essays

This is part of a series

1649

Tyranipocrit Discovered: When Tyranny Meets Hypocrisy

Our author pursues historical examples of when the Devil married his daughter, Hypocrisy, to “his great friend Tyranny.”

Editor’s Note

Our second portion begins with a Seeker favorite: the argument for universal redemption. All people on this earth are “poor miserable Hell-hounds,” but all is the creation of God and tends toward salvation. Adam’s fall was tragic because he disobeyed God’s will, but it was all part of God’s “secret will,” which orders the Universe. We may interpret some behaviors as sinful and we may knowingly violate God’s will, but we cannot escape his omnipotence. For Seekers, Ranters, Levelers, and the other dissenters represented by this anonymous pamphleteer, God was almost pantheistic—God was everything, within everyone, timeless, limitless. All that was, was the result of God’s infinite wisdom and infinite will. Cain’s great sin—and the birth of Tyranipocrit, the spirit of the devil incarnate—was to fancy his own will above and beyond that of the Lord’s. He thought himself free to “act without, or against God,” and this evil conceit transferred from one of Adams’ offspring to another over the ages.

Those in whom the tyrannical and hypocritical spirits were strongest tended to occupy the highest, most powerful offices over time and the well-known records of history reflect their deeds, their pretensions, and their self-obsession. Our author exhaustingly catalogues some of the worst royal offenses against humanity which come to mind, demonstrating that whatever their expressed adherence to lofty, godly moral codes, earthly rulers were among the most wicked and hateful people alive.

The pamphleteer writes a short history of the modern state (and organized religion) as though it were Tyranipocrit’s biography. In an era of enclosure and dislocation, slavery and civil war, nationalism and absolutism, imperialism and mechanization, it seemed to the most marginalized and most radical that all those who possessed power did so by combining the devil’s “daughter Hypocrisy” with “his great friend Tyranny.” Some Englishmen tried to dig their way out by spontaneously reclaiming the commons and a more honest way of life. Others wanted to rant the public into enlightenment by shocking them with strong verbal medicine. Then there were Levelers like our (possible) author William Walwyn, who hoped to disable Tyranipocrit by seeking out God’s truth, exposing “white devil” hypocrites, and abolishing the tyrant’s powers.

Anthony Comegna, PhD
Assistant Editor for Intellectual History

Now we have seen the conditional obligation, let us consider ab initio, how men have complied with the conditional obligation, and first of Adam and his fall: Adam did not fall from God’s determinate counsel, neither from God’s mercy proclaimed unto him, and all men else in Jesus Christ: Adam fell from the peace of God in his heart and conscience: Adam’s fall was accidental to him, but God had unavoidably predestined it before Adam was made: Adam’s fall hurteth no man’s everlasting salvation, for how can that hurt my salvation, which did not hurt nor hinder Adam’s own salvation? but consider the circumstances of Adam’s fall, for it seemeth that he began to be curious to know the foundation of his happiness, and to know whether he were a God or a man, but howsoever it was, through the help of the devil, he made a woful venter for such needless knowledge, for he then, and we now, do find by woeful experience, that without God’s continual assistance, that we are poor miserable Hell-hounds: Adam fell from the peace of his conscience, through disobeying of God’s revealed will, yet he did God’s secret will, which he and all creatures must do, but when Adam considered his sin, he did not delight in it, but he was sorry because he had disobeyed God’s antecedent will, and if we do follow him in repenting, as we do in sinning, then neither ours nor Adam’s sins, can have any power to hurt us concerning our eternal salvation. O then let us not burden Adam nor God with our sins, for there is no sin whatsoever it be, but if we will, God will turn it to the best for us. Adam’s fall, through the mercy of God, was the glory of the power of God revealed to us in Christ, and God will glorify his mercy in pardoning all sins, if the sinner will repent. But let Adam rest, and let us consider how his successors have dealt with God concerning the conditional obligation, and first of Cain, because he was the first man that was generated, and the first that hated God in man, ergo he is the lieutenant, and the devil, the captain of all uncharitable persons, and all preposterous sacrificers.

For if Adam were a semi-pelagian, Cain was a whole one; for it is said of Pelagius, that he did affirm that man had such a free power, that he could both will, and act without, or against God, and it seemeth that Cain had such a conceit of himself, for he, contrary to God’s nature, would needs be offering to God some of those things which God made for Cain, but as it seemeth, he thought that God was poor, and therefore he out of his rich proud heart, would give God something, but God is a Spirit, and will be worshipped in spirit and truth; but Cain would not do that, and therefore God did reject Cain’s hateful sacrifice, and yet he did as many of our rich and proud tyrannical hypocrites will do, for they will, and do give unto God some things, which he regardeth so much as he did Cain’s offering, for they will build God Churches, Chapels, Cloisters, Bells, Paintings, Organs, Music, &c. All these and more such preposterous offerings, with Cain, do we offer unto God, that which the poor should have, which is our temporal goods, that with Cain we give some part of it to God, but our willing minds which God would have, them we will give to the world, and so by consequence to the devil, if we do not return to God again, but we will not give God our hearts which he would have, because we will not give our poor neighbours our goods which they should have. But consider the issue of Cain’s offering, for when he saw that God would not accept his hateful sacrifice, Cain waxed wrath, but with whom was Cain angry? surely he was angry with God, but he could not kill God as he would, and therefore he went and killed his brother Abel, which he could, and yet notwithstanding Cain’s bad success, with his odious offering, yet his kind of sacrificing hath been used by Cain’s heirs from time to time, and it hath passed by the name of false fire. The sons of Aaron and old Eli had a smack of it, but the Pharisaical Priests in the days of Christ, could act the hypocrite’s part better than Cain himself, and God grant that ours do not exceed them all, for the more knowledge the greater sin in one and the same thing: now if we consider Cain’s intention as we may judge by his actions, he sought to cross God’s intention concerning the whole Creation, for God made all things to show the bounty of his riches, and the richness of his bounty, but Cain would be rich without God, by this we may take notice what sacrifice we must give unto God, not the creature, but that uncreated gift, which is the free-will of man, for that only man hath power to dispose of, and that willing power God hath freely and universally given unto every man, without any respect of persons whatsoever, yea all men shall one day know, though now they will not, and then they shall all acknowledge and confess, that God is just, and that he doth give unto all mankind universally, none excepted, grace to be saved if they will, for if this be denied, then it must needs be affirmed that God hath, or doth make some men to damn them; but in those days the devil hath produced a doctrine of a strange nature, by a people which are predestined to blaspheme God, and hate men: God deliver us from such doctors and doctrine: unmerciful men which will maintain, that God hath predestined one man to salvation more than another, if this doctrine did not strive against the nature of God, although it be a pestilent doctrine, yet it might be borne withal, but it is so impious a doctrine, that it striveth against the nature of God, and what greater impiety can there be imagined? and those that maintain this doctrine, are, as they say, some of those which are predestined for heaven: & if you ask them how they know, that they are some of those which are so predestined, their answer is ready: forsooth they do believe it is so, such men have a good conceit of themselves, or else they would think that other men were so good as they: and they have Scripture to prove their partial predestination: It is written, say they, That before the children had done good or evil, God said, Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated. O wonderful malice of the devil, in the hearts of uncharitable men, to judge so hardly of God! that Scripture was written, if the Holy ghost did ever write it, to show the wonderful wisdom and prescience of God, and unmerciful men do pervert it, to make God a partial Tyrant. O you partial merciless men, consider a little better of the nature and power of God, for God is love without hate, and all times are in his power, for God hath no [present] nor future, sed nunc (“but now”) is God’s time, neither before nor after, but now, God doth all things: and why then do we say of God, that he did love or hate before, and not after the children had done good or evil, if men will ascribe hatred to God? yet that were a more charitable exposition, and better agreeing with the nature of God, and to say that God is a hater of unborn children, is a most impious saying: but, say they, it is writ as we say. True, but it was not written that thou shouldest construe it to make God a tyrant, for the nature of God is more than all writings, and God’s nature is love, which is contrary to hatred: O but some say, the Reformed Churches do maintain this doctrine, but I say, either thou dost not understand them, or they do not understand the truth concerning this matter, for let it be granted that God hath made any man, and that he hath not given him a possibility to be saved if he will, let any man seriously consider what absurd consequences must needs follow such blasphemous conclusions, and the consent of Churches and multitudes of people, are no sure rule to find out the truth.

The Council of Trent hath taught us that lesson: there wanted not learned men, neither did they want time: eighteen year they consulted how they might deceive the Holy Ghost, but in the end they deceived themselves, and so many more as were willing to be deceived by them; for in divine matters, this is the surest rule: Quo doctior, eo perversior,(“the more learned, the more perverse”) when men will employ their learning to contradict the Holy Ghost. Here I could find work enough to show how sophistical divines have spoiled the sincerity of Religion; but I will hasten to the principal matter, which is, to give notice unto the world, of three great abuses amongst us that are called Christians, and those vices or abuses have gotten most of their evil power, because generally they are taken and esteemed for virtues.

The first is, that Preachers are paid by worldly Potentates. The second is, that Preachers in their doctrine do prefer faith before love. The third is the worst of all, because they teach evil men to do good, which is impossible. Of these three evils I intend to write what I think. O thou that only canst do all in all, do this work through me, so that it may redound to thy honour and glory, and the benefit of mankind, God Father, Son and Holy Ghost, so be it, Amen.

Solomon said, that God made man upright, but he had found out many inventions, and of all his inventions, none is more prejudicial to mankind, than the invention of new ruling officers, for through the evil custom that is maintained concerning supreme ruling Magistrates, all mankind are out of order: for nature would have the oldest, and reason would have the wisest man to command and rule others, but our Machiavellians say, that neither the oldest nor the wisest, but the son of such a man, if his mother doth not deceive them, he shall rule and command, whether he be old or young, wise or foolish, that’s all one; but because we may not err, let us take notice of the descent of the office of a King, because through him tyranny is supported. The office of a King is compounded of those four evils, viz. The instigation of the devil: the wickedness of the priests: the rashness of the people, and the wrath of God, so the office of a King is a quintessence of them four evils: I add to them what they have added to the King’s office through partial prerogatives, and then we may judge what a brave thing the office of a King is. What that royal prerogative is that Kings have usurped, I know not, but to do justice, and to strive to maintain truth: no man needeth any special prerogative, because every man is bound to do that, but it seemeth that this prerogative is to command over the Law, and to overthrow justice, if it do stand in competition with their impious prerogatives; but consider ab initio, the effects of this cursed prerogative, and then we may the better judge of his nature. By this evil prerogative, King Romulus may kill his brother for leaping over his wall. By this prerogative Alexander the Great may kill Clitus, and put many worthy men to death against all right and reason. By this prerogative the Turkish Emperors, when they do come to their optimate power, may murder all their brothers. By this prerogative, king Saul may kill three hundred Priests, which were innocents concerning that matter, for which they were slain. By this prerogative, king David may make Uriah’s wife a whore, and murder him, and then take her to be his wife; but see how Christian Kings have, and do behave themselves with this prerogative.

By this prerogative, Don Rodrigo king of Spain, may ravish the daughter of Don Julian, which was the cause that Spain was conquered by the Arabian Moors. By this prerogative, Richard the second, king of England, may cause men to subscribe to blanks, that so he may abuse them at his pleasure: by this prerogative, Richard the third, may murder friend and foes, to get and keep a kingdom against law, justice, truth, and reason: by this prerogative, king Henry the eighth, when he is weary of his wives, he may put them from him, or cut off their heads, and say they are whores: and when he had made a deformed reformation, and had taken some of the Pope’s power to himself, then he that would not acknowledge and swear, that the King was the head of the Church, he must lose his own head. By this prerogative, King James may take away one man’s wife, and give her unto another: by this prerogative, King Charles may rent out, or sell his subjects to base Projectors, and vile Patentees, and break up Parliaments, and so tread the laws and the Commonwealth under his feet. By this prerogative, King Artaxarxus may marry with his own daughter, and if he have a scruple in his conscience concerning that matter, his vile Counsellors can soon remove that, by telling him, that the Persian Kings had a prerogative, so large as the devil and partiality could make him, for by that they said, that he might do what he would, and concerning their hereditary tyranny, when a young foolish child shall rule and command old wise men, what patience can endure it? Lysander told the Spartans, that they were not wise to look out of what house their Kings should be born, but they should rather consider what virtues he had to make him fit to command. Rehaboam hath left us an example concerning this matter, how he plagued the people through his obstinate folly, for when a young fool doth command old wise men, there all disorder is complete, for there quiet men are troubled by seditious persons, the humble subject to the proud, the just obedient to the tyrant, the ignorant teaching the wise, the coward ruling the hardy, the cruel commanding the merciful, &c. and above all, there the most and greatest thieves do hang the innocent on the gallows. O what treasons, murderings, poisonings, prisonings, banishings, and such like cruelties, that are used betwixt the old and the new tyrants, concerning the getting, keeping, and executing of the royal tyrannical office. What wars and blood-shedding there hath been, and is now, concerning this thing, histories both divine and moral, are full of testimonies. Now let us consider how tyrants and hypocrites came acquainted one with the other, and how they wooed and contracted themselves, & in process of time, how the devil did marry them together; for in them two are included all sins, for hypocrisy is the chiefest sin against God, and tyranny is the greatest sin against man.

Now if we rightly consider, we shall find that tyrants, although they want grace, yet they have a kind of impious reason, which through the instigation of the devil, they do employ for his, and their profit, and therefore when supreme tyrants with their wicked wit, did consider that plain down-right tyranny could not subsist alone, because it is odious to nature, and therefore tyrants, to prevent the destruction of their tyrannies, they sought to cloak it with a simulated sanctity; and although they knew that to be a double impiety, yet they consulted how they might attain their evil desire, for they knew if they should commit so much gross tyranny as they did intend, without an hypocritical mantle, that then the Silvian satires would snap at them, and the dogs would bark at so much open profanation. And it seemeth when the Senate of Tyrants had seriously considered the tottering state of their tyrannical kingdom, they found that the best way to secure and maintain tyranny, was to match him with hypocrisy, but whether they should force her, or seek to win her by faire means, that took up some time in consulting, but when they considered that hypocrisy was the devil’s daughter, and how he is their great friend, then they thought it no wisdom to make war against the devil, nor to force his daughter, which would, if she were forced, do them more hurt than good, and that they knew by experience, for tyranny had persecuted the Church a long time, in which hypocrisy was shrouded: and in persecuting of the Church, the tyrants knew that they had gotten more shame than honour, and therefore they concluded unanimously, to supplicate the devil for his daughter, and then the whole Senate gave order that a request should speedily be written, and then they subscribed it, and so sent it to the devil, I know not the circumstances of the petition, but the sum of all was: That the devil would be pleased to bestow his daughter Hypocrisy, on his great friend Tyranny.

I need not tell you how glad the devil was, to be entreated to do that which he so much desired to have done: So when he had considered the great profit that he should reap, by joining of those two capital sins in one, then he freely gave them his consent, but he told Tyranny that he could not force his daughter to marry him against her will; but he comforted him for the present, in promising him his best assistance for the accomplishing of his desire, and he told him that his daughter Hypocrisy was proud and covetous, and therefore he should woo her with gold and preferment, and for natural inclinations he knew that they were both alike, because they were both his children, and he esteemed them both alike, and therefore he would not rest till he had brought them to Church, and there he would join them hand in hand, when they had joined themselves heart in heart, & therefore he wished Tyranny to spare no cost nor labour to win his dearly beloved Hypocrisy. Now when Tyranny had his instructions, he went with them to woo his mistress; but when he saw that she held her residence in the Church, he was somewhat troubled, but necessity hath no law, and if it had a thousand laws, tyranny would break them all, but when he thought what good instructions the devil had given him, he grew bold and went like a Machiavellian, and did choose out a company of poor priests, such as he thought would do their best to maintain tyranny through hypocrisy, and of them poor priests, he made rich Prelates, for when Tyranny had made show of his gold and preferment, and Hypocrisy had accepted his proffered courtesy, then the work is more than half done: little wooing sufficeth where both parties are willing; for when Tyranny hath given his faith, and Hypocrisy her truth, then Tyranny rideth to Church and Hypocrisy rideth to Court, and then Iniquity doth rejoice to have the pre-eminence, for then the Tyrant with the sword, and the Hypocrite with the word, will silence truth in the land, or banish her out of the land, which is the less evil of the two, then Amasiah the Arch-priest will tell the Prophet Amos, that he must not speak the truth here, becuse of the Kings Court; for when Princes and Prelates do join their power to maintain tyranny and oppression, then who can live in peace? and now the world is full of such tyrants and hypocrites, that like Herod and Pilate, do agree to persecute the truth.

Now consider how Tyrants and hypocrites do demean themselves concerning the oppressing of the truth, for which the devil brought them together: now when the Tyrant hath taught the Hypocrite to be a tyrant, then the hypocrite will teach him to be as himself is, and so they knowing each other’s mind, they do keep a formal and external seeming sanctity, and they do extoll each other in their double deceitfulness, and yet they would make men believe that they are the Lords anointed ones, and yet they will not be Jews, though they know that Kings and Priests are Jewish ceremonies, but they do tell of a mystical anointing of the Holy Ghost, which they have, or should have; but because men do judge of them according to their practises, and finding them to be contrary to the rule of Christ, therefore men think, and would say if they durst, that they are a company of hypocritical tyrants, for the Prelate saith, although he be a liar in so saying, that the King is the light of our eyes, and the breath of our nostrils: and the King saith, that the Prelate is a holy man; and he might have said, that they two were ordained to disorder the Commonwealth, but the hypocrite had taught him better, and the more to blind the world, the Tyrant taketh the Hypocrite for his ghostly father, and he maketh him one of his Privy-Councillors: this is all well, but if the Prelate should chance to speak of a right Reformation, and should rightly reprove the Tyrant, or the tyranny, O then they will take from him the Holy Ghost, for if it be not so, how dare they silence him, before they have taken the Holy Ghost from him? what, do they silence the Holy Ghost in him? and if he had the Holy Ghost when he pleased the Tyrant, doth he loose it in displeasing him? and if he had not the gift of the Holy Ghost, why was he permitted to preach and teach, more than others? But all such tyrants may well say, that they have not so much as heard, if there be an Holy Ghost or not: This is such an atheistical practise, that men should be ashamed to think of it, how much more to do it: and for examples to show how tyrants in times past, have dealt with them which have sought for a right reformation in Church or Commonwealth, read the histories of John Huss, Jerome of Prague, Anacharsus, Euripidus, the two royal Grecian Kings, Agis and Cleomenes, and the two noble Romans, Tiberius, and Caius Gracchus, those and many more by their examples, have taught us, how tyrants do love justice and right reformation. If Herod hear of a king that shall rule the people in truth and righteousness, all the young innocent children in Bethlehem must be slain, because he supposed that Christ was one of them, so much did he hate a right reformation. If John Baptist do tell that other Herod of a reformation, then the dancer must have his head. If Pope Adrian pretend a reformation, although it be to stop Luther’s mouth, yet the whole Conclave of Cardinals will withstand him. What do I speak of men, when if Christ himself will have a right reformation according to the will of God, they will say, that he hath a devil, and they will betray him, sell and buy him, whip and scourge him, and mile him to the Cross, and feed him with gall and vineger, and then they will deride and mock him, and tempt him to show them miracles, for they will bid him, if he be the Son of God, to come off from the Cross, and then they will believe him.

This is part of a series