ONLINE TEXTS FROM ENGLISH RELIGIOUS HISTORY
formerly printed by Rhwymbooks

 

Dialogue on church windows: Discourse between a Protestant, a Glazier and a Separatist

Dialogue on Church Windows originally published as The Arraignement of Superstition or A Discourse between a Protestant, a Glazier, and a Separatist Concerning The pulling-down of Church-Windows Showing, The good mind of the Protestant, the indifference of the Glazier, and the purity and zeal of the Separatist

London
1641


Separatist:

Come honest Glazier, we must crave your aid
To help us pull these popish windows down,
And let new glass for which you shall be paid,
For sure the Lord on us for them doth frown
And truly brethren should we let them stand,
I fear 'twill bring a terror to this land.

Glazier:

I hope not so Sir, these are ancient things
That long have stood in former ages past
Since churches were, at least, since Christian kings
Had government, they still in churches last,
Least by mishap some crack or pieces shattered
But now it seems they all must down be battered.

Separatist:

What should they else, they do but bar the light
The Lord hath sent, and trouble much our sight
That scarce at noonday we can see to read
The holy Bible for the paint and lead,
'Tis like a popish tabernacle painted,
I do not like a thing so much besainted.

Protestant:

When these old windows were at first new painted,
'Twas to adorn the church in seemly way
Whereas you say they are so much besainted,
'Tis but the pictures of the saints, not they,
But yet I think if they were saints indeed,
You'd pull them down, or else you'd make them bleed.

Glazier:

Sir, you say true, and truly in my mind,
A day will come, when some will pay for all,
For if old time again should turn the wind,
And papistry into our land recall,
Where they should come again to say their masses,
They'd with us hanged, for pulling down their glasses.

Separatist:

'Tis no matter, what weigh we their wishes,
Flowers will grow, you know, where serpents hisses,
And light will shine to us that truth doth handle,
While they in darkness sit, and hold the candle;
Give us the light, let them in darkness mass it,
'Tis now our right, when it's theirs, let them new glass it.

Protestant:

This is even just according to this world,
What's mine's mine own, and no man is the better,
But when I'm dead, and in my grave is hurled,
Where's then my right, or who is then my debt.
What in this world we do unjustly grapple,
I fear in th' next t'will make our bones to rattle.

Glazier:

Methinks 'tis pity ancient monuments
Because they are popish; that's the harm they do,
Should from the churches thus be torn and rent,
Then pull down churches: they are popish too.
For surely they were built in popish times,
And still are guilty of some popish signs.

Protestant:

Glaziers be merry, golden days are come,
Drinke off old sherry, let your diamonds run
On white and green, no yellows, blues nor reds,
Shall dim your sights, or trouble more your heads.
'Tis better ordered till the day of doom,
We banish colours to the sea of Rome.

Separatist:

But yet not so I do not like that way,
Fearing a pope, a masse for us should say;
And we be guilty of their idolatry,
Should so be dammed to hell eternally.
Therefore to bar the dangers that may fall,
'Tis better break them into pieces small.

Glazier:

Nay, better then us glaziers them detain,
For being broke, they will do no man good,
they may perhaps in time come up again,
And we may pitch them where before they stood.
For sure 'twill vex our heads thrice more to make them
Than now it will your consciences to break them.

Protestant:

Were I a Glazier, sure I now might live
With ruins of church windows, and might give
A yearly pension to those hungry souls
That daily walk within the church of Paul's,
And make Saint Peter from the painted glass
Through clear white day to see an English mass.

Glazier:

Were you a Glazier it would vex your mind
To see such curious windows broken here,
Seeing they hurt no man in any kind
And sure they cost our ancient fathers dear.
But were Saint Peter here set with Saint Paul,
You'd pull them down, nay, crucifix and all.

Separatist:

What's Paul or Peter unto any here,
Or what's the crucifix, or Mary's peer?
Why should we suffer in our church to stand
Such fabulous idols made by mortal hand.
Lord forbids it and we must obey,
Fearing least people unto them should pray.

Protestant:

See here's the picture of our Gracious Queen
Elizabeth of famous memory,
Which picture is in many churches seen
As a memorial to eternity.
It is no idol, yet by mortal hand
'Tis marvel your zeal will suffer it to stand.

Separatist:

Sir, that's a picture that may well deserve
(For that the church she did so well preserve
From popish errors, and from other crimes)
A lasting memory in all our times,
Should we that picture seek for to deface
We wrong our church, likewise condemn his grace.

Glazier:

Sir, let me ask you one thing by the way,
Is not our Savior Christ head of this church?
And doth not he preserve it night and day
From all invading enemies, foul lurch,
Yet we his picture from his church erase
And think thereby we do him no disgrace.

Protestant:

Methinks it is a comely different thing,
To see our Savior's picture in the church,
And saints in every light or window seen,
The more to adorn and beautify this church.
For in my mind that place would best beseem
A Savior's picture than a pictured Queen.

Separatist:

The Lord defend me, thou art one of hope
And, an adopted son unto the Pope.
Thy faith is feeble, and thy state is weak,
Thou dost so fondly and profanely speak,
Truly I fear the Lord hath thee forsaken,
thou art so much with popish relics taken.

Protestant:

It seems all's popish that's not like to you.
Sir, we are protestants, Professors true,
Of Christian faith, though we seem not to rase
These ancient things, our churches to deface.
I or sure our fathers lived in popish days,
(Long before we) that first these things did raise.

Separatist:

You sail too far upon the popish sea,
Your ship is crack, your anchor at decay,
Your sails are fair, yet made of rotten cloth,
Your mast is high, and for to stoop 'tis loath,
But it must bend, the Lord says, they that climb
Unless by faith, will fall in a short time.

Protestant:

Sir, you're deceived. We do not love to climb
Though we have faith, but love not to presume,
And we have hope will bring us home in time,
Whilst you at rovers fail to meet the moon
Your faith's eclipsed. Your hope is fled, 'tis strange
Your charity and zeal should love to range.

Glazier:

Perhaps they're gone to some astronomer
To try the planets or to meet their fate
Or else perchance they are gone to Amsterdam
To Ananias or some other mate,
If faith be sick and hopes weak stomach wamble,
Then charity and zeal may well go ramble.

Separatist:

Learned and profane sons to iniquity,
To jeer a man of zeal and piety,
The Lord will curse such superstitious fools
And cast them out from Ananias schools.
I think you some of Rome's impetuous store
Who loves the painted glass loves idols more.

Protestant:

Proud brother peace, the paint placed in glass
Shows better far than in your sister's face
Which, if upon themselves they did bestow,
You'll love them well, yea you will saint them too,
And if the spirit move, not think it amiss
Upon them to bestow a holy kiss.

Separatist:

Blasphemous words from superstitious tongue,
Had ever piety and zeal such wrong
By superstitious and profane report
Thus to revile the annoyance of the Lord.
Truly I'll leave such children of the Devil,
Fearing the Lord should curse me for your evil.

Glazier:

What need these jeers, you talk of profanation,
Impiety, and things not now in fashion.
End your foul faction, here amend
What is amiss on both sides. Do not spend
Your talents idly, let an end be made.
Live by your zeal and I will by my trade.


FINIS