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and so do his ministers also; if thou espiest this protestation before, the sound of his master's heels are behind him: and he is a stone cold formalist, some Christmas zealot, as full of obstinacy as an egg is of meat, one that will tell you he would be resolved, but he is resolved aforehand of such an one let Solomon give the true character: Prov. xxvi. 16, "The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason."
That we shall leave to the judicious reader, if there be not exceeding much of both bitterness and deceit too, judicent impartiales, good reader, have thine eyes about thee, and see without prejudice.
§ Our cause is the cause of Jesus Christ, as hath been clearly and plentifully proved, nor ever yet gainsaid, but by sophisms, lies and quarrellings. And that defensive war the parliament hath now a foot, hath been sufficiently vindicated, as is to see in the several treatises to that purpose, if we had to do with reasonable men; wherein, good reader, thou hast the question rightly stated without any andabatism, which this gentleman hath not either so much wit or so much honesty to do: we desire him, therefore, to take the good counsel that he gives, and in the name of Jesus Christ, laying aside all wilful ignorance, pride, prejudice, private interests, and uncharitable censures, to deal seriously, and not so deceitfully with a truth of God. Reader, he knows our question is not what he here says it to be, for all his specious presence. We will, therefore, in these Annotations, Christ willing, search his several scriptures, and where they open, God and thou be judge, reader, we will not seek to shut: we desire to consult not only with reason, but with religion too, which, in the power of it, such men are sadly ignorant of; and then to his last clause: Let truth prosper, though we perish; and God be glorified, though in our confusion: we say, Amen, and so be it.
THE LOYAL CONVERT.
"THE kingdom of England, that hath for many ages. "continued the happiest nation on the habitable earth, enjoy"ing the highest blessings that heaven can give, or earth "receive; the fruition of the gospel, which settled a firm peace; which peace occasioned a full plenty, under the 66 gracious government of wise and famous princes, over a thriving and well-contented people, insomuch that she "became the earth's paradise, and the world's wonder, is "now the nursery of all sects; her peace is violated, her "plenty wasting, her government distempered, her people "discontented, and unnaturally embroiled in her own blood, "not knowing the way, nor affecting the means of peace; "insomuch, that she is now become the by-word of the 66 earth, and the scorn of nations."
If you speak for yourself, Sir, you are no good subject; if for us, you are no good christian. All our practices of mercy have shewed, and all our prayers for mercy to God and man too, do shew this to be most false: we do affect the means, all the lawful means of peace, but our misery is, that when we speak to men thereof, they make them ready to battle. The language of this proem is neat, but very jesuitical and dangerous. Take heed, good reader, we live in the times now, that even the jesuits begin to plead for the taking of the oaths of supremacy and allegiance. See the Safeguard from Shipwreck for a Prudent Catholic, with Dr. Featley's annotations thereupon, published by order. Sure our church is either altered, or the pope's stomach, that he can now digest us; but here it is, reader, give thine observation, when there is hope that kings will preserve popery, then popery itself will swear to preserve them.
"The cause and ground of these our national combustions, "are these: our national transgressions, which unnaturally sprung from the neglect of that truth we once had, and "from the abuse of that peace we now want: which, taking
"occasion of some differences betwixt his majesty and his "two houses of parliament, hath divided our kingdom within "itself, which had so divided itself from that God, who blest "it with so firm a truth, so settled a peace, and so sweet an "unity.
"As that sin brought this division, so this division, sharp"ened with mutual jealousies, brought in the sword.
"When the lion roars, who trembles not? And when "judgments thunder, who is not troubled?
"Among the rest, I, who brought some faggots to this "combustion, stood astonished and amazed, to whom the "mischief was far more manifest than the remedy; at last I "laid my hand upon my heart, and concluded, it was the "hand of God: where being plundered in my understanding, "I began to make a scrutiny, where the first breach was "made that let in all these miseries.
"I found the whole kingdom now contracted into a par"liament, which consisted of three estates, a king, a house "of peers, and a house of commons; by the wisdom and "unity whereof, all things conducible to the weale-public "were to be advised upon, presented and established.
"I found this unity disjointed, and grown to variance even "to blood. The king and his adherents on the one party; " and his two houses and their adherents on the other.
"The pretence of this division, was the true protestant "religion, which both protested to maintain; the liberty of "the subject, which both protested to preserve; the privi"leges of parliament, which both promise to protect: yet, "nevertheless, the first never more profaned, the second never more interrupted, the third never more violated."
Sure this gentleman thinks that any thing will be granted him. I am confident, and in this I dare appeal to God and all good men, that England never saw her religion and ordinances in that glory of lustre, as they have been since this parliament began; such a spirit of prayer and preaching is gone out amongst us, as is indeed wonderful. But that which you call religion's profanation, is indeed and truth religion's purging and reformation; namely, to pluck down idolatrous crosses, to silence organs, to abolish relics of popery, to scum off the filth of our liturgies and church service, and to put away out of our cathedrals, those bawling
boys, and drunken singing men. This is the profanation of religion we are guilty of, in such men's opinions as this is. True it is, in these sad times of our's, and exceeding full of destraction, sectaries creep in and increase abundantly, whose suppressing, in their and the Lord's due time, we do not doubt but the great Reformer will bless us with. This you can remember, and object against our side; but your open masses on your side, I hear no complaint of; not a word of your Irish rebels now, cum privilegio, in the land here. Accidental profanations, in such times as this, will happen; it cannot otherwise be; but voluntary and desperate ones, volent and violent profanations your side is guilty of; you authorise, defend, fight for, or at least with, professed profaners, yea, professed enemies of religion; yea, all religion which hath any power or piety joined thereunto. This writer, which, in this strain of wit, desires to strike through the sides of our parliament and profession too at one blow, dares not here undertake to instance any one piece of the profanation of our religion, justifiedly published, preached or practised in this distracted strait of time, by the authority of parliament; religion, liberty, privilege, and all is trodden under foot by that side, to which this gentleman is now a loyal convert, as is seen daily; but what impudence dare aver that we do any such thing? Good reader, do not be beguiled, but hear what this man saith, religion, liberty, privilege, never more profaned, interrupted, violated; but by whom? Let him speak out and tell thee, or do thou open thine eyes, and tell thyself, rather, and then thou wilt tell me, that the gentleman hath in this, but thrown dirt in his own side's face.
"Standing amazed at this riddle, I turned mine eyes upon "his majesty, and there I viewed the Lord's anointed, sworn "to maintain the established laws of this kingdom: I "turned mine eyes upon the two houses, and in them I "beheld the interest of my country, sworn to obey his majesty, as their supreme governor.
"I heard a remonstrance cried from the two houses: I "read it; I approved it; I inclined unto it: a declaration "from his majesty; I read it; I applauded it; I adhered to "the justness of it: the parliament's answer; I turned to
"the parliament: his majesty's reply; I returned to his ma
"Thus tost and turned as a weathercock to my own weakness, I resolved it impossible to serve two masters.
"I fled to reason; reason could not satisfy me: I fled to "policy; policy could not resolve me: at length, finding no "counsellor, but that which first I should have sought, I "hied me to the book of God as the great oracle, and "ushering my inquest with prayer and humiliation, I opened "the sacred leaves, which, not by chance, presented to my "first eye the xxth of the Proverbs, verse 2. The fear of a "king is as the roaring of a lion, and whoso provoketh him "to anger, sinneth against his own soul.'
"Now I began to search, and found as many places to "that purpose as would swell this sheet into a volume; so "that in a very short space, I was so furnished with such "strict precepts, backed with such strong examples, that my judgment was enlightened, and my wavering conscience so "throughly convinced, that by the grace of that power which "directed me, neither fear, nor any by-respects shall ever "hereafter remove me, unless some clearer light direct me."
And was there ever any pestilent heresy in God's church that had not numerous quotations of Holy Scripture? Augustine observes it sweetly, that heresies and perverse opinions, ensnaring the souls, they are not vented but when the good Scriptures are not well understood, and then that which men understand wrongly, they assert to others as rashly; See Aug. Tract. in Jo. x. It may be this gentleman would be ready to do to me as he did to Jeremiah, or as that other Zedekiah did to Micaiah, for he smote him on the cheek and said, When went the Spirit of the Lord from me to speak to thee? 1 Kings xxii. 24. For indeed some men think that none are in the favor of God so as they, and that God hath given to none his graces in that measure that they, though Christ knows they never knew what belonged to any saving grace or knowledge; but Sir, I must needs tell you, you have made Augustine's words true. And such as you verify that of the apostle, 1 Tim. i. 7. they would be Doctors of the law, and yet understand not, what they speak, neither whereof they affirm.
"But, above all the rest, a precept and an example out of