Page images

brought the great men of the realm to espouse this quarrel; who, by the commission of surrenderies, (of which more elsewhere,) began to fear the losing of their tithes and superiorities, to which they could pretend no other title than plain usurpation. And on the other side, it was ambition, and not zeal, which inflamed the Presbyters; who had no other way to invade that power which was conferred upon the Bishops by Divine institution, and countenanced by many acts of Parliament in the reign of King James, than by embracing that occasion to incense the people, to put the whole nation into tumult, and thereby to compel the Bishops and the regular Clergy to forsake the Kingdom. So the Genevians dealt before with their Bishop and Clergy, when the reforming-humour came first upon them: And what could they do less in Scotland, than follow the example of their mother-city?

«. These breakings-out in Scotland smoothed the way to the like in England, from which they had received encouragement, and presumed on succours. The English Puritans had begun with libelling against the Bishops, as the Scots did against the King: For which, the authors and abettors had received some punishment; but such, as did rather reserve them for ensuing mischiefs, than make them sensible of their crimes, or reclaim them from it. So that upon the coming of the Liturgy and Book of Canons, the Scots were put into such heat that they disturbed the execution of the one by an open tumult, and refused obedience to the other by a wilful obstinacy.

“ These insolencies might have given the King a just cause to arm, when they were utterly unprovided of all such necessaries as might enable them to make the least show of a weak resistance. But the King deals more gently with them, negotiates for some fair accord of the present differences, and, in 1638, sends the Marquess of Hamilton as his chief Commissioner for the transacting of the same. By whose solicitation be revokes the Liturgy and the Book of Canons, suspends the Articles of Perth, and then rescinds all Acts of Parliament which confirmed the same ; submits the Bishops to the next General Assembly, as their competent judges ; and thereupon gives intimation of a General Assembly to be held at Glasgow, in which the point of church government was to be debated, and all his condescensions enrolled and registered. And, which made most to their advantage, he caused the Solemn League or Covenant to be imposed on all the subjects, and subscribed by them. Which in effect was to legitimate the rebellion, and countenance the combination with the face of authority.* But all this would not do his business, though it might do theirs. For they had so contrived the matter, that none were chosen to have voices in that Assembly, but

* See a Note from Grotius, page 216.

such as were sure unto the side, such as had formerly been under the censures of the Church for their inconformity, and had refused to acknowledge the King's supremacy, or had declared their disaffections to Episcopal Government. And that the Bishops might have no encouragement to sit amongst them, they cite them to appear as criminal persons, libel against them in a scandalous and unchristian manner; and finally, make choice of Henderson, a seditious presbyter, to sit as moderator or chief president in it. And though upon the sense of their disobedience, the assembly was again dissolved by the King's proclamation ; yet they continued, as before, in contempt thereof. In which session they condemned the calling of Bishops, the articles of Perth, the Liturgy, and the Book of Canons, as inconsistent with the scripture, and the Kirk of Scotland. They proceed next to the rejecting of the five controverted points, which they called Arminianism : And finally, decreed a general subscription to be made to these constitutions. For not conforming whereunto, the Bishops, and a great part of the regular *clergy, are expelled the country, although they had been animated unto that refusal, as well by the conscience of their duty, as by his Majesty's Proclamation which required it of them.

“ They could not hope that the King's lenity so abused, might not turn to fury; and therefore thought it was high time to put themselves into arms, to call back most of their old soldiers from the wars in Germany; and almost all their officers from such commands in the Netherlands ;* whom to maintain, they intercept the King's revenue, and the rents of the Bishops, and lay great taxes on the people, taking up arms and ammunition from the States United,+ with whom they went on

• See Note page 310. + That a great sympathy should subsist between the Dutch and the Scotch at this crisis, will not seem wonderful to those who consider, that the ecclesiastical form of government in both countries was Presbyterian, and that the Canons of the Synod of Dort, and the subsequent severe measures of the States General, had rendered Calvinism completely triumpbant in Holland. (See pages 226, 267.) The author of the Historical Essay upon the Loyalty of the Presbyterians, 1713, says: “ The ecclesiastical institution of Presbytery does provide such effcctual remedies against the usurpations and ambition of the clergy, and lays such foundations for the liberty of the subject in CHURCH MATTERS, that it naturally creates in people an aversion from all tyranny and oppression in the STATE also : Which bath always made it odions in the eyes of such princes as have endeavoured to stretch the prerogatives above the laws of the nation and liberties of the subjects.”

The decided leaning of the Dutch towards the Puritans in their ambitious undertaking to suppress Arminianism and Episcopacy, was early displayed. G. J. Vossius makes the following mention of it in a letter to Grotius, iu 1642: “ The Puritanic war fills many persons in this country with anxiety. It is pot difficult to learn, from the prayers that are offered up in public, to which party the affections of the Dutch pastors are attracted. Some of them have no doubt, that God requires the work of Reformation happily to proceed, • as it has auspiciously commenced, and the king's mind to be mollified.' Though these sen:iments manifest an accommodating spirit; yet the pastors

ticket, and long days of payment, for want of ready money for their satisfaction. But all this had not served their turn, if the King could have been persuaded to have given them battle, or suffered any part of that great army which he brought against them, to lay waste their country. Whose tenderness when they once perceived, and knew withal how many friends they had about him, they thought it would be no hard matter to obtain such a pacification as might secure them for the present from an absolute conquest, and give them opportunity to provide better for themselves in the time to come, upon the reputation of being able to divert or break such a puissant army. And so it proved in the event. For the King had no sooner retired his forces both by sea and land, and given his soldiers a license to return to their several houses, but the Scots presently protest against all the Articles of the Pacification, put harder pressures on the King's party, than before they suffered, keep all their officers in pay ; by their messengers and letters, apply themselves to the French King for support and succours. By whom encouraged under-hand, and openly countenanced by some agents of the Cardinal Richelieu, who then governed all affairs in France, they enter into England with a puissant army, make ing their way to that invasion by some printed pamphlets, which they dispersed into all parts, thereby to colour their rebellions, and bewitch the people.

" And now [16407 the English Presbyterians take the cou. rage to appear more publickly in the defence of the Scots and their proceedings, than they had done hitherto. A Parliament had been called on the 13th of April, for granting monies to maintain the war against the Scots. But the Commons were so backward in complying with the King's desires, that he found himself under the necessity of dissolving the Parliament, which else had blasted his design, and openly declared in favour of the public enemies.* This puts the discontented rab

make it sufficiently evident, tbat nothing is more desirable to them, than for the king to be content with an empty title, and for novel doctrines to uriumph over those which can lay claim to antiquity.After stating this as the grand object of the Calvinistic combination, be briefly adverts to the differing ulterior views of the Independents and Presbyterians, which finally effected the overthrow of that oppression and anarchy which both parties had contributed to introduce into the new Commonwealth.

• The odium of this measure was, as usual, ascribed to Archbishop Laud; but with what degree of truth, the following statement from Lord Clarendon's Life will evince:

“ As soon as the House was up, he went over to Lambeth, to the Archbishop, whom he found walking' in bis garden; having received a full account of all that had passed, from persons who had made more baste from the House. He appeared sad and full of thoughts; and calling the other to him, seemed willing to bear what he would say.' He told him, that he • would not trouble him with the relation of any thing that had passed, of ( which he presumed he had received a good account; that his business was (only to inform him of his own fears and apprehensions, and the observastion he had made upou the discourses of some considerable men of the

ble into such a fury, that they violently assaulted LambethHouse, but were as valiantly repulsed ; and, the next day, break open all the prisons in Southwark, and release all the prisoners whom they found committed for their inconformities.

“ The Scots, in the mean time, had put by such English forces as lay on the south-side of the Tyne, at the passage of New. born, make themselves masters of Newcastle, deface the goodly church of Durham, bring all the Countries on the north-side of the Tees under contribution, and tax the people to all payments at their only pleasure. The council of Peers, and a petition from the Scots, prepare the King to entertain a treaty with them; the managing whereof was chiefly left unto those Lords who had subscribed the petition before remembered. But the third day of November coming on a-pace, and the commissioners seeming desirous to attend in parliament, which was to begin on that day, the treaty is adjourned to London; which gave the Scots a more dangerous opportunity to infect that city, than all their emissaries had obtained in the times fore-going.

“And though a convocation were at that time (1641) sitting; yet to increase the miseries of a falling-church, it is permitted, that a private meeting should be held in the Deanery of Westminster, to which some orthodox and conformable Divines were called, as a foil to the rest, which generally were of Presbyterian or Puritan principles.* By them it was proposed, that

court, as if the king might he wrought upon, (because there had not been • that expedition used as he expected,) speedily to dissolve the Parliament; • that he came only to beseech him to use all his credit to prevent such a

desperate counsel, which would produce great mischief to the king, and to (the church; that he was confident the House was as well-coustituted and disposed, as ever House of Commons was, or would be ; that the number of

the disaffected to Church or State, was very small; and though they might - obstruct for some time the quick resolving upou what was fit, they would never be able to pervert t

rvert their good inclinations and desires to serve the • king.' The Archbishop heard him very patiently, and said, he believed the -king would be very angry at the way of their proceedings; for that, in this conjaucture, the delaying, and denying to do what he desired, was the same thing; and therefore he believed it probable that he would dissolve them; without which he could not enter upon other counsels. That for his own part, he was resolved to deliver no opinion : but as he would not persuade ibe dissolution, which might be attended by consequences he could not foresee, so he had not so good an opinion of their affections to the king or the church, as to persuade their longer sitting, if the king were inclined to dissolve them. As he actually did on the 4th or 5th of May, not three weeks after their first meeting."

. These were the proposals of the sub-committee of accommodation, one of whom was our Dr. Twisse ; and the rest, with two exceptions, were inclined either to the doctrine of Calvin or to the Presbyterian regimen. From such men what could be expected, but the complete establishment of Calvinism, and the extirpation of Arminianism ? Two of them had been members of the Dort Synod, and the majority of them seem to bave been favourably inclined to the introduction of the canons decreed in that Dutch Assembly. (See page 269.) Archbishop Usher was one of those who had formerly supposed a greater latitude of indulgence might be allowed to men who pleaded conscience in bar of their conformity : But he lived long enough to

many passages in the Liturgy should be expunged, and others altered to the worse. That decency and reverence in officiat. ing God's public service, should be brought within the compass of innovations. That doctrinal Calvinism should be entertained in all parts of the church ; and all their Sabbath-specula. tions, though contrary to Calvin's Judgment, superadded to it. But before any thing could be concluded in those weighty matters, the Commons set their bill on foot against root and branch, for putting down all Bishops and Cathedral Churches ; which put a period to that meeting without doing any thing."*

Dr. Heylin then gives a succinct relation of the subsequent changes in Church and State, the general truth and accuracy of which are corroborated by the statements of some of the Puritans themselves. Speaking of the Liturgy, he says, It was “ not like to stand, when both the Scots and English Presbyterians did conspire against it. The fame whereof had either caused it totally to be laid aside, or performed by halfs in all the counties where the Scots were of strength and power; and not much better executed in some Churches of London, wherein that faction did as much predominate, as if it had been under the protection of a Scottish Army. But the first great interruption which was made at the officiating of the public Liturgy, was made upon a day of Humiliation, when all the Members of the House of Commons

have painful and ocular demonstration, that religious liberty, even when it had degenerated into licentiousness, was too confined, and did not satisfy mauy of the fanatics of that age. Evelyn says, in his Diary, “ Aug. 21, 16:5; In discourse with the Archbishop of Armagh, the learned James Usher, he told me,-that the church would be destroyed by sectaries, wbo would'in all likelihood bring in Popery. In conclusion, he recommended to me the study of philology above all human studies.”

+ At the close of the note, page 327, Walton praises God for having prevented bim“ from being of that party which helped to bring in this covenant and those sad confusions that have followed it."-He then adds : “ I have been the bolder to say this of myself, because in a sad discourse with Dr. Sanderson, I heard him make the like grateful acknowledgment. The Covenapters of this nation, and their party in parliament, made many exceptions against the Common Prayer and ceremonies of the Church, and seemed restless for another reformation. And though their desires seemed not reasonable to the King and the learned Dr. Laud, then Archbishop of Canterbury, and many others ; yet to quiet their consciences, and prevent future confusion, they did, in the year 1641, desire Dr. Sanderson to call two more of the convocation to advise with him, and that he would then draw up some such cafe alterations as he thought fit in the service-book, and abate some of the ceremonies that were least material, for satisfying their consciences; and to this end he and two others did meot together privately twice a week at the Dean of Westminster's house, for the space of five months or more. But not long after that time, wben Dr. Sanderson had made the reformation ready for a view, the church and state were both fallen into such a confusion, that Dr. Sanderson's model for reformation became then useless. Nevertheless the repute of his moderation and wisdom was such, tbat he was, in the vear 1612, proposed by both houses of parliament to the king the

to the king then in Oxford, to be one of their trustees for the settling of church affairs, and was allowed of hy the King to be so; but that treaty came to nothing.” WALTON's Life of Bishop Sanderson.

« PreviousContinue »