A RESOLUTION OF CONSCIENCE, in Answer to Mr Ascham's BOOK.

UPon perusal of Mr Ascham's Book you left with mee, I finde not my self in my understanding thereby convinc'd of the Necessitie or Lawfulness of Conforming unto, or Complying with an unjust prevailing Power, further then I was before persua­ded, it might bee Lawful or Neces­sarie so to do: viz. As I paying Taxes, and Submitting to som other things (in themselvs not unlawful) by

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[Page 3] 3. Without anie explicite or implicite Acknowledgment of the Justice and Legalitie of their Power: I may submit to the [...], (to the Force) but not ac­knowledg the [...], (the Autori­tie) or by anie my Voluntarie Act give strength, assistance, or countenance thereunto.

4. Without anie prejudice unto the claim of the Oppressed Partie that hath a right, Title; or casting my self into an In­capacitie of lending him my due and bounden Assistance, if, in time to com, it may bee useful to him towards the Recoverie of his Right.

5. Where I may reasonably, and Bonâ Fide presume, the Op­pressed Power, (to whom my [Page 4] Obedience is justly due) if hee perfectly knew the present Con­dition I am in, together with the Exigence and Necessitie of the present Case, and all of Cir­cumstances thereof, would give his willing Consent to such my Conformitie and Compliance.

So that, upon the whole matter and in short, I conceiv I may so far sub­mit unto the Impositions, or com­plie with the Persons of a prevailing usurped Power, unjustly comman­ding things not in themselvs unlaw­ful; or make use of their Power to protect one from others Injuries. As I may submit unto, complie with, or make use of an High-waie Thief, or Robber, when I am faln into his hands, and lie at his Mercie.

As for Mr Ascham's Discours, [Page 5] though it bee handsomly framed, yet all the Strength of it (to my seeming) lie's upon two Principles, which (if hee would speak out) would bee in plain English these:

1. That Self-preservation is the first and chiefest Obligation in the World, to which all other Bonds and Relations (at least between Man and Man) must give place.

2. That no Oath, at least no imposed Oath, at what Terms soever exprest, binde's the Taker further then hee intended to binde himself thereby; and, it is presu­med, that no man intended to binde himself to the prejudice of his own safetie.

Two dangerous and desperate Principles, which evidently tend 1 to the taking away of all Christian [Page 6] Fortitude and Suffering in a Righ­teous Caus: 2 to the Encouraging of daring and ambitious Spirits to attempt continuall Innovations, with this Confidence, that if they can by anie waies (how unjust soe­ver) possess themselvs of the Su­pream Power, they ought to bee submitted unto: 3 to the Obstru­cting unto the Oppressed Partie all possible waies and means, without a Miracle, of ever recovering that just Right, of which hee shall have been unjustly dispossessed: And (to omit further instancing) 4 to the bringing in of Atheism, with the Contempt of God and all Religion, whil'st everie man, by making his own Preservation the Measure of all his Duties and Actions, maketh himself thereby his own Idol.

FINIS.

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