Page images
PDF
EPUB

ordinances of God," &c.' So, again, they faithfully maintain the threefold headship of Christ over his church, and the power of the keys which he committed to those whom they call “ the office-bearers of the church;” and their abuse of this power by men not having authority in the Catholic church, is alone to be objected to ?. For “He who hath the keys of hell and of death,” gave the power of those keys to the princes or apostles of His kingdom, entirely distinct from the temporal sword which he also committed to Cesar; by which the successors of the apostles, to the end of the world, were empowered to admit into his kingdom and to cast out of it, to bind, to loose, to chastise and correct with spiritual censures, to humble, to exalt, to suspend, deprive, degrade, restore, and finally to cut off the incorrigible with the spiritual sword. But the presbyterians, independents, and others who compiled this Confession, and limited the Catholic church to their own sects, on having revolted against Christ's kingdom and set up a republic, had no more right to exercise the keys of that kingdom, which is not of this world, than the Long Parliament had to wield Cesar's carnal weapon ; and therefore their acts were not only null and void, but a daring encroachment on the prerogatives of Christ.

A most obnoxious feature in the presbyterian system (although it is now much modified by “ihe spirit of the age” and their

own lukewarmness, yet it is still inherent in it) is the intolerance, bigotry, and the determined and persevering hostility to liberty of conscience, which the leaders constantly shewed. They incessantly opposed their own tenderness of conscience to the most indifferent things—the colour of a gown or the shape of a cap. But things which are really in themselves indifferent, cease to be so when they are imposed by lawful authority ; then they become obligatory, and it becomes our duty to obey our lawful governors in church and state, rather than to assume the province of teaching them how to govern us. If they fail in, or overstep their duty, they will have to answer to God at the last day; but their failure or their tyranny will not excuse us in the sight of God for our disobedience. Notwithstanding their own tenderness of conscience, and contrary to the golden rule, they forced churchmen to take unlawful and “soul-destroying” oaths, and to change the religion in which they had been baptized and educated, and under which they had lived peaceably, without a moment's time for inquiry or examination, under the pain of severe personal sufferings and the brand of the most infamous appellations. The men

1 Chapter xiv. sec. 3.

2 Chapter xsx. passim.

and spawn.

whom they held chiefly in admiration, in their sermons and writings represented toleration as the hydra of all schism and heresy, and the flood-gate of iniquity. Toleration was called the Trojan horse whose bowels were full of warlike sectaries, and a "city of refuge in men's consciences for the devil to fly

It was represented as "the grand design of the devil, his master-piece and chief engine he works by at this time, to uphold his tottering kingdom. It was the most compendious, ready, and sure way to destroy all religion, lay all waste, and bring in all evil. It is the most transcendant, catholic, and fundamental evil for this kingdom, of any that can be imagined. As original sin is the most fundamental sin, having the seed

of all sins in it, so a toleration hath all errors in it, and all evils. It is against the whole stream and current of Scripture, both in the Old and New Testaments; both in matters of faith and manners; both general and particular commands. It overtbrows all relations, political, ecclesiastical, and economical. And whereas other evils, whether of judgment or practice, be but against one or two places of Scripture or revelation, this toleration) is against all this is the Abaddon, Apollyon, the destroyer of all religion, the abomination of desolation and astonishment, the liberty of perdition; and therefore the devil follows it day and night; working mightily in many by writing books for it, and other ways: all the devils in hell and their instruments being at work to promote a toleration? !"

Intolerance and persecution are prominently conspicuous in the Solemn League and Covenant, the precursor of all the civil and religious dissensions of the three kingdoms, which were happy in the enjoyment of peace and prosperity, though, as Izaak Walton says, they were “inwardly sick of being well,” till Richlieu and the jesuits introduced this cockatrice egg among the Scottish presbyterians, and they again brought it into England on the points of their spears, as the price of their alliance : “ and hither," says Walton, “ they came marching with it gloriously upon their pikes and in their hats, with the motto, for the Crown and Covenant of both kingdoms ;-this I saw, and suffered by it?.” We have now seen, as Fuller says, the nursing, the weaning, the young youth of the tall stripling, and the full strength and stature of nonconformity, with its conquest of the hierarchy and its inflexible determination to admit of no toleration to the members of Christ's holy church in any of the three kingdoms. This intolerance, and the

1 Edwards's Gangrena, p. 58.

2 Life of Bishop Saunderson.

bloody fruits springing from it, drew forth a “ Fair Warning ” from archbishop Bramhall, in which he says—“Let all christian magistrates beware how they suffer this cockatrice egg to be hatched in their dominions; much more how they plead for Baal, or Baal-Berith, the Baalims of the Covenant. It were worth the inquiring whether the marks of Antichrist do not agree as eminently to the Assembly-General of Scotland as either to the pope or the Turk; this we see plainly, that they spring out of the ruins of the civil magistrate, they sit upon the temple of God, and they ailvance themselves above those whom holy scripture calleth gods 1,” i. e. sovereign princes.

The puritans railed incessantly against their parent popery, but maintained all the popish doctrines which they had been taught by Cumming and Heth, and the jesuits in Elizabeth's time, of dispensing with oaths, doing evil that good might come, and rebelling and fighting for religion.

The object which the jesuits proposed when they founded the puritan sect, was to distract and divide the church of England, and bring in popery. They failed in the latter, but in the former they succeeded to admiration. Things, says Edwards,“ grew worse and worse, . . . no kind of blasphemy, heresy, disorder, and confusion, but it is found among us, or coming in upon

We are fallen “from popish innovations, superstitions, and prelatical tyranny, to damnable heresies, horrid blasphemies, libertinism, and fearful anarchy. . . You have cast out the bishops and their officers, and we have many that cast to the ground all ministers in all the reformed churches; you have cast out ceremonies in the sacraments, and we have many who cast out the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper.

... In the bishops' days we had the fourth commandment taken away, but now we have all the ten commandments at once by the antinomians, yea, all faith, and the gospel denied.

What swarms are there of all sorts of illiterate mechanic preachers, yea, of women an i boy preachers !-what liberty of preaching, printing of all errors, or for a toleration of all and against the directory, covenant, monthly fast, presbyterial government, and all ordinances of parliament in reference to religion! These sectaries have been growing upon us erer since the first year of our sitting, and have every year increased more and more 2."

The presbyterians, the independents, and the erastians in this assembly disagreed among themselves respecting the

us.”

"A Fair Warning to take heed of the Scottish Discipline. Works, p. 514. 9 Epistle Delicatory to Edwards's Gangrena.

divine institution of their respective schemes of government; but they cordially united for the extirpation of episcopacy. The former attempted to that episcopacy was an innovation on the primitive model, and that Christ instituted a parity among the ministers of religion. But they were forced io admit, that parity among ministers had disappeared from the christian church for at least fifteen centuries. Authority lo minister the word and sacraments can only be delegated and continued by succession, as in the case of the Jewish church ; or by express designation, as in that of St. Paul, who proved his mission to be divine by the performance of miracles. In the presbyterian model succession is out of the question, and they could not plead that the founders of presbytery had any express deignation to erect a new churchdom; at all events they wrought no miracles to prove it. From the time that Timothy and others "ordained elders in every city," presbyters had never exercised the power of ordination, and the bishops from that time had carefully reserved that right to their own order. In whatever way prelacy may be accounted for, the result is the same; for, from the moment of its establishment in the church, presbyters ceased to exercise the power of ordination, which continued with the bishops alone. But even if the apostles had instituted presbyterian parity, still the bishops, in whatever way they acquired their authority, were the only persons who had th: power to perpetuate the christian ministry, and they only had the divine right to minister in holy things, because they alone can shew succession ; so that if bishops have not spiritual authority there is not such a thing in the world, and therefore no lawful ministry in the church?. But the Assembly found a way of escape from this dilemma; and, in the chapter “concerning the doctrinal part of the ordination of ministers," it is declared that,“ in extraordinary cases, something extraordinary may be done until a settled order may be had, yet keeping as near as may be to the rule;" and thy add,“ there is at this time, as we humbly conceire, an extraordinary occasion for a way of ordination for the present supply of ministers 2."

| Episc. Mag. Sept. 1834, art. Divine Right of Presbytery. 2 Sect. 11, 12, p, 587.

272

CHAPTER XXIII.

CHARLES THE FIRST;

HIS HISTORY, TRIAL, AND MARTYRDOM.

1641-42.—The Long Parliament seize on Hull—and they prepare for and declare

war.—The king erects his standard.—Battle of Edgehill.--The king defeats the rebels at Brentford. 1643.- Rebels defeated at Atherstone Moor.- The king's military error.—Persecution of the clergy. 1644.—Parliament at Oxford. — Royalists defeated at Marston Moor. — King defeated at New. berry. 1645. — Treaty at Uxbridge. King defeated at Naseby. 1646.—Negociations. The king throws himself into the hands of the Scots. -The Scots retreat.-Scots commissioners preach before the king—their unreasonable demands.-Correspondence betwixt the king and Mr. Henderson-remarks on it.---Henderson's death-bishop Sage's account of it. Act of Assembly.-1647.–Negociations with the king.- Names and titles of bishops abolished.-Bargain for the king's price concluded. The king delivered up the king at Holmby House-seized by Cromwell.--A new treaty.

-1648. — Abolition of the festivals.-Cromwell's proceedings. — Pride's purge. -1649.- Natural result of the covenant.—Presbyterian remonstrance. -A new court of justice erected.—The king's conference with Sanderson-his character.–Foot-note, the trial, &c.-interview with his family—his last hours—his murder-his burial-epitaph—his character.

Nothing in his life
Became him, like the leaving it ; he died
As one that had been studied in his death,
To throw away the dearest thing he owed,
As 'twere a careless trifle.”—Macbeth, Act. i. Scene 4.

1641-42.-The Long PARLIAMENT Sent down sir John Hotham, one of their own members, to Hull, in the month of March, to hold that town for their interest; and, when the king attempted to enter it, he shut the gates, and turned the king's own cannon against him. The king complained of this act of rebellion ; but the parliament justified it, although they afterwards hanged both sir John and his son. After this, disguise was no longer possible; and, therefore, the parliament issued an ordinance, on ihe 10th of June, 1642, commanding the whole kingdom to bring in their plate and money for the pay and equipment of their army: and then another ordinance was passed for raising troops, which they most hypocritically asserted was "for the safety of the king's person,as well as for the defence of the two houses of parliament. The first overt act and declaration of war

« PreviousContinue »