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pound the judgments of God, and all other events of Providence or chance, as makes most to the justifying of their own cause, though never so evil; and attribute all to the particular favour of God towards them. Thus when Saul heard that David was in Keilah, "God," saith he, "hath delivered him into my hands, for he is shut in,' But how far that king was deceived in his thought that God was favouring to his cause, that story unfolds; and how little reason this king had to impute the death of Hotham to God's avengement of his repulse at Hull, may easily be seen.
For while Hotham continued faithful to his trust, no man more safe, more successful, more in reputation than he but from the time he first sought to make his peace with the king, and to betray into his hands that town, into which before he had denied him entrance, nothing prospered with him.* Certainly had God purposed him such an end for his opposition to the king, he would not have deferred to punish him till then, when of an enemy he was changed to be the king's friend, nor have made his repentance and amendment the occasion of his ruin. How much more likely is it, since he fell into the act of disloyalty to his charge, that the judgment of God concurred with the punishment of man, and justly cut him off for revolting to the king; to give the world an example, that glorious deeds done to ambitious ends find reward answerable, not to their outward seeming, but to their inward ambition! In the meanwhile, what thanks he had from the king for revolting to his cause, and what good opinion for dying in his service, they who have ventured like him, or intend, may here take notice.
He proceeds to declare, not only in general wherefore God's judgment was upon Hotham, but undertakes by fancies and allusions to give a criticism upon every particular, "that his head was divided from his body, because his heart was divided from the king; two heads cut off in one family for affronting
* From Clarendon's narrative it would appear that offended pride was the first cause of the defection of the Hothams from the parliament: the son, indignant at having the Lord Fairfax placed over his head, fell into correspondence with the court party, which being detected, they were committed to the Tower. The historian, who, writing by command, thought it incumbent upon him to participate in all his master's antipathies, admits, however, that "there was evidence enough against them." They were accordingly executed on Tower-hill. (History, v. 118—121.)—ED.
the head of the commonwealth; the eldest son being infected with the sin of his father, against the father of his country." These petty glosses and conceits on the high and secret judgments of God, besides the boldness of unwarrantable commenting,* are so weak and shallow, and so like the quibbles of a court sermon, that we may safely reckon them either fetched from such a pattern, or that the hand of some household priest foisted them in; lest the world should forget how much he was a disciple of those cymbal doctors. But that argument, by which the author would commend them to us, discredits them the more; for if they be so "obvious to every fancy," the more likely to be erroneous, and to misconceive the mind of those high secrecies, whereof they presume to determine. For God judges not by human fancy.
But however God judged Hotham, yet he had the king's pity. But mark the reason, how preposterous; so far he had his pity, "as he thought he at first acted more against the light of his conscience, than many other men in the same cause." Questionless they who act against conscience, whether at the bar of human or divine justice, are pitied least of all. These are the common grounds and verdicts of nature, whereof when he who hath the judging of a whole nation is found destitute under such a governor that nation must needs be miserable. By the way he jerks at 66 some men's reforming to models of religion, and that they think all is gold of piety, that doth but glister with a show of zeal." We know his meaning, and apprehend how little hope there could be of him from such language as this; but are sure that the piety of his prelatic model glistered more upon the posts and pillars which their zeal and fervency gilded over, than in the true works of spiritual edification.
"He is sorry that Hotham felt the justice of others, and fell not rather into the hands of his mercy." But to clear
* It is not at all surprising to find the author of the Eikon Basilikè, whether king or prelate, indecently triumphing over the fate of these unhappy men, whose fluctuations of principle, though favourable to the court, could not fail to excite even his contempt. "I cannot but observe," he says, "how God, not long after, so pleaded and avenged my cause, in the eye of the world, that the most wilfully blind cannot avoid the displeasure to see it, and with some remorse and fear to own it, as a notable stroke and prediction of divine vengeance." It may be remarked, that wicked men in authority always pretend to think heaven greatly interested in pleading their cause, and avenging anything and everything that offends them.-ED.
that, he should have shown us what mercy he had ever used to such as fell into his hands* before, rather than what mercy he intended to such as never could come to ask it. Whatever mercy one man might have expected, it is too well known the whole nation found none; though they besought it often, and so humbly; but had been swallowed up in blood and ruin, to set his private will above the parliament, had not his strength failed him. "Yet clemency he counts a debt, which he ought to pay to those that crave it; since we pay not anything to God for his mercy but prayers and praises.' By this reason we ought as freely to pay all things to all men; for all that we receive from God, what do we pay for, more than prayers and praises? We looked for the discharge of his office, the payment of his duty to the kingdom, and are paid court-payment, with empty sentences that have the sound of gravity, but the significance of nothing pertinent.
Yet again after his mercy past and granted, he returns back to give sentence upon Hotham; and whom he tells us he would so fain have saved alive, him he never leaves killing with a repeated condemnation, though dead long since. It was ill that somebody stood not near to whisper him, that a reiterating judge is worse than a tormentor. "He pities him, he rejoices not, he pities him" again; but still is sure to brand him at the tail of his pity with some ignominious mark, either of ambition or disloyalty. And with a kind of censorious pity aggravates rather than lessens or conceals the fault to pity thus, is to triumph. He assumes to foreknow, that "aftertimes will dispute whether Hotham were more infamous at Hull, or at Tower-hill." What knew he of aftertimes, who, while he sits judging and censuring without end the fate of that un
* What opinion was entertained of his mercy we may learn from the following anecdote related by his apologist, "Before his going (to Hampton Court) he sent to the Earls of Essex and Holland to attend him in his journey; who were both by their places, the one being lord chamberlain of his household, the other the first gentleman of the bed-chamber, or groom of the stole, obliged to that duty. The Earl of Essex resolved to go; and to that purpose was making himself ready, when the Earl of Holland came to him, and privately dissuaded him; assuring him that if they two went, they should be both murdered at Hampton Court." (Clarendon, ii. 163.) Upon this Warburton significantly remarks:-" The Earl of Essex was no fool. What an idea must this give us of the king's known character!" (Notes on Clarendon, vii. 584.)—ED.
happy father and his son at Tower-hill, knew not the like fate attended him before his own palace-gate; and as little knew whether aftertimes reserve not a greater infamy to the story of his own life and reign?
He says but over again in his prayer what his sermon hath preached how acceptably to those in heaven we leave to be decided by that precept, which forbids" vain repetitions." Sure enough it lies as heavy as he can lay it upon the head of poor Hotham. Needs he will fasten upon God a piece of revenge as done for his sake; and take it for a favour, before he knew it was intended him: which in his closet had been excusable, but in a written and published prayer too presumptuous. Ecclesiastes* hath a right name for such kind of sacrifices.
Going on he prays thus: "Let not thy justice prevent the objects and opportunities of my mercy." To folly, or to blasphemy, or to both, shall we impute this? Shall the justice of God give place, and serve to glorify the mercies of a man? All other men, who know what they ask, desire of God that their doings may tend to his glory; but in this prayer God is required, that his justice would forbear to prevent, and as good have said to intrench upon the glory of a man's mercy. If God forbear his justice, it must be, sure, to the magnifying of his own mercy: how then can any mortal man, without presumption little less than impious, take the boldness to ask that glory out of his hand? It may be doubted now by them who understand religion, whether the king were more unfortunate in this his prayer, or Hotham in those his sufferings.
Upon the listing and raising Armies, &c.
IT were an endless work to walk side by side with the verbosity of this chapter; only to what already hath not been spoken, convenient answer shall be given. He begins again with tumults: all demonstration of the people's love and loyalty to the parliament was tumult; their petitioning tumult;
* Milton alludes, perhaps, in this place, to Ecclesiastes, x. 13 :-" The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness; and the end of his talk is mischievous madness."-ED.
their defensive armies were but listed tumults; and will take no notice that those about him, those in a time of peace listed into his own house, were the beginners of all these tumults; abusing and assaulting not only such as came peaceably to the parliament at London, but those that came petitioning to the king himself at York. Neither did they abstain from doing violence and outrage to the messengers sent from parliament; he himself either countenancing or conniving at them.
He supposes that "his recess gave us confidence, that he might be conquered." Other men suppose both that and all things else, who knew him neither by nature warlike, nor experienced, nor fortunate; so far was any man, that discerned aught, from esteeming him unconquerable; yet such are readiest to embroil others. "But he had a soul invincible." What praise is that? The stomach of a child is ofttimes invincible to all correction. The unteachable man hath a soul to all reason and good advice invincible; and he who is intractable, he whom nothing can persuade, may boast himself invincible; whenas in some things to be overcome, is more honest and laudable than to conquer.
He labours to have it thought," that his fearing God more than man" was the ground of his sufferings; but he should have known that a good principle not rightly understood may prove as hurtful as a bad; and his fear of God may be as faulty as a blind zeal. He pretended to fear God more than the parliament, who never urged him to do otherwise; he should also have feared God more than he did his courtiers, and the bishops, who drew him as they pleased to things inconsistent with the fear of God. Thus boasted Saul to have "performed the commandment of God," and stood in it against Samuel; but it was found at length, that he had feared the people more than God, in saving those fat oxen for the worship of God, which were appointed for destruction. Not much unlike, if not much worse, was that fact of his, who, for fear to displease his court and mongrel clergy, with the dissolutest of the people, upheld in the church of God, while his power lasted, those beasts of Amalec, the prelates,*
* It is customary with the ignorant and narrow-souled to confound the cause of religion with the cause of the bishops and the clergy; though we have here a proof that the most holy and saintly of men may hold episcopacy in abhorrence, as a mere political engine for perpetuating bad govern