The Nations Claim of Native Right
The Nations Claim
of Native RIGHT.
Wherein the gross and extreme Defection and In-
justice of the Court Martial, and of all courts;
the destructive abuse of the Law, and pressing ne-
cessity, that the Nation speedily unite (as one
man) for an Agreement in Righteousness, is by
particular Example, and an appeal to the general
Councel of the army, and by several considerati-
ons cleerly demonstrated and proved.
Secondly, the nullity of Order, Matter, and Form of
a Free People is asserted, and proved by Scripture:
and how (to Persons, Families, People, and
Churches) right Order, Matter, and Form may be
Thirdly, a brief Pourtraict of a right Government
of the Nation, and Agreement of the People; and
how such Government and Agreement may be
with ease attained; A new Representative freely
Elected: the Law rectified: The Poor Relieved:
and the Peoples, and Armies, and every particular
Persons just Interests (in Peace with Truth) satisfi-
ed, is proposed to the Nation.
By Thom. Harbye, late Quarter-master in the Regiment
lately under Command of Maj. Gen. Skippon.
PUBLISHED BY Thomas Harlye
To the Reader.
I Have set the faults in Printing, as they may be mended With little labor. Much reading is weariness to the Flesh, and many books a burden: Therefore I set out this to ease the Reader [upon his] and Nation [upon its accompts] of their burdens: Let him that runeth, so run that he may obtain; So let him that writes: yet this is not in him that runeth, nor in me, nor in man, but in God, and from God: He that so runs not as he may obtain, is at double loss (of his labor, and of the end of his runing. If I propose not an expeditious and safe way to free the Reader and Nation [on their accompts] from burdens; I must accompt me an Oppressor, and him, and it oppressed and burdened With double loss. Freedom in part is but pretense, not freedom, and the end of it worse (by occasion) then the begining, Let every man be fully perswaded in his own mind; Ro. 14. Full perswasion is the whole duty of man, [redeemed to Freedom] and my endeavor [herein] in reference to the Nation. False perswasion is disswasion and deceit; the cause [in and through lying spirits] of the Peoples fal [as Ahab fill at Ramoth Gilead. Full perswasion is perfect conviction, the essence of Faith, Rom. 4. (that frees the people and the chief part in them [their judgements and spirits] from chains of darkness] The key of deliverance from the curse of bondage. The Bond-womans son [so soon as God opened her eyes to see a Fountain of Life] was freed from death; the business was soon done, the matter ended. Reason [reduced to right order] is the ground of just [Page] perswasion, and rule of the Laws and actions of a free people: The literal rule and form of Reason [in order] is the Scriptures, (quickned from bondage of death: The essential form is perfect and free light, (the work of the free Spirit in the word of God: But all Families, People, and Churches [as to these Forms Order, and Matter,) are now most [at least outwardly] without form, and void: Illegible word not void, nor without form (in reference to opposite forms of corruption of bondage, sin, and death; as the earth (without form, and void of light) had an opposite form of darkness: That darkness, and that darkness in Aegypt that might be felt, and that horror of darkness which fell upon Abraham, were figures of Past, Present, Oeconomick, Civil, and Ecclesiastical darkness of bondage to all slavish misery, destruction, sin, and death [in, and under which, the free people, undefined span of illegible text, and the whole Creation [oppressed] groan and travel in pain to be delivered out of it.
I do not [in this Treatise] mind [so much] to discover the evils of bondage [yet I do that] as an evident and easie issue out of them, without violence, difficulty, disturbance, not in part, but entire; For Freedom in part, is by occasion worse than bondage. The begining of this Treatise is not the Index, but order to the premises: Who answers or judges any thing before he hears or knows it, judgeth himself guilty of shame and folly. All I desire of the Reader is, his faithful perusal of it in order, and his care to mend the faults in Printing; Farewel.
1. The Complaint of Thomas Harby Quartermaster of the Regiment lately under the Command of Major Generall Skippon, against Richard Ashfield Lieutenant Col. of the same Regiment.
1.1. Charge I.
FIrst, The Complainant saith that the said Lieutenant Colonel keepeth back from him six weeks pay amounting to seven pounds, due to him from the 26 of Feb. 1647. to the 9 of April 1648. And keepeth receipts in his hands for 81.15. having) not withstanding) received out of the Complanants pay the said summe.
I cannot set downe the proofes of this or of any Charge, because the Court Martiall would not admit me to make any proofe, nor my witnesses to be examined (though I had Petitioned the Court Martiall for that purpose, and had Order upon that Petition from the said Court under the Judg-Advocates hand: I was mustered the 26 of February 1647. and the precedent Quartermaster was crost out of the role, because dead before; and I had Commission from the Generall bearing the same date with that muster, and the mony (which was allowed by the State upon that muster) the Lieutenant Colonel received, and paid it (as he saith) to the widow of the precedent Quartermaster as in right to the said Quattermaster; whereas it had been rather due to any Alien, or to any new-born or un-born infant (if living) because living) then to him that was dead before any part of it was due for to any living it might be rather due for their service, but to the dead nothing can be due for their service to the State after they are dead, no Mustermaster may muster a man dead, upon paine of death, nor passe any man (if he know it) that is dead before the date of the Muster and before [Page 4] the Muster-roles are closed, neither was this the Muster-masters, but the Lieutenant Colonels fault, but to deprive the States living servants of their due pay, & to pay it to the dead that never did, nor ever could do service for it, and who (when living) were not really and indeed the States Servants, but usurpers over and intruders upon the Proprieties and Rights of those who were (really and indeed the States Servants) is worse then false muster, or to muster the dead for the living: What the Lieutenant Colonel spake at the Court-Martiall as being meer aire and emptinesse, I omit; But (if I may be admitted (upon equall terms of freedom and right) to have a legall and just tryall (let the Lieutenant Colonel object what he can, and chuse whom he will to assist him) I shall by Gods assistance) declare to what he or they can plead or object, and make good all the charges in every punctillio and tittle against him and them.
I was Quartermaster and had Commission from the Generall at Tame, untill about the time of the relief of Glocester, at which time (by the perfideous violation and infringment of the faith and honor of some (then in the Regiment) I was (contrary to all Law of Military Discipline or equity) (wrongfully) deprived of that place, which was injuriously kept from me almost six yeares: all which time I reckoned that the Quartermasters place was really and according to equity my own proper place; But I (being the first that did act openly to engage the North Army with the South Army, when it engaged at New-market heath) was not restored to my own proper place, but I only and no other in the Regiment (whether by design or not, let others judge) was contrary to the engagement, disbanded as a supernumerary without any Debenter, or arrears audited or stated, without having any disbanding mony at disbanding, being six months in actuall service after I was disbanded (serving all this time for nothing) before the Lieutenant Colonel did acquaint me that I was disbanded; Then being restored to my own proper place, the Lieutenant Colonel paid away my first six weeks pay (as inright to a dead man, to whom it was most impossible it could be due) endeavoured by all meanes, and threatned to turne me out of my place, kept receipts of mine for 8l.15 s having paid himself the money, and I not owing him a penny; and though he had [Page 5] likewise wronged many others, and all the honest party at Tinmonth and New-Castle, and the whole Nation by perfideous breach of trust, seizing at once 600l.&of the Nations treasure, and sharing it with another wicked confederate and dissenter; The Court Martial admitted no tryal made no redress in these relations, nor suffered witnesses to be examined, but contrarily censured me to confess (against my conscience) I had done him wrong, if not to be cashered; informing me also I deserved death, having done nothing but what (without wilful violation of my duty and faith to God, my conscience and the Nation I could not avoid.
1.2. Charge II.
That he hath broken his Trust to the State, in that he (having a Commission of Trust and Fidelity to the Generall and the Army) did (contrary to his trust) violently resist the said Regiments first, ingaging with the Generall and the Army wherein the safety of all the wel-affected of the Kingdom was concerned. Secondly in thvt (he being about to be suspended his Command by the Regiment, for breach of Trust as abovesaid) he (upon his seeming humble submission, promises of trust and fidelity, and upon his wives suite, teares and entreaties, was againe admitted to his trust, and did (immediately thereupon) break his trust, in assuming to himself 600l.of the States, which he borrowed of the Commissary of Provisions for the Garrison of New-Castle and he and Major Clarke (who was then suspended his Command for dissenting) and both firmly withstanding and engaging together a gainst the said first engagement with the Generall and the Army) did share the said 600 l. betwixt them, and thereby left the said Garrison bare and naked of Monies, for provisions to support it, apt and incident to intestine discontents and mutinies, and open and exposed to invasions of a Forraign Enemy, and the Scottish (continuall expected) Incursions.
The Lieutenant Colonel could not deny at the Court-Martiall but that he had the said 600 l.and that Major Clarke had share of it: Also I overheard the president Lieutenant Colonel Hammon speaking softly to him) advise him to goe to the Committee of Accompts and pay it, or tender it, to that effect: Howbeit all the Officers of the Regiment know that (when the Regiment [Page 6] engaged with the Generall and the Army in their engagement at New-market heath) the said Lieutenant Colonel did seize upon the said 600l.(which was the treasure for Provision for the Garrison of New-Castle and Tinmouth-Castle, and that Major Clarke had share of it with him they both dissenting from the Engagement of the said Garrisons; and that notwithstanding the said Lieutenant Colonel gave a Bill of his hand to repay it to the Commissary of provisions for the said Garisons, the said Lieutenant Colonel and Major have ever since shared and kept and still keep the said 600l.(which was or might be some meanes to invite and incourage the Scots to come into this Kingdome, and a means to encourage Lieutenant Colonel Henry Lilburn to revolt and betray Tinmouth Castle the key of the North of this Kingdom) finding the said Garrisons so destitute of provisions, to the hazard of the losse of this Nation.
1.3. Charge III.
The Complainant saith, the said Lieutenant Colonel keepeth from him monies which have been long due in other relations then as his pay, viz. his part and share of what was due to be paid by the Officers of the Regiment for monies by the Complainant expended in their march to the Relief of Glocester, in their march into Cornwall, and in his going to Lyme.
1.4. Charge IV.
That the said Lieutenant Colonel hath been a violent oppressor and wronger of, and an enemy to such as have been faithfull, wel-affected, diligent and deserving, viz. to all that ingaged in and with the Army, to the Complaintant in particular in wronging him in his pay, in wronging Captaine Bowen and Captaine Simmons in their accompts and by wrongfully seasing the said 600 pounds.
All the honest party of the Regiment can testifie the truth of this Charge, and that he hath been a constant enemie to honest men, that slandering, wicked and lying persons, and men of Belial, whose mouthes have beeen full of foulest calumny, have been by him most respected: His enmity to all that engaged with the Generall and the Army (at New-market heath) and ready [Page 7] complyance with the contrary Party, is well known to all the honest party of the Army: witness his great Amity and Intimacy with that bloudy Traytor, Hen. Lilburn, that betrayed Tinmouth Castle, who wickedly and falsely aspersed those honest Agitators who stood firm to the just Principles of their first Engagement, who endeavoured to persecute Captain Bray unto death, and falsely aspersed his own Brother, lieut. Col. John Lilburn (who were of as resolved Faith and Integrity to stand for the Nations Interests and Freedom as Henry Lilburn (their bloudy persecuter) was a resolved Traytor. That H. Lilburn, with lieut. Col. Ashfield, and as many as they two could collate and winne to their party (by whom some honest men were likewise seduced and drawn in) did (before and about the very instant of time that the said lieut. Col. Revolted) violently oppose, and had almost ove-born and supprest all the Conscientious and honest party of the said Garrisons to the Rending and Dividing of the said Garrisons. And I wish the Conscientious and honest party of the Army could not say of Lieut. Col. Ashfield, and Lieut. Col. Henry Lilburn (what David said of Saul and Jonathan) That in death they were not divided: For the Captain that commanded the Second Party at the Storming of Tinmouth Castle (of whom I never heard but that he was an honest and stout man) told me that lieut. Col. Ashfield (when they were to fall on) refused to give him Orders, but referred him to the Engineer for Orders, by which means that Party fell not on till the Castle was taken, and the other Party engaged their lives alone, and Stormed and took the Castle alone. The Mr Enginneer also said he would call lieut. Col. Ashfield to account before a Councel of War (for miscarriages on his part) about the Storming and taking of the said Castle.
1.5. Charge V.
The Complainant further saith, That the said lieut. Col. did use many mis-reports, sharp menaces and revilings against the said Complainant in his humble and quiet pursuit of his own just due and proper right, viz. He threatned to lay him at his feet, to strike him upon the mouth, to confine him to his Chamber, to abstract all his Pay, and to turn him out of his Place; affirmed the [Page 8] said Complainant did scandalize him in speaking words, and in reading of scandalous papers against him, upon the several Guards of the sand Garrison, by which said means, he obstructed the Complainants proceedings for Justice, and occasioned extream hazard of the Army, by rents and divisions amongst the Officers and Souldiers of the said Garrison.
What am I or any man the better that our Cause is good, if the means to manifest the truth serve but to Condemn, Cashier, Suppress, Imprison, Asperse and Ruine the Assertors and Witnesses of the Truth (without tryal or examination) which when the lieut. Col. (as he hath endeavoured) shall accomplish, I believe he will put in an Answer to these Charges, and not before. If Delinquents (in matters of highest concernment to this Nation) may, (for self-safety and self-ends (if need be) dissolve the Order and Frame of Government, and if partiality and respect of persons, and relations be the series and form of judicial proceedings) this Nation must suddainly become a Field of bloud, a Wilderness full of Ravening Wolves, and a Den of Wild-Beasts.
I gave in these Charges about the eight of February 1648 to the Judge Advocate, and made this ensuing Appeal to the General Councel about the eighteen of February, but had no Redress, nor Answer of it.
2. To his Excellence, the Lord General FAIRFAX, and the General Councel, The humble acknowledgement and Appeal of THOMAS HARRY Quattermaster in the Regiment lately under Command of Major Gen. SKIPPON.
I Humbly present to your honours this acknowledgement (in which God is my record, that I confidently and verily believe [Page 9] the Charge I have Exhibited against Leivt. Col. Ashfield, is both really true, and probable by good and suficient proof and witness:) I confess I am not skilful in proceedings of strife and divisions, as having ever sought peace, and therefore I might erre in order and manner of such matters; but I look upon the truth of God (in this confession, that Charge, and all other relations) as the Rod of God in Moses hand, which (when he cast it from him) turned into a Serpent, and he sled from it: If I cast away the Truth, and flee from it, it is a Serpent to destroy me, and to destroy such as cast it away and flee from it: If we take it up and hold it fast, it is the Rod of God to bring us from a Land of burdens under War, Violence, and Oppression, into a Kingdom wherein dwelleth Righteousness: What is absolute truth, God knoweth; what I believe is really true, and probable by suficient witness I here assert. What can or shall appear, I leave to God to discover, and to just men to discern and judge: I know no president in the Army, comparable to me, for wrongs and unjust sufferings; and I believe there is none, nor hath been any, therefore I made my humble Addresses to several Representatives, but without Redress and in vain: My humble Desires in the said Addresses chiefty were, That two men of approved fidelity (whom I on my part should chuse) as the lieut. Col. on his part might have the same liberty) might be appointed and authorised with power to take Examinations, and either to decide and end all Differences and Grievances, or Report them, (as the best expedient to Truth and Peace), and this Was my humble Desire to the Court Martial. I gave the Charge to the Judge Advocate, in his Chamber, and askt him if I must set the names of the Witnesses in the Margent? he said, No: and gave it me back to alter something in it: The next morning I gave it him in his Chamber, and he gave it me back, biding me give it him into the Court, which I did; I told the Court, I would prove the Charge by sufficient witness, and Declare to what he could alledge against it, and desired that my witnesses might be sent unto to be Examined; but the Court did not admit me that liberty, but Ordered I should acknowledge at the Head of the Regiment, That I had wronged the said lieut. Col. and that should be all my punishment: I Answered, I could not do it; not out of contempt to the Court, but because I was cleerly convinced in Conscience, That I [Page 10] had done him no wrong in that Charge: The Court there upon Ordered I should be suspended 14. dayes, in which time if I did not acknowledge I had done him wrong, I should be Cashiered. The Causes why I Exhibited that Charge, are, First, because I do verily believe, and am satisfied in Conscience, That that intire Charge for the substance of it) and much more, is really true; and that he was the first causer and mover of that strife. Secondly, because I did verily beleive that from the time of the said Regiments first Engaging with the Army, (about the time the Army engaged at New-Market-Heath) the said lieut. Col. did labour to work out, wrong, and suppress, the honest Party of the Garrisons of Newcastle, and Tinmouth Castle, to the extream hazard of the said Garrisons: And I verily believe also that this was the Sense of the honest party, and of those that had Engaged in the said Garrisons. Thirdly, Because as David (a good man and a wise King) having wronged Uriah, did from that Principle, improve all his power in himself, and all the power and interest in the Captain of his Host to destroy that man, and he did destroy him. So it is cleer to me that he having wronged the honest party, and those that engaged with the Army, in these Garrisons, must (and did) from that Principle, improve his own power, and all his power and interest, in and with other Officers and Commanders, to engage them unto him, to work out, wrong, and suppress the honest party, and such as did engage, and thereby did extremly hazard to destroy the Army by most unjust Oppressions, and continual Rents, and Divisions. I am free in Spirit, that being convinced in Conscience that this and much more, and that Charge is true: I had been guilty of betraying my Faith, and Trust, had I not made Discovery of it; and for this cause for Conscience sake, because I will not, nor can against my Conscience, betray my Faith, and deny the Truth, am I censured to be Cashiered: Naboth was stoned to death, yet not without testimony of two witnesses, though men of Belial. I am deprived of the price of my bloud, for seven yeers faithful service, and in it of the Symbol and Staff of my native, and acquisite support and maintenance, because I will not, nor in Conscience can, reject the Record of God, witnessing the Truth, being Plaintiffe my self, having no witness for me, nor against me, that I saw, intending none, nor any Tryal then, and at that time, but to desire assistance [Page 11] of the Court, to order a right way, that my proofs and witness might be received and examined, not doubting but to make good the Charge, having the liberty of requisite and lawful time and means to do it. Jotham put his Life in his hand to hazard it, that he might discharge his Trust to the men of Sechem and Milo that they might not be destroyed, saying, Harken to me you men of Sechem, that God may harken unto you: yet they did not harken, and therefore were destroyed, Man, Woman, and Child, and their City was sown with Salt. All Israel put their Lives in their hands, to hazard them, that they might discharge their Faith and Trust to Benjamin, that they might harken to do righteous judgment, and not be destroyed; but they did not harken, and therefore were destroyed, Man, Woman, and Child; and they that did not oppose them, and help to destroy them, were likewise destroyed: Not I, but many of us (not once, but many times) have put our Lives in our hands, to hazard them, that we might discharge our Faith and Trust to several Representatives, in our many humble Addresses to them, That they might do righteous judgment, and not be destroyed; but they have not harkned. And I am free in Spirit, and in Conscience convicted, That this hath been, and is the only main Cause of all the War, Bloud, and Destruction upon this Nation; and will be the Destruction of the Army and it, if God do not encline the said Representatives hearts, and Yours, to harken to do righteous judgment, that God may harken to You and this Nation. To harken is better then fatt of Rams, but suddain haste of rash Censure in Judgement, to judge any thing before the time, or any man unheard, is to disobey and reject the Voice of God, and hath no concord with that soft and still voice, which is of God, and in which God is: What I have oft done to divers of you, I do at this time to all of you; that is, I put my Life in my hand, to hazard it, that I may discharge my Faith and Trust to your Honors, and I must be free in discharge of it. Josephs Brethren, brought his Coat, rent, torn, and bloudy, to his Father, and said, See, is this thy Sons Coat, or no? I set (before your Honors eyes and the Alseeing eye of God) this Coat miserably rent, and torn, of a deep Crimson, died red, dipt in Bloud, but whether it is or ought to be mine, or mine in such sort, I humbly enquire? If I humbly seeking right and Redresse of the greatest wrongs, must receive seven fold, [Page 12] and that by those men, and that means from whom, and by which only Redress can be had; I humbly enquire, whether this is your Sons Coat, or no? If (because I bear the Record of God, the testimony of a good Conscience, witnessing to me, that the things in that Charge, and this Confession are true) I am deprived of the price of my bloud, for seven years faithful service, and of the fruits of all my hopes by that service; whether is this your Sons Coat, or no? If I have (heretofore (oft) and now.) hazarded my Life to divers Representatives, in free discharge of my Faith and Trust, for their and this Nations safety; and if only for this very cause, I must perish, and be destroyed, and that even by those, for whom I have hazarded my own Life, to preserve them from being destroyed; whether is this your Sons Coat, or no? If I have discharged my Trust to the State, and you, with as much simplicity of Spirit, and integrity of heart, as any, as little seeking private unjust ends, profits, or preferments, as any; as free from corrupting adulation, and destructive fawnings of betraying flatteries, as any; And if I am exposed to most unjust sufferings, more then any, and must be (by the only remedy) more then any, remediless; whether is this your Sons Coat, or no? If your Honors say it is my Coat, your Sons Crimson Coat, and that I must wear it, I accept it with all meekness, and submission, and humbly resign my Place, and Life, at the feet of this Honorable Councel. But if I may receive at the hand of this Honorable Councel, my own proper Coat, clean washed from Bloud, entire, and not rent and torn; that is, I your Honors will admit me all due administration of Right and Justice, viz. Alegal Tryal by proof of Witness, and demonstration of Reason, against whatsoever be can alleadge, or object: If your Honors please to Authorize with power, and to appoint Two men of approved fidelity whom I on my part, shall chuse in our own Regiment; as he may have the same Liberty, to chuse Two for him, in the same Regiment, (that best know this business) to examine Witnesses, and to decide the business; if not, to order and prepare it, that it may be Reported to this Honorable Councel, which was my humble Desire in all my Addresses, as the only, best, and safest expedient for Truth and Peace, and to prevent the extream hazard of the Army, by dashings of men contrary minded in Councels. If your Honors please to appoint the said men, to examine, and to report to your honors my [Page 13] exceeding many grievances, in other Relations, and to grant I may have effectual Redress of them; If you will grant me the price of my Life, my due Pay, repeal the Sentence of the said Court, and refrain the members of it, from having any suffrage or vote in this Councel, or any other against me, until the Truth do appear: Your Honors in so doing, (and by harkning to do so to every man, that God may harken to you and this Nation) shall begin a good work, to stay the Sword of the destroying Angel, which hitherto hath been drawn, and is imminent upon the Army and Nation. I must freely, (as from God) discharge this one Duty more of Faith and Trust to your Honors, in which I do not barely mind your Honors, but I humbly request and beseech your Honors to retain this circumspect care, with, and amongst you, That Courts of Justice ordained to be Pillars, to support the Safeties, Lives, and entire Beings, of the Innocent, (when wronged, and oppressed) may not become Mills to grind them to dust, and to destroy them, and Pillars to support the contrary. I contemn no Court, Councel, or Person, I condemn none, I shal ever intercede for that Councel, and the members of it, that past Sentence upon me, and pray for your Honors, and shal ever do all Offices of Faith and Trust to your Honors, Them, and the Army.
3. To all the Cordial Friends of the Armies and Peoples Rights and Liberties: The sincere Lovers of Truth and Peace.
DEer Friends, Shall Tribulations, shall Anguish or Persecutions, shall fiery Tryals, shall love of filthy Lucre, Life, or Death, divide you or me from the free discharge of our Consciences to God, or Duties to Men? God forbid. If any be ignorant of any necessary Truth, or guilty of any Sin or Error, it is your and my Duty (if we know it) to seek in all Wisdom of Meekness, to rectifie and convince their Judgements, lest they perish in the multitude of their sins, and their sin, guilt, and destruction, be double upon us, and we our selves become the greatest Transgressors (though actually in our own persons never so innocent.) The sins of Ely's sons, were Ely's sins (which he [Page 14] committed not) but his sons made themselves vile, and he stayed them not; therefore he (especially) was guilty of their sins, and of his own and their destruction, A man that sees and suffers the blind to fall into a Ditch and perish, is far more guilty of his destruction then he himself: Therefore that I, and every one of you may be free from the sins, and from the bloud and destruction of all men, I exhort earnestly, all and every one of you, to improve your Talents for the good of this Nation, and of all men; for which end I set before you what most concerns you to consider; because all our evils (if wisely foreseen and well considered) are more then half remedied; I herein somtime assert mine own advice and judgement, wherein, if I err, and if any will convince my judgement, I shall with hearty thankfulness, accept it, and willingly recede from, and forsake any known error.
1. In order to what ensueth, I briefly set before you what hard measure I had from the Court Martial, in censuring me to be cashiered, without suffering me to prove my charge, or to have any tryal, or any witnesses examined.
2. And thereby my great and most unjust disadvantage, because I being already cashiered for that charge, no witnesses will dare to testifie the Truth, lest they should be censured to be cashiered or destroyed for so doing; I being a President before them in the same thing.
3. Consider the superlative injustice of enforcing (not the Body, as the Levites Concubine in Gibeah of Benjamin, to Sodomitish filthiness) but the Spirit and Conscience of any man, and that upon penalty of being destroyed, to deny and renounce God, and wittingly to embrace professed Atheisme, against a cleer light and conviction of Soul and Conscience; to be forced to confess and acknowledge a Ly to be Truth, contrary to knowledge and conviction of Conscience, is to be forced to deny, and renounce the Truth of God, and to deny and renounce God, contrary to knowledge and Conscience: Which because I utterly refused, I was censured to be cashiered; and certified by Lieut. General Hammond, President of the Court, that I deserved to dy, but that the Court favoured me. And this was my sentence for seeking Justice, and for seeking Right and Redress for the [Page 15] greatest wrongs done to the State, and to private Persons, without being admitted to have any witness heard, or tryal had.
4. Consider the transcendent misery of the Army and people (the honest party especially) who when wronged and oppressed, may not approach a Representative or Court of Justice for Justice, without inevitable peril of being destroyed for so doing,
5. Consider the extreme misery of the disbanded, sick, and wounded Souldiers, deprived of the price of their lives, their due pay in Arrears, which countervails not their pains in seeking after it; for want of which, many thousands have miserably perished, and do perish. Secondly, Consider that these miseries upon them, and the poor, and the middle sort of people, are exceedingly augmented, and occasioned by the Souldiers quartering in Cities and Market Towns, especially in Inns and Alehouses, where the Souldiers learn loose conversation, and waste the short pittance of their slender pay. Thirdly, By means of their quartering in Cities and Market Towns, the Country being free, enhanceth and almost doubleth the price of all provisions, whereby a general scarcity and famine is procured. Fourthly, By means of this scarcity, the Souldiers and the poor of the Nation, but the disbanded Souldiers, and the poor of Cities and Market Towns especially, perish for want of food and rayment. Fourthly, By this means the middle sort, and Tradesmen of Cities and Market Towns, being also overburdened with Taxes, Excise, and Quartering, and not having trading nor visible Estates, are forced to become suddenly extreme poor; and which is worst, the remedy of all these evils, is the root of the disease; that is, they that should redress all these miseries, are the cause of them: To redress which, and to take away this cause of all the rest,
Sixtly, Consider the many intolerable incumbrances incident to Representatives and Courts of Justice, through their several Administrations, and multiplicity of business; whereby, if any of them desire to do Justice, and to redress the cruelties and oppressions which the Souldiers, the middle fort, and the poor of the Nation suffer; yet they cannot do it, because they are overcharged and incumbred with more business then they may possibly [Page 16] discharge; amongst whom, all just causes of all sorts of people, and of the poor, are like good seed sown amongst thorns, that choke it. So that while they are busied, Marthalike, about many things, they must of necessity omit in all things, the only one thing necessary; which is, To do righteous Judgement. By this means War and Destruction hath bin, and is continued upon this Nation; and the people every where perish for want of their proper food (the fruit of the Tree of Life) which is Justice and Righteousness. For remedy hereof, and to take from Courts and Representatives this burden, which they can no more bear, then a new born child can bear the weight of a Millstone, let the order and method of going to Law after the manner of Infidels, be (what may be) declined and abrogated; and let the Rule of God in the Gospel, to end all Differences, and cease strife, be strictly observed and followed.
The manner of going to Law as Heathens, is when two or more at variance betwixt themselves, cannot judge their own cause, but go to a corrupt Representative or Court for Judgement, that hath no judgement, or that hath less judgement then themselves, because it knows less of their business, and hath no leisure or time, neither will or can have leisure to apprehend the true grounds and causes of their differences, whereby both complainants and defendents mispend their time, waste their Estates, and neglect their business: The Courts also by casting blindly and at random their ras [...] bolts, make the Nation (as they are, and through them) guilty of corrupt and wicked Administrations, and they insteed of ceasing strife, cause it; Gods Rule in the Gospel is thus, or after this manner; That the grieved party should peaceably convince and reprove the Trespasser in private, with the Spirit of meekness. If the grieved party cannot convince him that trespasseth, then he is to chuse one that is e st able and most faithful, to judge. Is it so that there is not one Wise man amongst you? (saith the Apostle 1 Cor. 6.5.) One is fittest to end all matters of difference betwixt two or more dissatisfied parties (if both or all parties shall agree to chuse and appoint one to end all strife betwixt them; if one cannot end all matters of difference betwixt two parties, let each party chuse one, Set them to judge, who are least esteemed in the Church (saith [Page 17] the Apostle) because they that are least esteemed in the Church are evermore, or (at least) are, usually, best able and most faithful to judge. They that are set to judge any matters of difference, must not maintain a difference where the business may be justly composed in peace; nor move unto peace, where there is real cause of difference, and where Peace with Truth cannot be reconciled. If one or two cannot end any matter of difference, let them bring it into fit Series and Order for further tryal, and let the dis satisfied parties adde for each, one or two more: If two or three for each cannot end it, then let the dissatisfied parties chuse a Representative, consisting of twelve men, and a President freely and equally chosen for, and by each; and let the two or three first chosen, having succinctly stated the business, transmit it to the Select Representative, and be in, and of the said Representative themselves: If the Select Representative cannot end the difference, the dissatisfied partys may have liberty to Appeal to a more general Representative, and the Select Representative is to refer and transmit the Order of the business, and of their proceedings in it, to the more general Representative.
By this means all matters of difference in all places, will be (by the Christian wisdom and prudence of a few persons) composed, the seeds and roots of Sedition eradicated and destroyed; and War, and the miseries of it, prevented and ended.
Or, if any shall Appeal from Persons and Representatives of their own chusing to any other Courts, their business comes to these Courts, as the Dove, with an Olive branch, to Noahs Ark, with cleer evidence and decision in it self, from the test and tryal of these that have before examined it.
If any difference be betwixt person and person, or betwixt person, or persons, and any Representative, or betwixt Representative and Representative, Court and Court, they (being parties one against another) cannot be Judges of, or Witnesses one against another; or, if they assume that power, to be proceeded against, as usurpers over the persons, lives, and liberties of the Freeborn people.
But whether the difference be betwixt man and man, or betwixt a man and any Representative, or Court, (select, subordinate, or more general) they are to chuse persons, or Representatives [Page 18] upon equal terms of Liberty and Freedom, without respect to parties or relations whatsoever.
If any dissatisfied parties have Appealed to the Supream Representative, they are not to Appeal from that Representative to any other, during the time of the Being of the said Representative. Howbeit the dissatisfied parties or their representatives, in their own cause, may Appeal, if need be, to the represented, and claim the suffrage and result of it: and the represented must take Cognizance of their Appeal, and redress their wrongs, as all Israel did at the summons but of one single private man, the Levite of mount Ephraim, that it may free it self from the Nations sins and guilt of bloudshed in the seat of Judgement, and this is but equivalent to that rule in the Gospel, Tell it the Church.
7 Consider the necessity and Justice that the equity of the Law be judged, and declared to be the Law it self, and the only essential rule, of all administrations, in Judgement, and Execution.
Secondly, That the Letter of the Law be Judged and Declared to be the proper, visible Conduit, containing the equity of the Law (the Law it self, but not that Law, nor that equity) and to be the elementary instrumental rule of all administrations, wherein the equity of the Law consentaniously occureth and agreeth with the letter, and in these relations only.
Thirdly, That they that are contrary to the equity of the law under pretence of adhering to the letter of the Law, be looked upon, and proceeded against as breakers of the law.
Fourthly, That all Representatives, Courts, or Councels that act contrary to the equity of the law, under pretence of adhering to the letter, be looked upon and proceeded against, as breakers of the Law (as persons) and as breakers of Trust, (as Representatives.)
Fiftly. That all persons that act contrary to the letter of the Law under false pretence of adhering to the equity of the law, be looked upon, and proceeded against as breakers of the Law in relation to the letter and equity of it.
Sixthly, That all Representatives, Courts, or Councels, that act contrary to the letter of the Law, under any false pretence of adhering to the equity of the Law, without the concurrence and [Page 19] assent of those they represent, be looked upon, and proceeded against as breakers of the law, as persons; and as betrayers of their Trust, as representatives; and that in relation to the letter and equity of the law: because in their obstinate pursuit especially, they act against, as persons; and betray, as representatives, the life and forme of the State, equity; and dissolve all Law and Government.
That it be not in the power of any representatives, Courts, or Councels, to act according to the letter of the law, contrary to the equity, or according to the equity of the law, contrary to the letter, without the concurrence and assent of those they represent; lest, contrary to the end of their appointment, they involve themselves, and those they represent, into the deepest guilt.
Seventhly, That all bodies represented; be accounted, and declared to be really guilty of all injuries, oppressions, and bloudy cruelties which are done, or not condemned; or which are justified by their Representatives, Courts, or Councels, and that they may be liable to give full reparations accordingly, except the said bodies represented, reprove and punish their said representatives, with due severity, and effectually redress the wrongs and injuries by them done or decreed; for if a man eat poyson and destroy himself, it were fondness to say the fault was in the mouth that was enticed by the taste of it, or in the eye that was allured to it, because the fault is in all the parts of the whole body alike.
Eighthly, If any Plaintiffe, Witness, Councel, Judge, or Jury, give a false Indictment, Evidence, Decree, Sentence, or Verdict; and if the said Indictment, Evidence, Decree, Sentence, or Verdict, upon just tryal, and due examination first had, shall be found to be wholly false, let the Authors be judged and declared, by those persons or Courts that shall find them false, guilty (respectively) of the same Crimes, and receive the same Sentence and punishment which had been the proper issue and result of their respective false Indictments, Evidences, Decrees, Sentences, and Verdicts (if they had been true) against the Innocent; and unjustly, wronged Defendants: and they are to satisfie the law unto death, if they have acted unjustly to the death of any. Also all Officers, Marshals, and Persons, whether Souldiers or others, [Page 20] that execute such, or any unjust commands or decrees, by vertue of any injunction or order from any Representative, or Commanders whatsoever, are strictly accomptable to the Law, and lyable to the same sentences of guilt and punishment; and that (if the breach of Law which they execute deserve death) unto death.
The reasons of such proceedings against all such Plaintiffs Witnesses, Courts, Judges, Juries, Officers, Martials, and Persons that execute such Decrees, are first, Because all such proceedings are according to Law, which is equity. Secondly Because such violations of Law and Equity (by Trustees and Representatives) sill the Land, and the Representatives of it, with all excess of cruelty, and guilt of crying and bloudy sins. Thirdly, Because Plaintiffs, Courts, Witnesses, Judges, and Juries, that act unjustly in Councel; and all Officers and Persons (whether Souldiers or others) that execute their unjust Acts or Decrees, are Trustees; and all Trustees that arrogate and usurp Trust and Authority to themselves, or that are false to the Power and Trust that is committed to them, are Traytors. Good and just Trustees, conjunct in bodies Representative, are like Trees of Life; which by their good fruits of Justice and Righteousness, sustain and preserve alive their respective bodies represented. Plaintiffs and Witnesses are Trustees impressive, as the root of the Representative Tree. Courts, Councells, Judges, and Juries, are Trustees intensive, as the Stem. They that execute their Edicts and Decrees, (whether subOfficers, Martials, Souldiers. or others, are Trustees expressive, as the Branches. False Trustees, by fair, but deceitful fruits, betray their respective represented, and themselves to sin and death. Trees nourish, if acquired or, ingrafted, contrary natures and fruits, but according to nature, the fruits of their own kind; If Plaintiffs and Witnesses be roots of bitterness, and dispense death, the Stem may not derive sap from these roots. If the Stem (Courts, Councels, Judges, and Juries) derive its sap from such roots, the Branches, the Executioners, (whether SubOfficers, Souldiers, or others,) are not to derive their sap from that Stem, or these roots to put forth their wicked Councels, and unjust Decrees into execution: or if they do, the body represented, must (with due severity) sharply reprove [Page 21] and punish their evil fruits of unrighteousness; and, if Justice require, destroy Root, Stem, and Branches, at least from being any more a Representative. That Body Representative which does not with Justice and due Severity, sharply reprove and punish its Representatives evil fruits of unrighteousness, eateth their deadly fruits, as destroyeth it self; as Eli not reproving and punishiag his sons, made their sins his own, and himself most guilty of them; and so destroyed himself, them, and his house.
Trustees that shed innocent bloud, or shed not their bloud tdatare guilty of bloud, are murderers: All oppressions, wrongs, cruelties, and unjust actions, are degrees and species of real bloudshed and murder; and they usually differ from visible and express manslaughter or murder no otherwise, then as the wickedness of hypocrisie differs from visible and apparent sin; For it was all one for David to have slain Uriah with his own sword, or with the sword of the Ammonites, onely that had a better colour of hypocrisie: So it is all one to slay the poor, and the middle sort of people, and the Souldiers by immediate stroke of violence, or to slay them by oppression, or by extorting from them unjustly, that which should maintain their lives, or by needless delays of doing right, or by keeping back their proper estates, pay, and just interests; onely this hath a better colour of hypocrisie: So it is all one to kill the conscientious and honest party, or others (as Doeg did the Priests of the Lord) by immediate violence, or to kill them by oppressions or imprisonment; or as Naboth was, by false witnesses, or by starving and famishing of them: onely this hath a fairer pretense, and better colour of hypocrisie, and therefore is more wicked. And those Trustees that either in Counsel or Execution do act or commit such things, are Lawbreakers (as persons) and betrayers of their Trust (as Representatives) and embrue the hands of the Nation, and their own, in the deepest guilt of bloud. Therefore all Plaintiffs and Witnesses that know certainly any oppression, cruelty, or unjust actions done unto, or by any person, the Nation, or themselves, must (as Trustees) faithfully discharge their Consciences to God, and duties to themselves, and Nation, to free it and themselves from guilt of bloud, and breach of the Law; and to free themselves from breach of Trust; and that in the cause of any, and of every particular and [Page 22] distinct person within the limits of their relation whatsoever.
Ninthly, And therefore the Law (that is equity) and the just ministers of it, need not, nor do, nor can admit of any unjust or corrupt connivances, indulgencies, or indempnities whatsoever. Adam when he had sinned, and saw himself naked, sought Figleaves to cover his nakedness; So let them that break the Law, and that betray and destroy it, and those that stand to maintain it; seek unjust egments and shelters: But the Law (that is, Equity) and the just ministers of it, must be impartially free to bring forth judgement into righteousness, without respect of Persons or Relations, and without regard of the Office, Eminency, or multitudes of any.
Tenthly, That all Representatives for their own justification and security, and satisfaction of all men; keep a complete and perfect record of all their Decrees and Executions, expressing the whole series of all their proceedings, and the Votes of every particular person of their Representative, their names, and places of residence, and the particular examinations of every witness, with their names, and place of residence: These Records to be attested by two or three men of known integrity, under their hands; men (if it may be) no way concerned in the cause, nor engaged to any parties that do try, or are tryed; and that the parties tryed may have (if they desire it) Copies of the Representatives whole proceedings (as aforesaid) so attested. For it was no satisfaction as to the assoylment of Ahab by the Elders of Israel from the bloud of Naboth, that Naboth was put to death by a wicked Representative through false witness: Also that the evidence of men of Pharasaical and bloudy Spirits, common Barretters, and men of Belial, and such as manifest loosness, and little or no Conscience in their conversations, may not be easily admitted in Judgement, especially against men of known honesty and integrity: Let their testimony be circumspectly examined, and if their evidence upon due examination be found false, let them suffer the same punishment which had bin due to the defender, if their witness had bin true.
8 Consider the wrong, and abuse done to the Souldiers, and Nation, in not paying the Souldiers, at disbanding, their full and total due for their Service, especially in disbanding some without [Page 23] having their Arrears Audited and Stated, without any Debenter, and without any Pay at Disbanding: First, Because the Nation is thereby made guilty of devouring the Symbol and price of the Bloud and Lives of the Souldiers, who with the uttermost hazard of their bloud, and lives; have supported the Nation; this David abhorred, and would not drink the price of the bloud of his souldiers, though it was but water, and he himself like to perish for want of it. Secondly, the Nation is hereby made guilty of most unnatural ingratitude of extensive horror and vastness. Thirdly, The Nation is hereby made guilty of perfidious violation and enfringment of the Faith and Honor of the Nation, and the Army of its Faith and Honor in its just Engagements to the contrary. Fourthly, By this means, many of the Army and Nation (were justly) and some (desperatly) imbittered, and provoked, and thereby, as a just punishment of this Nations bloudy sins, a new War was caused, wherin the whole Nation was at the very brink of being wholly lost. Fifthly, The Nation is thereby made guilty of the bloud that was shed in that War, and of its own extream hazard by that War, for the violation of the Faith of the Nation, by the Nation; and of the Army, by the Army; was judged to be the undoubted main Cause of that dangerous and bloudy War, and of all the distresses and miseries that have thereby, since ensued: therefore it had been more safe and honorable, better accepted of men, and more just in the sight of God, though they had Disbanded but. Ten in a day, to have paid them their total and full Due, in Arrears, at Disbanding. Sixthly, Consider that a Debenter is but a titular, and no real Interest, and satisfies not the Nations, and Peoples, nor the Souldiers just interest, in relation to the Freedom of the Nation, from the slain of guilt that lies upon it, and in relation to the Souldiers in point of Right. The Kings Party are r [...] koned, by some, better without Debenters, because they are not therewith undone and destroyed, by fruitless seeking their Pay in Arrears, till they starve and perish. To prevent this, and procure present necessary relief, many Souldiers are forced to sell, as Esa his birth right for pottage, their Debenters f r some small me inconsiderable sum of money perhaps Ten pound in Arrears for Ten or five shillings of present money; So whiles the Souldiers serve the State with [Page 24] hazards of their lives; perhaps they that have bin their enemies in field, or their oppressers, receive their pay in arrears, and (by making advantage of their necessities) wrong and defraud them of the price of their bloud; and they and their families miserably without remedy starve and perish for want of it. Consider this bloudy extortion, and the cause of it, necessity; and the cause of that necessity; a paper, insteed of real pay; insufficient to relieve the least necessity. Consider the equity that this superlative extortion, and the causes of it, be effectually abrogated; that all such contracts may be null, and that the Souldiers may receive the entire price of so deer a purchase (without fraud) infallibly.
9. Consider the sad condition of all the Foot and Horse, in relation to their present pay; and of the disbanded, sick, and wounded Souldiers. Many of the Foot and Horse have Families to provide for; now whether is 8 d per diem sufficient to maintain a single man in any due equipage, as to conserve health, or keep him an honest man? Much less him that hath a charge and family. A single man in ordinary health, may eat eight penny worth of bread and wholsom meat (as rates are) at one meal, and yet be forc'd to drink water with it: But a Souldiers clothes, and linen, and washing, and reparations, and shoes, and stockings, (if he order himself in any wholsom or seemly manner) will cost him 4 d per diem, throughout the yeer: So then, he hath 4 d a day to find him, which (as rates are) is not so much as 2 d a day was formerly, and which is not sufficient for one Souldier, to afford him half of one good meal in a day, through the year, and yet this must maintain his Wife and Family also, if he have any. And because this pittance, (too short for any prisoner) is too much for a Souldiers, about a third part of their pay in Arrears, must be deducted for Freequarter; which no Law nor Equity can justifie, except they that deduct it can prove to whom, and from whom in particular it is due, and pay it accordingly, and then the rest of the Souldiers pay in arrears (which amounts to nothing except extreme damage and loss looking after it) must be paid them seldom or never: So that the condition of Souldiers (of the disbanded, sick, and wounded much more) is the most exquisite masterpiece of oppression and slavery, that can be [Page 25] conceived, and directly and wholy against all humanity, much more against Christian equity, integrity and goodness. The Souldiers of Horse and Foot are Freeborn English, and not Native Bondslaves: Slavery and Bondage in corporal and spiritual. Corporal Bondage is a subduing and bringing under of the Body by sore labor, and servile work, or watchings, not affording food and rayment sufficient to bear up the body in its laborious thrall. Spiritual bondage is coincident to Corporal bondage; For as a corrupt vessel corrupteth what is contained in it, so the bodies of the Souldiers, brought low by many surfets, through sundry constant hard services, wearied with often watchings and ill accomodations, lamed and broken with bruises, wounds, heats, hunger, cold, aches, and often sicknesses, filled with all serdes, and filth of lothsom poverty and nakedness, renders their Spirits slavish and abject, their persons desperate, and careless of themselves and families, and them and their families debauched and wicked, and ready and prone to pursue rash and unjust courses, which cast them upon the mercies of their Representatives, who condemn and cashier them; deprive them of their just and necessary livelihood, the staff of their lives, and bridle which should restrain them from wickedness; and they deprive many of life also. Want is Vertues clog, and the most violent spur and provocation to all wickedness: It fits men for all vassallage and slavery: It puts out the eys of reason, and renders mens minds brutish; It subjects their Spirits to all servile wickedness, and their Bodies to all unjust burdens of corporal calamities and miseries; It maketh Souldiers slaves to bloudy Designes, Vassals of base and wicked enterprises, to kill (if commanded or not commanded) one another, or their best friends, and to engage in bloud against any, or against all the Freeborn People, to destroy them. Extreme and unjust Poverty caused by cruel oppression, is the iron chain of cursed bondage, which makes men slaves to other mens wills, and wickedness; Slaves to their own sins, slaves to all miseries, slaves to their own utter uine, slaves to destruction of Body and Spirit: They that put the poor, and the Souldiers, and the middle sort of people in iron chains of unjust wrongs and oppressions, and they that do not effectually endeavour to break their chains, and [Page 26] to redress their wrongs and oppressions, bring the guilt of the bloud of the poor, and of the Nation, upon themselves, and upon the Nation.
The poor of the Nation (for the most part) are Souldiers, undone in service, turn'd out, and deprived of their proper Rights, the price of their bloud: Many of the Nation are made poor in pursuing their, and the Peoples Rights and Liberties; and the rest of the poor (for the most part) are such as are undone, by slavery and oppression.
I mention these things for no other purpose, but that the bloudguilty defilement of the Land, if possible, may be purged from it; and for redress of it, I propose, First, that the Foot may have 12. d. per diem, from the begining of the Service (as was promised) or as due by a better right, the just claim of Equity and Necessity; Why should the Souldiers eat ashes, and be clothed in rags by those for whom they have purchased by their hazard and bloud, to be clothed in Scarlet, and to eat the fat of the Land. Secondly, That the constant future pay for the Foot, be (at least and when things are as cheap as they have bin) twelve pence per diem; and that their present and future pay be (as rates of all provisions are now, and may be) so much above twelve pence per diem, as may competently maintain them and their charge in due health with honesty.
3. That Troopers and Dragoons may have 2. s 6. d per diem, from the begining of the Service: and for future, what more may justly countervail their necessities; the deerness and scarcity of all things considered.
4. That the sick and wounded Horse and Foot, that for that cause are out of Service, may have the same pay that they in service have, but not pay for horses except they keep horses for the Service. The Souldiers when sick and wounded, have most need of their pay, and they best deserve it, who (in discharge of their faithfulness) have suffered most.
5. That the sick and wounded Officers may the same pay which they had in service, it being extreme hard, and unjust measure, that they or the Souldiers should be then most destitute, when they have most need; or that their faithfulness (wherein they have hazarded their lives, and bin wounded) [Page 27] should be punished with privation or abridgement of their pay.
6. That all Officers and Souldiers that have bin faithful to their trust, and (for that cause) or otherwise unjustly turn'd out, dismissed, or cashiered, may be forthwith restored to their respective charge and places of trust, and have all legal and due administrations of Right and Justice, and equal and answerable reparations given them in all just relations; For it is unreasonable and unjust in the Nation, and in its Trustees and Officers, and dangerous to the Nation; That they that have bin ever faithful to their trust, and born the burden of the Service, should be turned out or cashiered, especially without due satisfaction, and other Officers and Souldiers (perhaps false to their present Trust or late enemies to it, or newters, or not fit for Service) should' be trusted with the charge and trust of the Nation.
Seventhly, That all Widdows, and Orphants, or the next kindred of all such Souldiers, or Officers (if they have been faithful to their Trust) as have been, or shall be dead, or slain in Service, may have their Arrears Audited and paid them, that the Nation may be free from the guilt and sins of bloud and oppression, least God say to it, or to many of it, (as Elisha to Ahab for Naboths bloud) Hast thou killed, and also taken possession? or least God plead the Cause of the many thousands of Souldiers slain by cruel and unjust murder and oppression, and the Cause of their desolate widdows and fatherless, with the Nation, and Representative of it, and say, Have you killed, (not one man as Naboth was but one) but many thousans: not who denied you their vineyards, but gave their lives for you to do you service. Have you killed them by keeping back the slender pittance of their deer purchase, their due Pay, which should have kept them alive? Have you killed there by keeping back the price of their blouds, who kept not back their own bloud, that they might preserve your lives and Estates entire? Did you enthral their bodies in all corporal calamities, exigences, extremities, even unto death; and did you kill their bodies? did their calamities, and extreme exigents enslave their Souls and Spirits in all excess of wickedness? for so greater inforcement can be to all wickedness then necessity; are they utterly cut of and killed Body and Soul, in and by their, and in them your wickedness? And have you cut off, [Page 28] and killed them in body and soul? To keep back and bridle them from wickedness, had been your duty; and did you set your steely spurs of oppression in their sides, and cause them to rush headlong into all wickedness, and perish in it? Did you kill them by keeping back the price of their hazard and bloud, which had you paid them, they had not perished, or you had bin guiltless? And have you taken possessian of it? Did you possess the whole Land in peace? and did you keep back (when you had no need) the price of their lives from their desolate widdows, and forsaken fatherless? Did you give possession of it to others that had no right to it? and did dogs (to whom it was not due) lick their bloud? Did you, when you had power, free the Nation from bloud, or by not doing it, plunge and reinvolve it in a new bloudy War? Did Ahab, when sharply reproved, humble himself, and have you hardned your hearts, when friendly admonished in the spirit of meekness? Did you harken to corrupters and seducers, and despise, imprison, persecute, and destroy those that did faithfully admonish, and friendly exhort you? Let the Nation, at least the Conscientious Party, seriously consider these things, as what highly concerns the entire safeties of them and it?
Eighthly, For relieving of the rest of the poor, and for preserving of the middle sort of people from extream poverty and beggary, Let every parish be brought into a Body represented, and constitute a Representative and Representators of its own in its self. Let the body represented, Conveen as oft as there shall be just cause: the body Representative (if need be) every week. Let the end of the Conveening of the body represented, and of the body representative, be (especially at first) to determine who are the poor of that body that must be relieved, and how relieved. Secondly, Who are the middle sort that cannot relieve, and need not be relieved. And Thirdly, who are the rich that may relieve and bear some burden, and what burden they may bear towards the discharge of the Debts of the Nation, and relief of the poor.
The poor are to be relieved by having all Commons, Fennes, Forrests, Parks, and donations of Houses, Lands, and Monies that have been anciently their due, restored to them, and a stock of [Page 29] cattel raised for them to improve it for their maintenance. They that cannot improve Land or Cattel by their labour, are to be relieved by being set at work, and what they want of sufficiency to relieve them by their labour, must be allowed by Contributions.
Secondly, The middle sort that cannot relieve, and need not relief; and the poor must be freed from all burdens, that they may the better provide for, and maintain their own Families: and to this end, let Excise and Tythes be taken off from all. 2 Where Tythes have been bought, let just recompence be given to the Buyer (if it may be) by the Seller, and let the Seller in like manner require his satisfaction. 3 The considerations and original grounds upon which Tythes were first granted by the people, are to be considered: If they were at first freely demised and granted by the people, and not extorted: and if the considerations and grounds upon which they were demised and graunted, were (in those times) visibly just, and equal; then there is some reason they should be rebought by the people (they not paying more then what the buyer paid.
Thirdly, Let all Taxes, Sessements, and Quartering be taken off from the poor and middle sort of people, and let their Landlords bear their burden.
Fourthly, Let no Farmers pay any Taxes or Sessements, nor bear any burden of FreeQuarter, or otherwise, in relation to the Land they Rent: For Free Quarter is not, nor can be quite taken away, as Rates of Provisions are, and the Souldiers Pay being no more.
Fifthly, Let no Souldiers Quarter in Cities and MarketTowns, which causeth scarcity and famine in the Land, and destroyes the poor and middle sort of people.
Representors of every Parish are to be but two; their Office is to see, and provide that the poor and middle sort of people (whose Representors they are) be not oppressed, or deprived of their just Rights, and to obtain them (where wanting) that all due administrations of Right and Justice be extended to all persons, and to decide and end all differences, and cause strife to cease in their respective Parishes, without going to Law, as Heathens, to destroy one another.
To compleate a perfect Representative in every Parish, let [Page 30] eleven or twelve more be added to the two Representors to performe the same Office with them where they have first done their endeavours, and cannot determine or end any difference. Let every compleat Representative consist of twelve men, and a President. Let their Representors (especially) and also the body Representative be men fearing God, dealing truly, and hating Covetousness; haters of Oppression, enemies to Vsurpers, and Oppressors, impartial to all, free from Pharisaical bloudy rigour, and lovers and approvers of the Nations and Armies just Engagements for the Nations Freedom, and the just Liberties and Interests of all persons. If two or twelve so qualified cannot be found in some Parishes, then they are to joyn with some other Parish or Parishes, until so many may be found. No person, or grieved parties shall be tyed to refer their grievances to the said two, or twelve, unless they freely chuse them themselves; otherwise they may equally and freely chuse any other two or twelve. Every person in every Represented, and Representative, may freely give his Vote and Advice; but if the Sentence and Result be recented as unjust, their sufferage, and Voyce only, that are known to be conscientious and qualified as aforesaid, shall stand; and the Voyces of others, though never so rich and powerful usurpers and oppressors, be of no force. Two Representors in every Parish (elected by the Represented, or by the poor and middle sort of people in it) may (by the approbation and assent of their respective poor and middle sort of people) chuse two for the County or Shire to perform the like Offices to the poor and middle sort of people of the Shire or County. Also two Representors (chosen in every Shire or County) may (by approbation and assent of their respective Parochial Representors, and of the middle sort of people and poor of the Nation) chuse and appoint two Representors (for the middle sort of people, and poor of the Nation) who (being fitly qualified) may reduce the sad and afflicted condition of the poor and middle sort of people into an expeditious and right order of speedy and effectual redress.
Consider that slavery is the most vile and miserable condition, and blackest curse, that is or can be incident to men; the bond of sin and death to their bodies and spirits, the chain of destruction to the Nation; and therefore it requires our earnest care to [Page 31] quit our selves and Nation from it. A Pillar of a cloud, and of fire, did direct Israel out of Aegyptian Bondage into the promised Land of Liberty. The light and truth of God in the Judgements and Spirits of men, is that real and true Pillar of fire, which all freeborn people of God do and must follow; That was outward, this inward: That gave light to the Body, this to the Spirit. God (in, and by that Pillar of fire) led and delivered Israel (Abrahams Freeborn) from their chains of cruel bondage, into their land of promised liberty. God (in and by this Pillar of light, and fire, in the judgements and Spirits of his people) leadeth and delivereth his Freeborn, from real bondage of body and spirit, (under all burdens of bloudy guilt, and cruel oppressions) into the land of promised peace, truth, and perfect freedom. Israel moved not but after that cloud by day; and moved and did all things by night, in and by the light of that pillar of fire. So the Freeborn of God (in the Army and Nation) must in all their motions and actings, follow after, and act in, and by the light of the Pillar of God (the pillar of light and truth in their own Spirits:) They must not sell or enslave their own or others lives, light, liberties, interests, bodies, and spirits, to serve (under all barbarous calamities, and bloudy wickedness of blind obedience) the vilest vassals of slavery, as the sons of Jacob sold their brother, the preserver of their lives and beings, into the house of bondage. They must (in all their motions and actions) walk and act in the liberty of the light of God in their own spirits: and not act or acquiesce from principles of an implicitefaith in the Arbytrarie commands of will and power in any Representative or person whatsoever. It is small satisfaction or security to any man (that may see if he will, but will follow and be led by a blind man, till both fall into a ditch and perish) to think to say for himself a blind man led him, and it was his own will, and he would be led by him. So if any sub-Officers, Souldiers, or others, shall execute any unjust decree by order of or from any Commanders or Representatives whatsoever, the plea of their order were weak, and without all satisfaction. They must not think their Officers command (if unjust) can free them or their Officers from the just doom and due penalty of the Law, no more then a murderers plea at the Bar, that his fellow robber [Page 32] commanded him to kill the murdered, can quit him or his fellow from guilt of murder, or from death due to murderers. Neither may any person or persons, or Representatives, Courts, or Councels, vainly conceive that any imposed Trust, Place, or Office, or personal Eminency, or that their being many, is or can be of any force to free them (more then any one privat mean man) from due punishment, though it be death which the Law inflicteth for, breach of it; or to free any person or persons whom they employ, from the like punishments. Howbeit the Freeborn of God in Army or Nation, Officers, Souldiers, or private men, that groan under the cursed burdens of bloudy wickedness, and barbarous oppressions which they have born themselves, or laid upon others, if they seek earnestly, and effectually endeavour the redemption of their bodies and spirits; and to free others from the same bondage (whereof the Israelites bondage in Aegypt and deliveranoe out of it was but a type and shaddow) may, and ought to be in some measure commiserated; and their cruelties time past, if utterly renounced, and really repented of, may be so far passed by, as the Law can admit: also some unjust actions o infirmity and weakness, so far only as may stand with law and equity, may be born withal.
God keeps not the children of light in chains of darkness, but willeth that all men should be saved from cursed servitude, and bondage of body and spirit, by coming unto, and following after the pillar of God, the knowledge of the Truth in their own Judgements and Spirits; and that they walk and act at all times and in all relations, in the light of this pillar of fire within them, Wherefore let all the Freeborn of God in the Army and Nation, cast off the wicked burdens of cursed and blind obedience to Representatives Arbytrarie commands of Will and Power; and fix the eys of their understandings upon the pillar of God, in their own Judgements and Spirits: Let them seriously consider in and with themselves, and with one another, the grounds of all their actions; engagements, and executions, and be well advised and satisfied in their Spirits, to what end, and where unto they tend; whether to liberty or bondage, light o darkness, to Zion or Sinai; whether they be works of Hagar o [Page 33] Sarah; Sem or Cham: and whether they tend to enslave, oppress, and wrong themselves, the people, and Nation; and other persons, people, or Nations; or to right, and free themselves and Nation, and other Nations from slavery, wrong, and oppression?
Let them improve the most rich, and precious Talent of their Birthright, and Freedom, to debate, dispute, pleade, question, and examine the causes, grounds, and terms, upon which they act, engage, or execute any thing. Eph. 5.15. And (in all things) walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise; Heb. 15.14. And as those that are of full age, who by reason of perfection, and use, have their senses exercised, to discern both good and evil.
Let them consider their Representatives Propositions, Counsels, and Decrees, whether they be just or unjust: whether they are to be observed by them, or to be reproved, or punished in their Representatives: whether they tend to involve them and the Land in bloud, and massacre, or to free it and them from it. If Chams cursed Sons compel, or perswade them to forsake Freedom and imbrace bondage; to mo&themselves by doing all base, and dirty drudgery of vile, and servil wickedness, and to wallow in all unjust, and extream wants, and cursed calamities, caused by unjust oppressions, and cruelties; let them fix their eyes upon the pillar of God in their own Spirits, and walk in the light of it, and follow after it: If they command them to couch under all burdens of cursed servitude, and to be (with them, as they are) servants of servants: slaves of servile, and blind obedience, and bruitish ignorance; to act from an implicite Faith in their usurping taskmasters arbritary commands of Will and Power, to kill and murder, at their command, their best and most faithful friends, and fellow Souldiers, to enterprize any bloudy act of massacre, and slaughter upon each other, or upon the nation: to perpetrate and execute (at their command) all oppression, and crueltie, upon the nation, and (through wicked blindness, and brutish ignorance) upon, and against themselves also; and to involve the nation at their wills, in new Wars, to destroy it and themselves: Let them renounce and detest such cursed servitude, and cast off slavish bondage of such blind obedience, and fix their eyes upon the pillar of God (the pillar of light and truth in their own Spirits) [Page 34] and let them walk in the liberty of that light: Let them try all things, and hold fast the truth; for this liberty is the proper, peculiar, and most rich and precious Talent of all the freeborn of God, which God hath given them: Therefore let them try and examine with all exactness in themselves, and advise together whether the light in their own Spirits, be the light of the pillar of God, or a delusion; and whether it be the light of truth, or a lying dream in their own fancies: For, if it be a true light to discover the truth of God, and if they walk in that light, and follow after that truth, it will be certainly and infallibly a pillar of support and deliverance to free them from the most extensive, and deepest guilt of bloudy and desperate wickedness; and from the fruit and reward of such bloudy wickedness, the most cruel, and accursed calamities, and destruction of bodie and Spirit. All that observed, and followed the commands of Chams cursed sons, (being free from danger before) were drawn into a sea of death, and destroyed, not one escaped. All Israel that observed, and followed the pillar of God (being before involved in the greatest troubles that ever were) were all freed, and delivered; not one perished.
That this pillar of Light and Truth may be more conspicuous and apparent to all the freeborn of the Army and Nation, I propose first for the Army, That all Troops and Companies, select and appoint (in each Troop of horse, and Company of foot) two Representors, men (if it may be) that have been ever firm to all the Armies and Nations just Interests, and Engagements; and faithful and welaffected to the conscientious and honest party in both; impartial to all; yet free from Pharisaical bloudy rigour, and indiscreet rashness: Let these sit, and act in all Councels of their Regiments with those Officers that concur with them in their Agreements, according to their just Engagements. Secondly, Let them have liberty to sit and act in general Councels, with concurring Officers, as aforesaid. Thirdly, To sit and act in Councel in their own Troops and Companies. Fourthly, To sit and act in Councel in their proper Bodies represented, the Souldiers of their respective Troops and Companies. Their Office in Councel, in, and with their proper represented (the souldiers of their respective Troops and Companies) is to inform, [Page 35] satisfie, and convince their understandings and judgments what their, and the armies, and the nations proper Rights and Interests are; what the proper Rights of the poor of the nation are; and to represent the Proposals, Results, and decrees of superior Councels to the Souldiers of their respective Troops and Companies in all things, wherein their concurrence in execution is to be required: They are to assert, sign, and attest under their hands, superior Councels Proposals, Results, and Decrees, to their said Troops and Companies; that the truth may be firmly ascertained, and established to them, by testimony of two witnesses, in all things wherin their concurrence in execution is to be required: They are to represent to them, and from them reciprocally to superior Councels, such things as are profitable, and honest for the Army and Nation; and those things that are good, just, and lawful for them, and for all men. Without this or the like Order, the particular Bodies Represented, and their Representatives, and the general Body Represented (the State) and its Representatives, must sit in darkness, and the shaddow of death, without guide of light, or pillar of truth to deliver them from the most execrable slavery of bondage, and misery in body and Spirit; and both Army and Nation must remain a dead Babylonish Chaos of confusion, darkness, and disorder, without light or form. Let the Representors of Troops and Companies, by concurrence and assent of their respective Represented, chuse in every Regiment two Representors for the Regiment to concentrate the work of many into unity, and to avoid confusion. Let the Representors of Regiments, by concurrence and assent of their respective Troops and Companies, and their Representors, chuse two Representors for the whole Army, who may sit, and act in any Councel in the Army, and also sit, and act in the general Representative of the Nation, for, and in behalf of the Army, as Commoners and Souldiers. Let the people of the Nation, (the poor and middle sort of people especially) select and appoint for them Representors to perform like offices to them, to preserve them from iminent, and otherwise irresistable necessity of perishing, and to free them from most vile, and miserable bondage of body and Spirit. Let the poor and middle sort of people in every parish, chuse two Representors for the poor of [Page 36] their parish, or (at least) for every 120 or 200 families of poor Representors that fear God, deal truly, and hate covetousness, and that are qualified as aforesaid, are, to the Army, Nation, and poor of it, as Anchors in violent storms to ships; and as strong cords, binding arrows in bundles, whereby they cannot be broken.
14 Consider the Impostury, and guilt of those that (what they can) cast infamy, and odium upon the conscientious and honest party of the Army and Nation, calling them Levellers, Jesuits, &c. putting them upon vile and unjust actions, turning them out of employment and places of Trust, oppressing, killing, or cashiering them without cause, and feigning many a persions and slanders against them; as to which I enquire whether there is not the same Anal gy in antitype and substance betwixt these and the usurping, and tyrannical Egyptians in type and shadow: The Egyptians wicked and unjust fear was, That the Israelites by their might and multitude, would Level the powers of Egypt, and therefore sought by all means to Level their number and power by drowning their Males in rivers, by imposing heavie burdens and servile labour upon them to keep them under, by withholding straw for fuel, by restraining them their proper rights and liberties, and the use of their own goods wherewith to sacrifice unto God, and to serve him: Whereas the Israelites from the time they came first into Egypt were (under God) the only supporters of the power and might of Egypt, and the only freers of the whole Land from all destructions and plagues: So these real, and indeed self Levellers, the true sons of Cham (servants of wicked Jealousies and Fears) doubting the honest party of Army and Nation will level and overpower their might, begin first, and that effectually to level them. They level their power and number by casting their male Children (that is such as have the spirit and courage of a man, to stand for the Armies and Nations just Rights and Liberties) into the violent streams of unrighteous judgments, rash executions, unjust oppressions, starving prisons, where they sink and perish. And none but Females, that is such as are of feeble spirits, and courage to seek and stand for Right and Justice, are suffered to survive and live. They level them by imposing upon them heavie burdens, not only of hard service, but of wicked and unlawful actions, and by setting [Page 37] the vilest and basest persons to be overseers, and taskmasters over them.
They Level them by putting them out of places of Trust, by Disbanding them without satisfying their, and the Nations just Interests; without considerable recompence for their faithful service, and some without any pay or recompence; by cashiering them without cause, or for being true to their Trust, conscientious, and faithfull; by condemning them contrary to all Law of God or Nature, their enemies being Judges, accusers, and witnesses against them.
They Level them by reducing their pay already due for their service past, in deducting part for free Quarter, without showing, or proving what, or how much, or to whom, or from whom in particular any part of it is due.
They Level them by reducing the future, past, and present pay of the Horse in general; and of divers Officers of Horse and Foot, contrary to the Faith of this Nation, and their own just engagements.
By this means, they that are conscientious and honest (both Souldiers and Officers, and their families) perish and are destroyed, or at least are disinabled to discharge their Places, or to do service.
By this means the Faith of the Nation is grossely abused, and perfidiously infringed and broken, and the Nation made guilty of defrauding, and of oppressing its preservers; guilty of most unnatural cruelty and injustice; guilty of reinvolving it self into this last new War, wherein it was brought to the very brink of extremity to be utterly lost and destroyed.
By these means they are guilty of causing all the Treasure that hath been spent, and all the Bloud that hath been spilt in this Nation to establish righteousness; to be spent, and spilt to no purpose, or to establish oppression and unrighteousness.
By this means they make themselves and the Nation guilty of all the scarcity, famine, poverty, persecutions, cruelties, bloudshed, oppressions, and sicknesses (thereof ensuing) which have been caused by this last War, and yet these causes are not taken away, and the means are not yet removed.
By these means they unjustly imbitter the conscientious and [Page 38] honest party, and exasperate others, and kill and murder them for being (justly) imbittered and exasperated.
They Level (the object of their wicked and unjust Jealousies and Fears) their real, and best, and most faithful friends, suppor ers, and preservers, by aspersing and slandering them falsely (as the men of Belial did Naboth) to destroy them. They Level them by withholding straw, their due pay, the slender pittance and fuel of their lives and beings.
Howbeit these, the true Israel, the free born of God, the object of Chams sons cursed fears; and of their desires to Level, and Destroy them; have ever been (under God) their causeless persecutors, levellers and oppressors preservers, and the freers of them from all plagues and destruction at all times; and they themselves the greatest oppressors, persecutors; levellers, and destroyers of their own supporters and preservers (but indeed) of themselves that ever were in the world.
Lastly, Pharoah and his servants were set upon their wicked purpose to oppress, level, and destroy Israel, by believing the lying words and works of Sorcerers: So these are set upon their wicked purpose, to oppress, level, and destroy the true Israel, by harkening to real Sorcerers, and seducers. The Sorcerers of Egypt resisted Moses, sent to deliver Abrahams free born from Egyptian bondage: These resist (the true Moses) Christ, sent to deliver the true Israel (the free born of God) from real misery, and bondage, in body and Spirit.
The works of God by Moses, were true Miracles, real Righteousness, and types of true Righteousness: For example, The Egyptians (thirsting the bloud of their supposed Levellers, but real Supporters) drowned their Males in rivers; therfore all rivers and waters of Egypt were turned to bloud, that they and their cattel could drink no water, but bloud: and this work of God by Moses, was a work of true Righteousness, and a type of a more perfect righteousnes of (the true Moses) Christ.
2 The Fishes (which in these rivers are more various and monstrous then in any rivers in the world) fed upon the flesh and bloud of the Israelites new born infants: therefore in a type of Justice, the fishes had rivers of bloud given them, and nothing but bloud to drink and feed upon; therefore the fish died, and the rivers stank.
3 The Egyptians regarded not the just Petitions, cryes, and complaints of the afflicted Israelites; nor the pitious cryes of their perishing Male children whom they drown'd in the rivers: therefore Frogs, a helpless, naked, and unarmed; also a clamorous and crying creature, came up out of the Rivers into their houses, and bedchambers, and covered their Land as it were so many millions of witnesses attesting to their faces, and with loud voyces proclaiming their bloudy cruelties, and oppressions: As the naked and unarmed condition, and helpless innocence of the new born infants, cast into these Rivers, was remonstrant to the eyes of the Egyptians in this creature; so these creatures were a type of the helpless, and miserably naked, and stript poor.
4 The Egyptians did eate up the afflicted poor of the Land like bread, and did grind them to dust: therefore the dust of Egypt (a type also of the poor) was turned into Lice, and did eate the flesh of the Egyptians.
Where the peoples Representatives oppress and destroy the people of God; the plague of Frogs follows and innumerable helpless, and naked poor cover the Land, and fill the houses and bedchambers of their oppressors with loud clamours, petitions, cryes, and complaints.
If oppressors will not hear the cryes of the people of God, nor of their miserable murdered male children, nor the cryes of the poor; the plague of Lice follows, and the dust of Egypt (the poor of the Land) turned into Lice, eate the flesh of their oppressors. Their corruption and cruel oppression bred them, and they must feed them.
These plagues, and all the rest, were not upon Abrahams freeborn, the Israelites; but upon the Egyptians, their oppressors: And these plagues (in the truth and substance) will not fall upon those that in sincerity seek Freedom from Bondage, but upon their oppressors, that seek to enslave, level, and destroy them.
These, and all the Miracles which God wrought by Moses, were true Miracles, and likewise works of real Justice, and types of true Righteousness, tending to deliver Israel from the most bloudy and cruel bondage and oppressions that ever were. But the lying miracles of the Magicians and Sorcerers were false, [Page 40] and imposterous works, tending to harden Pharoahs and his servants hearts in their wicked purpose, to oppress, and destroy (their own preservers) afflicted, and oppressed Israel.
5 The lying miracles of the Magicians and Sorcerers, which they wrought before Pharoah and his servants, falsely shaddowed forth the true Miracles of Moses; and were miracles in shew not in substance; seemingly, not indeed; in appearance, but not in truth.
6 The words and works of Pharoah and his servants, by be lieving the lying words and works of Magicians and Sorcerers became like theirs, falsely shaddowing forth the true words and works of Moses, and were just and true words and works it shew, not in substance; seemingly, not indeed; in appearance, bu not in truth: For Pharoah and his servants were willing to le [...] Israel go, seemingly; but did indeed enslave and suppress them They repented, and were sorry for all the evils they did to Israel seemingly; but indeed endeavoured to oppress, level, and destro them.
They were mighty forward that Israel should go out fre seemingly; but did indeed pursue them to destroy them, and take all that was theirs. So the words and works of those that seek to level and destro the free born, and the words and works of their hearthardenin Sorcerers and seducers, are sorceries falsely shaddowing forth th true works of Righteousness, wrought by the true Moses Chris and his members; and are just and righteous in shew, not substance; seemingly, not indeed; in appearance, but not in trut They are forward to promote Justice, and favour just me seemingly, but indeed oppose Justice, and destroy and persecu [...] just men. They intend the Souldiers, the poor, and people of the Naon shall have their just dues and proper Rights, seemingly; b indeed deprive the Souldiers, the poor, and people or the Naon, of their just dues, and proper Rights. They are mighty forward and zealous in all godliness and [...]ligion, seemingly; but indeed resist Christ, as the Sorcerers sisted Moses. They are (seemingly) ready to call all to an Account th [Page 41] purloyn the States Treasure, and keep it unjustly; but indeed sharply punish or destroy such as but begin to question those that do it.
They intend to set the Freeborn free from Bondage (seemingly) but indeed enslave, level, and destroy them. And all their words, actions, decrees, and executions are (seemingly) righteous, and really Sorceries. So all works of Pharisaical hypocrisie in any persons, to say or teach well, and do evil; to act, and order in Councel what is just and right, and execute the contrary to pretend zeal, and forwardness to Reformation, and practice all violent, and wicked enormities, and to persecute and destroy their faithful reprovers that witness against their Pharisaical bloudy wickedness, are contrary to the works of (the true Moses) Christ and his members, and are really the works of Magicians and Sorcerers. Also all unjust defaultings, or semiadministrations of Justice: All illlegal halfway meetings, unjust condiscentions, causeless delayes, corrupt closeings, and imperfect executions (partly or wholly) are Sorceries. It cannot be denied, but that Saul (sent against Amaleck) did obey the command of God in most things, in part not: and therefore did not obey the command of God (really) in any thing: And his disobedience in part, was compared to stubbornness, rebellion, and witchcraft: for, the works of the Justice, and Righteousness of God, and of the true Moses Christ, and his members, are real and perfect works of Righteousness, and not imperfect Sorceries and Impostors. 12 Lastly consider the necessity that the nation, and all in it (the conscientious party especially) make (as one man) their speedy address to the people with their Representatives, and (reciprocally) to, and with each other by joint Remonstrance for an Agreement of the Nation. 2 That this Address be made in all wisdom of meekneess, and the mean, and end of this Agreement be, by, and for satisfaction of all just Interest. 3 That the drift, and aime of this joint Address of the people to, and with each other, be to convince the judgements of the People in the Evidence and truth of all things wherein the just [Page 42] Interest of the Nation, and of all persons, and their satisfaction consisteth (as the fittest means and expedient) to accomplish these ends.
4 That the people joyn (as one man) to excite, and call upon each other, to endeavour (with all faithfulness) this (mutual) conviction and satisfaction of their judgments and Spirits; and earnestly seek God in secret by Prayer and Fasting, that they may effectually discharge this necessary duty to God, themselves, and the Nation.
5 That this conviction of the judgements and Spirits of the People (the fittest means, and expedient in order to a perfect Agreemant in Peace and Truth) be endeavoured by peaceable missives in writing from one, two, or three (chosen and appointed by, and for each dissatisfied party) and not by verbal shufflings, serving but to foment the fires of strife and division. And that all such dissatisfied parties (chusing, and appointing, and all persons (in such sort) chosen and appointed) may (in the interim) enjoy all due priviledges and liberties of Free Commoners, inviolable.
6 The sixth Necessity (in order to conviction of the judgements and spirits of the people) and (thereby) to a perfect Agreement of the Nation in peace and truth) is, That the people of the Nation (at least the conscientious partie chuse Representors as aforesaid, to represent all just Proposals, and discoveries of the people to superiour Representatives, and to inform, and convince their judgements how, and wherein the just interests of all persons may be satisfied: and to represent back likewise the debates and results of superiour Trustees to their respective Represented.
7 If an Agreement of the people cannot be procured, or hold not, because satisfaction of just interests (the end, form, soul, and sinewes of all just Agreements) is, or shall be (through partiality and injustice) denied; or (through covetousness, or corruption in the Peoples Trustees, or themselves) cannot be had; or if hardness of heart hinder it, and so make all Agreement void and of no force, (for an Agreement to defraud any, ought not to be made, nor can stand) Then the conscientious and honest party are (with all Christian speedy care, and providence, to make, and [Page 43] constitute such a Government amongst themselves, as may (by Justice, absolute and impartial) preserve the persons, estates, lives, and [...] ire Beings of each other, and of all that close with, and coadhere to them; and to come forth, at the command of God, out of corruent Babel.
The Reasons and Ends of a general Address of the Nation to, and with each other by joyn Remonstrance for an Agreement of the Nation, by satisfying all just Interests, are, That all dissatisfactions and wrongs, the grounds of War and Destruction, may be speedily and effectually Redressed in relation to the Middle sort of people, and poor of the Nation. 2 To the Army. 3 To the Nation. 4 To all Persons. Secondly, That the People (Military and Civil) stir up, and call upon (by joynt and mutual address) one another in all wisdom of meekness, to seek to inform, convince, and satisfie one another, and to be convinced and satisfied in their judgments and spirits in all things wherein the safety of the Nation, and satisfaction of all just Interests consists: The Reasons are, First, That the Nation and Army may be freed from the perfidious violations of their Faith and just Engagements to God, and man. 2 That they may be freed from the Nation sins, and guilt of bloud; and the many imminent miseries that are like to destroy the Nation. 3 Because, if any wrong be done, or sin, or trespass committed (whether against a mansself, or any other) there is a necessity from God laid upon that man, and upon every person that knows it, and upon the Nation (if it hath notice of it) to seek to Redress that wrong, sin, or trespass; and the whole Nation (if it be not otherwase Redressed) must joyn together, as one man, to Redress effectually that wrong, or sin, though it be committed only by, or against one privat person, or family: Nation sins (the vilest and most unnatural) much more. First, Because that person, people, and Nation that knows any wrong done, or sin, or trespass committed (though by, or against but one private person or family) and doth not seek effectually to redress it; commits it, and is guilty of it: and by making that Personal sin (in not redressing of it) National, is guilty of it in that relation also.
The Levite of Mount Epharim was but one private person, and the wrong which was done to him, and not redressed, was [Page 44] done only to him, and his private family: yet all Israel was gathered together as one man unto the Lord at Mispeh, and sent men throughout the Tribe of Benjamine to convince it, and to be convinced what that wrong was, and to redress it; and to move Benjamine to joyn with them unto the Lord for redress of it: But that Tribe harkned not, and was therefore destroyed (600 excepted) man, woman, and child, with their cattel; and their Cities were fired; and God owned that Action.
The wrong done to the Levites family was vile and wicked; yet in it self a private wrong: but in Benjamine that did not redress it, a Nation sin derived upon it by that Tribe, from one wrong done to one single private family.
Nation sins properly are these wrongs, trespassesr or sins that are committed by, or against the major part of a Nation. There were Egypts sins for which God judged that Nation. Israels sins for which that People perished by Sword, Famine, and captivity. Babels sins for which that Kingdom was translated. And these are this Nations sins which will destroy it if the people of it do not vigorously stir up, and call upon one another to joyn as one man, to redress all wrongs, and to satisfie all just Interests.
They that stir up, and provoke the people and their Trustees to do Justice equal and impartial, are looked upon as Disturbers, and Traytors; but they indeed upport the Nation, and to that end, must persevere in the same faithful discharge of their duties to God, the Nation, and themselves: if they fail, the Nation falls. Sins political and universal are of like nature, for which many Cities were, and the world in a Type was, and shall be in the antitype, destroyed.
If the Nation, or part of it, or the people, whether few or many, shall stir up one another to joyn as one man, to pursue the Peace of the Nation, by an Agreement in Righteousness, to free themselves and it from their Nation sins.
All such so joyning shall be gethered together unto the Lord, the Rock of their and this Nations deliverance, as all Israel was gathered together as one man unto the Lord at Mispeh. All Israel that were not gathered together with Israel as one man unto the Lord at Mispeh, to free themselves and Nation from their Nation sin (to wit the inhabitants of Jaoesh Gillead) [Page 45] were all, men, women, and children (except 400) utterly destroyed. So all in this Nation that shall not stir up, and call upon the people, and upon one another to joyn in an Agreement in Righteousness for the paace of the Nation, and to free it and themselves from their Nation sins, shall therein divide and scatter themselves from the Lord, the rock of their and this Nations deliverance, and be more guilty of, and lyable to their own utter ruin and destruction then the men of Jabesh Gillead were; because there can be no compare betwixt a Nation sin, derived from a private family, and a Nation sin derived from a Nation. It is likewise just with God and men, That all they of the Nation that sit still as the men of Jabesh Gillead did, or that hinder the Nations deliverance from their and its sins and destruction, that call not upon the people to joyn unto the Lord as one man, in order to these ends; or hinder others from calling upon them, of that shall harden their hearts that are called upon: That they that will not help forward, but hinder Redress of wrongs, and satisfaction of just Interests; that will not help forward, or shall hinder the causing of a new Representative; and that will not help forward, or that shall hinder an Agreement of the Nation in Righteousness, should answer and satisfie for these wrongs and damages that bloud shed, and these outrages and barbarous cruelties which are caused by their oppositions and obstructions in these relations.
All Israel fled, and fell twice before Benjamine, and Benjamine slew 40000 of them: and the reason of it (is conceived) was, Because Israel was not so circumspect and diligent to discharge all faithfulness of duty to one another in exciting and calling upon one another; and because they did not excite and call upon the men of Jabesh Gillead to hearken and to joyn with them as one man unto the Lord to free their Nation, and themselves from their Nation sin.
Fourthly, That joynt endeavours of Agreement be made with ll wisdom of meekness and faithfulness: the Reasons are, 1 Because wisdom without meekness, is but appearence without substance. 2 Because there is not, nor can be any effectual means of this Nations deliverance, but by Addresses in wisdom, with meekness. [Page 46] 3 Because Gods Message unto Pharoah was meek, and when neither the cryes of Israel, nor the endeavours of their Elders nor Aarons eloquence could deliver them; Moses sent with a meek Message, did deliver them, and left not a hoof behind him of all that appertained unto Israel.
4 Because as Nadab and Abihu that offered strange fire, we [...] destroyed by fire from Heaven; so all wisdom of zeal without sobriety and meekness, hinders our deliverance; and as strange fire which God accepts not, destroyes those that endeavour it such means.
5 Moses (Gods Messenger) was faithful according to th command of God in all his house, and delivered no Message t Pharoah and his servants, nor to the Israelites, but what God commanded: He did all possible good to the Egyptians, and purchased their deliverance from many grievous plagues which the brought upon themselves; neither did he nor the Israelites la their hands upon the life of Pharoah, or of any of his servants (except when violently assayled) wherein the Law of Nature, a [...] all Laws of God, and Nations require present resistance: And i this case only, when an Egyptian and an Israelite strove togeth [...] Moses slew the Egyptian: So Gods Messengers sent to deliv [...] his freeborn from bondage, are faithful according to the command of God, in all his house. They earnestly endeavour preserve, and deliver their oppressors from all plagues and destructions, and from the bloudy guilt of their sins; and to preserve, and deliver the oppressed from the destruction and mise of their oppressions. They delivered no Message to their, a Israels unjust murderers and oppressors, but what God commanded: Their Message, and Gods command, is only that whi [...] the just Laws of the Land (Equity) require: This Message th [...] must deliver to both Egyptians and Israelites; oppressors, a oppressed: And if God command them to smite the Rivers a Waters, and turn them into Bloud, they must do it. They lay their hands upon the life of any Egyptian or other, by wrong or oppressing them in word or in deed; neither do they unjustly assayl or resist any, except when they, or any other are violently and unjustly assayled; and in this God commands them make (what they can for their own safety) present resistance [Page 47] that is, All Laws of nature, God, and nations, require all men in behalf of themselves, and in behalf of every man, to make present resistance against all unjust, violent, and murderous assailents whatsoever, for the safety of their own, and their lives and beings.
Fifthly, The Reasons that the people, at least the conscientious party of the Army and Nation, should earnestly seek God in secret by Prayer and Fasting, that the Nation and its Representatives may harken to satisfie effectually all just Interests as aforesaid, and free it self and them from its Nation sins and destruction, are,
1 Because Israel by so doing, were oft delivered.
2 Because all the Jows under Ahashuerus, designed by an irrevocable Law for slaughter and destruction, earnestly sought God by Prayer and Fasting; and they that were hardened against them, and resolved to destroy them, harkened to them, and delivered them from being destroyed.
3 Because the Disciples of Christ could not cast out a Dumb and Deaf Spirit, and our Saviour gives this Reason why they could not; Mark. 9.29. Because that Kind can come forth by nothing but by Prayer and Fasting. But a more deaf and dumb Spirit possesseth this nation, that neither the people nor their representatives, nor the conscientious party, can, or will call upon one another to harken, nor harken when called upon to break off their nation sins by Righteousness: and though the cryes of he freeborn of God, and of the poor, and of the murdered and oppressed people and souldiers ascend as the cryes of Israel in Egypt to heaven continually, they harken not, and these kinds of deaf and dumb Spirits can come forth by no thing but by Prayer and Fasting.
Sixthly, The Reasons that the drift and aime of the nation in his recipocral and joynt Address for an Agreement in righteousness, be to convince the Judgements and Spirits, what is possible, of all the people in the Truth of all things, by which their nation sins may cease; and their, and its safety be procured: are, 1 Because Truth discovered is the rock of righteousness, upon which the City of Peace is built.
2 Because as when the eyes cleerly see, the whole body seeth, [Page 48] and may see whatsoever might profit, or hurt the body: So if the Judgements of the people be rightly convinced, the nation seeth and is convinced; and may see and shun all things that might prejudice or destroy it, and likewise these things that conduce to its peace, and how to improve them.
3 Because conviction of Light and Truth is the key that unlocketh and dissolveth all chains of darkness and bondage. And as when Peter imprisoned by Herod, was kept by 4 quaternion of Souldiers, bound with two chains, watched by two Souldier that lay with him, having likewise a doubl guard, and his Keepe watching him without, and then an iron gate fast lockt: and as when the Angel raised him, his chains fell from him, and the iron gate opened, and he past all guards, and was freed from death and imprisonment. So conviction of Light and Truth is the key of deliverance from bondage, in the hand of Christ (the Angel of the Covenant) which openeth the Prison doors and iron gate of blindness and hardness of heart; which sets the freeborn o [...] God free from death and imprisonment; causeth their iron fetters of ignorance and misery to fall from them; frustrates all watchings of these that seek to enslave them; and makes them pass the strongest gaurds set to ensnare and destroy them: An [...] this key of conviction only, can free the nation and people of i [...] from the double chains of their Nation sins, and from their, an [...] its destruction. Seventhly, The Reasons that this conviction (the drift an [...] aime of a joynt Address for an Agreement in righteousness) b [...] endeavoured by peaceable Missives in wrighting from one, two or three equally selected and appointed by, and for each dissatisfied party: is,
1 Because, as Mushroms that spring up in one night are spungy, profit little, and many of them poyson; so suddain verb [...] Results are for most part spungy, and profit little; and oft lik[...] the Firebrands (betwixt Sampsons Foxes) destroy those to whom they relate. 2 Because as Trees generally put forth first leaves, and afterwards (leasurally) Fruits: but the fruits are the proper and natural product of their kind, and are gathered; and the leaves no [...] regarded. So the Spirit and Judgement of man puts forth (firs [...] [Page 49] suddain verbal results (as it were leaves) and afterwards (leasurally) its more mature and deliberate results; but the mature and deliberate Results of it, are the perfect and natural product of the Judgement and Spirit: whilst its rash and suddain Results (as the leaves of it) are not to be regarded.
3 That this conviction be endeavoured, and all differences (what are difficult especially) debated by peaceable Missives from one, two, or three, as aforesaid; the reasons are, because unadvised words cause violent evils; and so much folly and offence may issue from the lavish verbal rashness of two or three men, as may suffice (as the Apostle saith Jam. 3.6.) to set on fire the course of Nature: If any man offend not in Word, the same is a perfect man (saith the Apostle) and able also to bridle the whole body: But men perfect, and that offend not in word, are now no where or are seldom found: But (be it) that such men were, or might be found that offend not in word; yet their ripe fruits of mature and deliberate results collected and gathered, are to be preferred before their fruitless leaves of verbal unadvisedness.
Whereas the Nations and Armies just engagements (for the peace and safety of both) were (by both) perfidiously violated, and broken; such as were true to those just engagements turn'd out of the Army, imprisoned, or destroyed. The Nations and Armies just proprieties and interests no waies satisfied: The Nation generally discontent, and a new, desperate, and bloudy war raised: I enquire whether (if peaceable Addresses by Missives in this manner had bin used) all these violent evils, and those bloudy Nation sins, and breaches of faith to God and man, might not have bin easily prevented?
3. Whereas divers Wellaffected of the Army and Nation (to prevent all misunderstandings, and evils thereby ensuing) did in February 1648. humbly petition the House that they might freely debate (by peaceable Missives in writing) all differences that either were or might seem to be; and whereas the House did not grant (then nor since) their just desires (the best expedient to satisfie and convince the judgements of the people, and procure thereby peace to the Nation) and now a new war is the third time strongly threatned, and bloud already spilt: I enquire whether (had their just desires bin granted, or yet shall be granted, [Page 50] all these eminent evils, and miseries, bloudshed, and the guilt of it upon the Authors, and upon the Nation, might not have bin easily prevented; and whether all differences might not have bin, or may not be (by conviction and satisfaction of reason) fully ended in peace with Truth?
3. I enquire whether the withholding of the best means to manifest Truth by Reason for the peace of all men, be not a privation or restraint of the use, liberty, and benefit of the image of God in man (which comprehends all Rights and Liberties) or not?
4. I determine nothing positively or absolutely, but (for my own and the Nations cleer conviction in all Truths concerning the peace and safety of it) I further enquire whether there is not a necessity from God laid upon all men in the Nation and Army to maintain and stand to all their just promises and engagements made in Righteousness?
5. Whether the Armies Engagements at NewMarket and Triploe Heaths were not just and (for both Army and Nation) safe, profitable, and honest? Or (if not) whether what was deficient, might not, or may not (by Missives in writing, as aforesaid) be cleerly discovered, and rectified?
6. Whether the Souldiers and Officers that perfidiously persist to break their just Engagements (made to maintain the just Laws of the Nation, and to procure to all persons their proper Rights and Interests) be not breakers of the Law (as persons) breakers of their faith to God (as Christians) and of their Trust to the State (as Trustees of the Nation) and are not thereupon quit and dissolved from all Trust, as Betrayers of it?
7. If they that stand firm to their just Engagements made in Righteousnes, in order to the ends aforesaid, are (for this cause cashiered) or (without due satisfaction of Just Interests to the Army and Nation) disbanded, imprisoned, or murthered; whether are they that disband them without satisfaction, cashier, imprison, or murder them, usurpers over, and oppressors and murderers of the most faithful Freeborn people, and destroyers of the conscientious party of the Nation, or not?
8. Whether ought such as are so cashiered, disbanded, imprisoned, or murdered, or their survivers, to have just reparations and [Page 51] satisfaction, or not? and whether are such as are living to be restored to their former places of Trust and employment?
9. If they that stand firm to their Just Engagements made in Righteousness (wherein all the people and Representatives of the Nation, as true, and not Traytors to the State, ought to stand firm) are, or should be for this cause, engaged against in bloud, or violently assailed: Whether do all laws of Nature, God, and Nations require those (that are in such sort engaged against, or assayled) to resist those that engage against them, or assayl them, whatsoever: as enemies to the State, as hostile Assailants, and murderers of the most faithful freeborn people, and as destroyers of the conscientious party of the Nation, or not?
And whether all Officers, Trustees and Representatives whatsoever, in whose Name, and by whose order and authority, all such engagements in bloud, and hostile Assailments shall be moved, acted, and carried on, be not primarily guilty of the premises, and guilty of betraying their Trust as Trustees?
11. Whether all they (whether they be Justices of the Peace, Constables, Sergeants, Bayliffs, Pursuivants, or other persons whatsoever, that shall by vertue of any Warrant or Order whatsoever, assayl, apprehend, or imprison any such persons for standing firm to their and the Nations faith made in Righteousness, and in defence of it) or shall cause any such persons to be assayled, apprehended, or imprisoned, are not strictly lyable to satisfie the Law, as usurpers over the persons and just liberties of the free born people? 12. Whether all Representatives, Military or Civil, and all Jury men, and Judges, or other persons whatsoever, that shall condemn to death, or imprisonment any such persons for the causes aforesaid, be not strictly accountable to satisfie the Law for their lives, or imprisonment, or for any other unjust punishment upon them? The Nation (for want of clear conviction) is made guilty of their blood that stand most firme for the Peace, and safety of it: because the judgements and spirits of the People are not convinced who are faithful, and who not: and what blood is shed (justly) and what unjustly, therefore the Nation sin of blood shed is set upon it (as the dye of scarlet dy'd in wool) neither can it be [Page 52] freed from it without conviction of the judgments and spirits of the People, because it cannot repent of it (for how should the People repent of that blood shed and those wrongs, and oppressions for which they conceive they ought rather to rejoyce, or know nothing to the contrary) therefore (that the Nation may be freed from these chaines of its sins, and destruction) all faithful endeavors (by joynt addresse of the Nation) must be made to convince the judgements and spirits of the people, that they may be convinced and satisfied, who are and have bin faithful, and who not: who stand or have stood firme to their just Engagements for the Nations safety, and who against the peace and safety of it: what, and whose blood is justly spilt in order to free the Nation from guilt of blood shed, and what blood and oppressions polute and defile the Nation, and are (earnestly) to be repented of. I determine not who are, or have bin faithful and who not, what blood is spilt justly, and what unjustly to be repented of: But had all differences bin peaceably and freely debated by missives in writing (as divers wellaffected of the Nation and Army did humbly Petition the Parliment) there had bin no ground of the last desperate war, nor danger of a third, and all differences and grounds of war might have bin (by reason and satisfaction) reconciled and composed in peace.
8ly. The reason of the necessity, and the manner of chusing representors are shown already, and further are, because they are the fitest instruments to convince the judgments and spirits of the people in these things, by which the general safety of the Nation may be procured, and wherein satisfaction of all just interests to all persons doth consist.
Secondly, because they are fittest to take cognizance and notice of every particular and private mans wrongs and grievances, and to procure ful and through redresse of them,
Thirdly, because they are the fittest meanes to gather the people into order and unity; and to keep the just power of freedom and soveraignty in their hands: How oft (saith our Saviour) would I have gathered you together as a hen gathereth her chickens under her, and you would not: nothing tendeth more to cause and conserve the intire safety and peace of the Nation, or to constitute a firme Agreement of the people, than to gather the [Page 53] people into order, and unity, which cannot be done but by Representors, whom they chuse by their own power and freedom, and who remain (continually) liable to be questioned, deposed, or continued by the same power, and freedom.
Fourthly, because Representors are the proper intermediate instruments betwixt the people, and all subjects, ends, and objects of their freedom, peace and safety (as the neck instrumentally dispenceth and returneth life and sence to all parts of the body) by them a new Representative of the Nation may be (easily and freely) chosen, which cannot be otherwise obtained.
Secondly, by them the soveraignity, power, and freedom of the people may be derived, and convayed to their Representatives, that they may improve it (in righteousness) for the profit, peace, and safety of the Nation.
Thirdly, by them the increase and benefit of the peoples soveraignty, power, and freedom, may be returned back from their Representatives to the people, otherwise it is, and wil be (wholy) obstructed.
9ly. The reasons of an Agreement are, because if an Agreement be not, the dissolution of the whole Nation must follow: When the clay and Iron in the feet of the great image, could not agree and mix, the whole body of the Image was dasht in peices, and dissolved; It is every mans dutie to discharge his utmost faith and care, to continue all just wayes, and meanes to procure the peace, and Agreement of the people, and Nations safety: And that only (which can cause and continue a firme Agreement) is just satisfaction of all Interests, (without which no right Agreement can be made, or kept, and the nations destruction must follow, Therefore let the nation rouse up it self, and let the people of it stir up one another, to joyn as one man unto the Lord (as Israel did unto the Lord at Mizpah) and agree that all just interests may be satisfied; that the poor and middle sort of people may have their just interests, the rich theirs, the Nation its, the Soldiers theirs, the disbanded, sick, and wounded Soldiers, and Officers theirs, and that Widdows, Orphans, and friends of those (that are dead and slain) their interests, that all evil doers may have their due interests, and they that do well theirs. That Presbyterians and Independents may have their proper interests, [Page 54] the late Kings party theirs, Papists and Protestants theirs, the conscientious party theirs, and that all sects, nations, and persons, may have their just rights. Let the Nation and Army (at least they that are conscientious in both) cal upon, and stir up the people and one another (to vindicate and disoblige their faith in truth and righteousness) unloose the bands of wickednesse, undo the heavy burthens, break every yoak and let the oppressed go free. Let them feed the hungry, harbour the poor, and cloth the naked at least in their own houses, and with their own food and rayment. To say the satisfying of all just interests would undo, or impoverish the Nation is absurd, and wicked: for the not satisfying of all just interests is the utter undoing, and destruction of the Nation: and that real crying sin, and guilt of blood (filling the hands of all persons and overflowing (as a boundless River) the whole Land) whereof the rivers of Aegypt (turn'd into blood) were but types and shaddows; But grant that the satisfying of all just interests would undo and impoverish the Nation, yet to do it were but justice, and what God absolutely willeth and requireth: and the not doing of it is in every person (under what specious pretence of holiness soever) a rejecting and renouncing of God, and a rebeling against him; And to suppose or say it would impoverish, and undo the Nation, is most absurd, and false, for suppose (a man having many bones broken and shivers causing violent feavers, and symptomes of death) a Chyrurgeon should set right all his bones asswage his feaver, and recure the party to perfect health of body, limbe, and life, it were most senseless for that party to say he were impoverisht, and undon, because all his joynts and bones are set right, and he fully restored to perfect health: just interests (unsatisfied) are fractures and distortions in the body Politique (the nation) and shivers causing feavers and death; and every man in the Nation is a distorted member, a limbe out of joynt, a broken bone, or shiver; because every man is deprived of his, or depriveth others of their proper rights, and interests: Now suppose every distorted and broken limbe, shiver, and bone, were set right in its proper compage, and place (that is) if every several person of the Nation did (reciprocally) give, afford to, and receive from each other their respective rights, and just interests: it were most [Page 55] unreasonable and absurd, that the Nation, or any of it should say, that all its bones and limbes are broken, and out of joynt; but now all are set right and healed, therefore the Nation is impoverished, and undon, that every person (in the body Politique) was deprived of his, or did deprive others of their proper interest, but now every man injoys his own just due, and proper right, therefore the Nation is impoverished, and undon. That the not satisfying of all just interests caused violent feavers and evils of war and famin, and desperate symptomes of destruction to the Nation: But now the Nation (by satisfying all just interests) hath happily recovered perfect health and peace in truth, therefore the Nation is impoverished and undon; all such conclusions are most false and wicked, and the contrary conclusions are infallibly true; therefore they that shal bring the guilt of the Nations sins, and their, and its destruction upon it, and upon themselves, are and must be without all colour or excuse.
10 But lastly, (if the people like Jabesh Gilead) shall sit under the shadow of their own destruction, in chains of bondage and death, and shall not as one man unite to pursue and Agreement in Righteousness, or if no such Agreement shall or can be procured; Then all the Freeborn of the Nation, are with all Christian speedy care and providence, to constitute such a Government amongst themselves, as may by Justice absolute and impartial, preserve the Persons, Estates, Lives, and entire Beings of each other, and of all those that close with, and adhere unto them; and to come (at the call and command of God) forth from Babel (falling down as a Milstone cast by the hand of a mighty Angel into the midst of the Sea.
The reasons are, because there is a necessity laid upon them from the call and command of God, and also God gives the reasons of this necessity, Rev. 18.4. Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues: Her (that is Babylon) is the great City, called spiritually Sodom, Aegypt, Babylon, where also our Lord was crucified: this, and all Nations, the whole World: Her sins, and plagues, are the sins of those Cities, and the plagues of their sins in the Truth and substance, which were in these Cities in a type. Gods call and command for his people to come out of her, is [Page 56] the substance of his call to Lot in Sodom by Angels, to Israel in Aegypt by Moses, to the Jews in Babylon by Prophets, and to the Saints in Jury by Apostles.
My people, that is, all that are (so far as man may judge) obedient to the call and command of God, to be delivered from her sins and plagues, and their own destruction, as Lots Family in Sodom, and Noahs Family in the Ark, were obedient to the call and command of God in a Type; Lots Family in Sodom was (in a Type) obedient to the call and command of God, to be delivered from her sins, and destruction; and all creatures, clean, and unclean, birds, beasts, and creeping things that came into the Ark, were (in a figure) obedient to the call and command of God to be delivered from the destruction upon the world by the flood: So all persons, and creatures, clean and unclean, that manifest obedience to the call and command of God (by coming out of Babel) that they may be delivered from her sins, plagues, and destruction, are here meant by the people of God. Secondly, All that have desires, and spirits of Freedom, from being real bondslaves to all oppressions and miseries, and sin, and death, of body and spirit (as Israel groaned to be delivered from their sore oppressions, and miseries, and slavish destruction) are here meant by the people of God.
Lastly, God calls and commands his people in Babylon, to come out of her; and the answer of their obedience to him, and the onely means of their deliverance from her sins and plagues, is (according to their call and command from God) to come out of her. Israels going out, was local and corporal; this real, and spiritual: not by change of place, but of the order, form, and end of their Government. All Nations are Babylon, but this Nation is the Tower of it: All are the Cities of the Plain, but this Sodom, where Lot dweleth, and preserveth them and it from destruction.
All Nations are the body of the beast, the serpent, but its head (where its eys, life, and wiles are, is in this Nation. God hath promised the seed of the woman shall break the serpents head; not in type, but in truth; not by promise, or passing that sentence of judgement, but by performance and execution of it: The breach upon its head, begins here, and in this Nation the first stroke is [Page 57] given for Babels downfal: Therefore there is a strict necessity (from God upon all his people) to obey him, and come out of her, lest they, in the body of this dying serpent, utterly perish with it: The onely safest way, and best means for the people of God to come out of her (in order to their own perfect Freedom and Peace) is to discharge all faithfulness to her, to move her, if it may be, to an Agreement in Righteousness, to inform and convince her of, and in all wisdom and meekness, to reprove her for her sins, the cause of her plagues and destruction. When Moses continued to discharge all faithfulness to Pharaoh and his servants, then their destruction came, and Israels deliverance. When Lot ceased not to admonish Sodom, two Angels came and freed him, and fire fell and destroy'd it. And the people of God in Babylon, exercising all goodness (what may be with Justice) towards her, discharging all faithfulness to her, advertising, convincing, and exhorting her to forsake her sins, the cause of her plagues; and she not hearkning, doth more fully and cleerly justifie their going out of her; and magnifie the righteous judgements of God, in pouring forth upon her, the full vials of her plagues and destruction.
Secondly, The reason of this necessity upon the people of God, that they must come out of her, is, because of the greatness of her sins. The violence and cruelties of the old World, Sodom's sins, Aegypts iniquities and murders, Babels pride, persecution, presumption, and Jerusalems pharisaical bloudy hypocrisie, were but types of her sins: Her sins, presumption, pride, hypocrisie, guilt of innocent bloud, insolent and wicked confidence, and hardness of heart, transcends theirs, as truth exceeds the Type, and as a real substance the shadow; and they that come not out of her, commit these her sins, and must suffer her plagues.
Thirdly, They must come out of her, because of the greatness of the voice of Gods call, and strictness of his command. His cals to the old World, Sodom, Babylon, and Jerusalem, were but Types: And the voice of Gods miracles by Moses, the voice, of that express type of the Harp of God, Moses wisdom and meekness, and the silver shrill Trumpet of Aarons Eloquence, which summoned Pharaoh to hearken, and free Israel from their [Page 58] bonds of slavery and death, wherein they were destroyed and murdered, and which summoned Israel to hearken, and to free themselves (if Pharoah did not) from those bonds, were but types of Gods call to Babylon: But God dispenseth his summons to her, to hearken, and to his people in her, to come out of her (if she hearken not) under the figure of a mighty Angel, crying with a loud voice, as when a Lyon roareth, and under the similitude of seven thunders, uttering their voices, Rev. 10.3. Therefore her sins and hardness of heart are, and her plagues must be so much greater (if she hearken not) by how much greater her summons, and the call of God is: and the rebellions and disobedience of the people of God in her are; and their plagues, if they come not out of her, must be so much greater, by how much their summons, and Gods call to them to come out of her is greater.
Fourthly, The people of God must come out of her, because if they be in her when she falls (as a Milstone cast into the Sea by a mighty Angel) they must (after all her forerunning plagues are inflicted upon them) fall with her into the deepest and most irrecoverable destruction; and because they in her (at her best, much more in her dying condition, are as Jonas was in (her figure) the Whales belly, where his complaint was, That the weeds wrapt about his head in the Belly of hell, That the depth in the midst of the Sea enclosed him, That he went down to the bottom of the Mountains, That the Earth with her Bars were about him for ever. So the people of God in the belly of this Leviathan are caged, and imprisoned in bondage to her sins, death and miseries involve and inclose them, and the weeds of her wickedness and destruction wrap about them, and if they get not out of her before she fall, and sink as a Milstone, they perish for ever.
Fiftly, The people of God in Babylon are to come out of her, because she is already fallen or falling in her quickning form, her Righteousness; after which her plagues and her total fall must follow, Rev. 18.2. An Angel cryed mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen; that is, is fallen sick irrecoverably in the form of her being, her righteousness; and is become the habitation of Devils, &c. and then, and not before, [Page 59] a voice from heaven called and commanded the people of God in her, to come out of her; for if she do not, or shall not fall from righteousness, which onely can support her from falling, and the people of God in her from perishing, if she retain Truth, that the people of God may retain peace in Truth, I mean not aëry tenents of truth, but practique and executive truth, which is righteousness; then the people of God in her, are in no wise to come out of her, but they are to pray for the peace of Babylon, and to seek it, for in her peace they shall have peace. Neither were the people of God ever called or commanded to come out of her, until she be first fallen, or falling in her righteousness (her and their form, and life of their being: but if no address or agreement in righteousness, whereby all just interests may be satisfied, shall be endeavoured, or shall or can be made; and if Babylon be already fallen, or falling in her supporting form, her righteousness; if she be an habitation of Devils, a strong hold wherein every foul spirit is fortified: Then God with a strong voice calls and commands his people to come out of her, and then her plagues are coming upon her, and her final destruction follows: But it is to be feared that she is already fallen in her supporting form, and become a strong hold wherein every foul spirit is fortified, and that the plagues of her destruction have seized, or are seizing upon her, because she vomits up all antidotes which should expel her sins, the poison of her plagues: If a man (infected with the plague, be taken with a violent vomiting and casting, it shews that the plague hath seized, or is seizing upon the life. When God sent all his plagues upon Pharaohs heart, and upon the hearts of his servants they vomited up the antidotes of wholesom admonitions by Moses; which shewed that those plagues had seized upon the life of Pharaoh and his servants, and were the plagues of their destruction: So Babylon is taken with a violent vomiting and casting: If any wholesom means or medicine of faithful and sincere admonitions be given her, she vomits it up; If any thing profitable for her peace and safety be proposed to her, or if any thing that should free her from her sins, break her sickness, and bring health, be given her, her stomack nauseates and loaths it, it staies not there, she casts it up again; her soul loaths all cordial antidotes against the poyson of [Page 60] her plagues; which shews that she is fallen or falling in her supporting form, her righteousness, and become a strong hold wherein every foul spirit is fortified, and that the plagues of her destruction have seized, or are seizing upon her.
Sixtly, The people of God must come out of her, because they al so are fallen from their righteousness, which is their and her sole life and support, and therefore cannot support her, nor be supported in her: They were once in (her type) that great Image in Daniel, a head of gold compact, and knit in Righteousness, and had (in, and with her) a Kingdom, Power, Strength, and Glory: Then they were in that Image (as a little gold) in its Breast and Arms of Silver, which did not change the name and property of Silver, yet did support the whole Body, that it fell not: Then they were as a little gold in its Belly, and Thighs of Brass, which did not change the property of Brass, yet did support the whole Body that it fell not: Then they were as a little gold in its legs of Iron, not changing the property of Iron, yet did they support those legs of Iron, and the whole Body, that it fell not: Then they were as a little gold in its feet and toes, that were part Iron, and part clay, not changing the property of Iron and Clay, yet did they support those Feet and Toes, of Iron and Clay, and the whole Body, that it fell not: But now the Iron will not mix with the Gold, but rejects it, and thinks to rule by perfect force of the Sword alone, and will have no power of the gold (by Law and Righteousness) mixt in its government, and gold, mixing with myrie clay, is made weaker, and more embased: Therefore the gold in this Image, that is, the people of God in Babylon, can now no more support her, or themselves in her, from falling.
Seventhly, But the people of God in Babylon are so far from supporting her, or themselves, that they are (if they come not out of her) the first that must fall and be destroyed: The two middle pillars in Dagons house (upon which the house stood, and on which it was born up) fell first, and then all the House fell: So the people of God in Babylon, are the middle pillars upon which she stands, and on which she is born up, and shall be (if they come not out of her) the first that must fall and be destroyed. [Page 61] 8ly. The people of God in Babylon must come out of her, because she rejecteth God and them, Saul rejected God and Samuel, and God him, and Samuel came no more at him (but prayed for him) unto the day of his death. When Pharoah and his servants rejected the just Addresses of the Elders of Israel; and the crys of the Israelits, and drove out Moses and Aaron from their presence, then their destruction and Israels deliverance from bondage was at hand, so Babylon rejecteth all cals and commands of God, rejecteth the crys of the poor, and perishing freeborn people, rejecteth all just Addresses, and drives out the people of God from her presence in Army and Nation, therefore (it may be feard, the plagues of her destruction are coming upon her, and therefore the people of God in her may justly, and must come out of her.
9ly. They must come out of her: because (as the people of God in Babylon did (by their righteousness) ever suport her and themselves in her) so if they come not out of her (being called and commanded of God) their sins of stubborness and rebellion against God shal be the only main cause of bringing the plagues of her destruction, and her sal upon her and upon themselves, as Jonas (by his sin of disobedience) was the only cause that the ship and all in it was ready to sink and perish, until they cast him out into the Sea: So the people of God in Babylon who by their righteousness have ever heretofore suported her and themselves from falling, shal now (being called (if they come not out of her) sink her, and destroy her and themselves, (by their sinnes of stuborness and rebelion against God; and it is not likely that they should preserve and support her or themselves in her any onger, who (by their sins of rebelion against God) are the only main cause of her, and their fal and destruction. 10ly. The people of God cannot support her nor subsist in her, and therefore must come out of her, because her Governors and Commanders
are bruitishly violent, and impatient, and (by impatience incapable of being convinced by reason, and satisfaction, Nabal (as a foole) railed upon Davids messengers that came in peace and sent them away empty with a churlish answer; And Pharoah said to Moses, get thee from me, see my face no more, for in that day thou seest my face thou shalt die. But [Page 62] these (as Nabals servants said of him) are such sonnes of Belial that the people of God cannot speak to them, nor make any humble and faithful Addresses to them, to undeceive and convince their judgements, and cause them to see and forsake their bloody sins and oppressions, or (if they do make any such humble and faithful Addresses) they do not only raile upon them (as Nabal did) and send them away emptie with churlish answers: but add greater wrongs to their injuries, and cruelty to their oppressions; they answer their humble and faithful Addresses by doing double injurie, and satisfie their just interests by making their oppressions so much greater, as their thigh is thicker than their little finger, they do not only threaten to kill them (as Pharoah did Moses) but do murder and kill them, either by immediate stroak of lawless and wicked violence, or by injury, oppression, and extortion: But they will not believe that injuries, oppressions, and extortions, (wel hooded and masked under false formes of holy pretences) can be murder: as if Saul (standing in the midst of the people) was Saul: but Saul (hid amongst the stuffe was not Saul) but Saul hid amongst the stuffe was Saul, and the people ran and brought him thence, and he stood before the people; So injuries, oppressions, and extortions, (hooded and masked under formes of holy pretences) are murders hid in the stuffe, and the people must run (as the Israelits did) to fetch them thence, and set them before the people: Murders of the tallest statures are ever hid amongst the stuffe; and these implicit massacres are most in number, and the worst kinds of murder, Lam. 4.9. They that be slain with the sword are better than they that are slain with hunger. Therefore to murder the poor, or midlesort of people, or the Soldiers by poverty or hunger, caused by unjust oppression, is worse than to slay them with the sword: If the people do not seek out these sinister and implicit murders that are hiden amongst the stuffe and se them before the people they cannot be freed from their Nations sins, and their and its destruction,
11ly. They cannot support her because of the grand imposturies of her Sorcerers, and Seducers, who (by her harkning to them) do deceive and harden her heart. The Kings of Egypt and their servants did once harken to the wholsome councel of the people [Page 63] of God (then they exceeded all Nations in peace riches, strength and glory) but when they rejected their counsel and harkened to Sorcerers, and corrupters (creatures most vile and filthy) they were led and fel into infamous sins, and the plagues of their destruction came upon them: But by her (that is Babels Sorcerers) all Nations are deceived, Rev. 18 23. Her Rulers, Commanders, and Officers, reject the people of God, and hate them and their Councels, and their own Sorcerers and flatterers vilest and most wicked of execrable creatures) take up their (the affections and understandings, and entire beings, (as spirits take up little children and sel them for slaves into far countries; And why do they dote so upon the Sorcerers? because they cover their filthy sins and nakedness with the figgleaves of their Libels, cast stumbling blocks before them, betray, and destroy them, but these Sorcerers must set no name to their Libels lest the vertue of their hocus pocus vanish like bloome colours, as soon as it sees light, these lead them, and by these they are and will lead, and hardned that the people of God cannot (by any faithfulnes) undeceive and convince their judgments, that they might be freed from their sins, and from the plagues of their destruction 12ly. The people of God in Babylon cannot support her from falling, because they themselves are fallen in the spirit of their forme, which is love. The Apostle distiguisheth man into body, soul, and spirit, and the form of the new man into faith, hope, and love; Spirits are the fiery, living and executive powers of creatures so is love in the people of God: But their love is fallen from all lively executive heat and become (contrary to the nature of spirits) cold: The love of many saith our Saviour shal wax cold; Coldness of love is the power of death in the spirit, and sourse of life, from whence universal defection in the people of God floweth, their goodness, righteousness, and faith is cold, dying and decaying, their courage and constancy wavering as a wave of the Sea, the Sun, and the light, and the Moon, and the Starres are in them darkened; Their faith to God and man doth but deceive and destroy themselves and others, they are pillars made up of shadows and deceits, dashing pitchers, broken potsheards. The stars of heaven fell to the earth as a figtree casts her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. Rev. 6.13. [Page 64] They are the stars fallen from heaven to earth, from heat to coldness; from life to death, or are dying; They are Figtrees that keep their leaves; and cast their fruits; They have left the power of Righteousness, for appearances, and embraced (like Demas) this present World; Their Designes and Actions relate not to God, nor the good of one another, but terminate in their own corrupt ends and interests: They are ignorant of true Righteousness, and know not what it is, nor wherein it consists, but are zealous in their own Righteousness: For the Jews (the Type of the people of God) had a Righteousness of their own, wherein they were exceeding strict, and that Righteousness was extreme wickedness: So the people of God have a Righteousness not of God, but of their own; not of faith, but of their own fancies; and they are zealous in tihs their own Righteousness: The Righteousness which the Jews had of their own, consisted in Sacrifices, refrainings from meats, washings, and in solemn fruitless Assemblies and Meetings, Isa. 1.10. and they were most hot and violent in pursuit of this their own Righteousness (when they were most cold, and fallen in their love to true Righteousness: So the people of God being most cold, and fallen in their love to true Righteousness, are most hot and violent in pursuit of their own Righteousness, which consists much in many Assemblings, and fruitless solemn Meetings, most needful were they well improved where they come together to serve God, by jaring one with another. What is true Righteousness (the doing of that which is good and just unto all men) they call moral, and civil Righteousness, and think it not essential in Religion; whereas to give to every one their just right, and proper due, to evil doers their just reward, to those that do well theirs, and to all persons their own proper interests is the only expressive esential part of Religion, and the visible life and marrow of all righteousness; pure religion and undefiled (with them) is to abound in fruitless, and needless disputes, nice tenets, and fond opinions: They conceive that true righteousness and their obedience consists much in certain joynt solemnities of empty functions, which they call duties, (whereof just consideration might be had in their due respects) and as some filled spunge with vineger and gave it to Christ, so they sacrifice these empty [Page 65] spunges, or take and fill them with all filth and defilement of oppression and wickedness, and offer them up to God; these sacrifices without salt of sincerity, or substance of truth, are their owne righteousness, which is extrem wickedness, and in this their own righteousness they are very zealous, they are also forward to execute true righteousness, so far as it conduceth to the satisfying of their own lusts, or advanceth their own designes and unjust ends: But for pure religion and undefiled and perfect righteousness, without respect to their own corrupt ends and interests, they will not once see it nor looke towards it, their love to true righteousness is cold (that is indeed) dead, or dying, for coldness is as contrary to life as light to darkness, therefore (the original sourse and cause of life in the people of God being cold and dying) all its effects, the whole body of true righteousness in them is dying and dissolving, they are slippery as ice brittle as glasse, you may put your life in their hands and be sure they will deceive you, ask not their counsel in any thing, for they can give none, nor receive any: but carp at (without cause) those men and that means wherein and in whom their own safety most consists: 'tis dangerous to advise them; for they can give no advice but to destroy themselves, nor take any but to destroy those that give it: Moses advised two striving Israelites to agree and he that was in fault betrayed him, and (in him) all Israel, and questioned him for his life, for which cause he was forced to flee from Aegypt to Midian, so if any faithfully advise the people of God to agree in righteousness, they are the first that will betray and destroy them, and it is their best safety that are faithful amongst them to flee from them (as Moses did) and not come neere them, for they will betray and destroy both them and themselves, (such are the violent evils and effects of slavery) the furnaces of base and slavish bondage separate (as fire separtes gold from drosse, or oare) all vertues from the people of God and deprives them of wisdom, prudence, and reason: This imbased the Israelits spirits and made them slavish and wicked, Num. 14.12.10. But it separates occasionally the dross from their gold that are his people (indeed) as in Moses, Caleb, and Ioshuah, and makes them more compact and refined; yet the people of God have a great noyse of a name (as Sardis had that she lived [Page 66] and was dead) Laodicea, that was most fallen from her love to true righteousness, boasted more than all the other six Churches, that she was rich and increased with goods, and needed nothing: but knew not that she was wretched and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: So the people of God are rich, and increased in the riches of their own righteousness, (that is) in Babels scarlet sins, and apostasies: the eyes of their faith look back (like Lots wife) to her Sorcerers; they are fallen, or falling from God, and from all love unto true righteousness, and have imbraced a righteousness of their own (a righteousness contrary to true righteousness) of their own fansies, and deceitful hearts, (as the Jewes and Churches of Sardis and Laodicea did) which is an immediate foreruner of sure destruction to the people of God, (as it was to them) without their vigourous and speedy care to prevent it, which they may and must endevour, but can hardly do it without being transient, or passing into another body.
The people of God are so far from supporting her by their righteousness that their sins are the chifest cause of her fall, and they most guilty of her sins; she is fallen from truth and righteousness, and they from faith towards her and themselves, she is wholely putrified and corrupted, and they (her salt) have lost ts savour, she was a City of defence, they her watchmen, but she is surpriz'd and become a habitation of divels, and they did not warn her but betray her; they have seen (as the Prophets of Israel did) foolish things for her, and themselves have not discovered their own and her iniquity: but have loved vaine visions, and flattering divinations, Ezek. 12.24. Lam. 2.14. They have betrayed her and themselves, by suffering their hearts to be deceived and hardned by her Sorcerers; she hath committed main crying sins, and they like the men of Jabish Gilead have sitten still and have not gathered themselves together as one man unto the Lord to convince her, and to free her and themselves from these sins; and have thereby dyed her sins in a scarlet dye upon their own spirits, she had not fallen had not they fallen, her power to stand was in them and their righteousness, and they have dissolved and destroyed her and their own power to stand, they have drawn one another, and those that have bin farthful [Page 67] amongst them, to unite and engage in righteousnesse for her and their own support, and then have apostated perfideously, and broken their faith to God and Man, (leaving these that were faithfull, that in Conscience could not betray their faith, and revolt as sacrifices to the yron teeth of her tyranny and oppression.) They have been forward to condemn them themselves for their faithfulnesse, and have seen her grind and destroy them whiles they stood and lookt on; as those Parents that offered their children to Molech. The blood of those that have been most faithfull, and their perfideous infringement of their just faith to God and Man will be required at their hands, if they do not vigourously and faithfully quit themselves. Therefore they are so far from supporting her by their righteousnesse, that their wickednesse and guilt of blood, and their slothfull unfaithfulnesse hath polluted her, and their sins are the cause of her fall.
Fourteenthly, The People of God cannot support her or themselves, and therefore must come out of her, because they are divided and scattered: The Israelites (because straw was not allowed) were scattered over all Egypt. The cause is the same here, Gods people are Pharaohs Brickills; those in Egypt burnt with fire; these in the fire and rage of slavery, and food maintains their lives, as straw did their fires; Pharaoh denyed Israel straw, afflicted them with burdens, and hard bondage, and all their service (wherein their Taskmasters made them serve) was with rigour. The oppressors of Gods people deny them straw, afflict them with burdens and hard bondage, and all their service (wherein they make them to serve) is with rigour: Israels oppressors kept back Straw; but these both straw and corn; they kept back fuel, these food and raiment: they kept back that straw which was the Egyptians; but these keep back that Straw (that food and raiment) which belongs to Israel, and (if they would eat straw, or if straw would save their lives, they will not allow them their own straw (with such violent rigour do they make them serve in slavery) therefore were the Israelites scattered over all Egypt to gather stubble instead of straw, that the fires of their Briekilnes might not dy. And for this cause the people of God are scattered all over their Egypt to get food and rayment to sustain them instead of their own, which their oppressors [Page 68] keep back from them. They are scattered in their persons and estates, scattered in their resolutions, and power, in their executions scattered, scattered in commutual help, succour and assistance, and inprudence, direction, and Councel scattered: They are scattered and divided us the dry bones were in the valley of Bones, Ezek. 37. which were an expresse figure of the people of God in Babylon, the bones were scattered in the open valley, they had no flesh, nor sinnews upon them, they were the whole house of Israel, (that is) all the people of God; and the text saith they were slain. So all the People of God in Babylon, are these dry bones, their flesh is consumed (that is) they have no substance of truth nor sinnew of strength; their marrow of true righteousnesse within is all wasted, they are dry bones, and they are all slain by slavery, and therefore are as dead men, in no power or capacity to be gathered, or to be spoken unto, or to hearken that they might be gathered: their sins of slothfull unfaithfulnesse to those that have been most faithfull amongst them; the guilt of their blood, and their often breaches of their just Faith to God and man (wherein they are so hardned that their hearts smite them not) are breaches great as the Sea which cannot be healed. The first heaven and earth departed away: but the reason is given in reference to Heaven only; The Sun, and the Moon, and the light was darkned, and the starres fell from heaven, as the figgtree casts her untimely figgs, that is, the light of truth (the knowledge of true righteousness) departed from the people of God, and they fell from the love of righteousness to the love of the world: coveteousness, sloth, slavish feares, sensuall pleasure, and their own designes choak (like thornes) all life and power of God in them, that none appeares, they are barren figgtrees that bring forth figgleaves, and no fruits of righteousness, or (if they do) there is no faith nor truth in them, but they fall to the ground, and are scattered before they be ripe: the first earth departed, because Heaven first departed from all righteousnesse, (their form and essence;) they, (let them fancie what they will) have no order, way, guide, or light, how or which way to stand in Babilon: Representers in the Army was their most likely and possible way to regain strength that they might stand, but those Agitators that were faithfull, were turn'd out and destroyed, [Page 69] and they that betrayed their Trust preferred; they cannot advize themselves, nor be advised, nor help forward, but hinder her and their own support; and as they are scattered and divided, all they do or can do is but to contradict, and divide and dash against one another, and against that means most (and those that offer it) by which they might be gathered and united.
Many also are caused to trespasse and blaspheme through the rigour and cruelty of oppression, (therefore their oppressors are guilty of oppression and blasphemy,) and the Authors of it: their passions indeed (thereby provoked) have been the bellows of these distempers: and the right temper of the best mettal may be spoyled in an overheated forge, yet not the mettal nor the forge, nor the bellows, but the black Smith is the author of these distempers, but the effects of their provocations (in the yron furnaces of their oppressions and slavery) are not light distempers: but all composed order, wisdom, and sobriety, and their spiritual endowments, and righteousnesse, which should support them are reduced (through the vehemency of the fire, and rage of their slaverie) not into sindars, but ashes; like the ashes of the fornace which Moses took, and sprinkled up towards Heaven, which became small dust scattered throughout the land of Egypt: and Heaven saw that scattered dust, and turn'd it into a real Plague upon all the Land of Egypt. When Israel was most falne to dust and ashes, God then raised them; when they were most slain he then revived them; when most scattered, he then gathered them; and when they were most irrecoverable, and desparately lost, he then sought them out, and that there might be no appearance of mans power, in their deliverance; he then saved them from bondage, and destruction of body and spirit: So his people being most fallen, slain, scattered, and lost, God will now raise and gather them out of dust, and arm and unite them in life and power, that there may be nothing of theirs, nor of man, but of God only in their deliverance; and that his power alone may be made known: by calling Israel out of Egypt, and causing them to hearken was Israel delivered, and by calling his People out of Egypt and Babylon, the house of their bondage and destruction, and causing them to hearken, shall his people be delivered. [Page 70] Lastly, The second principal cause and end of their coming out of her is, that they might with all speedy care and providence, make and constitute such a Government amongst themselves, as may by Justice absolute and impartial, preserve the persons, estates, lives, and entire beings of each other, and of all those that close with, and coadhere unto them: Such Government consists in a right constitution and Direction: In a right constituted Government the power is to be (for substance) wholy in the people, and not in pretense or title, but really. This power is the power of God, the richest Talent of his goodness which he dispenseth to a people; If they improve it well, it brings the greatest Safety, Peace, Freedom, and Prosperity, that a People can have, and if they improve it ill, the greatest confusion, ruine, and destruction. Therefore the people are seriously and advisedly to consider how they may best improve it to Gods glory, and their benefit: They are to consider it in relation to God, in relation to it self, and in relation to themselves. This power in relation to God, is the power of God, demised and dispensed from him to a people for their Prosperity, Peace, and Safety. Secondly, In it self it is the richest Talent which a people can receive from God, therefore God will require the strictest account of them for their improvement of it. That servant that lost not, nor wasted his masters Talent, but kept it, and return'd it back to his master, was called a wicked slothful, and an unprofitable servant, and cast into utter darkness, because he [...]d not increase and improve it. All powers are of God, therefore all Powers are good; but some Powers are (in relations) evil, wicked, and unjust; the evil and injustice in Powers, is the abuse of them: That people or persons that corrupt and abuse the Powers of God, or that obey those Powers (as corrupted and abused) rebel against the Power of God, and do not keep, but lose and abuse the richest Talent of his goodness. Lastly, Just Powers (in relation to the People) are the breath of their life from God, and the Form and Essence of their Beings, without which the people are (as they ever have bi ) dead carcasses of destroyd and slain men: What power or force have dead men? and what force and life have a people that want their own just power? The want of just power, is their chain of slavery unto [Page 71] all misery, sin, and death. Esau (to save his life) sold his birthright for pottage; but that people that will sell their lives and birthrights for misery, sin, slavery, and destruction, are miserably and slavishly wicked and profane.
Secondly, That the People may improve their Talent of just power with all faithfulness to God (whose it is) and to themselves (to whom) for their joynt preservation from bondage and destruction it is commited, they must consider that the people are many several, or single, and there can be no joynt improvement by many single or several. A single file or hair of silk hath no strength, and millions of files, or hairs of silk (single or several) have no more strength than one single file. If they let (their Talent) this power rest in every mans hand (single) they bury it in the earth, and improve it not, but bring infinite destruction upon themselves; for where many are together single and untwisted, there must needs be great disunion and division, from whence utter confusion and destruction to all (severally) must follow: Therefore the peoples chief and speedy care must be, to find out the fittest and best means and expedients to unite and twist them in this power. The means and expedients that are best and fitest to unite and twist them in this power of God, are Representors and Representatives freely chosen by them in such manner as I have already set down, to which I refer the Reader. Faithful and just Representors (freely chosen) are like the stalks in bunches of grapes, that feed, nourish, and unite all the berries, and they derive pure wine, life, and power to the people, from the root and stem of the true Vine. The people must be careful, as God hath committed (the richest Talent of his goodness) their just power into their own hands, that they do not set light by, slight, or profane it, that they be not slothful, wicked, and unfaithful in improving of it, nor chuse such as are slothful, wicked, and unfaithful to be Representors or Representatives, lest they lose or abuse the Talent which God hath given them, and God strictly require it at their hands, and lest they misimprove it against the people, and destroy the people and themselves by it: to avoid which, let them chuse men most endowed with the spirit (not of bondage, but) of Freedom, just, faithful, fearing God, dealing truly, and hating Covetousness; They are to chuse the [Page 72] rich (so qualified) as soon as the poor or midle sort, and them as soon as the rich to officiate as their Representors in Parliament, or in any other Representative, God respects not the persons of men, neither must they, (but in righteousness only) why may not a poor man, or the middle sort be as faithful and able in Parliament, or in any other Representative as the rich; neither must the rich (if righteous) be rejected because they are rich: but if the poor, and middle sort of people respect the persons of the rich and chuse them to be their Representors in Parliament, or in other Representatives (because they are rich) then they misse their just ends, and interests, and the boule runs cross to all their imes, because the bias is set the wrong way, for how can rich men and oppressors be Representors of the poor and middle sort, (that are oppressed) betwixt whom their is no shadow of similitude; yee have dispised the poor saith the Apostle, James 2.6. Therefore the rich do oppresse you; do not rich men oppresse you (saith the Apostle) and draw you before the judgement seats; Such Representors will rob the people of life, and power, render them wicked, and unfaithful to God in wasting his talent, and betray and destroy the people and themselves; God hath chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, James 2.5. So it is better for people to chuse the poor of this world rich in faith to God and them, then the rich of this World, poor in faith, to God and them, to be their Trustees, Representors. God offered the Gospel to the Jewes, and such as were saved, gladly received it: but God cast off those that rejected it, and the Apostles and people of God departed from them, and turned to the Gentiles, so an Agreement and Government (in righteousness) must be speedily, and faithfully offered to the whole Nation, that the whole Nation may be joyned as one man unto the Lord, in an Agreement in righteousness, as all Israel was gathered together unto the Lord at Mizpah, such as shall resist, or refuse such Agreement, or Government, or shall harden their hearts (as Pharoah and his servants) or shall sit still as the men of Jabish Gilead did, or that shall reject such a government and Agreement (as the Jewes rejected the Gospel) are to be left to themselves, and the people of God (that they may be freed from Babels sins, and plagues, and from her fall, and destruction) must come out from [Page 73] them, and turn unto such as shall freely close, and joyn with them (as one man) unto the Lord in righteousness. The direction of this constituted Government consists in a right regulating of it, that it may reach and attaine the supreame ends, and objects of its being; this regulating of it, and these supreame ends, consist in a twofold action, and an intermediate action of the people: This twofold action is a moving, and turning to, or from the termini, or bounds, to which, and from which they must move; their intermediate action is a constant joynt perseverance in their twofold action; this twofold action, or motion in the people of God (rightly constituted, and to be constituted) is a a moving, or turning from darkness, and error, to light and truth; from implicite faith in blinde guides, to clear and free conviction in their own spirits, from slavish obedience to the Wills of wicked usurpers, and oppressors, to a spontaneous and free concurrence with those that are faithful; from being scattered (as Israel was in Egypt) to be gathered (as one man) unto the Lord in righteousness, from cruel calamities, burdens, and oppressions, (the needless fruits of wicked slavery) to the just power and liberty of a free people, from the seat of the Beast (the sourse of violence, the seat of darkness) to the white Throne which impartially dispenceth righteous judgement; from the vallie of dead and drie bones of men slain by slavery, to be a rallying and living Army (the Army of God knit and compact in righteousness) from Babels scarlet sins, Sorceries, apostasies, to the City of God (the City descending wherein righteousness (with peace) dwelleth, and truth and judgement lodgeth for ever; Israel was Abrahams freeborn: Gods people (that are rightly constituted especially) are his freeborn, and brethren in a far neerer alligement than by flesh and blood; far be it that freeborn brethren should sell one another to slavery, and destruction; Abrahams freeborn sold their brother to be a slave in Aegypt, and God sent them after, and sould all them, and their posterities to the same slavery, in the same place, so Gods people did ever, and do betray, and sell those that are faithful to slavery. If any have bin, or are faithful amongst them, or manifest a spirit of freedom from bondage to unrighteousness (really) the people of God (their brethren) either by slothful unfaithfulness, or for preferment, [Page 74] or vaine glory, or to accomplish their own sinister, and base interests) sell, and betraye them to slavery; and destruction: Therefore (as they have sold their brethren) so God hath sold and sels them, into the same house of bondage where they are, and remain in the iron furnaces of oppression, and tyranny, where they do all filthy and sinful drudgery of a long and cursed servitude; where cruel and wicked Sorcerers set them their taskes, and extort their servil obedience; and base service (with all ri [...] our and extremity) wherefore let the people of God forsake this trade for ever, and never sell any freeborn of God (their brother) to slavery, and destruction; Let them never sell the poor, nor the rich, nor the middle sort of people amongst them, nor any of them, nor any part of their estates, nor of their just rights into bondage; for if they do, God will assuredly send them after, and sell them into the same slavery, and destruction. They that wrong and oppress the poor, or the rich, or the Soldiers, or the middle sort of people, and they that seek not to free them, and their rights from bondage, and oppression, betraye and sell them into slavery and destruction, and God will assuredly send them after, and sell them into the same bondage, and destruction: therefore the people of God must advisedly improve, and direct their just power (which God hath given them) to free the persons, rights, interests, estates, lives, and intire beings of each other (both of the poor, and of the rich, and of the middle sort aamongst them) from being subject to bondage and oppression; Moses was faithful to all Israel (poor, and rich) and left not any thing of all that was theirs in bondage, not a hoofe behinde him So the people of God must improve their just power which God hath given them in all faithfulness (in reference to him) toward all, and to each other (especially) They must not leave the right of the poor, nor any part of it in the house of bondage, nor sell them, nor any thing that is theirs into bondage; they must not leave the just rights and interests of the rich, and middle sort in bondage, nor sell them, nor any thing that is theirs into bondage. They may not leave the Souldiers just rights (that have in bondage, nor sell them, nor any thing that is theirs into bondage. They may not leave the Souldiers just rights (that have bin, or shall be faithful) in bondage: but their Arreares (notwithstanding all imposturies and cheats, and the necessitated sale of their Debentors) must be faithfully redeemed from bondage, [Page 75] and fully satisfied; Their Widdows mites of just right (which their slain husbands purchast with their lives in faithful service) and their Orphans inheritance must not be left in bondage, neither may they sell their distressed Widdows, and fatherless into bondage; For, this is pure religion, and undefiled, and true righteousness, To loose all bandes of wickedness, to undo every heavie burden; to let the oppressed go free, to breake every yoake. And to keep a mans self unspoted from the world. Isa. 58. I am. 1.27. And herein was Moses faithfulness (in all righteousness) manifested; he brake the whole yoake of bondage, he undid every heavie burden; loosed all bands of wickedness and oppression, and set all that were oppressed free, he sold no Israelits, nor any thing that was theirs, into bondage, nor left any thing of theirs in bondage. They that (through covetousness, or for respect to persons, or private ends, or through slothful unfaithfulness) leave any of Gods freeborn, or any thing of theirs in bondage, betraye, and sell them into bondage, and God will send them after, and sell them (as he sold all Israel) into the same bondage, and destruction; The substance of all that God calleth for, and commandeth, and the whole obedience of man is to come out of all bondage to unrighteousness, oppression, and destruction; and not to sell any thing into bondage, nor to leave any person, or thing, (which belongeth to the liberty of God) in bondage. Spiritual things are formes in themselves, and in persons (whereof persons are the subject) These spiritual things are formes and efficients (working unto bondage, or unto liberty) and (as locks open Prison doors) keep in bondage, or set at liberty; Therefore the People of God must first, and especialy seek and labour for the Key of the Liberty of God (which is true light, and conviction in their own judgements and spirits) that they may discern betwixt things that differ, and know the things of God, and what things are not of God and keep in bondage; and what things belong unto the liberty of God, and work unto liberty. Gods People have and do commonly call good evil, and evil good, light darkness, and darkness light; speak evil of things they know not, and harbour and expresse rash, grosse, and sensual apprehensions, censures, and conceits wherein their unrighteousness is greater, and they manifest the power of the spirit [Page 76] of bondage, more than if these forms and things were in subjects or persons, for it is worse to condemne goodness (in it self) than a good man, and whiles their judgements call that which is good evill, that which is good is kept in bondage by them, and (it being as a lock upon a Prison doore that is lockt) and not open to their judgements, they are kept in bondage by it; and in this, and in their justifying, or condemning of forme, or things which they know not, they are more blinde than Balaam, and more brutish than beasts, for they (through blindness) justifie not onely wicked men, but wickedness, and condemne not only just men, but justice; But Balaam justified just men, and just formes, and condemned wicked men, and wickedness, and bruite beasts are wary to go into those wayes they see not. Those beames of darkness in the eyes of the judgements and spirits of Gods people (in relation to formes and things) are the thick darkness of Egypt upon their spirits, and the iron barres of their bondage and destruction. The key of Liberty wherewith God opened the locks and iron barres of all (otherwise) impossibilities in Israels way out of bondage into the land of promised liberty, was the pillar of fire, which (after they hearkened to Gods call and command in coming out of Egypt, and had manifested perfect obedience in a type) went before them and led them; And the people of God that shall manifest perfect obedience to Gods call and command, shall find the pillar of light, and truth from God in their own spirits, which is the true key of liberty from all burdens, destruction, and bondage of soul, and body. They that manifest not the life and power of God by ready obedience to Gods call and command, in coming out of bondage to all oppression, misery unrighteousness, and destruction of soul and body, are not only dead and drie bones, but they rebel against God, and sell his talent and power (their breath of life from him) into bondage, God called upon the drye bones that they might live, and did they rebel, and reject life, no, but (as the Prophet called upon them to hear the word of the Lord) there was a noyse, and a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone; That noise was the rallying noise of a reuniting Army; These dead and dry bones were all the people of God (slain and destroyed by slavery) into whom the breath of life from God was reenterings, [Page 77] and they by ready hearkening and obedience willingly received it; Did they then return to the valley of bones? never, but became an exceeding great Army, and never sould themselves into bondage unto death, and destruction any more. Israel (being gathered out of bondage wherein they were scattered in Egypt) was an exceeding great Army; before the most miserable and slavish: but then the freestpeople that ever were; They that were poor amongst them before, were then rich, and the persons and estates of poor and rich werefreed from bondage, all the house of bondage durst not lay their hand upon a Kid of the Hebrews to bring it back into bondage; Before there was no appearance of the life and power of God in them; The drie bones (when God called upon them to hearken and live, did hearken and live, but Israel at first, when God called upon them to hearken, and live) did not hearken: but refused life Exod. 6.9. The life and power of God in his People is first manifested, by their real hearkening, and resolved obedience (when God calls them out of bondage) to all that he commandeth, and when their hearkening, obedience, and righteousness are not Sorceries, that is, are not sayings, but doings, not shaddows, but substance, and not parcels of obedience (which are but Hypocrisie) but perfect obedience. The first real appearance of the life, and power of God in Israel in a Type was, when first they (being called out of bondage) did all joyntly hearken unto, and do all that God commanded them (which was when the Passeover was first kept by them) wherein (as Moses was faithful in all the house of God in a Type, so were they every man faithful in his own house) in all that God commanded; This their joynt faithfulness in keeping the Passeover in a Type, was the present and immediate insertion, and the ingraffing of them into the life, and power of God, and (that very night) they reunited, and rallied into a living Army, and were delivered from bondage and destruction of body and spirit in a Type; the Lambe (which they were commanded to kill and eat) was called the Lords Passeover, Exod. 12.11. and their observance of that command was called the Sacrifice of the Lords Passeover; vers. 27. It was the first Ordinance which God gave unto Israel, and the first fruits of their faith and obedience; That Ordinance was an Propheticall [Page 78] Act of a thing really done in Israel, or an actuall Prophesie of the same thing (in truth and substance) which shall be done in and by the true Israel; For as all Israel did (that very night they were delivered) observe and keep the Passeover, so all Gods people (the true Israel) shall and must (as certainly) observe and do the whole substance of that Ordinance, at the instant time of or immediately before their deliverance from reall bondage and destruction (whereof the Egyptian was but a Type, or shaddow, their obedience in that Ordinance was Typically) inward and outward; Their inward Typicall obedience (required and done) was in that, each family, or so many together (as might eat up the Lambe did (that very night they were freed from bondage) eat it in one house (without carrying any part of it out) and none of them might go out of the house untill the morning vers. 22.46. Which shews that Gods People must and shall with one accord depart out of bondage, and not (by cowardly fears, or faithless backslidings) betraye and destroy one another, or be scattered all over Egypt but counite indissolubly in the life and power of God.
Secondly, they did eat the whole Lambe to shew that Gods People must, and shall readily do, and observe all which God in Christ (the Lambe, their perfect Freer, and Redeemer) shall command them: that they shall gladly, and willingly receive (as the best meat when they are most hungry) Freedom from all bondage to all unrighteousness, sin, misery, and destruction, and come not only out of Egypt: but out of Sodom, and Babylon, and out of bloody and Pharisaical Jerusalem.
Thirdly, they might not eat it soden in water at all, but rosted with fire, to shew, that the spirit of Freedom in Gods People must and shall be fervent as fire, and that their love of deliverance from bondage and slavery shall not be (as it is) cold, decayed and dead (as Water is the coldest of all Elements) God would not accept of but rejected their service that bowed down to drink Water when they were to pursue their deliverance from slavery, Iudges 7. They that thirst more after ditch water than Freedom from bondage are sit for nothing but slavery.
Fourthly, they were to eat it with their shooes on their feet, and their staf in their hand, &c. and they were to eat it in hast, and [Page 79] the reason is given, for it is the Lords Passeover, verse 11. to shew, that Gods people must and shall pursue their deliverance from bondage, with a ready and dilligent preparation to depart, and not remissely, but in hast, the reason is, for it is the Lords Passeover, that is, because if they do not haste to make diligent preparation to come out of Aegypt and Babylon (to which God calls them, and which God commands) and out of all bondage, and if God (when he comes to passe through Egypt and Babylon) find them there, he will lay upon them their, and their own sins and rebelion, and their and their own due plagues and destruction: But his People are not ready for deliverance if God should deliver them, they can no way use it but misimprove it, to destroy themselves, because they make not any reall and faithful preparation to receive and use it, they are all unready, and neither shod nor clothed, they have put on no garment, no shooes of preparation.
Fiftly, they were to eat it with their loins girded, and they were not to eat it raw; to shew that Gods People must and shall pursue their deliverance from bondage and destruction, not with headlong rashness, but with vigourous advisedness, and not scatteredly; but succinctly and orderly. When Israel was commanded to observe the Passeover, they did not confusedly run to contest with their Taskmasters, or to tell the Aegyptians of their cruelties, or to continue long, fruitless and wicked brawles in word, or writing, nor to demolish Phythom and Raamases (Cities of treasure which they had built for Pharoah. Gods People have built all Babels Cities of strength, and procured for her all her, power and riches: as they built her Cities, so let them fal of themselves, they are called out of her, neither doeth her strength consist in Cities, or Armies: but in the People of God and their righteousness. Why did not Pharoah put all the firstborn of Aegypt, and his own in Phythom, to preserve them from being destroyed? Why did not he and his mighty Hoast flee into Raamses to preserve himself and them from being wholely destroyed, without ever seeing any one enemie, whilst they in vain pursued Israel, to destroy them? Israel had other business, and being commanded to observe the Passeover, did with their loines girt observe it; So Gods People commanded to observe the [Page 80] Passeover, shall speedily and faithfully prepare it, and with their loines, girt observe it; that is, their resolutions and endeavours to depart from bondage, shall and must be girt with the girdle of faithfulness, righteousness, wisdom and sobriety. Sixthly, Their outward Typical obedience (required and done) was in the striking of the Lintel, and Posts of the door with the blood of the Lamb, that it might be a token upon the houses where they were, that God (seeing the blood) might passe over them, and that the plague might not be upon them to destroy them, when he should smite the Land, ver. 13. A token is a signe, or seale; This signe, or seale was in blood, and the life and power of all living creatures is in the blood; Therefore that seal was a typical seal of the life and power of God in his people. The Antitype and substance of that Typical seale is, the seale of God upon the foreheads of his People, Rev. 7.3. These are numbred 144000. ver. 4. But whether Persons, or Families the letter doth not clearly determine; Israel were sealed by their Families, Israels Families were Natural and Typical, and these Antitypical (if Families) may be mystical (freely gathered to Representors in the life and power of God, they were Israel these are Israel, they were twelve tribes, these are twelve Tribes, vers. 4.5. The Egyptians were not slain till they were sealed, the earth must not be hurt till these be sealed. vers. 3. God past over them, and did not destroy them when he smote the Land of Egypt, and these are exempted and redeemed from the destruction of the earth v. 14.3. They were the Typical Freeborn, these the true Freeborn; They were redeemed from Egyptian bondage and destruction, these from the slavery, sins, plagues, and destruction of Sodom, Egypt Babylon, and Jerusalem, they Typically, these Really and truly; They sung a Song of deliverance (Moses Song) these sung a New Song of deliverance, the Song of Moses and of the Lambe; Exod. 15. Revel. 15.14. That seale was an outward Typical seale of the life and power of God in his People; this seale is the Name of God written in their foreheads, Revel. 14.1. This Name or seale of God written in their foreheads, is an outward real indicies, and signe in their practise, that they are armed, sealed and united in the life and power of God, that was the seale or signe of the Typical [Page 81] Passeover, this of the real and true Passeover: The Israelites sealed were Gods first born in a Type, that is, his first fruits, redeemed by a Lamb unto himself, and these are redeemed from among men, and are the first fruits unto God, and to the Lamb. Rev. 14.4. That Mark, Seal, and Name, which is opposite and contrary to the Seal and Name of God, written in the foreheads of his people, is the mark and name of the beast in their foreheads or hands that worship the beast; Rev. 13.16. and 14.9. This name of the beast is the seal of slavery, the mark of bondage, and the manifestation of the life and power of the beast in profession or practise; which is the power of Antichrist working unto bondage against Christ, as the Sorcerers resisted Moses.
Seventhly, All the Congregation of Israel was commanded to keep the Passeover, v. 49. and they kept it as the Lord commanded. So all the true Israel, that is, all the people of God, must speedily prepare and observe the true Passover: All that shall not faithfully prepare and observe the true Passover, that is, all that shall not manifest the life and power of God in the unity of the spirit of freedom from all bondage and destruction, are really (as all they were in the Type that did not) Aegyptians, sons of Cham, children of the curse, improvident for their own and all families, deny the faith of God, and have no power of God, nor any seal or sign of it, but are ruled and governed by the spirit of bondage unto all sins, slavery, and destruction of body and spirit.
Secondly, All the people or God must speedily prepare and observe the true Passover, because as God past through all Aegypt, and smote all the first born both of man and beast in every family where the Type was not kept; so God will as certainly pass through the earth, and smite all Families where the life and power of God appears not in the unity of the spirit of freedom, and visit upon it and them, not Aegypts, but Sodoms, and Babels, and backsliding Jerusalems sins, and the bloud of all that have bin slain upon the earth, and the bloud of all that have bin wronged and oppressed, and the blasphemous, atheistical, sortish, and brutish opinions and practises of hypocrites and formal professors upon it and them; and the breach of faith (in those that have broken their just faith) to God and man; and [Page 82] their defections that have fallen from all righteousness, and from all life and power of it; and their unrighteousness, that have kept righteousness, and truth, and goodness (in relation to spiritual forms and things) in bondage, and chains of darkness and ignorance in their own judgements, upon them and it, and involve the earth in circumambient and sharp destruction, sharp as sickles. Rev. 14.16, 17.
Eightly, The keeping of that Passover, was the first begining of Israels typicalbeing and existence, Exod. 12.2. This moneth shall be unto you the begining of moneths, it shall be the first moneth of the yeer; Man was earth the first day, but that earth was not man until the sixt day; So Israel was the people of God before (as they were dead earth, and dust of bondage) but never the people of God redeemed in a type, until the lamb was killed, and until they all with one accord kept the Passover, as God commanded, and then, and therefore God commanded Israel, that that moneth should be the begining of all moneths unto them, and the first moneth of the yeer, because it was unto them really the begining of their being: So the keeping of the true Passover, shall be the first begining of the being and existence of the true people of God; They are Gods people, as Israel was before they kept the Passover, that is, as dead earth, and scattered dust; they are not, nor have order, matter, or form, nor manifest any life of obedience, as a people redeemed; dead trees bring not forth fruits of life and power, nor plants of bondage righteous obedience; What obedience they do manifest (which is little, and in bondage) is as persons (Jonas might pray, when in bondage in the belly of hell) but perform (as families, people, and churches) nothing really, because they are (as Israel before they kept the Passover) in bondage, as persons, families, people, and Churches. Strict professors, and pretenders to freedom and righteousness (of all nations) were ever many, but Israel was free by birth and promise, and a figure of the true freeborn: Professors were and are four sorts, The first were pretenders in all nations to freedom and righteousness, who notwithstanding were not of Abrahams substance after the flesh; and to whom no promise of blessing, that is, of freedom from the curse was made; So now, there are many strict professors and pretenders [Page 83] to freedom of all nations, who not withstanding manifest no spiritual substance of Abraham, no true righteousness in practise, which is the substance of the freeborn of God.
Secondly, The Aegyptians (Pharaohs servants and sorcerers especially) approved (and did falsly) that which Moses did, and practised quite contrary; they were not Abrahams, but Chams seed after the flesh, the peculiar people of the curse in the antithesis to Israel; so usurpers over the freeborn, and all that receive the seal of the spirit of Sorcery, and the mark of the power of the beast to enslave the freeborn, profess what the freeborn do, and practise quite contrary, and are the peculiar people of the curse, in an antithesis to the true Israel; The curse is bondage and slavery, the blessing redemption unto freedom: The power of the curse is diffidence, slavish fear, and subjection to the spirit of bondage unto sin, and destruction of body and spirit; The form of the blessing is faith, freedom, and life in the power and obedience of God.
A third sort (not Hebrews, nor Aegyptians, but Neuters) set the Ark in one Temple with Dagon, and in profession serve God, Dagon in practise; They serve God by sleeping, and to that end, creep into strictest societies of Profession (as into sleeping holes) that they may onely sleep (as Dormice) and do nothing; They serve God and Dagon, as the rebellious Ephramites did, Judg. 12.2. who when they were called upon to free the people of God and themselves front bondage, slept and harkned not; and after, when God by Jephtah had delivered his people without them, they falsly pretended great wrong from Jephtah in not calling them, whereas he had called them, and they would not hearken: So Neuters serve God by a slothful and sleepy profession; Those Ephramites slandred Jephtah for his faithful service in freeing Israel, and gathered themselves together to burn down his house upon him; so Neuters serve Dagon in slandring and destroying such as hate sloth and slavish fear, and are diligent and faithful: They say sibboleth in a sleepy profession, but they cannot frame to pronounce shibboleth in practise: Iudg. 12.6.
The fourth sort were Israelites, Abrahams seed, the true Professors of freedom, and people of God in a type, the peculiar people, in whom the promise of blessing unto all Nations was [Page 84] made, and Abrahams substance after the flesh, in an Antithesis to the Aegyptians; Israel had the flesh, but not the faith of Abraham; So the true Israel seem to hold forth the spiritual substance of Abraham (faith and obedience) and are the true people of God in antithesis to all that receive the seal of the power of the beast; and in reference to the type, but not in relation to truth in sincerity; They hold forth the outward carcass of Abrahams faith and obedienc (or a shadow of it) but not the life and power of Abrahams faith and obedience. Gods people are sincere or seeming: All Creatures (clean and unclean) that came into the Ark, were a type of the people of God, manifesting faith and obedience outwardly, but there's no mention of more then Noah and Sem onely that were sincere: All that kept the Passover in Aegypt, were a figure of Gods people, but there's no mention of above five or six that were sincere, and but two onely entred into the land of promise, the rest received again the spirit of bondage, and perisht, and fell by slavishness: So Israelites (like Nathaniel) indeed, are few, scarce visible, but have, and had ever an inward principle of life and power, obscure and infirm, because of bondage; their faith and obedience is like that Prophets that was sent to prophesie against the Altar in Bethel, and returned back an other way, who did go, prophesied, and returned back an other way; but before he had throughly done his work, he sat him down under an Oak, and then (contrary to Gods command) returned back to Bethel, wherefore a Lyon met him and&c him; Some small hid sincerity there is in their actions, but if they do any work of God, they either leave it off before they well begin it, or sit down before it is half done; The best of them are like the barren figtree, full of fruitless leaves of profession; If a man seek (as the Prophet did Mic. 7.) ripe fruit, he may weary or destroy himself before he find any: Their fruit falls before it is ripe, yet they put forth some ripe if a man could find it; they desist from all good actions before they perfect them, or transmit them seemingly imperfect, because they are outwardly under the power of bondage. The seeming people of God manifest outward faith and obedience (as the generality of creatures that came into the Ark did in a Type, and) as the generality of Israel that harkned to Moses when he was first sent [Page 85] did, but their faith and obedience is not sealed with any life and power inward or outward, nor shall be, until they prepare to keep the true Pasover: Israel at first harkned, and then generally revolted, and would not harken; their harkning was no obedience, because not sealed, and what is not sealed, is in no force or being, but their disobedience in not hearkning, was rebellion against God; So Gods people seem forward to harken and to act unto righteousness and freedom from the curse, and then immediately relinquish freed m and righteousness, and desert and betray those that cooperate sincerely, to slaughter and destruction; Their best and most forward obedience is not wrought by the free spirit of God in life and power, but their perfideous Apostasie and tr ch ry are real works of the spirit of bondage: No Fountain sends forth at the same place sweet water and bitter, Iam. 3.11, 12. Neither can a fountain of bondage bring forth any work of Freedom; Their continued breaches of faith, and their quiet and peaceable doing and suffering of all unrighteousness, and their oft revoltings, are manifestly the works of bondage, and do manifest that all their obedience are real works of bondage; They seek just things for and from slavish and unjust principles and ends, and seek to accomplish those ends by headlong and rash means, and their best actions being subject to unjust ends, and under the powers and forms of bondage, the matter must needs be the matter of those forms, and not of the free spirit in the power of God. That some sincere are among them alters not their condition of bondage, because they also are outwardly in bondage, and outwardly not seen, nor visible; their righteousness and freedom is inward, and so secret, and secret things belong to God: They that wore sincere of Israel in bondage, did not alter the condition of the generality, for they were all in bondage; But as the Law by transgression is the power of sin, so their service and obedience by backsliding is the power of the curse of bondage, for they could not revolt, did they not first seem to stand, nor betray the sincere, did they not seem to hold forth faith and obedience, nor be nigh unto cursing, were it not that they were once enlightned, Heb. 6. therefore the people of God are so far from being or begining of order, matter, or form of a people, called to the life and [Page 86] form of freedom and righteousness, which is of God, that their seeming form, their service and obedience, is the occasion, and their deflecting from it the real cause of their being under the form, or power of the spirit of bondage. There is no mention of any service to God, that Israel ever did in Egypt, before they kept the Passeover; for it was impossible for them to serve God before they were or had being or beginning of order, matter, or form of righteousnesse and freedom, but of bondage unto sin and slavery only in a type. So the true Israel, as persons, families, people, and Churches did never, nor can or shall ever do any service to God, at least, in the cleer evidence of the life and power of God, until they by and in their antitypical families prepare and keep the true Passeover: neither shall they have being or beginning of order, matter, or form, in the power of true righteousnesse and freedom, until they be called out of the power of bondage into the freedom and power of God, receiving the seal of the Name of God, &c. and they onely shall bee the first fruits unto God, and to the Lamb, Rev. 14.21.
A stone, or clodd of earth, cast by a strong hand, flies as fast as the swiftest creatures that have life and motion in themselves: so the people of God act just things vigorously, for their own private ends (singly) of which, did they seek them in the joynt good and safety of each other, and by right means, they could not misse: and their outward motives failing, they fall as a clodd of earth, quit freedom; and if peril appears, their hearts (like Nabals) are dead as stones, but they not only lick up the vomit of a slavish spirit, but bend the power of it, in resistance, against God. They hide their treacheries and apostasies with figleaves of deceits, adding fraud to unfaithfulnesse, and ensnare and betray those that are sincere, and themselves (in them) to destruction and slavery.
Israel told Sampson plainly, that they were come down to bind him, and to deliver him into the hands of the Philistims, and that they would bind him fast, and deliver him, (that is, betray him,) and they did so, Iudges 15.12, 13. but the people of God deal not so sincerely and truly with those that are faithfull and sincere amongst them: They indeed bind them fast in cords of bondage, and betray them, but tell them not they will do so, [Page 87] they need not, they have many examples to warn them, Moses, and the Prophets; reason and experience tells them that as Israel bound Sampson and betrayed him, and Moses, and in them, all Israel into the power of slavery and death, so all that the people of God do, or can do (in bondage) by any Engagement, is but to bind those that are sincere and faithful, in strong cords of slavery and death, and betray them to destruction and slaughter: And this their trecherous disservice thus quitted, they confine and terminate in outward strict form; of profession, and their own corrupt interests, until opportunity be given that they may again seek (for slavish ends) just things by headlong and rash means, and again betray those that are faithful to slaughter, and themselves to slavery; So they scarce leave any name or being of those that are sincere (as few were left when the floud came in a Type) They rally not, but to revolt, desert, and betray those that are faithful, and oppose base excuses to faith and obedience: Israel heard gladly the message of their deliverance, and then all (both Elders and People (so soon as resisted) revolted, and were scattered all over Aegypt under the power of bondage more then ever; God sent a second message, but they in no wise harkned, Exod. 6.9. They had somthing else to mind then Moses; they must either submit to bear, or be beaten; it was their living, their calling, and they must follow it; The people of God (bidden to the great Supper, Luke 14.17.) begin all with one consent, to make excuse; one had bought five yoak of Oxen, another a house, &c. So the people of God called out of bondage, at first seem forward to harken and engage for just Freedom; but then the first noise of Fear (before they see any danger) puts them all to retreat, and scatters them under the power of bondage more then ever; the first brunt (before it approach or come neer them) breaks their spirit; Moses was sent with a second message, but they did not harken for cruel bondage, their servile spirits made bondage matter of excuse, and a strong Bar against their deliverance from it; The Lord sent to call those that were bidden to the great Supper, and they also harkned not, but opposed the power of bondage against the power of God in making excuses; an excuse is a shaking off, or a casting out; and they by making excuses, did shake off God and his power for their deliverance: [Page 88] So the people of God cast off God, oppose his messages, and resist his power by slavish excuses; They oppose against their just faith to God and man (broken by their trechery) the unfaithfulness of others, to excuse their own; They through greedy avarice betray the true Israel, and themselves, their liberties, estates, and entire Beings, to perish and be destroyed by slavery (as Judas betrayed the Truth and himself for money) and then cover that bitter root of all evil, with false pretenses of Frugal Providence: Their occasions obstruct their obedience, and their callings and business are meer instruments emissary to slavery: Neuters (that outsit the time in sleeping, and censure all that are not slothful) excuse their trechery under pretense of wary and secure acting: they are moderate men, who sit still, and suffer the Lands (like Sodoms) swift destruction, whiles they drink the sweet, and eat the fat of it, and receive the States pay for so doing.
The people of God will not put the strength of their little finger to remove (really and indeed) the least burden, (though they groan under the greatest that ever were, of which the Aegyptian were but shaddows) Why? Their burdens are so great and many, and their slavish fear suggests more, and greater; yet they are forward enough to seek just Freedom and Righteousness, and just things for their own ends (singly) to enslave, and by headlong and rash means (like Nadabs and Abihu's strange fires) to destroy themselves. But if any message or command from God recal them to seek their own safeties and freedom (not in their own single, but of one another) and to do all righteousness in the right order, and rule of God, they reject it, and them them that bring it; propose what, and from whom you will, they'l not meddle with it, nor engage in what's good: They have bin burnt enough; It urged, or pressed, they summon all the powers of the curse of covetousness, sloth, and slavish fears, to make excuses; swords befit not their hands nor hearts, but burdens and sharp scourges their servil backs: Why say they, Are Zeba and Zalmunna (the keepers of our Captivity) in your hands? &c. Iudg. 8. Why servile backsliding Israel, can your trecherous and bas;e excuses, or churlish slavishness, prevent Gods purpose to free his people, or free your selves from the curse and destruction of bondage? The Lord declared expresly, that none [Page 89] of all those that were bidden and made excuses, should taste of his supper. Luk. 14.24. Let all Gods people that make excuses fear, and beware utter rejection.
The fearful and unbelieving spies, and all Israel (by believing them) brought evil reports upon the Land of Canaan, and the guilt of most degenerous, and base wickedness upon themselves: they feared strong Cities, and tall statures of men, more than confided in the living God; and that fear destroyed (except Caleb and Joshua that sought to bear up their slavish spirits) every man of them; when Caleb told them they were well able to overcome they all lift up their voyces and cryed, and wept fore, and were wholly routed and slain (without any enemy, or danger neer them) by meer slavishness, all above twenty years old (women not excepted) fell, and perished through the power of the curse of their own slavish spirit; when Caleb and Joshua sought to bear up their backsliding spirits, all Israel bid stone them with stones, rebelled, and gathered together against God Numb. 14.9.35. that is, they gathered together in the power of bondage against the power of God, for their freedom, and deliverance; So all that the people of God (in bondage) do, or can do, is but to begin seemingly in the spirit, and end in the flesh; to seek Freedom and righteousness by headlong, and rash means, and for their own sinister and base ends increase bondage, destroy themselves, and resist God: They bring (if opposed especially) only evil reports upon all right means, and ends of their deliverance, and project nothing but base excuses and cavils (the fruits of wicked fears) their hope (like Nabals heart) is dead as a stone; they quit faith; and their love to true righteousness, and Freedom leaves them, and they it: why say they its in vain to stir, our just ends (the more we act) are the farther off, and to accomplish them (by any means) is impossible; What should we run our selves into danger for and need not? we see clearly that to stir in this way is but to destroy our selves without remedy, and for our parts we have seen a great deale of means used, and much pains taken, and no good has come of it, wee'l labour to seek God, keep in compasse of our own callings, and leave the affairs of the State to those they do belong, the times are suffering times, and call not to stir, but sit still, we must [Page 90] mind Christ preached, and not these just things indeed, but dangerous to be medled with; We define bowing our knee (in holy profession) to Baal as much as any, but (in practise) none but turbulent spirits deny it (troublers of Israel and themselves) that disturb the Na [...] ion: We will wait upon God, and turn back into Aegypt. They vent the slanders of their slavish spirits (as the Type did) and say thus in effect; They told us of the land of Canaan, and of the land of promise, and bring us into a Wilderness; of milk and honey, and now we see it (indeed) it is the sharp sword of unvanquishable enemies, to slay us and ours. They pretended to give us the land of Promise, a place of rest from all burdens, see how well they have performed it: Had we not tasks hard enough in Aegypt, but they must bring us out from thence to set us harder tasks impossible to be performed? Tasks to destroy us, to cause us to engage our lives against men of tall and procerous stature, and invincible strength, whose very names are enough to affright our little ones: Must we come thus far to buy our burials, purchased with the loss of our lives, and must our wives and children (to purchase this prize) be likewise slain without obtaining it?
Israel (the peculiar people, in whom the promise of blessing to all people and nations was made) made themselves by rebellious unbelief and slavish fear, the curse, scorn, and shame of all people, and Nations: So the true Israel (from amongst whom the real blessing of freedom and deliverance from bondage shall be derived to all People and Nations) make themselves (by their rebellious, base, and slavish fears, the curse, scorn, and shame of all people and Nations upon earth: Because Israel (when they were brought to subdue Canaan) subjected their own spirits to covetousness, sloth, and faithless and slavish fears; Gods wrath brake out upon them, and slew them by sword, plague, and famine forty yeers: his displeasure (the heaviest he ever manifested to his people) rested upon them forty yeers, until he had utterly destroyed every man and woman that reassumed the plague of a slavish spirit; that the true Israel might not want example (the most remarkable that ever was) for their warning.
The Aegyptians were Chams children (the peculiar people of the curse, in the antithesis to the promise of blessing) and so most [Page 91] contrary to all order, matter, and form of a free people, above all Nations; but Israel (under their power and command, and in bondage unto them) were (visibly) their vassals, slaves unto servants, bondslaves to the curse: They were servants to God by promise, but (in power) servants to the Aegyptians, under whose power they were; and so more contrary to all order, matter and form of free families, persons, people, and churches, then the Aegyptians, until (being sealed with the bloud of the Passover) they were called, and redeemed unto freedom in the power of God, by the Lamb in a Type: So usurpers and their servants (all that receive the mark of the power of the Beast) are the people of the curse (servants of servants) in antithesis to the true blessing, and so (their slaves Gods free people excepted) most contrary to order, matter, and form of a free people. But Israel (Gods free people in bondage to them) are (visibly) their vassals, servants to God by promise, by power theirs; bondslaves to servants, and so are and shall be more contrary to right order, matter, and form (as Persons, Families, or Churches) then the peculiar people of the Curse, or any people upon earth, until (being sealed with the seal of God in the bloud of the Lamb) they shall be called and redeemed from the Will and power of Usurpers, to the power and Freedom of God in their antitypical Families. The rule and form of a free people is the Law, of Law, Reason; of Reason, the Word by the work of his free spirit; the elementary form and rule of the law of Nature and Reason, is the Scripture; But the matter (the people of God) and their forms (Law, Reason, and Scriptures) and the order of both matter and form, are kept in chains of slavish disuse, dead to Freedom and Life, alive and active unto bondage and death; as all Israel (living in bondage) acted unto bondage onely, The most just Law is but a bondslave to Will and Power, Will without Reason is the form of it; Right (if any be or seem) is an effect contingent, or a work of Bribery, or of byrespects, and not of the Law: for there can be no right effect from that cause, whereof Reason is not the Form and Power: Reason is the power of (Lawnatural) the Image of God in man, fallen (when man fell) under the power of bondage and death: Dead bodies (not presently, but in time) wholy corrupt and putrifie; So this Image, [Page 92] and (its form) Reason (though dead) did not presently, but in time, wholy putrifie; the order and manner of its dissolution is set forth in that Image in Dan. 2. Howbeit, God by his Word (the embalming myrrhe of this dead Image) hath at some times healed its unsoundness: But now this Image (and Reason the form of it) is (as in a Type when the Floud came) wholy corrupted and putrified; Learning and Ignorance have puft up the wise, and foolish; and pride hath putrified this Image in man, and the form of it, Reason; as it did in Nebuchadnezzar in a figure, for he was the head of Civil Empire and government, and a shadow of it from his time, in which the Image of God (as to Justice, Reason, and Sobriety) is wholy destroyed, and the people (ruling and ruled) turned (through pride) feral, agrest, and wild in the substance, whereof the same in him was a shadow. The wise and learned render reason sensual and divelish, the unlearned bruitish. Gross and stupid (but conceited) ignorance, and pedantick learning have eaten up (like Pharaohs illfavored lean kine) all real Vertue and honesty: Religion, and the Law, and light of Reason, is turned putrified filth and dirt of wickedness, and folly in the thin bellies of these illfavored beasts: Reason is but a bondslave to absurd Tenents of fond and sottish bruitishness; delatory and evasive sophistry seems most to be, but is no part of just reason, or of the Image of God, but of Satan: There's no true indoles of goodness, or good nature left in this Image, because the Scriptures are not, neither can be but the imaginations of the thoughts of the hearts of men (which are in bondage, and onely evil continually) are as they were in the Type, Gen. 6.5. the forms and power of Reason; wherefore this spiritual Image in man, and (the form of it) Reason, being dead, corrupt, and putrified, as to Freedom, Life, and Power, but alive and active unto bondage and death, cannot be the form and power of the Law of the free people of God.
Thirdly, The Scriptures are not (but ought to be, and shall be) the elementary form and power of reason, and of the Image of God in man; that is, they are properly, and shall be really, the Conduit and Instrument by which the Spirit of life (in the Word of God) shall convey light of life into the Image of God, and into the form of it (Reason) But the Scriptures are also in [Page 93] bondage of death, Rev. 11.7. dead to Freedom, and Life, and alive and active unto bondage. The Scripture is not (by strictest pretenders to it) extended to Persons, Families, and People (as the elementary form and rule of their Law, and Government, as Persons, Families, and people. They call the Law of the people the Civil Law, and discern it, as having it original power and form (not from the Scriptures, but) from the people; and (for government of Families and Persons, and the power of it) they think not of it, or (at least) practise not (really and indeed) any: They confine the power of the Scriptures to Churches only (as Shimei was to his house in Jerusalem) by which means the Scriptures are in bondage, and are dead, and have no power, but to promote empty forms of pretenses, and hypocrisie; For it is impossible that those herbs that retein the strength and power of poyson in the place where they grow, and likewise retein the same strength of poyson in the pot, and in the mess, should ever be wholsom in the stomack: So it is impossible that they that have no power or form of Law, or government according to Scriptures (as Persons, Families or People) should have any form or power of Law or Government according to the Scriptures as Churches; The Scriptures are a Cup of Gold, Rev. 17.4. that is, a vessel of pure righteousness (not kept in the power of Gods people, but in mystical Jezabels hand, the mother of all abominations and filthiness) Josephs steward said to the Brethren of Joseph, That the Silver Cup was that wherein his Master used to drink, and indeed to divine: The Scriptures are indeed a vessel of perfect honor, but (as kept in bondage of death, in possession, and under the power of an harlot) a vessel of vilest dishonor, a cup of divination, full of all abominations, and filthiness of her fornications (the false wares with which all mercenaries (the Merchants of the earth) chandle and trade their high prised deceits of no value) which they exchange for the treasure of the earth to make themselves rich; some teach against some, some against all forms of Godliness, and deny all the power of it: others press empty forms of fruitless profession, and make these, and all other painted Sepulchers, seem to arise out of this Cup: They seem to make the blindest bra s of Aegyptian darkness their brainsick conceits of grossest folly and blasphemy to arise [Page 94] out of this cup. All base Sorcerers and seducers take up this cup for a pretence to dissimulation, for lucre sake, and make it their instrument to deceive and inslave the Nations, subordinate to their own unjust gain, and ends. The Scriptures are but nets spread only to catch their prey, their shaddow of darkness to deceit, their vessel of divination to ensnare and destroy the earth for reward. All Impostors take up out of this cup, forms to deceive for gain unto themselves, and they that receive the marke of bondage (hardness of heart) drink deceit, and all deceivers the wages of lying divinations out of this cup.
The word of God shall be, but is not, but the wills and power of wicked Impostors, and (their filthy lusts and desires are the power of the dead subjected and inslaved Scriptures; Therefore the Scriptures (in bondage under the formes of vilest, and most slavish disuse, and death) cannot be the form, and power of the Image of God, nor of reason; nor reason of the Law; nor the Law, of the free people of God: But (as the abomination of desolation was (instead of the Arke of God) set up in the Temple of God, so right order, matter, and form of Freedom, life and power in the people of God is (by a general falling away from what they seemed) null, and voyd, and positive opposit forms and powers of bondage (the substance shaddowed by that abomination of desolation) set up in the Temple, the people of God and in all powers of their being (Law, reason, and Scripture.) And the matter (joyned to these forms) is their proper matter in being, and the order, ends, and effects must necessarily (as effects their causes) follow their productive matter and forms; therefore the people of God (as families, persons, people and Churches) and all their powers, and forms (Law, reason, and Scriptures) and the order, ends, and effects of these forms are wholly in the power of bondage, and basest disuse, dead to Freedom, life and power of God; alive and active to slavish destruction, sin, and death, and shall be untill God call them, and they come (and bring with them all that is theirs) out of the power of bondage, unto the power and freedom of God, in their antitypical families.
While Israel was in bondage their persons, estates, law, reason traditions, and intire beings, were wholly in the same bondage, [Page 95] and they never had being, nor begining of Freedom, until they were called out of the power of bondage, unto their proper form of Freedom, (the power of God, and of the Lamb) and were gathered, and sealed in that power (typically) by their families; So the true Israel (and all that is theirs) are alike in the same bondage, their bodys, spirits, power, rights, estates, and their forms (of being (law, reason, and Scriptures) are to life and Freedom) voyd of being and begining: But by occasion vials of slavish disuse, destructive, sinful; and must so remain untill God gather Israel, and all that is theirs, from being putrified dust (rebelling against him) to a being, and begining in his power of Freedom, by their antitypical families; The dust (which after was Man) had no order, unity, nor figure of body whiles it was dust, nor fleshly form, untill it was transmutated into flesh, nor life until the flesh had liniaments, and breath of life, and not till then it had the begining and being of a man; So Israel were, and and the true Israel are scattered dividuals of dust, and Atomes most contrary to order and unity of a body, and form of life; When Israel rebelled against God and (being cald out of bondage hearkned not Exod. 6.12.) they were putrified and scattered dust (warring against the life and power of God;) when they readily hearkned to prepare and keep the Passeover (as God comanded) then they were changed from dead and scattered dust into fit matter of a redeemed people, when all their families were gathered together into their own houses (or so many as could eat the Lamb) into one house, and kept together without going out, or stirring from one another, then they were rallyed and knit in a compact body, when they did eat the Passeover together (as God commanded) then the life and power of God (their breath of life from bondage of death was (in a Type) breathed into them; and (that night) they were delivered, and all the firstborn (the power of Egypt in a Type) were that very night destroyed, and God ordained that moneth (by an Ordinance for ever) to be the beginning of all moneths unto them, and the first moneth of the yeare, because it was indeed really the first beginning of their being: So the true Israel (the free people of God) and all that is theirs, have bin, and are in that deep sleep, and horror of great darkness of bondage, and death [Page 96] (in the substance of it) did which fell upon Abraham in a figure Gen. 15. and are really those divided peices of flesh betwixt which the furnace and burning lampe passed, which peices of flesh putrified: That deep sleep, and great darkness, and those peices of flesh were a twofold figure of Abrahams seed after the flesh, and after the spirit; in bondage, dead, disobedient, and putrified dust, which being called hearken not: When they shall readily hearken to prepare, and keep the true Passeover (the substance, and truth of the typical) then they shall be changed from putrid dust (repugnant to all life, and freedom of God) into fit matter of a free people: When their antitypical families shall be gathered in the unity of the spirit of life, and freedom, unto the power of God in their natural, and mystical houses to prepare, and keep the true Passeover, and not revolt, not stir out, nor desert one another: then they shall be rallied into the compages, and joynts of a body of a Free People: When they shall eat the Passeover together (as God commandeth (that is) when they shall do really the works of righteousness, (not the Type: but the truth, and substance of what God, and the Lamb requires of a people redeemed to life, and Freedom) then the power of God (their breath of life from real bondage) shall be breathed into them, and that time (which is at hand shall be unto them, and all that is theirs really) the very first begining of being: Then Israel, and theirs first began (in a Type) and then the true Israel (as persons, families, people, and churches) shall first begin really: That shall be the first time wherein their proper Rights, Estates, Law, Power, and the Image of God, and Reason, and the Scriptures, shall have (in reference to right use) begining of Freedom from desolation, slavish disuse, sin, and death. The Text is express, Rev. 14. That the hundred forty and four thousand (sealed in their foreheads) were the first fruits unto God, and to the Lamb, redeemed from the earth: And it is not supposed, but cleerly proved by Scripture, that these one hundred forty and four thousand shall be the same in truth and substance that the Israelites (sealed in the bloud of the Lamb in Egypt) were in Type, and shaddow; They came out of the greatest Thrall and Oppression that ever was, these come out of great tribulations; Rev. 7.14. They overcame Pharaoh, and all his servants [Page 97] and seducers, these shall overcome the Beast, Chap. 15.2. They sang a song of deliverance, the song of Moses, These sing a song of deliverance, the song of Moses expresly, v. 3.
They came forth out of Aegypt by their Families, Tribes, and Armies (which may be a figure of the subordination of antitypical families, Oeconomical, Provincial, and National.) They were wholy freed from all slavish rigor of bearing any Aegyptian burdens in the least measure for ever; These shall be freed from all affliction, tribulation, and oppression for ever, Rev. 7.16. That night was a still and silent night (wherein Israel prepared the Passover, against whom not a dog moved his tongue, Exod. 11.7. but a night of the greatest cry amongst the Aegyptians that ever was before or after; They received not the outward, but the inward seal also, and did eat the Passover, and could not be diverted in that action by going about any other occasion, because they were to eat it standing; and they were to eat it in hast, therefore they would not speak much, or be diverted or hindred by talking, and they might be well satisfied (eating in hast) in about half an hours time; therefore that time (for about half an hours space) was a time of the greatest stilness and silence, and more was done in that half hours time of silence, then was done in all the time from the begining of the world before, for all Israel received the inward seal of the life and power of God, and of the Lamb (in a Type) in the time of that half hours silence. There was silence in heaven about ths spate of half an hour. Rev. 8.1. We need not enquire what was said, but what was done in that half hours space. There is not the like expression in all the Scripture, nor any place, so pertinent and express for the action of that time: In heaven, that is, in the houses of the hundred forty and four thousand (immediately forementioned.) Large mention is made of the outward seal, but insteed of any mention of the inward seal, it is only said, That there was silence in heaven for the space of half an hour: The Tongue interprets the Spirits secresie, and the outward seal of the Name of God in their foreheads, declares the secret actings of this half hours silence; The following and foregoing coherence shews, That as all Israel did not prepare only, but eat the Passover, so Israel (their antitype) shall not receive the outward [Page 98] only, but the inward seal of the free Spirit of life in Christ the Lamb) and this is to eat the flesh and substance of the Lamb: Its soon gathered what hungry men are doing that have meat set before them, and are silent; When all free people (the true Israel) shall be gathered together in their antitypical families to eat the flesh, and substance of the Lamb after this manner, as all Israel were by their families in a Type) and shall thus conveen to take real (not verbal) councel to accomplish these ends; then the yoke of bondage upon them, and upon all they are, and have, shall be broken for ever; then the seal of constant conformity, or real sincerity (in true righteousness of freedom) shall be engraven upon their spirits; then the vanity (that is, the nullity of right use) and slavish disuse (to which the people of God, and what they are and have is subjected) and the bondage of corruption under which they, their just rights, and estates, the Image of God in them, their Laws, Power, Scriptures, and the whole Creation groan, and travel in pain to be delivered, Rom. 8.21. shall be taken off for ever, and their, and the creatures earnest desire and expectation of the manifestation of the sons of God, v. 15. shall be then accomplished; that shall be the time of the great MarriageSupper of the Lamb, Rev. 19.7, 9. And these shall be the high and serious transactions of this half hours silence: More was done (in a Type) in that short space by the seeming weakest means, then had bin done in all the time before; and more shall be done by the seeming weakest means in this half hours silence, then hath bin since time had begining. Actual redemption is the hardest work that ever was, yet done upon the easiest terms; What easier terms of redemption can be to hungry weary bondslaves, then to say go home to Supper, you have bin (heretofore in rigous of cruel bondage) ever restless, go home and henceforward rest quiet for ever? God offers the same terms (in substance) to the true Israel, to redeem them, and the whole Creation from bondage unto vanity and corruption; As if he should say, Israel (in Aegypt) was opprest, and murdered with heavie burdens, and by rigour of cruel bondage; you really and indeed, I redeemed them naturally, and will redeem you effectually; Free grace freely given them, was all the ransom they paid, and Free grace from me (the greatest that was ever) and [Page 99] your acceptance (in it) shall be all your ransom required from you: Their task was most easie and acceptable; yours the easiest and most acceptable (in truth and substance.) I bid them go home, rest, and refresh themselves for ever; Go ye home, and be free from all burdens, rest and refresh your selves for ever. A dog did not open his mouth against any of them, nor shall against you: I did not busie their memories with many observations (onely to prepare and eat the Passover) neither be you busied (Marthalike) about many things, but mind the only one thing necessary (to follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth, and) to do and observe (in your Oecunomical consults and executions) all which God and the Lamb saith; That was the first feast and sacrifice that ever was kept in Israel, they kept it by their families, (the first subjects of begining and being of all Power and Government.) I (in like manner) call, and redeem you (by your families) out of the greatest and most slavish tribulation and destruction that ever was, to keep the same feast in truth and substance; and your antitypical families (so called and redeemed) shall be (really and indeed) the first subjects of begining and being of all true Power and Government.
Government is the intense Order of Agreement; Oeconomical Agreements are (conjunct) political: Forms of right Agreements are elementary or literal, and virtual or essential: Elementary or literal form, is the figure or tenour of the matter of the Instrument; Virtual or essential form, is the subscribing or consigning of force, figure, and matter in one act: Literal forms ought to express the whole necessary substance in summary compactness; wherefore because no Instrument is more necessary, I insert this Pattern.
WE the free people of England indent (as Persons, Families, and People) to receive (as much as in us lies) all power of Freedom, which God dispenseth to redeem us and ours, from misery of most slavish dis-use and destruction; and agree to chuse Representors, by and for so many families of us, as shall be by them judged expedient.
Secondly, to chuse Comissial or Provincial: Thirdly National Representors: And that the Commissial or National Representors (whom we shall chuse) shall be by us ordained our free National Representative, lawfully constituted and appointed by us.
Secondly, We agree (not any more to sacrifice our Freedoms and Estates, our Fathers and Childrens Inheritances and Birth-rights) to arbytrarie-corrupters of judgement, to Leeches of deceit and rapine, usurpers and Lawyers) but to judge and decide all differences and controversies amongst us, in and by our Oeconomical Classes, or (if need be) in and by our Provincial and National Classes.
Thirdly, We agree to prove and examine all causes of every particular person amongst us, in relation to all oppressions and wrongs done by or to any of us, and in reference to all their particular just Rights and Interests, in manner as aforesaid; And likewise to commence Suits, claim, demand, and recover all their debts, rights, dues, reparations, and interests, in the name and power of each particular persons Classis; for, and in behalf of every particular person amongst us, or (if need be) in the name and power of the Provincial or National Classis.
Fourthly, We agree to remove all Taxes, Excise, Cessments, Free-quarter, Impost upon Coals or other Commodities, Monopolies, and all other burdens from the poor and middle sort (especially) for ever: Because what the poor and middle sort pay or bear in such relations, is by double right (of propriety and necessity) due to themselves, to relieve and support their own lives, and the lives of their families.
Also we agree, that the estates of those that are rich amongst us, all debts due from them, (which are no part of their Estates) being first satisfied, shall be freed from all bondage of corruption, and slavish dis-use for ever. [Page 101] Fiftly, We agree to chuse those (whether poor or rich) whom we conceive most sober, sincere, and emulous of just Freedom, Representers of congregated Families, and to be Provincial and National Representors; and to negotiate and discharge all business entire in and with our selves, by assistance and advice of each other, and by and with those Representors. When Moses hands were dimitted, Amaleck prevailed against the free people; when by Aaron and Hur born up, the free people prevailed. Such (in effect) shall discreet and faithful Representors be to free people to unite them in order of life and freedom: for want of them, and consigning Agreements, the conscientious of the City, Nation, and Army, convene (as cyphers) without doing any thing: And the effects of their meetings are ruine to the most faithful, and confusion of all: wailes the really industrious (promised indempnity) spend time and estate to attain the ends of their just engagements, the rest draw back, and leave them (ruinated) to perish (by unprevented rigour of cruelty and injustice) and they (thus wronged) and utterly undone, and expecting persolvance of their faiths that engaged with them, gain their ingrateful enmity for repair of their wrongs. These evils are caused for want of consigning an Agreement, and for want of discreet and faithful Representors.
Sixtly, We agree to seek things honest for all man, and justice absolute to good and bad (what may commensurate their evil or good actions equally and impartially) and to this end, we agree to prove and examine all causes and differences with all faithful and advised exactness; and (that our Consciences and Judgements may be free and clear before we pass judgement, or determine any thing) we agree to permit each party, or any for each, to declare in word or writing, and (by demonstrative argument, and evidence of witness and reason) to prove in particular) their Complaints or defences: Also agree to compose the state of matters difficult and obscure, with all succinct and advised cleerness (if need be) in writing, for satisfaction of all men; and that the Scriptures shall be the original literal form and rule of all our results and determinations. Seventhly, We agree that the present Army shall be paid off all Arrears, and disbanded, and after rallied (as there shall be need,) [Page 102] every man in his own Parish, Shire, Country, or where his calling or estate lies, that Souldiers and Officers may have the advantage of a double benefit in the management and oversight of their own Callings and Estates, added to their standing Sallary or Pay. Secondly, We agree that all Souldiers and Officers that have not bin in actual service (in this Army in time of War) shall be first paid off, and disbanded, and that not any more shall be listed (except such as have served in this Army in time of War) until this Army be wholy paid off and disbanded: For it is extreme injustice that they that never served in War, should receive the pay of War in time of peace, whiles they that have served in War, want Arrears and maintenance. Thirdly, If the Nation agree not generally to pay and disband the Army, we agree to pay off, disband, and to re-dispose of our proportion, and to leave to such as assent not, their proportion, to pay, maintain, and dispose of at their own charge, provided it no way burden or annoy us, &c.
To prevent that bloudy, ingrate murder upon souldiers and others by delay of right, and privation of it; and (thereby) of their lives (for want of it) they may demand their whole pay, and remit whats due from them; but what can be proved due onely, can be justly deducted for Free-quarter, or otherwise; they that deduct it should give particular receit in his name to whom it is due, and secure the payment.
General confused pretenses cancel not personal debtss, nor should the Souldiers be delayed, robbed, and destroyed, under these colours, or for want of their Colonels Certificate, whereby none (but who are mercenary to vicious Officers) can have their just dues, the price of their lives: Nor should they or their Officers be tyed to make oath in cases of this nature, nor be tyed to arbytrarie carvings of corrupt accountants, nor to receive their pay in such monies, houses, lands, whose title they question, nor be entangled or defrauded with Debenters, buying them before they receive money or after, nor ought their forced conveyances of their Debenters to stand valid, or be in any force; nor should any reducement of their pay be made against equity, and the faith of the Nation (unnaturally, ingratefully) to their and their families impoverishment and utter ruine: Every man (as not [Page 103] flatly denying the faith of Christ, and as not being a Barrabas and robber to himself and others) must pay every man (what he may justly) his whole due, and to that end must demand (what he may do justly) his whole just due: The free called, military and civil Families must (in conscience) see to it strictly, that every one among them have all just interests entire, as Moses faithfully demanded, and had all Israels just due entire: He that is unfaithful in a little; is false in all (but these things are the greatest) and imperfect righteousness is the fruit of bondage, not of freedom: Either let them do justice absolute and impartial, or else let them that are filthy be filthy still, and them that are unfaithful and unjust, be unjust still.
The virtual or essential form is real or paral consignation of force, figure, and matter, in one act to, and with oecunomick Representers, and their represented (the persons and families signing to them) and to and with Provincial and National Representers, and their represented (the free people and families of the Provinces, and of the Nation sighing to them) for as an Instrument of an act or deed (not sealed nor subscribed) is no act or deed, but a dead instrument of no force or vertue; So an Agreement (not signed) is no Agreement, but a dead instrument or carcass; Therefore it is that Lieut. Col. John Lilburns Agreement (though he and they with him that made it have done their parts in it, and discharged their Conscience) hath (as yet) come to nothing, because the free people (through slavish fear and sloth) did not (on their parts) signe and subscribe it: And therefore it is that the good (which those that they call Levellers endeavored) was a dead birth (the hazard of its parents life) because they gave it not life (by consigning it) in a right Order of a free gathered people: for there were many busie pretenders (betrayers of them) amongst them, and divers unsteady and vicious, and rash persons (that deserved not the name of Levellers) who hindred their good endeavors, and brought all into dis-order and confusion.
Lastly, Right Government is the intense order of a right Agreement; This intense order is an intermediate pressing forward (in the righteousness of life and freedom) from the bounds (from which) to the bounds (to which) a free people must act [Page 104] and move; Righteousness is either of bondage or freedom: Bondage and Freedom, and their righteousness, differ as light and darkness; The righteousness of bondage (in the people of God) is lame, and imperfect, meer impostury, reprobate righteousness of corruption; Ishmael the bond-womans son (with his mother) to be cast out: but their righteousness of Freedom shall be (at least as to outward conformity) firm and constant. The good works of bondage in the people of God, are dead carcasses of righteousness, and therefore have an an appearance (in their impressive act especially) and so their impressive power of bondage, is less visible; but the intense power of bondage in the best righteousness of the people of God, is in its intermediate act apparent: For as thorns obstruct and choak the best seed, so bondage and its forms (respect to private ends, and disrespect to duty and conscience) kills the very impressive life of all righteousness: Therefore their dead and slavish righteousness (for they have no other) cannot reach any supreme end of the righteousness of life and freedom; but bondage forms and steers its intermediate, first and last course to slavery, sin, and death: for dead men to do the works of the living, and for Gods people in bondage of corruption and death, to do the righteousness of life and freedom, is impossible: Their best actions are but good words, and these meer deceits and trecheries: Such forms, such effects: but the powers of bondage are the forms in which the people of God, and the whole Creation (as the matter) are subSingle illegible letterected: therefore all their righteousness is the righteousness of the power of bondage, a base off-spring of pride, avarice, and vain-glory; a vile instrument to advance empty forms, a servant to perfideous sloth and apostasie, a prostitute to vice, and bond-servant to base designes. The rigour of Aegyptian bundage killed Israels fruits after the flesh (their children) so soon as born, and captivated all that lived, in continual bondage: but this vehement rigour of real bondage, suffers not the people of God, nor their best righteousness, to have intense motion, being, nor begining of life and freedom, but of perfect captivity only to slavish dis-use, sin, and death. The sincerest, and their best righteousness, are (like Ishmael) in bondage partly, and partly free; Ishmael was free-born by [Page 105] the fathers side, but by Hagar the bond-woman: Wherefore subjecting none, and subject, and in bondage to none, his hand was against every man, and every mans hand against him; So the sincere, and their righteousness are of God their Father, and so free and perfect, but outwardly of Hagar the bond-woman; therefore their free Spirit bows not its knee to bondage; but (being Hagar the bond-womans sons) the spirit of bondage, not the free spirit, coucheth to all burdens, and resisteth in all things the free Spirit of God: Therefore (as wild men like Ishmael) they resist, but subdue not, and are resisted, but are not subdued by all vassals of bondage, and their, and its corruptions; and bring forth no righteousness of life and freedom into manifestation of being; because they are free, and live (partly) and are (partly) dead, and in bondage.
Righteousness of freedom, is the good works of a people equally legitimate and free (not as the people of God were and are in Aegypt) by promise only, and really, and indeed the greatest and most miserable slaves that ever were, nor as Ishmael was; and the most sincere are (free by the fathers side only) but by father and mother as Davids fathers house was in a type free in Israel. Jerusalem descending shall be the only free mother (as Evah of all the living) of all living branches of the Tree of life (the free-born of God that shall bring forth perfect fruits of life and freedom. The integrity of Primitive times did anti-type Adams and Evahs innocency, and typified that equally legitimate and free righteousness of the free-born sons of God, by that City, the Lambs Bride. Mans fall prefigured the general falling away from the Primitive Churches, and second Adams first righteousness, which general Apostasie and corruption of all flesh (in the anti-type) is now full, as Adams fall, and his offsprings general apostasie (in a type) was full when the floud came: The Ark (made of one wood into mansions or rooms) shaddowing forth the order of the families which shall be actually redeemed unto freedom) brought forth (1656 yeers after the first tree of life) its first fruits of life, in a type: So the true Ark (the tree of life in anti-type and truth) shall then bring forth (and not till then) its first fruits of righteousness of life and freedom, when the order of its mansions (that is, the prefigured [Page 106] mystical families there) shall be compleated and full: The righteousness (which is now, and hath bin) is the righteousness of false appearance, covetousness, and filthy corruptions of bondage, born and begotten by and for base designes and ends; the offspring of illegitimacy, and seed of incest, conceived (like Moah and Ammon) in the heat and zeal of blind and empty profession, and bloudy hypocrisie, the fruit of perfideous trechery and deceit. If any righteousness of life and freedom hath bin, or is, that Righteousness, or they that produce it, have or hath bin, or is the first fruits to God and the Lamb: but the Text is express, That the sealed Tribes or Families of Israel, shall be the first fruits to God and the Lamb: There was no righteousness of deliverance from the curse of destruction, bondage, and death of Adams sin (in a type) until those creatures that were saved (the shadow of the free people of God) came (as it were by their families) into the Ark after their kind; and there hath not bin any perfect (but dead, spurious, and illegitimate) righteousness; no righteousness of deliverance, life, and freedom from real destruction, sin, and death, nor shall be any, until the free people come into the true Ark by their anti-typical Tribes and Families, and possess their proper mansions in truth and substance. The people of God (absolute free) and their righteousness shall be equally legitimate in relation to God their father, and in relation to the new policy or City (their mother) descending, which shall be free; And they, and their righteousness shall be perfect (as their heavenly father is perfect, and as their mother descending from God out of heaven shall be perfect) Perfect, not of the essence of God, but after the pattern and image of the mind of God (as the Tabernacle was the figure of that pattern in the Mount, and as the Rain-bow is the Image of the Sun) so they shall be created and formed (by the free Spirit of life in Christ) after the Image of God; For the Creator, Former, and Inhabitant, is not the creature, thing formed, or house: Howbeit, God shall dwell in them more fully. The perfection of a free people and of their righteousness, consists in an impress, intermediate, and express act of Life and Freedom, but the last gives their and its denomination and being; and the first two (without the third) are properly the righteousness of bondage; This perfect [Page 107] righteousness of a Free people is a commutative three-fold righteousness of deliverance from evil, in evil, and out of evil of bondage; a figure of this righteousness was in Moses, his visiting of his brethren three times, the first time he went forth, he (seeing an Egyptian and an Israelite at strife) slew the Egyptian, and freed the Israelite (in a Type) from evil of bondage; The second time he went forth he (seeing two Israelites at strife) sought to reconcile and unite them, and so to releive and support them in the evil of bondage; These actions were properly the righteousness of bondage (for Moses was then in bondage) and therefore it inslaved him and them, and hazarded his life much more; for which cause he fled, and left them forty yeers. Men may not be faithful indeed, nor do impress, or intense works of Freedom in bondage: but extremely hazard their lives, or estates, they, & their righteousnes must be corupt by constraint or they must act (if strictly faithful) single, For the people of God in bondage (having no order, nor unity) deceive and betray each other. Moses in his first visit acted but with one Israelite, and delivered him, and that one betrayed him: The second time he acted but with two and one of them betrayed him, and he fled for his life (such are the perfidious treacheries & deceits of the righteousness of bondage) but Moses did not desist but (sent) came the third time, and Freed Israel and their intire beings out of bondage; all Israel therein joyned with him, and this his, and their joynt work, was the proper righteousness of Freedom (in a Type) To avert evils of bondage (in bondage) or relieve and support those that groan under the rigour of it, and rest so (being works of bondage) strengthens the power and rage of it, and depresseth all means of deliverance; So Moses did, and fled for his life, and left all Israel desperately helpless, and worse inslaved than ever. Ahimelech relieved David with the shew-bread and Goliahs Sword, which was a very just and good work, yet it occasioned that Ahimelech and all the Preists of the Lord and their City were cut off, and destroyed man, woman, and child: such are the violent evils of the bondage of corruption, that the best and most perfect righteousness of bondage, causeth (through corruption) the worst evils and effects, because corruption of the best things is the most destructive corruption that can be, [Page 108] Its the greatest and most desparate hazard of utter ruine to a mans life or estate, to be conscientious and exactly faithful in bondage: Also performances of impress and intense acts of righteousness in bondage, without the express act of the righteousness of Freedom out of bondage, is dead and imperfect righteousness, and meer impostury, which deceives and hardens (like the works of Pharaohs Sorcerers) all mens hearts in vanities and corruptions of bondage; For whiles they follow and mind sorceries and deceits, imperfect righteousness of relief, or support in bondage, they dream not, nor once think of any legitimate or perfect righteousness of Life and Freedom out of bondage: These rotten deceits destroy or hazard (as in Moses and the Priests of the the Lord) their Lives, Families, and Estates: for the righteousness of relief and support in bondage, and not of Freedom out of it, rouseth up the power and rigour of it (as a sleepy lyon) to destroy them: he that pricks a sleepy lyon must also kill him, or be sure to be destroyed.
This corruption of bondage under which the Creation groans and travels in pain to be delivered out of it, is briefly this; The Creation was at first subservient to bruit beasts, till man (a figure of the Creatures Freedom) was made the head of all creatures; and thus far the creature was not properly subjected unto vanity under bondage of corruption: Satan and the serpent (the parents of all corruption of bondage, sin, and death,) co-inspired into the spirit of man the corrupt nature of bruit beasts (from the bruit beast the serpent, the mother of sin in a type) and of fallen Angels (from Satan the Father of sin and filthy corruptions of bondage:) So the spirit of man (the head of the Creation) became bruitish, and divelish, and then the creature was properly subjected unto vanity and bondage of corruption: The corruption of bruitishness in man did corrupt, and darken the Image of God (reason, righteous judgement) in man, as dense earth darkens the light of the Sun, and satanical corruption impressed the Image of Satan (that is, an opposite, corrupt, and contrary light of reason and judgement) in the spirit of man. This two-fold fall, from which (God and Nature) to which (the Beast and Satan) was not full till the Floud came, at which time all flesh was corrupt, the earth filled with violence, [Page 109] and the thoughts of mens hearts only evil continually: But this was but a shadow of the bondage of corruption, under which the whole Creation, and the free people now groan and travel, and must travel in pain to be delivered out of it. Man then fell from the first Adams righteousness, now from the righteousness of the first and second Adam: Then the creature was subjected to all sorts of evil beasts to serve them whiles they devoured the most innocent and best creatures; Men are now those evil beasts that devour the best men: Pharaohs lean beasts ate the fat; Fire went out of the bryars, and devoured the Cedars of Lebanon; so it ever was, but is now indeed: The thoughts of mens hearts were then only evil continually, now their thoughts and works are continually only evil; Now all flesh is wholy corrupt in Spirit and Judgement (as it was then in a Type.) The spirits of men were then corrupt after the similitude of their parents (the best, the Serpent their mother, and Satan their father; but now expresly: Judgement is onely preposterous, and precedes knowledge, and sentence goes before examination. Right Judgement is the sourse of Righteousness, but all Judgement is now meer rottenness and corruption. M [...] n lettern learned, and unlearned, wise, and ignorant, judge and speak evil of what they know not, and corrupt themselves like bruit beasts in what they know; and all light and form of Judgement in them is satanical and divelish in antithesis to true light, as the light of the judgements of the Pharises judged Christ, and released Barrabas. Then the earth was filled with violence, every one was an oppressor and murderer, or murdered and oppressed; none free, but all were full of violence: Now bond-masters and oppressors are full as fountains pouring forth, and the oppressed are full as vessels (receptacles of all cruelty and oppression) there's no vacuum, none are empty, all are ful. The Prophet writs to the Church of Smyrna, that the devil should cast some of them into prison Revel. 2.8. but these cast many of the most faithful into Prison, yea all the faithful, their Interests, external Liberties, and Consciences are (by them kept in greatest Imprisonment of real bondage, that ever was) They give Liberty of Conscience (to the Free people) in profession, they may sacrifice (as to outward form) the fruit of the ground, or of their flocks, herein is no [Page 110] Liberty, nor Conscience; These were shaddows: Liberty of Conscience is free Liberty, to exercise perfect righteousness of life, and Freedom out of bondage, they inhibit this Liberty wholly, and all righteousness of bondage is made by them (out of measure) destructive. The wicked Steward laid violent hands upon a poor man, took him by the throat, and said, pay me what thou owest me: But Bond-masters and Oppressors now lay violent hands upon the perishing poor, and middle sort, take them by their throats, and say, pay us what you ow us not, and what you have not to pay, pay us (what by right and necessity is due to your selves) that little reliefe the support of your lives and of the lives of your Families; The Pharisees layd the Crosse (the instrument wherewith they crucified and killed Christ) upon Simon, and compelled him to bear it; So these lay heavie burdens of cruel bondage (the instrument wherewith they crucifie the poor, and impoverish the rich) upon poor and rich, and compel those (by day labor) and those (with their estates) to bear these cursed burdens of violence to crucifie and kill themselves: These are the burdens of cruelties, the corruptions of real bondage, under which the creature is subjected, and under which the Creation, and they that have (by the Fathers side) the first fruits of the Spirit, groan, and travel in pain to be delivered. As it was in the daies of Noah, so now at this time, in which the Son of man (Christ mystical) is coming to raign in his mystical families (as Noah in the mansions of the Ark) until time, and they be transient, and pass into eternity.
The first means in a Type that freed the groaning Creation, and the earth (filled with violence) from violence and the curse of bondage; was the coming of the freed creatures (as it were by their families) into their mansions in the Ark.
The second typical means that freed the Creation and the free people of God, was the coming of all Israel, and sealing of them (by their families) in their own houses.
The third means of efficacy and truth, that shall deliver the burdened earth (filled with violence) and the Creation and People or God (groaning under it,) shall be by the coming of the true Israel into their own Mansions mystical by their anti-typical Tribes and Families: God sealed, that is, shut in the creatures, [Page 111] delivered from destruction, in the Ark, by their Tribes and Kinds. God sealed all Israel (delivered from Egypts bondage) with the blood of a Lamb, the Signe of the life of righteousness; and shut them in their own houses by their Families, and God will seale all his servants the true Israel with the Seale of the living God (the blood of the Lamb in truth) by their mystical Tribes, and Families, expresly Rev. 7.
When the Creatures in the Ark (delivered from destruction) were shut in, then was the beginning of a new policy, or City, and of a new Heaven, and a new earth in a Type. When Israel (sealed with the blood of the Lamb in the power of God) came into their own houses (by their Families) then was the beginning of a new policy (Oeconominick, Civil, Ecclesiastick) and of a new Heaven, and of a new Earth in a Type. And when the true Israel shall come into, and shall be sealed, and shut in (as the Creatures in the Ark were in, and by their mansions, and Families mystical, then, and there shall be a reall beginning of a new policy, or City (Oeconomick, Civil, and Ecclesiastical) and of a new Heaven, and of a new Earth (in Anti-type and truth) Impresse, and intense acts of charitable civilities (in bondage) are dead carkasses of righteousness (as the Law is a dead carkass, or letter) Therefore they are just, good and lawful (as a carkass, or body of righteousness) but (as the Law is the strength of sin by occasion) so are they (by occasion) the strength of bondage, sin, and death; for they being dead to righteousness of Freedom, live in, and unto the life, and power of bondage, and are the strength of it; as a strong Castle is his strength that keeps it, or as a strong and healthful body liveth in, and unto the soul, and is the strength of it. Impress, and intense righteousness of bondage (reliefe, and support, from and against the evils of it, without righteousness of Freedom out of it) is like Sions strong Tower in the Jebusits hands, which deceives and hardens their hearts that extend it, destroys their lives, Families, and estates, and is so far from all righteousness of Freedom, that it ratifies, and fortifies an opposit habit of spurious, and imposturous deceits against all perfect and legitimate righteousness of Freedom, it stirs them up to say Soul, Soul, take thine ease, thou hast many parcels of good words (and works too) of releif, support, and [Page 112] refreshings (done to oppressed, imprisoned, and undone Saints, the people of God). That Fool that put his confidence in deceitful riches (for that cause) lost his soul and his riches that night: So the people of God (for, and by their puting confidence in rotten deceits of imperfect righteousness of bondage (as the Jebusits did in their lame, and blind gods, 2 Sam. 5.) lose their souls, Families, and their deceitful temporal riches, and of supposed righteousness; Their relief and support they boast of and confide in, is straitned in its bowels, and theirs, it is their blood, their Soul is in it, and goes with it; and by much strugling in their striving spirits t'is strangled, a dead birth; destructive to both its parents, their Families, and estates. Blood and things strangled are forbidden; Why should the people of God [...] run such real hazards (worse far than the curse layd upon women in bringing forth children) to bring forth these straitned, and strangled dead births, of the bondage of corruption? who requires it? to what use? let them pay, not this mint and cumin of the righteousness of bondage, but that only one necessary main debt of the righteousness of Freedom out of bondage, due to God, and to each other, to the Nation, to the whole Creation, to their own Souls, and Consciences, Estates, Families, and to all their interests intire; let them seale to God, and to each other in perfect, and legitimate righteousness of Freedom, and there will be no need of this strangled, and slavish righteousness of the corruptions of bondage.
Bondage, and the powers thereof are inward, and outward, the righteousness of inward bondage is real wickedness; of outward, violence and unrighteousness: both are destructive to their subjects, and objects, their Families, estates, and entire beings: but inward bondage (causally) outward bondage (occasionally) Nabals bowels were straitned by inward bondage which brought imminent destruction upon him, his Family, and estate, and he (by it) lost (with his life) both Family, and estate. This straitness of bowels by inward bondage, destroyed Ananias, Nabal, Judas, whole Nations, and the first world (filled thereby with violence) and this straitness of bowels by inward bondage hath filled the hands of the rich oppressors of this Nation (and the rest are not free) ful of blood, and violence [Page 113] the greatest that ever was; The miserable objects of this violence, the poor wronged and oppressed, are murdered, meerly by their oppressors straitned bowels of inward bondage, and are robbed of their most just Rights, due (not for keeping sheep, or without indentment) but upon better accompts of most deeply engaged Faith, and extremest hazard: Nabals words were churlish, yet he did not destroy Davids messengers; but the words of these are churlish, and they also destroy those that come, or are sent peaceably in meekness for their rights, and for redress of their wrongs; therefore these straitned subjects of extremest violence (oppressors) may much more expect destruction of their Lives, Families, and Estates, then Nabal, or the old world, if they seek not free deliverance, and full acquittance from this inward Abaddon, this inward straitned spirit of bondage, the destroyer of their Souls, Families, and Estates. Ahimelech was not straitned by inward, but outward bondage; his relief to David (a very good and just work) could cause no evil effect, but being in outward bondage of corruption under the power of Saul, that wicked power took occasion by his good work, and made it through corruption what in it self it was not, the cause of destruction of the Priests of the Lord, of his, and their lives, and of the lives of their Families, man, woman, and child: Such are the rage and cruelties of outward bondage of corruption, that the people of God in bondage under these powers, cannot so much as exercise the outward carcass of dead righteousness, but their lives and estates are extremely in danger for it, or destroyed by it.
A necessity from God, binds all to provide for their Families; He that does not, denies the faith, and is worse then an Infidel: But no man in bondage can provide for his House and Family, but by seeking Freedom out of bondage. Providence of inward bondage is perfect wickedness, of outward oppression: There's no Providence but of Freedom only: Freedom and Bondage (as Fire and Water) eagerly cast out each others joynt Beings and Powers; Cast out the Bond-woman, and her son (saith Sarah the Free-woman,) for he shall not inherit. So bondage alternately, suffers not the Free-born to inherit any thing, no fruits of faithfulness, industry, providence, not their lives nor goods: What just providence, goodness, and justice builds, Bondage casts out and [Page 114] destroys: Aegypts bondage dis-inherited the Hebrew males of their lives, cast them out of all; so real bondage dis-inherits the true Israel of all they have or can provide, lives, liberties, and goods: yet they may provide things, not honest, but corrupt; fruits of deceit, and those inherit. Gods people in bondage cannot provide, but to destroy their own lives, Families, and Estates; No Providence but of perfect Freedom out of bondage, by possessing their mansions and Families (prefigured by those in the Ark and in Aegypt) can preserve their Lives, Families, or Estates. All providence of men and creatures (without this of perfect Freedom out of bondage) deceived, and destroyed utterly all creatures, and men from the earth, in a figure, when the floud came. The first fruit of Faith, and ground of true Righteousness, is providence of Freedom out of bondage. The first object of providence of the Free-born in bondage is, that they may have being and begining of right order, matter, and form, as Families, People, and Churches. Its preposterou [...] fondness and improvidence for a person or a people to act before they are, or seek to be, or have begining of form and power. They that act or cease to act without or against providence, deny the faith, and destroy themselves without remedy.
The people in inward bondage are really wicked, and they that are in outward bondage, must be wicked, or destroyed by constraint: there's no safety but in hypocrisie and deceit; therefore a most urgent and pressing necessity is laid upon the people of God from God, their consciences, the creature, and their duties to God and each other, from their joynt Interests, and just Liberties, from their own Lives, Families, Estates, as to their security entire, to labor with all speed and fidelity, to g [...] t a just power of Freedom, and Being of their own, in manner as is declared.
All Armies upon earth could not hinder the rallying of the dry bones into a living exceeding mighty Army. They came together, bone to his bone, as it were by their Families into their own houses natural) their own bodies; and were sealed and cemented with strength, and sinew in life and power. All Armies and Powers of death that opposed them, were utterly dasht in pieces, and destroyed by them.
[Page 115] Moses in bondage lookt this way and that way least he should be seen; and the people of God in bondage must act warily, and watch narrowly (if they do any good, or just action, if they relieve any, or support any) that none see them. If any Doeg or Edomite be nigh them, or amongst them, they are verily betrayd utterly destroyed and so must and shall be; till they get a power of Freedom of their own (the Free power of God) which now is the easiest thing to atttain, God freely giving it, that is, or can be: But this relief, and support (so dangerous to the people of God) is but vain boasting, they releive none, and support none: but in talk; as the Amalekit told David he kild Saul whereas he was free from his death; so are they from relieving or supporting any: David slew that Amalekit, because he said he kild Saul though he did not; and they and their Families and estates are ruinated, and destroyed: because they say, and pretend they relieve and support the people of God, in and against their evils of bondage: whereas they releive none, and support none: but in word only, and indeed destroy those that have sacrificed liberally their lives and estates, for their support and relief. The Spirit of bondage, inward avaric [...] , and the irregularities, and rage of it kills and consumes (as the worm smote Jonas Gourd and consumed it) the slavish lives families, and estates of each other, with their own entire, they releive and succour none: but by deceits and shaddows of doing good without doing any.
But if any fragment of relief fall, or if they fancy they have done or do, any good, or just work in bondage, there they rest, and there they stay. Joabs soldiers followed him till they came to slain Amases dying carkass, and they stood still; so, but few yet some Free people in bondage follow righteousness, until they come to some fragments of this dead carkass of releif, and support in bondage, and here they sit still, there, they rest; they go no further. The chief pretenders to Freedom look no farther, they think not of any legitimate, and perfect righteousness of Freedom out of bondage. The slavish Spirits of the people of God in bondage desire private Freedom only a tanto but not a toto: If they could have but so much of their just Right for themselves, they care not, they wish no more; the Harlot [Page 116] (so she had but half the Child) was indifferent (the mind of a murderous and bloody Harlot) so satisfaction in the people of God with half righteousness, or part, or with imperfect righteousness, denotes the basest mind of bloody Iezebel, mother of all abominations, and filthyness. So long as Israel were of this wicked, and base mind, and demanded no more then Freedom in part, their cruel burdens and ridged slavery was justly greater, and they were never freed, nor fit for deliverance; till Moses demanded all, and they accordingly acted with him, and had all their Rights entire. All imperfect righteousness whatsoever is impostury, and deceit of the curse of bondage, and a main cause of rejection, and destruction to those that do it, or joyning rest in it; as Sauls imperfect righteousness was the cause of his utter rejection, and of his, and his whole Families destruction. All true righteousness is of Freedom only, a fruit of the tree of life from death for ever, a freeing righteousness, so soon as the creatures that came into the Ark did but one work of Freedom out of bondage, they were all freed from destruction. So soon as the Israelites did but that one work of Freedom out of bondage, in coming by their Families into their own houses, &c. they were all freed from destruction; and so soon as the people of God shall perform but this one work of Freedom out of bondage, which is, to come out of great tribulations, reall bondage by their Anti-typical Families, into their Oeconomick bodies, and houses mystical, they shall be freed from all coercive, externall power of bondage, destruction, sin, and death, for ever; these works were the first fruits of the Tree of life in a Type, this work shall be the first fruit of the Tree of life prefigured. When man (Christ mystical) shall put forth his hand and taste this legitimate, and perfect fruit of the righteousness of Freedom out of bondage, he shall live in the power of life, and Freedom of God for ever, and never be wholy subjected to vanity, corruption and death of bondage any more.
The people of God, and their righteousness shall be perfect after their pattern, their mother, the new Policy, or City descending; that City shall be four square, equally, without convex, or indents, every way, and on every side exactly, just and even. Secondly, the height, and bredth, and length of that City shall [Page 117] be equal; So the reallity of things what they are, and the judgments, and estimations of the people of God upon them, and their executions according to their just estimations, shall be exactly, paral, or equal. Thirdly, that City shall be perfectly square the most firm pattern of immovable stability; So shall they, and their righteousness be permanent in a progressive way, in the righteousness of Freedom for ever; and not generally revolt any more: but if any, as particular persons, shall look back, they shall return back, and cease to be the people of God. Lots wife delivered out of Sodom, lookt back, and returned back to destruction. They that look back unto the horour of darkness of bondage, shall return back unto that horour of darkness.
Nothing so displeased God as the spirit of apostacy, and slavery in his people, in looking back unto the house of bondage, the land of their destruction, after they were delivered out of it. The Free people of God (indeed) must, and will (constantly) press forward in the power of perfect and legitimate righteousness of Freedom, and follow after (Rev 14.4.) and be led by the Lamb wheresoever he goeth. I have (herein as in the sight of God) discharged my Faith. Faithfulness reapes (what it doth not sow) destruction to those that are Faithful: but this God disposeth. The sequel to my self, whether love or hatred, bonds, or liberty, life, or death, I leave to God, it is sufficient for me, If I may by all meanes discharge my duty, and disoblige my Conscience.