Page images
PDF
EPUB

ever ftriking at the root. He alleges, They should have had regard to the laws in force, to the wifdom and piety of former parliaments, to the ancient and univerfal practice of chriftian churches." As if they who come with full authority to redrefs public grievances, which ofttimes are laws themfelves, were to have their hands bound by laws in force, or the fuppofition of more piety and wisdom in their ancestors, or the practice of churches heretofore; whofe fathers, notwithstanding all these pretences, made as vaft alterations to free themfelves from ancient popery. For all antiquity that adds or varies from the fcripture, is no more warranted to our fafe imitation, than what was done the age before at Trent, Nor was there need to have despaired of what could be eftablished in lieu of what was to be annulled, having before his eyes the government of fo many churches beyond the feas; whofe pregnant and folid reasons wrought fo with the parliament, as to defire a uniformity rather with all other proteftants, than to be a fchifm divided from them under a conclave of thirty bishops, and a crew of irreligious priests that gaped for the fame prefer

ment.

[ocr errors]

And whereas he blames thofe propofitions for not containing what they ought, what did they mention, but to vindicate and reftore the rights of parliament invaded by cabin councils, the courts of juftice obftructed, and the government of the church innovated and corrupted? All these things he might eafily have obferved in them, which he affirms he could not find; but found "thofe demanding" in parliament, who were "looked upon before as factious in the ftate, and fchifmatical in the church; and demanding not only toleration for themfelves in their vanity, novelty, and confufion, but also an extirpation of that government, whofe rights they had a mind to invade," Was this man ever likely to be advifed, who with fuch a prejudice and difesteem fets himself against his chofen and appointed counsellors? likely ever to admit of reformation, who cenfures all the government of other proteftant churches, as bad as any papift could have cenfured them? And what king had ever his whole kingdom in fuch contempt, fo to wrong and

and dishonour the free elections of his people, as to judge them, whom the nation thought worthieft to fit with him in parliament, few elfe but fuch as were "punishable by the laws?" yet knowing that time was, when to be a proteftant, to be a chriftian, was by law as punishable as to be a traitor; and that our Saviour himself, coming to reform his church, was accufed of an intent to invade Cæfar's right, as good a right as the prelate bishops ever had; the one being got by force, the other by fpiritual ufurpation; and both by force upheld.

He admires and falls into an extafy, that the parliament fhould fend him fuch a "horrid propofition," as the removal of epifcopacy. But expect from him in an extafy no other reafons of his admiration than the dream and tautology of what he hath fo often repeated, law, antiquity, ancestors, profperity, and the like, which will be therefore not worth a fecond anfwer, but may pafs with his own comparison into the common fewer of other popish arguments.

"Had the two houfes fued out their livery from the wardship of tumults," he could fooner have believed them. It concerned them first to fue out their livery from the unjuft wardthip of his encroaching prerogative. And had he alfo redeemed his overdated minority from a pupilage under bifhops, he would much lefs have miftrusted his parliament; and never would have fet fo base. a character upon them, as to count them no better than the vaffals of certain namelefs men, whom he charges to be fuch as "hunt after faction with their hounds the tumults." And yet the bithops could have told him, that Nimrod, the first that hunted after faction, is reputed by ancient tradition the first that founded monarchy; whence it appears, that to hunt after faction is more properly the king's game; and thofe hounds, which he calls the vulgar, have been often hallooed to from court, of whom the mongrel fort have been enticed; the rest have not loft their fcent, but understood aright, that the parliament had that part to act, which he had failed in ; that truft to discharge, which he had broken; that estate and honour to preferve, which was far beyond his, the

eftate

eftate and honour of the commonwealth, which he had embezzled.

Yet fo far doth felf-opinion or falfe principles delude and transport him, as to think "the concurrence of his reafon" to the votes of parliament, not only political, but natural," and as neceffary to the begetting," or bringing forth of any one "complete act of public wif dom as the fun's influence is neceffary to all nature's productions." So that the parliament, it feems, 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 parliament not natural, but by conjunction with the king: yet he profeffes to hold his kingly right by law; and if no law could be made but by the great council of a nation, which we now term at parliament, then certainly it was a parliament that first created kings; and not only made laws before a king was in being, but thofe laws especially whereby he holds his crown. He ought then to have fo thought of a parliament, 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 been anciently interpreted the prefaging fign of a future tyrant, but to dream of copulation with his mother, what can it be lefs than actual tyranny to affirm waking, that the parliament, which is his mother, can neither conceive or bring forth" any authoritative act" without his masculine coition? Nay, that his reafon is as celeftial and life-giving to the parliament, as the fun's influence is to the earth: what other notions but thefe, or fuch like, could fwell up Caligula to think himfelf a God?

But to be rid of thefe mortifying propofitions, he leaves no tyrannical evafion uneffayed; firft, "that they are not the joint and free defires of both houses, or the major part;" next, "that the choice of many members was carried on by faction." The former of thefe is already difcovered to be an old device put firft in practice by Charles the Fifth, fince the reformation: who when the proteftants of Germany for their own defence joined themselves in league, in his declarations and remonftrances

ftrances laid the fault only upon fome few (for it was dangerous to take notice of too many enemies) and accused them, that under colour of religion they had a purpose to invade his and the church's right; by which policy he deceived many of the German cities, and kept them divided from that league, until they faw themselves brought into a fnare. That other cavil against the people's choice puts us in mind rather what the court was wont to do, and how to tamper with elections: neither was there at that time any faction more potent, or more likely to do fuch a bufinefs, than they themselves who complain moft.

66

But he muft chew fuch morfels as propofitions, ere he let them down." So let him; but if the kingdom fhall taste nothing but after his chewing, what does he make of the kingdom but a great baby? "The ftraitness of his confcience will not give him leave to fwallow down fuch camels of facrilege and injuftice as others do." This is the pharifee up and down, "I am not as other men are." But what camels of injuftice he could devour, all his three realms were witnefs, which was the caufe that they almost perifhed for want of parliaments. And he that will be unjuft to man, will be facrilegious to God; and to bereave a chriftian confcience of liberty for no other reason than the narrowness of his own confcience, is the most unjust measure to man, and the worft facrilege to God. That other, which he calls facrilege, of taking from the clergy that fuperfluous wealth, which antiquity as old as Conftantine, from the credit of a divine vifion, counted "poifon in the church," hath been ever most opposed by men, whofe righteoufnefs in other matters hath been leaft obferved. He concludes, as his manner is, with high commendation of his own "unbiaffed rectitude," and believes nothing to be in them that diffent. from him, but faction, innovation, and particular defigns. Of these repetitions I find no end, no not in his prayer; which being founded upon deceitful principles, and a fond hope that God will bless him in thofe his errours, which he calls "honeft," finds a fit anfwer of St. James, "Ye afk and receive not, because ye afk amifs." As for the truth and fincerity, which he prays may be always found

found in thofe his declarations to the people, the contrariety of his own actions will bear eternal witness, how little careful or folicitous he was, what he promised or what he uttered there.

XII. Upon the Rebellion in Ireland.

THE rebellion and horrid maffacre of English protestants in Ireland, to the number of 154000 in the province of Ulfter only, by their own computation; which added to the other three, makes up the total fum of that flaughter in all likelihood four times as great; although so sudden and fo violent, as at first to amaze all men that were not acceffary; yet from whom, and from what counfels it firft fprung, neither was, nor could be poffibly fo fecret, as the contrivers thereof, blinded with vain hope, or the despair that other plots would fucceed, fuppofed. For it cannot be imaginable, that the Irish, guided by fo many fubtle and Italian heads of the Romish party, fhould fo far have lost the use of reason, and indeed of common fenfe, as not fupported with other strength than their own, to begin a war fo defperate and irreconcilable against both England and Scotland at once. All other nations, from whom they could expect aid, were bufied to the utmost in their own moft neceffary concernments. It remains then that either fome authority, or fome great affiftance promised them from England, was that whereon they chiefly trufted. And as it is not difficult to difcern from what inducing cause this infurrection firft arofe, fo neither was it hard at firft to have applied fome effectual remedy, though not prevention. And yet prevention was not hopeless, when Strafford either believed not, or did not care to believe the several warnings and discoveries thereof, which more than once by papifts and by friars themselves were brought him; befides what was brought by depofition, divers months before that rebellion, to the archbishop of Canterbury and others of the king's council; as the declaration of "no addreffes" declares. But the affurance which they had in private, that no remedy should be ap

« PreviousContinue »