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literally fulfilled. It was pronounced by the Rev. Thomas Case, in his Sermon before the Commons, May 26, 1646 : “ Is there not idolatry found among us? Ye have pulled down idols in the Churches, and ye have done well! But, Oh! idols are multiplied in the land: Every man's opinion is become his idol, which he adores and worships with highest veneration. We have cause to be humbled for our old Popery, and our old Popish ceremonies : You, our Honourable Senators, told us so once in an Ordinance of Parliament; and ye did well. But Popery was but one way of false worship : There be a generation of men in the land that stand up for all kinds of false worship, that every anan may worship God after his own conscience; or if they will not own it in words at length, they will have it in figures : And if they may not, are ready not only to cry, but to act persecution,* and that to purpose : For while they cry perse
* Beside their unwearied persecution of the Episcopalians and Arminians, Richard Baxter asserts, in the subjoined extracts from his Church Divisions, that the Independents did not trcat their Presbyterian brethren with too much kind. ness : “ Was it no persecution, when many Anabaptists and Separatists made such work in England, Scotland, and Ireland, in Croinwell's time and after, as they did, when so many were turned out of the Universities for not engaging, and so many out of the Magistracy and Corporation Privileges ? And when an ordi. nance was made to cast out all ministers, who would not pray for the success of their wars against Scotland, or that would not give God thanks for their vic. tories? When I have heard them profess, that there were many thousand godly men that were killed at Dunbar, (to instance in no other,) and yet we were all by their ordinance to be cast out, that would not give God thanks for this.What more harsh kind of persecution could there be, than to force men to go hypocritically to God against their consciences, and take on them to beg for the success of a war, which they judged unlawful, and to return him a public coun. terfeit thanks for bloodshed, yea, for the blood of thousands ?"
This, certainly, is a very trifling display of persecution ; and, if the Inde. pendents could be charged with no higher a degree of criminality than this towards the Arminians, they would appear in the foremost ranks of friends to Toleration. On the doctrines of General Redemption, they had been egregiously misinformed. They had seen Arminianism only in the form which Archbishop Laud had com. pelled it to assume, (p. 691,) and which undoubtedly was not the most attractive ; and for many years they manifested no wish to be made better acquainted with its native purity as taught by the Dutch Founder of the system. When these obnoxious doctrines did not intervene, the Independent divines were almost uniformly found to possess a greater portion of philanthropy than their Presbyterian brethren : But the Independent statesmen were generally more lenient and generous than the divines of their persuasion. One of the most outrageous High Church-men that ever wrote, has given us the following just description of the Independents, in a reply to Richard BAXTER's complaint at the com. mencement of this note :
“ Presbytery is too tyrannical for the spirit of an Independent to bear. The * stomach of that party would not brook it; and so they cast it up again : For " there is, though a licentious, yet somewhat of a practical and accommodable “ generosity in that party. But are not you aware, gentlemen, that the worse “ you speak of these people, the greater is your condemnation for making the “ E;viscopal Party still more insupportable than these (were at the very worst g" -L'ESTRANGE's Casuist Uncased.
cution gladio oris, [' with the sword of the mouth,] they are ready to act persecution ore gladü p at the point of the sword']. I pray God, it may never be Englished !”
What defence of themselves did the Independents publish against this charge of a General Toleration, which, they knew, was intended to apply to them? JEREMIAH BURROUGHES, one of the chief of this party, thus disclaims“ such a Toleration," in his Sermon before the House of Peers, Nov. 26, 1645: “ Let not violence be used to force people to things spiritual that they know not. If those who now have but food and raiment should have great penalties inficted upon them, for not submitting to what they yet have no means to instruct them in, how grievous would it be! The votes of Parliament are to be honoured, and the judgment of an Assembly of godly and learned men is not to be slighted; but that which must subject men's consciences, in mata ters concerning Christ and his worship, must be light from the word. Let not the greatness of your power be exercised upon those who do what they can to know the mind of Jesus Christ, and would fain understand and practise more, only they dare go no further than they see Christ before thein. You cannot say, Men are obstinate and will not see ; for what means hath the generality of the kingdom had to see ground out of Scripture for such great changes ? To use force upon people before they have means to teach them, is to seek to beat the nail in by the hammer of authority, without making way by the wimble of instrucfion. Indeed, if you have to deal with rotten or soft sappy wood, the hammer only may make the nail enter presently: But if you meet with sound wood, with heart of oak, though the hammer and hand that strikes be strong, yet the nail will hardly go in; it will turn crooked or break : Or, at least, if it enters, it may split that wood it enters into ; and, if so, it will not hold long, you have not your end. Consider, you have to deal with English consciences; there is no country so famous for firm strong oaks as England; you will find English consciences to be so - “ My Lords, you are advanced to high power and honour, in a kingdom where Christ hath as many dear saints of his, as (I had almost said) in all the world besides; He expects you should use them kindly. They have been faithful to you ; even such as cannot fully come up to you, in some things you have published to the world. Where hath any one of them (though cried out upon, as troublers of the kingdom) falsified their trust in any thing you have committed to them? You sit here in peace, and enjoy your honours with abundance of mercies; in part, through the blessings of God upon their faithfulness and courage in venturing their lives for you: God forbid you should fall upon them, when your turns are served by them! Listen not to any who shall whisper such suggestions, or boldly vent such things as tend to the exasperation of your spirits this way. There is a great out. cry against the loleration of all religions, and we are willing to join against such a toleration; but that which fills the mouths of many in this, is the heat of their spirits against those that differ from them in any thing, that they might with the more strength be able by this to strike at THEM : Suffer not your power to be abused to serve men's designs. Be faithful with God; encourage those that fear bim; and God will take care of your honours; He will do good to you, and your posterity after you. Do not hearken to those who tell you, These men would lay all level; they would make no difference between the Nobleman and Tradesman. Yes, we know, honour is to be given to whom honour belongs. God hath made a distance between man and man; it is fit it should be acknowledged and observed."
This is certainly a noble description of the consciences of Englishmen; and the warning is very proper against using violence “ to force people to things spiritual that they know not.” In a preceding page, (lx,) the Presbyterian tyranny has been depicted, by Nathaniel Hardy, before the house of Peers, as consummate “ Piety !" He has there most ivgeniously urged their Lordships to commit the foul deed which Burroughes so feelingly deprecates. “ If, while the Ark was floating on the waters of strife,” says Hardy, “ you were enforced to entertain WOLVES and Lambs together ; yet now that the waters are abated, and the Ark in some measure settled, send out the wolves from the fold.” The Independents remembered, for a long time after. wards, this “ exasperation of their Lordships' spirits,” and Bur. roughes intreats them“ not to listen to any who shall whisper such suggestions.”
On this subject, another Independent Preacher, “ WILLIAN DELL, Minister of the Gospel, attending on his Excellency Sir Thomas Fairfax," speaks thus, in the Dedication of the sermon which he delivered before the House of Commons, Nov. 25, 1646: “ Here lies the mystery of iniquity in this that they (the Presbyterians] make the whole kingdom A CHURCH; and then require a power, authority, and jurisdiction in their CHURCHKINGDOM, which the Magistrate is not to deal withal, but theme selves. What a balance they may prove against the State where they live, in turning and tumultuous times, as they themselves know, so I hope you clearly perceive. How do they manifest their discontents against you, in pamphlets and pulpits, in their sermons and prayers, because you have not settled the government which they have studied out for you as Jus Divinum and the certain and unchangeable mind of God, though they can neither make it out to yourselves, nor to any body else, by THE WORD, that it is so! And how do they labour to instil into the people their own discontents, persuading them you have done nothing at all, because you have not done all that ever they would have you do, though you can see neither reason nor scripture
for it! Some discoveries of this spirit you might see in Mr.
In his Sermon, Dell relates the following anecdote, and adds a few just reflections: “I read, in Frithe's Answer to the Bishop of Rochester, 'that a youth, being present at his father's burning,
the officers, seeing him, resolved to examine him also, to try if they might find him a sectary or a heretic: But the youth, dismayed at the sad sight of his father's death, and fearing the like • end himself, being asked of one of them, how he believed ?,
answered, Sir, I believe even as it pleaseth you. And so, the more outward and violent power is used upon men, the more of this kind of faith and obedience you shall have. When men shall · see prisons, and banishments, and loss of goods, and death, walking up and down the kingdom for the Reformation of the Church, you shall at last have men say, “Sirs, we will believe and do, even as it pleaseth you : We will believe as the State pleaseth, or we will believe as the Council pleaseth ; and let them make what confession they will, we had rather BELIEVE them, than ENDURE them ! And thus by fear and punishment may men be brought to say and do that which they neither believe nor understand: And how acceptable such Popish faith and obedience is unto God, all spiritual Christians know, and every man's conscience, me thinks, should be convinced.”
Dell’s Sermon contains sentiments more tolerant and liberal, than those of the other Independent ministers, who gave public expression in those days to their opinions. He may be considered as the Army's representative at that period, * having pow.
• DELL was one of the most fanatical of the Army Chaplains ; yet, with all his eccentricities, he and his multiform brethren of the Independent persuasion were the only persons qualified to cope with the intolerant Presbyterians. The worst feature in his character was that which generally attached to the men of his denomination, a suppleness of principle in accommodating his tenets to the vary, ing circumstances of the times, and to the prejudices of the people or the army.
In RICHARD BAXTER'S Sccond Admonition to Bagshaw, it is said : “ Alas! how common was this in the Army--to set up and pull down, do and undo, own
erfully pleaded their cause in his Sermon. Yet, by consulting o the humble Petition of the Officers of the Army," in a succeeding page, (779,) it will be seen, that even they, who, from the number of their discordant sects, required the most extensive indulgence from each other, were very careful to except Poe PERY and PRELACY, and under the latter term they always included Arminianism. The same exceptions are made by Dr. Owen, (p. 416,) against “ Papists' Images and Prelates' Servicebook ;” and his open avowal, that “the zeal of them that put Ser. retus to death may be acquitted,” identifies his views on this sube ject with those of Vines in a preceding page (lxv). Indeed, I have not met with an Independent Minister of that era, (with the exception of John Goodwin,) who, when speaking without ambiguity or circumlocution on the subject, did not bear his testimony against tolerating Episcopalians, who were usually depicted under the epithets of Delinquents, Malignants, Prelatists, or Arminians !
The reader will find, in page 791, some reasons for the great extent of John Goodwin's catholicism, and his superiority in this respect to his famous cotemporary Dr. Owen. It is there shewn, that both of them acknowledge “ their doctrine of Religious “ Liberty to have been derived from the writings of the Remon<< strants: But, with this doctrine, Goodwin almost simultane"ously imbibed that of General Redemption; and the latter “ rendered the amplitude of the former much more distinct and “ apparent. Owen, on the contrary, borrowed only just as much “ of the Dutch doctrine of mutual toleration as served a tempo« rary purpose, and fenced it about with many restrictions, which
might enable its advocate virtually to disclaim it at a convenient “ season. Owen's views of toleration partook of the narrowness “ of his religious system,” &c. But, though the glory of the first promulgation of tolerant principles does not belong to the Calvinistic
Independents, it is undoubtedly due to the Arminian branch of that • denomination. Indeed, in what quarter soever Dutch Armini.
anism in those days achieved her conquests,—whether among Episcopalians, Presbyterians, or Independents, -she almost invariably rendered them favourable to the civil and religious liberties of mankind: Of her early trophies among these three denominations, John Goodwin, Ralph CUDWORTH, and LAWRENCE WOMACK were admirable specimens, that entitled her to the veneration of all the lovers of piety and freedom. I would have substituted JEREMY TAYLOR in the place of Womack, had not the former been an Arminian in the days of Laud; while the and disown, as by the Spirit of God! There was Mr. Erbury, Mr. Saltmarsh, Mr. Dell, Mr. William Sedgwick, who, as from God, wrote one week to the Army against their putiing the King to death, and the next week wrote quite to them on the other side ; and who set London, by a prophecy or vision, on looking for the Day of Judgment, on a set day."