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an easy step, more especially when it formed the ism of King James - a spiritual republic stripprice of Scottish co operation and assistance. ped of its independence, and subject to state con
And now the Westminster Assembly was an trol. But independently of this symptom of its inevitable sequence. As it was the parliament insufficiency and feebleness to brave the storms that needed the aid and co-operation of the Scots that were gathering around it, there was another against the king, it was by the authority of the circumstance from which its speedy decay and two Houses of Parliament alone that this im downfall might have been easily predicted. It portant assembly was convened. It consisted was not the spontaneous growth of the English of 121 divines, to whom twenty-one more were soil, nor even the object of its affectionate adopsoon afterwards added-four ministers and three tion. The Scottish nation, in consequence of its lay assessors from Scotland—ten English peers, primitive Culdee teachers, had possessed a Presand twenty members of the House of Commons. byterianism of its own from the earliest introducThe condition of Episcopacy in its present state tion of Christianity. In this its childhood and was mournfully indicated by the presence of youth had been nursed, and from this it had about twenty clergymen of the Established mainly derived that heroic independence of spirit church, a small minority, and utterly unfit to which formed for ages such a striking feature of stem the tide that was advancing so resistlessly the national character; and when the Reformaagainst their cause. But they were speedily tion arrived, it was not otherwise to be expected, saved from such a hopeless struggle ; for in con- than that Scotland should at once 'embody it in sequence of the king's proclamation forbidding the congenial Presbyterian form. Thus the subthe assembly, and declaring its acts illegal, these scription of the Covenant in the.church of Greychurchmen retired. The place of meeting was friars, Edinburgh, was a very different deed from Westminster Abbey, and the sittings commenced the subscription of the same Covenant in St. on the 1st of July, 1643. The majority of the Margaret's, Westminster. In the former, it was divines belonging to the Westminster Assembly, the rising of a whole people for the recovery of although they had received Episcopal ordination, that which they valued more than life-a new were Preshyterians; and when it was called to Bannockburn for something nobler than mere gether for the purpose of settling such a govern political liberty; while in the latter case, it was ment for the church "as might be most agreeable a confession of weakness, and badge of national to God's Holy Word," an intimation was added, humiliation and submission. In these considera" that it should be brought into a nearer agree- tions alone we see cause enough for the weakness ment with the Church of Scotland and other of English Presbyterianisin, and the facility with Reformed churches abroad.” Then followed the which it was overthrown. subscription of England to the Solemn League The state of parties into which the Westminand Covenant, through its national representa-ster Assembly was divided is explanatory, not tives, in the church of St. Margaret, Westminster, only of the reluctant assent which was given to on the 15th of September, 1643. But still, the the present decision, but also of the discordPresbyterianism thus established was not the ance of its future sittings. These parties were Presbyterianism of Scotland. The distinguish-originally four in number, but after the secession ing feature of the latter was its independence of of the Episcopalians they were reduced to three, the civil power, and its sacred right of self-gov- viz., Presbyterians, Independents, and Erastians. erument as managed by sessions, presbyteries, Of these the Presbyterians were by far the most synods, and general assemblies. As Andrew numerous, and might be considered as the repreMelvil had distinctly announced to King James, sentatives of English Puritanism through all its Christ alone was head of the church, and in it preceding stages. In the words of Fuller, “they his majesty was neither a king, nor a head, nor either favoured the Presbyterian discipline, or in a lord, but a member. On this account, every process of time were brought over to embrace it." question of the church was settled, and every law The nature of that discipline has been sufficiently for its government enacted, by the church courts explained already in our various notices of the alone, while the General Assembly was the high- Scottish church. Among their leaders in the est and last court of appeal. In England, a simi- assembly were those learned and eloquent dilar frame-work was to be set up, consisting of four vines, Calamy, Gataker, Hildersham, Sperstowe, church courts, termed the parochial, classical, Corbet, and Vines; while, in the House of Comprovincial, and national. But what was to be mons, their political influence was strong in the last tribunal of appeal ? Here the parliament Waller, Denzil Hollis, Clotworthy, and other stepped in, and claimed for itself the full right leading members of the day. The Independents, to decide and terminate, let the church courts de- who were but a small party compared with their liberate and decree as they might. Thus, it was rivals, whom they were so soon to overthrow, nothing better than the shackled Presbyterian- | were supposed, at the time, to be nearly assimi
lated in their form of church government to the of the king. But the great work of the WestminPresbyterians; but it is too well known how such ster Assembly-and one for which all its errors a resemblance, among different sects of religion- and shortcomings, were they even as great and ists, instead of producing concord and brotherly many as its enemies allege, might be forgivenaffection, more commonly leads to jealousy, ha- was the drawing up of the Confession of Faith, tred, and strife. Abandoning the name of Brown- that clearest and ablest compend of Christian ists, they had now adopted the name of Indepen- doctrine which has ever yet been presented, and dents, thus changing it from that of their founder which still continues to be the revered standard to the principle by which their church was regu- of the Kirk of Scotland. After the Confession of lated. This was, that every separate congrega- Faith was finished, the Larger and Shorter Catetion has the entire right of government within chisms were constructed on its model, for private itself, under the management of its own elders. and family religious instruction; and although the They admitted, indeed, a connection with the Larger, which was intended for adults, has been other congregations of their community in judg- gradually lost sight of amidst the more attractive ing of the offence committed by any individual voluminous treatises of modern theology, the church; but all that their collective ecclesiastical Shorter Catechism is still the text-book, not only power could effect, in the way of punishing the of the religious education of the young in Scotoffending congregation, was to exclude it from land, but among many of the Dissenting comtheir communion, and allow it, thus isolated, to munities of England. But notwithstanding its follow its own devices. The third part.y, that of intrinsic worth, the Confession of Faith, which the Erastians—who derived their title from their was completed in 1646, did not secure, even for founder, Dr. Erastus, a physician of Germany, its doctrinal parts, the concurrence of the whole held, in opposition both to Presbyterians and In- assembly; and in the state of parties we can dependents, that no form of ecclesiastical govern- easily perceive that such an unanimity of religious ment is laid down in the Divine Word—that the opinion was impossible. But their discord was minister is simply a lecturer or teacher of reli- at the height upon the important question of the gion, and nothing more-and that all offences, form of discipline and government for the Engecclesiastical as well as civil, are punishable by lish church. The Presbyterians and Indepenthe magistrate alone. Thus, in their eyes, the dents were agreed that the form of a church was church was but the creature of the state, and laid down in the New Testament, but this the the minister, even in his spiritual capacity, the Erastian party stoutly denied. Again, wbile the subject of the civil ruler. Their sentiments in Erastians agreed with the Presbyterians that the the Westminster Assembly, where they were form of church government proposed by the latchiefly represented by these learned Oriental ter was the fittest to be established by the civil scholars, Coleman and Lightfoot, and the lay power, they denied its claim to Divine origin ani assessors, Selden, Whitelock, and St. John, al authority, in which denial they were, of course, though equally disapproved by the two other joined by the Independents. Presbyterianistu parties, were in high favour with the statesmen was thus adopted only by a majority in the asand the House of Commons, whose authority sembly; but while its claim to Divine right was they enforced and aggrandized.
supported by the common council and the city The assembly continued its sittings, with oc- ministers of London, it was refused by the parcasional interruptions, till 1649, a space of six liament, which also retained to itself the right to years, after which it was changed into a commit-judge and punish in ecclesiastical offences. Antee that met weekly, for the trial and examina- other trying subject was the question of toleration of ministers; but we can only give a brief tion. Several years earlier not less than eighty enumeration of the chief of its manifold proceed-congregations, of different sectaries, had been ings. It adopted the English metrical version of enumerated by Bishop Hall in the House of the Psalms by Mr. Rous, as the authorized ver- Lords, and since that period they had been on sion for the Churches of England and Scotland; the increase throughout the kingdom. And what and though this translation was soon disused in course were they to adopt with these formidable the former country, it has continued in the latter recusants? By the subscription of the Covenant, to our own day. It drew up the Directory for they were bound to labour for the extirpation of Public Worship, to serve instead of the Book of Popery, prelacy, superstition, heresy, schisms, Common Prayer, which was suppressed. This and profaneness; and they had promised to disDirectory, while it was sanctioned by the parlia- cover all malignants and incendiaries who should ment, and the use of it in the churches enforced hinder the reformation of religion, divide the by heavy fines, was prohibited by a proclamation king from his subjects, or excite any factions " Neal's History of the Puritans; Baxter, Life; Hetherington's
tona, among the people, contrary to the League and
Hist. West. Assem.
condign punishment. But the right of persecuting | Roman Catholics, and especially their priests and every sect opposed to Presbyterianism, and sub- the Jesuits, were still exposed to persecution, but duing their recusancy by the sword, was opposed it was as the friends of a foreign ecclesiastical desin the Westminster Assembly by the Indepen- potism; and the Protestant bishops and Episcopal dents and Erastians, and decisively rejected by clergy were closely watched, and harshly treated, the parliament. As yet, the great principle of as the adherents of monarchical rule. Atheism toleration was but beginning to dawn upon the was punished, and all persons were required to Christian world, and the sect that had been per- attend some place of worship. Every outrage secuted to-day were as ready to become the per- / against religion was also punished, such as profansecutors of to-morrow, when their own hour had ity, vice, blasphemy, and the holding of opinions arrived. From this general charge, indeed, the that tended to dissolve society; and trading, travelIndependents were beginning to be an honour-ling, or frequenting of taverns on the Sabbath, able exception; and in the notices of Baillie, who were made punishable by fine or imprisonment. was one of the commissioners to the assembly In this way Presbyterianism had commencer from the Church of Scotland, we find how greatly the battle of civil and religious liberty, achieved the Presbyterians were annoyed by this new the overthrow of Episcopacy, and established itphase of Christian liberality. “While Cromwell self in the room of the gorgeous church which it is here," he writes on one occasion, “the House had supplanted. But in a great national revoluof Commons, without the least advertisements to tion it frequently happens, that those by whom it any of us, or of the assembly, passes an order has been effected are succeeded by actors still that the grand committee of both houses, assem- more violent and impetuous, by whom the change bly and us (the Scottish Presbyterians], shall con- is pushed to an extreme, and the country presider of the means to unite us and the Indepen- pared for a reaction. And such was the fate of dents; or, if that be found impossible, to see how Presbyterianism in England, of which a very they may be tolerated. This has much affected few years witnessed the triumph and the downlus. These men have retarded the assembly these fall. In the great strife between the two rival twelve long months." And again: “But their parties, the political moderation of the Presbygreatest plot, wherewith we are wrestling, is anterians was out of season, and in the question order of the House of Commons, contrived by which was narrowed to despotism or a repuloMr. Solicitor (Oliver St. John) and Mr. Marshall, lic, their views of a limited monarchy, which which they got stolen through to the committee were afterwards to form the base of the British of lords, commons, and divines, which treated constitution, were regarded as pusillanimous ani! with us to consider of differences in point of tame. More thorough-going men and fiercer exchurch government which were among the mem- tremes were in greater accordance with the spirit bers of the assembly, if they might be agreed; of the age and the character of the struggle, and or if not, how far tender consciences might be these accordingly were found in the Indepenborne with, which could not come up to the com- dents, and the wild sects which Independency mon rule to be established, that so the proceedings had produced. It was by the army and its of the assembly might not be retarded. This matchless leader that Presbytery as well as moorder presently gave us the alarm; we saw it was narchy was overthrown; and the change of the for a toleration of the Independents, by act of army from Presbyterian to Independent can be parliament, before the Presbytery or any com- easily traced in the history of the day. At first, mon rule were established.” In another passage the soldiers were men of the Covenant, and they Baillie acknowledges the liberal forbearance of fought merely for a rational limitation of the these Independents, but only to condemn it: kingly power, not its absolute extinction. Each “They plead,” he writes, “for a toleration to other regiment also had its Presbyterian chaplain, who sects, as well as to themselves; and with much marched to the field with his parishioners. But ado could we get them to propose what they de- after the battle of Edgehill and the re-modelling sired to [for] themselves. At last they did give of the army, when wild sectaries were poured us a paper requiring expressly a full toleration into the ranks and more decisive measures adoptof congregations, in their way everywhere sepa- ed, these clergymen, finding themselves out of rate from ours." Thus, though the Presbyterian place, retired to their peaceful cures. “This fatal church government was established, it was not accident," the historian of Puritanism observes, without a long struggle, and with it was estab- "proved the ruin of the cause in which the parlished what it had so zealously opposed — the liament were engaged; for the army being destitoleration of every class of Nonconformists. Even tute of chaplains, who might have restrained the where exceptions were made, it was rather in re- irregularities of their zeal, the officers set up for ference to the political perversity, than the reli- preachers in their several regiments, depending gious errors of those who were excepted. The upon a kind of miraculous assistance of the
Divine Spirit, without any study or preparation; sanctification in those whom they examined, and and when their imaginations were beated, they somewhat too lax in their admission of unlearted cave vent to the most crude and undigested ab- , and erroneous men that favoured Antinomianism curdities. Nor did the evil rest there; for, from or Anabaptism, yet, to give them their due, they preaching at the head of their regiments, they did abundance of good to the church. They saved took possession of the country pulpits where many a congregation from ignorant, ungodly, they were quartered, till at length they spread | drunken teachers-the sort of men that intended the infection over the whole nation, and brought no more in the ministry than to say a sermon as the regular ministry into contempt."! The mili. readers say their common prayers, and to patch tary successes of such an army soon turned the up a few words together to talk the people asleep scale in the House of Commons, where the Inde- with on Sunday, and all the rest of the week to pendents acquired a large majority; and as a go with them to the ale-house, and harden thema political power, Presbyterianism may be said to in their sin; and that sort of ministers that eitber have terminated its existence in England with preached against a holy life, or preached as men the execution of the king.
that never were acquainted with it. All those But although the triumph of Independency had who used the ministry but as a common trade to been so signal, its reign was brief. Its history, live by were never likely to convert a soul: ali however, is so fully impersonated in that of the these they usually rejected; and in their stead Commonwealth, that the subject may be wound they admitted any that were able, serious preachup with a few brief notices. Toleration was the ers, and lived a godly life, of what tolerable order of the day during the protectorate; and this opinion soever they were. So that, though there principle was the more easily observed, that no were many of them somewhat partial for the Inexclusively established church existed. In the dependents, Separatists, Fiftb Monarchy Men, and present state of things, indeed, such an establish- Anabaptists, and against the Prelatists and Arment would have been impossible, where the su- minians, so great was the benefit above the hurt perior numbers and wealth of the Presbyterians which they brought to the church, that many were counterpoised by the military strength and thousands of souls blessed God for the faithful political influence of the Independents. The pa- ministers whom they let in, and grieved when rish churches therefore throughout England, al- the Prelatists afterwards cast them out again." though occupied in greatest measure by Presby- Hitherto we have confined our notice chiefly to terian incumbents, were also, in many cases, held the Presbyterians, and their rivals the Indepenbuy Independent ministers, or even by sectaries of dents, the two leading forms in which the Eog a less orderly description, while several were still lish Puritanism was manifested when the great retained by their old Episcopal possessors. Even struggle for civil and religious liberty had comgifted laymen, who were supposed either by menced. It was impossible, however, when the themselves or others to possess in an especial spirit of inquiry was abroad, that it would comidegree the powers requisite for teachers of re- tent itself with such limitations; and although ligion, found the pulpits open to their entrance. the sectaries were numerous, they were also cont The evils of this state of things, however, were paratively little known, until the re-modelling of so obvious, that in March, 1653, Cromwell ap the army called them from obscurity, and the pointed a “Board of Triers," consisting of thirty- universal toleration gave them full liberty of aeeight members, and composed of Presbyterians, tion. One of the wonders of the age was, that Independents, and Baptists, to limit the assump- an army composed of such strange and discurtion and correct the abuses of the ministerial dant elements, could be so coherently and firmly office, by testing the qualifications of those who united; that preaching generals and praying or held it. This board continued in office until the expounding captains could be such wise effective death of Cromwell, when it was annihilated at leaders, and brave chivalrous warriors; and that the Restoration; and although much ridicule was such mystagogues as Vane, Cromwell, and others, afterwards thrown upon the institution, yet the whose religious views were apparently income services of these triers were of substantial and hensible, and their rhapsodies unintelligible eren lasting benefit. This we learn from the impartial by themselves, should yet have seen so clearly, testimony of Baxter, who disowned their com and acted so wisely and calmly, when great pe mission, and was regarded by them as an enemy. litical interests were at stake. But the history “The truth is," he says, "that though their au- of the sectarianism of the period is too important thority is null, and though some few over-busy as well as too multifarious for a passing nota, and over-rigid Independents among them were and may therefore be deferred to the period of too severe against all that were Arminians, and the Restoration, in which it still continued in too particular in inquiring after evidences of active exercise. 1 Neal, ii. 356.
? Reliquice Bazteriana: London, 1688.
CHAPTER XIX.-HISTORY OF SOCIETY.
FROM THE ACCESSION OF JAMES I. (A.D. 1603), TO THE RESTORATION (A.D. 1660).
Change produced in England by the Reformation-Rise of Puritanisn-Twofold character of English society at
this period through religious diversities Effects of Puritaniem upon the military spirit-Contrast between the Puritan and royalist soldiers at the close of the Civil war-Slow progress of English commerce— Trading companies of the period— Banking-Postage and post-offices, Agriculture-Rural life-Rapid increase of the London population-Causes of the increase-Attempts to check it-Growth of London-Population of its different districts-Great resort of St. Paul's Walk-Other places of public concourse-Places of private assignation and festivity-Coarseness and discomfort of metropolitan life-Hackney coaches--Complaints against them- Fashionable life in London-Its style illustrated by Lady Compton's letter-Attendants and retinues of noble families-Dress-Costume of gentlemen-Extravagant dresses of the royal favouritesLove-locks- Beards-Ornaments-Military foppery-Patches introduced by military pretenders-Coxcombry -Contrast to the prevalent fashions in the dress and manners of the Puritans-Effects of London fashions op the rural gentry- Receipt for converting a country squire into a town gentleman-The mercantile community
-Their manners and mode of living—Their martial spirit at the commencement of the Civil war-Alsatians and bullies—Highwaymen of the period—London thieves and cut-purses--Onerous duties of the London magistrates—Domestic life of the period-Cookery-Increase of intemperance in drinking-A state banquet and masque of James I. and the King of Denmark--Sports of the period-Aversion of King James to military sports-Masques-Active sports-London ainusements-Games of the lower orders—Cromwell's encouragement of manly sports—Commencement of coach-driving as an English amusement-Introduction of the regular drama into England--London play-houses—Their rude and naked condition—Their days and hours for meeting-A play-house audience of the period-Criticism of the theatre and mode of its expression-EducationStudy of philosophy added to that of languages-Cultivation of the fine arts promoted by Charles I.-Military exercises a part of education-Education finished by travelling-Restrictions imposed on English touristsProgress of the national literature-Dramatic poetry-Early dramatic writers—Marlow--Shakspeare-Chief events in his life-The Mermaid Club-Ben Jonson-Beaumont and Fletcher-Massinger-Webster-Heywood -The stage suppressed by the Puritans-Puritan poets--Cavalier poets-Literary and scientific men of the period-Eminent churchmen-Distinguished Scotchmen of the period—Sir William Drummond-Napier of Merchiston-David Calderwood-Robert Baillie-Alexander Henderson, &c.
as we have already seen, the ad- | try, feudal tyranny, and regal oppression, were v ent of the Reformation, which so all successively overtaken by the irresistible on
greatly changed the political and set; and each in turn was compelled to yield, K l moral aspect of Europe, had an or submit to be crushed and exterminated. It
especially powerful effect upon the needed, indeed, no peculiarly prophetic sagacity
condition of England. There it to foresee such a consequence, let the teachers, found a congenial soil, and soon took root and legislators, and rulers of the nation be what they flourished. The character of the people—so re- might, or act as they pleased. The first step in flective and stable--50 intrepid in investigation this great march of emancipation was the reand so eager for progress--was better adapted jection of Peter’s-pence; the last, that of shipfor the doctrines of Luther and the Reformers money; and the latter act was nothing more than than even the countries in which they had ori- a natural consequence of the former. The king ginated; and hence England quickly became, as might easily have guessed that he scarcely could it has ever since continued to be, beyond all succeed where even a pontiff had failed. others, a Protestant country. In such a condi- The most important episode in this general protion, something more than merely the religious gress is formed by the history of English Purifaith of the people was certain to be changed and tanism. At the commencement of the Reformaimproved. The ardent spirit of inquiry, now tion in England, the royal power that would fully aroused, instead of confining itself to theo- have been inadequate to arrest the movement, logical investigations, advanced into the prin- more wisely resolved to head it, and both Henry ciples of government, law, literature, and social VIII. and his illustrious daughter stood forth as progress; and in each of these departments the the crowned and anointed champions of Proteseffete or the time-honoured corruptions of past tantism. This support, however, was not to be ages, were assailed by the same mighty out- vouchsafed for nought, and, accordingly, in forburst that had shaken the seven-hilled City to mulating the new Protestant church in England, its foundation, and swept its dominion from our the reforming sovereigns took care of their own island. Monastic superstition, mediæval pedan- | interests by moulding it into a monarchy of which