THE Second Part, THAT This obedience to the present Go∣vernment, is not contrary to, but consistent with our Solemn League and Covenant.
BY these steps we are come at last ad sacras columnas, to those sacred Pillars on which the holy Covenant hangs almost in every Church, as a sanctum aeternitati a law sa∣cred to eternity. The hands which hung it there, have not (they say) power to take it downe a∣gaine. Who therefore may undertake to tell these persons, that they actually are or else may be freed from it, seeing they finde themselves obliged if they can, to tie all the world with them in the same sort of knot?
Here is certainly a zeal• worthy to be •ixt on that, Page 39 which should obliege alwayes; and the world must con∣fesse that there hath been no publique oath taken by any person anywhere; who have been more scrupulously attent not to double with their God in relation to his part in contract. But yet let not these consciences be scandalized if I say it was compild by none but mortall men, taken onely by such, and as a promissory oath cannot possibly be free from those exceptions, and acci∣dents wherewith time changes the constitution of all those things, which it doth not absolutely destroy, wherfore upon a sober review of al I doubt not, but as ma¦ny Oaths and Leagues are transient,* so to shew that this according to its nature, and as it is originally a League or Covenant, that is, as it is a formall compact, relating to the publique and united corporation of severall Nati∣ons and Magistracies (by which each people were united together, and without which neither people were re∣spectively to act any thing separately within and against themselves) I say I doubt not but to shew that such a Covenant, uppon what hath interven'd is expir'd to us the People of England, and that without any default of ours; And though our Magistrate would give it a new life and obligation; yet to many principall things it can obliege no longer; and for the next we are to consider that though something of our first end in reformation streame through the Covenant; yet its spring head ri∣ses higher then it; which end we are in all formes to pursue still, & are now left ty'd to so much of the Covenant onely as we were oblieged to for all our dayes withall our mights and soules, before we took it at all. Lastly, if it were granted, that the Covenant is not expired, yet I shall here shew, that our submission to this present go∣vernment is no way inconsistent with it.
In which few words, though I have stated the maine of its difficulties, yet ere I apply my selfe to answer objections, I shall briefly premise what I have observed others have omitted, it being hard to finde how we may be unti'd Page [unnumbered]〈1 page duplicate〉Page [unnumbered]〈1 page duplicate〉Page 40 from a thing, till we have found how the knot at first was made.
*Whatsoever we can say, affirme or deny, is either as∣sertory or promissory The first relates to the time past or present (is if I affirme Titius to be, or have been at Rome) and therefore upon the very saying or swearing, the whole truth and obligation is fulfilled, and past with the time which accompanied it.* The other relates to the time present, as it is then sincerely said or sworne; and to the future for the sincere fulfilling them, which yet is dubious, conditionall, and not in our powers; As when Titius promiseth Sempronius 100.l. when his ship returnes.
*For this reason some say all promissory Oathes ase absoutely unlawfull, because Oathes must be true and certaine; but all future effects of things are uncertaine.
*I answer, that for so much as concerns the forme of my Oath here, it is true and certaine, that my minde and words went truly together in the act of swearing, and that I will make my deed and words goe truly together, when the sup∣pos'd condition betwixt us (and which, as we mutually consent to, is in neither of our powers at present) shall ab∣solutely come to passe. This was the case of Abrams ser∣vant, when he swore to take a wife for Isaac; a future (in severall circumstances) very uncertaine,* both in respect of what might happen to the servant, to Isaac and to the Virgin we know what hapne'd to Iob's Children and Family through the accident of warre, and the ma∣lice of the Devill; and how Ioseph was shuffled away by his owne friends and kindred.
It is not enough to say, such suppos'd tacite conditions cannot be in Oathes;* For first, If such conditions be in promises, and that I may lawfully make a promise to a∣nother, then I may lawfully sweare a promissory Oath to him, which we see cannot be separated from such con∣ditions as are not, cannot, and need not be exprest be∣twixt us at the beginning. For (to take away the sup∣position of fraud betwixt us) we both agree in this that Page 41 we cannot foresee with what circumstances our futures may be perplext. Therefore it is sufficient that we swore things not necessary, but possible; such as might happen or not happen, because depending on things which depend not totally on us, nor on our will, but rather mixtly on the wills of others, and on that which to us is change or fortune, For which reason he is not forsworne, who ef∣fects not alwaies what he by Oath promiseth, no more then he sinnes, who alwaies effects not his simple pro∣mise.
Secondly, This tacite condition in a promissory Oath, and in things naturally and morally possible, is proved by the very nature and definition of the Oath. For it is onely an attestation, and imprecation of God in such manner, that if the promiser faile, he would have him to whom he promist, under∣stand, that be puts himselfe under Gods severe wrath.
From hence it is to be noted,* that the bare promise obliged as strictly before he swore, as after he swore; and of the reason is, because he was obliged by nothing, but by that which was in Pact. The investing it with an Oath, or with Gods punishment, relates onely to the Penalty: so that a promissory Oath signifies no more, then such a penalty upon such a promise: But a penalty (as we know) in law and equity relates onely to that which is un∣lawfull, such as is the violation of a Pact.
The addition of never so many penalties, to a thing in it selfe unlawfull, can never fasten any obligation on me to doe it; Nor can severall Penalties to an obligati∣on in it selfe lawfull, adde anything to the first Ius or right of it, but onely to my future feare, least I doe in∣justice.
The Capitall question therefore in these cases will be. What the nature of the things are to which we obliged our selves at first? For according as they stand or fall, our relations or obligations, to them stand or fall whi∣ther we will or no.
Thirdly, We finde such tacite conditions, conceal'd, Page 42 and suppos'd in the Oathes of Solomon to Bathsheb••;* of David, concerning Nabals house; of God concerning the destruction of Ninevah, and of Abrams servant concerning Isaacs wife, &c.
By a reflection on all this, viz. That seeing there may be a promise, and consequently a promissory Oath; and that the nature and obligation of a promise, and of such an Oath, is one and the same, we have gain'd a great point, That the Covenant (which is a promissory Oath) is not in its owne nature of an eternall obligation, but is involved in tacite conditions and accidents of the world, which may justly incumber us from effecting it, or from being fur∣ther obliged to it, as well as other promises may, which yet are made bonâfide at the beginning. The difficulty onely is to see, whither de facto that hath interven'd, which hath now taken away the formall and originall obli∣gation, which we of the people had to it at first, by autho∣rity of our Magistrate; and so taken away, as we may be secure and out of feare of the penalty, which we then sub∣mitted to in it.
I shall not here make use of what others have labori∣ously argued;* That the matter of the Covenant is such, as we cannot be obliged to, but let it be as good or as bad as men please to suppose;* I say in the first place, that all the good or bad, was form'd into a Politicall Oath, authorized upon two Kingdomes, by the sanction of two publique Magistracies; who as collaterals obliged them∣selves to cooperate faithfully together, and obliged those of their distinct Nations, to cooperate respectively and subordinately with them, for attaining a former end in such a way of Reformation, as is therein exprest; but by such meanes, as they in their publique and re∣spective capacities, not we in our particulars should judge most consonate to equity and true to religion. For which reason we happily are pointed at there,*onely in our private places and callings.
Here therefore there is a relation of severall things Page 43 concurrent, viz. Of two Magistracies united as a meanes for the easier reaching the end of those respective refor∣mations, which they were obliged to make before they entred in league, and of two people, who by the union of their respective Magistracies, passe (for so much as is there∣in exprest) into an union one with another, and are to have their private capacities and endeavours managed by them, and never against them by any virtue of this league. Besides it is a considerable circumstance in the Magistrates managing the whole, that states or civill constitutions by reason of the diseases of ambition and avarice, are naturally as much subject to future changes, as any other things are; and without the supposition of tacite conditions, we may as little sweare to preserve the State of a publique body, as we may sweare to preserve the State of our own particular bodies, or as a parent may to preserve his Childe, which when it shall be taken away by diseases, or by justice, he may be sorry for the losse, but may not justly complaine of it. And indeed so it is come to passe without any default in us of the en∣glish People, or of our publique Magistrate (under whom we were to act in these private places and callings) that neither of us can be said to have laid the Covenant aside, although we could not keepe it from expiring; because the failing was in that which was never suppos'd to be in our powers viz. in many conditionall things which camecr osse, and in the breach of fidelity in another col∣laterall and concurring power.
If you please to object here as an aggravation,*and an incite∣ment for us of the Covenanted people to rise kill and slay, that the Covenant is buried not as a thing really expired and dead, but that the people out of interest must be told so, onely because the former Magistracy is really laid aside and changed, which if people should throughly consider, would quickly make them finde matter enough in the Covenant to take armes.
I shall not in the way of answer to this repeate any thing concerning the cause,* the meanes, and the concur∣rences Page 44 to this our present change; every Covenanter both of England and Scotland, knowing well that there was no change of Government here,* till the Covenant was Na∣tionally broke (and so many here were insnared, both Royalists and Parliamentarians) by the Scots, who thought to have us'd it for a change of Government, and as a stratagem to give law in another judicatory: Neither shal I argue in this place, how compatible any change may be with a Covenant so conditionall, in which Kings as Parties are totally excluded from judging either for themselves or for others, which point shall be further ar∣gued at last; But I shall content my selfe to take what is here granted in the objection, viz. That the Government is really changed; The consequence then to us of the peo∣ple will be, that seeing by the fourth Article of the Co∣venant, we may not without apparent breach of it, act the sence of the Covenant, but as we receive it from our respective and supream judicatory of England onely, and that the said Government which it relates to, is confest to be gone, have you not then clearely confest that the obligation to act any thing publiquely by Covenant is likewise gone? according to an old Axiome, Sublato relat• tollitur correlatum.
If this present Government which we are chang'd to,* and which now protects us, should thinke fit by the way of Covenant to give a new life, to that remaining part of it, which may be observed, yet you will not allow any obedience to them, though in things never so law∣full; Neither will that fourth Article allow me to obey any forreigner, nor those without whose consent the Covenant was made, and consequently without whom it is to be interpreted, as the late Proceedings of the Scots at the Hague plainely shew: So that after all this, if I in my private capacity be as you say still indispensibly ob∣liged by it,* to begin or assist to publique troubles, do you not fall into a worser absurdity, and maintaine an Oath against the fifth Commandment, or against all Magistracy, Page 45 which is an impossibility? Nothing ever cautiond in termes more expressely for our duty of making discoveries,*of bringing to condigne punishment, of our supreame respective Iu∣dicatories and the like then the Covenant did, which are things relating to none but our supream Magistracy, un∣lesse you please plainly to assert another Absurdity, that every single man who hath taken it, is thereby absolvd from his Magistrate, and is made one himselfe to judge of the other, and thereby authorizd not by way of Tolera∣tion to professe but to establish what Religion he would, to punish at his own tribunall whom he would, and to reforme the state as he would. For he to whom you will allow a capacity of making warre, hath also a Capacity of making Peace, and Lawes for the security of his Peace.
Thus we see how the Government is changed, and the formall obligation of the Covenant at an end; But what if I should grant you by the way of supposition, that in case both the Covenant and the former Govern∣ment were standing together in as full force as you de∣sire, and as it was when the Scots first delivered the King up to the Parliament of England? I would then know of you whither if our Parliament had then for reasons best known to themselves (and of which wee can never judge competently) declared us of the People, free from any further obligation of the Covenant, might we justly have thought our solemne League at an end, and that we ought to act nothing publiquely any longer by it?
If you will say we should have been still obliged to act upon it, then I aske you againe under whom? For I have proved it must be alwaies under a Magistrate, and you have all along proved that it must onely be under our lawfull Magistrate, how lawfull soever the thing be in it self which is commanded, you would not allow the King to be the person to be obeyed, whom you thought fit to keepe in an imprisonment. The Parliament (according to our supposition) would not be any longer obliged to it, or be obeyed in it, and the Scots acknowledge them∣selves in the 4 Article to be the supreame judicatory Page 46 onely of Scotland, and I cannot act publiquely by a pri∣vate Capacity or Magistracy. Ergo in such a case, the Covenant how good soever, had not obliged any longer, nor is it in it selfe eternall.
*You will not deny perhaps but one man may free another from an Oath when it is for the worldly profit of him who pleases to release it, as every man may throw away any thing of his owne right; but you will not allow it in Sacred things where God is a Party.
*I answer, that though no Parent can dispence his wife or childe from the feare of God and the duties they owe to him,* yet he allowed him to break the childs vow for giving him a sacrifice, and both to be guiltles; and then why may not we be now absolved, if our publique Pa∣rent judges it not fit that wee should be any longer tide formally to a conditionall Oath; though it have relati∣on to some sacred things?
You will say no, because the Parent did not as a party solemn∣ly concurre to the Childs vow, and having never consented he might the better dissent; but our publique Parent did concurre at a party to our Oath. The Parliament and People tooke the Co∣venant joyntly together, and it is said that if the Father heare the vowes, and contradicts them not in the same day, then he confirms them, and cannot break them without iniquity,
To this I reply, First, that v.16. it is said the Childe is free after the dissent of the Parent, and that the Parent is charged with whatsoever was amisse in him, which is excuse enough for us of the people. Secondly, the differ∣ence is great in a maine point of the paralell; because after the concurrence of the Father to the childs vow for sacrificing something to God, that might be compleated in the Temple without his further helping it on; but we cannot doe any thing in our case without the coopera∣tion of our publique Parent all along, neither can he do any thing without the concurrences of many other pos∣sible, but uncertaine conditions, and if he in effect finde those conditions have come contrary to his publique en∣deavours,Page 47 what may we doe? will it be enough for us to rest in having attempted the utmost of our private endeavours with him? or will you authorize every man upon private judgement or interpretation to begin a warre in his own sence.
A League or Pact authorized betwixt private Neigh∣bours over a whole Nation or over part of it,* is not as a League betwixt Prince and Prince: because these have conditions exprest how and when to begin warre upon one another in case their Leagues be broken. But there is no such thing exprest in terminis in that Covenant which we have made one with another, and which we made sub∣ordinately to our Magistrate: so that if we or the Magi∣strate faile, we are equally left to Gods justice solely and to the forfeiture of our own penalties due to him, and every one is to answer for his owne deficiency in his own Station: And being left to our selves againe, we are left to act onely so much of our Oath or of the ancient end of it, as we were bound to before we swore: which is a great deale; because we were bound by precept before wee were by promise all the dayes of our lives to do our utmost for the glory of God, and the good of our neighbour.
Secondly,* Princes or States who by the supremacy of their powers, are able to make Lawes for their separated Kingdomes; when they unite their supream Powers, they are able to make a common Law for all their Kingdoms together, which is called a League or Compact; But a law when it comes to be broken (which is a publique thing, and therefore of every mans interest) may be vin∣dicated publiquely by Warre, and by those who have a posse regni. But I cannot say the same may be done for the Covenant, for quo jure can it be done?
The Scots indeed by one way of arguing make it grea∣ter then a Law, and by another make it lesse; which is when they one while affirme it unalterable and unrefor∣mable as a divine text, and another while confesse it was not made by the joynt concurrence of all those who with Page 46〈1 page duplicate〉Page 47〈1 page duplicate〉Page 48 them are essentiall to the making a publique Law. I con∣ceive we may safely say it is of a Constitution inferriou• to that of a Law, and therefore its obligation is lesse, though its penalty be greater to the failers in it. It was made use of, only as a convenient instrument or meanes, for the better attaining some lawes as its end. A Law it was not because it was not made by all the then Legisla∣tive powers of the Kingdome. For the Kings concurrence in England if not in Scotland, was then held requisite for passing a Law and he ever dissented from this Covenant. Halfe the inferiour sort of the People have not any In∣terest in it,* nor have taken it: And not having any obli∣gation to it, how I pray you can they justly be drawne in∣to the Penalty due to it? as they must all be, if a Warre (which is effectually a Penall thing) be begun though by a part of the Nation; for the nature of Warre is such, that it puts a whole Kingdome into imminent danger of desolation, though but begun in a part, and by a party of it.
Thus far I have endeavoured to shew the true fast and loose of all promissory Oaths, and how their obligati∣ons cease according to the nature of the things which they are affixed to.
*The Author of the grand case of Conscience p, 1. Objects, That if inconvenience may break a promise or disengage an Oath, then many may be cheated, and David was much mistaken, Psal. 15.4. Who saith he shall dwell in Gods Tabernacle, who sweareth to his own hinderance and changeth not.
*I answer, David speaks here of an Oath violated by a change onely in the Promiser,* who by his Oath hath past a right to another: and therefore can no longer dis∣pose of it againe; the party to whom he swore may dis∣pose of it as he pleaseth and may dispense him of it; be∣cause no man hath a right to make another man keepe his owne, longer then he please himselfe. It is a duty to pay a debt, but not to receive it. Finally, this is nothing to those cases where the change is not in us, but in other Page 49 persons, and in things which relate principally and con∣joyntly to the fulfilling of the Oath or Promise. For if I promise Titius a sword at such a time, and he then chance to be mad, (an accident not exprest betwixt us at first) am I bound to put it into his hands in this change be∣cause I was the first promiser?
Wheras it is said, that the obligation of somethings end, because they can be no longer kept,*as that of the Kings person &c. He ans. p. 11. That if men shall by violence put an end to the thing, that thereby the obligation may end too, that is a breach of Co¦venant. A woman promiseth to be faithful to her husband so long as he lives; but if she, to marry another, kills him, she breaks her promise.
I grant it easily that they who use violence to break lawfull contracts,* sin grievously; which is a thing now confest in every Church of Scotland; but what is that to those who use no violence to breake them at all; nor can helpe it when it is done although many be undone by it?* One thing I most earnestly desire to learne in this questi∣on propounded (I guesse) concerning the Kings Death; which was a consequence of the others breach and tamper∣ings. If by the Covenant we were indispensably obliged to preserve his Person, How came it to passe, that we were obliged by the same Couenant to wage warre against him? I have heard of a distinction betwixt his power and his person, but never of any be∣twixt his person and himselfe. So that if the Covenant could have dispenced any souldier of England or Scotland to kill his person by an accident of Warre (as his life was oft in danger before he came to the Scaffold) his Death had beene violent, and the obligation to preserve him had ended, and yet according to this argument the Covenant had not been broken. Why then should these men thinke the world so dull as not to understand plainly enough, that the Covenant provided for his Death more wayes then one? True it is, that the Covenant held out a faint and a conditionall preservation of him, and after all no man can sincerely stretch it further: From whence if we will let him judge this one controversie, he hath left it Page 50 recorded to posterity, in his suppos'd book Chap. 9. In vaine is my person excepted by a parenthesis of words, when so many hands are armed against me with swords: Moreover in His Chap. of the Covenant, he feared it provided for him in a Logick too loose and circumstantiall. From all which what did he conclude, but that he would not allow of a Covenant-argument for his life?
I know the answer here is obvious, that bullets were not shot directly against him (as few are against any in a Towne or in a Battell) and that if he would have withdrawne his person, he should have beene out of dan∣ger; but then I pray you what advantage had he in this by Covenant, more then any common souldier of either side? who when they retire, are equally out of danger, Nay he had lesse advantage, For by preserving him, they meant keeping him after he was rescued from others,* and by keeping him they meant not him primarily, but something else, to which all consideration of him was to give way. As for others which were to be brought to punish∣ment, they had some of them leave to go beyond the Seas, others to enjoy liberties at home; and of all the excepted persons, there was never any of them who was here deprived of life, but as our troubles and warres increast, their number (which was strange) lessen'd even to six or seven at last, and most of those out of the Kingdome. I know they have distinctions wherefore so much might be remitted to those, and not to the King, although he had on his behalfe the word pre∣servation in the Covenant; but these distinctions are but their strong justifications for that which is the bottome of this argument, if all Covenanters durst speake plain∣ly alike.
*He objects. p. 11. That if according to Covenant we should preserve the priviledges of Parliament, against a Malignant party that would have taken away but five Members; why not against an Heriticall party which took away above two hundred?
*I answer, That when the five Membere were in dan∣ger, Page 51 there was a Session of neere all the Lords, and of all the Commons to authorize the People to bring others before them to condigne punishment:* But where is there now any Session of a supream power in this Land, before whom we ought to bring the present Parliament? under what formall supream Magistracy can we now co∣operate or receive publique orders, but from them? who have commanded no such thing against themselves. Lastly the Covenant makes not us private men Magistrates, nei∣ther doth it authorize us to a war disertly, as to a penalty.
Certainly he doth not meane that the remaining Mem∣bers make no house, because there are more now kept out, then are admitted into it. For would not such an Argument clearly determine, that the house of Lords was never a house, since the Major part followed the King, under pretence, that they durst not sit any longer at Westminster? Or else if the •itting of so many Members as are enough for a legall vote be illegall, after others are forc•t away; How shall we justifie that Session with a new speaker, when the rest were forc't to the Armies pro∣tection from the Citizens servants and apprentices, who forc't them, and Indangerd their lives in the House? Or how shall we justifie the house of Commons for sitting, when the five Members durst not appear? Though force should not be used without a desperate occasion be given (in which case the preservation of the substance, is al∣waies above the consideration of a formality as hath bin argued by the Parliament ever since their first warres yet they know few or many sitters in the House, is not a thing of our examination, if they be above forty.
If there were nothing else in the world yet these words sufficiently prove that we are now absolutely absolved from the Covenant; for first, they relate to a State and time of Vnion, in which we were according to the united Page 52 strengths of two Nations, two Magistracies, and of the re∣spective Magistracies and People here enabled, yea com∣manded to make great opposition against those who then were actually united in armes against the Parliament. But now that we are supposed by these Authors to be dis-uni∣ted as our enemies are, and that the Magistracy is changed, our state of subordination somewhat varyed;* that the Links of our former chaine are broken; and that the Commons act alone without a King, as the Lords & Com¦mons acted before without one, and that the Scotish Na∣tion by their invasion, and their attempting to divide the King from us, and us one from another, by their decla∣ration made preparatorily for division, thereby to favour invasion afterward, have in the face of all the world broken whatever was of Nationall union and Peace, yea and all that which was of confidence betwixt our selves at home, and (which was yet more horrid) in incou∣raging one principall Army in Ireland to fall off from the advantages it had against the bloody Rebells, to turne their swords against the Parliament it selfe, only out of a by end of ambition, yea now (that the war being ended) we are to enter into an Vnion of cohabitation or in coope∣ration (as they have done in Scotland it selfe) with those who during their united hostilities occasiond our Nati∣onall Union, are we I say after all this, in the selfe same Union which they at first hoped might have been conti∣nued to them & us for all our lives? That Union suppos'd the warre which then was, with the rest, of the circum∣stances, and if we wish the same effect or Union now, do we not thereby wish the same cause or warre againe a∣mongst us? as we were to oppose armes to armes, so uni∣on to union, and certainly that Union of the Parliaments of both Kingdoms was at an end, ever since the Scotch Army here received their money, and returned, home, leaving the Delinquents of both Nations dis-united and clearly reduced to receive condigne punishment, (as the Covenant calls it) at the respective judicatories of both Page 53 Kingdoms; and if it ended not then, yet it could not bee consistent with their Declaration and divisions presently after; and if not then, yet I am sure it could not be con∣sistent with their Nationall invasion, and tampering to divide all in England and Ireland, the effect whereof hath been a change of Government here, and hath made them totally distinct forrainers to us.
The Demurrers premisses in this Argument by a new logick,* relate onely to a State of publique Vnion, and his conclusion relates only to a State of publique dis-union, of the consequences whereof the Covenant saith nothing at all in any Article; It enjoyn•s the bringing of De∣linquents to condigne punishment, and those private per∣sons likewise among our selves, who should helpe on, ei∣ther divisions amongst us, or the invasion of either Na∣tion first. But whether should they be brought to pun∣ishment? The Covenant answers, Either before the re∣spective judicatories of each Kingdome (who onely have power to judge of what is Condigne) or before no body.
It speakes likewise how we should unitedly venture our lives against the Enemy which then was:* it doth not, or at least ought not to sweare us to get the better of them for ever, nor that we should in a rout or dis-uni∣on end our lives against all opposition, and without quarter. If the termes of our utmost endeavours, and all the dayes of our lives, are to be understood litterally, and that we must not survive any violation of the Coevnant, then why do these Gentlemen, (who conclude themselves in the State of the Covenant thus understood) thinke of li∣ving till to morow? The termes of forever, or for all the dayes of our lives are not in our contracts to be understood na∣turally, but morally; For we finde it plainly in the Ju∣dicial law, that after a Jew had taken a servant, and bor'd a hole through his eare he was (as the Text saith) to serve him for ever, although one of them might poss•bly have dyed the next day, and both of them after a while might Page 54 have beene made captives to others. The law calls the league of Marriage individua vitae consue•udo, a c•habita•i∣on for all the dayes of our lives. For so it should be ex voto contrahenti•m, in the sincere desires of the contractors; Yet we know, one ordinarily dyes before the other, and that many conditions may happen to legitimate their divorce afterwards, though the contract was never so religiously made in the presence of almighty God at first.
The Scots in their late proceedings with their King at the Hague pag. the 6. interpret the words of utmost endeavour, as morally as we doe here? For the Commissioners of the Kirk said, they us'd their utmost endeavours to save the Kings life according to Covenant; but how? They answer, that it was in Papers, messages, Declarations, Testimonies, and Protestations onely; they name not warre, or bloodshed, for they pro∣tested against that way last yeare, as contrary to Cove∣nant, when the Parliament of Scotland invaded us; and I hope for the reputation of the religion they professe, they have not altered their publique commentary of that sacred Text contradictorily so soone.
To conclude, Either wee are still in the Vnion of the end of the Govenant, or we are not: If we be in it, then these breake the Covenant, by seeking to dis-unite us: If we be not in it, where then is the Article for our pri∣vate forming a warre upon it? and under whom, if not under our English supreame iudicatory?* and if they call us not out to revenge that which was more then a bare falling off from the Covenant last yeare amongst our¦selves, (when the Scots exercis'd such high hostilities, and were the first shatterers of all our frame (which o∣therwise might by Gods blessing have cemented againe) how durst these private trumpets sound the alarum, and open the wounds of the Nations once more? Though the respective iudicatory of that Kingdome now cannot make that which was once done, undone; Yet by the present punishment of the Kirke, it is acknowledged that Page 55 they hold the Covenant to have been more then nation∣ally broken, in regard of the harme and damage which was done to us after it was broken. For there is a great deale of difference betwixt ceasing to helpe according to a league, and acting hostily contrary to it, especially when no such penalty is in such a league exprest betwixt the parties.
But you will object,*that if the Covenant were so broken in one or two points by them, yet it doth not follow, that the whole Co∣venant is broken thereby, and dead in every part.
I have answered before that we are no longer obliged to any thing in it by the way of League and Co∣venant; The reason here is,* because here in leagues everything is to be observed con•unctively, otherwise all is broken; which is so true and cleare, that if we looke upon Gods league and Covenant with Israel, we shall finde the same thing pronounc't there. God said, If yee keepe my Commandements, I will be your God, and will maintaine you in your plenty, and in your Land: Yet he said, that if they broke any one Commandement in their part of Covenant, they were guilty of all, and that all should be at an end betwixt them: just as St. Iohn in the conclusion of his Revelation saith, Who ever shall diminish but one word of that Booke defaceth the whole, and looseth the whole benefit which he might expect thereby in the holy City, by vertue of the second Covenant.
It is asserted,*that there is no clause in any Oath or Cove∣nant, which in a common sence forbids obedience to a present Go∣vernment: To this the grand case of Conscience answers, That the Covenant engages to another Government, therefore it forbids obedience to this, and Oathes ought to bee their owne in∣terpreters.
Here he at first begs the question, whether the Cove∣nant can now engage us or no?* seeing it hath beene pro∣ved, that that which is now nothing, cannot now en∣gage us to any thing; and conseqently our submitting to, and acting under the present Government, cannot Page 56 be contrary to Covenant; because things which are con∣trary one to the other, must have actuall being together at the same time. But the very being of this Govern∣ment, supposes the nullity of the Covenant, whose death (as it was other where contrived before) gave life to that mutation here afterwards.
*Secondly, Though the Covenant were still valid and in force, yet when we were sworne to it first, it found us actually out of that Government here pointed at, viz. Of King Lords and Commons. For that is the supreame Government of a Country, which makes a supreame law there: But at that time the supreamest humane law, which (according to these gentlemens opinions) was ever made in England or Scotland, or perhaps in all the world, was made without the King in those Kingdomes, and against his dissent. For which reason the Covenant engages not so positively for King or Kingly Govern∣ment, as for the Vnion of the Covenanters in any forme and against any opposition;* Whereupon the Presbyte∣rians when it was (as most conceiv'd) in their power, to restablish King or Kingly Gove•nment, they omitted both for many dayes of their lives, without question; because they conceiv'd it not a Government absolutely necessary by Covenant. When D. Hamilton entred Eng∣land so hostilely for that end, and as he thought by ver∣tue of Covenant, yet he was excommunicated for it by the Oracles of the Covenant.
Lastly, The reigne of the Covenant since the first day of its birth and obligation, was never yet a R•gall reigne, no not for one day anywhere; so that the change which is, is not determinatly contrary to that principle, out of which (according to the circumstances of security) any Go∣vernment may be moulded for any place. For which rea∣son if I should grant you that the Covenant were not ex∣pir'd, and had not beene so palpably broken, as it was betwixt the Nations; yet Scotland (if they had pleas'd) might have beene Govern'd by a King, and England by Page 57 a free State, & yet both consonantly enough to Covenant and without any contrariety, because the circumstan∣ces of securitie in one might have been different from the circumstances of security in the other; which though different, might as well have been mutually maintained as their discipline differing from ours might have beene preserv'd by us. From all which it appears, that that Oath is Cloudy in the positive or set Government which we ought to have, and so cannot be justly called it's owne interpreter, besides a reformation according to the word of God; and the example of the best reformed Church∣es, supposes such a latitude of Logick as would (if all sides should be heard) give us as much exercise as all our wa•res have.
And certainly the Covenant is alike undefin'd in Reli∣gion and in civill Government.* For we swore to bring the Church Discipline in the three Kingdoms, to as neer a similitude as the constitution of the places would bear, not into the very same; and as for the civill Government, it was to receive its forme in the security of that, just as water doth receive not onely the figure of the Pot or Glasse into which it is put, but its conservation from be∣ing totally lost and spilt. But how then will you free your selfe from this contradiction in asserting that the civill State is unalterable by Covenant, when that of the Church which formes the other is so much alterable? and seeing that of the State receives from this, not only its form and being, but what ever else you alone please to at∣tribute to your security in it? From whence I conclude a∣gain, that a change of Government is consistent with Co∣venant, & that a submission to it in lawful things is much more, and consequently it ingages not to any one deter∣minate Government, and so is not against this of ours.
I beleeve it hath been a frequent observation of many, who have calmely converst with our Divines and others zealous for Presbytery, That they have found them little satisfied with that sort of Presbytery, which Page 58 our Parliament modelled for us of this Nation; as ha∣ving little affinity with the Couenant. My beliefe is, that they in that discernd not the consequence of their own dissatisfaction.* For if their consciences regulated by Covenant, can admit no civill Government, but the Kingly (which they so much argue for here) and if the Covenant and a Scotch Presbytery (whose right they hold to be Divine) be essentially linkt together, Then we and they may all of us learne, not onely from direct inferences, but from the declar'd experience of the Sonne, the Father, the Grandfather, and great Grand∣Mother, that is of the three last Scotch Kings and one Queene. That if the Scotch Presbitery come out of the Covenant then Kingly government cannot derive from it, because they are jurisdictions incompatible and in∣consistant in the same place, and if one can conserve it, then may we say as much of the other. How much Ma∣ry Queene of Scotland experienced of this,* let the world judge by that which she wrote both with inke in her Let∣ters, and with her blood on the Scaffold. For how came she to be Beheaded in England, but by Mr. Knox (and the Kirkes having done little better than) put her into the hands of those who could not keepe her long alive with security to themselves?* King Iames hath writ and argued largely concerning his dangers & sufferings under it, & it is yet remembred in what Dialect they of the Pres∣bytery were wont to Preach and Pray against him to his face, and he not know how to remedy it, or by what right to top theirs. When he came into England he profest his deliverance from that subjection not of small satis∣faction to his minde, and therefore at this di•tance he con∣trived how to extinguish or check that •ate there, & after some progresse in that worke he himselfe dyed peaceably in a milder Country,* But K. Charles with that Crown in∣herited the consequences of that undertaking, for his first troubles began in the controversie of that Presbytery; and what a preservation he thought the Covenant (from Page 95 which it seemes their Presbytery is so inseparable) might be to him and what his fate was and who helpt it on, nay who diverted him from agreement here, all the world knowes and in his writings likewise he hath showne to the world that he himselfe was not ignorant of it; This only is the wonder, that in the midst of this their specious zeale for Kingly Government,* the Covenant should be so silent concerning Royall Posterity, or for their suc∣cession, in case the Scots or English Souldiers had kill'd the King casually before he had given them the satisfacti∣on which they required, the consideration of all this, with some other lately offer'd to the young Prince at the Hague, by the Scotch Commissioners, and the satisfaction which they in their late Declaration require from him, as they did from his Father, have questionlesse made him scruple, so long at his adventure into that Country, though so much invited. For they told him p. 14.15. That for longer then these eight yeares,*yea ever since that Queene Mary, their fundamentall priviledge hath beene to assemble in Parliament; and to conclude there of themselves, either without King or Kings Commissioners; and that if his Majesty refuse those their reasonable desires, they shall be constrained in so great an extremity, to doe what is incumbent on them, to pre∣serve Religion,*and the Kingdom from ruine. Here they plain∣ly acknowledge, and assume that supreame power and right, which shall be proved here more evidently to∣wards the conclusion.
But because I intend truth here in the simplicity of my Heart, and no way to swell this Argument, either with passion in my selfe, or with scandall to any man else therfore I shall sincerely unfold what hath long been a mistery to my selfe, and for confirmation of what I have asserted here so positively, I shall give the reader the expresse word of our great English Covenant-champion, and of Master Hinderson especially the Scotch Champi∣on, betwixt whose fingers the Covenant it selfe was moulded.
Page 60O••t ••ind cafe of Oonscience, p. 14, saith, But they who are now for the right of the Son, and continuance of the Govern∣ment, are as much against the vices in and about him, as about the Father. And should he doe as his Father hath done, they who are now for the performance of this Oath and Covenant, would as truly joyne against him as against the Father.
Who can call this Regall Language? which yet will be lookt on as the English Presbyterian-alarum, though but by one man. Hee had done well in speaking of the performance of Covenant by us all if he had offered a Catalogue of all that which would fulfill the Covenant in all its termes without any further interpretation; But that which is supposed eternall for time is likewise infinite as to the matter which it may relate to by the ap∣plication of humane Logick.
*Mr. Hinderson in his Newcastle conference, with the King p.24.25. saith, That the reforming power is in Kings and Princes, Quibus deficientibus, it comes to the inferiour Ma∣gistrates, Quibus deficientibus, it descends to the gr•sse of the people, but yet supposing still (as he saith) that they be all of them rightly, inform'd. For which reason though he conceal'd it from the King, yet he meant, that the reformation of any of those three powers, according to the Covenant must be judged & reformed afterwards, by some other bo∣dy of men here not named. For I conceive that he who is ultimatly to judge of the Reformation and of its pub∣lique obligation, judgeth likewise of the reformers them∣selves though never so high or never so low; and to this strange opinion he would faine intitle two English E∣piscopall Champions Bilson and Iewell.
Here I must confesse I was at a stand, concerning the nature and interest of the Covenant, and was sorry to see that I was no plainlyer told whether it would carry me (laden with so great a curse) nor where it would set me downe. At last I found in the same Author. 32.33. Speaking of the subordination of powers, under which people were finally to obey, That he would not wil∣lingly Page 61 tell his Majesty, whether the Church was subor∣dinate to the civill power, either to King or to Parlia∣ment, or to both: For (quoth he) I utterly desol•ima such a headship as the Kings of England have claimed, or such a supremacy as the Houses of Parliament crave, with appeales from Ecclesiastiall Iudicature to themselves.
No man may thinke but Mr. Henderson meant this for the jurisdiction of England,* as well as of Scotland, for hee spake of Houses of Parliament which were plurall in England onely; and though it may seeme strange at the first view, to heare one say, that the Scotch Nation state the supremacy of England in their Country, or that they endeavour a direct change of Government, here, (which they have indirectly attempted for a long while.) let every man judge not by our subtilties, but by the Kirkes Declaration, 27 July, 1649, p. 11.12. Their words are, That their King after his Oath of Coronation in Scotland, shall assure them under his hand and seale, to in∣joyne the solmne League and Covenant, establish and practise the Prerbyteriall Government, Directory, Confession and Catechisme, as they are approved by the severall Assemblies of their Kirke and Parliament, in ALL HIS DOMINIONS, and that he shall never endeavour any change thereof.
No man will say but States like judges ought to act,*ex bono & aequo conjunctively. So that though these things which here they would impose upon us perpetually, were never so good, yet they being unequitably deriv'd upon us from their supreame judicatory (in whose possession we are not so fully now, as they were last yeare in ours) we ought to abominate their designe, as much as they might the like obtrusion of their Presbitery from hence, without power there to rectifie it ever after. For these Presbiterians with us grant▪ That good and lawfull things may not be practiz'd under a power unlawfull, as they say the Scots would be here.
However here I at last found who was my supream right Magistrate in the Kirk• sence, but then I conceiv'd I was in Page 62 a great snare, because I saw the jus publicum of a Kingdome totally though secretly changed. I saw all things of direct re∣ligion, and whatsoever related collaterally to its securi∣ty, lodged there, and by the Kirke prejudged from the judgement of all other authorities in Scotland especially. But because religion and its security draws in all hu∣mane concernments, and that two supreame collaterall powers cannot stand in one and the same place, in the same time, for the same person, but for contrary actions, therefore I knew not whither of the two supreame pow∣ers the Ecclesiasticall or the Civill I should in this case throw away,* for they could not in this contest by the judgement of any be both obeyed together; and I stood in a miserable case betwixt a Jaylour and a Devill the Kirke giving me to the Devill if I obeyed the Civill power and the Civill power giving me to the Jaylour if I obey'd the Kirke, which was (to speake the truth) the State of the whole Kingdome of Scotland last yeare, betwixt the the Kirkes excommunication, and the Parliaments Or∣der which authoriz'd Duke Hamiltons expedition, in Vindication of the Covenant here: In which difference we have no reason but to like the effect, however we may dislike such a cause here.
Wherefore to answer this •scruple, I positively say, That in whatsoever is of Pact betwixt man and man, or of policy in the Covenant, I ought solely to follow the civill Magistrate, and the Church here ought to follow the Magistrate likewise, as a case relating to the dis∣quits to the warres, and to the recovering the peace of earthly Kingdomes: If otherwise, then the civil jurisdicti∣on ought clearely to be managed by the Ecclesiastique; which is stated so no where (that I know of) but in Ro∣magna and Dutchy of Ferrara and the other places be∣longing to the Pope. This I speak not as desirous to detract any thing from the sacred function of the Ministery as it containes it selfe in its own function, no man being able rationally to object any thing wherefore some might Page 63 not ex Officio, be deputed to excite others to vertue and san∣ctity of life. But yet who can say they are not subject to the infirmities of ambition, avarice, and severe passions as well as other men? or have not our Antagonists (whe∣ther they would or no) observ'd them in these cases of worldly rights and interests, to have as oppositly, yet as peremtorily differ'd one from another, as people of any family ever did? The Devill not being able to get the Text on his side, by his wiles oft got the commentary, so that we are to be excus'd, if we hold many things in Church-men, to be but as an Apohrypha at best, which yet for esteem sake is alloted a place before anything else, next after the genuine Text,
Having thus openly stated the scruples of my own and of many more consciences, and to take off maskes not from the faces, but from the consciences of these three, and the multitude of other Scotch Casnists, who have talkt so speciously for our Covenant, Vindication of an Heirs just Title, our submitting to it, and joyning with others immediately,* least right suffer wrong one day; I cannot (I say) but aske the same men plainly; What dif∣ference in effect they find•, betwixt the Titles and right of the Prince of Wales, and of the n•w King of Scotland, notwith∣standing all their obligation of Covenant, to submit to him as such?
It is not enough by Covenant to preserve an aery Title onely to a Prince, and by the same Covenant, to suspend all the rest of his solid power, and right? certain•ly his Royall commands (notwithstanding all this talke) are no more obey'd in Scotland now, then the Episco∣pall commands of our Countryman, the Bishop of C•al∣cedon are now obey'd in Turkey.*
But what hinders him from exercising any Kingly right in Scotland as yet? The Covenant which is not yet sa∣tisfied. How is it then, that some of our Presbyterians say, that the same Covenant indispensably opens the doore to him here? If the •ing aske the Scots why they put the Law of the Covenant so to his obedience, 〈◊〉 the Page 64 first thing which determines all his other rights after∣wards? They can onely say, that they swore it in his Fathers raigne, and it is now eternall. Though I censure nothing here, yet I cannot but conclude-hence; That they of themselves, as well as our Parliament, have made a Law above all other Lawes, (and more then a reformable Magna Charta) For the Government of the Kingdome which may be exercised according to it, without Kings, and against Kings.
*The first thing which was ever offer'd to him from the Kingdome of Scotland, was an authority by far trans∣cending his own, viz. that of excommunication. For (as their late proceedings with him at the Hagu• shew) hee was by that subtilty tryed whether he would refuse first to acknowledge Iames Graham (alias Montrosse) or that great power of the Churches,* by which he might be awed to greater things afterwards. To backe this likewise the Commissioners of the Synode said (p. 22) that they negoti∣ated with him in a capacity altogether,* distinct from the Commissioners of Parliament, as being persons commis∣sioned by the Kirke, which is commisioned with a Ius¦divinum Our Bishops certainly never undertook such a jurisdiction & supremacy, and unlesse these had witnessed so much of themselves to all the world, no one would believe that in such a poore Country, and so much forme of Religion, there could be such high passions of am∣bition.
Besides if it be a true rule, That he who is the maker, ought to be the interpreter of a Law, then let all the world observe one thing, That the Kirk having made the Covenant (as the principle of all supream rights both of State and Religion) then they alone ought to give the interpretation of it from time to time; as they de facto did not onely last yeare, contrary to the interpretation of their owne Parliament, but also for many yeares to∣gether have peremptorily prest it upon ours: So that it makes a fundamentall change of Government there, though differently from what our Parliament hath made Page 65 here, the jus publicum both of Religion and security of State with them, lying in the Covenant, and that lying in the brests of Churchmen, chosen by one another: and our's lying in the power of Laymen, chosen by the People, and judging by the Common Lawes of equity and necessity, and of the word of God.
It were in vaine to say the Kirke onely recommends their interpretation to the State.* For last yeare they did it with a Penalty upon the Parliament, their whole Army, and the body of the people which obey'd them; if it be a penal∣ty to bee given to the Devill, and to bee put into a State of eternall death. Wherefore they there are, (or else none are any where) the true judges of right, who make themselves judges of wrong and of punishment.
To conclude how practicable soever the Covenant was at first,*or how erroneously soever we may now conceive it to be extinct, or to be a principle fitted to justify a change of Kingly Government, which was actually made first of all by it and their Presbytery in Scot∣land; yet it being originally but a Politicall or condition all Oath, relating to our former Unions when Warre w•, and to our co∣operation under our respective Magistrates only, not in a way contrary to the fifth Commandment; and that all the Magistra∣cy which we enjoy, and by whom we are now fully possest, if they have not laid it aside, yet call us not out to act the remaining part of it; and that it interprets not it selfe: so that each private man is not made by it his owne Magistrate; and that there is no penal Article in it obliging us private men to pursue a publique Warre upon the Magistrates, or any other mens bare neglect or misinterpreting it to themselves; who therefore can contrary to all this, peremptorily warrant us now, yea necessitate us to begin, or assist to the desolation of warre and bloodshed upon it? espe∣cially seeing it is made very dubious at least whither we be now tyed to it at all or no: Further more how good so ever it was at first, yea though that other Nation had not given it it's mortall wound, when they attempted to give us ours, both in England and in Ireland, (which was the cause of this effect of change of Go∣vernment here) yet if when it was in force, it should any other way have received a bad tincture of passion or ambitious policy among Page 66 our selves, why might it not by our Magistrates order, have been as well carried out of our Churches as the brazen Serpent was out of the Temple, after it was unhappily perverted to its wrong end? If otherwise, and that it must at all hazards be indirect∣ly made a snare to peaceable consciences even after it is extinct (as hath been proved) I shall desire any pious spirit to judge, whither it doth not in such a case deserve much of Campanellas censure which he gave upon the Spanyards India Treasury, that it was gotten in blood, sailes home in a sea of blood, and never rests till it be all laid out in blood.
The Reader may be pleased to take notice that though these replyes for the most part touch but on simple obedience to a Government sup∣posed unlawfull, but commanding lawfull things, yet they virtually ex∣tend to our acting under such a Government. It is to be presumed that our adversaries not contesting profestly what hath been publiquely argued in that point, do conceive the difficulties of acting under invol∣ved in those of our submission to such a power. The distinction of Active and Passive obedience, is but a nicety, and if one be not a sin, the other is not. They are in a manner the same thing, derive from the same Principle, and differ but gradually, just as the morning and the noone light do, which derive both from the same planet. For he who takes paines to furnish in a •axe, and he who tooke paines to execute the office of a Judge or of a Justice of peace in honest things by vertue of Commissi∣ons and Orders from the same supreame (but illegall) Magistracy, doe both of them what they doe, by vertue of the same originall submission which is a passive obedience. If this be otherwise, then (according to these authors opinion) we and all our forefathers have sinned, in obeying those actively or passively, who by unjust usurpati∣on have come betwixt us and them, who derive from the first who were in compact, unlesse the Lapse of time can justifie the viciousnesse of an action (which is impossible) or that we may lawfully obey those who plenarily possesse and protect us, and command us lawfull things.