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§ 92. The Puritan Conflict.
1. The Parliamentary Acts, the Minutes and Standards of the Westminster Assembly, the royal Proclamations, Cromwell's Letters, Milton's state papers, and other public documents. See the State Calendars; Rushworth's Collection (1616–1648); Cardwell's Documentary Annals of the Church of England (1546–1716); Camden's Annals of James I. (with the king's own works); Winwood's Memorials of State; and the literature mentioned in § 93 and § 94.
2. The private writings of the Episcopal and Puritan divines during the reigns of Elizabeth and the Stuarts, too numerous even to classify. Much material for history may be drawn from the works of Archbishop Laud (b. 1573, beheaded 1645), especially his Diary (in the first vol. of his Remains, publ. by H. Wharton, 1695–1700, in 2 vols. fol., and in the Anglo-Catholic Library, Oxford, 1847–1850, 5 vols.), and of Richard Baxter (1615–1691), especially in the Narrative of his Life and Times (publ. by Sylvester, 1696, under the title Reliquiæ Baxterianæ, in 1 vol. fol., and by Dr. Calamy, 1713, in 4 vols., and in ed. of his Practical Works, Lond. 1830, 23 vols. Baxter's numerous controversial tracts have never been collected, and have gone, with his medical prescriptions, to 'everlasting rest,' but his practical works will last). Mrs. Lucy Hutchinson's Memoirs of (her husband) Colonel Hutchinson, with Original Anecdotes of many of his most Distinguished Contemporaries, and a Summary Review of Public Affairs (publ. from MS. 7th ed. Lond. 1848), present an admirable picture of the inner and private life of the Puritans.
3. Innumerable controversial pamphlets and tracts for the times, which did the work of the newspapers of to-day. From 1640 to 1660 no less than 30,000 pamphlets on Church government alone are said to have appeared. Milton's tracts surpass all others in eloquence and force.
Thomas Fuller (1608–1661, Prebendary of Sarum): The Church History of Britain, from the Birth of Christ until the Year 1648. Ed. of Brewer, Oxford, 1845, in 6 vols. (Vols. V. and VI.).
Clarendon (1608–1674, Royalist and Episcopalian): History of the Rebellion. Oxford ed. 1839 and 1849, 7 vols.
Daniel Neal (1678–1743, Independent): History of the Puritans, or Protestant Nonconformists, from the Reformation in 1517 to the Revolution in 1688. Lond. 1732; Toulmin's ed. 1793, 5 vols.; Choules's ed. New York (Harpers), 1858, in 2 vols.
J. B. Marsden (Vicar of Great Missenden): The History of the Early Puritans, from the Reformation to the Opening of the Civil War in 1642. Lond. 1850, 2d ed. 1853. By the same: The History of the Later Puritans, from the Opening of the Civil War in 1642 to the Ejection of the Nonconforming Clergy in 1662. Lond. 1852.
Hallam: Constitutional History of England, 5th ed. ch. vii.–xi.
Th. Carlyle: Life and Letters of Cromwell. Lond. and New York, 1845, 2 vols. ('Edited with the care of an antiquarian and the genius of a poet.'—Green, Hist. of the English People, p. 530.)
Guizot's French works on Charles I. (1625–1649, 2 vols.), Cromwell (1649–1658), the Re-establishment of the Stuarts (1658–1660, 2 vols.), Monk (1660, transl. by Scoble, 1851), the English Revolution of 1640 (transl. by Hazlitt, Lond. 1856).
Samuel Hopkins: The Puritans during the Reigns of Edward VI. and Queen Elizabeth. Boston, 1859–61, 3 vols.
Principal Tulloch (Scotch Presbyt.): English Puritanism and its Leaders: Cromwell, Milton, Baxter, Bunyan. Lond. 1861.
Dr. John Stoughton (Independent): Ecclesiastical History of England (during the Civil Wars, the Commonwealth, and the Restoration). Lond. 1867–1875, 5 vols. By the same: Church and State Two Hundred Tears ago. A History of Ecclesiastical Affairs in England from 1660 to 1663. Lond. 1862. By the same: Spiritual Heroes; or, Sketches of the Puritans (Ch. VI., The Westminster Assembly, pp. 120 sqq.). Lond. 1850.
Dr. David Masson (Prof. of Rhetoric and English Lit. in the Univ. of Edinb.): The Life of John Milton: Narrated in connection with the Political, Ecclesiastical, and Literary History of his Times. Lond. 1859 80, 6 vols. See Vol. II. (1871), Books III. and IV., and Vol. III. (1873), Books I., II., and III.
On the early history of New England Puritanism, see the well-known works of Palfrey, Bancroft, Felt; and Leonard Bacon's Genesis of the New England Churches (New York, 1874)
PROTESTANTISM AND CIVIL WARS.
The Reformation has often been charged by Roman Catholic writers with being the mother of the bloody civil wars which grew out of the close union of Church and State, and which devastated Europe for more than a century. But the fault is primarily on the side of Rome. Exclusiveness and intolerance are fundamental principles of her creed, and persecution her consistent practice wherever she has the power. In Italy and Spain Protestantism was strangled in its cradle. In Bohemia, Hungary, and Poland it was reduced to a struggling minority by the civil sword and the Jesuit intrigues. In France it barely escaped annihilation in the massacre of the night of St. Bartholomew, which the pope hailed with a Te Deum; and after fighting its way to the throne, and acquiring the limited toleration of the Edict of Nantes, it was again persecuted almost to extermination by the most Catholic King Louis XIV. In Switzerland the war between the Catholic and Reformed Cantons, in which Zwingli fell, fixed the boundaries of the two religions on a basis of equality. Germany had to pass through the fearful ordeal of the Thirty-Years' War, which destroyed nearly one half of its population, but ended, in spite of the protest of the pope, with the legal recognition of the Lutheran and Reformed Confessions by the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. The United Provinces of Holland came out victorious from the long and bloody struggle with the tyranny and bigotry of Spain. Scotland fought persistently and successfully against popery and prelacy. England, after the permanent establishment of the Reformation under Elizabeth, was shaken to the base by an internal conflict, not between Protestants and foreign Romanists, but between Protestants and native Romanizers, ultra-Protestant Puritans and semi-Catholic Churchmen.
This conflict marks the most important period in the Church history of that island; it called forth on both sides its deepest moral and religious forces; it made England at last the stronghold of constitutional liberty in Europe, and laid the foundations for a Protestant republic in America. The Puritans were the pioneers in this struggle in Old England, and the fathers of New England beyond the sea. As the blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church, so freedom is the sweet fruit of bitter persecution.
CHARACTER OF PURITANISM.
Puritanism—an honorable name, etymologically and historically, though originally given in reproach,13501350 The name Puritans (from pure, as Catharists from καθαρός), or Precisians, occurs first about 1564 or 1566, and was employed to brand those who were opposed to the use of priestly vestments, as the cap, surplice, and the tippet (but not the gown, which the Puritans and Presbyterians retained, as well as the Continental Protestant ministers). Shakspere uses the term half a dozen times, and always reproachfully (see Clarke's Shaksp. Concordance and Schmidt's Shaksp. Lexicon, s.v.). In the good sense, it denotes those who went back to the purity and simplicity of apostolic Christianity in faith and morals. Neal defines a Puritan to be 'a man of severe morals, a Calvinist in doctrine, and a Nonconformist to the ceremonies and discipline of the Church, though not totally separated from it' like Pietism and Methodism—aimed at a radical purification and reconstruction of Church and State on the sole basis of the Word of God, without regard to the traditions of men. It was a second Reformation, as bold and earnest as the first, but less profound and comprehensive, and more radical in its antagonism to the mediæval Church. It was a revolution, and ran into the excesses of a revolution, which called forth, by the natural law of reaction, the opposite excesses of a reactionary restoration; but it differs from more recent revolutions by the predominance of the religious motive and aim. The English Puritans, the Scotch Covenanters, and the French Huguenots were alike spiritual descendants of Calvin, and represent, with different national characteristics, the same heroic faith and severe discipline. They were alike animated by the fear of God, which made them strong and free. They bowed reverently before his holy Word, but before no human authority. In their eyes God alone was great.
The Puritans were no separate organization or sect, but the advanced wing of the national Church of England, and at one time they became the national Church itself, treating their opponents as Nonconformists, as they had been treated by them before, and as they were treated afterwards in turn. Conformity and Nonconformity were relative terms, which each party construed in its own way and for its own advantage. The Puritan ministers were educated at Oxford and Cambridge, and had bishops, deans, and professors of theology among their leaders and sympathizers. Their intention was not to secede, but simply to reform still further the national Church in the interest of primitive purity and simplicity by legislative and executive sovereignty. The tyrannical measures of the ruling party drove them to greater opposition, and a large portion of them into complete independency and the advocacy of toleration and freedom. But originally they were as intolerant and exclusive as their opponents. The common error of both was that they held to a close union of Church and State, and aimed at one national Church, to which all citizens must conform.
ORIGIN AND PROGRESS OF THE CONTROVERSY.
'Nonconformity,' says Thomas Fuller in his quaint and pithy way, 'was conceived in the days of King Edward, born in the reign of Queen Mary (but beyond the sea, at Frankfort-on-the-Main), nursed and weaned in the reign of Elizabeth, grew up a youth or tall stripling under King James, and shot up under Charles I. to the full strength and stature of a man able not only to cope with, but to conquer the hierarchy, its adversary.'
The open conflict between Puritanism and High-Churchism dates from the closing years of the sixteenth century, but its roots may be traced to the beginning of the Reformation, which embraced two distinct tendencies—one semi-Catholic, conservative and aristocratic; the other anti-Catholic, radical and democratic.
The aristocratic politico-ecclesiastical movement, headed by the monarch and the bishops, grew out of the mediæval conflict of the English crown and Parliament with the foreign papacy, and effected under Henry VIII. the national independence of the English Church, and under Edward VI. a positive though limited reformation in doctrine and ritual.
The democratic religious movement, which sprang from the desire of the people after salvation and unobstructed communion with God and the Bible, had its forerunners in Wycliffe and the Lollards, and was nurtured by Tyndale's English Testament, the writings of the Continental Reformers, and the personal contact of the Marian exiles with Bullinger and Calvin. At first it was nearly crushed under Henry VIII., who would not even tolerate the circulation of the English Bible; but it gained considerable influence under Edward VI., passed through a baptism of blood under Mary, and became a strong party under Elizabeth. It included a number of bishops, pervaded the universities, and was backed by the sympathies of the common people as they were gradually weaned from the traditions of popery.
Under Edward VI. the martyr-bishop Hooper, of Gloucester, a friend of Bullinger, and one of the fathers of Puritanism, opened the ritualistic controversy by refusing to be consecrated in the sacerdotal garments, and to take the customary episcopal oath, which included an appeal to the saints. He was quieted by the representations of the young king, of Bucer, and Peter Martyr, who regarded those externals as things indifferent; but he continued to strive after 'an entire purification of the Church from the very foundation.'
Under Queen Mary the conflict continued in the prisons and around the fires of Smithfield, and was transferred to the Continent with the English exiles, such as Jewel, Grindal, Sandys, Pilkington, Parkhurst, Humphrey, Sampson, Whittingham, Coverdale, Cox, Nowel, Foxe, Horn, and Knox. It produced an actual split in the congregation at Frankfort-on-the-Main. There it turned on the question of the Prayer-Book of Edward VI., whether it should be adhered to, or reformed still further after the model of the simpler worship of Zurich and Geneva. The episcopal and liturgical party was led by Dr. Cox (afterwards bishop of Ely), and formed the majority; the Puritan party was headed by John Knox, who was required to leave, and organized another congregation of exiles at Geneva.
After the accession of Elizabeth both parties flocked back to their native land, and forgot the controversy for a while in the common zeal for the re-establishment of Protestantism. As long as the ruling powers favored the Reformation the Puritans were satisfied, and heartily co-operated in every step. Though badly treated by the proud queen, they were to the last among her most loyal subjects, and prayed even in their dungeons for her welfare. They overlooked her faults for her virtues. They were the strongest supporters of the government and the crown against popish plots and foreign aggression, and helped to defeat the Spanish Armada, whose 'proud shipwrecks' were scattered over 'the Northern Ocean even to the frozen Thule.' But when the anti-Romish current stopped, and the Church of England seemed to settle down in a system of compromise between Rome and Geneva, fortified and hedged in by a cruel penal code against every dissent, the radicals assumed an antagonistic attitude of nonconformity against the rigorous enforcement of conformity, and stood up for the rights of conscience and the progress of ecclesiastical reform.
The controversy was renewed in different ways, between Cartwright and Whitgift, and between Travers and Hooker. In both cases the combatants were unequally matched: Cartwright, the father of Presbyterianism, was a much abler man than Archbishop Whitgift, the father of High-Church episcopacy; while Hooker, the Master of the Temple, far excelled Travers, the Lecturer at the Temple, in learning and depth. Here the question was chiefly whether the Scriptures as interpreted by private judgment, or the Scriptures as interpreted by the fathers of the primitive Church, should be the rule of faith and discipline. With this was connected another question—whether the Roman Church had lost the character of a Christian Church, and was therefore to be wholly disowned, or whether she was still a true though corrupt Church, with valid ordinances, coming down through an unbroken historical succession. The Puritans advocated Scripture Christianity versus historical Christianity, Hooker historical Christianity as consistent with Scripture Christianity. But in substance of doctrine both parties were Augustinians and Calvinists, with this difference, that the Puritans were high Calvinists, the Churchmen low Calvinists. Whitgift advocated even the Lambeth Articles, and Hooker adopted them with some modifications. Arminianism did not make its appearance in England till the close of the reign of James.
THE HAMPTON COURT CONFERENCE.
The accession of James I. (1603-1625) marks a new epoch. He was no ordinary man. His learning ranged from the mysteries of predestination to witchcraft and tobacco; he had considerable shrewdness, mother-wit, ready repartee, and uncommon sense, but little common-sense, and no personal dignity nor moral courage; he was given to profanity, intemperance, and dissimulation. His courtiers and bishops lauded him as the Solomon of his age, but Henry IV. of France characterized him better as 'the wisest fool in Christendom.' He was brought up in the school of Scotch Presbyterianism, subscribed the Scotch Confession, and once said of the Anglican liturgy that 'it is an ill-said mass in English.' But the Stuart blood was in him, and when he arrived in England he felt relieved of his tormentors, who 'pulled his sleeve as they administered their blunt rebukes to him,' and was delighted by the adulation of prelates who had much higher notions of royalty than Scotch presbyters.
He lost no time in showing his true character. He answered the famous Millenary (or Millemanus) petition, signed by nearly a thousand Puritan ministers, and asking for the reform of certain abuses and offenses in worship and discipline,13511351 Fuller, Vol. V. pp. 305–309. The petition was dated January 14, 1603 (old style), but was presented April 4. The real number of signers was only 825. by the imprisonment of ten petitioners on the ground that their act tended to sedition and treason, although it contained no demand inconsistent with the established Church. Thus the opportunity for effecting a compromise was lost. He agreed, however, to a Conference, which suited his ambition for the display of his learning and wit in debate.
The Conference was held January 14, 16, and 18, 1604 (old style,
1603), at Hampton Court. The persons summoned were nine bishops, headed by Archbishop Whitgift of
Canterbury and Bishop Bancroft of London, and eight deans, on the part of the Conformists, and four of the
most learned and moderate Puritan divines, under the lead of Dr. John Reynolds, President of Corpus Christi
College, Oxford.13521352 Fuller (Vol. V. pp. 378, 379)
speaks in very
high terms of Reynolds, who was so unceremoniously snubbed by Bishop Bancroft. He praises his memory,
which was 'little less than marvelous,' and 'a faithful index,' as his reason was 'a
solid judex of what he read,' and his humility, which 'set a lustre on all; communicative of what
he knew to any that desired information herein, like a tree loaded with fruit, bowing down its branches
to all that desired to ease it of the burden thereof, deserving this epitaph,
'Incertum est utrum doctior an melior.'
He associates him with Bishop Jewel and Richard Hooker, all born in Devonshire, and educated at Corpus Christi College, and says, ' No one county in England have three such men (contemporary at large), in what college soever they were bred; no college in England bred such three men, in what county soever they were born.' John Reynolds was at first a zealous papist and turned an eminent protestant; while his brother William was as earnest a protestant, and became by their mutual disputation an inveterate papist, which gave occasion to the distich:
'Quod genus hoc pugnæ est? ubi victus gaudet uterque,
Et simul alteruter se superasse dolet.'
'What war is this? when conquer'd both are glad,
And either to have conquer'd other sad.' The King himself acted both as moderator and judge, and took the leading part in the discussion. He laid down his famous pet-principle (which he called his 'aphorism'), 'No bishop, no king;'13531353 He also said to Dr. Reynolds: 'If you aim at a Scotch presbytery, it agreeth as well with monarchy as God and the devil. Then Jack, and Tom, and Will, and Dick shall meet and censure me and my council. Therefore I reiterate my former speech, Le roy s’avisera.' and, after browbeating the Puritans, used as his final argument, 'I will make them conform themselves, or else I will harry them out of the land, or else do worse.'
Archbishop Whitgift was so profoundly impressed with the King's theological wisdom that be said, 'Undoubtedly your Majesty speaks by the special assistance of God's Spirit;' and Bishop Bancroft, of London (who first proclaimed the doctrine of a jure divino episcopacy), thanked God on his knees that of his singular mercy he had given to them 'such a king, as since Christ's time the like hath not been.' The same haughty prelate rudely interrupted Dr. Reynolds, one of the most learned men in England, saying, 'May your Majesty be pleased that the ancient canon be remembered—Schismatici contra episcopos non sunt audiendi; and there is another decree of a very ancient council, that no man should be admitted to speak against that whereunto he hath formerly subscribed. And as for you, Doctor Reynolds, and your associates, how much are ye bound to his Majesty's clemency, permitting you, contrary to the statute primo Elizabethæ, so freely to speak against the liturgy or discipline established.'
Fuller remarks 'that the King in this famous Conference went beyond himself, that the Bishop of London (when not in a passion) appeared even with himself, and that Dr. Reynolds fell much beneath himself.' The Nonconformists justly complained that the King invited their divines, not to have their scruples satisfied, but his pleasure propounded—not to hear what they had to say, but to inform them what he would do. Hallam, viewing the Conference calmly from his stand-point of constitutional history, says: 'In the accounts that we read of this meeting we are alternately struck with wonder at the indecent and partial behavior of the King and at the baseness of the bishops, mixed, according to the custom of servile natures, with insolence toward their opponents. It was easy for a monarch and eighteen churchmen to claim the victory, be the merits of their dispute what they might, over four abashed and intimidated adversaries.'13541354 The accounts of the Hampton Court Conference are mostly derived from the partial report of Dr. William Barlow, Dean of Chester, who was present. It appeared in 1604, and again in 1638. See Fuller, Vol. V. pp. 266–303; Cardwell, Hist. of Conferences, p. 121; Procter, Hist. of the Book of Common Prayer, p. 88; Marsden, Early Puritans, p. 255.
The Conference, however, had one good and most important result—the
revision of our English Bible. The revision was suggested and urged by Dr. Reynolds, who was subsequently
appointed one of the revisers,13551355 He was assigned
to the company which was charged with the translation of the writings of the greater and lesser Prophets. But
he died in 1607, before the completion of the work. and it was ordered to be executed by King
James, from whom it has its name.13561356 The discussion
bearing upon this subject is likewise characteristic of the King, the Bishop, and the Puritan, and may be
added here (from Fuller, Vol. V. pp. 284, 285):
'Dr. Reynolds. "May your Majesty be pleased that the Bible
be new translated, such as are extant not answering the original." And he instanced in three
In the Original
'Gal. iv. 25
Psalm cv. 28.
They were not disobedient.
They were not obedient.
Psalm cvi. 30.
Phinehas executed judgment.
'Bishop of London. "If every man's humor might be followed, there would be no end of translating."
'His Majesty. "I profess I could never yet see a Bible well translated in English; but I think that of all, that of Geneva is the worst. I wish some special pains were taken for an uniform translation; which should be done by the best learned in both universities, then reviewed by the bishops, presented to the privy council, lastly ratified by royal authority to be read in the whole Church, and no other."
'Bishop of London. "But it is fit that no marginal notes should be added thereunto."
'His Majesty. "That caveat is well put in; for in the Geneva translation some notes are partial, untrue, seditious, and savoring of traitorous conceits: as when, from Exodus i. 19, disobedience to kings is allowed in a marginal note; and, 2 Chron. xv. 16, King Asa taxed in the note for only deposing his mother for idolatry, and not killing her. To conclude this point, let errors in matters of faith be amended, and indifferent things be interpreted, and a gloss added unto them; for, as Bartolus de Regno saith, 'Better a king with some weakness than still a change;' so rather a Church with some faults than an innovation. And surely, if these were the greatest matters that grieved you, I need not have been troubled with such importunate complaints."'
With all his high notions about royalty, James had not the moral courage to carry them into full practice, and with all his high notions about episcopacy, he had no sympathy with Arminianism, but actually countenanced the Calvinistic Presbyterian Synod of Dort, and sent five delegates to it, among them a bishop. In both these respects Charles went as far beyond James as Laud went beyond Whitgift and Bancroft.
KING CHARLES AND ARCHBISHOP LAUD.
The antagonism was intensified and brought to a bloody issue under Charles I. (1625-1649) and William Laud. They belong to the most lauded and the most abused persons in history, and have been set down by opposite partisans among the saints and among the monsters. They were neither. They were good men in private life, but bad men in public. They might have been as respected and useful in a humble station, or in another age or country, as they were hateful and hurtful at the helm of government in Protestant England. It was their misfortune rather than their crime that they were utterly at war with the progressive spirit of their age. Both were learned, cultured, devout gentlemen and churchmen, but narrow, pedantic, reactionary, haughty aristocrats. The one was constitutionally a tyrant, the other constitutionally a pope or an inquisitor-general. They fairly represented in congenial alliance the principle and practice of political and ecclesiastical absolutism, and the sovereign contempt for the rights of the people, whose sole duty in their opinion was passive obedience. Kingcraft and priestcraft based upon divine right was their common shibboleth. By their suicidal follies they destroyed the very system which they so long defended with a rod of iron, and thus they became the benefactors of Protestantism, which they labored to destroy. Both died as martyrs of despotism, and their last days were their best. 'Nothing in life became them as the leaving it.'
Charles wanted to rule without a Parliament; he did so, in fact, for more than eleven years, and the four Parliaments which he was compelled to convoke he soon arbitrarily dissolved (1625, 1626, 1629, and 1640). He preferred ship-money to legal taxation. He made himself intolerable by his duplicity and treachery. 'Faithlessness was the chief cause of his disasters, and is the chief stain on his memory. He was in truth impelled by an incurable propensity to dark and crooked ways. It may seem strange that his conscience, which on occasions of little moment was sufficiently sensitive, should never have reproached him with this great vice. But there is reason to believe that he was perfidious, not only from constitution and from habit, but also on principle. He seems to have learned from theologians whom he most esteemed that between him and his subjects there could be nothing of the nature of mutual contract; and that he could not, even if he would, divest himself of his despotic authority; and that in every promise which he made there was an implied reservation that such promise might be broken in case of necessity, and that of the necessity he was the sole judge.'13571357 Macaulay, chap. i. p. 65 (Boston ed.). I add the admirable description of Charles by Mrs. Lucy Hutchinson, in the Memoirs of her husband (Bohn's ed. p. 84): 'King Charles was temperate, chaste, and serious; so that the fools and bawds, mimics and catamites, of the former court, grew out of fashion; and the nobility and courtiers, who did not quite abandon their debaucheries, yet so reverenced the king as to retire into corners to practice them. Men of learning and ingenuity in all arts were in esteem, and received encouragement from the king, who was a most excellent judge and a great lover of paintings, carvings, gravings, and many other ingenuities, less offensive than the bawdry and profane abusive wit which was the only exercise of the other court. But, as in the primitive times, it is observed that the best emperors were some of them stirred up by Satan to be the bitterest persecutors of the Church, so this king was a worse encroacher upon the civil and spiritual liberties of his people by far than his father. He married a Papist, a French lady, of a haughty spirit, and a great wit and beauty, to whom he became a most uxorious husband. By this means the court was replenished with Papists, and many who hoped to advance themselves by the change turned to that religion. All the Papists in the kingdom were favored, and, by the king's example, matched into the best families; the Puritans were more than ever discountenanced and persecuted, insomuch that many of them chose to abandon their native country, and leave their dearest relations, to retire into any foreign soil or plantation where they might, amidst all outward inconveniences, enjoy the free exercise of God's worship. Such as could not flee were tormented in the bishops' courts, fined, whipped, pilloried, imprisoned, and suffered to enjoy no rest, so that death was better than life to them; and notwithstanding their patient sufferance of all these things, yet was not the king satisfied till the whole land was reduced to perfect slavery. The example of the French king was propounded to him, and he thought himself no monarch so long as his will was confined to the bounds of any law; but knowing that the people of England were not pliable to an arbitrary rule, he plotted to subdue them to his yoke by a foreign force, and till he could effect it, made no conscience of granting any thing to the people, which he resolved should not oblige him longer than it served his turn; for he was a prince that had nothing of faith or truth, justice or generosity, in him. He was the most obstinate person in his self-will that ever was, and so bent upon being an absolute, uncontrollable sovereign that he was resolved either to be such a king or none. His firm adherence to prelacy was not for conscience of one religion more than another, for it was his principle that an honest man might be saved in any profession; but he had a mistaken principle that kingly government in the State could not stand without episcopal government in the Church; and, therefore, as the bishops flattered him with preaching up his sovereign prerogative, and inveighing against the Puritans as factious and disloyal, so he protected them in their pomp and pride, and insolent practices against all the godly and sober people of the land.'
William Laud13581358 Born at Reading, Oct. 7, 1573; ordained 1601; Bishop of St. David's, 1621; of Bath and Wells, 1626; of London, 1628; Chancellor of Oxford University, 1630; Archbishop of Canterbury, 1633; impeached of high-treason, 1641; beheaded Jan. 10, 1645. rose, like Cardinal Wolsey, by his abilities and the royal favor from humble origin to the highest positions in Church and State. He began his career of innovation early at Oxford, and asserted in his exercise for the degree of Bachelor of Divinity (1604) the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation, and the necessity of diocesan episcopacy, not only for the well-being, but for the very existence of the Church. This position exposed him to the charge of heresy, and no one would speak to him in the street. Under James he was kept back,13591359 'Because,' as King James said, in keen discernment of his character, 'he hath a restless spirit, and can not see when matters are well, but loves to toss and change, and to bring things to a pitch of reformation, floating in his own brain, which may endanger the steadfastness of that which is in a good pass.' He restrained his early plans 'to make that stubborn [Scotch] Kirk stoop to the English pattern,' for 'he knows not the stomach of that people.' but under Charles he rose rapidly, and after the death of Abbot, who was a Puritan, he succeeded him in the primacy of the English Church. When he crossed the Thames to take possession of Lambeth, he met with an ominous accident, which he relates in his Diary (Sept. 18, 1633). The overloaded ferry-boat upset, and his coach sank to the bottom of the river, but he was saved as by water, and 'lost neither man nor horse.'
Laud was of small stature13601360 He was called 'the little Archbishop.' and narrow mind, but strong will and working-power, hot and irascible in temper, ungracious and unpopular in manner, ignorant of human nature, a zealous ritualist, a pedantic disciplinarian, and an overbearing priest. He was indefatigable and punctilious in the discharge of his innumerable duties as archbishop and prime minister, member of the courts of Star-Chamber and High-Commission, of the committee of trade, the foreign committee, and as lord of the treasury. He was for a number of years almost omnipotent and omnipresent in three kingdoms, looking after every appointment and every executive detail in Church and State.13611361 'His influence extended every where, over every body, and every thing, small as well as great—like the trunk of an elephant, as well suited to pick up a pin as to tear down a tree.'—Stoughton, Vol. I. p. 33.
His chief zeal was directed to the establishment of absolute outward uniformity in religion as he understood it, without regard to the rights of conscience and private judgment. His religion consisted of High-Church Episcopalianism and Arminianism in the nearest possible approach to Rome, which he admired and loved, and the furthest possible distance from Geneva, which he hated and abhorred.13621362 I must add, however, that in his book against Fisher the Jesuit there are a few favorable allusions to Calvin as a theologian, especially to his doctrine of the spiritual real presence. But while Arminianism in Holland was a protestant growth, and identified with the cause of liberal progress, Laud made it subservient to his intolerant High-Churchism, and liked it for its affinity with the Semipelagianism of the Greek fathers. To enforce this Semipelagian High-Churchism, and to secure absolute uniformity in the outward service of God in the three kingdoms, was the highest aim of his administration, to which he bent every energy. He could not conceive spiritual unity without external uniformity. This was his fundamental error. In a characteristic sermon which he preached at Westminster before Parliament, March 17, 1628, on unity in Church and State (Eph. iv. 3), he says: 'Unity of any kind will do much good; but the best is safest, and that is unity of the Spirit. . . . The way to keep unity both in Church and State is for the governors to carry a watchful eye over all such as are discovered or feared to have private ends. . . . Provide for the keeping of unity, and . . . God will bless you with the success of this day. For this day, the seventeenth of March, Julius Cæsar overthrew Sextus Pompeius. . . . And this very day, too, Frederick II. entered Jerusalem, and recovered whatsoever Saladin had taken from the Christians. But I must tell you, these emperors and their forces were great keepers of unity.'13631363 Works (Oxf. 1847), Vol. I. pp. 161, 167, 180, 181.
In the same year he caused the Royal Declaration to be added to the Thirty-nine Articles to check their Calvinistic interpretation.13641364 That Laud is the author of this Declaration was charged by Prynne, and is proved by the Oxford editor of his Works, Vol. I. pp. 153 sq. Comp. above, p. 617. From the same motive he displaced, through the agency of Wentworth and Bramhall, the Calvinistic Irish Articles, and neutralized the influence of Archbishop Ussher in Ireland. But the height of his folly, and the beginning of his fall, was the enforcement of his episcopal and ritualistic scheme upon Presbyterian Scotland in criminal defiance of the will of the people and the law of the land. This brought on the Scotch Covenant and hastened the Civil War.
In England he filled all vacancies with Churchmen and Arminians of his own stamp. He kept (as he himself informs us in his Diary) a ledger for the guidance of his royal master in the distribution of patronage: those marked by the letter O (Orthodox) were recommended to all favors, those marked P (Puritans) were excluded from all favors. Bishop Morely, on being asked what the Arminians held, wittily and truthfully replied, 'The best bishoprics and deaneries in England.' He expelled or silenced the Puritans, and shut up every unauthorized meeting-house. 'Even the devotions of private families could not escape the vigilance of his spies.' In his eyes the Puritans were but a miserable 'fraction' of fanatics and rebels, a public nuisance which must be crushed at any price. He made the congregations of French and Dutch refugees conform or leave the land, and forbade the English ambassador in Paris to attend the service of the Huguenots. He restrained the press and the importation of foreign books, especially the favorite Geneva translation of the Bible prepared by the Marian exiles. He stopped several ships in the Thames which were to carry persecuted and disheartened Puritans to New England, and thus tried to prevent Providence from writing the American chapter in history. In this way Oliver Cromwell is said to have been kept at home, that in due time he might overthrow the monarchy.
With equal rigor Laud enforced his ritualism, which was to him not only a desirable matter of taste and propriety, but also an essential element of reverence and piety. He took special care and showed great liberality for the restoration of cathedrals and the full cathedral service with the most pompous ceremonial; he made it a point of vital importance that the communion-tables be removed from the centre of the church to the east end of the chancel, elevated above the level of the pavement, placed altar-ways, railed in, and approached always with the prescribed bows and genuflexions13651365 He informed the king of 'a very ill accident which happened at Taplow, by reason of not having the communion-table, railed in, that it might be kept from profanations. For in the sermon time a dog came to the table and took the loaf of bread prepared for the Holy Sacrament in his mouth, and ran away with it. Some of the parishioners took the same from the dog and set it again on the table. After sermon the minister could not think fit to consecrate this bread, and other fit for the Sacrament was not to be had in that town, so there was no Communion.'—Works, Vol. V. p 367. This brings to mind the grave and curious disputes of the mediæval schoolmen on the question what effect the consecrated wafer would have upon a mouse or a rat. He called the altar 'the greatest place of God's residence on earth,' and magnified it above the pulpit, because on the altar was Christ's body, which was more than his Word; but he denied the charge of transubstantiation. He introduced pictures, images, crucifixes, candles, and brought put every worn-out relic from the ecclesiastical wardrobe of the Middle Ages. Being himself unmarried, he preferred celibates in the priesthood. In the University of Oxford, to which he was a munificent benefactor, he was addressed as His Holiness, and Most Holy father.
No wonder that he was charged with the intention to reintroduce popery into England. The popular mind, especially in times of excitement, takes no notice of minor shades of distinction, and knows only friend and foe. Laud, no doubt, did the pope's work effectually, but he did it unintentionally. He loved the Roman Church much better than the Protestant sects, but he loved the Anglican Church more. He once dreamed, as he tells us, 'that he was reconciled to the Church of Rome,' but was much troubled by it.13661366 Diary, March 8, 1626 (Works, Vol. III. p. 201). He was twice offered, by some unnamed agent, a cardinal's hat, but promptly declined it.13671367 He relates, in his Diary, Aug. 4, 1633 (on the day of Archbishop Abbot's death), that 'there came one to me, seriously, . . . and offered me to be a Cardinal. I went presently to the King and acquainted him both with the thing and the person.' On the 17th of August, having in the mean time (Aug. 6) been appointed Archbishop of Canterbury, he had a second offer of a red hat, and again answered 'that something dwelt within him which would not suffer that till Rome were other than it is' (Works, Vol. III. p. 219). In his Marginal Notes on Prynne's Breviate (p. 266), he adds that his 'conscience' also went against this. But it is by no means certain or even probable that the pope himself (as Fuller states without proof) authorized such an offer. It may have been a trap laid for Laud on the eve of his elevation to the primacy. Lingard, the Roman Catholic historian of England, says that Laud was 'in bad repute in Rome' (Vol. X. p. 139), and Dean Hook, his Anglo-Catholic biographer, asserts that he was 'dreaded and hated at Rome,' and that his death was greeted there with joy (Life of L. p. 233). Lingard adds, however, that 'in the solitude of his cell, and with the prospect of the block before his eyes, Laud began to think more favorably of the Catholic [Roman] Church,' and he shows that Rosetti inquired of Cardinal Barberini whether, if Laud should escape from the Tower, the pope would afford him an asylum in Rome with a pension of 1000 crowns. But this is inconsistent with Laud's last defense. He was then over seventy, and anxious to die. He preferred to be an independent pope in England, and aped the Roman original as well as he could, with more or less show of real or imaginary opposition that springs from rivalry and affinity. Neal says that he was not 'an absolute papist,' but 'ambitious of being the sovereign patriarch of three kingdoms.'13681368 Hist. of the Puritans, Vol. I. p. 280. From his 'Conference' with Fisher the Jesuit, which is by far his ablest and most learned performance, it is very evident that he differed from Rome on several points of doctrine and practice, such as the invocation of Mary and the saints, the worship of images, transubstantiation, the sacrifice of the mass, works of supererogation, the temporal power of the pope, and the infallibility of councils; and that his mind, though clear and acute, was not sufficiently logical to admit the ultimate conclusions of some of his own premises.13691369 The Conference with Fisher (whose real name was Piersey or Percy) took place, by command and in the presence of King James, May 24, 1622, and was edited, with final corrections and additions, by Laud himself in 1639. It was republished 1673 and 1686, and by the Oxford University Press 1839, with an Introduction by Edward Cardwell. It is also included in Vol. II. of the Oxf. ed. of his Works. Laud thought that his way of defense was the only one by which the Church of England could justify her separation from the Church of Rome. He bequeathed £100 for a Latin translation of this book. He regarded the Reformation merely as an incident in the history of the English Church, and rejected only such doctrines of Romanism as he was unable to find in the Bible and the early fathers. In his long and manly defense before the House of Lords he claimed to have converted several persons (Chillingworth among them) from popery, but frankly admitted that 'the Roman Church never erred in fundamentals, for fundamentals are in the Creed, and she denies it not. Were she not a true Church, it were hard with the Church of England, since from her the English bishops derive their apostolic succession. She is, therefore, a true but not an orthodox Church. Salvation may be found in her communion; and her religion and ours are one in the great essentials. I am not bound to believe each detached phrase in the Homilies, and I do not think they assert the pope to be Antichrist; yet it can not be proved that I ever denied him to be so. As to the charge of unchurching foreign Protestants, I certainly said generally, according to St. Jerome, "No bishop, no Church;" and the preface of the book of ordination sets forth that the three orders came from the apostles.' In his last will and testament he says: 'For my faith, I die as I have lived, in the true orthodox profession of the Catholic faith of Christ, foreshadowed by the prophets and preached to the world by Christ himself, his blessed apostles, and their successors; and a true member of his Catholic Church within the communion of a living part thereof, the present Church of England, as it stands established by law.'
In one word, Laud was a typical Anglo-Catholic, who unchurched all non-episcopal Churches, and regarded the Anglican Church as an independent sister of the Latin and Greek communions, and as the guardian of the whole truth as against the 'sects,' and of nothing but the truth as against Rome. The Anglo-Catholicism of the nineteenth century is simply a revival of Laud's system divested of its hateful tyranny and political ambition and entanglements. Dr. Pusey, the father of modern Anglo-Catholicism, is superior to Archbishop Laud in learning, spirituality and charity, but in their theology and logic there is no difference. [**placement of this note is uncertain**] 13701370 The Works of Laud embrace five volumes in the Oxford 'Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology.' His seven sermons preached on great state occasions abound with his high notions of royalty, episcopacy, and uniformity, but do not rise above mediocrity. His Diary—the chief source of his autobiography—though not 'contemptible' (as Hallam characterizes it), is dry and pedantic, and notices trifling incidents as important occurrences, e.g., the bad state of the weather, his numerous dreams, the marriage of K. C. with a minister's widow, the particular posture of the Elector of the Palatinate at communion 'upon a stool by the wall before the traverse, and with another and a cushion before him to kneel at' (Dec. 25, 1635), and his unfortunate affairs with 'E. B.' (of which he deeply repented; see his Devot. Vol. III. p. 81). His Devotions are made up mostly of passages of the Psalms and the fathers, and reveal the best side of his private character. His last prayer, as he kneeled by the block to receive the fatal stroke, is the crown of his prayers, and worth quoting: 'Lord, I am coming as fast as I can. I know I must pass through the shadow of death before I can come to see Thee. But it is but umbra mortis, a mere shadow of death, a little darkness upon nature; but Thou, by Thy merits and passion, hast broken through the jaws of death. So, Lord, receive my soul, and have mercy upon me; and bless this kingdom with peace and plenty, and with brotherly love and charity, that there may not be this effusion of Christian blood amongst them, for Jesus Christ His sake, if it be Thy will.' The opinions on Laud are mostly tinctured by party spirit. His friend Clarendon says, 'His learning, piety, and virtue have been attained by very few, and the greatest of his infirmities are common to all, even the best of men.' Prynne, who lost his two ears by Laud's influence, calls him the most execrable traitor and apostate that the English soil ever bred ('Canterbury's Doome'). His biographers, Peter Heylin (Cyprianus Anglicanus, Lond. 1671), John Parker Lawson (The Life and Times of William Laud, Lond. 1829, 2 vols.), and Dr. Hook (in the Lives of the Archbishops of Canterbury, Vol. XI. Lond. 1875), are vindicators of his character and policy. May, Hallam, Macaulay, Lingard, Green, Häusser, and Stoughton (Vol. I. pp. 402 sq.) condemn his public acts, but give him credit for his private virtues. May (History of Parliament, approvingly quoted by Hallam, chap. viii. Charles I.) says: 'Laud was of an active, or, rather, of a restless mind; more ambitious to undertake than politic to carry on; of a disposition too fierce and cruel for his coat. He had few vulgar and private vices, as being neither taxed of covetousness, intemperance, nor incontinence; and, in a word, a man not altogether so bad in his personal character as unfit for the state of England.'
THE STAR-CHAMBER AND THE HIGH-COMMISSION COURT.
The two chief instruments of this royal episcopal tyranny were the Star-Chamber and the High-Commission Court—two kinds of inquisition—the first political, the second ecclesiastical, with an unlimited jurisdiction over all sorts of misdemeanors, and with the power to inflict the penalties of deprivation, imprisonment, fines, whipping, branding, cutting ears, and slitting noses.
Freedom of speech and the press, which is now among the fundamental and inalienable rights of every Anglo-Saxon citizen, was punished as a crime against society. Prynne, a graduate of Oxford, and a learned barrister of Lincoln's Inn, who published an unreadable book (Histrio-Mastix, the Player' Scourge, or Actors' Tragedie, divided into Two Parts) against theatres, masquerades, dancing, and women actors, with reflections upon the frivolities of the queen, was condemned by the Star-Chamber to be expelled from Oxford and Lincoln's Inn, to be fined £5000, to stand in the pillory at Westminster and Cheapside, to have his ears cut off, his cheeks and forehead branded with hot irons, and to be imprisoned for life. His huge quarto volume of 1006 pages, with quotations from as many authors, was burned under his nose, so that he was nearly suffocated with the smoke. Leighton, a Scotchman (father of the saintly archbishop), Bastwick, a learned physician, and Henry Burton, a B.D. of Oxford, and rector of a church in London, were treated with similar cruelty for abusing in printed pamphlets the established hierarchy. No doubt their language was violent and coarse,13711371 Burton called the bishops step-fathers, cater-pillars, limbs of the beast, blind watchmen, dumb dogs, new Babel-builders, antichristian mushrumps, etc. Prynne called them 'silk and satin divines,' and said that 'Christ himself was a Puritan, and that, therefore, all men should become Puritans.' But their opponents could be equally abusive. Lord Cottington, one of Prynne's judges, said that, in writing the Histrio-Mastix, 'either the devil had assisted Prynne or Prynne the devil.' Another judge, the Earl of Dorset, called him 'omnium malorum nequissimum. ' but torture and mutilation are barbarous and revolting. And yet Laud not only thanked the lords of the Star-Chamber for their 'just and honorable sentence upon these men,' but regretted, in a letter to Strafford, that he could not resort to more 'thorough' measures.
THE CIVIL WAR AND THE COMMONWEALTH.
The excesses of despotism, sacerdotalism, ceremonialism, intolerance, and cruelty exhausted at last the patience of a noble, freedom-loving people, and kindled the blazing war-torch which burned to the ground the throne and the temple. The indignant nation rose in its majesty, and asserted its inherent and constitutional rights.
The storm burst forth from the North. The Scots compelled the King to abandon his schemes of innovation, and to admit that prelacy was contrary to Scripture. In England the memorable Long Parliament organized the opposition, and assumed the defense of constitutional liberty against royal absolutism. It met Nov. 3, 1640, and continued till April 20, 1653, when it was dissolved by Cromwell to give way to military despotism. The war between the Parliament and the King broke out in August, 1642. For several months the Cavaliers fought more bravely and successfully than the undisciplined forces of the Roundheads; but the fortunes of war changed when Oliver Cromwell, a country gentleman, bred to peaceful pursuits, appeared at the head of his Ironsides, whom he selected from the ranks of the Puritans. It was an army such as England never saw before or since—an army which feared God and hated the pope; which believed in the divine decrees and practiced perseverance of saints; which fought for religion; which allowed no oath, no drunkenness, no gambling in the camp; which sacredly respected private property and the honor of woman; which went praying and psalm-singing into the field of battle, and never returned from it without the laurels of victory. And when these warriors were disbanded at the Restoration, they astonished the royalists by quietly taking their place among the most industrious, thrifty, and useful citizens.13721372 One of the noblest specimens of a Puritan officer was Col. Hutchinson, whose character and life have been so admirably described by his widow (pp. 24 sqq. Bohn's ed.).
During the reign of the Long Parliament the Star-Chamber and the High-Commission Court were ignominiously and forever swept out of existence amid the execrations of the people. The episcopal hierarchy and the Liturgy were overthrown (Sept. 10, 1642); about two thousand royalist ministers, many of them noted for incapacity, idleness, and immorality, others highly distinguished for scholarship and piety—as Hammond, Sanderson, Pocock, Byron Walton, Hall, Prideaux, Pearson—were ejected as royalists from their benefices and given over to poverty and misery, though one fifth of the revenues of the sequestered livings was reserved for the sufferers.13731373 Comp. Marsden, The Later Puritans, pp. 40 sqq. Baxter himself allows that 'some able, godly preachers were cast out for the war alone.' Among these was also the excellent Thomas Fuller, the author of the incomparable books on Church History and the Worthies of England, although in the days of Laud he had been stigmatized as a Puritan in doctrine. This summary and cruel act provoked retaliation, which in due time came with increased severity. The leaders of despotism—the Earl of Strafford (May 12, 1641), Archbishop Laud (Jan. 10, 1645), and at last the King himself (Jan. 30, 1649)—were condemned to death on the block, and thus surrounded by the halo of martyrdom. Their blood was the seed of the Restoration. The execution of Charles especially was in the eyes of the great majority of the English and Scotch people a crime and a blunder, and set in motion the reaction in favor of monarchy and episcopacy.
At first, however, Cromwell's genius and resolution crushed every opposition in England, Ireland, and Scotland. On the ruins of the monarchy and of Parliament itself he raised a military government which inspired respect and fear at home and abroad, and raised England to the front rank of Protestant powers, but which created no affection and love except among his invincible army. The man of blood and iron, the ablest ruler that England ever had, died at the height of his power, on the anniversary of his victories at Dunbar and Worcester (Sept. 3), and was buried with great pomp among the legitimate kings of England in Westminster Abbey (Nov. 23, 1658).'13741374 On his last days and utterances, see the Mercurius Politicus for Sept. 2–9,1658, and Stoughton, The Church of the Commonwealth, p. 511. Macaulay pays the following tribute to Cromwell's foreign policy: 'The Protector's foreign policy at the same time extorted the ungracious approbation of those who most detested him. The Cavaliers could scarcely refrain from wishing that one who had done so much to raise the fame of the nation had been a legitimate king; and the Republicans were forced to own that the tyrant suffered none but himself to wrong his country, and that, if he had robbed her of liberty, he had at least given her glory in exchange. After half a century, during which England had been of scarcely more weight in European politics than Venice or Saxony, she at once became the most formidable power in the world, dictated terms of peace to the United Provinces, avenged the common injuries of Christendom on the pirates of Barbary, vanquished the Spaniards by land and sea, seized one of the finest West India islands, and acquired on the Flemish coast a fortress which consoled the national pride for the loss of Calais. She was supreme on the ocean. She was the head of the Protestant interest. All the Reformed Churches scattered over Roman Catholic kingdoms acknowledged Cromwell as their guardian. The Huguenots of Languedoc. the shepherds who, in the hamlets of the Alps, professed a Protestantism older than that of Augsburg, were secured from oppression by the mere terror of that great name. The pope himself was forced to preach humanity and moderation to popish princes. For a voice which seldom threatened in vain had declared that, unless favor were shown to the people of God, the English guns should be heard in the Castle of Saint Angelo. In truth, there was nothing which Cromwell had, for his own sake and that of his family, so much reason to desire as a general religious war in Europe. In such a war he must have been the captain of the Protestant armies. The heart of England would have been with him. His victories would have been hailed with a unanimous enthusiasm unknown in the country since the rout of the Armada, and would have effaced the stain which one act, condemned by the general voice of the nation, has left on his splendid fame. Unhappily for him. he had no opportunity of displaying his admirable military talents except against the inhabitants of the British Isles.'—History of England, ch. i. Carlyle says that Cromwell was the best thing that England ever did.
The Puritan Commonwealth was but a brilliant military episode, and died with its founder. His son Richard, amiable, good-natured, weak and incompetent, succeeded him without opposition, but resigned a few months after (April 22, 1659). The army, which under its great commander had ruled the divided nation, was now divided, while the national sentiment in the three kingdoms became united, and demanded the restoration of the old dynasty as the safest way to escape the dangers of military despotism. Puritanism represented only a minority of the English people, and the majority of this minority were royalists. The Presbyterians, who were in the saddle during the interregnum, were specially active for the unconditional recall of the treacherous Stuarts. The event was brought about by the cautious and dexterous management of General Monk, a man of expediency, who had successively served under Charles I. and Cromwell, and worshiped with Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and Independents, and at last returned to the Episcopal Church. Charles II., 'who never said a foolish thing, and never did a wise one,' was received with such general enthusiasm on his triumphal march from Dover to London that he wondered where his enemies were, or whether he ever had any. The revolution of national sentiment was complete. The people seemed as happy as a set of unruly children released from the discipline of the school.13751375 'Almost all the gentry of all parts went—some to fetch him over, some to meet him at the sea-side, some to fetch him into London, into which he entered on the 29th day of May, with a universal joy and triumph, even to his own amazement; who, when he saw all the nobility and gentry of the land flowing in to him, asked where were his enemies. For he saw nothing but prostrates, expressing all the love that could make a prince happy. Indeed, it was a wonder in that day to see the mutability of some, and the hypocrisy of others, and the servile flattery of all. Monk, like his better genius, conducted him and was adored like one that had brought all the glory and felicity of mankind home with this prince.'—Memoirs of the Life of Col. Hutchinson, p. 402.
The restoration of the monarchy was followed by the restoration of Episcopacy and the Liturgy with an exclusiveness that did not belong to it before. The Savoy Conference between twenty-one Episcopalians and an equal number of Presbyterians (April 15 till July 25, 1661) utterly failed, and left both parties more exasperated and irreconcilable than before. The Churchmen, once more masters of the situation, refused to make any concessions and changes.13761376 The fullest account of the conference held in the Savoy Hospital, London, is given by Baxter, who was a member, in his Autobiography. Comp. Neal, Cardwell, Stoughton (Restor. Vol. I. p. 157), Hallam (Ch. XI. Charles II.), and Procter (History of the Book of Common Prayer, p. 113). Hallam casts the chief blame on the Churchmen, who had it in their power to heal the division and to retain or to expel a vast number of worthy clergymen. But both parties lacked the right temper, and smarted under the fresh recollection of past grievances. Baxter embodied the changes desired by the Puritans in his Liturgy, the hasty work of a fortnight, which was never used, but republished by Prof. Shields of Princeton, Philadelphia, 1867. Thus another opportunity of comprehension was lost. In the revision of the Liturgy, which was completed by Convocation at the close of the same year (Dec., 1661), approved by the King, and ratified by Act of Parliament (April, 1662), not the slightest regard was paid to Presbyterian objections, reasonable or unreasonable, although about six hundred alterations were made; on the contrary, all the ritualistic and sacerdotal features complained of were retained and even increased.13771377 Procter (p. 141): 'Some changes were made, in order to avoid the appearance of favoring the Presbyterian form of Church government; thus, church, or people, was substituted for congregation, and ministers in for of the congregation; priests and deacons were especially named instead of pastors and ministers.' The Apocryphal lessons were retained, and the legend of Bel and the Dragon (omitted in 1604) was again introduced in the Calendar of Daily Lessons, to show contempt for the Puritan scruples. In the Litany the words 'rebellion' and 'schism' were added to the petition against 'sedition.' The Act of Uniformity, which received the royal assent May 19, 1662, and took effect on the ominous St. Bartholomew's Day, Aug. 24, 1662 (involuntarily calling to mind the massacre of the Huguenots), required not only from ministers, but also from all schoolmasters, absolute conformity to the revised Liturgy and episcopal ordination, or reordination. By this cruel act more than two thousand Puritan rectors and vicars—that is, about one fifth of the English clergy, including such men as Baxter, Howe, Poole, Owen, Goodwin, Bates, Manton, Caryl—were ejected and exposed to poverty, public insult, fines, and imprisonment for no other crime than obeying God rather than men. A proposition in the House of Commons to allow these heroes of conscience one fifth of their income, as the Long Parliament had done in the removal of royalist clergymen, was lost by a vote of ninety-four to eighty-seven.13781378 Dr. Stoughton, a well-informed and impartial historian, gives it as the result of his careful inquiry that the persecution and sufferings of the Episcopalians under the Long Parliament and the Commonwealth are not to be compared with the persecution of the Nonconformists under Charles I. and Charles II. (Ch. of the Commonwealth, p. 346). Hallam is of the same opinion. Richard Baxter, one of the ejected ministers, gives a sad account of their sufferings: 'Many hundreds of these, with their wives and children, had neither house nor bread. . . . Their congregations had enough to do, besides a small maintenance, to help them out of prisons, or to maintain them there. Though they were as frugal as possible, they could hardly live; some lived on little more than brown bread and water; many had but eight or ten pounds a year to maintain a family, so that a piece of flesh has not come to one of their tables in six weeks' time; their allowance could scarce afford them bread and cheese. One went to plow six days and preached on the Lord's day. Another was forced to cut tobacco for a livelihood. . . . Many of the ministers, being afraid to lay down their ministry after they had been ordained to it, preached to such as would hear them in fields and private houses, till they were apprehended and cast into gaols, where many of them perished' (quoted by Green, p. 612). Baxter himself was repeatedly imprisoned, although he was a royalist and openly opposed Cromwell's rule. For many details of suffering, see Orme's Life of Baxter (Lond. 1830), pp. 229 sqq.
Even the dead were not spared by the spirit of 'mean revenge.' The magnates of the Commonwealth, twenty-one in number (including Dr. Twisse, the Prolocutor of the Westminster Assembly), who had been buried in Westminster Abbey since 1641, were exhumed and reinterred in a pit (Sept. 12, 1661). Seven only were exempt; among them Archbishop Ussher, who had been buried there at Cromwell's express desire, and at a cost of £200 paid by him. Cromwell himself, Ireton, and Bradshaw were dug up Jan. 29, 1661, next day dragged to Tyburn, hanged (with their faces turned to Whitehall), decapitated, and buried under the gallows. Cromwell's head was planted on the top of Westminster Hall.13791379 Stanley's Hist. Memorials of Westminster Abbey, pp. 191 sq., 247, 320 (3d ed. Lond. 1869).
The Puritans were now a target of hatred and ridicule as well as
persecution. They were assailed from the pulpit, the stage, and the press by cavaliers, prelatists, and
libertines as a set of hypocritical Pharisees and crazy fanatics,
noted for their love of Jewish names, their lank hair, their sour faces,
their deep groans, their long prayers and sermons, their bigotry
and cant.13801380 Butler's Hudibras fairly
reflects the prevailing sentiment of the Restoration period about the Puritans. He caricatures them in his
mock-heroic style (Part I. Canto I. vers. 192 sqq.) as
'That stubborn crew
Of errant saints, whom all men grant
To be the true Church militant:
Such as do build their faith upon
The holy text of pike and gun;
Decide all controversy by
And prove their doctrine orthodox
by apostolic blows and knocks;
Call fire, and sword, and desolation
A godly thorough Reformation,
Which always must be carried on,
And still be doing, never done,
As if religion were intended
For nothing else but to be mended.' And yet the same Puritanism, blind, despised, forsaken, or languishing in prison, produced some of the noblest works, which can never die. It was not dead—it was merely musing and dreaming, and waiting for a resurrection in a nobler form. Milton's 'Paradise Lost' (1667) and Bunyan's 'Pilgrim's Progress' (1678) are the shining lights which illuminate the darkness of that disgraceful period.13811381 'Puritanism,' says an Oxford historian, 'ceased from the long attempt to build up a kingdom of God by force and violence, and fell back on its truer work of building up a kingdom of righteousness in the hearts and consciences of men. It was from the moment of its seeming fall that its real victory began. As soon as the wild orgy of the Restoration was over, men began to see that nothing that was really worthy in the work of Puritanism had been undone. The revels of Whitehall, the skepticism and debauchery of courtiers, the corruption of statesmen, left the mass of Englishmen what Puritanism had made them—serious, earnest, sober in life and conduct, firm in their love of Protestantism and of freedom. In the Revolution of 1688 Puritanism did the work of civil liberty, which it had failed to do in that of 1642. It wrought out through Wesley and the revival of the eighteenth century the work of religious reform which its earlier efforts had only thrown back for a hundred years. Slowly, but steadily, it introduced its own seriousness and purity into English society, English literature, English politics. The whole history of English progress, since the Restoration, on its moral and spiritual sides, has been the history of Puritanism.'—J. R. Green's Short History of the English People, p. 586.
With the Restoration rushed in a flood of frivolity and immorality; the King himself setting the example by his shameless adulteries, which he blazoned to the world by raising his numerous mistresses and bastards to the rank and wealth of the nobility of proud old England. 'The violent return to the senses,' says a French writer who has not the slightest sympathy with Puritanism, 'drowned morality. Virtue had the semblance of Puritanism. Duty and fanaticism became mingled in a common reproach. In this great reaction, devotion and honesty, swept away together, left to mankind but the wreck and the mire. The more excellent parts of human nature disappeared; there remained but the animal, without bridle or guide, urged by his desires beyond justice and shame.'13821382 Taine's History of English Literature, vol. i. p. 461 (Am. ed.).
Bad as was Charles II. (1660-1685), his brother, James II. (1685-1688), was worse. He seemed to combine the vices of the Stuarts without their redeeming traits. Charles, indifferent to religion and defiant to virtue during his life, sent on his death-bed for a Romish priest to give him absolution for his debaucheries. James openly professed his conversion to Romanism, filled in defiance of law the highest posts in the army and the cabinet with Romanists, and opened negotiations with Pope Innocent XI. At the same time he persecuted with heartless cruelty the Protestant Dissenters, and outraged justice by a series of judicial murders which have made the name of Chief Justice Jeffreys as infamous as Nero's.
At last the patience of the English people was again exhausted, the incurable race of the Stuarts, unwilling to learn and to forget any thing, was forever hurled from the throne, and the Prince of Orange, who had married Mary, the eldest daughter of James, was invited to rule England as William III.
The Revolution of 1688 was a political triumph of Puritanism, and secured to the nation constitutional liberty and the Protestant religion. The Episcopal Church remained the established national Church, but the Act of Toleration of 1689 guaranteed liberty and legal protection to such Nonconformists as could subscribe thirty-five and a half of the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, omitting those to which the Puritans had conscientious scruples. Though very limited, this Act marked a great progress. It broke up the reign of intolerance, and virtually destroyed the principle of uniformity. The Act of Uniformity of 1662 was intended for the whole kingdom, and proceeded on the theory of an ecclesiastical incorporation of all Englishmen; now it was confined to the patronized State Church. It recognized none but the Episcopal form of worship, and treated non-Episcopalians as disloyal subjects, as culprits and felons; now other Protestant Christians—Presbyterians, Independents, Baptists, and even Quakers—were placed under the protection of the law, and permitted to build chapels and to maintain pastors at their own expense. The fact was recognized that a man may be a good citizen and a Christian without conforming to the State religion. Uniformity had proved an intolerable tyranny, and had failed. Comprehension of different denominations under one national Church, though favored by William, seemed impracticable. Limited toleration opened the way for full liberty and equality of Christian denominations before the law; and from the soil of liberty there will spring up a truer and deeper union than can be secured by any compulsion in the domain of conscience, which belongs to God alone.
Puritanism did not struggle in vain. Though it failed as a national movement, owing to its one-sidedness and want of catholicity, it accomplished much. It produced statesmen like Hampden, soldiers like Cromwell, poets like Milton, preachers like Howe, theologians like Owen, dreamers like Bunyan, hymnists like Watts, commentators like Henry, and saints like Baxter, who though dead yet speak. It lives on as a powerful moral element in the English nation, in the English Church, in English society, in English literature. It has won the esteem of the descendants of its enemies. In our day the Duke of Bedford erected a statue to Bunyan (1874) in the place where he had suffered in prison for twelve years; and Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and Independents united in a similar tribute of justice and gratitude to the memory of Baxter at Kidderminster (1875), where he is again pointing his uplifted arm to the saints' everlasting rest. The liberal-minded and large-hearted dean of Westminster represented the nobler part of the English people when he canonized those great and good men in his memorial discourses at the unveiling of their statues. Puritanism lives moreover in New England, which was born of the persecutions and trials of its fathers and founders in old England, and gave birth to a republic truer, mightier, and more enduring than the ephemeral military commonwealth of Cromwell. It will continue to preserve and spread all over the Saxon world the love of purity, simplicity, spirituality, practical energy, liberty, and progress in the Christian Church.
On the other hand, it is for the children of the Puritans to honor the shining lights of the Church of England who stood by her in the days of her trial and persecution. That man is to be pitied indeed who would allow the theological passions of an intolerant age to blind his mind to the learning, the genius, and the piety of Ussher, Andrewes, Hall, Pearson, Prideaux, Jeremy Taylor, Barrow, and Leighton, whom God has enriched with his gifts for the benefit of all denominations. It is good for the Church of England—it is good for the whole Christian world—that she survived the fierce conflict of the seventeenth century and the indifferentism of the eighteenth to take care of venerable cathedrals, deaneries, cloisters, universities, and libraries, to cultivate the study of the fathers and schoolmen, to maintain the importance of historical continuity and connection with Christian antiquity, to satisfy the taste for stability, dignity, and propriety in the house of God, and to administer to the spiritual wants of the aristocracy and peasantry, and all those who can worship God most acceptably in the solemn prayers of her liturgy, which, with all its defects, must be pronounced the best ever used in divine service.
While the fierce conflict about religion was raging, there were prophetic men of moderation and comprehension on both sides—
'Whose dying pens did write of Christian union,
How Church with Church might safely keep communion;
Who finding discords daily to increase,
Because they could not live, would die, in peace.'
In a sermon before the House of Commons, under the arched roof of Westminster Abbey, Richard Baxter uttered this sentence: 'Men that differ about bishops, ceremonies, and forms of prayer, may be all true Christians, and dear to one another and to Christ, if they be practically agreed in the life of godliness, and join in a holy, heavenly conversation. But if you agree in all your opinions and formalities, and yet were never sanctified by the truth, you do but agree to delude your souls, and neither of you will be saved for all your agreement.'13831383 Vain Religion of the Formal Hypocrite. Baxter's Works, Vol. XVII. p. 80. Quoted by Stoughton, p. 195. The sermon was preached Apr. 30, 1660, just before the recall of Charles II. See Orme. Life of Baxter, p. 160.
This is a noble Christian sentiment, echoing the words of a greater man than Baxter: 'In Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision,'—we may add, neither surplice nor gown, neither kneeling nor standing, neither episcopacy nor presbytery nor independency—' but a new creature.'13841384 Gal. vi. 15.
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