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trial ; and where he afterwards heard with mingled anguish and indignation that his sovereign had fallen by the hand of an executioner. The sorrow occasioned by the violent death of one whom he so revered as a king and loved as a man made him seek more diligently the consolations of the gospel, with fasting and prayer. He also resumed his studies, which of late had been so much interrupted; made considerable progress in the Annotations; composed a treatise on the Reasonableness of the Christian Religion ; and wrote his answer to Blondel, in Latin, in favour of Episcopacy, for which he obtained the warmest thanks and praises of his “loving friend and brother," archbishop Usher, as well as of many other persons of note and learning.
Amidst these pursuits, one more affliction befel him. He learned that his mother was dangerously ill; but he was neither permitted to soften her pillow by the consolations of religion, nor to close her eyes at the last. All royalists were banished from within twenty miles of London, where she resided at the time of her death. But it is happy for the disciples of Christ that their friendships and affections are not buried in the grave, and that the hope of meeting hereafter, and living together for ever in a better world, may soothe the anguish of the most distressing separations.
Towards the close of the year, Dr. Hammond was released from all restraint, and, taking leave of Clapham, he removed to Westwood in Worcestershire, the seat of sir John Pakington, an eminent loyalist.
In this Memoir, as well as that of archbishop Usher, we have made some reference to the general condition of the clergy from the time of their ejection to the Restoration ; and we propose to give, in the next chapter, a sketch of their distresses, and of the causes from which those
calamities sprang, hoping thereby to evince the special goodness of God in providing so amply for the comfort of these excellent persons, as well as the occasion which existed for their active services in behalf of their brethren.
SUFFERINGS OF THE CLERGY.
The widow'd church to weep stood by ;-
The overthrow of the church of England and the deep distresses of her clergy were mainly owing to the furious and misdirected zeal of a religious party, who, from professing to advocate a purer mode of worship than that which was then established, were commonly denominated puritans. Glancing at their early history, we find that the persecuting spirit of queen Mary compelled vast numbers of English protestants to seek refuge from her cruelties in foreign countries; and that many of these, forsaking the forms of public worship which they had used at home in the reign of king Edward the sixth, adopted the doctrine, discipline, and services, of Calvin and the church of Geneva. In too many instances, the exiled protestants, divided in opinion and practice, fell into hot contentions in many of the towns where they settled; and afterwards, at the accession of queen Elizabeth, bringing with them into England those unfriendly feelings towards each other, implanted that disunion within the church of Christ which good men have ever since deplored.
Both these parties, however, were for a long period advocates of uniformity, and the object of contention was not toleration but pre-eminence. When the church was restored by queen Elizabeth, the puritans, with the exception of a very few congregations, did not separate from its communion, but, remaining within its pale, used all their energies for its subversion, and openly pleaded for the general adoption of their own schemes and principles. The chief objects of their desires were, the suppression of episcopacy and the substitution of presbytery; the reconstruction of the church, after the ecclesiastical laws and institutions of Geneva ; the disuse of all forms of prayer, and of all ceremonies or practices which bore the smallest resemblance to those of the Romish worship. These views may be considered as the characteristic marks of the party down to the time of the troubles in the reign of king Charles the first, when their demands became still more extensive; till at length having it in their power to execute all their purposes, they altered the whole constitution of the church, and ruled the nation with a rod of iron.
The general deportment of the puritans was strict and grave; as ministers of the gospel they were diligent and zealous; peculiar earnestness and warmth distinguished their preaching; and they frequently assembled their people privately for prayer. Works of great piety and excellence remain to attest that
of them were powerful advocates of religion and virtue. By such means they naturally gained a share of public esteem; and the coercive measures pursued towards them, being more commonly vexatious than severe, were just such as might increase their popularity, without answering the purpose for which they were intended.
But in order that the hostility they met with may be fairly understood, it is necessary to mention that they certainly gave great provocation, inasmuch as they were aiming at the overthrow of the established religion, and showed so strong a political bias, by opposing the existing government and promoting discontent, as to bring upon them a continual suspicion of being bad and factious subjects. It ought also to be carefully kept in mind, that, in the estimation of those times, toleration was accounted by all to be nothing less than the protection of
“ Much as every religious party in its turn had suffered from persecution,” says the lamented bishop Heber, * “and bitterly as each had in its own particular instance complained of the severities exercised against its members, no party had yet been found to perceive the great wickedness of persecution in the abstract, or the moral unfitness of temporal punishment as an engine of religious controversy. Even the sects who were themselves under oppression exclaimed against their rulers, not as being persecutors at all, but as persecuting those who professed the truth ; and each sect, as it obtained the power to wield the secular weapon, esteemed it also a duty as well as privilege not to bear the sword in vain.” It was left for Jeremy Taylor, so late as the year 1647, to fix this principle on an imperishable basis, in his Discourse of the Liberty of Prophesying, with its just limits and temper, showing the unreasonableness of prescribing to other men's faith, and the iniquity of persecuting different opinions ; in which he made “ the first attempt on record to conciliate the minds of christians to the reception of a doctrine which, though now the rule of action professed by all christian sects, was then, by every sect alike, regarded as a perilous and portentous novelty."
* Life of Jeremy Taylor.
Amidst the contentions which raged between Charles the first and the parliament, the puritans increased in number, weight, and boldness. Unfriendly to the then-existing state of things both in church and state, they threw themselves into the stream of popular discontent, and accelerated its headlong force by the union of religious and political fervour. Every stage of the king's decline was a stage of their advancement; and, as the prospect of success opened, they became bolder in their zeal against episcopacy and monarchy. Making their churches resound with political sermons and political prayers, they enlisted the services of many who would have turned a deaf ear to the gospel of peace; and put a lighted match to fuel which would blaze, they regarded not how far, they knew not with what destructive fury.
In proportion as they entered more into the politics of the times, their religious character became less worthy of admiration; instead of the strictness of piety and holy living, a fierceness of temper, a factious and insolent demeanour, became their distinguishing qualities: in their long sermons they introduced severe reflections upon their opponents; even the best amongst them were betrayed into excesses of this kind; and many, like the notorious Hugh Peters, were more entangled in the affairs of this life than the clergy whose interference in civil affairs they so loudly reprobated. All that passed in the state was canvassed on the day of religious rest, and during the hours which ought to have been employed in meditating upon the interests of another world; and individuals were spoken of in a very pointed manner, and either complained of, or recommended to God, according as they were acceptable or odious to the preachers. Some strange delusion had blinded their eyes to the truths that blessed are the poor in spirit, the meek, the