<1r>

Anno 13tio Elizabethæ
Certain Arguments collected out of the scriptures out of the civill Law & the Common exhibited to the Queens Majestie by some of both houses against the Queen of Scots

Reasons to prove the Queen Majesty bound in Conscience to proceed in severity in this case of the late Q. of Scots.

The word of God which is the only direction of Conscience & a certaine rule for all Estates & Offices doth often & most earnestly teach that Godly Princes & Magistrates not only in Conscience safely may but also in duty towards God ought severely & uprightly to administer justice. For this is one of the principall causes for the which the providence & wisdome of God hath ordained Magistrates in Commonweales that they might by Iustice & punishment according to the greatness of the offence repress the wickedness of mankind whereunto by corruption of Nature they are inclined.

The Magistrate (as St Paul saith)[1] is the minister of God & the revenger of wrath towards him that hath done evill &c

And St Peter [2]be subject to the King as to the cheif or to the under Rulers as sent of him ad vindictam nocentium to the punishment or revengement of Offenders & to the praise of them that do well

If the Magistrate doe not this God threatneth heavy punishment when you were (saith wisdome to Princes)[3] the Ministers of his Kingdome you have not executed Iudgment rightly nor kept the Law nor walked according to his will horrible & right soon shal he appear unto you. For as hard Iudgment shal they have that fear rule & Potentes proventur tormenta patentur. Now then if the Magistrate be the Minister of God in his name & authority to punish the wicked according to the measure of their offences & are threatned grievous punishment if they do not & on the other party the scottish Q hath offended in two highest degrees both concerning Gods religion & the disheriting <1v> & destruction of our Prince. We see not but her Majestie must needs offend in Conscience before God if she do not punish her according to the measure of her offence in the highest degree.

Consider not saith God[4] the person of the poor nor honour the countenances of the rich. It is not good saith Solomon[5] to regard the person of the wicked thereby to decline from the truth of Iudgment.

And Iesus Syrack[6] make no labor to be a Iudge except thou have the stoutness that thou mightily maist put down wickedness, for if thou stand in awe of the mighty thou canst not but faile in giving sentence. Wherefore whether the late Queen of Scots be Queen or Subject be stranger or citizen be kinn or not kinn by Gods word for so great offences she should have the just deserved punishment & that in the highest degree.

When God by his just providence doth commit any greivous offender into the hands of a Prince or Magistrate as to his Minister to be punished he ought to fear the heavy displeasure of God if by any color he do omitt the same. Non enim hominis judicium est sed Dei. et maledictus est qui facit opus Domini fraudulenter vel negligenter. For God oftentimes bringeth Sinners to punishment for other Offences then those that are known & appear to the world. And therefore hath he shewed himself greivously displeased when such by the color of mercy & pitty in Princes have escaped just Iudgment.

When Saul spared Agag[7] although he were a King God took from the same Saul his good Spirit & transferd the kingdome of Israel from him & his heirs forever.

When Achab spared Benadab the King of Syria by his unreasonable clemency tho he were a great Prince God willed the Prophet to say unto him Because thou hast let escape out of thine <2r> hand the Man that I would have had to dye thy life shall be for his life & thy people for his people. In these examples great pretence might be made for mercy for sparing of them & great reproach of bloodiness & cruelty in contrary. But we see how God judged in them. The late Q. of Scots being a greivous offender divers ways both before she came ino this land & afterwards, hath been by Gods especialll & marvellous providence put into the Queens Majesties hand to be punished & far more notably then Agag & Bo | enadab were put into the hands of Saul & Achab Therefore it is greatly to be feared if she escape as Benadab did under pretence of mercy & honourable dealings that Gods heavy displeasure will for the same light both upon the Prince & the Realm as it did upon Achab & the Israelites shortly after.

This sentence of the Prophets as it is for certain reported was spoken to the Lord Iames late Regent of Scotland when with so much lenity he proceeded therein. It hath followed too true in him the Lord turne it from our gracious soveraigne.

Every good Prince ought by Gods commandment to punish even by death all such as do seek to seduce the people of God from his true worship unto superstition and Idolatry. For that offence God hath always greivously punished such as committed against the first Table Deut. 13 his words are these. If thy brother the Son of thy Mother or thy own Son or thy Daughter or the wife that lieth in thy bosome or thy friend which is as thy own Soul unto thee entice thee saying let us go and serve strang Gods & thou shalt not consent unto him nor hearken unto him thy eye shal not pity him neither shalt thou have compassion on him nor keep him secret but cause him to be slain thine own hand shal be first upon him to kill him &c And afterwards addeth that all Israel shal fear to do any more such wickedness. The residue of the chapter containes more previous matter which we wold <2v> wish all them to read that in great offences under color of pity are loath to have sharp punishment used. Now you may perceive that God willeth his Magistrates not to spare either brother or sister or son or daughter or wife or freind be he never so nigh if he seek to seduce the people of God from his true worship much less is an enemy or traytor to be spared, yea & he addeth the cause why he wold have so sharp punishment used in such cases that Israel may fear to do the like. But the late Q. of Scots hath not only sought & wrought by all meanes she can to seduce the people of God in this realm from true religion but it is the only hope of all the adversaryes of God throughout all Europe & the instrument whereby they trust to overthrow the Gospell of Christ in all Countries. And therefore if she have not the punishment which God in this place aforementioned appointeth It is of all Christian hearts to be feared that Gods just plague will light both upon the Magistrates & Subjects for that by our slackness & remisse Iustice we give an occasion of the overthrow of Gods glory & truth in his Church mercifully restored unto us in these latter dayes.

[8]Constantinus Magnus caused Licinius to be put to death being not his subject but his fellow Emperor for that the said Licinius laboured to subvert Christian Religion. The same Constantine is for the same in all historyes highly commended. Much more shal it be lawfull & honourable for the Queens Majestie to execute this woman who besides the subversion of religion hath sought the life of the same our gracious soveraign.

[9]It is dangerous for any Prince as well as for his own state as also for that punishment that may come from Gods hands by slackness of Iustice in great offences to give occasion by hope of impunity of the encrease of like wickedness. Ioab being spared of David for murthering of Abner killed Amasa also. Because Ammon was winked at by his father for committing rape & incest with his own sister, Absalon under hope of like impunity was emboldened <3r> to murder his brother Ammon.

But look I pray you how greivously God punished the slack Iustice of David coloured with tender heart towards his natural Children did he not suffer yea & by his just Iudgment raise one of his own Sons towards whom he used but excessive tenderness & pity to rebell against him & drive him out of his kingdom.

The late Scottish Q. hath heaped up all the sins of the licentious Sons of David adultery, murder, conspiracy, treason & blasphemies against God also & if she escape with slight or no punishment her Majestie in Conscience ought as also good & faithful subjects to fear that God will reserve her as an Instrument to put her from the royall seat of this kingdom & to plague the unthankfull & naughty subjects. Quod omen ut Deus avertat precamur. Shall we think that God will not plague it surely our hearts do greatly fear he will do it greivously.

[10]A Prince ought in Conscience before God by all the means he can to see to the quietness safety & good estate of the people over which God hath appointed him governour for in the Prophets own times under the names of pastors & watchmen he threatneth great punishment to Princes & Governours for the contrary Especially Ezek. 33d & 34th & signifyeth that if his people perish either in soul or body by slackness in administrating Iustice or by any other misgoverment God will require their blood at the Princes hands which places if they may be applyed to Prophets & Teachers, so do they not exclude but principally comprehend Kings & Magistrates as Ironimus noteth in Ezek 33d. The words of the Prophet are these

If the watchmen see the sword & blow not the Trumpet so that the people is not warned if the sword come then & take any man from among them the same shal be taken away in his own sin from among them but his blood will I require at the watchmans hands.[11]

And again woe unto the Shepherds that destroy & scatter my flock, <3v> saith the Lord &c. you scatter & thrust out my flocks and do not look upon them therefore will I visit the wickedness of your imaginations &c. By these & such other words in many places God signifieth if his people perish either in soul or body by the slackness or remise government of them that are appointed Rulers over them as it were shepherds and herdsmen to keep them from danger that he will require the blood of his people at their hands. Solomon a wise & a good Prince spared not his own natural yea & his own elder brother Adoneus for suspition & likelyhood of Treason & for a marriage not purposed only but did put him to death for the same & that speedily without course of Iustice least by delay trouble & danger might have ensued not only to his own person being Prince & cheif Minister of God in the land but also to the people over which he had the charge, & for safety where of in Conscience he was bound to deal he wold have thought it a great burthen to his Conscience if by the sparing of one mans life were he never so nigh a blood unto him he should have hazarded the state in which God had placed him & the blood of many thousands of his people which by rebellion might have been spent. But this woman & her greatly desired husband as she pretended have put far more heinous matters in execution wherefore her cause standing as it doth there is no scruple in conscience to proceed with severity but great danger in Conscience for dealing too mild & contrary to order of Iustice making the punishment less then the offence which is the the evident danger of her Majesties own Person the hazard of the Realme & the subversion of Gods truth.

[12]It is dangerous for any Christian Prince contrary to the word of God with colour of mercy & pitty to do that whereby he shall discourage & kill the heart not only of his own good subjects, <4r> & faithfull Counsellors but also of all other nations faithfully professing Gods religion & his true worship as it may well appear in the example of David. David having this infirmity of too much pitty & indulgence towards offenders which is not of any Prince to be followed. That his trayterous son Absalon should be slayn & when he was killed effeminately bewailed the same to the discouraging of his people but he was sharply rebuked by Ioeb his Counsellor Thou hast shamed this day the faces of thy servants which have saved thy life & the life of thy Sons &c Thou lovest those that hate thee & thou hatest those that love thee & thou shewest this day that thou passests not for thy captains & for thy servants. And now I perceive if Absalon had lived & all we had been slayne it wold have pleased thee well. What great inconvenience was like to fall unto David by this doing & what other good directions may be taken out of this history well considered, for brevity sake we leave to the consideracon of wise Princes and Governors. But David was so much moved with these words that he was contented to take any other course which turned both to the comfort of his own subjects & his own benefitt, the application needeth not. If David were moved thus to do for the comfort of his own subjects only & the abasing of his own private rebells how much more have we to desire God to move the Queens Majestie by the execution of this Lady to glad the hearts of all true Christians in Europe & to bash & damp all the minds of all the enemies of God & freinds of Antechrist.

[13]It may be objected that thus to proceed is not honourrable for the Queens Majestie

<4v>

[14]The shadow of honour (as may evidently appear) deceived upon like occasion both King Saul in Sparing Agag King of Amaleck & King Ahab in receiving to his mercy King Benadab as it is in the example in the second resason mencioned who did pretend great honour in saving the King & that dishonour countrary that one King shold kill another. But mans judgments & Gods in such cases are divers for indeed execution of justice upon any person whatsoever is & ever hath been accounted honourable.

Ioshua[15] a worthy Prince & governour put to death five Kings & that as might appear causing his soldiers to sett their feet on their necks & slay them & willed them to be stout & not to fear to do it.

We find also in the scripture that in this zeale of Iustice two wicked Queens Isabell & Athalea both inferior in mischeif to this late Queen have been by Gods magistrates executed & the same execution commanded in the Scripture

[16]If it may be further objected that the Queens Majestie in so doing should exceed the bounds & limits of mercy and clemency.

[17]Indeed a Prince should be mercifull but he should be just also. It is said misericordia & veritas custodiunt Regem but in the next chapter it followeth Qui sequitur justiciam & misericordiam inveniet vitam. The Prince in Government must be like unto God himself who is not amiable by mercy but terrible by justice also & therefore is called misericors & justus Dominus mercy it self sheweth in the Image of Iustice Iustice in Scripture <5r> is in God called mercy Ps. 136 who smote Egypt with the first borne for his mercy endureth for ever. In that Psalme the smiting of Egypt with terrible plagues The destruction of Pharaoh The killing of great & mighty Kings are called the mercifull works of God as indeed they were but mercy towards the people of God & not towards the enemies of God & his people. Therefore as the Queens Majestie indeed is mercifull so we most humbly desire her that she would open the laps of her mercy towards Gods people & her good Subjects in dispatching those enemies that seek the confusion of Gods cause among us & of this noble Realm It may also be said that to spare one person being an enemy a stranger a professed member of Antechrist & convicted so many heynous crimes with the evident perill of so many thousands of bodies & souls of good & faithfull subjects may justly be termed crudelis misericordia.

[18]Petiliano objiciente Deum non dilectari humano Sanguine respondet multos legimus a famulo Dei Moise misericorditer interfectos nunquid crudelis effectus est cum de monte descendens tot millia juberet occidi.

[19]Saul & Iosaphat Reges fuerunt populi Dei, & Deum misericordiam ijs quos Deus oderet prosteterunt. Dei offensum in opere pietatis incurrunt e contrario Phineas filijque Levi gratiam Dei humana cede & suorum paricidio meruerunt.

The same Hierome de origine aminæ saith the like sparing of evil persons is misericors inobedientia

<5v>

St Augustine also saith sicuti est misericordia puniens ita est etiam crudelitas parcens.

But happily it may be that some do discredit these reasons by the persons when they cannot by the matter & will put in her Majesties mind that we in perswading her respect our own danger & feare of perill coming to us & not right & true Iudgment yea & that may appear very unseemly & worthy sharp reproofe in Bishops to excite a Prince to cruelty & blood contrary to her mercifull inclination

As touching the first branch surely we see not any great continuance of danger likely to come to us more then to all good subjects whilst this state standeth And the State cannot likely alter without the certain perill both of our Prince & Country now if our danger be joyned with the danger of our gracious soveraigne & natural Country we see not how we can be accompted godly Bishops or faithfull subjects if in common perill we shold not cry & give warning, or on the other side how they can be thought to have true hearts towards God & towards their Prince & their Country that will mislike with us so doing & seek thereby to discredit us. As touching the second branch God forbid that we should be instruments to incense a mercifull Prince to cruelty & bloodiness neither can we think well or Iudge that they have true meaning hearts that of the minister of God & Officer do term justice & right punishment by the name of bloodiness or cruelty God in time I hope shall open her Majesties eyes to see & espy their cruell <6r> purposes under the cloake of extolling mercy. When the Prince or Magistrate is slack in punishing the sinfull & wicked The Bishops & Preachers are bound in Conscience before God to exhort him to move diligence therein least the blood both of Prince & people be required at their hands

May the Prophet be accounted cruel to incite Ahab to cruelness & bloodiness which so sharply rebuked him for his clemency shewed towards Benadab. May Samuel be justly termed cruell becasue on like cause for Sparing the life of King Agag he killed the said Agag with his own hands in the sight of the Prince. What shal we say of the Prohpet Elijiah shal we call him cruell because in the Zeale of Iustice he killed all the fals Prophets of Baal. Did not God approve of this his fact with the miraculous sending abundance of rain after three years continual drought. But to those men I think God himself & his Angels will seeme cruel & his justice cruelty that they under the color of mercy might be spared untill time will serve to satisfy their own cruell hearts

St Augustine also saith Sicuti est misericordia puniens ita est etiam crudelitas parcens

[1] Rom. 13

[2] 1 Pet. 2

[3] Sap. 6

[4] Levt. 19.

[5] Prov. 18.

[6] Ecclesiasticus 7sti

[7] 1 Reg. 5.

[8] Euseb. Lib. 2d de vita Constant.

[9] The 4th reason

[10] The 5th reason

[11] Ierem. 23

[12] 6th reason.

[13] Objection

[14] Answer

[15] Ios. 10

[16] Object.

[17] Answer

[18] August cont. Litteras Petiliani Lib. 2. c. 86

[19] Hier.

© 2019 The Newton Project

Professor Rob Iliffe
Director, AHRC Newton Papers Project

Scott Mandelbrote,
Fellow & Perne librarian, Peterhouse, Cambridge

Faculty of History, George Street, Oxford, OX1 2RL - newtonproject@history.ox.ac.uk

Privacy Statement

  • University of Oxford
  • Arts and Humanities Research Council
  • JISC