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mons, to which their petition was referred, reported that they were guilty of a premunire; and they found afterwards, that in relying upon the Scotch they leaned upon a broken reed.
But when the King, after the total wreck of his cause, had taken shelter with the Scotch army, the Presbyterians would gladly have obtained the sanction of his authority, which would have enabled them to trample upon the Independents, and they would have set up again the throne which they had subverted, if they could have set up their own Right Divine with it. The terms which they proposed indicated the implacableness of their political hatred, and the extent of their religious intolerance. They excepted from a general pardon above threescore persons by name, besides whole classes of men, in terms so general that scarcely any one, who had served the King, could feel himself secure. They required severer measures against the Romanists, and demanded that an act should be passed for educating the children of Papists by Protestants in the Protestant religion. They insisted upon the utter abolishment of Episcopacy, and that the King should take the Covenant himself, and impose it upon all in the three kingdoms. This most unfortunate and most calumniated Prince is charged with insincerity, because he hesitated and wavered in circumstances where he had only a choice of evils. But though by nature infirm of purpose, few men have ever been more nobly and religiously fixed in principle: not only at this time, but when the Scotch had sold him to his enemies, he might, to all human appearance, have preserved himself, if he would have sacrificed the Church. They who accuse Charles of seeking to bring back the Romish superstition, and of systematic duplicity, perceive not how, in recording this acknowledged fact, they thoroughly disprove their own slanderous accusation. Pressed as he was by foes who held him in captivity, and beset by weak or treacherous friends, he continued firm upon this great point. The Queen, who had always been an unfortunate adviser, and too often an evil one, urged him to give up the Church ; for this would have been as much a subject of triumph to the Romanists as to the Sectarians. But Charles was not to be shaken ; he rested upon his coronation oath, and upon his own deliberate and well-grounded conviction that Episcopacy was the form of Church government which had
been handed down to us from the Apostles. To those who pressed him with arguments, he answered with sound learning, sound judgement, and the strength of truth; and to his ill-advising friends he replied that his conscience was dearer to him than his
To this determination he adhered in the extremity of his fortune.
The Puritans, unable to obtain the King's consent, proceeded in this, as they had done in so many other acts of iniquity, upon their own usurped authority. They had already abolished Episcopal jurisdiction, they now abolished the rank and order, and confiscated all their rights and possessions. The spoils they shared among themselves and their adherents, by lavish grants, or such sales as were little more than nominal. Sir Arthur Fazlerigg secured so large a portion that he was called the Bishop of Durham. Dr. Cornelius Burgess also, one of the most active of the Puritan divines in kindling the rebellion, became a large purchaser, though he had formerly maintained that it was utterly unlawful to convert such endowments to any private persons' profit. Loudly, indeed, as the puritanical clergy had declaimed against the wealth and power of the Bishops, they had shown themselves far from indifferent to either when they had brought them within their reach. “ Setting sail to all winds that might blow gain into their covetous bosoms,” they took all they could get, not scrupling to hold at the same time masterships in the University, lectureships in the city, and one, two, or more, of the best livings from which the lawful incumbents had been turned out with their families to starve, if they could not obtain their fifths from these hard-hearted intruders. Nor had the Bishops ever claimed half the power in spiritual or temporal affairs, which these men exercised. The temper of the Episcopal Church had become wisely tolerant. It required conformity from its ministers, but carried on no war against the consciences of men ; the clamour which had been raised with most effect against the hier: archy was for not exerting the rigour of the law against the Papists. The Puritans meddled with everything. They abolished Maypoles, and they prohibited servants and children from walking in the fields on the Sabbath day. They appointed the second Tuesday in every month for reasonable recreation, all holidays having been suppressed; and they passed an ordinance
by which eight heresies were made punishable with death upon the first offence, unless the offender abjured his errors, and irremissibly if he relapsed. Sixteen other opinions were to be punished with imprisonment, till the offender should find sureties that he would maintain them no more. Among these were the belief in Purgatory; the opinion that God might be worshipped in pictures or images, free will, universal restitution, and the sleep of the soul. Their laws also for the suppression of immorality were written in blood.
Such edicts were of no avail; the men who enacted them had destroyed the principle and habit of obedience. In the course of unerring retribution, the prime movers of the rebellion were thrust from their abused station by men more audacious and more consistent in guilt. After the murder of the King change followed change, but no change brought stability to the state, or repose to the nation, not even when the supreme and absolute authority was usurped by a man, who, of all others, was the most worthy to have exercised it, had it lawfully devolved upon him. Cromwell relieved the country from Presbyterian intolerance ; and he curbed those fanatics who were for proclaiming King Jesus, that, as his saints, they might divide the land amongst themselves. But it required all his strength to do this, and to keep down the spirit of political and religious fanaticism, when his own mind, by its constitutional strength, had shaken off both dis
He then saw and understood the beauty, and the utility, and the necessity of those establishments, civil and ecclesiastical, over the ruins of which he had made his
way to power ;
and gladly would he have restored the Monarchy and the Episcopal Church. But he was deterred from the only practicable course less by the danger of the attempt, than by the guilty part which he had borne in the King's fate; and at the time when Europe regarded him with terror and admiration as the ablest and most powerful potentate of the age, he was paying the bitter penalty of successful ambition, consumed by cares and anxieties and secret fears, and only preserved from all the horrors of remorse by the spiritual drams which were administered to him as long as he had life.
Eighteen months of anarchy after Cromwell's death made the
nation impatient of its oppressors, and indignant at its long sufferings. Even the men who had been most instrumental in bringing on its misery and degradation were brought to their
The national wish was felt and obeyed at a time when no one dared utter it; and Charles II. was invited unconditionally from exile to his paternal throne, by a people who desired nothing more than the restoration of those institutions under which England had been prosperous and happy.
CHARLES II. - JAMES II.-THE REVOLUTION.
When Charles I. was in the hands of his enemies, and had reason to apprehend that he should never be delivered from them, he addressed a paper of advice to his son, and thus exhorted him concerning that Church which had deserved, and requited with such true loyalty, his sincere and dutiful attachment : “If you never see my face again, and God will have me buried in such a barbarous imprisonment and obscurity wherein few hearts that love me are permitted to exchange a word or a look with me, I do require and entreat you, as your Father and your King, that you never suffer your heart to receive the least check against, or disaffection from, the true Religion established in the Church of England. I tell you I have tried it, and after much search and many disputes, have concluded it to be the best in the world, not only in the community as Christian, but also in the special notion as Reformed ; keeping the middle way between the pomp of superstitious tyranny, and the meanness of fantastic anarchy. ... Not but that, the draught being excellent as to the main, both for doctrine and government in the Church of England, some lines, as in very good figures, may haply need some correcting and polishing; which might here easily have been done by a safe and gentle hand, if some men's precipitancy had not violently demanded such rude alterations as would have quite destroyed all the beauty and proportions of the whole. . . . The scandal of the late troubles, which some may object and urge to you against the Protestant Religion established in England, is easily answered to them or your own thoughts in this, that scarce any one who hath been a beginner or an active persecutor of this late war against the Church, the laws, and me, either was or is a true lover, embracer, or practiser of the Protestant Religion established in England, which neither gives such rules, nor ever before set such examples.”