A sharp Reproof for the Inhabitants
thereof; against that now raigning Sin of
But more especially to the Inhabi-
tants of the County of SUFFOLK.
With a Vindication of those Worthyes now in
By LIONEL GATFORD B. D. the true, but Se-
questred Rector of Dinnington, in the said County.
Ezek. 2. v. 6, 7.
And thou sonne of Man be not afraid of them, &c.
Chap. 22. from vers. 25. to the end.
There is a Conspiracie of her Prophets in the midst thereof, &c.
Chap. 7. v. 15, 16, 17, 18, 19.
The Sword is without and the Pestilence and the Famine
Chap. 18. v. 31.32.
Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby yee have
Matth. 11. v. 15.
He that hath eares to heare let him heare.
Printed in the yeere 1648.
Ezek. 2. v. 6, 7.
And thou sonne of Man be not afraid of them, &c.
Chap. 22. from vers. 25. to the end.
There is a Conspiracie of her Prophets in the midst thereof, &c.
Chap. 7. v. 15, 16, 17, 18, 19.
The Sword is without and the Pestilence and the Famine
Chap. 18. v. 31.32.
Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby yee have
Matth. 11. v. 15.
He that hath eares to heare let him heare.
1.1. Right worthy, worshipfull, and the
rest most affectionately and intyrely
beloved Country-men and
HAving ever reputed that command of God, first given in charge to the Prophet Ezekiel cap. 3. of his prophesie from verse 17. to verse 22.‘Son of man, I have made thee a watch-man unto the house of Israel: therefore heare the word at my mouth and give them worning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; The same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickednesse, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquitie, but thou hast delivered thy soule. Againe when a righteous man doth turn from his righteousnesse, and commit iniquitie, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sinne, and his righteousnesse, which he hath done, shall not be remembred; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Neverthelesse, if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sinne not, and he doth not sinne; he shall surely live because he is warned;’also, ‘thou hast delivered thy soul.’ Which command is again repeated and illustratedChap. 33. fromverse 2.10 verse 0[?]. Having, I say, ever reputed that command of God to be an universal, everlasting rule of Prophesying, and so to concerne us Prophets and Teachers in the time of the Gospel, as wel as those Prophets and Seers in the time of the Law: the frequent and serious meditating thereon, sanctified unto mee by Gods Spirit, as it made me, ever since God honoured me with that Sacred, though now despised, calling of a Minister, to apply the exercising of that calling, upon all occasions so requiring, as much as I could to the observing that rule, notwithstanding the known opposition, slanders and reproaches, that I met with therein; so of late years, since the wickednesse of the wicked hath so superabounded in this Nation, and therighteousnes of the righteous hath so decayed, and the sword of the Lord hath therefore wasted and devoured from one end of the land to the other: I have devored my selfe in a manner wholly to that ser vice, both in private and publike by speaking, preaching, and other wayes ofwarning[Page 2]warning, as opportunities were offered, and God inabled. And though very lately, upon the calling to minde the successe that I had in some former warn ings, (being therefore, with the Prophet Jeremiah smitten by the tongue of those whom I faithfully endeavoured to keep from being smitten with the sword, and imprisoned by these whose liberty from that and other judgements I earnestly supplicated) I had once, with the sameJeremiah, resolved to have spoken no more in Gods name to men so perverse and obstinate; yet his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing and I could not stay: Jer.20.9 or to use Davids expression, ‘I was’ for a time ‘dumb with silence, and held my peace even from good, and my sorrow was stirred. My heart was hot with in mee, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tong e;’ psa.39 or, to come neerer to that prophet with whom I began (and all three without either boasting or falsifying) I remained, some daies, at Ezekiel did immediately be fore he received that rule of prophesie but now named, astonished among the people, astonished at what I saw and heard dayly committed by them, astonished at their impudence and hard heartednesse, astonished with sorrow and indignation at both, and astonished with thinking what I should doe to deliver my own soule from such a wicked generation; till at last, the same word that came to Ezekiel, did from him (and, I h pe[?], by the same spirit, though not in the same manner that it came to him) come to my thoughts againe and againe; and then God was pleased to rouse and quicken my spirit, so that my soule could no longer rest, till I had once againe delivered her from the‘guiltinesse of the blood’ Eze.hi3.15 of others bytelling these whom it concerned, what I apprehend from Gods word hath already pulled on them the guilt of others bloods, and will, if not speedily prevented pull much more, even to the devastation and desolation of this whole Nation, and to the inevitable ruine and destruction of their owne soules. And to whom amongst all that are concerned, should I rather, or can I better direct my speech then to you of this County? whether I consider mine own obligati ons, or your present state and condition? My obligations to this County, and to some of you in particular, are such and so great, that I desire no longer to breath then whilest I shall be willing to spend my breath in the acknowledgement of your favours, and in the returning you the best thanks and, service, that I am able, for them. And such and so deplorable is your present state and condition, that should, I professe with Isaiah. ‘That, Therefore are my loynes filled with pain, pangs have taken hold upon mee, as the pangs of a woman that travelleth, I was bowed downe at the hearing of it, I was dismayed at the seeing of it;’ Isa.2.1.3or should I wish with Jeremiah, ‘That my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountaine of teares, that I might weepe day and night’ Ier.9.1. in the lamenting of it. I should professe no more nor wish no other, then what your present state and condition require, and what I have already in some part performed for you. To you therefore, to you, my Ho noured and dearely beloved Countrymen, doe I here humbly present this faith full and faire warning, and with it my self to suffer or to rejoyce with you, for you, or by you, as God and you shall please, and as well beseemes him, that seekes you, and not yours, the Kingdom's peace, and not the favour of any in the kingdome, the honour of the Church, not any dignity in it, and Gods Glory and the restablishment of his Truth in and above them all.
Yours, as you please to use him, or make use of him, to love,serve, and pray for you,
LIONEL GATFORD the true, but Sequestred Rector of Dinnington,in Suffolke.
1.2. A faithfull and faire warning, humbly presented to the Knights, G ntlemen, Clergie-men, Yeomen, and other the Inhabitants of the County of Suffolke: and may, for the greatest part of it, serve for a seasonable Caution to the whole Kingdome.
AS at the first, the sinnes of this Nation were the originall provoking cause of Gods inflicting all those fore judgements upon us, under which we have these late years groaned; and our not repenting of them, but adding to them, and seeking other wayes of ease and reliefe, hath, instead of procuring any remedy, incre sed[?] our misery, and blasted all our means and endeavours for redresse, how probable or hopefull soever; insomuch that, whereas we Lusted Numb II for a Parliament, as Israel sometimes did for flesh, and sleighted all Gods other great mercies unto us, as they did even Manna Ib. it self, thinking any condition better than our own, unlesse we had ou [?] longing, and that, if we had that, all things would go well with us: which so afflicted ourMoses, that he, like theirs ofIsrael, was even weary of his burthen of governing this people alone; and was content to have others**The great counsell at Yorke gathered unto him to take part of that burthen (would God had been pleased to have given them of his spirit also) and to assist him in the bearing thereof: and then upon that, our lusting was condescended unto; but, like that of Israels, whilest the blessing so desired was between our teeth ere it was chewed, by that time we had gotten a little smack or taste of a Parliament, ‘The wrath of the Lord was kindled against us,’ Ib. and the Lord smote us with a very great Plague, the sorest that ever befell a people; For that became our plague, which was longed for as our greatest blessing, and‘that, which should have been for our welfare, became a trap;’ Psal 69. or, to expresse that terrible curse in the words of a former translation of ours, the thing that should have been for our wealth, was unto us an occasion of falling.
So to this present, 'tis the continuing in our sins, and the not acknowledging of ourRebellions against God and his Vicegerent, but the justifying of them, and seeking other wayes of peace and security, that incense and inflames Gods indignation against us, to the continuing and multiplying of his heavy judgements upon us, and to the rendering of all assayes and overtures, for the composing and quieting our sad divisions and distractions, (the most destructive [Page 2] structive judgement of all others) fruitlesse and ineffectuall: For we know who hath said it. ‘He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but who so confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy:’ Prov.28.3[?]And the Scriptures is in no point more full and cleare, th n[?] in the asserting of that truth. That without acknowledging of sinne, re penting of it, and turning from it to the Lord, there is no mercy to be expected from the Lord in the pardoning and forgiving of sinne, and in the removing those judgements which he inflicts for it.
Yee have had some new teachers of late times (and this County at this time swarms with them) that have had the impudence to tell you, that Repentance is of no use to Beleevers, but that it is a derogation to the merits of Christ for any such to repent, but then withall they tell you that there is no sin in such, and so at once destroy both Law and Gospel. I shall not now spend time in refuting them; but this I dare be bold to affirm of them, (and 'tis no more then I am able to demonstrate) that they, which are of that opinion, are no true Beleevers; and if the mercies or judgements of God, or both, do not make them to repent and desert that opinion by bringing the sense of sinne home to their Consciences, or the punishment of sin home to their doores here in this life, 'tis to be feared, (so far as one may judge of another) they le[?] be made to see and feele their own errour and blasphemy, where there will be no place or space of repentance. But set those Hereticks aside. I am confident there is never a Teacher or Preacher amongst you, the whole County thorow, (that is not leavened with that heresie) which dares undertake to shew you any other way for the making your peace with God, and so for the removing of his fore judgements already inflicted, and the averting those his more dreadfull plagues further threatened, then that of confessing and forsaking your sins, the undoubted originall cause of all judgements and plagues whatsoever. And therefore if ye would not have ‘iniquity to be your ruine, Repent and turn your selves from all your transgressions.’ Ezech. 18. 30 And be intreated to deale clearely and freely with God, acknowledging not only your unthankfulnesse for former mercies; your Pride, Luxury, unprofitablenesse under the ordinance of God and contempt of them, and such other sins of long continuance (whereof some have so often minded you on purpose to keep other later abominations from your thoughts) but also your Rebellion andBloodguiltinesse, with your Sacriledge, Perjury, Blasphemy, Lyes, Robbery, Oppression, Cruelty, and whatsoever other crimes have accompanied the same; whether ye have been actors in or contributors to those iniquities, or whether [Page 3] ther yee have been otherwise consentors to, or complyers with those, that have acted and continued them. Take heed of thatguile in spirit Pf.32 (as David experimentally called it) in thinking to hide your sins: The same David paid deare for it: for all the while that he kept silence, and would not acknowledge his sinne, his bones waxed old through his roaring all the day long: and Gods hand was heavy on him day and night, &c. Ib. but no sooner did he acknowledge it, nay, no sooner had he resolved upon the acknowledging it, but God forgave the iniquity of it: and be assured that if you doe not acknowledge your iniquities to Gods glory, though to your own shame; God will glorifie himselfe in making you to acknowledge them to your greater shame and confusion. Take then the shame to your selves, and give the glory to God; ob.7 and God will take off that shame againe from you, and make your taking shame upon your selves a comfort and glory to your selves. For that is Gods usuall dealing with men: ye know it is his promise, that If we would judge our selves, we should not be judged. ICor.10v.31 And that other promise to his people of old import as much concerning our taking shame to our selves. Feare not for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded, for thou shalt not be put to shame; for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, &c. Isa.54.4 and that promise in Ezech. puts it out of all question. But if the wicked will turn from all his sinnes that he hath committed, &c. All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him.Ezeck.18v.21,22" They do best that doe avoyd the committing any thing worthy of shame: but when any such thing is committed, the next best, is to acknowledge it and to be ashamed of it, to the abhorring of it and themselves for itAnd where God hath any love to any people, he will never leave them, when they have committed any notorious sins, till he have brought them to an humble acknowledgement of them, and to a trueloathing of themselves Note: for them: and that is an act of his mercy, by how many judgements soever it be effected; as the longer that men hold off from it, the more and the more severe judgements does God inflict, till he have brought them to it, as is easily collected from that twentieth of Ezech. and other scriptures. But then there is another acknowledgement and shame of sinne which God brings upon men by way of vengeance, which, though the former be terrible enough, is yet more terrible, as having confusion alwayes attending it: and there is no way for the avoiding either, but a voluntary acknowledging of sin, and taking the shame thereof to themselves before God scourge them to it, or confound themby [Page 4] by it. Tis a saying very often repeated in sacred writ in the closesof Gods denuntiations of judgements, and 'tis to be trembled at wheresoever 'tis so mentioned, Then shall they know, &c. or,And they shall know, &c. Happy are they that know those things,before they are so made to know them. In the first place then beforewarned of the putting off the acknowledging your sinnes tillGod force you thereto by his judgements, least, whiles a foolish feare of shame, fained to your selves by such an acknowledgement, scare you from it, and a terrible shame and confusion of faces caused by God for want of such an acknowledgement seize upon you to your unspeakable torment.
Oh, but, will too many reply, would you have us now to acknowledge our selves guilty of Rebellion, and of the Blood which hath been shed in the prosecution thereof, and of all those other horrid crimes that have accompanied the same. We have long since again and again, charged those crimes upon the adverse party, upon the King himself and all those that have taken part with him: And if we should now take them upon our selves: how would all men jeer at us, and they of the other party insult over us! Nay, what would become of us and ours, and all that we have! Surely, therefore now tis our best course to stand upon our own justification, and to go on as hitherto we have done, or else we are but in a miserable condition.
Thus when the Devil and Devilish men have tempted and seduced any to commit any foule notorious wickednesse; the next thing they endeavour is to draw or carry them on therein as farre, and as deep, as possibly they can; and if the seduced doe but begin to consider what they have done, and how farre they have gone, and so think of breaking off, and returning from their wickednes: then feare shame, and dispaire are presently represented unto them, to scare and hurry them on, or at least to keep and hasten them where they are. WhenZedekiah King ofJudah hadJer.38. disobeyed Gods word by the ProphetJeremiah, and began upon after thoughts to listen to what that Prophet had advised him: presently feare and shame were presented to his fancy, and by them was he scared off from hearkening to the Prophets counsaile. And when all the people of Judah were admonished by the same Prophet to break off their Idolatry and their other iniquities, and to return to the Lord, and doe their duty; and had so much toldJer.18.v.20. them to that purpose, that they had nothing to say for themselves; then despaire furnished them with this desperate answer.There is no hope, say they; but we will walk after our own devices, and [Page 5] we will every one doe the imagination of his evill heart.
But to answer more particularly to each part of this objection. That many have charged both this Rebellion and all the blood that hath been spilt in the pursuance thereof upon the King and those faithfull subjects of his, that adhered to him, is too well known; and tis pretty well known, that this way of shifting off sinne from themselves to others, is of all the many other wayes, the most impudent and detestable. That others perswaded them, tempted them, incited them, scared them, or forced them to commit such and such sins, have been frequent excuses that we read of in severall sacred and other stories: but this shifting off sin wholly from themselves, when they know themselves fouly guilty, and charging it upon others, whom they know to be, in that respect, most innocent, is never practised but by men of brazen faces, Adamantine foreheads, black tongues, and blacker hearts: And, if God will bee a swift witnesse against any, then surely against such as doe not onely bearfalse witnesse against, butcondemn the innocent:Mala.35. and if he will plead the cause of anyor execute judgement for them so as to bring them forth to the light, that they may beholdMicah 7.v.9. his righteousnesse, and others theirs; then without all peradventure he will doe it for them, that are so palpably and unjustly standered and accused, and have so just and cleare cause of appealing to his Justice for it. But why stay I so long upon a recrimination, so foolish and ridiculous as well as false and odious! I dare appeale to the Consciences of them themselves, that have so charged it (as cauterised as they are) for the unjustnesse of the charge. If the Rebellion and Blood guiltinesse of this Nation (I joyn them together; because they, that are guilty of the Rebellion, are without all further dispate guilty of all the blood that hath been shed in it) can be charged upon the King and his loyall Subjects; why have not the other party all this while put it upon that issue, and when they had the King (as to our unspeakable griefe they have) and the most of his loyall Subjects in their power; why did they not legally charge them therewith, and urge the Lawes, and indite them, (I mean the Subjects, though they blush not to talke of inditing the King himselfe) by those laws, and so proceed to tryall against them according to the laws of the Land, the true and onely rules, whereby Rebellion and Murther is to be tryed and judged here in this Nation! Was it their mercy? Why then have they waved that way of trying and judging those particular Persons of the Kings party, upon whom they have exercised their power to the height of cruelty, and proceeded against them onely[Page 6] by Votes and Ordinances, or by illegall Judges and unwarrantable Juries, and other unheard of proces! Or to bring the answer yet closer; If the Rebellion and Blood guiltinesse of this Nation be to be charged upon the King and his loyall Subjects: why doe they of the other part, that have shewn so much mercy to them, despair of all security, or at least, distrust all the security that can be given them, against the known established Laws of this Kingdome! What need they any act of Indemnity, or Oblivion? What need they any Pardon from the King, or any security against him or his party? Let the King live, and the Law run in her course, might be their wish rather then any's. But alas, their Consciences tell them, That if the King and his party should return to their own just power and rights again, and the Laws of this Kingdome to their due force and vigor, and they should be no more mercifull to them then they have been just to them, or then the Laws are favourable to their courses; they and theirs would indeed, as they say, be but in a miserable condition.
But whereas they from thence resolve; That therfore surely 'tis their best course to stand still upon their justification, and to go on to the last, as hitherto they have done, That is but a deceitfull as well as an impious resolution. Impious it is, and that so hideously impious, that I will spend no more breath in declaring the impiety of it, then by telling you, that this is despaire worse then Caine s; for when he had slain hisGen.4. brother, and God had told him of the cry of his brothers blood, and what panishment he must suffer for it, he did not resolve to go on in his shedding more bloods; but the guilt of that blood, which he had shed, did so torment him, that he was afraid that every one that should find him, would shed his blood: and therefore I know not with what desperate wicked resolution to match this; unlesse it be with that of Judahs, (before mentioned though in otherJer.2.25. words and from another text) when they returned this answer to the ProphetJeremiah . There is no hope, No, for I have loved strangers, and after them will I goe, And I may say of them that so resolve, as the Prophet saith of those of Judah in the next v.26.words. ‘As the theife is ashamed when he is found, &c. so will they be ashamed when God shall, in his inquisition for blood and other iniquities, finde them out and bring them to shame,they, Psal.37. their Kings (for they have set up many Kings for one) their Princes, their Priests, their Prophets.’ And for the deceitfulnesse of this resolution. Doe but rest in the Lord and wait patiently for him; not fearing thy selfe because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to passe, &c. and behold yet within a little while, and the wicked shall not be; [Page 7] Yea thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. And though the wicked still plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth; Yet the Lord shall laugh at him; for he seeth that his day is comming: And that sword which the wicked have drawn out to slay such as be of upright conversation, shall enter into their own beart. But I desire to forwarn and not to forejudge: and therefore suffer a word of expostulation before I return you back this objection so answered as I desire it.
Why do any of you despaire of your safetie and securitie, if you should now return to your obedience and dutie? Doe you distrust the mercy of the King? The truth is, your foule breach of Faith to him, and your high Rebellion against him have been such, as would provoke the meekest and most mercifull Prince that ever lived, even Moses himselfe to excessive wrath and indignation: Yea so farre was Moses provoked by a lesse Rebellion then this, that he, that had so often interceded with the Lord for that people, when the Lord was ready to destroy them, did in the heat of thatNum.16. Rebellion pray against them, at least against the ringleaders of them. But what was sometimes said of the Kings of Israel in generall. That they were mercifull Kings; is most true of the present King of England in particular. He is a mercifull King indeed,1 Kings 20.v.31. few Kings ever matcht him for that grace. It hath been made a great objection against him, that he is too mercifull; and this to be sure. He hath been so mercifull all these merciless times through, as well as formerly, that the presuming upon his mercy above his enemies justice, hath seduced not a few, that have professed themselves to be his friends, to joyn with his enemies: and they have not been ashamed to say, that they would rather hazard their lives and all that they had upon the hope of his mercy, then expose ought of theirs to the power of his adversaries. And if the censure of his reall friends indeed, as well as his pretending, be not extremly out of the way; King Charles his mercy hath been occasionally, by others abusing it, none of the least advantages to his Enemies for their bringing him and his to so much misery: and yet for my part, though it were so, I verily believe he will be no looser by it in the end, if he be not a saver by it already: For the God of mercy will not, nor hath not already, let that mercy of his go unrewarded. And for mercifulnesse hereafter. Surely the mercies of God to him in his miseries and afflictions, and the good which those afflictions and miseries sanctified unto him, have wrought in him, will not render him lesse mercifull then before, but rather far more, as having therein tasted so much of the sweet fruits of his former mercifulnesse.
[Page 8]O most pious and gracious Prince, how hath he oftentimes wept for griefe at the folly and madnesse of his Subjects in these Rebellious times; and how much more would he now weep for joy, to see any of them acknowledge their folly and madnesse, and to return to their wits and to their duties: without doubt, if that were done, they should not need to crave or beg his Pardon. He Luke 15.would prevent them by proclaiming it before they should aske it; and, like the Father of the Prodigall, representing God the Father himselfe, he would run to meet them, if he saw them comming; though afar off, and weep on their necks before they could throw themselves at his feet; yea and think no entertainment to deare for them, though some of his other Sonnes, that have all this while obeyed and served him, should perchance murmure at it: An, my deare Countrymen, King Charles hath not left out of his prayers, that petition of beseeching God to forgive him his trespasses, as he forgives them that trespasse against him: though too many of you have cast out that whole Prayer out of your Closets, Families and Churches; and therefore doe not yee measure his Charity by your own uncharitablenesse. What an injury is it to the Spirit of Grace in another, for any to think, that because I have been so wicked as to doe another so great wrong, therefore that other must needs be so cruell and uncharitable, as never to forgive me that wickednes? Why? Though God did leave thee to thy self, and so thou, through want of Grace, didst deal most injuriously and wickedly with another, yet thou canst not, without injury to the Spirit of God, conclude, that therefore he will also leave that other so to himselfe, as that he shall revenge himselfe on thee. The King is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon Rom.13 him that doth evill. And therefore having done that which is evill; yea most abominable evill, thou hast cause to be afraid, as the Apostle there argues: But withall, as thou art there told, he is also a minister of God to thee for thy good: and therefore, if thou wouldst not be afraid of the power, doe that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: Cease to doe evil, and learn to doe good; break off thy Rebellion; and return to thy Allegiance, and thou shalt finde that the King will be to thee, not a revenger to execute wrath upon thee for thy evill, because that thou hast forsaken, and abhorrest thy self for it; but a gracious receiver of thee to mercy, because thou art returned to thy dutie, and art resolved to perservere in that dutie: for the King knows well, that mercy Prov.20.v.28.as well astruth, preserves a King, and his throne is upholden by mercy. But suppose the King were not so eminently inclined to[Page 9]mercy and forgivenesse as he is. Remember what he tels you, who was a King himselfe. The Kings heart is in the hand of the Lord, Prov.21.1 as the rivers of water he turneth it whithersoever he will: and therefore doe but you turn to the Lord and to your duty, and you need not feare, but the Lord will turne the Kings heart to you, for your good. They that despaire of Gods shewing them so much mercy upon their repenting of their iniquity, as to turne the Kings heart to them, so as to remit unto them what they haveHos.11.8. deserved to suffer temporally; how can they hope for so much greater mercy from God,as that his own heart should be so turned within him, (as the Prophets expression is) as to remit to them what they have deserved to suffer eternally: if they despaire of Gods mercy in the lesser degree; how can they hope for his mercy in the greater! God does, tis confessed, oftentimes chastise and afflict (and so make use of men as his instruments for that purpose) temporally those whose sinnes he pardones and forgives eternally. As Daniel, Job , &c. But then they are not such as despaire of finding mercy in a temporall deliverance, but such as hope for mercy in a deliverance temporall, if God see it good for them, and waite in faith and patience Gods will and pleasure in it. Gods mercy is infinitely greater then mans; and so the cruelty of men may be feared, where the mercy of God is hoped for, and relied on; but that feare, where tis as it should be, does not banish the hope of deliverance from that crueltie that is most feared. David chose rather to fall into the hand of God because his mercies are great, then into the hand of man. That is; when David had sinned, and had his choyse of temporall judgements for that sin offered him by God,2 Sam.24. he chose rather to have a temporall judgement of Gods more immediate inflicting by his owne hand, such as the plague is, then a temporall judgement inflicted by the hand of man, such as the fleeing before enemies, and being pursued by them is: (and yet by the way when David did at any time, as he did often fall into the hand of man, he never dispaired of deliverance from that hand; but on the contrary patiently waited for it and confidently expected it) But David did not chuse so to fall into the hand of God, rather than the hand of man, as to adventure to doe any thing which was displeasing to God, and so to run the hazard of his punishing him either with temporall or eternall judgements, rather then to venture the displeasing of man, and so to suffer what he could lay on him which is the case of too many in these dayes. No, David knew well (what I beseech you all to consider) that in that sense,tis a fearefull thing to fall into hands of the living Heb.10.v.31. [Page 10] God, infinitely more fearefull then to fall into the hands of the most cruell of men.
To descend yet lower; for men in dispaire descend very low, and he that would lend them his hand to recover them, must follow them close. Let it be supposed, (as I am confident tis yet but a supposition) that the abused mercy and clemency of the King should be turned into the extremity of rigor & severity, and being injured by thee beyond expression, he should execute vengeance on thee beyond moderation. Tis acknowledged, that he, that is a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doth evill, may himselfe doe evill, and pull Gods wrath upon himselfe. By his executing wrath upon another; for he may soone intermixe too much of his owne wrath with it: but if he should, thou must willingly submit to the execution thereof, and leave the sinne of his executing it to himselfe to answer for, and him to God to be called to that answer: But tis a crime to be abominated by all men, upon feare of anothers punishing thee, otherwise then thou wouldest, or perhaps then he should, for thy wickednesse already committed, to proceed on therefore in thy wickednesse; and to adde to it the just desert of greater punishment, for the preventing, as thou thinkest that punishment which is too great;Vengeance is the Rom.12.Heb.10. Lords and he will repay & recompence every one according to their deeds, if not by, one revenger or executioner of his wrath, to bee sure, by another: and the suffering patiently by the hand of him, whom thou hast injured, though his hand should be heavy, may not only be a quieting to thy conscience in giving such satisfaction to the person himselfe wronged, and to the Law: but it may be also such an acceptable satisfaction to divine Justice it selfe, through him that hath otherwise fully satisfyed it, that no further satisfaction shall be required of thee for those injuries; thou having made such satisfaction to him unto whom thou didst them. And let this suffice in answer to the distrust of the Kings mercy. I have but a few words to adde concerning the Kings Party, who are by divers more distrusted then the King, and then I close up this first Consideration.
How the Kings loyal and faithful Subjects, who in obedience to Gods command and in conscience of that duty, in fidelity to the established Religion of the Church of England, & in testimony of that fidelity, in love to their Soveraignes supereminent Graces and vertues and in gratitude to God and him for his exercising them in his regall and Christian government of them and this whole Kingdome for so many yeares together, and (which must not be forgotten) in the discharge of the many naturall and civill bonds[Page 11]of Allegiance and for the performing of those many sacred and solemne vowes, and oathes made to God, for the strengthening those bonds, have adheared unto and assisted his Majesty in the defence of the established Religion, in the preservation of his sacred person, Honour and dignity, and in the maintainance of his just power, rights, and prerogatives, together with their own and your just lawes, liberties and properties: How, I say, those faithfull and loyall Subjects of the King for their adhearing to and assisting of their King upon these grounds, in these wayes, and to these ends, have beene reproached, slandered, plundered, hunted up and down, imprisoned, sequestred, banished, sold as slaves and for slaves, starved, hanged, and otherwise murthered, their wives and children, abused, oppressed, forced to live upon the charity of others, or otherwise made weary of their lives, are things so well known to your selves and to the world, that, if there be any thing that makes you to doubt of the charity of the Kings Party, tis the consciousnesse of your owne Parties unChristian, unexampled, cruel, barbarous, in-sufferable, and with any, but God and them, unpardonable dealing with them and theirs. And therefore, if any of you should come into their power, and they should exercise that power upon you to their utmost of fury and vengeance; they could not deale so ill with you, as you have done with them, except they should act over your owne Tragicall practises upon your selves; and yet still they would come farre short of you, because they should doe, what they so did, but by way of recompence where tis first deserved, and they thereunto deeply provoked, whereas you did it only in pure malice without any desert or provocation at all, more then what your owne false feares and jealousies fained and fancied. And if they should march your crueltie as farre as they were able, and reward you according to your wayes and according to your doings, which is Gods usual way of dealing with men, when no other way will doe good on them; As it would be most just with God, so the most of men would be ready to justifie them in it; and so should I, if these two cautions or conditions were truly observed; 1. If they had Gods command for it. 2. And if they could doe it without intermixing their own revenge with it: But because they have no assurance of the former, and may be assured, that they cannot observe the latter (and therefore how glorious or just soever it is for God to use whomsoever he please as the executioners of his vengeance upon others; yet tis but unhappy and uncomfortable for any to be made such instruments and executioners) upon these and such[Page 12]like reasons, I tremble to thinke of any such retaliation, and I have many other reasons to assure me, that they will abhorre to practise it.
For how ill soever you and your lying Prophets have voyced them, or how deeply soever ye have reprobated and damned them, the Kings party have to my knowledge been better instructed both from Christ and his Gospel, and from those dispensers thereof which you for other ends forced unto them, as also from their very sufferings, which you without cause have loaded them withall. They have beene taught to Rom.12.17. recompence to no man evill for evill, they have beene taught, that Mat.6.15. if they forgive not men their tresspasses, neither will their father forgive them theirs. They have been taught, to Mat. 18.12. forgive their brethren, not till seven times but till seventy times seven. They have been taught that how highly soever their fellow servants have sinned against them, yet in respect of their sinning against their own Lord and and theirs, tis not so much as the debt or dammage of anhundred pence to ten thousand talents; and therefore as they hope to be forgiven of their Lord their trespasses, so can they from their hearts forgive their fellow servants and brethren their trespasses. In a word, They have beene taught to Mat.5.44. love their enemies to blesse those that curse them, to doe good to those that hate them, and to pray for those which despitefully use them and persecute them. Thus hath their Master and his Ministers taught them, whilst your Masters and their and your new teachers, have corrupted and perverted severall Texts of Scripture to incourage you in blood and crueltie; Jud.5.23.Ier.48.v.10.Exo.32.v.20.As Curse ye Meroz , Curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof because they came not &c. Cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from blood. Consecrate your selves to day to the Lord, every man upon his sonne and upon his brother. Rase it, Rase it even to the foundation, or, as another translation reade the words, Ps.37. Down with it downe with it even to the ground &c. And happy shall he be that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones. Neither have the sufferings of the Kings party taught them any other lesson. For knowing what a double blessing is pronounced, and a manifold reward is promised to such sufferers as they have beene. As Mat.cap.5.v.12.31,12 blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousnesse sake; for theins is the kingdome of heaven; and againe, Blessed are yee when men shall revile you and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evill against you falsly for my sake; Rejoyce and be exceeding glad; for great is your reward in Heaven; for so persecuted they the Prophets, which were before you. They would not part from their clayme to that blessing, and their interests in that reward,[Page 13]and so loose the honour and comfort of all their sufferings, by seeking revenge on their revilers and persecutors, for ten thousand times more than you or your estates could advantage them. This I know to be the resolution of some of that party, and I have good cause to beleeve it will be the practise of very many: for they could never have suffered so much and so chearfully, had not these and the like principles of Grace beene in them.
And therefore it may well be hoped that he that hath layde such a Phil.x.6. foundation in them will perfect the building; and he that hath begun so good a worke in them, will performe and sinish it untill the day of Jesus Christ. And for the rest of that party, whom ye most feare, tis wisdome to feare them so much as not to exasperate them more. Yet thus fearre I dare undertake for them, (were my undertaking worthy of your notice taking) That were you in their power, as many of them have beene in yours, you should finde the most prophane, and rude among them, lesse cruell in their cruelties they and their fellows afore have found than many of your pretending Saints and holy ones, in those, which they call their mercie. But the fault is your owne if you runne your selves upon any such hazard; For make your peace with God, and Prov.16.7. he will make your enemies to be at peace with you: and returne to your Soveraigne, and there is none that have hazarded their lives, and lost their liberties and estates for him, their Religion, Lawes liberties and propertie, but would be ready and willing, upon a resettlement of all these without any more blood and other publike calamities to catch at and embrace any reasonable propositions and kisse the beautifull feete of such propounders. As therefore yee have tryed many other waies for procuring peace, and they have all failed you, so be intreated for Christs sake, who is the Prince of peace and the propitiation for our sinnes, to make tryall of this way of acknowledging your sinnes and forsaking them; which never yet failed any, and which is so infallible, as that God himselfe gives that as the reason of his giving over people, when their sinnes are come to their full measure and they ripe for ruine, Isa.6.10 to blindnesse and heardnesse of heart, lest they should be converted and be healed implying that if a people did turne from their sinnes unto him he could not but heale them. Mat.1.3. Turne thou us O Lord and we shall be turned. Turne thou us and we shall be healed. Let that be your dayly prayer to God. 25 Act. 28.27. Come Her.31.Hos.6.1. let us returne unto the Lord. For he hath wounded and he will heale us: he hath smitten, and he will bind us up: let that be your constant exhortation to one another, and practise your selves what you shall so exhort[Page 14]others. And the Lord heare and accept you in both.
Having repented of your sinnes, and in particular of your Rebellion, Blood guiltinesse, and other iniquities and impieties attending them. The next thing that you are besought to consider, is the present state and condition of Religion here in this Kingdome. That the Church of England in its Reformed established Religion was not onely a defence and refuge, but the glory and honour of all the Reformed Churches in Christendome cannot justly (and therefore I hope will not) be denyed by any of those Churches: if it should, wee are able to evince it out of the mouths of their own most learned and eminent Preachers and Professors. And had not those unhappy div sions, breaking out as they did, prevented it; the Christian world had in all probabilitie, ere this seen the happy fruits thereof in the harmonious, and of them and us much desired conformity of other reformed Churches (especially the more Eastern) as well in Discipline, as Doctrine, so far as conformity in Discipline could have been conveniently observed in severall Nationall Churches. This the Tobiah s and Sanballet s of the Church of Rome, have known and maligned so long, that their attempts against this Church and the established Religion thereof have been more, and more industriously and eagerly prosecuted, then against any Church whatsoever: though they have not omitted any opportunitie of practising their complotted designes upon any of the Reformed Churches or the members thereof. And having tryed all the other wayes and courses that they could invent, and some of them such as, I hope, will never be forgotten of this Nation. Some few yeares before the beginning of this Parliament, CardinallRicheleiu, the Politique favourite of France, and gracious sonne of Rome, used all his art and skill to kindle a fire against us in Scotland: which art and skill of his prospered too much there by the unskilfulnes and imprudence of some of our managers of Church affairs here in England. No sooner was that fire kindled, but Emissaries of Rome were sent thither to inflame it; and, the better to effect it, some of them pretended great love and affection to a new Reformation of that Kirke, even to a seeming disclaiming and detesting of their own. About the same time there were not a few of those Incendiaries dispatcht hither into England, to practise upon those of this Kingdome, that were disaffected to the established Government of this Church, or that distasted some new rites and practises, too much favoured and countenanced by some of the Governours thereof: and so far had they within a short time crept into the[Page 15]favours and Counsels of some leading men of each sort, that this Church and State began to be much distempered; Insomuch that our most Gracious and Religious Soveraign, next under Christ the prime defender of our Faith, and nursing Father of our Church and Commonweale (whom they had many other wayes assaulted but found impregnable) was perswaded, for the peace and safety of both his Kingdoms, to call a Parliament, and within a while after, for the peace and security of all his three Kingdomes, (the third being also then inflamed) to derive unto them greater liberty of continuance, but otherwise not of any power, then ever Parliament had; and, as we finde by sad and wofull experience, then they had grace to make good use of.
The Jesuites and Jesuited party finding this advantage, and feeling by the Pulse of the chief of the disaffected and discontented part of that great Assembly, how their hearts stood inclined; they applyed themselves to them in all wayes and services possible: One Jesuite, (well known to the most reverend and Religious the Primate of Ireland his Grace) was a constant Tabler and Counsellor to the Lord Brooks, an active, furious driver on of the mad factious peoples desperate turbulencies. Others applyed themselves to others, whom I forbear to name: Only one passige I must not omit. Before those worthy members of the honourable Houses of Lords and Commons, that held firm to their duty and allegiance, were forced from their stations; so bold were those Romanists grown, that an honourable member of the House of Commons was earnestly importuned by one of them, an acquaintance of his, to recommend a Petition to the House in behalf of the Romish party, for the taking off all penall laws from them; which he refusing to doe, and expostulating with the Gentleman about it, as suspecting that be came to intrap him, and to render him more distastfull to the factious party, and so more disserviceable to his King and Country; the Gentleman replyed, that he was very much mistaken; for that Petition would finde better acceptance in the House, then he thought for: And accordingly, it being soon after presented there by another (who may be presumed to account it an honour to him to be known by such a motion) viz. Mr. MARTIN, it was seconded and entertained by some of the greatest pretenders of Reformation in that assembly, till one of courage and esteem stood up and said, He was sorry that he had lived to see a Petition of that nature finde such favour in that place, wherein those prudent lawes, against which it petitioned, had been upon so good and just grounds, and with so much wisdome and deliberation[Page 16]framed; and thereupon it was for that time waved and laid aside. Since that how far theJesuites and Jesuited party have proceeded and suceeded in their prosecuting of that designe of a toleration, is sufficiently visible in the fruits thereof to every seeing eye; But because the greater part of men will neither see nor heare, or, if they doe, dare not speak what they see or heare, how prejudiciall or destructive soever it be to Religion or ought else that good is; I shall in the cause of Religion adventure a little further in the discovery of the designes of those professed enemies thereof. I have been assured by a person of Honour, that the Protestants of France, had towards the beginning of these unnaturall and un Christian wars, resolved upon a Declaration against the Parliament and Subjects of England their taking up of Arms against their King, and had published it, had not the forenamed Cardinall dashed it, and underhand wrought them to too much approbation thereof; rendering by that one subtill act of his, the said Protestants odious to their own Soveraign for approving such Antiregal, Antimonarchicall attempts, and also advancing thereby his own designe of fomenting our destructive divisions. But to return neerer home: Who, but the Jesuites and Jesuited Papists began that Rebellion in Ireland? And who but their favourors here in England drove it on to that height, by making those Rebels desperate, in selling their lands and Voting them and theirs to ruine, past all hope of mercy; by detaining the King from going thither in Person to quiet that Rebellion, when he so graciously offered it, and so piously endeavoured it; by diverting those fair, full, free, running streames of bounty and liberality flowing all this Kingdome through, towards the reliefe of the distressed Protestants of Ireland, into those foule, black, bloody rivers of Warre and Rebellion, overflowing this whole Kingdome to the wasting and weakening if not to the ruining and destroying of the now despised Protestants of England: and lastly, by the withholding and delaying, all along from the first to the last, the necessary supplies of men, moneys, armes, and other provisions from that Kingdome, notwithstanding the Kings often and often calling upon the Houses to be mindefull thereof, and conjuring them thereto (as appears by his many Messages and Declarations to that purpose) and notwithstanding the loud and dolefull cryes of the Protestants of that Kingdome from the greatest to the least so constantly ecchoing in their ears. If the Jesuites and Jesuited Papists of this Kingdome had not their hands deep in all this, and too prevalent a power with those, that had the power of ordering that[Page 17]businesse better, let any man, that knowes one hand from another, judge.
But to come yet nearer, those incendiaries of Nations and perturbers of the peace of Christendome, are fowly belyed, by one, whose brother hath been one of them these many yeares, and he himselfe is now theirs, and was then litle better. If there were not in, and about the Citty of London, and in, and neere the Armies, about 3 weekes or a month, before that heavy blow atNazeby, above sevenscore Jesuites and other Romish Priests (known the most of them to him) which kept correspondence diverse of them and gave intelligence to them atWestminster, and served them both in keeping off assistance from the King, from Princes of their Religion, and in betraying the Kings counsels and the resolutions of his Army (which they, by their instruments and favourers crowded into those quarters, got knowledge of) to the adverse party; so that they could draw the kings Army into what part of the kingdome they pleased, and there fight them, or not fight them, as they saw the advantage. Insomuch that a Noble Colonell of the Kings Party, and a man of good estate and credit, being then a Prisoner in the Counter in Southwarke, and having there fed at his table and preserved the author of this information, that had been a prisoner in the same prison, but was then by his Brothers meanes set at liberty; was, about that time before mentioned, advised upon those grounds and some other by the said informer (and that in gratitude as he affirmed, knowing no other way of acknowledging his bounty and liberality towards him) forthwith to make his composition and peace with the Parliament, for that the King would without all peradventure (yet the King was at that time in as high and hopefull condition as ever he had been in from the beginning of these warres) be brought very low. Strange propheticall counsaile a that time, had not the counselour had too strong presumption to conclude from.
And now, to speake a litle upon mine own more immediate knowledge. Travelling beyond the seas in the company of a Romish Priest, borne in England, and another English Gentlemen of the same religion; after some warme dispute between us. I was told by the Priest that I need not be so hot and zealous for my religion; for so said he, we have now as good cardes to shew for our Religion in England as you have for yours; for we perceive you are a Protestant of the established Church of England; and if you, and such as you, doe ever enjoy your Religion there againe, it[Page 18]must be by a Tolleration, and so shall we enjoy ours. I replyed, that I hoped God would disappoint them of their hopes: but since that, I found they had too much cause so to presume? for I was no soonet arrived here in England, but, being constrained to attend some Parliament men atWestminster; I heard a Gentleman (who by his habit and discourse seemed one of credit and trust among the Romanists) soliciting another Gentleman (whose Father had been a Parliament man, but was then dead) for the assisting him by his friends in the promoting of a Petition for a Toleration of their Religion: and he told him, amongst other discourse, what progresse he had made therein, both with some prime Commanders of the Army, and with divers members of the House of Commons; (whose names, for the present I conceale) and that he had delivered three Petitions to that purpose into the hands of three of the House of Commons, who had undertaken the recommending them to the House, and promised him their best furtherance therein: so that he did not much doubt of the successe, but yet should be obliged to him, if he would be pleased to contribute thereto. The party solicited replied. He should doe him any service, and the Petition desired no more, then he apprehended to be according to the judgement of the times in point of liberty of Conscience: when I heard this, and observed how liberty of conscience was every where contended for; I no longer wondered at the cooling Cards which the Priest gave me: for I perceived they of his part had plaid their Cards so well, that they might afforded any of us the knowledge of such a triumph: nor did I then think it strange (which, but a few dayes before I admired) that so many Jesuits and other Priests did daily flock into this Kingdome from France , Flanders , and the Countries adjacent, and all by the way ofHolland; there having been nine or ten such newly shipt at the Brill, under the same Convoy, if not in the same Vessell, that Master Strickland the Parliaments Agent forHolland, came over in about Michaelmas last; and multitudes of them more have been there, and in other Parts of the Low Countries, past for England within few moneths; when, God knows, many worthy Ministers of the Church of England driven beyond the Seas, choose rather to endure some hardship there amongst strangers, then yet to adventure the hazard of worse usage here in their own Country. These things, I thought it my duty to acquaint you with, as I have done others already upon all occasions both in publike and in private: and, though perhaps they may be sleighted by some engaged with the Sectaries, calling[Page 19]themselves Protestants, or quarrelled by others, that are professed Papists, I solemnly avouch before the Almighty God of truth, that I have not falsifyed in the least particular of what I have spoken upon mine own knowledge, nor varied, so far as my memory would serve me, from what others, and they men of known honour and honesty, have informed me. I know well that tis a foule sinne to Job.13.7. speake wickedly for God, or to talke deceatfully for him, (as Job sometimes intimated to his friends) and I abhor to be charged with a Romish trick my self, whilest I endeavour to discover some of theirs. Had divers of this Nation but that courage and spirit, as to speak what they know to this purpose, and but that love and zeale to the established Protestant Religion, as to thinke it worthy of their adventuring that courage and spirit which they have in that service; you would finde that all this little that I have said, is scarce the gleanings to their harvest, or an handfull to their Barnsfull, for the clearing this discovery of the Jesuits and Jesuited Papists, having their hands deep in all our miseries, and a desperate designe upon our Religion: And let such take heed that God doe not one day require it at their hands in vengeance, for that they did it not, when he required it of them in dutie.
I know there are some in this Kingdome of the Romish Religion, that have given ample and honourable testimonies of their Allegiance and fidelity to their Soveraign, and of their love to their Country: for which they deserve all Christian and civill respect and honour that can be shewn them (and that makes me so often to use that limitation of Jesuites and Jesuited, to distinguish them from such, which, as hath been often and truly said, like Sampsons Foxes look contrary wayes to our furious Separatists and other Sectaries, but joyn with them in the setting this Kingdome on fire.) But tis to be feared, that if Religion should come again to be contested for betwixt the Protestants and Papists here in England, (which God of his mercy forbid) the most moderate and loyall amongst the Popish party, would loose no advantage that they could catch or lay hold on, for the exalting of their own Religion, and the pulling down and destroving ours: And tis certain, that since the first Reformation of Religion in this Kingdome, they never had so great advantages given them to that purpose. It was a frequent saying of an ancient and knowing Dr. in Cambridge, that had very much observed, as well as too much served the times, in alteration of Religion (and I have heard it severall times cited by a most learned and reverend Professor of that University in his Commencement Orations) That if ever Popery came into this Land again to have any power, it [Page 20]would be by the Precisian called then the Puritan. And what an open broad way the Precisians or Puritans properly so called have made for Popery to march in; or (to use the Prophet Ezekiels expression) how they haveEzek.25.v.9. opened the sides of this Church to those enemies of that Faction to enter and repossesse her, and what arms and amunition of all sorts, they have furnished them with, and what ayde and encouragement of all kindes, they have given them, to make good their entrance and keep their possession, is very deplorable to consider, and much more deplorable, that tis not considered as it should.
The most learned and acute Divines and Artists are driven from the Schools and Colledges in both Universities: The most Orthodox and conscientious Pastors and Teachers are forced from their Pulpits and Pastorall charges: The most reverend and renowned Bishops are cast out of their Bishopricks, and Episcopall power and jurisdictions: and all these are robbed and deprived of their livelyhoods and necessary subsistance, (yea, many of them of their lives) and all others that shall succeed them, of all hopes of any honourable encouragements: And what then may not the enemies of our Religion doe, when so much is already done to their hands towards the undoing of this lately most flourishing, but now languishing Church of England? Who shall dare to take up the weapons, or venture on an encounter with the Adversary, when all our stout Champions are gone, and onely Children and weaklings, with unexpert Tradesmen and Mechanicks are left to graple with Giants and experienced warriers? Take away the encouragements, and you take away the sin ws of warre: who will goe to war at their own costs; especiall, when they know where good pay and good preferment too are to be had in another service? There are too few that serve God out of pure zeale and meer conscience. In the combate between the Flesh and the Spirit, the Flesh ought to be mortified and kept down as much as possibly may be: but in all incounters, wherein the Flesh is to joyn with the Spirit against a third adversary; there tis best to let the Flesh have its neceslaries; yea, and its honest allurements and encouragements to, or else the Spirit will be but ill assisted and served by it. It hath been severall times attempted (and the poore simple Country people have been put upon it, and incited to it, with much earnestnesse and no little deceit) That all Tithes should also be taken away from the Clergie, and the Ministery be provided for by way of Pension or Benevolence: And truely were I one of the Church of Rome, or wisht well to the returning of her[Page 21]power and tyranny into this Nation, I would now, after the taking away of Bishops lands and revenues, with the other dignities and honourable maintenance of the Church, most sacrilegiously torn from the Governours and Ministers thereof, labour and endeavour nothing more. For then to bee sure none should dare to speake ought in Pulpits, no, nor whisper ought any where else, against any errour or heresie, or against any vice or wickednes whatsoever, that should finde any favour or countenance in his Parish, or in any of his parishioners of power and ability, for fear of being cut short in his allowance; if not for the present, yet at the next Session of Commissioners, who would perhaps be so wise of themselves, as to think the case might otherwise be some of theirs; or, to be sure, that would be intimated to them, as it hath been too often suggested unto Juries in tryals for Tythes: And then doubt not, but the Popish party would be as active and subtill in stealing in their leaven into every Parish, as any other hereticks could be, and a little more able to enforce arguments for the promoting it: for the Church of Rome wants no policie, nor meanes, nor instruments to improve it. And if the maintainance of the Protestant Clergie, were but as poore and contemptible, as is desired by many; the Clergie it self would soon be as base and despicable, as could be wisht by any; and then, besides the peoples growing like their Priests: (which;) constant observation hath made a Proverb, it would be no small temptation to such a Clergie, upon hopes and promise of recovering their old ancient honorable portions and revenues, to desert that Religion, which allows their Ministers such miserable starving pittances, and to embrace that, which rewards theirs with such liberall, plentifull rewards. Much more might be said to that point; but I touch it onely in relation to the designe of the Popish party, who have been and still are the principall instigators to all sacrilegious acts and resolutions in this Kingdome, and will be, without all peradventure, the greatest gainers thereby: not that they themselves would practise the same, when they should come into power, but because they know there is no more ready way for them to come into power, then by such practisces of ours which would both render the Clergie of this Kingdome contemptible to the people, and the people not a little odious to them, as also otherwise fit and prepare both for their working them into what they shall please.
To tell you that a prodigious rabble of damnable heresies and pernicious errours are crept, or rather brought with full sayles at mid-day, into this miserably distracted Kingdome, and that multitudes are daily bred and hatcht up within, were but to tell you[Page 22]your own dreames; the true fathers and mothers of diverse of that spurious issue.Jude.v.9.(Filthy dreamers, that defile the flesh, despise Dominions, and speake evill of dignities) But who have been the principall factors for the bringing in, and the cheife brokers for the venting of those from other parts, as also the chief fom nters of these started up here at home? why, who but the Jesuites and their complices? who have for that purpose transformed themselves like their great master into all shapes, and become Anabaptists to the Anabaptists, Antinomians to the Antinomians, Familists to the Familists, and all things to all men, that they might deceive the more. And no more probable way of making proselytes to themselves then this. For the most of that numberlesse number, that have been poysoned, or tainted with those heresies and errours, are either such, as have no principles of Religion at all in them, but are (like those SaintJude speaks of)Jude.v.12.Ephes.4.14. clouds without water carried about with windes, even every winde of doctrine by the sleight of man, and cunning craftinesse, whereby they lye in wait to deceive: and such are as fit to be carryed about by the winde of Popery, as of any other doctrin; or else they are such, as have in them already good store of Popish principles properly so called; how odious so ever for the present the name of popish or papists be, or seems to be unto them: and of these there are a vast number, as will easily appeare to any understanding man, that shall but compare the frequent tenets or positions held and asserted in these times, with the known principles of Popery, truly so called. The Gangraena (a booke written by MrEdwards, and so intituled) will furrish any man with enough, and yet he leaves out some Principle ones: as THAT TIS LAWFULL FOR THE SUBJECTS TO TAKE UP ARMES AGAINST THEIR SOVERAIGN; That Ecclesiasticall Courts are independent on the Civill; That officious lying and equivocating is justifiable, with many others. Now how easie will it be for the Serpent, when he hath thus gotten in a part of his body, to winde in all the rest? and how hard will it be, when such poyson and infection hath diffused it selfe through so many parts of the body, to purge it out againe? Men are too prone of themselves, through their pride, selfelove, and perversenesse, to defend their own errours to their utmost; and will oftentimes deny many known truths, rather then be brought to acknowledge one received errour; yea, will sooner part from those remains of truth, that are in them, then part from some errours taken up by them: what then will such men doe, when they shall be backt and encouraged therein[Page 23]by so powerfull and subtill a party, as the Romish is? Besides, if the Popish party should gaine no more proselytes, (as who sees not, that they gaine more in one moneth, then they did formerly in seven years; and have gained more in these six or seven years last past, then they had done in all those other years past since the Reformation) yet if they can, by their broaching of, and by their inviting and inciting to heresies and errours, bring but our Church to confusion; they hope to triumph and insult upon our ruines, like those Lam.5.18. Foxes upon the desolate mountaine of Zion: And, if any Church be raised out of the rubbish and ruines of ours, or any Religion be generated out of the corruption of ours, they presume, and not without cause, that it will be theirs. And that they expect some such day, may be many wayes collected; and particularly, from their sparing ingagements for the King in all his distresse, either by their Persons or Estates (excepting onely some few loyall and noble spirited ones, that were (to their honour be it acknowledged) as liberall of their Bloods and Estates as Subjects could be) as also from their present forbearing to appear for him. To all which, I must confesse, they have been well incouraged, for the most of them have enjoyed more of their Estates, and made easier Compositions for them, then the most known Orthodox Protestants have.
And here by the way, I cannot but recall to your memories, some letters sent down to some of you from some members chosen for this County, in answer to some of yours, concerning the receiving of contribution from Popish Recusants, upon the Propositions for Horses, Money, or Plate, at the beginning of these wars. In which letters you were told, as some of you have confessed That it was the sense of the House, that contribution should be received from Popish Recusants; provided, that it were such as might witnesse their affection to the cause, and not argue onely a desire to save themselves, or to that effect. And whether they did then contribute with you or not to the raysing of that cursed warre; to be sure (except, as I said but now, some few of them) they have, from that time to this, contributed very little to the King for his defence against it: And I beseech God, that that war seconded by this may contribute no more to the terrible designes of some of that party; though there need no other contribution to the exalting of the Throne of AntiChrist, then the2.Thes.2. sending of a people strong delusion that they should believe a Lie: & there needs nothing to be said for the demonstrating how fouly and grosly we of this Nation have been so deluded, and are contented[Page 24]if not desirous still so to be. I remember well, and shall do whilest I have breath, what I heard fall from the mouth of that Apostolicall, (I wish I might not in that particular say,) that Propheticall Preacher, the matchlesse Primate of Ireland, (matchlesse for the Graces of God in him, as well as for that Grace of Primacy conferred on him) in one of his constant Lords day Sermons inOxford . I feare not, said he, those Feltmakers, Weavers, Coblers, &c. that are risen up amongst us, sowers of Sedition and broachers of Heresies and Errours: but those with whom I feare, we shall have the strongest struggling, are those Giantlike Jesuits, trained up men of warre from their youth: these, these are they whom we have all cause to feare; as those, with whom wee shall have the last and sorest pull for our Religion God grant it prove not so: But if we go on in the rending and tearing out one anothers thoats; and the Hereticks and Schismaticks go on in their rending and tearing the very bowels of our Church, who can expect lesse? Who is there that hath read or heard of Christs way in planting and propagating of his Gospell of truth, and in acquainting men with the mysteries of Godlinesse; and of the way in AntiChrist in planting and propagating his Doctrine of lyes, and in possessing men with the mystery of iniquity; that can expect from Sects of Heresie and Schisme, sown by the enemy in the furrows of mens hearts, filled with malice and all uncharitablenesse, and watered with the bloods of so many thousands of their fellow Christians, any other Harvest then of Popery and AntiChristianisme?
Be ye then supplicated, (O all yee that have any love unto, or care of, the preservation of the true Protestant Religion) to take the sad deplorable condition thereof into your most serious consideration, and speedily to apply your selves with all your art and skill, and with all your might and power, to the resisting and countermining of its openly professed and secretly conspiring enemies, and to the ayding and assisting of its known, and by these late persecutions and temptations throughly tryed friends. Think soberly and sadly with your selves (God's cleansing your thoughts from all selfefavour and brotherprejudice being first implored) whether they, to whom in the beginnings of these miseries you first adhered, and who then made you so many faire and large promises, and tooke some solemne Protestations, Vows and Oathes in the presence of God, to Defend and Maintaine the true Established PROTESTANT RELIGION, have made good those promises, Protestations, Vows and Oaths, yea or no.
[Page 25]If they have, what meanes the lowing andbellowing of such herds of notorious abominable Hereticks of all sorts, and the bleating andbawling of such flocks of furious Schismaticks of all cuts in every corner of this Kingdome? Yea, what meane those favourable excuses, and defensive Apologies published to the Kingdome in one of the late Declarations in answer to the Scots, that complained thereof? What meanes also their suppressing and silencing of all, or the most of the known, religious, Orthodox, Protestant Preachers throughout the Kingdome, sequestering their livings, and clapping them up into Prisons, and then setting up Antinomian, Anabaptisticall, Socinian, Jesuiticall, and other notoriously hereticall Teachers and lying Prophets in their roomes? What meanes the blasting of the established Doctrine of the Church of England, as being corrupt and erroneous, such as needs Reformation? What meanes the blaspheming the Lords Prayer, and Apostles Creed commonly so called, and rejecting them from being publikely used in anie Congregations? And what meanes the casting out and condemning the whole Book of Common-Prayer, and Administration of the Sacraments, which had so often and so long been found and made use of, as one of our strongest outworkes and fortifications against Popery and other Heresies, as well as an incomparable and unparallelled rule and forme of publike Worship and Devotion? In a word, what meanes the entertaining of Petitions for the Toleration of Popery, forbearing only the granting them their requests, till the people be a little better prepared by that Doctrine of Liberty of Conscience? Bethinke your selves also, whether they, to whom ye now give up your selves to serve with your lives and estates, and joyne with in all their rebellions and bloodie enterprizes, have not sufficiently declared their disaffection unto, yea and their hatred and detestation of the true Protestant Religion. What meane else their retaining only such Chaplains amongst them, as hold far more principles of the Popish Religion then Protestant, and have expressely renounced the established Protestant Religion of the Church of England? Or why doe they, like those Rebells against the house of David , make to themseves both high places to worship in, and Priests of the lowest of the people, to minister unto them? And why do they proclaime the liberty of being of any Religion, or of no Religion at all, rather then of the established Religion of our Church? If there be anie so stupid as to thinke that the leadingmen eithther atWestminster,[Page 26]or in the Army, or their active adherents, are at the present men of other affections and resolutions, more then what the present oppositions and their want of power to withstand them, and to crush the opposers to pieces, do constraine them to dissemble; I shall admire their stupidity, and lament their weaknesse, unlesse they can produce some better evidence of their retracting their former errors, of their repenting of their former iniquities, and of their returning to their God, and to their duties, then their own bare words, so often broken and contradicted by their actions. And yet which of you can shew so much as the Armies words for any good intended by them either to this Church or Common wealth, or so much as to you of this County, that have hazarded your honours, estates, lives and fortunes?
And for the promise of those atWestminster, call but to mind the successe of that Petition of the Ministers of this County and ofEssex, presented to both Houses in these dolefull termes.
That your solemne League and Covenant, your great and glorious victories, the expectation of the Reformed Churches beyond the Seas, the longing desires of our Brethren of Scotland , the Humble Petitions of the Reverend Assembly and the great City of the Kingdome, the pressing miseries of the Orthodox and well affected Ministers and people in the Country, (here is a Letanie of conjurations indeed, enough to conjure any that would come within compasse of any figure) cry aloud to your Honours for the settlement of Church Government according to the word. Then followes. For the want of this it is Right Honourable, that the name of the most high God is blasphemed, his precious Truths corrupted, his Word despised, his Ministers discouraged, his Ordinances vilified. Hence it is that Schism, Heresie, Ignorance, Prophanesse, and Atheisme flow in upon us, Seducers multiply, grow daring and insolent, pernicious bookes poyson many soules, Piety and Learning decay apace, verie manie Congregations lie wast without Pastors, the Sacrament of Baptism by many neglected, and by many reiterated, the Lords Supper generally disused, or exceedingly prophaned, confusion and ruine threatning us in all our quarters.
In all Humility therefore, &c. we out of conscience and in tender regard to the glory of God and the salvation of our people, beseech your Honours, that a form of Church Government, according to the Word of God and the example of the best [Page 27] formed Churches, may with all possible speed be perfected and confirmed by your civill sanction, that Schismaticks, Hereticks, Seducing Teachers, and soulesubverting bookes be effectually suppressed, &c.
And what was their answer? The Lords they answered like Lords, professing much joy at the zeale and care of the Ministers of those Counties for the preventing the further increase of Heresie, & Prophanenesse, &c. They desire them to continue in their indeavours therin, & say they will not be wanting to give them al incouragement, &c. they assure them that they wil improve their power for suppressing of Error, Heresie, seducing Teachers, and soulsubverting books, & likewise for the setling of Church Go vernment according to the Word of God, &c. Here was a Lordly answer, but that they had not consulted the House of Commons; for they return another, and indeed their common answer, viz. That the most of the particular desires of their Petition were then under consideration, and they hope will be brought to a settlement speedily, &c. O the miraculous care and diligence of that House! There was scarce ever any Petition, for redresse or reliefe in any things presented unto them, but they were just then in Consideration of them, and hoped that they would be speedily ordered as they desired, only through some intervening obstructions they could not do as they would. But how came it to passe that the Commons had most of those particulars under their consideration, and had proceeded so far in them as to hope for a speedie settlement therein, and yet the Lords knew of no such thing, at least for got it quite in their answer? Well but let that passe: How much of all these faire promises hath been performed either by the one House or the other from that time to this? Why so nothing but the just contrarie, that everie abomination complained of in that Petition is increased to that height, and hath received that countenance from some of the Petitioned (as well as some of the Petitioners) that though each of them deserve a particular sad complaint (in a sharp Petition) yet 'tis thought but vain for any to petition or complain to them of them all. And do but remember what successe all other Petitions since that from other Counties, either for Religion, or King, or Lawes, or ought else that good is, have found at their hands, and hope for reliefe or redresse from them if you can.
Examine throughly in the last place, whether those men both of the Clergie and Laity, which have been since these unhappie divisions, reviled, slandered and persecuted under the names of [Page 28]Popish and Popishly-affected persons, have not in former times been to their power verie manie of them, as zealous propugners of the Protestant Religion, and as earnest opposers of Poperie and Superstition, and whatsoever seemed to incline that way, as anie men whatsoever, yea above anie of those whom ye now most adore: as also, whether they have not, all these sad times through, to the eternall honour of their Religion, as well as of themselves, both in their owne and in other Nations (as manie of them of note as have been forced abroad) held firm to their first faith, and to each principle thereof, notwithstanding all temptations of poverty and want attending that their constancy, and all allurements of large supplies and honourable imployment and preferment, if they would desert or dissemble it; whiles they, whom ye have cried up, magnified and idolized as the great Pillars and supporters of the Protestant Religion, have both in former times failed like staves ofreed, and falsified like broken bowes, and now in these times have shuffled and shifted not only from post to pillar, but from seeming to be pillars in one profession, to seeming and being anie thing, that might serve the times in another, even to their owne everlasting shame, and to the reproach of that Religion which they have pretended.
Put these and all those other particulars mentioned in this second consideration together, and then judge whether it be not high time for all those that are true Protestants indeed (according to that distinctive name so long used) to look to their Religion, and to themselves, least otherwise they be suddenly cheated of it, or at least of the happy and long injoyed freedome of professing and exercising it, and that by those that pretended and so seemed for a while, to be most devoted to it, and least Popery so much objected, and so falsly charged upon those that least deserved it, be within a while obtruded on them by those who have suggested those objections and forged those accusations, as the stales and cries whereby to draw men within compasse of their nets and snares, there being no such ready way to catch and insnare any creatures, as by imitating their cries and calls, and by setting some of their owne kind, or somethings verie like them for stales. You cannot but remember who it was (for his blood is yet fresh in some of your skirts) that told you when he was on the Scaffold, that it was part of his Prayer, that the tumultuous people of this Nation might not be like those Pharisees and their followers, who pretending a feare of the[Page 29] John.11.48 Romans coming and taking away their place and Nation, when there was no such cause, only they made use of that suggestion to further their mischievous designe of murthering the innocent, had at last the Romans brought upon them indeed, and were utterly ruined by them. The factious tumultuous people of this Nation have in all other things the most resembled the pharisees, that ever did any people. God of his mercy grant, that they do not also resemble them in this.
3. Next to the consideration of the dangerous and deplorable condition of Religion here in this Kingdome, be pleased (as many of you as have any spark of Religion in you) timely to consider the state and condition of your King. I forbeare the assaying any description of his condition, because 'tis so well knowne, and so far beyond the being comprehensible in a description by the best of Artists: as I likewise abstaine from all Epithetes, or Periphrases to set it out by, or to set mens passions on worke to condole it, the condition of our King being above all sympathie of passion, even of his most loving and compassionate Subjects, as well as expression of language of the most fluent and passionate of Orators. I have heard it objected against a reverend and deare brothersufferer in these times, (though without any just cause alledged) that he ascends too high when he compares so many of our Kings sufferings with some of our Saviours, which I am assured he did, neither with the least intent of flattering his Majestie, (then in no condition to be flattered) nor without all due feare of approaching neer the verge of Blasphemy, then, and ever so much abhorred by him, but on the other side, with all due honour to our blessed Saviours sufferings, and with no small comfort to the King and to all that suffered with them, that his sufferings were and are so conformable to them, and he himselfe therein to his and our Saviours image. And although I sleight the objection, yet I shall avoid the occasion of having any Phil.3.10.Rom.8.29.such throwne in my way: and because I may not without some scandall taken, make use of any such comparison, I shall not compare them at all with anie other sufferings, there being none other that ever I have read or heard of, that do in all respects match them. Take them therefore in their bare narration, thus.
Charles King of GreatBritaine, the first of that name, the only surviving Son and the immediate successour to his royall Father KingJames, to whom this whole Kingdome by their Representatives in Parliament, after a large commemoration[Page 30] 1.Jacob.1.of the inestimable and unspeakable benefits (as they truly called them) powred upon this Nation by his becoming our King, and after great and high expressions of joy, and rejoying at the same, not forgetting their thanks to Almighty God for that blessing, as also after a modest repetition of that their Soveraignes personall gifts and graces, and the assured fruits and effects thereof, which they had tasted in that little time of his Government, together with an humble and hearty profession of constant faith, obedience, and loyalty to his Majesty, and to his Royall Progeny, made this acknowledgement and promise in these very words.
We therefore your most humble and loyall Subjects, the Lords Spirituall and Temporall, and the Commons in this present Parliament assembled, do from the bottome of our hearts yeeld to the divine Majesty all humble thanks and praises, not onely for the said unspeakable and inestimable benefits and blessings before mentioned, but also that he hath further inriched your Highnesse with a most Royall Progenie of most rare and excellent gifts and forwardnesse; and in his goodnesse is like to increase the happy number of them. And in most humble and lowly manner, do beseech your most excellent Majesty, that (as a memoriall to all posterities, amongst the Records of your high Court of Parliament for ever to endure, of our Loyalty, obedience, and hearty and humble affection) it may be published and declared in this high Court of Parliament, and enacted by authority of the saute; that we (being bounden thereunto both by the Lawes of God, and man) doe recognize and acknowledge (and thereby expresse our unspeakable joyes) that immediately upon the dissolution and decease ofELIZABETH late Quéen of England, the Imperiall Crowne of the Realme of England, and of all the Kingdomes, Dominions; & Rights belonging to the same, did by Inherent birthright, and lawfull and undoubted succession, descend and come to your most excellent Majesty, as being lineally, justly and lawfully, next and sole Heire of the Blood Royall of this Realme, as is aforesaid: And that by the goodnesse of Almighty God, & lawfull Right of Descent, under one Imperiall Crown, your Majesty is of the Realmes and Kingdomes of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland, the most potent and mighty King; and by Gods goodnesse, more able to protect and governe us your loving Subjects in all peace and plenty, then any of your noble Progenitors. And thereunto we most humbly and faithfully submit and oblige our selves, our Heires and Posterities for ever, untill the last drop of our bloods be spent: And do beseech your Majesty to accept the same, as the first fruits in this high Court of Parliament, of our loyalty and faith to your Majesty, and your Royall Progeny and Posterity for ever.
[Page 31]O the shamelesse degeneration and falsification of these times!
Charles, to whom his Subjects, each one for himself, and in particular every Member of the House of Commons, when he was admitted a Member of that House, solemnly sware,
That he did testifie and declare in his conscience, that he the Kings Highnesse is the onely supreme Governour of this Realm, and of all other his Highnesse Dominions and Countries, as well in all Spirituall or Ecclesiasticall things or Causes, as Temporall, &c. And that he would beare Faith and true Allegiance to the Kings Highnesse, his Heires and lawfull Successors, and to his power assist & defend all Jurisdictions, Priviledges, Preheminences & Authorities granted or belonging to the Kings Highnes His Heires and Successors, &c. as followes in the Oath of Supremacy, as also againe in the Oath of Allegiance, That he would beare Faith and true Allegiance to His Majesty, his Heires and Surcessors, and him and them would defend, to the uttermost of his power, against all conspiracies and attempts whatsoever, which should be made against his or their Persons, their Crowne and Dignity, by reason or colour of any sentence of Excommunication or Deprivation made or granted by the Pope, &c. or otherwise, and would do his best endeavour to disclose and make known unto His Majesty, his Heires and Successors, all Treasons and traiterous conspiracies, which he should know or heare of to be against him, or any of them.
Oh the damnable perjury of these times!
Charles , whose Person, Honour, and Estate the same Members of the House of Commons did, on May 3. 1641. in the presence of Almighty God promise, vow, and protest to maintain and defend, as far as lawfully they might, with their Lives, Power, and Estates, according to their allegiance; and that they would according to their Power, and as far as lawfully they might, oppose, and by all good waies and meanes indeavonr to bring to condigne punishment all such, as should either by force, practise, counsell, plots, conspiracies or otherwise, do any thing to the contrarie, &c. Which Protestation was afterwards recommended by the Vote of the House July 30. 1641. to be taken by everie person well affected in Religion, and to the good of the Commonwealth, and was accordingly taken by the most of the Kingdome.
Oh the multiplied perjurie and the sacrilegious breaking of Vowes, Promises and Protestations perperated in these times!
Charles whoseSupremacy and power over all Persons and in all causes within his Dominions, the Subjects of this Kingdome have so many yeares acknowledged unto God in their praiers,[Page 32]in their Publike Liturgie, and in their praiers before their Sermons; and for whom they have pretended to beg so manie mercies and blessings, and to returne to God such hearty and solemne thanks and praise.
Oh the abominable juggling with God, and mocking of him, and lying to him, discovered in these times.
Charles the Defender of our Faith, the Protector and Patron of our Religion, the Nursing father of our Church and Commonweale, Lam.4.20. the light of our eyes, the breath of our Nostrills; of whom we said (as the people of Judah did of Josiah) under his shadow wee shall live; yea of whom we must confesse, that we did live under his shadow for manie yeares together (and might have done to this instant, had we not run from the Judges9. Olive tree to a Bramble Bush) in that peace and tranquillity, in that honour and renowne, in that abundance of wealth and plenty of all things that could render us happy, save grace to know it and be thankfull to God and him for it, that never any people enjoyed greater, if anie so great.
Oh the sordid ingratitude of these times!
Charles, not the RELIGIOUS onely, or the JUST, or the MERCIFULL, or the CHARITABLE, or the VALIANT, or the WISE, or the TEMPERATE, or the CHAST, or the COURTEOUS, or the LOVING, or the MEEK, or the HUMBLE, but all these, and acompendium of all other graces and virtues, and they in such supereminency, as that it hath been thought an eternall honor to other Princes to deserve the title of but one such to adorn their other glories, and perpetuate their memories.
O the prodigious wickednesse and impiety of these times!
This verie Charles (Be astonished O ye Heavens and stand amazed all ye Nations of the earth) This verie KING Charles, by his owne Subjects, by his own Servants, by his own professed Friends, by his own great Counsell called by his Writ to advise with him, and authorised by his power alone to sit in Parliament with him, hath been driven from his great Councell, forced to flie from one part of his Kingdom to another, hunted like a Partridge on the mountaines, pursued with Armies, fought with in sundrie battailes, struck at and shot at with all the force and malice, that hands and hearts strenthened and incouraged with rage and furie, and compleatly furnished with all the bloodie instruments of Warre, could possibly lay on, betrayed, sold, hurried from Prison to Prison, separated from his dearest Consort and [Page 353] Children, mocked, seorned, contemned, railed on, libelled in Pamphlets, Hues and Cries, Votes, Declarations, Sermons, Prayers, and robbed of all his revenues, plate, jewels and regall ornaments, deprived of verie necessaries, both of food and raiment, (Gush out O teares, or break O heart, for I am not able to go on till my head or heart hath given one the other some ease:) This verie King Charles hath been at the last, after all these and many other barbarous cruelties practised on him, thrust into close Prison, denied the comfort of any Chaplaine, the attendance of any other servant, and the accesse of anie faithfull Subject,treated worse then anie villain or murderer, assayed by villaines to be murthered, and to incourage them thereunto, Votes have been passed in both Houses for no further addresses to be made to him, and no message to be received from him but he adjudged unfit to governe. And why I beseech you? why this King Charles will not break his oath solemnly taken at his Coronation, he will not consent to Sacriledge; he will not yeild unto a toleration of Poperie and of all other Heresies and Schisms, under the title of Libertie of Conscience; he will not part from all his power of punishing those that do wickedly, and of protecting those that do righteously: upon that pretence of setling the Militia in safe hands; he will not suffer an Armie of 50. or 60. thousand under that name Militia to be kept and quartered in this Kingdom for the oppressing of himselfe, his Posteritie, and his Subjects; he will not grant Libertie to those Houses to sit where they please, who have alreadie so ill requited his former grant of sitting as long as they please, least they and their Armie should keep house together, and when the Citie will no longer endure them, the Countrie be forced to beare them or break under them; he will not indure compeeres and copartners with himselfe in his Royall Throne, Rights and Prerogatives, under the name of a standing Committee or States Commissioners, he will not deliver up his Loyall Subjects and faithfull friends and servants to the mercilesse cruelties of his and their implacable enemies: and in a word he will not betray that trust that God hath committed to him, and that his Subjects repose in him. These must be confessed when mens consciences are awakened, to be the principal causes so far as concerns the provoking of men, why this so supereminently Gracious King hath and doth yet suffer such inexpressibly grievous persecutions. And amongst all these causes, his not yeilding to a toleration of Poperie & other Heresies and Shisms,[Page 34]is none of the least provoking, as may well be thought, if the reflecting upon the principall contrivers and continuers of his Majesties and this Kingdomes miseries hath that inpression in our thoughts that it ought to have: for what else can it be that should render so religious and virtuous a Prince so distastefull and hatefull, not only to all Hereticks and Shismaticks here at home which everie one knowes; but also to all or the most Jesuites and Priests beyond the Seas, which is sufficiently known to those men of Honour and worth that have lived among them; there being no man more distasted and hated of those of that stampe, then the persecuted King of England. And if those Kingkillers can but prevaile with their fellow Jesuites the furious Sectaries of these times (as they have throughly prepared them for it) to take away his precious life, to be sure it shall be suddenly done, for no man lies long under their hatred, that they can possibly remove out of the way. And what a justification would this be to all their assassinations? what a satisfaction to their desires? what a staine and wound to the Protestant Religion, and what an advantagious service to the Romish? and what vengeance of vengeances must it needs pull upon this whole Nation, that have had so often and so loud warnings of it, and do not (as by severall oaths and manie other bonds they are obliged) hazard their owne lives to prevent it, but still contribute towards it by assisting those that contrive and complot it.
It is recorded of Josiah, one of the best Kings of Judah, that being taken in the 2Chron.chap.35.Lam.4.20. pits of the AEgyptians, (as Jeremies phrase is) and slaine by them, both the Prophet Jeremiah lamented for him, and all Judah, even the singing men and the singing women spake of him in their lamentations for a long time after his death, and they made them an Ordinance inIsrael (it seems the remaines ofIsrael joyned with Judah in that mourning) for the lamenting of him: And this was such a great mourning, that the Spirit of God speakes of the greatnesse of it many yeares after. But should ourZeb12.11. Josiah (which the Lord of Lords, and King of Kings of his mercy forbid) be slaine by those A Egyptians that have him now in their pits, not onely our Jeremiahs, our great Prophets, but all the Prophets and Prophets Sons throughout this Nation, (the lying Apostatizing Prophets only excepted, that have deserted their Religion upon that destructive alteration suggested) yea, and all the men, women, and children of these three Kingdomes that wish well to the Protestant Religion [Page 35]and the good of these Kingdomes, would excessively lament it unto all posterities, though we have too much cause to believe that we should never obtaine an Ordinance for it from those Ordinance-makers that now beare rule: beware then in time, and that time is very short.
You have had such triall of King Charles his fidelity and firmnesse to the Protestant Religion, as never Prince gave the like; and I hope, never Prince either in this or any other Nation shall be put to the like; for he hath had as great and as strong temptations, as prosperity and adversity in the height and depth of both could court or torment with, even such as would have made aLuther, or aCalvin, a Cranmer, or aRidley, or anie other of the most renowned confessors, or Martyrs of the Reformed Religion, either to have sunk or shrunk under them; or else would have rendered them far more glorious then their confessions or suffrings did or could render them, though they want for no accesse of Glorie on Earth or reward in Heaven. Beware then I say in time, for if King Charles should come to resist unto blood, as he hath alreadie often done to the extremitie of hazard of it, and that Royall Religious blood of his should be shed by you, that professe your selves to be of the same Religion with him, (if of anie at all) either by your contributing money, horse, armes, personall assistance, or ought else, to those that thirst and hunt after his blood, and to the resisting of those that seek with the expence of their own to save it, or else by their not contributing what is in your power, to the hazzard of your own lives for the preservation of his still in such known hazzard; (for they that preserve not blood from being shed, when it is in their power to preserve it, are undoubtedly guiltie of shedding it:) Besides the deep everlasting staine that you would thereby bring upon the Protestant Religion, such a guilt and horror would withall seize upon your soules when God should come to Psal.50.21 set your sinnes in order before your eyes (as doubtlesse he will sooner or later) that if ye did not like some Murtherers beleeve that whatsoever ye lookt on, ye behold King Charles his bleeding sides, and whatsoever ye eat or drank, ye tasted King Charles his Blood; yet would ye wish ten thousand times over, that you had lost everie drop of your own bloods, and of the bloods of those that are most yours, that ye had but done your dutie in time for the preserving of his. Of all bloodguiltinesse take heed of being guiltie of the blood of a [Page 36]King, for as he that is guiltie of anie mans blood, is in that guiltie of more bloods then the blood of one, (and therefore the Scripture, speaking of the shedding of blood, does commonly, if not constantly use a word that signifieth bloods in the plurall number) so they which are guiltie of the blood of a King, are in that guiltie of the bloods of a whole Kingdom, everie Subject losing blood in the losse of his Soveraign. Yea what if I should say that they which are guiltie of the blood of their King, are to be reputed as guiltie of doing their utmost to shed the blood of God (if I may so speak after the manner of men) or of Christ himselfe? I should not need to be put to prove it, if what is most true be but confessed; namely, that Kings are Gods immediate vicegerents, and the most representative image of his Psal.82.6.Majestie, and therefore called Gods: which may be one reason if not the main one, why the shedding of the bloods of the most wicked of Kings, by anie of their own Subjects, hath been alwaies so publikely and severely avenged, as in severall stories is recorded. But above all abhorre the thought of being guiltie of King Charles his blood, least in it you prove not only guiltie of what is alreadie told you, but also of more Protestants bloods then have yet been shed since the Reformation, as well as of the best that ever ran in anie veines. And to you my deare Countriemen I adde this one short caution more. Take you heed, least as your Ancestors, the religious Protestants of this Countie, are highly honoured in the Acts and Monuments of our Church and in the Annales of our Commonweale for the discharging their dutie in that height of equitie and fidelitie, as to be the prime aiders and assisters of Soveraigntie in the setling and establishing the last, and (for persecuting the professors of the Gospell) the worst Popish Prince that ever swaied the Scepter of this Kingdome, so ye your selves be eternally stigmatized by all records of Church and State, for deserting your dutie and becoming the abetters and maintainers of Rebells and Traitors in the deposing and murdering (for that's known to be their designe) of the last, (for so 'tis resolved if they can compasse their resolutions) and the best Protestant Prince, that ever yet swayed this or anie other Scepter whatsoever. Consider what I say, and the Lord give you understanding in all things. And so I passe from the King to your fellow Subjects and your selves, and with the consideration of the severall and joynt present State and condition of both, I shall conclude this faithfull and faire warning.
[Page 37]As for your fellow-Subjects, I shall dispose them (for I abhorre the word divide) into two sorts: Those in generall throughout this Kingdome, and those in particular against whom ye now bear Armes. As for your fellow Subjects taken in the Generalitie throughout this Kingdome; if you do not know their miserable deplorable state and condition, as 'tis confessed, you of this County have had the least experimentall knowledge of the miserie of this Kingdome of any County within it, though you have contributed as much towards it as any, be pleased at your leisure to read but those sad and lamentable descriptions of the most distressed, and most to be bewailed conditions of other people and Nations, as they are for our warning (if we had the grace to have taken it) here and there drawne ready to our hands by the finger of God in holy records; and then lay them together, and therein you may behold your poore fellowsubjects distresses and miseries, alreadie felt and further threatned, as lively represented, as if they had been the prototypes, and these the ectypes or expresses, they the first draughts and these the copies, or if you will, they the copies, after which our curst schoolmasters have taught the inslaved subjects of this Kingdom to write, and that in their own blood; I will only point ye to some few, for your better direction in examining the rest which are very numerous. Isaiah Chap. 3.from ver. 1. to ver, 10. and from ver. 12. to ver. 16. Chap. 9. from ver, 13. to the end. Chap. 19. ver. 2.3. Chap. 24. ver. 1.2.3. Chap. 34. ver. 220.127.116.11.Chap. 59. from ver. 2. to ver. 16. Jerem. 4. ver. 20.21.22.Chap. 4.from ver. 1.to ver. 18.and from v. 26. to the end. Chap. 6. from ver. 7. to ver 16. Ezek. Chap. 22. from ver. 4. to ver. 14. and from ver. 18. to ver. 23. and from ver. 25. to the end. Micah Chap. 2. from ver. 1. to ver. 12. and Chap. 3throughout. I have directed you to such places as doe divers of them, record the sinnes as well as the punishments of such and such people, because they are the forest punishments, where any people are delivered up to commit such sinnes, and such sinnes are the assured forerunners of the most destructive miseries, as wel as the causes of them. And whereas I have cited but here and there a portion of Scripture, you can scarce turne amisse any where, where judgements are mentioned as inflicted or threatned, but what is so mentioned, is either in part or in the whole alreadie fulfilled upon this Nation, or the fullfilling thereof within a little time, may be now justly feared, there being so little signe [Page 38]of repentance (the onely meanes to prevent it) to be found amongst us.
And what County of this Kingdome hath cast in more to the filling up the measure, either of this Nations iniquities or their other miseries, then you of this? And do ye think that ye shall goe unpunished? No, I pray God that you be not made to drink the very dregs of the cup of Gods Isa.51.17. fury and vengeance, and Jerem.25.15.16. to wring or suck them out as Isaiah s expression is: or as Ezekiel expresseth it, that thy sisters cup, (the cup of which the other parts of this Kingdome have alreadie drunk, and are now a drinking)be not given into thy hand, and thou made to drink deep and large, till thou be laughed to scorne and had in dirision, till thou be filled with drunkennesse and sorrow, with the cup of astonishment and desolation. Your late madnesse and sottishnesse in imbroyling your selves in a new Warre, and in imbruing your hands in your Brethrens blood, when you might have avoided it, is a terrible simptome of such drunkennesse. And this brings me without any interruption from the Consideration of the state and condition of your fellowsubjects in Generall, to the consideration of those your fellowsubjects in particular against whom ye now bear armes.
ForChrists sake and your owne, consider well who they are, against whom yee are now risen with so much and so strange fury and violence. Are they not such, as besides their being created after the Image of their Creator and yours, (an Argument of power sufficient to deterre any that bear the same Image, from attempting ought against the blood of such, especially if that one terrible sentence were but thought on. Gen.9.5.6.AND SURELY THE BLOOD OF YOUR LIVES WILL I REQUIRE: AT THE HAND OF EVERY BEAST WILL I REQUIRE IT, AND AT THE HAND OF MAN, AT THE HAND OF EVERY MANS BROTHER WILL I REQUIRE THE LIFE OF MAN. WHOSO SHEDDETH MANS BLOOD, BY MAN SHALL HIS BLOOD BE SHED: for in the Image of God made he man.) Besides that, I say, are they not such as for whom Christ, who was the expresse Image of his Father, shed his most precious blood, and doe by their being Christians, carry in them the Image of Christ? And doe you not tremble to shed their blood for whom Christ shed his? or can yee call your selves Christians, and yet persecute and murther [Page 39]those whom Christ calls his, and that must be acknowledged by your selves, to be more his, then your selves, if you would not measure 2Cor.10.12. your selves onely by your selves, but by those rules which Christ hath prescribed? why Christ accounts theperspecuting and afflicting of such, as the Acts.9.4.Colos.1.24. persecuting andafflicting ofhimselfe, and so the shedding of their blood will be reputed as the shedding of his. To come a little neerer you, though no relation should be nearer or dearer to you, then that of Christian: Are they not Christians of the same particular profession of Faith with you, at least, so many of you as call your selves Protestants, and professe to be of the same Faith with the established Church of England? And will ye take the Swords, Pistolls, Poynadoes, and other bloody instruments out of the Jesuites and Jesuited Papists hands, and clap them into your fellow-Protestants sides, that they may hereafter with their knives cut your throats?
Ye have indeed divers of you (that you might render them the more odious, and those whom ye have ingaged against them the lesse suspicious, and the more bloody) raised rumor upon rumour, lie upon lie, and slander upon slander, and cast them all upon them; particularly that grand cheating slander, wherewith the poore people have been so often fooled into blood, that the principall men among them, by name the Earle of Norwich, and the Lord Capell, are great Papists; whereas the Kingdome knowes, (and so do many of you that raised and fomented that lie) that both these right honourable personages are as sound, firme, religious Protestants, as any in this Nation; and if you were but as farre from Poperie as they, you would both abhorre so to bely them, and tremble to appeare in Armes against them. And what I say of those two, may, I am confident, be avouched (and will be by those that know them) of the rest of those Worthies that are with them, infinitely beyond what can be affirmed of the most select Regiment, yea Troop that the adverse Army can cull out. But I speake only of those two, because the people have spoken most of them, and they are best knowne to mee; and indeed so well knowne are they to mee, that I should have been more guilty of bearing false witnesse, then they of raising such a false report, had I not vindicated their Honours from such a notorious calumnie.
[Page 40]And now that they are named, suffer me to interpose this one word more concerning them. If there be any thing besides their known loyaltie, that does exasperate the factious seditious party against them, 'tis their eminent and approved firmenesse and immoveablenesse in the Protestant Religion. And if they should miscarry in this action (which I shall with all earnestnesse and constancie, as all that wish well to this languishing Church and state ought to do, pray that they may not) the Protestants would find as great a losse in them, as in any of their Peeres within the three Kingdomes. But I have severed them too long from their honourable and ever to be honoured society and fellowSouldierie. Are they not all or the most of them men of known, tried integrity and honesty, (and many of them your very next neighbours) and have they not so proved themselves by their Declarations, Remonstrances, and actions? Do they not all professe clearly, that they have and do ingage themselves in this present undertaking only for the defence and preservation of the established Protestant Religion; for the delivering their Soveraigne from bondage and imprisonment, and from being murdered therein; for the restoring of his Majesty to his lawful Government, just rights, and throne in Parliament, for the maintenance of the known Lawes of the land, and the rights, Liberties and properties of their fellowsubjects; and for the procuring and setling of a firme and happy peace in this miserably divided and all most utterly ruined Kingdome? would to God that the Army, which call themselves the Parliaments when they please, had declared, or would but yet declare halfe so much, and give such assurance for the performance thereof, as those Worthies will give; and then it might be hoped, that these unnaturall warres would soone be ended; But when so many of that Army have so openly declared and proclaimed the contrary to all these; and some of them have been bold to say, that they fought neither for King nor Parliament; and that they had above sixty thousand to be at eight houres warning, to fight both against King and Parliament, and have given very observable earnests of their having too many in a readinesse, by their sudden raising such considerable Troopes and Regiments of such, and wholly such within very few daies. It is high time for all those that would not bee gull'd, cheated, or forced out of all those forenamed comforts,[Page 41]and honours, to betake themselves to their armes for their defence, maintainance and continuance. And what a staine, shame, and reproach, will it be to you of this Countie, and to your Posterities after you? That, when such men, of such knowne honour and integritie, and of such approved firmnesse and fidelity to their Religion, King, and Countrie (like those renownedWorthies eternized by the Spirit of God to memory and imitation) Judg.5 jeoparded their lives to death in the high places of the field, for the defence and maintainance of those very truths and rights, which ye your selves have often sworne and protested, and doe still pretend and professe, to defend and maintaine; and that against the most base, perfidious, pernicious, seditious, trayterous, bloodie, tyrannous, professed and proclaimed Enemies thereof, yee not onely deserted them, and came not out to their helpe, To the helpe of the Lord, against his and their adversaries; but, rose up and came out against them, and cast in your lot with those Adversaries, that lay waite for blood, for the blood of Kings, Princes, Priests and people, and Prov.1. lurke privily for the innocent without a cause, not considering that by so doing ye lay wait for your owneblood, and lurke privily for your ownelives. And so my poore Countreymen I come a little closer yet to your selves, and to the consideration of your owne state and condition; and then I shall commend you to Gods mercy, if by your repentance ye shall render your selves capable thereof.
How little you of this Countie have beene sensible of the miseries and distresses of your fellow Subjects and Brethren, and how much you have contributed to them, I leave to your owne conscience to examine, and to your selves, to judge your selves for them. Only take these two conclusions along with you as two inseparable consequents of those two premises. First, That mers not being sensible of their brethrens miseries, and so not taking warning by them, pulls so much the more certaine and sore judgments upon themselves: they that remember not Texts of Scripture enough to that purpose, consult those in the margent. Secondly, Amos 6.from v.2..12[?] Isa 21.v.12,13,14. Jer.4.v.8,10,11, and chap.12.v.1 [?]That when God hath made use of any people to scourge others by, for their sinnes and iniquities, (as he usually does of the worse, to scourge the better) he does constantly cast that his rod into the fire, and punish that people the more severely, by whom he hath severely punished others; and one principall Reason thereof is, because they, whom God makes use of as [Page 42]his scourge to others, doe, with Gods chastisement or vengeance for their sinnes, constantly intermix their owne malice and other iniquities, in chastising and taking vengeance on them. And this conclusion you have confirmed in each circumstance by many remarkable and cleare examples, as one of the Bookes of the Prophets, namely, in Ezekiels Prophesie; As in Gods dealing with the Ammonites, the Moabites, and those of MountSeir, theEdomites, and the Philistines, Ezek. 25. with those ofTyrus, chap. 26. with those ofZidon, chap. 28. withPharoah, and all Egypt, chap. 29. and with the rest of the heathen, chap. 36. All which people had beene at severall times scourges to the people ofIsrael and Judah, and are in that relation there called to an account, adjuged by God to those judgements. And though you may from these sad conclusions see evidence enough of your hastning Calamities, yet there are other visible symptomes of your approaching Miseries, which may perchance more awaken you, as crying yet somewhat louder unto you, and at lesse distance, either to repent speedily, or to expect swift destruction suddainly. As first, What thinke ye will be the inevitable consequents of your late ingagement against those Worthies of our David before, but never too often named, to their honour and your shame, those English Heroes, those Lords, Knights, Gentlemen, Yeomen, and others in renowned Colchester? the most inferiour of which companie carries better blood in their veines, because untainted, then the proudest Adversarie that fights against them; and, I trust, God will preserve it as preciously, and the Citie wherein they are. High, exceeding high alreadie is the Honour of that Citie, for being the Citie whereinLucius,Helena, and Constantine, the first Christian King, Empresse and Emperour in the world, were borne; And it may please the Lord in his mercie, notwithstanding our multiplied iniquities crying so loud for the contrarie, to rayse its honour yet much higher, by making it the Citie, wherein King Charles, the most Religious of Christian Kings, the Established Religion of the Church of England, the Helena or Empresse of Christian Religion, and the Incomparable Lawes and Liberties of this Kingdome, which for equitie and Christianitie deserve the Crowne Imperiall of the World, shall be preserved from ruine, and be restored to their pristine glory; The same Almightie God, that wrought that first great Work in that Citie, is all-sufficiently able, there, even there, to accomplish this second. And we humbly beseech him, [Page 43]that neither their nor our sinnes may separate betweene his blessing and their Loyall and Christian indeavours to that purpose; and, whatever the successe be, that that Citie, nor those Worthies that are in it, may never want their due honour, nor his gracious protection and comforts. But suppose the worst: Suppose that by your ingagement against that Citie, and those Worthies in it, their Enemies should prevaile over them, to their and this whole Kingdomes further weltering in blood; must not their and the rest of the blood of this Kingdome be charged upon your score? When as, if you had but sat still, and not ingaged against them, (as you were by many bonds, never to be cancelled, obliged to doe) there had not beene in all probalitie at this time any Enemies to Peace, or thirsters after Blood, that durst to have showne themselves so, throughout the whole Nation. And therefore, what will God say or doe unto you, when he comes to make inquisition for blood, & to avenge it? This is the bloody Countie, that had Peace layd at their feet, and trampled on it; that had Peace brought home to their doores, and not onely shut it out, but called to bloodie Warre to enter in; that had many thousands of their fellow Brethren and Neighbours, that would have ventured their lives to have preserved them in Peace, and they chose rather to lose many of their owne lives, to take away some of theirs. They loved not Peace, therefore it shall be farre from them; they delighted in Warre, therefore shall it cleave close to them; and they thirsted for blood, therefore shall they be drunke with their owne blood. Doe not thinke that I speake more in Gods Name, then I have warrant from Gods Word for; though ye have bin too long used so, and abused by such lying Prophets.Search the Scriptures, and observe from thence what God speakes of the shedding of blood, and you? I find that I speak very sparingly, as having regard to your infirmities: For there God tells you, That shedding of blood is one of those crying sinnes which makes a land to mourne, and every one that dwelleth therein to languish, Hos. 4. v. 2.3. That blood defileth the land; and theland cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, or there can be no expiation for the Land, but by the blood of him that shed it; and that, If a people would have God to dwell among them, they must not so defile the land which they inhabit, Numb. 35. v. 33.34.That the shedding of innocent blood is such a sinne, that, of all other horrid sinnes, the Lord will not pardon, 2 King. 24. v. 4. And therefore no satisfaction was to be taken[Page 44]for the life of a murtherer, which was guiltie of death, but he was to be surely put to death, Numb. 35. v. 31. with a multitude of other sayings on that subject, that are to be trembled at by the Rebellious Subjects of this Kingdome. 'Tis true, if a man killed any person unawares, there wereCities of refuge appointed by God for such a one to flye unto, from the avenger of blood; but Oh, my poore Countreymen, what Cities of refuge can ye fancie to your selves, who wilfully murther your brethren?
And what lesse can the King say of you,then this, or to this effect? The Countie of Suffolke,tis the most rebellious Countie of all my Dominions. For when one of my Kingdomes moved not against me; when a second rose up for me; and when the third Petitioned for me from almost all parts, and tooke up Armes for me in most parts, they of Suffolke neither Petitioned for me, nor moved for me, but rose up against me: and when Rebellion was expiring its last poysonous breath, they hazarded their owne lives to prolong its life, and to preserve the lives of those Rebells, that seeke nothing more then to take away mine: When thousands of my Loyall Subjects were indeavouring to fetch me out of my Cruell Bondage and Imprisonment, then they helpt to besiege and imprison, to kill & murther those very Subjects; and when others with them were making what haste they could to set my Crowne againe firme on my head, and to restore me againe to those Rights, Honours and Comforts, which I was wont to injoy, they did what they could to throw my Crowne back againe to the ground, and to keepe mine Honour still in the dust, and me from all hopes of enjoying any Rights or externall Comforts here in this life. Thus have they indeavoured to continue, and adde to my Miseries, who have therefore indured such Miseries in such Extremities, because I would not yeeld to the delivering up of them, amongst others, to extreme Slavery and Tyranny. Psal.35. Thus have they not onely fought against me without a cause; but for the love that I had unto them, they take now my contrarie part, and have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my good will: But I give my selfe unto Prayer. Stirre up thy selfe, and awake to my judgement, even unto my Cause, my God and my Lord. Judge me, O Lord, according to thy righteousnesse, and let them not rejoyce over me. Let them not say in their hearts, Ah, so would we have it: Let them not say, We have swallowed him up Let them be ashamed, and brought to confusion together, that rejoyce at my hurt: Let them be clothed with shame and dishonour, that [Page 45] magnifie themselves against me: Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous Cause; yea, let them say continually, Let the Lord be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperitie of his servant; and my tongue shall speake of thy righteousnesse, and of thy prayse, all the day long. Amen. Amen.
But what then will all the other Counties of England say of you? O bewitched besotted Countie of Suffolke! They that had lived in peace and plentie all these times, when in the most Counties of this Kingdomes (like those Territories spoken of by Azariah, 2 Chron. 15.) there was no peace to him that went out, nor to him that came in, but great vexations were upon all the inhabitants of the Countries, and Countries was destroyed of Countrey, & Citie of Citie; and that might still have enjoyed those mercies themselves, and have bin the happie instruments of restoring the like mercies to their Brethren, in other afflicted & distressed Counties: They, even they, have pulled Warre, and all the miseries and calamities that attend it, upon themselves, and have prolonged and increased the afflictions and distresses of other Counties: They, who were formerly honoured with that Eulogie of being alwayesFox.Act.andMon. forward in promoting the Gospel, and had now an oportunitie offered them, of being the preservers and deliverers of the Gospel from such blasphemous, hereticall, Antichristian reproachers, opposers, and impugners thereof, as scarce any Nation, since the promulgation of the Gospel, were ever invested with the like: They (and few others but they at that time) have joyned in a Confederacie with those reproachers, opposers, and impugners of the Gospel, against those who indeavoured with their lives and estates the vindicating and reestablishing of it: They, that had bin informed, beyond further questioning, and assured, beyond all doubting, of the horrid Plots, Conspiracies, and resolved Designes of that Armie, called the Parliaments, and their abettors, against the Libertie and Life of their Religion, against the Crowne and Life of their King, against the Power and Priviledges of Parliaments, against the Rights and Properties of the Subjects, against the Justice and Equitie of the Lawes, yea, and against the very Orders & Degrees of Men, and how farre they had proceeded in all these; insomuch, that besides their former Oathes and Protestations taken for the opposing of such, and bringing them to condigne punishment, they did very lately professe and declare (for the generalitie of them) upon all occasions, and in all meetings, an universall abhorring and detesting of that very Armie, and their adherents, with[Page 46]all their cursed wayes and courses: They, (O, what a bewitching stupifying Devill is the Spirit of Rebellion) they have listed themselves in the same Armie, fought for them, and with them, in the same encounters, run on with them in the same madnesse, and given up themselves to them, as their slaves and vassals. And therefore, O my soule, come not thou into their secrets, unto their assembly mine honour be not thou united. Give them shame for their honour, and let them that have bin so false to their owne King and Kingdome, to their inexpressible Dammages, if not Ruine, be removed into other Kingdomes for their hurt, to be a Reproach and a Proverb, a Taunt and a Curse, in all places whither they shall be driven. The Lord of his mercie give you grace to prevent this sad Curse from your neighbouring and other Counties, as also your Kings sore displeasure, and Gods heavie indignation before mentioned, and all by a speedie returning to God, and your dutie, and doing those things which belong to your peace, honour, and safetie, and to the peace, honour, and safetie of the persecuted Protestant Religion, your oppressed King, and this otherwise perishing Kingdome.
I know there are very many amongst you, in this Countie, of very much Religion and Loyaltie, Honour and Honestie; O that God would but give you that Spirit and Courage which is required in the exercising of those excellent indowments, and without which, those excellencies will be of little benefit to others, or comfort to your selves; nay, they will aggravate your shame here, and your confusion hereafter: For your poore countreymen will say (as many of them have alreadie said) If such and such had in due time shewne themselves to be what they seemed, and wee thought them, wee had shewne ourselves to have bin other then what we are now thought, and are. And you know, to whom God gives most, of them he requires most; and it will be lesse tolerable, in the Day of Judgement, for those that knew their Masters will, and did it not, and had their Masters favour, and made no good use of it, to his service, then for others: therefore stirre up these graces in you and improve them to your Lords best advantage. And truly, I doe not despaire of many others of you, that doe now walke, or rather run, in most desperate wayes and courses: But if you shall goe on, let me tell you what further Curses and Judgements doe yet threaten and hang over you; All the bloud (as I before intimated) that shall be shed by this your ingagement, by whomsoever it be shed, will be justly charged [Page 47]upon you; and the Cryes and Curses of the Widowes and Fatherlesse (made so by your folly and madnesse) and of the Fathers and Mothers made Child-lesse, will crie loud in the eares of God against you: Woe unto that bloudie Countie, will such and such, and such a poore Widow say; for had it not bin for them, I had not bin now berest of my deare Husband, nor my poore Infants of their deare Father: Cursed be that Rebellious Countie, will such and such, and such a poore Fatherlesse Child say; for had it not bin for them, my honoured and tenderly loving Father, that had escaped the Sword all these sad Warres through till then, had then returned home in peace to my disconsolate Mother and me, and wee had had peace ere this in all our borders. For ever detested be that pernicious Countie of Suffolke, will such and such, and such Parents say; for had not their Swords made us Childlesse, wee had now enjoyed those sweet Pledges of our Loves, and Comforts of our Age, which now wee are deprived of. O let not the seditious Countie of Suffolke, will Men, Women, and Children say, be named amongst the other Counties of this Kingdome, but with some brand of infamie and dishonour; for had it not bin for them, our Swords had ere this bin turned into Sythes and Sickles, and our Speares into Rakes and Forkes, and we had bin reaping and gathering in our Corne and our Hay, and our other fruits of the earth, with joy and gladnesse, and refreshing and solacing our selves therewith in rest and quietnesse; whereas now our troubles & feares are increased, and we see little hopes of reaping ought, but the accursed fruits of their and our owne wicked doings; or if we should we have lesse hope of enjoying it, but that others will eat it up, and devoure it: Reward thou them therefore, O Lord, as they have served us. 'Tis true none ought thus to imprecate vengeance on you, but to pray for you, which have thus despightfully used them and theirs: but if in the bitternesse of their soules such Curses, or Complaints to God against you, shall fall from them, and God shall not suffer them to fall to the ground, he himselfe having denounced such Curses upon such practises, and you by yours so justly deserving them; poore soules, what can ye plead for your selves, or who will regard your plea?
Againe, as it is to be feared, that some will deliver ye up to God, for his avenging their sufferings and wrongs on you and yours; so it is not to be slighted, what others may doe in prosecuting their owne revenge on you: for how may every Countie [Page 48]of this Kingdome be inraged against you, when they shall see, that you thus desert them in all their endeavours and labours for Peace and Truth, and joyne with those that are the vowed enemies of both? Who knowes, whether all the other Counties may not (like those other Tribes ofIsrael, when the Tribe of Benjamin struck in with those sonnes of Belial, that had abused the poore Levits Concubine, and refused to deliver them up to Justice, when their Brethren demanded them, Judg. 20.)arise as one man, and come against you to battaile? And though, perhaps, like those Benjamites, you give them a foyle or two at the first, yet at the last, being the more incensed, smite you with the edge of the Sword, as well the men of every Village, as the beast, and all that come to hand, and set on fire all your habitations that they come to? The like sinnes inIsrael and England, have beene often and often punished with the like punishments.
In the next place, thinke of the evill that is comming to you (though we hope it will be to the good, and peace, and happinesse, of this whole Nation besides) ‘out of the North, and that great destruction. Lift up your eyes(saith the Prophet unto them of Judah) and behold them that come from the North; What wilt thou say when he shall punish thee, (for thou hast taught them to be Captaines and chiefe over thee) Shall not sorrowes take thee as a woman in travaile? Jerem.’ 13. v. 20.21. The same may I say to you, word for word; and every one of you, if you will, may see cause enough why I should say so. 'Tis often threatned in Scripture as an aggravation of judgements, That God will give up such or such a people into the hands of strangers: And it must be confessed, That 'tis most just with God, to give you up into the hands of strangers, who have so unworthily deserted your owne King, and fellow Subjects: and the justice of God will be somewhat the more remarkable, in his giving you up to those Northerne strangers of all others; because they were they, whom ye your selves formerly called in, and contributed so liberally to their comming in to your assistance against your King, though ye pretended to them that it was to fight for him: And therefore now it must needs be the more observable justice both in God and them, that they should come in of themselves to the assistance of the same King, and his faithfull Subjects, against you, that deserted him and them so shamefully, and have thereby discovered your former hypocrisie. & other iniquitie so notoriously. And let me further tell you, That, if those Strangers should not avenge the King[Page 49]and Kingdoms wrongs sufficiently, 'tis to be believed, some other Strangers, more fierce, bloudy, & cruell, shal do it. For remember, I beseech you, that famous and pertinent Story of Gods dealing with the men of Judah, when they deserted their King, (though the most wicked of Kings,Ahazby name) because he was brought low, andmade a confederacie with those two tayles of those smoaking firebrands, Rezin and Pekah . For that very cause (as God by his Prophet gives the Reason, Isa. 8.) did the Lord threaten to bring up upon the men of Judah , the King of Assyria , and all his hosts (called therehis glory) compared to thewaters of an over-flowing river, strong, and many; and that he and they shouldpasse thorow Judah , and should over-flow and goe over, andreach even to the neck, &c. which was all accordingly done, as you may finde by comparingIsa. chap. 7. and 8. with 2 Chron. chap. 28. and 32. And do but observe further, how God,Isa. 8. from v. 9. to v. 16. scornes and mocks at the men of Judah's associating themselves, and joyning their forces with others against their owne King; and how earnestly he calls upon his Prophet, not to walke in theway of that people himselfe, and to instruct others not to joyn inconfederacie with them, nor to feare their feare, nor be afraid, (which is the principall cause of such Rebellious Confederacies) but to sanctifie the Lord of Hosts, and to let him be their feare, &c. promising them safetie that shall avoyd such a Confederacie, & threatning ruine to such Confederates, and to those that joyn with them. So spake & did the Lord then, and he is the same Lord still, & changeth not; and they that commit the like sins, may justly fear the like punishmens. And now answer to that question, which God by the same Prophet, though in another chapter, propounds unto you; unto you, my lamented Countreymen, who have joyned in a Confederacie with those, who (as the Prophet describes them, with a woe to them prefixed, Isa. 10.) decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousnesse, which they have prescribed, to turn aside the needy from judgement, and to take away the right from the poore, &c. that widowes may be their prey, & that they may rob the fatherlesse. What will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will you leave your glory? Will you flee to the Army for succour? Jer.17.v.5.Psal.5.v.6. Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arme: especially such men, and such flesh, that are themselves so neer a curse. But ye shall not need to flee to them, for they will flee to you, or come to you, and will be the first that will helpe to devoure you. For if the Army should swallow up[Page 50] Colchester, (which God of his mercy keepe them from) and so Essex be wholly worsted; where must they give themselves and their Horses the next bait, but in the well stored houses and faire pastures of Suffolke? And who must recruit their consumed army with more men, but they who have furnished them with so many? Give the Devill or any of his Imps but a little, & that gives them power over all that ye have: and now that they have gotten you into the same way with them, they'l find allurements enough to draw you on, or fears enough to frighten you on, or force enough to drive you on, as far as they please. Then if other Counties rise up against them, & joyn with the Northern Army, which private as well as publike interest will perswade them to, (unlesse God should give them up to a reprobate sense, as he hath done some of you) Suffolke must then be the Stage of War, at least Suffolkemen must be the chiefe Actors on that Stage; and to be sure, the most desperate parts of that Tragedie will be put upon them, as hath bin alreadie practised; though when ought of spoyle chanceth to fall to their lots (which is but a cursed lot God knows, like that of Achans wedge) the lots shall be so ordered, That the old Souldiers, that have born the heat of the day, will, like the Lyon in the Fable, challenge the prey as their due, and that by many Lyonlike arguments, as the poore beasts have lately found to their griefe.
Thus (like thebroken staffe of reed, Egypt to Israel) the Army, if thouleanest on it, will be the first that will gall and pierce thee: and who can expect other, then that theIsa.21.v.2. treacherous dealer should deale treacherously, and the spoyler spoyle? which the Prophet calls agrievous vision. If any of you shall complaine thereof, who will not be ready to return you answer in the Prophet Jeremiahs words? Hast thou not procured this unto thy selfe? Thy way and thy doings have procured these things unto thee; this is thy wickednesse, because it is vitter, because it reacheth unto thine heart, Jerem. 2 17. & 4.18. Nay, will not your own hearts return this answer to your selves?And how then will ye be ashamed of your trust and expectation, and of those lying Prophets, and other Seducers that incited you thereto? Neither will it be any ease to you at all, to say, Wee were perswaded and drawn on by such and such: for those such are such, as ye will blush to name; It being no small addition to your shame, that ye should suffer your selves to be gulled & fooled by such unworthy, inferiour, base fellowes, even those of thelowest of the people, and Priests like to them; such as many of this Countie would formerly have scorned to have seen in the same room with them, except[Page 51]it had bin in a Shire-house or Towne-house, at a publike Assise or Session; yea, such, as should they now be but pluckt and stript of all that they have cheated and stolne by Sequestrations, Collections of Excise, and other illegall Taxes, they would be the most contemptible of Monsters.
Now adde to all these Judgements but one more, which me thinks I should not speake of, nor any man of compassion heare, without crying out with the Prophet Isaiah once and againe; My loynes are filled with paine, pangs have taken hold upon me, as the pangs of a woman that travelleth: I was bowed downe at the hearing of it. I was dismayed at the seeing of it, my heart panted, fearfulnesse affrighted me; the night of my pleasure hath he turned into feare with me, chap. 21. v. 3, 4. or, as 'tis in the next chapter, v. 4. Looke away from me, I will weepe bitterly, labour not to comfort me, &c. Behold, a terrible devouring Famine is hastning upon this Kingdome, & this Countie is most likely to drinke deepest of that Cup of Gods furie, so farre as Gods unsearchable Judgments can be guessed at by mans shallow reason and observation. How neere a Famine is to the doores of other Counties, is best knowne to God and them; onely this is knowne to every one, that knowes ought of Gods Word and wayes, That when God hath brought the Sword upon a people, to avenge the quarrell of his Covenant, and that people doe not repent of their transgressing his Covenant, but instead thereof transgresse it more and more (as we have generally done in all Counties of this Kingdome, for ought that I could either see or heare) 'tis Gods usuall course then to send both a Plague and a Famine too upon such a people, that they may devoure what the Sword spares. So God professes to doe, Levit. 26. and Deut. 28. and in sundry other places.
But for this Countie, unlesse we shut our eyes (as we have done too often) we cannot but see a sore Famine already at our doores, and ready to breake in upon us suddenly. The Sword we drew our selves against our selves, when it would have bin otherwise, in all likelyhood, quiet; and since we drew the Sword, God seemes to have bent his Bow in the Clouds, as it were with the Bend towards us, as though, upon our forgetting our Covenant with him so much, he would forget his Covenant with us so farre, as to destroy us with Raine, though he never will again destroy the world so. Never was this Countie so richly furnished with all sorts of Graine in their fields, and they so hopefull, as they were this yeare, which makes me to feare a Famine the more; for when [Page 52]God intends to bring his fore Judgements upon a people, he usually takes that for his time, when men least thinke of any such thing, and when there is most expectation to the contrarie, which renders his Judgements so much the more sore: as when there is most shew of peace and securitie, then does God, if provoked, commonly bring the Sword; and so, when there is most expectation of plentie and fulnesse, that time does God make choyse of to send a Famine: because, as I but now said, the Judgement is most sore, when the contrarie is most expected; and then also is the hand of God most seene in it, and the Judgement best discerned to be from his hand: which are the two principall reasons that some later learned Divines have given, from S. Ambrose, and others, why God sent the generall Deluge in the Spring time, when all things were in their flourishing glory, and the Season most unlikely for such a Floud. But to returne (if this be a digression) to what I was saying; Never was this Countie so richly furnished with all sorts of Grain, and they so hopefull, as they were this year, till they began to imbrue their hands in their brethrens blouds; and since that, even from that very time (if the observation of many more, beside my selfe, doe not faile us) the Lord hath caused it to raine upon these parts (whatsoever it hath done upon other) in such a manner and measure, and for so many dayes together, as the like hath scarce ever been, or at least hath not been transmitted to us by any tradition or record that I could meet with: insomuch, that the faire-promising chearefully flourishing Corne-fields of this Countie are now likely to afford little other Harvest, but what (as the Prophet sometimes threatned) Isa.17.11. will be an heape in the day of griefe and desperate sorrow. And what then will ye doe, when the Armie hath devoured that little which remaines of your old store, and consumed what they can get of your new? for they will be first served, though you & all yours starve. Other Counties will be so far from supplying your wants, if they should be able, that they will scarce pittie them or you; and a commanding Navie at Sea will hinder all foraine Kingdoms from bringing any reliefe to you, and you from setching any from then. Then, perhaps, when your children shall crie for bread, and ye have none to give them, and they shall swoone away in the streets, or poure out their soules into their mothers bosomes; when your comely Wives and Daughters, whose countenances were faire and comely, shall have Visages blacker then Coales; and when ye and your sonnes shall looke so thin and gastly, that ye shall not be known to those[Page 53]of your familiar acquaintance: then, perhaps, you will think, those that dyed by your swords, in a better condition then you & yours, that lived to perish by Famine 1 then, perhaps, you will discerne betwixt the times of having a King, and the times ofhaving none, but every man to doe that which is right in his owne eyes: then, perhaps, those Rulers of yours, that made you first to crie, and at last to howle, may be as great an abhorring to you, as they are now a delight: then, perhaps, the feet of them which have preacht Peace unto you, may be again thought beautifull; whereas, for some years, their very faces have bin looked on (if deigned a Look) by divers of you as loathsome and odious, and had all the dirt throwne on them that you could rake together: then, perhaps, those Lands and Tithes of the Church, which some of you have swallowed, and others gaped after, will be thought reasonable, as well as just, to be restored againe, when you feele such a sore Curse upon your owne lands, and the fruits thereof, for the sacrilegious robbing of God and his Church of theirs: then, perhaps, those lying Prophets, which beguiled and seduced you into Faction, Sedition, and Rebellion, and so brought the Sword, Plague, and Famine upon you, will be ashamed of their lying Visions and Prophesies, and either flye the Land, or, if any of them shall prophesie in it, their owne fathers and their mothers that begat them, may say unto them, ye shall not live, &c. as ye may reade their doome, Zech. 13. and then the true Prophets may receive some honour againe: then, perhaps, those loyall Subjects, that are now branded with the names of Malignants, may once againe be thought worthy of better Titles; and those, now stiled the wellaffected, may appeare to be what they are, the most pernicious of Rebels: Then the Saints of these times may be discovered to be little better then Devils, and those, now blasted with the epithites of Popish and Popishly affected, may approve themselves the most Religious Protestant Christians: Then Peace it selfe may be as amiable, and desirable, as 'tis now hatefull and contemptible; and then he, that deale; thus faithfully and freely with you, in telling you of your sinnes; and forewarning you of these miseries, will be thought as honest and conscientious, as he is now deemed by some impudent and presumptuous. But my earnest and constant prayer to God for you (my bewayled Countreymen) shall be this; That God would be pleased in mercie so to open your eyes, eares, & hearts, to see, heare, and understand all those things, and whatsoever else belongs to your Peace and Salvation, that you may by a speedle [Page 54]repenting of your sinnes, and returning to your dutie, prevent and avoid the dreadfull remaines of Gods Judgements further threatned, and get those alreadie inflicted suddenly removed.
Without repentance, it is impossible that any thing which ye doe should be accepted; much more impossible is it, that ought which ye suffer, should be removed; for Gods Judgements shall accomplish their end for which God sends them, either conversion or confusion. A removall there may be, and often is, of this or that particular Judgement, where the sinnes that caused it are not repented of; but if God intend mercie to such, other Judgements or Chastisements are inflicted, and they are by them brought to repentance; or else the removall of Judgements is a sore Judgement, and the assured forerunner of destruction; as might be at large shewne, if need were. What other way soever therefore ye think to take, you will finde your selves, as hitherto ye have, farre out of the way of obtaining what you desire and expect, if your desires and expectation be such as beseeme Christians: and if ye doe Ezek.15.7. get out of one fire (as the Prophet Ezekiel expresseth it) another fire shall devoure you. But if ye shall repent and turne to the Lord, and doe that which is just and right; be sure the Lord will both accept you and what ye doe, and forgive what ye have done amisse, and2.Chron.7.14.Hos.6.2. withhold no good thing from you, that may conduce to the healing either of you, or the Land wherein ye live; as I shall be readie further to demonstrate to any that shall require it. Be intreated therefore, my deepely afflicted, and of me most compassionately affected, Countreymen, as ye love either your Religion, your King, your Countrey, your Honour, your owne comforts, or the comforts of any of yours; your preservation in this world, or your salvation in the world to come. O be intreated to remember and practise what I in the first place recommended to you, and doe now againe, in the last place, by the bowels and mercies of Christ Jesus beg of you,Repent, Repent.
And if any of you do distrust or doubt of the Kings pardon and acceptance of you, or of your fellow Subjects firm and loving reconciliation with you; If that which I have said to that purpose, doe not sufficiently satisfie you, be pleased to imploy me (if ye have no other servant more fit & worthy, for ye have none more affectionate and faithfull) in that service for you; and I shall either lose my life in procuring of it, or resign it up willingly into your hands, to be disposed of at your pleasure, if I doe not bring you an ingagement under hand and Seale from all those men of[Page 55]Honour and worth, either now in Colchester, or in the Northerne Army, for their undertaking to stand between you & all suffering for whatever is past, either from or by the King, or any of his partie; and to live and dye with you, and for you, in defending you against all the malice & power of his, & their, and your Enemies. And besides this, if you please to honour me with that trust, I doubt not but his Highnesse, the Prince of great Britain, will favour me with so much accesse, as to receive by my hands any reasonable Propositions for the giving you his assurance of mediation to his Royall Father, and protection, till his Royall Father can grant you what you shall, for the further assurance of your own peace and securitie, reasonably desire; and to returne by the same, or other hands of more honour, that his assurance under his own hand & Seale. This I presume, not out of any favour that I have deserved from his Highnesse, but out of my knowledge and experience of his Highnesse deep sense & compassion of this Kingdomes unhappie & unnaturall divisions & distractions, his religious pronenesse & readinesse to imbrace all oportunities of composing and quieting them, and his unparalell'd graciousnesse and goodnesse in forgetting former wrongs, and in incouraging to future duties.
I had much more to have written: but I feared that my enlarging this warning might render the time of presenting it lesse seasonable, and the particulars themselves so presented lesse acceptable and successefull. And for that which I have written, I shall be ready (through Gods inabling me) further to confirme by my Pen against all gainsayers, and, if there be cause, to seale with my bloud against all opposers. If ought of circumstance hath slipt from me, that shall be thought by any sober Christian, either too plain or too bold, let that partie consider, that he that speakes to men in a deep and almost a dead sleep, must not only speak plain, but cry aloud and spare not, lifting up his voyce like a trumpet : And he that will shew a people their transgressions and their sins, must call each sin and transgression by its proper name, and doe his utmost to set it forth in its own colours. A reprover to an impudent and rebellious generation, had need to beseech God to Ezek. 7,8,9make hisface strong against their faces, and his forehead strong against their foreheads. And if, that considered, there shall still remaine ought that may seeme to any such unbeseeming or uncharitable, I shall upon information thereof humbly beg pardon for it both of God and that man, how meane soever, whom it shall offend. I know[Page 56]well the danger of appearing in this manner in these times, and in these parts especially; and I could as easily have avoided it, having otherwise given ample testimony of my dutie, and of my conscienciousnesse to perform it in spight of opposition. But I remembred, and often ruminated that complaint of God, Ezek. 13. v. 4, 5, 6, &c. O Israel , thy Prophets are like the Foxes in the deserts; Ye have not gone up into the gaps, or breaches, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battell in the day of the Lord. They have seen vanitie, and lying divination; saying, The Lord saith, and the Lord hath not sent them; and they have made others to hope, that they would confirme the word, &c. The Foxprophets, and the Lyingprophets, are in that complaint coupled together. And therefore, as I have alwayes abhorred Lying, and Lyingprophets, so I ever thought it my dutie to detest Shifting, and playing the Foxprophet; and rather, as I first said, then I would be found guiltie of others bloud, by not giving them warning, I resolved to hazard mine own in the giving it; thinking it an eternall staine & shame to us the Clergy of this County, that so many amongst us of that Calling, should ply you so close, & incourage you so much, to the shedding of your Brethrens blood, and that not one of us should appeare to deter you from it, by shewing you the infinite danger of it, and the miseries that are attending it. And now, my fairlywarned Countreymen, Ezek.25.Deut.30.19. Whether ye will heare, or whether ye will forbeare, ye shall know that there hath bin a Prophet among you, who hath set before you this day life and death, blessing and cursing. But my prayer shall be, that ye may so heare what hath been told you by your unworthy, but faithfull servant, that ye may choose life, that you and your seed may live; and so live in obedience to your God, in constancie to your Religion established, in Allegiance to your King, and in love to your fellow Subjects and Brethren; that you may outlive your Nations miseries in much peace and comfort; your names outlive you in much sweetnesse and honour; and your soules outlive, or live with your names in eternall blisse and glory. So prayes, and remaines at your commands and service, so farre as consistent with Gods,