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“ 16. Car. Die Suibuli, videlicit, 16° die Januarii. A. D. 1640-1.
The Lord Privy Seal, by command from his Anabaptists recommended to the jus- which he commended to the justice and care
Majesty, presented to the House a Paper,.. tice of this House by his Majesty of the House to consider of. The Contents
of tlie Paper were read, in hæc verbum
Decimo tertio Die Januarii, 1640-1.
They were all taken on Sunday last, in the afternoon, in the
of St. Saviour's, in the house of Richard Sturges; where they
1. They being brought before Sir John Lenthall, he demanded Their Tenets. why they would not go and resort to their Parish Church, according
to the Law of the 35th Eliz. They answered, That the 35th Eliz. was not a true Law, for that it was made by the Bishops ; and that they would not obey it.
2. That they would not go to their Parish Churches : That those Churches were not true Churches; and that there was no true Church, but where the Faithful met.
3. That the King could not make a perfect Law, for he was not a perfect man. 4. That they ought not to obey him but in Civil things.
5. That some of them threatened the Church-wardens and Constables, that they
Tho. Butler, Church-warden.
Upon this occasion the House thought fit, and ordered, This order following should be read publicly in all the parish churches of London and Westminster, the borough of Southwark, and the liberties and suburbs of them:
That the divine service be performed as it is appointed by the Acts of Parliament of this realın ; and that all such as shall disturb that wholesome order, shall be severely punished, according to law; and that the parsons, vicars, and curates, in several parishes, shall forbear to introduce any rites or ceremonies that may give offence, otherwise than those which are established by the laws of the land.
Die Lunæ, videlicet 18° die Januarii. The Lord Privy Seal, Earl Marshal, and Lord Chamberlain, gave the House thanks from his Majesty, for the course they had taken concerning the Sectaries.
And Edmond Chillendon, Nics. Tyne, John Webb, Richard Sturges, Tho. Gunn, Jo. Ellis, being bronght by order of this House, were severally called in, all of them denying the material things which they were charged with. Hereupon, Sir Jo. Lenthall, Tho. Temple, Tho. Butler, and John Luntley were sworn; and upon their oath, did justify that what was contained and subscribed by them, in the paper delivered, was true.
Thereupon the House did order, That the said sectaries should receive for this time an admonition from this House, that they shall hereafter repair to their several parish churches, to hear divine service, and to give obedience thereunto, according to the acts of parliament of this realm; to that purpose the order was read unto them, made ly this House the 10th of January; and to be told that, if hereafter they do not observe these commands, they shall be severely punished, according to law."
On the surface of what is here recorded, there is something that demands explanation, and we are able to supply it on such anthority as adds to the interest of the narrative. According then, to Crosby, the
a “ The king hath no more power over the Church, than the boy who rubs my horse-heels :" Dr. Cosins, Dean of Peterborough. See Rushworth, Mar. 15, 1640-1 ; Pt. iii, vol. i. p. 209.
1 a Vol. iii. p. 40.
author of a History of the English Baptists, 1738, who po: sessed a manuscript which was probably written between 1639 and 1641, or at furthest 1653, and which he calls “an abstract of this Church's Journal,” which he says, in the saine page, he had lent Mr. Neal; “ this is a very imperfect and partial account of this matter, as appears by the Church-book, or Jonrnal, kept by this people. It was not an • Anabaptist,' but an Independent Congregation, thongh there might be some few among them holding that opinion. They met at Deadman'sPlace, having at that time one Mr. Stephen More for their pastor ; and being asseinbled on the Lord's-day, for religious worship as usual, though not with their former secrecy, they were discovered and taken, and by Sir John Lenthall, the marshal of the King's bench,committed to the Clink prison.” He adds,“ The Lords examined them strictly concerning their principles; and they as freely acknowledged, that they owned no other Head of the Church but Christ Jesus; that no Prince hud power to make laws to bind the consciences of men; and, that laws made contrary to the Law of God were of no force.” Again, he adds, “ As things now stood, the Lords could by no means discountenance these principles; and, therefore, instead of inflicting any penalty, they treated them with a great deal of respect and civility. And some of the House inquired where the place of their meeting was, and intimated that they would come and hear them. And accordingly, three or four of the Peers did go on the Lord's day following, to the great surprise and wonder of many. 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, grounding their discourses on the words of our Saviour, * All power is given unto me in heaven, and in earth.'b After this they received the Lord's Supper, and then inade a collection for the poor ; to which the Lords contributed liberally with them; and at their departure, signified their satisfaction in what they had heard and seen, and their inclination to come again. But this made too much noise, and gave too great an alarm to the mob, for them to venture a second time. And, perhaps, this was the first Dissenting Meeting that ever had so great an honour dove it."c Fuller calls this affair, "the first fruits of Anabaptistical insolence,"
they confessed the articles, but no penalty was inflicted on them."d And Neal represents More to have been “a citizen of London, of good natural parts, and of considerable substance in the world. He had been their Deacon for some years, and in the present exigency accepted of the pastoral office, to the apparent hazard of his life and liberty. However, the face of affairs beginning now to change, this poor Congregation, which had subsisted almost by a miracle for above twenty-four years, ventured to open their doors in Deadman's-Place, in Southwark."e
It is worthy of notice, that all the relators of this anecdote give its date January the 18th, but the extract from the Lords' Journals cannot be disputed.
• Matt. xxviii, 18. Church Hist. 1655. bk. xi. p. 172.
¢ P. 161–163.
Deadman's Place is now known as a Burial-ground lately disused, adjoining westward to the Park-street end of Red Cross-street, and not far north of Castlestreet, so that if an imaginary line be continued from Worcester street, and another be imagined to cross that, at right angles, about sixty yards northward of Castlestreet, their intersection would mark the location. See " An Historical Research concerning the most ancient Congregational Church in England ; showing the clain of the Church worshipping in Union-street, Southwark, to that distinction. By B. Hanbury. 1820.” Svo. pp. 54.
THE COMMONS' PROTESTATION.—BURTON.-GEREE.—ANONYMOUS. The court-intriguers, with other partizans of the “ thorough"a acting Earl of Strafford, were discovered to be plotting to raise forces, under the pretext of their being for the service of Portugal, but really to overawe the Parliament; in the “progress" of which and their other designs, it is admitted by the historian of the Rebellion,” that “there sometimes happened strange accidents for the confrination of their credit!” The principal of them, whom Clarendon styles “such eminent men,” finding that “what had passed so privately and amongst themselves, had been discovered, .. fled into France.” Advantage was consequently taken to defeat the plot, whatever it might be ; and on May 3rd, 1641, Mr. Pym assured the House of Commons, that “God had miraculously preserved them from a most prodigious conspiracy;" and added, " that ihough this attempt was disappointed, yet he feared there might be some new device; and, therefore, he proposed . . that some Protestation might be entered into. . for the defence of their privileges and the performance of those duties to God and the king, which they were obliged to as good Christians and good subjects.” A committee was resolved upon, and the prerogative party named “such persons as were not like to submit to any unlawful or inconvenient obligation.” The doors were locked, and after a long debate, the words being settled, and the form agreed upon, the Speaker and all the members present solemnly for themselves acceded to it. The Lords all likewise took the same, except two, who alleged that no law enjoined it, and that "such voluntary engagements might produce effects that were not then intended.” Some, of either house, took covert refuge under the obligation to maintain and defend the “ Protestant religion expressed in the doctrine of the Church of England;" which they construed to mean the Thirty-nine Articles, of which one is, to preserve the government of the Church by “Bishops !"This subterfuge drove the Commons, two days after, “without any great opposition,” to evade it in an explanatory ordinance ; passed, if Clarendon may be believed, without “advising with the House of Peers.” The Commons
a The league term, between Laud and Strafford. b Clarendon, bk. iii. p. 249.
c Ibid. p. 250. “It is true," he says, “there had been some idle discourses, in a tavern, between some officers, about raising men for Portugal.”
1 “The Bishops have put their hands to it; and we like it all the worse."Daillie, vol. i. let. 28, p. 295.
¢ " for which cause divers of the best refuse to subscribe, in the city." Baillie, ib.
ordered further, that the Protestation together with the Explanation should be printed and published: and that the members should intimate to “ the people, with what willingness all the members of that House inade that Protestation ; and that .. they could not but approve it in all such as should take it.” And the historian adds, The emissaries of their clergy caused the same to be taken in London and the parts adjacent, within very few days after the publishing ;" but to “compel all the subjects” to take it, a bill was sent up to the Lords : "what the success of that bill was, and what use was afterward made of this Protestation .. shall be remembered in its proper place.”a
Whether, or not, Henry Burton may be esteemed, agreeably to what we have just seen, one of their clergy,” certain it is that he quickly produced a tract of twenty-one pages, with the title of “ The Protestation Protested: or, A Short Remonstrance, showing what is principally required of all those that have or do take the last Parliamentary Protestation.-Eccles. v. 4,5.-1641.” 4to. Some additional interest attaches to this piece from Richard Baxter having remarked that “ull Mr. Ball wrote in favour of the Liturgy, and agiinst Canne, Allin, etc., and till Mr. Burton published his Protestation Protested,' I never thought what Presbytery or Independency was, nor ever spake with a man who seemed to know it.”b Burton's argument is inconveniently conducted by alternate paragraphs of “ Objection” and “Answer," and it coinmences thus :
“When in the scale of conscience rightly in forined, I weigh the words of the · Protestation' and of this exhortation of the Holy Ghost
& Clar. p. 251-254. The Protestation is in this form : "I A. B. do, in the presence of Almighty God, promise, vow, and protest, to maintain and defend, as far as lawfully I may, with my life, power, and estate, the true Reformed Protestant religion, expressed in the doctrine of the Church of England, against all Popery and popish Innovations within this Realm, contrary to the same doctrine ; and, according to the duty of my allegiance, I will maintain and defend his Majesty's royal person, honour, and estate ; also, the power and privileges of Parliaments; the lawful rights and liberties of the Subjects ; and every Person that maketh this Protestation, in whatsoever he shall do in the lawful pursuance of the same : And to my power, and as far as I lawfully may, I will oppose, and, by all good ways and means, endeavour to bring condign punishment on all such as shall by force, practice, counsels, plots, conspiracies, or otherwise, do anything to the contrary of anything in this present Protestation contained : And further, that I shall, in all just and honourable ways, endeavour to preserve the union and peace betwixt the three Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland ; and neither for hope, fear, nor other respects, shall relinquish this promise, vow, and Protestation.” The Explanation runs thus: “Whereas some doubts have been raised, by several persons out of this House, concerning the meaning of these words contained in the Protestation lately made by the Members of this House, viz. "The true Reformed Protestant religion, expressed in the doctrine of the Church of England, against all Popery and popish Innovations within this Realm, contrary to the same doctrine :' This House doth declare, That by those words was and is meant only the Public Doctrine professed in the said Church, so far as it is opposite to Popery and popish Innovations; and that the said words are not to be extended to the maintaining of any Form of worship, discipline, or government, nor of any rites, or ceremonies, of the said Church of England.” July 30th, the House Resolved and Declared, “ That what person soever shall not take the Protestation is unfit to bear office in the Church or Commonwealih." Clarendon's text is corrected by Rushworth's, vel. iv. p. 241.
True Hist. of Councils Enlarged, &c. 1682.” 410. p. 91.
together, Eccles. v. 4, 5, I cannot but tremble when I see what small account most men do make of so solemn a 'vow' as they so solemnly take upon thein in the said · Protestation :' for when ministers and people have .. solemnly vowed to maintain' the doctrine of our Church so far as it is opposite to · Popery,' do they, withal, presently set upon the performance ?.. Do they not further deler' to pay it ? Surely if they do defer it, the Holy Ghost calls them fools' in whom God hath ‘no pleasure !'..
“Object. But how do they defer ?..
“Ans.—In that they do not presently renounce and protest against ‘all Popery.'..
“Ob.-- Why!'- will they say—what communion have we Protestants with Popery ? We do all renounce it.'
“ An.-- 11 words we do :.. but indeed we retain it, and have close communion with it...
“()b.— But what Popery do we Protestants of the Church of England retain ?..
“ An.-We hold communion with Popery so long as we do publicly retain and maintain any of the doctrines of Popery... I. The imposition of the Liturgy: 2. The discipline : 3. The government : 4. The ceremonies.
“ Ob.—But all these being, as yet, established by law, we may not cast thein off till the law which set them up be abrogated :.. and we
protest against Popery, to cast it out as far as lawfully' we may, and no otherwise.
“ An.— First; All laws are to be interpreted according to their clear intention and end : now the law for Reformation never intended to allow, or set up, Popery, in this Church of England. Secondly ; If any human laws be found contrary to God's Word, they are invalid and void ipso facto; and it will appear that Imposition of a devised Liturgy, human rites and ceremovies, prelatical government and discipline, are directly contrary to God's Word. Thirdly ; Having once inade this solemn • Protestation'.. and finding that the particulars aforesaid are branches of Popery,' we are bound, ipso facto, forthwith to have no more communion with them...
“Ob.—But what if the Parliament did not intend, or understand, by · Popery,' the foresaid things ?.. Shall we presume to extend the sense of the Protestation' further than the first makers thereof intended ? And, the Prelates—we presume-would never so readily, have subscribed .. had they dreamed any such sense to lie hid .. as their hierarchy, with their liturgy, rites, etc. ; for then they had, in the Protestation,' protested against all these ; and shonld have given their hands and votes, for the rooting of them out of this Church!
“An.- First; This we are sure of, . . That they intended it against all Popery.' Secondly; They express themselves, and profess, thus far, That the words of the Protestation ‘are not to be extended to the maintaining of any form of worship, discipline, etc., in the said Church of England :' ergo, We do not, we may not, “protest' for the maintenance of these. Thirdly ; Suppose that, at the first making of the * Protestation' in the Parliament, these particulars .. were not reckoved