« ForrigeFortsæt »
One Mitchell being put in prison upon great suspicion of his baving attempted to murder the late archbishop of St. Andrews, and there being no evidence against him, warrant was given by the duke of Lauderdale, then your Majesty's commissioner, and your council, to promise hiin his life, if he would confess; whereupon, he did confess; and yet, some years after that, that person, who, indeed, deserved many deaths, if there had been any other evidence against him, was, upon that confession, convicted of the crime, and the duke of Lauderdale, and his brother, being put to it by bim, did swear, that they never gave, or knew of any assurance of life given him: and when it was objected, that the promise was upon record, in the council books, the duke of Lauderdale did, in open court, where he was presnt only as a witness, and so ought to have been silent, threaten them, if they should proceed to the examination of that act of council, which, as he then said, might infer perjury on them that swore; and so did cut off the proof of that defence, which bad been admitted by the court, as good in law, and sufficient to save the prisoner, if proved. Thus was that man hanged opon that confession only, though the promise, that drew it from him, doth appear upon record, and can be proved by good and clear evidence. And from this your Majesty may judge, what credit may be given to such men.
We do not; at present, enlarge on other particulars, though of great importance ; such as monopolies, selling places and honours, turning men of known integrity out of their employments, to which they had a good and just right during their lives: the profits of one of ihe most considerable of these being sequestered for some time, and applied for the duchess of Lauderdale's use : the treating about, and receiv ng of, great bribes by the duke and duchess of Lauderdale, and the lord Hatton, and particularly from the towns of Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Lynlythgo, and many others, for procuring, from your Majesty, warrants for illegal impositions within these towns; the manifest and publick perverting of justice in the session; besides, the most signal abuses of the mint and copper coin, that are most grievous to all your subjects. But the number of these is so great, and they will require so many witnesses to be brought hither for proving them, that we fear it would too much trouble your Majesty now to examine them all; but your Mafesty shall have a full account of them afterwards.
One thing is humbly offered to your Majesty, as the root of these and many other oppressions, which is, that the method of governing that kingdom for several years hath been, that the lord Hation and his adhérents frame any letter that they desire from your Majesty to your council, and send it to the duke of Lauderdale, wbo returns it signed; and this is brought to the council; upon which, if at any time a debate ariseth concerning the matter of that letter, as being against, or with law; and when it is proposed, that a represeutation of that should be made to your Majesty; then the lord Hatton, in hiş insolent way, calls to have it put to the ques. tion, as if it were a crime to have any warrant either debated or. represented to your Majesty, which is procured by the duke of Lauderdale, or himself; and this is ecchoed by his party, and, by this means, any further debating is stopped.
There are some other particulars relating to these heads, that are to be offered to your Majesty in other papers, wbich are not added here, lest your Majesty should now be troubled with too long a paper.
AN ESSAY ON WRITING,
ART AND MYSTERY OF PRINTING,
A TRANSLATION OUT OF THE ANTHOLOGY.
Quisquis erat, meruit senii transcendere metas, fc.
From a broad-side, priated at London, in the year 1696.
ORTHY that man to 'scape mortality,
And Jeap that ditch where all must plunging lie,
Compos'd of rags well pounded in a mill,
But still an art from heaven was to come,
LETTER OF ADVICE TO A FRIEND,
U PON THE
1 MODERN ARGUMENT OF THE LAWFULNESS OF SIMPLE FORNI
CATION, HALF-ADULTERY, AND POLYGAMY.
July 17, 1696. THE THE discourse, which happened in our company last night, has
obliged me to write this letter to you. I am astonished to see such paradoxes of iniquity set up, and to prevail so unreasonably among men who think themselves the greatest masters of reason. To think polygamy and fornication lawful; nay, as some have maintained (for there is no stop in wickedness), even adultery too.
There is nothing in this matter; but men, having their appetites unbridled, by any restraint or discipline of religion, have given them a loose, are resolved to pursue whithersoever they go; and invent the best arguments they can to defend them. Nay, some come at last to believe what they have at first offered in jest, and to try what it would do. And it is a just judgment, and often threatened by God, to give those up to follow their own imaginations. wbo have no pleasure in his ways; but, instead of loving them, and setting themselves, with the full force and strength of their minds, cate- fully and diligently to follow them, and to take pleasure in them, do, on the contrary, delight to rally them, and to hear arguments set up against them, which is a sure intimation of a dislike of them, and consequently a contempt of him who enjoined them; nay, a hatred of him; for we cannot love him, and hate his laws. We never saw him, and know him only by his laws, and that light of himself, which he has given us therein. Therefore, when we would transgress the plain letter of the law, as all the world bas ever understood it, we can never be sure but that we are in the dismal num. ber, and under the heavy curse of the haters of God, unless we can bring an authority which will out-balance that upon wbich the letter of the law does stand. Now all the world has hitherto understood that both fornication and adultery are forbidden under the gospel. And what is it which our modern wits have to oppose to this? Why (forsooth!) as you have heard some of them say, that the same word' in greek, signifies adultery and fornication, which is a great mistake otherwise than as it is in English, and ir all languages. There are
general words which comprehend both, as whoredom, uncleanness, and the like. But there are likewise particular words, which distinguish the particular species of these from one another; and you have these reckoned up distinctly, Gal.-v. 19, adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness. And the words adultery and fornication are as much distinguished in the Greek as in the English; moiysia is adultery, and moposla is fornication. And this poor and false criticisnı is sufficient to carry those, who have strong inclinations, to the hazard of their souls, against the received and current testimony of the whole world; whereas they would not venture a penny against a crown, were there half that odds against them.
Let me uext recollect to you the arguments they brought for their pretended opinion from reason. I call it pretended opinion, be'cause, though men endeavour to amuse themselves, that they be not stopped in the hot pursuit of their lusts, yet I cannot believe, that, in cool thoughts,' any, who has ever learned the first principles of christianity, can persuade himself (especially upon a sick-bed) that any fornication and uncleanness can be allowed in the gospel, which requires the utmost purity, not only of the eye, but of the heart. However, let us hear their reasons. They urge from justice, that there is no wrong to any third person, where both the parties are single.
But this argument will have no effect, unless they can annul the commands of God, which forbid it: because we are, bound, and that in the strictest justice, to obey God's commands, even in things wbich are indifferent in their own nature. , It was death to neglect circumcision, and other legal institutions. God sought to kill Moses himself, for neglecting to circumcise his son, Exod. iv. 24.
2. The argument is false, that there is no wrong done to any third person in fornication : for it is a great wrong to the parents, relations, and whole family. Let any man judge of this, by the resentment he would have against any who should debauch bis mother, daughter, or sister, and against them so debauched
.. 3. If there was no wrong to any other, yet, if it be a sin, it is the greatest wrong to the person and themselves, to damn their souls. And it is the highest injustice, as to this world; it ruins their reputation, and this, especially in women, is not only a shame (if they should be content to bear with that) but it is a real loss, and bindrance of their fortunes : and, though it should not be known, it is a great injustice to the man who sball marry such a woman. 2. If any man think little of this, let them consider how they would take it to marry another man's whore; and let them do as they would be done to. But there is yet a greater injustice, and that is, to the person herself; for she, that is once debauched, is laid open to the temptations of others; and, when forsaken by her first lover, seldom returns to her virgin modesty, but seeks out, or is found by some other; and often goes on to common prostitution; all which is, in justice, chargeable upon her first corrupter. - And if, as many, believe, the reason, why Dives desired the conversion of his brethren, was not