« PreviousContinue »
no means be questioned concerning their Opinion about its Obligation.
We 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 Faction or Parties among the People contrary to this Lea ue and Covenant, that they may be brought to publicktrial, and receive condign punishment, as the degree of their offences shall require or deferve, or the Supreme Judicatories of both Kingdoms respectively, or others, having power from them for that effect, Mall judge convenient.
It is very well known what the meaning of Incendiaries and Malignants is, in this Article : And it is shrewdly to be suspected. That those who are perswaded of the Obligation of this Oath , are likewise per(waded, that those Incendiaries and
Malignants, have not as yet been brought to condign punishment; and whatever benefit the Covenanters themselves may receive by an Act of Oblivion, it is much to be suspected, that those who are covenanted against are looked upon as not capable of receiving any advantage by it : And there is reason to believe, that those who scruple the Validity of that Act of Parliament which declares against the Obligation of the Covenant, are by no means to be trusted , lelt, if opportunity should serve, they would not likewise scruple the Validity of that Act of Parliament which gave them Indem pnity. For thus, according to their own Grounds, they may argue, The Act of Oblivion is against the Covenant, and then it followeth in the next place, that it is against their Consciences ; It is against the Oath of God lying upon themselves and upon the whole Nation and upon all Posterity, and no humane Act or Power can absolve them or any one else from it ; and every thing done against the Covenant is null and void,
the whole Nation being bound up by it to all Ages. For therefore it was That the Covenant was hung up in the Parliament, as a Compaß whereby to steer their Debates, and to di&tate to all, who fall succeed in that place and capacity, what obligation doth befare God lie upon the Body of this Nation, as I have before observed. Now upon these mens suppositions, there is no Security to be had, but that they who passed an Ad of Oblivion, to pardon any thing done against the Covenant, are involved in guilt and liable to punishment for so doing; and are upon those very accounts to expect, when Providence shall put an opportunity into the hands of these Zealots, the very fame Return which the Prophet made to Ahab, 1 King.20. V. 42. Thus faith the Lord, Because thou hast let go a Man whom I have ap. pointed to destruction, therefore the life shall go for his life, and thy people for his people.
The next thing which I shall ob. serve in this Article is this, That those Persons who covenanted together, among other things, to maintain the Liberties of the Kingdom , have so far forgot themselves, as that in that very Covenant they have set up an Arbitrary Government : The Rule of condign punishment here set down, is not any known Law, no, not so much as a new one of their own making ; but, as the degree of their offences shall require or deserve, or the Supreme Judicatories of both Kingdoms respectively, or others having power from them for that effect, Mall judge conve. nient. By which words it is plain, that they did not look upon it as sufficient to take an arbitary Power into their own hands, but likewise did delegate it to as many else besides as they pleased.
Whereas the happiness of a blessed Peace between the Kingdoms, denied in former times to our Progenitors, is by the good Providence of God granted to us, and hath lately been concluded and settled by both Parliaments ; we shall
each one of us, according to our place and Interest, endeavour that they may be conjoyned in a firm Peace and Union to All Posterity, and that Justice may be done upon all wilful opposers thereof, in manner expressed in the precedent Article : According to the preceding Article, i.e. as shall be judged convenient.
The Modesty of these men is very admirable, in that they would outface the World, that England and Scotland were never at peace in former times, or, rather their Language is something mysterious, that the Two Nations were never at Peace till they had involved them in a War. But as in the former Article they were, as I have sbewed, tender of the Liberty of the Subject; fo in this they have been very careful of the Authority of his Majesty, in that they have taken upon them to make peace with another Kingdom without him ; and withal when that very Peace was nothing else, besides their joyning Forces against him.