For the right Honourable the Noble and potent Lord JOHN Earle of Cassils, Lord KENNEDY, &c. one of his MAJESTIES privie counsel, and Lord Iustice gene∣rall of Scotland.
MY long experience of your Lordships sinceer zeale to the truth of God, and affection to the liberties of the Church and Kingdome of Scotland, against all ene∣mies whomsoever; hath imboldened me to offer by your Lordships hand to the view of the publick, my following answer to a very bitter enemy of that Church and King∣dome for their adhaerence to the sacred truth of God and their own just liberties.
At my first sight of his Book and many dayes thereafter I had no purpose at all to medle with him: * your Lordship knowes how unprovided men of my present condition must be, either with leasure, or accommodations, or a minde suitable for wryting of books. Also Doctor Bramble was so well knowne on the other side of the Sea, the justice of the Parliament of England and Scotland having unanimously condemned him to stand upon the highest pi∣nacle of infamy, among the first of the unpardonable incendiaries, and in the head of the most pernicious instruments of the late miseries in Britaine and Ireland: and the evident falshood of his calumnies were so clearly con∣futed long ago in printed answers to the infamous Authors whence he had borrowed them; I saw lastly the mans Spirit so extreame saucy, and his pen so wespish and full of gall, that I judged him unworthy of any answer. But understanding his malions boldnes to put his Book in the hand of his Majesty, of the Prince of Orange, and al the eminent personages of this place who can reed English; yea to send it abroad unto all the Universities of these Provin∣ces, with very high and insinuating commendations, from the prime favourers of the Episcopall cause: hearing also the threats of that faction to put this their Excellent and unanswerable peece, both in Dutch, Frensh, and Latine; that in the whole neighbouring World the reputation of the Scotes might thereby be wounded, killed, and buried, without hope of recovery; I found it necessary, at the desire of diverse friends, to send this my review after it, hoping that all who shall be pleased to be at the paines of comparing the re∣ply with the challenge, may be induced to pronounce him not only a rash, un∣timous, malicious, but also a very false accuser. This much justice doe I ex∣pect from every judicious and aequitable comparer of our wrytes, upon the hazard of their censure to fall upon my side. *
His invectives against us are chiefly for three things; our Discipline, our Covenant, our alleadged unkindnes to our late Soveraigne. My apology for the first is that in disciplin we maintaine no considerable conclusion, but what Page [unnumbered]is avowed by all the Reformed Churches, especially our Brethren of Holland and France, as by the approbatory suffrages of the Universities of Leyden, Vtrecht and others, to the theorems whereupon our adversarie doth build his chief accusations, may appeare. If our practise had aberred from the common rule, the crookednes of the one ought not to praejudge the straightnes of the o∣ther: though what our adversary alleadgeth of these aberrations is nothing, but his owne calumnious imputations: the chiefe quarrel is our rule it selfe, which all the reformed harmoniously defend with us, to bee according to Scripture; and the Episcopall declinations, to bee beside and against the line of the word, yea Antichristian.
If our Praelats had found the humour of disputing this maine cause to stir in their veines, why did they not vent it in replyes to Didoclavius and Gersome Bucerus, who for long thirty yeares have stood unanswered? or if fresher meats had more pleased their tast, why did not their stomacks venture on Salmasius or Hondels books against Episcopacy? If verbal debates had liked them better then wryting, why had none of them the courage to accept the conference, with that incomparably most learned of all knights now living or in any bygone age Sir Claud Somayis; who by a person of honour about the King, did signify his readines to prove before his Majesty, against any one or all his praelaticall divines, that their Episcopacy had no warrant at all in the word of God, or any good reason?
But our friends are much wiser then to be at the trouble and hazard of any such exercise; * the artifices of the court are their old trade, they know bet∣ter how to watch the seasons, and to distribute amongst themselves the how∣res of the Kings opportunities, when privatly without contradiction they may instill in his tender mind their corrupt principles, and instruct him in his cabine, how safe it is for his conscience, and how much for his honor ra∣ther to ruine himselfe, his family and all his Kingdomes with his own hands, then to desert the holy Church, that is the Bishops and their followers; then to joine with the rebellious Covenanters, enemies to God, to his Father, to to Monarchy: that the embracing of the Barbarous Irish the pardoning of all their monstruous murders, the rewarding of their expected merits with a free liberty of Popery, and accesse to all places of the highest trust, though contrary to all the Lawes which England and Ireland has knowne this hun∣dred yeares; all this without and before any Parliament, must be very con∣sistent, with conscience, honor and all good reason. Yea to bind up the soule of the most sweet and ingenuous of Princes, in their chaines of their slavery for ever, they have fallen upon a most rare trick, which hardly the inventions of all their praedecessors can pararel. * They rest not satisfied, that for the upholding of their ambition and greed, they did harden our late So∣veraigne to his very last in their Errours, and without compassion did dryve him on to his fatal praecipice; unles they make him continue after his death to cry loud every day in the cares of his Son in his later will and testament, * to follow him in that same way of ruine; rather then to give over to serve the lusts of the praelaticall clergy. They have gathered together his Majesties last papers, and cut of them have made a book, whereupon their best pens Page [unnumbered]have dropped the greatest eloqution, reason and devotion was among them, by way of essayes; as it were to frame the heart of the Son by the fingers of the dying Father to piety, wisedome, patience, and every virtue; but ever & znone to let fall so much of their own ungracious dew, as may irrigat the feeds of their praelaticall Errors and Church interest; so farre as to charge him to perseveer in the maintainance of Episcopall governement upon all ha∣zards, without the change of any thing except a little p. 278. and to assure that all Covenanters are of a faction engaged into a Religious rebellion, who may never be trusted till they have repented of their Covenant; and that till then never lesse loyalty justice or humanity may be expected from any, then from them; that if hee stand in need of them hee is undone, for they will devoure him as the Serpent does the dove.
These and the like pernicious maximes framed by an Episcopall hand, of purpose to separat for ever the King from all his covenanted subjects, how farr they were from the heart, language and wrytings of our late Soveraigne, all who were aquainted with his carriage and most intime affections at New-Castle, in the Isle of Wight and thereafter, can testify, But it is reason when the Praelats doe frame an image of a King that they should have liberty to place their owne image in its forheade, as the statuary of old did his, in the Boss of Pallas targe, with such artifice that all her worshipers were necessitat to worship him and that no hand was able to destroy the one without the dis∣folution and breaking in peeces of the other; yet our Praelats would know, that in this age there be many excellent Engyneers, whose witty practicks transcend the most skilfull experiments of our Auncestors: and what ever may be the ignorance or weaknes of men, wee trust the breath of our Lords mouth will not faile to blow out the Bishop from the Kings armes, without any detriment at all to royalty, Allwayes the wicked and impious cunning of these craftsemen is much to be blamed who dare be bold to insert and en∣grave themselfes so deeply in the images of the Gods as the one cannot be intended to be picked out of the other more then the Aple from the eye, un∣les the subsistance of both be put in hazard.
The other matter of his rayling against us is the solemne league and cove∣nant; * when this nimble and quick enough Doctor comes assisted with all the reasons the whole University of Oxford can afford him, to demonstrat it as he professes in his last Chapter, to be wicked, false, void, and what not; wee find his most demonstrative proofes to be so poor and silly that they infere nothing of his conclusion. To this day no man has shewed any errour in the mater of that covenant; as for our framing and taking of it, our adversa∣ries drave us thereunto, with a great deale of necessity; and now being in it, neither their fraud nor force may bring us from it againe, for we feare the oath of God. After much deliberation we found that covenant the sove∣raigne meanes to joyne and keep together the whole orthodox party in the three Kingdomes, for the defence of their Religion and Liberties which a popish, praelaticall and malignant faction with all their might were over∣turning who still to this day are going on in the same designe, without any visible change, in the most of their former principles. And why should any Page [unnumbered]who loves the King hate this covenant, which is the straytestty the world can devise, to knit all to him and his posterity, if so be his Majestie might be pleased to enter therein; but by all meanes such a mischiefe must be aver∣ted, for so the roote of Episcopacy would quickly wither without any hope of repullulation; an evill farr greater in the thoughts of them who now mannage the conscience of the Court thē the extirpation of Monarchy the eversion of all the three Kingdomes or any other earthly misery.
As for the third subject of the Warners fury against us, * our unkindnes to the late King, if any truth were in this false challenge, no other creature on earth could be supposed the true cause thereof, but our unhappy praelats: all our grievances both of Church and State, first and last, came princi∣pally from them: had they never been authors of any more mischiefe, then what they occasioned to our late Soveraigne, his person, family and Do∣minions this last dozn of yeares, there is abundant reason of burying that their praeter and Antiscripturall order in the grave of perpetuall infamy. But the truth is, beside more auncient quarrels, since the dayes of our fathers the Albigenses, this limb of Antichrist has ever been witnessed against; Wickleif, Huss, and their followers were zealous in this charge, till Luther and his disciples got it flung out of all the reformed world, except England; where the violence of the ill advised princes did keep it up for the perpetuall trouble of that land, till now at last it hath well neare kicked downe to the ground there, * both Church and Kingdome. As for the point in hand we deny all unkindnes to our King whereof any reasonable complaint can be framed against us. Our first contests stand justified this day by King and Parliament in both Kingdomes. When his Majestie was so ill advised as to bring downe upon our borders an English army for to punish our refusing of a world of novations in our Religion contrary to the lawes of God and of our country, what could our land doe lesse then lie downe in their armes upon Dunce law for their just and necessary defence? when it was in their power with ease to haue dissipat the opposit army, they shew themselves most ready upon very easy conditions to goe home in peace, and gladly would have rested there, had not the furious Bishops moved his Majestie without all provocation, to breake that first peace and make for a second invasion of Scotland, only to second their unreasonable rage: was it not then necessary for the Scots to arme againe? when they had deseate the Episcopall Army and taken New∣castle though they found nothing considerable to stand in their way to Lon∣don, yet they were content to lie still in Northumberland, and upon very meane tearnes to returne the second time in peace. For all this the praelats could not give it over, but raised a new Army and filled England with fire and sword, yea well neere subdued the Parliament and their followers and did almost accomplish their first designes upon the whole Isle. The Scots then with most earnest and pitifull entreaties were called upon by their Brethren of England for helpe, where unwilling that their brethren should perish in their sight and a bridge should be made over their carcasses for a third warre upon Scotland, when after long tryall they had found all their intercessions with the King for a moderat and reasonable accommodation Page [unnumbered]slighted and rejected they suffered themselves to be perswaded to enter in co∣venant with their oppressed and fainting brethren, for the mantainance of the common cause of Religion and liberty, but with expresse Articles for the preservation of royalty in all its just rights in his Majestie and his posterity; what unkindnes was heer in the Scots to their King?
When by Gods blessing on the Scotes helpe the opposit faction was fully subdued, his Majestie left Oxford with a purpose for London,* but by the seve∣rity of the ordinances against his receivers, he diverted towards Linn, to ship for Holland or France; where by the way fearing a discovery and surprise, he was necessitate to cast himselfe upon the Scotes army at New-wark; upon his promise to give satisfaction to the propositions of both Kingdomes, he was received there and to New-castle: here his old oathes to adhaere unto Epis∣copacy hindred him to give the expected satisfaction. AT that time the prime leaders of the English army were seeking with all earnestnes occasion to fall upon the Scots, much out of heart and reputation by Iames Grahame and his Irishes incursions, most unhappy for the Kings affaires: Scotland at that time was so full of divisions that if the King had gone thither they were in an evi∣dent hazard of a present war both within among themselfes, and without from England: our friends in the English Parliament whom we did, and had reason to trust, assured us that our taking the King with us to Scotland, was the keeping of the Sectarian Army on foot, for the wracke of the King, of Scorland, of the Presbyterian party in England; as the sending of his Ma∣jestie to one of his houses neer London,, upon the faith of the Parliament of England, was the only way to get the Sectaryes disarmed, the King and the people settled in a peace, upon such tearmes as should be satisfactory both to the King and the Scots and all the wel-affected in England. This being the true case was it any, either unjustice, unkindnes or imprudence in the Scots to leave the King with his Parliament of England? was this a sel∣ling of him to his enemies? the monyes the Scots received at their departure out of England had no relation at all to the King, they were scarce the sixth parte of the arreares due to them for bygon service; they were but the one halfe of the sume capitulat for, not only without any reference to the King, but by an act of the English Parliament excluding expresly from that Treaty of the armies departure all consideration of the disposall of the Kings per∣son. The unexpected evills that followed in the Armies rebellion, in their seasing on London, destroying the Parliament, murthering the King, no mortall eye could have forseen. The Scots were ever ready to the utmost of their power to have prevented all these mischiefes with the hazard of what was dearest to them; notwithstanding of all the hard measure they had of∣ten received both from the King and the most of their friends in England. That they did not in time and unanimously stur to purpose for these ends they are to answer it to God, who were the true Authors; the innocency of the Church is cleered in the following treatise. Among the many causes of these miseries the prime fountaine was the venome of Episcopall principles which some serpents constantly did infuse by their speaches and letters in the eares and heart of the King to keep him of from giving that satisfaction to Page [unnumbered]his good subjects which they found most necessary and due; the very same cause which ties up this day the hands of covenanters from redressing all pre∣sent misorders could they have the King to joyne with them in their cove∣nant, to quit his unhappy Bishops, to lay aside his formall and dead Litur∣gie, to cast himselfe upon the counsels of his Parliaments it were easy to prophecie what quickly would become of all his enemies: but so long as E∣piscopall and malignant agents compasseth him about (though all that comes neer may see him as lovely hopfull, and promising a prince for all naturall endowments as this day breaths in Europe or for a long time has swayed a Scepter in Britaine) yet while such unlucky birds nest in his Cabin and men so ungraciously principled doe daily besiege him, what can his good people doe but sit downe with mournfull eyes and bleeding hearts, till the Lord amend these otherwise remediles and insuperable evills? but I hold heer least I transgresse to farr the bounds of an Epistle?
I account it an advantage to have your Lordship my judge in what heere and in my following treatise, * I spake of Religion, the liberties of our country and the Royall Family: I know non fitter then your Lordship, both to discerne and decerne in all these matters. Me thinks I may say it without flattery (which I never much loved either in my selfe or others) that among all our Nobles for constancy in a zealous profession, for exemplary practise in publick and privat duties; the mercy of God has given to your Lordship a reputation second to none. And for a rigid adhaerence to the Rights and Pri∣viledges of your Country, according to that auncient disposition of your most Noble Family, noted in our Historians, especially that Prince of them Georg Buchanan, the Tutor of your Grand-Father, I know none in our Land who wil pretend to goe before you, and for the affairs of the King, your interest of blood in the Royall Family is so well known, that it would be a strange im∣pudency in me, if in your audience I durst be bold wittingly to give sinistrous information. Praying to God that what in the candid ingenuity & true zeale of my spirit, I present under your Lordships patrociny unto the eye of the World, for the vindication of my mother Church and Country, from the Sicophantick accusations of a Stigmatised incendiary may produce the inten∣ded effects,
I rest your Lordships in all Christian duety, R. B. G.
Hague this 28 May / 7 Iunie. 1649.