« AnteriorContinuar »
religion and liberties of the kingdoms, that the world may bear witness with my conscience of my loyalty, and that I have no thoughts or intentions to diminish his Majesty's just power and greatness. Fourthly, That I shall, with all faithfulness, endeavour the discovery of all such as have been, or shall be incendiaries, malignants, or evil instruments, by hindering the reformation of religion, dividing the King from his people, or one of the kingdoms from another, or making any factions or parties among the people, contrary to the tenor of the national league or covenant, that they may be drawn from the error of their ways, and brought to repentance, or otherwise to publick tryal, and receive condign punishment, as the degree of their offence shall require or deserve, or supreme judicatories of both kingdoms respectively, or others having power from them to that effect, shall judge convenient. Fifthly, And whereas the happiness of a blessed peace and union between the kingdoms, denied in former times to our progenitors, is, by the good providence of God, granted to us, and hath been lately concluded and settled by both parliaments, I shall, according to my place and interest, endeavour that the kingdoms may remain conjoined in a firm peace and union to all posterity, and that justice may be done upon the wilful opposers thereof, in manner expressed in the precedent articles. Sixthly, I shall, also, according to my place and calling, in the common cause of religion, liberty, and peace of the kingdoms, assist and defend all those that enter into the national league and covenant, in the maintaining and pursuing thereof, and shall not suffer myself, directly or indirectly, by whatsoever combination, persuasion, or terror, to be withdrawn and divided from this blessed union and conjunction, whether to make defection to the contrary part, or to give myself to a detestable indifferency, or neutrality, in this cause, which so much concerns the glory of God, the good of the kingdoms, the honour of the King, and the welfare of all evangelical churches, which I shall labour to bring to a good correspondency, and brotherly affection with the churches of the kingdoms, and one with another; and so, all the days of my life, shall zealously and constantly continue, against all opposition, in this endeavour of publick edification, peace, and reconcilement of protestants, not leaving off to promote more particularly the national cause according to my power, against all lets and impediments whatsoever; and what I am not able to suppress or overcome by myself, I shall reveal and make known, that it may be timely prevented or removed. All which I shall do as in the sight of God. Seventhly, And, lest, in the use of the foresaid means for the prosecuting of these endeavours, as well towards those of my nation, as towards other evangelical churches, I might either unadvisedly give, or others might colourably take offence and scandals at me, from whence inconveniencies in this work, as tares in a good field, may grow up, and choak the fruits thereof, for want of circumspection and care, to determine the way and manner of proceeding, by necessary rules tending to edification; therefore, I shall faithfully endeavour to shape my sourse in all things conformable to the life of Jesus Christ, the captain
bf this warfare, whose footsteps I am bound to follow, and whose life is the rule of righteousness; and, to speak more particularly of this, I shall order the ways of my proceedings by these rules: I. I shall walk in the light, doing all things openly; and being desirous to come to the light, and approve my ways to the conscience of every one, I shall reject all hidden things of darkness, and the tricks of worldly wisdom. II. I shall not meddle out of my spiritual calling, with matters of state, nor suffer my ministerial gifts to serve politicians for worldly ends. III. My way shall be wholly evangelical, that is to say, fitted to prepare the minds of men to entertain the glad tidings of the gospel. And, to this effect, I shall seek out and propose the counsels and means of peace by the truth, bearing witness thereunto, as it shall be revealed to me, and exhorting and persuading indifferently all to receive it. I shall not strive, nor cry, nor lift up my voice in the streets: that is to say, I shall not entertain the contentious custom of bitter railings, and confused disputings, by odious censuring and condemning of others, to lay open their faults; but rather study by loving admonitions to redress them. - I shall not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoaking flax; that is to say, I shall bear with the weak and support the feeble, not pleasing myself, but, condescending to things of low degree, befitting the capacity of the simple and ignorant, I will labour to heal the breaches of their spirit, and carry their burthens, till God send forth judgment unto victory. If I be wronged, 1 shall not intend revenge, or requite evil for evil, or give way to evil surmises, or make sinister reports of my evil will known, but rather shall cover their faults, so far as may be without detriment to the publick cause, and the necessary clearing of my own innocency. In a word, I shall do nothing to another, which I would not have done, in the like case, unto myself; and what I would have done by others to myself, I shall first do it unto them. Lastly, I shall always be ready to go without the camp, to bear the reproach, and partake of the cross of Jesus Christ. And, because, not only the kingdoms, but all protestant churches and evangelical states, and every one that liveth therein, are guilty of many sins and provocations against God and his son Jesus Christ, as is too manifest by the present distresses and dangers, the fruits thereof befalling to all, as well at home as abroad; therefore, I propose and declare before God my unfeigned desire to be humbled for my sins, and for the sins of my brethren in these kingdoms, and in the churches at home and abroad; especially that we have not all valued, as we ought, the inestimable benefit of the gospel; that we have not laboured for the purity and power thereof, and that we have not endeavoured to receive Christ in our hearts, nor to walk worthy of him in our lives, which are the cause of other sins and transgressions so much abounding among all. And my true and unseigned purpose, desire, and endeavour, is for my
self, and for all others under my power and charge, both in publick and in private, in all duties I owe to God and man, to amend my life and theirs, and to go before others in the example of a real reformation, that the Lord may turn away his wrath and heavy indignation from all his people, and establish the churches and the kingdoms in truth and eace.
p And this covenant and vow I make in the presence of Almighty God, the searcher of all hearts, with a true intention to perform the same unblameably, as I shall answer at the great day, when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed. Most humbly beseeching the Lord to 'strengthen me and all those that enter into the like resolution by his Holy Spirit for this end, and to bless all our desires and proceedings of this kind, with such success as may be deliverance and safety to his people, and encouragement to other Christian churches, groaning under, or in danger of the yoke of Antichristian tyranny, to join in the same or like association and covenant, to the glory of God, the enlargement of the kingdom of Jesus Christ, ahd the peace and tranquillity of . all Christian kingdoms and commonwealths. Amen.
DEFICIENCY OF THE LAWS OF ENGLAND, SOBERLY DISCOVERED: OR, LIBERTY WORKING UP TO ITS JUST HEIGHT.
wherein is set down,
I. The standard, or measure of all just laws; which is threefold. 1. Their original and rise, viz. The free choice, or election of the people. 2. Their rule and square, viz. Principle; of justice, righteousness, and truth. 3. Their use and end, viz. The liberty and safety of the people.
II. The laws of England weighed in this three-fold balance, and found too light. 1. In their original, force, power, conquest, or constraint. 2. In their rule, corrupt will, or principles of unrighteousness and wrong. 3. In their end, the grievance, trouble, and bondage of the people.
III. The necessity of the reformation of the laws of England; together with the excellency (and yet difficulty) of this work. IV. The corrupt interest of lawyers in this commonwealth.
BY JOHN WARR.
Leges Anglia plena sunt tricarum, ambiguitatum, sibique contrarie; Juerunt siquidem excogitata, atque sancita à Normannis, quibus nullá gens magis litigiosa, atque in controversiis machinandis ac proferendis fallacior reperiri potest. - PHILIP. Honor.
Englished thus: The laws of England are full of tricks, doubts, and contrary to themselves; for they were invented and established by the Normans, which were of all nations the most quarrelsome, and most fallacious in contrying of controversies and suits.
London, printed for Giles Calvert, at the Black Spread Eagle, at the West End of St. Paul's. 1649. Quarto, containing eighteen pages.
Containing the just measure of all good laws, in their original, rule, and end; together with a rosterion (by way of Antithesis) upon unjust laws.
HOSE laws, which do carry anything of freedom in their bowels, do owe their original to the people's choice: and have been wrested from the rulers and princes of the world, by importunity of intreaty, or by force of arms; for the great men of the world, being invested with the power thereof, cannot be imagined to eclipse themselves or their own pomp, unless by the violent interposition of the people's spirits, who are most sensible of their own burdens, and most forward in seeking relief. So that exorbitancy and injustice, on the part of rulers, was the rise of laws in behalf of the people; which consideration will afford us this general maxim, That the pure and genuine intent of laws was to bridle princes, not the people, and to keep rulers within the bounds of just and righteous government; from whence, as from a fountain, the rivulet of subjection and obedience, on the people's part, did reciprocally flow forth, partly to gratify, and partly to encourage good and virtuous governors: so that laws have but a secondary re- . flexion on the people, glancing only at them, but looking with a full eye upon princes. Agreeable to this is that of Cicéro, Lib. ii. de Offic. whose words are to this cffect: “Căm premeretur olim multitudo ab is qui majores opes habebunt, statin confugitbat ad unum aliquem virtute prastantem, &c. Jus enim semper quatsitum est aequabile, neq 3 enim aliter esset jus; id si al uno bono & justo viro consequebantur, eo erant contenti; cum id minus contingeret, leges sunt inventa,” &c. (i. e.) When the people did obtain redress of their wrongs from some just and good man, they were satisfied therewith; but, when they sailed thereof, they found out laws, &c, &c.
From which assertion we may deduce a two-fold corollary. 1. That at the foundation of governments justice was in men, before it came to be in laws; for the only rule of government, to good princes, was their own wills; and people were content to pay them their subjection upon the security of their bare words; so here in England, in the days of King Alfred, the administration of justice was immediately in the crown, and required the personal attendance of the King. 2, But this course did soon bankrupt the world, and drive men to a necessity of taking bond from their princes, and setting limits to their power; hence it came to pass, that justice was transmitted from men to laws, that both prince and people might read their duties, offences, and punishments before them. And yet such hath been the interest of princes in the world, that the sting of the law hath been plucked out as to them, and the weight of it fallen upon the people; which hath been more grievous, because out of its place, the element of the law being beneficial, not cumbersome within its own sphere. Hence it is, that laws (like swords) come to be used against those which made them; and, being put upon the rack of self and worldly interest, are forced to speak what they never meant, and to accuse their best friends, the people. Thus the law becomes anything or nothing, at the courtesy of great men, and is bended by them like a twig: Yea, how easy is it for such men to break those customs which will not bow, and to erect traditions, of a more complying temper, to the wills of those, whose end they serve. So that law comes to be lost in #. and lust; yea, lust by the adoption of greatness is enacted law. ence it comes to pass, that laws upon laws do bridle the people; and run counter to their end; yea, the farther we go, the more out of the way. This is the original of unjustlaws. No marvel that freedom hath no voice here, for an usurper reigns; and freedom is proscribed like an exile, living only in the understandings of some few men, and not daring to appear upon the theatre of the world. But yet the minds of men are the great wheels of things; thence come changes and alterations in the world; teeming freedom exerts and puts forth itself; the unjust world would suppress its appearance, many fall in this conflict, but freedom will at last prevail, and give law to all things. So that here is the proper fountain of good and righteous laws, a spirit of understanding big with freedom, and having a single respect to people's rights; judgment goes before to create a capacity, and freedom follows after to fill it up. And thus law comes to be the bank of freedom, which is not said to straighten, but to conduct the stream. A people, thus watered, are in a thriving posture; and the rather, becausa the foundation is well laid, and the law reduced to its original state, which is the protection of the poor against the mighty. If it were possible for a people to chuse such laws as were prejudicial to themselves, this were to forsake their own interest: Here (you will say) is free choice; but bring such laws to the rule, and there is a failure there; the rule of righteous laws are clear and righteous principles, according to the several appearances of truth within us, for reason is the