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Burton had “ condemned that absolute obedience unto Kings and Princes, which,” says Heylyn, “ is due to them from their subjects ; and that unlimited power, which is," says Heylyn too, “ascribed unto them, because theirs of right!"
It may be amusing to notice the difficulties and evasions of the Prelatists on certain occasions ; as, for instance, well knowing that the Canons of 1603 have never been “confirmed and ratified by Parliament,” and that therefore they bind the Clergy only, who alone swear to observe them, Heylyn having to vindicate their “ bowing at the name of Jesus,” says it is enjoined by the 18th Canon, which being authorized by his Majesty, is the law of the King." Another turn which Heylyn takes to extricate his party from the charge of having brought in « changes," is that what they did was through “ the law of God, the King, and the Act of Parliament, either enabling them to do so, or not gainsaying it :” a loop-hole wide enough to let in all sorts of “ Innovations." Tradition and the Decrees of the Church, and the Infallibility of Councils, all find a safe shelter under the wing of this negative clause. Let one be heard, however, who paid no little deference to the reverend authority of Bishops; he says, “ That Authority of men should prevail with men either against or above Reason, is no part of our belief. Companies of learned men, be they never so great and reverend, are to yield unto Reason, the weight whereof is no whit prejudiced by the simplicity of his person which doth allege it; but being found to be sound and good, the bare opinion of men to the contrary must of necessity stop and give place."a.
Arrived at Heylyn's eighteen pages of “ Conclusion,” they deserve no further notice than wbat the arrogance they contain demands. your odious supposition of setting up Mass in the King's Chapel, let ine tell you this,—that it is criminal, if not capital, to use ifs and ands and suppositions in matters of so high a nature, and such as, in some cases, hath been judged high treason!" But worse than treason : “So," says he, "for your dealing with the Bishops, you labour to expose them as much as in you is !" After all, by a sort of special distinction in favour of Burton, or by way of peculiar condescension in regard of themselves, Laud, Heylyn, and Company, announce to the “poor ignorant men,” who were too ready to devour what was "spread abroad, by malicious wits, of purpose to defame their betters,” that “ However it was thought unfit, that at this present time, an Answer should be made unto all your quarrels, that so the people whom you have seduced might see the error of their courses; yet neither you nor they must expect the like on all or any of those factious provocations which, every day are offered to the public government. Things that are once established by a constant law, are not at all to be disputed, much less declaimed against; or if they be, will find more shelter from the laws than from their advocates. These scandalous and seditious
• Hooker, Eccles. Pol. bk. ii. sec. 7, vol. i. p. 183. edit. 1830.
Burton had said, “Suppose, which we trust never to see, and which our hearts abhor once to imagine,- Mass were set up in the King's Chapel; is this a good argument why it should be admitted in all the Churches ? " P. 166.
• Alluding to Sir William Stanley ; History of Henry VII., by Lord Bacon.
pamphlets are now grown so rife, that every day, as if we lived in the wilds of Africa, doth produce new inonsters, there being more of them divulged, at this present time, than any former age can speak of; more of these factious spirits quam muscarum olim cum caletur maxime, than there are scarabees, and gad-flies, in the heat of summer! And should the State (!) think fit that every libel of yours, and such inen as you, should have a solemn Answer to it, you would advance your heads too high, and think you had done something more than ordinary which should necessitate the State [!] to set out Apologies. That, as it would encourage you to pursue your courses, so would it suddenly dissolve the whole frame of Government; which is as much endangered by such disputations as by disobedience. And yet I would not have you think that you are like to find those days whereof Tacitus speaks, ubi et sentire quæ velis, et quæ sentias loqui liceat ; & in which, you may be bold to opine what you list, and speak whatever you conceive; much less, to scatter and disperse in public whatever you dare speak in private. Princes have otherways to right themselves, and those which are in authority under them, than by the pen; and such as will fall heavier, if you pull them on you... if Authority hath stooped so low this once, to give way that your seditious pamphlets should come under an examination, and that an Answer should be made to all the scandalous matters in the same contained, I would not have you think it was for any other cause but that your Proselytes may perceive what false guides they follow; and all the world may see, how much you have abused the King and his Ministers with your scandalous clamours: which done, and all those cavils answered which you have been so long providing, it is expected, at their hands, that they rest satisfied in and of the Church's purposes in every of the things objected ; and look not after fresh Replies upon like occasions.”
As we introduced this work of Heylyn's to our readers, with a quotation from Milton, so we shall follow it with another, characteristic of its author. The “grim wolf," or victim of the “two-handed engine," -the uplifted axe, or two-handed sword,—little suspected what his measures would end in before about eight short years should be passed over ; unless the memorable lines about to be quoted inight have aroused some coinpunctious misgiving, when perusing — for surely nothing escaped his paw-- Milton's monody on his youthful friend, his “ Lycidas,"b drowned in 1637, while crossing the Irish Channel ; wherein" by occasion" is foretold “the ruin of our corrupted Clergy, then in their height.” He puts into the mouth of St. Peter
“ How well could I have spar'd for thee, young swain,
Enow of such as for their bellies' sake
That to the faithful herdman's art belongs !
What recks it them? What need they? They are sped;
Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more!" “In these lines," says Dr. Thomas Warton, “our author anticipates the execution of Archbishop Laud. .. It is matter of surprise,” he adds, “ that this violent invective against the Church of England and the Hierarchy, couched indeed in terms a little mysterious, yet sufficiently intelligible, and covered by a transparent veil of allegory, should have been published under the sanction, and from the press, of one of our Universities; or that it should afterwards have escaped the severest animadversions, at a period when the proscriptions of the Star Chamber, and the power of Laud, were at their height."a
NINE POSITIONS SENT TO NEW ENGLAND ANSWER.REPLY.
This year, 1637, a Letter was addressed by “ Many” Puritan “Ministers” at home, to “ their Brethren,” as they styled them, in New England; requesting their “ judgment" on “Nine Positions " proposed to those Brethren. That carrying away from their native country minds freed from the trammels which bound them from speaking and acting but within, at best, a sort of conventional sphere ; and each one using his privilege, accordingly, to avow his sentiments and to carry out his principles concerning all matters of Church-polity; the New England Exiles should, after awhile, have diverged widely from their former customs, would seem to follow as a necessary consequence. The jealous watchfulness with which their every movement was regarded, might have been expected from parental and fraternal allies not yet released from the shackles in which prejudice had fixed them; but that reproaches should be wafted across the intervening ocean, could only have proceeded from the servile adherents of prescription! Which party of these twain most concerned themselves about the expatriated “ Reverend and Beloved Brethren,” let the “ Letter” itself show.
"While we lived together in the same Kingdom, we professed the same faith ; joined in the same ordinances; laboured, in the work of God, to gain souls unto his kingdom, and maintained the purity of worship against corruptions both on the right hand and on the left. But since your departure into New England, we hear, and partly believe, that divers have embraced certain opinions such as you disliked formerly, and we judge to be groundless and unwarrantable.c
* Todd's Milton, 1809, vol. vi. p. 41, 42, and notes there.
“These, and other such like, which we omit to reckon up, are written and reported to be the common tenets in New England; which are received with great applause, maintained with great confidence, and applauded as the only Churchway wherein the Lord is to be worshipped! And Letters from New England have so taken with divers in many parts of this kingdom, that they have left our Assemblies because of a Stinted Liturgy; and excommunicated themselves from the Lord's Supper because of such as are not debarred from it: and being turned aside themselves, they labour to ensnare others; to the grief of the godly, the scandal of religion, the wounding of their own souls, if they did advisedly consider the matter, and great advantage of them that are wily to espy, and ready to make use of, all advantages to prejudice the truth.
“Beloved Brethren! if you stood in our places, we are well assured it would be no small grief unto you, to hear and see the people led aside, to the disgrace of the Gospel, upon weak and groundless imaginations; and, in rash and inconsiderate zeal, to deal with that which is of God as if it were of man! And if it be to us grief of heart, to hear that you have changed from that Truth which you did profess, and embrace that for Truth which, in former times upon sound grounds you did condemn as erroneous, we hope you will not be offended. You know how oft it hath been objected, that Nonconformists in practice are Separatists in heart,' but that they go cross to their own positions, or smother the Truth for sinister ends. They of the Separation boast that they stand upon the Nonconformists' grounds: a vain-glorious flourish, and slight pretence! But both these are much countenanced by your sudden change, if you be changed as it is reported. How shall your Brethren be able to stand up in defence of their innocency and the uprightness of their cause, when your example and opinion shall be cast in their dish? Must they leave you now, with whom they have held society ? Or, will you plead for Separation, which you have condemned as rash and inconsiderate ? You know that they who have run this way, have fallen into manifold divisions ; and may not you justly fear lest the same befall you? Some warnings you have had already; and have you not cause to fear, every day, more and more? Error is very fruitful, and will speed apace. A crack in the foundation may occasion a wide breach in the building where there will not be means, or mind, to amend it. Experience, every day, may tutor us herein.
“But to let pass all inconveniences, our request, in all meekness and love, is, That it these, or any of the forementioned opinions, be indeed your tenets, you would be pleased to take a second review of your grounds; and send us your strongest reasons that have swayed you in these matters. And if we shall find them, upon due examination, to be such as will carry weight, we shall be ready to give you the right hand of fellowship: if otherwise, you shall receive our just and modest animadversions, in what we conceive you have erred from the Truth.
“You will not judge, if we cannot apprehend the strengh of your grounds, it is because we love not the Truth ; or, be carried with hy. respects; though these conceits prevail too much: such rigid and harsh censures cannot lodge in meek and humble breasts. Weighty reasons promote the Truth ; not unadvised judging. You, yourselves, have judged that to be error which, now, you take to be truth, when yet you were not blinded with by-respects, nor your eyes hoodwinked that you might not see the light! And if you have just warrant from God, to pull down what you have builded, and to build what you have pulled down ; we desire you would lovingly, and maturely, impart it : for, as yet, we have seen none which we are not ready to prove, and show by the rule of Truth, to be too weak to carry any burden. We adore, with you, the fulness of the Scripture, and we know the counsel of the Lord shall stand.' If you can show that you walk in the ways of God, we shall heartily rejoice to walk with you : but, if you have turned aside, we shall earnestly desire that you would be pleased seriously to consider the matter, and speedily reform what is out of order.
“Thus, not doubting of your favourable interpretation of this our motion for the preventing of distraction, maintenance of peace, and searching out of the Truth, whereby we may be directed to live to the praise of God, the good of his people, and comfort of our souls ; beseeching God to lead and guide us into all truth and holiness, and keep us blameless until his glorious appearance; we rest-Your Loving Brethren."
Although the Answer of the Elders of the Churches in New England, is stated to have been returned, anno 1639, we shall not, on account of the benefit derivable from contiguity, interpose any matter beiween the Answer and the Letter which produced it, especially as the Answer does not involve facts which interfere with the course of events at home.
“ Reverend and Beloved Brethren,- In these remote coasts of the earth whereunto the good hand of God hath brought us, as we do, with much comfort of heart, call to mind the many gracious blessings which, both with you and from you, we enjoyed in our Christian and holy communion,—the memory and fruit whereof we hope shall never be blotted out;-so we have, also, seen cause to look back to our former administiations there, and to search and try our ways,'a that whereinsoever we have formerly gone astray, we might judge ourselves for it before the Lord. And, that seeing now God hath set before us an open door of liberty, we might neither abuse our liberty in the Gospel, to run out into any groundless, unwarrantable, courses, nor neglect the present opportunity to administer, by the help of Christ, all the holy ordinances of God, according to the pattern set before us in the Scripture.
“ In our native country, when we were first called to the Ministry, many of us took some things to be indifferent and lawful, which, in after times, we saw to be sinful; and durst not continue in the practice of them there. Afterwards, some things that we bare as burdens, that is, as things inexpedient though not utterly unlawful, we have no cause to retain and practise the saine things here; which would have been not only inexpedient but unlawful. Such things as a man may tolerate when he cannot remove them, he cannot tolerate without sin when he may remove them. Besides, some things we practised there,—which we speak to our shame and grief,—we never took into serious consideration whether they were lawful and expedient or not; but took them for granted, and generally received not only by the most Reformed Churches, but by the most godly and judicious servants of God amongst them; which, nevertheless, when we came to weigh them in the balance of the sanctuary, we could not find sufficient warrant, in the Word, to receive thein and establish thein here. Of one of these three kinds will our present practices appear to be, which you call our new (vain) opinions, or innovations here: except it be some few of them, which, though they have been reported to you to be our judgements and practice, yet are indeed far from us !
“The particulars are too many and too weighty to give you account of them, and the grounds of our proceedings about them, in a Letter. But to give you, if it be the will of God, the better satisfaction, we have sent you a short treatise touching each particular; that, according to your desire, you might understand from us, how far we do acknowledge any of these tenets, and upon what ground : hoping that according to your promise, if .upon due examination' you shall find any 'weight' in them, you will give us the right hand of fellowship ;' but, “if otherwise, you will send us your just and faithful (modest animadversions.' And we do not suspect your loves to the truth, or your sincere speaking according to
*Lam. ü. 40.