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.
24. Upon their denying His Majesty the Attendance of His Chaplaines.
WHEN Providence was pleased to deprive Me of all other civill comforts and secular attendants, I thought the absence of them all might best be supplyed by the attendance of some of My Chaplaines; whom for their Function I reverence, and for their Fidelity I have cause to love. By their learning, piety, and prayers, I hoped to be either better enabled to sustaine the want of all other enjoyments, or better fitted for the recovery and use of them in Gods good time: so reaping by their pious help a spirituall harvest of grace amidst the thornes, and after the plowings of temporall crosses.
The truth is, I never needed or desired more the service and assistance of men judiciously pious, and soberly devout.
The solitude they have confined Me unto, adds the Wildernesse to my temptations; For the company they obtrude upon Me, is more sad than any solitude can be.
If I had asked My Revenues, My Power of the Militia, or any one of My Kingdomes, it had been no wonder to have been denyed in those things, where the evill policy of men forbids all just restitution, lest they should confesse an injurious usurpation: But to deny Me the Ghostly comfort of My Chaplaines seemes a greater rigour and barbarity, then is ever used by Christians to the meanest Prisoners, and greatest Malefactors; whom though the Justice of the Law deprive of worldly comforts, yet the mercy of Religion allows them the benefit of their Clergy, as not ayming at once to destroy their Bodies, and to damne their Soules.
But My Agony must not be relieved with the presence of any one good Angell; for such I account a Learned, Godly, and Discreet Divine: and such I would have all Mine to be.
They that envy My being a King, are loath I should be a Christian; while they seek to deprive Me of all things else, They are afraid I should save my Soul.
Other sense, Charity it self can hardly pick out of those many harsh Repulses I received, as to that Request so often made for the attendance of some of My Chaplaines.
I have sometime thought the Unchristiannesse of those denialls might arise from a displeasure some men had to see me prefer my own Divines before their Ministers: whom, though I respect for that worth and piety which may be in them; yet I cannot thinke them so proper for any present comforters or Physitians; Who have (some of them at least) had so great an influence in occasioning these calamities, and inflicting these wounds upon Me.
Nor are the soberest of them so apt for that devotionall complyance, and juncture of hearts, which I desire to bear in those holy Offices, to be performed with Me, and for Me; since their judgements standing at a distance from me, or in jealousie of me, or in opposition against me, their Spirits cannot so harmoniously accord with mine, or mine with theirs, either in Prayer, or other holy duties, as is meet, and most comfortable; whose golden Rule, and bond of Perfection consists in that of mutuall Love and Charity.
Some remedies are worse then the disease, and some comforters more miserable then misery it self; when like Jobs friends, they seek not to fortifie ones mind with patience; but perswade a man by betraying his own Innocency, to despair of Gods mercy; and by Justifying their injuries, to strengthen the hands, and harden the hearts of Insolent Enemies.
I am so much a friend to all Church-men, that have any thing in them beseeming that sacred function, that I have hazarded my owne Interests, chiefly upon Conscience and Constancy to maintaine their Rights; whom the more I looked upon as Orphans, and under the sacrilegious eyes of many cruell and rapacious Reformers; so I thought it my duty the more to appeare as a Father, and a Patron for them and the Church. Although I am very unhandsomly requited by some of them; who may live to repent no lesse for My sufferings, than their own ungratefull errours, and that injurious contempt and meannesse, which they have brought upon their Calling and Persons.
I pity all of them, I despise none: onely I thought I might have leave to make choice of some for My speciall Attendants, who were best approved in My Judgment, and most sutable to My affection. For, I held it better to seem undevout, and to heare no mens prayers, than to be forced, or seem to comply with those petitions, to which the heart cannot consent, nor the tongue say Amen, without contradicting a mans owne understanding, or belying his owne soule.
In Devotions I love neither profane boldnesse, nor pious non-sense; but such an humble and judicious gravity as shews the Speaker to be at once considerate both of Gods Majesty, the Churches honour, and his owne Vilenesse; both knowing what things God allows him to ask, and in what manner it becomes a Sinner to supplicate the Divine Mercy for himself, and others.
I am equally scandalized with all prayers, that sound either imperiously, or rudely, and passionately; as either wanting humility to God, or charity to men, or respect to the duty.
I confesse I am better pleased, as with studied and premeditated Sermons, so with such publique Formes of Prayer, as are fitted to the Churches and every Christians daily & common necessities; because I am by them better assured, what I may joyn My heart unto, than I can be of any mans extemporary sufficiency; which as I doe not wholly exclude from publique occasions, so I allow its just liberty and use in private and devout retirements; where neither the solemnity of the duty, nor the modest regard to others, doe require so great exactnesse as to the outward manner of performance. Though the light of understanding, and the fervency of affection, I hold the maine and most necessary requisites both in constant, and occasionall, solitary, and sociall Devotions.
So that I must needs seem to all equal minds with as much Reason to prefer the service of My own Chaplains before that of their Ministers, as I do the Liturgy before their Directory.
In the one, I have been alwaies educated and exercised; In the other, I am not yet Catechized, nor acquainted: And if I were, yet should I not by that, as by any certain rule and Canon of devotion, be able to follow or find out the indirect extravagancies of most of those men, who highly cry up that as a piece of rare composure and use; which is already as much despised and disused by many of them, as the Common-prayer sometimes was by those men; a great part of whose piety hung upon that popular pin of rayling against, and contemning the Government, and Liturgy of this Church. But, I had rather be condemned to the woe of Vae soli, than to that of Vae vobis Hypocritis, by seeming to pray what I doe not approve.
It may be, I am esteemed by My Denyers sufficient of My selfe to discharge My duty to GOD as a Priest, though not to Men as a Prince.
Indeed, I think both Offices, Regall and Sacerdotall, might well become the same Person; as anciently they were under one name, & the united rights of primogeniture: Nor could I follow better presidents, if I were able, than those two eminent Kings, David, and Solomon; not more famous for their Scepters and Crownes, than one was for devout Psalmes and Prayers; the other for his divine Parables and Preaching: whence the one merited and assumed the name of a Prophet, the other of a Preacher. Titles indeed of greater honour, where rightly placed, than any of those the Roman Emperours affected from the Nations they subdued: it being infinitely more glorious to convert
Soules to Gods Church by the Word, than to conquer men to a subjection by the Sword.
Yet since the order of Gods wisdome and providence hath, for the most part, alwaies distinguished the gifts and offices of Kings, of Priests, of Princes and Preachers; both in the Jewish and Christian Churches: I am sorry to find My selfe reduced to the necessity of being both, or enjoying neither.
For such as seek to deprive Me of Kingly Power and Soveraignty; would no lesse enforce Me to live many Months without all Prayers, Sacraments, arid Sermons, unlesse I become My owne Chaplaine.
As I owe the Clergy the protection of a Christian KING, so I desire to enjoy from them the benefit of their gifts and prayers; which I look upon as more prevalent than My owne, or other mens; by how much they flow from minds more enlightned, and affections lesse distracted, than those, which are en-combred with secular affaires: besides, I think a greater blessing and acceptablenesse attends those duties, which are rightly performed, as proper to, and within the limits of that calling, to which God and the Church have specially designed and consecrated some men: And however, as to that Spirituall Government, by which the devout Soule is subject to Christ, and through his merits daily offers it self and its services to GOD, every private believer is a King and Priest, invested with the honour of a Royall Priesthood; yet as to Ecclesiasticall order, and the outward polity of the Church, I think confusion in Religion will as certainly follow every mans turning Priest or Preacher, as it will in the State, where every one affects to rule as King.
I was alwaies bred to more modest, and I think more pious Principles: the consciousnesse to My spirituall defects makes Me more prize and desire those pious assistances, which holy and good Ministers, either Bishops or Presbyters, may afford Me; especially in these extremities, to which God hath been pleased to suffer some of My Subjects to reduce Me: so as to leave them nothing more, but My life to take from Me: and to leave Me nothing to desire, which I thought might lesse provoke their jealousie and offence to deny Me, than this of having some meanes afforded Me for My Soules comfort and support.
To which end I made choice of men, as no way (that I know) scandalous, so every way eminent for their learning and piety, no lesse than for their Loyalty: nor can I imagine any exceptions to be made against them, but only this, that they may seem too able and too well affected toward Me and My service.
But this is not the first service (as I count it the best) in which they have forced Me to serve My self; though I must confesse I beare with more grief & impatience the want of My Chaplaines, than of any other My Servants; and next (if not beyond in some things) to the being sequestred from my Wife and Children, since from these indeed more of humane and temporary affections, but from those more of heavenly and eternall improvements may be expected.
My comfort is, that in the inforced (not neglected) want of ordinary meanes, God is wont to afford extraordinary supplies of his gifts and graces.
If his Spirit will teach Me and help My Infirmities in prayer, reading and meditation (as I hope he will) I shall need no other, either Oratour or Instructer.
To Thee therefore, O My God, doe I direct My now solitary prayers; what I want of others help, supply with the more immediate assistances of thy Spirit, which alone can both enlighten My darknesse, and quicken My dulnesse.
O thou Son of righttousnesse, thou sacred Fountaine of heavenly light and heat, at once cleare and warme my heart, both by instructing of me, and interceding for me: In thee is all fulnesse: From thee all-sufficiency: By thee is all acceptance. Thou art company enough, and comfort enough: Thou art my King, be also my Prophet and my Priest. Rule me, teach me, pray in me, for me; and be thou ever with me.
The single wrestlings of Jacob prevailed with thee, in that sacred Duell, when he had none to second him but thy selfe; who didst assist him with power to overcome thee, and by a welcome violence to wrest a blessing from thee.
O look on me thy Servant, in infinite mercy, whom thou didst once blesse with the joynt and sociated Devotions of others, whose fervency might inflame the coldnesse of my affections towards thee; when we went to, or met in thy House with the voice of joy and gladnesse, worshipping thee in the unity of spirits, and with the bond of Peace.
O forgive the neglect, and not improving of those happy opportunities.
It is now thy pleasure that I should be as a Pelican in the wildernesse, as a Sparrow on the house top, and as a coale scattered from all those pious glowings, and devout reflections, which might best kindle, preserve, and encrease the holy fire of thy graces on the Altar of my heart, whence the sacrifice of prayers, and incense of praises, might be duly offered up to thee.
Yet O thou that breakest not the bruized Reed, nor quenchest the smoaking Flax, doe not despise the weaknesse of my prayers, nor the smotherings of my soule in this uncomfortable lonenesse; to which I am constrained by some mens uncharitable denialls of those helps, which I much want, and no lesse desire.
O let the hardnesse of their hearts occasion the softnings of mine to thee, and for Them. Let their hatred kindle my love, let their unreasonable denials of my Religious desires the more excite my prayers to thee. Let their inexorable deafnesse encline thine eare to me; who art a God easie to be entreated; thine eare is not heavy, that it cannot, nor thy heart hard, that it will not heare; nor thy hand shortned, that it cannot help Me thy desolate Supplyant.
Thou permittest men to deprive me of those outward means, which thou hast appointed in thy Church; but they cannot debarre me from the communion of that inward grace, which thou alone breathest into humble hearts.
O make me such, and thou wilt teach me; thou wilt heare me, thou wilt help me: The broken and contrite heart I know thou wilt not despise.
Thou, O Lord canst at once make me thy Temple, thy Priest, thy Sacrifice, and thine Altar; while from an humble heart I (alone) daily offer up in holy meditations, fervent prayers, and unfeigned teares my self to thee; who preparest me for thee, dwellest in me, and acceptest of me.
Thou O Lord didst cause by secret supplies and miraculous infusions, that the handfull of meale in the vessell should not spend, nor the little oyle in the cruise fayle the Widow during the time of drought and dearth.
O look on my soul, which as a Widow, is now desolate & forsaken: let not those saving Truths I have formerly learned now fail my memory; nor the sweet effusions of thy Spirit, which I have sometime felt, now be wanting to my heart in this famine of ordinary and wholsome food for the refreshing of my Soule.
Which yet I had rather chuse than to feed from those hands who mingle my bread with ashes, and my wine with gall; rather tormenting, than teaching me; whose mouths are proner to bitter reproaches of me, than to hearty prayers for me.
Thou knowest, O Lord of Truth, how oft they wrest thy holy Scriptures to My destruction, (which are cleare for their subjection, and my preservation) O let it not be to their damnation.
Thou knowest how some men (under colour of long prayers) have sought to devoure the houses of their Brethren, their King, and their God.
O let not those mens balmes break my head, nor their Cordialls oppresse my heart, I will evermore pray against their wickednesse.
From the poyson under their tongues, from the snares of their lips, from the fire, and the swords of their words ever deliver Me, O Lord, and all those Loyall and Religious hearts, who desire and delight in the prosperity of my soul, and who seek by their prayers to relieve this sadnesse, and solitude of thy servant, O my King and my God.