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from the oath of supremacy, from the insecurity of the prerogative, if the Presbyterian discipline should prevail ; and from the sacrilegious alienation of the Church's patrimony, which appears to be the consequence of this project.
Having gone over these two articles, the remainder of the covenant is despatched with more expedition.
The third article, as the convocation goes on, sits uneasy They argue upon us. Here our profession of loyalty is clogged with a third article, dangerous limitation. We swear ourselves ready to maintain
and defend the king's person and authority" in the preservation and defence of the true religion and the liberties of the kingdom.”
Our exception to this clause is,
1. Because neither the oaths of supremacy or allegiance, the solemn protestation or the Word of God, have any such limitations.
2. Our endeavour for preserving the rights and privileges of parliament are sworn in the same article without any condition
3. This qualifying restriction leaves the subject, as it were, at large in his allegiance, and makes a loose provision for the crown : so that, whenever the people have a mind to desert
from their duty to his majesty, this mysterious clause will · furnish them with a colour for their misbehaviour.
4. After we have sworn the article with this limitation, and broke in so remarkably upon the prerogative-royal, it will look like a strange piece of assurance to appeal to the world at the same time, “ that they may bear witness with our consciences of our loyalty, that we have no thoughts or intentions to diminish his majesty's just power and greatness.”
5. Lastly, the swearing with this limitation seems a new and incomprehensible instance of allegiance. There is room enough in it for the most mistaken and dangerous conscience ; and the niost bigoted Papists, the rankest heretics and sectaries,
may easily swallow it. The fourth As to the fourth article, we desire these few things may
be thoroughly considered :
1. Whether it does not lay a necessity upon the son of informing against his father, and prosecuting him to death, in case he believes him an incendiary, a malignant, &c. ?-But to
pursue so close and venerable a relation in this manner is, in CHARLES our opinion, flying in the face of nature, and a plain revolt from all religion and humanity.
2. We desire to know whether this clause does not open a passage to parricide, and other outrageous villanies of this nature? For, under the pretext of the covenant, children may assassinate their parents, husbands murder their wives, and one relation destroy another : for, if any of these happen to lie in the way of interest or pleasure, it is but charging them with malignancy, and the work is done.
3. Since, by our solemn protestation, we have obliged ourselves to maintain the liberty of the subject,”—since the house of commons have publicly censured all instances of arbitrary government,-should we not scandalously betray the birthright of Englishmen and the privilege of the subject, if we should swear a resignation of our lives, of our liberties, and fortunes, to such arbitrary justice, to such uncertain, undistinguished judges, as may call us to an account upon the highest charge, and condemn us without form of law, and, after all, indemnify themselves, and retire under the protection of this article ?
The substance of the fifth article relates to the settling and Their reapreserving the “peace and union ” of the three kingdoms. the fifth This is both our duty and inclination, to promote by all defen- article. sible methods; and, therefore, we should very willingly swear this part of the covenant, were it not for two obstructions.
1. We cannot yet discover the happiness consequent upon the blessed peace in the three kingdoms, mentioned in this article. For the war not only rages in Ireland, but the other two kingdoms continue embroiled.
2. Since justice is the only solid basis for peace, and this virtue cannot subsist without giving every one their own, it is incredible to us that these kingdoms should ever enjoy a lasting peace, unless the king, the parliament, and the subject, have their due shares of authority, power and liberty, inviolably maintained : and that all this be done pursuant to the laws and ancient usages of each kingdom : and which were never contested till the late commotions.
Farther, our consciences are by no means satisfied with the sixth article.
dalous prayer in
1. Because the whole article stands upon a supposition, ness birth article which we could never find supported with any solid reasoning. disproved. The thing taken for granted is, that this covenant of mutual
defence engaged in for carrying on the late war, “is the common cause of religion, liberty, and peace of the kingdoms, and has a great tendency to promote the glory of God, and the honour of the king."
2. Granting this supposition was clear enough to command our assent, yet we cannot see which way our consciences could get through the remainder of the article, unless it could be farther demonstrated that the means used in maintenance of this clause were unquestionably lawful. For since “evil is not to be done that good may come on it:" we are not at present sufficiently convinced that the “interest of religion, the glory of God, the public repose, the good of these kingdoms, and the honour of the king,” can always be promoted by methods unsuitable to the ends pretended; and which, as far as we understand, have no manner of countenance, either from the laws of God, or those of the realm.
Lastly, We cannot read the conclusion without astonishment: for here the Covenanters beg of God Almighty, “that
all other Christian Churches may be encouraged by their exsion of the
ample to join in the same or like association and covenant, for delivering themselves from the yoke of Antichristian tyranny.
Now, not to mention our knowing nothing of the Antichristian yoke these kingdoms lie under, or of our being delivered from this grievance by the covenant and civil war, waiving our ignorance of this matter, we cannot at present discover any such blessings consequent upon this covenant, as to make it part either of our prayers or wishes, that other churches should follow the precedent.
To put up our petitions to God Almighty for this purpose, would, in our opinion, be in effect to pray S
First, That God would inspire the Church with the spirit of animosity and discord; bring war and confusion upon Christendom, and banish peace and good correspondence from the face of the earth.
Secondly, That the reformed religion, and the very name of Protestancy, may be hated and hissed through the universe.
Thirdly, That all the princes of Europe may be cautioned CHARLES to treat the Protestants with rigour, or rather to expel them their dominions ; for that otherwise it is impracticable for crowned heads to sit safe upon the throne.
And to despatch their conclusion, supposing the Antichristian yoke should be put upon the subjects' neck by their lawful princes; in this case we are not to throw it off by applying to force: this would be “resisting the ordinance of God:” on the other hand, such an affliction ought to be undergone with Christian fortitude. We must boldly confess the truth, “endure the cross,” and maintain our conscience with passiveness and submission to the government.
After this disproof of the lawfulness of the covenant, the university proceeds to charge the articles with contradiction, obscurity, and farther dangerous meaning. And in the close they return an answer to the arguments usually made use of in defence of this engagement : and here they expose the Covenanters' fallacies with all imaginable clearness, and shew the insignificancy of the subterfuges they retire to.
The convocation having done with the covenant, go on to the “ Negative Oath,” which stand thus :
I, A. B., sincerely swear, that during this war, I will the negative neither directly nor indirectly adhere to, or voluntarily assist the king against the parliament; or contribute to the service or assistance of any forces whatsoever, which shall be levied without a warrant from both houses of parliament. I likewise swear to resign myself to the power and protection of the parliament, and to a submission to that authority, without any intention or reserve which may be prejudicial to the present parliament, or their interest. And all this I swear without any command from the king, without any communication or concert with him, or advice of the king, his council, or other ministers whatsoever. So help me God, through Jesus Christ, preached in this holy Gospel.”
This oath, we are afraid, (say the university) cannot be Reasons taken without throwing up that liberty, which by prior obliga- against it. tions we are engaged to maintain : for forcing an oath upon the subject, without any warrant from law, is, as we think, plainly subversive of this liberty.
2. This negative engagement is a direct breach of that duty a subject naturally owes to his prince, and evidently counter to the oaths of supremacy and allegiance, already taken by us. By all which solemn ties we are bound to defend the king to the utmost of our power. Whereas by this negative oath we must swear, and swear heartily, we will not defend his majesty,
nor afford him any assistance. 853. Farther, we cannot come under this new obligation without
falling foul on the third article of the covenant, and diminishing his majesty's just power and greatness in a very remarkable manner : that is, by owning an authority in either, or both houses of parliament, in opposition to his majesty. Whereas we frankly declare, it is farther than we understand, that any lawful authority unsubordinate to the crown, can be exercised
in this kingdom. And against As to the provision for settling the Church discipline and byterian
the Directory; the university are not satisfied of their being discipline at liberty to obey an ordinance of the two houses, not conrectory, firmed with the royal assent: especially, considering these
ordinances command things contrary to the statutes of the realm : and which looks still somewhat more surprising, declare an authority in the two houses, for repealing the laws and statutes passed by king, lords and commons. Now since making and unmaking is a property peculiar to the same authority, the university cannot understand, an inferior power or jurisdiction, can null the acts of a superior.
With reference to ecclesiastical discipline, they cannot submit to the ordinance touching that matter, without consenting to the abolition of an establishment, so much recommended by antiquity, so firmly settled by law, and so well accommodated to the civil government. And here, after some exceptions to the Presbyterian scheme, they proceed to the ordinance for the Directory. By this ordinance the Common Prayer is suppressed : the university therefore declare, their consciences will by no means allow them to consent, for the following reasons. 1. Because the greatest part of them have subscribed their approbation of the Common Prayer: solemnly promising, that they would make use of no other form in the public service: that pursuant to their promise and subscription, they had all along officiated by this book to their great comfort and benefit. And farther, they