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prisons, he was there tried, and would not accept deliverance, expecting a better resurrection." He died October 27, 1671, in the fifty-third year of his age, and the eleventh year of his imprisonment.*
FROM THE KING'S DECLARATION OF INDULGENCE TO THE POPISH PLOT IN THE YEAR 1678.
THE French king having prevailed with the English court to break the triple alliance, and make war with the Dutch, published a declaration at Paris, signifying that he could not, without diminution of his glory, any longer dissemble the indignation raised in him, by the unhandsome carriage of the states-general of the United Provinces, and therefore proclaimed war against them both by sea and land. In the beginning of May, he drew together an army of one hundred and twenty thousand men, with which he took the principal places in Flanders, and with a rapid fury overran the greatest part of the Netherlands. In the beginning of July he took possession of Utrecht, a city in the heart of the United Provinces, where he held his court, and threatened to besiege Amsterdam itself. In this extremity the Dutch opened their sluices, and laid a great part of their country under water; the populace rose, and having obliged the states to elect the
To Mr. Neal's account of Mr. Vavasor Powell it may be added, that he was born in 1617, and descended from an ancient and honourable stock: on his father's side, from the Powells of Knock las in Radnorshire; and on his mother's, from the Vavasors, a family of great antiquity, that came out of Yorkshire into Wales, and was related to the principal gentry in North Wales. So active and laborious was he in the duties of the ministry, that he frequently preached in two or three places in a day, and was seldom two days in the week, throughout the year, out of the pulpit. He would sometimes ride a hundred miles in the week, and preach in every place where he could gain admittance, either by night or day. He would often alight from his horse, and set on it any aged person whom he met with on the road on foot, and walk by the side for miles together. He was exceedingly hospitable and generous, and would not only entertain and lodge, but clothe the poor and aged. He was a man of great humility, very conscientious and exemplary in all relative duties, and very punctual to his word. He was a scholar, and his general deportment was that of a gentleman. His sentiments were those of a Sabbatarian Baptist. In 1642, when he left Wales, there was not then above one or two gathered churches; but before the Restoration, there were above twenty distinct societies, consisting of from two to five hundred members, chiefly planted and formed by his care and industry, in the principles of the Baptists. They were also for the ordination of elders, singing of psalms and hymns in public worship; laying on of hands on the newly baptized, and anointing the sick with oil, and did not limit their communion to an agreement with them in their sentiments on baptism. He bore his last illness with great patience, and under the acutest pains would bless God, and say, "he would not entertain one hard thought of God for all the world," and could scarcely be restrained from acts of devotion, and from expressing his sentiments of zeal and piety.-Dr. Grey, after Wood, has vilified Mr. Powell by retailing the falsehoods of a piece entitled, Strena Vavasoriensis. Crosby's History, vol. 1. p. 373. &c. Life and Death of Vavasor Powell.-ED.
young prince of Orange stadtholder, they fell upon the two brothers Cornelius and John de Wit, their late pensionary, and tore them to pieces in a barbarous manner. The young prince, who was then but twenty-two years old, used all imaginable vigilance and activity to save the remainder of his country; and like a true patriot declared, he would die in the last dike rather than become tributary to any foreign power. At length their allies came to their assistance, when the young prince, like another Scipio, abandoning his own country, besieged and took the important town of Bonn, which opened a passage for the Germans into Flanders, and struck such a surprise into the French, whose enemies were now behind them, that they abandoned all their conquests in Holland, except Maestricht and Grave, with as much precipitance as they had made them.
These rapid conquests of the French opened people's mouths against the court, and raised such discontents in England, that his majesty was obliged to issue out his proclamation, to suppress all unlawful and undutiful conversation, threatening a severe prosecution of such who should spread false news, or intermeddle with affairs of state, or promote scandal against his majesty's counsellors, by their common discourse in coffee-houses, or places of public resort. He was obliged also to continue the exchequer shut up, contrary to his royal promise, and to prorogue his parliament till next year, which he foresaw would be in a flame at their meeting.
During this interval of parliament, the declaration of indulgence continued in force, and the dissenters had rest; when the Presbyterians and Independents, to shew their agreement among themselves, as well as to support the doctrines of the Reformation. against the prevailing errors of Popery, Socinianism, and infidelity, set up a weekly lecture at Pinners'-hall, in Broad-street, on Tuesday mornings, under the encouragement of the principal merchants and tradesmen of their persuasion in the city. Four Presbyterians were joined by two Independents to preach by turns, and, to give it the greater reputation, the principal ministers for learning and popularity were chosen as lecturers; as Dr. Bates, Dr. Manton, Dr. Owen, Mr. Baxter, Mr. Collins, Jenkins, Mead, and afterward Mr. Alsop, Howe, Cole, and others; and though there were some little misunderstandings at their first setting out, about some high points of Calvinism, occasioned by one of Mr. Baxter's first sermons, yet the lecture continued in this form till the year 1695, when it split upon the same rock, occasioned by the reprinting Dr. Crisp's works. The four Presbyterians removed to Salters'-hall, and set up a lecture on the same day and hour. The two Independents remained at Pinners'-hall, and when there was no prospect of an accommodation, each party filled up their numbers out of their respective denominations, and they are both subsisting to this day.
Among the Puritan divines who died this year, bishop Wilkins
deserves the first place; he was born at Fawsley in Northamptonshire, in the house of his mother's father, Mr. J. Dod the decalogist, in the year 1614, and educated in Magdalen-hall under Mr. Tombes.* He was some time warden of Wadhamcollege, Oxford, and afterward master of Trinity-college, Cambridge, of which he was deprived at the Restoration, though he conformed. He married a sister of the protector's, Oliver Cromwell, and complied with all the changes of the late times, being, as Wood observes, always puritanically affected: but for his admirable abilities, and extraordinary genius, he had scarce his equal. He was made bishop of Chester 1668; and surely, says Mr. Echard, the court could not have found out a man of greater ingenuity and capacity, or of more universal knowledge and understanding in all parts of polite learning. Archbishop Tillotson, and bishop Burnet, who were his intimates, give him the highest encomium; as, that he was a pious Christian, an admirable preacher, a rare mathematician, and mechanical philsosopher; and a man of as great a mind, as true judgment, as eminent virtues, and of as great a soul, as any they ever knew. He was a person of universal charity, and moderation of spirit; and was concerned in all attempts for a comprehension with the dissenters. He died of the stone in Dr. Tillotson's house in Chancery-lane, November 19, 1672, in the fifty-ninth year of his age.
Mr. Joseph Caryl, M. A. the ejected minister of St. Magnus, London-bridge, was born of genteel parents in London, 1602, educated in Exeter-college, and afterward preacher of Lincoln'sinn; he was a member of the assembly of divines, and afterward one of the triers for approbation of ministers; in all which stations he appeared a man of great learning, piety, and modesty. He was sent by the parliament to attend the king at Holmby-house, and was one of their commissioners in the treaty of the Isle of Wight. After his ejectment in 1662, he lived privately in London, and preached to his congregation as the times would permit; he was a moderate Independent, and distinguished himself by his learned exposition upon the book of Job. He died universally lamented by all his acquaintance February 7, 1672—3, and in the seventy-first year of his aget.
Mr. Philip Nye, M.A. was a divine of a warmer spirit: he was born of a genteel family 1596, and was educated in Magdalen-college§, Oxford, where he took the degrees. In 1630 he
• Athen. Oxon. p. 505.
This work was printed in two volumes folio, consisting of upwards of six hundred sheets: and there was also an edition in twelve volumes 4to. "One just remark (says Mr. Granger) has been made on its utility, that it is a very sufficient exercise for the virtue of patience, which it was chiefly intended to inculcate and improve." Granger's History of England, vol. 3. p. 313. 8vo. note.-ED.
Calamy, vol. 2. p. 7. Palmer's Noncon. Mem. vol. 1. p. 121.
§ Mr. Nye was entered a commoner of Brazen-nose, July 1615, aged about nineteen years; but making no long stay there, he removed to Magdalen-hall, not Magdalen-college. Dr. Grey; and Wood's Athen. Oxon. vol. 2. p. 368.-ED.
was curate of St. Michael's, Cornhill, and three years after fled from bishop Laud's persecution into Holland, but returned about the beginning of the long-parliament, and became minister of Kimbolton in Huntingdonshire. He was one of the dissenting brethren in the assembly, one of the triers in the protector's time, and a principal manager of the meeting of the Congregational messengers at the Savoy. He was a great politician, insomuch that it was debated in council, after the Restoration, whether he should not be excepted for life; and it was concluded, that if he should accept or exercise any office ecclesiastical or civil, he should, to all intents and purposes in law, stand as if he had been totally excepted. He was ejected from St. Bartholomew behind the Exchange, and preached privately, as opportunity offered, to a congregation of dissenters till the present year, when he died in the month of September, about seventy-six years old, and lies buried in the church of St. Michael's Cornhill, leaving behind him the character of a man of uncommon depth, and of one who was seldom if ever outreached*.
When the king met his parliament February 4, 1673, after a recess of a year and nine months, he acquainted them with the reasonableness and necessity of the war with the Dutch, and having asked a supply, told them, "he had found the good effect of his indulgence to dissenters, but that it was a mistake in those who said, more liberty was given to Papists than others, because they had only freedom in their own houses, and no public assemblies; he should therefore take it ill to receive contradiction in what he had done; and to deal plainly with you (said his majesty), I am resolved to stick to my declaration." Lordchancellor Shaftesbury seconded the king's speech, and having vindicated the indulgence, magnified the king's zeal for the church of England and the Protestant religion. But the house of commons declared against the dispensing power, and argued that though the king had a power to pardon offenders, he had not a right to authorize men to break the laws, for this would infer a power to alter the government; and if the king could secure offenders by indemnifying them beforehand, it was in vain to make any laws at all, because, according to this maxim, they had no force but at the king's discretion.-But it was objected on the other side, that a difference was to be made between penal laws in spiritual matters and others; that the king's supremacy gave him a peculiar authority over these, as was evident by his tolerating the Jews, and the churches of foreign Protestants.-To which it was replied, that the intent of the law in asserting the supremacy was only to exclude all foreign jurisdiction, and to lodge the whole authority with the king; but that was still bounded and regulated by law; the Jews were still at mercy, and only connived at, but the foreign churches were excepted by a
Calamy, vol. 2. p. 29. Palmer, vol. 1. p. 86.
particular clause in the act of uniformity; and therefore, upon the whole, they came to this resolution February 10, "That penal statutes in matters ecclesiastical cannot be suspended but by act of parliament; that no such power had ever been claimed by any of his majesty's predecessors, and therefore his majesty's indulgence was contrary to law, and tended to subvert the legislative power, which had always been acknowledged to reside in the king and his two houses of parliament." Pursuant to this resolution, they addressed the king February 19, to recall his declaration. The king answered, that he was sorry they should question his power in ecclesiastics, which had not been done in the reigns of his ancestors; that he did not pretend to suspend laws, wherein the properties, rights, or liberties, of his subjects were concerned, nor to alter any thing in the established religion, but only to take off the penalties inflicted on dissenters, which he believed they themselves would not wish executed according to the rigour of the law. The commons, perceiving his majesty was not inclined to desist from his declaration, stopped the moneybill,+ and presented a second address, insisting upon a full and satisfactory assurance, that his majesty's conduct in this affair might not be drawn into example for the future, which at length they obtained.
The parliament was now first disposed to distinguish between Protestant dissenters and Popish recusants, and to give ease to the former without including the latter, especially when the dissenters in the house disavowed the dispensing power, though it had been exercised in their favour. Alderman Love, member for the city of London, stood up, and in a handsome speech declared," that he had rather go without his own desired liberty, than have it in a way so destructive of the liberties of his country and the Protestant interest; and that this was the sense of the main body of dissenters:" which surprised the whole house, and gave a turn to those very men, who for ten years together had been loading the Nonconformists with one penal law after another : but things were now at a crisis; Popery and slavery were at the door; the triple alliance broken; the Protestant powers
* Echard, p. 889. Burnet, vol. 2. p. 72, 73.
The remarks of Mr. Gough here are just and weighty: "The conduct of the commons in this case hath procured the general voice of our historians in their favour; and it must be acknowledged that they acted consistently with their duty in opposing the infringement of the constitution.-Yet as the king's apparent inclination to have the dissenters exempted from penal laws would have merited praise, if it had been sincere, and attempted in a legal way, so the opposition of the parliament would have been entitled to the claim of greater merit, if it had not originated, with many of them, in an aversion to the principles of the declaration (impunity to the Nonconformists) as much as the grounds upon which it was published; and if they had not laid the foundations for this contest in the various penal laws, which, under the influence of party pique, they had universally enacted and received; and on all occasions manifested a determined enmity to all dissenters from the established religion; for if they had not an aversion to the principles of the declaration, they had now a fair opportunity of legalizing it, by converting it into an act of parliament." History of the Quakers, vol. 2. p. 374.—Ep.