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of Joab with thee in all this? was David's question. But is not the hand may we all say, of Jesuits in these distractions ?” The Papists, he observes, discovered that the strength of England lay in unity, and that it was impossible to conquer English Protestants but by English Protestants. And to this end they sowed divisions.* Then he proceeds to speak of “the schismatics,” and of those who for their private interests supported the war.”
He then advises petitions both to the King and to the Parliament, the laying aside of odious party-names and terms of contempt, and a serious and general repentance; and exhorting his hearers to the devout observance of the fast, warns them from the prophet Amos, who, complaining of the luxury of the Israelites, their sensuality and degeneracy concludes all with this sharp close, “But they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.”+
Fuller, in this instance, confined himself within very strict limits. He avoided as much as possible whatever was of a purely political nature, and, indeed, he could not have taken a contrary course without turning the fast into an occasion of strife and debate. He doubtless participated in the conviction, that the favour shewn to Romanism by the King and by some of his advisers was a great public offence, and so far he coincided with
many, who, under the impression that the cause of the Parliament was the cause of true religion, joined
* And see Preface to Stilling fleet's Unreasonableness of Separation.
† P. 30.
with them. The Parliamentary leaders availed themselves of this feeling, and had in the January preceding the Civil War, entreated that the education of the royal offspring should be committed to the superintendence of Parliament, or, in the recess of Parliament, to the Privy Council; that the marriages of the royal family should receive a parliamentary sanction; that the penal laws against Papists and Jesuits should be strictly executed; that the votes of Popish Lords in parliament should be taken away, while those peers continued recusants ; and that there should be such a reformation of the Church as Parliament might advise, after having called together an Assembly of Divines. We can, indeed, scarcely doubt that a great party were intent upon nothing but the establishment of a new system of church-government, in a word, the continuance of the already sanctioned equality of ecclesiastical persons. The patriotism of Hampden and of others may be very questionable, but it will be difficult to disprove that the lukewarm, and inconsistent conduct both of James and Charles, in regard to the interests of religion, gave just cause of fear and suspicion to their subjects, that they had not a sincere affection either to the faith which they professed, or to the civil liberties of the kingdom with the welfare of which they were entrusted.
In 1643, the parliament professed (probably with insincerity) to desire a peace. Their irritating language, and their demand that the King would sanction the utter abolition of episcopacy, shewed of themselves, that as they addressed him no longer as his subjects, so they had no intention of again acknowledging his authority. And on the other side, the selfishness of some about the King was as little inclined to any concessions, or to treat with his enemies in any light but that of traitors. So we find Fuller speaking out, and that in the most public place, upon March 27, the day of the King's accession. On that day he preached in the Abbey Church, Westminster, from 2 Sam. xix. 30. The text itself would doubtless be most unpalatable to all revolutionary spirits ; “ Yea, let him take all, for as much as my Lord, the King, is come again in peace unto his own house." He spoke very earnestly and unreservedly upon the duty of all to unite in accepting the peace now proffered on the part of the King, and to believe his promises. There must,” he says,
" at last be a mutual confiding on both sides, so that they must count the honesty of others their only hostages. This the sooner it be done, the easier it is done. For who can conceive that when both sides have suffered more wrongs they will sooner forgive, or when they have offered more wrongs be sooner forgiven ? For our King's part, let us demand of his money what Christ asked of Cæsar's coin; Whose image is this ? Charles': and what is the superscription ? Religio Protestantium, Leges Angliæ, Libertates Parliamenti,* and he hath caused them
* The Religion of Protestants ; the Laws of England; the Liberties of Parliament.
to be cast both in silver and gold, in pieces of several sizes and proportions; as if thereby to shew that he intends to make good his promise both to poor and rich, great and small, and we are bound to believe him. Nor less fair are the professions of the Parliament on the other side, and no doubt, but as really they intend them. But these matters belong not to us to meddle with, and as for all other politic objections against peace, they pertain not to the pulpit to answer. All that we desire to see, is the King re-married to the state ; doubt not, but as the bridegroom on the one side, will be careful to have his portion paid, His prerogative ; so the bride's friends entrusted for her, will be sure to see her jointure settled—the liberty of the subject.”
Then, applying the text to the occasion, he thus lauds the King Seeing now the servants of our sovereign are generally gone hence to wait on their Lord, we may now boldly, without danger to make them puffed up with pride, or ourselves suspected for flattery, speak that in praise of their master, which malice itself cannot deny. Look above him; to his God how is he pious! Look beneath; to his subjects how is he pitiful! Look about him; how is he constant to his wife, careful for his children! Look near him ; how is he good to his servants! Look far from him; how is he just to foreign princes." Then enumerating the qualities of our sovereigns from William the Conqueror down to Edward the Fourth, he proceeds, “But let malice itself stain our sovereign with any
notorious personal fault, for to wish him wholly without fault, were in effect to wish him dead. Besides this, consider him as a King, and what favours: hath he bestowed on his subjects, and then, that his courtesies might not unravel or fret out, hath he bound them with a strong border and a rich fringe, a triennial parliament.” He then sums up the King's concessions, the abolition of the Star Chamber and High Commission Court, monopolies and ship-money; and the King's offer of abolishing “ burdensome ceremonies to tender consciences,” and lastly, “ triennial parliaments settled, and the present indefinitely prolonged," a state contradiction, but a sort of despotism not unacceptable to these reformers, who thus sought each the pe etuity of his little kingship. Fuller hints at the excess of these concessions with his own felicitous
“ Do we not dream? Do I speak ? Do you hear? Is it light? Do we not deceive ourselves with fond fancies? Or are not these boons too big to beg? too great to be granted ? Such as our fathers never durst desire, nor grandfathers hope to receive? O no, it is so, it is sure, it is certain we are awake, we do not dream; if any thing be asleep, it is our ingratitude, which is so drowsy to return deserved thanks to God and the King for these great favours.”
But there is a fervour and an eloquence in this sermon that forbids our leaving it until it be ended.
“ Next to the King, comes my Lord the King, and this peculiarly concerns the courtiers, and such Mephibosheths as eat bread at his table, who, under