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that the Protestants had only an intent to lay hands upon the church revenues, a thing never in the thoughts of this parliament, till exhausted by his endless war upon them, their necessity seized on that for the commonwealth, which the luxury of prelates had abused before to a common mischief.
149. His consent to the unlording of bishops, (for to that he himself consented, and at Canterbury the chief seat of their pride, so God would have it !) “was from his firm persuasion of their contentedness to suffer a present diminution of their rights." (62) Can any man, reading this, not discern the pure mockery of a royal consent, to delude us only for “ the present,” meaning, it seems, when time should serve, to revoke all ? By this reckoning, his consents and his denials come all to one pass : and we may hence perceive the small wisdom and integrity of those votes, which voted his concessions of the Isle of Wight for grounds of a lasting peace. Thus he alleges this controversy about bishops, “to be the true state” of that difference between him and the parliament. For he held episcopacy “ both very sacred and divine;" with this judgment, and for this cause, he with
(62) This will remind the reader of the letter of a curate, recently published in the newspapers, comparing the church of England to an old woman, who, having passed through the various stages of life, from the age of puberty to that of decrepitude, must now, according to his view of the matter, prepare to die, but with the certainty of a glorious resurrection to terifold riches and grandeur.
drew from the parliament, and confesses that some men knew “ he was like to bring again the same judgment which he carried with him.” A fair and unexpected justification from his own mouth afforded to the parliament, who, notwithstanding what they knew of his obstinate mind, omitted not to use all those means and that patience to have gained him.
150. As for delinquents, “ he allows them to be but the necessary consequences of his and their withdrawing and defending," a pretty shift! to mince the name of a delinquent into a necessary consequent. What is a traitor, but the necessary consequence of his treason? What a rebel, but of his rebellion ? From his conceit he would infer a pretext only in the parliament “ to fetch in delinquents," as if there had indeed been no such cause, but all the delinquency in London tumults. Which is the overworn theme and stuffing of all his discourses.
151. This he thrice repeats to be the true state and reason of all that war and devastation in the land; and that “of all the treaties and propositions” offered him, he was resolved “never to grant the abolishing of episcopal, or the establishment of presbyterian, government.” I would demand now of the Scots and covenanters, (for so I call them, as misobservers of the covenant,) how they will reconcile “ the preservation of religion and their liberties, and the bringing of delinquents to condign punishment," with the freedom, honour, and safety of this avowed resolution here, that esteems all the zeal of their prostituted covenant no better than “a noise and show of piety, a heat for reformation, filling them with prejudice, and obstructing all equality and clearness of judgment in them.” With these principles who knows but that at length he might have come to take the covenant, as others, whom they brotherly admit, have done before him ? And then all, no doubt, had gone well, and ended in a happy peace.
152. His prayer is most of it borrowed out of David; but what if it be answered him as the Jews, who trusted in Moses, were answered by our Saviour; “ There is one that accuseth you, even David, whom you misapply.” He tells God, “ that his enemies are many,” but tells the people, when it serves his turn, they are but “a faction of some few, prevailing over the major part of both houses." “God knows he had no passion, design, or preparation, to embroil his kingdom in a civil war." True; for he thought his kingdom to be Issachar, a “strong ass that would have couched down between two burdens,” the one of prelatical superstition, the other of civil tyranny: but what passion and design, what close and open preparation he had made, to subdue us to both these by terror and preventive force, all the nation knows.
153. “ The confidence of some men had almost persuaded him to suspect his own innocence.” As the words of Saint Paul had almost persuaded Agrippa to be a Christian. But almost, in the works of repentance, is as good as not at all. “God,” saith he, “ will find out bloody and deceitful men, many of whom have not lived out half their days.” It behoved him to have been more cautious how he tempted God's finding out of blood and deceit, till his own years had been further spent, or that he had enjoyed longer the fruits of his own violent counsels.
154. But instead of wariness he adds another temptation, charging God“ to know, that the chief design of this war was either to destroy his person, or to force his judgment.” And thus his prayer, from the evil practice of unjust accusing men to God, arises to the hideous rashness of accusing God before men, to know that for truth which all men know to be most false. He prays, “ that God would forgive the people, for they know not what they do.” It is an easy matter to say over what our Saviour said; but how he loved the people other arguments than affected sayings must demonstrate. He who so oft hath presumed rashly to appeal to the knowledge and testimony of God in things so evidently untrue, may be doubted what belief or esteem he had of his forgiveness, either to himself, or those for whom he would so , feign that men should hear he prayed.
Upon their seizing the Magazines, Forts, 8c.
155. To put the matter soonest out of controversy who was the first beginner of this civil war, since the beginning of all war may be discerned not only by the first act of hostility, but by the counsels and preparations foregoing, it shall evidently appear that the king was still foremost in all these. No king had ever at his first coming to the crown more love and acclamation from a people; (63) never any people found worse requital of their loyalty and good affection: first by his extraordinary fear and mistrust, that their liberties and rights were the impairing and diminishing of his regal power, the true original of tyranny; next, by his hatred to all those who were esteemed religious; doubting that their principles too much asserted liberty. This was quickly seen by the vehemence, and the causes alleged of his persecuting, the other by his frequent and opprobrious dissolution of parliaments; after he had demanded more money of
(63) But this is nothing remarkable. Nearly all princes are at first popular, because the people always hope the best from them, and are but slowly undeceived. No good king, however, has ever been known to lose the affections of his people; and many bad ones have retained them, long after they had ceased to deserve either love or respect.