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And so much they say we have done for religion; which is the first of my eight parts of speech; and as my weakness, and your patience will permit, I will more briefly and compendiously proceed to the second.
Secondly, we are taxed with profane and barbarous pollutions of the church, or houses, dedicated to God's service. They say, that we never built any, but have taken too much accursed pains to deface and pull down many, perverting the right use of them into stables, receptacles of strumpets, luxurious villains, and infernal stinking smokes of mundungo at the communion-table, destroying those things, which we, with great maturity of judgment, learning, and wisdom, set in order, enacted by former parliaments, most execrably spoiling all by the usurped power and protection of this parliament.
Mr. Speaker, It is a rigorous medicine for the tooth-ach to knock out tho,brains of the patient; he is no wise man that takes violent physick and kills himself, to purge a little phlegm; nor is he a prudent builder, if his house wants some slight repairs, will pull it down: a man, that loves his wife, will not put her away fora few needless black patches that her face is disfigured withal. In like manner, if any thing were amiss, either ornament, gesture, ceremony, liturgy, or whatsoever might have been approved unfitting, scandalous, or justly offensive, it is conceived it might have been removed, or reconciled, in a more Christian way than by ruinating, demolishing, tearing, and violently defacing all, without regard of humanity, Christianity, or order, either from God or man, as too many places in this unjointed kingdom can most truly and wofully testify. And these sweet pieces of service (our adversaries say) we have done for the church.
Thirdly, Concerning our loyalty and obedience to the King. It is manifest, that we have all taken the oath of allegiance to his majesty, and that we have also taken oaths and covenants to make war against him. Our enemies would fain know, who had power to dispense or free us from the former oath, and likewise by what authority the latter covenants and oaths were imposed upon the consciences of men. For my own part, if there were none wiser than myself, this ambiguous aenigma would never be unriddled. But it is reported, that if we had kept our first oaths conscientiously, and not taken the second most perniciously, and performed them most impiously, then we had never so rebelliously opposed and offended so gracious a majesty.
Mr. Speaker, Our adversaries do further alledge, that our obedience to his majesty is apparently manifest by many strange ways. We have disburlhened him of his large revenues, we have eased him of the charge of royal house-keeping, we have freed him of paying of his navy, we have cleared him from either repairing of (or repairing to) his stately palaces, magnificent mansions, and defensive castles and garisons; we have put him out of care for reparations of his armories, arms, ammunition, and artillery; we have been at the cost of keeping his children, and most trusty servants, from or for him; we have taken order, and given ordinances, that he shall not be troubled with much money or meat; and that his queen and lawful wife shall not so much as darken his door. And we have endeavoured, by open rebellion, to release him of a most troublesome life and reign, by hunting him like a partridge over the mountains; and by shooting bullets of all sizes at his person for his majesty's preservation, on purpose to make him a glorious King in another world. We have eased him of a great number of his faithful friends, loyal subjects and servants, by either charitable famishing, brotherly banishment, liberal and free imprisonment, parliamental plunder, friendly throat-cutting, and unlawful beheading and hanging, or ruinating as many as we could lay hands of, that either loved, served, or honoured him.
All these heavy burthens we have eased him of, and overladen ourselves with the usurped ponderosity of them; so that our adversaries say, that the weight of them will either break our backs, our necks, or sink us for ever: and they say, that, since the world's creation, never so good a king had so bad subjects to use him so hardly.
Fourthly, Mr. Speaker, It is questioned what we have done for the laws. There are some that are not afraid to say, that we have transformed or metamorphosed the common laws of the land, into the land's common calamities; that, instead of the common benefit which the laws in community should yield to all men in general, we have perverted those laws to the private profit of ourselves, and some other particular persons. The civil law is turned into an uncivil civil war; blasphemy, atheism, sacrilege, obsceneness, profaneness, incest, adultery, fornication, bigamy, polygamy, bastard-bearing, cuckold-making, and all sorts of beastly bawdry are so far from being punished, that they are generally connived and winked at, or tolerated by us. And those which should be the punishers of these gross and crying crimes, as judges, officials, deacons, proctors, and other officers, these are derided, reviled, libelled against, cried down, and made a common scoffingstock of every libidinous incontinent whore, and whore-monger.
The law of God, contained in the decalogue or ten commandments, we have rased out of.the church, not so much as suffering them to be read: and the new commandment, which was the last that Christ commanded, that we should love one another, we have turned that the foul contrary way, to the spoiling and murdering one another. The law of nature is most unnaturally changed to brutish, heathenish, devilish, barbarous inhumanity; parricide, fratricide, and homicide, hath been, and is by us defended, maintained, and rewarded; no affinity, consanguinity, alliance, friendship, or fellowship, hath or can secure any true protestant, or loyal subject, either of his life or goods, safety or freedom. These are the best reports, our adversaries, the malignant party, do give us.
It is farther said, that we have infringed and violated the law of arms here, and the law of nations abroad; for whereas messengers and ambassadors have always had, and ought to have free and safe passage, with fair and courteous accommodation and entertainment, which the Turks, Tartars, Jews, and Cannibals always observed most obsequiously and punctually: but we, contrary to them, and repugnant to Christianity, have suffered ambassadors to be rifled, robbed, and evil entreated. And we have caused his majesty's messengers to be hanged, wh6m he hath most graciously sent to us with conditions of peace.
By the Vox Populi, or common vote of those people, we are pleased to call malignants, Papists, enemies to the state, with otherscandals and epithets (which they utterly deny both in their words and practice:) we are justly taxed to be the main incendiaries, and pestilent propagators, of all the mischiefs which this afflicted miserable kingdom groans and bleeds under; for they say, that the old statutes of Magna Charts are overthrown by us, under pretence and colour of supporting them: and that, by our votes, ordinances, precepts, proclamations, edicts, mandates, and commands, we have countermanded, abrogated, annihilated, abolished, violated, and made void, all the laws of God, of nature, of arms, and of arts too; and, instead of them, we have unlawfully erected marshal law, club law, Stafford law, and such lawless laws as make most for treason, rebellion, murder, sacrilege, ruin, and plunder. But as for the King himself, we have not allowed him so much law as a huntsman allows a hare. These are our enemies words, and so much they say we have done for the laws.
Fifthly, Mr. Speaker, This question or query is, what we have done for the kingdom. It is said, that we have done and undone the kingdom; this ancient famous flourishing kingdom; this envy of the world for happiness; this Eden of the universe; this terrestrial Paradise; this abstract of heaven's blessings, and earthly content; this epitome of nature's glory; this exact extract of piety, learning, and magnanimous chivalry; this nursery of religion, arms, arts, and laudable endeavours; this breed of men; this wonder of nations, formerly renowned, feared, loved, and honoured, as far as ever sun and moon shined; this England, which hath been a kingdom, and a monarchy, many hundred years, under the reigns of one hundred and sixty-eight kings and queens; this kingdom which hath conquered kingdoms; that hath India, Syria, Palestina, Cyprus, tributary tremblers; that hath made France shake, and Spain quake; that relieved and defended Scotland from French slavery, and saved and protected the Netherlands from Spanish tyranny. Now have we made this kingdom, this England, a miserable slave to itself, an universal Golgotha, a purple gore, Aceldama, a field of blood, a Gehenna, a den of thieves, or infernal furies, and finally, an earthly hell, were it not for this difference, that here the best men arc punished, and in hell only the worst are plagued; here no good man escapes torment, nor any bad man is troubled: the king is abused for being good and just, and his true and loyal subjects and servants are ruined and massacred for their fidelity. The protestants are called papists, because they will not be Brownists, Anabaptists, and rebels. And our adversaries are so bold to say, that we have plotted and laboured long to turn this glorious monarchy into a pedling roly poly independant anarchy, and make this kingdom to beno kingdom; and so much we have done for this kingdom.
Sixthly, Mr. Speaker, They do question us what good we have done for the benefit or liberty of the subject. Many of them say, that they know too well and too ill, what and what not; they find, (by lamentable experience) that we have turned their liberty into bondage, their freedom into slavery, and their happiness into an unexampled infelicity. Nay, it is reported, that we have found two ways to hell, which are, either to be rebels, or perjured; to fight in person against the king, and to be forsworn by a covenant to owe him no obedience, or dutiful allegiance: they say we say, tush, these are but trifles, which may be answered at an easy rate, a small matter will clear this reckoning; it is no more than everlasting damnation, for which, Mr. Speaker, I am bold to make use of a speech in the distasteful litany, 'GoodLord, deliver us.'
The maliguants do compare this commonwealth to an old kettle, with here and there a fault or hole, a crack, ora flaw in it; and that we (in imitation of our worthy brethren of Banbury,) were intrusted to mend the said kettle; but, like deceitful and cheating knaves, we have, instead of stopping one hole, made three or four score; for the people chose us to ease them of some mild and tolerable grievances, which we have done so artificially, that they all cry and complain*, that the medicine is forty times worse than the disease, and the remedy a hundred times worse than the medicine. And so much is reported that we have done for the subject.
Seventhly, Mr. Speaker, The malignants query, or question, is, what we have done for reformation: what, by our industrious care, and long sitting, we have reformed; how the service of God is by us more religiously, sincerely, zealously, fervently, and ardently, preached or practised; what we have amended either in church or kingdom; how either the king is more honoured or obeyed than he was before this parliament; what good we have done this four or five years; with what faces can we look upon the freeholders and corporations in every shire, county, city, town, and borough in this kingdom, who cried us up, and with their voices elected us to be knights and burgesses; which way we can answer the same, for our many breaches of that great trust, which they intrusted us withal? I tell you, Mr. Speaker, these are home questions; and they plainly say, that all our reformation is non-conformation; and, by sure confirmation, true information, certain affirmation, we have by cunning transformation turned all to deformation: so that if our predecessors and ancestors that are departed this life (to a better or worse) should, or could, rise out of their graves, and see the change, alteration, and unmannerly manners, that have overspread this church and kingdom, they would think they were not in England, buteither in Turky, Barbary, Scythia, Tartary, or some land that is inhabited by infidels or pagans; for England, as it is, looks no more like England, as it was five years ago, than a camel, or cockleshell, are like an owl, or a red herring.
Eighthly and Lastly, Briefly and compendiously, the question is, what we have donafor ourselves. We have run the hazard of our estates
• See the Tract intituled, Awake, O England, in vol. 7.
to be justly forfeited by rebellion, against a just, merciful, and truly religious king; our lives are liaticlo the rigour of such laws as former parliaments have enacted against rebels and traitors; and ourselves are in danger of perpetual perdition, if submission, contrition, and satisfaction be not humbly and speedily performed, or endeavoured; for we, and none but we, have altered this kingdom's felicity to confusion and misery; from a pleasant merry comedy, to a dismal bloody tragedy, sufficient to fill a large history of perpetual memory of us and our posterity.
And thus, Mr. Speaker, have I, with as much brevity as I could, run ocer my eight parts of speech, whereby may be perceived, how the malignant adversaries do esteem of us and our actions. I could speak more than I have said, and I could say more than I have spoken; but, having done, I hold it discretion to make an end.
PLAGUE AT WESTMINSTER:
OR, AN ORDER FOR THE
VISITATION OF A SICK PARLIAMENT,
Grievously troubled with a new Disease, called the Consumption of their Members.
The Persons visited are:
The Earl of Suffolk, The Ld. Willoughby of Parham,
The Earl of Lincoln, The Lord Maynard,
The Earl of Middlesex, Sir John Maynard,
The Lord Hunsdon, Master Glyn, Recorder of London.
The Lord Barkly.
With a form of prayer, and other rites and ceremonies to be used for their recovery; strictly commanded to be used in all cathedrals, churches, chapels, and congregations, throughout his Majesty's three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.
Printed for V. V. in the year 1647. Quarto, containing six pages.
Let all the long-abused people of this kingdom speedily repair, for the remedy of all their grievances, to the High-Place at Westminster, and, so soon as entered in to the Lords-House, let them reverently kneel down upon their bare knees, and say this new prayer and exhortation following:
/~"\ Almighty and everlasting Lords, we acknowledge and confess from ^~' the bottom of our hearts, that you have most justly plagued us these full seven years for our manifold sins and iniquities. Forasmuch as we have not rebelled against you, but against the King, our most