Journal of the House of Commons: Volume 7, 1651-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1802.
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Monday, the 25th of January, 1657.
Lord Comr Fiennes' Speech.
MR. Speaker, according to former Order, did this Day make Report of the Speech made by the Lord Commissioner Fiennes, on the Twentieth of this Instant January, before his Highness and the Parliament: And was as followeth; viz.
AMONGST the manifold and various Dispensations of God's Providence of late Years, this is one, and it is a signal and remarkable Providence, That we see this Day, in this Place, a Chief Magistrate, and Two Houses of Parliament. Jacob, speaking to his Son, Joseph, said, I had not thought to have seen thy Face; and, lo, God hath shewed me thy Seed also; meaning his Two Sons, Ephrahim and Manasseth: And may not many amongst us well say, Some Years since we had not thought to have seen a Chief Magistrate again amongst us; and, lo, God hath shewn us a Chief Magistrate in his Two Houses of Parliament ? Now may the good God make them like Ephraim and Manasseth, that the Three Nations may bless in them, saying, God make thee like those Two Houses of Parliament; which Two, like Leah and Rachell, did build the House of Israell!
May you do worthily in Ephrata, and be famous in Bethlehem ! May it be your great Business to procure the Peace, the Safety, and the Prosperity, of these Three Nations! And these Things, too, not for themselves only, but in order yet to greater and higher Ends; the Advancement of the Kingdom of Christ among us, and the Glory of God, in the Good of all Men, but especially of the Churches of God amongst Men; which, as they are God's most precious Jewels and his chiefest Care, so must they also hold the choicest Place in the Eyes, and in the Hearts, of all those that act under him, and are cloathed with his Power and Authority.
In order to this great and glorious End, you may please, in the first place, to reflect upon the Posture that the Three Nations at the present are in; a Posture (God be praised!) of Peace, as within themselves, a quiet Posture; a Posture looking towards a Settlement, a perfect Settlement; and the blessed Fruits thereof, Justice and Piety, Plenty and Prosperity; if we take care not to abuse the latter, to the Destruction of the former: Surely, we ought, with all Thankfulness, to own and acknowledge the Outgoings of God for Good unto us, hitherto; We ought to consider, how far, through the good Hand of God upon the Endeavours of his Highness and the Parliament, before its Adjournment, we are already advanced in this Way and Work.
After, You may please to foresee and avoid the dangerous Rocks, which we may fall upon in our Course; which may not only stop it, but cut it short, and totally disappoint us of ever arriving at the desired Port.
These Things I can only speak to cursorily and generally: The full and thorough Consideration of them will be the Work of your many and serious Debates and Consultations; and will exercise not only your Wisdom and Industry, but also your Faith and Patience: And may it please the Lord to accompany with his Presence and Assistance, and in the End to crown with his Blessing, and with Success!
Into what Condition the late Wars and Distractions had brought these Nations, and what a Cloud of Darkness had covered the whole Face of the Government, being void, and in a manner without Form, we all know, and the Three Nations sadly felt; and were very sensible of those further Confusions that might have ensued thereupon: But it pleased God, that Light sprung up amongst us, and Things began to move towards something of Order and Consistency; but as yet the Earth and the Waters were in one Mass together: Then were the Waters beneath the Firmament divided from those above the Firmament; there was constituted a Chief-Magistrate, and a Parliament, the one distinct from the other; that each one, from its proper Place, might the better put forth its Influence and Usefulness, for the Good of the Whole.
Lord Comr Fiennes' Speech.
After, it pleased the Parliament, by their humble Petition and Advice, to distinguish the Parliament also into Two Houses; and, that great and noble Body of the Waters retiring into their own Receptacle, the dry Land appeareth: And what now remains, but that, by the sweet Influence of that powerful Spirit that moved upon the Waters, every Herb should bring forth Seed according to its Kind; and every Tree bring forth Fruit, according to its Kind; and that the Sun, Moon, and Stars, the Ordinances of Magistracy and Ministry, should shine forth brightly in the Firmament of Heaven, in their greater, and in their lesser Lights, according to the Proportion that God hath dispensed to each One; and that Fish and Fowl should multiply in the Waters, and in the Air; and Beasts, and Cattle of all Sorts, increase in the Earth; that all Trades, all Professions, all Ranks and Degrees of Men, may be subservient to that Second Adam and his Spouse, Christ and his Church; that they may be formed and set up amongst us, and placed in a Garden of Eden, where, with all Freedom, without Fear or Disturbance, they may enjoy all spiritual Delights, and have Communion with one another, and with God? Which, though last in Execution, I hope always was, and always shall be, the first and chiefest in our Intentions.
The holy Angels of God, when the Foundations of the Earth were laid, did not say, Here is a rude Mass of Earth and Water; here is indeed a little Light; but where is Heaven, Sun, Moon, and Stars? Nay, where is Man, made after the Image of God? But, on the contrary, as it witnesseth from the Mouth of God himself, when the Foundations of the World were fastened, and only the Corner-Stone thereof laid, the Morning Stars sang all together, and all the Sons of God shouted for Joy. From hence we may discover one, and that a most dangerous, Rock, which, if not heeded, we may split upon: It is, a Spirit of Discontent, and Dislike of the present Dispensations of God, because all Things are not perfect in an Instant, and such as is to be wished they were, and such as possibly, in God's due Time, they may be.
If the present Parliament, at their first Meeting, had given Way to such a Spirit as that; and had not God, assisting them so to do, on the contrary, put on a Spirit of Patience and Resolution, to rectify, as far as in them lay, what was amiss, to improve what was good, and to make the best of what God laid before them, pressing on to Settlement and Perfection, as God should open them a Way, without attending either to Rumours or Humours of any Sort, as there were enough of all Kinds to have discouraged them, and diverted them in their Work; I say, if they had given Way to such a Spirit as that, I know not where we might have been by this time: But now (blessed be God!) we know where we are, in some measure; and that we are in a hopeful Way of Settlement, Safety, and Prosperity. You did run well; let no Man hinder you: I do not know that it would be an uncharitable Wish, to wish them even cut off that shall trouble you, and trouble the Peace of the Nation: But I am sure it is a Christian Wish and Prayer, to bid you God-speed in your Way, and in your Work, for the further Settlement of these Nations; being confident, that the Child unborn will have Cause to bless you for what you have already done, and what, by God's Grace, you may yet further do, for their Good: Those that create new Troubles in a Nation, seldom attain either the Ends held forth in their goodly Pretensions, or indeed aimed at in their good Intentions, if any such they have; but usually something falleth out, in the End of the Tragedy, much contrary to their Expectation, and ordinarily something of greater Mischief and Confusion than ever they felt before. Those that throw Fire upon a House, cannot say, when the Flame is once broken out, That it shall go so far, or so far, and no farther: The Fire, when once broken forth, will after take its own Course, or such a Way as some boisterous and tempestuous Wind shall carry it: Those that shall pluck up the Flood-gates of the great Deep, and let in the surging and raging Waves of War into a Nation, cannot stop them, and bound them, when and where they please: He only can do That, who first set Bounds and Doors unto them, and said, Hitherto shalt thou come, and no farther; and here shall they proud Waves be stayed. Let us therefore beware of the crafty Devices of that subtle and malicious Serpent, that he beguile us not; and that there arise not in any of us an evil Heart of Unbelief, to depart from our Stedfastness, and from our fixed Resolution to seek Peace, and ensue it.
Lord Com rs Fiennes' Speech.
There is an evil Root; and it is one and the same Root, though Two different and contrary Fruits spring from it, but both tending to one and the same End; which is, to overthrow our great End, the Peace and Quiet of these Nations, and the blessed Fruits that grow upon them, more precious than the Peace itself; though that be a great Blessing of and in itself: This Root is a Root of Bitterness and Discontent at the present Dispensations of God: The different Fruits thereof are a restive and a restless Spirit: The former causeth Men, because they cannot have All that they will, and when they will, to throw up All in a Discontent; and refuse to go God's Way, and God's Pace; because they cannot go their own: The other Spirit causeth Men to be always restless, to be always digging up Foundations, to be turning, and overturning, and disliking all Things.
As to the First Sort, if they would but consider the Example of the Great Workman and Creator of this beautiful Universe, in the Order and Manner of his Creation thereof, they might therein behold, as in a Mirror, the perfect Idea of the Method and Manner of his Working; also, in the continual Course of his Providence, in the Preservation and Government of the World; and might be taught how to order their Thoughts and themselves in relation to the gradual Dispensations of God; and learn their own Duty, as they are called to act under the same, and in Subserviency thereunto. Not only God's Rest, but also his Working, was exemplary: As God rested the Seventh Day, so must Men: As God wrought the Six Days, so must Men; as well those that are to work with the Head, as with the Hand; as well Rich, as Poor; as well High, as Low: None are too high to imitate the Most High. None must be idle, but every one must serve God and his Country, according to his Calling; and that Call cannot but be warrantable, which is necessary: And that is necessary, which God, by his Providence, so orders, that a Man must act by it, or not at all: And, that he should not act at all, is neither agreeable to God's Commandment, not his Example.
No Doubt, if it had seemed good to the Divine Wisdom, that powerful Breath, which called Something out of Nothing, could, in the same Breath, and in the same Instant, have given it its whole and intire Beauty and Perfection: But he was pleased to create it by Degrees, and to proceed from one Measure of Perfection to another: When he had drawn the first Line thereof, he did not dislike his own Work, and throw it up, though the Earth was void, and without Form, and Darkness was upon the Face of the Deep; but went on to create Light; and, though it was still mixed with Darkness, even before he had divided the Darkness from the Light, he saw it was good: And so at every Period of his Work he owned the Good that was already in Being; and then went on, till he had perfected the Whole; and, when he had viewed all his Works together, he then saw they were all very good. What should this teach us, but that we should thankfully own and receive every Degree of Good which God reacheth forth unto us; and, with Faith and Patience, wait upon his Footsteps, following him from one Step of Perfection to another, till we arrive at the End of his Works; and then, as we found the Parts thereof good, we shall find them all together very good: And if God, who could have made his Works perfect in an Instant, yet was pleased to perfect them by Degrees, surely he would have us learn not to quarrel at the Works of Men, if they are not all perfect in a Day: Nay, if we will take God for our Pattern (as all the Excellency that is in the Creature is so far forth, as there is found in it some Shadow and Resemblance of its Creator), though there be not only Defects, but also real Evils in Things; yet Men ought not to sit still, and let them take their Course; but to endeavour to amend them, if they can; or otherwise to draw Good out of them, if they may: For although to do Evil, that Good may come of it, is a Doctrine of Devils; yet, to draw Good out of Evil, is an high Imitation of God.
As to that other Sort of Spirit, that is over-busy, and is always turning up Foundations, I might have forborn to say any thing of it to you, unto whom I address my Speech, as in relation to yourselves; for that either you yourselves have advised the settling that Foundation we now stand upon; or else are laid upon it: or at least are, or should be, all sworn to it: And, as to others, who would build upon contrary Foundations, or upon no certain Foundation, departing from, and not perfecting, that which is already so well laid (which may be equally destructive to our great and good End of Settlement); I need not say much to them neither: For those, which conceit either Utopia's of I know not what Kind of imaginary Commonwealths; or Day Dreams, of the Return of I know not what Golden Age, with the old Line; their Notions are rather bottomed in Conceit, than in Reason; and must rather be worn out by Experience, than argued down by Reason: For, when they come to be put in Practice, they presently discover their Weakness and Inconsistency; and that they are altogether unpracticable and infeasible, or of very short Durance and Continuance, as hath appeared so often as they have been assayed or attempted: Nay, as to the latter, there seemeth to be /?/, aliquid divini, to the contrary; there having been so constant and strong a Current of Providences against it, that whosoever have attempted to stem that Tide, have not only been carried violently back again, but also driven upon Rocks whereupon they have shipwrecked themselves in the Attempt; not unlike to those Jews whom Julian the Apostate, in Despite of Christ, set to rebuild the Temple at Jerusalem upon its old Foundations, out of which Balls of Wildfire issuing forth, affrighted and destroyed the Workmen, and made them desist from their Work: Indeed our Author, and the Party amongst us, doth the like; being a Heathen, and a great Friend of Julian, would not acknowledge the Hand of God in it, but imputed it to a strong Accident, to the Pertinacy of the Element: Pertinacia elementi, crebris insultibus, terruit operarios: But yet it made them desist from their Work. So will not that Party amongst us: No Demonstrations of God's Hand against them will prevail with them; but, surpassing in Obstinacy the very Jews themselves, they will not leave off their Work, but are as hard at it, even at this Day, as ever. What shall we do with these Men, who will never be quiet? capæger intemperans crudelem fecit medicum; et immedicabile vulnus ense recidendum.
There is another Rock, and it is also a dangerous one: It is a Rock upon which many have split themselves in our View; and it hath, lying right over against it, a Quicksand no less dangerous, which hath swallowed many also in our Sight: The Rock is, a Spirit of imposing upon Mens Consciences, where God leaves them a Latitude, and would have them free: The Quicksand is an abominable Licentiousness to profess and practice any Sort of detestable Opinions and Principles: For the former, the Prelates, and all their Adherents, nay and their Master and Supporter too, with all his Posterity, have split themselves upon it: The bloody Rebels in Ireland, that would endure no Religion but their own amongst them, have split themselves upon it: And we doubt not but that the Prince of those Satanical Spirits, under whose Banner, being cast out from hence, they are now retired, as unto their Beelzebub, will, in God's good time, split himself also upon this Rock, and be brought down to the Ground, together with his bloody Inquisition, which therefore hath acquired the Surname of the Spanish Inquisition.
But as God is no Respecter of Persons, so neither is he any Respecter of Forms; but, in what Form soever this Spirit appeareth, he hath, he will testify his Displeasure against it, though it be not of so deep a Dye as that I have spoken of before: If Men, though otherwise good Men, will turn Ceremony into Substance, and make the Kingdom of Christ to consist in Circumstances, in Disciplines, in Forms; though these Things also may have their Use, as to Order and Decency, so they be strained no further, and not carried beyond their Line and Measure.
But, I say, if Uniformity in these Things shall dissolve Unity among Brethren; and, especially, if it grow to such a Height of Animosity, and so high a Degree of Asparity, that, if one say but Siboleth instead of Shiboleth, it shall be accounted Ground enough to cut his Throat, though one of his Brethren; if any Men shall account all as Heathens, and no Christians, that are not under such or such an Ordinance; all Men Devils, that are out of such a Circle, such a Form; and all Men the Seed of the Serpent, that will not father such or such an Opinion, it may be but Fancies, too, when all is done; such Principles, such Practices, Men cannot bear, God will not endure: And in vain do they protest against the Persecution of God's People, when, as eagerly persecuting all others, they make the Definition of God's People so narrow, that their Persecution becometh as broad as any others; and usually more fierce, because ordinarily edged with a sharper Temper of Spirit. It may be, that many amongst these shall, by God's Mercy, meet together in Heaven; but certainly, had they Power at Will, they would not suffer one another to live upon the Earth. Therefore blessed be God, who, in Mercy to us and them, hath placed the Power in such Hands, as make it their Business to keep Peace amongst them, and to hinder them from biting and devouring one another: Nay, he is pleased sweetly to influence some amongst themselves, of more moderate Spirits, to balance the rest, and to keep them in Peace at present; and not without Hopes, by God's Blessings upon their Persuasions and Examples, to bring them at length to a nearer Conjunction of Hearts and of Minds: And, if those that are more earnest amongst them, would be but a little jealous over their own Spirits; would but observe the Rebukes of God upon all that have been transported unto those extremes; and trace the Foot-steps of his Indignation against them, whereof he hath left several Prints in all the Three Nations; it might be a good Help to reduce them to that Golden Mean, which certainly is the Right Way; which undoubtedly is God's Way: God was not in the Whirlwind, nor in the Earthquake, nor in the Fire, when he came to Eliah on the Mount of God, but he was in the still and small Voice: But it must be a small and still Voice, enough to hold forth a certain and distinct Sound, but not to make so great a Noise as to drown all other Voices besides: It is good, it is useful, to hold forth a certain Confession of the Truth: but not so, as thereby to exclude all those that cannot come up to it in all Points, from the Privileges which belong to them, as Christians; much less, which belong to them, as Men.
For that other Extreme, that Gulph and Quicksand, whereupon so many wretched Souls have made Shipwreck of Faith, and a good Conscience; abandoning themselves to all Looseness of Opinions, Principles, and Practices; denying and blaspheming the Lord that bought us, and the Holy Spirit that sanctified us, making a Mock of Scriptures, of Heaven, and Hell, and of all the Fundamentals of our most Holy Faith; I need not speak more to it; there is testimonium rei in the Case; the Things themselves speak loud enough to sober Consciences, that they are intolerable.
Between these Two, That Rock, and This Quicksand, the Parliament, in their humble Petition and Advice, have most wisely and most Christianly steered their Course; wherein, if they shall constantly persevere, all good Men in City, in Country, in Army and every-where, nay God himself, will stand by them, and own them in it: And not only in Matters of Religion, but also in our Civil Concerns and Liberties, we have a very fair Way traced out unto us by the Parliament, to settle and secure them both, and make the Three Nations happy thereby, if some therein would but rectify their Opinions, and bring them to Things as God would have them, and not strive to bring Things with so much Hazard and Difficulty to their Opinions, like one that being scorched with standing too near the Fire, rather than stir an Inch from the Place where he hath set down his Foot, casts about for Masons and Workmen to pull the House down, that so he may set the Chimney further off from him.
Lord Com rs Fiennes' Speech.
Now some will admit of no other Way but to set the very same old Plants in the very self-same old Bank: Others run so far to the Extreme on the other Side, that they will have none of the old Sets, none of the old Bank, no Bank at all; but will have their Fence set upon a Level, and upon the plain Ground. A Third Sort, like a middle Way, as on the one Side not to meddle with the old, dry, and dead Bank, for that upon often Essays and Treaties, it hath been found the Sets will not take in it; so on the other Side, not to set them upon the plain Ground, lest the Beasts, and the Herds and Flocks should tread them down at every Turn, as they pass to and fro, according as their Food or Fancy leads them; but to place the Sets in Two Tables, upon a Bank, raised up as before, but of fresh and live Mould; and to make use of all Plants, both old and new, that will take to the fresh Ground, and thrive in it. The Countryman finds this no ill Husbandry in his Way; and we may find the like no ill Policy in our Way: And truly, if it please the Lord to water our new-set Plants with the Dews of Heaven; and that by our own Discord amongst ourselves, falling one from another, and from the Bank we stand upon, we do not open Gaps for them, who would make a Breach in our Mound; we have great Opportunities and Advantages, by what the Parliament hath already done, to settle a firm and lasting Fence about our Liberties, both Civil and Spiritual; and such a one as no Beasts of the Field, neither great nor small; no Persons whatsoever, neither high nor low; shall be able to pass through it, or get over it, or tread it down: But then we must beware and take heed of the subtle Devices of such, who, designing to destroy it, judge, and not without Reason, they have no such Time to compass their Purpose, as to disturb and distract our Settlement in the Infancy thereof, before the Two Rows of Sets have taken deep Root in the Bank, and before they be grown up together, and are interweaved and plashed one into the other: For then they fear it will be too late to do it; the Fence will be grown strong like a triple Cord, which cannot easily be broken, unless they can untwist it, and unravel it again: Which after some Time and Continuance, and the mutual Intercourses of Love and Experience of each other's Usefulness to one another, and to the Commonwealth, it will not be easy for them to do.
Therefore we must have an Eye, not only to the wild Boars of the Forest, that they root not up our Fence; but also to the Foxes. Oh take us those, those little Foxes which spoil the Vines; for our Vine hath tender Grapes! Let the Chief Magistrate and the Two Houses of Parliament esteem each other as Bone of their Bone, and Flesh of their Flesh: Let them be of One Heart, and like the Form and Figure of a Heart, which, though triangular, is but One Heart: Let there be One Mind, One Soul, and One Spirit, that may act and animate the Whole, and every Part, and be whole in the Whole, and whole in every Part: Let one and the same good Blood run in and through them all, and by a perpetual Circulation preserve the whole, and every Part, in perfect Unity, Strength, and Vigour.
Lord Com rs Fiennes' Speech.
This Constitution of a Chief Magistrate, and Two Houses of Parliament, is not a Pageantry, but a real and wellmeasured Advantage to itself and to the Commonwealth, and so consonant to Reason, that it is the very Emblem and Idea of Reason itself, which reasoneth and discourseth by a Medium between Two Extremes. If there be Two Extremes, and the one vary from the other; how shall they be reconciled, if there be no Medium to bring them together? Where one cannot prevail with One, Two may with a Third: Where one Foot slippeth, indeed the other may help the Body from falling; but if both be tripped up, and it fall, what shall relieve it, if there be not a Third, to put forth a Hand to help it up again? If One be assaulted; will not the other be concerned in it, and run to its Defence? But if both be attempted, and exposed to Violence, will they not stand in need of a Protector? If some Hazard must be run in popular Elections, to preserve the People's Freedoms; may there not be some Help therein, by the Election of a Chief Magistrate, that it turn not at any time to its own Prejudice? If any thing inconvenient should chance to slip out at One Door; must it not pass Two more, before it come abroad, to the Detriment of the People? How exact, and of how great Respect and Authority will be all your Acts, Laws, and Resolutions, whenas after that they have passed the Examination of That great Body, which sees with the Eyes of the Three Nations, and is acquainted with the Condition, and sensible of the Necessities of every individual Part thereof, they shall then pass a Second Scrutiny, and be published and refined by such as, during Life, shall make it their Business either to fit themselves for, or to be exercised in, Things of that Nature; being also assisted by all the Reverend Judges of the Land, and other learned Persons of That Robe, so oft as there shall be Occasion to require their Advice; and whenas, after all this, they must pass also the Judgment and Assent of the Chief Magistrate, who is placed on high, as upon a Watchtower, from whence he may behold at one View and discover the State of the whole Body Politick, and every Part thereof; and see not only near at Hand, but also afar off, how it standeth in relation to foreign States, as well as to its own Parts within itself.
I might enlarge much more upon this Subject: And it is not to be forgotten, that each House, taking a more special Care of what is most proper for It, and It most proper for; whilst the Representative of the Commons provideth and strengtheneth the Sinews of War, to preserve the Commonwealth from Destruction in gross, by publick Force and Violence; the other House will preserve it from Destruction, by Retale, through the due Administration of Justice, suppressing particular Wrongs and Oppressions, which would soon break out into open Flames and publick Rapines, if they were not prevented by the Courts of Judicature, whereof the highest and last Resort is there: But I shall leave what is omitted in this Point, to Time and Experience; which, I am confident, will speak more fully, and more effectually and convincingly, than the Tongue of any Man can set forth.
And so I pass on to the last Point, and shall briefly touch upon some Difficulties and Impediments, which we may meet with in our Way: And the First that some may be in Danger to stumble at, is, The Apprehension of Novelty in this Constitution, because it is not in every Point agreeable to what it was before. For Removal hereof, let us consider, that neither is the Condition of the Nation at present, as it was before, and, it may be, it is not good it should be so, or at least, that it is not God's Will it shall be so. It is rather little less than a Miracle, that after so great Shakings and Confusions it should so soon come to that State that it is already in: And if we well and wisely consider how great Variety of Humours and Judgments, and what different Interests and Powers these Wars have raised amongst us, and how differently placed and lodged from that which was before, it is no Wonder if every one cannot have what he thinks best in his Judgment to be done, but ought rather to content himself with what he may think next best, to that which is First in his Judgment; which probably may be best of all in its Self; for that every one is a partial Judge as to that Thing which hath taken the first Impression in his Mind, and so passed into a prejudicate Opinion: But above all, we must have the Peace and Settlement of the Nations, quacunque data via, as a Pole or Star before our Eyes, steering our Course thereby, without giving Ear to the enchanting Songs of any Syrens, and without giving Way to any Suggestions of Indignation, which proud Flesh may assault our Minds withal; but with generous Resolutions press on to Settlement, conquering our Temptations, and subduing our own Spirits, if in any Thing, at any Time, they shall rise against this Work: Whereby we shall gain more true Honour before Men and before God, than if we had subdued a City; than if we had conquered a Nation: And indeed we shall do no less thereby than preserve Three Nations.
Another Difficulty ariseth unto us, from the Dissatisfaction of some of our ancient Friends, who have been, and still might be, useful to us in the Work which we have now in Hand; which, if it be not a greater Difficulty unto us, than that of our secret and open Enemies, of whom I shall speak anon, it is a greater Trouble and Grief to us, because that we love them so much, and fear the other so little: Not that they are not a formidable Enemy; but now, by the Conjunction of our late inbred Enemy with that old Enemy of our Nation and Religion, and of God himself, who is our Hope, and chiefest Help, we shall have God a greater and closer Friend unto us, because we have to do with his greatest Enemy: But, for those of our Friends who content themselves with their Privacy and Country Retirements in these great Difficulties of the Commonwealth; For the Divisions of Reuben, there are great Thoughts of Heart. Why abidest thou among the Sheepfolds to hear the Bleating of the Flocks? Surely for the Divisions of Reuben, there are great Searchings of Heart: How shall we bind up the Wounds we receive in the House of our Friend? What shall we do for our Sister that hath no Breasts; that will afford no Milk? If she be a Wall, we will build a Palace of Silver upon her; and if she be a Door, we will inclose her with Boards of Cedar: If they will give us any Foundation to work upon, we will build upon it; we will improve it; we will multiply Obligations upon them; we will heap Coals of Fire upon their Heads: If they will not let us follow Them, let them follow Us; we will either lead, or follow in the Work of God: And if our Words cannot convince them, we will endeavour that our Works may do it: And what we cannot do ourselves, we will pray to God to do for us, and to find out Ways, which we cannot, to re-unite our Hearts and Hands, who have been engaged together in the same Cause, and are still embarked in the same Bottom, and must sink and swim, must run the same Hazard and Fortune together; I mean, the same Issue and Event of God's Providence towards us, whether it be for Good, or whether it be for Evil. As to our Enemies, both secret and open; they are continually plotting and contriving to create us all the Trouble that they can; and want not Means for to effect it; our home-bred Enemies being now in Conjunction with that our great foreign Enemy, who vaunt themselves of their King, that he possesseth more Riches, more Crowns, and more Dominions, than ever any Christian Prince did; and that his Empire is ten times greater than that of the Great Turk, and larger than ever was that of the Romans; and that he might, more justly than the Persian King, style himself King of Kings, Brother of the Sun and the Moon; and that the Sun never sets upon his Dominions, and the like: And yet, to all these Riches, to all this Power, to all these Titles, we are not afraid to oppose the one single Name of the Lord our God: And, if it do not diminish our Difficulty, yet it doth not a little ease our Minds, that all our Enemies are reduced unto that Head, which professeth himself to be the Head of that Antichristian Faction, which opposeth all the Christian Churches in the World, and would keep them and bring them under the Iron Yoke of his bloody Inquisition: And every Blow that we shall level at that Head, in way of Defence or Offence, will in some Proportion, redound to the Advantage of all good Christians throughout the World.
And now it would be very strange, if all good Men should not see, and be convinced, what Thread it was that run all along through our Quarrel in the late Wars: And though, at first, it was more finely spun, and more closely wrought, that it could not so easily be discerned; yet now, that it is unravelled to its Bottom, it more clearly discovereth its Rise by its Resort: And, if the Interest of that Party shall be again inthroned amongst us, and brought in upon the Wings of that double-headed Black Eagle, or rather Vulture, what will become of the poor Lambs of Christ? What can we expect, but according to the Agreement between them, a Toleration of Popery in England and Scotland, and a Profession and Protection of it in Ireland, with an Inundation of Looseness and Profaneness on the one Side, and of Tyranny and Oppression on the other? We ought then to believe; and we have good Ground to rest our Faith upon: But, cum Deo movenda est manus; we ought so to believe, as though we had made no Provision at all; and yet we ought so to make Provision in Subserviency to God's Providence, as if we did not believe at all. And his Highness doth acknowlege the great Care and Provision of the Parliament, for the Carrying on of this War, in pursuance of their most Christian and truly English Spirit and Resolution, in owning that Quarrel against that old Enemy of their Religion, and of their Nation: Yet I must acquaint you, That the Supplies granted have fallen short of the Commonwealth's Necessities, because indeed they have fallen short of the Parliament's own Expectations, according to the lowest Estimate that they were reckoned at; especially that of the New Buildings: Wherein what have been the particular Obstructions, and what may be the proper Remedies, as also the full and perfect State of your Revenue, you will particularly understand from the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury, and such other Persons as his Highness will appoint to inform you therein; which cannot be expected at this time from me, who have already held you too long, and spent too much of your Time, and tired out your Patience, which you will have Occasion enough to make use of to better Purposes. This only I shall add, before I conclude; That, though I shall not, I must not, I dare not, flatter Man in the Presence of God (and his Presence is more than ordinary in such Assemblies as this); yet you all know, and the Three Nations know, and all the Nations round about us know, that the Quiet, the Peace, and Welfare of these Nations doth at present, in great measure, under God, depend upon his Highness' Life: And therefore, with Hearts and Hands lifted up to Heaven, let us pray for the Continuance of it, and of the Influences of God's gracious Spirit upon his Mind and Heart, for the Weal and good Government of these Nations: And, Sir, whatever you are, or shall be; what ever you have done, or shall do; and whatever Abilities you are, or shall be endowed with; are not from nor for yourself, but from and for God, and for the Good of Men, and especially of God's People amongst Men: To which Ends, that you may lay forth yourself and them, and improve all the Opportunities, and employ all the Power, which God hath put into your Hands, is the Hope, is the Prayer of all good Men: And, in so doing, you shall have Comfort, you shall have Honour; and we shall have Safety, and we shall have Happiness; That Happiness, to see Truth and Peace, Justice and Mercy, kiss each other, and Christ sit upon his Throne in these Lands; not in that literal and carnal Way, which hath so much intoxicated the Brains and Minds of many in these our Days, but in Spirit and in Truth; and more conformable to that which Christ himself hath pronounced, that his Kingdom is not of this World: And yet must all the Kingdoms of the World be subservient to that World which is to come, to that Kingdom which is above: Whereupon having our Eyes fixed, let us bind our Course that Way, with our Faces thitherward; discharging every one his Duty in his Place diligently and faithfully; and finishing the Work, which God hath appointed us to do in this Life; that, in the Life to come, we may hear that sweet and blessed Voice directed unto us, Come, good and faithful Servants, enter into your Master's Joy.
Resolved, That all such Petitions be referred unto, and received and proceeded on by, the Committee of Privileges; and the Cases thereupon reported to the House: And that the said Committee do sit from Day to Day, every Afternoon, to receive such Petitions during the said Time: And that they do hear and examine the same; and report their Proceedings to the House: And that this Order be set up, without, at the Door of this House.
Clerk of the House.
Resolved, That it be reported to the House, by Mr. Turnor, That the Committee hath perused the Representation of Mr. Scobell, and the Act of Parliament thereunto annexed; whereby the said Henry Scobell is constituted Clerk of the Parliament, during his Life; with Power to have the Custody of all Records, Books, Papers, and Writings, of or concerning the Parliament of England; the same to be kept in the House then in the Possession of John Browne, as Clerk of the House of Peers: Which House, together with the Tower, and all other Edifices and Appurtenances thereunto belonging, were annexed to the Office of Clerk of the Parliament.
Resolved, That it be further reported to the House, That Mr. Scobell acknowlegeth to have received a new Patent lately from the Lord Protector; whereby he is made Clerk of the Parliaments, for his Life.
Whereupon the Act annexed to the said Representation, intituled, An Act for making Henry Scobell Clerk of the Parliament; and authorizing him to take into his Possession the Records, Books, Papers, and Writings, in the Custody of John Browne Esquire, as Clerk of the late House of Peers; was this Day read.
Resolved, &c. That this House doth adhere to their former Order, made on Friday the Two-and-twentieth of this instant January; That Mr. Scobell be sent unto, to deliver the Journal-Books, Records, and Writings, that belong to this House, to Mr. Smythe the Clerk of this House: And that he be required to deliver them to him, accordingly; and that they be disposed of in the Room over this House.
Letter from the Protector.
A Letter from his Highness the Lord Protector, directed, To our right trusty and right well-beloved Sir Thomas Widdrington, Speaker of our House of Commons; to be communicated to the House; dated the Twenty-fifth January instant, was this Day read: And was to give his Highness a Meeting at the BanquetingHouse at Whitehall, at Three of the Clock this Afternoon.
Protector to be attended.
Resolved, That this House be adjourned till Two of the Clock this Afternoon: And that all the Members of this House do then meet, and give their Attendance in the House, to go from thence to Whitehall.