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ries punished, the chief author, above pardon, though after utmost resistance, vanquished; not to give, but to receive laws; yet befought, treated with, and to be thanked for his gracious concetlions, to be honoured, worthipped, glorified. If this we swore to do, with what righteousness in the fight of God, with what affurance that we bring not by fuch an oath, the whole fea of bloodguiltiness upon our heads ? If on the other fide we prefer a free government, though for the prefent not obtained, yet all those fuggested fears and difficulties, as the event will prove, easily overcome, we remain finally secure from the exasperated regal power, and out of snares; shall retain the best part of our liberty, which is our religion, and the civil part will be fron these who defer us, much more easily recovered, being neither so fubtle nor so awful as a king reinthroned. Nor were their actions lefs both at home and abroad, than might become the hopes of a glorious rifing commonwealth: nor were the expressions both of army and people, whether in their public declarations, or several writings, other than such as teftified a spirit in this nation, no less noble and well fitted to the liberty of a commonwealth, than in the ancient Greeks or Romans. Nor was the heroic caufe unsuccessfully defended to all Christendom, against the tongue of a famous and thought invincible adversary; nor the conftancy and fortitude, that fo nobly vindicated our liberty, our victory at once against two the most prevailing usurpers over mankind, fuperftition and tyranny, unpraised or uncelebrated in a written monument, likely to outlive detraction, as it hath hitherto convinced or filenced not a few of our detractors, especially in parts abroad. After our liberty and religion thus prosper. oully fought for, gained, and many years possefled, except in those unhappy interruptions, which God hath removed; now that nothing remains, but in all reason the certain hopes of a speedy and immediate settlement for ever in a firm and free commonwealth, for this extolled and magnified nation, regardless both of honour won, or deliverances vouchsafed from Heaven, to fall back, or rather to creep back so poorly, as it seems the multitude would, to their once abjured and detested thraldom of kingship, to be ourselves the Nanderers of our own just and religious deeds, though done by some to covetous and ambitious ends, yet not therefore to be stained with their infamy, or they to asperse the integrity of others; and yet these now by revolting from the conscience of deeds well done, both in church and state, to throw away and forsake, or rather to betray a jutt and noble caule for the mixture of bad men who have ill-managed and abused it, (which had our fathers done heretofore, and on the same pretence deserted true religion, what had long ere this become of our gospel and all protestant reformation so much intermixed with the avarice and ambition of some reformers ?) and by thus relapsing, to verify all the bitter predictions of our triumphing enemies, who will now think they wisely discerned and justly censured both us and all our actions as rash, rebellious, hypocritical, and impious; not only argues a strange degenerate contagion suddenly spread among us, fitted and prepared for new flavery, but will render us a scorn and derifion to all our neighbours. And what will they at besi fay of us, and of the whole English name, but fcoffingly, as of that foolish builder mentioned by our Saviour, who began to build a tower, and was not able to finish it? Where is this goodly tower of a commonwealth, which the English boasted they would build to overthadow kings, and be another Rome in the west? The foundation indeed they lay gallantly, but fell into a worse confusion not of tongues, but of factions, than those at the tower of Babel; and have left no memorial of their work behind them remaining, but in the common laughter of Europe! Which must needs redound the more to our shame, if we but look on our neighbours the United Provinces, to us inferiour in all outward advantages; who notwithstanding, in the midst of greater difficulties, courageously, wisely, constantly went through with the fame work, and are settled in all the happy enjoyments of a potent and flourishing republic to this day.
Besides this, if we return to kingship, and soon repent, (as undoubtedly we shall, when we begin to find the old encroachments coming on by little and little upon our consciences which must necessarily proceed from king and bishop united infeparably in one intereft,) we may be forced perhaps to fight over again all that we have fought, and spend over again all that we have spent, but are never like to attain thus far as we are now ad. vanced to the recovery of our freedom, never to have it in possession as we now have it, never to be vouchfafed hereafter the like mercies and signal assistances from Heaven in our cause, if by our ingrateful backNiding we make these fruitless; flying now to regal conceflions from his divine condefcenfions, and gracious answers to our once importuning prayers against the tyranny which we then groaned under ; making vain and viler than dirt the blood of so many thousand faithful and valiant Englishmen, who left us in this liberty, bought with their lives; losing by a strange aftergame of folly all the battles we have won, together with all Scotland as to our conquest, hereby lost, which never any of our kings could conquer, all the treasure we have spent, not that corruptible treasure only, but that far more precious of all our late miraculous deliverances ; treading back again with lost labour all our happy steps in the progress of reformation, and most pitifully depriving ourselves the inftant fruition of that free government, which we have so dearly purchased, a free commonwealth, not only held by wiseft men in all ages the nobleft, the manlielt
, the equalleft, the juftest government, the most agreeable to all due liberty and proportioned equality, both human, civil, and chriftian, most cherishing to virtue and true religion, but also (I may say it with greatest probability) plainly commended, or rather enjoined by our Saviour himself, to all christians, not without remarkable disallowance, and the brand of Gentilism upon kingship. God in much displeasure gave a king to the Ifraelites, and imputed it a lin to them that they fought one: but Christ apo parently forbids his disciples, to admit of any such heathenish government; “ The kings of the Gentiles," faith he, “exercise lordship over them ;” and they that “exercise authority upon them are called benefactors: DD4
but ye shall not be fo; but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that serveth.” The occasion of these his words was the ambitious desire of Zebedee's two sons, to be exalted above their brethren in his kingdom, which they thought was to be ere long upon earth. That he speaks of civil government, is manifest by the former part of the comparison, which infers the other part to be always in the same kind. And what government comes nearer to this precept of Christ, than a free commonwealth ; wherein they who are the greatest, are perpetual servants and drudges to the public at their own coft and charges, neglect their own affairs, yet are not elevated above their brethren; live soberly in their families, walk the street as other men, may be spoken to freely, familiarly, friendly, without adoration? Whereas a king must be adored like a demigod, with a diffolute and haughty court about him, of vast expense and luxury, masks and revels, to the debauching of our prime gentry both male and female; not in their paftimes only, but in earnest, by the loose employments of court-service, which will be then thought honourable. There will be a queen of no less charge; in most likelihood outlandish and a papist, besides a queen mother fuch already ; together with both their courts and numerous train: then a royal issue, and ere long severally their sumptuous courts; to the multiplying of a servile crew, not of servants only, but of nobility and gentry, bred up then to the hopes not of public, but of courtoffices, to be stewards, chamberlains, uthers, grooms, even of the closestool; and the lower their minds debased with court-opinions, contrary to all virtue and reformation, the haughtier will be their pride and profuseness. We may well remember this not long since at home; nor need but look at present into the French court, where enticements and preferments daily draw away and pervert the protestant nobility. As to the burden of expense, to our coft we shall soon know it; for any good to us deserving to be termed no better than the vast and lavish price of our subjection, and their debauchery, which we are now fo greedily cheapening, and would so fain be paying most inconsiderately to a single person; who for any thing wherein the public really needs him, will have little else to do, but to bestow the eating and drinking of excessive dainties, to set a pompous face upon the fuperficial actings of state, to pageant himself up and down in progress among the perpetual bowings and cringings of an ahject people, on either side deifying and adoring him for nothing done that can deserve it. For what can be more than another man? who, even in the expression of a late courtpoet, sits only like a great cipher fet to no purpose before a long row of other fignificant figures. Nay, it is well and happy for the people, if their king be but a cipher, being ofttimes a mischief, a pest, a scourge of the nation, and which is worse, not to be removed, not to be controlled, much less accused or brought to punishment, without the danger of a common ruin, without the shaking and almost fubversion of the whole land: whereas in a free commonwealth, any governor or chief counsellor offending may be removed and punished, without the least commotion. Certainly then that people must needs be mad, or strangely infatuated, that build the chief hope of their common happiness or safety on a fingle perfon; who, if he happen to be good, can do no more than another man; if to be bad, hath in his hands to do more evil without check, than millions of other men. The happiness of a nation must needs be firmest and certainest in full and free council of their own electing, where no single person, but reason only fways. And what madness is it for them who might manage nobly their own affairs themselves, fuggishly and weakly to devolve all on a single person; and more like boys under age than men, to commit all to bis
patronage and dispofal, who neither can perform what he undertakes, and yet for undertaking it, though royally paid, will not be their servant, but their lord? How unmanly must it needs be, to count such a one the breath of our nostrils, to lang all our felicity on him, all our fafety, our well-being, for which if we were aught else but lluggards or babies, we need depend on none but God and our own counsels, our own active virtue and