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King Edward's service-book. At Frankfort, the congregation at first agreed with entire unanimity on certain modes of worship adapted as they thought to their necessities; but afterwards, a new company having arrived who brought with them a zealous attacbment to the liturgy, a schism arose, and a considerable portion of the congregation, with the ministers, left the field to the new comers, and took up their residence in Geneva. On returning to their native country, many of those who had approved the constitution of the Swiss and French protestant churches, exerted themselves to promote a further reformation in England, or at least to secure some liberty in regard to matters which were acknowledged to be indifferent. Their influence as individuals, some of them personally connected with men high in rank and authority, their influence in the universities, where some of them occupied important stations, and their influence by means of the press, was employed to promote, by all lawful means, greater purity of doctrine and of discipline in the Church of England. But, as has already been intimated, uniformity, the imposing idea of a whole nation united in one church, with one faith and one form of worship, and subjected to a splendid hierarchy with the monarch at the head of it,—was the idol to which the queen and her counsellors were willing to sacrifice both peace and truth. Other matters besides habits and ceremonies were soon brought into debate. The entire constitution of the English church was called in question. Thus the breach grew wider. It was evident that the Puritans were not to be put down at a word; for, to say nothing of the merits of their cause, they were the most learned divines, the most powerful preachers, and the most able disputants of the age, Thomas Cartwright, Margaret Professor of Divinity in the University of Cambridge, of whom Beza said that 6 there was not a more learned man under the sun," led the van in
1 the dispute against prelacy. The venerable Miles Coverdale who having assisted Tindal in the translation of the bible, had been bishop of Exeter under King Edward, and had hardly escaped . from death under Queen Mary, was a Puritan, and as such died poor and neglected. John Fox whose history of the martyrs was held in such veneration that it was ordered to be set up in the churches, was a Puritan, and shared the lot of Coverdale. Many
church dignitaries, including some of the bishops, were known to despise the habits and ceremonies, and to desire earnestly a more complete reformation. Yet nothing was yielded; the terms of uniformity were so defined as to be easier for papists than for those who doubted the completeness of the established reformation. Ministers convicted of non-conformity, though it were but the omission of a sentence or a ceremony in the liturgy, or a neglect to put on the popish surplice, were suspended, or deprived of their livings, then forbidden to preach, then-in many instances-imprisoned. When such men were thus turned out of their employments, and prohibited the exercise of their gifts, they found refuge and employment in the houses of many of the nobility and gentry, as private chaplains and instructors. In this way their principles were diffused among the highest classes of society. Meanwhile few preachers could be found to occupy the places of the ejected and silenced Puritans. Men without learning and without character were made clergymen; but neither the orders of the Queen in council, nor the imposition of episcopal bands could qualify them to be pastors. The people, especially the thinking and the sober people of the middling classes, when they saw the difference between the pious and zealous preachers who were deprived for nonconformity, and the ignorant and sometimes profligate readers who were put in their places, called the latter“ dumb dogs,” (in allusion to the language of scripture,) and were the more ready to follow their persecuted teachers. And those, of every rank, who had begun to experience any thing of the power of christian truth, and to love the doctrines and duties of the gospel, and who desired to see sinners converted by the preaching of God's word, sympathized deeply with these suffering ministers, and, out of respect to their evangelical character, were strongly disposed to favor and to adopt the principles for which they suffered. Thus, while Puritanism was making constant progress in the community, it was associated, almost from its origin, with serious and practical piety; and it soon came to pass that every man who cared more for godliness than his neighbors, or was more strict than they in his obedience to the precepts of the gospel, or who exhibited any faith in the principles of experimental religion, was called, by way of reproach, a Puritan.
Elizabeth died after a reign of forty-four years, and was succeeded by James I. in 1683. The Puritans, including both those who had been voluntarily or forcibly separated from the establishment, and those who by a partial or entire conformity still retained their connection with the church, had entertained strong hopes that a king who had reigned in Scotland from his infancy, who had made ample and frequent professions of his attachment to the ecclesiastical constitution of his native kingdom, and who had openly declared respecting the church of England, that “their service was an evil-said mass in English,” would decidedly favor a more complete reformation. Accordingly he was met on his progress towards London, with numerous petitions, one of which was signed by nearly eight hundred clergymen, “ desiring reformation of certain ceremonies and abuses of the church.” But the king whom they addressed was at once a vainglorious foolish pedant, and an arbitrary treacherous prince; and the first year of his reign abundantly taught them the fallacy of all their hopes. For the sake of first raising, and then disappointing and crushing, the expectations of such as were dissatisfied with the existing system, a conference was held by royal authority at Hampton Court, to which were summoned, on one side four Puritan divines, with a minister from Scotland, and on the other side seventeen dignitaries of the church, nine of whom were bishops. At this meeting, after the king had first determined all things in consultation with the bishops and their associates, the Puritans were made to feel that they were brought there not in the spirit of conciliation, but to be made a spectacle to their enemies; not to argue, or to be argued with, before a king impartial and desiring to be led by reason, but to be ridiculed and scorned, insulted and reproached by a fool too elevated in station to be answered according to his folly. As for their desire of liberty in things indifferent, his language was, “I will have none of that; I will have one doctrine, one discipline, one religion in substance and ceremony: never speak more to that point, how far you are bound to obey.” To their request that ministers might have the liberty of meeting under the direction of their ecclesiastical superiors, for mutual assistance and improvement, he replied peremptorily, in language characteristically coarse and profane, that their plans tended to the subversion of monarchy, and charged them with desiring the overthrow of his supremacy. And his majesty's conclusion of the whole matter was, “I will make ihern conform, or I will harry them out of this land, or else worse.” Neal adds very truly," and he was as good as his word.”
There were many things in the policy of the government, and in the character of the times, which promoted, during all this reign, the cause of Puritanism. The king, with nothing of the masculine energy by which Elizabeth controled her parliaments, had the most extravagant notions of his own divine right to govern without limitation, and was evidently bent on setting his will above all laws. Under such a prince, too arbitrary to be loved, and too foolish to be feared, the spirit of liberty naturally revived among the people. James in his folly, gave the name of Puritanism to every movement and every principle, wherever manifested, which breathed of popular privilege, or implied the existence of any limit to his prerogative. Thus the cause of the Puritans was associated, in the estimation both of court and country, with the cause of English freedom, and of resistance to the encroachments of arbitrary power; and the cause of the prelates was equally associated with all those measures of the government that were odious to the friends of liberty, or pernicious to the common welfare. Nor was there any incongruity in these associations. The Puritans were men of a stern and republican cast; they spake as if they had rights, and addressed the throne with their complaints. The prelates, in all their relations, were dependent on the court; they sympathized with the king in his love of power; they joined with him in his maxim, “No bishop, no king;" and they fed his oriental notions of royalty with strains of oriental adulation. Thus the party of the Puritans, though it lacked not the support of many a highminded nobleman, rapidly became the party of the middling classes; while prelacy was espoused chiefly by the luxurious and unprincipled nobility on the one hand, and by their degraded and dependent peasantry on the other. At the same time, with a folly if possible still greater, the king deserted the protestant interest in Europe, of which both policy and principle ought to have made
him the head; sought first a Spanish, and afterwards a French alliance for his son ; entered into treaties binding himself to protect and favor the papists in his own kingdom; and in many ways showed himself not unwilling to be reconciled to Rome. Nothing could have been more offensive to the people whose hatred of popery, kindled into a passion by the persecutions under Mary, and kept alive by the terror of the Spanish invasion, and by the national rejoicings over its defeat, had now been aggravated into an incurable horror by the recently discovered “Powder Plot.” Hardly any thing could have given the Puritans a better introduction to popular favor; for they were cordial and zealous protestants, hating the very garments spotted with the pollutions of Rome; and what could their enemies be but secret papists. Another instance of the infatuation of this reign was the marked favor shown to the newly broached doctrines of Arminianism. Abbot, the Archbishop of Canterbury was indeed an opposer of those novelties, and promoted to the extent of his influence the preaching of evangelical truth, deeming it far more important than all the ceremonies ; but the king introduced into several of the most important bishoprics men of another stamp, whose views were known to be at war with the doctrines of the reformers; and all who held the Calvinistic construction of the articles, however strict their conformity, were branded as "doctrinal Puritans,” and for them there was no road to preferment. No wonder that under such influences, dissatisfaction with the existing ecclesiastical system grew deeper and stronger. James I. was succeeded by Charles I. in 1625.
In the scenes that followed, RICHARD BAXTER sustained an important part. He was born at Rowton, a village in Shropshire, Noveinber 12, 1615. His father (whose name was also Richard) was a freeholder possessed of a moderate estate at Eaton Constantine, another village in the same county, about five miles from Shrewsbury. His infancy was spent under the care and in the house of his maternal grandfather at Rowton. At about ten years of age he was taken home by his parents to their residence at Eaton Constantine.
His father had been in youth so much addicted to gaming, as to VOL. I.