« AnteriorContinuar »
tradition hath at all times accounted it unlawful to fast upon that day, and if an ordinary fast were not lawful upon that day, much less was a solemn. Nor is there any thing more clear in all antiquity. For in the Canons of the Apostles, (which if they be not theirs, are very ancient,) is a priest did fast upon the Lord's day, he was to be deposed; and if a layman, he was to be excommunicated. And St. Ignatius tells us, if any man fast upon the Lord's day, he is Christ's interfector, a murderer of Christ : and that I am sure is against Christianity itself. Tertullian professes, it is altogether unlawful. The Council of Gangra, held An. 324. decreed against it, and set an anathema upon it; and that not only when it is done in contempt of the day, but also though it be done as a help to continency. And St. Hilary agrees with this, and calls it not a custom, but a constitution ; such a constitution, as that if any man shall advisedly, and of set purpose, fast on the Lord's day; by the decree of the fourth Council of Carthage, he should not be accounted a Catholic; and they must needs do it advisedly, and of set purpose, who appoint a public solemn fast upon that day, and then keep it. And this was so strictly observed in St. Ambrose his time, that it was not held lawful to fast upon that day, no not in Lent. Nay, he goes farther, for he says expressly, if any man make a law, or give a command for fasting on the Lord's day, he believes not in the resurrection of Christ. And is not this opposite to Christianity itself? and is not that legem indicere, when they proclaim or command a public fast." p. 92.
“ Next I am charged ; that concerning these whites, I brake my promise to the Bishop of Edinburgh. Truly, to the utmost of my memory, I cannot recall any such passage or promise, made to that reverend and learned prelate; and I must have been very ill advised, had I made any such promise, having no warrant from his majesty to engage
any such thing. As for that which follows, that he was moved against his will to put on those garments; truly he expressed nothing at that time to me, that might signify it was against his will. And his learning and judgement were too great to stumble at such external things; especially such having been the ancient habits of the most reverend bishops from the descent of many hundred years, as may appear in the life of St. Cyprian. And therefore, the novation was in the church of Scotland, when her bishops left them off, not when they put them on.” p. 89.
“ As for the taking down of galleries in St. Andrews; to the utmost of my memory, I never gave either command or direction. Nor can it stand with any show of probability, that I should command the taking down of galleries in St. Andrews, where I had nothing to do, and let galleries stand in so many churches in London, and other parts of my province, where I had power. The truth is, I did never like galleries in any church; they utterly deface the grave beauty and decency of those sacred places, and make them look more like a theatre than a church. Nor in my judgement, do they make any great accomodation for the auditory; for in most places, they hinder as much room beneath, as they make above; rendering all, or inost of those places useless, by the noise and trampling of them which stand above in the galleries. And if I be mistaken in this, it is nothing to the business in hand; for be galleries what they will for the use, I commanded not the taking of them down at St. Andrews. At Edinburgh, the king's command took down the stone walls and galleries, which were there removed, and not mine. For his majesty having, in a Christian and princely way, erected and endowed a bishoprick in Edinburgh, he resolved to make the great church of St. Giles in that city, a cathedral; and to this end, gave order to have the galleries in the lesser church, and the stone wall which divided them, taken down. For of old, they were both one Church, and made two by a wall built up at the west-end of the chancel; so that that which was called the lesser church, was but the chancel of St. Giles, with galleries round about it, and was for all the world like a square theatre, without any show of a church; as is also the church at Brunt-Iland over against it. And I remember, when I passed over at the Frith, I took it, at first sight, for a large square Pigeon-house, so free was it from all suspicion of being so much as built like an ancient church.” p. 96.
We have already stated our opinion, that Laud, in the whole of his public conduct, was perfectly sincere; and, that he really believed himself to be promoting the interests of the 'nation. How greatly he erred in that belief, must be evident to all; and it is not a little singular, that at no period of his life does he seem to have distrusted the prudence of his measures, not even when time had developed their disastrous consequences. It might have been supposed that, during his long imprisonment in the Tower, when he was compelled, for the purpose of preparing a defence against the impending charges of the Commons, to review with accuracy the whole of his public life, he would have discovered certain passages calculated to excite strong doubts as to the wisdom of his conduct. If, however, such doubts presented themselves to his mind at all, he has carefully refrained from expressing them in the work before us. On the contrary, he keeps up, from beginning to end, a tone of astonishment at that blind malevolence of his enemies, which refused to acknowledge the propriety of his measures. This, we think, is a strong proof of the purity of his intentions, though it may perhaps tend to reduce still lower our opinion of his judgement. The sincerity of his religious principles, which was indeed never doubted upon any tolerable evidence, is also remarkably testified by the consolation he seems to have derived from them under his heaviest misfortunes. The following passage affords a specimen of his feelings when the storm of parliamentary indignation first broke over his head.
“ December 18, 1640, being Friday.-Upon this day Mr. Densell Hollis, second son to John, Earl of Clare, by order from the house of commons, came up to the lords, and accused me of high treason ; and told the lords, they would make proof thereof in convenient time; but desired in the mean time, that I might be committed to safe custody. This was strange news to my innocency; for this I can say for myself, without falsehood or vanity, that to the uttermost of my understanding, I served the king, my gracious master, with all duty and faithfulness; and without any known or wilful disservice to the state therewhile. And this I did, with as true and free a heart, as ever any man did that served the king. And I thank God, my care was such for the public, that it is well known, I much neglected my own private fortunes there while. The more was I amazed at the first apprehension of this heavy and undeserved charge.
Upon this charge, I was commanded to withdraw. But I first desired leave to speak a few words; and I spake to this effect; that I was heartily sorry for the offence taken against me, and that I was most unhappy, to have my eyes open to see that day, and mine ears to hear such a charge. But humbly desired their lordships, to look upon the whole course of my life, which was such, as that I did verily persuade myself, not one man in the house of commons did believe in his heart, that I was a traitor. Here my lord, the Earl of Essex, interrupted me, and said, that speech of mine was a scandal put upon the whole house of commons, that they should bring me up charged with so high a crime, which themselves did not believe. I humbly desired then, that I might be proceeded with in the ancient parliamentary way of England. This the Lord Say excepted against; as if I would prescribe them how they should proceed. So I withdrew, as I was commanded, and was presently called in again to the bar; and thence delivered to Mr. James Maxwell, the officer of the black rod, to be kept in custody, till the house of commons should farther impeach me.
“Here I humbly desired leave, that I might go home to fetch some papers necessary for my defence. This was granted me with some difficulty, and Mr. Maxwell was commanded to attend me all the while I should stay. When I was gone to Lambeth, after some little discourse and sad enough) with my steward, and some private friends, I went into my chapel to evening prayer. The psalms for that day gave me much comfort, and were observed by some friends then present, as well as by myself. And upon the comfort I then received, I have every day since (unless some urgent business prevented me) read over both these psalms, and, God wilħing, purpose so to do every day of my life. Prayers being ended, I went with Mr. Maxwell, as I was commanded ; hundreds of my poor neighbours standing at my gates to see me go, and prayed heartily for my safe return to my house ; for which I blessed God and them.” p. 73.
Such ample justice has been done to the private virtues of Laud, by the eloquence of Clarendon, that we shall trouble our readers upon that head very briefly. It is, however, a subject to which, briefly as we can notice it, we turn with far greater pleasure than we have felt in dwelling on the errors of his public life. Upon his sincerity a few words have been already
said. To his charities, ample testimony is borne by the records of many a religious foundation still in existence. His munificent patronage of learning has, perhaps, never been surpassed in this country. His zeal in the cause of virtue, though often intemperate, was unquestionably sincere ; his notions of justice, though rigorous, seem never to have been vindictive; his gratitude, though undiscriminating, was yet pure. Much praise, we think, is also due to him for the sincerity and steadfastness of his friendship to Strafford : in spite of all the infirmities of temper which that great man was apt to manifest, and in spite too of all his influence with the monarch, which nearly rivalled Laud's, and might therefore have excited his jealousy, the Archbishop seems to have lived with him in confidence and friendship, and has pronounced over his tomb an eulogy which we extract on account of its mingled truth and beauty.
" These answers being returned, the earl prepared himself; and upon Wednesday morning, about ten of the clock, being May the twelfth, he was beheaded on the Tower-hill, many thousands behold ing him. The speech which he made at his end was a great testimony of his religion and piety, and was then printed : and in their judgement, who were men of worth, and some upon, some near the scaffold, and saw him die, he made a patient, and pious, and couragious end; insomuch, that some doubted whether his death had more of the Roman or the Christian in it, it was so full of both. And notwithstanding this hard fate which fell upon him, he is dead with more honour than any of them will gain who hunted after his life. Thus ended the wisest, the stoutest, and every way the ablest subject that this nation hath bred these many years. The only imperfections which he had, that were known to me, were his want of bodily health, and a carelessness (or rather roughness) not to oblige any; and his mishaps in this last action were, that he groaned under the public envy of the nobles, served a mild and a gracious prince, who knew not how to be, or be made great; and trusted false, perfidious, and cowardly men in the northern employment, though he had many doubts put to him about it. This day was after called by divers, Homicidium Comitis Straffordiæ, the day of the murder of Strafford : because when malice itself could find no law to put him to death, they made a law on purpose for it. God forgive all, and be merciful.”
We have spoken of the sincerity of Laud's religious principles, as admitted even by his bitterest opponents ; but we think it fair to say that those principles, as represented even by himself, appear to have been considerably tinctured with superstition. Many passages in the work before us warrant this opinion; and some of them, indeed, are of such a nature as to be excused only by the current prejudices of the time. See, for example, how ingeniously he avails himself of the misfortune of Lord Brook too clap a judgment upon his back.”
“ The Lord Brook was now in action. A bitter enemy he was to the church, and her government by bishops. On March 2, he was going to give onset upon the close of the cathedral at Litchfield; and as he was taking view of the place, from a window in a house opposite to the close, and his beaver up, so that a musket at such a distance could have done him but little harm; yet was he shot in the left eye, and killed dead in the place without speaking one word. Whence I shall observe ihree things : first, that this great and known enemy to cathedral churches died thus fearfully in the assault of a cathedral. A fearful manner of death in such a quarrel. Secondly, that this happened upon Saint Chad's day, of which Saint the Cathedral bears the name. Thirdly, that this lord coming from dinner about two years since, from the Lord Herbert's house in Lambeth, upon some discourse of St. Paul's church, then in their eye upon the water, said to some young lords that were with him, that he hoped to live to see that one stone of that building should not be left upon another. But that church stands yet, and that eye is put out that hoped to see the ruins of it.” p. 201.
Moreover, the scrupulous minuteness with which he records his dreams, (and the diary is full of them,) savours strongly of the same infirmity. We shall conclude our extracts from this volume, with a specimen or two of the Archbishop's nightly visitors ; just observing, that the favours of Queen Mab, which he has here recorded, though humorous, seem hardly to have been of the choicest.
“ December 14.-Sunday night, I did dream that the Lord Keeper was dead : that I passed by one of his men, that was about a monument for him : that I heard him say, his lower lip was infinitely swelled and fallen, and he rotten already. This dream did trouble me.”
“ August 21.-Sunday, I preached at Brecknock; where I stayed two days, very busy in performing some business. That night, in my sleep, it seemed to me, that the Duke of Buckingham came into bed to me; where he behaved himself with great kindness towards me, after that rest, wherewith wearied persons are wont to solace themselves. Many also seemed to me to enter the chamber, who saw this. Not long before, I dreamed that I saw the Dutchess of Buckingham, that excellent Lady, at first very much perplexed about her husband, but afterwards cheerful and rejoycing that she was freed from the fear of abortion, so that in due time she might be again a mother.” p. 22.
“ January 5.- Epiphany-eve, and Friday, in the night I dreamed, that my mother, long since dead, stood by my bed, and drawing aside the cloaths a little, looked pleasantly upon me; and that I was glad to see her with so merry an aspect. She then showed to me a certain old man, long since deceased; whom, while alive, I both knew and loved. He seemed to lie upon the ground, merry enough, but with a wrinkled countenance. His name was Grove. While I prepared to salute him, I awoke."