AUREA DICTA. THE Gratious Words Of King CHARLES I. Of Glorious Memory: For the Protestant Religion OF THE Church of England.

Collected out of ΕἸΚῺΝ ΒΑΣΙΛΙΚΉ.

If once the Goodness and Equity of the Prince comes to be truly understood by the People, the Authority of the Faction is ex­tinguished.

Dec. Def.

OXFORD, Printed by L. Lichfield for John Barksdale, Bookseller in Cirencester, Anno Domini 1682.

AƲREA DICTA. The Gratious Words of King Charles the First, For the Protestant Religion of the Church of England: Collected out of [...].

I. Ʋpon His Majesties calling the Parliament, 1642.

THe odium and offences, which some mens rigor or remissness in Church and State had contracted upon My Government, I resolved to have expi­ated by such Laws and regulations for the future, as might not only rectify what was amiss in practice, but supply what was defective in the Constitution: no man having a greater zeal to see Religion setled, and preser­ved in truth, unitie and order, than My self; whom it most concerns both in piety and policy, as knowing, That no flames of civil dissentions are more dangerous than those, which make Religious pretensions the grounds of Factions.

I resolved to Reform, what I should by free and full advise in Parliament be convinced to be amiss; and to grant, whatever my Reason and Conscience told me was fit to be desired. I wish I had kept my self within those bounds, and not suffered my own Judgment to have been overborn in some things, more by others importunity than their arguments; my Confidence had [Page 4]less betrayed my self and my Kingdoms to those advanta­ges which some men sought for, who wanted nothing but Power and Occasion to do Mischief. But our Sins being ripe, there was no preventing of God's Justice from reaping that Glory in our Calamities, which we rebid him of in our Prosperity.

VI. Ʋpon His Majesties Retirement from Westminster.

I can be contented to recede much from my own in­terests and personal Rights, of which I conceive my self to be Master; but in what concerns Truth, Justice, the Rights of the Church, and my Crown, together with the general Good of my Kingdoms (all which I am bound to prese [...]ve as much as morally lies in me) here I am and ever shall be fixt and resolute; nor shall any man gain my Consent to that wherein my heart gives my tongue or hand the lye: nor will I be brought to affirm to men, what in my Conscience I denyed before God.

VIII. Ʋpon His Majesties Repulse at Hull.

I desire always more to remember, I am a Christian than a King. For what the Majestie of one might just­ly abhor, the Charity of the other is willing to bear: what the height of a King tempteth to revenge, the Hu­mility of a Christian teacheth to forgive; keeping in compass all those impotent passions, whose excess in­jures a man more than his greatest Enemies can: For these give the Malice a full impression on our Souls, which otherwise cannot reach very far, nor do us much hurt.

IX. Upon raising Armies against the King.

The bill against Root and Branch was brought on by tumultuary Clamors and Schismatical Terrors; which could never pass, till both Houses were sufficiently thinned and over awed To which partiality (while in all Reason, Justice and Religion, my Conscience forbids me by consenting to make up their Votes to Acts of Parliament) I must now be urged with an Army, and constrained either to hazard my own and my Kingdoms ruine by my defence; or prostrate my Conscience to the blind obedience of those men, whose zealous super­stition thinks or pretends, they cannot do God and the Church a greater Service, than utterly to destroy that Primitive, and Apostolical, and Anciently Universal Government of the Church by Bishops.

Which, if other mens judgment binds them to main­tain, or forbids them to consent to the abolishing of it, mine much more. who, besides the grounds I have in my judgment, have also a most strict and indispensa­ble Oath upon my Conscience, to preserve that Or­der and the Rights of the Church. To which most sacrile­gious and abhorred Perjury, most unbeseeming a Chris­tian King, should I ever by giving my consent be be­trayed, I should account it infinitely greater misery, than any hath, or can befall me.

XI. Ʋpon the Nineteen Propositions,

Many of them savour very strong of that old leaven [Page 6]of Innovations, masked under that name of Reforma­tion; which in my two last famous Predecessor's tune, threatned both Prince and Parliaments; but I am sure was never wont so far to infect the whole mass of the Nobility and Gentry of this Kingdome, however dis­persed among the Vulgar.

Nor will I consent to more than Reason, Justice, Ho­nour and Religion perswade me to be for Gods Glory, the Churches good, my Peoples welfare, and my own Peace. I will Study to satisfy my Parliament, and my People: but I will never, for fear or flattery, gratify any Faction how potent soever.

XIII. Upon the coming in of the Scots.

The Coming again of that Party into England with an Army, only to conform this Church to their late new model, cannot but seem as unreasonable, as they would have thought the same measure offered from hence to them.

Nor do I know any such tough and malignant hu­mours in the constitution of the English Church, which gentler Applications than those of an Army, might not easily have removed: Nor is it so proper to hewo ut Religious Reformations by the Sword, as to polish them by fair and equal disputations, among those that are most concerned in the differences; whom not force, but reason ought to convince.

Wise and Learned Men think, that nothing hath more [Page 7]marks of Schism and Sectarism, than this Presbyteri­an way; both as to the ancient and still most universal way of the Church-Government, and specially as to the particular Laws and Constitutions of this English Church; which are not yet repeated, nor are like to be for me till I see more rational and Religious motives.

I think my self so much the more bound in Conscience to attend the Church's Good with the most judicious zeal and care, by how much I esteem the Church above the State, the Glory of Christ above mine own, and the salva­tion of mens Souls above the preservation of their Bodies and Estates.

Sure the Church of England might have purchased, at a far cheaper rate, the truth and happiness of a reformed Government and Discipline (if it had been wanting) tho it had entertained the best Divines of Christendom, for their advice in a full and free Synod: which I was ever willing to, and desirous of; that matters being imparti­ally setled, might be more satisfactory to all, and more durable.

XIV. Ʋpon the Covenant.

Altho I am unsatisfied with many passages in that Cove­nant; some referring to my self with very dubious and dangerous limitations; yet I chiefly wonder at the de­sign and drift, touching the Discipline and Government of the Church. Nor can I see how they will reconcile such an innovating Oath and Covenant, with that for­mer Protestation, which was so lately taken, to main­tain [Page 8]the Religion established in the Church of England; since they count Discipline so great a part of Religion.

I am prone to believe and hope, that many who took the Covenant, are yet firm to this judgment; That such later vows, Oaths or Leagues can never blot out those former Gravings and Characters, which by just and lawful Oaths were made upon their Souls.

As for the Reformation of the Church, which the Cove­nant pretends, I cannot think it just, or comely, that by the partial Advice of a few Divines (of so soft and ser­vile tempers, as disposed them to sudden acting and compliance contrary to their former judgments) such foul Scandals and Suspitions should be cast upon the Doctrine and Government of the Church of England, as was never done (that I have heard) by any that deserv­ed the name of Reformed Churches abroad, nor by any men of learning or Candor at home: all whose judg­ments I cannot but prefer, before any men's now facti­ously engaged.

No man can be more forward than my self, to carry on all due Reformation, with mature jud [...]ment and a good Conscience, in what things I shall (after impar­tial Advice) be by God's Word and right Reason con­vinced to be amiss. And I have offer'd more, than the fullest, freest and wisest Parliaments did desire. But the sequel of some mens Actions makes it evident, that the main Reformation intended is the abaseing of Epis­copacy into Presbytery, and the robbing the Church of its lands and revenues. Still I see, while the breath of [Page 9]Religion fills the Sails, profit is the compass by which factious men steer their course in all seditious commo­tions.

I thank God, as no man lay more upon to temptati­ons of usurping the Church lands and revenues; so I have always had such a perfect abhorrence of it in my Soul, that I never found the least inclination to such sacrilegi­ous reformings: Yet no man hath a greater desire to have Bishops and all Church-men so reformed, that they may best deserve and use, not only what the pious Muni­ficence of my Predecessors hath given to God and the Church, but all other additions of Christian Bounty.

But no necessity shall ever (I hope) drive Me or Mine to invade or sell the Priest's Lands: which both Pha­raoh's Divinity and Joseph's true Piety abhorr'd to do. So unjust I think it, both in the Eye of Reason and Religi­on, to deprive the most sacred employment of all due encouragements; and like the other hard-hearted Pha­raoh, to withdraw the Straw and encrease the Task: So pursuing the oppressed Church (as some have done) to the Red-Sea of a Civil War; where nothing but a Mira­cle can save it, or Him, who esteems his greatest Title to be called, and his chiefest Glory to be The Defender of the Church, both in its true Faith, and its just Fruitions, equally abhorring Sacriledge and Apostacy.

XV. Ʋpon the Scandals cast upon the King.

It was a great part of some mens Religion to scanda­lize Me and Mine: They thought theirs could not be [Page 10]true, if they cryed not down mine as false. I thank God, I have had more tryal of his Grace, as to the con­stancy of my Religion, in the Protestant Profession of the Church of England, both abroad and at home, than ever they are like to have.

Nor do I know any exception I am so liable to, in their opinion, as too great a fixedness in that Religion, whose judicious and solid grounds, both from Scripture and Antiquity, will not give my Conscience leave to ap­prove or consent to those many dangerous and divided Innovations, which the bold ignorance of some men would needs obtrude upon Me and my People: contra­ry to those well-tryed Foundations both of Truth and Order, which men of far greater learning and clearer Zeal have setled in the Confession and Constitution of this Church in England: which many former Parliaments, in the most calm and unpassionate times, have oft con­firmed. In which I shall ever by Gods help persevere.

XVI. Ʋpon the Ordinance against the Common Prayer-Book.

Tho I am not against a grave, modest, discreet and humble use of Ministers Gifts, even in publick, the bet­ter to fit and excite their own and the peoples affections to the present occasions: Yet I know no necessity, why private and single Abilities should quite justle out and deprive the Church of the joynt Abilities and concurrent gifts of many learned and godly men; such as the Com­posers of the Service-Book were; who may in all reason [Page 11]be thought to have more of Gifts and Graces, enabling to Compose with serious deliberation and concurrent advice such Forms of Prayer, as may best fit the Church­es common wants, inform the Hearers understanding, and stir up that fiduciary and fervent Application of their Spirits (wherein consists the very Life and Soul of Pray­er) then any private man by his solitary Abilities can be presumed to have.

The want of Liturgy, I believe, this Church will suf­ficiently feel when the unhappy fruits of many mens un­govern'd ignorance and confident defects shall be dis­cover'd in more errours, Schisms, disorders and un­charitable distractions in Religion: which are already but too many, the more's the pitty.

One of the greatest faults some men found with our Common-prayer-book, I believe, was this: That it taught them to pray so oft for Me: for which Petitions they had not Loyalty enough to say Amen; nor yet Charity enough to forbear reproaches, and even cursing of Me in their own Forms, instead of praying for Me. I wish their Repentance may be their only punishment.

XVII. Of the Differences in point of Church Government.

I must now in Charity be thought desirous to preserve that Government in its right Constitution, as a Matter of Religion; Wherein my Judgment is fully satisfied, that it hath of all other the fullest Scripture Grounds, and al­so [Page 12]the constant Practice of all Christian Churches, till of late years.

They must give me leave having none of their temp­tations to alter the Government of Bishops (that I may have a Title to their Estates) not to believe their pre­tended grounds to any new wayes contrary to the full and constant Testimony of all Histories, sufficiently convincing unbiassed men.

Not that I am against the managing of this Presidency and Authority in one man, by the joynt Counsel and Consent of many Presbyters. I have offerd to restore that, as a fit means to avoid those Errors, Corruptions, Par­tialities, which are incident to any one man: also to avoid Tyranny, which becomes no Christian, least of all Church-men. Besides, it will be a means to take away that burden and Odium of affairs, which may lay too heavy upon one mans Shoulders, as indeed I think it did formerly on the Bishops here.

For those secular Additaments and Ornaments of Authority, Civil Honour, and Estate, which my Pre­decessors, and Christian Princes in all Countries have annexed to Bishops and Church-men; I look upon them but as just Rewards of their Learning and Piety, who are fit to be in any degree of Church-Government; also Enablements to works of Charity, and Hospitality; meet strengthening of their Authority in Point of res­pect and observance; which in Peaceful times is hardly payed to any Governors by the measure of their Vir­tues so much as by that of their Estates.

I would have such men Bishops as are most worthy of such Encouragements, and ablest to use them. If at any time my Judgment of men failed, my good Intenti­ons made my Error Venial. I am sure I had, Whose Learning, Gravity, and Piety, no man of any Worth or Forehead can deny.

The Abuses of Episcopacy deserve to be Extirpated, as well as the use retained; for I hold it far better to hold to Primitive and uniform Antiquity than to comply with divided noveltie. A right Episcopacy will at once satisfy all just desires and interests of good Bishops, humble Presbyters, and sober People: so as Church Affairs should be managed neither with Tyranny, Pa­rity, nor Popularity; neither Bishops Ejected, nor Presbyters despised, nor People oppressed. And in this Integrity, both of my Judgment and Conscience, I hope God will Preserve me,

XVIII. Ʋpon Uxbridg Treaty.

In Church-affairs, where I had least Liberty of Pru­dence, haveing so many strict tyes of Conscience upon me; yet I was willing to condescend so far to the setling of them, as might have given fair satisfaction to all men, whom Faction, Covetousness, or Superstition had not Engaged more, than any true Zeal, Charity, or love of Reformation.

God knows, and Time will discover, who were most to [Page 14]blame for the unsuccesfulness of that Treaty, and who must bear the guilt of after Calamities. I believe I am very excusable, both before God and all unpassionate men; who have seriously weighed these transactions, wherein I endeavoured no less the Restauration of Peace to my People, than the Preservation of my own Crowns to my Posterity.

Ʋpon the Reformation of the Times.

I am sorry to see, (after the freedom of Parliament was by factious Tumults oppressed) how little regard was had to the good Laws Established, and the Religion set­led; (which ought to be the first Rule and standard of Reforming) with how much Partiality, and Popular Compliance, the Passions and Opinions of men have been gratified, to the detriment of the Public, and the infinite scandal of the Reformed Religion.

What Dissolutions of all Order and Government in the Church! What Novelties of Schisms and Corrupt O­pinions! What undecences and Confusions in sacred Administrations! What Sacrilegious Invasions upon the Rights and Revenues of the Church! What Contempt and oppression of the Clergy!

I conceive that where the Scripture is not so clear and Punctual in precepts, there the constant and universal Practice of the Church, in things not contrary to reason, faith, good manners, or any positive command, is the best Rule that Christians can follow.

I am sure, the right methods of Reforming the Church, cannot consist with that of Perturbing the Civil state: nor can Religion be justly advanced by depressing Loyal­ty; which is one of the chiefest Ingredients, and Orna­ments of true Religion. For next to Fear God, is, Honour the King.

I doubt not but Christs Kingdom may be set up, with­out Pulling down mine: nor will any men in impartial times appear good Christians, that approve not themselves good Subjects.

Christs Government will Confirm mine, not overthrow it; since, as I own mine from him, so I desire to rule for his Glory, and his Churches Good.

XXIV. Ʋpon the denying of his Majesty the attendance of his Chaplains.

When Providence was pleased to deprive Me of all civil Comforts and secular Attendants, I thought the absence of them all might best be supplyed by the atten­dance of some of my Chaplains; whom for their Function I reverence, and for their Fidelity I have cause to love. By their Learning, Piety and Prayers I hoped to be ei­ther better enabled to sustain the want of all other enjoy­ments, or better fitted for the recovery and use of them, in God's good time, so reaping, by their pious help, a Spiri­tual Harvest of Grace, a midst the Thorns, and after the Plowings of Temporal crosses.

If I had asked my Revenues, my power of the Militiu, or any one of my Kingdoms, it had been no wonder to have been denyed in those things; where the evil poli­cy of men forbids all just restitution, lest they should con­fess an injurious usurpation: But to deny the Ghostly comfort of my Chaplains, seems a greater rigour and bar­barity, than is ever used by Christians to the meanest Prisoners, and greatest Malefactors; whom tho the justice of the Law deprive of wordly comforts, yet the mercy of Religiou allows them the benefit of their Clergy, as not aiming at once to destroy their Bodies, and to damn their Souls.

But my Agony must not be relieved with the presence of one good Angel: for such I account a learned, godly and discreet Divine, and such I would have all mine to be.

I am so much a friend to all Church-men, that have any thing in them beseeming that sacred Function, that I have hazarded mine own Interests, chiefly upon Con­science and Constancy to maintain their Rights. Whom the more I looked upon as Orphans, and under the sacri­legious eyes of many cruel and rapacious Reformers; so I thought it my duty, the more to appear as a Father, and a Patron for them and the Church.

In Devotions, I love neither profane boldness, norpi­ous Nonsense; but such an humble and judicious gravi­ty, as shews the Speaker to be at once considerate of God's Majesty, the Churches honour, and his own rite­ness; both knowing what God allows him to ask, and [Page 17]in what manner it becomes a Sinner, to supplicate the divine mercy for himself and others.

As I owe the Clergy the protection of a Christian King, so I desire to enjoy from them the benefit of their Gifts and Prayers: Which I look upon as more prevalent than mine own, or other mens, by how much they flow from minds more enlightned, and affections less distract­ed, than those which are encumbred with secular Af­fairs.

My comfort is, that in the enforced, not neglected, want of ordinary means, God is wont to afford extra­ordinary supplies of his Gifts and Graces. If his Spi­rit will teach me, and help mine infirmities in Prayer, reading and meditation (as I hope He will) I shall need no other, either Orator or Instructor.

XXVII. To the Prince of Wales.

I had rather you should be Charles le bon, then le grand, Good then Great. I hope God hath designed you to be both, having so early put you into that exercise of his Graces and Gifts bestowed upon you: which may best weed out all vicious Inclinations, and dispose you to those Princely endowments and imployments, which will most gain the love, and intend the welfare of those, over whom God shall place you.

The true Glory of Princes consists in the advancing of [Page 18]Gods Glory, in the maintenance of true Religion and the Churches good: Also in the dispensation of civil power, with Justice and Honour, to the publick peace.

Piety will make you prosperous, at least it will keep you from being miserable, nor is he much a looser that looseth all, yet saveth his own Soul at last.

Above all, I would have you (as hope I you are al­ready) well grounded and setled in your Religion. The best profession of which, I have ever esteemed that of the Church of England, in which you have been educated: yet I would have your own judgment and reason now Seal to that sacred Bond, which Education hath writ­ten, that it may be judiciously your own Religion, and not other mens Custom or Tradition, which you pro­fess.

In this I charge you to persevere as coming nearest to God's Word for Doctrine, and to the Primitive Examples for Government, with some little amendment; which I often offer'd, tho in vain: your fixation in matters of Re­ligion, will not be more necessary for your Souls, than your Kingdoms Peace, when God shall bring you to them.

Let nothing seem little or despicable to you, in mat­ters which concern Religion and the Churches peace; so as to neglect the speedy reforming, and effectual sup­pressing Errors and Schisms: which seeming at first but as a hand bredth, by seditious Spirits as by strong Winds are soon made to cover and darken the whole Heavens.

Your Prerogative is best shewed and exercised in re­mitting, rather than exacting the rigour of the Law; there being nothing worse than legal Tyranny.

Beware of exasperating any Factions by the crossness and asperity of some mens passions, humours and pri­vate opinions; employed by you; grounded only upon the difference in lesser matters, which are but the Skirts and Suburbs of Religion; provided the difference a­mount not to an insolent opposition of Laws and Go­vernment. Always keep up solid Piety, and those Funda­mental Truths, (which mend both hearts and lives of men) with impartial favor and justice.

I do require and intreat you, as your Father and your King, that you never suffer your heart to receive the least check against, or disaffection from the true Religion established in the Church of England. I tell you, I have try'd it; and after much search and many disputes have concluded it to be the best in the World; not only in the Community, as Christian; but also in the special notion, as Reformed; keeping the midle way between the Pomp of superstitious Tyranny, and the meaness of Fanatick Anarchy.

Scarce any one, who hath been a beginner, or an active Prosecutor of this late War against the Church, the Laws, and Me, either was or is a true Lover, Embracer or Practicerof the Protestant Religion established in Eng­land: which neither gives such rules, nor ever before set such Examples.

Nor would I have you to entertain any Aversation, or dislike of Parliaments; which in the right Institution, with freedom and honour, will never injure or diminish your Greatness; but will rather be as interchanging of Love, Loyalty, and Confidence between a Prince and his People.

Happy times, I hope, attend you; wherein your Subjects, by their miseries, will have learned; That Religion to their God, and Loyalty to their King, can­not be parted, without both their Sin and their In­felicity.


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