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impious ignorance.” Another urged that “ Religion and conversation of all ministers and schoolmasters. admits of no eccentric notions.” Every member of These local courts were first instituted in 1613, and the congregation of a tolerant Baptist of Rhode remained instruments of tyranny for the next ten Island was fined twenty or thirty pounds, and one years. A fifth of the sequestrated income might be who refused to pay the fine was whipped unmercifully. granted to the expelled man, on conditions that even There was a fine on absence from “ the ministry of a word of resentment might be held to break, and the Word;" to deny that any book in the Old or the number of the clergy thus ejected has been New Testament was throughout the infallible Word reckoned by the historian of their sufferings at seven of God, was blasphemy, punishable by fine and thousand. flogging, and in case of obstinacy, by exile or death. When Cromwell first raised his troop, he had A devout woman, hearing of such things, travelled invited Baxter to become its pastor. Baxter refused, all the way from London to warn the leaders of the and reasoned against the appeal to arms. But when new church against persecution, and they flogged her. war was so far afoot that the only question could be She was sentenced to twenty stripes. At home, of having or not having the religious life maintained when Laud's friends ceased to be the persecutors, among the combatants, Baxter consented to become, they became the persecuted. Each party was full of and was for two years, chaplain to a regiment. Thus zeal in either character, and we can only look with he was at the taking of Bridgewater, the siege of equal eye, whether argument be of the seventeenth Bristol and of Sherborne Castle. He was three weeks or nineteenth century, on imperfections common to at the siege of Exeter, six weeks before Banbury humanity. John Robinson uttered a great truth Castle, and eleven weeks at the siege of Worcester. when, in his farewell to the little band that left In the army he opposed the various forms of free Delft in the Mayflower, he said, “The Lord has more opinion in religion to be found among the soldiers, truth yet to break forth out of His Holy Word.” and somewhat lost their confidence by his zeal on Are we not waiting yet for the acceptance of its behalf of unity; for he flinched from the religious leading truth, that of the three abiding virtues of the disputations that had cast out love, and chiefly on Christian the greatest is charity? " Though I have that ground held with the Presbyterians of those the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, days, who desired uniform Church government not and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, less than Laud, but sought to give it a shape which so that I could remove mountains, and have not they regarded as more Biblical than the machinery of charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all archbishops and bishops. In their desire also to my goods to feed the poor, and though I give separate their church as much as possible from the my body to be burned, and have not charity, traditions of the Church of Rome, they scrupulously it profiteth me nothing." So St. Paul interpreted avoided naming children after saints. Most of the the teaching of Him who based His Church upon names in the New Testament, and many more, being two articles : • Thou shalt love the Lord thy God thus associated with saint worship, Old Testament with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with names, as Elijah, Jonathan, Obadiah ; or the names all thy mind. This is the first and great command- of Christian gifts, Grace, Faith, Hope, Charity; or ment. And the second is like unto it: Thou shalt even religious phrases, were given as Christian names love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two com- to their children by pious parents. Towards the mandments hang all the law and the prophets.' end of the civil war Baxter had a severe illness,
In this sense many a true man of many a creed and it was at that time that he wrote that one of has sought the peace of God, and Richard Baxter his many books which is most widely read, “The laboured towards peace.
He was gentle, without Saint's Everlasting Rest," first published in 1653. cowardice or weakness, and he sought unity for the
He says : distracted Church as earnestly as William Laud. Baxter was reckoned among the Puritans, and shared
“Whilst I was in health, I had not the least thought of the Presbyterian sympathies of the Long Parliament, writing books, or of serving God in any more public way than whose members voted, in May, 1641, approval “ of preaching. But when I was weakened with great bleeding, the affection of their brethren of Scotland, in their
and left solitary in my chamber at Sir John Cook's in Derbydesire of a conformity in the Church government
shire, without any acquaintance but my servant about me, between the two nations.” The Grand Committee of
and was sentenced to death by the physicians, I began to the whole House for Religion, appointed three days
contemplate more seriously on the everlasting rest which I after the assembling of the Parliament, had originated apprehended myself to be just on the borders of; and that in King James's time, but soon became a new energy
my thoughts might not too much scatter in my meditation, I
began to write something on that subject, intending but the for the inquiry into accusations against loyal clergy.
quantity of a sermon or two (which is the cause that the It had a sub-committee, which divided itself into
beginning is, in brevity and style, disproportionable to the several lesser committees, and the first sentence of
rest); but being continued long in weakness, where I had no sequestration was passed by the Grand Committee
books, nor no better employment, I followed it on till it was itself as early as the 16th of January, 1641. As
enlarged to the bulk in which it is published. The first three the work grew on the hands of the sequestrators,
weeks I spent in it was at Mr. Nowell's house at Kirby committees were appointed under Parliament in all
Mallory, in Leicestershire ; a quarter of a year more, at the parts of the country. They were to consist of from
seasons which so great weakness would allow, I bestowed on five to ten members, each paid five shillings a day it at Sir Tho. Rouse's house, at Rouse Lench, in Worcesterfor his attendance, and were enjoined to be “speedy shire; and I finished it shortly after at Kidderminster. The and effectual” in their inquiry into the lives, doctrine, first and last parts were first done, being all that I intended
for my own use; and the second and third parts came after- brotherhood of Christian charity. “I have credibly wards in besides my first intention.”
heard,” says Baxter, “that Dr. Thomas Goodwin,
Philip Nye, and Dr. Owen, the leaders of the InUnder the Commonwealth, Richard Baxter spoke dependents, did tell the king that, as the Pope his mind freely to Cromwell, and told him that he allowed orders of religious parties in mere dependence was a usurper, while admitting that he sought to use on himself, all that they desired was, not to be his false position for the maintenance of godliness, masters of others, but to hold their own liberty of and that, where his own interest was not at stake, worship and discipline in sole dependence on the he sought more to do good than any who had gone king, as the Dutch and French churches do, so they before.
may be saved from the bishops and ecclesiastical courts." Before the arrival of Charles II. he had
been visited in Holland by English Presbyterians. CHAPTER X.
His Declaration from Breda had included in these
words the promise of an end of persecution for FROM THE COMMONWEALTH TO THE REVOLUTION.- religion
RICHARD BAXTER, John BUNYAN, John Milton,
“And because the passion and uncharitableness of the times KEN, AND OTHERS.-A.D. 1660 TO A.D. 1689.
have produced several opinions in religion, by which men are engaged in parties and animosities against each other; which
when they shall hereafter unite in a freedom of conversation, N no small degree
will be composed, or better understood; we do declare a Charles II. owed
liberty to tender consciences; and that no man shall be dishis crown to the
quieted, or called in question, for differences of opinion in division between
matters of religion which do not disturb the peace of the Presbyterians and
kingdom; and that we shall be ready to consent to such an act Independents. At
of Parliament as, upon mature deliberation, shall be offered Kidderminster
to us, for the full granting that indulgence.”
The king, whom Presbyterians had helped to the
throne, after his arrival in London, named ten or tholicism against
twelve Presbyterians, including Baxter, chaplains in INITIAL. From Clarendon's Answer to Parties, of which he
ordinary. Baxter counselled his king not less faith“ Leviathan" (1673). wrote:
fully than he had counselled Cromwell, and still
laboured above all things to establish spiritual union “As we hindered no man from following his own judgment
among English Christians. Baxter and other Presbyin his own congregation, so we evinced, beyond denial, that it
terians in London discussed measures of compromise would be but a partial, dividing agreement to agree on the
with Episcopal clergy, and began by offering to terms of Presbyterian, Episcopal, or any one party, because it accept Archbishop Usher's scheme of church governwould unavoidably shut out the other parties ; which was the
ment, that made each bishop the head of a Presbytery principal thing which we endeavoured to avoid ; it being not which shared his powers, and a revised Liturgy that with Presbyterians only, but with all orthodox, faithful did not forbid extemporary prayer. They accepted pastors and people, that we are bound to hold communion, the king as supreme “ in all things and causes, as and to live in Christian concord, so far as we have attained. well ecclesiastical as civil.” They proposed also that Hereupon, many counties began to associate, as Wiltshire, of the church ceremonies in question, some should be Dorsetshire, Somersetshire, Hampshire, Essex, and others; abolished as occasions of dispute upon indifferent and some of them printed the articles of their agreement. In matters, and that use of others should be optional. a word, a great desire of concord began to possess all good Upon every point the Presbyterians were met with people in the land, and our breaches seemed ready to heal. resistance by the bishops, but in October, 1660, the And though some thought that so many associations and king signed a Declaration on ecclesiastical affairs, forms of agreement did but tend to more division, by showing which conceded very much to Presbyterian desires. our diversity of apprehensions, the contrary proved true by Had it been acted upon, much strife and division experience; for we all agreed on the same course, even to would have been at an end; but there can be no end unite in the practice of so much discipline as the Episcopal,
to strife without change in the minds of combatants. Presbyterians, and Independents are agreed in, and as
The House of Commons in November, 1660, rejected Crosseth none of their principles.”
the Declaration by a majority of twenty-six.
Among enthusiasts of the time was a small body Baxter, who had always held by the monarchy, of Fifth-Monarchy men, so called from their interwelcomed the Restoration, and his great hope for a pretation of the prophecy in the seventh chapter of measure of compromise that would bring again into Daniel. The four beasts had always been interpreted one church the Episcopal and Presbyterian Christians to mean the four great monarchies of the world; the seemed at last attainable. The best Independents ten horns of the fourth beast were said to be the ten desired fellowship without the pale of a church to European kingdoms, and the little horn" (verses 8, which, however they might be parted from it upon 20, 21,) was now read to mean William the Conmatters of opinion, they could be joined in the queror and his successors, who “ made war with the
saints, and prevailed against them, until the Ancient whom Baxter had the foremost place, argued that of Days came, and judgment was given to the saints ' limiting of Church communion to things of doubtof the Most High.” This prophecy was said to be ful disputation hath been in all ages the ground of fulfilled by the trial and condemnation of Charles I. ; schism and separation.” They asked for modifications “and the time came that the saints possessed the of the Prayer Book that would add to the number of kingdom.” This was the Fifth Monarchy, and by those who used it many who before had conscientious 1666 (verses 24-27), having overthrown the power scruples. Baxter even drew up a reformed Liturgy. of Rome, it was to be visible on earth, terribly and The reply to this and to the desire for removal of suddenly, for the redemption of the people from all ceremonies that had served as occasions for dispute bondage, ecclesiastical and civil. Sixty Fifth Monarchy was, “ If pretence of conscience did exempt from obemen on Sunday, January 6th, 1661, issued from their dience, laws were useless; whoever had not list to meeting-house at Swan Alley, in Coleman Street, obey might pretend tenderness of conscience, and led by a wine-cooper named Venner, who had con- be thereby set at liberty.” The conference was inspired in Cromwell's time, carried arms, declaring for effectual. King Jesus, and killed several people. They repulsed The Parliament that met in May, 1661, ordered some files of the train-bands hastily collected by the the Covenant to be burnt by the hangman, recalled
Lord Mayor, each fanatic believing that he would be the bishops to the House of Lords, established miraculously sustained although a thousand came an unmodified Episcopal Church, and passed, on the against him. When they heard that the Life Guards 19th of May, 1662, the Act of Uniformity, through were bearing down upon them, they escaped to Caen which no Presbyterian minister could pass into the Wood between Hampstead and Highgate, but at ministry of the Church without ordination by a dawn on Wednesday entered London again, and bishop, “assent and consent to everything contained hoped to capture the Lord Mayor. Venner and and prescribed in and by" the Prayer Book, with about sixteen of his followers were taken and hanged declaration that the Covenant was an unlawful oath, in different parts of the town, denouncing judgment and that it is unlawful to take arms against the on the king, the judges, and the city. This incident king for any cause whatever. This Act came into was followed by a proclamation“ prohibiting all un- force on the 24th of August, 1662, and those who lawful and seditious meetings and conventicles under suffered by it remembered that this was St. Barpretence of religious worship," in which the unre- tholomew's Day, an anniversary already associated sisting Quakers were named with the Fifth Monarchy with religious hatreds. men. The Quakers worshipped as they held that Richard Baxter, of course, was among the ministheir duty to God required, and paid tribute also ters then shut out of the Church. He might not to Cæsar by accepting quietly the imposed pain of return to Kidderminster. The same conformity was imprisonment for conscience' sake. Few understood required from all teachers of the young, both public their point of view, and even Baxter reckoned them and private. Two thousand ministers refused comwith sectaries for whom he did not intercede.
pliance with the Act, and at once resigned, or were In April, 1661, the conference was held at the deprived of their livings. The same Parliament Savoy Palace in the Strand, between twelve bishops passed a long Act against liberty of the press, for the and twelve Presbyterians. The Presbyterians, among suppression of “ heretical, seditious, schismatical, or offensive books or pamphlets, wherein any doctrine Dr. John Owen was in those days the chief or opinion should be asserted or maintained contrary divine among the Independents. He was born in to the Christian faith, or the doctrine or discipline of 1616, at Hadham, Oxfordshire, was educated at the Church of England; or which might tend or be Queen's College, Oxford, but left at the age of to the scandal of religion, or the Church, or the twenty-one to avoid the regulations of Laud. At Government, or governors of the Church, State, or the outbreak of civil war he was disinherited for his Commonwealth, or of any corporation or person advocacy of the cause of the Parliament. In 1650, whatsoever.” On the 21st of May, 1662, the king Cromwell made him Dean of Christ Church, and he married Catharine of Portugal, a Roman Catholic was Vice-Chancellor of the University from 1652 princess. The king wished to obtain from Parlia- until the death of Cromwell. At the Restoration ment a power dispensing with the penalties incurred he was deprived of office in the University, and for by Roman Catholics and Dissenters, but in 1663 the the next twenty-three years he lived in retirement, Commons voted an address, in which they replied to using his pen actively. him “that it is in no sort advisable that there be any Baxter preached, on the 25th of May, 1662, his indulgence to persons who presume to dissent from last sermon before he was silenced by the Act of the Act of Uniformity, and religion established.” In Uniformity; and in September of the same year he, 1664 the first Act against conventicles was passed. being then forty-seven years old, married Margaret Any meeting for religious worship at which five per- Charlton, aged twenty-three. His wife, who was of sons were present, more than the family, was declared good worldly position, had been born within three a conventicle. Every person above the age of sixteen miles of his native village, and had removed with found at a conventicle was subject for the first offence her mother to Kidderminster, where she received to three months' imprisonment, or a fine of five pounds; from Baxter her first strong impressions of religion. for the second, to six months' imprisonment, or a fine In July, 1663, he went to live at Acton, and then of twenty pounds ; for the third, to banishment to and always wrote much, advocating always peace, any plantation except New England or Virginia. and seeking a church that would comprehend the Exile to one of these colonies might turn punishment Presbyterians, with addition of an indulgence for into a favour by giving a Presbyterian the religious Independents and others who aided the religious fellowship he sought.
life in forms of worship outside the enlarged pale of In the year 1665 there was a great plague, of the Church. Some thought that he would himself which, in August and September, eight thousand conform, because he urged the laity who thought with were dying every week. Because the plagne was busy him not to forsake the Church. But he was comin London, Parliament met at Oxford on the 31st mitted to Clerkenwell prison for preaching in his of October, 1665. Many Nonconformists, who had own house at Acton. His wife went to prison with bravely stayed among the plague-stricken in London him, and, as he tells us, was never so cheerful a and other towns, occupied the pulpits left vacant by companion to me as in prison.” He was released those of the conforming clergy who had fled. In because of a flaw in the mittimus, but was then their preaching they sometimes dwelt on the corrupt prevented by the Five Mile Act from return to life at court, and the persecution of their brethren. Acton. He went, therefore, to Totteridge, near Use is said to have been made of this fact by pro- Barnet, where he had “a few mean rooms, which moters of one of the first acts passed by the Parlia- were so extremely smoky, and the place withal so ment at Oxford, the “Five Mile Act," which was cold, that he spent the winter with great pain.” strongly but ineffectually opposed in the House of Here he followed up a passage in a book of Dr. Lords. It enacted that all persons “in holy orders Owen’s, which suggested to him a chance of bringing or pretended holy orders,” who had not fulfilled the Presbyterians and Independents to accord, and drew requirements of the Act of Uniformity, and who Dr. Owen into an endeavour to ascertain terms of a should take upon them to preach in any unlawful common understanding. It was the chief labour of assembly, conventicle, or meeting, should not, unless Baxter's life to bring English religion into the way only in passing on the road, come or be within five
One of his many books (fifty-six publicamiles of any city or town corporate or borough tion had preceded it) was on “ The Cure of Church that sent members to Parliament; or of any parish, Divisions." It was published in 1668, and gave town, or place wherein, since the Act of Oblivion, sixty Directions to the People that applied practically they had been parson, vicar, curate, stipendiary the teaching of Christ to the distractions of the lecturer, or had taken on thein to preach in unlaw- Church, with twenty-two additional Directions to the ful assembly, conventicle, or meeting, on pain of a Pastors. It is a very practical book still. This, for penalty of £40 for every offence. Every person who instance, is one of the Directions :had not first taken and subscribed the oath, and who did not frequent divine service as established by law, was also subject to the same penalty if he or she should“ teach any public or private school, or take any boarders or tablers that were taught or instructed Take notice of all the good in others which appeareth, and by him or her.” It is clear, therefore, that whatever rather talk of that behind their lacks, than of their faults. party was uppermost, the use made of power showed that England generally had not yet outgrown faith If there were no good in others, they were not to be loved; in the possibility of compelling peace by the enforce- for it is contrary to man's nature to will or love anything, but ment of one rule of Christian discipline and doctrine. sub ratione boni, as supposed to be good. The good of nature
THREE WAYS OF LIFE.
The way of Diri- The way of Peace by The way of Division sion by Violence. | Love and Humility. by Separation.
Adhere to the an- Depart from the the apostolical cient simple Chris- apostolical primitive primitive simpli- tianity, and make simplicity, on precity; and make nothing necessary to tence of strict obthings unneces- your concord and serving it; and make sary seem neces- communion, which is new duties and new sary in doctrine, not necessary. sins, which Scripture worship, disci.
makes not such. pline, and conversation.
II. Endure no man Love your neigh- Account all those that is not of your bours as yourselves; ungodly that use set mind and way ; receive those that prayers, or worship but force all to Christ receiveth, and not God in the same concord upon that hold the neces- manner as you do. these terms of saries of communion, yours, whatever be they Episcopal, it cost.
tists, Arminians, Cal.
is lovely in all men as men, even in the wicked and our enemies (and therefore let them that think they can never speak bad enough of nature take heed lest they run into excess); and the capacity of the good of holiness and happiness is part of the good of nature. The good of gifts and of a common profession, with the possibility or probability of sincerity, is lovely in all the visible members of the Church ; and truly the excellent gifts of learning, judgment, utterance, and memory, with the virtues of meekness, humility, patience, contentedness, and a loving disposition inclined to do good to all, are so amiable in some, who yet are too strange to a heavenly life, that he must be worse than a man who will not love them.
To vilify all these gifts in others savoureth of a malignant contempt of the gifts of the Spirit of God; and so it doth to talk all of their faults, and say little or nothing of their gifts and virtues. Yea, some have so unloving and unlovely a kind of religiousness that they backbite that man as a defender of the profane, and a commender of the ungodly, who doth but contradict or reprehend their backbitings, and are evor gainsaying all the commendations which they hear of any whom they think ill of.
But if you would, when you talk of others (especially them who differ from you in opinions), be more in commendation of all the good which indeed is in them—1. You would shew yourselves much liker to God, who is love, and unliker to Satan the accuser. 2. You would shew an honest impartial ingenuity which honoureth virtue wherever it is found. 3. You would shew an humble sense of your own frailty, who dare not proudly contemn your brethren. 4. You would shew more love to God himself, when you love all of God whensoever you discern it, and cannot abide to hear his gifts and mercies undervalued. 5. You would increase the grace of love to others in yourselves by the daily exercise of it; when backbiting and detraction will increase the malignity from which they spring. 6. You would increase love also in the hearers, which is the fulfilling of the law, when detraction will breed or increase malice. 7. You will do much to the winning and conversion of them whom you commend, if they be unconverted. For when they are told that you speak lovingly of them behind their backs, it will much reconcile them to your persons, and consequently prepare them to hearken to the counsel which they need. But when they are told that you did backbite them, it will fill them with hatred of you, and violent prejudice against your counsel and profession.
Yet mistake me not. It is none of my meaning all this while that you should speak any falsehood in commendation of others; nor make people believe that a careless, carnal sort of persons are as good as those that are careful of their souls, or that their way is sufficient for salvation; nor to commend ungodly men in such a manner as tendeth to keep either them or their hearers from repentance; nor to call evil good, or put darkness for light, nor honour the works of the devil; but to shew love and impartiality to all, and to be much more in speaking of all the good which is in them than of the evil, especially if they be your enemies, or differ from you in opinions of religion. Titus iii. 1: “Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, to speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness to all men. For we ourselves were sometime foolish, &c." Grace is clean contrary to this detracting vice.
III. Brand all dis- Speak evil of no Brand all dissenters senters with the man, and especially with the odious names odious names of of dignities and ru- of graceless forma. schismaticks, he- lers. Revile not when lists. That you may reticks, or sedi- you are reviled: speak make them all seem tious rebels ; that most of the good that unlovely to others. they may become is in dissenters; and hateful to high do them all the good and low.
IV. When this hath If any wrong you, When this hath greatly increased be the more watchful stirred them up to their disaffection over your passions, wrath, call them to you, accuse and opinions, and wicked persecutors, their religion of tongues, lest passion and have no all the expres- carry you into ex- munion with them. sions of that dis- tremes. Love your affection, to make enemies; bless them it odious also. that curse you; do
good to them that
may come by it.
V. Take those for Impartially judge Backbite and reyour enemies that of men by God's in- proach all those as are their friends, iterest in them, and compliers with sin, or and those for
your not your own or your such as strengthen the friends which are parties. Reprove the hands of the wicked their enemies : ways of love-killers and the persecutors, And cherish those and backbiters; and who would recall you be they never so let not the fear of to love and humility. bad, that will be their wrath or cen- And cherish all sects against them and sures carry you into be they never so er. help you to root a compliance with roneous or passionate them out. them, or cause you by that will take your
silence to encourage part, and speakagainst
them. But rejoice if them. But first, when But remember you should be martyrs the wrath which you
The volume ends with the following suggestive sketch of