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I say unto you, whilst you have been in the midst of these transactions, that party, that cavalier party, (I could wish some of them had thrust in here to have heard what I say,) the cavalier party have been designing and preparing to put this nation in blood again with a witness; but because I am confident there are none of that sort here, therefore I shall say the less to that; only this I must tell you, that they have been making great preparations of arms, and I do believe will be made evident unto you, that they have raked out many thousand of arms, even all that this city could afford, for divers months last past.
Now such as these also are grown up under your shadow. But it will be asked, what have they done? I hope, though they pretend the commonwealth's interest, they have had no encouragement from you, but that as before, rather taken it, than that you have administered any cause unto them for so doing, from delays, from hopes, that this parliament would not settle, from pamphlets mentioning strange votes and resolves of yours, which I hope did abuse you.
Thus you see, whatever-the grounds were, these have been the effects. And thus I have laid these things before you, and others will be easily able to judge how far you are concerned.
Is there not yet upon the spirits of men a strange itch? Nothing will satisfy them, unless they can put
their finger upon their brethren's consciences, to pinch them there. To do this was no part of the con~ test we had with the common adversary; for religion was not the thing at the first contested for, but God brought it to that issue at last, and gave it unto us by way of redundancy, and at last it proved to be that which was most dear to us; and wherein consisted this more than in obtaining that liberty from the tyranny of the bishops to all species of protestants, to worship God according to their own light and consciences? for want of which, many of our brethren forsook their native countries to seek their bread from strangers, and to live in howling wildernesses; and for which also, many that remained here were imprisoned and otherwise abused, and made the scorn of the nation.
Those that were sound in the faith, how proper was it for them to labour for liberty, for a just liberty, that men should not be trampled upon for their consciences? Had not they laboured but lately under the weight of persecutions, and was it fit for them to sit heavy upon others? Is it ingenuous to ask liberty and not to give it? what greater hypocrisy, than for those who were oppressed by the bishops, to become the greatest oppressors themselves so soon as their yoke was removed? I could wish that they who call for liberty now, also had not too much of that spirit, if the power were in their hands.
As for prophane persons, blasphemers, such as preach sedition, the contentious railers, evil speakers, who seek by evil words to corrupt good manners, persons of loose conversations, punishment from the civil magistrate ought to meet with them; because if these pretend conscience, yet walking disorderly, and not according but contrary to the Gospel, and even to natural light, they are judged of all, and their sins being open, makes them subjects of the magistrate's sword, who ought not to bear it in vain.
The discipline of the army was such, that a man would not be suffered to remain there, of whom we could take notice he was guilty of such practices. as these and therefore how happy would England have been, and you, and I, if the lord had led you on to have settled upon such good accounts as these are, and to have dicountenanced such practices as the other, and left men in disputable things free to their own consciences, which was well provided for by the government, and liberty left to provide against what was apparently evil.
Judge you, whether the contesting for things that were provided for by this government hath been profitable expence of time for the good of these nations? by means whereof you may see you have wholly elapsed your time, and done just nothing.
This government called you hither, the constitu tion whereof being so limited, a single person and a
parliament, and this was thought most agreeable to the general sense of the nation, having had experience enough by trial of other conclusions; judging this most likely to avoid the extremes of monarchy on the one hand, and democracy on the other, and yet not to found dominium in gratiâ, And if so, then certainly to make it more than a notion, it was requisite that it should be as it is in the government, which puts it upon a true and equal balance. It has been already submitted to the judicious honest people of this nation, whether the balance be not equal; and what their judgment is, is visible by submission to it, by acting upon it, by restraining their trustees from meddling with it; and it neither asks nor needs any better ratification, But when trustees in parliament shall by experience find any evil in any parts of the government, referred by the government itself to the consideration of the protector and parliament, (of which time itself will be the best discoverer,) how can it be reasonably imagined that a person or persons coming in by election, and standing under such obligations, and so limited and so necessitated by oath to govern for the people's good, and to make their love, under God, the best under-propping, and their best interest to him; how can it, I say, be ima gined, that the present or succeeding protectors will refuse to agree to alter any such thing in the government that may be found to be for the good of the
people, or to recede from any thing which he might be convinced casts the balance too much to the single person? And although for the present, the keeping up and having in his power the militia seems the most hard, yet if it should be yielded up at such a time as this, when there is as much need to keep this cause by it (which is most evident at this time impugned by all the enemies of it) as there was to get it, what would become of all? Or if it should not be equally placed in him and the parliament, but yielded up at any time, it determines his power either for doing the good he ought, or hindering parliaments from perpetuating themselves, or from imposing what religions they please on the consciences of men, or what government they please upon the nation; thereby subjecting us to dissettlement in every par liament, and to the desperate consequences thereof; and if the nation shall happen to fall into a blessed peace, how easily and certainly will their charge be taken off,, and their forces be disbanded; and then where will the danger be to have the militia thus stated?
What if I should say, if there should be a disproportion or disequality as to the power, it is on the other hand; and if this be so, wherein have you had cause to quarrel? What demonstrations have you held forth to settle me to your opinion? Would you had made me so happy as to let me have known your