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THE HISTORY OF THE PURITANS. CHAP. 2, luxury and all kinds of lewdness, and his profuse expenses upon unlawful pleasures, reduced bim to the necessity of becoming a pensioner of France. If he had any relig ion, it was that of a disguised papist, or rather a deist; but he was strangely entangled, during his whole life, with the obligations fre had been brought under by the Roman catholics. He aimed at being an absolute monarch, but would be at no farther trouble to accomplish it, than to give his corrupt ministry liberty to do what they pleased. The king had a great many vices, (says Burnet*) but few virtues to correct them.f Religion was with him no more than an engine of state. He hated the non-conformists, because they appeared against the prerogative, and received the fire of all the enemies of the constitution and of the protestant religion, with an unshaken firmness. His majesty's chief concern at last was for his brother's succession ; and when he came to die, he spoke not a word of religion, nor shewed any remorse for his ill-spent life : he expressed no tenderness for his subjects, nor any concern for his queen, but only recommended his mistresses and their children to his brother's regard. So that no Englishman, or friend of his country, could weep at bis death, from any other motive, than his keeping out a successor who was worse than bimself. loverof his country, upon any other motive, but that it introduced a much worse monarch on the throne than he was himself.” There was ground in this view, for the remark of Dr. Gregory Sharpe ; " that if the Euglish were in tears, when the king died in 1685, it was more to lament the succession than the funeral.” Ecclesiastical History, vol. ii. p. 929. Sharpe's Introduction to Universal History, p. 256, 2d edit.
† Burnet, vol.ii. p. 165. * To this it may be added, that Charles II. was characterised, as having never said a fuolish thing, nor done a wise one. A late writer of dramatical history, Mr. Thomas Davis, is supposed to have contradicted this by an anecdote he has given. Mrs. Marshall, the first actress on the king's theatre, and a woman of virtue, liaving been tricked into a shum marriage by a nobleman, king Charles II. obliged him to settle an annual income on her. This indicated equity of mind as well as wisdom. Rocius Auglicanus, p. 19, 21, in the Literary Museum, 8vo. printed 1792. Ed.
+ Long since Mr. Neal's history was published, it has appeared that there was a design in the reign of Charles II. to place a bishop in Virginia; and that the letters patent for that purpose were actually made out, and are extant. The design failed, because the whole endowinent was fixed on the custoins. Secker's letter to Mr. Horatio Walpole, p. 17. Ed.
CHAPTERS I. and II.
The History of the Baptists. THE period through which the two preceding chapters lead the reader, comprehends some new circumstances in the bistory of the Quakers and the Baptists.
At the beginning of it a controversy arose among the latter denomination about laying on of hands, called by the clergy confirmation. It created not a little trouble. Till then, it appears that this rite was practised by them as an apostolical ordinance, and was accompanied with prayer over the newly baptised. A treatise, entitled “ A Search after Schism,” was published in opposition to it. This was answered by Dr. John Griffith, in a piece called “ The Searchers after Scbism searched," and it drew from Mr. Grantham his “ Sigh of Peace ; or, the Cause of Division discovered. The appearance of this piece occasioned a meeting between Mr. Grantham and Mr. Ives, when the subject was debated with temper and good-humour; and Mr. Ives is reported, on finding himself gravelled, to have broken up the meeting in a friendly and peaceable manner. About three years after, Mr. Danvers published a treatise against laying on of hands, which was answered by Mr. Benjamin Keach, and also by Mr. Grantham, who annex. ed to his answer, “ A Treatise of the Successors of the Apostles.”
In 1674, the Baptists were engaged in a controvesy with the Quakers, which created a noise, and was conducted, as
is usual, by mutual criminations. Mr. Thomas Hicks, a minister of the former, published several pamphlets in succession, under the title of “ A Dialogue between a Chris. tian and a Quaker.” The title these pieces bore was certainly invidious, and held up the quakers as not deserving to be ranked among christians. It was also complained of, that the design of them was not so much to investigate truth as to represent the quaker a deformed, ridiculous, and erroneous being. The great Penn, on this occasion, be. came the advocate of the people to whom he had joined himself, in two books; the first entitled “ Reason against Railing;" and the other “ The counterfeit Christian detected." But as Mr. Hicks had reflected upon some particular members by name, an appeal was made to the baptists, in and about London, for justice against bim.
A meeting was accordingly appointed to hear the charges against him; but they are censured for fixing the time when the complainants, Penn and Whitehead, were absent from the city at a distance too remote to be apprized of the intended meeting. It was urged in defence of the baptists, that they were informed that Penn was not far from London several days after the notice of the meeting was sent, and even at his own house at no great distance from the town the very day preceding: and that they had invited others of the society, particularly John Osgoods, to be present, who declined it. The meeting took place, and Mr. Hicks was examined by his own friends only on the charges brought against him by the quakers : and he endeavored to establish the representations he had made of their principles and doctrines, by quotations from their own writers. These were pronounced by nineteen of his own denomina. tion to be truly recited, and the church, to which he belonged, in public print, cleared him from the charge which the quakers alledged agaiust him. This decision was deemed partial. On the face of it, though the business was said to be conducted with great fairness, it was open to objection. The baptists refused to defer the meeting, though solicited. No quaker was present to be heard on the grounds of the charges. And though the passages might be quoted with verbal exactness, which Mr. Hicks brought as his authorities, yet they were detached from their connexion, and a
meaning affixed to them which probably the writers, if they had been there to explain themselves, would not have admitted as their sense. New complaints were brought forward against the baptists ; and justice again demanded. A meeting for a rehearing was obtained; but Mr. Hicks would not attend it, but sent some others with Mr. Ives ; “ who” (says Crosby) “so managed the quakers, that they were obliged to break up without any further proceedings in the matter." “ By clamours and rudeness," says Gough, " they diverted the complainants from prosecuting the charge against Hicks, and carried their point so far as to prevent its being heard, though frequent attempts were made to read it."
The baptists published an account of these meetings, under the title of " A Contest for Christianity.” Mr. Tho. Welwood, in behalf of his friends, appealed to the public, first in a single sheet, entitled " A fresh Pursuit ;” and tben, in reply to the “ Contest," wbich was written by Mr. Thomas Plant, in a piece entitled “ Forgery no Christianity." The issue of this controversy is represented, on the one hand, to be, that the quakers were so chafed in these dispates, that they did not only brand the baptists with infamy, but denounced curses and judgments upon them. On the other side, it is said, that the aim of this unprovoked assault apon the principles and reputation of this society was remarkably frustrated ; and these dialogues, with their ungenerous and unequitable method of defending them and their author, promoted what they were designed to prevent; for not a few of their members, offended at their proceedings, deserted their meetings and society, went over to the injured party, and joined them in religious fellowship."*
In the year 1677, the baptists published" a Confession of their Faith, set forth by the elders and brethren of many congregations of christians, baptized upon profession of their faith, in London and the country." Their avowed design in this publication was not only to give an account of themselves on the points wherein they differed from other christians, but also to instruct and establish others in the great principles in wbich there was a mutual agreement
*Crosby's History of the English Baptists, vol. ii. p. 294-310. Gough's History of the Quakers, vol. ii. p. 368-71.
between them. They aimed to express themselves, on the
+ Rippon's Baptist Annual Register, p. 127-91.