Page images



his prudent and steady conduct of affairs; and the humours CHARLES
of our wicked fanatics are much restrained from dangerous
eruptions, upon their apprehensions of his vigilance and jus-
tice ; for they dread nothing so much as to see him upon the
head of his majesty's councils and forces against them.

“We hope your grace will make our dutiful acknowledg-
ment to his royal highness for all his princely favours to us,
and give him the most firm assurance of our most sincere
endeavours to serve him, and of our most fervent prayers for
his temporal and eternal happiness, as the bounden duty of,

May it please your grace,
“Your grace's most humble

" And faithful servants,



vol. 3.

P. 407.

That these seven bishops were solicited for this acknow- 902. ledgment; that they were caressed or overawed into a compliment; and that they wanted matter of fact to support their letter, is an uncourtly and uncharitable supposition, and argues they had nothing of that truth and resolution required in their character. However, something of this is glanced at by a late historian. The duke, it seems, must have a blow, at all adven- Complete tures; for it is not uncustomary with this learned author to England, take extraordinary freedom with that prince's memory.

Upon the breaking out of the Rye-house plot, and some other bold practices against the government, the university of Oxon thought it their duty to do their part for disabling such treasonable attempts. To this purpose they passed a solemn censure of twenty-seven propositions extracted from modern authors, who most of them had either acted in, or abetted the late rebellion. This decree was drawn up in Latin by the professor in divinity, passed the convocation on Saturday, July 21st, and was presented to his majesty in English on the 24th of the same month. It is to the tenor following:

SAN- “ The Judgment and Decree of the University of Oxon, CROFT, Abp. Cant. passed in their Convocation on July the 21st, 1683, against The decree

certain pernicious Books and damnable Doctrines, destrucof the uni

tive to the sacred persons of Princes, their State, and versity of Oxford. Government, and of all human society." A.D. 1683. I shall omit the introductive discourse, and pass to the

scandalous assertions, which are these :


The First Proposition. “ All civil authority is derived originally from the people.

66 The Second. “ There is a mutual compact, tacit or express, between a prince and his subjects; and that if he perform not his duty, they are discharged from theirs.

6 The Third. “That if lawful governors become tyrants, or govern otherwise than by the laws of God and man they ought to do, they forfeit the right they had unto their government.”Lex Rex. Buchanan, de jure Regni. Vindicia contra Tyrannos. Bellarm. de Conciliis, de Pontifice. Milton, Goodwin, Baxter, H. C.

« The Fourth. “ The sovereignty of England is in the three estates, viz. king, lords, and commons. The king has but a co-ordinate power, and may be overruled by the other two.”Lex Rex. Hunton, of a limited and mixed Monarchy. Baxter's H. C. Polet. Catechis.

The Fifth.

Birthright and proximity of blood give no title to rule or government; and it is lawful to preclude the next heir from his right and succession to the crown.”—Lex Rex. Hunt's Postscript.' Dolman's History of Succession. Julian the Apostate. Mene Tekel.

66 The Sixth. " It is lawful for subjects, without the consent, and against


the command of the supreme magistrate, to enter into leagues, CHARLES
covenants, and associations for defence of themselves and their
religion.”Solemn League and Covenant. Late Association.

- The Seventh.
“ Self-preservation is the fundamental law of nature, and
supersedes the obligation of all others, whensoever they stand
in competition with it.”Hobbs de Cive. Leviathan.

The Eighth.
“ The doctrine of the Gospel, concerning patient suffering of
injuries, is not inconsistent with violent resisting the higher
powers, in case of persecution for religion.”—Lex Rex. Julian
the Apostate. Apolog. Relat.

" The Ninth.
“There lies no obligation upon Christians to passive obedience
when the prince commands any thing against the laws of our
country; and the primitive Christians chose rather to die than
resist, because Christianity was not settled by the laws of the
empire.”Julian the Apostate.

The Tenth.
“ Possession and strength give a right to govern ; and suc-
cess in a cause or enterprise proclaims it to be lawful and
just: to pursue it is to comply with the will of God, because
it is to follow the conduct of his providence.”Hobbs. Owen's
Sermon before the Regicides, Jan. 31, 1648. Baxter. Jenkin's
Petition, October, 1651.

The Eleventh.
“In the state of nature there is no difference between good
and evil, right and wrong: the state of nature is a state of
war, in which every man hath a right to all things.

[ocr errors]

The Twelfth.
“ The foundation of civil authority is this natural right,
which is not given, but left to the supreme magistrate, upon
men's entering into societies : and not only a foreign invader,
but a domestic rebel, puts himself again into a state of nature,
to be proceeded against, not as a subject, but an enemy; and




consequently acquires, by his rebellion, the same right over the Abp. Cant. life of his prince, as the prince, for the most heinous crimes,

has over the life of his own subjects.


6. The Thirteenth. Every man, after his entering into a society, retains a right of defending himself against force; and cannot transfer that right to the commonwealth, when he consents to that union whereby a commonwealth is made : and in case a great many men together have already resisted the commonwealth, for which every one of them expecteth death, they have liberty then to join together to assist and defend one another : their bearing of arms, subsequent to the first breach of their duty, though it be to maintain what they have done, is no unjust act; and if it be only to defend their persons, it is not unjust at all.


66 The Fourteenth. “ An oath superadds no obligation to pacts, and a pact obliges no farther than it is credited: and, consequently, if a prince gives any indication that he does not believe the promises of fealty and allegiance made by any of his subjects, they are thereby freed from their subjection ; and notwithstanding their pacts and oaths, may lawfully rebel against, and destroy their sovereign.”Hobbs, de Cio. Leviathan.

66 The Fifteenth. “ If a people, that by oath and duty are obliged to a sovereign, shall sinfully dispossess him, and, contrary to their covenants, choose and covenant with another; they may be obliged by their latter covenants, notwithstanding their former.” Baxter's H. C.

The Sicteenth. “ All oaths are unlawful, and contrary to the word of God.” -Quakers.

66 The Seventeenth. “ An oath obligeth not in the sense of the imposers, but the takers.”—Sheriff's Case.

" The Eighteenth. - Dominion founded in grace.



66 The Nineteenth. “ The powers of this world are usurpations upon the prerogative of Jesus Christ; and it is the duty of God's people to destroy them, in order to the setting Christ upon his throne." -Fifth Monarchy-men.

The Twentieth. “ The Presbyterian government is the sceptre of Christ's kingdom, to which kings, as well as others, are bound to submit: and the king's supremacy in ecclesiastical affairs, asserted by the Church of England, is injurious to Christ, the sole king and head of his Church.”— Altare Damascenum. Apolog. Relat. Hist. Indulg. Cartwright. Travers.

" The Twenty-first. “ It is not lawful for superiors to impose any thing in the worship of God, that is not antecedently necessary.

The Twenty-second. “ The duty of not offending a weak brother, is inconsistent with all human authority of making laws concerning indifferent things.”Protestant Reconciler.

The Twenty-Third. “ Wicked kings and tyrants ought to be put to death; and if the judges and inferior magistrates will not do their office, the power of the sword devolves to the people; if the major of the people refuse to exercise this power, then the ministers may excommunicate such a king : after which it is lawful for any of the subjects to kill him; as the people did Athaliah, and Jehu Jezebel."-Buchanan, Knox, Goodman, Gilby, Jesuits.

The Twenty-fourth. “ After the sealing of the Scripture canon, the people of God, in all ages, are to expect new revelations for a rule of their actions; and it is lawful for a private man, having an inward motion from God, to kill a tyrant."- Quakers and other enthusiasts, Goodman.

« PreviousContinue »