Note here that the right of electing whom they please is by the impartial testimony of an Emperor in the people. For, said he, A just Prince ought to be prefer'd before an unjust, and the end of goverment before the prerogative. And Constantinus Leo , another Emperor, in the Byzantine Laws saith, that the end of a King is for the general good, which he not performing is but the counterfet of a King.
And to prove that som of our own Monarchs have acknowledg'd that thir high office exempted them not from punishment, they had the Sword of St. Edward born before them by an officer who was call'd Earle of the Palace, eev'n at the times of thir highest pomp and solemnities, to mind them, saith Matthew Paris , the best of our Historians, that if they errd , the Sword had power to restraine them.
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And what restraint the Sword comes to at length, having both edge and point, if any Sceptic will doubt, let him feel. It is also affirm'd from diligent search made in our ancient books of Law , that the Peers and Barons of England had a legal right to judge the King: which was the cause most likely, for it could be no slight cause, that they were call'd his Peers, or equals. This however may stand immovable, so long as man hath to deale with no better then man; that if our Law judge all men to the lowest by thir Peers, it should in all equity ascend also, and judge the highest.
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And so much I find both in our own and forren Storie , that Dukes, Earles, and Marqueses were at first not hereditary, not empty and vain titles, but names of trust and office, and with the office ceasing, as induces me to be of opinion, that every worthy man in Parlament , for the word Baron imports no more, might for the public good be thought a fit Peer and judge of the King; without regard had to petty caveats , and circumstances, the chief impediment in high affaires , and ever stood upon most by circumstantial men.
Whence doubtless our Ancestors who were not ignorant with what rights either Nature or ancient Constitution had endowd them, when Oaths both at Coronation, and renewd in Parlament would not serve, thought it no way illegal to depose and put to death thir tyrannous Kings. Insomuch that the Parlament drew up a charge against Richard the second , and the Commons requested to have judgement decree'd against him, that the realme might not bee endangerd.
And Peter Martyr a Divine of formost rank, on the third of Judges approves thir doings.
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Sir Thomas Smith also a Protestant and a Statesman, in his Commonwelth of England , putting the question whether it be lawfull to rise against a Tyrant, answers that the vulgar judge of it according to the event, and the lerned according to the purpose of them that do it. But far before these days, Gildas the most ancient of all our Historians, speaking of those times wherein the Roman Empire decaying quitted and relinquishd what right they had by Conquest to this Iland , and resign'd it all into the peoples hands, testifies that the people thus re-invested with thir own original right, about the year , both elected them Kings, whom they thought best the first Christian Brittish Kings that ever raign'd heer since the Romans and by the same right, when they apprehended cause, usually depos'd and put them to death.
This is the most fundamental and ancient tenure that any King of England can produce or pretend to; in comparison of which, all other titles and pleas are but of yesterday. If any object that Gildas condemns the Britans for so doing, the answer is as ready; that he condemns them no more for so doing, then hee did before for choosing such, for saith he, They anointed them Kings, not of God, but such as were more bloody then the rest. Next hee condemns them not at all for deposing or putting them to death, but for doing it over hastily, without tryal or well examining the cause, and for electing others wors in thir room.
Thus we have heer both domestic and most ancient examples that the people of Britain have depos'd and put to death thir Kings in those primitive Christian times. And to couple reason with example, if the Church in all ages, Primitive, Romish, or Protestant, held it ever no less thir duty then the power of thir Keyes , though without express warrant of Scripture, to bring indifferently both King and Peasant under the utmost rigor of thir Canons and Censures Ecclesiastical, eev'n to the smiting him with a final excommunion, if he persist impenitent, what hinders but that the temporal Law both may and ought, though without a special Text or precedent, extend with like indifference the civil Sword, to the cutting off without exemption him that capitally offends.
Seeing that justice and Religion are from the same God, and works of justice ofttimes more acceptable. Yet because that some lately, with the tongues and arguments of Malignant backsliders, have writt'n that the proceedings now in Parlament against the King, are without precedent from any Protestant State or Kingdom, the examples which follow shall be all Protestant and chiefly Presbyterian.
In the yeare Let all men judge what this wanted of deposing or of killing, but the power to doe it. The Scotch Protestants claiming promise of thir Queen Regent for libertie of conscience, she answering that promises were not to be claim'd of Princes beyond what was commodious for them to grant, told her to her face in the Parlament then at Sterling , that if it were so, they renounc'd thir obedience; and soon after betook them to Armes. Buchanan Hist.
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Answerable was the opinion of John Craig another learned Divine, and that Lawes made by the tyranny of Princes, or the negligence of people, thir posterity might abrogate, and reform all things according to the original institution of Common-welths. And Knox being commanded by the Nobilitie to write to Calvin and other lerned men for thir judgement in that question, refus'd ; alleging that both himself was fully resolv'd in conscience, and had heard thir judgements, and had the same opinion under handwriting of many the most godly and most lerned that he knew in Europe; that if he should move the question to them againe , what should he doe but shew his own forgetfulness or inconstancy.
All this is farr more largely in the Ecclesiastic History Of Scotland l. And to let the world know that the whole Church and Protestant State of Scotland in those purest times of reformation were of the same beleif , three years after, they met in the feild Mary thir lawful and hereditary Queen, took her prisoner yeilding before fight, kept her in prison, and the same yeare depos'd her. And four years after that, the Scots in justification of thir deposing Queen Mary , sent Ambassadors to Queen Elizabeth , and in a writt'n Declaration alleg'd that they had us'd toward her more lenity then shee deserv'd , that thir Ancestors had heretofore punish'd thir Kings by death or banishment; that the Scots were a free Nation, made King whom they freely chose, and with the same freedom unkingd him if they saw cause, by right of ancient laws and Ceremonies yet remaining, and old customs yet among the Highlanders in choosing the head of thir Clanns , or Families; all which with many other arguments bore witness that regal power was nothing else but a mutual Covnant or stipulation between King and people.
These were Scotchmen and Presbyterians; but what measure then have they lately offerd , to think such liberty less beseeming us then themselves, presuming to put him upon us for a Maister whom thir law scarce allows to be thir own equal? If now then we heare them in another strain then heretofore in the purest times of thir Church, we may be confident it is the voice of Faction speaking in them, not of truth and Reformation. Which no less in England then in Scotland , by the mouthes of those faithful witnesses commonly call'd Puritans, and Nonconformists, spake as clearly for the putting down, yea the utmost punishing of Kings, as in thir several Treatises may be read; eev'n from the first raigne of Elizabeth to these times.
Insomuch that one of them, whose name was Gibson , foretold K. James , he should be rooted out, and conclude his race, if he persisted to uphold Bishops. And that very inscription stamps upon the first Coines at his Coronation, a naked Sword in a hand with these words, Si mereor in me , Against me, if I deserve , not only manifested the judgement of that State, but seem'd also to presage the sentence of Divine justice in this event upon his Son. From that time, to this, no State or Kingdom in the world hath equally prosperd: But let them remember not to look with an evil and prejudicial eye upon thir Neighbours walking by the same rule.
But what need these examples to Presbyterians, I mean to those who now of late would seem so much to abhorr deposing, when as they to all Christendom have giv'n the latest and the liveliest example of doing it themselves.
I question not the lawfulness of raising Warr against a Tyrant in defence of Religion, or civil libertie ; for no Protestant Church from the first Waldenses of Lyons , and Languedoc to this day but have don it round , and maintain'd it lawful. But this I doubt not to affirme , that the Presbyterians, who now so much condemn deposing, were the men themselves that deposd the King, and cannot with all thir shifting and relapsing, wash off the guiltiness from thir own hands. For they themselves, by these thir late doings have made it guiltiness, and turn'd thir own warrantable actions into Rebellion.
There is nothing that so actually makes a King of England , as rightful possession and Supremacy in all causes both civil and Ecclesiastical: and nothing that so actually makes a Subject of England , as those two Oaths of Allegeance and Supremacy observd without equivocating, or any mental reservation. Out of doubt then when the King shall command things already constituted in Church, or State, obedience is the true essence of a subject, either to doe , if it be lawful, or if he hold the thing unlawful, to submitt to that penaltie which the Law imposes, so long as he intends to remaine a Subject.
Therfore when the people or any part of them shall rise against the King and his autority executing the Law in any thing establish'd civil or Ecclesiastical, I doe not say it is rebellion, if the thing commanded though establish'd be unlawful, and that they sought first all due means of redress and no man is furder bound to Law but I say it is an absolute renouncing both of Supremacy and Allegeance , which in one word is an actual and total deposing of the King, and the setting up of another supreme autority over them. And whether the Presbyterians have not don all this and much more, they will not put mee , I suppose, to reck'n up a seven years story fresh in the memory of all men.
Have they not utterly broke the Oath of Allegeance , rejecting the Kings command and autority sent them from any part of the Kingdom whether in things lawful or unlawful? Have they not abjur'd the Oath of Supremacy by setting up the Parlament without the King, supreme to all thir obedience, and though thir Vow and Covnant bound them in general to the Parlament , yet somtimes adhering to the lesser part of Lords and Commons that remaind faithful, as they terme it, and eev'n of them, one while to the Commons without the Lords, another while to the Lords without the Commons?
Have they not still declar'd thir meaning, whatever thir Oath were, to hold them onely for supreme whom they found at any time most yeilding to what they petition'd? To prove it yet more plainly that they are the men who have depos'd the King, I thus argue. We know that King and Subject are relatives , and relatives have no longer being then in the relation; the relation between King and Subject can be no other then regal autority and subjection.
Hence I inferr past their defending, that if the Subject who is one relative, take away the relation, of force he takes away also the other relative; but the Presbyterians who were one relative, that is to say Subjects, have for this sev'n years tak'n away the relation, that is to say the Kings autority , and thir subjection to it, therfore the Presbyterians for these sev'n years have remov'd and extinguishd the other relative, that is to say the King, or to speak more in brief have depos'd him; not onely by depriving him the execution of his autoritie , but by conferring it upon others.
If then thir Oaths of subjection brok'n , new Supremacy obey'd , new Oaths and Covnants tak'n , notwithstanding frivolous evasions, have in plaine termes unking'd the King, much more then hath thir sev'n years Warr not depos'd him onely , but outlaw'd him, and defi'd him as an alien, a rebell to Law, and enemie to the State. It must needs be clear to any man not avers from reason, that hostilitie and subjection are two direct and positive contraries; and can no more in one subject stand together in respect of the same King, then one person at the same time can be in two remote places.
Against whom therfore the Subject is in act of hostility we may be confident that to him he is in no subjection: and in whom hostility takes place of subjection, for they can by no meanes consist together, to him the King can be not onely no King, but an enemie.
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So that from hence we shall not need dispute whether they have depos'd him, or what they have defaulted towards him as no King, but shew manifestly how much they have don toward the killing him. Have they not levied all these Warrs against him whether offensive or defensive for defence in Warr equally offends, and most prudently before hand and giv'n Commission to slay where they knew his person could not be exempt from danger? And if chance or flight had not sav'd him, how oft'n had they killd him, directing thir Artillery without blame or prohibition to the very place where they saw him stand?
Have they not Sequester'd him, judg'd or unjudgd , and converted his revenew to other uses, detaining from him as a grand Delinquent, all meanes of livelyhood , so that for them long since he might have perisht , or have starv'd? Have they not hunted and pursu'd him round about the Kingdom with sword and fire? Have they not formerly deny'd to Treat with him , and thir now recanting Ministers preach'd against him, as a reprobate incurable, an enemy to God and his Church markt for destruction, and therfore not to be treated with?
Yet while they thus assaulted and endangerd it with hostile deeds, they swore in words to defend it with his Crown and dignity; not in order, as it seems now, to a firm and lasting peace, or to his repentance after all this blood; but simply, without regard, without remorse, or any comparable value of all the miseries and calamities sufferd by the poore people, or to suffer hereafter through his obstinacy or impenitence.
No understanding man can bee ignorant that Covnants are ever made according to the present state of persons and of things; and have ever the more general laws of nature and of reason included in them, though not express'd. If I make a voluntary Covnant as with a man, to doe him good, and he prove afterward a monster to me, I should conceave a disobligement.
Howbeit, had not thir distrust in a good cause, and the fast and loos of our prevaricating Divines oversway'd , it had bin doubtless better not to have inserted in a Covnant unnecessary obligations, and words not works of a supererogating Allegeance to thir enemy; no way advantageous to themselves, had the King prevail'd , as to thir cost many would have felt; but full of snare and distraction to our friends, usefull onely , as we now find, to our adversaries, who under such a latitude and shelter of ambiguous interpretation have ever since been plotting and contriving new opportunities to trouble all again.
How much better had it bin , and more becomming an undaunted vertue , to have declar'd op'nly and boldly whom and what power the people were to hold Supreme; as on the like occasion Protestants have don before, and many conscientious men now in these times have more then once besought the Parlament to doe , that they might goe on upon a sure foundation, and not with a ridling Covnant in thir mouths, seeming to sweare counter almost in the same breath Allegeance and no Allegeance ; which doubtless had drawn off all the minds of sincere men from siding with them, had they not discern'd thir actions farr more deposing him then thir words upholding him; which words made now the subject of cavillous interpretations, stood ever in the Covnant , by judgement of the more discerning sort, an evidence of thir feare , not of thir fidelity.
What should I return to speak on, of those attempts for which the King himself hath oft'n charg'd the Presbyterians of seeking his life, when as in the due estimation of things, they might without a fallacy be sayd to have don the deed outright. Who knows not that the King is a name of dignity and office, not of person: Who therfore kills a King, must kill him while he is a King.
Then they certainly who by deposing him have long since tak'n from him the life of a King, his office and his dignity, they in the truest sence may be said to have killd the King: nor onely by thir deposing and waging Warr against him, which besides the danger to his personal life, sett him in the fardest opposite point from any vital function of a King, but by thir holding him in prison , vanquishd and yeilded into thir absolute and despotic power, which brought him to the lowest degradement and incapacity of the regal name. I say not by whose matchless valour next under God, lest the story of thir ingratitude thereupon carry me from the purpose in hand, which is to convince them that they, which I repeat againe , were the men who in the truest sense killd the King, not onely as is prov'd before, but by depressing him thir King farr below the rank of a subject to the condition of a Captive, without intention to restore him, as the Chancellour of Scotland in a speech told him plainly at Newcastle , unless hee granted fully all thir demands, which they knew he never meant.
Nor did they Treat or think of Treating with him, till thir hatred to the Army that deliverd them, not thir love or duty to the King, joyn'd them secretly with men sentenc'd so oft for Reprobats in thir own mouthes , by whose suttle inspiring they grew madd upon a most tardy and improper Treaty. The truth therfore is, both that they would not, and that indeed they could not without thir own certain destruction; having reduc'd him to such a final pass, as was the very death and burial of all in him that was regal, and from whence never King of England yet reviv'd , but by the new re-inforcement of his own party, which was a kind of resurrection to him.
Thus having quite extinguisht all that could be in him of a King, and from a total privation clad him over, like another specifical thing, with formes and habitudes destructive to the former, they left in his person, dead as to Law, and all the civil right either of King or Subject, the life onely of a Prisner , a Captive and a Malefactor. Ministers of sedition, not of the Gospel, who while they saw it manifestly tend to civil Warr and blood shed, never ceasd exasperating the people against him; and now that they see it likely to breed new commotion, cease not to incite others against the people that have sav'd them from him, as if sedition were thir onely aime , whether against him or for him.
But God, as we have cause to trust, will put other thoughts into the people, and turn them from giving eare or heed to these Mercenary noisemakers, of whose fury, and fals prophecies we have enough experience; and from the murmurs of new discord will incline them to heark'n rather with erected minds to the voice of our Supreme Magistracy , calling us to liberty and the flourishing deeds of a reformed Common-wealth ; with this hope that as God was heretofore angry with the Jews who rejected him and his forme of Goverment to choose a King, so that he will bless us, and be propitious to us who reject a King to make him onely our leader and supreme governour in the conformity as neer as may be of his own ancient goverment ; if we have at least but so much worth in us to entertaine the sense of our future happiness, and the courage to receave what God voutsafes us: wherein we have the honour to precede other Nations who are now labouring to be our followers.
For as to this question in hand what the people by thir just right may doe in change of goverment , or of governour , we see it cleerd sufficiently; besides other ample autority eev'n from the mouths of Princes themselves. Without which natural and essential power of a free Nation, though bearing high thir heads, they can in due esteem be thought no better then slaves and vassals born, in the tenure and occupation of another inheriting Lord.
Whose goverment , though not illegal, or intolerable, hangs over them as a Lordly scourge, not as a free goverment ; and therfore to be abrogated. How much more justly then may they fling off tyranny, or tyrants; who being once depos'd can be no more the privat men, as subject to the reach of Justice and arraignment as any other transgressors. To teach lawless Kings, and all who so much adore them, that not mortal man, or his imperious will, but Justice is the onely true sovran and supreme Majesty upon earth. Though perhaps till now no protestant State or kingdom can be alleg'd to have op'nly put to death thir King, which lately some have writt'n , and imputed to thir great glory; much mistaking the matter.
It is not, neither ought to be the glory of a Protestant State, never to have put thir King to death; It is the glory of a Protestant King never to have deserv'd death. And if the Parlament and Military Councel doe what they doe without precedent, if it appeare thir duty, it argues the more wisdom, vertue , and magnanimity, that they know themselves able to be a precedent to others. Who perhaps in future ages, if they prove not too degenerat , will look up with honour , and aspire toward these exemplary, and matchless deeds of thir Ancestors, as to the highest top of thir civil glory and emulation.
Which heretofore, in the persuance of fame and forren dominion, spent it self vain-gloriously abroad; but henceforth may learn a better fortitude, to dare execute highest Justice on them that shall by force of Armes endeavour the oppressing and bereaving of Religion and thir liberty at home: that no unbridl'd Potentate or Tyrant, but to his sorrow for the future, may presume such high and irresponsible licence over mankinde , to havock and turn upside-down whole Kingdoms of men, as though they were no more in respect of his perverse will then a Nation of Pismires.
As for the party calld Presbyterian, of whom I believe very many to be good and faithfull Christians, though misledd by som of turbulent spirit, I wish them earnestly and calmly not to fall off from thir first principles; nor to affect rigor and superiority over men not under them; not to compell unforcible things , in Religion especially, which if not voluntary, becomes a sin; nor to assist the clamor and malicious drifts of men whom they themselves have judg'd to be the worst of men, the obdurat enemies of God and his Church: nor to dart against the actions of thir brethren, for want of other argument, those wrested Lawes and Scriptures thrown by Prelats and Malignants against thir own sides, which though they hurt not otherwise, yet tak'n up by them to the condemnation of thir own doings, give scandal to all men, and discover in themselves either extreame passion, or apostacy.
Let them not oppose thir best friends and associats , who molest them not at all, infringe not the least of thir liberties; unless they call it thir liberty to bind other mens consciences, but are still seeking to live at peace with them and brotherly accord. Let them beware an old and perfet enemy , who though he hope by sowing discord to make them his instruments, yet cannot forbeare a minute the op'n threatning of his destind revenge upon them, when they have servd his purposes.
Let them, feare therfore if they be wise, rather what they have don already, then what remaines to doe , and be warn'd in time they put no confidence in Princes whom they have provok'd , lest they be added to the examples of those that miserably have tasted the event. Stories can informe them how Christiern the second , King of Denmark not much above a hundred yeares past, driv'n out by his Subjects, and receav'd againe upon new Oaths and conditions, broke through them all to his most bloody revenge; slaying his chief opposers when he saw his time, both them and thir children invited to a feast for that purpose.
How the massacre at Paris was the effect of that credulous peace which the French Protestants made with Charles the ninth thir King: and that the main visible cause which to this day hath sav'd the Netherlands from utter ruin, was thir final not beleiving the perfidious cruelty which, as a constant maxim of State, hath bin us'd by the Spanish Kings on thir Subjects that have tak'n Armes and after trusted them; as no later age but can testifie , heretofore in Belgia it self, and this very yeare in Naples. And to conclude with one past exception, though farr more ancient, David , whose sanctify'd prudence might be alone sufficient, not to warrant us only, but to instruct us, when once he had tak'n Armes , never after that trusted Saul , though with tears and much relenting he twise promis'd not to hurt him.
These instances, few of many, might admonish them both English and Scotch not to let thir own ends, and the driving on of a faction betray them blindly into the snare of those enemies whose revenge looks on them as the men who first begun, fomented and carri'd on, beyond the cure of any sound or safe accommodation, all the evil which hath since unavoidably befall'n them and thir King. I have somthing also to the Divines, though brief to what were needfull ; not to be disturbers of the civil affairs, being in hands better able and more belonging to manage them; but to study harder, and to attend the office of good Pastors, knowing that he whose flock is least among them hath a dreadfull charge, not performd by mounting twise into the chair with a formal preachment huddl'd up at the odd hours of a whole lazy week, but by incessant pains and watching in season and out of season , from house to house over the soules of whom they have to feed.
Which if they ever well considerd, how little leasure would they find to be the most pragmatical Sidesmen of every popular tumult and Sedition? And all this while are to learn what the true end and reason is of the Gospel which they teach; and what a world it differs from the censorious and supercilious lording over conscience.
It would be good also they liv'd so as might perswade the people they hated covetousness, which worse then heresie , is idolatry; hated pluralities and all kind of Simony ; left rambling from Benefice to Benefice, like rav'nous Wolves seeking where they may devour the biggest. Of which if som , well and warmely seated from the beginning, be not guilty, twere good they held not conversation with such as are: let them be sorry that being call'd to assemble about reforming the Church, they fell to progging and solliciting the Parlament , though they had renounc'd the name of Priests, for a new selling of thir Tithes and Oblations ; and double lin'd themselves with spiritual places of commoditie beyond the possible discharge of thir duty.
Let them assemble in Consistory with thir Elders and Deacons, according to ancient Ecclesiastical rule, to the preserving of Church-discipline, each in his several charge, and not a pack of Clergiemen by themselves to belly- cheare in thir presumptuous Sion , or to promote designes , abuse and gull the simple Laity, and stirr up tumult, as the Prelats did, for the maintenance of thir pride and avarice. These things if they observe, and waite with patience, no doubt but all things will goe well without their importunities or exclamations: and the Printed letters which they send subscrib'd with the ostentation of great Characters and little moment, would be more considerable then now they are.
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