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expectations. Upon the entrance of the king, May 29, 1660, as he passed through the city towards Westminster, the London ministers, by the hands of old Mr. Arthur Jackson, presented his majesty with a richly adorned bible; which he received, saying, “It shall be the rule of my government and my life.” King CHARLEs II. being now seated on the throne of his ancestors, the commencement of his reign was a continued jubilee. But from the period of his accession, he grasped at arbitrary power, and shewed but little inclination to depend upon parliaments. +*The restoration,” says Burnet, “brought with it the throwing off the very professions of virtue and piety, and entertainments and drunkenness overrun the three kingdoms. The king had a good understanding; and knew well the state of affairs both at home and abroad. He had a softness of temper that charmed all who came near him, till they found out how little they could depend on good looks, kind words, and fair promises; in which he was liberal to an excess, because he intended nothing by them, but to #. rid of importunities. He seemed to have no sense of religion. He was no atheist, but disguised his popery to the last.”f Upon his majesty's accession, many of the puritans were in great hopes of favour. Besides the promises of men in power, they had an/assurance from the king, in his declaration from Breda, of That he should grant liberty to tender consciences, and that no man should be questioned for a difference of opinion in matters of religion, who did not disturb the peace of the kingdom.”% Afterwards, the king having issued his declaration concerning ecclesiastical matters, dated October 25, 1660; and the London ministers having presented to him their address of thanks, his majesty returned them this answer: “Gentlemen, I will endeavour to give you all satisfaction, and to make you as happy as myself.” All this was, indeed, most encouraging. Their hopes were further cherished by ten of their number bein made the king's chaplains, though none of them preached, except Dr. Reynolds, Dr. Spurstowe, Mr. Calamy, and Mr. Baxter, once each. But all their hopes were soon blasted. Many hundreds of worthy ministers enjoying sequestered livings, were displaced soon after his majesty's return. The fellows and heads of colleges in the two universities, who #
§ Whitlocke's Mem. p. 702. | Kennet's Chronicle, p. 315. T Sylvester's Life of Baxter, part ii. p. 229.
had been ejected, were restored, and the others cast out." Bishops being placed in most of the sees, and the hierarchy restored to its former splendour, though the presbyterians still flattered themselves with hopes of a comprehension, the independents and baptists sunk in despair. Here was an end, says Mr. Neal, of those distracted times, which our historians have loaded with all the infamy and . reproach that the wit of man could invent. The puritan ministers have been decried as ignorant mechanics, canting preachers, enemies to learning, and no better than public robbers. The common people have been stigmatized as hypocrites. Their looks, their dress, and behaviour, have been represented in the most odious colours; yet we may challenge these declaimers to produce any period since the reformation, wherein there was less open profaneness and impiety, and more of the spirit as well as appearance of religion. Better laws, he adds, were never made against vice, or more rigorously executed. Drunkenness, fornication, profane swearing, and every kind of debauchery, were justly deemed infamous, and universally discountenanced. The clergy were laborious to an excess, in preaching, praying, catechising, and visiting the sick. The magistrates were exact in suppressing all kinds of games, stage-plays, and abuses in public houses; and a play had not been acted in any theatre in England, for almost twenty years.t But the court and bishops were now at ease. The doctrines of passive obedience and nonresistance were revived. Lo the puritans began to prepare for those persecutions which presently followed. o who had been very zealous for the king's restoration, for having written in favour of the covenant, was deprived of his living, and sent close prisoner to the Tower, where he was not permitted to have #. ink, or paper.; Mr. Parsons, a noted royalist, was ned £200, and cast into prison, for nonconformity. The celebrated Mr. John Howe was committed to prison; and multitudes were sequestered and prosecuted in the ecclesiastical courts, for not wearing the surplice and observing the ceremonies. These were powerful indications of the approaching storm. Upon Wenner's insurrection,' Mr. Knollys and many
* Kennet's Chronicle, p. 152, 153, 173,221.
+ Neal’s Puritans, vol. iv. p. 269. f Kennet's Chronicle, p. 501.
§ Mr. Thomas Venner, a wine-cooper, with about fifty of his admirers, being in expectation of a fifth universal monarchy, under, the personal reign of King Jesus upon the earth, raised an insurrection in the city. But their mad scheme was frustrated. Many of them were killed in the contest; and Wenner and some others were seized, tried, condemned, and executed. -Burnst's Hist, of his Time, vol. i. p. 160.
other innocent persons, were dragged to Newgate, where they continued eighteen weeks. The rebellion of Wenner occasioned a royal proclamation, prohibiting all anabaptists and other sectaries from worshipping God in public, except at their parish churches. This unnatural edict was another signal for persecution. Mr. Biddle was tried at the public sessions, fined one hundred pounds, and cast into prison, where he soon after died. Mr. John James was seized in the pulpit, tried, condemned, and beheaded. His bowels were then burnt, and his body being quartered, was placed upon the four gates of the city of London, and his head first upon London bridge, then opposite his meeting2 house in Bulstake-alley.
In order to crush the puritans in every corner of the land, and strike all nonconformists at once dumb, the famous “Act of Uniformity” was passed, requiring a perfect conformity to the Book of Common Prayer, and the rites and ceremonies of the church. This struck the nonconformists with universal consternation. The unmerciful act took place August 24, 1662, justly denominated the BLAck BARTHoLoMEw-DAY. By this act, “it is well known, that nearly “ 2,500 faithful ministers of the gospel were silenced. And “ it is affirmed, upon a modest calculation, that it procured “ the untimely death of 3,000 nonconformists, and the ruin “ of 60,000 families.” And for what purpose were these cruelties inflicted To establish an uniformity in all ecclesiastical matters. A charming word, indeed! for the thing itself is still wanting, even among those who promoted these tragic scenes. But this is the closing period of the present work. These barbarities are sufficiently delineated by our excellent historians,t
* Mather's Hist. of New England, b. iii. p. 4.—“The world,” says Bishop Kennet, “has reason to admire not only the wisdom, but even the “moderation of this act, as being effectually made for ministerial confor“mity alone, and leaving the people unable to complain of any imposi“tion / "-Kennet's Hist. of Eng. vol. iii. p. 243.
+ Calamy's Account and Continuation, vol. iv.–And Palmer's Noncon, Mem, vol. iii.
John Bale, D. D.—This laborious and celebrated divine was born at Cove, near Dunwich, in Suffolk, November 21, 1495. His parents being in low circumstances, and incumbered with a large family, he was sent, at twelve years of age, to the monastery of Carmelites in Norwich; and from thence to Jesus College, Cambridge. He was educated in all the superstitions of the Romish church; but afterwards he became a most zealous and distinguished protestant. The account of this change in his sentiments is from his own pen, therefore we shall give it in his own words:—“I wandered,” says he, “ in utter ignorance and blindness of mind both there (at Norwich) and at Cambridge, having no tutor or patron; till, the word of God shining forth, the churches began to return to the pure fountain of true divinity. In which bright rising of the New Jerusalem, being not called by any monk or priest, but seriously stirred up by the illustrious the Lord Wentworth, as by that centurion who declared Christ to be the Son of God, I presently saw and acknowledged my own deformity; and immediately, through the divine goodness, I was removed from a barren mountain, to the flowery and fertile valley of the gospel, where I found all things built, not on the sand, but on a solid rock. Hence I made haste to deface the mark of wicked antichrist, and entirely threw off his yoke from me, that I might be partaker of the lot and liberty of the sons of God. And that I might never more serve so execrable abeast, I took to wife the faithful Dorothy, in obedience to that divine command, Let him that cannot contain, marry.” Bishop Nicolson, with great injustice, insinuates, that a dislike of celibacy was the grand motive of Bale's conversion. “ He was converted,” says this writer, “by the procurement of Thomas Lord Wentworth; though, in truth, his wife Dorothy seems to have had a great hand in that happy work.” Bale no sooner experienced the power of converting grace, than he publicly professed his renunciation and abhorrence of popery. In one of his books, speaking of the idolatrous and superstitious worshippers in the Romish church, he pathetically adds: “Yea, I ask God mercy a thousand times; for } . been one of them myself.”4. Having felt the power of divine truth on his own mind, he conferred not with flesh and blood, but began, openly and fervently, to preach the pure gospel of Christ, in opposition to the ridiculous traditions and erroneous doctrines of the Romish church. This exposed him to the resentment and persecution of the ruling clergy; and for a sermon which he preached at Doncaster, in which he openly declared against the invocation of saints, he was dragged from the pulpit to the consistory of York, to appear before Archbishop Lee, when he was cast into prison. Nor did he meet with more humane treatment in the south. For a similar offence, he experienced similar usage from Stokesly, bishop of London. But by the interference of the celebrated Lord Cromwell, who had the highest opinion of him, and was then in high favour with King Henry VIII., he was delivered out of the hands of his enemies. Upon the death of this excellent nobleman, and the publication of the Six Articles, with the shocking persecution which immediately ensued, he could find no shelter from the storm, and was obliged to flee for safety. He retired into Germany, where he became intimate with Martin Luther and other distinguished reformers, and continued with them about eight years. While in a state of exile, he was not idle, but diligently employed in his own improvement, and in writing and publishing several learned books, chiefly against the popish superstitions.# After the death of King Henry, and the accession of Edward VI., Bale was invited home, and presented to the benefice of Bishopstoke in Hampshire. While in this situation, as well as when in exile, he wrote and published several books against the errors of popery. In the year 1550, he published a work, entitled “The Acts and unchaste Example of religious Wotaries, gathered out of their own Legends and Chronicles.” Mr. Strype calls it a notable