TO descant on the misfortunes of a person fall'n from so high a dignity, who hath also payd his final debt both to Nature and his Faults, is neither of it self a thing commendable, nor the intention of this discours. Neither was it fond ambition, or the vanity to get a Name, present, or with Posterity, by writing against a King: I never was so thirsty after Fame, nor so destitute of other hopes and means, better and more certaine to attaine it. For Kings have gain'd glorious Titles from thir Favourers by writing against privat men, as Henry the 8th did against Luther; but no man ever gain'd much honour by writing against a King, as not usually meeting with that force of Argument in such Courtly Antagonists, which to convince might add to his reputation. Kings most commonly, though strong in Legions, are but weak at Arguments; as they who ever have accustom'd from the Cradle to use thir will onely as thir right hand, thir reason alwayes as thir left. Whence unexpectedly constrain'd to that kind of combat, they prove but weak and puny Adversaries. Nevertheless for their sakes who through custom, simplicitie, or want of better teaching, have not more seriously considerd Kings, then in the gaudy name of Majesty, and admire them and thir doings, as if they breath'd not the same breath with other mortal men, I shall make no scruple to take up (for it seems to be the challenge both of him and all his party) to take up this Gauntlet, though a Kings, in the behalf of Libertie, and the Common-wealth.
And furder, since it appears manifestly the cunning drift of a factious and defeated Party, to make the same advantage of his Book, which they did before of his Regal Name and Authority, and intend it not so much the defence of his former actions, as the promoting of thir own future designes, making thereby the Book thir own rather then the Kings, as the benefit now must be thir own more then his, now the third time to corrupt and disorder the mindes of weaker men, by new suggestions and narrations, either falsly or fallaciously representing the State of things to the dishonour of this present Goverment, and the retarding of a generall peace, so needfull to this afflicted Nation, and so nigh obtain'd, I suppose it no injurie to the dead, but a good deed rather to the living, if by better information giv'n them, or, which is anough, by onely remembring them the truth of what they themselves know to be heer misaffirm'd, they may be kept from entring the third time unadvisedly into Warr and bloodshed. For as to any moment of solidity in the Book it self, save only that a King is said to be the Author, a name, then which there needs no more among the blockish vulgar, to make it wise, and excellent, and admir'd, nay to set it next the Bible, though otherwise containing little els but the common grounds of Tyranny and popery, drest up, the better to deceiv, in a new Protestant guise, and trimmly garnish'd over, or as to any need of answering, in respect of staid and well-principl'd men, I take it on me as a work assign'd rather, then by me chos'n or affected. Which was the cause both of beginning it so late, and finishing it so leasurely, in the midst of other imployments and diversions. And though well it might have seem'd in vaine to write at all; considering the envy and almost infinite prejudice likely to be stirr'd up among the Common sort, against what ever can be writt'n or gainsaid to the Kings book, so advantageous to a book it is, only to be a Kings, and though it be an irksom labour to write with industrie and judicious paines that which neither waigh'd, nor well read, shall be judg'd without industry or the paines of well judging, by Faction and the easy literature of custom and opinion, it shall be ventur'd yet, and the truth not smother'd, but sent abroad, in the native confidence of her single self, to earn, how she can, her entertainment in the world, and to finde out her own readers; few perhaps, but those few, of such value and substantial worth, as truth and wisdom, not respecting numbers and bigg names, have bin ever wont in all ages to be contented with.
And if the late King had thought sufficient those Answers and Defences made for him in his life time, they who on the other side accus'd his evil Goverment, judging that on their behalf anough also hath been reply'd, the heat of this controversie was in all likelyhood drawing to an end; and the furder mention of his deeds, not so much unfortunat as faulty, had in tenderness to his late sufferings bin willingly forborn; and perhaps for the present age might have slept with him unrepeated; while his adversaries, calm'd and asswag'd with the success of thir cause, had bin the less unfavourable to his memory. But since he himself, making new appeale to Truth and the World, hath left behind him this Book as the best advocat and interpreter of his own actions, and that his Friends by publishing, dispersing, commending, and almost adoring it, seem to place therein the chiefe strength and nerves of thir cause, it would argue doubtless in the other party great deficience and distrust of themselves, not to meet the force of his reason in any field whatsoever, the force and equipage of whose Armes they have so oft'n met victoriously. And he who at the Barr stood excepting against the form and manner of his Judicature, and complain'd that he was not heard; neither he nor his Friends shall have that cause now to find fault; being mett and debated with in this op'n and monumental Court of his own erecting; and not onely heard uttering his whole mind at large, but answer'd. Which to doe effectually, if it be necessary that to his Book nothing the more respect be had for being his, they of his own Party can have no just reason to exclaime. For it were too unreasonable that he, because dead, should have the liberty in his Book to speak all evil of the Parlament; and they, because living, should be expected to have less freedom, or any for them, to speak home the plain truth of a full and pertinent reply. As he, to acquitt himself, hath not spar'd his Adversaries, to load them with all sorts of blame and accusation, so to him, as in his Book alive, there will be us'd no more Courtship then he uses; but what is properly his own guilt, not imputed any more to his evil Counsellors, (a Ceremony us'd longer by the Parlament then he himself desir'd) shall be laid heer without circumlocutions at his own dore. That they who from the first beginning, or but now of late, by what unhappines I know not, are so much affatuated, not with his person onely, but with his palpable faults, and dote upon his deformities, may have none to blame but thir own folly, if they live and dye in such a strook'n blindness, as next to that of Sodom hath not happ'nd to any sort of men more gross, or more misleading. Yet neither let his enemies expect to finde recorded heer all that hath been whisper'd in the Court, or alleg'd op'nly of the Kings bad actions; it being the proper scope of this work in hand, not to ripp up and relate the misdoings of his whole life, but to answer only and refute the missayings of his book.
First then that som men (whether this were by him intended, or by his Friends) have by policy accomplish'd after death that revenge upon thir Enemies, which in life they were not able, hath been oft related. And among other examples we finde, that the last will of Cæsar being read to the people, and what bounteous Legacies he had bequeath'd them, wrought more in that Vulgar audience to the avenging of his death, then all the art he could ever use, to win thir favor in his life-time. And how much their intent, who publish'd these overlate Apologies and Meditations of the dead King, drives to the same end of stirring up the people to bring him that honour, that affection, and by consequence, that revenge to his dead Corps, which he himself living could never gain to his Person, it appears both by the conceited portraiture before his Book, drawn out to the full measure of a Masking Scene, and sett there to catch fools and silly gazers; and by those Latin words after the end, Vota dabunt quæ Bella negarunt; intimating, That what he could not compass by Warr, he should atchieve by his Meditations. For in words which admitt of various sense, the libertie is ours to choose that interpretation, which may best minde us of what our restless enemies endeavor, and what wee are timely to prevent. And heer may be well observ'd the loose and negligent curiosity of those who took upon them to adorn the setting out of this Book: for though the Picture sett in Front would Martyr him and Saint him to befool the people, yet the Latin Motto in the end, which they understand not, leaves him, as it were, a politic contriver to bring about that interest by faire and plausible words, which the force of Armes deny'd him. But quaint Emblems and devices, begg'd from the old Pageantry of some Twelf-nights entertainment at Whitehall, will doe but ill to make a Saint or Martyr: and if the People resolve to take him Sainted at the rate of such a Canonizing, I shall suspect thir Calendar more then the Gregorian. In one thing I must commend his op'nness who gave the title to this Book, Εικων Βασιλικη, that is to say, The Kings Image; and by the Shrine he dresses out for him, certainly would have the people come and worship him. For which reason this answer also is intitl'd, Iconoclastes, the famous Surname of many Greek Emperors, who in thir zeal to the command of God, after long tradition of Idolatry in the Church, took courage and broke all superstitious Images to peeces. But the People, exorbitant and excessive in all thir motions, are prone ofttimes not to a religious onely, but to a civil kinde of Idolatry, in idolizing thir Kings; though never more mistak'n in the object of thir worship; heretofore being wont to repute for Saints, those faithful and courageous Barons, who lost thir lives in the Field, making glorious Warr against Tyrants for the common Liberty; as Simon de Momfort, Earl of Leicester, against Henry the third; Thomas Plantagenet Earl of Lancaster, against Edward the second. But now, with a besotted and degenerate baseness of spirit, except some few, who yet retain in them the old English fortitude and love of Freedom, and have testifi'd it by thir matchless deeds, the rest, imbastardiz'd from the ancient nobleness of thir Ancestors, are ready to fall flatt and give adoration to the Image and Memory of this Man, who hath offer'd at more cunning fetches to undermine our Liberties, and putt Tyranny into an Art, then any British King before him. Which low dejection and debasement of mind in the people, I must confess I cannot willingly ascribe to the natural disposition of an English-man, but rather to two other causes. First, to the Prelats and thir fellow-teachers, though of another Name and Sect, whose Pulpit-stuff, both first and last, hath bin the Doctrin and perpetual infusion of servility and wretchedness to all thir hearers; whose lives the type of worldliness and hypocrisie, without the least true pattern of vertue, righteousness, or self-denial in thir whole practice. I attribute it next to the factious inclination of most men divided from the public by several ends and humors of thir own. At first no man less belov'd, no man more generally condemn'd, then was the King; from the time that it became his custom to break Parlaments at home, and either wilfully or weakly to betray Protestants abroad, to the beginning of these Combustions. All men inveigh'd against him; all men, except Court-vassals, oppos'd him and his Tyrannical proceedings; the cry was universal; and this full Parlament was at first unanimous in thir dislike and Protestation against his evil Goverment. But when they who sought themselves and not the Public, began to doubt that all of them could not by one and the same way attain to thir ambitious purposes, then was the King, or his Name at least, as a fit property, first made use of, his doings made the best of, and by degrees justifi'd: Which begott him such a party, as, after many wiles and strugglings with his inward fears, imbold'n'd him at length to sett up his Standard against the Parlament. Whenas before that time, all his adherents, consisting most of dissolute Sword-men and Suburb-roysters, hardly amounted to the making up of one ragged regiment strong anough to assault the unarmed House of Commons. After which attempt, seconded by a tedious and bloody warr on his Subjects, wherein he hath so farr exceeded those his arbitrary violences in time of Peace, they who before hated him for his high misgoverment, nay fought against him with display'd banners in the field, now applaud him and extoll him for the wisest and most religious Prince that liv'd. By so strange a method amongst the mad multitude is a sudden reputation won, of wisdom by wilfulness and suttle shifts, of goodness by multiplying evil, of piety by endeavouring to root out true Religion.
But it is evident that the chief of his adherents never lov'd him, never honour'd either him or his cause, but as they took him to set a face upon thir own malignant designes; nor bemoan his loss at all, but the loss of thir own aspiring hopes: Like those captive women whom the poet notes in his Iliad, to have bewailed the death of Patroclus in outward show, but indeed thir own condition.
Πάτροκλον πρόφασιν, σφῶν δ᾽αὐτῶν κήδε᾽ ἑκάστη.
Hom. Iliad. τ.
And it needs must be ridiculous to any judgement uninthrall'd, that they who in other matters express so little fear either of God or man, should in this one particular outstripp all precisianism with thir scruples and cases, and fill mens ears continually with the noise of thir conscientious Loyaltie and Allegeance to the King, Rebels in the mean while to God in all thir actions beside: much less that they whose profess'd Loyalty and Allegeance led them to direct arms against the Kings Person, and thought him nothing violated by the Sword of Hostility drawn by them against him, should now in earnest think him violated by the unsparing Sword of Justice, which undoubtedly so much the less in vain she bears among men, by how much greater and in highest place the offender. Els Justice, whether moral or political, were not Justice, but a fals counterfet of that impartial and Godlike vertue. The onely grief is, that the head was not strook off to the best advantage and commodity of them that held it by the hair; an ingratefull and pervers generation, who having first cry'd to God to be deliver'd from thir King, now murmur against God that heard thir praiers, and cry as loud for thir King against those that deliver'd them. But as to the Author of these Soliloquies, whether it were undoubtedly the late King, as is vulgarly beleev'd, or any secret Coadjutor, and some stick not to name him, it can add nothing, nor shall take from the weight, if any be, of reason which he brings. But allegations, not reasons are the main contents of this Book; and need no more then other contrary allegations to lay the question before all men in an eev'n ballance; though it were suppos'd that the testimony of one man, in his own cause affirming, could be of any moment to bring in doubt the autority of a Parlament denying. But if these his fair spok'n words shall be heer fairly confronted and laid parallel to his own farr differing deeds, manifest and visible to the whole Nation, then surely we may look on them who notwithstanding shall persist to give to bare words more credit then to op'n deeds, as men whose judgement was not rationally evinc'd and perswaded, but fatally stupefi'd and bewitch'd, into such a blinde and obstinate beleef. For whose cure it may be doubted, not whether any charm, though never so wisely murmur'd, but whether any prayer can be available. This however would be remember'd and wel noted, that while the K. instead of that repentance which was in reason and in conscience to be expected from him, without which we could not lawfully re-admitt him, persists heer to maintain and justifie the most apparent of his evil doings, and washes over with a Court-fucus the worst and foulest of his actions, disables and uncreates the Parlament it self, with all our laws and Native Liberties that ask not his leave, dishonours and attaints all Protestant Churches, not Prelaticall, and what they piously reform'd, with the slander of Rebellion, sacrilege, and hypocrisie; they, who seem'd of late to stand up hottest for the Cov'nant, can now sit mute and much pleas'd to hear all these opprobrious things utter'd against thir faith, thir freedom, and themselves in thir own doings made traitors to boot: The Divines also, thir wizzards, can be so braz'n as to cry Hosanna to this his book, which cries louder against them for no disciples of Christ, but of Iscariot; and to seem now convinc'd with these wither'd arguments and reasons heer, the same which in som other writings of that party, and in his own former Declarations and expresses, they have so oft'n heertofore endeavour'd to confute and to explode; none appearing all this while to vindicate Church or State from these calumnies and reproaches, but a small handfull of men whom they defame and spit at with all the odious names of Schism and Sectarism. I never knew that time in England, when men of truest Religion were not counted Sectaries: but wisdom now, valor, Justice, constancy, prudence united and imbodied to defend Religion and our Liberties, both by word and deed against Tyranny, is counted Schism and Faction. Thus in a graceless age things of highest praise and imitation under a right name, to make them infamous and hateful to the people, are miscall'd. Certainly, if ignorance and perversness will needs be national and universal, then they who adhere to wisdom and to truth, are not therfore to be blam'd, for beeing so few as to seem a sect or Faction. But in my opinion it goes not ill with that people where these vertues grow so numerous and well joyn'd together, as to resist and make head against the rage and torrent of that boistrous folly and superstition, that possesses and hurries on the vulgar sort. This therfore we may conclude to be a high honour don us from God, and a speciall mark of his favor, whom he hath selected as the sole remainder, after all these changes and commotions, to stand upright and stedfast in his cause; dignify'd with the defence of truth and public libertie; while others, who aspir'd to be the topp of Zelots, and had almost brought Religion to a kinde of trading monopoly, have not onely by thir late silence and neutrality bely'd thir profession, but founder'd themselves and thir consciences, to comply with enemies in that wicked cause and interest, which they have too oft'n curs'd in others, to prosper now in the same themselves.
THat which the King layes down heer as his first foundation, and as it were the head stone of his whole Structure, that He call'd this last Parlament, not more by others advice and the necessity of his affaires, then by his own chois and inclination, is to all knowing men so apparently not true, that a more unlucky and inauspicious sentence, and more betok'ning the downfall of his whole Fabric, hardly could have come into his minde. For who knows not that the inclination of a Prince is best known either by those next about him, and most in favor with him, or by the current of his own actions. Those neerest to this King, and most his Favorites, were Courtiers and Prelates; men whose chief study was to finde out which way the King inclin'd, and to imitate him exactly. How these men stood affected to Parlaments, cannot be forgott'n. No man but may remember it was thir continuall exercise to dispute and preach against them; and in thir common discours nothing was more frequent, then that they hoped the King should now have no need of Parlaments any more. And this was but the copy which his Parasites had industriously tak'n from his own words and actions, who never call'd a Parlament but to supply his necessities; and having supply'd those, as suddenly and ignominiously dissolv'd it, without redressing any one greevance of the people. Somtimes choosing rather to miss of his Subsidies, or to raise them by illegal courses, then that the people should not still miss of thir hopes to be reliev'd by Parlaments.
The first he broke off at his comming to the Crown; for no other cause then to protect the Duke of Buckingham against them who had accus'd him, besides other hainous crimes, of no less then poysoning the deceased King his Father; concerning which matter the Declaration of No more addresses hath sufficiently inform'd us. And still the latter breaking was with more affront and indignity put upon the House and her worthiest Members, then the former: Insomuch that in the fifth year of his Raign, in a Proclamation he seems offended at the very rumor of a Parlament divulg'd among the people: as if he had tak'n it for a kind of slander, that men should think him that way exorable, much less inclin'd: and forbidds it as a presumption to prescribe him any time for Parlaments, that is to say, either by perswasion or Petition, or so much as the reporting of such a rumor; for other manner of prescribing was at that time not suspected. By which feirce Edict, the people, forbidd'n to complain, as well as forc'd to suffer, began from thenceforth to despaire of Parlaments. Whereupon such illegal actions, and especially to get vast summs of Money, were put in practice by the King and his new Officers, as Monopolies, compulsive Knight-hoods, Cote, Conduct, and Ship money, the seizing not of one Naboths Vineyard, but of whole Inheritances, under the pretence of Forrest or Crown-Lands, corruption and Bribery compounded for, with impunities granted for the future, as gave evident proof that the King never meant, nor could it stand with the reason of his affaires, ever to recall Parlaments; having brought by these irregular courses the peoples interest and his own to so direct an opposition, that he might foresee plainly, if nothing but a Parlament could save the people, it must necessarily be his undoing.
Till eight or nine years after, proceeding with a high hand in these enormities, and having the second time levied an injurious Warr against his native Countrie Scotland; and finding all those other shifts of raising Money, which bore out his first expedition, now to faile him, not of his own chois and inclination, as any Child may see, but urg'd by strong necessities, and the very pangs of State, which his own violent proceedings had brought him to, he calls a Parlament; first in Ireland, which onely was to give him four Subsidies, and so to expire; then in England, where his first demand was but twelve Subsidies, to maintain a Scotch Warr, condemn'd and abominated by the whole Kingdom; promising thir greevances should be consider'd afterward. Which when the Parlament, who judg'd that Warr it self one of thir main greevances, made no hast to grant, not enduring the delay of his impatient will, or els fearing the conditions of thir grant, he breaks off the whole Session, and dismisses them and thir greevances with scorn and frustration.
Much less therfore did he call this last Parlament by his own chois and inclination; but having first try'd in vaine all undue ways to procure Mony, his Army, of thir own accord, being beat'n in the North, the Lords Petitioning, and the general voice of the people almost hissing him and his ill-acted regality off the Stage, compell'd at length both by his wants, and by his feares, upon meer extremity he summon'd this last Parlament. And how is it possible that he should willingly incline to Parlaments, who never was perceiv'd to call them, but for the greedy hope of a whole National Bribe, his Subsidies, and never lov'd, never fulfill'd, never promoted the true end of Parlaments, the redress of greevances, but still put them off, and prolong'd them, whether gratify'd or not gratify'd; and was indeed the Author of all those greevances. To say therfore that he call'd this Parlament of his own chois and inclination, argues how little truth wee can expect from the sequel of this Book, which ventures in the very first period to affront more then one Nation with an untruth so remarkable; and presumes a more implicit Faith in the people of England, then the Pope ever commanded from the Romish Laitie; or els a natural sottishness fitt to be abus'd and ridd'n. While in the judgement of wise Men, by laying the foundation of his defence on the avouchment of that which is so manifestly untrue, he hath giv'n a worse foile to his own cause, then when his whole Forces were at any time overthrown. They therfore who think such great Service don to the Kings affairs in publishing this Book, will find themselves in the end mistak'n: if sense and right mind, or but any mediocrity of knowledge and remembrance, hath not quite forsak'n men.
But to prove his inclination to Parlaments, he affirms heer, To have always thought the right way of them, most safe for his Crown, and best pleasing to his People. What he thought, we know not; but that he ever took the contrary way, wee saw; and from his own actions we felt long agoe what he thought of Parlaments or of pleasing his People: a surer evidence then what we hear now too late in words.
He alleges, that the cause of forbearing to convene Parlaments was the sparkes which some mens distempers there studied to kindle. They were indeed not temper'd to his temper; for it neither was the Law, nor the rule by which all other tempers were to bee try'd; but they were esteem'd and chos'n for the fittest men in thir several Counties, to allay and quench those distempers which his own inordinate doings had inflam'd. And if that were his refusing to convene, till those men had been qualify'd to his temper, that is to say, his will, we may easily conjecture what hope ther was of Parlaments, had not fear and his insatiat poverty in the midst of his excessive wealth constrain'd him.
Hee hoped by his freedom and their moderation to prevent misunderstandings. And wherfore not by their freedom and his moderation? But freedom he thought too high a word for them; and moderation too mean a word for himself: this was not the way to prevent misunderstandings. He still fear'd passion and prejudice in other men; not in himself: and doubted not by the weight of his own reason, to counterpoyse any Faction; it being so easie for him, and so frequent, to call his obstinacy, Reason, and other mens reason, Faction. Wee in the mean while must beleive, that wisdom and all reason came to him by Title, with his Crown; Passion, Prejudice, and Faction came to others by being Subjects.
He was sorry to hear with what popular heat Elections were carry'd in many places. Sorry rather that Court-Letters and intimations prevail'd no more, to divert or to deterr the people from thir free Election of those men, whom they thought best affected to Religion and thir Countries Libertie, both at that time in danger to be lost. And such men they were, as by the Kingdom were sent to advise him, not sent to be cavill'd at, because Elected, or to be entertaind by him with an undervalue and misprision of thir temper, judgment, or affection. In vain was a Parlament thought fittest by the known Laws of our Nation, to advise and regulate unruly Kings, if they, in stead of hearkning to advice, should be permitted to turn it off, and refuse it by vilifying and traducing thir advisers, or by accusing of a popular heat those that lawfully elected them.
His own and his Childrens interest oblig'd him to seek, and to preserve the love and welfare of his Subjects. Who doubts it? But the same interest, common to all Kings, was never yet available to make them all seek that, which was indeed best for themselves and thir Posterity. All men by thir own and thir Childrens interest are oblig'd to honestie and Justice: but how little that consideration works in privat men, how much less in Kings, thir deeds declare best.
He intended to oblige both Friends and Enemies, and to exceed thir desires, did they but pretend to any modest and sober sence; mistaking the whole business of a Parlament. Which mett not to receive from him obligations, but Justice; nor he to expect from them thir modesty, but thir grave advice, utter'd with freedom in the public cause. His talk of modesty in thir desires of the common welfare, argues him not much to have understood what he had to grant, who misconceav'd so much the nature of what they had to desire. And for sober sence the expression was too mean; and recoiles with as much dishonour upon himself, to be a King where sober sense could possibly be so wanting in a Parlament.
The odium and offences, which some mens rigour, or remissness in Church and State had contracted upon his Goverment, he resolved to have expiated with better Laws and regulations. And yet the worst of misdemeanors committed by the worst of all his favourites, in the height of thir dominion, whether acts of rigor or remissness, he hath from time to time continu'd, own'd, and taken upon himself by public Declarations, as oft'n as the Clergy, or any other of his Instruments felt themselves over burd'n'd with the peoples hatred. And who knows not the superstitious rigor of his Sundays Chappel, and the licentious remissness of his Sundays Theater; accompanied with that reverend Statute for Dominical Jiggs and May-poles, publish'd in his own Name, and deriv'd from the example of his Father James. Which testifies all that rigor in superstition, all that remissness in Religion, to have issu'd out originally from his own House, and from his own Autority. Much rather then may those general miscarriages in State, his proper Sphear, be imputed to no other person chiefly then to himself. And which of all those oppressive Acts, or Impositions did he ever disclaim or disavow, till the fatal aw of this Parlament hung ominously over him. Yet heer he smoothly seeks to wipe off all the envie of his evil Goverment upon his Substitutes, and under-Officers: and promises, though much too late, what wonders he purpos'd to have don in the reforming of Religion; a work wherein all his undertakings heretofore declare him to have had little or no judgement. Neither could his Breeding, or his cours of life acquaint him with a thing so Spiritual. Which may well assure us what kind of Reformation we could expect from him; either som politic form of an impos'd Religion, or els perpetual vexation, and persecution to all those that comply'd not with such a form. The like amendment he promises in State; not a stepp furder then his reason and conscience told him was fitt to be desir'd; wishing he had kept within those bounds, and not suffer'd his own judgement to have bin over-borne in some things, of which things one was the Earl of Straffords execution. And what signifies all this, but that still his resolution was the same, to set up an arbitrary Goverment of his own; and that all Britain was to be ty'd and chain'd to the conscience, judgement, and reason of one Man; as if those gifts had been only his peculiar and Prerogative, intal'd upon him with his fortune to be a King. When as doubtless no man so obstinate, or so much a Tyrant, but professes to be guided by that which he calls his Reason, and his Judgement, though never so corrupted; and pretends also his conscience. In the mean while, for any Parlament or the whole Nation to have either reason, judgement, or conscience, by this rule was altogether in vaine, if it thwarted the Kings will; which was easie for him to call by any other more plausible name. He himself hath many times acknowledg'd to have no right over us but by Law; and by the same Law to govern us: but Law in a Free Nation hath bin ever public reason, the enacted reason of a Parlament; which he denying to enact, denies to govern us by that which ought to be our Law; interposing his own privat reason, which to us is no Law. And thus we find these faire and specious promises, made upon the experience of many hard sufferings, and his most mortifi'd retirements, being throughly sifted, to containe nothing in them much different from his former practices, so cross, and so averse to all his Parlaments, and both the Nations of this Iland. What fruits they could in likelyhood have produc'd in his restorement, is obvious to any prudent foresight.
And this is the substance of his first section, till wee come to the devout of it, model'd into the form of a privat Psalter. Which they who so much admire, either for the matter or the manner, may as well admire the Arch-Bishops late Breviary, and many other as good Manuals and Handmaids of Devotion, the lip-work of every Prelatical Liturgist, clapt together and quilted out of Scripture phrase, with as much ease, and as little need of Christian diligence or judgement, as belongs to the compiling of any ord'nary and salable peece of English Divinity, that the Shops value. But he who from such a kind of Psalmistry, or any other verbal Devotion, without the pledge and earnest of sutable deeds, can be perswaded of a zeale, and true righteousness in the person, hath much yet to learn; and knows not that the deepest policy of a Tyrant hath bin ever to counterfet Religious. And Aristotle in his Politics hath mentiond that special craft among twelve other Tyrannical Sophisms. Neither want wee examples. Andronicus Comnenus the Byzantine Emperor, though a most cruel Tyrant, is reported by Nicetas to have bin a constant reader of Saint Pauls Epistles; and by continual study had so incorporated the phrase & style of that transcendent Apostle into all his familiar Letters, that the imitation seem'd to vie with the Original. Yet this availd not to deceave the people of that Empire; who notwithstanding his Saints vizard, tore him to peeces for his Tyranny. From Stories of this nature both Ancient and Modern which abound, the Poets also, and som English, have bin in this point so mindful of Decorum, as to put never more pious words in the mouth of any person, then of a Tyrant. I shall not instance an abstruse Author, wherein the King might be less conversant, but one whom wee well know was the Closet Companion of these his solitudes, William Shakespeare; who introduces the Person of Richard the third, speaking in as high a strain of pietie, and mortification as is utterd in any passage of this Book; and sometimes to the same sense and purpose with some words in this place, I intended, saith he, not onely to oblige my Freinds but mine enemies. The like saith Richard, Act. 2. Scen. I,
I doe not know that Englishman alive.
With whom my soule is any jott at odds,
More then the Infant that is borne to night;
I thank my God for my humilitie.
Other stuff of this sort may be read throughout the whole Tragedie, where in the Poet us'd not much license in departing from the truth of History, which delivers him a deep dissembler, not of his affections onely, but of Religion.
In praying therfore, and in the outward work of Devotion, this King wee see hath not at all exceeded the worst of Kings before him. But herein the worst of Kings, professing Christianism, have by farr exceeded him. They, for ought we know, have still pray'd thir own, or at least borrow'd from fitt Authors. But this King, not content with that which, although in a thing holy, is no holy theft, to attribute to his own making other mens whole Prayers, hath as it were unhallow'd, and unchrist'nd the very duty of prayer itself, by borrowing to a Christian use Prayers offer'd to a Heathen God. Who would have imagin'd so little feare in him of the true all-seeing Deitie, so little reverence of the Holy Ghost, whose office is to dictat and present our Christian Prayers, so little care of truth in his last words, or honour to himself, or to his Friends, or sense of his afflictions, or of that sad howr which was upon him, as immediatly before his death to popp into the hand of that great Bishop who attended him, for a special Relique of his saintly exercises, a Prayer stol'n word for word from the mouth of a Heathen fiction praying to a heathen God; & that in no serious Book, but the vain amatorious Poem of Sr Philip Sidneys Arcadia; a Book in that kind full of worth and witt, but among religious thoughts, and duties not worthy to be nam'd; nor to be read at any time without good caution; much less in time of trouble and affliction to be a Christians Prayer-Book. They who are yet incredulous of what I tell them for a truth, that this Philippic Prayer is no part of the Kings goods, may satisfie thir own eyes at leasure, in the 3d. Book of Sir Philips Arcadia p. 248. comparing Pammela's Prayer with the first Prayer of his Majestie, deliverd to Dr. Juxton immediatly before his death, and Entitl'd, A prayer in time of Captivity Printed in all the best Editions of his Book. And since there be a crew of lurking raylers, who in thir Libels, and thir fitts of rayling up and down, as I hear from others, take it so currishly that I should dare to tell abroad the secrets of thir Ægyptian Apis, to gratify thir gall in som measure yet more, which to them will be a kinde of almes (for it is the weekly vomit of thir gall which to most of them is the sole meanes of thir feeding) that they may not starv for me, I shall gorge them once more with this digrsestion somwhat larger then before: nothing troubl'd or offended at the working upward of thir Sale-venom thereupon, though it happ'n to asperse me; beeing, it seemes, thir best livelyhood and the only use or good digestion that thir sick and perishing mindes can make of truth charitably told them. However, to the benefit of others much more worth the gaining, I shall proceed in my assertion; that if only but to tast wittingly of meat or drink offerd to an Idol, be in the doctrin of St. Paul judg'd a pollution, much more must be his sin who takes a prayer, so dedicated, into his mouth, and offers it to God. Yet hardly it can be thought upon (though how sad a thing) without som kind of laughter at the manner and solemn transaction of so gross a cousenage: that he who had trampl'd over us so Stately and so tragically should leave the world at last so ridiculously in his exit, as to bequeath among his Deifying friends that stood about him such a pretious peece of mockery to be publisht by them, as must needs cover both his and their heads wth shame, if they have any left. Certainly they that will, may now see at length how much they were deceiv'd in him, and were ever like to be hereafter, who car'd not, so neer the minute of his death, to deceive his best and deerest freinds with the trumpery of such a prayer, not more secretly then shamefully purloind; yet giv'n them as the Royal issue of his own proper Zeal. And sure it was the hand of God to let them fal & be tak'n in such a foolish trapp, as hath exposd them to all derision; if for nothing els, to throw contempt and disgrace in the sight of all men upon this his Idolized Book, and the whole rosarie of his Prayers; thereby testifying how little he accepted them from those, who thought no better of the living God then of a buzzard Idol, fitt to be so servd and worshipt in reversion, with the polluted orts and refuse of Arcadia's and Romances, without being able to discern the affront rather then the worship of such an ethnic Prayer. But leaving what might justly be offensive to God, it was a trespass also more then usual against human right, which commands, that every Author should have the property of his own work reservd to him after death as well as living. Many Princes have bin rigorous in laying taxes on thir Subjects by the head, but of any King heertofore that made a levy upon thir witt, and seisd it as his own legitimat, I have not whom beside to instance. True it is I lookt rather to have found him gleaning out of Books writt'n purposely to help Devotion. And if in likelyhood he have borrowd much more out of Prayer-books then out of Pastorals, then are these painted Feathers, that set him off so gay among the people, to be thought few or none of them his own. But if from his Divines he have borrow'd nothing, nothing out of all the Magazin, and the rheume of thir Mellifluous prayers and meditations, let them who now mourn for him as for Tamuz, them who howle in thir Pulpits, and by thir howling declare themselvs right Wolves, remember and consider in the midst of thir hideous faces, when they doe onely not cutt thir flesh for him like those ruefull Priests whom Eliah mock'd; that he who was once thir Ahab, now thir Josiah, though faining outwardly to reverence Churchmen, yet heer hath so extremely set at nought both them and thir praying faculty, that being at a loss himself what to pray in Captivity, he consulted neither with the Liturgie, nor with the Directory, but neglecting the huge fardell of all thir honycomb devotions, went directly where he doubted not to find better praying, to his mind with Pammela, in the Countesses Arcadia. What greater argument of disgrace & ignominy could have bin thrown with cunning upon the whole Clergy, then that the King, among all his Preistery, and all those numberless volumes of thir theological distillations, not meeting with one man or book of that coate that could befreind him with a prayer in Captivity, was forc'd to rob Sr. Philip and his Captive Shepherdess of thir Heathen orisons, to supply in any fashion his miserable indigence, not of bread, but of a single prayer to God. I say therfore not of bread, for that want may befall a good man, and yet not make him totally miserable: but he who wants a prayer to beseech God in his necessity, tis unexpressible how poor he is; farr poorer within himself then all his enemies can make him. And the unfitness, the undecency of that pittifull supply which he sought, expresses yet furder the deepness of his poverty.
Thus much be said in generall to his prayers, and in speciall to that Arcadian prayer us'd in his Captivity, anough to undeceave us what esteeme wee are to set upon the rest. For he certainly, whose mind could serve him to seek a Christian prayer out of a Pagan Legend, and assume it for his own, might gather up the rest God knows from whence; one perhaps out of the French Astræa, another out of the Spanish Diana; Amadis and Palmerin could hardly scape him. Such a person we may be sure had it not in him to make a prayer of his own, or at least would excuse himself the paines and cost of his invention, so long as such sweet rapsodies of Heathenism and Knight errantry could yeild him prayers. How dishonourable then, and how unworthy of a Christian King, were these ignoble shifts to seem holy and to get a Saintship among the ignorant and wretched people; to draw them by this deception, worse then all his former injuries, to go a whooring after him. And how unhappy, how forsook of grace, and unbelovd of God that people, who resolv to know no more of piety or of goodnes, then to account him thir cheif Saint and Martyr, whose bankrupt devotion came not honestly by his very prayers; but having sharkd them from the mouth of a Heathen worshipper, detestable to teach him prayers, sould them to those that stood and honourd him next to the Messiah, as his own heav'nly compositions in adversity, for hopes no less vain and presumptuous (and death at that time so imminent upon him) then by these goodly reliques to be held a Saint and Martyr in opinion with the cheated People.
And thus farr in the whole Chapter we have seen and consider'd, and it cannot but be cleer to all men, how, and for what ends, what concernments, and necessities, the late King was no way induc'd, but every way constrain'd, to call this last Parlament: yet heer in his first prayer he trembles not to avouch as in the eares of God, That he did it with an upright intention, to his glory, and his peoples good: of which dreadful attestation how sincerely meant, God, to whom it was avow'd, can onely judge; and he hath judg'd already; and hath writt'n his impartial Sentence in Characters legible to all Christ'ndom; and besides hath taught us, that there be som, whom he hath giv'n over to delusion; whose very mind and conscience is defil'd; of whom Saint Paul to Titus makes mention.
II. Upon The Earle of Straffords Death.
THis next Chapter is a penitent confession of the King, and the strangest, if it be well weigh'd, that ever was Auricular. For he repents heer of giving his consent, though most unwillingly, to the most seasonable and solemn peece of Justice, that had bin don of many yeares in the Land: But his sole conscience thought the contrary. And thus was the welfare, the safety, and within a little, the unanimous demand of three populous Nations to have attended still on the singularity of one mans opinionated conscience; if men had always bin so tame and spiritless; and had not unexpectedly found the grace to understand, that if his conscience were so narrow and peculiar to it self, it was not fitt his Authority should be so ample and Universall over others. For certainly a privat conscience sorts not with a public Calling; but declares that Person rather meant by nature for a privat fortune. And this also we may take for truth, that he whose conscience thinks it sin to put to death a capital Offendor, will as oft think it meritorious to kill a righteous Person. But let us heare what the sin was that lay so sore upon him, and, as one of his Prayers giv'n to Dr. Juxton testifies, to the very day of his death; it was his signing the bill of Straffords execution: a man whom all men look'd upon as one of the boldest and most impetuous instruments that the King had, to advance any violent or illegal designe. He had rul'd Ireland, and som parts of England in an Arbitrary manner, had indeavour'd to subvert Fundamental Lawes, to subvert Parlaments, and to incense the King against them; he had also endeavor'd to make Hostility between England and Scotland: He had counseld the King to call over that Irish Army of Papists, which he had cunningly rais'd, to reduce England, as appear'd by good Testimony then present at the Consultation. For which, and many other crimes alleg'd and prov'd against him in 28. Articles, he was condemnd of high Treason by the Parlament. The Commons by farr the greater number cast him; the Lords, after they had bin satisfi'd in a full discours by the Kings Sollicitor, and the opinions of many Judges deliver'd in thir House, agreed likewise to the Sentence of Treason. The People universally cri'd out for Justice. None were his Friends but Coutiers and Clergimen, the worst at that time, and most corrupted sort of men; and Court Ladies, not the best of Women; who when they grow to that insolence as to appeare active in State affaires, are the certain sign of a dissolute, degenerat, and pusillanimous Common-wealth. Last of all the King, or rather first, for these were but his Apes, was not satisfi'd in conscience to condemn him of High Treason; and declar'd to both Houses, That no fears or respects whatsoever should make him alter that resolution founded upon his conscience. Either then his resolution was indeed not founded upon his conscience, or his conscience receav'd better information, or else both his conscience and this his strong resolution strook saile, notwithstanding these glorious words, to his stronger fear. For within a few dayes after, when the Judges at a privie Counsel and four of his elected Bishops had pick'd the thorn out of his conscience, he was at length perswaded to signe the Bill for Straffords Execution. And yet perhaps that it wrung his conscience to condemn the Earle of high Treason is not unlikely: not because he thought him guiltless of highest Treason, had half those crimes bin committed against his own privat Interest or Person, as appear'd plainly by his charge against the six Members, but because he knew himself a Principal in what the Earl was but his accessory, and thought nothing Treason against the Common-wealth, but against himself only.
Had he really scrupl'd to sentence that for Treason which he thought not Treasonable, why did he seeme resolv'd by the Judges and the Bishops? And if by them resolv'd, how comes the scruple heer again? It was not then, as he now pretends, The importunities of some, and the feare of many which made him signe, but the satisfaction giv'n him by those Judges & Ghostly Fathers of his own choosing. Which of him shall we believe? For he seemes not one, but double; either heer we must not beleeve him professing that his satisfaction was but seemingly receav'd & out of feare, or els wee may as well beleeve that the scruple was no real scruple, as we can beleeve him heer against himself before, that the satisfaction then receiv'd was no real satisfaction: of such a variable and fleeting conscience what hold can be tak'n? But that indeed it was a facil conscience, and could dissemble satisfaction when it pleas'd, his own ensuing actions declar'd: being soon after found to have the chief hand in a most detested conspiracy against the Parlament and Kingdom, as by Letters and examinations of Percy, Goring, and other Conspirators came to light; that his intention was to rescue the Earle of Strafford, by seizing on the Towre of London; to bring up the English Army out of the North, joyn'd with eight thousand Irish Papists rais'd by Strafford, and a French Army to be landed at Portsmouth, against the Parlament and thir Friends. For which purpose the King, though requested by both Houses to disband those Irish Papists, refus'd to do it, and kept them still in Armes to his own purposes. No marvel then, if being as deeply criminous as the Earle himself, it stung his conscience to adjudge to death those misdeeds whereof himself had bin the chiefe Author: no marvel though in stead of blaming and detesting his ambition, his evil Counsel, his violence and oppression of the people, he fall to praise his great Abilities; and with Scolastic flourishes beneath the decencie of a King, compares him to the Sun, which in all figurative use, and significance beares allusion to a King, not to a Subject: No marvel though he knit contradictions as close as words can lye together, not approving in his judgement, and yet approving in his subsequent reason all that Strafford did, as driv'n by the necessity of times and the temper of that people; for this excuses all his misdemeanors: Lastly, no marvel that he goes on building many faire and pious conclusions upon false and wicked premises, which deceive the common Reader not well discerning the antipathy of such connexions: but this is the marvel, & may be the astonishment of all that have a conscience, how he durst in the sight of God (and with the same words of contrition wherwith David repents the murdering of Uriah) repent his lawfull compliance to that just act of not saving him, whom he ought to have deliver'd up to speedy punishment; though himself the guiltier of the two. If the deed were so sinfull to have put to death so great a malefactor, it would have tak'n much doubtless from the heaviness of his sin, to have told God in his confession, how he labour'd, what dark plots he had contriv'd, into what a league enterd, and with what Conspirators against his Parlament and Kingdoms, to have rescu'd from the claime of Justice so notable and so deare an Instrument of Tyranny: Which would have bin a story, no doubt as pleasing in the eares of Heav'n, as all these equivocal repentances. For it was feare, and nothing els, which made him faine before both the scruple and the satisfaction of his conscience, that is to say, of his mind: his first feare pretended conscience that he might be born with to refuse signing; his latter feare being more urgent made him find a conscience both to signe and to be satisfy'd. As for repentance, it came not on him till a long time after; when he saw he could have sufferd nothing more, though he had deny'd that Bill. For how could he understandingly repent of letting that be Treason which the Parlament and whole Nation so judg'd? This was that which repented him, to have giv'n up to just punishment so stout a Champion of his designes, who might have bin so usefull to him in his following civil Broiles. It was a worldly repentance not a conscientious; or els it was a strange Tyranny which his conscience had got over him, to vex him like an evil spirit for doing one act of Justice, and by that means to fortifie his resolution from ever doing so any more. That mind must needs be irrecoverably deprav'd, which either by chance or importunity, tasting but once of one just deed, spatters at it, and abhorrs the relish ever after. To the Scribes and Pharises, woe was denounc'd by our Saviour, for straining at a Gnatt and swallowing a Camel; though a Gnatt were to be straind at: But to a conscience with whom one good deed is so hard to pass down, as to endanger almost a choaking, and bad deeds without number though as bigg and bulkie as the ruin of three Kingdoms, goe down currently without straining, certainly a farr greater woe appertaines. If his conscience were come to that unnatural dyscrasie, as to digest poyson and to keck at wholsom food, it was not for the Parlament, or any of his Kingdoms to feed with him any longer. Which to concele he would perswade us that the Parlament also in thir conscience escap'd not some touches of remorse for putting Strafford to death, in forbidding it by an after act to be a precedent for the future. But in a fairer construction, that act imply'd rather a desire in them to pacifie the Kings mind, whom they perceav'd by this meanes quite alienated: in the mean while not imagining that this after act should be retorted on them to tie up Justice for the time to come upon like occasion, whether this were made a precedent or not, no more then the want of such a precedent, if it had bin wanting, had bin available to hinder this.
But how likely is it, that this after act argu'd in the Parlament thir least repenting for the death of Strafford, when it argu'd so little in the King himself: who notwithstanding this after act which had his own hand and concurrence, if not his own instigation, within the same yeare accus'd of high Treason no less then six Members at once for the same pretended crimes which his conscience would not yeeld to think treasonable in the Earle. So that this his suttle Argument to fast'n a repenting, and by that means a guiltiness of Straffords death upon the Parlament, concludes upon his own head; and shews us plainly that either nothing in his judgment was Treason against the Common-wealth, but onely against the Kings Person, a Tyrannical Principle, or that his conscience was a perverse and prevaricating conscience, to scruple that the Common-wealth should punish for treasonous in one eminent offender that wch he himself sought so vehemently to have punisht in six guiltless persons. If this were that touch of conscience which he bore with greater regrett then for any sin committed in his life, whether it were that proditory Aid sent to Rochel and Religion abroad, or that prodigality of shedding blood at home, to a million of his Subjects lives not valu'd in comparison of one Strafford, we may consider yet at last, what true sense and feeling could be in that conscience, and what fitness to be the maister conscience of three Kingdoms.
But the reason why he labours that wee should take notice of so much tenderness and regrett in his soule for having any hand in Straffords death, is worth the marking ere we conclude. He hop'd it would be some evidence before God and Man to all posteritie that he was farr from bearing that vast load and guilt of blood layd upon him by others. Which hath the likeness of a suttle dissimulation; bewailing the blood of one man, his commodious Instrument, put to death most justly, though by him unwillingly, that we might think him too tender to shed willingly the blood of those thousands whom he counted Rebels. And thus by dipping voluntarily his fingers end, yet with shew of great remorse in the blood of Strafford, whereof all men cleer him, he thinks to scape that Sea of innocent blood wherein his own guilt inevitably hath plung'd him all over. And we may well perceave to what easie satisfactions and purgations he had inur'd his secret conscience, who thaught, by such weak policies and ostentations as these, to gaine beleif and absolution from understanding Men.
III. Upon his going to the House of Commons.
COncerning his unexcusable, and hostile march from the Court to the House of Commons, there needs not much be said. For he confesses it to be an act which most men, whom he calls his enemies cry'd shame upon; indifferent men grew jealous of and fearfull, and many of his Friends resented, as a motion arising rather from passion then reason: He himself, in one of his Answers to both Houses, made profession to be convinc'd that it was a plaine breach of thir Privilege: Yet heer, like a rott'n building newly trimm'd over he represents it speciously and fraudulently to impose upon the simple Reader; and seeks by smooth and supple words not heer only, but through his whole Book, to make som beneficial use or other ev'n of his worst miscarriages.
These Men, saith he, meaning his Friends, knew not the just motives and pregnant grounds with which I thought my selfe furnish'd; to wit, against the five Members, whom he came to dragg out of the House. His best Friends indeed knew not, nor could ever know his motives to such a riotous act: and had he himself known any just grounds,he was not ignorant how much it might have tended to his justifying, had he nam'd them in this place, and not conceal'd them. But suppose them real, suppose them known, what was this to that violation and dishonor put upon the whole House, whose very dore forcibly kept op'n, and all the passages neer it he besett with Swords and Pistols cockt and menac'd in the hands of about three hunderd Swaggerers and Ruffians, who but expected, nay audibly call'd for the word of onset to beginn a slaughter.
He had discover'd as he thought unlawfull correspondencies which they had us'd, and ingagements to imbroile his Kingdomes, and remembers not his own unlawfull correspondencies and conspiracies with the Irish Army of Papists, with the French to land at Portsmouth, and his tampering both with the English and Scotch Army, to come up against the Parlament: the least of which attempts by whomsoever, was no less then manifest Treason against the Common-wealth.
If to demand Justice on the five Members were his Plea, for that which they with more reason might have demanded Justice upon him, (I use his own Argument) there needed not so rough assistance. If he had resolv'd to bear that repulse with patience, which his Queen by her words to him at his return little thought he would have done, wherfore did he provide against it, with such an armed and unusual force? But his heart servd him not to undergoe the hazzard that such a desperate scuffle would have brought him to. But wherfore did he goe at all, it behooving him to know there were two Statutes, that declar'd he ought first to have acquainted the Parlament, who were the Accusers, which he refus'd to doe, though still professing to govern by Law, and still justifying his attempts against Law. And when he saw it was not permitted him to attaint them but by a faire tryal, as was offerd him from time to time, for want of just matter which yet never came to light, he let the business fall of his own accord; and all those pregnancies, and just motives came to just nothing.
He had no temptation of displeasure or revenge against those men: None but what he thirsted to execute upon them, for the constant opposition which they made against his Tyrannous proceedings, and the love and reputation which they therfore had among the People, but most immediatly, for that they were suppos'd the cheif by whose activity those 12. protesting Bishops were but a week before committed to the Tower.
He mist but little to have produc'd writings under some mens own hands. But yet he mist, though thir Chambers, Trunks, and Studies were seal'd up and search'd; yet not found guilty. Providence would not have it so. Good Providence, that curbs the raging of proud Monarchs, as well as of madd multitudes. Yet he wanted not such probabilities (for his pregnant is come now to probable) as were sufficient to raise jealousies in any Kings heart. And thus his pregnant motives are at last prov'd nothing but a Tympany, or a Queen Maries Cushion; for in any Kings heart, as Kings goe now, what shadowie conceit or groundless toy will not create a jealousie.
That he had design'd to assault the House of Commons, taking God to witness, he utterly denies; yet, in his Answer to the City, maintaines that any course of violence had bin very justifiable. And we may then guess how farr it was from his designe. However it discover'd in him an excessive eagerness to be aveng'd on them that cross'd him; and that to have his will, he stood not to doe things never so much below him. What a becomming sight it was to see the King of England one while in the House of Commons, by and by in the Guild-Hall among the Liveries and Manufacturers, prosecuting so greedily the track of five or six fled Subjects; himself not the Sollicitor onely, but the Pursuivant and the Apparitor of his own partial cause. And although, in his Answers to the Parlament, he hath confess'd, first that his manner of prosecution was illegal, next, that as he once conceiv'd he had ground anough to accuse them; so at length that he found as good cause to desert any prosecution of them, yet heer he seems to reverse all, and against promise takes up his old deserted accusation, that he might have something to excuse himself, instead of giving due reparation; which he always refus'd to give them, whom he had so dishonor'd.
That I went, saith he of his going to the House of Commons, attended with some Gentlemen; Gentlemen indeed; the ragged Infantrie of Stewes and Brothels; the spawn and shiprack of Taverns and Dicing Houses: and then he pleads, it was no unwonted thing for the Majesty and safety of a King to be so attended, especially in discontented times. An illustrious Majestie no doubt, so attended: a becomming safety for the King of England, plac'd in the fidelity of such Guards and Champions: Happy times; when Braves and Hacksters, the onely contented members of his Goverment, were thought the fittest and the faithfullest to defend his Person against the discontents of a Parlament and all good Men. Were those the chos'n ones to preserve reverence to him, while he enterd unassur'd, and full of suspicions into his great and faithfull Councel? Let God then and the World judge whether the cause were not in his own guilty and unwarrantable doings: the House of Commons upon several examinations of this business declar'd it sufficiently prov'd, that the comming of those soldiers, Papists, and others with the King, was to take away some of thir Members, and in case of opposition or denyal, to have fal'n upon the House in a hostile manner, This the King heer denies; adding a fearful imprecation against his own life, If he purposed any violence or oppression against the Innocent, then, saith he, let the Enemie persecute my soule, and tred my life to the ground, and lay my honor in the dust. What need then more disputing? He appeal'd to Gods Tribunal, and behold God hath judg'd, and don to him in the sight of all men according to the verdict of his own mouth. To be a warning to all Kings hereafter how they use presumptuously the words and protestations of David, without the spirit and conscience of David. And the Kings admirers may heer see thir madness to mistake this Book for a monument of his worth and wisdom, when as indeed it is his Doomsday Booke; not like that of William the Norman his Predecessor, but the record and memorial of his condemnation: and discovers whatever hath befal'n him, to have bin hast'nd on from Divine Justice by the rash and inconsiderate appeal of his own lipps. But what evasions, what pretences, though never so unjust and emptie, will he refuse in matters more unknown, and more involv'd in the mists and intricacies of State, who, rather then not justifie himself in a thing so generally odious, can flatter his integritie with such frivolous excuses against the manifest dissent of all men, whether Enemies, Neuters, or Friends. But God and his judgements have not bin mock'd; and good men may well perceive what a distance there was ever like to be between him and his Parlament, and perhaps between him and all amendment, who for one good deed, though but consented to, askes God forgiveness; and from his worst deeds don, takes occasion to insist upon his righteousness.
IV. Upon the Insolency of the Tumults.
WEE have heer, I must confess, a neat and well couch'd invective against Tumults; expressing a true feare of them in the Author; but yet so handsomly compos'd, and withall so feelingly, that, to make a Royal comparison, I beleeve Rehoboam the Son of Solomon could not have compos'd it better. Yet Rehoboam had more cause to inveigh against them; for they had ston'd his Tribute-gatherer, and perhaps had as little spar'd his own Person, had he not with all speed betak'n him to his Charret. But this King hath stood the worst of them in his own House without danger, when his Coach and Horses, in a Panic fear, have bin to seek, which argues that the Tumults at Whitehall were nothing so dangerous as those at Sechem.
But the matter heer considerable, is not whether the King, or his Houshold Rhetorician have a pithy declamation against Tumults, but first whether these were Tumults or not, next if they were, whether the King himself did not cause them. Let us examin therfore how things at that time stood. The King, as before hath bin prov'd, having both call'd this Parlament unwillingly, and as unwillingly from time to time condescended to thir several acts, carrying on a disjoynt and privat interest of his own, and not enduring to be so cross'd and overswaied, especially in the executing of his chief & boldest Instrument, the Deputy of Ireland first tempts the English Army, with no less reward then the spoil of London, to come up, and destroy the Parlament. That being discover'd by some of the Officers, who, though bad anough, yet abhorr'd so foul a deed; the K. hard'nd in his purpose, tempts them the 2d time at Burrow Bridge, promises to pawn his Jewels for them, & that they should be mett & assisted (would they but march on) wth a gross body of hors under the E. of Newcastle. He tempts them yet the third time, though after discovery, & his own abjuration to have ever tempted them, as is affirmd in the Declaration of no more addresses. Neither this succeeding, he turnes him next to the Scotch Army, & by his own credential Letters giv'n to Oneal and Sr John Henderson, baites his temptation with a richer reward; not only to have the sacking of London, but four Northern Counties to be made Scottish, wth Jewels of great value to be giv'n in pawn the while. But neither would the Scots, for any promise of reward, be bought to such an execrable and odious treachery; but with much honesty gave notice of the Kings designe, both to the Parlament and City of London. The Parlament moreover had intelligence, and the people could not but discern, that there was a bitter & malignant party grown up now to such a boldness, as to give out insolent and threatning speeches against the Parlament it self. Besides this, the Rebellion in Ireland was now broke out; and a conspiracy in Scotland had bin made, while the King was there, against some chief Members of that Parlament; great numbers heer of unknown, and suspicious persons resorted to the City; The King being return'd from Scotland, presently dismisses that Guard which the Parlament thought necessary in the midst of so many dangers to have about them; and puts another Guard in thir place, contrary to the Privilege of that high Court, and by such a one commanded, as made them no less doubtfull of the Guard it self. Which they therfore, upon som ill effects thereof first found, discharge; deeming it more safe to sitt free, though without a Guard in op'n danger, then inclos'd with a suspected safety. The people therfore, lest thir worthiest and most faithfull Patriots, who had expos'd themselves for the public, and whom they saw now left naked, should want aide, or be deserted in the midst of these dangers, came in multitudes, though unarm'd, to witness thir fidelitie and readiness in case of any violence offer'd to the Parlament. The King, both envying to see the Peoples love thus devolv'd on another object, and doubting lest it might utterly disable him to doe with Parlaments as he was wont, sent a message into the City forbidding such resorts. The Parlament also both by what was discover'd to them, and what they saw in a Malignant Party, (some of which had already drawn blood in a Fray or two at the Court Gate, and eev'n at thir own Gate, in Westminster Hall) conceaving themselves to be still in danger where they sat, sent a most reasonable and just Petition to the King, that a Guard might be allow'd them out of the City, wherof the Kings own Chamberlaine, the Earl of Essex might have command; it being the right of inferiour Courts to make chois of thir own Guard. This the King refus'd to doe, and why he refus'd, the very next day made manifest. For on that day it was, that he sallied out from White Hall, with those trusty Myrmidons, to block up, or give assault to the House of Commons. He had, besides all this, begun to fortifie his Court, and entertaind armed Men not a few; who standing at his Palace Gate, revil'd and with drawn Swords wounded many of the People, as they went by unarm'd, and in a peaceable manner, wherof some dy'd. The passing by of a multitude, though neither to Saint Georges Feast, nor to a Tilting, certainly of it self was no Tumult; the expression of thir Loyalty and stedfastness to the Parlament, whose lives and safeties by more then slight rumours they doubted to be in danger, was no Tumult. If it grew to be so, the cause was in the King himself and his injurious retinue, who both by Hostile preparations in the Court, and by actual assailing of the People, gave them just cause to defend themselves.
Surely those unarmed and Petitioning People needed not have bin so formidable to any, but to such whose consciences misgave them how ill they had deserv'd of the People; and first began to injure them, because they justly fear'd it from them; and then ascribe that to popular Tumult, which was occasion'd by thir own provoking.
And that the King was so emphatical and elaborat on this Theam against Tumults, and express'd with such a vehemence his hatred of them, will redound less perhaps then he was aware to the commendation of his Goverment. For besides that in good Goverments they happ'n seldomest, and rise not without cause, if they prove extreme and pernicious, they were never counted so to Monarchy, but to Monarchical Tyranny; and extremes one with another are at most Antipathy. If then the King so extremely stood in fear of Tumults, the inference will endanger him to be the other extreme. Thus farr the occasion of this discours against Tumults: now to the discours itself, voluble anough, and full of sentence, but that, for the most part, either specious rather then solid, or to his cause nothing pertinent.
He never thought any thing more to presage the mischiefes that ensu'd, then those Tumults. Then was his foresight but short, and much mistak'n. Those Tumults were but the milde effects of an evil and injurious raigne; not signes of mischiefs to come, but seeking releef for mischiefs past; those signes were to be read more apparent in his rage and purpos'd revenge of those free expostulations, and clamours of the People against his lawless Goverment. Not any thing, saith he, portends more Gods displeasure against a Nation, then when he suffers the clamours of the Vulgar to pass all bounds of Law & reverence to Authority. It portends rather his displeasure against a Tyrannous King, whose proud Throne he intends to overturn by that contemptible Vulgar; the sad cries and oppressions of whom his Royaltie regarded not. As for that supplicating People, they did no hurt either to Law or Autority, but stood for it rather in the Parlament against whom they fear'd would violate it.
That they invaded the Honour and Freedome of the two Houses, is his own officious accusation, not seconded by the Parlament, who had they seen cause, were themselves best able to complain. And if they shook & menac'd any, they were such as had more relation to the Court then to the Common-wealth; enemies, not patrons of the People. But if thir petitioning unarm'd were an invasion of both Houses, what was his entrance into the House of Commons, besetting it with armed men, in what condition then was the honour and freedom of that House?
They forebore not rude deportments, contemptuous words and actions, to himself and his Court.
It was more wonder, having heard what treacherous hostility he had design'd against the City, and his whole Kingdome, that they forbore to handle him as people in thir rage have handl'd Tyrants heertofore for less offences.
They were not a short ague, but a fierce quotidian feaver: He indeed may best say it, who most felt it; for the shaking was within him; and it shook him by his own description worse then a storme, worse then an earthquake, Belshazzars Palsie. Had not worse feares, terrors, and envies made within him that commotion, how could a multitude of his Subjects, arm'd with no other weapon then Petitions, have shak'n all his joynts with such a terrible ague. Yet that the Parlament should entertaine the least feare of bad intentions from him or his Party, he endures not; but would perswade us that men scare themselves and others without cause; for he thought feare would be to them a kind of armor, and his designe was, if it were possible, to disarme all, especially of a wise feare and suspicion; for that he knew would find weapons.
He goes on therfore with vehemence to repeat the mischiefs don by these Tumults. They first Petition'd, then protected; dictate next, and lastly overaw the Parlament. They remov'd obstructions, they purg'd the Houses, cast out rott'n Members. If there were a man of iron, such as Talus, by our Poet Spencer, is fain'd to be the page of Justice, who with his iron flaile could doe all this, and expeditiously, without those deceitful formes and circumstances of Law, worse then ceremonies in Religion; I say, God send it don, whether by one Talus, or by a thousand.
But they subdu'd the men of conscience in Parlament, back'd and abetted all seditious and schismatical Proposals against government ecclesiastical and civil.
Now wee may perceave the root of his hatred whence it springs. It was not the Kings grace or princely goodness, but this iron flaile, the People, that drove the Bishops out of thir Baronies, out of thir Cathedrals, out of the Lords House, out of thir Copes and Surplices, and all those Papistical innovations, threw down the High Commission and Star-chamber, gave us a Triennial Parlament, and what we most desir'd; in revenge whereof he now so bitterly inveighs against them; these are those seditious and scismatical Proposals, then by him condescended to, as acts of grace, now of another name; which declares him, touching matters of Church and State, to have bin no other man in the deepest of his solitude, then he was before at the highest of his Sovrantie.
But this was not the worst of these Tumults, they plaid the hasty midwives, and would not stay the ripening, but went streight to ripping up, and forcibly cut out abortive Votes.
They would not stay perhaps the Spanish demurring, and putting off such wholsome acts and counsels, as the Politic Cabin at WhiteHall had no mind to. But all this is complain'd heer as don to the Parlament, and yet we heard not the Parlament at that time complaine of any violence from the people, but from him. Wherfore intrudes he to plead the cause of Parlament against the People, while the Parlament was pleading thir own cause against him; and against him were forc'd to seek refuge of the people? 'Tis plaine then that those confluxes and resorts interrupted not the Parlament, nor by them were thought Tumultuous, but by him onely and his Court Faction.
But what good Man had not rather want any thing he most desir'd for the public good, then attain it by such unlawfull and irreligious meanes; as much as to say, Had not rather sit still and let his Country be Tyranniz'd, then that the people, finding no other remedie, should stand up like Men, and demand thir Rights and Liberties. This is the artificialest peece of fineness to perswade men into slavery that the wit of Court could have invented. But heare how much better the Moral of this Lesson would befitt the Teacher. What good man had not rather want a boundless and arbitrary power, and those Fine Flowers of the Crown, call'd Prerogatives, then for them to use force and perpetual vexation to his faithfull Subjects, nay to wade for them through blood and civil warr? So that this and the whole bundle of those following sentences may be apply'd better to the convincement of his own violent courses, then of those pretended Tumults.
Who were the chiefe Demagogues to send for those Tumults, some alive are not ignorant. Setting aside the affrightment of this Goblin word; for the King by his leave, cannot coine English as he could Money, to be current (and tis beleev'd this wording was above his known stile and Orthographie, and accuses the whole composure to be conscious of som other Author) yet if the people were sent for, emboldn'd and directed by those Demagogues, who, saving his Greek, were good Patriots, and by his own confession Men of some repute for parts and pietie, it helps well to assure us there was both urgent cause, and the less danger of thir comming.
Complaints were made, yet no redress could be obtain'd. The Parlament also complain'd of what danger they sate in from another party, and demanded of him a Guard, but it was not granted. What marvel then if it chear'd them to see some store of thir Friends, and in the Roman not the pettifogging sense, thir Clients so neer about them; a defence due by nature both from whom it was offer'd, and to whom; as due as to thir Parents; though the Court storm'd and fretted to see such honour giv'n to them, who were then best Fathers of the Common-wealth. And both the Parlament and people complain'd, and demanded Justice for those assaults, if not murders don at his own dores by that crew of Rufflers; but he, in stead of doing Justice on them, justifi'd and abetted them in what they did, as in his public Answer to a Petition from the City may be read. Neither is it slightly to be pass'd over, that in the very place where blood was first drawn in this cause, as the beginning of all that follow'd, there was his own blood shed by the Executioner. According to that sentence of Divine justice, In the place where Dogs lick'd the blood of Naboth, shall Dogs lick thy blood, eev'n thine.
From hence he takes occasion to excuse that improvident and fatal error of his absenting from the Parlament. When he found that no Declaration of the Bishops could take place against those Tumults. Was that worth his considering, that foolish and self-undoing Declaration of twelve Cypher Bishops, who were immediatly appeacht of Treason for that audacious Declaring? The Bishops peradventure were now and then pulld by the Rochets, and deserv'd another kind of pulling; but what amounted this to the feare of his own person in the streets? Did he not the very next day after his irruption into the House of Commons, then which nothing had more exasperated the people, goe in his Coach unguarded into the City? did he receave the least affront, much less violence in any of the Streets, but rather humble demeanours, and supplications? Hence may be gather'd, that however in his own guiltiness hee might have justly fear'd, yet that hee knew the people so full of aw and reverence to his Person, as to dare commit himself single among the thickest of them, at a time when he had most provok'd them. Besides, in ScotLand they had handl'd the Bishops in a more robustious manner; Edinburrow had bin full of Tumults; two Armies from thence had enterd England against him; yet after all this, he was not fearfull, but very forward to take so long a journey to Edinburrow; which argues first, as did also his rendition afterward to the Scotch Army, that to England he continu'd still, as he was indeed, a stranger, and full of diffidence; to the Scots onely a native King, in his confidence, though not in his dealing towards them. It shews us next beyond doubting, that all this his feare of Tumults was but a meer colour and occasion tak'n of his resolved absence from the Parlament, for some other end not difficult to be guess'd. And those instances wherein valour is not to be question'd for not scuffling with the Sea, or an undisciplind Rabble, are but subservient to carry on the solemn jest of his fearing Tumults: if they discover not withall, the true reason why he departed; onely to turne his slashing at the Court Gate, to slaughtering in the Field; his disorderly bickering, to an orderly invading: which was nothing els but a more orderly disorder.
Some suspected and affirm'd, that he meditated a Warr when he went first from White Hall. And they were not the worst heads that did so, nor did any of his former acts weak'n him to that, as he alleges for himself, or if they had, they cleere him onely for the time of passing them, not for what ever thoughts might come after into his mind. Former actions of improvidence or fear, not with him unusual, cannot absolve him of all after meditations,
He goes on protesting his no intention to have left White Hall, had these horrid Tumults giv'n him but Faire Quarter, as if he himself, his Wife and Children had bin in peril. But to this anough hath bin answer'd.
Had this Parlament, as it was in its first Election, Namely, with the Lord and Baron Bishops, sate full and free, he doubts not but all had gon well. What warrant this of his to us? Whose not doubting was all good mens greatest doubt.
He was resolv'd to heare reason, and to consent so farr as he could comprehend. A hopefull resolution; what if his reason were found by oft experience to comprehend nothing beyond his own advantages, was this a reason fit to be intrusted with the common good of three Nations?
But, saith he, as Swine are to gardens, so are Tumults to Parlaments. This the Parlament, had they found it so, could best have told us. In the meane while, who knows not that one great Hogg may doe as much mischief in a Garden as many little Swine?
He was sometimes prone to think, that had he call'd this last Parlament to any other place in England, the sad consequences might have bin prevented. But change of ayr changes not the mind. Was not his first Parlament at Oxford dissolv'd after two Subsidies giv'n him, and no Justice receav'd? Was not his last in the same place, where they sat with as much freedom, as much quiet from Tumults, as they could desire, a Parlament both in his account, and thir own, consisting of all his Friends, that fled after him, and suffer'd for him, and yet by him nicknam'd, and casheered for a Mungrill Parlament that vext his Queen with thir base and mutinous motions, as his Cabinet letter tells us? Whereby the World may see plainly, that no shifting of place, no sifting of members to his own mind, no number, no paucity, no freedom from tumults, could ever bring his arbitrary wilfulness, and tyrannical Designes to brook the lest shape or similitude, the lest counterfet of a Parlament.
Finally, instead of praying for his people as a good King should doe, hee prays to be deliver'd from them, as from wild Beasts, Inundations, and raging Seas, that had overborn all Loyalty, Modesty, Laws, Justice, and Religion. God save the people from such Intercessors.
V. Upon the Bill for Triennial Parlaments, and for setling this &c.
THe Bill for a Triennial Parlament was but the third part of one good step toward that which in times past was our annual right. The other Bill for setling this Parlament was new indeed, but at that time very necessary; and in the Kings own Words no more then what the world was fully confirm'd he might in Justice, Reason, Honour, and Conscience grant them; for to that end he affirms to have don it.
But whereas he attributes the passing of them to his own act of grace and willingness, as his manner is to make vertues of his necessities, and giving to himself all the praise, heaps ingratitude upon the Parlament, a little memory will sett the cleane contrary before us; that for those Beneficial acts, we ow what wee ow to the Parlament; but to his granting them neither praise nor thanks. The first Bill granted much less then two former Statutes yet in force by Edward the third; that a Parlament should be call'd every yeare, or ofter if need were; nay from a farr ancienter Law Book call'd the Mirror, it is affirm'd in a late Treatise call'd Rights of the Kingdom, that Parlaments by our old Laws ought twice a year to be at London. From twice in one year to once in three year, it may be soon cast up how great a loss we fell into of our ancient liberty by that act, which in the ignorant and Slavish mindes we then were, was thought a great purchase. Wisest men perhaps were contented, for the present at least by this act to have recoverd Parlaments, wch were then upon the brink of danger to be for ever lost. And this is that which the King preaches heer for a special tok'n of his Princely favour, to have abridg'd & over reach'd the people five parts in six of what thir due was, both by ancient Statute, and originally. And thus the taking from us all but a Triennial remnant of that English Freedom which our Fathers left us double, in a fair annuity enrowl'd, is set out, and sould to us heer for the gracious, and over liberal giving of a new enfranchisment. How little, may we think, did he ever give us, who in the Bill of his pretended givings writes down Imprimis that benefit or privilege once in three year giv'n us, which by so giving he more then twice every year illegally took from us. Such givers as give single to take away sixfold, be to our Enemies. For certainly this Common-wealth, if the Statutes of our Ancestors be worth ought, would have found it hard and hazardous to thrive under the dammage of such a guilefull liberalitie. The other act was so necessary, that nothing in the power of Man more seem'd to be the stay & support of all things from that steep ruin, to which he had nigh brought them, then that Act obtain'd. He had by his ill Stewardship, and, to say no worse, the needless raising of two Armies, intended for a civil War, begger'd both himself and the Public: and besides had left us upon the score of his needy Enemies for what it cost them in thir own defence against him. To disingage him and the Kingdom, great sums were to be borrow'd, which would never have bin lent, nor could ever be repaid, had the King chanc'd to dissolve this Parlament as heertofore. The errors also of his Goverment had brought the Kingdom to such extremes, as were incapable of all recovery without the absolute continuance of a Parlament. It had bin els in vaine to goe about the setling of so great distempers, if hee who first caus'd the malady, might when he pleas'd reject the remedy. Notwithstanding all which, that he granted both these Acts unwillingly, and as a meer passive Instrument, was then visible eev'n to most of those Men who now will see nothing.
At passing of the former Act, he himself conceal'd not his unwillingness; and testifying a general dislike of thir actions, which they then proceeded in with great approbation of the whole Kingdom, he told them with a maisterly Brow, that by this Act he had oblig'd them above what they had deserv'd, and gave a peece of Justice to the Common wealth six times short of his Predecessors, as if he had bin giving som boon or begg'd Office to a sort of his desertless Grooms.
That he pass'd the latter Act against his will, no man in reason can hold it questionable. For if the February before he made so dainty, and were so loath to bestow a Parlament once in three yeare upon the Nation, because this had so oppos'd his courses, was it likely that the May following he should bestow willingly on this Parlament an indissoluble sitting, when they had offended him much more by cutting short and impeaching of high Treason his chief Favorites? It was his feare then, not his favor which drew from him that Act, lest the Parlament, incens'd by his Conspiracies against them about the same time discover'd, should with the people have resented too hainously those his doings, if to the suspicion of thir danger from him, he had also added the denyal of this onely meanes to secure themselves.
From these Acts therfore in which he glories, and wherwith so oft he upbraids the Parlament, he cannot justly expect to reape aught but dishonour and dispraise; as being both unwillingly granted, and the one granting much less then was before allow'd by Statute, the other being a testimony of his violent and lawless Custom, not onely to break Privileges, but whole Parlaments; from which enormity they were constrain'd to bind him first of all his Predecessors; never any before him having giv'n like causes of distrust and jealousie to his People. As for this Parlament, how farr he was from being advis'd by them, as he ought, let his own words express.
He taxes them with undoing what they found well done: and yet knows they undid nothing in the Church but Lord Bishops, Liturgies, Ceremonies, High Commission, judg'd worthy by all true Protestants to bee thrown out of the Church. They undid nothing in the State but irregular and grinding Courts, the maine grievances to be remov'd; and if these were the things which in his opinion they found well don, we may againe from hence be inform'd with what unwillingness he remov'd them; and that those gracious Acts wherof so frequently he makes mention, may be english'd more properly Acts of feare and dissimulation against his mind and conscience.
The Bill preventing dissolution of this Parlament he calls An unparalell'd Act out of the extreme confidence that his Subjects would not make ill use of it. But was it not a greater confidence of the people to put into one mans hand so great a power, till he abus'd it, as to summon and dissolve Parlaments? Hee would be thankt for trusting them, and ought to thank them rather for trusting him: the trust issuing first from them, not from him.
And that it was a meer trust, and not his Prerogative, to call and dissolve Parlaments at his pleasure, And that Parlaments were not to be dissolv'd, till all Petitions were heard, all greevances redrest, is not onely the assertion of this Parlament, but of our ancient Law Books, which averr it to be an unwritt'n Law of common Right, so ingrav'n in the hearts of our Ancestors, and by them so constantly enjoy'd and claim'd, as that it needed not enrouling. And if the Scots in thir Declaration could charge the King with breach of their Laws for breaking up that Parlament without their consent, while matters of greatest moment were depending, it were unreasonable to imagin that the wisdom of England should be so wanting to it self through all Ages, as not to provide by som known Law, writt'n or unwritt'n, against the not calling, or the arbitrary dissolving of Parlaments; or that they who ordain'd thir summoning twice a yeare, or as oft as need requir'd, did not tacitly enact also, that as necessity of affaires call'd them, so the same necessity should keep them undissolv'd, till that were fully satisfi'd. Were it not for that, Parlaments, and all the fruit and benefit we receave by having them, would turne soon to meer abusion. It appeares then that if this Bill of not dissolving were an unparallel'd Act, it was a known and common Right, which our Ancestors under other Kings enjoyd as firmly, as if it had bin grav'n in Marble; and that the infringement of this King first brought it into a writt'n Act: Who now boasts that, as a great favour don us, which his own less fidelity then was in former Kings constrain'd us onely of an old undoubted Right to make a new writt'n Act. But what needed writt'n Acts, when as anciently it was esteem'd part of his Crown Oath not to dissolve Parlaments, till all greevances were consider'd; wherupon the old Modi of Parlament calls it flat perjury, if he dissolve them before; as I find cited in a Booke mention'd at the beginning of this Chapter, to which and other Law-tractats I referr the more Lawyerlie mooting of this point: which is neither my element, nor my proper work heer; since the Book, which I have to Answer pretends reason, not Autoritys and quotations: and I hold reason to be the best Arbitrator, and the Law of Law it self.
Tis true, that good Subjects think it not just, that the Kings condition should be worse by bettering theirs. But then the King must not be at such a distance from the people, in judging what is better and what worse; which might have bin agreed, had he known (for his own words condemn him) as well with moderation to use, as with earnestness to desire his own advantages.
A continual Parlament, he thought, would keep the Common-wealth in tune. Judge, Common wealth, what proofs he gave, that this boasted profession was ever in his thought.
Some, saith he, gave out, that I repented me of that setling Act. His own actions gave it out beyond all supposition. For doubtless it repented him to have establish'd that by Law, which he went about so soon after to abrogat by the Sword.
He calls those Acts which he confesses tended to thir good, not more Princely then friendly contributions. As if to doe his duty were of curtesie, and the discharge of his trust a parcell of his liberality; so nigh lost in his esteem was the birthright of our Liberties, that to give them back againe upon demand stood at the mercy of his Contribution.
He doubts not but the affections of his People will compensate his sufferings for those acts of confidence. And imputes his sufferings to a contrary cause. Not his confidence, but his distrust was that which brought him to those sufferings, from the time that he forsook his Parlament; and trusted them ne're the sooner for what he tells of thir pietie and religious strictness, but rather hated them as Puritans, whom he always sought to extirpat.
He would have it beleev'd, that to bind his hands by these Acts argu'd a very short foresight of things, and extreme fatuity of mind in him, if he had meant a Warr. If we should conclude so, that were not the onely Argument: Neither did it argue that he meant peace, knowing that what he granted for the present out of feare, he might as soon repeale by force, watching his time; and deprive them the fruit of those Acts, if his own designes, wherin he put his trust, took effect.
Yet he complaines, That the tumults threaten'd to abuse all acts of grace, and turne them into wantonness. I would they had turn'd his wantonness into the grace of not abusing Scripture. Was this becomming such a Saint as they would make him, to adulterat those Sacred words from the grace of God to the acts of his own grace? Herod was eat'n up of Wormes for suffering others to compare his voice to the voice of God; but the Borrower of this phrase gives much more cause of jealousie, that he lik'n'd his own acts of grace to the acts of Gods grace.
From profaneness he scars comes off with perfet sense, I was not then in a capacity to make Warr, therfore I intended not: I was not in a capacity, therfore I could not have giv'n my Enemies greater advantage then by so unprincely inconstancy to have scatter'd them by Armes, whom but lately I had settl'd by Parlament. What place could there be for his inconstancy in that thing wherto he was in no capacity? Otherwise his inconstancy was not so unwonted or so nice, but that it would have easily found pretences to scatter those in revenge, whom he settl'd in feare.
It had bin a course full of sin as well as of hazzard and dishonour. True, but if those considerations withheld him not from other actions of like nature, how can we beleeve they were of strength sufficient to withhold him from this? And that they withheld him not, the event soon taught us.
His letting some men goe up to the Pinnacle of the Temple was a temptation to them to cast him down headlong. In this Simily we have himself compar'd to Christ, the Parlament to the Devill, and his giving them that Act of settling, to his letting them goe up to the Pinnacle of the Temple. A tottring and giddy Act rather then a settling. This was goodly use made of Scripture in his Solitudes: but it was no Pinnacle of the Temple, it was a Pinnacle of Nebuchadnezzars Palace, from whence hee and Monarchy fell headlong together.
He would have others see that All the Kingdomes of the World are not worth gaining by wayes of sin which hazzard the Soule; and hath himself left nothing unhazzarded to keep three. He concludes with sentences that rightly scannd, make not so much for him as against him, and confesses that The Act of settling was no sin of his will; and wee easily beleeve him, for it hath bin clearly prov'd a sin of his unwillingness.
With his Orisons I meddle not, for he appeals to a high Audit. This yet may be noted, that at his Prayers he had before him the sad presage of his ill success, As of a dark and dangerous Storme, which never admitted his returne to the Port from whence he set out. Yet his Prayer-Book no sooner shut, but other hopes flatter'd him; and thir flattering was his destruction.
VI. Upon his Retirement from Westminster.
THe Simily wherwith he begins I was about to have found fault with, as in a garb somwhat more Poetical then for a Statist: but meeting with many straines of like dress in other of his Essaies, and hearing him reported a more diligent reader of Poets, then of Politicians, I begun to think that the whole Book might perhaps be intended a peece of Poetrie. The words are good, the fiction smooth and cleanly; there wanted onely Rime, and that, they say, is bestow'd upon it lately. But to the Argument.
I stai'd at White Hall, till I was driven away by shame more then feare. I retract not what I thought of the fiction, yet heer, I must confess, it lies too op'n. In his Messages and Declarations, nay in the whole Chapter next but one before this, he affirmes, that The danger, wherin his Wife, his Children, and his own Person were by those Tumults, was the maine cause that drove him from White Hall, and appeales to God as witness: he affirmes heer that it was shame more then feare. And Digby, who knew his mind as well as any, tells his new-listed Guard, That the principal cause of his Majesties going thence, was to save them from being trodd in the dirt. From whence we may discerne what false and frivolous excuses are avow'd for truth, either in those Declarations, or in this Penitential Book. Our forefathers were of that courage and severity of zeale to Justice, and thir native Liberty, against the proud contempt and misrule of thir Kings, that when Richard the Second departed but from a Committie of Lords, who sat preparing matter for the Parlament not yet assembl'd, to the removal of his evil Counselors, they first vanquish'd and put to flight Robert de Vere his chief Favorite; and then, comming up to London with a huge Army, requir'd the King then withdrawn for feare, but no furder off then the Tower, to come to Westminster. Which he refusing, they told him flatly, that unless he came they would choose another. So high a crime it was accounted then, for Kings to absent themselves, not from a Parlament, which none ever durst, but from any meeting of his Peeres and Counselors, which did but tend towards a Parlament. Much less would they have suffer'd that a King, for such trivial and various pretences, one while for feare of tumults, another while for shame to see them, should leav his Regal Station, and the whole Kingdom bleeding to death of those wounds, which his own unskilful and pervers Goverment had inflicted.
Shame then it was that drove him from the Parlament, but the shame of what? Was it
not the shame of his manifold errours and misdeeds, and to see how weakly he had plaid the King? No; But to see the barbarous rudeness of those Tumults to demand any thing. We have started heer another, and, I beleeve, the truest cause of his deserting the Parlament. The worst and strangest of that Any thing which the people then demanded, was but the unlording of Bishops, and expelling them the House, and the reducing of Church Discipline to a conformity with other Protestant Churches: this was the Barbarism of those Tumults; and that he might avoid the granting of those honest and pious demands, as well demanded by the Parlament as the People, for this very cause, more then for feare, by his own confession heer, he left the City; and in a most tempestuous season forsook the Helme and steerage of the Common-wealth. This was that terrible Any thing from which his Conscience and his Reason chose to run rather then not deny. To be importun'd the removing of evil Counselors, and other greevances in Church and State, was to him an intollerable oppression. If the peoples demanding were so burd'nsome to him, what was his denial and delay of Justice to them?
But as the demands of his people were to him a burd'n and oppression, so was the advice of his Parlament esteem'd a bondage; Whose agreeing Votes, as he affirmes, Were not by any Law or reason conclusive to his judgement. For the Law, it ordaines a Parlament to advise him in his great affaires; but if it ordaine also, that the single judgement of a King shall outballance all the wisdom of his Parlament, it ordaines that which frustrats the end of its own ordaining. For where the Kings judgement may dissent, to the destruction, as it may happ'n, both of himself and the Kingdom, there advice, and no furder, is a most insufficient and frustraneous meanes to be provided by Law, in case of so high concernment. And where the main & principal Law of common preservation against tyranny is left so fruitless and infirm, there it must needs follow that all lesser Laws are to thir severall ends and purposes much more weak, and uneffectual. For that Nation would deserv to be renownd and Chronicl'd for folly & stupidity, that should by Law provide force against privat and petty wrongs, advice only against tyranny and public ruin. It being therfore most unlike a Law, to ordain a remedy so slender and unlawlike, to be the utmost meanes of all our safety, or prevention, as advice is, which may at any time be rejected by the sole judgement of one man, the King, and so unlike the Law of England, which Lawyers say is the quintessence of reason and mature wisdom; wee may conclude, that the Kings negative voice was never any Law, but an absurd and reasonless Custom, begott'n and grown up either from the flattery of basest times, or the usurpation of immoderat Princes. Thus much to the Law of it by a better evidence then Rowles and Records, Reason.
But is it possible he should pretend also to reason, that the judgement of one man, not as a wise or good man, but as a King, and oft times a wilfull, proud, and wicked King, should outweigh the prudence and all the vertue of an elected Parlament? What an abusive thing were it then to summon Parlaments, that by the Major part of voices greatest matters may be there debated and resolv'd, when as one single voice after that shall dash all thir Resolutions?
He attempts to give a reason why it should, Because the whole Parlament represents not him in any kind. But mark how little he advances; for if the Parlament represent the whole Kingdom, as is sure anough they doe, then doth the King represent onely himself; and if a King without his Kingdom be in a civil sense nothing, then without or against the Representative of his whole Kingdom, he himself represents nothing, and by consequence his judgement and his negative is as good as nothing; and though we should allow him to be something, yet not equivalent, or comparable to the whole Kingdom, and so neither to them who represent it: much less that one syllable of his breath putt into the scales should be more ponderous then the joynt voice and efficacy of a whole Parlament, assembl'd by election, and endu'd with the plenipotence of a free Nation, to make Laws, not to be deny'd Laws, and with no more but No, a sleevless reason, in the most pressing times of danger and disturbance, to be sent home frustrat and remediless.
Yet heer he maintaines To be no furder bound to agree with the Votes of both Houses, then he sees them to agree with the will of God, with his just Rights as a King, and the generall good of his People. As to the freedom of his agreeing or not agreeing, limited with due bounds, no man reprehends it; this is the Question heer, or the Miracle rather, why his onely not agreeing should lay a negative barr and inhibition upon that which is agreed to by a whole Parlament, though never so conducing to the Public good or safety? To know the will of God better then his whole Kingdom, whence should he have it? Certainly Court-breeding and his perpetual conversation with Flatterers was but a bad Schoole. To judge of his own Rights could not belong to him, who had no right by Law in any Court to judge of so much as Fellony or Treason, being held a party in both these Cases, much more in this; and his Rights however should give place to the general good, for which end all his Rights were giv'n him. Lastly to suppose a clearer insight and discerning of the general good, allotted to his own singular judgement then to the Parlament and all the People, and from that self-opinion of discerning, to deny them that good which they being all Freemen seek earnestly, and call for, is an arrogance and iniquity beyond imagination rude and unreasonable: they undoubtedly having most autoritie to judge of the public good, who for that purpose are chos'n out and sent by the People to advise him. And if it may be in him to see oft the major part of them not in the right, had it not bin more his modestie to have doubted their seeing him more oft'n in the wrong?
He passes to another reason of his denials, Because of some mens hydropic unsatiableness, and thirst of asking, the more they drank, whom no fountaine of regall bountie was able to overcome. A comparison more properly bestow'd on those that came to guzzle in his Wine-cellar, then on a freeborn People that came to claime in Parlament thir Rights and Liberties, which a King ought therfore to grant, because of right demanded; not to deny them for feare his bounty should be exhaust, which in these demands (to continue the same Metaphor) was not so much as Broach'd; it being his duty, not his bounty to grant these things. He who thus refuses to give us Law, in that refusal gives us another Law, which is his will, another name also, and another condition; of Freemen to become his vassals.
Putting off the Courtier, he now puts on the Philosopher, and sententiously disputes to this effect, that reason ought to be us'd to men, force and terror to Beasts; that he deserves to be a slave who captivates the rationall soverantie of his soule and liberty of his will to compulsion; that he would not forfeit that freedome which cannot be deni'd him, as a King, because it belongs to him as a Man and a Christian, though to preserve his Kingdom, but rather dye injoying the Empire of his soule, then live in such a vassalage, as not to use his reason and conscience to like or dislike as a King. Which words, of themselves, as farr as they are sense, good and Philosophical, yet in the mouth of him who to engross this common libertie to himself, would tred down all other men into the condition of Slaves and beasts, they quite loose thir commendation. He confesses a rational sovrantie of soule and freedom of will in every man, and yet with an implicit repugnancy would have his reason the sovran of that sovranty, and would captivate and make useless that natural freedom of will in all other men but himself. But them that yeeld him this obedience he so well rewards, as to pronounce them worthy to be Slaves. They who have lost all to be his Subjects, may stoop and take up the reward. What that freedom is, which cannot be deni'd him as a King, because it belongs to him as a Man, and a Christian, I understand not. If it be his negative voice, it concludes all men who have not such a negative as his against a whole Parlament, to be neither Men, nor Christians: and what was he himself then, all this while that we deni'd it him as a King? Will hee say that hee enjoy'd within himself the less freedom for that? Might not he, both as a Man and as a Christian have raignd within himself, in full sovranty of soule, no man repining, but that his outward and imperious will must invade the civil Liberties of a Nation? Did wee therfore not permit him to use his reason or his conscience, not permitting him to bereave us the use of ours? And might not he have enjoy'd both as a King, governing us as Freemen by what Laws we our selves would be govern'd? It was not the inward use of his reason and of his conscience, that would content him, but to use them both as a Law over all his Subjects, in whatever he declar'd as a King to like or dislike. Which use of reason, most reasonless and unconscionable, is the utmost that any Tyrant ever pretended over his Vassals.
In all wise Nations the Legislative power, and the judicial execution of that power, have bin most commonly distinct, and in several hands: but yet the former supreme, the other subordinat. If then the King be only set up to execute the Law, which is indeed the highest of his office: he ought no more to make or forbidd the making of any Law agreed upon in Parlament, then other inferior Judges, who are his Deputies. Neither can he more reject a Law offerd him by the Commons, then he can new make a Law which they reject. And yet the more to credit and uphold his cause, he would seeme to have Philosophie on his side; straining her wise dictates to unphilosophical purposes. But when Kings come so low, as to fawn upon Philosophie, which before they neither valu'd nor understood, tis a signe that failes not, they are then put to thir last Trump. And Philosophie as well requites them, by not suffering her gold'n sayings either to become their lipps, or to be us'd as masks and colours of injurious and violent deeds. So that what they presume to borrow from her sage and vertuous rules, like the Riddle of Sphinx not understood, breaks the neck of thir own cause.
But now againe to Politics, He cannot think the Majestie of the Crown of England to be bound by any Coronation Oath in a blind and brutish formalitie, to consent to whatever its Subjects in Parlament shall require. What Tyrant could presume to say more, when he meant to kick down all Law, Goverment, and bond of Oath? But why he so desires to absolve himself the Oath of his Coronation would be worth the knowing. It cannot but be yeelded, that the Oath, which bindes him to performance of his trust, ought in reason to contain the summ of what his chief trust and Office is. But if it neither doe enjoyn, nor mention to him, as a part of his duty, the making or the marring of any Law, or scrap of Law, but requires only his assent to those Laws which the people have already chos'n, or shall choose (for so both the Latin of that Oath, and the old English, and all Reason admits, that the People should not lose under a new King what freedom they had before) then that negative voice so contended for, to deny the passing of any Law which the Commons choose, is both against the Oath of his Coronation, and his Kingly Office. And if the King may deny to pass what the Parlament hath chos'n to be a Law, then doth the King make himself Superiour to his whole Kingdom; which not onely the general Maxims of Policy gainsay, but eev'n our own standing Laws, as hath bin cited to him in Remonstrances heertofore, that The King hath two Superiours, the Law, and his Court of Parlament. But this he counts to be a blind and brutish formality, whether it be Law, or Oath, or his duty, and thinks to turn it off with wholsom words and phrases, which he then first learnt of the honest People, when they were so oft'n compell'd to use them against those more truely blind and brutish formalities thrust upon us by his own command, not in civil matters onely but in Spiritual. And if his Oath to perform what the People require, when they Crown him, be in his esteem a brutish formality, then doubtless those other Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, tak'n absolute on our part, may most justly appear to us in all respects as brutish and as formal; and so by his own sentence no more binding to us then his Oath to him.
As for his instance in case He and the House of Peers attempted to enjoyne the House of Commons, it beares no equalitie; for hee and the Peers represent but themselves, the Commons are the whole Kingdom.
Thus he concludes his Oath to be fully discharged in governing by Laws already made, as being not bound to pass any new, if his Reason bids him deny. And so may infinite mischiefs grow, and he with a pernicious negative may deny us all things good, or just, or safe, wherof our ancestors in times much differing from ours, had either no fore sight, or no occasion to foresee; while our general good and safety shall depend upon the privat and overweening Reason of one obstinat Man, who against all the Kingdom, if he list, will interpret both the Law and his Oath of Coronation by the tenor of his own will. Which he himself confesses to be an arbitrary power, yet doubts not in his Argument to imply, as if he thought it more fit the Parlament should be subject to his will, then he to their advice, a man neither by nature nor by nurture wise. How is it possible that he in whom such Principles as these were so deep rooted, could ever, though restor'd again, have raign'd otherwise then Tyrannically?
He objects, That force was but a slavish method to dispell his error. But how oft'n shall it be answer'd him that no force was us'd to dispell the error out of his head, but to drive it from off our necks: for his error was imperious, and would command all other men to renounce thir own reason and understanding, till they perish'd under the injunction of his all-ruling error.
He alleges the uprightness of his intentions to excuse his possible failings; a position fals both in Law and Divinity: Yea contrary to his own better principles, who affirmes in the twelfth Chapter, that The goodness of a mans intention, will not excuse the scandall and contagion of his example. His not knowing, through the corruption of flattery and Court Principles, what he ought to have known, will not excuse his not doing what he ought to have don: no more then the small skill of him, who undertakes to be a Pilot, will excuse him to be misledd by any wandring Starr mistak'n for the Pole. But let his intentions be never so upright, what is that to us? What answer for the reason and the National Rights which God hath giv'n us, if having Parlaments, and Laws and the power of making more to avoid mischief, wee suffer one mans blind intentions to lead us all with our eyes op'n to manifest destruction?
And if arguments prevaile not with such a one, force is well us'd; not to carry on the weakness of our Counsels, or to convince his error, as he surmises, but to acquitt and rescue our own reason, our own consciences from the force and prohibition laid by his usurping error upon our Liberties and understandings.
Never thing pleas'd him more then when his judgement concurr'd with theirs. That was to the applause of his own judgement, and would as well have pleas'd any selfconceited man.
Yea in many things he chose rather to deny himself then them. That is to say in trifles. For of his own Interests and Personal Rights he conceavs himself Maister. To part with, if he please; not to contest for, against the Kingdom, which is greater then he, whose Rights are all subordinat to the Kingdoms good: And in what concernes truth, Justice, the right of Church, or his Crown, no man shall gaine his consent against his mind. What can be left then for a Parlament, but to sit like Images, while he still thus either with incomparable arrogance assumes to himself the best abilitie of judging for other men what is Truth, Justice, Goodness, what his own, and the Churches Right, or with unsufferable Tyranny restraines all men from the enjoyment of any good, which his judgement, though erroneous, thinks not fit to grant them; notwithstanding that the Law and his Coronal Oath requires his undeniable assent to what Laws the Parlament agree upon.
He had rather wear a Crown of Thorns with our Saviour. Many would be all one with our Saviour, whom our Saviour will not know. They who govern ill those Kingdoms which they had a right to, have to our Saviours Crown of Thornes no right at all. Thornes they may find anow, of thir own gathering, and thir own twisting: for Thornes and Snares, saith Solomon, are in the way of the froward; but to wear them, as our Saviour wore them is not giv'n to them that suffer by thir own demerits. Nor is a Crown of Gold his due who cannot first wear a Crown of Lead; not onely for the weight of that great Office, but for the compliance which it ought to have with them who are to counsel him, which heer he termes in scorne An imbased flexibleness to the various and oft contrary dictates of any Factions. meaning his Parlament; for the question hath bin all this while between them two. And to his Parlament, though a numerous and chois Assembly of whom the Land thought wisest, he imputes rather then to himself, want of reason, neglect of the Public, interest of parties, and particularitie of private will and passion; but with what modesty or likelihood of truth, it will be wearisom to repeat so oft'n.
He concludes with a sentence faire in seeming, but fallacious. For if the conscience be ill edifi'd, the resolution may more befitt a foolish then a Christian King, to preferr a self-will'd conscience before a Kingdoms good; especially in the deniall of that which Law and his Regal Office by Oath bids him grant to his Parlament, and whose Kingdom rightfully demanding. For we may observe him throughout the discours to assert his Negative power against the whole Kingdom; now under the specious Plea of his conscience and his reason, but heertofore in a lowder note, Without us, or against our consent, the Votes of either or of both Houses together, must not, cannot, shall not Declar. May 4. 1642.
With these and the like deceavable Doctrines he levens also his Prayer.
VII. Upon the Queens departure.
TO this Argument we shall soon have said; for what concerns it to us to hear a Husband divulge his Household privacies, extolling to others the vertues of his Wife; an infirmity not seldom incident to those who have least cause. But how good shee was a Wife, was to himself, and be it left to his own fancy; how bad a Subject, is not much disputed. And being such, it need be made no wonder, though shee left a Protestant Kingdom with as little honour as her Mother left a Popish.
That this Is the first example of any Protestant Subjects that have tak'n up Armes against thir King a Protestant, can be to Protestants no dishonour; when it shall be heard that he first levied Warr on them, and to the interest of Papists more then of Protestants. He might have giv'n yet the precedence of making warr upon him to the subjects of his own Nation; who had twice oppos'd him in the op'n Feild, long ere the English found it necessary to doe the like. And how groundless, how dissembl'd is that feare, lest shee, who for so many yeares had bin averse from the Religion of her Husband, and every yeare more and more, before these disturbances broke out, should for them be now the more alienated from that to which we never heard shee was inclin'd. But if the feare of her Delinquency and that Justice which the Protestants demanded on her, was any cause of her alienating the more, to have gain'd her by indirect means had bin no advantage to Religion; much less then was the detriment to loose her furder off. It had bin happy if his own actions had not giv'n cause of more scandal to the Protestants, then what they did against her could justly scandalize any Papist.
Them who accus'd her, well anough known to be the Parlament, he censures for Men yet to seeke thir Religion, whether Doctrine, Discipline, or good manners; the rest he soothes with the name of true English Protestants, a meer scismatical name, yet he so great an enemy of Scism.
He ascribes Rudeness and barbarity worse then Indian to the English Parlament, and all vertue to his Wife, in straines that come almost to Sonnetting: How fitt to govern men, undervaluing and aspersing the great Counsel of his Kingdom, in comparison of one Woman. Examples are not farr to seek, how great mischeif and dishonour hath befall'n Nations under the Goverment of effeminate and Uxorious Magistrates. Who being themselves govern'd and overswaid at home under a Feminine usurpation, cannot but be farr short of spirit and autority without dores, to govern a whole Nation.
Her tarrying heer he could not think safe among them who were shaking hands with Allegiance to lay faster hold on Religion; and taxes them of a duty rather then a crime, it being just to obey God rather then Man, and impossible to serve two Maisters. I would they had quite shak'n off what they stood shaking hands with; the fault was in thir courage, not in thir cause.
In his Prayer he prayes that The disloyaltie of his Protestant Subjects may not be a hindrance to her love of the true Religion; and never prays, that the dissoluteness of his Court, the scandals of his Clergy, the unsoundness of his own judgement, the lukewarmness of his life, his Letter of compliance to the Pope, his permitting Agents at Rome, the Popes Nuntio, and her Jesuited Mother here, may not be found in the sight of God farr greater hindrances to her conversion.
But this had bin a suttle Prayer indeed, and well pray'd though as duely as a Pater-noster, if it could have charm'd us to sit still, and have Religion and our Liberties one by one snatch'd from us, for fear least rising to defend our selves, wee should fright the Queen a stiff Papist from turning Protestant. As if the way to make his Queen a Protestant had bin to make his Subjects more then half way Papists.
He prays next, That his constancy may be an antidote against the poyson of other mens example. His constancy in what? Not in Religion, for it is op'nly known, that her Religion wrought more upon him, then his Religion upon her; and his op'n favouring of Papists, and his hatred of them call'd Puritants, the ministers also that prayd in Churches for her Conversion, being checkt from Court, made most men suspect she had quite perverted him. But what is it that the blindness of hypocrisy dares not doe? It dares pray, and thinks to hide that from the eyes of God, which it cannot hide from the op'n view of man.
VIII. Upon His Repulse at Hull, and the Fate of the Hothams.
HUll, a town of great strength and opportunitie both to sea and land affaires, was at that time the Magazin of all those armes which the King had bought with mony most illegally extorted from his Subjects of England, to use in a causeless and most unjust civil warr against his Subjects of Scotland. The King in high discontent and anger had left the Parlament and was gon towards the North; the Queen into Holland, where she pawn'd and set to sale the Crown-Jewels (a crime heretofore counted treasonable in Kings) and to what intent these summs were rais'd, the Parlament was not ignorant. His going northward in so high a chafe they doubted was to possess himself of that strength, which the storehouse and situation of Hull might add suddenly to his malignant party. Having first therfore in many Petitions earnestly pray'd him to dispose and settle, with consent of both Houses, the military power in trusty hands, and he as oft refusing, they were necessitated by the turbulence and danger of those times to put the Kingdom by thir own autority into a posture of defence; and very timely sent sir John Hotham a member of the House, and Knight of that county, to take Hull into his custody, and some of the Train'd bands to his assistance. For besides the General danger they had, before the Kings going to York, notice giv'n them of his privat Commissions to the Earl of Newcastle, and to Colonel Legg, one of those imploid to bring the Army up against the Parlament; who had already made som attempts, & the former of them under a disguise, to surprise that place for the Kings party. And letters of the Lord Digby were intercepted, wherin was wisht that the K. would declare himself, and retire to som safe place; other information came from abroad, that Hull was the place design'd for some new enterprise. And accordingly Digby himself not long after, with many other Commanders, and much forrain Ammunition landed in those parts. But these attempts not succeeding, and that Town being now in custody of the Parlament, he sends a message to them, that he had firmely resolv'd to go in person into Ireland; to chastise those wicked Rebels (for these and wors words he then gave them) and that toward this work he intended forthwith to raise by his commissions, in the Counties neere Westchester, a guard for his own person, consisting of 2000. foot, and 200. horse, that should be arm'd from his Magazin at Hull. On the other side, the Parlament foreseeing the Kings drift, about the same time send him a Petition, that they might have leave for necessary causes to remoove the magazin of Hull to the Towre of London; to which the King returnes his denial; and soon after going to Hull attended with about 400. Horse, requires the Governour to deliver him up the Town; wherof the Governour besought humbly to be excus'd, till he could send notice to the Parlament who had intrusted him; wherat the King much incens'd proclaims him Traitor before the Town Walls; and gives immediat order to stop all passages between him and the Parlament. Yet he himself dispatches post after post to demand justice, as upon a Traitor: using a strange iniquitie to require justice upon him whom he then way layd, and debarr'd from his appearance. The Parlament no sooner understood what had pass'd, but they declare, that Sir John Hotham had don no more then was his duty, and was therfore no Traitor.
This relation, being most true, proves that which is affirm'd heer to be most fals; seeing the Parlament, whom he accounts his greatest Enemies, had more confidence to abett and own what Sir John Hotham had don, then the King had confidence to let him answer in his own behalf.
To speak of his patience, and in that solemn manner, he might better have forborne; God knows saith he, it affected me more with sorrow for others then with anger for my self; nor did the affront trouble me so much as thir sin. This is read, I doubt not, and beleev'd: and as there is some use of every thing, so is there of this Book, were it but to shew us, what a miserable, credulous, deluded thing that creature is, which is call'd the Vulgar; who notwithstanding what they might know, will beleeve such vain-glories as these. Did not that choleric and vengefull act of proclaiming him Traitor before due process of Law, having bin convinc'd so late before of his illegallity with the five Members, declare his anger to be incens'd? doth not his own relation confess as much? and his second Message left him fuming three dayes after, and in plaine words testifies his impatience of delay till Hotham be severely punish'd, for that which he there termes an insupportable affront.
Surely if his sorrow for Sir John Hothams sin were greater then his anger for the affront, it was an exceeding great sorrow indeed, and wondrous charitable. But if it stirr'd him so vehemently to have Sir John Hotham punisht, and not at all, that we heare, to have him repent, it had a strange operation to be call'd a sorrow for his sin. Hee who would perswade us of his sorrow for the sins of other men, as they are sins, not as they are sin'd against himself, must give us first some testimony of a sorrow for his own sins, and next for such sins of other men as cannot be suppos'd a direct injury to himself. But such compunction in the King, no man hath yet observ'd; and till then his sorrow for Sir John Hothams sin will be call'd no other then the resentment of his repulse; and his labour to have the sinner onely punish'd, will be call'd by a right name, his revenge.
And the hand of that cloud, which cast all soon after into darkness and disorder, was his own hand. For assembling the Inhabitants of York-shire and other Counties, Horse and Foot, first under colour of a new Guard to his Person, soon after, being suppli'd with ammunition from Holland, bought with the Crown Jewels, he begins an op'n Warr by laying Seige to Hull. Which Town was not his own, but the Kingdoms; and the Armes there, public Armes, bought with the public Mony, or not his own. Yet had they bin his own by as good right as the privat House and Armes of any man are his own, to use either of them in a way not privat, but suspicious to the Common-wealth, no Law permitts. But the King had no proprietie at all, either in Hull or in the Magazin. So that the following Maxims which he cites of bold and disloyall undertakers may belong more justly to whom he least meant them. After this he againe relapses into the praise of his patience at Hull, and by his overtalking of it, seems to doubt either his own conscience, or the hardness of other mens beleif. To me, the more he praises it in himself, the more he seems to suspect that in very deed it was not in him; and that the lookers on so likewise thought.
Thus much of what he suffer'd by Hotham, and with what patience; now of what Hotham suffer'd, as he judges, for opposing him. He could not but observe how God not long after pleaded and aveng'd his cause. Most men are too apt, and commonly the worst of men, so to interpret and expound the judgements of God, and all other events of providence or chance, as makes most to the justifying of thir own cause, though never so evil; and attribute all to the particular favour of God towards them. Thus when Saul heard that David was in Keilah, God, saith he, hath deliver'd him into my hands, for he is shut in. But how farr that King was deceav'd in his thought that God was favouring to his cause, that story unfolds; and how little reason this King had to impute the death of Hotham to Gods avengement of his repuls at Hull, may easily be seen. For while Hotham continu'd faithfull to his trust, no man more safe, more successfull, more in reputation then hee. But from the time he first sought to make his peace with the King, and to betray into his hands that Town, into which before he had deny'd him entrance, nothing prosper'd with him. Certainly had God purpos'd him such an end for his opposition to the King, he would not have deferr'd to punish him till then, when of an Enemy he was chang'd to be the Kings Friend, nor have made his repentance and amendment the occasion of his ruin. How much more likely is it, since he fell into the act of disloyalty to his charge, that the judgement of God concurr'd with the punishment of man, and justly cut him off for revolting to the King. To give the world an example, that glorious deeds don to ambitious ends, find reward answerable, not to thir outward seeming, but to thir inward ambition. In the mean while, what thanks he had from the King, for revolting to his cause, and what good opinion for dying in his service, they who have ventur'd like him, or intend, may heer take notice.
He proceeds to declare, not onely in general wherfore Gods judgement was upon Hotham, but undertakes by fansies, and allusions to give a criticism upon every particular: That his head was divided from his body, because his heart was divided from the King: two heads cut off in one family for affronting the head of the Common-wealth; the eldest son being infected with the sin of his Father, against the Father of his Countrie. These petty glosses and conceits on the high and secret judgements of God, besides the boldness of unwarrantable commenting, are so weake and shallow, and so like the quibbl's of a Court Sermon, that we may safely reck'n them either fetcht from such a pattern, or that the hand of some houshold priest foisted them in; least the World should forget how much he was a Disciple of those Cymbal Doctors. But that argument, by which the Author would commend them to us, discredits them the more. For if they be so obvious to every fancy, the more likely to be erroneous, and to misconceive the mind of those high secrecies, wherof they presume to determin. For God judges not by human fansy.
But however God judg'd Hotham, yet he had the Kings pitty; but marke the reason how preposterous; so farr he had his pitty, as he thought he at first acted more against the light of his conscience then many other men in the same cause. Questionless they who act against conscience, whether at the barr of human, or Divine Justice, are pittied least of all. These are the common grounds and verdicts of Nature, wherof when he who hath the judging of a Whole Nation is found destitute, under such a Governour that Nation must needs be miserable.
By the way he jerkes at some mens reforming to models of Religion, and that they think all is gold of pietie that doth but glister with a shew of Zeale. We know his meaning; and apprehend how little hope there could be of him from such language as this: But are sure that the pietie of his prelatic modell glistered more upon the posts and pillars which thir Zeale and fervencie gilded over, then in the true workes of spiritual edification.
He is sorry that Hotham felt the Justice of others, and fell not rather into the hands of his mercy. But to cleare that, he should have shewn us what mercy he had ever us'd to such as fell into his hands before, rather then what mercy he intended to such as never could come to aske it. Whatever mercy one man might have expected, tis too well known the whole Nation found none; though they besought it oft'n, and so humbly; but had bin swallow'd up in blood and ruin, to set his privat will above the Parlament, had not his strength faild him. Yet clemency he counts a debt, which he ought to pay to those that crave it; since we pay not any thing to God for his mercy but prayers and praises. By this reason we ought as freely to pay all things to all men; for of all that we receive from God, what doe we pay for, more then prayers and praises? we look'd for the discharge of his Office, the payment of his dutie to the Kingdom, and are payd Court payment with empty sentences that have the sound of gravity, but the significance of nothing pertinent.
Yet again after his mercy past and granted, he returnes back to give sentence upon Hotham; and whom he tells us he would so fain have sav'd alive, him he never leaves killing with a repeated condemnation, though dead long since. It was ill that sombody stood not neer to whisper him, that a reiterating Judge is worse then a tormentor. He pitties him, he rejoyces not, he pitties him again, but still is sure to brand him at the taile of his pitty, with som ignominious mark either of ambition or disloyaltie. And with a kind of censorious pitty, aggravates rather then less'ns or conceals the fault: To pitty thus is to triumph.
He assumes to foreknow, that after times will dispute whether Hotham were more infamous at Hull, or at Towerhill. What knew he of after times, who while he sits judging and censuring with out end the fate of that unhappy Father and his son at Towerhill, knew not the like fate attended him, before his own Palace Gate; and as little knew whether after times reserve not a greater infamy to the story of his own life and raigne?
He saies but over again in his prayer, what his Sermon hath Preacht; How acceptably to those in heav'n we leave to be decided by that precept, which forbidds Vaine Repetitions. Sure anough it lies as heavie as he can lay it, upon the head of poore Hotham.
Needs he will fast'n upon God a peece of revenge as don for his sake; and takes it for a favor, before he know it was intended him: which in his closet had bin excusable, but in a Writt'n and publish'd prayer, too presumptuous. Ecclesiastes hath a right name for such kind of Sacrifices.
Going on, he prayes thus, Let not thy Justice prevent the objects and opportunities of my mercy. To folly, or to blasphemy, or to both shall we impute this? Shall the Justice of God give place, and serv to glorifie the mercies of a man? All other men, who know what they ask, desire of God that thir doings may tend to his glory; but in this prayer God is requir'd that his justice would forbeare to prevent, and as good have said to intrench upon the glory of a mans mercy. If God forbeare his Justice it must be, sure, to the magnifying of his own mercy: How then can any mortal man, without presumption little less then impious, take the boldness to aske that glory out of his hand? It may be doubted now by them who understand Religion, whether the King were more unfortunat in this his prayer, or Hotham in those his sufferings.
IX. Upon the listing and raising Armies, &c.
IT were an endless work to walk side by side with the Verbosity of this Chapter; onely to what already hath not bin spok'n, convenient answer shall be giv'n. Hee begins againe with Tumults; all demonstration of the Peoples Love and Loyaltie to the Parlament was Tumult; thir Petitioning, Tumult; thir defensive Armies were but listed Tumults, and will take no notice that those about him, those in a time of peace listed into his own House, were the beginners of all these Tumults; abusing and assaulting not onely such as came peaceably to the Parlament at London, but those that came Petitioning to the King himself at York. Neither did they abstain from doing violence and outrage to the Messengers sent from Parlament; he himself either count'nancing, or conniving at them.
He supposes, that His recess gave us confidence, that he might be conquer'd. Other men suppose both that, and all things els, who knew him neither by nature Warlike, nor experienc'd, nor fortunate; so farr was any man that discern'd aught, from esteeming him unconquerable; yet such are readiest to imbroile others.
But he had a soule invincible. What praise is that? The stomach of a Child is ofttimes invincible to all correction. The unteachable man hath a soule to all reason and good advice invincible; and he who is intractable, he whom nothing can perswade, may boast himself invincible; whenas in some things to be overcome is more honest and laudable then to conquer.
He labours to have it thought that his fearing God more then Man was the ground of his sufferings; but he should have known that a good principle not rightly understood, may prove as hurtfull as a bad; and his feare of God may be as faulty as a blind zeale. He pretended to feare God more then the Parlament; who never urg'd him to doe otherwise; he should also have fear'd God more then he did his Courtiers and the Bishops, who drew him, as they pleas'd, to things inconsistent with the feare of God. Thus boasted Saul to have perform'd the commandment of God, and stood in it against Samuel; but it was found at length that he had fear'd the people more then God, in saving those fat Oxen for the worship of God, which were appointed for destruction. Not much unlike, if not much wors, was that fact of his, who for feare to displease his Court, and mungrel Clergy, with the dissolutest of the people, upheld in the Church of God, while his power lasted, those Beasts of Amalec, the Prelats against the advice of his Parlament and the example of all Reformation; in this more unexcusable then Saul, that Saul was at length convinc'd, he to the howr of death fix'd in his fals perswasion; and sooths himself in the flattering peace of an erroneous and obdurat conscience, singing to his soul vain Psalms of exultation, as if the Parlament had assail'd his reason with the force of Arms, and not he on the contrary their reason with his Armes; which hath bin prov'd already, and shall be more heerafter.
He twitts them with his Acts of grace; proud, and unself-knowing words in the mouth of any King, who affects not to be a God, and such as ought to be as odious in the ears of a free Nation. For if they were unjust acts, why did he grant them as of grace? If just, it was not of his grace, but of his duty and his Oath to grant them.
A glorious King he would be, though by his sufferings: But that can never be to him whose sufferings are his own doings. He faines a hard chois put upon him either to kill his own Subjects or be kill'd. Yet never was King less in danger of any violence from his Subjects, till he unsheath'd his Sword against them; nay long after that time, when he had spilt the blood of thousands, they had still his person in a foolish veneration.
Hee complaines, That civil Warr must be the fruits of his seventeen yeares raigning with such a measure of Justice, Peace, and Plenty, and Religion, as all Nations either admir'd or envi'd. For the Justice we had, let the Counsel-Table, Starr-Chamber, High Commission speak the praise of it; not forgetting the unprincely usage, and, as farr as might be, the abolishing of Parlaments, the displacing of honest Judges, the sale of Offices, Bribery and Exaction not found out to be punish'd, but to be shar'd in, with impunity for the time to come. Who can number the extortions, the oppressions, the public robberies, and rapines committed on the Subject both by Sea and Land, under various pretences? Thir possessions also tak'n from them, one while as Forrest Land, another while as Crown-Land; nor were thir Goods exempted, no not the Bullion in the Mint; Piracy was become a project own'd and authoriz'd against the Subject.
For the peace we had, what peace was that which drew out the English to a needless and dishonourable voyage against the Spaniard at Cales? Or that which lent our shipping to a treacherous and Antichristian Warr against the poore Protestants of Rochell our suppliants? What peace was that which fell to rob the French by Sea, to the imbarring of all our Merchants in that Kingdom? which brought forth that unblest expedition to the Ile of Rhee, doubtfull whether more calamitous in the success or in the designe, betraying all the flowre of our military youth, and best Commanders to a shamefull surprisal and execution. This was the peace we had, and the peace we gave, whether to freinds or to foes abroad. And if at home any peace were intended us, what meant those Irish billeted Souldiers in all parts of the Kingdom, and the designe of German Horse, to subdue us in our peacefull Houses?
For our Religion, where was there a more ignorant, profane, and vitious Clergy, learned in nothing but the antiquitie of thir pride, thir covetousness and superstition; whose unsincere and levenous Doctrine corrupting the people, first taught them loosness, then bondage; loosning them from all sound knowledge and strictness of life, the more to fit them for the bondage of Tyranny and superstition. So that what was left us for other Nations not to pitty rather then admire or envy, all those seaventeen yeares, no wise man could see. For wealth and plenty in a land where Justice raignes not, is no argument of a flourishing State, but of a neerness rather to ruin or commotion.
These were not some miscarriages onely of Goverment, which might escape, but a universal distemper and reducement of law to arbitrary power; not through the evil counsels of some men, but through the constant cours & practice of all that were in highest favour: whose worst actions frequently avowing he took upon himself; and what faults did not yet seem in public to be originally his, such care he took by professing, and proclaiming op'nly, as made them all at length his own adopted sins. The persons also when he could no longer protect, he esteem'd and favour'd to the end; but never, otherwise then by constraint, yeilded any of them to due punishment; thereby manifesting that what they did was by his own Autority and approbation.
Yet heer he asks Whose innocent blood he hath shed, What widdows or Orphans teares can witness against him? After the suspected Poysoning of his Father, not inquir'd into, but smother'd up, and him protected and advanc'd to the very half of his Kingdom, who was accus'd in Parlament to be Author of the fact; (with much more evidence, then Duke Dudley, that fals Protector is accus'd upon record, to have poison'd Edward the sixt;) after all his rage and persecution, after so many Yeares of cruel Warr on his People in three Kingdoms. Whence the Author of Truths manifest, a Scotchman not unacquainted with affaires, positively affirmes, That there hath bin more Christian blood shed by the Commission, approbation, and connivance of King Charles, and his Father James in the latter end of thir raigne, then in the Ten Roman Persecutions. Not to speake of those many whippings, Pillories, and other corporal inflictions wherwith his raign also before this Warr was not unbloodie; some have dy'd in Prison under cruel restraint, others in Banishment, whose lives were shortn'd through the rigour of that persecution, wherwith so many yeares he infested the true Church. And those six Members all men judg'd to have escap'd no less then capital danger; whom he so greedily pursuing into the House of Commons, had not there the forbearance to conceal how much it troubl'd him, That the birds were flowne. If som Vulture in the Mountains could have op'nd his beak intelligibly and spoke, what fitter words could he have utter'd at the loss of his prey? The Tyrant Nero, though not yet deserving that name, sett his hand so unwillingly to the execution of a condemned person, as to wish He had not known letters. Certainly for a King himself to charge his Subjects with high treason, and so vehemently to prosecute them in his own cause, as to doe the Office of a Searcher, argu'd in him no great aversation from shedding blood, were it but to satisfie his anger, and that revenge was no unpleasing morsel to him, wherof he himself thought not much to be so diligently his own Caterer. But we insist rather upon what was actual, then what was probable.
He now falls to examin the causes of this Warr, as a difficulty which he had long studied to find out. It was not saith he, my withdrawing from White Hall; for no account in reason could be giv'n of those Tumults, where an orderly Guard was granted. But if it be a most certain truth that the Parlament could never yet obtain of him any Guard fit to be confided in, then by his own confession some account of those pretended Tumults may in reason be giv'n: and both concerning them and the Guards anough hath bin said alreadie.
Whom did he protect against the Justice of Parlament? Whom did he not to his utmost power? Endeavouring to have rescu'd Strafford from thir Justice, though with the destruction of them and the City; to that end expressly commanding the admittance of new Soldiers into the Tower, rais'd by Suckling and other Conspirators, under pretence for the Portugall; though that Embassador, beeing sent to, utterly deny'd to know of any such Commission from his Maister. And yet that listing continu'd. Not to repeat his other Plot of bringing up the two Armies. But what can be disputed with such a King in whose mouth and opinion the Parlament it self was never but a Faction, and thir Justice no Justice, but The dictates and overswaying insolence of Tumults and Rabbles; and under that excuse avouches himself op'nly the generall Patron of most notorious Delinquents, and approves their flight out of the Land, whose crimes were such, as that the justest and the fairest tryal would have soonest condemn'd them to death. But did not Catiline plead in like manner against the Roman Senat and the injustice of thir trial, and the justice of his flight from Rome? Cæsar also, then hatching Tyranny, injected the same scrupulous demurrs to stop the sentence of death in full and free Senat decreed on Lentulus and Cethegus two of Catilines accomplices, which were renew'd and urg'd for Strafford. He voutsafes to the Reformation by both Kingdoms intended, no better name then Innovation and ruine both in Church and State. And what we would have learnt so gladly of him in other passages before, to know wherin, he tells us now of his own accord. The expelling Bishops out of the House of Peers, this was ruin to the State, the removing them root and branch, this was ruin to the Church. How happy could this Nation be in such a Governour who counted that thir ruin, which they thought thir deliverance, the ruin both of Church and State, which was the recovery and the saving of them both?
To the passing of those Bills against Bishops, how is it likely that the House of Peers gave so hardly thir consent, which they gave so easily before to the attaching them of High Treason, 12. at once, onely for protesting that the Parlament could not act without them? Surely if thir rights and privileges were thought so undoubted in that House, as is heer maintain'd; then was that Protestation, being meant and intended in the name of thir whole spiritual Order, no Treason: and so that House it self will becom liable to a just construction either of Injustice to appeach them for so protesting, or of usurpation, representing none but themselves, to expect that their voting or not voting should obstruct the Commons. Who not for five repulses of the Lords, no not for fifty, were to desist from what in name of the whole Kingdom they demanded, so long as those Lords were none of our Lords. And for the Bil against root and branch, though it pass'd not in both Houses till many of the Lords and some few of the Commons, either intic'd away by the King, or overaw'd by the sense of thir own Malignãcy not prevailing, deserted the Parlament, and made a fair riddance of themselves; that was no warrant for them who remain'd faithfull, beeing farr the greater number, to lay aside that Bill of root and branch, till the returne of thir fugitives; a Bill so necessary and so much desir'd by themselves as well as by the People.
This was the partiality, this degrading of the Bishops, a thing so wholsom in the State, and so Orthodoxal in the Church both ancient and reformed; which the King rather then assent to, will either hazard both his own and the Kingdomes ruin, by our just defence against his force of armes, or prostrat our consciences in a blind obedience to himself, and those men whose superstition, Zealous or unzealous would inforce upon us an Antichristian tyranny in the Church, neither Primitive, Apostolicall, nor more anciently universal, then som other manifest corruptions.
But he was bound besides his judgement by a most strict and indispensable Oath to preserve the Order and the rights of the Church. If he mean that Oath of his Coronation, and that the letter of that Oath admitt not to be interpreted either by equity, reformation, or better knowledge, then was the King bound by that Oath to grant the clergie all those customs, franchises, and Canonical privileges granted to them by Edward the Confessor; and so might one day, under pretence of that Oath, and his conscience, have brought us all again to popery. But had he so well rememberd, as he ought, the words to which he swore, he might have found himself no otherwise oblig'd there, then according to the Lawes of God, and true profession of the Gospel. For if those following words, Establish'd in this Kingdome, be set there to limit and lay prescription on the Laws of God and truth of the Gospel by mans establishment, nothing can be more absurrd or more injurious to Religion. So that however the German Emperors, or other Kings have levied all those Warrs on thir Protestant Subjects under the colour of a blind and literal observance to an Oath, yet this King had least pretence of all; both sworn to the Laws of God and Evangelic truth, and disclaiming, as we heard him before, to be bound by any Coronation Oath, in a blind and brutish formality. Nor is it to be imagin'd, if what shall be establish'd come in question, but that the Parlament should oversway the King, and not he the Parlament. And by all Law and Reason that which the Parlament will not, is no more establish'd in this Kingdom, neither is the King bound by Oath to uphold it as a thing establish'd. And that the King who of his Princely grace, as he professes, hath so oft abolisht things that stood firm by Law, as the Star-chamber, & High Commission, ever thought himself bound by Oath to keep them up, because establisht, he who will beleiv, must at the same time condemn him of as many perjuries as he is well known to have abolisht both Laws and Jurisdictions that wanted no establishment.
Had he gratifi'd, he thinks, their Antiepiscopal Faction with his consent, and sacrific'd the Church-goverment and Revennues to the fury of thir covetousness, &c. an Army had not bin rais'd. Wheras it was the fury of his own hatred to the professors of true Religion, which first incited him to persecute them with the Sword of Warr, when Whipps, Pillories, Exiles, and impris'nments were not thought sufficient. To colour which, he cannot finde wherwithall, but that stale pretence of Charles the fifth, and other Popish Kings, that the Protestants had onely an intent to lay hands upon the Church-Revennues, a thing never in the thoughts of this Parlament, till exhausted by his endless Warr upon them, thir necessity seis'd on that for the Common-wealth, which the luxury of Prelats had abus'd before to a common mischeif.
His consent to the unlording of Bishops (for to that he himself consented, and at Canterbury the cheif seat of thir pride, so God would have it) was from his firm perswasion of thir contentedness to suffer a present diminution of thir rights. Can any man, reading this, not discern the pure mockery of a Royal consent, to delude us onely for the present, meaning, it seems, when time should serve, to revoke all: By this reckning his consents and his denials come all to one pass: and we may hence perceav the small wisdom and integrity of those Votes which Voted his Concessions of the Ile of Wight, for grounds of a lasting Peace. This he alleges, this controversie about Bishops, to be the true state of that difference between him and the Parlament. For he held Episcopacy both very Sacred and Divine. With this judgement and for this cause he withdrew from the Parlament, and confesses that some men knew he was like to bring againe the same judgement which he carried with him. A fair and unexpected justification from his own mouth afforded to the Parlament; who notwithstanding what they knew of his obstinat mind, omitted not to use all those means and that patience to have gain'd him.
As for Delinquents, he allowes them to be but the necessary consequences of his & their withdrawing and defending. A pretty shift to mince the name of a delinquent into a necessary consequent: what is a Traitor but the necessary consequence of his Treason, what a Rebell, but of his Rebellion? From this conceit he would inferr a pretext onely in the Parlament to fetch in Delinquents, as if there had indeed bin no such cause, but all the Delinquency in London Tumults. Which is the overworn theme, and stuffing of all his discourses.
This he thrice repeates to be the true State and reason of all that Warr and devastation in the Land: and that of all the Treaties and Propositions offer'd him, he was resolv'd never to grant the abolishing of Episcopal, or the establishment of Presbyterian Goverment. I would demand now of the Scots and Covnanteers (For so I call them, as misobservers of the Covnant) how they will reconcile the preservation of Religion and thir liberties and the bringing of delinquents to condign punishment, with the freedom, honour, and safety of this vow'd resolution here, that esteems all the Zeale of thir prostituted Covnant no better then a noise and shew of pietie, a heat for Reformation, filling them with prejudice and obstructing all equality and clearness of judgment in them. With these principles who knows but that at length he might have come to take the Covnant, as others, whom they brotherly admitt, have don before him; and then all, no doubt, had gon well, and ended in a happy peace.
His prayer is most of it borrow'd out of David; but what if it be answerd him as the Jewes, who trusted in Moses, were answerd by our Saviour. There is one that accuseth you, eev'n David whom you misapply.
He tells God that his Enemies are many, but tells the people, when it serves his turn, they are but a faction of some few, prevailing over the Major part of both Houses.
God knows he had no passion, designe or preparation, to imbroyle his Kingdom in a civill Warr. True; for he thought his Kingdom to be Issachar, a strong Ass that would have couch'd downe between two burd'ns, the one of prelatical superstition, the other of civil tyrannie: but what passion and designe, what close and op'n preparation he had made, to subdue us to both these by terror and preventive force, all the Nation knows.
The confidence of som men had almost perswaded him to suspect his own innocence. As the words of Saint Paul had almost perswaded Agrippa to be a Christian. But almost in the work of repentance is as good as not at all.
God, saith he, will find out bloody and deceitfull men, many of whom have not liv'd out half thir days. It behoov'd him to have bin more cautious how he tempted Gods finding out of blood and deceit, till his own yeares had bin furder spent, or that he had enjoy'd longer the fruits of his own violent Counsels.
But instead of wariness, he adds another temptation, charging God, To know that the chief designe of this Warr was either to destroy his Person, or to force his judgement. And thus his prayer from the evil practice of unjust accusing men to God, arises to the hideous rashness of accusing God before Men to know that for truth, which all Men know to be most fals.
He praies That God would forgive the people, for they know not what they doe. It is an easie matter to say over what our Saviour said; but how he lov'd the People other Arguments then affected sayings must demonstrat. He who so oft hath presum'd rashly to appeal to the knowledge and testimony of God, in things so evidently untrue, may be doubted what beleif or esteem he had of his forgiveness, either to himself, or those for whom he would so fain that men should heare he pray'd.
X. Upon their seizing the Magazins, Forts, &c.
TO put the matter soonest out of controversy who was the first beginner of this civil Warr, since the begining of all Warr may be discern'd not onely by the first Act of hostilitie, but by the Counsels and preparations foregoing, it shall evidently appeare, that the King was still formost in all these. No King had ever at his first comming to the Crown, more love and acclamation from a people; never any people found wors requital of thir Loyaltie and good affection: First by his extraordinary feare and mistrust that thir Liberties and Rights, were the impairing and diminishing of his regal power, the true Original of Tyranny: Next by his hatred to all those who were esteem'd Religious; doubting that thir principles too much asserted libertie. This was quickly seen by the vehemence, and the causes alleg'd of his persecuting, the other by his frequent and opprobrious dissolution of Parlaments; after he had demanded more Mony of them, and they to obtain thir rights had granted him, then would have bought the Turk out of Morea, and set free all the Greeks. But when he sought to extort from us, by way of Tribute, that which had bin offerd him conditionally in Parlament, as by a free People, and that those extortions were now consum'd and wasted by the luxurie of his Court, he began then (for still the more he did wrong, the more he fear'd) before any Tumult or insurrection of the People, to take counsel how he might totally subdue them to his own will. Then was the designe of German Horse, while the Duke raignd, and which was worst of all, som thousands of the Irish Papists were in several parts billeted upon us, while a Parlament was then sitting. The Pulpits resounded with no other Doctrine then that which gave all property to the King, and passive obedience to the Subject. After which, innumerable formes and shapes of new exactions and Exacters overspredd the Land. Nor was it anough to be impoverish'd, unless wee were disarm'd. Our Train'd Bands, which are the trustiest and most proper strength of a free Nation not at warr within itself, had thir Arms in divers Counties tak'n from them; other Ammunition by designe was ingross'd and kept in the Tower, not to be bought without a License, and at a high rate.
Thus farr, and many other waies were his Counsels and preparations before hand with us, either to a civil Warr, if it should happ'n, or to subdue us without a Warr, which is all one, untill the raising of his two Armies against the Scots, and the latter of them rais'd to the most perfidious breaking of a solemn Pacification: The articles wherof though subscrib'd with his own hand, he commanded soon after to be burnt op'nly by the Hangman. What enemy durst have don him that dishonour and affront which he did therin to himself.
After the beginning of this Parlament, whom he saw so resolute and unanimous to releeve the Common-wealth, and that the Earl of Strafford was condemn'd to die, other of his evil Counselors impeach'd and imprison'd, to shew there wanted not evil counsel within himself sufficient to begin a warr upon his Subjects, though no way by them provok'd, he sends an Agent with Letters to the King of Denmark, requiring aid against the parlament; and that aid was comming, when Divine providence to divert them, sent a sudden torrent of Swedes into the bowels of Denmark. He then endeavours to bring up both Armies, first the English, with whom 8000 Irish Papists rais'd by Strafford, and a French Army were to joyne; then the Scots at Newcastle, whom he thought to have encourag'd by telling them what Mony and Horse he was to have from Denmark. I mention not the Irish conspiracie till due place. These and many other were his Counsels toward a civil Warr. His preparations, after those two Armies were dismiss'd, could not suddenly be too op'n: Nevertheless there were 8000 Irish Papists which he refus'd to disband, though intreated by both Houses, first for reasons best known to himself, next under pretence of lending them to the Spaniard; and so kept them undisbanded till very neere the Mounth wherin that Rebellion broke forth. He was also raising Forces in London, pretendedly to serve the Portugall, but with intent to seise the Tower. Into which divers Canoneers were by him sent with many fire works, and Grenado's; and many great battering peeces were mounted against the City. The Court was fortifi'd with Ammunition, and Souldiers new listed, who follow'd the King from London, and appear'd at Kingston som hunderds of Horse, in a warlike manner, with Waggons of Ammunition after them; the Queen in Holland was buying more, of which the Parlament had certain knowledge, and had not yet so much as once demanded the Militia to be settl'd, till they knew both of her going over sea, and to what intent. For she had pack'd up the Crown Jewels to have bin going long before, had not the Parlament suspecting by the discoveries at Burrow Bridge what was intended with the Jewells, us'd meanes to stay her journey till the winter. Hull and the Magazin there had bin secretly attempted under the Kings hand; from whom though in his Declarations renouncing all thought of Warr, notes were sent over sea for supply of Armes: which were no sooner come, but the inhabitants of Yorkshire and other Counties were call'd to Arms, and actual forces rais'd, while the Parlament were yet petitioning in peace, and had not one man listed.
As to the Act of Hostilitie, though not much material in whom first it began, or by whose Commissions dated first, after such Counsels and preparations discover'd, and so farr advanc'd by the King, yet in that act also he will be found to have had precedency, if not at London by the assault of his armed Court upon the naked People, and his attempt upon the House of Commons, yet certainly at Hull, first by his close practices on that Town, next by his seige. Thus whether Counsels, preparations, or Acts of hostilitie be considerd, it appeares with evidence anough, though much more might be said, that the King is truly charg'd to bee the first beginner of these civil Warrs. To which may be added as a close, that in the Ile of Wight he charg'd it upon himself, at the public Treaty, and acquitted the Parlament.
But as for the securing of Hull and the public stores therin, and in other places, it was no Surprisall of his strength; the custody wherof by Autority of Parlament was committed into hands most fitt, and most responsible for such a trust. It were a folly beyond ridiculous to count our selves a free Nation, if the King not in Parlament, but in his own Person and against them, might appropriate to himself the strength of a whole Nation as his proper goods. What the Lawes of the Land are, a Parlament should know best, having both the life and death of Lawes in thir Lawgiving power: and the Law of England is at best but the reason of Parlament. The Parlament therfore taking into thir hands that wherof most properly they ought to have the keeping, committed no surprisal. If they prevented him, that argu'd not at all either his innocency or unpreparedness, but thir timely foresight to use prevention.
But what needed that? They knew his chiefest Armes left him were those onely which the ancient Christians were wont to use against thir Persecuters, Prayers and Teares. O sacred Reverence of God, Respect and Shame of Men, whither were yee fled, when these hypocrisies were utterd? Was the Kingdom then at all that cost of blood to remove from him none but Praiers and Teares? What were those thousands of blaspheming Cavaliers about him, whose mouthes let fly Oaths and Curses by the voley; were those the Praiers? and those Carouses drunk to the confusion of all things good or holy, did those minister the Teares? Were they Praiers and Teares that were listed at York, muster'd on Heworth Moore, and laid Seige to Hull for the Guard of his Person? Were Praiers and Teares at so high a rate in Holland, that nothing could purchase them but the Crown Jewels? Yet they in Holland (such word was sent us) sold them for Gunns, Carabins, Morters-peeces, Canons, and other deadly Instruments of Warr, which when they came to York, were all no doubt but by the merit of some great Saint, suddenly transform'd into Praiers and Teares; and being divided into Regiments and Brigads were the onely Armes that mischiev'd us in all those Battels and Incounters.
These were his chief Armes, whatever we must call them, and yet such Armes as they who fought for the Common-wealth have by the help of better Praiers vanquish'd and brought to nothing.
He bewailes his want of the Militia, Not so much in reference to his own protection as the Peoples, whose many and sore oppressions greeve him. Never considering how ill for seventeen yeares together hee had protected them, and that these miseries of the people are still his own handy work, having smitt'n them, like a forked Arrow, so sore into the Kingdoms sides, as not to be drawn out and cur'd without the incision of more flesh.
He tells us that what he wants in the hand of power he has in the wings of Faith and Prayer. But they who made no reckning of those Wings while they had that power in thir hands, may easily mistake the Wings of Faith for the Wings of presumption, and so fall headlong.
We next meet with a comparison, how apt let them judge who have travell'd to Mecca, That the Parlament have hung the majestie of Kingship in an airy imagination of regality, between the Privileges of both Houses, like the Tombe of Mahomet. Hee knew not that he was prophecying the death and burial of a Turkish Tyranny, that spurn'd down those Laws, which gave it life and being so long as it endur'd to be a regulated Monarchy.
He counts it an injury Not to have the sole power in himself to help or hurt any; and that the Militia which he holds to be his undoubted Right should be dispos'd as the Parlament thinks fitt. And yet confesses that if he had it in his actual disposing, he would defend those whom he calls His good Subjects, from those mens violence and fraud, who would perswade the World that none but Wolves are fitt to be trusted with the custody of the Shepherd and his Flock. Surely if we may guess whom he meanes heer, by knowing whom he hath ever most oppos'd in this controversie, we may then assure our selves that by violence and fraud he meanes that which the Parlament hath don in settling the Militia, and those the Wolves into whose hands it was by them intrusted: which drawes a cleer confession from his own mouth, that if the Parlament had left him sole power of the Militia, he would have us'd it to the destruction of them and thir Freinds.
As for sole power of the Militia, which he claimes as a Right no less undoubted then the Crown, it hath bin oft anough told him, that he hath no more authority over the Sword then over the Law; over the Law he hath none, either to establish or to abrogate, to interpret, or to execute, but onely by his Courts and in his Courts, wherof the Parlament is highest, no more therfore hath he power of the Militia which is the Sword, either to use or to dispose; but with consent of Parlament; give him but that, and as good give him in a lump all our Laws and Liberties. For if the power of the Sword were any where separate and undepending from the power of Law, which is originally seated in the highest Court, then would that power of the Sword be soon maister of the Law, & being at one mans disposal, might, when he pleas'd, controule the Law, and in derision of our Magna Charta, which were but weak resistance against an armed Tyrant, might absolutely enslave us. And not to have in our selves, though vanting to be freeborn, the power of our own freedom, and the public safety, is a degree lower then not to have the property of our own goods. For liberty of person and the right of self preservation, is much neerer, much more natural, and more worth to all men, then the propriety of thir goods and wealth. Yet such power as all this did the King in op'n termes challenge to have over us; and brought thousands to help him win it; so much more good at fighting then at understanding, as to perswade themselves that they fought then for the Subjects Libertie.
He is contented, because he knows no other remedy, to resigne this power for his own time, but not for his successors. So diligent and carefull he is, that we should be slaves, if not to him, yet to his Posterity, and faine would leave us the legacy of another warr about it. But the Parlament have don well to remove that question: whom as his manner is to dignify with some good name or other, he calls now a many headed hydra of Goverment, full of factious distractions and not more eyes then mouthes. Yet surely not more Mouthes, or not so wide, as the dissolute rabble of all his Courtiers had, both hees and shees, if there were any Males among them.
He would prove that to govern by Parlament hath a monstrositie rather then perfection; and grounds his Argument upon two or three eminent absurdities: First, by placing Counsel in the senses, next, by turning the senses out of the head, and in lieu therof placing power, supreme above sense & reason; which be now the greater Monstrosities? Furder to dispute what kind of Goverment is best, would be a long debate; it sufficeth that his reasons heer for Monarchy are found weake and inconsiderable.
He bodes much horror and bad influence after his eclips. He speakes his wishes: But they who by weighing prudently things past, foresee things to come, the best Divination, may hope rather all good success and happiness by removing that darkness which the mistie cloud of his prerogative made between us and a peacefull Reformation, which is our true Sun light, and not he, though he would be tak'n for our sun it self. And wherfore should we not hope to be Govern'd more happily without a King, whenas all our miserie and trouble hath bin either by a King, or by our necessary vindication and defence against him?
He would be thought inforc'd to perjurie by having granted the Militia, by which his Oath bound him to protect the People. If he can be perjur'd in granting that, why doth he refuse for no other cause the abolishing of Episcopacy? But never was any Oath so blind as to sweare him to protect Delinquents against Justice, but to protect all the people in that order, and by those hands which the Parlament should advise him to, and the protected confide in; not under the shew of protection to hold a violent and incommunicable Sword over us, as readie to be let fall upon our own necks, as upon our Enemies; nor to make our own hands and weapons fight against our own Liberties.
By his parting with the Militia he takes to himself much praise of his assurance in Gods protection; & to the Parlament imputes the fear of not daring to adventure the injustice of their actions upon any other way of safety. But wherfore came not this assurance of Gods protection to him, till the Militia was wrung out of his hands? It should seem by his holding it so fast, that his own actions and intentions had no less of injustice in them, then what he charges upon others; whom he terms Chaldeans, Sabeans, and the Devill himself. But Job us'd no such Militia against those enemies, nor such a Magazin as was at Hull, which this King so contended for, and made Warr upon us, that he might have wherewithall to make warr against us.
He concludes, that Although they take all from him, yet can they not obstruct his way to Heaven. It was no handsom occasion, by faining obstructions where they are not, to tell us whither he was going: he should have shut the dore, and pray'd in secret, not heer in the High Street. Privat praiers in publick, ask something of whom they ask not, and that shall be thir reward.
XI. Upon the Nineteen Propositions, &c.
OF the Nineteen Propositions he names none in particular, neither shall the Answer. But he insists upon the old Plea of his Conscience, honour, and Reason; using the plausibility of large and indefinite words, to defend himself at such a distance as may hinder the eye of common judgement from all distinct view & examination of his reasoning. He would buy the peace of his People at any rate, save onely the parting with his Conscience and Honour. Yet shews not how it can happ'n that the peace of a People, if otherwise to be bought at any rate, should be inconsistent or at variance with the Conscience and Honour of a King. Till then, we may receave it for a better sentence, that nothing should be more agreeable to the Conscience and Honour of a King, then to preserve his Subjects in peace; especially from civil Warr.
And which of the propositions were obtruded on him with the point of the Sword, till he first with the point of the Sword thrust from him both the Propositions and the Propounders? he never reck'ns those violent and merciless obtrusions which for almost twenty years he had bin forcing upon tender consciences by all sorts of Persecution, till through the multitude of them that were to suffer, it could no more be call'd a Persecution, but a plain Warr. From which when first the Scots, then the English, were constrain'd to defend themselves, this thir just defence is that which he calls heer, Thir making Warr upon his soul.
He grudges that So many things are requir'd of him, and nothing offerd him in requital of those favours which he had granted. What could satiate the desires of this man, who being King of England, and Maister of almost two millions yearly what by hook or crook, was still in want; and those acts of Justice which he was to doe in duty, counts don as favours; and such favors as were not don without the avaricious hope of other rewards besides supreme honour, and the constant Revennue of his place.
This honour, he saith, they did him to put him on the giving part. And spake truer then he intended, it beeing meerly for honours sake that they did so; not that it belong'd to him of right. For what can he give to a Parlament, who receaves all he hath from the People, and for the Peoples good. Yet now he brings his own conditional rights to contest and be preferr'd before the Peoples good; and yet unless it be in order to their good, he hath no rights at all; raigning by the Laws of the Land, not by his own; which Laws are in the hands of Parlament to change or abrogate as they shall see best for the Common-wealth; eev'n to the taking away of King-ship it self, when it grows too Maisterfull and Burd'nsome. For every Common-wealth is in general defin'd, a societie sufficient of it self, in all things conducible to well being and commodious life. Any of which requisit things if it cannot have without the gift and favour of a single person, or without leave of his privat reason, or his conscience, it cannot be thought sufficient of it self, and by consequence no Common-wealth, nor free; but a multitude of Vassals in the Possession and domaine of one absolute Lord, and wholly obnoxious to his will. If the King have power to give or deny any thing to his Parlament, he must doe it either as a Person several from them or as one greater; neither of which will be allow'd him; not to be consider'd severally from them, for as the King of England can doe no wrong, so neither can he doe right but in his Courts and by his Courts; and what is legally don in them, shall be deem'd the Kings assent, though he as a several Person shall judge or endeavour the contrary. So that indeed without his Courts or against them, he is no King. If therfore he obtrude upon us any public mischeif, or withhold from us any general good, which is wrong in the highest degree, he must doe it as a Tyrant, not as a King of England, by the known Maxims of our Law. Neither can he as one greater give aught to the Parlament which is not in thir own power, but he must be greater also then the Kingdom which they represent. So that to honour him with the giving part was a meer civility, and may be well term'd the courtesie of England, not the Kings due.
But the incommunicable Jewell of his conscience he will not give, but reserve to himself. It seemes that his conscience was none of the Crown Jewels; for those we know were, in Holland, not incommunicable to buy Armes against his Subjects. Being therfore but a privat Jewel, he could not have don a greater pleasure to the Kingdom then by reserving it to himself. But he, contrary to what is heer profess'd, would have his conscience not an incommunicable, but a universal conscience, the whole Kingdoms conscience. Thus what he seemes to feare least we should ravish from him, is our cheif complaint that he obtruded upon us; we never forc'd him to part with his conscience, but it was he that would have forc'd us to part with ours.
Som things he taxes them to have offer'd him, which, while he had the maistery of his Reason, he would never consent to. Very likely; but had his reason maisterd him, as it ought, and not bin maisterd long agoe by his sense and humour (as the breeding of most Kings hath bin ever sensual and most humour'd) perhaps he would have made no difficulty. Mean while at what a fine pass is the Kingdom, that must depend in greatest exigencies upon the fantasie of a Kings reason, be he wise or foole, who arrogantly shall answer all the wisdom of the Land, that what they offer seemes to him unreasonable.
He preferrs his love of Truth before his love of the People. His love of Truth would have ledd him to the search of Truth, and have taught him not to lean so much upon his own understanding. He met at first with Doctrines of unaccountable Prerogative; in them he rested, because they pleas'd him; they therfore pleas'd him because they gave him all; and this he calls his love of Truth, and preferrs it before the love of his peoples peace.
Som things they propos'd which would have wounded the inward peace of his conscience. The more our evil happ, that three Kingdoms should be thus pesterd with one Conscience, who chiefly scrupl'd to grant us that, which the parlament advis'd him to, as the chief meanes of our public welfare and Reformation. These scruples to many perhaps will seem pretended, to others, upon as good grounds, may seem real, and that it was the just judgement of God, that he who was so cruel and so remorseless to other mens consciences, should have a conscience within him as cruel to himself; constraining him, as he constrain'd others, and insnaring him in such waies and counsels, as were certain to be his destruction.
Other things though he could approve, yet in honour and policy he thought fit to deny, lest he should seem to dare deny nothing. By this meanes he will be sure, what with reason, conscience, honour, policy, or puntilios, to be found never unfurnisht of a denyal: Whether it were his envy, not to be overbounteous, or that the submissness of our asking stirr'd up in him a certain pleasure of denying. Good Princes have thought it thir chief happiness to be alwayes granting; if good things, for the things sake; if things indifferent, for the peoples sake: while this man sits calculating varietie of excuses how he may grant least; as if his whole strength and royaltie were plac'd in a meer negative.
Of one Proposition especially he laments him much, that they would bind him to a generall and implicit consent for whatever they desir'd. Which though I find not among the nineteene, yet undoubtedly the Oath of his coronation binds him to no less; neither is he at all by his Office to interpose against a Parlament in the making or not making of any Law; but to take that for just and good legally, which is there decreed, and to see it executed accordingly. Nor was he set over us to vie wisdom with his Parlament, but to be guided by them: any of whome possibly may as farr excell him in the gift of wisdom, as he them in place and dignitie. But much neerer is it to impossibilitie that any King alone should be wiser then all his councel; sure anough it was not he, though no King ever before him so much contended to have it thought so. And if the Parlament so thought not, but desir'd him to follow their advice and deliberation in things of public concernment, he accounts it the same proposition, as if Sampson had bin moved to the putting out his eyes, that the Philistims might abuse him. And thus out of an unwise, or pretended feare least others should make a scorn of him for yeilding to his Parlament, he regards not to give cause of worse suspicion, that he made a scorn of his regal Oath.
But to exclude him from all power of deniall seemes an arrogance; in the Parlament he means; what in him then to deny against the Parlament? None at all, by what he argues: For by Petitioning, they confess thir inferioritie and that obliges them to rest, if not satisfi'd, yet quieted with such an Answer as the will and reason of their Superior thinks fit to give. First Petitioning, in better English, is no more then requesting or requiring, and men require not favours onely, but thir due; and that not onely from Superiors, but from Equals, and Inferiors also. The noblest Romans, when they stood for that which was a kind of Regal honour, the Consulship, were wont in a submissive manner to goe about and begg that highest Dignity of the meanest Plebeians, naming them man by man; which in their tongue was call'd Petitio consulatus. And the Parlament of England Petition'd the King, not because all of them were inferior to him, but because he was superior to any one of them, which they did of civil custom, and for fashions sake, more then of duty; for by plaine Law cited before, the Parlament is his Superiour.
But what Law in any trial or dispute enjoynes a free man to rest quieted, though not satisfi'd, with the will and reason of his Superior? It were a mad law that would subject reason to superioritie of place. And if our highest consultations and purpos'd lawes must be terminated by the Kings will, then is the will of one man our Law, and no subtletie of dispute can redeem the Parlament, and Nation from being Slaves, neither can any Tyrant require more then that his will or reason, though not satisfying, should yet be rested in, and determin all things. We may conclude therfore that when the Parlament petition'd the King, it was but meerly forme, let it be as foolish and absurd as he pleases. It cannot certainly be so absurd as what he requires, that the Parlament should confine thir own and all the Kingdoms reason to the will of one man, because it was his hap to succeed his Father. For neither God nor the Lawes have subjected us to his will, nor sett his reason to be our sovran above Law, (which must needs be, if he can strangle it in the birth) but sett his person over us in the sovran execution of such Laws as the Parlament establish. The Parlament therfore without any usurpation, hath had it alwaies in thir power to limit and confine the exorbitancie of Kings, whether they call it thir will, thir reason, or thir conscience.
But this above all was never expected, nor is to be endur'd, that a King, who is bound by law and Oath to follow the advice of his Parlament, should be permitted to except against them as young Statesmen, and proudly to suspend his following thir advice, untill his seven yeares experience had shewn him how well they could govern themselves. Doubtless the Law never suppos'd so great an arrogance could be in one man; that he whose seventeen yeares unexperience had almost ruin'd all, should sit another seven yeares Schoolmaster, to tutor those who were sent by the whole Realme to be his Counselers and teachers. And with what modesty can he pretend to be a Statesman himself, who with his Fathers Kingcraft and his own, did never that of his own accord which was not directly opposit to his professed Interest both at home and abroad; discontenting and alienating his Subjects at home, weakning and deserting his Confederats abroad, and with them the Common cause of Religion. So that the whole course of his raign by an example of his own furnishing hath resembl'd Phæton more then Phœbus; and forc'd the Parlament to drive like Jehu; which Omen tak'n from his own mouth, God hath not diverted.
And he on the other side might have rememberd that the Parlament sit in that body, not as his Subjects but as his Superiors, call'd, not by him but by the Law; not onely twice every yeare, but as oft as great affaires require, to be his Counselers and Dictators though he stomac it, nor to be dissolv'd at his pleasure, but when all greevances be first remov'd, all Petitions heard and answer'd. This is not onely Reason, but the known Law of the Land.
When he heard that propositions would be sent him, he satt conjecturing what they would propound; and because they propounded what he expected not, he takes that to be a warrant for his denying them. But what did he expect? he expected that the Parlament would reinforce some old Laws. But if those Laws were not a sufficient remedy to all greevances, nay were found to be greevances themselves, when did we loose that other part of our freedom to establish new? He thought some injuries done by himself and others to the Common-wealth were to be repair'd. But how could that be, while he the chief offender took upon him to be sole judge both of the injury and the reparation. He staid till the advantages of his Crown consider'd might induce him to condiscend to the Peoples good. Whenas the Crown it self with all those advantages were therfore giv'n him, that the peoples good should be first consider'd; not bargain'd for, and bought by inches with the bribe of more offertures and advantages to his Crown. He look'd for moderate desires of due Reformation; as if any such desires could be immoderate: He lookd for such a Reformation both in Church and State, as might preserve the roots of every greevance and abuse in both still growing (which he calls The foundation and essentials) and would have onely the excrescences of evil prun'd away for the present, as was plotted before, that they might grow fast anough between Triennial Parlaments, to hinder them by worke anough besides, from ever striking at the root. He alleges They should have had regard to the Laws in force, to the wisdom and pietie of former Parlaments to the ancient and universall practice of Christian Churches. As if they who come with full autority to redress public greevances, which ofttimes are Laws themselves, were to have thir hands bound by Laws in force, or the supposition of more pietie and wisdom in thir Ancestors, or the practice of Churches heertofore, whose Fathers, notwithstanding all these pretences, made as vast alterations to free themselves from ancient Popery. For all antiquity that adds or varies from the Scripture, is no more warranted to our safe imitation, then what was don the Age before at Trent. Nor was there need to have despair'd of what could be establish'd in lieu of what was to be annull'd, having before his eyes the Goverment of so many Churches beyond the Seas; whose pregnant and solid reasons wrought so with the Parlament, as to desire a uniformity rather with all other Protestants, then to be a scism divided from them under a conclave of thirty Bishops, and a crew of irreligious Priests, that gap'd for the same preferment.
And wheras he blames those propositions for not containing what they ought, what did they mention but to vindicate and restore the Rights of Parlament invaded by Cabin councels, the Courts of Justice obstructed, and the Government of Church innovated and corrupted? All these things he might easily have observ'd in them, which he affirmes he could not find; But found those demanding in Parlament, who were lookt upon before, as factious in the State, and scismaticall in the Church; and demanding not onely Tolerations for themselves in thir vanity, noveltie, and confusion, but also an extirpation of that Goverment, whose Rights they had a mind to invade. Was this man ever likely to be advis'd, who with such a prejudice and disesteem sets himself against his chos'n and appointed Counselers; likely ever to admitt of Reformation, who censures all the Goverment of other Protestant Churches, as bad as any Papist could have censur'd them? And what King had ever his whole Kingdom in such contempt, so to wrong and dishonour the free elections of his people, as to judge them whom the Nation thought worthiest to sitt with him in Parlament, few els but such as were punishable by the Lawes: yet knowing that time was, when to be a Protestant, to be a Christian was by Law as punishable as to be a Traitor; and that our Saviour himself comming to reform his Church, was accus'd of an intent to invade Cæsars right, as good a right as the prelat Bishops ever had; the one being got by force, the other by spiritual usurpation: and both by force upheld.
He admires and falls into an ecstasie that the Parlament should send him such a horrid Proposition, as the removal of Episcopacy. But expect from him in an ecstasie no other reasons of his admiration then the dream and tautology of what he hath so oft repeated, Law, Antiquitie, Ancestors, prosperity, and the like, which will be therfore not worth a second answer, but may pass with his own comparison Into the common sewer of other Popish Arguments.
Had the two Houses sued out thir Liverie from the wardship of Tumults, he could sooner have beleiv'd them. It concernd them first to sue out thir Livery from the unjust wardship of his encroaching Prerogative. And had he also redeem'd his overdated minority from a Pupillage under Bishops, he would much less have mistrusted his Parlament; and never would have set so base a character upon them, as to count them no better then the Vassals of certain nameless men, whom he charges to be such as hunt after Faction with their Hounds the Tumults. And yet the Bishops could have told him, that Nimrod, the first that hunted after Faction, is reputed by ancient Tradition the first that founded Monarchy; whence it appeares that to hunt after Faction is more properly the Kings Game; and those Hounds, which he calls the Vulgar, have bin oft'n hallowed to from Court; of whom the mungrel sort have bin entic'd; the rest have not lost thir sent; but understood aright, that the Parlament had that part to act which he had fail'd in: that trust to discharge, which he had brok'n; that estate and honour to preserve, which was farr beyond his, the estate and honour of the Common-wealth, which he had imbezl'd.
Yet so farr doth self opinion or fals principles delude and transport him, as to think the concurrence of his reason to the Votes of Parlament, not onely Political, but Natural, and as necessary to the begetting, or bringing forth of any one compleat act of public wisdom as the Suns influence is necessary to all natures productions. So that the Parlament, it seems, is but a Female, and without his procreative reason, the Laws which they can produce are but wind-eggs. Wisdom, it seems, to a King is natural, to a Parlament not natural, but by conjunction with the King: yet he professes to hold his Kingly right by Law; and if no Law could be made but by the great Counsel of a Nation, which we now term a Parlament, then certainly it was a Parlament that first created Kings, and not onely made Laws before a King was in being, but those Laws especially, wherby he holds his Crown. He ought then to have so thought of a Parlament, if he count it not Male, as of his Mother, which, to civil being, created both him, and the Royalty he wore. And if it hath bin anciently interpreted the presaging signe of a future Tyrant, but to dream of copulation with his Mother, what can it be less then actual Tyranny to affirme waking, that the Parlament, which is his Mother, can neither conceive or bring forth any autoritative Act without his Masculine coition: Nay that his reason is as Celestial and life-giving to the Parlament, as the Suns influence is to the Earth: What other notions but these, or such like, could swell up Caligula to think himself a God.
But to be ridd of these mortifying Propositions, he leaves no Tyrannical evasion unassaied; first that they are not the joynt and free desires of both Houses or the major part; next, that the choise of many Members was carried on by Faction. The former of these is already discover'd to be an old device put first in practice by Charles the fifth since the Reformation. Who when the Protestants of Germany for thir own defense join'd themselves in League, in his Declarations and Remonstrances laid the fault only upon some few (for it was dangerous to take notice of too many Enemies) and accus'd them that under colour of Religion they had a purpose to invade his and the Churches right: by which policy he deceav'd many of the German Cities, and kept them divided from that League, untill they saw themselves brought into a snare. That other cavil against the peoples chois puts us in mind rather what the Court was wont to doe, and how to tamper with Elections: neither was there at that time any Faction more potent, or more likely to doe such a business, then they themselves who complain most.
But he must chew such Morsels as Propositions ere he let them down. So let him; but if the Kingdom shall tast nothing but after his chewing, what does he make of the Kingdom but a great baby. The streitness of his conscience will not give him leave to swallow down such Camels of sacrilege and injustice as others doe. This is the Pharisee up and down, I am not as other men are. But what Camels of Injustice he could devoure, all his three Realms were wittness, which was the cause that they almost perish'd for want of Parlaments. And he that will be unjust to man, will be sacrilegious to God; and to bereave a Christian conscience of libertie for no other reason then the narrowness of his own conscience, is the most unjust measure to man, and the worst sacrilege to God. That other, which he calls sacrilege, of taking from the Clergy that superfluous wealth, which antiquitie as old as Constantine, from the credit of a Divine vision, counted poyson in the Church, hath bin ever most oppos'd by men whose righteousness in other matters hath bin least observ'd. He concludes, as his manner is, with high commendation of his own unbiass'd rectitude and beleives nothing to be in them that dissent from him, but faction, innovation, and particular designes. Of these repetitions I find no end, no not in his prayer; which being founded upon deceitfull principl's and a fond hope that God will bless him in those his errors, which he calls honest finds a fitt answer of S. James; Yee ask and receave not, because yee aske amiss. As for the truth and sinceritie, which he praies may be alwaies found in those his Declarations to the people, the contrariety of his own actions will bear eternal witness how little carefull or sollicitous he was, what he promis'd or what he utterd there.
XII. Upon the Rebellion in Ireland.
THe Rebellion and horrid massacher of English Protestants in Ireland to the number of 154000. in the Province of Ulster onely, by thir own computation, which added to the other three, makes up the total summ of that slaughter in all likelyhood fowr times as great, although so sudden and so violent, as at first to amaze all men that were not accessory, yet from whom, and from what counsels it first sprung, neither was nor could be possibly so secret, as the contrivers therof, blinded with vaine hope, or the despaire that other plots would succeed, suppos'd. For it cannot be imaginable, that the Irish, guided by so many suttle and Italian heads of the Romish party, should so farr have lost the use of reason, and indeed of common Sense, as not supported with other strength then thir own, to begin a Warr so desperate and irreconcileable against both England and Scotland at once. All other Nations, from whom they could expect aid, were busied to the utmost in thir own most necessary concernments. It remaines then that either some autoritie or som great assistance promis'd them from England, was that wheron they cheifly trusted. And as it is not difficult to discern from what inducing cause this insurrection first arose, so neither was it hard at first to have apply'd some effectual remedy, though not prevention. And yet prevention was not hopeles, when Strafford either beleivd not, or did not care to beleive, the several warnings and discoveries therof, which more then once by Papists and by Friers themselves were brought him; besides what was brought by deposition, divers months before that Rebellion, to the Arch-Bishop of Canterbury and others of the Kings Counsel; as the Declaration of no addresses declares. But the assurance which they had in privat, that no remedy should be apply'd, was, it seemes, one of the cheif reasons that drew on thir undertaking. And long it was ere that assurance faild them; until the Bishops and Popish Lords, who while they sate and Voted, still oppos'd the sending aid to Ireland, were expell'd the House.
Seeing then the maine incitement and Autority for this Rebellion must be needs deriv'd from England, it will be next inquir'd who was the prime Author. The King heer denounces a malediction temporal and eternal, not simply to the Author, but to the malitious Author of this blood-shedd; and by that limitation may exempt, not himself onely, but perhaps the Irish Rebels themselves; who never will confess to God or Man that any blood was shed by them malitiously; but either in the Catholic cause, or common Liberty, or some other specious Plea, which the conscience from grounds both good and evil usually suggests to it self: thereby thinking to elude the direct force of that imputation which lies upon them.
Yet he acknowledges It fell out as a most unhappy advantage of som mens malice against him: but indeed of most mens just suspicion, by finding in it no such wide departure or disagreement from the scope of his former Counsels and proceedings. And that he himself was the Author of that Rebellion, he denies both heer and elswhere, with many imprecations, but no solid evidence. What on the other side against his denyal hath bin affirm'd in three Kingdoms being heer briefly set in view, the Reader may so judge as he findes cause.
This is most certain, that the King was ever friendly to the Irish Papists, and in his third yeare, against the plain advice of Parlament, like a kind of Pope, sold them many indulgences for Mony; and upon all occasions advancing the Popish party, and negotiating under hand by Priests who were made his Agents, ingag'd the Irish Papists in a Warr against the Scotch Protestants. To that end he furnish'd them, and had them train'd in Arms; and kept them up, either op'nly or under hand, the onely army in his three Kingdoms, till the very burst of that Rebellion. The Summer before that dismal October, a Committy of most active Papists, all since in the head of that Rebellion, were in great favour at White-Hall; and admitted to many privat consultations with the King and Queen. And to make it evident that no mean matters were the subject of those Conferences, at their request he gave away his peculiar right to more then five Irish Counties, for the payment of an inconsiderable Rent. They departed not home till within two Mounths before the Rebellion; and were either from the first breaking out, or soon after, found to be the cheif Rebels themselves. But what should move the King, besides his own inclination to Popery, and the prevalence of his Queen over him, to hold such frequent and close meetings with a Committy of Irish Papists in his own House, while the Parlament of England sat unadvis'd with, is declar'd by a Scotch Author, and of itself is cleare anough. The Parlament at the beginning of that Summer, having put Strafford to death, imprison'd others his chief Favorites, and driv'n the rest to fly, the K. who had in vain tempted both the Scotch and the English Army to come up against the Parlament and Citty, finding no compliance answerable to his hope from the Protestant Armies, betakes himself last to the Irish; who had in readiness an Army of eight thousand Papists which he had refus'd so oft'n to disband, and a Committy heer of the same Religion. With them, who thought the time now come, which to bring about they had bin many yeares before not wishing only but with much industrie complotting, to do som eminent service for the Church of Rome & thir own perfidious natures against a Puritan Parlmt. & the hated English thir Masters, he agrees & concludes that so soon as both Armies in England were disbanded, the Irish should appeare in Arms, maister all the Protestants, and help the King against his Parlament. And we need not doubt that those five Counties were giv'n to the Irish for other reason then the four Northern Counties had bin a little before offerd to the Scots. The King in August takes a journey into Scotland; and overtaking the Scotch Army then on thir way home, attempts the second time to pervert them, but without success. No sooner comm into Scotland, but he laies a plot, so saith the Scotch Author, to remove out of the way such of the Nobility there, as were most likely to withstand, or not to furder his designes. This being discover'd, he sends from his side one Dillon, a Papist Lord, soon after a cheif Rebell, with Letters into Ireland; and dispatches a Commission under the great Seale of Scotland at that time in his own custody, commanding that they should forthwith, as had bin formerly agreed, cause all the Irish to rise in Armes. Who no sooner had receiv'd such command, but obey'd; and began in Massacher; for they knew no other way to make sure the Protestants, which was commanded them expressly; and the way, it seems, left to thir discretion. He who hath a mind to read the Commission itself, and sound reason added why it was not likely to be forg'd, besides the attestation of so many Irish themselves, may have recourse to a Book intitled The Mystery of Iniquity. Besides what the Parlament it self in the Declaration of no more addresses hath affirm'd, that they have one copy of that Commission in thir own hands: attested by the Oathes of some that were ey-witnesses, and had seen it under the Seale. Others of the principal Rebels have confess'd that this Commission was the summer before promis'd at London to the Irish Commissioners, to whom the King then discoverd in plain words his great desire to be reveng'd on the Parlament of England.
After the Rebellion brok'n out, which in words onely he detested but under hand favour'd and promoted by all the offices of freindship, correspondence, and what possible aide he could afford them, the particulars wherof are too many to be inserted heer, I suppose no understanding Man could longer doubt who was Author or Instigator of that Rebellion. If there be who yet doubt, I referr them especially to that Declaration of July 1643. with that of no addresses 1647. and another full volum of examinations to be sett out speedily concerning this matter. Against all which testimonies, likelyhoods, evidences, and apparent actions of his own, being so abundant, his bare deniall, though with imprecation, can no way countervaile; and least of all in his own cause.
As for the Commission granted them, he thinkes to evade that by retorting, that some in England fight against him and yet pretend his authority. But though a Parlament by the known Laws may affirme justly to have the Kings autority, inseparable from that Court, though divided from his Person, it is not credible that the Irish Rebels who so much tenderd his Person above his Autoritie, and were by him so well receavd at Oxford, would be so farr from all humanitie as to slander him with a particular Commission sign'd and sent them by his own hand.
And of his good affection to the Rebels this Chapter it self is not without witness. He holds them less in fault then the Scots, as from whom they might allege to have fetch'd thir imitation; making no difference between men that rose necessarily to defend themselves, which no Protestant Doctrin ever disallow'd, against them who threaten'd Warr and those who began a voluntary and causeless Rebellion with the Massacher of so many thousands who never meant them harme.
He falls next to flashes, and a multitude of words, in all which is contain'd no more, then what might be the Plea of any guiltiest Offender; He was not the Author because he hath the greatest share of loss and dishonour by what is committed. Who is there that offends God or his Neighbour, on whom the greatest share of loss and dishonour lights not in the end? But in the act of doing evil, men use not to consider the event of thir evil doing: or if they doe, have then no power to curb the sway of thir own wickedness. So that the greatest share of loss and dishonour to happ'n upon themselves, is no argument that they were not guilty. This other is as weake, that a Kings interest above that of any other man, lies chiefly in the common welfare of his Subjects; therfore no King will do aught against the Common welfare. For by this evasion any Tyrant might as well purge himself from the guilt of raising troubles or commotions among the people, because undoubtedly his chief Interest lies in thir sitting still.
I said but now that eev'n this Chapter, if nothing els, might suffice to discover his good affection to the Rebels; which in this that follows too notoriously appeares; imputing this insurrection to the preposterous rigor, and unreasonable severitie, the covetuous zeale and uncharitable fury of some men (these some men by his continual paraphrase are meant the Parlament) and lastly, to the feare of utter extirpation. If the whole Irishry of Rebells had fee'd som advocate to speak partially and sophistically in thir defence, he could have hardly dazl'd better: Yet never the less would have prov'd himself no other then a plausible deceiver. And perhaps, nay more then perhaps, for it is affirm'd & extant under good evidence, that those fained terrors and jealousies were either by the King himself, or the Popish Priests wch were sent by him, put into the head of that inquisitive people, on set purpose to engage them. For who had power to oppress them, or to releive them being oppresst, but the King or his immediat Deputy? This rather should have made them rise against the King then against the Parlament. Who threat'nd or ever thought of thir extirpation, till they themselves had begun it to the English? As for preposterous rigor, covetous zeale, and uncharitable fury; they had more reason to suspect those evils first from his own commands, whom they saw using daily no greater argument to prove the truth of his Religion then by enduring no other but his owne Prelatical; and to force it upon others, made Episcopal, Ceremonial, and common-Prayer-book Warrs. But the Papists understood him better then by the outside; and knew that those Warrs were their Warrs. Although if the Common-wealth should be afraid to suppress op'n Idolatry, lest the Papists thereupon should grow desperat, this were to let them grow and become our persecutors, while we neglected what we might have don Evangelically, to be their Reformers. Or to doe as his Father James did, who in stead of taking heart and putting confidence in God by such a deliverance as from the Powder Plot, though it went not off, yet with the meer conceit of it, as some observe, was hitt into such a Hectic shivering between Protestant and Papist all his life after, that he never durst from that time doe otherwise then equivocat or collogue with the Pope and his adherents.
He would be thought to commiserat the sad effects of that Rebellion, and to lament that the teares and blood spilt there did not quench the sparks of our civil discord heer. But who began these dissensions, and what can be more op'nly known then those retardings and delaies which by himself were continually devis'd, to hinder and put back the releif of those distressed Protestants? which undoubtedly had it not bin then put back, might have sav'd many streames of those teares and that blood wherof he seems heer so sadly to bewaile the spilling. His manifold excuses, diversions, and delaies, are too well known to be recited heer in particular, and too many.
But he offer'd to goe himself in person upon that expedition; and reck'ns up many surmises why he thinks they would not suffer him. But mentions not that by his underdealing to debaush Armies heer at home, and by his secret intercours with the cheif Rebels, long ere that time every where known, he had brought the Parlament into so just a diffidence of him, as that they durst not leave the Public Armes to his disposal, much less an Army to his conduct.
He concludes That next the sin of those who began that Rebellion theirs must needs be who hinder'd the suppressing, or diverted the aides. But judgement rashly giv'n ofttimes involves the Judge himself. He findes fault with those who threaten'd all extremity to the Rebels, and pleads much that mercy should be shown them. It seems he found himself not so much concern'd as those who had lost Fathers, Brothers, Wives and Children by thir crueltie; whom in justice to retaliat is not, as he supposes unevangelical; so long as Magistracy and Warr is not laid down under the Gospel. If this his Sermon of affected mercy were not too Pharisaical, how could he permit himself to cause the slaughter of so many thousands heer in England for meer Prerogatives, the Toys and Gewgaws of his Crown, for Copes and Surplices, the Trinkets of his Priests, and not perceave his zeale, while he taxes others, to be most preposterous and unevangelical. Neither is there the same cause to destroy a whole City for the ravishing of a Sister, not don out of Villainy, and recompence offer'd by Marriage; nor the same case for those Disciples to summon fire from Heav'n upon the whole City where they were deny'd lodging, and for a Nation by just Warr and execution to slay whole Families of them, who so barbarously had slaine whole Families before. Did not all Israel doe as much against the Benjamits for one Rape committed by a few, and defended by the whole Tribe? and did they not the same to Jabesh-Gilead for not assisting them in that revenge? I speak not this that such measure should be meted rigorously to all the Irish, or as remembring that the Parlament ever so Decreed, but to shew that this his Homily hath more craft and affectation in it, then of sound Doctrin.
But it was happy that his going into Ireland was not consented to: For either he had certainly turn'd his rais'd Forces against the Parlament it self, or not gon at all, or had he gon, what work he would have made there, his own following words declare.
He would have punisht some; no question; for some, perhaps, who were of least use, must of necessity have bin sacrific'd to his reputation, and the conveniencie of his affaires. Others he would have disarm'd, that is to say in his own time: but all of them he would have protected from the fury of those that would have drown'd them, if they had refus'd to swim down the popular stream. These expressions are too oft'n mett, and too well understood for any man to doubt his meaning. By the fury of those, he meanes no other then the Justice of Parlament, to whom yet he had committed the whole business. Those who would have refus'd to swim down the popular streame, our constant key tells us to be Papists, Prelats, and thir Faction: these, by his own confession heer, he would have protected against his Puritan Parlament: And by this who sees not that he and the Irish Rebels had but one aime, one and the same drift, and would have forthwith joyn'd in one body against us.
He goes on still in his tenderness of the Irish Rebels fearing least our zeale should be more greedy to kill the Beare for his skin, then for any harme he hath don. This either justifies the Rebels to have don no harm at all, or infers his opinion that the Parlament is more bloody and rapacious in the prosecution of thir Justice, then those Rebels were in the execution of thir barbarous cruelty. Let men doubt now and dispute to whom the King was a Freind most, to his English Parlament, or to his Irish Rebels.
With whom, that we may yet see furder how much he was thir Freind, after that the Parlament had brought them every where either to Famin, or a low condition, he, to give them all the respit and advantages they could desire, without advice of Parlament, to whom he himself had committed the mannaging of that Warr, makes a Cessation; in pretence to releive the Protestants, overborne there with numbers, but, as the event prov'd, to support the Papists, by diverting and drawing over the English Army there, to his own service heer against the Parlament. For that the Protestants were then on the winning hand, it must needs be plaine; who notwithstanding the miss of those Forces, which, at thir landing heer, maister'd without difficulty great part of Wales and Cheshire, yet made a shift to keep thir own in Ireland. But the plot of this Irish Truce is in good part discoverd in that Declaration of September 30th. 1643. And if the Protestants were but handfuls there, as he calls them, why did he stop and waylay, both by Land and Sea, to his utmost power, those Provisions and Supplies which were sent by the Parlament? How were so many handfuls call'd over, as for a while stood him in no small stead, and against our main forces heer in England?
Since therfore all the reasons that can be giv'n of this Cessation appeare so fals and frivolous, it may be justly fear'd, that the designe itself was most wicked and pernicious. What remaines then? He appeales to God, and is cast; lik'ning his punishments to Jobs trials, before he saw them to have Jobs ending. But how could Charity herself beleive ther was at all in him any Religion, so much as but to fear ther is a God; when as by what is noted in the Declaration of no more addresses, he vowd solemnly to to the Parlament, with imprecations upon himself and his Posterity, if ever he consented to the abolishing of those Lawes which were in force against Papists, and at the same time, as appeard plainly by the very date of his own Letters to the Queen and Ormond, consented to the abolishing of all Penal Lawes against them both in Ireland and England. If these were acts of a Religious Prince, what memory of man, writt'n or unwritt'n can tell us newes of any Prince that ever was irreligious? He cannot stand to make prolix Apologies. Then surely those long Pamphlets set out for Declarations and Protestations in his Name, were none of his; and how they should be his, indeed, being so repugnant to the whole cours of his actions, augments the difficulty.
But he usurps a common saying, That it is Kingly to doe well, and heare ill. That may be sometimes true: but farr more frequently to doe ill and heare well; so great is the multitude of Flatterers, and them that deifie the name of King.
Yet not content with these neighbours, we have him still a perpetual preacher of his own vertues, and of that especially which who knows not to bee Patience perforce.
He beleives it will at last appeare that they who first began to embroyle his other kingdoms, are also guilty of the blood of Ireland. And wee beleive so too; for now the Cessation is become a Peace by publishd Articles, and Commission to bring them over against England, first only ten thousand by the Earl of Glamorgan, next all of them, if possible, under Ormond, which was the last of all his transactions don as a public Person. And no wonder; for he lookt upon the blood spilt, whether of Subjects or of Rebels with an indifferent eye, as exhausted out of his own veines; without distinguishing as he ought, which was good blood and which corrupt; the not letting out wherof endangers the whole body.
And what the Doctrin is ye may perceave also by the Prayer, which, after a short ejaculation for the poore Protestants, prayes at large for the Irish Rebels, that God would not give them over, or thir Children to the covetousness, cruelty, fierce and cursed anger of the Parlament.
He finishes with a deliberat and solemn curse upon himself and his Father's House. Which how farr God hath alreadie brought to pass, is to the end that men by so eminent an example should learn to tremble at his judgements; and not play with Imprecations.
XIII. Upon the calling in of the Scots, and thir comming.
IT must needs seeme strange, where Men accustom themselves to ponder and contemplat things in thir first original and institution, that Kings, who, as all other Officers of the Public, were at first chos'n and install'd onely by consent and suffrage of the People, to govern them as Freemen by Laws of thir own framing, and to be, in consideration of that dignity and riches bestow'd upon them, the entrusted Servants of the Common-wealth, should notwithstanding grow up to that dishonest encroachment, as to esteeme themselves Maisters, both of that great trust which they serve, and of the People that betrusted them: counting what they ought to doe both in discharge of thir public duty, and for the great reward of honour and revennue which they receave, as don all of meer grace and favour; as if thir power over us were by nature, and from themselves, or that God had sould us into thir hands. Indeed, if the race of Kings were eminently the best of men, as the breed at Tutburie is of Horses, it would in some reason then be their part onely to command, ours always to obey. But Kings by generation no way excelling others, and most commonly not being the wisest or the worthiest by farr of whom they claime to have the governing, that we should yeild them subjection to our own ruin, or hold of them the right of our common safety, and our natural freedom by meer gift, as when the Conduit pisses wine at Coronations, from the superfluity of thir royal grace and beneficence, we may be sure was never the intent of God, whose ways are just and equal; never the intent of Nature, whose works are also regular; never of any People not wholly barbarous, whom prudence, or no more but human sense would have better guided when they first created Kings, then so to nullifie and tread to durt the rest of mankind, by exalting one person and his Linage without other merit lookt after, but the meer contingencie of a begetting, into an absolute and unaccountable dominion over them and thir posterity. Yet this ignorant or wilfull mistake of the whole matter, had tak'n so deep root in the imagination of this King, that whether to the English or to the Scot, mentioning what acts of his Regal Office, though God knows how unwillingly, he had pass'd, he calls them, as in other places, Acts of grace and bounty, so heer special obligations, favours to gratifie active spirits, and the desires of that party. Words not onely sounding pride and Lordly usurpation, but Injustice, Partiality, and Corruption. For to the Irish he so farr condiscended, as first to tolerate in privat, then to covnant op'nly the tolerating of Popery: So farr to the Scot, as to remove Bishops, establish Presbytery, and the Militia in thir own hands, preferring, as some thought, the desires of Scotland before his own interest and Honour. But being once on this side Tweed, his reason, his conscience, and his honour became so streitn'd with a kind of fals Virginity, that to the English neither one nor other of the same demands could be granted, wherwith the Scots were gratifi'd; as if our aire and climat on a sudden had chang'd the property and the nature both of Conscience, Honour, and Reason, or that he found none so fit as English to be the subjects of his arbitrary power. Ireland was as Ephraim, the strength of his head, Scotland as Judah, was his Law-giver; but over England as over Edom he meant to cast his Shoo; and yet so many sober Englishmen not sufficiently awake to consider this, like men inchanted with the Circæan cup of servitude, will not be held back from running thir own heads into the Yoke of Bondage.
The summ of his discours is against setling of Religion by violent meanes; which, whether it were the Scots designe upon England, they are best able to cleare themselves. But this of all may seem strangest, that the King who, while it was permitted him, never did thing more eagerly then to molest and persecute the consciences of most Religious men, he who had made a Warr and lost all, rather then not uphold a Hierarchie of persecuting Bishops, should have the confidence heer to profess himself so much an Enemie of those that force the conscience. For was it not he, who upon the English obtruded new Ceremonies, upon the Scots a new Liturgie, & with his Sword went about to score a bloody Rubric on thir backs? Did he not forbidd and hinder all effectual search of Truth, nay like a beseiging Enemy stopd all her passages both by Word and Writing? Yet heer can talk of faire and equall disputations: Where notwithstanding, if all submit not to his judgement as not being rationally convicted, they must submitt (and he conceales it not) to his penaltie as counted obstinate. But what if he himself, and those his learned Churchmen, were the convicted or the obstinate part long agoe; should Reformation suffer them to sit Lording over the Church in thir fatt Bishoprics and Pluralities, like the great Whore that sitteth upon many Waters, till they would voutsafe to be disputed out? Or should we sit disputing while they sate plotting and persecuting? Those Clergimen were not to be driv'n into the fold like sheep, as his Simily runs, but to be driv'n out of the Fold like Wolves, or Theeves, where they sat Fleecing those flocks which they never fed.
He beleeves that Presbytery, though prov'd to be the onely Institution of Jesus Christ were not by the Sword to be set up without his consent; which is contrary both to the Doctrin and the known practice of all Protestant Churches; if his Sword threat'n those who of thir own accord imbrace it.
And although Christ and his Apostles, being to civil affairs but privat men, contended not with Magistrats, yet when Magistrats themselves, and especially Parlaments; who have greatest right to dispose of the civil Sword, come to know Religion, they ought in conscience to defend all those who receave it willingly, against the violence of any King or Tyrant whatsoever. Neither is it therfore true; That Christianity is planted or watred with Christian blood; for there is a large difference between forcing men by the Sword to turne Presbyterians, and defending those who willingly are so, from a furious inroad of bloody Bishops, arm'd with the Militia of a King thir Pupil. And if covetousness and ambition be an argument that Presbytery hath not much of Christ, it argues more strongly against Episcopacy; which, from the time of her first mounting to an order above the Presbyters, had no other Parents then Covetousness & Ambition. And those Sects, Scisms, and Heresies, which he speaks of, if they get but strength and numbers, need no other pattern then Episcopacie and himself, to set up their ways by the like method of violence. Nor is there any thing that hath more marks of Scism and Sectarism then English Episcopacy; whether we look at Apostolic times, or at reformed Churches; for the universall way of Church goverment before, may as soon lead us into gross error, as thir universally corrupted Doctrin. And Goverment by reason of ambition was likeliest to be corrupted much the sooner of the two. However nothing can be to us Catholic or universal in Religion, but what the Scripture teaches; whatsoever without Scripture pleads to be universal in the Church, in being universal is but the more Scismatical. Much less can particular Laws and Constitutions impart to the Church of England any power of consistory or tribunal above other Churches, to be the sole Judge of what is Sect or Scism, as with much rigor, and without Scripture, they took upon them. Yet these the King resolves heer to defend and maintain to his last, pretending, after all those conferences offer'd, or had with him, not to see more rationall and religious motives then Soldiers carry in thir Knapsacks; with one thus resolv'd it was but folly to stand disputing.
He imagins his own judicious zeal to be most concernd in his tuition of the Church. So thought Saul when he presum'd to offer Sacrifice; for which he lost his Kingdom; So thought Uzziah when he went into the Temple, but was thrust out with a Leprosie for his opinion'd zeal, which he thought judicious. It is not the part of a King, because he ought to defend the Church, therfore to set himself supreme Head over the Church, or to meddle with Ecclesial Goverment, or to defend the Church otherwise then the Church would be defended; for such defence is bondage; nor to defend abuses, and stop all Reformation under the name of New moulds fanci'd and fashion'd to privat designes. The holy things of Church are in the power of other keys then were deliverd to his keeping. Christian libertie purchas'd with the death of our Redeemer, and establish'd by the sending of his free Spirit to inhabit in us, is not now to depend upon the doubtful consent of any earthly Monarch; nor to be again fetter'd with a presumptuous negative voice, tyrannical to the Parlament, but much more tyrannical to the Church of God: which was compell'd to implore the aid of Parlament, to remove his force and heavy hands frõ off our consciences, who therfore complains now of that most just defensive force, because onely it remov'd his violence and persecution. If this be a violation to his conscience, that it was hinderd by the Parlament from violating the more tender consciences of so many thousand good Christians, let the usurping conscience of all Tyrants be ever so violated.
He wonders, Fox wonder, how we could so much distrust Gods assistance, as to call in the Protestant aid of our Brethren in Scotland; why then did he, if his trust were in God and the justice of his Cause, not scruple to sollicit and invite earnestly the assistance both of Papists and of Irish Rebels? If the Scots were by us at length sent home, they were not call'd to stay heer always; neither was it for the peoples ease to feed so many Legions, longer then thir help was needfull.
The Goverment of thir Kirk we despis'd not, but thir imposing of that Goverment upon us; not Presbytery, but Arch-Presbytery, Classical, Provincial, and Diocesan Presbytery, claiming to it self a Lordly power and Superintendency both over Flocks and Pastors, over Persons and Congregations no way thir own. But these debates in his judgement would have bin ended better by the best Divines in Christ'ndom in a full and free Synod. A most improbable way, and such as never yet was us'd, at least with good success, by any Protestant Kingdom or State since the Reformation: Every true Church having wherwithall from Heav'n, and the assisting Spirit of Christ implor'd, to be complete and perfet within it self. And the whole Nation is not easily to be thought so raw, and so perpetually a novice after all this light, as to need the help and direction of other Nations, more then what they write in public of thir opinion, in a matter so familiar as Church Goverment.
In fine he accuses Piety with the want of Loyalty, and Religion with the breach of Allegeance, as if God and he were one Maister, whose commands were so oft'n contrary to the commands of God. He would perswade the Scots that thir chief Interest consists in thir fidelity to the Crown. But true policy will teach them to find a safer interest in the common friendship of England, then in the ruins of one ejected Family.
XIV. Upon the Covnant.
UPON this theme his Discours is long, his Matter little but repetition; and therfore soon answerd. First, after an abusive and strange apprehension of Covnants, as if Men pawn'd thir souls to them with whom they Covnant, he digresses to plead for Bishops; first from the antiquity of thir possession heer, since the first plantation of Christianity in this Iland, next from a universal prescription since the Apostles, till this last Centurie. But what availes the most Primitive Antiquity against the plain sense of Scripture; which if the last Centurie have best follow'd, it ought in our esteem to be the first. And yet it hath bin oft'n prov'd by Learned Men, from the Writings and Epistles of most ancient Christians, that Episcopacy crept not up into an order above the Presbyters, till many years after that the Apostles were deceased.
He next is unsatisfied with the Covnant not onely for some passages in it referring to himself, as he supposes, with very dubious and dangerous limitations, but for binding men by Oath and Covnant, to the Reformation of Church Discipline. First, those limitations were not more dangerous to him, then he to our Libertie and Religion; next, that which was there vow'd, to cast out of the Church an Antichristian Hierarchy which God had not planted, but ambition and corruption had brought in, and fostered to the Churches great dammage and oppression, was no point of controversie to be argu'd without end, but a thing of cleer moral necessity to be forthwith don. Neither was the Covnant superfluous, though former engagements both religious and legal bound us before: But was the practice of all Churches heertofore intending Reformation. All Israel, though bound anough before by the Law of Moses to all necessary duties; yet with Asa thir King enter'd into a new Covnant at the beginning of a Reformation: and the Jews after Captivity, without consent demanded of that King who was thir Maister, took solemn Oath to walk in the Command'ments of God. All Protestant Churches have don the like, notwithstanding former engagements to thir several duties. And although his aime were to sow variance between the Protestation and the Covnant, to reconcile them is not difficult. The Protestation was but one step, extending onely to the Doctrin of the Church of England, as it was distinct from Church Discipline; the Covnant went furder, as it pleas'd God to dispense his light and our encouragement by degrees, and comprehended Church Goverment; Former with latter steps in the progress of well doing need not reconcilement. Nevertheless he breaks through to his conclusion, That all honest and wise men ever thought themselves sufficiently bound by former ties of Religion; leaving Asa, Ezra, and the whole Church of God in sundry Ages, to shift for honestie and wisdom from som other then his testimony. And although after-contracts absolve not till the former be made void, yet he first having don that, our duty returns back, which to him was neither moral nor eternal; but conditional.
Willing to perswade himself that many good men took the Covnant either unwarily, or out of feare, he seems to have bestow'd som thoughts how these good men following his advice may keep the Covnant and not keep it. The first evasion is, presuming that the cheif end of Covnanting in such mens intentions was to preserve Religion in purity, and the Kingdoms peace. But the Covnant will more truly inform them, that purity of Religion and the Kingdoms peace was not then in State to be preservd, but to be restor'd; and therfore binds them, not to a preservation of what was, but to a Reformation of what was evil, what was Traditional, and dangerous, whether novelty or antiquity in Church or State. To doe this, clashes with no former Oath lawfully sworn either to God or the King, and rightly understood.
In general he brands all such confederations by League and Covnant, as the common rode us'd in all Factious perturbations of State and Church. This kinde of language reflects with the same ignominy upon all the Protestant Reformations that have bin since Luther; and so indeed doth his whole Book, replenish'd throughout with hardly other words or arguments then Papists, and especially Popish Kings, have us'd heertofore against thir Protestant Subjects; whom he would perswade to be every man his own Pope, and to absolve himself of those ties, by the suggestion of fals or equivocal interpretations too oft repeated to be now answer'd.
The Parlament, he saith, made thir Covnant like Manna, agreeable to every mans Palat. This is another of his glosses upon the Covnant; he is content to let it be Manna, but his drift is that men should loath it, or at least expound it by thir own relish, and latitud of sense; wherin least any one of the simpler sort should faile to be his crafts maister, he furnishes him with two or three laxative, he termes them general clauses, which may serve somwhat to releeve them against the Covnant tak'n: intimating, as if what were lawfull and according to the Word of God, were no otherwise so, then as every man fansi'd to himself. From such learned explications and resolutions as these upon the Covnant, what marvel if no Royalist or Malignant refuse to take it, as having learnt from these Princely instructions his many Salvo's, cautions, and reservations, how to be a Covnanter and Anticovnanter, how at once to be a Scot, and an Irish Rebel.
He returns again to disallow of that Reformation which the Covnant vows, as being the partiall advice of a few Divines. But matters of this moment, as they were not to be decided there by those Divines, so neither are they to be determin'd heer by Essays & curtal Aphorisms, but by solid proofs of Scripture.
The rest of his discourse he spends, highly accusing the Parlament, that the main Reformation by them intended, was to robb the Church, and much applauding himself both for his forwardness to all due Reformation, and his averseness from all such kind of Sacrilege. All which, with his glorious title of the Churches Defender, we leave him to make good, by Pharaohs Divinity, if he please, for to Josephs Pietie it will be a task unsutable. As for the parity and poverty of Ministers, which he takes to be so sad of consequence, the Scripture reck'ns them for two special Legacies left by our Saviour to his Disciples: under which two Primitive Nurses, for such they were indeed, the Church of God more truly flourisht then ever after, since the time that imparitie and Church revennue rushing in, corrupted and beleper'd all the Clergie with a worse infection then Gehezi's; some one of whose Tribe rather then a King, I should take to be compiler of that unsalted and Simonical praier annex'd: Although the Praier it self strongly prays against them. For never such holy things as he means, were giv'n to more Swine, nor the Churches bread more to Dogs, then when it fed ambitious, irreligious and dumb Prelats.
XV. Upon the many Jealousies, &c.
TO wipe off jealousies and scandals, the best way had bin by clear Actions, or till Actions could be clear'd, by evident reasons; but meer words we are too well acquainted with. Had his honour and reputation bin dearer to him then the lust of Raigning, how could the Parlament of either Nation have laid so oft'n at his dore the breach of words, promises, acts, Oaths, and execrations, as they doe avowedly in many of thir Petitions, and addresses to him: thether I remitt the Reader. And who can beleive that whole Parlaments elected by the People from all parts of the Land, should meet in one mind, and resolution not to advise him, but to conspire against him in a wors powder plot then Catesbies, to blow up, as he termes it, the peoples affection towards him, and batter down thir loyalty by the Engins of foule aspersions: Water-works rather then Engines to batter with, yet those aspersions were rais'd from the foulness of his own actions. Whereof to purge himself, he uses no other argument, then a general and so oft'n iterated commendation of himself; and thinks that Court holy water hath the vertue of expiation; at least with the silly people. To whom he familiarly imputes sin where none is, to seem liberal of his forgiveness where none is ask'd or needed.
What wayes he hath tak'n toward the prosperitie of his people, which he would seem so earnestly to desire, if we doe but once call to mind, it will be anough to teach us, looking on the smooth insinuations here, that Tyrants are not more flatterd by thir Slaves, then forc'd to flatter others whom they feare.
For the peoples tranquillitie he would willingly be the Jonah; but lest he should be tak'n at his word, pretends to foresee within Kenn two imaginarie windes never heard of in the Compass, which threaten, if he be cast overboard, to increase the storm, but that controversy divine lot hath ended.
He had rather not rule then that his people should be ruin'd; and yet, above these twenty yeres hath bin ruining the people about the niceties of his ruling. He is accurate to put a difference between the plague of malice, & the ague of mistakes, the itch of noveltie, and the leprosie of disloyaltie. But had he as wel known how to distinguish between the venerable gray haires of ancient Religion, and the old scurffe of Superstition, between the wholsome heat of well Governing and the fevorous rage of Tyrannizing, his judgement in State-physic had bin of more autoritie.
Much he Prophesies, that the credit of those men who have cast black scandals on him shall ere long be quite blasted by the same furnace of popular obloquie wherin they sought to cast his name and honour. I beleive not that a Romish guilded Portrature gives better Oracle then a Babylonish gold'n Image could doe, to tell us truely who heated that Furnace of obloquy, or who deserves to be thrown in, Nebuchadnezzar or the three Kingdoms. It gave him great cause to suspect his own innocence that he was oppos'd by so many who profest singular pietie. But this qualm was soon over, and he concluded rather to suspect their Religion, then his own innocence, affirming that many with him were both learned and Religious above the ordinary size. But if his great Seal without the Parlament were not sufficient to create Lords, his Parole must needs be farr more unable to create learned and religious men, and who shall authorize his unlearned judgement to point them out?
He guesses that many well minded men were by popular Preachers urg'd to oppose him. But the opposition undoubtedly proceeded and continues from heads farr wiser, and spirits of a nobler straine; those Priest-led Herodians with thir blind guides are in the Ditch already; travailling, as they thought, to Sion, but moor'd in the Ile of Wight.
He thanks God for his constancy to the Protestant Religion both abroad and at home. Abroad, his Letter to the Pope, at home, his Innovations in the Church will speak his constancy in Religion what it was, without furder credit to this vain boast.
His using the assistance of some Papists, as the cause might be, could not hurt his Religion; but, in the setling of Protestantism, thir aid was both unseemly & suspicious, & inferr'd that the greatest part of Protestants were against him & his obtruded settlement.
But this is strange indeed, that he should appear now teaching the Parlament what no man, till this was read, thought ever he had lernt, that difference of perswasion in religious matters may fall out where ther is the sameness of allegeance & subjection. If he thought so from the beginning, wherfore was there such compulsion us'd to the puritans of England, & the whole realm of Scotl., about conforming to a liturgie? Wherfore no Bishop no king? wherfore episcopacie more agreeable to monarchie, if different perswasions in religion may agree in one duty & allegeance? Thus doe court maxims, like court Minions, rise or fall as the king pleases.
Not to tax him for want of Elegance as a courtier, in writing Oglio for Olla the Spanish word, it might be well affirm'd that there was a greater Medley & disproportioning of religions to mix Papists with Protestants in a religious cause, then to entertaine all those diversifi'd Sects, who yet were all Protestants, one Religion, though many Opinions.
Neither was it any shame to Protestants, that he a declar'd Papist, if his own letter to the Pope, not yet renownc'd, bely him not, found so few protestants of his religion, as enforc'd him to call in both the counsel & the aid of papists to help establish protestancy, who were led on, not by the sense of thir Allegeance, but by the hope of his Apostacy to Rome, from disputing to warring; his own voluntary, and first appeale.
His hearkening to evil Counselers, charg'd upon him so oft'n by the Parlament, he puts off as a device of those men who were so eager to give him better counsell. That those men were the Parlament, & that he ought to have us'd the counsel of none but those, as a King, is already known. What thir civility laid upon evil Counselers, he himself most commonly own'd; but the event of those evil counsels, the enormities, the confusions, the miseries he transferrs from the guilt of his own civil broiles to the just resistance made by Parlament; & imputes what miscarriages of his they could not yet remove for his opposing, as if they were some new misdemeanors of their bringing in, and not the inveterat diseases of his own bad Goverment; which, with a disease as bad, he falls again to magnifie and commend: and may all those who would be govern'd by his Retractions and concessions, rather then by Laws of Parlament, admire his self-Encomiums, and be flatter'd with that Crown of patience to which he cunningly exhorted them, that his Monarchical foot might have the setting it upon thir heads.
That trust which the Parlament faithfully discharg'd in the asserting of our Liberties, he calls another artifice to withdraw the people from him, to their designes. What piece of Justice could they have demanded for the people, which the jealousie of a King might not have miscall'd a designe to disparage his Goverment, and to ingratiat themselves? To be more just, religious, wise, or magnanimous then the common sort, stirrs up in a Tyrant both feare and envy; and streight he cries out popularitie, which, in his account is little less then Treason. The summ is, they thought to limit or take away the Remora of his negative voice, which, like to that little pest at Sea, took upon it to arrest and stopp the Common-wealth stearing under full saile to a Reformation: they thought to share with him in the Militia, both or either of which he could not possibly hold without consent of the people, and not be absolutely a Tyrant. He professes to desire no other liberty then what he envies not his Subjects according to Law; yet fought with might and maine against his Subjects to have a sole power over them in his hand, both against and beyond Law. As for the Philosophical Libertie which in vaine he talks of, we may conclude him very ill train'd up in those free notions, who to civil Libertie was so injurious.
He calls the conscience Gods sovrantie, why then doth he contest with God about that supreme title? Why did he lay restraints, and force enlargements upon our consciences in things for which we were to answer God onely and the Church? God bids us Be subject for conscience sake, that is, as to a Magistrat, and in the Laws; not usurping over spiritual things, as Lucifer beyond his sphere. And the same Precept bids him likewise for conscience sake be subject to the Parlament, both his natural and his legal superior.
Finally, having layd the fault of these Commotions, not upon his own mis-goverment, but upon the ambition of others, the necessity of some mens fortune, and thirst after noveltie, he bodes himself much honour and reputation that like the Sun shall rise and recover it self to such a Splendour, as Owles, Batts, and such fatal Birds shall be unable to beare. Poets indeed use to vapor much after this manner. But to bad Kings, who without cause expect future glory from thir actions, it happ'ns as to bad Poets; who sit and starve them selves with a delusive hope to win immortality by thir bad lines. For though men ought not to speak evil of Dignities which are just, yet nothing hinders us to speak evil, as oft as it is the truth, of those who in thir Dignities doe evil; thus did our Saviour himself, John the Baptist, and Steev'n the Martyr. And those black vailes of his own misdeeds he might be sure would ever keep his face from shining, til he could refute evil speaking with wel doing, which grace he seems heer to pray for; and his prayer doubtless as it was prayd, so it was heard. But eev'n his prayer is so ambitious of Prerogative, that it dares ask away the Prerogative of Christ himself, To become the head stone of the Corner.
XVI. Upon the Ordinance against the Common-Prayer Book.
WHAT to think of Liturgies, both the sense of Scripture, and Apostolicall practice would have taught him better, then his human reasonings and conjectures: Nevertheless what weight they have, let us consider. If it be no news to have all innovations usherd in with the name of Reformation, sure it is less news to have all reformation censur'd and oppos'd under the name of innovation, by those who beeing exalted in high place above thir merit, fear all change though of things never so ill or so unwisely settl'd. So hardly can the dotage of those that dwell upon Antiquitie allow present times any share of godliness or wisdom.
The removing of Liturgie he traduces to be don onely as a thing plausible to the People, whose rejection of it he lik'ns with small reverence to the crucifying of our Saviour; next, that it was don to please those men who gloried in thir extemporary vein, meaning the Ministers. For whom it will be best to answer, as was answer'd for the man born blind, They are of age, let them speak for themselves; not how they came blind, but whether it were Liturgie that held them tongue-ti'd.
For the matter contain'd in that Book we need no better witness then King Edward the sixth, who to the Cornish Rebels confesses it was no other then the old Mass-book don into English, all but some few words that were expung'd. And by this argument, which King Edward so promptly had to use against that irreligious Rabble, we may be assur'd it was the carnal fear of those Divines and Polititians that model'd the Liturgie no furder off from the old Mass, least by too great an alteration they should incense the people, and be destitute of the same shifts to fly to, which they had taught the young King.
For the manner of using sett formes, there is no doubt but that, wholesom matter, and good desires rightly conceav'd in the heart, wholesom words will follow of themselves. Neither can any true Christian find a reason why Liturgie should be at all admitted, a prescription not impos'd or practis'd by those first Founders of the Church, who alone had that autority: Without whose precept or example, how constantly the Priest puts on his Gown and Surplice, so constantly doth his praier put on a servile yoak of Liturgie. This is evident, that they who use no set formes of prayer, have words from thir affections; while others are to seek affections fit and proportionable to a certain doss of prepar'd words; which as they are not rigorously forbidd to any mans privat infirmity, so to imprison and confine by force, into a Pinfold of sett words, those two most unimprisonable things, our Prayers and that Divine Spirit of utterance that moves them, is a tyranny that would have longer hands then those Giants who threaten'd bondage to Heav'n. What we may doe in the same forme of words is not so much the question, as whether Liturgie may be forc'd as he forc'd it. It is true that we pray to the same God, must we therfore always use the same words? Let us then use but one word, because we pray to one God. We profess the same truths, but the Liturgie comprehends not all truths: wee read the same Scriptures; but never read that all those Sacred expressions, all benefit and use of Scripture, as to public prayer, should be deny'd us, except what was barrelld up in a Common-praier Book with many mixtures of thir own, and which is worse, without salt. But suppose them savoury words and unmix'd, suppose them Manna it self, yet if they shall be hoarded up and enjoynd us, while God every morning raines down new expressions into our hearts, in stead of being fit to use, they will be found like reserv'd Manna, rather to breed wormes and stink. Wee have the same duties upon us and feele the same wants; yet not alwayes the same, nor at all times alike; but with variety of Circumstances, which ask varietie of words. Wherof God hath giv'n us plenty; not to use so copiously upon all other occasions, and so niggardly to him alone in our devotions. As if Christians were now in a wors famin of words fitt for praier, then was of food at the seige of Jerusalem, when perhaps the Priests being to remove the shew bread, as was accustom'd, were compell'd every Sabbath day, for want of other Loaves, to bring again still the same. If the Lords Prayer had bin the warrant or the pattern of set Liturgies, as is heer affirm'd, why was neither that Prayer, nor any other sett forme ever after us'd, or so much as mention'd by the Apostles, much less commended to our use? Why was thir care wanting in a thing so usefull to the Church? So full of danger and contention to be left undon by them to other mens Penning, of whose autority we could not be so certain? Why was this forgott'n by them who declare that they have reveal'd to us the whole Counsel of God; who as he left our affections to be guided by his sanctifying spirit, so did he likewise our words to be put into us without our premeditation; not onely those cautious words to be us'd before Gentiles and Tyrants, but much more those filial words, of which we have so frequent use in our access with freedom of speech to the Throne of Grace. Which to lay aside for other outward dictates of men, were to injure him and his perfet Gift, who is the spirit, and the giver of our abilitie to pray; as if his ministration were incomplete, and that to whom he gave affections, he did not also afford utterance to make his Gift of prayer a perfet Gift, to them especially whose office in the Church is to pray publicly.
And although the gift were onely natural, yet voluntary prayers are less subject to formal and superficial tempers then sett formes: For in those, at least for words & matter, he who prays, must consult first wth his heart; which in likelyhood may stirr up his affections; in these, having both words and matter readie made to his lips, which is anough to make up the outward act of prayer, his affections grow lazy, and com not up easilie at the call of words not thir own; the prayer also having less intercours and sympathy with a heart wherin it was not conceav'd, saves itself the labour of so long a journey downward, and flying up in hast on the specious wings of formalitie, if it fall not back again headlong, in stead of a prayer which was expected, presents God with a sett of stale and empty words.
No doubt but ostentation and formalitie may taint the best duties; we are not therfore to leave duties for no duties, and to turne prayer into a kind of Lurrey. Cannot unpremeditated babling be rebuk'd, and restraind in whom we find they are, but the spirit of God must be forbidd'n in all men? But it is the custom of bad men and Hypocrits to take advantage at the least abuse of good things, that under that covert they may remove the goodness of those things, rather then the abuse. And how unknowingly, how weakly is the using of sett forms attributed here to constancy, as if it were constancie in the Cuckoo to be alwaies in the same liturgie.
Much less can it be lawfull that an Englisht Mass-Book, compos'd for ought we know, by men neither lerned, nor godly, should justle out, or at any time deprive us the exercise of that Heav'nly gift, which God by special promise powrs out daily upon his Church, that is to say, the spirit of Prayer. Wherof to help those many infirmities, which he reck'ns up, rudeness, impertinencie, flatness, and the like, we have a remedy of Gods finding out, which is not Liturgie, but his own free spirit. Though we know not what to pray as we ought, yet he with sighs unutterable by any words, much less by a stinted Liturgie, dwelling in us makes intercession for us, according to the mind and will of God, both in privat, and in the performance of all Ecclesiastical duties. For it is his promise also, that where two or three gather'd together in his name shall agree to ask him any thing, it shall be granted; for he is there in the midst of them. If then ancient Churches to remedie the infirmities of prayer, or rather the infections of Arian and Pelagian Heresies, neglecting that ordain'd and promis'd help of the spirit, betook them, almost four hundred yeares after Christ, to Liturgie thir own invention, wee are not to imitate them; nor to distrust God in the removal of that Truant help to our Devotion, which by him never was appointed. And what is said of Liturgie is said also of Directory, if it be impos'd: although to forbidd the Service Book there be much more reason, as being of itself superstitious, offensive, and indeed, though Englisht, yet still the Mass-Book: and public places ought to be provided of such as need not the help of Liturgies or Directories continually, but are supported with Ministerial gifts answerable to thir Calling.
Lastly that the Common-Prayer Book was rejected because it prayd so oft for him, he had no reason to Object: for what large and laborious Prayers were made for him in the Pulpits, if he never heard, tis doubtful they were never heard in Heav'n. Wee might now have expected that his own following Prayer should add much credit to sett Forms; but on the contrary we find the same imperfections in it, as in most before, which he lays heer upon Extemporal. Nor doth he ask of God to be directed whether Liturgies be lawful, but presumes, and in a manner would perswade him that they be so; praying that the Church and he may never want them. What could be prayd wors extempore? unless he mean by wanting, that they may never need them.
XVII. Of the differences in point of Church-Goverment.
THE Goverment of Church by Bishops hath bin so fully prov'd from the Scriptures to be vitious and usurp'd, that whether out of Piety or Policy maintain'd, it is not much material. For Pietie grounded upon error can no more justifie King Charles, then it did Queen Mary, in the sight of God or Man. This however must not be let pass without a serious observation; God having so dispos'd the Author in this Chapter as to confess and discover more of Mystery and combination between Tyranny and fals Religion, then from any other hand would have bin credible. Heer we may see the very dark roots of them both turn'd up, and how they twine and interweave one another in the Earth, though above ground shooting up in two sever'd Branches. We may have learnt both from sacred History, and times of Reformation, that the Kings of this World have both ever hated, and instinctively fear'd the Church of God. Whether it be for that thir Doctrin seems much to favour two things to them so dreadful, Liberty and Equality, or because they are the Children of that Kingdom, which, as ancient Prophesies have foretold, shall in the end break to peeces and dissolve all thir great power and Dominion, And those Kings and Potentates who have strove most to ridd themselves of this feare, by cutting off or suppressing the true Church, have drawn upon themselves the occasion of thir own ruin, while they thought with most policy to prevent it. Thus Pharaoh, when once he began to feare and wax jealous of the Israelites, least they should multiply and fight against him, and that his feare stirr'd him up to afflict and keep them under, as the onely remedy of what he feard, soon found that the evil which before slept, came suddenly upon him, by the preposterous way he took to shun it. Passing by examples between, & not shutting wilfully our eyes, we may see the like story brought to pass in our own Land. This King more then any before him, except perhapps his Father, from his first entrance to the Crown, harbouring in his mind a strange feare and suspicion of men most religious, and thir Doctrin, which in his own language he heer acknowledges, terming it the seditious exorbitancie of Ministers tongues, and doubting least they, as he not Christianly expresses it, should with the Keys of Heav'n let out Peace and Loyaltie from the peoples hearts, though they never preacht or attempted aught that might justly raise in him such apprehensions, he could not rest, or think himself secure, so long as they remain'd in any of his three Kingdoms unrooted out. But outwardly professing the same Religion with them, he could not presently use violence as Pharaoh did, and that course had with others before but ill succeeded. He chooses therfore a more mystical way, a newer method of Antichristian fraud, to the Church more dangerous: and like to Balac the son of Zippor, against a Nation of Prophets thinks it best to hire other esteemed Prophets, and to undermine and weare out the true Church by a fals Ecclesiastical policy. To this drift he found the Goverment of Bishops most serviceable; an order in the Church, as by men first corrupted, so mutually corrupting them who receave it, both in judgement and manners. He, by conferring Bishoprics and great Livings on whom he thought most pliant to his will, against the known Canons and universal practice of the ancient Church, whereby those elections were the peoples right, sought, as he confesses, to have greatest influence upon Church-men. They on the other side, finding themselves in a high Dignity, neither founded by Scripture, nor allow'd by Reformation, nor supported by any spiritual gift or grace of thir own, knew it thir best cours to have dependence onely upon him: and wrought his fansie by degrees to that degenerat and unkingly perswasion of No Bishop, no King. When as on the contrary all Prelats in thir own suttle sense are of another mind; according to that of Pius the fourth rememberd in the Trentine storie, that Bishops then grow to be most vigorous and potent, when Princes happ'n to be most weak, and impotent. Thus when both Interests of Tyranny and Episcopacie were incorporat into each other, the King whose principal safety and establishment consisted in the righteous execution of his civil power, and not in Bishops and thir wicked counsels, fatally driv'n on, set himself to the extirpating of those men whose Doctrin, and desire of Church Discipline he so fear'd would bee the undoing of his Monarchie. And because no temporal Law could touch the innocence of thir lives, he begins with the persecution of thir consciences, laying scandals before them: and makes that the argument to inflict his unjust penalties both on thir bodies and Estates. In this Warr against the Church if he hath sped so, as other haughty Monarchs whom God heertofore hath hard'nd to the like enterprize, we ought to look up with praises and thanksgiving to the Author of our deliverance, to whom victorie and power, Majestie, Honour, and Dominion belongs for ever.
In the mean while, from his own words we may perceave easily, that the special motives which he had to endeere and deprave his judgement to the favouring and utmost defending of Episcopacie, are such as heer we represent them: and how unwillingly and with what mental reservation he condescended against his interest to remove it out of the Peers House, hath bin shown alreadie. The reasons, which he affirmes wrought so much upon his judgement, shall be so farr answerd as they be urg'd.
Scripture, he reports, but distinctly produces none; and next the constant practice of all Christian Churches, till of late yeares tumult, faction, pride and covetousness, invented new models under the title of Christs Goverment. Could any Papist have spoke more scandalously against all Reformation? Well may the Parlament and best-affected People not now be troubl'd at his calumnies and reproaches, since he binds them in the same bundle with all other the reformed Churches; who also may now furder see, besides thir own bitter experience, what a Cordial and well meaning helper they had of him abroad, and how true to the Protestant cause.
As for Histories to prove Bishops, the Bible, if we mean not to run into errors, vanities, and uncertainties, must be our onely Historie. Which informs us that the Apostles were not properly Bishops; next, that Bishops were not successors of Apostles, in the function of Apostleship: And that if they were Apostles, they could not be preciselie Bishops; if Bishops, they could not be Apostles; this being Universal, extraordinarie, and immediat from God; that being an ordinarie, fixt, & particular charge, the continual inspection over a certain Flock. And although an ignorance and deviation of the ancient Churches afterward, may with as much reason and charity be suppos'd as sudden in point of Prelatie, as in other manifest corruptions, yet that no example since the first age for 1500 yeares can be produc'd of any setled Church, wherin were many Ministers and Congregations, which had not some Bishops above them, the Ecclesiastical storie, to which he appeals for want of Scripture, proves cleerly to be a fals and overconfident assertion. Sozomenus who above Twelve hundred years agoe, in his seventh Book relates from his own knowledge, that in the Churches of Cyprus and Arabia (places neer to Jerusalem, and with the first frequented by Apostles) they had Bishops in every Village; and what could those be more then Presbyters? The like he tells of other Nations; and that Episcopal Churches in those daies did not condemn them. I add that many Western Churches eminent for thir Faith and good Works, and settl'd above four hundred years agoe in France, in Piemont and Bohemia, have both taught and practis'd the same Doctrin, and not admitted of Episcopacie among them. And if we may beleeve what the Papists themselves have writt'n of these Churches, which they call Waldenses, I find it in a Book writt'n almost four hundred years since, and set forth in the Bohemian Historie, that those Churches in Piemont have held the same Doctrin and Goverment, since the time that Constantine with his mischievous donations poyson'd Silvester and the whole Church. Others affirme they have so continu'd there since the Apostles: and Theodorus Belvederensis in his relation of them, confesseth, that those Heresies, as he names them, were, from the first times of Christianity, in that place. For the rest I referr me to that famous testimonie of Jerom, who upon this very place which he onely roaves at heer, the Epistle to Titus, declares op'nly that Bishop and Presbyter were one and the same thing, till by the instigation of Satan, partialities grew up in the Church; and that Bishops rather by custom, then any ordainment of Christ, were exalted above Presbyters: whose interpretation we trust shall be receav'd before this intricate stuffe tattl'd heer of Timothy and Titus, and I know not whom thir Successors, farr beyond Court Element, and as farr beneath true edification. These are his fair grounds both from Scripture-Canons and Ecclesiastical examples; how undivinelike writt'n, and how like a worldly Gospeller that understands nothing of these matters, posteritie no doubt will be able to judge: and will but little regard what he calls Apostolical, who in his Letter to the Pope calls Apostolical the Roman Religion.
Nor let him think to plead, that therfore it was not policy of State, or obstinacie in him which upheld Episcopacie, because the injuries and losses which he sustain'd by so doing, were to him more considerable then Episcopacie it self; for all this might Pharaoh have had to say in his excuse of detaining the Israelites; that his own and his Kingdoms safety so much endanger'd by his denial, was to him more deer then all thir building labours could be worth to Ægypt. But whom God hard'ns, them also he blinds.
He endeavours to make good Episcopacie not only in Religion, but from the nature of all civil Goverment, where parity breeds confusion and faction. But of faction and confusion, to take no other then his own testimony, where hath more bin ever bred then under the imparitie of his own Monarchical Goverment? Of which to make at this time longer dispute, and from civil constitutions and human conceits to debate and question the convenience of Divine Ordinations, is neither wisdom nor sobrietie: and to confound Mosaic Priesthood with Evangelic Presbyterie against express institution, is as far from warrantable. As little to purpose is it, that we should stand powling the Reformed Churches, whether they equalize in number those of his three Kingdoms; of whom so lately the far greater part, what they have long desir'd to doe, have now quite thrown off Episcopacie.
Neither may we count it the language or Religion of a Protestant, so to vilifie the best Reformed Churches (for none of them but Lutherans retain Bishops) as to feare more the scandalizing of Papists, because more numerous, then of our Protestant Brethren because a handful. It will not be worth the while to say what Scismatics or Heretics have had no Bishops: yet least he should be tak'n for a great Reader, he who prompted him, if he were a Doctor, might have rememberd the foremention'd place in Sozomenus; which affirmes that besides the Cyprians and Arabians who were counted Orthodoxal, the Novations also, and Montanists in Phrygia had no other Bishops then such as were in every Village: and what Presbyter hath a narrower Diocess? As for the Aërians we know of no Heretical opinion justly father'd upon them, but that they held Bishops & Presbyters to be the same. Which he in this place not obscurely seems to hold a Heresie in all the Reformed Churches: with whom why the Church of England desir'd conformitie, he can find no reason, with all his charity, but the comming in of the Scots Army; Such a high esteeme he had of the English.
He tempts the Clergie to return back again to Bishops, from the feare of tenuity and contempt, and the assurance of better thriving under the favour of Princes; against which temptations if the Clergie cannot arm themselves with thir own spiritual armour, they are indeed as poor a Carkass as he terms them.
Of secular honours and great Revenues added to the dignitie of Prelats, since the subject of that question is now remov'd, we need not spend time: But this perhaps will never bee unseasonable to beare in mind out of Chrysostome, that when Ministers came to have Lands, Houses, Farmes, Coaches, Horses, and the like Lumber, then Religion brought forth riches in the Church, and the Daughter devour'd the Mother.
But if his judgement in Episcopacie may be judg'd by the goodly chois he made of Bishops, we need not much amuse our selves with the consideration of those evils, which by his foretelling, will necessarily follow thir pulling down, untill he prove that the Apostles, having no certain Diocess or appointed place of residence, were properly Bishops over those Presbyters whom they ordain'd, or Churches they planted; wherein ofttimes thir labours were both joint and promiscuous: Or that the Apostolic power must necessarily descend to Bishops, the use and end of either function being so different. And how the Church hath flourisht under Episcopacie, let the multitude of thir ancient and gross errors testifie; and the words of some learnedest and most zealous Bishops among them; Nazianzen in a devout passion wishing Prelaty had never bin; Basil terming them the Slaves of Slaves; Saint Martin, the enemies of Saints, and confessing that after he was made a Bishop, he found much of that grace decay in him which he had before.
Concerning his Coronation Oath what it was, and how farr it bound him, already hath bin spok'n. This we may take for certain, that he was never sworn to his own particular conscience and reason, but to our conditions as a free people; which requir'd him to give us such Laws as our selves shall choose. This the Scots could bring him to, and would not be baffl'd with the pretence of a Coronation Oath, after that Episcopacy had for many years bin settl'd there. Which concession of his to them, and not to us, he seeks heer to put off with evasions that are ridiculous. And to omit no shifts, he alleges that the Presbyterian manners gave him no encouragement to like thir modes of Goverment. If that were so, yet certainly those men are in most likelihood neerer to amendment, who seek a stricter Church Discipline then that of Episcopacy; under which the most of them learnt thir manners. If estimation were to be made of Gods Law by their manners, who, leaving Ægypt, receav'd it in the Wilderness, it could reap from such an inference as this, nothing but rejection and disesteem.
For the Prayer wherwith he closes, it had bin good som safe Liturgie, which he so commends, had rather bin in his way; it would perhaps in som measure have perform'd the end for which they say Liturgie was first invented; and have hinder'd him both heer, and at other times, from turning his notorious errors into his Praiers.
XVIII. Upon the Uxbridge Treaty, &c.
IF the way of Treaties be look'd upon in general, as a retiring from bestial force to human reason, his first Aphorism heer is in part deceav'd. For men may Treat like Beasts as well as fight. If som fighting were not man-like, then either fortitude were no vertue, or no fortitude in fighting: And as Politicians ofttimes through dilatory purposes, and emulations handle the matter, there hath bin no where found more bestialitie then in Treating: which hath no more commendation in it then from fighting to come to undermining, from violence to craft, and when they can no longer doe as Lions, to doe as Foxes.
The sincerest end of Treating after War once Proclaim'd, is either to part with more, or to demand less then was at first fought for, rather then to hazzard more lives, or wors mischiefs. What the Parlament in that point were willing to have don, when first after the Warr begun, they Petition'd him at Colebrook to voutsafe a Treaty, is unknown. For after he had tak'n God to witness of his continual readiness to Treat, or to offer Treaties to the avoiding of bloodshed, had nam'd Windsor the place of Treaty, and pass'd his royal word not to advance furder, till Commissioners by such a time were speeded towards him, taking the advantage of a thick Mist, which fell that evening, weather that soon invited him to a designe no less treacherous and obscure; he follows at the heels of those Messengers of Peace with a train of covert Warr: and with a bloody surprise falls on our secure Forces which lay quartering at Brentford in the thoughts and expectation of a Treaty. And although in them who make a Trade of Warr, and against a natural Enemy, such an onset might in the rigor of Military Law have bin excus'd, while Armes were not yet by agreement suspended, yet by a King, who seem'd so heartily to accept of Treating with his subjects, and professes heer, He never wanted either desire or disposition to it, professes to have greater confidence in his Reason, then in his Sword, and as a Christian to seek Peace and ensue it, such bloody and deceitful advantages would have bin forborn one day at least, if not much longer; in whom there had not bin a thirst rather then a detestation of civil Warr and blood, and a desire to subdue rather then to Treat.
In the midst of a second Treaty not long after, sought by the Parlament, and after much adoe obtain'd with him at Oxford, what suttle and unpeaceable designes he then had in chace, his own Letters discover'd: What attempts of treacherous hostility successful and unsuccessful he made against Bristow, Scarborow, and other places, the proceedings of that Treaty will soon put us in mind: and how he was so far from granting more of reason after so much of blood, that he deny'd then to grant, what before he had offerd; making no other use of Treaties pretending Peace, then to gaine advantages that might enable him to continue Warr: What marvel then if he thought it no diminution of himself, as oft as he saw his time, to be importunate for Treaties, when hee sought them onely, as by the upshot appeard to get opportunities: and once to a most cruel purpose, if we remember May 1643. and that Messenger of Peace from Oxford, whose secret Message and Commission, had it bin effected, would have drownd the innocence of our Treating, in the blood of a designed Massacher. Nay, when treaties from the Parlament sought out him, no less then seven times, oft anough to testifie the willingness of thir obedience, and too oft for the Majesty of a Parlament to Court thir Subjection, he in the confidence of his own strength, or of our divisions, returnd us nothing back but denials, or delaies, to thir most necessary demands; and being at lowest, kept up still and sustain'd his almost famishd hopes with the howrly expectation of raising up himself the higher, by the greater heap which he sate promising himself of our sudden ruin through dissention.
But he inferrs, as if the Parlament would have compell'd him to part with somthing of his honour as a King. What honour could he have, or call his, joyn'd not onely with the offence or disturbance, but with the bondage and destruction of three Nations; wherof, though he be careless and improvident, yet the Parlament, by our Laws and freedom, ought to judge and use prevention; our Laws els were but cobweb Laws. And what were all his most rightful honours, but the peoples gift, and the investment of that lustre, Majesty, and honour, which for the public good & no otherwise, redounds from a whole Nation into one person? So far is any honour from being his to a common mischeif and calamity. Yet still he talks on equal termes with the grand Representative of that people, for whose sake he was a King; as if the general welfare, and his subservient Rights were of equal moment, or consideration. His aime indeed hath ever bin to magnifie and exalt his borrowd Rights and Prerogatives, above the Parlament and Kingdom of whom he holds them. But when a King setts himself to bandy against the highest Court and residence of all his Regal power, he then, in the single person of a Man, fights against his own Majesty and Kingship, and then indeed sets the first hand to his own deposing.
The Treaty at Uxbridge, he saith, gave the fairest hopes of a happy composure, fairest indeed, if his instructions to bribe our Commissioners with the promise of Security, rewards, and places, were faire: What other hopes it gave no man can tell. There being but three maine heads wheron to be treated, Ireland, Episcopacy, and the Militia, the first was anticipated and forestall'd by a Peace at any rate to be hast'nd with the Irish Rebels, ere the Treaty could begin; that he might pretend his word and honour past against the specious and popular arguments (he calls them no better) which the Parlament would urge upon him for the continuance of that just Warr. Episcopacy he bids the Queen be confident he will never quitt: which informes us by what Patronage it stood; and the Sword he resolves to clutch as fast, as if God with his own hand had put it into his. This was the moderation which he brought; this was as farr as Reason, Honour, Conscience, and the Queen, who was his Regent in all these, would give him leave. Lastly, for composure, in stead of happy, how miserable it was more likely to have bin, wise men could then judge; when the English, during Treaty, were call'd Rebels, the Irish, good and Catholic Subjects; and the Parlament before hand, though for fashions sake call'd a Parlament, yet by a Jesuitical slight not acknowledg'd, though call'd so; but privatly in the Counsel Books inroull'd no Parlament: that if accommodation had succeeded, upon what termes soever, such a devilish fraud was prepar'd, that the King in his own esteem had bin absolv'd from all performance, as having treated with Rebels and no Parlament; and they on the other side in stead of an expected happines, had bin brought under the Hatchet. Then no doubt Warr had ended, that Massacher and Tyranny might begin. These jealousies, however rais'd, let all men see whether they be diminish'd or allay'd, by the Letters of his own Cabinet open'd. And yet the breach of this Treaty is lay'd all upon the Parlament and thir Commissioners, with odious Names of Pertinacy, hatred of Peace, Faction, and Covetousness, nay, his own Bratt Superstition is layd to thir charge; notwithstanding his heer profess'd resolution to continue both the order, maintenance, and Authority of Prelats, as a truth of God.
And who were most to blame in the unsuccessfullness of that Treaty, his appeale is to Gods decision; beleeving to be very excusable at that Tribunal. But if ever man gloried in an unflexible stifness, he came not behind any: and that grand Maxim, always to put somthing into his Treaties, which might give colour to refuse all that was in other things granted, and to make them signifie nothing, was his own Principal Maxim and particular instructions to his Commissioners. Yet all, by his own verdit, must be consterd Reason in the King, and depraved temper in the Parlament.
That the highest Tide of success, with these principles and designes, set him not above a Treaty, no great wonder. And yet if that be spok'n to his praise, the Parlament therin surpass'd him; who, when he was thir vanquish'd and thir captive, his forces utterly brok'n and disbanded, yet offerd him three several times no wors proposals or demands, then when he stood fair to be thir Conqueror. But that imprudent surmise that his lowest Ebb could not set him below a Fight, was a presumption that ruin'd him.
He presag'd the future unsuccessfulness of Treaties by the unwillingness of som men to treat: and could not see what was present, that thir unwillingness had good cause to proceed from the continual experience of his own obstinacy and breach of word.
His prayer therfore of forgiveness to the guilty of that treaties breaking, he had good reason to say heartily over; as including no man in that guilt sooner then himself.
As for that Protestation following in his Prayer, How oft have I entreated for peace, but when I speak therof they make them ready to Warr, unless he thought himself still in that perfidious mist between Colebrook and Houndslow, and thought that mist could hide him from the eye of Heav'n as well as of Man, after such a bloody recompence giv'n to our first offers of Peace, how could this in the sight of Heav'n without horrours of conscience be utter'd?
XIX. Upon the various events of the Warr.
IT is no new, or unwonted thing for bad men to claim as much part in God as his best servants; to usurp and imitate thir words, and appropriate to themselves those properties, which belong onely to the good and righteous. This not onely in Scripture is familiarly to be found, but heer also in this Chapter of Apocrypha. He tells us much, why it pleas'd God to send him Victory or Loss (although what in so doing was the intent of God, he might be much mistak'n as to his own particular) but we are yet to learn what real good use he made therof in his practice.
Those numbers, which he grew to from small beginnings, were not such as out of love came to protect him, for none approv'd his actions as a King, except Courtiers and Prelats, but were such as fled to be protected by him from the fear of that Reformation which the pravity of thir lives would not bear. Such a Snowball he might easily gather by rowling through those cold and dark provinces of ignorance and leudness, where on a sudden he became so numerous. He imputes that to Gods protection, which, to them who persist in a bad cause, is either his long-suffering or his hard'ning; and that to wholesom chastisement, which were the gradual beginnings of a severe punishment. For if neither God nor nature put civil power in the hands of any whomsoever, but to a lawfull end, and commands our obedience to the autority of Law onely, not to the Tyrannical force of any person; and if the Laws of our Land have plac'd the Sword in no mans single hand, so much as to unsheath against a forren enemie, much less upon the native people; but have plac'd it in that elective body of the Parlament, to whom the making, repealing, judging, and interpreting of Law itself was also committed, as was fittest, so long as wee intended to bee a free Nation, and not the Slaves of one mans will, then was the King himself disobedient and rebellious to that Law by which he raign'd; and by autority of Parlament to raise armes against him in defence of Law and Libertie, we doe not onely think, but beleeve and know was justifiable both by the Word of God, the Laws of the Land, and all lawfull Oaths; and they who sided with him, fought against all these.
The same Allegations, which he uses for himself and his Party, may as well fitt any Tyrant in the world: for let the Parlament bee call'd a Faction when the King pleases, and that no Law must bee made or chang'd either civil or religious, because no Law will content all sides, then must be made or chang'd no Law at all; but what a Tyrant, be he Protestant or Papist, thinks fitt. Which Tyrannous assertion forc'd upon us by the Sword, he who fights against, and dyes fighting, if his other sins overweigh not, dyes a Martyr undoubtedly both of the Faith and of the Common-wealth: and I hold it not as the opinion, but as the full beleef and persuasion of farr holier and wiser men then Parasitic Preachers. Who, without their dinner-Doctrin, know that neither King, Law, civil Oaths, or Religion, was ever establish'd without the Parlament: and thir power is the same to abrogate as to establish: neither is any thing to bee thought establish'd which that House declares to be abolisht. Where the Parlament sitts, there inseparably sitts the King, there the Laws, there our Oaths, and whatsoever can be civil in Religion. They who fought for the Parlament, in the truest sense fought for all these; who fought for the King divided from his Parlament, fought for the shadow of a King against all these; and for things that were not, as if they were establisht. It were a thing monstrously absurd and contradictory, to give the Parlament a Legislative power, and then to upbraid them for transgressing old Establishments.
But the King and his Party having lost in this Quarrel thir Heav'n upon Earth, beginn to make great reckning of Eternal Life, and at an easie rate in forma Pauperis Canonize one another into Heav'n; he them in his Book, they him in the Portrature before his Book: but as was said before, Stagework will not doe it, much less the justness of thir Cause: wherin most frequently they dy'd in a brutish fierceness, with Oaths and other damning words in thir mouths; as if such had bin all the Oaths they fought for: which undoubtedly sent them full Sail on another Voyage then to Heav'n. In the mean while they to whom God gave Victory, never brought to the King at Oxford the State of thir consciences, that he should presume without confession, more then a Pope presumes, to tell abroad what conflicts and accusations, men whom he never spoke with, have in thir own thoughts. We never read of any English King but one that was a Confessor; and his name was Edward: yet sure it pass'd his skill to know thoughts, as this King takes upon him. But they who will not stick to slander mens inward consciences, which they can neither see nor know, much less will care to slander outward actions, which they pretend to see, though with senses never so vitiated.
To judge of his condition conquerd, and the manner of dying on that side, by the sober men that chose it, would be his small advantage: it being most notorious, that they who were hottest in his Cause, the most of them were men oftner drunk, then by thir good will sober, and very many of them so fought and so dy'd.
And that the conscience of any man should grow suspicious, or be now convicted by any pretensions in the Parlament, which are now prov'd fals and unintended, there can be no just cause. For neither did they ever pretend to establish his Throne without our Liberty and Religion, nor Religion without the Word of God, nor to judge of Laws by thir being establisht, but to establish them by thir being good and necessary.
He tells the World He oft'n prayd that all on his side might be as faithfull to God and thir own souls, as to him. But Kings, above all other men, have in thir hands not to pray onely, but to doe. To make that prayer effectual, he should have govern'd as well as pray'd. To pray and not to govern is For a Monk and not a King. Till then he might be well assur'd, they were more faithfull to thir lust and rapine then to him.
In the wonted predication of his own vertues he goes on to tell us, that to Conquer he never desir'd, but onely to restore the Laws and Liberties of his people. It had bin happy then he had known at last, that by force to restore Laws abrogated by the Legislative Parlament, is to conquer absolutely both them, and Law itself. And for our Liberties none ever oppressed them more, both in Peace and Warr; first like a maister by his arbitrary power; next as an enemy by hostile invasion.
And if his best friends fear'd him, and he himself, in the temptation of an absolute Conquest, it was not only pious but freindly in the Parlament, both to fear him and resist him; since their not yeelding was the onely meanes to keep him out of that temptation, wherin he doubted his own strength.
He takes himself to be guilty in this Warr of nothing els, but of confirming the power of some Men: Thus all along he signifies the Parlament, whom to have settl'd by an Act he counts to be his onely guiltiness. So well he knew that to continue a Parlament, was to raise a War against himself; what were his actions then and his Goverment the while? For never was it heard in all our Story, that Parlaments made Warr on thir Kings, but on thir Tyrants; whose modesty and gratitude was more wanting to the Parlament, then theirs to any of such Kings.
What he yeelded was his feare; what he deny'd was his obstinacy; had he yeelded more, fear might perchance have sav'd him; had he granted less, his obstinacy had perhaps the sooner deliverd us.
To review the occasions of this Warr will be to them never too late, who would be warn'd by his example from the like evils: but to wish onely a happy conclusion, will never expiate the fault of his unhappy beginnings. Tis true on our side the sins of our lives not seldom fought against us: but on their side, besides those, the grand sin of thir Cause.
How can it be otherwise when he desires heer most unreasonably, and indeed sacrilegiously, that we should be subject to him, though not furder, yet as farr as all of us may be subject to God; to whom this expression leaves no precedency. Hee who desires from men as much obedience and subjection, as we may all pay to God, desires not less then to be a God; a sacrilege farr wors then medling with the Bishops Lands, as he esteems it.
His Praier is a good Praier and a glorious; but glorying is not good, if it know not that a little leven levens the whole lump. It should have purg'd out the leven of untruth in telling God that the blood of his Subjects by him shedd was in his just and necessary defence. Yet this is remarkable; God hath heer so orderd his Prayer, that as his own lipps acquitted the Parlament, not long before his death, of all the blood spilt in this Warr, so now his prayer unwittingly drawes it upon himself. For God imputes not to any man the blood he spills in a just cause: and no man ever begg'd his not imputing of that which he in his justice could not impute. So that now whether purposely, or unaware he hath confess'd both to God and Man the bloodguiltiness of all this Warr to lie upon his own head.
XX. Upon the Reformation of the times.
THis Chapter cannot punctually be answer'd without more repetitions then now can be excusable: Which perhaps have already bin more humour'd then was needfull. As it presents us with nothing new, so with his exceptions against Reformation pittifully old, and tatter'd with continual using; not onely in his Book, but in the words and Writings of every Papist and Popish King. On the Scene he thrusts out first an Antimasque of two bugbeares, Noveltie and Perturbation; that the ill looks and noise of those two, may as long as possible, drive off all endeavours of a Reformation. Thus sought Pope Adrian by representing the like vain terrors, to divert and dissipate the zeal of those reforming Princes of the age before in Germany. And if we credit Latimers Sermons, our Papists heer in England pleaded the same dangers and inconveniencies against that which was reform'd by Edward the sixth. Whereas if those fears had bin available, Christianity itself had never bin receav'd. Which Christ foretold us, would not be admitted without the censure of noveltie and many great commotions. These therfore are not to deterr us.
He grants Reformation to be a good work, and confesses What the indulgence of times and corruption of manners might have deprav'd. So did the foremention'd Pope, and our Grandsire Papists in this Realm. Yet all of them agree in one song with this heer, that they are sorry to see so little regard had to Laws establisht, and the Religion settl'd.
Popular compliance, dissolution of all order and goverment in the Church, Scisms, Opinions, Undecencies, Confusions, Sacrilegious invasions, contempt of the Clergie, and thir Liturgie, Diminution of Princes: all these complaints are to be read in the Messages and Speeches almost of every Legat from the Pope to those States and Citties which began Reformation. From whence he either learnt the same pretences, or had them naturally in him from the same spirit. Neither was there ever so sincere a Reformation that hath escap'd these clamours.
He offer'd a Synod or Convocation rightly chosen. So offerd all those Popish Kings heertofore; a cours the most unsatisfactory, as matters have been long carried, and found by experience in the Church liable to the greatest fraud and packing: no solution, or redress of evil, but an increase rather; detested therfore by Nazianzen and som other of the Fathers. And let it bee produc'd what good hath bin don by Synods from the first times of Reformation.
Not to justifie what enormities the Vulgar may commit in the rudeness of thir zeal, we need but onely instance how he bemoanes the pulling down of Crosses and other superstitious Monuments, as the effect of a popular and deceitful Reformation. How little this savours of a Protestant, is too easily perceav'd.
What he charges in defect of Piety, Charity, and Morality, hath bin also charg'd by Papists upon the best reformed Churches: not as if they the accusers were not tenfold more to be accus'd, but out of thir Malignity to all endeavour of amendment; as we know who accus'd to God the sincerity of Job; an accusation of all others the most easie, when as there livs not any mortal man so excellent, who in these things is not alwaies deficient. But the infirmities of the best men, and the scandals of mixt Hypocrits in all times of reforming, whose bold intrusion covets to bee ever seen in things most sacred as they are most specious, can lay no just blemish upon the integritie of others, much less upon the purpose of Reformation it self. Neither can the evil doings of som be the excuse of our delaying or deserting that duty to the Church, which for no respect of times or carnal policies can be at any time unseasonable.
He tells, with great shew of piety what kinde of persons public Reformers ought to be, and what they ought to doe. Tis strange, that in above twenty years, the Church growing still wors and wors under him, he could neither be as he bids others be, nor doe as he pretends heer so well to know; nay, which is worst of all, after the greatest part of his Raign spent in neither knowing, nor doing aught toward a Reformation either in Church or State, should spend the residue in hindring those by a seven years Warr, whom it concernd, with his consent or without it, to doe thir parts in that great performance.
Tis true, that the method of reforming may well subsist without perturbation of the State; but that it falls out otherwise for the most part, is the plaine Text of Scripture. And if by his own rule hee had allow'd us to feare God first, and the King in due order, our Allegeance might have still follow'd our Religion in a fit subordination. But if Christs Kingdom be tak'n for the true Discipline of the Church, and by his Kingdom be meant the violence he us'd against it, and to uphold an Antichristian Hierarchie, then sure anough it is, that Christs Kingdom could not be sett up without pulling down his: And they were best Christians who were least Subject to him. Christs Goverment, out of question meaning it Prelatical, hee thought would confirm his: and this was that which overthrew it.
He professes to own his Kingdom from Christ, and to desire to rule for his glory, and the Churches good. The Pope and the King of Spain profess every where as much; and both his practice and all his reasonings, all his enmitie against the true Church we see hath bin the same with theirs, since the time that in his Letter to the Pope he assur'd them both of his full compliance. But evil beginnings never bring forth good conclusions: they are his own words, and he ratifi'd them by his own ending. To the Pope he ingag'd himself to hazard life and estate for the Roman Religion, whether in complement he did it, or in earnest; and God, who stood neerer then he for complementing minded, writ down those words; that according to his resolution, so it should come to pass. He praies against his hypocrisie and Pharisaical washings, a Prayer to him most pertinent, but choaks it straight with other words which pray him deeper into his old errors and delusions.
XXI. Upon his Letters tak'n and divulg'd.
THE Kings Letters tak'n at the Battell of Naseby, being of greatest importance to let the people see what Faith there was in all his promises and solemn Protestations, were transmitted to public view by special Order of the Parlament. They discover'd his good affection to Papists and Irish Rebels, the straight intelligence he held, the pernitious & dishonourable peace he made with them, not sollicited but rather solliciting, wch by all invocations that were holy he had in public abjur'd. They reveal'd his endeavours to bring in forren Forces, Irish, French, Dutch, Lorrainers, and our old Invaders the Danes upon us, besides his suttleties and mysterious arts in treating: to summ up all, they shewd him govern'd by a Woman. All which though suspected vehemently before, and from good grounds beleev'd, yet by him and his adherents peremptorily deny'd, were, by the op'ning of that Cabinet, visible to all men under his own hand.
The Parlament therfore to cleer themselves of aspersing him without cause, and that the people might no longer be abus'd and cajol'd, as they call it, by falsities and Court impudence, in matters of so high concernment, to let them know on what termes thir duty stood, and the Kingdoms peace, conceavd it most expedient and necessary, that those Letters should be made public. This, the King affirmes was by them don without honour and civilitie: words, which if they contain not in them, as in the language of a Courtier most commonly they do not, more of substance and realitie then complement, Ceremony, Court fauning and dissembling, enter not I suppose furder then the eare into any wise mans consideration. Matters were not then between the Parlament and a King thir enemie in that state of trifling, as to observ those superficial vanities. But if honour and civilitie mean, as they did of old, discretion, honesty, prudence, and plaine truth, it will be then maintain'd against any Sect of those Cabalists, that the Parlament in doing what they did with those Letters, could suffer in thir honour and civilitie no diminution. The reasons are already heard.
And that it is with none more familiar then with Kings, to transgress the bounds of all honour and civility, there should not want examples good store, if brevity would permitt; in poynt of Letters, this one shall suffice. The Duchess of Burgundie and heire of Duke Charles, had promis'd to her Subjects, that shee intended no otherwise to Govern, then by advice of the three Estates, but to Lewis the French King had writt'n Letters, that shee had resolv'd to committ wholly the managing of her affaires to foure Persons, whom shee nam'd. The three Estates not doubting the sincerity of her Princely word, send Embassadors to Lewis, who then beseig'd Arras belonging to the Duke of Burgundy. The King taking hold of this occasion to set them at division among themselves, question'd thir Credence; which when they offerd to produce with thir instructions, he not only shewes them the privat Letter of thir Duchess, but gives it them to carry home, wherwith to affront her; which they did, shee denying it stoutly; till they, spredding it before her face in a full assembly, convicted her of an op'n lye. Which, although Commines the historian much blames, as a deed too harsh and dishonourable in them who were Subjects, and not at Warr with thir Princess, yet to his Maister Lewis, who first divulg'd those Letters, to the op'n shaming of that young Governess, he imputes no incivilitie or dishonour at all, although betraying a certaine confidence repos'd by that letter in his royal secrecie.
With much more reason then may letters not intercepted onely, but won in battell from an enemie, be made public to the best advantages of them that win them, to the discovery of such important truth or falshood. Was it not more dishonourable in himself to faine suspicions and jealousies, which we first found among those Letters, touching the chastitie of his Mother, thereby to gaine assistance from the King of Denmark, as in vindication of his Sister? The Damsell of Burgundie, at sight of her own letter, was soon blank, and more ingenuous then to stand outfacing; but this man whom nothing will convince, thinks by talking world without end, to make good his integrity and faire dealing, contradicted by his own hand and seale. They who can pick nothing out of them but phrases shall be counted Bees: they that discern furder both there and here, that constancy to his Wife is set in place before Laws and Religion, are in his naturalities no better then Spiders.
He would work the people to a perswasion, that if he be miserable they cannot be happy. What should hinder them? Were they all born Twins of Hippocrates with him and his fortune, one birth, one burial? It were a Nation miserable indeed, not worth the name of a Nation, but a race of Idiots, whose happiness and welfare depended upon one Man. The happiness of a Nation consists in true Religion, Piety, Justice, Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude, and the contempt of Avarice and Ambition. They in whomsoever these vertues dwell eminently, need not Kings to make them happy, but are the architects of thir own happiness; and whether to themselves or others are not less then Kings. But in him, which of these vertues were to be found, that might extend to the making happy, or the well-governing of so much as his own houshold, which was the most licentious and ill-govern'd in the whole Land?
But the op'ning of his Letters was design'd by the Parlament to make all reconciliation desperate. Are the lives of so many good and faithfull men, that dy'd for the freedom of thir Country, to be so slighted as to be forgott'n in a stupid reconcilement without Justice don them? What he feares not by Warr and slaughter, should we feare to make desperate by op'ning his Letters? Which fact he would parallell with Chams revealing of his Fathers nakedness: When he at that time could be no way esteem'd the Father of his Countrey, but the destroyer; nor had he ever before merited that former title.
He thanks God he cannot onely beare this with patience, but with charity forgive the doers. Is not this meer mockery, to thank God for what he can doe, but will not? For is it patience to impute Barbarism and inhumanity to the op'ning of an Enemies Letter, or is it Charity to cloth them with curses in his Prayer, whom he hath forgiv'n in his Discours? In which Prayer to shew how readily he can return good for evil to the Parlament, and that if they take away his Coat, he can let them have his Cloak also; for the dismantling of his Letters he wishes They may be cover'd with the Cloak of confusion. Which I suppose they do resigne with much willingness, both Livery, Badge, and Cognizance, to them who chose rather to be the Slaves and Vassals of his will, then to stand against him, as men by nature free; born and created with a better title to thir freedom, then any King hath to his Crown.
XXII. Upon his going to the Scots.
THe Kings comming in, whether to the Scots or English, deserv'd no thanks: for necessitie was his Counselor: and that he hated them both alike, his expressions every where manifest. Som say his purpose was to have come to London, till hearing how strictly it was proclaim'd that no man should conceal him, he diverted his course. But that had bin a frivolous excuse: and besides he himself rehearsing the consultations had, before he took his journey, shewes us cleerly that he was determin'd to adventure upon their Loyalty who first began his troubles. And that the Scots had notice of it before, hath bin long since brought to light. What prudence there could be in it, no man can imagin; Malice there might be, by raising new jealousies to divide Freinds. For besides his diffidence of the English, it was no small dishonour that he put upon them, when rather then yeild himself to the Parlament of England, he yeelded to a hireling Army of Scots in England, payd for thir Service heer, not in Sotch coyn, but in English Silver; nay who from the first beginning of these troubles, what with brotherly assistance, and what with mounthly pay, have defended thir own Libertie and consciences at our charge. However it was a hazardous and rash journey taken, to resolve riddles in mens Loyaltie, who had more reason to mistrust the Riddle of such a disguised yeelding; and to put himself in their hands whose Loyalty was a Riddle to him, was not the cours to be resolv'd of it, but to tempt it. What providence deny'd to force, he thought it might grant to fraud, which he stiles Prudence: but Providence was not couzen'd with disguises, neither outward nor inward.
To have known his greatest danger in his supposed safety, and his greatest safety in his supposed danger was to him a fatal Riddle never yet resolv'd; wherin rather to have imployd his main skill, had bin much more to his preservation.
Had he known when the Game was lost, it might have sav'd much contest; but the way to give over fairely, was not to slip out of op'n Warr into a new disguise. He layes down his Armes, but not his Wiles; nor all his Armes, for in obstinacy he comes no less arm'd then ever, Cap a pè. And what were they but wiles, continually to move for Treaties, and yet to persist the same man, and to fortifie his mind before hand, still purposing to grant no more then what seem'd good to that violent and lawless Triumvirate within him, under the falsifi'd names of his Reason, Honour, and Conscience, the old circulating dance of his shifts and evasions.
The words of a King, as they are full of power, in the autority and strength of Law, so like Sampson, without the strength of that Nazarites lock, they have no more power in them then the words of another man.
He adores Reason as Domitian did Minerva, and calls her the Divinest power, thereby to intimate as if at reasoning, as at his own weapon, no man were so able as himself. Might we be so happy as to know where these monuments of his Reason may be seen, for in his actions & his writing they appeare as thinly as could be expected from the meanest parts, bredd up in the midst of so many wayes extraordinary to know somthing. He who reads his talk, would think he had left Oxford not without mature deliberation: yet his Prayer confesses, that he knew not what to doe. Thus is verifi'd that Psalme; He powreth contempt upon Princes and causeth them to wander in the Wilderness where there is no way. Psal. 107.
XXIII. Upon the Scots delivering the King to the English.
THat the Scots in England should sell thir King, as he himself here affirmes, and for a price so much above that, which the covetousness of Judas was contented with to sell our Saviour, is so foule an infamy and dishonour cast upon them, as befitts none to vindicate but themselves. And it were but friendly Counsel to wish them beware the Son, who comes among them with a firme beleif that they sould his Father. The rest of this Chapter he Sacrifices to the Echo of his Conscience, out-babling Creeds and Ave's; glorying in his resolute obstinacy, and as it were triumphing how evident it is now, that not evill Counselors, but he himself hath bin the Author of all our troubles. Herein onely we shall disagree to the worlds end, while he who sought so manifestly to have annihilated all our Laws and Liberties, hath the confidence to perswade us that he hath fought and suffer'd all this while in thir defence.
But he who neither by his own Letters and Commissions under hand and Seale, nor by his own actions held as in a Mirror before his face, will be convinc'd to see his faults, can much less be won upon by any force of words, neither he, nor any that take after him; who in that respect are no more to be disputed with, then they who deny Principles. No question then, but the Parlament did wisely in thir decree at last, to make no more addresses. For how unalterable his will was, that would have bin our lord, how utterly averse from the Parlament, and Reformation, during his confinement, we may behold in this Chapter. But to be ever answering fruitless Repetitions, I should become liable to answer for the same myself. He borrows Davids Psalmes, as he charges the Assembly of Divines in his twentith Discourse, To have set forth old Catechisms and confessions of faith new drest. Had he borrow'd Davids heart, it had bin much the holier theft. For such kind of borrowing as this, if it be not better'd by the borrower, among good Authors is accounted Plagiarie. However, this was more tolerable then Pammela's Praier stol'n out of Sir Philip.
XXIV. Upon the denying him the attendance of his Chaplains.
A CHAPLAIN is a thing so diminutive, and inconsiderable, that how he should come heer among matters of so great concernment, to take such room up in the Discourses of a Prince, if it be not wonderd, is to be smil'd at. Certainly by me, so mean an Argument shall not be writt'n; but I shall huddle him, as he does Prayers. The Scripture ownes no such order, no such function in the Church; and the Church not owning them, they are left, for ought I know, to such a furder examining as the Sons of Sceva the Jew met with. Bishops or Presbyters we know, and Deacons we know, but what are Chaplains? In State perhaps they may be listed among the upper Servingmen of som great houshold, and be admitted to som such place, as may stile them the Sewers, or the Yeoman-Ushers of Devotion, where the Maister is too restie or too rich to say his own prayers, or to bless his own Table. Wherfore should the Parlament then take such implements of the Court Cupbord into thir consideration? They knew them to have bin the main corruptors at the kings elbow: they knew the king to have bin always thir most attentive Scholar, & Imitator, & of a child to have suckt from them & thir closetwork all his impotent principles of tyranny & superstition. While therfore they had any hope left of his reclaiming, these sowers of Malignant Tares they kept asunder from him: and sent to him such of the Ministers and other zealous persons, as they thought were best able to instruct him, and to convert him. What could Religion her self have don more to the saving of a soule? But when they found him past cure, & that he to himself was grown the most evil Counseler of all, they deny'd him not his Chaplains, as many as were fitting, and som of them attended him, or els were at his call, to the very last. Yet heer he makes more Lamentation for the want of his Chaplains, then superstitious Micah did to the Danites, who had tak'n away his houshold Priest: Yee have tak'n away my Gods which I made, and the Priest, and what have I more? And perhaps the whole Story of Micah might square not unfitly to this Argument: Now know I, saith he, that the Lord will doe me good, seeing I have a Levite to my Priest. Micah had as great a care that his Priest should be Mosaical, as the King had, that his should be Apostolical; yet both in an error touching thir Priests. Houshold and privat Orisons were not to be officiated by Priests; for neither did Public Prayer appertain onely to their Office. Kings heertofore, David, Solomon, and Jehosaphat, who might not touch the Priesthood, yet might pray in public, yea in the Temple, while the Priests themselves stood and heard. What aild this King then that he could not chew his own Mattins without the Priests Oretenus? Yet is it like he could not pray at home, who can heer publish a whole Prayer-book of his own, and signifies in some part of this Chapter, almost as good a mind to be a Priest himself, as Micah had to let his Son be. There was doubtless therfore som other matter in it, which made him so desirous to have his Chaplaines about him, who were not onely the contrivers, but very oft the instruments also of his designes.
The Ministers which were sent him no marvel he indur'd not; for they Preacht repentance to him: the others gave him easie confession, easie absolution, nay strength'ned his hands, and hard'nd his heart by applauding him in his wilfull wayes. To them he was an Ahab, to these a Constantine; it must follow then that they to him were as unwelcome as Eliah was to Ahab, these as deer and pleasing as Amaziah the priest of Bethel was to Jeroboam. These had learnt well the lesson that would please; Prophesie not against Bethel, for it is the Kings Chappel, the Kings Court; and had taught the King to say of those Ministers which the Parlament had sent, Amos hath conspir'd against me; the Land is not able to beare all his words.
Returning to our first Parallel, this King lookt upon his Prelats as Orphans under the sacrilegious eyes of many rapacious Reformers: and there was as great feare of Sacrilege between Micah and his Mother, till with thir holy treasure, about the loss wherof there was such cursing, they made a grav'n and a molt'n Image, and got a Priest of thir own. To let go his Criticizing about the sound of Prayers, imperious, rude, or passionat, modes of his own divising, we are in danger to fall again upon the flats and shallows of Liturgie. Which if I should repeat again, would turn my answers into Responsories, and begett another Liturgie, having too much of one already.
This onely I shall add, that if the heart, as he alleges, cannot safely joyn with another mans extemporal sufficiency, because we know not so exactly what they mean to say, then those public prayers made in the Temple by those forenamed Kings, and by the Apostles in the Congregation, and by the ancient Christians for above three hundred yeares before Liturgies came in, were with the People made in vain.
After he hath acknowledg'd that kings heertofore prayd without Chaplains, eev'n publicly in the Temple it self, and that every privat Beleever is invested with a royall Priesthood, yet like one that relisht not what he tasted of the heav'nly gift, and the good word of God whose name he so confidently takes into his mouth, he frames to himself impertinent and vain reasons, why he should rather pray by the officiating mouth of a Closet Chaplain. Their prayers, saith he, are more prevalent, they flow from minds more enlighten'd, from affections less distracted. Admitt this true, which is not; this might be somthing said as to thir prayers for him, but what availes it to thir praying with him? If his own mind be incumbered with secular affaires, what helps it his particular prayer, though the mind of his Chaplain be not wandring, either after new preferment, or his Dinner? The fervencie of one man in prayer cannot supererogate for the coldness of another; neither can his spiritual defects in that duty be made out, in the acceptance of God, by another mans abilities. Let him endeavour to have more light in himself: And not to walk by another mans Lamp, but to get Oyle into his own. Let him cast from him, as in a Christian warrfare, that secular incumbrance which either distracts, or overloads him; his load els will never be the less heavie, because another mans is light. Thus these pious flourishes and colours examin'd throughly, are like the Apples of Asphaltis, appearing goodly to the sudden eye, but look well upon them, or at least but touch them, and they turne into Cinders.
In his Prayer he remembers what voices of joy and gladness there were in his Chappel, Gods House, in his opinion, between the Singing men and the Organs; and this was unity of spirit in the bond of peace; the vanity, superstition, and misdevotion of which place, was a scandall farr and neer: Wherin so many things were sung and pray'd in those Songs, which were not understood: and yet he who makes a difficulty how the people can joyne thir hearts to extemporal prayers, though distinctly heard and understood, makes no question how they should joyn thir hearts in unitie to songs not understood.
I beleeve that God is no more mov'd with a prayer elaboratly pend, then men truely charitable are mov'd with the pen'd speech of a Begger.
Finally, O yee Ministers, ye pluralists, whose lips preserve not knowledge, but the way ever op'n to your bellies, read heer what work he makes among your wares, your Gally pots, your Balmes and Cordials, in print, & not onely your sweet Sippets in widows houses, but the huge gobbets wherewith he charges you to have devourd Houses and all; the houses of your Brethren, your King, and your God. Crie him up for a Saint in your Pulpits, while he cries you down for Atheists into Hell.
IT is not hard for any man, who hath a Bible in his hands, to borrow good words and holy sayings in abundance; but to make them his own, is a work of grace onely from above. He borrows heer many penitential Verses out of Davids Psalmes. So did many among those Israelites, who had revolted from the true worship of God, invent to themselves instruments of music like David, and probably Psalmes also like his; and yet the Profet Amos complaines heavily against them. But to prove how short this is of true repentance, I will recite the penitence of others, who have repented in words not borrowd, but thir own, and yet by the doom of Scripture it self are judg'd reprobates.
Cain said unto the Lord, My iniquity is greater then I can beare, behold thou hast driv'n me this day from the face of the earth, and from thy face shall I be hid.
And when Esau heard the words of his father he cry'd with an exceeding bitter cry, and said, Bless me eev'n me also O my Father; yet found no place of repentance though he sought it carefully with teares, Heb. 12.
And Pharaoh said to Moses, The Lord is righteous, I and my people are wicked; I have sind against the Lord your God and against you.
And Balaam said, Let me die the death of the righteous and let my last end be like his.
And Saul said to Samuel, I have sin'd, for I have transgress'd the commandment of the Lord; yet honour me now I pray thee before the Elders of my people.
And when Ahab heard the words of Eliah, he rent his cloaths, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly.
Jehoram also rent his cloaths, and the people look'd, and behold he had Sackcloth upon his flesh, yet in the very act of his humiliation he could say, God doe so, and more also to me, if the head of Elishah shall stand on him this day.
Therfore saith the Lord, They have not cri'd unto me with thir heart, when they howl'd upon thir beds. They returne, but not to the Most High. Hosea 7.
And Judas said, I have sind, in that I have betray'd innocent blood.
And Simon Magus sayd, Pray yee to the Lord for me that none of these things come upon me.
All these took the paines both to confess and to repent in thir own words, and many of them in thir own tears, not in Davids. But transported with the vain ostentation of imitating Davids language, not his life, observe how he brings a curse upon himself and his Fathers house (God so disposing it) by his usurp'd and ill imitated prayer: Let thy anger I beseech thee be against me and my Fathers house, as for these Sheep what have they don. For if David indeed sind in numbring the people, of which fault he in earnest made that confession, & acquitted the whole people from the guilt of that sin; then doth this King, using the same words, bear witness against himself to be the guilty person; and either in his soule and conscience heer acquitts the Parlament and the people, or els abuses the words of David, and dissembles grossly to the very face of God, which is apparent in the next line; wherin he accuses eev'n the Church it self to God, as if she were the Churches enemie, for having overcom his Tyranny by the powerful and miraculous might of Gods manifest arme: For to other strength, in the midst of our divisions and disorders, who can attribute our Victories? Thus had this miserable Man no worse enemies to sollicit and mature his own destruction from the hast'nd sentence of Divine Justice, then the obdurat curses which proceeded against himself out of his own mouth.
Hitherto his Meditations, now his Vowes; which, as the Vowes of hypocrits use to be, are most commonly absurd, and som wicked. Jacob Vow'd that God should be his God, if he granted him but what was necessary to perform that Vow, life and subsistence: but the obedience profferd heer is nothing so cheap. He who took so hainously to be offer'd nineteen Propositions from the Parlament, capitulates heer with God almost in as many Articles.
If he will continue that light or rather that darkness of the Gospel, which is among his Prelats, settle thir luxuries, and make them gorgeous Bishops;
If he will restore the greevances and mischeifs of those obsolete and Popish Laws, which the Parlament without his consent hath abrogated, and will suffer Justice to be executed according to his sense,
If he will suppress the many Scisms in Church, to contradict himself in that which he hath foretold must and shall come to pass, and will remove Reformation as the greatest Scism of all, and Factions in State, by which he meanes in every leafe the Parlament,
If he will restore him to his negative voice and the Militia, as much to say as arbitrary power, which he wrongfully averrs to be the right of his Predecessors,
If he will turne the hearts of his people to thir old Cathedral and Parochial service in the Liturgie, and thir passive obedience to the King,
If he will quench the Army, and withdraw our Forces from withstanding the Piracy of Rupert, and the plotted Irish invasion;
If he will bless him with the freedom of Bishops again in the House of Peers, and of fugitive Delinquents in the House of Commons, and deliver the honour of Parlament into his hands, from the most natural and due protection of the people, that intrusted them with the dangerous enterprize of being faithfull to thir Country against the rage and malice of his tyrannous opposition,
If he will keep him from that great offence of following the counsel of his Parlament, and enacting what they advise him to, which in all reason, and by the known Law, and Oath of his Coronation he ought to doe, and not to call that Sacrilege which necessity through the continuance of his own civil Warr hath compelld them to, necessity, which made David eat the Shew-bread, made Ezekiah take all the Silver which was found in Gods House, and cut off the Gold which overlayd those dores and Pillars, and give it to Senacherib; necessity, which oft times made the Primitive Church to sell her sacred utensils, eev'n to the Communion Chalice,
If he will restore him to a capacity of glorifying him by doing that both in Church and State, which must needs dishonour and pollute his name,
If he will bring him again with peace, honour, and safety, to his cheife Citty, without repenting, without satisfying for the blood spilt, onely for a few politic concessions, which are as good as nothing,
If he will put again the Sword into his hand, to punish those that have deliverd us, and to protect delinquents against the Justice of Parlament,
Then, if it be possible to reconcile contradictions, he will praise him by displeasing him, and serve him by disserving him.
His glory, in the gaudy Copes, and painted Windows, Miters, Rochets, Altars, and the chanted Service-Book, shall be dearer to him then the establishing his Crowne in righteousness, and the spiritual power of Religion.
He will pardon those that have offended him in particular, but there shall want no suttle wayes to be eev'n with them upon another score of thir suppos'd offences against the Common-wealth; wherby he may at once affect the glory of a seeming justice, and destroy them pleasantly, while he faines to forgive them as to his own particular, and outwardly bewailes them.
These are the conditions of his treating with God, to whom he bates nothing of what he stood upon with the Parlament: as if Commissions of Array could deale with him also. But of all these conditions, as it is now evident in our eyes, God accepted none, but that final Petition which he so oft, no doubt but by the secret judgement of God, importunes against his own head; praying God That his mercies might be so toward him, as his resolutions of Truth and Peace were toward his People. It follows then, God having cutt him off, without granting any of these mercies, that his resolutions were as fained as his Vows were frustrat.
XXVI. Upon the Armies surprisall of the King at Holmeby.
TO give account to Royalists what was don with thir vanquisht King, yeilded up into our hands, is not to be expected from them whom God hath made his Conquerors. And for brethren to debate & rippe up thir falling out in the eare of a common enemy, thereby making him the judge, or at least the wel pleas'd auditor of thir disagreement, is neither wise nor comely. To the King therfore, were he living, or to his Party yet remaining, as to this action, there belongs no answer. Æmulations, all men know, are incident among Military men, and are, if they exceed not, pardonable. But som of the former Army, eminent anough for thir own martial deeds, and prevalent in the House of Commons, touch'd with envy to be so farr outdon by a new modell which they contemn'd, took advantage of Presbyterian and Independent names, and the virulence of som Ministers to raise disturbance. And the Warr being then ended, thought slightly to have discarded them who had faithfully don the work, without thir due pay, and the reward of thir invincible valour. But they who had the Sword yet in thir hands, disdaining to be made the first objects of ingratitude and oppression, after all that expens of thir blood for Justice and the common Liberty, seiz'd upon the King thir pris'ner, whom nothing but thir matchles deeds had brought so low as to surrender up his Person: though he, to stirr up new discord, chose rather to give up himself a captive to his own Countrymen, who less had won him. This in likelihood might have grown to som height of mischeif; partly through the strife which was kindling between our elder and our younger Warriors, but chiefly through the seditious tongues of som fals Ministers, more zealous against Scisms, then against thir own Simony and Pluralities, or watchfull of the common enemy, whose suttle insinuations had got so farr in among them, as with all diligence to blow the coles. But it pleas'd God, not to embroile and put to confusion his whole people for the perversness of a few. The growth of our dissension was either prevented, or soon quieted; the Enemy soon deceav'd of his rejoycing, and the King especially disappointed of not the meanest morsel that his hope presented him, to ruin us by our division. And being now so nigh the end, we may the better be at leasure to stay a while, and hear him commenting upon his own Captivity.
He saith of his surprisal, that it was a motion eccentric and irregular. What then? his own allusion, from the Celestial bodies, puts us in minde, that irregular motions may be necessary on earth somtimes, as well as constantly in Heav'n- That is not always best, which is most regular to writt'n Law. Great Worthies heertofore by disobeying Law, ofttimes have sav'd the Common-wealth: and the Law afterward by firme Decree hath approv'd that planetary motion, that unblameable exorbitancy in them.
He meanes no good to either Independent or Presbyterian, and yet his parable, like that of Balaam, is overul'd to portend them good, farr beside his intention. Those twins that strove enclos'd in the womb of Rebeccah, were the seed of Abraham; the younger undoubtedly gain'd the heav'nly birthright; the elder, though supplanted in his Similie, shall yet no question find a better portion then Esau found, and farr above his uncircumcis'd Prelats.
He censures, and in censuring seems to hope it will be an ill Omen that they who build Jerusalem divided thir tongues and hands. But his hope fail'd him with his example; for that there were divisions both of tongues and hands at the building of Jerusalem, the Story would have certifi'd him; and yet the work prosper'd; and if God will, so may this, notwithstanding all the craft and malignant wiles of Sanballat and Tobiah, adding what fuell they can to our dissentions; or the indignity of his comparison, that lik'ns us to those seditious Zelots whose intestine fury brought destruction to the last Jerusalem.
It being now no more in his hand to be reveng'd on his opposers, he seeks to satiat his fansie with the imagination of som revenge upon them from above; and like one who in a drowth observes the Skie, he sits and watches when any thing will dropp, that might solace him with the likeness of a punishment from Heavn upon us: which he strait expounds how he pleases. No evil can befall the Parlament or Citty, but he positively interprets it a judgement upon them for his sake; as if the very manuscript of Gods judgements had bin deliverd to his custody and exposition. But his reading declares it well to be a fals copy which he uses; dispensing oft'n to his own bad deeds and successes the testimony of Divine favour, and to the good deeds and successes of other men Divine wrath and vengeance. But to counterfet the hand of God is the boldest of all Forgery: And he, who without warrant but his own fantastic surmise, takes upon him perpetually to unfold the secret and unsearchable Mysteries of high Providence, is likely for the most part to mistake and slander them; and approaches to the madness of those reprobate thoughts, that would wrest the Sword of Justice out of Gods hand, and imploy it more justly in thir own conceit. It was a small thing to contend with the Parlament about the sole power of the Militia, when we see him doing little less then laying hands on the weapons of God himself, which are his judgements, to weild and manage them by the sway and bent of his own fraile cogitations. Therfore they that by Tumults first occasion'd the raising of Armies, in his doome must needs be chast'nd by thir own Army for new Tumults.
First, note heer his confession, that those Tumults were the first occasion of raising Armies, and by consequence that he himself rais'd them first, against those supposed Tumults. But who occasion'd those Tumults, or who made them so, being at first nothing more then the unarmed and peaceable concours of people, hath bin discust already. And that those pretended Tumults were chastiz'd by thir own Army for new Tumults, is not prov'd by a Game at Tictack with words; Tumults and Armies, Armies and Tumults, but seemes more like the method of a Justice irrational then Divine.
If the Citty were chast'nd by the Army for new Tumults, the reason is by himself set down evident and immediat, thir new Tumults. With what sense can it be referrd then to another far-fetchd and imaginary cause, that happ'nd so many years before, and in his supposition only as a cause. Manlius defended the Capitol and the Romans from thir Enemies the Gauls: Manlius for sedition afterward was by the Romans thrown headlong from the Capitol, therfore Manlius was punisht by Divine Justice for defending the Capitol: because in that place punishd for sedition, and by those whom he defended. This is his Logic upon Divine Justice; and was the same before upon the death of Sir John Hotham. And heer again, Such as were content to see him driv'n away by unsuppressed Tumults, are now forc'd to fly to an Army. Was this a judgement? Was it not a mercy rather, that they had a noble and victorious Army so neer at hand to fly to?
From Gods Justice he comes down to Mans Justice. Those few of both Houses who at first withdrew with him from the vain pretence of Tumults, were counted Desertors; therfore those many must be also Desertors, who with-drew afterwards from real Tumults: as if it were the place that made a Parlament, and not the end and cause. Because it is deny'd that those were Tumults from which the King made shew of being driv'n, is it therfore of necessity impli'd, that there could be never any Tumults for the future? If some men fly in craft, may not other men have cause to fly in earnest? But mark the difference between their flight and his; they soon return'd in safety to thir places, he not till after many years, and then a Captive to receive his punishment. So that their flying, whether the cause be consider'd or the event, or both, neither justifi'd him, nor condemn'd themselves.
But he will needs have vengeance to pursue and overtake them; though to bring it in, cost him an inconvenient and obnoxious comparison, As the Mice and Ratts overtook a German Bishop. I would our Mice and Ratts had bin as Orthodoxal heer, and had so pursu'd all his Bishops out of England; then vermin had ridd away vermin, which now hath lost the lives of too many thousand honest men to doe.
He cannot but observe this Divine Justice, yet with sorrow and pitty. But sorrow and pitty in a weak and over-maistered enemy is lookt upon no otherwise then as the ashes of his revenge burnt out upon it self; or as the damp of a coold fury when we say, it gives. But in this manner to sit spelling and observing divine justice upon every accident & slight disturbance that may happ'n humanly to the affaires of men, is but another fragment of his brok'n revenge: & yet the shrewdest & the cunningest obloquy that can be thrown upon thir actions. For if he can perswade men that the Parlament and thir cause is pursu'd with Divine vengeance, he hath attain'd his end, to make all men forsake them, and think the worst that can be thought of them.
Nor is he onely content to suborn Divine Justice in his censure of what is past, but he assumes the person of Christ himself, to prognosticate over us what he wishes would come. So little is any thing or person sacred from him, no not in Heav'n, which he will not use, and put on, if it may serve him plausibly to wreck his spleen, or ease his mind upon the Parlament. Although, if ever fatal blindness did both attend and punish wilfulness, if ever any enjoy'd not comforts, for neglecting counsel belonging to thir peace, it was in none more conspicuously brought to pass then in himself: and his predictions against the Parlament and thir adherents have for the most part bin verify'd upon his own head, and upon his cheif Counselors.
He concludes with high praises of the Army. But praises in an enemy are superfluous, or smell of craft; and the Army shall not need his praises; nor the Parlament fare worse for his accusing prayers that follow. Wherin as his Charity can be no way comparable to that of Christ, so neither can his assurance that they whom he seems to pray for, in doing what they did against him, knew not what they did. It was but arrogance therfore, and not charity, to lay such ignorance to others in the sight of God, till he himself had bin infallible, like him whose peculiar words he overweeningly assumes.
XXVII. Intitl'd to the Prince of Wales.
WHat the King wrote to his son, as a Father, concerns not us; what he wrote to him as King of England, concerns not him; God and the Parlament having now otherwise dispos'd of England. But because I see it don with som artifice and labour, to possess the people that they might amend thir present condition, by his or by his Sons restorement, I shall shew point by point, that although the King had bin reinstall'd to his desire, or that his Son admitted, should observe exactly all his Fathers precepts, yet that this would be so farr from conducing to our happiness, either as a remedy to the present distempers, or a prevention of the like to come, that it would inevitably throw us back again into all our past and fulfill'd miseries; would force us to fight over againe all our tedious Warrs, and put us to another fatal struggling for Libertie and life, more dubious then the former. In which as our success hath bin no other then our cause; so it will be evident to all posteritie, that his misfortunes were the meer consequence of his perverse judgement.
First he argues from the experience of those troubles which both he and his Son have had, to the improvement of thir pietie and patience: and by the way beares witness in his own words, that the corrupt education of his youth, which was but glanc'd at onely in some former passages of this answer, was a thing neither of mean consideration, nor untruly charg'd upon him or his Son: himself confessing heer that Court delights are prone either to root up all true vertue and honour, or to be contented only with some leaves and withering formalities of them, without any reall fruits tending to the public good: Which presents him still in his own words another Rehoboam, soft'n'd by a farr wors Court then Salomons, and so corrupted by flatteries, which he affirmes to be unseparable, to the overturning of all peace, and the loss of his own honour and Kingdoms. That he came therfore thus bredd up and nurtur'd to the Throne, farr wors then Rehoboam, unless he be of those who equaliz'd his Father to King Salomon, we have heer his own confession. And how voluptuously, how idlely raigning in the hands of other men, he either tyranniz'd or trifl'd away those seventeen yeares of peace, without care, or thought, as if to be a King had bin nothing els in his apprehension, but to eat and drink, and have his will, and take his pleasure; though there be who can relate his domestic life to the exactness of a diary, there shall be heer no mention made. This yet we might have then foreseen, that he who spent his leisure so remissly and so corruptly to his own pleasing, would one day or other be wors busied and imployd to our sorrow. And that he acted in good earnest what Rehoboam did but threat'n, to make his little finger heavier then his Fathers loynes, and to whip us with his two twisted Scorpions, both temporal and spiritual Tyranny, all his Kingdoms have felt. What good use he made afterward of his adversitie, both his impenitence and obstinacy to the end, (for he was no Manasseh) and the sequel of these his meditated resolutions, abundantly express; retaining, commending, teaching to his Son all those putrid and pernicious documents both of State and of Religion, instill'd by wicked Doctors, and receav'd by him as in a Vessel nothing better seasond, which were the first occasion both of his own and all our miseries. And if he in the best maturity of his yeares and understanding, made no better use to himself or others of his so long and manifold afflictions, either looking up to God, or looking down upon the reason of his own affaires, there can be no probability that his son, bred up, not in the soft effeminacies of a Court onely, but in the rugged and more boistrous license of undisciplin'd Camps and Garrisons, for yeares unable to reflect with judgement upon his own condition, and thus ill instructed by his Father, should give his mind to walk by any other rules then these, bequeath'd him as on his Fathers death-bed, & as the choisest of all that experience, wch his most serious observation and retirement in good or evil dayes had taught him. David indeed by suffering without just cause, learnt that meekness and that wisdom by adversity, which made him much the fitter man to raigne. But they who suffer as oppressors, Tyrants, violaters of Law, and persecutors of Reformation, without appearance of repenting; if they once get hold againe of that dignity and power which they had lost, are but whetted and inrag'd by what they suffer'd, against those whom they look upon as them that caus'd thir sufferings.
How he hath bin subject to the scepter of Gods word and spirit, though acknowledg'd to be the best Goverment, and what his dispensation of civil power hath bin, with what Justice, and what honour to the public peace, it is but looking back upon the whole catalogue of his deeds, and that will be sufficient to remember us. The cup of Gods physic, as he calls it, what alteration it wrought in him to a firm healthfulness from any surfet, or excess wherof the people generally thought him sick, if any man would goe about to prove, we have his own testimony following heer, that it wrought none at all.
First, he hath the same fix'd opinion and esteem of his old Ephesian Goddess, call'd the Church of England, as he had ever; and charges strictly his Son after him to persevere in that Anti-Papal Scism (for it is not much better,) as that which will be necessary both for his soules, and the Kingdoms Peace. But if this can be any foundation of the kingdoms peace, which was the first cause of our distractions, let common sense be Judge. It is a rule and principle worthy to be known by Christians, that no Scripture, no nor so much as any ancient Creed, bindes our Faith, or our obedience to any Church whatsoever, denominated by a particular name; farr less, if it be distinguisht by a several Goverment from that which is indeed Catholic. No man was ever bidd be subject to the Church of Corinth, Rome, or Asia, but to the Church without addition, as it held faithfull to the rules of Scripture, and the Goverment establisht in all places by the Apostles, which at first was universally the same in all Churches and Congregations; not differing or distinguisht by the diversity of Countries, Territories, or civil bounds. That Church that from the name of a distinct place takes autority to set up a distinct Faith or Goverment, is a Scism and Faction, not a Church. It were an injurie to condemn the Papist of absurdity and contradiction, for adhering to his Catholic Romish Religion, if we, for the pleasure of a King and his politic considerations, shall adhere to a Catholic English.
But suppose the Church of England were as it ought to be, how is it to us the safer by being so nam'd and establisht, when as that very name and establishment, by this contriving, or approbation, serv'd for nothing els but to delude us and amuse us, while the Church of England insensibly was almost chang'd and translated into the Church of Rome. Which as every Man knows in general to be true, so the particular Treaties and Transactions tending to that conclusion, are at large discover'd in a Book intitled the English Pope. But when the people, discerning these abuses, began to call for Reformation, in order to which the Parlament demanded of the King to unestablish that Prelatical Goverment, which without Scripture had usurpt over us, strait, as Pharaoh accus'd of Idleness the Israelites that sought leave to goe and sacrifice to God, he layes faction to thir charge. And that we may not hope to have ever any thing reform'd in the Church either by him or his Son, he forewarnes him, That the Devil of Rebellion doth most commonly turn himself into an Angel of Reformation: and sayes anough to make him hate it, as the worst of Evils, and the bane of his Crown: nay he counsels him to let nothing seem little or despicable to him, so as not speedily and effectually to suppress errors and Scisms. Whereby we may perceave plainly that our consciences were destin'd to the same servitude and persecution, if not wors then before, whether under him, or if it should so happ'n, under his Son; who count all Protestant Churches erroneous and scismatical, which are not episcopal. His next precept is concerning our civil Liberties; which by his sole voice and predominant will must be circumscrib'd, and not permitted to extend a hands bredth furder then his interpretation of the Laws already settl'd. And although all human Laws are but the offspring of that frailty, that fallibility, and imperfection which was in thir Authors, wherby many Laws in the change of ignorant and obscure Ages, may be found both scandalous, and full of greevance to their Posterity that made them, and no Law is furder good, then mutable upon just occasion, yet if the removing of an old Law, or the making of a new would save the Kingdom, we shall not have it unless his arbitrary voice will so far slack'n the stiff curb of his prerogative, as to grant it us; who are as freeborn to make our own laws, as our fathers were who made these we have. Where are then the English Liberties which we boast to have bin left us by our Progenitors? To that he answers, that Our Liberties consist in the enjoyment of the fruits of our industry, and the benefit of those Laws, to which we our selves have consented. First, for the injoyment of those fruits, which our industry and labours have made our own upon our own, what Privilege is that, above what the Turks, Jewes, and Mores enjoy under the Turkish Monarchy, For without that kind of Justice, which is also in Argiers, among Theevs and Pirates between themselvs, no kind of Goverment, no Societie, just or unjust could stand; no combination or conspiracy could stick together. Which he also acknowledges in these words: That if the Crown upon his head be so heavy as to oppress the whole body, the weakness of inferiour members cannot return any thing of strength, honour, or safety to the head; but that a necessary debilitation must follow. So that this Liberty of this Subject concerns himself and the subsistence of his own regal power in the first place, and before the consideration of any right belonging to the Subject. We expect therfore somthing more, that must distinguish free Goverment from slavish. But in stead of that, this King, though ever talking and protesting as smooth as now, sufferd it in his own hearing to be Preacht and pleaded without controule, or check, by them whom he most favourd and upheld, that the Subject had no property of his own Goods, but that all was the Kings right.
Next for the benefit of those Laws, to which we our selves have consented, we never had it under him; for not to speak of Laws ill executed, when the Parlament, and in them the people have consented to divers Laws, and, according to our ancient Rights, demanded them, he took upon him to have a negative will, as the transcendent and ultimat Law above all our Laws; and to rule us forcibly by Laws to which we our selves did not consent, but complain'd of. Thus these two heads wherein the utmost of his allowance heer will give our Liberties leave to consist, the one of them shall be so farr onely made good to us, as may support his own interest and Crown, from ruin or debilitation; and so farr Turkish Vassals enjoy as much liberty under Mahomet and the Grand Signor: the other we neither yet have enjoyd under him, nor were ever like to doe under the Tyranny of a negative voice, which he claimes above the unanimous consent and power of a whole Nation virtually in the Parlament.
In which negative voice to have bin cast by the doom of Warr, and put to death by those who vanquisht him in thir own defence, he reck'ns to himself more then a negative Martyrdom. But Martyrs bear witness to the truth, not to themselves. If I beare witness of myself, saith Christ, my witness is not true. He who writes himself Martyr by his own inscription, is like an ill Painter, who, by writing on the shapeless Picture which he hath drawn, is fain to tell passengers what shape it is; which els no man could imagin: no more then how a Martyrdom can belong to him, who therfore dyes for his Religion, because it is establisht. Certainly if Agrippa had turn'd Christian, as he was once turning, and had put to death Scribes and Pharisees for observing the Law of Moses, and refusing Christianitie, they had di'd a truer Martyrdom. For those Laws were establisht by God and Moses, these by no warrantable authors of Religion, whose Laws in all other best reformed Churches are rejected. And if to die for an establishment of Religion be Martyrdom, then Romish Priests executed for that, which had so many hundred yeares bin establisht in this Land, are no wors Martyrs then he. Lastly, if to die for the testimony of his own conscience, be anough to make him Martyr, what Heretic dying for direct blasphemie, as som have don constantly, may not boast a Martyrdom? As for the constitution or repeale of civil Laws, that power lying onely in the Parlament, which he by the verry law of his coronation was to grant them, not to debarr them, nor to preserve a lesser Law with the contempt and violation of a greater, it will conclude him not so much as in a civil and metaphoricall sense to have di'd a Martyr of our Laws, but a plaine transgressor of them. And should the Parlament, endu'd with Legislative power, make our Laws, and be after to dispute them peece meale with the reason, conscience, humour, passion, fansie, folly, obstinacy, or other ends of one man, whose sole word and will shall baffle and unmake what all the wisdom of a Parlament hath bin deliberately framing; what a ridiculous and contemptible thing a Parlament would soon be, and what a base unworthy Nation we, who boast our freedom, and send them with the manifest peril of thir lives to preserve it, they who are not mark'd by destiny for Slaves may apprehend. In this servil condition to have kept us still under hatches, he both resolves heer to the last, and so instructs his Son.
As to those offerd condescensions of Charitable connivence, or toleration, if we consider what went before, and what follows, they moulder into nothing. For what with not suffering ever so little to seem a despicable scism, without effectual suppression, as he warn'd him before, and what with no opposition of Law, Goverment, or establisht Religion to be permitted, which is his following proviso, and wholly within his own construction, what a miserable and suspected toleration, under Spies and haunting Promooters we should enjoy, is apparent. Besides that it is so farr beneath the honour of a Parlament and free Nation, to begg and supplicat the Godship of one fraile Man, for the bare and simple toleration of what they all consent to be both just, pious, and best pleasing to God, while that which is erroneous, unjust, and mischievous in the church or State, shall by him alone against them all, be kept up and establisht; and they censur'd the while for a covetous, ambitious, & sacrilegious faction.
Another bait to allure the people is the charge he laies upon his Son, to be tender of them. Which if we should beleeve in part, because they are his Heard, his Cattel, the Stock upon his ground, as he accounts them, whom to wast and destroy would undoe himself, yet the inducement which he brings to move him, renders the motion it self somthing suspicious. For if Princes need no Palliations, as he tells his Son, wherfore is it that he himself hath so oft'n us'd them? Princes of all other men, have not more change of Rayment in thir Wardrobes, then variety of Shifts and palliations in thir solemn actings and pretences to the People.
To try next if he can insnare the prime Men of those who have oppos'd him, whom, more truly then his meaning was, he calls the Patrons and Vindicators of the People, he gives out Indemnity, and offers Acts of Oblivion. But they who with a good conscience and upright heart, did thir civil duties in the sight of God, and in thir several places, to resist Tyranny, and the violence of Superstition banded both against them, he may be sure will never seek to be forgiv'n that, which may be justly attributed to thir immortal praise; nor will assent ever to the guilty blotting out of those actions before men, by which thir Faith assures them they chiefly stand approv'd, and are had in remembrance before the throne of God.
He exhorts his son not to study revenge. But how far he, or at least they about him, intend to follow that exhortation, was seen lately at the Hague, & now lateliest at Madrid: where to execute in the basest manner, though but the smallest part of that savage & barbarous revenge which they doe no thing els but study & contemplate, they car'd not to let the world know them for profess'd Traitors & assassinaters of all Law both Divine and human, eev'n of that last and most extensive Law kept inviolable to public persons among all fair enemies in the midst of uttermost defiance and hostility. How implacable therfore they would be, after any termes of closure or admittance for the future, or any like opportunity giv'n them heerafter, it will be wisdom and our safety to beleeve rather and prevent, then to make triall. And it will concerne the multitude, though courted heer, to take heed how they seek to hide or colour thir own fickleness and instability with a bad repentance of thir well-doing, and thir fidelity to the better cause; to which at first so cherfully and conscientiously they joyn'd themselves.
He returnes againe to extoll the Church of England, and againe requires his Son by the joynt autority of a Father and a King, not to let his heart receive the least check, or disaffection against it. And not without cause, for by that meanes, having sole influence upon the Clergy, and they upon the people, after long search and many disputes, he could not possibly find a more compendious and politic way to uphold and settle Tyranny, then by subduing first the Consciences of Vulgar men, with the insensible poyson of thir slavish Doctrin: for then the bodie and besotted mind without much Reluctancy was likeliest to admitt the Yoke.
He commends also Parlaments held with freedome and with Honour. But I would ask how that can bee, while he onely must be the sole free Person in that number; and would have the power with his accountable denyall, to dishonour them by rejecting all thir counsels, to confine thir Law-giving power, which is the Foundation of our freedom, and to change at his pleasure the very name of a Parlament into the name of a Faction.
The conclusion therfore must needs be quite contrary to what he concludes; that nothing can be more unhappy, more dishonourable, more unsafe for all, then when a wise, grave & honourable Parlament shal have labourd, debated, argu'd, consulted, and, as he himself speakes, contributed for the public good all thir Counsels in common, to be then frustrated, disappointed, deny'd and repuls'd by the single whiffe of a negative, from the mouth of one wilfull man; nay, to be blasted, to be struck as mute and motionless as a Parlament of Tapestrie in the Hangings; or els after all thir paines and travell to be dissolv'd, and cast away like so many Naughts in Arithmetick, unless it be to turne the O of thir insignificance into a lamentation with the people, who had so vainly sent them. For this is not to enact all things by public consent, as he would have us be perswaded, this is to enact nothing but by the privat consent and leave of one not negative tyrant; this is mischeif without remedy, a stifleing and obstructing evil that hath no vent, no outlet, no passage through: Grant him this, and the Parlament hath no more freedom then if it sat in his Noose, which when he pleases to draw together with one twitch of his Negative, shall throttle a whole Nation, to the wish of Caligula in one neck. This with the power of the Militia in his own hands over our bodies and estates, and the Prelats to enthrall our consciences either by fraud or force, is the sum of that happiness and liberty we were to look for, whether in his own restitution, or in these precepts giv'n to his son. Which unavoidably would have set us in the same state of miserie, wherin we were before; and have either compell'd us to submitt like bond slaves, or put us back to a second wandring over that horrid Wilderness of distraction and civil slaughter, which, not without the strong and miraculous hand of God assisting us, we have measur'd out, and surviv'd. And who knows, if we make so slight of this incomparable deliverance, which God hath bestowd upon us, but that we shall like those foolish Israelites, who depos'd God and Samuel to set up a King, Cry out one day because of our King, which we have bin mad upon; and then God, as he foretold them, will no more deliver us.
There remaines now but little more of his discours, wherof to take a short view will not be amiss. His words make semblance as if he were magnanimously exercising himself, and so teaching his Son, To want as well as to weare a Crown; and would seem to account it not worth taking up or enjoying upon sordid, dishonourable, and irreligious termes; and yet to his very last did nothing more industriously, then strive to take up and enjoy againe his sequesterd Crown, upon the most sordid, disloyall, dishonourable, and irreligious termes, not of making peace onely, but of joyning and incorporating with the murdrous Irish, formerly by himself declar'd against, for wicked and detestable Rebells, odious to God and all good Men. And who but those Rebels now, are the chief strength and confidence of his Son? while the Presbyter Scot that wooes and solicits him, is neglected and put off, as if no termes were to him sordid, irreligious, and dishonourable, but the Scotish and Presbyterian, never to be comply'd with, till the feare of instant perishing starve him out at length to some unsound and hypocriticall agreement.
He bids his Son Keep to the true principles of piety, vertue, and honour, and he shall never want a Kingdom. And I say, people of England, keep ye to those principles, and ye shall never want a King. Nay, after such a faire deliverance as this, with so much fortitude and valour shown against a Tyrant, that people that should seek a King, claiming what this Man claimes, would shew themselves to be by nature slaves, and arrant beasts; not fitt for that liberty which they cri'd out and bellow'd for, but fitter to be led back again into thir old servitude, like a sort of clamouring & fighting brutes, broke loos from thir copyholds, that know not how to use or possess the liberty which they fought for; but with the faire words & promises of an old exasperated foe, are ready to be stroak'd & tam'd again, into the wonted and well pleasing state of thir true Norman villenage, to them best agreeable.
The last sentence, wheron he seems to venture the whole waight of all his former reasons and argumentations, That Religion to thir God, and loyalty to thir King cannot be parted, without the sin and infelicity of a People, is contrary to the plaine teaching of Christ, that No man can serve two Masters, but, if he hold to the one, he must reject and forsake the other. If God then and earthly Kings be for the most part not several onely, but opposite Maisters, it will as oft happ'n, that they who will serve thir King must forsake thir God; and they who will serve God must forsake thir King; which then will neither be thir sin, nor thir infelicity; but thir wisdom, thir piety, and thir true happiness; as to be deluded by these unsound and suttle ostentations heer, would be thir misery; and in all likelyhood much greater then what they hitherto have undergon: if now againe intoxicated and moap'd with these royal, and therfore so delicious because royal rudiments of bondage, the Cup of deception, spic'd and temperd to thir bane, they should deliver up themselves to these glozing words and illusions of him, whose rage and utmost violence they have sustain'd, and overcomm so nobly.
XXVIII. Intitl'd Meditations upon Death.
IT might be well thought by him who reads no furder then the Title of this last Essay, that it requir'd no answer. For all other human things are disputed, and will be variously thought of to the Worlds end. But this business of death is a plaine case, and admitts no controversie: In that center all Opinions meet. Nevertheless, since out of those few mortifying howrs that should have bin intirest to themselves, and most at peace from all passion and disquiet, he can afford spare time to enveigh bitterly against that Justice which was don upon him; it will be needfull to say somthing in defence of those proceedings; though breifly, in regard so much on this Subject hath been Writt'n lately.
It happn'd once, as we find in Esdras and Josephus, Authors not less beleiv'd then any under sacred, to be a great and solemn debate in the Court of Darius, what thing was to be counted strongest of all other. He that could resolve this, in reward of his excelling wisdom, should be clad in Purple, drink in Gold, sleep on a Bed of Gold, and sitt next Darius. None but they doubtless who were reputed wise, had the Question propounded to them. Who after som respit giv'n them by the King to consider, in full Assembly of all his Lords and gravest Counselors, returnd severally what they thought. The first held that Wine was strongest, another that the King was strongest. But Zorobabel Prince of the Captive Jewes, and Heire to the Crown of Judah, being one of them, proov'd Women to be stronger then the King, for that he himself had seen a Concubin take his Crown from off his head to set it upon her own: And others besides him have lately seen the like Feat don, and not in jest. Yet he proov'd on, and it was so yeilded by the King himself, & all his sages, that neither Wine nor Women, nor the King, but Truth, of all other things was the strongest. For me, though neither ask'd, nor in a Nation that gives such rewards to wisdom, I shall pronounce my sentence somwhat different from Zorobabel, and shall defend, that either Truth and Justice are all one, for Truth is but Justice in our knowledge, and Justice is but Truth in our practice, and he indeed so explaines himself, in saying that with Truth is no accepting of Persons, which is the property of Justice; or els if there be any odds, that Justice, though not stronger then truth, yet by her office is to put forth and exhibit more strength in the affaires of mankind. For Truth is properly no more then Contemplation; and her utmost efficiency is but teaching: but Justice in her very essence is all strength and activity; and hath a Sword put into her hand, to use against all violence and oppression on the earth. Shee it is most truely, who accepts no Person, and exempts none from the severity of her stroke. Shee never suffers injury to prevaile, but when falshood first prevailes over Truth; and that also is a kind of Justice don on them who are so deluded. Though wicked Kings and Tyrants counterfet her Sword, as som did that Buckler, fabl'd to fall from Heav'n into the Capitol, yet shee communicates her power to none but such as like her self are just, or at least will do Justice. For it were extreme partialitie and injustice, the flat denyall and overthrow of her self, to put her own authentic Sword into the hand of an unjust and wicked Man, or so farr to accept and exalt one mortal person above his equals, that he alone shall have the punishing of all other men transgressing, and not receive like punishment from men, when he himself shall be found the highest transgressor.
We may conclude therfore that Justice, above all other things, is and ought to be the strongest: Shee is the strength, the Kingdom, the power, and majestie of all Ages. Truth herself would subscribe to this, though Darius and all the Monarchs of the World should deny. And if by sentence thus writt'n it were my happiness to set free the minds of English men from longing to returne poorly under that Captivity of Kings, from which the strength and supreme Sword of Justice hath deliverd them, I shall have don a work not much inferior to that of Zorobabel: who by well praising and extolling the force of Truth, in that contemplative strength conquer'd Darius; and freed his Countrey and the people of God from the Captivity of Babylon. Which I shall yet not despaire to doe, if they in this Land, whose minds are yet Captive, be but as ingenuous to acknowledge the strength and supremacie of Justice, as that heathen King was, to confess the strength of truth: or let them but as he did, grant that, and they will soon perceave that Truth resignes all her outward strength to Justice: Justice therfore must needs be strongest, both in her own and in the strength of Truth. But if a King may doe among men whatsoever is his will and pleasure, and notwithstanding be unaccountable to men, then contrary to this magnifi'd wisdom of Zorobabel, neither Truth nor Justice, but the King is strongest of all other things: which that Persian Monarch himself in the midst of all his pride and glory durst not assume.
Let us see therfore what this King hath to affirm, why the sentence of Justice, and the weight of that Sword, which shee delivers into the hands of men, should be more partial to him offending, then to all others of human race. First, he pleades that No Law of God or Man gives to Subjects any power of judicature without or against him. Which assertion shall be prov'd in every part to be most untrue. The first express Law of God giv'n to mankind was that to Noah, as a Law in general to all the Sons of men. And by that most ancient and universal Law, whosoever sheddeth mans blood, by man shall his blood be shed; we find heer no exception. If a King therfore doe this, to a King, and that by men also, the same shall be don. This in the Law of Moses, which came next, several times is repeated, and in one place remarkably, Numb. 35. Ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, but he shall surely be put to death: the Land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shedd therein, but by the blood of him that shed it. This is so spok'n as that which concern'd all Israel, not one man alone to see perform'd; and if no satisfaction were to be tak'n, then certainly no exception. Nay the King, when they should set up any, was to observe the whole Law, and not onely to see it don, but to do it; that his heart might not be lifted up above his Brethren; to dreame of vain and reasonless prerogatives or exemptions, wherby the Law itself must needs be founded in unrighteousness.
And were that true, which is most fals, that all Kings are the Lords Anointed, it were yet absurd to think that the Anointment of God, should be as it were a charme against Law; and give them privilege who punish others, to sin themselves unpunishably. The high Priest was the Lords anointed as well as any King, and with the same consecrated oil: yet Salomon had put to death Abiathar, had it not bin for other respects then that anointment. If God himself say to Kings, Touch not mine anointed, meaning his chos'n people, as is evident in that Psalme, yet no man will argue thence, that he protects them from Civil Laws if they offend, then certainly, though David as a privat man, and in his own cause, feard to lift his hand against the Lords Anointed, much less can this forbidd the Law, or disarm justice from having legal power against any King. No other supreme Magistrate in what kind of Goverment soever laies claim to any such enormous Privilege; wherfore then should any King, who is but one kind of Magistrat, and set over the people for no other end then they?
Next in order of time to the Laws of Moses, are those of Christ, who declares professedly his judicature to be spiritual, abstract from Civil managements, and therfore leaves all Nations to thir own particular Lawes, and way of Goverment. Yet because the Church hath a kind of Jurisdiction within her own bounds, and that also, though in process of time much corrupted and plainly turn'd into a corporal judicature, yet much approv'd by this King, it will be firm anough and valid against him, if subjects, by the Laws of Church also, be invested with a power of judicature both without and against thir King, though pretending, and by them acknowledg'd next and immediatly under Christ supreme head and Governour. Theodosius one of the best Christian Emperours having made a slaughter of the Thessalonians for sedition, but too cruelly, was excommunicated to his face by Saint Ambrose, who was his subject; and excommunion is the utmost of Ecclesiastical Judicature, a spiritual putting to death. But this, yee will say, was onely an example. Read then the Story; and it will appeare, both that Ambrose avouch'd it for the Law of God, and Theodosius confess'd it of his own accord to be so; and that the Law of God was not to be made voyd in him, for any reverence to his Imperial power. From hence, not to be tedious, I shall pass into our own Land of Britain; and shew that Subjects heer have exercis'd the utmost of spirituall Judicature, and more then spirituall against thir Kings, his Predecessors. Vortiger for committing incest with his daughter was by Saint German, at that time his subject, cursd and condemnd in a Brittish Counsel about the yeare 448; and thereupon soon after was depos'd. Mauricus a King in Wales, for breach of Oath and the murder of Cynetus was excommunicated, and curst with all his offspring, by Oudoceus Bishop of Landaff in full Synod, about the yeare 560; and not restor'd, till he had repented. Morcant another King in Wales having slain Frioc his Uncle, was faine to come in Person and receave judgement from the same Bishop and his Clergie; who upon his penitence acquitted him, for no other cause then lest the Kingdom should be destitute of a Successour in the Royal Line. These examples are of the Primitive, Brittish, and Episcopal Church; long ere they had any commerce or communion with the Church of Rome. What power afterwards of deposing Kings, and so consequently of putting them to death, was assum'd and practis'd by the Canon Law, I omitt, as a thing generally known. Certainly, if whole Councels of the Romish Church have in the midst of thir dimness discern'd so much of Truth, as to decree at Constance, and at Basil, and many of them to avouch at Trent also, that a Councel is above the Pope, and may judge him, though by them not deni'd to be the Vicar of Christ, we in our clearer light may be asham'd not to discern furder, that a Parlament is by all equity, and right, above a King, and may judge him, whose reasons and pretensions to hold of God onely, as his immediat Vicegerent, we know how farr fetcht they are, and insufficient.
As for the Laws of man, it would ask a Volume to repeat all that might be cited in this point against him from all Antiquity. In Greece, Orestes the Son of Agamemnon, and by succession King of Argos, was in that Countrey judg'd and condemn'd to death for killing his Mother: whence escaping, he was judg'd againe, though a Stranger, before the great Counsel of Areopagus in Athens. And this memorable act of Judicature, was the first that brought the Justice of that grave Senat into fame and high estimation over all Greece for many ages after. And in the same Citty, Tyrants were to undergoe Legal sentence by the Laws of Solon. The Kings of Sparta, though descended lineally from Hercules esteem'd a God among them, were oft'n judg'd, and somtimes put to death by the most just and renowned Laws of Lycurgus; who, though a King, thought it most unequal to bind his Subjects by any Law, to which he bound not himself. In Rome the Laws made by Valerius Publicola soon after the expelling of Tarquin and his race, expell'd without a writt'n Law, the Law beeing afterward writt'n, and what the Senat decreed against Nero, that he should be judg'd and punish'd according to the Laws of thir Ancestors, and what in like manner was decreed against other Emperours, is vulgarly known; as it was known to those heathen, and found just by nature ere any Law mention'd it. And that the Christian Civil Law warrants like power of Judicature to Subjects against Tyrants, is writt'n clearly by the best and famousest Civilians. For if it was decreed by Theodosius, and stands yet firme in the Code of Justinian, that the Law is above the Emperour, then certainly the Emperour being under Law, the Law may judge him; and if judge him, may punish him proving tyrannous: how els is the Law above him, or to what purpose. These are necessary deductions; and therafter hath bin don in all Ages and Kingdoms, oftner then to be heer recited.
But what need we any furder search after the Law of other Lands, for that which is so fully and so plainly set down lawfull in our own. Where ancient books tell us, Bracton, Fleta, and others, that the King is under Law, and inferiour to his Court of Parlament; that although his place to doe Justice be highest, yet that he stands as liable to receave Justice as the meanest of his Kingdom. Nay, Alfred the most worthy King, and by som accounted first absolute Monarch of the Saxons heer, so ordain'd: as is cited out of an ancient Law Book call'd the Mirror, in Rights of the Kingdom, p. 31. where it is complain'd on, As the sovran abuse of all, that the King should be deem'd above the Law, whereas he ought to be subject to it by his Oath: Of which Oath anciently it was the last clause, that the King should be as liable, and obedient to suffer right, as others of his people. And indeed it were but fond and senseless, that the King should be accountable to every petty suit in lesser Courts, as we all know he was, and not be Subject to the Judicature of Parlament in the main matters of our common safety or destruction; that he should be answerable in the ordinary cours of Law for any wrong don to a privat Person, and not answerable in Court of Parlament for destroying the whole Kingdom. By all this, and much more that might be added as in an Argument overcopious rather then barren, we see it manifest that all Laws both of God and Man are made without exemption of any person whomsoever; and that if Kings presume to overtopp the Law by which they raigne for the public good, they are by Law to be reduc'd into order: and that can no way be more justly, then by those who exalted them to that high place. For who should better understand thir own Laws, and when they are transgrest, then they who are govern'd by them, and whose consent first made them: And who can have more right to take knowledge of things don within a free Nation, then they within themselves?
Those objected Oaths of Allegeance and Supremacy we swore, not to his Person, but as it was invested with his Autority; and his autority was by the People first giv'n him conditionally, in Law and under Law, and under Oath also for the Kingdoms good, and not otherwise: the Oathes then were interchang'd, and mutual; stood and fell together; he swore fidelity to his trust; (not as a deluding ceremony, but as a real condition of thir admitting him for King; and the Conqueror himself swore it ofter then at his Crowning) they swore Homage, and Fealty to his Person in that trust. There was no reason why the Kingdom should be furder bound by Oaths to him, then he by his Coronation Oath to us, which he hath every way brok'n; and having brok'n, the ancient Crown-Oath of Alfred above mention'd conceales not his penalty.
As for the Covnant, if that be meant, certainly no discreet Person can imagin it should bind us to him in any stricter sense then those Oaths formerly. The acts of Hostility which we receav'd from him, were no such dear obligements that we should ow him more fealty and defence for being our Enemy, then we could before when we took him onely for a King. They were accus'd by him and his Party to pretend Liberty and Reformation, but to have no other end then to make themselves great, and to destroy the Kings Person and autority. For which reason they added that third Article, testifying to the World, that as they were resolv'd to endeavor first a Reformation in the Church, to extirpat Prelacy, to preserve the Rights of Parlament, and the Liberties of the Kingdom, so they intended, so farr as it might consist with the preservation and defence of these, to preserve the Kings Person and Autority; but not otherwise. As farr as this comes to, they Covnant and Swear in the sixth Article to preserve and defend the persons and autority of one another, and all those that enter into that League; so that this Covnant gives no unlimitable exemption to the Kings Person, but gives to all as much defence and preservation as to him, and to him as much as to thir own Persons, and no more; that is to say, in order and subordination to those maine ends for which we live and are a Nation of men joynd in society either Christian or at least human. But if the Covnant were made absolute, to preserve and defend any one whomsoever, without respect had, either to the true Religion, or those other Superiour things to be defended and preserv'd however, it cannot then be doubted, but that the Covnant was rather a most foolish, hasty, and unlawfull Vow, then a deliberate and well-waighd Covnant; swearing us into labyrinths and repugnances, no way to be solv'd or reconcil'd, and therfore no way to be kept: as first offending against the Law of God, to Vow the absolute preservation, defence, and maintaining of one Man, though in his sins and offences never so great and hainous against God or his Neighbour; and to except a Person from Justice, wheras his Law excepts none. Secondly, it offends against the Law of this Nation, wherin, as hath bin prov'd, Kings in receiving Justice, & undergoing due tryal, are not differenc'd from the meanest Subject. Lastly, it contradicts and offends against the Covnant itself, which Vows in the fourth Article to bring to op'n trial and condign punishment all those that shall be found guilty of such crimes and Delinquencies, wherof the King by his own Letters and other undeniable testimonies not brought to light till afterward, was found and convicted to be cheif actor, in what they thought him at the time of taking that Covnant, to be overrul'd onely by evil Counselers. And those, or whomsoever they should discover to be principal, they vow'd to try, either by thir own supreme Judicatories, for so eev'n then they call'd them, or by others having power from them to that effect. So that to have brought the King to condign punishment hath not broke the Covnant, but it would have broke the Covnant to have sav'd him from those Judicatories, which both Nations declar'd in that Covnant to be Supreme against any person whatsoever. And besides all this, to sweare in covnant the bringing of his evil counselers and accomplices to condign punishment, and not onely to leave unpunisht and untoucht the grand offender, but to receive him back againe from the accomplishment of so many violences and mischeifs, dipt from head to foot and staind over with the blood of thousands that were his faithfull subjects, forc'd to thir own defence against a civil Warr by him first rais'd upon them, and to receive him thus, in this goarie pickle, to all his dignities and honours, covering the ignominious and horrid purple-robe of innocent blood that sate so close about him, with the glorious purple of Royaltie and Supreme Rule, the reward of highest excellence and vertue here on earth; were not onely to sweare and covnant the performance of an unjust Vow, the strangest and most impious to the face of God, but were the most unwise and unprudential act as to civil goverment. For so long as a King shall find by experience that doe the worst he can, his Subjects, overaw'd by the Religion of thir own Covnant, will only prosecute his evil instruments, not dare to touch his Person, and that whatever hath bin on his part offended or transgress'd, he shall come off at last with the same reverence to his Person, and the same honour as for well doing, he will not faile to finde them worke; seeking farr and neere, and inviting to his Court all the concours of evil counselers or agents that may be found: who tempted with preferments and his promise to uphold them, will hazard easily thir own heads, and the chance of ten to one but they shall prevaile at last, over men so quell'd and fitted to be slaves by the fals conceit of a Religious Covnant? And they in that Superstition neither wholly yeilding, nor to the utmost resisting, at the upshot of all thir foolish Warr and expence, will finde to have don no more but fetchd a compass only of thir miseries, ending at the same point of slavery, and in the same distractions wherin they first begun. But when Kings themselves are made as liable to punishment as thir evil counselers, it will be both as dangerous from the King himself as from his Parlament, to those that evil counsel him: and they who else would be his readiest Agents in evil, will then not feare to disswade or to disobey him, not onely in respect of themselves and thir own lives, which for his sake they would not seem to value but in respect of that danger which the King himself may incurr, whom they would seem to love and serve with greatest fidelitie. On all these grounds therfore of the covnant it self, whether religious or political, it appeares likeliest, that both the English Parlament and the Scotch Commissioners thus interpreting the Covnant (as indeed at that time they were the best and most authentical interpreters joyn'd together) answerd the King unanimously, in thir Letters dated Jan. 13th 1645. that till securitie and satisfaction first giv'n to both Kingdoms for the blood spilt, for the Irish Rebels brought over, and for the Warr in Ireland by him fomented, they could in no wise yeild thir consent to his returne. Here was satisfaction, full two yeares and upward after the Covnant tak'n, demanded of the King by both Nations in Parlament for crimes at least Capital, wherwith they charg'd him. And what satisfaction could be giv'n for so much blood, but Justice upon him that spilt it? Till which don, they neither took themselves bound to grant him the exercise of his regal Office by any meaning of the Covnant which they then declar'd (though other meanings have bin since contriv'd) nor so much regarded the safety of his person, as to admitt of his return among them from the midst of those whom they declar'd to be his greatest enemies; nay, from himself as from an actual enemy, not as from a king, they demanded security. But if the covnant all this notwithstanding swore otherwise to preserv him that in the preservation of true religion & our liberties, against which he fought, if not in armes, yet in resolution to his dying day, and now after death still fights against in this his book, the covnant was better brok'n, then he sav'd. And god hath testifi'd by all propitious, & the most evident signes, whereby in these latter times he is wont to testifie what pleases him; that such a solemn and for many Ages unexampl'd act of due punishment, was no mockery of Justice, but a most gratefull and well-pleasing Sacrifice. Neither was it to cover their perjury as he accuses, but to uncover his perjury to the Oath of his Coronation.
The rest of his discours quite forgets the Title; and turns his meditations upon death into obloquie and bitter vehemence against his Judges and accusers; imitating therin, not our Saviour, but his Grand-mother Mary Queen of Scots, as also in the most of his other scruples, exceptions, and evasions; and from whom he seems to have learnt, as it were by heart, or els by kind, that which is thought by his admirers to be the most vertuous, most manly, most Christian, and most Martyr-like both of his words and speeches heer, and of his answers and behaviour at his Tryall.
It is a sad fate, he saith, to have his Enemies both accusers, Parties, and Judges. Sad indeed, but no sufficient Plea to acquitt him from being so judg'd. For what Malefactor might not somtimes plead the like? If his own crimes have made all men his Enemies, who els can judge him? They of the Powder-plot against his Father might as well have pleaded the same. Nay at the Resurrection it may as well be pleaded, that the Saints who then shall judge the World, are both Enemies, Judges, Parties, and Accusers.
So much he thinks to abound in his own defence, that he undertakes an unmeasurable task; to bespeak the singular care and protection of God over all Kings, as being the greatest Patrons of Law, Justice, Order, and Religion on Earth. But what Patrons they be, God in the Scripture oft anough hath expresst; and the earth it self hath too long groan'd under the burd'n of thir injustice, disorder, and irreligion. Therfore To bind thir Kings in Chaines, and thir Nobles with links of Iron, is an honour belonging to his Saints; not to build Babel (which was Nimrods work the first King, and the beginning of his Kingdom was Babel) but to destroy it, especially that spiritual Babel: and first to overcome those European Kings, which receive thir power, not from God, but from the beast; and are counted no better then his ten hornes. These shall hate the great Whore, and yet shall give thir Kingdoms to the Beast that carries her; they shall commit Fornication with her, and yet shall burn her with fire, and yet shall lament the fall of Babylon, where they fornicated with her. Rev. 17. & 18.chapt.
Thus shall they be too and fro, doubtfull and ambiguous in all thir doings, untill at last, joyning thir Armies with the Beast, whose power first rais'd them, they shall perish with him by the King of Kings against whom they have rebell'd; and the Foules shall eat thir flesh. This is thir doom writt'n, Rev. 19. and the utmost that we find concerning them in these latter days; which we have much more cause to beleeve, then his unwarranted Revelation here, prophecying what shall follow after his death, with the spirit of Enmity, not of Saint John.
He would fain bring us out of conceit with the good success which God hath voutsaf'd us. Wee measure not our Cause by our success, but our success by our cause. Yet certainly in a good Cause success is a good confirmation; for God hath promis'd it to good men almost in every leafe of Scripture. If it argue not for us, we are sure it argues not against us; but as much or more for us, then ill success argues for them; for to the wicked, God hath denounc'd ill success in all they take in hand.
He hopes much of those softer tempers, as he calls them, and less advantag'd by his ruin, that thir consciences doe already gripe them. Tis true, there be a sort of moodie, hot-brain'd, and alwayes unedify'd consciences; apt to engage thir Leaders into great and dangerous affaires past retirement, and then, upon a sudden qualm and swimming of thir conscience, to betray them basely in the midst of what was cheifly undertak'n for their sakes. Let such men never meet with any faithfull Parlament to hazzard for them; never with any noble spirit to conduct and lead them out, but let them live and die in servil condition and thir scrupulous queasiness, if no instruction will confirme them. Others there be in whose consciences the loss of gaine, and those advantages they hop'd for, hath sprung a sudden leake. These are they that cry out the Covnant brok'n, and to keep it better slide back into neutrality, or joyn actually with Incendiaries and Malignants. But God hath eminently begun to punish those, first in Scotland, then in Ulster, who have provok'd him with the most hatefull kind of mockery, to break his Covnant under pretence of strictest keeping it; and hath subjected them to those Malignants, with whom they scrupl'd not to be associats. In God therfore we shall not feare what thir fals fraternity can doe against us.
He seeks againe with cunning words to turn our success into our sin. But might call to mind, that the Scripture speakes of those also, who when God slew them, then sought him; yet did but flatter him with thir mouth, and ly'd to him with thir tongues; for thir heart was not right with him. And there was one, who in the time of his affliction trespass'd more against God; This was that King Ahaz.
He glories much in the forgivness of his Enemies; so did his Grandmother at her death. Wise men would sooner have beleev'd him had he not so oft'n told us so. But he hopes to erect the Trophies of his charity over us. And Trophies of Charity no doubt will be as glorious as Trumpets before the almes of Hypocrites; and more especially the Trophies of such an aspiring charitie as offers in his Prayer to share Victory with Gods compassion, which is over all his works. Such Prayers as these may happly catch the People, as was intended: but how they please God, is to be much doubted, though pray'd in secret, much less writt'n to be divulg'd. Which perhaps may gaine him after death a short, contemptible, and soon fading reward; not what he aims at, to stir the constancie and solid firmness of any wise Man, or to unsettle the conscience of any knowing Christian, if he could ever aime at a thing so hopeless, and above the genius of his Cleric elocution, but to catch the worthless approbation of an inconstant, irrational, and Image-doting rabble; that like a credulous and hapless herd, begott'n to servility, and inchanted with these popular institutes of Tyranny, subscrib'd with a new device of the Kings Picture at his praiers, hold out both thir eares with such delight and ravishment to be stigmatiz'd and board through in witness of thir own voluntary and beloved baseness. The rest, whom perhaps ignorance without malice, or some error, less then fatal, hath for the time misledd, on this side Sorcery or obduration, may find the grace and good guidance to bethink themselves and recover.