« PreviousContinue »
am sure he deserved it of me, that I should give so 1661. full a view of him; which I hope may be of some , use to the world.
When the time fixed for the consecration of the The Scotuh bishops of Scotland came on, the English bishops rj^* finding that Sharp and Leightoun had not episcopalcnUd' ordination, as priests and deacons, the other two having been ordained by bishops before the warse, they stood upon it, that they must be ordained, first deacons and then priests. Sharp was very uneasy at this, and remembered them of what had happened when king James had set up episcopacy. Bishop Andrews moved at that time the ordaining them, as was now proposed: but that was overruled by king James, who thought it went too far towards the unchurching of all those who had no bishops among themf. But the late war, and the disputes during that time, had raised these controversies higher, and brought men to stricter notions, and to maintain them with more fierceness. The English bishops did also say, that by the late act of uniformity that matter was more positively settled, than it had been before; so that they could not legally consecrate any, but those who were, according to that constitution, made first priests and deacons. They also made this difference between the present time and king James's: for then the Scots were only in an imperfect state, having never had bishops among them since the reformation; so in such a state of 140 things, in which they had been under a real neces
e (The author of Archbishop History, pag. 514. O. (CornSharp's Life, published in 1723. pare Heylin's Hist . of the Presagrees with this statement.) byterians, b. xi. c. 4. p. 514.)
'See Archbishop Spotiswood's
1661. sity, it was reasonable to allow of their orders, how defective soever: but that of late they had been in a state of schism, had revolted from their bishops, and had thrown off that order: so that orders given in such a wilful opposition to the whole constitution of the primitive church was a thing of another nature. They were positive in the point, and would not dispense with it. Sharp stuck more at it than could have been expected from a man that had swallowed down greater matters. Leightoun did not stand much upon it. He did not think orders given without bishops were null and void. He thought, the forms of government were not settled by such positive laws as were unalterable; but only by apostolical practices, which, as he thought, authorized episcopacy as the best form. Yet he did not think it necessary to the being of a church. But he thought5 that every church might make such rules of ordination as they pleased, and that they might reordain all that came to them from any other church; and that the reordaining a priest ordained in another church imported no more, but that they received him into orders according to their rules, and did not infer the annulling the orders he had formerly received. These two were upon this privately ordained deacons and priests. And then all the four were consecrated publicly in the abbey of Westminster. Leightoun told me he was much struck with the feasting and jollity of that day: it had not such an appearance of seriousness or piety, as became the new modelling of a church. When that was over, he made some attempts to work up
B Think, thought, thought, think, thought. S.
Sharp to the two designs which possessed him most. 1661. The one was, to try what could be done towards the uniting the presbyterians and them. He offered Usher's reduction, as the plan upon which they ought to form their schemes. The other was, to try how they could raise men to a truer and higher sense of piety, and bring the worship of that church out of their extempore methods into more order; and so to prepare them for a more regular way of worship, which he thought was of much more importance than a form of government. But he was amazed, when he observed that Sharp had neither formed any scheme, nor seemed so much as willing to talk of any. He reckoned they would be established in the next session of parliament, and so would be legally possessed of their bishoprics: and then every bishop was to do the best he could to get all once to submit to his authority: and when that point was carried, they might proceed to other things, as should be found expedient: but he did not care to lay down any scheme. Fairfoul, when he talked to him, had always a merry tale ready at 141 hand to divert him: so that he avoided all serious discourse, and indeed did not seem capable of any. By these means Leightoun quickly lost all heart and hope; and said often to me upon it, that in the whole progress of that affair there appeared such cross characters of an angry providence, that, how fully soever he was satisfied in his own mind as to episcopacy itself, yet it seemed that God was against them, and that they were not like to be the men that should build up his church; so that the struggling about it seemed to him like a fighting against God. He who had the greatest hand in it pro
1661. ceeded with so much dissimulation; and the rest of the order were so mean and so selfish; and the earl of Midletoun, with the other secular men that conducted it, were so openly impious and vicious, that it did cast a reproach on every thing relating to religion, to see it managed by such instruments.
1662. All the steps that were made afterwards were of higs ofthe a piece with this melancholy beginning. Upon the ^ya^'es consecration of the bishops, the presbyteries of Scotland that were still sitting began now to declare openly against episcopacy, and to prepare protestations, or other acts or instruments, against them. Some were talking of entering into new engagements against the submitting to them. So Sharp moved, that, since the king had set up episcopacy, a proclamation might be issued out, forbidding clergymen to meet together in any presbytery, or other judicatory, till the bishops should settle a method of proceeding in them. Upon the setting out this proclamation, a general obedience was given to it: only the ministers, to keep up a shew of acting on an ecclesiastic authority, met once, and entered into their books a protestation against the proclamation, as an invasion on the liberties of the church, to which they declared they gave obedience only for a time, and for peace sake. Sharp procured this without any advice: and it proved very fatal. For when king James brought in the bishops before, they had still suffered the inferior judicatories to continue sitting, till the bishops came and sat down among them: some of them protested indeed against that: yet they sat on ever after: and so the whole church had a face of unity, while all sat together in the same judicatories, though upon different principles. 1662. The old presbyterians said they sat still as in a court settled by the laws of the church and state: and though they looked on the bishops sitting among them, and assuming a negative vote, as an usurpation, yet, they said, it did not infer a nullity on the court: whereas now, by this silencing these courts, the case was much altered: for if they had conti-142 nued sitting, and the bishops had come among them, they would have said, it was like the bearing with an usurpation, when there was no remedy: and what protestations soever they might have made, or what opposition soever they might have given the bishops, that would have been kept within their own walls, but would not have broken out into such a distraction, as the nation was cast into upon this: all the opposition that might have been made would have died with those few that were disposed to make it: and, upon due care to fill the vacant places with worthy and well-affected men, the nation might have been brought off from their prejudices. But these courts being now once broken, and brought together afterwards by a sort of connivance, without any legal authority, only as the bishop's assistants and officials, to give him advice, and to act in his name, they pretended they could not sit in them any more, unless they should change their principles, and become throughly episcopal, which was too great a turn to be soon brought about. So fatally did Sharp precipitate matters. He affected to have the reins of the church wholly put into his hands. The earl of Lauderdale was not sorry to see him commit errors; since the worse things were managed, his advices would be thereby the more justivo1.. 1. R