The Oppressed Close Prisoner In WINDSOR-Castle, HIS DEFIANCE TO The Father of Lyes, In the strength of The God of Truth.

Occasioned by some late, scandalous and slanderous Reports, raised and dispersed to the Dishonour of that noble Cause, wherein He (with others of the Lords servants) is so deeply engaged.

AS ALSO, A Seasonable Word, concerning the Higher Powers: concerning the payment of Taxes and Tribute-money by the Saints to those Powers: And how far a Minister of the Gospel may inter­meddle in State-Affairs without sin.

By CHR. FEAKE, in his Prison-Watch-tower.

Prov. 25.18, 19. A man that beareth false witness against his neighbour, is a M [...]ul, and a Sword, and a sharp Arrow. Confidence in an Unfaithful man in time of trouble, is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joynt.

[...]. Zor. coram Dario.

London, Printed for L. Chapman, at the Crown in Popes-head-alley. 165 [...].

The Preface.

THat space of time, which remains to that old Serpent, the Devil and Satan, before the beginning of the thousand yeers, being but short Which ac­cording to my compu­tation will expire with­in less then 50 yeers from this yeer 1654:; It is no mar­vel that he is so much inraged at the Woman, and that he continues to go forth to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the Commandments of God, and have the Testimony of Jesus Christ.

My expectations also are abundantly confirmed, that the poor Nations will be most sadly deceived by him, for the forementioned space of time; insomuch that whilst the power of his Sophistry and Seducti­on is upon them, they will freely expose themselves and all that is dear unto them, to extream hazards for his service. The certain and particular know­ledge of these things, doth much affect my heart with pity; and I would gladly be at work with o­thers, to give forth Antidotes among the children of men.

But behold, he hath (by divine permission) cast me, and some other Brethren into Prison, that we might be tried; and I have had tribulation neer ten months of days, a great part of which time, I have also been shut up in a very narrow compass from the common air, [Page]and (which is far worse) from the sweet society of the Saints. But my dear Lord bids me be of good cheer, and exhorts me most lovingly to be faithful to the DEATH, and he will give me a CROWN OF LIFE.

Those most incouraging communications from Heaven, whereof my soul hath had more sweet and plentiful experience, then in any condition former­ly, will have, I am perswaded, a very effectual influ­ence upon my spirit, to cause it to bear up against all the [...]. Devices, and Wiles or Methods of that wicked one, yea, through Christ strengthning me, having taken the shield of faith, I shall be able to quench all those fiery darts [...]. which are shot against me, to cause me to fall or quit the field, and so desert that most noble Interest, wherein I have (with my fellow-workers unto the Kingdom of God) been so long, and so publickly engaged, against the Kings, and other Supream Powers of the Earth.

The cunning craftiness of this God of this world, and of his Pursevants, (for the Devil also hath his Pursevants or Messengers, deceitful Workers [...], 2 Cor. 11.13.) hath raised and spread false reports and slanderous re­proachful rumours, as if I also had recanted, as if I had renounced my Principles, & that now I begin to droop: these lyes have begotten strange effects in the mindes and affections of the simple, who are apt to believe every word; and of the adversaries, who would greatly rejoyce if it might be found a Truth.

Assuredly, it is mater of some importance in this conjuncture of time, for every one of the faithful fol­lowers of the Lambe, to be fellow-helpers to the Truth, [...], 3 John 8. and to the cause and work of Christ, which ere long [Page]shall have a most glorious resurrection; although so many (like the souldiers and Priests of old, when the Lord of glory was dead and buried) desire they may lie in the grave of oblivion, so as never to rise again.

If it were onely a personal reproach, particularly intended against me, and reflecting upon me alone, a poor inconsiderable instrument in the Lords hand, I could through grace have borne it patiently with­out answering again, according as I have endured a thousand, for neer this ten yeers, both in City and Country: but this reacheth to the heavens Captutinter nubila con­dit.; and, rides p [...]st through the Nations, to the dishonour of my Lord and Master, the Lord Jesus Christ, whose I am, and whom I serve; and to the further disparagement of that known great affair of His, which hath been so slighted of late yeers, by the quondam zealous as­sertors of it.

Wherefore if I should altogether hold my peace at this time, as Mordecai said to Hester, (and in this matter) how could I give an account with comfort to my Lord the King of Saints, when he shall make enquiry after the service he expects should be done by me in my day, for his Name and his Kingdom, ac­cording to the trust he reposed in me, when he did first chuse and call me forth to suffer for his sake?

But before I proceed to the business intended by me, I shall declare, so far as I have attained true in­telligence in the general, the first and last occasion of all this noise, both among the Churches and else­where, and then subjoyne a plain-hearted explicati­on of those Truths (concerning the matter in con­troversie) which have sweetly wooed and won my understanding and judgement, (such as they are) to [Page]entertain and to improve them, as God shall provi­dentially administer opportunity by the teachings of his Spirit.

But if in any circumstance, I should miss the white at which I aim; it must be imputed to my present incapacity of obtaining a full Relation, partly be­cause I am still a close Prisoner (notwithstanding my present breathing in the open air) and so cannot con­verse with such as would give me a more perfect and punctual Narrative in matter of fact; as also, because there hath been, (as it was always in the like cases) a monstrous multiplication of new mishapen births e­ven every day.

That Congregation which I am over in the Lord, sent not many weeks since, an Epistle to me, testify­ing their love in the Lord, and that brotherly sym­pathy with me in my sufferings, which is meet; with­al, signifying, they should rejoyce to be serviceable to Christ and me in obtaining my enlargement, if they did but once understand what means to use in order thereunto: but they could not do what their souls desired to do, without owning the Powers in being; the doing of which, said they, is accounted a bowing of the knee to the Image of the Beast.

This last mentioned passage, gave me just occasi­on, according to my Office, as their shepherd, to feed them with knowledge and understanding in this point, and therefore accordingly I spent some time in clearing it up unto the Congregation, in a second E­pistle written in answer unto theirs.

It seems some of them through anacquaintedness with Scripture-distinctions in this doctrine, and other­wise, [Page]did not make a right interpretation of the Truths therein expressed; but mistooke my minde and meaning, and so, whether weakly or willingly, divulged, or suffered to be divulged abroad, some passages in the Letter, which ought not to have been done, considering the Letter was intended for their use and edifying onely, and not for open publication.

I had some hint of this in a short time; but not being conscious to my self, of any alteration in the least, no not in thought and purpose of heart, toward a compliance; and well knowing that no part of the Letter could signifie any such thing, if rightly un­derstood, I neglected the rumour, as onely one of the petty stratagems of the devil, whereby to do me some mischief.

But afterward, finding that that secret whisper and murmur was ripened suddenly into an infamous report; Letter after Letter also representing this, as of very sad consequence to that Name and Cause for which I am bound with this Chain: I was brought under a necessity of presenting to publick view the Epistle it self, so far as it concerns this Cause;

Especially, when I finde it certified, that one (well known to all sorts of people in the City) coming where several were together in company, did in a laughing and scoffing maner draw forth a paper, and say, There was my Recantation, pretending it was mine own Letter, or a Copy of it, wherein I wrote, That I was now satisfied, that the Government was a lawful authority, &c.

It appears to me, that the envious One and his Emissa­ries are altogether in extreams, in their suggestions against my Good Name; sometimes the world must [Page]be made believe, yea, and the Elect also, that I am against Magistracie and Ministery, that I am an enemy to Government, a most dangerous man in my Principles that way, &c.

Again, sometimes it is for his advantage, to per­swade such as would have it so, that I am come over to my Adversaries and Oppressors of mine own accord, and that suddenly too, without any Overtures made, or Argu­ments used to draw me to a compliance or conformity. But how improbable and irrational a practice such an hasty return would appear to solid Christians to be, I refer it to themselves to say, and judge.

No, blessed be the Lord, I shall not so far be for­saken by him, or left to my self, as to gratifie the foes, and grieve the friends of my dear Redeemer, by turn­ing Apostate after all my sufferings in so good a Cause; HIS GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR HIS SERVANT: yea, let all my Friends and Enemies also, know assuredly, that I stand my ground by divine assistance; yea, I get ground, and am abun­dantly confirmed, that I am out of the reach of the earthly powers, insomuch, that if they should slay me, they could not hurt me. Let God in all things be glorified by Jesus Christ, to whom also be glory for ever, Amen.

The Epistle followeth, together with a fur­ther manifestation of the Truth.

This following, is a true Copy of the Epistle, so far as concerns the matter in hand; which I have divided into Sections, for methods sake, in the explanation of my meaning.

Grace, mercy and peace, from the ever-over-flowing Fountain, to every son and daughter of the living God.

Sect. 1 HAving lately, even in my last unto you, de­clared among other things that purpose and determination concerning my Bonds and Imprisonment, which I have, according to my best understanding taken up upon Scri­pture-ground: I shall now proceed to add something for the rectifying of some mistakes about the pre­sent powers, and the image of the Beast; It falling in pro­perly upon this occasion for me to speak something to you concerning those Truths, which do lie somewhat remote, and out of the way of ordinary observation.

Sect. 2 The judgement of the Congregation, appears by their Letter to me, to be this: viz. That you cannot do any thing toward my enlargement (prayer excepted) without owning the Powers in Being; the doing of which, say you, is accounted a bowing the knee to the image of the Beast. Now for the better clearing up of the minde of God in this dark and doubtful matter, I shall plainly declare as follows.

Sect. 3 First, I do not know by whom the ownnig of the Powers in Being, is accounted a bowing the knee to the image of the Beast. It was never, neither is it like to be mine O­pinion; [Page 2]and whether you mean some of your Number, or of other Congregations, I cannot tell; if I had particularly known, I should have given a particular Answer; for as for my self, I do own the Powers in Being, according as God himself hath commanded, and have done all along: I have and do render to all their Dues; Tribute, to whom Tribute is due; Custome, to whom Custom; Fear, to whom Fear; Honour to whom Honour.

Sect. 4 And therefore secondly, the doing of this that is, Own­ing the Powers in Being, is not, ought not to be accounted a bowing the knee to the image of the Beast: to own those Powers aforesaid, is a plain duty, not to be dispensed with by any Law of man whatsoever; where as to worship or bow the knee to the Beast, is a known sin, forbidden in the Word of God.

By the Powers in Being, I understand the Army as Su­pream, and all those who joyne with them to carry on the work of justice, and of mercy, according to the indubitable principles of right reason and equity; for Rulers, saith the Apostle, are not a terror to good workes, but to the evil; and so far as the Powers answer those principles, they are Powers, and the Ordinance of God, and there is no more reason to resist them, then there is to resist righteousness and truth, whilst, and so long as they answer the ends for which they were ordained; and you know, I never taught you to rise up against them in the least.

Sect. 5 If any would ask me, How I can be said to own the Pow­ers, and yet preach against them and for the destroying of them, thus, one after another: I answer, I do in this mat­ter, as the Prophets and Apostles, and Martyrs, and upright and understanding Saints, in all ages did before me: for I make no question, but they owned the Powers then in Be­ing, according to their own Doctrine and principles; and yet at the same time preached and prophesied against them, for their abominations, both to their faces, and behinde their backs also; and this was done by the Lords faith­ful servants in all ages; but I confess it did cost them very dear; some their lives, others their liberties, others their [Page 3] ther substance, &c. where as the Court-Chaplains, the Parish-Clergie, and the Apostate Independents take a very wise course in their own conceits, to keep out of all danger, say­ing in effect, and with a louder voice then of a Trumpet; Let the Powers do what they please, &c. so we may get and keep Ecclesiastical promotions under them, and the pro­tection and shadow of their wings; so we may have dispen­sations to be, and to continue Pluralists, Non residents, To [...]quots, &c. and so the Magistrates and Ministers, (as they count themselves) are agreed to connive at each o­thers wickedness.

Sect. 6 But a little more to make the matter plain before you, you are to understand, that the Supream Powers have al­wayes, in all Ages ruled partly like men, and partly like wilde beasts.

They ruled like men, when they made, and executed, Laws agreeable to the Remainder of the image of God in man­kinde; when they executed judgment and justice; when they relieved the oppressed & refreshed the bowels of the poor and the fatherless, & when they made the desolate widows hearts to sing for joy: and many of the Heathen Kings and Rulers, will rise up in judgment against those, many of them, who assume the glorious titles of Christian Kings and Princes.

They ruled like wilde Beasts, when, and so far as, they were Hunters like Nimrod before the Lord; when they did carry matters by force and violence, by fire and sword to satisfie their own lusts; when they degenerated into cruel Tyrants; (which are monsters in Government) And so, their Wills gave Law to millions of people better and more righteous then themselves.

The holy Spirit doth more then intimate this distinction in Daniel very excellently, by comparing the four Mo­narchies, or Supream Powers, to the image of a man, Dan. 2. and then afterward the self-same Monarchies, every one of them to a cruel wilde Beast, Dan. 7. from whence I ga­ther, that they did and would be found to govern the Nati­ons in some respects like men, that is, according to the prin­ciples of right reason and righteousness. And thus far they [Page 4]had the superscription and image of God upon them, and were to be submitted to, as the Ordinance of God. But in other respects, and at other times, they did live like so many wilde Beasts, and so the Spirit of God calls them Lions, and Bears, and ravening Wolves, &c. Their Courts being fill'd with the spoil of the people, to maintain them in their pomp, pride and luxury; their wanton and beastly Courts, I say, were, and are supported, and maintained out of those un­reasonable Taxes, which by illegal wayes and means they did and do still tear out of the bowels of the oppressed people.

Sect. 7 Besides this, there is another Observation very remark­able: for where as the holy Spirit, represents the four Mo­narchies put together in Dan. 2. by one onely image of a man: He doth in Dan. 7. represent the four Monarchies a­part by four several cruel Beasts; which to me signifies thus much, that in the chief Rulers and Governours of this world, there would be found at the least four times as much and more, of the nature and spirit of wilde beasts, then of the nature and spirit of mankinde, or the reasonable crea­ture. And indeed this is not onely signified in this prophecie, but it is plainly manifested in the Histories of all Ages, and of all Nations, from Daniel's time unto this day. And for this Nation, I dare venture to make it good with the utmost peril of my life, that the spirit of the fourth Beast is yet living and acting its part in England, contrary to the Principles, Rules, and Presidents of common honesty, of the light of nature, and of the Laws of all Nations, which are not bruitish and barbarous.

And against this spirit I am engaged more and more, not against the man in man; for that is to engage against God and his Ordinance; but against the Beast and his image in man: and in this enterprise, the Lord will stand by me, a­gainst all the Kings of the earth, if I could come at them to preach against their beastly abominations, &c.

Sect. 8 But to conclude this: where as you say in effect you cannot be serviceable to Christ and me in reference to my enlarge­ment, without owning the Powers in being; unless I have some way to offer to you, which may be conducible to that [Page 5]end; I have this onely to say, that when I did read this pas­sage, three or four wayes came into my minde, wherein it was honourable for you to appear, without any danger of bowing the knee to the image of the beast; but yet I would not have you expect, that I should shew you any one of them; for I hope the Lord will help me, to cut off occasion from them that seek occa­sion. I have my end which I propounded in this matter, and shall wait on the Lord: for, I assure you here before him, in the midst of you, I do not yet begin to be weary of mine Impri­sonment, nor yet to yield; although some of the Lords people are more apt to think and say so, then there is ground so to think or say. And my Message, as you call it, did not signifie any thing of that nature, but had another meaning.

Sect. 9 For, my Brethren, my adversaries themselves, do, and will, nobilitate this Cause, (wherein I suffer) more and more: and if mine enemies are necessitated to improve it, should I desert it? God forbid.

And as Christ said to the mourning Women, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for your selves, and for your children: so I say in the same spirit, Were I now going to the scaffold, be not sad for me, ye sons and daughters of Sion, but be sad for your selves and for your families, for great distress is coming towards you; and yet to others, I may say, Look up and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh. And great shall their comfort be, who can finde in their heart to deny themselves, and to forsake all, for the Lord Jesus. But such Disciples are very rare; and time will give us yet a more plenti­ful demonstration thereof.

Yours in the Lord, Chr. Feak.

The precedent Epistle explained, for a more compleat Manifestation of the Truth.

Sect. 1.

WHereas, in the beginning of the Epistle, it is written, that my intent and purpose concern­ing my Bonds and Imprisonment, was declared by me in a former Letter to them, I shall for the Truths sake (and that all things relating to this business may be naked and open, before all sorts of Readers) annex a Copy of so much of that Letter also, as is needful, if I can obtain it from the Brethren in due season.

And therefore without any circumlocutions, shall pass from this to the next Section, which being a part of the in­troduction to the principal Heads of that Doctrine which I explained briefly to them, will occasion some inquiry into the Reasons of my so writing to them.

Sect. 2.

Whereas I there do testifie that it was a dark and doubt­ful matter, which I was now about to treat of, viz. concern­ing the Powers in being, and the Image of the Beast, &c. and their owning and bowing the knee to the one, or to the other:

Quest. It may be demanded, whether it appertains to my Of­fice to handle such points in the hearing of the Congrega­tion at this time especially, when there is so much need of Healing and Settlement, as the Lord General did lately plead and inculcate in the PAINTED CHAMBER; con­sidering also (and experience proves it) that it was not [Page 7]understood by those for whom it was prepared; and be­sides, other Doctrine might have been sent, tending more to the use of edifying.

answ. I answer, That great and exceeding precious promise in Jer. 3. will sufficiently satisfie every Honest Heart; where Jehovah saith, Jer. 3.15. And I will give you Pastors according to m [...]ne own heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and with un­derstanding; namely, Eph. 5.17. Colos. 4.12. that you may understand what the will of the Lord is, and that you may stand perfect and compleat, ( [...]) in all the will of God, as Paul ex­presseth it to the Ephesians and Colossians.

Moreover; Rom. 15.1. 1 Cor. 3.1, 2. Heb. 5.13, 14. 1 John 2.13. we finde the Churches of the Saints to con­sist of strong, and of weak, of habes in Christ, and of such as are of ripe age, of young men, and of fathers; now strong meat is to be administred by every faithful steward of the mysteries of God, to them who are of full age, even such as by reason of use, have their sen [...]es exercised to discern both good and evil, for it belongs unto them, as it is written, St [...]ong m [...]at belongeth to them who are of full age. [...]; And therefore though babes cannot feed upon such Doctrine (for milk belongs to them, and accor­dingly it is provided) yet others who are come to some maturity, and would willingly know the work of their day and age, will by this means go onward to perfection.

Which Gospel-perrection, Eph. 4.11, 12, 13. was one great end of Christ his giving the gifts of the Spirit unto his Churches.

Wherefore I being (as Paul in his, Rom. 1.14. so I in my Line) a debtor to the wise and to the unwise, it is not meet I should be blamed for paying the due debt of my Office, which I owe to the whole flock of Christ (whereof I am made the Overseer) by manifold obligations.

But to put a period to this Section; I answer further, that I had a particular call to speak largely to this point a­bout the Governments, because I perceived the Church or some particular persons to be under a great mistake, even neer of kin to a gross absurdity, (and one absurdity being granted, a thousand will follow.) Now it is required and expected by the Lord Jesus and his people, that I should endeavour at least to guide their feet into the way of truth, [Page 8]when I perceive them but begin to go astray. And as for the unseasonableness of handling such kinde of doctrine, considering, as is urged, there is so great need of healing, and of silencing all debates about Powers; and Govern­ment, &c. I answer further, It was never the custom of the faithful Ministers of Christ, nor of the Prophets before them, to inquire which way the winde did blow at the Kings Court, but to promote and to perfect their Lord's work, which he had given them to do, while it was called to Day: for when the night cometh, no man can work.

That also of Solomon is suitable to this purpose: Eccles. 11.4. He that observeth the winde shall not sow, and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap. Eccles. 9.10. And, whatsoever thine hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might: for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge in the grave whither thou goest.

And to speak the Truth to the glory of my Lord, my not regarding any mans Person or Power when I am about his business, and my not taking care at any time for this twenty yeers to please men, but onely God, which trieth the hearts, hath been to me of very refreshing considera­tion and remembrance upon all pertinent occasions, ever since I was bound with this chain; as it is also at the wri­ting hereof, as I am here sitting before the Lord, to plead for truth with paper and ink, seeing I cannot, to this day, hear any tidings of meeting with my Accusers face to face.

Sect. 3.

Whereas upon that clause in the Churches Letter to me, viz. The owning of the Powers in being, is accounted a bowing of the knee to the image of the Beast; I answered them, that I did not know by whom it was so accounted, and that it was never mine opinion, nor was it likely so to be, &c. as is before set down: It is very true, I did not know, neither could I know by those words, It is accounted, (none, who so accounted, being named) whereupon it being darkly expressed by them, I thought it was meet, it should be plainly expressed by me, as in the Letter you [Page 9]may finde, adding moreover these following words: For as for my self, I do own the powers in being, and have done all along. Now it's probable, these words might be construed, as signifying something, that had somewhat like a compli­ance, or recantation; and so being abstracted from their neighbours and fellows, viz. according as God hath com­manded, &c. as you may see in the Epistle, (It is true) ENVY and ILL-WILL might endeavour to draw such a conclusion from those premises; but that passion, is not a competent Judge, nor an equal Interpreter of words or actions.

But now, Oh all ye who are friends but to common sense and reason (suppose conscience should suspend its ope­rations for a time) come, and be Judges betwixt me and my adversaries, who have acted the devils part, Mat. 4.6. com. with Psal. 90.11. in quo­ting one part of the words which were written, and sup­pressing the other, the better to compass his diabolical design against Jesus Christ his Lord.

Thus I plead my cause against the falshood and most un­righteous dealing of such slanderers.

1. First, Is it not a most absurd and irrational method of proceeding against our neighbour, to tear asunder those words and sentences, which the writer had put toge­ther, and so to undermine his good Name among his friends, and to render him the by-word of his foes? and, which is worse then both the other, to trample upon that noble Cause which God himself hath call'd forth the Au­thor to maintain & bear witness to before the world? The Heathens would abhor such spirits and such practises, when brought before them.

2. In case those passages had been written darkly and doubtfully, was it not the duty of the Reader or Reporter, or both, to make the best interpretation, (now, let con­science do its office) which Christian love could give, and most sutable to the declared and known principles of the Author of those words? unless he had certain information, or other testimony of his open apostacy from his profession and constant conversation in time past unto that day.

Wherefore thirdly, Let the whole clause be considered with an honest and impartial minde, and you will finde such cautelous qualifications superadded, as if I had fore­seen the Devils design against the Cause and the Person both. Whereas I writing in simplicity of heart, as in the sight of God, without any thoughts of Declining or Draw­ing back [...], Heb. 10.39.; could not once suspect that such constructions and consequences would have been formed and dispersed thereupon.

The first Qualification of my Words, was this: AC­CORDING AS GOD HIMSELF HATH COMMAN­DED, I do own the Powers in being, and have done all along: but otherwise I never did, nor shall, own the present Powers, or their successors.

The second Qualification of those Words of mine, which I added in the close of this third Section, is expressed in the words of the Apostle, Rendering to all their Dues, tribute to whom tribute, &c. as you read it, in Rom. 13.7.

And thus far in this third Section, and no further, have I indeavoured to state the case, and to plead against the un­conscionable carriage of that person, or those persons, who have given liberty to their tongues, to speak reproachfully against their neighbour without cause, Psal. 15.3. 2 Tim. 2.25. the Lord give them repentance to the acknowledgement of the truth, and to the bridling of that member, which though little, is so ve­ry unruly, James 3. the 10. first verses. as it is written, THE TONGUE CAN NO MAN TAME, AN UNRULY EVIL, FULL OF DEADLY POYSON. It seems it is the onely work of God to tame it, it is not mans work; especially when it is set on fire from Hell, as too too often it comes to pass. But to proceed.

Now further, to declare ingenuously my judgement and apprehensions in this point, thus I say:

Either I must own the Powers in Being, or that Are, (for we will not argue about expressions, when they are well understood, though they may not be very proper,) I say, either I must own the present Powers, or I must own Anarchy. For Powers to be hereafter, or which may ap­pear [Page 11]in time to come, I know not how to own in such a sence as I intended; (for de non apparentibus & non existen­tibus eadem est ratio,) If the Powers do not appear, and ex­istere extra causas, as we say, it is all one to us, as if they were not in rerum naturâ, as indeed they are not actually, till they are formed; (for forma dat nomen & esse) and so exist from the concurrence of the several efficient causes also, respectively.

Now as for Anarchy or no Government; for a people to have no Powers in being, it is Confusion, it is Desolation, it is the Abomination of Desolation, or that maketh De­solate. It alwayes was, it is, it will ever be the Abomi­nation of my soul.

Tyranny it self is not so ugly a monster by many Degrees, in mine eyes, as is I understand Anarchy not in notion, but in operation; Anar­chy Rampant. Anarchy. But let no man imagine, that I ever was, or now am, a friend in the least to former or pre­sent Tyranny, though I thus speak: for Tyranny is High Treason against Mankind, and against the Image of God in the world, and shall be turned headlong off from the stage again, when it hath acted its part, for the accomplishment of the Counsels of the Almighty; which will not be, until the words of God shall be fulfilled, as it is written in the Scrip­tures of Truth.

From what hath been said, the Saints and the World may see, what reason I had, and have, to declare that I DO OWN THE POWERS IN BEING; for, to own the Powers that are to be hereafter, (but are not yet ex­tant) I cannot do it, viz. in that sence before expressed; and own Anarchy, or non-Government, that I will not do upon any terms, while by the grace of God I continue in my right minde, and injoy any remainders of sense and reason. So that we are constrained by right reason to own the present Powers.

But then withal, my two Limitations, Restrictions, or Cor­rectives, (call them what you please) must be admitted and remembred carefully, for otherwise I shall suffer apparent injury, as lately I have felt.

First, in general, I told the Congregation, I owned them according to God, or as God himself hath commanded.

Secondly, I did particularly declare, how, and how far I owned the Powers in being, in saying, I gave tribute, custom, fear and honor, where each of these were due: BUT WHAT, AND WHO THOSE POWERS ARE, IN MY OPI­NION, IS ANOTHER QUESTION, AND SHALL BE HANDLED IN ITS PLACE.

Concerning the first of these two Restrictions, I explain my meaning thus. I may as well throw away the Old and New Testament, those blessed Oracles (which are sweeter to me (especially since I came into prison, and, yet more especially, since I was shut up in Close-Imprisonment,) then the honey or the honey-combe) as deny, or refuse to own the Powers in Being, it being so Just and so Good a Law of God That there should be High­er Powers in the world, is a good law: the law may be formed thus, Potestates in mundo su­per-eminentes semper sunto. 1 Pet. 2.13., the Soveraign Lord of Heaven and Earth.

The Command is full and plain: Peter writing to the Be­lieving Jews, saith expressly, Submit to every Ordinance of Man, (or Humane Creation [...]. Tit. 3.1.) for the Lords sake, whether to the King, as Supream, or unto Governours, as sent by him. Paul to Titus doth confirm this Doctrine, and this Statute-Law; Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey Magistrates [...].: so Rom. 13.1, 2, &c.

But moreover, let us not interpret this subjection and obedience, this owning of them, to be Absolute and Un­limited, as if without all Restrictions and Distinctions; for that were unreasonable; as hath been argued and urged against the late King.

Yea furthermore, these things are injoyned to particu­lar Christians, and private persons, who are altogether un­der Authority; for otherwise, one Higher power, may refuse obedience to another Higher power, yea, and take their Autho­rity away from them utterly, and for ever, in many cases, as I shall shew afterward.

But to give the world an Account of my Principles and Practises in this point. Yet more particularly,

I am bound to own them so, as not to forget that I am a Disciple of Christ, & that the Gospel & the Doctrine there­of is to guide and regulate me in the thing under consider­ation; for though they are the Higher Powers, yet not the [Page 13]Highest, FOR THERE ARE HIGHER THEN THEY. Eccles. 5.8. And if at any time they command ought, that is incon­sistent with the Commands of Christ, Mat. 28.18. who hath all power in heaven and earth, and with that duty and Evangelical Alle­giance which I owe and bear to him, I shall disown them so far, and their commands also, before their faces and be­hinde their backs, (as the phrase used by the New-Court-flatterers doth express it) and yet ask no question for con­science sake, there being no scruples upon my spirit in this matter, as afterward I shall shew.

I also humbly conceive, that those Christians who sub­mir, and suffer patiently under the penalties which are im­posed on them for chusing to obey God, rather then man, (as it is my present Case) do as really own the powers, as any of those who yield active Obedience to what is injoyn­ed them to do: for they fulfil and answer the Law herein, whether it be the Law of the Land, that imposeth such a pe­nalty in case of disobedience (as the world calls it) or the Law of their own wills and Lusts onely, who are the Supream Powers at that time.

For the understanding hereof, we are to know, that every Command whatsoever among men, (whether it proceed from rational and just power, or from arbitrary power, and a wilful will void of reason) doth consist of two parts, the preceptive part, and the punitive part; for I dare affirm, Precepts and Penalties are the proper ingre­dients of all Laws. that no Law-makers, will give out Commands or Laws, and then leave it to the people, whether to obey or not obey; in reason, a penalty is to be annexed and executed, in case of refusal to give due observance; and every one must either do what is injoyned in the preceptive part of the Law, or else suffer what shall be inflicted: I speak of particular per­sons, and under Authority.

Now those Saints who, for conscience sake, Rom. 13.5. 1 Pet. 2.13. and for the Lords sake, do willingly and out of choice suffer Imprison­ment, Confiscation of Goods, Banishment, or Death, ra­ther then sin against Christ, may be properly said to own the Powers in Being, as really, and more honestly, and acceptably before God, then those who are most forward [Page 14]to yield active obedience at the same time, to the same law.

But because familiar examples will help to illighten the ordinary Reader, for others need them not, I shall illustrate this doctrine and my practise, in owning the higher powers, by one famous example in the word of Truth.

It is that of the third of Daniel, Dan. 3.4, 5, 6. a most excellent History of three of the Old Testament-worthies, and their suffer­ings. The Higher Power in being makes a Law, (or a thing like a Law,) TO YOU IT IS COMMANDED, O PEO­PLE, NATIONS, AND LANGUAGES, AT SUCH AN INSTANT OF TIME, TO FALL DOWN AND WORSHIP THE GOLDEN IMAGE WHICH THE KING OR EMPEROUR HATH SET UP. This is the sum of the first part of the Law.


Now to me it appears plainly, that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego patiently submitting to the Kings pleasure, and the proclaimed penalty, without any resistance, did fulfil the Law aforesaid in the later part of it, as really as the Nations and Languages did fulfil or perform the first part of it; and consequently did therein own the Powers in Be­ing, as aforesaid.

This plain Syllogism, will put it out of controversie.

  • Those who willingly submit to the Laws of the Higher Powers which are in their dayes, may truly be said to own those Powers.
  • But Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did willingly sub­mit to the Laws of the Higher Powers in their dayes:
  • Ergo, it may truely be said of them, they did own those Powers, &c.

That the three children were willingly subject and obe­dient unto Nebuchadnezzars Law and Command, I suppose none will deny; and the Proposition they cannot deny with reason; for what more effectual owning of Powers can be expected or desired, then obedience to their Laws?

These things I have transferred in a figure, 1 Cor. 4.6. [...]. to the three children, for their sakes who are full of prejudice against me, as if I ought not to be accounted subject to the powers in Being, because I am a Non-conformist to those Orders & Ordinances, and some plausible insinuations, which by insensible degrees have caused the Army and Nations, (by means of that Spirit which worketh effectually in them) TO RETURN TO THEIR VOMIT; I mean, 2 Pet. 2.22. [...]. to set and keep up old Monarchy under a new name or notion, but not so current and authentick as the New Courtiers do imagine.

There are many other instances in Scripture of the Saints, their owning the powers in being, and yet at the same time refusing to fulfil the preceptive part of their Laws and Statutes in ma­ny particulars, chusing to suffer under the earthly Powers, [...]. 1 Pet. 2.14. ra­ther then to sin against the most High; as Christ himself submit­ted to Caesar, as the Supream, & to Pontius Pilate, as sent by him, according to the distinction given by the Apostle.

So Peter and John, Paul and Silas, with the rest, Read Act. 4. & the 5. Chap. these all owned the Powers in being, but would not actively obey their commands, many of them, for they disputed against them, and denied compliance with them.

And I am resolved, by the Lords help, 1 Cor. 11.1. to be a follower of them, as they were of Christ in this particular.

I confess the Higher Powers have not used to account pas­sive subjection worthy the name of obedience, neither are they apt to esteem it an owning of their Power, when they have humbly and soberly refused to do after their Commandments: for they being generally of very high Spirits, who are in high places, they think it a great dishonour to them, to have their Justice, Wisdom, Authority call'd in question, arraigned and condemned by silly Sectaries.

When the High-Priest and his Kindred had called for Peter and John, and set them in the midst, Act. 4 6. at length upon deliberation they commanded and charged them with threatnings intermixt, not to preach that Doctrine any more: the Apostles declared they could not forbear to speak the things which they had seen and heard, Act. 4.20, 21. for they were filled with the Holy Ghost in­deed, and must speak; and accordingly proceeded to preach, not­withstanding [Page 16]their Order, Act. 5.33. in direct contradiction to them. But how were they cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them? Blessed be the Lord, this is my case assuredly; I was forbidden to preach, what I had seen and heard from THE GREAT PROPHET, concerning his King­dom,Dan. 2.44.and the breaking in pieces of all other Kingdoms, and concerning the A­postacy of all sorts from their declared Ingagements for the Interest of our Lord: but I was & am so far from promising conforming to such prohibiti­ons, as that I am made more fervent in spirit against the abominations of these men, from the Highest to the Lowest; and for the promoting the Interest of my Lord, against the Court-Interest lately set up, in contra­diction to their own solemn Declarations in the sight of God, Angels and Men, not many yeers ago.

It is co [...]rtable to consider, That true spiritual Christians have an unction which teacheth them of all things, [...] Joh. 2.20, 27. and they accordingly from that unction, have learned to distinguish betwixt the Power and the Weakness of the Rulers, betwixt the Ordinances of God and of Men; for by the light of the word of truth they know that righteous Laws are the strength of the Higher Powers, and that Tyranny, and the Results and Consequences of Arbitrariness in Government, are their weakness and their folly: and not onely so; (for the knowledge hereof, may in some degrees be attained by such as know not Christ) but they are able in the power of a higher Spirit, then that of the proudest Monarchs, to tell them, THIS IS A TYRANNICAL WAY OF RULING, AND THAT IS A PLAIN CONTRADICTION TO THE LAW OF CHRIST, and shall be broken and destroyed, though all the Kings of the earth should joyne their Power and Policy to uphold it. It is one thing to know wherein Ru­lers do commit open Abominations; and it is another thing to testifie openly against those publick wickednesses, without respect of persons. But more of this afterwards in its proper place, for here it is a Digres­sion, from the point in hand.

I have many things to bring out of that treasury which the Lord hath put into this earthen vessel, and should rejoyce to have an opportunity to exemplifie those Truths by lively voice, which have been set upon my spirit in this prison, where I have remained this nine months and more; for I finde it very difficult to express my minde by writing; but this I have to encourage me, The Lord is able to bless my Indeavors this way, for the present, seeing I am so unrighteously hindred from preach­ing the Gospel by the Powers now in Being.

Having spoken thus much to the first general Qualification, That I do own the Powers that are, but how? ACCORDING TO GOD, or ACCORDING AS GOD HIMSELF HATH COMMANDED, & having particularly explained my meaning, to own them, by submitting to their Laws, whether Arbitrary or Rational, according as may consist with our Allegiance to Christ, and the direction of his word and spirit, which, in, very many cases, directs us to obey passively, but to die rather then to fulfil their Law by active obedience; I shall now go on to the next limitation, which is to own them in paying tribute, & custom, and honor and fear, as I have expressed in the forementioned Epistle.

I shall now go on to the next Limitation, which is, to pay them Tribute and Custome, Honor and Fear, as I have expressed in the fore-mentioned Epistle.

And because I do own the Higher Powers in this par­ticular also, I shall explain my self herein likewise, A Discourse concerning Taxations from Scripture ac­cording as I intended, when I wrote, though then I had not any thoughts that I should bee brought upon the Stage, to give so publick an account of my Principles, and Practice, in the payment of those Taxes, which I, and others of my Brethren are still burthened withall, though some Abatement is now spoken of.

But first, for the better, and more effectual satisfaction of the people of God, I shall communicate what I have met with in the good word of God concerning this thing; for it is suitable to my Office, and may bee useful to the Saints to understand something concerning the first practice of this Oppression, and (which will bee more welcome) when their Taxations will bee removed, and have an end.

It is to bee remembred, That one of the Higher Pow­ers, is described very briefly and emphatically thus, Heb. One that causeth an Exactor to passe over. He did sudden­ly stand up, & was as sudden­ly pulled down. Whether Moses, Joshua, & the first Jud­ges which preceded Monarchy, were Raisers of Taxes. Dan. 11.20. There shall stand up a RAISER of TAXES, &c. but within few dayes he shall be destroyed, neither in Anger, nor in Battel. It is worth our observation, That the Spirit of God gives him no other Title, as if this Taxing of the people were the Beginning and the End of his Reign.

Before I speak of particular Instances, I desire the Reader to search the Scriptures, that so he may be able to satisfie himself in this Question, viz. Whether Moses, Joshua, or the Judges, did practise the way of Assesments and Impositions upon their Brethren, which now are so current, and have been so much in use in the Nations round about, as well as here at home, so that it is, as it were, another nature; as it happens to those Porters, who carry Burthens, custome makes that to seem but light to them, which to another (not conversant in such Im­ployment) would be found a Burthen too heavy for him to bear.

The children of Israel were made a FREE PEOPLE by God, when he took them out of the House of Bondage, and so might have continued under their Judges, Jehovah being their King and Lawgiver, If they had not set up a King after the manner of the IDOLATROUS NATIONS round about them.

There is not a more broad black badge of absolute sla­very under absolute Sovereignty, than for a people once made free by Gods especial Providence, to be contented to bee Taxed and Assessed by the Arbitrary power of a Sovereign Lord afterward.

I shall begin this Epitome of the HISTORY of TAXES, Monarchy and Taxes born & brought forth among Gods people in Sa­muels time. with the History of Monarchy set up in the midst of Israel, rashly and unadvisedly by themselves (when they were blessed with Samuel, one of the best Governours that ever the people of God injoyed) for it appears to mee, that these Burthens upon the Lords people, came in with Kingship, or at least, the way was prepared for Bondage to return upon them, when nothing but a King would serve their turn.

For when the Lord bid Samuel protest solemnly unto them, It is the man­ner of Kings to take the peoples goods in part, or in whole. 1 Sam. 8.14, 15. 16, 17. verses. and shew them the manner of the King that shall reign over them, Among other heads of Arbitrary power, which he reckoned up before them, hee tells them plainly, THAT THEIR KING WOƲLDTAKE THEIR FIELDS, AND THEIR VINEYARDS, AND THEIR OLIVEYARDS, even the best of them, and give them to his servants; And he will TAKE (saith Sa­muel) THE TENTH OF YOƲR SEED, AND OF YOƲR VINEYARDS, and give to his Eunuchs, and to his servants; He will TAKE THE TENTH OF YOƲR SHEEP, and yee shall be his servants, &c.

Now, although the total sum of the charge (besides their bondage otherwise) for the mantainance of a Monarch, was computed to rise so high, so that it would make them at length cry unto the Lord, because of their King (And indeed Kings and Sovereign Lords, or what ever Titles they are known by, are COSTLY CREA­TƲRES 1 Sam. 8.18, 19, & 20 verses, [Page 19]and will make the people sigh, and cry too, within a little while after they are gotten into the Saddle) I say, notwithstanding all this, they said, Nay, but there shall be a King over us, a King shall reign over us, that we also may be like all the Nations As if they should say, Seeing slavery is in fashion in other Nati­ons, we will be slaves also; Tyranny be­ing the Mode in all Coun­tries round about us, we will have a Tyrant too, though God himself say Nay; we say, Yea. Rom 15.4.. And when they had gotten him, they all shouted, God save the King; they had not known by experience the Burthensomnesse of Taxes and Tribute, of Tenths and Fifteenths, one time after another, for they that ruled them aforetime under [...] being Judges raised up in needful seasons, were Sav [...]rs and Deliverers, and not Raisers of Taxes, and so while they walked as his people, there was not a freer people upon the face of the earth than they.

But now, let him that readeth, and those that hear the words of this History collected out of the Oracles of God, observe exactly what followed hereupon; for what­soever things were written aforetime (either Prophetically or Historically concerning Kings, and their Arbitrary power, concerning Taxe and Tribute-money, as well as other matters) were written for our learning, that wee through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. And indeed I write in hope, and not in despair; as he that soweth, soweth in hope that some good fruit will follow, though divers sharp storms may inter­vene.

At the first entrance to this New Honor, Saul beha­ved himself, as if Samuels words would want a verifica­tion. Good Man! He could not bee found, hee had hid himself among the stuff 1 Sam. 10.21; he had rather have lived in a Cottage all dayes of his life, (people might think by this symptome of Self-denial) than live in a Royal Pa­lace, and be attended and honoured like a King.

Besides, there was no probability hee would ever op­presse the people, by taking their Vineyards, &c. from them: For whereas some brought no presents to their New King, as did others, but despised him, saying, How shall this man save us? Hee held his peace 1 Sam. 10.27. [...] LXX. Plane conticuit, Tre. fuit, ut ob­mutescens., he passed it by, as if hee did not understand any thing of those Mysteries: Hee [Page 20]was altogether unlike a Raiser of Taxes upon his Bre­thren, for he did not care, one would think, for presents: He made a fair shew in the flesh [...]., (being a Member of the Church of God) in matters of Religion and Godli­nesse also. For when one of the dis-affected party, who would not have him to be King, was called for to be put to death, as a Traytor to his new Crown and Dignity, The Ki [...]aid, 1 Sam. 11.12, 13. There shall not a man be put to death this day, for to [...] [...]ord hath wrought salvation in Israel. Did not this Ki [...] [...]peak like a very godly man? Did he speak as if he would be Arbitrarie in his Government, 1 Sam. 9, 7, 21 1 Sam. 10 6.10, 11. cap. 11. v. 13, 15. c. 14.18. & from 34. to 44. and take their goods, as Samuel said, without, and against all Law and Equity? See the Scriptures in the Margin, if you would understand what a Professor Saul was, while yet he was an ordinary private man, and after he came to the ho­nor of Kingship also for a good space of time. But at length, when he was told 1 Sam. 15.23, 26, 28. The Kingdome should be rent from him, and given to his neighbour, that he should Vers 30.lose his honor before the Elders and the People, then he begun to ap­pear in his proper colours.

First, Samuel, that had been so instrumental to set him up, was fearful his Tyranny would break forth against him to his destruction, and slaying is worse than taxing, see 1 Sam. 16.2. If Saul hear it, saith he, that I go to anoint another to be King, he will kill me.

The next apparent Symptome of his Tyranny we find to be against David, these were two of the choisest men in the whole Nation; The young man had no lands, it seems, for he calls himself a poor man, 1 Sam. 18.23. but Saul finds out a way of taxing him at an hundred fore­skins of the Philistims A strange Taxe laid up­on David by K. Saul., but his end was to get his life, ne­verthelesse David payes his Tax, and saves his own life, the Lord being with him in that desperate Design, he brings two hundred Fore-skins, and they gave them in full tale (like so much money told out) unto the King, That Tare levied, and paid by David. vers. 27.

Moreover, The Spirit of God makes it plain, that Samuel was a true Prophet concerning the point in hand; [Page 21]for in the 1 Sam. 22.7. he makes this speech, Will the son of Jesse give you every one Fields and Vineyards? &c. Where I gather, Saul could do it, namely at this time. In­deed time was, when he could not speak at that rate, but now being King and Sovereign Ruler, he could send for any mans estate, in part or in whole, as the Prophet said; He could by his private Council vote men Traytors, as he did; and he that makes no conscience of takin [...] mens lives for pretended Treason, will make as lit [...] aking away their estates: And so he might quickly [...] [...]ields and Vineyards good store (though not well gotten) to give his Eunuchs and servants that knew well how to please his humor, and serve his lusts.

Thus he dealt with the Priests, Hee slew at once by a verbal order, Saul slayes the Priests of the Lord, as Traytors, by a verbal order. Here were Vineyards for him, to give his Court Pa­rasites. and Doegs hand, eighty five persons that did wear a linnen Ephod; and what was the pretended crime? Oh they were Traytors, for they conspired against me, saith Saul, and their hand is with David, they gave him bread and a sword, and inquired of God for him, and did not come and tell him, who was their King, &c. Having destroyed the City, and the inhabitants, men, wo­men, and children, here were rewards, and gratuities for his Courtiers. This was a quicker way than levying of Taxes.

So he dealt with the Gibeonites, The Gibeo­nites slain by Saul, what be­came of their estates? Kings as well as the Judges were to go­vern accord­ing to the Law of God. See Deut. 17.18 19, 20. 2 Sam. 21.1. He slew them, no question they had some substance, and to whom did it belong but the King? Now the Judges while they were the Higher Powers in the Nation, under God, did not use to take away the lives and estates of their bre­thren arbitrarily as Kings did, but observed the Letter, and the Equity of the Law, and there is no Law that I can find for taxing their brethren with a monthly Asses­ment, or otherwise.

I have been the larger upon this, to the end you may see, when a single person Reigns and Rules in the PORT, POMP, and POWER of an ABSOLƲTE KING (de­stroying old Laws, and making new at his pleasure, per­mitting such Laws to continue in force, which do not [Page 22]so neerly reflect upon his Interest, but suppressing all others) there is more danger to a free people from him, than from those who are circumscribed by the Law, and have no Army at command to stand by them in case they should mis-govern at any time.

Thus you have seen, as in a glasse of Chrystal, That they who set up the PROFITABLE TRADE OF KING-CRAFT, WITH MEN OF WAR TO PROTECT THEM, (for Saul was General, as well as King) [...]y, in a short time (if they follow their Leader Saul, the first Monarch over the Church and people of God) become very rich in Silver and Gold, and other substance, from the Confiscations and Impositions, &c. which by their Prerogative Royal they lay upon the people.

I shall passe over Davids times briefly, because he being a man after Gods own heart, [...], Act. 13.22. and generally desiring to fulfill all his wills (and not his own) was by grace pre­vented, and restrained from those outrages which his Pre­decessor was guilty of.

The matter of Ʋriah is excepted indeed, when all his other mis-carriages were buried by an act of ob­livion from the Great Jehovah, as you find it, 1 King. 15.5.

Neverthelesse, for our learning, as to the point in hand, he took away Mephibosheths lands 2 Sam. 16. begin. zibah the Court Pa­rasite flatte­reth David into an unworthy and unjust proceeding against inno­cent Mephibo­sheth., without hear­ing the Accused, and the Accuser, face to face. And cer­tainly, if he did such an act of injustice in the time of his streights, he might have made many such instances of ta­king away the estates of guiltlesse subjects, if the Lord had not kept him from such oppression.

A single Person (though a Saint) in the exercise of highest Power, will certainly act the part of a wicked Ty­rant, if he hearken to wicked Informers, as you find even David did to Zibah; how much more, if he be an Hypo­crite, will he persecute the Righteous, who have de­tected his tyrannical subtle Dissimulations?

In the next place let us examine the Reign of Solomon [Page 23]the wise. His Government also was very heavy herein Solomon laid a Tribute, and a heavy yoke also. 2 Chron. 10.4. 1 King. 12.4., especially in his latter dayes; for all the Congregation of Israel, came to his Son, saying, Thy Father made our yoke grievous, now therefore ease thou somewhat the grievous servitude of thy Father, and his heavy yoke that he put upon us, and we will serve thee.

Its plain, the people accounted themselves oppressed, and wearied with the weight of Solomons Government: It is also cleerly expressed in the Text, that King Solomon, 1 King. 5.13. did raise a levie out of all Israel, and that Adoniram or Ado­ram who was over the Tribute, being sent to quiet the Mutiny, was slain by the people, 1 King. 12.18. inraged against Reho­boam for giving such an answer. All this is past dis­pute.

Quest. But what was that Tribute or Levie, in particular, which occasioned so fatal a Rent of ten Tribes from the house of David on such a sudden?

Ans. So far as I can apprehend for the present, by com­paring things together, it was that Tribute (of men) mentioned, 1 King. 5.13. [...], (the same word in Rom. 13.6, 7.) LXX. it is varied in the Margin, You may find that Solomon was exceedingly addicted to build, and to plant, and he imployed an hundred and fifty thousand men, I suppose the most part of his Reign, to build (besides the house of the Lord, and his own) several Cities for store, Cities for his Chariots, Ci­ties for his Horses, &c. 1 King 9.19. And though they were Tribu­taries, and not of the children of Israel, yet, Vers. 21. being eppressed with constant bond-service (as it is called) Its no marvel though they grew discontent and mutinous. And al­though they having a reverend regard to King Solomon, who first imposed this Tribute or Levie, 1 King 12.16. Rehoboams con­tinuing, and going about to increase their burthen and bondage, fatal to his Court-Interest. would not rise up against him, yet, it appears, they would not indure the Yoke, and the Burthen to be continued upon their Necks and their Backs by his son Rehoboam.

However it was, you see their Oppressions long con­tinued, bred discontent, and that discontent broke out into that which the New King, and his young Privy Counsellors would, no doubt, account and call Rebellion, [Page 24]and no doubt, they would have made a war upon them, rather than have put up so high an affront, if God him­self had not sent a peremptory prohibition by his Pro­phet, to prevent them, 1 King. 12.23, 24.

From the premises, in this Instance of Solomon and his Son, these following Observations may be made.

1 That the most prudent Monarchs are too apt to stretch their power beyond its bounds, and to advance an Assumed Prerogative to the prejudice of the people, in point of Liberty, and comforts otherwise.

2 That all extrajudicial and illegal Impositions, Taxes, Tributes, Levies, and Assesments in any kind whatsoever, do ingender very bad blood in the peoples veines, which produceth dangerous discontents, and distempers in the midst of them.

3 A free people oppressed by violent Imprestings, Im­prisonments, Confiscations, and any Arbitrary practices, though managed by the wisest States-men, will watch a convenient season to obtain a just remedy, or throw their Riders.

Issachar was compared to a strong Asse, couching down between two burthens, Gen. 49.14. Issachar is compared to an Asse, for becoming a servant unto Tribute. 1 Chron. 12.32.he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant, and bowed his shoulder to bear, and he became a servant unto Tribute.

But afterward the men of Issachar (the Asse was now become a man) had understanding of the times to know what Israel ought to do, the heads of them were two hundred, and all their brethren were at their Commandement.

The Tribe which was most oppressed, could tell when it was the best season to relinquish the house of Saul, and to set up David to be King; And no question, those of Gods people now, who beside the burden which is laid upon them in common with their neighbours, are under bondage otherwise for conscience sake, who are called and looked upon as Fools, will have understanding given them to cry Hosanna to the Son of David, when their Brethren that hated them, and cast them out for his names sake, shall bee ashamed, and secretly wish, [Page 25]that the Son of David would delay his coming; but this by the way.

The next King which I shall mention after Solomon and his Son, is Asa, he also oppressed the people, Asa a good man in the main, but a bad king, in that he im­prisoneth the Lords Pro­phets, and op­presseth the people. 2 Chron. 16. from vers. 2. to 10. though a godly man; he had taken treasures out of the house of the Lord, and out of the Kings house, both silver and gold, and sent it to Benhadad King of Syria, to help him against Israel.

Hanani, the Seer, makes bold to meddle with these mat­ters of State, reproves and threatens the King from the Lord, for his sin, and his folly; The King was wroth with the Seer, and, being in a rage, put him in prison, and having made the SEER fast enough, that he might not OVERSEE HIS STATE-AFFAIRS, he oppressed the people at the same time. What this Oppression was, is not expressed; but to me it appears, by the Context, and other circumstances, that hee got this money (which hee issued out of his Exchequer to bribe Benbadad) from the people, afterward, by a Levie or a Tax; for Kings, and such like creatures, who are supreme Lords, do not use to be so kind-hearted, as to pay a great rate for the publick peace, with their own money, and the people never hear of the bargain, before, nor after; surely they have other uses for the treasures of the Kings house, if they have either Son or Daughter, or their own kindred to shew kindnesse to.

But if this Instance have some darknesse in it as to this point, sure I am it is beyond all controversie, Menahem a Raiser of Taxes. that the condition of the people under Menahem, was very sad, in reference to this point of Oppression, and of Taxes by name 2 King. 15. from vers. 16. to 22. A sad story. Menahem, a cruel Usurper.. This Menahem smote Shallum, and slew him, and Reigned in his stead (what this Shallum was, you may see in the Text) Now because a certain City, called Tipbsab opened not to him, therefore he smote it, and all the women which were with child he ript up; Oh horrible Tyranny! He was resolved to be a Monarch, right, or wrong, and woful was the calamity of that City which refused TO PROCLAIM HIS SWORD-TITLE, for [Page 26]other Title he had none. This example affrighted other Cities, and, poor Wretches! they had bettet yeeld, than resist a bold and resolute Ʋsurper.

But how did he get the Kingdome confirmed? Menthem buy­eth the confir­mation of the Kingdom, and causeth the people to pay for his pur­chase. The rich men taxed, the poor spared, by Menahem. He gave a Bribe of a Thousand Talents of silver to Pul King of Assyria, that his hand might be with him to confirm the King­dome in his hand; But who must pay for all at last? the Holy Ghost will have us to know, That also, Menahem EXACTED THE MONEY of Israel, even of all the mighty men of wealth, of each man fifty shekels of silver. So the King of Assyria (the head Landlord it seems) took a good round fine, and went away; but it is worth our ob­servation, That he exacted the Tribute-money of the rich men, who could spare it out of their superfluity. Truly he was a good natured Tyrant to the poor, if he spared them out of pity and tendernesse; I wish it were a custome in this Nation.

We have yet a more distinct account of this raising of Taxes; you shall find it recorded in the 2 King. 23.35. Pharach-Nechoh put the land to a Tribute of an hundred talents of silver, and a talent of gold; and having left Eliakim, whom he had made King, and called him Jehoia­kim; Jehoiakim a Raiser of Taxes. 2 King. 23.34, 35. he taxed the land to give the money according to the com­mandement of Pharach; he the said King, exacted, saith the Text, the silver and the gold of the people of the land, of every one according to his Taxation.

Thus you have the original and progresse of this con­stant Companion of Kingship hitherto, in the story of the Kings and Chronicles; but if you look narrowly into the Prophets, The writings of the Pro­phers do con­firm this Hi­story of Taxes Nebuchadnez­zar the head of gold, yet a heavie oppres­for of the Jews you will find these truths abundantly con­firmed, insomuch that the people had cause to cry out in that day mentioned by Samuel, in 1 Sam. 8.18. because of their King which they had chosen them, and be­cause the Lord (as he told them) would not hear them in that day.

But now, as for the four Monarchies, under all which they were in bondage, I shall give but short hints of their sufferings in this matter, because I [Page 27]would not bee tedious to the Reader.

I begin with the first verse of the Lamentations of Jer. Lam. 1.1. & 5. v. 2. & 4. saith that Affectionate Prophet, She that was great among the Nations, and Princess among the Provinces, how is she be­come TIBUTARY? And in the fifth Chanter, Our inhe­ritance is turned to Srangers, our houses to Aliens, we have drunken our water for money, and our wood is sold unto us; For men of profligate lives, and such as were Traytors to their Country, and to the Cause of God in their day, to be punished according to their demerits, and according to Law and Equity, is not unrighteous; but for the choisest people to be worse dealt with, and more op­pressed than their wicked neighbours, this is heavy, and yet this was the condition of the Prophets, The Kings & Princes of Ju­dah oppressed & broken with burdens and bondage, after they had op­pressed their subjects. and most eminent beleevers, under their Kings for the most part, till at length, for their abusing the Prophets, and op­pressing the people, especially those who were quiet in the land, the Kings, and the Princes, and the Judges, and the men of War, were carried into Captivity, and oppressed, and put under the yoke of the King of Babylon; She that was Princess among the Provinces became TRIBU­TARY. This for the first Monarchy.

That bondage and burthen of Taxes and Tributes under the Persian Monarchy, The people of God under Taxes and Tribute, by the Perfian Monarchie. is notably expressed by the Levites, in the ninth of Nehemiah, the two last verses, and is much like the case of some Saints come lately out of Babylon at this day; Behold, say they to the Lord, We are servants this day, and for the Land that thou gavest unto our Fa­thers, to eat the fruit thereof, and the good thereof, behold we are servants in it, and it yeeldeth much increase unto the Kings whom thou hast set over us because of our sins,The Grecian Monarchie a Raiser of Taxes, he who is call [...]d by that name, did belong to this Empire, Dan. 11.20.also they have DOMI­NION OVER OUR BODIES, AND OVER OUR CATTEL AT THEIR PLEASURE, and we are in great distresse.

The Grecian Monarchy also had power over the Jews, Alexander, when he besieged Tyrus, sent for that tribute to Jaddus the High-Priest, that they had paid to Darius, but Jaddus sent an answer that he was sworn to Darius, [Page 28]and while he was alive, he must not break his faith; but afterward (that the word of the Lord might be fulfilled in Zech. Zech. 9.8. Alexander sendeth for a Taxe, but, though denied forbears vio­lence. Joseph. Ant. lib. 11. cap. ult. 9. saying, I will incamp about my house, because of the Army, because of him that passeth by (meaning Alexander the Great, and his Army towards Egypt) and because of him that returneth (meaning the same Alexander, returning that way after the Conquest of Egypt) I say, because of this word, Alexander did not offer violence to Jerusalem, as he threatned, when his demands to Jaddus were not answer­ed, but came to an agreement about Tribute, and yeelded to Jaddus his request, that the Taxes might be forborn every seventh year, because, by their Laws, The land must rest every seventh year Lev. 25.7. first verses., & not be sowed; but although this Monarch was favourable to the Jews in point of Tribute, or other burthens, for he, as Histories mention, was well affected to the Nation of the Jews, yet his successors, especially some of them, were most cruel Tyrants, and Task-masters; but I shall not insist longer in this of the third, or Gre­cian Monarchy.

But as for the fourth Kingdom, The fourth Monarchy taxeth all the world, and the Jews in parti­cular, recorded Luke 2.1, 2, 3. or Roman power, they the Jews, have abundantly drunk of this cup of Bitter­nesse under them, for as their sufferings were greater, so they were likewise of longer continuance, and they are not delivered to this day.

The Lord Jesus was born at that time when all the world was to be Taxed by the Decree [...].of the Roman Empe­ror, so that as he was under the Law of Moses, in one respect, so in another, he was under the power of the fourth Beast: And afterward, he paid Tribute to the Romans Officers, though he intimated the children were free Mat. 17.25, 26, 27.; The people of the Jews were so desirous of freedome from the Roman bondage, every way, that they sufficiently signified it seve­ral wayes, Publicans and Harlots, Pub­licans and sin­ners, a very frequent phrase among the Jews. they were ready to rise and follow any one almost of their Nation, who would pretend to be a De­liverer, and a Saviour of them from the Romans, and to signifie their discontentednesse at their Taxations and Op­pressions, they ranked the Publicans with Harlots, and such grosse sinners.

But now Consder, Christ and his Apostles taught the Disciples and Christians to pay Tribute and Custom Matth. 17.27. Rom 13.6, 7.quietly, patiently to indure those Burthens, and worse than those, of spoiling their goods, because they knew that this fourth Beast was by the appointment of God to be dreadful and ter­rible, and strong exceedingly. God had ordained it to have great iron teeth, to devour and break in peeces, and to stamp the residue or remnant with the feet of it; They gave them no incouragement or countenance in the least to resist this exceeding dreadful Beast, by abusing, beating, or otherwise rising up against it, or the Officers which were imployed by it, as sometimes they had opportunity, as well as the Jews, to make some opposition, if Christ had given liberty.

And on the other side, when ever the Jews did make head against the Romans, as they did to the uttermost, and to the very last man, as it were, many times, yet they alwaies found the issue was sad and unprosperous altoge­ther, they could not possibly shake off that yoak of bon­dage, which the Lord had determined to yoak all Nati­ons with, as those who are versed in Prophecy and Hi­story in any competent measure, do well know.

Thus the Saints and best Christians did exercise Faith and Patience (they are often put together in reference to this point that I am treating of) for the first 300 years af­ter Christ, they did bear very heavy burthens, spoiling of their Goods, Houses, Lands, Lives, all went, under the Hea­then Romans, being still the Higher Powers in all the ha­bitable world.

Then Constantine the Great, being a Christian, Constantine gave a little reviving to the Christi­ans in their bondage. there was a lucid interval for a season; the Saints had rest from persecution, and from other hard bondage in the Mines, and other miserable conditions which they had indured, but whether from Taxes and Tributes, that I shall not insist upon, for I hasten; I beleeve the Christians generally, paid their Rates and Proportions with other people, towards the support and maintenance of the Majesty of the Roman Name and Empire.

The Arian persecution I will pass over, and come down towards these daies, these wonderful daies wherein we live.

What beavy Taxes and Impositions the Kings of the Earth, The Whore of Babylon, the Beast which catrieth her, & the ten horns in Rev. 17.7, 12, 13, 14. and the Whore of Babylon, agreed together to lay upon the people, though never so good Catholicks, is known by the Histories and Annals of the several Kingdoms and States, under the jurisdiction of the Sea of Rome; and the Lords people, you may be sure, could not escape the common calamity, where Kingship prevails; nay, it had been as much as they could have wished in this world in that matter, if they might have born the common burthens of the inslaved people, and no more; but they were singled out from their Neighbors, and set apart as a But, for the Pope and Popish Princes to spend their Arrows upon, in a more especial manner: Read the History of the Waldenses and Albigenses, it is worthy serious perusal at this time.

Our Ancestors indeed struggled hard for Magna Char­ta Magna Char­ta in many parts is made waste paper by the Souldiers now., in time of popery, as much for freedom from Court-tyranny, I think, as any Nation we read of, yet histories are plain, that there were grievous burthens laid upon the people, partly by the Pope, for the mainte­nance of the Universal Bishop, and partly by the Court (the interest whereof, was alwaies, and ever will be, an interest cross to that of the people, especially of Gods peo­ple) but it was best for the people, when their Kings and the Court of Rome were at the greatest distance.

At length, K. Hen. 8 depo­sed the Pope from his Head­ship in England and made him­self Head of the Church, & taxed the peo­ple, the Par­sons and Vicats &c. in the Popes stead. through the wonderful providence of God (upon what account I will not here mention) K. Henry 8. east off the Pope, and so destroyed his Game, which had been so gainful for so many ages, I mean the winning of so many Peter-pence, Annates, money for polls, and other trinkets, &c. but the King would needs be head of the Church in the Popes stead, and so by his Court of Aug­mentations inriched himself with those Revenues which belonged to the Monastries, and the Pope, yet this was little ease to the people, for what a Tyrant this King also [Page 31]was to his Subjects, especially to the best of the Saints, the scourge with six Coards (as I remember it was called) and Sir Walter Rawleigh in his Preface to the History of the world, will well inform us. Q. Mary op­pressed the Saints with fire & fagot. Q Eliz. a mo­derate higher Power, yet the people of God (under the name of Puri­tan) under great bondage. His Daughter Mary also sacrificed the lives of the choycest Saints, for the service of that Beast, But I hasten.

Indeed, his Daughter Queen Elizabeth, who being more in good earnest for the best cause then in the world (called the Interest of the Protestants) against the House of Austria, and the Catholique Popish league in France, governed the Nation more honorably, and was a better Higher Power, than any I read of before or since, in the Catalogue of Monarchs (King Edw. 6. died in his non­age) and yet it is well known what havock was made of the Nonconformists, under the notion of Puritans, in her time; how were they oppressed and persecuted by the Pre­lates? and what Burthens and Impositions, what Costs and Charges they were put to in respect of their non-com­pliance with the Ceremonies, is remembred to this day, the lives of some of the choycest Saints were taken away for bearing testimony for the Lord Jesus, against the Lords spiritual (as the Prelates were called) and their abomi­nations, and other abuses in the Court.

Thus you see how the Disciples indured a very heavy yoke of bondage, even in that period of time, when the fourth Beast was most tame and most gentle, namely, in Q. Eliz. time and reign.

Before I pass from this Point, The two Sco­tish Kings lay heavy yoaks upon the Saints K. James a soat oppressor of the Nonconfor­mists. I must give a short re­membrance of the two Scotish Kings and their Govern­ment. Not long after King James came to the English Throne; ther were suspended, silenced, deprived, turned out of house and harbor, &c. almost two hundred of the choy­cest Preachers throughout the Nation, men of the best Gifts, eminent for Godliness, sound in the Faith, most succesful in the Ministry, and why was the condition of these precious ones so much worse than that of their Brethren? because they would not worship the Beast; because they could not subscribe to the Ceremonies of [Page 22]the Church of England, &c. therefore they must be im­poverished, by Fines, Attendance, Fees, Mulcts, and Penal­ties, Besides the common bur­then of the Na­tion in point of Taxes, the Saints help to maintain their Brethren, the Preachers, who were silenced, and put out of all. which they were oppressed with: This undoing of many Families, occasioned the godly people to distri­bute to their necessities; some of my Kindred, to my knowledge, have given, several of them, yearly allow­ances for twenty or thirty years together, after the King and Bishops had taken away their livelihood, for non­conformity: It is incredible to the young generation of Disciples, what the best sort of Saints have suffered since the tenth year of Queen Elizabeth: And though I am not of that age as to remember any publique Transactions in the reign of this first Scotish King, yet by History, by Books of another nature, by converse with antient intelligent Professors, I do so well understand the heavy Oppressions and Persecutions of the best peo­ple in the Nation, that I do judge, and publiquely de­clare, it were a very noble enterpize to collect a faithful history of the sufferings of the servants of God, for testi­fying against the Beast and the false Prophet, so boldly, so constantly, and so successfully this last hundred years, or since the tenth year of the Queen aforesaid.

However, when the Judge of the quick and the dead shall ingage in this work, 1 Cor. 4.5. of bringing to light the hidden works of darkness; and of revealing all the plots of the Kings and Prelates, for the crushing and suppressing of the truth, and those Saints that owned it, the admiration will be unspeakable; Oh what a cloud of witnesses will then appear with Christ in glory, who in the world have been o­ver-clouded with shame and most infamous reproach, Col. 3.4. with all disgrace imaginable. But whether am I carried? excuse this sudden digression; K. Charls an unreasonable raiser of taxes. and observe with me, that Charles his Son, who reigned in his stead, walked in the waies of his Fore-fathers, and how far he went beyond his Predecessors in imposing illegal Burthens upon the peo­ple, I leave to Lawyers are acquainted, with his pro­jects to get mony from the people. Lawyers to compute, who are more ver­sed in those Affairs.

But I know that it was a sad time with the most zea­lous, [Page 33]heavenly Christians, with the most eminent prea­chers and Professors, Will. Laud a great persecu­tor and oppres­sor of the Saints by fines, impri­sonment, visita­tions, &c. the persecution was so hot under William Laud, both when he was Lord Bishop of London, and afterwards of Canterbury, that thousands of good people did transport themselves to strange remote Countries, some fled to neighbor Nations, to get out of his reach, this was great oppression; as for those that staid behind, they hid themselves in corners, were put to great cost and charges upon the account of their non-conformity, besides what burthens were laid upon their shoulders in common with other people, they were taxed, fined, sequestred, and squeezed, by the Prelates Court [...] and Officers, most unreasonably: How many turned out of doors for not reading the Book of Sports, allowed upon the first day of the week? Yea, the very visiting, and speaking, or shewing any kindness or countenance to Mr. Burton, Mr. Prin, and Dr. Bastick as they journied into ba­nishment, through the Countries, cost many precious souls very dear, as will appear in fulness of time to all the world.

After this, The Classical Directory, the common Prayer books successor cost the Nation a great sum. a costly Common Prayer for Scotland was formed and imposed, seconded with a great Army, which, and all the illegal Taxations before, as for Knight­hood at the beginning of his Government, the Isle of Ree. Ship-money, &c. had made the very common, carnal peo­ple, to see the English Government inclining to the French Garb, where the Taxes are endless, easeless, and remediless, as the poor Peasants may well com­pute.

Thus, I have drawn this line of the HISTORY OF TAXES AND TRIBU [...]ES, of ARBITRARY LE­VIES AND IMPOSITIONS, through so many ages, tracing this hateful monster from its cradle, in Souls time (who was the first Monarch over the people of God) to its old age; for indeed, Christians, it waxeth old, and is ready to vanish away. Wait but a while, you shall hear more. But to finish this discourse, I have, you see, brought you down to the beginning of the Scotish Troubles, which [Page 34]being a day of small things, The Scotish opposition to the Prelates and their trin­kets, a door of hope opened to the oppres­sed Saints. was ready to be despised, as not having any great birth in the womb of it. When the Scotish woman threw her stool at the Priests head in the chief Church, as they call it, at Edenburgh, as he was reading the Mass-book over her head in the Scotish lan­guage, and a tumult followed thereupon, I hearing of it, was very much affected with it, and found my Spirit mightily raised to expect great things. I looked on it as the first great turn of the Tide, whereby we were carri­ed so fast toward the Sea of Rome, and that was the first occasion of my looking into the Revelation, and the Pro­phet Daniel.

Whereupon I saw plainly the Lord was resolved to turn back the captivity of his people, The Parlament will not levy a Tax to make war with Scotland. especially when the short Parlament refused to tax the Nation for the maintenance of the war with the good people of Scotland; that As­sembly being dissolved by the Kings Prerogative, he was constrained much against his mind to summon another Parlament, in the same year; the most High over-ruled him, brought him into inextricable labirynths, all the policy of his States-men could not prevent the approach­ing Decrees of the King of Kings.

Whereupon the God of Heaven being with them for Judgement and Justice, Illegal Taxati­ons, damned in ful Parlament. all Arbitrary Courts, all ille­gal Taxations, were damned in full Parlament. This was a year of Jubilee to the poor oppressed Sectaries, and Non-conformists. It is a year to be remembred with gladness and great joy. Light breaks forth, the bon­dage upon the Saints is gradually taken off. We took them captives, whose captives we were; we rewarded them as they had rewarded us; we ruled over our op­pressors.

The spirit of Antichrist in the Prelates and their Facti­on, in Court, City, and Country, cannot indure to hear of, and see the liberty of the true Israelties, the return of the banished, imprisoned ones: the downfal of their Diana inraged them, the Beast also began to roar in the sense of this deadly blow.

But the Spirit of Christ riseth higher and higher in his Servants, being incouraged by the high Court of Parla­ment, whose Office it was to take an account of the grievances and oppressions which had made the people full of discontent against the waies of the Court, especi­ally against the Prelates.

At length they take part with one Higher Power, The persecuted Puritans joyn with the Parla­ment against the interest of the Court, that house of Bon­dage and Taxes be­ing lawfully called thereto, against the other Higher Power, who had so crushed them by Prerogative, and Arbitrary proceedings, as was well known to millions. Generally, the persecuted Christians, and all the Puri­tans, joyned with the Parlament, for Christ and his inte­rest, so far as they knew it against the King and his Pre­lates; for they well understood that the Court interest, and that of the Lords spiritual (as they were then called) was opposite to the Lord Jesus and his affairs.

Hereupon the one Power and the other call for help every way, first by way of Benevolence, Taxes levied to destroy the old Taxes Cla­vum clavo. and free Con­tribution, afterward by Taxes and Excise, I dare say for them, who saw the wheel in the middest of the wheel Ezek. 1.16. & 10.10., so long as we perceived the Work of the Lord promoted, they might call for any thing almost and have it; a free will Offering they had of Gold, Silver, Jewels, Servants, Sons, Husbands, for the Lord had stirred up the Spirit of his people in the Land exceedingly, and they came in singleness of heart to serve the Lord Christ, and to do work in his house Hag. 1.14., in the removing of Rubbish and other obstacles which were laid in the way by the Man of sin, others had other ends in going on this warfare, as afterward did frequently appear.

Thus at the beginning, we were ready to part with a great part of our livelihood, for the compleat recovery of our Liberties, and that we might see written venge­ance executed Ps, 149.9. Jer. 50.28., even the vengeance of the Lords Temple, &c. and the cause of Christ carried on, and prospering against Antichrist and the Fourth Monarchy.

But when we saw that the first Army was debauched by means of many mercenary Sword-men, The first Ar­my not fit in­struments to destroy Ty­ranny. and Souldiers of For­tune, and by the prevarication of the Nobility and great [Page 36]men of the Nation, we knew the Work of the Lord would not prosper in their hands; thereupon, it may easily be conceived, we began to pay our Tribute or Tax­money very unwillingly, the Taxes and Contributions lay exceeding heavy, and no work done: We complained to our friends in power, we sought and besought the Lord, that wee might not be carried back again to Egypt, but forward towards perfection in this cause. The Lord was intreated of his praying people, The new Mo­del formed & used by God to renew the work begun for the good of the Saints. and gave them the NEW MODEL, formed contrary to principles of State-policy; but it being of God, and we finding that his Ser­vants would serve him, Rev. 22:3. and not themselves, we paid our Taxes freely again, I mean, the people of Christ who were made willing in the day of his power (or Armies, as some read it) Psal. 110.3. the understanding sort of belee­vers, who knew what England ought to do (though those of the Scotish way and spirit were very opposite) did freely lay out themselves for their encouragement, as foreseeing what would follow upon the taking away of Monarchi­cal Tyranny, or Tyrannical Monarchy, as afterwards it came to pass.

And whereas it may be accounted as heavy a bondage to be taxed by Aristocratical Soveraignty, The Remnant who did cleave to the work, willing to be taxed, and to charge them­selves for their Brethren in Arms as by Kingly Power, I say no, not so in this case, for we were satisfied that this charging of our selves, as the Scripture speaks, Nehem. 10.32. was for the pulling down of that Power, which hath it as an essential property, entring into the very constitution of it, to oppress the people, when there is no need of Impositions and Taxations.

But to go on, Great affecti­on to the new model abound­ing in the work of the Lord. THIS ARMY THƲS MODELD, had the Prayers, Faith, Affections, Purses, and other as­sistance, of as knowing and heavenly Christians, as I be­leeve were in the world; they looked on them, as their dear Brethren (when others despised them, and wished no good unto them) they preferred them before them­selves, esteemed them above all the Armies that had been before them in any age since Christs time; Taxes were not Taxes, Burthens were not Burthens, great payments [Page 37]were light matters, every three or six months, when others paid their proportions out of Fear, THIS REMNANT parted with their estates in Love, we did not complain as others; For all this while they behaved themselves like very choice Instruments in the Lords hand: Oh the honourable mention made of them be­fore the Lord! the Saints Bucklers, under God, against Tyranny; our Protectors, and Defenders, as an Army against our sworn enemies, friends of Christ, and his Interest, they appeared most notably resolved to cleave to the work of the Lord against Babylon, so far as we could perceive, we verily thought with our selves, by their prayers, speeches, and discourses, their Declarati­ons, Promises, Appeals to God, &c. That it had been al­most impossible they should ever prevaricate with the Lord, and his people.

Hereupon, I say, it was plainly seen, how some people carried themselves, and how differently from others, we gave not grudgingly, or out of necessity 2 Cor 9.7. [...], Not with grief and sorrow, because we must part with it., but cheerfully, that they might, as from their brethren, be incouraged to pro­ceed as they had begun.

Thus it continued while Worcester Victory, and a good space after, because we hoped, after they had rested, and secured their spoyls and arrears, &c. we should find them rouze up again, wherefore the Lambs followers continued their payments with a good will, I can speak for my self, and I beleeve many others did so; for when the Parlia­ment grew sluggish, and carelesse of the work of Christ, now their own turn was served, we had ground to be­leeve that those who had seen the wonders of the Lord in so many Battels, Sieges, Victories, would not have gi­ven over so glorious a work, and service for Christ against the man of sin, and his Adherents, and for which they had been so well recompenced both by God and man. The new Mo­del decline in zeal to the Cause of Christ, and his people.

But, DALILAH DECEIVED SAMPSON. And the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, and the pride, have caused the mighty men of War to fall. If they had [Page 38]dealt fairly with their faithful Brethren, and told us the truth, namely, That the Lord was not with them as in times past; if they had ingenuously confessed, that though they had overcome the men of the world, yet the world bad overcome them (as we saw plainly, some of us, it had) if they had let us understand from themselves (that which we feared would afterwards appear) that they would deliver us no further, that they could not advance one step further against the scarlet Whore, and the Kings of the earth who commit fornication with her, that they were not spirited to follow the Lamb any further, because they had gotten Farms, and Palaces, and Parks, which they must look after, and fall to building and planting, &c. as in the dayes of Noah, and as it will be before the com­ing of the Son of Man; I say, If they had freely opened their bosomes to us, in these matters, as some of them­selves must now needs say, there was cause they should. It is very probable, we should have dealt with them in an honest Christian way, and have perswaded them, to have given incouragement to their Brethren, whose hearts God had made willing to proceed in that glorious Warfare, which they had thus far, and thus happily be­gun and carried on. The new Mo­del had warm cloaths appli­ed to keep life and heat in them.

And indeed, some few of us did follow them with warm cloaths to get heat into them, and to quicken them to the work of God, and further told the chiefest of them, though there was a withdrawing in some, yet others were resolved to promote this honourable Design against the kingdom of the Beast; Some brethren in danger for pressing for­ward the work. but being betrayed by some of our own number, we were, we perceived, taken in a snare, to the danger of some of our lives, if the Lord had not prevented. But for them to decline in their affections to this noble Cause more and more, The new Mo­del pull down what they had built, and build again the things they had destroyed. to lose ground every day, and yet to keep the Sword in their hands; nay to exact the full sum of the Taxations as for­merly, and yet to suffer the Enterprise to slide back in­sensibly into the same, or a worse condition than before; Nay, more than this, for the NEW MODEL to build [Page 39]again the same things they had destroyed, for the famous Commanders in that new Model, to set up old M [...] ­narchy under a strange notion, and uncouth Title, The new Mo­del sets up old Monarchy in a new disguise, and persecere those who will not fall down and worship the Image which they have set up, contrary to their own ingagements. against the very appearance whereof they had so fre­quently, and so solemnly ingaged and declared: And yet further, to command us also, who were their firm friends and brethren in all their streights, to shut our eyes, and beleeve as the Court beleeves, upon pain of imprisonment; and if we put them in mind of their Apostacy, of their deceiving the Saints, and mocking of Christ, presently to say, Take him Jailor; Oh, this is not to render to the Lord according to the benefit done unto them; this is not to recompence their brethren according to the kindness they have ever been ready to shew unto them.

So that truly, The little rem­nant unwilling to be charged again, as in time of the first Army, because all things go backward. upon consideration of that which went before, I must needs say, I cannot so freely pay Taxes, and give them wages now as formerly, when they minded, or pretended to mind the things of Jesus Christ, the liberty of the Saints, and the calling of that bloody City, that cruel City, to an account for all those massacres, mur­thers, and slaughters, and other cruel usage of our fore­fathers, and of the present generation of Saints, now suffering exceedingly at home and abroad by her Para­mors, and Lovers, the Kings & other Tyrants of the earth, and I am confident many Saints are unwilling of; Never­thelesse, Yet rather than resist, they do still part with their estates, though not so freely as formerly. to deal plainly with all men that shal read or hear these things, My Principles, and that light which I have received from the good word of God, did cause me to surrender and give up my body, and my goods without resistance, yea I have paid heavy Taxes during this my unjust imprisonment, also, even as when I was at liberty; and let the powers proceed to oppresse me, as far as my heavenly Father pleaseth, I rejoyce I have any thing to suffer the losse of, in so excellent and honourable a Cause as this is, wherein with my Fellow-sufferers, I am imbarked.

But having treated thus largely from the word of God, and from Authentick Histories (which are excellent In­terpreters [Page 40]of Prophecies) concerning these troublesome In­mates, which have gotten into our houses and bowels, which sit upon our skirts so constantly at every turn of Government, and though we should speak them never so fair, they will not depart, till they are forced out; by Judges as at the first, and by Councellors as at the begin­ning. Quest. Moreover having also declared my practise in paying Taxes, and suffering imprisonment without resistance; It may be asked of me by some knowing Saints, What are the particular grounds and reasons of your practice in this par­ticular?

Ans. The reason of paying tribute without resi­stance. The return I give to such a Question, is this, ac­cording to the Apostle, I AM SƲBJECT TO THE POWERS IN BEING, BECAƲSE I MƲST NEEDS BE SƲBJECT, PARTLY FOR WRATH, PARTLY FOR CONSCIENCE SAKE, Rom. 13.5. read, and consider that sentence.

I explain my Answer thus; First,

I am subject for wrath [...]., or because of wrath, that is, the wrath of the fourth Beast, or Roman spirit in the powers; for if I should have resisted, when the Pursevants came to attach my body (for my spirit indeed, blessed be the Lord, was, and is out of theirs, and their Masters reach) their Roman wrath would have shewed it self presently by wounds or bruises, or other outragious violence; now I was not prepared to stand upon my guard, as others have done in the like case, neither did I intend to flee, or make any escape, for I was not afraid, having done no evill for which I should be afraid of the powers.

Now I knowing that there was a power in being, and apprehending that I could not glorifie God better for the present than by suffering, I quietly, and exceeding cheer­fully submitted, and obeyed the Order, in the Authority whereof as to them, they had apprehended me, and went along with the poor creatures without gain-saying. I had a blessed Catalogue of suffering Saints, beside the King of Saints, whose examples were very encouraging, in conjunction with so good a Cause. And thus I was, [Page 41]and am still subject for wraths sake, (as it is translated, or because of wrath) for what single person can stand before the wrath of the Powers of this world? during that time of Domination which is allotted to them, he must needs be subject, or come under their ordering (as the word im­plies) because of wrath; their wraths, not Gods, thus I un­derstand the place.

In the next place, I say I am subject to the Powers in being, because I must needs be subject, NOT ONELY for wraths sake, BƲT ALSO for conscience sake, or because of conscience; that is, as the wrath of violent men have a kind of compulsive power, which will necessitate single persons, or unarmed persons, to yeeld to those who have power, which is a real acknowledgement that they are the Higher Powers, who bear all before them; So in like manner (but in a different way of working) Consci­ence in a godly man, and a knowing Christian, hath a constraining power, which will produce a resignation of our selves up to the will of God, who is Lord of the Conscience, and he perswading me, upon plain grounds in his word, to suffer under the fourth Kingdom, for the service of himself and his Son, I chearfully obey, and for­bear all words and actions of opposition, after the man­ner of men, untill the Dominion be taken away, to con­sume and destroy it utterly, as other Kings and Kingdoms have been destroyed heretofore; And so I acknowledge there are Higher Powers in being, and I finding and feeling it so to be, am subject (because it must be so) not onely for wrath sake, but for Conscience sake also, and as Peter saith, for the Lords sake; 1 Pet. 2.13. [...]. which is a further obligation upon a Chri­stian, to suffer patiently those abuses which are offered to his person, Relations, good Name, Estate, or any thing that is his.

Nevertheless, this I add, That I groan all this while with other oppressed creatures, Rom 8.19, 20, 21, 22, 23. for the manifestation of the glorious liberty of the Sons of God. For certainly the creature being made subject to tyranny, and the cruel lusts of proud men, NOT WILLINGLY, but by reason of him [Page 42]who hath subjected the same in hope, cannot but in the light and power of that Spirit which is in them, cry out in Faith, and earnest expectation, COME LORD JESƲS, COME QƲICKLY; and let all the followers of the Lamb say Amen. And let all the wonderers after the Beast fill up the measure of their Fathers, in reproaching, imprisoning, oppres­sing, and otherwise persecuting the Saints of the most High, and receive that recompence of reward which is meet.

Object. If any shall here object and say, Why did we fight against the King? you your self did [...]ppose him, you preached other Doctrine in those times; and if we must be so subject now, and yeeld to the present Powers without resistance, as you have said and done of late, is not this a contradiction to former Principles and practices? &c.

Answ. All particular persons (of whom I alwaies speak, and it must be remembred) I mean the Saints of the most High, did yeeld subjection to the King; yea, and to the Prelates, actively or passively, without resistance, those who were Non-conformists then to the Antichristian power, as I am now, did suffer patiently and chearful­ly, as Christ left them an example; this was so while the King was the only supreme Power in being, and untill God raised up a Horn of Salvation for them; and then as I said before, the Puritans joyned with Parlamentary Power a­gainst Regal Power exercised contrary to Law and Justice; and I was one of the number, being lawfully called to oppose tyranny, by the authority of the highest Court, and I ne­ver did, nor do repent of that ingagement against that party, &c.

Whereas now there is no visible Powers in being, to re­lieve me, and other oppressed servants of the Lord, it is with us now, as it was under the old Monarchy, there are no Saviors, no Deliverers; our Deliverers are become our Persecutors, Zach. 1.2, or 3, last verses. and there is no power to refist, or oppose, for the spirit of the Horns (as Zacharias calls the persecu­ting Powers) is gotten into the Carpenters, the Carpen­ters are at length metamorphozed into pushing and go­ring Horns.

But when soever God shall provide new Carpenters to fray away these Horns that scatter the true Israel, no question but Israel will be willing to be delivered, and to take them Captives whose Captives they were, and to rule over their oppres­sors, as they did about fourteen years ago.

Obj. 2. But it may be further urged by others, But particular Christians did go to Law with the King, before the Parlament was called, and so opposed him that way, by Arguments drawn from Reason and Justice, as Mr. Hampden, &c. and cannot you go and do thus likewise? namely, wage Law with your Oppressors.

Answ. 1. Most of the Judges were deaf on that ear con­cerning Law and Justice, and were for the Kings Power, and Prerogative, and so carried it for the King, being o­ver-awed; this I have from a good hand: Nevertheless, I honor the memory of those worthy persons, who were willing to spend their Estates, and hazzard all, rather than not to bear testimony against tyranny.

2 If the Sword were not the supreme Power, and if all the Laws were not silenced (or suspended at least) which are against that Sword-interest, It may be some particular persons, whom God should make free, might dare to wage or plead the Law of the Land against their oppreffors, or appeal to the higher Powers (if there were any as high or higher than the sharp power of the Sword) as Paul did from the Jewish Powers unto Augustus; Act. 25.11, 12. But when Caesar, who was the highest Power on earth, did oppress him, whither, or to whom, could Paul appeal, but to Jesus Christ, the Lord of Lords, and King of Kings? and thus it is with me.

Cranmer appealed from the Power in being, which oppressed him, to the next General Council, whch was a Power in some ages had in great veneration, but what good could that do him? the present Power burnt him to ashes, and his Appeal to a future contingent Power dyed with him; yet it was a kind of Testimony against his per­secutors.

And if that be judged to be of any use upon Scripture­ground, I can enter my Appeal to the next higher Pow­ers, [Page 44]which the God of Heaven shall set up in mercy, and love to his poor Remnant, to do us right, and deliver us from our potent persecuters.

But as the case now stands, I am made a Bond-slave, who was born free, and never forfeited my liberty (bles­sed be the Lord, I can speak it before men and devils) by any transgression of mans Laws; yet I have, and do cheerfully, and with great delight, submit to the will of God, in these sufferings, so burthensome to flesh and blood; and I am perswaded, if they should scourge me as the Jews did the Apostles, and as the Prelats did some under the former Monarchs, I should rejoyce to be counted worthy to suffer shame for his name Acts 5. last vers. Gal. 2. last verse., who hath loved me, and given himself for me, the unworthiest worm of all; and if the Lord should permit them to put me to a shameful death, like the death of the Crosse, I am ready; But it is not yet signified to me, by what death I shall glorifie God: Oh, its a sweet life to live free from the fear of death, Joh. 21.19. Heb 2.14, 15, 1 Cor. 15.57. Thanks be to God who giveth us victory through Jesus Christ, to whom be Glory and Dominion for ever, Amen. Hitherto of giving Tribute.

Now as touching the other two particulars, Honor and Fear due to Higher Pow­ers, as Tribute and Custom is due unto them Honour and Fear, which are to be given to the Higher Powers, be­side Tribute and Custome; In a very few words, this I have to say, That I alwayes freely gave honor to whom honor was due.

And in particular, when I was apprehended the first time, namely, about the 21. of the 10. Month, 1653. and brought before the Council, for expounding the Prophecie about the little Horn in Dan. 7. I did obey­sance according to the custome of the Country, or Na­tion in which I live, used towards Superiours, I stood while they sat, and with my head uncovered, the General having his hat on, and this without reluctancy; besides, I freely gave him the honorable Title of a Lord, in discourse with him, as being Captain General of all the Forces; and I suppose this is to own a Higher Power, for those who do not own Government and Superiority among men, do not so behave themselves, as namely the Shakers, as they [Page 45]call them, or any others of those principles; and thus I did to the Committee of the Council, when I was ap­prehended and brought before them this second time; and I do not remember that ever any Powers did challenge me in this matter.

As for Fear, and the rendring of fear to whom fear is due, I am of this perswasion, that if I were guilty in mine own conscience, and before the Lord, of any such grosse wickednesse, as some of the choisest Saints have been overtaken, and overcome withall, and were brought to a legal trial, and convicted by witnesse without, as well convinced by witnesse within, I should be afraid of the Power, but not otherwise; For the Apostle saith, Wilt thou not be afraid of the Power? do that which is good; but if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; so that in this also, I am ready to own any Higher Powers which shall be set up in my dayes, when there is occasion and reason for it; and surely no man can say (at least if his words have the sap and juyce of sense and reason in them) that I ought to fear any power, higher, or lower, unlesse when I have done evill, and this be made known unto me in the light of the righ­teous Law of God. But, though I know nothing by my self, yet I am not thereby justified in the sight of God.

Thus I have (for the Cause sake, which might suffer, if I should have neglected this impudent slander) freely de­clared my former and present principles concerning the Powers in being; But who could have imagined, first, That in saying, I owned the present powers, I had recanted; and submitted, and acknowledged them to be a lawful Authority, and an hundred false rumors, to the grief of my brethren, of the same spirit with me in the present Truth? whereas I never said nor thought otherwise. And who could have imagined secondly, that any one who calls and accounts himself a Christian, would take part of the letter, or a few sentences here and there torn from the rest, and thereupon divulge and shew them as a testimony and proof of such a Report? whereas, to [Page 47]recapitulate all in a word, This is that I will close up this Section with.

1 I acknowledge, there are Higher Powers in being, and every one must grant this, as well as I, and my Fellow­prisoners; for they feel it, I beleeve, though not so effe­ctually as we do.

2 I yeelded my body to be apprehended and carried away, without striving or lifting up my voyce in the streets, when they sent their Messengers with swords (and it may be other weapons about them) to bring me before the Council. And I reckon this to be an owning of the present powers. I never did yeeld thus far to private men, who should come to apprehend me, in my house, or otherwhere; I were bound to stand upon my guard in such a case, as men do every day against Theeves and Robbers, &c.

3 I am subject to them also, for wraths sake partly, and partly for conscience sake, in point of Taxes; I would refist others, who should demand any part of that wherewith the Lord hath blessed me, by inheritance, or otherwise, neverthelesse, I would be very glad to live under a Power that would not be a Raiser of Taxes, and hope to see Judges as at the first, and Counsellors as at the beginning, Isa. 1.26. before I dye.

4 I give honor where it is due, I understanding it to be due; but when persons are not known, how can it bee known what is their due, or what respect belongs unto them? and I conceive this is an owning of Powers like­wise.

5 I am willing also to be afraid of the Powers, if I am found to be an evill doer hereafter, and this made out to me by the word of God.

And what is due to others of the children of men, I desire to give or render to them according as is meet, for I would owe no man any thing but love; and the Lord help, and quicken [...]es all up to love, to love the Lord, and to love all the Saints; yea, the Lord make his people to increase and abound in love one toward another, and towards All Men, as it is written, 1 Thess. 3.12.

Before I pass to the next Section, it seemeth requisite, that somewhat from the Scripture should be spoken con­cerning the time of the end of those Yokes of Bondage, whereby the best people have been oppressed by the Kings of the Earth, from King Saul [...] time unto this day; For it is very probable, that the intelligent Reader doth re­member that I hinted such a poynt in the Introduction to this Historical Epitome of those Burthens whereof I have been speaking,

Quest. Saying, What hope is there of an end of these bur­thens. But when shall the Lords people be a free people? when shall the Oppressor cease? when shall the Extor­tioner be hindred from taking of our Substance? we had thought this New Model would have continued as they begun, to be our Deliverers from Monarchical and other Tyranny; but we have learned, Every man is a lie, and lighter than vanity; Psal. 62 9. and therefore we will no longer relie upon an arm of flesh: What doth God the Lord speak to his people in this matter, &c.

Answ. 1. It is apparent, and plain, [...]. Bu [...]chered or sl [...]ughtered, so the word [...]ig­ [...]ifie [...]h; Jugulo, to cut the throat, as But­chers do with sheep, Rom. 8. [...]7. [...], We are counted as sheep for the slaughter-house. The Roman Empire was like a slaughter house the first 300 years. Ezra 9.8. that as the souls of the Saints, slain in former ages for the Word of God, and for the Testimony which they held, do continue to cry HOW LONG, O LORD, HOLY AND TRƲE? so the living Saints, who also are lively, and sensible of the present persecutions and imprisonments of their Brethren, do Eccho to the voyce of those who have died in the Lord, and for the Lord, HOW LONG, O LORD, HOLY AND TRƲE?

2. But then consider, that as it was with the godly Jews, upon their return from their captivity in Babylon, so it is with us, who but a few years ago came out of Baby­lon in part, and but in part. And Ezra's words will wel ex­press our present state, or at least, as it was some few years since, For a little space, or for a moment, grace hath been shewed us from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to e­scape, and to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eies, and give us a LITTLE REVIVING IN OƲR BONDAGE. For we were Bond-men, yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy [Page 48]unto us in the sight of the Kings of Persia, to give us a RE­VIVING, to set up the house of our God, and to repair the de­solations thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jeru­salem.

Yet afterward, this fair first-fruits of redemption was blasted; for in the first of Nebemiah, a bitter complaint is brought (which may answer our condition likewise) The remnant that are left of the captivity— are in great affliction and reproach, Nehem. 1.3.the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burnt with fire.

Thus you see their little reviving from their bondage, and OƲR LITTLE REVIVING FROM OƲR BON­DAGE, comes afterward to be extinguished; in refe­rence to Church-work, the Temple-work could not go forward, the walls and gates being broken down and burnt with fire; and this is our complaint also. And as for our outward Liberties and Estates, Nehem. 9.37. Nehem. 10.28. The Kings have Do­minion over our Bodies, and over our Cattle, AT THEIR PLEASƲRE, and we are in great distress, as were those Jews at that time. Namely, such as had separated themselves from the people of the Lands, unto the Law of God. Observe that description, they separated themselves, &c. and so let the Disciples of Christ do at this day, unto the LAW OF THEIR GOD ALSO, for this is expected from them by the Lord. The consideration of this NEW UNEX­PECTED TYRANNY, under which we groan, doth cause many poor hearts to fear our deliverance is not near, and the rather they fear it, because the famous NEW MODEL with whom the Lord was so eminent­ly, when they were about his work, are so exceedingly degenerated, that they have espoused the old quarrel, and the old interest, under the ill-favored disguise of ano­ther kind of Kingship; which yet is not another, but the same, in principle, in spirit, and in operation.

Answ. 3. Wherefore do you indeed desire to know whe­ther or no the Lord will shortly turn again the captivity of Sion, Psal. 126.1.4. as the streams in the South? would you in good ear­nest, have skill and understanding in this matter? Then [Page 49]in the next place, take my Brethren, the Prophets for an example, particularly the Prophet Daniel, Dan. 9 2. See 1 Per 1.11. Searching wh [...] or what man­ner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did sig­u fie, when it restified be­fore-hand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Rev. 17.17. who understood by Books, the number of the years, when the desolati­on of Jerusalem (of holy Jerusalem) should have an end; The Teachers of the people are exceedingly to blame, that they do not fore-warn the people to come out of Babylon, and engage against the Kings of the Earth with all their might. But what do I mean to charm the deaf Adder? it is not for their interest, to discover the nakedn [...]ss of the searlet Whore, much less to exhort the people to strip her naked, and make her desolate, that she and her lovers, the ten Horns, or Kings, may no longer oppress the people, to maintain them in their c [...]stly trade of fornication, each with other; but more of this hereafter.

But because those Truths which concern the time of the end, in Daniel and the Revelation, cannot be so well un­derstood by the Saints who are unskilfull in that part of the word of righteousness, therefore, they shall do well to en­quire of those, who by reason of use, Heb 5 13, 14.have their senses exercised in those most excellent mysteries: And if they look up to the Lord with unfeigned desire not to be taken in that snare which shall come upon the Inhabitants of the earth, do read those Books concerning the accomplishment of these promises, as the Eunuch did Isaiahs, who knows but the Lord may provide a Philip, to open and interpret those mysteries to satisfaction beyond all expect [...]tion? Generation work in three books of great use in these times, by Jo. Tillinghast. And because, by special providence, I have received refreshment three several times, by three several Books written by Mr. Tillinghast concerning Generation-work, the [...]e [...]ore I recommend them to the Saints. The first time was when I was conflicting with strong temptations to in­termit my method of Teaching, concerning the present Truth, and work of Christ, and the Spirit of God mee­ting my spirit in reading the first of Jeremy, Jer. 1.7, 8, 9, 10. & 17.18, 19. 2 Cor. 10.5. and help­ing me to subdue those carnal reasonings, The first part of Generation-work was unexpectedly brought to my hands at that very juncture of time, when I had been a think­ing that I was alone in this business. The next season [Page 50]was exactly, when I was apprehended and committed to the Messengers house, An Introduction to this Altoge­ther-causelesse long Imprisonment (as the Lord knows, to whom I have Appealed) even then also unexpectedly was the second part brought unto me, first in sheets, and before the publication; the third time, when I was shut up a close prisoner in this strong Castle, and none of the Saints suffred to come at me, as formerly; and at that very time the third part was conveyed to me; I look upon it as very instructing to me, that they should be published at those seasons when they might be most useful for the incourage­ment of so weak a Worm.

I could not but take this opportunity to bear testi­mony to my dearly beloved Brother, and Fellow-labourer in the present work of Christ, and Fellow-student in this present Truth, which shall prosper, and prevail, in despight of Men and Devils, even to the darkning of that Pomp and Splender of the Kingdom of the Beast, and to the sub­verting of that Power and Policy which now delude and govern the Nations, Rev. 16.10. [...] His Kingdom be­came darkned, or was made dark. and that in such a marvellous manner and method of proceeding, as shall amaze the wisest Princes of this world, when they enter into a deep con­sideration of the same.

But, that I may, if the Lord please, convey a little light into the understanding of my Brethren in this Cause, This I say at present, When the people of God are come out of Babylon, and have once made a further and more compleat separation from that Scarlet, Bloudy, Drunken Strumpet, Rev. 18.4.6. SO AS THAT THEY PARTAKE NOT IN THE LEAST OF ANY OF HER SINS, when they are by the Lord put into a capacity of rewarding her, as she hath rewarded them, and their elder Brethren in the generations before them; Then, and not till then, will the Saints throw the Burden off from their own shoul­ders, and the iron yoke of Taxes and Tribute, and of other Bond-servi [...]e, Jer. 51.57. upon her neck, and upon the necks and the shoulders of her Princes, of her wise men, her Cap­tains, and her R [...]lers, and of her mighty men. Oh, Dear [Page 51]Brethren, shall we live to see that day? What a sight is here? It is Spectaculum dignum Deo; the Lord Jesus who sits on the right hand of the Father, expecting to see his foes made his footstool, Heb. 10.12, 13 Isa 37.22. Rev. 17.5. will take great delight to see The Virgin Daughter of Sion despising the Mother of Harlots, and Abominations of the earth, to laugh this proud Lady of King­domes to scorn, to behold the Daughter of Jerusalem to shake her head at this persecuting City; she and her Lovers shall bee like ashes under the soals of the feet of this Ransomed and Re­deemed people. Therefore be of good courage, Mal. 4 3. oh yee op­pressed Saints, fear not, for Jehovah Elohim will make your Horn iron, and your Hoof brasse, and you shall beat in peeces many people, but remember you consecrate not their gain to your selves (as the new Model hath done, Mich 4.13. which will not turn to so good account as they think for) but to the Lord of the whole earth, who expects to be honored with the first fruits of all your increase.

I read of three sorts of Princes; first, Three kinds of Pri [...]ce [...], and but one kind good. The Princes of Babylon, mentioned even now; Secondly, The Princes of the Degenerated Jews; And thirdly, Jehovans Princes.

1 The Princes of Babylon are altogether for the spoyl, and the prey, for the crushing of the people, so that they were, and are abundant in treasures, and there is no measure of their covetousnesse, Jer. 51.13.

2 The Princes of the Jews revolted from the Lord; Her Princes (speaking of Jerusalem, saith the Prophet) within her, are ROARING LIONS, Her Judges are EVENING WOLVES, they gnaw not the bones till the morning, Zeph. 3.3. Jerusalem is called An oppressing City, Her Princes are Lions, &c.

3 Jehovahs Princes, Ezek. 45. In the Land shall be the Princes possession in Israel, and MY PRINCES (saith the Lord) SHALL NO MORE OPPRESS MY PEOPLE; Ezek. 45.8, 9. Ezek 48.35. and the name of that City shall be called, The Lord is There, where the Lord is, and where his Princes are, there shall be no more any oppression and spoyl. The Prophet goes on, Thus saith the Lord God, Let it suffice you, Oh Princes of [Page 53]Israel, Remove violence and spoyl, and execute Judgement and Justice, TAKE AWAY YOUR EXACTIONS FROM MY PEOPLE, saith the Lord God.

When you see Princes and Rulers squeezing the people, raising of Taxes, compelling the poor Parishioners to pay treble Damages for not paying the Popes Tithes; while you feel the Publican, and the Excise-man coun­tenanced and incouraged in their vexatious Collections, and exactions upon the poor of the people, Think with your selves, these are not the Princes of Jehovah, but either they are the Princes of Babylon directly and professedly, or else the Princes of Apostatized Israel, who have the name of Chri­stians, but the nature of Tyrants.

But on the other side, when you see an Higher Power in­couraging the Lords people to come out of Babylon, effectually and for ever; when you see the chief Magistrates in their own persons to renounce all communion with the enemies of Christ, and to make an unfeigned separation from the carnal and world-like Church; when you dis­cern their indignation to be altogether against Raising of Taxes, and imposing the Tribute money upon the children who are free, and to levie their Tribute of Bond-service upon those, who will not have Christ, but Antichrist reign over them, Then lift up your heads, and hope that your full Redemption draweth neer. Mat. 17.25, 26. Christ Jesus the Lord pro­nounceth the children free; and the Kings of the earth in those dayes did not exact or take Cu­stom or Tri­bute of their own people, but of stran­gers, as it ap­pears by Pe­ters words.

But how far, Oh God! are thine own people from promoting their own good? or from removing the op­pressions of their brethren? they are taking a DIRECT COURSE to perpetuate the Kingdome of the fourth Beast, in these Nations, after all thine appearances for their deliverance; and instead of saying, Come Lord Jesus, Come quickly, with the Spirit, and with the Bride, in understanding, they say, God save the Image of earthly Monarchy, they shout as when Saul was made a King, OH IMAGE OF KINGSHIP, LIVE FOR EVER! Verily the Lord Jesus wil find a time to reckon with whole Churches, and their Leaders that cause them to erre; and it is ten thousand to one, if any of those who sent up Pillars out of the Countries to support and [Page 52]shore up the tottering, and decrepit Roman power, Heb. 49 [...], There remains a Salbatism, or Sabbatical rest to the people of God. shall enter into that Rest, which remaineth to the people of God.

The Lord have a gracious respect to that Remnant which he hath reserved to himself out of the mixt multitude of Hyprocrites and Apostates, Oh when will the Lord form a people for himself? as the Kings of the earth have formed a people for themselves, to shew forth, to set forth their praise and honor, and glory in the world.

How are the souls of many Saints in travel till Christ take to him HIS GREAT POWER and REIGN? Rev. 11.17. they long to see the return of their King from that far Country to which he went so many hundred yeers ago to receive a Kingdom for himself, and to Return; Return, Luke 19.12. Psal. 45.2. Rev 5.5. Rev. 22.16. Mal. 4.2. Luke 9.26. Mat. 24.42.Return to the many thousands of the true Israel, Oh thou fairest among the children of men; Oh come, Thou Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Thou bright and morning Star, Thou Son of Righteousnesse, Appear in thine own glory, in thy Fathers, and of the holy Angels; Neverthelesse, not when we would, but when thou wilt; in the mean time, we, by thy grace, wil wait, wil watch, wil walk, as those who expect their Lords coming, to take vengeance on his enemies, and to repay recompence to his Adversaries according to all the evill they have done in thy sight to thy poor oppressed people. Amen, Halle­lujah.

Having thus far endeavoured to set those things streight, which Sathan and his servants had made crook­ed, representing me most basely, and extreme unworthy, as an Apostate, to the prejudice of the service of Christ in my hand, so far as in them lay: I shall now proceed to the next part of the Letter, which hath been so grievously handled, having been tortured and torn limb from limb, as it were, and examined upon the wrack, to make it con­fesse as the enemies of Christ would have it.


THe principle Clause in this part of the Epistle fore­going, I conceive is this, By the Powers in Being, I un­derstand the Army as supreme, all those that joyn with them to carry out the work of Justice and of Mercy, according to the indu­bitable principles of right Reason and Equity, &c.

For the manifestation of the truth, or at least, of my ap­prehensions concerning this matter, I may according to the Rules of method, first speak of the Armies supre­macy, and then of those who joyn with them for the ends even now expressed.

Concerning the first, I suppose, it is needlesse to spend time to bring demonstrations for the confirming of this Assertion, there are enough made ready to my hand, in that all men grant (which they would not do, without sufficient demonstration, wise men especially) first, that the Army was, and is, yet to this day, a power in being; And then secondly, they must needs acknowledge it Su­preme, for the Nations, and all sorts of people (beside them of that Corporation) do feel it sufficiently, it is a truth that may be felt, some feel it with smart, as being oppressed by them, and there is none to rescue the oppressed out of their hands, there is no Horn of salva­tion raised up of God to push them lower, unto this day, and others feel it with gladnesse and delight, for their gain is great. There is indeed a name and a noyse of an Assembly called a Parliament, Jer. 52.32. and of Reverend Judges, sitting aloft and somewhat high, to judge the people, but still the Armies Throne is higher than the Thrones of all the other powers in the Nations, they set open, and they shut up the doors of the Higher or Lower House according to their pleasure; so that instead of proving that they are the Supreme Power in these parts of the earth, I have some­what else to do, toward the explication of my meaning, namely to declare how it came to passe, and for what end the Lord hath so ordered it at this season.

And this I will do, by the help of the Lord, as a Mini­ster of the Gospel, who of all other men, are most of all bound and ingaged to regard the works of the Lord, and to consider the opperations of his hands (especially, Isa. 5.12. those works which are wrought and brought to pass in their dayes) that so the knowledge of the Lord may spread and in­crease among the Saints; even that knowledge of God which is attained by the word of his mouth, and the works of his hands, the study and meditation of the mar­vellous works of the Almighty, being most sweet, and abundantly satisfactory to every heavenly heart.

For the more perspicuous explication of that which I apprehend in this matter (but cannot utter as I would) I have digested my meditations into the insuing Propositi­ons or Observations, which in a very short space wil help you to pass through a vaste tract of time, and that with such evidence of truth, as you go along, that you need not stay and spend time to apply the touchstone to it, as in some cases it is necessary to be done.

Propos. or Observ. 1. The most High ruleth in the King­dom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, Dan: 4.32. He changeth the times and the seasons; He remo­veth Kings, and setteth up Kings; He giveth wisdom to the wise, and knowledge to them that know understan­ding, Dan. 2.21.

Prop. or Obser. 2. This most High God divided to the Nations their Inheritance, Deut, 32.8. and the first ground, and as it were, Catholique Dominion, was given to the Assyrians and Babylonians; the next, to the Medes and Per­sians; The third, to the Macedonians or Grecians; The fourth, to the Romans. These four successively, each in their times, according to the All-wise appointment of the will of God, were Lords of the world, Dan. 2. Dan. 7. Dan. 11. The people of God were not free from these yokes of bondage, as you have read already in the for­mer Section.

Prop. or Obser. 3. The Roman Monarchy, the last of the four Kingdoms (or Beasts, as the Spirit of God [Page 56]doth expresly call them) was at its full growth or [...] about the time of the birth of the Prince of the Kings of the earth, Numb. 24.17. just at the Meridian of the Roman glory, did the Star of Jacob arise and shine, but with a very dim light to the sight of the world, for yet he had not mani­fested forth his glory, as afterward he did, Joh. 2.11. This is plain, as from other Histories, so from Luk. 2.7 first verses, Where all the world, you find, was to be taxed by the Decree of Augustus Caesar, who now was in peaceable possession of the Roman Empire (Anthony and Lepidus being overcome) The Kingdom of Heaven, it seems, which shall break in peeces all these Kingdoms, was designed to be set up at that instant conjuncture of time, when this Monarchy was grown to its full perfection. But more of this in due time and place, if the Lord so please.

Prop. or Obser. 4. This fourth Beast, both killed the Lord Jesus, and Millions and Myriards of his Discipes for the first 300 years after Christ, as the Ecclesiastical Story of the Ten first Persecutions, doth at large de­clare.

In process of time, after various forms and shapes as­sumed (as in Rev. 17.10.) He appears at length with se­ven Heads and ten Horns, and upon his Horns, ten Crowns, &c. Rev. 13.2, 3. To this Beast, there described, the Dragon gives his Power or Host, his Throne, and great Authority, and so prosecutes, on the behalf of the Dragon, the old trade of deceiving the Nations, and persecuting the Saints of the most High; especially, he falls upon those in every age, who are zealous conten­ders for the present truth of every age, Rev. 11. Rev. 13. Rev. 17.

Prop. or Obser. 5. These North-west Nations are un­doubtedly some of those ten Horns, which have given their power and strength to the Beast, to make war with the Lamb and his followers. And the evidence of Pro­phecy and History is so strong in this particular, that all the Protestant Interpreters, whom I have conversed with, [Page 57]do agree in this Truth, That the Race of Kings in this Island, have, together with the other Kings of Europe, a­greed, and given their Kingdom to the Beast, Rev. 17.13. and whether it be wholly taken from him again, I mean, in this Nation, to this day, is worthy a grave and seri­ous examination.

Prop. or Obser. 6. Now more particularly, King Charls was within the compass of these Prophecies, for he was not for the setting up of the Kingdom of Christ, No, not so much as in appearance or pretence, much less in heart. The spirit of the fourth Beast was plainly to be discer­ned in him by those who were wise, and had their spi­ritual senses at their right hand: For the wise shall un­derstand, faith Daniel, but none of the wicked shall under­stand, Dan. 12. But observe carefully that which followeth.

Prop. or Obser. 7. This King Charles was fourteen or fif­teen years since acknowledged an Higher Power in these Nations, being in quiet possession of the best Title to Go­vern and to Rule the people, of any other. But the Decrees of the most High, for this age, being to take place, he was necessitated to call a Parlament, and to give it an existence in conjunction with the free people of the Nation, they being the two legal efficient causes thereof. So, here was another Higher Power in being, sent by him and the people (as the Apostle distinguisheth the Powers) according to the known Law of the Land. This we have heard and seen, and it was, and is still, marvellous in our eyes.

Prop. or Obser. 8. This second Higher Power, as I ex­press it, did contend with him who helped to make them a Power, and to give them their lawful existence in that capacity. This power, after many bloody conflicts, by their Forces, did take away his Dominion, to consume and to destroy it to the end; then there was, we thought, an end of Kingship, and this second Power declared themselves the Supreme Authority of the Nation, chang­ing the Government from the notion of King and King­dom, into that of a Commonwealth: This was a great [Page 58]and wonderfull work of God, which we are to consider with great regard.

Prop. or Obser. 9. This Higher Power (now supreme) had impowred and Authorized (after the Essexian Ar­my was not found a fit Instrument for the work) the new modeld Army, and so they became a second high­er Power in the Nation also, sent by the Parlament, as the Parlament was sent by the King and People; But yet, and for a good space, they were, and they acted, as subordinate to the Supreme Civil Authority: Neverthe­less, in process of time, after most admirable Vicissitudes, this military, subordinate higher Power, did take away the Parlaments Dominion, to confume, and to destroy it to the end. I say, they pluckt up the supreme Power (so owned by themselves) by the very roots, even as they had eradicated Monarchy, and damned it for ever, as much as in them lay.

Prop. or Obser. 10. Hereupon, no Antient, Legal, Civil higher Power, or supreme Authority, was in being; And, that there might be a total destruction or dissolution of the old Fabrick to the foundation, yea, of the founda­tion and all, The Souldiers took upon them to set up an Assembly, somewhat like a Parlament, which by major Vote called themselves by that name (but how impro­perly, not to say ridiculously, let Law and Custom speak; for neither King nor people did put forth any causal vertue towards their production, as by Law they ought) But to be short, the Souldiery quickly pulled them down again, like King Charles, who by his Prerogative, when the Parlament had no mind to humor his lusts, would dissolve them at his pleasure.

Thus you, by this time, do not onely understand that they are supreme, as I assert, but you see, quibus viis & mo­dis, by what waies and means they are gotten into the Throne. Now, can any Christian, nay, can any rational Creature find fault with me for observing these won­drous works of the great Jehovah? Can they find in their hearts to be angry with me for calling aloud to all [Page 59]the Saints (and others too, if they had ears to hear) in Davids words, Come, behold the works of the Lord, what de­solations he hath made in the earth, Psal. 46.8. and as he cries out Psal. 66.57. Come and see the works of God; he hath been terrible, he will be more terrible in his doing toward the children of men; He ruleth by his power for ever, his eies behold the Nations. Let not the rebellious EXALT THEMSELVES, Selah. Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the loving kindness of the Lord, Psal. 107.43.

We have seen, we have seen an end of all perfection, which hath been preserved for so many ages. The per­son and power of a King, and the Son of antient Kings, is cut down, and cost out as an abominable Branch, the Privilege of Parlament, the Parlament, and all their numerous un­known Privileges pulled down, and devoured by the Army at a Breakfast; the Liberties of the people also have met with the same destiny; thus this antient three­fold Cord, made and preserved by our Ancestors, with so much care, with so great cost of blood and treasure, is utterly untwisted and broken all to peeces.

By this brief account of these astonishing Alterations, that great Truth which I laid as the first stone, and the corner stone of this Discourse, is worthy of remem­brance; The most High ruleth in the Kingdom of Men, He changeth the times and the seasons, He removeth Kings, and setteth up Kings, He the Lord doth all these things; and o­ther wonders without number. His works are honorable and glorious, sought cut of all that have pleasure therein, Psal. 111.2, 3.

Thus, according to that talent of understanding which is given to me, in these great and strange transposi­tions of Powers by the effectual influence of the first cause, according to the words of the Prophets (Kingly Power, Aristocratical Privilege, and Democratical Liberty, be­ing dissolved, destroyed and disanulled, as you have read, heard, and seen) the Army must needs be the re­maining Higher Power within these Nations; If any Man, Lawyer, States-man, &c. know a Higher Power than [Page 60]theirs, a stronger power than theirs, a more absolute power than theirs, I would willingly hear him speak his mind in that particular.

But to proceed, if it be observed, I only say, They are the Supreme Power, without addition, or determination what kind of Power; I own them as an Higher, as the Highest earthly Power, de facto, acting and exercising such a superiority over the people; but quo jure, that is another Question, fitter for the Lawyers to plead, if they would or Durst, than for me; yet, this I can find ground to say, If any one ever heard me say they were a lawfull Authority, or, as is suggested, If any person whatsoever can produce any writing, wherein I acknowledge them a lawful, or legal Authority, since the 16. of the 10. Month, 1653. let them publish it to the world, and I will ingenuously confesse, I am no way able to mantain or justifie such an Assertion in the least; let them that please exercise their wits to perswade the credulous; For, Nibil tam incredibile, quod non, dicendo, fiat probabile, as Tully faith.

I shall, according to the duty of my Office, declare from the good word of God, what is there upon record, for a testimony against that generation of Back sliders from the Cause of Christ, whom these following truths, either do now, or may hereafter very much concern.

The Scriptures of Truth do give us much light in the matter under consideration. Rom 13 [...], to the Higher powers 1 Pet. 2. [...], to the King's supreme and 1 Tim. 2. [...], [...]hich are in superio­rity.

There are several degrees and several kinds of Powers.

There are Higher or Lower Powers, Supreme or Sub­ordinate. The Translators do render the word Higher in Pauls Epistle to the Romans, and the same word they translate Supreme in Peters Epistle to the Jews. This is also plain to sense and reason. I shall not trouble the Reader further with this, so I put it first, to dispatch it, unlesse I meet with an oportunity to do further service with this distinction.

As for the several kinds of Higher Powers, that also needs little explication. In some Nations there is one kind, in others another kind, Kings, Judges, Elders, Patriachs, &c. [Page 61]But there is also a Distribution of Powers by their Adjuncts, Distributio subjecti in ad­juncta. and so the Powers that are, are either Lawful or Ʋnlaw­ful.

Lawful Higher Powers are such, either from God, or from Nature, or from Nations.

From God, either first, by especial Designation, in love and mercy to a people, as Moses, David, Christ Jesus the Lord: Or else secondly, by especial Designation in wrath, for trial and punishment to a people. Thus, Jeroboam was set up by God for trial to the ten Tribes, and for punishment to Solomon, or rather chastisement, and punishment to his son Rehoboam; saith God by his Prophet, I have given ten Tribes to thee. I will take thee, and thou shalt Reign, and shalt be King over Israel, 1 King. from 29. to 37. compared with the 12. Chapter, and the 24 vers.

Thus Saul was given to the Israelites by God in his anger, partly for trial, that he might see what was in their hearts, and partly for punishment, because they had re­jected the Lord from being their King, neverthelesse, Saul was a lawful Higher Power for a time, although given in dis­pleasure.

Thus Baasha was exalted out of the dust, by God (as the Lord sent him word) and by him made Prince over his people Israel, to fulfill the word of the Lord against Jeroboam and his house, 1 King. 16. Chap. vers. 2. There are other instances, but I proceed.

In the next place, there are Higher powers by nature, that is, they are possessed, and that justly, of the Dignity of Superiority, and of the power of Government, by a pure, natural Right.

These Higher powers, are either Paternal, or Patriarchal, such a right had Adam, the Father of all Living, so Noah, Abraham, and other heads of the houses of their Fathers, as the Elders of the Israelites in Egypt, Exod. Exo. 3.16.4, 29. 6.14. The lower powers in Families, are a Steward, whom the Housholder, or Lord of the Family, makes Ruler over his Houshold to give them their portion of meat in due season, as Christ expresseth this matter, Luke 12.42. such an inferiour power [Page 62]was Eliezer of Damascus, the Steward of Abrahams house; so Tutors and Governors of the Heir, till the time appointed of the Father, are lawful lower powers, &c.

Thirdly, Higher powers are justly such by a National Right, or by the voluntary consent of those Nations whom they govern, and this, either in time of peace, by election or succession, as Judah did cleave to Rehoboam, the Son of Solomon (and many other Instances might be added) or else by victory in a just War, as the Canaanites became Tri­butaries, and other people also in all ages; And thus the Lord Jesus himself, will be actually an higher power by conquest of the Nations, For in Righteousnesse be will judge and make war, Rev. 19.11.

But to conclude this part of the Distribution; It is to be noted, that one and the same person, or the same per­sons, may be lawful higher powers (by an accumulation of all these titles put together) in several respects, after the examples in Scripture, and in other Histories. They may rule over some people in the Authority of God, over others by the Title of Natural Right, over others by Inheritance, over others by Election, over other people by the Title of a Lawful War, and all at the same time. I could give a good account of this upon principles of Justice, and Right Reason: But I hasten; and therefore this shall suffice con­cerning Higher powers, lawfully such, becoming so by the ap­pointment of God, of Nature, or of Nations, by Any, or by All of these claims before mentioned, or by any other warrantable plea, whatsoever it may be.

Now concerning those Higher powers, who are such de facto only, and in present possession, but not de jure, or by any known law of God, or man, they also come under a Mi­nisters confideration, and have several heads of distincti­on, whereby they may be known.

The Higher powers in being, without lawful Title and just Authority, so to be, and so to Rule, are such; first of all by Ʋsurpation, which shews it self either in times of Pence, or in time of War. And secondly, by degenerating into Tyranny.

Ʋsurping Powers in times of Peace, Higher Powers by usurpation are unjust. attain the Go­vernment, either by murther and other violence, or else by fraud and flattery.

Of the first sort, I judge Athaliah to be one, Athaliah usurps the power by murther. who e­spying her oportunity, took hold of it, and destroyed all the seed Royal, and reigned over the Land above six years, according as I compute, 2 King. 11.1. 2 Chron. 22.10.

Thus Hazael murthered his Lord (and reigned in his stead) 2 King. 8.15. Hazael likewise even when he lay upon his sick and death-bed, and afterward became a cruel Tyrant, and ripped up the women with child, as it is upon record, 1 King. 8.12, 15.

So Richard the third, Sirnamed the Ʋsurper, Richard the third mide himself King by murther. who be­ing Lord Pretector, murthered his two Nephews, that he might reign in their stead: But did the Crown fit fast upon his head? no, about two years after his Coronation, he was slain in Battel, and the dead Carkass contumeliously used, all men observing how he was rolled to his grave in blood and mire. See the History more at large. This for the first member of the distinction.

In the next place, Higher Powers in being, Usurpation of the power by fraud. 2 Sam. 15.6 first verses. Absolom a most traiterous Usur­per by speak­ing lies in hy­pocrisie. may get pos­session of Government or Rule, by fraud, and by speaking lies in hypocrisie, as Absolom for a time, by his fair and plausible dissimulation, and officiousness, telling the people what he would do if he were King; his words are these: First, See that thy matters are good and right, but there is no man deputed of the King to hear thee; this was to insinuate a dislike of the lawful present Power. Note a­gain, Moreover, saith Absolom, Oh that I were made Judge in the Land! that every man which hath any Sute or Cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice; and he would even kiss those who did obeysance to him, and thus stole away the bearts of the men of Israel, that he might the more easily EXALT HIMSELF.

Thus the p.O.P.e. and other Ʋsurpers innumerable; The Ulurpers by speaking lies in hypocrifie. that of Dan. 11.21. is considerable, There shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the hour of the Kingdom, but he shall come in peaceably, and OBTAIN THE KING­DOM [Page 64]BY FLATTERIES.

Also, Abimelech a notorious U­surper, Judg. 9. Abimeleck made himself King (such an one as it was) by fraud, flattery and murther, Judges 9. through­out.

This for the second sort of Ʋsurpers in peaceable times.

Ʋsurping Powers by force of Arms, Usurpers by the means of war. 1. During the War. are to be reputed so, either during the War (slagrante bello) betwixt the law­ful and unlawful Power, or after the end of the War (ex­tincto Bello) when the Victory is obtained, by him who usurpeth the power.

Instances of the first, 2 Sam: 2.9, 10 are Abner and Ishbosheth. Abner, after Sauls death, made Ishbosheth Sauls Son, King. (I com­mend him, he did not make himself the Monatch) King over Gilead, and over the Ashurites, and over Jesreel, and over Ephraim, and over Benjamin, and over all Israel, over whom he reigned two years; but the House of Judah followed David. Now, let the Reader observe carefully, David onely was the lawful Power, the onely Higher Power, de jure, of right, over all Israel, and though Ishbosheth reig­ned two years, yet he was not the King de jure, but only de facto, and so was not a lawful Higher Power, or Supreme, but an Ʋsurper; while the War lasted, on his part, it was an unjust war also, and Abner had not a lawful military Power neither, as General of the Army. All was unlawful, and against the express will of God. This for the first.

The second sort of Usurping Powers by the Sword, 2. After the war 2 Sam. 17. & 18 chapters. are so accounted, who set up themselves, or are set up by their Armies, upon Victory in an unjust Quarrel. Thus Abselom would have been an unlawful Power, if he had prevailed in that Battel, which he fought against his Father; and there are many examples in Histories, of this kind of U­surpation, particularly, in the History of the German Emperors. But I hasten.

An Higher Power also, 2. Head Powers [...]. unjust by [...]genera­ting into ty­ranny. who hath lawful Authority at the beginning of the Government, may through Tyranny, or mal-administration, become an unlawful and unrighteous Power afterward, as King Saul and King Charls. And Hi­stories are full of it.

But of all Ʋsurpers or usurping Higher Powers, who get into the Throne, those are most abominable, as Powers, who, being INTRƲSTED BY A PEOPLE to deliver them from slavery and servitude, and for the publick good and Commonwealth, having Conquered the com­mon Enemy, or Tyrant, do betray their Trust, and bring their friends (who paid them, and prayed for them, who helped to bear their burthens, esteemed them as Brethren, and fellow-Citizens) into as bad, or worse servitude and slavery than they were in before; and this contrary to Oaths, and all manner of Promises, Protesta­tions, and other Ingagements. Pretending they would make them a free people, and then MOST PERFIDIOƲS­LY put an IRON YOKE upon their friends, and upon their posterity, as much as in them is. But more of this abomination by and by.

I shall break off from this work of distinguishing of Higher Powers (for the forms & variations are endless) the supplanting, and pulling down of each other in a most wonderful manner, is represented in two chapters most no­tably, 1 King. 16. and 2 King. 15. One King reigns two years (thats a great space) another six months, another reigns one ful month, another seven daies. These things are written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

But of all Claims and Titles to Government, that of the long, sharp Sword, is the most confounding, and the most confused of all the rest.

Now let the Army prepare themselves to plead in their own defence, for a most strict inquiry will be made, in whose Name, and by what Authority they have done, and continue to do all these things, which they have done of late dayes against the Truth, the Work, the Cause of God, now to be advanced by Others, whom God will chuse and use.

This for the present shall suffice to the point of the Ar­mies Supremacy.

As for those who joyn with them to carry on the work of Justice and Mercy, according to the Indubitable Principles [Page 66]of right Reason, and Equity (which is the other part of the clause under consideration.) By those, I mean, the Inferior or lower Powers, who comply with the Sword-men in governing the Nations by new Laws; and of these, I say, they are not to be resisted That is by particular pri­vate persons, as I mean through out., doing that which is just and right among the people. That is the sum of the matter in hand.

Object. It will be said, This is strange, is not this to speak contradictions? to speak so sharply against the Powers but even now, and now to acknowledge, that they do carry on the works of Justice and Mercy?

Answ. No, not so in the least; for you shall hardly read or hear of any Powers (though never so wicked and tyrannical in their Government) but at times they were found to do many things good in themselves, and a­greeable to the Principles of Righteousness and Equity, though in other respects they were abominable wretches in their governing of the people under them.

For instance, when I wrote this passage in my Epistle, of carrying on the works of Justice and Mercy, I particularly thought of their keeping under that Enemy which hath been so long contended against with so vast expences; and this is the great work of Justice upon that party, and Ge­neration, whose malice hath been and is inveterate against the Saints of the most High, whom the Lord would not ever have to rise up any more to molest and persecute his people. Justice upon the wicked, is mercy to the righteous.

The suppressing of Theeves and Murtherers, &c. is Ju­stice and Mercy both; and so far as any Powers, Higher or Lower, do promote these works, they are not therein to be resisted or hindred. But I shall make it plain by two or three Scripture-Instances.

Avashuerosh made a Feast according to his state, but the drinking was according to the Law, Ester 1.8. None did compel, for the King had appointed to all the Officers of his house, that they should do according to every mans pleasure. Now in this law and appointment the King was not to be resisted; [Page 67]But when the same King gave the Jews, Gods people, in­to Hamans hand, Ester 3.11. To do with them as it should seem good unto him, this was to be resisted, so far as God gave power and oportunity. See the end of the Story; The Jews fell upon their enemies and destroyed them.

Again, Saul persecuted David for his life (like a wick­ed Tyrant as he was) and having almost laid hold on him, tidings came, the Philistims had invaded the Land, 1 Sam. 23.27, 28 he left David, and went to drive out the Enemy; in this he was not to be resisted, or opposed, it being for publick good, and the escape of the Lords servant.

So Herod, that vile Tyrant, who beheaded John, Mark. 6.20 yet heard him at sometimes, and that gladly, and did many things, that is, such things as Johns Doctrines did direct unto.

Thus you know my meaning in this also, that when I speak of the Higher Powers, their doing what is in it self morally good, and that we are not to resist them in such actions; yet I do not hereby in the least acknow­ledge them to be a lawful Authority, for there is no such necessary connexion betwixt them two, as if, when the present Powers, at some times, in some things, happen to do that which in it self is just and right, therefore it must needs follow, that they are a lawfull Authority, or Just Power; for the one is found to be where the other is not.

As a lawful Magistrate, in doing wickedly, is to be hindred & prevented, that he bring not ungodly enterprizes to pass; so when any Tyrant or Ʋsurper doth that which is lawful and right, and according to the plain Principles of Justice, (as most commonly they do somewhat of that kind at certain seasons) herein there is no reason of resistance: Yet this is no confirmation of him in his unjust Power; for there are sufficient grounds for any, whom the Lord shall annoint to that work, to take such Tyrants off from the face of the earth; notwithstanding that which hath been spoken concerning a private persons forbearing to inter­pose for the hinderance of any good thing performed by them at any time.

This is all that I intend to speak to the second part of that clause, which in this fourth Section was to be explai­ned.

Onely I think it useful, Gods end in this strange & unexpected alteration is to be considered. that some consideration should be had of the Lords END, in ordering the Affairs and alterations of this Time and Day, in such manner, That after all antient Forms of Government in this Nation are de­stroyed, the Army should thus take upon them to Rule over the people, good and bad, friends and foes, in like manner, as if we their Brethren had been conquered by them, and subdued, as were our enemies and theirs; (which to me appears one of the most astonishing providences of these last fifteen years.) That those who were such a pray­ing company, such an Heavenly people in their carriage, as if the Head-Quarters had been the very Suburbs of the New Jerusalem at the least; (what a sound from the Camp in those daies of the Cause of the Lord Jesus, of the deliverance of the Saints, of the Kingdom and reign of Christ, of venge­ance against Babylon and Antichrist, and multitudes of such phrases, and Scripture-expressions?) I say, this is most marvellous, to observe that these things are forgot­ten, as if they had never been mentioned or talked of in the least. What should be the Lords intent or design? what may be the mind and counsel of the Almighty, thus to suffer these men (after all the goodness and kind­ness of the Lord towards them) to set their feet upon the necks of their poor oppressed Brethren, that never left them in the least, till they left Christ and his Cause to sink or swim; and then to raise up themselves into this high and mighty honor of being the Lords of the Nations, and their Iron-Law-givers, not so much as consulting with their faithful friends, whose prayers and counsels they were wont to desire upon their entrance into great En­terprizes?

Quest. Who knows the mind of the Lord? is this secret with any of those that fear him? and who walk before him with a per­fect heart?

Answ. Although I would not presume to intrude, [Page 69]where I must not hope to be admitted, yet, I may give in my apprehensions in this matter with sobriety and sub­mission to Saints of more intimate acquaintance with the Lord, without offence, and that in a very few words.

1 The Lord may permit these things, these strange mutations of mens minds, that all the world may see, that marching out of Egypt, and entring into Canaan, are motions very much differing from each other, of 600000 men which came out of the house of Bondage, but one­ly two single persons entred into the promised Land. Those men who conquer Ameleck, dare not encounter with A­nak; but had rather make a Captain to go back to Egypt, than follow God their Leader over Jordan; and as the A­postle phraseth it, As it was then, even so it is now.

2 Another end of Gods leaving this unhappy new Mo­del, and their unhappy General, to themselves and their own hearts lusts, may be this, That the poor afflicted people, plainly perceiving that they will not, cannot, do that work which they declared for, might be so much the more importunate with the King of Saints, to make haste, and come himself, and in the mean time to provide himself of new servants to carry on that most blessed Design, which his heart is set so much upon.

3 That the All-wise God may take advantage to se­parate the precious from the vile, who being so busie in be­holding and wondering after this new Image of the Beast, there is a rare oportunity for the faithful followers of the Lamb, to leave and depart from those professors, who have now demonstrated to the world, that they followed Christ and his Cause for the loaves, and not for the miracles which he hath done before their eyes.

4 That having made this further separation from Baby­lon in the Army and in the Head-Quarters at King Charls his Palace; He may form a peculiar people for himself, to begin where the New Model left, even to pour out those Vials of the wrath of God upon the Antichristion State and Seat, [Page 70]which are next to be emptied by those Angels that come out of the Temple.

But if, These are no part of his end propounded to himself in this matter, then I exhort the Saints, who are inquiring into these things, to observe exactly every step of Providence, Finis op ris, Finis operantis. that they may see what end the Lord will make, for it is good to understand the end of the action, if we must not know the end of the Agent, or efficient Cause.

So much in reference to the consideration of those ends which the Lord might propound to himself in this strange passage of Providence.

I have not yet finished the explication of this clause, There is somewhat yet further to be unfolded, and com­municated to my Brethren in the Lord, throughout all the Churches of the Saints, who are spirited for Generation-work. On that I might be anointed with fresh oyl, to speak forth to the advantage of the truth and work of Christ, what I have received of the Lord! that so others might hear and fear, and do no more either so foolishly, or so pre­sumptuously, as lately they have done.

But first, I must premise a few words, for a Manu­duction thereunto. Thus I apprehend the thing, and thus I expresse my mind.

One part of a Nation, may, for their own ends, ac­cept of that person, or those persons, for a supreme, or a subordinate power, which another part of the people may lawfully refuse to close withal, or accept for their Rulers, or their Governors, though thereunto required, or otherwise attempted by their Brethren.

There is a famous Instance of this, in the 1 King. 16.16. Zimri, a Souldier of great command in the Army, but not then General, conspired, and smote and slew the King, and reigned in his stead.

The people who were incamped against Gibbethon, hearing hereof, made Omri the Captain of the host, (or their General) King over Israel that day in the Camp. Here was part of the Souldiers had made Zimri King, and the greater part, I suppose, made Omri King. But this is not [Page 71]that which I intend for my Instance, the quarrel being betwixt the Souldiers, in this place. King Omri over­came King Zimri, for they shall have that Title (seeing the Holy Ghost saith (of the one and the other) that they did reign, though Zimri reigned but seven dayes) And then, this is my Instance; the people of Israel were divi­ded into two parts, Half of the people followed Tibni the Son of Ginath to make him King, and half followed Omri-Surely the Spirit of God intends some instruction to us by this punctual Narration of such a matter, 1 King. 16.21.

I conceive, for my part, that upon Considerations which might be offered, they could not impose a King upon each other, being equally free; who had the better Title, it is hard to say; for the one had as many votes as the other, the people being equally divided. At length Omri obtained the Crown; and so all must consent, or be silent, which in a sense, is as much as consent for the present.

We may put the case thus, Suppose half the free people of England are for the setting up of a Monarch with a guard of thirty thousand men to protect him in his Honour and Power; Suppose half the people are for a Commonwealth, what Law of God or man will justifie the first half, that have declared for Monarchy, to impose upon the other half, who (knowing the manner of all Kings from the infallible Oracles of God) refuse to be governed by King­ship, and accordingly declare against it? considering they are as free as themselves, who presume to impose, and have more from Scripture, and the Law of the Land, for their rejecting of a King, than the others for imbracing him, especially if imposed upon them by their Equals, Equals in that point of Freedome. Verily, if a small in­considerable number of the Free-men of England (not to mention other Considerations) do oppose by all Argu­ments such an Imperious power from their Brethren insul­ting over them, I do not see how any honest man can draw a sword against these dissatisfied Free-men; and if the [Page 72]sword forbear, I make no question but Scripture, Law, and Reason would prevail.

But it is worthy of Observation, That the Captain of this Host is not yet advanced so far towards the setling of this new Yoke upon the Nation, as Omri was in that, 1 King. 16.22. for adbuc sub Judice lis est. And the Army, together with their Partakers, in the late, declared, strange Government, not having made hitherto a perfect Law according to their own pleasure and principles, for the setling thereof, we wait to see, and to know what the Lord will do, and how far he will permit them to march in this dangerous path, for the compassing of their ends, who have been the chief Actors and Contrivers in this unparalled, earthly Design, to say no worse of it for the present.

But to leave those who have the spirits of Free-men (if there be any shut up or left) to dispute with their tongues and pens against the Souldiers Swords, I shall pro­ceed according to the latitude of my Commission from the Lord Jesus, and direct my discourse to those people of God, who have openly testified, that the Lord is their Judge, that Jehouab is their Lawgiver, that Jehovah is their King, Isa 33.22.and that he will save them, I mean those Elders and Brethren of the Churches of Christ, who have professed to make a compleat and perfect, that is, a total and final separation from the Mother of Harlots, and from the Beast that carries her; Rev. 17.5, 7. and this they have done according to the Counsel and Call of God in the book of the Reve­lations.

And unto them I say, on the behalf of their Lord and mine, Brethren, Ponder the paths of your feet, for every particular step, of every separated Saint in this Nation, since the Twelfth of the Tenth Month, 1653. hath been, and is of very great moment, and according to their walk­ing since that day, and hour, when the Word and Spirit of Jehovah received so high and so desperate an Affront, they may rationally expect extraordinary consequences for good, or for evill, coming toward them, and remember this, which you now read, is neither Dream nor Fancy, [Page 73]although the Rulers of this world will so account it, till the God of heaven compel them to change their minds.

It cost the Six hundred thousand very dear (even all that came out of Egypt, Num. 14. who were of twenty years and upwards, yea the righteous as well as the wicked) their making of a Captain to carry them back again to Egypt, when an oportunity was offered by God, to passe over Jordan into the Promised Land.

But let me in brotherly love expostulate the case with you, for I am, through grace, a fellow-member of the same Body. Suppose the three Nations generally WILL be like the Israelites, when they rejected Jehovah from being their King, and WILL joyn with those earthly-minded men, who said, and proclamed it, Wee WILL have a new kind of King to Reign over us, and we WILL compel our Brethren by Fire, and Sword, by Jaylors, and High Courts of Injustice, to accept of that Monarch whom we have chosen for our selves. Will you vote with these men, and comply with these Apostates and Hypocrites? You have given up your names to the Lords Jesus, to be a peculiar people unto him, are you not, or should you not be an holy Nation in the midst of the Na­tions? walking in the name of your King, as the men of the world walk in the name of their Monarch? Was it not for your sakes chiefly, That Jehovah rebuked Kings and Princes of late yeers? Is it not for his Sons sake, Psal. 105. and his Saints sake, that he hath pulled down the whole structure of the old Government of these Nations? yea, he hath so ordered things, that the very foundations are destroyed, which not long since were accounted sacred, and to the maintenance whereof the people were bound by Oath, and solemn League and Covenant, except a few, who fore-saw, that God himself was ingaged against the Old Heavens, and the Old Earth in these Islands.

Were not these wonderful changes and desolations brought forth and finished, when the Officers of the Army, in their own names, created, formed, and set up a [Page 74]Supreme Power after their own inventions? and then, after some few months, (when some choice spirits were resolved to proceed in that work, which the New Mo­ael had begun, viz. to remove the remaining Rubbish of Heathenish and Popish Customes, which obstructed the grand Design against Babylon, and the Kings of the earth) did not the Sword-men of that once famous New Model, break in peeces, and annihilate their own creation? and that in the sight of Heaven and Earth, without blushing, and then tell the world a fable about Resigna­tion, whereas no agreement, vote, order, or act passed in that Assembly to any such purpose?

But I must sigh out this complaint; Very many of those who professe, and pretend to be the Saints of the Most High, have eyes, and see not, they have ears, and hear not, they have hearts, and understand not unto this very day; The veil is upon their hearts in the reading of the Prophecies of the Old, 2 Cor. 2.14.and the New Testament: And assuredly, the Lord hath a great controversie with many of his own people, because of this, who will find him walking contrary unto them, because they have walked contrary unto him, in this particular. What call from God or man, have we to joyn with the Nations in setting up a New Image of worldly Government, especially, at this time of the day, when that which our Ancestors built, our God hath broken down; and what our Fore-fathers had planted, the Almighty hath plucked up, even the principal Pillars, and Foundations of the former Frame? and is it an imployment worthy of us, to help to repair the Tower of Babylon in this Land after these Earthquakes? or to heal the deadly wound which the Beast hath re­ceived? Consider, doth it become us to help mingle the Iron and the Clay together, that the Image may not want one of its Ten Toes?

Should you not rather unite with one another, to help consolidate that Little stone, which is to smite the Image upon its feet? And put on the whole Armor of God, that you may be ready at an hours warning, to follow [Page 75]the Lamb, who will ere long appear as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, and make lamentable havock with the scarlet Whore, and the scarlet coloured Beast upon which she Rides, whose Ten Horns at length, or some of them, shall be guided to push the mother of the Abominations of the carth into a Pit of destruction, prepared for her by the Lord.

Besides all this which hath been spoken, would it not be found to be part of our glory and perfection at the appearance of Jesus Christ, to imitate the Apostles and Churches of Christ in the first times, when they were so eminently taught of God, in reference to this particular? For when the Apostle Peter spake that word of Exhorta­tion, Act. 2.40. That they should save themselves from this untoward Ge­neration; Assuredly he intended not only a separation from the Doctrine, Worship, and Government of the Jewish Church, but from the State also, and Govern­ment thereof; for now they had accepted of the Lord Jesus as their Prince to govern them, as well as their Saviour to redeem them; it being one of the last matters which he gave them in charge before his As­cension, viz. Mat. 28 20. to teach all his Disciples to observe all things whatsoever he commanded, for all power in heaven and earth was given to him; and they were not to be Moses his Disciples henceforward in any thing, and so came off from the Government of the Jewish Commonwealth. Accord­ingly, when Peter speaks of the Magistrates to the people, he calls them their Mogistrates, YOUR RULERS, saith Peter, he doth not say our Rulers, Act. 3.17. again, when he was, with John, convented before Authority, this is his language, Ye RULERS OF THE PEOPLE, and Elders of Israel, he owned them to be Rulers, that is, of the people, but called them not at any time by any such title, as might signifie that they were over them, that is, the Church, as before, when as yet they were of the world; for then indeed they must own them as their Rulers, for they had no others to rule them, except the Souldiers. And upon this consideration, of their being under the government of Christ, they did no longer [Page 76]mind what Rulers were set up in the world, by the men of the world; those who were Saints by Calling, un­doubtedly, had no heart to busie themselves about the choice of a Roman Emperor, though Citizens of Rome, as Paul was; but let the Army set up whom they pleased, and pull down whom they would, it was all one to them. And as for the Senate of the children of Israel, Act. 5.22. as we read it, they had little cause to choose any members for that Parliament, they being looked upon as a company of Sectaries or Separatists, and so were of another Company, Communion, and Commonwealth.

And so in like manner Paul draws the Saints at Co­rinth from the Courts of those higher powers, to compose and determine all controversies among themselves; for they had better Laws, and might have better Rulers of their own, than any the world had, and then what need they seek any further? 1 Cor. 6. the beginning of the Chap. So that for my part, if I were at liberty, I should be as far from medling in the choice of Knights and Burgesses un­der the present Sword-Sovereignty, or any other, as from medling in the choice of Arch-bishops or Bishops, as they were then called, or of Arch-tryers or Tryers, as they may be now called; and why should not others be of my mind, who have any knowledge of God and his won­derful works in these dayes? and so never chuse any more Magistrates, till Christ, and his Laws, and Govern­ment, come to take place in the Nations. It is a most incongruous course which some Christians have taken, since the Lord pulled all in peeces (namely the late Powers) to pray for the setting up of the Kingdome of Christ in the world, and neverthelesse joyn with those who pull down, or prevent that which they seem to pray for. But, let all the Saints and faithful Brethren in Christ throughout this Nation, take heed, they do more so much as touch with the Fourth Kingdome, now that the Lord is about to take away its Deminion, to consume it utterly, and to destroy it to the end.

Thus I have endeavored to represent at large my ap­prehensions concerning the Powers in being, and I am ful­ly perswaded, that my Principles, if improved according to their natural tendency, would make notable work among the Kings of the Earth, and their under Officers; Oh how would that word of the Lord be fulfilled in Jer. 51. Jer. 51.58. The people would labor in vain towards the intended settlement, and the felk should work in the fire, to cause the Iron and Clay to soder and to incorporate, and yet do no good upon it, but be wearied out. Babylon and her Princes, her Captains and her rich men, her States-men, and her mighty men, would be tired out with anguish and vexation of spirit, if the Spirit of the Lord would vouchsafe to assist us in doing and in suffering according to the Will of God in this day.

Nevertheless, I am affraid I shall not be understood by some, in these things, although I have endeavored to make out my thoughts with all the plainness I could; wherefore I will recollect all in a few words, by the way of distinguishing one thing from another; Thus,

1 It is one thing to own the Higher Powers according to God, and his directions in the Word of Truth and Rigtheousness; and it is another thing to own them in such a manner, and to such degrees, as they themselves de­sire, and lust after. The former way I walk in, the lat­ter, I shall never be found in, by the grace of my God and Father.

2 It is one thing to own them as Powers, and another thing to own them as lawful and righteous Powers, the first we must needs do, for they have Dominion over our bodies, and over our substance, by their Swords, at their pleasure; but to own them as having a right, either by the Law of God or Man, thus to Rule over us, I absolutely and utterly refuse.

3 Again, It is one thing to own them, and to acknow­ledge them, as the Rulers of the people, when they have universally accepted of their iron yokes; and another thing to own and acknowledge them to be our Governors, [Page 78]who never did, nor do ever intend to chuse or accept them accord­ing to that new Instrument of servitude published to the Na­tions.

4 It is one thing to own the Higher Powers, so, as not to resist them by force, when they do that which is in it self lawful and right, though they have no lawful Au­thority; and it is another thing to own them in their op­pressions, persecutions, all their unrighteous Decrees, and tyrannical practises: according to the first part of the distinction, particular persons in their private capa­cities have forborn to interrupt them; but as for he other part, none but base Sycophants, and their fellow Ty­rants, will therein testify their owning of them.

5 It is one thing to own the worldly and tyrannical Powers in the way of necessary subjection, and another to own them out of choyce, and voluntary Approbation: The former, Christ and his Disciples have practised; but as for the other, none but ignorant Slaves have yeelded to it.

By these distinctions, and such like, it may easily, I conceive, be understood, wherein, and in what respects I own the Powers in being, and in what respects, I neither do, nor ever shall own them, the Lord continuing to be merciful unto his unworthy servant.

And as for the Power of the Army, which I accounted the Supreme, or the highest and strongest is these Islands, I do still adhere to my former apprehensions, that it is so, and that they and their partakers have done and may do (while their time lasteth) many things in their own nature just and good, yea, good and profitable to man­kind, as the suppressing and punishing of Theeves and Murtherers, &c. And in, or for the doing of such things, I do not find any honest man rising up against them, but this will not signifie in the least, any such thing, as an ap­proving of them to be lawfull Powers, as I have shewed be­fore, and as it may be further instanced in their Prede­cessors, who though they did many excellent things in their day; yet because they miscarried in other respects, [Page 79]the Lord did find them out, and took a convenient time to lay their honor and power in the dust. Let this suffice at present, for I must now dispatch this Section.

There is one Objection onely, which possibly may lie upon the spirits of some choyce servants of the Lord, and this it is.

Object. Although Christ and his Disciples did submit to the Higher Powers in their day, yet it doth not seem to be a pattern for us, upon whom the ends of the world are come. For first, We have resisted the Powers in our day, and are blameless, in the account of the most judicious Teachers which are among us. And Secondly, If we should submit, as they in the primitive times, how could vengeance be executed upon Babylon and her Adhe­rents, the Kings of the earth, according to the Prophecies in the Word?

Ans. 1. I grant, it is most true, there is ground to expect a time, when we shall no more be subject to the Fourth Beast and his little Horn, which time (you must think) those who suffer in all Countries, under Papal, and Regal Tyranny, do long after, but till that time, you see that the two witnesses do suffer under the prevailing power of their Adversaries.

Ans. 2. But for satisfaction of those who have not considered the matter, viz. the different estate of the Saints, in different times, It is to be remembred, and well observed, That Jeremy in the beginning of their cap­tivity, did by the word of the Lord, direct the Jews, to seek the peace of the City, whither he had caused them to be car­ried away captives, and to pray unto the Lord for it,Jer. 29.7.for in the peace thereof shall yee have peace, Jer. 29.7. But now, if you turn to Psal. 137.8, 9. you shall find there was a time to come, when the Jews should be contrary minded to that passage before mentioned; saying; Oh Daughter of Baby­lon, who art to be destroyed, happy shall he be that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us. Happy shall he be that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones. You see what diffe­rent language and carriage here is, in reference to the same City and Power, at different seasons; yea, Jeremy [Page 80]himself, who sent word that they should pray for Babylon, as you have heard at the beginning of the seventy years, sent another message contrary to it, not long after. I will fix but upon one passage or two, Jer. 51.33. It is time to thresh Babylon, saith the Lord, and the time of her harvest shall come. Again, vers. 35. The violence done unto me, and un­to my flesh, be upon Babylon, shall the Inhabitant of Zion say, and my blood be upon the Inhabitants of Caldea, shall Jerusalem say. Here is very differing language from the former mes­sage, this cannot be praying for the City, it is no less than cursing of Babylon, as you plainly see; Even thus it is with the true Israelites of the New Testament-times, when they were first of all persecuted by the Roman Power, they could not prophecy, nor pray for the ruin of Rome, it was not the truth and work of that age, and so there was neither light nor spirit for any such en­terprize; but now it is seasonable in this day; and I am perswaded, if it were possible for the Apostles to be, and to come among the living Saints in this Nation, who have not defiled their Garments upon the dunghil of this world, nor betrayed the Cause of Christ wherewith they have been intrusted, they would incourage them to spend their arrows, and not spare, against this mystical Babylon; they would own that cause, and work, & truth, for which we indure so great oppressions and persecution; and therefore, although I must needs be subject till the time of deliverance come (and that deliverance shall come by Instruments annointed of God, as Cyrus was, yea, with a better annointing) yet, because by a spiritual in­stinct, flowing from that Divine Nature, whereof through rich Grace I do partake, I do know assuredly, that we shall be so far, ere it be long, from praying for the Powers under the little Horn, that we shall reward them as they have rewarded us; Therefore, I say, do I thus speak, and thus write, and pray with other enlightened and enliven­ed Saints; Pour out the remaining vials of thy wrath, upon the PRESENT POWERS of the Earth, who will not have Christ to reign over them; and let all the followers of the Lamb say, A­men.

Thus I have finished the explanation of the fourth Section of the Epistle, with such further manifestation of the truth in this point, as for the present I am furnished withall from the word and Spirit of the Lord, and there­fore I shall pass on to the next.


IN this part I am willing to give an account to those who are dark in this matter; Quest. How I can justifie my practice of preaching down the Powers in being, as my man­ner was, when as my declared Principlet are (and have been constantly) to own them, and therefore not to resist or rise up a­gainst them; how can these things stand together? It seems a Pa­radox, if not an impossible thing in reason, that the same man, at the same time, should both own the Powers, and endeavor their destruction. Thus, no question, many will query concer­ning this matter.

Answ. 1. If it were needful, I might easily shew how common a thing it is for two contrary qualities to be in the self-same subject, at the same time, in divers respects, and in different degrees; but those School-distinctions, are not for the edifying of such kind of inquirers, as I intend satisfaction to, and therefore I shall first put them in mind of that which is in the Letter, and then explain my mean­ing by particular instances in the word.

Answ. 2. The sum of what I wrote is this, That the Prophets, Apostles, and Martyrs, in all ages (i. e. since Kings, and such like Arbitrary Powers were over the Saints) did own the Powers in being in their daies, and yet at the self same time, they Preached and Prophecied against them for their Abominations, and so have I done, and will do, the Lord assisting, according to their examples. This is the sum of the Answer in the Letter.

Now, I will endeavor to illustrate that which seems so dark to others.

I begin with Samuel; First, He owned Saul, as an Higher Power, annointed and appointed of God, to rule over [Page 82]his people, as you find in 1 Sam. 9.17. and 1 Sam. 12.5. in this last Chapter you shall find these words to the people, — That yee may perceive and see, that your wickedness is great which yee have done in the sight of the Lord, in asking you a King; concluding thus, If you shall still do wickedly, yee shall be consumed, both yee and your King; and Saul was present all this while, when hee affrighted the people with sudden thunder and lightning in the time of Har­vest, to convince them of their great wickedness in ask­ing a King, and might muse with himself, to observe how far Samuel owned him as a King before the people, and yet at the same time he threatned and terrified the people for desiring him.

In like manner, after this, though he owned him as the King of Israel, yet what a testimony did he bear, from God, against him for his hypocrisie, disobedience and re­bellion against the Lord? and moreover, to the hazard of his life, prophecied or declared that God would reject him, and had rejected him, and would set up his neigh­bor in his stead, &c. This instance doth sufficiently ex­plain my principle and practice. But I shall not insist so largely upon Scripture-instances, but put you in mind what I am to prove, viz. That it is very possible (for it hath been common to many of the Servants of the Lord) for the same man at the same time to own the Powers in being, and yet to Pray, Preach, or Prophecy against them, as if they did not own them. For this, read the history of the Kings and Chronicles throughout; I shall mention but one Instance, concerning King Ahab, and the Prophet Elijah: These two met, and this was the Kings salutation to the Prophet, Art thou he that troubleth Israel? Elijah Answers him, I have not troubled Israel, but Thou and thy Fathers House, in that yee have forsaken the com­mandements of Jehovah, and thou hast followed Baalim. This was one greeting: Observe the next, 1 King. 21.20. A­hab said to Elijah, hast thou found me, Oh mine Enemy? The Prophet answered, I have found thee, because thou hast sold thy self to work evill in the sight of the Lord; and so he proceeds [Page 83]to prophecy against Ahab and Jezebel, for their murther of Naboth, and taking away his Vineyard by oppression, a Prophecy it was of utter destruction of the whole Fa­mily.

That of Daniel, in dealing so plainly with King Belshaz­zer, Chap. 5. from the 18. to the 28 is suitable to this point in hand, nothing more clear than this.

Object. It will be said, It is undoubtedly true, that the Prophets did acknowledge the Powers in being, and yet at the same time did not spare them in the least, either in respect of reproofs, or of threatning those plagues and punishments which the Lord intended to bring upon them; But what doth this concern us in the New-Testament-times, they were annoynted of God to that work, but is that an example for us to walk by who are Mi­nisters of the Gospel? &c.

An. This evasion is most absurd; for can any rational man imagin, that God, taking such special care, as it were, not to leave himself without sufficient witness against the abo­mination of the Higher Powers in those daies, will leave himself without witness now? can it enter into any sober mans heart, that the Lord should for above this thou­sand years leave the Rulers, who pretend to be Christian Kings and Princes, to the inclination of their own natures, which are bad enough, and none to reprove or threaten them in the name of the Lord for all their abominable wickednesses committed in the sight of the sun? no, they shall never plead another day, The Kings and Princes of the Jews had Messengers and men of God to speak unto them, to turn them from their evil ways, but we had none to preach plainly and boldly against our sins; but if we had known, or it had been told us, that such and such things had provoked the eyes of thy glory, Lord, we should not have persisted in the perpetration of them; but our Chaplains and Ministers were no Prophets, to deal with us as the Kings of Israel and Judah were dealt with; therefore we desire these things may not be imputed to us. No, I say, the Lord will cut off all such Pleas and Apologies; For the Lord will tell them, though your [Page 84]Court-Chaplains were so base and cowardly, as that they would not deal plainly with you, yet there were faithful Servants of mine, who at a convenient distance did cry out, because of all your abominations which you did commit, but these you persecuted and banished, and otherwise oppressed, &c. this I know will be returned to such Apologies.

But yet to gratifie the desires of such as would under­stand the truth, I shall come to the new-Testament-times; And first, John the Baptist, did not spare Herod the King, though he was owned as the Higher Power at that time, he could not connive at his Adultery and Incest; his te­stimony cost him his head, as the story is briefly related by the Evangelists. But it may be some may object, He was not a Minister of the New Testament.

Therefore, we will observe Christs practice in this matter; He owned the Powers and Rulers, nevertheless, he so reproved, threatned, preached and prophesied against the Chief Priests, the Scribes, and Pharisees (abundance of which Sect were Rulers of the Jews) as that they sought to lay hands on him from time to time, but the Text saith, they feared the multitude. His Doctrine did single out the hypocrisie, folly, malice of the Magistrates, from the sins of the multitude; for if Christ had never so much preach­ed against the sins of the people, the Rulers would ne­ver have persecuted him, who had stood up for their interest; but you shall always find the Doctrine of our Lord did vex and disturb the Higher Powers exceedingly. read the 21. of Matth. from the 33. to the end, compared with the same Parable in the 12. of Mark, and the 20 of Luke; Also consider of the tenor of his Doctrine in the 23. of Matthew, from the 12. to the end of that Chap­ter.

But let us go on to the Apostles times; after Christ had sent down the Spirit to furnish them with gifts for the work of the Ministry, more richly than before, Peter, in his sharp words to the Inhabitants of Jerusalem (the Higher Powers are here included) accusing them of the [Page 85]most abominable wickednesse that almost could be com­mitted, expresseth himself thus, Him (meaning the Son of God) yee have taken, and by WICKED HANDS HAVE CRUCIFIED AND SLAIN; but more close to the matter in hand, in Acts 4. vers. 8, 9, 10. He owneth the present Powers, and yet chargeth them with most horrible Murther; the Powers charge him and John straitly to speak no more in that Name, but to forbear; they dis-own their commands to their faces (though they submit to their Mittimus and Gaolers) and tell them, that God had raised up Jesus, WHOM YEE SLEW, say they, and hanged on a Tree; Observe how peremptory these Gospel-Ministers were in refusing to hearken to their threatnings, there are but few readers observe the emphasis, for the Jewish Powers were apt to put it off to Pilate, for he condemned him, and crucifying was not the Jewish manner of execution of Malefactors; besides, they had not power of life and death (for the Romans had reserved that to themselves, as a peculiar character of the supreme Power, and of their absolute Sovereignty) yet Peter chargeth the High Priest, and the Council, with the murthering of Christ; you may observe, how near this accusation went, Act. 5.33. for the Text saith, Ʋpon the hearing of this, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.

But now, according to the principles and speeches of many wise English-men, Peter and John might be thought not to use so much subtilty and discretion, in the pre­sence of the Rulers, whereby they might have kept out of prison, at leastwise out of danger of death; for were not they Ministers of the Gospel? What need they have spoken such words, as must needs provoke the Higher Powers? espe­cially, after they had born their Testimony once and again, they might have forborn for the future, seeing no good came of it; we in this age have found out a better way of preaching, for we know how to order things so, as that if we preach never so often before the Higher powers guilty of very grosse wickedness (as the word of God, and our consciences tell us) yet we will not cut them to the [Page 86]heart, as Peter, and John, and Stephen did; we will preach the Gospel.

The Truth is, I fear this will appear a real truth when all secret things come to be revealed; but as for thousands of the English Parsons and Vicars, and Curates, and State-Lecturers, or Augmentation-men, I am far from doubting of their compliance with any Powers which get the upper­most, its no matter how or which way; instead of ap­pearing for the present work, and truth of Christ, against the present Rulers, they appear for the present profit, of their several and respective Benefices, and therefore we must not expect they should be followers of the Apostles, as they followed Christ, in bearing witness against the wicked­ness of great and small, without respect of persons.

Object. But yet again, there are others who come with another ridiculous Objection in this manner: Although it be a truth, that the Ministers of Christ, the Prophets, and Apostles, &c. were very zealous against the Higher powers, because of their abominations, yet what they spake was to their faces, and not behind their backs, as all the Instances given by you do declare; they did not disgrace or arraign them, as it were, at the Bar of the Vulgar, as you do, and your Fellow-sufferers; this comes from some, who do not well know what to say with reason.

Answ. 1. For answer to this, The Higher Powers are seldome found to send for plain-dealing Preachers, to pray or prophesie in their Chapels, or if it happen that they hear them once, its very improbable that they shall be sent for a second time, and then how should the ser­vants of the Lord declare the Lords Message in their hearing?

Answ. 2. We have Instances from the Prophets, and Apostles in this particular also. Amos prophesied the de­struction of Jeroboam while he himself was absent; for it may be the King and his Courtiers would not hear Amos, who was but a Herds-man, and a Gatherer of Sycomore-fruit, yet it was a testimony against them, though they were absent whom it most concerned; so [Page 87]that we Prisoners are not the first, who have declared ap­proaching destruction to the Higher Powers, in their ab­sence.

Moreover, Christ called Herod a Fox, or that Fox; and Paul called Caesar, Lion, behind their backs: And why do not our angry Brethren say, they might have forborn such kind of language? they not being present, at least they should not have called the two Highest Powers among Jews and Gentiles by the reproachful names of two wild B [...]asts, and those too, such Beasts of prey.

And why do they not find fault with Peter and John, with Paul and Barnabas, who in their Sermons to the people had no more good manners, than openly to de­clare the Higher Powers guilty of Murther, and the worse kind of Murther, and this behind their backs, and that in the presence of Thousands? See Acts 3.17. and Acts 13.27, 28. There Paul chargeth them in another Country, and amplifieth the matter against them.

But further, in their prayers to God, they named Herod and Pontius Pilate, in relating their wicked combination against the life of Christ. And I know no reason why we may not pray and preach after that manner as the first Christians did, who I am sure, were more full of the Holy Spirit then any of us. They were bold and reso­lute, and whether the Higher Powers were absent or pre­sent, it was alike [...]o them. Certainly open Murther, and open Hypocrisie, and Apostacy and Perjury, and Treason against the King of Glory, must be openly and publickly witnessed against before God, Angels, and all the world.

Shall the Rulers be so bold, as to commit open abo­minations before all the people, and shall not the Mi­nisters of Christ, who are called thereto, be as bold, and declare as openly against those abominations, and that before all the people, whether the guilty ones be in the hearing or not? God forbid, that we should forbear to bear our publick Testimony against publick wicked­nesse.

Object. But others, who understand themselves better than the former sort of fault-finders, have a greater charge than those before mentioned; for say they, We may upon occasion declare openly against those who so sin, without respect of persons, whether they are present or absent; but what have we, who are ministers of Christ, to do to intermeddle in State-matters or State-Affairs? the compass of their Commission will not war­rant them to be [...], Bishops in another mans Di­ocess or Province: The whole work of a Minister of the Gospel is reduceable to two heads, To bring Souls in to Christ, and to build them up in Christ; and whatsoever is besides this, is beside the Cushion. Many other words there are, and may be exco­gitated, to represent it as a very odious matter for Ministers to meddle in State-Affairs; Cannot they be content, if they have liberty to preach the Gospel; and if they would keep to that, and leave the Government of the Nations to be managed by the Higher Powers, they need not be apprehended, imprisoned, &c. as they are, so that they may thank themselves; With much more such stuff as this.

Answ. I perceive plainly, that these kinds of Preachings and Discoursings have such a plausible veri-similitude, that they are beleeved by many honest hearts, to be as true as Gospel; namely, That those Ministers are to be blamed as too pragmatical, who insist upon such points, and very worthy to taste and feel the coercive power of the Civil Magistrate; insomuch, that we are under a very great disadvantage for the present.

But yet I hope we may be heard to speak for our selves, and to plead our Cause from Scripture, and from Prin­ciples of right Reason, and otherwise. Wherefore, let the Question be stated thus,


Before I come to argue and urge the truth in this pro­bleme, it will be needful and useful to explicate the [Page 89]terms of the Question; in this insuing order.

First, What is meant by STATE-AFFAIRS, or mat­ters of State.

Secondly, What is the force and signification of that word meddle, or INTERMEDDLE.

Thirdly, Who is to be accounted a MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL.

For the first; State-Affairs, or matters which concern the State, are, as I conceive, among us to be considered in con­tradistinction to Church-affairs, or matters which concern the Church. For that distinction of Church and State, being received and kept up, as proper to those parts of the world where there is a Church-State, either really or in pretence, it will give us light in this controversie. But besides this, that distinction of Jehosaphat will help us to understand this matter more fully, in the 2 Chron. 19. last verse, the Matters of the Lord, or of Jehovah, and the Matters of the King (the Septuagint reads it thus, [...],— [...]. Tremelius thus. In omninegotio Domini, & in omni negotio Regio) so that the Matters, Business, and Affairs of Jehovahs are set by them­selves, and the Business and Affairs of the King, are put by themselves, in a distinction from the other.

Moreover, the usual phrase in the New Testament helps us, where it is said, That you may know my Affairs ( [...]) That I may know your Affairs ( [...].) So 1 Cor. 7.32. The unmarried careth for the Things, or Matters of the Lord, ( [...]:) But the married for the Things or Affairs of the World, ( [...];) which Things, the Apostle, (though it be a circumlocution in the translation) calleth by one word, [...] (i.e. Things that pertain to this life) in distinction from the Things of a better life. So that up­on the whole, we must agree to understand by that phrase, State-Affairs, those Things or Matters which do pro­perly, and directly appertain to the Civil Magistrate, to take care and cognizance of, and to manage and order for the outward good and welfare of the people, as Wars, Peace, Laws, Customs, Taxes, &c.

The second Term, to intermeddle, is or may be taken in a bad sense, as first to intrude. (Col. 2.18. [...]) into those things that belong not to us; for a man to thrust himself into business (sese ingerere, as Beza renders it.) It is true, a man may have skil to manage such and such Affairs, but to interpose, having no call thereunto, he may be justly accounted a meddlesom pragmatical man, a busie, forward Companion in such a case, and one to whom we use to say, upbraidingly, you may meddle with your own matters, or with your own business. The Greeks do give this kind of carriage a fit word, [...], that is, a busying ones self about many affairs, which yet do not any way concern us; and indeed such a spirit is very unbecoming a Minister of the Gospel.

Secondly, It is the property of others, out of an over­weening conceit of their own dexterity and skilfulness, to undertake to meddle with great matters, or things too high for them, or too wonderful, as David speaks, Psal. 131.1. of such also the Apostle Paul doth write, 1 Tim. 1.7. They will needs be Teachers of the Law ( [...]) and yet neither understand what they say, nor whereof they affirm. Surely, it was vain-glory which put them upon such practices. Salomon gives this as one character of a fool, Prov. 20.3. It is an honor for a man to cease from strife, but every foot will be meddling. Moreo­ver,

Thirdly, some there are, who by reason of their natu­ral temper, are found to be very much addicted to meddle with all matters, and yet good men. It is not so much from vain-glory, it is not so much from self conceit of their fitness to interpose in divers businesses, but they have a kind of Desultory Genius, which would be ever and anon leaping from one thing to another; they have an in­ward longing to be doing, & to be meddling, like as some men, who having itching ears, do heap unto themselves Teachers, as the Spirit speaks, 2 Tim. 4.3. so these are troubled, as it were with itching fingers, their fingers itch to be meddl­ing, to be doing; undoubtedly this is a lust to be mortified; [Page 91]We describe such men, when we say proverbially, They live to have an Oar in every mans Boat, or in another mans Boat. Solomon also intimates such a spirit in Prov. 26.17. He that passeth by and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the eares; If he do but pass by and that upon other business, (it may be serious business) yet his nature is such, if there be any occasion, he will be ready to intermingle himself in the Contention. But I take not the Word in this sense; For this trouble­some corruption in a Minister, or other Christian, is to be watched and prayed against. See 1 Thes. 4.10, 11. We beseech you, saith he — and that ye study to be quiet, and TO DO YOƲR OWN BƲSINESS. Yea, Plato said almost in the same words, [...]. For a man to do his own bu­siness, and not to be a Poly-pragmatist, (or not to meddle in other mens matters) is one part of Justice. Thus I grant, that it may be sinful to intermeddle in some cases, as you have seen in these three last particu­lars.

But yet to meddle, or intermeddle, is an act which may be taken in a good sense. It is lawfull, yea, a du­ty, to intermeddle at some seasons, and upon some oc­casions; for God and good men may agree to give a man a call, and skill to do those things which ordina­rily he may not meddle withall. Thus Phineas stood up and executed judgement; It was far from Phineas his Of­fice to be an Executioner, yet he engageth at this time out of his zeal to Justice, and against most horrible wicked­ness, Psal. 106.30, 31. compared with Numb. 25.7. this sudden act, so much out of the way of his calling, is coun­ted to him for righteousness; yea, to all generations for evermore.

Likewise Peter the Fisher-man, and Fisher of men, had used to preach more than to fight, for he carri­ed neither Sword nor Staff about with him, when Christ sent him forth as a Lamb among Wolves; Yet at a certain season afterward, he so far intermeddled with [Page 92] State-Affairs, as that he cut and slasht, till one of the STATES OFFICERS had lost one of his ears, he be­ing in the number of those who came to apprehend his Master.

Its true, his Office and Imployment was to strike upon the ears of men, as it were, with another kind of sword, the two-edged sword of the Spirit; but now he had laid that aside for the present; yea, and Christ himself against this juncture of time had bid him that had never a sword (that is, of iron and steel) to seel his coat and buy one, which kind of trading and merchandize, I beleeve, they did not use to meddle with in former time. Other Instances might be given, but I forbear, for these were extraordinary cases, and I shall nor urge them.

But beside, to intermeddle may be taken in a good sense, in that Prov. 18.1. Through desire a man having separated himself, seeketh and INTERMEDDLETH with all wis­dom. I know Tremelius carrieth it in another way; but it is varied in the Margin thus; He that separateth him­self, seeketh according to his desire, and INTER­MEDDLETH WITH ALL WISDOM. So the English Translators. But Trem. hath a marginal note, in omni essentia, in every essence or being; It looks something like the character of a grave Philosopher (such an one as Socrates or Plato) who intermeddles with all wisdom, or with every Essence; yea, its worthy to be weighed, what Solomon speaks in the person of a Preacher, Eccl. 1.12, 13. I THE PREACHER, saith he, gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom, con­cerning all Things that are done under Heaven. Doth not this expression seem somewhat like that Proverb of his, last mentioned? That which is there called an intermeddling with all Wisdom, or every Essence, seems to be in this place of Ecclesiastes, called, A searching by Wisdom, con­cerning all Things that are done under the Sun. And undoubt­edly, it is no disparagement to Gospel-Ministers, to be Christi­an Philosophers, or Lovers of that Wisdom which is to be found and obtained, by conversing, or inquiring into the word of God, & into the works of God, and therefore their [Page 93] intermedling in all such affairs, from such principles, cannot be interpreted in an evil sense, as if it savoured of pragmati­calnesse, or anything like it. This for the interpreting of the second term. And hitherto, I suppose, I have not swerved from the truth in my explications.

The third and last expression is likewise to be brought to a fixed conclusion and determination, that we may rightly understand the question throughout every part of it; and my meaning in this, viz. who are Ministers of the Gospel; I shall first signifie negatively, and then po­sitively.

1 Wherefore first, I do not intend the Pontifical and Prelatical Clergy, for from the highest Archbishop, as such, to the meanest Curate, there are none of them whom I look upon under that notion. Although we do know (for we have heard them) that by the help of good natural parts, and their superadded, acquired abilities otherwise, namely, by reading, meditation, imitation, and ex­ercise in preaching, they have excelled many Ministers of the Gospel, truly and properly so called, and acknow­ledged by God and man.

But, as it is one thing to serve God in the oldnesse of the letter, and another, to serve him in the newnesse of spirit, or the spirit; so it is frequently found, that a man may be an able Minister of the New Testament, according to the letter, but not according to the spirit, and the ministrations thereof. See the distinctions, Rom. 7.6. & 2 Cor. 3.6.

Divers of these Episcopal Preachers indeed, did like­wise intermeddle in State affairs, for they were Justices of Peace, and Privy Counsellors to Kings and Queens, but I never approved of them, or their imployment, in refe­rence to the Ministry or Magistracy, in both which they did intermeddle more than they will have thank for, when they appear before the Judgement seat of Jesus Christ, to receive every one according to his works, and what he hath done in the flesh, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. So much for these, I have done with them.

2 Neither secondly, do I mean, the present Ʋniversities, [Page 94]Vice-Chancellors, Doctors, Proctors, Heads of Houses, Deans, Prebends, Cannons, with the rest of their Brethren, by what Academical Name or Title soever they are dignified or distinguished: Although I know likewise that many of them, have gifts for the preaching of the Gospel, and I hope are truly godly.

But, to speak freely, undoubtedly it would become those of them, who know their Lords will, to take care to do it; for it cannot be denied, that they sinfully inter­meddle in the things of the world, though they pretend to be married to the Lord (and so are to take care for the things of the Lord) This is plain, in regard they have accepted se­veral worldly Offices and Authorities, which they exer­cise after the Rudiments of the world, for they cannot exer­cise them according to God or to Christ; for they are none of the things of Christ. Oh! that they are farre from imitating the Apostles, and walking in their steps, the Lord knows, and we also; for they gave over the serving of Tables, which yet was Church-work, that they might give themselves continually to prayer, and to the Ministry of the word.

And therefore before I go any further, I do publickly bear witness on the behalf of the Lord Jesus, against all that kind of medling in State-affairs, which doth, in the least, hinder or interrupt the fervants of the Lord in the exercise and improvement of that Ministry which they have received in the Lord, and for, and from the Lord.

For let us consider what the Apostles say in that place forementioned, Act. 6.3. It is not reason ( [...]) that we should leave the word of God, and serve Tables. A sentence it is, worthy to be written in letters of gold, yea to be written with the Spirit of the living God, not in Tables of (marble) stone, but in flespy Tables of the heart. But, alas! where shall we find such a spirit among the Ministers of these times? who generally leave the word of God, and do worse than serve Tables, in that sense which the Apostles intend, for thy serve, and worship, and wonder after the Whore of Babylon, and the Beast that car­rieth her, yea and the very Horns of that Beast that carri­eth [Page 95]that Harlot (this is truth, the Lord knows, in whose sight I write these things) and yet they [...] call them­selves, and expect that others should account of them, as of the Ministers of Christ, and faithful Stewards of the Mysteries of God. But it is to be justly feared, that Jehovah will write down other Titles in the books of his Accounts and Re­membrance. Thousands will not look like the Ministers of the Gospel, when those books, and the book of the New Testament shall be opened in the sight of all the world; although now they go under that notion among almost all sorts of people. But enough of these also for the present, let us proceed.

3 Neither in the third and last place, by the Ministers of the Gospel, do I here intend, or understand, the Parsens, Vicars, Rectars, Incumbents, or other such like Ministers of the Parish and Collegiat Churches or Chapels, in this Nation, or any other, or yet any like them, by what new Babylonish names and Titles soever they are dignified and distinguished, according to the known Laws and Customes of those Lands: For undoubtedly, that old, mouldy, Popish Relation, betwixt a Parish Minister, and his Pa­rishioners, or Parish-Church, is of the self-same nature, with that which was anciently betwixt the Prior or Ab­bot, and his Covent, betwixt the Lord Bishop and his Dio­cess, betwixt the Dean and his Chapter, and all such like Corporations. I say again, and disprove it who can, or dare, this Parish Relation with its appurtenances (which I shall treat of in due time, I hope) is of the self-same foundation and constitution with the others, and equally a stranger to the New Testament; for the Te [...]ator spake nothing in his last will touching these creatures, and their Relations each to other, and therefore must go the same way that their Predecessors have gone before them, I mean, as to the disanulling, and annihilating, every plant which our heavenly Father hath not planted, nor hath his Son watered.

I have, I confesse, been somewhat large, and that, beyond my first intentions, in opening these Mysteries of the Man [Page 96]of sin; but the Lord knows how to improve every par­ticle of tru [...] for the interest of our Lord, and to his bles­sing I recommend these Explications.

Wherefore to finish this part of my work, I say po­sitively, That by Ministers of the Gospel, I understand the Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers, who are over the true Churches of Christ, according to God, which true Churches, were either such as were rightly called out of the world, and so formed and consti­tuted by the immediate Ministry of the Apostles, and the other faithful Ministers, before the Apostacy; Or else se­condly, such as are rightly called out of Babylon, and so Re­formed and restored, or Re-constituted, according to the Primitive Pattern, so far as is requisite for the putting of them in statu quo, in the former condition. Or thirdly, such, as by Messengers or Apostles of the Churches ( [...]2 Cor. 8.) shall be orderly called and formed from among the heathens, as it is hoped, it is or may be in New England among the Natives; or among the Jews, who, we expect, shall, ere it be long, be grafted in again.

And those who are thus over, and in relation to such Churches (among whom Christ will delight to walk, that he may transform them from glory to glory by his Word and Spirit) they are the Ministers whom I mean, and particularly intend in this Question, namely, those who being separated to the Gospel of God, according to Rule, do accordingly walk before the Lord, and his people, as becomes the Gospel in all things. And certain­ly, all who own the title of Christians, must acknow­ledge that such as these, are to be accounted Ministers of Christ, and of the Gospel.

These things being premised for explication, I am now to make out from Scripture, and from principles of rea­son, and truth, flowing from expresse Scripture, That it is lawful, in many cases, for the TRUE MINISTERS OF THE GOSPEL to MEDDLE with STATE-AFFAIRS, or with the matters of the world, as they are distinguished from the matters of the Lord, or Church-affairs, with [Page 97]those matters which properly belong to the Civ;l Magi­strate, namely, the things of this life; and I hope, what I shall say in this point, may be of some use to fright away those Bug bears, which are made use of, to affright and discourage many precious hearts from strengthning the hands of the Lords servants in the present service of Christ, against Babylon, and the Kings of the earth.

But as I am entring upon this work, that politick fetch of Paul (honest Paul, and it was honest policy) when hee made that notable Division among the Pharisees and the Sadduces (Act. 23.6.) and so much for his own advan­tage, against the injustice of the Higher Powers, the High Priest and the Council; I say, that sudden Diver­sion which he made, comes into my mind; And, in regard that the Envy, Ill will, and Evil-speakings against my person, and against my practise, have broken out at the lips of so many Professors, I judge it meet to shelter my self under that shield and buckler, which Two of the New made Doctors of (School) Divinity, and like Gamaliel, had in Reputation among all the people, have made ready to my hand; For certainly, it will bee of some use for the qualifying of their anger and displeasure, when they understand how far they are of the same mind with mee in this matter.

First therefore, I quote Dr. Tho. Goodwin, in the 42. and 43. page of that excellent Sermon of his (worthy of a new Edition, with Additions, in this day) These are his words, and the sense of his words, if I understand sense; The Saints have vouchsafed them by God a privilege in RULING and GOVERNING THIS WORLD, and the Providences of God therein; They are Privy Councellors to the great King of Kings, who governs all the States and Kingdomes of the world. And God doth give these Saints a COMMISSION TO SET UP AND PULL DOWN by their Prayers and Intercessions. The Old Testament speaks in a high language in Isa. 45.11. —Concerning the work of my hands command ye me; who speaks this? the words afore are, Thus saith the Holy One [Page 98]of Israel, &c. It would have been blasphemy for us to have said it.—Then he goes on, bringing in the Lord speaking thus, Behold, I that am thus your Maker, give you leave to dispose by your prayers, the great works of my hands, which concern my children, my sons; THE AFFAIRS OF KINGDOMS, even so far as they relate to their good; the Doctor goes on; And he (God) speaks it upon this occasion, that for their sakes he had raised up Cyrus, and pulled down the Babylonian Monarchy, because they by their prayers had sought this. Thus far the Doctor.

Now I cannot distinguish and judge of the juyce and sap of words and phrases in the least, by my Intellectual taste, or palate, If to rule and govern this world, do not suppose and signifie a medling in the affairs of it; And if Privy Councellors intrusted and authorised by Com­mission to set up and pull down, can do either the one or the other, without intermedling in such affairs, I am very much mistaken. Nay further, he saith expresly, that leave is given them by God, to dispose the works of his hands, the affairs of Kingdoms, even so far as they relate to their good, and I judge, no Ministers of the Gospel desire to dispose them otherwise than for their good. But still I say, they cannot dispose the affairs of Kingdoms, but they must meddle with those affairs unavoidably.

Ob. All that can be said by way of Objection or Opposition, is this, that the Doctor speaks of Saints, and not of Ministers, and also that what is done is by their Prayers and Intercessions.

Answ. All this is readily and easily answered, as first, Ministers do not lose the priviledge of Saints, when they are made Ministers by Christ and his people, no more than an other officer of a Church of Saints, doth lose, or is de­prived of the privilege of a member, upon his being cho­sen into office. So that if God gave him this privilege as a Saint, of ruling, governing, disposing the affairs of King­doms, he may still claim it, and make use of his Commission after he is become a Minister of the New Testament.

And as for the second part of the Objection, I acknow­ledge he there speaks of disposing by prayer and intercessi­on [Page 99]only, but this doth not in the least invalidate my As­sertion; because, to set up, and to pull down, to Govern, Rule, and dispose the world, and the Affairs of Kingdoms, by prayer, is one way of meddling with matters of State, and an ex­cellent way; Especially, if that Spirit which accompa­nied the first Christians, be but President and predomi­nant among those privy Councellors, who meet in Christs Name, to set up, and to pul down, according to their Com­mission, for those whom I mentioned, made notable work with that act of State, and that State-policy, whereby Herod and Pontius Pilate proceeded to murther the Prince of Life. The Faith and Prayers of the faithful remnant, have been in all ages, and will bee henceforward, much more dange­rous to the Kings of the earth, and their Affairs, than the greatest quantity of Gunpowder set on fire in any Maga­zeen whatsoever, can be to any City or Town, where it is; if once they spring a Mine, as I may so say, they overthrow whatsoever they did undermine, with a more irresistable force, than is imagined or beleeved. For, est quaedam precum omnipotentia, as he said.

The true fervent praying against States, their Laws and Government, &c. is meddling with a witness, and yet it is hardly known who burts them; but at the last day it will be known what execution hath been done upon the Empires and Monarchies of this world, by the Lords people in the several exigencies of their Affairs; for we know that the Affais of State, Reason of State, State-policy, and the Laws of the Land, have above all other things ob­structed the deliverance of the choycest servants of the Lord, from age to age.

I could illustrate this Point of the Ministers and peo­ples meddling by prayer with the things and interests of men, and of the worldly Powers, and in some measure shew of what excellent use it will be to overthrow the Thrones of Kingdoms, &c. But I refer it to the true Ministers, and the few faithful Brethren in Christ, to exercise themselves herein day and night, as, I hear, they begin to do. But let them remember, and not forget upon any terms, [Page 100]that Faith is the very life and soul of prayer, and if you meddle with these, or any Powers abroad, without that, you will meddle to no purpose; But let no man imagin, that because we have not an Answer all this while, therefore we are not heard, for Faith waites upon. God for the bringing forth his purposes and counsels in his own time; and God forbid wee should limit the holy one of Israel, or prescribe to him a method or manner of proceeding, in the production of those antient Decrees, which are to be brought forth in the time appointed of the Father. So much for this first way of meddling with State-Affairs.

The other Doctor of the Divinity aforesaid, is also of great reputation, and therefore, I hope, my adversaries will not turn away from his Doctrine in this matter. I am bold to call him forth to plead for this Truth, for his Preached and Printed Principles, do very much tend, in my apprehension, to the justification of the practice of those Ministers of the Gospel, who do or shall hereafter inter­meddle in State-Affairs, as becomes Ministers; for no other­wise would I have any one to meddle, than as becommeth him, in the judgement of the spiritual man.

There is one notion of his (in the Sermon which I mean) which certainly had the preheminence of many o­thers, in his mind and judgement, and which I shall trans­cribe in the first place, and then improve it according to its natural tendency, as the Lord shall help, on the be­half of his own Truth and Interest, so suddenly and un­worthily deserted by those who seemed very stout Assertors of it not many years ago.

The words of Dr. O. in the Serm. on Heb. 12.27.

All the PRESENT STATES OF THE WORLD are cemented together by Antichristian lime, as I shall shew afterwards. Unless they be so shaken as to have e­very cranny searched and brushed, they will be no quiet habitation for the Lord Christ and his people. This I find in the 14 page.

Again, in the 25 page I find him speaking to this pur­pose. The Heavens and the Earth of the Nations, in their present constitution, are directly framed to the interest of Antichrist, which by notable advantages at their first moulding, and continued insinuations ever since, hath so riveted it self into the very fundamentals of them, that no digging or mining, without an Earthquake, will cast up the foundation-stones thereof.

Yet again, to the same effect, p. 35. Is it not evident to him that hath but half an eie? that the whole present con­stitution of the Governments of the Nations, is so cemented with Antichristian morter from the very top to the bottom, that without a thorough shaking they cannot be cleansed; And a little after, This onely is certain, It (the said sha­king) shall not stop, nor receive its period, before the in­terest of Antichristianity be wholly separated from the pow­er of those Nations. Thus far the other Doctor.

1 Now first, We see plainly, or may see, that he for his part meddles with States and Governments of Nations, all along throughout the Sermon.

2 He doth particularly declare the nature of their Con­stitution, both foundation and superstruction; shewing also how the interest of Antichrist is intermingled or inter­woven in all or most of those States in Europe, and that from the top to the bottom.

3 He declares and foretels the shaking, translating, and new molding of all those States and Kingdoms.

4 He affirms, that every cranny must be searched, for that Antichristian morter or lime and sand, which doth cement the constitution of the Governments of the Nati­ons, and that this shaking, searching, &c. shall not stop, nor receive a period, till the interest of Antichristianity be whol­ly separated from these Nations.

From all which, and many other passages in that Sermon, I do make this inference, That the Ministers of the Gospel may lawfully, or without sin, yea, must necessarily inter­meddle, and be imployed in searching into the Affairs of these Kingdoms and States. Yea, further, for ought I can dis­cern, [Page 202]they must be imployed by their Lord and Master, as the chief laborers, which are to brush and clense the States and Governments from that Antichristian morter.

For certainly, it may be easily demonstrated, that it ap­pertains properly to their Office, and as a principal part of it, in these last times, to discover the Man of sin, to find out Antichrist in all his subterfugies and diverticles, to trace and hunt him in all his windings and turnings; for what sort and generation of men will the Lord [...] and annoint to deal with this great Enemy of Jesus Christs, if not the Ministers of the Gospel? And if it be true, that this Doctor hath written elsewhere, (as undoubtedly it is from Scripture-ground) namely, that the Pope hath expresly bargained for his own interest, and provided that that should have the chiefest place in all Oaths and Bonds that were betwixt Princes and people, then we must look into the Affairs of States, and their Laws and Administrati­ons, and where-ever we find any thing of that Son of perdition, that horned Beast, &c. to detect him, and his legerdemain, and call upon the people of God to help pull down all those things which are of Babylon, and the Beast (though it be of the very fundamental constitution of the Kingdom and State) which we have detected by the help of the Word and Spirit.

That Scripture Rev. 17. doth express the truth which you have read, in a few excellent words, These, saith the Spirit, (that is, the Ten Horns or Kings) have one mind, and will give their power and strength unto the Beast.

And they, (according to what is prophetically spoken) have long fince given their power and strength unto the Beast, but we hope it will be taken from the Beast ere it be long; but the words of the Apostle John, by the Spirit, are far more emphatical, than they are rendred by the Kings Translators, I could methinks read them thus, They shall deliver up that their Power and Authority unto the Beast, i.e, that Power which they received, as in the former verse, for they received power as Kings one hour with the Beast; which implies, they received not their Power at first from the [Page 203]Beast; for you see, they and the Beast came into the world much about a time; but afterward, these Kings come to be of one mind, ( [...]) which intimates, they give their Power and Authority upon deliberation, they know what they do, it is an act of State, and then they come to be of one and the same mind at length; what one doth, all will do; and so they agreed to give up first their Militia, or Mi­litary power to the Beast, their Armies, [...], See Mede on Rev. 13 2. and indeed histories are full of this truth, for the Militia of each, and of all these Kings, was at the beck of this Beast. Upon these two or three words, they shall give up their Power, or Hosts, [...]o the Beast, large Volumes of histories, to shew the accomplishment of this Prophecy, might easily be written, by me, or any other who had leasure and skill to collect and sum up, what is upon record in those King­doms here intended.

And besides, they give away, or deliver up their Autho­rity, for so I render it ( [...]) and so it is rendred, in Rev. 13.2. This signifies the Civil Power, and in the 17. verse of this chapter, it is their Kingdom, so they part with all to the Beast, [...], they give all up, as men do when they pass away their Lands under hand and seal; they were their own Kingdoms, which they gave away; but it may be asked, what folly was this? I answer, it was not folly in their opinion, all was for the good of the Ca­tholick Church, the Spouse of Christ, this was suggested, and they beleeved it; whereas in truth, these Kings fel in league with this beautiful bold Strumpet, and committed fornicati­on with her, and so being intangled in her love, did not regard what costs they were at to satisfie their lusts, but be­stowed all they had upon the beast that carried her, and all for this drunken Harlots sake, and for her use. Indeed it is wonderful to read and to consider, how the Kings of the earth have committed fornication with that great whore of Babylon, and how the Nations also have been made drunk with the impoy­soned intexicating wine of her fornications; for they did always follow the examples of their Kings, or chief Rulers (Re­gis ad exemplum) and how the Merchants of the earth have [Page 104]waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.

Now then, in the name of the Lord let this Question be asked; shall not the Ministers of the Gospel (in opening and applying the Scriptures which concern this matter) indea­vor by all means to break the league, betwixt this whorish woman and her Lovers, or Paramors, these Kings of the earth? Is it not their duty and office to recover the Nati­ons from their drunkenness? who dare forbid the true Ministers of Christ to intermeddle in those Affairs of State, which are managed for the interest of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters? I declare it before the world, we will meddle with them more and more, as we grow and increase in the knowledge and understanding of those Oracles and Prophecies which concern the ten Horns: And whether I live or die, let the present and approaching Generation know, that the Ministers of the Gospel shall be imployed by their Lord, the Prince of the Kings of the earth, as some of his principal instruments, to pluck up, pull down, and break in peeces the governments of the Nations, for Anti­christ is got into the bowels; foundations, establishments of their powers, and it is our business, it is our proper work, as you heard, to seek him out, and reveal him in the sight of all the Nations of the earth.

These Pastors and Teachers (in regard their flocks are to be used in the destroying of the Babylonish Strumpet) must search every cranny, as the Doctor speaketh; they shall to this end be indued with such power, and with such a Spi­rit from on high, as that in a sense, and in a degree, they shall be as exact, accurat and curious, as the Jews use to be in seeking and searching every hole, corner, and cranny of their houses, for the finding and purging out of the leavened bread, according to that command of God, Exod. 3.7. There shall no leavened bread be seen with thee, neither shall there be leaven seen with thee in all thy quarters. The manner of doing this is set down at large by Writers, what care and industry was used to clear their houses of the leaven aforesaid; And as Paul exhor­ted the Church of Corinth, to purge out the old leaven, that [Page 105]they might be a new lump. So shall the Ministers of Christ, ere long call upon the Nations and Statesmen therein, to purge out the old leaven of Antichristianism, yea all the old leaven and the new leaven; and as the Prophet Jeremiah saith, there must not be left a stone of the Babylonish building, For a cor­ner, nor a stone for foundations: for Babylon shall be ever­lasting Desolations, saith the Lord, Jer. 51.26.

And if it be asked how this shall be? the Preacher and Doctor aforesaid will tell you, and hath told us in part. And I hope I may have liberty to give in my sense also, for further explication.

We shall reward Babylon as she hath rewarded us. And among other wayes of recompence, we shall by the Spirit and Providence of God, be led and encouraged to go on in prying into every corner with the candle of the Lord. We shall look and search narrowly to finde out the Babylonish leaven, the Popish mixture, the Antichristian morter, which is yet remaining in these States and Kingdoms; for as sure as the Lord liveth, there is much of all this even in this nation, notwith­standing all these Earthquakes, and wonderful Revolutions. Yea, I will say it boldly and truely, the Relicks of Popery are maintained and protected by the present Powers. But to this end that there may an utter extirpation of all those Popish Remaines, A Glorious, Evangelical inquisition shall be set up in due time, and the Ministers of the Gospel shall be Gospel-inquisitors (I speak in allusion to the Spanish, Popish Inquisition) and then we shall have recourse to the Law and to the Testimony (to the Law of God, and to the Testimony of Jesus) and that being the Touchstone, what we find contra­ry to sound Doctrine and the power of Godliness, contrary to or destructive of the liberties and priviledges wherewith Christ our Lord, our Judge, our Law-giver, our King hath made us free, and endowed us, by those TWO INSTRUMENTS OF HIS GOVERNMENT, and the Magna Charta of his subjects; I say we shall have recourse to the word of Christ, and what is found opposite or contradictory thereto, we shall discover it and and reveal it openly, as the Lord shall give o­portunity and Spirit thereunto. When we are once anointed [Page 106]with fresh cile, for these new motions, and expeditions, we shall intermeddle so, as to examine and inquire into the Oaths and contracts of the State. We shall bring the old known Laws of the Land (made most of them when Reason, and Religion also, were at the lowest Ebb, when Kings and Par­liaments were the Protectors of the Beast and Whore) and so into the customs in all Courts of Justice and Judicature, of which, though many are faln asleep, and are rotting in the grave of oblivion, yet others remain alive, and are confirmed by oath and solemn ingagement. All Acts of State will be med­led with; and the Edicts of the Rulers of the people, brought to the tryal. And let the Powers assure themselves, whatsoever Oaths or Branches of Oaths, whatsoever customs or Relicks of customs or Traditions they have received from theirs & our Po­pish Ancestors, which have the stamp and superscription of An­tichrist, or the Man of sin upon them, and are still underpropped and supported by the present Commanders and Lords of the Nation, we shall in the power of Christ Jesus the Lord, and of his Truth and Spirit, so far meddle with all of them, as that we, our brethren and companions in the Kingdom, the cause and the work of Christ, shall never be satisfied or well plea­sed till they are broken all to pieces, suppressed and consumed to nothing.

But lest, some Readers should censure me as too peremptory and malapert in my expressions; Let us hear what our Au­thor before mentioned saith further to this point.

Although in those passages which I have transcribed, he seems to content himself that there should be onely a shaking, 2 brushing, and a cleansing of States and Governments from the morter aforesaid; Yet in another part of his Sermon, he comes more home to the truth, where he saith, that no Atone­ment shall be made for the blood of the Saints slain under the Notion of Hereticks, nor Expiation be allowed, whilest a TOE OF THE IMAGE, OR A BONE OF THE BEAST IS LEFT UNBROKEN. I assure you, this is somewhat a severe expression; this is much more then brushing off the morter and the Cement; I wish he himself would fall upon the Image, if it were but upon one of the little toes of it in [Page 107]England, with the hammer of the World. Would to God, it were the Genius of all the University-Doctors, to fall upon the bones of the Beast, as here in the 22 page he doth express himself: such a Brush were as bad as a downright Blow. But what if the Lord should espie some of the most forward prose­cutors of the Beast, in times past, and who gave him many a dry Blow, to be turned Artificial Chirurgians, and to be very busie in healing those deep wounds which were lately made, and very careful to bind up the Bruises which the Image recei­ved on some of his Ten Toes? the Lords eyes are upon all their wayes, he knows their works and their thoughts; and unto him I refer them for the present, without further disquisi­tion, and return from whence I have made this short digression.

The Ministers of Christ understanding this, that no expiati­ons will be allowed, &c. and that yet, they cannot meddle with Antichrist, nor indeed come at him, or at the Beast, and his Horms, but they must of necessity meddle with State-affairs (the Beast and the States or ten Horns being so neerly related each to other, and making up but one Body politick or Corporation) Let no man imagine that the zealous faith­full Ministers of the Lord Iesus, will give over or leave off their medling in State-matters, because of the Clamors and importune suggestions of those preachers or professors, whose senses are not exercised by reason of use to discern betwixt the good and the evil in this important point of Gospel-Truth.

For, without doubt, As the Pastors and Teachers, in asserting the Priestly office of Christ, may lawfully meddle with the Popish Priesthood, and shew the contrariety thereof unto the Scripture, and thereby discover the rottenness and vileness of all those principles which are maintained by them for the uphold­ing of the Affairs of the Papacy, which concern their Priests of all sorts and sizes, and their Masses, Pilgrimages Purgatory, Processions, and such like ridiculous Inventions, Customs and Traditions: In like manner there is no question to be made a­mong knowing Christians, but in handling the Doctrine of the GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM in the latitude of it, they may interpret and apply all Scriptures of that nature, to [Page 108]the Just Disparagement of the Kings of the Earth (as the Lord constantly stiles them by that Diminishing Title, and of the Princes of this world, who shall come to nothing, as Paul saith. And, for the better and more effectual advancing of the Name and glory of Christ in the world, they may endea­vor to lessen the esteem of the little Horn and all the Adhe­rents to it, yea, they may meddle so far with the Higher Powers, and their Acts of State, or Statute-Laws, as to discover the weakness and unprofitableness thereof in com­parison of the Laws, Statutes, and Ordinances of the Lord Jesus for the Government of the Nations; and if they may meddle with those more weighty affaires of the States and Kingdoms of Europe, or the Horns of the Beast, among whom Antichrist hath such a considerable Interest; surely then, they may intermeddle with lesser and lighter matters of the Government, viz. foolish and Ridiculous customs. Tully said well, In Actis publicis nihil lege gravius. The Laws of a State, are the most mighty Acts of State.

And to this effect, I told the Committee of the New-Court-Council, when they spake of my medling with State-mat­ters, as the phrase is; I told them, I would meddle with all things from the beginning of Genesis to the end of the Re­velation. And I know assuredly the word of God medled with all things under the Sun. And therefore I was not to be contracted in my Ministery.

And what I said then, I after so many moneths Imprison­ment confirm publikly, I will meddle with every thing which is handled and revealed in the good word of God, So far as the Lord by his grace and providence shall vouchsafe to give and administer unto so unworthy and so sinful a servant of his, either light or opportunity; and I will call no man Lord or Master upon earth by his assistance, so far, as to ask leave so to do; For my Lord is greater then all. And I pity the present power, because I foresee, that unless the Lord do many marvelous things in mercy to them, they will stumble so often at that stumbling stone, as their bruises will be very hardly cured. I conclude with this one of D. O. Expressions; That, saith he, which doth and shall stick upon Potentates to [Page 109]their Ruine, is not so much their own or any other Interest, as the very Dreggs of this Papal Antichristian Interest thrust into their Oaths and Obligations for no other end in the world, but to keep the Lord Jesus out of his Throne.

As for that expression, in the Objection; Whatever a Mi­nister meddles with, besides bringing in souls to Christ, and building them up in Christ, It is beside the Cushion; I answer, I care not, nor my fellow-prisoner, what is be­sides the Cushion; We are sure it is not besides the Text, for a Minister to build up believers in the knowledge of Christ. And, to open those Scriptures, which concern his Kingdom, and his being King over all the earth, and to interpret those Oracles, which signifie that he will go­vern all Nations by his own Laws and Statutes, and not by the Laws of Omri, nor the Statutes and Ordinances of the House of Ahab; that is, not by the Statutes, Laws, Or­dinances or Edicts of the present Kings of the earth, The Beast and his Ten Horns, &c. is beyond all Controversie a part of the duty and Office of a Minister of the New Testa­ment.

And if we, in telling the people, that Christ will darken, and not onely so, but utterly Destroy the Kingdome of the Beast, and all the forms of Government in the whole world now in being, which are set up in opposition to him, Who is Heir of all things, do meet with opposi­tions and contradiction from our Brethren, beside all Manner o [...] Discouragement from the higher or lower Rulers of the Nation (even to bonds and Imprison­ment, yea even to Torment and Death) yet, being true Teachers, we ought to be so far from giving place by subjection in this matter, for a moment, that we must ra­ther in the name and strength of the King of Saints, rise much higher in bearing our Testimony, and so in inter­medling with the particulars now under debate.

But there are many time-serving professors, and Neminal Christians, both Courtiers and Others, who use to declare themselves after this manner, concerning us: THEY BRING TROUBLE UPON THEIR OWN HEADS, AND THEY MAY THANK THEMSELVES: If they would let the Higher Powers alone, and Preach the Gospel, they might be countenanced, maintained, protected, and it may be preferred, as others are.

I answer: In the self same Language, the Lukewarm gene­ration of Ministers, and conformable Puritans were heard to speak in the times of Prelatical persecution; and when a cer­tain Disciple complained to another Godly Minister, how that faithful servant of the Lord, Master Henry Burton was cruelly handled by his persecutors, he told him immediately, He might thank himself; If he had let the Bishops alone, and the like, they would not have medled with him.

And as for that great Quarrel against us, that we do not preach the Gospel, I have this to say, that if we alwayes preach Faith and Repentance, we shall be alwayes laying the foundation, and so shall never go on to perfection: but we know, Though it be not accounted Gospel in the Courts of Princes, to declare the glad Tidings of the Kingdom and coming of Christ, to put down all rule, all Authority and power, that the Saints may be at liberty to serve the Lord in the full latitude of the New Testament-Ministration; Yet the Prince of the Kings of the earth will account it Gospel, and preaching of the Gospel also, and this in the presence of all flattering Court-Chaplains, and of their Masters also, at whose Tables they are sed deliciously every day, while their brethren are so thrust into Corners, and unchristian and inhu­manely used and abused by them.

But further, Do they still say, we may thank our selves? We say No. We may thank the God and father of our Lord Iesus Christ, and our Lord Ievus Christ himself, that we are counted worthy to suffer shame and reproach, and to be committed to Gaolers for his Truths sake, and that glo­rious cause, which once was cryed up by the General and his Army, though now they have gotten a new Cause to carry on.

Again, whereas a great noise is made, what LIBERTY we may have to preach the Gospel, what countenance and maintenance; This I have to return to such Discourses; first, I deny that there was or is such Liberty allowed. For who­soever will preach the GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOME throughly and effectually, in the Demonstration of the spirit and of power; and, whosoever will zealously insist upon those Scriptures, which are profitable for the pressing of those Doctrines of Truth, which concern the present Age and Times, or those which are profitable for reproof, and for Cor­rection of the present evils and iniquities of the higher or lower powers, they shall not enjoy their Liberty Long; but if they are suffered, and connived at, it is not because the Rulers are satisfied with such Preachers or their Doctrine and Reproofs, but upon other considerations, as, either to avoid the Reproachful Imputation of persecuting powers, or else because their Instrument is but green and Tender, as King Saul's was, when, he did politickly forbear to punish those who would not chuse him for their Lord and King (whereas afterward, when the Kingdom was confirmed to him, he was not so modest) or upon some such profound Reasons of carnal State-policy.

Secondly, As for their Countenance and Maintenance, for my part, I look upon both the one and the other, as two of the sorest and most dangerous snares wherein Ministers can possibly be caught in these dayes.

For is it probable, or indeed possible, for any One of the whole Generation of the Parsons and Vicars in the Reformed Churches of Europe; or for the Nurseries and Seminaries of them (The several Universities in the Respective Nations, which did alwayes, and do to this Day, All depend upon the Bounty, Munificence, and Good will of the serveral Higher Powers) I say, again, How can it be that these or such like creatures of mans making, should turn head upon their good Lords or bountiful Benefactors, and so to bear an high Testimony for the Lord Jesus, against the Oppressions, Luxuries, superstitions and other Abominations of the Princes of the world aforesaid? It is not to be imagined or expected. For, [Page 112]do rational Men look for grapes from Thorns, or for figs from Thistles? They were not of Gods planting, and how can they bring forth fruit unto God? But if at any time the Lord himself by his own Spirit working in any one of them migh­tily, do call them forth as he did Paul, Luther and such like, to bear his name before the Kings of the earth, they must cast up their Reckoning with Paul, &c. and come to this conclusion, even to count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus their Lord; for whom and whose service, they will then willingly count their Benefices, and promotions Ecclesiastical (as they call them) their Vice-chancellorships, their Headships, their Deaneries, their Fellow­ships, their University-Degrees, their Augmentations, but Dross and Dung, that they may promote the work and honor of their Lord.

For indeed, this is the kindly Operation of the true know­ledge of Christ. And what Parish-Preacher soever he be who intends to be Christs Disciple in good earnest (during the time of the Dominion of the little Horn) and to follow him close, so as to serve him with a perfect heart, He must ne­cessarily deny himself, and forsake his House and (Glebe) Lands; his Tythes and rates for Tythes, whether personal or predial, his State-salary, or Augmentation, or any other of the fine Things aforesaid: for otherwise he cannot boldly bear up the Testimony of Jesus; nor declare against the Babylo­nish Beast and the Ten Horns, in all those things wherein they are guilty of High Treason against the Lord Jesus Christ, his Crown and Dignity. But if men will pretend to be for Christ, and yet are so wise as to invent and contrive how to prevent sufferings for his sake, let them stay behind and keep compa­ny with the world, the world-like Church, and the carnal Clergy; yea let them do as the most do, and then the fewest will laugh them to scorn.

But it may be said to me, Although you are so malapert and so bold, to throw dirt in the faces of so many Reverend Deans, Doctors, Divines, Vice-chancellors, with others of the worshipful Clergy, and Orthodox Ministers in all the Pro­testant Courts, Cities, and countries in these parts of the [Page 113]world; yet it is not much to be regarded what a prating fool doth speak: besides. Solomon saith, A prating fool shall fall.

To this I reply: They will do me manifest wrong whosoever shall say that I throw dirt in the faces of these men: for the Truth is this; They have besmeared their own faces, with groveling upon the Dunghil of the filthy Antichristian world, or else they have contracted Dirt for want of washing and cleansing their faces and their hands: And I do but tell them where the dirt is, and where the filth sticks upon them, so as that they are and appear very Deformed by reason thereof. And if you call me and my fellows prating fools; for shewing you where the spots of Dirt are to be found, we will be more vile, and we will, by the grace of God, proceed and go on to play the fools, for Christs sake; and that, till, either you turn your backs, and depart with shame, or until you are perswa­ded to look into the glorious glass of the New Testament, and compare our words with what you finde there represented to you: for we will not be out-faced by you in this matter, upon any terms.

But put the case we are such fools as you and your Patrons say, and that we talk much more then our share comes to; me­thinks you should suffer fools gladly, seeing you your selves are so wise. And what were it for some of you, to per­swade your Lord Protector to let out of prison two or three, or a few fools, to make sport for the wise men at the Court? Cer­tainly, we being such simple and contemptible Ignoramusses, could not prejudice so many wise men in any thing we could do or say.

Thus I have indeavoured to answer those objections, and to speak something to those reproachful Cavils, which are heard by many, to proceed out of the mouths of Those who use to appear like the friends of Christ in a Sun-shine Day, but to leave him, when Tribulations or Persecutions arise be­cause of the word. As for the truth, though it cannot be defended by us silly, weak worms, as the Lord knows we are, yet, the God of Truth will lift up the Banner of Truth, and it shall be displayed in such glory at the length, that all Nations shall flow unto it.

The latter part of this Section needs no Explanation, for, Res ipsa loquitur. The Thing it self speaketh, and speaketh aloud, so that it is heard through the Nation, viz. that the Carnal Clergy have no heart to declare, or pray, or confess, according to the present exigences of the cause of our dear Redeemer. But the Counsel of our Lord is plain: Let them alone, they are blind Leaders of the Blind, and both shall fall into the Ditch. And this shall suffice for this matter, untill a better Oportunity.

Sect. 6, and 7.

I need not spend time to satisfie any Readers concerning the contents thereof, for they are themselves explanations of what went before. Onely concerning the later part of the seventh, I shall wait for such a season, as the Lord by his wise providence shall administer for the best advantage of his service. For, for the present, I do not finde my spirit free to increase this Treatise to a greater Bulk and price; and I designed onely an explication of the first part, in regard none else needed an Interpreter.

Sect. 8, and 9.

The ensuing Epistle, which I spake of in the first Secti­on being obtained, That will sufficiently enlighten the Reader in the understanding what I intend in those Things, namely, in the matter of application for my enlarg­ment, and how far it is from my very thoughts to accept of Deliverance upon base and Dishonourable Terms, at any time. In regard, I know assuredly, (without any degree of doubting that I am sensible of) that this Cause wherein I am engaged with my fellows and companions, is absolutely and unquestionably the Best and most Honor­able Cause of all Causes whatsoever agitated and disputed at this day in all the world.

Wherefore I will now add no more but this, He that belie­veth maketh not haste, & shall never be confounded: And Christ is precious to them which Believe, even in a Prison, in a Dun­geon, upon the Scaffold, upon the Cross, anywhere, every­where; [Page 115]to that MOST PRECIOUS ANOYNTED ONE, be Honour, Glory, and Dominion, now and for ever. And let all that love him in sincerity say Amen, in full as­surance of faith and hope, even in the presence of all Op­position whatsoever. Amen, and Amen.

The End.
Here followeth an extract of that Letter to the Con­gregation, which did immediately precede that Epistle, which being so unworthily used, did occasion such a noise among the foes and friends of Jesus Christ our Lord, and which is now explained as you have read.

The Imprisoned Elder, A Servant of the Lord Jesus, from his Watch-Tower, in this House of Bondage, sendeth greeting to the Bre­thren, which meet together in Warwick Lane, London.

Well-beloved Brethren in our dearest Lord,

I Desire earnestly on your behalf, all, and all maner of Communications of Grace from Heaven, whereby you may in all Things grow up into him who is the Head, even unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.

For undoubtedly you having received the Lord Jesus, as a PRINCE and a SAVIOUR, in the light and power of the glorious Ministration of the New Testament, cannot but acknowledge, that all your Happiness is derived from the love of the Father through him, in whom dwells the ful­ness of the Godhead Bodily, &c. Now concerning the Things whereof you wrote unto me in your late Letter, This I say, and testifie in the Lord, for a further Confirmation of the Truth mentioned by you, and for the Encouragement of such honest Hearts, who through faith and patience, are in the number of those, which wait for the kingdom of Hea­ven, and for the Consolation of the true Israel, (for which I am bound with this Chain) That although my Name be cast out, as vile, & I am separated by the New-fashion'd King, and his Council from the society of the Saints, (in which, through mercy, I so much delighted) yet I bear record be­fore this Congregation, to the praise of the Lord, that it is the best condition, that I ever tasted of and enjoyed; onely, one sharp Thorn, which I cannot forget, hath been made use of, to keep my spirit in a Gospel-decorum: lest [Page 117]otherwise, I might have been lifted up above measure through that abundance of ravishing glory, which I have been ready very often to be overwhelmed withal.

And yet, let the Saints take diligent Heed, that they do not expect much from me, when I am delivered: for it may be, Brethren, These extraordinary visitations from on High, are intended but for my Prison-state, and for my suc­cour and support, while I am thus suffering from all sorts of men.

I have indeed desired earnestly that the Spirit of Christ may according to his Office, and our Lords promise, bring to my remembrance what the Lord hath spoken to me, since I was Close-Prisoner; and what I have seen, and tasted, and heard, and handled of the word of life: for I cannot write it down, though I attempt it. Therefore I beseech you, let there be prayer made on my behalf, and on your behalf, & which is more, on the Lords behalf, that God would open to me a Door of Utterance, (from that very moment, he sets open the Prison-doors) to speak forth that mystery of Christ for which I am in bonds, and that I may make it manifest as I ought to speak. And whereas you expect I should offer or propound A way to you, that may be conducible to my Inlargement; I desire you to understand, that it was never in my Heart to direct you what to do, for the obtaining of my Liberty, for it is contrary to that light, and those principles, where­by I walk in this condition. My Judgement is, if there be not Light, and Love, and Courage enough in a Church of Saints, to prompt them to the use of Lawful and Honor­able Means, for the Redemption of their Officer out of Captivity; it is Best for him still to lie in Bonds: for it concerns them above all other people to endeavour his deliverance out of the House of Bondage, if they Judge his presence needful and useful in the midst of them. Also, in Answer to that Marginal Note in your Epistle, I shall be plain with you; It is no way proper for me to ap­pear for the obtaining of my own Liberty in a private way; and rather then do it, I shall through the strength of [Page 118]Christ, be contented to suffer Close-Imprisonment, in this blessed Cause, during this mans reign, although it should last as long as Athaliah's, who usurped the Chief Govern­ment, for about the space of twice three yeers and an half.

It is true, my sufferings are many and great, and there is a multiplication of Grievances and Injuries, e­very day, and hour of the day. And (as the Chief Captain said) with a Great sum would I obtain my free­dom, if I were imprisoned upon a Common Account; but as the Case stands, I say again, I shall not give place by subjection for a moment, or do Any thing more or less, that is unworthy of me the Prisoner of the Lord, in such a precious Cause as This, (the Lord standing by me, and fully strengthening me) for all the treasures and riches of the New Court, and of all the Kingdoms of the Earth in to the Bargain.

And, Brethren, I have reason for what I write in this particular: for first, the Lord was with me in a most sweet and glorious manner, while I preached those Truths for which I suffer. His presence was also with me most Com­fortably from the first moment I was apprehended by the Pursevant till I was committed hither; And all this time of my long and wrongful Imprisonment, he hath not left me, nor forsaken me in the least, praised for ever be his glorious Name. And should I leave and forsake such a Lord Protector, and such a Comforter, by any base Compliance with the Kings of the Earth and their Para­sites? would not that Spirit be grieved, by which I am sealed to the day of Redemption? should not the Name of the Lord be blasphemed? and the faces of the Choicest followers of the Lambe gather paleness and shame? surely these Considerations are prevalent with me. And in this further, I much rejoyce, that I can do nothing against the Truth, but for the Truth.

Besides the former grounds of not stirring or moving for mine own liberty in the ordinary way; I finde not, upon search, that those servants of the Lord who were Prisoners and Innocent, did ever petition, or use other ordinary [Page 119]means to the Chief Governours for their own Liberty; Joseph did not, Hanani did not, Jeremiah did not, nor John the Baptist, nor Peter, nor Paul, that I can finde.

And surely there is very good reason for it, if we could search it out. I conceive these which follow, may be given as some grounds of it.

1. Innocent Prisoners (suffering as they did whom I have mentioned) know they have to deal with Tyrants and un­reasonable Persecutors; and what will such as these hearken to, unless the Prisoners do submit to their lusts, and satisfie their arbitrary wills and pleasures?

2. They glorified God all the while they were suffering Bonds and Imprisonments. The service of their Master was promoted all that time; and being in Gods way, why should they covet to go out of so good an Imployment?

3. The Prisoners and Martyrs of the New Testament fol­low the example of Christ, and tread in his steps, when they pa­tiently indure persecution for the Truths and Righteous­ness sake, without making unworthy applications for their liberty.

4. If it becomes us, not to use the means and devices of the world to prevent Imprisonment, but cheerfully to come when we are sent for before Kings and Councels for Christs sake and his Gospels, how unseemly would it ap­pear for us after a short time to use means to get out again, after the manner of other men who are in bonds upon o­ther Accounts?

I shall proceed upon the other part of your Letter the next week, if God permit; and in the mean season I be­seech you and exhort you in the Lord, See that you walk cir­cumspectly, as it is written, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the dayes, in one sence are very evil. Where­fore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

Prayer and Praise is to be continued for

Yours in Christ, CHR. FEAKE.

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