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CONSIDERATIONS FOR THE COMMONS, IN This Age of Diſtractions.

OUr preſent breaches call out to every honeſt Chriſtian to be­come a continuall centinell, watching againſt the inceſſant aſ­ſaults of ſuch as indeavour to undermine the peace of this King­dome, therefore ſeeing a ſtorme Inevitably falling its good to meete it with underſtanding rightly informed, that ſo we may know how to propoſe the way of truth to others, and how to proſecute it our ſelves. It hath ever been, and ſtill is, the conſtant practice of the common ene­my to ſet at variance not onely the Princes of ſeverall Nations, but each King­dome againſt it ſelfe, dividing betwixt Prince and people, and incenſing ſub­ject againſt ſubject, that ſo they might the more eaſyly accompliſh their wicked intentions in our diviſions; and how zealouſly this deſigne of the adverſe party hath beene carried on of late yeeres in theſe Kingdomes of Eng­land, Scotland, and Ireland, I thinke there is no intelligent ones but they can readily trace it in ſundry particulars, and now at laſt having crowned their endeavours with the accurſed fruits of ingaging this Kingdome in a civill war, they drive on furiouſly in the purſuance of this their helliſh deſigne, which muſt of neceſſity uſher in ruine, and deſtructions, if not ſpeedily oppoſed and cruſhed: and let all good Chriſtians be carefull leſt by their own back­wardneſſe they make good that baſe aſſertion of ſome malignants, That the Proteſtant profeſſion is too tame to withſtand them.

Now therefore ſince our preſent breaches call for a contribution from every one, its no more then our owne intereſt requires, that wee apply our ſelves to the common good, and that we may the better know our duty, and how we are to diſpoſe of our ſelves either in the aſſiſting of the one ſide, or in reſiſting of the other as we are thereunto called, Let us briefely take a view,

  • 1. Of the chiefe authors and fomenters of theſe unhappy diſtractions.
  • 2. Of the ends they drive at.
  • 3. Of the meanes they uſe to accompliſh thoſe ends.
  • 4. Of the dangerous inconveniences that will inſue if theſe be not oppoſed.

1. For the Authors of our preſent miſeries, the ſeverall Declarations of Parliament tell us that they conſiſt of Papiſts, of an ambitious and diſſolute Clergy, of delinquents obnoxious to the Juſtice of Parliament, together with ſome part of the Nobility and Gentry that either feare reformation, or elſe ſeeke to lay the Foundation of their owne honour and preferment in the ruine of the Kingdome, and we appeale to all the World, whether all of them or at leaſt the greateſt party of them that have withdrawne His Majeſty from his Parliament, and are now about him, do not come within the compaſſe of this definition, being ſuch as have conſtantly laboured to bury the hap­pineſſe of this Kingdome in the ruine of the Parliament; and therefore they that truſt theſe Men too much, queſtionleſſe they know them too little: for ſurely there is no man unleſſe hee bee willfully blinde and ſtupid, but will conculde that the many eyes of thoſe famous Peeres (that have ſometimes beene adjudged the ableſt States-men in this Kingdome) accompanied with ſo many choyce worthies out of all parts in the Land, ſhould ſee more plainely and diſcerne more cleerely into thoſe things that tend ro the good and ſafety of King and people, then thoſe dimme lights about of Majeſty which can ſee no further then their owne perſonall preferments and baſe am­bitious aymes do lead them; now accordingly let people adhere to the Coun­ſells and commands of the one or the other, as in reaſon they ſhall finde cauſe.

2. Conſider the ends that this malignant party hath hitherto and ſtill continues to drive at (and their practices ſhall be judged) one chiefe and maine end they drive at, is the deſtruction of this preſent Parliament, and in it all future Parliaments, and together with them, the alteration of Religion, the ſubverſion of the Lawes of the Kingdome, with the utter abollition of the rightfull liberties and priviledges of the Subjects. All this will cleerely appeare if you take but a briefe ſurvey of their proceedings from time to time, firſt their love (or rather indeed inveterate hatred) to this Parliament appeares in the many conſultations they had, and attempts they made (as is plaine by the depoſitions of many) to bring up the Northerne Army againſt the Parliament; and likewiſe in that unjuſt charge of Treaſon which was pretended againſt ſome members of both Houſes, and the Kings com­ming with a company of Cavaleeres to the Houſe of Commons to fetch them away by force, and then that which addes vigour to all the reſt, their with­drawing of His Majeſty, from his great and beſt councell into the Northerne parts of this Kingdome under pretence that His Perſon was in danger at Whitehall, which was a notorious black lye. Then for their love to Religi­on, I thinke that is manifeſt to the World by their converſation, their af­fecting of Blood, rapine, Torture, Oppreſſion and Cruelty, their frequent Swearing, God damme mee, and God ſincke mee; together with that ſweet harmony and mutuall coreſpondency betwixt Romaniſts and they, the Counſells of Jeſuiticall Papiſts having a cheife influence into their proceedings, Judge if theſe render them defendours of the true Proteſtant Religion. And then the great care they take for upholding and main­taining the Lawes of the Land, appeares by their love to Parliaments which are the Lawes protectors, as alſo by their favourable conſtruction of the Commiſſion of Array, the puting of the Sword of Juſtice into the hands of divers Popiſh and ill affected perſons, giving them places in the Com­miſſions of the Peace, and outing of others which it ſeemes were too zealous of the good of King and Kingdome. And laſtly their care of preſerving the liberties of the ſubject appeares by thoſe many illegall taxations of old, and of their late endeavours to poſſeſſe the World of an abſolute, and unlimitted power in Princes. Thus for the ends.

3. Conſider the meanes they uſe to accompliſh theſe their ends; the maine whereof is to raiſe up a ſpirit of diviſions and continually to in­creaſe a diſunion, firſt betwixt His Majeſty and his loyall ſubjects, and then betwixt one ſubject and another; for they well know that where verity is accompained with unity, it makes a people invincible; and therefore the better to carry on this their truth-deteſting deſigne, firſt the King muſt be dealt with that the Major part of Parliament (being ſeduced by a few Trayterous, factious ſpirits) endeavour to deprive him of his juſt prerogative, and to trample upon his Crowne, and having thus impudently ſuggeſted a thing as falſe as the Father of lyers can invent, then no ſtone muſt be left unrowled whereby this miſunderſtanding betwixt the King and his people may be increaſed. After this the Subjects they muſt be dealt with, by many ſpeci­ous pretences, and ſmoath expreſſions, and heartleſſe Proteſtations of the zeale of theſe men both for the good of King and people, and of the earn­ing deſires they have after a reformation (as heretofore eſtabliſhed) and that all their counſells and deſignes tend this way; And then they ſecretly ſtab the ſides of thoſe worthies in Parliament by their calumniations, and falſe aſperſions, telling you of their countenancing, or at leaſt not ſuppreſ­ſing the Tumults of Sectaries, Anabaptiſts and Browniſts that ſwarm in the Kingdome, and hence they will affirme that all our diſtractions have their riſe, Its well we know to the contrary, however grant it were ſo, yet theſe men will be found to be the cauſe of the cauſe of our diſtractions, for had not they by their divelliſh ſubtleties ingaged the Kingdome in this in­teſtine broyle, and brought our religion, lives and liberties and all to the ſtake, wee need not to have doubted, but that the Parliament with the aſ­ſiſtance of the aſſembly of Divines would by this time in ſo me good mea­ſure have compoſed the diviſions in the Church. But the truth is the Ma­lice of theſe men is ſo generall againſt all goodneſſe, that it had beene a ſlander if theſe worthies in Parliament had not beene ſlaundered by them, for envy and ſlaunder do alwaies attend good deeds in a bad age. Many other meanes that theſe malignants have uſed in the purſuance of their de­ſtructive deſignes might bee added. Their frequent attempts of fetching in forreigne Forces to invade us, and providing great ſupplyes of amu­nition beyond Seas to deſtroy us, Their complying with Papiſts, Atheiſts, fugitives, and other notorious delinquents, to the end they might en­ſlave us, if theſe be not ſufficient to render their intentions many miles diſt­ant from their Proteſtations of endeavouring the common good, let the World judge.

Laſtly, that the crafty devices and fraudulent pretences of theſe arch impoſtours may not be believed, nor their impudent expreſſions, threatned violence, and ſeeming courage may not bee feared, It were good that people were rightly informed of the manifould benefits that muſt needs re­dound to themſelves and poſterity, by declining the wayes and Coun­ſells of theſe men, and by adhering to the faithfull Counſells and obey­ing the juſt commands, of the Parliament by whoſe Wiſdome and induſtry ſo many excellent workes have beene wrought for us, whoſe proceedings from their firſt meeting to this inſtant have beene ſo ſpotleſſe, that the enemys of the State have beene angry with them, becauſe they could not be an­gry with them, finding no juſt cauſe wherein to accuſe them, whereupon they have beene forced to broach many notorious untruths from time to time, thereby ſcandalizing the proceedings of Parliament, which time ha­ving confuted and given them the lye to their Teeth, hath not a little re­downed to the diſgrace of themſelves and the cauſe they favour; And doubtleſſe thoſe that have vented their minds againſt this Parliament, by ſuch invective ſpeeches upon all occaſions, they would not be backward to nominate that factious party in both Houſes (acording to the pro­miſe made in a Meſſage, &c.) had they had either ground or reaſon for it. But as hitherto wee can neither heare the crimes of ſuch as have beene im­peached, nor the Names of ſuch as are thus threatned; for could wee ſee any thing but mere words, wee ſhould the ſooner believe that the King was neceſſitated to deſert the Parliament. I would wiſh the Commons of England were able to build their hopes upon any probable grounds that they ſhould receive good from theſe men, that have thus ſhamefully and deſpightfully ſpit their venome upon the heads of our Tribes. Nay I feare there is few that can apprehend a poſſibility, that His Ma­jeſty ſhould really make good thoſe ſolemne Proteſtations, of defend­ing our Religion, Lawes and Liberties, ſo long as theſe Achi­tophels are about him. In the late breach betwixt Scotland and us, doubt­leſſe had not the Kings eares been ſhut againſt the wholſome advice of his Scottiſh ſubjects, whilſt they were open to the deſtructive counſels of ſome evil affected ones in England, the fidelity of the Scots and the treachery of thoſe counſellers had been ſooner diſcovered. Therefore if we doe not ſtand to the cauſe now, and render our ſelves loyal to our Soveraigne, and faithful to the State wherein we live, by withſtanding and oppoſing the deſtructive counſels and waies of thoſe about his Majeſty, who endeavour nothing more then to enſlave the free ſubjects of this Nation, and to keepe them continually under the harrow of oppreſſion, we may forever bid adieu to all that we now en­joy. It ought therefore to be every mans wiſdome and care ſeriouſly to con­ſider, that in forſaking this Parliament, they forſake themſelves, their Reli­gion, Lawes, and Properties, and all that can properly be called theirs, for our Liberties receive their life from the Law, and the Law its life and prote­ction from Parliaments; ſo that in caſe we refuſe to protect them that pro­tect the Lawes which are the protection of our Liberties, of neceſſity all muſt fall to the ground, and the will of the Prince and Favourites ſhall be the Law of the people, and ſo honeſt men will be out of hopes, and delinquents out of feare of juſtice.

There is not any age that can produce a ſtory of a Parliament, freely ele­cted and held, that ever did injure a whole Nation; neither have we ever heard of Prince or people that caſting themſelves upon this well conſtituted Aſſem­bly that they were ever defrauded or prejudiced by them. But ſome we have heard of that never proſpered having once diſerted this great Councell. And indeed it may ſeeme ſtrange to any reaſonable man, that the Lords and Com­mons who are ſo deeply interreſſed in the Kingdome, and who muſt of neceſ­ſity have a large ſhare in the miſeries thereof, that they ſhould take ſuch pains early and late in contributing to their owne inevitable deſtruction and to the ruining of the freedoms of this Nation. But put the caſe that we by our wil­fulneſſe and groſſe ſtupidity ſhould ſo farre provoke the Parliament as to de­ſert us and our intereſt, and to purſue their owne by complying with thoſe Councels that are now about his Majeſty, let the World judge what were likely to be the portion of the Communalty of this Kingdom, ſhould the Par­liament betray that truſt we have repoſed in them, themſelves might live like Princes, but we like ſlaves.

It hath of late been the maine deſigne of our adverſaries by their ſubtill inſinuations to render the Parliament a voyd aſſembly becauſe the King refu­ſes to joyne with them. This was well anſwered by him that ſaid, if the Par­liament might not ſave the Kingdome without the King, he was ſure the King might deſtroy the Kingdome in deſpight of the Parliament. It muſt needs ſound harſh in the eares of a free people, that the King withdrawne by evill Councell may at pleaſure take away the very eſſence of Parliaments meerely by his owne diſſent, thereby ſtripping them of all power in matters of judi­cature that they may not determine any thing for the good and ſafety of the Kingdome. If this be true, it muſt needs follow, that its both vaine and need­leſſe to trouble the whole Kingdome to make choice of its repreſentative body, ſince being convened and diſſerted by the King, they muſt ſtand as cy­phers, and ſurely that time which was ſpent in preparing and paſſing the Bill for triennial Parliaments, and that for the not diſſolving of this, was but loſt labour, for not to exiſt, and to exiſt without any power, are things little diffe­ring in ſuch a caſe as this.

Never was there any age, wherein the hearts of people were more per­plexed betwixt command and command then in this; We finde the King commanding and the Parliament forbidding, the King affirming and the Parliament denying, now in this uncertainety each man is doubtfull how to diſpoſe of himſelfe for the common good. If people could rightly diſtinguiſh betwixt protection and oppreſſion, Monarchy and tyranny, they would the better underſtand their duty in ſuch times as theſe. Queſtion­leſſe the duty that we owe unto our Soveraigne, it doth not deny us this pri­viledge of having reſpect to our owne ſafety. Now no man will deny the King to be the Lords annoynted, his Deputy, and Vice-gerent, and that every ſub­ject ought to honour, and obey him ſo farre as his commands thwart not the commands of God; this comes not in queſtion, neither is it queſtioned, whether an abſolute obedience is to be yeelded to the unlawfull commands of an evill Magiſtrate, for I preſume none of our adverſaries will affirme that; neither is the queſtion, whether Subjects may make an offenſive warre taking up armes againſt their Soveraigne (as ſome have falſely and de­ſpightfully ſuggeſted.) But the queſtion is meerly about our owne ſafety, and juſt defence, and may be thus ſtated. When as the King is ſeduced by wicked men who have a conſtant opportunity of inſtilling their poyſonous counſels into his ſacred eares, venting ſuch deſtructive arguments as may moſt con­duce to their own ends, thereby prevailing over his innocent thoughts and purpoſes to his people (the moſt candid diſpoſitions being ſubject to dange­rous inconveniences by the conſtant concurrence of evill examples and counſels) and carrying him on to take up armes againſt his loyall Subjects, The queſtion is, whether in ſuch a caſe of extreame danger it be lawfull for the ſubject to take up armes in his owne defence.

That a defenſive warr is lawfull and warrantable in ſuch a caſe as this, will appeare by theſe reaſons.

1. Becauſe the end of all government is to make proviſion for the good and ſafety of the people (that being the ſupreame Law) if then Princes being intruſted ſhall refuſe to joyne with the people in their neceſſary defence, the people may without diſ-loyalty ſave themſelves, it being contrary to the nature and intent of ſuch a truſt, that neceſſary defence ſhould be barred and natureall preſervation denied to a people. It muſt needs be a direct over­throwing of the very foundation of policy for a people by preſerving ſub­jection to their Prince to give way to the deſtruction of the Common­wealth.

2. If the people might not preſerve their owne peace againſt the unjuſt invaſion, and cauſeleſſe violence of their Prince, we muſt conclude that God hath left man deſtitute of any ſufficient humane helpe of ſaving himſelfe; for grant that, and this will follow, that when a Kingdome is expoſed to eminent dangers, the people muſt of neceſſity yeeld their necks and ſubmit their lives to the wils of cruell men, ſince the King denies them meanes of ſafety.

3. The Law of nature binds each private man to defend himſelfe againſt the Magiſtrate as a private man aſſaulting him by violence and not purſuing him in a legall way, and to repell force by force, the example of Naboth will cleerely demonſtrate this, when Ahab commanded him to give him his Vine­yard, Naboth refuſes to comply with the Kings command it being unlawfull for him to part with the inheritance of his fathers: Well, Ahab by the inſti­gation of his wife ſtill purſues the deſigne, and the thing muſt be put to the tryall, and to this end witneſſes muſt be ſuborned, and theſe to give in teſti­mony to the Elders and Nobles ſo and ſo. Now in this caſe Naboth was bound to ſubmit to his cenſure being tryed in a legall way, & ſo to leave the undeſer­vedneſſe of his death charged upon the conſciences of the falſe witneſſes. But now had Ahab come violently upon Naboth and attempted the killing of him for not ſubjecting to his unlawfull command, will any man affirme that it had been unlawfull for Naboth to have defended himſelfe againſt the unjuſt inva­ſion and violence of Ahab? If then it be lawfull for a private perſon thus to defend himſelfe (as doubtleſſe it is) then much more it is lawfull for a whole Nation.

4. This is warrantable by Scripture examples, 2 Chron. 26. 17, &c. When Vziah the King entred into the Temple, and would have burnt Incenſe to the Lord, which was not lawfull for him to doe, Azariah the Prieſt and foure ſcore more withſtood him and cauſed him to depart the Sanctuary, 1 Sam. 14. 45. When Saul would have unjuſtly put Ionathan to death the people reſcued him out of his hands and told the King plainely that he ſhould not die, ſeverall other examples there be in Scripture which doe cleerely demon­ſtrate this truth, That the unlawfull acts and commands of Princes may be oppoſed,

To conclude, that which gives men ſecurity in troubleſome times, is the juſtneſſe of the cauſe they endeavour to vindicate, let Achitophels plot, Sam­ballats mocke, Rabſhekahs waile, and ſeducers wax every day worſe and worſe, yet Magna eſt veritas & praevalebit, The waies of the wicked though for a time they may proſper, yet they ſhall never be bleſſed; God hath hitherto carred on the worke of reformation with a ſtrong hand, in deſpight of all Anti-reformers, and doubtleſſe the Churches cauſe ſhall prevaile though ſe­cond cauſes ſhould faile, yet the zeale of the Lord of Hoaſts will performe this.

FINIS.

About this transcription

TextConsiderations for the Commons, in this age of distractions.
Author[unknown]
Extent Approx. 22 KB of XML-encoded text transcribed from 5 1-bit group-IV TIFF page images.
Edition1642
SeriesEarly English books online text creation partnership.
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(EEBO-TCP ; phase 2, no. A80362)

Transcribed from: (Early English Books Online ; image set 156005)

Images scanned from microfilm: (Thomason Tracts ; 20:E112[17])

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Bibliographic informationConsiderations for the Commons, in this age of distractions. [8] p. s.n.,[London :1642]. (Caption title.) (Imprint from Wing.) (Annotation on Thomason copy: "August 17th 1642".) (Reproduction of the original in the British Library.)
Languageeng
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  • England and Wales. -- Parliament -- Early works to 1800.
  • Great Britain -- History -- Civil War, 1642-1649 -- Early works to 1800.

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  • STC Wing C5909
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