Or, The King's Book
Edited by Edward Almack
London: A. Moring, Limited, At the De la More Press, 1904.
text from an "advance copy" of the first edition, 1649.
23. Upon the Scots delivering the KING to the English; and His Captivity at Holmeby.
YET may I justifie those Scots to all the world in this, that they have not deceived me; for I never trusted to them further, than to men: if I am sold by them, I am onely sorry they should doe it; and that my price should be so much above my Saviours.
These are but further Essays, which God will have me make of mans uncertainty, the more to fix me on himself; who never faileth them that trust in him; Though the Reeds of Egypt break under the hand of him that leans on them: yet the Rock of Israel will be an everlasting stay and defence.
Gods providence commands me to retire from all to himself, that in him I may enjoy my self, which I lose, while I let out my hopes to others.
The solitude and captivity, to which I am now reduced, gives me leisure enough to study the worlds vanity, and inconstancy.
God sees 'tis fit to deprive me of Wife, Children, Army, Friends, and Freedome, that I may be wholly his, who alone is all.
I care not much to be reckoned among the Unfortunate, if I be not in the black List of irreligious, and sacrilegious Princes.
No Restraint shall ensnare my Soule in sin; nor gaine that of me, which may make my Enemies more insolent, my Friends ashamed, or my Name accursed.
They have no great cause to triumph, that they have got my Person into their power; since my Soule is still my owne; nor shall they ever gaine my Consent against my Conscience.
What they call obstinacy, I know God accounts honest constancy, from which Reason and Religion, as well as Honour, forbid me to recede.
'Tis evident now, that it was not Evil Counsellours with me, but a good Conscience in me, which hath been fought against; nor did they ever intend to bring me to my Parliament, till they had brought my mind to their obedience.
Should I grant what some men desire, I should be such as they wish me; not more a King, and farre lesse both Man and Christian.
What Tumults and Armies could not obtaine, neither shall Restraint; which though it have as little of safety to a Prince, yet it hath not more of danger.
The feare of men shall never be my snare; nor shall the love of any liberty entangle my soule: Better others betray me, than my self: and that the price of my liberty should be my Conscience; the greatest injuries my Enemies seek to inflict upon me, cannot be without my owne consent.
While I can deny with Reason, I shall defeat the greatest impressions of their malice, who neither know how to use worthily, what I have already granted; nor what to require more of me but this, That I would seem willing to help them to destroy My self & Mine.
Although they should destroy me, yet they shall have no cause to despise me.
Neither liberty nor life are so deare to me, as the peace of my Conscience, the Honour of my Crownes, and the welfare of my People; which my Word may injure more than any Warre can doe; while I gratifie a few to oppresse all.
The Lawes will, by Gods blessing, revive, with the love and Loyalty of my Subjects; if I bury them not by my Consent, and cover them in that grave of dishonour, and injustice, which some mens violence hath digged for them.
If my Captivity or death must be the price of their redemption, I grudge not to pay it.
No condition can make a King miserable, which carries not with it, his Souls, his Peoples, and Posterities thraldome.
After-times may see, what the blindnesse of this Age will not; and God may at length shew my Subjects, that I chuse rather to suffer for them, than with them; happily I might redeem my selfe to some shew of liberty, if I would consent to enslave them: I had rather hazard the ruine of one King, than to confirme many Tyrants over them; from whom I pray God deliver them, whatever becomes of Me, whose solitude hath not left Me alone.
For thou, O God, infinitely good, and great, art with Me, whose presence is better than life; and whose service is perfect freedome.
Owne Me for thy Servant, and I shall never have cause to complaine for want of that liberty, which becomes a Man, a Christian, and a King.
Blesse Me still with Reason, as a Man; with Religion, as a Christian; and with Constancy in Justice, as a King.
Though thou sufferest Me to be stript of all outward ornaments, yet preserve Me ever in those enjoyments, wherein I may enjoy thy selfe; and which, cannot be taken from Me against my will.
Let no fire of affliction boyle over My passion to any impatience, or sordid feares.
There be many say of Me, There is no help for Me: doe thou lift up the light of thy Countenance, upon Me, and I shall neither want safety, liberty, nor Majesty.
Give Me that measure of patience and Constancy, which my condition now requires. My strength is scattered, My expectation from Men defeated, My Person restrained: O be not thou farre from Me, lest My Enemies prevaile too much against Me.
I am become a wonder, and a scorne to many: O be thou my Helper and Defender.
Shew some token upon me for good, that they that hate me may be ashamed, because thou Lord hast holpen and comforted me: establish me with thy free Spirit, that I may do, and suffer thy will, as thou wouldst have me.
Be mercifull to me, O Lord, for my Soule trusteth in thee: yea and in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge untill these calamities be overpast.
Arise to deliver me, make no long tarrying, O my God. Though thou killest me, yet will I trust in thy mercy, and my Saviour merit.
I know that my Redeemer liveth; though thou leadest me through the vayl and shadow of death, yet shall I feare none ill.