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WOUNDED CONSCIENCE CURED,
THE WEAK ONE STRENGTHENED, AND THE DOUBTING
BY WAY OF ANSWER TO DR. FEARNE.
WHERE THE MAIN POINT IS RIGHTLY STATED, AND OBJECTIONS THROUGHLY ANSWERED, FOR THE GOOD OF THOSE WHO ARE WILLING NOT TO BE DECEIVED.
"Holding faith and a good conscience, which some having put away,
cerning faith, have made shipwreck."—1 Tim. i. 19. "Give unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's, and unto God the things that
THIS Treatise was once before travelling abroad into the world, till it came unto the Author, who could not look upon it without much indignation, to see how that, and in it, himself also was so much wronged and abused; being so perverted and misplaced (besides other errata) in the printing, that it was nothing like the book that was intended; so falsely, and so contrary to his meaning, that the Author may truly say as Martial to one :
Quem recitas meus est, O Fidentine libellus,
Sed male dum recitas incipit esse tuus.
O Fidentine, a book of mine
Thou printedst with my will;
Much wrong and damage accrued to many by it; but such be the times, that all suffer in one thing or other, and so this may be the more easily borne. It is now corrected and much amended by the care and industry of a friend, who desires to commend the book unto thy view, and serious thoughts upon it.
TO THE READER.
READER, THOU hast conscience here once again brought unto the trial: the Doctor hath condemned the consciences of our parliament and soldiers, in their defensive war, which he calls resistance, as guilty of murder, and the prosecution of it damnable: such perilous times are ours, when the best and most faithfullest subjects are laid under those false and foul slanders of treason and murder, while traitors and murderers are countenanced and encouraged. I desire thou wouldst take notice, while this Doctor is busy abroad, thinking to rectify the consciences of others, neglects his own, threatening damnation to others, while by the same sin he ventures the damning of his. He pleads for honour and obedience to authority, whiles he dishonours, and would draw people to disobedience against the parliament, which he doth, while in the face of the world he makes them no better than hypocrites, telling us of their plausible but groundless principles, their fair but deceiving pretences to draw people into arms, as if, like watermen, they looked one way and rowed another, pretending one thing, intending another. What doth he less, in his epistle, than charge them boldly, as if what they told the people about their dangers were mere figments, and to believe them (saying the taking up arms for their defence is warrantable by the fundamentals of the kingdom) is to trust without warrant, and to exalt them above their due, and make popes of them; and if they look not to it, they will be blindly carried on against all rules of conscience. Much of this stuff is woven along in the book, I only give thee a touch of it, ut ex ungue leonem, and take notice, while he is busy in pulling the motes out of other men's eyes, he forgets the beam in his own; and take heed how thou followest his guidance, who under shew of steering thy conscience safe between two rocks, in seeking to bring thee off from one he split it on another; while pressing honour and obedience to authority, he speaks evil of the rulers of the people, against an express word, Exod. xxii. 28, "Thou shalt not rail upon the judges, neither speak evil of the ruler of thy people;" and seeks to withdraw people from obedience to authority. Thou mayest take notice that three times already hath this case of conscience been pleaded, and our worthies, both in their actions and consciences, vindicated, acquitted and justified both by the law of God and man, who have found the bill of indictment to be erroneous, a mere supposal of his own, calling that a resistance to the higher powers, which is only a contending for him, to deliver him out of the hands of those that seduce and mislead him; not much unlike that in the people for David, 2 Sam. xix. 41, "Why have these men stolen away the king from us?" This is the main work, to bring his majesty back to those who have the most and best interest in him, being the representative body of the whole kingdom. In this answer thou shalt find the question rightly put, and the main business rightly stated, objections fully answered, the Scriptures cleared, and so ground work truly laid to satisfy and settle people's consciences. The reasons why it comes so long after the rest, are: 1. The Author hearing that the book was already answered, did for a while lay aside his thoughts of it when he had begun, till he was strongly pressed to perfect it by the importunity of some friends near him. 2. The distance
of place, living many miles from hence. 3. The oft news of terms of pacification, which, had they taken effect, would have put an end to these controversies for the present. 4. Thou shalt gaia by this story, there being recompence made in the fulness of the answer, which thou shalt find if thou be willing to read it through judiciously, and without prejudice, with a desire to be informed in the truth, and satisfied in thy doubts. Truly there is nothing we should be more desirous of, than to have our consciences rightly enlightened and throughly stablished in these dangerous and unsettled times, the comfort and benefit of a good conscience being incomparable and unspeakable in such times and such cases where all other comforts fail, and man stands in most need of comfort; which book, if we shall well study, and keep accordingly, we may be able to hold up our heads in the worst times. The Author hath to this end published a sermon also, preached to the volunteers [forming the second sermon in the fourth volume of this edition] to encourage them in the work, to draw the affections, to make them truly zealous in so good a cause; and truly it is the goodness of conscience that makes christians as bold as lions, and look all enemies in the face, and part with all to maintain it. Thou mayest have them both together, this being also a fit theme to press now, where be so many discouragements, that conscience being rightly enlightened, and interested in God, we may encourage ourselves in the Lord our God; which is the earnest wish and fervent prayer of him that is desirous of thy good, in Christ,
THE WOUNDED CONSCIENCE CURED,
UNTO THE TREATISE NECESSARY FOR ALL GOOD SUBJECTS TO UNDERSTAND, &c.
I HAVE perused Dr. Fearne's book, entitled, The Resolving of Conscience; wherein I find that he hath exceedingly mistaken the question: the question in truth is, Whether the parliament now hath justly taken up arms? we affirm it, he denies it, and withal slips into another question, Whether it be lawful for the subjects to take up arms against their king? but if he will so propound the question, then I must preface these two or three distinctions, and one caution.
First, That the subject is considered two ways, either unitive or divisive, conjunctively or divisively. The subject considered divisively hath always applied himself to prayers and tears, using no other remedy; and of this we speak not: but conjunctively considered state-wise, so he now doth, and it is lawful for him thus to take up arms. Secondly, The subject may be said to take up arms, either as an act of self-preservation, or as an act of jurisdiction exercised towards his prince. The first way we say it is lawful; the second way we contend not for. Thirdly, The subject is said to take up arms against the king, either as against the king's person, and of this we do not speak; or as against the king's commandment for their own preservation, so we affirm it, and then our position is:
That it is lawful for the subjects, conjunctively considered, to take up arms for self-preservation against the king's commandment, where two things are to be cleared: First, That this is the case with the parliament. Secondly, That this is lawful for them to do. First, This is their case, for, as any reasonable by-stander may observe, there are three grounds of this their proceeding: the one is, to fetch in delinquents, and such persons as are accused before them, to be legally tried in that highest court of the kingdom; the second is, to