*OR, THE LONG PARLIAMENT.*
A. If in time, as in place, there were degrees of high and low, I verily believe that the highest of time would be that which passed between the years of 1640 and 1660. For he that thence, as from the Devil’s Mountain, should have looked upon the world and observed the actions of men, especially in England, might have had a prospect of all kinds of injustice, and of all kinds of folly, that the world could afford, and how they were produced by their *dams* hypocrisy and self-conceit, whereof the one is double iniquity, and the other double folly.
B. I should be glad to behold that prospect. You that have lived in that time and in that part of your age, wherein men used to see best into good and evil, I pray you to set me (that could not then see so well) upon the same mountain, by the relation of the actions you then saw, and of their causes, pretensions, justice, order, artifice, and event.
A. In the year 1640, the government of England was monarchical; and the King that reigned, Charles, the first of that name, holding the sovereignty, by right of a descent continued above six hundred years, and from a much longer descent King of Scotland, and from the time of his ancestor Henry II., King of Ireland; a man that wanted no virtue, either of body or mind, nor endeavoured anything more than to discharge his duty towards God, in the well governing of his subjects.
B. How could he then miscarry, having in every county so many trained soldiers, as would, put together, have made an army of 60,000 men, and divers magazines of ammunition in places fortified?
A. If those soldiers had been, as they and all other of his subjects ought to have been, at his Majesty’s command, the peace and happiness of the three kingdoms had continued as it was left by King James. But the people were corrupted generally, and disobedient persons esteemed the best patriots.
B. But sure there were men enough, besides those that were ill-affected, to have made an army sufficient to have kept the people from uniting into a body able to oppose him.
A. Truly, I think, if the King had had money, he might have had soldiers enough in England. For there were very few of the common people that cared much for either of the causes, but would have taken any side for pay or plunder. But the King’s treasury was very low, and his enemies, that pretended the people’s ease from taxes, and other specious things, had the command of the purses of the city of London, and of most cities and corporate towns in England, and of many particular persons besides.
B. But how came the people to be so corrupted? And what kind of people were they that could so seduce them?
A. The seducers were of divers sorts. One sort were ministers; ministers, as they called themselves, of Christ; and sometimes, in their sermons to the people, God’s ambassadors; pretending to have a right from God to govern every one his parish and their assembly the whole nation.
Secondly, there were a very great number, though not comparable to the other, which, notwithstanding that the Pope’s power in England, both temporal and ecclesiastical, had been by Act of Parliament abolished, did still retain a belief that we ought to be governed by the Pope, whom they pretended to be the vicar of Christ, and, in the right of Christ, to be the governor of all Christian people. And these were known by the name of Papists; as the ministers I mentioned before, were commonly called Presbyterians.
Thirdly, there were not a few, who in the beginning of the troubles were not discovered, but shortly after declared themselves for a liberty in religion, and those of different opinions one from another. Some of them, because they would have all congregations free and independent upon one another, were called Independents. Others that held baptism to infants, and such as understood not into what they are baptized, to be ineffectual, were called therefore Anabaptists. Others that held that Christ’s kingdom was at this time to begin upon the earth, were called Fifth-monarchy-men; besides divers other sects, as Quakers, Adamites, &c., whose names and peculiar doctrines I do not well remember. And these were the enemies which arose against his Majesty from the private interpretation of the Scripture, exposed to every man’s scanning in his mother-tongue.
Fourthly, there were an exceeding great number of men of the better sort, that had been so educated, as that in their youth having read the books written by famous men of the ancient Grecian and Roman commonwealths concerning their polity and great actions; in which books the popular government was extolled by the glorious name of liberty, and monarchy disgraced by the name of tyranny; they became thereby in love with their forms of government. And out of these men were chosen the greatest part of the House of Commons, or if they were not the greatest part, yet, by advantage of their eloquence, were always able to sway the rest.
Fifthly, the city of London and other great towns of trade, having in admiration the great prosperity of the Low Countries after they had revolted from their monarch, the King of Spain, were inclined to think that the like change of government here, would to them produce the like prosperity.
Sixthly, there were a very great number that had either wasted their fortunes, or thought them too mean for the good parts which they thought were in themselves; and more there were, that had able bodies, but saw no means how honestly to get their bread. These longed for a war, and hoped to maintain themselves hereafter by the lucky choosing of a party to side with, and consequently did for the most part serve under them that had greatest plenty of money.
Lastly, the people in general were so ignorant of their duty, as that not one perhaps of ten thousand knew what right any man had to command him, or what necessity there was of King or Commonwealth, for which he was to part with his money against his will; but thought himself to be so much master of whatsoever he possessed, that it could not be taken from him upon any pretence of common safety without his own consent. King, they thought, was but a title of the highest honour, which gentleman, knight, baron, earl, duke, were but steps to ascend to, with the help of riches; they had no rule of equity, but precedents and custom; and he was thought wisest and fittest to be chosen for a Parliament that was most averse to the granting of subsidies or other public payments.
B. In such a constitution of people, methinks, the King is already ousted of his government, so as they needed not have taken arms for it. For I cannot imagine how the King should come by any means to resist them.
A. There was indeed very great difficulty in the business. But of that point you will be better informed in the pursuit of this narration.
B. But I desire to know first, the several grounds of the pretences, both of the Pope and of the Presbyterians, by which they claim a right to govern us, as they do, in chief: and after that, from whence, and when, crept in the pretences of that Long Parliament, for a democracy.
A. As for the Papists, they challenge this right from a text in Deut. xvii. 12, and other like texts, according to the old Latin translation in these words: And he that out of pride shall refuse to obey the commandment of that priest, which shall at that time minister before the Lord thy God, that man shall by the sentence of the judge be put to death. And because, as the Jews were the people of God then, so is all Christendom the people of God now, they infer from thence, that the Pope, whom they pretend to be the high-priest of all Christian people, ought also to be obeyed in all his decrees by all Christians, upon pain of death. Again, whereas in the New Testament (Matt. xxviii. 18-20) Christ saith: All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth; go therefore and teach all nations, and baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and teach them to observe all these things which I have commanded you: from thence they infer, that the command of the apostles was to be obeyed, and by consequence the nations were bound to be governed by them, and especially by the prince of the apostles, St. Peter, and by his successors, the Popes of Rome.
B. For the text in the Old Testament, I do not see how the commandment of God to the Jews, to obey their priests, can be interpreted to have the like force in the case of other nations Christian, more than upon nations unchristian (for all the world are God’s people); unless we also grant, that a king cannot of an infidel be made Christian, without making himself subject to the laws of that apostle, or priest, or minister, that shall convert him. The Jews were a peculiar people of God, a sacerdotal kingdom, and bound to no other law but what first Moses, and afterwards every high-priest, did go and receive immediately from the mouth of God in Mount Sinai, in the tabernacle of the ark, and in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. And for the text in St. Matthew, I know the words in the Gospel are not go teach, but go, make disciples; and that there is a great difference between a subject and a disciple, and between teaching and commanding. And if such texts as these must be so interpreted, why do not Christian kings lay down their titles of majesty and sovereignty, and call themselves the Pope’s lieutenants? But the doctors of the Romish Church seem to decline that title of absolute power in their distinction of power spiritual and temporal; but this distinction I do not very well understand.
A. By spiritual power they mean the power to determine points of faith, and to be judges, in the inner court of conscience, of moral duties, and a power to punish those men, that obey not their precepts, by ecclesiastical censure, that is, by excommunication. And this power, they say, the Pope hath immediately from Christ, without dependence on any king or sovereign assembly, whose subjects they be that stand excommunicate. But for the power temporal, which consists in judging and punishing those actions that are done against the civil laws, they say, they do not pretend to it directly, but only indirectly, that is to say, so far forth as such actions tend to the hindrance or advancement of religion and good manners, which they mean when they say in ordine ad spiritualia.
B. What power then is left to Kings and other civil sovereigns, which the Pope may not pretend to be his in ordine ad spiritualia?
A. None, or very little. [And this power not only the Pope pretends to in all Christendom; but most bishops also, in their several dioceses, jure divino, that is, immediately from Christ, without deriving it from the Pope.]
B. But what if a man refuse obedience to this pretended power of the Pope and his bishops? What harm can excommunication do him, especially if he be the subject of another sovereign?
A. Very great harm. For by the Pope’s or bishop’s signification of it to the civil power, he shall be punished sufficiently.
B. He were in an ill case then, that adventured to write or speak in defence of the civil power, that must be punished by him whose rights he defended, like Uzza, that was slain because he would needs, unbidden, put forth his hand to keep the ark from falling. But if a whole nation should revolt from the Pope at once, what effect could excommunication have upon the nation?
A. Why, they should have no more mass said, at least by any of the Pope’s priests. Besides, the Pope would have no more to do with them, but cast them off, and so they would be in the same case as if a nation should be cast off by their king, and left to be governed by themselves, or whom they would.
B. This would not be taken so much for a punishment to the people, as to the King; and therefore when a Pope excommunicates a whole nation, methinks he rather excommunicates himself than them. But I pray you tell me, what were the rights the Pope pretended to in the kingdoms of other princes?
A. First, an exemption of all priests, friars, and monks, in criminal causes, from the cognizance of civil judges. Secondly, collation of benefices on whom he pleased, native or stranger, and exaction of tenths, first fruits, and other payments. Thirdly, appeals to Rome in all causes where the Church could pretend to be concerned. Fourthly, to be the supreme judge concerning lawfulness of marriage, that is, concerning the hereditary succession of Kings, and to have the cognizance of all causes concerning adultery and fornication.
B. Good! A monopoly of women.
A. Fifthly, a power of absolving subjects of their duties, and of their oaths of fidelity to their lawful sovereigns, when the Pope should think fit for the extirpation of heresy.
B. This power of absolving subjects of their obedience, as also that other of being judge of manners and doctrine, is as absolute a sovereignty as is possible to be; and consequently there must be two kingdoms in one and the same nation, and no man be able to know which of his masters he must obey.
A. For my part, I should rather obey that master that had the right of making laws and of inflicting punishments, than him that pretendeth only to a right of making canons (that is to say rules) and no right of co-action, or otherwise punishing, but by excommunication.
B. But the Pope pretends also that his canons are laws; and for punishing, can there be greater than excommunication; supposing it true, as the Pope saith it is, that he that dies excommunicate is damned? Which supposition, it seems, you believe not; else you would rather have chosen to obey the Pope, that would cast your body and soul into hell, than the King, that can only kill the body.
A. You say true. For it were very uncharitable in me to believe that all Englishmen, except a few Papists, that have been born and called heretics ever since the Reformation of Religion in England, should be damned.
B. But for those that die excommunicate in the Church of England at this day, do you not think them also damned?
A. Doubtless, he that dies in sin without repentance is damned, and he that is excommunicate for disobedience to the King’s laws, either spiritual or temporal, is excommunicate for sin; and therefore, if he die excommunicate and without desire of reconciliation, he dies impenitent. You see what follows. But to die in disobedience to the precepts and doctrines of those men that have no authority or jurisdiction over us, is quite another case, and bringeth no such danger with it.
B. But what is this heresy, which the Church of Rome so cruelly persecutes, as to depose Kings that do not, when they are bidden, turn all heretics out of their dominions?
A. Heresy is a word which, when it is used without passion, signifies a private opinion. So the different sects of the old philosophers, Academians, Peripatetics, Epicureans, Stoics, &c., were called heresies. But in the Christian Church, there was in the signification of that word, comprehended a sinful opposition to him, that was chief judge of doctrines in order to the salvation of men’s souls; and consequently heresy may be said to bear the same relation to the power spiritual, that rebellion doth to the power temporal, and is suitable to be persecuted by him that will preserve a power spiritual and dominion of men’s consciences.
B. It would be very well (because we are all of us permitted to read the Holy Scriptures, and bound to make them the rule of our actions, both public and private) that heresy were by some law defined, and the particular opinions set forth, for which a man were to be condemned and punished as a heretic; for else, not only men of mean capacity, but even the wisest and devoutest Christian, may fall into heresy without any will to oppose the Church; for the Scriptures are hard, and the interpretations different of different men.
A. The meaning of the word heresy is by law declared in an Act of Parliament in the first year of Queen Elizabeth; wherein it is ordained, that the persons who had by the Queen’s letters-patent the authority spiritual, meaning the High Commission, shall not have authority to adjudge any matter or cause to be heresy, but only such as heretofore have been adjudged to be heresy by the authority of the canonical Scriptures, or by the first four general Councils, or by any other general Council, where the same was declared heresy by the express and plain words of the said canonical Scriptures, or such as hereafter shall be adjudged heresy by the high court of Parliament of this realm, with the assent of the clergy in their convocation.
B. It seems therefore, if there arise any new error that hath not yet been declared heresy (and many such may arise), it cannot be judged heresy without a Parliament. For how foul soever the error be, it cannot have been declared heresy neither in the Scriptures nor in the Councils; because it was never before heard of. And consequently there can be no error, unless it fall within the compass of blasphemy against God or treason against the King, for which a man can in equity be punished. Besides, who can tell what is declared by the Scripture, which every man is allowed to read and interpret to himself? Nay more, what Protestant, either of the laity or clergy, if every general Council can be a competent judge of heresy, is not already condemned? For divers Councils have declared a great many of our doctrines to be heresy, and that, as they pretend, upon the authority of the Scriptures.
A. What are those points, that the first four general Councils have declared heresy?
B. The first general Council, held at Nicæa, declared all to be heresy which was contrary to the Nicene Creed, upon occasion of the heresy of Arius, which was the denying the divinity of Christ. The second general Council, held at Constantinople, declared heresy the doctrine of Macedonius; which was that the Holy Ghost was created. The third Council, assembled at Ephesus, condemned the doctrine of Nestorius, that there were two persons in Christ. The fourth, held at Chalcedon, condemned the error of Eutyches, that there was but one nature in Christ. I know of no other points condemned in these four Councils, but such as concern church-government, or the same doctrines taught by other men in other words. And these Councils were all called by the Emperors, and by them their decrees confirmed at the petition of the Councils themselves.
A. I see by this, that both the calling of the Council, and the confirmation of their doctrine and church-government, had no obligatory force but from the authority of the Emperor. How comes it then to pass, that they take upon them now a legislative power, and say their canons are laws? That text, all power is given to me in heaven and earth, had the same force then as it hath now, and conferred a legislative power on the Councils, not only over Christian men, but *also* over all nations in the world.
B. They say no; for the power they pretend to is derived from this, that when a king was converted from Gentilism to Christianism, he did by that very submission to the bishop that converted him, submit to the bishop’s government and became one of his sheep; which right therefore he could not have over any nation that was not Christian.
A. Did Sylvester (which was Pope of Rome in the time of Constantine the Great, converted by him) tell the Emperor, his new disciple, beforehand, that if he became a Christian he must be the Pope’s subject?
B. I believe not. For it is likely enough, if he had told him so plainly, or but made him suspect it, he would either have been no Christian at all, or but a counterfeit one.
A. But if he did not tell him so, and that plainly, it was foul play, not only in a priest, but in any Christian. And for this derivation of their right from the Emperor’s consent, it proceeds only from this, that they dare not challenge a legislative power, nor call their canons laws in any kingdom in Christendom, further than the kings make them so. But in Peru, when Atabalipa was King, the friar told him, that Christ being King of all the world, had given the disposing of all the kingdoms therein to the Pope, and that the Pope had given Peru to the Roman Emperor Charles the Fifth, and required Atabalipa to resign it; and for refusing it, seized upon his person by the Spanish army there present, and murdered him. You see by this how much they claim, when they have power to make it good.
B. When began the Popes to take this authority upon them first?
A. After the inundation of the northern people had overflowed the western parts of the empire, and possessed themselves of Italy, the people of the city of Rome submitted themselves, as well in temporals as spirituals, to their bishop; and then first was the Pope a temporal prince, and stood no more in so great fear of the Emperors, which lived far off at Constantinople. In this time it was that the Pope began, by pretence of his power spiritual, to encroach upon the temporal rights of all other princes of the west; and so continued gaining upon them, till his power was at the highest in that three hundred years, or thereabout, which passed between the eighth and eleventh century, that is, between Pope Leo the Third and Pope Innocent the Third. For in this time Pope Zachary the First deposed Chilperic, then King of France, and gave the kingdom to one of his subjects, Pepin; and Pepin took from the Lombards a great part of their territory and gave it to the Church. Shortly after, the Lombards having recovered their estate, Charles the Great retook it, and gave it to the Church again; and Pope Leo the Third made Charles Emperor.
B. But what right did the Pope then pretend for the creating of an Emperor?
A. He pretended the right of being Christ’s vicar; and what Christ could give, his vicar might give; and you know that Christ was King of all the world.
B. Yes, as God; and so he gives all the kingdoms of the world, which nevertheless proceed from the consent of people, either for fear or hope.
A. But this gift of the empire was in a more special manner, in such a manner as Moses had the government of Israel given him; or rather as Joshua had it given him, to go in and out before the people as the high-priest should direct him. And so the empire was understood to be given him, on condition to be directed by the Pope. For when the Pope invested him with the regal ornaments, the people all cried out Deus dat, that is to say, it is God that gives it; and the Emperor was contented so to take it. And from that time, all or most of the Christian Kings do put into their titles the words Dei gratia, that is, by the gift of God; and their successors use still to receive the crown and sceptre from a bishop.
B. It is certainly a very good custom, for Kings to be put in mind by whose gift they reign; but it cannot from that custom be inferred that they receive the kingdom by mediation of the Pope, or by any other clergy; for the Popes themselves received the Papacy from the Emperor. The first that ever was elected Bishop of Rome after Emperors were Christians, and without the Emperor’s consent, excused himself by letters to the Emperor with this: that the people and clergy of Rome forced him to take it upon him, and prayed the Emperor to confirm it, which the Emperor did; but with reprehension of their proceedings, and the prohibition of the like for the time to come. The Emperor was Lotharius, and the Pope Calixtus the First.
A. You see by this the Emperor never acknowledged this gift of God was the gift of the Pope, but maintained that the Popedom was the gift of the Emperor. But in process of time, by the negligence of the Emperors (for the greatness of Kings makes them that they cannot easily descend into the obscure and narrow mines of an ambitious clergy), they found means to make the people believe, there was a power in the Pope and clergy, which they ought to submit unto, rather than to the commands of their own Kings, whensoever it should come into controversy: and to that end devised and decreed many new articles of faith, to the diminution of the authority of Kings, and to the disjunction of them and their subjects, and to a closer adherence of their subjects to the Church of Rome; articles either not at all found in, or not well founded upon the Scriptures; as first, that it should not be lawful for a priest to marry.
B. What influence could that have upon the power of Kings?
A. Do you not see, that by this the King must of necessity either want the priesthood, and therewith a great part of the reverence due to him from the most religious part of his subjects, or else want lawful heirs to succeed him? by which means, being not taken for the head of the Church, he was sure, in any controversy between him and the Pope, that his people would be against him.
B. Is not a Christian King as much a bishop now, as the heathen Kings were of old? for among them episcopus was a name common to all Kings. Is not he a bishop now, to whom God hath committed the charge of all the souls of his subjects, both of the laity and the clergy? And though he be in relation to our Saviour, who is the chief pastor, but a sheep, yet, compared to his own subjects, they are all sheep, both laic and cleric, and he only shepherd. And seeing a Christian bishop is but a Christian endued with power to govern the clergy, it follows that every Christian king is not only a bishop, but an arch-bishop, and his whole dominion his diocese. And though it were granted, that imposition of hands is necessary from a priest; yet, seeing Kings have the government of the clergy, that are his subjects even before baptism; the baptism itself, wherein he is received as a Christian, is a sufficient imposition of hands, so that whereas before he was a bishop, now he is a Christian bishop.
A. For my part I agree with you: this prohibition of marriage to priests came in about the time of Pope Gregory the Seventh, and William the First, King of England; by which means the Pope had in England, what with secular and what with regular priests, a great many lusty bachelors at his service.
Secondly, that auricular confession to a priest was necessary to salvation. It is true that, before that time, confession to a priest was usual, and performed for the most part by him that confessed, in writing. But that use was taken away about the time of King Edward III., and priests commanded to take confessions from the mouth of the confitent: and men did generally believe, that without confession and absolution before their departure out of the world, they could not be saved; and having absolution from a priest, that they could not be damned. You understand by this, how much every man would stand in awe of the Pope and clergy, more than they would of the King; and what inconvenience it is to a state for their subjects to confess their secret thoughts to spies.
B. Yes, as much as eternal torture is more terrible than death, so much they would fear the clergy more than the King.
A. And though perhaps the Roman clergy will not maintain that a priest hath power to remit sins absolutely, but only with a condition of repentance, yet the people were never so instructed by them; but were left to believe, that whensoever they had absolution, their precedent sins were all discharged, when their penance, which they took for repentance, was performed. Within the same time began the article of transubstantiation. For it had been disputed a long time before, in what manner a man did eat the body of our Saviour Jesus Christ, as being a point very difficult for a man to conceive and imagine clearly; but now it was made very clear, namely, that the bread was transubstantiated into Christ’s body, and so was become no more bread, but flesh.
B. It seems then that Christ had many bodies, and was in as many places at once, as there were communicants. I think the priests then were so wanton, as to insult upon the dulness, not only of common people, but also of kings and their councillors.
A. I am now in a narration, not in a disputation; and therefore I would have you to consider at this time nothing else, but what effect this doctrine would work upon kings and their subjects, in relation to the clergy, who only were able of a piece of bread to make our Saviour’s body, and thereby at the hour of death to save their souls.
B. For my part, it would have an effect on me, to make me think them gods, and to stand in awe of them as of God himself, if he were visibly present.
A. Besides these, and other articles tending to the upholding of the Pope’s authority, they had many fine points in their ecclesiastical polity, conducing to the same end; of which I will mention only such as were established within the same time. For then it was the order came up of preaching friars, that wandered up and down, with power to preach in what congregation they pleased, and were sure enough to instil into the people nothing that might lessen the obedience to the Church of Rome; but, on the contrary, whatsoever might give advantage to it against the civil power. Besides, they privately insinuated themselves with women and men of weak judgment, confirming their adherence to the Pope, and urging them, in the time of their sickness, to be beneficial to the Church by contribution of money, or building religious houses, or pious works and necessary for the remission of their sins.
B. I do not remember that I have read of any kingdom or state in the world, where liberty was given to any private man to call the people together, and make orations to them frequently, or at all, without first making the state acquainted, except only in Christendom. I believe the heathen Kings foresaw, that a few such orators would be able to make a great sedition. Moses did indeed command to read the Scriptures and expound them in the Synagogues every Sabbath-day. But the Scriptures then were nothing else but the laws of the nation, delivered unto them by Moses himself. And I believe it would do no hurt, if the laws of England also were often read and expounded in the several congregations of Englishmen, at times appointed, that they may know what to do; for they know already what to believe.
A. I think that neither the preaching of friars nor monks, nor of parochial priests, tended to teach men what, but whom to believe. For the power of the mighty hath no foundation but in the opinion and belief of the people. And the end which the Pope had in multiplying sermons, was no other but to prop and enlarge his own authority over all Christian Kings and States.
Within the same time, that is, between the time of the Emperor Charles the Great and of King Edward the Third of England, began their second polity; which was, to bring religion into an art, and thereby to maintain all the decrees of the Roman Church, by disputation, not only from the Scriptures, but also from the philosophy of Aristotle, both moral and natural. And to that end the Pope exhorted the said Emperor by letter, to erect schools of all kinds of literature; and from thence began the institution of universities; for not long after, the universities began in Paris and in Oxford. It is true, that there were schools in England before that time, in several places, for the instruction of children in the Latin tongue, that is to say, in the tongue of the Church. But for an university of learning, there was none erected till that time; though it be not unlikely there might be then some that taught philosophy, logic, and other arts, in divers monasteries, the monks having little else to do but to study. After some colleges were built to that purpose, it was not long time before many more were added to them, by the devotion of princes and bishops, and other wealthy men: and the discipline therein was confirmed by the Popes that then were; and abundance of scholars sent thither by their friends to study, as to a place from whence the way was open and easy to preferment both in Church and Commonwealth. The profit that the Church of Rome expected from them, and in effect received, was the maintenance of the Pope’s doctrine, and of his authority over kings and their subjects, by school-divines; who, striving to make good many points of faith incomprehensible, and calling in the philosophy of Aristotle to their assistance, wrote great books of school-divinity, which no man else, nor they themselves, are able to understand; as any man may perceive that shall consider the writings of Peter Lombard, or Scotus that wrote commentaries upon him, or of Suarez, or any other school-divine of later times. Which kind of learning nevertheless hath been much admired by two sorts of men, otherwise prudent enough; the one of which sorts were those that were already devoted and really affectionate to the Roman Church; for they believed the doctrine before, but admired the arguments because they understood them not, and yet found the conclusions to their mind. The other sort were negligent men, that had rather admire with others, than take the pains to examine. So that all sorts of people were fully resolved, that both the doctrine was true, and the Pope’s authority no more than was due to him.
B. I see that a Christian king, or state, how well soever provided he be of money and arms, where the Church of Rome hath such authority, will have but a hard match of it, for want of men. For their subjects will hardly be drawn into the field and fight with courage against their consciences.
A. It is true that great rebellions have been raised by Church-men in the Pope’s quarrel against kings, as in England against King John, and in France against King Henry IV. Wherein the Kings had a more considerable part on their sides, than the Pope had on his; and shall always have so, if they have money. For there are but few whose consciences are so tender as to refuse money when they want it. But the great mischief done to kings upon pretence of religion is, when the Pope gives power to one king to invade another.
B. I wonder how King Henry the Eighth could then so utterly extinguish the authority of the Pope in England, and that without any rebellion at home, or any invasion from abroad.
A. First, the priests, monks, and friars, being in the height of their power, were now for the most part grown insolent and licentious; and thereby the force of their arguments was now taken away by the scandal of their lives, which the gentry and men of good education easily perceived: and the Parliament consisting of such persons, was therefore willing to take away their power: and generally the common people, which from a long custom had been in love with Parliaments, were not displeased therewith. Secondly, the doctrine of Luther beginning a little before, was now by a great many men of the greatest judgment so well received, as that there was no hope to restore the Pope to his power by rebellion. Thirdly, the revenue of abbeys and all other religious houses, falling thereby into the King’s hands, and by him being disposed of to the most eminent gentlemen in every county, could not but make them do their best to confirm themselves in the possession of them. Fourthly, King Henry was of a nature quick and severe in the punishing of such as should be the first to oppose his designs. Lastly, as to invasion from abroad, in case the Pope had given the kingdom to another prince, it had been in vain; for England is another manner of kingdom than Navarre. Besides, the French and Spanish forces were employed at that time one against another: and though they had been at leisure, they would have found perhaps no better success than the Spaniards found afterwards in 1588. Nevertheless, notwithstanding the insolence, avarice, and hypocrisy of the then clergy, and notwithstanding the doctrine of Luther, if the Pope had not provoked the King by endeavouring to cross his marriage with his second wife, his authority might have remained in England till there had risen some other quarrel.
B. Did not the bishops, that then were, and had taken an oath, wherein was, amongst other things, that they should defend and maintain the Regal Rights of St. Peter (the words are, Regalia Sancti Petri, which nevertheless some have said are regulas Sancti Petri, that is to say, St. Peter’s Rules or Doctrine; and that the clergy afterward did read it, being perhaps written in short-hand, by a mistake to the Pope’s advantage regalia): did not, I say, the bishops oppose that Act of Parliament against the Pope, and against the taking of the oath of supremacy?
A. No, I do not find the bishops did many of them oppose the King; for having no power without him, it had been great imprudence to provoke his anger. There was besides a controversy in those times between the Pope and the bishops, most of which did maintain that they exercised their jurisdiction episcopal in the right of God, as immediately as the Pope himself did exercise the same over the whole Church. And because they saw that by this Act of the King’s in Parliament they were to hold their power no more of the Pope, and never thought of holding it of the King, they were perhaps better content to let that Act of Parliament pass. In the reign of King Edward VI. the doctrine of Luther had taken so great root in England, that they threw out also a great many of the Pope’s new articles of faith; which Queen Mary succeeding him restored again, together with all that had been abolished by Henry VIII., saving (that which could not be restored) the religious houses; and the bishops and clergy of King Edward were partly burnt for heretics, partly fled, and partly recanted. And they that fled betook themselves to those places beyond sea, where the reformed religion was either protected or not persecuted; who, after the decease of Queen Mary, returned again to favour and preferment under Queen Elizabeth, that restored the religion of her brother King Edward. And so it hath continued till this day, excepting the interruption made in this late rebellion of the presbyterians and other democratical men. But though the Romish religion were now cast out by the law, yet there were abundance of people, and many of them of the nobility, that still retained the religion of their ancestors, who as they were not much molested in points of conscience, so they were not by their own inclination very troublesome to the civil government; but by the secret practice of the Jesuits and other emissaries of the Roman Church, they were made less quiet than they ought to have been; and some of them to venture on the most horrid act that ever had been heard of before, I mean the Gunpowder Treason. And upon that account, the Papists of England have been looked upon as men that would not be sorry for any disorders here that might possibly make way to the restoring of the Pope’s authority. And therefore I named them for one of the distempers of the state of England in the time of our late King Charles.
B. I see that Monsieur Mornay du Plessis, and Dr. Morton, Bishop of Durham, writing of the progress of the Pope’s power, and intituling their books, one of them, “The Mystery of Iniquity,” the other, “The Grand Imposture,” were both in the right. For I believe there was never such another cheat in the world, and I wonder that the Kings and States of Christendom never perceived it.
A. It is manifest they did perceive it. How else durst they make war, *as they have done*, against the Pope, and some of them take him out of Rome itself and carry him away prisoner? But if they would have freed themselves from his tyranny, they should have agreed together, and made themselves every one, as Henry VIII. did, head of the Church within their own respective dominions. But not agreeing, they let his power continue, every one hoping to make use of it, when there should be cause, against his neighbour.
B. Now, as to that other distemper by Presbyterians, how came their power to be so great, being of themselves, for the most part, but so many poor scholars?
A. This controversy between the Papist and the Reformed Churches could not choose but make every man, to the best of his power, examine by the Scriptures, which of them was in the right; and to that end they were translated into vulgar languages; whereas before, the translation of them was not allowed, nor any man to read them but such as had express license so to do. For the Pope did concerning the Scriptures the same that Moses did concerning Mount Sinai. Moses suffered no man to go up to it to hear God speak or gaze upon him, but such as he himself took with him; and the Pope suffered none to speak with God in the Scriptures, that had not some part of the Pope’s spirit in him, for which he might be trusted.
B. Certainly Moses did therein very wisely, and according to God’s own commandment.
A. No doubt of it, and the event itself hath made it appear so. For after the Bible was translated into English, every man, nay, every boy and wench, that could read English, thought they spoke with God Almighty, and understood what he said, when by a certain number of chapters a day they had read the Scriptures once or twice over. *And so* the reverence and obedience due to the Reformed Church here, and to the bishops and pastors therein, was cast off; and every man became a judge of religion, and an interpreter of the Scriptures to himself.
B. Did not the Church of England intend it should be so? What other end could they have in recommending the Bible to me, if they did not mean I should make it the rule of my actions? Else they might have kept it, though open to themselves, to me sealed up in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, and fed me out of it in such measure as had been requisite for the salvation of my soul and the Church’s peace.
A. I confess this licence of interpreting the Scripture was the cause of so many several sects, as having lain hid till the beginning of the late King’s reign, did then appear to the disturbance of the commonwealth. But to return to the story. Those persons that fled for religion in the time of Queen Mary, resided, for the most part, in places where the Reformed religion was professed and governed by an assembly of ministers; who also were not a little made use of (for want of better statesmen), in points of civil government. Which pleased so much the English and Scotch Protestants that lived amongst them, that at their return they wished there were the same honour and reverence given to the ministry in their own countries. *And* in Scotland (King James being then young) soon (with the help of some of the powerful nobility) they brought it to pass. Also they that returned into England in the beginning of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, endeavoured the same here, but could never effect it till this last rebellion, nor without the aid of the Scots. And it was no sooner effected, but they were defeated again by the other sects, which, by the preaching of the Presbyterians and private interpretation of Scripture, were grown numerous.
B. I know indeed that in the beginning of the late war, the power of the Presbyterians was so very great, that, not only the citizens of London were almost all of them at their devotion, but also the greatest part of all other cities and market-towns of England. But you have not yet told me by what art and what degrees they became so strong.
A. It was not their own art alone that did it, but they had the concurrence of a great many gentlemen, that did no less desire a popular government in the civil state than these ministers did in the Church. And as these did in the pulpit draw the people to their opinions, and to a dislike of the Church-government, Canons, and Common-prayerbook, so did the other make them in love with democracy by their harangues in the Parliament, and by their discourses and communication with people in the country, continually extolling liberty and inveighing against tyranny, leaving the people to collect of themselves that this tyranny was the present government of the state. And as the Presbyterians brought with them into their churches their divinity from the universities, so did many of the gentlemen bring their politics from thence into the Parliament; but neither of them did this very boldly during the time of Queen Elizabeth. And though it be not likely that all of them did it out of malice, but many of them out of error, yet certainly the chief leaders were ambitious ministers and ambitious gentlemen; the ministers envying the authority of bishops, whom they thought less learned; and the gentlemen envying the privy-council and principal courtiers, whom they thought less wise than themselves. For it is a hard matter for men, who do all think highly of their own wits, when they have also acquired the learning of the university, to be persuaded that they want any ability requisite for the government of a commonwealth, especially having read the glorious histories and the sententious politics of the ancient popular governments of the Greeks and Romans, amongst whom kings were hated and branded with the name of tyrants, and popular government (though no tyrant was ever so cruel as a popular assembly) passed by the name of liberty. The Presbyterian ministers, in the beginning of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, did not (because they durst not) publicly *and plainly* preach against the discipline of the Church. But not long after, by the favour perhaps of some great courtier, they went abroad preaching in most of the market-towns of England, as the preaching friars had formerly done, upon working-days in the morning; in which sermons, these and others of the same tenets, that had charge of souls, both by the manner and matter of their preaching, applied themselves wholly to the winning of the people to a liking of their doctrines and good opinion of their persons.
And first, for the manner of their preaching; they so framed their countenance and gesture at their entrance into the pulpit, and their pronunciation both in their prayer and sermon, and used the Scripture phrase (whether understood by the people or not), as that no tragedian in the world could have acted the part of a right godly man better than these did; insomuch as a man unacquainted with such art, could never suspect any ambitious plot in them to raise sedition against the state, as they then had designed; or doubt that the vehemence of their voice (for the same words with the usual pronunciation had been of little force) and forcedness of their gesture and looks, could arise from anything else but zeal to the service of God. And by this art they came into such credit, that numbers of men used to go forth of their own parishes and towns on working-days, leaving their calling, and on Sundays leaving their own churches, to hear them preach in other places, and to despise their own and all other preachers that acted not so well as they. And as for those ministers that did not usually preach, but instead of sermons did read to the people such homilies as the Church had appointed, they esteemed and called them dumb dogs.
Secondly, for the matter of their sermons, because the anger of the people in the late Roman usurpation was then fresh, they saw there could be nothing more gracious with them than to preach against such other points of the Romish religion as the bishops had not yet condemned; that so receding further from popery than they did, they might with glory to themselves leave a suspicion on the bishops, as men not yet well purged from idolatry.
Thirdly, before their sermons, their prayer was or seemed to be extempore, which they pretended to be dictated by the spirit of God within them, and many of the people believed or seemed to believe it. For any man might see, that had judgment, that they did not take care beforehand what they should say in their prayers. And from hence came a dislike of the common-prayer-book, which is a set form, premeditated, that men might see to what they were to say Amen.
Fourthly, they did never in their sermons, or but lightly, inveigh against the lucrative vices of men of trade or handicraft; such as are feigning, lying, cozening, hypocrisy, or other uncharitableness, except want of charity to their pastors and to the faithful: which was a great ease to the generality of citizens and the inhabitants of market-towns, and no little profit to themselves.
Fifthly, by preaching up an opinion that men were to be assured of their salvation by the testimony of their own private spirit, meaning the Holy Ghost dwelling within them. And from this opinion the people that found in themselves a sufficient hatred towards the Papists, and an ability to repeat the sermons of these men at their coming home, made no doubt but that they had all that was necessary, how fraudulently and spitefully soever they behaved themselves to their neighbours that were not reckoned amongst the Saints, and sometimes to those also.
Sixthly, they did, indeed, with great earnestness and severity, inveigh often against two sins, carnal lusts and vain swearing; which, without question, was very well done. But the common people were thereby inclined to believe, that nothing else was sin, but that which was forbidden in the third and seventh commandments (for few men do understand by the name of lust any other concupiscence, than that which is forbidden in that seventh commandment; for men are not ordinarily said to lust after another man’s cattle, or other goods or possessions): and therefore never made much scruple of the acts of fraud and malice, but endeavoured to keep themselves from uncleanness only, or at least from the scandal of it. And, whereas they did, both in their sermons and writings, maintain and inculcate, that the very first motions of the mind, that is to say, the delight men and women took in the sight of one another’s form, though they checked the proceeding thereof so that it never grew up to be a design, was nevertheless a sin, they brought young men into desperation and to think themselves damned, because they could not (which no man can, and is contrary to the constitution of nature) behold a delightful object without delight. And by this means they became confessors to such as were thus troubled in conscience, and were obeyed by them as their spiritual doctors in all cases of conscience.
B. Yet divers of them did preach frequently against oppression.
A. It is true, I had forgot that; but it was before such as were free enough from it; I mean the common people, who would easily believe themselves oppressed, but never oppressors. And therefore you may reckon this among their artifices, to make the people believe they were oppressed by the King, or perhaps by the bishops, or both; and incline the meaner sort to their party afterwards, when there should be occasion. But this was but sparingly done in the time of Queen Elizabeth, whose fear and jealousy they were afraid of. Nor had they as yet any great power in the Parliament-house, whereby to call in question her prerogative by petitions of right and other devices, as they did afterwards, when democratical gentlemen had received them into their counsels for the design of changing the government from monarchical to popular, which they called liberty.
B. Who would think that such horrible designs as these could so easily and so long remain covered with the cloak of godliness? For that they were most impious hypocrites, is manifest enough by the war their proceedings ended in, and by the impious acts in that war committed. But when began first to appear in Parliament the attempt of popular government, and by whom?
A. As to the time of attempting the change of government from monarchical to democratical, we must distinguish. They did not challenge the sovereignty in plain terms, and by that name, till they had slain the King; nor the rights thereof altogether by particular heads, till the King was driven from London by tumults raised in that city against him, and retired for the security of his person to York; where he had not been many days, when they sent unto him nineteen propositions, whereof above a dozen were demands of several powers, essential parts of the power sovereign. But before that time they had demanded some of them in a petition which they called a Petition of Right; which nevertheless the King had granted them in a former Parliament, though he deprived himself thereby, not only of the power to levy money without their consent, but also of his ordinary revenue by custom of tonnage and poundage, and of the liberty to put into custody such men as he thought likely to disturb the peace and raise sedition in the kingdom. As for the men that did this, it is enough to say they were members of the last Parliament, and of some other Parliaments in the beginning of King Charles and the end of King James his reign; to name them all is not necessary, further than the story shall require. Most of them were members of the House of Commons; some few also, of the Lords; but all, such as had a great opinion of their sufficiency in politics, which they thought was not sufficiently taken notice of by the King.
B. How could the Parliament, when the King had a great navy, and a great number of trained soldiers, and all the magazines of ammunition in his power, be able to begin the war?
A. The King had these things indeed in his right; but that signifies little, when they that had the custody of the navy and magazines, and with them all the trained soldiers, and in a manner all his subjects, were by the preaching of Presbyterian ministers, and the seditious whisperings of false and ignorant politicians, made his enemies; and when the King could have no money but what the Parliament should give him, which you may be sure should not be enough to maintain his regal power, which they intended to take from him. And yet, I think, they never would have ventured into the field, but for that unlucky business of imposing upon the Scots, who were all Presbyterians, our book of Common-prayer. For I believe the English would never have taken well that the Parliament should make war upon the King, upon any provocation, unless it were in their own defence, in case the King should first make war upon them; and, therefore, it behoved them to provoke the King, that he might do something that might look like hostility.
It happened in the year 1637, that the King, by the advice, as it was thought, of the Archbishop of Canterbury, sent down a book of Common-prayer into Scotland, not differing in substance from ours, nor much in words besides the putting of the word Presbyter for that of Minister, commanding it to be used (for conformity with this kingdom) by the ministers there, for an ordinary form of Divine service. This being read in the church at Edinburgh, caused such a tumult there, that he that read it had much ado to escape with his life; and gave occasion to the greatest part of the nobility and others to enter, by their own authority, into a Covenant amongst themselves, which impudently they called a Covenant with God, to put down episcopacy, without consulting with the King: which they presently did, animated thereto by their own confidence, or by assurance from some of the democratical Englishmen that in former Parliaments had been the greatest opposers of the King’s interests, that the King would not be able to raise an army to chastise them without calling a Parliament, which would be sure to favour them. For the thing which those democraticals chiefly then aimed at, was to force the King to call a Parliament, which he had not done for ten years before, as having found no help, but hindrance to his designs in the Parliaments he had formerly called. Howsoever, contrary to their expectation, by the help of his better-affected subjects of the nobility and gentry, he made a shift to raise a sufficient army to have reduced the Scots to their former obedience, if it had proceeded to battle. And with this army he marched himself into Scotland; where the Scotch army was also brought into the field against him, as if they meant to fight. But then the Scotch sent to the King for leave to treat by commissioners on both sides; and the King, willing to avoid the destruction of his own subjects, condescended to it. The issue was peace; and the King thereupon went to Edinburgh, and passed an Act of Parliament there to their satisfaction.
B. Did he not then confirm episcopacy?
A. No, but yielded to the abolishing of it: but by this means the English were crossed in their hope of a Parliament. But the said democraticals, formerly opposers of the King’s interest, ceased not to endeavour still to put the two nations into a war; to the end the King might buy the Parliament’s help at no less a price than sovereignty itself.
B. But what was the cause that the gentry and nobility of Scotland were so averse from the episcopacy? For I can hardly believe that their consciences were extraordinarily tender, nor that they were so very great divines, as to know what was the true Church-discipline established by our Saviour and his Apostles; nor yet so much in love with their ministers, as to be over-ruled by them in the government either ecclesiastical or civil. For in their lives they were just as other men are, pursuers of their own interests and preferments, wherein they were not more opposed by the bishops than by their Presbyterian ministers.
A. Truly I do not know; I cannot enter into other men’s thoughts, farther than I am led by the consideration of human nature in general. But upon this consideration I see first, that men of ancient wealth and nobility are not apt to brook, that poor scholars should (as they must, when they are made bishops) be their fellows. Secondly, that from the emulation of glory between the nations, they might be willing to see this nation afflicted by civil war, and might hope, by aiding the rebels here, to acquire some power over the English, at least so far as to establish here the Presbyterian discipline; which was also one of the points they afterwards openly demanded. Lastly, they might hope for, in the war, some great sum of money, as a reward of their assistance, besides great booty, which they afterwards obtained. But whatsoever was the cause of their hatred to bishops, the pulling of them down was not all they aimed at: if it had, now that episcopacy was abolished by act of Parliament, they would have rested satisfied, which they did not. For after the King was returned to London, the English Presbyterians and democraticals, by whose favour they had put down bishops in Scotland, thought it reason to have the assistance of the Scotch for the pulling down of bishops in England. And in order thereunto, they might perhaps deal with the Scots secretly, to rest unsatisfied with that pacification, which they were before contented with. Howsoever it was, not long after the King was returned to London, they sent up to some of their friends at court a certain paper, containing, as they pretended, the articles of the said pacification; a false and scandalous paper, which was by the King’s command burnt, as I have heard, publicly. And so both parties returned to the same condition they were in, when the King went down with his army.
B. And so there was a great deal of money cast away to no purpose. But you have not told me who was general of that army.
A. I told you the King was there in person. He that commanded under him was the Earl of Arundel, a man that wanted not either valour or judgment. But to proceed to battle or to treaty, was not in his power, but in the King’s.
B. He was a man of a most noble and loyal family, and whose ancestor had formerly given a great overthrow to the Scots, in their own country; and in all likelihood he might have given them the like now, if they had fought.
A. He might indeed: but it had been but a kind of superstition to have made him general upon that account, though many generals heretofore have been chosen for the good luck of their ancestors in like occasions. In the long war between Athens and Sparta, a general of the Athenians by sea won many victories against the Spartans; for which cause, after his death, they chose his son for general with ill success. The Romans that conquered Carthage by the valour and conduct of Scipio, when they were to make war again in Afric against Cæsar, chose another Scipio for general; a man valiant and wise enough, but that perished in the employment. And to come home to our own nation, the Earl of Essex made a fortunate expedition to Cadiz; but his son, sent afterwards to the same place, could do nothing. It is but a foolish superstition to hope that God has entailed success in war upon a name or family.
B. After the pacification broken, what succeeded next?
A. The King sent Duke Hamilton with commission and instructions into Scotland, to call a Parliament there, and to use all the means he could otherwise; but all was to no purpose. For the Scots were now resolved to raise an army and to enter into England, to deliver, as they pretended, their grievances to his majesty in a petition; because the King, they said, being in the hands of evil councillors, they could not otherwise obtain their right. But the truth is, they were animated to it by the democratical and Presbyterian English, with a promise of reward and hope of plunder. Some have said, that Duke Hamilton also did rather encourage them to, than deter them from, the expedition; as hoping by the disorder of the two kingdoms, to bring to pass that which he had formerly been accused to endeavour, to make himself King of Scotland. But I take this to have been a very uncharitable censure, upon so little ground to judge so hardly of a man, that afterwards lost his life in seeking to procure the liberty of the King his master.—This resolution of the Scots to enter England being known, the King wanting money to raise an army against them, was now, as his enemies here wished, constrained to call a parliament, to meet at Westminster the 13th day of April, 1640.
B. Methinks a Parliament of England, if upon any occasion, should furnish the King with money now, in a war against the Scots, out of an inveterate disaffection to that nation that had always anciently taken part with their enemies the French, and which always esteemed the glory of England for an abatement of their own.
A. It is indeed commonly seen that neighbour nations envy one another’s honour, and that the less potent bears the greater malice; but that hinders them not from agreeing in those things which their common ambition leads them to. And therefore the King found not the more, but the less help from this Parliament: and most of the members thereof, in their ordinary discourses, seemed to wonder why the King should make a war upon Scotland; and in that Parliament sometimes called them their brethren the Scots. But instead of taking the King’s business, which was the raising of money, into their consideration, they fell upon the redressing of grievances, and especially such ways of levying money as in the late intermission of Parliaments the King had been forced to use; such as were ship-money, for knighthood, and such other vails (as one may call them) of the regal office, which lawyers had found justifiable by the ancient records of the kingdom. Besides, they fell upon the actions of divers ministers of state, though done by the King’s own command and warrant. Insomuch, that before they were to come to the business for which they were called, the money which was necessary for this war (if they had given any, as they never meant to do) had come too late. It is true, there was mention of a sum of money to be given the King, by way of bargain, for the relinquishing of his right to ship-money, and some other of his prerogatives, but so seldom, and without determining any sum, that it was in vain for the King to hope for any success; and therefore upon the 5th of May following he dissolved it.
B. Where then had the King money to raise and pay his army?
A. He was forced the second time to make use of the nobility and gentry, who contributed some more, some less, according to the greatness of their estates; but amongst them all they made up a very sufficient army.
B. It seems then that the same men, that crossed his business in the Parliament, now out of Parliament advanced it all they could. What was the reason of that?
A. The greatest part of the Lords in Parliament, and of the gentry throughout England, were more affected to monarchy than to a popular government, but so as not to endure to hear of the King’s absolute power; which made them in time of Parliament easily to condescend to abridge it, and bring the government to a mixed monarchy, as they called it; wherein the absolute sovereignty should be divided between the King, the House of Lords, and the House of Commons.
B. But how, if they cannot agree?
A. I think they never thought of that; but I am sure they never meant the sovereignty should be wholly either in one or both the houses. Besides, they were loath to desert the King, when he was invaded by foreigners; for the Scotch were esteemed by them as a foreign nation.
B. It is strange to me, that England and Scotland being but one island, and their language almost the same, and being governed by one King, should be thought foreigners to one another.—The Romans were masters of many nations, and to oblige them the more to obey the edicts and laws sent unto them from the city of Rome, they thought fit to make them all Romans; and out of divers nations, as Spain, Germany, Italy, and France, to advance some, that they thought worthy, even to be senators of Rome, and to give every one of the common people the privileges of the city of Rome, by which they were protected from the contumelies of other nations where they resided. Why were not the Scotch and English united in like manner into one people?
A. King James at his first coming to the crown of England did endeavour it, but could not prevail. But for all that, I believe the Scots have now as many privileges in England as any nation had in Rome, of those which were so as you say made Romans. For they are all naturalized, and have right to buy land in England to themselves and their heirs.
B. It is true of them, that were born in Scotland after the time that King James was in possession of the kingdom of England.
A. There be very few now that were born before. But why have they a better right that were born after, than they that were born before?
B. Because they were born subjects to the King of England, and the rest not.
A. Were not the rest born subjects to King James? And was not he King of England?
B. Yes, but not then.
A. I understand not the subtilty of that distinction. But upon what law is that distinction grounded? Is there any statute to that purpose?
B. I cannot tell; I think not; but it is grounded upon equity.
A. I see little equity in this: that those nations that are bound to equal obedience to the same King, should not have equal privileges. And now seeing there be so very few born before King James’s coming in, what greater privilege had those ingrafted Romans by their naturalization in the state of Rome, or in the state of England the English themselves, more than the Scots?
B. Those Romans, when any of them were in Rome, had their voice in the making of laws.
A. And the Scots have their Parliaments, wherein their assent is required to the laws there made, which is as good. Have not many of the provinces of France their several parliaments and several constitutions? And yet they are all equally natural subjects of the King of France. And therefore for my part I think they were mistaken, both English and Scots, in calling one another foreigners. Howsoever that be, the King had a very sufficient army, wherewith he marched towards Scotland; and by the time he was come to York, the Scotch army was drawn up to the frontiers and ready to march into England; which also they presently did; giving out all the way, that their march should be without damage to the country, and that their errand was only to deliver a petition to the King, for the redress of many pretended injuries they had received from such of the court, whose counsel the King most followed. So they passed through Northumberland quietly, till they came to a ford in the river of Tyne, a little above Newcastle, where they found some little opposition, from a party of the King’s army sent thither to stop them; whom the Scots easily mastered; and as soon as they were over, seized upon Newcastle, and coming further on, upon the city of Durham; and sent to the King to desire a treaty, which was granted; and the commissioners on both sides met at Ripon. The conclusion was, that all should be referred to the Parliament, which the King should call to meet at Westminster on the 3rd of November following, being in the same year 1640; and thereupon the King returned to London.
B. So the armies were disbanded?
A. No; the Scotch army was to be defrayed by the counties of Northumberland and Durham, and the King was to pay his own, till the disbanding of both should be agreed upon in Parliament.
B. So in effect both the armies were maintained at the King’s charge, and the whole controversy to be decided by a Parliament almost wholly Presbyterian, and as partial to the Scotch as themselves could have wished.
A. And yet for all this they durst not presently make war upon the King: there was so much yet left of reverence to him in the hearts of the people, as to have made them odious, if they had declared what they intended. They must have some colour or other to make it believed that the King made war first upon the Parliament. And besides, they had not yet sufficiently disgraced him and his actions in sermons and pamphlets, nor removed from about him those they thought could best counsel him. Therefore they resolved to proceed with him like skilful hunters; first to single him out, by men disposed in all parts to drive him into the open field *with their noise,* and then in case he should but seem to turn head, to call that a making of war against the Parliament.
And first they called in question such as had either preached or written in defence of any of those rights, which, belonging to the Crown, they meant to usurp, and take from the King to themselves: whereupon some few preachers and writers were imprisoned. The King not protecting these, they proceeded to call in question some of the King’s own actions in his ministers, whereof they imprisoned some, and some went beyond sea. And whereas certain persons, having endeavoured by books and sermons to raise sedition, and committed other crimes of high nature, had therefore been censured by the King’s council in the Star-chamber, and imprisoned; the Parliament by their own authority, to try, it seems, how the King and the people would take it (for their persons were inconsiderable), ordered their setting at liberty; which was accordingly done, with great applause of the people, that flocked about them in London, in manner of a triumph. This being done, without resistance, *they called in question* the King’s right to ship-money—
B. Ship-money! what’s that?
A. The Kings of England, for the defence of the sea, had power to tax all the counties of England, whether they were maritime or not, for the building and furnishing of ships; which tax the King had then lately found cause to impose, and the Parliament exclaimed against it as an oppression. And by one of their members that had been taxed but 20s. (mark the oppression; a Parliament-man of 500l. a year, land-taxed at 20s.!) they were forced to bring it to a trial at law, he refused payment, and was cast. Again, when all the judges of Westminster were demanded their opinions concerning the legality of it, of twelve that there were, it was judged legal by ten; for which though they were not punished, they were affrighted by the Parliament.
B. What did the Parliament mean, when they did exclaim against it as illegal? Did they mean it was against statute-law, or against the judgments of lawyers given heretofore, which are commonly called reports; or did they mean it was against equity, which I take to be the same with the law of nature?
A. It is a hard matter, or rather impossible, to know what other men mean, especially if they be crafty; but sure I am, equity was not their ground for this pretence of immunity from contributing to the King but at their own pleasure. For when they have laid the burthen of defending the whole kingdom, and governing it, upon any person whatsoever, there is very little equity he should depend on others for the means of performing it; or if he do, they are his Sovereign, not he theirs. And as for the common law contained in reports, they have no force but what the King gives them. Besides, it were unreasonable, that a corrupt or foolish judge’s unjust sentence should by any time, how long soever, obtain the authority and force of a law. But amongst Statute Laws there is one, called Magna Charta, or the Great Charter of the liberties of Englishmen, in which there is one article, wherein a King heretofore hath granted that no man shall be distrained, that is, have his goods taken from him, otherwise than by the law of the land.
B. Is not that a sufficient ground for their purpose?
A. No; that leaves us in the same doubt, which you think it clears. For where was that law of the land then? Did they mean another Magna Charta, that was made by some King more ancient yet? No; that statute was made, not to exempt any man from payments to the public, but for securing every man from such as abused the King’s power, by surreptitiously obtaining the King’s warrants, to the oppressing of those against whom he had any suit in law. But it was conducing to the ends of some rebellious spirits in this Parliament, to have it interpreted in the wrong sense, and suitable enough to the understanding of the rest, or most part of them, to let it pass.
B. You make the members of that Parliament very simple men; and yet the people chose them for the wisest of the land.
A. If craft be wisdom, they were wise enough. But wise, as I define it, is he that knows how to bring his business to pass (without the assistance of knavery and ignoble shifts) by the sole strength of his good contrivance. A fool may win from a better gamester, by the advantage of false dice, and packing of cards.
B. According to your definition, there be few wise men now-a-days. Such wisdom is a kind of gallantry, that few are brought up to, and most think folly. Fine clothes, great feathers, civility towards men that will not swallow injuries, and injury towards them that will, is the present gallantry. But when the Parliament afterwards, having gotten the power into their hands, levied money for their own use; what said the people to that?
A. What else, but that it was legal and to be paid, as being imposed by consent of Parliament?
B. I have heard often that they ought to pay what was imposed by consent of Parliament to the use of the King, but to their own use never before. I see by this, it is easier to gull the multitude, than any one man amongst them. For what one man, that has not his natural judgment depraved by accident, could be so easily cozened in a matter that concerns his purse, had he not been passionately carried away by the rest to change of government, or rather to a liberty of every one to govern himself?
A. Judge then, what kind of men such a multitude of ignorant people were like to elect for their burgesses and knights of shires.
B. I can make no other judgment, but that they who were then elected, were just such as had been elected for former Parliaments, and as likely to be elected for Parliaments to come. For people always have been, and always will be, ignorant of their duty to the public, as never meditating anything but their particular interest; in other things following their immediate leaders; which are either the preachers, or the most potent of the gentlemen that dwell amongst them: as common soldiers for the most part follow their immediate captains, if they like them. If you think the late miseries have made them wiser, that will quickly be forgot, and then we shall be no wiser than we were.
A. Why may not men be taught their duty, that is, the science of just and unjust, as divers other sciences have been taught, from true principles and evident demonstration; and much more easily than any of those preachers and democratical gentlemen could teach rebellion and treason?
B. But who can teach what none have learned? Or, if any man have been so singular, as to have studied the science of justice and equity; how can he teach it safely, when it is against the interest of those that are in possession of the power to hurt him?
A. The rules of just and unjust sufficiently demonstrated, and from principles evident to the meanest capacity, have not been wanting; and notwithstanding the obscurity of their author, have shined, not only in this, but also in foreign countries, to men of good education. But they are few, in respect of the rest of the men, whereof many cannot read: many, though they can, have no leisure; and of them that have leisure, the greatest part have their minds wholly employed and taken up by their private businesses or pleasures. So that it is impossible that the multitude should ever learn their duty, but from the pulpit and upon holidays; but then, and from thence, it is, that they learned their disobedience. And, therefore, the light of that doctrine has been hitherto covered and kept under here by a cloud of adversaries, which no private man’s reputation can break through, without the authority of the Universities. But out of the Universities, came all those preachers that taught the contrary. The Universities have been to this nation, as the wooden horse was to the Trojans.
B. What was the Pope’s design in setting up the Universities?
A. What other design was he like to have, but (what you heard before) the advancement of his own authority in the countries where the Universities were erected? There they learned to dispute for him, and with unintelligible distinctions to blind men’s eyes, whilst they encroached upon the rights of kings. And it was an evident argument of that design, that they fell in hand with the work so quickly. For the first Rector of the University of Paris (as I have read somewhere) was Peter Lombard, who first brought in them the learning called School-divinity; and was seconded by John Scot of Duns, who lived in, or near the same time; whom any ingenious reader, not knowing it was the design, would judge to have been two of the most egregious blockheads in the world, so obscure and senseless are their writings. And from these the schoolmen that succeeded, learnt the trick of imposing what they list upon their readers, and declining the force of true reason by verbal forks; I mean, distinctions that signify nothing, but serve only to astonish the multitude of ignorant men. As for the understanding readers, they were so few, that these new sublime doctors cared not what they thought. These schoolmen were to make good all the articles of faith, which the Popes from time to time should command to be believed: amongst which, there were very many inconsistent with the rights of kings, and other civil sovereigns, asserting to the Pope all authority whatsoever they should declare to be necessary in ordine ad spiritualia, that is to say, in order to religion.
From the Universities also it was, that all preachers proceeded, and were poured out into city and country, to terrify the people into an absolute obedience to the Pope’s canons and commands, which, for fear of weakening kings and princes too much, they durst not yet call laws.
From the Universities it was, that the philosophy of Aristotle was made an ingredient in religion, as serving for a salve to a great many absurd articles, concerning the nature of Christ’s body, and the estate of angels and saints in heaven; which articles they thought fit to have believed, because they brought some of them profit, and others reverence to the clergy, even to the meanest of them. For when they shall have made the people believe that the meanest of them can make the body of Christ; who is there that will not both show them reverence, and be liberal to them or to the Church, especially in the time of their sickness, when they think they make and bring unto them their Saviour?
B. But, what advantage to them, in these impostures, was the doctrine of Aristotle?
A. They have made more use of his obscurity than of his doctrine. For none of the ancient philosophers’ writings are comparable to those of Aristotle, for their aptness to puzzle and entangle men with words, and to breed disputation, which must at last be ended in the determination of the Church of Rome. And yet in the doctrine of Aristotle, they made use of many points; as, first, the doctrine of Separated Essences.
B. What are Separated Essences?
A. Separated beings.
B. Separated from what?
A. From every thing that is.
B. I cannot understand the being of any thing, which I understand not to be. But what can they make of that?
A. Very much, in questions concerning the nature of God, and concerning the estate of man’s soul after death, in heaven, hell, and purgatory; by which you and every man know, how great obedience, and how much money they gain from the common people.—Whereas Aristotle holdeth the soul of man to be the first giver of motion to the body, and consequently to itself; they make use of that in the doctrine of free will. What, and how they gain by that, I will not say.—He holdeth further, that there be many things that come to pass in this world from no necessity of causes, but mere contingency, casuality, and fortune.
B. Methinks, in this they make God stand idle, and to be a mere spectator of the games of Fortune. For what God is the cause of, must needs come to pass, and (in my opinion) nothing else. But, because there must be some ground for the justice of the eternal torment of the damned; perhaps it is this, that men’s wills and propensions are not (they think) in the hands of God, but of themselves; and in this also I see somewhat conducing to the authority of the Church.
A. This is not much; nor was Aristotle of such credit with them, but that when his opinion was against theirs, they could slight him. Whatsoever he says is impossible in nature, they can prove well enough to be possible, from the Almighty power of God, who can make many bodies to be in one and the self-same place, and one body to be in many places at the same time, if the doctrine of transubstantiation require it, though Aristotle deny it. I like not the design of drawing religion into an art, whereas it ought to be a law; and though not the same in all countries, yet in every country indisputable; nor that they teach it not, as arts ought to be taught, by showing first the meaning of their terms, and then deriving from them the truth they would have us believe: nor that their terms are for the most part unintelligible; though, to make it seem rather want of learning in the reader, than want of fair dealing in themselves, they are, for the most part, Latin and Greek words, wryed a little at the point, towards the native language of the several countries where they are used. But that which is most intolerable is, that all clerks are forced to make as if they believed them, if they mean to have any Church preferment, the keys whereof are in the Pope’s hands; and the common people, whatsoever they believe of those subtile doctrines, are never esteemed better sons of the Church for their learning. There is but one way there to salvation; that is, extraordinary devotion and liberality to the Church, and readiness for the Church’s sake, if it be required, to fight against their natural and lawful sovereigns.
B. I see what use they make of Aristotle’s logic, physics, and metaphysics; but I see not yet how his politics can serve their turn.
A. Nor I. It has, I think, done them no good, though it has done us here much hurt by accident. For men, grown weary at last of the insolence of the priests, and examining the truth of those doctrines that were put upon them, began to search the sense of the Scriptures, as they are in the learned languages; and consequently (studying Greek and Latin) became acquainted with the democratical principles of Aristotle and Cicero, and from the love of their eloquence fell in love with their politics, and that more and more, till it grew into the rebellion we now talk of, without any other advantage to the Roman Church but that it was a weakening to us, whom, since we broke out of their net in the time of Henry VIII., they have continually endeavoured to recover.
B. What have they gotten by the teaching of Aristotle’s ethics?
A. It is some advantage to them, that neither the morals of Aristotle, nor of any other, have done them any harm, nor us any good. Their doctrines have caused a great deal of dispute concerning virtue and vice, but no knowledge of what they are, nor any method of attaining virtue nor of avoiding vice.—The end of moral philosophy is, to teach men of all sorts their duty, both to the public and to one another. They estimate virtue, partly by a mediocrity of the passions of men, and partly by that that they are praised. Whereas, it is not the Much or Little that makes an action virtuous, but the cause; nor Much or Little that makes an action vicious, but its being unconformable to the laws in such men as are subject to the law, or its being unconformable to equity or charity in all men whatsoever.
B. It seems you make a difference between the ethics of subjects and the ethics of sovereigns.
A. So I do. The virtue of a subject is comprehended wholly in obedience to the laws of the commonwealth. To obey the laws, is justice and equity, which is the law of nature, and, consequently, is civil law in all nations of the world; and nothing is injustice or iniquity, otherwise, than it is against the law. Likewise, to obey the laws, is the prudence of a subject; for without such obedience the commonwealth (which is every subject’s safety and protection) cannot subsist. And though it be prudence also in private men, justly and moderately to enrich themselves, yet craftily to withhold from the public or defraud it of such part of their wealth, as is by law required, is no sign of prudence, but of want of knowledge of what is necessary for their own defence.
The virtues of sovereigns are such as tend to the maintenance of peace at home, and to the resistance of foreign enemies. Fortitude is a royal virtue; and though it be necessary in such private men as shall be soldiers, yet, for other men, the less they dare, the better it is both for the commonwealth and for themselves. Frugality (though perhaps you will think it strange) is also a royal virtue: for it increases the public stock, which cannot be too great for the public use, nor any man too sparing of what he has in trust for the good of others. Liberality also is a royal virtue: for the commonwealth cannot be well served without extraordinary diligence and service of ministers, and great fidelity to their Sovereign; who ought therefore to be encouraged, and especially those that do him service in the wars. In sum, all actions and habits are to be esteemed good or evil by their causes and usefulness in reference to the commonwealth, and not by their mediocrity, nor by their being commended. For several men praise several customs, and that which is virtue with one, is blamed by others; and, contrarily, what one calls vice, another calls virtue, as their present affections lead them.
B. Methinks you should have placed among the virtues that, which, in my opinion, is the greatest of all virtues, religion.
A. So I have; though, it seems, you did not observe it. But whither do we digress from the way we were in?
B. I think you have not digressed at all; for I suppose, your purpose was, to acquaint me with the history, not so much of those actions that passed in the time of the late troubles, as of their causes, and of the councils and artifice by which they were brought to pass. There be divers men that have written the history, out of whom I might have learned what they did, and somewhat also of the contrivance; but I find little in them of what I would ask. Therefore, since you were pleased to enter into this discourse at my request, be pleased also to inform me after my own method; and for the danger of confusion that may arise from that, I will take care to bring you back to the place from whence I drew you; for I well remember where it was.
A. Well then, to your question concerning religion, inasmuch as I told you, that all virtue is comprehended in obedience to the laws of the commonwealth, whereof religion is one, I have placed religion amongst the virtues.
B. Is religion then the law of a commonwealth?
A. There is no nation in the world, whose religion is not established, and receives not its authority from the laws of that nation. It is true, that the law of God receives no evidence from the laws of men. But because men can never by their own wisdom come to the knowledge of what God hath spoken and commanded to be observed, nor be obliged to obey the laws whose author they know not, they are to acquiesce in some human authority or other. So that the question will be, whether a man ought in matter of religion, that is to say, when there is question of his duty to God and the King, to rely upon the preaching of his fellow-subjects or of a stranger, or upon the voice of the law?
B. There is no great difficulty in that point. For there are none that preach here or anywhere else, or at least ought to preach, but such as have authority so to do from him or them that have the sovereign power. So that if the King give us leave, you or I may as lawfully preach as any of them; and I believe we should perform that office a great deal better, than they that preached us into the rebellion.
A. The Church morals are in many points very different from these, that I have here set down, for the doctrine of virtue and vice; and yet without any conformity with that of Aristotle. For in the Church of Rome, the principal virtues are, to obey their doctrine, though it be treason, and that is to be religious; to be beneficial to the clergy, that is their piety and liberality; and to believe upon their word that which a man knows in his conscience to be false, which is the faith they require. I could name a great many more such points of their morals, but that I know you know them already, being so well versed in the cases of conscience written by their schoolmen, who measure the goodness and wickedness of all actions, by their congruity with the doctrine of the Roman clergy.
B. But what is the moral philosophy of the Protestant clergy in England?
A. So much as they show of it in their life and conversation, is for the most part very good, and of very good example; much better than their writings.
B. It happens many times that men live honestly for fear, who, if they had power, would live according to their own opinions; that is, if their opinions be not right, unrighteously.
A. Do the clergy in England pretend, as the Pope does, or as the Presbyterians do, to have a right from God immediately, to govern the King and his subjects in all points of religion and manners? If they do, you cannot doubt but that if they had number and strength, which they are never like to have, they would attempt to obtain that power, as the others have done.
B. I would be glad to see a system of the present morals, written by some divine of good reputation and learning, of the late King’s party.
A. I think I can recommend unto you the best that is extant, and such a one as (except a few passages that I mislike) is very well worth your reading. The title of it is, The whole Duty of Man laid down in a plain and familiar way. And, yet, I dare say, that if the Presbyterian ministers, even those of them which were the most diligent preachers of the late sedition, were to be tried by it, they would go near to be found not guilty. He has divided the duty of man into three great branches; which are, his duty to God, to himself, and to his neighbour. In his duty to God, he puts the acknowledgment of him in his essence and his attributes, and in the believing of his word. His attributes are omnipotence, omniscience, infiniteness, justice, truth, mercy, and all the rest that are found in Scripture. Which of these did not those seditious preachers acknowledge equally with the best of Christians? The word of God are the books of Holy Scripture, received for canonical in England.
B. They receive the word of God; but according to their own interpretation.
A. According to whose interpretation was it received by the bishops and the rest of the loyal party, but their own? He puts for another duty, obedience and submission to God’s will. Did any of them, nay, did any man living, do any thing, at any time, against God’s will?
B. By God’s will, I suppose, he means there his revealed will, that is to say, his commandments, which I am sure they did most horribly break, both by their preaching and otherwise.
A. As for their own actions, there is no doubt but all men are guilty enough, if God deal severely with them, to be damned. And for their preaching, they will say, they thought it agreeable to God’s revealed will in the Scriptures. If they thought it so, it was not disobedience, but error. And how can any man prove they thought otherwise?
B. Hypocrisy hath *indeed* this great prerogative above other sins, that it cannot be accused.
A. Another duty he sets down is, to honour him in his house (that is, the Church), in his possessions, in his day, in his word and sacraments.
B. They perform this duty as well, I think, as any other ministers, I mean the loyal party; and the Presbyterians have always had an equal care to have God’s house free from profanation; to have tithes duly paid, and offerings accepted; to have the sabbath day kept holy, the word preached, and the Lord’s supper and baptism duly administered. But is not keeping of the feasts and fasts one of those duties that belong to the honour of God? If it be, the Presbyterians fail in that.
A. Why so? They kept some holidays, and they had fasts amongst themselves, though not upon the same days that the Church ordains, but when they thought fit; as when it pleased God to give the King any notable victory. And they governed themselves in this point by the Holy Scripture, as they pretend to believe. And who can prove they do not believe so?
B. Let us pass over all other duties, and come to that duty which we owe to the King, and consider whether the doctrine taught by those divines which adhered to the King, be such in that point, as may justify the Presbyterians, that incited the people to rebellion. For that is the thing you call in question.
A. Concerning our duty to our rulers, he hath these words: “An obedience we must pay, either active or passive; the active, in the case of all lawful commands, that is, whenever the magistrate commands something which is not contrary to some command of God, we are then bound to act according to that command of the magistrate, to do the things he requires; but when he enjoins anything contrary to what God hath commanded, we are not then to pay him this active obedience; we may, nay we must, refuse thus to act (yet, here we must be very well assured, that the thing is so contrary, and not pretend conscience for a cloak of stubbornness); we are, in that case, to obey God rather than men; but even this is a season for the passive obedience; we must patiently suffer what he inflicts on us for such refusal, and not, to secure ourselves, rise up against him.”
B. What is there in this, to give colour to the late rebellion?
A. They will say they did it in obedience to God, inasmuch as they did believe it was according to the Scripture; out of which they will bring examples, perhaps of David and his adherents, that resisted King Saul, and of the prophets afterward, that vehemently from time to time preached against the idolatrous Kings of Israel and Judah. Saul was their lawful King, and yet they paid him neither active nor passive obedience; for they did put themselves into a posture of defence against him, though David himself spared his person. And so did the Presbyterians put into their commissions to their general, that they should spare the King’s person. Besides, you cannot doubt but that they, who in the pulpit did animate the people to take arms in the defence of the then Parliament, alleged Scripture, that is, the word of God, for it. If it be lawful then for subjects to resist the King, when he commands anything that is against the Scripture, that is, contrary to the command of God, and to be judge of the meaning of the Scripture, it is impossible that the life of any King, or the peace of any Christian kingdom, can be long secure. It is this doctrine that divides a kingdom within itself, whatsoever the men be, loyal or rebels, that write or preach it publicly. And thus you see that if those seditious ministers be tried by this doctrine, they will come off well enough.
B. I see it; and wonder at people that have never spoken with God Almighty, nor knowing one more than another what he hath said, when the laws and the preacher disagree, should so keenly follow the minister (for the most part an ignorant, though a ready-tongued, scholar), rather than the laws, that were made by the King with the consent of the Peers and Commons of the land.
A. Let us examine his words a little nearer. First, concerning passive obedience. When a thief hath broken the laws, and according to the law is therefore executed, can any man understand that this suffering of his is in obedience to the law? Every law is a command to do, or to forbear: neither of these is fulfilled by suffering. If any suffering can be called obedience, it must be such as is voluntary; for no involuntary action can be counted a submission to the law. He that means that his suffering should be taken for obedience, must not only not resist, but also not fly, nor hide himself to avoid his punishment. And who is there amongst them that discourse of passive obedience, when his life is in extreme danger, that will voluntarily present himself to the officers of justice? Do not we see that all men, when they are led to execution, are both bound and guarded, and would break loose if they could, and get away? Such is their passive obedience. Christ saith (Matthew xxiii. 2, 3): The Scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses’ chair; all, therefore, whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do: which is a doing an active obedience. And yet the Scribes and Pharisees appear not by the Scripture to have been such godly men, as never to command anything against the revealed will of God.
B. Must tyrants also be obeyed in everything actively? Or is there nothing wherein a lawful King’s command may be disobeyed? What if he should command me with my own hands to execute my father, in case he should be condemned to die by the law?
A. This is a case that need not be put. We never have read nor heard of any King or tyrant so inhuman as to command it. If any did, we are to consider whether that command were one of his laws. For by disobeying Kings, we mean the disobeying of his laws, those his laws that were made before they were applied to any particular person; for the King, though as a father of children, and a master of domestic servants *command many things which bind those children and servants* yet he commands the people in general never but by a precedent law, and as a politic, not a natural person. And if such a command as you speak of were contrived into a general law (which never was, nor never will be), you were bound to obey it, unless you depart the kingdom after the publication of the law, and before the condemnation of your father.
B. Your author says further, in refusing active obedience to the King, that commanded anything contrary to God’s law, we must be very well assured that the thing is so contrary. I would fain know how it is possible to be *well* assured.
A. I think you do not believe that any of those refusers do, immediately from God’s own mouth, receive any command contrary to the command of the King, who is God’s lieutenant, nor any other way than you and I do, that is to say, than by the Scriptures. And because men do, for the most part, rather draw the Scripture to their own sense, than follow the true sense of the Scripture, there is no other way to know, certainly, and in all cases, what God commands, or forbids us to do, but by the sentence of him or them that are constituted by the King to determine the sense of the Scripture, upon hearing of the particular case of conscience which is in question. And they that are so constituted are easily known in all Christian commonwealths, whether they be bishops, or ministers, or assemblies, that govern the Church under him or them that have the sovereign power.
B. Some doubts may be raised from this that you now say. For if men be to learn their duty from the sentence which other men shall give concerning the meaning of the Scriptures, and not from their own interpretation, I understand not to what end they were translated into English, and every man not only permitted, but also exhorted, to read them. For what could that produce, but diversity of opinion, and consequently (as man’s nature is) disputation, breach of charity, disobedience, and at last rebellion? Again, since the Scripture was allowed to be read in English, why are not the translations such as might make all that is read, understood even by mean capacities? Did not the Jews, such as could read, understand their law in the Jewish language, as well as we do our statute laws in English? And as for such places of the Scripture, as had nothing of the nature of a law, it was nothing to the duty of the Jews, whether they were understood or not, seeing nothing is punishable but the transgression of some law. The same question I may ask concerning the New Testament. For, I believe, that those men to whom the original language was natural, did understand sufficiently what commands and councils were given them by our Saviour and his apostles, and his immediate disciples. Again, how will you answer that question which was put by St. Peter and St. John (Acts iv. 19), when by Annas the high-priest, and others of the Council of Jerusalem, they were forbidden to teach any more in the name of Jesus: Whether is it right in the sight of God, to hearken unto you more than unto God?
A. The case is not the same. Peter and John had seen and daily conversed with our Saviour; and by the miracles he wrought, did know he was God, and consequently knew certainly that their disobedience to the high-priest’s present command was just. Can any minister now say, that he hath immediately from God’s own mouth received a command to disobey the King, or know otherwise than by the Scripture, that any command of the King, that hath the form and nature of a law, is against the law of God, which in divers places, directly and evidently, commandeth to obey him in all things? The text you cite does not tell us, that a minister’s authority, rather than a Christian King’s, shall decide the questions that arise from the different interpretations of the Scripture. And therefore, where the King is head of the Church, and by consequence (to omit that the Scripture itself was not received but by the authority of Kings and States) chief judge of the rectitude of all interpretations of the Scripture, to obey the King’s laws and public edicts, is not to disobey, but to obey God. A minister ought not to think that his skill in the Latin, Greek, or Hebrew tongues, if he have any, gives him a privilege to impose upon all his fellow subjects his own sense, or what he pretends to be his sense, of every obscure place of Scripture: nor ought he, as oft as he *thinks he* hath found out some fine interpretation, not before thought on by others, to think he had it by inspiration: for he cannot be assured of that; no, nor that his interpretation, as fine as he thinks it, is not false: and then all this stubbornness and contumacy towards the King and his laws, is nothing but pride of heart and ambition, or else imposture. And whereas you think it needless, or perhaps hurtful, to have the Scriptures in English, I am of another mind. There are so many places of Scripture easy to be understood, that teach both true faith and good morality (and that as fully as is necessary to salvation), of which no seducer is able to dispossess the mind (of any ordinary readers), that the reading of them is so profitable as not to be forbidden without great damage to them and the commonwealth.
B. All that is required, both in faith and manners, for man’s salvation is (I confess) set down in Scripture as plainly as can be. Children obey your parents in all things: Servants obey your masters: Let all men be subject to the higher powers, whether it be the King or those that are sent by him: Love God with all your soul, and your neighbour as yourself: are words of the Scripture, which are well enough understood; but neither children, nor the greatest part of men, do understand why it is their duty to do so. They see not that the safety of the commonwealth, and consequently their own, depends upon their doing it. Every man by nature (without discipline) does in all his actions look upon, as far as he can see, the benefit that shall redound to himself from his obedience. He reads that covetousness is the root of all evil; but he thinks, and sometimes finds, it is the root of his estate. And so in other cases, the Scripture says one thing, and they think another, weighing the commodities or incommodities of this present life only, which are in their sight, never putting into the scales the good and evil of the life to come, which they see not.
A. All this is no more than happens where the Scripture is sealed up in Greek and Latin, and the people taught the same things out of them by preachers. But they that are of a condition and age, fit to examine the sense of what they read, and that take a delight in searching out the grounds of their duty, certainly cannot choose but by their reading of the Scriptures come to such a sense of their duty, as not only to obey the laws themselves, but also to induce others to do the same. For commonly men of age and quality are followed by their inferior neighbours, that look more upon the example of those men whom they reverence, and whom they are unwilling to displease, than upon precepts and laws.
B. These men, of the condition and age you speak of, are, in my opinion, the unfittest of all others to be trusted with the reading of the Scriptures. I know you mean such as have studied the Greek or Latin, or both tongues, and that are withal such as love knowledge, and consequently take delight in finding out the meaning of the most hard texts, or in thinking they have found it, in case it be new and not found out by others. These are therefore they, that prætermitting the easy places which teach them their duty, fall to scanning only of the mysteries of religion. Such as are: how it may be made out with wit, That there be three that bear rule in heaven, and those three but one? How the Deity could be made flesh? How that flesh could be really present in many places at once? Where is the place, and what the torments, of hell? And other metaphysical doctrines: Whether the will of man be free, or governed by the will of God? Whether sanctity comes by inspiration or education? By whom Christ now speaks to us, whether by the King, or by the clergy, or by the Bible, to every man that reads it and interprets it to himself, or by private spirit to every private man? These and the like points are the study of the curious, and the cause of all our late mischief, and the cause that makes the plainer sort of men, whom the Scripture had taught belief in Christ, love towards God, obedience to the King, and sobriety of behaviour, forget it all, and place their religion in the disputable doctrines of these your wise men.
A. I do not think these men fit to interpret the Scripture to the rest, nor do I say that the rest ought to take their interpretation for the word of God. Whatsoever is necessary for them to know, is so easy, as not to need interpretation: whatsoever is more, does them no good. But in case any of those unnecessary doctrines shall be authorized by the laws of the King or other state, I say it is the duty of every subject not to speak against them: inasmuch as it is every man’s duty to obey him or them that have the sovereign power, and the wisdom of all such powers to punish such as shall publish or teach their private interpretations, when they are contrary to the law, and likely to incline men to sedition or disputing against the law.
B. They must punish then the most of those that have had their breeding in the Universities. For such curious questions in divinity are first started in the Universities, and so are all those politic questions concerning the rights of civil and ecclesiastic government; and there they are furnished with arguments for liberty out of the works of Aristotle, Plato, Cicero, Seneca, and out of the histories of Rome and Greece, for their disputation against the necessary power of their sovereigns. Therefore I despair of any lasting peace amongst ourselves, till the Universities here shall bend and direct their studies to the settling of it, that is, to the teaching of absolute obedience to the laws of the King, and to his public edicts under the Great Seal of England. For I make no doubt, but that solid reason, backed with the authority of so many learned men, will more prevail for the keeping of us in peace within ourselves, than any victory can do over the rebels. But I am afraid that it is impossible to bring the Universities to such a compliance with the actions of state, as is necessary for the business.
A. Seeing the Universities have heretofore from time to time maintained the authority of the Pope, contrary to all laws divine, civil, and natural, against the right of our Kings, why can they not as well, when they have all manner of laws and equity on their side, maintain the rights of him that is both sovereign of the kingdom, and head of the Church?
B. Why then were they not in all points for the King’s power, presently after that King Henry VIII. was in Parliament declared head of the Church, as much as they were before for the authority of the Pope?
A. Because the clergy in the Universities, by whom all things there are governed, and the clergy without the Universities, as well bishops as inferior clerks, did think that the pulling down of the Pope was the setting up of them (as to England) in his place, and made no question, the greatest part of them, but that their spiritual power did depend not upon the authority of the King, but of Christ himself, derived to them by a successive imposition of hands from bishop to bishop; notwithstanding they knew that this derivation passed through the hands of popes and bishops whose authority they had cast off. For though they were content that the divine right, which the Pope pretended to in England, should be denied him, yet they thought it not so fit to be taken from the Church of England, whom they now supposed themselves to represent. It seems they did not think it reasonable that a woman, or a child, or a man that could not construe the Hebrew, Greek, or Latin Bible, nor knew perhaps the declensions and conjugations of Greek or Latin nouns and verbs, should take upon him to govern so many learned doctors in matters of religion; meaning matters of divinity: for religion has been for a long time, and is now by most people, taken for the same thing with divinity, to the great advantage of the clergy.
B. And especially now amongst the Presbyterians. For I see few that are by them esteemed very good Christians, besides such as can repeat their sermons, and wrangle for them about the interpretation of the Scripture, and fight for them also with their bodies or purses, when they shall be required. To believe in Christ is nothing with them, unless you believe as they bid you. Charity is nothing with them, unless it be charity and liberality to them, and partaking with them in faction. How we can have peace while this is our religion, I cannot tell. Hæret lateri lethalis arundo. The seditious doctrine of the Presbyterians has been stuck so hard into the people’s heads and memories (I cannot say into their hearts; for they understand nothing in it, but that they may lawfully rebel), that I fear the commonwealth will never be cured.
A. The two great virtues, that were severally in Henry VII. and Henry VIII., when they shall be jointly in one King, will easily cure it. That of Henry VII. was, without much noise of the people to fill his coffers; that of Henry VIII. was an early severity; but this without the former cannot be exercised.
B. This that you say looks (methinks) like an advice to the King, to let them alone till he have gotten ready money enough to levy and maintain a sufficient army, and then to fall upon them and destroy them.
A. God forbid that so horrible, unchristian, and inhuman a design should ever enter into the King’s heart. I would have him to have money enough readily to raise an army to suppress any rebellion, and to take from his enemies all hope of success, that they may not dare to trouble him in the reformation of the Universities; but to put none to death without actual committing such crimes as are already made capital by the laws. The core of rebellion, as you have seen by this, and read of other rebellions, are the Universities; which nevertheless are not to be cast away, but to be better disciplined: that is to say, that the politics there taught be made to be (as true politics should be) such as are fit to make men know, that it is their duty to obey all laws whatsoever that shall by the authority of the King be enacted, till by the same authority they shall be repealed; such as are fit to make men understand, that the civil laws are God’s laws, as they that make them are by God appointed to make them; and to make men know, that the people and the Church are one thing, and have but one head, the King; and that no man has title to govern under him, that has it not from him; that the King owes his crown to God only, and to no man, ecclesiastic or other; and that the religion they teach there, be a quiet waiting for the coming again of our blessed Saviour, and in the mean time a resolution to obey the King’s laws (which also are God’s laws); to injure no man, to be in charity with all men, to cherish the poor and sick, and to live soberly and free from scandal; without mingling our religion with points of natural philosophy, as freedom of will, incorporeal substance, everlasting nows, ubiquities, hypostases, which the people understand not, nor will ever care for. When the Universities shall be thus disciplined, there will come out of them, from time to time, well-principled preachers, and they that are now ill-principled, from time to time fall away.
B. I think it a very good course, and perhaps the only one that can make our peace amongst ourselves constant. For if men know not their duty, what is there that can force them to obey the laws? An army, you will say. But what shall force the army? Were not the trained bands an army? Were they not the janissaries, that not very long ago slew Osman in his own palace at Constantinople? I am therefore of your opinion, both that men may be brought to a love of obedience by preachers and gentlemen that imbibe good principles in their youth at the Universities, and also that we never shall have a lasting peace, till the Universities themselves be in such manner, as you have said, reformed; and the ministers know they have no authority but what the supreme civil power gives them; and the nobility and gentry know that the liberty of a state is not an exemption from the laws of their own country, whether made by an assembly or by a monarch, but an exemption from the constraint and insolence of their neighbours.
And now I am satisfied in this point, I will bring you back to the place from whence my curiosity drew you to this long digression. We were upon the point of ship-money; one of those grievances which the Parliament exclaimed against as tyranny and arbitrary government; thereby to single out (as you called it) the King from his subjects, and to make a party against him, when they should need it. And now you may proceed, if it please you, to such other artifices as they used to the same purpose.
A. I think it were better to give over here our discourse of this business, and refer it to some other day that you shall think fit.
B. Content. That day I believe is not far off.
- that did so.
- The sentence: ‘And this power … from the Pope,’ though erased in the MS. by Hobbes’s own hand, is not wanting in the text of Edd., where it has: ‘some of his bishops,’ instead of ‘most bishops.’
- beneficial to it—corr. H.
- After “imprisoned” follows in Edd. “or forced to fly.” These words have been erased in the MS. by the amanuensis.
- B. Can you tell me why and when the Universities here, and in other places, first began?
This question and answer, exhibited by former edd. have been erased in MS. by the amanuensis as a repetition from p. 17.A. It seems (for the time) they began in the reign of the Emperor Charles the Great. Before which time, I doubt not, but that there were many grammar schools for the Latin tongue, which was the natural language of the Roman Church; but for Universities, that is to say, schools for the sciences in general, and especially for divinity, it is manifest that the institution of them was recommended by the Pope’s letter to the Emperor Charles the Great, and recommended further by a Council held in his time, I think, at Chalons-sur-Saone; and not long after was erected an University at Paris, and the college called University College at Oxford. And so by degrees several bishops, noblemen, and rich men, and some Kings and Queens, contributing thereunto, the Universities obtained at last their present splendour.
- But what was the Pope’s design in it? Edd.