Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

this : Since every one knows that I am harassed and attacked on all sides, I was unwilling either to suffer in your esteem as to cause the Articles of the Church of England to be reprinted, and such a Declaration placed before them as might preserve them from the Calvi. vistic misconstructions which had then heen given. Among other excellent directions, that Declaration contained the following: “I hat therefore in these both curious and uvhappy differences which have, for many hundred years in different times and places, exercised the church of Christ, we will that all further curious search be laid aside, and these disputes be shut up in God's promises, as they be generally set forth unto us in holy scripture ; and the general meaning of the articles of the church of England according to them. And that no man hereafter shall either print or preach to draw the article aside any way, but shall submit to it in the plain and full meaning thereof: And shall not put his own sense or comment to be the meaning of the article, but shall take it in the literal and grammatical sense.” In page 432, I have shewn the effects of a similar regulation in Holland; and it is highly to the honour of Arminianism, that in both countries it required no other liberty than that of expounding the Gospel in its plain and literal signification, and of suffering the disputes concerning Predestination to be shut up in God's promises, as they be generally set forth unto us in Holy Scriptures.” And it is to the disgrace of Calvinism, that when the attempt was made to confine it to the words of scripture, it burst the boundaries prescribed; and, rather than interpret the will of God concern Predestination exactly as he had expressed it in his word, (wbich is only incidentally and very sparingly,) the Calvinists both in Holland and England conspired to overturn the constilution of each of these countries, but ibey committed far greater devastations here than in the United Provinces. Indeed Calvinism would die a natural death, were it not allowed to sustain itself with its congenial aliment,-human disquisitions on the unrevealed will of Heaven. Gomarus and cther antagonists of Arminius admitted, that the doctrine of Predestination, as explained by them, was not to be found in the Gospel ; and though we have the solemn asseverations of some modern Calvinists in opposition to this concession, yet they are not the asseverations of persons remarkable either for the accuracy or the extent of their information. To confine a Calvinist, therefore, to the brief notices which the New Testament contains respecting Election and Reprobation, was in reality to prevent him from being any longer a rigid Predestinarian: And I here repeat the question, What Calvinist in the world would endure this with patieuce ? In the Life of Archbishop Laud, Dr. Heylin thus describes the ferment of

No sooner were the Articles published with this Declaration, but infinite were the clamours which were raised against it by those of the Calvinian party. Many exclaimed against it for the depths of Satan ; some for a Jesuitical plot to subvert the Gospel : For what else could it aim at,' as they gave it out,' but, under colour of silencing the disputes on either side, to give encouragement and opportunity to Arminians here to sow their tares, and propagate their erroneous doctrines? And what effects could it produce, but the suppressing of all orthodox books, the discouraging of all godly and painful ministers, thereby deterred from preaching the most comfortable doctrines of man's election unto life ? ; the Arminians in the mean time gathering strength, and going on securely to the end they aimed ' at.' And to give the better colour to these suspicions, a letter is dispersed abroad, pretended to be written to the Rector of the Jesuits in Brussels, the chief city of Brabant; in which the writers let him know, with what care

and cunning they had planted here that sovereign drug Arminianism, which they hoped would purge the Protestants from their heresies, and that • it did begin to flourish and bear fruit already; that for the better preventing . of the Puritans, the Armivians had locked up the Duke's ears,' &c. with much of the likeimpudent stuff, which no sober man did otherwise look upon than as a piece of gullery. Upon which grounds a petition was designed for his sacred Majesty, hy some of the Calvinian party in and about the city of London, For the revoking of the said Declaration, by which they were • deterred, (as the matter was handled,) from preaching the saving doctrines of God's free grace in election and predestination : And this (say they) had brought them into a very great strait;-either of incurring God's heavy

that party:

a person that could not govern his anger, * or to prognosticate in your hearing doleful events to my country or to the church, which, in me, would have been an act of great impropriety;

1

displeasure, if they did not faithfully discharge their embassage in declaring the whole counsel of God ;-or the danger of being censured as violators of his Majesty's said act, if they preached those constant doctrines of our Church, and confuted the oppposite Pelagian and Arminian heresies both

preached and printed boldly without fear of censure.' But this petition being stopped before it came to the King, they found more countenance from the Commons in the next Parliamentary meeting, than they were like to have found at the hands of his Majesty. For the Commons conceiving they had power to declare religion as well as law, and they had much alike in both,) they voted this auti-declaration to be published in the name of that House: namely, “We, the Commons now assembled in Parliament, do claim, profess, . and avow for truth, the sense of the articles of religion which were established in Parliament the thirteenth year of Queen Elizabeth, which by the

public acts of the Church of England and the general and current exposi«tion of the writers of our Church have been delivered to us, and we reject the sense of the Jesuits, Arminians, and all others wherein they differ from us.' Which Declaration of the Commons, as it gave great animation to those of the Calvinian party, who entertained it with the like ardency of affection as those of Ephesus did the image of Diana which fell down from heaven, so gave it great matter of discourse to most knowing men. The points were intricate and weighty, such as in all ages of the Church had exercised the wits of the greatest scholars. Those which had taken on them to declare for TRUTH, that which they took to be the sense and meaning of the Articles in those intricate points, were, at the best, no other than a company of lay persons met together on another occasion ; who, though they might probably be supposed for the wisest men, could not in reason be relied on as the greatest clerks. And therefore it must needs be looked on as a kind of prodigy, that men unqualified and no way authorised for any such purpose should take upon them to determine, in such weighty matters as were more proper for a National or Provincial Council. But being

it proceeded from the House of Commons, wbose power began to grow more formidable every day than other, nobody durst adventure a reply unto it; till Laud himself, by whose procurement his Majesty's declaration had been published, laying aside the diguity of his place and person, thought fit to make some scholia or short notes upon it.

* The “ anger" of Archbishop Laud has been industriously represented, by bis insincere friends and his bitter enemies, not only as ungovernable” but furious. The appearance of this alleged infirmity is to be found in the blunt earnestness of his manner, which often proceeded from the racked state of his mind, on account of the multiplicity of state-affairs that demanded his attention, and allowed him little leisure for needful relaxation. A fine practical illustration of the Archbishop's harshness of manner, and his candid acknowledgment of the imperfection he had by nature,” will be found in the Life of Edward Earl of CLARENDON, from which I quote the following passage:

The person whose life this discourse is to recollect, (and who had so great an affection and reverence for the memory of Archbishop Laud, that he never spake of him without extraordinary esteem, and believed bim to be a man of the most exemplar virtue and piety of any of that age, was wont

the greatest want the Archbishop bad was of a true friend, who would seasonably have told him of his infirmities, and what people spake of him ;' and he said, he knew well that such a friend would have been very acceptable to him ;' and upon that occasion he used to mention a story of himself, that when he was a young practiser of the law, being in some favour with him, he went to visit him, in the beginning of a Michaelmas term, shortly after his return from the country, where he had spent a month or two of the summer-He found the Archbishop early walking in the garden, who received him, according to his custom, very graciously, and continuing his walk, asked him, 'What good news in the country to which

to say,

1

for in this I imitate Cicero of old, who would much rather prophesy evil concerning any other country than his own! Yet, because you particularly desire some information on this subject, he answered, there was none good; the people were universally discon"tented; and (which troubled him most) that many people spoke extreme

ill of his Grace, as the cause of all that was amiss." He replied, that he was sorry for it; he knew he did not deserve it; and that he must not give over serving the King and the Church, to please the people, who otherwise • would not speak well of him.' Mr. Hyde told him, he thought he need • not lessen his zeal for either; and that it grieved him to find persons of the 6 best conditiou, and who loved both King and Church, exceedingly inde6 voted to him; complaining of his manner of treating them, when they had

occasion to resort to him, it may be, for his directions.' And then named him two persons of the most interest and credit in Wiltshire, who had that summer attended the Council- board, in some affairs which concerned the Kivg and the county; that all the Lords present used them with great courtesy, knowing well

their quality and reputation ; but that he alone spake very sharply to them, and without any thing of grace, at which they were much troubled : And one of them, supposing that somebody had done him ill offices, went the next morning to Lambeth to present his service to him, and to discover, if he could, what misrepresentation had been made of him: That after he had attended very long, he was admitted to speak with his Grace, who, scarce hearing bim, sharply answered him, that he had no leisure for compliments ;' and so hurried away; which put the other gentleman much out of countenance: And that this kind of behaviour of his was the discourse of all companies of persons of quality, every man continuing any such story with another like it, very much to his disadvantage, and to the trouble of those who were very just to him.

“ He heard the relation very patiently and attentively, and discoursed over every particular with all imaginable condescension; and said, with evident show of trouble, that he was very unfortunate to be so ill understood ; that • he meant very well; that he remembered the time when those two persons were with the Council; that upon any deliberations, when any thing was resolved or to be said to any body, the Council enjoined him to deliver • their resolutions, which he did always according to the best of his under

standing; but by the imperfection he had by nature, which he said ofien • troubled him, he might deliver it in such a tune, and with a sharpness of

voice, that made men believe he was angry, when there was no such thing; " that when those gentlemen were there, and he had delivered what he was 'to say, they made some stay, and spake with some of the Lords, which not beiug according to order, he thought he gave them some reprehensiun, they having at that time very much other business to do ; that he did well remember, that one of them, who was a person of honour, came afterwards to him, at a time he was shut up about an affair of importance, which required his full thoughts; but that, as soon as he heard of the other's being • without,

sent for him, himself going into the next room, and received • him very kindly, as he thought; and, supposing that he came about busi

ness, asked him what his business was, and the other answering, that he had no business, but continuing his address with some ceremony, he had • indeed said, that he had not time for compliments ; but he did not think • that he went out of the room in that manner: Ayd concluded, that it was not possible for bim in the many occupations he had, to spend any time in unnecessary compliments; and that if his integrity and uprightness, which never should be liable to reproach, could not be strong enough to preserve him, he must submit to God's pleasure.'

“ He was well contented to hear Mr. Hyde reply very freely upon the subject, who said, he observed by what his Grace himself had related, that the

gentlemen had too much reason for the report they made; and he did not o wonder that they had been much troubled at his carriage towards them; • that he did exceedingly wis that he would more reserve his passion • towards all persons, how faulty soever; and that he would treat persons of

honour, and quality, and interest in their country, with more courtesy and s condescension; especially when they came to visit him, and make offer of is their service.'' He said, smiling, that he could only undertake for his

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

accept of the following account which flows from a heart that has been too frequently wounded :

HEART; that he had very good meaning: For his TONGUE, he could not

undertake that he would not sometimes speak more hastily and sharply than " he should do, (which oftentimes he was sorry and reprehended himself for,) • and in a tune which which might be liable to misinterpretation, with them • who were not very well acquainted with him, and so knew that it was an

infirmity, which his nature and education had so rooted in him that it was in vain to contend with it.' For the state and distance be kept with men, he said, he thought it was not more than was suitable to the place and • degree he held in the Church and State; or so much as others had assumed

to themselves, who had sat in his place: And thereupon he told him some behaviour and carriage of his predecessor Abbot, (who, he said, was not beiter born than himself,) towards the greatest nobility of the kingdom, which he thought was very insolent and inexcusable, aud was indeed very ridiculous.

“ After this free discourse, Mr. Hyde ever found himself more graciously received by him, and treated with more familiarity : Upon which he always concluded, that if the Archbishop had had any true friend, who would, in proper seasons, have dealt frankly with him in the most important matters, and wherein the errors were like to be most penal, he would not ouly have received it very well, but have profited himself by it. But it is the misfortune of most persons of that education, (how worthy soever,) that they have rarely FRIENDSHips with men above their own condition ; and that their ascent being commonly sudden, from low to high, they have afterwards rather dependants than frienas; and are still deceived, by keeping somewhat in reserve to themselves, even from those with whom they seem most openly to communicate ; and, which is worse, receive, for the most part, their informations and advertisements from clergymen, who understand the least, and take the worst measure of human affairs, of all mankind that can writé and read.”

This anecdote, related by the noble historian, who had an intimate acquaintance with the Archbishop, will outweigh the “ thrice-refuted slanders” and endless hearsays of those who had no personal knowledge of his Grace, and never understood either his policy or his measures. The “condescensiou" of the Archbishop is the more remarkable, because Mr. Hyde was then but a barrister commencing practice, and his principal connections were of the liberal party in both Houses of Parliament. But I cannot permit his concluding sentence to pass without auimadversion : It is true, indeed, that the province of the clergy lies properly in affairs ecclesiastical; but no wise man can with justice assert, that “ they understaud the least of all mankind that can write and read,” &c. In opposition to this, consult the quotation from Bishop Atterbury, page 646.

When the Bishops, Deans and Archdeacons in their seniority, and the rest of the Clergy promiscuously, were called up to the House of Bishops, on the 29th of May 1640, to subscribe the Cauons passed in Convocation, “ recusant there was none,” says Dr. Heylin, but [Dr. Goodman] then Bishop of Gloucester, suspected of some iuclinations to the Romish religion in the times preceding ;, which inclinations he declared more manifestly by this refusal, for which there would be no imaginable reason to prevail upon him but the severity of the Canon for suppressing the growth of Popery. Some pains was taken with him in the way of persuasion, and some commands laid on him by his Metropolitan as President of the Convocation: But neither of the two endeavours could remove him from his former obstinacy,” &c. At that juncture when Archbishop Laud would have excommuuicated Bishop Goodman, upon a third admouition pronounced by him three quarters of an hour in these words, My Lord of Gloucester, I admonish you to subscribe, &c., Bishop Davenant told his Grace publicly in the Cou. vocation, “ he doubted whether that procedure was agreeable to the laws of " the Church in general, of this land in particular,” upon which the Archbishop thanked the Bishop of Salisbury for his information, and desisted. In this transaction, his Grace exhibited none of that anger with which he has often been charged. Both Houses of Convocation unanimously

" I have always used every endeavour to prevent those dangerous and perplexing questions [about Predestination] from becoming public topics of discourse before the people, lest, condemned Bishop Goodman to a suspension a beneficio et officio :. “A sentence," says Dr. Heylin, which might have produced more dangerous effects on this obstinate Prelate, if he had not prevented it in time by his submission. For the sentence being reduced into writing, subscribed by the Archbishop's hand, and publicly pronounced in the Convocation, his majesty took such just offence at so great a scandal, that he committed him to prison, where he staid not long; for, on the tenth of July, he made acknowledg ment of his fault before the Lords of the council, and took the oath injoined in the sixth Canon, for preserving the doctrine and discipline of the church of England, against all Popish doctrines which were thereunto repugnant, Upon the doing whereof, his majesty was graciously pleased to restore him to his former liberty; though his submission appeared, within few years after, to be made either with some mental reservation or Jesuitical equivocation, with which he came prepared. For in the time of his last sickuess, he declared himself to be a member of the church of Rome, and caused it so to be expressed in his last Will and Testament, that the news thereof might spread the further, and his apostacy stand upon record to all future ages. A scandal so unseasonably given as if the devil himself had watched an opportunity to despite this church !"

The Archbishop has not only been depicted as a passionate but as a cruel mau: Of the truth of this accusation 'the reader may judge, by the subjoined extracts from the Life of Dr. Pocock. After relating many interesting particulars concerning the murder of Cyril Lucari, Patriarch of Constantinople, in which the Jesuits had a more prominent share than in that of Archbishop Laud, Mr. Twells says: I shall conclude the account of Cyril with observing, that Archbishop Laud was deeply concerned at the misfortunes of the old Patriarch. In his answer to Mr. Pocock, on that head, he writes thus : For his successor, I hear no good yet; wbat it will

please God to work by him, I know not. It may be, he hath shewed the Turk a way, in the death of Cyril, how to deal with himself.' In this, the Archbishop conjectured happily enough. For in less than a year's time, the new Patriarch, whose wicked intrigues hastened the death of his prede| cessor, was charged by the Greeks with extortion, and other wrongs doue to their church and its privileges; and, upon a hearing before the Basha, he was convicted and imprisoned, and the Greeks had leave to choose a new Patriarch; upon which they elected Parthenius, Archbishop of Adrianople.” In a subsequent passage, after quoting some of the Archbishop's instructions to Dr. Pocock, Mr. Twells says: In answer to this, Mr. Pocock writes, Aug, 18, 1638, giving an account of the Patriarch Cyril's unfortunate end, which prevented his applying to him for the Hypotyposes of Clemens. He gives also the Archbishop an account of the Greek books at Mount Athos'; wherein the Patriarch of Alexandria seems to have promised his assistance, if not also to accompany Mr. Pocock thither. But he was hindered from doing either, and moreover in danger for not consenting to anathematize good old Cyril: Which, to use Arebbishop Laud's own expression, in his next letter to Mr. Pocock, is such a piece of charity, as barbarity itself is scarce acquainted with. It appears, from the course of the correspondence, that the Patriarch of Alexandria, in the end, lost his life, and, as was supposed, through the contrivance of the new Patriarch of Constantinople, who had served his own predecessor so before. The death of two great and good Patriarchs, contrived to gratify his own ambition and malice, was a heavy charge upon the new Patriarch: And, as men are apt to form severe judg'ments agaiust the authors of mischief to those in their own circumstances, it might have been expected, that Archbishop Laud would not have discovered the least approbation of that mercy which spared the life of the newPatriarch, after his fall, and condemned him to imprisonment,--rather to prevent his death from the fury of the multitude, than as a punishment. But to shew how little the Archbishop favoured sanguinary methods, though still calumniated on this score by his enemies, hear his christian and temperate expression : 'I heard,' says he, (in a letter to Mr. Pocock, dated, April 8, 1640,) before your letters came to me, that the Patriarch, who succeeded

[ocr errors]
« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »