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not ; for it is plain, that this Declaration is not an Oath , nor any thing like one, only we are called upon to declare what our Opinion is in a Case there put to us; we are so far from being required in this case unto the Twearing for anyone elle ; that we are not called upon to swear for our selves, we do not swear that there doth ly no Obligation either upon our selves or any other Person, but only that we do not believe that there doth. .. And after all this, the pretence of being scrupulous about declaring any thing concerning the obligation of any other Person hath one great reserve in it: For, the very fuppofal of the possibility of that is in effect to say, that the Covenant as to the mat. ter of it is in every particular respect lawful; for unless it be lawful in every particular respect, no Body can be obliged by it; and if once it be granted to be a lawful Oath, it will be very easie thence to deduce that it is obligatory to more Persons than one.
And thus I have taken a short review of the Covenant, wherein it is very plain that there are many things of such universal and dangerous Consequence therein Covenanted for, as do render it not altogether unworthy the care of those who are in Publick Places to consider a little with themselves, what the meaning of it is, that so many men do profess themselves to have so deep a sense of the Obligati. on of the Covenant, as that a Law must be made on purpose to gratifie them in that humour : The Publick Conftitutions must veil to their unknown Scruples, and with the Honour of having the Wisdom of the whole Nation confess it self to have been all along mistaken, they expect to be admitted Publick Preachers ; This Plea is such a one as doth look as if it had some deep meaning in it, and ought to be thoroughly understood before admitted; I shall end this Argument as I did begin it.Either these men do believe that the Covenant doth oblige, or, they do not be. lieve it , if they do not believe it to
; F2 oblige,
oblige, I cannot see what Honest Rea. son can be given why they should fcruple to declare this their Belief; But on the other side, if they do really believe that the Covenant doth oblige them, it is much more adviseable, that this Perswalion should keep them out of the Church, than that they should bring this Perswalion into it: And whereas the Law-makers hoped that the Peevishness of this fort of People would within some reasonable compass of time have grown weary of it self, and accordingly had provided that the Declaration against the Covenant should, within a few Years, of course have become antiquated ; the Clamours of these men have given so reasonable a Jealousie about their retaining their old Principles, as may well serve to awaken the Caution of those in Authority, so far as to put them in mind of giving New Life to their Old Act, and enlarging the terms of its Duration : For seeing that the Diflenters do value themselves so much upon their re. membring the Covenant ; our Go.
vernours have no fmall Concern to let it be seen, that neither do they forget it.
To all which hath been already said, I shall add this one Thing; It may not unjustly seem a Cause of much wonder how it should come to pass, that the Covenant should be looked upon as a thing much more sacred and indissoluble now than it was in former Dayes ; That Correspondence which Mr. Jenkins, and a great many other London Ministers held with the Scots, for the sake of which he and others were cast into Prison, will not be denied to be in pursuance of the Obligation of the Covenant, and of that Part of it which they are alwayes glorying in, the Loyal and Meritorious Part, as to the Authoriiy of His Majesty : Now I dare appeal to any Member of his present Congregation, whether he hath not renounced this part of the Obligation of the Covenant, in these following Words.
To the Supreme Authority,the Parliament of the Common
wealth of ENGLAND. The Humble Petition of VVilli
am Jenkin Prisoner. T'Hat the Providence of God hath
in the Judgement of your Petitioner as evidently appeared in the removing of others from, investing your Honours with the Government of this Nation, as ever they appeared in the taking away or bestowing of any Government in any History of any Age in the World.
That he apprehends that a refusal to be subject to this present Authority un. der the pretence of upholding the Title of ANI ONE upon the Earth is a refusal to acquiesce in the wife and righteous pleasure of God; such an oppofing of the Government set up by the soveraign Lord of Heaven and Earth, as none can have peace either in ading or Juffering for: And that your Petitioner