EIGHT CASES OF Conscience Occasionally Determined BY The late Reverend Father in god, ROBERT SANDERSON, Lord Bishop of LINCOLN.

HEB. XI 4.

He Being Dead, yet speaketh.

LONDON Printed for Henry Brome at the Gun in St Paul's Church Yard 1673

EIGHT CASES OF Conscience: Occasionally Determined BY The late Reverend Father in GOD, ROBERT SANDERSON, Lord Bishop of LINCOLN.

HEB. xi. 4.

He being Dead, yet speaketh.

LONDON: Printed for Henry Brome, Iames Collins and Christopher Wilkinson. 1674.

A LETTER from a Friend concerning the ensuing CASES.


HAving perused the Papers you sent me, I can safely vouch them for Genuine, and not in the least Spurious, by that resem­blance they wear of their Reverend Author; and therefore you need not fear to bring them to the Publick Test, and let them look the Sun in the face.

'Tis true, their first Commission was but short, and long since expired, they being designed only to visit and respectively satisfie some private Friends; yet I cannot see what injury you will offer to his sacred ashes, if, by renewing that, you send them on a little farther Embassie for the common good.

Indeed the least remains of so matchless a Cham­pion, so invincible an Advocate in foro Theologico, like the filings and fragments of Gold, ought not to be lost; and pity the world was not worthy many more of his learned Labours.

[Page]But — Praestat de Carthagine tacere quàm pauca dicere, far be it from me to [...]pinion the wings of his Fame, with any rude Letters of Commendation; or, by way of precarious Pedan­try, to court any man into a belief of his worth, since that were to attempt Iliads after Homer, and spoil a Piece done already to the life by his own Pencil, the works whereof do sufficiently praise him in the gates

All I aim at is, to commend and promote your pious intention, to give the world security, by making these Papers publick, that they shall never hereafter stand in need of any other hand to snatch them out of the fire, a doom (you say) once written upon them.

I have no farther trouble to give you, but to thank you for those excellent Pieces of the same Hand and Stamp (as every Intelligent Reader will easily dis­cern) with which as an accession to this Edition, your Care and Piety hath obliged the Publick: Only again let me bespeak your vigilance over the Press, which by her daily teeming and expertness, or (at least) negligence of the Midwife, is wont of late to spoil good births with monstrous deformities, and unpardonable Errata; so you will avoid a double guilt contracted by some without fear or wit, of abu­sing your critical Reader on the one hand, and your most judiciously exact Writer on the other; and (if that may contribute any thing more) very much gra­tifie the most unworthy of his Admirers.

The Eight Cases Determined.

I. Of the Sabbath
II. Of Marrying with a Recusant
III. Of Unlawful Love
IV. Of a Military Life
V. Of Scandal
VI. Of a Bond taken in the King's Name
VII. Of the Engagement
VIII. Of a Rash Vow


Iohn Hall, R.P.D. Episc. Lond. à Sac. Domestic.


PAge 5. line 7. read not at all, p. 6. l. penult. dele so long as, p. 15. l. 12. r. change, p. 2. l. ult. r. with, p. 23. l. 16. r. she, ibid. l. 22. r. it is, p. 32, l. 4. r. unto, p. 42. l. 24. dele of, p. 43. l. 10. r. married, p. 45. l. 21. r. sayings, ibid. l. 24. r. muta, p. 51. l. 7. r. Premisses. p. 52. l. 9. r. to whom, ibid. l. 25. r. should, p. 53. l. 23. r. with all, p. 56. l. 12. r. haply, p. 57. l. 23. r. herself. ibid. l. ult. r. he, p. 67. l. 3. r. doth but, p. 72. l. 12. r. artis, ibid. l. 17. r. nearer, p. 84. l. 19. r. me­diations, p. 86. l. 11. r. a Prince, ibid. l. 26. after right; add belongeth to him; and another to assume a power that of right, p. 96. l. 23. r. or what means, p. 99. l. 5. for to r. do, p. 106. l. 7. r. whereunto, p. 107. l. ult. dele in, p. 119. l. 13. dele to, p. 120. l. 23. dele the, p. 136. l. 19. r. maketh, p. 137. l. 4. r. parts, p. 141. l. 21. r. voideth, p. 142. l. 6. r. place.

The Case of the Sabbath.
To My very Loving Friend Mr. Tho. Sa. at S. B. Nottingh. March 28. 1634.


WHen by your former Letter, you desired my present Re­solution in two Questions therein proposed concern­ing the Sabbath: although I might not then satisfie your whole desire (being loath to give in my opinion before I had well weighed it) yet that I might not seem al­together to decline the task imposed on me by you, I engaged my self by promise, within short time, to send you what upon further consideration I should conceive thereof. Which promise, so far as my many distractions and occasions would permit, I endeavoured to perform by perusing the Books you sent me, (in the one whereof, I found written on the spare paper with your hand, a Note moving a third Question, about the Name of the Sabbath also;) and by [Page 2] looking up, and reviewing such scattered Notes as I had touching that Subject. But then I met with difficulties so many and great (whereof the more I considered, the more still I found them to encrease) that I saw it would be a long work, and take up far more time then I could spare, to digest and enlarge what seemed needful to be said in the three Questions in such sort as was requisite, to give any tollerable satisfaction either to my self or others. Wherefore I was eftsoons minded to have excused my self by Letter to you, from farther medling with these Que­stions, and to have remitted you over for bet­ter satisfaction to those men, that have both better leisure to go about such a business, and better abilities to go through with it than I have; for to questions of importance, bet­ter nothing be said, than not enough: And the rather was I minded so to do, when I perceived there were rumors spread in these parts, (occasioned, as I verily suppose, by some speeches of your good friend Mr. Tho. A.) as if I were writing a Treatise of the morality of the Sabbath. Which besides that, it might raise an expectation of some great matters which I could in no wise an­swer; it might also expose that little I [Page 3] should have done to the mis-censures of men wedded to their own opinions, if after I had laid mine open, it should have happen­ed in any thing (as in some things like e­nough it would) to have disagreed from theirs. Yet, because by your late kind Let­ter, (wherein, whilst I was slack in making it, you have prevented mine excuse,) I per­ceive the continuance of your former desire; I have therefore since resolved to do some­what, though not so much as I first intended, hoping that you will in friendly manner in­terpret my purpose therein. I have there­fore now sent you but a naked summary of my thoughts concerning the three Questions, abstracted from all those Explanations, Rea­sons, Testimonies of Authors, removals of Objections, and other such Enlargements as might have given further both lustre and strength thereunto.

Howsoever, by what I presently send, you may sufficiently see what my opinion is; which I shall be ready to clear, so far as my understanding will serve, in any particular wherein you shall remain doubtful; and as ready to alter when any man shall instruct me better, if he bring good evidence ei­ther of Reason, or of Scripture-Text for [Page 4] what he affirmeth: The Questions are,

1. Which is the fittest Name where­by to call the day of our Christian weekly-rest? whether the Sabbath, the Lord's-day, or Sunday?

2. What is the meaning of that Prayer appointed to be used in our Church; [Lord have Mercy upon us, and encline, &c.] as it is repeated after, and applied to the words of the fourth Command­ment?

3. Whether it be lawful to use any bodily recreation upon the Lord's-day? and if so, then what kind of Recreations may be used?

I. Concerning the Name Sabbatum, or Sabbath, I thus conceive;

1. That in Scripture, Antiquity, and all Ecclesiastical Writers, it is constantly appro­priated to the day of the Jews Sabbath, or Saturday; and not at all (till of late years) used to signifie our Lord's-day, or Sun­day.

2. That to call Sunday, by the name of the Sabbath-day, (rebus sic stantibus) may for sun­dry respects be allowed in the Christian Church without any great inconveniency: and that therefore men (otherwise sober and [Page 5] moderate) ought not to be censured with too much severity, neither charged with Ju­daism, if sometimes they so speak.

3. That yet for sundry other respects it were perhaps much more expedient, if the word Sabbath (in that notion) were either not all, or else more sparingly used.

II. Concerning the name Dominica, or the Lord's-day:

1. That it was taken up in memory of our Lord Christ's Resurrection, and the great work of our Redemption accomplished therein.

2. That it hath warrant from the Scrip­ture, (Apoc. 1.10.) and hath been of long continued use in the Christian Church, to signifie the first day of the week, or Sun­day.

III. Concerning the name Dies Solis, or Sunday.

1. That it is taken from the courses of the Planets, as the names of the other daies are: the reason whereof is to be learned from Astronomers.

2. That it hath been used generally, and of long time, in most parts of the World.

3. That it is not justly chargeable with Heathenism; and that it proceedeth from [Page 6] much weakness at the least, (if not rather superstition) that some men condemn the use of it, as prophane, heathenish, or unlaw­ful.

IV. Of the fitness of the aforesaid three names compared one with another.

1. That according to the several matter or occasions of speech, each of the three may be fitter in some respect, and more proper to be used than either of the other two; As, viz.

1. The Name Sabbath: when we speak of a time of rest indeterminatè, and in ge­neral, without reference to any particu­lar day: and the other two, when we speak determinately of that day which is observed in the Christian Church. Of which two again.

2. That of the Lord's-day is fitter, in the Theological and Ecclesiastical; and,

3. That of Sunday, in the civil, popu­lar, and common use.

2. Yet so as that none of the three be condemned as utterly unlawful, whatsoever the matter or occasion be, but that every man be left to his Christian liberty herein, so long as so long as superior Authority doth not restrain it. Provided ever, that what [Page 7] he doth herein, he do it without vanity or affectation in himself, or without uncharita­bly judging or despising his Brother that doth otherwise than himself doth.

To the second Question.

V. The words of that Prayer, [Lord have mercy, &c.] repeated after the fourth Commandment, do evidently import, as they do in each of the other ten.

1. An acknowledgment of three things, viz.

1. That the words of that particular Commandment contain in them a Law, whereunto we are subject.

2. That it is our bounden duty to en­deavour with our uttermost power to keep the said Law.

3. That our naughty hearts have (of themselves) no inclination to keep it, un­til God, by the work of his Grace, shall encline them thereunto.

2. A double supplication, viz.

1. For mercy, in respect of the time past, because we have failed of our boun­den duty heretofore.

2. For Grace, in respect of the time [Page 8] to come, that we may perform our duties better hereafter.

VI. But how far forth the words of the fourth Commandment are to be taken as a Law binding Christians, and by what au­thority they have that binding power, is the main difficulty.

For the resolution whereof, it may suf­fice every sober minded Christian, to under­stand the Prayer appointed by the Church, in that meaning which the words do imme­diately import, and without over-curious inquiry into those things that are more dis­putable, to believe these few points follow­ing, which ought to be taken as certain and granted amongst Christians; viz.

1. That no part of the Law delivered by Moses to the Jews, doth bind Christi­ans under the Gospel, as by vertue of that delivery; no, not the ten Command­ments thems [...]lves, but least of all the fourth, which all confess to be (at least) in some part Ceremonial.

2. That the particular determination of the time to the seventh day of the week, was Ceremonial. And so the obli­gation of the fourth Commandment in that respect, (although it were Iuris divi­ni [Page 9] positivi to the Jew, yet) is ceased toge­ther with other legal Ceremonies since the publishing of the Gospel, and bindeth not Christian Consciences.

3. That the substance of the fourth Commandment in the general, (viz. that some certain time should be set apart from secular imployments, to be sancti­fied to an holy rest, for the better attend­ing upon God's publick and solemn wor­ship) is moral and perpetual, and of Divine right, as a branch of the Law of Nature, whereunto Christians under the Gospel are still bound.

4. That de facto, the Lord's-day, or Sunday, is the time appointed to us for that purpose by such sufficient Authority, as we stand bound in Conscience to o­bey: abs (que) hoc, whether that Authority be immediately Divine, or but mediately through the power of the Church.

This is sufficient to regulate the judgment and Conscience of every ordinary Christian; yet is it not unlawful for Scholars (soberly and fairly) to argue and debate a little far­ther matte [...]s which are questionable, for the better finding out of the Truth.

And the points in this Argument that are [Page 10] most in controversy, are these two, viz.

1. Concerning the observation of a weekly Sabbath; whether it be of necessi­ty to keep one day of every seven? And by what right we are tied so to do?

2. Concerning the change of the Jewish Sabbath into the Lord's-day; and by what Authority it was done.

VII. As touching the observation of a weekly Sabbath; there are these three differ­ent opinions, viz.

1. That it is de jure naturali, as a branch properly of the Law of Nature.

2. That it is properly and directly de jure divino positivo; established by God's express positive Ordinance in his Word.

3. That it is meerly de jure humano & Ec­clesiastico; introduced by Authority, and established by the custom and consent of the Catholick Church.

Touching which three opinions, I leave it to the judicious to consider.

1. Whether the last of them might not hap to be of evil consequence, by leaving i [...] in the power of the Church, at her pleasure to change the old proportion of one in se­ven, (which hath continued ever since the daies of Moses) into any other greater o [...] lesser proportion of time?

[Page 11]2. Whether the two former opinions (though they do indeed avoid that incon­venience) do not yet stand upon such weak grounds otherwise, that they are by many degrees more improbable than the third?

3. Whether a fourth opinion going in a middle way, might not be proposed with greater probability, and entertained with better safety than any of the former three? viz. That the keeping holy of one day in seven, is of Divine positive right, taking jus divinum in a large signification: not for that only which is primarily, properly, and di­rectly such, according to the tenor of the second opinion; but including withal that which is Secondarily, Consequently, and Analogically such.

VIII. For the better understanding where­of, we are to consider;

1. That those things are de jure divino in the first and strict sense: which either,

1. Are enjoyned by the express Ordi­nance and Commandment of God in his holy Word; or else,

2. May be deduced there-from by ne­cessary, evident, and demonstrative illa­tion.

In which sense, there are not many things [Page 12] de jure divino under the New Testament.

2. That for a thing to be de jure divino in the latter and larger sense, it sufficeth that it may be by humane Discourse upon rea­sons of Congruity probably deduced from the Word of God, as a thing most con­venient to be observed by all such as desire unfeignedly to order their waies according to God's holy Will.

3. That this kind of Ius divinum may be reasonably discerned by the concurrence of all, or the chiefest of these four things following, viz.

1. A foundation of Equity for the thing in general, either in the Law of Nature, or by vertue of Divine Institu­tion.

2. An Analogie held for the particu­lar determination, with such Laws and directions as were given to the Jewish people in the Old Testament, so far as the reason of Equity holdeth alike.

3. Some probable insinuations thereof in the Scriptures of the New Testament.

4. The continued practise of the Chri­stian Church, so far as the condition of the times in the several Ages thereof would permit. For, Lex currit cum praxi.

[Page 13]4. That all these do in some measure concur for the observation of a weekly Sab­bath; as upon the examination of the seve­ral particulars will easily appear.

IX. This distinction of Ius divinum is to be observed the rather, because it may be of very good use, (if rightly understood and applied.)

1. For cutting off the most material in­stances, which are usually brought by the Romish Party for the maintenance of their unwritten Traditions.

2. For the clearing of some, and the silen­cing of other some Controversies in the Church, which are disputed pro and con with much heat; as, viz. concerning,

1. The Government of the Church by Bishops.

2. The Distinction of Bishops, Priests and Deacons.

3. The Exercise of Ecclesiastical Cen­sures, as Suspension, Excommunication, &c.

4. The Building and Consecrating of Churches for the service of God.

5. The assembling of Synods upon needful occasions, for the maintenance of the Truth, and for the setling of Church Affairs.

[Page 14]6. The forbidding of Marriages to be made within certain degrees of Consan­guinity and A [...]finity.

7. The Baptizing of Infants born of Christian Parents.

8. The maintenance of the Clergy by the Tithes of the people, and sundry o­ther things: none of all which (to my understanding) seem to be de jure divino in that first and proper sense; but yet all (or most) of them to be de jure divino in this latter and larger signification.

3. For the right bounding of the Churches power, that she be neither denied her law­ful liberty in some things, nor yet assume to her self a greater power than of right be­longeth unto her in other some. For,

1. In things that are meerly de jure humano; every particular Church hath power in her self from time to time, to order, and alter them at her pleasure, and may exercise that power when she think­eth fit.

2. Things that are de jure divino in that first sense, the Universal Church may not (and much less then may any particu­lar) at all take upon her to alter, but must observe them inviolably, whatsoever ne­cessities [Page 15] or distresses she be put unto.

3. Things that are de jure divino in this latter sense; every particular Church (but much more the Universal) hath a power to alter in a case of necessity: But the exercise of that Power is so limited to extraordinary cases, that it may not be safe for her at all to exercise it; unless it be for the avoiding of mighty inconve­niences, not otherwise to be avoided.

X. As for the other controversed Point, touching the change of the day, from the last day of the week, or Saturday, (which was the Jews Sabbath) to the first day of the week, or Sunday, which is our Lord's-day: My opinion is, that the observation of the Lord's-day among Christians instead of the Jewish Sabbath,

1. Is not grounded upon any command­ment given by Christ to his Apostles.

2. Nor yet upon any Apostolical Consti­tution given by the Apostles unto the Chur­ches in that behalf. But,

3. That it was taken up by the succeed­ing Church; partly in imitation of some of the Apostles, who used (especially in the Churches of the Gentiles; for in the Chur­ches of Iudea the old Sabbath was still ob­served) [Page 16] to Celebrate their Holy Assemblies upon the first day of the week, in the honour of Christ and his Resurrection; and partly for the avoiding of Judaism, wherewith false Teachers in those first times were ever and anon attempting to enthral the Christian Church.

4. That the observation of the Lord's-day, having been confirmed by so many Con­stitutions both Ecclesiastical and Imperial, and having withal continued with such uni­form consent throughout the whole Christi­an World, for so many Ages ever since the Apostles times; the Church (not to dispute what she may or may not do in plenitudine potestatis, yet) ought not to attempt the al­tering of it to any other day of the week.

To the third Question.

XI. In this matter touching Recreations to be used on the Lords-day, much need not be said, there being little difficulty in it, and His Majesties last Declaration in that behalf having put it past Disputation. I say then,

1. For the Thing. That no man can rea­sonably condemn the moderate use of law­ful [Page 17] Recreations upon the Lord's-day, as sim­ply, and de toto genere unlawful.

2. For the Kind. Albeit there can be no certain rules given herein, (as in most indif­ferent things it cometh to pass) by reason of the infinite variety of [...]rcumstances, to fit with all particular cases, but that still much must be left to private discretion: yet for some directions in this matter, respect would be had in the choice of our Recreations.

1. To the Publick Laws of the State. Such games or sports as are by Law pro­hibited, (though in themselves otherwise lawful) being unlawful to them that are under the obedience of the Law.

2. To the condition of the Person. VValking and discoursing with men of liberal Education, is a pleasant recreati­on; it is no way delightsom to the ruder sort of people, who scarce account any thing a sport which is not loud and boy­sterous.

3. To the effects of the Recreations themselves. Those being the me [...]test to be used, which give the best refreshing to the body, and leave the least impression in the mind. In which respect, Shooting, Leaping, Pitching the Bar, Stool-ball, &c. [Page 18] are rather to be chosen than Dicing, Carding, &c.

3. For the Vse. That men would be ex­horted to use their Recreations and Pastimes upon the Lord's-day in godly and commen­dable sort. For which purpose, amongst others, these cautions following would be remembred.

1. That they be used with great mo­deration (as at all other times, so especi­ally, and much more) upon the Lord's-day.

2. That they be used at seasonable times, not in time of Divine Service, nor at such hours as are appointed by the Master of the house whereunto they be­long, for Private Devotions within his own house. His Majesties Declaration limiteth mens liberty this way, till after Even-song be ended.

3. That they be so used, as that they may rather make men the fitter for God's Service the rest of the day, and for the works of their Vocations the rest of the week, than any way hinder or dis­able them thereunto, by over-wearying the body, or immoderately affecting the mind.

[Page 19]4. That they use them not doubtingly, for whatsoever is not of Faith, is sin. He therefore that is not satisfied in his own judgment, that he may lawfully, and without sin, use bodily recreations on the Lord's-day, ought by all means to forbear the use thereof, lest he should sin against his own Conscience.

5. That they be severer towards themselves than towards other men in the use of their Christian liberty herein, not making their own opinion or practise a rule to their brethren. In this, as in all indifferent things, a wise and charitable man will in godly wisdom deny himself many times the use of that liberty, which in godly charity he dare not deny to his Brother.

The CASE of Marrying with a Recusant.


YOurs of Iuly the 2d. I Yesterday Iuly the 6th. received. In Answer to the Contents whereof (desi [...]ing that my Servi­ces may withal be most humbly presented to my very much Honoured Lord) I return you what my pr [...]sent thoughts are concern­ing the particulars therein proposed. First, for Marrying a Daughter to a professed Pa­pist (considered in Thesi, and as to the point of Lawfulness only) I am so far from think­ing the thing in it self to be simply, and tot [...] genere, unlawful; that I dare not condemn the Marriage of a Christian with a Pagan (much less with any other Christian, of how different Perswasion soever) as simply evil and unlawful, inasmuch as there be Causes imaginable, wherein it may seem not only Lawful, but expedient also, and (as the exi­gence of Circumstances may be supposed) little less than necessary so to inter-marry But since things lawful in the General, and [Page 21] in Thesi, may become (by reason of their in­expediency) unl [...]wful pro hic & nu [...]c, and in Hypothe [...]i to particular persons; and that the expediency or inexpediency of any acti­on to be done, is to be measured by the wor­thiness of the end, the conjuncture of pre­sent Circumstances, and the probability of good or evil consequents and effects, pru­dentially laid together, and weighed one against another; I conceive it altogether un­safe for a Conscienc [...]ous person (especially in a business of so great concernment, as the Marrying of a Child) to proceed upon the General Lawfulness of the thing, with­out due consideration of Circumstances, and other requisites for the warranting of par­ticular Actions. Now, as for the Marriage of a Daughter with one of so different Per­swasion (in point of Religion) as, that they cannot joyn together in the same way of God's Worship, which is the case of a Pro­testant and a Papist, it is very rare to find such a concurrence of Circumstances, as that a man can thence be clearly satisfied in his Judgment (without just cause of doubt­ing the contrary) that it can be expedient to conclude upon such a Marriage; and how dangerous a thing it is to do any thing with­out [Page 22] a doubting Conscience, we may learn from Rom. 14.13.. For the evil consequents pro­bably to ensue upon such Marriages, are so many and great, that the conveniences which men may promise to themselves from the same (if they should answer expectation, as seldom they do to the full) laid in an equal ballance there-against, would not turn the scale; and in one respect the danger is greater to marry with a Papist, than with one of a worse Religion; for that the main Prin­ciple of his Religion, (as a Papist) is more destructive of the comfort of a Conjugal Society, than are the Principles of most Hereticks; yea, than those of Pagans, or Atheists; for holding that there is no Salva­bility but in the Church; and that none is in the Church, but such as acknowledg Sub­jection to the See of Rome; it is not possible, but that the Husband must needs conclude his Wife to be in the state of Damnation, so long as she continueth Protestant: whence one of these two great inconveniences will unavoidably follow; that either he will use all endeavors, engins, and artifices, to draw her to the Church of Rome, (as indeed who can blame him to bring his Wife into a ca­pacity of everlasting Salvation?) the rest­less [Page 23] importunity whereof (together with the ill advantages they of that party can make from the sad Confusions that are amongst us in these times) it will be very hard for one of the weaker [...]ex perpetually to resist; or else in case she stand firm in her Religion against all Assaults and Attempts to the con­trary, whatsoever he may be towards her in outward carriage, he cannot but in his in­most thoughts, pass judgment upon her, as an obstinate and desperate Heretick, and (so living and dying) an accursed and damned Creature. These are sad things both; and it is not conceivable how a Woman so matched should live with any comfort, or ever hope to see a good day, wherein [...]he shall not either be tempted from her Reli­gion, or censured for it; what assurance can she have of his good affections towards her, who is bound not to permit any better opinion of her, than of a Reprobate and Cast-a-way? Is it possible there may be so much good nature in the Husband, as to take off somewhat from that rigidness, which otherwise the Principles of his Religion would bind him to, or so much discretion, sweetness, and obligingness in the Wives demeanor towards him, as to preserve a [Page 24] good measure of Conjugal Affection be­tween them, notwithstanding their different Perswasions: This I say, is possible; and where it happeneth so to be, it rendereth the condition of the Parties so much the less uncomfortable; and that is the utmost of the happiness that is to be hoped for from such Marriages: and I think there cannot be produced ma [...]y examples thereof; yet even there, there cannot be that cordial Affection, and fulness of Complacency (wherein yet the chiefest happiness of Conjugal Society consisteth) that would be, if the same Par­ties (supposed to be of the same Qualifica­tions otherwise) were also of the same Re­ligion. I omit other oeconomical differences, that may, and very frequently do (occasi­onally) arise, betwixt Husband and Wife from this difference in Religion, as concern­ing the Entertainment of Friends, the choice of Servants the education of Children (ve­ry considerable things all) besides sundry others perhaps of less moment; yet such as are apt to breed Discontents and Jea­lousies, and sometimes break out into great Distempers in the Family: Such Marriages therefore I should utterly disswade; espe­cially in the Nobility, Gentry, and Commo­nalty, [Page 25] where there is choise enough other­wise to be had of Persons of equal Degree, Estate, and Education of the same Religion to match withal: Kings and Princes for rea­sons of State, and because there is little choice of Persons of equal Dignity with themselves, are therefore ofte [...]times by a kind of necessity, put upon such Marriages; yet even there, where they are certainly the most excusable, it hath been observed, that such Marriages have proved for the most part unfortunate.

The other Particular proposed in your Letter, is concerning the Mariage of a Daughter to one that profe [...]eth the Protestant Religion, but having had Popish Parents, may be suspected (though he deny it) to be that way inclined. The resolution whereof (as of most other Cases, and Practical Questions) will depend very much upon the consideration of Circumstances, whereunto being altogether a stranger, I am less able to give Judgment in the Case with any certainty; only in or­der to the resolution of the question, these (to my understanding) seem to be the most proper and important Enquiries.

First, whether the Parents of the young Person be living or no, one or both? if both [Page 26] be dead, the Temptations from them (which in such Cases are wont to prevail very much) are by their Death clearly superseded; and then the danger is by so much less: but if either be living, there can be little security of the Sons continuance in the Protestants Be­lief, (notwithstanding his present Profession thereof) when he shall be assaulted with the whole Authority of them, to whom he oweth Reverence.

Secondly, with what degree of Confidence, and with what kind of asseverations he pro­fesseth the one, and denieth the other Religion; for although they out of design put on a coun­terfeit vizor, use all the art they can to dis­semble it; yet very seldom can it be done so cunningly, warily, and constantly, but that at some time or other, the dissimulation will unawares bewray it self to the eye of a cu­rious observer.

Thirdly, what measure of understanding the young Person (who is, you say, of great Abilities for his Age) hath in the Fundamen­tal Articles of the Christian Religion; those I mean, wherein the English and Romish Chur­ches are at agreement, for in those the substance of Christianity consisteth; he that rightly un­derstands those Catholick Truths taught in [Page 27] the Catechisms of both Churches, and con­cerning which all Christendom (in a manner) are at a perfect accord; and then will but suf­fer himself to consider, that the Church of England doth not impose upon the judgments and consciences of her Members, any thing to be believed, or received, as of necessity to Salvation, than what is truly Catholick, and by her Adversaries confessed so to be; and consequently, that the difference betwixt her and the Romish Party, is wholly about those Additionals or Superstructures, which they of the Roman Faith require to be believed, and received with like necessity as the former; but appear to us of this Church respectively, either evidently false, or of doubtful truth, or not of absolute necessity to be believed: I say, who­soever well considereth this, may rest satis­fied in his judgment and conscience, that the Faith taught and professed in the Church of England, is a plain and safe way to lead a Christian Believer to Eternal Salvation, if he withal lead his life and conversation an­swerable thereunto.

To the last particular in your Letter, all the return I have to make, is no more but an humble acknowledgment and sense of his Lordships noble favors towards me, in enter­taining [Page 28] an opinion of me more suitable to his own goodness and ingenuity, than to my merit: I know not, nor desire to know of any occasions likely to draw me into those parts so distant from me (being grown into years, and infirmities, that render me very unfit for long Journeys) unless the business of my Sons Marriage, which occasion'd my late Journey to London, require a second thither in Michaelmas Term. But I am so sensible both of the trouble and charge of such Journeys (besides some inconveniences to my affairs at home, whilst I am long ab­sent) that I will avoid it, unless there be no other remedy: I shall not willingly decline any employment (within my low and nar­row sphere, both of outward condition and parts) wherein my service may be any waies useful, or but acceptable, to that noble and ex­cellent Person: but truly Sir, I conceive there will be little need of my further endeavors, as to that particular expressed in yours, whe­ther what I have written now, give satisfa­ction, or not; there are persons nearer hand, whom I know to be much fitter for an employ­ment of that nature, than my self, who have ever studied Peace more than Controversies; and namely, one at the next door to Hatton-House, [Page 29] whose sufficiency and readiness in that kind is well known to Mr. Geoffery Palmer. Sir, I wish you Happiness, desire your Pray­ers, and rest,

Your Faithful and Humble Servant,


TWO Gentlemen who were very good Friends, and both of them Married, used to converse together familiarly; one of these took a special liking in the company and conver­sation of the others Wife, and she answerably in his; which afterwards proceeded to some degree of Love; which, though ever restrained, and preserved without any violation of Chastity, grew yet in the end to this issue, that they mu­tually vowed either to other; that if happily either of them should at any time be freed from the Bond of Matrimony (either he by the death of his Wife, or she by the death of her Husband) that party so freed should continue afterwards unmarried, and stay for the other, till the other should be freed also, though it were during life: Now so it is, that this Gentlewomans Husband died, and her affections and resolution so alter­ed, that gladly she would Marry, if she might be released of the Engagement of that Vow; or perswaded of the unlawfulness or nullity there­of.

[Page 31] Concerning the present Case, as it is pro­pounded, sundry Points are needful to be resolved, that so we give a right judgment de praeterito, of what is already done for the time past, in respect of the Gentlewomans former promise, and found direction also de futuro, which is further to be done for the time to come, in respect of her present di­stresses.

Point I.

Sect. 1. First of all, It is considerable, whether the promise made by the Gentle­woman and her friend, were properly a Vow or no? so it is called in the proposal of the present Case, and that agreeable to the com­mon use of speech with us here in England, who extend the word [Vow] very far; nei­ther shall I make scruple in the ensuing Dis­course, sometimes to call it so; for Loquen­dum ut Vulgus. But to speak properly, a Vow is a word of a narrower extent than a Pro­mise, every Vow being indeed a Promise, but not every Promise necessarily a Vow; (a)Votum soli Deo fit, sed Promissio po­test fieri etiam Ho­mini. Aquit. 2.2. q. 88.5. ad. 3. Promises may be made indifferently, either to God, or Men; but Promises made to Men are no Vows: [Page 32] wherefore it is usually inserted into the de­finition of a Vow, as a condi­tion (b)Promissio Deo facta est essentia voti, Ibid. essentially requisite thereunto, that it be made un [...]o God alone, insomuch as to make a Vow to any Creature, is interpreta­tive to exalt the Creature into the place of God, and so to make it an Idol, which is clear, not only from the (c)Psal. 76.11. express Precept of God, and the constant (d)Numb. 21.2. Judg. 11.30. 1 Sam. 11.25. examples of godly men, and the usual (e)Judg. 11.36. Psal. 56.11. phrases of the Holy Ghost in the Scriptures; but also from the universal consent of all learned men, both Divines and others, and even of (f)Sponsio quâ ob­ligamur Deo. Cic. 2. Leg. Heathens also: This Gentlewomans promise then being made to the Gen­tleman her Friend alone, as was his also to her, and neither of both to God, is there­fore to be taken for a meer Promise, but no Vow.

Sect. 2. If for more confirmation thereof, she bound her self also by Oath, as it is not unlike, yet it is no more for all that but a meer promise still, and not a Vow; for albeit the very using of an Oath be a calling in of [Page 33] God into a business, and the person that taketh an Oath doth thereby set himself in the pre­sence of God; yet an Oath calleth him in only to be (a)Iurare nihil est aliud quàm Deum Testem invocare. Aq. 2.2. qu. 89.1. ex Aug. de ver. Apost. Serm. R. 28. quod affirmas, si Deo Te­ste promiseris, id te­nendum est, Cic. 3. de Offic. a witness, without any intent to make him a party to the business, whereas in a Vow he is made a party, and not on­ly a witness; whereunto a­gree those forms so frequent in holy Scripture, in Oaths both assertory, and stipula­tory; (b)Gen. 31.50. Judges 11.10. Mal. 2.14. The Lord be wit­ness between us: (c)Rom. 1.9. 1 Thes. 1.5. God is my witness: (d)1 Cor. 1.23. Phil. 1.28. I take God to Record, and the like: for even as when a promise is made unto God, whereunto for the more solemnity, the pre­sence of some men is required as Witnesses, such a Promise is to be held for a Vow, be­cause it is made to God alone, although in the presence of Men: So on the other side, when a Promise is made unto some Man, whereunto for the more assurance, the presence of God is required as a witness, such a Pro­mise is not to be held for a Vow, because it is made unto Man alone, although in the pre­sence of God.

[Page 34] Sect. 3. Nay further, if the Gentlewo­man when she thus engaged her self, did use these very words [I VOW TO GOD] or words to that effect, as we know is often done in solemn Promises between man and man; yet neither is that sufficient to make it properly a Vow; for to judg rightly when question is made concerning any particular promise, whether it be a Vow yea or no; we are not to be guided so much by the forms of speech, (which are subject to change, im­propriety, and many defects) as by the true intention and purpose of the parties, especi­ally the Promiser. Now, what was the whole intent and purpose of these Parties, when they mutually bound themselves in such sort, as in the Case propounded is laid down, no rea­ [...]onable man can be ignorant; even this and no other, to give as good assurance as they could devise, either to other, and to receive the like assurance again, that the thing by them agreed on, and promised, should be faithfully performed; and if either Oaths or Protesta­tions were also used by way of Confirmation, they are all in common intendment to be taken as tending to the self-same purpose, without looking at any further thing; & clearly where the Promiser hath no intention to bind him­self [Page 35] to God, but to Man only, the Promise so made is no Vow, whatsoever formality of words may be used in the making of it.

Sect. 4. Neither is the examination of this Point a curiosity either in it self fruitless, or impertinent to the Case in hand; for albeit, in that which seemeth to be the very main point of all, viz. the power of binding the Con­science, there be no material difference be­tween a Vow, and an ordinary Promise; a law­ful Promise no less binding unto performance, than a lawful Vow; and an unlawful Vow no more binding than an unlawful Promise: yet there is some difference between them, and that of some importance too, in respect of the relaxation of that Bond; for since it belong­eth to him to whom a bond is made, to grant a release thereof: It belongeth therefore to God alone to release the obligation of a Vow; and no man hath power so to do, because the Vower by his Vow, bindeth himself to God, not to Man; whereas the obligation of a meer Promise, wherein the Promiser bind­eth himself but to some Man, may be re­leased by that Man; and a release from him is to the conscience of the Promiser a suffici­ent discharge from the said obligation: which Consideration of what use it will be in the [Page 36] present Case, will in the due place further ap­pear. In the mean time we have evidentl [...] proved, that this Gentlewoman bound he [...] self by Promise only, and not by Vow.

Point II.

Sect. 5. We are next to enquire con­cerning the validity thereof whether or no the Gentle­womanNote: [...]. (a)Rom. 7.2. having an Hus­band at that time, were so disabled in that re­spect from making such a promise, that the promise then made by her, without the Hus­bands consent, was utterly void from the very beginning: For the Wife is under (b)Rom. 7 2. the Law, and (c)1 Cor. 7.4. under the power of her Hus­band, and so is not sui juris, nor can bind he [...] self by Vow, Oath, Promise, or otherwise without the privity and consent of her Hus­band; which consent we may presume this Gentlewoman never had, the promise being of that nature, that it had been not only im­modesty, but even madness, at all to have sought it. And it is certain [...] from the (d)Numb. 30.3. Law of God, by Moses (to the equity [Page 37] whereof Christians are still bound, because it's founded upon right Reason, and the light of Nature) that every Vow and Promise made by a person that of right hath not power to make it, is de jure nullum, altogether void from the first instant, and bindeth the Party no more than if it never had been made.

Sect. 6. If any Scruple shall arise from this Consideration, that albeit the promise made by the Wife in her Husbands life-time, bind her, not without his consent, so long as he liveth, because she is all that while under his power; yet after that she is loosed from the law of her Husband, by his death, it shall thenceforth bind her, because she then be­cometh sui juris: I say, this maketh no dif­ference at all in the Case; for this is a ge­neral Rule, that what (b)Quod initio vitiosum est, non potest tractu tempo­ris convalescere, L. 29. F. de Div. Reg. ju. act soever had a nullity in it at the first, when it was done, can­not by any succeeding tract of time grow to be of force. As if a young Scholar shall be instituted to a Benefice, being not of lawful years; or a young Heir make a sale of his Lands during minority, the in­stitution and the sale, as they were both void at the beginning, so they shall continue void, [Page 38] as well after the Clerk is of lawful years, and the Heir at full age, as before; so that to judg of the validity of any Vow, Promise, or Covenant, respect must be had to (c)In stipulationibus id tempus spectatur quo con­trahimus. L. 18, F. eodem. that very time wherein it was made, and to the pre­sent condition of the person at that time, and not to any time or condition before or after: If then there were indeed a nullity in this Gen­tlewomans Vow, at the time when she made it, there is a nullity in it still; and if it were indeed of no force to bind her then, neither is it of any force to bind her now.

Sect. 7. But after due pondering of the matter, I rather think, that there was not a nullity in the promise at the first, neither (sup­posing it had been rightly qualified in other, respects) was it void upon this ground; be­cause although she were not sui juris absolutè, it is sufficient yet, that she was so quantum ad hoc. For a person that is under the power of another, hath yet power of himself, (and so is sui juris) to dispose of all such things, as by the free disposal whereof, the proper right of him, under whose power he is, is no way pre­judiced; but in whatsoever may be prejudi­cial to the other in any of his Rights, he is [Page 39] juris alieni: neither may dispose thereof with­out the others consent; and if such a person shall make a Vow, or other Promise concern­ing any of those things wherein he is sui juris, such vow or promise shall stand good, and is not void (though possibly it may be vitious in other respects) from the inability of the person that maketh it: As for example, if a Servant shall promise to his own Father, to work with him a day or two in Harvest, this promise, unless his Master consent thereunto, shall be void, because the Master hath a right in the Servants wo [...]k, to which right it would be prejudicial, if the Servant should dispose thereof after his own pleasure; but if such a Servant shall promise unto his needy Father to relieve him from time to time with a third or fourth part of all such wages as he shall re­ceive for his service, this promise shall be good of it self; neither shall the Masters consent be requisite to make it so, because the Master hath no right at all in the Servants wages; wherein to be prejudiced by the Servants disposing thereof according to his own mind: Now, forasmuch as the Husbands right and power over the Wife ceaseth together with his life, (as the Apostle (a)Rom. 7.23. expresly teacheth) and so [Page 40] cannot be prejudiced by any act of the Wife done after his Decease; It is manifest that the Wife is sui juris to make a vow or pro­mise during her Husbands life-time, concern­ing something to be done after his decease, in case she over-live him, because his right will be expired before the performance of the said vow or promise be due; as to give instance in a Case not much unlike to this in que­stion: A Wife estated upon her Marriage in a Ioynture or Annuity for her life of an 100 l. per Annum, maketh a promise in her Husbands life-time to one of her younger Brothers, that hath but short Means to allow him thence forward out of the said Estate, 10 l. yearly toward his better Maintenance; this promise is void unless the Husband consent, because the performance thereof would prejudice him in that right which he hath during his own life in the Revenue of all the Lands and Annuities estated upon the Wife in Rever­sion; but if such a Wife shall promise to her said Brother to allow him the said year­ly sum of 10 l. after the decease of her Husband, in case she survive him, this pro­mise is good, though made by the Wife in her Husbands life-time, and without his con­sent, because the Husbands right, (being to [Page 41] cease before the Promise is to be performed) cannot be prejudiced by the performance thereof: And this I find agreeable to the best Casuists, whose peremp­tory opinion it is, that (b)Vota uxorum vel serv [...]rum exe­quenda illo tempore quo fuerint sui juris, mariti vel domini non possunt irritare. Nav. Man. Num. 65. & alios. Husbands and Masters can­not disannul such Vows as their Wives and Servants make concerning things to be performed at such times as they shall be from under their power. Which posi­tion, if it be true (and I yet see no reason why it should not) then doubtless this Gen­tlewomans Vow made to her Friend, though in the life-time, and without the consent of her Husband, was not originally void from the inability to make it, upon this respect, that she was not sui juris so to do.

Point III.

Sect. 8. But though I dare not say, nei­ther do I think that there was a nullity in it, in respect of the person, to make it void that way; yet it cannot be denied, but there was much obliquity in it, in respect of the matter, to make it otherwise utterly unlaw­ful: in which Point much need not be said, [Page 42] because the truth thereof will soon appear; for there was in it manifestly a threefold ob­liquity, and thereby also a breach of three se­veral Commandments. The first obliquity was in respect of the unlawful affection from which it proceeded; which being placed upon another than the Husband, and that in such an high degree, as to produce a promise of this kind, must needs be vitious, both for the object, and for the measure, and such in­ordinate affection by the Ana­logy of our Saviours (a)Mat. 5.28. ex­pression of the Law, is a viola­tion of the Chastity of the heart, and so a breach of the Seventh Commandment. The second obliquity was, the want of that true Conjugal love which ought to be between Husband and Wife, who ought to have a mutual (b)Prov. 5.18. Eccles. 9.9. complacency and delight the one in the other, and to be (c)Prov. 5.19. satisfied at all times with the Love,. Comfort, and Society of the one of the other; which Love, if it had been so throughly rooted and seated in the Gentlewomans heart, as it ought to have been, would have crushed all motions of unlawful affection towards [Page 43] a Stranger in the shell, long before they could grow to such strong Resolutions, as by the making of this Vow it appeareth they did; for it is not to be imagined that such a vow as this could be made, and really inten­ded to be performed, but we must needs sup­pose in the parties so vowing, a kind of weari­ness at the least, if not rather some inward loathing of the present Yoak; which being contrary to that honour that martyred per­sons owe to their yoak-fellows, is so a breach of the Fifth Commandment: A third ob­liquity there was also as a breach of the Tenth Commandment, against those express words [Thou shalt not covet thy Neighbours Wife] every Man and Woman being to con­tent themselves with that lot, which, by Gods Providence hath befallen them, as in all other things, so especially in that which is of the greatest weight, the lot of Marriage, with­out coveting or lusting after that which it hath pleased the Wisdom of God already to dispose upon another; this Gentlewo­mans promise then being such, as (if it should be brought to an impartial Trial be­fore that Tribunal which God hath erected in every ones Conscience, and according to the tenor of that Divine Law, whereof no [Page 44] Christian should be ignorant) could not be reasonably acquitted from any one of these sinful Obliquities, but not possibly from them all, we may conclude to have been an Act utterly unlawful.

Point IV.

Sect. 9. But because a Man may contract an Obligation by an act not free from Obli­quit [...], as the saying in such Cases is, [Fieri non debet, factum valet,] and we have a Ruled case for it in the Covenant, which the Princes of Israel made with the Gibeonites, which though (b)Josh. 9.14, &c. sinfully made at the first, was (c)Ibid. ver. 19. 2 Sam. 21.1, 2. necessarily to be kept afterwards: We are therefore to enquire into a Fourth Point, Whether the Gentlewoman having de facto bound her self by such an unlawful promise, be still, by virtue of the said promise, bound in Conscience to the performance thereof, or not? To answer directly to the Point, I take it, she is not bound thereunto; for that saying [Fieri non debet, factum valet] hath place only there, where the obliquity that maketh the act unlawful, may be severed from the substance of the matter, about which the act [Page 45] is conversant; as when a man voweth to do something, which is not in it self, and for the substance of the matter simply unlawful to be done; but yet voweth it, either rashly, and without due advertisement, or for some indirect and unwarrantable end, or upon slight and insufficient inducements, or the like, any of these Obliquities are enough to make the vow unlawful, in respect of the act of vowing; yet because these Obliquities do not necessarily pass upon the matter it self, or the thing vowed, but may be severed from it; therefore, though the act of vowing were sinful, the Vow it self for all that may stand good, and bind the Party to performance; but where the sinful obliquity passeth upon the substance of the matter, or adhereth insepa­rably thereunto; there not only the act of vowing is sinful, but the performance also be­cometh unlawful: In which Cases those other saying ought rather to have place, Iu­ramentum non debet esse vinculum iniquitatis, in malis promissis rescinde fidem, in turpi vo­to ma [...]a decretum, &c.

Sect. 10. If it shall be said, that this dif­ference being admitted, will nothing avail the Gentlewoman in our present Case, to free her from the obligation of her said pro­mise; [Page 46] because here the matter of promise seemeth not to be in it self unlawful, espe­cially on her part; for if the Gentleman her Friend, were presently free from the Bond of Matrimony by the death of his Wife, as the Gentlewoman now is by the death of her Husband, they might perform what they had promised either to other, by joyning themselves in Matrimony, and that without sin, which is an argument that the sinful obliquity was only in the act of promi­sing; which therefore they ought to repent of: but doth not cleave to the matter of the promise, which therefore they ought not to violate. To this I answer, what in my opi­nion is true, That if both the Parties were now actually free from the Marriage bond, they not only lawfully might, but were in Conscience bound (unless some other law­ful impediment should hinder) to joyn themselves together in Matrimony, because none of the fore-mentioned Obliquities, which made the former act of promising unlawful, would fall upon the after-act of Marriage to make it unlawful. But that Alle­gation is not direct to the Point in hand, nor to the Case as it is propounded; for it may be observed from the very form of the pro­posal, [Page 47] that the matter of the promise, where­in the Parties interchangeably bound them­selves, was not to Marry together, when they should be both free; upon which false ground the Objection runneth; that was in­deed the thing they aimed at therein; but the end is one thing, and the matter another: but the very matter of the promise was, the continuance of their mutual affection either to other, with a resolution to stay the one for the other, when either Party should hap­pen to be free from the bond of the pre­sent Matrimony, till the other should be al­so free. The continuance of which affection and resolution, will upon examination be found subject to all, or some of the three Ob­liquities aforesaid; and therefore as such an affection and resolution, could not be enter­tained at the first without sin; so neither can they be now continued in without sin; for so long as they continue, the first of the said Obliquities remaineth still, both on his part and hers; the second indeed by the death of the Husband is ceased on her part, but re­maineth still on his, and the third contrarily being on his part ceased, remaineth still on hers, as will evidently appear to the under­standing of any man that shall take the pains to examine it.

[Page 48] Sect. 11. Yea, and it is further to be considered, that the continuance of such an affection and resolution may be likely to ex­pose a well the one as the other to the as­sault [...]f more strong and dangerous temp­tatio [...]s, now since the Husbands death, than bef [...]re. The danger on the Gentlemans pa [...], this, lest by how much he is now by the Hu [...]bands death, put into a nearer possibility of enjoying his unlawful hopes, he should grow into so much the deeper loathing of hi [...] own bed, and so much the earnester long­ing that, that which is now the only obstacle to the fruition of his desires were removed; of which thoughts, who can tell how fear­ful the issues might be? the sly Enemy being most ready at all times to practise upon the corruption that is in the naughty heart of Man; but especially having a mighty advantage against him, when he hath got his conscience as it were in a snare, by the engagement of some vow, promise, or setled resolution. And then on the Gentlewomans part, the danger this, lest having by her own voluntary act de­barr'd her self of that which is the only al­lowed remedy, namely Marriage; she should by the just judgment of God, be left to the rage of the Disease of burning Lusts: [Page 49] for upon what sound warrant can she be con­fident, or with what reason expect, that God should either preserve her from, or assist her against temptations in that kind, though she should seek it of him with Fasting, and Prayers, and Tears, so long as she tempteth Him by persisting in a wilful obstinacy a­gainst that means of Remedy which He hath appointed? Indeed, where the Hand of God Himself hath prevented the use of the Remedy, (as if the Husband should be long detained in a forein Land, or held in close Prison, or taken with a dead Palsie, or some other bodily impotence, or the like) there the Wife might comfortably implore God's assistance to preserve her from being overcome by carnal temptations, and assu­redly rest upon it by Faith, if she be not wanting to her self, in putting to her own ut­most endeavors, because she hath a Promise to rest upon for that purpose; and God who is faithful in all his Promises, is also faithful in this, of not suffering his Servants to be tempted beyond their strength: but for the Wife, by some inconsiderate act of her own, wherein she wilfully and obstinately persisteth to refuse the appointed means, and yet to expect God's assistance nevertheless, [Page 50] for which she hath no Promise, is a fearful tempting of God; and it is but a just thing with God, and she suffereth it worthily for her presumption, if she be left to her self, and so wrestle with the temptation by her own strength, and so be overcome thereby: For God, who hath after a sort tied Him­self by His free and gracious Promise, to protect us in Via Regia, so long as we walk in the ordinary known way that he hath ap­pointed for us, hath no where bound Him­self to vouchsafe us the like powerful pro­tection Ex [...]ra viam Regiam, if we refuse that high-way, to walk in by-paths of our own choosing; which present dangers on both sides, and the former reasons laid together, do suffici [...]ntly prove, that the Gentlewoman is not at all bound to perform her [...]aid un­law [...]ul Promise.

Point V.

Sect. 12. Hitherto we have proceeded in genere judiciali, by considering of the na­ture and validity, lawfulness and obligation of the P [...]omise for the time past: Now we are to deal in genere deliberativo, and to con­sider what in Christian Wisdom is meetest to [Page 51] be farther done, for the better both quieting and regulating of the Conscience for the time to come; wherein, submitting to Men of better judgments, and experience, I give my advice as followeth, viz.

First, That the Gentlewoman out of the serious consideration of the Promises, be brought to a through feeling of the grie­vousness of those sins which she hath com­mitted against God, and wherein she hath so long continued, that so she may not only be humbled in his sight with true contrition of heart, and remorse for the same, propor­tionably to the greatness thereof; but also be provoked to a proportionable measure of thankfulness unto him, for his gracious goodness in restraining her unlawful affecti­ons from breaking out into actual unclean­ness, and preserving her when she had run out so far in an evil way, from rushing into more desperate Extremities; for Erranti nullus terminus: as a stone that tumbleth down a steep hill, so mans corruption, when it is once set on going, hath no stay of it self till it come to the bottom of Hell, un­less the Lord lay a stop in the way: and it is to be acknowledged a blessed act of God's merciful Providence, when we have let loose [Page 52] the reins to our own lusts in any kind, if they be bridled from running headlong into all excess of wickedness; great sins require more than ordinary Repentance, and great mercies more than ordinary Thankfulness.

Sect. 13. Secondly, That having thus hum­bled her self before God by inward Contri­tion, she also make an outward free Confes­sion of her said sins, to him whom God hath delegated a Ministerial Power to remit sins, that she may receive Comfort and Absolu­tion from his Mouth; I mean the Priest: and this I think meetest to be done to the Bishop of the Diocess, with one or more of his Presbytery, such as he shall think good to take to him to assist him; or else to some other by his appointment; because the Bishop is the chief Pastor, to whom the care of souls most immediately belongeth, within his own Diocess: besides that, both the quality of the person, (if she be of emi­nent Plac [...], and Rank) and the weightiness of the case, make it so much the more pro­per for his cognisance: But howsoever it would be done to a Man of approved Wis­dom, and such an one as will be both com­passionate, and secret, wherein the more freely she shall make confession of her said [Page 53] sins, and the more chearfully she shall sub­ject her self to perform such further Acts, whether of Humiliation or Charity, as the Bishop or Priest shall advise to be done, in testimony of her unfeigned Repentance, the more sound comfort undoubtedly will the sentence of Absolution bring unto the soul.

Sect. 14. This done, then thirdly, that she endeavor by all fair means, that the Gen­tleman also her friend and partner, in the aforesaid Promise, may be brought to the like sight and acknowledgment of the great sins that were enwrapped in that act, and to a true perswasion withal, that so long as he continueth in the former unlawful affection and resolution, he is not only still under the guilt of those sins, but also in near danger (without God's great mercy preventing it) of falling into other and greater sins, for which purpose it will be expedient, that he be truly and effectually dealt withal, (yet with as much lenity as the state of his Soul will suffer, and withall possible secresie) and that by some such person especially as he holdeth a reverend Opinion of both for Learning and Piety; and to procure that this be done, the Gentlewoman ought to take it into her own especial care; which it [Page 54] will concern her to do, not only in Christian Charity for the good of his Soul, but in Christian Wisdom also for her own future be­nefit and security.

Sect. 15. For when he shall be once throughly convinced in his judgment and conscience, of the unlawfulness of the Pro­mise made between them, and of the sin­ful inconveniences that attend the continued purpose of fulfilling it, there is a fair way open for that which is next & fourthly to be done, viz. That he be then earnestly moved for his Relaxation of the said Promise to the Gentlewoman, which (being it was but a meer Promise, and no Vow, as in the first Point hath already been shewed) he hath in him­self a full power to make, and this also to be done in the presence of such Persons, as they shall make choice of betwixt themselves to be witnesses of the said Release; for although the Promise being utterly unlawful, hath no power to bind, and so there needeth no Re­lease, as of absolute necessity, in reward of the thing it self; yet such Release may be very behoveful in regard of the Gentlewo­mans person, and for the quieting of her conscience, in case there should remain any fears or scruples behind, lest perhaps her [Page 55] promise should still bind her; for as Satan la­boureth to benum the Conscience with security, to make men bold to commit sins without scruple, till he has drawn them into the snare; so when he seeth them offer to get out of the snare again by Repentance, he is very cunning to inject needless scruples and fears, if possibly he can, to hold them in by means thereof; wherefore I hold it very expedient, that such a Release, if it may be obtained, be not neglected; for thereby the binding power of the Promise, though we should suppose it lawful, should be quite taken away, so as there need no scruple to remain: Abundans Cautela non nocet, is a safe Aphorism; as wary men when they pay mo­neys, besides seeing the Book crost, will crave to have an Acquittance: So it may be some satisfaction to the Gentlewomans mind, to have a solemn Release before witness, which say it should be more than needeth, yet can do no harm howsoever.

Sect. 16. Fifthly, that the Gentlewoman all the while before, and so ever after (that time only excepted, when the Relaxation should be made, for then it is requisite she should be personally present) carefully avoid the company of that Gentleman, and he [Page 56] likewise hers, so far as conveniently may be; but at leastwise, by no means converse toge­ther with any familiarity, especially in pri­vate; lest the former unlawful affection should rekindle in either Party, and so the disease after some measure of Cure grow to a re­laps, which many times proves more dan­gerous than the first malady; for commonly when the unclean spirit is ejected by Repen­tance, if once he make himself master of the heart again (as he will attempt it, and without a good watch happily effect it) he will be sure at the re-entry, to come with a new strength, and that seven-fold to what he had before, and needs must the end of that man be worse than the beginning: she must therefore resolve to shun all likely occasions of falling again into the same snare, so far as the quality of her person and condition, and the common affairs of life will permit: And she had need also to use her best care and diligence (praying to God daily for Grace to strengthen her thereunto) to with­stand all wicked temptations of the flesh, that she be no more foiled thereby, neither en­tangled again in such sinful inconveniences, as by God's Mercy she shall be now freed from.

[Page 57] Sect. 17. If in these Directions, I be thought to deal with too much rigour and strictness, it would be considered:

First, that it's much better to put the Patient to a little more pain at the first, than by skinning the wound over, to heal it de­ceitfully; and to suffer it to rankle inward; which will breed a great deal more grief at last.

Secondly, That since all men (through cor­rupt Self-love, and privy Hypocrisie, cleaving to our depraved nature) are partial towards themselves, and apt to deal more favourably with their own sins than they ought; it is therefore safest for them (in their own Cases especially) to encline to severity rather than indulgence.

Thirdly, That there may be a mitigation used of the present Directions, according as the state of the Patient (in the several va­riations thereof) shall require; but that (for the avoiding of partiality) not to be per­mitted to the sole liberty of the party himself, but rather to be done by the advice of a Ghostly Physitian, who if he be a man of such wisdom and moderation as is meet, will I doubt not allow a greater indulgence in case she see it expedient, than it could be safe [Page 58] for the Party her self to take of her own head.

Fourthly, That in all this Discourse, I take not upon me to write Edicts, but to give my advice, that is to say, not to pre­scribe to the judgment of others, if any shall see cause to dissent, but to deliver my own opinion (being requested thereunto by a Re­verend Friend) with such a faithfulness and freedom as becometh me to do; and truly those Parties whom it most concerneth, ought not to blame me for it howsoever; in­asmuch as there can be no cause to suspect that I should be carried with any personal re­spects to be partial either for or against either of them; so God is my witness, whom I desire to serve, I had not any intimation at all given me, neither yet have so much as the least conjecture in the World, who either of them both might be.



IN referring over your friend to me, you have pitched upon one of the unfittest persons in the World, to be consulted in ca­ses of that nature, who am altogether a stranger to the Publick Affairs of Christen­dom, and understand nothing at all of the mutual Interests, Relations, or Transactions of Forein Princes or States; yea, so little curious have I been to inform my self, so much as where the Stages lay of the chiefest Actions of these latter times abroad, or what persons were engaged therein; that I have something pleased my self (perhaps too much) with my own ignorance in our home Af­fairs, accounting it among the happinesses of my privacy and retiredness, in these unhappy times; that amidst so much fury and blood­shed on every side, it was never my hap to be within the view of any Battle or Skirmish; nor did I ever see so much as a Pistol dis­charged, or a Sword drawn against any single [Page 60] person, since the beginning of the War. I could have wished therefore, since my opi­nion herein is desired, that I had had the op­portunity to have advised with some more knowing Men, and of greater experience and judgment than my self in these matters; or at lest, that you had sent me, together with the two enclosed Letters, a transcript of your Answer (whose judgment I do with great reason very much value) unto the former of them; for there I assure my self, I should have met with such Materials as would have served me for a good foundation to work up­on; yet to satisfie your desire, so far as in me lieth, and the rather for the Gentlemans sake your friend, (who though unknown to me by face, or till the receipt of your Letter, so much as by Name; yet by his Letters ap­peareth to be a person of Piety and Inge­nuity, and a great Master both of Reason and Language) I have endeavoured (with reser­vation of Place for second thoughts, and submission to other Judgments) to declare what my present apprehensions are concerning the whole business; wherein the resolution of such doubts, as in point of Conscience may arise, or of the most and chiefest of them, will (as I conceive) very much depend upon [Page 61] the consideration and right application of th [...]se Four things, viz.

  • I. The different sorts of Mens imployments in general.
  • II. The nature of the Souldiers imployments in particular.
  • III. The end that Men may prop [...]se to them­selves in following the War; or what it is that chiefly induceth them thereunto.
  • IV. The condition of the Person so imployed, or to be imployed.

I. Considerations of Mens Imployments in General.

1. MEns imployments are of two sorts. The one of such as any man may (without blame from others, or scruple with­in himself) follow, meerly upon his own score, if he find himself in some measureable for it, and have a mind thereunto; he hath a power in himself (and that jure pro­prio, by a primitive and original right, with­out any necessary derivation from others) to dispose of himself, his time and industry in that way; for the exercise of which power, [Page 62] there needeth no special or positive warrant from any other person, but it is presumed he is, (as in relation to others) sufficiently warranted thereunto in this, in that he is not by any Superior Authority, Divine or Hu­mane, forbidden so to do; and upon this ac­count it is, that men betake themselves, up­on their own choice and liking, to Husbandry, Merchandize, Manual Occupations, the study of the Law, &c.

2. But another sort of Imployments there are, whereunto a man hath not a just right primitively, and of himself, neither may he lawfully exercise the same meerly upon his own choice, but it is necessary, that that power should be derived upon him from some such person or persons, as have suffici­ent Authority to warrant him for so doing: Such is the Imployment of a Iudge, a Consta­ble, an A [...]bitrator, &c. which are therefore said to be juris delegati, because the right that a [...]y man hath to such Imployments, ac­crueth unto him by virtue of that Authority which he receiveth by Delegation of Depu­tation from some other that hath a right by Command, Election, Nomination, or otherwise to Impower him thereunto, whence are those usual forms, Quo jure, Quo warranto? Who [Page 63] made thee a Iudge? By what Authority dost thou those things? Or, Who gave thee this Au­thority? A man may betake himself to the Study, and so to the Practice of the Laws, of his own accord, but he may not take upon him to be a Iudge, without Commission from his Sovereign; so he may follow Husbandry, and Merchandry, upon his own choice, but he may not do the Office of a Constable, un­less he be chosen by the Neighbours; or of an Arbitrator, unless chosen by the Parties thereunto.

3. Now, although as well the one sort as the other, after a man hath addicted himself to the one, or is deputed to the other, may not unfitly be termed his Par­ticular Calling, and the latter perhaps with better propriety than the former, (for the word Calling properly importeth the Action of some other person) yet according to the common Notion, which by custom of speech among us, we have of these terms [The Ge­neral and the Particular Calling] the Imploy­ments of the former sort, are usually taken to be the Particular Calling of Men, and those of the latter sort, will be found (if well con­sidered) to fall rather under the General Calling, as branches or parts thereof, inas­much [Page 64] as the exercise of such Imployments, is a part of that moral duty, which all men (according to their several respective Rela­tions) ought to perform to others, being by them impowred thereunto, upon the tie of Obedience, Contract, Friendship, &c. but for distinction sake, as the Latins make a differ­ence between vitae institutum and munus, we may call those of the former sort, Mans Pro­fession, and those of the latter sort his Office; so a Man is by Profession a Lawyer, by Office a Iudge; by Profession an Husbandman; by Office a Constable.

4. To bring this Discourse home to the present business, we are next to enquire, to whether sort of the two, the Imployment of a Souldier doth more properly appertain; that is, whether we are to conceive of it as a Profession which a man may at his own choice fix upon, as his particular vocation; or rather as an Office of duty and service, which he is to undergo, when by the command of his Prince, he shall be thereto appointed, and so to come rather under the notion of a Gene­ral Calling? To me it seemeth clearly to be of the latter sort. For, (1.) in the passage of St. Paul, 2 Tim. 2.4. No man that warreth, entangleth himself in the affairs of this life, [Page 65] that he may please him that hath chosen him to be a Souldier; the word is [...], ap­plied to him that warreth with the note of Vniversality ( [...]) annexed, seem­eth to imply, as if he supposed that no man might go to war, unless he were chosen for that service by some other person that might command it. Nor do I see (2.) what good construction can be otherwise made of that speech of our Saviour, Matt. 29.57. All they that take the Sword, shall perish with the Sword; or what should be the crime there intended to be signified, by this Phrase of taking the Sword, if it be not this, for a man to take the Sword into his hand by his own Authority, before it be put into his hand by that Supream Power, whom God hath im­mediately trusted with the bearing and ma­naging of it. Now, (3.) can that be said to be a Mans Profession, or particular Calling, which men of all Professions are (in obedi­ence to their Governors, and for the service of their Countrey) bound to perform whenso­ever they shall be by Lawful Authority, called and appointed thereunto.

5. If these premises will be granted, it will soon appear, that the answer to the Que­stion proposed, in the beginning of the for­mer [Page 66] Letter (as it standeth there in Terminis, and in Thesi, abstractly from the consideration of the person in the said Letter charactered, and those other circumstances which may vary the Case) must be in the Negative; viz. That it is not lawful to be a Souldier, upon the same account that men apply themselves to Trades, to the practice of the Laws, and to other (like) civil Imployments.

II. Consideration of the Souldiers Im­ployment in particular.

1. THe care that ought to be in every Man that taketh upon him the exe [...] ­cise of any Office, to be well assured that he hath a sufficient right and warrant for so do­ing, is no less requisite in a Souldier, than i [...] any other Officer; yea rather by so muc [...] more requisite in him, than in most of them by how much the matter he is conversa [...] about, (viz. the Life of man) is of greate [...] consequence, than are the matters in whic [...] most of them are imployed; for the Souldier [...]very time he draweth his Sword i [...] the Field, is by the very nature of his Imployment [Page 67] supposed to do it either with a re­solution to lose his own, or to take away his Enemies life; else he doth it but prevaricate, and is unfaithful in the Service he has under­taken: In which service, if it be his fortune either to kill, or to be killed, he is actually and deeply guilty; but if neither, yet that very resolution maketh him intentionally guilty of the Transgression of the sixth Commandment, Thou shalt not kill; in case he have no good right, so far to dispose either of his own, or the others life. It concern­eth him therefore to look well to that; both what Power belongeth to him, as a Soul­dier, and by what Authority he claimeth the exercise of such a Pow [...]r.

2. Most certain it is, that properly and ori­ginally the power to dispose of Mans Life (Ius vitae & necis) belongeth to God alone, who is, Dominus vitae & necis, as the sole Author of Life, so the sole Lord and Master of Life and Death: some part of which power, since it hath pleased him for the good of humane Society, (in the preservation of Peace and Iustice, and the punishment of such as are enemies to either) to communicate unto men, (which power so communicated, is that which we use to call Ius Gladii, or the [Page 68] power of the Sword) it may therefore be law­fully exercised by men; but within that lati­tude, and in order, as God hath communicated it to them, but not farther nor otherwise.

3. Now God hath not given to any man, either Sovereign or Subject, power over his own life, to destroy it by his own voluntary act in any Case; no, nor yet power to ex­pose it to the certain hazzard of being de­stroyed by another in fight, saving in the one only Case of just and necessary defence: un­der which notion is to be comprehended also the hazzarding of the Princes Life, in a just and necessary War; out of which Case, who­soever shall expose his life to hazzard, by fight, of his own accord; if he perish in it, cannot be excused from being guilty of his own death, nor from usurping a power over his own life, which God hath not allowed.

4. Add hereunto the injustice, that he thereby doth to his Sovereign and Countrey ▪ God hath given to his Vicegerents here on Earth, a right in, and a power over the per­sons of all their Subjects, within their seve­ral respective Dominions, even to the spend­ing of their lives in their Countreys service, whensoever they shall be by their Authority required thereunto, which they cannot there­fore [Page 69] prodigally spend at their own pleasure, with­out apparent wrong done to their Governors interest; for as he that shall kill a private per­son, is not only an offender against God, and against that person, in depriving him of life; but is also by the Interpretation of the Laws, (according to the importance of the ancient form of Enditing) an offender against the Crown and Dignity of his Sovereign, in de­priving him of a Subject, and consequently of the interest he had in his person, and of the use he might have had of his service: so he that is so prodigal of his own life, as to hazzard it upon the Sword in fight, without his Sovereigns Authority, if he perish, is not only guilty of his being accessary to his own de­struction; but doth also an act injurious and prejudicial to his Sovereign, at whose ser­vice and disposal (under God) his life and person ought to be.

5. And as his presumption cannot be ex­cused, if he be slain upon that account; so neither can he justifie the killing of another (though an enemy) in Battle, if he have no other warrant for taking of Arms, than from himself; for War is a kind of Judicature, wherein the Prince that wageth the War, is as the Judge that giveth sentence of death [Page 70] against the Enemy, as a disturber of the Peace of his Countrey, and all that engage in the War under him, are but as so many execution [...]rs of the sentence pronounced by him; and he that executeth the sentence of death upon another, must do it by some lawful Authority, as well as he that pronoun­ceth the sentence; or else he is a Murtherer as well as This. Now the Souldier that by fighting on the one side, doth ipso facto declare against those of the other side, as Enemies; if he so engage of his own mind only, he doth indeed, upon the point, take upon him the Office of a Iudge, being none, and so runneth before he be sent: or if it shall be said in his behalf, That he doth it not as a Judge, but as the Executioner of the sen­tence pronounced by that Prince, into whose service he hath put himself, and who by the accepti [...]g of his service hath sufficiently au­thorized him to do such Execution: Your Letter hath suggested to me this ready An­swer, That the sentence pronounced by one that is not his Lawful Sovereign, and by consequence, whose judgment he is not warranted to follow, is of no more validity (as in relation to him) than Sententia lata a non judice, and therefore can be no warrant to him to execute it. True it is, [Page 71] that with licence from his Sovereign, he may serve under another Prince, and consequent­ly do such execution as we now speak of; because the Sovereign by so licensing him, doth really refer him over from himself to anothers judgment, and consequently warrant him to follow the same, and so render him capable (upon the others acceptance) to ex­ecute it. All this is true, but nothing to our purpose, because it doth destruere suppositum; for we now suppose the Case of a Souldier putting himself into service, under a Foreiner of his own mind, and where himself thinketh good, without the knowledg or licence of his own lawful Sovereign.

III. Consideration of the end to be pro­posed by the Souldier.

1. SIth the goodness or badness of Mens actions and undertakings dependeth ve­ry much upon the end which they propose to themselves therein; he that would desire to lead a Souldiers life, must narrowly examine his own heart, what it is, bona fide, and in very deed, that first and chiefly induced him to [Page 72] that desire, and what affinity there is between that end, which he proposeth to himself, as the main scope of his Intentions, and that which is or ought to be the true end of the thing it self; the true end of the War, which only can warrant it lawful, we all know is the necessary preservation of a Common-wealth in Peace, by repressing (or preventing) all Se­ditions, or Hostile attempts to the contrary; but as in other things it often happeneth, ac­cording to that saying, [Finis non idem est a [...]tis & artificis] so here many times the Warrior hath another end to himself far distant from that of War, and the more di­stant ever the worse; as on the contrary, the action is ever by so much the better, by how much the intention of the person hath a neare [...] affinity with, or a directer tendency unto, that for which the thing it self was ordained.

2. Now, the ends which men, desirous to follow the Wars, do usually propose to themselves in so doing, are especially one of these Three, Lucre, Honour, or to do their Countrey service; concerning which, we are to enquire severally, whether or no, and how far forth any of these may be a sufficient in­ducement to a Christian, or but moral man, to follow the Wars, as his particular Calling or Profes [...]ion.

[Page 73]3. For Lucre first: He that hath a war­rant otherwise to imploy himself as a Soul­dier, may doubtless lawfully both receive pay, and require it; Iohn the Baptist allowed the Souldiers [...], Luke 3.14. And St. Paul thought it not reasonable, that any man should go to warfare at his own Charges, 1 Cor. 9.7. Not so only, but he may also, in put­ting himself upon that imployment, (being called thereunto) have an eye to his profit, and an actual intention (if moderate, and other­wise rightly qualified) of getting himself a livelihood, yea, and of raising himself a for­tune (as we call it) by his service therein; even as men in the choice of other Profes­sions, or undertaking Offices usually do, and may do without sin? but to propose to him­self Lucre, as the main end and scope of fol­lowing the Wars (as it is evident by their actions, that very many of our Common Souldiers do) is one of the most hateful and unrighteous things in the World: so far is it from being a sufficient inducement to any man to make that his Profession. How can it be imagined to be consistent with that Charity, Iustice, and Moderation, that should be in every Christian to set up a Trade of killing of Men for Money? The meer Mercenary [Page 74] Souldier therefore, or a Souldier of Fortune (as we call him) I find every where inveigh'd against as one of the greatest Scourges or Plagues of Mankind; for such Men never look at the Cause they engage for, whether it be right or wrong; but at the pay and prey; and therefore they take their best Markets, and care not whom they undo, kill, and op­press, by V [...]olence, Rapine, Mur [...]her, and Plun­der, so that they may but enrich themselves thereby, and can do it with safety: Nor will they stick, if there be an advantage to be made of it; and that they can spy a fit op­portunity for it, either to betray th [...]ir own party, or to revolt to the other side, or to do any other act, though never so base and dis­honest, Nulla fides pietasque viris qui castra sequuntur.

4. Next the i [...]tuition of Honour and Glo­ry to be acquired by worthy Actions in the Wars, may be not only lawful, but com­mendable also and useful in a Souldier; and truly this of Glory is a more noble end, of a higher pitch, and more befitting a generous spirit by much than that of Lucre is; both because Men of eminent Birth, and Place, and Parts, are aptest to be affected with it; whereas Gain worketh most upon the lower [Page 75] sort of Men, and also because it putteth Men upon more worthy Enterprizes, and such as may win Honor and Reputation; and restraineth them from those baser acts of Injustice, Cruelty, and Rapine, to which the desire of Gain usually prompteth the Me [...] ­cenary Man; but yet as to the warranting of the Souldier for making that his Profession, (which is the Point now in hand) this of Glory is of no more importance than was that of Gain; for the right end of War, be­ing a safe and honourable Peace, there is some­thing common to both (consequential to the desire of Glory as well as of Gain): so incon­sistent with that end, that it setteth them at an equal, or not much unequal distance there­from: For as he that aim [...]th to gain by the Wars, cannot but desire the continuance of War, that so his hopes of gain may continue; so he that aimeth to get himself Glory by the Wars, cannot but desire the continuance of War, that so the opportunities of en­creasing his Glory may continue; for there is a Dropsie of vain-glory in the Ambitious, as well as of Avarice in the Covetous, as thirsty and unsatiable in the one, as in the other; whence it cometh to pass, that both the one and the other use their utmost wits and endea­vours [Page 76] to find occasions to lengthen the Wars, and to obstruct and retard (so much as lieth in them) the advices of Peace: Nay, let me add moreover, that in this respect at least (viz. as to the effectual hindring of Peace) that of Honour and Glory, is much the more dangerous end of the two; because this hu­mour is aptest to seize upon the greatest Per­sons, and such as by privil [...]dge of their birth, eminency of their places, activeness of their spirits, glory of their former actions, or other like advantages bear a great sway in Councils, and are of some authority in the Armies: whereas the Peasantry, in whom most of the other humour (that of base Lucre) aboundeth, have neither the wit nor the power ordinarily to do much harm. It hath therefore been a constant observation in all times and pla­ces, that the embroyling most Common­wealths in Wars, in the mean time, and work­ing their ruin in the end, hath grown from the restlesness of some ambitious spirits, and their immoderate thirst after Honor & Glory.

—Patriam tamen obruit olim
Gloria paucorum, & laudis titulique cupido:
Juvenal Sat. 10.

[Page 77]5. So that if there be any possibility of finding a person capable to take upon him the imployment of a Souldier, as his proper Profession, it must be among those that pro­pose to themselves the same end therein, that is, or ought to be the end of War; that is to say, those that after an impartial search of their own hearts, can truly say (and not pretend it only) That their chiefest aim in ap­plying themselves to the Wars, is to do their King and Country service, in procuring or pre­serving the Peace thereof: which no man can truly say, but he that prefereth the Publick Good, and the Peace of his Country, before all private In [...]erests. The tryal whereof is, if he take up Armes with this Resolution, and by his after carriage make it good, not to do any act, or enterprize any thing for his own benefit, glory, or safety that may hinder, nor to refuse any service or hazzard that may probably promote the obtaining of that end; which Qualification supposed, I deny not but that a Man may find warrant to go on in the way of a Souldier as his proper Profession, and that in two Cases.

6. First, that which (in the nature of the Imployment it self) is rather an Office than a Profession (such as we have already shown [Page 78] the Souldiers imployment to be) may yet become to the person so imployed, as his proper Profession, if he shall be appointed thereunto by lawful Authority; especially if it be done with a declared intention (whe­ther expresly or interpretatively declared) of continuing him for life, or for any long space in the same; and that the said imployment, during such his continuance therein, shall re­quire his personal attendance, either con­stantly or for the most part: As for exam­ple, a Lawyer by Profession and Practice, is by his Sovereign called to be a Iudge of either Bench, or a Baron of the Exchequer, the Office of a Iudge is now become his Profes­sion, or particular Vocation, because it is sup­posed that he is to continue in that Office; and the execution of that Office will require his attendance thereupon, in the yearly Terms and Circuits: but [...]f the King shall appoint a Serjeant or Counsellor at the Law, by his particular Commission to ride this Summers Circuit, into such and such Countries, and there to execute the Office of a Iudge, the Party so constituted and appointed, hath by vir­tue of that Cmmission, full power to do the Office of Iudge in that Circuit, and is to be received and honoured with the title of Lord, [Page 79] and all other testimonies of honour and re­spect, in as much ample manner as other Iudges in their Circuits are; y [...]t doth he not thereby come to be denominated a Iudge, as if that were his proper Profession, or or­dinary Calling, as in the former Case; be­cause he is impowred to execute the Office of a Iudge, but during the time of that Circuit only: Nor is his attendance upon that Office any longer required, or so much as allowed him. In like manner, if the King of Eng­land shall make choice of some p [...]rson of Quality to be Gover [...]or of Dover Castle, or of Barwick, that O [...]fice then is as his Pr [...] ­fession, or particular Calling; because it is to be supposed, he is to continue in that im­ploymen [...], and to attend the same until the Kings pleasure be further known therein: but if the King upon some sudden I s [...]rrecti­on and Invasion should raise an Army, and make choice of some person of like Quality to have the Conduct thereof, for the S [...]p [...]es­sing or Repelling such Insurrection or Invasio [...], his Imployment in that service being but tem­porary, and to determine as soon as the busi­ness were ended, should not otherwise than in courtesie denominate him a General; or at least not be esteemed as his permanent [Page 80] profession, but only as a transient Office; This is one Case.

The other Case (which is more perti­nent to the business of these Letters) is of such as desire to imploy themselves in the ex­ercise of Arms in Forein Service, that they may attain to such knowledg or experience in the Art Military, as might the better en­able them to do their King and Countrey Service, whensoever there should be need thereof; for since the Managery of War is long since grown into an Art, and that not to be learned from Books, or from private stu­dy; but to be acquired by much practice and experience, and diligent observation: and the rather for that the particular Rules of that Art, do not stand at such a certain stay as those of most other Arts do, but are daily altered and improved by new Inventions: It is very necessary for every State to be well provided of a good number of such per­sons of their own Nation, as should be ex­pert and skilful in that Art; lest they should be forced, if an unexpected War should happen, to call in Foreiners for assistance, which is both dishonourable and dangerous: the necessity hereof too well appeareth by the evil consequents of the neglect of it in [Page 81] this Nation in these latter times, especially in the Reigns of the two last Kings, by reason of the long Peace; and (which commonly breed­eth out of it as the rust and canker thereof) tenderness of Education and voluptuous liv­ing. The Nobility and Gentry of England, in the generality of them, had so much dege­nerated from the Martial Prowess of their Ancestors renowned in all Histories, than in the beginning of these unnatural Wars, there were very f [...]w to be found of our own No [...]ility and Gentry, fit to have Command in an Army, or that knew any thing belonging to the Art of War; insomuch as use was made on both sides of Mercenary Men, and most of them Scots, who being for the most part bred up abroad (in France especially, a place of much action) had learned experience more than our English had in such matters, by which advan [...]age they had so wound themselves in­ [...]o the chief Places of Command, and had such an influence into the Coun [...]ils of both sides, [...]at the War was in a manner wholly ordered [...]y their directions, witness the great power [...]hat Ruthen, V [...]rey, King, Meldram, &c. [...]ad in the Armies on either side.

8. The weightiness then of Princes Af­ [...]airs, upon all emergent occasions, rendring it [Page 82] necessary for them, not only to have Power to command their Subjects of whatsoever Rank or Profession to serve as Souldiers in their Wars; but also to provide aforehand for a supply of able Men, both for places of Command, and to execute other parts of that service, which cannot be done, unless a con­siderable number of persons be trained up in the exercise of Armes, and bred Souldiers: It is consequently necessary, that some per­sons be, either by their Authority appointed, or at least by their permission allowed to addict themselves to a Military course of life, as their proper Profession and Calling, which Authority or Permission from their So [...]ereign, will sufficiently warrant to their Conscience the choice of that Profession; supposing (as now we do) that the intention be right, the person meetly qualified, and all other Cau­tions in respect of the matter, manner, circum­stances, and otherwise, duly observed.

9. The necessity of learning this Art granted, there may sometimes follow a fur­ther necessity, viz. of learning it abroad; and after it is learned, of exercising it abroad; and in Foreign service, and that in these two Cases: First, when the Souldiers own Coun­try, whereunto his service is principally, and [Page 83] in the first place due, hath either the happi­ness to be in a setled Peace and Freedom, un­der the Government of a lawful Sovereign; or the unhappiness to be in such servitude, through the prevalency of an Vsurping Power, that no Resistance can be made there against; for in the former Case, there is no exercise at all of the Souldiers faculty in earnest; and of what little avail to the attaining of any solid knowledg, or experience in the Art Mili­tary, such superficial trainings, as were used (and those but very seldom neither) by the Lieutenants of the several Counties here in England, with the Countrey Captains and Muster-Masters are (besides that, our own reason will tell us) the Rawness and Vnser­viceableness of our Trained-Bands in the be­ginning of the late Wars did abundantly ma­nifest: and in the latter Case, the Souldier, if he will have Imployment at home, must either engage on the b [...]half of an unjust Power, or else run upon his own certain de­struction to no purpose.

IV. Consideration of the condition of the Person.

1. THis must be considered too; for the different conditions of persons, may make a great difference in the lawfulness or unlawfulness of their actions, according to the old saying, which holdeth true in this sense also, no less than in that other, in which it is commonly used (relating to mens corrupt partialities, Duo cum faciunt idem, non est idem. In your Friends second Letter, I find a demand made (as in the way of Reply to some passage of your Answer to his first Let­ter) to this purpose; Suppose two great Prin­ces (as France and Spain, for instance) have had long Wars together, and the justice of the Cause appear neither more nor less, on the one side, than the other; if in case a third Prince, or State, out of a sincere desire to Establish the Peace of Christendom, after other offers and meditations for that purpose made in vain, might lawfully joyn in Arms with the one party to force the other to Peace, why a private person might not as lawfully (having the same intention) enter into Arms [Page 85] for the same purpose; and the reason of de­mand thereof is, because every Prince or State is (in relation to other Princes and States) but as one private man to another; for being called to the Regiment of his own people only, he is but as a private man in Aliena Republica.

2. But that there is a great difference be­tween a Sovereign Prince and a private Per­son in this affair, it cannot be denied; inso­much that I find in the very same passage (put in as it were by way of O [...]jection) three very considerable differences. First, That Princes may, and sometimes are obliged by Articles and Covenants, for the defence of their Allies, to take up Arms, which cannot be the case of private Men. Secondly, That Princes may see cause to set in for their own safety and interest, lest the prevailing Party might grow too Potent, and so themselves might be oppressed by him. Thirdly, there is a greater probability in a Prince of com­pa [...]sing that Noble and Glorious end, The Peace of Christendom, than can be in a pri­vate Man. All these differences are allowed there as true; but yet excepted against, as not contributing any thing to the justice of the cause, which is here the Question.

[Page 86]If these do not, yet a Fourth difference there is, that will (as I conceive) manifestly contribute thereunto, to wit, that Ius Belli, is Penes Principem solum: in the business of War, Princes have a judicial, private Men an executive power only; and he that hath no power but to execute the sentence of a Judge, is bound to wait the Iudges Sentence before he offer to act; otherwise he shall act beyond his lawful power, which is un­just: Not but that Prince, if he raise a War where he ought not, is unjust too; even as a Judge is unjust, which pronounceth a wrong sentence: but herein is the difference between them [...]or taking up of Arms. The Prince having jus agendi in that behalf, may do it justly, and he may do it unjustly; yet where he doth it unjustly, he doth but abuti jure suo: but the private person, not having jus agendi, in that respect cannot (without the Authority of the Sovereign) do it other­wise than unjustly; because in so doing, he doth without leave uti jure alieno, which is alwaies unjust. It is one thing for a Man to use (whether well or ill) a power that of right belongeth not to him; the one is not un­just, unless he abuse his Power, the other is, if he use it at all.

[Page 87]4. Neither perhaps will the Reason al­ledged to the contrary (viz. that a Prince in point of Justice and Power, is in Aliena re­publica, but as a private person) bear so much weight as is laid upon it, if one Point be well considered, which I think will prove a truth, though it be very tenderly handled; other­wise it may prove very dangerous, both be­cause it may seem a Paradox to those that have been little conversant in publick Af­fairs; as also, and especially, because it may, by racking it too high, be easily wrested to a mischievous construction, for the Patro­nage of any Tyrannical action; the point is this, that justitia politica, and Iustitia priva­ta, have not in all the same adequate mea­sure. Princes are bound to be just, as well as the meanest private men are, and obliged to keep Faith both with Friends and Ene­mies, every whit as exactly and punctually, without equivocation, reservation, or other eluding devices, as they; of all this no man doubteth: but it is not therefore necessary, that the Rules of Iustice, whereby the Coun­cils and Actions of Princes and States, in their mutual Relations are to be measured, should be precisely the same with those which mea­sure the dealings of Private men one with another.

[Page 88]5. And the reason of the difference is evident: private Mens Controversies may be decided, and their Injuries repressed or punish­ed, by the positive Laws of the State, where­of they are Members; and consequently sub­ject to be ordered in all their dealings by those Laws; which positive Laws (together with the Law of Nature, and the Divine Law, which are common to all Men) are the adequate Rule, whereby the Iustice of private Persons, and of their actions, is to be measured; but since Princes and States are not subject to any such positive Laws common to them both, as may determine their Dif­ferences and Controversies: The great neces­sity of Humane Affairs, hath (for the good of Mankind in the pr [...]serv [...]tion of Peace) intro­duced by the common consent of Nations, another Law of larger extent, that which we p [...]culiarly call Iu [...] Gentium, or the Law of Nations (whereof that which we call the Law of Armes, is one special part) by which the Law of Nations (together with the Law of Nature, and the Divine Law, as afore­said) the Iustice of Princes and States, and of their Actions, is as by the proper ade­quate Rule thereof to be measured. Whence it cometh to pass, that sundry things are by [Page 89] the Rules of Politique Iustice allowed as law­ful and just between Princes, which between private men, would by the Rules of meer mo­ral Iustice, be condemned (and that deser­vedly too) as unjust and unlawful: There are sundry Arcana Imperii, some arts and simulations for maintaining Intelligence abroad for concealing and disguising Councils at home, in the Instructions of Embassadors and man­aging of Embassies, in making Alliances and Confederacies, but especially in the pursuance and effects of War, which seem much to swerve from the ordinary Precepts of moral Iustice; which yet side integrâ & circa dolum malum) are by the consent of Nations allow­ed to be used, and so must be, or else there could be no secure living in the world in any Society, that saying of his A [...]que ipsa utilitas justi prope ma [...]er & aequi, had somewhat of truth and reason in it.

6. The truth and reasonableness of what hath been said will appear (omitting many other) in these few Instances. First, when a Town is taken by the Enemy, by the Law of Nations, the spoil thereof falleth to the Con­queror, which if he give to the Souldiery to plunder (as usually is done) every Souldier thereby acquireth a just Right and Dominion [Page 90] in that which he can lay his hand on first, and take into his Possession. Secondly, It may sometimes concern a Prince or State in point of Honour or Safety to vindicate himself by War, for some wrong offered to his Mer­chants, or for some Rudeness or Incivilities done to his Embassador (for even these, in case Reparation be demanded and denyed, have been ever held just causes of War; (as Am­phitruo in Plautus rendereth that as a suffici­ent reason of his War, Nimis ferociter lega­tos nostros increpant) in this case it is by the Law of Nations allowed him, not only to fight against the Prince himself, who yet on [...]y did the wrong, but to waste his Country, fire his Towns and Villages, and spoil thousands of his innocent Subjects of their fortunes and lives in pursuance of his just revenge; but if a pri­vate Gentleman w [...]onged by his Neighbour should in like manner, in revenge of that wrong, beat his Servants, vex his Tenants, and seek his or their undoing, the act were pal­pably most unchristian and unjust. Thirdly, Since potent Princes, have for the most part, great Ambitions, (and Ambition is a bound­less lust) it behoveth a Prince for his own safe­ty, to have a watchful eye over the Motions and Desi [...]ns of a potent Neighbour, almost as [Page 91] much as of a declared Enemy; and therefore wise Princes have ever been careful by all just means to ballance their neighbour Princes and States as near as they could; in such a pro­portion as might hinder the over-growth of any one above the rest: In order whereunto it hath been held lawful for a Prince, laying aside the consideration of the cause, to joyn in Armes with the weaker, for his assistance a­gainst his Potent Adversary, who else were likely in a short time to swallow him up, whereby he should become formidable and dangerous, as well to himself as to the other his neighbour P [...]inces and States; upon which account alon [...], were there no other reason besides, it would be as just for all Christian Princes to compose their own quarrels, and to aid the Venetian, and Hungarian, Persian, or Tartar, against the Turk, as it is expedi­ent and honourable for them so to do: but what is thus allowed just in the waging of War between Princes; if in a wager of Law a pri­vate person should attempt the like, viz. to assist with his purse and pains a Poor Man a­gainst a Rich without considering the equity of the Cause, the Act were (as in the former instance) palpably unjust and unchristian: Instances might be produced many more to [Page 92] the same effect were it needful, but these I think sufficiently [...]vidence the truth of what I undertook to shew in this particular.

7. There are also sundry other circumstan­ces considerable concerning the condition of the person, which may render the same un­dertaking unlawful to one, which yet may be lawful for another, or more or less expedient or inexpedient for one than for another, sup­posing both private persons and Subjects; as namely, whether he be a person of Honour and Estate, or a man of ordinary rank and fortune; whether a single man, or Married? if Married, whether he have the consent of his VVife or no? and whether such consent were a free and rational consent in the Wif [...], arising from a Judgment convinced of the fitness of the undertaking, or rather w [...]ung from her by the importunity of the Hus­band, and her facility in yielding to the potency of his desires therein? whether the neces­sity of his domestical Affairs, and Oeconomi­cal Relations will brook his absence for so long a time as must be spent in that Imploy­ment; or will not rather require his presence and care for the ma [...]ager [...] thereof in the mean time? and an hundred other like doubts and difficulties meet to be taken into [Page 93] deliberation, and unprejudicately weighed a­gainst those other probabilities and induce­ments which at first kindled, and after fo­mented his desires, before he imbarque him­self in that Imployment: and yet when all is done, it were safer for him (in my opinion) to forbear than to proceed in his intentions, un­less he shall be assured, that he hath the free allowance of his Sovereign, thereunto either expressed (which would be the clearest warrant for his conscience) or at leastwise upon very pregnant grounds of probability presumed.


1. IN judging of Cases of Scandal, we are not so much to look at the event, what that is, or may be; as at the cause whence it cometh; for sometimes there is given just cause of Scandal, and yet no Scandal follow­eth, because it is not taken: sometimes Scandal is taken, and yet no just cause given; and sometimes there is both cause of Scan­dal given, and Scandal thereat taken: but no man is concerned in any Scandal that hap­peneth to another, by occasion of any thing done by him; neither is chargeable with it, farther than he is guilty of having given it: If then we give Scandal to others, and they take it not, we are to bear a share in the blame as well as they, and that a deeper sha [...]e too, (Vae homini, Wo to the man by whom the offence cometh, Matth. 8.7.) but if they take Offence when we give none, it is a thing we cannot help, therefore the whole blame must lie upon them; wherefore if at any time any doubt shall arise in the Case of Scandal, [Page 95] how far forth the danger thereof may, or may not oblige us to the doing or not doing any thing proposed, the Resolution will come on much the easier; if we shall but rightly under­stand, what it is to give Scandal, or how many waies a man may become guilty of scandalizing another by his example. The waies (as I conceive) are but these four.

2. The first is, when a man doth some­thing before another man, which is in it self evil, unlawful, and sinful; in which Case, neither the intention of him that doth it, nor the event, as to him that seeth it done, is of any consideration; for it mattereth not whether the doer had an intention to draw the other into sin thereby, or not: neither doth it matter whether the other were thereby induced to commit sin or not: the matter or substance of the action being evil, and done before others, is sufficient to ten­der the doer guilty of having given Scandal, though he had neither any intention himself so to do; nor were any person actually scan­dalized thereby; because whatsoever is in it self, and in its own nature evil, is also of it self, and in its own nature scandalous, and of evil example. Thus did Hophni and Phi­neas the Sons of Eli, give Scandal by [...]heir [Page 96] wretched profaneness and greediness about the Sacrifices of the Lord, and their vile and shameless abusing the Women, 1 Sam. 2.17.22. And so did David also give great Scan­dal in the matter of Vriah, 2 Sam. 12.14. Here the Rule is, Do nothing that is evil, for fear of giving Scandal.

3. The second way is, when a man doth something before another, with a direct in­tention and formal purpose of drawing him thereby to commit sin; in which Case, neither the matter of the action, nor the event is of any consideration, for it maketh no difference (as to the sin of giving Scan­dal) whether any man be effectually enticed thereby to commit sin, or not; neither doth it make any difference, whether the thing done were in it self unlawful or nor, so as it had but an appearance of evil; and from thence an aptitude to draw another to do that (by imitation) which should be really and intri [...]secally evil, the wicked intention alone, (whatsoever the effect should be, or means soever should be used to promote it) sufficeth to induce the guilt of giving Sca [...] ­dal upon the doer: This was Ieroboam's [...]in, in setting up the Calves with a formal purpose and intention thereby (for his own secular [Page 97] and ambitious ends) to corrupt the purity of Religion, and to draw the people to an Idola­trous Worship, for which cause he is so often stigmatized with it, as with a note of Infamy, to stick by him whilst the World lasteth, be­ing scarce ever mentioned but with this ad­dition, Ieroboam the son of Nebat that made Israel to sin. Here the Rule is, Do nothing (good or evil) with an intention to give Scan­dal.

4. The third way is, when a Man doth something before another, which in it self is not evil, but indifferent, and so according to the Rule of Christian Liberty, lawful for him to do, or not to do, as he shall see cause (yea, and perhaps otherwise commodious and con­venien: for him to do) yet whereat he pro­bably foreseeth the other will take Scandal, and be occasioned thereby to do evil. In such Case, if the thing to be done, be not in some degree (at least prudentially) neces­sary for him to do; but that he might, with­out great inconvenience and prejudice to him­ [...]elf, and any third person, leave it undone, he [...]s bound in Charity and Compassion to his Brothers Soul, (for whom Christ died) [...]nd for the avoiding of Scandal to abridge [...]imself in the exercise of his Christian Li­berty [Page 98] for that time so far, as rather to suffer some inconvenience himself by the not doing of it, than by doing of it to cause his Brother to offend; the very Case which is so often, and so largely, and so earnestly insisted upon by St. Paul, Rom. 14.13, 21. and 15.1, 3. 1 Cor. 8.7, 13. and 9.12, 22. and 10.23, 33. Here the Rule is, Do nothing that ma [...] be reasonably forborn, whereat it is like Scandal will be taken.

5. The last way is, when a man doth some­thing before another, which is not only law­ful, but (according to the exegencies of pre­sent circumstances pro hic & nunc) very be­hoveful, and in some sort (prudentially) ne­cessary for him to do; but foreseeth in the beholder a propension to make an ill use of it and to take encouragement thereby to com­mit sin; if there be not withal a great car [...] had to prevent, as much as is possible, th [...] Scandal that might be taken thereat: for Qui non prohibet peccare, cum potest jubet. I [...] such case the bare neglect of his Brother, an [...] not using his utmost endeavour to pr [...]ve [...] the evil that might ensue, making him guilty upon which Consideration standeth th [...] equity of the Iudicial Law given to the Iew [...] Exod. 21.33, 34. which ordereth, that i [...] [Page 99] case a man dig a Pit or Well for the use of his Family, and (looking no farther than his own conveniency) put no cover on it, but leave it open, whereby it happeneth his Neighbours Beast to fall therein, and perish, the owner of the Pit is to make it good, in­asmuch as he was the occasioner of that loss unto his neighbour, which he might and ought to have prevented: In this last Case the thing is not (for the danger of the Scan­dal) to be left undone, supposing it (as we now do) otherwise behoveful to be done; but the action is to be ordered, and carried on by us, for the manner of doing, and in all Respects and Circumstances thereunto be­longing, with so much clearness, tenderness, and moderation, and wisdom, that so many as are willing to take notice of it, may be sa­tisfied that there was on our part a reason of just necessity that the thing should be done; and that such persons as would be willing to make use of our example, without the like necessity, may do it upon their own score, and not be able to vouch our practice for their excuse; even as the Jew that stood in need to sink a Pit for the service of his House and Grounds, was not (for fear his Neighbours Beasts should fall into it, and be drowned) [Page 100] bound by the Law, to forbear the making of it, but only to provide a sufficient cover for it, when he had made it. Here the Rule is, order the doing of that which may not well be left undone, in such sort, that no Scandal may, through your default, be taken thereat.

6. I do not readily remember any doubt that can occur about the reason of Scandal, which may not be brought within the com­pass of these four Rules; and then the right applying some or other of these Rules, will give some furtherance towards the resolution of these doubts.

The CASE of a BOND Taken in the KINGS Name: Proposed Iuly 1658.

R. C. Was seized in Fee of cer­tain Houses of small Value, with the Appurtenances; and in the Year 1635. whiles Owner of the said Houses, he entreated A. B. to be his Surety for One Hundred Pounds; and continued the same at Interest till 1639. At which time he requested A. B. to discharge that Bond, and in consideration thereof, selleth the said Houses to A. B. and his Heirs for ever; the said R. C. also buy­eth of a Merchant a parcel of Goods; the Mer­chant being a Receiver of some part of the late Kings Revenue, and under pretence of a pri­viledge thereby, taketh a Bond of the said R. C. for the payment of Two Hundred pounds to himself, but in the Name of the late King, as if indebted to the King; and under that pre­tence, [Page 102] procureth an extent upon the Houses sold to A. B. and maketh seizure thereof: Was R. C. seized of the same, when he entred into that Bond.

The said King, 1640. published a Procla­mation, wherein he declared, That the taking of such Bonds was contrary to His Intention, and an abuse of his Prerogative, and prohi­bited all such crafty Courses, as tending to the Oppression of his Subjects; and it is to be no­ted, that the said Proclamation was published two years before the extent was executed upon the Houses, which nevertheless have been held under that extent, about fourteen years, which is beyond the value of the Houses.

The said R. C. died poor, the Merchant is dead also, without any Child, leaving an Estate behinde him of Twenty Thousand Pounds, as is supposed; a great part visible in Lands, as appeareth by his last VVill upon Record.

Advice of Council at Law being taken, how the said A. B. may be most readily relieved; he is directed to Petition the present Supreme Power to pardon the Debt, because taken only in the Kings Name, when there is no Debt due to him from R. C.

As to the Case Proposed.

1. I Am clearly of opinion, that the taking of Bonds in the Kings Name, to the meer behoof, and for the advantage of pri­vate persons, when there was such Debt re­ally due to the King, was a fraudulent and unjust act from the beginning; for though it were not actually forbidden, and so might per­haps be valid enough in foro externo, till the issuing out of the Kings Proclamation in that behalf; yet was it in point of Conscience un­lawful before, as being a crafty course: so refused by the King himself, and guilty of a double injustice, the one to the King, as an abuse to his Prerogative; the other to the Subject, as tending to their oppression, as by the Proclamation is recited, and that there­fore.

2. Neither might the Merchant, whiles he lived, nor ought his Executors, now he is dead, to make advantage of the Kings Name used in that Bond; nor might he then, nor may they now, by virtue of the Kings Pre­rogative, or under the colour thereof, for the recovery of the said Debt, use any way to the prejudice or damage of the Obligee, or [Page 104] of any Purchaser from him, other than such, as he or they might have used, in case the Bond had been taken in the Obligee's own Name, and not in the Kings.

3. If any Proceedings have been made al­ready in pursuit of the Debt, due upon the said Bond, upon no other ground or colour, than the Prerogative aforesaid, whereby the said A. B. cometh to be endamaged or pre­judiced more than otherwise he should have been; that the Execu [...]ors ought to make him some considerable satisfaction for the same, although perhaps not to the full of what he hath suffered or would demand; yet in such a proportion, as to the judgment of indif­ferent persons (in a case wherein both par­ties, if they must do what is fitting and just, are sure to be losers) shall seem reasonable, in case the Parties cannot accord it between themselves.

4. Whereof, although through the cor­rupt partiality that is in most, I may truly say, all men more or less; I do not appre­hend any great likelihood (for neither part would, and yet both must be losers) yet I should advise that tryal were made thereof in the first place, as the most kindly Christian way of growing to peace, if parties will be [Page 105] perswaded to meet about it, and can be made Masters of their own passions when they are met; and surely matters might be easily brought to a handsome conclusion, if both parties, but especially the Executors, who seem to have the advantage in Law, would not stand too much upon whatsoever advantage they may seem to have, but (as in Conscience they ought) submit both that, and all other circumstances appertaining to the business, and indeed their whole mutual de­mands; to the final determination of that transcendent Law, which Christ hath establish­ed as the only Royal Standard, whereby to measure the equity of our actions, in all our dealings towards others, viz. To do as we would be done unto; or which cometh to one, Not to do that to another, which if he should do to us (supposing his Case was ours) we should think our selves scarce justly and fairly dealt withal.

5. But lastly, in case no such accord can be made, either by agreement of Parties, or mediation of Friends, and that through the only default and stiffness of the Executors; A. B. having by all fair ways faithfully sought and endeavoured the same, I see not but the said A. B. may (but not to be done, but as [Page 106] his last refuge) seek to relieve himself accor­ding to the advice of his Council, by making his Addresses to such Person or Personage, as for the time being shall be in actual possession of the Supreme Power, and so in a capacity to over-rule the Law in a Case of that nature, by forgiving that Debt whereupon the King was colourably and fraudulently entituled for private advantage, to the prejudice of a third person, but was not at all a debt ow­ing to him from the Obligee.



I Have hitherto been very sparing in de­livering my opinion concerning the point now most in agitation, viz. Of the lawfulness or unlawfulness of Subscribing the Engagement: considering the mischiefs that must needs have followed, if it should be once noised abroad, that I had given forth any determi­nation in so tickle a point. I could not but foresee on the one side, if I should condemn it as utterly unlawful, how I should be looked upon by those that have all power in their hands, not as a refuser only, but a disswader also of what they have thought fit to re­quire: And on the other side, if I should allow it in any case lawful, what ill use would certainly be made thereof by multitudes of people, apt to be so far scandalized thereby, as either to swallow it whole without chew­ing, (that is, resting themselves upon the ge­neral determination of the lawfulness to take it in hand over head, without due considera­tion, [Page 108] either of the true meaning of it, or of other requisite cautions and circumstances) or else to conceive themselves by so enga­ging, to be for ever discharged from the bond of their former Allegiance.

Yet since by your Letter, and by sending your servant therewith on purpose so many daies journey, through unknown waies, and at this season of the year (especially as the weather hath proved since his coming forth) scarce passable, you have shewn your earnest desire to understand what my opinion is in this point; so great, both for difficulty and concernment; I could not think it fit, nor consistent with that civility which is to be used, especially towards Strangers, to send back your messenger without the return of some kind of answer: Wherein, albeit I shall not come up to the full, of what your Letter declareth to be your desire, viz. In giving a particular Iudgment and estimate of the Eight several Arguments therein proposed, and the additional Quaere in the Postscript: yet you shall find something tending towards your satisfaction therein, by touching upon those points (so far as the straits of time would suffer) wherein the difficulty of the whole business seemeth chiefly to consist.

[Page 109] First then, it is to be considered, that Allegiance is a duty that every Subject, un­der what form of Government soever, by the Law of Nature, oweth to his Countrey, and consequently to the Sovereign Power thereof. For the very same Law (which we may call the Law of Nature, at least in a large acceptation) which inclineth particu­lar men to grow into one civil body of a Common-wealth, must necessarily withal, imprint a sense, and tacite acknowledgment of such a duty of Allegiance in every infe­rior member of the body, unto the Caput Communitatis, or Sovereign Power, by which that Common-wealth is governed, as is ne­cessary for the preservation of the whole body. So that the bond of Allegiance doth not arise originally from the Oath of Allegi­ance; as if those that had not taken the Oath, had a greater liberty to act contrary to the Allegiance specified in the Oath, than those that have taken it, have: or as if, in case the Oath should be quite laid aside, there should be no Allegiance due. But it is so intrinsecal, proper, and essential a duty, and (as it were) fundamental, to the relation of a Subject, quâ talis, as that the very name of a Subject doth, after a sort, import it; [Page 110] insomuch, that it hath thereupon gained, in common usage of speech, the stile of Na­tural Allegiance: Whence all these inferen­ces will follow.

1. That the bond of Allegiance, (whether sworn or not sworn) is in the nature of it perpetual and indispensable.

2. That it is so inseparable, from the re­lation of a Subject, that although the exer­cise of it, may be suspended by reason of a prevailing force, whilest the Subject is under such force, (viz. where it cannot be ima­gined, how the endeavour of exercising it can be effectually serviceable to restore the Sovereign Power to the right owner, for the establishment of that Publick Justice and Peace wherein the happiness of Common­wealths consisteth) yet no outward force can so absolutely take it away, or remove it, but that still it remaineth vertually in the Sub­ject, and obligeth to an endeavour (so soon as the force that hindered it is over) of actu­ally exercising of it, for the advantage of the party, to whom of right it is due, and the advancement of the common good thereby, upon all fit occasions.

3. That no Subject of England, that either hath, by taking the Oaths of Supre­macy, [Page 111] or Allegiance, acknowledged; or that not having taken either Oath, yet otherwise knoweth, or believeth, that the Sovereign Power in England, to whom his Natural Al­legiance is due, is the King, his Heirs, and lawful Successors, can without sinning against his Conscience, enter into any Covenant, Promise, or Engagement, or do any other Act or Acts whatsoever, whereby either to transfer his Allegiance to any other party, to whom it is not of right due, or to put him­self into an incapacity of performing the du­ties of his bounden Allegiance to his lawful Sovereign, when it may appear to be useful and serviceable to him.

4. That therefore the taking of the late Solemn League and Covenant, by any Sub­ject of England (notwithstanding the Pro­testation in the Preface, that therein he had the Honour of the King before his eyes; and that express clause in one of the Articles of it, wherein he swore, The Preservation of the Kings Person and Honour) was an act as clear contrary to the Oath of Allegiance, and the Natural Duty of every Subject of Eng­land; as the Assisting of the King to the ut­most of ones power (which is a branch of the Oaths) and the assisting against any person [Page 112] whatsoever, with his utmost power, those that were actually in Arms against the King (which was the very end for which that Covenant was set on foot) are contrary the one unto the other.

5. And that also for the same reason, no Subject of England, that hath taken the Oaths, and understandeth them, or is per­swaded that the Sovereignty of this Realm doth of right belong to the King, his Heirs, and lawful Successors, can without sinning in like manner against his Conscience, take the Engagement now offered: if he so under­stand the words, wherein it is expressed, as if they did contain in them, and require of the Promiser, an acknowledgment that the Supream Power of this Realm, whereunto the Subjects owe their bounden Allegiance, is rightly vested in those persons that now ex­ercise it; or as if they did import an utter abjuration, or renouncing of that Allegiance which was formerly held due to the King.

II. This being cleared, the next enquiry must be, Whether or no the words of the En­gagement will reasonably bear such a con­struction, as to the understanding of a ra­tional and conscientious man, may seem con­sistent [Page 113] with his bounden duty and Allegiance to his lawful Sovereign? Whereof (I think) there need be no great question made, if it be well considered.

1. That all expressions by words, are subject to such ambiguities, that scarce any thing can be said or exp [...]essed in any words, how cautelously soever chosen, which will not render the whole speech capable of more constructions than one.

2. That very many men, known to be well affected to the King and his Party, and reputed otherwaies both learned and con­scientious (not to mention the Presbyterians, most of whom, truly for my own part, when we speak of learning and conscience, I hold to be very little considerable) have subscri­bed the Engagement; who in the judgment of Charity, we are to presume, would not so have done, if they had not been perswa­ded the words might be understood in some such qualified sense, as might stand with the duty of Allegiance to the King.

3. That (as you write) it is strong [...]y re­ported and believed, that the King hath given way to the tak [...]ng of the Engagement, rather than that his good Subjects should lose their Estates for re [...]using the same. [Page 114] Which, as it is a clear evidence, that the King, and they who are about him, to ad­vise him, do not so conceive of the words of this Engagement, as if they did necessa­rily import an abandoning of the Allegiance due to him: so 'tis (if true) a matter of great consideration towards the satisfaction of so many, as out of that fear only, have scrupled the taking of it. For the doing of that cannot be reasonably thought to destroy the Subjects Allegiance; which the King, who expecteth Allegiance from all his Sub­jects, advisedly, and upon mature delibera­tion alloweth them to do.

III. But all this being granted, that the words of the Engagement are capable of such construction; yet is not the Conscience thereby sufficiently secured, from justly scrupling at the taking thereof, unless it may yet further appear, that the Subject hath the liberty to make use of such a construction; which is in effect the Qu [...]re contained in your Postscript, viz. Whether upon supposition, that the words of the Engagement will bear more constructions than one, the subscriber may take it in his own sense, or is bound to take it in the imposers sense? or, Whether [Page 115] it be necessary or expedient before he sub­scribe, to ask those that require his sub­scription, in what sense they require him to subscribe it? Upon the resolution of which Quaere, since (as I conceive) the last resolu­tion of the Judgment, wherein the Consci­ence is to acquiesce, doth principally depend; I shall endeavour to give you my thoughts therein, (wherein I acknowledg to have re­ceived much light and satisfaction from a Discourse written by a Learned, Judicious, and Pious friend, whereof I lately had the perusal, but for some reasons, not thought fit to be published) as distinctly, and clearly, as the time I have to do it in, will suffer.

1. First then, for a man that is required of another to give Faith by some Oath, Pro­mise, or other Engagement, to take it in a sense of his own, manifestly different (even in his own apprehension) from the others meaning, sufficiently expressed by words, ac­cording to the common custome of speech, and the nature of the business which it con­cerneth, is so gross a conceit, that had not the impudence of the J [...]suits, in maintain­ing the lawfulness of their Equivocations, and the sad experience of these late times, (wherein thousands have cheated themselves [Page 116] in perjury, by thinking to avoid it) eviden­ced the contrary, it might well have been thought a thing incredible, that any man of common understanding, should suffer his reason to be so infatuated by his affections, as to be deceived thereby. For if such lati­tude of construction should be admitted in Promises, and other Obligations of that na­ture, intended for the Preservation of Faith amongst mankind, there would not remain any possible means, whereby for men to have assurance of one anothers meanings. Where­fore I take that for a clear truth, That all Promises, and Assurances, wherein Faith is required to be given to another, ought to be understood, ad mentem imponentis, according to the mind and meaning of him to whom the Faith is to be given; so far forth as the meaning may reasonably appear, by the na­ture of the matter about which it is conver­sant, and such signification of the words, whereby it is expressed, as according to the ordinary use of speech amongst men, agreeth best thereunto. The reason whereof is, be­cause the Faith so required to be given, is intended to the b [...]hoof, and for the interest of him that requireth it; namely, to the end he may have the better assurance from [Page 117] him that giveth the faith, that what is pro­mised shall be accordingly performed: which assurance he cannot have, if after his meaning, sufficiently declared by the words, it should yet be at the liberty of the Promi­ser to reserve another secret meaning in his own breast, differing there-from.

2. But Secondly, what if the Intention of the Imposer be not so fully declared by the words and the nature of the business; but that the same words may in fair construction be still capable of a double meaning, so as taken in one sense, they shall bind to More, and in another to Less? I conceive in such case it is not necessary, nor always expedient (but rather for the most part otherwise) for the Promiser, before he give faith, to de­mand of the Imposer, whether of the two is his meaning. But he may by the rule of Prudence, and that (for ought I see) with­out the violation of any Law of Conscience, make his just advantage of that ambiguity, and take it in the same sense which shall bind to the Less. And this I ground upon the very same reason as before; For sith the Faith to be given, is intended to the behoof of him, to whom it is given, it concerneth him to take care that his meaning be expressed in [Page 118] [...]uch words as will sufficiently manifest the same to the understanding of a reasonable man. Which if he neglect to do, no Law of Equity or Prudence bindeth the Promiser by an over-scrupulous diligence to make it out, whereby to lay a greater obligation up­on himself than he need to do.

3. But then Thirdly, if it shall happen (as often it cometh to pass, when we have to deal with cunning men, and may possibly be the Case now, and undoub [...]edly was so in the business of the P [...]otestation, when the time was) That he [...]hat requireth the faith to be given, do of purpose so contrive the words, that there may be l [...]ft an ambiguity and lati­tude of sense therein; yea, and that it be very probable, and in a manner apparent, (upon the consideration of the point of interest, or other strong presumptions ari­sing from circumstances or otherwise) even to the apprehension of the Promiser himself, that he hath some farther reach in requiring that promise from him, some more remote and secret intention then he is willing to dis­cover. In that case what is to be done? I answer, That the Promiser in such case is no ways obliged in giving his Faith, to take notice of any secret intention, but is at li­berty [Page 119] to make use of that Latitude of sense, which the other did rather chuse to leave un­determined, than to restrain, and so to turn the others cunning dealing to his own best advantage, by taking it in the more favoura­ble construction; and that which bindeth to less. For it is the declared intention only, (viz. That which the words, according to the com­mon use of speech, do in relation to the na­ture of the subject, most naturally and pro­perly represent to the understanding of rea­sonable men, when they hear them) and not [...] the remote, secret, and reserved intent, which the Promiser is obliged unto. The reason whereof is manifest; because he that requireth Faith to be given from ano­ther, by words of his own contriving, is ever presumed so to have determined the sense thereof, in the contrivance of the words, as may sufficiently declare what he intendeth the Promiser should assure him to perform. If therefore he have not so deter­mined the words, as to signifie the More; it is in all reason to be presumed, that he in­tended to oblige him but to the Less. For being at liberty to make his own choice of words, whereby to express his own mean­ing; who can think otherwise, but that he [Page 120] would make the choice with respect to his own Interest? And therefore, though he might have a secret desire, which he is lo [...]h to discover, that the Promiser should be bound to the More, and would be marvel­lously well pleased, that he should so under­stand the words, as if they intended to bind him to the More: Yet since it had been so easie a matter for him, by adding or altering a few words, to have declared that intent, if he had thought it conducible to his own ends; it will be presumed also, that it was out of respect of self-interest, that he for­bare so to do, and chose rather to leave his meaning, in such general words, as will not exclude the sense, which bindeth but to the Less; and consequently that his declared in­tent obligeth to no more but to the Less only.

IV. To bring the matter yet closer, and to put it up to the present Cases, there are yet two things more to be done.

First, To shew what the different con­structions (the highest, I mean, and the lowest) the words of the Engagement are fairly ca­pabl [...] of.

And Secondly, to find as well as we can, [Page 121] whether of the two is more probably the meaning intended by the Imposers, to be declared by the words.

The words are these: ‘I do promise to be true and faithful to the Com­mon-wealth of England, as it is now esta­blished without King or Lords.’

Wherein there are sundry ambiguities.

1. First, In the words true and fai [...]hf [...]l; by which may be intended, either the pro­mise of that Fidelity and Allegiance (which was formerly acknowledged to be due to the King, &c.) to be now performed to those that are presently possessed of the Su­pream Power, as their right and due. Or else that promise of such a kind of fidelity, as Captives taken in the War, promise to their Enemies, when they fall under their power; viz. to remain true Prisoners of War, and so long as they are in their power, not to at­tempt any thing to their destruction.

2. Secondly, In the word Common-wealth, by which may either be meant, those per­sons who are the prevalent party in this King­dom, [Page 122] and now are possessed of, and do ex­ercise the Supreme Power therein, as if the right of Soveraignty were vested in them: Or else, the whole entire Body of the English Nation, as it is a Civil Society or State within it self, distinguished from all other Foreign Estates. Taken in the former sense, the fidelity promised to the Common-wealth, relateth directly to the upholding of that party who are the present Governors de facto, and imports subjection to them as de jure: But taken in the latter, it relateth to the safety of the Nation, and importeth no more as to the present Governors, but to live peaceably under them de facto, and to yield obedience to them in things absolutely ne­cessary for the upholding Civil Society with­in the Realm; such as are the defence of the Nation against Foraigners, the furtherance of Publick Justice, and the maintenance of Trade.

3. In the words as it is now established, &c. which may be understood either by way of approbation of what hath been done by way of abolishing Kingly Government, and the House of Peers, and placing all Authority and Power within the Realm, in the House of Commons. Or else [...] only, as a [Page 123] clause simply and barely reciting what man­ner of Government it is that this Nation de facto, is now under; viz. a Government by the Commons only, without either King or House of Lords.

‘Which Ambiguities considered, The highest construction that can be reasonably made of the words, is to this effect. I acknowledge the Sovereign Power of this Nation, where unto I owe Allegiance and Subjection to be rightly stated in the House of Commons, wherein neither King nor Lords (as such) have, or henceforth ought to have any share; And I promise that I will perform all Allegiance and Subjection thereunto, and maintain the same with my fortunes and life to the utmost of my power.’

And the lowest construction that can be rea­sonably made of the same words, is to this effect: ‘Whereas for the present, the Su­preme Power in England, under which Power I now am, is actually possessed and exercised by the House of Commons, without either King or Lords; I promise that so long as I live under that power and protection, I will not contrive or at­tempt any act of hostility against them: [Page 124] but living quietly and peaceably under them, will endeavor my self faithfully in my place and calling, to do what every good member of a Common-wealth ought to do for the safety of my Country, and preservation of Civil Society therein.’

V. Now cometh in to be considered in the last place the great Question, whether of the two constructions it is, (That which bindeth to the Most, or This which obligeth to the Least, the words can well bear) that the formers of the Engagement did rather intend to declare by these words. They that think the former, want not probability of reason to ground their perswasions upon. For they consider, that those who are pre­sently possessed of the Supreme Power, are not minded to part with it if they can hold it. And that the likeliest way to hold it is, if they can possibly bring the whole people of England, or at least the far greatest part thereof, to acknowledge that they are rightly possessed of it, and to promise Subjection and Allegiance to them as such. And that there­fore the Engagement, being purposely devi­sed and set on foot, as the fittest engine to expedite that work, must in all reason intend to oblige so far. Which being so contrary to [Page 125] their Judgment and perswasion, concerning the duty and Oath of Allegiance, I cannot blame those that so understand the words of the Engagement, if they abominate the very thought of taking it.

But there wanteth not great probability of Reason on the other side, to induce us to believe that the latter and lower sense is ra­ther to be deemed the immediate, and de­clared intent of the Imposers, whatsoever cause of suspition there may be, that the for­mer meaning may be more agreeable to their secret, reserved, and ultimate intent; between which two, if there be any difference (as it is not impossible but there may be) the En­gager is not concerned in it, or not yet: the Equivocation, if there be any in that, must be put upon the Imposers, not on the Pro­misers score. For thus believing, there are amongst others these Probabilities.

1. That many prudent and consciencious men of the Royal Party, as well Divines and Lawyers, as others, have thus understood it, who we presume would not for any out­ward resp [...]ct in the world have taken it, if they had conceived any more to have been intended in it.

2. That it hath often been affirmed, both [Page 126] publickly and privately in several parts of the Kingdom (if we may believe either common fame, or the reports of sundry credible par­ticular persons) by those that have perswa­ded or pressed others to subscribe; that the same is the very true intent and meaning of it, and no other.

3. That if the Imposers had been minded to have declared an intent of binding to more, they might easily have framed the words so as not to be capable of a construction bind­ing to Less.

4. That (as is also credibly reported) whilst the form of words was under debate, the opinion of those that would have had it set higher, was not followed, as held unsea­sonable; and the vote carried, for the more moderate expression wherein it now stand­eth.

5. That the Imposers, intending by the Engagement to secure themselves, especial­ly against the designs and attempts of those men, who they knew (well enough) held them for no other than Usurpers, must be in reason supposed to require no more assu­rance of them by the Engagement, than such as may and is usually given to Usurpers; which is, not an acknowledgment of their [Page 127] title, and a promise of Allegiance, but meer­ly a promise of living quietly, so long as they are under their power, and enjoy their protection.

6. That it is a received Maxim of Poli­tical prudence, for all new Governors, (especially those that either introduce a new form of Government, or come in upon a questionable title) to abstain from all harsh proceedings, even against those whom they know to be evil affected to their Power, and not so much as to exasperate them (though it be in the power of their hands to destroy them) especially in the beginning of their Government; but rather to sweeten them into a better opinion of their persons, and to win upon them by Acts of Grace and Oblivion (for Remissiùs impe­ranti meliùs paretur. Note: Senec. 1. De Clem. 24.) So as they may have but any tolerable kind of as [...]urance from them in the mean time, of living quietly and peaceably under them. We have no reason therefore to believe that the Imposers of this Engagement, who have acted the parts of the greatest Politicians, [...]o perfectly and succesfully hitherto, as to possess themselves so fully of the Supream Power of so great and flourishing a King­dom, [Page 128] in so few years▪ would be so impoli­tick as not to proceed by the same [...]ules, that all wise and succesful persons have ever pra­ctised in the managing, and for the establish­ing of an acquired power.

VI. Out of all these premises together (weighing my Positive conclusion, either Affirmative or Negative, touching the Law­fulness or Unlawfulness of subscribing in uni­versali) I shall declare my opinion only in these few following particulars.

1. That it is not lawful for any man to take the Engagement with a resolution to break it.

2. That therefore, whosoever thinketh the words of the Engagement do contain a promise of any thing which it is not law [...]ul for him to perform, cannot take it with a good conscience.

3. That whosoever so understandeth the words of the Engagement, as if they did oblige him to any thing contrary to his Al­legiance, or render him unable to act accord­ing thereunto, upon any seasonable emer­ging occasion, cannot with a good consci­ence take it.

4. That if any man for any temporal be­nefit, [Page 131] or avoiding any temporal damage, shall take the Engagement with a doubting conscience (that is, before he be perswaded in his Judgment, upon some probable ground of reason, that it is lawful for him so to do) he sinneth therein.

5. That if any man after a serious desire of informing himself as rightly as he can, what are the duties of his Allegiance on the one side, and what is most probably the meaning intended by the words of the En­gagement on the other side, shall find him­self well satisfied in this perswasion, that the performance in the mean time of what is required by the Engagement so under­stood, is no way contrary (for any thing he can discern for the present) to his bounden Allegiance, so long as he is under such a force, as that he cannot exercise it; and likewise, that whensoever that force is so removed from him, or he from under it, as that he hath power to act according to his Allegi­ance, the Obligation of the Engagement of it self determineth and expireth: and out of these considerations, rather than suffer ex­treme prejudice in his person, estate, or ne­cessary relations, shall subscribe the Engage­ment; since his own heart condemn [...]th him not, neither will I.

[Page 132]Sir, I have now two requests to you, which I doubt not but you will think rea­sonable. The one, that whatsoever use you shall please to make of these papers, or any thing therein contained, for your own, or any frien [...]s satisfaction; yet you would not deliver any Copies abroad, lest they should come to be printed, as some other papers of mine, written in this manner, have been without my knowledg. This I desire, both in respect of the danger I might incur from the displeasure of the Potent Party, if any such thing should come abroad; as also lest upon the consideration of some things here hinted, they might think the words of the Engagement too light, and might thence take occasion to lay some heavier Obligation up­on us, in words that should oblige to More. The other request is, that since I have not any other perfect Copy of what I now send you, you would procure it to be transcribed for me; and either the copy so transcribed, or these very papers rather, when you have transcribed them, transmit enclosed in a Let­ter, or by some Friend that will be sure to deliver them safe, with his own hands, to my Son — in London, to whom I shall write shortly, that he may expect them,

[Page 133]Sir, I desire that my best respects may be presented, &c. — God endue us all with Grace and Wisdom fit for these evil times; to whose Mercy and Blessing commend us all, I rest,

Your Loving Friend and Servant.

The CASE of a RASH VOVV Deliberately Iterated.

The Case.

A Gentleman of good Estate, hath Issue one only Daughter, who placing her affections upon a person much below her rank, intendeth Marriage with him: The Father hearing of it, in great displeasure Voweth, and confirmeth it with an Oath, that if she Marry him, he will never give her a farthing of his Estate. The Daughter notwithstanding Marryeth him: After which the Father sundry times iterateth and re­neweth his said former Vow, and that in a seri­ous and deliberate manner; adding further, That he would never give her or any of her [...] any part of his Estate.


Whether the Fathers Vow so made, and so confirmed and iterated as abovesaid, be Obli­gatory or not?

The Resolution.

My opinion is, That the Vow was Rash, and is not at all Obligatory.

[Page 135]1. The Question here proposed is con­cerning the obligation only; yet I deem it expedient to declare my opinion concer­ning the Rashness also: and that for two rea­sons. First, Because there seemeth in the propo [...]al of the Case, to be some weight laid upon the after iterations, which were more deliberate, as if they added to the Obliga­tion. And Secondly, Because I think it needful that the Vower should as well be convinced of the greatness of his sin in ma­king such a Vow, for the time past, as satis­fied concerning the present and future inva­lidity of it.

2. It is easie to believe, that the Gentle­man, when he first made the Vow, was pos­sessed with a very great indignation against his Daughter for her high and inexcusable disobedience to him in so very weighty a bu­siness. And truly it must be confessed, he had need to be a man of a very rare com­mand over his own Spirit, and such as are scarce to be found one of a thousand, that could so contain himself within the bounds of reason, upon so just a provocation from an only child, (possibly some other aggrava­ting circumstances concurring) as not to be transported with the violence of that passion, [Page 136] into some thoughts and resolutions, not ex­actly agreeable with the dictates of right reason. It can therefore be little doubted, but the Vow made whilst the Reason was held under the force of so strange a pertur­bation, was a rash and irrational Vow.

3. Nor will these after-acts in confirma­tion of the first Vow, though having more of deliberation in them, be sufficient to redeem either it or themselves from the imputation of Rashness: understanding rashness in that latitude as the Casuists do, when they treat de Voto temerario, under the notion whereof they comprehend all such Vows as happen per defectum plenae & discussae deliberationis, as they express it; For it is to be considered, that when an injury, disobedience, or other affront is strongly resented, it many times [...]aketh a very deep impression in the Soul, which though after the first impetus have a little spent it self, it begin somewhat to abate, yet it doth so by such slow and insensible de­grees, that the same perturbation, which first discomposed the mind, may have a strong influence into all succeeding delibera­tions for a long time after. Even as after an acute Feaver, when the sharpest paroxysmes are over, and the malignity of the disease [Page 137] well spent, although the party begin to reco­ver some degrees of strength; yet there may remain for a good while after such a debility in the parti [...]s, as that they cannot exercise their proper functions, but with some weak­ness more or less, till the party be perfectly recovered. Sith therefore the after-iterati­ons on the first Vow in the present case, did proceed apparently from the rancor and ma­lignity remaining in the mind, as the dregs and reliques of the same perturbation, from which the first Vow also proceeded: they must upon the same account (to wit, per de­fectum plenae deliberationis) undergo the same censure of Rashness with the first. The same I say for the kind; some difference I grant there is for the degree: but Magis & Minus non variant speciem, we know. And the consi­deration of that difference is only thus far useful in the present Case, that the more de­liberate those after-acts were, the more cul­pable they are, and the le [...]s capable either of Excuse or Extenuation; and consequent­ly do oblige the party to so much the more serious, solemn, and lasting Repentance.

4. But concerning rash Vowes (in as much as the knot of the Question lyeth not there) it shall suffice to note these few points. First, [Page 138] That every Rash Vow is a sin; and that upon its own score, and precisely as it is Rash, al­though it should not be any other way pec­cant. All acts of Religious worship (by the importance of the third Commandment) are to be performed with all due sobriety, attention, and advisedness: how much more than a Vow? which is one of the highest acts of worship, as being a sacred contract, where unto God himself is a party. See Eccl. 5.1. &c. Secondly, That Rash Vows are for the most part, (besides the Rashness) peccant in their matter also; For they are commonly made in passion, and all passions are evil Counsellors, and Anger as bad as the first. The wrath of Man seldom worketh the righte­ousness of God. Thirdly, That a Rash Vow, (though to be repented of for the Rashness) may yet in some cases bind. As for exam­ple, A man finding himself ill used by a Shop-keeper, of whom he had formerly been accustomed to buy, voweth in a Rage that he will never buy of him again: This is a Rash Vow, yet it bindeth, because if the party had never made any such Vow at all, it had neither been unjust or uncharitable, (nor so much as imprudent) in him for to have done the same thing, which by his Vow [Page 139] he hath now bound himself to do. So if a man impatient of his ill luck at Cards, should Vow in a heat never to Play at Cards any more; he were in this case also bound to keep his Vow: because there neither is any sin in keeping it, nor can be any great necessi­ty why he should break it. That therefore Fourthly, if at any time a Rash Vow bind not; the invalidity thereof proceedeth not meer­ly (nor indeed at all) from the Rashness (which yet is a very common error amongst men) but from the faultiness of it other­wise, in respect of the matter, or thing vowed to be done; when that which is so Vowed, is either so evil in it self, or by rea­son of circumstances, becometh so evil, that it cannot be performed without sin.

5. That therefore concerning the Vow in the present case, I declared my Opinion that it is not at all obligatory; it is done upon this ground (which is a most certain truth, and consented to by all) that Rei illicitae nulla obligatio. If a man shall Vow any thing that is contrary to Piety; as if having taken of­fence at some indiscreet passage in a Sermon of his own Minister, he should vow that he would never come to the Church, or hear him Preach again,: Or that is contrary to [Page 140] Iustice, as to take away the life of an inno­cent person, as those 40 persons that had vowed they would neither eat nor drink till they had slain Paul: Or never to make re­stitution to one whom he knew he had wron­ged: Or contrary to Charity; as to be re­venged of, or never to be friends with one that had done him wrong: Or that is con­trary to Mercy; as if having lost some mo­ney by lending to his friend, or having smar­ted by suretiship, he should vow never to lend any man money, or become surety for any man again. Let such a Vow, I say, as any of these, or any of the like nature, be made either rashly, or deliberately, and strengthened with Oaths and Imprecations, in the most direful and solemn manner that can be devised to tie it on the faster; yet it is altogether null and invalid as to the eff [...]ct of Obligation. Whence those common say­ings, In male promissis rescinde fidem; ne sit juramentum vinculum iniquitatis, &c. And we have a good president for it in David, after he had in a rage vowed the destruction of Nabal, and all that belonged to him; which vow, upon better consideration, he not only did not perform, but he blessed God also, for so providentially preventing the [Page 141] performance of it, by the discreet demeanor and intervention of Abigail.

6. Now the reason why such vows are not binding, is very cogent and clear; Even because the party at such time as he is sup­posed to have made such Vow as aforesaid, lay under another (a former, and therefore a stronger) obligation to the contrary. And it is agreeable to all the reason in the World, that he who either by his own voluntary act, hath bound himself (where lawfully he might so do) or by the command of his law­ful Superior (that hath a right to his service, and may exact obedience from him) is al­ready bound to do, or not to do this or that; should not have power to disoblige himself therefrom, at his own pleasure, or to super­induce upon himself a new Obligation con­trary thereunto: Obligatio prior praejudicat posteriori. As in the case of Marriage, a precontract with one party, avoideth all af­ter-contracts with any other: And if a man convey Lands to several persons, by deeds of several date, the first conv [...]yance standeth good, and all the rest are void; and so in all cases of like nature. The Obligatory power thereof that is in Vows, Oaths, Pro­mises, &c. is rightly said by some, to be a [Page 142] constructive, not a destructive power. The meaning is, that such acts may create a new Obligation where was none before, or con­firm an old one; but it cannot destroy an old one, or substitute another contrary there­unto, in the place [...] thereof.

7. And the reason of this reason also is yet farther evident; for that Quisquis obliga­tur, alteri obligatur. When a man is obliged by any act, it is also supposed, that the ob­ligation is made to some other party; to whom also it is supposed some right to ac­crue, by vertue of the said act obligatory; and that that other party is by the said act sufficiently vested in that said right, of which right he cannot be again devested and depri­ved by the meer act of him who instated him therein, and is obliged to perform it to him (unless himself give consent thereunto) without the greatest injustice in the World. Now God having a perfect right to our obe­dience, by his own obliging Precept, both for the not doing hurt to any man, and for the doing good to every man upon all fit op­portunities: and this right also confirmed, and ratified by our own obligatory act in a solemn manner, before many witnesses at our Baptism, when we vowed to keep all God's [Page 143] Commandments: it were unreasonable to think that it should be in our power, by any after-act of ours to disoblige our selves from both, or either of those obligations. For then we might by the same reason free our selves from the obligation, of that latter Act also (suppose an Oath, or Vow) by another subsequent Oath, or Vow; and from that again by another: and so play fast and loose, make Vows, and break them in infinitum. Evident it is therefore, that every vow re­quiring any thing to be done, which is repug­nant to any office of Piety, Iustice, Charity, or Mercy, which we owe either to God or man, is void, and bindeth not, because it findeth us under the power of a former con­trary obligation, and hath not it self power sufficient to free or discharge us from the same.

8. The general rule thus cleared, it re­maineth to examine concerning the parti­cular Vow now in question, whether it be void upon this account or no? It will be­found hard I believe to free this Vow from being repugnant to the rules of Iustice, but impossible, I am sure, to reconcile it with the perfect Evangelical Law of Charity and Mercy. First, Civil and Political Iustice, re­quireth [Page 144] that every man should obey the wholsome Laws of his Countrey, and sub­mit himself to be ordered thereby. Now, put the case (which is possible enough) that the Daughters Husband should for lack of support from his Father-in-law, or other­wise, live and die in great want, leaving his Wife, and many small Children behind him, destitute of all means for their necessary su­stenance. The Law would (as I suppose) in that case, upon complaint of the Parish, and for their case, send the Daughter and her Children to the Father, and compel him to maintain them out of his Estate. Which order he ought to obey, nor can refuse so to do, without the high contempt of publick Authority, and manifest violation of the Ci­vil Justice, notwithstanding his Vow to the contrary: The Law must be obeyed what­soever becometh of the Vow; in that case therefore it is evident the Vow bindeth not.

9. But say that should not happen to be the case (which yet is more than any man can positively say before-hand) the Parent is nevertheless in Moral Iustice bound to pro­vide due maintenance for his Children and Grand-Children if he be able. Saint Paul saith that Fathers ought to lay up for the [Page 145] Children. True it is, he speaketh it but upon the by, and by way of Illustration, in the handling of another argument, very di­stant from this business: but [...]hat doth not at all lessen the importance of it, such illu­strations being ever taken à notiori, and from such common notions as are granted, and consented unto by all reasonable men. The same Apostle having amongst other sins of the Gentiles, mentioned disobedience to Parents in one verse, in the very next verse, mentioneth also want of natural affection in Parents. And the disobedience in the Child can no more discharge the Parent from the obligation of that duty he oweth to the Child, of affection, and maintenance, then the unnaturalness of the Parent, can the Child from the duty he oweth to the Pa­rent, of Honour and Obedience. For the se­veral duties, that by Gods ordinance, are to be performed by persons that stand in mutual relation either to other, are not pactional and conditional; as are the Leagues and Agree­ments made between Princes (where the breach in one part dissolveth the obligation on the other) but are absolute and indepen­dent; wherein each person is to look to himself, and the performance of the duty [Page 146] that lyeth upon him, though the other party should fail in the performance of his.

10. Something I foresee may be obje­cted in this point, concerning the lawfulness of the Parents withdrawing maintenance from the Child (either in whole, or at least in part) in the case of disobedience. Which how far forth it may, or may not be done; as it would be too long to examine, so it would be of little avail to the present busi­ness. For it is one thing to with-hold main­tenance from a disobedient Child for the present, and to resolve so to continue till he shall see cause to the contrary. And ano­ther thing to bind himself by Vow or Oath, never to allow him any for the future, what­soever should happen. Let be granted what­soever can be supposed pleadable on the Fa­thers behalf in the present case; yet there will still remain two particulars in this Vow, not easily to be cleared from being unjust. First, let the Daughters disobedience de­serve all this uttermost of punishment f [...]om the offended Father; yet how can it be just, that for the Mothers fault, the pour in [...]o­cent (perhaps yet unborn) Children, should be utterly, and irrecoverably excluded from all possibility of relief from their Grand­father? [Page 147] Secondly, It is (if not unjust, yet what differeth very little there-from) the ex­tremity of rigid Justice; that any offender (much less a Son or Daughter) should for any offence, not deserving Death, be by a kind of fatal peremptory decree, put into an incapacity of receiving relief from such per­sons, as otherwise ought to have relieved the said offender, without any reservation either of the case of extreme necessity, or of the case of serious repentance.

11. However it be for the point of Iu­stice; yet so apparent is the repugnancy of the matter of this Vow, with the Precepts of Christian Charity and Mercy; that if all I have hitherto said were of no force, this repug­nancy alone were enough (without other e­vidence) to prove the unlawfulness, and con­sequently the invalidity, or inobligability thereof. It is (not an Evangelical Counsel, but) the express peremptory precept of Christ, that we should be merciful, even as our heavenly Father is merciful. And inas­much as, not in that passage only, but for the most part wheresoever else the duty of mercy is pressed upon us in the Gospel from the example of God: God is represented to us by the Name, and under the notion of [Page 145] a Father, although I may not lay much weight upon it, as a demonstrative proof; yet I conceive I may commend it as a ratio­nal Topick, for all that are Fathers to con­sider of, whether it do not import, that mercy is to be expected from a father as much as (if not rather much more then) from any other man; and that the want of mercy in a Father, is more unkindly, more unseemly, more unnatural then in another man: But [...]his by the way, from that Precept of Christ, we learn that as there is in God a two-fold mercy, (a giving mercy, in doing us good, though we deserve it not, & a forgiving mercy, in pardoning us when we have done amiss:) so there ought to be in every good Christian man a readiness (after the example of God) to shew forth the fruits of mercy to others, in both kinds, upon all proper and meet occa­sions. So that if any person, of what quality or condition soever, shall upon any provoca­t [...]on whatsoever Vow that he will never do any thing for such or such a man; or that he will never forgive such or such a man: every such Vow, being contra bonos mores, and con­tra officium hominis Christiani, is unlawful, and bindeth not.

12. The offices of mercy in the former of [Page 137] those two branches, viz. of doing good, and affording relief to those that are in necessity, are themselves of so great necessity (as the case may be) that common humanity would exact the performance of them from the hand, not of a stranger only, but even of an enemy. If a stranger or an enemies Beast lie weltering in a Ditch, a helping hand must be lent to draw it out. The Samaritans compassion to the wounded Traveller in the Parable, Luk. 10. (There being a feud, and that grounded upon Religion, which commonly of all others, is the most deadly feud between the two Nati­ons) is commended to our example, to the great reproach of the Priest and Levite, for their want of Bowels to their poor Brother of the same Natio [...] and Religion with them­selves; For the nearer the Relation is be­tween the Parties, the stronger is the obliga­tion of shewing mercy either to other. And there is scarce any relation nearer, and more obliging, then that of Parents and Children.

Our Saviour, who in Matth. 15. sharply reproved such vows, (though made with an intention to advance the Service of God, by inriching his Treasury (as hindred Children from relieving their parents, will not certainly approve of such vows (made without any o­ther [Page 150] intention then to gratifie rage, and im­patience) as hinder Parents from relieving their Children.

13. If to avoid the force of this argument, it shall be alledged, that the Daughters dis­obedience, in a business of so high concern­ment, might justly deserve to be thus severe­ly punished, and that it were but equal that she, who had so little regard to her Father, when the time was, should be as little re­garded by him afterwards. All this granted, cometh not yet up to the point of shewing Mercy according to the example of God. No Childs disobedience can be so great to an earthly Parent, as ours is to our heavenly Father: Yet doth he notwithstanding all our ill deservings continually do us good, com­municating▪ to our necessities, and causing his Sun to shine, and his Rain to fall, and infinite benefits in all kinds to descend upon man­kind, not excluding the most thankless, and disobedient, and rebellious, from having a share therein.

14. And as for that other branch of mercy in pardoning offences, God giveth a rich example to all men, of their duty in that kind, (and to Fathers particularly (by his great readiness to pardon the greatest offenders, if they sin­cerely [Page 151] seek to him for it. If the Father in the Parable, Luke 15. had proceeded with such severity against his riotous Son, as to have vowed never to have received him a­gain; he had been a very improper [...]xem­plar, whereby to shadow out the mercy of God to repentant sinners. Concernin [...] the great importance of this duty, which is so frequently inculcated by Christ and his Apo­stles, and so peremptorily enjoyned, as not any other duty more. See Matt. 6.4, 15. Matt. 18.21.—35. Eph. 4.32. Col. 3.13. Iames 2.13. See also Sirac. 28.1, &c.] I shall not need to say much; only as to the present Case, it would be considered, how perverse a course it is, and contradictory to it self, for a man to think himself obliged by one inconsiderate act, never to forgive his Daughter; when as yet he cannot beg par­don of his own sins, at the hands of God, (as he ought in his daily Prayer to do) with­out an express condition of forgiving every body, and an implicit imprecation upon himself, if he do not.

15. But shall the Daughter that hath thus grieved the spirit of her Father, thus escape unpunished, and be in as good a condition as if she had never offended? And will not [Page 152] others be incouraged by her impunity, to de­spise their Parents after her example? There is much reason in this objection; and there­fore what I have hitherto written, ought not to be understood, as if thereby were inten­ded such a plenary indulgence for the daugh­ter, as should restore her in integrum, but only that she should be made capable of re­ceiving such relief from her Father, from time to time, as in relation to her necessi­ties, and after-carriage, from time to time, should seem reasonable; and that his Vow ought not to hinder him from affording her such relief. But by what degrees, and in what proportion, the Father should thus re­ceive his daughter into his fatherly affection, and relieve her, must be left to discretion, and the exigence of circumstances. Only I should advise (in order to the objection, viz. for examples sake, and that the daughter might be made, even to her dying day, and kept, sensible of her great and sinful disobe­dience to her Fath [...]r) that the Father should cut off from his Daughter, and her Posterity, some meet portion of his Estate, (as per­haps a fifth part at the least; or if a fourth, or a whole third part, I should like it the bet­ter;) and by a solemn deliberate vow, de­dicate [Page 153] the same to be yearly imployed in some pious and charitable uses. These times will afford him choice of objects, if God shall move his heart so to do; and by so do­ing, he may, First, in some sort redeem, and make a kind of satisfaction for his former Rashness, (not Popishly understood, and in re­gard of the Iustice of God, but) in a moral sense, and in regard of the World, and his own Conscience. Secondly, it may be a good means to keep the Daughter in a continual fresh remembrance of her fault, that she may not, after a short and slight repentance (as in such cases too often it happeneth) for­get the same; whereof she ought to have some remorse all the daies of her life. Third­ly, he shall thereby after a sort, perform his first vow; I mean according to the general inte [...] ­tion thereof, and the rational part, (which was to make his Daug [...]ter repent her folly, and to smart for it:) the over-plus more tha [...] [...]his, be­ing but the fruit of rancor and pertu [...]bation. Lastly, he shall in so doing, doubly imitate God, our heavenly Father. First, when a rash or sinful act is made an occasion of a pious or charitable work, it beareth some resemblance of, or rather is indeed it self a gracious effect of that good­ness and wisdom in God, whereby he bringeth light out of darkness, and good out of evil. Se­condly, God Himself when he graciously par­doneth [Page 154] an high presumptuous sin, as he did Davids great sin, in the matter of Vriah, com­monly layeth some lasting affliction upon the offender, as he did upon David, who after the sealing his pardon for that sin by Nathan, scarce ever had a quiet day all his life long. The rea­son whereof seemeth to be double, partly for admonition to others, that none presume to provo [...]e God in like manner, lest they smart for it also in like manner; and partly for the good of the offender, that he may by the smart be brought to the deeper sense of his error, and be eftsoons reminded of it, lest he should too soon forget it.

Thus have I with very much ado, (in that weak condi­tion I have been in, ever since the question came to my hands, and wherein I yet continue) declared my opinion fully con­cerning the whole business as far as I understand it. More larg­ly I confess than I intended, or perhaps was needful; and with greater severity than (it may be) the parties will well like of. But truly I desired to do the part of a faithful Confessor, and the sores on both parts seemed to be such as were not to be touched with too gentle a hand: In the Daughter, an act of high disobedience, transported by the passion of in­ordinate love; and in the Father an act of great Rashnes [...], transported by the passion of inordinate anger: both beyond the bounds of right Reason, a [...]d Religion; and both to be deeply repented of. Howsoever, I cannot be suspected to have written any thing, either out of favour for, or prejudice a­gainst either party; not having the least conjecture who the persons are that are concerned in the business; nor so much as in what part of the Nation they live. I shall pray that God would direct them both, to do that which may best serve to his glory, and bring the soundest comfort to their own souls. Amen.


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