AN ANSVVER WITHOUT A QUESTION: OR, The Late Schismatical Petition Expounded.
WHen I first lookt upon the simply prophane Title of that impious Petition which the two-horn'd Beast presented to the seven-headed Monster at Westminster, I could do no less then deride their simplicity, and condemn their insufferable Demand for a Diabolical TOLERATION: Certainly it was penned by that Pragmatical fellow, Colonel PRIDE the Devils Secretary, who being diserted by the other six deadly Page 4sins (who are gone with Cromwel) in a Melancholy, proceed∣ing from a Cholerick rather then a suspicious Humour, wrote this presumptious and damnable Command, disguising it with the Hackney Roabes of a PETITION, and leading TOM indifferent by the Nose, let him see it through his fingers, who, poor fool (being used to it) according to his breeding, Signed it: But to speak truth, FAIRFAX that necessary evil was a fool, and PRIDE that nominal and natural Devil, proved himself a Knave: the one for not looking on it but with another mans Spectacles; the other for Cheating him and the world by his Hypocritically humble PETITION, and pretended Spirit of Faith and Supplication: But he doth not only seek to Cheat men, but to mock God, he would put a trick upon his Divine Majesty, by fathering that upon him, which he never intended, as that the Victory (if they had one) was given by God to them in Ireland, as The fruit of that Faith & Supplication which God hath powred forth on the hearts of the people, to the bringing down the common Enemy, &c. when it is evident, that whatever they have done since these Wars, hath proceeded from our sins as the causa sine qua non, and not from their Righteousness: I confess they be Gods Servants, but no otherwise then Nebuchadnezzar was, to punish the Israelites, and then God will punish him: but how impudently they persevere in their prophane expressi∣ons! taking the Lords Name in vain, by dissembling That they fight under his Banner, and that by the same power and presence that hath made bare his Arm in the late Victory, wickedly intimating that God fought for them and their Ioshuah at Dublin, they tender to this Conventicle their annexed Proposals as full of Heresie and Blasphemy as this exordium is of Hypocrisie.
First they condemne those which sometimes they hold infal∣lible, of a Crime, in making Ordinances of Parliament (which indeed were the best that ever they made) whereby many con∣scientious people are much molested, &c. meaning that by those Ordinances Sectaries & Hereticks, whom they term con∣scientious people, were hindered from dispersing their dam∣nable Tenents: but see how they sport with God, engaging him in every business, That the Spirit of Christ flowing forth in his Servants for the declaring his Name in the Nation, may not be Page 5suppressed, but receive all due encouragement: What fair pretences these Impostures have? such as would deceive the very Elect if it were possible: but their Actions are so contrary to their expressions, that any one may perceive they make heaven their Pander, earth their Bawdy-house, and the Devil their Servant, who hath endeavoured such a Toleration in many Kingdoms, but could never prevail till now he found how devoted the Whore of England was to him, he hath gotten what he lookt for, which makes him not doubt of good success: for having once sowed this seed, he shall ever after have a great Crop, be∣sides he is in hope that these his Servants by his help, may bring other Countries to it in a yeer or two, which he in almost two thousand yeers could not do: But now to their second Proposal.
Secondly, And because we are sensible, that through the subtilty of Sathan, &c. Surely the Devil gave them leave to abuse him, or else they durst not be so dis-obediently wicked as to speak against their own Father: but if they displease him in these, they please him in the following Lines: and make the worst of it, they do but break his head, and presently give him a Plai∣ster far better then a Mountebancks Balsom, which comes in just as the Devil would have it, We therefore from our hearts do humbly declare, That it is not our meaning, that the Liberty before Desired by us should extend to the Toleration of Popery, Prelacy, the Book of Common-Prayer, &c. This Reconciles the Devil unto them, for now he finds that all their intentions, words, and actions, tend to the exaltation of his Kingdom: for although Popery be excluded, yet he is fully Recompenced in the abo∣lishing of Prelacy and Uniformity: Besides, one Heresie is more profitable to him then a thousand Papistical Fopperies: For he will suddenly bring in as many Heresies as houses, and as many Opinions as there be people: to adde to the number, he hath got leave, that a servant of his, a Saint of the last edition, should translate that Academy of Heresies, the Turkish Alcoran, which in the dayes of Queen Elizabeth, King James, and King Charls of blessed Memory, was treason in any one to transport hither, much less Translate: and that it might be more vendible and acceptable, all the gross absurdities are left out, as a learned and holy man of this Kingdom hath observed.Page 6
The Turkish Alcaron saith he is abroad, but that the Reader may not be abused, let him know, That all the most gross, ab∣surd, ridiculous Blasphemies, and impossible Fictions which were wont to make that wicked volumn justly odious to the world, are left out in the English Translation; for my part I know not how to Construe it, but as done in too much favour to the Mahumetan mis-religion: the pretence of the Error must be this, The English Translator follows the Version of a French∣man, too much it seems Interested in the Turkish Court, for be∣ing employed from the French King as his Agent at Constanti∣nople, was likewise re-employed by the Turk into France, and taking upon him to Translate this Worthy Work as he calls it, out of the Arabick, thought fit (for what ends he knew best) to take the best, and leave the worst: Know this Reader, and resolve that thou canst not enough hate that pack of Mahume∣tan Fopperies, which chiefly aime at the disparagement of thy Saviour, and the de-crying of the blessed Trinity.
Thus far the Observator gives his Censure of the Alcaron: Now I will leave this to the impartial Reader to judge what a Medly of Religions we shall have; Amsterdam must be behol∣ding to us, as we have been formerly to them, for new Opini∣ons: we shall be as much cryed up for Rarieties of Religion, as the French-men for Fashions; as for the Socinians, Nistorians, Arrians, &c. they will look like old fashion Dublets: we must have the German Anabaptist, the Scottish Presbyter, and the English Independent, the Epitomy of Heresie.
But now they stop up this gappe of Iniquity with some pre∣tended spriggs of Righteousness: Viz. We further desire, That through your Care and Zeal, all open Acts of Prophaness, as Drun∣kenness, Swearing, Ʋncleanness, &c. be vigorously proceeded against and punisht in all Persons whatsoever. But this they do for their Profit and Recreation, and not out of any godly Principle, for by this, the encrease of the rich mens sins will be the augmen∣tation of the Saints wealth; and the misdemeanours of the Poor, will be the Recreation of the rich; so that as hereto∣fore they have prospered by the Devils help, by their own wickedness, they shall hereafter grow rich by the sins of the People.Page 7
Now that they may seem to be as merciful as severe, they Desire that which the other dare not Deny, and with their ac∣customed prophaness thus go on, That upon the sence of this great Mercy lately received from God, your hearts will be moved to extend your favour so far as may stand with the safety of this pre∣sent Government, to those who have formerly served you, &c. Still they reiterate Monkes Lie, the great Victory that the Annals of the Saints boasts of in IRELAND, and therefore as a Manifestation of their joy, they should set free the Spirit of Contradiction, Lilburn and his bastards the Levellers, which I wish they may do, that those Firebrands may burn up all the Blocks and Loggerheads of the Three Kingdoms: But I be∣lieve foolish Jack Presbyter may wait long enough for this day of Deliverance; for they mean (by those that have formerly ser∣ved them) none but the generation of Vipers the Levellers: but these drops of Mercy end in a showre of Cruelty, for after they have pleaded for their Brethren in Iniquity, they furiously Demand, That for the future, all Disturbers of the Publick Peace be vigorously proceeded against: This thundering sentence is like a Pedagogues menaces, you shall be whipt if you do so any more: But I dare swear, if Jack Lilburn and his Confederates once get loose, they will not fear to play Truant, and perhaps before Christmas wil shut their Masters out of the School, and vigorously proceed against them, as the Disturbers of the Pub∣lick peace: but now (that they may be the better thought of by the Communalty) they like Publick Persons Desire, That speedy Considerations may be had of those great Oppressions which the peo∣ple of this Nation groan under by reason of the Multiplicity of un∣necessary Laws, &c. This were a good Request if Cordial, e∣specially if they would stand to the performance of it: For first, All those unnecessary waste Papers, Acts and Ordinances made by this Heretical Parliament, should be Re-called, and then these Catterpillers of the Kingdom (which be the great∣est Oppressors that ever people groaned under) should be taken away.
But now I come to the Junctoes Answer.
The Officers after the reading of the same, were called in, and Page 8Master Speaker in the Name of the House gave them Thanks, and in particular for the Petition.
They durst not do otherwise: Ile undertake if they had de∣manded five of the most innocent in the House to be delivered to them to suffer Condign punishment, they should have them with all their hearts; and therefore in such a thing as this is, they must needs consent; for they would if they durst, long before this, have Voted not only diversity of Religions, but variety of Gods, and Plurality of Wives.