« PreviousContinue »
"savenues to the house beset with soldiers, who exclude all 66.6. which were not of their faction from entering the House, which “o were not one-fourth part, and make the residue prisoners. So ** • farewell Presbytery, &c.?"
Unfortunately for the parties, who thus ingeniously tried to exculpate themselves, they were all severally guilty participators in this high offence; and though their criminality differed in degree, the members of the Long Parliament were certainly not the least culprits. (P. 406.) On this topic an eminent writer has very justly observed : “ How far that part of the Parliament 66 which sat at Westminster were inclinable to a peace and recon. “ eiliation with their most injured monarch, their voting his con : oss finement to Warwick Castle, (when he was not in their hands,) 60 and their making choice of such a set of preachers, might be 5 sufficient to convince us, had we no other proofs, of their disi « affection to their lawful sovereign. For, notwithstanding they s have been called ' A PARLIAMENT OF PATRIOTS, who stood up « against tyranny both in Church and State ;' and all their pretences “ from first to last were, that they were fighting to rescue their soveel 4 reign out of the hands of wicked Councillors, and to bring him in s honour to his Parliament, (a thing frequently suggested by their
preachers ;) yet, besides what has been said, it is very apparent «s from what follows, how consistent their public declarations and os actions were with each other. For when Mr. Nathaniel WARD, as one of their preachers, (in other respects incendiary enough!) " chanced to speak favourably of the King, and of bringing him * back to the Parliament, they did not desire him to print his ** sermon, or return him thanks for the great pains he took, accorddising' to custom: A favour that, I am convinced, was never . refused before, in the compass of seven years, from near two s hundred and thirty sermons I have in my custody, which were « preached before the Two Houses, from November, 1640, to • February, 1648 !" *. Their apologist gives the date of “ the breaking-up of the Long Parliament, December 8, 1648;" and Ward's sermon was preached before the House of Commons, June 30, 1647. His text was Ezek, xix, 14; and when, in application of the words,
. Let us also lament our present martial sceptre. We have slighted God's moral and evangelical law; he hath now brought us in some sort under martial law. Let us lament that so good án army should be so ill-guided, as to do what they do without warrant from God or State, sò far as wise men can yet discern. :
« Let us lament, that a sceptre made of so much gold and silver, and true English metal, should have any part of it of a
serviceable troops should have any mounted upon any saddles
of John a Leyden's make. Let us lament that so good an army should advance toward so ill a work, at least in their shows and our fears, as to deliver a Parliament of some eminent members by a Cæsarian section. is
Let us very sadly, lament, that some of them of a mechanic alloy should be so bold, as, without warrant from their chief leaders, to plunder us of our King; it was so malepart an act, an act that would have better become a John a Leyden, Knipper Dolling, or: Jack Cade, than a loyal English subject! But what if the sword contemn even the rod, what?. It is great pity but that sword should meet with a sound rod. If nobody else will provide it, I hope God will. But I trust, Gentlemen, some of you will call to mind what an old Roman, a wise Statesman, wrote to Marcus Brutus in the like case.
1It was too great a disparagement to make our King, who is the Lord paramount of all our freeholds, such a moveable. I believe there have been spirits in the world which would almost scorn to be King again after such a handling. If he went willingly, let us bewail his error.
Let us lament that there should be any Korahs, Dathans, and Abirams, in an army that lays so much claim to piety. Let us lament with much spiritual grief, that many of this army have bemeazled so many ignorant countrymen and towns, with impious and blasphemous opinions and rude manners. I marvel much, that any man who fears God closely and uprightly, should fear this army, whereof a great part is said to be so good, that surely they will not, and others so bad, as surely they cannot hurt us. :
« In the first of Ezekiel, there is a description of a strange wheel ; it was a wheel, and wheels, and a wheel within a wheel, and four wheels, and there were four flashing and sparkling creatures, guided by a spirit that was in the midst of them; whither the spirit went, they went. The form and motion of this wheel made the heavens look terrible. I could parallel our army to this wheel allusively, but not abusively. If they can so drive their wheels, that they overthrow, not Charles his wain, nor break the axletree of the State, I mean the Parliament, and run not the wheels over some of their own loins, and can be so wise as to unload on this side Munster, before they come to battle and slaughter, I dare be bold to say, with all reverence, that either the General or Christ his General, hath more skill in carting than I ever look to have while I live.
7:"Let us lament, that these our brethren have embarked thema selves into an act unparalleled, and an enterprize so snarled and imbranched, that, I dare say, all the eyes amongst them cannot see to the end of all its issues, by a thousand leagues. Let us seriously lament, so seriously, that we may prevent all lamenta tions by these our brethren and more than fellow-subjects.-
Let us lament, that such au English army have cast so much well-deserved honour in the dust, and such a black veil over the face of the Gospel.
« Let us also lament the whole State and people, who feel in s part, but do not sufficiently see their sin and sorrow. The anger of the Lord was moved against the people, and moved David to sin against them. (2 Sam. xxiv, 1.) Kings can sin fast enough of themselves, and kindle fires upon themselves and the people. But usually people, by their sins, blow the coals to a flame.
“ Lament, that they have a suspended King. Did they know what the Egyptian and Russian States, and what the kingdom of Fez suffered, for more than seven years together, for want of a King, they would lament to purpose.Israel shall say, we have no King, because we feared not the Lord; what then should a King do to us? (Hos. X, 3.) He that can tell what a King should do to a people that will not fear the Lord, I could earnestly wish him our King's Vice-roy in a country that I know; I should hold him as good and as wise a man as ever was Papirius Censor. What should a King do to his people, embroiled in so many divia sions, commotions, and distractions ? What should a King do, in a country where there are so many Kings and so few subjects ? I dare freely say, that Claudius Gordianus nor the Barbarian Hermite would not willingly at this time take the royal sceptre into their hands, though the subjects, in the plight they are, would swear fealty to them with their hearts pinned upon their tongues' ends. It may be, an Abimelech, or a Perkin, or a Michael de Lando would, .if they might.
“ Let us lament, that, through these distractions and people's clamours, there is not balm enough, nor sufficient physicians, left in our Gilead to recover our healths.”
After this faithful warning, both to Senators and people, of the sad consequences of the army's detention of the person of their King, it cannot be said with truth, that the Long Parliament
Were guiltless of their Monarch's blood ! They could not have been induced to refuse their thanks to WARD, merely on account of the bluntness of his harangue; for several other preachers were still more caustic and severe in their personal remarks.* But the Long Parliament is generally, yet very
* The following remarks occur in a sermon preached before the House of Com. mons, May 26, 1647, by George Hughes :
* See the woe and weal of states. Happy land whose King is ennobled by God, and Princes made gracious, and taught by Him even to the use of meat and drink! There our Lord hath the kingdom and his Christ. But woe to that state, where a King, a child, a fool shall reign, an enemy to the Lord; and Princes lustful, gluttonous, drunken, and lascivious, such as must have a breakfast every morning in sin, shall steer by their counsels! Christ is no Law. giver there. This is woeful : “ The people must mourn when the wicked bearetherroneously, depicted as that virtuous body of representatives who occupied its benches in 1640, and who opposed the aggressions of lawless power ; while there is a studious concealment of the immense defections from its ranks, * which occurred in the rule.' (Prov. xxix, 2.) They say there are such among you, if I may speak in usual terms, impious, childish, cock-pit counsellors : If so, such are bad trustees for laws, liberties, and religion. A Roman or Spartan state would provide against some of those, and not hazard kingdoms in the hands of fools : Much more should that state which is Christian. I know ye are not electors, but the scum of people send such unto you; and will spoil all your boilings, unless you take
it off. It is a voice of fear, among them that love you and pray for you in the · West, and other parts, that such as could not overcome you by the sword, labour to do it by votes, even by sending such as will vote God from among you. Ever Honoured Worthies, see if it be so ; let the sight of one root of bitterness among you humble you ; and now shew forth Christ ruling in you. Methinks, it is possible for a Christian Parliament, by a law, to purge and prevent such profane Paganish leaven, and to honour Christ's kingdom so much, as to make gross sin uncapable of a membership among you. Surely, if that be allowed, our Lord rules not; and this is woful.
“ Our Lord takes no reward in judgment, neither must the stewards that act for him ; such as do, He curseth. The voice of people is, there is such a fault among you. I confess, it is incredible to me, that such a Judge as a Parliament, consisting of so many heads, can be the subject of such corruption ; and I am confident the body is free in judging. But it is replied, though the judgment a last come free, yet motions many times cost men dear. I cannot charge it upon any, and I wish that they who complain would testify to the faces of the guilty at your own bar. I am confident the just hands among you, would be against such a man, to thrust him out of your assembly.”
* The same casuistry is employed by various Dissenting Historians, in speaking of the Long Parliament. Thus, BROOK, in his Lives of the Puritans, informs his readers, that “ the members of this Parliament were all members of the Church of England, and nearly all advocates for Episcopal government.” Richard Baxter, when writing about the impressions which HOOKER's principles had made upon him, (p. xcvii,) says, " when the war begun” he did not hear of two Presbyterians among all the members of that Parliament: He also employs similar language, in a preceding page, (xliii,) and says very cautiously, “ they had lived in conformity.”
To shew to what class of Conforinists these Calvinistic or Republican Epis. copalians belonged, one of Baxter's opponents very justly observes : “ You do well, Richard, to say that they had lived in conformity ;' for the complying humour was now going off apace; insomuch that a professed opposition to the orders of the Church became quickly a distinguishing mark of the disloyal party: And all those Parliament men, Officers, and Assembly Divines, contributed unanimously in their several stations toward the common ruin-On Friday, December 11, 1640, a petition was brought into the House by Alderman Pen. nington from the Citizens of London, in the name of 15,000, complaining of the Church discipline, in having Archbishops, Bishops, &c. ; using the cross in baptism; kneeling at the Communion-table, as unlawful in the Protestant Church.-(Diurnal Occurrences. Jan. 13. Petitions against the government of Bishops from several counties. —Jan. 13. The Remonstrance with 700 hands against the Bishops and their Prelacy was read.-- March 7. A Bill against Episcopacy read in the House of Commons, &c. - March 10, 1640. Bishops' Votes in Parliament taken away.--In November, 1641, several tumults against Bishops; and December 11, 12, Bishops accused of High Treason : The Bishops in the mean time petitioning his Majesty, and entering a protest of their privia
persons of those who went over to the Royal Party, and those who retired to their estates, as soon as they discovered the intentions of the dominant members. These two classes of seceders included some of the most upright, able, "discerning, and honourable men that had sat in either House of Parliament. To this circumstance Stephen MARSHALL alluded, in his sermon before the House of Lords, (and his remarks would have applied as well to the Commons,) October 28, 1646, when he said:
“ When the Church is smiled upon, and countenanced by Kings and Princes, it is no marvel though wise, rich, and great men do join with it. But when wars and persecutions are raised against it, which hath most-what been the Church's lot hitherto, wonder not though wise men withdraw from it, when they can see nothing but ruin attend them who take with this side : And this is the very reason of their withdrawing ; and this also abundantly satisfies me in our present trouble, wherein we have had so many Lords, so many gentlemen, so many learned men, so many great and rich men, to have deserted the cause that the Parliament was engaged in. I solemnly profess, I rather wonder that any wise man, if not sanctified, hath stayed; that any man, not guided by the Spirit of God, should venture himself in a cause that appeared so desperate as this cause of Christ hath done to the eyes of flesh and blood. I justly call it the cause of Christ and his Church, because it is apparent that the Parliament's engaging themselves for reformation of Religion, as well as preserving Civil Liberties, hath provoked most of these enemies against them. Therefore, let this satisfy you abundantly, when the multitude of the world generally go against the cause of Christ, they think it folly to own it, because they look upon it as a lost cause." -> in
Stephen here plainly informs their Lordships, that all the wise, great, learned, and rich men, who were “notsan ctified," that is, who were not those “ babes and sucklings" of Calvin's school, described in the same sermon, (p. liv,) had withdrawn from their cause; and his statement is corroborated by that of the old historian in page 361. 5.-The Republiean Statesmen, and the Arminians of the New School, were the real Fathers of Religious Toleration.,
LookBook ; · But though I have awarded the highest palm of merit, talent, and integrity, to those statesmen who effected a timely retreat
leges, and against tumults.- April 9, 1642. A due and necessary Reformation of the Government and Liturgy of the Church pretended. (Ex. Col.)
" It is to be hoped, that all these violences upon the Ecclesiastical State, and the persons of the Bishops, were not acted by CONFORMISTS. And it will not be denied, I suppose, that, after the posting and proscribing of the greater part of the Clergy's friends, (as well as the King's,) the schismatical interest was carried on by the major vote of the remaining fragment; and all this was before the eruption of the war ; the Earl of Essex not receiving his commission, till July 12, 1642. Unless you'll say that Episcopal men themselves were for the exlirpation of Bishops !!”