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heavy fines laid upon them, and the prisons filled “ with them; insomuch that, in the compass of “ one year alone, there were twenty-six priests, of “ divers orders, seized and committed to that one “ prison called the Clink; to speak nothing of 66 those that were confined elsewhere*.'
THE CIVIL WAR, -PRESBYTERIANS, -INDE
THE history of the civil war does not belong to these pages : it is written by Hume, with great ability and with much less partiality than is commonly allowed. On a dispassionate review of it, there
appears strong ground to contend, that the objects of the popular party were for a considerable time after its commencement justifiable, both on principle and by precedent; but that neither the nature nor extent of the principles or precedents being clear, much may be offered
be offered in exculpation of the monarch : nor can it be denied that, to attain their aims, the parliamentary leaders encouraged the grossest and foulest calumnies both of his actions and his designs, and too successfully practised every other artifice to inflame the passions of the multitude against him. Things may be supposed to have continued in this state till the petition of right in 1628. From this time, the sins of each side increased till the remonstrance of 1641 ; after which, the overthrow of the ancient monarchical government of the kingdom was, unquestionably, the object of the agitators, and Charles may be said generally to have been its defender. The confederacy with the Scots, and the solemn league and covenant, consummated the guilt of his enemies, and were equally fatal to the consitution and the monarch. The triumph of the presbyterians was then complete ; and they no sooner obtained the ascendancy under the long parliament, than they imposed, with the same rigour as their predecessors had done, their own creeds and confessions; and invested their magistrates with the same power of punishing, with pains and penalties, dissenters from their establishment.
* Dr. Challoner's Memoirs of Missionary Priests, ad ann. 1628, p. 123, 148.
But in the mean time, the Independents, a new denomination of religionists, arose, and after sheltering themselves for some time under the wings of the presbyterians, usurped by degrees the scene of action, and obtained the ascendancy.
" Then arose,” says Bossuet*, “ a man of unfathomable
depth of thought; as subtle a hypocrite as he “ was a consummate politician ; equally impene“ trable in peace and war ; leaving nothing to for“ tune, which he could keep, by wisdom or fore
sight, from her power; but, at the same time, always so well prepared, as never to let slip any opportunity of which he could avail himself, to “ his advantage.—In fine,-one of those active
* In his Funeral Oration on Henrietta-Maria, the widow of Charles the first.
spirits, who seem born for the disturbance of the " world. What does not such a man achieve, " when it pleases the Almighty to make him an “ instrument of his wrath !"
Such is the description given by Bossuet of this celebrated person. To explain the genius of his party, and the difference of its principles and views from those of the presbyterians, we shall transcribe the following masterly view which is given of them by Hume.
During those times, when the enthusiastic spirit met with such honour and encouragement, " and was the immediate means of distinction and
preferment, it was impossible to set bounds to “the holy fervours, or confine, within any natural
limits, what was directed towards an infinite « and a supernatural object. Every man,
prompted by the warmth of his temper, excited
by emulation, or supported by his habits of hypo“ crisy, endeavoured to distinguish himself beyond “ his fellows, and to arrive at a higher pitch of "saintship and perfection. In proportion to its
degree of fanaticism, each sect became danger
ous and destructive; and as the independents " went a note higher than the presbyterians, they " could less be restrained within any bounds of “temper and moderation. From this distinction,
as from a first principle, were derived, by a neces
sary consequence, all the other differences of so these two sects.
“ The independents rejected all ecclesiastical
“ establishments, and would admit of no spiritual
courts, no government among pastors, no interpo“sition of the magistrate in religious concerns, no “ fixed encouragement annexed to any system of “ doctrines or opinions. According to their prin“ciples, each congregation, united voluntarily, and by spiritual ties, composed, within itself, a separate
church, and exercised a jurisdiction, but one des“titute of temporal sanctions, over its own pastor " and its own members. The election alone of the “ congregation was sufficient to bestow the sacer“ dotal character; and as all essential distinction “ was denied between the laity and the clergy, no “ ceremony, no institution, no vocation, no impo“sition of hands, was, as in all other churches, sup“posed requisite to convey a right to holy orders. “ The enthusiasm of the presbyterians led them to
reject the authority of prelates, to throw off the “ restraint of liturgies, to retrench ceremonies, to “ limit the riches and authority of the priestly office: “ the fanaticism of the independents, exalted to a
higher pitch, abolished ecclesiastical government, “ disdained creeds and systems, neglected every
ceremony, and confounded all ranks and orders, “ The soldier, the merchant, the mechanic, in
dulging the fervors of zeal, and guided by the
illapses of the spirit, resigned himself to an in“ ward and superior direction, and was consecrated “in a manner, by an immediate intercourse and “ communication with heaven.
“The catholics, pretending to an infallible guide, “ had justified, upon that principle, their doctrine ““ and practice of persecution : the presbyterians,
imagining that such clear and certain tenets, as
they themselves adopted, could be rejected only “ from a criminal and pertinacious obstinacy, had “ hitherto gratified, to the full, their bigoted zeal, “ in a like doctrine and practice: the independents, “ from the extremity of the same zeal, were led into " the milder principles of toleration. Their mind, “set afloat in the wide sea of inspiration, could con“ fine itself within no certain limits; and the same
variations, in which an enthusiast indulged him“ self, he was apt, by a natural train of thinking, to
permit in others. Of all christian sects, this was “ the first, which, during its prosperity, as well as “ its adversity, always adopted the principle of toleration"; and it is remarkable, that so reasonable
a doctrine owed its origin, not to reasoning, but “ to the height of extravagance and fanaticism.
“Popery and prelacy alone, whose genius seemed to tend towards superstition, were treated by the “independents with rigour. The doctrines too of “ fate or destiny, were deemed by them essential “ to all religion. In these rigid opinions, the “ whole sectaries, amidst all their other differences, unanimously concurred. “ The political system of the independents kept pace with their religious. Not content with confining, to very narrow limits, the power of the crown, and reducing the king to the rank of first.
magistrate, which was the project of the presby“ terians; this sect, more ardent in the pursuit " of liberty, aspired to a total abolition of the