ePub 版

lingfleet, rector of Sutton in Bedfordshire, and afterward the learned and worthy bishop of Worcester, who first made himself known to the world at this time by his Irenicum, or, A Weapon Salve for the Church's Wounds; printed 1661, in which he attempts to prove, that no form of church-government is of divine right, and that the church had no power to impose things indifferent. I shall beg the reader's attention to a few passages out of his preface. "The design of our Saviour (says he) was to ease men of their former burdens, and not to lay on more; the duties he required were no other but such as were necessary, and withal very just and reasonable; he that came to take away the insupportable yoke of Jewish ceremonies, certainly did never intend to gall the necks of his disciples with another instead of it; and it would be strange the church should require more than Christ himself did, and make other conditions of her communion than our Saviour did of discipleship. What possible reason can be assigned or given why such things should not be sufficient for communion with the church, which are sufficient for eternal salvation? And certainly those things are sufficient for that, which are laid down as the necessary duties of Christianity by our Lord and Saviour in his word. What ground can there be why Christians should not stand upon the same terms now, which they did in the time of Christ and his apostles! Was not religion sufficiently guarded and fenced in then? Was there ever more true and cordial reverence in the worship of God? What charter hath Christ given the church to bind men up to more than himself hath done? Or to exclude those from her society who may be admitted into heaven? Will Christ ever thank men at the great day, for keeping such out from communion with his church, who he will vouchsafe not only crowns of glory to, but it may be aureola too, if there be any such things there? The grand commission the apostles were sent out with, was only to teach what Christ had commanded them; not the least intimation of any power given them to impose or require any thing beyond what himself had spoken to them, or they were directed to by the immediate guidance of the Spirit of God. It is not, whether the they came at last to an agreement, that it would tend to the public good, to have something written and published in defence of liberty of conscience. Sir Peter Pett engaged to write on the political part of the question. Mr. Boyle undertook to engage Dr. Thomas Barlow to treat of the theological part: and he also prevailed on Mr. John Drury, who had spent many years in his travels, and had taken an active part in a scheme for reconciling the Lutherans and Calvinists, to state the fact of the allowance of liberty of conscience in foreign parts. Sir Peter Pett's and Mr. Drury's tracts were printed in 1660. But for particular reasons, the publication of Dr. Barlow's piece did not take place: but it was published after his death.

“Dr. Barlow had given offence by writing, just before the Restoration, a letter to Mr. Tombs, and expressing in it some prejudice against the practice of infant baptism, and by refusing, even after the Restoration, to retract that letter. This refusal was a noble conduct: for the doctor was in danger by it of losing his station in the university of Oxford and all his hopes of future preferment." This shews how obnoxious was the sect of the Baptists. Birch's Life of Boyle, p. 299, 300.-ED.

It is not,

It is not how

things commanded and required be lawful or not? whether indifferences may be determined or no? far Christians are bound to submit to a restraint of their Christian liberty, which I now inquire after, but whether they consult the church's peace and unity who suspend it upon such things. We never read of the apostles making laws but of things necessary, as Acts xv. 19. It was not enough with them that the things would be necessary when they had required them; but they looked upon an antecedent necessity either absolute or for the present state, which was the only ground of their imposing these commands upon the Gentile Christians. But the Holy Ghost never thought those things fit to be made matters of law to which all parties should conform. All that the apostles required as to this was mutual forbearance and condescension towards each other in them. The apostles valued not indifferences at all; and those things they accounted as such which were of no concernment to their salvation. And what reason is there why men should be tied up so strictly to such things which they may do or let alone, and yet be very good Christians? Without all controversy, the main inlet of all the distractions, confusions, and divisions, of the Christian world, has been by adding other conditions of churchcommunion than Christ has done.-Would there ever be the less peace and unity in a church, if a diversity were allowed as to practices supposed indifferent? Yea, there would be so much more, as there was a mutual forbearance and condescension as to such things. The unity of the church is a unity of love and affection, and not a bare uniformity of practice and opinion.There is nothing in the primitive church more deserving our imitation than that admirable temper, moderation, and condescension, which was used in it towards its members. It was never thought worth the while to make any standing laws for rites and customs that had no other original but tradition, much less to suspend men from her communion for not observing them*.

[ocr errors]

The doctor's proposals for an accommodation were, "1. That nothing be imposed as necessary but what is clearly revealed in the word of God. 2. That nothing be required or determined but what is sufficiently known to be indifferent in its own nature. 3. That whatever is thus determined be in order only to a due performance of what is in general required in the word of God, and not to be looked upon as any part of divine worship or service. 4. That no sanctions be made, nor mulets or penalties be inflicted, on such who only dissent from the use of some things whose lawfulness they at present scruple, till sufficient time and means be used for their information of the nature and indifferency of these things. I am sure (says the doctor) it is contrary to the primitive practice, and the moderation then used, to suspend or deprive men of their ministerial function for not conforming in

*Irenicum, p. 8-10.

habits and gestures, or the like. Lastly, that religion be not clogged with ceremonies; for when they are multiplied too much, though lawful, they eat out the heart, heat, life, and vigour, of Christianity." If the doctor had steadily adhered to those principles, he could hardly have subscribed the act of uniformity next year, much less have written so warmly against the dissenters, as he did twenty years afterward. But all he could say or do at present availed nothing, the Presbyterians were in disgrace, and nothing could stem the torrent of popular fury that was now coming upon them.

[In the year 1660, April 25, died, when the king designed to advance him to the see of Worcester, the learned Dr. Henry Hammond. In addition to the short account given of him by Mr. Neal, in a former volume, some other particulars may be subjoined here. He was born 18th August, 1605, at Chertsey in Surrey; and was the youngest son of Dr. John Hammond, a physician. He received his grammar-learning at Eton-school, and in 1618 was sent to Magdalen-college in Oxford, of which he was elected fellow in July 1625, and entered into holy orders in 1629. The rectory of Penshurst was bestowed upon him by the earl of Leicester in 1633. In 1640, he was chosen one of the members of the convocation; in 1643 made archdeacon of Chichester, and the same year was named one of the assembly of divines, but never sat amongst them. He was distinguished in his youth for the sweetness of his carriage, and, at the times allowed for play, would steal, from his fellows, into places of privacy to pray:omens of his future pacific temper and eminent devotion. When he was at the university he generally spent thirteen hours of the day in study. Charles I. said, "he was the most natural orator he had ever heard." He was extremely liberal to the poor; and was used to say, that "it was a most unreasonable and unchristian thing to despise any one for his poverty, and it was one of the greatest sensualities in the world to give." He gave it as a rule to his friends of estate and quality, "to treat their poor neighbours with such a cheerfulness, that they might be glad to have met with them." The alms of lending had an eminent place in his practice. He was accustomed strongly to recommend to

Irenicum, p. 66, 67.


"If Mr. Neal (says Dr. Grey) would allow a man to retract his mistakes upon discovering them, he would not find fault with bishop Stillingfleet." He then quotes the bishop's apology for his conduct, from the preface to the Unreasonableness of Separation. "If any thing in the following treatise be found different from the sense of that book, I entreat them to allow me that, which I heartily wish to them, that in twenty years' time, we may arrive to such maturity of thoughts, as to see reason to change our opinion of some things, and I wish I had not cause to add, of some persons." But notwithstanding the force of the bishop's plea, it will not, I conceive, be deemed a fortunate or honourable change, if a man's views and spirit, instead of enlarging and becoming more liberal, are contracted and grow narrow and partial; if, instead of being the advocate for generous and conciliating measures, he should argue for oppression and intolerance.-ED.

others, "to be always furnished with something to do," as the best expedient both for innocence and pleasure. Devoted as he was to his studies, he would never suffer any body to wait, that came to speak to him: and to the poor he came with peculiar alacrity. British Biography, vol. v. p. 219. 225.—ED.]

The earl of Clarendon, lord-chancellor, was prime-minister, and at the head of the king's councils. The year [1661] began with new scenes of pleasure and diversion, occasioned by the king's marriage with the infanta of Portugal, which was consummated April 30. The match was promoted by general Monk and lord Clarendon, if, according to the Oxford historian, the latter was not the first mover of it. And it was reckoned very strange, that a Protestant chancellor should advise the king to a Popish princess, when a Catholic king proposed at the same time a Protestant consort. But his lordship had farther views; for it was generally talked among the merchants, that the infanta could have no children, in which case the chancellor's daughter, who had been privately married to the king's brother, must succeed, and her issue by the duke of York become heirs to the throne; which happened accordingly in the persons of queen Mary II. and queen Anne. Such were the aspiring views of this great man, which, together with his haughty behaviour, in the end proved his ruin.

The convention-parliament being dissolved, a new one was elected, and summoned to meet May 8. The house of commons, by the interest of the court-party+, had a considerable majority of such as were zealous enemies of the Presbyterians, and abettors of the principles of archbishop Laud; many of whom, having impaired their fortunes in the late wars, became tools of the

* Dr. Grey observes, that Mr. Neal antedates this marriage somewhat above a year; the king met the infanta at Portsmouth the 21st of May, 1662, and was then privately married to her by Dr. Sheldon, bishop of London. The doctor, on the authority of Echard, endeavours to invalidate the imputation which lies on lord Clarendon of being the promoter, if not the first mover, of this marriage. Mr. Neal is supported in his representation of the affair by the testimony of sir John Reresby, who says, "It is well known, that the lord-chancellor had the blame of this unfruitful match." He adds, that the queen was said to have had a constant fluor upon her, which rendered her incapable of conception. Though, on this occasion (says sir John), every thing was gay, and splendid, and profusely joyful, it was easy to discern that the king was not excessively charmed with his new bride, who was a very little woman, with a pretty tolerable face. She neither in person or manners had any one article to stand in competition with the charms of the countess of Castlemain, afterward dutchess of Cleveland, the finest woman of her age." Memoirs, p. 9, 10.—Ed.

There were only fifty-six members of the Presbyterian party returned, notwithstanding their great interest in almost all the corporations. But in the interval, between the two parliaments, the court-party had been active; and the hints given at the dissolution of the late parliament by the chancellor, had great weight. He recommended that “such persons should be returned as were not likely to oppose the king, but had already served him, and were likely to serve him with their whole heart, and to gratify him in all his desires." -Secret History of the Court and Reign of Charles II. vol. 1. p. 17i and 406.-Had the people been alive to a just sense of the design of representation and the nature of the constitution, they would have received these hints with indignant contempt.—Ev.

ministry in all their arbitrary and violent measures. The court kept above one hundred of them in constant pay, who went by the name of the club of voters, and received large sums of money out of the exchequer, till they had almost subverted the constitution; and then, because they would not put the finishing hand to what they had unadvisedly begun, they were disbanded.

The king acquainted the houses at the opening of the session *, that "he valued himself much upon keeping his word, and upon making good whatsoever he had promised to his subjects †." But the chancellor, who commented upon the king's speech, spoke a different language, and told the house, "that there were a sort of patients in the kingdom that deserved their utmost severity, and none of their lenity; these were the seditious preachers, who could not be contented to be dispensed with for their full obedience to some laws established, without reproaching and inveighing against those laws, how established soever, who tell their auditories, that when the apostle bid them stand to their liberties he bid them stand to their arms, and who by repeating the very expressions and teaching the very doctrines they set on foot in the year 1640, sufficiently declare that they have no mind that twenty years should put an end to the miseries we have undergone. What good Christians can think, without horror, of these ministers of the gospel, who by their function should be messengers of peace, but are in their practice only the trumpets of war, and incendiaries towards rebellion ?-And if the persons and place can aggravate their offence, so no doubt it does before God and man. Methinks the preaching rebellion and treason out of the pulpit, should be as much worse than advancing it in the market, as poisoning a man at a communion would be worse than killing him at a tavern."-His lordship concludes thus: "If you do not provide for the thorough quenching these firebrands; king, lords, and commons, shall be the meaner subjects, and the whole kingdom will be kindled in a general flame " This was a home-thrust at the Presbyterians; the chancellor did not explain himself upon the authors of these seditious sermons, his design being not to accuse particular persons, but to obtain a general order which might suppress all teachers who were not of the church of England; and the parliament was prepared to run blindfold into all the court-measures; for in this session the militia was given absolutely to the king--the solemn league and covenant was declared void and illegal-the act for disabling persons in holy orders to exercise temporal jurisdiction was repealedthe bishops were restored to their seats in parliament-the old ecclesiastical jurisdiction was revived by the repeal of the 17th of

The king went to the house of lords, to open the session, with almost as much pomp and splendour as had been displayed on the coronation-day; and, says my author, for the same reasons, to dazzle the mob, and to impress on the minds of the people very exalted notions of the dignity of regal government. Secret History of the Court and Reign of Charles II. vol. 1. p. 407, note.-ED. + Kennet's Chron. p. 434. Ibid. p. 510, 511.

[blocks in formation]
« 上一頁繼續 »