The Bow: or the Lamentation of David over Saul and Jonathan, Applyed to the Royal and Blessed Martyr King Charles the I. in a Sermon Preached the 30th of January, at the Cathedral Church of S. Peter in Exon.
By Arthur Bury, one of the Prebendaries.
London: Printed for Henry Brome at the Gun, 1662.
2 Samuel 1. 18.
Also he bad them teach the Children of Juda (the use of) the Bowe.
This strange Text cannot be more impertinent to the businesse of this sad day, then that which occasioned it.
The words immediately foregoing tell us that David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son, as we do now over a greater King then Saul and a kinder man than Jonathan.
To believe the Jewish interpretation, that David took warning from the wounds which Saul received from the Philistian Archers: to teach the children of Juda that military art, were to confesse an unpardonable ignorance: it was their usuall weapon.
The learned Grotius observing the lamentation to be musicall, came so far towards the discovery of the truth as to say, David would have them taught to use Musick in their Wars. But what Musick with a bow? Were the Jewes taught (that practice which the ancient Germans used in their wars) to encourage themselves with the sprightly twang of their beaten Bow-strings, as we do by beat of Drum? What harmony will that interpretation keep with the lamentation, thus harshly interrupted?
The omission of the LXX. and the Vulgar Latin give us a fair hint for a smooth interpretation, for they omitting all mention of the Bow read the words thus. And David lamented--Also he bad them teach it the Children of Juda. Good sense, but no good fidelity! Our Tindal approving the sense but not the infidelity, retaineth the word, but translateth it with new infidelity. Reading thus, He bad them teach the Children of Juda the staves thereof, a good Paraphrase; but a bad translation.
Upon these hints our excellent Gregory cleareth all difficulties.
He observeth it usuall for Poets to bestow upon their Odes some Title suitable to their Subject. Thus our Psalmist titleth some of his Psalms. Altashith, Sosannim, Mahaloth. And now having composed a threne in memory of Saul wounded by the Bowmen, and of Jonathan that dear Archer, who shot his Arrow beyond the Lad and thereby expressed a love exceeding the love of Women, honored the memory of so dear a friend with a passionate threne, and that threne with a name most endearing the instrument of so rare a kindnesse. And now the sense is smooth and Musical. David composed this epicedium in memory of Saul and Jonathan, and caused them to teach it the Children of Juda calling it the Bow, in memory of the fatal wounds which Saul received from the Bowmen of the enemy, and the rare kindnesse which himself received from the Bow of Jonathan at that passionate parting, when they kissed one another and wept one with another, untill David exceeded.
And to this clear sense doth the Hebrew not only invite us, by leaving out the word use, but force us too, by the necessary concord of the participle written with the substantive Bow, both of them feminines.
The demonstration being Grammatical: The word Written must marry the word Bow: therefore the Bow it self (not the story of it) was written: therefore it was writable: therefore a form of words: therefore this very form of lamentation, commanded to be taught the Children of Juda and recorded in the book of Jasher.
What the book of Jasher was, is as needlesse to enquire as impossible to find, we find but one mention more of it, and that Poetical. Josh. 10. 13. your margins tell you the word signifieth an upright man: and haply it may be an abbreviation of the word Israel, and the book a Poetical register of the publick occurrences of that Nation.
Whatever that book were, it is lost, and so is the story of it. But this we have found, that in that book was written this Lamentation, which David made and called The Bow and commanded to be taught the Children of Juda.
Having thus found the Bow we shall view it a little and then exercise with it.
1. Observ. That under the Law it self Kings had power (as they saw occasion) to make additions and alterations in the form of publick Worship.
For David bad them to whom he directed his Odes, the chief Musicians, to teach the Children of Juda this Bow, that they might use it with other of his Psalms in the publick service of God.
That this was usual, witnesse the many other Psalms which are superscribed To the chief Musician and sometimes by name To Asaph: which were publickly sung as occasion required: as appeareth by their praising God in the words of the 136 Psalm, when the ark was brought into the oracle in Solomon’s Temple.
Was it a small alteration to change the ambulatory Tabernacle to a standing Temple: contrary to the pattern shewed in the Mount, and without any command of God? Yet God commendeth and blesseth David for that intention though he suspendeth the performance.
The a law required thirty years of age to qualify the children of Levi for the service of the congregation. Yet David commanded them to be numbered from twenty years.
The law forbad any unclean person to eat the passover. Lev. 7. 10. and 22. yet Ezekia dispensed with it, as also with the Levites performing the Priests office in killing the Sacrifices. 2 Chro. 30. 17, 18.
Now if under the law (where every punctilio was so exactly prescribed) the Kings, the best of the Kings, made such alterations: How much more under the Gospel (where there is only this generally directory injoyned, Let all things be done decently and in order; and the particulars left to the wisdome of the governours of the Church) shall it be in the power of Kings to prescribe such forms as they shall judge most decent?
Is it a blessing to the Church to have Kings her nursing fathers, and shall it not be her duty to submit to their government?
Was there ever any Religion which questioned the power of their rulers in things acknowledged to be indifferent? And shall the Christian onely which of all others doth most earnestly and frequently injoyn obedience, shall that onely dispense with it; and that without any colour of necessity, but under pretence of freedome from any obligation?
Well; but grant the Christian Kings the onely Cyphers of Religion, not able to bind the conscience by any direct obligation: will not that love of peace which is so earnestly recommended to us, require (though by accident onely) to obey all their innocent injunctions? Doth it become a peaceable and humble Christian thus to dispute with his King? You have no power to command me and therefore I will not obey. And not rather thus? Though you have no power to command me yet for peace sake I will obey? Because as much as in me lieth if it be possible I will live peaceably with all men. Admit we did not owe the King obedience to such commands as are only innocent, not necessary by the Word of God; do we not owe so much obedience to the great commandment of Christ, Love and Peace: as to submit a little priviledge for the purchase of charity?
That Christian humility may be banished with obedience we have the most ridiculous device, that ever adventured to cheat a people: a pretence that in such a case obedience is not onely needless, but sinfull: The conscience (take heed) cannot be bound to obedience, but it is to disobedience: To conform to the commands of the King in matters of Worship, however otherwise indifferent becometh sinfull, by a secret venome drawn from obedience.
Strange sword of justice, which hath an edge in the handle, and none in the blade! Strange power of the magistrate which so taketh away the indifference of things, as to forbid by commanding and command by forbidding!
What? must the Scripture be reformed too according to the example of the best reformed Churches? Must those texts be sequestred from the Word of God which teach those malignant doctrines, obedience, conformity, charity? They must! they must! or this new gospel can never be propagated. A little change of a trifling syllable or two will make Saint Paul a non-conformist, saying, Let no soul be subject to the higher power: and Saint Peter too, will as easily be brought to teach to submit to no ordinance of man for the Lords sake, &c.
And will not such a Reformation make a rare Gospel? will not the Church be rarely provided for the edifying of it self in love?
But we cannot stay to admire this rare platform of the new modell: which denyeth Christian Kings that power which David exercised here, in commanding them to teach the Children of Juda the Bow.
2 Observ. Musick becometh the voice of mourning as well as the voice of joy. The sweet singer of Israel sang not only the praises of God, but his own sins, and miseries, and lamentations.
It was that blessed Kings fate, to bear the jeers of Michal for his chearfull dancing, and his sons bear the jeers of her Children for singing; her Children; for though her wit made her childlesse to the day of her death: yet since her death she hath a multitude of children, who imitate her sloutings, and jeer our Church-musick for singing sad Anthems: upon this pitifull mistake, they think all Musick must expresse mirth.
But what wonder if they be no friends to Musick, whose principles are all discords? whose harsh untunable spirits can by no means be brought to an unison? how can they sing their lamentations, whose very praises are expressed by howlings and groans?
But say; you that think all Musick to be frolick: what think you of Elisha's minstrell, which from rage reduced him to such a temper, as qualified him for the entertainment of the Prophetick spirit; was that a Jigg, think you? What think you of that Hymn wherein our Saviour breathed out the resentments of his approching passion? was that a Coranto, think you?
And let not the 137 Psalm deceive you: wherein the Psalmist personateth a captive refusing to sing: for that refusal is it self a song: nor doth it refuse singing indefinitely, but those merry songs, which the enemy required Verse 3 the songs of Sion, the chearful praises of God: These he refuseth with this execration, If I forget thee O Hierusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning: If I do not remember thee let my toung cleave to the roof of my mouth; i. e. let me forget both to play and sing. A cold curse to forget that which must never more be used!
The meaning therefore of the Psalmist is not to give himself the lie, by singing that he will not sing: but to answer the enemy that required chearfull Musick in a time of sadnesse. The captive will sing, not the songs of Sion, praising God with the voice of Joy: but such mournfull songs, as suited the sad ruine of their Temple: So that this Psalm is so far from denying Musick: that indeed it professeth some sorts of Musick to be suitable to the most dismal calamities.
If then this very complaint were a Song, if all the crying and penitential Psalms were so many songs, if our Saviour’s last Hymn were a song, if this sad Bow were a song; then certainly David and the greater son of David must bear their parts in those scoffes which are made the portion of our Church, only for this, because she useth mournful Anthems.
But whosoever hath any skill, I do not say in Musick, but Philosophy, or History, or any kind of literature, knoweth that Musick can suit as well the Melancholy as the Sanguine temper, and carry the soul into all kinds of passions, so forcibly that some Philosophers thought the soul it self to be nothing but harmony.
This we are sure, that the animal spirits are exact dancers, keeping just measures with good Musick: and harmoniously moving the passions.
For whether the praises of God be sung with the voice of joy, they are quickened by the shorter service into such a sprightly dance as David used before the Ark: Or whether the sins or miseries of a people be lamented with dolefull strains, the slow-paced Pavin with tender flats and sharps melteth them down to such a lumpish heavinesse, that they dance Ahab's mournful measures when he humbled himself and walked softly.
Indeed, whatever eloquence can do, the same can Musick: Musick being but an eloquent sound as eloquence is a Musical voice: Orpheus his Harp-strings draw as strongly as Hercules's golden chain.
There was a contention between Cicero the best Orator, and Roscius the best Actor, which of them could expresse a passion with greatest life and variety, the one by phrase, or the other by gesture: The like wager might well lye between a good Orator, and a good Musician: It is not easily determined which way this Bow would pierce deepest, whether set to a mournfull Anthem, or to an eloquent Oration.
In this therefore we must confesse the harsh principles of the enemies of Church-Musick have something of harmony: They will banish both Musick and Eloquence out of the publick worship, upon this mistake: they think them both wanton. God is not pleased saith one of them with wanton words of Rhetorick, therefore no set form of prayer: God is not pleased with wanton Musick therefore no Organ. But however these principles sute well enough with one and another, and with the untunable spirits of their patrons: yet they are very disagreeing both with David's Pen and his harp, and his command; for he composed this lamenting Bow and bad them teach it the Children of Juda.
3 Observ. It is proper to celebrate the memory of eminent losses as well as of eminent deliverances: This Epicedion upon the death of Saul was written in the book of Jasher as well as that Epinikion upon the victory of Joshua. The daughters of Israel did as constantly lament the daughter of Jeptha as they celebrated the feast of the passover: And we do as solemnly observe the 30 of Jan. as the 5 of Novemb.
It is considerable, though perhaps incredible, to some men: that this publick and setled way of preaching, wherein they think the whole service of God to consist, deriveth from the observation of Holy dayes kept in honour of the first Martyrs: at whose burying places the people solemnly assembling were entertained by the eloquent Fathers with funeral Orations, in memory of those Martyrs: from which use our Church-yards are still called koimeteria, and the word Panegyrick which grammatically signifieth any publick speech, was by the frequent use of such assemblies contracted to a more particular sense; signifying such speeches only as were publickly made to the praise of some eminent person.
But the pious Fathers of the Church finding it more advantagous to godlinesse, changed those Panegyricks to Sermons; and caused Churches to be built for the greater convenience of such assemblies.
And this I thought necessary to observe, that I might not seem to abuse this place by imploying it to a Panegyrick rather then a Sermon: The business of this anniversary calling us back to that primitive practice; that by embalming the memory of this royall Martyr, our name may be reskued from that infamy which hath so long made us stink in the nostrils of our neighbours: and his reputation from that obscurity wherein it hath so long been buried: so fulfilling that his confident prophesy: that His reputation should like the Sun (after Owls and Bats had had the freedome of the night and darker times) rise and recover it self to such a degree of splendor, as those Feral birds should be grieved to behold and unable to bear. For never were any Princes more glorious than those, whom God hath suffered to be tried in the Furnace of afflictions by their injurious Subjects. A long, long night it was, wherein those Feral Birds triumphed; a hot Furnace was that wherein God suffered this excellent Prince to lye under a tedious trial; Blessed be his name that hath restored us to a power of honouring this Martyred Prophet, in a measure sutable to his sufferings. For as his injurious Subjects passed all examples in the cruelty of their persecutions, so do his loving subjects outvy all the honours that ever were paid to the memory of the most glorious King, by this anniversary reskuing his honour from their slanderous abuses, as the valiant men of Jabesh Gilead did the bodies of Saul and his sons from the Walls of Bethshan: and by this Solemn lamentation which we thus practice in imitation of this Bow of David, which he bad them teach the Children of Juda.
Let us then pass from viewing this Bow to handling it; and that in a sutable panegyrical way: A sutable way? No, that is a task for one of our Davids: him that made it, or him that we celebrate with it: Were my toung as the Pen of either of those ready Writers, I would pierce the hardest heart among you, and in this sense from the fat of the mighty, from the blood of the slain this Bow of Jonathan should not return empty.
However, I will manage it as I can; upon this hope, that what is wanting in my feeble Rhetorick shall be supplyed by your loyall affections.
It taketh up the whole remainder of the Chapter: but the most material strains, are contained in the three next verses, upon which the rest do only descant.
Vers. 19. The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen!
20. Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askalon, lest the daughters of the Philistins rejoyce, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised Triumph.
21. Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let there be any rain upon you, nor fields of offerings: for there the shield of the mighty is vilely cast away; the shield of Saul as though he had not been anointed with oyle.
In these three strains doth this Psalmist expresse 3 Passions.
1 Grief, ver. 19. 2 Shame, vers. 20. 3 Detestation, vers. 21.
With these in their order shall I exercise the remainder of your patience.
Your patience said I? No, your passions, your impatience. He is a stock or a traitour that can be patient when such wounds are searching.
1. Grief is exercised upon consideration of the person slain. The onely considerable quality in Saul was his greatnesse: which therefore maketh the burden of the Song, How are the mighty fallen! Thus is Abner lamented, though no otherwise considerable. Know you not that there is a Prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel? Thus did Jeremy lament Zedekia, who had nothing kingly but his power. The breath of our Nostrils, the annointed of the Lord is taken in their pits. Yet I doubt whether Saul should have been honoured with lamentation if Jonathan had not fallen with him.
They both met in our Martyred King, whose might was the least part of his praise: his vertues were more glorious then his Crown.
Which that I may not dim by an incompetent description, I shall contract all into this short Elogy. Had his father bequeathed his Crown (as the great Alexander did) to the most worthy: he had then been as clearly heir apparent by his worth, as now he was by his birth.
If you desire a more particular and lively character, you shall find it in that rare Pourtraiture drawn by his own Pen, with such exactnesse of art, that it appeared some considerable recompense for the multitude of his heavy afflictions: which he expresseth with equal satisfaction, but more modesty then that Roman Poet.
It is (saith he) same kind of deceiving and lessening the injury of my long restraint, when I find my leisure and solitude have produced something worthy of my self, and usefull to you, that neither you, nor any other may hereafter measure my cause by the successe, nor way judgement of things by my misfortunes.
Whoever will see a book worthy to justle the Apocrypha out of it's place, let him study that piece, and confesse that the Spirit of God hath not forsaken the withered world.
In what glory doth this second David sit there, under his Crown of Thornes, attended with such a stately train of graces and vertues, as to make his other pompous coronation confess it self a childish May-game! while he manageth (his, now, onely weapon) his Pen, with such a gracefull Majesty, that whoever doth not acknowledge his absolute Soveraignty in Rhetorick, must be as great a Rebel in point of literature, as those others were in point of duty, and yet with such a splendid mixture of wisdome, piety, charity, patience, magnanimity, and all other Royal and Christian graces, that the elegance of the stile is the least part of the beauty of the work.
How is heighth of fancy married with depth of judgment! Golden sentences enameled with Florid expressions, and set with Orient Metaphors: Infallible predictions, not onely of events, but even of circumstances; and that in such minute particularities, that few Historians do so lively relate things already acted. (Some may question whether these predictions were dictated by the Spirit of Prophesie; but who dares question a mighty influence of the Spirit of Wisdom!)
And how are these rare sufficiences sanctified with all Christian graces?
What undaunted magnanimity, outfacing a long series of danger, and never deserting those interests which he knew it his duty to maintain!
What invincible patience outliving the witherings of his gourd without discontent or peevishnesse; or the least complaint to these who wanted nothing to complete their mirth, but onely such Musick, or any other shrinking from that Majesty which graced him most in his lowest ebbs.
What fervent Piety, firing his devout heart with a steady and permanent heat: yet no volatile zeal, like theirs which shew no other proof, but their boasts and their levity; but fixed with a judicious constancy to that Religion which he protected with his life.
And Oh! what Charity! what sweet love! what tender Bowels!
His enemies did him this onely right, they thought none but the greatest injuries to be competent trials of his patience: yet great as they were, his charity outvied them. It is a small matter with him to pardon them, he pitieth them, he prayeth for them.
I thank God (saith he) I never found but my pity was above my anger: nor have my passions ever so prevailed against me, as to exclude my most compassionate prayers for them, whom devout errors more then their own malice have betrayed to a most religious Rebellion.
Nay he is ready to reward them too. I do not (saith he) more willingly forgive their seductions, then I am ambitious by all princely merits to redeem from their unjust suspicions, and reward them for their good intentions. These were the passions, these were the revenges, which that intolerable load of calumnies, affronts, prisons, and all kind of persecutions, begat in the breast of that excellent King: the sweetnesse of whose temper could not receive any tincture of brackishnesse though it ran a long, long course through a brinish sea of troubles.
And if such were his tendernesse to his enemies, Oh how dear where his affections to his friends and loving Subjects! which he testified, while he had power, by such gracious concessions, that all posterity will stand astonished, both at the goodness which granted them and the basenesse which abused them: and when he had no power but of his Pen, by his last declaration, wherein he protested before the face of Heaven that his own afflictions afflicted him not so much as his peoples sufferings. Thus were Saul and Jonathan united in one person, wisdome and eloquence, greatness and goodnesse, magnanimity and patience, piety and charity were lovely in his life and in his writings they were not divided.
Such was this mighty King mighty in the greatnesse of Saul, but mightier in the sweetnesse of Jonathan: mighty in the number and strength of his kingdomes, but mightier in the greater number and perfections of his vertues: mighty in the love of his friends, but mightier by the malice of his enemies: who made him a great and glorious King by exercising and evidencing his greatnesse, by his diminutions, his glory by his ecclipses, his heighth by his fall, his might by his weaknesse.
Had they not thus performed their promise he might have layen in level with common Princes, who retain to their crowns for all their greatness: we had not known him from a comet but by his parallaxes; we had not known his brightnesse but by his clouds, nor his height but by his setting.
For how did the mighty fall? like Saul and Jonathan, by the arrows of the Philistins? No, God covered his head in the day of battell. By the decays of Age? No, he was but newly past the meridian. By the excesses of luxury? No, those vices which could not stain, could not destroy his life. How did this mighty fall? He will tell you himself.
He fell a King, by the hands of his own Subjects, a violent, sudden, and barbarous death, in the strength of his years, in the midst of his Kingdom; his friends and loving Subjects being helplesse spectators, his enemies insolent revilers and triumphers over him, living, dying, and dead.
Surely as David lamented Abner, so may we him. As a man falleth before wicked men, so fellest thou. Thy vineyard made thee a blasphemer, a fast is proclaimed, a High Court of Justice established, witnesses prepared, an unjust sentence procured and executed, that thy vineyard might be possessed; As Naboth fell before Jezabell, so fellest thou.
But Naboth was perhaps rich enough by the inheritance of his fathers, not mighty by the power of the Sword: Abner had the Sword too, yet fell by the Sword of Joab, who got within him under pretence of kindnesse: Great complements are used, they are his faithfull and loyall Subjects, his great counsel, will make him a great and glorious King. As Abner fell before Joab, so fellest thou.
But Joab was Abner's enemy, not only upon the publick quarrel, but a private grudge: And it is the heavy complaint of this afflicted King, If they had been mine open and forain enemies, I could have born it, but they must be mine own Subjects, who are next mine own Children, dear to me, and for the restoring of whose tranquillity I could willingly be the Jonah. He was destroyed by them, for whom he was destroyed.
As Christ fell before the Jews, so fellest thou. So fellest thou, so prayedst thou: so fellest for their good, so prayedst for their pardon, so didst thou by all means in life and death seek their happinesse.
But how did the mighty fall! How did he fall by his own weight? By those perfections, which are preservatives to others, and fatal only to him! How might he have expostulated in that strange question of his Saviour! Many good works have I done, for which of them do you kill me?
Yea, for which of them did not kill him? which of his perfections was there, that did not furnish them with a tentation or advantage to destroy him? His Greatnesse? That made him an enemy, because it would reward them with spoils. His Goodness? That weakened him by such a multitude of disarming concessions. His Charity? That incouraged them to go on, because they knew they could not out goe his pardon. His Love to the people? That provoked them, because it would not suffer him to make them slaves to an arbitrary power. His Firmnesse in Religion? That inraged them, because it kept them from swallowing the Revenues of the Church. His Wisdome? That frighted them with jealousies of being at last discovered, loathed and ruined. How did the mighty fall like Saul upon his own Sword, which should have defended him!
But how did the mighty fall? how did he take his fall? Died Abner as a fool dieth? Did he whine away his Soul with childish moans? did he crouch to his mercilesse enemies, that he might beg his life of them by the oratory of his tears, or purchase it with the Revenues of the Crown and Church? No, his last Declaration speaks other language.
I thank my God (saith he) I have armed my self against their fury: and now let the Arrows of their envy fly at me, I have a breast to receive them, and a heart possest with patience to sustain them: for God is my Rock and my Shield, therefore will I not fear what man can doe unto me.
His tedious Imprisonment could not extort one word of complaint from him, the horror of their cruel Bar could not stoop him to plead much lesse to pray for his life. The terrors of the bloudy Scaffold, could not make him let fall a word unworthy of His Majesty. He discoursed upon that fatal Theater, in that cruel company, as if he had been among His Lords in Parliament, unconcerned in any thing but the care of his people. A few words bestowed upon his own necessary vindication, and all the rest in directions to the way of peace: A discourse which we then admired for the magnanimity, and now for the wisdome of it. God having now declared, that to be the onely right way which that Blessed Martyr then shewed; though those times had onely need, not capacity of such directions.
Thus did the mighty fall, as man falleth before wicked men: with a fall sutable to his life in point of constancy and pious charity; and most unsutable in point of those other circumstances of formal justice.
Thus were Saul and Jonathan, greatnesse and goodnesse, magnanimity and love, wisdom in counsail, and care of the people, lovely in his life and in his death they were not divided.
Oh ye daughters of Israel (saith our Psalmist vers. 24.) weep over Saul, who clothed you in Skarlet, with olker delights, who put on ornaments of Gold upon your apparel. Ye daughters of England weep over Charles, who clothed you with Silks, with other braveries, whose peaceful and righteous raign protected your fathers, while they gathered that wealth you now enjoy; rendring the Sea safe to the Merchant, and the land to the Husbandman: keeping you in a happy ignorance of Excise, Contributions, quarterings, plunderings, &c. and in the Church, of Quakers, Seekers, Ranters, &c. he clothed you in Silk, not Garments rolled in Blood, he kept your eyes and the Sword dry: Let those tears be now paid as a just tribute to his memory which he then saved by the righteousnesse of his government.
Weep over him whose watchings defended your sleeps, whose cares secured your pleasures, whose Sword guarded your peace, whose prisons protected your liberty, whose death preserved your Laws.
Weep over Saul, but more over Jonathan: Remember that rich treasure of his vertues which made him the delight of all good men, the hate of all evil: remember that firmnesse of his constancy, that sweetnesse of his love, that tendernesse of his charity, that universal graciousnesse of his disposition; We are distressed for thee most dear Soveraign, very pleasant hast thou been to us, thy love to us was wonderfull, passing the love of women; Oh! had'st thou been some Nero or Caligula, some bloudy or filthy Tyrant, that never spared man in their anger, nor woman in their lust, had'st thou been such as thy enemies were, and accused thee to be; we would have reserved our tears for our private sorrows, and suffered thy memory to perish with thy life.
Or had'st thou fallen by the usual wayes of mortality, we would have comforted our selves with such a common infelicity: But to have such a King so destroyed, in the name of the people, under formalities of justice, by the hands of mushroms, under thine own window, and all this only for being excessively good--
How shall we raise our lamentations, to a proportion sutable to thy excellencies or our griefs? We are distressed for thee, most dear Soveraign, thy love to us was wonderfull, passing the love of women: and our love to thee shall be sutably great and durable; we will annually remove thy marble and embalm thy ashes with pious tears, and spicy Elogies; that the enemies of thy vertues may know the greatnesse of their guilt, and the enemies of our Nation and Religion may know our innocency.
Though we cannot restore thy life, we wil eternise thy memory: though we cannot raise thy ashes, yet we will revive our own credit:
Those rivers of tears which we thus solemnly and annually offer up to thy dear name, will not indeed wash away some mens guilt, who love their Negro blacknesse; but they will our shame.
2. Our shame: which is the ground of the next strain of this mournfull Bow, expressed in the next verse, Tell it not in Gath, publish it not, &c.
It is a double misery, when our loss and shame is our enemies gain and glory.
Nations have thought it worthy a war to remove the trophees of their defeats; yea more men have sacrificed their lives to the honor then to any other interest of their country. Moses useth this argument to God himself, prayeth him not to destroy Israel, lest the heathen should triumph. Cleopatra could have been content to have out-lived the losse of her Kingdomes, if she might have escaped the triumph of Augustus:
But when the Philistins fasten the bodies of Saul and his sons to the wall of Bethshan, then the valiant men of Jabesh Gilead, hazard their lives to remove such a Trophee of their shameful defeat.
And indeed, whoever pretendeth any affection to his country, will feel quick resentments, not only of its losses, but its dishoners: a strong motive to those our honoured Patriots, who by this command of an annuall lustration, have taken care to wash away this Royal Bloud that it may not defile the land.
Such indeed was the charitable temper of that Blessed Martyr, that he would not gratifie the malice of a few with sinister thoughts of the generality: But such is the precipitancy of vulgar censurers, that they brand whole nations with infamy due only to some particulars.
How do such men justifie (that old slander) that the King of England is a King of divels! How did that divilish villany make the name of an Englishman stink in the nostrils of all nations! How often have our Merchants and travelling Gentry chose rather to deny their country then endure this shame!--But what do we talk of the honour of our Nation?
Our Religion! Our Religion is sham'd by it; both in general as Christian, and in particular as Protestant.
Tell it not in the Regions of darkness, publish it not among the heathen persecutors; lest those bloudy tormentors of the Christian Church triumph, as in a posthumous justification of their cruelties, as a necessary policy to weaken a sect, so pernicious to their lives and estates.
Let those Blessed Martyrs, whose bloud sealed not only the truth of their Religion, but the firmness of their loyalty, let them not blush to see the professors of the same Religion, persecuting them with the same slanders as their enemies did: impudently outfacing the apologies of their fathers, and justifying the calumnies of their enemies, by pretending that they used those tame weapons prayers and tears only for want of the military Sword and Spear.
Miscreant persecutors of Crowns! will you depose the very Martyrs too from those Crowns which they purchased as much by their meekness as their faith!
Was not this the onely controversie beetween them and their persecutors, that the one believed them inclined to propagate their religion by force, the other protested that they would not so defend their lives? And do not you joyn with their persecutors? do not you persecute them afresh and put them to an open shame?
Would not they have resisted their bloody Tyrants? and do you persecute your own King, the best of your Kings? Is it thus you rejoyce in persecutions? by inflicting, not by undergoing them? by inflicting them upon the Defendor of the Faith.
How basely have you confuted the Apologies of Tertullian and other defendors of the Christian faith? How unchristianly have you justified the bloody persecutors thereof? How heathenishly have you strengthened those slanders wherewith they persecuted it no lesse bitterly and unjustly then with the Sword?
Where shall we hide this shame? How shall we reskue our holy Religion and innocent Martyrs from this disgrace, poured upon them, not so much by their persecutors as their professors.
Nay, how shall we ever hope to propagate our Religion for the future? What black Indian of the East or West, what wilde African or American, will change that Divel Worship which their fathers have practiced without any such guilt, for the Christian Religion whose professors call it Godlinesse to be inhumane? Tell it not in Quinsay, publish it not in the hoords of the Nomades, lest those Miscreants triumph in the greater purity of their infidelity.
What Turk or Jew will ever be brought to a tollerable charity towards that Religion whose professors call the horridest Treasons the cause of God? Tell it not in Constantinople, publish it not in the Streets of Bagdat, lest those circumcised Infidels triumph in the greater piety of their own profession.
Is this the propagation of the Gospel? Is this the advancement of the Kingdome of Jesus Christ?
Ah! must the Christian, the Christian Religion, which was first planted, and alway watered, and alway thrived with the Blood of her defendors, and professors shed by their persecutors, now wither by the blood of her defendors shed by her own Children? Is the patience, and meeknesse, and peaceablenesse, so much recommended by the great Author of our faith, not onely by his Sermons but his sufferings, and alwayes practised by his disciples: Is that sweet beauty of our Religion which won so great a part of the world to her imbraces, now disfigured with such a gastly deformity, that she must for ever despair of gaining any more Lovers: and that not by the witherings of age, but by the manglings of her unnatural children?
But these perhaps are remote considerations, and our zeal against our neighbor, Babylon, may excuse the inconvenience of that Scandal which probably may never reach the more distant Heathen,
And is it thus we hope to root out Popery? what? by strengthening their most plausible pretences? Is not this the great clamor of their popular declamations?
That we no sooner forsake unity with the Catholick Church but we are wildered by the unsteadinesse of our own rambling fancies, or abused by the craft of such other seducers as our unhappiness or our curiosity may expose us to: That there is nothing in doctrine so absur'd, in practice impious, which a smooth toung and a zealous look may not prefer to an easie and credulous belief, as a holy truth: That there is no security from the most horrid impieties and blasphemies but in the bosome of the mother Church, the onely determiner of controversies: Witness those swarms of ridiculous Sects, witness those horrible confusions in Church and State: Witness the execrable massacre of the defender of your faith. Whence came these horrible plagues but from your separation from us? and how can you ever be secure from further crumblings till you are again united with us?
Tell it not in Rome, publish it not in the covents of their Friers, and Colledges of their Jesuits, lest the conclave rejoyce, lest their priests triumph in the ruine of the strongest pillar of our Religion, and the strengthening of their own pretences.
Yet all this and other their plausiblest harangues are fully answered by this Royal defender of the Faith who thus armeth the heir of his Kingdomes. The scandal of the late troubles which some may object and urge to you against the Protestant Religion established in England, is easily answered to them or your own thoughts in this, that scarce any one who hath been a beginner or an active prosecutor of this late War against the Church, the Laws, and Men; either was, or is a true lover, imbracer, or practicer of the Protestant Religion established in England; which neither giveth such rules, nor ever before set such examples.
The Protestant Religion giveth no such rules: but doth not the Romish? Is not Rebellion a doctrine as properly Popish, and more pernicious, then Purgatory indulgences, or any other? Who first taught it lawful to resist Kings? was it not the Pope? Who first taught it not only lawfull but pious to depose Kings, if they be Hereticks? was it not the Pope? Who first taught that the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy are dispenced with by the interest of Religion? was it not the Pope? Doth not the Solemn League and Covenant of the English Schismaticks with their Scottish brethren, bear the lively image of the holy Ligue between the French Jesuites and their brethren of Spain?
The Protestant Religion never before set such examples: but how often hath that Anti-christian See armed not only Subjects against their Soveraigns, but Sons against their Royal Fathers, adding unnaturalnesse to Rebellion! How came it to it's present grandure, but by vexing their Soveraigns the Empp. with holy Rebellions? How many Henn. and Fread. and other Empp. and K K. have their Saints butchered? What Nation hath not heard the roaring of their Bulls absolving Subjects from their Allegiance? Who hath not heard of the Holy Ligue of France, the Guelphs and Gibellines of Italy? Let this execrable regicide committed upon those principles, which you maintain and we detest, make another Item in the goodly Inventory of your holy Rebellions and Regicides. For no true lover of the Protestant Religion established in England, was an active prosecutor of this war against the Church, the Laws and the King. But what multitudes of your Priests and Jesuites under the vizors of gifted brethren and Independent Souldiers, envenoming the Army and inflaming the Rebellion! were these Volunteers in such an important service? No; their absolute obedience to their superiors is too well known, to leave any probability of their undertaking such designes without command.
Tell it now in Rome, publish it in all their Covents and Colledges: but tell it truly, That the Church of England did not act but suffer in this hideous Rebellion: That she requireth all her Sons to professe by Oath their detestation of it as a doctrine damnable and heretical. But a faction infected with that damnable doctrine, wherewith Rome efferated the meekness and stained the purity of the Christian Religion: acted this devilish inhumanity upon the principles and instigations of Popish incendiaries; to the grief and ruine of the true Sons of our Church, who hazarded their lives to prevent it, and do thus solemnly professe their detestation of it.
When the Sons of Rome shall practice such a publick repentance for that multitude of Rebellions and Regicides which their Popes and their doctrines have acted through the Christian world; we will acknowledge an equality of shame due to us and them: We will be content that this one Murther shall out weigh that multitude of theirs, as much as this one King did excell all theirs: and to make the scales even, we will cast in so much charity, as not to impute those doctrines and impieties to their Church, but to factiousnesse of the Jesuites and the ambition of the Popes.
We will yield to any the most unreasonable composition, if they will thus solemnly and authentically renounce that damnable doctrine: But untill they do; let them not upbraid us with the Splinter (so our Saviour’s karfos signifieth) let them not upbraid us with the Splinter that is in our eye, while there is a beam in their own eye: That beam, from whence our Splinter came, which we thus carefully pull out of our watering eye.
But these still are remote enemies: we have others within our own pale, that shame us more. Enemies, not to the Christian or the Protestant but to All Religion: Men whose God is their belly, whose Heaven is the Tavern, whose Religion is Debauchery.
These men to ease themselves from the trouble (as they take it) of holiness, will needs force themselves and tempt others to believe that Religion is onely an engine of State, that Zeal is but an implement of ambition, that the precisest Saints are but insinuating hypocrites, who disguise the basest and bloudiest designes under the mortified countenance of sanctity and humility.
Witness (say they) the furies of the German and the greater furies of the English Sectaries. These men rail at our harmlesse good fellowship and themselves destroy the peace of the world. Make great scruple to take the other Cup, and make themselves drunk with the blood of Kings. Make long prayers and devour widow’s houses.
These, these are they whose Triumphs shame us while they condemn all holinesse and godly zeal as tending to the furious wickednesse of the Fanaticks.
Tell it not therefore in the Taverns, publish it not in the Ale-houses, lest the Drunkards rejoyce, lest the Atheists Triumph: lest every devout christian be condemned for a Puritan: and every professor of zeal for a Fanatick, yet these misprisions are easily wiped away by our Holy Martyr himself. Let not (saith he) counterfeit and disorderly zeal abate your value and esteem of true piety. Both of them are known by their fruits: the sweetnesse of the vine and fig-tree are not to be despised though the Bramble and Thorne should pretend to bear figs and grapes, thereby to rule over the trees.
But say; you that accuse Religion of the abuses which it suffered; can you wash your hands from the blood of this just person? Did not your wickednesse ruine him by provoking God and Man against that righteous cause which you engaged in? Did not your detestable rudenesse fright thousands out of their wits and their allegiance, who loved the King more heartily then your selves, and would have followed his party if they could have indured such company as fought against heaven by their prophanenesse, and earth by their opressions. Doth not the Law declare you Traitors, that alienate Subjects affections from their Soveraign? Doth not this gracious Kings first Proclamation disclaim you as those that do him more mischief by your lewdnesse, then you can recompence by your valours? Doth not our Church disclaim you as greater non conformists by your disobedience to her doctrines, then others are by their disobedience to her discipline? What impudence hath steeled your foreheads, that you dare call your selves the Kings good Subjects and the true sons of the Church, when you are disobedient to both and renounced by both.
And did you not make the Rebels prosperous too as well as numerous? Did God give up his holy army to the rout for the sin of one Achan: and must he not forsake whole Armies of Achans? Did you not even compell him to desert a righteous King that he might not prosper a profane party?
But stay! can we not avoid one shame without splitting upon another? and must we yield the Rebels their so much vanted title of The Godly party. Tell it not in Amsterdam publish it not in the conventicles of the Schismaticks, lest they boast against the Episcopal discipline as a nurse of prophanesse, because the new discipline is maintained by Godly people and the old by prophane.
Yet the unjustice of such a boast will betray it self, if we consider that those very persons whose piety they boast of, received their piety from the Ministery of the Episcopal way, and onely their faction from them, who made profession of zeal, a bait to betray them.
Is there any thing more credulous then zeal? and is it any wonder if those who were most zealous, had the strongest byas towards that party, that made the most glorious professions of it?
The Episcopal Government then, may say to the new discipline, as Laban did to Jacob: These Children are my Children, and these Saints are my Saints, why hast thou stolen them from me? What Godly men hast thou, whom thou didst not receive from me! And if thou didst receive them, why boastest thou as if thou didst not receive them?
And on the other side; what wonder if the prophaner sort were not caught when the baits were not fitted for them?
Thus far then we are ingeniously humble: we acknowledge they have cheated many of our Godly, and few of our prophane.
Yet must not that humility make us yeild them the glory of greater Sanctity. Admit they have deluded a multitude of vulgar hearts, full of sail and void of ballast; with fancies inflamed with zeal, and understanding dazeled with every blaze: Are the multitude the judge of truth? Doth justice passe Sentence by her Counters and not by her Ballance?
Or had the Episcopal party no Saints, who hazzarded their lives, and afterward took chearfully the spoiling of their Goods, and imprisonment of their Persons, to save their consciences, without any hope of recompense from their now ruined party?
If we granted you a greater multitude, yet would we challenge you to come to the ballance for men of judicious and fixed sanctity.
Match if you can, our Charles among your Laity, and our Hammond among your Clergy: If you cannot, then cast in so many thousands of your most eminent Saints, as may outweigh those two: And when you have done so, we will so stifle you with a multitude of Halls, Brownrigs, Oldsworths, Mortons and others, wherof some are yet alive and many are fallen asleep, that you shall be glad to shrink out of the presse: and impudence it self shall blush to pretend, that the Episcopal party are onely a pack of unsanctified men.
Yet what if they were? was not David's troop a rabble of Bankrupts and Malevolo's? yet himself and his cause holy in the sight of God?
If you will convince the Church of England to be accessary to the prophanenesse of any of her children; you must indict some of her authentick constitutions; her Doctrine, Discipline, Government or Worship.
Convince any of these as accessary to prophanenesse, we will cast that Sheba's head over the wall.
But if our doctrines be as holy, our Discipline as severe, our Government as judicious, our Worship as devout, and all our establishments as pious, as any in the world; is it not now as great a cruelty as injustice, to indeavour to shame us with that prophanenesse, which doth sufficiently grieve us already?
How irrational is that consequence which argueth from accidental events to necessary causes? yea, from non-causes to causes?
Such wild extravagances ill become the gravity of sober reasonings; though they may sure well enough with the intemperate ravings of transporting passions; which furiously flye upon every thing they meet with; bearing the least aspect, though without the least influence, upon their grief.
Thus Job fell a cursing the day of his birth: Thus our Psalmist flyeth out into curses upon the innocent Mountains of Gilboa; for this poor reason because there the shield of Saul was vilely cast away as though he had not been anointed with oyle.
Poor reason, but rich poetry! which then personateth a raging passion most lively, when it stormeth most irrationally, against every thing that cometh in its way.
And therefore though we cannot pardon the loosenesse of such reasonings as conclude from the persons to the cause; yet we need not condemn such a picture of grief, as falleth into those wilde, irrationall ravings, which are the usual Symptoms of an unruly passion: such is
The third strayn of this Bow: expressed in the 21. Verse. Ye Mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, &c.
How shall we exercise this passion? What shall we curse?
The place? God forbid! who hath blessed it with the presence of the royal heir.
The men? God forbid! who gave the injured King himself, such grace as to blesse them with his prayers, that repentance might be their only punishment.
What then shall we curse? We will curse those doctrines, that taught some men to shake hands with allegiance under pretence of taking faster hold on Religion.
You unchristian! you Antichristian! you inhumane doctrines! Let no honest Christian be ever deluded again by you! let no Christian Prince or people ever tolerate you! let every one that pretendeth to any thing of conscience or humanity for ever loath you! For by you the best, the wisest, the meekest, the holiest of Kings was vilely cast away as though he had not been anointed with oyle.
And may this execration blast, not only Belzabub the Prince of divelish doctrines, which teacheth to kill Kings; but every legionary divel, that may be but suspected to contribute the lest incouragement to any kind of disobedience; that doth but scatter ambiguos de principe sermones, qua alia turbamenta vulgi.
O wretched daughter of Babel! happy shall he be that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the Stones.
That no root of bitternesse springing up trouble us any more; whereby many have been defiled, and many ruined, and many destroyed, and among others that blessed King, who alone was more then many.
Did not this root of bitternesse first peep up with a smooth and tender head, and then by insensible progression grow up to such a bulk and roughness as to overdrop the royal cedar?
Give me a standing and I will move the whole earth; said Archimedes: and Geometry demonstrateth it faisible. So saith Rebellion too, Give me footing I will turn the world upside down.
Archimedes probably designed the Skrew for his engine: to whose insensible, but forcible motions our martyred Prince most appositely compareth the creeping insinuations of Rebellion: which Skreweth men on from questioning the lawful commands of superiours, to disliking them, thence to disobeying, then to resisting, then to assalting, and at last to destroying the Prince.
Do we not perceive? do we not this day lament the truth of Machiavel's Maxime. Whoever draweth his Sword against the Prince must throw away the Scabbard; for he must not think of sheathing it, otherwise then in the Bowels of that provoked Prince: Which our learned Cook thus translateth to an Oracle of Law: in the case of the Earl of Essex arraigned for seeking the Queens life, and appealing to the Queen her self as Judge of his zeal for her safety. The Law (saith he) interpreteth it as a seeking the Princes life when any one seeketh to force the Prince: because such an one will never think himself safe otherwise then by the Princes death. Oh what a tentation it is to be engaged! How easily are they drawn to follow Absalon in the blackest villanies who at first thought of nothing but a vow to Hebron!
I must be more particular.
I am confident (as the good King was) that the far greatest part of the Presbyterians, are men of very tender consciences and pious affections and if that must have been their option twenty years since; they would rather have delivered themselves up to the fire, then to that factious disobedience which is now called the power of Godlinesse: Yet being once ingaged, have been skrewed on by their insinuating Leaders, to such a height of unnatural Rebellion, as themselves upon clearer thoughts, would have abhorred with the most vehement detestation: Nor can any such second, and cooler thoughts, as so long a time of dismal confusion might have begotten in them, unmussell them from those black errors which brought them first into disobedience, and thence into hideous confusions.
How shall we undeceive these good men? Shall we urge the frequent and earnest importunity of Scripture injoyning obedience? They read it with coloured and broken Spectacles, and a multitude of distinctions, and a new question, Who are the higher powers? and how far do their commands oblige?
Shall we appeal for this to the Laws of the Land? There are hidden fundamental Laws which must first be heard, notwithstanding a clear Statute making it Treason so to oppose fundamental against known Laws.
Shall we vindicate the innocency of those particular injunctions which they scruple to obey? They believe it sinful to obey all Ecclesiastical Injunctions, which bring no positive particular Warrant from the Word of God.
How shall we convince these men? We will cite them to a new Topick, whose authority and evidence they shall never be able to dispute. Their own principles. Their own protestations. Their own first pretences.
If they have renounced their own principles. If they have broken their own protestations. If they have confuted their own pretences: how can it be but men of such tender consciences, finding themselves self condemned, should think it necessary to repent of those actions, which they cannot justifie: and seeing they must needs take shame to themselves; blush rather at their exorbitances then their Sobriety.
I shall not further rake up those actions, which the Kings mercy and our charity have buried; then is necessary to discover the several changes of that Insect cause, whose generation we are thence to conclude equivocall, that we may observe the truth of that saying of Cicero clearly verified, Qui semel modestiae fines transilierit, opportet ut sit gnaviter impudens.
The confluence of so great a number of Godly men, in the great Councel of the Kingdome, promised us a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness: But behold! the sons of Zerviah are too hard for the King, and hinder his concurrence with his great Councel. Who is he now that hath any Zeal for God, and will not do his best for removing such obstructions, by taking away the wicked from before the King, though against his will?
That the lawfulness of the means may answer the goodnesse of the end; We must make a distinction, yea a separation, yea an opposition between the power and the person of the King: that so the godly party may disobey him in duty, and fight against him in his defence, under an Engagement for King and Parliament.
And because this distinction might perhaps appear too nice for grosser understandings, the law of God and the Land, must for once (to promote so good a cause) give way to the law of Nature, which alloweth self defence in case of imminent danger; and that again must allow a little straining; our fears and jealousies may justifie that for a defensive war, which is made to prevent a foreseen danger: which that it may appear real a protestation, is injoyned to defend the (much endangered, take heed) King, Parliament, Laws, and protestant Religion established.
By this chain of fair pretences are a multitude of well meaning men perswaded to Hebron. God’s cause inviting them, but not to the least disobedience against the King, whose power and person they protest to defend.
But how quickly is the Scene changed! they who just now protested to defend the Religion established, now fight for the Subversion of a great part of it, under the specious name of Reformation. They who took up arms only in their necessary defence, will not grant the King peace, unless he purchase it with delivering up his Sword: the power of the Militia, acknowledged by themselves to be his undoubted right: And is not this now a most manifest rebellion, not only against the Laws of God and the Land, but against their own protestation and their publick remonstrances.
But the godly party being once ingaged, must needs go on, and are unawares grown to be Presbyterians.
They go on, and after forty messages from the King, importuning them for peace (partly slighted, partly denyed, partly yielded too, but upon unreasonable terms) at last they gain a complete victory and make the Kings most secret papers their Prisoners.
It might be expected from such faithful Subjects, as they profess themselves, that they shew him as much civility as Pompey did to his enemy Sertorius, whose Letters he burnt, or as the Emp. shewed his enemy the Queen of Bohemia, whose intercepted Letters he conveyed according to direction. No, these Letters discover so many horrid plots against our Kingdome and Religion, that they should be very unfaithful to the cause, if they should conceal them.
They are published, and what do they discover but this? that the Kings intentions were most righteous, his desires of peace most ardent, his wisdome most eminent, his affections to his people most tender, and all their own pretences most false.
What invention could have devised a way more convincingly to justifie the King and to condemn themselves? They had declared the King a good, but an easie Prince, led away by evil councellors, and needing the guardianship of the Parliament: this they confute by publishing those letters which demonstrate his excellent wisdome, and care. They had declared the war on their own parts to be meerly defensive; and now they publish those letters which make it apparent that the King is most desirous of peace. They had declared that the King intended to bring in Popery, and now they publish those letters wherein his firmness to the Protestant Religion is most apparent. They had declared his intentions to be foul, and confute themselves by publishing the secretest intentions of his very heart to be fair and innocent. Was not this to give their cause a greater rout then they had given the Kings forces?
Yet the Presbyterians are Godly men: but being so far ingaged they must go on though Absalon be never so impudent. The cause is grown so strong as to defend it self not only against the Laws of God and man, but against all its own pretences, and all appearance of modesty.
For now all fairer pretences are laid aside, and Providence shall bear them out, even against their own principles. They will do whatever shall seem most advantagious, and no law nor religion shall withold them, for Providence leads them. That is, they have gotten power, and as long as they prosper; their sword shall justifie what the ballance condemns.
The distressed King, no longer able to defend himself, applieth himself to the natives of his person and his troubles; upon their engagement to assist him and his party with their Armies and Forces: and accordingly at first they publish a glorious manifesto, declaring it an odious basenesse if they should deliver him up to those Commissioners who were sent for him.
But having thus inhanced the price, they plainly make sale of him for a sum of money: with a proviso notwithstanding for his honour and safety: (in pursuance doubtlesse of their National covenant (sir reverence) which taught them to suborder the Kings defence to the defence of Religion: which they (the Gospels life guard) could no longer serve without pay. What proviso for the safety and honour of the King is no other way made good, but by a fair imprisonment, and a perpetual refusall of his repeated importunities for a Personal treaty. And is not this a plain giving themselves the Lye, who pretended to fight only to bring the King to his Parliament, and now will not suffer him to come?
Yet the Presbyterians are godly men, but being ingaged are now carried on by Providence to higher actions then at first appeared lawfull: and they must be excused if they change their principles with their condition, Providence thus calling them to it.
At last the perpetual importunities of the King and Kingdom extort their consent to a treaty, which they grant, but with this condition, that the King first depose himself by signing four Bills, yeilding up himself, religion, laws, friends, people and all to their Arbitrary power which because he cannot but refuse to do, they fairly depose and excommunicate him, by voting against all addresses to him or from him.
And is not this an accomplishment of the greatest self conviction in the world; thus to depose him, whose lawfull authority they had so often sworn to defend?
Yet still the Presbyterians are godly men, but being engaged are led on by Providence, to such actions as themselves had often declared sinfull, but now appear godly: because providence, calleth upon them to change their principles with their condition.
But what invention shall we find out to justifie us against this last pretence? providence it self fighting also in its course against our last actions as well as against all our first pretences (and requiring us to return where we first set out by changing those principles too with our condition.
I do not, I professe I do not, thus uncover their nakednesse to upbraid but to convince them, who are hardened against all other evidences. We appeal to themselves, to their own publick protestations, to those very principles, into which their holy cause was first baptized. If they have not as peremptorily resisted every one of them as the King himself, we shall yield them the honour of being the only godly party. They professed to make him a great and glorious King. How did they perform this? by illustrating his magnamity patience and other suffering vertues?
They professed to bring him to his Parliament. How did they perform this? By bringing his power thither and keeping away his person?
They promised to remove him from his evil Counsellours. How did they perform this? by keeping him from that his great Councell?
They promised to defend the Protestant Religion established in England. How did they perform this? By comparing the Loyalty of its principles, with those of the new discipline?
At last, they made providence their rule. Let them do so now, and joyn with us in detesting those principles, which providence it self hath so manifestly blasted: and which do so manifestly confesse themselves not fit to be trusted, as having skrewed up such Godly men to such a heigth of impiety.
But what is this to the Presbyterians? They did not kill the King: Grant it, are they therefore the godly party because they did not come up to the very top of wickednesse? When they boast what they did not, they might do well to remember what they did. They put the King, though not to death, yet upon the certain expectations of death, as knowing there are but few steps between the prisons and graves of Princes.
They did not kill the King, 'tis true. But 'tis as true they could not.
They would not if they could. How shall we know that? By their protestations? let them shew us how they made good any one protestation, and we will believe them: How can they expect belief from us? how can they believe themselves, whose principles run through so many changes.
They voted the Kings concessions a ground for peace. But when? when it was too late; when they had no other way to oppose the Army: the Army, who first pretended to restore the King, and then were opposed by the Parliament, as they are now when they declare to destroy him.
They voted his concessions only a ground for a treaty: that they might engage his friends to help them, and not engage themselves to restore the King.
But these things are past and pardoned. They are now his best Subjects. They restored the King. Yes. As Marcus Livius was the cause of the taking of Tarentum, because if he had not first lost it, it could not have been taken: So were they cause of restoring the King, because if they had not driven him from his Kingdome, he could not have been restored. But they restored him. They restore him? Why then are they so mad that he was restored so freely without articles?
The Scots shew us the way of Presbyterians bringing in Kings. They declare him their undoubted rightfull King; but withall he must not exercise any power untill he have submitted to such conditions as they think good to prescribe. Then they bestow a Crown upon him, but a thorny one; and make his Kingdome worse then his banishment.
But the Presbyterians are the Kings faithfull Subjects. If they will be believed, let them make it credible by some evidence. Let them follow the ingenuity of their brethren of Aberdeen. Let them shew their affections to the Son by their detestation of those principles which ruined the Father.
How jealous would a just resentment make them of every principle that hath the least appearance of evil? of every garment spotted with the flesh?
When Adonijab petitioned for Abishag (the warming-pan rather then) the Concubine of David, what a storm of jealousie doth this raise in Solomon to the ruine of Adonijah, and his party? one slain, another degraded, another confined! How would that jealously become every affectionate heart, towards all those principles, which do though never so little, glance toward disobedience? How should we suspect every questioning of the fitnesse of any royall command? How should we curse the mountains of Gilboa, every thing that contributed (though never so little) to the ruine of that Beauty of Israel! How should we be jealous of our selves, how should we fear the jealousies of our Superiours, while we foster those opinions of whose creeping venome we have had such lamentable experience!
But why so much fondness for Absalom? Why must we be tempted to say like Joab, you declare that you regard neither Prince nor People. For we perceive that if your covenant had been brought in and the King kept out, it had pleased you well.
What so great necessity of establishing the new and destroying the old Government? What do you fear? Popery? This is that we crave, that you would renounce those principles which are no lesse properly Popish, then perniciously Anti-christian.
What age, what Nation, not onely of the Christian, but universall world ever denied the power of the Civil Magistrate in Ecclesiastical affairs, untill the ambition or the Popes wrested it from the Emperors? who were they that refused the doctrine and Oath of Supremacy, when first imposed in England, and ever since?
Is it thus that you make your selves Antipodes to the Jesuites, that you may carry your faces opposite wayes, and dwell in the same longitude and latitude from truth and charity? Is it thus you run from one another, only as Sampson's foxes did, with countenances seperate, and tayls united in those fiery doctrines, to which the Church of Christ oweth all her combustions?
Believe it, those Plebaeian doctrines of purgatory, Indulgences, Dirges, &c. which onely pick Purses, are not so properly and fundamentally Popish, as those Jesuitish principles which destroy whole Nations, by teaching it a pious devotion to turn Bankrupt in allegiance in hope to drive a quicker trade in Religion: A French Catholique who acknowledgeth the Kings Supremacy, is not half so dangerously Popish, as an English Schismatick which denieth it.
This then, this, is that Thorough Reformation which the truly Godly party longeth for. These are the Popish doctrines, upon which the Pope first built, and still maintaineth his greatnesse: These are the Anti-christian doctrines, which do so diametrically oppose that Great and Dear commandment and legacy which Christ gave his Church: Peace and Love.
And why must this great duty and happinesse be thrust out of the Church? What do you fear? shame? Will your reputation grow cheap with the people, if you build again the things you destroyed? Pacem contemnentes, & gloriam quarentes, pacem perdunt & gloriam: He that thus saveth his credit shall lose it, but he that loseth it shall save it.
What more glorious victory then to overcome our selves? What greater honour in the sight of God and Angels, and wise, and good men, then such a magnanimous embracing of shame? Did St. Augustine get more honour by any one, yea, or by all his other books, then by his Retractations? Did Aberdeen ever perform an Exercise so worthy the wisedome and piety of a Christian Accademy, as this to which we invite you?
But if you will needs be covering your nakednesse with fig-leaves; you cannot thereby hide, but proclaim your shame; your own first doctrines and publick protestations will tear those aprons, and convince you not only of error but obstinacy. And the meanest understanding, will (when a little calm hath setled our troubled waters) plainly, perceive, how unfit they are to be trusted who are at the same time self-condemned and self-justified.
But what if this were not? what if the common people could be perpetually muffeled? Is the breath of the multitude the onely sweet and whole ayre? are not the wise and learned not onely of this Nation, but of the whole Christian world, worthy to be regarded! Is not the King worthy to be considered! Are not the two great representatives of Church and State worthy to be thought on? Nay is not God himself fit to be remembered? and all the inhabitants of heaven who rejoyce at the repentance of every sinner? Is not the Magistrate fit to be feared? whose sword you tempt, by giving such manifest ombrages of jealousie, while you justifie those doctrines which we all are sadly convinced to be pernicious.
If then you truly lament that inhumane murther which we thus solemnly deplore; If you have any sense of those Long and Many, and Great miseries under which we all groaned: If you really thirst for a Thorough Reformation from the Antichristian doctrines of Rome.
If you desire that peace and love may be established on earth, and an Act of Oblivion in heaven. If you will not perpetuate Jealousies in the Magistrate and troubles in the Church:
Then joyn with us in singing this strayn of David's lamentation, by cursing those Philistian doctrines which were, not the place, but the cause of our wofull Tragedies.
You inhumane, you unchristian, &c.
Oh you bloudy and Anti-christian doctrines, may every pretender to Loyalty and Christianity for ever detest you.
Whoever saith it becometh a Subject to question the fitnesse of the Kings commands, when they are not warranted by a particular Word of Scripture; Let him be Anathema.
Whoever saith the Kings commands do not bind the Conscience to obedience in things not sinfull, let him be Anathema.
For by such principles as these was the best King that ever governed a Christian Kingdome, vilely cast away as if he had not been annointed with oyle.