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treated with much severity by reason of it".
the divines of both sides too much addicted themselves to their respective parties; and were too unmindful of the duties of their function.
11 Deeply concerned in the king's death, &c.] Every one knows he suffered for this after the Restoration. He had judgment passed on him as a traitor, and as such was executed*, and his head afterwards set on a pole on London bridge.
Burnet tells usb, "that he had been outragious in pressing the king's death, with the cruelty and rudeness of an inquisitor."—Dr. Barwick says, "he was upon no slight grounds accused to have been one of the king's murtherers, though it could not be sufficiently proved against himc."
And we find in a satirical piece, styled Epula Thyesta, printed 1649, the following lines:
"There's Peters, the denyer (nay 'tis said)
• -That godly pigeon of apostacy
One Mr. Starkey at his trial swored, that " he stiled the king tyrant and fool, asserted that he was not fit to be a king, and that the office was dangerous, chargeable, and useless."
It was likewise sworn on his trial, that in a sermon, a few days before the king's trial, he addressed himself to the members of the two houses, in these terms6: "My lords, and you noble gentlemen,—It is you, we
* Oct. 16, 1660. * Hist, of his own Times, Dutch edit in 12mo.
-vol. I. p. 264. c Barwick's Life, Eng. trans, p. 296, Lond. 172*.
* Trial of the Regicides, p. 159. e Ibid. p. 166.
He was appointed one of the triers for
chiefly look for justice from. Do not prefer the great Barabbas, murtherer, tyrant and traytor, before these poor hearts (pointing to the red coats) and the army^ who are our saviours/'
In another sermon before Cromweh* and Bradshaw, he said, "Here is a great discourse and talk in the world; what, will ye cut off the head of a protestant prince*? Turn to your bibles, and ye shall find it there, whosoever sheds man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed.—I see neither king Charles, prince Charles, nor prince Rupert, nor prince Maurice, nor any of that rabble excepted out of itK"—These and many other things of the like nature, were sworn against him at his trial, and notwithstanding his denial of the most part of them, caused his condemnation. So that there seems pretty clear proof of his guilt, and sufficient reason for his censure.
Let us now hear Peters speak for himself: "I had access to the king,—he used me civilly; I, in requital, offered my poor thoughts three times for his safety; I never had hand in contriving or acting his death, as I am scandalized, but the contrary, to my mean power V Which, if true, no wonder he should think the act of indemnity would have included him, as well as others, as he declares he did, of which we shall speak more hereafter
That he was useful and serviceable to the king, during his confinement, there is undeniable proof. Whitlock writes " that upon a conference between the king and Mr. Hugh Peters, and the king desiring one of his own chaplains might be permitted to come to him, for his satisfaction in some scruples of conscience, Dr. Juxon, bishop of London, was ordered to go to his majesty4." And " sir John Denham, being entrusted by the queen, to deliver a message to his Majesty, who, at that time, was in the hands of the army, by Hugh Peters's assistance, he got admittance to the kingV answer hereunto, were they received or rejected.—How rn.uch more intelligible would it have been, to have enquired, whether they were " blameless, husbands of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach, not given to wine, no strikers, not greedy of filthy lucre, patient, not brawlers, not covetous? Whether they ruled well their own houses, and had a good report of them which were without*?" I say, how much more intelligible and important would these questions have been, yea, how much easier and more certainly determined, than that abovementioned? But it is a very long time ago, that these were the qualifications required and expected from clergymen: for ages past, subscription to doubtful articles of faith, declarations very ambiguous, or most difficult to be made by understanding minds, or the Shibboleth of the prevailing party in the church, have been the things required and insisted on. Whence it has come to pass, that so many of our divines, as they are styled, understand so little of the scriptures, and that they know and practise so little of pure, genuine Christianity. I would not be thought to reflect on any particular persons; but hope those, in whose hands the government of the church is lodged, will consider whether they are not much too careless in their examinations of young men for ordination? Whether very many of them are not unqualified to teach and instruct, through neglect of having carefully studied the word of God? And whether their conversation be not such as is unsuitable to the character conferred on them ?— It is with uneasiness one is obliged to hint at these things. But, surely, it is more than time that they were reformed, and St. Paul's rules were put in practice.
* i. e. King's. "Trial of the Regicides, p. 16*.
'Peters's Legacy, p. 102.
These were considerable services, and could hardly have been expected from a man, who was outrageous in pressing the king's death, with the cruelty and rudeness of an inquisitor.
And as to what was said of his being supposed to be the king's executioner, one, who was his servant, deposed on his trial, that he kept his chamber, being sick, on the day the king suffered: and no stress was laid by the king's counsel on the suspicions uttered against him on this head. So that, in all reason, Dr. Barwick should have forborne saying, " that he was upon no slight grounds accused to have been one of the king's murtherers."
Certain it is, he too much fell in with the times, and, like a true court chaplain, applauded and justified what his masters did, or intended to do; though he himself might be far enough from urging them beforehand to do it. He would perhaps have been pleased, if the king and army had come to an agreement: but as that did not happen, he stuck close to his party, and would not leave defending their most iniquitous behaviour.
Which conduct is not peculiar to Peters. Charles the First, at this day, is spoke of as the best, not only of men, but of kings; and the parliament is said to
* Whitlock, p. 370. b Denham's Epist. Dedicat. to Charles II.
of his Poems, second edition, 1671. •
the ministry'a. And a commissioner for
have acted right in opposing his tyranny, and likewise in bringing him to the block, by the staunch partymen of each side respectively. No wickedness is owned, no errors are acknowledged on the one part, nor is there any such thing to be granted as wisdom or honesty on the other.—These are the men that often turn the world upside down, and spirit up mobs, tumults and seditions, till at length they become quite contemptible, and perhaps undergo the fate allotted to folly and villany.
11 One of the triers for the ministry.] These were men appointed by Cromwell, to try the abilities of all entrants into the ministry, and likewise the capacity of such others, as were presented, or invited to new places. Butler, according to his manner, has represented their business in a ludicrous light in the following lines:
"Whose business is, by canning slight,
Hudib. Canto HI.
However, jesting apart, it must be owned, the thing in itself was good enough: but instead of examining those who came before them in languages, divinity, and more especially morality, things of the highest importance, one should think; they used to ask them, whether they had ever any experience of a work of grace on their hearts*? And according as they could
» How's Life, by Calamy, p. 21. Lond. 1724. 8vo.