SOME GROUNDS and REASONS FROM THE Law of God, And this NATION, To Manifest the Unlawfulnesse of the Practice of those MAGISTRATES, and Others, who Commit Men to Prison, or Fine them for not Putting Off the Hat, or not Standing Bare before Them, to Convince them of their Errour therein.

And also, To Remove Prejudices, and Stumbling­blocks out of the way of the Honest-Hearted, and to Satisfie All that are Moderate therein.

Cook,

Misera servitus est ubi Lex est incognita aut Vagabonda, &c.

It is a miserable Bondage, where the Law is either Uncertaine or Unknown, &c.

London, Printed for Robert Wilson, at the Black-Spread-Eagle and Wind-mill in Martins l'Grand, 1660.

Some Grounds and Reasons drawn from the Law of God and this Nation, to manifest the Ʋnlawfulness of the Practice of those Magi­strates, and Others; who Commit men to Prison, or Fine them; for not putting off the Hat, &c.

GReat and many have been the Sufferings of the Innocent in all Ages, who could not Conform to the Lusts and Wills of Men, but stood Witnesses against them (on the Lords behalf) for Righteousness Sake, that what is Writ­ten might be fulfilled (in this Age also) viz. That God never left Himself without Witnesse: And therefore have they Suffered most through the abuse of the Law, (for whom the Law was not made) and that saying hath been fulfilled in our dayes; The Ignorance (or Malice) of the Judge, hath Pro­ved the Calamity of the Innocent, and the Zeal with­out Knowledge or Mercy, hath let in Iniquity and Oppression like a Flood.

For where there is no Law, there is no Trans­gression: Now, if there were any Law for the putting off the Hat, it ought to appear by the Common Law, or Statute Law, of England.

If the keeping on the Hat, be an offence against the Common Law, then it must appear so, either amongst the Records of this Nation, or the Judicial Determinations and Conclusions of the Chief Courts of Justice, Consistant with the True Foundation of the Law.

If against the Statute Law, then it must appear so, [Page 4] either amongst the Parliament Rolls, or the Printed Books proceeding from thence.

But that it is an Offence, either against the Com­mon Law, or Statute Law, there is not so much as the least tittle of Law (as ever we could here of) to prove it.

It is said to be done against Good Manners: But Evil Communication, is that which Corrupts Good Manners; & whatsoever is more than Yea, Yea, and Nay, Nay, cometh of evil, saith Christ Jesus the Son of God; and as to Good Manners which you say it is against, produce your Law for such Good Manners, and let us See what it Is, and what it Requires.

It is said to be done against the Ʋsage and Custome of England: Which Reason is not of Force with Wise Men, until it be proved that Custome, because Custome, is a binding Law; which saith Cook, is not; for Evill Customes ought to be abolished; and that Custome which is to be Reckoned a Law, ought to be as saith Cook, From some Re­sonable Cause or Ʋsage. et excerta Causa rationabili Ʋsitata.

It is the Ʋsage, and Custome of England, for Men and Women to Salute one another, and to speak one to ano­ther, and to come into Courts, with Cloakes and Coates, and Gloves and Boots, and yet not an offence to leave them undone, or to come without any of these coverings; for things which are in a mans power to give, or not to give, and what he is content not to receive of others (as such things as these are, take them in the best sense, as they are peculiar to every man, and at his Choice whether he will give them or not) can­not be made Criminal, if he do not give them.

And therefore, as The not putting off the Hat, (no more then any other Garment) is any offence against [Page 5] the Law of this Nation, so neither is it an Offence against the Law of God, or Right Reason.

Not against the Law of God; for there is neither Precept, or President in the Scriptures that makes it so, but the contrary; For David who was a King, not only covered his own Head, but also all the People that were with him covered their Heads, 2 Sam. 15. 30. And Moses the Judge of all Israel (was so far from Comman­ding the head to be uncovered) that he said, uncover not your heads least ye die, (Lev. 10. 6.) which we Instance, to shew that they were not offended at the people for standing covered before them. So it is manifest, that the Rulers, and Judges, in these dayes, that command the contrary, and take Offence if people be Cove­red, are led by another Spirit, [...]an those Ser­vants (of God) were led by, who had learned to be meek, and lowly in heart, as Christ taught (and still teacheth) his Disciples, being the same Yesterday, to Day, and for Ever: Who also said, (and still saith) How can ye Believe, that seek Honour one of another, (Mark that) and not the Honour that comes from God only; and the Apostle that abode in his Doctrine said, He that Respects persons commits sin, 2 Jam. 9. And Mordecai (the Servant of God, an Israelite indeed) durst not (notwithstanding the Kings Command) Bow, and Reve­rence Haman, though he was a Chief Prince, Hester 3. 12.

And let it be Considered by all the POWERS of the EARTH, Whether the same God will not Appear for the Deliverance of the Jewes-inward in these dayes (in scorn called Quakers) whose praise is not of men, but of God, as he did for the Jewes-outward in those dayes.

Not against Right Reason; for man is either Free, or a Servant by Nature, according to the Spirit that Rules, and hath Command in him.

[Page 6]And though a Man refuse to be uncovered, notwith­standing the Judg or Justice of Peace, &c. Commands it, yet this doth not make it an offence; for the Judges, and Justices, are only to put the Laws in being in Execu­tion; so that it is no Contempt to deny to obey their Commands, in a thing, which neither the Law of God, or Right Reason, or this Nation Requires to be done.

This Act of putting off the Hat, hath been in this Nati­on alwaies taken to be an Act of Civill Courtesie, which a man might do or not do, to whom he would, and when he would, and not of Duty; and so the practice of it amongst People of all Sorts, High and Low, Rich and Poor, and in all Places, as well in the High Wayes as elsewhere doth manifest: And it is no other than a meer Voluntary Complement; the Refusall whereof, was never held An Of­fence, till of late Years, & that by some particular Persons.

It's true, that people for the most part stand bare in all Courts of Justice in this Nation; but this is more than is Required by any Law, either of God or Man; for that which is required to be done to Magistrates, is Honour & Obedience; which is sufficiently demonstrated by a Submis­sion to all lawful Commands, & not by any Complement, or Act of Courtesie; neither by putting off the Hat, is true obe­dience, love or hatred known; but rather generally known to give nourishment to dissimulation and hypocricy.

Besides, to Command any Person to put off his Hat (e­specially for a Magistrate to do it himselfe) is absurd; for that is to use it contrary to the end, for which it was made; which is to cover the Head, & to keep it from Cold and Rain, whereby sickness may be prevented; and not to keep it in the hand; & a Wise Man beginneth from the End of a Thing, and weighes every Thing as it is there; as saith Cook, to bring Errours to their First, is to see their Last, &c.

[Page 7]Again, whether the Condition or health of a Mans Na­ture will give him leave to stand bare or not, the Magi­strate is not a Competent Judge; but the party himself: And therefore its against Reason that it should be in the Magi­strates Power, to Command the Hat to be put off by Him, whose Nature cannot bear it; and also it is the same, as to Command Him to put off any of his other Garments; and it also destroyes propriety, which a great Part of the Law is made to preserve, with Magna Charta, and the Peti­tion of Right; which is Destroyed and vacated, if any Judge or Justice may at his pleasure Com­mand our Hats from us, or take them off our Heads without our Consent, either immediately, or by our Re­presentatives.

From all which it is clear, that those Magistrates that Fine and Imprison Innocent Men (who for Conscience sake cannot bow to their Wills by putting off the Hat) they are neither Warranted by the Law of God, Right Reason, or of this Nation; but on the contrary such Actings are meerly Arbitrary, against Reason, and very Absurd; and is an Invasion upon the Liberties of the Free-Men of England, which the Laws aforesaid were made to preserve.

And it is all one to Command our Money-out of our Purses, as our Hats off our Heads, Where­by seve­rall have had their Hats ta­ken away and never restor'd. without our Consent, as aforesaid: And therefore let all (in the Fear of God) consider what they do when they Abuse and Wrong the Innocent; for that, which neither Religion, nor Law re­quireth, least the Lord God reckon that which is done unto them (in this Case) as done unto Him; and he will not hold them Guiltless, who thus Offend the Innocent, neither will he acquit them in the Day, when he shall make Inquisition for the sufferings of his Chosen; [Page 8] but shall give them their Portion with the Rebellious, who say in their hearts, either there is no God, or else we will not have this Man to Rule over us; and so cast his Law behind their backs, and break his Bands asunder: but let not such deceive themselves, God will not be mocked;

For as they measure unto others, even so shall it be measured to them again.

But our desire is, that all might be saved and come to the know­ledge of the Truth, through believing in the Light, and Gift of God; that gives to every Man the Knowledge of His Words and Wayes; that so he might be led out of the Fashions and Customs of the World, and Receive an Inheritance amongst them that are Sanctified with all the Children of Light.

The Scripture speaks of double Honour, Which is due to Them that RULE WELL; Is that double Honour to put off two Hats, or to make two Leggs? or to stand twice as long Bare to such a One, as to him who deserves single Honour? or is it not Highly to Esteem him, and Love him, and this to be Demonstrated by a dilligent Readyness, and Faithfulness to Serve him, and Obey his Just Commands?

Published by us (not to upbraid any, but to reclaim them that are out of the Way) who suffer Imprisonment for the Testi­mony of a Good Conscience, because we cannot Sin against God, in respecting Mens Persons.

  • John Pennyman.
  • Thomas Coveney.
  • Humphrey Woolrich:

ANd herein do we testifie our Subjection and Readiness, to Obey Magistrates and Rulers, in all their Just Commands; and that not for Wrath, but for Conscience sake (though We meet with Suf­ferings and Imprisonments, because we cannot Respect Their Persons, and give Them Flattering Titles, least for so doing, our Maker should take us away, Job. 32. 21, 22.) And therefore, Do we Appear and Yield Obedience, when they Justly Require Ʋs; though others, who are Remisse, and Negligent therein, go Free; and hereby this Scrip­ture is fulfilled, He that departeth from Iniquity makes himself a Prey.

FINIS.

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