Page images

he projected any such thing as the suppressing of the gospel, he would not have shewed himself so industrious in preventing Socinianism from poisoning those of riper years; in turning

ments which are before the public, have proved these popular jealousies to have been only too well founded.-Upgracious as the occupation undoubtedly is, I must be permitted to expose still further the evils of Catholic influence when exerted on the Chief Magistrate of this country: These were sufficiently manifested by Queen Henrietta's exploits in the reign of her son Charles the Second. During the exile of the royal family in France, her endeavours to obtain the suppression of the Protestant worsbip within the precincts of the French Court, and her attempts to seduce her son, the Duke of Gloucester, to the Romish faith, were circumstances which declared in language suficiently explicit her zeal and intolerable bigotry. Few people will cherish any doubts conceruing tbe deleterious power which she exercised over the weak mind of King James the Second; and she was never reconciled to his clandestine marriage with the Earl of Clarendon's daughter, till she had received satisfactory proofs of the Duchess of York's obsequious compliance with the Popish prejudices of her husband. Auother reason for Queen Henrietta's ultimate approval is given in Evelyn's Diary, who, under the date of “ Oct. 7, 1660,” says: “ There dined with me a French Count, with Sir George Tuke, wbo came to take leave of me, being sent over to the Queenmother to break the marriage of the Duke with the daughter of Chancellor Hyde. The Queen would fain have undone it; but, it seems, matters were reconciled, on great offers of the Chancellor's to befriend the Queen, who was much in debt, and was now to bave the settlement of her affairs go through his hands. In brief, the character of Mary De Medicis, which is quoted at the commencement of this note, was equally applicable to her daughter Queen Henrietta in her advauced age; and the baneful effects of her interference in the government of England may be truly said to he distinctly perceptible in every subsequent act of the two Kings, her immediate descendants, till the last of them was compelled to abdicate the throne of these realms, and to find an asylum in a foreign land: May this Protestant kingdom vever again be cursed with a Popish Queen !

But though most decided in my aversion to Popery, even under its mildest forins, and notwithstanding all these real causes of fear from the family De Medicis and from their Popish connections, I cannot allow that any just reason existed for the unnatural rebellion which was subsequently excited under the name of RELIGION. If this were a proper opportunity for introducing such a discussion, I would be found one of those who could concede much to the doctrive of lawful resistance to the aggressions of arbitrary power : But my concessions would be grounded on the broad basis of the ucknowledged rights of the citizens of a free state. It was not on this plain and jutelligible principle that the Puritans and the minor sects in 1640 founded their opposition to the measures of King Charles's administration; but it was on that of a reputed difference in religious profession and belief between themselves and their opponents, and, in the capacity of Christians, they enrolled themselves under the banners of sedition. Before their open appeal to arms, they renounced the formerly ulleged infringements of the laws and constitution of the land, which were then in a course of being redressed; because they found the pretext wbich produced the desired effect upon the people, who were more afraid of the loss of their RELIGION than of their Civil LIBERTIES, was that of representing the Church of England as Popish, and “ the willing, people” were soon encouraged by false glosses upon the scriptures to assist in the overthrow of this system of reputed “i idolatry and superstition.” The doctrine of resistance assumed in that case a new character, which is not to be found among the doctrines of the New Testament: And when I read the very ingenious corollaries which the accomplished Bishop Hoadley deduces from St. Paul's pointed interrogation to the centurion, Is it laufui for you to scourge a man that is a Roman and uncondemned ?, I am not so far convinced by his arguments as to believe, that the Apostle intended to convey, by that expression and by other traits in

afternoon sermons into catechising for the instruction of children; in prohibiting all assemblies of Anabaptists, Familists, and other sectaries, which oppose the common principles of the

bis conduct, the rather indefinite rind of resistance which the Bishop depicts. The truth is, in religions communities, the words of the Great Lawgiver of his Church will have their accomplishment in the practice of all real Christians : “ If my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight." This principle runs through the whole of the New Testament; and whatever legal resistance St. Paul offered on the occasion just.quoted, and when he was maltreated by the magistrates of Philippi or by Ananias the Jewish High-priest, it did not amount to the fighting posture assumed by such republican divines as Dr. John Owen or Robert Baylie. (Pages 457 & 505) As long as human nature is corrupt, “ men of this world will be found throughout all lands in sufficient numbers to arenge their own wrongs, to redress the grievances of others, and to abridge the exorbitant power of tyrants, without calling upon “ all upright professing Christians," as the belligerent Calvinists did in imitation of Mahomet and his followers, to come forward in an armed mass for the destruction of their brethren, who had obtained hke precious faith with themselves through the righteousness of God and their Saviour Jesus Christ," but who, unfortunately, employed such rites and ceremonies in their worship of the true God as did not accord with the ideas of their oppressors. Whatever diversity of opinions Jewish Rabbins or Christian commentators may entertain about the real character of the destroying angel, whom God commissioned under the Old Testament regimen to execute his righteous indignation, there can be but one opinion respecting the character of the human agents, whom, in the administration of his punitive providence, God generally employs to effect his great and salutary purposes, cifrom seeming evil still educing good.” By the light of New Testament principles we can discern these humau executioners of Divine vengeance upon the ungodly to be, not good men, but the wicked themselves, who, whether viewed as conquerors or the conquered, may in a justifiable sense be said to have been made by the Lord for the day of evil.” (Prov. xvi. 4.) This sentiment is beautifully amplified by a British Poet, when personating a bard of ancient Greece:

The good can never be unblest,
While impious minds can never rest;
A plague within themselves they find,

Each other plague, and all mankind ! If this doctrine be true concerning the wicked, St. Paul renders it equally applicable to those professors who unchristianize themselves, by not fulfilling this law, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. For he immediately adds, "If ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another,"

--a passsage of scripture, which received a striking fulfilment in the public events of this kingdom between the years 1640 and 1660 ;, as did also that memorable passage in St. Matthew, when applied to the followers of the meek and lowly Jesus, as such, “All they that take the sword, shall perish with the sword.” The following extract from Dr. HAMMOND's treatise of resisting the lawful magistrate under colour of Religion, contains an accurate and scrlptural view of the untenable principles and bad practices of the Calvinistic champions of that age:

“Religion is not so truly professed by endeavouring to kill others, as by being killed patiently ourselves rather than we will renounce it. When I fight, it may be malice, revenge, some hope of gain by the present service, any one of an hundred worldly interests, that may help to whet my sword for me; or most clearly, a hope I may kill and not be killed : Aud so, all this while, here is no act of confession of Christ in thus venturing my life, although I do affirm I do this for my religion.-Whosoever cousiders himself as a man, much more as a father of posterity, must have many things to trust God with, and only God; and, among those, nothing more than the future

3 A

christian faith. For, that his silencing of the Arminian controversies should be a means to suppress the gospel,' or his favouriug of those opinions designed for a back-door to bring in estate of those who are come from him. There is nothing, after bis prayers to God and his paternal blessing upon them, so likely to entail his religion upon them, as his by his sufferings. This will be a more probable way to recommend his religion to them, when they shall hear that their fathers thus hoped in God, than that other so distant, that they died in a rebellion against the king. All this upon supposition, but not concession, that the religion of him that would fight for it were the truth and only truth :' Whereas indeed there is not a more suspicious mark of a false religion, than that it is fain to propagate itself by violence; the Turks and Papists being the only notable examples bitherto of that practice, till some others have fallen upon the same conclusion, directly through Popish principles a little varied in the application. It seems, we are resolved to have no more to do with martyrdom, think that the thousand years for the saints to reign on earth are at hand, ; aud so, suffering, or conformity to the image of Christ [being] no longer the thing we are predestined to, we must set up a new trade of fighting, destroying, resisting, rebelling, and leave enduring to those christians which were furnished with extraordinary strength from heaven :' which are the objector's words of the primitive christians. The doctrine of allegiance to Kings, and of their supremacy in all cases, hath always been counted a principal head of difference between the Protestants and the worst of Papists: Aud a special evidence which most meu have used to conclude the Papacy to be the Antichrist, is this, that the Pope exalteth himself above all that is callęd God, that is, above all the kings of the earth; that he, in case the king be not a Catholic, absolves subjects from their allegiance to him, &c. Bodin is fain to pas a sad observation upon the fact of those German princes in taking up arms for religion against Luther's advice: Ita funestum bellum &c. I would to God those words were Englished in every one of our hearts: 'A • direful and calamitous war, with the slaughter of all sorts ; because though it were for religion, yet no cause can be counted just of taking up, arms

against one's country. One general notion there is of our laws, which from my childhood I have imbibed, and therefore conceive common to all others with me; and it is this, that the laws of this king dom put no man (no Papist I am sure,) to death for RELIGION. When Jesuits and seminary Priests have suffered, every man is so perfect in the law, as to know that it is for TREASON, by a statute that makes it such for them to come into this kingdom. From whence I conclude, that in the constitution of our state, no war for religion is accounted a lawful war, &c. And therefore Sleidan tells us of Martin Luther, that he would not allow a war, though but defensive, with

the Turk himself:' And though he had mitigated his opinion upon a new state of the question, and persuaded the emperor to it, yet it was with this limitation, modo nec vindictæ &c. 'provided that it be undertaken on account of neither revenge, glory, nor prutit, (three things which are very rarely kept out of war, but that they attack this most foul and despicable thief, not on the plea of his religion, but on that of his thefts and the inju

ries which he has inflicted.'-In his Postil on Matthew 13, Luther likewise says, 'Observe here how mad we have hitherto been. who would by war com

pel the Turks to the faith, heretics by fire, the Jews hy fear of being put to • death ; and to pull up the tares by our own strength, as if we were they who have power over the hearts and spirits of men, and as if it were in our hands to recal men to justice and piety.'-For this war to be waged, not not against POPERY truly so called, but against the only true Protestant Religion as it stands established by the old laws of the land; and therefore it is fain to be be called Popish that it may be fit to be destroyed, and our Martyr reformers not able by those fiery chariots of theirs to get out of the con• fines of Babylon,-just as the primitive christians were by the persecutors put in wild beasts 'skins, that in those shapes they might be devoured, this, I confess, is to me a complication of riddles," &c.

In the last extract which I have given in this note from the letters of Grotius, the English are said “ to have been terrified with the example of

[ocr errors]

Popery, no wise man can think. The points in controversy between the Calvinists and Arminians, in the reformed churches of Calvin's Plat-form, are agitated no less fiercely by the Dominicans on the one side, the Jesuits and Franciscans on the other side, in the Church of Rome ;* the Calvinists holding with the

such an increase of the King's prerogative, as France then presented.” Į bere suhjoin au extract from another letter on the same subject, addressed by Grotius to bis brother, in February, 1641; in which he attributes the alarm felt by the French ministry, and the increased severity of the tyrannical yoke imposed on the Parliament of Paris, to the audacious aggression of the English republicans upon the prerogative of their monarch. Thus it will be shewn, that TYRANNY in one kingdom, and LICENTIOUSNESS in the other, were mutually pernicious, and exercised a fearful re-action on the few liberties which remained among either people." The King was yesterday in Parliament, and complained, that the members abused the right which had been granted to them by their Kings ;-that after the death of Henry the Fourth, they had exercised the prerogative of conferring the government of the kingdom upon the Queen Mother;—that there were no laws to countenance the further spread of this evil;—that he would not allow the Parliament to interfere in affairs of State or of finance ;--and that it was his pleasure for all his edicts, as soon as they were issued, to be registered among the Acts of Parliament without any consultation. The King's brother [the Duke of Orleans, who had been in rebellion against him and recently pardoned,] was labouring under an attack of the gout; but the King ordered him to be brought into the hall in a chair, that he might be present at the rescinding of the Parliamentary decree, which had moderated and softened the King's edict, [recorded, as the King issued it, by the Parliament of Burgundy,] that declared guilty of treuson all the adhérents of his brother, [the Duke of Orleans,] who had forfeited his allegiance. The King granted permission that the votes of the Cardinal and of the Princes who were present, those of a few of the Presidents, and that of the Archbishop, should be delivered. The Secretary of Parliament declared, that all these proceedings must be inserted in the Acts of the Chamber without the least exception, and must be strictly, obeyed. The titles and dignities of the Presidents and Senators who had been banished, were then all abolished: The same severities will be exercised hereafter, whenever any member obtrudes himself into affairs, the consideration of which has been prohibited by law.-Much trepidation prevails in every direction. The adoption of this measure has been hastened by the audacity of the English Parliamentarians in their open insurrections against the King's authority : It has also been accelerated by the fear, lest, in case of the death of the King (of France], the Queen [Anne of Austria) should obtain the regency by means of the votes of Parliament." -This last circumstance relates to the dread evinced by Lewis the Thirteenth, during the whole of his long indisposition, lest lis Queen and his brother, the Duke of Orleans, should obtain the regency of the kingdom during the minority of his infant son, and, on account of their decided predilection for Spanish interests, should conclude a peace with that proud patiou), which might prove injurious to his own kingdom. But, how often, in huinan affairs, is it seen, the best-concerted schemes are vain and fail of sụccess! This tyrannical spell, devised to bind down to the royal pleasure the supreme power in the government, was broken within less than a month after the proud monarch's decease; and the two individuals, whose influence and management he had justly dreaded, were, by the suffrages of this dragooned Parliament, exalted to the supremacy

Many parts of this note will furnish additional information concerning the the facts recorded in pages 549, 557, 585, 598, 605, 611, 621, 624, 629, 681, 694, 698, 708.

* Dr. Hammond's Roman Catholic adversary says : “ Our criterion or rule of faith keeps off dissensions when it is followed ; yours does not. Lutherans and Calvinists follow the same rule, and yet dissent and condemn one another; ours do not so, but remit the differences to be decided to one and

Dominicans, as the Arminians do with the Jesuits and Franciscan Friars. And therefore, why any such compliance with the Dominicans (the principal sticklers and promoters in the Inquisition) should not be lookcd onas a back-door to bring in Popery, as well as a compliance in the same points with the other two orders, is beyond my reach."

The Archbishop's care for the Church of England, which Grotius styles (page 631) “a most honourable and praiseworthy purpose,” has now received a part of the exposition to which it is richly entitled'; and, to all unprejudiced men, it will appear to have been a plan of pacification which, without altering one of the Thirty Nine Articles of Religion, would have comprehended Calvinists, Arminians, Cameronists, and moderate Popish recu- . sants. As far as his power extended, (and his own Diary shews it by no means to have been so unlimiled as his enemies have industriously represented, he endeavoured to effect a reconciliation among the chief parties of professing christians in the kingdom, and to accommodate all of them within the truly Catholic bosom of the Church of England. But his designs were frustrated, by the want of firmness on the part of his royal master, (which soon displayed itself in his first unguarded concessions respecting church-government,) as much as by the unchristian animosity of his illiberal adversaries; and the best comment upon the enlightened policy of Archbishop Laud, and on the usefulness of his scheme, will be found in the history of the confused state of religion, during the twenty succeeding years, some notices of which are given in various parts of this the same judge both exterior and interior.”—To this remark the learned Doctor returns the followiug answer in his View of the Apology for the Infablibility of the Church of Rome :“ I was a proving, by the ancient catalogues of hereticks, that there were good store of hereticks in the world before the Reformation, from which it follows, that either your infallible judge was not then in fashion, or else that it is not such a sovereign means or antidote against hereticks. You seem to distinguish that your rule keeps off dissensions, not always, but when it is followed ; and prove that farther, because you remit the differences to be decided to one and the same judge.' I might answer, that our rule, the word of God, doth so too, at least in matters of faith; and that any such dissension, at least uncharitable censuring of Dissenters, is absolutely against that rule. But, I conceive, that is not the thing that commends a rule as a means to prevent dissensions, that they that follow it dissent not, (for the rule if it be but one rule, whatever it is, will do that,) but that it is able and apt to keep men obedient and to restrain them from excesses and not following of it. Now this is an excellence that these many Catalogues of Heresies proved, that you had no right to pretevd to; ard if we have not so neither, we are but partners in this piece of human infelicity, to which, as long as we carry flesh about us, it will be incident, for there must be heresies among you. As for your instance of the Lutherans and Calvinists' dissensions, and condemning one the other, I must tell you that this little concerns the Church of England, which always disclaimed the being called by the names or owning the dissensions of LUTHERAN and CALVINIST, and professeth only the maintaining of the PRIMITIVE CATHOLIC Faith, and to have no father on earth to impute their faith to. I might add more even for those Lutherans and Calvinists, that if they did really follow the same rule, they would certainly agree also.”

« PreviousContinue »