CONSCIENCE EASED: OR, The main Scruple which hath hi­therto stuck most with conscionable Men, against the taking of the Engagement removed.

Where amongst other things is shewed,

First, How farre the Oath of Allegiance, and the Nationall League and Covenant are Obligatins; either in their legall in­te [...]ts unalterable or at this time no more binding and alterable.

Secondly How farre in a free People the Subordinate Officers of the State, have a right to judge of the Proceedings of a King in that State.

Thirdly, How Zedekia'es case in breaking his Oath to the King of Babylon, and our case in making use of our freedome from the Oath of Allegiance, and Supremacie to the King of England doe differ.

The Author, John Dury.

LONDON, Printed for T. H. in Russell-street, neere the Piazza of the Covent-Garden, 1651.

The Errata.

In page 1. line 10. for out soon after, read but soon after. p. 2. l. 22. for ease, r. case. p. 3. l. 1. for cause, r. clause in the note for summoned, r. summed. p. 5. l. 1. for must, r. most. l. 8 for many intentions, r. main intention is. p. 6. line 22. for cease, r. crosse, in l. 27 for oppresse, r. oppose. p. 7. l. 6. for of, r. to. line 9. for that, r. what. P. 10. l. 21. for out your self, r. not your self. p. 11. l. 4. for lawes r. lawlesse. p. 12. l. 24. for Salvus, r. Salus p. 14. l. 14. for shew, r. Sphere. p. 16. l. 21. r. in our places. p. 17. l. 16. for revealed, r. resolved. p. 20. l. 22. for have, read make. line the last, for Representations, r. Representatives. p. 25 l. 16. for accepted, r. I excepted. l. 23. r. they are not set. p. 28 l. 26. r. from under them. p. 33. l. 2. for instructed, r. intrusted. p. 36. l. 14. for him, r. us in the same line, for towards the K. of Babylon, r. towards our K with Zedekiahs condition, and his Oath binding him thereunto towards the K. of Baby­lon, line 16. for master, r. matter. l. 17. for master r. matter. l. 35. for imposed, r. implyed. p. 4. l. 19. for oblige, r. alledged.

CONSCIENCE EASED; OR, The main Scruple which hath hi­therto stuck most with conscionable Men, against the taking of the Engagement, removed.

Loving Friend, and Brother in Christ,

I Had occasion a few dayes agoe, to be with your Son in Law, which put me in mind of the discourses, which you had with me when wee met last at his house: whereat I found my selfe un­der a guilt of some neglect of duty towards you, which now I am willing to confesse, to deprecate and amend. All that I have to say for my self is, that soon after you were gone from hence; I did indeed, as I promised, put my thoughts concerning your Scruple to Paper; out soone after I went out of Town, & al this last Summer, having bin variously distracted, and several times in the country, I could not atrend the ripening & transcribing [Page 2] them to be imparted unto you: once I did set upon it to doe it, but was by a very pressing occasion taken off The occasion of this dis­course. againe, and some time since I have thought upon my promise, but I know not how I was willing to beleeve that happily you were satisfied, and should not now need any suggestions which I could offer; and thus I have protracted the discharge of this Duty, till the o­ther day I was struck with some remorse, and found cause to be ashamed of my selfe, that all this while I had not made good my promise, made to you so long agoe; nor done that which was befitting my love and friendship to you in Christ; when as I did not certain­ly know how farre your spirit was now quieted, which happily might lye as much under a doubt as ever: but that which doth now more effectually waken me to this performance, is that among all the objections against the Engagement; which I have bin obliged to reflect up­on since I saw you; I doe not remember that the mat­ter of your scruple, hath bin so deepely pressed by any as by your selfe, and two or three dayes agoe, by a very honest and Godly Gentleman, who is pinched just as and the scope there of which is to rrsolve the chiefe Scruple about the Engage­ment. you were, and brought your ease fully againe to my mind; which I find when I lay it seriously to heart, the deepest, most inward, & weightiest Scruple of any that doth belong unto this businesse: Therefore I shall now ar last (rather thus late, then never) acquaint you with what I have to say unto it to cleere it.

I find by your Paper which I have, that your Scru­ple which doth rise from two causes, viz. 1. from the mis-interpre­tation of the Engagement. doth rise from two things. First, from your inter­pretatiou of the words of the Engagement, when you put the whole Emphasis in the latter clause thereof, viz. As it is now established, without a King, und House of Lords: [Page 3] which you conceive is the cause intended to be more directly obligatory then the fore-going; viz. To be true and faithfull to the Common-wealth of England. Secondly, because you conceive that the sence of the 2. From the contradiction betweene it, and the Oath of Allegi­ance. Engagement, as you understand it, doth containe a di­rect contradiction to the true meaning of the Oath of Allegiance, and of the Nationall Covenant; for your difficultie lyes in this, how to bring the intenti­ons which you had in the former Engagements, to a Righteous Consistencie, with the intention which you conceive you ought to have in this Engagement; all which difficultie you reduce to this practicall Syllo­gisme, under which your conscience is concluded at present.

He that is under a lawfull Oath and Covenant of both are sum­moned up in one practicall Sylogisme. the Lord, may not lawfully doe any such thing as tendeth directly to take him off from acting in righ­teous wayes, according to his Oath and Covenant: But I am (say you under a lawfull Oath and Cove­nant of the Lord, to assist the jurisdictions annexed unto the Imperiall Crowne of this Realme, in the preservation of the true Religion, and Liberties of the Kingdome; and to endeavour to preserve the Rights and Priviledges of Parliament, as they were at the taking of the Covenant, and the entring into the present Engagement (as the proper sence thereof is obvious to me) tendeth directly to take me off for ever from acting even in righteous wayes accor­ding to this Oath and Covenant: therefore I cannot lawfully enter thereinto, Prov. 4. 27.

To enlarge your spirit from this streight, I con­ceive there is none other way but to cleere your ap­prehension [Page 4] from the mistakes wherein you are con­cerning The way to resolve the Scruple. the intent of the Nationall Covenant, and of the Oath of Allegiance, compared with the true in­tent of the present Engagement: for if it shal appeare that you run upon a cleere mistake, concerning the true and righteous intents of any of these, then your Scruple will be found groundlesse, because the oppo­sition which you imagine to be betweene them (un­der which imagination your Conscience is streight­ned,) will be removed.

To this effect then let me recommend unto your serious perusall, that which I have said to the Cheshire & Lancashire Ministers plea for non-subscribers; where I shew their mistake about the maine object of truth and faithfulnesse required in the Engagement:; for al­though their mistak doth rise from the misconstructi­on of the word Common-wealth, whereat you seeme not to be staggered, so as they are, yet the grounds which are there obliged to cleere the sence of the En­gagement, may be of use to let you see that the Em­phasis The resoluti­on of the first part thereof. cannot be there where you place it; but that the chief Emphasis must be placed there, where the proper disposition of the words, the nature of the matters expressed therein, and the publike Declarations given out to that very purpose, place it; for if their publike Declarations tend mainly to this, that to shew them­selvs true & faithful to the good of the Nation, they have constituted it to be a free State, or Common­wealth, by the removall of the King, and House of Lords, who did usurpe upon the Liberties of the Nation, and if the disposition of the words and mat­ters of the Engagement, in their Grammaticall and [Page 5] Rationall Construction, are must consonant to this pla [...]ne intent of their Declatations; then we ought to place the Emphasis of the words, not in the latter but in the former clause of the Engagement, because the end wherefore the establishment hath bin made without a King, and House of Lords is, to make Eng­land a Common wealth, or free State; and therefore their many intentions to oblige every one, who shall live in it and enjoy the Liberties thereof, to be true and faithfull thereunto; and I am sure you understand by Truth and Faithfulnesse, not a meere negative, but a positive durifulnesse: now to make the privative part of the establishment to be the proper and princi­pall object of such a dutifulnesse, when the positive establishment is directly and immediately both in the position of the words, and in the property of the things set before it, seemes to me to proceed rather from a spirit of Jealousie against their persons, then from reason and ingenuity, in considering the mea­ning of their words.

If then nothing but an injurious Jealousie doth put the Emphasis where you place it, you may free your selfe from that ground of your Scruple, if you will be but so equitable, as to take the words of the Engage­ment, in a sence containing a just Duty which it cleer­ly beares; and if you can doe this, which I hope you will not find a Scruple to doe; then in the next place I shall intreate you to weigh these following Propositi­ons in Thesi without prejudice whether yea or no they are not sound and without al exception; which if you doe, I hope they will conduce somewhat to the clee­ring of the rest of your Scruple.

[Page 6]1. That no humane Engagements, are, or ought to Grounds to cleere the se­cond part of the Scruple, shewing, be binding to the conscience of those that take them; further, then the meaning of those that give them is declared and assented unto by the taker.

2. That no Engagements, whereof the meaning is 1. How farre humane En­gagement are binding. declared, ought to be further binding to the consci­ence, then the intent declared is lawfull and allowable in the presence of God.

3. That the intents of no Engagements amongst men can be further lawfull and allowable in the presence of God, then as they are subordinate unto the main rules of our Christian Profession, and to the principles of naturall equity in humane societies, whence this Corallary will follow.

That if upon unfore-seen accidents and emergences 2. What may alter them. (which alter the nature of all humane affaires) one and the same intent and designe, may be at one time a­greeable to these Rules and Principles, and at another time become disagreable thereunto: then that intent and designe, not only may, but must be laid downe; for it is wholly unlawfull to maintain any purposes which cease the practice or the profession of duties flowing from these Rules and Principles.

4. That the intents and designs of the Oath of Allegi­ance, 3. What the intents of the Oath of Al­legiance, and National Co­venant are. and of the National Covenant, were never made by the Parliaments, which framed them to contradict one another; or in their proper times to oppresse the rules of our Christian profession, or the principles of naturall equitie by which our society is upheld: al­though in respect of certaine expressions, which re­late to the circumstances of severall times, wherein they were framed, they are cleerely different one from another.

Whence this again will follow.

That to be obliged to different intentions (though contrary) upon severall occasion (if both agree in their proper times to the forenamed Rules and Principles) this can be no breach of Dutie, or prejudice of Conscience.

5. That it doth belong onely to the Superiour 4. To whom it doth belong to Judge of publique in­tentions and designes and formes of Go­verment. powers of Humane societies to judge and deter­mine at all times that the publique Engagements and Designes ought to be, and what the forme of Government is, which is most proper for the times, and agreeable to Naturall Equitie to be yeelded un­to by all for common preservation in Humane so­cieties.

6. That the Supreme Powers cannot be bound 5. What pow­er the supreme governours have in alte­ring gover­ment. up unalterably to any particular design or Humane Engagement; so as not to be free upon Emergen­cies to entertain other designes and Engagements; when they shall think it most expedient for Com­mon safety, and agreeable to Christianity, nay, they are not onely free to doe this, but they are bound to it: else they are not faithfull to the Charge which God hath committed to them.

7. That Subjects (that is, particular men in pri­vate 6. By what rule private men should order their thoughts about the in­tents of pub­lique engage­ments to Judge thereof. stations) ought not to make themselves inter­preters of the intents of publique Engagements, otherwise then as they are agreeable to the Rules of Christianity, and the Principles of Naturall e­quitie; and so farre as they beare a sense agreeable unto these; so farre they are bound in conscience professedly to own them, but if a sense be imposed upon them contrary to any of these, then they are [Page 8] not obliged to own that sense.

From whence I suppose this will follow.

That whatsoever any mans private intention or 7. By what rule humane intents about publique en­gagements are altergble. sense of any publique Engagement may be, when he takes it: if afterward he findes cleerely and con­vincingly that either his intention was not subordi­nate unto the publique at all, but onely to some private aime; or though it was truly in his thought subordinate thereunto, but not agreeable to the Rules and Principles of Christianity and equitie; (I say) if he findes himself mistaken either way; he is bound to rectifie his mistake, and bring his sense in observing the same unto the proportion of the forenamed Rules and Principles of Christianity and naturall equitie.

If these Propositions are to you, as to me they are, The appli­cation of these grounds to the scruple in hād, shewing gene­rally that to come out of it wee must con­sider sound and without exception, I suppose they may shew you a way to come out of the strait where­into your conscience is concluded: for if you apply them to the case in hand; concerning this present engagement, with respect to former engagements; and do make all their intents, according to the circumstances wherein they were begotten com­mensurable one to another, by the rules and prin­ciples of Christianity and naturall equitie; you will find either no cause at all to take up in your mind such contradictory intentions, as you have imagined to bee therein: or if the circumstances of affaires shall bee found such, as will inforce by these rules and principles to allow of a change of intentions in the latter which was not in the fo [...] ­mer engagements; then your spirit will be set at [Page 9] liberty, from the strait wherein it is; which pro­ceeds only from the want of this due consideration, as I conceive; for when I put my selfe in your case (which to give you an unpartiall advice, I must do) I find but two wayes to bee ridd of the scruple 1. That the same main intent is to be in all publique engagements. wherein you are insnared; the one is by looking upon the main intent and fundamentall duty which is the life and soule of all these engagements. a thing unalterably one and the same in them all, viz: com­mon safety and welfare: to the prosecution of which (by the law of God in right reason) all publique en­gagements are at all times subordinate; though the meanes and wayes diversly mentioned therein do varie.

The other is by looking upon the evedent emer­gencies 2. That the meanes are to be alterable by emergen­cies and the rules and prin­ciples of pro­ceedings still the same. which bring a change upon the meanes and wayes of prosecuting that intent, for it is undeni­able that as the Circumstances of Humane affaires alter, so the Engagements to prosecute Common safety and welfare therein are alterable. If then I can see that notwithstanding the changeablenesse of Emergencies, and the varietie of meanes result­ing from thence, the same end is prosecuted by the same Rules and Principles, I am still where I was; and no more out of my way, then if in a Voyage at Sea, whiles I am steering the same course; I have sometimes faire, and sometimes foule weather; or a winde sometimes on this, sometimes on that side of the Ship; which doth oblige the Marriners to nothing else but to trimme the Sails somewhat in another way, and stand more or lesse carefully to their tackling.

Now to make some application of this to our Particularly that we should consider. case, I conceive whiles the King and Parliament did agree, and the trust of Common safety was reposed in him by his observance of the Lawes; The Oath of Allegiance like a faire gale in faire weather, did carry us on peaceably towards the Haven of common safety: but when he was judged to man­nage his Trust unfaithfully, as intending not to steare his course by Law, but by will: the Covenant first like a side-wind on the one hand came in with foule weather, and then the Ingagement came in after it, as a change of winde on the other side of the Ship; both windes (as it is naturall to all side-windes) may serve to carry the Ship safely to her harbor, if the Marriners trimme the Sailes well, and the Pas­sengers do not disturb them in their functions: for if the same aim of common welfare is really intended by all three Ingagements, though they put it under different expressions; then you are not out of your way by taking any of them, if contrary to the rules of Christianity, you must put out your self out of it; For that which in the Oath of Allegiance is re­quired to be performed towards the jurisdictions an­nexed 1. That where­in all former engagements have one aime. unto the Imperiall Crown of this Realme, is ter­med in the Nationall Covenant, the defence of the Kings Person and just Authority in the preservati­on of the true Religion and liberties of the Kingdomes; all which in this present Ingagement is summed up and expressed by truth and faithfulness to the Com­mon-wealth of England. The King, whiles he was in place of Trust, was lookt upon as the Center of all common interests, and the Guardian of publique [Page 11] safety; next unto the Lawes & Legislative power, (for indeed he is no King, de jure, further then he agrees with these, and is a living Law in all his de­portments) but when he made himself Lawes, and would by power have set himself up instead of the 2. What the emergencie was which did alter our rela­tion to the King. Law, the Trustees of the Nation, to whom the Le­gislative and the Executive power doth primarily belong; thought it necessary to expresse the fore­named Interests instrusted to his management, (and therefore by the Oath of Allegiance fixed upon his name) more directly, properly, and immediately, by the name of a Common-wealth, the safety of which was mainly intended by the Oath of Allegi­ance, although the words thereof mention our rela­tion onely to the King. If then when you took the Oath of Allegiance, your intention was not so much to oblige your self to the welfare of the Na­tion, in that way of settlement, Or to that way of settlement in order to Common welfare; as to the maintaining of a meere Royall greatnesse for it self, or to the maintaining of the Kings person in his Roy­all 3. What the mistake was might bee at first in taking the oath of allegiance which now is to be rectified. greatnesse without respect to Common welfare; you did wholly mistake the true and Legall intent of your Oath; and because that such an imagination had crept insensibly upon the spirits of many, by whom the King thought he could have exalted him­self to be absolute above the Nations liberties; therefore the Parliaments of both Nations finding that the name of a King was made an Idoll to the prejudice of that for which it was entertained, joyn­ed in the Covenant, to rectifie that mistake, by de­termining that the true notion of Common welfare [Page 12] and safety, did mainly and more neerely stand in the maietenance of Religion and Libertie, with the Rights and priviledges of Parliament, then in the having of a King; And since the Covenant hath been made void, as to the Nations, by reason of the hostilitie which hath been used between them; the Supreme power of this Nation, hath for it self (as distinct from Scotland) determined in reference to the emergencies sprung up since the making of the Covenant, that the true notion of Common welfare and safety, as to us, doth now stand in the maintain­ing of the Common-wealth by it self, immediate­ly, without a King and House of Lords; For the having of a King and House of Lords, were never by the rules of Christianity and naturall equitie, understood otherwise to be usefull, but in order to the Common-wealth: If therefore at any time, they wereby any taken up for themselves, without a due subordination to the Common-wealth: It is a cleare mistake of the true meaning of their consti­tution; and by the principles of Naturall equitie, it is in the power of the Trustees for the Common­wealth to rectifie it, not is there any rule in Christi­anity which is not consonant unto this, that Salvus populi is Suprema Lex, therefore they who are in­trusted with Authority and power to see this Law kept: it according to the best of their understand­ings upon different emergencies they alter the meanes of procuring it, and determine the way of prosecuting it; I cannot see what should move the consciences of particular men to be offended at 4. And what obligation lyes them for so doing; or what warrant they can have [Page 13] in Christianity or naturall equity to crosse them in upon private men to follow their rulers in the way of rectifying this mistake. their proceedings; If they prescribe nothing to those that are in subjection, which is in it self impi­ous or unlawfull; for if they doe prescribe any such thing, the Law of God is cleere; but if nothing of this kind be enjoyned, but onely that which is in its own nature alterable, according to circumstances, (of which circumstances they by their places are made Judges (and not I) then I suppose it is unde­niably cleere, that my conscience ought not to be bound up so to any one particular circumstance of proceeding towards the publique safety, as that I may not have the liberty, upon the change of cir­cumstances, to follow them whom in alterable mat­ters God hath made my Leaders for the publique good. For if it belongs to their proper charge to judge when, and where, and what change is to be made in the State; and how the publique good by Publique Resolutions is to be advanced therein: and if I am bound to trust them with this, and am not permitted by the law of God in Chri­stianity or common equity to take upon me to be their judge, or to rule them, or to overrule the judgements of other men under them, against their sense therein; then my conscience is at libertie and under no guilt; Although I follow their dictates in affaires which are changeable: I must onely look to this, that in my private station, my course upon all emergencies whatsoever be made answerable to the rules of Christianity and equitie, in the circum­stances of mine own way whereof I am to bee a judge for my self: and if in these circumstances I [Page 14] subordinate by these rules my proceedings to com­mon safety, I discharge the dutie of a true and faith­full Subject; and need not to trouble my spirit fur­ther with higher matters: for if I doe trouble my self with them, I bring my self into a snare; be­cause I observe not the bounds wherein I am at li­bertie. but goe beyond them.

If these grounds cannot be contradicted Ratio­nally; then I suppose you will see thereby, that you The con­clusion of the maine scruple need not to be concluded so as you think you are obliged to be unalterably under the precise termes of the former Ingagements, in opposition to this; because the true and Legall intent thereof is fully made out, so farre as concernes the shew of your ju­dicature in this last Ingagement.

Therefore when you say in your discourse to me, that the Oath of Allegiance and the Nationall Co­venant are such Sacred and everlasting Obligements The conse­quence infer­red upon the maine scruple is proposed. upon the consciences of these that are under them, that they can never lawfully by enterring into any after-In­gagements bind up themselves from acting in good and lawfull wayes (if the Lord be pleased to open any such in after times) for the assisting of the jurisdi­ctions formerly annexed to the Imperiall Crown of this Realme; and for the preserving of the Rights of Par­liament then acknowledged, when the Covenant was taken, as farre forth as the Imperiall jurisdictions and And then opened and resolved to shew. Parliamentary Rights are Consistent with the true Re­ligion and liberties of the Kingdome.

I say, when you assert this, you mean either to make every particular man a Judge of the restrictive clause how farre the Imperiall Jurisdictions and [Page 15] Parliamentary Rights, are consistent with the true Religion and Liberties of the Kingdome, or not; If you will make every particular man a competent judge of Imperiall jurisdictions, of Parliamentary Rights, and of the consistency thereof in reference to all publique emergencies, with the true Religion and the Liberties of the Kingdome, you will be ob­liged to shew me some grounds for this your opini­on; and to make it appeare that I have erred in my fifth proposition, which I suppose is not to be con­tradicted.

But if you will not make every private or parti­cular man a publique Judge of those things; & yet will allow them to be determined upon all emergēt publique occasiōs by some body in a publique way; then it will I suppose fall to the share of the Supreme powers for the time being to make this determina­tion: & if it be their right upon all emergencies to Judge what consistencie there is between the true Religion & the liberties of the Kingdome) which to me are essentiall requisities of the common wel­fare and safetie of a christian common wealth with the imperiall Iurisdictions and the Parliamen­tary Rights, then I suppose inferiours ought either to be concluded by their determination, or not. If not, how can it be supposed to be their right? what ground is there left upon such occasions, to avoid confusion and to keepe a settlement of order and governments? But if they ought to be concluded by their superiours in these things; and if their superi­ours Judge it fit or necessary for common safety, to alter the termes of these former publique engage­ments; [Page 16] how can their obligements as to these things bee called everlasting and never alterable? for if these that have a right to alter the same, find cause so That all humane Con­stitutions being alte­rable no ever­lasting and unalterable obligement can be brought upon mens consciences thereby to do: and do as they find cause; and if none are to be Judges of the causes of that alteration but they them­selves; and if the rest are to bee concluded by them, how can the obligement of the conscience bee made everlasting to a matter in it's owne nature alterable? I conceive then that no everlasting obligement can bee brought upon the conscience of any man but by God himselfe in things by his authority made unalterable in their nature: and except that you can shew me that the Imperiall jurisdictions mētioned in the oath of Allegiance, and the Parliamentary pri­viledges and rights which then were, are made by his authority of a nature unalterable, I cannot allow you that by any engagemēt (though never so strong) whereby wee are bound unto them, an ever­lasting and unalterable obligement can be brought upon any mans conscience: Our oaths never to alter; or to maintaine a forme of government in places and callings faithfully and truly, doth not make the forme neither in it's owne nature, nor as to us and to the publique unalterable by superiour powers upon emergencies: they only bind us, nor to bee accessary as privat men, that is, by private pra­ctices unto the alteration thereof, so long as they are consistent with common safety, which is only deter­minable by the supreme power of a nation: for I suppose you never meant that those obligements should hold, although all publique welfare and common safety should go to wrack for their sakes. [Page 17] If then they were at the very time of their making to be understood, as subordinate unto this condition; that is, to be alterable if upon emergencies they should be found contrary to common safety; how can they bee counted an evelasting obligement as you would make them to bee? can your particular oath predetermine you in humane affaires not to be obliged to yeeld to divine Providence therein? or not to follow what is determined by the rules of Christianity and equitie?

You see then upon what grounds to my understan­ding the present engagement and former oaths either agree; or are lawfully alterable without any just scruple of conscience to bee made by me, in my place at the publique alteration thereof.

This is your main doubt; and thus to me it is re­vealed.

The other doubts which (you say your selfe) lie not neer the heart of the businesse; I need not meddle withall: for if these principles which I have laid; and the application thereof which I have made, bee without exception, then other by-matters cannot reach to the conscience in this businesse: yet Concerning some secondary doubts. ex abundanti; that I may pay you some interest for the long delay of discharging this debt: and that nothing may be wanting which may tend to clear your thoughts in this disquirie; I shall take the other doubts of your discourse as you have offered them into consideration, First you say that my assertion concerning the power of Subordinate officers is, Que­stionable. My assertion was; that Subordinate officers belonging to a State are bound to Judge of [Page 18] the rights of these that are over them; both by which 1. Concer­ning the right which subor­dinate officers have to Judg of the actings of superiours. they stand in their places of supremary; and by which they proceede in their actings towards Subjects, lest they bee made the instruments of arbitrary power and Tyrannie. This assertion you say is Questionable. But to cleer the doubt which you may have of it, take notice, that I speake of officers belonging to a State, as immediately subordinate thereunto, and not depending upon a King, though the Su­preme Officer therein: I suppose then that they are appointed by the Authority of the State it self, and placed in their Offices thereby, & not by the au­thority of the K. This being presupposed, that these officers are thus created & stād in their places, I con­ceive that which I have said of them to bee a truth very matteriall to be cleared, to shew not onely how a people may lawfully (I meane by the law of Na­ture) free themselves from the danger of Tyranny; but how private men who are in no publique place of Trust; may be induced to discern what is most con­ducible for publique Safety by the Authority of their Leaders. To have then this matter determi­ned; we may reflect upon two things: First, what To determine that which is doubtfull concerning this matter is considered. Constitutions and Customes the Nations pretend­ing to Freedome have made, or keep up, concern­ing the subordination of Officers, under their high­est Powers, Secondly, what the Ground and main Principle of subordination of Officers is in Nature, and what the end of their imployment under Su­preme Powers is. What sorts of officers are in use among free nations

We find by the Constitutions or Customes of free Nations, three sorts of subordinate Officers in their States; Some are placed by the Represen­tatives [Page 19] of a Nation in their Offices; Some by him that is in the place of Supremacy over it: some by both joyntly.

The first, although in respect of Power they are lesse, and in Order they are after him who is Su­preme (because his place is first, and his Power is of a larger extent then theirs) yet because they re­ceive not their places from him, but from the same 1. Such as are set up by the State it self. Authority whence he hath his; Therefore they are not accountable to him of their proceedings, but unto those onely who gave them their authority.

Thus in Poland, Sweden, and Denmarke, by the ancient constitution of those States, there are severall offices of state, as chancellors and chief Iustices, and Admirals who are appointed by Par­liament; and so hold their places from it, and not from their Kings. Thus you had in England a Constable of the Kingdome, whom the Parliament did appoint. But King James never rested till he was removed. Thus in the Empire the electors are under the Emperour; not as his officers, but as Officers of the Empire it selfe; they are instrusted to be Judges of the right and title of him who is to bee Supreme; and they have a power in their colledge to controul him in his proceedings if he become exorbitant; for they may say to him, what dost thou? this then is an allay of his emperiall power; and so are all officers of this nature any where else; an allay to the absolutenesse of the Roy­all power.

The second sort of subordinate officers, are such as depend meerly upon him that is supreme in a Na­tion: [Page 20] for he hath power in the charge wherewith he 2. Such as are set up by the Supreme Of­ficer of State. is intrusted to make and unmake his owne instru­ments; so that they are to bee counted properly his officers subordinate to the charge, whereof he is the chiefe administrator: these are therefore res­ponsable unto him first, and then also to the State, even as he himselfe is by whom they are employed. These officers although they have no paaticular trust reposedin thē by the natiō; yet because they are made instrumentall in the administration of a trust which the nation hath reposed in him, who doth create them & set them at work, therefore they are respon­sable for the effects of their administration, to those from whom the first trust doth proceed; and to whose advantage or disadvantage the way of their administration doth finally redound: whence it fol­lowes that these officers are bound both for their own safety, & for the obligatiō which lieth upō them towards the state, to judge both of the power which their superiour takes upon himselfe to exercise, and whereof he pretends to have a right to have them his instruments, and also of the man­ner and property of the worke which they are em­ployed in, lest they should under him at his will, being led blindfold to obey, become instruments of Tyrannie and injustice, Thus the servants of Saul (though souldiers who are otherwise bound to a most strict obedience justly refused to bee the executioners, of his crueltie in killing the priests of the Lord. 1. Sam. 22. 17.

The third sort of subordinate officers, are such as are constituted by the joint consent & concurrence of both; as when the Representations of a free [Page 21] State; viz: the supream councell thereof, agree with a governour whom they call and chuse; that he shall place none in speciall offices under him; The third by such as are set up by both Iointly. for the administration of their publique concerments but such as shall be taken out of a certaine number whom they shall present unto him: so that the Ele­ction of two or three Persons, indefinitely, as ca­pable of the place, is in the power of the Senate; but the distinct appointment and nomination of one who is to have the place, is left to the Supreme Go­vernour. Thus in the Low Countries Burgemasters of Towns & Sheriffs of the Territories were constituted by the Prince who was their Governour; & in severall Provnces, there & elsewhere, other Officers of State, are constituted by such a concurrence of Election on the one, and Nomination on the other side, that the power of conferring authority is divided; and the subordinate officers receive in their places a trust from both, and become accountable unto both in severall respects.

These are the Customes and Constitutions of 2. Concer­ning the prin­ciple & ground of subor­dination. free Nations, to prevent the abuse of Power in their Officers.

As for the Principle whence naturally Subor­dination doth proceed; I conceive it to be the ne­cessity of Unity and Order in a societie, for the managemēt of publique affaires, wherein all are con­cerned, for to avoid the dissolving of Societies, joint Relations and Duties belonging thereunto, must be setled as a common interest, and to avoid the confusion which would follow upon the managemēt of that interest, if it were left to every one to doe [Page 22] in it, what he should thinke good; the Trust there­of must needs lie in some hands; and the nature of that Trust must be determined by a law, which should be the effect of the free consent of those that are inte­rested in the Publique to provide the welfare thereof, and because no single hand can be every where by it selfe; at the same time; to discharge a large Trust which hath many parts; whereof the one is to bee made helpfull to the other: therefore many are em­ployed in order to one another, and all to the origi­nall of power by whom they are set aworke.

And concerning the direct & Immediate end of subor­dination, 3. Concer­ning the end of subor­dination. it is to bring all transactions to one issue; na­mely to the safety & welfare of the Communalitie, by the a dministration of duties according to lawes, where­by every one is to have his due from another; which is called Justice. And the Indirect and Accidentall end of Subordination & coordination of Officers under a Supream, is to prevent by the bounds of offices, and the distribution of Power belonging thereunto; the Tyrannicall incroachment of Power into one sin­gle hand; lest an absolute Arbitrary dominion be taken up over those, who by the law of Nature and of Christianity being free, put themselves voluntarily in an orderly Subjection to a Superiour power. For in my apprehension all humane actions, whether na­turall or spirituall depend upon power: (I meane by power a might and strength to produce an effect) and wheresoever God or men have disposed of power, and placed strength to act for a publique interest; there What is pro­perly meant by autho­rity. is also a right to administer that power to that effect; that is to put it forth towards others to that end: This [Page 23] right I do call Authority; because it intitles a man un­blameablely to become the Author of the undertakings, for which he hath received power; and to bee a lea­der of others who should concurre therein with him: this right or authority is not unlimited or com­mensurable only to the utmost extent of what power is able to do; so that he who hath power may do with it what ever he will and can; but it is bounded in na­ture by the end for which it is given; and in societies of reasonable men by a law to become serviceable to a cō ­mon good: and if upon emergencies no positive law bee extant to determine the Circumstantiall way of using power and authority; then the generall law of Nature and of Christianity is to take place, which is the law of liberty, by which all cases may bee determined so farre as to make our actions at least without offence, if not also acceptable to those to whom they are done. This law is, give no occasi­on to the flesh, but by love serve one another; and the rule of this service is; what ever you would have others Gal. 5. 13. Luke 6. 31. do to you; do ye to them likewise. To be in authority is to have a right to act in a place for the publique good, so as to bee an author of some undertaking; and to be obliged to lead others therein: which ob­ligation doth naturally arise from the trust of power put in the hands of him that hath received it, to act towards those and for those that give it; to the end for which it is bestowed: whereof there is a cleer example in the power given to the constable of every parish; who is obliged to be the author of publique undertakings in the sphere of the Trust reposed in him, though otherwise he is a man of no respect.

Upon these grounds the subordinate Offices of a State, may judge and act in their places for the pub­lique good, to prevent Tyranny, and the incroach­ment of absolute power in him who is intrusted with the highest power: and if these grounds be sound (as I suppose they are) they will cleare the justice and equitie of the Parliament proceedings in their late Transactions with the King; whereupon a change of Government is fallen out in this State; which being brought about by the Supremacy of power in the Representatives of the people, and by a right to act for the publique good in the subordi­nate Officers of the State; private Persons are bound to acquiesce thereat, and to regulate their in­tentions according to the Rules and Principles of Naturall equitie and Christianity in their severall places, as Emergencies doe require.

This matter which you did call Questionable, but would not debate, I have thus endeavoured to open somewhat largely, because it is of use to undeceive us from the false Notion of Royall power, which doth insensibly breed many scruples; when it is ta­ken up unawares, without a due examination of the right which it hath to Supremacie, in a Nation which is to be governed by Lawes, and not by will of a Monarch But you have other matters in your dis­course, which you thought more worthy of a de­bate; and you take them chiefly from three Passa­ges of my considerations; to shew that they are not satisfactory to resolve your present Scruple; to these I shall also impart unto you my present thoughts.

In Pag. 6. I say, that private men cannot be coun­ted 2. Concer­ning the guilt of breach of covenant in private per­sons. guilty of a breach of Covenant, because there was a change of Government brought upon the State by others in a way to them unresistable in their places.

To this you answer: As I was not guilty (say you) of what others did (whether well or ill, I leave it free­ly to the judgement of the Lord and their own consci­ence) in a way unresistable as to me in my place; so I can­not lawfully bind up my self from acting in my place in lawfull wayes for the accomplishment of my Oath and Covenant, without guilt of sinne, and despising the Oath of the Lord.

To this I answer: That the present Engagement, if you look upon it as containing a perpetuall Duty to be true and faithfull to the Common-wealth; is That the engagement brings no such guilt upon any so farre from binding you up from acting that which in your place, is fitting for you to doe, towards the accomplishment of your Oath and Covenant (so farre as they are binding) that it rather doth ob­lige you to act in your present place, that which is the ground, by which your Oath and Covenant did Legally bind you to a Duty; and without which they could not at all be binding, which in the be­ginning of this Discourse and elsewhere also I have shewed.

As for me, I doe not think it lawfull to suffer my self to bee bound up, by any Emergencies what­soever, or any Resolutions of mine own, from the Intentions of performing known Duties; Nor doe I think it lawfull for any Christian to think him­self [Page 25] tied by any Oaths or Covenants whatsoever, so, as at any time he should be thereby bound up from the performance of any cleere and undeni­able Duty towards God and Men in his place; therefore I plainly assert that the Allegation of Oathes and Covenan [...]s, which doth tend to take me off from an undoubted Duty, is undoubredly un­dutifull: for which cause, when the Engagement was offered unto me, I did set my self to look upon it, not as you doe, to see what sense it might beare contrary to any former Duty; but to see what the Duty was which it did directly require, and which I was bound at this time, Rebus sic Stantibus, or at all times to intend: and having made a Declaration of my Sense in taking the Engagement to this effect; and my Sense being accepted, or not accepted a­gainst by those that were imposers thereof; I thought it my Duty to rest there, and not to trouble my self any further; either with the Conjectures of future Contingencies, as some doe: or as others But that the prejudices which some entertain a­gainst the Au­thors of our change layeth the imputation of that guilt. doe, with jealousies over the intentions of my Ru­lers; or with the Censures of miscarriages, which others imagine to be in those over whom they are set to be Judges; for although you leave it (as you say) freely to God to judge, whether the present Change be well or ill brought about; yet give me leave to tell you, that I cannot perceive that your Spirit is free without prejudice against them in re­ference to the change: for if you had no prejudi­cate thoughts that way; you could not make such a construction of the engagement as you do, relating to [Page 26] the change as it is opposite to a duty which you think lyes upon you by the tye of an Oath and Covenant. Therefore if there bee a clear and perpetuall duty both in the former and latter Engagements in some­thing wherein their senses agree, and yet if you will not own that, but take up that rather where­in thier senses may seeme to disagree; I may conclude that you either mistake the true mean­ing of the oath and Covenant; or that you un­derstand not your tye at this time, in observing the same, how farre it is to bee extended: for if it can­not bee extended, to oblige you to neglect any present and seasonable Duty; then you misapply your sense thereof, to the present occasions, so, as to make it a snare unto your conscience; which for your owne Peace sake you should endeavour to avoid.

But to that which I say in pag. 8. concerning 3. Concer­ning the tye of former engag­ememts that it is extinct. the tye of the former Oathes that is extinct so farre as the things promised therein are become either impossible in themselves; or in reference to our calling unlawfull to bee prosecuted: you an­swer, that you cannot apprehend your obligation to bee extinct towards the matter of the oath of Al­legiance and covenant, whiles you may possibly in lawfull wayes consistent with the publique welfare and liberties of the Common Wealth and agreable to your calling (viz. by Petitioning, humble Remon­strance to the Parliament, or the like Peaceable course) have an opportunity offered you to endeavour the re­stitution and preservation of the ancient rights and [Page 27] Privilegdes of Parliament and the Kings Authority, in the preservation of the true Religion and Liberties of the Kingdome.

And then to that which I say pag. 9. that it is not lawfull for any in a private calling to attend the re­storing of that which by publique Authority hath been abolished; you adde further by the way of answer that is true in a way of force and fraud; but that it holds not as to wayes humble, peaceable, and consistent with publique welfare; to which the Oath and Covenant, immediately and undispensa­bly extend.

To all which I shall answer: that humane lawes Because humane lawes relare only to outward actions, and not to secret ententions. such as the Engagement is, respect only mens out­ward actions, and oblige us to bee true and faithfull therein to what wee declare, but the inward pur­poses of the mind which occasionally may bee fra­med, no lawes of man can regulate: these are subject only to the generall rules of equitie which Gods law doth prescribe; therefore if emergencies bee so circumstantiated as you suppose they may be, to incline your thoughts to such a purpose as you speake of, the rules of naturall equitie and Christia­nitie must direct you then as then, in declaring your desires how to make them harmelesse and con­sistent with the publique welfare: and what need you feare that any will harme you if you follow that 1 Pet. 3. 13. which is good? but that you should imagine still that your obligation to maintaine Royaltie, is not ex­tinct, is somewhat a wonder unto me: for if the matter of the Oath of Allegiance and Covenant had [Page 28] any legall being, you might and ought to intend the preserva [...]ion thereof in your place and calling; but since that doth clearly cease to have a being, it is not imaginable to me that any private man in his Sphere should be bound to in end or endeavour the restitution thereof. For that the forme of a Because the matter of the Oath of Alle­giance doth clearely cease. Royall government hath no reall being amongst us to oblige us to maintaine it; is so cleare that none can make any doubt of it; and that the l [...]te Kings progeny (though they have a being innature, yet) have no legall being in place of trust or government as to us; is no lesse evident; therefore what should be the ground to make you believe; that your former obligement to Royaltie, or to the late Kings heirs (who did forfeit his place of Trust, as for himselfe so for his posteritie) should still bee binding, is a kind of riddle unto me, upon what ac­count you take up that obligation to continue: for if the Allegiance which you promised to the King, to his heirs and successors could oblige you, no more but to be a good Subject in your place, and to maintaine him and them in their Legall standing over you, by your legall submission unto him and them; then it followeth, that in case either they should have no such standing over you, or you should remove under them; that your obligation comes to an end: for either way the relation ceasing the obligation is made void. Nor is there any clause to oblige you to restore them to such a state, in case they should come to faile of it; nor could any such clause bee obligatorie although you you had promised it, because no man can lawfully [Page 29] bee obliged to that which is not in his power. to effect.

Therefore I say, that by vertue of these former Because for­mer Engage­ments bind not to a restitution of Royaltie if abolished by publique Au­thority. Engagements, it can be no part of your Duty to in­tend the restitution of those things, which are now by publique Authority abolished; For if this should be an absolute Duty, then also it must be a Duty to prosecute the same absolutely; and if I am bound absolutely, (that is without any condition) to pro­secute the restitution of a Royall Power over me; Then I cannot with a good Conscience acquiesce at the abolition thereof upon any termes what­soever: nay, although the abolition be never so well and lawfully brought about: which to assert is a great Paradox, and yet except all this be granted, your position cannot stand. Therefore I am cleare­ly convinced, not onely by the Law of God com­manding me to be subject to the Powers that are over me; but by the true and Legall intent of the former Engagements, that it is my Duty at this time to acquiesce at the abolition of things pub­liquely removed: and if so, then it cannot be my Duty to prosecute the Restitution thereof; and if it is not my Duty now to prosecute their Restitu­tion, then also it is not lawfull for me to intend such a thing: for if I intend it, I am resolved in my heart to attempt that which is no part of my present Du­ty, and to worke a change upon the present settle­ment, which the Word of God forbids me to meddle withall, Prov. 24. 21. For as formerly I might not in my Sphere intend to bring a change upon the State from the settlement that then was; [Page 31] so now the same Rule holds, I may not intend to bring a change upon the State from the settlement that now is. And although I take this to be a Rule for me in my private place to order my purposes by; yet I doe not thinke this Rule binds the Su­preme Power of a Nation; the Representatives thereof, when they are in a body acting their pub­lique Trust; as if then it were not lawfull for them Because the representatives of a nation may be obli­ged upon Em­ergencies to alter the forme of Royall go­vernment. according to Emergencies to bee obliged to alter the formes of Goverment in the Nation: for although every one of them in their private station and at their admission to their Trust, may have taken the Oath and promised to maintaine the Government in that forme wherein they found it when they tooke their oath, yet when they are upon the delibe­ration of the publique; wherein Salus Populi is to be their Suprema Lex. No humane constitution or particular obligation, can bind them in a body from what they shall find most expedient in that case to bee done. And if the emergencies may be such, as to oblige them in the discharge of their trust to alter the govermēt for publique safeties, not­withstanding their oath of Allegiance to maintaine it: far more when the alteration is wrought publick­ly, may private men (who have no power to judge of such concerments; nor to act therein without their leader bee dispensed withall, from being ob­liged to intend the restauration of that which by publique authority hath been abolished, notwith­standing their Oath, binding them to maintaine it whiles it was in being.

Now because yougive me cause here to reflect upon that which was formerly alledged in your words, [Page 32] concerning the Oath of Allegiance and Nationall Covenant, that you count them such sacred and everlasting obligements that nothing can absolve Because the property of an everlasting obligement cannot bee fixed upon meer humane engagements. men from acting towards the accomplishment there­of: therefore I think it expedient to suggest some­thing further unto your consideration, for which I think those Oaths not to bee such everlasting obligements as you apprehend them to bee; which is this. That nothing can be an everlasting ob­ligement upon the conscience to bind it unto a per­petuall purpose of prosecuting the same, but that which is in it's owne nature a perpetuall Duty, and that only is to me a perpetuall duty, whereof the rule and the direct object is to men unalterable.

But to assert the Jurisdictions formerly annexed to the Imperiall Crown of this Realme, &c. is not in its own nature a perpetuall Duty, in respect the ob­ject of that Action is not as to men unal [...]erable: therefore it cannot be an everlasting Obligement up­on the Consciences, to bind them unto a per­petuall purpose of prosecuting the same. Now that to support Monarchy, or to endeavour any other Earthly thing, relating to State affaires, is not in it's own nature a perpetuall Duty; I suppose is to your self so cleare, that I shall not need to prove it; for no man can be ignorant that all Earthly matters and Relations are wholly alterable according to the Emergencies and circumstances: whence followeth immediately that the Conscience cannot be ever­lastingly bound to intend the prosecution thereof; but onely conditionally, according to the main end for which such Obligements are allowed to be taken, and according to the Rule by which they are to be [Page 33] prosecuted, which in private men is not without the conduct of their Leaders, who are instructed with the Supreme management of publique affaires; if then the Leaders, as heretofore they saw cause to abolish Monarchy, should see cause hereafter to set it up again, and thereupon should intend a new change in the State; I think it would in this Case be lawfull for you to concurre with them therein: whence we must conclude, that as the Rulers of this State by ta­king the Engagement, cannot intend to oblige them­selves, never to intend upon what Emergencies soe­ver to alter the present Establishment; so the Sub­jects thereof by taking the same Engagement, can­not be supposed to bind up themselves from follow­ing their Leaders in the resolutions which in that kind they may take; for if upon new E­mergencies the Supreme Powers should lead the people to intend a new Change with them; without all doubt they may lawfully doe it; but except you suppose the conduct and guiding of these; I see not how it can be lawfull in the aime of any private man to precure it by any meanes whatsoever: because by so doing private men without their Leaders go be­yond their Line. Therefore still I conclude that private men may not attempt the restoring of that which by publique Authority hath been abolished, otherwise then under the conduct of their Superiour Powers.

The third and last thing which you question, is that which I say pag. 9. That if in order to the pub­lique good, I were bound by Oath to prosecute a businesse, and should find that by my prosecution of it, the publique would rather be hindred then advanced; that in such [Page 34] a case my Oath would oblige me rather to desist from pro­secuting 4. Concerning releasement from oaths upon a con­ [...]ition. the businesse, then to proceed therein.

To which you say thus; That this being Dogma­tically delivered, doth seeme altogether unsound; which you endeavour to shew by the Example of Zedekiah, who is condemned for breaking his Oath upon such a pretence to the King of Babylon; for you say; No question Zedekiah became subject, and And Zedeki­ah his Case & plea for the breaking of his Oath. was bound by Oath to the King of Babylon in Order to the common good of his Kingdome, and afterward ap­prehending (as we may be confident) that it would be more usefull for the publique good of the Common­wealth, to stand free from the Babylonian Yoke; by the assistance of the King of Egypt, he attempted the pro­curement of that freedome, contrary to his Oath; and became guilty of Oath and Covenant breaking before God; for which he is deeply charged and threa [...] by the Lord, Ezech. 17. So then your Argument from hence is this; If Zedekiah did behave himself in breaking his Oath according to the Rule which you lay down; and yet was condemned by the Lord for so doing; Then the Rule which you own is not sound: But Zedekiah did so, Ergo,

To answer this doubt; I shall confesse, that if Zedekiah his Case was the same with that which I suppose; and if he followed the Rule which I give The argu­ment raised upon Zedeki­ahs case. in that Case; and yet is condemned by the Lord for following that Rule, then my Rule is not sound; but I conceive you will find (if you look somewhat neerer to the businesse) that his Case is not the same with that which I suppose; nor that he followed the rule which I gave in this Case, nor that he is con­demned by the Lord for following that Rule.

The case which I suppose is concerning a particular By shewing the difference of the case in hand with that of Zedekiah. businesse which I am bound by Oath to prosecute as a private man in order to the publique good: whereof I am supposed to be a competent Judge so farre as re­lates to that particular businesse: I say, if my Oath binds me to prosecute it in order to the publique good; and I upon circumstances can judge that the prosecution will not advance but oppose the publique good, then my Oath binds me not to proceed, but to desist; be­cause the expresse condition of the Oath which is one­ly binding to the prosecution, is desect [...]ve. But in Ze­dekiah l. is case this cannot be supposed: For first, his Oath was not concerning my particular businesse, but a generall submission to be a faithfull Subject to the King of Babylon: nor was he a private man managing his own businesse, but he was the Substitute or Vice­gerent of the King of Babylon, over the publique State of the Kingdome of Iudah: nor was it left to him to be the sole competent Judge of the matter, whether his submission to the Crown of Babylon should tend to the publique goodyea or no; for that was already absolutely determined; and he was sworne to be subject without any other condition; but that he should be King to that effect. The case then as it is by me proposed, is not applyable to Zedekiah: Therefore it comes not to be considered by my Rule, nor had he the liberty left him to make use of my Rule, for my rule speakes of a conditionall Oath; and no such thing can be supposed in this case. My rule supposes me to be free to prose­cute or leave my businesse according to mine own judge­ment, as I shall see it subordinate to a publipue good; but the businesse to which he was sworne, was not left to him to judge otherwise of, then was already determined by his supe­riou [...] Lord the King of Babylon, viz. that his subjection to him should be the safety of the Nation; his Rebellion from him, should be his and their destruction: nor was the case when Zede­kiah [Page 36] rebelled, altered from what it was at first when he swore subjection; which I suppose in my rule must fall out seeing there­fore Zedekiah could not make use of my rule in his case; I con­clude that he could not be condemned for making use of it.

But because this matter is worth a further disquirie; and And how our obligation to bee subject to the King by the Oath of Allegiance and the Cove­nant, differ from Zedeki­ahs oath to the King of Baby­lon. I see that the case which I have proposed undefinitely, may bee applyed to the oath of Allegiance under which we stood for the publique good; and to the Nationall covenant; concerning which you may say perhaps of us as I have said of Zedekiah, that they bind us absolutely to bee subjects to the King, and leave it not to us to judge whether our subjection to him should tend to the publique good yea or no: therefore to resolve this doubt also, I shall compare our condition of subjection, and our Oath binding him thereunto towards the King of Babylon, and then if the case bee found alike; I shall confesse that we are now, as much bound, to the master of our Oath as he then was bound to the master of his: but if his relation to the King of Babylon was wholly different from ours to our King; if his Oath of submission to that King was of another kind then ours was to our King, and if his way of freeing himself from his relation and from the bond of his Oath towards the King of Babylon was quite another thing then what hath been intended by us; then I hope you will not make our case parallel to his; but in all these matters a vast difference, will be found between him and us, ergoe his guilt cannot be made ours.

First his Relation to the King of Babylon, was to be the vassall In respect of the relation wherein he stood to Nebu­chadnezer and wee to the King of Eng­land. of a Conquerour for the K. of B. having ruined the state of Iudah and subdued the Nation, made Zedekiah his vassall to rule it in his name, who bound himselfe by Oath so to do: but wee stood not under our K. as a Conquered natio [...] by him, but as free borne subiects under a King bound to rule by law.

Secondly, the Oath by which Zedekiah did submit himself to the K. of Babylon, was prescribed according to Nebuchadnezzars will, and no doubt it was absolutely to keep the Nation in his sub­jection In respect of the oath which he tooke, and wee tooke. without any condition of Laws, of Priviledges, of Liber­ties, or of any such thing supposed or imposed on Nebuchadnez­zars part; but the Oath by which the people of this Nation were bound to be subjects to their K. was by those that fra­med and imposed it, made to be taken and kept under certain con­ditions: viz. that we should be Subjects by Law and not other­wise; and that our subjection to him should be consistent with the [Page 37] priviledges of Par. & the native liberties of the nation, & no other­wise: and to make this Oath binding, those who imposed it upon the people, had power to impose another Oath which was recipro­call thereunto upon the King, that he might be bound to them to rule by law, as well as they to him to be obedient according to law: by which meanes the tye of the Oath was severall wayes limited, and the K. himself as well bound up in his commands, as they in their obedience by a Law: but no such thing can be imagined be­tween Zedekiah and Nebuchadnezzar.

Thirdly, his way of freeing himself from his relation and oath, was In respect of his way of breaking of his oath and of our way of be­ing freed from it. by a direct rebellion contrary to the intent of his Oath and Cove­nant; but our way of freeing ourselves hath been Legall, agreeable to the Tenor of the Law and to the sense of the Authority by which the Oath was given and made Legall: for the Oath in the sense of the Legislative power was never absolute, but conditionall; it did not binde us to the Kings personall and arbitrary will and command, but to his government and authority as he had a leg [...]ll standing: and the sense of the Parl. touching the Oath of Allegi­ance, how farre we are thereby intended to be made subordinate to the K. is expressed in the Nationall Covenant which makes it clearly conditionall: and the Parl. it self hath freed us long agoe from the obligation of that condition, by declaring that he had forfeited his right to govern any longer. So that the difference be­tween Zedekiah and us, is so vast in this point of being free from the Oath, that I can find no resemblance at all in the one to the o­ther: for as in our case if the K. kept not his Oath to his Subjects, they were absolved De lure from their Oath to him, in Zedekiah his Case there was no such contract between the K. of Babylon and him, but the will of the Conquerour was his law; in our case there was a Law to Regulate both the K. and us in keeping of our Oathes; and Trustees in Parl. to see that law kept; who herein were above the King, and in cases of aberration empowered, to see faults amended, both in King and Subjects; but in the case of Zedekiah there is no such thing; the Authority of Nebuchadnez­zar was above all Humane positive Lawes, and Zedekiah was sworn to be absolutely his Subject in such things, and to keep his people in subjection thereunto; In our Case, the King to whom we were sworne, deserted his Station of Government, and left his trust by leaving his Parliament, and levying warre against it; but in Zedekiah his Case, no such thing is imaginable; In our case the [Page 37] Parliament having the Supreme Authority of the Nation, and ha­ving conquered the King, doth oblige us to be true and faithfull to the free States without him; but in Zedekiah his Case no such thing is conceiveable: and many other things of a different nature might be insisted upon in our Case, which cannot be brought home to Zedekiah his Case, to free him from his Oath, as we are freed from ours: for his whole action was directly opposite to the cleare intent of his Oath; and to all the circumstances of the pub­lique good of the Nation oft he Iews, as the Lord himself doth intimate in Ezech. Ch. 17. & 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. but our actions in follow­ing the Parliament, have been all along consonant to the Legall intentof our Oath, by which we are absolved from our relation to the King, as also by all the circumstances of his miscarriages, of his illegall proceedings, and of his breach of trust towards the pub­like: by all the circumstances of the publike good to be procured without him; not according to the iudgement of particular men (for in this Case my Rule, is not to make every private man a Iudge of the publique good) but of the Supreme Authority of the Na­tion: and by all the circumstances of his removall from the Throne, and of our present standing under the Supreme power of the Na­tion which now is over us. So that to Oblige the conscience of pri­vate men to intend the restauration of a royall governmēt upon the account of such an Oath, from which we are made so many wayes Legally free; is to me a great mistake of Duty, and a dangerous snare to intangle weake spirits into the occasions of publique di­sturbances; whereunto I know you are not inclined to give any the least Overtures: but the danger is that other men who are of a turbulent disposition, and by such a mistake of their dissol [...]ed re­lation, and seeming Obligation to that which is contrary to their present Duty, being otherwise personally discontented, may st [...]en­then and heighten their distempers to a full resolution of publique disturbance, and endeavours of distructive unsettlements; from which I am sure your genius and pious thoughts do abhorre.

Thus you have that which I can at present suggest, which I be­seech the Lord so to addresse, as it may tend most to your comfort, if you be still unsatisfied; and if you be already satisfied, that it may be a meanes to confirme you in that which is agreeable to his holy Will, and profitable to the good of the Common-wealth of Israel, in the love of which, I subscribe my self

Your faithfull and affectionate Servant, I. D.

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