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and by one of their own writers, Princes derive their power and prerogative from the people, are invested with authority for the people's benefit, and must be so restrained that they may not violate the people's liberty.' The novelty of these opinions was constantly urged against their defenders; to deny the divine right of kings, was to insult the orthodoxy of ages. Thus did civil liberty league itself with Puritanism and dissent, till to deny the ecclesiastical authority of the monarch, and to claim the political rights of the subject, became one and the same thing.

The reign of Elizabeth was little friendly to the cause of truth and freedom; but truth and freedom still made silent and steady progress. The liberal and the learned had before begun to recognize the right of private judgment, and Tindall had said, "The New Testament of Christ will not suffer any law of compulsion, but only of counsel and exhortation;" || "but now," Sir John Hayward affirms, "all the best writers of the age declare that religion is of power sufficient for itself, that it must be persuaded, not enforced."¶

Where can contempt find words to do justice to Elizabeth's successor? Proud, pharisaical, insolent, intolerant, a solemn, self-complacent fool, without true dignity or generous virtue. High hopes were, indeed, excited when he came to the throne, but the day had not yet arrived which Hooper had so fondly and so vainly welcomed half a century before," when persecution in matters of religion should cease, and the first and chief right of human nature, that of following the dictates of conscience in the service of God be secured to all men; our country freed (and for ever) from that worst part of popery, the spirit of persecution." **.

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A general conviction pervaded the nation of the necessity of going on with the work of Reformation; and I have no doubt that the enthusiasm and rejoicings which welcomed James to his kingly inheritance, cited by the expectation that he would listen favourably to the prayers of the Puritans. He had applied to Elizabeth for the release of Cartwright and other Puritan ministers, and had often railed most intemperately against English Episcopacy; but things were altered now. He had discovered that church authority is the best and safest ally of civil despotism. The Puritans were not disposed to feed his vanity by the sacrifice of their principles, and he even took a decided part against them. "No bishop, no king," became his favourite state maxim.

The Stuarts have been singularly unfortunate in all their systems of church government. The attempt of James to introduce Episcopacy into Scotland, caused his influence there to totter; and his intolerance to the Puritans served only to increase the tide of Nonconformity, which ere long overwhelmed his family. He might, no doubt, have easily conciliated the majority of the Puritans, who, in the millenary petition, declare they "Neither as factious men affect a popular party in the church, nor as schismatics aim at the dissolution of the state ecclesiastical:"§ but he chose to pursue and to recommend a different system, and the consequence was, (to use Dr. Fuller's words,) that "Nonconformity, which was born at Frankfort, in the reign of Queen Mary, under Queen Elizabeth was in its childhood, grew in King James's time to be a good tall stripling, and under Charles the First, it became so strong a man as to unhorse its opposite, prelacy, and to get into the saddle."

*Speed, p. 1221. Hume, C. xlv.

Neal, Vol. II. C. i. pp. 2, 3. Calderwood's History, p. 257; where he gives a long speech of James's to the Scotch Presbytery, in which our royal polemic thanks heaven that he was 66 King of the sincerest church in the world;" and his hearers were so delighted, "that nothing was heard for half an hour, but praising God and praying for the king."

See also, What the Independents would have." P. 2.

James seems to have appointed the absurdly called "Conference" at Hampton Court, that he might have the contemptible satisfaction of heap. ing upon the Puritans a series of contumelious insults insults which they could not escape and dared not resent. It is impossible, however, to believe that they consented to intrust their cause to the courtly advocates who were feigned to represent them at this meeting. True it is, that the nonconforming doctors did not attempt to win over the weak monarch with the gross and idolatrous flattery which the bishops employed; yet Reynolds did not scruple to admit the royal disputant's supremacy, and Sparke afterwards wrote to persuade the Puritans to submit to the ecclesiastical authority of the king. James took this opportunity of abusing Presbyterian principles, (which in 1590 he declared he would ever support,) and told his hearers that "a Scottish Presbytery agrees as well with monarchy as God and the devil." He said to the bishops that he knew what would become of his supremacy" if he let the Puritans get the upper hand, and asserted that the church had better want the labours of ministers, however learned and pious, than suffer her orders to be broken by their Nonconformity. He assured them, he had disliked the opinions of the Puritans ever since he was ten years old, and that he "had determined to have only one doctrine and one discipline, one religion in substance and in ceremony." After repeatedly interrupting the Puritan ministers, and dictating most dogmatically to them, he had the impudence to exclaim, "If this be all your party hath to say, I will make them conform themselves, or else I will harrie them out of the land, or else do worse;" (Mrs. Macaulay adds, I know not her authority,) "only hang them, that's all." At the end of the discussions, James cried out, "Let them conform, and that shortly, or they shall hear of it." The Catholic Hudibras says, ||

During the discussions, the mitred advocates requested the king to remember that it was an old decree of the church, that "no schismatics should be heard against their bishops."


England's Reformation, Vol. I. p.

"His other arguments were few, Some think but one and some say two, If three, the last a curled brow; For his 'I will,'-aud 'I will not,' When with an awful forehead put, When all the bishops' logic fail'd.” 'Gainst Reynolds and the Whigs prevail'd,

James was so delighted with the result of the Conference, that he wrote, to one of his Scottish correspondents, (Mr. Blake,) "The Puritans so fled from argument to argument without giving me any direct answer, (ut est eorum moris,) that I was forced to tell them, that if they had not disputed better when boys, their master would have applied the rod to their but


Noble triumph! of “infallible artillery" over an adversary bound hand and foot. The high party had anticipated the result of these assemblies, when they asked the "Homunciones miserrimi" how they dared dispute before so wise and learned a king.‡ This is in something of a similar spirit to that manifested by the “victorious party" during the debate, who (seeing their opponents alarmed at the threats of the king,) defined a Puritan to be "a Protestant frightened out of his wits." §

Some efforts were made by the liberal Dr. Rudd, at the Convocation in 1604, to obtain a candid construc tion for the motives, and a toleration for the opinions "of those very many learned men whose consciences (he said) were not in our custody, nor to be disposed of at our devotion," || but in vain. Far from encouraging any of the great principles of Protestantism, the bias of the king's mind was decidedly towards Popery, and he would willingly have made not a few concessions to have again introduced it into his kingdom. ¶ And here be it allowed me to remark as a reason rather than an excuse for the neverconcealed hatred which the Puritans bore to the Papists, that the latter (besides being the advocates of intole rance and persecution) were disposed to allow unlimited power to the

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monarch in civil matters, and looked with malignant eyes and revengeful hearts, on those especially in whom the same spirit which had freed us from the Romish yoke, yet "lived and glowed." The love of despotic sway was the "family virtue" of the Stuarts, and those who would most patiently submit, and most unreservedly recommend submission, would be chosen of course for James's favourites and friends. Too high-minded to conceal, too virtuous lo abandon their convictions, the Puritans became the objects of his unrelenting severity. Extinct in others, they alone preserved and cherished the principles of the Reformation; they alone fostered and fanned the embers of Civil Liberty, and from among them its flame burst forth.


The whole of James's reign was a struggle between his arbitrary will and the growing liberality of the times. The Commons allowed the king to storm and talk most imperially of his omnipotence, while they constantly checked his absurd pretensions; and he was so annoyed by their resistance, that he recommends his son in his Basilicon Doron, to neglect parliaments as much as possible. Blind and baneful council! yet not more so than the intolerant advice with respect to the Nonconformists:

language held by the high party, of which I shall give you another example from the works of oue of the king's favourite authors, who recommended him to become independent, and to make laws without consulting any parliament. "They (the Puritans) pretend gravity, reprehend severely, speake gloriously, and all in hypocrisie ; they daily invent new opinions and run from error to error; their wilfulness they account constancy; their deserved punishment persecution.

a beast proud without learning, presumptuous without authority, zealous without knowledge, holy without religion, and in briefe a most dangerous and malicious hypocrite, and was therefore banished from amongst us in Queen Elizabeth's days, but now deserve it farre better, being more dangerous because more numerous."

James's controversy with Vorstius + well illustrates his character. He was hunting when Vorstius's book, De Deo, was brought to him, but within an hour after receiving it he hurried off an ambassador to the Hague with a catalogue of the heretical propositions he had discovered in the volume. § He hinted that the States would do well to burn the "wretched Vorstius;" || and sent messenger after messenger till he had obtained his expatriation. James published a book on the subject, as "Defender of the faith," ¶ which Vorstius answered with temper and with respect. James in the latter part of his

* Dr. Cowell, C. xv. p. 212.

Bayle says he died a Socinian, a fact worth the trouble of ascertaining. In the decree of the Dort Synod, which drove him from the professor's chair at Leyden, they charge him with "clandestinely open

"Take heed therefore (my sonne) of such Puritanes, very pests in church and state, whom no deserts can oblige, neither oaths nor promises bind, breathing nothing but sedition and calumuies, aspiring without measure, railing without reason, and making their own imaginations (without any warrant of the word) the square of their conscience. I protest before the great God, and since I am here as upon my testament, it is no place for me to ly in, that you shall never finding a gate to instil the wicked and impious in any highland or borderer thieves, greater ingratitude, and more lyes and vile perjuryes, than with these phanaticall spirits, and suffer them not to brooke your land, if you like to sit at rest, except you would keep them for trying your patience, as Socrates did an evil wife."§ Such was the

Rapin, 321. Hume, xlv.-xlviii.
P. 28. 8vo. Edition.

Basilicon Doron. 8vo. Edition, 41, 42. See also his "Letter to all Christian Monarchs," &c. p. 45.

heresies of Socinus and others, and consequently to seduce and deceive the world under the specious pretext of a search for truth." "The disciples of Socinus," says the British ambassador, " do seeke him for their master, and are ready to embrace him."

See the King's account of the matter in the Declaration, pp. 3-8. 4to. 1612. Declaration, p. 20, "No heretic ever deserved burning better."


Declaration, pp. 4 and 23, James calls Vorstius "a prodigious monster,' 99.66 viper," "a pestilent heretic," ""a blasphemous monster."

life, however, leagued with the Arminians, and became (if not a Catholic) an Arminian himself; but here he declares that "Arminianism is a newborn heresy, an atheism damnable to the hell from whence it came, and if tolerated God's malediction would fall on the tolerators."

The king's intemperance was perhaps surpassed by his treachery. On one occasion he requested that a deputation of ten Puritans might attend the council. They had no sooner appeared than he committed them to prison.

I have lingered much longer than I intended on this period of history, because a system was pursued which it was vainly hoped would effect the extinction of a noble and increasing body of Christians and Patriots, who were rescuing their country from slavery and their religion from corruption; and in order to shew how wrong an estimate had been formed by the king of the character of the Puritans, and how mistaken and absurd was the system of coercion he pursued for their extirpation. His conduct was not induced by a dread of schism, "the ecclesiastical scare-crow," (as Mr. Hales calls it,) but by an impatience of contradiction, a love of despotic sway, and a barbarous notion of his prerogative. During his reign the principles of freedom made wonderful way, and prepared the storm which burst over his successor. Knight, in a sermon preached before the University of Oxford, in 1622, maintained, "that a monarch might lawfully be opposed by force if he acted tyrannically, if he imposed into ierable burdens, forced blasphemy or idolatry on his people, or encroached on their liberties and rights of conscience." §

Charles before he came


to the

Winwood's Memorials, II. 36, 48.

Whatever James was thought of at home, he seems to have been thoroughly despised abroad. Rapin gives the following jeu d'esprit as circulated on the continent:

Tandis qu' Elizabeth fut Roy
L'Anglais fut d'Espagne l'effroi ;
Maintenant devise et caquette
Regi par la Reine Jaquette.
Neal, II. 136.

throne, had (like James) given the
Puritaus great reason
better days. He had often expressed
to hope for
his disgust at the lewd and drunken
habits of his father, and had appeared
to respect and honour the rigidity of
morals and attention to their ecclesias-
astical duties, which even Burnet
admits distinguished the Puritans;
but if history had only brought down
to us the characters of Buckingham,
Strafford and Laud, and told us they
were the advisers and the favourites
of this unhappy monarch, enough
would have been recorded to stamp
his character "with blackest shame."
It did, indeed, but too soon appear
that there was no way left of purifying
the church, but by revolutionizing
the government; and it was prophe-
tically said

"When God shall purge the land with
Woe be to the crown, woe be to the
soap and nitre,
mitre." t

"And truly herein we glory and
'twill turn to our everlasting honour
with our adversaries' good leave reckon
dication of the laws and liberties of
that our ministers undertook the vin-
their country." Whether Burke is
right in calling Protestant Dissent
pretend not to determine. Thus much
"an uniformly democratic system,"§ I
at least I may venture to say, that it is
freedom and the dignity of man, and
a system friendly to the rights and the
with liberty and with patriotism.
has almost universally leagued itself

of the kingly authority gave utterance
If we expect that the breaking up
disappointed. We find in the wri-
to the spirit of liberty, we shall not be
tings of the Independents of this
period, sentiments which would do
honour to any cause and to any age.
"There have been more books writ,
(says Edwards, ¶) sermons preached,

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words spoken, besides plottings and actings for a toleration within these last few years than for all other things. Every day now brings forth books for a toleration." Cromwell was the zealous advocate of the rights of conscience. In 1649, he applied to parliament in behalf of the army for the removal of the penal laws which affected religious opinion; the cousequence of which was, a declaration that "they would remove all acts and ordinances coercive in matters of conscience." In 1650, when the Scottish Presbyterians objected to toleration, Cromwell replied to them, "Your pretended fear lest error should step in, is like the man who would keep all the wine out of the country, lest men should be drunk. It will be found an unjust and unwise jealousy to deny a man the liberty he hath by nature, on the supposition that he may abuse it. When he doth abuse it, then judge." Cromwell's favourite preachers (such as the Goodwins, Caryl and Hugh Peters) were the constant champions of religious liberty, and generous sentiments were now commonly expressed, which it is delightful and may be profitable to dwell upon. §

John Goodwin says, "The persecution of saints, the rough handling of tender consciences, the lifting up of religion on a sword's point, violenced conformities, conformities enforced, quenchings of proceedings in the knowledge of the truth, binding up judgments and consciences in synodical decrees these have

been the abhorrence of my former years as well as of my latter." He is

* Whitelocke, p. 405.
+ Ibid. p. 458.

If the language used towards the Papists be quoted as contradictory to the general spirit manifested by the Independents, let it be remembered that the Catholics were, and had uniformly been, a political party, holding, and prepared to vindicate by force, the most slavish and degrading doctrines. Their support of state tyranny was, I am persuaded, much more grating to the Puritans than any notions connected with the infallibility of the Pope. They were traitors to the cause of liberty, and this is unpardonable treason. Preface to Anapologesiates Antapologias, p. 49.

quite complacent amidst the abuse of those who contended against the claims of christian liberty. Errors, he tells them, they might no doubt find if they examined his creed or his character, but here they attacked him on his vantage ground, in the strong holds of reason and revelation. *

Joseph Caryl, after contending for the rights of conscience, thus proceeds: "Search the magazine of the gospel, bring out all the artillery, ammunition and weapons stored up there. Look out all the chains and fetters, whips and rods, which either the letter of the gospel or the everlasting equity of the law hath provided to bind error with, or for the back of heresy, let them all be employed and spare not."‡

John Saltmarsh, in his interesting tract, (Smoke in the Temple,) says, § "Scotland had the honour to awaken us first in the work of Reformation and liberty; but lest Scotland should be puffed up, England shall have the glory, I hope, to improve that liberty to a fuller light, which some would shut up in the narrowness of a Presbytery."

William Bartlett's "Model of a Congregational Way," is an admirable defence of the claims of conscience. He asserts, that "no man, no body of men have a right to dictate to any in matters of opinions, and that the apostles themselves were servants, and not heads of the church." ||

In a sermon preached by William Dell before the House of Commons, ¶ he maintained the tolerant principle to its full extent. This excited Prynne's indignation, who answered him in one of the most intolerant volumes that Papist or Presbyterian ever penned. **

In the writings of Jeremiah Burroughs, Thomas Goodwin, William Bridge and others of this period, will be found many interesting arguments

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