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subject, but to profess blasphemous opinions, to revile and tread under foot magistracy, to murder magistrates, to oppress and undo all that are not like-minded with us." Forgetting in the mean while himself to be in the head of a mixed rabble, part papists, part fugitives, and part savages, guilty in the highest degree of all these crimes. What more blasphemous, not opinion, but whole religion, than popery, plunged into idolatrous and ceremonial superstition, the very death of all true religion; figured to us by the Scripture itself in the shape of that beast, full of the names of blasphemy, which we mention to him as to one that would be counted protestant, and had his breeding in the house of a bishop? And who are those that have trod under foot magistracy, murdered magistrates, oppressed and undone all that sided not with them, but the Irish rebels, in that horrible conspiracy, for which Ormond himself hath either been or seemed to be their enemy, though now their ringleader? And let him ask the Jesuits about him, whether it be not their known doctrine and also practice, not by fair and due process of justice to punish kings and magistrates, which we disavow not, but to murder them in the basest and most assassinous manner, if their church interest so require. There will not need more words to this windy railer, convicted openly of all those crimes, which he so confidently, and yet falsely, charges upon others.
We have now to deal, though in the same country, with another sort of adversaries, in show far different, in substance muchwhat the same. These write themselves the presbytery of Belfast, a place better known by the name of a late barony, than by the fame of these men's doctrine or ecclesiastical deeds: whose obscurity till now never came to our hearing. And surely we should think this their representment far beneath considerable, who have neglected and passed over the like unadvisedness of their fellows in other places more near us, were it not to observe in some particulars the sympathy, good intelligence, and joint pace which they go in the north of Ireland, with their copartning rebels in the south, driving on the same interest to lose us that kingdom, that they may gain it themselves, or at least share in the spoil: though the other be open enemies, these pretended brethren.
The introduction of their manifesto out of doubt must be zealous; "Their duty," they say, "to God and his people, over whom he hath made them overseers, and for whom they must give account." What mean these men? Is the presbytery of Belfast, a small town in Ulster, of so large extent, that their voices cannot serve to teach duties in the congregation which they oversee, without spreading and divulging to all parts, far beyond the diocese of Patrick or Columba, their written representation, under the subtle pretence of feeding their own flock? Or do they think to oversee, or undertake to give an account for, all to whom their paper sends greeting? St. Paul to the elders of Ephesus thinks it sufficient to give charge, "That they take heed to themselves, and to the flock over which they were made overseers," beyond those bounds he enlarges not their commission. And surely when we put down bishops and put up presbyters, which the most of them have made use of to enrich and exalt themselves, and turn the first heel against their benefactors, we did not think, that one classic fraternity, so obscure and so remote, should involve us and all state-affairs within the censure and jurisdiction of Belfast, upon pretence of overseeing their own charge.
We very well know, that church-censures are limited to church-matters, and these within the compass of their own province, or to say more truly, of their own congregation: that affairs of state are not for their meddling,
as we could urge even from their own invectives and protestations against the bishops, wherein they tell them with much fervency, that ministers of the gospel, neither by that function, nor any other which they ought accept have the least warrant to be pragmatical in the state.
And surely in vain were bishops for these and other causes forbid to sit and vote in the house, if these men out of the house, and without vote, shall claim and be permitted more license on their presbyterial stools, to breed continual disturbance by interposing in the commonwealth. But seeing that now, since their heaving out the prelates to heave in themselves, they devise new ways to bring both ends together, which will never meet; that is to say, their former doctrine with their present doings, as "that they cannot else teach magistrates and subjects their duty, and that they have besides a right themselves to speak as members of the commonwealth;" let them know, that there is a wide difference between the general exhortation to justice and obedience, which in this point is the utmost of their duty, and the state-disputes wherein they are now grown such busy-bodies, to preach of titles, interests, and alterations in government: more than our Saviour himself, or any of his apostles, ever took upon them, though the title both of Cæsar and of Herod, and what they did in matters of state, might have then admitted controversy enough.
Next, for their civil capacities, we are sure, that pulpits and churchassemblies, whether classical or provincial, never were intended or allowed by wise magistrates, no, nor by him that sent them, to advance such purposes, but that as members of the commonwealth they ought to mix with other commoners, and in that temporal body to assume nothing above other private persons, or otherwise than in a usual and legal manner: not by distinct remonstrances and representments, as if they were a tribe and party by themselves, which is the next immediate way to make the church lift a horn against the state, and claim an absolute and undepending jurisdiction, as from like advantage and occasion (to the trouble of all Christendom) the pope hath for many ages done; and not only our bishops were climbing after him, but our presbyters also, as by late experiment we find. Of this representation therefore we can esteem and judge no other than of a slanderous and seditious libel, sent abroad by a sort of incendiaries, to delude and make the better way under the cunning and plausible name of a presbytery.
A second reason of their representing is, "that they consider the dependence of that kingdom upon England," which is another shameless untruth that ever they considered; as their own actions will declare, by conniving, and in their silence partaking, with those in Ulster, whose obedience, by what we have yet heard, stands dubious, and with an eye of conformity rather to the north, than to that part where they owe their subjection; and this in all likelihood by the inducement and instigation of these representers: who so far from considering their dependence on England, as to presume at every word to term proceedings of parliament, "the insolences of a sectarian party, and of private men." Despising dominion, and speaking evil of dignities, which hypocritically they would seem to dissuade others from; and not fearing the due correction of their superiors, that may in fit season overtake them. Whenas the least consideration of their dependence on England, would have kept them better in their duty.
The third reason which they use makes against them; the remembrance how God punished the contempt of their warning last year upon the breakers of covenant, whenas the next year after they forget the warning
of that punishment hanging over their own heads for the very same transgression, their manifest breach of covenant by this seditious representation, accompanied with the doubtful obedience of that province which represents it.
And thus we have their preface supported with three reasons; two of them notorious falsities, and the third against themselves; and two examples, "the province of London, and the commissioners of the kirk-assembly." But certain, if canonical examples bind not, much less do apocryphal.
Proceeding to avouch the trust put upon them by God, which is plainly proved to be none of this nature, "they would not be looked upon as sowers of sedition, or authors of divisive motions; their record," they say, "is in heaven," and their truth and honesty no man knows where. For is not this a shameless hypocrisy, and of mere wolves in sheep's clothing, to sow sedition in the ears of all men, and to face us down to the very act, that they are authors of no such matter? But let the sequel both of their paper, and the obedience of the place wherein they are, determine.
Nay, while we are yet writing these things, and foretelling all men the rebellion, which was even then designed in the close purpose of these unhallowed priestlings, at the very time when with their lips they disclaimed all sowing of sedition, news is brought, and too true, that the Scottish inhabitants of that province are actually revolted, and have not only besieged in Londonderry those forces, which were to have fought against Ormond and the Irish rebels; but have in a manner declared with them, and begun open war against the parliament; and all this by the incitement and illusions of that unchristian synagogue at Belfast, who yet dare charge the parliament, "that, notwithstanding specious pretences, yet their actings do evidence, that they love a rough garment to deceive." The deceit we own not, but the comparison, by what at first sight may seem alluded, we accept: for that hairy roughness assumed won Jacob the birthright both temporal and eternal; and God we trust hath so disposed the mouth of these Balaams, that, coming to curse, they have stumbled into a kind of blessing, and compared our actings to the faithful act of that patriarch.
But if they mean, as more probably their meaning was, that "rough garment" spoken of Zach. xiii. 4, we may then behold the pitiful store of learning and theology, which these deceivers have thought sufficient to uphold their credit with the people, who, though the rancour that leavens them have somewhat quickened the common drawling of their pulpit elocution, yet for want of stock enough in scripture-phrase to serve the necessary uses of their malice, they are become so liberal, as to part freely with their own budge-gowns from off their backs, and bestow them on the magistrate as a rough garment to deceive; rather than not be furnished with a reproach, though never so improper, never so odious to be turned upon themselves. For but with half an eye cast upon that text, any man will soon discern that rough garment to be their own coat, their own livery, the very badge and cognizance of such false prophets as themselves, who, when they understand, or ever seriously mind, the beginning of that 4th verse, may "be ashamed every one of his lying vision," and may justly fear that foregoing denouncement to such "as speak lies in the name of the Lord," verse 3, lurking under the rough garment of outward rigour and formality, whereby they cheat the simple. So that "this rough garment to deceive" we bring ye once again, grave sirs, into your own vestry; or with Zachary shall not hink much to fit it to your own shoulders. To bestow aught in good earnest on the magistrate, we know your classic priestship is too gripple, for ye are always begging: and for this rough gown to deceive, we are confi
dent ye cannot spare it; it is your Sunday's gown, your every day gown, your only gown, the gown of your faculty; your divining gown; to take it from ye were sacrilege. Wear it therefore, and possess it yourselves, most grave and reverend Carmelites, that all men, both young and old, as we hope they will shortly, may yet better know ye, and distinguish ye by it; and give to your rough gown, wherever they meet it, whether in pulpit, classis, or provincial synod, the precedency and the pre-eminence of deceiving.
They charge us next, that we have broken the covenant, and loaden it with slighting reproaches. For the reproaching, let them answer that are guilty, whereof the state we are sure cannot be accused. For the breaking, let us hear wherein. "In labouring," say they, "to establish by law a universal toleration of all religions." This touches not the state; for certainly were they so minded, they need not labour it, but do it, having power in their hands; and we know of no act as yet passed to that purpose. But suppose it done, wherein is the covenant broke? The covenant enjoins us to endeavour the extirpation first of popery and prelacy, then of heresy, schism, and profaneness, and whatsoever shall be found contrary to sound doctrine and the power of godliness. And this we cease not to do by all effectual and proper means: but these divines might know, that to extirpate all these things can be no work of the civil sword, but of the spiritual, which is the word of God.
No man well in his wits, endeavouring to root up weeds out of his ground, instead of using the spade will take a mallet or a beetle. Nor doth the covenant any way engage us to extirpate, or to prosecute the men, but the heresies and errors in them, which we tell these divines, and the rest that understand not, belongs chiefly to their own function, in the diligent preaching and insisting upon sound doctrine; in the confuting, not the railing down, errors, encountering both in public and private conference, and by the power of truth, not of persecution, subduing those authors of heretical opinions; and lastly in the spiritual execution of church-discipline within their own congregations. In all these ways we shall assist them, favour them, and as far as appertains to us join with them, and moreover not tolerate the free exercise of any religion, which shall be found absolutely contrary to sound doctrine or the power of godliness; for the conscience, we must have patience till it be within our verge. And thus doing, we shall believe to have kept exactly all that is required from us by the covenant. Whilst they by their seditious practices against us, than which nothing for the present can add more assistance or advantage to those bloody rebels and papists in the south, will be found most pernicious covenant-breakers themselves, and as deep in that guilt, as those of their own nation the last year: the warning of whose ill success, like men hardened for the same judgment. they miserably pervert to an encouragement in the same offence, if not a far worse: for now they have joined interest with the Irish rebels, who have ever fought against the covenant, whereas their countrymen the year before made the covenant their plea. But as it is a peculiar mercy of God to his people, while they remain his, to preserve them from wicked considerations: so it is a mark and punishment of hypocrites, to be driven at length to mix their cause, and the interest of their covenant, with God's enemies.
And whereas they affirm, that the tolerating of all religions, in the manner that we tolerate them, is an innovation; we must acquaint them, that we are able to make it good, if need be, both by Scripture and the primitive fathers, and the frequent assertion of whole churches and protestant states in their remonstrances and expostulations against the popish tyranny over souls. And what force of argument do these doctors bring to the 2 M
contrary? But we have long observed to what pass the bold ignorance and sloth of our clergy tends no less now than in the bishop's days, to make their bare sayings and censures authentic with the people, though destitute of any proof or argument. But thanks be to God, they are discerned.
Their next impeachment is, "that we oppose the presbyterial government, the hedge and bulwark of religion." Which all the land knows to be a most impudent falsehood, having established it with all freedom, wherever it hath been desired. Nevertheless, as we perceive it aspiring to be a compulsive power upon all without exception in parochial, classical, and provincial hierarchies, or to require the fleshly arm of magistracy in the execution of a spiritual discipline, to punish and amerce by any corporal infliction those whose consciences cannot be edified by what authority they are compelled, we hold it no more to be "the hedge and bulwark of eligion," than the popish or prelatical courts, or the Spanish inquisition.
But we are told, "we embrace paganism and Judaism in the arms of toleration." A most audacious calumny! And yet while we detest Judaism, we know ourselves commanded by St. Paul, Rom. xi., to respect the Jews, and by all means to endeavour their conversion.
Neither was it ever sworn in the covenant, to maintain an universal presbytery in England, as they falsely allege, but in Scotland against the common enemy, if our aid were called for: being left free to reform our own country according to the word of God, and the example of best reformed churches; from which rule we are not yet departed.
But here, utterly forgetting to be ministers of the gospel, they presume to open their mouths, not "in the spirit of meekness," as like dissemblers they pretend, but with as much devilish malice, impudence, and falsehood, as any Irish rebel could have uttered, and from a barbarous nook of Ireland brand us with the extirpation of laws and liberties; things which they seem as little to understand, as aught that belong to good letters or humanity.
"That we seized on the person of the king;" who was surrendered into our hands an enemy and captive by our own subordinate and paid army of Scots in England. Next, "our imprisoning many members of the house." As if it were impossible they should deserve it, conspiring and bandying against the public good; which to the other part appearing, and with the power they had, not resisting had been a manifest desertion of their trust and duty. No question but it is as good and necessary to expel rotten members out of the house, as to banish delinquents out of the land: and the reason holds as well in forty as in five. And if they be yet more, the more dangerous is their number. They had no privilege to sit there, and vote home the author, the impenitent author, of all our miseries, to freedom, honour, and royalty, for a few fraudulent, if not destructive, concessions. Which that they went about to do, how much more clear it was to all men, so much the more expedient and important to the commonwealth was their speedy seizure and exclusion; and no breach of any just privilege, but a breach of their knotted faction. And here they cry out, "an action without parallel in any age." So heartily we wish all men were unprejudiced in all our actions, as these illiterate denouncers never paralleled so much of any age as would contribute to the tithe of a century. "That we abolish parliamentary power, and establish a representative instead thereof." Now we have the height of them; these profound instructors, in the midst of their representation, would know the English of a representative, and were perhaps of that classis, who heretofore were as much staggered at triennial.
Their grand accusation is our justice done on the king, which that they may prove to be "without rule or example," they venture all the credit they