of God, whom they knew to be the onely true God, v. 35. Whereupon when the Jewes were to take possession of the land of the Gentiles, although it might be intended, that there could not be wrought an utter extirpation at the first; yet did the spirit of God covenant with them, that they should not be at atonement with their abominations, but destroy their idols utterly: yea a litle further, the very places where the idols were to be erected are to be abandoned, as if he should then say, I will be worshipped, as I command, and not as mans fancy deludeth, whereupon followed that great curse against the inticers, and seducers to idolatry, and the Magistrates had a strict commandement to prevent the planting of groves and trees, the very nurses of heathenish invention, and to hinder the occasions of solitarie sequestration, whereby were practised Diabolicall arts, Pithonisticall incantations, Cabalisticall secrets, Hieroglyphicall representations, imposturing devises, and all dangerous sacrifices belonging to the formall perfecting the same.
This that is alleaged might be sufficient to understanding men to affright them from affecting either idoll, image, or churchpainting: But I will goe a litle further, and wade in the foord of this swelling streame, which from the springs of the Prophets overflow the fields of all countries: but how? even by shouldring aside the proud cast- [...]pbanks of opposition, and threatning Gods vengeance [Page 274] against such as dare perpetrate such llicit actions. So that if I store this discourse with some collected abstracts, intimating nothing from envy, or malice against the greatnes and wealth of other Kingdomes, which are Idolaters, I hope we shall thereby avoide in our selves the least savouring of those monstrous customes ofIndia, China, or other dangerous Kingdomes, and adulterate excuses of misled Christians, who thus farre agree with the grossest idolaters, that their images are but representations of more excellent spirits, and no man is so senselesse to kneele to, or adore the dumbe and dead things, but onely to resuscitate our stupide memories, either of God, or his Saints, in regard the nature of man is so slender of it selfe, and the condition of the Diety so gentle to give way to any thing, which may further the adoration of his glory, and the confirmation of our saluation: in both which how grosse and palpably they abuse the great and wise God, and deceive ignorant and simple men, shall here appeare.
In the 17. of Deuteronomie there is as it were a solemne quest of enquiry against the perverters of true religion in this kinde, and the conclusion tendeth to the punishment of stoning to death; and because we should have no starting hole or tricke to deceive our selves, God is contented in the 28 to establish to his people a contract of blessing, and cursing, all tending to discover the uses and reasons of either: following it so farre, that he plainely nameth idolatry, or if you will, erecting of images, for any cause to exasperate his displeasure, that plagues, punishment, and utter extirpation must follow: to which end and purpose Josua's exhortation for the worshipping the onely, true, and wise God, and after his owne onely, true, and [Page 275] wise way, was so enlarged, commended, and applauded after his so many and great victories, and established quietnes. How neere to utter destruction, and desolation, were the Israelites in the time of the JUDGES, when the Angell rebuked the people for living wickedly in the sight of the Lord, and serving Baalam, whereupon followed a casting them away by God, and the hands of Midian fettred them in chaines seven yeere: nor could the Princes of Juda deliver them, although Gedeon began well, and set up prevailing on his strongest legs, to stand upright for their behoofe. But what followed? He and all his house fell into the pit of destruction: and wherefore? for making an ephod, wherein hee presumed yet to doe well; but it was the step and staire of idolatry, and that the cause of a following vengeance; then if you looke into Micahs story, you shall finde that every man did what was good in his owne eyes, whereby ensued murthers, rapes, robberies, and such like intolerable enormities, all having their current from this spring, that his mother made him images of silver, and he consented to the wicked worke. If you overlooke the story of Sampson, however hee lost his strength, and was inflicted with a severe punishment, of being bereaved of his sight, and disgracefull captivity; yet you saw, as the Eagle casts her bill to renew her youth, for the punishment of Idolaters, God raised up another wall of fortification, and when his vigour was restored, he pulled downe the prophane temple upon the heads of two thousand soules: when the Philistins brought the arke of God into the house of Dagon, the Idoll fell downe before it, and the men of Ashdod were plagued for abusing the same. Did not Salomon rejoyce in all worldly felicity, and was not the mantle of pleasure and happinesse spred before [Page 276] him? untill he fell to idolatry, then did his private enemies cast it out of sight, and God divided ten Tribes from his sonne, which was a strange disparity, considering his father built the Temple, consecrated the same, and blessed the people. Wherein was God so offended with Jeroboam, that he made him the capitall authour of the sins of Israel? but by reason of his golden calves, the punishment whereof was thus farre extended; His sonne died, his hand was dried up with leprosie, the seduced Prophet was killed by a Lyon, and the same Abiah that made him King, confirmed the extirpation of his family, and for all his wife went to delude him, yet she heard the judgement of terrour, which she could not prevent. In the story of Ahab, what was the cause of so many troubles in Israel, tyranny in the Common-wealth, murthering of Gods Prophets, usurpation of other mens inheritances, wickednesse of Jezabel, witchcrafts, whoredomes, and in the end a generall defection from his obedience, and conjuration against his house, was it not idolatry? wherupon followed the slaughter of the King, the casting the Queene out of a window, the killing of Baals Prophets, first by Eliah, then by Jehu, and an utter confusion in Juda and Israel.
Wherein was Jehoiada so acceptable to God, as when he destroyed the altars of Baal, and layd his images on a heape? looke amongst all the Kings of Juda, or Israel; and whereas you finde some of them murthered, some of them deposed, some of them taken away in the pride of their yeeres, some of them lepers, and some of them carried into captivity: it was all by reason of idolatry, & transfounding the adoration of the onely true God, with the infectious leprosie of mens traditions: thus Azariah of Juda became a Leper, Zacharia of Israel was slaine by [Page 277] Shallum by Menahen, and Menahen purchased his peace of Assyria by money. The wicked idolatry of Ahas, and that horrible consecration of his sonne in fire, was a motive of trouble and desolation to all Jerusalem. Hosea King of Israel was ensnared, and he and his realme caught in the net of Assyrian policy, by reason of their confidence in Idols, & that eVery one worshipped the God of his nation, contrary to Moses Law; but what ensued? curses, plagues, Utter desolatenesse, adumbration of the sunneshine of heavenly favours, and when they presumed of welldoing, in making a hotchpotch of religion in Samaria, the Lyons of the forrest came into the city, and devoured both Priests and people.
When Manasses restored idolatry, giving life to filthy prophanation, which viper-like abused the curtesie of him which warmed her, and stung him to death. I will bring (sayes God) an evill upon Juda and Jerusalem, that who heareth of it, both his eares shall tingle, & I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of Ahab, and I will wipe Jerusalem, as a man wipeth a dish, and turne it upside downe: so Ammon was slaine by his servants, and the poyson of idolatry that had choaked the people of God with the dreggs of abomination, made Juda so ulcerous and deformed, that God would not know his owne handyworke, but suffered them to be led into captivity, and brought into the schoole of tyrannous correction.
Looke over all the prophesie of Esay, where the desolation of Jerusalem is denounced, where the Medes and Persians shall destroy Babel, where Moab must looke for an overthrow, where Damascus and Ephraim must come to ruine, where the Aegyptians must be dislocated by the Assyrians, [Page 278] where Aethiopia, Idumea, and Arabia must grone under affliction, where Tyrus must feele the yoke of subjection, and all superbous Monarchies come to ruine: and you shall finde that idolatry is the cause, and principall motive of Gods wrath against them. nor desisteth he so, but exemplifieth at large, how the full cup of Gods vengeance floweth over for following the traditions of men: nay more, certaine curses are exaggerated against such, as either adhere to mans assistance, or are seduced with worldly vanity, and in the 41. chapter, you shall finde an ironicall derision of the Inhabitants of the Ilands, for making of images, and such like bestiall traducements, especially for extenuating the power of God, by introducing the inventions of man, and mingling worldly devices with true religion, concluding in the 43. that there is no God but one, nor any worshipping of him, but in spirit and holinesse of life.
Looke into the prophesie of Jeremy, and all his Lamentations, and you shall find, why the Jewes were destroyed, why compared to a disobedient woman to her husband, why reprehended for crying out the temple, the temple, and relying upon the outward ceremonies, why exprobrated for following strange Gods, after the custome of their fathers, why threatned with such plagues, as savoured of bitternesse & poysoning their outward prosperity, cheefly for idolatry, as more especially 22. Then followeth the word of God, like the voice of a cryer in the wildernesse, against Aegypt, the Philistins, Moabites, Ammonites, Idumea, Damascus, Kedar, and Elam, all in one chapter: nor is it a bare angrie vehemencie; but illustred with many excellent comparisons, not desisting till he leave Babylon flat on the ground, yeelding reasons for her desolation, because the [Page 279] nations of the world were made drunke with the carowses out of that golden cup, which shee represented out of the Lords hand, and all to shew the vanitie and wickednesse of idolaters.
Ezekiels visions were most against Israel, and his mouth opened the fearefull indignation of the Lord against Jerusalem, because their altars were erected to strange Gods, and that they made images of the sunne, to pollute their soules worse then the carrion of a dunghill: then proceedeth he against them with personating names, calling Samaria and Jerusalem, Aholah and Ohalibah: the end onely to discover their idolatry, and intimating Gods wrath for their notorious wandring from the true path of knowledge, insomuch that from the parable of a seething pot, Juda's destruction is threatned: yet for all this, God will not condescend to any treatise of pacification, until all the nations round about, namely Edom, Moab, Aegypt, Chaldea, Tyrus, Sidon, Gog, and Magog, taste the bitternesse of the same fruit, corrupted and made irksome by the same transgressions.
Was not the adoration of Nebuchadnezzars statua of golde, a strange and notable worke of God against Idolaters? and the history of the Kings humiliation, an instance of terrour and revenge against the pride and ambition of man? was not Baltashars tragedy and example of admiration? and would a man desire a better warning to avoyde the punishment of idolatry, and blaspheming the true God? did not Daniels miraculous delivery from the Lyons strike the Heathen with amazement? and brought confusion amongst the imaginary vanities: so that Darius himselfe disclaimed the worship of the sunne and fire, according to the ancient manner of the Persians, and proclaimed [Page 280] exaltation of the eternall Deity indeede.
Doth not Hosea threaten the people, because of idolatry, and makes Jerusalem worse then an harlot, telling of the swift comming of their enemies, by the comparison of an Eagle, resembling the Jewes to an empty vineyard, an heart divided in twaine, and concluding, that her sorrowes shall be like the travell of a woman in childe-bearing, because of their going a whoring after false Gods, or if you will, counterfet Idols, and colourable images, being no other, nor other waies used, then now the Church of Rome accustometh, by prevaricating true religion, by calling them the bookes of the Laity, by excusing them with an honourable remembrance of the Saints deceased, by corrupting them with filthy painting, and the art of the craftsman, and by a diabolicall erecting them, as if they had life and motion.
Doth not Amos (as if a man should runne a race for a reward) passe from one countrey, city, and person to another, with prophesies and threatnings against Moab, Juda, Israel, the Governours of Samaria, and the Princes of the Tribes, adding withall the famine of the word of God, for their abusing true religion, and teaching and practizing a doctrine which God never prescribed, nor had any thought correspondent.
Was not Michahs voice raised higher and higher against Juda and Israel, onely for idolatrie? and did not Zephaniah tremble at the disobedience of the Jewes? foretelling their destruction, by reason of their corruption and abomination of Idols. Looke Zechariah cleane over, and where the Jewes are affrighted with the exclamation of wants, famin, and overthrowes, his warrant proceedeth from this occasion, that the altars of incense smoake up a pace, but stinke [Page 281] before the throne of God, sending their vapours backe againe, to choake the Inhabitants of the earth. All Malachies complaints are against the Priests and Seducers of the people, who not onely were wicked themselves, but permitted the rest to be polluted with idolatry. There is scarse one chapter in the booke of wisdome, which doth not pensill out the grosse and palpable running a whoring after the ridiculous adoration of images. To conclude, our Saviour, the Evangelists and Apostles preach, that the true worshipping of God consisteth in spirituall devotion, not wordly or carnall circumstances, and inveigh against nothing more then mens traditions, the observing the outward letter, the adhering to ceremonies, and with Martha leaving the most needefull thing to bee encombred with worldly vanities and beastly corruptions, to which if you adde that excellent revelation, it is a plaine discovery of Antechrist, and how the westerne Churches should be infected with the contagious diseases of trumperies, idolatry, and divellish interpretation of Scriptures, I durst say a Jewish contradiction of the truth, and Apostate falling from the maine building of Gods Church. And thus much for Idolatry in generall.
IN the over-looking as it were the map of the worlds busines, I must needes confesse, that never Monarchy was established, or inlarged, but by the power of the sword: yet alas, when I consider the inconveniences impending, the affrightings of people, the demolition of Cities, the devastation of Countries, the slaughters of Armies, the rapes, murthers, and terrors of the world in the best conquests and victorie; I cannot but lament the condition of man, that doth extract his glory from tyrannie and curses, from confusion and turmoyle, from blood and death. For thus doe wee boast of our auncestors, and the very women doe esteeme no man noble or worthy, that cannot relate the victories of his forefathers, and dare not himselfe set furie on worke to the killing of his enemie, nay to the murthering of his [Page 317] Competitor, whether for love, or displeasure. But if you will truly consider the admirable composition of Commonwealths, and extraordinary glorie of Kingdomes, it consisteth in sedation of troubles, and in the enriching of private men: yea even Salomons greatnesse was raised to a stupendous mountaine of amasement, from the effects of a well compacted peace; in which his Temple was built, his Pallaces were finished, his Cities disposed of, his Souldiers maintained, and his glory spred abroad with sufficient fulnesse: For horses were brought him out of Arabia, fine linnen from Aegipt, perfumes and odours from Aethiopia, spices from India, precious stones from the Ilands, gold from Ophir, beasts and strange fowle from Affricke, and many other things both for exornation and pleasure from the remotest parts of the earth. But how? by the industry of Merchants, and worthy endeavours of men disposed to honour their Countrey, and advance themselves: As for corruptions of life, covetousnesse, vaine-glory, ambition, pride, emulation, cunning, and infinite of this kinde, they are not to be named by way of Character, or personating any particular condition of man whatsoever. For from a Prince to a Peasant no body lives, but may be traduced in the selfe same kinde, that you would lay imputation on the shoulders of the Merchant: therefore I will absolutely conclude, that the true Merchant-adventurer, as he is one way the supporter of politicall States by commerce, conversation, and bringing in of wealth, so is he another way the Atlas of honour and magnificent majesty by his customes, filling the store-houses of a Court, supplying the wants of a pallace, pleasing the desires of novelty, cooling the heates of pride, and satiating the vanitie of wishes; nay if you would [Page 320] and the Ilands, explored Virginia, Norrembega, Guiana, and other coasts, and made a trade with these Indians for divers commodities; so that from one place or other of our Countrey, we have not so few as a 1000. sailes of shippes abroad: nor so small a number as a 100000. persons disperced under this acceptable title of Marchant. For so I must tell you, that except you advise with your selfe for this denomination in many places of the world the excuse of curiositie will not serve your turne: For you shall be taken for a Spie, and a dangerous Hypocrite, such is the jealousie of Kingdomes toward wanton Travellers, and the necessitie of entertainment for well imploied men. And thus much for some speciall excellencies wherein England excelleth all other Nations.