« PreviousContinue »
Withouten boke or sillable or letter And deinte freers mought slepe at ther Ther hertes and ther wordes shulde ease seme the better:
And al the king's reaume be siker of
I am, Sir, &c.
REVIEW OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.
BROOK's History of the Puritans. complete success in enlisting the
harrassed, and still obstinate, Puri(Concluded from p. 406.)
tans of various classes under their AFTER so long, and we fear tedious banners, that we doubt if any fair a consideration of the Puritan selection could be made for the ical question in our second and purpose of shewing the degree of principal period of Mr. Brook's religious liberty which was really History, we feel disposed to re- aimed at by the honest and pious lease our readers from the labour non-conformist, or for bringing the of accompanying us through any genuine principles of any one sect lengthened discussion of the third into juxta position and comparison and fourth. The third, being the with those of the now oppressed and period of the predominance of the subjugated church. As we should be Puritan party, namely, from the far, very far, from adopting Laud. meeting of the Long Parliament, and his intemperate and blundering (when the power of Charles and plans, for our criterion of the old the Bishops virtually ceased), to the and true Church-of-England prindeath of Oliver Cromwell, might ciples of government, so will we indeed afford us ample matter for not take the tender mercies of an profitable reflection, as exhibiting exasperated Prynne, or Hugh Pethe character of Mr. Brook's ters, as our specimen of Puritan “ Friends of Religious Liberty,” in zeal for Christian Liberty. its true and legitimate light. But One instance, however, we canwe shrink from the painful task of not help selecting from Mr. Brook's selecting from the mass of histori- own pages, of the spirit of an old cal evidence now lying before us, zealous Presbyterian, the famed what might enable us to set forth author of the Gangrena, who had we will not say, Puritans in parti, perseverance enough to retain, to cular, but Christians in general, in the end, the moderate and regular such a light as no fellow Christian principles of non-conformity with can view them, without the most which he originally setout; calmness painful emotions. Politics had now, enough to take a general view of indeed, been completely involved all the parties and their several with religion. The wretched imi- principles, into which his associates tation of his illustrious, though se- at length divided themselves; and vere, predecessors by Laud, that real candour enough to expose them fully master of ceremonies, and, we are to view, though with all the indigsorry to add, not master of his own nation of the most vehement satiworst passions, had greatly provokrist, in the above mentioned celeed the pation in those ticklish times, brated work. when the commonest sense would
" If ministers,' says the singular have taught him at least moderation;
on; Mr. Edwards," (an epithet by the bye, in and, at the same time, a few des
ges- this place, meaning too much in Mr. perate revolutionists and republic Brook's mind : for however singular he cans bad gradually obtained such may be in other respects, he was by no
means singular in declaiming against cured, but only changed; one disease toleration.) “ If ministers will witness and devil hath left us, and another as for the truth and against errors, they bad is come in its room. Yea this last most set themselves against toleration, extreme is far more high, violent, and as the principal inlet to all error and dangerous in many respects. Have we hcresy; for if toleration be granted, all not worse things come upon us, than preaching will not keep them out. If a even we had before? Were any of these toleration be granted, the devil will be monsters heard of heretofore, which are too hard for us, though we preach ever now common amongst us; as denying so much against them. A toleration the Scriptures, pleading for a toleration of will undo all. It will bring in scepti. all religions and worship? You have pnt cism in doctrine and looseness of life, down the Book of Common Prayer; and and after wards all atheism. O let there are many amongst us who have ministers, therefore, oppose all tolera- put down the Scriptures, slighting them, tion, as that by which the devil would at yea blaspheming them. You have once lay a foundation for his kingdom broken down the images of the Trinity, to all generations : witness against it in Christ, Virgin Mary, Apostles; and we all places : possess the magistrate with the have those who overthrow the doctrine eril of it, yea and the people too, shew- of the Trinity, oppose the Divinity of ing them how if a toleration were grant Christ, speak evil of the Virgin Mary, ed, they could never have peace any and slight the Apostles. You have more in their families, or ever have any cast out the bishops, and their officers; command of wives, children, servants and we have many that cast to the ..... Toleration is destructive to the ground all ministers in the reformed glory of God, and the salvation of souls; churches. You have cast out cere. therefore, whoever should be for a to- monies in the sacraments, as the cross, leration, ministers ought to be against it. kneeling at the Lord's Supper; and we If the parliament, city, yea, and all the have many that cast out the sacraments people, were for a toleration of all sects of Baptism and the Lord's Supper. 1.... yet ministers ought to present their You have put down saints' days, and we reasons against it, preach and cry out have many that make nothing at all of of the evil of it, never consent to it, but the Lord's day and fast days. You protest against it, and withstand it by have taken away the superfluous, exall lawful means within their power, cessive maintenance of bishops and venturing the loss of liberties, estates, deans; and we have many who take lives, and all in that cause, and inflame away and cry down the necessary mainns with zeal against a toleration, the tenance of ministers.” “In the bishops' great Diana of the sectaries !!!'” Gan- days we had many unlearned ministers; grena, Part I. 16:16. Brook, Vol. iii. and have we not now a com
and have we not now a company of pp. 86, 87.
Jeroboam's priests?” “ The worst of Is it quite clear, after this
the prelates in the midst of many Ar
minian tenets and Popish innovations, astonishing effusion of an old
held many sound doctripes, and had genuine Presbyterian Puritan, that
many conumendable practices: yea the These " friends of Religious Li- very Papists hold, and keep to many berty” really “ ventured the loss articles of faith and truths of God, and of liberties, estates, lives and have some order amongst them,encourage all," only in the sacred cause of learning, have certain fixed principles liberty of conscience, and free re. of truth, with practices of devotion and ligious toleration? This passage good works : but many of the sects and will certainly enable us more fully
ne more fui sectaries in our days deny all principles
of religion, are enemies to all holy duties, to understand some few sentences
order and learning, overthrowing all." in which Mr. Brook hurries over vi
Vide Grey's Answer to Neale, Vol. IV. this unpleasant portion of his His- . 02. tory. His unfriendly monitor Mr. Edwards shall supply us with one Here we must confess, is suffimore guide to the temper of these cient license to satisfy the most latitimes, and we will have done. tudinarian appetite. But still, if where nature breeds, if we were disposed to smile, the Perverse all monstrous, all prodigious wretched attempts which this . things,
16 Our evils,” says the Grangrena, in amidst all tbis heterogeneous mass another place, “ are not removed or of productions,
wretched interregnum made to obwe look almost in vain for the small tain even the very "colour or front," invaluable germ of “ Religious whether of uniformity, comprehenLiberty," which has since expand- sion, or toleration, would afford ed into such full maturity of growth; sufficient materials for the most we must be allowed to hold, that poignant satire on the weakness, Mr. Brook has much misemployed and inconsistency of poor human his time, whilst he supposed he nature. For the honour of our comwas writing the history of its early mon Christianity, as well as for the cultivators. Tenderness for the sake of our readers' time, we forconsciences of others, the very bear to draw out our observations touchstone of Religious Liberty upon them to further length. We seeins, in truth, nearly as far from allow the utmost to Mr. Brock's us in this period of the history, as now victorious heroes, (what, inin any other.
deed, we should have been still more « Cromwell and his friends, in- ready to allow to their predecessors) deed, gave it out, that they could when we attribute to them the not understand what right the ma- praise of zeal unfeigned, however gistrate had to use compulsion in misguided, for their own religious matters of religion. They thought opinions; and of a desire most that all men ought to be left to the honest, though most visionary, of dictates of their own consciences; bringing the reformed church to and that the civil magistrate could their own notions of a strict, uninot interfere in any religious con. form, and perfect system of doccerns, without ensnaring himself in tripe, discipline, and administrathe guilt of persecution.” p. 95. tion. We will allow further, the A declaration from this arch. great learning of many houest men, hypocrite, evidently carrying its who were employed in building own crudeness and nullity in its this castle in the air, wbich at the face! Nor do we think it worth last ended in a inere Babel. Nay, while, even Mr. Brook himself being judge, to shew how it was act- known sin cannot be saved.' I pleaded ed upon, more particularly with against the word · allowed,' and told regard to the episcopal clergy. It them that many a thousand lived in wilis very true also, “ the Parliament ful sin, which they could not be said to voted, that all should be indulged allow themselves in, but confessed it to or tolerated. who professed the be sin; and that there seemed a little fundanentals of Christianity: and
contradiction between “known sin,' and
allowed:' so far as a man knoweth sin, certain learned divines were ap
he doth not allow, i.e, approve it. But pointed to draw up the fundamen
they would have their way. At last I tals to be presented to the House."
told them, as stiff as they were in their pp. 96, 97. Aud Baxter, to whose opinion and way, I would force them life Mr. Brook refers, sufficiently with one word to change, or blot ont all informs us on wbat principle these that fundamental. I urged them to take fundamentals were attempted to be my wager; and they would not believe drawn up, together with his own
me, but marvelled what I meant; I told
them that the Parliament took the Intotal dissent from Owen and others
dependent way of separation to be a sin: in the commission, and the ridicu.
and when this article came before them, lous issue of the whole*. In short,
Ml, they would say, 'By our brethren's own • “One merry passage," says Mr. judgment, we are all damned men, if Baxter, “ I remember, occasioned we allow the Independents, or any laughter. Mr. Sympson caused them other sectarics in their sin. They gaye to make this a fundamental, that He me no answer, but they left out all that that alloweth himself, or others, in any fundamental!
we will even admit with Mr. Neale, the most moderate, for religious imthat
provement and reformation; and a
tenfold license, both in principle “ Better laws were never made
and conduct, on the generation against vice, or more rigorously execut.
immediately subsequent to their ed. Drunkenness, fornication, profane swearing, and every kind of deban- own,
own. When in entire possession chery, were deemed infamous, and were of the ground, they found themunirersally' (a large admission, however!) selves totally unable to keep it. “ discountenanced. The clergy were We suppose the profoundest acts laborious to an excess,' in preaching, of legislation, all the resources of praying, catechising, and visiting the the most accomplished politicians, sick.” (We presume it is meant those of civil or ecclesiastical, could not the Parliament's introduction). "The ma-, have held together, for many months gistrates were exact in suppressing all
longer, the incongruous materials kinds of games, stage plays, and abuses
of which the governinent and conin public houses: and a play had not 0 been acted in any theatre in England, stitution, both 11
nd. stitution, both in church and state, for almost twenty years."' p. 99. Intro- under Oliver Cromwell, were com, duction.
posed. When he died, the country
was without a head, without a plan, A most surprising account, it and in imminent danger of falling must be allowed, of the metamor- . into the wildest anarchy. The few phose of a land but just before leading Presbyterians, the most represented as overrun with “liea- respectable and weighty of the thiens, epicures, and atheists." p. 35. whole confederacy, saw no alterna, Let this pass, however, and what a tive but that of recalling the king, whit are we nearer to the darling and re-establishing the ancient and object of Mr. Brook's idolatry, or discarded church. Like a spoiled the alleged design of his illustris child, wlio has gained tire utinost ous worthies, the establishment of of his wishes, and having broken a pure system of religious freedom? to atoms the most expensive furni« It is ridiculous,” says the shrewd ture, and exhausted all the means Montesquieu, “ to see the impotent of amusement unwisely put within attempts of the English nation after his reach by an indulgent parent, the death of Charles I, to establish is glad at last to return to his or. a pure republic without virtue.” dinary pursuits and tasks for his And equally may we apply the ols- wonted and long-lost satisfactions servation to the troubled, and so these men, with little thanks to feverish efforts made in these their moderation or change of sentistrange times to bring in and fix ment, yet under the influence at upon the country something ana. once of satiety and necessity, send logous to that, in the constitution for the king whom they had driven of ecclesiastical affairs. We think, out; set up the bishops whom they in truth, almost the only consistent had pulled down ; and quietly church-lesson to be derived from await the event for themselves, this period of our ecclesiastical glad enough to exchange the reshistory is the absolute folly and ponsibility of governing any longer, inanity, whilst this nation and hu- for all the hazards of a tardy subman nature remain as they are, of mission. When it can be fairly attempting what these early Puri- proved, that the restorers of king,
tan theorists did attempt, to intro- Charles had any other means of i duce a perfect national discipline, providing, either for the nation of
The attempt, instead of ultimately for themselves, than this one mea. succeeding to their wishes, only sure, we sball ihen be more disposeu brought down unnumbered calanii- , than we now are to allow the credit ties upon themselves; a vever-dving sometimes claimed for them in prejudice against all plans, even business. At least, till that is provee
we think so much surprise should of New England, and from thence not be expressed at that which so roundly asserts that very soon followed upon the king's 'It is well known, that near 2,500 faithful restoration, viz. the famous Act
ministers of the Gospel were silenced. of Uniformity in 1662; so indig
And it is affirmed upon a modest calnantly and sternly perpetuated, culation, that it procured the death of amongst the Non-conformists and 3000 non-conformists, and the ruin of their posterity, by the name of the 60,000 families !!!” All, as Mr. Brook Black Bartholomew Act., i triumphantly adds, “ to establish unifor
On this last period of Mr. Brook's mity in all ecclesiastical matters. A historical Introduction, we confess charming word indeed! for the thing is that we are disposed to say not
still wanting, even amongst those who much more than Mr. Brook himself promoted West
self promoted these tragic scenes.” p. 100. has said. It opens so new and so · Certainly we must think the thing wide a field for discussion; the still wanting amongst those who case was now again so completely DESCRIBE them!-Yet surely Mr. changed from that which had exist- Brook would not have spoken so ed and agitated the church in the slightingly of the thing, if he had previous reigns; the persons, as reflected for a moment that the well as principles, were so different; very League and Covenant, which so religion and politics both wore so unhappily beguiled the consciences different an aspect; and affairs of many hundred really faithful were really verging now so much ministers at this juncture, swore to nearer to the happy consummation “ endeavour to bring the churches of a free toleration, under a fixed, of God in the three kingdoms to though comprehensive, church-es- the nearest conjunction and unifortablishment, that it would be the mity of religion." 1st Art. And if height of temerity to pronounce at he consults Pt. ii. p. 433, of Bax, a glance upon the merits of an act ter’s life, we think he will find the which, after all, was in some shape following points strongly illustrata necessary, even as a step towards ed:-1. That the proper Sectarians toleration,-much more to com- or Independents rejoiced that the pare it to another truly black St. terms of the public ministry were Bartholomew's day, which consign- not more enlarged, in order to ed 40,000, some say 100,000, inno- have a large number excluded, and cent Protestants in cold blood to so a toleration of separate churches the murderous knife of midnight rendered necessary. 2. That the assassins. · Besides, where shall we Presbyterians rather wished for look for an impartial account of more comprehensive terms, in the a transaction so unfairly classed ? hope of still obtaining entire uniGood, honest, contemporary and formity. 3. That the graver and suffering, Mr. Baxter tells us, of more thinking part sat still, and “ hundreds of able ministers with meddled not with the business, their wives and children having liaving not yet made up their minds neither house nor bread.” It is whether the terms were too large, complained by church writers, that or not large enough, or in what in Mr. Neale's time, the numbers manner Parliament could or should had been aggravated and swelled have acted but as it did. 'up to“ 2000, about or even above, To say more on this portion of of all sorts, who quitted or refused our history, would be evidently to to accept, preferment.” Vid. Neale, travel out of the line laid down for iv. 369, 8vo. Mr. Brook is satisfied us by Mr. Brook himself. We with neither of his favourite autho- have no doubt that here he found rities on this important point, but himself, as we do, standing upon has recourse to Mathur's History very different ground from that of
CHRIST, OBSERV, No. 163, 3N