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among them a log: they found it insensible; they petitioned then for a king that should be active: he sent them a crane,” (a STORK, saith the fable, “ which straight fell to pecking thein up.” This you apply to the reproof of them who desire change: whereas indeed the true moral shews rather the folly of those who being free seek a king; which for the most part either as a log lies heavy on his subjects, without doing aught worthy of his dignity and the charge to maintain him, or, as a stork, is ever pecking them up, and devouring them.
But “by our fundamental laws, the king is the highest power,” page 40. If we must hear mooting and law lectures from the pulpit, what shame is it for a doctor of divinity not first to consider, that no law can be fundamental, but that which is grounded on the light of nature or right reason, commonly called moral law: which no form of government was ever counted, but arbitrary, and at all times in the choice of every free people, or their representers! This choice of government is so essential to their freedom, that longer than they have it, they are not free. In this land not only the late king and his posterity, but kingship itself, hath been abrogated by a law; which involves with as good reason the posterity of a king forfeited to the people, as that law hcretofore of treason against the king attainted the children with the father. This law against both king and kingship they who most question, do not less question all enacted without the king and his antiparliament at Oxford, though called mongrel by himself. If no law must be held good but what passes in full parliament, then surely in exactness of legality no member must be missing : for look how many are missing, so many counties or cities that sent them want their representers. But if, being once chosen, they serve for the whole nation, then any number, which is sufficient, is full, and most of all in times of discord, necessity, and danger. The king himself was bound by the old mode of parliaments, not to be absent, but in case of sickness, or some extraordinary occasion, and then to leave his substitute; much less might any member be allowed to absent himself. If the king then and many of the members with him, without leaving any in his stead, forsook the parliament upon a mere panic fear, as
was that time judged by most men, and to levy war against them that sat, should they who were left sitting, break up, or not dare enact aught of nearest and presentest concernment to public safety, for the punctilio wanting of a full number, which no law-book in such extraordinary cases hath determined ? Certainly if it were lawful for them to fly from their charge upon pretence of private safety, it was much more lawful for these to set and act in their trust what was necessary for the public. By a law therefore of parliament, and of a parliament that conquered both Ireland, Scotland, and all their enemies in England, defended their friends, were generally acknowledged for a parliament both at home and abroad, kingship was abolished: this law now of late hath been negatively repealed; yet kingship not positively restored, and I suppose never was established by any certain law in this land, nor possibly could be: for how could our forefathers bind us to any certain form of government, more than we can bind our posterity? If a people be put to war with their king for his misgovernment, and overcome him, the power is then undoubtedly in their own hands how they will be governed. The war was granted just by the king himself at the beginning of his last treaty; and still maintained to be so by this last parliament, as appears by the qualification prescribed to the members of this next ensuing, that none shall be elected who have borne arms against the parliament since 1641. If the war were just, the conquest was also just by the law of nations. And he who was the chief enemy, in all right ceased to be the king, especially after captivity, by the deciding verdict of war; and royalty with all her laws and pretensions yet remains in the victor's power, together with the choice of our future government. Free commonwealths have been ever counted fittest and properest for civil, virtuous, and industrious nations, abounding with prudent men worthy to govern; monarchy fittest to curb degenerate, corrupt, idle, proud, luxurious people. If we desire to be of the former, nothing better for us, nothing nobler than a free commonwealth; if we will needs condemn ourselves to be of the latter, despairing of our own virtue, industry, and the number of our able men, we may then, conscious of our own unworthiness to be governed better, sadly betake us to our befitting thraldom: yet choosing out of our number one who hath best aided the people, and best merited against tyranny, the space of a reign or two we may chance to live happily enough, or tolerably. But that a victorious people should give up themselves again to the vanquished, was never yet heard of, seems rather void of all reason and good policy, and will in all probability subject the subduers to the subdued, will expose to revenge, to beggary, to ruin, and perpetual bondage, the victors under the vanquished: than which what can be more unworthy?
From misinterpreting our law, you return to do again the same with scripture, and would prove the supremacy of English kings from 1 Pet. ii. 13, as if that were the apos. tle's work: wherein if he saith that “the king is supreme," he speaks so of him but as an “ordinance of man," and in respect of those “ governors that are sent by him," not in respect of parliaments, which by the law of this land are his bridle; in vain his bridle, if not also his rider: and therefore hath not only co-ordination with him, which you falsely call seditious, but hath superiority above him, and that neither “ against religion,” nor“ right reason:" no, nor against common law; for our kings reigned only by law. But the parliament is above all positive law, whether civil or common, makes or unmakes them both; and still the latter parliament above the former, above all the former. lawgivers, then certainly above all precedent laws, entailed the crown on whom it pleased ; and, as a great lawyer saith, 6 is so transcendent and absolute, that it cannot be confined, either for causes or persons, within any bounds." But your cry is, No parliament without a king. If this be so, we have never had lawful kings, who have all been created kings either by such parliaments, or by conquest : if by such parliaments, they are in your allowance none; if by conquest, that conquest we have now conquered. So that as well by your own assertion as by ours, there can at present be no king. And how could that person be absolutely supreme, who reigned, not under law only, but under oath of his good demeanour, given to the people at his coronation, ere the people gave him his crown? and his principal oath was to maintain those laws which the people should choose. If then the law itself, much more he who was but the keeper and minister of law, was in their choice, and both he subordinate to the performance of his duty sworn, and our sworn allegiance in order only to his performance.
You fall next on the consistorian schismatics; for so you call presbyterians, page 40, and judge them to have “enervated the king's supremacy by their opinions and practice, differing in many things only in terms from popery;" though some of those principles which you there cite concerning kingship, are to be read in Aristotle's Politics, long ere popery was thought on. The presbyterians therefore it concerns to be well forewarned of you betimes; and to them I leave you.
As for your examples of seditious men, page 54, &c., Cora, Absalom, Zimri, Sheba, to these you might with much more reason have added your own name, who “ blow the trumpet of sedition” from your pulpit against the present government: in reward whereof they have sent you by this time, as I hear, to your "own place," for preaching open sedition, while you would seem to preach against it.
As for your Appendix annexed of the “ Samaritan revived,” finding it so foul a libel against all the well affected of this land, since the very time of ship-money, against the whole parliament, both lords and commons, except those that fled to Oxford, against the whole reformed church, not only in England and Scotland, but all over Europe, (in comparison whereof you and your prelatical party are more truly schismatics and sectarians, nay, more properly fanatics in your fanes and gilded temples, than those whom you revile by those names,) and meeting with no more scripture or solid reason in your “ Samaritan wine and oil,” than hath already been found sophisticated and adulterate, I leave your malignant narrative, as needing no other confutation than the just censure already passed upon you by the council of state.
OF REFORMATION IN ENGLAND,
IN TWO BOOKS.
EDITOR'S PRELIMINARY BEMARKS. On this treatise the reader will find several observations in my “ Prelimi. nary Discourse." I shall therefore add no remarks of my own here, but introduce the excellent outline which Toland has given of the work. He says, “ He first of all, therefore, in the year 1641, published two books of Reformation, dedicated to a friend. In the first of these he shows, by orderly steps from Henry the Eighth's reign, what were all along the real impediments in this kingdom to a perfect reformation, which in general he reduces to two heads, that is, our retaining of ceremonies, and confiding the power of ordination to diocesan bishops exclusively of the people. Our ceremonies,' he says, "are senseless in themselves, and serve for nothing but either to facilitate our return to popery; or to hide the defects of better knowledge, and to set off the pomp of prelacy.' As for the bishops, many whom he denies not to have been good men, though not infallible nor above all human frailties, he affirms, that at the beginning, though they had renounced the pope, they hugged the popedom, and shared the authority among themselves. In king Edward the Sixth's time, he affirms,
they were, with their prostitute gravities, the common stales to countenance every politic fetch that was then on foot. If a toleration for mass, were to be begged of the king for his sister Mary, lest Charles the Fifth should be angry, who but the grave prelates, Cranmer and Ridley. should be sent to extort it from the young king? When the lord Sudley, ad. miral of England, and the Protector's brother, was wrongfully to lose his life, no man could be found fitter than Latimer to divulge in his sermon the forged accusations laid to his charge, thereby to defame him with the people. Cranmer, one of the king's executors, and the other bishops did, to gratify the ambition of a traitor, consent to exclude from the succession, not only Mary the papist, but also Elizabeth the protestant, though before declared by themselves the lawful issue of their late master.' In queen Elizabeth's reign, he imputes the obstructions of a further reformation still to the bishops, and then proceeds from antiquity to prove that all ecclesiastical elections belonged to the people; but that if those ages had favoured episcopacy, we should not be much concerned, since the best times were spreadingly infected, the best men of those times foully tainted, and the best writings of those men dangerously adulterated; which propositions he labours to prove at large. In the second book he continues his discourses of prelatical episcopacy, displays the politics of the same; which, according to him are always opposite to liberty; he deduces the history of it down from its remotest original, and shows, that in England particularly it is so far from being, as they commonly allege, the only form of church discipline agreeable to monarchy, that the mortallest diseases and convul.