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encouitering 'of difficulties, therefore, makes us to tempt God; but the ac ing before and without faith.* If the Lord have in any measure persuaded His people, as generally He hath, of the lawfulness, nay of the duty—this persuasion prevailing upon the heart is faith and acting thereupon is acting in faith; and the more the difficulties are, the more the faith. And it is most sweet that he who is not persuaded have patience towards them that are, and judge not: and this will free thee from the trouble of others' actings, which, thou sayest, adds to thy grief. Only let me offer two or three things, and I have done.
Dost thou not think this fear of the Levellers (of whom there is no fear) "that they would destroy Nobility," '&c.' has caused some to take up corruption, and find it lawful to make this ruining hypocritical Agreement, on one part ?t Hath not this biassed even some good men? I will not say, the thing they fear will come upon them; but if it do, they will bring it upon themselves. Have not some of our friends, by their passive principle (which I judge not, only I think it liable to temptation as well as the active, and neither of them good but as we are led into them of God, and neither of them to be reasoned into, because the heart is deceitful),—been occasioned to overlook what is just and honest, and to think the people of God may have as much or more good the one way than the other? Good by this Man,—against whom the Lord hath witnessed; and whom thou knowest! Is this so in their hearts; or is it reasoned, forced in ?J
Robin, I have done. Ask we our hearts, Whether we think that, after all, these dispensations, the like to which many generations cannot afford,—should end in so corrupt reasonings of good men: and should so hit the designings of bad 1 Thinkest thou in thy heart that the glorious dispensations of God point out to this? Or to teach His people to trust in Him, and to wait for better things,—when, it may be, better are sealed to many of their spirits ?§ And I, as a poor looker-on, I had rather live in the hope of that spirit 'which believes that God doth so teach us,' and take my share with them, expecting a good issue, than be led away with the others.
* Very true, my Lord General,—then, now, and always! f Hollow Treaty at Newport.
t I think it is 'reasoned' in, and by bad arguments too, my Lord Gene ral! The inner heart of the men in real contact with the inner heart of tha matter had little to do with all that:—alas, was there ever any such 'contact ' with the real truth of any matter, on the. part of such men, your Ex cellency!
§ Already indubitably sure to many of them.
This trouble I have been at, because my soul loves thee, and I would not have thee swerve, or lose any glorious opportunity the Lord puts into thy hand, The Lord be thy counsellor. Dear Robin, I rest thine,
Colonel Hammond, the ingenuous young man whom Oliver much loves, did not receive this Letter at the Isle of Wight whither it was directed; young Colonel Hammond is no longer there. On Monday the 27th, there came to him Colonel Ewer, he of the Remonstrance; Colonel Ewer with new force, with an Order from the Lord General and Army Council that Colonel Hammond do straightway repair to Windsor, being wanted at head-quarters there. A young Colonel, with dubitations such as those of Hammond's, will not suit in that Isle at present. Ewer, on the Tuesday night, a night of storm and pouring rain, besets his Majesty's lodgings in the Town of Newport (for his Majesty is still on parole there) with strange soldiers, in a strange state of readiness, the smoke of their gun-matches poisoning the air of his Majesty's apartment itself;—and on the morrow morning, at eight of the clock, calls out his Majesty's coach; moves off with his Majesty in grim reticence and rigorous military order, to Hurst Castle, a small solitary stronghold on the opposite beach yonder.f
For at London matters are coming rapidly to a crisis. The resumed Debate, "Shall the Army Remonstrance be taken into consideration?" does not come out affirmative; on the contrary, on Monday the 30th, it comes out negative by a Majority of Ninety: "No, we will not take it into consideration." No? The Army at Windsor, thereupon, spends again 'a Day in Prayer.'
The Army at Windsor has decided on the morrow that it will march to London;—marches, arrives, accordingly, on Saturday December 2d; quarters itself in Whitehall, in St. James's; 'and other great vacant Houses in the skirts of the City and Villages about, no offence being given anywhere.'J In the drama of Modern History one knows not any graver, more noteworthy
* Birch, p. 101; ends the Volume.
f Colonel Cook's Narrative, in Rushworth, vii., 1344.
j Rushworth, vii., 1350.
scene ;—earnest as very Death and Judgment. They have decided to have Justice, these men; to see God's Justice done, and His judgments executed on this Earth. The abysses where the thunders and the splendors are bred,—the reader sees them again laid bare: and black Madness lying close to the Wisdom which is brightest and highest;—and owls and godless men who hate the lightning and the light, and love the mephitic dusk and darkness, are no judges of the actions and heroes !' Shedders of blood V Yes, blood is occasionally shed. The healing Surgeon, the sacrificial Priest, the august Judge pronouncer of God's oracles to men, these and the atrocious Murderer are alike shedders of blood; and it is an owl's eye that, except for the dresses they wear, discerns no difference in these!—Let us leave the owl to his hootings; let us get on with our Chronology and swift course of events.
On Monday, 4th December, the House, for the last time, takes 'into farther debate' the desperate question, Whether his Majesty's concessions in that Treaty of Newport are a ground of settlement t—debates it all Monday; has debated it all Friday and Saturday before. Debates it all Monday, 'till five o'clock next morning;' at five o'clock next morning, decides it, Yea. By a Majority of Forty-six, One-hundred and twenty-nine to Eightythree, it is at five o'clock on Tuesday morning decided, Yea, they are a ground of settlement. The Army Chiefs and the Minority consult together, in deep and deepest deliberation, through the night; not, I suppose, without Prayer; and on the morrow morning this is what we see:
Wednesday, 6lh December, 1648, 'Colonel Rich's regiment of horses and Colonel Pride's regiment of foot were a guard to the Parliament; and the City Trainbands were discharged' from that employment.* Yes, they were! Colonel's Rich's horse stand ranked in Palaceyard, Colonel Pride's foot in Westminster HaH and at all entrances to the Commons House, this day: and in Colonel Pride's hand is a written list of names, names of the chief among the Hundred and twenty-nine; and at his side is my Lord Grey of Groby, who, as this Member after that comes
* Rush worth, vii., 1353.
up, whispers or beckons, "He is one of them; he cannot enter!" And Pride gives the word, "To the Queen's Court;" and Member after Member is marched thither, Forty-one of them this day; and kept there in a state bordering on rabidity, asking, By what Law? and ever again, By what Law? Is there a color or faintest shadow of Law, to be found in any of the Books, Yearbooks, Rolls of . Parliament, Bractons, Fletas, Cokes upon Lyttle. ton, for this? Hugh Peters visits them; has little comfort, no light as to the Law; confesses, " It is by the Law of Necessity; truly, by the Power of the Sword."
It must be owned the Constable's baton is fairly down, this day; overborne by the Power of the Sword, and a Law not to be found in any of the Books. At night the distracted Forty-one are marched to Mr. Duke's Tavern hard-by, a 'Tavern called Helland very imperfectly accommodated for the night. Sir Symonds D'Ewes, who has ceased taking notes long since; Mr. William Prynne, louder than any in the question of Law; Waller, Massey, Harley, and others of the old Eleven, are of this unlucky Forty-one; among whom too we count little Clement Walker 'in his grey suit with his little stick,'*—asking in the voice of the indomitablest terrier or Blenheim cocker, " By what Law? I ask again, By what Law V Whom no mortal will ever be able to answer. Such is the far-famed Purging of the House by Colonel Pride.
This evening, while the Forty-one are getting lodged in Mi.„ Duke's, Lieutenant-General Cromwell came to Town. Pontefract Castle is not taken; he has left Lambert looking after that, and come up hither to look after more important things.
The Commons on Wednesday did send out to demand 'the Members of this House' from Colonel Pride; but Pride made respectful evasive answer;—could not for the moment comply with the desires of the honorable House. On the Thursday Lieutenant-General Cromwell is thanked; and Pride's Purge continues: new men of the Majority are seized; others scared away need no seizing ;—above a Hundred in all ;* who are sent into their countries, sent into the Tower; sent out of our way, and
* List in Rushworth, p. 1355.
t List in Somers Tracts, vi., 37 ;—very incorrect, as all the Lists are.
trouble us no farther. The Minority has now become Majority; there is now clear course for it, clear resolution there has for some time back been in it. What its resolution was, and its action that it did in pursuance thereof, 'an action not done in a corner, but in sight of all the Nations,' and of God who made the Nations, we know, and the whole world knows !—
The Trial of Charles Stuart falls not to be described in this place; the deep meanings that lie in it cannot be so much as glanced at here. Oliver Cromwell attends in the High Court of Justice at every session except one; Fairfax sits only in the first. Ludlow, Whalley, Walton, names known to us, are also constant attendants in that High Court, during that long-memorable Month of January, 1649. The King is thrice brought to the Bar; refuses to plead, comports himself with royal dignity, with royal haughtiness, strong in his divine right; 'smiles' contemptuously, 'looks with an austere countenance ;'—does not seem, till the very last, to have fairly believed that they would dare to sentence him. But they were men sufficiently provided with daring; men, we are bound to see, who sat there as in the Presence of the Maker of all men, as executing the judgments of Heaven above, and had not the fear of any man or thing on the Earth below. Bradshaw said to the King, "Sir, you are not permitted to issue out in these discoursings. This Court is satisfied of its authority. No Court will bear to hear its authority questioned in that manner."—" Clerk, read the Sentence !"—
And so, under date 29th January, 1648-9, there is this stern Document to be introduced; not specifically of Oliver's composition; but expressing in every letter of it the conviction of Oliver's heart, in this, one of his most important appearances on the stage of earthly life.