Page images

to be so; in that they do expect to be admitted into the Preferments of the Church and to be allowed to be pub. lick Preachers in it; and yet at the very same time, they do desire to be excused from declaring, that they are not of a Perswalion, that there doth ly an obligation by Oath upon them themselves, the whole Nation, or (to say no more) at least upon some other Person, who ought to be nameless, to overthrow the whole frame of the Government of that Church, which they desire to be admitted into the Preferments of, and particularly of that Bishop by whose hands they are admitted." I would fain know whether there be any other Part of the World, where any Perlons dare to demand of the present establishment, that it would for their fakes so far relax it self, in order to their admission into it. Sure these menimagine that the Church is in a very great necessity of them, that it cannot stand one moment without them ; when , in the very Terms of their Admission, they do demand no less than this, that

a new Law should be made on purpose, whereby they may be privileged from declaring, whether or no it is lawful for them to suffer the Church to continue two moments longer than there shall arise an opportunity, wherein they may be able to overthrow it.

As for the remaining Part of the Article concerning Superstition, Herefie, Schism, Profaneness, and whatsoever shall be found contrary to sound Do&rine or the Power of Godlines, &c. I shall leave that to our Friends of the Presbytery and their Separating Brethren to dispute about it : And it is clear enough, that they are altogether as unlike to agree in those Particu. lars, as I am with either of them: As lovingly as ever they may look upon one another at present, I am sure that the Covenant , when opportunity serves, will be found to be levelled as directly against the Conventicles, as against the Cathedrals. . I shall observe no more in this Article besides the great Charitableness of the Conclusion, That the Lord may be one and


his Name One in the Three Kingdoms : As if the Church of England followed after strange Gods, and that those ordained by her were really no o. ther than, as they are often stiled according to the good manners which the People learn of too many such Preachers, the Priests of Baal.

' ART. 3.

Wejhall with the fame Sincerity, Reality and Constancy in our several Vocations, endeavour, with our Estates and Lives, mutually to preserve the Rights and Privileges of the Parliament and the Liberties of the Kingdoms ; and to preserve and defend the Kings Majesties Person and Authority, in the Prefervation and Defence of the True Re. ligion and Liberties of the Kingdom : That the World may bear witnes with our Consciences of our Loyalty, and that we have no thoughts and intention to diminißis his Majesties Just Power and Greatnes.

This Article hath been very much


and very much insisted on and gloried in for the seeming Loyalty of one Expression in it : But, in order to a right understanding ; let us consider how Affairs stood at that time : It is well known , that the Compilers and Enjoyners of this Covenant were, at that very time, in actual Arms (I hope that it is no offence , if I say in actual Rebellion) against the King. This very Covenant was a great Instrument by which they did carry on their De· Sign then on foot against Him: The

King was betrayed and sold by one part of the Covenanters, those from Scotland, he was bought, imprisoned, and in effect deposed by another part of the Covenanters , those in England, and by the most Loyal of them, even the Lords and Commons Assembled at Westminster ; who by their Votes of Non-address, Febr.17. 1647. (which, let us note, was long before the. Seclusion by the Army did declare, First, That they will make no far. ther Addresses or Applications to the King : And in the fourth Vote, That they will receive no more njefage's from


the King, and do enjoyn that no Person whatever do receive or bring any Me Sage from the King to Both or either Houses of Parliament, or to any other Person ; which Votes they published with a Declaration, wherein they lay down some few of those many Reafons (as they express it) why they cannot repose any more Trust in Him.

Nay, long before that time, when the Scots complained of some rigours uled towards His Majelty, as being contrary to the Covenant, the House of Commons did return them this Answer, Novemb, 18. 1646. We observe that you mention the Defence of the King twice, from the Covenant ; but in both places you leave out, in the preservation of the true Religion, &c. A main Clause without which the other ought not to be mentioned. Which very Answer themselves did afterwards receive from their own Army, in a Declaration from St. Albans, Novemb. 18. 1648. Where they reminded their Masters of their own Doctrine, The Defence of the King, say they , is to be understood with this restriction; In the Pria


« PreviousContinue »