Contemplations upon these Times, Or, THE PARLIAMENT Explained to WALES.

Digested into three Parts.

I. Containing, A brief, faithfull, and pithy History of the PARLIAMENT, wherein (as in a Mirrour) is represented the marvellous mercies of GOD in its preservation: Whence it is evinced, That doubtlesse it is designed for some notable purposes of His in these later times; And (by some ma­teriall Probabilities) even to set up the Kingdom of His SONN [...] in all the World.

II. Cleer Resolutions of such Doubts, as his Countrymen of Wales are not so well satisfied in, as could be wished: which are reduced to these 3 Points, touching the

  • KING.

III. A closer Application unto the state of Wales, interwoven with sundry remarkable and profitable Observations.

Written by a Gentleman, a cordiall Well-wisher of his Countries happinesse.

LONDON, Printed by R. VV. for Nath. VVebb, and W. Grantham, at the Gray-hound in Pauls Church-yard. 1646.

TO The Religious, and most VVorthy, Sir ROBERT HARLEY, Knight of the Bath. Sir THOMAS MIDDLETON, KNIGHT. Master IOHN GLYNNE, Recorder of the famous City of London. Eminent Members of the Honourable House of COMMONS.
And all other his worthy Friends and Country-men, that either are, or shall be Members of the Parliament of ENGLAND.

IF ever it was true, it is now, That Scribimus indocti, docti (que) So that it may grow almost a question, whether now the Sword, or Pen is most busie? or more effusion of Ink, or Blood? What here offers it self to your view, comes [Page] from a modest and peaceable hand and heart, and meerly relative to the good of those Countries, whose happiness I am con­fident you prefer before any particular inte­rest. Conceptions of this kinde I have not yet seen any; and though (praised be God) our hands are pretty well restrained, yet that our hearts be wholly purged of the old poy­son, there is some slender endeavour to in­form our Country-men with the right un­derstanding of the Parliament, and its prin­ciples, and clear demonstrations of Gods speciall providence and goodnesse in its pre­servation; so that to harbour a thought a­gainst it, we must take heed we be not found To fight against God: Act. 5. I confesse them but a rude heap of thoughts; I have laboured to be Seneca his Scholar, and in writing to observe his rule, not so much the Quemadmodum, as the Quid, being assured None can be more eloquent, then he that hath well conceived a Truth; It is with things of this kinde, as with burthens of the womb that are teemed with perturbations and dangers, they prove lesse thriving; and what is here might have appeared more comely, had they not been [Page] conceived at such times and places, when and where indeed I durst not scarce owne them as Thoughts. Worthy Sirs, whatever they are, they implore your favourable ac­ceptance, they court neither for praise nor preferment; If the poore Author may not still be under the insultation of our old ene­mies, Mutato nomine, and enjoy but Common Iustice, it is the Apex of his desires: I would not be behinde for my poore Mite to fur­ther the great work, which (blessed be God) I hope I may say is a finishing, wherein I, not unlike that Bird, (that is fabled) when the Kings of Asia contributed great treasures to the building of a Temple, it having no other wealth, went thither to present her Feathers.

Truth was never without adversaries, but never more mortall ones then now. You may see I have drawn in its quarrel: You are Gods champions, and its; I humbly beg I may not suffer, but let your countenance and protection be at hand, and I shall hum­bly pray, that as He hath singled you to be Instruments of His glory here, you may so [Page] act, and honour Him, that hath so honoured you, that you be partakers of His glory and blisse for evermore.

The Prayer of him who ever hath been, and will be ever really devoted to You in this great ser­vice of GOD and his Country,

PART. I. Containing a brief, faithfull, and pithy History of the PARLIAMENT, &c.
To my Country-men of WALES.

SOme have been curious in observing the resemblance between the state of Israel, and this of our land. Truly, Gods great mercies and de­liverances towards us, have no small affinity with theirs; and our sins and ingratitude towards Him, doth but too unhappily maintain the comparison betwixt us.

But (me thinks) there cannot be a passage in all Histories, prophane or sacred, that more suits to the present fate of our Kingdom, then what befell Is­rael by that unhappy King Rehoboam, 1 King. c. 12▪ 2 Chron. c. 18.

Although Comparisons-run not quatuor pedibus, yet in this the Paralel holds strange: The cause of [Page 2] that great rent in the state of Israel is rendred, that Rehoboam refusing the councel of the old men, and following the councel of the young men. I wish this were not too apparent in our present case.

His Majesty (it will be objected) ever expressed himself willing to ease our yokes,Obj. &c.

His willingnesse could not otherwise better ap­peare,Ans. then to hearken to his Old men, his Councel, his Parliament: And what semblances soever were cast in our eyes, had the Lord permitted us to have had the desert of our sins, and to have let the Parli­ament have been mastered and destroyed, notwith­standing all fair words and promises, we should ere this, in stead of whips have felt scorpions. KINGS act not by their proper Minds and Persons, but by their Instruments and Councels; and wofull experience hath taught us the truth of this, whereof we would be incre­dulous, when the Parliament gave us timely notice of it.

I have often mused, what magick and enchant­ment is in the name KING: I confesse we should behold them as a kinde of visible Deity, but not make them a Deity; And do we lesse, when in the point of this War we pretend Con­science toward the King, and nothing at all toward God? What was there more common in blasphe­mous mouths, to warrant them in their barbarous murthers,Though Gods anoin­ted, there, doth not signifie Kings. then those words of holy Scripture, Honour the KING, Touch not GOD'S Anointed? How conscientious would they be (forsooth) of these words, and make no bones of any other words of holy Scripture whatsoever. I wish they would have taken the words in their order, and put Feare [Page 3] God, before Honour the King; And adde to Touch not mine Anointed,—Do my Prophets no harm. Never was there more cause to cry out, O tempora! O mores! I am not sorry that men are so prone to render their duties to the King, but am sorry they make so little of rendering any thing to God, (Horresco referens) What more common then Blasphemies against GOD and his Truth? It is but our sport to que­stion his Essence, and to deride the simplicity of his holy Word, yea prefer some humane peeces before it, making our Tables even merry with such dis­courses: And let there be but reproof for such mon­strous tenets, Oh, then all is for triall of wit, and arguments sake; Whereas such pleas should not hold against earthly Monarchs. It was amongst Heathens a rule, Impia consuetudo contra Deum dis­putandi, sive seriò, sive simulatè. I have read, that Remigius explicating the history of the Passion unto King Clodoveus after his baptisme, he was so moved thereat, that he put his hand to his sword, and spake in anger, That had he and his French been by when his master was so used, he would have revenged it. With what more generous impatience should every Christian heart be transported, when such affronts and indignities are offered to the name and honour of Almighty God: I wish we may not be so alto­gether intent upon the Papist, as to overlook the hatefull Atheist. It is known, holy Martyrs should not be suffered to speak gracious words, but have been gagged, and iron bals put into their mouths: Oh that wicked Atheistical mouths were sealed to eternall silence! In the Act that was for Vnifor­mity [Page 4] of Common-Prayer, what care was there taken against the least traducement and contempt to be offered unto it; and it would grieve, that Gods holy Name should be left so naked, that every im­pious tongue may touch it as it please. As the ho­nour and name of God is concerned, and suffers di­minution, I could beg accordingly there were such Lawes provided to restrain such wicked licentious­nesse, and discoursing of His Holinesse. I am confi­dent the Parliament, whom the whole world be­hold as the great Champions of his name and glory, will in due time vindicate it, and recompence the remisnesse of former Lawes, with those that shall have more edge and teeth with them.

Reader, not to trouble thee further with this A­theist; only note, when such damnable monsters as these may be lurking in this Kingdom, marvel not at the dreadfull judgements of God upon it. I am sure thou wilt not now charge the Parliament to be the cause;1 King. 18 which is all one, as Ahab did Eliah, Art thou he that troubleth Israel? What sayes Eliah? I have not troubled Israel, but thou and thy fathers house, because ye have forsaken the commandements of the Lord, &c. Atheisme, and other fearfull sinnes of our land, Hinc lachrymae. The Parliament no otherwise then wholsom Physick to an ill desperate Body, it works and tuggs with the malignant hu­mours, and perhaps in the operation pains, yet health it labours for: And as Physick, if over­mastered by the ill humours, signifies small hope of recovery; So, had this Alexipharmacon, this sove­raign Preservative of the Kingdom failed, nothing [Page 5] might have been expected but the dismall ruine of all. But praised be the Lord for his mercies unto this sinfull Land, who hath been pleased, not only against hopes, In Brit. but almost against meanes, to uphold this Oracle, this Pananglium (as Mr. Cambden cals it) this blessed Parliament, upon which all the eyes of the world are now fixed, as upon the globe of the Earth stupendiously subsisting only by an invisible hand. I make no doubt but the Lord will raise those, whose Pens will set forth the glory of his acts in these our dayes, which truly (well considered) are little inferior to his wonders of old. (Reader) I dare not venture into this deep, but for thy delight I will paddle a little neer the shore, and give thee a cleer, though brief Narrative of the great favours of God towards the Parliament; And for thy better help, let me confine thy thoughts to these particu­lars:

  • 1. Beginning of the Parliament.
  • 2. Progresse of the Parliament.
  • 3. The present state of the Parliament.

Trace it to the Originall, and you shall find all I one with it, as with a goodly River arising from a little Spring.Mr. Pryrre. To my apprehension, I must needs say that those three Worthies breathed the first motion into it,D. Bastwi [...]k Mr. Burton. whom we may behold as living Martyrs, or as Shadrach, Mesach, and Abednego, having escaped the fiery furnace of affliction, They were at least the Preface to this great work. Next, (such was the difficulty to have it,Scots. that) a whole Nation was in Arms to obtain it, (such obstacles and tyranny reigning [Page 6] among our selves, that scarce we durst once name it) Being once got, it was scarce a year old, but Rome and Hell began to stomack it, till at last it was high time to look to it self; His Majesty parts, and leaves them,In his speech having formerly resolved wholly to cast him­self upon their affections, (which now I believe his own breast will tell him had been the better course) notwithstanding they forbore not by all humble meanes to desire his presence and concurrence: witnesse. their numberlesse Declarations and Messa­ges in that kind. But to all motions His Majesty was still deaf, and rather (still to hold to our first in­stance) did, like Rehoboam, hearken to the councel of the Young men, Ver. 13. and answered roughly. In the interim all eyes are fixed upon the King, and the charm of his Name works powerfully upon all Countries, yea upon the very House it self, so far, that it was like to prove its own felo de se. Those that framed and consented to the XIX Propositions, flinch from their own Act, and fly to the King, (which is an eternall scar upon their Honour:) Poor feares and tumults they pretended; but indeed, their ingrati­ating with the King, and the thought they had of the utter dissolution of the House, was all. Most part of the Nobility and Gentry now gone, there is only left a thin and inconsiderable number in the House, and those (if you can brook the stile) a factious Roundhead party: But whatsoever they are, these, and no more, must stand the brunt. In the mean time, what preparations and strength of Arms, with all industry, both at home and abroad, are levied against them? What plots and practises [Page 7] are daily invented to overthrow them? what asper­sions and calumnies cast upon their names and acti­ons; yea, the Devil and the World with their ut­most sinews seeming to confront them, and yet behold, some secret power hath still upheld them.

2. The Progresse will represent unto you the II House in arms, necessitated to it for the preservation of their very being; they have Armies on foot, and seek holds in severall places of the Kingdome: the King hath, and doth no lesse, his name makes room for him in all places, and that which (to humane judgement) nothing could prove more disadvanta­gious unto them, at first their successes were but slender, Victory most hovering over the head of their Enemies: The then Earl of Newcastle trium­phant in the North, Hopton bestriding the West; and those fatall Pair, Rupert and Maurice, like Oreb and Zeb, butchering in the bowels of the Kingdom. To say no more, call but thy thoughts to the siege of Glocester, (Bristol and Exeter being newly taken) and behold the Parliament, to the guesse of man, quite down and sinking. But here (good Reader) with holy awe admire the incomprehensible wayes and power of God; the Parliament must be broken in their outward power, that the work may more sensibly appeare to have only proceeded from God: For ever so it is, when He would be seen in a busi­nesse, He knowes our pronesse to rob him of his honour, and to bestow it upon externall meanes: therefore they must be least in sight, when he will have his glory to become most conspicuous.

[Page 8] III I have lead thee to the Parliaments tropick of Capricorn, and utmost Declination; The Degrees whereby the hand of God hath advanced it to this present greatnesse, affords variety of rich matter of the mercy and power of God. It stands not with my intended brevity, or ability, to venture upon it, it deserves the labour of a golden pen: But because I will not leave thee without a taste (Reader) thou mayest remember, upon the relief of Glocester, (an Act alone sufficiently obliging us to honour the name of the Noble Earl of Essex, and the glorious City of London) the Parliament again began to take a little breath, and to lift up the head, and successes a little adding some life unto them; Forsooth, as the only Engine as would not fail the businesse, they reare a lack-a-lent, a Mock, or rather as His Majesty termed it, a Mongrel Parliament in Oxford, only to confront and ecclypse, if not utterly to ex­tinguish the Parliament in London; it consisting of the Members that forsook the House, and with all their gall rendring in their Declaration the pre­tences of their departure, omitting nothing that all wicked art or malice could invent, to impaire the credit of the Parliamennt. To all humane guesse, this was like to prove a notable stratagem for their ends, and they built no small hopes upon it; But what came of it? There it appeared like a glaring Meteor for a while, and unawares vanished to no­thing, the memory whereof, even to themselves, savours no better then a snuffe: Since which time the Lord was pleased to blesse the Parliament with famous Victories, especially those two cardinal [Page 9] Battels of York and Naseby. And which is remark­able, even these were at such nicks, when the main and hazard of all stood upon them. The mercies of God herein will appear the more admirable, if you will look upon them through these few Obser­vations following.

About this time twelve-moneth,1645. the wisdome of the Parliament thought good to imploy Victorious 1 Sir Thomas Fairfax in this present great service, the Noble Earl of Essex being superseded. What ad­vantages and mountains did the Enemies promise to themselves? They bruted abroad, that the Par­liaments Army, hereat discontented, came by thou­sands in unto them, their army swelling (as they said) with its greatnesse, advanceth to the North; as they passe, all Countries stoop unto them, Leicester they gain, Gerard afresh tyrannizeth in VVales, Pembroke-men beaten, and reduced almost to their first handfull. By this time (you will say) all was again at hard hazard; And as if this were not e­nough, out comes about this very time into our Countries the noise of the Directory, which gave but more and more matter to their former exultations and hopes; my own eares being able to witnesse that it was said, That the comming out of the Di­rectory at that time, was as if the Parliament had be­stowed 40000 men upon the King. Here now they seem to be at the heighth: But, O the wonderfull mercy and power of God! what becomes of all these vaunts and hopes? Just like a statue of glasse hanging in the aire by a small clue, suddenly fals and breaks to flitters. They had such a stunning blow [Page 10] at Naseby, that ever since they have had the Staggers; and like a torrent, the favours of God have broke in upon our Armies, that the very Enemies are forced to acknowledge, that they do in legible characters read Digitus Dei.

2. It is not unworthy our observation, that the very means the King most trusted in, viz. his Soul­diery, proved at last most advantagious to the Par­liament, the Divine Will having given them over to such inhumanities and vilenesse, and all Countries distasting them as Monsters; by the holy appoint­ment of God, they proved no small meanes of the Parliaments present height and happinesse.

3. And though the last, yet it is not the least thing with wonder to be observed, How the Lord pre­vented Foraign forces: It was ever their strongest fancy, That all Kings would be sensible of the busi­nesse, and what would not they do? And this with great probabilities did they presse upon generall apprehensions; But behold the hand of God as active for them abroad, as at home! And that hu­mane wisdome may be abashed, rather crosse to their expectations, God disposeth things: They look for all Kings to be roused, and it is more likely to prove, all Subjects have a reflection upon the Par­liament, and are taught their way to their liberties and happinesse.

By these, and the like contemplations, as by so many Prospectives, we may perceive the hand of God even visible in this great work, whence we may inferre (as Erasmus of his time, Nescio quid magni Mundus parturit) That doubtlesse the Lord [Page 11] hath some great thing or other a hatching, and to bring into the world▪ and if so, what can the world behold more likely for such a designe, then this awefull Engine, the Parliament of England?

I am no Prophet, but I dare say with confidence and modesty, that this great thing, the Parliament of England, may be a meanes that God hath ordained in his eternall wisdom, not only to shake Rome, but even the Turkish Empire; and put up the Kingdom of His Son Iesus Christ in all the world.

Thou (Reader) mayest laugh at this as a fancy of an idle brain: But let me beg thou suspend thy cen­sure, till thou peruse the Probabilities following.

1. I presume it will be easie to make thee con­fesse, that nothing can be said so much to uphold Antichrist and the Turk, as the slavery and blind­nesse of men; And what fairer means canst thou ima­gine to shake off slav [...]ry and blindnesse, then the course the Parliament drives at?

2. It is worth thy notice, That the Lord hath evermore singled out this Land,in C [...]mb. Gram as a scene where to act any great matter of his glory. The Christian faith did (as it were) post over other Regio [...] [...]to come hither first:Dr. Davies ex Sabel & Platine. hence it was called Ecclesia prim [...]genita the first-born Church:O fortunata & omnibus beatior ter­ris, Britan­nia, quae Constanti­ [...]um [...]rim [...] vidisti. hence the glorious Instru­ment of the Ch [...]ch. Constantine, must be de [...]ded; and when Christe adome fell into a dead sleep of Idolatry and Superstition h [...] must spring a Wick­liffe [...] And since the beginning of the R [...]ormati [...] of the Church, Camb. [...] Pancg. what Land so i [...]terest­ed [...] it as [...] and what is the main businesse of the Parliament but to perfect this Reformation▪ [Page 12] and the Lord blessing them to finish it▪ how far may not their Influence diffuse it self through the world, and consequently make the Pope and Turk know themselves?

3. It appearing somewhat probable, that God hath designed it for some great work of his; It were not amisse to observe, that it is the guesse and expectation of many of Gods children, that the Kingdome of Christ will appeare now in the later end of the world, in greater glory then ever it did. I am no maintainer of a Temporall and personall Reign of our Saviour upon the Earth, though (for ought I can see) it is an opinion that contains nothing but consolation to Gods children. Sure I am, the Pro­phets abound with most glorious descriptions of the Church, which, besides the spirituall sense, cannot (I think) but be temporally meant, at least in respect of the extension and amplitude of the Church, and which as yet hath not been altogether fulfilled to­wards it: You need only view the Prophet Isaiah alone, and you shall have whole Chapters repleni­shed with nothing but lofty eloquence upon this subject▪ And if you do but well heed it, the very like expressions▪ like golden veines, run through all the holy Books both Old and New.

Neither is it the holy Scripture alone, (though they are instar omnium) but in all Ages there have been some, that by speciall inspiration have fore­told us of a most happy state of the Church in the later times. I could referre thee for this to the Acts and Monuments, Pag 1370 where Mr. Fox h [...] collected odde sayings or prophecies of holy persons, as [Page 13] Bridget, Katherine Senensis, Iohn Husse, Savanorola, and others. For thy present delight, lest thou heed­est them not there, I will alleadge one or two.

(As he cals her) Holy Bridget said, That the Pope should be thrown into the Deep as a milstone, And that the cause of the binderance of the Gospel, is the Prelates and Priests, And that the Clergy turned Gods comman­dements to two words, Da pecuniam.

Iohn Husse said, Oh how largely doth Antichrist ex­tend his power and cruelty; but I trust his power shall be shortned, and his iniquity shall be detected more and more among the faithfull people; and let Antichrist rage as much as he will, yet he shall not prevaile against Christ.

And Katherine Senensis, who lived about 1379. told one Antoninus, that after writ her history, That by the troubles in the Church of God, after a secret man­ner unknown unto man▪ God shall purge his holy Church, and stir up the spirit of [...] Elect▪ and after these things shall follow such a Reformation of the holy Church, and such a Renovation of holy Pastors, that the only cogitation thereof maketh my spirit to reioyce in the Lord, and that all the faithfull shall be glad to see themselves so beau­tified with so holy shepherds, yea▪ and the [...] Infidels al­lured by the sweet savour of Christ, shall return to the Catholick fold and be converted to the true Bishop▪ Gi [...]e thanks therefore to God▪ for after this storm▪ He will give to his a great calm▪

Even but thus much, signified so long agoe, and our eyes seeing the great work of these times▪ so much tending to the accomplishment of these things we cannot but admire the Lord, and acknowledge this Parli [...] ▪ not wholly a device of man▪

[Page 14] Neither is it impossible to discover some glim­merings of this Kingdom even in the monuments of Gentiles, as it hath pleased God to reveal unto them some obscure Notions of his greatest Mysteries, which are sweetly serviceable to the setting forth of his holy Truths. What more is that of Virgil, as conceptions of Sybilla Cumaea, (though usually restrained to our Saviours incarnation.)

I am nova Progenies Caelo dimittitur alto,
Te duce, siqua manent sceleris vestigia nosti
Irrita perpetuo solvent formidine terras.

Plainly, A Child shall be born from Heaven to pardon the sinnes of men, and fill the world with blessings.

Iosephus,De Bell. Iud. l. 7. a Jew, sayes, Nations should come from Iudaea, that should be masters of the Vniverse. What the Sybils have abundantly delivered of this, I referre you to the former place of the Acts and Monuments, and only add one thing of Cicero, which to me seems a very remarkable place: Lib. 3. de Rep. Nec erit alia lex Romae, alia Athenis, alia nunc, alia posthac, sed apud omnes gentes, & omni tempore, una lex Deus ille legis inventor, disceptator, later, &c. All which seems to be englished in the 2. chap. of Daniel, ver. 44. And in those dayes the God of Heaven shall set up a Kingdom, that shall not he left to other people, but it shall break in peeces all other Kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

But how may this be,Obj. seeing the Turk is likeliest to be the great master of the world, and at this pre­sent looks terribly towards Christendom?

I answer,Ans. This may prove but a flash of lightening [Page 15] before his ruine, and it will be at least a good means to procure peace & charity among Christians, which is seen to be but too miserably wanting. Remember, that in our God, the Lord Iehovah, is everlasting strength. Isa. 26. 4. Let us every one kill the Turks at home, his crying bosome sins, and we shall be surely able to cope with him abroad: let us do our parts, and God will surely do his, and in his good time put his book in this Senacheribs nose, and his bridle in his lips,ver. 28. For He knowes his abode, his going out, and his comming in, and his rage against us. We have here­tofore only read what Iehovah is, and our Fathers have but told us of his noble works; And truly say what holy Iob said of old,Job. 42. 5. I have heard of thee by the hearing of the of the ear, but now my eye seeth thee. But in these days we may say, we have seen him & his noble works, we have experimentally found the wayes of his Omnipotencie, and seen the power of Prayer, and plentifully tasted the fruits of Humiliation, and the dealings of God in points of utmost extremity. And therefore it is but a sorry courage, that cannot against any difficulty or danger (as suppose the Turks present greatnesse) reare up an heroick heart, and think him no more then a Tom Thumb against Christ and his King dome.

And it shall come to passe in that day,Isa. 4. 21, 223. that the Lord shall punish the Host of the High ones, that are high, and the Kings of the earth upon the earth.

Then the Moon shall be confounded, and the Sun a­shamed, when the Lord of hosts shall raign in mount Sion and before his Ancients, gloriously.

PART. II. Containing Resolutions of Doubts touch­ing the PARLIAMENT.
To my Country-men of WALES.

I Hope, by what you have read, you are grown to some good liking of the Parliament: And being thus suppl'd to a right understanding of it, lest some Scruples (like roots of Corns) should still remain in your thoughts, I will (with the like Divine assistance) endeavour to satisfie you. The main Doubts (whereunto all the rest are reducible) are touching these three things,

  • KING.

You will confesse,KING. by the event of things, that the Parliament hath told you many truths, which formerly you would not possibly believes▪ Now you will grant, the King followed an ill Councel, and that the Cavaliers had undone us all. I hope then you may, by this time, believe alike what the [Page 17] Parliament evermore constantly professed, That they took not up Arms against the King, but in His, and the Kingdoms defence, against a Malignant Party. The Parliament ever told us the truth, or our own sense will give us the lie.

Yet let me tell you, Where the truth and glory of God is concerned, and Liberty of Conscience, the Christian is not always to play the Asse. Act. 16. Blessed Paul (in a lesser point) though one appointed to Per­secutions and Patience, yet when he saw his time to stand upon his priviledge, as forgetting the Chri­stian, takes a Roman spirit, They have beaten us un­condemned, now they thrust us out privily; nay verily, but let them come and fetch us out. Luk. cap. 9. You shall find our blessed Saviour giving orders to his Disciples:Ver. 3.—And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journy, neither slaves, neither scrip, nor sword, neither mony▪ nor have two coats apeece. But not long after, how much is the matter altered▪ Luk. 22. But he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip, Ver. 36. and he that hath no sword, let him sel his garment end buy one. What meanes all this, but to tell us, that He that is the Lamb of God, is also Lion of the Tribe of Iudah; and that the same holy Lips that bequeathed nothing but Peace to his Church, pro­nounceth also elswhere,Luk. 12. 51. Suppose ye that I am come to give Peace [...] earth? I tell you nay, but rather Division and a sword. We Christians, as we are to be as inno­cent as Doves, Mat. 10. 34. yet as wise as Serpents; and when our Masters credit and honour is touched, we must have the genius that Peter had, when he struck off Malchus eare. Mistake me not, this is not to encou­rage [Page 18] any to Rebellion; but to take off that error that. Court-Divinity obtruded upon us, That in no case whatsoever Arms are to be medled with, he Gods glory, In his ans. to Card. Peron. and Conscience ever so much concerned. I mean no otherwise then King Iames his own pen hath re­solved it, BishopIn his defence of Christian liberty, a­gainst An­tichristian rebellion. Bilson maintained it, and our King in ayding and succouriug the States, and Rochellers, confirms as much.

There are those, that in points meerly of politick interest, grant much in this kinde. Peter Martyr di­stinguishing Subjects, sayes, ‘That those that are merè privati, Lib lo. com. p. 965. may not dare to lift up an hand a­gainst their Lord and King.’ But those other kind of Subjects he there cals, Sic inferiores, out superior pote­stis ab illis utcun (que) pendeat, certis (que) legibus reipublicae praeficiunt. And he instances the Ephori of the Lace­demonians, and the Tribunes of Rome. And what can they do? Si Princeps pactis & promis [...]is non steterit, cum in ordinem cogere, ac vi [...]digere, ut conditiones & pacta quae fuerat pollicitus compleat, id (que) vel armis, cum aliter fieri non possit. And then instanceth, how in that kinde the Danes dealt with their King in his dayes: And afterwards urging Polydore Virgil, Anglos aliquande suos Reges compulisse ad rationem red­dendam male administratae pecuniae. Though this lear­ned man afterwards, as a Divine, and modestly, Ego vero dum illorum consilium ad regul [...]m Scriptura­rum examino, id non probe.

But for thy satisfaction (good Country-man) in the present point, I do think that our loyalty and obedience to Kings, is alwayes subordinate to God, and we should through them alwayes looke upon [Page 19] him, and rather be accounted Traitors to the one, then the other, especially when His Glory is pub­likely asserted. I marvell this Doctrine was so strange, when even the very Common-Prayer book did teach it, as in that Collect for the King. Almighty God, whose kingdom is everlasting, &c. So rule the heart of thy chosen servant Charles our King, that he above all things may seek thine honour and glory, and we his Subjects duly considering whose authority he hath, may faithfully serve, honour and obey him, in Thee, and for Thee, according to Thy blessed Word and Ordi­nance.

If now (good Country-man) thou yeeldest to the Interest Gods glory hath in us,COVE­NANT. thou wilt come easily to digest the Covenant, concerning which nothing needs be more said to satisfie thee, then what the learned Assembly have in their Instructions. But lest thou hast neither seen, or well understood them, let me tell thee, that this is not a slight Oath devised for temporall and politick ends, but a most pious and solemn Covenant, whereby Gods honour being at stake, thou dost list thy self for his service. And think not this a new trick or invention, but a meer imitation of the people of God in their extremities, as in the times of EZra, and Nehemiah; Read those holy Books, and throughly ponder and understand them, and I will warrant thee, thou wilt not stick at the Covenant. It is not unworthy thy noting, how that the enemies there still make use of the King to frustrate the good works. EZra, cap. 4. you shall see Rheum the Chancellour, with the malignant party, begin,ver. 13, 14. Be it known unto the King, that the Iews are come [Page 20] up to Ierusalem, building the rebellious & bad City: And be it known unto the King, that if this City be builded, they will pay no custom unto the King; and it is not meet for us to see the Kings dishonour: therefore we will send to certifie the King. So that here you see nothing but King, Neh. 6. 6. and King. And wicked Sanballat, he doth the like to good Nehemiah: The Iewes think to rebell, for which cause thou buildest the wall, that thou mayest be their King. So that if any designe be on foot for GOD, the only means to dash it, must still be King. But these good Worthies go on in their good pur­poses, though subject to heathen Kings, and ac­knowledging their sinnes to be the cause of their miseries.Neh. 9. 28. And because of all this, we make a sure Co­venant, and write it, and our Princes, Levites, and Priests, seal to it.

You understand the ground of the Covenant. Now to satisfie you for your common objections, I say first:Obj. As for the Oath of Allegiance, it doth fortifie and confirm it, principally providing strict Clauses for loyalty and obedience to His Majesty. And for Ministers who have sworn to maintain the former Church-government, &c. the Instructions tell them that an Oath binds,Ans. tantum licitis & honestis; and where the lawfulnesse of an Oath ceaseth, the obli­gation also ceaseth. Constant practise shewes, that Magistrates take oaths to maintain all the lawes of the land, and many lawes afterward may be abro­gated; the meaning of the Oath being to maintain Laws, while they are Laws; but when they are re­pealed by the Power that made them, they are wi­ped out of his charge & oath. And withall, is it not [Page 21] all one now in this case, as it was in the beginning of Reformation, Hen. 8. All the Clergy were formerly bound to maintain the Popes Supremacie, and the Doctrine of Rome; but when the impiety and un­lawfulnesse of it appeared, might not they be well discharged of their oath? And who can better judge of the unlawfulnesse and corruption of the Prelatical government, then the wisdome of the Parliament? and they adjudging it unlawfull, what oath soever thou hast taken to maintain it, is but vinculum iniquitatis, and so absolutely void; And, Qui jur at in iniquum, obligatur in contrarium.

But you are not satisfied,Obj. because the King is not with the Parliament.

I must tell you,Ans. it is no new invention to ascribe to the King, a Capacity differing from his person, and in that capacity and Kingly power he is virtually present in the Parliament: In this sense, thou hast heard say, that the King is immortall; and where thou hast seen his Patents and Commissions, he is said to be present.

Another thing thou canst not well brook in the Covenant, Obj. is the mention of the Church of Scotland.

Indeed I must confesse it hath got the start of us for that Honour; Ans. If we call them Brethren, they have Iacob-like robbed us of that Blessing; If we call her our Sister-Kingdom, she hath Mary-like, before us, chosen the better part: And, alas, all this through our own fault. God hath again and again offered us this Honour, ever since the first Reformation, stirring up godly men, who have by all meanes and impor­tunities earnestly sought to procure us this happines, [Page 22] but in stead of being heard, have been requited only with contempts, and all discouragements Prelatical greatnesse could load them withall. But for thy sa­tisfaction understand, the Covenant propounds no Church unto thee as a pattern, but only the Word of GOD to be thy rule and pattern. It were much to be wished, the Covenant were tendred as piously and solemnly as the Parliament hath prescribed, and not suddenly and violently pressed upon some, and mincingly given unto others in corners. To be brief (Country-man) if thou wouldest endeavour to understand the Covenant as the Parliament intends it, thou wouldest never stick at it, it tending only to no more, but to procure a better World, and thy self to become a better Man.

I am now come (Country-man) to thy Dagon, COMMON PRAYER Book. the Common-Prayer book. As for the matter and form of it, the Exceptions against them have been sufficient­ly made known to the world: I shall only endea­vour unto thee, to justifie the Abolishment of it, from that apparent inconvenience and prejudice it occasioned to the Gospel, L. Falkland speech. and the Professors of it. It was truly said, that in our dayes we have seen Con­formity to Ceremonies more exacted than Conformity to Christianity. It is but fresh in our memories; If a good man should but in tendernesse of conscience scruple any thing against the Common-Prayer book, were he otherwise ever so gracious, he was presently a Puritan, and there was no breathing for him a­mong us; whilst another that would make no bones of the Common-Prayer book, nor of any thing else, reading only the Common-Prayer book, and be [Page 23] otherwise ever so unworthy and scandalous, he should passe for an Orthodox Minister, and have Livings heaped upon him; and the other good soule, his wife and children, left to all contempt and poverty.

Obj. Obj. But you will say, this was not the Books fault, but must be imputed to the Bishops, &c.

Ans. Ans. I say, the Common-Prayer book was at least the occasion of their sufferings, and haply their af­flictions have cried to heaven for this vengeance, which must be no lesse then the utter abolishment of it. It is ordinary, that but a Relation to a notori­ous Evil suffers in the Judgement: Torquin doth but a foul fact, and the harmlesse name of King must be discarded Rome. One Ravillaick murthers a great King, and his name must no more be heard in France; the Father commits Treason, and the innocent Issue must suffer in the forfeiture. The Bishops were the Common-Prayer books Patrons, and the main Authors of its evils, and it with them must suffer in the doom.

But this is not all; it was not so void of guilt as this, though after a close manner, and not sensible to all, it was very prejudiciall, and a shrewd enemy to the Gospel. You know there was a necessity of reading it; As for the Preaching of the Word, let it get its place and esteem as it could: And this ne­cessity of the one rather then the other, drew gene­rally the credit to that which seemed most neces­sary; Mans nature is most contented with the ea­siest way of serving God, and Publike Government countenancing thus the Common-Prayer book, rather then the other. By this means, whatever tended to [Page 24] the more effectual knowledge, and reall service of God, was accounted but Precisenesse, &c.

2. Me thinks that were sufficient reason to abo­lish it, even to satisfie the Consciences of our Chri­stian brethren, and so peace, and better communion might be betwixt us. Our Christian brethren are offended out of meer conscience, and we will needs retain it out of meer fancy. No doubt but many thousands, in the beginning of Reformation, were as loth to forgoe the Masse-book, who upon better experience blessed God to be rid of it. We are hardly pleased with the form of such Mansions, as our Ancestors a hundred yeares ago were well con­tented with, and it is our opprobrium gentile daily to change the fashion of apparels; and yet to be so wil­fully wedded to a kind of Divine service so appa­rently prejudiciall to the Gospel, even against farre better means, seems a strange Delirium. I appeale to thine own experience (Country-man) hast thou not observed that the better, & most godly kind of Ministers, have been ever most malecontented at the Common-Prayer book; and the most unworthy scan­dalous, and corrupter kinde, have been most main­tainers and patrons of it? Mr. Hooker, its best cham­pion, sayes,Eccl. Pol. lib. 5. That if the Minister powres not his soule in prayer, and speaks not as Moses, Daniel, and Ezra did for their people, the service of the Common-Prayer book avails but little. Then judge thou, how happy have we been, and are in Wales, that heare it from some that scarce can read it.

I must cleer an error which hath been obtruded upon thee,Obj. and many others, viz. That the Common-Prayer [Page 25] book was confirmed by the blood of Martyrs.

This I have often seen, and especially under the hand of a Minister, accounted learned in our own country, (among other wide Elogies) to a most un­derstanding and religious Knight.

I deny not but some of those that compiled it in Edw. Ans. 6 his dayes, dyed worthy Martyrs, but I cannot learn they dyed martyrs, but in defence of the Gospel, and the truth of it, against the idolatry and superstition of Rome, and for nothing else. We may as well say, the Apostles, Act. 15. having for the peace and conveniency of the Church ordained Orders to abstain from things strangled, and from blood; say, they confirmed these Decrees with their blood, because afterward they suffered martyrdom for the Gospel. And to say those Worthies in Ed. 6. his dayes confirmed the Common-Prayer book with their blood, were by the like logick to inferre they confirmed with their blood, all, the use whereof they did ordain and tolerate in the Church afterwards, as Surplesse, Bels, and all Ceremonies. No, be not deceived, I know not that it was ever confirmed with blood, unlesse it was in these our warres. Those good men in Edw. 6. dayes, were glad they had gained so much as to have the Divine Service in the known tongue: But as in laying the foundation of the Temple, there were those that shouted for joy, Ezra 3. so there were those that wept, that it was short of the former Temple. So there were those in the first Reformation, that could have wish­ed they then had obtained more: The Masse then fell just like Dagon before the Ark of the Lord, [Page 26] its head and palms were cut off,1 Sam. 5. but the stumps of Dagon was left to him. It is with the true worshippers of God, Gen. 14. as it was with Abraham, when the King of Sodome offered him the spoiles; I will not take (saith Abraham) from thee a thred to a shoe-latchet, &c. lest thou shalt say, I have made Abraham rich. And in those very dayes there were those, that fain would not have retained the least thred of the Reliques and trash of Rome; Epist. Hoop. Bishop Hooper then himself could not away with them, and Peter Martyr adviseth him to bear with them, Ne id progressui Evangelii sit im­pedimento. And yet he cannot but confesse himselfe delighted to see this goodly zeal in the Bishop, ut Religio ad castam, simplicem (que) puritatem denuo aspiret; Professes his desire was as much as his for a through Reformation: With a Vehementer cupio id quod co­naris, locum habeat. You may do well to observe one trick of the Bishops: The Common-prayer, though it was the publick service, yet they would permit the use of it in families, which rather then no ser­ving of God at all, I held it allowable; but of Prea­ching in families, you know how much they were against it.

Good Country-man, I have been over-tedious; Therfore in a word, suppose the Common-Prayer book like the Moon, which in its proper motions and seasons is a goodly beneficent creature; but if it interposes betwixt us and the Sun, it becomes an opacous disastrous body. In the times of Superstition, Common-Prayer book arising like the Moon at a dark midnight, was comfortable; but now a Sun-shine of the Gospel breaking in upon us, think thou what thou pleasest of it.

PART. III. Containing an Application to WALES.

IN brief (Country-man) I must tell you, we are deceived, and do not know our own condition: We will needs be accounted good Protestants, when, alas, how can that be, when we want the means to become so? To say, a perfunctory read­ing of the Common-Prayer can make us so, is to say it can do miracles. A wretched Sermon now and then, and that either by an ignorant, or scandalous Minister, or both; alas, what can it do? it being commonly too such stuffe, you know not whether it savours stronger of the Ale, In many places not a Sermon scarce once a yeare. or the Pocket; Half an houre's showre in a great draught, will little availe the chapped earth. I must tell you, abating Gentry and a few others, that by the benefit of education may be otherwise; generally (I dare boldly say) we can be but Papists, or worse, in Wales. I need not remem­ber thee of that swarm of blinde, superstitious Cere­monies that are among us, passing under the name of old harmles customs▪ Their frequent calling upon Saints in their Prayers and Blessings; their Peregrinations to Wells and Chappels. Mistake me not, that I delight [Page 28] to discover the blemishes of my Country; it argues good will, to tell ones malady before a Physitian. Not I first, but our own learned Countryman, Dr. Powel, doth in his Books bewaile us for these mise­ries, as c. 2. annot. in itin. Giral. Camb. And the reasons of all you shall hear in his own words, Haec omnia ig­norantia & Evangelicae praedicationis inopia contingunt. Want of Preaching and a little after, Quicquid in hac re peccatum sit, illud totum Pastorum paucitati ascribendum est, ad quorum sustentationem satis ampla stipendia, & redditus Ecclesiastici in Cambria, omnia opima Sacerdotia in generosorum manibus, Impropri­ation. aut ab illis possidentur, qui non in Cambria, sed in aliis quidem partibus vitam degunt; hi ne (que) animas, ne (que) corpora pascunt, modo ipsi lanam habeant. And thus copiously and sadly bemoaning our state, concludes, Deus tempore opportune ecclesiae suae melius providebit. And surely, if ever, now this Tempus opportunum is come upon us, Let us lay hold upon the lock, and blesse God for it: doubtlesse if we be not wanting unto our selves, the Lord is in hand to do great things for us. It were worth our labour, seriously to observe the gracious accesses of God made towards us in very late favours.

1. He hath been gracious to us in the course of this war: We were not such friends to the Parlia­ment, as to have so good dealing and Quarter as we have had, we deserved harsher means, and rougher hands to reduce us, then we had: But praised be his mercy, not strangers, but those of our own bowels we only knew from; and when we deserved a whip­ping, He gives the rod to our friends hands.

2. But this is not all; if we mark, we may see his [Page 29] greatest favour, his Gospel comming among us: the Bible, before only known in the Church-Volume, hath by the meanes of worthy Sir Tho. Middleton been translated to the vulgar Volume:And now again, I hear, Mr. Cradock is procu­ring the New Testament to be printed in Welsh in a little Volume, whereby it may grow more portable & com­mon, which may be of much use in short time to introduce the knowledge of the Gospel a­mong us. In some places of Wales the Gospel doth already kindle; and that (which our Countries can never too gratefully ac­knowledge) by the worthy and godly en­deavour of Mr. Cradock; and especially (which is worth our notice) it begins to shine in a place heretofore noted for un­towardnes, called Llangerick in Mongomery­shire, a place formerly but of very sorry fame, but now pointed at as the Puritans & Roundheads of Wales; Mr. Powel. Mr. Roberts and all this through the godly pains of some perse­cuted Ministers, resorting thither through manifold discouragements and dangers.

3. Divers good Books have lately been translated into our language; and our learned, Dr. Davies com­piled that monument of his learning, & love to his Country, his elaborate Dictionary, whereby not only we our selves, but even strangers may become per­fect in our tongue.

4.Britanni, Romanis & Saxonibus devicti & triumphati fuerint, eum etiam latis legibus abo­lere studu­erint Nor­manni. Neither must we let it passe without our great­est admiration, how the Lord hath so marvellously preserved our Tongue; at which Mr. Cambden him­self (though otherwise not much acknovvledged our friend breaks into highest admiration, that it should survive after so many Conquests of Us, and attempts to extinguish it. In hac linguarum conside­ratione non possumus non maximè admirari, Ib. in Brit. & praedi­care divinam summi Creatoris benignitatem in nostros [Page 30] tannos, Nec sane ullo modo credendum, linguam vo­luisse post tot gentium cla­des & impe­rii mutationes, conser­vatam in haec us (que) ul­tima tem­pora. &c. linguam suam tectam hactenus conservarint. Hence Dr. Davies inferres, That God would not through so many turmoiles and conquests, so won­derfully preserve a Tongue to these last times, Nisi eadem Nomen suum invocari, suaque magnalia praedicari decrevisset; Without it be especially marked out & appointed for the setting forth of his glory, and the preaching of his Word.In prafat. Gram.

Who knowes then, but we may recover our ancient Blessing, and become as famous for Christi­anity at the last, as we were at first? Apud illos (says Dr. Powel) vigebat Veritatis praedicatio, l. 2. c. 1. annot. in Giral. vivificatrix Fides, & purus Dei cultus, qualis ab ipsis Apostolis man­dato divino Christianorum ecclesiis traditus erat. The preaching of the Gospel, sincere Doctrine, lively Faith, and the pure worship of God, did at first flou­rish amongst us: And when it came to be corrupted by superstition,—Im [...]rudenter & aequo Durius, ad ritum Romae voluisse Britannos, Cogere—aiebant,—modo salva maneret Lex divina, sides, Christi doctrina, Senatus, Quam primus tulit ore suo, quia ita lita ab ipso Christi erat humanae doctore, & lumine vitae. we had the glory (what we could) to maintain the Primitive worship, against the Superstitions and fopperies which Augustine the Monk would obtrude upon us; and afterward procured the sword of Ethelfrid King of Northumberland to make a way for them, when no lesse then eleven hun­dred poor Monks of Bangor were slain,Mantuan in Fast. (or as Mr. Fox, Vol. 1. p. 154 rather were martyred.) I hope we are not wholly degenerated from our an­cient Progenitors, but that we still retain something of their Noble and Christian genius. That dark cloud of Superstition which came from Rome, and then darkned their light, is still to this day un­dispelled, [Page 31] and hinders us from the Primitive light of the Gospel. As it is recorded to their honour, to have laboured to keep the light when they had it, let it be also our credit and honour now, upon so blessed an opportunity, strive and labour to procure it, when we may have it. We are noted to be a people not of the worst natures, and truly not much unlike the cha­racter our Country-man Giraldus long ago gave of us;In descr. Camb. c. 18 Sicut malis, nusquam pejores, sic bonis, meliores non [...]eperies; If bad, none can hardly be worse, and if good,Populus ipse praestantis cujusdam naturae be­neficio sem­per ad audi­endum promptus & ad discen­dum aptus. Annot. in Giral. c. 2. none better. But this is not all, but Dr. Powel observes, We are a people by a singular disposition and benefit of nature, apt both to heare and learn good things, & ad obediendum paratissimus, and most ready to practise. And then who will not confesse, but that it is a thousand pitties such should not have the knowledge of the Gospel, and the means of grace abundantly amongst them! And blessed be the Lord, we never had more hopes, and fairer means offering themselves, than now.

As when we see stone, timber, and other materials gathered together to a place, we presently conclude that there is some building in hand; So (by what you have read) me thinks how the Lord doth no lesse then seem to provide meanes, and as it were, materials to reare up his Gospel among us: And as the Blinde man in the Gospel is said to behold men walking as trees; some such obscure sight (me thinks) we may already have of the Gospel's silent approach and motion towards us. And as at the famine of Samaria, Eliah said to Ahab, There is a sound of a­bundance of rain; So after this great famine of the [Page 32] VVord, (blessed be God) we do now at last (me thinks) as it were,ver. 44, 45. ken a little Cloud rising like a mans hand, and that ere-while the Heavens will grow black with clouds and wind, and we shall have a great rain, and the Lord of the harvest will give a plentifull in­crease. Doubtlesse if we be not wanting to our selves through our wilfulnesse and ingratitude, God hath some great favours in store for us. I cannot but think what that famous VVickliffian, our Country-man, wrote near 300 years ago;Walt. Brute in Act. & Mon. That the Britons, amongst other Nations, have been as it were by the speciall ele­ction of God, V. 1. p. 627 called and converted to the Christian faith, and further addeth, That it is very likely they will be imployed to overthrow Antichrist.

Then (Country-man) let us humbly look up, and wait upon God, and devote our selves in our affe­ction & spirits to him, and his choise Ministers among us, the Parliament; Doubtlesse we are deep enough in their thoughts, and that they mind our happinesse more then we do our selves; the only compendious way to make us happy, is to have the Gospel come among us, it hath a notable vertue with it, it will presently purge Church and State; And with humble submission to their wisdome be it spoken, that the only way to introduce the Gospel among us, is the pitching upon a course and meanes▪ to advance the Ministery: which cannot be better, then by founding some so­lemn places in Wales for the profession of the more necessary kind of Arts and good Literature, (all which may be without the least injury or disparage­ment to the Vniversities) Such a course would prove a notable encouragement to our Countries, so that [Page 33] I dare say, three for one would mind Schooling for their children, than there hath or doth, being dis­couraged by the charge and distance of, the Uni­versities; and without doubt, through the blessing of God, few yeares would afford us a goodly num­ber fit to serve at the Altar. It could never have been said truer, then of us in VVales, The Harvest truly is great, but the Labourers are few. We can nothing but pray the Lord of the harvest, that he would incline and direct the heart of the Parliament, that He through them would send forth Labourers unto the harvest. Such an act as this, would be an honour to our Age; and those that are yet unborne, and like little Levies as yet lie hid in the loyns of their grand­fathers, will have their mouths filled with blessings for so Christian and noble a work; when they shall consider, that when their bodies were not borne, the blest Parliament was then caring for their soules. For something of this nature, or lesse, we know what an Elogie was given of the Centurion to our blessed Saviour; He is worthy for whom thou shouldest do this, for he loveth our Nation, and hath built us a Syna­gogue.

[Page 34] Well (good Country-man, or any other Reader) I will now part with thee: If any passage hath of­fended thee, I must tell thee, I intended only well, and at the most would do but as he that slew the Serpent, not touching the body of the Child twined up in the folds. And if thou hast mistaken the Parliament, smite thy breast, and ask God forgivenesse for it, for I hope by this time thou perceivest it is some­thing more, then once thou thoughtest it was.

Good luck have thou with thine Honour; Ride on be­cause of the VVord of Truth, of Meeknesse, and of righte­ousnesse, and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things. Psal. 45. 4.

Soli Deo Gloria.

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