A Glasse of Truth :
WHEREIN THE BONDAGES OF THE
Nation of England Under the Norman yoke are
clearly seen and discovered.
Made manifest both by Scripture and reason to be Arbitrary and Tyranicall over the Natives of England.
Shewing why the Lord hath controversie with the Land and gives Empires and Kingdomes from one to another proved by by Scripture and Chronicle.
Very necessary to be looked upon in this present age of ours by an eye of Equitie and reason: being an addition to a little booke lately set forth intituled a Prospective glasse:
By John Coales a present Member of the Navie.
Imprimatut Gilbert Mabbot. May 9, 1649. (1)
He that oppresseth the poore to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich shall surely come to want. Prover. 22.16.
The robbery of the wicked shall destroy them, because they refuse to doe judgment. Prov. 21.7.
The overthrow of the common-wealth is the dishonestie of the Rulers. Solon.
En evill law is like the shadow of a cloud, which vanisheth away as soon as it is seene. Socra.
Extreme law is extreme wrong. Aristo.
The truth above all things is privileged in such wife that when time seemeth to have broken her wings, then as immortall she shewes her force. Mar. Aur.
TO THE READER
The great God of Heaven & Earth having given forth from himselfe, such an equall rule for the sonnes and daughters of men to walke by, as Christ saith, Mat. 7.12. As ye would that all men shoulde doe unto you, even so doe ye unto them: for this is the Law, and the Prophets tryeth all the actions of men by that golden rule, whether they be equall or no & as the Lord findeth the workes of men so he judgeth them.
When men act not according to this equall rule Mat. 7.12. They suffer losse, for when their workes come to be tried by the fire they are burnt, and so they get nothing but flame and reproach, as hath bin heretofore and is yet apparent, as this ensueing discourse doth show.
The reason of my present writing this little treatise, is first to shew unto the Commons of England, how their bondages came in, that so they may the better see their freedom, it being that for which the Parliament declare and the Nation hath engaged for.
Secondly, that those who are or shall be chosen by the people may see that in time the Lord will destroy all their actings that oppresse or tend to reigne over the poore members of the nation contrary to equity: If we cast our eyes back and looke upon the times past: then where is the power of Nimrod, the mighty hunter before the Lord, Gen. 2.8,9. was it not swallowed up by Darius, the King of the Meades and Persians, when he conquered Babylon. Dan. 5.31 And where is the power of Darius was it not swallowed up of Alexander the great, which is called Leopard Dan. 7, 6. And is Alexanders power was it not swallowed up of Iulius Cesar the Roman Emperor, and where is Iulius Cesars powers, is it not swallowed up of divers Kings, as of France, Spaine, Denmark, and others, who were all once tributaries to the Empire of Rome: And so likewise as England if we behold the power of William the Conqueror, is it not swallowed up in this present age of ours by the Parliament: what was the reason of all those powers being thrown down one by another, but because there was a beastlike cruelty exercised by them, therefore their powers & actings are compared to beasts, as the Babylonian Monarchy was set forth like a Lyon, Dan.7, 4. The Persian like a Bear, Dan. 7, 5. The Macedonian Monarchy like to a Leopard Dan. 7, 4. The Roman Monarchy like a Beast dreadfull & terrible which must likewise be swallowed up by the ancient of dayes. Dan. 7.9.10, 11, 22, 25, 26. Who will destroy all those cruelties & oppressings of men who were first gotten by Tyranny & shall be destroyed by equity.
There are two things that have bin oppressions to the Nation, the one is to give one man abundance of meanes, it may be thousands by the yeare that hath a great estate of his owne, & so fulfill that old proberb, he that hath much shall have more: This did William the Conqueror, as is evident in the acts of the Church. Page 44. He gave the Normans the chiefest possession of the Land: By which the Normans were greatly enriched & grew in power & so ruled over the poore natives of England Arbitrarily. So that according to the saying of Solomon Pro. 22.7 The rich ruleth over the poore, as by sad experience it hath bin found in this nation & will be so still of the same thing be done.
The second thing that oppresseth the nation, is the not regarding of the necessity of the poore, a thing most wicked and destructive to the commonalty of the heathen Philosophers was counted a thing hurtfull to the commonwealth. For they say, governors of the weale publick must observe these two precepts: The one is that they so maintaine the profit of the commonwealth, that whatsoever in their calling they doe, they must refer it thereunto, alwaies forgetting their owne commoditie: The other is that they be (in any wise) carefull of the body of the common-wealth, least while they uphold some one part alone they lave all the rest miserably destitute. Who so provideth but for part of the people and is unmindfull of the rest, they bring it into sedition and discord: a thing most hurtfull to the common wealth, when extreames is used in this nature it makes one party to abound in wealth, riches, and honour, & to predominate, & the other part is kept so miserably poore, that they are even a buden then to themselves, as appeares even in this our dayes, by their being forced to sell the clothes off their backes, and when they have sold all, to goe a begging, & some die in the streets for want of food: While another party buyes fine clothes and gallant dainties and live like princes but think not on the misery of the poore, and all is because things are not done according to equity, which if they weare, then none need be starved for want of food, for the earth is the Lords and the fullness thereof hath enough in it to keep every one without want if he will himselfe: but when those that have hundreds or thousands by the yeare shall not be content with that but take common, & invent new snares to get money from the poore, these are worse than infidels for he is an infidel that provideth not for his family but he that taketh away from another poore man that should serve to maintaine his family is a murderer, for he hurteth his brother fellow member of the nation & destroyeth his household.
In these our dayes much knowledge is come forth & I suppose that hardly any in England will deny Christ to be come in the flesh, but will acknowledge that they are christians, but there is little or no workes of christianity proceeds from them, because everyone is a lover of himselfe more then of his poore neighbour, (especially the rich) so that men even bare the name of Christ, but will not obey his law of equity, having a word of godlynesse, but denying the power thereof. Heathens are counted vile by us for name, but we may be justly counted vile by them for workes, because they goe beyond us in honesty and mercy, therefore it behoves Christians or those that name Christ, to be just, loving, and mercyfull, always remembring that god doth require of us, to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God. Mica. 6, 8. Which that we may all doe looking at the good, one of another, and promoting equity the glory of our undertaking, is the desier, of
A discouerer of Englands
bondage John Coales.
Light broke forth out of Clouds.
Of the reigne of Edward surnamed Confessor
King of England before the Conquest
Edward the sonne of Ethelred, was crowned at Winchester with great concorse of people, and the celebration thereof performed by Edwine Archbishop of Canterbury, upon the very day of Christs resurrection, being also a new rising to the English nation in the yeare of grace 1042. Himselfe being aged then towards 40. and was in number then the 37th Monarch of England; where he reigned with such justice and piety, that he obtained the venerable name of Saint, and unto posterity is distinguished, from the other Edwards by the Adjunct Confessor
In the enterance into his government to witnesse his love to the people he fought every way the furtherance of their wealth, and afterward remitted the kingdome of 40 thousand pounds called Dane guilt, which the English, people, even from the very beginning of the reigne of the Danes, was compelled to pay to their Kings every yeare; and this did King Edward in a yeare when the earth yeelded not her fruit, the money being gathered by the treasurers, he commanded that it should be restored to the owners againe.
That which is acceptable to the Lord is to take off yokes from the oppressed, and those that are under yokes and bondages. Isay. 58, 6. for mercy is more pleasing to the Lord then sacrifice. Hosea, 6, 6.
David sayth, A good man is mercyfull & giveth to the poore. Psal. 112, 9. and the Iewes did well when they released their bondmen and bondmaids according to the word of the Lord Ier. 34.10, 15. Even so mercy pleaseth the Lord better then whole burnt offerings and sacrifices, when rules release the people of their hard burthens, then they are Like God (thus acting) Blessed are the mercifull Mat. 5.
Divers lawes, were in divers countries of the realme used, as the law first Dunvallo, Molunicius, with the lawes of Mercia, called Mercenia law; then the laws of the west Saxon Kings, as Iue, Offa, Alfred, which were called Dane law, of all these lawes, which were diversly in certaine and perticular countries used and receaved, this Edward complyed one universall and common law for all people throughout the whole realme, which were called King Edwards lawes, which being gathered out of the best and chiefest of all other lawes, were so just, so equall, & so serving to the publique profit, & weale of all estates, that mine authors say, that people did long rebell against their heads and rules to have the same lawes againe, being taken from them could not obtaine them.
Nothing can be in rulers more royall, then they make the state of the realme better, then it was before it came into their hands.
Governors of the weale publique, must observe these two precepts, the one is that they so maintaine the profit of the commons, that whatsoever in their callings they doe they must referre it thereto, alwayes forgetting their owne commoditie. The other is that they be (in any wise) carefull over the whole body of the common-weale, least while they uphold some one part alone, they lave all the rest miserabely destitute. Whosoever provideth but for part of the people and is unmindfull of the rest, they bring it into sedition and discord, a thing most hurtfull to the commonwealth, whereby it cometh to passe that some do seeme flatteringly to fawne upon the people, some affectionate to the nobility, but very few to please or content the whole.
They that writ the history of Saint Edward, make mention of a dreame or revelation, that should be shown unto him in the time of his sicknesse, how that because of the peers and bishops of the land were not the servants of god, but of the divell, God would give this land into the hand of others, and the King desired that utterance might be given him, that he might declare it to the people whereby they might repent.
The mercy of God is so great that before he gives up a kingdome into the hands of others, he gives them warning: So he gave the children of Iuda warning before they were carried captive into Babylon, Ier. 34. 2,3. & also gave warning to the people of England, by the dreame of Edward the Confessor.
Not long after the death of this famous King Edward the Confessor, in lesse then one whole yeare, was this land conquered by William the first surnamed Conqueror, whose cruelty and tyranicall oppressions, & arbitrary customes have and yet do inslave the poore commons of England, as shall be shewn God willing, in this insueing discourse.
Of the Parentage & begetting of William the first surnamed Conqueror.
The father of William the Conqueror was the sixth Duke of Normandy his name was Robert, his mothers name was Arlote a Skinners daughter of Fallis, a towne in Normandy, William begotten before marriage & called Base sonne of Robert Duke of Normandy.
Robert Duke of Normandy the sixth in descent from Rollo, riding through Fallies a towne in Normandy, espied certaine Damsels dauncing neere the ways, among whom he fixed his eye upon a certaine damsell whose name was Arlote of meane parentage a skinners daughter whome he procured that night to be brought unto him, of whom he begot a sonne who afterward was named William: And doubtfull it is whether upon some immodesty in Fallies, at that time as the Duke approached neare to imbrace her, or whether upon hate to her sonne William, the English afterward adding an aspersion to her name according to the naturall manner of their pronouncing termed every unchast woman Harlot.
Now least of any should despise William the Conqueror because he was a base sonne: I shall only give them to consider of Iephthah Iudg. 11, 1. Who also was the sonne of a harlot and yet the Lord was pleased to make him a saviour for Israel, to deliver them out of the hand of their enemies. ver.32, The Lord delivered his enemies into his hand, therefore consider there is no respect of persons with God Rom. 2, 11. But he will exalt his power as well in a bastard as in a person begotten in marriage. I shall say no more touch William the Conquerors birth but proceed to speake of his Coronation & of those things he did after he was Crowned King of England.
Of the Coronation of William the first, surnamed Conqueror.
The 24th of April in the year 1066 there was a blazing starre appeared to shew that the kingdome should be given in to the hand of the Normans, as the writing upon the wall before the King Belshazzer shewed unto him that the kingdome should be taken from him and given to the Medes & Persians. Dan. 5. 24, 25, 26, 27, 28.
The verses of the blazing starre in rime are thus
A thousand sixe and sixty yeares
it was as we do read,
When that a commet did appeare
and English men lay dead.
Of Normandy Duke William then,
to England ward did saile
Who Conquered Harrold with his men
and brought this land to bayle.
William Duke of Normandy surnamed Conqueror base sonne to Robert the sixth Duke of that Dutchie, and nephew unto King Edward, began his reigne ouer the realme of England, the 14th of October in this yeare of our Lord 166. after the battell at Hastings, Duke William came to London, where with great joy he was received, both of the Clergie and people, and Crowned on Christmas day by Aldred Archbishop of Yorke.
Solomon sayth there is no new thing under the sun Eccl. 1,9. God taketh down one, & setteth up another, to this end God doth it that men may know that the most high giveth the kihgdomes of the earth to whomsoever he will. Dan. 4, 25. and when one hath had the kingdome then he must leave it and others must serve themselves of him, Ier. 25, 14. and so we may see the course of things turned upside down, one put down and another set up.
How William the Conqueror put downe the English Nobilitie, and their ancient laws, & in stead of them set up his Normans and their Customes: many heavie taxatio[n]s were imposed on the English, their ancient Lords were removed, their ancient lawes, & policies of state were dasht to dust, all lay couched under the co[n]querors sword, to be newly fashio[n]ed by him as should be best fitting for his advantage: The stoutest of the Nobility and gentilmen were spent either by warre, or banishment, or by voluntary avoidance out of the realme, all these he stript of their estates & instead of them he placed his Normans, insomuch that there was scarce any family of English blood left to bear any office in the realme.
The Normans accomplished their pleasure upon the English men, that there was no nobleman of that nation left to beare rule over them, so that it was a reproach to be called an English man.
How William the Conqueror caused all the Monasteries and Abbies of the Kingdomes to be searched, pretending that the English had laid up their treasure in them.
William the Conqueror caused all the Abbies & Monasteries to be featched, pretending that the richer sort of the English had laid up their treasure in them: under colour whereof, he did discover the state of all, and bereaved many of their owne treasure, some of these religious houses he appropriated wholy to himselfe, of divers others he seised their liberties, which afterward they redeemed at a very high and excessive rate: those bishopricks & Abbies which held Barronies, & had bin before free from secular subjection, he reduced under the charge of his service, appointing how many souldiers, & of what sort they should furnish for him & his successors in time of their warrs: Those strangers which he did entertaine in pay he dispersed into religious houses, & some also among the nobilitie to be maintained at their charge, whereby he not only favourse his own purse, but had them as a watch, and somtimes as a garrison over those of whole alleagiance he stood in doubt.
Of the general tax that was imposed on the kingdome by William, the Conqueror.
William the Conqueror caused the land to be discribed in one generall roll, so that there was not one hide of land, but both the yearely rent, & the owner thereof was therein set downe, how many plow lands, what pastures, what fennes or marshes, what woods, parkes, farmes or tenements, was in every sheere, also what every man was worth, also how many villens every man had, what beasts or cattle, what fees, what other goods, what rent or commodity every mans possession did yeald, this book was called the Roll of Winton, because it was kept in the City of Winchester by the English it was called Doomes Day booke, either by reason of the generality thereof, or else instead of Domus Dei booke, for that it was layd in the church of Winchester in a place called Domus Dei, all which was put in writing and remaineth at Winchester in the Kings treasury, according to this roll taxations were imposed somtimes two shillings, somtimes six shillings upon every hide of land, a hide containing twenty acres besides ordinary provision for his house.
How William the Conqueror caused the law to be in an unknown tongue.
It is reported of Caligula that when he intended to make advantage of his penall edicts, he caused the letter to be written so small, & the volumes of them to be placed so high, that it was almost impossible for any man to read them, so William the Conqueror caused part of those laws which he [he] established to be written in the Norman language, which was a barbarous & broken French, not well understood of the naturall French, and not at all of the vulgar English, the rest were not written at all, but left almost arbitrary to be determined by reason and discretion, at large hereupon it followed partly through the ignorance of the people that many were extreamely tangled, many dangered, many rather made away than justly executed. The ancient lawes of the land he abbrogated, for the most part ordained new, nothing so equall or so easie to be kept, which his laws although they nearely concerned the English, and therefore ought to have bin fully known were not withstanding written in the harsh Norman tongue which they understood not.
So that many persons partly by the iniquity of the law it self, & partly by ignorance in misconstruction, & also by the slights of pleaders, & judges who might pretend for law what they pleased, we are wrongfully condemned in forfiture of goods, lands, year & also of life, and so generally turmoiled with their unknowne interpretations, and tortures with their delayes, turmoyles and traveses, that they rather chose to give over their sutes, then to follow them with their endlesse vexation: these snares of his lawes were called the fetters of the natives.
By the alteration of the lawes of England bread most heavie dolances not only in this Kings time but long after, for whereas before those lawes they had, were written in their owne tongue intelligible to all, now are they translated into latine and french, so that the law became wholey in the end to be inclosed in a unknowne tongue, so that the marke of our bondage is that which speakes in an unknown tongue.
Secondly, what misery the law brings upon a nation that are under it.
First, the law in an unknown tongue, in that two things are considerable, first is to be examined, whether the law in an unknown tongue is according to the manner of Gods giveing of his lawes.
Secondly, how the names of the law in an unknowne tongue is contrary to the names of the law in a known tongue: Before I come to speake of the manner of a law in an unknown tongue, how it differeth from a law in a known tongue, I shall speake of what the law is: Paul sayth Rom. 7.12. The law is holy just and good. And David sayth Psal. 19.7. The law of the Lord is perfect.And David saith Psal. 119.140. Thy word is very pure. And Christ saith Mat. 7.12. Whatsoever ye would that men should doe unto you even so doe you unto them, for this is the Law. So that from these Scriptures we may conclude that the law is a certaine rule proceeding from the mind of God, perswading right, and forbidding wrong.
Lawes be nothing else but rules of justice, whereby is commanded what should be done and what should not be done, law is the tryer & finder out of truth: the law of nature is nothing else, but the participation of the eternall law in the reasonable creature: The law is correspondent to the original decree of nature, or the first example of honesty.
God hath graven the law of nature in every mans mind, to frame (as it were) a shew and comlinesse of manners, the Gentiles which have not the law, doe by nature the things contained in the law, which shew the work of the law written in their hearts. Rom. 2. 15.16. Therefore what customes or lawes, made by any man being not agreeable to equity and honesty, are tyrany and oppression, to those that are to be governed under them.
Having in short shown what the law is in it's pure being, I shall now examine whether the law in an unknown tongue, is according to the manner of Gods giving his lawes, and correspondent to the rule of equity between man and man. When God gave the law to the child of Israel, he gave it in that tongue that they understood, this is clear in Deu. 30.11. For this commandment which I command thee this day, is not hid from thine eyes, neither is it farre off, 12. It is not in heaven that thou shouldest say, who shall goe up for us into heaven and bring it unto us, that we may heare it & doe. 13. Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say who shall goe over he sea and bring it unto us, that we may heare it and doe it. 14. But the word is very neare thee, even in thy mouth and heart, that thou mayest do it. 15. See I have set before thee life and death, good and evill: Good & euill was by God set before the Children of Israel, in that tongue that they vnderstood, therefore they knew when they did sinne against the law, and when they did not, for it was in their mouthes & in their hearts, set before them both good and evill, & they were to chuse which they would have, therefore Moses sayth Deu. 30.19. I call heaven & earth to record against you this day that I have set before you life & death, blessing & cursing, therefore chuse life that thou & thy seed may live. But to make the thing in hand plainer (that god did give the law unto the children of Israel in that tongue that they understood,) I shall lay down some grounds for it and they are these. First it was in their mouthes & in their hearts to doe it, & that could not be unlesse it was in that tongue that they understood. Secondly, because it was set before their eyes, good & evill, & they were to chuse, now life & death set before their eyes for them to chuse, must needs be in that tongue that they understood.
These two grounds I think may be sufficient to prove that god gave the law unto the children of Israel in a known tongue, by this manner of gods giving the law in a known tongue, is the practice of making laws in an unknown tongue condemned, because it was not after the way of god.
Secondly we shall consider of the termes that the law in a known tongue from an unknown tongue.
The law in a known tongue is called a lamp, & a light to direct peoples pathes. Psal.I 19.105. Pro.6.3 It maketh wise the simple, Psal.19.7. Enlightneth the eyes. Psal.19.8. Makes persons to know what is sin. Rom. 7.7. I had not known sin but by the law, I had not known lust except the law had laid thou shalt not covet.
Paul compareth the unknown tongue for spirituall things, & it may justly be called so for temporall things because it is unprofitable for both, therefore compared unto pipes and harpes that give no distinction in their soundes. I Cor. 14.7. to a trumpet giving an uncertaine sound. I Cor. 14.8. Like voyces that have no signification. I Cor. 14.10.11. and therefore barbarous. It is a voyce in the aire. I Cor. 14.9. It is unfruitfull. I Cor. 14.14. It edifieth not. I Cor. 14.17. Paul had rather speak five words in his understanding, to instruct others, then ten thousand words in an unknown tongue. I Cor. 14.19.
Secondly what miseryes the law in an unknown tongue, bring on a natio[n] that are under it: & they are these. First, it keepes the people in ignorance, from knowing the law, this by experience hath bin long time seene in England, by peoples going to aske counsell of Counsells & Lawyers, they not knowing the law themselves, are constrained thus to doe: & so ignorance hath ouercome the people in this thing, therefore that it may appeare in it's owne proper colour is requisite that it be searched into, by the instrument of the scriptures, that the rottennesse and deadnesse of the law, in an unknown tongue, may appeare to all the people of England.
God gave the law to the children of Israel, that they & their children might known the lord and serve him, Deu. 6.2. That thou mightest feare the lord thy god. 184.108.40.206.9. verses of the same Chap. there is set expressly down what they should doe. 5. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, & with all they soule, & with all they strength. 6. And these words which I command thee this day shall be in thy heart. But the words of the law in an unknown tongue cannot be in the heart, for it is not understood, therefore the people perish for want of knowledge. Hos. 4.6. By means of ignorance much good is left undone. 7. And thou shall teach them unto thy children, & talke of them when thou tarriest at home & when thou walkest by the way when thou lyest down, & when thou risest up. The law in an unknown tongue cannot be taught or talked off, neither at home nor abroad, in the morning nor at night, because it is to them that understand it not, a voyce in the aire that is not understood. I Cor. 14.9.
No parents can teach their children that which they understand not themselves, therefore the parents of English children, cannot teach them the law because they themselves understand it not, from hence we may say great is the hurt that commeth by ignorance.
9 And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, & upon thy gates.
The Law among the children of Israel, was to known publickly and openly unto all, but the law in an unknown tongue, only at Westminster, the Innes of Court, Judges, Lawyers, & Counsells chambers, they are to know the law and not all the people, a cunning way to keepe people in ignorance. Wo unto you Lawyers, for ye have taken away the key of knowledge. Luke. 11, 52.
The second misery that the law in an unknown tongue brings upon a nation, is the corrupting of the Judges, Lawyers, and Councellers, with great gifts, and having the knowledge of the law themselves, make a prey upon [t]he peoples ignorance, this is seen by experience, as instance the unreasonable summes of money that they will have for pleading the causes for some poore people. God sayth in Exod. 23.8. Thou shalt take no gift and the reason God gives, for the gift blindeth the eyes of the wise, & perverteth the words of righteousnesse. And the like also in Deu. 16.19. Now seeing that the God of heaven and earth forbiddeth gifts to be taken, what then are those that walke contrary to this rule, surely they are not the servants of God but of the Divell, and their own covetuous desiers, therefore they are called
The names of covetous Judges and other officers belong to the Law who are unrighteous.
Evening wolves. Zep. 3.3
Companions of theeves. Isay. 1.23
Painted walls. Acts. 23.3
Wolves ravening the prey. Ezek. 22.27
And they do gnaw the bones. Zep. 3.3
Love gifts & follow after rewards. Isay. 1.23
Command things contrary to the law. Acts. 23.3
Take treasure & precious things. Ezek. 22.27
But execute not judgment & justice. Amos. 220.127.116.11
And this is apparently seene, because that many times, he that hath the most money shall have the most law, and he that hath but little must leave his cause for want of money, and this hath bin of long time an oppression in England. Further it is now come to that wickednesse, that a Lawyer or Counsellor is not ashamed to take a fee in a wrong cause t plead, & then consider what conscience is in that man, who dares to take a fee to plead in a wrong cause, for he that do so sinneth against his owne knowledge.
How William the Conqueror caused the foure terms of the yeare to be kept in opposition to former law, that was in England before the Conquest & set up the court of Chancery and of Exchecker. In the beginning of his reigne he ordained that the laws of King Edward should be observed together with those laws that he did prescribe but afterward he commanded that nine men out of every county should be chosen to make a true report, what were the laws and customes of the realme, of these he changed the greatest part, and brought in the customes of Normandy in their stead, commanding also that causes should be pleaded, and all matters of forme dispatcht in French: He ordained also his councell of state, his chancery, his exchecker, his court of justice which alway removed with his court, these places he furnished with officers, and assigned foure termes in the yeare, for the determining of controversies among the people, whereas before all sutes were summarily heard & determined in the gemote or monethly conventions, in every hundred without formalities or delay.
And whereas the causes of every kingdome were before determined in every sheere and by a law of King Edward Senior, all matters in question should upon special penalty without farther deferment be finally descided in their gemote or conventions, held monethly in every hundred, now he ordained that the fame buisnesses should be determined in such place as he should appoint, where he constituted judges to attend for that purpose, and also others from whom as from the bosome of the Prince all litigators should have justice, & from whom was no appeale. That which God pronounced as a curse to the children of Israel, Deu. 28. 49, 50. compared with Ier. 18.104.22.168. That the lord would bring upon them (as a curse) a nation whose tongue they could not understand, was also brought upon this nation as a curse that appeares, first, by the English petitioning unto King William the Conqueror, humbly beseeching him in regard of his oath made at his Coronation, & by the soule of Saint Edward from whom he had his crown and dignity, and the kingdom under whose lawes they were borne and bred, that he would not add that misery, to deliver them up to be judged by a strange law they understood not.
Secondly, a law in an unknown tongue appeares to be a curse to this nation, because it brings bondages upon the people and heavie taxes upon their neckes, which plainely appeareth in these things. First by the law in an unknown tongue, is the law that was in that tongue that was intelligible to all before thrown down & in this are the people of England bereft of their law that was in English and that appeares by the writs that are issued forth out of courts, and causes that are pleaded in Latine: So that in this thing this land hat bin made a Babylon, that is confusion; For the commoners of England have neither understood the law nor the lawyers, so that in stead of being in liberty we have bin kept in bondage, and in knowing the law before not to know it now, and this is our badge of the conquest that is still over us being not yet taken away.
Now if this be well examined (namely) the law in an unknown tongue, and the bondages that it brings upon a nation, it will be found to be directly against that end that God gave his lawes to the sons & daughters of men.
The end why God gave & made lawes for the sons of men, was that they might know the Lord, Deu. 22.214.171.124.38.39. Unto these it was shewn that thou mightest know that the Lord he is God, and David charged Solomon his son I Chron. 28.9. And thou Solomon my son know thou the God of thy fathers, and also in Eccle. 12.9. And moreover the preacher was wise & taught the people knowledge, so that both God & good men endeavoured to lead the people in wisdom & in understanding, but the law in an unknown tongue doth not teach or inlighten the people in understanding, therefore to clear this point I shall shew what the way of God is toward men, and what the way of the divell.
What the way of God & good men are to the Creature.
The way of God & good men to the Creature is to teach them knowledge, Deu. 4.35. So did David and Solomon I Chron. 28.9. So did the Preacher Eccl. 12.9. So did Paul & the churches Acts. 20.27. turnes the Creature from darkness to light. Acts, 26.18.
What the way or workes of the divell & wicked men are to the creature.
The way of the divell and wicked men is to blinde the eyes of the understanding 2 Cor. 4.4. And all the divels workes are workes of darknesse, and his kingdome called the kingdome of darknesse. Col. 1.13. Rev. 16.10.
Whatsoever brings darkness & ignorance in the hearts of people, is a worke of the divell in whomsoever it is found, for he is thepower of darknesse, & acts darknesse in all those that endeavour to keep people in ignorance, therefore it was the worke of the divell in William the Conqueror: And is also in the hearts of all Judges, Councellors and Lawyers, that doe as much as in them lieth to hinder the people from knowing the fundamentall lawes of England. Paul hid nothing from the Churches, but declared to them the whole counsell of god. Acts, 20.27. But those that keep from the people the knowledge of their libertie are not of Pauls mind.
Secondly the law in an unknown tongue takes away the trying of all causes in the convention held every moneth before the Conquest, for if causes were all to be tried now in every hundred monethly as was before time in England, there need not be a comming to Westminster 4 times a yeare from all parts of the kingdome, and for my part I cannot see (but so long as the law remaineth in an unknown tongue untranslated & the four termes of the yeare remaine, & lawyers & councellors must plead causes for the commoners of England,) that the Norman yokes are taken away.
Against so long as causes are traversed out of one cour into another & abundance of money spent meerely through the delays of justice, whereby the lawyer is greatly enriched, but the client is undone, the Norman bondages hang upon our necks and we are yet in bondage. Now let the thing be examined (namely the customes of the lawyers in delay of justice) if it be according to the law of God, it is sayd Pro. 22.16. He that oppresseth the poore to increase his riches shall surely come to want, & againe Pro. 15.27. He that is greedy of gaine troubleth his house, and so throughout the whole Scripture the Lord complaineth of rulers that they oppressed the poore, as Isay. 1, 23. and 10.2. and surely this is a great oppression to put off justice & judgement from the righteous man whose cause is just.
A word to the Lawyers.
As the beginning of your standings came from the will of a tyrant even so have your doings & actings bin tyranicall toward the clyent, when he hath had occasion to deale with you, therefore as you tender the liberties of this kingdome of England, whereof yon are members, forsake your arbitrary customes, otherwise the Lord will bring you to confusion, as he hath all the oppressors, of the poore from time to time, you cannot be ignorant of the uniustnesse of your customes, sin not therefore against knowledge least your punishment be exceeding great.
Of fines & rents to the Lord of the manner & the court of wards brought in by William the Conqueror.
In all those lands that William gave to any man he, reserved dominion in chiefe to himselfe for acknowledgement whereof a yearly rent was payd unto him, & also a fine whensoever the tennant did allene or die, these were bound as clyents unto him by oath of fidelity & hommage, & if any died his heire bieng in minority, the King receaved the profit of the land, & had the custody & disposing of his body untill his age of one & twenty yeares.
The bondage that lords of mannors (so called) bring upon the tennant is very heavie, for though a poore man buy a peice of land before he can inioy it (for coppie hould land) must pay a yeares rent to the Lord of the manner, also when this poore man deceaseth then the best quick goods that he hath must goe for a harriot to the Lord of the manner. So that by this custom the poor widdow & fatherles child is opprest, for that which should keep them, & buy them bread to eat & clothes to weare is taken from them.
Job describing the actions of a wicked man Iob, 126.96.36.199.9. sayth 2 They violently drive away the flocks and feed thereof, 3 They drive away the asse of the fatherlesse, they take the widdowes oxe for a pledge, 4 They turne the needy out of the way, 7 They cause the naked to goe without clothing, 9 They pluck the fatherlesse from the breast, and take a pledg of the poore. Surely this discription doth shew what the Lords of the Mannors doe in taking of fines, and rents & harriots of poore people; But it hath bin a custome of long time in England that fines, rents, & harriots should be payed to the Lords of Manners.
To this I answer as Christ did in another case, from the beginning it was not so, Mat. 19.8. For God sayd ye shall not oppresse any widdow or fatherlesse childe. Exod. 22.22. Lev. 19.33. Zac. 7.10. And Iames sayth Iam. 1.27. Pure religion and undefiled before God the Father, is to visit the fatherlesse and widdow in their affliction, and to keepe himselfe unspotted of the world, that is from all deeds of oppression; to the Lord of the manner I shall then further say, Custome without truth is but an old error.
It is an old saying that the multitude of them which doe erre, and the agreement in that error cannot make the error allowable, And the customes of the people are vaine. Ier. 10.3. Therefore whatsoever custome is not agreeable to equity is nothing else but tyranny: the Prophet Ieremiah complaineth of such oppressions, Ier. 188.8.131.52. For among my people are found wicked men they lay wait as he that setteth snares, they set a trap, they catch men. 27 As a cage is full of birds so are their houses full of deceit, therefore they are become great and waxen rich. 28 They are waxen fat, they shine, they overpasse the deeds of the wicked, and then what followes in the same Chap. 29. Shall I not visit for these things sayth the Lord, shall not my soule be avenged on such a nation as this is.
How William the Conqueror caused parks and forrests to be made, by which he dispeopled villages and townes.
Another thing William the Conqueror ministred against this nation, for the fruitfull country lying south from Sarum unto the Sea, he dispeopling down towns and villages for 30 miles, layd open out of pollicy, to have ariving from Normandy in time of need, others say for beasts of his own game in hunting, or to use the words of Gualter Mapes who lived immediately after, to dedicate the same unto wild beasts and doggs game, which place formerly called Icene was ever since called the New Forrest Imposed great taxes both pecuniary and corporall on such as offended in hunting his game, insomuch that he was called the father of wild beasts. When the children of Israel desired a King, I Sam. 8.14.15. Samuel tels them, he will take your fields, your vineyards, and your olive trees, even the best of them and give them to his servants., 15 And he will take the tenth of your seed & your vineyards, and give them to his officers and servants: Such things did William the Conqueror unto the English nation, as appeares by this declaration of him: And as William the Conqueror did take away the common that belonged to the poore, so have many great men of this kingdome done the same thing, such like oppressions God complaineth of in Mica. 2.2 They covet fields and take them away by violence, and houses and take them away, so they defraud a man and his house, even a man and his family, that they have got the spoile of the poore into their houses through their oppression.
This kind of cruelty hath undone many poore people in this kingdome to the ruine and decay both of their wives and children, to the dishonour of Christianity, and the provoking the wrath of God to consume the land.
Of the tithes that were payd unto the spirituality.
In the 14th. yeare of Henery the 3d. King of England died, Stephen Lancton Archbishop of Canterbury by whom the Chapters of the Bible in that order and number as we now have them were first distinct: After the death of Stephen Lancton fell strife between the King and the Monks of Canterbury for the election of their Archbishop, the Monks chose one Hevesham, the King preferred Richard Chancelor of Lincolne, and articulated against the other, that he was the son of a fellon committed & hanged, also that he had lien with a Nun and had children by her, the matter like to go hard on the kings part, the kings protector promised and granted in his name, to be given to the Pope the tenth part of all the goods in England, the next yeare the Pope sendeth his own Chaplaine Stephen to require the tithes of all moveable goods in England, and also the corne yet growing against the next yeare was taxed to pay the Pope.
The ordering and deviding of spirituall estate, was first from Rome, Anstin sendeth to Pope Gregory to know how it should be devided, to whom Pope Gregory sendeth these orders that it should be distributed.
The first to the Bishops hospitall, the second to the clergy, the third to poore, the fourth to the repaying of Churches.
The miserie that these tithes have brought upon the land are these two in short. First, when the husbandman hath plowed, sowed and reapt, then commeth the tithmonger and carries away the tenth part of the husbandmans labour, his cost, charge and profit. Secondly it hath upholden and maintained a falce minestry in pomp, state and pride, whose first rice was from the whore of rome.
Of the sorts of persons that are enemies to the poore people of the nation; Iacob sayth Gen. 49.5. Simion and Levi are instruments of cruelty, even so the wicked ruler and the wicked priest, are instruments of cruelty towards the poor and honest people, therefore in many places of scripture they are set together as being joyned (or Levi) together in wickednesse as in these places.
Places of Scripture where Peere, Ruler and Priest, are complained of together.
Zep. 3.3.4. Her princes within her are roaring lyons, her Judges are ravening wolves, they gnaw not the bones till the morrow, 4 Her Prophets are light and trecherous persons, her Priests have poluted the sanctuary, they have done violence to the law. Mica. 3.9,10,11. Heare this I pray you ye heads of the house of Iacob, and Princes of the house of Israell, that abhor iudgment and pervert all equity, 10 They build up Sion with blood, and Ierusalem with iniquity. 11 The heads thereof iudge for reward, the Priests thereof teach for hire, the prophets thereof devine for money, yet will they lean upon the Lord and say, is not the Lord among us, no evil can come upon us. Ezek. 22.27.28. Her princes in the midest of her are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood to destroy soules, to get dishonest gaine, 28 And her prophits have dawbed them with untempered morter.
Scriptures speaking of the tyrany and unjustnesse of Princes and Rulers, unto (or upon) the people. Isay. 1.23. Thy Princes are rebellious, and companions of the eves, every one loveth gifts and followeth after rewards, they judge not the fatherles, neither doth the cause of the widdow come neare them. Isay. 3.15. What means ye that ye beat my people, sayth the Lord, and grind the faces of the poore. Ier. 5.5. I will get me to the great men, and will speak unto them, for they have known the way of the Lord, and the judgments of their God, but these have altogether broken the yoke, and burst the bands.
These scriptures may very fitly and upon good ground be applyed to corrupt judges, counsellors and lawyers, whose rice was from a tyrant and actings hath bin oppression to the commons of England: Who although they be members of the body of England, and so should seeke in every respect the liberty of their fellow members as is their duty so to doe, according to the law of equity, do notwithstanding hold up for their own particular profit, such customes as was made by the Conqueror on purpose to inslave the commons of England, as the law in a unknown tongue, the pleading of causes for money, and the foure tearms of the yeare, which is against freedome and liberty, and the beginning of them from the divel & a tyrant.
With what heart can an upright minded man (knowing the unjustnesse of a practice that is destructive to the weale publick) practise and go on in the same course of tyrany still. If there be any love to liberty, any bowels of compassion in any man, let them thinke on the yokes that yet lie upon the English nation untaken away.
Of other oppressions that have bin used to the poore, whereby they have bin much impoverished.
Isay. 3.14 Ye have eaten up the vineyards, and the spoyle of the poore is in your houses. Ezek. 11.3. Which say it is not neare, this city is the caldron, and we be the flesh. Ier. 5.26, 27, 28. For among my people are found wicked men, they lay wait as he that setteth snares, they set a trap, they catch men, 27 as a cage is full of birds so are their houses full of deceit, therefore they are becom great, 28 They are waxen fat, they shine, they overpasse the deeds of the wicked.
Those that have a hand in these oppressions are all sorts of great men who keep under the poor by a tyranicall custome, or by greatness, and they are three sorts especially, the Lords of the mannor, by taking fines & harriots, the incloser of the common away from the people, the impropriators otherwise called Parsons, that have the tithes of the parish.
Of those works that please the Lord better then prayer and humiliation.
Isay, 1. 15, 16, 17. When ye spread forth your hands I will hide mine eyes from you, when ye make many prayers, I will not heare, your hands are full of blood, 16 Wash you, make you cleane, put away the evill of your doings from before mine eyes, cease to doe evill, 17 learne to doe well, relive the oppressed, seek judgment. Isay. 58.3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Wherefore have ye fasted say they, and thou seest it not, wherefore have we assisted our souls, & thou takest no knowledge. This or after this manner hath bin the expression of some Priests upon the dayes of humiliation: God telleth them the reason wherefore he did not hear them. Beholde in the day of your fasts ye find pleasure, and exact in all your labours, or things wherein ye greive others. 4. Behold ye fast for strife and debate, & to smite with the fist of wickednesse, ye shall not fail as this day to make your voyce to be heard on high. 5 Is it such a fast that I have chosen a day for a man to afflict his soul & to hang down his head like a bulrush, and to spread sackloth and ashes under him, wilt thou call this a fast, or an acceptable day to the Lord, 6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen, to loose the bands of the wickednesse, to let the oppressed go free,, to undoe the heavy burthens, and that ye break every heavy yoke. 7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry & that thou bring the poore that are cast out of thy house, when thou see'st the nake to cover him, and that thou hide not thy selfe from thine owne flesh. Zac. 7.5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Speake unto all the people of the land & to the priests saying, when ye fasted and mourned in the fifth and tenth moneth (even those seven yeares) did ye at all fast unto me (even unto me) 6 When ye did eat, and when ye did drink, did ye not eat for your selves, and drink for your selves, 7 Should ye not heare the words which the Lord hath cryed by the former prophets, when Hierusalem was in prosperity, and the cityes round about her, when men inhabited in the south of the playne. 8 And the word of the Lord came unto Zechariah saying, 9 Thus speaketh the Lord of hoasts saying, execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassion every man to his brother, 10 Oppresse not the widdow nor the fatherlesse, the stranger nor the poor, and let none of you imagine evill agaihnst his brother in your heart.
Zec. 8. 16. 17. These are the things that ye shall doe, speake ye every man truth to his neighbour, execut ye the judgment of truth & peace in your gates, 17 And let none of you imagine evill in your hearts against his neighbor, and love no false oath, for all these things doe I have sayth the Lord.
God sayth he will have mercy and not sacrifice, Hos. 6. 6. So when Saul did not obey the voyce of the Lord, Samuell telleth him, I Sam. 15. 22. That to obey is better then sacrifice, and to hearken then the fat of rams, equitie and justice being of more consequence, then all the sacrifices of prayer and humiliation.
But if inquirie be made, why not fastings and humiliation kept when there is peace as when there is trouble.
I answer, because the oppressors of the people are then in no danger to have their actions questioned nor brought to account, and therefore they are secure, and as David sayth thinketh, I shall never be changed, but incourageth himselfe in his wickednesse, and so worketh a deceitfull work. Pro. 11. 18. Now in any division or trouble in a kingdom the great ones having done most unjustnesse are in most feare, because the vulgar sort of people are not so much look't upon as they, and no so liable to punishment as they, therefore they set up days of humiliation.
Exhortations that the Lord giveth in scripture that oppressions may be left.
Ier. 7. 3. Amend your wayes. Isay. 1. 17. Learn to doe well, seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherlesse, plead for the widdow.
Ezek. 18, 31. Cast away from you all your transgressions whereby ye have transgressed against me.
Outward sins calles for an outward reforming, therefore the Lord so many times calleth unto the sons and daughters of men to amend their wayes and to leave off oppression and cruelty.
The Lord promiseth outward blessings unto a nation or people, when they leave off outward oppressions.
Isay. 1. 18. 19. Come now let us reason togeather sayth the Lord, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they be red like crimson, they shall be white as wooll. 19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good fruits of the land.
Ier. 7.13. Thus sayth the Lord of hoasts the God of Israell, amend your wayes, and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place, 5 For if ye throughly amend your wayes and your doings, if ye throughly execute judgment, between a man and his neighbour, 6 if ye oppresse not the stranger, the fatherlesse and the widdow, and shed no innocent blood in this place, then will I cause you to dwell in this place.
Ier. 18.7. If I speak against a nation to pluck it up, to root it out, & to destroy it, 8 If that nation against whom I have pronounced, turne from their evill, I will repent of the evill that I had thought to do unto them. Ezek. 33.14. When I say to the wicked, thou shalt surely die, if he turne from his sin and do that which is lawfull and right, 15 If the wicked restore the pledg, give againe that he hath robbed, walk in the statute of life without committing iniquity, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
The Law did command things lawfull & right between man and man, & also did shew what their blessing should be, that kept the law. Deu. 28. 1, to the 14. and also threatned such punishments as was for their breaking of the law. Deu. 28.15. to the end of the Chap. So also the prophets they declared that sins do withhold good things from us. Isay. 29.3. And therefore if ever we look that peace should come upon England, these customs, & arbitrary powers, must be thrown down, which enslave the nation.
The woes that are pronounced in scripture against severall sorts of oppressions.
Isay. 5. 22, 23. Woe unto them that are mighty to drink strong drink, 24. Which justifie the wicked for a reward, and take the righteousnesse of the righteous from him.
Isay. 10.12. Woe to them that decree unrighteous decrees, that write greviousnesse, which they have prescribed: 2 To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widdows may be their prey.
Mica. 2.1.2. Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evill upon their beds, when the morning is light they practise it, because it is in the power of their hands. 2 They covet fields and take them by force, and houses and take them away, so they defraud a man and his house, even a man and his heritage.
Amos. 6.1. Woe to them that are at ease in Sion, and trust in the mountaine of Samaria, which are named chiefe of the nations. 3 Ye that put from you the evill day, and cause the seat of violence to come neare, 4 That ly upon beds of Ivorie, and stretch themselves upon their couches, eat the lambs out of the flock, and calves out of the stall, that chant to the sound of the viall, and invent to themselves instruments of musick like David, 6 That drink wine in boles & anoint themselves with the chief ointment, but they art not grieved for the afflictions of Joseph. Hab. 2.9. Woe to him that coveteth an evill covetousnes to his house, that he may set his nest on high, that he may be delivered from the power of evill, 11 For the stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beame out the timber shall answer it. Luke, 11. 46. Woe unto ye also ye lawyers, for ye lade men withy heavie burthens grevious to be borne, 52 Woe unto ye lawyers for ye have taken away the key of knowledge. It is an old proverb that he best knowes where the shooe pinches him that wears it, so he best knowes how heavie the oppression is that is under it, and he cannot be ignorant that doth oppresse, therefore let whosoever is concerned in these oppressions over the people, know for a certaine that these woes are likewise pronounced against them, for thinkest thou O man that does the things that thou shalt escape the judgment of God. Rom. 2.3.
Wherefore the Lord hath a controversie with the land.
Isay. 1.23. Thy Princes are rebellious and companions of theeves every one loveth gifts and followeth after rewards, they judge not the fatherlesse, neither doth the cause of the widdow come neare them.
24. Therefore thus saith the Lord of hoasts, the mighty one of Israell: ah I will ease me of my adversaries, and avenge me of my enemies. Isa. 3.14. The Lord will enter into judgment with the ancients of his people, and the Princes thereof for ye have eaten up the Vineyard: the spoile of the poore is in your houses. Isa. 5.22. Woe to them that are mighty to drinke wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drinke. 23. Which justifie the wicked for a reward, and take the righteousnesse of the righteous from them. 24, Therefore as the fire devoureth the stuble, and the flame consumeth the chaffe, for their root shall be rottenesse, and their blossome shall goe up as dust, because they have cast away the Law of the Lord of hoasts, and despised the holy one of Israell. 25. Therefore is the anger of the Lord kindled against his people.
Isay. 30.12. Wherefore thus sayth the Lord, the holy one of Israel, because ye despise this word, & trust in oppression and perversnesse & stay thereon, 13 Therefore this iniquity shall be as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall whole breaking commeth suddenly at an instant.
Isay. 42.24. Who gave Iacob for a spoyle & Israell to the robbers, did not the Lord against whom he had sinned for they would not walk in his wayes neither be obedient unto his law. 25 Therefore hath he powred out upon him the fury of his anger, & the strength of battell, & it hath set him on fire round about.
The Lord never bringeth a judgment upon a land, but when there is an abuse of mercy, and instead of equity and justice, there is tyranny and oppression, for which the Lord hath brought Kings & kingdoms to confusion.
How the Lord hath brought kings & princes with kingdomes to confusion, and the same measure that they have made ot others, hath bin measured to them againe, I shall begin first by scripture and then by chronicle,
Of persons how punished for unjustnesse.
Pharoh King of Egypt caused the male children of Israell to be killed Exe. 1.16. Had afterward all the first born of the land of Egypt destroyed by the hand of God. Exod. 12.29. And it came to passe that at midnight the Lord smote all the first borne of the land of Egypt, from the first borne of Pharaoh that sate upon the throne, unto the first borne of the captive that was in the dungeon.
Adonibezek having cut off the thumbs and great toes of threescore & ten kings that gathered their meat under his table, had his own thumbs and great toes cut off. Judg. 1.6.7.
Ahab King of Israell for taking away the vineyard of Naboth had this pronounced against him by the prophet I Kings, 21.19. Hast thou killed and also taken possession, thus sayth the Lord, in the place where the doggs licked the blood of Naboth, shall doggs lick thy blood even thine.
Of kingdomes for what they have bin given into their enemies hand.
The kingdome of Israell was given into the hand of the Assyrians because they obeyed not the voyce of the Lord, to walk in his wayes, 2 King. 18. 11.12. And the King of Assyria did carry away Israell into Assyria and put them in Halah and labor by the river of Gozan, and in the Cityes of the Meads: 12 Because they obeyed not the voyce of the Lord their God, but transgressed his covenant, and all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded, and would not heare them nor do them, and this was threatened should come upon them for the sinnes before mentioned in the 19 Section. Isay. 5.22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30.
The land of Judah was delivered into the hand of the King of Babylon because they would not hearken unto the word of the Lord. 2 Chron. 34.16. They mocked the messengers of God, despised his words, and misused his Prophets, untill the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedie.
The land of Assiria was to be destroyed, because they oppressed the people of Israell when they had them in captivity. Isa. 10.6.7.8.184.108.40.206. Wherefore it shall come to passe, that when the Lord hath performed his whole worke upon mount Zion and on Ierusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the King of Assiria, and the glory of his high lookes.
The land of Babylon was to be delivered into the hands of the Meads and Persians, because they oppressed the children of Iudah, when they had them in captivity. Ier. 50.17. Israell is like a scattered sheepe, the Lions have driven him away. First, the King of Assiria hath devoured him. And last, this Nebuchadnezzer King of Babylon hath broken his bones.
18. Therefore thus saith the Lord of hoasts the God of Israell, behold I will punish the King of Babylon and his land, as I have punished the King of Assiria.
God delivers up one King into the hand of another to accomplish his will, and to punish them for their iniquity: but if that Nations that hath taken the other captive oppresse them, then must they also be destroyed by another people.
How Posterities have been cut off from rule and dignity for their wickednesse.
The house of Ely, a Iudge in Israell was cut off for their sinne and oppressing the people, (as was prophesied in) I Sam. 220.127.116.11. (and accomplished) I Sam. 18.104.22.168.21.
The house Saul cut off because he obeyed not the voyce of the Lord, (as was prophesied) I Sam. 15.28. (and accomplished) 2 Sam. 4.8.
The house of Ieroboam cut off that none was left to pisse against the wall, as was prophesied, I King. 22.214.171.124. and accomplished, I Kin: 15.29.
The house of Baashacut off (as was prophisied) I King. 16.3.4. and accomplished, I King. 16.12.13.
The house of Ahab cut off, (as was prophisied, I King. 126.96.36.199. and accomplished, 2 Kin. 10.11.
Seeing it is thus, that God overthroweth the house of the wicked, Prov. 14.11. And drives away the wicked in their wickednesse, Prov. 14.12. Let all Rulers take to heart the exhortation that Daniell gave to Nebuchadnezzer. Dan. 4.27. Wherefore let my counsell be acceptable unto thee, and breake off thy sinnes by righteousnesse, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poore, if it may be a healing of thine error.
How the Lord hath shewed his just judgements upon many Kings of England before the Conquest, and since, as is set down in briefe in the summary of English Chronickles.
Madan the sonne of Locrine, Ruler of Britaine, used great tyranny among the Britaines, and being at his disport of hunting, was devoured by Wolves.
Archigallo, brother to Gorbomannus was crowned King of
, he extorted from men their goods to enrich his treasury: for which cause by the States of the Realme he was deprived of his Royal dignity.
Emerianus brother to Morgan succeeded in the Realme of Britaine, and when he had tyranuously raigned seven yeares he was deposed.
Gratian that was sent into Britaine of Maximus to defend the lawes from Barbarians, took on him the Kingdome of Britaine, and exercised all tyranny and exaction upon the people, for which he was abhorred of the Britaines, and by them was slaint.
Sigebert was made King of west Saxons, he was cruell and tyrannious toward his Subjects, and forasmuch as he continued still in his malice, and would not amend, he was deprived of all Kingly authority: and lastly, as a people forlorne, wandring alone in a wood, was slaine of a swine-heard, whose Lord and Master when he had reigned as King, he had wrongfully put to death.
Edwine King of England, a wicked man, he became odible to his Subjects, and of the North-thumbers and people of middle England that rose against him, was deprived when he had reigned three yeares.
William the Conqueror as Chronicles doe testifie as he raigned tyranniously, so the guilt of his ungodly actions toward the English lay upon his conscience at his death, for he confessed that he had used much cruelty toward the English Natives: and Mr. Speed in his Chronicle of England saith, that these were the expressions of William the conqueror. Being now laden with many sinnes, O Christ how I trembled, who am reddie to be called hence, and to be tried by the severe, but just examination of God! when he was dead he was forsaken of his friends by reason of the stinking of his corps, that none could hardly endure him, nor could he be buried or laid in the ground, untill there was satisfaction given to the man from whom William the Conqueror had taken a piece of ground violently away, and built thereon a Temple, this is declared by many Chronicles.
William Rufus the second sonne of William the conqueror began his raigne over the Realme of England, in the year 1078. He was various and unconstant of his demeaner, very covetous, and there withall cruell, for he burdened his people with unreasonable taxes, he pilled the rich, and opprest the poore, and caused many to loose their lands for small causes.
William Rufus at his disport of hunting, by glancing of an arrow, that Walter Tyrell a French King did shoote, was wounded to death in the new forrest in Hampshire, on a lammas day, & buried at Winchester. Iohn Harding writeth that William Rufus to inlarge the same Forrest, overturned foure Abbies, seventeene parish Churches, and all the towne, thereto belonging. Edward the second King of England, giving himselfe wholy to the appetite and pleasure of the body, and not regarding to governe the Realme by discretion and justice, so that he became to his Lords odible, and in the end was deposed from his kingdome. Richard the second taxed the Kingdome, whereupon Iohn Gowre writeth as Harding affirmeth these verses following.
When this King first began to raigne,
the lawes neglected were:
Wherefore good fortune him forsooke,
and the 'arth did quake for feare.
The people also whom he poll'd,
against him did rebell:
This time doth yet bewaile the woes
that Chronicle doe oft tell.
The foolish counsell of the lewd
and young he did receive:
And grave advice of aged heads,
he did reject and leave.
And then for greedy thirst of Coine,
some Subjects he abused:
To gaine thir goods into his hands,
thus he the land abused.
And this Richard the third was by Henry Duke of Lancaster sent to the Tower of London prisoner, and in Pomfret Castle died.
Three reasons why God doth raise up one power to destroy another.
First, because the rich having the poore under their power, refuse to release them, and this is cleare in Pharaoh when God sent him to let the children of Israell goe from serving him, his answer was, I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israell goe, Exod. 5.2 So also did Nebuchadnezzer, Ier. 50.33. Thus saith the Lord of hoasts, the children of Israell, and the children of Iudah were oppressed together, all that took them captives held them fast, they refused to let them goe. 34. their redeemer is strong the Lord of hoast is his name, he shall throughly plead their cause that he may give rest to the land, and disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon. thus God dealeth with the sons of men that he delivereth the oppressed out of the hand of the oppressor.
Secondly, Because the Lord will plead the oppresseds cause against him that did oppresse, and therefore there is this exhortation given, Pro. 22.22. Rob not the poore, because he is poore, neither oppresse the afflicted in the gate. 23 For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoile the soule of those that spoiled them: and so the Lord pronounceth woe to them that spoile, Isa. 33.1. Woe to those that spoilest, and was not spoiled: and dealest treacherously, and they dealt not treacherously with thee.
Thirdly, because the Lord will deliver the oppressed out of the hands of the oppressor, therefore God hath said, he will deliver the poore from him that swelleth against him, and will set him at rest. Psal. 12.5. therefore he is said to breake the yoke of the oppressor, Isa. 9.4. from off the oppresseds neck Isa. 10.27. And they shall be delivered from the hard bondage wherein they were made to serve, Isa. 14.3. And therefore those that overcome, are to remember allway, that they oppresse not them that they have taken, knowing this, that they are for a time to have dominion over those that they have overcome, and as they use them that are brought low, (though wicked) they shall be served so themselves of others. Isay. 188.8.131.52. Ier. 51.33, 34, 35, 36.
The reason why the Commoners of England have bin inslaved and not set cleere free since the conquest.
First, because those men who had a hand in oppressing the people, have all wayes bin in power and authority, whose first rice was from the Normans, and the Normans bringing in oppressions upon the Nation, partly by the posterities of the Normans themselves who succeeded their parents have upholden those arbitrary yokes that their fathers made to crush the natives of England, and also by the purchase of Englishmen, who were greedy of gaine, bought many times the customes and places that the Normans made at the conquest, and many times by the gift that was given (though arbitrary) have upholden those costomes, because they brought in great gaines unto them, and thus a pretended free people have bin truly kept in bondage.
Three sorts of men have all wayes stood constantly (though arbitrarily) in power and dominion, and they have bin these, 1. The Kings. 2. The Lords spirituall. 3. The Lords temporall, and by these hath the Nation been opprest; And a fourth may be added, such as have been chose for Parliament men by the Counties, as first, Iudges, Councellors and Lawyers of the one ranck, whose rice hath bin evidently shown, in this discourse, to be from a tyrant, who devised laws and customes to inslave the natives of England.
Secondly Lords of Mannors, and takersin of Common from the poor, whereby the commoners have bin opprest.
Thirdly Impropriators or Tithmongers, who likewise lived upon the fat of the land, and the sweat of others mens browes.
The second reason why the natives of England have not had their liberty, is because that those men before mentioned, were chosen by the counties, for their Representives being oppressors of the people, so they would never put down such oppressions, as they themselves were concerned in, for if they had, then they should have acted against themselves, so that according to Christs words, A bad tree cannot bring forth good fruit, for the tree is known by his fruit. Mat. 12.33.
And if any thinke that I have not spoken that which is true, or more then is true, I shall desire them to consider,
First, whether the law that came in by the will of a Tyrant, in an unknown tongue to inslave the Natives of England, hath been quite put down ever since the Conquest.
Secondly, whether fines, rents, & harriots to the Lords of the Manner whereby many poore people have suffered, hath bin taken away from off the neck of the poore widdow and fatherlesse childe.
Thirdly, where the Commons that have bin unjustly taken away be restored againe.
Fourthly, where the tithe of the parish be put down, although it hath been sufficiently proved by many men to be against the word of God as now they are given, and the liberty of the subject.
Now consider seriously if this hath not bin the cause, because such men as were concerned inn these things, were alwayes put in authority.
Why God let the wicked many times reigne long and oppresse the poor.
First, because that he useth them many times as scourges over the poor, that they are thereby driven to the Lord for helpe in the time of need, so was the children of Israell many times, being under the hands of their enemies, Iudg. 2.18. Iudg. 3.15. Psal. 77.34.
Secondly, because the iniquity of the wicked may be full, through their not hearkening to the voyce of the Lord, that admonisheth them to leave off their tyranny, therefore are they reserved for the day of wrath. Pro. 16.4.
Why God puls down the wicked many times from their principalitys and powers: Solomon sayth, Eccl. 3.16.17. I saw under the sun the place of iudgment, that wickednesse was there, and the place of righteousnesse where was iniquity, I thought in my heart, God will iudge the righteous and the wicked, for time is there to every purpose under heaven. Eccl. 5.8. If thou seest the oppressions of the poor, and violent perverting of iudgment, & iustice, marvell not at it, for he that is higher then the highest regardeth, and therefore he doth destroy them.
First, that as they have sown in the flesh, so shall they of the flesh reape againe, by the flesh I meane, all those carnall thoughts, of envy, malice, and oppression, for whatsoever a man soweth that shall he reape. Gal. 6.7. Iob. 4.8. Pro. 22.8. Hosea, 10.13.
Secondly, because that the greatnesse of falce powers must fall, so the mountaines and hils must be brought low, who art thou O great mountaine before Zerubabell, thou shalt become plaine. Zec. 4.7.
Thirdly, that no flesh must glory in the presence of the Lord, For God will put down all his enemies under his feet. I Cor. 15.25. Psal. 110.1. And the Lord alone will be exalted. Isay. 2.17.
Fourthly, because God will shake the earth, Isay. 2.19. They shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for feare of the Lord, and for the glory of his Majesty, when he ariseth terribly to shake the earth.
Fifthly, Because Christ the stone, will smite the image, even the earthly powers. Dan. 5.35. And then he himselfe will fill the whole earth.
Thus earthly powers must decay, by earthly powers, I meane those powers that execute not righteousnes and judgment, but oppresse the people and tyrannise over them, and therefore they are sayd to be destroyed because they delight not in judgment. Pro. 21.7.
And to this, end observe well the suddennesse, and surenesse, of the distruction of the wicked being taken away, from doing of that wrong which he would have done, I shall only set down the book, chap. and verse, for these things before mentioned.
Iob. chap. 15. ver. 20.21, to 35. Iob. chap. 20 ver. 5.6 to 29. Iob. chap. 13. ver. 2.3. to 25. Iob. chap. 27. ver. 13.14 to 28. Psal. 1.6 Psal. 7.11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16. Ps. 9.16. Ps. 0[10?].6. Ps. 28.4.5 Ps. 34.16.21. Ps. 37. ver. 1 to 38. Ps. 52. v. 2. to 7. Ps. 55.19. Ps. 58.6, 7, 8. Ps. 64. v. 5. to 10. Pro. 10.3.7, 25, 27, 29. Pro. 11.3, 5, 6, 21, 27, 31. Pro. 12.2, 3, 13, 27. Pro. 13. 6, 9, 11. Pro. 14.11, 32. Pro. 15.25. Pro. 21.12. Eccl. 10.8.9. Isay. 9.2. ver. 11, to 21. Isay. 4.3. v. 8. to 15. Isay. 5.14,15.
Scriptures speaking of the deliverance of the poor out of the hands of the oppressor.
As I have shewn the destruction of the wicked, so likewise I shall shew that the Lord will deliver the poor or oppressed, out of the hands of those that spoyled them.
Psal. 5.11. Ps.9.9.18 Ps. 10.17.18. Ps. 12.5. Ps. 34.6, 7, 17, 19, 22. Ps. 33.33, 34, 37, 39, 40. Ps. 55.22. Pro. 15.22. Pro. 17.2. Isay. 49.24, 25. Isay. 51.22.23. Ier. 50.11.12. Ier. 51.33, 34, 35, 36. Eze. 13.23.
I shall say no more, but only give a word of exhortation, and so conclud.
God who is just in all his wayes, and righteous in all his workes, and accordingly as men act one toward another, so they must be payd againe, therefore all you, that have and hold, that in your power, that doth destroy the freedome of the nation, in any manner how ever it may nearely concerne you, leave it off willingly, before the day come, that will take it away whether you will or no. You have heard what hath befallen Kings and kingdomes, Empires and Provinces, how they have come to nought, by being tyrannicall over the poor, and as it hath fallen out to them, let that be a warning unto you, and do you take example according to the proverb happy is he whom other mens harmes doth make him to beware.
The exhortation of some men (though heathens) are usefull in our daies to this generation, Never open thy gates to flatterers, and dissemblers, nor listen with thine eares to murderers, never chuse the rich tyrant, nor abhor the poor just man, never pardon a man for his great riches, never give a reward nor do good for affection, nor give correction only for punishment, never leave wickednesse unchastned, nor goodnesse without reward, never deny justice to them that demand it, nor mercy to them that desire it, never commit evill for malice, nor villany for avarice, labour alwayes to be beloved, of them that be good, and dreaded of them that be evill, finally, be thou favourable to the poor who can do but little, and thou shalt be favoured of God who is able to doe much, Tolen.
Microfiche document number: C4762, Coales, John. A glasse of truth. Imprinted at London, 1649. University Microfilms International, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106.
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