Gambar halaman

jects of baptism, they pronounced the same opinion

as had been expressed by the score of Massa- synod or

chusetts and Connecticut divines five years be- ..." fore; and they gave an ambiguous and faint , 162. September.

approbation to the scheme of a Consociation of Churches.' Their Result was presented to the General Court of Massachusetts, which ordered it to be printed, with a Preface, for “the consideration of all the churches and people;” and here all legislative action on the matter ceased in that Colony. For reasons hereafter to be explained, the present relations of Connecticut towards New Haven, whose views respecting it were opposed to her own, were such as restrained her also from being active in pursuing it. As soon as the force of these reasons abated, her General Court strongly recommended to the churches the more liberal practice as to baptism which the Synod had approved; and even went so far as to invite “the several officers of the respective churches to consider whether it be not the duty of the Court to order the churches to practise according to the premises, if they do not practise without such an Order.”” This was as far as the General Court of Connecticut ventured to go; and a majority of the churches still resisted the innovation. In Massachusetts it was regarded with more favor; but there too it had long to defend its ground against a steady opposition. The degree of irritation that prevailed is scarcely to be explained by a consideration of only the ostensible grounds of dispute. “From the fire of the altar,” says Mather, “there issued thunderings, and lightnings, and earthquakes.” The truth is, that political regards brought their explosive fuel to the flame. The preparation for this controversy had been long in progress. The primitive ecclesiastical system, whatever might have been its rec. ommendations and deserts, was an exclusive one ; and dissatisfaction with it had grown up in a series of quiet and prosperous years. It was before that repose was interrupted, that the wide-spread impatience was well developed, and that an earnest desire arose for the removal of what were felt by numerous persons of repute to be degrading distinctions and disabilities. On the other hand while it may be believed that there were those who more or less were influenced to maintain those distinctions by an unwillingness to weaken, by extension, what gave them personal importance, there can be no doubt that more honorable considerations had their full weight. There were many other persons, who were satisfied that the established practice was required by obedience to Scripture, and by regard to the purity of the Church; and who cared not to look further. And there were others yet, to whom the state seemed not so secure that it could prudently dismiss the pilotage which had steered it safe through such threatening storms, and to whom the tendency of the proposed changes to dissociate the Christian character from the prerogatives of citizenship was an honest and a conclusive objection to allowing them. The restoration of royalty in England must have increased the uneasiness felt by this class of patriots in relation to the proposed ecclesiastical reform; and though the tendency of thought in that direction had, when the King was brought back, become too strong to be resisted, the heat of the controversy was rekindled by the new danger that was thought to be disclosed. From the period, of which some events are related in this chapter, the severity exercised in New England against sectarian disturbers declines. Massachusetts, on whom, as the most powerful of the . Colonies, lay the heaviest responsibility for ." her own safety and the safety of her allies, had used greater rigor than the rest in the maintenance of order, and in the removal of dissentients. But in thirty-five years she had grown powerful enough, and confident enough, to dismiss or to relax some of the securities which, in her early feebleness, had been thought essential." It may fairly be reckoned to the credit of her people, that they desisted from harsh measures, and were reconciled to the existence of dissent, in some proportion to their becoming well organized and safe,” while too often it has been observable in other communities, that the stronger they felt them..selves, the less freedom they allowed.

Oct. 8.

1664. Oct. 13.

* For the Result of this Synod, see Mather, Magnalia, Book W. 64-76. Mather says it was adopted by a majority of “more than seven to one,” in the Synod. (Ibid., 77.) Strong opposition to it was, however, immediately manifested in high quarters. Mr. Allin, of Dedham, wrote elaborately against it. President Chauncy attacked it in his “Anti-Synodalia Americana,” and Mr. Davenport in “Another Essay for Investigation of the Truth.” Among the eminent cham

pions of the other side were Richard
Mather (“Defence of the Answer and
Arguments of the Synod,” &c.), and
Jonathan Mitchell (“Answer to the
Apologetical Preface,” &c.).
* Mass. Rec., IV. (ii) 60, 62. – The
volume (in thirty-two pages quarto,
besides the Preface) has the title,
“Propositions concerning the Subject
of Baptism, and Consociation of
Churches, collected and confirmed out
of the Word of God,” &c.
* Conn. Rec., I. 438.

* Magnalia, Book III. 117.

* “Res dura et regni novitas,” &c. stone walls, who ever meddled with

* “Since our Jerusalem was come 'em 2 ” (Mather, Late Memorable to such a consistence that the going up Providences, 142.) of every fox would not break down our

VOL. II. 42

[ocr errors]

It was in the midst of such commotions as are described in the last chapter, that the people of the confederated Colonies received the momentous intelligence of the restoration of the monarchy of England.

The Address of the General Court of Massachusetts to the King was favorably received." The strength of the Confederacy of which that Colony was the head was perhaps overrated at court; and it was probably thought prudent to abstain from a quarrel with so important a branch of the Puritan interest, till affairs should be more settled, and better information should be obtained. The ... King, through Secretary Morrice, informed Endireception by cott, that, since he had resumed his “regal au

o: thority,” he had “made it his care to settle his

.* lately distracted kingdoms at home, and to ex... tend his thoughts to increase the trade and advantages of his colonies and plantations abroad; amongst which,” he said, “as we consider New England to be one of the chiefest, having enjoyed, and grown up in, a long and orderly establishment, so we shall not come behind any of our royal predecessors in a just encouragement and protection of all our loving subjects there, whose application unto us, since our late happy restoration, hath been very acceptable, and shall not want its due remembrance upon all seasonable occasions; neither shall we forget to make you and all our good people in those parts equal partakers of those promises of liberty and moderation to tender consciences, expressed in our gracious declarations.” Such language tended to relieve present anxiety, and to facilitate the reception of another document of a different character, which was perhaps transmitted by the same ship,” though it bore a little earlier date. This was an order for the lowapprehension of the fugitive regicides, Colonel in Boston. Whalley and Colonel Goffe, whom one Captain ** Breedom,” returning to London, reported that he had seen at Boston in the preceding summer. The friendly welcome, which had in fact been extended there to the distinguished fugitives, cannot be confidently interpreted as an indication of favorable judgment of the act for which their lives were now in danger. No Colony of New England had formally expressed approval of the execution of King Charles the First ; nor is there any other evidence of its having been generally regarded there with satisfaction. In New England, as in the parent country, it probably divided the opinions of patriotic men. In New England, remote from the scene of those crimes which had provoked so extreme a retribution, there was probably greater difficulty in admitting the force of the reasons by which the measure was vindicated. And the sympathy of New England would be more likely to be with Vane, than with Cromwell. But the strangers, however one act of theirs might be regarded, had been eminent among those who had fought for

* See above, p. 449.

* Hutch. Coll., 333. no intention of permanent residence;

* Hutch. Hist., I. 195.

* I wish I knew more of the antecedents of this man. I gather from a letter of Thomas Lake to Leverett, (Mass. Hist. Coll., XXVII. 120,) that Breedon was in Boston before September, 1657, and that he was in some relations with Sir Thomas Temple. The prosperity of Boston now invited single commercial adventurers from England, who often came with

and I think that Breedon was one of these. May 5, 1660, he and Hezekiah Usher gave a bond to “Colonel William Crowne” to secure to Crowne the payment by Temple of four years' lease of Crowne’s “whole truck and trade with the Indians and natives in all his division and extent of land to him belonging in the country of New Scotland or Lacadie.” (Mass. Archives, II. 506 – 508.)

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »