No. II. (Vol. i. p. 369.)
Some heads of the Speech spoken by Mr. Speaker, to his Highness, in the name of the Parliament. (fn. 1)
He was but short, because of his infirmity of body, by sickness.
Applying himself to his Highness, he, in the first place, took
notice of the advertisement that had been given to the Parliament,
touching the happy deliverance of his Highness from the late bloody
attempt designed upon his Highness's person, for which the Parliament was now come to congratulate with his Highness.
He considered the greatness of the mercy in itself, and as it was
heightened in its circumstances.
1. He considered it as a business that the welfare and safety, not
only of the people of this nation, but of all the Reformed Churches,
was involved in.
2. That it was carried on by few hands, and so the more dangerous, because less subject to discovery.
3. He observed the cruelty in the intents of the actors, in the intended manner of the execution.
4. The extensiveness of the wicked design, that it was not laid
in one place only, but in many; and if opportunity served not in
one place, then to have attempted the execution in another.
So that, take it in all its circumstances, (he said) no orator
could be sufficient to set it forth; and that, if Cicero were alive,
his eloquence would fall short upon the subject.
And, therefore, that the great thing to be looked unto, upon the
present occasion, was, the re turning of praise to God; and to say with
the Psalmist, Cantemus canticum novum, "Let us sing a new song."
New mercies require new returns, new deliverances, new thanksgivings. And here he desired to put a question, not a new one,
but an old one, which was put by the best of kings, David, Ps. 116,
What shall I render to the Lord for all his mercies ? To which (he
said) he needed not make an answer, for that David himself had
done it long before. We will take the cup of salcation, and call upon
the name of the Lord.
He observed, moreover, that this deliverance was matter of great
rejoicing not only to these nations, but to the whole body of Protestants, throughout the world; for, though the design was particularly against his Highness, yet, in his person, against them all.
That, in the preservation of his Highness's person, their's doth
consist, and in his destruction, the destruction of them.
He concluded, that such designs as these must be expected;
plots, conspiracies, and all that is wicked, out of the bottomless pit,
seeing the Devil, who is the Prince of Darkness, (fn. 2) the fountain and
father of mischief, will not let his emissaries be idle, but be always
contriving, since this design would not take, how another may be
laid, that what one could not effect, another may. Adding withal,
that it was the humble and earnest prayer of the Parliament to Almighty God, and their great hope, that God will, according to his
wonted grace and mercy, preserve his Highness, and watch over
him for good, that all the plots of the enemy, like the counsel of
Achitophel, may be turned into foolishness, and so order things,
that the best of the adversary's productions may be but to produce
wind, and that wind prove a means to scatter them and all their
contrivances. (fn. 3)
The Protector's Reply.
I confess, with much respect, that you have put this trouble
on yourselves upon this occasion; but I perceive there be two
things that fill me full of sense. One is, the mercy on a poor un
worthy creature: the second is, this great, (and, as I said,) unexpected kindness of Parliament, in manifesting such a sense thereof,
as this is, which you have now expressed. I speak not this with
compliment, that that detracts from the thing (in some sense,) is
the inconsiderableness and unworthiness of the person that hath
been the object and subject of this deliverance, to wit, myself. I
confess ingenuously to you, I do lie under the daily sense of my
unworthiness and unprofitableness, as I have expressed to you;
and if there be, as I must readily acknowledge there is, a mercy in
it to me, I wish I may never reckon it on any other account, than
this, that the life that is lengthened, may be spent and improved to
his honour, that hath vouchsafed the mercy, and to the service of
you, and those you represent.
I do not know, nor did I think it would be very seasonable for
me to say much to you upon this occasion, being a thing that
ariseth from yourselves. Yet, methinks, the kindness you bear,
both should kindle a little desire in me, even at this present,
to make a short return. And, as you have been disposed hither
by the Providence of God, to congratulate my mercy; so give me
leave, in a very word or two, to congratulate with you. Congratulations are ever conversant about good, bestowed upon men, or
possessed by them. Truly, I shall in a word or two congratulate
you with good you are in possession of, and in some respect, I
also with you. God hath bestowed upon you (and you are in possession of it,) three nations, and all that appertains to them, which,
in either a geographical, nor topical consideration, are nations, in
which also there are places of honour and consideration, not inferior to any in the known world (without vanity it may be spoken;)
truly God hath not made so much soil, furnished with so many
blessings, in vain. But it is a goodly sight, if a man behold it,
uno intuitu, and, therefore, this is a possession of yours, worthy of
This is furnished (give me leave to say) for I believe it is true,
with the best people in the world possessing so much soil; a people
in civil rights, (in respect of their rights and privileges,) very ancient
and honourable. And in this people, in the midst of this people, a
people (I know every one will hear it,) that are to God as the apple
of his eye, and he says so of them, be they many, or be they few. But
they are many, a people of the blessing of God, a people under his
safety and protection: a people calling upon the name of the Lord,
which the heathen do not, a people knowing God, and a people (according to the ordinary expressions) fearing God. And you have of
this no parallel, no, not in all the world. You have in the midst of
you glorious things. Glorious things, for you have laws and statutes, and ordinances, which, though not so, (all of them) conformable, as were to be wished to the law of God, yet, on all
hands, pretend not to he long rested in further, than as they are
conformable to the just and righteous laws of God. Therefore, I
am persuaded, there is a heart and spirit in every good man, to
wish they did all of them answer the pattern. I cannot doubt but
that which is in the heart, will in due time break forth; that endeavours will be that way, is another of your good things, with which
in my heart you are worthily to be congratulated.
And you have a magistracy, that in outward profession, in
pretence, in endeavour, doth desire to put life into these laws. And
I am confident, that among you will rest nothing, but a desire to
promote every desire in others, and every endeavour that hath tended or shall tend to the putting of these laws in execution. I do for
this congratulate you, you have a gospel ministry among you. That
have you; such an one, as, without vanity I speak it, or without
caring at all for any favour, or respect from them, save what I have
upon an account above flattery, or good words, such an one, as hath
excelled itself, and I am persuaded, to speak with confidence before
the Lord, is the most growing blessing, one of them, on the face of
You have a good eye, and in that I will share with your good
favours, a good God, a God that hath watched over you and us, a
God that hath visited these nations with a stretched out arm, and
bore his witness against the unrighteousness and ungodliness
of men, against those that have abused such nations, such mercies
throughout, as I have reckoned up to you; a God that hath not
only withstood such to the face, but a God that hath abundantly
blessed you, with the evidences of his goodness and presence. And
he hath done things wonderful amongst us, by terrible things inrighteousness; he hath visited us by wonderful things. In mercy
and compassion hath he given us this day of freedom and liberty to
speak this, one to another, and to speak of his mercies, as he hath
been pleased to put into our hearts.
"Truly, this word of conclusion, if this be so, give me leave to
remember you hut one word, which I offered to you with great love
and affection, the first day of meeting with you, this Parliament. It
pleased God to put into my heart, then, to mention a scripture
to you, which would be a good conclusion of my speech now at this
time to you. It was that we being met to seek the good of so great
an interest, as I have mentioned, and the glory of that God who is
both yours and mine, how could we better do it than by thinking of
such words as these: "His salvation is nigh them that fear him,"
that glory may dwell in our land. I would not comment upon it.
I hope I fear him, and let us more fear him. If this mercy at all doth
concern you as I see it doth, let me, and I hope you will with
me, labour more to fear him. Then we have done; seeing such a
blessing as his salvation is nigh them that fear him, seeing we are all
of us representatives of all the good of all these lands, that glory
may dwell in our land. If it be so, "Mercy and Truth shall meet
together, Righteousness and Peace shall kiss each other." We shall
know, you and I, (as the father of this family) how to dispose our
mercies to God's glory: how to dispose our severity; how to distinguish betwixt obedient and rebellious children, and not to do as
Eli did; who told his sons, he did not hear well of them, when,
perhaps, he saw ill by them. And we know the severity of that.
And, therefore, let me say, that, though I will not descant upon the
words, mercy must be joined with truth, truth, in that respect, that
we think it our duty, to exercise a just severity, as well as to apply
kindness and mercy. And, truly, Righteousness and Peace must kiss
each other. If we will have peace without a worm in it, lay we
foundations of justice and righteousness. And if it shall please God
so to move you, as that you marry this redoubtable couple together,
Mercy and Truth, Righteousness and Peace, you will, (if I may be
free to say so,) be blessed, whether you will or no. And that you
and I may for the time the Lord shall continue us together, set our
hearts upon this, which shall be my daily prayer, and I heartily and
humbly acknowledge my thankfulness to you." (fn. 4)