Concerning Public affaires in Reference to forreign
The Public affaires of Christian States in their happiest Condition, are like unto the happines of Priuat men in three things?
First that as a Priuat man cannot bee counted happy: except his Way bee directed to serue Christ in the Kingdome of God, which is Righteousnes, peace and ioy in the Holly Ghost Rom: 14: 17. 18. Isay. 60. 12: so no Public state shall bee blessed or established; but that which is subordinat unto the purpose of God; for the aduancement of Christ in his Kingdome.
[left margin: what the happines is of all states in Generall?]
Secondly as a Priuat mans Condition cannot bee Counted happy: except he be within himself in health; and haue abilitie and Strength to goe about his buisines; that is except both in Soule & Body he bee of a sound and actiue Constitution; So no Public State can bee Counted happy; except it bee within it self free from diseases; that is from tumultuous distempers; and in a quiet & Plentifull Possession, of things necessary and usefull for its safety and Prosperity, both in Spirituall and Bodily Concernments?
Thirdly as no Priuat man can be counted happy; except he bee beloued of his domesticks; and in some Neighbourly way of Correspondency towards his Neighbours; with good Reputation, free from vexation, iniuries and Contempt, So no Public State can bee Counted happy; that hath no Credit at home, or no good Correspondencie with its Neighbours abroad or at least with some of the best of them. For as one man is to another; So is one State (which is a Body of men) unto another State, and he that can Rule himself well, first towards God; and then towards men; he shall be enabled by the same Rules Proportionally (if he can Looke beyond himself upon Public Concernments, when he is intrusted therewith) to order the affaires of a State in a subordination unto God and for the wellfare of mankind?
This much in the Generall of all States: as for our Present Constitution within our selues in Particular. I shall say this?
[left margin: what the Constitution of our state is in Particular]
First how farre wee are in a way of Order within ourselues to uphold the Kingdome of Christ, I shall not now tell my Opinion: Gods Spirit will at last appeare to moue upon these waters; although as yet they are but a Chaos?
In the second Place how sound wee are, how healthfull and how Strong wee are within our selues, although wee haue been under great pangs and throwes, before the manchild of this Liberty could bee brought forth and are not yet free from all the Paroxysmes of Changes; which euery infant Commonwealth is lyable unto; yet wee find by the good hand of God, upon those who haue purchased our Liberty; and [h.....? MS edge missing] trust of Protecting it still reposed in them; that although wee are not quiet and setled in Peace [? MS edge missing] that there is no extremitie of danger apparent; but rather a good naturall Constitution of [? MS edge missing] and vigour: able to expell the euill humours; which haue made this Body Politic unsound [a..? MS edge missing] to distempers; and which haue been or are apt to obstruct the growth thereof; that it should [not? MS edge missing] come to the Stature of a Perfect man: And what may bee aduised or suggested towards the full recouery of our health; towards the increase of our Strength, and towards the Confirmation of our Sound and hearty union at home, I shall not mention at this time; although happily it might be seasonable, but shall watch for some other opportunity; which it may bee the Lord will afford in due time: [left margin: what the scope of this discourse is?] my aime at present shall bee onely this to suggest that which may tend to lay a iust ground for our Credit as well at home as abroad, and for our Correspondencie with the better sort of our Neighbours?
And to doe this let me take up this Maxime?
That as Credit amongst men is no lesse worth then money: So reputation amongst States is no lesse worth then Power, and as men without Credit cannot trade, with the aduantage which others doe that haue it; so States that want Reputation, will meet with great disaduantages, wasting their Strength which others that haue Reputation are not subject unto?
For to all that know any thing in Public affaires; it is euident, that the interest which is gotten by Reputation in the affection of a People; is more effectuall to cary on a designe; then all the might which can bee used without such an interest in them; which hath been apparent in the late Conquests of Sweden upon the Roman Emperour? which were gotten against him in his greatest Strength by meere Reputation without any Strength Considerable?
[left margin: for what cause wee should intend to maintaine the Credit of the state at home & abroad & a Correspondencie with Neighbour. Protestants upon a Religious account?]
But to speake of ourselues as wee now Stand in some Competent degree of Credit: as to our affaires at home? yet in a dubious esteem amongst all our Neighbours, as to forreign actings; and under the Preiudice of the disaffection of most of them, as to our future designes; it seemes aduisable, that wee should seriously intend to look abroad amongst our Neighbours, not so much to gaine a name (although that in a State is not to be neglected) but to interest our selues in their affaires, so as to looke both to our owne safety and to the safety and wellfare of the Common Cause of Protestants: by which the Kingdome of Christ may bee aduanced amongst them. For without this Centrall designe I hope there will be litle or no ground of any Common interest; for Correspondencie betwixt us and any of our neighbours?
But if with this reall and upright designe, wee shall looke abroad to Concurre with such of our Neighbours; whom God is about to Call unto his owne Worke, that wee may Strengthen their hands therein: then wee may hope for two great aduantages thereby; the first is that by this meanes our Priuat quarrells at home about pettie matters will be husht; and wee brought to an neerer union within ourselues for such an Enterprise, whereas if such a purpose to fixe our Spirits; and raise
them aboue particular interests, be not taken in hand; our present animosities will growe upon us and being laide open thereby to all the Plots of our Aduersaries, who are now most actiue in Contriuing them, wee shall increase our diuisions till wee bee Consumed.
The Second is that being united amongst our selues, and with the Godly Party: which doth stand in need of our helpe abroad; wee shall bee in a Capacitie to approoue the sincerity of our aimes towards God and Man; wee may haue the honnour to fight under Christs banner against Babylon, and helpe the Lord against the mighty; and by this meanes engaging the affections of our distressed Brethren towards us: upon the best ground that this or any age can afford: our Credit & Reputation will bee raised in their thoughts deseruedly. There is therefore nothing more aduisable at this time for our owne Safetie at home to ward off destructiue Ruptures, for the Security of our honnest Neighbours abroad, for the Vindication of our former Actings from Reproach; and for the maintaining of the Protestant interest in time to come; then to set afoot some good Correspondencie, with the best of them, for a reall Concurrence with them in matters of Common Gospell Concernment?
[left margin: How this may bee done?]
And to bring this about: the onely way is to obserue the footsteps of Diuine Prouidence; and to trace the same; that wee may follow the ouvertures, which are thereby giuen to us to ioyne with others in his Worke.
[left margin: by obseruing the footsteps of Prouidence?]
The footsteps of Prouidence which I can trace; and at this time seeme to me most remarkable are these?
[left margin: In Holland]
1. That the honnest Party in Holland hath stood up for the maintaining of its iust Liberty, to preuent or Stoppe the incroachment of power which the Prince of Orenge Party did affect in a Royall way ouer the Prouinces, that they being engaged in a Warre against us: the management of all the power might be in the hands of those; that would serue their owne Turnes, and the turne of Charles Stuart against this Commonwealth, therewith?
[left margin: In France.]
2. That the French Protestants & euen some of the honnester sort of Papists also, are now awake to maintaine their Naturall Rights and Priuiledges against the Tyrannie & oppression of the Court of France.
[left margin: in the Switzer Cantons.]
3. That the Switzers doe not renew their League with the French but are in termes of high discontent with them, Partly for the Arreares of many yeares Pension or tribut hitherto vnpaid unto them by the French partly by reason of the Plots and Contriuances, whereby they haue found them going about to undermine their unity their Peace and their Liberty:
4. That the Protestant Switzers haue long agoe made it a designe of their State to sollicit all Protestants to Correspond in some neerer way of union amongst themselues, that the Common interest of Gospell freedoms may bee maintained against the Enemies thereof. This they haue done towards Sweden when I was last there, this they endeauour now towards us and Holland: and will not cease to deale with their neerer neighbours in France and Germanie to the same effect?
[left margin: In Sweden.]
5. That the Swedes although wee haue keept our selues at a great distance from them, and although they haue suffered Considerable dammages by the Cruelties of some of our Priuat men of Warre, and the Lingering Course of Iustice in the Admiraltie Court, yet haue not been taken off from their affection towards us; neither by our seeming neglect of them nor by the perswasions and solicitations of the Dutch, the French and of the Danes our Enemies who haue endeauoured many wayes to disaffect them against us: But yet they haue Constantly applyed themselues to enter into a neerer coniunction with us, and I am perswaded, that so long as the Lord Chauncellour Oxensterne is aliue; and that wee doe not slight their friendship, they will bee reall to us?
[left margin: In Germanie]
6. That in Germanie: the Protestants are Still under as great Persecution as euer by the Emperour and that the peace Concluded at Munster is not ratified at this Imperiall diet: but rather made questionable and doubtfull; which being Considered, it seemes apparent: that they intend to seek a new quarrell against the Protestant Partie; Which will engage the Swedes to come againe upon the Stage: as well to maintaine their owne Conquests as to uphold the Protestant Cause; whereunto wee are bound to haue a speciall eye: not onely because our late Kings did betray it; but because our owne safety and Prosperity will be wrapt up in it?
[left margin: and amongst all our Enemies.]
7. It is uery obseruable that the Noted Enemies of the Protestant Cause in France, in Germanie and in the Low Countries, haue a terrour upon their Spirits, and a strong apprehension, that if wee bee at Peace with Holland wee will ruine them: therefore the Orenge party together with those that act for Charles Stuart endeauour to strengthen themselues by the Worst of Papists and to make the quarrell between us and the Vnited Prouinces irreconciliable, lest by our union their Case become desperat; and because our offers of a Coalition unto the Vnited Prouinces are such as will take with the honnest party; therefore Monsieur Chaunt who was in Sweden to diuert the Queen from Corresponding with us, is now comming or come into Holland to Countermine the inclinations which may bee raised in the better sort to embrace our offers; which no doubt are the best that can be made unto them;
In these Circumstances of affaires which I call footsteps of Prouidence wee may obserue the ouvertures which are offered towards a Concurrence with those whom God doth set about his worke, and that wee may not mistake our Worke; or shoot at Rouers; let us first looke distinctly, upon that which wee call Gods Worke; and then Consider what in this iuncture of time may bee done by us to further it: that the Performance of our duty may redount to the establishment of our owne safety and the Comfort of our Brethren?
[left margin: Gods worke is apparent in these footsteps of Prouidence?]
The Peculiar worke which God is about at this time, seemes to bee, that in breaking the [yaakes?] of Tyranie, he will setle his Seruants in a Liberty which by the beauties of Holines he will make Glorious?
His designes of breaking the [yaakes?] of Tyrannie which he hath graciously fulfilled here, is also going on apace elsewhere; and seing by this meanes great distresse is brought upon the Nations euery where, whiles his Enemies endeauoure to make their yoakes stronger and heauier upon his People; yet our Comfort is that the heauier the yoake is made the sooner it will bee broken according to that saying of Christ, <left margin: Luk: 21. 28> When these things (viz) the great tribulation and distresse upon the Nations, begine to come to passe, then looke up and lift up your heads; for your deliuerance is at hand?
As for the setlement of that Liberty which hath been here purchased, and which is in view elsewhere though some pertake of the first fruits thereof, and some pretend much unto it: and labour for it as they Conceiue. yet till the Royall Law of Liberty in the Order of the Gospell bee receiued amongst the Professors thereof: it will neither bee setled nor Glorious: but kept still under a Cloud of Confusion and disorderlines.
Gods designe then is to purchase such a liberty unto his Children that they may hold forth the testimonie of Iesus in an Orderly way unto the World, and for this Cause he is about to[altered from the] break in peeces the power of all such as oppose this his Worcke, therefore if wee now can helpe foreward this Worke amongst our Neighbours: by such meanes as God doth allow off wee shall bee found as vessells of honour in his hand to serue our Generation in his Kingdome, but if wee set not ourselues to worke so much by his meanes in the way of our duty, as by humane strength and Policy: wee shall but increase our owne and others troubles:
[left margin: what our duty is to serue his Prouidence?]
Now the meanes to further this designe: which are, within the Compasse of our duty; and whereunto the footsteps of Prouidence doe giue us a Cleere overture to Cooperat with our Neighbours, are Chiefly the manifestation and insinuation of such truths; as will strengthen their hands in the purchasing and maintaining of their Liberty; and giue us an interest in their Counsells & actings For as the Enemies of the true Liberty on the one side, endeauoure by all meanes Possible to keep the minds of those that are under their power in bondage by all manner of deceitfulnes and false informations, Concerning our Proceedings, that wee being odious in their thoughts they may hinder all good Correspondencie between us and them: So wee should on the other side endeauoure to open their eyes, to let them see the truth of our Principles and of our Proceedings answerable thereunto; and discouer the falshood of their Leaders dealings towards them to keep them in slauery. [left margin: viz to publish the Truth of our Actings?] And to this effect some brief cleere and substantiall Treatises should bee penned and communicated unto them, concerning these things following?
[left margin: at home amongst ourselues?]
1. What the ground of the quarrell was between the King and Parlament at first, and after [? MS edge missing] between the sound part of the Parlament, and those that were not true to their first [Principles? MS edge missing] and the trust reposed in them, for vindicating of our Liberty? and how this quarrell grew [by? MS edge missing] degrees till it is come at last unto this issue?
[left margin: abroad with the Vnited provinces?]
2. What the Cause of the Warre is between us and the United Prouinces how wee were prouoked thereunto by the euill Instruments of that State; what our inclination is to peace, and the aduantages wee haue offered unto them to bring them to a Coalition with us; and what the designe of the Enemies of the Protestant Cause is to make this Coalition odious, and thereby to keepe us at variance
[left margin: & of our intentions towards all Protestants?]
3. What the true designe and ground of our desire is to keep a firme Correspondencie with our Neighbour Protestants: and in what termes wee intend to Stand towards them? and how our matters within our selues are and will bee ordered, and put in a posture to that effect.
These Treaties should bee penned in a priuat way; not in the name of the State, but yet exactly and truly put to paper; with the fore knowledge of those that are acquainted with the Passages of former and present transactions, nor should the largest of them exceed two or three sheets of paper, but being accurately and circumpectly couched they should meet with the misinformations which our Enemies præpossesse our Neighbours withall against us; and should bee imparted unto them by Priuat wayes, and insinuations, which may thus bee ordered?
[left margin: 2 to disperse & impart these treatises unto our Neighbours:]
First being translated into Latin, into French; and into Dutch both high and lowe, and Printed here: they should bee imparted to those that keep Correspondencie with forreigners: that in their Ordinary Communications they may send the same abroad unto their friends by way of familiar intelligence.
Secondly some fitte and knowing men; should be set <H?: a> worke as intelligencers to goe abroad amongst our Neighbours: either in a Public Way to such as make their Public applications to us; or in a Secret way to such unto whom wee tinke not fit to owne any public addresses? and both these kind of Messengers might bee made instrumentall to disperse these informations; and to possesse our Neighbours with the Truth thereof; Chiefly such of our Neighbours as haue receiued the Principles of true Christian Liberty namely the honnest party in Holland; and those that now beginne to appeare in France for the Protestant interest; and the Protestant Cantons of the Switzers: who being very iealous of their Neighbours that they endeauoure to undermine their Liberty: are Zealous to bring the Protestant States euery where to a good Correspondencie amongst themselues, for their mutuall support in that which is their Common interest, which endeauoure as it is uery Commendable in them, So they ought to bee encouraged therein, by the Concurrence of some endeuours[altered] of ours to the same effect; and if wee should lay none other ground of Correspondencie with the Switzer[altered from Switzers] Protestants: but this kind of negotiation[altered from negotiations] towards other Protestants, that wee may know how farre they aduance therein, and what inclination they find in others thereunto; it would be worth the while, for it is Certaine that matters are drawing on apace to an Vniuersall diuision between Papists & Protestants euery where, that is [catchword: such]
such as stand for a Rationall and Legall freedome to bee allowed to the members of all States; both in Religious and Ciuill matters; and between others that stand for a Slauish subiecting of all mens Consciences and rights to the Tyrannicall and arbitrary Gouvernment of such as are in power; For Poperie is nothing else at the bottome, but such a Way of rulling ouer mens Bodies and spirits, as men use in ruling ouer beasts. Now it is euident enough; that the free borne and the slauish borne Spirits; are diuiding themselues euery where apace, and that God is preparing them for an Vniuersall Conflict against each other, wherein the beast and the false Prophet, will be taken; and the Tyrants of the Earth brought into iudgment.
[left margin: 3 to entertaine our trauellers that come from abroad to see us with objects of Learning & Vertue, fit to ingratiat our wayes unto them.]
Thirdly some fitte persons should bee made use of to Conuerse with Strangers that Come from abroad, whether they come vpon theire owne score, or as attendants upon Public Ministers of State the Conuersation which should bee intended towards them; should bee a Ciuil entertainement of them, to obserue their inclinations, how they are affected towards us; to rectifie their mistakes concerning us: to dispose their affections to haue a right sense of our affaires; and to suggest unto such of them as are Capable of good Principles such things as will ingratiat our designes unto their apprehensions. [left margin: to which effect the Library at Iames house should be made public?] And because the ground of this kind of Conuersation and acquaintance: cannot well bee laid without some Common Center of ingenuitie and learning, whereunto such as are well bredde delight, to apply themselues; therefore the making of the Librarie at Iames house Public, and the shewing of the medalls would be a meanes; to draw the better sort of them hither, as to a Centrall Place, of ingenuous Commerce & entertainement; for all almost that come abroad to see Countries & fashions, enquire after that Library therefore such as haue any laudable curiositie for Learning, will bee willing to repaire thither: and there being met[altered] withall, they might bee so entertained, by some who should bee found meet to Conuerse with them; that they should haue Cause to returne home, better satisfied with us then when they came abroad. For to season the better sort of trauelling Gentlmen with good impressions, and a demonstration of our esteem of learning; and of our Care to entertaine the meanes thereof, will be no small aduantage to our Credit; who are traduced amongst our Neighbours to bee utter Enemies thereunto: and perhaps this may proue a greater ground of good Correspondencie between us and the best of them, then many are awarre of; if it can bee discreetly managed, for if the best and most iudicious witts; which trauell through the World to improue their parts, doe find amongst us, as in a Centrall place of Concurrence, that which doth aduantage them in their Way; and is able to Conuince them that wee are Sollicitous to set foreward the best enterprises for Learning and Vertue; they will not onely spread a good Sauour of our name abroad; but send[H alters from sent] hither others to bee bredde, and receiue the impressions and Principles of Vertue which they shall haue found Cultiuated[altered from Coultiuated] amongst us; and of this wee haue a notable Example; for heretofore upon the good Report of the way of our Ministers, teaching Practicall diuinity more powerfully then elsewhere, the Prince of Transyluania hath euer since sent his stipendiate schollars [? MS torn] to learn the Language and Conuerse with our Ministers, to bee trained up in our way for a seminary to his Churches[altered] so that by this wee may see how soone a Correspondencie for the things, of Christs kingdome may bee setled, with those that are thus Conuinced of our Pertaking of the Truth of the Gospell. [left margin: 4 to procure a Body of Practicall diuinity to bee compiled [altered from compilled] & imparted unto forreign Churches?]
But to aduance in a true Gospell way not onely the Credit of our Reformation; but a speciall interest in all the forreign Churches; which haue receiued the Principles of heauenly truth from the Scriptures; there is a meanes which leadeth most directly and immediatly thereunto; and that is that wee should impart unto them, that which many of them haue with much earnestnes desired to obtaine from us, namely a full Body of Practicall diuinity. Compiled out of our best Authors; which might bee done not onely to our owne great aduantage; but unto their satisfaction; if some of our ablest Godly Ministers and men of Parts in the Vniuersities, were engaged to take taskes, for the perfiting of such a Worke, and to engage them to doe this, there is nothing else requisite but to haue the buisines Recommended by the Chauncelours of the Vniuersities unto them
of <in> the Vniuersities; and by the Committee for the aduancement of Learning, to some of the Ministers of the Citie; and of other Parts, whose abilities are Eminent in this way. and what a singular Meanes this would bee to interest us in the Spirits of all the Godly Ministers abroad, and to propagate, the truth of the Gospell; and ingratiat our affaires unto them: cannot in few words bee expressed, but may bee easily understood by such as can conceiue of the usefulnes of such a Worke unto all, and of the acceptablenes thereof unto those who are Godly and who haue desired to obtaine it at our hands: Herewith also might bee published the Counsells of Christian[altered from Christians] Peace and Vnity: which haue been gathered a good many yeares agoe from amongst the Protestant Churches of all Parties, to shew the way of Reconcilling differences, and remouing scandals from the Public Profession; which obstruct the free passage of the Gospell towards those, that are yet in Ignorance, and in the Shadow of Death, and if upon these Accounts some of our Godly and able Ministers were encouraged & addressed to Correspond with some of the most eminent leading men in forreign Churches: the way of hauing a speciall influence, upon them: would bee so farre and cleerly opened that I am perswaded no power nor Policy of Antichrist would bee able, euer afterward to putte any stoppe thereunto?