I Know it is dangerous for any man in a point of such consequence to take upon him to be a Counsellor, much more a Teacher; he generally makes himselfe but a Foole; which would seem wiser than the Times; a ripe Age likes not to bee directed, lest it should be outwitted; true Principles will not be listened to against received Grounds; No persons may shew their desires, or reading, but the reward will be censure, or ruine: Yet in a publike Danger it is hard to keep silence, hee that bewrayeth not his affection to remedy generall Ruthes, may seem to want a brest. Therefore when Church and Kingdom are in a Combustion, I will bring my dreeping bucket, though I be scorched in seeking to quench the Flames.
The cause seemeth now to be a matter of Blood, for the whole Kingdome is upon the Challenge, and not only the Souldier playes his mortall prizes, but the Parliament is turned into a Counsaile of War; Committees of Greevances are become Committees of Variances, and instead of enacting of Statutes, we have executing of MartiallLaw; whilst the oppressions of the Commonwealth ought to be Reformed, the whole Kingdome is made an oppression; and for Justice against private Tyrants, we meet with a spight against the King: Now Lords of Mannors torment their Tennants, or Justices insult over the poore Countrymen, and a thousand other crying injuryes are now no seasonable considerations, but al the busie thoughts are intent about the Crownquarrell; as if they which ought to enjoy no Peace should rest quiet, and He which should be secure, must onely be molested.
Oh how do all the true Malefactours triumph in villany, when He [Page 2] should be free from any mortall barre, is the onely person arraigned I culpable persons feare not the Sword of the Justice, when the sword of violence is drawn out against the King. Deere Soveraign, that your miseries must priviledge all other mens lawlesse demeanours, and that you must weep to make them sing! yet this is the whirle of the Times; not they, but You are humbled; not Vice, but Majesty is punished; the Kingdome is combined to suppresse, if not to destroy their naturall Soveraign; Oh that your injuries could be as easily redressed, as they can be lamented, or that your sorrows could be as timely ended, as they are passionately felt; but it is Aesculapius his finger that must heale this Malady; for when the whole Commonwealth is turned into a Mutiny, and they which should be Your Peacemakers are turned the Patrones of the Discontent, it is a hard compromising such a difference.
Doubtlesse our breach is like the Sea, and we may rather expect to see all under water, than to see the bankes repayred. Our sufferings already have been incredible, but wee must not think upon what we have endured, but on the extremities which are behind. We have yet some face of a Nation amongst us, but we may ere long seek for England in England, and see our deer Kingdom lest a Colony for Strangers; Oh how pretious is a Native like to be! how many will the sword leave to draw breath in their own ayre? We shall fight, so long for Priviledges, till we shall scarce have Countrymen to enjoy them; and stand so eagerly for Rights of Parliament, till we have scarce a Senatehouse left. Have not many Nations thus unKingdomed themselves? Hath not England formerly thus cut her own throat? If we be acquainted with Historyes, let us take heed that we be not made a History; there need not many yeeres to effect this, a short time may bring it forth.
Oh that we could prevent misery, rather than hasten it on, or chaine up the the wild Beast, before we be made a prey. Where are our Pilots, which were wont to direct the Ship in a storme? Where are our Watchmen, which were wont to preserve the City, before a City be made a heape? Can Shipwrack, or Devastation be pleasure, or honour to the Pilots, or Watchmen? Is there nothing to calme this troubled aire? Nothing, if Fury blow like a Whirlewind, but set aside Fury, and the gusts are downe, the the Tempests gone; if Religion carry any incentive with it, [Page 3] or Scripture had not lost its wonted reverence, our Distractions were growing to an end, yea we had felt the last of misery:
For can a King can be resisted? What one syllable of Scripture witnesses it by full, and cleare authority? No, precepts are wanting, onely presidents are insisted upon, as if God would have his evident Laws overthrown with particular examples; God may dispence with the whole Bible, but it is not for us to remit the vigour of one Law, without a speciall toleration from Gods one mouth. It is in vaine then for to shelter themselves under the instances of David, Ieroboam, Iehu, &c. except we can plead their warrant, aswell as their example; but these examples excepted, what ground or rule is there in the whole Scripture to countenance the resistance? Calvin, that condemns the attempt of private persons in assaulting Superiours, what one testimony of Scripture doth he bring to authorize the opposition by the states of a Kingdom?
No, we must trust his own opinion, for not one sound proofe doth he alledge out of the whole Bible to justifie the act; Hugo Grotius which disalloweth the resistance both of private persons and inferiour Magistrates (and hath nothing but the point of necessity to support the languishing cause) yet can he not bring one instance of Scripture for this particular cause to colour this proceeding, besides those helplesse examples which I told you of before. And if necessity might be admitted as a lawful excuse for the violating of the fift Comandement, why upon the supposition of the like necessity, might not men make a breach of all the other Commandements, as having more Gods, or worshipping of Idols, or committing uncleanness when the remedy is wanting, or bearing false witnesse when a mans estate, or life is endangered? Necessity therefore is but our greater triall, not a despensation for disobedience. The strong proofs then that those learned Writers bring for Obedience in general are enough to confirme subjection, and the weake Arguments that they use to erect resistance with are enough to settle Conscience, that the Designe is unsetled; yea I was never made a stronger subject, nor a weaker Rebell, then by considering how they are not able (which hold the contrary opinion) to pull downe that, which themselves have built up.
Resistance then is no religious Act, because the maintainers of [Page 4] it sayle in that, which should give the greatest strength to the Cause, the approbation of Scripture. But if a King can be resisted, yet can such a King? No, they which are most tenacious of the point, yet let goe their Holdfast, if the King be not soyled with the height of wickednesse to make him the fit object of Resistance; but what malicious eye can spy out such steynes in the intemerate brow of our pure Prince? No, he is the lu tre of the Throne, the Triumph of Monarchy; His Royall Blood hath no contagion of vulgar errours, but is the true Soveraigne of Innocency; When was the scepter borne with such an undefiled hand? or the Crown worne with so many bright gemmes shining in it?
No, he hath honoured the Throne with more conspicuous graces, and eminent Vertues, then any Prince hath done for these may yeares; he being the pride of Humility, the sober palate of Temperance, the pure loynes of Chastity, the soft bowells of Mercy and Clemency, the warded knee of Devotion, a sworne Protestant, a vowed Protectour of the Liberties of his Subjects, ambitious of Peace, and one that would strike the weapons out of his enemies hands with an Act of Oblivion. Oh that such a Prince should be affronted, much more assaulted! No, methinks the Soldier should rather disarme himself, crampe a March, suffer violent death, then maligne such a Soveraigne; for if any King upon earth can be resisted, yet can such a King?
If this continue, what will be the issue, ye may judge by the present condition. The Tenant is not onely ready to surrender up his Lease, nor the Merchant to turne Bankrupt, nor the Churches to stand empty without an Incumbent, the Country is not only consumed with monthly Contributions, Excises, free Loans, free Benevolences, free Quarters, the Gentry are not onely abased, by having underlings take the command of the Country out of their hands, by taking their Horses, Armor, every thing that delights the eye from them, or by taking away their Persons, and muring them up in Prisons, the Poor are not onely ready to murmur, and rage, and starve, but the whole Nation is ready to draw upon it selfe, and to give it self the bloody stab.
The opposing of Princes hath in former times been fatall to this Nation, yea the Kingdome hath scarce suffered so much by all the miseries that hath lighted upon it, as it hath done by civil [Page 5] Wars. In the Reign of William the Conqueror, when the English men that had submitted to his Government Rebelled against him, it did not only change his courteous usage of them into exReg. Wendov.treame severity, in escheating their Lands, abhorring their perPoli. Chron.sons (so that he would not suffer any English Scholler to come toHon Huntingd promotion) driving some into exile, forcing others to live inYpod. Neysir woods like Outlaws, cutting off the hands of some, and the headsMat. Paris. of others, but the Kingdome was brought to that miserable deWill. Ma'msbsolation, that the Highwayes lay unoccupyed through frequentPolydor.Virg. robberies co~mitted, and all was wasted from Wales to the mouth of Wye, and the Land from Durham to York lay nine years untilled, so that for the want of ordinary sustenance, the Northern people were enforced to eat the flesh of men. In the R [...]igne ofH. veden. King Stephen, when the great Ones fell to their accusations (as noYpod. Neyiv. Rebellion was ever without pretence of Reason, and justice)Huntington. 1.8. they charging him with the violating of his Oath touching ForMa'msb. Nov. l.2.p.105rests, and other Immunities of the Church, and yet indeed (as the History saith) the pleading of Church and CommonwealthGerval.Doroboraeusis, were but publique colours for private grudges, their onely quarrell being a secret spight, that because they had set him up, hee would deny them any thing, as the command of certaine Lordship, and Castles which they expected, what outrages were committed in the Nation?
Every year heaped on new calamities, to the ruine of the Nation, thousand Families were decayed, whole Counties depopulated, and so many mens Estates confiscated to the Crown, that they generally went by the name of the Disinherited; yea as the height of misery (by the calling in of the Scots) the wombs of women were ripped up, infants tossed upon the pikes of Speares, the Priests slain at the Altar, and the slain (in a most inhumane manner) dismembred. In the Reign of K. John, we find the estate of the Land most deplorable, not only byL.b.S. Alb. in vit. Guliit. Abvat. assaylings, surprisings, burnings, spoylings, disinheritings which were exercised by Fathers setting against their Sons, Brothers against Brothers, kinsmen and allies against their neerest friends, but especially by ca[?]lling in the French Dolphin Lewis, who after he had gotten a little command in the Land, despised the Englishmen, bestowing all their Townes and places of Command upon [...] his own Cavallery; for when FitzWalter demanded but [Page 6] Hertford Castle, as his ancient right, an Answer was given him by Lewis according to the advice of all his French Nobility, that Englishmen were not worthy to have such places intrusted to their charges, who were the betrayers of their naturall Lord; yea Milun upon his deathbed confessed, that if ever Prince Lewis hadYpod.Ney [...] the Crown of England set on his head, he would condemne into perpetuall Exile all them that then (as Traitors against their Soveraign)Mat.Westminst. adhered to him against King John, and that he would extirpate all their Kindred.
By one and another the distresses of the times were so grievous, that the Kingdom (as one saith) was like a generall shambles, or place of infernall torture. In the Reigne of Henry 3. To soon as the Kingdome grew discontented, every man dared whatsoever his own audaciousnesse did suggest, or others connivency permitted, insomuch that Foulke de Brent, and other Nobles plucked from the K. most of his CrownLand, without any other right than that which the equity of Tumults gave them; yea though the Land had been sufficiently plagued with forraignFabian Power, yet an ordinary Citizen, even Constantine Fitz. Arnulph (whose Sedition infected all, to whom War was beneficiall,Paris and Peace banefull) would have set up a Lewis againe in London, crying in the open streets, Mountjoy, Mountjoy, God for us, and our Lord Lewis: Yea such was the thraldom of those times, through the spight of the Barons against Hubert de Burgo,Paris. Wendover that afterwards Judgements were committed to the unjust, Lawes to Outlaws, Peace to Wranglers, and Justice to Wrong-doers.
And in conclusion, through the bloody Battels that were fought, all was made a booty, and put to fire, and sword, from the Marches of Wales to Shrewsbury, insomuch that such a greevouswendover.Parisrens Famine happened, that persons were enforced to pluck the eares of Corne whilst they were greene in the field. In the Reigne of Edward 2. when the Earles of Arundell, Warwick, Lancaster, and Warren made a wofull rent with the King, and would not assist him in his Warres against the Scots, not only they which were left to keep the Marches, instead of valliant Champions proved petty Chapmen; but such grievous depopulations were committed for foure yeares together, that there was scarce bread enough to bee found for the Kings table, and the common people in generall eat horses, and dogs, yea men, and [Page 7] children were stollen for food, and Theeves newly brought to Goales were torn in peices and devoured hall alive, by such as had continued longer there; and the bloodyflux, and other diThe de la Mere. The Wallfingo.seases that arose from unwholsome dyet, destroyed so many, that the living were scarce able to bury the dead.
And in the reigne of Richard 2. how lamentable were the effects that were brought forth by that potent insurrection in Kent, Essex, Surrey, Suffolk. Norfolke, Cambridgeshire, and Huntingtonshire for Manumission? Historyes report, that instead of reforming the Commonwealth, havock was made of the Commonwealth; the Laws were so neer to be overthrown, that that Idoll of Clowns,Stow Wat. Tyler, threatned that hee would have all the Lawes of the KingdomeHollingshead come out of his own mouth; great men were in so little security, that bloody hands were layd upon the most eminent persons in the Kingdome, and their heads cut off and fixed upon poles, being so placed that they might kisse, and whisper inSpeed one anothers eare, and a generall intention to kill all persons ofStow. quality, and to set up petty Tyrannies in the Nation; the Kings person was damnably conspired against, and the KingsHollingshead Mother unsufferably abused, the stately Priory of Saint Johns without Smithfield was burnt to ashes, and the goodly Pallace of the SavoySir Walter Lee in his speech to St. Albansmen with all the riches therein consumed, writings, rowles, and records defaced, and such a generall ruin brought upon the Kingdome before this War was ceasrd, that there was neither Grasse nor Corn, old nor new, within five miles space of London.
Yee see I have layd before you the miseries of former times, would it not grieve you to behold againe such Tragedyes? Take ye pleasures in disasters? Can the ruin of your Nation affect you? Thinke of these things betimes, lest after thoughts be like recovering physick to a dead creature. We are not far from destruction, the want of Trading, the unseasonable Harvest, the Kingdom drayned of Meanes, besides a thousand other calamities afflicting the Age by these last Wars, forespeaks approaching misery. What house is not full of anguish? What corner of the Land is not replenished with groans and fight? How few are there that are not weary of these unsupportable burthens? How few that doe not desire Peace? Will yee not heare the complaints of your Countrymen? despise ye the sobbes of your fellowProfessours? Will it be honour to you to leave a people desolate? Will it bee [Page 8] comfort to you to conclude in a waste? Think what curses will follow you, if ye continue these sorrowes, lay to heart the troubled soules ye will have upon your deathbeds it ye be authors of unChristian designes.
When there are some hopes then of unhappy agreement, do not ye slake the hopes, or disturbe the agreement. Do you yeeld, for the King condescends; doe ye neglect your own desires, for he stands not too much upon his own he nor; expresse you a true selfdenyal, for he hath resigned up his own will; he speaketh for Peace, doe you eccho after him, and say, we will have Peace. I beseech you therefore by all the English blood which runs in your veines, by all the prickles of Conscience left in your Protestant soules, by all the reliques of pitty which ye feele towards a perishing Nation, that ye take downe the Standards, that yee frill up the Colours, that yee cast out of your hands the Pistols, and Poleaxes. Oh shed no more blood, but staunch the dropping veines; braine not the slender numbers which are left, but preserve the remnant; thinke when yee have murthered enough, tremble to be the Headsman of the Nation. Let all rage and rancour, spight and spoyle be layd aside, and eye one another like freinds, embrace like Christians, bring Unity againe into a divided Nation: blesse the Age, and crown the Land with Peace.