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CHA P. it to an iffue. They were lodged in the city, and kept an intimate correspondence, as well with the magiftrates, who were extremely difaffected, as with the popular leaders in 1640. both houfes. St. Antholine's church was affigned them for their devotions; and their chaplains, here, began openly to practise the prefbyterian form of worship, which, except in foreign languages, had never hitherto been allowed any indulgence or toleration. So violent was the general propenfity towards this new religion, that multitudes of all ranks crowed into the church. Those, who were so happy as to find accefs early in the morning, kept their places the whole day: Thofe, who were excluded, clung to the doors or windows, in hopes of catching, at least. some distant murmur or broken phrases of the holy rhetoric X. 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 infatiable avidity, as were thefe lectures, delivered with ridiculous cant, and a provincial accent, full of barbarism and of ignorance.
THE most effectual expedient for paying court to the zealous Scots was to promote the prefbyterian difcipline and worship throughout England; and to this innovation, the popular leaders among the commons, as well as their most devoted partizans, were, of themselves, fufficient-. ly inclined. The puritanical party, whofe progress, though fecret, had hitherto been gradual in the kingdom, taking advantage of the prefent diforders, began openly to profefs their tenets, and to make furious attacks on the established religion. The prevalence of that sect in the parliament difcovered itself, from the beginning, by infenfible, but decifive fymptoms. Marshall and Burgefs, two puritanical clergymen, were chosen to preach before them, and entertained them with difcourfes feven hours in length. It being the cuftom of the house always to take the facrament before they enter upon bufinefs, they ordered, as a necessary preliminary, that the communion table should be removed from the east end of St. Margaret's into the middle of the area 2. The name of the fpiritual lords was commonly left out in acts of parliament; and the laws ran in name of the king, lords,
X Clarendon, vol. i. p. 189.
Y Nalfon, vol. i. p. 53°;
and commons. The clerk of the upper house, in read- C HA P. ing bills, turned his back on the bench of bifhops; nor was his infolence ever taken notice of. On a day appointed for a folemn fast and humiliation, all the orders of temporal peers, contrary to former practice, in going to church, took place of the fpiritual; and lord Spencer remarked, that the humiliation, that day, feemed confined alone to the prelates.
EVERY meeting of the commons produced fome ve- The bihement harangue against the ufurpations of the bishops, Shops atagainst the high-commiffion, against the late convoca- tacked. tion, against the new canons. So disgusted were all the lovers of civil liberty at the doctrines promoted by the clergy, that these invectives were received with controul; and no distinction, at first, appeared between fuch as defired only to reprefs the exorbitancies of the hierarchy, and fuch as pretended totally to annihilate epifcopal jurisdiction. Encouraged by these favourable appearances, petitions against the church were framed in different parts of the kingdom. The epithet of the ignorant and vicious priesthood was commonly applied to all churchmen, addicted to the established discipline and worship; though the epifcopal clergy in England, during that age, feem to have been, as they are at present, fufficiently learned and exemplary. An address against epifcopacy was prefented by twelve clergymen to the committee of religion, and pretended to be figned by many hundred of the puritanical perfuafion. But what made most noife was the city petition for a total alteration of church government; a petition, to which 15,000 fubfcriptions were annexed, and which was prefented by alderman Pennington, the city member A. It is remarkable, that, among the many ecclefiaftical abuses there complained of, an allowance, given by the licencers of books, to publish a tranflation of Ovid's Art of Love, is not forgot by thefe ruftic cenfors B.
NOTWITHSTANDING the favourable difpofition of the people, the leaders in the houfe refolved to proceed with caution. They introduced a bill for prohibiting all clergymen the exercise of any civil office. As a confequence, the bishops were to be deprived of their seats in
A Clarendon, vol. i. p. 203. Whitlocke, p. 37. Nalfon, vol. i. B Rush. vol. v. p. 171, 666.
CHA P. the house of peers; a measure not unacceptable to the zealous friends of liberty, who obferved, with regret, the devoted attachment of that order to the will of the 1640. monarch. But when this bill was prefented to the peers, it was rejected by a great majority C: The first check which the commons had received in their popular career, and a prognoftic of what they might afterwards expect from the upper houfe, whofe inclinations and interests could never be totally feparated from the throne. But to fhew how little they were difcouraged, the puritans immediately brought in another bill for the total abolition of epifcopacy; though they thought proper to let that bill fleep at prefent, in expectation of a more favourable opportunity for reviving it D.
AMONG other acts of regal, executive power, which the commons were every day affuming, they issued orders for demolishing all images, altars, crucifixes. The zealous Sir Robert Harley, to whom the execution of thefe orders was committed, removed all croffes even out of streets and markets; and from his abhorrence of that fuperftitious figure, would not any where allow two pieces of wood or ftone to lie over each other at rightangles E.
THE bishop of Ely and other clergymen were attacked on account of innovations F. Cozens, who had long been obnoxious, was exposed to new cenfures. This perfon, who was dean of Peterborough, was extremely zealous for ecclefiaftical ceremonies: And fo far from permitting the communicants to break the facramental bread with their fingers; a privilege on which the puritans very strenuously infifted; he would not fo much as allow it to be cut with an ordinary household inftrument. A confecrated knife must perform that facred office, and must never afterwards be profaned by any vulgar fervice G.
COZENS likewife was accused of having faid, The king had no more authority in ecclefiaftical matters, than the boy who rubs my horfe's heels H. The expreffion was violent: But it is certain, that all thofe high churchmen,
c Clarendon, vol. i. p. 237. D Idem ibid. p. 237.
E Whitlocke, p. 45.
F Rushworth, vol. v. p. 351.
G Rushworth, vol. v. p. 203.
who were so industrious in reducing the laity to fubmif- CHA P. fion, were extremely fond of their own privileges and independency, and were defirous of exempting the mitre from all fubjection to the crown.
A COMMITTEE was elected by the lower house as a court of inquifition upon the clergy, and was commonly denominated the committee of Scandalous minifters. The politicians among the commons were apprized of the great importance of the pulpit for guiding the people; the bigots were enraged against the prelatical clergy; and both of them knew, that no established government could be overthrown by obferving ftri&tly the principles of justice, equity, or clemency. The proceedings, therefore, of this famous committee, which continued for several years, were cruel and arbitrary, and made great havoc both on the church and the universities. They began with haraffing, imprisoning, and molesting the clergy; and ended with fequeftrating and ejecting them. In order to join contumely to cruelty, they gave the fufferers the epithet of fcandalous, and endeavoured. to render them as odious as they were miferable '. The greatest vices, however, which they could reproach to a great part of them, were, bowing at the name of Jesus, placing the communion table in the east, reading the king's orders for sports on Sunday, and other practices, which the established government, both in church and state, had strictly enjoined them.
It may be worth observing, that all hiftorians, who lived near that age, or what perhaps is more decifive, all authors, who have cafually made mention of those public tranfactions, ftill represent the civil diforders and convulfions as proceeding from religious controversy, and confidering the political difputes about power and liberty as entirely fubordinate to the other. It is true, had the king been able to abstain from all invafion of national privileges, it is not probable, that the puritans ever could have acquired fuch authority as to overturn the whole constitution: Yet fo entire was the fubjection, into which Charles was now fallen, that, if the wound had not been poisoned by the infufion of theological hatred, it must have admitted of a very eafy remedy. Difufe of parliaments, imprisonment and profecution of VOL. VI. members,
'Clarendon, vol. i. p. 199. Whitlocke, p. 122. May, p. 81.
CHA P. members, ship-money, an arbitrary and illegal adminiftration; these were loudly complained of: But the grievances, which tended chiefly to inflame the parliament and nation, efpecially the latter, were, the furplice, the rails placed about the altar, the bows exacted on approaching it, the liturgy, the breach of the fabbath, embroidered copes, lawn fleeves, the use of the ring in marriage, and the cross in baptifm. On account of thefe, were both parties contented to throw the government into fuch violent convulfions; and, to the difgrace of that age and of this island, it must be acknowledged, that the diforders in Scotland entirely, and thofe in England mostly, proceeded from fo mean and contemptible an origin *.
SOME perfons, partial to the leaders who now defended public liberty, have ventured to put them in balance with the moft illuftrious characters of antiquity; and mention the names of Pym, Hambden, Vane, as a just parallel to thofe of Cato, Brutus, Caffius. Profound capacity, indeed, undaunted courage, extenfive enterprize; in these particulars, perhaps, the Roman do not much furpass the English patriots: But what a difference, when the difcourfe, conduct, converfation, and private, as well as public behaviour, of both, are infpected! Compare only one circumftance, and confider its confequences. The leifure of thofe noble antients was totally employed in the study of Grecian eloquence and philofophy; in the cultivation of polite letters and civilized fociety: The whole difcourfe and language of the moderns were polluted with myfterious jargon, and full of the lowest and most vulgar hypocrify.
THE laws, as they ftood at prefent, protected the church; but they expofed the catholics to the utmost rage of the puritans; and these unhappy religionists, so obnoxi
Lord Clarendon, vol. i. p. 233, fays, that the parliamentary party were not agreed about the entire abolition of epifcopacy: They were only the root and branch men, as they were called, who infitted on that measure. But thofe, who were willing to retain bishops, infifted on reducing their authority to a low ebb; as well as on abolishing the ceremonies of worship and veftments of the clergy. The controverly, therefore, between the parties was almost wholly theological, and that of the moit frivolous and ridiculous