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BRIEF NOTES

UPON
A LATE SERMON

TITLED,

THE FEAR OF GOD AND THE KING;

PREACHED AND SINCE PUBLISHED
BY MATTHEW GRIFFITH, D.D.,

AND CHAPLAIN TO THE LATE KING.
WHEREIN MANY NOTORIOUS WRESTINGS OF SCRIPTURE, AND

OTHER FALSITIES, ARE OBSERVED.

[FIRST PUBLISHED IN 1660.]

I AFFIRMED in the Preface of a late discourse, intitled, “ The ready Way to establish a Free Commonwealth, and the Dangers of readmitting Kingship in this Nation, that the humour of returning to our old bondage was instilled of late by some deceivers, and to make good, that what I then affirmed was not without just ground, one of those deceivers I present here to the people : and if I prove him not such, refuse not to be so accounted in his stead.

He begins in his epistle to the general,* and moves cunningly for a licence to be admitted physician both to church and state; then sets out his practice in physical terms, “a wholesome electuary, to be taken every morning next our hearts;" tells of the opposition which he met with from the college of state physicians, then lays before you his drugs and ingredients : “Strong purgatives in the pulpit, contempered of the myrrh of mortification, the aloes of confession and contrition, the rhubarb of restitution and satisfaction ;" a pretty fantastic dose of divinity from a pulpit mountebank, not unlike the fox, that, turning pedlar, opened his pack of ware before the kid ; though he now would seem, “to personate the good Samaritan,” undertaking to “ describe the rise and progress of our national malady, and to prescribe the only remedy ;" which how he performs, we shall quickly see.

First, he would suborn St. Luke as his spokesman to the eneral, presuming, it seems, “ to have had as perfect under

* Monk.

standing of things from the very first,” as the evangelist had of his Gospel; that the general, who hath so eminently borne his part in the whole action, "might know the certainty of those things” better from him, a partial sequestered enemy; for so he presently appears, though covertly, and like the tempter, commencing his address with an impudent calumny and affront to his excellence, that he would be pleased “ to carry on what he had so happily begun in the name and cause," not of God only, which we doubt not, but " of his anointed,” meaning the late king's son; to charge him most audaciously and falsely with the renouncing of his own public promises and declarations, both to the parliament and the army: and we trust his actions ere long will deter such insinuating slanderers from thus approaching him for the future. But the general may well excuse him; for the comforter himself scapes not his presumption, avouched as falsely, to have empowered to those designs “ him and him only,” who hath solemnly declared the contrary. What fanatic, against whom he so often inveighs, could more presumptuously affirm whom the comforter hath empowered, than this anti-fanatic, as he would be thought?

THE TEXT. Prov. xxiv. 21, My son, fear God and the king, and meddle not with them that be seditious, or desirous of change, g'c.

Letting pass matters not in controversy, I come to the main drift of your sermon, the king; which word here is either to signify any supreme magistrate, or else your latter object, of fear, is not universal, belongs not at all to many parts of Christendom, that have no king; and in particular. not to us. That we have no king since the putting down of kingship in this commonwealth, is manifest by this last parliament, who, to the time of their dissolving, not only made no address at all to any king, but summoned this next to come by the writ formerly appointed of a free commonwealth, with: out restitution or the least mention of any kingly right or power; which could not be, if there were at present any king of England. The main part therefore of your sermon, if it mean a king in the usual sense, is either impertinent and absurd, exhorting your auditory to fear that which is not; or if

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king here be, as it is understood, for any supreme magistrate, by your own exhortation, they are, in the first place, not to meddle with you, as being yourself most of all the “ seditious” meant here, and the “ desirous of change,” in stirring them up to “ fear a king," whom the present government takes no notice of.

You begin with a vain vision, “God and the king at the first blush" (which will not be your last blush) “ seeming to stand in your text like those two cherubims on the mercyseat, looking on each other.” By this similitude, your conceited sanctuary, worse than the altar of Ahaz, patterned from Damascus, degrades God to a cherub, and raises your king to be his collateral in place, notwithstanding the other differences you put; which well agrees with the court-letters, lately published, from this lord to the other lord, that cry him up for no less than angelical and celestial.

Your first observation, page 8, is, “ That God and the king are coupled in the text, and what the Holy Ghost hath thus firmly combined, we may not, we must not dare to put asunder ;” and yourself is the first man who puts them asunder by the first proof of your doctrine immediately following, Judg. vii. 20, which couples the sword of the Lord and Gideon, a man who not only was no king, but refused to be a king or monarch, when it was offered him, in the very next chapter, ver. 22, 23: “I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you ; the Lord shall rule over you.” Here we see, that this worthy heroic deliverer of his country thought it best governed, if the Lord governed it in that form of a free commonwealth, which they then enjoyed, without a single person. And thus is your first scripture abused, and most impertinently cited, nay, against yourself, to prove, that “ kings at their coronation have a sword given them,” which you interpret " the militia, the power of life and death put into their hands," against the declared judgment of our parliaments, nay, of all our laws, which reserve to themselves only the power of life and death, and render you in their just resentment of this boldness another Dr. Manwaring.

Your next proof is as false and frivolous. “The king,” say you,“ is God's sword-bearer;" true, but not the king only: for Gideon, by whom you seek to prove this, neither was nor would be a king; and, as you yourself confess, page 40,

“ There be divers forms of government.” “ He bears not the sword in vain," Rom. xiii. 4: This also is as true of any lawful rulers, especially supreme; so that "rulers,” ver. 3, and therefore this present goverument, without whose authority you excite the people to a king, bear the sword as well as kings, and as little in vain. "They fight against God who resist his ordinance, and go about to wrest the sword out of the hands of his anointed.” This is likewise granted: but who is his anointed ? Not every king, but they only who were anointed or made kings by his special command; as Saul, David, and his race, which ended in the Messiah, (from whom no kings at this day can derive their title,) Jehu, Cyrus, and if any other were by name appointed by him to some particular service. As for the rest of kings, all other supreme magistrates are as much the Lord's anointed as thiey; and our obedience commanded equally to them all : “ For there is no power but of God,” Rom. xiii. 1: and we are exhorted in the Gospel to obey kings, as other magistrates, not that they are called anywhere the Lord's anointed, but as they are the “ ordinance of man," 1 Pet. ii. 13. You therefore, and other such false doctors, preaching kings to your auditory, as the Lord's only anointed, to withdraw people from the present government, by your own text are self-condemned, and not to be followed, not to be “ meddled with,” but to be noted, as most of all others the “ seditious and desirous of change.” · Your third proof is no less against yourself: Psal. cv. 15, “Touch not mine anointed.” For this is not spoken in behalf of kings, but spoken to reprove kings, that they should not touch his anointed saints and servants, the seed of Abraham, as the verse next before might have taught you : “He reproved kings for their sakes, saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm ;” according to that, 2 Cor. i. 21, “He who hath anointed us, is God.” But how well you confirm one wrested scripture with another ! 1 Sam. vii. 7, “ They have not rejected thee, but me: " grossly misapplying these words, which were not spoken to any who had a resisted or rejected” a king, but to them who, much against the will of God, had sought a king, and rejected a commonwealth, wherein they might have lived happily under the reign of God only, their king. Let the

words interpret themselves; ver. 6, 7,“ But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us; and Samuel prayed unto the Lord. And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee; for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.” Hence you conclude, “So indissoluble is the conjunction of God and the king.” O notorious abuse of scripture! whenas you should have concluded, So unwilling was God to give them a king, so wide was the disjunction of God from a king. Is this the doctrine you boast of, to be “ so clear in itself, and like a mathematical principle, that needs no further demonstration?” Bad logic, bad mathematics, (for principles can have no demonstration at all,) but worse divinity. O people of an implicit faith, no better than Romish, if these be thy prime teachers, who to their credulous audience dare thus juggle with scripture, to allege those places for the proof of their doctrine, which are the plain refutation! And this is all the scripture which he brings to confirm his point.

The rest of his preachment is mere groundless chat, save here and there a few grains of corn scattered to entice the silly fowl into his net, interlaced here and there with some human reading, though slight, and not without geographical and historical mistakes : as page 29, Suevia, the German dukedom, for Suecia, the northern kingdom: Philip of Macedon, who is generally understood of the great Alexander's father only, made contemporary, page 31, with T. Quintus. the Roman commander, instead of T. Quintius, and the latter Philip: and page 44, Tully cited in his third oration against Verres," to say of him," that he was a wicked consul,” who never was a consul: nor“ Trojan sedition ever portrayed” by that verse of Virgil, which you cite page 47, as that of Troy : schoolboys could have told you, that there is nothing of Troy in that whole portraiture, as you call it, of sedition. These gross mistakes may justly bring in doubt your other loose citations, and that you take them up some where at the second or third hand, rashly, and without due considering.

Nor are you happier in the relating or the moralizing your fable.“ The frogs" (BEING ONCE A FREE NATION, saith the fable) “ petitioned Jupiter for a king : h tumbled

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