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habits.--That no one be allowed to preach without perfect conformity.—And that no preacher shall maintain any point of doctrine not allowed by the church of England.” The distressed puritans felt the iron rod of their cruel K.'"; in various parts of the country. Messrs. Ball, icholls, Paget, and many others, in the diocese of Chester, were often cited before the high commission, when attachments were issued to apprehend them, and commit them to prison. They were obliged to conceal themselves, and heavy fines were laid upon them for their nonappearance, and were aggravated from one court day to another; till their case was returned into the exchequer, when, to their unspeakable injury, they were obliged to compound. Mr. Bradshaw had his house searched by the bishops’ pursuivants, and he was suspended. Mr. John Wilkinson was several times spoiled of his goods, and kept many years in prison by the furious prelates. Mr. Hildersham was suspended a fourth and a fifth time. He was afterwards summoned before the high commission, and, refusing the oath er officio, committed first to the Fleet, then to the King's-bench, where he continued a long time. Having obtained his liberty, he was censured in the ecclesiastical court, upon the most glaring false witness, and fined £2,000, pronounced excommunicate, degraded from his ministry, ordered to be taken and cast into prison, required to make a public recantation in such form as the court should appoint, and condemned in costs of suit. His two friends, Mr. Dighton and Mr. Holt, being committed, one to the Fleet, the other to the Gatehouse, were fined 2610,000 each, excommunicated, ordered to be publicly denounced, to make their submission in three different places, condemned in costs of suit, and sent back to prison. The learned Mr. John Selden, for publishing his “History of Tithes,” was summoned before the high commission, and obliged to sign a recantation.* To prevent the growth of puritanism, the king, in the year 1618, published his “ Declaration for Sports on the Lord's-day,” commonly called the Book of Sports. It was procured by the bishops, and all ministers were enjoined to approve of it, and read it in the public congregations; and those who refused were brought into the high commission, suspended and imprisoned. “ It was designed,” says Bishop Kennet, “as a trap to catch, men of tender consciences, and as a means of promoting the ease, wealth and grandeur of the bishops.” The king, at the opening of the parliament in 1620, made this solemn declaration: “I mean,” said he, “ not to compel any man's conscience; for I ever protested against it. But his majesty soon forgot his own declaration; and to increase the distress of the puritans, he set forth his directions to all the clergy, forbidding them to preach on the deep points of controversy betwixt the Arminians and Calvinists. The puritans had hitherto suffered only for refusing the ceremonies, but now their doctrine itself became an offence. Most Calvinists were now excluded from court preferments. The way to rise in the church, was to preach up the absolute power of the king, to declaim against the rigours of Calvinism, and to speak favourably of popery. Those who scrupled were neglected, and denominated doctrinal puritans; but having withstood all the arbitrary proceedings adopted both in church and state, they will be esteemed by posterity, as the glory of the English nation.f Many of the puritans now groaned under the oppressive measures of the prelates. Mr. Collins was cast into prison for nonconformity. Though he was not suffered to preach in the churches, he preached to the malefactors in prison, and there procured himself a subsistence by correcting the press. Mr. Knight of Pembroke college, Oxford, was cited up to London, and committed to the Gatehouse. Mr. Peck having catechised his family, and sung a psalm in his own house, when several of his neighbours were present, they were all required by Bishop Harsnet to do penance and recant. Those who refused were immediately excommunicated and condemned in heavy costs. The citizens of Norwich afterwards complained of this cruel oppression to parliament. The celebrated Mr. Dod was often cited before the bishops, and was four times suspended. Mr. Whately was convened before the high commission, and required to make a public recantation. Mr. Whiting was prosecuted by the Bishop of Norwich, and brought before the high commission, expecting to be deprived of considerable estates; but, happily, while the cause was pending, King James died, and the prosecution was dropped. The king finished his course March 27, 1625, not without suspicion of having been poisoned by the Duke of Buckingham." He was a mere pedant, without judgment, courage, or steadimess, being the very scorn of the age. His reign was a continued course of mean practices. He invaded the liberties of his subjects; endangered the religion of his country; was ever grasping at arbitrary power; and, in a word, liberty of conscience was totally suppressed. § ||
* Heylin's Life of Laud, p. 72.
+ Mr. Selden was justly denominated the glory of England for his uncommon learning. Archbishop Usher used to say, “I am net worthy to carry his books after him.”
* Several of the bishops, however, declared their opinion against the Book of Sports. And Archbishop Abbot being at Croydon the day on which it was ordered to be read in the churches, expressly forbad it to be read there.—Kennet’s Hist. of Eng. vol. ii. p. 709.
+ MS. Chronology, vol. ii. p. 667.(13.) f Neal’s Puritans, vol. ii. p. 128.
§ Wood's Athenae Oxon. vol. ii. p. 794.
From the Death of King James I. to the Death of Ring Charles I.
WHEN King CHARLEs came to the crown, he was at first thought favourable to puritanism. His tutor, and all his court, were puritanically inclined. Dr. Preston, one of the leading puritans, came in a coach to London with the King and the Duke of Buckingham, which gave great offence to the contrary party. His majesty was so overcharged with grief for the death of his father, that he wanted the comfort of so wise and great a man.T. The puritans, however, soon found that no favour was to be expected. The unjust and inhuman proceedings of the councIL-TABLE, the STARcHAMBER, and the HIGH commission, during this reign, are unparalleled. The two former were become courts of law, to determine matters of right; and courts of revenue, to bring money into the treasury. The council-table, by proclamations, enjoined upon the people what was not enjoined by law; and the star-chamber punished the disobedience of those proclamations by heavy fines and imprisonment. The exorbitances of this court were such, that there were very few persons of quality who did not suffer more or less, by the weight of its censures and judgments. And the high commission became justly odious, not only by meddling with things not within its cognizance, but by extending its sentences and judgments to a degree that was unjustifiable, and by treating the common law, and the professors of it, with great contempt. From an ecclesiastical court for the reformation of manners, it became a court of revenue, imposing heavy fines upon the subjects.” These courts made strange havoc among the puritans, detaining them long in prison, without bringing them to trial, or acquainting them with the cause of their commitment. Their proceedings were, in some respects, worse than the Romish Inquisition, because they suspended, degraded, excommunicated, and imprisoned multitudes of learned and pious ministers, without the breach of any established law. While the heaviest penalties were inflicted upon the protestant nonconformists, the papists lived without molestation. Indeed, the king gave express orders “To forbear all manner of proceedings against Roman catholics, and that all pains and penaltics to which they were liable, should cease.”4 The Arminian tenets, warmly supported by Bishop Laud and his brethren, now began rapidly to gain ground. The points of controversy became so much the subject of public discussion, that the king issued his royal proclamation, threatening to proceed against all who should maintain any new opinions, contrary to the doctrines as by law established. Though this proclamation appeared to be in favour of the Calvinists, the execution of it being in the hands of Laud and his brethren, it was turned against them, and made use of to silence them; while it gave an uncontrouled liberty to the tongues and pens of the Arminians.f Many were, indeed, of opinion, that Bishops Laud and Neile procured this injunction on purpose to oppress the Calvinists, who should venture to break it, while they should connive at the disobedience of the contrary party. It is certain, the Calvinists were prosecuted for disobeying the proclamation, while the Arminians were tolerated and countenanced.* The puritans, who wrote in defence of the received doctrines of the thirty-nine articles, were censured in the high commission, and their books suppressed; and when they ventured to preach or dispute upon those points, they were suspended, imprisoned, forced to recant, or banished to a foreign land.4 The king now usurped an arbitrary power, much more extensive than any of his predecessors. Henry VIII. did what he pleased by the use of parliament; but Charles evidently designed to rule without parliament.: To convince the people that it was their duty to submit to a monarch of such principles, the clergy were employed to preach up the doctrine of passive obedience and nonresistance. Dr. Manwaring preaching before his majesty, said, “ The king is not bound to observe the laws of “ the realm, concerning the subject's rights and liberties, “ but that his royal will and pleasure, in imposing taxes “ without consent of parliament, doth oblige the subject's “ conscience on pain of eternal damnation.” The church being governed by similar arbitrary and illegal methods, it was easy to foresee what the nonconformists had to expect. They were exceedingly harassed and persecuted in every corner of the land. In the year 1626, Mr. Brewer was censured in the high commission, and committed to prison, where he continued fourteen years. Mr. Smart, prebend of Durham, was many times convened before his ecclesiastical judges; then sent to the high commission at York, and kept a prisoner nine months. He was next sent to the high commission at Lambeth; then returned to York, fined £500, and ordered to recant; for refusing which, he was fined a second time, excommunicated, deprived, degraded, and committed to prison, where he remained eleven or twelve years, suffering
* Harris's Life of James I. p. 237. Edit. 1753. + Burnet’s Hist. of his Times, vol. i. p. 17. it Bennet's Mem. of Reformation, p. 147. § Hume's Hist. of Eng. vol. vi. p. 116.-|| Bishop Laud observes of James, that the sweetness of his nature was scarcely to be paralleled, and little less than a miracle. Clemency, mercy, justice, and peace, were all eminent in him; and he was the most learned and religious prince that England ever knew. On the contrary, the learned Mosheim affirms, “that “as the desire of unlimited power and authority was the reigning passion “in the heart of this monarch, so all his measures, whether of a civil or “ecclesiastical nature, were calculated to answer the purposes of his “ambition. He was the bitterest enemy of the doctrine and discipline of “ the puritans, to which he had been in his youth most warmly attached ; “ the most inflexible and ardent patron of the Arminians, in whose ruin “ and condemnation in Holland he had been singularly instrumental; and “the most zealous defender of episcopal government, against which he had “more than once expressed himself in the strongest terms.” Though he was no papist, he was certainly very much inclined to popery, and “was “excessively addicted to hunting and drinking.”—Breviate of Laud, p. 5. so Eccl. Hist, vol. v. p. 385, 391, 392.-Harris's Life of James F. p. 45, 66. I Burnet's Hist, of his Time, vol. i. p. 19.
* Clarendon's History, vol. i. p. 68, 69,222, 283. + Rushworth's Collections, vol. i. p. 173. # Ibid., p. 416, 417.
* Rapin's Hist. vol. ii. p. 258. + Prynne's Canterburies Doome, p. 161. f Rapin’s Hist, vol. ii. p. 259. § Manwaring, for this sermon, was sentenced by the house of lords to pay a fine of a thousand pounds, to make a public submission at the bar of both houses, to be imprisoned during the pleasure of the lords, and declared incapable of holding any ecclesiastical dignity : nevertheless, he was so much a court favourite, he obtained the king’s pardon, with a good benefice, and afterwards a bishopric.—Ibid.