« PreviousContinue »
against the parliament. For that the protestants were then on the winning hand, it must needs be plain; who, notwithstanding the miss of those forces, which at their landing here mastered without difficulty great part of Wales and Cheshire, yet made a shift to keep their own in Ireland. But the plot of this Irish truce is in good part discovered in that declaration of September 30, 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 parliament? How were so many handfuls called over, as for a while stood him in no small stead, and against our main forces here in England ?
Since therefore all the reasons that can be given of this cessation appear so false and frivolous, it may be justly feared, that the design itself was most wicked and pernicious. What remains then? He“ appeals to God,” and is cast; likening his punishment to Job's trials, before he saw them to have Job's ending. But how could charity herself believe there was at all in him any religion, so much as but to fear there is a God; whenas, by what is noted in the declaration of “No more addresses,” he vowed solemnly to the parliament, with imprecations upon himself and his posterity, if ever he consented to the abolishing of those laws which were in force against papists; and, at the same time, as appeared plainly by the
very date of his own letters to the queen and Ormond, consented to the abolishing of all penal laws against them both in Ireland and England ? If these were acts of a religious prince, what memory of man, written or unwritten, can tell us news 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 course of his actions, augments the difficulty
But he usurps a common saying, “ That it is kingly to do well, and hear ill.” That may be sometimes true; but far more frequently to do ill and hear well; so great is the multitude of flatterers, and them that deify the name of king! Yet not content with these neighbours, we have him still a perpetual preacher of his own virtues, and of that especially which who knows not to be patience perforce ? He“ believes
it will at last appear, that they who first began to embroil his other kingdoms, are also guilty of the blood of Ireland.” And we believe so too; for now the cessation is become a peace by published 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 done as a public person. wonder; for he looked upon the blood spilt, whether of subjects or of rebels, with an indifferent eye, as exhausted out of his own veins;" without distinguishing, as he ought, which was good blood and which corrupt; the not letting out whereof endangers the whole body.
And what the doctrine is, ye may perceive also by the prayer, which, after a short ejaculation for the “poor protestants,” prays at large for the Irish rebels, that God would not give them over, or “ their children, to the covetousness, cruelty, fierce and cursed anger” of the parliament. He finishes with a deliberate and solemn curse upon
himself and his father's house.” Which how far God hath already brought to pass, is to the end, that men, by so eminent an example, should learn to tremble at his judgments, and not play with imprecations.
CHAPTER XIII. Upon the calling in of the Scols, and their coming. It must needs seem strange, where men accustom themselves to ponder and contemplate things in their first original and institution, that kings, who as all other officers of the public, were at first chosen and installed only by consent and suffrage of the people, to govern them as freemen by laws of their own making, and to be, in consideration of that dignity and riches bestowed upon them, the entrusted servants of the commonwealth, should, notwithstanding, grow up to that dishonest encroachment, as to esteem themselves masters, both of that great trust which they serve, and of the people that betrusted them; counting what they ought to do, hosh in discharge of their public duty, and for the great reward of honour and revenue which they receive, as done all of mere grace and favour; as if their power over us were by nature, and from themselves, or that God had sold us into their hands.
Indeed, if the race of kings were eminently the best of men, as the breed at Tutbury is of horses, it would in reason then be their part only to command, ours always to obey. kings by generation no way excelling others, and most commonly not being the wisest or the worthiest by far of whom they claim to have the governing; that we should yield them subjection to our own ruin, or hold of them the right of our common safety, and our natural freedom by mere gift, (as when the conduit pisses wine at coronations,) from the superfluity of their 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, than so to nullify and tread to dirt the rest of mankind, by exalting one person and his lineage without other merit looked after, but the more contingency of a begetting, into an absolute and unaccountable dominion over them and their posterity.
Yet this ignorant or wilful mistake of the whole matter had taken 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 passed, he calls them, as in other places, acts of grace and bounty; so here “special obligations, favours, to gratify active spirits, and the desires of that party.” Words not only sounding pride and lordly usurpation, but injustice, partiality, and corruption. For to the Irish he so far condescended, as first to tolerate in private, then to covenant openly the tolerating of popery: so far to the Scot, as to remove bishops, establish presbytery, and the militia in their 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 frightened with a kind of false virginity, that to the English neither one nor other of the same demands could be granted, wherewith the Scots were gratified; as if our air and climate on a sudden had changed the property and the nature both of conscience, honour, and reason, or that he found none so fit as the English to be the subjects of his arbitrary power. Ireland was as Ephraim, the strength of his head; Scotland Es Judah was his lawgiver; but over England, as over Edom, he meant to cast his shoe: and yet so many sober Englishmen, not sufficiently awake to consider this, like men enchanted with the Circæan cup of servitude, will not be held back from running their own heads into the yoke of bondage.
The sum of his discourse is against " settling of religion by violent means;" which, whether it were the Scots' design upon England, they are best able to clear themselves. But this of ali may seem strangest, that the king, who, while it was permitted him, never did thing more eagerly than to molest and persecute the consciences of most religious men; he who had made a war, and lost all, rather than not uphold a hierarchy of persecuting bishops, should have the confidence here to profess himself so much an enemy of those that force the conscience. For was it not he, who upon the English obtruded new ceremonies, upon the Scots a new Liturgy, and with his sword went about to engrave a bloody rubric on their backs? Did he not forbid and hïnder all effectual search of truth; nay, like a besieging enemy, stopped all her passages both by word and writing ? Yet he can talk of “'fair and equal disputations:" where, notwithstanding, if all submit not to his judgment, as not being “rationally convicted," they must submit (and he conceals it not) to his penalty, as counted obstinate. But what if he himself, and those his learned churchmen, were the convicted or the obstinate part long ago; should reformation suffer them to sit lording over the church in their fat bishoprics and pluralities, like the great whore that sitteth upon many waters; till they would vouchsafe to be disputed out? Or should we sit disputing, while they sit plotting and persecuting? Those clergymen were not to be driven into the fold like sheep,” as his simile runs, but to be driven out of the fold like wolves or thieves, where they sat fleecing those flocks which they never fed.
He believes “ that presbytery, though proved to be the only institution of Jesus Christ, were not by the sword to be set up without his consent ;” which is contrary both to the doctrine and the known practice of all protestant churches, if his sword threaten those who of their own accord embrace it. And although Christ and his apostles, being to civil affairs but private men, contended not with magistrates; yet when magistrates themselves, and especially parliaments, who
have greatest right to dispose of the civil sword, come to know religion, they ought in conscience to defend all those who receive it willingly, against the violence of any king or tyrant whatsoever. Neither is it therefore true," that Christianity is planted or watered with Christian blood;" for there is a large difference between forcing men by the sword to turn presbyterians, and defending those who willingly are so from a furious inroad of bloody bishops, armed with the militia of a king, their 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 than “ covetousness and ambition.” And those sects, schisms, and heresies, which he speaks of, “ if they get but strength and numbers," need no other patiern than episcopacy and himself, to " set up their ways by the like method of violence.”
Nor is there anything that hath more marks of schism and sectarism than English episcopacy; whether we look at apostolic times, or at reformed churches; for “ the universal way of church-government before," may as soon lead us into gross error, as their universally corrupted doctrine. And government, 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 schismatical. 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 schisin, as with much rigour, and without scripture, they took upon them. Yet these the king resolves here to defend and maintain to his last, pretending, after all those conferences offered, or had with him, “not to see more rational and religious motives than soldiers carry in their knapsacks.” With one thus resolved, it was but folly to stand disputing.
He imagines his “ own judicious zeal to be most concerned in his tuition of the church.” So thought Saul when he presumed to offer sacrifice, for which he list his kingdom; so thought Uzziah when he went into the temple, but was thrust out with a leprosy for his opinioned zeal, which he thought