Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

greatest enemy. Yet, conscience must be quieted, and reputation preserved; which cannot be done without some religion. Therefore, such a religion is necessary to them, as is consistent with a worldly mind: which outside formality, lip service, and bypocrisy, are ; but seriousness, sincerity, and spirituality, are not. On the other side, there is that in the new nature of a believer, which inclineth him to things above, and causeth him to look at worldly grandeur and riches as things more dangerous than desirable. He is dead to the world, and the world to bim, by the cross of Christ. No wonder, therefore, if few such attain great matters in the world, or ever come to preferment or greatness on earth. And there is somewhat in them which maketh them more fearful of displeasing God than all the world, and will not give them leave to stretch their consciences, or turn aside when the interest or the will of man requireth it. And the laws of Christ, to which they are so devoted, are of such a stream as cannot suit with carnal interest. There is a universal and radicated enmity between the carnal and the spiritual. This enmity is found in England, as well as in other countries between the godly and the worldly minds.” “ The vulgar rabble of the carnal and profane, did every where hate them that reproved their sin, and condemned them by a holy life.” “ The vicious multitude of the ungodly called all Puritans that were strict and serious in a holy life, were they ever so conformable. So the same name in a bishop's mouth signified a non-conformist, and in an ignorant drunkard's or swearer's mouth, a godly obedient christian."

"Now the ignorant rabble, hearing that the bishops were against the Puritans, not having wit enough to know whom they meant, were emboldened the more against all those whom they called Puritans themselves; and their rage against the godly was increased ; and they cried up the bishops, partly because they were against the Puritans, and partly because they were earnest for that way of worship which they found most consistent with their ignorance, carelessness, and sins. And thus the interest of the diocesans, and of the profane and ignorant sort of people, were unhappily twisted together in England."*

It is unnecessary to say on which side Baxter was enlisted.

+ Variatile, l'art I. pp. 31, 33.

The great conscientiousness with which he acted sufficiently appears from his own review of the reasons which governed his decision. No doubt the same or similar reasons swayed the minds of the great multitude of conscientious men with whom he was associated in the cause which he espoused.

" For my own part, I freely confess that I was not judicious enough in politics and law to decide this controversy. Being astonished at the Irish massacre, and persuaded fully both of the parliament's good endeavors for reformation, and of their real danger, my judgment of the main cause, much swayed my judgment in the matter of the wars; and the arguments a fine, et a natura, et necessitate, which common wits are capable of discerning, did too far incline my judgment in the cause of the war, before I well understood the arguments from our particular laws. The consideration of the quality of the persons also, that sided for each cause, did greatly work with me, and more than it should have done. verily thought that if that which a judge in court saith is law, must go for law to the subject, as to the decision of that cause, though the king send his broad seal against it; then that which the parliament saith is law, is law to the subject about the dangers of the commonwealth, whatever it be in itself.

“I make no doubt that both parties were to blame, as it commonly falleth out in most wars and contentions; and I will not be he that will justify either of them. I doubt not but the headiness and rashness of the younger inexperienced sort of religious people, made many parliament men and ministers overgo themselves to keep pace with those Hotspurs. No doubt but much indiscretion appeared, and worse than indiscretion in the tumultuous petitioners; and much sin was committed in the dishonoring of the king, and in the uncivil language against the bishops and liturgy of the church. But these things came chiefly from the sectarian, separating spirit, which blew the coals among foolish apprentices. And as the sectaries increased, so the insolence increased.” As bishop Hall speaks against the justifying of the bishops, so do I against justifying the parliament, ministers, or city. I believe many unjustifiable things were done; but I think that a few men among them all, were the doers or instigators.”

“ But I then thought, whoever was faulty, the people's liberties and safety should not be forfeited. I thought that all the subjects were not guilty of all the faults of king or parliament when they defended them : yea, that if both their causes had been bad, as against each other; yet that the subjects should adhere to that party which most secured the welfare of the nation, and might defend the land under their conduct without owning all their cause.

“ And herein I was then so zealous, that I thought it was a great sin for men that were able to defend their country, to be neuters. And I have been tempted since to think that I was a more competent judge upon the place, when all things were before our eyes, than I am in the review of those days and actions so many years after, when distance disadvantageth the apprehension.'

No American who justifies the revolution of 1776,-no Englishman who justifies the revolution of 1680,-can doubt that Baxter and those with whom he acted, were at the beginning, in the right. Their cause, though it was afterwards shipwrecked by their ignorance and their dissensions, was the cause which will one day triumph throughout all the world.

* Narrative Part I. p. 39.

VOL. I.

:

PART SECOND.

The point at which the king ventured to make a stand against the claims of the parliament, was when they demanded of him that the militia of the kingdom should be put under the command of men in whom they could confide, and whom they might nominate. This was in their view essential to their personal safety, and equally essential to secure the execution of the laws and the liberties of the people. After some delay and some proposals for a compromise, the king, baving in the mean time removed from London, sent them a flat refusal. The two houses proceeded to form and publish an ordinance, in which they named lieutenants for the counties, conferring on them the command of the militia, and of all the guards, garrisons, and forts of the kingdom. These lieutenants were to obey the orders of the king signified by the two houses of parliament. On the other hand the king, taking advantage of an old statute, issued his commissions of array, appointing men of his own choice in the several counties to array, muster, and train the people. The date of the ordinance of parliament, was March 5th, but no attempt was made to execute either that or the king's commissions, till three months afterwards, or about two months before the formal declaration of war. The setting up of these clashing authorities was attended with some skirmishes in places where there was something like a balance of strength between the two parties. But generally, where the people had, with a decided majority, espoused the cause of parliament, the militia acknowledged the authority of their ordinance; and where the majority were for the king, the commissions of array were put in execution.

That of the country in which Baxter, resided, including

part

the three adjacent counties of Shropshire, Worcester, and Herefordshire, was so generally devoted to the king that there was no public movement in behalf of the parliament. And as these preparations for war went forward, it became necessary for him to retreat from a scene of so much danger to those of his known character and principles. Some apprehension of the fury of the times may be gathered more easily from a few particular incidents described in his own language, than from any more general statements.

“ About that time, the parliament sent down an order for the demolishing of all statues and images of any of the three persons in the blessed Trinity, or of the virgin Mary, which should be found in churches, or on the crosses in church-yards. My judgment was for the obeying of this order, thinking it came from just authority; but I meddled not in it, but left the church-warden to do what he thought good. The church-warden, an honest, sober, quiet man, seeing a crucifix upon the cross in the church-yard, set up a ladder to have reached it, but it proved too short. While he was gone to seek another, a crew of the drunken, riotous party of the town, took the alarm, and run together with weapons to defend the crucifix and the church images, of which there were divers left since the time of popery. The report was among them that I was the actor, and it was me they sought; but I was walking almost a mile out of town, or else I suppose I had there ended my days. When they missed me and the church-warden both, they went raving about the streets to seek us. Two neighbors that dwelt in other parishes, hearing that they sought my life, ran in among them to see whether I were there ; and they knocked them both down in the streets, and both of them are since dead, and I think never perfectly recovered that hurt. When they had foamed about half an hour, and met with none of us, and were newly housed, I came in from my walk, and hearing the people cursing me at their doors, I wondered what the matter was, but quickly found how I had escaped. The next Lord's day, I dealt plainly with them, and laid open to them the quality of that action, and told them seeing they so requited me as to seek my blood, I was willing to leave them, and save them from that guilt. But the poor sots were so

« ZurückWeiter »