If there be in the land a malignant party of power and policy, and the exceptions contained in the Act of Levy do comprehend but few of that party, then there need be no more difficulty to prove, that the present public resolutions and proceedings do import an association and conjunction with a malignant party, than to gather a conclusion from clear premises. But that such a conjunction is in itself sinful and unlawful, and besides, a violation of our solemn oaths and engagements, a backsliding from our principles and professions, and a walking contrary to the whole tenor and current of our former resolutions and practices, is now to be made manifest.
First: We reason from that constant, standing and perpetual rule, which the Lord gives concerning the modelling and carnage of the armies of his people in all their wars, Deut. xxiii.9, "When the host goeth forth against their enemies, then keep thee from every wicked thing." And after, "If there be among you any man that is unclean, by reason of uncleanness that chanceth him by night, then shall he go abroad out of the camp, he shall not come within the camp." (If for ceremonial uncleanness he was to be excluded, much more for moral, as our divines reason from the Old Testament in the point of excommunication, and if for uncleanness not voluntary, much more for voluntary wickedness). The reason of all is given ver.14: "For the Lord thy God walketh in the midst of the camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee. Therefore shall thy camp be holy, that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee." Even as they would expert a blessing of the Lord, so ought they to keep their camp holy, as he is holy. He gives not such a strict rule for the competency of number, as for the qualifications of the persons, as being the principal thing. Therefore the present conjunction with so many ungodly and wicked men, that have formerly declared themselves enemies to God and his people, and to this day give no evidence to the contrary, is sinful and unlawful.
Second, The Lord hath frequently in scripture declared his dislike and hatred of such associations and conjunctions. The scriptures cited in the General Assembly's declaration in the year 1648, against the Engagement,(349) are sufficient proof of this. We shall take the argument as it is formed by the commissioners of that assembly, in their answer to the observations of the committee of estates upon the assembly's declaration, p.7. "Every engagement in war, that is pretended to be for religion, and hath in it a confederacy and association with wicked men, enemies of true religion, is sinful and unlawful. But the present engagement in war, as it is held forth in the public resolutions, is pretended to be for religion, and yet hath in it a confederacy and conjunction with wicked men, and enemies of true religion." Ergo, The second proposition is evident from the two first sections.
The first proposition is proved from those scriptures forementioned. God forbade conjunctions and confederacies with the enemies of his cause and people, not only the Canaanites, (Exod. xxxiv.12, 15, Deut. vii.2.) and other heathens, such was Asa his covenant with Benhadad, (2 Chron. xvi. to ver.10,) Ahaz his confederacy with the king of Assyria, (2 Kings xvi.7, 10, 2 Chron. xxviii.16,) but also with wicked men of the seed of Abraham, as Jehoshaphat's with Ahab, (2 Chron. xviii.3: "And Ahab king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat king of Judah, Wilt thou go with me to Ramoth Gilead? And he answered him, I am as thou art, and my people as thy people, and we will be with thee in the war," compared with chap. xix.2. "And Jehu the son of Hanam the seer, went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldst thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the Lord,") and with Ahaziah, (2 Chron. xx.35: "And after this did Jehoshaphat king of Judah join himself with Ahaziah king of Israel, who did very wickedly,") which being reproved for, he would not again join with Ahaziah, 1 Kings xxii.49: "Then said Ahaziah the son of Ahab unto Jehoshaphat: Let my servants go with thy servants in the ships." But Jehoshaphat would not. And then Amaziah's association with 100,000 of Israel, 2 Chron. xxv.7, 8, 9, 10: "But there came a man of God to him, saying, O king, let not the army of Israel go with thee for the Lord is not with Israel to wit, with all the children of Ephraim. But if thou wilt go, do it, be strong for the battle. God shall make thee fall before the enemy, for God hath power to help and to cast down. And Amaziah said to the man of God, But what shall we do for the hundred talents which I have given to the army of Israel? And the man of God answered, The Lord is able to give thee much more than this. Then Amaziah separated them, to wit, the army that was to come to him out of Ephraim, to go home again wherefore their anger was greatly kindled against Judah, and they returned home in great anger." The sin and danger of such associations may further appear from Isa. viii.12, 13: "Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy, neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself, and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread," Jer. ii.18 "And now, -- what hast thou to do in the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river?" Psal. cvi.35. "But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works," Hosea v.13. "When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb, yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound," and chap. vii.8, 11. "Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people, Ephraim is a cake not turned, Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart, they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria," 2 Cor. vi.14, 15. "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers, for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?" And if we should esteem God's enemies our enemies, and hate them with perfect hatred, how can we then join with them as friends? Psal. cxxxix.21.
The committee of estates at that time endeavoured to elude the strength of these scriptures, and vindicate their engagement from the falling within the compass of them. But the commission of the Assembly that year took the mask off their evasions. Would to God we had no other party to deal with now! It was the evil and complaint of that time, that church and state were divided. But what an evil time are we now fallen into, that the union of those in this point, is the complaint of many of the godly? The commission, in their letter to Stirling presbytery,(350) sets up the committee's answer in a new dress, and holds it out for satisfaction to our consciences. All that is answered may be reduced to three or four heads.
I. There is made a great difference between an invasive and defensive war as if in the one, choice of instruments ought to be sought, but in the case of just and necessary defence, all subjects may be employed.(351)
To which we answer, 1. That the scriptures cited conclude most expressly against conjunctions of that kind in defensive wars. Such was Asa's covenant, such was Ahaz his confederacy. Were not the reproofs of the prophets directed particularly against the people's seeking of help from Egypt and Assyria, in the case of their own just and necessary defence? Jer. ii.18, Hosea v.13, and vii.8, 11, Isa. viii.12, 13, 2 Chron. xvi. to ver.10.2. The law and rule given, Deut. xxiii. is general, regulating all their wars whether defensive or offensive, and it is strange that any should imagine such a difference where the law makes none, nay, when the ground of the law is moral and general, equally respecting all wars. Is there any ground of conscience, why wicked persons may not be kept in the camp when we invade others, and yet these may be employed and intrusted when we defend ourselves? If there be any reason to prefer the one to the other in this point, we conceive defensive war should have the preference, because when the Lord brings upon us an unjust invasion, he is ordinarily pursuing a controversy against us. And therefore we ought to be most tender and circumspect, that there be no unclean thing in the camp, and put away every wicked thing from us, even the appearance of evil, lest we add oil to the flame of his indignation, and he seeing such an unclean thing in us, turn yet further from us, except we say, that we need not take care to have God in the camp with us, when we are upon just and necessary defence, seeing our cause is so good.3. There is more hazard and danger to our religion and liberties in having a wicked malignant army at home among us, than abroad in another nation. While they are here, they have the power of the sword, and can command all, but there might be some hope and endeavour for vindicating our own liberties and religion while they are abroad, as it fell out in the time of the Engagement.
II. It is answered, that there is a difference between this case and the Engagement, because there was then no necessity of choosing such instruments, a competency of power might be had, but now it is not so, and therefore the scriptures mentioned do not militate against the present case. Answer 1. The scriptures cited will obviate this. What made Israel and Judah run to Egypt and Assyria for help, but their weakness and necessity? Their wound was incurable, and their bruise grievous, as Jeremiah often laments, and particularly chap. viii.20-22, and x.19, &c., and yet this did not excuse them for going to Egypt or Assyria to heal their wound, Hosea v.13, and vii.8, 11. The scripture holds out infidelity and distrust in God as the ground of such association, (2 Chron. xvi.7-9, Isa. viii.12, 13,) which proceeds from the incompetency of means as the occasion of it.2. Suppose there was a necessity for the calling forth the body of the common people, yet certainly there is no necessity of employing any such persons of whom the question is, and putting them in places of trust. There is none can deny but there are, besides all secluded persons, many that might fill the places of trust and power. Therefore the plea of necessity is but a pretence to cover some design, that under its specious and plausible covering, the power of the land may be engrossed into the hands of malignants, and so by this means all power and trust may return, as the rivers to the sea or fountain, as they judge the king, that so in his person there may be established an unlimited and arbitrary power.3. Necessity is a very plausible argument and strong plea to carnal reason for any thing, but it cannot be a good ground, in point of conscience, for that which is sinful in itself. Now that this is sinful in itself appears, from the word of God simply condemning such associations, upon moral, and so general and perpetual grounds. Now, in such a case of necessity, we are called either to trust in God, in the use of competent means, seeing in such cases we have so many promises, or if all help be gone which God allows us to make use of, we must wait on him till he brings salvation with his own arm.
But because the plea of necessity is the strongest that is made use of for the present public resolutions, we must consider it a little more. It is alleged, that the best part of the land is under the feet of the enemy, and so no help can be had from it, and for other parts of the land which are yet free, there is not much choice of persons, and the testimony of faithful men in the state declares, that when all that are called forth of these places are gathered, it cannot amount to a power competent enough, and therefore in such a question of the existence of second means, the knowledge whereof immediately depends on sense and experience, these who are not acquainted should give credit to the testimony of faithful witnesses, and that a competency of power must be had, according to the ordinary way of Providence, in relation to which we must act, except we would tempt God by requiring of him wonders.(352)
Answer. Suppose the enemy's army to consist of 20,000 or above, are there not more fencible persons in the shires on the north side of Forth? Believe it who please we cannot stop our own consciences, and put out our own eyes. Let the rolls of several shires be looked to, and it shall confute that testimony. Nay, are there not more persons not formerly secluded, in all those shires? What meant the levy appointed immediately after Dunbar? Was not 10,000 foot, and 1,400 horse put upon these shires which are not under the power of the enemy, and yet the rules of exclusion were not abandoned? Now all these, or most part of them, are yet in the country not levied. Money was taken instead of men, the levies obstructed so that there was little addition to the strength of the forces that remained, the forces diverted by the insurrection of the malignants in the north, at the King's command or warrant, -- all which hath such pregnant presumption of a design carried on to necessitate the kingdom to employ that party, by the cunning politicians of the time, by obstructing the levies, raising the malignants, and then pacifying them by an act of indemnity, and at last openly and avowedly associating with them. Thus the design is accomplished which was long since on foot.
2. If satisfying courses had been studied by the public judicatories to carry on all the godly in the land with their resolutions, there had accrued strength from the parts of the land be south Forth, which would have compensated all that competency of power that the conjunction of the malignants makes up and, it may be, would have been more blessed of God.3. If there be no help required nor expected from those parts of the kingdom be south Forth, wherefore did the commission write to the presbyteries in those bounds that they might concur actively in their stations for the furtherance of the levies, and choose ministers to go out with them?
III. It is answered. That the confederacies reproved were unlawful, because they were either with heathens, or with idolaters, strangers, and foreigners. This is answered to the case of Amaziah, &c., and so it seems not to make against the present case, the employing all subjects in the just and necessary defence of the kingdom.(353)
Answer 1. This answer at one blow cuts off all the strength of the General Assembly's reason against the association with malignants in that year. There might be some few persons idolaters, but there was no party and faction such, and yet they can deny association with the English malignants from those scriptures, yea not only with them but with our own countrymen that were in rebellion with James Graham, who were neither idolaters nor foreigners. We need no other answer than the Commission at that time give to the committee of estates using that same evasion, pg.10, 11.2. The ground and reason whereupon such associations are condemned, is more general and comprehensive. Jehoshaphat was reproved for joining with Ahab, because he was "ungodly, and hated the Lord," which is properly in our terms, because he was a malignant and profane man. It was a strange mocking of scripture to restrict ungodliness, in that place, to the sin of idolatry. Confederacy with the Canaanites and other nations was forbidden on this ground, "that the people be not insnared, and learn not their works." Now, is not the company of, and communion with ungodly men, of the same general profession, but mockers and haters of the power thereof, as infectious and insnaring? Nay, it is more apt to insnare because of the profession. Paul would have as much distance kept with a brother walking unorderly as a pagan. For such a one as walks contrary to his profession of the true religion, does evidence more ungodliness and wickedness, than an ignorant and superstitious papist that walks precisely according to his profession. There is some principle of conscience stirring in the one, but it is seared in the other with a hot iron. God ranks such, who are uncircumcised in heart, with the uncircumcised in flesh. Ought not his people to do so too? 3. The rule of modelling armies and purging the camp is most comprehensive, Deut. xxiii. Not only idolaters and foreigners, but every wicked thing and unclean thing, was to be removed out of the camp. Now, seeing those examples are transgressions of this law, what reason is there to make the only ground of reproving and condemning of them to be, because idolaters were associated with, as if any other might be joined with, that is not an idolater? 4. That reason against Amaziah's conjunction with Israel is wrested, by some expounding it thus God is not with them, is not understood, in regard of a state of grace, as appears, nor in regard of God's prospering providence, because he was often with them in that regard but it must be understood in regard of an idolatrous profession. But we reply, that it is true it is not understood in regard of a state of grace, nor simply in regard of his prospering providence, but ut plurimum,(354) the Lord for the most part crossing them till they were cut off from being a nation. But especially it is to be meant in regard of a course opposite to God, according as the Lord speaks, 2 Chron. xv.2. "The Lord is with you while ye be with him, but if ye forsake him he will forsake you." If any will restrict this to idolatry, he hath no ground from scripture for such a limitation, but being engaged in the business, he wrests the scriptures to his own destruction. Sure we are, there are many palpable forsakings of God, and God's forsaking of men, beside idolatry and false worship.5. That which is said "That God did not command Amaziah to dismiss any of his own subjects." Either it makes not much to the present business, or else it strikes against the law of God itself, that commanded such strict purging of the camp. From whom I pray you? Certainly from wicked Israelites, from wicked countrymen. Therefore, if there was any such among the men of Judah, he ought to have put them out of the army as well as the Israelites. Nay, the command of dismissing the Israelites, was, really and upon the matter, a command to purge his camp of all that was of the stamp of the Israelites. It is strange that the civil difference of strangers and citizens should make such difference in the point of conscience. Ought we not to hate the Lord's enemies with a perfect hatred, not as Englishmen, not as strangers, but as enemies? Levi knew not his brother. This was his honour. But many now for respect to their brethren, know not God. It is the moral quality that the law of God respects, without respect of persons and countries. To be a citizen, if not qualified, doth no more plead for employment, in foro conscientiae(355) and before God, than to be a stranger and qualified doth impede trust and employment in foro conscientiae and before God.
IV. It may be answered (and it is by some), That those scriptures plead, that there should be no conjunction with wicked men in a quarrel of religion, but seeing our present business is the defence of the kingdom, all subjects, as subjects, stand in capacity of employment for that end, though in reference to the defence of religion there must be a choice.
Answer 1. The Commission have vindicated themselves in a letter to Stirling presbytery from that imputation, that it is said, they state the quarrel and cause merely upon civil things in the answer to the parliament's query.(356) But certainly there is just ground given to these that are watching for any such thing to state the cause so, because they do, contrary to all former custom and practice, mention the defence of the kingdom only, as it had been of purpose to make the employing of all members of the body or subjects of the kingdom for its defence more plausible. But we answer to the point. The associations and conjunctions that are condemned in the cited scriptures are some of them for civil quarrels so far as we know, some of them in the point of just and necessary defence of the kingdom, and yet that doth not justify them.2. The rule given them, Deut. xxiii., was regulating all their wars and clearly holds forth, that all subjects as subjects and members of the politic body, though as such there is an obligation lying on them to defend the whole, yet are not in actual and nearest capacity to the performance of that duty, if they be wicked and unclean. And the reason is, because the Lord would have the wars of his people his own wars, and all that they do, to his glory, Num. xxi.14.2 Chron. xx.15, Col. iii.17. More especially in such solemn undertakings, there ought to be a difference between his people, acting for self defence, and other nations.3. Although the defence of the kingdom and defence of the cause, be different in themselves, yet are they inseparable. Whoever is intrusted with the defence of the kingdom really and de facto,(357) he is eo ipso(358) intrusted with the defence of the cause. Therefore the people of God, who ought always to have religion first in their eye, ought, especially in raising forces for self preservation, to level at religion, and direct the choice of instruments in relation to that mark, that they destroy not Christians, while they save subjects and preserve our bodies to destroy our souls.
Third Reason. That which is dissonant from and contrary unto all our former resolutions and proceedings, oaths and engagements, confessions and humiliations, must needs be most unlawful, or they themselves, as to that point, were unlawful. But the present resolutions and proceedings are dissonant from, and contrary to all these. Ergo, either our present or our former resolutions and practices were unlawful, either we were wrong before, or we are not right now. The second proposition maybe made manifest from, 1. The present resolutions are contrary to the solemn league and covenant in the fourth article and the sixth, -- to the fourth, because we put power in the hands of a malignant party, power of the sword, which is inconsistent in the own nature of it with either actual punishing of them, or endeavouring to bring them to punishment, unless it be intended to bring them all forth, and expose them to the slaughter for a sacrifice for the land, which may be the Lord's mind indeed, howbeit they know not his thoughts, -- and to the sixth article, because it is a declining to the contrary party, even that party against whom the covenant was at the making expressly contrived. And as the declaration of the General Assembly 1648, hath it, it is a joining with one enemy to beat another, with a black devil to beat a white.(359)
It is most ingeniously answered, that the present resolutions are not contrary to the covenant, because such as are described in the covenant are not allowed to be employed, meaning that these men are not now malignants. What needs men make such a compass to justify the public resolutions, seeing there is so easy and ready a way straight at hand? This one answer might take off all the arguments made against them, that there is no malignant party now, which is the foundation that being removed all the building must fall to the ground. But we have in the first article evinced that, which had been scandalous to have proved, if it had not been questioned. If it were indeed true, that no malignants are allowed to be employed, what need the Commission in their letter to Stirling presbytery take so much pains from scripture and reason to justify the present resolutions, when the clearing of that one point had cleared all? As for the declaration of the Assembly, anno 1648, it is answered, that none are to be employed, that continue notourly(360) in the courses of malignancy, which was done that year. Whereas the malignant party that was then associated with, would have engaged to be faithful to all the ends of the covenant, many of them were such as had been in covenant, and made show of their repentance for their defection from it; and so there is no difference in this particular.
2. The Solemn Acknowledgment of public sins is so clear and peremptory in this that it makes us tremble to think on it. Page 6, "Should we again break his commandments and covenant, by joining any more in affinity with the people of these abominations, and take in our bosom these serpents, which have formerly stung us almost to death? This, as it would argue much folly and madness, so, no doubt, it would provoke the Lord to consume us till there be no remnant, nor escaping." Let the 6th article also be considered.(361) Join to this the Declaration of the commission, upon report of this enemy's invading, p.6 where it is declared, that malignants shall not be associated with, nay, not countenanced and permitted to be in our armies. The General Assembly after this, upon the enemy's entry into Scotland, gives serious warning to the rulers, to take heed of snares from that party and that the rather, because men ordinarily are so taken with the sense of danger, as not to look back to that which is behind them, &c. How often have we sentenced ourselves unto wrath and consumption if we shall fall into this sin again? All these and the like, are endeavoured to be taken off, by saying that our engagements in this point were conceived in a way of prosecution of the cause, but to be no impediment of the just and necessary defence, which we are bound to by nature's law, which no human law can infringe.
But we reply, (1) It is strange, our prosecution of the cause these years past should be contradistinguished from the defence of it and the kingdom. It was conceived that our war in England was defensive, not invasive, that it was necessitated for the defence even of our kingdom, but it seems it is now questioned. But passing what was acted abroad, certainly all our wars at home were merely defensive, both against unjust invasion and seditious insurrections. Now our solemn engagements were conceived, in relation to our actings at home especially, and modelling our armies for the defence of our liberties and religion. We know well enough that a just invasive war is a rare accident in the world, and that the flock of Jesus Christ is for the most part, obnoxious to the violence of others, as sheep among wolves, but are not often called to prey upon others. (2) To call our solemn engagements and declarations grounded upon our oaths and the word of God, human laws and constitutions that must cede to nature's law, is indeed ingenious dealing, because to justify the present proceedings, there can be no more expedite way than to condemn bypast resolutions for the peremptoriness of them, and to make them grounded on politic considerations, which are alterable, but it imports a great change of principles. We conceive that all human laws that are not for the matter grounded on the word of God, that oblige not conscience, but in the case of scandal and in regard of the general end, are alterable and changeable, whenever they come in opposition to the law of nature, self defence, and the law of God written in his word. And therefore that act of parliament, mentioned by the Commission, discharging all subjects from rising without the king's command, which was made use of against our first taking arms, was no ways binding on the subjects not to rise in defence of their religion and liberties when in hazard.(362) And we wonder that that law should be compared to our solemn engagements, which are grounded upon oaths and God's word, as touching the very matter and substance of them, as if our engagements did no more bind us now, in case of defence, than that law did bind us then. Royalists might be excused for preferring the king's will to God's, but we cannot be pardoned for equalizing them; and especially while we consider that that forementioned act undoubtedly hath been intended for the establishing of an arbitrary and absolute power in the king's hand, that the subjects may not have liberty to save themselves, except the king will. Where God hath given us liberty by the law of nature, or his word, no king can justly tie us, and when God binds and obliges us by any of these, no king or parliament can loose or untie us. (3) The Declaration of the Commission and Assembly upon this invasion, renews the same bond of our former engagements, yea, and speaks expressly in the case of fewness and scarceness of instruments, against the unbelief of people that are ready in danger to choose any help.(363) Therefore that which is said in answer, that at that time there was a choice of instruments which now is not, may indeed condemn and falsify the declarations at that time, in the supposition of the paucity of instruments, and in the application of that doctrine and divine truth to that time, but it doth not speak any thing against the application of that truth therein contained to our time, it being more manifest, that we have greater necessity and less choice of instruments, and so in greater hazard of unbelief, and overlooking what is behind us.
3. It is of all considerations the most confounding, to reflect upon our former humiliations and fasts. How often hath it been confessed to God, as the predominant public sin of Scotland, countenancing and employing the malignant party? But when we call particularly to mind the first solemn fast after the defeat at Dunbar, astonishment takes hold on us, to think, that is now defended as a duty, which, but some months ago, was solemnly confessed as a sin. The not purging of the army, the obstructing of that work, and great inclinations to keep in and fetch in such persons, and the repining at, and crying out against all that was done in the contrary, were then reckoned as the great causes of God's wrath, and his sad stroke upon us. What distraction may this breed in the hearts of the people of the land to hear that same thing complained of as a great sin to day, and commended as a necessary duty to morrow? Is not all the land presently called to mourn for the king's sins, of which this is one, the designing a conjunction with the malignant party, and giving them warrant to rise in arms for the defence of the kingdom? Now, how shall they be able to reconcile these in their own minds, -- at the same time to mourn for that as a sin in the king, which they hear commended as the duty of the parliament -- to fast to day for that as the king's sin, which they must go about to morrow as their own duty? "Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in Askelon, lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice." Heathens may rise in judgment against this generation Semper idem velle atque idem nolle haec demum sapientia est.(364) If any wise man be ubique et semper sibi par et idem,(365) what ought a godly man to be?
Fourth Reason. That which is an uncertain mean of preservation of the kingdom, and a more certain mean of destruction of religion, is utterly unlawful. But the employing and intrusting of all men promiscuously, according as is holden out in the public resolutions, is at best an uncertain mean of the preservation of the kingdom, and is a more certain mean of the destruction of religion. Ergo, It is utterly unlawful. The first proposition cannot be denied. When any less good comes in opposition with a greater good, the lesser good in that respect becomes evil. We may not endanger certainly a greater good for the probable and uncertain attainment of the lesser. The second proposition I know will be denied, as it was denied in the time of the engagement by the committee of estates. They said, the danger of religion was not infallible, that it might eventually fall out so, but not by any casualty. And thus it is pleaded now, that the danger of religion is not inevitable, but that the danger of the kingdom is certain and so these being laid in the balance together, we ought, to eschew a certain danger of the kingdom's destruction, rather hazard a probable danger of religion.
But we shall clear this and confirm the reason.1. The danger of the kingdom is indeed great, but it is not so certain and inevitable in case of not employing the malignant party, because there may be some competency of power beside. Now the delivery and preservation of the kingdom from this danger, by conjunction with that party, is rather improbable, because we have sentenced ourselves to destruction if ever we should do such a thing again. We are standing under a curse, whereto we have bound over ourselves, and beside, God is in a special manner pursuing that generation, and hath raised up this enemy for their destruction so that we may with greater probability expect to partake of their plagues, and to fall under our own curse, than to be delivered, or be instruments of deliverance to the kingdom. Or, at the best, it is uncertain. For what is more uncertain than the event of war? The battle in this sense may be said peculiarly to belong to the Lord. Now, on the other hand, the danger of religion is certain and inevitable, though not simply in itself and absolutely, (because the Lord doth in heaven and earth what he pleases,) yet with a moral certainty and infallibility, which is often as great as physical certainty. Suppose these men having the power of the sword, prevail, will they not employ it according to their principles, and for attaining their own ends, which both are destructive to religion? What is more certain than that men act and speak from the abundance of the heart, when there is no outward restraint? It should be a great wonder if they who are so accustomed to do evil, should cease to do evil, when they have power and convenience to do it. Power and greatness hath corrupted many good men. Shall it convert them? Can men expect other fruits from a tree than the nature of it yields? Will one seek figs on thorns, or grapes on thistles? 2. We do not see what defence it can be, for the present, to the kingdom, at least the godly and well affected in the kingdom, who will be as much troubled in their persons and estates by that party, as by the common enemy. It is known what threatenings the country is filled with, which vent that inveterate malice and hatred to all the well affected in the kingdom, which they have kept within their breast of a long time and now they find opportunity of outing it. It is as clear as daylight, that the most part of all the secluded persons look upon these that opposed them in the Engagement, and shut them out of places of trust, and capacity of employment, as enemies, and as great enemies as the secretaries. And that we may know what to expect when they have full power in their hands they have already so lifted up their head, that no godly man can promise himself security in many places, and especially the faithful gentlemen and people of the West,(366) who have given more proof of their faithfulness to the cause and kingdom against the common enemy, than any others in the land, yet are they daily suffering violence from these preservators of the kingdom, while they are sufferers under the feet of the enemy. When they have no common enemy, whom, I beseech you, will they prey upon, seeing they do it already while they have an enemy?
But it is replied, That none of the least suspicion are allowed to be in such trust and power, as may be prejudicial to religion, and that an oath is to be taken of all, which is to be conceived as particular, binding, and strict as possible.
Answer 1. What a manifest receding is it from former principles, that it is now conceived, that all places of trust, excepting some few of eminent note, may be filled with secluded and debarred persons, without the prejudice of religion! It is certain that most part of the officers, nominated by the parliament and shires, are not only such, of whom there is just ground of suspicion, but such as have been enemies by actual opposition to the cause of God, or known underminers thereof. Can it be said in good earnest, that none, of whom is any suspicion, shall have such trust as may be prejudicial? Sure we are, there are many just grounds of suspicion and jealousy of general persons,(367) who have chief trust in our armies and this the public judicatories are not ignorant of.2. Oaths and covenants are but like green cords about Samson to bind these men. Would we have them yet once again perjured? Then may we tender an oath to them. Put power in their hand, and then make them swear to employ it well. 'Tis as ridiculous as to give a madman a sword, and then persuade him to hurt none with it. There is no more capitulation with such persons, retaining their old principles, than with the floods or winds. These whom that sacred bond of covenant hath not tied, what oath can bind? Except you can change their nature, do not swear them to good behaviour. Can a leopard change his spots?
Fifth Reason. That which gives great offence and scandal, and lays a stumbling-block in the way, both of the people of the land and our enemies, especially in the way of the godly, that is unlawful. But the present association and conjunction with all persons in the kingdom (excepting a few, if any) is scandalous and offensive to the whole land, to the godly especially, and also to the enemy. Therefore it is unlawful. The major(368) is beyond all exception, if we consider how peremptory Christ and his apostles are in the point of offence, which yet few Christians do consider. We ought not only to beware of the offence of the godly, but even of wicked men, even of our blaspheming enemies. "Give no offence neither to the Jew nor Gentile, nor to the church of God." Christ would not offend and scandalize his malicious enemies. The minor(369) is proved.1. There is great offence given to the godly in the kingdom by the public resolutions, concerning that conjunction with the malignant party, under the name and notion of subjects. (1) Because it is known that the most part of them are tender in that point, what fellowship they act with, and this hath been remonstrate unto the commission and committee of estates, from several synods. Now the present resolution layeth that stumbling block in their way, that they cannot act in the defence of the kingdom, because there is no way left them for the performing of that duty, but that which they in their consciences are not satisfied with. It is a sad necessity and snare that is put upon them, that they cannot perform their bound duty, which they are most desirous of, without sin, because of the way that is taken. (2) Is it not matter of offence and stumbling to them, to be necessitated by law to that which was their affliction? The mixture that was in our armies was their grief, and their comfort was that the judicatories were minting at(370) their duty to purge them. But now there is no hope of attaining that, all doors are shut up by the public resolutions. (3) It undoubtedly will weaken their hands, and make their hearts faint, so that they cannot pray with affection and in faith, for a blessing upon such an army,(371) the predominant and leading part whereof have been esteemed, and are really enemies to God and his people. (4) Is it not a great offence that any thing should proceed from the public judicatories that shall lay a necessity upon many godly in the land, to suffer, because they cannot in conscience go along with it? Next, It scandalizeth the whole land. What may they think within themselves, to see such dissonancy and disagreement between present and former resolutions and practices? What may they judge of this inconstancy and levity of the commission, and thus be induced to give no respect and reverence to them in their resolutions? Is it not, at least, a very great appearance of evil to join with that party, that we did declare and repute, but some few weeks since, to be wicked enemies of religion and the kingdom, and look henceforth on them as friends without so much as any acknowledgment of their sin had from them? Shall not they be induced to put no difference between the precious and the vile, not to discern between him that fears God and him that fears him not, when the public resolutions put no difference? Then, how will it confirm all the malignant party in their wickedness? May they not think our solemn vows and engagements, our rigid resolutions and proceedings, were but all contrived and acted out of policy, and that interest and advantage, and not conscience, principled them? Have they not an occasion given them to persecute all the godly, and vent their long harboured malice against these who have been most zealous for reformation and purging of the land? Nay, they are put in the capacity that they have desired, for acting all their resolutions and accomplishing their designs. And last of all, the present proceedings will not only encourage and animate the common enemy, but confirm them in all the imputations and calumnies they have loaded our church with. May they not have ground to think, that we are but driving on a politic design, and do not singly aim at God's glory, -- that it is not grounds of conscience that act us, but some worldly interest, when they look upon the inconstancy and changeableness of our way and course, which is so accommodated to occasions and times? Can they think us men of conscience, that will join with all these men of blood, before we will so much as speak with them? It is replied, that the scandal is taken, and not given, which must not be stood upon in the case of a necessary duty. But, 1. We cleared, that there is no necessity of that conjunction, therefore the scandal is given, seeing it is known beforehand that it will be taken.2. There are many grounds of offence given by the present resolutions, as appears by what is said. If it were no more, it is a great appearance of evil, it is very inductive of many evils, a most fit occasion of all that is spoken, and besides, it is in itself sinful, contrary to God's word, and our oaths.
Sixth Reason. That which makes glad all the wicked and enemies of God in the land, and sad many, if not most part, of the godly, hath much appearance and evidence, if not certainty, of evil. But the public resolutions and proceedings are such. Ergo, -- Or thus -- That which makes glad all the wicked, and heightens the hopes and expectations of the malignant party, and makes sad none almost but the godly, and discourages their spirits, that, proceeding from the public judicatories, cannot be right and lawful. But so it is, that that which proceeds from the public judicatories makes glad all the hearts of the wicked, and makes sad none almost but the godly, heightens the hopes of the malignants, and makes them say, their day is coming, "lo we have seen it," and discourages the godly, and makes them almost say, "Our hope is cut off, our glory is departed." Ergo, It cannot be right, at least it hath a great and convincing appearance of evil.
This argument may be thought more popular than either philosophical or scriptural. But such an argument the General Assembly, 1648, made use of against the Engagement. It is no ways imaginable, how the wicked and ungodly in the land would so insult and rejoice in this day, if they saw not some legible characters upon it, which were agreeable to their own principles and ends. The children of God are, for the most part, led by the Spirit of God, and taught the way they should choose, John xvi.13, Psal. xxv.12. So that readily they do not skunner(372) at courses approven of God. But the children of the world being, at best, led by their own carnal minds and senses and, for the most part, acted by a spirit of disobedience and enmity against God, they use not to rejoice at things that do not suit with their carnal hearts, and are not engraven with the character of that which is imprinted in their spirits. We see now that the wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted. And when the wicked rise, the righteous is hidden, and when they bear rule, the people mourneth, but when righteous men are in authority, the people do rejoice, and when the righteous rejoiceth, there is great glory, Ps. xii.8, Prov. xxviii.12, and xxix.2.
Seventh Reason. That which is the accomplishment and perfecting of the malignant design that hath been driven on these years past, especially since the Unlawful Engagement, cannot be a course approven of God. But the present course is the accomplishment of that design. Ergo, That there hath been a design, for a long time driven and endeavoured, both at home and abroad, with much policy and industry, by many turnings and windings, and by arguments of several kinds, as the exigence of the times did furnish, -- and that the design was, to have all such persons in trust and power again, who had been secluded, that so they might compass their own ends -- hath not been denied hitherto and we are persuaded no man that fears God and observes the times, is ignorant of it. Let the public papers of the treaty at Breda,(373) and the public papers of this kingdom and church at home, be consulted. They bear witness for us. Was not the foundation of it laid in Holland, and many of them in both nations, brought home with the king contrary to public resolutions, and by the prevailing influence of some in the state, kept in the kingdom, contrary to public resolutions? Was not the work of purging judicatories and armies obstructed, the godly discountenanced and discouraged, great endeavours used to raise the malignants in the South and in England, and, since the defeat, to raise all without exception in the North, but when that could not be obtained, by the withstanding of honest men in the state? The levies appointed, which would have been a considerable force for the defence of the kingdom, were rendered wholly ineffectual, partly by taking money for men, partly by raising the malignant party, and then pretending to go against them, they were pacified by an act of indemnity the fruit and result of all which is, this present conjunction with them, and putting the power of judicatories and armies in their hand. Thus the design is completed.
Eighth Reason. That which will increase the Lord's indignation and controversy against the land yet seven times more, that is very unlawful and unseasonable. But so it is that confederacy and association with the people of these abominations, will increase the Lord's indignation and controversy seven times more. Ergo, The assumption was as manifest and uncontroverted as the proposition, a few months ago, but it is begun now to be questioned by some, qui quod sciunt nesciunt, quia sapiunt(374) But we shall evince it.1. We are standing under such a sentence, which we deliberately and sincerely passed upon ourselves, in the days of our vows to God, that if we did ever any more join with the people of these abominations, the Lord would consume us till there was no remnant. And this was not done in rashness but in sobriety, and with a scripture precedent, Ezra ix.12, 13. 2. Our experience hath made this clear to us, we never did mingle ourselves among them, but the Lord did pursue us with indignation, and stamped that sin, as in vive(375) characters, upon our judgment. God hath set upon that rock, that we have so oft split upon, a remarkable beacon. Therefore we do not only in our solemn engagements, bind ourselves over to a curse, in case of relapsing, but pass the sentence of great madness and folly on ourselves. Piscator ictu sapit.(376) Experience makes fools wise, but it cannot cure madness. Did not that mixture provoke God at Dunbar?(377) And is this the way to appease him, to revolt more and more? 3. Conjunction and confederacy with that party, doth necessarily infer a communion in blessings and plagues, we must cast in our lot with them, and have all one purse. Now it hath been confessed and declared by this church, that God hath a notable controversy with that party, that this enemy is in an eminent way to bear them down and crush them. Therefore if we join with them, we must resolve to partake of their plagues, and have that controversy pleaded against us also.
It is answered, That indignation need not be feared simply on this account, because the means are lawful and necessary, else, if this have any force, it will conclude, that we should lie down and do nothing, because God's indignation is upon the whole land.
But we reply, 1. Though it be true, that this enemy is the rod of God's indignation against the whole land, yet it is certain to us, and hath been formerly unquestioned, that they are raised up in a special way, to execute God's wrath on malignants, and God doth arm them with power in a signal manner for that end. Besides, the Lord's anger and indignation against his enemies is such, as will burn and none can quench it. It is of another nature than his wrath against his own people, which is a hiding of his face for a moment. He corrects us in measure and judgment, but leaves us not altogether unpunished. But he makes an end of other nations especially these that rise up to actual enmity and hatred of his people, and shedding of their blood. And therefore, if any man would not meet with wrath and sore displeasure, he would stand at a distance with such as God hath appointed for destruction, we mean, as long as they carry in their foreheads the mark of the beast. When God hath such a remarkable controversy against a people, then "he that helpeth and he that is helped shall both fall together," Isa. xxxi.3. All that is in league with them, shall fall with them by the sword, Ezek. xxx.5 and xxxii.21.2. Since it is known that the malignant party have not changed their principles, and so they cannot but in prosecuting this war establish their old quarrel and follow it viz. the king's arbitrary power, the interest of man above God's, or the kingdom's interest, we leave it to be judged impartially, whether or not these that associate with them, do espouse that quarrel and interest, at least expose themselves to all that wrath and indignation, which hath hitherto followed that quarrel, seeing they must have common blessings and curses. Will not that quarrel holden up by most part of the army, be a wicked thing, an Achan in the camp, that will make God turn away from it, and put Israel to shame?
Having thus established the truth, in the next place, we come to take off what objections are made to the contrary.
First: It is argued from human authority. The uncontroverted and universal practice of all nations in all generations, is, to employ all subjects in the case of necessary just defence. It was the practice of our reformers, who took into the congregation, and received all that, upon acknowledgment of their error, were willing to join, though they had been on the contrary faction. Such an universal practice of Christian nations, though it be not the ground of our faith, yet it is apparent that it cannot want reason for it.(378)
Answer 1: This will plead as much against the exceptions added in the answer to the query and act of levy, for seeing other nations except none, in the case of necessary defence, why should we except any? And if once we except any upon good and convincing grounds, upon the same ground we ought to except far more.2: Mr. Gillespie, in his Treatise of Miscellany Questions,(379) makes mention that the city of Strasburg, 1529, made a defensive league with Zurich, Berne, and Basil; because they were not only neighbours, but men of the same religion. And the Elector of Saxony refused to take into confederacy those who differed from him in the point of the Lord's supper, lest such sad things should befall him, as befell these in Scripture, who used any means of their own defence. This rule was good in thesi,(380) though in that case misapplied. Now then, if they made conscience of choosing as the means of their own defence, a confederacy with foreigners, may not the same ground lead us to a distance from our own countrymen, as unqualified, who have nothing to commend them but that they are of the same nation, which is nothing in point of conscience? 3: The practice of other nations that are not tender in many greater points, cannot be very convincing, especially, when we consider that the Lord hath made light to arise, in this particular, more bright than in former times. God hath taken occasion of illustrating and commending many truths unto us in this generation, from the darkness of error, and of making straight many rules, from the crookedness of men's practice and walking. Is not the Lord now performing the promise of purging out the rebels from among us and them that transgress? God hath winked at former times of ignorance. But now, the Lord having cleared his mind so to us, how great madness were it to forsake our own mercy, and despise the counsel of God against our own souls? (1) As for that instance of our reformers there could not have been any thing brought more prejudicial to that cause, and more advantageous for us. After they were twice beaten by the French in Leith, and their forces scattered, and the leaders and chief men of the congregation forced to retire to Stirling, John Knox, preaching upon the eightieth Psalm, and searching the causes of God's wrath against them, condescends upon this as the chief cause, that they had received into their councils and forces such men as had formerly opposed the congregation, and says, God never blest them since the Duke had come among them. See Knox's Chron.(381) (2) It cannot be showed that ever they took in a party and faction of such men, but only some few persons, which, though it was not altogether justifiable, was yet more excusable. But now the public resolutions hold forth a conjunction with all the bloody murderers in the kingdom (excepting very few), and these without profession of repentance in many, and without evidence of the reality of it almost in any. (3) These persons were not such as had once joined with the congregation, and relapsed and became enemies to it, but they turned to the protestant religion from popery. But ours is a different case.
Second. It is argued from scripture. Three scripture instances are brought to justify the present proceedings. The first instance is from the practice of God's people in the book of Judges, who, when for defection from religion they were brought under oppression, yet when any governor was raised by God for their defence, they gathered and came all out promiscuously, notwithstanding a great part of them had been in the defection. Yet it is not found that their governors are reproved for this, but rather sad curses on them that came not out to the work, Judges v.15, 16, 17, 23. The second instance is from the story of the kings, very like the first. When, after defection, gracious reforming kings arose, and had to do against foreign invasion, we find them not debarring any subjects, but calling them out promiscuously. Neither is this laid to their charge, that they called out such and such subjects, though we may perceive by the story of the prophets, that the greater part of the body of the people were wicked, &c.
We answer to these two instances jointly.1. We may by the like reason prove, that which is as yet uncontroverted (we know not how long), that we ought at no time to make choice of instruments, neither in case of prosecution of the cause and the invasion of others, nor yet in the time when choice is to be had, and so, that all our former engagements, resolutions, and proceedings, in the point of purging judicatories and armies, was superfluous and supererogatory, because we read not that the reforming kings and judges, whenever they had an invasive war, and in the times that they had greatest plenty and multitudes of people, did ever debar any of their subjects from that service, but called them out promiscuously. Neither is this laid to their charge, though we may perceive that the greater part of the people were wicked under the best kings. Therefore we may lawfully employ any subjects of the kingdom in any of our wars. And we may look upon all indifferently, without any discerning of persons that fear God and them that fear him not, as in good capacity to be intrusted, even when otherwise we have choice of good instruments. Certainly it follows, by parity of reason. For if you conclude that, from the calling forth all promiscuously, and no reproof given for it, in the case of necessary defence, then we may conclude, from the calling forth of all promiscuously, and in the case of an invasive war, and no reproof recorded, that neither, in such a case, is it sinful to make no difference, and that with strong reason, because it being more easy in such a case to choose instruments, and no necessity pleading for it, if it had been sinful, the prophets would have rather reproved it, then rebuked them for using such means in a case of necessity.2. We may argue after that manner, that in the case of necessary just defence, there should be no exceptions made at all of any persons, because we read not that the judges or kings debarred any subjects, neither that they were rebuked for so doing. Therefore the instances militate as much against the exceptions added in the answer to the query, as against us, unless it be said that there were no such persons among that people, which were as groundless rashness as to say that they gave all evidence of repentance.3. Seeing the judges and the reforming kings of Judah were so accurate and exact in cleaving to the law of God, and walking according to it in all other things, it were more charitable and Christian judgment to say, that since they are not reproved for any fault in this particular, that they were also exact to walk according to the rule, (Deut. xxiii.) in so great a point as this.4. Men's practice is often lame and crooked, and therefore must be examined according to the rule, but it were not fair dealing to accommodate the rule to men's practice. Seeing then we have so clear and perfect a rule (Deut. xxiii.), which must judge both their practice and ours, we see not how their practice can be obtruded as a rule upon us, which itself must be examined according to a common and general rule. If it be not according to that law, we hold it to be sinful in itself, and so no precedent for us; albeit the prophets did not reprove it in express and particular terms (as they did not reprove man stealing, &c.), yet they rebuked it by consequence, in as far as they rebuked the kings for association with wicked Israelites, which is condemned upon grounds common to this very case in hand.5. We see not any ground for such promiscuous calling forth of the people by the judges. Barak's business, as that of Jephthah and Gideon, was done by no great multitudes of people, but a few choice men.6. As the oppression was heavy and continued long, so the repentance of the people was solemn, and their deliverance a fruit of this.7. Their case and ours is very different. None of Israel or Judah did fight against the profession of the true religion, and shed the blood of their fellow subjects who were for the defence of the same. Israel in the days of the judges, and Judah in the time of the reforming kings, was not divided the one half against the other, upon opposition and defence of the true religion, and the better part, after many experiences of the treachery and enmity of the most of the worst part, solemnly engaged to God not to admit them to employment and trust, but upon real evidence of repentance of which they should judge as in the sight of God. And last of all, did ever Israel or Judah, in the days of their judges and reforming kings, admit into their armies a party and faction of such as had given no real evidence of their abandoning their former course, and such a party, as had been long studying to get the power of armies and judicatories in their own hands for attaining their own ends? But all those are in our case.
The third instance from scripture, is from 1 Sam. xi., which is alleged to be a clear practice, and stamped with divine approbation. In the case of Jabesh-Gilead besieged by a foreign enemy, Saul commands all to come forth for defence of their brethren, under pain of a severe civil censure. Now, what Saul did in this business, the Spirit of God is said to act him to it, and what the people did, was from the fear of God, making them obey the king. And then Samuel in this acting concurs jointly, and makes no opposition. And last of all, the people came forth as one man, and yet (chap. x.27) many men of Belial were among them, who malignantly opposed Saul's government, contrary to God's revealed will.
To which we answer, 1. The stamp of divine approbation is not apparent to us, success doth not prove it. Neither the Spirit coming on Saul, nor the fear of God falling on the people, will import a divine approbation of all that was done in the managing that war. That motion of the Spirit is no sanctifying motion, but a common, though extraordinary, impulse of Saul's spirit to the present work, which, doubtless, was in the king of Babylon, whom God raised up, fitted and sent for the destruction of many nations albeit that work in his hand was iniquity. That fear of God that fell upon the people, was but a fear of the king imprinted by God, and it is more peculiarly attributed to God, because the people did despise and contemn him, which makes their reverence and fear to be a more extraordinary thing upon a sudden. Then Samuel, not opposing the course in hand, doth no more import his approbation of all that was done in it, than his not reproving the men of Belial doth prove that he approved of their opposition.2. It doth not appear that the men of Belial were a great faction and party, there is something in ver.12 speaks against it. It is not like the people would put a faction and party to death.3. Neither doth it appear that they were in the army. For that which is said, that all the people came out as one man, doth only import, that the body and generality of them came forth, and that it was a wonder so many came forth so suddenly at the command of the king, who was but mean and abject in their eyes. It is certain that all fencible persons were not present, because the whole army being numbered, ver.8, was but 330,000. And who will say there was no more men in Israel, when they had 600,000 such, and above, before their coming into the land? Seeing then, many have staid at home, it is most probable that these men of Belial would not come, seeing they despised Saul's mean and low condition in their heart and thought him unfit to lead their armies, till he should prove what was in him. That which is said, ver.12, doth not prove they were in the camp. It might be conveniently spoken of absent persons.4. It is not certain that these men were wicked and scandalous in their conversation, haters of godliness and of their brethren, but that they stood at distance only with Saul, in the point of his election, which indeed was blame worthy, seeing God had revealed his mind in it. And therefore they are called men of Belial, as Peter was called Satan, for opposing Christ's suffering.
Some other scriptures are alleged by some, as David's employing of such men, &c., all which are cleared in Mr. Gillespie's Treatise of Miscellany Questions, quest.14.
Third. It is argued from reason. And, 1. That which any is obliged to do for another's preservation by the law of God and nature, and which he cannot omit without the guilt of the other's destruction, that may the other lawfully require of him to do when he needs it, and when it may be done without the undoing of a greater good. But so it is, that every subject is obliged by the law of nature, oath and covenants, and the law of God, to endeavour to their power, the preservation of the kingdom against unjust violence. And the safety of the kingdom stands in need of many subjects' assistance who were secluded. And it may be done without undoing a greater good than is the preservation of religion. Ergo.
This argument hath an answer to it in the bosom of it. (1) We shortly deny the assumption, in relation to the two last branches, both that the kingdom's preservation stands in necessity of these men's help, and that their help tends not to the undoing of a greater good, seeing there is no reason given to confirm these two points, wherein the nerve of the business lies. We refer to a reason of our denial of them given p.22.(382) (2) It is true that the obligation to such a duty lies upon all, but that obligation is to be brought into act and exercise in an orderly and qualified way, else what need any exceptions be in the act of levy? Excommunicated persons are under the same obligation, yet the magistrate is not actually obliged to call such, but rather to seclude them. Are not all bound to come to the sacrament who are church members? Yet many are not in a capacity to come, and so ought neither to presume to come nor be admitted. Are not all subjects obliged to defend the cause of God, and to prosecute it? And yet many, because of their enmity to the cause of God, are actually incapable of employment in the defence or prosecution thereof. (3) The law of nature is above all human laws and constitutions, they must cede whenever they come in opposition to it. Salus populi is suprema lex(383) in relation to these. But, in relation to the law of God, it is not so. Sometimes the law of nature must yield to positive commands of God. Abraham must sacrifice his son at God's command. The law of nature obliges us to the preservation of ourselves, but it does not oblige to every mean that may be found expedient to that end, unless it be supposed lawful and approven of God. Therefore the Lord in his written word doth determine what means we may use for that end, and what not. But, (4) We conceive that the law forbidding association and confederacy with known wicked and ungodly persons, is included in the law of nature, as well as the law that obliges us to self preservation. That is grounded on perpetual reason, as well as this. Nature bids me preserve myself, and nature binds me to have one friend and foe with God. The heathens had a notion of it. They observed, that Amphiaraus, a wise and virtuous man, was therefore swallowed up in the earth with seven men and seven horses, because he had joined himself and associated with Tydeus, Capaneus, and other wicked commanders marching to the siege of Thebe. Mr Gill. Miscell. Quest. chap.14 p.171.(384)
2. The second reason is framed thus in hypothesi.(385) Such as are excluded are a great part, if not the greater part of the remnant of the land, if rules of exclusion be extended impartially. Now, they having their lives and liberties allowed them, must either in these things be insured by the interposing of a competent power for their defence, or else they must have liberty to act for themselves. But so it is, that we cannot interpose a competent power for their protection. Ergo, They must have liberty to act for themselves. Nam qui dat vitam dat necessaria ad vitam.(386)
We answer, (1) It is not certain that such as are excluded are the greater part of the land. However, it is certain, that though the rule had been kept, and endeavours had been used to walk according to it, yet many whom it excludes would have been taken in. There is a great difference between endeavour of duty, and attaining its perfection. If the rule had not been quite destroyed, so great offence could not have been taken, though it had not been strictly urged in all particulars. (2) We still affirm, upon evident grounds to us, that there is a power competent in the land, beside the malignant party, which may protect the land and insure their lives and liberties. (3)(387) We are persuaded many of that party, who have been so deeply involved in blood guiltiness and barbarous cruelties should neither have lives nor liberties secured to them, because they ought not to be permitted to live. But the not taking away so much guilty blood from the land by acts of justice, is the cause that so much innocent and precious blood is now shed. Our rulers have pardoned that blood which God would not pardon, and therefore would not pardon it to the land because they pardoned it to the murderers.