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Simon Says You Better PrayOne Of Us Is Lying : ...

I Have already understood a grand exception against me, for charging so much devotion and divinity, upon the sex of women who are the Actors in this Scene, and the Authours of this discourse, it is true upon the first perusual of these papers, I my self did little expect to finde such Masculine vigour in them: and truly, I dare boldly affirm, that the sum of all the controversies, that our English Schools have been wrangling, and the Pulpits railing about this hundred years, is here perfectly represented on both sides; nor is it to be wondred at, that women should arive to such a perfection in divinity in this age, wherein all learning is almost become prostitute, when above a thousand years ago, we finde one of the curiousest peices of divinity, written by Athenais, who seemed to be that, which the Poets feigned of Pallas; she was bred in Paganisme, better acquainted with the Theogony of Hesiod, than the genealogy of Jesus Christ; better skil'd in Homers Illiads, then the books of the Gospel, and better in the Apothegmes of Pythagoras, then the commandments af God; but she became afterwards so skilful in the Christian Law, that she wrote in Homerick verses, the principal Acts of Jesus [Page]Christ, and even as the blessed Magdalen with the same hair, wherewith she had weaved nets for wanton love, did afterwards turn into a Towel, to wipe the feet of our Saviour, so she consecrated all the Graces of her wit and learning, which she had before misimployed in vanities, to the Trophy of Jesus. Then as to the devotion of that sex, I conceive it less questionable, when women are right set, none can go beyond them for that. The Church hath always given to them, the title of the devout sex, Their blessing is in the dew of Heaven: they resemble Bees which are born in hony: or rather those birds of the fortunate Islands, that breath no air but perfumes, and are onely nourisht with incense: they grow wholly Angelical insomuch as forgetting their sex, and all their natural imperfections, they furnish themselves with the most perfect Ideas of divinity, and scarce retain any thing in them, common with matter. We find likewise, that great priviledges and prerogatives are given to them by our Saviour, for as the chast womb of a woman, served him for a lodging, at his first entrance into the world, so when he was to issue out of it, amongst so many horrors, and terrible images of death, when stones were rent in sunder for grief under his feet, and heaven it self distended with sorrow, over his head, women also were found near to the Cross, as witnesses of his last words, and survivers of his bloud; nay, they were the first likewise, that he would do the honour to appear to after his resurrection. Now I must confess, that the prejudicators of this piece and all the devotion and divinity of that sex, carry with them a great deal of reason too, for there is a sort of fisking Gossips, who imagine devotion to he nothing but an ordinary practise of motions, and gestures, such as little puppets would make, if annimated with a quantity of Quicksilver, whilest the true virtues of devotion, we know according to S. Thomas, is nothing else but a prompt will to the service of God. others there are of them, whose devotion is altogether [Page]silken, and very fine forsooth in all things, so coy and curious they will be in the choice of persons, that Sacraments themselves are good for nothing, if they he not tyed to such and such hands, where vanity seeks its interests, nay forsooth their dovotion is such, that they will plant their prettie petite pride upon the very hair cloth of Penance, and if God would chastise such creatures to their liking, he must be forced, to tye up his rods with silk, or else they will never receive correction from his hands. Though they rise not till noon, yet as if they feared the vapours of the serain, they must be armed before they come out of their beds, with restoratives from the Kitchin, to keep their colours more fresh. Then they will set themselves down to be cloathed, with their Lookingglasses before them, as if their fingers were too good to touch their own clothes, and yet will be drest up like Idols, and so adored too by their servants, who are to stand about them, admiring of their beauty, which they have more ado too to preserve, then the Vestals of Rome, had to maintain the sacred fire, one presents their Ladyships, with white, another with red: this with some Serous, that with some Fucus, another attends the Looking-glass to hold it, or remove it at their Ladyships pleasure, whilest another stands behind to he the tell-clock, but dares not tell their Ladyships, that the hour of the Curch is ready to be past, whilst their Ladyships are fastening on their Pennons, Necklaces, or Bracelets, yet must the Canons of the Church be as easily broken, as a glass, to obey the humors of these women, and the celebration begin, when it is to be doubted, whether the Sun begin not then, to bend towards its setting: prayers in the Church must be past over with making of some sowre faces, and looking scornfully with a good grace, with some slight ceremonies of devotion it may be, which go no further neither then the outward parts; There it is, where resolutions are made of entertainments of time, to be chosen for the next [Page]day: then follow visits, gaddings, coachings, dancings, &c. besides what passeth behind the Curtain; their husbands in the mean time, are very uncivil, as they say, if they give them not permission to do any thing: and as it is said of the Moon, that she never agrees in qualities with the Sun, but when she hath ecclipsed him: so they find no concord in marriage, but in the diminution of their husbands authority. These are the Lady-birds that will make their husbands sell a large patrimony, to buy them a little Cabinet, lay out thousands of pounds upon a rope of Pearl, to wear about those necks that do better deserve a halter, nay their very ears, which they take a pride to shew little and slender, yet they must have whole Lordships hanging upon them. A man would say, to see how they pamper their bodies, that they were discended from heaven, and that thither they intended to return, without passing through the sepulchre, so they deifie their flesh, and to fatten and gild a dunghill covered with snow, they sport with the blood and sweat of men, what a sight it is, to see these Ladies groan as at a torture, under the weight and straightness of their garments, and yet for all this, will court and adore their own punishments. He that will take the pains to examine well the furniture of them, will think that they resemble those birds, that have no body almost under a great deal of feathers, then their apparrel is made rather to sell their bodies, then to cover them. I know not for my part, what may be reserved for the eyes of their husbands, when through all the streets and markets, the secret parts of their wives bodies are exposed as open, as if they were ready to be delivered over to the best bidders. Then the cloaths they wear, are so extravagant, in their head dressings, flying elbows, great gorgets, and farthinggals, that the Church dores must be made wider to receive them. These are the devotes of this age, that spend a fourth part, of their life, in dressing and besmearing [Page]themselves, to make themselves gross in one part and little in a nother, to raise terrets on their heads, and shackles on their hands and heels, to be as solicitous about adress, as if they had a Venetian Commonwealth to manage. Then they are so imperious and proud withall, that they must be no more offended, than those Stars, which are thought to send tempests, upon such as have not humbly saluted them. So many hundred Communions and exhortations have not taken off, one hair of their vanities: they will eat the immortal Lamb, once or twice a week it may be, and yet daily upon all occasions they will become Lionesses, in their houses. They will lay the holy Eucharist on their tongues, as the seat of the spouse, and yet will not bridle or restrain them from one evil word, and will speak more slanders in one dinner time, then they eat morsels. This was the reason sure, that Solomon so divinely assures us, Prov. 19. domus & divitiae dantur a parentibus, a domino autem uxor prudens, houses and riches come from Parents, but a wise and virtuous wife from the hand of God: and such doubtless as Solomon speaks of, were our divine Duelists here, as for the Doctors wife here, she was not after the rate of other Parsons wives, who must always be the best women in the parish, and take place of their Landlords and Patrons wives, if they be not Ladies forsooth, and wear better cloths two then they; no her husband was not of the common rate of Churchmen neither, who take a pleasure to employ the patrimony of Jesus, the sweat and blood of the faithful, in good cheer, excess and play, and suffer their Churches to fall to decay, the Altars to become naked, the windows shivered to pieces, the walls to weep, and Spiders there to spin their webs, Rats to run up and down, and the poor of their parish famish, whilest I know not what little wives, or wenches, drag silk at their heels, at the charge of the Crucifix. Nor was our Roman [Page]Catholick Lady here, of a much different make, being a true widdow indeed, and wholly taken up with hospitalities and charities, notwithstanding she was always under a most severe persecution here, for her conscience. Vinegar is said to be used for precious stones, which have their fire frozen over, and their luster ecclipsed, so she was to have a little touch of acerbity to enlighten her virtues: she was indeed like a Pearl that comes from the salt sea, and beheld her self involved almost from her birth, in great perplexities and horrible confusions of the age, from whence she alwaies arose with so much luster, as she made still her adversities, to be steps to the Temple of glory. Sports and feasts were punishments to her, she was seldome found in the company of men, unless it were some beggers, whose miseries she relieved, and persons assisted in sickness and in health. Her whole heart went towards God, her feet to the divine service, her hands to alms, her eyes to reading books of devotion, her arms to the exercise of huswifry, and works of her sex, and her whole body to the sacrifices, and victims of her soul. Thus because I was obliged not to publish our Duelists names, I have been bold to give you an imperfect character of some of their qualities, which I hope will discharge you of a prejudice against their following discourses; and obtain at least a pardon from them, if not acceptance from you, which I should most humbly beg likewise, that your candour would please to bestow, upon the Publisher.

Simon Says You Better PrayOne of Us Is Lying : ...



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