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so eminent an example, should learn to tremble at his judgments, and not play with imprecations.
Upon the calling in of the Scots, and their
220. It must needs seem strange, where men accustom themselves to ponder and contemplate things in their first original and institution, that kings, who as all other officers of the public, were at first chosen and installed only by consent and suffrage of the people, to govern them as freemen by laws of their own making, and to be, in consideration of that dignity and riches bestowed upon them, the entrusted servants of the commonwealth, should, notwithstanding, grow up to that dishonest encroachment, as to esteem themselves masters, both of that great trust which they serve, and of the people that betrusted them; counting what they ought to do, both in discharge of their public duty, and for the great reward of honour and revenue which they receive, as done all of mere grace and favour; as if their power over us were by nature, and from themselves, or that God had sold us into their hands.
221. Indeed, if the race of kings were eminently the best of men, as the breed at Tutbury is of horses, it would in reason then be their part only to command, ours always to obey. (75) But kings by generation no way excelling others, and most commonly not being the wisest or the worthiest by far of whom they claim to have the governing; that we should yield them subjection to our own ruin, or hold of them the right of our common safety, and our natural freedom by mere gift, (as when the conduit pisses wine at coronations,) from the superfluity of their royal grace and beneficence, we may be sure was never the intent of God, whose ways are just and equal; never the intent of nature, whose works are also regular; never of any people not wholly barbarous, whom prudence, or no more but human sense, would have better guided when they first created kings, than so to nullify and tread to dirt the rest of mankind, by exalting one person and his lineage without other merit looked after, but the mere contingency of a
(75) Even so far as this, however, Aristotle, an able politician, would hardly be disposed to go, though in a passage, clearly ironical, he has been understood to mean as much. But in the third book of his “Politics,” he inquires—“Ought a superiority in every advantageous quality, when other things are alike, to entitle its possessor to a superiority of political advantages ?” And in reply to his own question, he observes :—“ In lesser matters, such a principle of distinction is not allowed to operate." Towards the conclusion of the chapter, indeed, he says--" In the contest for civil preeminence, education and virtue seem fairly entitled to the first honours, because of all things, education and virtue most contribute to the perfection of civil society." (lib. iii. c. 8 )
begetting, into an absolute and unaccountable dominion over them and their posterity.
222. Yet this ignorant or wilful mistake of the whole matter had taken so deep root in the imagination of this king, that whether to the English or to the Scot, mentioning what acts of his regal office (though God knows how unwillingly) he had passed, he calls them, as in other places, acts of grace and bounty; so here “special obligations, favours, to gratify active spirits, and the desires of that party." Words not only sounding pride and lordly usurpation, but injustice, partiality, and corruption. For to the Irish he so far condescended, as first to tolerate in private, then to covenant openly the tolerating of popery: so far to the Scot, as to remove bishops, establish presbytery, and the militia in their own hands; “ preferring, as some thought, the desires of Scotland before his own interest and honour.” But being once on this side Tweed, his reason, his conscience, and his honour became so frightened with a kind of false virginity, that to the English neither one nor other of the same demands could be granted, wherewith the Scots were gratified; as if our air and climate on a sudden had changed the property and the nature both of conscience, honour, and reason, or that he found none so fit as the English to be the subjects of his arbitrary power. Ireland was as Ephraim, the strength of his head; Scotland as Judah was his lawgiver; but over England, as over Edom, he meant to cast his shoe: and yet so many sober Englishmen, not sufficiently awake to consider this, like men enchanted with the Circæan cup of servitude, will not be held back from running their own heads into the yoke of bondage.
223. The sum of his discourse is against“ settling of religion by violent means;" which, whether it were the Scots' design upon England, they are best able to clear themselves. But this of all may seem strangest, that the king, who, while it was permitted him, never did thing more eagerly than to molest and persecute the consciences of most religious men; he who had made a war, and lost all, rather than not uphold a hierarchy of persecuting bishops, should bave the confidence here to profess himself so much an enemy of those that force the conscience. For was it not he, who upon the English obtruded new ceremonies, upon the Scots a new Liturgy, and with his sword went about to engrave a bloody rubric on their backs ? Did he not forbid and binder all effectual search of truth; nay, like a besieging enemy, stopped all her passages both by word and writing. Yet he can talk of “ fair and equal disputations :" where, notwithstanding, if all submit not to his judgment, as not being “ rationally convicted,” they must submit (and he conceals it not) to his penalty, as counted obstinate. But what if he himself, and those his learned churchmen, were the convicted or the obstinate part long ago; should reformation suffer them to sit lording over the church in their fat bishoprics and pluralities, like the great whore that sitteth upon many waters, till they would vouchsafe to be disputed out? Or should we sit disputing, while they sit plotting and persecuting? Those clergymen were not “ to be driven into the fold like sheep,” as his simile runs, but to be driven out of the fold like wolves or thieves, where they sat fleecing those flocks which they never fed.
224. He believes “ that presbytery, though proved to be the only institution of Jesus Christ, were not by the sword to be set up without his consent;" which is contrary both to the doctrine and the known practice of all Protestant churches, if his sword threaten those who of their own accord embrace it. And although Christ and his apostles, being to civil affairs but private men, contended not with magistrates; yet when magistrates themselves, and especially parliaments, who have greatest right to dispose of the civil sword, come to know religion, they ought in conscience to defend all those who receive it willingly, against the violence of any king or tyrant whatsoever. Neither is it therefore true, “ that Christianity is planted or watered with Christian blood;" for there is a large difference between forcing men by the sword to turn presbyterians, and defending those who willingly are so, from a furious inroad of bloody bishops, armed with the militia of a king, their pupil. And if “ covetousness and ambition be an argument that presbytery hath not much of Christ,” it argues more strongly against episcopacy; which, from the time of her first mounting to an order above the presbyters, had no other parents than “ covetousness and ambition.” And those sects, schisms, and heresies, which he speaks of, “ if they get but