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A WESTMINSTER MATTER
two friends for a horse: the owner promised the other should have the horse if he would; the other asked the price ; he said twenty nobles. The other would give him but four pound. The owner said he should not have him then. The other claimed the horse, because he said he should have him if he would. -Thus this bargain became a Westminster matter; the lawyers got twice the value of the horse ; and when all came to all, two fools made an end of the matter.
It maketh no matter by what name the rulers be named, if so be they shall walk ordinately with God, and direct their steps with God. For both patriarchs, judges, and kings, had and have their authority of God, and therefore godly. But this ought to be considered which God saith, “Non præficere tibi potes hominem alienum," that is, Thou must not set a stranger over thee. It hath pleased God to grant us a natural liege king and lord of our own nation, an Englishman, one of our own religion. God hath given him unto us, and is a most precious treasure ; and yet many of us do desire a stranger to be king over us. Let us no more now desire to be bankers, but let us endeavour to walk ordinately and plainly after the word of God.
Let us follow Daniel ; let us not seek the
death of our most noble and rightful king, our own brother both by nativity and godly religion. Let us pray for his good state, that he live long among us.
Oh, what a plague were it, that a strange king, of a strange land, and of a strange religion, should reign over us.
Where now we be governed in the true religion, he should extirp and pluck away altogether; and then plant again all abomination and popery. God keep such a king from us! Well, the king's grace hath sisters, my lady Mary and my lady Elizabeth, which by succession and course are inheritors to the crown; who, if they should marry with strangers, what should ensue? God knoweth. But God grant (if they so do, whereby strange religion cometh in) that they
come unto coursing nor succeeding. Therefore to avoid this plague, let us amend our lives, and put away all pride, which doth drown men in this realm at these days; all covetousness, wherein the magistrates and rich men of this realm are overwhelmed ; all lechery, and other excessive vices, provoking God's wrath, were he not merciful, even to take from us our natural king and liege lord; yea, and to plague us with a strange king, for our unrepentant hearts. Wherefore, if, as ye say, ye love the king, amend your lives, and
then shall be a mean that God shall lend him us long to reign over us.
For undoubtedly sins provoke much God's wrath. Scripture saith, “ Dabo tibi regem in furore meo,” that is, I will give thee a king-in my wrath. Now, we have a lawful king, a godly king : nevertheless, yet many evils do reign. Long time the ministers appointed have studied to amend and redress all evils ; long time before this, great labor hath been about this matter; great cracks hath been made, that all should be well. But when all came to all, for all their boasts, little or nothing was done ; in whom these words of Horace may well be verified, saying, “ Parturiunt montes, nascitur ridiculus mus,” The mountains swell
poor mouse is brought out. Long before this time, many hath taken in hand to bring many things unto pass, but finally their works came unto small effect and profit.
Now I hear say all things are ended after a godly manner, or else shortly shall be. Make haste, make haste ; and let us learn to convert, to repent, and amend our lives. If we do not, I fear, I fear lest for our sins and unthankfulness, a hypocrite shall reign over us. Long we have been servants and in bondage, serving the pope in Egypt. God hath given us a deliverer, a natural king : let us seek no stranger of another nation; no hypocrite, which shall bring in again all papistry, hypocrisy and idolatry; no diabolical minister, which shall maintain all devilish works and evil exercises. But let us: pray that God maintain and continue our most excellent king here present, true inheritor of this our realm, both by nativity, and also by the special gift and ordinance of God. He doth us rectify in the liberty of the gospel ; in that therefore let us stand. “ State ergo in libertate, quâ Christus nos liberavit,” Stand ye in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free. (Gal. v.) In Christ's liberty we shall stand, if we so live that we profit ; if we cast away all evil, fraud and deceit, with such other vices, contrary to God's word. And in so doing, we shall not only prolong and maintain our most noble king's days in prosperity, but also we shall prosper our own lives, to live not only prosperously, but also godly.
“ In any wise, let not such a one prepare unto himself many horses,” &c. In speaking, these words, ye shall understand, that I do not intend to speak against the strength, policy and provision of the king ; but against excess, and vain trust that kings have in themselves more than in the living God, the author of all goodness, and giver of all victory. Many horses are requisite for a king; but he may not exceed
THE KING'S HORSES.
in them, nor triumph in them, more than is needful for the necessary affairs and defence of the realm. What meaneth it, that God hath to do with the king's stable, but only he would be master of his horses? The Scripture saith, “In altis habitat,” He dwelleth on high. It followeth. “ Humilia respicit,” He looketh on low things, (Psalm cxii.) yea, upon the king's stables, and upon all the offices in his house. God is the great grandmaster of the king's house, and will take account of every one that beareth rule therein, for the executing of their offices; whether they have justly and truly served the king in their offices, or no. Yea, God looketh upon the king himself, if he work well or not.
Every king is subject unto God, and all other men are subjects unto the king. In a king God requireth faith, not excess of horses. Horses for a king be good and necessary, if they be well used; but horses are not to be preferred above poor men. I was once offended with the king's horses, and therefore took occasion to speak in the presence of the king's majesty that dead is, when abbeys stood. Abbeys were ordained for the comfort of the poor ; wherefore I said, it was not decent that the king's horses should be kept in them, as many were at that time; the living of poor men there