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would not endure ordinary ministers in the church, but every one among them prayed, preached, admonished, and interpreted Scripture, without any other call than what himself drew from his supposed gifts and the approbation of his hearers.”
It is surprising so accurate an historian should take such liberties with men whose principles he was so little acquainted with, as to say, the Independents abhorred monarchy, and approved of none but a republican government; whereas they assure the world in their Apology, that they prayed publicly for kings, and all in authority. This was no point of controversy between them and the Presbyterians, for when they had the king in their custody they served him on the knee, and in all probability would have restored him to the honours of his crown, if he had complied with their proposals. When they were reproached with being enemies to magistracy, a declaration was published by the congregational societies in and about London, in the year 1647, wherein they declare, “ that as magistracy and government in general are the ordinance of God, they do not disapprove of any form of civil government, but do freely acknowledge, that a kingly government, bounded by just and wholesome laws, is both allowed by God, and a good accommodation unto men *.' And if we may believe Dr. Welwood, + when the army resolved to set aside the present king, the governing party would have advanced the duke of Gloucester to the throne, if they could have done it with safety. With regard to religion, Rapin adds, their principles were contrary to all the rest of the world ; and yet they gave their consent to all the doctrinal articles of the assembly's confession of faith, and declared in their Apology their agreement with the doctrinal articles of the church of England, and with all the Protestant reformed churches in their Harmony of Confessions, differing only about the jurisdiction of classes, synods, and convocations, and the point of liberty of conscience. -Our historian adds, that “they were not only averse to episcopacy, but would not endure so much as ordinary ministers in the church. They maintained, that every man might pray in public, exhort his brethren, and interpret Scripture, without any other call than what himself drew from his zeal and supposed gifts, and without any other authority than the approbation of his hearers.” Here his annotator Mr. "Tindal rightly observes, that he has mistaken the Independents for the Brownists; the Independents had their stated officers in the church for public prayer, preaching, and administering the sacraments, as pastors, teachers, and elders (who were ecclesiastics,) and deacons to take care of the poor ; nor did they admit of persons unordained to any office, to exercise their gifts publicly, except as probationers, in order to their devoting themselves to the ministry. The words of their confession are,
• Page 8.
+ Memoirs, p. 90, 1718.
It is not to be wondered, that so many parties with different views should entangle the proceedings of this venerable body, and protract the intended union with the Scots; though as soon as the covenant was taken, they entered upon that affair, the parliament having sent them the following order, dated October 12, 1643.
“ Upon serious consideration of the present state of affairs, the lords and commons assembled in this present parliament do order, that the assembly of divines and others do forthwith confer, and treat among themselves, of such a discipline and government as may be most agreeable to God's holy word, and most apt to procure and preserve the peace of the church at home, and a nearer agreement with the church of Scotland, &c. to be settled in this church instead of the present church-government by archbishops, bishops, &c. which it is resolved to take away; and to deliver their advice touching the same to both houses of parliament with all convenient speed.”
Hereupon the assembly set themselves to inquire into the constitution of the primitive church, in the days of the apostles, which, being founded upon the model of the Jewish synagogues, gave the Lightfoots, the Seldens, the Colmans, and other masters¥. of Jewish antiquities, an opportunity of displaying their superior learning, by new and unheard-of interpretations of Scripture, whereby they frequently disconcerted the warmer Presbyterians, whose plan of discipline they had no mind should receive the stamp of an apostolic sanction in the church of England *.
It was undoubtedly a capital mistake in the proceedings of parliament,
to destroy one building before they were agreed upon another. The ancient order of worship and discipline in the church of England was set aside above twelve months before any other form was appointed ; during which time, no wonder sects and divisions arrived to such a pitch, that it was not in their power afterward to destroy them. Committees indeed were appointed to prepare materials for the debate of the assembly, some for discipline, and others for worship, which were debated in order, and then laid aside without being perfected, or sent up to parliament to be framed into a law. Nothing can be alleged in excuse of this, but their backwardness to unite with the Scots, the prospect the parliament might yet have of an agreement king.
int that came upon the carpet was the ordination of th was the more necessary, because the bishops -1 any who were not t in the interest of the crown:
to inquire into the ancient right of presbyters a bishop, which meeting with some opposition,
required to take notice hereof, and yield obedience hereunto*.” Afterward, when it was questioned whether the fifths should pay their proportion of the public taxes, it was ordained, that the incumbent only should pay them. Under the government of the protector Cromwell it was ordained, that if the ejected minister left the quiet possession of his house and glebe to his successor within a certain time, he should receive his fiftlis, and all bis arrears, provided be had not a real estate of his own of 301. per annum, or 5001. in money,
After all, it was a hard case on both sides; the incumbents thought it hard to be obliged to all the duties of their place, and another to go away with a fifth of the profit, at a time when the value of church-lands was considerably lessened by the neglect of tillage, and exorbitant taxes laid upon all the necessaries of life. To which may be added, an opinion that began to prevail among
the farmers, of the unlawfulness of paying tithes: Mr. Selden - had led the way to this in his book of tithes, whereupon the par
liament, by an ordinance of November 8, 1644, "strictly enjoined all persons fully, truly, and effectually, to set out, yield, and pay respectively, all and singular tithes, offerings, oblations, obventions, rates for tithes, and all other duties commonly known by the name of tithes.” Others who had no scruple about the payment of tithes, refused to pay them to the new incumbent, because the ejected minister had the legal right; insomuch that the Presbyterian ministers were obliged in many places to sue their parishioners, which created disturbances and divisions, and at length gave rise to several petitions from the counties of Buckingham, Oxford, Hertford, &c. praying, that their ministers might be provided for some other way. The parliament referred them to a committee, which produced no redress, because they could not fix upon another fund, nor provide for the lay-impropriations.
OF THE SEVERAL PARTIES IN THE ASSEMBLY OF DIVINES,
CEEDINGS ABOUT ORDINATION, AND THE DIRECTORY FOR
OF THE ENGLISH ANTIPÆDOBAPTISTS. BEFORE we proceed to the debates of the assembly of divines, it will be proper to distinguish the several parties of which it was constituted t. The episcopal clergy had entirely deserted it
Sufferings of the Clergy, p. 100. † The name of Puritans is from this time to be sunk; and they are for the future to be spoken of under the distinction of Presbyterians, Erastians, and Independents, who had all their different views. Dr. Warner's Ecclesiastical History, vol. 2. p. 561.--Ed.
before the bringing in of the covenant, so that the establishment was left without a single advocate. All who remained were for taking down the main pillars of the hierarchy, before they had agreed what sort of building to erect in its room.
The majority at first intended only the reducing episcopacy to the standard of the first or second age, but for the sake of the Scots alliance, they were prevailed with to lay aside the name and function of bishops, and attempt the establishing a presbyterial form, which at length they advanced into jus divinum, or a divine institution, derived expressly from Christ and his apostles. This engaged them in so many controversies, as prevented their laying the top stone of the building, so that it fell to pieces before it was perfected. The chief patrons of presbytery in the house of commons, were, Denzil Hollis, esq. sir William Waller, sir Philip Stapleton, sir John Clotworthy, sir Benjamin Rudyard, serjeant Maynard, colonel Massey, colonel Harley, John Glynn, esq. and a few others.
The Erastians formed another branch of the assembly, so called from Erastus, a German divine of the sixteenth century. The pastoral office according to him was only persuasive, like a professor of the sciences over his students, without any power of the keys annexed *. The Lord's Supper, and other ordinances of the gospel, were to be free and open to all. The minister might dissuade the vicious and unqualified from the communion, but might not refuse it, or inflict any kind of censure; the punishment of all offences, either of a civil or religious nature, being reserved to the magistrate. The pretended advantage of this scheme was, that it avoided the erecting imperium in imperio, or two different powers in the same civil government; it effectually destroyed all that spiritual jurisdiction and coercive power over the consciences of men, which had been challenged by popes, prelates, presbyteries, &c. and made the government of the church a creature of the state. Most of our first reformers were so far in these sentiments, as to maintain that no one form of churchgovernment is prescribed in Scripture as an invariable rule for future ages; as, Cranmer, Redmayn, Cox, &c. and archbishop Whitgift, in his controversy with Cartwright, delivers the same opinion ; “I deny (says he) that the Scripture has set down any one certain form of church-government to be perpetual.”—Again, “ It is well known, that the manner and form of government expressed in the Scriptures, neither is now, nor can, nor ought to be, observed, either touching persons or functions.—The charge of this is left to the magistrate, so that nothing be contrary to the word of God. The government of the church must be according to the form of government in the commonwealth.” The chief patrons of this scheme in the assembly were, Dr. Lightfoot, Mr. Colman, Mr. Selden, Mr. Whitelocke; and in the house of com
• Baxter's Life, p. 139.