« AnteriorContinuar »
TO THE KING'S DECLARATION OF INDULGENCE,
1N THE church : THEIR SUFFERINGS ; AND THE lives
Soxie MEMOIRS OF THE LIFE AND Wirit INGS OF THE AUthor,
This know also, that in the last Days perilous Times shall come.
This volume brings the History of the Sufferings of the Puritans down to its period;" for though the protestant dissenters have since complained of several difficulties and discouragements, yet most of the penal laws have been suspended; the prosecutions of the spiritual courts have been considerably restrained by the kind interposition of the civil powers, and liberty of conscience enjoyed without the hazard of fines, imprisonments, and other terrors of this world.
The times now in review were stormy and boisterous; upon the death of king Charles I. the constitution was dissolved: the men at the helm had no legal authority to change the government into a commonwealth, the protectorship of Cromwell was an usurpation, hecause grafted only on the military power, and so were all the misshapen forms into which the administration was cast till the restoration of the king. In order to pass a right judgment upon these extraordinary revolutions, the temper and circumstances of the nation are to be duly considered; for those actions which in some circumstances are highly criminal, may in a different situation of affairs become necessary. The parties engaged in the eivil wars were yet living, and their resentments against each other so much inflamed, as to cut off all hopes of a reconciliation; each dreaded the other's success, well knowing they must fall a sacrifice to those who should prevail. All present views of the king's recovering his father's throne were defeated at the battle of Worcester, the loyalists being then entirely broken and dispersed; so that if some such extraordinary genius as Cromwell’s had not undertaken to steer the nation through the storm, it had not been possible to hold the government together till Providence should open a way for restoring the constitution, and settling it on its legal basis.
The various forms of government (if they deserve that name) which the officers of the army introduced after the death of Cromwell, made the nation sick of their frenzies, and turned their eyes towards their banished sovereign; whose restoration, after all, could not be accomplished without great imprudence on one part, and the most artful dissimulation on the other. The Presbyterians, like weak politicians, surrendered at diseretion, and parted with their power on no other security than the royal word, for which they have been sufficiently reproached; though I am of opinion, that, if the king had been brought in by a treaty, the succeeding parliament would have set it aside. On the other hand, nothing ean be more notorious than the deep hypocrisy of general Monk, and the solemn assurances given by #. bishops
* The reader will nbserve that the period here referred to is the passing the act of toleration, with
which Mr. Neal's Fourth volume concludes. But the additions to the original work, by notes and
supplements in this edition, have necessarily extended it to a Fifth volume, which comprehends the
Author's two last chapters, the papers that form the Appendix to each of his volumes, and other "...i