Gambar halaman

under the speciousness of [defending] the truth, we should be doing an injury to godliness and charity: My counsels have ever been those of moderation, with the intention that men of warm dispositions, whose chief care does not extend itself to the interests of religion, might not throw all things into confusion.* This course of proceeding has probably given some umbrage: But I recollect with what seriousness our Saviour has recommended CHARITY to his followers, and with what caution and patience the apostle wishes us to treat the weak. If I perish by arts like these, being made a prey to those disputants who may gain the victory, (the usual fate of such as adopt moderate counsels,) my reward will be with me, and,


"Cyril, was like to suffer. And certainly he deserved it, and that in a severer manner, than is fallen upon him. Yet I cannot but say, there is charity, and perhaps wisdom, in preventing the execution that might otherwise have 'fallen upon him.'"

* Whatever may be said to the contrary, Bishop Laud's “counsels bad then always been those of moderation;" and it was only at the time when “ men of warm dispositions atteinpted to throw all things into confusion," that he adopted measures of severity. As the storm rose, he raised himself, and strove hard to resist its impetuosity, but it was only by such means as his ecclesiastical predecessors had adopted. His conversations with Twisse, Hales, Chillingworth and Selden, as alluded to in various parts of this volume, are highly to the honour of the Archbishop, and prove that he exercised “the caution and patience with which the apostle exhorts us to treat the weak."

The following remarks from Lloyd's Worthies are exceedingly appropriate, and deserve a place in this brief elucidation of the Archbishop's character: Archbishop Abbot's Yield, and they will be pleased at last, was a great miscarriage; Archbishop Laud's Resolve, for there is no end of yielding, was great policy. His great reach in government, suitable to that king's apprehensions, commended him to king James; his vast ability and integrity, to king Charles and the Duke of Buckingham; to the first whereof he was Privy-Councillor, to the other a bosom friend; before both whom he laid the best representation and ideas of the English government, as to things and persons, in several abstracts, of any man under heaven. Í hare heard a states-man say,

« That none knew joints, turning, flexures, interests of all parties in church or state, that were either to be encouraged or suppressed, with the seasons and opportunities to do it, so well as Doctor Laud.' The Feoffees for impropriations he laid aside, the Sabbatizing and Predestinarian controversies he silenced, the licentious press he reduced, dignities and preferments he worthily filled up, bribes at Court he retrenched, po interest, no alliance could ever advance an unworthy person while lived

Breed up your children well, and I will provide for them,' was bis saying to all his relations. Many a man would be disobliged by his sternness at first view, for whom, if deserving, he would afterwards contrive kindnesses by after and unexpected favours. No place of experience did he ever miss, none of employment did he ever decline. He would never see authority baffled, but ever wave all proceedings against all offenders, or go through with them. His prosecutions, as in Leighton's case, were close; his observation of all circumstances, as in Lincoln's, wary; his declaration of the cases clear and convincing, as in Prynne's, Bastwick's, and Burton's; his sentence mild and compassionate, as in Waller's; his resolution and justice ever making way to bis mercy, and bis mercy crowning his justice. Often did he confer with the ablest and most orthodox clergy, with the most experienced and most observing and reserved courtiers, with the profoundest lawyers, with the skilfullest and discreetest mechanics ; out of all whose opinions, the result was his most exact judgment in any case that came before him at Court or at Lambeth."

except in God, I will seek for no consolation beyond myself.* In the mean time, those things concerning which I indulge some hopes are very few, and those about which I entertain fears

There is nothing of which the Reformed Church ought to have a greater dread, or about which she

are numerous.

*" It is no marvel,” that a man, who had such a presentiment as this should refrain from marriage, according to the apostolical direction under nearly similar circumstances : “ I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, it is good for a man so to be. Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife ? seek not a wife. Brethren, the time is short: It remaineth, that they that have wives be as though they had none,” &c. (1 Cor. vii; 26.) - In the following very eloquent extract from his speech at the bar of the House of Lords, when the articles of impeachment were first read, the Archbishop alludes to this peculiarity in his condition : I am fallen into a great deal of obloquy in matter of religion, and that so far (as appears by the articles against me) that I have * endeavoured to advance and bring in Popery.' Perhaps, my Lords, 1 am not ignorant what party of men have raised these scandals upon me, not for what end, nor perhaps by whom set on. But, howsoever, I would fain have a good reason given me, if my conscience stood that way, (and that with my conscience I could subscribe to the church of Rome,) what should have kept me here before my imprisonment to endure the libelling and the slander, and the base usage that hath been put upon me :-and these to end in this Question for my life? I say, I would know a good reason for this. Is it because of any pledges I have in this world, to sway me against my conscience? No, sure; for I had neither wife nor children to cry out upon me to stay with them: And if I had, I hope the calling of my conscience should be heard above them. Is it because I was loath to lose the honour and profit of the place I was risen to ? Surely no; for I desire your Lordships and all the world should know, I do much scorn the one and the other, in comparison of my conscience. Besides, it cannot be imagined by any man, but that if I should have gone over to them, I should not have wanted both honour and profit : And, suppose not so great as this I have here, yet sure would my conscience have served myself of either [honour or profit], LESS with my conscience would have prevailed with me, more than GREATER against my conscience. Is it because I lived here at ease, and was loath to venture the loss of that? not so, neither; for, whatsoever the world may be pleased to think of me, I have led a very paivful life, and such as I would have been content to change bad I well known how. And would my conscience bave served me that way, I am sure I might have lived at far more ease, and either have avoided the barbarous libelling, and other bitter grievous scorns which have been put upon me; or, at least, been out of the hearing of them.”

It is one of the many anomalies in HUMAN REASONING, (1.) that Archbishop Laud refers to the absence of a wife and children, as a fact in favour of his not veering towards Popery; for bis argument is, “I have neither wife nor children, who are Popishly affected, and who might cry out upon me to stay with them :” (2.) And that Bishop Atterbury refers (page 645) to the possession of a wife and children, as a remedy to “ several temptations under which the Popish clergy lay towards embracing an interest distinct from that of their country;" and his argument is, “because, in the public safety and tranquility, that also of their wives and children, that is, of their nearest and dearest relations, is involved.”-st is also among the consequent numerous anomalies in human practice, that Atterbury, who had been as the husband of one wife" and had a family, was accused of maintaining a correspondence with Papists and attempting to introduce a Popish monarch; and that Laud, who was an unmarried Bishop, was charged with “ endeavouring to introduce Popery and to reconcile the Church of England to the Church of Rome.” I leave the reader who bas read the evidence produced against these two eminent Prelates, to decide to which of them the accusation most justly applies.


ought to be more cautious, than this,-now when she is attacked every

side among other nations,-not to wound herself by her own hands, in our country and in yours, (which are the only places in which she enjoys much safety,) till, by a more dreadful rent, she divide herself first into parties, and afterwards by degrees into fragments of parties, and thus at length entirely disappear and vanish into nothing. There is likewise another disaster which I seem to foresee ;* but it is better to pray that it may never take place, than to foretel its occurrence; yet even on this condition [of its not occurring] I am unwilling to become a prophet.I wish to say no more on this subject, lest, while engaged in tracing these deplorable times, I be tempted to give utterance to such things as I particularly desire no one to know. Of one thing respecting me I wish you to be well assured, that is, by Divine assistance it shall be my endeavour to make peace and truth kiss each other : If, on account of our sins, God will not permit such a happy issue to my endeavours, I will indulge in the hopes of very speedily attaining to the blessed state of eternal peace, and leave those men who withhold from God the kiss [of peace] either to be converted by him in his own good time, (a consummation which I heartily desire !) or to suffer under his chastisements.”+

Bishop Laud's “ endeavours to make peace and truth kiss each other” relate to his attempts to suppress the unedifying Predestinarian controversy, which he kept down with a strong hand and in a most impartial manner, as long as the Parliament did not interfere. But the House of Commons seized on the new ceremonies, and on the attempt to extinguish all nice speculations about the unrevealed will of heaven, and compounded them with other grievances, for the politic purpose of obtaining a victory over the King's prerogative. Arminianism and Popery

* This is a remarkable sentence; and, from other intimations, by the Archbishop, that I have had an opportunity of perusing, I am inclined to believe, even at that distance of time, he foresaw the destruction of the Constitution, which was then openly and violently attacked by the Calvinistic malcontents. It is also not improbable, that his seat at his Majesty's Council-board afforded him the means of ascertaining some of the nefarious schemes of the Popish party in the Court; wbich it required the exertion of all bis prudence and address to counteract and prevent. To the mind of a man that was harrassed by the daring and unprincipled attempts of the Papists on one side and of the Puritans on another, the deplorable aspect of the times must have been very distressing; and the prognostications which he had formed were too soon and awfully realized.

+ This conclusion is in every respect worthy of a christian Bishop, and I will not detain the reader by pointing out to him the remarkable manner in which this alternative occurred.

I“The time now drawing near for the meeting of the Parliament, the King for many weighty reasons, put off their assembling to the 20th of January, [1628,] and in the mean time Archbishop Abbot was admitted to kiss his hands, and commanded not to fail of his attendance at the Council table ; which was done at this conjuncture to moderate the heats of certain ecclesiastics, who made great disturbance in the Church by some scholastical controversies, in the points of predestination, grace, and perseverance. Both

were then artfully combined together, to render the Archbishop odious; and when the House of Commons had published their invectives against Arminianism, thc charge was repeated by the Puritans, who, having for a few years been prevented from uttering their speculative opinions, received encouragement from Parliament to vent with ten-fold rage* their antipathy to the

parties were abetted by several bishops, and each of them would pretend the opinions they beld to be the doctrine of the Church, when, in truth, they were but the opinions of private men : For nothing can be called the doctrine of the Church, that is not so declared by the whole clergy, ; lawfully assembled in convocation. These were distinguished by the names of CALVINISTS and ARMINIANS : The first countenanced by the Commons in Parliament and some few of the Bishops; the latter justified by most of the Bishops and pot discountenanced by the King. The first of these were likewise somewhat remiss in exacting a rigid conformity to the ceremonies ; the latter perbaps more earnest than was needful therein at this time, but withal they were great assertors of the prerogative royal. The King was very intent for the peace of the whole, and caused the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church to be published, with a declaration to restrain all disputes in the points controverted ; and now also a book, writ by one Mountague in King James his time of these controversies, called Appello Cæsarem, was called in, and Dr. Potter, a Calvinist, is made Bishop of Carlisle. But these acts did not mollify the minds of those for whom they were intended; for, a while after, namely on the 20th of January, the Parliament assembled, and the grand Committees, which are usually the first things settled at the opening of that Assembly, were very busy and active. That of religion made great complaints of the invasions upon religion, which they pretended was much endangered by the increase of Popery and Arminianism, aud many instances were made to heighten the apprehensions of the people therein, whilst the House was not less active in their inquisitions into the miscarriages in civil affairs.” BAKER's Chronicle.

Dr. Heylin's reflections on these devices of the Court, deserve to be quoted: “ It never falleth out well with christian princes when they make religion bend to policy, or think to gain their ends on men by doing such things as they are not plainly guided to by the light of conscience: And so it happened to his majesty at this present time; those two last actions being looked on only as tricks of king-craft, done out of a design for getting him more love in the hearts of his people than hefore he had. Against the calling in of Mountague's book, it was objected commonly to his disadvantage, • That it • was not done till three years after it came out, till it had been questioned in three several Parliaments, till all the copies of it were dispersed and sold; and then too, that it was called in without any censure either of the author or his doctrines ; that the author had been punished with a very good Bishopric, and the book seemingly discountenanced to no other end but to • divert those of contrary persuasion from writing or acting any thing against

it in the following Parliament.'-And as for Potter, 'What could he have done less in common gratitude, than to prefer him to a Bishopric, for so many years' service as Potter in his time had done him both as Prince and

King?' So true is that of the wise Historian, When Princes once are in discredit with their subjects, as well their good actions as their bad are all accounted grievances.'

* ! have frequently alluded to the unexampled rage manifested, by the Calvinists of that period, against Arminianism, and especially against the chief patron of what was generally accounted English Arminianism; and that rage is well described by Mr. Twells, page 632, where he says, several of those who had been justlý punished in the courts wherein the Archbishop was concerned, for seditious and immoral practices, were let loose agaiust him to worry him even to death.” Grotius utters frequent lamentations to his various correspondents respecting the ignorance and maliciousness of those who were then “let loose against Laud," as his public prosecutors;

doctrines of General Redemption, and to stigmatize them as Popery. Under such circumstances, it is not wonderful that

and no learned man, that has even cursorily perused Pynne's numerous productions on that memorable occasion, cao remain in doubt respecting the incompetency of that individual to form a right conception, much less to give a correct representation, either of the sentiments or the practices of the Archbishop and his connections. No wonder therefore, can be excited at the incongruous mass of conflicting statements and absurd deductions of this pettifogging Calvinist; for, how despicably soever his task was executed, it was well received by the party, because the author “ spake evil of diguities,” &c. In May 1644, Grotius wrote the subjoined passage to his brother, I seriously lament the crimes of which the Archhishop of Canterbury is accused, -that, in the books which have been dedicated to him, he has permitted himself to be addressed by the title of Angel, Pontift, and Holiness: all of which, in the books of the ancients, are bestowed on every Bishop, by Presbyters, Bishops, Councils, and Emperors. You perceive what an injury it is, to fall into the hands of judges that are both exasperated and ignorant !" And, a month afterwards, he added : “ You form a correct judgment concerning the Archbishop of Canterbury,– that he has fallen among bad men and into bad times! It is a great proof of his innocency, that so many of his most exasperated persecutors and declaimers convert such things into crimes against him.”

But the most ludicrous part of the charges, preferred by the ignorant Pryone and his malevolent co-adjutors, relate to the persons who received promotion through the Archbishop's' interest. The learned Dr. William Chappel may be quoted as an instance: Traces of his instructive correspondence may be found in the works of the most famous men of that age. He had been some time Fellow of Christ College, Cambridge, when, upon Archbishop Usher's importunate recommendation, he was appointed by his Majesty Provost of Trinity College, Dublin; and afterwards Bishop of Cork, through the interest of the Lord Deputy. One of our old writers gives the following brief description of the latter days of this exemplary Bishop : “ Harrassed between the Rebellion in Ireland, and in England,-- where it was imputed to Archbishop Laud as a crime that he preferred Bishop Chappel, and to him that he was preferred by him.--being thought a Puritan before his preferment, and a Papist afterwards, though he was the same godly and orthodox man always,-he died in 1649, dividing his estate equally (1.) between his relations, to whom he was obliged in nature, and (2.) distressed ministers, for whom he had compassion as a fellow-sufferer,” &c.

When Arminianism in England no longer received the fostering aid which its plain and scriptural principles had justly demanded, from a church that was famous throughout Christendom for its aversion to opinions that were merely speculative and that conduced little to practice, it was stillstigmatized as Popery, though then divested of all the pretended badges of Popery with which it had been arrayed in the days of Archbishop Laud. The POPERY therefore of Arminianism, while the Church of Eugland lay in ruins, must have been of an entirely different species from that which it exhibited when this Church was in its prosperity: 'On this subject Bishop Sanderson very pertinently observes, in the celebrated Preface to his Sermons in 1657": « In the mean time, it is to me a wonder, that, if reason would not heretofore, yet the sad experience of the ill consequents so visible of late time, should not have taught them (the Puritans] all this while to consider what infinite advantage they give to the Romish party to work upon weak and wavering souls, by damning so many thiugs under the name of POPERY, which may to their understandings be sufficiently evidenced ; some, to have been used by the ancient Christians long before Popery was hatched, or but in the egg; and all to have nothing of superstition or Popery in them, unless every thing that is used in the Church of Rome become thereby Popish and superstitious: nor what great advantage they give to our newer sectaries, to extend the name yet farther, who, by the help of their new lights, cau discern Popery, not only in the ceremovies formerly under debate, but even in the churches and pulpits wherein they used to preach against Popery, and

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »