« PreviousContinue »
grounds. I have made a free and ingenuous confession of my faith to you, and I could have wished it had been in your hearts to have agreed that some friendly and cordial debates might have been towards mutual conviction ; was there none amongst you to move such a thing ? No fitness to listen to it? No desire of a right, understanding? If it be not folly in me to listen to town-talk, such things have been proposed, and rejected with stiffness and severity, once and again; was it not likely to have been more advantageous to the good of this nation? I will say this to you for myself, and to that I have my conscience as a thousand witnesses, and I have my comfort and contentment in it, and I have the witness of divers here that I think truly scorn to own me in a lie, that I would not have been averse to any alteration, of the good of which I might have been convinced, although I could not have agreed to the taking it off the foundation on which it stands, viz. the acceptation and consent of the people.
I will not presage what you have been about or doing in all this time, or do I love to make conjectures ; but I must tell you this, that as I undertook this government in the simplicity of my heart, and as before God, and to do the part of an honest man, and to be true to the interest which in my conscience is dear to many of you, (though it is not always understood what God in his wisdomn may hide from us,
that no par
as to peace and settlement) so I can say,
had upon the old government offered to me this one thing I speak, as thus advised, and before God, as having been to this day of this opinion, and this hath been my constant judgment, well known to many that hear me speak_if this one thing had been inserted, that one thing, that this government should have been, and placed in my family hereditary, I would have rejected it, and I could have done no other, according to my present conscience and light. I will tell you my reason, though I cannot tell what God will do with me, nor you, nor the nation, for throwing away precious opportunities committed to us.
This hath been my principle, and I liked it when this government came first to be proposed to me, that it puts us off that hereditary way, well looking, that as God had declared what government he had delivered to the Jews, and placed it upon such persons as had been instrumental for the conduct and deliverance of his people; and considering that promise in Isaiah, that God would give rulers as at the first, and judges as at the beginning, I did not know, but that God might begin, and thought, at present, with
a most unworthy person, yet as to the future,
it might be after this manner, and I thought this might usher it in. I am speaking as to my judgment against making it hereditary, to have men chosen for their love to God, and truth and justice, and not to have it hereditary: for as it is in Ecclesiastes, Who knoweth whether he may beget a fool or wise, honest or not, whatever they be, they must come in upon that account, because the government is made a patrimony.
Now to speak a word or two to you, of that I must profess in the name of the same Lord, and wish that there had been no cause that I should have thus spoken to you; and though I have told you that I came with joy the first time ; with some regret the second; that now I speak with most regret of all.
I look upon you, as having among you many persons, that I could lay down my life individually for; I could through the grace of God desire to lay down my life for you; so far am I from having an unkind or unchristian heart towards you in your pare • ticular capacities. *
Supposing this cause, or this business must be carried on, either it is of God or of man ; if it be of man, I would I had never touched it with a finger ; if I had not had a hope fixed in me that this cause and this business is of God, I would many years ago - have run from it: if it be of God, he will bear it up. If it be of man, it will tumble, as every thing that
hath been of man, since the world began, hath done. And what are all our histories, and other traditions of actions in former times, but God manifesting himself that he hath shaken, and tumbled down, and trampled upon every thing that he hath not planted ? and as this is, so the all-wise God deal with it.
If this be of human structure and invention, and it be an old plotting and contrivance to bring things to this issue, and that they are not the births of pro vidence, then they will tumble. But if the Lord take pleasure in England, and if he will do us good, he is able to bear us up ; let the difficulties be whatsoever they will, we shall in his strength be able to encounter with them. And I bless God I have been inured to difficulties, and I never found God failing when I trusted in him; I can laugh and sing in my heart when I speak of these to you or elsewhere, And though some may think it is an hard thing without parliamentary authority to raise money upon this nation; yet I have another argument to the good people of this nation, if they would be safe and have no better principle--whether they prefer the having of their will, though it be their destruction, rather than comply with things of necessity--that will excuse me; but I should wrong my native coun. suppose
this. But if any man shall object, it is an easy thing to talk of necessities when men create necessities;
would not the lord protector make himself great, and his family great ? Doth not he make these necessities? and then he will come upon the people with this argument of necessity.
This were something hard indeed, but I have not yet known what it is to make necessities, whatsoever the judgments or thoughts of men are. And I say this, not only to this assembly, but to the world, that that man liveth not that can come to me, and charge me that I have in these great revolutions made necessities; I challenge even all that fear God; and as God hath said, My glory I will not give unto another; let men take heed and be twice advised, how they call his revolutions the things of God, and his working of things from one period to another ; how, I say, they call them necessities of men's creation ; for by so doing they do vilify and lessen the works of God, and rob him of his glory, which he hath said, he will not give unto another, nor suffer to be taken from him. We know what God did 'to Herod when he was applauded, and did not acknowledge God; and God knoweth what he will do with men when they shall call his revolutions human designs, and so detract from his glory, when they have not been forecast, but sudden providence in things, whereby carnal and worldly men are encaged, and under, and at which many, I fear, (some good,) have murmured and repined, because disappointed of their