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which they pretend to see, though with senses never so vitiated.
To judge of “his condition conquered," 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 oftener drunk, than by their good-will sober, and very many of them so fought and so died. And that the conscience of any man should grow suspicious, or be now convicted by any pretensions in the parliament, which are now proved false 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 their being established, but to establish them by their being good and necessary.
He tells the world " he often prayed, that all on his side might be as faithful to God and their own souls, as to him.” But kings, above all other men, have in their hands not to pray only, but to do. To make that prayer effectual, he should have governed as well as prayed. To pray and not to govern, is for a monk, and not a king. Till then he might be well assured, they were more faithful to their lust and rapine than to him. In the wonted predication of his own virtues he goes on to tell us,
conquer he never desired, but only to restore the laws and liberties of his people.” It had been happy then he had known at last, that by force to restore laws abrogated by the legislative parliament, is to conquer absolutely both thein and law itself. And for our liberties none ever oppressed them more, both in peace and war: first, like a master by his arbitrary power; next, as an enemy by hostile invasion.
And if his best friends feared him," and "he himself, in the temptation of an absolute conquest," it was not only pious but friendly in the parliament, both to fear him and resist him; since their not yielding was the only means to keep him out of that temptation wherein he doubted his his own strength. He takes himself to be “guilty in this war of nothing else, but of confirming the power of some
* “ The king's best friends,” says Bishop Warburton, “dreaded his ending the war by conquest, as knowing his despotic disposition.” (Notes to Clarendon, vii. 563.)-ED.
Thus all along he signifies the parliament, whom to have settled by an act he counts to be his only guiltiness. So well he knew that to continue a parliament, was to raise a war against himself; what were his actions then, and his government the while? For never was it heard in all our story, that parliaments made war on their kings, but on their tyrants; whose modesty and gratitude was more wanting to the parliament than theirs to any such kings.
What he yielded was his fear; what he denied was his obstinacy. Had he yielded more, fear might perchance have saved him; had he granted 'less, his obstinacy had perhaps the sooner delivered us. “ To review the occasions of this war,” will be to them never too late, who would be warned by his example from the like evils: but to wish only a happy conclusion, will never expiate the fault of his unhappy beginnings. It is true, on our side the sins of our lives not seldom fought against us: but on their side, besides those, the grand sin of their cause. How can it be otherwise, when he desires here most unreasonably, and indeed sacrilegiously, that we should be subject to him, though not further, yet as far as all of us may be subject to God; to whom this expression leaves no precedency? He who desires from men as much obedience and subjection as we may all pay to God, desires not less than to be a God: a sacrilege far worse than meddling with the bishops' lands, as he esteems it. His prayer is a good prayer and a glorious; but glorying is
; not good, if it know not that a little leaven leavens the whole lump. It should have purged out the leaven of untruth, in telling God that the blood of his subjects by him shed was in his just and necessary defence. Yet this is remarkable; God hath here so ordered his prayer, that as his own lips acquitted the parliament, not long before his death, of all the blood spilt in this war, so now his prayer unwittingly draws it upon himself. For God imputes not to any man the blood he spills in a just cause; and no man ever begged his not imputing of that, which he in his justice could not impute: so that now, whether purposely or unaware, he hath confessed both to God and man the blood-guiltiness of all this war to lie upon his own head.
CHAPTER XX. Upon the Reformation of the Times. This chapter cannot punctually be answered without more repetitions than now can be excusable; which perhaps have already been more humoured than was needful. As it presents us with nothing new, so with his exceptions against reformation pitifully old, and tattered with continual using; not only 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 bugbears, novelty and perturbation; that the ill looks and noise of those two may as long as possible drive off all endeavours of a reformation. 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 Latimer's sermons, our papists here in England pleaded the same dangers and inconveniences against that which was reformed by Edward VI. Whereas if those fears had been available, Christianity itself had never been received: which Christ foretold us would not be admitted, without the censure of novelty, and many great commotions. These grants therefore are not to
He grants reformation to be “a good work, and confesses " what the indulgence of times and corruption of manners might have depraved.” So did the forementioned pope, and our grandsire papists in this realm. Yet all of them agree in one song with this here, that " they are sorry to see so little regard had to laws established, and the religion settled.”
“ Popular compliance, dissolution of all order and government in the church, schisms, opinions, undecencies, confusions, sacrilegious invasions, contempt of the clergy and their liturgy, diminution of princes;” all these complaints are to be read in the messages and speeches almost of every legate from the pope to those states and cities which began reformation.
From whence he either learned the same pretences, or had them naturally in him from the same spirit. Neither was there ever so sincere a reformation that hath escaped these clamours.
He offered a “synod or convocation rightly chosen." So offered all those popish kings heretofore; a course 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 therefore by Nazianzen, and some other of the fathers. And let it be produced, what good hath been done by synods from the first times of reformation. Not to justify what enormities the vulgar may commit in the rudeness of their zeal, we need but only instance how he bemoans “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 perceived.
What he charges in defect of “piety, charity, and morality," hath been also charged by papists upon the best reformed churches; not as if they the accusers were not tenfold more to be accused, but out of their malignity to all endeavour of amendment; as we know who accused to God the sincerity of Job; an accusation of all others the most easy, whenas there lives not any mortal man so excellent, who in these things is not always deficient. But the infirmities of the best men, and the scandals of mixed hypocrites in all times of reforming, whose bold intrusion covets to be ever seen in things most sacred, as they are most specious, can lay no just blemish upon the integrity of others, much less
of reformation itself. Neither can the evil doings of some 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 kind of persons public reformers ought to be, and what they ought to do. It is strange that in above twenty years, the church growing still worse and worse under him, he could neither be as he bids others be, nor do as he pretends here so well to know; nay, which is worst of all, after the greatest part of his reign spent in neither knowing nor doing aught toward a reformation either in church or state, should spend the residue in hindering those by a seven years' war, whom it concerned, with his consent or without it, to do their parts in that great performance.
It is true that the method of reforming" may well subsist without “ perturbation of the state ;" but that it falls out other
wise for the most part, is the plain text of scripture. And if by his own rule he had allowed us to “ fear God first,” and the king in due order, our allegiance might have still followed our religion in a fit subordination. But if Christ's kingdom be taken for the true discipline of the church, and by “his kingilom” be meant the violence he used against it, and to uphold an antichristian hierarchy, then sure enough it is, that Christ's kingdom could not be set up without pulling down his: and they were best Christians who were least subject to him. “Christ's government,” out of question meaning it prelatical, he 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 church's good.” The pope and the king of Spain profess everywhere as much ; and both by his practice and all his reasonings, all his enmity against the true church we see hath been the same with theirs, since the time that in his letter to the pope he assured them both of his full compliance. “But evil beginnings never bring forth good conclusions :" they are his own words, and he ratified them by his own ending. To the pope he engaged himself to hazard life and estate for the Roman religion, whether in compliment he did it, or in earnest; and God, who stood nearer than he for complimenting minded, wrote down those words; that according to his resolution, so it should come to pass. He prays against “his hypocrisy and pharisaical washings,” a prayer to him most pertinent; but chokes it straight with other words, which pray him deeper into his old errors and delusions.
Upon his Letters taken and divulged. The king's letters taken at the battle 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 parliament. They discovered his good affection to papists and Irish rebels, the strict intelligence he held, the pernicious and dishonourable peace he made with them, not solicited, but rather soliciting,