Page images


Spain; and lessened his esteem amongst the clergy, by some other artifices. So that the poor man, being in a manner lost on both sides, was forced to a necessity of swallowing that accursed bait, by which he was hooked over to his own destruction: For, having solicited King James by several letters, (the last of them bearing date on the 3d of Febrnary, 1623,) to licence his departure home, he was by the King disdainfully turned over ment, his Majesty excelled his royal father and his own sons. Yet whoever has considered Clarendon's just representation in a preceding page, (344,) and has perused with attention his Majesty's very interesting letters to Queen Henrietia, will find no difficulty in inferring, that the very delicate and more than gentlemanly deference there displayed would ultimately have been ductive of dangerous consequences to the sound Protestant principles which the King entertained, had the last eventful years of his life been as prosperous as they were adverse. The judicious precautions of Archbishop Laud might in the end have proved unavailing, had the Queen gained by affability and kindness unbounded ascendancy over her royal consort: and when once her Majesty had engrossed the management of the most momentous concerns of the kingdom, and experienced no interruption in the distribution of court-rewards, in which she would have had the aid of Popish advisers, the Protestant interest would have been gradually sapped, and Popery would have struggled hard to gain its ancient supremacy.

These are some of the remote consequences which flowed from Gondemar's reprehensible interference in English affairs; and it was in the same line of operations, at once to render De Dominis suspected at court, and to flatter his vanity by inducing him to undertake the Quixotic expedition of effecting a reconciliation between the Protestants and the Papists.

We are told, in the Life of Bishop Morton,“ that the Archbishop's pretence for going to Rome was, to negotiate an unity in religion between the Church of Rome and that of England, upon those moderate grounds which he had laid down in his works printed at London. He thought himself the more likely to execute this design by reason of the seasonable opportunity which he had at that time, when Gregory XV was newly chosen Pope, who had been bis old and intimate acquaintance, being brought up in the same school and college with him. Besides, if he failed in the attempt, he hoped he should lose nothing but his labour, since Count Gondamar, the Spanish Embassador iu England, who had persuaded bim to that journey, had promised him the protection of the King of Spain his master. While he was full of this design and hopes, Bishop Morton came to visit him, and among other discourse with him had the following [in Latin,] which shews of how little authority the Council of Trent would be, if it were not for the terror of the Inquisition:-Morton. “My

Lord, what is in your mind, sthat induces you to go to Rome] ?. Is it your intention to convert the Pope and the Papal Conclave?'-De Dominis. . Why

not, my Lord ? Do you suppose that they are devils, and incapable of conversion :-Morton. •1 do by no means account them DEVILS ; neither do I

consider his Grace of Spalato to be God and able to effect such a miracle. For does not your Lordship know the Council of Trent?'-De Dominis. 'I

am indeed, my Lord, well acquainted with it: aud I venture to assure your Lordship, that there are thousands of thousands, in Italy itself, who have no • faith whatever in that Council!'. This discourse, and many others having passed between them, they parted in a friendly manner; and not long after, our Bishop wrote a long letter to the Archbishop, to dissuade him from his intended journey, in which, among other arguments for that purpose, be used one, in which he shewed himself a true prophet, concerning the reception which be was likely to meet with at Rome. This fell out accordingly; for Pope Gregory XV, the Archbishop's old friend, died before he came thither; and a successor was chosen in his place, by whom the Archbishop was imprisoned in the Castle of St.Angelo, where he died, not without strong suspicion of murder or poison : and his body was afterwards burnt, as that of an retic, in Campo Fiori,"

[ocr errors]


to the High Commission, or rather to a special Commission directed to Archbishop Abbot, the Lord Keeper, [Williams Bishop of] Lincoln, the Bishops of London (Mountague], Durham (Neile], and Winchester (Andrews], with certain of the Lords of the Privy Council. These Lords assembling at Lambeth on the 30th of March, and having first heard all his excuses and defences, commanded him to depart the realm within twenty days, or otherwise to expect such punishment as by the laws of the land might be laid upon him, for holding intelligence by letters, messages, &c. with the Pope of Rome. To this sentence he sorrowfully submitted, protesting openly, that he would never speak reproachfully of the Church of England, the Articles whereof he acknowledged to be sound and profitable, and none of them to be heretical, as appears by a book entituled, Spalato's Shiftings in Religion, published, as it was conceived, by Laud’s especial friend, the Lord Bishop of Durham. How well, or rather how ill, he performed this promise, and what became of him after his return to Rome,* is not

business." This celebrated divine in 1617 dedicated the first Four Books of his COMMONWEALTH OF the CHURCH to the States General ; after King James had, for certain reasons, declined that nonour. (See the Works of Arminius, vol. 1, p. 412,439.) In acknowledging the splendid present which their High Mightinesses sent him, the Archbishop thus alludes to the dissensions between the Dutch Calvinists and Arminians, which had not been completely allayed by the prudent and conciliatory Edict of 1614: “ I wish the two parties would neglect all counsels that are merely human, and would suffer themselves to be directed and instructed by that charity alone which the Holy

now my

* In Baker's Chronicle the following brief account of his death is given : “ He preached publicly divers times before divers Lords of the Council, printed in Loudon the first four of his ten books, intituled, Of the Commons wealth of the Church; wherein with great earnestness he maintained the doctrine and discipline of the Protestants. But after all this, whether all he had done was but dissembling from the beginning, or whether out of remorse of conscience he repented bim of that he had done, after five years' staying he retracted all he had said or written before : which so incensed King James, that he commanded him

(within three days at his peril) to depart the realm ; who thereupon went to Rome, and there inveighed as bitterly against the Protestants, as he had done in England against the Papists ; hoping at least for pardon, if not for preferment. But, notwithstanding his recantation, according to the law of the Inquisition, (having once revolted, though now returned, he suffered the death of an heretic, though not the shame; had the punishment of a martyr, but not the honour; and was publicly burnt at Rome: yet not burnt alive, but dying in prison, and then buried, it is said his body was afterwards taken up and burned."-The truth is, he was twice nominally burnt: The first time, he was burnt in effigy immediately after leaving Italy, on which'occasion he humorously observed to his friends in Englaud, " that he was never colder in his life, than on the day when he was burnt at Rome.” The second time, according to Baker's description in the preceding paragraph, his disinterred remains alone were consumed.

would pay

[ocr errors]

Spirit infuses into our hearts. Were this course pursued, they would undoubtedly compose all their differences immediately by themselves, without wearying or disturbing foreigners, and would thus each bear the rdens of the other," &c. In the Seventh Book of his Respublica Ecclesiastica, he says: “ Those long and tedious Confessions which contain the decisions of many theological controversies, cannot be embraced or proposed as Symbols, Rules and Formularies of Faith: For those that began to be published in almost all the Reformed churches, in order to terminate the differences which had arisen in some or other particular church, are nevertheless and always will be the principal causes of schism.* Who is so dull and stupid as to submit his judgment or his conscience to the doctrines of particular teachers, from whom he can receive no certainty of their faith ?" He owned, that the most compendious way to produce a general peace of the church, would be to compose a brief Confession of fundamental and necessary matters,t with

*“We make this offer, that whatever proposition we affirm without shewing scripture for it, and that expounded according to the interpretation of the ancient church, we will presently forego,' and if you us the like offer, and your party make it good, I doubt not but, as turbulent a sea as the state of Christendom is at this time, the whole church might quickly be at peace, or at least the dissentient party not to be considerable. I remember a passage in Saint Hilary, depredicating the Bishops of France as very happy men, that they knew no other Confession than that ancient

and most simple which, through all churches from the Apostles' age, had • been received:' And I am a little confident that that which first made, and hath ever fomented, the breaches of that precious body, is the multiplying and imposing of new Confessions and Articles of Belief from the suggestion of private or less public spirits, and that hath made the body like Aristotle's insectills, wbich for want of blood run out into a multitude of legs; every such new article so multiplied (above the number of those which scripture in the truly Catholick interpretation of it will authorize, not only as true but necessary to be so acknowledged,) being an effect of some want of blood, I mean of charity, in the anthors : For though to teach any man any certain truth be an act of charity, yet to make an article, that is, to require every man to believe whatever we conceive to be truth, is a great uncharitableness, and a cause or occasion of more; the addivg to the necessary truths, ordinarily, being a forerunner of the abatement of the inventory of the necessary performances, I mean of those which are indispensably required of us under Christ.HAMMOND's View of the Apology, 8c.

† “Such a grand Catholic convention of able ecclesiastics in these Western Churches might, by the consent of princes and chief magistrates, be so orderly convened with freedom, impartiality, and due authority, as might enable them to consent in one canon or rule of faith and good manners; that the clear and concurrent sense of scriptures might be owned by all, in which all things necessary are contained, either literally or by just deductions ; that what is dark or dubious should be left indifferently to christians' use and judgments; that, as all would agree in the same ancient fundamental articles of faith, contained in primitive creeds, also in the same sacraments or holy mysteries to be devoutly celebrated, so in the same way of good works to be practised ; that we might all have the same catechise, the same public liturgies, so composed that all christians might with faith and charity say Amen to them, and in their several languages understand them ; that a commentary on Scriptures, and sermons containing all christian necessary doctrine, might be agreed upon ; tbat neither curiosities nor controversies should be couched in public prayers or preachings; that all might enjoy the same catholic source and course of ecclesiastic ordination, ministry and authority,” &c.-GAUDEN's Ecclesiæ Anglicana Suspiria.

the universal concurrence of all the orthodox Eastern and Western christians,—those of the Greek, Romish, Lutheran and the other Reformed churches. With regard to other differences which are not essentials and which cannot be comprised in such a Formulary, they ought, in his opinion, to be tolerated.--In this very clever man's productions is displayed much christian philanthropy, and he proposed many excellent devices for the peace and the unity of the Church Universal; but his fate was only another warning to real peace-makers, not rashly to venture their persons within the precincts of the Pope's domains.* He had been deceived in his hopes of finding the Church of England “a city that is compact together;" he lamented the spectacle which she then presented through the mismanagement of King James,+ who, in fact, was encouraged by Abbot

# Some emissaries of the Roman See, like Gondemar, had been exceedingly active in giving Grotius an invitation to visit Rome. But, though a great promoter of peace and union, he preferred to reside in a country in which the Pope's right to punish a peace-maker was not recognized, rather than incur some personal hazard by proceeding to the seat of Antichrist. In a letter addressed to his brother in 1625, he says: “ It is also exceedingly desirable, that Pope Urban may be able to produce some degrees of concord in the faith of christianity, which is now in too great a state of discord. But this event is the subject of one's WISHES, rather than of one's hopes or EXPECTATIONS,particularly since the memory of Mark Antony De Dominis has been condemned at Rome, by burning his body. And yet there are those who invite me to Rome:

What lure, I ask, is this for me,

That city's famous walls to see ?”. In a letter of an earlier date, (1622,) having mentioned “those who had prevented the payment of his pension, and who had hoped that he might possibly by that means be induced to attend Mass,” Grotius instantly adds, « I have read some of the productions of Mark Antony De Dominis, who is now celebrating, High Mass in Antwerp. On the questions of Grace and Free-will he evidently maintains the same opinions as we do; on other points he is a follower of Cassander, with the exception of his attacking Transuhstantiation and other dogmas with greater boldness. I wonder what he will say about this change of his religion : Perhaps be will say, that he has not altered his religion, for be considers the Roman Catholic religion and that of Protestants to be alike."

+ The king's conduct with respect to the Synod of Dort will be the subject of a future vote. I have quoted some animadversions on his encouragement of the Rochelle Calvinists, in pages 291 & 308; and it is to be regretted that in some of his learned productions he proved himself incapable of exercising the same nice degree of discrimination, as the admirable Bishop Bilson had done, in 1585, in bis True Difference between Christian Subjection and Unchristian Rebellion. It is remarkable, that Bishop Bedell alluded to the case of the Rochellers, about that period, in his Letters to Mr. Wadsworth, who had been his fellow-student at Cambridge, and who, -on being appointed chaplain to the anomalous embassy of the Duke of Buckingham when that nobleman accompanied the chivalrous Prince Charles in his disastrous matrimonial excursion to Spain,—was there converted to the Church of Rome. In those Letters the Bishop says: “Do you think subjects are bound to give their throats to be cut by their fellow-subjects, or to their princes, at their mere wills, against their own laws and edicts? You would know quo jure the Protestant wars in France and Holland are justified." He then quotes Four brief Reasons, and concludes them thus : “ These are the rules of which the Protestants, that have borne arms in Frauce and Flanders, and the Papists also both here and elsewhere, as in Naples, that have stood for the defence of their liberties, have served themselves : How truly, I esteem

himself to exercise the Archi-episcopal functions in addition to those of Royalty. Wisdom, in the large acceptation of the word, was not one of that monarch's qualifications, but he substituted in it hard for you and me to determine, unless we are more thoroughly acquainted with the laws and customs of those countries, than I, for my part, am.' Bishop Burnet observes, “ that Mr. Bedell's book was so well received, that we may look upon it as the sense of the Church of England at that time !" Yet in one part of the pamphlet which he wrote, in reply to the charges of Dr. Hickes against him for certain alleged interpolations in the Letters to Wadsworth, Bishop Burnet expounds a contrary doctrine, by dividing “the point of resistance into two questions, (1) Whether subjects may resist merely upon the account of religion? The other is concerning the constitutiou of states and kingdoms, How far they have retained or lost their LIBERTies? The oue is a point of Divinity; the other is a point of Law and History. As to the First, I do not know one, of all the divines that have sworn to the present government, who are not still of the same opinion that they were formerly of, and that do not still judge RESISTANCE ON THE ACCOUNT OF RELIGION TO BE UNLAWFUL.-Nor does it any way reflect on them, if they should have changed their opinion in the other point, which falls not so properly within their studies. Many might go into wrong uotions of our government, and think we had no liberties left us but what were at the discretion of our princes. A great many have not at all changed their opinion, even in this second point,” &c. In the same pamphlet he says, that, in republishing Bedell's letters to Wadsworth, “ he could not but take notice of the case of subjects resisting their princes fully stated and justified by the author, and this in a book dedicated to King Charles the First, then Prince of Wales; and that this was never once objected to Mr. Bedell, nor was be obliged to retract it, but, instead of that, he was soon afterwards preferred to a Bishopric. This was one of the first indications observed by Bishop Burnet, " which led him to see how late it was before the notion of nonresistance was received as a doctrine of the church, though he had another, which was later as well as more public. For, in the year 1628, during the siege of Rochelle, there was a public Fast appointed upou that account over England ; and the besieged were prayed for as our brethren, and success to them was prayed for by that form.” The Bishop had the form of Prayer, which, as he remarks, “ shews how far this church was at that time from condemning resistance in all cases as rebellion."

It would not require any deep or extensive research to discover earlier instances thap these, in the reign of King James the First, of the versatility of his political principles. Iustead of transmitting a spirited Remonstrance to the Court of France respecting an amelioration in the condition of the Protestants of that kingdom, as Oliver Cromwell subsequently did when they were actually persecuted, the unwise Monarch addressed letters and despatched representatives to the Assemblies of the Reformed as an independent party. How ridiculous such conduct must have appeared to Mark Autony De Dominis, who had been encouraged by the same monarch to publish the following sentiments ! “ The Church ought not to fight against Princes, even wicked Apostates or Infidels, upon any ecclesiastical, pious or boly account, especially wheu such Princes do not oppose the christian faith ; neither can I imagine how the church can countenance such a war, even though the prince should persecute his christian subjects; being persuaded in my own mind, that the sword is to be used neither in the defence of the faith, nor even for Christ himself: Neither have I ever read, that, in all those ages when the heathen emperors, or any apostate, heretical, cruel and ungodly prioces reigned and oppressed the christians, the latter ever took up arms against their persecuting princes, or stirred up others to do it even when it was in their power : And yet I find, at the same time, that the church flourished most of all under these persecutions, and being adorned with all kind of virtues, shined out then 'most brightly: But, on the contrary, that peace and plenty has made her idle and slotbful. I know tov, that all christian virtues, such as piety, holiness, zeal for the faith, inward religion, and the best morality, have appeared much more illustrious in many

« PreviousContinue »