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Papists, but Arians, Antinomians, Quakers and others," it is not improbable that their design was frustrated by the leading Fanatics in the army, several of whom would have been liable to exclusion from the rights of citizens under one or other of those excepted denominations. With the whimsical absurdities of these men, of whom Col. Harrison and other officers of his class were the unenlightened leaders, Cromwell himself often felt it necessary to comply. After his death, when the whole nation was indulging a longing look towards Monarchy and Episcopacy, the restoration of which they durst scarcely expect, the fanatical army, perfectly aware of this strong national feeling for what were then called “the flesh-pots of Egypt,” that existed in a suppressed form among all moderate men, recalled the remnant of the Long Parliament and acknowledged them as the chief authority in the Commonwealth: and to these their recalled friends, on the 12th of May 1659, the Officers of the Army presented their humble Petition and Address.” The following extract from it will shew, that they were exceedingly jealous of a second Calvinistic attempt to infringe the religious liberty, (if such it may be called,) which they had long enjoyed, and from the benefits of which they still excepted their old enemies, POPERY and PRELACY :-'Weighing with ourselves how, in the several late changes in government, that public spirit which appeared in that work hath since that time been discouraged, and another raised up, drawing back to the same things you had contended against, even to the hazarding the essentials of that cause, we did, upon serious thoughts of heart, think it our duty once more to appear against those backsliding ways: And providence having brought the state of affairs to the condition they were in some few days before your sitting, we found it necessary to assert amongst ourselves some of the FUNDAMENTALS of our Good Old Cause, with some other things conducing to the preservation thereof, with a full and fixed resolution, through the assistance of God, effectually, even to THE HAZARD OF OUR LIVES, to endeavour the recovery and security of the same. And the same good providence holding forth an opportunity to rs to open unto you a way for the further discharge of your remaining trust in Parliament, we did, by our Declaration of this instant May, humbly desire that you would be pleased to return to the exercise and discharge thereof," &c. After other observations of a similar tendency, these men of war, who considered them. selves as well qualified to settle affairs of state as articles of religion, produced the following as the sixth FUNDAMENTAL of the
Good Old Cause : “That all persons who profess faith in God “ the Father, and in Jesus Christ, his eternal Son, the true “God,--and in the Holy Spirit, God co-equal with the Father “ and the Son-one God blessed for ever,--and who do “ acknowledge the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testa“ ment to be the revealed or written word or will of God, shall
o not be restrained from their profession, but have due encou
ragement and equal protection in the profession of their faith “and exercise of religion, whilst they abuse not their liberty “ to the civil injury of others, or disturbance of others in “their way of worship: So that this liberty be not extended to “ Popery or PRELACY, nor to such as shall practise or hold forth “ licentiousness or profaneness under the profession of religion : “ And that all laws, statutes, or ordinances, and clauses in any
laws, statutes, or ordinances to the contrary, may be declared “ null and void.” These Fundamental preliminaries, more tolerant on the whole than those devised by Dr. Owen and his thirteen Calvinistic associates, possessed the advantage of being enforced by sword-logic, broad intimations of which are contained in the preceding extract. Not only did
the Fanatics in the army, from a selfish principle, prevent the imposition of the novel Fundamentals invented by Cromwell's fourteen divines; but “ the sons of reason," the deistical members of the senate, Algernon Sidney, Harrington, Martin, and others who with less daring but with greater hypocrisy concealed their loose 'principles under the garb of a strict religious profession, all concurred in discountenancing this unwieldy and impracticable scheme of religious toleration.-Few men ever enjoyed such an opportunity of evincing the genuine catholicism of their sentiments, as this Committee of Fourteen appointed to consider what were Fundamentals :" And there is not, I believe, an instance on record in which men of such vast professions more egregiously disappointed the just expectations of their admirers. If enlarged ideas about religious toleration had existed in any of their breasts, they would have been displayed in one form or other while the religious tests were under discussion; but their sole anxiety in all the debates seems to have been, to frame the terms of qualification for religious indulgence on as bigoted a basis as possible, and to exclude all who did not admire the doctrine of Calvin.
The depressed Episcopal Clergy, whose deep-rooted influence among the people had been weakened but never totally destroyed, and the well-informed lay-men, who had formerly been their hearers and who from education as well as conviction loved the venerable Church in whose bosom they had been nursed, could not be supposed to relish the restrictions, which their illiberal adversaries wished to fabricate, but which were soon afterwards as rígidly imposed on the clergy in the form of the Protector's persecuting ordinance of 1655.But there were other lay-men, whose opinions could neither be called those of the Deists nor altogether those of the Orthodox. Of this class were SELDEN, Milton, and several men of strong intellectual powers, all of whom, while they disapproved of the worrying disposition
manifested by contending sectaries, were the warm patrons of civil and religious liberty.* In page 448, and in other passages, I have bestowed deserved eulogies on many of these philanthropic indiriduals, who were generally known in that age by the name of “ Erastians.” Of their benevolent sentiments, which were the result of experience, the following paragraphs
* Not only in the page quoted in the text, but in several other passages, I have expressed my approbation of the endeavours of Bishops Hall and Davenaut, to undo all that they had contributed to confirm, either by their presence or consent, at the Synod of Dort. The former evangelical Prelate, when taught by adversity, .could declare, “I know no book so necessary as that De Paucitate Credendorum, that is, of the small number of things we are obliged to believe; and there is no article so necessary as that, We need not believe more than the Symbol of the Apostles."—What a marked difference between this benevolent sentiment, and those propounded in his Latin sermon before the Dutch Synod!
lu addition to the account of Bishop Davenant's pious endeavours to contravere his own acts at Dort, (p. 713,) the following passage from Dr. Ham mond's Letter to Dr. Sanderson, Concerning God's Grace and Decrees, will be perused with satisfaction: “ St. Paul styles the gospel the power of God unto salvation, and the preaching of it the administration of the şpiritand, indeed, the Spirit is, in scripture, promised only to them who believe in Christ. Speaking, therefore, of what may be maintained by scripture, and cootiving the speech to EVANGELICAL GRACE, the universality of it can be by that maintained to extend no farther than to those to whom the gospel is preached.— I remember the learned Bishop of Sarisbury, Dr. Davenant, in his Lent serinon, (I think, the last he preached before the King,) declared his opinion to be, as for UNIVERSAL REDEMPTION, so for UNIVERSAL GRACE within the Church: And as, for this, he was by none accounted an ArmiNIAN,
so I never heard any that was of the Remonstrants' persuasion unsatisfied with the scantness of that declaration, but thought it as much, as, speaking of Evangelical Grace, could with any reason, be required of bim.”
The Bishop's remark is exceedingly judicious and quite Arminian. As an amusing instance of the variety of significations which may be given to the term " Pelagianism," I subjoin Robert Baylie's reproachful mention of this matter. He had been previously arguing, with great show of reason, agajust that grand principle of Independency, The members of every par.. ticular church are obliged, at their first admission, to shew to the whole congregation convincing signs of their regeneration and true grace.” “This,' says Robert,“ requires a great deal of more ability in every member than can be found in any mortal man : For, how is it possible to attain unto any grounded certainty of true grace in the heart of any other man?: For the hidden man of the heart and the new name are not certainly known to any but to such as have them. The grounds of a man's own certain persuasion, the act of his faith either direct or reflex, the witness of his conscience, or the seal of the Spirit, cannot go without his own breast: All the demonstrations which can be made to another, are often found false. If you will extend these places [of scripture] to every singular member of particular visible churches, the absurdity will be great; for so it will carry to the Pelagianism of Arminius in the extent of the true grace of God beyond the elect, -to ALL THE MEMBERS of a visible church; also to the total and final apostacy of mapy who are the temple of the Holy Ghost, the members of Christ, the faithful and sanctified children of God: For the argument maketh every member of any visible church to be such, and daily experience proves that many members of every visible church are castaways.-Yea, the argumeut drives further than any of the Arminians will follow; for, however, they extend the true and saving grace of God beyond the elect members of a church, yet none of them ever said that this sanctifying and saving grace must be in every person before they can be admitted members of any church : For this is that gross error which the Independents have learned, not so much from Arminius as from Socinus,"
from Milton's treatise of true Religion, &c. may be accounted a good exposition: (See also page 707:)
“ The Pharisees and Sadducees were two sects, yet both met together in their common worship of God at Jerusalem. But here the Papist will angrily demand, What! are Lutherans, Calvinists, Anabaptists, Socinians, Arminians, no heretics? I answer, all these may have some errors, but are no heretics. It is a human frailty to err, and no man is infallible here on earth. But so long as all these profess to set the word of God only before them as the rule of faith and obedience; and use all diligence and sincerity of heart, by reading, by learning, by study, by prayer for illumination of the Holy Spirit, to understand the rule and to obey it, they have done what man can do: God will assuredly pardon them, as he did the friends of Job; good and pious men, though much mistaken, as there it appears, in some points of doctrine. But some will say, With christians it is otherwise, whom God hath promised by his Spirit to teach all things. True, all things absolutely necessary to salvation : but the hottest disputes among Protestants, calmly and charitably enquired into, will be found less than such.-The Lutheran holds consubstantiation; an error indeed, but not mortal.—The Calvinist is taxed with predestination, and to make God the author of sin; not with any dishonourable thought of God, but, it may be, over-zealously asserting his absolute power, not without plea of Scripture.—The Anabaptist is accused of denying infants their right to baptism; again they say, they deny nothing but what the scripture denies them.—The Arian and Socinian are charged to dispute against the Trinity: they affirm to believe the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, according to scripture and the apostoliccreed; as for terms of trinity, trini-unity, co-essentiality, tri-personality, and the like, they reject them as scholasticnotions, not to be found in scripture, which, by a general Protestant maxim, is plain and perspicuous abundantly to explain its own meaning in the properest words, belonging to so high a matter, and so necessary to be known; a mystery indeed in their sophistic subtleties, but in scripture a plain doctrine. Their other opinions are of less moment. They dispute the satisface tion of Christ, or rather the word “ satisfaction,” as not scriptural : but they acknowledge him both God and their Saviour. The Arminian lastly is condemned for setting up free-will against free-grace; but that imputation he disclaims in all his writings, and grounds himself largely upon scripture only.
“ It cannot be denied, that the authors or late revivers of all these sects or opinions were learned, worthy, zealous, and religious men, as appears by their lives written, and the same of their many eminent and learned followers, perfect and powerful in the scriptures, holy and unblameable in their lives : and it cannot be imagined that God would desert such painful and zea
lous labourers in his church, and oft-times great sufferers for their conscience, to damnable errors and a reprobate sense, who had so often implored the assistance of his Spirit;* but rather, having made no man infallible, that he hath pardoned their errors, and accepts their pious endeavours, sincerely searching all things according to the rule of scripture, with such guidance and direc tion as they can obtain of God by prayer. What Protestant then, who himself maintains the same principle, and disavows all implicit faith, would persecute, and not rather charitably tolerate such men as these, unless he mean to abjure the principles of his own religion? If it be asked, how far they should be tolerated : I answer, doubtless EQUALLY, as being all Protestants; that is, on all occasions to give account of their faith, either by arguing, preaching in their several assemblies, public writing, and the freedom of printing. What can it be, but love of contention, for ** I am afraid that if the Arians and Socinians, whom Milton has specified in the preceding, extract, displayed as much deference to the supposed competency of their own reason as their successors have done, they would not be included in the number of those " who have OFTEN implored the assistance of the Holy Spirit.”. For, though they cannot say, with the early disciples at Ephesus, (Acts xix, 2.) “ We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost;" yet, by the profane ridicule which many of them pour upon all humble applications to that Divine Source of Instruction and Consolation, they evidently exclude themselves from the benefit of Milton's generous exception. They know the scriptural direction, “If any of you lack wisdom, let bim ask of God, (that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him."." But,” it is added, “ let him ask in faith :” This, in its lowest acceptation, of an bistoric faith, an acknowledgment of the Divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, is the main rock of offence to these men, the greater part of whom disbelieve the heavenly origin of the doctrines and declarations of the Old and New Testaments, and who consequently will never be expected to submit to “ ask in faith.” To such individuals the following very important observations, if duly regarded, may be of essential service : “When once the evidence of a Divine revelation is admitted, our duty to receive its doctrines does not rest upon the RATIONAL EVIDENCE we may have of their truth; but upon the much easier and plainer evidence, that they are among the things actually revealed. He, therefore, who admits a Divine revelation, and rejects its doctrines, because he has not a satisfactory rational evidence of them, is more obviously criminal in his unbelief than he who rejects the revelation itself, for he openly debates the case with his Maker, a circumstance which indicates, iņ the most striking manner, a corrupt habit of mind. Should any of the great qualities required in a serious and honest enquirer after truth have been uncultivated and unapplied, though a sincere conviction of the truth of an erroneous conclusión may exist, the guilt of unbelief would not be removed by such kind of sincerity. If there has been no anxiety to be right; no prayer, earnest and devout, offered to God, to be kept from 'error; if an humble sense of human liability to err has not been maintained ; if diligence in looking out for proofs, and patience
and perseverance in enquiry, have not been exerted; if bonesty in balancing evidence, and a firm resolution to embrace the truth, whatever prejudices or interests it may contradict or oppose, have not been felt; even sincerity,--in believing that to be true, which may appear to be so, in the present state of a judgment determined (probably) before all the means of information have been resorted to, and, perhaps, under the perverting influences of a worldly or carnal state of mind, will be no excuse. We are under a law of faith,' and that law cannot be supposed to be so pliable and nugatory, as they who contend for the right of believing only what they please, would make it."-Watson's Theological Institutes.