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desire, that there may be no law nor canon for or against them (being allowed by our opponents as indifferent), as there is no canon against any particular gesture in singing psalms, and yet there is an uninterrupted unity."
"For particular Ceremonies.
1. "We humbly crave, that there may be liberty to receive the Lord's supper either kneeling, standing, or sitting. 2. That the observation of holy-days of human institution may be left indifferent. 3. We thank your majesty for liberty as to the cross in baptism, the surplice, and bowing at the name of Jesus; but we pray, that this liberty may extend to colleges and cathedrals for the benefit of youth as well as elder persons, and that the canons which impose these ceremonies may be repealed.
"We thank your majesty for your gracious concession of the forbearance of subscription; though we do not dissent from the doctrinal articles of the church of England; nor do we scruple the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, nor would we have the door left open for Papists and heretics to come in.
"But we take the liberty to represent to your majesty, that, notwithstanding your gracious concessions, our ministers cannot procure institution without renouncing their ordination by presbyters, or being reordained, nor without subscription and the oaths of canonical obedience. And we are apprehensive that your majesty's indulgence does not extend to the abatement of reordination, or subscription, or the oath of canonical obedience. We therefore earnestly crave, that your majesty will declare your pleasure, 1. That ordination, and institution, and induction, may be conferred without the said subscription and oath. 2. That none may be urged to be reordained, or denied institution for want of ordination by prelates that have been ordained by presbyters. 3. That none may forfeit their presentation or benefice for not reading those articles of the thirty-nine that relate to government and ceremonies."
However, if the king's declaration, without any amendments, had passed into a law, it would have prevented in a great measure the separation that followed; but neither the court nor ministry intended it, if they could stand their ground upon the foot of the old establishment. A reverend prelate of the church of England confesses, "that this declaration has in it a spirit of true wisdom and charity above any one public confession that was ever made in matters of religion. It shews the admirable temper and prudence of the king and his council in that tender juncture of affairs; it proves the charity and moderation of the suffering bishops, in thinking such concessions just and reasonable for peace and unity; and it shews a disposition in the other party to have accepted the terms of union consistent with our episcopacy and liturgy. It condemns the unhappy ferment that soon after followed for want of this temper; and it may stand for a
pattern to posterity, whenever they are disposed, to restore the discipline and heal the breaches of the church." Another conformist writer adds, "If ever a divine sentence was in the mouth of any king, and his mouth erred not in judgment; I verily believe it was thus with our present majesty when he composed that admirable declaration, which next to the Holy Scriptures I adore, and think that the united judgment of the whole nation cannot frame a better or a more unexceptionable expedient, for a firm and lasting concord of these distracted churches."
The Presbyterians about London were so far pleased, that they drew up the following address of thanks, in the name of the city-ministers, and presented it to the king November 16, by the hands of the reverend Mr. Samuel Clarke.
"Most dread Sovereign!
"We your majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, ministers of the gospel in your city of London, having perused your majesty's late declaration, and finding it so full of indulgence and gracious condescension, we cannot but judge ourselves highly obliged first to render our unfeigned thanks to God, and next our most hearty and humble ackowledgments to your majesty, that we may testify to your royal self, and all the world, our just sentiments of your majesty's great goodness and clemency therein expressed *."
The address then recites the several condescensions of his majesty in the declaration, and concludes thus, "We crave leave to profess, that though all things in this frame of government be not exactly suited to our judgments, yet your majesty's moderation has so great an influence on us, that we shall to the utmost endeavour the healing of the breaches, and promoting the peace and union of the church.-We would beg of your majesty, with all humility upon our knees, that reordination, and the surplice in colleges, might not be imposed; and we hope God will incline your majesty's heart to gratify us in these our desires also."
The king having received the address, returned this answer †, "Gentlemen, I will endeavour to give you all satisfaction, and to make you as happy as myself ‡.”
Baxter's Life, part 2. p. 279, 284. Kennet's Chron. p. 311.
Kennet's Chron. p. 315.
December 11, 1729.-Waiting on Arthur Onslow, esq. speaker of the honourable house of commons, he was pleased to suffer me to peruse and afterward to transcribe a marginal note, which he had written with his own hand to pages 152,
Upon the terms of this declaration Dr. Reynolds accepted of the bishoprick of Norwich; Mr. Baxter was offered the bishoprick of Hereford, but refused upon other reasons; and Mr. Calamy declined the bishoprick of Litchfield and Coventry, till the king's declaration should be passed into a law. Dr. Manton, having been presented to the living of Covent-garden by the earl of Bedford, accepted it upon the terms of the declaration, and received episcopal institution from Dr. Sheldon bishop of London, January 10, 1660-61. Having first subscribed the doctrinal articles of the church of England only, and taken the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, and of canonical obedience in all things lawful and honest. The doctor was also content that the Common Prayer should be read in his church. Dr. Bates was offered the deanery of Litchfield; Dr. Manton the deanery of Rochester; and Mr. Bowles that of York; but finding how things were going at court, after some time, refused.
The lords and commons, upon reading the king's declaration, agreed to wait upon his majesty in a body, and return him thanks; and the commons ordered a bill into their house to pass it into a law; but when the bill had been read the first time, the question being put for a second reading, it passed in the negative; one of the secretaries of state opposing it, which was a sufficient indication, says Dr. Bates, of the king and court's aversion to it*. Sir Matthew Hale, who was zealous for the declaration, at that very juncture was taken out of the house of commons, and made lordchief-baron of the exchequer, that he might not oppose the resolutions of the ministry. Strange! that a house of commons, which on the 9th of November had given the king thanks for his declaration by their speaker nem. contradicente, should on the 28th
153, and 154, of the first volume of my Abridgment of Mr. Baxter's Life, where the subject of which I was treating, was king Charles's celebrated declaration for ecclesiastical affairs, which bore date October 25, 1660.
I had said, that the concessions there made were so highly pleasing, that an address of thanks was drawn up and signed by many of the dissenting members in and about London, &c.
The marginal note before mentioned, was in the words following:
"Both houses of parliament did also severally present to the king an address of thanks for this declaration: and in the house of commons, November 6, 1660, a committee was appointed to bring in a bill to make the declaration effectual, and the person first named of the committee was serjeant Hale, who was therefore very probably the first mover of this bill. And as he was the next day (I think it was so soon) made chief lord baron, it is not unlikely that he was desirous to leave the house of commons with this mark of his moderation, as to the religious differences of that time, and what he thought would be the proper means to heal them. But his endeavours did not succeed; for on the 28th of November following, the bill being read the first time, and a question put that the bill be read a second time, it passed in the negative: the yeas one hundred and fifty-seven, the noes one hundred and eighty-three. The tellers for the yeas were sir Anthony Joby and sir George Booth; for the noes, sir Solomon Swale and Mr. Palmer."
Note. "Sir Solomon Swale was afterward discharged being a member of the house of commons, for being a Popish recusant convict."-Dr. Calamy's History of his own Life.
I here insert this for the use of posterity.
* Kennet's Chron. p. 358.
of the same month reject it before a second reading. This blasted all the expectations of the Presbyterian clergy at once. It was now apparent that the court did not design the declaration should be carried into execution, but only serve as a temporary expedient to keep them quiet, till the church should be in circumstances to bid them defiance. While the diocesan doctors were at Breda (says Mr. Baxter *) they did not dream that their way to the highest grandeur was so fair; then they would have been glad of the terms of the declaration of Breda; when they came in they proceeded by slow degrees, that they might feel the ground under them; for this purpose they proposed the declaration, which being but a temporary provision must give place to laws, but when they found the parliament and populace ripe for any thing they should propose, they dropped the declaration, and all farther thoughts of accommodation.
The court and bishops were now at ease, and went on briskly with restoring all things to the old standard; the doctrines of passive obedience and non-resistance were revived; men of the highest principles, and most inveterate resentments, were preferred to bishopricks, by which they were more than compensated for their sufferings, by the large sums of money they raised on the renewal of leasest, which after so long an interval were almost expired; but what a sad use they made of their riches, I choose rather to relate in the words of bishop Burnet than my own. "What the bishops did with their great fines was a pattern to all their lower dignitaries, who generally took more care of themselves than of the church; the men of service were loaded with many livings, and many dignities. With this accession of wealth, there broke in upon the church a great deal of luxury and high living, on pretence of hospitality; and with this overset of wealth and pomp that came upon men in the decline of their age, they who were now growing into old age became lazy and negligent in all the true concerns of the churcht.”
Life, p. 287.
The terms on which these leases were renewed, were high and oppressive, and the bishops incurred the severe censure of the Presbyterian ministers, and raised against themselves the clamour of the subordinate and dependent clergy. The fines raised by renewing the leases amounted to a million and half. In some sees they produced 40 or 50,000l. which were applied to the enriching the bishops' families. Secret History of the Court and Reign of King Charles II. vol. 1. p. 350-354; and Burnet's History of his Own Times, vol. 1. p. 271, 12mo.-ED. Dr. Grey endeavours to shew, that bishop Burnet's representation, quoted above, was founded in a mistake; and with this view, he states the benefactions and charities of some of the bishops, deans, and chapters. According to his authorities, besides the expenditures of bishop Duppa, whieh we have mentioned before, Dr. Juxon, archbishop of Canterbury, gave to various purposes and public works, 48,000l. and abated in fines 16,9007. Dr. Sheldon, while bishop of London, expended 40,0007, and abated to his tenants 17,000l. Dr. Frewen, archbishop of York, disbursed in public payments, besides abatements to tenants, 15,000. Dr. Cosins bishop of Durham's expenditures in building and repairing public edifices and in charities amounted to 44,000l. Dr. Warner, bishop of Rochester, though his fines were small, gave in royal presents, benevolences, and subsidies, and redeeming captives, 25,000. The liberalities of various deans and chapters made the sum of 191,3007, VOL. III.
From this time, says bishop Kennet, the Presbyterians began to prepare for the cry of persecution, and not without reason, for March 23, Mr. Zach. Crofton, minister of Aldgate, was sent to the Tower for writing in favour of the covenant; where he lay a considerable time at great expense, and was at last turned out of his parish without any consideration, though he had a wife and seven children, and had been very zealous for the king's restoration*. Mr. Andrew Parsons, rector of Wem in Shropshire, a noted loyalist, was fetched from his house in the month of December by six soldiers, for seditious preaching, and nonconformity to the ceremonies; for which he was fined 2007. and to continue in prison till it was paid.
Spies were sent into all the congregations of Presbyterians throughout England, to observe and report their behaviour to the bishops; and if a minister lamented the degeneracy of the times, or expressed his concern for the ark of God, if he preached against perfidiousness, or glanced at the vices of the court, he was marked for an enemy to the king and government. Many eminent and loyal Presbyterians were sent to prison upon such informations, among whom was the learned and prudent Mr. John Howe, and when they came to their trials, the court was guarded with soldiers, and their friends not suffered to attend them. Many were sequestered from their livings, and cited into the ecclesiastical courts, for not using the surplice and other ceremonies, while the discipline of the church was under a kind of suspension. So eager were the spiritual courts to renew the exercise of the sword; and so fiercely was it brandished against the falling Presbyterians!
The convention-parliament passed sundry acts with relation to the late times, of which these following deserve to be remembered: An act for the confirming and restoring of ministers, which enacts, among other things, "that every sequestered minister, who has not justified the late king's murder, or declared against infant baptism, shall be restored to his living before the 25th of December next ensuing, and the present incumbent shall peaceably quit it, and be accountable for dilapidations, and all arrears of fifths not paid." By this act some hundreds of nonconformist ministers were dispossessed of their livings, before the act of uniformity was penned. Here was no distinction between These expenditures bespeak munificence and generosity; and they appear to take off much of the edge of Bishop Burnet's censure. He allows, that "some few exceptions are to be made: but so few (he adds), that if a new set of men had not appeared of another stamp, the church had quite lost her esteem over the nation." The reader will also reflect, that the proportion not of the number of dignitaries only, who made a display of charity, or liberality, but of the sums they expended to the accession of wealth, is to be taken into the account. The above sums fall more than a million short of the amount of the fines that were raised: to these must be added the annual incomes of the ecclesiastical estates to which they were preferred. Grey's Examination, vol. 3. p. 269–274. Burnet's History, vol. 1.
* Kennet's Chron. p. 397. Conf. Plea, p. 34.