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.
26. Upon the Armies Surprisall of the KING at Holmeby, and the ensuing distractions in the two Houses, the Army, and the City.
WHAT part God will have me now to act or suffer in this new and strange scene of affaires, I am not much solicitous; some little practise will serve that man, who onely seeks to represent a part of honesty and honour.
This surprize of Me tells the world, that a KING cannot be so low, but He is considerable; adding weight to that Party where he appeares.
This motion, like others of the Times, seems excentrique and irregular, yet not well to be resisted or quieted: Better swim down such a stream, than in vain to strive against it.
These are but the struglings of those twins, which lately one womb enclosed, the younger striving to prevaile against the elder; what the Presbyterians have hunted after, the Independents now seek to catch for themselves.
So impossible is it for lines to be drawn from the center, and not to divide from each other, so much the wider, by how much they go farther from the point of union.
That the Builders of Babel should from division fall to confusion, is no wonder; but for those that pretend to build Jerusalem, to divide their tongues and hands, is but an ill omen; and sounds too like the fury of those Zealots, whose intestine bitternesse and divisions were the greatest occasion of the last fatall destruction of that City.
Well may I change my Keepers and Prison, but not my captive condition, onely with this hope of bettering, that those who are so much professed Patrons for the Peoples Liberties, cannot be utterly against the Liberty of their KING; what they demand for their owne Consciences, they cannot in Reason deny to Mine.
In this they seem more ingenuous, than the Presbyterian rigour, who, sometimes complaining of exacting their conformity to laws, are become the greatest Exactors of other mens submission to their novell injunctions, before they are stamped with the Authority of Lawes, which they cannot well have without My consent.
'Tis a great argument, that the Independents think themselves manumitted from their Rivals service, in that they carry on a businesse of such consequence, as the assuming My Person into the Armies custody, without any Commission, but that of their owne will and power. Such as will thus adventure on a King, must not be thought over-modest, or timerous to carry on any designe they have a mind to.
Their next motion menaces, and scares both the two Houses and the City: which soone after acting over again that former part of tumultuary motions, (never questioned, punished or repented) must now suffer for both; and see their former sinne in the glasse of the present terrours and distractions.
No man is so blind as not to see herein the hand of divine justice; they that by Tumults first occasioned the raising of Armies, must now be chastened by their owne Army for new Tumults.
So hardly can men be content with one sin, but adde sin to sin, till the latter punish the former; such as were content to see Me and many Members of both Houses driven away by the first unsuppressed Tumults, are now forced to flie to an Army, or defend themselves against them.
But who can unfold the riddle of some mens justice? the Members of both Houses who at first withdrew, (as My self was forced to doe) from the rudenesse of the Tumults, were counted Deserters, and outed of their Places in Parliament.
Such as stayed then, and enjoyed the benefit of the Tumults, were asserted for the onely Parliament-men: now the Fliers from, and Forsakers of their Places, carry the Parliamentary power along with them; complaine highly against the Tumults, and vindicate themselves by an Army: such as remained and kept their stations, are looked upon as Abettors of tumultuary insolencies, and Betrayers of the freedome and honour of Parliament.
Thus is Power above all Rule, Order, and Law; where men look more to present Advantages than their Consciences, and the unchangeable rules of Justice; while they are Judges of others, they are forced to condemn themselves.
Now the plea against Tumults holds good, the Authours and Abettors of them are guilty of prodigious insolencies; when as before, they were counted as Friends and necessary Assistants.
I see Vengeance pursues and overtakes (as the Mice and Rats are said to have done a Bishop in Germany) them that thought to have escaped and fortified themselves most impregnably against it, both by their multitude and compliance.
Whom the Laws cannot, God will punish, by their owne crimes and hands.
I cannot but observe this divine Justice, yet with sorrow and pity; for, I alwaies wished so well to Parliament and City, that I was sorry to see them doe, or suffer, any thing unworthy such great & considerable bodies in this Kingdome.
I was glad to see them onely scared and humbled, not broken by that shaking: I never had so ill a thought of those Cities as to despaire of their Loyalty to Me; which mistakes might eclipse, but I never believed malice had quite put out.
I pray God the storme be yet wholly passed over them; upon whom I look, as Christ did sometime over Jerusalem, as objects of my prayers and teares, with compassionate griefe, foreseeing those severer scatterings which will certainly befall such as wantonly refuse to be gathered to their duty: fatall blindnesse frequently attending and punishing wilfulnesse, so that men shall not be able at last to prevent their sorrows who would not timely repent of their sins; nor shall they be suffered to enjoy the comforts, who securely neglect the counsels belonging to their peace.
They will find that Brethren in iniquity are not farre from becomming insolent enemies, there being nothing harder then to keep ill men long in one mind.
Nor is it possible to gaine a faire period for those notions which go rather in a round and circle of fansie, than in a right line of reason tending to the Law, the onely center of publique consistency; whither I pray God at last bring all sides.
Which will easily be done, when we shall fully see how much more happy we are, to be subject to the knowne Laws, than to the various wils of any men, seem they never so plausible at first.
Vulgar compliance with any illegall and extravagant waies, like violent motions in nature, soon grows weary of it self, and ends in a refractory sullennesse: Peoples rebounds are oft in their faces, who first put them upon those violent strokes.
For the Army (which is so far excusable, as they act according to Souldiers principles, and interests, demanding Pay and Indempnity) I think it necessary, in order to the publike peace that they should be satisfied, as far as is just; no man being more prone to consider them than My self: though they have fought against Me, yet I cannot but so farre esteem that valour & gallantry they have sometime shewed, as to wish I may never want such men to maintain My selfe, My Lawes, and My Kingdoms, in such a peace, as wherein they may enjoy their share and proportion as much as any men.
But thou, O Lord, who art perfect Unity in a sacred Trinity, in mercy behold those, whom thy Justice hath divided.
Deliver Me from the strivings of My People, and make Me to see how much they need My prayers and pity, who agreed to fight against Me, and yet are now ready to fight against one another; to the continuance of My Kingdomes distractions.
Discover to all sides the waies of peace, from which they have swarved: which consists not in the divided wills of Parties, but in the point and due observation of the Lawes.
Make Me willing to go whither thou wilt lead Me by thy providence; and be thou ever with Me, that I may see thy constancy in the worlds variety and changes.
Make me even such as thou wouldst have Me, that I may at last enjoy that safety and tranquillity which thou alone canst give Me.
Divert, I pray thee, O Lord, thy heavy wrath justly hanging over those populous Cities, whose plenty is prone to add fewell to their luxury, their wealth to make them wanton, their multitudes tempting them to security, & their security exposing them to unexpected miseries.
Give them eyes to see, hearts to consider, wils to embrace, and courage to act those things which belong to thy glory and the publique peace, lest their calamity come upon them as an armed man.
Teach them, That they cannot want enemies who abound in sinne, nor shall they be long undisarmed and undestroyed, who with a high hand persisting to fight against thee and the cleare convictions of their owne consciences, fight more against themselves than ever they did against Me.
Their sinnes exposing them to thy Justice, their riches to others injuries, their number to Tumults, and their Tumults to confusion.
Though they have with much forwardnesse helped to destroy Me, yet let not my fall be their ruine.
Let Me not so much consider, either what they have done, or I have suffered, (chiefly at first by them) as to forget to imitate My crucified Redeemer, to plead their ignorance for their pardon; and in My dying extremities to pray to thee O Father to forgive them, for they knew not what they did.
The teares they have denied Me in My saddest condition, give them grace to bestow upon themselves, who the lesse they were for Me, the more cause they have to weep for themselves.
O let not My bloud be upon them and their Children, whom the fraud and faction of some, not the malice of all, have excited to crucifie Me.
But thou, O Lord, canst, and wilt (as thou didst My Redeemer) both exalt and perfect Me by My sufferings, which have more in them of thy mercy, than of mans cruelty or thy owne justice.