Something spoken in VINDICATION & CLEARING OF THE People of God called QUAKERS;

That they have not forfeited their Liberty in the Declaration, nor made ill use of the Kings Ind [...]lgence, by any Plots, or Murders, or Insurrections in a pretence of Worship, and serving of God. The Lord is Witn [...]ss, and you have tried us, and found that we are none of those People the Kings Proclamation takes hold upon, but ought [...]o have our Meetings.

THe Kings Declaration concerning Ecclesiastical Affairs; He saith in a word, We do again renew what we have formerly said in our Declaration from Breda, to tender Consciences, that no man shall be disquieted, or called in question for difference in Opinion in mat­ters of Religion, which do not disturb the Peace of the Kingdom; If any have been disturbed in that kind since our Arrival, it hath not proceeded from any direction of ours, page 18.

The Kings Proclamation for prohibiting of all unlawful Seditious Meet­ings and Conventicles, under pretence of the Worship of God.

Now this we wonder and strange, that Magistrates, and Rulers, and Offi­cers, should look upon the People of God called Quakers, that their Meet­ings are Seditious and unlawful, and Conventicles, and for them to cumber themselves with Armed men, & make such a spoil, and bruise sober People, that Fear and Worship God in reality, and cast them into Holes and Dun­geons, where they will not let them have necessary things, hardly Straw.

First, The Quakers Meetings are no Conventicles, for their Doors are o­pen; Neither do they Meet to Plot or Contrive against the Powers, who be in the Higher Powers, Nor are they Seditious, for they do not draw people, neither from the just Laws of the Nation, nor from good Go­vernment.

Neither are they unlawful, for they do not hold up sin in their Meetings, neither amongst themselves nor others; and for testifying against the World, that the works thereof are evil, as Christ their Life did before, therefore are they persecuted and hated.

And again in the Proclamation, some part of the Liberty to tender Con­sciences, in the late Declaration is restrained; since divers Persons in the Name of Anabaptists, and Quakers, and fifth Monarchy men, or some such like appellation, who under pretence of serving God, daily meet in secret Pla­ces, and at unreasonable times, &c. of which some evil hath already ensued, by disturbing of the publick Peace, by Insurrections and Murders, for which the offenders must answer to the Law, and far worse may be expected, unless some speedy course be taken to prevent their further growth. Mark, It must be to prevent their further growth that are the Murderers; For you are convinced that the Quakers will not take up Carnal Weapons, and yet to number them amongst such as will; and for any thing that we see, your greatest work hath been, against them that will not lift up a hand against you, and cast thousands of them into Prison; This cannot chuse but be below men, or Warriours, or Conquerours, and Justice, to mingle the Innocent with Fighters, because they cannot bear Arms, and you impri­son them amongst the other, and make the most ado about them too, and your greatest work; that moderate people cries out, that the greatest work in the Nation, is at an innocent people, that cannot lift up a hand against any man.

And then further it is said in the last Proclamation, To the intent that none of those persons, who have presumed to make so ill use of our indulgence, may be strengthened in such their proceedings, by any general word or expression in our late Declaration.

Now Mark, this is to them who made an ill use, that have been the Murderers, it doth not reach to the People of God that are called Quakers, but to them that make the ill use, which are Murderers.

Oh that Magistrates and Justices should not see this; They that had made the ill use, must not be strengthened by any general word in the late Declaration; but they that have not made the ill use, may be strengthen­ed, and claim this general word, that have not been the Murderers and raisers of Insurrection, upon whom and for which cause, came this Pro­clamation̄.

Therefore it is they that have made the ill use of the Liberty, that are not to meet, that some part of that Liberty is taken away from them; but their Meetings must be in some Parochial Church or Chappel, or in their private Houses; read but the thing and you may see, it relates to the Persons abovesaid, that do abuse their Liberty, whose Meetings are to murder, which are riotous or unlawful; and this is the thing that the Pro­clamation is against, that such Meetings are to be stopped, who are so.

So this doth not touch the Quakers, but the Persons aforesaid that be the Murderers, and the persons aforesaid are not to meet, but in their own Parochial Churches, or Chappels, or private Houses.

And is not the Oarh to be tendred according to the Law, to such as are against the King, and such as would murder? And not to them that are in Peace with him and all men, and wou [...]d hurt no mans person upon the earth, though the safety lies not in Swea [...]ing, but in the Truth and Righ­teousnesse, which we speak in Yea and Nay.

And you know that the Quakers are not a people that levied the new War, therefore not disturbers of the Peace; and they are not they that make the Division, but are in the Power of Truth, that would bring all up to God.

Neither were the Quakers such as have gathered up Swords and Arms together, and gone out to kill people, but they are out of all such designs, though many thousands of them you have secured, which we believe you know in your Consciences Souls and M [...]nds that they are innocent, and that they have not forfeited their Liberty, nor have made ill use of that indulgence, and word concerning Tender Consciences.

Therefore it will be a greater suffering to you, when the Lord God shall give you a reward according to your works; for you have found them in no treacherous designs, you have found them in no Arms, you have not found them in any Plots, and yet you keep thousands of them in Prison. What have you not daily tryals of them? And many you keep in straw, and hardly meat can be gotten to them; and many sick, and some dead in Prison: Oh this lingering Martyrdom, by which many are almost pined and smothered in Prison!

For although in this last Proclamation concerning, That none should be disturbed, and fetched out of Houses, but by special Warrant, but they should be looked upon, as Contemners and Disturbers of their Government; But never­thelesse, the Quakers are haled out of their Houses by armed men, and never no Warrant shewn them, but cast into Prison without Warrant, as in many places, if you will but search into them you may see; and such go at Liberty, who break the Proclamation; but you afflict those who have not made an ill use of it, and suffering men to come without Warrant, contrary to Proclamation, and nothing inflicted upon them; and we suffer that are Innocent, and justice cannot be had, though they cry for it never so loud. Therefore now to consider how the Innocent are fallen upon, and to all the Nation made a prey upon, as though men did neither mind God nor Conscience. O therefore ye Judges, ye Rulers and Magistrates, do Justice equally to all men in the Fear of God, that gives you Breath, and Strength, and all things, lest he make you as dust before the Wind; Love, Judgement and Mercy, do that which is pleasing in the sight of God, afflict not his People, fill not the Dungeons and noysome Holes with the Inno­cent, but set them free who lie in Straw, and Dungeons, and Irons, and denyed to have necessaries. Oh your Consciences, your Consciences! let there not be a guilt upon them, for the day of account draws on; the cry of the Innocent and Righteous, and the afflicted, and the Imprison­ed, starved in nasty Dungeons and Straw, and Irons, and necessaries de­nyed them; and they robbed, and beat, and bruised in Goals; the cry of this is great to the Lord who will hear: and you that are Justices and Judges, Oh that you had tender hearts to consider; Oh that you were Christians, that your stony hearts were taken away, and a heart of flesh given unto you; (Oh the intemperateness! Oh the unmercifulness, and unnaturalness, and uncompassionateness!) it grieves and breaks the hearts of the sober, to see these wanting, and to see the cruelty and hard-heartedness got up in its place.

Oh consider, what will you do? And how do you spend your time, when the Just suffers amongst you, and the Jnnocent? Oh will it not be said by you, that you had a day, that you might have done that which you do not regard? Such as love your eternal Peace, such you hate; and such as love your Eternal Happinesse, such you persecute in Dungeons. If they were wild and followed Pleasures, and could Swear, then we believe we should be regarded: But Oh our Consciences, our Consciences we cannot make Shipwrack of, as thousands have done, and our trouble is for you, that you should not heed your selves, nor Gods Mercy, nor love your own Consciences; but run on in such a grievous passion and strain (without distinction or consideration) against the Righteous and the Innocent, which thing the Prophets cryed against, in the Magistrates and Rulers in the dayes of old, that made no distinction betwixt the Pretious and the Vile, for which cause he prophesied of their captivity, and their overthrow, as you may read in the Scripture in the old Testament, Mal. 3.

R. C.

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