A DECLARATION OF HIS HIGHNES The Lord Protector AND THE PARLIAMENT OF THE Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, for a Day of Solemn Fasting and Humiliation in the Three Nations.

[seal or coat of arms showing the cross of St George on one side and a harp on the other]

ORdered by the Parliament, That this Declaration be forthwith Printed and Published.

Hen: Scobell, Clerk of the Parliament.

London, Printed by Henry Hills, and John Field, Printers to His Highness, the Lord Protector. 1656.

A Declaration of His Highness the Lord Protector and the Parliament of the Com­monwealth of England, Scotland and Ire­land, for a day of solemn Fasting and Hu­miliation in the three Nations.

SVch have been the out-go­ings of our God for his people in this our generati­on, that none as men, but must say, It is Marvellous in our eyes: And none as Christians, but must cry out; It is the Lords doing, he hath alwaies been a ready help in time of need, and never did his poor servants seek his face in vain, neither did he ever lend a deaf ear to the voice of their weepings. Who can utter the migh­ty Acts of the Lord? who can shew forth all his prais­es? But Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider, for in the midst of such unequalled and signal mercies, how great hath been, and is our ingratitude and unfruitfulness? Verily such, that nothing can be greater, but that inexhaust­ed mercy, which hitherto hath not consumed us. Should the Lord say unto us, as once he did unto Ephraim, Ephraim is joined unto Idols, let him alone. That heavy sentence would be but our desert. As insensibility is our crime, so it might be too justly made our punishment; for who has been melted by mercies, who has [Page 2] been broken by judgement? Ah sinful Nation! a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evill doers, chil­dren that are corrupters, they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the holy one of Israel to anger, they are gone away backward: why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more. As these sad words do Characterize us as fully as they did those of Juda to whom they were first spoken; so if that sad Denuntiation should also be our Doom, we could not yet but acknow­ledge; the Lord is righteous in all his wayes, and holy in all his works. How deeply have we grieved our good God, in not mourning as we ought, even as one that mourneth for his first-born, for that ignorance, profaneness and barrenness that is so ripe amongst us, even under such rich means of knowledge, reformation and grace, in not being sensible under, nor making a san­ctified use of, those Rebukes we have of late received; But rather charging such miscar­riages upon Instruments, chiefly, if not only, when every Individual hath helped to fill up the measure of those sins after which such Iudgements were to follow.

In not improving mercies so fully as might have been, to his glory, from whom alone they were received.

In the sad neglect and want of Activity, Resolution and Integrity, in Magistrates and others impowred therein, for the punish­ment and suppression of vice and crying Enor­mities.

In the abominable Blasphemies vented and spread of late through the apostasie of, and the abuse of liberty by, many professing Religion.

In that little love and tenderness which is [Page 3] even amongst professors themselves towards one another, who whilst they contend for things disputable, lose that which is certain, even Charity, which is the bond of perfectness, and with­out which they become as founding Brass, or a tinckling Cimball: To love one another is Christs new Commandement, nay, the very Badge of his Disciples. By this shall all men know that you are my Disciples, if you have love one to another, in al­lowing difference in forms, more power to divide Christians, then Agreements in fundamentals has to unite them, one of the dangerousest and fruitfullest seed that hath been sown by the en­vious one.

In not being truly sensible, that though the Lord in the depths of his wisedome and righteous Iudgement, hath for some years last past been overturning several Authorities in these Nations, and hath as it were been pou­ring them out from vessel to vessel: He hath yet been pleased ever since his people publickly con­tended for his Truths, still to set up Rulers, who have allowed them the free exercise & pro­fession of them.

In that Atheistical and Luke-warm Spirit, too commonly amongst us, whereby not only the form but power of godliness is reproached, and accounted as a vile thing, but also too many have fallen from their first love, and others La­odicean like, esteem themselves rich and to have need of nothing, whilest indeed they are wretch­ed, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked, sins which are the highlier aggravated, by being committed in Countreys where the Glorious light of the Gospel shines clearest.

In being more dissatisfied that we have not obtained all we aymed at, then thankfull that [Page 4] we have obtained so much, as through mercy we now enjoy.

we have obtained so much, as through mercy we now enjoy.

All which, with other the grievous sins of these three Nations, call aloud upon all the good people in them, to lye Low in the sight of our offended God, and by prayer and humiliation; (a way which in our deepest distresses, we have found both our duty and comfort to tread in) to seek to appease his wrath; And that he will for his own Names sake be pleased, to remove whatever accursed thing there is amongst us, and that as he is our God, so we may be his people.

That he will infatuate the Counsels, and defeat the Designs, of all those that labour to exalt themselves, against the interest of his Son and his People.

That he will be pleased in a most especiall manner to vouchsafe his presence to those who are intrusted with the mannagement of the affaires of these Nations:

That as he is the mighty Councellor in him­self, so also that he would appear such expe­rimentally unto them.

That he would in all things spirit them to the work unto which they are called, And give them unitie amongst themselves, even the best Unitie, That of the Spirit, In the best Bond, That of Peace; That as they are a people abounding in Mercies, so they may abound in Returns.

And that at last through the unwearied goodness of our God, these three Nations, after such memorable revolutions, may be setled upon the sure foundations of Truth, Mercy & Peace, and his people henceforth, being delivered from their Enemies, may serve him without fear, in Holiness, and Righteousness, before him all the dayes of their [...]

It is therefore declared by his Highness the Lord Protector, and the Parliament of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland, That for the end and purposes aforesaid, They do appoint Thursday being the thirtieth day of October next, for a day of solemn humiliation and seeking the face of God, through the Me­diation of Christ, in all places within England, Scotland and Ireland, And do therefore hereby incite, and encourage all such whose hearts God shall perswade and make sensible of their duty, and of the Commonwealths present con­dition; that the day aforesaid be set apart by them for the purposes aforesaid. And all per­sons whatsoever, are hereby enjoyned and re­quired, to abstain from the works of their ordi­nary calling, and from any recreations, or other things against the fitting and due observation of that day. And all Faires and Markets are hereby prohibited to be kept upon that day, but may be proclaimed to be kept upon the day next ensuing. And all Officers of Iustice are hereby required to cause due observation to be had hereof, And the Ministers and Preachers of the respective Parishes and Congregations, are to take notice hereof: For which end, It is Order­ed, That Copies of this Declaration be Print­ed, and sent into the several parts of the three Nations, that the same may be published accor­dingly.

Tuesday the 23th of September, 1656.

ORdered by the Parliament, That this Declaration be forth­with Printed and Published.

Hen: Scobel, Clerk of the Parliament.

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