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Sovereignty in the King Alone - Joyce Lee Malcom, The Struggle for Sovereignty: Seventeenth-Century English Political Tracts, vol. 1 
The Struggle for Sovereignty: Seventeenth-Century English Political Tracts, 2 vols, ed. Joyce Lee Malcolm (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1999). Vol. 1.
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Sovereignty in the King Alone
William Goodwin, A Sermon
William Goodwin, d. 1610
THE KINGS MOST EXCELLENT MAIESTIE At Woodstocke, Avg. 28. 1614.
William Goodwin,Deane of Christ’s Church and Vice-Chancellor of the Vniversity of Oxon.
Published by Commandement.
Printed by Joseph Barnes. 1614
William Goodwin delivered the sermon published here in his capacity as chaplain to James I toward the end of his long and successful career in the Church of England. Goodwin had held a variety of benefices in Yorkshire and London before arriving in Oxfordshire. In 1611 he was made dean of Christ Church college in Oxford and in 1614, when he preached this sermon before the king at Woodstock, he had just been made vice chancellor of Oxford University.
Goodwin’s sermon contains the emphasis, usual for the time, upon the independence of the English king from the power of the pope. However, Goodwin goes on to stress that the king was also exempt from the power of the law. Dutiful subjects, he assured worshippers, were bound to obey the king even if he became a tyrant. These teachings obviously pleased James who ordered the sermon to be published. On the other hand, it was bound to irritate many politically active gentlemen. Only four years before, Parliament had been so incensed by the absolutist opinions expressed by John Cowell in The Interpreter, a law dictionary, that it took the unusual step of censuring the book. At that time James had prudently rescinded approval for the book’s publication. His command that Goodwin’s sermon be published would suggest that James’s action in Cowell’s case was only a strategic retreat, but that he was quite prepared to broadcast notions similar to Cowell’s when opportunity presented itself. This sermon appears to be Goodwin’s only publication and appeared in only one edition.
jeremie 1. 10
See! I have this day set thee up, over Nations & Kingdomes, to plucke up, to roote out, to destroy, to overthrow, to build, and to plant.
It is not my purpose to extoll the Dignity, or discourse of the Duety of a Prophet, in the presence of a King. The wordes of my Text, I confesse, naturally exact it; yet may it seeme unseasonable, in this Royall Presence, in this place, especially in these times. Miserable, & wretched times! in which the chiefe and principall, the essentiall and fundamentall points of Religion, and Christianity, which should breed Peace in our Consciences, and bring Salvation to our Soules, are almost growne harsh and out of fashion, stale, and out of request. Looke into the many Bookes and volumes, which in these later yeares, have proceeded from our English Fugitives, and Romish adversaries; in some, you shall finde the Name of Christ seldome mentioned; in many, no one point of Religion handled; in most, if any be handled, it is but obiter, and in transitu,1 by the way, and superficially, to farce and stuffe out the volume; the maine scope, & drift of all, hath beene, to advance the Miter above the Crowne, and to erect the Monster of the more than Transcendent Superioritie of the Sea and Church of Rome. Insomuch that we are now forced to spend our times & studies, our paines and watchings, our Books and writings, our discourses and preachings, yea our very Spirits and Lives, in upholding the Thrones, in sustaining the Scepters, in setling the Crownes, nay in vindicating the Lives, the Estates, and Dignities of Sacred and Anointed Kings, from the unjust and bloody Assasinations of Romish and Antichristian Tyranny.2
Our chiefe, nay our only Religion, in these days consists not in the Faith of that one only Christ, that one only deare & beloved Sonne ofthat Living God: but in a servile and slavish Submission and Prostitution to the Sea, and Pope of Rome. You knowe whose resolution it is, Quicquid profiteatur, Catholicus non est, qui est, à Romani Pontificis obedientiâ, alienus.3 Professe what you will professe, understand the Scriptures never so exactly, imbrace the Gospell never so sincerely, beleeve all the Articles of Faith never so stedfastly, professe the Truth never so constantly, practice the workes of Charitie never so devoutly, suffer, & shed your Blood, & lay downe your Lives for Christ never so patiently; I adde, Invocate all the Saints in Heaven, adore the Fleshly Body of Christ in the Sacrament, mutter your Confession, performe your Penance, buy your Absolution, purchase Pardons, & Indulgences; All this, and more, is not sufficient, to constitute a Catholike. One thing remaines, you must cast down your Crownes at the Feet of that Man of sin, you must leave your Kingdomes to bee disposed, at his pleasure; otherwise you have no part in the true Church, you can expect no portion in God’s kingdome. If he Thunder, the Earth must Shake, the Foundations of the world must be moved, the Thrones of Kings must totter, their scepters must fall out of their hands, their Crownes must be torne from their Heads, All must be cast at his Feet. If you demand (Quo warranto?) by what warrant, and Commission, He claimes it? The words of my Text, See! this day have I set thee up, &c. they are his warrant, they are his Commission. A weake warrant, of so unjust usurpation! as I trust I shall make manifest, if first you will give mee leave briefly to unfold the words themselves.
The words in their proper and naturall, in their literall & Principall sense, are appropriated to Christ Jesus, the Prince of Prophets, who hath Excellentiam Potestatis. Personally they are directed to Jeremy; who was Propheta constitutus, antequàm natus, ordained a Prophet of God, before he was borne, the Sonne of Man. In a subordinate, and qualified sense, they may be applied to all the Prophets, all the Apostles, all the Ministers of the Gospell; who have delegatam Potestatem. All Similiter, but not Aequaliter, with like, but not with equall power, being set over Nations and Kingdomes, &c. Christ, in that high Preeminence, and superexcellency of all power, which was given him of his Father, both in Heaven and in Earth: Jeremy, by extraordinary calling and vocation from Heaven: the rest, by subordinate and delegate Commission, being sent of Christ, as He was sent of his Father, & having the word of Reconciliation committed unto them.
In the wordes I observe, first, their Commission; I have set thee up. Secondly, the Extent, and latitude of their jurisdiction; above Nations, above Kingdomes. Thirdly, their Worke; and that is twofold, ad Destructionem: ad Aedificationem, to plucke up, to root out, &c. to plant, and to build. In other things, Facilius est destruere, quàm astruere; yet where Sinne is the subject wee worke upon, it is so incorporate into the nature of man, that it is farre greater difficultie, to pluck up, and root out, than to plant; and to destroy, & overthrow, than to build. Therefore the Spirit of God mentioneth quatuor Tristia: duo Laeta; foure Destroying, but only two Edifying Metaphors. Lastly, I observe, that the true and only End of plucking up, and rooting out, is planting; the End of overthrowing, and destroying, is Building.
The Commission is Authenticall, rooted in Heaven and grounded upon God’s Ordination. The Extent & latitude, is large and ample: no Estate, no Dignitie, no Throne, no Crowne, no Scepter, no Diadem exempt from it. The worke is powerfull on both sides. I had almost said Omnipotent; for, Habet quandam Omnipotentiam, non ex Spiritu nostro, sed ex Spiritu, qui est in Spirita nostro; The word of God, in the mouth of his basest servants, hath in it a kinde of Omnipotencie, not by any vertue that is in them, but by the power of that Spirit that worketh in them. The End is full of Grace, and of Favour.
First, I meet with a note of observation, set (as it were) in the very Front, and Forehead of my Text, [Vide] [See] to this end, that, QuiManus ad Clavum, & Oculos, ad Caelum, He which sits at the Sterne, either of Civil, or Ecclesiasticall governement, whether He sit on the Throne, or in the Chaire, His eye must ever be fixed in Heaven, upon the Pole by which his course must be guided, & conducted. For both in Kingdome, and in Church, Christus in Imo, Christus in Summo; Christ is the roote, Christ is the roofe; Christ is the beginning, Christ is the ending, Christ is Α, Christ is Θ; Christ is the foundation, Christ is the perfection of all. The Prosperitie, & Peace, the Abundance and Wealth, the Honour and Dignitie, the Stabilitie and Perpetuitie of all, stands upon his Favour, and is upheld by his Blessing. It is He, that must blesse us here, it is He that must crowne us hereafter. [See] we enjoy the Blessing, let Him have the Glory. From Him we have our Constitution and Commission, Ego constitui, I have set thee up: otherwise, Τίς πρὸς ταῦτα ἵκανος; who is sufficient for these things? What are our earthen vessels, to hold that inestimable and heavenly Treasure? What our uncleane Hands, to breake, and distribute that heavenly Manna? What our leaden and drossy pipes, to receave, or convey that water of life? Τίς πρὸς ταῦτα ἵκανος; Who is sufficient for these things? No man takes this Honour to himselfe, but he which is called of God, as was Aaron? The excellencie of this power it is not of Men, but it is of God.
Before I formed thee in the wombe, I knew thee, before thou camest out the wombe, I sanctified thee; there is Electio ad salutem: I have ordained thee to be a Prophet, and See! this day I have set thee up, &c. there is Electio ad Munus; chosen to salvation before eternity, called to the Office of a Prophet this Day. These do not always concurre in one subject; but where they meet, a thousand thousand Blessings accompany that constitution, & a thousand thousand times blessed is he, that is chosen of God both to save himselfe, and to save others.
Dei Agricultura estis, Dei Aedificium estis; you are God’s husbandry, you are God’s building. Ager, Mundus: Aedificium, Fideles; the world is his Field, the Faithfull are his Building. Ager non est Agricolae, sedPatris familiûs, Aedificium non est Architecti, sed Domini: the field is not the Husbandman’s but the owner’s, the building is not the workeman’s, but the Lord’s. In this Husbandry there is not a fit labourer, that is not sent of God into his Harvest, Mat. 9. In this Building there is not a meete workeman, which is not inspired from Heaven, as was Aholiah and Bezaleel, Exod. 31. He which buildes and he which plants, hee which plucks up, and hee which rootes out is nothing, but Hee which gives the Blessing and encrease, Hee is all in all. Rusticani Sudoris Schemate quodam, labor spiritualis expressus est; The worke of a Prophet is illustrated by resemblance with the toile of an Husbandman, and the whole comparison is meerely Tropicall, Figurative, & Metaphoricall. Nulla est excusatio carnaliter interpretanti, in huius modi loquutionibus Tropicis: It is an absurditie beyond absurditie, to make literall interpretation of Figurative and Metaphoricall Speeches. Nay it is an Impietie beyond Impietie, to change the elegant resemblances, which the Spirit of God useth in the Scripture, to Actuall and Reall, and bloody Executions of unjust and usurped Tyranny. Certainely God never sent forth his Prophets, as Incendiaries, & Assasinates, with Fire and Sword, with Poison & Gunpowder, to pluck up, to root out, to destroy, to overthrow. He sent them that the world might be saved, but not ruinated by them.
The rule is generall, Quicquid in Scripturis Sacris asperum, savǔ, crudele sonat, & commendatur à Sanctis faĉtum, aut inbetur ut facient, non ad literă, sed ad cupiditatis Regnum, & vincendos anime Hostes intelligitur esse scriptum. Whatsoever in the Scriptures is commanded or commended in the Saints, and favoreth of violence, asperitie, crueltie, it is not Literally, but Figuratively to be understood and executed.
If you demand, Qui Vectes? quae Ferramenta? with what tooles, and with what Engins He performes so glorious a worke? They are set in the words next before my Text, Behold, I have put my word in thy mouth; a word sharper than a two-edged Sword, which enters and divides, and woundes, and kills; but, Culpas non Homines; it kills Sinne, but it saves men. To this worke he hath set apart Esay, and Jeremy, not Zenacherib, not Nabuchadnezar, not Antiochia; Peter & Paule, not Herod and Nero; Augustine, Ambrose, & the Holy Fathers, not Domitian, and Julian, bloody Emperors; Luther, Calvin, & many worthies in his Church, not Hildebrand, Julius, Boniface, Pius, Sixtus, & the rest of that rabble. Those pluckt up, & rooted out Gladiouris, with the Sword of their Lippes; these destroy, overthrow, murder, massacre, Ore Gladii, with the dint and edge of the Sword. Thus, Imperiale fit Papale, Spirituale fit Temporale; the Imperiall right is made Papall, and the Spirituall Ministery is changed into open & professed Tyranny. But Quis constituit? whence have they their Ordination? from whom can they challenge their Commission?
They are set up, Super Nationes & Regna, above Nations, above Kingdomes. An ample & a large Jurisdiction! but Ministerium impositum est, non Dominum datum; I see a dutie and a charge laid upon us, which we must exercise, I see no Soveraigntie, no Dominion given unto us that we should execute. Qui ad Episcopatum vocatur, ad Servitutem vocatur, non ad Dominium Ecclesiae; he that is called to the office of a Prophet, is called to serve, and minister, not to rule and domineere in the Church. I read, that their Sound, I find not, that their Sword, should go through the world. It is true, there is no Privilege, there is no Exemption, there is no Throne, there is no Crowne, there is no Scepter, there is no Diadem, that is not subject to this glorious Ministration. Wee may not feare the faces of mortall men. Saule must heare of his witchcrafts, David of his adultery, Ahab of Naboth’s vineyard, Herod of his brother Philip’s wife; Israel must heare of her Sinnes, Judah of her Transgressions, Samaria of her Idolatries, Jerusalem of her Abominations. And where we could beare rule, and domineere, and offer force, and use violence, and beat downe sin, and cry out against iniquitie, till their eares tingle, & their Hearts tremble in the midst of their Bowels, we doe nothing but our duties. For this cause are wee set over Nations, over Kingdomes. Herein is our true honour, herein our true Preeminence. Which hath caused the ancient and holy Fathers so often to extoll the dignitie of their Ministery, and sometimes, not to compare only, but to preferre it before and above the highest earthly Soveraigntie. Imperium ipsi quoque gerimus, addo etiam praestantius ac perfectius; vos enim, potestati mea meisque subselliis Lex Christi Subiecit:4 spoken in the presence, and to the person of an Emperour. We also have our authoritie, & that more perfect, and more glorious than your Soveraigntie; for even your majestie hath the law of Christ subjected to our Pulpit. It is to our Pulpit, not to our Tribunal; where wee may reprove, not chastise, reprehend, not punish, depresse, not depose: to us your Soules, to you our Bodies are committed; into our Handes the Keyes, into your Handes the Sworde is delivered; wee must denounce, you must execute, God’s Judgements; wee can shut out of Heaven, you may root out of the earth. God hath set his servants over Nations, & Kingdomes, as He set Jonas over Niniveh, ut eversi in malo aedificarentur in Bono; that their sinnes might be pluckt up, & rooted out, their estate established, the sentence denounced against them reversed, their Ruine & Destruction prevented, their Pardon and Peace procured. God hath not set them, as he set Salmanazar, Zenacherib, Nabuchadnezar, over Israel and Judah, as his whips and scourges, or rather as his Sword & Executioners; ut Aedificati in malo e, verterentur in toto, that when their sinnes were ripe, they should draw the line of emptinesse over them, and chaine their Kings, and fetter their Nobles, and ruinate their estates, and dispose of their kingdomes. We may, nay we must, denounce God’s judgements, but the sword, which must execute them, Hee hath put into another’s Hand. If our Saviour demaunde Quis me Judicem? Who hath made me a Judge over you? and would not end a Controversie, that was brought unto Him: may not we lawfully aske, Quis vos Principes? who hath made you Princes? nay more than Princes? to dispose of the estates, of all, yea Lawfull, Anointed, and Soveraigne Princes?
Their work is to pluck up and to root out, to destroy, to overthrow. True! but, Disce sarculo opus esse, non sceptro, ut facias opus Prophetae: See, a Sheepehooke, not a Scepter, a weeding hooke, not a Sword, is the Instrument that fits the Hand, and agrees with the worke of a Prophet. Cum audis Regna & Nationes, noli Carnaliter intelligere, sed cogita Animas Regnatas à Peccato; delicta, cogita, quae evellenda & suffodienda, à sermonibus Dei: When you heare of Nations and of Kingdomes, and of plucking up and rooting out, dreame not of earthly kingdoms; but remember, Satan hath a kingdome within you, and sinne hath gotten Dominion over you; follow, pursue, kill, mortifie these enimies, pluck up, root out, destroy, overthrow this Kingdome. This is a true Prophetical, Evangelicall work, which cannot be destitute, either of a Blessing here, or a reward hereafter. There was a time, wherein God promised, and in his due time Hee performed it; Men shall turne their swordes into scythes, and their Speares into Mattockes, and there shall none hurt nor destroy in all the mountaine of my Holynesse. There was never time wherein Satan practised it not, in these our times hee hath effected it; men have turned their scythes into Swords, & their Mattockes into Speares, and with Julius the second, their Miters, into Helmets, and the Keyes of Peter, into the Sword of Paule. There is now nothing, but Blood & Slaughter, but Stabbings and Poisonings, and fire, and Gunpowder, but Deposing & Ruinating. And ubique Religio praetenditur, ubi omnia, & Humana et Divina violantur, and when all the Lawes both of God and Man are violated, Religion Must cover all, & the Censure of the Church must warrant all. We have seene with our Eyes, the most woful and disastrous effects and fruits of this Doctrine the sunne ever looked upon. You cannot but remember them, I take no pleasure to repeate them. God hath set Bounds and limits, unto all Authority; the Authority of the Church is confined, to the Courts of Conscience, not extended, to the Courtes of Justice. The worke of a Prophet is appropriated to the rooting out of sin, not improved to the ruinating of Kingdomes. And this is the end and perfection of all, so to plucke up and roote out, that we plant, so to destroy & overthrow, that we build.
This is indeed the Proper and Naturall worke of God’s Ministers, to plucke up, and to roote out, is Accidentall and forced upon them, to plant and to build, is Essentiall to their Office, & affected by them. That is their Hope, and their Joy and their Crowne of rejoicing, in the Day of the Lord Jesus. Suprema lex salus Ecclesiae; The fundamentall Law of the Church and the most glorious worke of the sacred Ministery never reached to the Bodies, or Goods, or Lives of Men, but ever was accomplished in the salvation of the soules of men. It is the observation of Chrysostom, Saepè solet Scriptura uti verbis malis in re bona; the spirit of God in the Scriptures, often useth sharpe, displeasing, and destructive phrases, where yet it intends to produce Blessed, Gracious, and vital effects. Ignis, Gladius, verba mala sunt; Fire, Sword, are words cloathed with Terror, and usually Instruments of Death. But the Fire that came downe from Heaven, & sate on the apostles, illuminat, non incendit, enlightens, scortches not, inflames, burnes not, purges, but consumes not. The sword, which God hath put into the Hands, into the Mouthes rather, of his Prophets, vomicam incidere potest, may launce and open the impostumation, which hath beene long breeding in us, cuts, but hurts not, heales, but endangers not. God authorizing his servants to wound, but for that they might heale againe, to kill, but for that they might quicken againe, to plucke up and roote out, but so that they might plant againe, to destroy, and overthrow, but so that they might build againe.
Of the plucking up and rooting out of our Adversaries the world hath had long and wofull experience, the Turks, and Infidels have made their advantage, the Church hath felt the smart, and all Christendome to this day groanes under the weight & burden of it. If you seeke for their Plantings and Buildings, you must saile to the Indies, and search into remote, barbarous, and unknowne Lands; it may be in the passage you may heare, of fruitfull Plantations & of glorious Buildings, and of strange Miracles, and of wonderfull conversions; but in the end, you shall find, and see, their Plantations have beene watered with Blood, the Foundations of their Buildings laid in Blood, in the Blood of innumerable thousands, of poore and naked Innocents; themselves being witnesses against themselves, and their owne Jesuites deploring and detesting their more than inhumane & Devillish Cruelty.
Thus have I posted over the words of my Text, that you may perceive we detract nothing from the authoritie of a Prophet. His constitution is from God. We exempt no man from their lawfull jurisdiction; they are Set up, Super Nationes, Super Regna, above Nations, above Kingdomes. Wee acknowledge their worke powerfull, to plucke up, root out, &c. but, In Criminibus, non in possessionibus Potestas ista, this power is excercised in extirpation of sinnes, not in extermination of Kingdomes; &, Linguâ, non Manu, Ore, non Gladio, Precibus, non Armis; It must be executed with our Tongues, not with our Hands, with our Words, not with our Swordes, with our Prayers, not with our weapons. Lastly, we yeeld double, and treble honour to those, which so roote out, that still they may plant, which so destroy, that yet they may still build up.
O how easily, & how amply could I here discourse of the Kingdome of Christ Jesus! of his many victories, and his glorious Triumphs! all achieved, Non aliis Armis quam clangente Evangelii Buccinâ, sonante Apostolorum Doctrinâ, with no other weapons, but by the sound of his Gospell, and the foolishnesse of the preaching of his Apostles. Thus, thus hath it pleased him to raze downe the walls of Jericho! Thus, thus hath hee built up the walls of his Beloved Jerusalem! Thus hath he planted his faith, overcome the world, subdued Nations, conquered Kingdomes, and spread his Dominion from Sea to Sea, and from the River unto the ends of the world!
If I have but touched, where I should have enlarged, and have digressed from the Observations my Text naturally affordeth; that which the Apostle useth as his just Apologie, Vos coegistis, you have enforced me; I trust with your Favours it may bee accepted as a faire excuse, Illi coegerunt, our Adversaries have compelled me. For it is not easie, nay it is impossible, for a true man, always to keep the King’s highway, especially if he be driven to follow Hue and Cry after Theeves and Murderers. I am now in this pursuit; I find God to be dishonoured, his Scriptures adulterated, the peace of his Church disturbed, the soules of men bewitched, our estate endangered, tyranny usurped: if I cannot yeeld remedy, I cannot but give warning. It is not now a question disputed, but a case resolved, if the Prince fall from God, the people must fall from him, they may, nay they must resist & take Armes; Principes iam inauguratos & consecratos Regnique potitos deturbare possunt, imò debent & tenentur facire, si vires suppetant, idque in extremo animarum periculo, ac discrimine. And if these resolutions bee growne into practises & executions, so that we cannot live amongst these men without danger, surely they should not live amongst us in such jollity, in such security. Caput iniquitatis tenet ista iniquitas; this is an abomination above all abominations. Religion must cover all and these very words of my Text must warrant all! By this and such like, Catholike men are warranted, that they be no Traitors, nor hold positions treasonable, false and undutiful, in answering, or beleeving that for heresie, and such like notorious wickedness, a Prince otherwise lawfull and anointed, may be excommunicated, forsaken, resisted, by warrant of holie Churches’judgment, and censure.
I omit the writings of private men, though their bookes are full of it; I find it in their Lawes, in their Bulls, in their Publike & authenticall Instruments, the monster of their more than supreame Supremacy, all their unheard-of usurpation, and tyranny over Princes, Kingdomes, the estate and lives of lawfull and annointed Kings, grounded upon this Tropicall, Figurative, and Metaphoricall foundation! See, I have this day set thee up, &c. In their well known and often mentioned Canon, Unam sanctam; Ecclesiastica potestas Terrenam habet instituere, & Judicare: sic verificatur Vaticinium Hieremiae; Ecce, ego constitui. In the Bull of Paulus tertius against Henry the 8. Praecipuum super omnes Reges universae Terrae, cunctosque populos, obtinentes Principatum, juxta Hieremiae vaticiniū, Ecce ego constitui te, &c. Regem Henricum Regno privamus, &c. Having obtained chiefe principality, over all the Kings of the whole earth, and over all nations, according to the prophecy of Jeremy, See, this day I have set thee up, &c. We depose King Henry of this kingdome, and him and all his favourers doe Wee smite with the sword of accursing, excommunication, & eternall damnation; his subjects we absolve from their Oath of Allegiance, and all subjection to their King, and besides we exhort and require them to take Armes, and in all hostile maner to pursue them. By the way it is not unworthy the observation; that in the next immediately following chapter there is Institutio & confirmatio Societatis nominis Jesu, that they might have new & pestilent instruments, to uphold their new challenge and prodigious Practise. In the Bull of Pius quintus, against Q. Elizabeth, of famous and ever blessed memory; Regnans in excelsis, unum Romanum Pontificem super omnes Gentes & omnia Regna Principem constituit, qui evellat, destruat, disperdat, dissipet, &c. He that raigneth in the highest Heavens, hath constituted the one only Pope of Rome, a Prince over all nations, and all kingdomes, to plucke up, to root out, &c. Armed by his authority, who hath placed us in this supreame Throne of Justice, we deprive Elizabeth of her pretended right to the Kingdome, and of all Soveraignty, Dignity, and Preeminence, and discharge her Nobles and Subjects from their oath of Allegiance, and obedience due unto Her.
Heare you not the Beast in the Revelation, Loquentem magnalia, speaking great things, and uttering Blasphemies against God, and against Heaven? challenging power over Kindreds, and Tongues, and Nations? Let them whose names are not written in the book of life worship him. The French have prooved that these are but Bruta Fulmina, Brutish Thunderbolts; the Venetians, that this is but Ignis fatuus, a false fire; God hath proved unto us, that they are Blessings, and not curses: for where they have cursed most, he hath blest most. Blessed be his name for ever, and for ever!
I cannot prosecute every particular; I would draw all unto an head, & yeeld unto the Church, whatsoever she may justly challenge, & suppose (that which they can never prove, wee may never grant) that all authority of this Church is in the See, and the Pope of Rome: yet can it never be stretched or tentered, to the discharging of subjects from their Allegeance, or deposing of Princes, from their Dignities. I will not deny, but that these words, to plucke up, to roote out, to build, and to plant, may bee parralell, to binding and loosing in the Gospell; and that by these and such like the Church may lawfully challenge Authority, yea over Nations and Kingdomes, to foretell, and threaten, and denounce God’s judgments. But God hath made a Distinction, betwixt the Sword and the Keyes, and hath set a separation betwixt the Prince, and the Priest. Insomuch that the Prince cannot snatch the Keyes, out of the hand of the Priest, without open sacriledge: the Priest may not wrest the sword, out of the hand of the Prince, without manifest impiety and unjust usurpation. Therefore my Conclusion is, that,
The sentence of Excommunication, (suppose) it bee justly deserved, suppose it be lawfully denounced, (which I suppose, but grant not), yet hath it not that Power and Effect, to discharge subjects of their Duety and Allegiance, or to depose Princes of their Estate and Dignities.
And here we must observe; first, that wee suppose Darknesse to be Light, and Falsehood to be Truth, and Usurpation to be Justice, and Tyranny to bee Equity; for all this, and much more than this, they must suppose, which suppose the Excommunications of the Pope, to be Just and Lawfull. Secondly, that I speake of Lawfull and Annointed Kings, I meddle not with Intruders and Usurpers. Thirdly, that wee deny not, but Princes by Heresie, by Idolatry, by Apostacy, by other Notorious Crimes, may deserve to be Censured: and in this case, we may & must tell them, that these Sinnes are Pernicious to their Soules, and Perillous to their Estates; yet is it God alone, and no man on the Earth, that can make them Forfeitures of their Kingdomes. Fourthly, that we exempt not Kings, from the just censure and reprehension of the Church. Wee honour the Courage and resolution of Ambrose, wee admire the moderation & submission of Theodosius: though we doubt whether we may imitate the one, or expect the other; but we abhor the partiality of the Pope, who will exempt himselfe, where he subjects Princes. Nauarrus enquires, Quis possit excommunicaris? and resolves, he must be Homo, Mortalis, Baptizatus, habens superiorem: and therefore amongest others, there are exempt, Locusta, Infidelis, Daemon, Papa; a Locust or noisome beast, hee is not Man; an Infidell he is not Baptized; the Devil, he is not mortal; the Pope, though an Heretique, He falls into the hands of God, he is not subject to any human Power. See how fitly he hath matched, & ranked his priviledged quaternion; I malice not their combination, I dispute not of their Exemption: but suppose all, and more than all, against which I can yet take infinite, and just exceptions, I still hold my Conclusion. My proofes I reduce to foure heads; 1. The Prerogative Royall of a King, 2. The Duty indispensable of a Subject; 3. The Continuall Practise of the Church; 4. The Nature, Effects, Limitations, and End of Excommunication.
The very name of a Lawfull and Anointed King is sacred, his Authoritie soveraigne, his Person inviolable. Major erit, quam cui possit Censura nocere. Everie Soule must be Subject unto Him, though he be an Evangelist, though an Apostle, though a Prophet, not Obedient only, but subject: yea and that Paul a blessed Apostle, to Nero a Monster of Men, and a bloody persecutor. No man may stir an Hand or a Foot without him: if he bid save, they save, if hee bid kill they kill, ipse solutus Legibus, himselfe exempted from his lawes, nor from the Direction, and Observance of them, but from the Punishment and penalty of them; ἁμαρτήσας οὔ κολάζεται.5 It is a speech, and an act worthiest an Emperour, to oblige and binde himselfe to his lawes: it is a speech & practice unfitting the authority of any earthly power to say, if hee transgresse I will chastice him. It was once the language of the Church. Wee adore the Emperour as a man, next unto God, and inferiour to none but him alone. It was once the stile of the Pope, Ego indignus Maiestatis vestra Famulus, I the unworthy servant of your Majestie. It was once & is still, the prerogative of a King, Nullis vocatur ad poenam Legibus; tutus imperii potestate: There is no Tribunall, to which he may be cited; no law by which he may be punished. He is secured by the preeminence of his Soveraignety. Who can lay his hand upon God’s annointed, and be innocent? Who can? No man, Because God hath planted him above all men, and hath given no man authority to punish Him; God alone will take vengeance on his sinnes. Therfore David, when Saul hunted after his innocent soul, as after a prey, yet could appeale neither to judge, nor to High Priest, but to God alone, let God be judge between thee and betweene me. David, when he confessed his sinne, forgot not his Preeminence; To thee, Thee only have I sinned. I have sinned; An ingenuous confession which obtained a gracious pardon; The Lord hath put away thy sin. To thee, a necessary exaggeration, no man sees, or truly sorrowes for the heinousnes of his sin, without a true apprehension of that glorious Majesty, which he hath offended in sinning. But To thee, Thee only; in his lowest submission to God, remembring his high Preeminence above men. I doubt not but David sinned against Bethsabee, and that a grievous and an uncleane sinne; against Uriah, and that a bloody, and a crying sinne, against the Child of adulterie, and that a deadly, and a killing sin, against his kingdome, & that a ruinating, and demolishing sin; against his owne soule, and that a fearefull and a pernicious sinne. In istos peccauit; Deo soli Peccauit: against all those he sinned, but To God only. They might complaine and Accuse and Testifie against him; but God alone, was to Judge, to Condemne, to Punish him; Tibi peccaui, longè aliud est quam in te Peccaui: we sinne against them whom wee wrong by sinning; wee sin to him, who can remit or punish, who can pardon or bee Revenged for our wrong, Rex erat, ita ut nullius subiacere Iudicio; he was a King, therefore To God only, he sinned before whose Tribunall only hee was to appeare, and from whose mouth only, hee was to receive his judgement.
What then? Do we exempt Kings from the observation of the Lawes of God? No, wee binde them rather with a double bond, Qua Reges, Qua homines; as they are Men, & have soules to be saved, as they are Kings, and have Thrones to be established. And herein are wee set over them, to plucke up and to roote out, to reprove, to correct, to proclaime to the terror of their soules, though not to the losse of their Kingdomes. Eò terribilius puniendi, quò possunt peccare liberius: the greater their Exemption here, the more fearefull their Judgement hereafter; the ampler their Priviledge here, the more intolerable their Plagues hereafter. They may escape the hands of Men: if they continue in their sinnes; they shall not escape the hands of God neither alive nor dead. But the Laws of God, of Nature, of Nations, of the Church, of free Monarchies, the Lawes Imperiall, all Priviledge and Exempt them; they cannot be deposed by the sentence, they may not bee deprived by the force of any Mortall Man. Therefore suppose in some causes they might be Excommunicated, which I yeeld not, in any; yet in no case hath Excommunication that force, to depose them. Reges sunt, They are Kings.
They are Kings, we are Subjects, bound in a bond, & obligation, which exceeds all other Bonds, & cancels all other obligations. A Son unto his Father, a Wife unto her husband, a Servant unto his Master, an Homager unto his Lord, an Inferiour to his Superiour, Nature, Sense, Reason, Humanitie, Christianitie, Divinitie binds them to Obedience, with a Bond which cannot bee broken: but the Bond of Allegiance to our King containes them all, exceeds them all. Is Hee not a Father, an Husband, a Master, a Lord, nay as God unto his subjects? Was not Moses, Aaron’s God, a God to the High Priest, and to the Father of the Priesthood. No warrant can I then find from Heaven; no dispensation upon the Earth, that can justifie, or excuse the least Disobedience. It may bee that a prince is injurious to his Subjects: Omnis illegitima defensio Filii adversus Patrem; Is he worthy the name of a Sonne, that will enter an action of Trespasse against his Father? It may be his yoke is heavy, and his loines burdenous; Ferendo & patiendo, lenienda Iniuria est; Patience, and toleration, is the best lenitive, and the readiest remedie. It may be he is irreligious and would draw others after him: Religio defendenda est moriendo, non occidendo, patientiâ, non Savitiâ, non scelere, sed Fide; Religion is to be maintained, by dying ourselves for it, not by murdering others for it, by patience, not by fury, by loyalty, not by rebellion. It may bee hee is a Tyrannt and bloody: but Inde Imperator, undè homo antequàm Imperator, inde potestas unde Spiritus, He made him a King, which made him a Man; and he receaved his authoritie from him, from whom he receaved his breath. Saviat, Laniet, Nubecula est, citò transibit. Let him rage, kill, Massacre, hee is but a storme, sent of God to chastise his children, expect but God’s leasure, he will soone vanish, and God will send a calme againe: as he speakes in Tacitus; Nŏ est nostrum aestimare quem supra ceteros, & quibus de causis extollas; nobis obsequis gloria relicta est. God sets up whom pleases him; our Vertue, our Dutie, our Glory consists in our Obedience, not for feare only, but for conscience, not [. . .], to our gratious Lords, but even [. . .], those whom hee hath set to be whippes & scourges over us. Are wee then bound to obey them in all things? and to say, as the Israelites did to Joshuah, All that thou commandest we will doe? No; for there may be a time, wherein wee must say rather with the Apostles; It is better to obey God, than to obey Men. And if there be an opposition between the will of God, and the commandement of the King then we must crave pardon; Da veniam Imperator, Tu Carcerem, Ille Gehennam. But in all cases, yea of profest Heresie, yea of open Idolatry, yea of manifest Apostasie, our tongues are bound, we may not speak evil of them; our very thoughts bound, we may not conspire against them; our hands bound, we may not so much as lift up our little finger against them. In all cases, Erubescit Ecclesia, Filios fieri Castigatores Parentum; The Church hath ever shamed to make the Sonnes correctors of their Parents: and Gladium dare, in manus Filii ad trucidandum Patrem, membri ad concidendum corpus, Nefas est, & insanura; to put a sword into the hand of a Sonne to kill his Father; of a member to wound his own head, or stab into his own heart, it is more than impietie, more than madnesse. The Sonne unto the Father, the Wife unto the Husband, the Servant unto his Master, the Monke unto his Abbot; the Priest unto his Bishop is bound to performe due and canonical obedience, notwithstanding any sentence of excommunication. Are all these bound, and may subjects be discharged? God hath directly commanded Obedience, and subjection; therefore no man directly or indirectly, absolutely or respectively, by temporal jurisdiction, or in Ordine ad Spiritualia, as a Pope, or as a Prince, can justifie the least disobedience, or warrant so much as a thought of rebellion: no dispensation can discharge the Subject, no sentence can depose a lawfull and an anointed King. God, which is the God of order, & not of confusion, foresaw in his wisdome, that it were better for the estates of Kingdomes, & lesse injurious to his Church, if the insolency of a wicked King, were sometimes tolerated without controll, than that the estate of his chiefe deputy, and Lieutenant upon the earth should be subjected to change andalteration, to deprivation, or deposing, at the pleasure and partialitie either of Priest, or of People. The one may be the cause of many disorders, the other must needes bee the Mother of perpetuall confusion.
In the Practice of the Church, wee have Confitentes Reos, the evidence and confession of our Adversaries. For they which confesse it was not done in the Primitive times, quia deerant vires Temporales; and that the Emperours Constantine, Valens, Julian, and others might have beene by the Bishops Excommunicated, and deposed, and all their people released from their obedience; if the Church or Catholikes, had had competent forces to have resisted. I say, they which yeeld reason why it was not done, evidently acknowledge it was not done.
Looke into the estate of the Jewes, and times of the Prophets; looke into the days of Christ, and of his Apostles; looke into the days of our Fathers, and Primitive times: you shall finde many open Idolaters; bloody Persecutors, backsliding Apostataes, many branded with the marke of Jeroboam, which sinned, & made Israel to sinne; yet not one dispossessed of his inheritance, or deprived from his kingdome.
There is a particle in my Text, to which, if to any our Adversaries may lay just claime, and that is Hodiè this Day: for their unjust challenge of Supremacie, and Domination over Princes, is Nupera, Novitia, Hodierna; it is New, it is Late, and in Comparison it is but a Day old. I am sure Ab Initio non fuit sic; from the beginning it was not so; nay long after the beginning it was not so. Primus Hildebrandus; Hildebrand6 was the first that ever practised it, and that Novello Schismate, making a new Rent betwixt the Church, and the Empire. Lego, relego, nusquam inuenio quenquam ante hunc Regno privatum, I read, and read againe, but I never find any in any age, before Henry the 4th, deposed from his estate and deprived of his Empire. Henry the first Patient, Hildebrand the first Agent; a man abhorred of all the world, renowned by Cardinall Allen, as a notable good man, and learned, who suffered whatsoever he did suffer for meere justice, in that he did Godly, Honourably, and by the Duety of his Pastorship whatsoever he did against the Emperour.
Now began the New, Popish, Antichristian world, to come to his Height before which time, there was never Flatterer so shamefull, as to yeeld, never Pope so impudently audacious as to challenge this transcendent Authority over Princes. Which enforced Abulensis to distinguish betwixt Kings of former, and Kings of later times; Non est simile de Regibus illis, et Regibus nostris, the Kings then, the Kings now are not alike; Rex tum praeerat sacerdotibus, & poterat Occidere, à fortiori privare Dignitatibus, & Officiis; the King was then above the Priest, and might take his Life from him, much more depose him from his Office and Dignity. But that was in the olde world; & Franciscus Romulus (quem Bellarminses benè & novit & amat whom Bellarmine both knows and loves); (Bellarmine7 himselfe being the Author of that Booke, as neere Kin to Him, as to Tortus) puts a difference betwixt the Popes, in Primitive times, and in our Dayes. They were fitted ad subeundum martyrium, these now made ad Coercendos Principes; They to suffer martyrdome, these to raise Rebellions; They taught Patience, these practise violence; They professed subjection, these move seditions; They quenched the blood of Tyrants with their Innocent Blood; the bloodthirstinesse of these cannot be swaged, but with the Sacred Blood of God’s Anointed. All this is [Hodie] This Day! Lamentable it is, that ever the sunne shined, or gave light unto this Day. Before Christ, & a thousand yeeres after Christ, Nec usut, nec exemplum, nec mentio, there was neither Practice, nor Precedent nor challenge, nor mention, of this Tyranny. The Possessions and Inheritance of Private men, the Crownes & Thrones of Princes, were then accounted of another Nature. They held them not of the Church, they could not be deprived of them by the Church. The Church could not bestow on her dearest Children by any Blessing; the Church could not then, therefore cannot now, deprive her greatest enimies of them by any Curse, Sentence, Censure, Excommunication. The Prophets never claimed it; our Savior never gave it; the Apostles never received it; the Holie Fathers never heard of it: shall we thinke them carelesse of their lawfull Authority? Nay rather, we conclude, that they, which challendge to be their Successors, are Usurpers of New, unheard of, and unjust Tyranny.
It is true that the sentence of Excommunication hath ever beene, and ever should be, accounted a fearefull and terrible sentence, a grievous and intolerable Punishment; by some called Virga ferrea, a Rod of Iron, by some Mucro Spiritualis a spiritual sword, by many Fulmen Ecclesiasticum, the Churche’s Thunderbolt; which shakes the Consciences, affrights the Spirits, dauntes the Hearts, & leaves behinde it a Terror in the Souls of Men. In the definition of their Greater Excommunication, which I finde in their Law, I finde these circumstances. 1. The Judge, and that is the Church, or some Authorized by the Church. 2. The Nature; it is a Censure Ecclesiasticall. 3. The Cause, Consumacy in some open notorious mortall sinne. 4. The Proceeding must be Canonicall; the Delinquents openly called, and have their just defence. 5. The Effect, separation from the Prayers, from the Sacraments, from the Society of the Faithfull. Lastly, the End, that he may be ashamed, being ashamed, he may convert, converting, repent, repenting, he may be saved. Here is all Spirituall, Judge, Nature, Cause, Proceeding, Effect, End, All Spirituall. Here is Exclusion from Spirituall Comforts; here is no violence to their Persons, no prejudice to their Estates. In Ecclesia Disciplina visibilis Gladius cessaturus; in the Discipline of the Church, there is no use of the visible and material sword: for we are set up, to watch over your soules, another beares the sword, Evaginandum nutu sacerdotis, to be unsheathed at the Becke of the Priest; as Bernard speakes, and Allen urges, but Nuta(i) Rogatü; Nondum mandant, Praelati Domino Regi, sed supplicant, sive Rogant; at the becke, that is at the Petition, of the Prelates; for in this Case the Prelates commaunde not our Lord the King, but they supplicate, and make Request unto him. It is the confession of their owne Law, it is the ground of their Significavit; Ecclesia non habet ultra, quod faciat, the Authority of the Church is ended, when the sentence of excommunication is pronounced. The Church can proceede no further, then, Tradatur Curiae seculari; Brachium seculare in vocandum; the Secular Power must bee implored; the Authority of the Prince must be assistant. It is true, that the Law alleadges: Mille exempla sunt, & Constitutiones, there are many Examples and Constitutions, wherein it is evident, that they which contain the censure of the Church, have beene Banished, Proscribed, Imprisoned, but per Publicas Potestates, by Publique, and Temporall Authority of Princes, per Potestates (i) Principes.
And here, as in handling all causes of this nature, we must distinguish betwixt the jurisdiction which the Church may claime by Commission from Christ, and that which the Church hath receaved by Donation, and Indulgence of Princes; betwixt that which appertaines to Excommunication properly, & in its owne nature, and the Penalties that have beene inflicted upon the contemners of that sentence, by the Laws and favour of the highest Magistrate. For hereof the Church of Rome makes no small advantage, when whatsoever shee hath receaved by the bountie of Princes, whatsoever she hath gained, by subtiltie, or by violence, by the keyes of Peter, or sword of Paul, she now claimes all, as due unto her, Jure Divino; & she bindes all, ex salute Animarum; as if she possessed all immediatly by God’s ordinance, which shee, by her inordinate pride, ambition, and tyranny hath usurped. I finde in the Schoole, that the nature of Excommunication is Purgativa respectu Ecclesiae, Purgative in respect of the Church, it purges here from impious and wicked men; Praeservativa respectufidelium, preservative in respect of the members of the Church, who are by that meanes freed from danger of infection; Sanative respectu delinquentis, of an healing and curing qualitie to the delinquent: in no case doe I find that it is Privativa, or Destructiva, that it shakes the Thrones or endangers the Crownes of delinquent Princes.
The Effects of excommunication, which the Canonists gather out of the Scriptures, are these; Have no company with him, 2. Tim. 3. With such an one eate not, I. Cor. 5. Receave him not to house, neither bid him God speed, 2. Io. 10. Let him be delivered to Satan, I. Cor. 5. Let him be unto thee, as an Heathen, & a Publican, Mat. 18. In Summa Angelica, I finde 21 Effects specified, yet no Deposing, no Depriving our voluntary Company, but not our necessarie Dutie, our familiar Salutations, but not our publike subjection is forbidden. Some benefits belong unto us, as wee are Men, some as wee are Christians: conceive that a man is deprived of all those blessings, which Christianitie, Religion, Faith, Baptisme, the Church, the Word, the Prayers, the Societie of the Saints can bring unto him, yet his House, his Treasure, his Palace, his Crowne, his Estate, his Regalitie is still in safetie. Looke what hee gaines by his incorporation into the Church, what hee looses by his Excommunication out of the Church: but what by nature, by birthright, by just inheritance, by lawfull succession hath descended unto him, of that no Censure of the Church can deprive him. The Church cannot make him a King; once anointed of God, the Church cannot make him no King.
In the Law the rigor of these Effects is many ways qualified, and at least dispensed with, if not utterly extinguished. If our Commodity draw us, if the Law bind us, if our Estate & condition require it, if Ignorance privilege us, if Necessitie enforce us; Excommunication cannot discharge us: wee may eate, wee may company, we may converse, we must obey. The estate of a Subject hath all these dependances upon his Soveraigne, therefore no warrant for disobedience.
Per Excommunicationem Charitas non tollitur; By Excommunication Charity is not excluded: we may Activè and Passivè performe to him, or receave from him any worke of Charitie. Praeceptum Ecclesiae pro charitate institutum contra charitatem militare non potest; the commandement of the Church which consists in love may not warre against itselfe, and abandon Love. By excommunication, a man ceases not to be a man, neither doth hee loose his libertie; Hee retaines all abilitie, wherewith he is naturally furnished, and may doe all things which are agreeable to the Lawes of Nature, Lawes of Nations, Lawes Imperiall. If we may performe the workes of Charitie, wee must performe the duties of Obedience; if hee loose not his Liberty, certainely he looses not his Soveraigntie: if wee may doe what the Lawes of nature and men allow, wee must doe what the Lawes of God command; (that is) whosoever curse, we must blesse, & honour, and obey, and serve, and hazard goods, and venture Lives, and spend the last droppe of our dearest blood for the protection of our King, whom God hath set over us.
Lastly, Excommunicatio Medicinalis est non Mortalis, Disciplinans, non Eradicans; the End is to cure, not to kill, to correct, not to destroy. Non enim perdendos sed corrigendos curandosque suscepimus; whatsoever authority the Church hath receaved, it is for edification, it is not for destruction. If wee refuse their Society, it is that they may be ashamed: if we be forced to deliver them to Satan, it is that they may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. The weapons of our warfare are not carnall, yet are they mighty to cast downe everything that exalts itselfe against God. Bellum cum vitiis, non cū Hominibus; our warefare it is with sinne, it is not with men: and this is Bellum ἄσπονδον, a warre that admits no truce, no cessation. It is not enough to cut, or to lop here, but we must plucke up, and root out, & not leave a sprig, least it take roote and spring up againe: these children of Edom must bee dashed in peeces, these tares rooted out, and extirpated, the Kingdome, the Dominion of Satan utterly overthrowne, and ruinated, not a stone left on a stone, nor head, nor taile, nor stalke nor bud remaining. And this is Ministerium omni imperio gloriosius; a service more glorious than a Kingdome: Kings themselves never happy, but when they submit their Crownes to this Ministery. It is reported of a Turkish Emperour, when he saw a Christian murdered, because he would not deny his Faith, and turn Turke, with his owne hands he slew the malefactor, cast him out on a dunghill, & cryed out with indignation; Is this the way to spred the faith of Mahomet? Is it not a shame that should be perpetrated amongst Christians, which is abhorred and detested amongst Turkes and Infidels? Shall they not, through you, rise up in judgement, and condemn the murders, the massacres, the Assassinations of these days? Is this the way to promote the Gospell of Christ Jesus? It is the note of S. Austin, in fact is Prophetarum, intuere quomodò intelligenda sunt verba Prophetarum. Hee indeed applies them to another matter, but they have their truth, and use in this also. Will you understand the meaning of the words of the Prophets? try them by the deeds of the Prophets. Did Jeremie plucke up, or root out, did he destroy, or overthrow estate, Kingdom, Prince, or privat person? He lived & threatened their ruine, that he might have extirpated their sinne: hee lived, and saw their ruine, and therefore saw them rooted out by the sword of the enemy, because hee, and God’s Prophets could not prevaile to root out their iniquity. One example for all. Saul was excommunicated, not in Foro Fori, but in Foro Poli; not at the Tribunal of a mortall man, but by the doome and sentence of God himselfe. God did not only cast him out of his Church, and reprobate him out of the number of his elect; but in expresse termes hee rent his Kingdome from him, and gave it to another man. David was anointed King by the speciall command of God, and by the hand of God’s Prophet. In this case might David resist where God had rejected? Or might he depose him whom God had reprobated?
Nay even in this case, standing under the heavy sentence of divine excommunication, who can lay his hand upon God’s Annointed, and beinnocent? When he had cut off but the lappe of his Garment, his heart smote him; The Lord keepe me, from doing that thing unto my Master, the Lord’s Anointed, to lay mine hand upon him, for He is the Anointed of the Lord. As the Lord liveth, either the Lord shall smite Him, or his Day shall come to Die, or He shall descend into Battaile and perish. The Lord keepe me from laying mine hand uppon the Lord’s Anointed. Propter unctionem & honoravit viuum, & vindicavit Mortuum. He was still His master, he was still the Lord’s Anointed, therefore hee still Honoured him living, and revenged him dead. In the hand of any earthly man, there may bee Clavis Errans;8 not so, in the hand of God. And is he still a King, whom God hath rejected? And is he no King, whom that man of sinne hath excommunicated? I collect all. The Prerogative of a lawfull and Annointed King, is Sacred, and Inviolable; The Duty of a Subject is a strong obligation, & indispensable. The practice of the Church hath ever been Obedience unto Blood, not Rebellion or trechery to effusion of blood; The nature of excommunication is spirituall, not temporall; the Effect, Losse of Heavenly comforts, not of earthly kingdomes. The Limitations allow, nay require and exact Fidelity, in Naturall subjects; the End is charitable; Repentance, & restitutio in integrum.9 Repentance is late, if once Murdered; Restitution impossible, if once deposed. Therefore,
Hath not the Sentence of Excommunication, suppose it be justly deserved: suppose it be lawfully denounced: I speake by supposition, not by concession: the force and Effect to discharge subjects of their Allegiance, or to depose Lawfull and Annointed Kings from their estate and Dignitie.
Why then should a Kingdome so long instructed, so well grounded in Religion, totter, & stagger, as it were affrighted, & amazed at the sound of this brutish and counterfeit thunderbolt? at the slashing of this Ignis fatuus?10 Why do they live amongst us, why say I, live? Viuunt & in Senatum veniunt.11 They live & flourish, & we lodge them in our bosomes; who hold it religion, nay merit, nay supererogation, & the speediest and the directest way to heaven, to passe through a Field and a Sea of Bloud, of Sacred and Innocent Bloud, to that Glorious, & undefiled Inheritance? What can you expect of them, but that they should be, not Prickes in your eyes, and Thornes in your Sides, as God spake and Israel experienced in the Cananites; but Swords in your sides, and Pistols in your bosomes, and Poison in your Cups, and Gunpowder in your Vaults? Parricida moritur, Parricidium vivit;12 some of the Traitours have their Reward, and are dead; but whilest there is a Devil in Hell, a Pope in Rome, Murders, Massacrings, Treasons, shall never die. I have one Comfort; I know Heaven is above Hell, God above Satan, and we live under his Protection, (I would we lived Religiously, in his feare!) whose eyes are ever open to descry their conspiracies, and his Hand ever Potent, to overthrow their Machinations. I never was, I never will be a perswader to the least Cruelty: only remember, there may be Crudelis misericordia, a mercy more cruell than cruelty itselfe. I resolve with Augustine, Savire nolomus, e dormire nolumus: I would not perswade to Cruelty, but I would gladly rowse you from Security; and with the same Father; Nec obtentu Diligentia sauiamus, nec nomine Patientiae torpescemus; I hate that Diligence that leades to Cruelty, I cannot endure that Patience, that endes in Stupidity.
But whilst I am pleading against their unjust Tyranny, I may not be altogether forgetfull of the performance of mine owne Duety. For, See! this Day, I am set up, above Nations, and above Kingdomes, &c. and a Necessity is laid upon me, & wo is unto me, if I labour not, toplucke up, to roote out, &c, that roote of bitterness, which hath beene the true cause of the plucking up & extirpation, the rooting out & extermination of all estates and Kingdomes that ever flowrished, and are come to ruine: I meane Irreligion and Impiety. It is a generall, and a true observation, Imperium & Religio pariter defecerunt;13 there never yet arose any storme, to the ruine, of any Estate and Kingdome, but it sensibly grew from those vapors, which ascended from backwardness, or coldness, from contempt or indifferencie in Religion. It is as true ubi Procella, ibi Peccatŭ; where there is a storme that endangereth the ship, surely Jonas is there, or the sinne of Jonas, or a worse than Jonas, or a more prodigious sinne than his sinne. I see many Executioners of God’s just Judgements, Fire, Sword, Pestilence, Famine. The Fire never consumed, but sinne blew the Coles, & inflamed it. The Sword, never prevailed, but Sinne set an Edge on it. Pestilence never infected, but Sinne spread the Contagion of it. God never sent cleanesse of Teeth, but sinne made the Heavens as Brasse, and the Earth as Iron, and the fields as the Heath, and the fat Pastures, as the Desert. God indeed is the Judge of all; but Sinne is the Cause of all.
And therefore, Qui vultis Deum Imperatori Propitium, estote, Religiosi in Deum; As many as beare good will to zion, and pray for the Peace and Prosperity of their Soveraigne, let them grow and encrease in Grace, in Faith, in Religion, in Piety, in Zeale, in Sanctitie, in the knowledge, and in the love of our Lord Jesus Christ; that God may be pleased, and we may be blessed. Plucke up, Roote out, Destroy, Overthrow, Irreligion, Neutrality, Superstition, Indifferencie, Sinne, Impiety. God will pluck up, & roote out your enimies, God will Build, and Plant, and Protect, & Establish, & Blesse, your Estate, your Soveraigne, your Peace, your Prosperity.
Even so Blesse us, Gracious Father, that wee may serve thee. Let thine and our enimies consume like a Snaile that melteth, and like the untimely fruit of a woman that never saw the sun. But let the King live, & Raigne, and let his Throne be established, and his Days be multiplied, his Posterity be Blessed, and let there not want one of this Royalle seede, to sit on the Throne of this Kingdome, untill the coming of Christ Jesus. And let the Heart of everyone wither in the middest of his Bowels, and let their Tongues cleave to the Roofes of their Mouthes forever, that without Aequivocation, heartily, and unfainedly, will not say, Amen.
Roger Maynwaring, Religion and Alegiance
Roger Maynwaring, 1590-1653
IN TWO SERMONS
Preached before the Kings
The one on the fourth of Iuly, Anno 1627.
The other on the 29. of Iuly the same yeere,
ByRoger MaynwaringDoctor in Diuinitie, one of his Majesties Chaplaines in Ordinarie: and then, in his Month of Attendance.
By His Maiesties Speciall Command.
Printed by I. H. for Richard Badger.
Roger Maynwaring was to become notorious for the extreme divine right opinions set forth in the two sermons that composed his sole, printed work. A year after receiving his doctoral degree from Oxford, Maynwaring was appointed chaplain in ordinary to Charles I. In this capacity, in July 1627, he preached two sermons before the king, one on 4 July on religion, the other on 29 July on allegiance. The first of these is reprinted here. In it Maynwaring argues that Englishmen are bound, on pain of damnation, to pay all taxes and loans demanded by the king regardless of whether Parliament had given its consent. A month later the two sermons were published, apparently at the command of the king but the order was later attributed to the influence of Archbishop Laud.
When Parliament met in 1628 outraged members of the House of Commons drew up formal charges against Maynwaring accusing him of meaning to destroy Parliament. They sentenced him to prison during the pleasure of the house, fined him £1,000, and suspended him from his offices for three years. Contrite and frightened, Maynwaring appeared before the Commons to plead repentance. He was sent to the Fleet prison for the duration of the Parliament. At the members’ insistence, Charles also issued a proclamation “for the calling in and suppressing” of the two offending sermons.
Charles did not hide his sympathy for Maynwaring and his divine right views however. A month after Maynwaring was sentenced the king presented the offender to the living of Stanford Rivers, Essex. During the 1630s further royal preferments were showered upon Maynwaring, culminating in 1635 with his consecration to the bishopric of St. David’s.
When the Short Parliament met in March 1640, despite the press of other business, angry members of the Lords, where Maynwaring was now entitled to sit, promptly took up the issue of this last appointment and succeeded in depriving him of his vote. New charges were prepared against him, this time for popish innovations. When the Long Parliament met, members imprisoned Maynwaring, removing all his preferments. He died in 1653.
The volume in which Maynwaring’s two sermons appeared was published in two editions in 1627 and reprinted in 1667 and 1709.
The First Sermon, Preached before the Kings Majestie at Oatlands, on the fourth day of July, 1627.
I counsell thee, to keepe the Kings commandement, and that in regard of the oath of God.
Unity is the foundation of all difference and Distinction; Distinction the mother of Multitude; Multitude and number inferre Relation; which is the knot and confederation of things different, by reason of some Respect they beare unto each other. These Relations and Respects challenge Duties correspondent; according as they stand in distance or deerenesse, afarre off, or neere conjoined.
Of all Relations, the first and most originall is that betweene the Creator, and the Creature; whereby that which is made depends upon the Maker thereof, both in Constitution and Preservation: for which, the Creature doth ever owe to the Creator, the actuall & perpetuall performance of that, which, to its Nature is most agreeable: which duty is called Naturall. And sometimes also is the Creature bound to submit in those things, that are quite and cleane against the naturall, both inclination, and operation thereof; if the Creator’s pleasure be so to command it: which dutifull submission is called by the Divines, an Obedientiall capacity, in that which is made, by all meanes to doe homage to him that made it of meere nothing.
The next, is that betweene Husband and Spouse; a respect, which even Ethnick Antiquity called and accounted Sacred: the foule violation of which sacred Bed and bond of Matrimony, was ever counted hainous; and justly recompenced with that wound and dishonour, that could never bee blotted out.
Upon this, followed that third bond of reference which is betweene Parents, and Children; where, if dutifull obedience be not performed by them that received, to them that gave their being; the malediction is no lesse than this, that their light shall be put out in obscure darkenesse, the Ravens of the valleyes to picke out their eyes, and the young Eagles to eate them up.
In the fourth place, did likewise accrew that necessary dependance of the Servant on his Lord; God having so ordained, that the eyes of Servants should looke unto the hand of their Masters; and the eyes of the Hand-maid, unto the hand of her Mistresse.
From all which forenamed Respects, there did arise that most high, sacred, and transcendent Relation, which naturally growes betweene The Lord’s Anointed, and their loyall Subjects: to, and over whom, their lawfull Soveraignes are no lesse than Fathers, Lords, Kings, and Gods on earth.
Now, as the Duties comporting with all these severall Relations, if they shall be answerably done, are the cause of all the prosperity, happinesse, and felicity which doth befall them in their severall stations: so is it, in the world, the only cause of all tranquillity, peace, and order; and those things, which distinction, number, and disparitie of Condition have made Different, it most effectually reduceth to Union: that, as of One there arose many, so, by this means, doe Multitudes become to bee made One againe. Which happy Reunion, Nature doth by all meanes much affect: but the effecting thereof is the maine and most gratious worke of Religion. Which the wisdome of Salomon well seeing, and the Spirit that was in him well searching into, hee sends forth the sententious dictates of his divine and Royall wisdome, fenced with no lesse reason, than the fortresse of Religion; in these words following: I counsel thee, to keepe the King’s commandement, and that in regard of the oath of God.
This is God’s Text, and the King’s: and for the sake of all Kings was it written. And as the King is the sacred & supreme Head of two Bodies, the one Spirituall, the other Secular: so, this high and royall Text containes in it two parts correspondent: The one Civill, which is a Counsell of State, or a politique caution; I counsell thee to keepe theKing’s commandement: the other Spirituall, which is a devout or religious reason; And that in regard of the oath of God. The First part is founded upon the Second; the Second is the ground of the First: Religion the stay of Politie; which, if it be truly taught, devoutly followed, & sincerely practiced, is the roote of all virtues; the foundation of all well-ordered Commonweales; and the well-head, from whence, all, even temporall felicity doth flow. The zeale, and fervor of which Religion, if at any time it fall into a wane or declination, contempt or derision, portends evermore, the Ruine and desolation of that State and Kingdome, where, the service and worship of him who sits in heaven, is set at naught: and fills the world with terrible examples of God’s revenging Justice, and most irefull indignation.
Now, in the first part, doe lie these particulars.
1. First, there is Rex, a King.
2. Secondly, Mandatum Regis, the Commandement of a King.
3. Then, Custodia Mandati, the Keeping of, and obedience to this Commandement.
4. After this, Consilium, Counsell to pursue, and practise this obedience.
And lastly, the Counsellor, who gives this most divine and Royall Counsell; which is no lesse than Salomon: who (as wee all know) was,
1. A King, and the Sonne of a King.
2. A King, and the wisest of all Kings.
3. A King, and a Preaching King.
4. A King, and a very Faire (if not the Fairest and clearest) Type of him, who was the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.
To ingeminate againe, the parts of the Text: 1. Rex, a King: and what is higher (in heaven or earth) than a King? God only excepted, who is excelso excelsior: higher than the highest. 2. Mandatum Regis: and what is stronger than it? For ver. 4. Sermo eius potestate plenus. 3. Obedience to this Commandement: and what more rightfull, just, and equall with men? what with God more acceptable? 4. Counsell, to follow this: what more needfull, wise, or gratious? 5. And all this from such a Counsellor, than which, none ever greater, but he alone, of whom it was said, Ecce plus quàm Salomon, hîc: Behold, a greater than Salomon, is here.
A King: This is the Suppositum, or Person on whose behalfe this Counsell is given: and it is a Rule of that Science, whose Maximes are priviledged from errour; that, Actiones sunt suppositorum; Individualls challenge all activity as peculiar unto them. Now, all things that worke, and have any operation, must (of necessity) worke by some Power, or ability which is in them. All Power is either such as is Created, and derived from some higher Cause, or such, as is Uncreated, and Independent. Of this last kinde, is that Power which is in God alone; who is selfe-able in all things, and most puissant of himself, and from, and by no other. All Powers created are of God; no power, unlesse it bee given from above. And all powers, that are of this sort, are ordained of God. Among all the Powers that be ordained of God, the Regall is most high, strong and large: Kings above all, inferiour to none, to no man, to no multitudes of men, to no Angell, to no order of Angels. For though in Nature, Order, and Place, the Angels be superiour to men: yet, to Powers and persons Royall, they are not, in regard of any dependence that Princes have of them. Their Power then the highest. No Power, in the world, or in the Hierarchy of the Church, can lay restraint upon these supreames; therefore theirs the strongest. And the largest it is, for that no parts within their Dominions, no persons under their Jurisdictions (be they never so great) can be priviledged from their Power; nor bee exempted from their care, bee they never so meane. To this Power, the highest and greatest Peere must stoope, and cast downe his Coronet, at the footstoole of his Soveraigne. The poorest creature, which lieth by the wall, or goes by the highwayside, is not without sundry and sensible tokens of that sweet and Royall care, and providence; which extendeth itselfe to the lowest of his Subjects. The way, they passe by, is the King’s highway. The Lawes, which make provision for their reliefe, take their binding force from the Supreame will of their Liege-Lord. The bread, that feedes their hungry soules, the poore ragges, which hide their nakedness, all are the fruit and superfluity of that happie plenty and abundance caused by a wise and peaceable government. Whereas, if we should come to heare the dreadfull and confused noyse of warre, and to see those garments rolled in blood, if plough-shares should bee turned into swords, and sythes into speares; then Famine of bread, and cleanesse of teeth, and dearth of all good things, would bee the just and most deserved punishment, of all, both their, and our sinnes.
Now, to this high, large, and most constraining Power of Kings, not only Nature, but even God himselfe gives from heaven, most full and ample Testimonie: and that this Power is not meerely human, but Superhuman, and indeed no lesse than a Power Divine. Though Majesty (saith Herodotus) be shrouded under Mortality, yet is it endowed with such a Power from above, as beares no small resemblance with the Deity. For if it were of men, or if that Power which is dispersed in Communities and multitudes, were collected and settled in the King; then might this Power be thought human, and to rise from men. But, because God would have men to conceive quite otherwise of Regal Soveraignty; therefore himselfe pronounceth this of them, who weare Crownes on their heads, sit upon Thrones, and with Scepters in their hands rule Nations; I said yee are Gods.
That sublime Power therefore which resides in earthly Potentates, is not a Derivation, or Collection of human power scattered among many, and gathered into one head, but a participation of God’s owne Omnipotency, which hee never did communicate to any multitudes of men in the world, but, only, and immediately, to his owne Vicegerents. And, that is his meaning when he saith, By me Kings raigne; Kings they are, by my immediate constitution; and by me also, doe they Rule, and exercise their so high and large Authoritie.
This therefore may be well conceived to be the cause, wherefore God doth pleade in Scripture, and that so mainely, not only for the Soveraignty, but also for the Security of his Anointed; I said yee are Gods: and he saith it in no secret, but standing in Synagoga Deorum; for so the Psalme begins, as if he would have all the world take knowledge of what he said. Then, Per me Reges regnant. After that, Nolite tangere Christos meos. And lastly, Curse not the King; Ne detrahas Regi (sayes the Vulgar) Traduce not, detract not from the King. Put all together, 1. I said yee are Gods. 2. By me Kings raigne. 3. Touch not mine Anointed. 4. And speake not amisse of the King, no not in thy secret thought. And take we these sentences asunder againe, thus:
1. I said yee are Gods: there’s their sublime and independent Soveraigntie.
2. Per me Reges regnant: there’s their unresistable Authority.
3. Nolite tangere Christos meos: there’s their sacred and anointed Majestie, with the security of their royall State, and persons.
4. In cogitatione tuâ, Regi ne detrahas: speake not ill of the King, in thy thought: there’s the tendering, and preserving of their great and precious Names from obloquie; and the safety, and indemnity of their Royall fame and glorie.
To put then, an end to this first point: Royalty is an Honour, wherein, Kings are stated immediately from God. Fathers they are, & who gave Fathers Authority over their Families, but hee alone, from whom all the Fatherhood in heaven and earth is named? The power of Princes then, is both Naturall, and Divine, not from any consent or allowance of men. And hee that gaine-says this, transgreditur terminos quos posuêrunt Patres, saith Antonine. Not therefore, in any consent of Men, not in Grace, not in any Municipall Law, or Locall custome, not in any law Nationall, nor yet in the law of Nations, which, consent of men, and tract of time, hath made forcible; not finally, in the Pope, or any People is Regall preheminencie founded; for Adam had Dominion setled in him, before ever there was either Pope, or People. Neither Popes nor Populous Multitudes have any right to give, or take, in this case. So that Royalty is a Prehemencie wherein Monarches are invested, immediately from God; For by him doe they raigne. And likewise Sacred to God himselfe; For hee who toucheth them, toucheth the apple of God’s owne eye: and therefore, Touch not mine anointed.
Supreame also it is, and Independent upon any Man, Men, or Angels; and for this saith he; They are Gods: whose glorious and dreadfull Names, must not bee medled with by any wicked tongues, or pennes, nor mingled with any lewd perverse or depraving thoughts; and for this, Curse not the King in thy thought.
And yet notwithstanding this; they are to bee sustained, and supplied by the hands and helpes of men; for the King himselfe is served by the field; & Reddite quae Caesaris, Caesari: Render as due, not give as arbitrary, for, for this cause pay wee tribute, saith the great Apostle. God alone it is, who hath set Crownes on their heads, put scepters, yea and revenging swords into their hands, setled them in their thrones; for this, doe their Royalties render to God (as a due debt) that great Care, Paines, and Providence which they sustaine in the ruling over, and preserving of their people in wealth, peace, and godlinesse: and for this, doe the people render, as due, to them againe, by naturall and originall Justice, tribute, to whom tribute, custome, to whom custome appertaineth.
The second point was, Mandatum Regis; the Commandement of the King. Now, a Mandate or Commaund is a signification of his will, who hath power to send it forth. Five severall Intimations of the will are observed by the Divines. 1. Either, when a man doth undertake the transacting, and doing of anything himselfe, and that is cleere intimation of his will, by reason that all actions rise from the will: whose proper sway is, to set on worke all the power of the soule, and parts of the body. Or 2. when some Counsell is given for ought to be dispatched, by which the Will and Pleasure of him who gives the Counsell, is signified; and that which is counselled, is shewne possible to be done, and that, in reason, it ought not to be left undone. 3. The Permitting also of anything to be done, where there is power to hinder it, is a cleere intimation (at least), of a kinde of resolution, to have it done. But 4. the Resolute and Mandatory forbidding, Or 5. commanding of anything, is the most undoubted and expresse declaration of his will, who hath Power and Jurisdiction, so to derive his pleasure.
Now then, a Commandement is an act descending from three most eminent faculties of the human soule. First, from the Understanding, finding out by exact discourse, advice, and counsell, what is to be done, by which extensions of reason, the Intellectual part drawes to practise. Secondly, from the Judgement, decreeing and resolving what is the meetest to bee done, amongst many particulars. And lastly, from the Imperiall sway of the Will, which fastens a Command on all other powers, to doe their parts, for the dispatch of such designes, as Reason hath found out, and Judgement thought meete or necessary to be done.
To draw then towards some conclusion of the point in hand; All the significations of a Royall pleasure, are, and ought to be, to all Loyall Subjects, in the nature, and force of a Command. As well, for that none may, nor can search into the high discourse, and deepe Counsells of Kings; seeing their hearts are so deepe, by reason of their distance from common men, even as the heavens are in respect of the earth. Therefore said he, who was wise in heart, and deepe in Counsell, The heavens for height, and the earth for depth, and the heart of a King is unsearchable. As also, for that none may dare to call in question the Judgement of a King, because, the heart of a King is in the hand of God, and hee turneth it which way hee pleaseth. Who then may question that, which, God doth proclaime from heaven to bee in his hands, and at his guidance? And for his Soveraigne will (which gives a binding force, to all his Royall Edicts, concluded out of the Reasons of State, and depth of Counsell) who may dare resist it, without incurable waste and breach of Conscience? seeing the Apostle speakes under termes of so great terrour; that he who resists commits a sinne done with an high hand, for he resists the ordinance of God: and so contracts an hainous guilt, and incurres likewise the heaviest punishment: for, to his owne soule doth he receive Damnation.
Nay, though any King in the world should command flatly against the Law of God, yet were his Power no otherwise at all, to be resisted, but, for the not doing of His will, in that which is cleerely unlawfull, to indure with patience, whatsoever penalty His pleasure should inflict upon them, who in this case would desire rather to obey God than Man. By which patient and meeke suffering of their Soveraigne’s pleasure, they should become glorious Martyrs: whereas, by resisting of His will, they should forever endure the paine, and staine of odious Traitors, and impious Malefactors.
But, on the other side; if any King shall command that, which stands not in any opposition to the originall Lawes of God, Nature, Nations, and the Gospell; (though it be not correspondent in every circumstance, to Lawes Nationall, and Municipall) no Subject may, without hazard of his own Damnation, in rebelling against God, question, or disobey the will and pleasure of his Soveraigne. For, as a Father of the Countrey, hee commands what his pleasure is, out of counsell and judgement. As a King of Subjects, he injoines it. As a Lord over God’s inheritance, hee exacts it. As a Supreame head of the body, he adviseth it. As a Defendour of the Faith, hee requires it as their homage. As a Protectour of their persons, lives, and states, he deserves it. And as the Soveraigne procurer of all the happinesse, peace, and welfare, which they enjoy, who are under him, hee doth most justly claime it at their hands. To Kings therefore, in all these respects, nothing can be denied (without manifest and sinfull violation of Law and Conscience) that may answer their Royall state and Excellency: that may further the supply of their Urgent Necessities: that may be for the security of their Royall persons (whose lives are worth millions of others): that may serve for the Protection of their Kingdomes, Territories, and Dominions: that may enable them to yeeld Reliefe, aide, and succour to their deere & Royall Confederates & Allies: or that may be for the defence, and Propagation of that sacred and precious Truth; the publique profession whereof, They doe maintaine by their Lawes, and Prerogatives Royall.
The third point is Obedience. Obedience is a willing and Understanding act of an Inferiour, done at the command, and to the honour of a Superiour. Reasonable then, and Willing, must it be. Violenced-duties, forced and extorted actions, are not within the compasse of true Obedience. Voluntary service is that which pleaseth God and Man. And so well doth this suit with the nature of God, (to whom all things ought to yeeld most willing obedience) that hee pronounceth it better than sacrifice, and to hearken, better than the fat of Rammes.
Every will therefore, and Inclination that is in the Creature, is charged with the dutie of Obedience toward the Maker of it. To this end, God hath planted a double Capacity, and possibility in the Creature, to submit to his pleasure. The one is Naturall, by which, the Creature, in all its actions, that follow, and flow from its forme, doth actually and perpetually serve the Creatour: as the Heavens, in moving; the Earth, in standing still; the Fire, in burning; the Air, and Water, in refreshing, cooling, and flowing.
The other capacity, is called Obedientiall: whereby the Creature is ever ready to doe that which is contrary to its owne Nature; if the Maker’s pleasure bee to command it so. And with this Obedience, did the Earth fearefully shrinke, and fall asunder, to swallow up those Rebells against God, and the King; so to give them a sudden and ready passage into hell, by a direct and streight diameter. Thus, did the waters stand on heapes, and leave the Channell dry, that God’s people might finde a marvelous way, and his enemies a strange death. Thus, did stones yeeld to be lifted up against their nature, into the air, that they might fall backe, and recoile with greater violence; to bruise and braine the enemies of his people. Thus, did the Fire of the Babilonian-Furnace refresh the three Children. And thus, in fine, did the Sunne stand still in Gibeon, and the Moone, in the Valley of Aialon; to give the longer light, and lesser heate to them, who fought for him, that made both Sunne and Moone.
Now, this Power which God hath over, & this kinde of Subjection which he receives from the Creature, is a priviledge, and prerogative, which God hath reserved only to himselfe; and not communicated, at any time, to any King, or Caesar, to have, or to receive Regularly: but only, by way of Impetration, and extraordinary Dispensation, for dispatch of some miraculous worke, as it was in Moses, and Josuah.
All the Obedience therefore, that Man can challenge from man, is, in part, Naturall; as agreeable and convenient to their inclinations: and, in part, Morall, in as much as it is Free and Willing. And this, of right, may every Superiour exact of his Inferiour, as a due debt. And every Inferiour must yeeld it unto his lawfull Superiour, for the same reason. Children, to Parents, in discipline, and Domesticalls: Servants, to their Lords, in their respective and obliged duties: Souldiers, to their Commanders, in Martiall affaires, and feates of Armes: People, to their Pastours, in Conscientious-duties and matters of Salvation: Subjects, to their lawfull Soveraignes, in the high Concernements, of State and Policie. And This is that Obedience, wherewith we are all charged in this Text, by the Word of God, and Wisdome of Salomon.
To draw then toward an end of this third point: We may observe, that, in the Text, there is a double, nay a treble Majestie: The Divine Majestie of him, who is the Living God, and everlasting King; The Majestie of King Salomon, that gives the Counsell; And the Majestie of all Kings, on whose behalfe this Counsell is given. And, did we well consider the King, that gives the Counsell; and the King, that is now to receive the Obedience; and the King, for whose sake it is to be given; and the Reason, why: In regard of the oath of God: it were reason sufficient, without any more adoe, to perswade all Rationall-men, to accept of this Counsell.
But, there be Pretenders of Conscience, against Obedience; of Religion, against Allegiance; of Human Lawes, against Divine; of Positive, against Naturall; and so, of Man’s Wisdome, against the will and wisdome of God; and of their owne Counsells, against the Counsell of Salomon. These men (no doubt) may bee wise in their generation; but wiser than Salomon no man can thinke them: nor (as I hope) doe they thinke themselves so, for if they did, of such there were little hope. Some there were, in the days of Justin Martyr, who were so strongly conceited of their owne wayes, as to thinke themselves wiser than the Scriptures. Upon them, and the like, Saint Augustine, (against the Donatists), lets fall this sentence, as an heavy beame to bruise their hairy scalps: They (saith he) who preferre their owne desires of contention, before divine and human testimonies; deserve, that, neither their words should be ever held for Lawes, nor their deeds taken for Precedents. Now therefore, Salomon’s wisdome is great, and his Counsell deepe, and able to perswade; and, if these men’s wisdome be from above, as Salomon’s was, it is no doubt perswadeable. And, if I wisht it were, and that they would be perswaded, (as some have beene) I would propound unto their view, a few short Considerations, which, (if they would please well, and seriously to weigh them) might (with facility) remove, as well, all their Speculative, as, Practique errours.
First, if they would please to consider, that, though such Assemblies, as are the Highest, and greatest Representations of a Kingdome, be most Sacred and honourable, and necessary also for those ends to which they were at first instituted: yet know we must, that, ordained they were not to this end, to contribute any Right to Kings, whereby to challenge Tributary aides and Subsidiary helpes;1 but for the more equall Imposing, and more easie Exacting of that, which, unto Kings doth appertaine, by Naturall and Originall Law, and Justice; as their proper Inheritance annexed to their Imperiall Crownes, from their very births. And therefore, if, by a Magistrate, that is Supreame; if, upon Necessity, extreame and urgent; such Subsidiary helpes be required: a Proportion being held respectively to the abilities of the Persons charged, and the Summe, or Quantity so required, surmount not (too remarkeably) the use and charge for which it was levied; very hard would it be for any man in the world, that should not accordingly satisfie such demaunds; to defend his Conscience, from that heavy prejudice of resisting the Ordinance of God, and receiving to himselfe Damnation: though every of those Circumstances be not observed, which by the Municipall Lawes is required.
Secondly, if they would consider the Importunities, that often may be; the urgent and pressing Necessities of State, that cannot stay (without certaine and apparent danger) for the Motion, and Revolution of so great and vast a body, as such Assemblies are; nor yet abide those long and pawsing Deliberations, when they are assembled; nor stand upon the answering of those jealous and overwary cautions, and objections made by some, who (wedded over-much to the love of Epidemicall and Popular errours) are bent to crosse the Just and lawfull designes of their wise and gratious Soveraignes: and that, under the plausible shewes of singular liberty, and freedome; which, if their Consciences might speake, would appeare nothing more than the satisfying either of private humours, passions, or purposes.
In the third place; if they would well weigh the Importance, weight, and moment of the present affaires; for which such helpes are required.
1. It is for the honour of his Sacred Majestie; and to enable him to do that which he hath promised in the word of a King: that is, to give supplie to those Warres, which, the Resolutions of his owne Subjects represented in the high Court of Parliament, caused him to undertake; and that, with the highest Protestations, and fullest Assurances from them, to yeeld him all those Subsidiarie helpes that way, which, the Power, or Love of Subjects, could possibly reach unto.
2. It is for the Security of his Royall State and Person, which ought ever to be most deare and tender unto us: his Life being worth Millions of ours.
3. It is for the Safety and Protection of his Majestie’s Kingdomes, Territories, and Dominions.
4. It is for the Reliefe, and Succour of his Royall and Confederate Uncle the King of Denmarke; who, in a Cause that much neerer concernes us, than it doth himselfe, hath hazarded his life, Crowne, and Kingdome; as they well know.
5. It is also, for the Securing, and Preserving of all our Lives, Goods and States, and the Preventing of Forreigne Invasions, by bitter and subtile enemies of ours, both intended, and projected.
6. And lastly: It is for the Defence, and Propagation of that Sacred and Precious Truth, which we all professe to follow, protest our Interest in, and resolve to die for; if need require, and occasion bee offered.
Fourthly, if they would Consider, what Treasures of wealth are dispended within this Realme, upon purposes of infinite less importance: Nay, to lewd & vile uses, much is spent and with wonderfull alacrity quite cast away: what within, and what without the body; upon backe, and belly, upon fingers, and feete, Rings and Roses, rioting, and drunkennesse, in chambering, and wantonnesse, in pride, and vanity, in lust, and luxury, in strife, and envie; So that, if God come to claime his Tenth, or the King his Tribute, the Devill is gone away with all. So that, we cannot say, as Saint Augustine yet sometimes said, Quod non accipit Christus, tollit fiscus: but where the Devill hath devoured all, there, God and the King, doe loose their right. Mundus totus in maligno positus.
Fifthly, if they would consider, what Advantage this their Recusancy in Temporalls gives to the common Adversarie: who, for disobedience in Spiritualls, hath hitherto alone inherited that Name. For, that, which we ourselves condemne in them, blame them for so doing, and professe to hate that Religion, that teacheth them so to doe; that is, to refuse Subjection unto Princes, in Spiritualls: The same (if not worse) some of our owne side now (if ours they be) dare to practise. For, in Temporalls they submit to his Majestie; though he be no Defendour, but a Suppressour of their Religion. Of their Lives, and States, indeed, his Majestie is a most gratious Protector; but of their Religion not so. Of our Lives, States, Faith, and Religion, is his Sacred Majestie a most gratious Defendour, by his Lawes, and Prerogative Royall; and in his owne Person, a most glorious Example of zealous and active Devotion. Therefore, wee must needs bee argued of lesse Conscience, and more ingratitude, both to God, and the King; if in Temporall things we obey not. They, in Spiritualls, deny Subjection, wherein they may perhaps frame unto themselves some reasons of probabilitie, that their offence is not so hainous. If we, in Temporalls, shall bee Refractary, what colour of reason can possibly we finde out, to make our defence withall, without the utter shaming of ourselves, and laying a staine (that cannot easily be washed out) upon that Religion, which his Majestie doth so gratiously maintaine, and ourselves Professe?
And last of all, (to conclude) if they would consider and know, that hee who doth not, upon the former reasons and Considerations, yeeld all willing Obedience to this Counsell of grace; and observe the Command of his Soveraigne; as Salomon here adviseth: is so farre from being a good man, or a good Christian, or a good Subject, that he is not worthy to be reputed amongst the Reasonables; but such as the Apostle calls absurd and unreasonable men. And, if they shall now at length thinke upon this Transcendent dutie, to doe it with all Obedience, and Alacritie; to God, shall they doe that, which, to him, will be most acceptable: to his Anointed, shall they give great content, in the performance of that promise, we all made to his Majestie, by way of Representation, in that high and honourable Court of Parliament: to their deere and Native Countrie, shall they doe that, which, by Nature they are bound to doe: to themselves, shall they doe well, yea, their owne soules shall they reward with good, and their Consciences with perpetuall Peace. Amen.
Et sic, liberavi animam meam.
Peter Heylyn, A Briefe and Moderate Answer
Peter Heylyn, 1600-1662
A Briefe and
The seditious and scandalous Challenges of Henry Burton, late of Friday-Streete;
In the two sermons, by him preached on the fifth of November. 1636. And in the Apologie prefixt before them.
1. Pet. 2.13,14.
Submit your selves to every ordinance of man for the Lords sake, whether it be to the King as supreame: or unto Governors, as unto them which are sent by him, for the punishment of evill doers, and for the praise of them that doe well.
Printed by Ric. Hodgkinsonne; and are to be sold by Daniel Frere, dwelling in little-Brittan, at the signe of the red-Bull. Anno Domini 1637.
Peter Heylyn was an Oxford-trained clergyman. From the late 1620s he devoted his talents to promoting divine right monarchy and attacking Puritan beliefs. His efforts quickly brought him to the attention of William Laud and won him a variety of posts. In 1633 he assisted the Court in its case against the pugnacious and outspoken Presbyterian William Prynne. Three years later he obliged the king by writing a history of the sabbath that attacked Puritan scruples. And in 1640 Heylyn was credited with persuading the Convocation of the Church of England to endorse seventeen new canons that specifically asserted the divine right of kings.
With the outbreak of civil war Heylyn escaped to Oxford, where he was employed as editor of the royalist newspaper Mercurius Aulicus. He would live to serve as subdean at Westminster at the coronation of Charles II. Heylyn was described by contemporaries as an acrimonious controversialist, “a bluster-master,” “very conceited and pragmatical.”
Heylyn’s pen was at the service of the Crown and episcopal establishment in “Briefe and Moderate Answer,” a not-so-brief tract of some 194 pages published in 1637. It appeared in a single edition. His purpose was to challenge the religious and political beliefs of the Puritan Henry Burton, a man as outspoken as Heylyn himself. From his London pulpit Burton is said to have conducted “aggressive warfare” against episcopal practices. He was just as insistent that there must be limitations on royal power.
Undeterred by a citation in 1626 for his attack on Archbishop Laud, or by his imprisonment in 1629 for attacking bishops in “Babel no Bethel,” Burton denounced bishops again in November 1636, this time in two sermons published under the title “For God and the King.” He was hauled before the Star Chamber the following year for seditious libel and, along with two other prominent dissenters, Bastwick and Prynne, was brutally punished with deprivation, degradation, fine, pillory, the clipping of his ears, and imprisonment. The release of the three men was one of the first official acts of the Long Parliament.
Chapter two of Heylyn’s lengthy reply to Burton is reprinted here. This chapter is a response to Burton’s “For God and the King,” itself 166 pages long. Heylyn’s refutation does double duty as it provides the modern reader with a healthy dose of Burton’s arguments as well as a biting refutation of them by a vigorous proponent of divine right.
The Kings authority restrained, and the obedience of the subject limited within narrow bounds, by H. B. with the removall of those bounds.
The title of the sermon scanned, and the whole divided. H. B. offended with the unlimited power of kings, the bounds by him prescribed to the power of kings, both dangerous and doubtfull. The power of kings how amplified by Jewes, Christians, Heathens. What the King cannot doe, and what power is not in him, by Mass. Burton’s doctrine. The Positive Lawes of the Realme conferre no power upon the King, nor confirme none to him. The whole obedience of the subject restrained by H. B. to the Lawes of the Realme; and grounded on the mutuall stipulation betweene King and people. The dangerous sequells of that doctrine.
A Pravis ad praecipitia. Wee are on the declining hand, out of the Hall into the Kitchin, from an Apologie that was full of weakenesse, unto a Sermon or rather a Pasquill farre more full of wickednesse: yet were we guided either by the Text or Title, we might perswade ourselves there were no such matter, nothing but piety and zeale, and whatsoever a faire shew can promise. But for the Title Sir (I hope you know your owne words in your doughtie dialogue betweene A. and B.) you know the proverbe, Fronti rara fides, the fowlest causes may have the fairest pretences. For whereas you entitle it, for God and the King, you doe therein as Rebells doe most commonly in their insurrections: pretend the safety of the King, and preservation of Religion, when as they doe intend to destroy them both. The civill warre in France, raised by the Duke of Burgundy and Berry against Lewis the eleventh, was christened by the specious name of Le bien Public, for the Common-wealth; but there was nothing lesse intended than the common good. And when the Jewes cryed Templum Domini, Templum Domini, they did but as you doe, abuse the people, and colour their ambition, or their malice, choose you which you will, with a shew of zeale. So that your Title may be likened very fitly, to those Apothecaries’ boxes which Lactantius speakes of, quorum tituli remedium habent, pixides venenum, poysons within, and medecines writ upon the Paper. So for your Text, we will repeat that too, that men may see the better how you doe abuse it. My sonne feare thou the Lord, and the King, and meddle not with them that are given to change; For their calamity shall arise suddenly, and who knoweth the ruine of them both, Prov. 24.21,22. A Text indeed well chosen but not well applied. For had you looked upon yourselfe and the Text together, and followed the direction which is therein given you, you had not so long hunted after innovations, as for these many yeares it is knowne you have; and so might possibly have escaped that calamitie which is now like to fall upon you. But it’s the nature of your humour, as of some diseases, to turne all things unto the nourishment of the part that is ill affected. Meane while you make the Scriptures but a nose of wax, as Pighius once prophanly called it; by wresting it maliciously to serve your turnes; and so confirme the vulgar Papists in contempt of that, which were it not for you, and such as you, they might more easily bee induced both to heare and reverence. Now for the method of your Sermon (I meane to call it so no more) though you observe no method in it, but wander up and downe in repetitions and tautologies, as your custome is: I must thus dispose it. The passages therein, either of scandall or sedition, I shall reduce especially unto these two heads: those which reflect upon the King’s most excellent Majestie, and those which strike directly against the Bishops. That which reflects upon the King, either relates to his authoritie, or his actions. That which doth strike against the Bishops is to be considered as it is referred either unto their place, or to their persons, or finally to their proceedings: and these proceedings are againe to bee considered, either in reference to their Courts, and behaviour there, or to their government of and in the Church, and carriage in that weighty office, wherein you charge them with eight kinds of innovations, most of the generall kinds being subdivided into several branches. For a conclusion of the whole, I shall present unto yourselfe, by way of Corollarie, or resultancie out of all the premisses, how farre you are or may prove guilty of sedition, for that Pulpit pasquill of yours: and so commend you to repentance, and the grace of God. In ripping up whereof, as I shall keepe myselfe especially to your Pulpit-Pasquill: so if I meete with any variae lectiones, in your Apologie, or Epistles, or the Newes from Ipswich, or your addresses to the Lords of the Privie Councell, and my Lords the Judges, I shall use them also either for explication or for application. Such your extravagancies, as cannot easily be reduced to the former heads, I either shall passe over, or but touch in transitu. This is the order I shall use.
First for the King, you may remember what I told you was the Puritan tenet, that Kings are but the Ministers of the Commonwealth, and that they have no more authority than what is given them by the people. This though you doe not say expresly, and in terminis, yet you come very neare it, to a tantamont: finding great fault with that unlimited power which some give to kings, and as also with that absolute obedience which is exacted of the subject. One of your doctrines is, that all our obedience to Kings and Princes and other superiors must be regulated by our obedience to God. Your reason is, because the King is God’s Minister and Vice-regent, and commands as from God, so for God, and in God. Your doctrine and your reason, might become a right honest man. But whats your use?
Your first use is, for reprehension or refutation of those that so advance man’s ordinances and commandements, as though they be contrary to God’s Law, and the fundamentall lawes of the state, yet so presse men to the obedience of them as they hold them for no better than rebells, and to deserve to be hanged drawne and quartered that refuse to obey them, pag. 77. So pag. 88. a second sort come here to be reproved, that on the other side separate the feare of the King from the feare of the Lord: and those are such as attribute to Kings such an unlimited power, as if he were God Almightie himselfe; so as hereby they would seeme to ascribe that omnipotency to the King which the Pope assumes, and his parasites ascribe to his holinesse. So pag. 89. Thus these men crying up, and exacting universall absolute obedience to man, they doe hereby cast the feare of God, and so his Throne, downe to the ground.
Finally you reckon it amongst the Innovations wherewith you charge the Prelats in point of doctrine, that they “have laboured to make a change in the doctrine of obedience to Superiours, setting man so in God’s throne, that all obedience to man must be absolute without regard to God and conscience, whose only rule is the word of God,” pag. 126. In all which passages, however you pretend the word of God, the fundamentall Lawes of state, and conscience: yet clearely you expresse your disaffection unto the soveraignty of Princes, and in effect leave them no greater power than every private man shall thinke fit to give them. Besides there is a tacite implication also, that the King exercises an unlimited power, which cannot possibly consist with the subject’s conscience, the fundamentall lawes of the Kingdome, or the word of God. It had beene very well done of you to have told the people, what were the fundamentall lawes of State, which were so carefully to be preserved; within what bounds and limits the authority of Kings is to be confined, and to have given them a more speciall knowledge of the rule of conscience. For dealing thus in generalls only, (Dolosus versatur in generalibus, you know who said it) you have presented to the people a most excellent ground, not only to dispute, but to disobey the King’s commands.
Now Sir I pray you what are you, or by what spirit are you guided, that you should finde yourselfe agreeved at unlimited power, which some of better understanding than yourselfe have given to Kings: or thinke it any innovation in point of doctrine, in case the doctrine of obedience to our superiours bee pressed more home of late than it hath beene formerly. Surely you have lately studied Buchannan de jure regni, or the vindiciae writ by Beza under the name of Junius Brutus: or else perhaps you went no further than Paraus, where the inferiour magistrates, or Calvin, where the three estates have an authority to controule, and correct the King. And should the King be limited within those narrow bounds which you would prescribe him, had you power; he would in little time be like the antient Kings of Sparta, in which the Ephori, or the now Duke of Venice, in which the Senate beare the greatest stroke: himselfe meanetime, being a bare sound, and an emptie name, Stet magni nominis umbra, in the Poet’s language. Already you have laid such grounds, by which each private man may not alone dispute but disobey the King’s commandements. For if the subject shall conceive that the King’s command is contrary to God’s word, though indeede it be not; or to the fundamentall lawes of state, although hee cannot tell which be fundamentall; or if he finde no precedent of the like commands in holy Scripture, which you have made to be the only rule of conscience: in all these cases it is lawfull not to yeeld obedience. Yourselfe have given us one case in your Margin, pag. 77. We will put the other. Your reprehension is of those, that so advance man’s “ordinances and commandements, as though they be contrary to God’s Law, and the fundamentall lawes of state, yet presse men to obedience to them,” your instance is of one which was shrewdly threatened (how true that is we meane to tell the world hereafter) for refusing to doe that which “was not agreeable to the word of God, viz. for refusing to read the booke of sports, as you declare it in the Margin, pag 26.1 whether you referre us. So then the case is this. The King permits his people honest recreations on the Lord’s day, according as had beene accustomed, till you and your accomplices had cryed it down: with order to the Bishops to see his declaration published in the Churches of their severall dioceses, respectively. This publication you conceive to bee repugnant to God’s word, (though none but a few factious spirits ever so conceived it, and that your doctrine of the Sabbath be contrary to all antiquity and moderne Churches): and therefore by your rule they doe very well that refuse to publish it. It’s true indeed, in things that are directly contrary to the law of God, and such as carry in them a plaine and manifest impietie; there is no question to be made, but it is better to obey God than man. But when the matter chiefly resteth either in misapplying, or misunderstanding the word of God, (a fault too incident to ignorant & unstable men, & to none more than to your disciples and their teachers too) or that the word of God be made a property like the Pharisees’ Corban, to justifie your disobedience unto Kings and Princes: your rule is then as false, as your action faulty. So for your second limitation, that’s but little better; and leaves a starting hole to malicious persons, from whence to worke on the affections of the common people. For put the case, the King in necessary and emergent causes, touching the safety of the kingdome, demand the present aid of all his subjects; and any Tribunitian spirit should informe them, that this demand is contrary unto the fundamentall lawes of state: according to your rule, the subject is not bound to obey the King, nay he might refuse it, although the businesse doth concern especially his owne preservation. But your third limitation, that of conscience, is the worst of it all. For where you make the word of God to bee the only rule of conscience, you doe thereby conclude expressly that neither Ecclesiasticall or Civill ordinances doe bind the conscience: and therein overthrow the Apostle’s doctrine, who would have Every soule be subject to the higher powers. Not for wrath only, but for conscience sake. So that in case the King command us any thing, for which wee finde not some plaine precept or particular warrant in the word of God; as if the King command all Lecturers to read the Service of the Church in their hoods and surplices, before their Lectures: such his command is plainly against conscience, at least the lecturers are not bound in conscience to submit unto it, because there is no speciall precept for it in holy Scripture. And certainly this plea of Conscience, is the most dangerous buckler against authority, which in these later ages hath been taken up. So dangerous that were the plea allowed, and all the judgments of the king in banco, permitted to bee scanned and traversed in this Court of conscience; there were a present end of all obedience. Si ubi jubeantur, quaerere singulis liceat, pereunte obsequio imperium etiam intercedit, as he in Tacitus. If every man had leave to cast in his scruple, the ballast of authority would be soon weighted down.
Yet since you are so much greived at the unlimited power as you please to call it, which some give to Kings; will you be pleased to know, that Kings do hold their Crownes by no other Tenure, than Dei gratia: and that whatever power they have, they have from God, by whom Kings reigne, and Princes decrees justice. So say the Constitutions ascribed to Clements [. . .]. So Irenaeus also an antient father, Cuius iussu homines nascuntur, eius iussu reges constituuntur.2 And Porphirie remembreth it amongst the Tenets of the Essenes a Jewish sect, [. . .], that no man ever did beare rule but by God’s appointment. Holding then what they have from God, whose deputies they are, and of whose power they are partakers, how and by whom doe you conceive they should be limited? Doubtlesse you meane to say by the lawes of the Land. But then if question be demanded who first made those Lawes, you must needes answere, They were made by the King’s authoritie. So that in case the kings, in some particulars, had not prescribed limits unto themselves, and bound their owne hands, as it were, to enlarge the peoples, neither the people, nor any lawes by them enacted, without the King’s consent, could have ever done it. Besides the law of Monarchie is founded on the law of nature, not on positive lawes: and positive lawes I trow are of no such efficacie, as to annihilate anything, which hath its being and originall, in the law of nature. Hence is it, that all soveraigne Princes in themselves are above the lawes, as Princes are considered in abstracto, and extent of power; and how farre that extent will reach, you may see in the first of Sam. and 8 chap. though in concreto a just Prince will not breake those lawes, which he hath promised to observe. Princes are debtors to their subjects, as God to man; non aliquid a nobis accipiendo, sed omnia nobis promittendo,3 as St. Austine hath it. And we may say of them in S. Bernard’s words, Promissum quidem ex misericordia, sed ex justitia persolvendum:4 That they have promised to observe the lawes, was of speciall grace; and it’s agreeable to their justice to observe their promise. Otherwise we may say of kings, as the apostle of the just; Iusto lex non est posita,5 saith the Apostle, and Principi lex non est posita,6 saith the law of nature. Doe you expect more proofe than you use to give? Plutarch affirmes it of some kings, οὐ κατὰ τοὺς νόμους μόνον, ἀλλὰ καὶ τῶν νόμων ἄρχειν, that they did not governe only by the law, but were above it. The like saith Dion of Augustus Caesar, αὐτοτελὴς καὶ αὐτοκράτωρ καὶ ἑαυτοῦ καὶ τῶν νόμων, that he was sure and had an absolute authoritie, as well upon his lawes as upon himselfe. Besides in case the power of kings were restrained by law, after the manner, that you would have it; yet should the king neglect those lawes, whereby you apprehend that his power is limited; how would you helpe yourselfe by this limited power? I hope you would not call a Consistorie and convent him there; or arme the people to assert their pretended liberties: though as before I said, the Puritan tenet is, that you may doe both. Your learned Councell7 might have told you out of Bracton, an ancient lawyer of this kingdome, omnemesse sub Rege & ipsum sub nullo, sed tantum sub Deo.8 And Horace could have told you, that kings are under none but God. Reges in ipsos imperium est Jovis, as he there hath it. You may moreover please to know, what Gregorie of Tours said once to a king of France; Si quis e nobis, O Rex, justitiae tramites transcendere voluerit, a te corripi potest; si vero tu excesseris quis te corripiet? &c. If any of us, O king, offend against the rules of justice, thou has power, “to punish him, but if thou breake those rules, who hath power to doe it? We tell you of it, and when you list, you please to heare us, but when you will not, who shall judge you, but he that tells us of himselfe, that he is justice.”
This was you see the ancient doctrine, touching the power and right of kings, not only amongst Jewes and Christians but in heathen states: whatever new opinion of a limited power, you have pleased to raise.
But you goe further yet, and tell us of some things the king cannot do, and that there is a power which the king hath not; what is it, say you, that the king cannot doe? Marry you say he cannot “institute new rites and ceremonies, with the advise of his Commissioners Ecclesiasticall, or the Metropolitan, according as some pleade from the Act of Parliament before the Communion booke,” pag. 65. Why so? Because, according to your law, this clause of the Act is limited to Queene Elizabeth, and not extended to her successours of the Crowne. This you affirme indeede, but you bring no proofe: only it seems you heard so from your learned councell. You are I see of Calvin’s minde, who tells us in his Commentarie on the 7 of Amos, what had beene said by Doctor Gardiner, after Bishop of Winchester, and then Ambassadour in Germany, touching the headship or Supremacie of the king his master: and closeth up the storie with this short note, inconsiderati homines sunt, qui faciunt eos nimis spirituales, that it was unadvisedly done, to give kings such authority in spirituall matters. But sir I hope you may afford the king that power, which you take yourselves, or which your brethren at the least have tooke before you: who in Queene Elizabeth’s time had their Classicall meetings9 without leave or licence, and therein did ordeine new rites, new Canons, and new formes of service. This you may doe, it seemes, though the king’s hands are bound that he may not doe it. And there’s a power too, as you tell us, that the king neither hath nor may give to others. Not give to others certainely, if he have it not; for nemo dat quod non habet, as the saying is. But what is this? You first suppose and take for granted, that the Bishops make foule havocke in the Church of God, and persecute his faithfull servants: and then suppose, which yet you say is not to be supposed, that they have procured a grant from the king to doe all those things which of late they have done, tending to the utter overthrow of religion by law established. And on these suppositions you doe thus proceede. Yet
whatsoever colour, pretext or shew they make for this, the king (to speake with all humble reverence) cannot give that power to others, which hee hath not himselfe. For the power that is in the king is given him by God, and confirmed by the lawes of the kingdome. Now neither God in his law, nor the lawes of the land, doe allow the king a power to alter the state of religion, or to oppresse and suppresse the faithfull ministers of the Gospell, against both law and conscience. For kings are the ministers of God for the good of his people, as wee shewed before. p. 72, 73.
So you, and it was bravely said, like a valiant man. The Brethren now may follow after their owne inventions, with a full securitie: for since you have proclaimed them to be faithfull ministers, no king nor Keisar dares suppresse them; or if he should, the lawes of God, and the law of the land to boote, would rise in judgement to condemne him, for usurpation of a power which they have not given him. But take me with you brother B. and I perhaps may tell you somewhat that is worth your knowledge. And I will tell you sir if you please to hearken, that whatsoever power is in the king, is from God alone, and founded on the law of nature. The positive lawes of the land as they conferre none on him, so they confirme none to him. Rather the kings of England have parted with their native royalties for the people’s good: which being by their owne consent, established for a positive law, are now become the greatest part of the subjects’ liberties. So that the liberties, possessions, and estates of the king’s leige people, are, if you will, confirmed by the lawes of the land; not the king’s authoritie. As for the power of kings which is given by God, and founded on the law of nature, how farre it may extend in the true latitude thereof, we have said already. Whether to alter the state of religion, none but a most seditious spirit, such as yours would put unto the question: his majestie’s pietie and zeale, being too well knowne to give occasion to such quaeres. Only I needes must tell you, that you tie up the king’s hands too much, in case he may not meddle with a company of Schismatickes, and refractarie persons to all power and order, only because you have pronounced them to be faithfull ministers of the Gospell. Such faithfull ministers of the Gospell as you and yours, must bee suppressed, or else there never will be peace and unitie in the Citie of God. And yet I see you have some scripture for it, more than I supposed: king’s being, as you tell us from S. Paul, the ministers of God for the good of their people, and no more than so? I thought S. Paul had also told us, that the King is a minister of God, an avenger to execute wrath upon him that doth evill: yea more than so too brother B. and it may concerne you, viz. if thou doe that which is evill be afraid, for he beareth not the sword in vaine. Aut undequaque pietatem tolle, aut undequaque conserva;10 Take the whole text along good sir, or take none at all: and if you take all be afraid, as you are advised, verbum supienti.
I must goe forwards with you yet from the authoritie of the king, to the obedience of the subject; which you doe presse indeede, but on such false grounds, as in conclusion overthrow the whole frame of government. The absolute obedience of the subject you have dashed alreadie, and reckon it amongst those innovations in point of doctrine, which you have charged upon the Prelates: and in the place thereof bring in a limited or conditionall obedience, of your owne devising. Your first condition or limitation rather, is, viz. that our subjection unto the King, is to be regulated as by God’s law, the rule of universall obedience to God and man, so by the good laws of the king. p. 38. The king as you informe us p. 42. having entered into solemne and sacred covenant with all his people, to demand of them no other obedience, but what the good lawes of the kingdome prescribe & require: as on the other side, the people swearing no other obedience to the king than according to his just lawes, pag. 39. and 40. In which restraint, there are two things to be observed, first that wee are to obey the king no farther than there is law for it, and secondly no farther than that law seemes good. So that in case the king commands his people any thing for which he hath no positive law to warrant his command; and of this sort are many Proclamations, orders, decrees, injunctions, set out from time to time by the king’s authoritie, and Prerogative royall, by brother Burton’s rule the people are at liberty to obey or not. And on the other side, in case the said command bee grounded on some positive law which they like not of, whether it be a penall statute, or some old Act of Parliament almost out of use, by the reviving of the which they may be prejudiced in purse or otherwise: this is no good law in their judgement, and so no more to be obeyed than if the king’s command were founded on no law at all. But your next limitation is farre worse than this, though this bad enough. For in the next place you have
grounded all obedience on the people’s part, upon that mutuall stipulation which the king and his subjects make at his Coronation. Where the king takes an explicite solemne oath to mainteine the antient lawes and liberties of the kingdome, and so to rule and governe all his people according to those lawes established; consequently and implicitely all the people of the land doe sweare fealtie, allegiance, subjection and obedience to their king, and that according to his just lawes, pag. 39. Your inference from hence is this, that if the king so solemnely by sacred oath, ratified againe in Parliament under his royall hand, doe bind himselfe to maintaine the lawes of his kingdome, and therein the rights and liberties of his subjects, then how much are the people bound to yeeld all subjection and obedience to the king, according to his just lawes, p. 40.
So that according to your doctrine, the people is no longer to obey the king, than the king keepes promise with the people. Nay of the two the people have the better bargaine; the king being sworne explicitely and solemnely to maintaine their liberties; the people only consequently and implicitely to yeeld him subjection. Is not this excellent doctrine think you? Or could the most seditious person in a state have thought upon a shorter cut to bring all to Anarchie; for if the subject please to misinterpret the king’s proceedings, and thinke though falsely, that he hath not kept his promise with them: they are released ipso facto from all obedience and subjection, and that by a more easie way, than suing out a dispensation in the Court of Rome. You tell us, p. 129. of the king’s free subjects; and here you have found out a way to make them so: a way to make the subject free, and the king a subject; and hard it is to say whether of the two be the greater Contradiction in adjecto. I have before heard of a free people, and of free states, but never till of late a free subject: nor know I any way to create free subjects, but by releasing them of all obedience to their Princes. And I have read too of Eleuthero Cilices, which were those people of Cilicia that were not under the command of any king: but never reade of an Eleuthero Britannus, nor I hope never shall. I will but aske you one question, and so end this point. You presse the king’s oath very much about maintaining of the lawes of the Kingdom, as pag. 39. 40. and 42. before recited, as also, pag. 72. againe and againe, and finally in your addresse to my Lords the Judges. Is it by way of Commemoration or of Exprobration? If of Commemoration, you forget the Rule; memorem immemorem facit, qui monet quae memor meminit.11 But if of Exprobration, what meant you, when you needed not to tell us, that in a point of Civill Government, it is a dangerous thing to change a Kingdom setled on good lawes into a tyranny; and presently thereon to adde a certaine speech of Heraclitus, viz. That citizens ought to fight no lesse for their lawes, than for their walls. I only aske the question, take you time to answere it.
[1. ]Offhand; in passing.
[2. ]The Gunpowder Plot in 1605, the work of a group of fanatical Catholics, was discovered just in time to prevent the explosion meant to kill James I and the members of both houses of Parliament.
[3. ]Whatever he may profess, he is not a Catholic who is estranged from obedience to the Roman pontiff.
[4. ]We also hold a dominion, I add, more outstanding and more perfect than he (the emperor); for the law of Christ subjected you to my power and to my seat of authority.
[5. ]Having transgressed he is not punished.
[6. ]Hildebrand, Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085), proclaimed extensive rights for the papacy including the right to depose monarchs. He got into a famous test of wills with Henry IV when he excommunicated that Holy Roman Emperor.
[7. ]Cardinal Roberto Francesco Romolo Bellarmine, a sixteenth-century Jesuit theologian, was author of Disputationes de Controversiis Christianae Fidei adversus hujus temporis Haereticos, an uncompromising defense of Catholic doctrine. Among other things he maintained the pope’s right to depose rulers.
[8. ]Clavis: power of the keys is the power of judgment as in the sacrament of penance or reconciliation. Clavis errans: there may be one who errs in the power of the key, that is on the human side of the equation. The reference is to the Petrine commission, Matt. 16: 18-19.
[9. ]Complete restitution.
[10. ]Insipid fire.
[11. ]They live on and come to the Senate.
[12. ]The parricide dies; the act of parricide lives on.
[13. ]Empire and religion have failed at the same time.
[1. ]The “Tributary aides and Subsidiary helpes” in question are probably the forced loans levied in 1626. These loans differed from earlier forced loans because all subsidy payers were assessed. They seemed to constitute taxation without parliamentary approval.
[1. ]The Book of Sports, issued in 1618 by James I and reissued in 1633 by Charles I, provoked outrage among Puritans by permitting a variety of recreations on the Sabbath.
[2. ]By whose command men are born, by his command kings are established.
[3. ]Not receiving anything from us, but promising all things to us.
[4. ]The promise (exists) out of mercy, but it is to be executed out of justice.
[5. ]The law is not imposed by one who is just.
[6. ]The law is not imposed by a prince.
[7. ]In the preface Heylyn refers to William Prynne, barrister of Lincoln’s Inn and an outspoken Puritan, as Burton’s learned counsel.
[8. ]Everything is under the King, and he under no one, but under God alone.
[9. ]The author is referring here to the classis, a gathering of elders or pastors of Presbyterian church government.
[10. ]Either eliminate piety everywhere, or preserve it everywhere.
[11. ]Whoever warns the one remembering to remember, makes the one who is to remember forgetful.