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by wantonly attacking all the principles on which was supposed to be founded its right to exist, destroyed its own title to the general esteem. Not content with the degree of power enjoyed by their immediate predecessors, they would lead back the people to the old superstition, that with it they might enjoy all the consequence attached to it; forgetting that, by the very attempt, they, in the mean time, irrecoverably lost the authority over the public mind, which their spiritual function would otherwise have commanded. Hampden and his coadjutors were firmly attached to the Christian faith in its purity, and, therefore, on religious grounds, opposed these innovations; but, had they been really patriotic freethinkers, they could have followed no other course. They were bound to assert the rights of their fellow-subjects, whose consciences were illegally forced ; as good citizens, they were called in duty to raise their voices against the attempt to make a religion of the imagination, and by such arts to enlist the external senses on the side of the priesthood and of arbi. trary power. When, therefore, a petition from the city of London, signed by 15,000 citizens, was presented to tl:e lower house by Alderman Pennington, it did not meet with an unfavourable reception, and was followed by others *. The commons themselves entered into resolutions against the temporal power of the bishops, and the clergy's
* Old Parl. Hist. vol. ix. p. 114. Cob. vol. ii. p. 673. Whitelocke, p. 39. Clar. vol. 1. p. 203.
enjoying civil offices; but they as yet proceeded no farther; except that they appointed a committee to inquire into the lives of the clergy, who were grievously complained of. Petitions from parishes poured in against many of the cloth, and various scandalous vices were imputed to some of them : superstitious innovations were charged against very many. That they received hard justice is likely; but, on the other hand, it cannot be denied, that though there were amongst them many individuals of great learning and worth, yet, that the majority, in their zeal for the advancement of their order, in their cupidity for civil offices, their scrambling and mean truckling for place, as well as in their pitiful arrogance on unexpected power, had alike forgotten the duties' and dispositions of Christian pastors and of good citizens. Indeed, it is alleged, that many men of loose lives were appointed to livings for the purpose of affronting the Puritans, and, considering how decent conduct was ridiculed and hat. ed by the ruling party, it is not unlikely*. Whitelocke tells us, too, that “ the House of Commons made an order (and Sir Robert Harlow, the executioner of it,) to take away all scandalous pictures, crosses, and figures, within churches and without; and the zealous knight took down the cross in Cheapside, Charing Cross, and other the like monuments impartially.” In this passage the author certainly intends a slight ridicule of the over-zeal of the knight; but Mr. Hume, in order to throw odium on the age, so far improves his authority as to say, that Harlow's " abhorrence of that superstitious figure would not any where allow one piece of wood or stone to lie over another at right angles." In order to enter into the spirit of the proceeding, we must recollect the state of the times. The cross had originally been erected as an object of devotion, and the age of that superstition was too recent to let men regard such things with the indifference to which we, who never dream of reverencing them, are accustomed; but this feeling would have been faint, had it not been for the injudicious attempt to restore image-worship, and the adoration which really began to be paid to such monuments of idolatry. It is by not attending to these matters that a particular period may be misrepresent. ed.
* May, p. 81. The manner in which Mr. Hume speaks on this subject is singular : He justifies the innovations, and particularly the reading of the king's orders for the Book of Sports, because “the established government both in church and state had strictly enjoined them;" but though the king ordered it, it was directly against law.
The Scottish army still continued in England, and the royal army was not disbanded. The first did not remain on the south of the Tweed without the approbation of the Parliament and people, who plainly foresaw, that should the king be relieved of his embarrassments before the legislature had devised a remedy for the public grievances, he would, according to his past conduct, immediately revert to that arbitrary rule which had brought the kingdom into so deplorable a condition. Parliament, therefore, voted limited supplies, from time
to time, allowing the Scots L.850 a-day, but leaving their claims unsettled ; and, lest the money raised upon the subsidies voted, should be diverted from its legitimate object, appointed a committee of both houses, according to the ancient practice, to attend to the expenditure*.
The celebrated Alexander Henderson, the lead- Scottish er of the Scottish clergy, the accomplished Baillie, London. the erudite Gillespie and Blair, were early sent for from Scotland, by the Earl of Rothes and the other commissioners from the parliament of that kingdom, in order that they might attend to the interests of their church in the pending treaty. These famous divines preached as chaplains, by turns, in one of the lecture-rooms; and, as was to have been expected at such a juncture, from men of their reputation, capacity, and profound as well as varied erudition, they drew immense crowds : If we may form an es. timate of their pulpit-oratory from their works, we may safely pronounce that the English did not discredit themselves by flocking to hear such preacherst.
* Old Parl. Hist. vol. ix. p. 43, 49, 179. Cobbet's, vol. ii. p. 671, 701, 707. Journ. 5th December, et postea. Whitelocke.
+ Clarendon, vol. i. p. 189. See also Baillie's Letters, vol. i. p. 214, et seq. Clarendon says, that “ to hear those sermons there was so great a conflux and resort, by the citizens, out of humour and faction ; by others of all qualities out of curiosity; and by some, that they might the better justify the contempt they had of them; that from the first appearance of day on every Sunday, to the shutting in of the light, the church was never empty. They, (especially the women,) who had the happiness to get into the church in the morning, (they who could not, hung upon, or about the windows without, to be auditors or spectators,) keeping their places
Triennal By statute, a parliament was appointed to be act, Feb. 16, 1641. called every year ; but, unfortunately, there was
no provision in the act for the assembling of the legislature in the event of the sovereign's desiring to avoid it; and, from the late utter departure from the constitutional course, it became necessary to make a provision against the abuse. A bill, therefore, like that lately passed in Scotland, was introduced into the lower house, providing that a parliament, which should not be prorogued or dissolved within a certain time-should be held at
till the afternoon's exercise was finished; which, both morning and afternoon, except to palates ridiculously corrupted, was the most insipid and flat that could be delivered upon any deliberation,” vol. i. p. 189--190. Such language was naturally to have been expected from this historian, whose task of vindicating the royal cause required something of the kind, and whose bigotted dislike to the presbyterian establishment, and antipathy to the Scots, particularly the clergy, and above all, to Henderson, blinded him to any merit in them : But one is amused with Mr. Hume's statement upon the above authority : “ Those who were so happy as to find access early in the morning, kept their places the whole day: Those who were excluded, clung to the doors and windows, in hopes of catching at least some distant murmur or broken phrases of the holy rhetoric. All the eloquence of parliament, now well refined from pedantry, animated with the spirit of liberty, and employed in the most important interests, was not attended to with such insatiable avidity as were these lectures, delivered with ridiculous cant, and a provincial accent, full of barbarism and ignorance.” As for their provincial accent, the author ought to have had some sympathy for it--and it shewed the good sense of the English to overlook it: As for their barbarism and ignorance, it is only necessary to say that, had he perused their works, he would most probably, in spite of all his prejudices, have deeply venerated their profound erudition. Yet the most illiterate field-preachers could not be more contemptuously spoken of : But, it may be observed, that, had the people not flocked zealously to hear such men at such a crisis, it would have been little short of a miracle in nature. .