Journal of the House of Commons: Volume 7, 1651-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1802.
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Thursday, the 21st of January, 1657.
Clerk of the House, &c.
ORDERED, That it be referred to a Committee, to search what Oath hath formerly been taken by the Clerk of this House; and whether any Oath ought to be taken by him; and to consider of the Manner and Form of an Oath to be taken by the Clerk of this House, and the Clerk-Assistant; and offer it to this House To-morrow Morning: Viz. to Mr. Chute, Mr. Attorney of the Duchy, Mr. Onslow, Mr. Bond, Mr. Solicitor-General, Mr. Serjeant Maynard, Sir Lislebone Long, Mr. Turner, Mr. Aldworth, Colonel Mathews, Mr. Fowell, Mr. Scott, Mr. Bacon, Mr. Gewen: This Committee are to meet in the Speaker's Chamber, at Three of the Clock this Afternoon.
Protector's Speech reported.
Mr. Speaker made Report to the House of the Speech made Yesterday by his Highness the Lord Protector, in these Words; viz.
My Lords, and Gentlemen the House of Commons,
I MEET you here, in this Capacity, by the Advice and Petition of this present Parliament, after so much Expence of Blood and Treasure, to search and try what Blessings God hath in Store for these Nations.
I cannot but with Gladness of Heart remember and acknowledge the Labour and Industry that is past, which hath been spent upon a Business worthy of the best Men, and the best Christians.
It is very well known unto you all, what Difficulties we have passed through, and what we are now arrived to: We hope we may say we have arrived at what we aimed at, if not at that which is much beyond our Expectations.
The State of this Cause, and the Quarrel, what That was at the first, you all very well know; I am persuaded, most of you have been Actors in it:
It was the Maintaining of the Liberty of these Nations; our Civil Liberties, as Men; our Spiritual Liberties, as Christians.
I shall not much look back; but rather say one Word concerning the State and Condition we are all now in.
You know very well, the first Declaration after the Beginning of this War, that spake to the Life, was a Sense held forth by the Parliament, That, for some Succession of Time, Designs were laid to innovate upon the Civil Rights of the Nations; to innovate in Matters of Religion: And those very Persons, that, a Man would have thought, should have had the least Hand in the Meddling with Civil Things, did justify them all; all Transactions that were in Pulpits, in Presses, and otherwise: Which was verily thought would have been a very good Shelter to them, to innovate upon us in Matters of Religion also; and so to innovate, as to eat out the Core, and Power, and Heart, and Life, of all Religion, by bringing on us a Company of poisonous Popish Ceremonies, and imposing them upon those that were accounted the Puritans of the Nation, and Professors of Religion amongst us; driving them to seek their Bread in an howling Wilderness; as was instanced to our Friends, who were forced to fly for Holland, New-England, almost any-whither, to find Liberty for their Consciences.
Now if this Thing hath been the State and Sum of our Quarrel, and of those Ten Years Wars wherein we have been exercised; and that the good Hand of God, for we are to attribute it to no other, hath brought this Business thus home unto us, as it is stated in the Petition and Advice; and I think we have all Cause to bless God, and the Nations have Cause to bless him.
I well remember I did a little touch upon the lxxxvth Psalm, when I spake unto you in the Beginning of this Parliament: Which expresseth well That, that we may say as truly, and as well, as it was said of old by the Penman of that Psalm. The first Verse is an Acknowledgment to God, that he had been favourable unto his Land, and had brought back the Captivity of his People; and that he had pardoned all their Iniquities, and covered all their Sin, and taken away all his Wrath: And indeed, of these unspeakable Mercies, Blessings, and Deliverances out of Captivity, pardoning National Sins, and National Iniquities; pardoning, as God pardoneth the Man whom he justifieth, he breaks through, and overlooks Iniquity; and pardoneth, because he will pardon: And sometime God pardoneth Nations also: And if the Enjoyment of our present Peace, and other Mercies, may be Witnesses for God, we feel, and we see them every Day.
The greatest Demonstration of his Favour and Love appears to us in this, That he hath given us Peace, and the Blessings of Peace, to wit, the Enjoyments of our Liberties, Civil and Spiritual: And, I remember well, the Church falls into Prayer, and into Praises, great Expectations of future Mercies, and much Thankfulness for the Enjoyment of present Mercies; and breaks into this Expression, Surely Salvation is nigh unto them that fear him, that Glory may dwell in our Land. In the Beginning he calls it his Land, Thou hast been favourable to our Land: Truly, I hope This is his Land; and in some Sense it may be given out, That it is God's Land: And he that hath the weakest Knowledge, and the worst Memory, can easily tell we were a redeemed People, when first God was pleased to look favourably upon us, out of the Hands of Popery, in that never-to-be-forgotten Reformation, that most significant and greatest the Nation hath felt or tasted.
I would but touch upon that, and but a Touch: How hath God redeemed us, as it is this Day, not from Trouble, and Sorrow, and Anger, but unto a blessed and happy Estate and Condition, comprehensive of all the Interest of every Member of every Individual, of those Mercies, as you very well see!
And then in what Sense it is our Land, through this Grace and Favour of God, that he hath vouchsafed unto us, and bestowed upon us, with the Gospel, with Peace and Rest, out of Ten Years War, and given us what we would desire! Nay, Who could have forethought, when we were plunged into the Midst of our Troubles, that ever the People of God should have had Liberty to worship God without Fear of Enemies? Which is the very Acknowledgment of the Promise of Christ, That he would deliver His from Fear of Enemies, that they might worship him in Holiness, and in Righteousness, all the Days of their Life.
This is the Portion that God hath given us; and, I trust, we shall for ever heartily acknowledge it. The Church goes on there, and makes her Boast yet further; His Salvation is nigh them that fear him, that Glory may dwell in our Land; His Glory, not carnal, nor any thing else that accompanies this Glory of a free Possession of the Gospel; this is That that we may glory in: And he says further; Mercy and Truth are met together; Righteousness and Peace have kissed each other.
And it shall be such Righteousness as comes down from Heaven; Truth shall grow out of the Earth, and Righteousness shall come down from Heaven: Here is the Truth of all; here is the Righteousness of God, under the Notion of Righteousness, confirming our Abilities, answerable to the Truth that he hath in the Gospel revealed towards us: And he closeth with this; Righteousness shall go before him, and shall set us in the Way of his Steps: That Righteousness, that Mercy, that Love, and that Kindness, which we have seen, and have been made Partakers of, from the Lord; it shall be our Guide, to teach us to know the right and the good Way; which is, to tread in the Steps of Mercy, Righteousness, and Goodness, that our God hath walked before us in.
We have a Peace this Day: I believe, in my very Heart, you all think the Things that I speak to you this Day; I am sure you have Cause: And yet we are not without the Murmurings of many People, who turn all this Grace and Goodness into Wormwood; who, indeed, are disappointed by the Works of God: And those Men are of several Ranks and Conditions; Great ones, Lesser ones of all Sorts; Men that are of the Episcopal Spirit, with all the Branches, the Root and the Branches; who gave themselves a fatal Blow in the Place, when they would needs make a Protestation, That no Laws were good which were made by this House, and the House of Commons, in their Absence; and so without Injury to themselves, cut off themselves.
Indeed, Men that know not God; that know not how to account upon the Works of God; how to measure them out; but will trouble Nations for an Interest, which is but mixed at the best; made up of Iron and Clay, like the Feet of Nebuchadnezer's Image; whether they were more Civil or Spiritual, was hard to say; but their Continuance was like to be known beforehand; Iron and Clay make no good Mixtures, they are not durable at all.
You have now a godly Ministry; you have a knowing Ministry; such a one, as, without Vanity be it spoken, the World has not; Men knowing the Things of God, and able to search into the Things of God, by that only, that can fathom those things in some measure. The Spirit of a Beast knows not the Spirit of a Man; nor doth the Spirit of Man know the Things of God: The Things of God are known by the Spirit. Truly I will remember but this one Thing of those; Their greatest Persecution hath been of the People of God: Men of the Spirit of God, as, I think, very Experiences will sufficiently demonstrate.
Besides, What's the Reason, think you, that Men slip, in this Age wherein we live? As I told you before, they understand not the Works of God; they consider not the Operation of his Laws: they consider not, that God resisted and broke in Pieces the Powers that were, that Men might fear Him: might have Liberty to do, and to enjoy, all That that we have been speaking of: Which certain God has manifested, that this was the End; and that he hath brought the Things to pass: Therefore it is, that Men yet slip, and engage themselves against God; and for that very Cause, xxviiith Psalm, saith David, He shall break them down, and not bind them up.
If therefore you would know upon what Foundation you stand, own your Foundation from God: He hath set you where you are; he hath set you in the Enjoyment of your Civil and of your Spiritual Liberties.
I deal clearly with you: I have been under some Infirmity; therefore dare not speak further to you; but to let you know thus much, That I have with Truth and Simplicity, declared the State of our Cause, and Attainments in it, to you, by the Industry and Labour of this Parliament, when they last met upon this Foundation (you shall find, I mean the Foundation of a Cause and Quarrel thus attained to) wherein we are thus estated: I should be very glad to lay my Bones with yours; and would have done it with all Heartiness and Chearfulness, in the meanest Capacity that I was ever yet in, to serve the Parliament.
If God give you, as, I trust, he will, he hath given it you, for, what have I been speaking of, but what you have done? he hath given you Strength to do what hath been done: And, if God should bless you in this Work, and make this Meeting happy upon this Account, you shall all be called the Blessed of the Lord; the Generations to come will bless us; you shall be the Repairers of Breaches, and the Restorers of Paths to dwell in: And, if there be any Work that Mortals can attain to in the World beyond this, I acknowledge my Ignorance. As I told you, I have some Infirmities upon me: I have not Liberty to speak more unto you; but I have desired an honourable Person here by me to discourse a little more particularly what may be more proper for this Occasion and this Meeting.
Ordered, That the former Order, of Fourth November 1636, whereby a Committee is appointed to prepare and bring in a Bill for raising Maintenance for Ministers, do extend to Parishes that are in Counties at large: And that Colonel Birch, Mr. Pedley, Mr. Scott, Mr. Darley, Colonel Mathews, Mr. Bacon, Mr. Bodwrda, Mr. Onslowe, Sir Jo. Thorowgood, Mr. Blackwell, Mr. Gibbs, Mr. Mildmay, Major Beake, Mr. Rous, Mr. Solicitor-General, Mr. Pickering, be added to that Committee: And all that come to have Voices: And are to meet To-morrow in the Afternoon, at Two of the Clock, in the Inner Court of Wards.
Ordered, That all the Committees formerly appointed by this Parliament, concerning Publick Affairs, be revived: And do meet on Friday in the Afternoon, in the respective Places where they formerly used to meet.
Ordered, That the Names of those several Committees be set up without, at the Door of this House, by the Clerk of this House, To-morrow Morning.
Committee of Privileges.
Ordered, That Mr. Harvey, Sir Tho. Foote, Sir Tho. Wroth, Mr. Carey Mildmay, Mr. Onslowe, Serjeant Maynard, Colonel Birch, Mr. Darley, Mr. Scott, Mr St. Nicholas, Mr. Mason, Mr. Margetts, Mr. Pickering, Mr. Burton, Mr. Rushworth, Mr. Chute, Mr. Turner, Mr. Lister, Sir Tho. Styles, Mr. Holt, Mr. Holland, Mr. Biddolph, Mr. Pedley, Mr. Archer, Mr. Mildmay, Mr. Mynors, Mr. Gewen, Alderman Gibbs, Major Beske, Mr. Nanfan, Major-General Bridge, Sir Rich. Piggott, Mr Biscoe, Colonel Castle, be added to the Committee for Privileges.
Resolved, That the House shall now rise.