Henry Craik, ed. English Prose. 1916. Vol. I. Fourteenth to Sixteenth Century
Disturbers of Peaceful Union
By Robert Parsons (15461610)
From the Preface to a Briefe apologie or defence of the Catholike Ecclesiastical Hierarchie and subordination in England
BUT for that we are forced to expect yet some longer time, before we can have these informations together, and in the mean space are much urged by the request of divers good men, as also by the intemperate manner of proceeding in the authors of these late books (whosoever they be) to set forth somewhat for a stay or stop, for that these men cease not to write most opprobriously without all regard of truth or modesty, and do promise more daily in the same kind: therefore have we yielded to this necessity (though sore against our wills) hoping that shortly the other will be ready to succeed also, albeit our hearty desire should be, that the authors of these infamous books, and of this most scandalous division in our Church, would so enter into themselves, and christianly correct their own doings, as both this and that might be spared, and all join again in the sweet union of peace, which is needful for our work in hand, and was enjoyed by us before this animosity of a few hath put all a-fire, to their heavy judgment no doubt, according to the Apostles threat, if seriously they seek not to remedy the matter in the time: and we do say of a few, for that we cannot persuade ourselves that all those who by divers occasions are named in these books for discontented, have given consent to have them written in the style they go in, and much less to be printed, and published to the world, for we have a far different opinion of their modesty, and Christian spirit, so as these books must needs be presumed to have been published either by some one or few discomposed passionate people, or by some heretic, or other enemy to dishonour them all, and discredit our cause and nation, and so as to such we shall answer, and not against our brethren whom we love most entirely, and of whose prayers we desire to be partakers, as them, and we, and you, all of the sweet and holy Spirit of Jesus our Saviour; to Whom we commend you most heartily this first of July 1601.