THE Samaritan Rebels PERJURED, BY A Covenant of Association: DISCOVERED IN A SERMON PREACH'D At the ASSIZES holden at Northampton, March 30th. 1682.

By JOHN KNIGHT, M. A. late of New-Inn-Hall in Oxford, and now Vicar of Banbury.

Printed for William Thorp Bookseller in Banbury in Ox­fordshire, and are to be Sold by Randal Taylor near Stationers-Hall, London, 1682.

TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE, CHRISTOPHER Lord HATTON, OBRIAN Lord CƲLLEN; The WORSHIPFUL, HARVEY EKINS, Esq High Sheriff of the County of Northampton; And the Right Worshipfull, Sir JOHN EDGERTON, Bart. Foreman, with the Rest of the Baronetts, Knights and Gentlemen of the Grand Inquest, for the Assizes holden at Northampton, March 30th. 1682.

Right Honourable, and Much Honoured,

IF it might be a competent Atonement for my In­flexible Disobedience to your just Commands, I am not only willing to acknowledge my Fault, but I have here publisht my Discourse to evidence my Repentance.

I no sooner, indeed, return'd from my Attendance upon [Page II] your Honourable Assembly, but shameful Reflections upon my Rudeness, dogg'd me to my Home.

'Tis true, your inimitable Indulgence allowed me to Capitulate, when I should have Obey'd: And I had leave to Trye my Discourse by the Judgement of the Right Reverend Bishop of Oxford (an Ordeal I well hoped would have burnt it:) But thô I have some Years lived upon the Excesses of his Charity, and have been surprized with Instances of his Favour, too great for any thing but Heaven to recompence, yet now I found a Censure I did not look for; I found, He had too high an Opinion of your Judgements, to suf­fer or allow me, even to seem to distrust them. And now,

My Lords, and you Right Worshipfull,

Prompted by the Patronage of so much Piety as Mor­tality can pretend to (for such is his) and actuated by so great a sence of Duty, as I am capable of conceiving, the necessity of my begging your Protection is doubly su­perseded. I will be bold therefore to put this Print into your hands, meerly with that design, with which 'twas dictated to your Ears; only to Inform, Convince, or to Confirm. The Argument (I hope) will defend it self, whatever Enemies it may meet to oppose it: That it will find none, I am not so fond to imagine, having already heard the Eccho of their Calumnies; Complements peculiar to some men,Quod scelus perpetrari, cùm de talibus benè audiam? whose kind Resentments of an Honest [Page III] Discourse, are enough to blast its deserved Reputa­tion.

There is a Praise which sheds a disgrace, a villa­nous Commendation, that ruines the Credit it offers to support; as an Encomium upon Religion given by an Atheist, is a mischievous Satyr against all Virtue.

Wherefore, as I can scorn their Flattery, so can I bid defiance to their Envy; having the Felicity of a Fore­head of Flint to obviate those of Brass. But, since the Reverence I had for Truth, and the Awfull regard it influenc't me with, in the composing and speaking this Sermon, as also the Deference made to it by that Ho­nourable and Reverend Assembly it was spoken to: Since I have found all these too thin a shield to defend either my self or it, I will here offer at a justification of both.

My design (it's said) was my own Preferment, not charitable Edification, nor the Glory of God: My Mat­ter and Managery too intolerable to endure the Hear­ing.

As to the First, thô I have ever been a Dissenter from the Doting World, and thought such Shrines too poor for such a Sacrifice as my Conscience, yet I have no provocation to invade the Honour of the Almighty with them, by searching (to find out the Hypocrisie of) their Hearts.

[Page IV]But however, I am glad to hear, that they grow Jea­lous, Religious Loyalty has such Encouragement; for 'tis not long since, things lookt as if That Virtue had been the wrong way to promotion. And had not the Star that directed me been in Heaven, there was a Sun newlyOr rather Setting; For we that are on this side the Line, can behold the Sun in such a Position onely, as that its Rising and Motion is from our Left to the Right Hand; But the Me­dal shews it so, as past the Meridian, and in its De­clension. From whence I collect, That either this Planet of the Gravers was to be supposed to be of an Irregular motion, and un­heavenly, or 'twas design'd for a Foreign Plantation under or beyond the Line, where it might be imagin­ed Rising, and so Adored, (as Carolina or those parts of the World;) or else the Almighty was so con­cerned at the Carvers Blas­phemy, that he thought fit to over-rule the Project, and make the Frame it self the Prognostick of the Idols fall. Risen, whose Votary I might have been, with greater assurance of a Popular Reputation: I mean that Idol lately out in Plate; which presents you with a Sun breaking out of a Cloud (sup­pose it a Cloud of Guilt;) and a mag­nificent City under it, beneath which you read, Laetamur, as if their Dwellings had been but Triumphal Arches Erected to the Honour of the Malevolent Planet, and the very Foundations of their Houses joyfully affected with the Reappearance of their Guardian Deity. Now if this Com­ment be Analogous to the Text, then is it possible for the Metropolis of the Land, to Honour the Genius of a profligate Re­bel, more than they Revere the Lord or his Anointed. And consequently the like­lier Doctrine to have got Preferment, had been the Reverse of this I have here publisht. These Samaritan perjur'd Tribes should have had my Justification, and the Villany I censure, should have been celebrated by my praise.

[Page V]As to the Matter I delivered, here it is, and more; for I was so strictly caution'd against a tedious Dis­course, that I omitted some few Periods, which I have here supplyed; but not a Tittle of that I heard object­ed to, by my Audience. If there be any Errour, it is not malicious; and therefore, as I will gratefully resent Conviction, so by the Charter of Humane Society, I will demand a Pardon. The Truth is, the Enemies I have known to speak against this, or the last Discourse I de­livered in the same place, upon the same Occasion, are such as are desperately guilty, or men that shew you Heads (like those upon Clipt Money) without Letters.

Nor can I conceive there are any so lewd, as to Remonstrate against what I have here said concerning Perjury by a Covenant of Association; but such as have been disciplin'd under the Paedagogy of the Delphick Devil, and therefore are never to be reclaimed by any Dictates from the Oracles of God. Wherefore, as Con­stantine onceSocrat. lib. 1. cap. 7. said to Acesius, the Heretick, Quaere tibi Scalam, & ad Coelum solus ascende; so must I declare, That be the Advocates of Perjury and Rebel­lion what they will, I would not be in Heaven in their Company, except those Impieties were Repented and For­given. And now,

My Lords, &c.

If I have not more trespass'd upon your Honours by [Page VI] an unnecessary Vindication, than I did when I delivered the ensuing Discourse, I am happy above Disturbance. Your acceptance of all I have done, I am loath to que­stion; and your Experienc'd Goodness prompts me further to begg, I may be Reputed,

Right Honourable, Right Worshipfull, AND Much Honoured,
Yours in the Humblest And most Faithfull Obedience, John Knight.
HOS. 10. the former part of Vers. 4.

They have spoken Words, Swearing falsely in making a Covenant.

IT were a disingenuous Reflection upon the Pro­vidence of God, to bewail our Lot, because 'tis fallen in an Age which seems to Answer the2 Tim. 3.1. Characters of the last.

FOR I take it to be as utterly unaccountable, as that the hindmost Vessel should envy that which out­went her, though her Pilot was thereby warn'd of that Rock upon which the foremost Split.

IF therefore the Malignity and Calamity of suc­ceeding Times, be really greater than of those we have overpast, let it be imputed only to their Ini­quity and Folly, who by copying out the Miscar­riages of their Ancestors, Provoke God to make their Lives somewhat more than the Transcript of their Miseries.

FOR thô 't had never been told us, that old Oc­currences (the Sins I mean of the Ages past, and the direful Issues of them) were written for our Cau­tion; yet being register'd, what can they be rec­koned, but as so many Appeals to our Conscien­ces, [Page 2] that we should Improve them to our Safety?

'TIS true indeed, that Corruption is propagated to Posterity, nor is it more natural to Plant our Spe­cies, than to derive upon them the degeneracy of our Natures; But why that (like a River) should swell bigger still the further it runs from its Spring­head, is a Paradox which though now our Won­der, will be at last our Confusion.

FOR thô we carry about us the seeds of our Pa­rents Sins, yet are we furnisht with the Annals of their Sufferings: If Traduction conveys their Lusts to us, yet Tradition Informs us of their Plagues too; and by this means, though their Concupiscences are entail'd, yet 'tis our Priviledge to hear of the Judg­ments they Provoked, that what was the matter of their misery, might be a Motive to our Amendment.

AND indeed, In all Arts and Professions (save that of an Holy and a Vertuous Life) we are sel­dom arrived to a Sagacity to discover, but we be­come careful to Correct the Faults of others.

ONELY Errors of Conscience prevail by Cu­stome, and plead Prescription. The Vices onely and Immoralities of our Progenitors we Exemplifie, their Sins and Failings we Study to Improve, and as if our Interest consisted in keeping up Antipathies to Vertue, we Emulate nothing but to grow worse and worse.

NOR is this the Perverseness onely of a few; Alas! It's Epidemical, and the Contagion's Po­pular.

[Page 3]THE little forsaken Tribe, that dares be Ho­nest, can scarce amount to an exception against the degenerous Universality.

BUT of all Societies, Immanuel's Land (the Is­rael of God) yields the saddest Contemplation.

THAT a People who were Priviledged with the Conduct of the wisest Laws, with the peculiar Patronage of a Gracious God, should yet have every one a Lustful Genius, to whose Government alone they would shew true Allegiance! what Reflection can equally with this amaze us? It gives a Temptati­on to revive that old Heresie, that Iniquity thrives by the fatality of a positive Decree; and Marcion's Blas­phemy (That a Cruel Omnipotence, a Diabolical God, has a peculiar Province,) seems to challenge a Cano­nical Veneration.

AND how harsh soever this charge may sound, yet want I no Instances to make good the Plea.

LET Israel be one (the ten Tribes especially,) who thô they were a People on whom Gods Holy Name was call'd, favoured at that time above all the Sons of men, (Judah alone excepted) yet a­gainst all the Allurements of Divine Love, the Mer­cy of Divine Long-suffering, the Memory of Di­vine Vengeance executed upon their Fathers, and against all fear of it threatned to themselves, did their Iniquities still abound: in short, as if they re­solved to vie Miracles with Omnipotence; Their Stupendious Guilt, with his Astonishing Good­ness. They were no sooner delivered from distress [Page 4] by the true God, but they make their Acknowledg­ments and Offerings to false ones; according to the encrease of their Fruits,Verse the first of this Chap. (v. 1.) they multiplied their Altars and their Gods too; and that they might effe­ctually make themselves the loath'd Objects of Al­mighty Wrath, and of Pagans Scorn, they repeat­ed their Apostacies as oft as they renewed their Vows either with God or man, which is that Abo­mination of which the Prophet here Impleads them, They have spoken words, Swearing falsely in making a Covenant.

FROM which words, had I time, I might raise Discourses of very different Designs: I could take occasion to Treat of Oaths, their Religion, their Nature, Lawfulness, Usefulness and Necessity: I could read a Lecture also upon Perjury, shew its Aggravations, how many ways it may be Com­mitted, and the horrid Consequences that attend its Guilt.

BUT I hope to find my self better Employ­ment, than to haunt our Hereticks with the Truth they fly from.

THO perhaps it were time well spent too, to Vindicate the Lawfulness, and prove the Necessity of an Oath; a Discourse that does it, Arraigns an Herd that's grown formidable to the Government, I mean the Anarchical Anabaptists, and those other Monsters engendred by them; a People that thrive and grow warm by an odd Antiperistasis, even by the coldness of the Magistracy that Lives about [Page 5] them: for if Flattery and Fair words are Arts most used when Fears are just, I have reason to think those Wretches are grown a Terror to our Coun­cils, and our State; or they who have lost the Civi­lity of Men, and abandon'd the Christian Name and Thing, would not have been Complemented un­der the Style of Protestants: But I forbear; nor,

2. SHALL I stay to censure all those Oaths that fill the Air with Vapour, and the Land with Atheism; the Vanity and Debauchery of which Swearing, thô void of Perjury, (which is [...]. Hiero. in Car. Pythag. im­possible) does yet reach the Guilt on't; for the Difference can't be great between Invoking God to attest our Lye, or Patronize our Hypocrisie, and that Insolent contempt of his Sacred Name, which should never be mentioned without Reverence and Dread.

THIS is that Diabetica Passio, by which the Spi­rit of Piety is insensibly exhausted, under which Religion Languishes; that levelling Vice that makes every Peasant a Person of Quality, for whose Cure (thô I know its Simptomes, yet) I yield my self an Incompetent Physitian; and shall therefore pass by that too, and come to Treat of the words ac­cording to their strictest sence and best Construction.

WHICH what it is, I have with care searcht after, and from the disquisition which I have faith­fully made, I will humbly offer you this follow­ing Conjecture, wherein I expect to have more Followers than Leaders, being constrain'd by the [Page 6] force of Reason to follow throughly no one of my Commentators.

WHEREFORE as I will freely acknow­ledge wherein I agree, so I hope to shew cause why I venture to dissent.

AND (First) That the time which the Pro­phet points at when this Covenant was made, was in the conclusion of their last Kings Reign, is ge­nerally allowed; for thô Hosea the Prophet lived in the dayes ofHosea 1.1. Jeroboam the Son of Joash, be­tween whom and their last King Hoshea, there were2 Kings 14.15, 16. ch. five, yet is it a warrantable License to Prophe­sie of things to come in the Preter-Tense, Ob Evi­dentiam & certitudinem summam. (Glassius de verbo canon. 46. Glassius.)

2. THAT this Covenant was a Political one, is agreed on by the most; I am sure by the (Re­puted) best Commentators upon the place: But with whom it was made, their Conjectures differ.

FOR there are those who suppose the Prophet Taxt Israel of Perjury, when they refused to pay Homage to the Assyrian King, after he had long claim'd and received it; the Story to which this referrs, is 2 Kings 17. But this conceit is not on­ly spoyl'd by the silence of that Narrative in the 2 Kings, (forequoted) which sayes nothing of Isra­els making a Covenant with Shalmaneser the Assyrian; as also by the Verse foregoing my Text, (as I shall shew anon) but by the expression of the Text it self: For, they could not be Impleaded so properly of Per­jury for the making, as for the breaking of a Co­venant [Page 7] made; except this Covenant was a Renun­ciatory Instrument of their old Fidelity; but this appears not: For we are no where told the Peo­ple of Israel had sworn any to the Assyrian; and if they had, yet the making a Covenant with him after, and against their first Oath, is Nonsence to suppose; for how unlikely is it, that he (the Assyrian) should be a party with Israel in a Cove­nant against himself? If it be urged that their Swear­ing falsely consisted in their making a Covenant with Shalmaneser, while they had yet a King of their own, and so that Covenant was Perjurious, being a breach of their Fidelity to Hoshea: To this we Re­ply as before, that the Text is silent, and the Opi­nion is inconsistent with the Story, (in the 2 Kings) and with the Context in this Prophesie; for this Covenant provoked a Judgment, of which theVer. 5, 6, 7. of this Ch. As­syrian was the dreadful Executioner, and he might have spared his Siege, had they taken this course to testifie their Subjection.

'TIS true, the Text may be (as it often is) Implicit, and the breaking of a Covenant might be supposed, but where the sence does not of ne­cessity require to be supplyed, I take it to be safest to be ruled by the Letter. Hoshea indeed be­came the(2 Kings 17.3.) Servant of Shalmaneser, and paid him Tribute, which at last he withheld; but I cannot find that Israel either was under Covenant with him, or could be accused of Perjury for their Kings Con­spiracy. But,

[Page 8]2. THERE are others (among whom stand Grotius) who Imagine this Covenant was made with their own King, and afterwards was treacherously broken; but neither to this can I assent: for but just before (v. 3.) the Prophet tells us that Hoshea was the object of the Kingdoms Scorn; nay, by being under Tribute to the Assyrian, his Subjects gave out his Regal Jurisdiction ceased; For now they shall say, We have no King, (These words extorted from them. English Annot. because we feared not the Lord) what then should a King do to us? Their Lan­guage was, Non curamus Oseae Imperia. (Grot.) Sumus perinde ac si Regem non haberemus. (Drusius & Alii.) So that to make a Covenant with a King, of pay­ing Homage and Duty to him, after they had vi­lified him like a Puppet, is scarce to be Imagin'd of such a mutinous sawcy People, as once had slighted the Government ot their God. Moreover, I cannot conceive how natural Liege men should break their Faith by making a Covenant with their natural Liege Lord; for a Covenant so made must be supposed to corroborate, not to violate their Fidelity.

THESE then being hitherto the two current Opinions upon the place, and for the Reasons given neither being now passable, I come (Right Honourable and Reverend!) to suggest my own, and 'tis this.

THAT the Covenant here meant, was the ve­ry thing which according to the Style of our dayes must be call'd an Association; which to Evince, I hum­bly offer you this brief Paraphrase.

[Page 9]THAT Israel was divided, is evident from the Context, and one part siding with their King, in giving Countenance and Toleration to the Wor­ship of God, (and 'twas no more;) the other stuck fast to their Idolatrous Imaginations, and the Rent being made thus, first for Religion, it became im­possible to be united in their political Affairs. The Assyrian took the Cue, improved the occasion, and no sooner came up, but Hoshea became his Servant; whereupon the Factious Band quickly withdrew their Tribute from Hoshea; We have no King, (say they;) He we had can neither Protect nor Harm us; there are enough of us to disown his Prero­gative with Impunity, for in his present circum­stances, What can he do unto us? v. 3.

'TIS true, we are by nature, and we have by Oath bound our selves unto Allegiance, (Grot. in Loc. Uti mo­ris erat;) a thing of ancient custom among us, as Grotius observes; but we have now no way to prove, but to enter upon a solemn Covenant of Association, Swearing to one another our mutual assistance, for our mutual defence, and vowing to assert our Rights and Liberties, in defiance to the Prerogative of our pageant King, as well as to the Title of the Assyrian Usurper.

IN this desperate Pinch, the poor King was forc'd [Page 10] to take desperate measures; He therefore sent to the2 Kings 17.4. Egyptian Monarch to solicit his Allyance; for be­ing denyed the Tribute of his Subjects, he could not make good the Payment to the Assyrian; which when Shalmaneser had plainly Discovered, he pre­sently shut up Hoshea in Prison, and brought Sa­maria into a streight Captivity.

THUS upon comparing this of the Prophet with that Historical Narrative in the 2 Kings, no other sence can I make than this on't; and I only humbly beg that this might prevail, till some bo­dy offers a better to supplant it; which I cannot fear, since the Septuagint Version seems also to fa­vour me: For whereas we say, They have spoken words, Swearing falsely; they thus, [...]: The Prophet (they found) had censured their Traiterous Covenant, and they put it off with a lying pretence, and a false excuse, whichHier. in Loc. St. Je­rom Imagines to be this, viz. They Pleaded for them­selves, that what between their own Kings wants, and the Usurpers demands, (those dura majorum Im­peria,) they were forc't to ingage in a seditious Association.

THE words thus opened, and their genuine Import I am perswaded given; I pass on to pro­secute my further design, pursuant to which I shall hold my self accountable for these three things.

[Page 11]1. TO demonstrate that no Leagues, Cove­nants or Models of Associations can be made or contrived by Subjects among themselves, subse­quent to their Oaths of Fidelity to their King, and intrenching upon his prerogative Rights, with­out flagitious Perjury; yea whether they have sworn Fealty or no, they cannot so Associate without traite­rous Sedition.

2. I shall clearly state, and as clearly reply to all those pretences that Subjects may make to ex­cuse their Perjury.

3. I shall enquire into the preparatory Qualifi­cations which adapt men to, as also the Issue of this sort of Perjury, especially which consists in the violation of Fidelity to the King, and the Obser­vations I shall make hereupon, shall be such as the Context does suggest; and my plainness herein shall supersede my necessity of becoming your Mo­nitor by a particular Application: For though Sa­maria be the Scene, and Israel the Actors in that impious horrid Plot which I am now to censure, yet my Animadversions may with ease be extend­ed to reach all Conspiracies of like complexion: Of these in their order, with that brevity that may bespeak my regard to your Patience, and your Bu­siness.

[Page 12]1. FOR the First, in which Proposition there are two things I may be urged to explain.

1. WHAT I mean by Leagues or Covenants. (2.) What by Prerogative Rights of the Crown, or King.

BY a Covenant then I mean, a plighting of our Fidelity to another in that particular, which is the object matter of our Covenant; and this may be done, (1.) By simple Promise, as if a body of men should gather together, and stipulate their word and truth for the defence and assistance of another or others, with their Lives and Fortunes. Or (2.) By an Adjuration added to the Promise, i. e. by the solemn Intervention of an Oath, which makes God a party, and calls him to attest the In­tegrity of the Promise: now either of these wayes a Covenant made by Subjects among themselves, for mutual defence, exclusive of, or repugnant to that Interest the Magistrate has in them, becomes perjurious.

2. AS for what I mean by the Prerogative Rights of the Crown, our Laws (both of Nature and of the Land) Inform us, and the constant Claims and Customs of the Kings of Israel, would suffer none to be Ignorant of what theirs were: [Page 13] In short, I mean the Homage of our Persons, and the Tribute of our Estates according to the pro­portions which the Laws allott, and the eminent exigencies of the Government do require, of which the Magistrate is the proper Judge. These things premis'd, I thus ratifie my Position, viz. That a Covenant among Subjects, made to the prejudice of those Rights of the Crown, does Ipso facto make them Perjured.

1. BECAUSE their Oath of Fidelity to the King, by which they were preingaged, is viola­ted and broken; for the formality of Perjury con­sisting in theVeniendo con­tra Juramen­tum, Lynw. de Offic. Archipr. Tit. Ignoran­tia. ver. perju­rio. Breach of an Oath; by such a Covenant or Association, that Oath of Fidelity is actually broken, and consequently the Covenant­ing persons Perjured: For that Oath of Fidelity to the King being plainly promissory, we call God to witness these two things:

1. THAT at the same time we swear, we do intend to perform all that we swear to do, or (which is the same thing) we design to hold our selves obliged conscientiously and religiously to do all that we then engage for; so that 'tis necessary, (in order to the taking that Oath in Truth) that our words do agree with our Thoughts.

[Page 14]2. THAT we will to our uttermost endea­vour for the future to fulfillAnd what it is, see in the Oaths of Alle­giance and Su­premacy. what we engaged upon Oath for; and this Obligation is only dis­charged, when our Deeds are congruous and a­greeable to our words. By the first we hold our selves bound to promise all that we intend, and all that we clearly profess: by the second we hold our selves obliged, to do all that upon Oath we promised: According to that of Moses, Numb. 30. 2. If a man Swear an Oath to bind his Soul with a Bond, he shall not break his word, but he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his Mouth.

BUT now this promissory Oath must be actu­ally broken, when we make a Covenant contrary to the Matter, and counter to the Ends on't. I cannot Covenant to disband or dispatch those Guards that Law has made necessary, and Necessity has made lawful for the defence of the Crown, after I have Sworn to assist the King to my power, and give him always the defence of my own Arms. My first Obligation was undoubtedly Religious, and to all lawful purposes eternally Irrevocable: Religious (I say) and Irrevocable, because in Swearing I Invocate God as a Witness to Attest my Truth, and as a Judge to Revenge my False­hood, by which means nothing but Revelation [Page 15] can dissolve the Bond; yea the Oath must prevail against Gods Precepts, when they are not Moral, and our observance of that can warrantably su­persede our Obedience to these; and of thisJoshua 9. Jo­shua's League with the Men of Gibeon is an In­stance unquestionable; for thô he had aV. 24. Com­mand from God to root out them as well as the rest of the Inhabitants of the Land; yet having Sworn to Spare them, (thô his Oath was extort­ed by a subtile false Insinuation from him) he knew his Promise was made to theV. 19. Living God, and therefore to be kept Inviolate, thô Sworn to Men that were Worshippers of the Devil.

NOW if theFor so was Joshua. King of Israel had no power of Revocation, when he swore to protect those whom God had charged him to destroy, yea thô the Gi­beonites were not the men he Intended to swear to; How much better was Hoshea's claim to the de­fence of his Subjects, which they could not deny him, without perfidious Treachery, thô they had never sworn Allegiance to him? For,

2. THE Oath they made unto the King pass'd over to him no new Right to their Allegiance, but the Obligation of their Oath was founded upon his Due. All the Homage we Swear to give the King (or as the Apostle sayes toRom. 13.7. Render to all their Due; as our Saviour also, Luke 20.25. To Caesar the things which be Cae­sar's i. e. The Tribute and Homage due to him as Cae­sar, (the King) which gives him a Right Antecedent to our Oath, be­cause King he is, before we Swear. Render him) is, and was his Natural Right, not Founded in, but de­clared, [Page 16] and corroborated by the Solemnity of an Oath. For otherwise, how could he require, and exact an Oath? This being a portion of that Tri­bute which ratifies his Claim, and doubles the Se­curity of his Title to the rest. Yea, Hence it's ma­nifest, That he has not only a Right to our Ho­mage, but such an One, as makes us from our Birth uncapable of making an Engagement to pass any on't away.

WHEREFORE, when the Supream is not only in Pacto prior, but also, in Jure Solus, in refe­rence to all matters falling under his Prerogatives, the very Attempt of the People to defraud him, by making those Regalities over to other men, or reserving them to themselves, is an Incroachment upon his Right, and a Violation of their Oath.

BY the Oath we swear to defend his Rights, by the Covenant we engage to spoyl them. By the Laws of Nature, the Jews without an Oath, were bound to Assist Hoshea, by the Association they vow to Imploy their Wealth and Weapons only for themselves.

THE Folly of which was as Desperate and Rash, as it was Flagitious and unjust; For if Rei illicitae, nulla sit Obligatio; If whatever is unlawful is held Impossible, the Covenant made to the pre­judice [Page 17] of their Oath, was a Bond only binding toInterdum sce­lus est Fides. Seneca. the guilt and punishment of Perjury, and of no force to oblige them to the thing they promised. For,

3. 'TWAS Impossible the Covenant so made, should obtain any obligatory force, or be made valid by the consent of the King himself. For upon supposition, that Hoshea (for any perswasion) should have quitted his Right to the Defence of his Sub­jects, and by an open Declaration, have bidden them to be onely Faithfull to one another; yet this had been no Absolution from their Allegiance, nor had it given any vertue to their Federal Associa­tion; it being not in the Power of the Prince to evacuate and null their Obligation (by Oath) to Allegiance. The Reason of which seems to be Founded not only in the Formality of the Oath, which makes God concerned in the Bond, and therefore must he be in the Dispensation too; but also in the unalterable Laws of Nature, and on the positive Institutions of God: Unalterable (I say) and no more repealable, than the Jewish Corban could null the Fathers Right to the Childs Obedi­ence; no more than the Parent can give up his parental Jurisdiction, and License his Son in an unnatural Rebellion; no more than the Hus­band (the Woman's Lord) can absolve her after Marriage from her Conjugal Duty, and bid her [Page 18] be disloyal. For (as these Relations, so) that be­tween the Magistrate and the Subject, is the Insti­tution of God; whereby the Soveraign is not only Invested in a Dignity, but obliged to a Duty, and bound to Govern till he has a call from God to relinquish his Dominion; and indeed his Preroga­tives are inseperable from his Person, and not grantable to his Subjects, because of their inca­pacity also to receive them.

THE Lords Anointed cannot Retreat or sink from his Office or his Honour, so as to devolve them on one or more of his natural Subjects, no more than his Oyl (the Emblem of Supremacy) can Subside or Incorporate with the Liquors un­der it. For they were born to Obey, and there­fore he can no more make them Supream, than Reverse their Birth, or make that Oath that was declarative of their Homage, when broken, to be no Perjury.

WHEREFORE that Treachery or Violence which strips the Crown of its Prerogatives, must be such as masters Religion and the Laws of God too, since the King himself neither by his Grace nor for his Pleasure may warrantably put them off. And this holds always true, except the Autho­rity be relinquisht to the next Heir, who is there­fore (I think) capable of receiving the Regali­ties, [Page 19] because his Blood and Birth (bespeaking him somewhat more than a Subject) do naturally qualifie him for the successive Rule: But in this I subscribe to the Oracles of the Laws.

THE Position being thus maintain'd, I shall only stay to reflect upon the Sottishness and Ini­quity of that [...], that Romish Dotard, who by a kind of a religious Errantry, assaults our Kingdom, and undertakes to dissolve the Bonds both of Oaths and Equity, of Justice and Religi­on; and is not this literally to2 Thes. 2.4. exalt himself above all that is call'd God? within whose Omnipotence it lyes not to consecrate the Witchcraft of a Re­bel, to make Perjury to be no Sin, nor the Breach of Lawful possible Oaths to be no Perjury. But to shew you the weakness and the wickedness of his pretence at once, I will clearly evince

THAT any Bull or Instrument of his, which pretends to Absolve any English Subject from his Oath of Allegiance, is,

1. VAIN and Impertinent; for if the Rights of the Crown are Feudatory to, and justly in­vested in him, our Oath of Allegiance to the King is actually void, and can pass no Obliga­tion; and if no Obligation, there's no need of any solemn Absolution; for the Oath it self would [Page 20] bind to nothing but Repentance. But if in Justice what he claims be yet the Kings, as it is most certainly, (for whom the admirableE collatione duarum Pote­statum, egregiè conficitur, Re­giam aequè à Deo institutam fuisse ac spiritu­alem, & soli­dam humanarum rerum admini­strationem illi demandatam. Petr. De Mar. Archiep. Paris. lib. 2. de con­cor. & Imp. c. 2. §. 1. De Marca is an Advocate in this matter) then his pretences to absolve from the Oath, which promises to ren­der them, is,

2. IMPIOUS and unnatural, for no power can take anothers Right without Injustice, nor can any man Absolve me of a Debt, the Creditor to whom 'tis due, denying to quit his claim. But of this enough, for I have neither time for, nor plea­sure in exposing the Nakedness of such a Com­munion, whose Zeal is Cruelty, whose Worship's a Prophanation, and whose Proselytes are in truth the Trophies of the Churches Fraud or Violence, and the wretched Monuments of Apostasie from Religion. 'Tis no Calumny, but this CharacterDe Magistra­tibus Eccles. Lib. Vanit. Scient. cap. 61. Corn. Agrippa, a learned man, and a Friend to some of their very absurdities, has utterly superse­ded by one much Sharper.

COME we now

2. TO examine the pretences that Israel or any other People may take up to Countenance their Perjury, i. e. their entring into a Covenant of As­sociation for mutual defence, against, or without a regard to their Soveraign; and here I confess I ought to rank them together, and shew them in [Page 21] their united force; that if possible they might (like their Doctors and Fautors) be valued for their Numbers, they being very inconsiderable for their Intrinsick worth.

I am in earnest, I have seen and examined mighty Labours in Vindication of Anarchy, Le­velling, Sedition and Rebellion, (thô these per­haps are not ever their Christen-names) and all to­gether they make a Mist thick at some distance, and seemingly impassable, but when you are in't it clears up, and there's no Impediment; but to heave twice at a Mole-hill, would give Suspicion it were weighty: Wherefore since this Discovery has been already my task in this place upon like oc­casion, I will onely touch at no more of that Ar­gument than what may be considered under my third particular; which was,

3. TO inquire into the Original, Progress and Issue of this breaking Fidelity, or this Perjury, by a supervening Covenant. And because the Order undoubtedly, as well as the Mind of the Text is Sacred, I am not to be perswaded that these words have this place in the Prophets reproof with­out a mystery; for they seem to express that consummate Iniquity, to which the Israelites could not arrive, without they had advanced by these four degrees.

[Page 22]1. BY Hypocrisie and Dissimulation, Implyed in these words, Israel is an empty Vine, v. 1. Symachus hisApud Hieron. in Loc. Version, calling it [...], a Vine luxuriant with fruitless branches, is fitly accommodated to this meaning. For its shoots were as forward, its Shade as pleasant, the Shew it made, as plausible, as well might be. God could not visit, but they were all humbled: In Bonds they mourn, look sad and penitent, but after Redemption they are the same. When Calamity has Invaded them, they have howled, but none of their Cryes are from their heart. They Return, but not to me, (says God) Hosea 7.13, 14, 16. They feared God, but no more than was consistent with their2 Kings 17.33. serving Idols. All the pains they were at in matters of Reli­gion, were only to contrive how to put Ironies upon Omniscience. Their whole Religion would be staked down at any time, to serve a Turn or a Lust. Their stated Mortifications, and holy Severities, were but direfull Prognosticks of an af­ter Riot. Their being Jews (they thought) was enough to bear them out, tho' they were Immo­ral below the Heathen: Now when men have got this Art; when they can, as the Cynic said, Vertutis stragula pudefacere, when Vertue is made onely the Midwife to bring Villany to the birth, and the Witchcraft of a Rebellious Itch has brought them to this, even to cloath their Devil in the Pro­phets [Page 23] Mantle, things are fairly a preparing for an Association. For what can men want to ripen all their Mischief, when they have already mockt and despised their God? Turned all his Precepts, and their Piety into Landschape; as if the Dictates of the Sacred Canon had been no more than Di­rections to the Painter: And when, after, God has dress'd, and the Heavens have bedew'd it, their Vine has born nothing but equivocate Fruit; Like the Apples of Sodom, Fair, but Rotten.

2. ANOTHER Step by which they advanc'd to this form'd Sedition, and Rebellious Covenant, was by being an Empty Vine in another sence; Dum Vitis evacuat Israelem, (as a Critick in loc.) The Prophetick Spirit (before he thus arraign'd and condemn'd Israel) had observed a Party among them, who set up as well for open Debauchery and brutish Riots, as another that cherisht Impi­ous Hypocrisie, and a Rebellious one. They were such as perhaps loved the King; and to prevent all suspicion, that they were no Conspirators a­gainst the Crown, they proclaim'd to the World, that they hated Thinking. But these also carried about them the dreadful Symptoms of a publick Ruine: For when Loyalty went no further than the Health, and a Tavern-fierceness was all their Courage; when all their Spirits were such as Wine not Vertue raised, the Nakedness of the Govern­ment [Page 24] was near uncloathing; It being Impossible the Fabrick should be supported, when the Pil­lars Reel'd: For such as loved at least the shew of Religion, must needs hate and scorn them who openly did dishonour it, and hence they commence into distinct Factions, and each applauding himself in the Marks of discrimination from the other, they all made a

3. THIRD Advance, for theirV. 2. Hearts were divided, and theirV. 1. Altars multiplyed; some erected for Sacrifice to Bacchus, others to sober Idols. By this time the Administration of the Government was in the Hands not of Councils but Clubs, Plots in one, and Sots in t' other; these hating them as Rebels and Traitors, and they despising these as Beasts and Ideots.

IN short, the whole Nation was reduced to no­thing but the miserable pieces of a broken People, who were universally Deaf, to all the Charms of Honesty and Reputation; and how could there be hopes that such dishonourable enterprizes should end in Safety?

AND here I cannot omit a Conceit of the Jewish Rabbies, described byComment. in loc. St. Jerome, who do generally Report, that the only Reason, why the Captivity was not brought upon them in the time [Page 25] of their worst Kings Reign, but reserved till Hoshea's dayes, theKings 17.2. best of all their Catalogue, was this, viz. That he was inclined to encou­rage the true Worship of God, and restore again the old (thô the long despised) Professi­on of Religion; but this the People would by no means Brook, whereupon they divided, & statim eum a Rege discutit populus venit Interitus.

BUT be that as it will, in the circumstan­ces the Kingdom then stood, it was impossi­ble to prevent Invasion: For when one (and that a numerous) side, resolved to Licentiate all Religions but the right; (making that Sa­cred thing a Refuge for their Sin, as the Philo­sophers did occult Qualities for their Ignorance) and to that end would Court all Heresies and Factions into their Allyance; and the other, thô Professing well, yet would live a Reproach to the Religion they profess'd: in such a posture of Affairs, God will not, and theMath. 12.26. Devil can­not support a Kingdom upon its Legs: For if Satan be divided against himself, how then shall his Kingdom stand? Whence we may note, that Uni­on of Hearts and Judgments must be of great Importance to the very being of a Christian Common-wealth, when Christ borrowed an Argument to urge it from the oeconomy of the Damn'd.

[Page 26]WELL, upon this division, they who be­fore would scarce venture to shew their Teeth, did now unmask and make bare their Faces, and came openly to Declare

4. THE Nullity of their King, v. 3. Now they shall (or will) say, We have no King: the Pretender is become the Vassal of a Fo­reigner, and his Title is lost, which he can­not hold, we will therefore regard none of his Commands; he is an Innovator in Religi­on, a Betrayer of his Countrey, an Enemy to the Publick; his Title was gotten by Par­ricide and Cruelty, and our Allegiance extort­ed by Force and Necessity; our Counsels are Rejected, our Properties Invaded, our Liberty Destroyed; and shall such a man Reign over us? No, if any, Let it be a King that we may trust, a confiding man that we may all depend on.

NOW after these Pretences made by a People prepared to think them valid, thô they had been more Absurd, they forthwith renounce all Allegiance to the Prince, and solemnly en­gage in a Rebellious Association. And thô these were all their Pretences they had then to urge, (excepting onely their obstinate Will, which [Page 27] was beyond all Argument, and made all the other but pretences) yet these were enough to engage the Faction. They had then none of the Reasons ready, which have been since in Fashion. There was then noTho' the Levity of Greece was such that they shift­ed their first Monarchy for a Government by many, yet that was so natural to them, that the Cretian Boyes could not play without their [...], Mo­narchs to rule each company. Ex Herac. de Polit. Cretens. apud Aelian. State of Venice or Amsterdam to give a President of De­mocratic Confusion, or Aristocratic Ambition: they never pleaded against the Divine right of Monarchy and Kings, for they knew they1 Sam. 8, 5. beg'd one at the Oracle of God; they knew too that 'twas for theProv. 28.2. Iniquity of a Land that many were the Governours thereof; so that if there had been no Sin in any Nation, no Nation would have had more Governours than one, at once Supream, and consequently Government by plurality is not originally from Nature, or from God, but from Iniquity and Transgressi­on, and therefore Monarchy is peculiarly Di­vine. Again, can I believe Israel could remon­strate against their King for Invading of their Rights, after they had so eagerly Solicited they might have a King, even against all their Pre­cautions of the severity of his Rule; and after Samuel had told them what the1 Sam. 8. Jus Regis was, what Inviolable Claim and Title their King had to them? Can we Imagine they thought his different Opinions, his strange Religion, would give them Warrant to seize his Throne; that the Violations of his own Engagements [Page 28] unto them, would justify their resistance against him? No, they knew that if these were per­swasives to Rebellion, the best of Men and Kings would be obnoxious to feel their Arms: for a Libel upon his Fame, or Jealousies fo­mented by Letters to Friends, weekly Intelli­gences, seditious Courants against his Admini­stration, would be enough to Stimulate the People into a Rebellion, thô the Prince wereNumb. 16.1, 2. a Moses, 2 Sam. 15.13. a David, or1 Sam. 8.7. a God: They knew Obedience followed the Paternity, not the Man, and that a morose Parent remain'd a Parent, i. e. Invested still in his Right to Govern, thô his Regiment were Intolerable; they knew the Charter of Subjection was not for Liberty but Obedience; [...]. (Homil. 6. Ad Popu. Antioche­num. Chrysos.) After this rate, could I destroy all the force of those Argu­ments which have been ever since obtruded upon the World. I'le Instance in one more, than which I know no Pretence for an Asso­ciation, more plausible or more rational, and 'tis this: that the Laws of Nature countenance it, when it seems necessary for our self-preservati­on. (Thô I believe this in Samaria had no Foun­dation real, there being no mercenary Forces about the King to strike a Terror into the good People:) Now I would fain ask, whether it be a Law of Nature that men should form [Page 29] an unnatural Conspiracy, onely for fear their Persons may be harm'd? or whether it be more natural for me to go to a Witch for Counsel, rather than trust Omnipotence for my Protecti­on? whether it be Natures Law that I think Ill of my own Head, Conspire against the Breath of my Nostrils, whom I am positively forbid to Curse, even in my Thought? It is a repeat­ed Precept this, of Divine Authority: And if af­ter all it be Natures Law to make me Jealous, Envious, False and Treacherous against my Pa­rent, and my Soveraign, Gods positive Laws are a contradiction to his Laws of Nature; reconcile the Blasphemy then, or abjure the Association.

MUCH such another Weapon have I seen sharpened for Resistance, by a Scotch Philistine, (but no Gyant,) I mean Buchanan, a leading Leaguer: heBuchan. de Jure Regni apud Scotos, p. 50, & 56. sayes, the Primitive Christians shew'd no Resistance, onely because they were too weak to maintain it.

OH the Hypocrisie of the great Apostle of the Gentiles, if this were true! yea, which of all Gods Precepts either Moral or Evangelical could find Observance, if they were designed to oblige such onely as were Incapacitated to break them?

[Page 30]'TIS as if the Prohibition of Adultery had been Dictated to the Sick, and violent Assaults were forbidden only the Bedrid and the Cripple. This indeed gives Indication that their Spirit of Enthusiasm, is that which worketh in the Chil­dren of Disobedience. This shews what Fathers taught these men, for none of the Primitive ones, but would have Scourged their Blasphe­my; and for this, let those who have leisure consult the 5th, 6th, and 7th Homilies of St. Chry­sostome to the People of Antioch; and Tertulli­ans Apologeticks, where they shall find 'twas not Cowardice nor Weakness, but Piety and Cou­rage engaged them to Subjection: and Tertulli­an tells us, that in his dayes the Christian Mar­tyrs, were enough to Conquer all their Tyrants, thô they had used no other Weapons than the Stakes they dyed at.

IN short, such Doctrines rifle the Tombs of Saints, and rob them of their Crowns of Mar­tyrdome, as well as aim at that other Sacriledge of Stripping Kings of their Crowns of Honour. Nor is such Divinity less absurd than the Ro­man Legends; for to reconcile Piety to God, with disloyalty to his Ministers, to Incorporate Perjuries and Seditions with Authentick Canons, is as odd a Conceit as that other Miracle in Masquerade, their Trasubstantiation.

[Page 31]TO conclude, if such Enemies to the Govern­ment had not somewhat more to trust to beside their Arguments, their Cause would vanish; there being no fear of a real Tragedy, when the Actors and the Instruments are all Theatrical.

FOR neither Reason nor Religion give any thing away from the Lord to the Servant; he might Rob him of somewhat, by denying his Obedience, and defending his Guilt by an Asso­ciation; but his Disloyalty must press him with a complicated Guilt, and consequently Subject him under Gods Curses in Proportion: For as it takes rise in Hypocrisie, Hatred, and unnatural Impiety, so it ends in Ruine, Shame, and Capti­vity; and the Rebel Associates are by their Co­venant link't only to Miseries Epidemical; for sayes our Prophet in the last Clause of this Verse, Their Judgment comes up as Hemlock in the Furrows of the Field: Which is such an Issue of Perjury and Sedition we ought to dread, and with all Intention of Devotion deprecate, for the sake of that Prince of Peace, who shed his Blood for us, even Jesus Christ, To whom with God the Father of Mercy, and the Holy Ghost the Spirit of Concord, be all Honour, &c.

FINIS.

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