If They Would Ever Prosper
First, They must be humbled for, and repent of that woful Violation, and Contempt of that Solemn Covenant which they made and swore, with hands lifted up to the most High God, and caused the People to enter into it; and yet have since commanded them to enter into Engagements, in some Points clean contrary to this Covenant: And let them well consider, whether it be not for this very sin that God hath shaken them out from their House, and from their labour twice, according to that direful, but just imprecation: Nehemiah 5. 13. Also I shook my Lap, and said, so God shake out every man from his House, and from his labour, that performeth not this promise, even thus be he shaken out, and emptied: And all the Congregation said Amen, and praised the Lord, and the people did according to this promise. Let them beware the third time, and let them never look to prosper as a Parliament, till this be acknowledged, bewailed, turned from, till the Covenant be resumed, and more religiously observed: Let them never think to prosper, unless they can cancel that Text, Ezek. 17.15. Shall he prosper that doth these things? or shall he break his Covenant, and be delivered? Till this be bewailed and reformed, they cannot do God right.
Secondly, They must call in all those Members that have by the Army's force violently been secluded, since the first seclusion of the eleven Impeached Members; else they do not the Nation right, but apparently wrong and injure many Counties and Boroughs; and let them consider, whether their being now twice turned out by the Army, be not a just retaliation from God upon them for their consenting to, or conniving at the like violence offered to their Fellow-Members; according to that, Matth. 7.2. For with what Judgement ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And with what face or shadow of Justice can they condemn this violence against themselves, and yet abet it against their Fellow-Members. Rom. 2. 1. Therefore thou art inexcusable O man, whosoever thou art that judgest; for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thy self; for thou that judgest, dost the same things. Rom. 14. 22. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.
Thirdly, They must own Christ as King and sole Law-giver in his Church, or else they cannot do Christ right; and consider whether one reason, why God hath suffered their servants, the General and his Officers to Rule over them, be not, because they were unwilling to acknowledge and submit to the Rule and Government of Christ; and whether the Parliament ever prospered since they refused to establish Doctrine, Discipline, and Government according to the Word.
Fourthly, They must pass an Act of Indemnity, or else they cannot do the Army right, who have, as to the generality of them, followed their Officers, as the people followed Absalom, in the simplicity of their hearts: And yet they must exempt some of the Principal of the Faction, both in the Army, and out of the Army from pardon, or else they will never do themselves right, nor restore the Parliaments of England to their Pristine and Native Terror, Majesty, Glory; no, nor to their Due and Just Liberty.
Fifthly, They must so provide for liberty of tender consciences, as withall to tender the safety of Religion, or else they cannot do Religion right; That Vote they had past in their Committee for Religion, when they last sat, was such, as all that love the true Protestant Religion, cannot but abhor; and before they could pass it in the House, they were broken up, betrayed, deserted, even by those very men whom they sought to please in it. Let them consider the remarkable justice of God against them therein; yet mercy to the Nation, in preventing so great a ruin to Religion, as that Vote did portend; and mercy to themselves too, if they repent, and turn from their wicked design.
Sixthly, They must have their eye upon them that are faithful in the Land, by this time they have learned to discern of men: There are some in the Land that profess very high to Religion, and style themselves the Godly Party, that have very expansive consciences; that can take as many Covenants, Engagements, as any change of powers shall put upon them, and break them all as fast as they take them: Are such men fit for publick Council or Trust? how can they be faithful to men, that are not faithful to God? There are besides others in the Nation, fearing God, and fearing the Oath of God, who have lain by for many years, and been cast aside as Vessels of no pleasure, only because they dare not swim with the Stream, or shift Sails with every wind, as the manner of too many is: These, if they may be gained in, to serve the Publick, as sometimes they did, and would do again upon terms of Honour and Conscience; might be a blessing to Parliament and Nation, and things might yet go well with England.
Consider of it, Take Advice, and Speak your Minds, Judges 19.30.