« AnteriorContinuar »
168. He would prove, that to govern by parliament hath “a monstrosity rather than perfection;" and grounds his argument upon two or three eminent absurdities : first, by placing counsel in the senses; next, by turning the senses out of the head, and in lieu thereof placing power supreme above sense and reason: which be now the greater monstrosities ? Further to dispute what kind of government is best would be a long debate; it sufficeth that his reasons here for monarchy are found weak and inconsiderable. '
169. He bodes much“ horror and bad influence after his eclipse.” He speaks his wishes; but they who by weighing prudently things past foresee things to come, the best divination, may hope rather all good success and happiness, by removing that darkness, which the misty cloud of his prerogative made between us and a peaceful reformation, which is our true sun-light, and not he, though he would be taken for our sun itself. And wherefore should we not hope to be governed more happily without a king, whenas all our misery and trouble hath been either by a king, or by our necessary vindication and defence against him ?
170. He would be thought “ inforced to perjury,” by having granted the militia, by which his oath bound him to protect the people. If he can be perjured in granting that, why doth he refuse for no other cause the abolishing of episcopacy ? But never was any oath so blind as to swear him to protect delinquents against justice, but to pro
tect all the people in that order, and by those hands which the parliament should advise him to, and the protected confide in; not under the show of protection to hold a violent and incommunicable sword over us, as ready to be let fall upon our own necks, as upon our enemies; nor to make our own hands and weapons fight against our own liberties.
171. By his parting with the militia he takes to himself much praise of his “ assurance in God's protection;" and to the parliament imputes the fear “ of not daring to adventure the injustice of their actions upon any other way of safety.” But wherefore came not this assurance of God's protection to bim till the militia was wrung out of his hands ? It should seem by his holding it so fast, that his own actions and intentions had no less of injustice in them, than what he charges upon others, whom he terms Chaldeans, Sabeans, and the devil himself. But Job used no such militia against those enemies, nor such a magazine as was at Hull, which this king so contended for, and made war upon us, that he might have wherewithal to make war against us. He concludes, that, “ although they take all from him, yet can they not obstruct his way to heaven.” It was no ! handsome occasion, by feigning obstructions where they are not, to tell us whither he was going : he should have shut the door, and prayed in secret, not here in the high street. Private prayers in public ask something of whom they ask not, and that shall be their reward.
Upon the Nineteen Propositions, &c.
172. Of the nineteen propositions he names none in particular, neither shall the answer: but he insists upon the old plea of “his conscience, honour, and reason;" using the plausibility of large and indefinite words, to defend himself at such a distance as may hinder the eye of common judgment from all distinct view and examination of his reasoning. “He would buy the peace of his people at any rate, save only the parting with his conscience and honour.” Yet shows not how it can happen that the peace of a people, if otherwise to be bought at any rate, should be inconsistent or at variance with the conscience and honour of a king. Till then, we may receive it for a better sentence, that nothing should be more agreeable to the conscience and honour of a king, than to preserve his subjects in peace; especially from civil war.
173. And which of the propositions were “ obtruded on him with the point of the sword,” till he first with the point of the sword thrust from him both the propositions and the propounders ? He never reckons those violent and merciless obtrusions, which for almost twenty years he had been forcing upon tender consciences, by all sorts of persecution, till through the multitude of them that were to suffer, it could no more be called a persecution, but a plain war. From which when first the Scots, then the English, were constrained to defend themselves, this their just defence is that which he calls here, “their making war upon his soul.”
174. He grudges that “ so many things are required of him, and nothing offered him in requital of those favours which he bad granted.” What could satiate the desires of this man, who being king of England, and master of almost two millions yearly (69) what by hook or crook, was still in want; and those acts of justice which he was to do in duty, counts done as favours; and such favours as were not done without the avaricious hope of other rewards besides supreme honour, and the constant revenue of his place ?
175. “ This honour,” he saith, “they did him, to put him on the giving part.” And spake truer than he intended, it being merely for honour's sake that they did so; not that it belonged to him of right: for what can he give to a parliament, who receives all he hath from the people, and for the people's good ? Yet now he brings his own conditional rights to contest and be preferred before the people's good; and yet, unless it be in order to their good, he hath no rights at all; reigning by the laws of the land, not by his own; which laws
(69) Since that time the revenues of England have somewhat increased !
are in the hands of parliament to change or abrogate as they shall see best for the commonwealth, even to the taking away of kingship itself, when it grows too masterful and burdensome.
176. For every commonwealth is in general defined, a society sufficient of itself, in all things conducible to well-being and commodious life. Any of which requisite things, if it cannot have without the gift and favour of a single person, or without leave of his private reason or his conscience, it cannot be thought sufficient of itself, and by consequence no commonwealth, nor free; but a multitude of vassals in the possession and domain of one absolute lord, and wholly obnoxious to his will. If the king have power to give or deny any thing to his parliament, he must do it either as a person several from them, or as one greater: neither of which will be allowed bim: not to be considered severally from them; for as the king of England can do no wrong, so neither can he do right but in his courts and by his courts; and what is legally done in them, shall be deemed the king's assent, though he as a several person shall judge or endeavour the contrary; so that indeed without his courts, or against them, he is no king. If therefore he obtrude upon us any public mischief, or withhold from us any general good, which is wrong in the highest degree, he must do it as a tyrant, not as a king of England, by the known maxims of our law. Neither can he, as one greater, give aught to the parliament which is not in their own power, but he must be