Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

help of the spirit, betook them almost four hundred years after Christ to liturgy, their own invention, we are not to imitate them, nor to distrust God in the removal of that truant help to our devotion, which by him never was appointed. And what is said of liturgy, is said also of directory, if it be imposed; although to forbid the service book there be much more reason, as being of itself superstitious, offensive, and indeed, though Englished, yet still the mass book; and public places ought to be provided of such as need not the help of liturgies or directories continually, but are supported with ministerial gifts answerable to their calling.

Lastly, that the common prayer book was rejected because it prayed so oft for him, he had no reason to object; for what large and laborious prayers were made for him in the pulpits, if he never heard, it is doubtful they were never heard in heaven. We might now have expected that his own following prayer

should add much credit to set forms; but on the contrary we find the same imperfections in it, as in most before, which he lays here upon extemporal. Nor doth he ask of God to be directed whether liturgies be lawful, but presumes, and in a manner would persuade him that they be so, praying that the church and he may never want them. What could be prayed worse extempore, unless he mean by wanting, that they may never need them?

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

XIX. UPON THE VARIOUS EVENTS OF THE WAR.

It is no new or unwonted thing, for bad men to claim as much part in God as his best servants ; to usurp and imitate their words, and appropriate to themselves those properties which belong only to the good and righteous. This not only in scripture is familiarly to be found, but here also in this chapter of Apocrypha. He tells us much, why it pleased God'to send him victory or loss, although what in so doing was the intent of God, he might be much mistaken as to his own particular ; but we are yet to learn what real good use he made thereof in his practice.

Those numbers which he grew to 'from small beginnings, were not such as out of love came to protect him, for none approved his actions as a king, except courtiers and prelates; but were such as fled to be protected by him from the fear of that reformation which the pravity of their lives would not bear. Such a snowbali he might easily gather by rolling through those cold and dark provinces of ignorance and lewdness, where on a sudden he became so numerous. He imputes that to God's protection,' which, to them who persist in a bad cause, is either his longsuffering, or his hardening ; and that to wholesome • chastisement,' which were the gradual beginnings of a severe punishment. For if neither God nor nature put civil power in the hands of

any

whomsoever but to a lawful end, and commands our obedience to the authority of law only, not to the tyrannical force of any person; and if the laws of our land have placed the sword in no man's single hand, so much as to unsheath against a foreign enemy, much less upon the native people, but have placed it in that elective body of the parliament, to whom the making, repealing, judging, and interpreting of law itself was also committed, as was fittest, so long as we intended to be a free nation, and not the slaves of one man's will; then was the king himself disobedient and rebellious to that law by which he reign

6

[ocr errors]

ed; and by authority of parliament to raise arms

i against him in defence of law and liberty, we do not only think, but believe and know was justifiable both

by the word of God, the laws of the land, and all lawful oaths;' and they who sided with him, fought against all these.

The same allegations which he uses for himself and his party, may as well fit any tyrant in the world; for let the parliament be called a faction when the king pleases, and that no law must be made or changed, either civil or religious, because no law will content all sides, then must be made or changed no law at all, but what a tyrant, be he protestant or papist, thinks fit; which tyrannous assertion forced upon us by the sword, he who fights against, and dies fighting, if his other sins outweigh not, dies a martyr undoubtedly both of the faith and of the commonwealth; and I hold it not as the opinion, but as the full belief and persuasion of far holier and wiser men than parasitic preachers, who, without their dinner doctrine, know that neither king, law, civil oaths, or religion, was ever established without the parliament; and their power is the same to abrogate as to establish; neither is any thing to be thought established, which that house declares to be abolished. Where the parliament sits, there inseparably sits the king, there the laws, there our oaths, and whatsoever can be civil in religion. They who fought for the parliament, in the truest sense fought for all these; who fought for the king divided from his parliament, fought for the shadow of a king against all these ; and for things that were not, as if they were established.

It were a thing monstrously absurd and contradictory to give the parliament a legistive power, and then to upbraid them for transgressing old establishments.

*

XXVII. ENTITLED, TO THE PRINCE OF WALES.

What the king wrote to his son, as a father, concerns not us; what he wrote to him as a king of England, concerns not him; God and the parliament having now otherwise disposed of England. But because I see it done with some artifice and labor, to possess the people that they might amend their present condition, by his, or by his son's restorement, I shall show * that although the king had been reinstalled to his desire, or that his son admitted, should observe exactly all his father's precepts, yet that this would be so far from conducing to our happiness, either as a remedy to the present distempers, or a prevention of the like to come, that it would inevitably throw us back again into all our past and fulfilled miseries, would force us to fight over again all our tedious wars, and put us to another fatal struggling for liberty and life, more dubious than the former; in which, as our success hath been no other than our cause, so it will be evident to all posterity, that his misfortunes were the mere consequence of his perverse judgment.

First, he hath the same fixed opinion and esteem of his old Ephesian goddess, called the church of England, as he had ever; and charges strictly his son after him to persevere in that antipapal schism (for it is not much better) as that which will be necessary both for his soul's and the kingdom's peace. But if this can be any foundation of the kingdom's peace, which was the first cause of our distractions, let common sense be judge. It is a rule and principle worthy to be known by Christians, that no scrip

20

VOL. II.

ture, no, nor so much as any, ancient creed, binds our faith, or our obedience to any church whatsoever, denominated by a particular name; far less, if it be distinguished by a several government from that which is indeed catholic. No man was ever bid be subject to the church of Corinth, Rome, or Asia, but to the church without addition, as it held faithful to the rules of scripture, and the government established in all places by the apostles, which at first was universally the same in all churches and congregations, not differing or distinguished by the diversity of countries, territories, or civil bounds. That church that from the name of a distinct place, takes authority to set up a distinct faith or government, is a schism and faction, not a church. It were an injury to condemn the papist of absurdity and contradiction, for adhering to his catholic Romish religion, if we, for the pleasure of a king and his politic considerations, shall adhere to a catholic English.

a

His next precept is concerning our civil liberties, which by his sole voice and predominant will must be circumscribed, and not permitted to extend a land's breadth further than his interpretation of the laws already settled. And although all human laws are but the offspring of that frailty, that fallibility, and imperfection which was in their authors, whereby many laws, in the change of ignorant and obscure ages, may be found both scandalous and full of grievance to their posterity that made them, and no law is further good than mutable upon just occasion; yet if the removing of an old law, or the making of a new would save the kingdom, we shall not have it, unless his arbitrary voice will so far slacken the stiff curb of his prerogative, as to grant it us, who are as freeborn

« ForrigeFortsett »