Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

of his words and fpeeches here, and of his answers and behaviour at his trial.

“ It is a fad fate,” he faith, “ to have his enemies both accusers, parties and judges.” Sad indeed, but no fufficient plea to acquit him from being fo judged. For what malefactor, might not sometimes plead the like? If his own crimes have made all men his enemies, who else can judge him? They of the powder-plot against his father might as well have pleaded the lame. Nay, at the resurrection it may as well be pleaded, that the saints, who then shall judge the world, are “both enemies, judges, parties, and accusers.”

So much he thinks to abound in his own defence, that he undertakes an unmeasurable talk, to bespeak“ the fingular care and protection of God over all kings,” as being the greatest patrons of law, justice, order, and religion on earth. But what patrons they be, God in the fcripture oft enough hath expressed ; and the earth itself hath too long groaned under the burden of their injustice, disorder, and irreligion. Therefore “ to bind their kings in chains, and their nobles with links of iron, is an honour belonging to his faints ; not to build Babel, (which was Nimrod's work, the first king, and the beginning of his kingdom was Babel) but to destroy it, especially that fpiritual Babel : and first to overcome those European kings, which receive their power, not from God, but from the beast; and are counted no better than his ten horns. “ These shall hate the great whore," and yet “shall give their kingdoms to the beast that carries her; they shall commit fornication with her,” and yet “ fhall burn her with fire,” and yet “shall lament the fall of Babylon,” where they fornicated with her. Revelations chap. 17 and 18.

Thus fhall they be to and fro, doubtful and ambiguous in all their doings, until at last, “joining their armies with the beast," whose power first raised them, they shall perish with him by the “King of kings," againti whom they have rebelled'; and “ the fowls shall eat their flesh.” This is their doom written, Revel. xix. and the utmost that we find concerning them in these latter days; which we have much more cause to believe, than his unwarranted revelation here, prophesying what shall follow after his death, with the spirit of enmity, not of St. John

unwarranted

He would fain bring us out of conceit with the good fuccess, which God hath vouchsafed us. We measure not our cause by our success, but our success by our cause. Yet certainly in a good cause success is a good confirmation; for God hath promised it to good men almoft in every leaf of scripture. If it argue not for us, we are fure it argues not against us; but as much or more for us, than ill success argues for them ; for to the wicked God hath denounced ill success in all they take in hand.

He hopes much of those “ softer tempers," as he calls them, and “lets advantaged by his ruin, that their consciences do already” gripe them. It is true, there be a fort of moody, hotbrained, and always unedified consciences; apt to engage their leaders into great and dangerous affairs paft retirement, and then upon a sudden qualm and swimming of their conscience, to betray them bafely in the midst of what was chiefly undertaken for their fakes*. Let such men never meet with any faithful parliament to hazard for them; never with any noble spirit to conduct and lead them out; but let them live . and die in fervile condition and their scrupulous queafiness, if no instruction will confirm them! Others there be, in whose consciences the loss of gain, and those advantages they hoped for, hath sprung a sudden leak. These are they that cry out, the covenant broken! and to keep it better slide back into neutrality, or join actually with incendiaries and malignants. But God hath eminently begun to punish thote, first, in Scotland, then in Ulster, who have provoked him with the most hateful kind of mockery, to break his covenant under pretence of ftriétest keeping it; and hath subjected them to those malignants, with whom they scrupled not to be associates. In God therefore we shall not fear what their false fraternity can do against us.

He seeks again with cunning words to turn our success into our fin. But might call to mind, that the scripture

* A fevere rebuke this to the Presbyterians.

H3

fpeaks speaks of those also, who “when God sew them, then fought him ;" yet did but “flatter him with their mouth, and lyed to him with their tongues; for their heart was not right with him.” And there was one, who in the time of his affli&tion trespassed more against God. This was that king Ahaz.

He glories much in the foregiveness of his enemies; fo did his grandmother at her death. Wise men would sooner have believed him, had he not so often told us fo. But he hopes to erect “the trophies of his charity over us.' And trophies of charity no doubt will be as glorious as trumpets before the alms of hypocrites; and more especially the trophies of such an aspiring charity, as offers in his prayer to Thare victory with God's compaffion, which is over all his works. Such prayers as these may haply catch the people, as was intended : but how they please God is to be much doubted, though prayed in secret, much less written to be divulged. Which perhaps may gain him after death a short, contemptible, and foon fading reward; not what he aims at, to stir the constancy and solid firmness of any wise man, or to unsettle the conscience of any knowing christian, (if he could ever aim at a thing so hopeless, and above the genius of his cleric elocution, but to catch the worthlefs approbation of an inconftant, irrational, and image-doting rabble ; that like a credulous and hapless herd, begotten to servility, and enchanted' with these popular inftitutes of tyranny, fubfcribed with a new device of the king's picture at his prayers, hold out both their ears with fuch delight and ravishment to be stigmatized and bored through, in witness of their own voluntary and beloved baseness. The rest, whom perhaps ignorance without malice, or some errour, less than fatal, hath for the time milled, on this fide forcery or obduration, may find the grace and good guidance, to bethink themselves and recover.

DEFENCE

OF THE

PEOPLE OF ENGLAND,

IN ANSWER TO

SALMASIUS'S DEFENCE OF THE KING*.

THE PREFACE.

A

LTHOUGH I fear, left, if in defending the people

of England, I should be as copious in words, and empty of matter, as most men think Salmafius has been in his defence of the king, I might seem to deserve justly to be accounted a verbofe and filly defender; yet fince no man thinks himself obliged to make so much hafte, though in the handling but of any ordinary subject, as not to premise fome introduction at least, according as the weight of the subject requires; if I take the same course in handling almost the greatest fubjeết that ever was (without being too tedious in it) I am in hopes of attaining two things, which indeed I earnestly desire: the one, not to be at all wanting, as far as in me lies, to this moft noble cause, and most worthy to be recorded to all future ages; the other, that I may appear to have avoided myself that frivolousness of matter, and redundancy of words, which I blame in my antagonist. For I am about to discourse of matters, neither inconsiderable nor common, but how a most potent king, after he had trampled upon the laws of the nation, and given a shock to its religion, and begun to rule at his own will and pleasure, was at last fubdued in the field by his own subjects, who had undergone a long Navery under him; how afterwards he was cast into prison, and when he gave no ground,

* This translation of the author's “Defenfio pro Populo Anglicano" Mr. Toland ascribes to Mr. Washington, a gentleman of the Temple.

H4

either

either by words or actions, to hope better things of him, he was finally by the supreme council of the kingdom condemned to die, and beheaded before the very gates of the royal palace. I shall likewife relate (which will much conduce to the easing men's minds of a great superftition) by what right, especially according to our law, this judgment was given, and all these matters transacted; and shall easily defend my valiant and worthy countrymen (who have extremely well deserved of all subjects and nations in the world) from the most wicked calumnies both of domestic and foreign railers, and especially from the reproaches of this most vain and empty fophifter, who sets up for a captain and ringleader to all the rest. For what king's majesty sitting upon an exalted throne, ever thone so brightly, as that of the people of England then did, when shaking off that old luperstition, which had prevailed a long time, they gave judgment upon the king himfelf, or rather upon an enemy who had been their king, caught as it were in a net by his own laws, (who alone of all mortals challenged to himself impunity by a divine right) and scrupled not to inflict the same punishment upon him, being guilty, which he would have inflicted upon any other? But why do I mention these things as performed by the people, which almost open their voice themselves, and testify the presence of God throughout ? who, as often as it seems good to his infinite wisdom, uses to throw down proud and ụnruly kings, exalting themselves above the condition of human nature, and utterly to extirpate them and all their family. By his manifest impulfe being set on work to recover our almost loft liberty, following him as our guide, and adoring the impresses of his divine power manifested upon all occasions, we went on in no obfcure, but on illustrious passage, pointed out and made plain to us by God him-self

. Which things, if I should so much as hope by any diligence or ability of mine, such as it is, to discourse of as I ought to do, and to commit them fo to writing, as that perhaps all nations and all ages may read them, it would be a very vain thing in me. For what style can be august and magnificent enough, what man has parts fufficient to undertake so great a talk ? Since we find by 5

experience,

[graphic]
« VorigeDoorgaan »