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-- 3. Our selves having solemnly protested to maintain the Liberty of the
Subject, and the House of Commons having publickly declared against the Exercise of an Arbitrary Power, with Order that their faid Declaration should be printed and published in all the Parish Churches and Chappels of the Kingdome; there to stand and remain as a Testimony of the Clearnefse of their Intentions ; whether the subjecting of our selves and Brethren by Oath, unto such Punishments as shall be inflicted upon us (without Law or Merit) at the sole Pleasure of such uncertain Judges as thall be upon any particular Occasion deputed for tbat Effect, of what mean Quality or Abilities soever they be, even to the taking away of our Lives, if they Shall think it convenient fo to do, though the Degree of our Offences shall not require or deserve the same; be not the betraying of our Liberty in the lowest, and the setting up of an Arbitrary Power in the highest Degree that can be imagined. III. The Substance of the fifth Article, being the Settling and Continuance of a firm Peace and Union between the three Kingdomes, since it is our · bounden Duty to desire, and according to our several Places and Interests by all lawfull Means to endeavour the same: we should make no scruple at all to enter into a Covenant to that Purpose, were it not 1. That we do not see, nor therefore can acknowledge the Happiness of sucb a blessed Peace between the three Kingdomes (for we hope Ireland is not forgotten) as in the Article is mentioned : So long as Ireland is at War within it felf, and both the other Kingdoms engaged in that War. 2. That since no Peace can be firm and well-grounded that is not bottom'd upon Justice, the most proper and adequate Act whereof is, Jus suum cuique, to let every one have that which of Right belongeth unto him ; we cannot conceive how a firm and lasting Peace can be established in these Kingdomes, unleffe the respective Authority, Power, and Liberty of King, Parliament, and Subject, as well every one as other, be preserved full and entire, according to the known Lawes, and continued unquestioned Customes, of the several Kingdomes in former Times, and before the Be. ginning of these fad Distractions. IV. In the sixth Article we are altogether unsatisfied. 1. The whole Article being grounded upon a Supposition, which hath not yet been evidenced to us, viz. that this Cause, meaning thereby (or else we understand it not) the joyning in this Covenant of mutual Defence for the Prosecution of the late War, was the Cause of Religion, Liberty, and Peace of the Kingdomes; and that it so much concerned the Glory of God, and the Good of the Kingdomes, and the Honour of the King. 2. If all the Premisses were so clear, that we curst yeeld our free Aflent thereunto, yet were they not sufficient to warrant to our Consciences what in this Article is required to be sworn of us; unlesse we were as clearly fatisfied concerning the Lawfulness of the Means to be used for the supporting of such a Cause. For fince Evil may not be done, that Good may come thereof; we cannot yet be perswaded, that the Cause of Religion, Liberty, and Peace, may be supported; or the Glory of God, ihe Good of the VOL. I. Rrr
Kingdomes, and the Honour of the King, fought to be 'advanced, by such
the whole Christian World in a Combustion.
quite out of cheir several Dominions.
Sect. VI. Some Confiderations concerning the Meaning of the Covenant.
not to preserve, one and the same Reformed Religion.
to extirpate the self fame Thing, viz. the present Religion of the Church
3. To reform Church-Government established in England, and Ireland, according to the Word of God: and yet to extirpate that Government which we are perswaded to be according thereunto, for the introducing of another whereof we are not so perswaded, 4. To endeavour really the Extirpation of Ileresies, Schisms, and Prophaneness; and yet withall to extirpate that Government in the Church, the Want of the due Exercise whereof, we conceive to have been one chief Cause of the Growth of the said Evills; and do believe the Restoring and Continuance thereof would be the most proper and effectual Remedy. 5. To preserve with our Estates and Lives, the Liberties of the Kingdome ; that is, (as in the Protestation is explained) of the Subject ; and yet contrary to these Liberties, to submit to the Imposition of this Covenant, and of the Negative Oath, not yet established by Law; and to put our Lives and Estates under the Arbitrary Power of such as may take away both from us when they please, not onely without, but even against Law, if they fall judge it convenient so to do. Secondly, we find in the Covenant, fundry Expressions of dark or doubtfull Construction, whereunto we cannot sweare in Judgement, till their Sense be cleared and agreed upon. As, who are the Common Enemies ? and which be the best reformed Churches ? mentioned in the first Article. Who in the fourth Article) are to be accounted Malignants? How far that Phrase of hindring Reformation may be extended ? What is meant by the supreme Judi. catory of both Kingdomes? and sundry other.
Thirdly, by the Use that hath been made of this Covenant, (sometimes to Purposes of dangerous Consequence) we are brought into some Fears and Jealousies, least by taking the same we should cast ourselves into more Snares than we are yet aware of. For in the first Article, 1. Whereas we are to endeavour the Reformation of Religion in this Kingdome, in Doetrine, Worship, Discipline, and Government, according to the Word of God, and the Example of the best reformed Churches : 1. The Reformation in Worship (whereby we could not suppose any more was intended (according to their former (u) Declaration) than a Review of the Service-book, that the Translations might be in some Places, a. mended, some Alterations made in the Offices and Rubricks, or at molt some of the Ceremonies laid aside for the Reasons of Expediency and Con. descention) hath produced an utter Abolition of the whole Form established; without substituting any other certain Form in the Room thereof. 2. The Reformation in Point of Discipline and Government intended (fo far as by the Overtures hitherto made we are able to judge) is such, as we conceive not to be according to the Word of God, nor (for any Thing we
(u) The Lords and Commons do de- but what shall be evill, and justly offenclare, That they intend a due and ne- five, or at least unnecessary and burthencessary Reformation of the Liturgy of the fome. Declarat. 9. Apr. 1642.' Exact Church; and to take away nothing therein Coll. pag. 135. Rrr 2
know) according to the Example of any Church that ever was in the
it will bind us more strongly, as being the first Obligation.
Defence of the true Religion and Liberties of the Kingdomes was not to be - understood exclusively: yet when we find that the House of Commons in den: their Answer to the Scottish Papers, doe (x) often presse that Limitation, il as without which the endeavouring to preserve the King's Majestie's Person
and Authority ought not to be mentioned ; it cannot but deterre us from e taking the Covenant in this Particular fo understood.
(wy From whence it is most evident, fence of the King twice from the Covethat the Rights and Priviledges of the Parlia- nant, yet in both Places leave out In the ments, and Liberties of the Kingdom, are Preservation and, &c. pag. 39. G 46. a in the first place to be preserved. Anfw. to main Clause, without which the other Scottish Papers, 18. Nov. 1646. page 21. Part ought never to be mentioned. pag. (x) We observe you mention the De- 56.
3:13. Efpecially being told in a late Pamphlet, that the King not having preserved
the Liberties of the Kingdom, &c. as of Duty he ought, is thereby become a Tyrant, and so ceaseth to be a King, and consequently that his Subjects cease to be Subjects, and owe him no longer Subječtion. Which Affertion, since we heartily detest, as false and scandalous in the Supposition, and in the Inference seditious and divelish ; we darre not by subscribing this Article seem to give the least Countenance thereunto. 4. But it striketh us with Horror to think what Use hath been made of this fourth Article ; concerning the Punishment of Malignants, &c. as by others otherwaies ; so especially by the Corrector of a Speech without Doors, written in the Defence of Mr. Cballoner's Speech : who is so bold as to tell the Parliament, that they are bound by their Covenant (for the bringing of evill Instruments to condigne Punishment) to deftroy the King and his Posterity, and that they cannot justifie the taking away of Strafford's and Canterbury's Lives for Delinquency, whilst they suffer the chief Delinquent to go unpunished.
Sect. VII. Of the Salvo's. TH
HE Salvo's that we have usually met withall, for the avoyding of the
aforesaid Scruples, either concerning the whole Covenant, or some Particulars therein of special Importance, we find upon Examination to be no Way satisfactory to our Consciences.
The fisst is, that we may take the Covenant in our own Sense: but this (in a Matter of this Nature, viz. an imposed promisory Oath, in the Performance whereof others also are presumed to be concerned) seemeth to be, 1. Contrary to the Nature and End of an Oath, which unless it be full of Simplicity, cannot be sworn in Truth and Righteousness, nor serve to the ending of Controversies and Contradictions, which was the Use for which it was instituted, Heb. 6. 2. Contrary to the End of Speech? God having given us the Use of Speech for this End, that it might be the Interpreter of the Mind; it behoveth us as in all other our Dealings and Contracts, so especially where there is the Intervention of an Oath, To to speak, as that they whom it concerneth, may clearly understand our Meaning by our Words, 3. Contrary to the End of the Covenant it felf. Which being the Confirmation of a firm Union among the Covenanters, that by taking thereof they might have mutuall Assurance of mutuall Asistance and Defence ; If one may be allowed to take it in one Sense, and another in a contrary ; the Covenanters shall have no more Affurance of mutuall Afiftance each from other after the taking of the Covenant, than they had before. 4. Contrary to the folemn Profesion made by each Covenant (in expresse Terms in the Conclusion thereof) in the Presence of Almighty God the Searcher of all Hearts, that he takech it with a true Intention io perform the fame, as be shall answer it at the great Day. 11. This will bring a Scandall upon our Religion,