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practice, outside of London and Lancashire, where the presbyterianism established by the parliament in 1647 had taken root, the established church during the Protectorate was on the congregational model, with so much of presbyterianism about it as came from free association for discipline and other purposes. The important feature in Oliver's establishment was that a man who did not relish the service or the doctrine or the parson provided for him by public authority at his parish church, was free to seek truth and edification after his own fashion elsewhere. This wise liberality, which wins Oliver so many friends to-day, in those times bitterly offended by establishment the host of settled voluntaries, and offended the greater host of rigorous presbyterians by toleration. It may well have been that he determined to set up his system of church government by the summary way of ordinance before parliament met, because he knew that no parliament even partially representative would pass it. We owe the best picture of the various moods of the pulpit men at this interesting moment to the profoundest theologian of them all. Baxter recognised, like other people, that the victorious revolutionary soldier was now endeavouring to dam within safe banks the torrent that the revolution had set running. Now, he says, Cromwell exclaims against the giddiness of the unruly extremists; and earnestly pleads for order and government. This putting about of the ship's helm affected men's minds in different ways. Some declared that they would rather see both tithes and universities thrown overboard than submit to a treacherous usurpation. Others said that it was Providence that had brought the odious necessity about, whoever might be its instrument; and necessity required them to accept the rule of any one who could deliver them from anarchy. Most ministers took a middle way, and it was Baxter's own way :—" I did in open conference declare Cromwell and his adherents to be guilty of treason and rebellion, aggravated by perfidiousness and hypocrisy, but yet I did not think it my duty to rave against him in the pulpit; and the rather because, as he kept up his approbation of a godly life in the general, and of all that was good except that which the interest of his sinful cause engaged him to be against; so I perceived that it was his design to do good in the main . . . more than any had done before him." Even against his will Baxter admits that the scheme worked reasonably well. Some rigid independents, he says, were too hard upon Arminians. They were too long in seeking evidence of sanctification in the candidate, and not busy enough in scenting out his Antinomianism or his Anabaptism. Still they kept the churches free of the heedless pastor whose notion of a sermon was only a few good words patched together to talk the people asleep on Sunday, while all the other days of the week he would go with them to the ale-house and harden them in sin. Cromwell himself was an exemplary patron. "Having near one half of the livings in England in his own immediate disposal, he seldom bestoweth one of them upon any man whom himself doth not first examine and make trial of in person, save only that at such times as his great affairs happen to be more urgent than ordinary, he useth to appoint some other to do it in his behalf; which is so rare an example of piety that the like is not to be found in the stories of princes."
His ideal was a state church, based upon a comprehension from which episcopalians were to be shut out. The exclusion was fatal to it as a final settlement. The rebellion itself, by arresting and diverting the liberal movement in progress within the church when the political outbreak first began, had forever made a real comprehension impossible. This is perhaps the heaviest charge
against it, and the gravest set-off against its indubitable gains.
The mischief had been done in the years, roughly speaking, from 1643 to 1647, when some two thousand of the episcopal clergy were turned out of their churches and homes with many circumstances of suffering and hardship. The authors of these hard proceedings did not foresee the distant issue, which made so deep and dubious a mark upon the social life of England for centuries to come. As soon as the day of reaction arrived, less than twenty years later, it brought cruel reprisals. In 1662 the episcopalians, when the wheel brought them uppermost, ejected two thousand nonconformists on the famous day of Saint Bartholomew, who might seem to be the patron saint of Christian enormities. The nation fell asunder into the two standing camps of churchman and dissenter, which in their protracted strife for superiority on the one hand and equality on the other, did so much to narrow public spirit and pervert the noble ideal of national citizenship. That disastrous direction was first imparted to church polity by the presbyterians; but independents, when in their turn of faction they grasped power, did nothing to redress the wrong committed by their rivals.
QUARREL WITH THE FIRST PARLIAMENT
Whitelocke in his mission to Sweden (1653-54) saw Oxenstiern, the renowned minister who had played so great a part in the history of Gustavus Adolphus and of the protestant world—one of the sages, not too many of them on his own showing, who have tried their hand at the government of men. The Chancellor inquired about Cromwell's age, health, children, family, and temper, and said that the things that he had done argued as much courage and wisdom as any actions that had been seen for many years. Still the veteran was not dazzled. He told Whitelocke that the new Protector's strength would depend upon the confirmation of his office by parliament. As it was, it looked to him like an election by the sword, and the precedents of such elections had always proved dangerous and not peaceable, ever since the choice of Roman emperors by the legions. Christina, the queen, went deeper, and hit on a parallel more to the point. Your General, she said, "hath done the greatest things of any man in the world; the Prince of Conde is next to him, but short of him." Much of his story, she proceeded, "hath some parallel with that of my ancestor Gustavus the First, who from a private gentleman of a noble family, was advanced to the title of Marshal of Sweden, because he had risen up and rescued his country from the bondage and oppression which the Chap, n OPENING OF FIRST PARLIAMENT 343
King of Denmark had put upon them, and expelled that king; and for his reward he was at last elected King of Sweden, and I believe that your General will be King of England in conclusion." "Pardon me, Madam," replied the sedate Whitelocke, "that cannot be, because England is resolved into a commonwealth; and my General hath already sufficient power and greatness, as general of all their forces both by sea and land, which may content him." "Resolve what you will," the queen insisted, "I believe he resolves to be king; and hardly can any power or greatness be called sufficient, when the nature of man is so prone as in these days to all ambition." Whitelocke could only say that he found no such nature in his General. Yet it needed no ambition, but only inevitable memory of near events, to recall to Cromwell the career of Gustavus Vasa, and we may be sure the case often flitted through his mind.
Two parliaments were held during the Protectorate, the first of them assembling in 1654 on the third of September, the famous anniversary day of the Cromwellian calendar. It lasted barely five months. A glance at the composition of it was enough to disclose the elements of a redoubtable opposition. The ghost of the Long Parliament was there in the persons of Bradshaw, Scot, Haselrig, and others; and although Vane was absent, the spirit of irreconcilable alienation from a personal government resting on the drawn sword was both present and active. No royalist was eligible, but the presbyterians of what would now be called the extreme right were not far from royalists, and even the presbyterians of the centre could have little ardour for a man and a system that marked the triumph of the hated independents. The material for combinations unfriendly to the government was only too evident.
They all heard a sermon in Westminster Abbey,