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But what need we any further fearch after the law of other lands, for that which is fo fully and fo plainly set down lawful in our own? Where ancient books tell us, Bracton, Fleta, and others, that the king is under law, and inferiour to his court of parliament; that although his place" to do juftice" be higheft, yet that he fiands as liable "to receive juftice," as the meaneft of his kingdom. Nay, Alfred the moft worthy king, and by fome accounted firft abfolute monarch of the Saxons here, fo ordained; as is cited out of an ancient law-book called "the Mirror;" in "rights of the kingdom," p. 31, where it is complained on, as the fovereign abuse of all," that "the king fhould be deemed above the law, whereas he ought to be the fubject to it by his oath." Of which oath anciently it was the laft clause, that the king "fhould be as liable, and obedient to fuffer right, as others of his people." And indeed it were but fond and fenfeless, that the king fhould be accountable to every petty fuit in leffer courts, as we all know he was, and not be fubject to the judicature of parliament in the main matters of our common fafety or deftruction; that he should be anfwerable in the ordinary courfe of law for any wrong done to a private perfon, and not answerable in court of parliament for deftroying the whole kingdom. By all this, and much more that might be added, as in an argument overcopious rather than barren, we fee it manifeft that all laws, both of God and man, are made without exemption of any person whomfoever; and that if kings prefume to overtop the law by which they reign for the public good, they are by law to be reduced into order; and that can no way be more juftly, than by those who exalt them to that high place. For who fhould better understand their own laws, and when they are tranfgreft, than they who are governed by them, and whose confent firft made them? And who can have more right to take knowledge of things done within a free nation, than they within themfelves?

Thofe objected oaths of allegiance and fupremacy we fwore, not to his perfon, but as it was invefted with his authority; and his authority was by the people first given him conditionally, in law, and under law, and under oath


alfo for the kingdom's good, and not otherwife; the oaths then were interchanged, and mutual; stood and fell totogether; he fwore fidelity to his truft; (not as a deluding ceremony, but as a real condition of their admitting him for king; and the conqueror himself fwore it oftener than at his crowning:) they fwore homage and fealty to his perfon in that truft. There was no reason why the kingdom fhould be further bound by oaths to him, than he by his coronation 'oath to us, which he hath every way broken: and having broken, the ancient crown oath of Alfred above-mentioned conceals not his penalty.

As for the covenant, if that be meant, certainly no discreet perfon can imagine it fhould bind us to him in any ftricter fenfe than thofe oaths formerly. The acts of hoftility, which we received from him, were no fuch dear obligements, that we fhould owe him more fealty and defence for being our enemy, than we could before when we took him only for a king. They were accused by him and his party to pretend liberty and reformation, but to have no other end than to make themselves great and to deftroy the king's perfon and authority. For which reason they added that third article, teftifying to the world, that as they were refolved to endeavour first a reformation in the church, to extirpate prelacy, to preferve the rights of parliament, and the liberties of the kingdom, fo they intended, fo far as it might confist with the prefervation and defence of thefe, to preferve the king's perfon and authority; but not otherwife. As far as this comes to, they covenant and fwear in the fixth article, to preserve and defend the perfons and authority of one another, and all thofe that enter into that league; fo that this covenant gives no unlimitable exemption to the king's perfon, but gives to all as much defence and prefervation as to him, and to him as much as to their own perfons, and no more; that is to fay, in order and fubordination to thofe main ends, for which we live and are a nation of men joined in fociety either chriftian, or at leaft human. But if the covenant were made abfolute, to preferve and defend any one whomfoever, without refpect had, either to the true religion,



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or those other fuperiour things to be defended and preferved however, it cannot then be doubted, but that the covenant was rather a most foolish, hafty, and unlawful vow, than a deliberate and well-weighed covenant; fwearing us into labyrinths and repugnances, no way to be folved or reconciled, and therefore no way to be kept; as first offending against the law of God, to vow the abfolute preservation, defence, and maintaining of one man, though in his fins and offences never fo great and heinous against God or his neighbour; and to except a perfon from juftice, whereas his law excepts none. condly, it offends against the law of this nation, wherein, as hath been proved, kings in receiving juftice, and undergoing due trial, are not differenced from the méanest fubject. Laftly, it contradicts and offends against the covenant itself, which vows in the fourth article to bring to open trial and condign punishment all those that shall be found guilty of fuch crimes and delinquencies, whereof the king, by his own letters and other undeniable testimonies not brought to light till afterward, was found and convicted to be chief actor in what they thought him, at the time of taking that covenant, to be overruled only by evil counfellors; and thofe, or whomfoever they fhould discover to be principal, they vowed to try, either by their own "fupreme judicatories," (for fo even then they called them,) " or by others having power from them to that effect." So that to have brought the king to condign punishment hath not broke the covenant, but it would have broke the covenant to have faved him from thofe judicatories, which both nations declared in that covenant to be fupreme against any perfon whatfoever. And befides all this, to fwear in covenant the bringing of his evil counsellors and accomplices to condign punishment, and not only to leave unpunished and untouched the grand offender, but to receive him back again from the accomplishment of fo many violences and mifchiefs, dipped from head to foot, and ftained over with the blood of thousands that were his faithful fubjects, forced to their own defence against a civil war by him first raised upon them; and to receive him thus, in this gory pickle, to all his dignities and honours, VOL. III. covering


covering the ignominions and horrid purple robe of innocent blood, that fat fo clofe about him, with the glorious purple of royalty and fupreme rule, the reward of higheft excellence and virtue here on earth; were not only to fwear and covenant the performance of an unjuft vow, the strangest and most impious to the face of God, but were the moft unwife and unprudential act as to civil government. For fo long as a king fhall find by experience, that, do the worst he can, his fubjects, overawed by the religion of their own covenant, will only profecute his evil inftruments, not dare to touch his perfon; and that whatever hath been on his part offended or tranfgreffed, he fhall come off at laft with the fame reverence to his perfon, and the fame honour as for well doing, he will not fail to find them work; feeking far and near, and inviting to his court all the concourfe of evil counfellors, or agents, that may be found: who, tempted with preferments and his promife to uphold them, will hazard easily their own heads, and the chance of ten to one but they fhall prevail at last, over men fo quelled and fitted to be flaves hy the falfe conceit of a religious' covenant. And they in that fuperftition neither wholly yielding, nor to the utmost refifting, at the upfhot of all their foolish war and expenfe, will find to have done no more but fetched a compafs only of their miferies, ending at the fame point of flavery, and in the fame distractions wherein they firft begun. But when kings themselves are made as liable to punishment as their evil counfellors, it will be both as dangerous from the king himself as from his parliament, to thofe that evil counfel him: and they, who elfe would be his readieft agents in evil, will then not fear to diffuade or to difobey him, not only in respect of themselves and their own lives, which for his fake they would not feem to value, but in refpect of that danger which the king himself may incur, whom they would feem to love and ferve with greateft fidelity. all thefe grounds therefore of the covenant itself, whether religious or political, it appears likelieft, that both the English parliament and the Scotch commiffioners, thus interpreting the covenant, (as indeed at that time they were the beft and moft authentical interpreters joined together)


together) answered the king unanimoufly, in their letter dated January the 13th, 1645, that till fecurity and fatisfaction, firft given to both kingdoms for the blood spilled, for the Irish rebels brought over, and for the war in Ireland by him fomented, they could in nowife yield. their confent to his return. Here was fatisfaction, full two years and upward after the covenant taken, dedemanded of the king by both nations in parliament for crimes at leaft capital, wherewith they charged him. And what fatisfaction could be given for fo much blood, but justice upon him that spilled it? till which done, they neither took themselves bound to grant him the exercise of his regal office by any meaning of the covenant which they then declared (though other meanings have been fince contrived) nor fo much regarded the fafety of his perfon, as to admit of his return among them from the midft of those whom they declared to be his greatest enemies; nay from himself as from an actual enemy, not as from a king, they demanded fecurity. But if the covenant, all this notwithstanding, fwore otherwise to preserve him than in the preservation of true religion and our liberties, against which he fought, if not in arms, yet in refolution, to his dying day, and now after death ftill fights again in this his book, the covenant was better broken, than he faved. And God hath teftified by all propitious and the moft evident fign, whereby in thefe latter times he is wont to teftify what pleases him, that fuch a folemn and for many ages unexampled act of due punishment was no mockery of juftice, but a moft grateful and well-pleafing facrifice. Neither was it to cover their perjury, as he accufes, but to uncover his perjury to the oath of his coronation.

The reft of his difcourfe quite forgets the title; and turns his meditations upon death into obloquy and bitter vehemence against his "judges and accufers;" imitating therein, not our Saviour, but his grandmother Mary queen of Scots, as alfo in the most of his other fcruples, exceptions and evafions; and from whom he seems to have learnt, as it were by heart, or else by kind, that which is thought by his admirers to be the most virtuous, moft manly, moft chriftian, and moft martyr like, both

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