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the people's hands. But yet, though it may be the sin of the people, it may be the punishment of the magistrate, and the judgment of the kingdom.
At the next monthly Fast, May 26, 1646, Thomas Case delivered Discourse before the House of Commons, and gave it the title of “ Spiritual Whoredom.” In his application of the doctrine, he says:
“ To you, honourable and noble patriots, I would humbly move, that you would exert that power and authority which God hath given you, to the punishing and suppressing of the adulteries and whoredoms of the land, which do stare heaven and earth in the face, and do provoke the jealousy of God, even to give England a bill of divorce, and to put u3 away. Arise, I say, Oh ye rulers and governors of England ! • Gird your
sword upon your thigh, and ride on prosperously because of truth and righteousness, and let your right hand teach you terrible things !' (Psalm xlv. 4.) You know what Phineas did, in the case of corporal whoredom, committed in the face of God and the congregation. Then stood up Phineas, and executed vengeance, or judgment : And you remember how well the Lord took it at his hands, “ The plague was stayed, and it was impuled to him for righteousness.” (Psalm cvi. 31.) Oh that the spirit of Phineas may come upon you, that you may sheath your sword in the bowels of these monstrous whoredoms of all sorts, corporal and spiritual, which are committed in the sight of all Israel, yea in the sight of all the Churches round about us, that the blesse ing of Phineas may come upon you, and the plague may be stayed ! Doth not indeed the punishing and suppressing of spiritual whoredoms against God, --idolatry, heresy, blasphemy, and the rest,—doth it not belong unto you, as well as the punishing of bodily whoredoms, theft, murder, &c. ? Doth it indeed belong to you, only to look to the Civil Peace, and to let Religion, and Truth, and the Worship of God, stand or fall to their own master? Fight God, fight devil
, fight Christ, fight Antichrist ! Catch, that catch can! You have nothing to do, but to stand by and look on! Say so, then ; speak out; publish it in your Dee clarations to the world, and let the people of England know, that it is the right and liberty, to which the subjects of England are born, that every man hold what he please, and publish and 'preach what he holds; that it is the birth-right (as some would have it) of the free-born people of England, every man to worship God according to his own conscience, and to be of what religion his own conscience shall dictate ! Do so, and see, fathers and brethren, how long your Civil P&Ace will secure you when Religion is destroyed, how long it will be ere your Civil
famous ; they have not only followed precedents, but made them.”_This sooth. ing doctrine might suit the Long Parliament; but the private interpretation of XECESSITY must always, on these principles, be dangerous to the coinmunity.
literally fulfilled. It was pronounced by the Rev. Thomas Case, in his Sermon before the Commons, May 26, 1646 : “ Is there not idolatry found among us? Ye have pulled down idols in the Churches, and ye have done well! But, Oh! idols are multia plied in the land : Every man's opinion is become his idol, which he adores and worships with highest veneration. We have cause to be humbled for our old Popery, and our old Popish ceremonies: You, our Honourable Senators, told us so once in an Ordinance of Parliament; and ye did well. But Popery was but one way of false worship: There be a generation of men in the land that stand up for all kinds of false worship, that every man may wors’ip God after his own conscience; or if they will not own it in words at length, they will have it in figures : And if they may not, are ready not only to cry, but to act persecution, and that to purpose: For while they cry perse
* Beside théir unwearied persecution of the Episcopalians and Arminians, Richard BAXTER asserts, in the subjoined extracts from his Church Divisions, that the Independents did not treat their Presbyterian brethren with too much kind.
“ Was it no persecution, when many Anabaptists and Separatists made such work in England, Scotland, and Ireland, in Cromwell's time and after, as they did, when so many were turned out of the Universities for not engaging, and so many out of the Magistracy and Corporation Privileges ? And when an ordi. nance was made to cast out all ministers, who would not pray for the success of their wars against Scotland, or that would not give God thanks for their victories? When I have heard them profess, that there were many thousand godly men that were killed at Dunbar, (to instance in no other,) and yet we were all by their ordinance to be cast out, that would not give God thanks for this. What more harsh kind of persecution could there be, than to force men to go hypocritically to God against their consciences, and take on them to beg for the success of a war, which they judged unlawful, and to return him a public coun. terfeit thanks for bloodshed, yea, for the blood of thousands ?”
This, certainly, is a very trifling display of persecution; and, if the Inde. pendents could be charged with no higher a degree of criminality than this towards the Arminians, they would appear in the foremost ranks of friends to Toleration. On the doctrines of General Redemption, they had been egregiously misinformed. They had seen Arminianism only in the form which Archbishop Laud had com. pelled it to assume, (p. 691,) and which undoubtedly was not the most attractive ; and for many years they manifested no wish to be made better acquainted with its native purity as taught by the Dutch Founder of the system. When these obnoxious doctrines did not intervene, the Independent divines were almost uniformly found to possess a greater portion of philanthropy than their Presby. terian brethren : But the Independent statesmen were generally more lenient and generous than the divines of their persuasion. One of the most outrageous High Church-men that ever wrote, has given us the following just description of the Independents, in a reply to Richard BAXTER's complaint at the com. mencement of this note :
“ Presbytery is too tyrannical for the spirit of an Independent to bear. The " stomach of that party would not brook it; and so they cast it up again : For " there is, though a licentious, yet somewhat of a practical and accommodable - generosity in that party. But are not you aware, gentlemen, that the worse cution gladio oris, [' with the sword of the mouth,'] they are ready to act persecution ore gladii [ at the point of the sword']). I pray God, it may never be Englished !"
you speak of these people, the greater is your condemnation for making the “ Episcopal Party still more insupportable thait these (were) at the very worst ?”. L'ESTRANGE's Casuist Uncased,
What defence of themselves did the Independents publish against this charge of a General Toleration, which, they knew, was intended to apply to them? JEREMIAH BURROUGHES, one of the chief of this party, thus disclaims “such a Toleration,” in his Sermon before the House of Peers, Nov. 26, 1645: “Let not violence be used to force people to things spiritual that they know not. If those who now have but food and raiment should have great penalties inflicted upon them, for not submitting to what they yet have no means to instruct them in, how grievous would it be! The votes of Parliament are to be honoured, and the judgment of an Assembly of godly and learned men is not to be slighted; but that which must subject men's consciences, in matters concerning Christ and his worship, must be light from the moord. Let not the greatness of your power be exercised upon those who do what they can to know the mind of Jesus Christ, and would fain understand and practise more, only they dare go no further than they see Christ before thein.
You cannot say, Men are obstinate and will not see ; for what means hath the generality of the kingdom had to see ground out of Scripture for such great changes ? To use force upon people before they have means to teach them, is to seek to beat the nail in by the hammer of authority, without making way by the wimble of instruction. Indeed, if you have to deal with rotten or soft sappy wood, the hammer only may make the nail enter presently: But if you meet with sound wood, with heart of oak, though the hammer and hand that strikes be strong, yet the nail will hardly go in; it will turn crooked or break : Or, at least, if it enters, it may split that wood it enters into; and, if so, it will not hold long, you have not your end. Consider, you have to deal with English consciences; there is no country so famous for firm strong oaks as England; you will find English consciences to be so.
“ My Lords, you are advanced to high power and honour, in a kingdom where Christ hath as many dear saints of his, as (I had almost said) in all the world besides ; He expects you
should use them kindly. They have been faithful to you; even such as cannot fully come up to you, in some things you have published to the world. Where bath any one of them (though cried out upon, as troublers of the kingdom) falsified their trust in any thing you have committed to them? You sit here in peace, and enjoy your honours with abundance of mercies; in part, through the blessings of God upon their faithfulness and courage in venturing their lives for you: God forbid you should fall upon them, when your turns are served by them! Listen not to any who shall whisper such suggestions, or boldly vent such things as tend to the.exasperation of your spirits this way. There is a great out
erfully pleaded their cause in his Sermon. Yet, by consulting « the humble Petition of the Officers of the Army,” in a succeeding page, (779) it will be seen, that even they, who, from the number of their discordant sects, required the most extensive indulgence from each other, were very careful to except PoPERY and PRELACY, and under the latter term they always included Arminianism. The same exceptions are made by Dr. Owen, (p. 416,) against “ Papists' Images and Prelates' Servicebook ;" and his open avowal, that "the zeal of them that put Ser. vetus lo death may be acquitted,” identifies his views on this subject with those of Vines in a preceding page (lxv). Indeed, I have not met with Independent Minister of that era, (with the exception of John Goodwin,) who, when speaking without ambiguity or circumlocution on the subject, did not bear his testimony against tolerating Episcopalians, who were usually depicted under the epithets of Delinquents, Malignants, Prelatists, or Arminians !
The reader will find, in page 791, some reasons for the great extent of John Goodwin's catholicism, and his superiority in this respect to his famous cotemporary Dr. Owen. It is there shewn, that both of them acknowledge “ their doctrine of Religious “ Liberty to have been derived from the writings of the Remon“ strants: But, with this doctrine, Goodwin almost simultane« ously imbibed that of General Redemption ; and the latter “ rendered the amplitude of the former much more distinct and " apparent. Owen, on the contrary, borrowed only just as much “ of the Dutch doctrine of mutual toleration as served tempo
rary purpose, and fenced it about with many restrictions, which "might enable its advocate virtually to disclaim it at a convenient
Owen's views of toleration partook of the narrowness “ of his religious system," &c. But, though the glory of the first promulgation of tolerant principles does not belong to the Calvinistic Independents, it is undoubtedly due to the Arminian branch of that denomination. Indeed, in what quarter soever Dutch Arminianism in those days achieved her conquests,—whether among Episcopalians, Presbyterians, or Independents, she almost invariably rendered them favourable to the civil and religious liberties of mankind: Of her early trophies among these three denominations, John Goodwin, Ralph Cudworth, and LAWRENCE Womack were admirable specimens, that entitled her to the veneration of all the lovers of piety and freedom. I would have substituted JEREMY Taylor in the place of Womack, had not the former been an Arminian in the days of Laud; while the and disown, as by the Spirit of God! There was Mr. Erbury, Mr. Saltmarsh, Mr. Dell, Mr. William Sedgwick, who, as from God, wrote one week to the Army against their putling the King to death, and the next week wrote quite to them on the other side ; and who set London, by a prophecy or vision, on looking for the Day of Judgment, on a set day."
famous trio, whose names I have classed together, were converts, to the doctrinal system of the Remonstrants during the Civil Wars. The Presbyterians, perhaps, have the greatest cause to complain of the manner in which the history of British Toleration is generally related: For, the great body of “the Latitude men,” (p. 796,) who at the Restoration placed themselves under the wings of Episcopacy, were liberal Arminians. They had either become Presbyterians by education, or by the preference which, in the multitude of contending parties, they had given to that form of ecclesiastical regimen: But they found the doctrinal as well as the ceremonial restraints of the Presbytery too strict for them; and as soon as Episcopacy was, by the good Providence of God, restored to her former pre-eminence, in vast numbers they joined her truly catholic communion.
In the preceding extracts, one of the Presbyterians intimated, that “ Episcopacy in his Pontificalibus might, by means of the the Toleration for which the Independents pleaded, “ be retrieved and called from exile.” (Page lxiii.) Yet the same preacher, who knew the wishes of his party as Calvinists, (p. 454,) “ intreats the PURE INDEPENdents,”-that is, those who adopted all the Westminster Confession of Faith except the parts which relate to Church-government,-* to declare zealously and seriously against the doctrinal errors and heresies of those days.” The manner in which the latter complied with their brethren's request, and by which they brought themselves within the amicable arrangement of their Calvinistic “strivings,” (being “ those of one Israelite with another,” whom “ Moses quiets and parts fairly,") will be described in the commencement of the second volume. In that part, I expose the conduct of the TriERS AND EJECTORS, of whom “the Independents formed the majority, and were the most active in the use of their delegated powers.”—“These " Triers,” says Granger," for the most part, brought the test " to a short issue: If a Minister readily gave up the Five Points “of Arminius, embraced the tenets of Calvin, and was orthodox “ in politics, he was generally qualified to hold any benefice in « the Church.”
The obnoxious view which both Presbyterians and Independents took of Arminianism, has been shewn in several of the preceding pages. This will be still more apparent from the following extract of a sermon, preached before the House of Communs, December 30, 1646, by Matthew NewCOMEN, who, as one of the famous Smectymnyan faction, had pleaded for Presbyterian liberty against good Bishop Hall:
“There is yet another dying object of your pity; and that is Truth, Religion, the Gospel, the Lord Jesus Christ, that lies a bleeding, that is drawn to death, ready to be slain : O do not, I beseech you, forbear to deliver them. There is scarce any truth of Christ, any doctrine of the gospel, any point of our religion, but by some temerarious hand or other hath been invaded, as