Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

1

mental stipulation of government, and to that reformation which he had sworn to maintain and practise ; and for their bearing witness against the grand principle and foundation upon

which he built his power of overthrow. ing religion, and setting up a new frame thereof in Britain, namely the blafphemous headship of ecclefiaftical fupremacy.

Hence it is evident to a demonstration, that the grand state of the quarrel, upon which the martyrs laid down their lives during the late tyrannical reigns, was really one and the same with that for which the zealous and faithful minifters suffered such hardships in the time of King James VI. and afterwards. This being the precise foundation upon which all the other acts and oaths were built, which the enemies made a handle of, to involve

honest people into the crime of treason and rebellion - against the state, as it was then determined by their ini.

quitous laws. For as it was still the principal question put to them, own ye the king's authority? and the chief article of their indictment, if they either answered in the negative or kept silence; fo it is evident, that by this question they really meant, not to his civil authority only, but also his pretended claim to fupreme headship over the church; for no sooner had he authorised a parliament to meet at Edinburgh, under the inspection of that malignant wretch John Earl of Middleton, anno 1661, but that generation of enemies to the work of God, intending the utter rain thereof, set up this Dagon of the royal prerogative, not only with respect to things civil, as in the choice of his officers of state, counsellors and judges, act second ; in the calling and dissolving of parliaments, and making laws, act third; in the militia, and making peace and war, act fifth, which were great inva. fions

upon the national liberties of the subjects; but also in things facred, in the making of leagues, and the conventions of the subjects, act fourth; wherein all the former work of reformation is condemned, and the covenants made for its defence are declared treasonable and rebel lious actions against the royal prerogative: And in consequence hereof, it is declared, act seventh; “ That the league and covenant is not obligatory upon this kingdom, nor doth infer any obligation on the subjects thereof, to meddle or interpofe in any thing concerning the religion and government of the churches of England and

Ireland i

Ireland ; and all the subjects are discharged to renew the fame, as they will answer at their highest peril." And in the oath of allegiance and acknowledgment of his majesty's royal prerogative, statute by the eleventh act of said parliament, all persons of whatsoever trust, post, office, or employment, are obliged to swear, " That they acknowledge the king only fupreme governor of this kingdom over all persons, and in all causes. And that they do with all humble duty acknowledge his majesty's royal prerogative in all the particulars, and in the manner afore mentioned.”

And to make the matter clearer, what they meant by the king's authority, in the preamble of the first act of

the fecond feffion of the same first parliament, they affert, - That the ordering and disposal of the external goverment

and policy of this church, doth properly belong unto his majesty, as an inherent right of the crown, by virtue of his royal prerogative and supremacy in caufes ecclefiaftical. And upon this bottom, he, with advice and consent of the estates of parliament, sets up the Episcopal form of church government, the jurisdiction of bishops and archbishops over the inferior clergy, with their concomitant of patronages ; and rescinds cafes, and annuls all acts of parliament, by which the fole and only power and jurisdiction within this church, doth stand in the church, and in the general, provincial and presbyterial assemblies, and kirk-fefsions; and all acts of parliament or council, which may be interpreted to have given any church-power, jurisdiction or government to the office bearers of the church, their respective meetings, other than that which acknowledgeth a dependance upon, and subordination to, the sovereign power of the king as supreme. And in pursuance hereof, in the second act of the forefaid second feffion, intituled, act for preservation of his majesty's person, authority and government, he doth, with advice of his estates of parliament, declare, That the assembly kept Glafgow in the year 1638, was in itself (after the same was by his majesty discharge ed under the pain of treason) an unlawful and feditious meeting : And that all these gatherings, convocations, petitions, protestations, and erecting and keeping counciltables, that were used in the beginning, and for carrying on the late troubles, (thus they call the work of reformation), were unlawful and feditious; and that these

oaths,

oaths, whereof the one was commonly called the nation al covenant, and the other'a solemn league and covenant, were and are in themselves unlawful oaths; and there. fore declares their obligation void and null, and rescinds all acts or constitutions, ecclesiastic or civil, approving them. Nor does it fuffice them to rescind these covenants, and other proceedings for carrying on the work of reformation, as contrary to his royal prerogative of ecclesiastic supremacy; and to inhibit all persons to speak, write or act any thing in defence of the same, and against the said prerogative ; but likewise in the fiftlı act of the foresaid session, all persons in any place, office or trust, are obliged to swear all the particulars. contained in the forefaid acts, in that most impious oath, commonly called, the Declaration. And again in the fourth act of the third feflion, of the foresaid parliament intituled, act for establishment and constitution of a national fynod, it is declared, That the ordering and disposal of the external government of the church, and the nomination of the persons, by whose advice matters relating to thesame are to be settled, doth belong to his majesty, as an. inherent right of the crown, by virtue of his prerogative royal, and supreme authority in causes ecclefiastical. And in the first act of the fecond parliament, holden-by that apostate, John Earl of Lauderdale, intituled act afserting his majesty's supremacy over all persons, and in. all causes ecclefiaftical, commonly called, the act explanatory, it is expressly declared, That his majesty hath the supreme authority and fupremacy over all perfons, and in all causes ecclefiaftical within this kingdom ; and that by virtue thereof, the ordering and disposal of the external government and policy of the church, do properly belong to his majesty and his fucceffors, as an inherent right to the crown: and that his majesty and his successors may settle, enact and emit such constitutions, acts and orders, concerning the administrations of the external government of the church, and the persons employed in the fame,'and concerning all ecclesiastical meetings, and matters to be proposed and determined there. in, as they in their royal wisdom shall think fit.

From all which acts it plainly appears, that the true sense of that authority, which they would have their private thoughts about was really as the martyrs under. Tood it, his ecclefiaftic fupremacy, and that no less than

a

a recognition hereof would serve their turn: and though fome of the martyrs offered a distinction between the two, professing to own his civil authority abstract from the ecclefiaftical (as, for instance, Mr John Dick), yet they were not absolved, because they would not own his authority in gross. And besides, their including the supremacy over church matters, into the formal notion of the king's authority they could be pleased with no less from any that they called before them than an owning the whole acts and laws, and entire exercise and administration of things in church and state, which was an implicit condemning of all the preceding reformation, and consenting to the perfecution and murder of the faints, who tood up for its defence.

It is true indeed, these things were so impious and abominable, that had they been proposed without mask, they would presently beget an horror in the mind of any, who was not entirely loft to all conscience and goodness; and therefore these children of the old ferpent had so much of their father, that they made it their work to hide these horrid hooks with some fpecious baits, that they might the more easily entice simple people into that snare they had laid for them : and hence, knowing how much it is the effect of the true religion to make men loyal, and that the Presbyterians were of all others the readiest to yield all lawful subjection to their rightful princes, they still made use of the specious title of authority as a blind to hide the ecclesiastical fupremacy, and bloody exercise of their government, from these they laboured to ensnare. They saw the fupremacy they intended to fix in the king, was such å monstrum horrendum, informe, migens, Hecate atque Erebo ortum, that without some vail of his nature, no man would be fo mad as to embrace it. But when this would not do, but that still its ill-favoured face appears through the vizard ; and all good men faw, that that authority which fought no other way to maintain itself, but by blood and rapine was really degenerated into tyranny, then they pretend. ed to come some steps lower, and said, that they required no more at the hands of the people in order to dismiss them, but that they would at their desire pray for the king, in their prescribed form of words, viz. God save the king; or that they would drink the king's good health. These were by them represented to be io minutę

and

[ocr errors]

and easy things, and by a great many professors looked upon as so trivial and indifferent, that they were in the fair way

either to ensnare, or with more opportunity to expose such as refused to the contempt of indifferent fpectators, as being such ferupulous fools, and brain fick perfons, as were transported with an extravagant wild zeal without knowledge, who had rather have a hand in their own death, than do fo fmall and indifferent a thing in order to prevent it. And hence not the perfecutors only, but even a great many who professed presbyterian principles, stood not to call them murderers, instead of martyrs.

But all this notwithstanding, it is certain they had nothing else before them, but to bring people to a. tame fubmiflion and Navish compliance with the whole course of their Chrift dethroning, and land enlaving constitutions and administrations; for they intended the fame thing by urging people to fay, God fave the king, as by the oath of allegiance, declaration, or test, namely, an acknowledgement of their authority, wherewith they had vested him in the forementioned articles, and others of like nature. Less than this could never serve their defign, which was ftill the same, whatever altera. tions might appear to be in their way of prosecuting it : for either these things were so insignificant and indifferent as they gave them out to be, and as others conceive ed of them, or they were not; if we fay the former, then what monsters of mankind were these perfecutors, who pursued poor innocent people to death, and inflicted fuch cruel tortures upon them for trifles and things of indifferency. This is what themselves (I suppose) would never admit, to be reckoned a degree further lost to humanity than a Nero or Caligula, fo as 10 torment and destroy men for sport : nay, they still pretended, that all these persecutions were made upon weighty and just causes. If then we say the latter, namely, that they were not fo very inconsiderable things as some conceived, wherein could the moment and weight of them consit, but in this, that they were in owning of the authority, as it was contained in the laws? And what else was the fcope of the most openly impious oaths, tests, and bonds, but this? And besides, when any yielded this much, they were still urged further, till they had de

bauched

« AnteriorContinuar »