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from the benefit of the law; and to disable them from suing in any court of law or equity.
This was a severe test on the presbyterians, occasioned by the apprehended rupture with the Scots ; but their clergy inveighed bitterly against it in their sermons, and refused to observe the days of humiliation appointed by authority for a blessing upon their arms. Mr. Baxter says,t that he wrote several letters to the soldiers, to convince them of the unlawfulness of the present expedition: and in his sermons declared it a sin to force ministers to pray for the success of those who had violated the covenant, and were going to destroy their brethren. That he both spoke and preached against the engagement, and dissnaded men from taking it. At Exeter, says Mr. Whitlocke, the ministers went out of town on the fast-day, and shut up the church doors; and all the magistrates refused the engagement. At Taunton the fast was not kept by the presbyterian ministers; and at Chester they condemned the engagement to the pit of hell ; as did many of the London ministers, who kept days of private fasting and prayer, against the present government. Some of them (says Whitlocke) joined the royalists, and refused to read the ordinances of parliament in their pulpits, as was usual in those times; nay, when the Scots were beaten, they refused to observe the day of thanksgiving, I but shut up their churches and went out of town; for which they were summoned before the committee and reprimanded; but the times being unsettled, no further notice was taken of them at present.
Most of the sectarian party (says Mr. Baxter*) swallowed the engagement ; and so did the king's old cavaliers, very few of them being sick of the disease of a scru. pulous conscience : some wrote for it, but the moderate episcopal men and presbyterians generally refused it. Those of Lancashire and Cheshire published the following reasons against it:
+ Life, P. 64, 66. | Lord Grey, at the desire of some who were zealously attached to the parliament, complained, in a letter to the lord president of the council of state, of the neglect of the ministers, in Leicestershire and another county, in this instance : and urged the importance of noticing their contempt of the thanksgiving day, expressed by their non-obserrance of it. Dr. Greg's Appendix, No. 8. ED.
• Lilo, p. 64, 65.
(1.) “ Because they apprehended the oath of allegi. ance and the solemn league and covenant, were still binding.
(2.) " Because the present powers were no better than usurpers.
(3.) “Because the taking of it was a prejudice to the right heir of the crown, and to the ancient legal consti. tution." To which it was answered, “ that it was absurd to suppose the oath of allegiance, or the solemn league and covenant to be in force after the kiog's death; for how could they be obliged to preserve the king's person, when the king's person was destroyed, and the kinga ly office abolished; and as to his successor, his right had been forfeited and taken away by parliament.” With regard to the present powers, it was said, “ that it was not for private persons to dispute the rights and titles of their supreme governors. Here was a government de facto, under which they lived; as long therefore as they enjoyed the protection of the government, it was their duty to give all reasonable security that they would not disturb it, or else to remove." The body of the common people being weary of war, and willing to live quiet under any administration, submitted to the engagement, as being little more than a promise not to attempt the subversion of the present government, but many of the presbyterian clergy chose rather to quit their preferments in the church and univer. sity, than comply; which made way for the promotion of several independent divines, and among others, of Dr. Thomas Goodwin, one of the dissenting brethren in the assembly, who by order of parliament, Jan. 8. 1749-50, was appointed president of Magdalen college, Oxford, with the privilege of nominating fellows and demies in such places as should become vacant by death, or by the possessors refusing to take the engagement.*
The parliament tried several methods to reconcile the presbyterians to the present administration ; persons were appointed to treat with them, and assure them of the protection of the government, and of the full enjoyment of their ecclesiastical preferments according to law; when this could not prevail, an order was published, that ministers in their pulpits should not meddle with state affairs.
# Whitlocke, p. 453.
After this the celebrated Milton was appointed to write for the government, who rallied the seditious preachers with his satyrical pen in a severe manner; at length, when all other methods failed, a committee was chosen to receive informations against such ministers as in their pul. pits vilified and aspersed the authority of parliament, and an act was passed, that all such should be sequestered from their ecclesiastical preferments.[
The presbyterians supported themselves under these þardships by their alliance with the Scots, and their hope of a speedy alteration of affairs by their assistance; for in the remonstrance of the general assembly of that kirk, dated July 27, they declare, that “the spirit which has acted in the councils of those who have obstructed the work of God, despised the covenant, corrupted the truth, forced the parliament, murdered the king, changed the government, and established such an unlimited toleration in reli. gion, cannot be the spirit of righteousness and holiness. They therefore warn the subjects of Scotland against join. ing with them, and in case of an invasion to stand up in their own defence. The English have no controversy with us, (say they) but because the kirk and state have declared against their unlawful engagement ; because we still adhere to our covenant, and have borne our testimony against their toleration, and taking away the king's life."* But then they warn their people also against malignants, 6 who value themselves upon their attachment to the young king, and if any from that quarter should invade the kingdom, before his majesty has given satisfaction to the parliament and kirk, they exhort their people to resist them, as abettors of an absolute and arbitrary government."
About two months after this, the parliament of England published a declaration on their part, wherein they complain of the revolt of the English and Scots presbyterians, and of their taking part with the enemy, because their discipline was not the exact standard of reformation. 6 But we are still determined (say theyl) not to be discouraged in our endeavors to promote the purity of religion, and the liberty of the commonwealth ; and for the satisfaction of our presbyterian bretbren, we declare, that we will con# Whitlocke, p. 387. • Vol. Pampb. No. 34, p. 6. 1 Ibid. No. 34.
tinue all those ordinances which have been made for the promoting a reformation of religion, in doctrine, worship, and discipline, in their full force ; and will uphold the same, in order to suppress popery, superstition, blasphemy, and all kinds of prophaneness. Only we conceive ourselves obliged to take away all such acts and ordinances as are penal and coercive in matters of conscience. And because this has given so great offence, we declare as in the presence of God, that by whomsoever this liberty shall be abused, we will be ready to testify our displeasure against them, by an effectual prosecution of such offenders.”
The Scots commissioners were all this while treating with the king in Holland, and insisting on his subscribing the solemn league and covenant; bis establishing the Westminster confession, the directory, and the presbyterian government in both kingdoms. The king being under discouraging circumstances, consented to all their demands with regard to Scotland, and as to England referred himself to a free parliament: but the Scots not satisfied with his majesty's exceptions as to England, replied, that, “such an answer as this would grieve the whole kirk of Scotland, and all their covenanting brethren in England and Ireland, who under pain of the most solemn perjary stand bound to God and one another, to live and die by their covenant, as the chief security of their religion and liberties, against popish and prelatical malignants. Your majesty's father (say they) in his last message to our kirk offered to ratify the solemn league and covenant. He offered likewise at the Isle of Wight to confirm the directory, and the presbyterial government in England and Ireland, till he and his parliament should agree upon a settled order of the church. Besides, your majesty having offered to confirm the abolishing of episcopacy, and the service book in Scotland, it cannot certainly be against your conscience to do it in England.” But the king would advance no farther till he had heard from the queen mother, who sent him word, that it was the opinion of the council of France, that he should agree with the Scots upon the best terms he was able, which he did accordingly, as will be related the next year.
The fifth provincial assembly of London met the begin
ning of May (1649] at Sion college, the reverend Mr. Jackson, of St. Michael Wood-street, moderator. A committee was appointed to prepare materials for proof of the divine right of presbyterial church government. The proofs were examined and approved by this, and the assembly that met in November following, of which Mr. Walker was moderator, Mr. Calamy and Mr. Jackson assessors, and Mr. Blackwell scribe.
The treatise was printed, and asserts,
(1.) That there is a church government of divine insti. tution.
(2.) That the civil magistrate is not the origin or head of church government. And,
(3.) That the government of the church by synods and classes is the government that Christ appointed. It maintains separation from their churches to be schism ; that ministers formerly ordained by bishops need not be reordained: And for private christians in particular churches to assume a right of sending persons forth to preach, and to administer the sacraments, is in their opinion insufferable.
The parliament did all they could to satisfy the malecontent presbyterians, by securing them in their livings, and by ordering the dean and chapter lands to be sold,* and their names to be extinct, except the deanry of Christ church, and the foundations of Westminster, Winchester, and Eaton schools. The bishops lands, which had been sequestered since the year 1646, were now by an ordinance of June 8, 1649, vested in the hands of new trustees, and appropriated to the augmentation of poor livings in the church. The first-fruits and tenths of all ecclesias. tical livings, formerly payable to the crown, were vested in the same bands, free from all incumbrances, on trust, that they should pay yearly all such salaries, stipends, allowances and provisions, as have been settled and con. firmed by parliament, for preaching ministers, school-mas
* The money raised by the sale of those lands amounted to a very considerable sum. The return of the value of the lands, contracted for to the 29th of August 1650, made to the committee for the sale of them, fixed it at the sam of 948,4091. 18s. 2 d. of which, on the 31st of August, the total of the purehasors' acquittances amounted to 658,0011, 23. 9d. Dr. Grey, vol. iii. Appendix, p. 18. ED..
$ Scabel, p. 41, 113.