« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
ration after the King had fallen into the hands of General Fairfax ; in which event they saw the extinction of their own brief, illegal and much-abused authority. Their brethren of for sin. It is the misery of greatness, the offence is as great as the offender; the sin as sovereign as the person. Great persons do not so much commit sin as teach it : Their disobedience is ever masculine, and begets followers. The highest court may reach the highest person. Causes and not persons are to be heard in your parliament.
“ It was a bloody saying, of one once your prisoner,' that if the King commanded him, he would not care to burn all the cities of the kingdom. 0! let not these sons of Zeruiah, that shed the blood of war in peace ; let not their hoary head go down to the grave in peace; they have been the troublers of Israel. Enter into your chambers, and shut the doors upon you, and revolve again and again all the sad stories of these men's cruelty; sum up whatever loss and damage the kingdum has suffered by them; yea, exact not only the principal, but
the utmost farthing of use and interest.”. R. HEYRICK, 1646.
“ I beseech you, be impartial in doing justice; and let not the great flies break through the web, whilst the little ones are entangled : To spare the great birds, and destroy the small (not so hurtful) is no good justice. There are many wonder, there are no more delinquents called to the bar. Take heed you spare not brother Benhadad, lest you and the kingdom fare the worse for it.”-R. KENTISH, 1647.
“ By new oppositions he wastes and destroys the enemies by degrees ; every plague devours some: The frogs some, the lice some, the locusts some.' So Edgehill some, Newbury some, York some. A man might reckon you a good many somes. And so God somes them out by degrees, and thereby gratifies his people's prayers, as well as promotes his work. The deliverance out of Egypt'shall never be forgotten ; no, nor England's out of our Episcopal bondage.”—Case, 1646.
I subjóin an extract from one of Owen's sermons: For, though he had then deserted the Presbyterian ranks and was become an Independent, be resolved not to be outdone in expressions of profaueness and rebellion by any of his quondam associates. Mr. Orme, when speaking about this discourse, says: There are some passages which seem to encourage more of a warlike spirit than I think quite justifiable on christian principles." From the specimen already given of that gentleman's MODERATION on this subject, the reader will be justified in concludiug, that Owen's sermon must have been intolerably “ warlike” and unchristian if Mr. Orme cannot “ think some pas, sages quite justifiable.”. Such a conclusion will be confirmed by a perusal of the following quotation : “ Past blessings and deliverances of God's people, are store mercies laid up for believers against a rainy day, and when we want present refreshments, what a comfort is it to chew the cud upon the blessings of former ages ? Make use then of your past mercies with promising incomings, carry them about you by faith, use them or they will grow rusty."-In another passage of that sermon, Owen says : " Where is the God of Marston Moor, and the God of Naseby ?, is an acceptable expostulation in a gloomy day. O what a catalogue of mercies has this nation attained to in a time of trouble! God came from Naseby, and the Holy One from the west. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. He went forth in the North, and in the East did not withhold his band. The poor town wherein í live, is more enriched with a store of mercies in a few months, than with a full trade of many years," &c.
Su allusion to the last paragraph, Mr. Orme says: . This passage is quoted .by L' Estrange as a proof that Owen was one of those fauatics who be• lieved that success was an evidence of the goodness of a cause. Dr. Grey also,
commenting on a passage of Hudibras, affirms, on the same ground, that Owen was of this sentiment. But this is a gross perversion of his mean
ing. It is a mere rhetorical application of the words of scripture, with • the design of impressing the importance of remembering past mercies and
deliverances. Such language we should designate by a stronger term of reprehension than “a mere rhetorical application;" we should call it
the Independent persuasion were divided into many minor denominations, having no common bond of union except that of lax and variable church-government, as separate congregations : They were as bigotted and intolerant as the Presbyterians; but they had discovered by experience that there was no better plan for obtaining their purposes, than the establishment of a mutual toleration in religion, which, it is evident from many of their own writings, was intended to operate as a public lure to the unwary, for the benefit of their own party, till they were firmly fixed in the chair of ecclesiastical authority to which they aspired. This latter circumstance was
those grievances which gave uncommon umbrage to the Presbyterians, who were rigid disciplinarians; and they evinced in every possible
way their aversion to the progress of religious liberty.* This " most profane rhetoric." We assigned Owen his proper station when we placed him (page 268,) by the side of the foreign and native Calvinistic prophets. But, it appears, Mr. Orme is chagrined at the very thoughts of his hero being found in such a disreputable association, and be relates, as an exculpation to the charge, which he must have been conscious might be easily proved against the doctor, that “Owen and Gataker are introduced in a rather singular connection, as the opponents of that knavish impostor, William Lilly the astrologer." The complaisant biographer then sagely observes, These are only some of the many proofs, that the Puritans and Independents were not the visionary fanatics of the age.” In this last clause the word “ sole" may have been omitted through the carelessness of the printer: When it is supplied, the sentence will correctly conclude thus, .. The Puritans and Independents were not the sole visionary fanatics of the age.” They undoubtedly had too many associates in their “ fanaticism ;" and as long as this “ MERE RHETORICAL APPLICATION of the words of scripture” stands on record against John Owen, he will always be accounted to to have held a conspicuous rank among “ the fanatics."-But one of the most disingenuous of Orme's tricks remains yet to be stated. To shew that “ Owen and the party with which he acted” were falsely charged with “ the sentiment of success being an evidence of Divine approbation," "he quotes a passage which Owen wrote a long time afterwards, when the Providence of God had put down the mighty Calvinists from their seat, and had exalted the humble and meek Arminian clergy. No one pretends that Owen retained his former sentiments to the close of life: Adversity is awonderful teacher of moderation, and some of its good effects may be perceived in the case of Owen. For in the concluding sentence, which Orme adduces in opposition to the imputation ou Owen, the doctor himself ingenuously admits his former folly in the following terms : “ And if I, or any other, have, at any time, applied this unto any cause not warranted by the only rule of its justification, it no way reflects on the truth of the principle which I assert, nor gives countenance to the false one which he ascribes to me. " The doctor had previously laid down a better principle than the old one of mere success which he held in his youthful days, and then tells us, in as plain words as he usually employed, that if he, or any other person, had applied the former false sentiment" unto any cause not warranted by the only rule of its justification,” which he had likewise specified, such misapplication, he says, in no way reflects on the truth of the [new] principle which he then asserted.” But Mr. Orme says, “If this quotation does not satisfy the reader, he must be unreasonably sceptical.” To such “ unreasonable scepticism," then, we must plead guilty, under a strong conviction that in this plea we shall have the company of every Englishman who can appreciate the difference between loose declamation and plain reasoning : For the quotation from the doctor does not contain a single word in denial of his having at one period thought success an evidence of Divine approbaifon.
* Among a hundred other instances of detestable intolerance, may be quoted the following extract from the Declaration of the Army and the
schism among the Calvinists induced the disappointed and rebellious Presbyterians at every favourable opportunity to seek a co-alition with the royalisis ; and they entertained hopes that, on the restoration of their lawful and exiled monarch, they should obtain from him concessions in behalf of Presbytery as important as those which they had forcibly extorted from his murdered father. The young and royal adventurer had, in his bold but unsuccessful expedition to Scotland, given fresh impulse to these hopes; and, when firmly seated on the throne of his ancestors, he was frequently reminded of the debt of gratitude which he owed to his Presbyterian subjects. Though it was confessedly for their own convenience they adopted this politic mode of proceeding, which they had formerly blamed in the Independents, * yet the royalists very prudently received their overtures with frankness, and shewed themselves willing to give some credence to their solemn and re-iterated protestations concerning their innocence from the great trunsgression. It is amazing that, after the English nation had most unequivocally manifested its aversion to the entire fabric of Presbytery, these sanguine Calvinists should ever have dreamt of ultimately establishing it on the ruins of Episcopacy.t For the only difference between them Country, published in 1648 by the Presbytery of Belfast, whose loyalty was undoubtedly of a less questionable character than that of any of their brethren in the three kingdoms: “ And whereas the sectarian party in England hath of late usurped an illegal power over both King and Parliament, and are resolving an UNIVERSAL TOLERATION IN RELIGION, and the subversion of lawful government by King, Lords and Commons; and have taken upon them to proclaim all the adherers to the present government in the person of the present King, to be rebels and traitors : all which their usurping practices they visibly pretend to force upon us in this kingdom, so soon as they can transport hither to be obeyed and received by us contrary to our league and covenant. For this cause we do faithfully oblige ourselves unanimously with our estates and lives to resist and oppose any such irregular commands, which shall proceed from them, and that we shall maintain the just power of King and Parliament against all the opposers thereof.".
* Bastwick, the celebrated Presbyterian, uttered this complaint concerning, the Independents : “ The Presbyterian government vot suiting with their humour,-they [the Independents] abhor it, and all such as evdeavour to establish it; and wish rather that all the old trumpery were brought in again; and profess, they had rather have the government of the Prelates : Yea, some of them have not heen ashamed to protest unto Prelatical Priests, that before the Presbyters shall rule over them, they will cut all their throats, and join with them for the re-establishing of the Hierarchy.
His infamous co-adjutor Prynue repeated the same allegations in other language, some years prior to the death of the king: “Their libels, actions, speeches, proclaim a plotted, avowed confederacy among some furious ringleaders of these Independent Sectaries, against the Parliament, Assembly, and all their resolves in matters of religion. That which confirms me in this opinion, is, first the new seditious covenants which the members of some Independent congregations enter into, to adhere, defend, maintain, to the uttermost of their power, and contend for even to blood, the establishment of that Independent form of church
„government which themselves have set up, and to oppose the Presbyterian.'
of Lord Clarendon seems to have understood their dissimulation, for he tells us in the Continuation of his Life: “ The House of Commons seemed equally constituted to what could be wished; for though there were many
and the Independents was, that the one party displayed a little more guile than the other, in giving practical effect to the principles of Calvin, their common master, and of his immediate followers.
Presbyterian members, and some of all other factions in religion, who did all promise themselves some liberty and indulgeuce for their several parties, yet they all professed great zeal for the establisbing of the King in his full power. And the major part of the House was of sober and prudent men, who had been long known to be very weary of all the late governments, and heartily to desire and pray for the King's return. And there were many, who had either themselves been actual and active malignants and delinquents in the late King's time, or the sons of such, who inherited their fathers' virtues ; both which classes of men were excluded from being capable of being elected to serve in Parliament, not only by former ordinances, but by express caution in the very writs which were sent out to summon this Parliament, and were notwithstanding made choice of and returned by the country, and received without any hesitation in the House, and treated by all men with the more civility and respect for their known maliguity : so that the King, though it was necessary to have patience in the expectations of their resolutions in all important points, which could not suddenly be concluded in such a popular assembly, was very reasonably assured, that he should have nothing pressed upon him that should be ungrateful, with reference to the church or state.
“ It is true, the Presbyterians were very numerous in the House, and many of them men of good parts, and had a great party in the army, and a greater in the city, and except with reference to Episcopacy were desirous to make themselves grateful to the King in the settling all his interest, and especially in vindicating themselves from the odious murder of the King hy loud and passionate inveighing against tbat munstrous parricide, and with the highest animosity denouncing the severest judgments not only against those who were immediately guilty of it, but against those principal persons who had most notoriously adhered to Cromwell in the administration of his government, that is, most eminently opposed them and their faction. They took all occasions to declare, that the power and interest of the party had • been the chief meaus to bring home the King; and used all possible endeavours that the King might be persuaded to think so too, and that the very Covenant had at last done him good and expedited his return, by the causing it to be hung up in churches, from whence Cromwell had cast it out, and their ministers pressing upon the conscience of all those who had taken it, that they were bound by that clause which concerned the defence of the King's person, to take up arms, if need were, on his behalf, and
to restore him to his rightful government;' when the very same mivisters had obliged them to take up arts against the King his father by virtue of that Covenant, and to fight against him till they had taken him prisoner, which produced his murder. This party was much displeased, that the King declared himself so positively on behalf of Episcopacy, and would hear no other prayers in his chapel than those contained in the book of Common Prayer, and that all those formalities and solemnities were now again resumed and practised, which they had caused to be abolished for so many years past. Yet the King left all churches to their liberty, to use such forms of devotion which they liked best; and such of their chief preachers who desired it, or were desired by their friends, were admitted to preach before him, even without the surplice, or any other habit than they made choice of. But this connivauce would not do their business : Their preaching made no proselytes who were not so before; and the resort of the people to those churches where the Common Prayer was again introduced, was evidence enough of their inclination; and they saw the King's chapel always full of those, who had used to possess the chief benches in their assemblies. So that it was manifest that nothing but the supreme authority wouldbe able to settle their discipline; and therefore with their usual confidence they were very importunate in the House of Commons, that the ecclesiastical govern ment might be settled and remain according to the covenant, which had
We now return to Dr. Heylin's Historical Account of these affairs, which connects itself with Doctor Twisse in manner following: “But the main business of this year, (1643] and the three next following, was the calling,* sitting, and pro• been practised many years, and so the people generally well devoted to it, • whereas the introducing the Common Prayer (with which very few had
ever been acquainted or heard it read) would very much offend the people, 6 and give great interruption to the composing the peace of the kingdom.' This was urged in the House of Commons by eminent men of the party, who believed they had the major part of their mind. And their preachers were gas solicitous and industrious to inculcate the same doctrive to the principal persons who had returned with the King, and every day resorted to the court as if they presided there, and had frequent audiences of the King to persuade him to be of the same opivion; from whom they received no other condescensions than they had formerly had at the Hague, with the same gracious affability and expressions to their persons.
“ That party in the House that was in truth devoted to the King, and to the old principles of church and of state, which every day increased, thought not fit so to cross the Presbyterians as to make them desperate in their hopes of satisfaction, but, with the concurrence with those who were of contrary factions, d. erted the argument by proposing other subjects of more immediate relation to the
public peace." -The disappointment of the hopes which were then entertained, was the origin of many of the grievances which the Nonconformists subsequently endured.
* The first notice which I can find of this famous Assembly, is contained in the English edition of that pamphlet which Grotius has marked (page 283) with such just reprehension. It was published two years before the actual appointment of that reverend conveution, and is in every respect worthy of those desperate fire-brands, the two Du Moulins. The subjoined extracts will shew the reader, that Grotius did not speak unadvisedly with his lips when he said, “This publication openly aims at the throat of his Grace the Archbishop:
“ II. That in that great work of reformation which is of moment and consequence, far beyond the settling of civil affairs, there be appointed by both the Houses, a committee, or convocation and meeting of forty or fifty English Divines,-men that were not of, and did no way favour, the late convocation ; and such as be unpartial, learned and uncorrupt in their lives and doctrine, such as Dr. Usher Archbishop of Armach, Dr. Prideaux, Dr. Twisse, and the like, with ten Scots Divines, to which be called eight Foreigu. Divines of the most learned and famous ; such as Rivetus, Primrose, Diodati, Moulin, and the like, who may treat and agree upon a settled platform of church-government, suitable to the monarchy of Great Britain, which ought to be ratified and enacted by Parliament.
“ III. That since our neighbour churches have enjoyed more peace and safety under their discipline, our discipline be framed upon the pattern of theirs, which hithertu hath not been subject to the inconveniences that ours is; such'are: To be rent with schisms, and poisoned with heresies : To have the whole people of the land and the greatest part of the ministers liable, without any redress, to the unjust usurpations, vexations, and censure of some few bishops: To have, in great many parochial churches, a want of a profitable minister: To have in some of them either seldom or no preaching at all : in others, little or no maintenance: and in most a disproportionable maintenance : Besides the manifold altercations and quarrels about trifles and toys, that our discipline is attended with : It was never heard that any man living under our neighbour churches' discipline was ever so brain-sick as to move questions, whether of the table, pulpit, aud font, deserves more reverence and bowing at; or that their synods or consistories made canons and constitutions about placing and railing the communion table, about hoods and surplices, and such needless orders, which bring rather striving then edifying. Since then our neighbour churches' discipline is obnoxious to less disorders, that a discipline be established in England, that be ap. proaching unto theirs, yet a sensible difference kept between theirs and