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control them, so far at least as to determine who should and who should not minister in them. We see this not merely in the conduct of Edward VI., Mary, and Elizabeth, but in that of the Long Parliament itself, who pronounced all ministers ineligible who would not comply with the League and Covenant, etc. The occupants of these pulpits have often changed with the changes of the constitution of the Church in these realms. Interference has gone beyond this, and the civil power has restrained or deposed such teachers as were either heretical or evil livers ; if it has not always done so, it has always claimed the right. The parliamentary government both asserted and exercised the right. The clergy whom it ejected, were ejected for all these reasons; they refused to conform to the state enactments respecting the League and Covenant, etc.; or they were heretics; or they were men of evil lives. All the clergy who suffered under the authority of the parliamentary party were not saints, though some of them were; others were idle, incompetent, irregular, or otherwise unfit for their holy office. Whether all who suffered by the Act of Uniformity in 1662 were really confessors or martyrs, is fairly open to question. In both cases there was enormous injustice and oppression; but the amount of these ingredients is more apparent in the latter, where there lacked nothing of bitterness and rigour, and where no element of mercy or consideration is to be found. No doubt the two thousand were a motley host. In church government, in doctrine, in manners, in zeal, in learning, in godliness, they exhibited far greater variety than we should find at this day. No doubt too they were impelled by different motives to refuse subscription. Some refused because they had not seen the book they were required to pledge themselves to; some because they regarded the proceeding as intolerable and tyrannical; some because they objected to certain doctrines; some because they could not consent to use certain formulas; some because they were not Episcopalians; and some on other accounts. Whatever their reasons, they were so far honest and sincere, that they sacrificed everything rather than say or do what they did not believe. Their consciences, it ought to be admitted, had the principal voice in the matter, because if they had made the requisite declaration, and surrendered to authority, they might have remained. The conditions offered were offered to all, and all were required to accept them. But this was rather in appearance than reality. The Church had been divided and at
At length one party gets into power, and dictates the terms on which alone the other shall continue in possession of what it holds. These terms are in fact the Act of Uniformity, which viewed in this light was neither more nor less than a notice to quit, or a summons to surrender. It was perfectly well known that some would surrender, and equally well known that others would refuse. Not only was this foreseen, but it was desired, and the Act was constructed in view of it. The Prayer Book itself was altered in the same spirit and expectation. It was made more offensive than its predecessor, by the insertions which were resolved upon. To serve a temporary purpose changes were effected in the liturgical standards which are a sore and a bone of contention to this day. Let the reader compare the Book of Common Prayer as it appeared before and after 1662. We pronounce no opinion as to the character of the alterations, but only as to the motive by which some of them found acceptance. Not only was the book rendered more unpalatable, intentionally to aggravate the humiliation and increase the difficulty of subscription; but the treatment to which many were subjected by way of foretaste was uncalled for. We can afford to own this also. Men who pray, “ Remember not, Lord, our offences, nor the offences of our forefathers," can admit that their forefathers sometimes did wrong. Here then were three things; there was the haughty and vindictive bearing of the men in power ;
there was the alteration effected in the Prayer Book; and there was the Act of Uniformity. All these contributed to the catastrophe of August the 24th, 1662 ; or rather, perhaps, the third of these merely hastened the denouement. Possibly, a different view may be taken by others, who see no fault in the party they espouse, whichever it may happen to be.
We spoke of the haughty and overbearing behaviour of some of the Episcopal party, and we would illustrate this by numerous cases if it were necessary. But even this to some extent finds its counterpart in preceding events. What we may call the Genevan, more commonly termed the Puritan party in the Church, had always been opposed to and by the thorough-going Episcopalians. Under Elizabeth, James I., and Charles I., men of the Genevan school were often called to suffer. During the civil wars they, whether Presbyterian or Episcopalian, gained the upper hand, and then they too exerted their power upon their opponents. We have already hinted at the measures by which the Church constitution was altered. Not only was the Prayer Book abolished, but episcopacy itself, and the Presbyterian Directory and its concomitants substituted for them. Then too were many excluded from their benefices. It may be enough to quote on this point a passage from one of the suffering party. If we quote from those who suffered by the Act of Uni
formity, we must also hear those who suffered by the acts of the republican parliament. The author to whom we refer is Isaac Basire, who, in The History of the English and Scotch Presbytery, said to have been printed in French in 1650, and published in English in 1659, says :
“In the ninety-seven parishes within the walls of London, there were found upon account, that there were fourscore and five ministers driven by violence from their churches and houses ; and to number the suburbs cand parishes adjoining to London, the number of the ministers were a hundred and fifteen, without comprising those of St. Paul's and Westminster, where the deans and prebends ran the same fortune; of this number, twenty were imprisoned, and of those who are dead by distress and anguish in divers prisons, in the holds of ships, and banishment, they reckoned five years since (i.e., 1655) twenty-two; but this number is almost doubled since, and the others dispersed and fled into strange countries, or otherwise oppressed and ruined. . . . In the other parts of the kingdom, many faithful ministers to the king had the like usage, especially those who possessed the fairest and best benefices ; for this was an unpardonable crime, and some of them were massacred by the furious Anabaptists as a sacrifice well pleasing to God.”
Into the minute accuracy of this statement we shall not go; but that it contains truth, we have no doubt. Heylin, another writer of the same school, abundantly confirms it, and so do Walker and many more. But if this were wrong under one government it was wrong under another. Even such men as the John Wesley; already alluded to, ought not to have been vexed without lawful enquiry. Yet many were, and that before the Act of Uniformity was passed. We have referred to Baxter and Manton, and it is but fair to say, that when Episcopacy was restored, ecclesiastical benefices were offered to the leading Presbyterians; to Baxter and Manton may be added Calamy, Bates, Bowles, and Reynolds. The last only was prevailed upon to accept the see of Norwich.
At that time, Charles does not seem himself to have had any strong personal feeling against the Presbyterians. His declaration proves this. It is entitled, “His Majesties Declaration to all his loving subjects of his kingdom of England, and dominion of Wales, concerning ecclesiastical affairs."a
“How much the peace of the state is concerned in the peace of the Church, and how difficult a thing it is to preserve order and government in civil, whilst there is no order or government in ecclesiastical affairs, is evident to the world; and this little part of the world, our own domi
a London: printed by John Bill and Christopher Barker, Printers to the King's most excellent Majesty, 1660.
nions, bath had so late experience of it, that we may very well acquiesce in the conclusion, without enlarging ourselves in discourse upon it, it being a subject we have had frequent occasion to contemplate upon, and to lament, abroad as well as at home.”
After alluding to the letter from Breda, the promises therein made and the opinions entertained respecting the state of religion in England, by the Reformed Churches in France, the Low Countries, and Germany, it proceeds :
“ When we were in Holland, we were attended by many grave and learned ministers from hence, who were looked upon as the most able and principal asserters of the Presbyterian opinions, with whom we had as much conference as the multitude of affairs, which were then upon us, would permit us to have; and to our great satisfaction and comfort found them persons full of affection to us, of zeal for the peace of the Church and State, and neither enemies (as they have been given out to be) to episcopacy, or liturgy, but modestly to desire such alterations in either, as without shaking foundations, might best allay the present distempers, which the indisposition of the time, and the tenderness of some men's consciences, had contracted; for the better doing whereof, we did intend, upon our first arrival in this kingdom, to call a synod of divines, as the most proper expedient to provide a proper remedy for all those differences and dissatisfactions which had or should arise in matters of religion; and in the meantime, we published in our declaration from Breda, a liberty to tender consciences, and that no man should be disquieted or called in question for differences of opinion in matter of religion, which do not disturb the peace of the kingdom, and that we shall be ready to consent to such an Act of Parliament, as upon mature deliberation shall be offered to us, for the full granting of that indulgence."
All this sounds well enough, but the king goes on to complain of the restless and discontented among the over zealous, who had found fault with him, and among other things published that the doctrine of the Church ought to be reformed as well as the discipline. In consequence of these things the king resolves to invert the method he had proposed, and to pronounce some decision which should suffice until a synod could be called. Prevailing discord is attributed to “the passion and appetite, and interest of particular persons.' But, says the king :
“We must for the honour of all those of either persuasion, with whom we have conferred, declare that the professions and desires of all for the advancement of piety and true godliness are the same; their professions of zeal for the peace of the Church the same; of affection and duty to us the same; they all approve episcopacy; they all approve a set form of liturgy; and they all disprove and dislike the sin of sacrilege, and the alienation of the revenue of the church,” etc.
The king repeats his declaration of attachment to the Church
of England as it is established by law, and thinks this is not disproved by his forbearing to insist peremptorily “on some particulars of ceremony, which, however introduced by the piety, and devotion, and order of former times, may not be so agreeable to the present, but may even lessen that piety and devotion for the improvement whereof they might happily be first introduced, and consequently may well be dispensed with.” Such concessions, it is hoped, will not be lost, and that the episcopal authority will be acknowledged to be the best support of religion ; but then, in the primitive times, even the ecclesiastical power was always subordinate and subject to the civil. Still, the primitive bishops had more authority than would be desirable in such a government as that of England. Meantime, the State must support the government in the Church which is established by law. Eight articles follow, the subjects of which are:
1. That the king will encourage true godliness; that the Lord’s Day be applied to holy exercises without unnecessary divertisements; that insufficient, negligent, and scandalous ministers be not permitted in the Church; that proper ministers be appointed; and that the bishops be frequent preachers.
2. That suffragan bishops shall be appointed. 3. The jurisdiction of bishops, etc., is limited and controlled. 4. Refers to ordinations and other appointments.
5. Regulates discipline. This contains some remarkable language : “We will take care that confirmation be rightly and solemnly performed, by the information and with the consent of the minister of the place; who shall admit none to the Lord's Supper, till they have made a credible profession of their faith, and promised obedience to the will of God; according as is expressed in the considerations of the rubrick before the catechism," etc. This article provides for a monthly meeting of the rural dean, and three or four ministers of every deanery, to hear and consider complaints. Rural deans are to see that the ministers carefully instruct the young of their parishes in the grounds of the Christian religion, etc.
6. Bishops not to exercise arbitrary powers.
7. “We are very glad to find that all with whom we have conferred, do in their judgment approve a liturgy or set form of public worship to be lawful; which in our judgment, for the preservation of unity and uniformity, we conceive to be very necessary; and though we do esteem the Liturgy of the Church of England, contained in the Book of Common Prayer, and by law established, to be the best we have seen; and we believe we have seen all that are extant and used in this part of the world,