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kings, and by the apostles in the congregation, and by the ancient Christians for above three hundred years before liturgies came in, were with the people made in vain.
After he hath acknowledged that kings heretofore prayed without chaplains, even publicly in the temple itself, and that every“ private believer is invested with a royal priesthood;" yet like one that relished not what he "tasted of the heavenly 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, more prevalent, they flow from minds more enlightened, from affections less distracted.” Admit this true, which is not, this might be something said as to their prayers for him, but what avails it to their praying with him? If his own mind “ be encumbered with secular affairs,” what helps it his particular prayer, though the mind of his chaplain be not wandering, either after new preferment, or his dinner? The fervency
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 man's abilities. Let him endeavour to have more light in himself, and not to walk by another man's lamp, but to get oil into his own. Let him casť from him, as in a Christian warfare, that secular encumbrance, which either distracts or overloads him; his load else will never be the less heavy, because another man's is light. Thus these pious flourishes and colours, examined thoroughly, 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 turn into cinders. In his
prayer he remembers what“ voices of joy and gladness " there were in his chapel,“ God's house,” in his opinion, between the singing men and the organs; and this was “unity
* Commonly denominated the “apples of Sodom.” What those apples were I have endeavoured to explain in my “ Travels in the Valley of the Nile;" where, describing the voyage upward from Dandoor, I observe, in speaking of the Asheyr,—“ Nothing can be more beautiful than the fruit of this tree : in size greatly exceeding an orange, and of a soft green colour, tinged on the sunny side with a ruddy blush, covered with a hoary down, and a bloom resembling that of the peach, it hangs, tempting the eye, among the pale foliage. Yet frequently, while all its external loveliness remains, it is found, when broken, to contain nothing but dust and ashes.”-ED.
of spirit in the bond of peace;" the vanity, superstition, and misdevotion of which place was a scandal far and near : wherein so many things were sung and prayed in those songs, which were not understood ; and yet he who makes a difficulty how the people can join their hearts to extemporal prayers, though distinctly heard and understood, makes no question how they should join their hearts in unity to songs not understood.
I believe that God is no more moved with a prayer elaborately penned, than men truly charitable are moved with the penned speech of a beggar. Finally, O ye ministers, ye pluralists, whose lips preserve not knowledge, but the way ever open to your bellies, read here what work he makes among your wares, your gallipots, your balms and cordials, in print; and not only your sweet sippets in widows' houses, but the huge gobbets wherewith be charges you to have devoured houses and all; the “houses of your brethren, your king, and your God.” Cry him up for a saint in your pulpits, while
down for atheists into hell.
CHAPTER XXV. Upon his Penitential Meditations and Vows at Holmby.
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, only from above. He borrows here many penitential verses out of David's psalms. 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 psalms also like his: and yet the prophet Amos complains 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 borrowed, but their own, and yet, by the doom of scripture itself, are judged reprobates.
“ Cain said unto the Lord: My iniquity is greater than I can bear: behold thou hast driven 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 cried with an exceeding bitter cry and said, Bless me, even me
also, O my father; yet found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears." (Heb. xii.)
“ And Pharaoh said to Moses, The Lord is righteous, I and my people are wicked; I have sinned 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 sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord; yet honour me now,
pray thee, before the elders of my people.” “And when Ahab heard the words of Elijah, he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly."
“ Jehoram also rent his clothes, and the people looked, and behold he had sackcloth upon his flesh;" yet in the very act of his humiliation he could say, 66 God do
so, also to me, if the head of Elisha shall stand on him this day.”
“ Therefore, saith the Lord, They have not cried unto me with their heart, when they howled upon their beds. They
, return, but not to the Most High.” (Hosea vii.)
“ And Judas said, I have sinned, in that I have betrayed innocent blood.”
“ And Simon Magus said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things come upon me.”
All these took the pains both to confess and to repent in their own words, and many of them in their own tears, not in David's. But transported with the vain ostentation of imitating David's language, not his life,* observe how he brings a curse upon himself and his father's house (God so disposing it) by his usurped and ill-imitated prayer : "Let thy anger, I beseech thee, be against me and my father's house; as for
* Gibbon, in his account of Andronicus Comnenus, describes that con. summate tyrant as most adroitly imitating the style of St. Paul, but making no attempt to imitate his life. Our own tyrant must certainly have been an adept in all the subtle arts of autocracy, since he not only imposed upon his contemporaries, but has obtained from posterity, in a protestant country, the honours of a popish saint and martyr. But in this transaction our countrymen somewhat resemble the crocodile-worshippers of Egypt, who, when their god grew large, and threatened to become dangerous, killed, and then adored him. Numbers of gods that had undergone this pious kind of martyrdom, are, in fact, still found closely and carefully packed up in the caverns of the Saïd. (Egypt and Mohammed Ali, ii. 174.)-ED.
these sheep, what have they done?" For if David indeed sinned in numbering the people, of which fault he in earnest made that confession, and 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 soul and conscience here acquits the parliament and the people, or else abuses the words of David, and dissembles grossly to the very face of God; which is apparent in the next line; wherein he accuses even the church itself to God, as if she were the church's enemy, for having overcome his tyranny by the powerful and miraculous might of God's manifest arm: 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 solicit and mature his own destruction, from the hastened sentence of divine justice, than the obdurate curses which proceeded against himself out of his own mouth.
Hitherto his meditations, now his vows; which, as the vows of hypocrites nse to be, are most commonly absurd, and some wicked. Jacob vowed that God should be his God, if he granted him but what was necessary to perform that vow, life and subsistence : but the obedience proffered here is nothing so cheap. He, who took so heinously to be offered nineteen propositions from the parliament, capitulates here with God almost in as many articles.
“ If he will continue that light,” or rather that darkness of the gospel, which is among his prelates, settle their luxuries, and make them gorgeous bishops;
If he will “ restore” the grievances and mischiefs of those obsolete and popish laws, which the parliament without his consent had abrogated, and will suffer justice to be executed according to his sense ; “ If he will suppress
schisms in church,” to contradict himself in that which he had foretold must and shall come to pass, and will remove reformation as the greatest schism of all, and factions in state, by which he means in every leaf, the parliament;
If he will “ restore him” to his negative voice and the militia, as much as to say, to arbitrary power, which he wrongfully avers to be the "right of his predecessors ;"
" If he will turn the hearts of his people” to their old
cathedral and parochial service in the liturgy, and their 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 parliament into his hands, from the most natural and due protection of the people that entrusted them with the dangerous enterprise of being faithful to their 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 parliament, and enacting what they advise him to: which in all reason, and by the known law, and oath of his coronation, he ought to do, and not to call that sacrilege, which necessity, through the continuance of his own civil war, hath compelled him to; necessity, which made David eat the shewbread, made Ezekiah take all the silver which was found in God's house, and cut off the gold which overlaid those doors and pillars, and gave it to Sennacherib; necessity, which ofttimes made the primitive church to sell her sacred atensils, even to the communion-chalice;
“ If he will restore him to a capacity of glorifying him by
* Prince Rupert's insolent behaviour to Newcastle on the eve of the battle of Marston Moor, and the total want of foresight and ability on that celebrated field, expose him to our contempt. Alluding to the treacherous advance upon Brentford during treaty with the parliament, Warburton observes :-" He seems to have done it for no other reason than to break off the treaty. He was a soldier of fortune, and loved the service, and his whole conduct was conformable to that character. In a word, the king was ruined by his ministers in peace, and by his officers in war. But he who certainly most contributed to the ill-success of his arms was Prince Rupert ; and this was one of the most mischievous as well as burbarous of his exploits. In this affair, if the king's sole purpose was to disengage Prince Rupert's horse on Hounslow Heath, why did he advance to Hounslow (a mistake for Brentford) with his foot, and force the barricades of the town, defended by the parliament's foot ? I doubt he was not so clear in his purpose as his historian represents him.” (History, &c. vii. 564.) Clarendon, who has always something civil to say of a tyrant, or a tyrant's instruments, calls Rupert and Newcastle “ two great generals;" upon which Warburton remarks: -“ These two great generals ought both to have been hanged, and where any discipline or law prevailed would have been so." (Notes on Clarendon's History, vii. 597.)-ED.