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light, whom they branded besides as an illiterate, morose, discontented, melancholly, crazed sort of men, not fit for humane conversation: as such, they not only made them the sport of the pulpitt, which was become but a more solemn sort of stage; but every stage, and every table, and every pupett-play, belcht forth profane scoffs upon them; the drunkards made them their songs; all fidlers and mimicks learned to abuse them, as finding it a most gamefull way of fooling. Thus the two factions in those dayes grew up to great heigths and enmities, one against the other; whilst the Papist wanted not industry and subtility to blow the coals betweene them, and was so successeful, that unless the mercy of God confounde them by their own imaginations, we may iustly feare they will at last obtane their full wish."*
In order to give the reader a view of the condition of the Prelates at this period, it must be stated, that on the 15th of December, 1640, a petition was presented to the House of Commons against the Popish ceremonies in the Church; and on the 22nd, the House resolved:-"That the Clergy, in a synod or convocation, hath no power to make laws, canons, or constitutions,† to bind either
* Memoirs of Colonel Hutchinson, written by his widow, Lucy, vol. i. p. 121-124.
+ From one of these condemned Canons, (No. 5,) I extract
Laity or Clergy, without the Parliament; and that the canons, made by the late convocation, are against the fundamental laws of this realm, the King's prerogative, propriety of the subject, the rights of Parliament, and do tend to faction and sedition."* (Clarendon and Whitlocke compared, p. 57.)
the following:-" That all those proceedings and penalties, which are mentioned in the aforesaid Canon against Popish miscreants, as far as they shall be applicable, shall stand in full force and vigor against all Anabaptists, Brownists, Separatists, Familists, or other sect or sects, person and persons, whatsoever, who do, or shall either obstinately refuse, or ordinarily, not having a lawful impediment, (that is, for the space of a month,) neglect to repair to their Parish Churches or Chapels, where they inhabit, for the purpose of hearing divine service established, and receiving of the holy communion, according to law, &c. &c. &c." The penalty, excommunication for the first offence. The 7th Article, entitled "A Declaration concerning some Rites and Ceremonies,” is, in so far as it relates to the Communion Table, &c. &c. the grossest popery.-See Constitutions and Canons, agreed to by the King, 1640, p. 21, 22, Sparrow's Collections.
*The Dissenters from the Established Church had for many years had separate congregations, or churches, in London, though doubtless as private as possible. The first was a General or Arminian Baptist Church, in 1611. The Independents had founded a church in 1616. The Presbyterians had had separate congregations, from 1572, though their ministers still kept their parishes. But now that the parliament had put an end to the persecuting power of the bishops, the sects made no attempt to hide themselves, but met publicly at various places. The honest Thomas Fuller, in his Church His
We learn from Hume, that on the 13th of February, two days after the execution of the perse
tory says, but not with his usual pious feeling and good temper, "on Jan. 18, 1641, happened the first fruits of Anabaptistical insolence, when eighty of that sect, meeting at a house in St. Saviour's, Southwark, preached that the statute in the 35th of Elizabeth, for the administration of common prayer, was no good law, because made by bishops; that the king cannot make a good law, because not perfectly regenerate; and that he was only to be obeyed in civil matters. Being brought before the Lords, they confessed the articles, but no penalty was inflicted on them."
The reader who is curious enough to know all about this matter, should consult, as I have done, the Journals of the House of Lords of that period. He will find that the Lords treated the six or seven men who were brought before them for having dared to preach against the king's supremacy, in spiritual matters, with great respect; enquired where they assembled; and intimated they would come and hear them. Accordingly, the next Lord's Day, three or four of the peers, to the great astonishment of many, went to "Deadman's Place, in Southwark ;"-three or four of the peers attend their religious worship!-"The people went on in their usual method, having two sermons, in both of which they treated of those principles for which they had been accused; founding their discourses upon the words of our Saviour, 'All power is given unto me, both in heaven and in earth, &c.' After this, they received the Lord's Supper, and then made a collection for the poor, to which the peers contributed liberally with them. At their departure they signified their satisfaction as to what they had heard and seen, and their inclination to come again; but this made so much noise, that they durst not venture a second time.”—(Ivimey's History of the English Baptists, vol. i. p. 153, 154.)
cuting Archbishop Laud, the House of Commons ordered a bill to be brought in for abolishing superstition. On the 1st of March, a committee was established to prepare reasons for depriving ecclesiastics of all secular employments. At length a bill for excluding ecclesiastics from all secular employments passed the House of Commons, and was sent up to the Lords, among whom it met with great opposition.-The Commons immediately brought in another bill for the total abolition of episcopacy. Then the Lords gave them to understand, they were ready to concur with the first bill, excepting the clause which deprived bishops of their seats in parliament. The Commons presented nine reasons for excluding bishops from parliament. On the 7th of June, the Peers voted, 'That the bishops should be maintained in their right to sit in parliament.'-On the 15th, the lower House passed a vote, importing, 'That all deans, chapters, archdeacons, prebendaries, chanters, canons, and their officers, should be totally suppressed, and their revenues employed for the encouragement of study, science, and other pious uses; that the King should be indemnified for his rents, first fruits, and other rights; and that a convenient subsistence should be assigned to those who should be thus deprived of their livings, provided they were not delinquents.'
Twelve prelates, meeting at the house of the
archbishop of York, subscribed a protest, which was presented to the Lords and the King, importing, 'That, as they had an incontestable right to vote in parliament, they were ready to do their duty, if not prevented by force and violence; that they abhorred all opinions tending to the advancement of popery; that, as they had been insulted, and their lives endangered by the fury of the populace, they could no longer repair to the House of Peers, unless measures should be taken for their personal safety; and therefore they protested against all laws, votes, and resolutions, that should be made in their absence.'-The Lords no sooner received this protest, (which was, in effect, an effort to dissolve or suspend the parliament,) than they demanded a conference with the Commons, who, having taken it into consideration, resolved to accuse the bishops of high treason, for having attempted to subvert the fundamental laws and the very essence of parliament. This resolution was immediately executed, and the twelve bishops were committed to prison.
The king passed the bill to exclude the bishops from their seats in parliament; soon after, the two houses, in 1643, signed "the Solemn League and Covenant," which bound the two kingdoms to the extirpation of popery and prelacy.*—(Hume's History, vol. vii.)
*That the proceedings of the Parliament, in putting out