صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

Elizabeth, the wiser of them much oppos'd the admission of her son: but he dissembling the resentment of his mother's death, by bribes and greater promises, manag'd a faction in the court of the declining queene, which prevail'd on her dotage to destroy the Earle of Essex, who only had courage to have kept out him they thought dangerous to lett in.' So subtilly brought they their purpose about, that wise councell was in vaine to a blinded and betrey'd people. The antiprelaticall party hoping that with a king bred up among the Calvinists, they should now be freed from the episcopal yoake, were greedie of entertaining him, but soone cured of their mistake, when immediately after his entry into the kingdome, himselfe being moderator at a dispute betweene both parties, the nonconformists were cast out of doores, the offensive ceremonies, insteed of being remoov'd, were more strictly impos'd, the penalties against papists relax'd, many of them taken into favour, those families who suffer'd for his mother grac'd and restor❜d as farre as the times would beare, and those who consented any way to the iustice done upon her, disfavour'd. A progresse was made suitable to this beginning, the protestant interest abroad was deserted and betrey'd, the prelates at home dayly exalted in pride and pomp, and declining in vertue and godlinesse. Arminianisme crept in, to the corruption of sound doctrine, till at length they had the impudence to forbid preaching of those greate and necessary truths, concerning the decrees of God; secret treaties were entertained with the court of Rome, and not

than the mean jealousy attributed to Queen Elizabeth, which would in fact have been a better reason for putting her to death many years sooner.

y In Heylin's History of the Presbyterians, it is said that the Earl of Essex was much courted by the Puritans, and in return caressed them; that a title to the crown was drawn out for him, and he began to look up to it; that he encouraged an opinion, that inferior magistrates might curb and control their sovereign; that he was outwitted and brought to the scaffold by Cecil and Rawleigh, very opportunely for King James, whose entrance might have been opposed and his title questioned.

z James, however, professed himself a great enemy to it.

a The first volume of Clarendon's State Papers is half filled with them.

withstanding that hellish pouder plott, the papists lost not their creditt at court, where they now wrought no longer by open and direct wayes, but humouring the king and queene in their lusts and excesses, found the most ready way to destroy the doctrine of the gospell, was to debosh the professors. The court of this king was a nursery of lust and intemperance, he had brought in with him a company of poore Scotts, who comming into this plentiful kingdome, surfetted with riott and debaucheries, and gott all the riches of the land only to cast away. The honor, wealth, and glory of the nation, wherein Queene Elizabeth left it, were soon prodigally wasted by this thriftlesse heire, the nobility of the land utterly debas'd by setting honors to publick sale, and conferring them on that had neither blood nor meritt fit to weare, nor estates persons to beare up their titles, but were faine to invent proiects to pill the people, and pick their purses for the maintenance of vice and lewdnesse. The generallity of the gentry of the land soone learnt the court fashion, and every greate house in the country became a sty of uncleannesse. To keepe the people in their deplorable security, till vengeance overtooke them, they were entertain'd with masks, stage playes, and sorts of ruder sports. Then began murther, incest, adultery, drunkennesse, swearing, fornication, and all sort of ribaldry, to be no conceal'd but countenanc'd vices; because they held such conformity with the court example. Next to this, a greate cause of these abominations was the mixt marriages of papist and protestant famelies, which, no question, was a design. of the popish party to compasse and procure, and so successefull that I have observ'd that there was not one house of ten, where such a marriage was made, but the better party was corrupted, the childrens soules were sacrific'd to devills, the worship of God was laid aside in that famely, for feare of distasting the idolater; the kindred, tenants, and neighbours, either quite turn'd from it, or cool'd in:

Pill-pillage, plunder.

their zeale for religion. As the fire is most fervent in a frosty season, so the generall apostacy from holinesse, if I may so call it, and defection to lewdnesse, stirr'd up sorrow, indignation, and feare, in all that retein'd any love of God in the land, whither ministers or people the ministers warn'd the people of the approaching iudgements of God, which could not be expected but to follow such high provocations; God, in his mercy, sent his prophets into all corners of the land to preach repentance and cry out against the ingratitude of England, who thus requited so many rich mercies as no nation could ever boast of more; and by these a few were every where converted and established in faith and holinesse: but at court these were hated, disgrac'd, and revil'd, and in scorn had the name of Puritane2 fix'd upon them. And now the ready way to preferment there, was to declare an opposition to the power of godlinesse, under that name; so that their pulpitts might justly be called the scorner's chair, those sermons only pleasing that flatter'd them in their vices and told the poore king that he was Solomon, that his sloth and cowardize, by which he betrey'd the cause of God and honour of the nation, was gospell meekenesse and peaceablenesse, for which they rays'd him up above the heavens, while he lay wallowing like a swine in the mire of his lust. He had a little learning,

This artifice of affixing a name of reproach on those of an opposite party, in order indiscriminately to subject them to hatred or ridicule, could hardly be better exposed than it is here. That Mrs. Hutchinson is guilty of no exaggeration, may well be conjectured from some speeches in parliament preserv'd by Rushworth, peculiarly one of Sir Benjamin Rudyard, at least a moderate man, if not a favourer of the king, complaining of the very same thing. Rushworth, vol. ii. 1355, “It is the artifice of the favourers of the catholick and of the prelatical party to call all who are sticklers for the constitution in church or state, or would square their actions by any rule humane or divine, Puritans." In the petition and remonstrance this is stated nearly in the same manner. It was no way inconsistent with the other injustices of the French revolutionists to invent the term of Aristocrat, and mark out by it every one whom the populace or their demagogues designed to plunder or destroy; it would not be so excuseable if in this country we should suffer cant terms or nicknames to pass for reasoning or proof. For the rest, the name of Puritan should have no bad meaning.

and this they call'd the spiritt of wisedome, and so magnified him, so falsely flatter'd him, that he could not endure the words of truth and soundnesse, but rewarded these base, wicked, unfaithfull fawners with rich preferments, attended with pomps and titles, which heav'd them up above a humane heighth: with their pride their enyie swell'd against the people of God, whom they began to proiect how they might roote out of the land; and when they had once given them a name, whatever was odious or dreadful to the king that they fixt upon the Puritane, which, according to their character, was nothing but a factious hipocrite.

The king had upon his heart the dealings both of England and Scotland with his mother, and harbour'd a secret desire of revenge upon the godly in both nations, yet had not courage enough to assert his resentment like a prince, but employ'd a wicked cunning he was master of, and called king-craft, to undermine what he durst not openly oppose, the true religion: this was fenc'd with the liberty of the people, and so link'd together, that 'twas impossible to make them slaves, till they were brought to be idolaters of royalty and glorious lust, and as impossible to make them adore these gods while they continued loyall to the government of Jesus Christ. The payment of civill obedience to the king and the lawes of the land satisfied not; if any durst dispute his impositions in the worship of God, he was presently reckon'd among the seditious and disturbers of the publick peace, and accordingly persecuted: if any were griev'd at the dishonor of the kingdome or the griping of the poore, or the unjust oppressions of the subiect, by a thousand wayes, invented to maintaine the riotts of the courtiers and the swarms of needy Scots, the king had brought in to devoure like locusts the plenty of this land, he was a Puritane: if any, out of mere morallity and civill honesty, discountenanc'd the abominations of those days, he was a Puritane, however he conform'd to their superstitious worship: if any shew'd favour to any godly honest person, kept them company, reliev'd them

in want, or protected them against violent or uniust oppression, he was a Puritane. if any gentleman in his country maintain'd the good lawes of the land, or stood up for any publick interest, for good order or government, he was a Puritane: in short, all that crost the viewes of the needie courtiers, the proud encroaching priests, the theevish proiectors, the lewd nobillity and gentrie, whoever was zealous for God's glory or worship, could not endure blasphemous oathes, ribbald conversation, prophane scoffes, sabbath breach, derision of the word of God, and the like; whoever could endure a sermon, modest habitt or conversation, or aniething good, all these were Puritanes; and if Puritanes, then enemies to the king and his government, seditious factious hipocrites, ambitious disturbers of the publick peace, and finally, the pest of the kingdome; such false logick did the children of darknesse use to argue with against the hated children of light, whom they branded besides as an illiterate, morose, melancholly, discontented, craz'd sort of men, not fitt for humane conversation; as such they made them not only the sport of the pulpitt, which was become but a more solemne sort of stage, but every stage, and every table, and every puppett-play, belcht forth prophane scoffes upon them, the drunkards made them their songs, all fidlers and mimicks learnt to abuse them, as finding it the most gamefull way of fooling. Thus the two factions in those dayes grew up to greate heighths and enmities, one against the other, while the Papist wanted not industry and subtilty to blow the coals betweene them, and was so successeful that, unlesse the mercy

Such is the idea entertained of them in general even at this day; whoever shall read these memoirs will be well convinced that not one of these qualities needs or does by any natural consequence accompany the character. It is a great misfortune that many of the zealous professors of piety should give it so austere an aspect, and this can never be better contrasted than by the cheerful and amiable one this professed Puritan gives it.

« السابقةمتابعة »