« PreviousContinue »
him in pieces and devour him, which of these, properly speak• ing, would be the cause of this man's death ?'- It is most certain that the Independents were actually the murderers of King Charles the First, but it is as certain that the Presbyterifound and studied silence on the awful transactior of the preceding day.”. A profound and studied silence, “ when a wonderful and horrible thing was committed in the land,” is maintained by a man who pretended to he a messenger of the gospel of peace! And this too at a time when another Calvinist minister of far greater piety informs us, the very stones cried out : For “ at the instant when the blow was given, there was such a dismal universal groan amoug the thousands of people that were within sight of it, (as it were with oue consent,) as he never heard before,” &c.—After stating his text and the title of the sermon, the apologist tells us, “ From which a direct application to the recent events might be expected. Extremely little of this, however, occurs.” But let any man read the text, (Jer. xv, 19, 20,) in conjunction with the very gnificant title prefixed to the sermon, “RIGHTEOUS ZEAL ENCOURAGED BY Divine PROTECTION," and he will instantly declare that these alone would speak volumes of approbation to the listening reg:cides : Yet good Mr. Ornie calls this, and much more,“ extremely little ?" What, then, does a modern republican desire? He next gives us an additional proof of the servility and time-serving propensities of his hero. Owen “ is exceedingly cautious of committing himself by expressing an opinion either of the Court or the Country party ; which plainly implies, that while he was not at liberty to CONDEMN, be was unwilling to JUSTIFY:
His text, title, and the contents of his sermon, undoubtedly “ justified" the King's murderers ; vor can any plausible reason be assigned why Owen“ was vot at liberty to CONDEMN” such a monstrous proceeding. How pusillanimous was this conduct when compared with that of Hammond and Gauden! Both these christian worthies addressed spirited remoustrances to General Fairfax and the army, when the latter were sitting deep in consultation” on the death of his majesty. With wonderful resolution, and magnanimously braving all danger, which was far greater than any to which Owen subjecteil himself, these two good and loyal men cunsidered themselves " at liberty to condemn" the bare contemplation of such a murderous deed, aud caused several thousands of their unanswerable tracts on that subject to be printed and distributed. See, in the preceding potes, (pages 299, 303 and 305,) other points, on which, when compared with Dr. Hammond, this obstreperous parliamentary chaplain appears to manifest disadvantage. The “ exceeding cautiousness” which bis eulogist applies to him on that memorable occasion, is the greatest stain that could possibly attach itself to a Christian minister.
Let us now briefly examine the gronnds of this disinterested encomium of “exceeding cautiousness." Orme presents us with two extracts from this discourse: As the first of them is a servile copy of a passage which will be quoted from one of Dr. Samuel Annesley's sermons preached before the Commons a few months before the king's death, I forbear to quote it here. The other reads thus: “ When Kings turn seducers, they seldom want good store of followers. Now if the blind lead the blind, they shall both fall into a ditch. When Kings command unrighteous things and people suit them with willing complianice; no!le doubts but THE DESTRUCTION OF THEM BOTH IS JUST AND RIGHTEOCS.” The word “ people” is evidently applied by Owen to the suffering royalists, who, according to his doctrine, were justly punished for
suiting with willing compliance the king's unrightecus commavds."-1 now proceed to quote other two passages from the same discourse: “Give me the number of witnesses of Jesus whose souls under the a tar cry for REVENGE against their false-worshipping murderers, and the fa:e of them whose Jives have been sacrificed to the insatiable ambition and tyranny of blood thirsty potentates, with the issues of God's just vengeance upon the sons of men for complaining of these two things ; and you will have gathered in the whole harvest of blood, leaving but a few straggling gleanings upon other occasions. And if these things have been found in Ěngland, and the present administration with sincere HUMILIATION do run cross to unravel this closewove web of destruction, all thoughts of recovery will be quickly too late : And thus far sin and providence drive a parallel." "He that is entrusted wib
ans first murdered him in his political capacity, as a prelude to the murder of his person ;* they compelled him to give up all his power to them; and then did, as Dugdale observes,' worse • than murder him in the manner and circumstances of his con
finement, before the Independents pulled them out of the sad• dle, and forced the King out of their hands; and were the .actual executioners of that royal martyr whom the Presbyteri
ans had in effect condemned. I cannot deny but as soon as the sword, and dares not do justice on every one that dares do injustice, is afraid of the creature, but makes very bold with his Creator.” I appeal to any reader possessing common sense, if these passages do not contain “ a direct application to events that were then recent:" But the innocent and unsuspecting biographer says, “ Extremely little of this occurs.” I shall only give another sentence from the wise and redoubtable Mr. Orme, who, after presenting us with bis two extracts, tells us with wonderful simplicity, “ Had I been disposed to quote passages to shew that Owen disapproved of the death of Charles, I should have selected these as well suited for this purpose.
Suffering all this refined sophistry to pass, no one who reads Mr. Henry's statement in the preceding page will entertain any doubt concerning the need of “ exceeding cautiousness” on the part of the court-preacher. Å general detestation of the King's murderers bad, on the day of execution, been unequivocally expressed. Public affairs at that crisis seemed to be almost in equilibrio, and it could not then be discerned which of the rebellious parties would gain political ascendancy. Under such circumstances the subtle address and consummate hypocrisy of Owen displayed themselves: Not knowing which of the successful regicides to bespatter with his cheap and ready praise, he was “ exceedingly cautious" about bestowing fulsome eulogies on any individual. These he reserved for brighter days and clearer times, but did not hesitate to afford his undisguised sanction to the general measures of the whole Calvinistic party, and to that bloody illustration of their pripciples which had been recently. given., Owen's astuteness and hypocrisy are still further manifest, when it is considered, that the sermon, by which an impartial posterity is left to form a judgment on his spirit and conduct, was prepared for the press in the seclusion of his study, some days after the fashionable grimaces and passionate extacies employed in its delivery had sub sided. Yet in those moments of coolness when he had an opportunity of softening down all the rhetorical applications of the words of scripture" which bis biographer palliates on another occasion, and of suppressing many objectionable passages which had escaped from his lips in the heat of preaching,-he publishes to the world a discourse, the very text and title of which will consigo his name to deserved execration, and the contents of which are unchristiau, disloyal, enthusiastic, and infamous.
*“ Did he [King James] not say, 'that Monarchy and Presbytery agreed « like God and the devil ?' and have not we found it so, if we consider the carriage of our pew-faugled Presbyterians in England to Charles the first, his son ? But alas ! I am mistaken, they fasted and prayed, preached and writ against it, praying for a diversion of all such black intentions . And yet the Presbyterian took the sceptre ont of his hand, in taking away the militia, of which it was an emblem ; cast down his throne, by depriviug him of his negative voice; took his crown, the fountain of honour, off his head, by denying those honour on whom he had worthily conferred it, without them; took away his supremacy, signified by the sacred unction wherewith he was anointed, in denying him the liberty of his conscience in the point of Episcopacy and churcă-government. Nor would they treat a minute with their King, till they had made him acknowledge himself guilty (as they say) of all the blood that had been spilt throughout his dominions : And notwithstanding all the concessions on his part that could possibly be granted, even to the very grating of bis princely conscience; when he bid ihem ask flesh from his bones, and he would not deny it, if it might in any measure redound to the benefit of his people, praying that he might keep his
this hellish murther was committed, many of the Presbyterians did loudly disclaim against it, seeming as much to wash their • hands of the guilt, as Pilate did from the death of our Savionr.'” In their answer to this pamphlet, the Presbyterians say : “ The sectaries, who all sheltered themselves under the name of Independents, (though of quite different principles from the sober party of that denomination,) were the true criminals. He likewise confesseth that those pulled the Presbyterians out of the saddle and forced the King out of their hands ; which plainly shews, that they could not have compassed the King's ruin and the subversion of monarchy, but upon the ruins of the Presbyterian conscience whole,-the Queen regent of all good men's actions, and he boped there were none would force this Queen before him in his house, as Ahasuerus said to Haman,-yet notwithstanding all this, was it voted unsatisfactory so long till the Independent army came from Edenborough, surprised and murthered him. He that said, the Presbyterian held him down by the
hair, while the ludependents cut off bis head,' said true enough : They murthered him as a King, before ever they murthered him as a man : and when time serves, the philosopher's maxim will pass for good and current logic at court: Qui vult media ad finem, vult etiam et ipsum finem ; He that wills the means conducing to the end, wills also the end it self:–Ergo, (will the royalists say) since the Presbyterian put such courses in practice as tended to the King's ruin, they certainly intended it, ayd are as deeply guilty as others.' Nay, may not the Independent say, You took off his authority, and we took off his head; you made him no King, and we made him no body; you made him a man of blood, and we treated bim accordingly; therefore at your doors, Oye Presbyterian hypocrites, his innocent blood is laid: Nor is it any other than your actions have been all along, and those committed by your ancestors to former princes and Kings.'
“ But sure there is some excuse remaining ; they fought for religion! I wonder when the church did change her weapons : Must prayers and tears be turned into pike and musquet ? Did God refuse to have bis temple built by David, a man after his own heart, because only his hands were blood? and will he now condescend to have his church repaired, and her breaches made up with skulls and carcasses ? Must blood be tempered with the mortar that must bind the stones of his temple with unity? or are the smitings of brethren, strokes fit to polish her stones withal ? Hath God refused the soft voice to remain in thunder? or hath his Spirit left the gentle posture of descending down upon his apostles, to the approaching of a mighty and rushing wind ? To go about the reforming of a church by human strength, is quite as opposite to the nature of reformation, as is the going about the repairing of a castle-wall with a needle and thread. He that looks to find such inestimable goodness within iron sides, (cannon] may as well expect to find a pearl in a lobster. No, no, the church must not be defended with helmets, the resisters of blows; but with mitres, which have received the cleft already; not by broken pates, but by cloven tongues; net by men clad in buff, but by priests clothed with righteousness. Decisions in matters of faith, must not be determined by armour of proof; nor did the sword of the Spirit ever make way to the conscience by cutting through the flesh. He therefore who takes up arms against his sovereign with pretences of defending his religion, doth but take such courses as are condemned by the same religion he would defend : and indeed, he doth but make religion his stalking-horse to blind him, whilst he aims at that which he would have us least suspect him ; which when he hath effected, he means to get up upon the horse, and ride him at his pleasure. They pretend the good of the church, and intend nothing more but the Goods thereof; and, like dissembling lapwings, make a show of being nearest the nest, when they are farthest off it."-Sphinx Lugduno-Genevensis.
interest ; and that the Presbyterians did not deliver the King into the hands of the sectaries, but he was forced out of their hands* and themselves pulled out of the saddle to make way
for that fatal violence upon his royal person.”.
This reply is very weak; for whoever has read the note in a preceding page (348,) will perceive that the General Assembly in Scotland had loudly exclaimed against “his Majesty being brought to some of his houses in or near London, with honour,
*“ Our sovereign (of blessed memory) brings the contest down, 'to bis surprisal at Holmby, and the distractions in the two houses, the army, and the city, ensuing upon it. These,' says that excellent prince, but the strugglings of those twins which lately, one womb enclosed, the younger striving to prevail against the elder; what the Presbyterians have • hunted after, the Independevts now seek to catch for themselves.' In fine, one finished what the other began; for the King died at last, but of those wounds which he at first received in his authority. His Majesty, upon his leaving Oxford and going to the Scots, clears this yet further: where he calls it, . adventuring upon their loyalty, who first began his troubles.”
“ The truth of this matter, says he, [the author of the INTEREST OF ENGLAND,] is cleared by a passage of our late soverergn, in a letter to his Majesty that now is : All the lesser factions were at first oflicious servants * to Presbytery their great master, till time and military success discovering to each their particular advantages, invited them to part stakes, and,
leaving the joint stock of UNIFORM RELIGION, pretended each to drive for ' their party the trade of profits and preferments, to the breaking and undo«ing not only of the church and 'state, but of Presbytery itself, which * seemed and hoped at first to have ENGROSSED ALL.'
“ OBSERVATION. The last line is as true as any of the rest; but all truths are not to be spoken. Indeed this slip is somewhat with the grossest. Not to trouble myself with their formal fopperies, of Deacons, Eiders, and their parish-meetings,-those are but popular amusements ;- we will pass to what is more pertinent, and see how he acquits his friends of joining with the Independents. The truth is, says the same author, Sectarianism grew up in a mystery of iniquity and state-policy, and it was not well discerned, till it became almost triumphant by military successes.'
“ It is a strange thing the Presbyterians should not see what they themselves contrived; what all others took notice of; and what the late King offered to prove, in his declaration of August the 12th, 1642. The insolence of sectaries being not only winked at, but publiquely avowed; and the law thwarted, to protect them. See what one says, (no stranger to their practices,) to prove and evidence the combination. • The leading-men, or 'grandees, first divided themselves into two factions or juntoes, PRESBY
TERIANS, aud INDEPENDENTS : seeming to look only at the church, but they involved the interests of the common-wealth. These having seemingly divided themselves, and having really divided the Houses, and captivated their respective parties' judgement,--teaching them by an implicit • faith, Jurare in verba Magistri, to pin their opinions upon their sleeves, . they hegin to advance their projects of monopolizing the profits, prefer'ments, and power of the kingdom in themselves. To which purpose,
though the leaders of each party seem to maintain a hot opposition, yet . when any profit or preferment is to be reached at, it is observed that a
powerful Independent especially moves for a leading Presbyterian, or a • leading Presbyterian for an Independent: and seldom doth one oppose or speak against another, in such cases, unless somewhat of particular spleer, or competition come between, which causeth them to break the common rule. By this means the grandees of each faction seldom miss • their mark; şincē, an Independent moving for a Presbyterian, his repu* tation carries the business clear with the Independent party: and the Pres
byterians will no: oppose a leading man of their own side. Interest Mistaken.
freedom and safety, before ever there be any security had from him for the good of religion," 8c. In a Solemn and Seasonable Warning to all Ranks, Feb.xii, 1645, they say, “Unless men blot out of their hearts the love of religion, and cause of God, and cast off all care of their country, laws and liberties, &c., they must now or never appear active (against the King) each one stretehing him. self to, yea, and beyond their power; it is not time to dally,or go about the business by halves ; not to be almost, but altogeiber zealous. Cursed is he that doeth the work of the Lord negligently." In another Seasonable and Necessary Warning, dated July 27, 1649, they say : “ But if his Majesty or any having or pretending power and commission from hin, shall invade this kingdom, upon pretext of establishing him in the exercise of his royal power ; as it will be a high provocation against God to be accessary or assisting thereto, so it will be a necessary duty to resist and oppose the same.”* This was their hypocritical decla
* The best criterion for forming a judgınent about the alleged innocence of the Presbyterians, will be a perusal of the subjoiued extracts from the sermons of a few of their preachers, delivered before the House of Commons, a few months prior to the decapitation of King Charles.
“ The people are now as then, (viz. under the Jewish Theocracy,] We will have a King': He hearkens to the people ; sets the Kiug upon bis throne: They shout out, Vivat. Surely they are now happy. He reigns one year well; two years indiffereut. "Whai then ? you see the scripture veils ; I wave it. What he did in the business of Amalek, Gibeon, David, Abimelech ; what wars, famine, cruelty Israel lay under, I would rather you should read, than I speak. God give the King a spirit of grace and government.-Woe unto thee, O land, when thy King is a child, is rather meant of a child in mauners, than in years."-S. ANNESLEY, 1648.
" In the execution of Justice, fear not the power or greatness of any. The counsel that Jehoshaphat gives to the judges, I shall give to you : "Take • heed what you do ; for ye judge not for man, but for the Lord, who is with
you in the judgment.' Does innocent blood cry, and will you not hear what it speaks, what it demands, whom it accuseth ? Blooil cannot be buried in a grave of oblivion : for the earth will disclose its blood, and no longer cover its slain.”-M. BARKER, 1648.
Right Honourable, consider this, those persons who have neglected the execution of justice upon their most implacable enemies when God has given them into their hands, those God has left to perish basely and miserably. See it iu Ahab; God gives Benhadad into Ahab's hands : Because thou hast let a man go that I had appointed unto destruction ; therefore thy life shall be for his life. So concerning Saul's sparing Agag : And he would shift off the command; therefore God shifted him out of his kingdom, when he neglected to do justice to an implacable enemy, when God had given him into his hands.-Set some of those gravd malefactors a mourning, that have caused the kingdom to mouru so many years in garments rolled in blood, by the execution of justice."-T. Brook, 1648.
“ Benhadad's life was ouce in Abah's haud, and he ventured God's displeasure to let him go : But see how Benhadad rewards him: • Fight neither
against great nor small, but against the King of Israel.' Honourable and worthy, if God do not lead you to do justice upon those that have been the great actors in shedding of innocent blood, bever think of gaining their love, by sparing them. For they, will, when opportunity offers, return again upon you : But then they will not fight agaiust the poor and mean, but against ihose that have been the fountain of that authority and power, which had been improved against them.”—G. COCKAYN, 1648.
“Neither let your eyes spare, though they are great ones that are guilty. Princes have not any license to offend : Queens theinselves have no obstante