« ForrigeFortsett »
with blood, and oppression, and the works of righteousness and mercy neglected.
It properly belongs to the governing powers, to restrain men from irreligion in this second part of religion ; that is, from injustice, faith-breaking, cruelty, oppression, and all other evil works, that are plainly evil, without the divine light of truths that are only revealed; and it is the duty of governing powers, to compel men to this part of religion, that is, to the outward acts of justice and mercy; for the inward truth of men's religion, even in these, is beyond the magistrates power or judgment.
Fourthly, they say, that nothing is more destructive to true religion, nor of worse consequence to human society, than the quarrels of nations or persons, about their difference of faith and worship, and the use of force and punishments, each to compel the other to be of his belief. It cannot be denied, that God, in his infinite secret wisdom, is pleased to cause his spirit to enlighten men's minds, with several degrees of light, and to suffer many to remain in darkness, which be afterwards also enlightened ; and, therefore, their faith and worship, if it be sincere, must necessarily and unavoidably differ, according to the different root of light upon which it grows. Surely babes in Christ, and strong men, differ much in their apprehensions and comprehensions of the ob jects of faith, and much more those that are not yet born in Christ, though appointed unto regeneration, and it may be, instructed like Cornelius, in some things.
And, as to opinions about worship, the thoughts of men must naturally be different, as the mind of one exceeds another in clear. ness of light, and capacity of judging ; now when the most pow. erful party seeks, by force and punishments, to constrain the governed or conquered, to subscribe to their faith and opinions, without regard to their own light or understandings ; doth it not, as much as is in man's power, banish all dependence upon the spi. rit of God for light, out of men's minds, and constrain them to put out the candle of God within them, that is, the light of their own understandings, and induce them, for their worldly respects and safety, to profess a faith, and practise a worship, which they neither do, nor dare understand? And by continuance to contract a blindness of mind, and hardness of heart; and is it possible to practise a design more opposite to true religion, and the propaga. tion of it? And it is evident that those of false religions, under a pretence of honouring God, by forcing men to be religious, have blinded millions of thousands with false worships. And also, that such as have professed the true religion, in substance, have wickedly opposed the further inlightening work of the spirit of God, and caused thousands, for fear of punishment, to rest satisfied in the profession of a faith and worship, which they understand not, and therefore can have no true religion in them. And histories will tell plentifully, how pernicious the quarrels, grounded only upon difference in matters of faith, have been to mankind; an honest pen would tremble to relate the murders, and massacres, the dreadful wars, and confusions, and the ruins, and desolations of countries, that have been upon this account; and the same must be to the world's end, if difference in opinions about religi. ous worship, and matters of faith, should be admitted to be a suf. ficient ground of quarrels; errors and differences in men's under. standings are from natural, unavoidable infirmity, which ought not to be the objects of punishments, or men's angers; it is not more likely, that God should make all men's understandings equal in their capacity of judging, or give to all an equal means or ineasure of knowledge, than that he should make all mens faces alike. Why then, say the levellers, should any man quarrel at another, whose opinion or faith is not like to his; more than at him, whose nose is not like to his; therefore say they, let us be unanimous in seeking an establishment of equal freedom and secu. rity to the whole people, of the best provisions for commutative and distributive justice, without partiality ; and of the best means of instructing the whole people in the spirit of love and meekness; and then true religion will increase and flourish.
I have now faithfully related the sum of their principles about government and religion, who have been usually called levellers, and scandalised with designs against government and religion, and plots, to bring the nation into anarchy and confusion: let the reader judge, what colour there is to suspect those, that are thus principled, of such ill designs; or rather, whether freedom, jus. tice, peace, and happiness can be expected in our nation, if these fundamentals of government be not asserted, vindicated, and prac. tised, and made as known and familiar to the people, as our ancestors intended the great charter of the liberties of England should have been, when they provided, that it should be sent to every city, and every cathedral church, and that it should be read and published in every county, four times in the year, in full county.
I have only mentioned the fundamentals, because they claim these as their right, and humbly submit the circumstantials, as to the number whereof parliaments should consist, and the manner of their elections, and the order of their debating and resolving of laws, &c. to the wisdom of the parliaments. But the reader may well enquire, how those, that have asserted these principles, came to be called levellers, the people believing generally otherwise of them, than these principles deserve. Truly the story is too tedi. ous to relate at large; but the sum of it is, that, in the year 1648, &c. the army having been in contest with some members of the long parliament, they constituted a general council of officers, and agitators for the soldiers, and then fell into debate of proposals to be made to the parliament, for a settlement, and then some of that council asserted these principles; and the reason of them quickly gained the assent of the major part; but being contrary to the de. signs of some that were then grandees, in the parliament and army (but most of their since dead) and had resolved of other things, at
that time, even with the king, who was then at Hampton Court, it fell into debate in a private cabinet council, how to suppress or avoid those, that maintained these principles, and it was resolved, that some ill name was fit to be given to the asserters of them, as persons of some dangerous desigo, and that, their reputations being blasted, they would come to nothing, especially if that general council were dissolved; then was that council dissolved, and an occasion taken from that maxim, that every man ought to be equally subject to the laws, to invent the name of levellers; and the king, who was to be frighted into the Isle of Wight from Hampton Court, with pretences, that the men of these principles in the army would suddenly seize upon his person, if he staid there, he was acquainted with those men, by the name of levellers, and was the first that ever so called them in print, in his declaration left on the table at Hampton Court, when he secretly (as was thought) stole away from thence; and thence it was suddenly blown abroad, with as much confidence, as if they had believed it, that first reported it, that a party of levellers designed to level alí men's estates; and, since then, the late lord protector, knowing these foundations of freedom to be inconsistent with his designs, kath often mentioned the levellers plots, with malice, 'scorn, and scandal; and now of late generally, whosoever asserts the peo. ple's liberties, and right of government by law, and not by will, is branded as a leveller, by the flatterers.
Now I heartily wish, that my countrymen may not be mista. ken in my candid intentions, in giving them this account; I mean not to court them as Absalom did his father's subjects, to make them believe, that those, called levellers, would use them better than others, if power was trusted in their hands; for our age bath given me experience, that power to inslave the people ought not to be intrusted in any men's hands, upon the fairest pretences, and most solemn oaths, that that power shall be used to establish their freedom. And it is the levellers doctrine, that the government ought to be settled upon such equal foundations of common right and freedom, that no man, or number of men, in the nation, should have the power to invade or disturb the common freedom, or the common course of impartial justice; and therefore, that every authority ought to be of small continuance, and the several authorities, to be so balanced each by other, that, without such an agreement of men, against their own interest, as human pruden ce cannot think possible, the people cannot suffer any common injury; but my meaning in this, is, only to prevent the division of my countrymen into parties, with animosities each against others, by the couzenage of names or scandals, when it may be, they would otherwise join hands and hearts, for their common rights and liberties, if they understood each others minds, and could converse each with other without prejudice, because of the names, whereby each hath usually called the others. It is a threadbare plot of tyrants, to divide the people into parties, that they may the more easily master them; but I wish, that my countrymen would unite in the equal principles of common right, and hearken to reason, with clearness of mind, whosoever offers it, not regarding whether he that speaks it is called a leveller, or a sectary, or an anabaptist, or a presbyter, or a cavalier, but con. sidering what he says; and then the number of hands, to defend our liberties, and properties, would be so numerous, that the ambition of one, or a few, could not hope for success in attempting a tyranny over us. And if this poor paper may have such an effect, that my countrymen be not deluded with the idle scandal of levelling, cast upon honest men, into an opposition of their own welfare, I and many that agree in the publication of this, shall have our ends.
Consider therefore, what you here read, and the Lord make you understand the things, that conduce to your peace and free. dom, and the glorifying his name in righteousness, in this nation.
SHUFFLING, CUTTING, AND DEALING,
IN A GAME AT PICQUET:
BEING ACTED FROM THE YEAR 1653, To 1658, BY 0. P, AND OTHERS
WITH GREAT APPLAUSE,
Tempora mutantur, & nos
Printed in the year 1659. Quarto, containing ten pages,
Oliver. I AM like to have a good beginning of it; I have thrown out all
my best cards, and got none but a company of wretched ones;
may very well be capetted. Lambert. Now you have a good pack, my lord, I am content to play; but you knew every card of the old ones, and could make your game as you listed.
Lawrence. I took a few, yet they make me a good game; for I left all the little ones behind me.
Fleetwood, If your highness had those, my Lord Laurence left, you would have a better game, than you have; I could wish you would look upon them; but yet, I know, you can hardly tell what to play well. I am for the little ones, if there be enough of them; for two quint minors will win the game, before
you come to reckon you are fourteen by knaves.
Fines. It is fit you should play at some common game, where all the small cards are in, and where the ace goeth but for one. I was too long at the sport, and left it, because I could make no. thing of it; but, here, whosoever gets one card is like to make a good hand: I have got a good tearse already.
Musgrave. I was somewhat scrupulous, whether play was law. ful, or not; and so sat out the last game, which had like to have undone me: for the future, I shall play what game soever your highness pleaseth, especially now I see you play so well, when you lose.
Lisle. If I go into France, I must practise another game; but, do what I can, I shall be over-reached by Hoc Mazarine.
Desborough. I am nothing but a ruff, yet I shall do well; I have got a card of a right suit, and should hope to have a better game, if the cards were in any other hands, than your lordship’s.
Skippon. I sit here, and hold the cards, but know no more how to play, than a post. Rouse. I am more diligent at this game,
I was at any, but I got more the last game, when I played cent; for I had a hundred, and all made: All, that I desire, is to save myself, and help my kindred to something, by betting on my side, while my luck lasts.
Jones. I must needs lose, for I have thrown out the card that made me a good game.
Ouseley. A pox on it, I left Piccadilly, and the Three Kings, to play here, and I shall get nothing all the days of my life.
Ashley-Cooper. I was picquet at Whitehall, and thought to save myself amongst the cavalier posts; but, I doubt, I shall be deceived.
Pickering. I had rather play at another game, where more may play ; but, I thank the Lord, I can frame myself to any sport, so my Lord P. be one at it.
Strickland. You play not here, as they do in Holland, where I learned this game; for you make lifting here, and there they deal by turns.
Major. All, that I am, I had in my rise; I was the pitifullest game in the world before.
Sydenham. I am pretty well, though I changed my suit; I went in all one, and had another as good in the stock.
Montague. You make me play at a game, I never knew in my life before; I must needs lose.
Blake. I shall be a kind of a stander-by this time, and so shall have time enough to teach you the game against the next, when
you may play by yourself.
Thurloe. My lord, it will not be so well for me to play; I will stand behind your chair, and make and shuffle, with what you are to play, the next game.
St. John. My lord, I shall not play neither; but I will go your halves, so you keep my counsel.
Pierpoint. You play so rashly, I will not bet a farthing on
Salloway. I am but a stander-by; yet I observe, the small cards, that are left, and not played with, are all very clean; but the rest of the pack are filthy foul already. Bradshaw. I dispatched out one king, and went for another,