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iniquity, their gibberish laws, * though the badge of their ancient slavery. Others, who have been fiercest against their prince, under the notion of a tyrant, and no mcau incendiaries of the war against them, when Gou, out of his providence and high disposal hath delivered him into the hand of their brethrcu, on a sudden and in a new garb of allegiance, which their doings have long since cancelled, they plead for him, pity him, extol him, protest against those that talk of bringing him to the trial of justice, + which is the sword of God, superior to all mortal things, in whose hand soever by apparent signs his testified will is to put it.
But certainly, if we consider who and what they are, on a sudden grown so pitiful, we may conclude their pity can be no true and Christian commiseration, but either levity and
* To those who would see a thorough exposure of the absurdity of this “ gibberish,” we recommend Arthur Symonds's “ Mechanics of Lawmaking,” a work of much merit, and little pretensions, which should be the vade mecum of members of Parliament, committee-men, and the readers of parliamentary debates.-ED.
+ From this passage it is clear that, though the work was not published until after the execution of Charles, it was written previously, to fortify the resolution, perhaps, of the more hesitating and faint-hearted among the tyrannicides, who, to keep them steady to their purpose, may have stood in need of being supported by texts of Scripture. Sir Egerton Brydges, an ardent and an enlightened admirer of Milton, is exceedingly scandalized at the doctrine maintained in this treatise : “the very title,” he says, “is surely, in the highest degree, objectionable, and does not, in these days, require any refutation. To say the truth, this is a part of Milton's character which puzzles me--and no other. This bloodthirstyness does not agree with his sanctity, and other mental and moral qualities,” &c. (Life, p. 108.) From this it is evident, that in professing not to comprehend this point of the poet's character, he is guilty of no hypocrisy ; for most certainly, nothing could be further from Milton's soul than the brutal thirst of blood here attributed to him, which would have brought down his noble nature to a level with the Murats and Robespierres of the past age. On the contrary, it was his horror for blood, his humane impatience at beholding it shed like water, in civil wars, his dread of seeing re-established a tyranny by which the value of man's life was not properly recognised, that caused him to desire the interference of the “sword of God,” to restore peace and freedom to these distracted kingdoms. He was in all things an enthusiast. Had the firm establishment of liberty required the sacrifice, we are fully persuaded there were moments in his glorious career in which he who willingly encountered blindness for the Commonwealth would, with equal ardour, have encountered death. It was under the influence of these stern principles that he called for and justified the execution of Charles ; not from any fierce or malignant wish to destroy the man who for so many years had wielded the supreme authority in England.--ED.
shallowness of mind, or else a carnal admiring of that worldly pomp and greatness, from whence they see him fallen; or rather, lastly, a dissembled and seditious pity, feigned of industry to beget new discord. As for mercy, if it be to a tyrant, under which name they themselves have cited him so oft in the hearing of God, of angels, and the holy church assembled, and there charged him with the spilling of more innocent blood by far than ever Nero did, undoubtedly the mercy which they pretend is the mercy of wicked men; and “ their mercies,” we read,“ are cruelties;" hazarding the welfare of a whole nation, to have saved one whom they so oft have termed Agag, and vilifying the blood of many Jonathans who have saved Israel; insisting with much niceness on the unnecessariest clause of their covenant wrested, wherein the fear of change and the absurd contradiction of a flattering hostility had hampered them, but not scrupling to give away for compliments, to an implacable revenge, the heads of many thousand Christians more.
Another sort there is, who coming in the course of these affairs to have their share in great actions above the form of law or custom, at least to give their voice and approbation; begin to swerve and almost shiver at the majesty and grandeur of some noble deed, as if they were newly entered into a great sin ; disputing precedents, forms, and circumstances, when the commonwealth nigh perishes for want of deeds in substance, done with just and faithful expedition. To these I wish better instruction, and virtue equal to their calling ; the former of which, that is to say, instruction, I shall endeavour, as my duty is, to bestow on them; and exhort them not to startle from the just and pious resolution of adhering, with all their strength and assistance, to the present parliament and army, in the glorious way wherein justice and victory hath set them—the only warrants through all ages, next under immediate revelation, to exercise supreme powerin those proceedings, which hitherto appear equal to wht hath been done in any age or nation heretofore justly or magnanimously.
Nor let them be discouraged or deterred by any new apostate scarecrows, who, under shew of giving counsel, send out their barking monitories and mementoes, empty of aught else but the spleen of a frustrated faction. For how
can that pretended counsel be either sound or faithful, when they that give it see not, for madness and vexation of their ends lost, that those statutes and scriptures which both falsely and scandalously they wrest against their friends and associates, would, by sentence of the common adversary, fall first and heaviest upon their own heads ? * Neither by mild and tender dispositions be foolishly softened from their duty and perseverance with the unmasculine rhetoric of any puling priest or chaplain, sent as a friendly letter of advice, for fashion's sake in private, and forthwith published by the sender himself, that we may know how much of friend there was in it, to cast an odious envy upon them to whom it, was pretended to be sent in charity. Nor let any man be deluded by either the ignorance or the notorious hypocrisy and self-repugnance of our dancing divines, who have the conscience and the boldness to come with scripture in their mouths, glossed and fitted for their turns with a double contradictory sense, transforming the sacred verity of God to an idol with two faces, looking at once two several ways; and with the same quotations to charge others, which in the same case they made serve to justify themselves. For while the hope to be made classic and provincial lords led them on, while pluralities greased them thick and deep, to the shame and scandal of religion, more than all the sects and heresies they exclaim against; then to fight against the king's person, and no less a party of his lords and commons, or to put force upon both the houses, was good, was lawful, was no resisting of superior powers; they only were powers not to be resisted, who countenanced the good, and punished the evil.
* On the conduct of the Presbyterians, Dr. Symmons, himself belonging to the movement party in politics, makes the following pertinent remarks: “ In the course of this work the presbyterians obtain much of the author's notice; and their conduct is exposed by him with the severity it deserved. It was difficult indeed to animadvert too strongly upon the inconsistency of men who, after resisting the authority of their sovereign, after making him the aim of their devout execrations from the pulpit and of their artillery in the field, after 'hunting and pursuing him,' to use the author's own words,
round about the kingdom with fire and sword ;' after dethroning, seizing, and imprisoning him, now clamoured against the natural result of their own actions; and, pretending conscience and the covenant, felt extreme tenderness for the inviolability and sacredness of the king's person, which they had endangered by their war, and violated by their chains. It would have been well for them if they had attended to the salutary warning given to them by our author, and, withholding their confidence from men exasperated beyond the just hope of a reconciliation, had forborne to coalesce with the royalists, by whom they were soon to be crushed in one common ruin with their immediate enemies, the independents.”—(Life of Milton, p. 299–300.)- ED.
But now that their censorious domineering is not suffered to be universal, truth and conscience to be freed, tithes and pluralities to be no more, though competent allowance provided, and the warm experience of large gifts, and they so good at taking them; yet now to exclude and seize upon impeached members, to bring delinquents without exemption to a fair tribunal by the common national law against mur. der, is now to be no less than Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. He who but erewhile in the pulpits was a cursed tyrant, an enemy to God and saints, laden with all the innocent blood spilt in three kingdoms, and so to be fought against; is now, though nothing penitent or altered from his first principles, a lawful magistrate, a sovereign lord, the Lord's anointed, not to be touched, though by themselves imprisoned. As if this only were obedience, to preserve the mere useless bulk of his person, and that only in prison, not in the field, not to disobey his commands, deny him his dignity and office, everywhere to resist his power, but where they think it only surviving in their own faction.
But who in particular is a tyrant, cannot be determined in a general discourse, otherwise than by supposition; his particular charge, and the sufficient proof of it, must determine that: which I leave to magistrates, at least to the uprighter sort of them, and of the people, though in number less by many, in whom faction least hath prevailed above the law of nature and right reason, to judge as they find cause. But this I dare own as part of my faith, that if such a one there be, by whose commission whole massacres have been committed on his faithful subjects,* his provinces offered to pawn
The following are a few of the crimes which Milton, in the “ Eikonoklastes” imputes to Charles I. “After the suspected poisoning of his father, qot inquired into, but smothered up, and him protected and advanced to the very half of his kingdom, who was accused in parliament to be author of the fact; (with much more evidence than Duke Dudley, that false protector, is accused upon record to have poisoned Edward the Sixth ;) after all his rage and persecution, after so many years of cruel war, on his people in three kingdoms! Whence the author of Truths Manifest,' a Scotsman, not unacquainted with affairs, positively affirms, that there hath been more Christian blood shed by the commission, approbation, and connivance of King Charles and his father, James, in the latter end of their reigns, than in
or alienation, as the hire of those whom he had solicited to come in and destroy whole cities and countries; be he king, or tyrant, or emperor, the sword of justice is above him ;* in whose hand soever is found sufficient power to avenge the effusion, and so great a deluge of innocent blood. For if all human power to execute, not accidentally but intendedly, the wrath of God upon evil-doers without exception, be of God; then that power, whether ordinary, or if that fail, extraordinary, so executing that intent of God, is lawful, and not to be resisted. But to unfold more at large this whole question, though with all expedient brevity, I shall here set down, from first beginning, the original of kings; how and wherefore exalted to that dignity above their brethren; and from thence shall prove, that turning to tyranny they may be as lawfully deposed and punished, as they were at first elected : this I shall do by authorities and reasons, not learnt in corners among schisms and heresies, as our doubling divines are ready to calumniate, but fetched out of the midst of choicest and most authentic learning, and no prohibited authors; nor many heathen, but Mosaical, Christian, orthodoxal, and, which must needs be more convincing to our adversaries, presbyterial.
No man, who knows aught, can be so stupid to deny, that all men naturally were born free,t being the image and the Ten Roman Persecutions.' Not to speak of those many whippings, pillories, and other corporal inflictions, whereof his reign also, before this war, was not unbloody: some have died in prison under cruel restraint, others in banishment, whose lives were shortened through the rigour of that persecution, wherewith so many years he infested the true church.” “Yet here,” in the Eikon Basilikè, he asks, “whose innocent blood he hath shed, what widows' or orphans' tears can witness against him ?”—(Eikonok. lastes, $. 9.)-ED.
* What he here alludes to is explained at large in the "Eikonoklastes," where he says, “after the beginning of this parliament, whom he saw so resolute and unanimous to relieve the commonwealth, and that the Earl of Strafford was condemned to die, other of his evil counsellors impeached and imprisoned ; to shew there wanted not evil counsel within himself sufficient to begin a war upon his subjects, though no way by them provoked, he sends an agent with letters to the King of Denmark, requiring aid against the parliament: and that aid was coming, when divine Providence, to divert them, sent a sudden torrent of Swedes into the bowels of Denmark.” (S. 10. See also S. 12, 13, 18, 21, 22.)—ED.
+ But Sir Robert Filmer, who made pretensions to know something, and those who, since his time, have stood up in defence of absolute monarchy,