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so neither did the Houses really intend to impose it on them, though for a while, to hold fair quarter with the Scots, they seemed forward in it. And this appears sufficiently by a decla- ' Presbytery neglected, before the first war was ended. Yea, and those that stedfastly adhered to it were maligned and reviled by the exorbitant party, for opposivg their new models or agreements of the people.”
To this remark his clever opponent, the author of Interest Mistaken, thus replies : “I must confess, indeed, that Presbytery was never settled, nor ever likely to be, so much did the whole nation stomach it; but yet how this agrees with his former reasoning, page 29, I do not understand. There he pretends, that, by long practice, men's minds are fixed in this opinion ; and that the party is numerous. Here he contents himself to acknowledge, that the Presbyterians lost their power early, and that they never recovered it since. This will not serve his turn, to acquit the faction, (so denominated,) of our late miseries.”. The paragraph to which allusion is here made, if not a complete contradiction, is at least a great oversight. The Presbyterian au: thor had been describing the co-incidence in sentiments between the old English Puritans and the Scotch Presbyterians, in former days, and tried to draw the following inference from bis statement : “ Even then, the way called Puritanism did not give, but get ground. But now (after the Restoration] the tenents of this way are rooted more than ever; and those thiogs formerly imposed [hy the Episcopal clergy], are now by many, if not by the most of this way, accounted not only burdensome, but unlawful. And after a long time of search and practice, the minds of men are fixed in this opinion, and are not like to be reduced to the practice of former times; and therefore, in all reason, the imposing of such matters of controversy, as, hy so many, are held unlawful and, by those that have a zeal for them, judged'indifferent or not necessary, cannot procure the peace of church and kingdom."
But poor Robert Baylie's dolefultale, published in 1645, while the Assembly of Divines was sitting, is the most instructive, and shews, even at that early period, four years before the murder of his Majesty, that the sectaries them. selves would then have preferred an Episcopal to a Presbyterian regimen, (see note, page 342,) if they might not he indulged in their wayward wishes for unbounded licentiousness. The Assembly of Divines,” says Robert, “the vecessary means of reformation, was for a very long time hindered by the diligence of the Independent party, to be called ; and when, to their evident grief and discontent, the Parliament had voted its calling, they may remember their extraordinary industry to get it modelled according to their principles, both in its members and power; to have it an elective synod only for advice, to consist of so many of themselves and of their favourers as was possible, not any known divine of any parts in all Eugland of their opinion being omitted. How cautious they were by great sleight of hand to keep off so many of the old Puritan Unconformists, and how much more inclinable towards men of Episcopal and Liturgic principles, themselves do know. Their averseness to the Assembly doth appear, not only in their opposition to its calling, in their retarding of its proceedings, but in their pressing of its dissolution. I do not speak of the huge contumelies which some of their party have poured out upon the face of that most reverend meeting, in a number of very wicked pamphlets, which to this day were never so much as censured, though the authors, by name and sirname, are complained of in print. But that which I speak of is the express article of the Independent petition, desiring the Parliament in formal terms, according to Master Peters' dictates, to dissolve the Assembly.
“ Had either the Popish faction, or the Episcopal party, or the malignant Courtiers, procured the continuance of our woful anarchy, our anger would have been greater than our grief or shame. But when the mercies of God Dow for some years have removed the Papists, Prelates and Courtiers so far from us, that, by word or deed, they have not' bindered us in the least measure to heal the diseases of our church at our pleasure; that her wounds to this day should be multiplied, and all kept open to drop out her best blood, alone through the obstinacy of our [Independent] brethren, though we compress our indignation, yet we cannot but be oppressed with a great measure
ration of the House of Commons, published on the seventeenth of April, 1646; in which they signify, 'that they were not able to • consent to the granting of an arbitrary and unlimited power and
jurisdiction to near ten thousand judicatories to be erected in • the kingdom, which could not be consistent with the funda* mental laws and government of it, and which by necessary consequence did exclude the Parliament from having any thing to do in that jurisdiction.'* On such a doubtful bottom did Presby
of grief, nor can we choose but to be covered with confusion and shame, when we are forced to taste the most bitter fruits ofour brethren's principles, though denied by them in words, yet ingenuously avowed by their friends in Amsterdam, and constantly practised in New England. To the uttermost of their power they must oppose the building of a church any where in the world, if it be not after their pattern.
“ It must be a heavy guiltiness to be a powerfu instrument of keeping two so great kingdoms as Euglaud and Ireland without the fold and bedge of all ecclesiastic discipline, for divers years together, especially in the time of a devouring war. How many thousand souls have perished by this means in their ignorance and profaneness, who in a well governed church might have been reclaimed! Unto this great misery, another great uvhappiness addeth much weight. Beside their marring of the begun reformation, they have occasioned the perishing of some millions of poor souls, hy the unbeard-of multiplication of beresies and schisms. I believe no place in the world, for this mischief, is now parallel to London. Amsterdam long ago is justified; that city hath transmitted hither the infamy of her various sects. Now, upon whom shall this blame be fastened ?"
This salutary control, wbich the Long Parliament felt itself compelled to exercise over the triumphant Calvinists, is a strong proof, were any additional evidence required, of the vile spirit of incroachment which then actuated the whole tribe of Predestinarians, of the manifest incongruousness of the demands of “ the Disciplinarian Brethren" with the infant liberties of the kingilom, and of the propriety and justice of some of these precautions which had been adopted by the preceding administration, whose love of Arminianism was esteemed the greatest offence of which they could be guilty. Though it fell to the lot of the Presbyterians to make the first essay in England at spiritual tyranny, and to receive the first repulse; yet any man conversani with the rise and early progress of the Independents, who imitated the Jesuits in their advances to power by seizing upon a little when they could not obtain much, will eutertaiu no doubt about their readiness to have acted the same part as the Presbyterians, had they been the first in possession of eclesiastical authority. Each of these Calvinistic sects issued, with equal virulence, their intolerant anathemas and ecclesiastical censures against all the enemies within their reach; the only difference on this point between them,
was, that while the Independents denounced excommunications against offenders, whicb were rendered perfectly innocuous as well as ridiculous by their want of power to execute them, the Presbyterians in Scotland and the Low Countries were aided by the arm of the civil magisfrate, whom they constituted the legitimate executioner_of their definitive sentences. In like manner the Independents of New England, in which country they had gained ecclesiastical ascendancy, conferred the same power upon the civil rulers. Cotton tells us in bis Treatise on the Keys: “The magistrates address themselves to the establishment of religion, and reformation of corruptions, by civil punishments upon the wilful opposers; Josiah put to death idolatrous Priests; nor was that a peculiar duty of the Kings of Juda; for of the times of the New Testament it is prophesied, that in some cases capital punishment shall proceed against false prophets.” These sentiments are nearly allied to those avowed by Dr. Owen, in page 416. But when the platform of the Preshytery was established iu England, it lost much of its former rigid efficiency by being deprived of this carnal support, which was then accounted necessary for its
'tery stand, till the King had put himself into the power of the Scots, and that the Scots had posted him in all haste to the town of Newcastle: Which caused the Lords and Commons no less hastily to speed their ordinance of the fifth of June,* for the
*In a preceding page, (348,) I have alluded to the severity of a Presbyterian excommunication, &c: I now present the reader with the following description of intolerance, as depicted by the able author of English Presbyterian Eloquence :
“-A short specimen of Presbyterian government [will] shew how barbarous and insupportable it is in its NATURE, and how tyrannical in its ExecUTION : and upon the comparison it will appear, that the little finger of Presbytery is heavier than the whole loins of the Church.
"-" The discipline of Presbytery is but another name for the Papal power ; it equally disrobes Princes of their ecclesiastical supremacy, it restrains their civil authority, and punishes their persons. Kings must be subject to its decrees; neither the ruler nor the ruled, great nor small, are exempted from subjection to the sceptre of Jesus Christ, by which they mean what the Papists call' the Keys of St. Peter.' A prince has no power to receive an ambassador, nor to pardon an offender, without the approbation of the Presbytery. They are to direct him in making peace or war, in the choice of his guards and of his counsellors, what forfeitures to take, and how to dispose of them; and he is upon his good behaviour, as much as the meanest man in the parish. He is indeed the chief member of the General Assembly, but they allow him po negative voice ; and if he has the fortune to be outvoted, he must cause the sentence to be executed, whatever it be, under pain of censure, and consequently of deprivation. And what is the colour for all this haughtiness and state ? The ministers, forsouth, are Christ's Deputies ; whereas judges, counsellors and parliaments are but substitutes of the King, and their laws only human ; ;- so that it seems absolutely impossible for Monarchy and this rigid Presbytery to prosper in the same soil*; and I would not give any priuce in Christendom above eighteen months' purchase for his crown, that should put it to the venture: For he has nothing iu the world to trust to but miracles--the gratitude, faith, goodnature and pure integrity of the party! The Presbytery likewise lays claim to an authority over the civil magistrate who puts the law in execution, and pretends to a right of appeal, from all temporal governors, to the sceptre and sentence of Christ sitting upon his tribunal in the Assembly; by virtue of this device, they pot only impose upon ministers and courts of justice, but they may, when they please,' fetch in the whole business of Westminster Hall to the bar of the Consistory.
“ You see how it fares with kings, parliaments and laws, under the dominion of Presbytery; we are now to look into the condition of the people, and of the Presbyterial clergy,, (to speak in their own way,) under the power of that discipline. I often thought that the Consistory, to support its own grandeur, had contrived that their ministry should be handsomely maintained, aud that their revenues or their stipends were sufficient to live comfortably upon and to procure them veneration and respect with the people; but, upon a review of their platform, I find quite the reverse and their clergy, (some few of the select ones excepted,) are of all mortals the most contemptible. Their discipline divides the church-patrimony into four parts; one for the pastor, another for the elders and deacons, and other church-officers, their doctors and schools ; a third for charitable uses ; and the rest for repairing of churches and other incidental charges. So that the clergy is stript already of three parts of four of their legal maintenance. And then, for the poor pittance that is left, so much as will keep life and soul together, they are allowed in meal and malt, and wholly dependent upon the mercy of the church for the rest. And yet for this pitiful stipend they are to be called to account how they spend it, and their wives and children to be thrown at last upon the charge of the parish.- In their preaching they are limited by the direction and design of their leaders, only tenants at will in their cures, and liable to be removed, suspeuded or deposed at pleasure. This arbitrary duminion, together with the shameful condition of their bondage, has proved so
present settling of the Presbyterial government, without further delay, as in the title is exprest." great a discouragement to the Presbyterian ministry, that they have found themselves forced to press persons and admit them into present pay and good quarters, as they would do soldiers ; and where they find men of ability for their purpose, the civil magistrate is called upon to compel them into the service.
“The great pillar of Presbytery is excommunication and church-censures, which they thunder out with all imaginable terror, and have made it extend almost to all the actions of human life : By this means they crucify the weak consciences of the people, with needless, infinite, and incurable scruples,-with seruples that baunt, dog, and torment them in the most necessary and ordinary cases ; at the church, at the table, at the market, at home and abroad, at all times, in all places, aud upon all occasions, in their very thoughts, words, and deeds. Every bit they put in their mouths, and every rag they put on their backs, becomes a snare to them; it may be either too much or too eustly: And what reformation soever the church thinks fit to order, either in their clothes or diet, must be observed with the same degree of submission and obedience, as if the matter in question were au article of their creed.
“Excess and intemperance in eating fall under the censure of presbytery, either in the quantity or in the quality of your diet : So that, 'in the first place, the Eldership is to provide one common gage for the stomachs of the whole parish, for fear of a mouthful too much ; and, in the second place, it is made a matter of salvation and damnation, whether a man eats roast beef or plumb pudding.
" The case is the same in excess of apparel ; one inch more than to cover your nakedness, is superfluity ; and one penny more in the pound than the allowance of the Presbytery, is made as much as a man's soul is worth.
“ Chiding they have drawn within the compass of ecclesiastical censure: So that a master shall not reprove bis servant, nora pareut his child, without leave of the eldership, to the utter dissolution of order and discipline in private families. And they have stretched their authority to take notice of brawling and scolding, and made every Billingsgate quarrel, every squabble between a butter....... and an oyster-wench, a matter of consistorial cogni
“ The censure of vain words is yet more rigid, and reaches to the most honest endearments and familiarities of friendship and conversation, even to the exclusion of common decency and civility: for let our words be what they will, we shall still be depending upon the good pleasure of the eldership, whether they will pronounce them vain or edifying. A nurse shall not dare to quiet her child, but with a Psalm ; and you must not presume to ask What o'clock it is, without a text to prove that the question tends to edification.
“ But the hardest case of all is that of suspicion : The very suspicion of pride or avarice, makes a man liable to censure; though it seems very severe for a man to be delivered over to Satan, because the brotherhood suspects him to be proud or covetous, whether he be so or po : And for a man and a woman to be only seen together, shall be ground enough for a suspicion of iucontinency. Nay, they shall be cited, interrogated, close committed, and put to bread and water upon it and compelled to purge themselves by oath; and if ever they are seen together afterwards, unless at church or in the market, they shall be taken, pro confesso, for guilty,
“Aud now what greater slavery in the world can be imagined, than to live in subjection under such an establishment, where you shall have neither freedom of conscience, law, person nor fortune, where you shall not speak, look, move, eat, drink, dress yourselves, nay, not so much as entertaiu á thought, but at your peril ? Down upon your knees, therefore, and pray, • From the importation of such foreign ware, Good Lord, deliver us !".".
Under these circumstances, therefore, it cannot seem wonderful that the author of the Character of the Sanctified Legion, should exclaim, in the spirit of a real John Bull: “ Though this mad Presbyterian form destroys Bishops, and clips the wings of regality, it will not be so contented, but intrench also upon the gentry in their own lordships by a strange way of parochial tyranny, and bring all people into the condition of mere galley
I add the following brief remarks from Jackson's Life of John Goodwin.
“ The Presbyterians, who had long groaned under the rod of oppression, and sighed for power, had the high gratification at length of seeing their system of ecclesiastical polity receive parliamentary sanction, and adopted as the national establishment. But instead of remembering the wormwood and the gall,' which they and their forefathers had been made to drink, and of treating with lenity their brethren who differed from them in religious opinion, these men rivalled the greatest tyrants, in systematic opposition to the rights of conscience. Had not these sons of intolerance been restrained from the execution of their purpose by the army of the parliament,* they would unquestionably have left their names written in characters of blood. They contended for the divine right of Presbyslaves, while the blind Priests sits at the stern, and their hackney dependents, the elders, hold an oar in every boat. Besides, one reason why Presbytery is so much destructive, is, because of the Popish trick taken up by the Presbyterian Priests, in drawing all secular affairs within the compass of their spiritual jurisdiction; and this they do, by means of that awe wherein they pretend to hold the consciences of magistrates and people; the one being liable as well as the other, by suspensions and excommunications, to be exploded at pleasure as scandalous sinners. This appears by that large extent of their authority, in judging of scandalous sins, which reaches almost to every action of human life; so that all the people, except their favourites, (from the counsellor to the beggar,) must at every turn stoop like asses, to be ridden by them and their arbitrary Assemblies.”
*“ The Parliament began to be much divided amongst themselves under the names of PRESBYTERIANS and INDEPENDENTS. The first whereof, who were the major part in both Houses, were those who in compliance with the Scots thought themselves obliged by the Covenant to set up the Presbyterian discipline of Geneva, as it was exercised in Scotland, under the government of congregational, classical, provincial and national assemblies, (to whom the city of London very much adhered,) but the others disliked that sort of goverument, as too rigorous, imperious and conclusive, holding that churches should not be subordinate, as parochial to provincial, and provincial to national, but co-ordinate, without superiority; and from hence they were called INDEPENDENTS. Whereof the first eminent appearance was in the Assembly of Divines, which met in the
year 1643, at Westminster, to consult about, matters of religion; for the major part of these, being Presbyterians, were in cousideration of a directory, and model of that government to be proposed to the Parliameut, when five of their members, viz. Thomas Goodwin, Philip Nye, Sidrach Simpson, Jeremiah Burroughs, and William Bridge, made some opposition, and desired toleration to be indulged to them, that they might not be concluded by the votes of the Assembly; but the rest of the members opposed their toleration, and some moved their ejection out of the Assembly, except in convenient time they would comply therewith: whereupon the dissenters appealed from the Assembly, and presented an Apologetical Narrative to the parliament, wherein they petitioned for some favour to them, whose conscience could not join with the Assembly in all particulars ; concluding, that they pursued no other interest or desigu, but, a subsistence in their owu land, as not knowing where else with safety, health, and livelyhood to set their feet on earth. Upon this petition, they found such favour that they were secured from furiber trouble; and from this beginning they grew to so great an increase, that they had the best preferments left in the church, and opened and shut the door of preferment to others.
“ Lieutenant General Cromwell, and commissary General Ireton, and the Greatest part of the army, cousisting now of men of several sects of religion, did much favour these Independents, who, to jogratiate themselves with