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III._DESCRIPTION OF THE PURITANS UNDER THE
COMMONWEALTH. - Before I proceed to an enumeration of the contents of Appendix D, which occupy the greater part of this volume, I will present the reader with a brief description of the race of men upon whose doctrines and practices I have ventured to animadvert. The term PurITANS is applied to those individuals who, during eighty years, dissented either mentally or practically from the rites and institutions of the Episcopal Church of England as established by law. But this extensive application of the name is rather inaccurate, on account of the complex nature of the scruples under which different classes of these Dissidents laboured. Some account of the early Puritans will occur in the second volume. That class of them who, soon after the Restoration, refused, on grounds somewhat novel, to unite with the National Church, and received the appellation of “ Nonconformists,” I do not pretend to describe. But my remarks are directed against those Predestinarian divines who, under a pretence of bringing the Church of England to a greater conformity wih the admired platform of Calvin, overturned both Church and State, Episcopacy and
They were a race of the Puritans entirely sui generis, distinct from their predecessors; for, with the exception of the Scotch Presbyterians, these reforming Christians commenced offensive operations, not as seceders from the Church, but as Calvinists. In a preceding note, (p. xliii,) it has been shewn how boldly two men, of the rival Predestinarian sects of Independents and Presbyterians, could each boast, that the divines who first engaged in that seditious enterprise were coNFORMABLE EPISCOPALIANS. The fact was in substance as they have related it, and I place it to the benefit of Archbishop Laud's character, who suffered such artful Nonconformists so long to shelter themselves under the wings of Conformity : Had he exercised those inquisitorial powers with which, it is allowed by all parties, he was then invested, he would have previously ferreted all those concealed Nonconformists out of their fastnesses, and would have compelled them to appear in their real colours. But the persons “ with whom he had to do," were full of artifice and design. In all European countries, wherever the doctrines of Calvin obtained countenance and support, they were invariably accompanied by a love for the platform of his ecclesiastical discipline, which was extolled by his zealous adherents as the sole means of rendering his evangelical doctrines fruitful and prosperous. Such encouragement had doctrinal Calvinism received in England under the injudicious administration of Archbishop Abbot; and a secret relish for “the holy discipline of Geneva" was consequently created. When, therefore, under the circumstances related in the succeeding pages, (242-.357,) the Scots, who had embraced Calvinism both in its doctrine and discipline, made a hostile irruption into England, they found their Predestinarian friends “on this side the Tweed” prepared to give them a welcome reception. In the subsequent warm work of Reformation, the English Calvinists, though almost universally nominal Conformists, had little to sacrifice in renouncing Episcopacy and in ranging themselves, according to their several inclinations or opportunities, under the banners of Independency and Presbyterianism. From the eventful year of 1640, Episcopacy became the test by which to ascertain Arminians and Calvinists,—the former, with scarcely a single exception, adhering to “their Bishops and their King,”—and the latter deserting both, and arming themselves against their lawful authority. A few Calvinists, very few indeed, also adhered to Episcopacy and Monarchy; but a favourable change in their doctrinal sentiments was generally the consequence of this laudable attachment, and they became followers either of Camero or of Arminius: An instance of this salutary alteration of principle will be found (page 707) in good Bishop Hall, who begun at length to think, that even the Arminians could not be “righteous over much,” — a crime with which he had foolishly charged them in his remarkable sermon before the Synod of Dort. Thus did Episcopacy continue to divide Calvinists from Ar. minians during the twenty years of Predestinarian misrule, till in the year 1662 it was constituted, accidentally and not by design, a more efficient test of those who professed the doctrines of Particular or of General Redemption. (See page 788.) The rigid Calvinists then almost unanimously became Nonconformists; and the more moderate Predestinarians, with nearly all the Arminians, took refuge under Episcopacy.
This view of the English Calvinists or Puritans, the only one historically correct, is commonly ill-received by their admirers ; and I have frequently read, in other authors, such ex-parte and palliative sentences as the following by the Rev. Thomas Scott: “ Among those who adhered to the royal party and to the Estab“ lished Church in her abject state, even the faults and successes r of the Puritans, Presbyterians, and Independents, were argu“ ments, (and indeed they still are so,) against Calvinism : So “ that, without studying the subject, they becaine more and " more Anti-calvinistic, by a sort of heart-revolting* against
• The Divines described by Mosheim, in a subsequent page, (790,) as converts to Arminianism during the inter-regnum, (among whom are numbered Archbishop Tillotson, Bishops Stillingfileet, Burnet, Pearson, Womack, Sanderson, &c., Drs. Cudworth, Pierce, and several others, the memory of whom is deservedly held in high estimation,) can by no means be said “not to have studied the subject :” Their works, on the contrary, prove their very accurate acquaintance with the contending principles of Arminius and Calvin.
That these eminent individuals, and hundreds besides of less consideration, were induced to change their religious principles by no secular interests what
“ principles, which, they erroneously supposed, had produced « these terrible effects. (I say erroneously; for, except among a “ few honest but undiscerning men, and a company of wild “ enthusiasts, religion, as to the leaders in these tragical scenes, “ was merely the pretence: And if the nation had been divided “ into zealots for Popery, and for Mohammedism, the designing “ sagacious leaders would have known how to avail themselves of s their prejudices, and the event would have been nearly the “ same; as the affairs of the late twenty years on the Continent “ may evince. However that may be, at the Restoration a large “ majority of the Clergy, who kept their stations in the Church, “ or who succeeded to those which became vacant, were Anti“ Calvinistic, and have continued so to this day.” .
Several assertions in this paragraph require explanation. The principles” of Calvinism are here said “to be erroneously supposed to have produced the terrible effects” of the Civil Wars, and the dreadful subversion of Church and State. In pages 210-20, I have shewn, in as brief and inoffensive manner as possible, the Genevan origin of these destructive principles, and how far Calvin, Beza, Paræus, Buchanan, and Knox were involved in this crimination. But the fairest and most unexceptionable method of deciding this matter will be, by the testimony of Milton, the defender of the Regicides. In his “ Tenure of Kings and Magistrales," published in the very year in which his Majesty was murdered, Milton defends that foul deed and the general proposition of the right of the people against their tyrants, by quotations from Calvin and his followers. This circumstance roused the indignation of the celebrated Alexander More, (better known by his Latin name MORUS,) who had been educated at Geneva, and who, both as a Calvinist and as the son of a Scotchman, attempted in 1652 to wipe off the foul aspersion, in his Regii Sanguinis Clamor ad Cælum adversus Parricidas Anglicanos. To this futile attempt Milton replied in 1654, by his Pro Populo Anglicano Defensio Secunda, and unceremoniously decided that part of the controversy in the following manner: "I have at greater length
ever, but by “ a sort of heart-revolting against principles which had produced these terrible effects," _is not very wonderful : But the greatest matter of wonder is, that, in the warmth of their “ heart-revolting," they did not recede still further from the principles of the Puritans, and run into the opposite extreme. Of those Divines whom I have designated by name, Burnet, Pearson, and Cud. worth, retained all the least objectionabie parts of their former system, and may be justly styled, “ Evangelical Arminians.”
The only correct sentence in the whole extract from the Rev. Thomas Scott, is the last, in which he properly says : “ At the Restoration, a large majority 66 of the Clergy, who kept their stations in the Church, or who succeeded to those “which became vacant, were Anti-Calvinistic, and have continued so to this “ day.”—This is a fact, for which Mr. Scott is evidently at a loss to account, but which receives ample confirmation from the remarks in pages 788 and 803.
taught this doctrine, [the rights of the People against their Tyrants,] in that book which is entituled in our vernacular language, The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates. In that work, passages are quoted, even verbatim, from Luther,* ZUINGLIUS, Calvin, Buceo, MARTYR, PARÆUS, and lastly from Knox, “whom,' you say, “I • indicate as a Scotchman, [unum Scotum, 7 and whom all the Cal'vinists of that age, and especially the Reformed in France, con
demned in that particular. But, on the contrary, Knox, as is there related, affirms, that he had derived the doctrine from • Calvin,' whom he specifies by name, and from others of the
principal Divines of that age with whom he lived in habits of • intimate friendship.'” Whatever may have been Milton's early prepossessions in favour of Calvinism, it is certain that he was cured of it during the Inter-regnum; and the forth-coming posthumous publication of this great man on Religion will probably teach us, more particularly, the mode of religious belief which he afterwards embraced. But he was too good a casuist not to know, that the rash and unscriptural sayings of the Genevan Fathers would reconcile many of their disciples, in Great Britain and on the Continent, to the infamous deed of the regicides; and, notwithstanding the partial and politic clamour raised in a few quarters by the Calvinists, the event proved Milton's artful mode of defence to have been exceedingly palatable to a vast majority of that party. A convincing evidence of this latter fact is seen in the restricted sale and confined circulation of the pamphlets published by Sal. masius, Morus, and other loyal writers on the Continent.
Another of Mr. Scott's assertions is, that “except among a “ few honest but undiscerning men and a company of wild enthu“ siasts, religion, as to the leaders in these tragical scenes, was “ merely the pretence.” In pages 729, 562—3, I have given expression to my own views of the character of this unchristian enterprize; and have shewn, (pp. 242-308,)that it was a general Calvinistic crusade against Arminianism and Episcopacy. Mr. Scott ought to have specified more particularly the persons whom he intended to comprise under this appellation, “the leaders in these tragical scenes ;" for, on examiration, it will be found, that the principal “leaders” were Calvinistic pastors. If a modern divine of their persuasion choose to call them, as Mr. Scott has here done, “a few honest but undiscerning men," I am afraid his epithets will not be relished by some of his better-informed Predestinarian brethren; because the charge of want of discernment will apply to such champions in the cause, as Simeon Ashe, Samuel Annesley, John Arrowsmith, Robert Baylie, Samuel Bolton, John Bond, Oliver Bowles, Thomas Brooks, C. and A. Burgess, Ed. mund Calamy, T. and W. Carter, Joseph Caryl, Francis Cheynet, John Conant, William Cradock, John Dury, George Gillespie, Thomas Goodwin, William Gouge, John Green, Alexander Hens derson, William Jenkyns, John Lightfoot, Christopher Love, Thomas Manton, Stephen Marshall, Matthew Newcomen, John Owen, Herbert Palmer, Edward Reynolds, Samuel Rutherford, Henry Scudder, (). and W. Sedgwick, William Spurstowe, Edward Stanton, Peter Sterry, Francis Taylor, Thomas Thorowgood, Anthony Tuckney, Richard Vines, Thomas Watson, and John White. These are only a few of the very eminent and clever men, who, as Preachers before the Long Parliament, alternately ericouraged the readiness and chided the tardiness of both Houses, in perfecting the Calvinistic “ Reformation,” and who are generały, and in most cases very justly, admired for other productions than their sermons before the reforming Senators. If to these, we add the many equally clever individuals whose Parliamentarian discourses were not sufficiently “heart-searching” to entitle them to the honour of publication, who were efficient members of the Assembly of Divines, or who employed their youthful talents in composing treatises to forward the grand design, we shall have a list of some of the greatest divines who have graced the Annals of Protestant Diesenters. Now, it would, in more senses than one, be too great an abuse of language to style these men “undiscerning ;" for they possessed discernment enough to keep their own interests in sight, and to cry aloud whenever, in their apprehension, those interests were compromised or impugned. But though I should be afraid of calling them “undiscerning,” I consider the epithet “honest," if applied without restriction to the whole of those whom I have specified by name, to be a still greater misnomer. The flexible principles and unjustifiable acts of some of them, during the twenty years of Calvinian misrule, have exposed their names to merited execration: Respecting such ministers of the gospel, the language which I have employed concerning one of their number, (p. 382,) will not, when all the facts are taken into consideration, appear unjust: “It was a happy circumstance, both for them« selves and mankind, that they were soon afterwards compelled “ to retire from public life, and had abundant leisure afforded “ them of amending their ways; and that they were lett to lay a « less exceptionable foundation for fame in the composition of « works of piety." Several of those productions of their mature years I have read with admiration, and to my great personal benefit; and so far am I from cherishing any personal pique against them or their subsequent labours, that I have frequently blessed God for having « put it into the heart of these His servants” to compose works of such sterling worth and importance.' -But, after all this concession, I am persuaded, my readers will too soon be convinced, that the individuals whom Mr. Scott has
* Milton places LUTHER's name in the front of the Predestinarian supporters of his licentious doctrine. But though the great German Reformer was, early in life, sufficiently imprudent both as a politician and a divine, (p. 158,) yet, it will be seen, (p. 730,) that in his mature years his sentiments concerning lawful resistance were entirely changed.