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Eikon Basilike: Ch. 22

Upon His Majesties leaving Oxford, and going to the Scots.

ALTHOUGH God hath given Mee three Kingdomes, yet in these He hath not now left Me any place, where I may with Safety & Honour rest my Head: shewing me that himself is the safest Refuge, and the strongest Tower of defence, in which I may put my Trust.

In these extremities, I look not to man so much as to God, He will have it thus; that I may wholly cast my self, and my now distressed affaires upon his mercy, who hath both hearts and hands of all men in his dispose.

What ProvidenceGod or another spiritual entity's protective care and direction. denies to Force, it may grant to Prudence: Necessity is now my Counsellour, and commands me to study my safety by a disguised withdrawing from my chiefest strength, and adventuring upon their Loyalty, who first began my Troubles. Happily God may make them a means honourably to compose them.

This my confidence of Them, may disarme and overcome them; my rendring my Person to Them, may engage their affections to me, who have oft professed, 'They fought not against Me, but for Me.

I must now resolve the riddle of their Loyalty: and give them opportunity to let the world see, they meane not what they doe, but what they say.

Yet must God be My chiefest Guard; and My Conscience both My Counsellour and My Comforter: though I put My Body into their hands, yet I shall reserve My Soule to God, and My selfe; nor shall any necessities compel Me, to desert Mine Honour, or swerve from My Judgment.

What they sought to take by force, shall now be given them in such a way of unusuall confidence of them, as may make them ashamed not to be really such, as they ought, and professed to be.

God sees it not enough to desert Me of all Military power to defend My self; but to put Me upon using their power, who seem to fight against Me, yet ought in duty to defend Me.

So various are all humame affaires, and so necessitous may the state of Princes be, that their greatest danger may be in their supposed safety, and their safety in their supposed danger.

I must now leave those, that have Adhered to Me, and apply to those that have Opposed Me; this method of Peace may be more prosperous, than that of Warre, both to stop the effusion of bloud, and to close those wounds already made: and in it I am no lesse solicitous for My Friends safety, than Mine owne; chusing to venture My selfe upon further hazards, rather than expose their resolute Loyalty to all extremities.

It is some skill in play to know when a game is lost; better fairly to goe over, than to contest in vaine.

I must now study to re-inforce My judgement, and fortifie My mind with Reason and Religion; that I may not seem to offer up My Souls liberty, or make My Conscience their Captive; who ought at first to have used Arguments, not Armes, to have perswaded My consent to their new demands.

I thank God no successe, darkens or disguises Truth to me; and I shall no lesse conforme my words to my inward dictates now, than if they had been, as the words of a KING ought to be among loyall Subjects, full of power.

Reason is the divinest power. I shall never think my self weakned while I may make full and free use of that. No eclypse of outward fortune shall rob me of that light; what God hath denied of outward strength, his grace, I hope, will supply with inward resolutions; not morosity to deny, what is fit to be granted; but not to grant any thing, which Reason and Religion bids me deny.

I shall never think my self lesse than my self while I am able thus to preserve the Integrity of my Conscience, the onely Jewell now left me, which is worth keeping.

O thou Soveraigne of our Soules, the onely Commander of our Consciences; though I know not what to doe, yet mine eyes are toward thee: to the protection of thy mercy I still commend my selfe.

As thou hast preserved me in the day of Battaile, so thou canst still shew me thy strength in my weaknesse.

Be thou unto me in my darkest night, a pillar of fire, to enlighten and direct me; in the day of my hottest affliction, be also a pillar of cloud to overshadow and protect me; be to me, both a Sun and a Shield.

Thou knowest, that it is not any perversnesse of will, but just perswasions of Honour, Reason, and Religion, which have made me thus farre to hazard my Person, Peace, and Safety, against those, that by force have sought to wrest them from Mee.

Suffer not my just resolutions to abate with my outward Forces; let a good Conscience alwaies accompany Me, in My solitude and desertions.

Suffer me not to betray the powers of Reason, and that fortresse of My Soule, which I am intrusted to keep for thee.

Lead Me in the paths of thy righteousnesse, and shew me thy salvation.

Make my waies to please thee, and then thou wilt make Mine Enemies to be at peace with Me.