[Page 1] THE Knot Unty'd: OR, THE ASSOCIATION DISBANDED.

PROV. XI. 21.

Though hand joyn in hand the wicked shall not be un­punished.

ISAI. VIII. 9.

Associate your selves, O ye people, and ye shall be bro­ken in pieces; gird your selves, and ye shall be broken in pieces. Take counsel together, and it shall come to naught, for God is with us.

LONDON, Printed for Walter Davis, 1682.

The Paper which was Seized in the E. of Shaftsbury's Closet, by Fran. Gwin, Esq one of the Clerks of His Majesties Most Ho­nourable Privy Council, and Read Novemb. 24. 1681. at the Old Baily, before His Ma­jesties Commissioners of Oyer and Terminer.

WE the Knights, &c. Finding to the grief of our Hearts, the Popish Priests and Iesuits, with the Pa­pists, and their Adherents and Ab­betrors, have for several years last past pursued a most pernicious and hellish Plot, to root out the true Protestant Religion as a pestilent Heresie, to take away the Life of our Gracious King, to subvert our Laws and Liberties, and to set up Ar­bitrary power and Popery.

And it being Notorious that they have béen highly encouraged by the Countenance and Protection given and procured for them by J. D. of Y. and by their Ex­pectations of his succéeding to the Crown, and that through crafty Popish Councils, his Designs have so far prevailed that he hath created many and great Dependents upon him by his bestowing Offices and Preferments both in Church and State.

[Page 4] It appearing also to us, That by his Influence, Mercenary Forces have béen levied and kept on Foot for his secret Designs contrary to our Laws; the Officers thereof having béen named and appointed by him, to the appparent hazard of His Majesties Person, our Religion and Government, if the dan­ger had not béen timely foreséen by several Parlia­ments, and part of those Forces with great difficul­ty, caused by them to be Disbanded at the Kingdoms great Expence: And it being evident, that not­withstanding all the continual endeavours of the Par­liament to deliver His Majesty from the Councils, and out of the power of the said D. yet his Interest in the Ministry of State and others have béen so prevalent, that Parliaments have béen unreasonably Prorogued, and Dissolved when they have béen in hot pursuit of the Popish Conspiracies, and ill Mi­nisters of State their Assistants.

And that the said D. in order to reduce all into his own power, hath procured the Garrisons, the Army and Ammunition, and all the power of the Seas and Souldiery, and Lands belonging to these thrée Kingdoms, to be put into the hands of his party and their Adherents, even in opposition to the Advice and Order of the last Parliament.

And as we considering with heavy Hearts how greatly the Strength, Reputation and Treasure of the Kingdom both at Sea and Land is Wasted and Consumed, and lost by the intricate expensive ma­nagement of these wicked destructive Designs; and finding the same Councils after exemplary Iustice upon some of the Conspirators, to be still pursued with the utmost devilish malice, and desire of Re­venge; [Page 5] whereby his Majesty is in continual hazard of being Murdered to make way for the said D's Ad­vancement to the Crown, and the whole Kingdom in such case is destitute of all security of their Religion, Laws, Estates, and Liberty, sad experience in the Case, Quéen Mary having proved the wisest Laws to be of little force to kéep out Popery and Tyranny un­der a Popish Prince.

We have therefore endeavoured in a Parliamenta­ry way by a Bill for the purpose to Bar and Exclude the said Duke from the Succession to the Crown, and to Banish him for ever out of these Kingdoms of En­gland and Ireland. But the first Means of the King and Kingdoms Safety being utterly rejected, and we left almost in Despair of obtaining any real and ef­fectual security, and knowing our selves to be in­trusted to Advise and Act for the preservation of His Majesty and the Kingdom, and being perswaded in our Consciences that the dangers aforesaid are so eminent and pressing, that there ought to be no de­lay of the best means that are in our power to secure the Kingdom against them. We have thought fit to propose to all true Protestants an Union amongst themselves by solemn and sacred promise of mutual Defence and Assistance in the preservation of the true Protestant Religion, His Majesties Person and Royal State, and our Laws, Liberties and Proper­ties, and we hold it our bounden Duty to joyn our selves for the same intent in a Declaration of our United Affections and Resolutions in the Form in­suing,

[Page 6] I A. B. Do in the presence of God Solemnly Promise, Uow, and Protest to maintain and defend to the ut­most of my Power, with my Person and Estate, the true Protestant Religion against Popery and all Po­pish superstition, Idolatry, or Innovasion, and all those who do or shall endeavour to spread or advance it within this Kingdom.

I will also as far as in me lies, maintain and defend His Majesties Royal Person and Estate; as also the power and priviledge of Parliaments, the lawful Rights and Liberties of the Subject, against all Incroachments and Usurpation of Arbi­trary power whatsoever, and endeavour intirely to Disband all such mercenary Forces as we have rea­son to believe, were raised to Advance it, and are still kept up in and about the City of London to the great Amazement and Terrour of all the good people of the Land.

Moreover J D. of Y. having publickly professed and owned the Popish Religion, and notoriously gi­ven Life and Birth to the Damnable and Hellish Plots of the Papists against His Majesties Person, the Protestant Religion, and the Government of this Kingdom; I will never consent that the said J. D. of Y. or any other, who is or hath béen a Papist, or any ways adher'd to the Papists in their wicked Designs be admitted to the Succession of the Crown of England. But by all lawful means and by forte of Arms, it néed so require, according to my Abili­ties, will oppose him, and endeavour to Subdue, Expel and Destroy him, if he come into England, or the Dominions thereof; and séek by force to set up his pretended Title, and all such as shall Adhere [Page 7] unto him, or raise any War, Tumult, or Sedition for him, or by his Command, as publick Enemies of our Laws, Religion and Country.

To this end we, and every one of us whose hands are here under-written, do most willingly bind our selves and every one of us unto the other, joyntly and severally, in the bond of one firm and loyal So­ciety or Association, and do promise and vow before God, That with our joynt and particular Forces we will oppose and pursue unto Destruction all such as upon any Title whatsoever shall oppose the Iust and Righteous ends of this Association; and Main­tain, Protect and Defend all such as shall enter into it, and the just performance of the true intent and meaning of it. And lest this just and pious work should be any ways obstructed or hindered for want of Discipline and Conduct, or any evil-minded persons under pretence of raising Forces for the service of this Association, should attempt or commit Disorders, we will follow such Orders as we shall from time to time receive from this present Parliament, whilest it shall be sitting, or the major part of the Members of both Houses subscribing this Association when it shall be, Prorogued or Dissolved, and obey such Offi­cers as shall by them be set over us in the several Countries, Cities, and Burroughs, until the next méeting of this or another Parliament, and will then shew the same Obedience and Submission unto it, and those who shall be of it.

Neither will we for any respect of Persons or Causes, or for Fear, or Reward separate our selves from this Association, or fail in the Prosecution there­of during our Lives, upon pain of being by the rest of [Page 8] us prosecuted, and suppressed as perjur'd persons, and publick Enemies to God, the King, and our Na­tive Countrey.

To which pains and punishments we do volunta­rily submit our selves, and every one of us, without benefit of any Colour or Pretence to excuse us.

In Witnesses of all which Premisses to be inviola­bly kept, we do to this present Writing put our Hands and Seals, and shall be most ready to accept and admit any others hereafter into this Society and Association.
SIR,

YOU have turned me to a hard Chapter; for so it is, to give you my opinion of the Association, that lyes under so great debate. I must tell you, 'tis a Riddle not easie to be deciphered; The Assertors of it call them­selves a Society The Bond of one Firm and Loyal Society, after the Protest: And This Society at the end., and twice for falling. This, Sir, is the Distinctive Character of the Jesuites, and you must imagine an Instrument of such a Make, is full of Mental Reserves and Equivocations; for seeing they have so auspiciously assumed their Title and Ap­pellative, 'twill be hard if you will not allow them to imi­tate something of their Practice.

The Body of this Monster has already been most accurate­ly dissected by skilful hands, and ingenious Lectures read upon every Member, Vein and Muscle of it. If you think there may be something yet in the Belly of this Trojan Horse, that is worthy of your notice, at your command, I shall venture in to search it.

We the Knights: They were influenced (it seems) by one of the other House, in whose Custody this Instrument [Page 10] was found, if he were not rather the crafty Contriver of it. A person so well known, there's no need of any new Character to describe him: How he has play'd fast and loose both with King and Subject, needs no other instance to demonstrate than the shutting up of the Exchequer. Having been at the head of so many Seditious Juncto's, Trayterous Cabals, Councils of State, usurped and Tyrannical Jurisdicti­ons, you may very well conclude, though he hath learn'd the Art of shifting sides, he is not over-stockt with Loyal­ty. If any insolency in his carriage has made him jealous that he is obnoxious to a high displeasure, no wonder the discontents arising from such Reflections, should prompt him to the courses he has taken; 'Tis natural for the wounded Deer to run into the common Herd for shelter. And such is the Spirit of our little Heroe, whatever stands in the way of his Ambition, he'll leave nothing unattempt­ed to remove it. Let Religion sink or swim among the States General, Delenda Carthago is his Motto.

But let's proceed: We the Knights, &c.] This [&c.] is a fatal Character, if we can remember that Et caetera-Oath which made such a hideous noise in the year 40.

Thou art the curled lock of Antichrist;
Rubbish of Babel; for who will not say,
Tongues are confounded in Et caetera?
Who views it well, with the same eye beholds
The old false Serpent in his numerous folds.
The Banes are ask'd, and now the times give way,
Betwixt Smectymnus and Et caetera.

Cleaveland.

[Page 11] Something certainly is involved in the subtile twirl of this Dragons Tayl: If they be True Protestants, in the sense of these Associates, they must be such as Protest against the present Church of England, the Succession of the Crown, and the Brittish Monarchy. Here we have the very Spawn of the Presbyterian fruitfulness, Independents, Ranters Quakers, with the rest of the Fanaticks (which proceed from the Presbyterian, by an equivocal Generati­on,) and without all doubt, are comprehended within the bowels of this prodigious Character, all Schismaticks, Re­bels, Traytors, Regicides, Tyrants and Usurpers, (who, by their own proper Names and Titles, were by no means fit to be dignified or distinguished, in such a Pious and Po­litick Association) were cunningly and closely tyed up toge­ther with those Knights in the Gordian Knot of this &c.

And they say, Finding to the grief of our Hearts, the Popish Priests and Iesuites, with the Papists, and their Adberents and Abettors, have, for several years last past, pursued a most pernitious and Hel­lish Plot, to root out the True Protestant Religion, as a pestilent Heresie, to take away the life of our Gracious King, to subvert our Laws and Liberties, and to set up Arbitrary Power and Popery.

Here we have a Mask of zeal made up of a double pre­tence, Pro and Con, (1.) For The Protestant Religion, with the preservation of the Kings Life, our Laws and Liber­ties. (2.) Against The Popish party, and their Abet­tors.

But that we may not be perpetually bewitcht with these delusions, it has been made apparent by a person of un­questionable knowledge and integrity A short view of the Troubles, [...]. 44. p. 588., ‘That these great pretended Cham­pions for the Protestant Religion, [Page 12] the Laws of the Land, the liberty of the Subject, and priviledges of Parliament, (for these are taken in, too, in this Association) made use of those specious precences, for no other end, than to captivate the People, and by that means get the power of the Sword into their own merciless hands. And (as that Worthy Author expo­stulates) were not there certain Propositions read in their House of Commons, (where this Asso­ciation P. 590. was first spawn'd,) which were found in Mr. Salt­marsh his Trunk, near Hull: First, That all means should be used to keep the King and his People from a sud­den Union. Secondly, To cherish the War, under the no­tion of Popery, as the surest means to engage the People. Thirdly, If the King would not grant their demands, then to root him out of the Royal line, and collate the Crown upon some body else.’

So that they served themselves of Popery for a pretence, and made the Priests and Jesuites but their stalking Horse, while they aim'd at other Game. If the Popish Priests and Jesuites have a Design to retrieve what has been taken from the Pope and that Church that depends upon him, are not these Associators equally intent and zealous to make a spoyl and booty of those Church Revenues which are left? Is not their Religion and keenest zeal fed upon the Church­lands, which they have got into their possession? And why do they stickle so earnestly against the Pope, but to maintain that interest? If you could secure their fears and jea­lousies in this point, assure your self, for the most part of them, their Consciences are not so squeamish, but the Mass would go down with them as easily as the Dire­ctory.

[Page 13] ‘'Tis very well observed, That the Rule for Doctrine, Worship and Discipline in the Church of England, at the Refor­mation, A Vindication of the Pri­mitive Church, p. 275. was at first received with universal joy and approbation, none but Papists opposing it; But some time after, some few discontented men, un­der pretence of zeal against Popery, took the part of the Papists against this Rule; and it is observable (saith that Author) that as one faction grew up and gathered strength, so did the other; that ones right and left hand can hardly grow in evener proportion; so that one would fancy, that either they advanced by some secret Consent, or were nourished from the same common. Stomach; It may be (saith he) from him that Patawicini calls the Sto­mach, as well as the Head of the Church, the Pope.’

Have not these pretended Protestants and Et caetera's been eager (even to Sedition and Blood) to throw down the En­closure, to Repeal those Laws, and subvert that Church-Government which have kept out Popery ever since the Reformation? Have they not given their Emissaries advan­tage by their Projected Toleration and Indulgence, and shelter'd the Priests and Jaesuites (whom they pretend to Associate against) in their own Conventicles: Nay, to come home to the business, have not these men Rivall'd the Papists in their Treasons? Have they not emulated them in their practices of Conspiracy, and taken the Hellish work of Destruction out of their Hands, and subverted both Church and State, while they pretended the Popish party did pursue it?

For, if we put in Fanaticism instead of Popery, and change the Popish Priests and Jesuites, into Presbyterians and Inde­pendents, with their Adherents and Abettars, the design (they set on foot) has not only been, for several years pursued; [Page 14] but effectually performed and really executed, as we very well remember by sad and woful experience. For did they not root out the True Protestant Religion, establisht here by the Authority of pious Princes, as well as the Blood of Holy Martyrs? Did they not take away the Life of our most Gracious King, the most incomparable Prince of Christendome? Did they not subvert our Laws and Li­berties, and set up Arbitrary Power amongst us? All this they did most accursedly accomplish to the astonishment of all Christendome: And yet we have reason to believe, that such of these Associators as were ingaged in it (and perhaps they were not a few) never lookt upon't as such a pernicious and Hellish Plot, nor were toucht with such Remorse and grief of Heart, for that actual Guilt and Notorious Crime, as they pretend to have upon the account of this, which is but their own jealousie and surmise.

That the most prudent and faithful Ministers of State cannot escape their Malicious Insinuations, we are not at all to wonder at: 'Tis the frequent practice of all Male­contents, when they become Seditious: For though it be the Majesty of the Government they aim at, yet they think they can no way wound That, with so much safety, and to so great effect, as through the sides of such Worthy Mini­sters.

To traduce the Duke is the main Design of this Associa­tion. And indeed, if we well observe it, 'tis an unusual strain of Modesty in them, that they do not positively, as well as by implication, impute it to the Devilish Malice, and desire of Revenge in his Royal Highness, that his Ma­jesty is in continual hazard of being Murdered, to make way for his own advancement to the Crown. For they say expressly, That by his Influence, Mercenary forces have been levied, and kept on foot for his secret Designs: [Page 15] Which, it seems, are not so secret but they can, if not penetrate, yet conjecture and imagine them. But as the King is most concerned herein, so hath he best opportunity to examine it and find it out, if there were any truth in't, or colour for it.

Whereas it is suggested, that the levying of those Forces was unaccountable, their Disbanding difficult; and at the Kingdoms great expence: There's not a little Malice coucht in that allegation. To what purpose those Forces were raised, is not unknown to such as have a mind to understand; and the Service which some of them perform'd, was not secret, but in the open Field, and so eminent, that Foreign States and Princes will remember it to their Honour.

But let them ask themselves this question, were Crom­wel's Forces Levied, or kept up, or Disbanded, without the Kingdoms great expence? Or will the Forces design'd by these Associators be raised without money? and will not their Officers and Conductors expect their Pay? and at whose charge must all this be? and how shall they be Disbanded? do they Promise and Vow here, that They will never Separate themselves from this Association, or fail in the prosecution thereof during their lives? And (if they were once in Arms) we might believe them, though they were not engag'd upon such Temporal and Eternal pain as is due to Perjur'd persons.

This Party hath sometimes been very earnest to em­broil his Majesty in a War with the French King, but without any fond or considerable Subsidy to maintain it. To what end this was projected, wise men will judge, but I shall forbear to mention.

[Page 16] But because they cannot to easily embroll his Majesty abroad, they resolve to do it at home. To this effect, several Plots have been set a foot, and they have made their utmost advantage of them. And because the great obstacle (which is their greatest Grievance too) is, The Militia in the Kings hand; They design very dutifully (no doubt) to feize it without his leave, that they may have it once again in their Power, to set up Committees of Publi­cans in every County, to make Delinquents, and then to Tax, Decimate and Sequester, or make them Compound for their own Estates at their pleasure: And what will follow but a High Court of Justice, to bring whom they please, to (what they please to call) Condign punishment, and at last to extinguish (as much as in them lyes) the Royal Family, and the Church of England, root and branch. And this shall be voted the Defence of the Protestant Re­ligion and our Liberties, without our Properties, the Laws and Government, against the encroachments of an Arbitrary Power. Yea, and the Janizaries they employ, shall not wear the name of Mercenary Souldiers, but be rewarded, as Cromwel's were (for their good service) and be honour'd with the Character and Title of English Free­men, and the Godly Party. These are the Priviledges of the Saints.

But we use to say, The Burnt Child dreads the Fire: And I hope this Generous and Manly Nation is not grown too stupid to be taught by Proverbs, nor yet become so infatuated as to forget so fresh and chargeable an experi­ment.

[Page 17] But they take it for granted, 'Tis notorious, that ‘the Po­pish Priests and Jesuits, with the Papists and their Adhe­rents,’ have been highly encouraged by the Countenance and Protection given and procured for them by J. D. of Y. and that He has publickly profess'd and own'd the Popish Religion.

This they peremptorily averr: but it can hardly be ima­gined, that Any free Prince, at this time of day, should be so fast asleep, or ill advised, as to make himself the Pope's Vas­sal, to admit a Supremacy into his Realm paramount to his own; To have his own Royal Authority confronted by the Check of foreign Bulls from Rome, or the Treasure of his Kingdoms exhausted by such Engines of Extortion, as can serve him to no other end, but to endanger, impoverish, and inthrall him.

Consider but the Sense of the Greek Church, who will not brook that pretended Supremacy in the lowest state of their Declination; or the present Posture and Resentments of the French, who seem so weary of the Pope's Inchroach­ments and Usurpation, that they kick and wince, as if they were in pain and Travel, to throw his Holiness out of the Saddle, in those Dominions.

As for his Royal Highness, perhaps he may disdain to have his Integrity questioned by a common Test: many times Great Spirits are irritated by such Attempts, (which are therefore, for the most part, better let alone than put in pra­ctice;) they will not be forced by such Screwed Engines to gratifie their Adversaries with an open profession of that, which notwithstanding, in their Hearts they may most sted­fastly believe.

Yet we cannot take it for a wonder, if his Royal Magna­nimity, and the deep Resentments he has for his Blessed Fa­ther's Sufferings under the bloody hands of seditious Schisma­ticks, will not suffer him to be hector'd by them into an Ap­probation of their Fanatical Delusions.

[Page 18] But his Royal Highness is so well satisfied with the Church of England, as by Law established, that he professeth a great Kindness and Veneration for it, for the very Loyalty remarka­ble in her Religion above all others; and for that Reason, upon all occasions he declares his Readiness to preserve and support it.

Nor have we only his Highness's bare Word or Resoluti­on to relye upon, his eminent Deeds are such a signal Ex­emplification hereof in Scotland, that the Bishops of that Kingdom have made their Profession to my Lords Grace of Canterbury, in these Words;

We should prove very defective in Duty and Gra­titude, if upon this occasion we should forget to ac­knowledge Edenburgh, March 9. 1682. to your Grace how much this poor Church and our Order do owe to his Princely Care and Goodness; that his Majesty and the worthy Bishops of England may from you receive the just Accounts thereof.

Since his Royal Highness's coming to this Kingdom, we find our Case much chang'd to the better, and our Church and Order (which through the cunning and power of their Adversaries, were exposed to extream hazard and contempt) sensibly relieved and rescued; which, next to the watchful Providence of God, (that mercifully superintends his Church) we can ascribe to no­thing so much as to his Royal Highness's gracious owning and vigilant protection of us.

Upon all occasions he gives fresh Instances of his eminent Zeal against the most unreasonable Schism, which by renting, threatens the Subversion of our Church and Religion; and con­cerns himself, as a Patron to us in all our publick, and even personal Interests; so that all men take notice of his signal Kindness to us, and observe that he looks upon the Enemies of the Church, as Adversaries to the Monarchy it self: nor did we ever propose or offer to his Royal Highness any Rational Expedient which might conduce for the Relief or Security of the Church, which he did not readily embrace and effectuate.

[Page 19] If Officers have been named and appointed by his Royal Highness, none can blame it, but such as have an Ambition to get that Power into their own hands. And, if it were lodged in the hands of these Associates, would the hazard of the King's Person, or of our Religion and Government be any whit less, or less apparent? Nay, we have learn'd by sad Experience, that the danger would be greater, if their Ruine would not be inevitable.

But they say, his Highness has created many and great De­pendents upon him, by his bestowing Offices and Preferments both in Church and State. A great Crime doubtless, in a Person that stands in that Relation the D. has to his Majesty. The Church and State would be well served if all Offices and Preferments were at their Disposal, which is that their Ava­rice and Ambition thirst and aim at.

But we hope his Highness has created no Dependents; that is, neither made choice of any Servants for himself, nor recommended any Officers to the King, but such as are ac­cording to the Standard of his Wise and Renowned Grand­father; who adviseth his Son thus:

‘Choose such as come of a true and honest Race, and have not had the house whereof they are de­scended, Basilicon Doron. p. 47. to 49. infected with Falshood; such as come of a good and vertuous kind. For 'tis most cer­tain, that Vertue or Vice will oftentimes with the Here­tage be transferred from the Parents to the Posterity, and run on a Blood, (as the Proverb is) the Sickness of the Mind becoming as kindly to some Races as these Sicknesses of the body that infect in the Seed. The King advises further;

‘See they be of a good Fame and without Blemish, and endued with such honest Qualities as are meet for such Offices as ye ordain them to serve in; that your Judg­ment [Page 18] [...] [Page 19] [...] [Page 20] may be known in employing every Man according to his Gifts.’

‘But here I must not forget to remember, and accord­ing to my Fatherly Authority to charge you, to prefer specially to your Service so many as have truly served me, and are able for it:—trusting and advancing those far­thest whom I found faithfullest.—So shall ye not only be best served, but ye shall kyth your thankful Memo­ry of your Father, and procure the Blessing of these old Servants, in not missing their old Master in you. And as I wish you to kyth your constant Love to­wards them that I loved, so to kyth in the same measure your constant Hatred to them that I hated; I mean, bring not home, nor restore not such as ye find standing banished or fore-faulted by me:—for how can they be true to the Son that were false to the Father?

I hope, that both his Majesty and his Royal Highness may follow this grave and sage Advice in the Choice of their Officers and Dependents, whether design'd to serve in Church or State; and then I am well assured, that few of these Associators will hereafter be Candidates for Court-Preferments.

We shall see the Duke's great Fault at last will be on­ly this, That he is wise and valiant, just and well-beloved, steady to his Word, and faithful to his Adherents; but that which is worst of all in the Opinion of these Asso­ciates, is, That he is Presumptive Heir to the Crown, and will suffer no Republican to pick out the Jewels, or pluck off the Feathers of it. But so long as he has so high an Affection and Respect for the King's Person, and gives Countenance and Encouragement to none but such as are truly loyal and serviceable to his Majesty, I hope 'twill be no Crime in His Royal Highness to make much of such [Page 21] as own and espouse his Hereditary Interest, after the King's Example.

While these men boast of their continual Endeavours to de­liver his Majesty from the Councils and out of the Power of the Duke, they do but upbraid the King (as they did his Father of ever Blessed Memory) of Weakness, as not able to discern what belongs to his own Interest and Safety, nor to distin­guish betwixt his Friends and Enemies.

Under favour, this is but a course Complement to his Majesty; the Wise Man hath taught us a better Lesson; That a Divine Sentence is in the Lips of Prov. 16. 10. the King; (and) his Mouth erreth not in Judgment. Had it not been for this Holy Oracle, we should have been many times surprised at the celebrated Prudence of his Maje­sties Conduct (when the Case has been most diffi­cult) in turning our Disappointments into a Satisfa­ction.

Has not his Wisdom appeared to Admiration, in stem­ming the Tyde, and checking the Waves of Popular Rage and Fury, when they seemed to threaten us with an Inunda­tion? Has he not taken the Seditious in their own Crafti­ness, and made their own Tongues and Pens to fall upon themselves, till they have been glad to take Sanctuary in an Ignoramus Jury?

That Parliaments have been unreasonably Prorogued and Dissolved, is another of their specious Allegations: but herein his Majesty has given such ample Satisfaction, as su­persedes all attempts of the like Nature; For, What can the Man do who cometh after the Eccles. 2. 12. King? He that cannot acquiesce with great Content­ment in such a Gracious Declaration, let him under­stand the Sense of all Loyal Subjects in their solemn Addresses of Thankfulness upon that account. Do they not own it as an undoubted Copy of that Original [Page 22] and transcendent Goodness which the Finger of God has impress'd upon his Royal Bosom? A Declaration so full of Princely Grace and Wisdom, and generally so suitable to their Wishes, that it did but anticipate what of Duty (as well as Interest and Inclination) should have been their own Petition? and that it left them no room, but for the lively Expressions of their Joy and Gratitude? And he that has not joyn'd his Suffrage with his Fellow-Subjects in such a dutiful Acknowledgment, must certainly be a Member of this Society, or a well-Wisher to it.

Though we have as great a Reverence for Parliaments as we ought, yet we cannot but reflect upon't with Grief, that the Composition of those Assemblies have not of late proved so harmonious as the state of Affairs required: which puts me in mind of what the Author of that ingenious Essay upon the Reign of Henry the Third has ob­served, Compendium politicum. pa. 36. of such a Convention of those Times.

Thus (saith he) Parliaments, that were ever be­fore the most infallible Medicine to heal up any Distempers or Malignities, are now grown worse, and almost less desi­rous than the Maladies themselves, since malevolent Humours and factious Spirits did most of all sway in them, and the well composed Tempers had the least share and prevalency in all their Consultations. The Fruits and Effects of their un­limited Session, who were call'd to Parliament in Forty One, we cannot but with bleeding Hearts remember. And what­ever respect they pretend to have for Parliaments, 'tis (as formerly) but to serve their own ends: for, (if they may have their own Will) according to the Project and Design laid in this Association, all Parliaments for the future (as they were once already in my own Memory) will be redu­ced (without a King or a House of Lords) to a select Pack of well-flesh'd Rumpers, to do the Drudgery of their Army.

[Page 23] The Bill of Exclusion and Banishment is so unreasonable, and so absolutely unjust, that we cannot look upon't as a means of the King and Kingdoms Safety. And if the D. be of such a vindictive Spirit as they suggest, nay allow him but the Magnanimity that becomes his Highness, or the com­mon Resentments of Humanity, and the passing such a Bill had been so great and just a Provocation, it must needs have exposed the King's Person to great hazard, and the Kingdom to the lamentable Fate of a Civil War, if not an inevitable Invasion thereupon. And when we reflect upon the Rise and Progress of our late Confusions, (so black and dismal in the Event, and so fresh in Memory) all good men can­not but be deeply sensible of his Majesties great Care and Princely Wisdom, in keeping us from the more dreadful Rage of such a Rupture as the restless Malice of ill men study to promote, whether for the Accomplishment of their own Ambition, or the setting up of their Darling Common­wealth.

Whereas they say, They are persuaded in their Consciences, that the dangers they suggest are so eminent and pressing, that there ought to be no delay of the best means in their power, to secure the Kingdom against them: We comfort our selves, that they are no Prophets, (though 'tis no hard matter to fore-tell what they do project, if it be in their Power to effect it,) and that this is not the first time they have at­tempted very ill things, (if not out of Malice, Ambition, and Design,) to make the best on't, upon the account of an erroneous Conscience.

And whereas they say, They are intrusted to advise and act for the preservation of his Majesty and the Kingdom: We are satisfied, that they are no farther intrusted by the Laws and Loyal Commons of England, than may consist with their Duty and Allegiance; that is, no farther than the King shall please to require their Advice, and allow them to act by [Page 24] his Direction or Consent. Whereupon, the so much Re­nowned Queen Elizabeth commanded the In the 35. of her Reign. 1592. Speaker to tell the (then) House of Commons (thus) in her Majesties Name, It is in me and Townshend's Histo­rical Collect. p. 63. my power to call Parliaments; and it is in my power to end and determine the same; it is in my power to as­sent or dissent to any thing done in Parliament.

Consequently hereunto, though they call this Association the best means that are in their power to secure the Kingdom, we are well assured, that it is not in their Power at all when the King forbids it, and (as Sed tantum pos­sumus quod jure possumus. in Reason and Justice in this Case he may and ought) declares it a Design to subvert both his Prerogative and Government.

For to be plain with you, in this detestable Contrivance which is here recommended under the specious Title of an Association, every man of Sense may observe with half an Eye, what the Hypocrisie and Subtilty of those ill men have projected, to set up themselves, upon the Ruins of the Royal Family, the English Protestant Church and Nation. For,

1. To secure his Majesty's Sacred Person, they'll disband his Guards, and remove his Faithful Ministers.

2. To preserve his Royal State and Dignity, they'll cut off the Succession, and banish his dear and only Brother out of his Dominions.

3. To support his Crown, they'll usurp the Government into their own hands, and turn it into a Military State of Safety.

[Page 25] 4. For the Honour of their Country, they'll subvert that which (to all Loyal Subjects, and in the Estimation of all wise and sober persons) is the happiest Monarchy under Heaven.

5. That out Properties, Laws, and Liberties may be kept inviolable, they'll set up an Arbitrary Power, and some Regiments of Janizaries, to rule over us, and make us Slaves to our Fellow-Subjects.

6. To defend Religion, they'll not consult a Legal and Learned Convocation; but they'll lay aside the decent and distinctive Garment of the Minister, they'll take away the Cross in Baptism, that ancient Badge of Cathollck and Primitive Christianity; they'll abandon kneeling at the Sacrament, with all external Adoration; they'll turn the Reverend Bishops out of the House of Lords, and re­peal those Acts by which Uniformity in the Worship and Service of God, stands established; and so destroy (the Bulwark of the Reformation) the best Protestant Church in Christendom. All which Particulars, here enumerated, are the visible and avowed Designs of this Society and their Association.

To effect all this, they'll wrest the Sword out of the King's hands, and appoint Officers of their own, to levy, discipline, and conduct Forces (how far they'll be Merce­nary we desire not to make experiment) without his Majesty's Consent, and to pursue to Destruction all such as shall oppose them.

And for all this, we have not only their Lives and Fortunes engaged, under their Hands and Seals; but [Page 26] their solemn Promise, Vow, and Protestation in the Pre­sence of Almighty God.

So that here is a Design and Train laid, to act over again the same Scene of Treason and Rebellion which has once already (and within our Memory) turn'd this our flourishing Kingdom into an Aceldama, and smothered the Glory of it in Confusion.

An Association this is, so hypocritical in the Disguise, so devilish in the Design, and so destructive in the Tendency of it, That what Knights or Et Caetera's soever they be, that pretend to give it Countenance (in the Front of it) we are sure it could no more be subscrib'd (or tendered to Subscription) by Subjects that have any Sense or Con­science of their Duty, than assented to by any Prince that has Regard to his own Prerogative, or the Welfare of his People and the Church of God.

In a sad Resentment whereof, we find that all Loyal Subjects do humbly protest their utter Abhorrence of the said Association, with all other Plots, Designs, and Pra­ctices of the like Nature; and we see also, they resolve not only to deprecate them in their Litany, (wherein we beg Deliverance from all Sedition, Privy Conspiracy, and Rebellion) but also to engage their Lives and Fortunes under his Majesty and his Lawful Successors, to suppress them.

'Tis true, as you observe, the pretences of Zeal and Piety (for Religion, King, and Country) are too apt to gratifie the good meaning of some, and to impose upon the weakness of others. And I am not ignorant, that such [Page 27] Insinuations have prevailed so far with many, as to make them ready to submit their Necks to the same Yoke which gall'd us formerly, and to become Slaves a second time to the Designs of Faction, and the Lusts of their Fellow-Subjects.

But when a stupid Insatuation has prevailed with such easie men, to put on the like Chains with their own hands, we esteem it not the least of our happiness, that 'tis still in his Majesty's Power to knock them off, and reprieve us from that Thraldom.

I tell you not my own single Sense, but the Sense of all Loyal and Sober men, that being taught by so late Expe­rience, that such as snatch at the Jewels of the Crown can never think themselves secure of that Booty, till our Pro­perty becomes their Prey too, (as it was in the late Rebel­lion, which began with an Association) we are highly ob­liged to his Majesties Fatherly Care and Tenderness, that he will not more suffer an Arbitrary Power to insult over his Subjects Liberty than to invade his own Prerogative.

And the Sense his Majesty is pleased to express of our sad Affliction or Bondage under the late Tyranny of Hy­pocritical Reformers, gives us an assured Confidence, that so Divine a Clemency (as shines in him) can never delight to hear us groan under the like oppressions.

And His Royal Word to secure us against the Attempts of it in others, as well as against the practice of it in his own Dispensations, is a Supersedeas to all our Doubts and Scruples upon that account.

[Page 28] And having the same Security for the full Fruition of our Religion, in this Church established, (the most steady and inflexible Prop and Bulwark of the Throne, which therefore makes it no less his Majesties Interest than his Obligation and Piety to support it) we cannot conceive it in any Danger unless betray'd by a Latitudinarian Neu­trality, or our own froward Schisms and Dissentions. And we should be secure enough in this point too if we could be timely awakened to consult our own Safety, and unanimously agree to make the known Laws the Standard of our Duty, as his Majesty has graciously re­solved to make them the Rule of his own Government.

After such Agonies as we have conflicted with through the neglect hereof, the concurrent Practise of this Rule would be the best Atonement of our Differences, and the Ensurance of our Concord. This would extinguish all our present Plots, and prevent the Emergency of the like Projects for the future; then the Kingdom would be set­led in Peace, the Church in Order, and all sorts of men become conformable in a due Obedience. Succession would be no more disputed, the Government no more libell'd, Loyalty no more defam'd, nor the Dutiful persecuted by the Tongues or Pens of the Malicious, the Pillow of the Crown would be no longer stuff'd with Thorns, His Majesties Throne would become safe and easie, his Sword victorious, and his Royal Scepter had in Veneration.

And seeing His Majesty has even prevent­ed our most early Addresses, Peruse His Ma­jesties Gracious Declaration. in professing that to be his Royal Will and Resolution, which should have been our Prayer and Op­tion; and having his Sacred Word (published in the [Page 29] face of all Congregations, before the Presence of the Al­mighty) to secure All we can account dear to us; there remains nothing for us to Act but the part of Loyal and Obedient Subjects, to inable His Majesty to triumph in a serene Felicity, maugre the petulant frowardness and treachery of all undermining Factions.

To this end, our Gratitude and bounden Duty puts us under these several Obligations.

1. To abandon those Fears and Jealousies which crafty and Designing-men (whether out of Avarice or Ambi­tion) are wont to suggest and raise, to poyson us with Discontents, and bewitch us into Tumults.

2. To reley upon His Majesties Royal Word, His Prince­ly Wisdom, and Watchful Conduct to protect us in our Persons, in our Laws, in our Religion and Liberties.

3. To assist His Majesty with due Supplies, and the utmost Endeavours that the highest Loyalty and Affecti­on can contribute to make his Reign Glorious.

4. To exalt His Majesties Esteem and Grandeur, that He may still be courted to hold the Balance, and to esta­blish the General Peace of Christendom.

5. To make our Acknowledgments legible in our Pra­ctice, by a Regular and Uniform Obedience, and a hearty Compliance with all emergent Advantages, that may pro­mote his Ease and Royal Satisfaction.

[Page 30] 6. To supplicate on His Majesties behalf, a long Life, and a vigorous Health, and a Divine Assistance; that (for the good of these Nations) the thred of his pre­cious Life, (upon which our Happiness so much de­pends) may be twisted with all the Blessings of Hea­ven and Earth, and drawn out in an even line of Content­ment, to the utmost extent and period.

Amen.

ISA. 8. 12, 13, 14.

Say ye not, A Confederacy, to all them to whom this Peo­ple shall say, A Confederacy; neither fear ye their Fear, nor be afraid.

Sanctisie the Lord of Hosts Himself, and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread;

And he shall be for a Sanctuary.

FINIS.

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