Front Page Titles (by Subject) Independent Principles of Resistance From John Goodwin, Right and Might Well Met (1649) a - Puritanism and Liberty, being the Army Debates (1647-9) from the Clarke Manuscripts with Supplementary Documents
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Independent Principles of Resistance From John Goodwin, Right and Might Well Met (1649) a - Arthur Sutherland Pigott Woodhouse, Puritanism and Liberty, being the Army Debates (1647-9) from the Clarke Manuscripts with Supplementary Documents 
Puritanism and Liberty, being the Army Debates (1647-9) from the Clarke Manuscripts with Supplementary Documents, selected and edited with an Introduction A.S.P. Woodhouse, foreword by A.D. Lindsay (University of Chicago Press, 1951).
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Independent Principles of Resistance
Though some other things have been of late acted by the Army,1 wherein many pretendingly complain of want of conscience and justice; yet I suppose they have done nothing either more obnoxious to the clamorous tongues and pens of their adversaries, or more questionable in the judgments and consciences of their friends, than that late garbling of the Parliament, wherein they sifted out much of the dross and soil of that heap, intending to reduce this body, upon the regular motion whereof the well-being, indeed the civil life, of the whole kingdom depends, to such members who had not manifestly turned head upon their trust, nor given the right hand of fellowship to that most barbarous, inhumane, and bloody faction amongst us, who for many years last past have with restless endeavours procured the deep trouble, and attempted the absolute enslaving (which is, being interpreted, the utter undoing), of the nation. So that if this action of theirs shall approve itself, and appear to be regular and conformable to such laws and rules of justice which all considering and disengaged men conclude ought to be followed and observed in such cases as that which lay before them; especially if it shall appear to have been the legitimate issue of true worth and Christianity; I presume, all their other actions of like tenor and import will partake of the same justification and honour with it. * * *
The first-born of the strength of those who condemn the said act of the Army as unlawful, lieth in this: that the actors had no sufficient authority to do what they did therein, but acted out of their sphere, and so became transgressors of that law which commandeth every man to keep order, and within the compass of his calling.
To this I answer: . . . as our Saviour saith (Matt. 2. 27) that the sabbath was made for man (i.e., for the benefit of man), and not man for the sabbath, so certain it is, that callings were made for men, and not men for callings. Therefore the law of the sabbath, though enacted by God, was of right, and according to the intention of the great Lawgiver himself, to give place to the necessary accommodations of men, and ought not to be pleaded in bar hereunto; in like manner, if the law of callings at any time opposeth, or lieth cross to, the necessary conveniences of men, during the time of this opposition it suffereth a total eclipse of the binding power of it. * * *
Nor did they stretch themselves beyond the line of their callings, to act therein as they did. Their calling and commission was to act in the capacity of soldiers, for the peace, liberties, and safety of the kingdom. What doth this import but a calling to prevent or suppress by force all such persons and designs whose faces were set to disturb or destroy them? * * *
If the calling which the Parliament itself had to levy forces against the King and his party, to suppress them and their proceedings as destructive to the peace, liberties, and safety of the kingdom, was warrantable and good, then was the calling of the Army to act as they did in the business under debate, warrantable and good also. * * *
Now then, supposing the same proportion to the peace, benefit, and safety of the kingdom, in what the Army did in purging the Parliament and in what the Parliament itself did in opposing the King by force (which is a point of easy demonstration, and is ex superabundanti proved in the large Remonstrance of the Army1 lately published), let us consider whether the call of the Army to act for the kingdom as they did, be not as authentic, clear, and full, as that of the Parliament to act as they did in reference to the same end.
First, the authority and power of the people (or rather the present exercise and execution of this power) to act for their own preservation and well-being in every kind, was as well formally,a and according to the ceremony of the law, as really, and according to the true intentions and desires of the people, vested in the Parliament. So that the Parliament by virtue of this investiture, and during the same, had the same right of power to raise an army, and to give unto it what commission they judged meet in order to the benefit of the people, or to act any other thing of like tendency, which the people themselves had to choose for themselves a parliament. Therefore whatsoever lieth within the verge of the Army’s commission derived from the Parliament, relating to the kingdom’s good, they have as full and formal a call or warrant to act and put in execution as the Parliament itself had either to raise an army or to do any other act whatsoever. If then first, the tenor of their commission stood towards any such point as this (which I presume is no way questionable), viz., to suppress by strong hand all such persons whom upon rational grounds they should judge enemies to the peace and welfare of the kingdom; and secondly, that those Parliament-members whom now they have cut off from that body were upon such grounds judged such by them (of the truth whereof they have given a sufficient account in their said late Remonstrance), it is as clear as the sun, that their calling to act as they did in cutting off these members is every whit as legitimate and formal as that of the Parliament itself is to act anything whatsoever as a parliament. * * *
Secondly, suppose the Army had not a call to act as they did in the case under debate, every ways as full of formality as the call of the Parliament to act as they did in opposition to the King, yet might their call be (and indeed was) as material, as weighty, as considerable, and as justifiable in the sight of God, and of all unprejudiced intelligent men, as the other. * * *
When the pilot or master of a ship at sea be either so far overcome and distempered with drink or otherwise disabled, as through a phrenetical passion or sickness of any kind, so that he is incapable of acting the exigencies of his place for the preservation of the ship, being now in present danger either of running upon a quick sand or splitting against a rock, &c., any one or more of the inferior mariners, having skill, may, in order to the saving of the ship and of the lives of all that are in it, very lawfully assume, and act according to, the interest of a pilot or master, and give orders and directions to those with them in the ship accordingly, who stand bound, at the peril of their lives, in this case to obey them. By such a comparison as this, Master Prynne himself demonstrates how regular and lawful it is for parliaments, yea and for particular men, to turn kings—I mean, to assume that interest and power which the law appropriates to the office, and vesteth only in the person of a king—when the king steereth a course in manifest opposition to the peace and safety of the kingdom. * * *
But two things (it is like) will be here objected. First, that the Parliament were judges lawfully constituted, of the King’s delinquency against the kingdom, but the Army were no judges of such a constitution, of the miscarriages of the Parliament. Therefore there is not the same consideration in point of lawfulness in the proceedings of the Army against the Parliament, which is of the Parliament’s proceeding against the King. There is the same difference likewise between the act of a client and pupil, wherein the one dischargeth his advocate and the other his guardian, and the act of the Army in dethroning the Parliament-men. To this I answer:
First, that whether we place the lawfulness of a parliamentary judicature in respect of the King’s delinquency either in their election by the people or in the conformity of this their election unto the laws of the land, certain it is that the Army were judges of every whit as competent and lawful a constitution, of their delinquencies in the same kind. For . . . if we measure the lawfulness of parliamentary judicature by the call of the people thereunto, the Army (as was formerly proved) hath every whit as lawful a constitution to judge who are enemies to the peace and safety of the kingdom as the Parliament itself hath. Nor doth it at all argue any illegality in their judgments about the Parliamentmen, that they had not the explicit and express consent of the people therein, or that they had no call by them so to judge; no more than it proveth an illegality in many votes and ordinances of Parliament, that they were both made and published, not only without the particular and express consent, but even contrary to the mind and desires of the people, or at least of the major part of them. Besides it is a ridiculous thing to pretend a want of a call from the people against the lawfulness of such an act which is of that sovereign necessity for their benefit and good, which the actings of the Army were; especially at such a time when there is no possibility of obtaining or receiving a formal call from the people, without running an imminenta hazard of losing the opportunity for doing that excellent service unto them which the providence of God in a peculiar juncture of circumstances exhibits for the present unto us. Men’s consents unto all acts manifestly tending to their relief are sufficiently expressed in their wants and necessities.
If it be yet said, ‘But the people do not judge the proceedings of the Army against the Parliament-men as tending to their relief or welfare in any kind, but as contrary unto both, nor do they give so much as their subsequent consents thereunto’; I answer (besides what was lately said to the nullifying of this pretence) that physicians, called to the care and cure of persons under distempers, need not much stand upon the consents of such patients, either subsequent or antecedent, about what they administer unto them. If the people be incapable in themselves of the things of their peace, it is an act of so much the more goodness and mercy in those who, being fully capable of them, will engage themselves accordingly to make provision for them. It is a deed of charity and Christianity, to save the life of a lunatic or distracted person even against his will. Besides, it is a ruled case amongst wise men, ‘that if a people be depraved and corrupt, so as to confer places of power and trust upon wicked and undeserving men, they forfeit their power in this behalf unto those that are good, though but a few.’ So that nothing pretended from a non-concurrence of the people with the Army will hold water.
Or, secondly, if we estimate the lawfulness of that judicature by the conformity of their elections thereunto, to the laws of the land, the investiture of the Army into that judicature which they have exercised in the case in question, is conform unto a law of far greater authority than any one, yea than all the laws of the land put together; I mean, the law of nature, necessity, and of love to their country and nation, which, being the law of God himself, written in the fleshly tables of men’s hearts, hath an authoritative jurisdiction over all human laws and constitutions whatsoever, a prerogative right of power to overrule them and to suspend their obliging influences in all cases appropriate to itself. Yea, many of the laws of God themselves think it no disparagement unto them, to give place to their elder sister, the law of necessity, and to surrender their authority into her hand when she speaketh. So that whatsoever is necessary is somewhat more than lawful—more (I mean) in point of warrantableness. If then the Army stood bound by the law of nature and necessity to judge the Parliament-men as they did, viz., as men worthy to be secluded from their fellows in parliamentary interest, this judiciary power was vested in them by a law of greater authority than the laws of the land; and consequently the legality or lawfulness of it was greater than of that in the Parliament, which derives its legality only from a conformity to the established laws of the land. Yea, the truth is that the law of necessity, by which the Army were constituted judges of those parliamentary delinquents we speak of, cannot (in propriety of speech) be denied to be one of the laws of the land, being the law of nature, and consequently the law of all lands and nations whatsoever, established in this and in all the rest by a better and more indubitable legislative authority than reside[s] in any parliament or community of men whatsoever. * * *
Another thing that, it’s like, will be objected upon and against what hath been answered to the second main objection, is this: That the Parliament-men, disturbed in their way by the Army, at least many of them, were religious and conscientious men, voted and acted as they did conscientiously, really judging the course they steered to be the safest and most direct for bringing the great ship of the commonwealth into the harbour of rest and peace. And is it not contrary as well to principles of reason as religion, that such men, upon so fair an account as this, should be so foully handled? To this I answer: * * * When men are religious only to a mediocrity, and withal servile in their judgments to some principles which are commonly and with great confidence and importunity obtruded upon the consciences of professors for sacred truths, and yet are extremely discouraging and full of enmity to a thorough, stable, and quiet dependence upon God; by being religious upon such terms as these they become twofold more the children of fear than otherwise they were like to be, and consequently so much the more capable and receptive of sad and dismal impressions from the world upon all occasions. And it is not more commonly than truly said, that fear is a bad counsellor. . . . When religious men sin against the common interest and liberties of a free-born nation and make one purse with the known and thrice-declared enemies of their land and people, whether they do it with or against their judgments and consciences, the law of nature and necessity cannot (for the present) stand to make either a scrupulous inquiry after such a difference or a regular assignment of favour to the qualifying circumstances of demerit, but calls, yea and cries out immediately, and commands all men without exception that have a prize in their hand, to give it for the redemption of their nation out of the hand of oppression and tyranny. And when this law hath been obeyed to the securing of the nation, she presently resigneth, and this freely and willingly, all her authority and command into the hand of positive and standing laws, calculated for the ordinary posture and state of things, until there be another cry of like danger in her ears. When these standing laws come to resume their authority and power, there will be an opportunity to inquire, if it shall be thought convenient, who sinned with, and who against, their consciences; and their assessments which were uniformly rated by the law of necessity, may be reduced to terms of more equity by those other laws. . . . According to the notion of that maxim in natural philosophy, that the corruption of the best is worst, so are the miscarriages and errors of the best men of worst consequence in many cases. The digressions of men religious are many times worse than the thorough discourses of other men. When conscience and concupiscence meet (as oft they do in religious men), the conjunction is very fiery. It was the saying of Gregory long since, ‘When men conceive of sin under the notion of a duty, there it is committed with an high hand and without fear’ (Greg., de Pastor. cur. 1. 3. 1). Nor ever was (nor is ever like to be) the persecution of the Saints more grievous than when those that shall persecute them and put them to death, shall think that therein they do God service (John 16. 2). So that whereas the objection in hand pleads on behalf of those Parliament-men who were religious, that they followed the light and dictate of their judgments and consciences in complying with the King and his complices, the truth is that though it may reasonably be thought so much the less sinful in them if they did it upon such terms, yet was it a ground so much the more justifiable for the Army to proceed upon to the disinteresting of them, as they did. For when religious men break out of the way of righteousness and truth, with the renitency and obmurmuration of their judgments and consciences, it is a sign that their judgments and consciences are yet at liberty and in condition to reduce them; but when these are confederate with their lust, there is little hope of their repentance. * * *
A fourth objection in the mouths of some, against which they conceive the Army cannot be justified in the business in question, is that all such actions are contrary unto, and condemned by, the laws of the land. But to this objection, at least to the weight and substance of it, we have already answered over and over, and particularly have asserted and proved, first, that all human laws and constitutions are but of a like structure and frame with the Ceremonial Laws of old made by God himself, which were all made with knees to bend to the law of nature and necessity. Secondly, that it is to be presumed that the intent of all law-givers amongst men is, notwithstanding any or all their laws seemingly commanded the contrary, to leave an effectual door always open for the common good, and in cases of necessity to be provided for by any person or persons whatsoever. Thirdly, that all laws bind only according to the regular and due intentions of the law-makers. Fourthly, that the laws of nature and necessity are as well the laws of the land as those commonly so called. Fifthly, that when any two laws encounter one the other in any such exigent or strait of time that both of them cannot be obeyed, the law of inferior consequence ought to give place to that of superior, and the duty enjoined in this to be done though that required in the other be left undone. We now add:
First, that we charitably suppose that there is no such law of the land, which prohibiteth or restraineth any man or sort of men from being benefactors to the public; especially from preserving the public liberties in cases of necessity when they stand in extrema regula and are in imminent danger of being oppressed forever, there being no likelihood of relief from any other hand. And if there be no such law as this, there is none that reacheth the case of the Army—no, not in the critical or characteristical circumstance of it.
Secondly, that in case there be any such law as this, that it is a mere nullity, and the matter of it no more capable of the form of a law (i.e., of an obliging power) than timber or stone is capable of information by a reasonable soul, which, according to vulgar philosophy rather than the truth, is the proper form of a man. The laws of nature and of common equity are the foundation of all laws (truly and properly so called) and whatsoever venditateth itself under the name or notion of a law, being built besides this foundation, wanteth the essence and true nature of a law, and so can be but equivocally such. * * *
I know nothing of moment that can be opposed against the lawfulness of the action hitherto apologized and justified in these papers, beyond what hath been already bought and sold (I mean urged and answered) at sufficient rates. The lawfulness of the action we speak of, being supposed, the honour and worth of it are of much more easy demonstration. For what better favour can a Christianly-heroic spirit spread abroad of itself than when men shall put their lives in their hand, and in this posture stand up to take lions by the beards when they are ready to tear in pieces and devour the sheep of the fold, to attempt the wresting of an iron sceptre out of those hands which were now lifting it up to break a poor nation in pieces like a potter’s vessel? What the Army hath done in this behalf calleth to mind the unparallelable example of the Lord Jesus Christ, blessed for ever, who descended into the lower parts of the earth, went down into the chambers of death, from thence to bring up with him a lost world. It was the saying of Plato that ‘to do good to as many as we can, is to be like unto God.’ But to do good to as many as we can, as well enemies as friends, by an exposal of our own lives unto death for the accomplishment of it, is a lineament of that face of divine goodness, which Plato (it is like) never saw. It was the manner of almost all nations (as the Roman orator observeth) to place the assertors of their countries’ liberties next to the immortal gods themselves at the table of honour. And I make no question but when the inhabitants of this nation shall have drank awhile of the sweet waters of that well of liberty which the Army have digged and opened with their swords, after it had been for a long time stopped and filled up with earth by the Philistines, they will generally recover of that malignant fever which now distempereth many of them, and be in a good posture of sobriety and strength to rise up early and call their benefactors blessed. However, the good will of him that dwelt in the bush be upon the head of such warriors, who pursue that blessed victory of overcoming evil by doing good, and, according to the method of the warfare of heaven, seek to reconcile a nation unto themselves by not imputing their unthankfulness or other their evil entreaties unto them, but in the midst of their own sufferings from them set themselves with heart and soul to set them at liberty from their oppressors.
THE LAW AND THE GOSPEL: CHRISTIAN LIBERTY
 The pamphlet is a defence of Pride’s purge.
 See Appendix, pp. 456-65.
[212. (a)]Right and Might Well Met. Or a briefe and unpartial enquiry into the late and present proceedings of the Army. . . . By John Goodwin. [Quotes John 7. 24; Prov. 17. 15; also from Tertullian and Seneca.] London, Printed by Matthew Simmons for Henery Cripps . . . 1648 [Jan. 2, 1649]. Compared with copy in McAlpin Collection. Marginal quotations omitted; marginal references incorporated, in brackets.