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A CURB FOR SECTARIES AND BOLD PROPHECIERS: By which Richard Farnham the Weaver, Iames Hunt the Farmer, M. Greene the Feltmaker, and all other the like bold Propheciers and Sect Leaders may be bridled and kept within their own beaten way, And the Sacred and weightie worke of the Miniſtery bee reſerved to men, whom education fits, God cals, and good order in our Church prefers thereunto.

A matter very conſiderable in theſe preſent times?

Doe men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thiſtles?

Math. 7 16.

LONDON, Printed, 1641.

To the zealous but miſled followers of Preachers in Corners.


THe Engliſh Proverb ſayes, None is more bold then blind Baiard, and the compari­ſon holds well, making Zeal joyned with igno­rance like to mettle in a blind Horſe, which renders him miſchievous, rather then uſefull. The Phariſees ſaid, they ſaw, but were indeed blind Lea­ders of the blinde, till both fell into the ditch; and God fired Ieruſalem for their miſled Zeal. Beware of following their like. As of old, ſo in theſe latter days, there are falſe Prophets ſaith Saint Paul, Their methods and ſleights are ſubtile to deceive you, their skill very ſhallow and meane to informe you. The wiſeman hath his eyes in his head, and ſeeth this. And if you will not put your garment to a Botcher, nor truſt your ſick bodie to be cured by a Quack­ſaver; Will you ſubmit your ſouls guidance to them, whom your itching eares, and ſelf will, and blinde humour affects? A Prophet or ſonne of a Prophet would have more to ſay: but the glaſse following, if you have eies to ſee, may give you a ſight of your Leaders defects, and your own fancies.


A Curb for Sectaries and bold Propheciers.

Every man is not fit to take upon him the Miniſtery.SAint Paul, a Maſter builder in Gods houſe, having ſpoken of bringing men to ever­laſting life by the Miniſtery of men, ſaith, Who is ſufficient for theſe things? 2 Cor. 2.16. The queſtion implyes, that it is not an eaſie matter to be fitted for this ſacred work.

In many reſpects therefore a ſingular care is to be taken, what perſons be admitted to ſo great a charge: and that,Reaſ. 11 Becauſe they are either a ſavour of life to life, or a ſavour of death to death to their hearers. Their office muſt needes bee of much circumſpection and truſt, ſeeing the iſſues of it are of ſo great con­cernment.

2 The titles given them ſhew, as the excellencie,Reaſ. 2ſo the weightineſſe of their office, for they are called Husbandmen in Gods field, Planters, and Waterers in his Garden: Want of skill in managing this charge may produce thornes, thiſtles, weeds. They are Gods Shepherds, and have their flocks, as ſheep apt to ſtrey; if they heedfully prevent it not; They are Stewards of the heavenly myſteries, Teachers in Gods ſteed, co-workers with God, Watch mē, Overſeers of others, Embaſſadors. They are the Lights of the World; and God, when he gave Lights to the World, took a view2 of them, to ſee that they were good: and ſeeing Dea­cons muſt firſt bee tryed, and then Miniſter, if they bee found faithfull; much-more muſt Workmen of higher place not have hands laid ſuddenly upon them, nor run before they be ſent, nor take a calling upon them, un­leſſe a Titus or Timothy, put in place to that end, ordain them, and appoint them to the work.

3 The treaſures which God intruſts them to com­municate to others are compriſed in the ſacred Scrip­tures,Reaſ. 3and are of ſo great depth, and ſo large extent, and have points ſo many and ſo conſiderable that we muſt reſume that of St. Paul, who is ſufficient for theſe things? let us look into the particulars.

Of skill in the firſt Table re­quiſite in the Clergie.In the firſt place, the knowledg of God and his worſhip, and all the circumſtances thereof, cannot ſoundly and truly be taught but by thoſe whom Gods ſpirit enables thereunto, and pious education hath fit­ted for the worke.

2 The performances of man to man, of Kings, of ſub­ordinate Rulers,In the ſecond Table. ſpirituall and temporall, in all degrees; the ſubjection required of al inferiours; all duties com­manded concerning preſervation of our perſons, mo­deſt and chaſt behaviour, true dealings in poſſeſsions & outward goods, truth in our ordinary ſpeech, and wit­neſsing in caſes of difference, the not deſiring and co­veting in heart, what is not ours. Theſe all with their circumſtances have ſo many caſes of conſcience be­longing unto them, & to be diſcuſſed concerning them, that large volumes ſcarce ſerve ſo to unfold them but that other caſes will ſtill be emergent. And in caſes of conſcience.

In Politicks.So that,

  • 1 policie and government of States and Kngdomes.
  • 2 Chriſtian cariage, converſation in3 Heaven, and civill deportment of all private perſons, in all callings and places, of all trades and profeſsions for all things generally concerning them,
    and for many particulars, are not ſo left to naturall reaſon, and hu­mane diſcretion, but that they may borrow their beſt rules from Scriptures.
    So that the government of a people, and whole Countrey, private mens own Reli­gious behaviour, and pious ordering their families may be learned from the holy Scriptures lawes, and the practice of Moſes, David, and ſundry other Saints of God, who for their circumſpect walking both in pri­vate and publique life be greatly renowned.
  • 3 Seeing in the old Teſtament we have Gods laws amply de­ſcribed in Moſes,
    Skill in law of divers kinds is grounded on Gods Law.
    and further opened and enlarged in the Prophets, and the New Teſtament afterwards, the equity and ground of many of thoſe laws of God are of uſe for tryall of all kind of Lawes, whether naturall, civill, Canon, or common Law, which in ſeverall Nations have their uſe. None of all theſe may bee repugnant to Gods Law, but ſubordinate thereunto with reference to the condition of ſeverall Nations.

3 The Old Teſtament comprehends in briefe the Hiſtory of the World for almoſt 4000. yeeres;Skill in Hiſto­rie requiſite in the Clergie. it de­clares the creation, and mans defection, the VVorlds drowning & reparation; how Gods Truth was proga­ted & the Church enlarged; what was the practice, & faith of Gods redeemed people; how many oppoſiti­ons and malitious perſecutions befell them by the E­domites, Moabites, Ammonites, Philiſtines, Egyptians, Aſ­ſyrians, Babylonians, Perſians, Grecians, and others, and how God plagued theſe Nations for their miſchie­vouſneſſe and crueltie: The New Teſtament unfolds4 the Hiſtory of Chriſt our Saviours life and death, the planting of the Chriſtian Church, the doctrine of the holy Apoſtles after Chriſts Aſcention. In theſe are many weighty points to be diſcuſſed, ſome varietie in circumſtances to be reconciled, and the ſweet harmo­ny of both Teſtaments to be explaned?

Skill in Chro­nologie.4 How frequently is the account of times recorded in the old Teſtament, and ſometime in the new? That wee might not confine it to the old, as a matter then onely conſiderable; The holy Ghoſt hath rolated the times of Gods mercies and judgments on the World, as a light and luſtre to ſtory, as a preſerver of order, & confirmer of certaintie in Narration, and Man ought ſeriouſly to conſider the ſame. For the Husb and man is not more obſervant of fit ſeaſons, for his Countrey affaires, then God hath beene of due times in his dea­lings with men, and managing matters in the field of the World for mans good.

In Geography.5 Who can well underſtand the diſperſion of Noahs ſonnes, and their children, and the ſpeeches often run­ning upon them, and the places of their habitation, and how they came to entermeddle with Gods people? Who can rightly diſtinguiſh of the Rivers, Mountains, and Cities mentioned in ſacred Writ, if he be not ac­quainted with Geographie?

In the deep ſe­crets of Pro­pheſiers.In Gods Booke there are many prophecies, which declare deep and hidden ſecrets by expreſsions excel­lent and much ſurpaſsing the ordinary ſtraine. Many of theſe are to be ſearched into and cleered, as by other plainer Scriptures, ſo by the Hiſtories of the World, which before Chriſts time were of vaſt comprehenſi­on, and of far greater ſince, in regard of the Goſpells5 entertainment, or abuſe & rejection now in many more parts of the world. What knowledge, what ſtudy, and meditation is together with the aſsiſtance of Gods ſpirit required for the opening of theſe propheſies, which are rich and comfortable treaſures left to GODS Church?

In the know­ledge of na­ture.7 For the cleering and explaning many Scriptures it is requiſite to have good skill in many naturall mat­ters; not onely becauſe the wiſdome and power of the Creatour is ſeen to be wonderfull in the Creatures, but alſo becauſe God often in Scripture ſpeaks of the Eagle, Ravens, Stork; of Cedars, Vines, Algu•••ims; of Dromedaries, Badgers, and Lions of divers kinds of the Leviathan and the Tannin or Diacon of the Sea, and of many other matters in nature which are often made uſe of for mans information: and therefore tis ex­pedient that theſe matters ſhould be made brown.

In the Hebrew and Greek tongues, &c.8 Seeing the old Teſtament is written for the moſt part in the Hebrew tongue, and ſome few paſſages in the Chaldee, it muſt neceſſarily be that there are ſome difficulties in our Tranſlations, which cannot be per­fectly looked into without the knowledge of theſe tongues. There are alſo ſome objections of men erro­neous on both hands, which cannot poſſibly beſſolved without very good skill in theſe tongues. Rare French and German words cannot be well knowne, but of the skilfull French and German, nor rate Hebrew words but of the learned Iews; And ſeeing the Hebrew tongue is now no where purely ſpoken, nor extant unmixt, but in the Bible, ſome hard words in this tongue are to be knowne by the tongues moſt neere to the Hebrew, as the Syriack and Arabick: for a word ſeldome uſed in6 Hebrew may be more frequent in them. And for the new Teſtament it is written in the Greek tongue, which is very copious and elegant, and hath many words of ambiguous uſe and ſignification. It hath alſo ſome Latine words as Denarion and Taberne, and ſome He­brew and Syriack, as Corban, Maranath, and divers o­thers: What ſtudy for skill herein is requiſite? Be­ſides in the New Teſtament be many forms of ſpeech borrowed from the Old, many Hebraiſmes, many ſhort and deep ſpeeches inexplicable without confe­rence with ſome ſpeciall clauſes of the Old. And how often in many paſſages of both Teſtaments is mention made of the cuſtomes, manners, and conditions of ſe­verall Nations in the World, of their Gods and Idola­trous worſhip?

In Rhetorick.9 How many lofty and brave ſtrains of Eloquence, in Eſay and the Prophets, in Paul & the Revelation, would ſeeme ſtrange and be unknown? how many admirable and ſublime carriages of ſpeech and figures far beyond the beſt Heathen Oratours would be unobſerved; did not the art of Rhethorike begun of old and perfected in theſe latter times, and applyed to ſacred uſe, lend her helping hand?

In Logick.10. How often ſhould wee erre in the context of Scripture, what improbable deductions would thence be ſtrained, how many ſound proofes for neceſſary Doctrines and concluſions would be unobſerved, had we not together with the ſpirit of GOD, which is the principall, the uſe of Logick all Rules, as a good ac­ceſſory? Gods providence protects his ſervants, yet do they gird on their ſwords in their journeys, and the Spirit of God doth leade us into all ſacred truth, yet7 Art is not to be refuſed to keep us from being ſurpri­zed by ſpirituall thieves. But ſome object,Object. The Apo­ſtles, and ſo we, by the Spirit of God can doe more good then any by his Art. Anſwer. Speak to the Jews,Anſw. Indians, Spantards, and others among us, as the Apo­ſtles did to ſeverall Nations, though not educated to their tongues, and we will much the rather credit your ability to teach us the truth (which you pretend Ar­tiſts miſſe of) in our own tongue.

Beſides, the queſtion is not whether you by the ſpi­rit (which you preſume to have) can by it alone doe more, then others by art alone, but whether more then others, who have the ſpirits aſſiſtance as well as you; and alſo education at ſome Gamaliels feet, as Paul had. Gods Spirit knew, how to make uſe of Art, when Moſes brought up in the Egyptian learning was called to the Government of Iſrael, when Aholiah and Beza­leel were choſen for the work of the Tabernacle, when Jubals invention was taken in to the furniſhing of Da­vids Quire. Did yee know Art, or the right uſe of Art, yee would not diſ-eſteem it.

In the ancient Fathers.11 How many paſſages in the ancient Fathers of the Chriſtian Church acquaint us with Gods goodneſſe to his ſervants, ſhew the Hereſies reigning in their dayes, and their Arguments againſt the ſame? How often doe they open difficulties in Scripture, in which we, had they not gone before us, might have erred? Doe not they declare how far they were from Papiſticall ſuperſtitions and errours on the one hand, and from fanatical fancies and groundleſſe opinions on the other hand? Object. Object. They had their infirmities and did in ſome things erre. Anſwer. Anſw. If yee have rob'd the8 Pope of his Chaire, and have an unerring certainty, throw the firſt ſtone at them. Remember Michaiahs accuſers, and the horns which ſmote him. Goe not about to take the moat out of their eye, if yee have a beam in your own. Give the ancient Fathers their due, and know that there is good uſe of them.

In controver­ſies of divers kinds.12 How large is the field of Polemicall Divinitie and Controverſie? How neceſſary is it to have the Ar­guments of Papiſts. Atheiſts, Turks, and ſeverall Se­ctaries well anſwered? Why ſhould miſpriſions in Hiſtorie, Propheſies, tongues, caſes of conſcience and the like, goe unconfuted to the great prejudice of Chri­ſtian truth? Why ſhould not the abuſe of Logick and other Arts be called to account by ſuch as have the true uſe thereof? Let then Polemicall skill and School Divinitie rightly managed have its due place and eſteeme.

Of this large extent are matters to be ſtudied by the Clergie, things Spirituall, Temporall, Eternall, treated on in Scripture, are within their taske. In regard where­of I propound theſe queſtions to any indifferent Reader.

  • 1 Whether perſons, educated in Manuary Trades, and ſpending their time therein, can poſsibly attaine to ſo different kinds of knowledge, and bee able to con­firme truth and anſwer doubts: which profeſſed Stu­dents (ſuppoſe but of equall parts) cannot attain with­out long continued education, direction, practice?
  • 2 Seeing our Land by Gods bleſsing is better pro­vided for with a learned, Religious, painfull Clergie, old and young, then ever heretofore, then any land in the World: are they well adviſed, who will be taught9 by ſuch as leap from the Shop-board to the Pulpit, rather then by them, whom education fits, and God and authority cals to the work?
  • 3 Whether Colleges and Schools now, as of old the Schools of the Prophets, be not of ſingular uſe to fit ſeverall perſons for the manifold knowledge requi­red in the Clergie?
  • 4 Seeing one man cannot excell in all theſe kindes of knowledge,
    • Firſt, becauſe mans life is ſhort and Art long,
    • Secondly, God hath made men of diffe­rent capacities and abilities, whether ſome of the Clergy are not to be directed to one ſtudy, ſome to another, ſome fitted for higher, ſome for lower em­ployments and places?
    As in the Apoſtles times, all were diſpoſed of according to their different gifts, 1 Co­renth. 12.
  • 5 Whether a generall knowledge in all theſe kinds be not of good uſe in every Clergie man, that upon occaſion of doubt or difficultie he may know to what book or man, having exact skill in that kind of know­ledge, he may have recourſe for reſolution?
  • 6 Whether, becauſe tis not fit any man ſhould war upon his own coſt, proviſion of meanes hath not beene well made, and may well be augmented (as times dif­fer) for encouragement and maintenance of Students, and learned men in thoſe ſeverall kindes.
  • 7 Seeing teachers of ordinary congregations are to apply themſelves to their hearers capacity, and to have as milke for babes, ſo ſtrong meate for more able Chriſtians: whether good benifices have not beene well by our forefathers alotted them, and whether it be not pittie they ſhould be diverted or impaired, And the Clergie put to ſuit for them?
  • 10
  • 8 Whether ſeeing exact skill in ſacred Hiſtories and matters of the Church, in ſeverall tongues, in contro­verſies, and the like, being ſomewhat removed from popular capacities and men of meaner parts, and yet moſt neceſſary to be by ſerious ſtudy attained, ſuch as excell therein may not be well provided for, by ſome of the Dignities, Prebends, and other the like prefer­ments in our Church?
  • 9 Whether ſome men of ſingular naturall parts, and having got by education and practice a great meaſure of knowledge above mentioned, and being men very religious, conſcionable, and grave, are not fitted by God for giving counſell and advice in the greateſt matters among Gods people, as Eliazer did to Ioſua, Nathan to David, Johojada to Ioas, Jehoſua to Zorobabel?
  • 10 Whether ſome Clergie men eminent for skil & government by gods bleſsing on their education, learning, and practice, as the Apoſtles were by Gods extraordinary guift, may not be thought fit to govern, direct, and inform others ſubordinate to them, and to order both Clergie men and their meanes for the good of the Church, as did the Apoſtles, and their ſuc­ceſſors after them.

I have done, and leave all to the wiſely conſiderate. More might have beene ſaid of the bounds of the Clergies skill, more queſtions annexed: But this little may informe ſuch as will ſee; ſuch as put out their own cies what ſalve can cure? God help them; his good Spirit guide us all.


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TextA curb for sectaries and bold propheciers by which Richard Farnham the weaver, Iames Hunt the farmer, M. Greene the feltmaker, and all other the like bold propheciers and sect leaders may be bridled and kept within their own beaten way, and the sacred and weightie worke of the ministery bee reserved to men, whom education fits, God cals, and good order in our church prefers thereunto. A matter very considerable in these present times.
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(EEBO-TCP ; phase 2, no. A81186)

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Bibliographic informationA curb for sectaries and bold propheciers by which Richard Farnham the weaver, Iames Hunt the farmer, M. Greene the feltmaker, and all other the like bold propheciers and sect leaders may be bridled and kept within their own beaten way, and the sacred and weightie worke of the ministery bee reserved to men, whom education fits, God cals, and good order in our church prefers thereunto. A matter very considerable in these present times. [2], 10 p. [s.n.],London :Printed, 1641.. (Reproduction of the original in the British Library.)
  • Farnham, Richard, d. 1642 -- Early works to 1800.
  • Greene, John, -- Feltmaker -- Early works to 1800.
  • Hunt, James, -- Farmer -- Early works to 1800.
  • Dissenters, Religious -- England -- Early works to 1800.

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