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religion, (p. 800,-) as the English Latitude-men did in the year 1662. Though attached to the chaste ceremonies of the Church of England, they were not so unreasonable as to number them among the essentinls of salvation. They lived to see the truth of that opinion which I have quoted, in page 635, from Grotius, when he recommends the Dutch Remonstrants to adopt Episcopacy by " receiving imposition of hands from the Irish Arch. bishop." then in Holland, “and so commence their return to customs which are at once ancient and salutary." This is a high and disinterested compliment to the rites of the Church of England, then in ruins. " Whenever those customs have been despised," Grotius adds,“ the licence for framing new opinions has in“creased, and has created new churches; and what the articles *of belief in such churches will be a few years hence, we cannot
determine."--Having beheld with their own eyes a sad exemplification of this religious licentiousness, Tillotson, Burnet, Cudworth, and other great and good men, declared themselves in favour of Episcopal government, as soon as the former unjust restraints upon it were removed, and before that species of regimen was re-established by law. The reader will find, in a subsequent part of this Introduction, the grievous lamentations of the Nonconformists when these eminent individuals refused to join their ranks, and to oppose the rising interests of Arminianism. The accession of such divines as these was most important to Episcopacy. Their principles were generally of a milder and more tolerant complexion, than those of their predecessors; and the ,fine description, in page 801, is exceedingly appropriate: “ They seemed to be the very chariots and horsemen of the Church,” &c.
These excellent men had not obtained much influence in 1662: Their share, therefore, in the permanent settlement of the Church at that period, was exceedingly slight; and the religious persecution which ensued, does not attach to the Arminians of “ the new learning.” But had their conduct been different, had they even become active partizans in that persecution of Dissenters, many excuses might have been made for them, on the common principles of human nature, and from the peculiar circumstances in which the Episcopal party had been previously placed.
The Act of Uniformity and its concomitants are industriously represented, by the advocates of the party aggrieved, as insulated occurrences unconnected with former transactions. To those who are inclined to give implicit credence to such representations, * and, without accurate information, to circulate such reports, it may be well to submit the following account from one of the finest and most impartial biographical notices that was ever written in the English language :*
• The high authority of Parr's Life of Archbishop Usher was demonstrated at the period of its first issuing from the press, which was in the tyrannical reign of King James the Second, who interposcd his power to prevent its publication.
“ About this time, 1648, whilst his late Majesty was kept prisoner at Carisbrook Castle in the Isle of Wight, the Lord Primate [Archbishop Usher] was highly concerned at the disloyal actions of the two Houses towards their lawful prince: To express which, he preached at Lincoln's Inn on this text, Say ye not a CONFEDERACY to all them to whom this people shall say a CONFEDERACY! neither fear you their fear, nor be afraid. Sanctify the Lord of hosts Himself, and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread. (Isai. viii, 12, 13.) Wherein he sufficiently expressed his dislike of those Covenants and Confederacies into which they had now entered, contrary to that oath they had taken already, and that we should not fear man more than God, when we were to do our duty to our prince or country. Not long after which, the Presbyterians, finding the Independent party too strong for them, had no way left to secure themselves, but by recalling their votes of non-addresses, and to vote a treaty with his Majesty in the Isle of Wight. And because the differences concerning church government were not the least of those that were to be settled and concluded at this treaty, and for which it was necessary for his Majesty to consult with some of his Bishops and divines, the Lord Primate was sent for by the King, among divers others, to attend him for that purpose. When he came thither, he found one of the greatest points then in debate, was about the government of the church, the Parliament Commissioners insisting peremptorily for the abolishing and taking away Archbishops, Bishops, &c. out of the churches of England and Ireland. His Majesty thought he could not with a good conscience consent to that demand, viz. totally to abolish or take away Episcopal government. But his Majesty then declared, that he no otherwise aimed at the keeping up the present hierarchy in the church, than what was most agreeable to the Episcopal government in the primitive and purest times. But his Majesty (since the Parliament insisted so obstinately on it,) was at last forced to consent to the suspension of Episcopacy for three years, but would by no means agree to
This circumstance is thus related with much artlessness and judgment by EVELYN, in his Diary: · « APRIL 18, 1686. In the afternoon I went to Camberwell, to visit Dr. Parr. After sermon I accompanied him to his house, where he shewed me the Life and Letters of the late learned Primate of Armagh, (USHER,) and among them that letter of Bishop Bramhal's to the Primate, giving notice of the Popish practices to pervert this nation, by sending a hundred priests into England, who were to conform themselves to all sectaries and conditions for the more easily dispersing their doctrine amongst us. This letter was the cause of the whole impression being seized, upon pretence that it was a political or historical account of things not relating to theology, though it had been licensed by the bishop ; which plainly shewed what an interest the Papist now had, that a Protestant book, containing the life and letters of so eminent a man, was not to be published. There were also . many letters to and froin most of the learned persons his correspondents in Europe. The book will, I doubt not, struggle through this unjust impediment.”
take away Bishops absolutely. But now, to stop the present career of the Presbyterian discipline, the Lord Primate proposed an expedient, which he called Episcopal and Presbyterial governa ment conjoined, and which he, not long after he came thither, delivered into his Majesty's hands, who, having perused it, liked it well, saying, It was the only expedient to reconcile, the pre
seut differences. For his Majesty, in his last message to the Parliament, had before condescended to the reducing of Episcopal government into a much narrower compass, viz, not only to the Apostolical institution, but much farther than the Lord Primate proposed or desired, even to the taking away of Archbishops, Deans, Chapters, &c. together with all that additional power and jurisdiction which his Majesty's predecessors had bestowed upon that function : Which message, being read in the House, was by them, notwithstanding, voted unsatisfactory. So that the Pres-, byterian party was so absolutely bent to abolish the very order of Bishops, that no proposals of his Majesty, though never so moderate, would content them. Till at last, (when they had wrangled so long till they saw the King's person seized by the army, and that the power was like to be taken out of their hands,) they then grew wiser, and would have agreed to his proposals when it was too late : And so the Presbyterian party saw themselves, within a few days after, forcibly excluded and turned out of doors, by that very army which they themselves had raised and hired to fight against their prince;, which, as it was the cause of his Majesty's destruction, so it proved their own ruin. inns ,,“ It was not the Lord Primate's design or intention, in the least, to rob the Bishops of any of those just rights which are essentially necessary to their order and constitution, and without abasing Episcopacy into Presbytery, or stripping the church of its lands and revenues, both which the Lord Primate 'always abhorred: For he was of his Majesty's mind in his excellent Icon BASILICON,
that Presbytery is never so considerable or effectual, as when it • is joined to and crowned with Episcopacy.'-And that the king himself was then convinced, that this was the best expedient for the settling of the church at that time, you may likewise see by what he writes in the same chapter in these words, viz: «Not that I am against the managing of this presidency and authority in one man, by the joint counsel and consent of many Presbyters: I have offered to restore that, as a fit means to avoid those • errors, corruptions, and partialities which are incident to any
one man.' And so likewise, in the chapter about the reformation of the times, he has this pasage: "I was willing to grant or
restore to Presbytery what with reason or discretion it can pre“tend to, in a conjuncture with Episcopacy. But, for that, wholly to invade the power, and by the sword to arrogate and quite abrogate the authority of that ancient order, I think neither just as to Episcopacy, nor safe for Presbytery, nor yet any way
convenient for this Church or State.' - And that the most pious. and learned Dr. Hammond* was, about the same time, of the Lord Primate's judgment in this matter, may appear by this passage in the preface to his treatise of The Power of the Keys: • That a moderate Episcopacy, with a standing assistant Presby'tery, as it will certainly satisfy the desires of those whose pre
tensions are regular and moderate; craving nothing more, and • in some things less, than the laws of the land : So that it will • appear to be that which all parties can best tolerate, and which, next to himself, both Presbyterian, Independent, and Erastian, will make no question to choose and prefer before any of the other pretenders.'
“Though it may be true, that divers of the more sober of the Presbyterian party have seemed to have approved of these terms of reconciliation, yet it has been only since the ill success their discipline hath met with, both in England and Scotland, that has made them more moderate in their demands: For it is very well known, that, when these terms were first proposed, the ringleaders of the party utterly cried them down as a great enemy to Presbytery ; since this expedient would have yet left Episcopacy in a better condition than it is at this day in any of the Lutheran churches. But they were not then for Divisum Imperium, [ they) would have all or nothing; and they had their desires. So that it is no wonder if the Lord Primate, in this endeavour of reconciliation, met with the common fate of arbitrators, to please neither party. But though the church is now restored (beyond our expectation as well as merits,) to all its just rights and privileges,
Several other eminent Episcopal Divines were at that period advocates for such an accommodation. The following is Dr. GAUDEN'S scheme for a coalition of the three great denominations, which he proposed to the world, only two years prior to the Restoration :
"All agree in the main Christian graces, virtues, and morals required in a good. Christian's practice ; yet still each party is suspected and reproached by others. . The brisk INDEPENDENT boasts of the liberty, simplicity, and purity of his way; yet is blamed for novelty, subtilty, vulgarity, and anarchy.-The rigid PRÉSBY TERIAN glories in his aristocratic parity, and levelling community, which makes every petty Presbyter a Pope and a Prince, though he disdain to be a Priest; yet *** is taxed for petulancy, popularity, arrogancy, and novelty, casting off that cathos lic and ancient order which God and nature, reason and religion, all civil and military policy, both require and observe among all societies.-EPISCOPACY justly challengeth the advantages, right, and honour of apostolic and primitive antiquity, of universality and unity, beyond any pretenders; yet is this condemned * * by some for undue encroachments and oppressions upon both ministers' and peo- * ple's ingenuous liberty and christian privilege, by a kind of secular height and arbitrary sovereignty, to which many Bishops in after ages have been betrayed, 28 by their own pride and ambition, so by the indulgence of the times, the munificence of christian princes, and sometimes by the flatteries of people.
« Take away the popular principle of the first, which prostrates government to the vulgar; take away the levelling ambition of the second, which degrades government to a very preposterous and unproportionate parity; take away the , * without the least diminution ; yet certainly no good subject or son of the church, either of the Clergy or Laity, at that time when this expedient was proposed, but would have been very well con. tented to have yielded farther than this, to have preserved his late Majesty's life, and to have prevented those schisms and confusions which, for so many years, harrassed these poor nations. But if our king and church are both now restored, it is what then no man could foresee ; it is the Lord's doing, and is marvellous in our eyes !”
To complete the correct view, which the reader will now have obtained of the ecclesiastical events preliminary to the Act of Uniformity, it will be necessary to present him with the subjoined elucidatory extract from Bishop HEBER’s Life of Jeremy Taylor :
" It has happened almost uniformly, in cases of religious difference, that those schisms have been most bitter, if not most lasting, which have arisen on topics of dispute comparatively unimportant, and where the contending parties had, apparently, least to concede, and least to tolerate. Nor are there many instances on record which more fully and more unfortunately exemplify this, general observation, than that of the quarrel and final secession of the Puritan clergy from the church, in the year 1662. Both parties, in that case, were agreed on the essentials of christianity. Both professed themselves not unwilling to keep out of sight, and mutually endure, the few doctrinal points on which a difference existed between them. The leading Puritans were even disposed to submit to that episcopal government, their opposition to which, during former reigns, had created so much disturbance, and had led, by degrees, to such abundant bloodshed and anarchy, And it is no less true than strange, that this great quarrel, which divided so many holy and learned preachers of the common faith, was occasioned and perpetuated by men, who, chiefly resting their objections to the form and colour of an ecclesiastical garment, the wording of a prayer, or the injunction of kneeling at
monopoly of the third, which seems to engross to one man more than is meet for the whole : Each of them will be sufficiently purged (as I conceive) of what is most dangerous or noxious in them, for which they are most jealous of, and divided from each other. Restore to People their liberty in some such way of choosing, or sat least approving their ministers, and assenting to church-censures, as may become them in reason and conscience ; restore to Presbyters their privileges in such public counsel and concurrence with their Bishops as may become them.' Lastly, restore to Bishops that primitive precedency and catholic presidency which they ever had among and above presbyters, both for that chief authority or eminency, which they ever had in ordaining of presbyters and deacons, also in exercising such ecclesiastical discipline and censures, that nothing be done with, out them : I see no cause why any sober ministers and wise men should be unsatisfied, nor why they should longer stand at such distances and defiances, as if the liberties of christian people, the privileges of christian presbyters, and the dignity of christian bishops, were wholly inconsistent ; whereas they are easily reconciled, and, as a three-fold cord, may be so handsomely twisted together, that none should have cause to complain or be jealous, all should have cause to joy in and enjoy each other."