Oliver Cromwell.

Oliver Cromwell's letters and speeches : with elucidations (Volume 1) online

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itself : as little, still less, would Parliament and City agree. At
a Common Council in the City, prior or posterior to this Dinner,
his success, as angry little Walker intimates, was the same.
'Saturday 8th April 1648,' having prepared the ground before-
hand, Cromwell with another leader or two, attended a Com-
mon Council ; spake, as we may fancy, of the common dangers,
of the gulfs now yawning on every side : ' but the City,'
chuckles my little gentleman in gray, with a very shrill kind
of laughter in the throat of him, ' were now wiser than our
First Parents ; and rejected the Serpent and his subtleties.' 2
In fact, the City wishes well to Hamilton and his Forty-thou-
sand Scots ; the City has, for some time, needed regiments
quartered in it, to keep-down open Royalist-Presbyterian in
- Ludlow, i. 238. 3 History of Independency, pan i 85.



286 PART III. BETWEEN THE CIVIL WARS. ,M.

surrection. It was precisely on the morrow after this visit of
Cromwell's that there arose, from small cause, huge Apprentice-
riot in the City : discomfiture of Trainbands, seizure of arms,
seizure of City Gates, Ludgate, Newgate, loud wide cry of
" God and King Charles 1" riot not to be appeased but by
' desperate charge of cavalry, 1 after it had lasted forty hours.'
Such are the aspects of affairs, near and far.

Before quitting Part Third, I will request the reader to
undertake a small piece of very dull reading ; in which how-
ever, if he look till it become credible and intelligible to him,
a strange thing, much elucidative of the heart of this matter,
will disclose itself. At Windsor, one of these days, unknown
now which, there is a Meeting of Army Leaders. Adjutant-
General Allen, a most authentic earnest man, whom we shall
know better afterwards, reports what they did. Entirely
amazing to us. These are the longest heads and the strongest
hearts in England ; and this is the thing they are doing ; this
is the way they, for their part, begin despatch of business.
The reader, if he is an earnest man, may look at it with very
many thoughts, for which there is no word at present.

' In the year Forty-seven, you may remember,' says Adju-
tant Allen, ' we in the Army were engaged in actions of a very

high nature ; leading us to very untrodden paths, both in
' our Contests with the then Parliament, as also Conferences
' with the King. In which great works, wanting a spirit of
' faith, and also the fear of the Lord, and also being unduly
' surprised with the fear of man, which always brings a snare,
' we, to make haste, as \ve thought, out of such perplexities,
' measuring our way by a wiodoin of our own, fell into Treaties
' with the King und his Party : which proved such a snare to
' us, and led into such labyrinths by the end of that year, that
' the very things we thought to avoid, by the means we used
' of our own devising, were all, with many more of a far worse
' and more perplexing nature, brought back upon us. To
4 the overwhelming of our spirits, weakening of our hands and

hearts ; tilling us with divisions, confusions, tumults, and

every evil work ; and thereby endangering the ruin of that

* Rushworth, vil 1051.



us*. PRAYER-MEETING. 287

' blessed Cause we had, with such success, been prospered in
' till that time.

' For now the King and his Party, seeing us not answer
4 their ends, began to provide for themselves, by a Treaty with
' the then Parliament, set on foot about the beginning of Forty-
1 eight. The Parliament also was, at the same time, highly
1 displeased with us for what we had done, both as to the King
' and themselves. The good people likewise, even our most
' cordial friends in the Nation, beholding our turning aside
' from that path of simplicity we had formerly walked in and
' been blessed in, and thereby much endeared to their hearts,
' began now to fear, and withdraw their affections from us, in
' this politic path which we had stepped into, and walked in to
' our hurt, the year before. And as a farther fruit of the wages
1 of our backsliding hearts, we were also filled with a spirit of
' great jealousy and divisions amongst ourselves ; having left
that Wisdom of the Word, which is first pure and then
' peaceable ; so that we were now fit for little but to tear and
' rend one another, and thereby prepare ourselves, and the

work in our hands, to be ruined by our common enemies.

Enemies that were ready to say, as many others of like spirit
' in this day do, 4 of the like sad occasions amongst us, " Lo,
' this is the day we looked for." The King and his Party
' prepare accordingly to ruin all ; by sudden Insurrections in
' most parts of the Nation : the Scot, concurring with the
' same designs, comes in with a potent Army under Duke
' Hamilton. We in the Army, in a low, weak, divided, per-
1 plexed condition in all respects, as aforesaid : some of us
' judging it a duty to lay-down our arms, to quit our stations,
' and put ourselves into the capacities of private men, since
4 what we had done, and v/hat was yet in our hearts to do,
tending, as we judged, to the good of these poor Nations,

was not accepted by them.

' Some also even encouraged themselves and us to such a
' thing, by urging for such a practice the example of our Lord
' Jesus ; who, when he had borne an eminent testimony to
' the pleasure of his Father in an active way, sealed it at last
' by his sufferings ; which was presented to us as our pattern

4 1650 : Allen's Pamphlet is written as a Monition and Example to Fleetwood
gnd the others, now in a similar peril, but with no Oliver mr\v among them.



288 PART III. BETWEEN THE CIVIL WARS. ,648.

for imitation. Others of us, however, were different-minded ;
' thinking something of another nature might yet be farther
' our duty ; and these therefore were, by joint advice, by a
1 good hand of the Lord, led to this result ; viz. To go solemnly
' to search-out our own iniquities, and humble our souls before
' the Lord in the sense of the same ; which, we were persuaded,
' had provoked the Lord against us, to bring such sad per-
' plexities upon us at that day. Out of which we saw no way
' else to extricate ourselves.

4 Accordingly we did agree to meet at Windsor Castle
' about the beginning of Forty-eight. And there we spent one
' day together in prayer ; inquiring into the causes of that sad

dispensation,' let all men consider it ; ' coming to no farther
' result that day ; but that it was still our duty to seek. And
' on the morrow we met again in the morning ; where many
' spake from the Word, and prayed ; and the then Lieutenant-
' General Cromwell,' unintelligible to Posterity, but extremely
intelligible to himself, to these men, and to the Maker of him
and of them, ' did press very earnestly on all there present
1 to a thorough consideration ol our actions as an Army, and
' of our ways particularly as private Christians : to see if any
' iniquity could be found in them ; and what it was, that if
1 possible we might find it out, and so remove the cause of
' such sad rebukes as were upon us (by reason of our iniquities,

as we judged) at that time. And the way more particularly
' the Lord led us to herein was this : To look back and con-
1 sider what time it was when with joint satisfaction we could
' last say to the best of our judgments, The presence of the
' Lord was amongst us, and rebukes and judgments were not
' as then upon us. Which time the Lord led us jointly to
' find out and agree in ; and having done so, to proceed, as
' we then judged it our duty, to search into all our public
' actions as an Army afterwards. Duly weighing (as the Lord

helped us) each of them, with their grounds, rules, and ends,
1 as near as we could. And so we concluded this second day,
' with agreeing to meet again on the morrow. Which accord-
' ingly we did upon the same occasion, reassuming the con-
1 sideration 01 our debates the day before, and reviewing our

actions again.

' By which means we were, by a gracious band of the



1648. PRAYER-MEETING. 289

' Lord, led to find out the very steps (as we were all then
' jointly convinced) by which we had departed from the Lord,
' and provoked Him to depart from us. Which we found to
' be those cursed carnal Conferences our own conceited wis-
' dom, our fears, and want of faith had prompted us, the year
' before, to entertain with the King and his Party. And at
' this time, and on this occasion, did the then Major Goffe (as
' I remember was his title) make use of that good Word, Pro-
' verbs First and Twenty-third, Turn you at my reproof: be-
' hold, I will pour out my Spirit unto yot(, I will make known
1 my words unto yott. Which, we having found out our sin,
' he urged as our duty from those words. And the Lord so
4 accompanied by His Spirit, that it had a kindly effect, like
' a word of His, upon most of our hearts that were then pre-
1 sent : which begot in ire a great sense, a shame and loathing
' of ourselves for our iniquities, and a justifying of the Lord
' as righteous in His proceedings against us.

' And in this path the Lord led us, not only to see our sin,
1 but also our duty ; and this so unanimously set with weight
' upon each heart, that none was able hardly to speak a word
' to each other for bitter weeping,' does the modern reader
mark it ; this weeping, and who they are that weep ? Weep-
ing ' partly in the sense and shame of our iniquities ; of our
' unbelief, base fear of men, and carnal consultations (as the
' fruit thereof) with our own wisdoms, and not with the Word
' of the Lord, which only is a way of wisdom, strength and
' safety, and all besides it are ways of snares. And yet we
' were also helped, with fear and trembling, to rejoice in the
' Lord ; whose faithfulness and loving-kindness, we were made
' to see, yet failed us not ; who remembered us still, even in
' our low estate, because His mercy endures for ever. Who
' no sooner brought us to His feet, acknowledging Him in
' that way of His (viz. searching for, being ashamed of, and
' willing to turn from, our iniquities), but He did direct our
' steps ; and presently we were led and helped to a clear agree-
' ment amongst ourselves, not any dissenting, That it was the
' duty of our day, with the forces we had, to go out and fight
' against those potent enemies, which that year in all places
' appeared against us.' Courage ! ' With an humble con-
' fidence, in the name of the Lord only, that we should destroy

VOL. I. U



290 PART III. BETWEEN THE CIVIL WARS. ,648.

them. And we were also enabled then, after serious seeking
1 His face, to come to a very clear and joint resolution, on
' many grounds at large there debated amongst us, That it
' was our duty, if ever the Lord brought us back again in

peace, to call Charles Stuart, that man of blood, to an account
' for that blood he had shed, and mischief he had done to his
' utmost, against the Lord's Cause and People in these poor
' Nations.' Mark that also !

' And how the Lord led and prospered us in all our under-
' takings that year, in this way ; cutting His work short, in

righteousness ; making it a year of mercy, equal if not trans-

ccndent to any since these Wars began ; and making it
4 worthy of remembrance by every gracious soul, who was wise

to observe the Lord, and the operations of His hands, I

wish may never be forgotten.' Let Fleetwood, if he have
the same heart, go and do likewise. 5

Abysses, black chaotic whirlwinds : does the reader look
upon it all as Madness ? Madness lies close by ; as Madness
does to the Highest Wisdom, in man's life always : but this is
not mad ! This dark element, it is the mother of the light-
nings and the splendours ; it is very sane, this !

* A faithful Memorial of that remarkable Meeting of many Officrrt fif the Army
in England at Windsor Castle, in the year 1648, &c. &c. (in Somers Tracts, vi. 499-



END OF VOL. I.



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Online LibraryOliver CromwellOliver Cromwell's letters and speeches : with elucidations (Volume 1) → online text (page 27 of 27)