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When the Presbyterians found that their classes could obtain no power to inflict pains and penalties on those who refused to submit to their discipline, the ministers of the several denominations in the country began to enter into friendly associations for brotherly counsel and advice. Mr. Baxter, and his brethren of Worcestershire, formed a scheme upon such general principles as all good men were agreed in, which he communicated to the reverend Mr. Vines and Gataker; and when he had drawn up articles of concord, he submitted them to the correction of archbishop Usher, and other episcopal divines, who agreed with him, that no more discipline should be practised than the Episcopalian, Presbyterian, and Independent divines agreed in ; that they should not meddle with politics or affairs of civil government in their assemblies, nor pretend to exercise the power of the keys, or any church-censures; but only to assist, advise, and encourage, each other in propagating truth and holiness, and in keeping their 'churches from profane and scandalous communicants. Their meetings were appointed to be once a month in some market-town, where there was a sermon in the morning; and after dinner the conversation was upon such points of doctrine or discipline as required advice; or else an hour was spent in disputing upon some theological question which had been appointed the preceding month. Doctor Warmestry, afterward dean of Worcester, and Dr. Good, one of the prebendaries of Hereford, sent Mr. Baxter a letter dated September 20, 1653, wherein they testify their approbation of the association above mentioned, and of the articles of concordt.
In the west of England, Mr. Hughes of Plymouth, and Mr. Good of Exeter, prevailed with the ministers of the several persuasions in those parts, to follow the example of Worcestershire; accordingly they parcelled themselves into four divisions, which met once a quarter ; and all four had a general meeting for concord once a year: the reverend Mr. Hughes presided in those of 1655 and 1656. The moderator began and ended with prayer, and several of the episcopal divines of the best character, as well as Independents, joined with them ; “the chief of the Presbyte. rian and Independent divines, who were weary of divisions, and willing to strengthen each other's hands, united in these assemblies, though the exasperated prelatists, the more rigid Presbyterians, and severer sort of Independents, kept at a distance : but many remarkable advantages (says Mr. Baxter) attended these associations ;” they opened and preserved a friendly correspondence among the ministers; they removed a great many prejudices and misunderstandings, insomuch that the controversies and heats of angry men began to be allayed, their spirit bettered, and the ends of religion more generally promoted. But these country associations were not countenanced by
Baxter's Life, part 2. p. 117, &c. p. 167. &c. † Ibid. p. 149.
the more zealous Presbyterians of London, who met weekly at Sion-college ; they could hardly digest a toleration of the sectaries, much less submit to a coalition, but resolved to keep close to the ordinances of parliament, and to the acts of their provincial assembly : they wanted the sword of discipline, and were impatient under the present restraint; and nothing but the piercing eye of the protector, whose spies were in every corner, kept them from preaching, praying, and plotting, against the government. However, the country ministers being easy in their possessions, cultivated good neighbourhood, and spread the associations through Wiltshire, Essex, Hampshire, Dorsetshire, Cumberland, Westmoreland, and other parts; that if I am not misinformed, there are the like brotherly associations among the dissenters in several counties to this day.
This year died old Dr. William Gouge, born at Stratford-leBow in the year 1575, and educated at King's-college, Cambridge, of which he was fellow. He entered into orders 1607, and the very next year was settled at Blackfriars, London, where he continued to his death. He commenced doctor of divinity in the year 1628, about which time he became one of the feoffees for buying up impropriations, for which he was ordered to be prosecuted in the star-chamber. In the year 1643 he was nominated one of the assembly of divines, and was in such reputation, that he often filled the moderator's chair in his absence. He was a modest, humble, and affable person, of strict and exemplary piety, a universal scholar, and a most constant preacher, as long as he was able to get up into the pulpit. For many years he was esteemed the father of the London ministers, and died comfortably and piously December 12, 1653, in the seventy-ninth year of his age, having been minister of Blackfriars almost forty-six years.
Doctor Thomas Hill, of whom mention has been made before, was born in Worcestershire, and educated in Emanuel-college, Cambridge, of which he was a fellow, and tutor to young scholars for many years. He was afterward preferred to the living of
Tichmarsh in Northamptonshire, and was chosen into the assembly of divines for that county. While he was at London he preached every day at St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, and was one of the morning lecturers at Westminster-abbey. He was afterwards chosen to be master of Emanuel-college, Cambridge, and from thence removed to Trinity-college; in which stations he behaved with great prudence and circumspection. He was a good scholar, and very careful of the antiquities and privileges of the university; a strict Calvinist, a plain, powerful, and practical preacher, and of a holy and unblamable conversation. He died of a quartan ague December 18, 1653, în an advanced age, very much lamented by his acquaintance and brethren*.
He spent nine years at King's-college : and was never absent from public prayers at the chapel, and constantly read fifteen chapters in the Bible every day. He was the laborious, exemplary, and much-loved minister, of whom none thought
FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE PROTECTORSHIP OF OLIVER
CROMWELL TO HIS DEATH. If the reader will carefully review the divided state of the netion at this time, the strength of the several parties in opposite interests, and almost equal in power, each sanguine for his own scheme of settlement, and all conspiring against the present, he will be surprised that any wise man should be prevailed with to put himself at the head of such a distracted body; and yet more, that such a genius should arise, who without any foreign alliances should be capable of guarding against so many foreign and domestic enemies, and of steering the commonwealth through such a hurricane, clear of the rocks and quicksands which threatened its ruin.
This was the province that the enterprising Oliver undertook, with the style and title of lord protector of the commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland. He assumed all the state and ceremony of a crowned head; his household officers and guards attended in their places, and his court appeared in as great splendour, and more order, than had been seen at Whitehall since Queen Elizabeth's reign. His first concern was to fill the courts of justice with the ablest lawyers; sir Matthew Hale was made lord-chief-justice of the common pleas; Mr. Maynard, Twisden, Newdigate, and Windham, serjeants at law; Mr. Thurloe, secretary of state ; and Monk, governor of Scotland. His next care was to deliver himself from his foreign enemies; for this purpose he gave peace to the Dutch, which the fame of his power enabled him to accomplish without the ceremony of a formal treaty; he therefore sent his secretary Thurloe with the conditions to which they were to submit; the Dutch pleaded for abatements, but his highness was at a point, and obliged them to deliver up the island of Polerone in the East-Indies; to pay 300,0001. for the affair of Amboyna; to abandon the interests of king Charles II. to exclude the prince of Orange from being stadtholder, and to yield up the sovereignty of the seas.
When this was accomplished, most of the sovereigo princes in Europe sent to compliment his highness upon his advancement, and to cultivate his friendship: the king of Portugal asked pardon for receiving prince Rupert into his ports; the Danes got themselves included in the Dutch treaty, and became security for
or spoke ill, says Mr. Granger, “but such as were inclined to think or speak ill of religion itself." He refused the provostship of King's-college in Cambridge ; and had eight children, who lived to man's and woman's estate. Clarke's Lives in his General Martyrology, p. 234 ;-and Granger's History of England, vol. 2. p. 179, 8vo.-ED.
140,0001. dainages done to the English shipping; the Swedes sued for an alliance, which was concluded with their ambassador; the crown of Spain made offers which the protector rejected ; but the address of the French ambassador was most extraordinary ; the protector received him in the Banqueting-house at Whiteball, with all the state and magnificence of a crowned head; and the ambassador, having made his obeisance, acquainted his highness with the king his master's desire to establish a correspondence between his dominions and England. He mentioned the value of the friendship of France, and how much it was courted by the greatest potentates of the earth; “but (says the ambassador) tbe king my master communicates his resolutions to none with so much joy and cheerfulness, as to those whose virtuous actions, and extraordinary merits, render them more conspicuously famous than the largeness of their dominions. His majesty is sensible, that all these advantages do wholly reside in your highness, and that the Divine Providence, after so many calamities, could not deal more favourably with these three nations, nor cause them to forget their past miseries with greater satisfaction, than by subjecting them to so just a government—".
The protector's most dangerous enemies were the royalists, Presbyterians, and republicans, at home; the former menaced him with an assassination, upon which he declared openly, that though he would never begin so detestable a practice, yet if any of the king's party should attempt it and fail, he would make an assassinating war of it, and exterminate the whole family, which his servants were ready to execute; the terror of this threatening was a greater security to him than his coat of mail or guards. The protector had the skill always to discover the most secret designs of the royalists by some of their own number, whom he spared no cost to gain over to his interests. Sir Richard Willis was chancellor Hyde's chief confidant, to whom he wrote often, and in whom all the party confided, as in an able and wise statesman: but the protector gained him with 2001. a year, by which means he had all the king's party in a net, and let them dance in it at pleasure*He had another correspondent in the king's little family, one Manning a Roman Catholic, who gave secretary Thurloe intelligence of all his majesty's councils and proceedings. But though the king's friends were always in one plot or other against the protector's person and government, he always behaved with decency towards them, as long as they kept within tolerable bounds; and without all question, the severe laws that were made against the episcopal party were not on the account of religion, but of their irreconcilable aversion to the government.
The whole body of the Presbyterians were in principle for the king and the covenant, but after the battle of Worcester, and the execution of Mr. Love, they were terrified into a compliance with
• Burnet, p. 91, vol. 1. Edin. edit.
the commonwealth, though they disallowed their proceedings, and were pleased to see them broken in pieces ; but the surprising advancement of Cromwell to the protectorship filled them with new terrors, and threatened the overthrow of their church-power, for they considered him not only as a usurper, but a sectarian, who would countenance the free exercise of religion to all that would live peaceably under his government; and though he assured them he would continue religion upon the footing of the present establishment, yet nothing would satisfy them as long as their discipline was disarmed of its coercive power.
But the protector's most determined adversaries were the commonwealth-party; these were divided into two branches; one bad little or no religion, but were for a democracy in the state, and universal liberty of conscience in religion; the heads of them were Deists, or in the language of the protector, Heathens, as Algernon Sidney, Henry Neville, Martin, Wildman, and Harrington. It was impossible to work upon these men, or reconcile them to the government of a single person, and therefore be disarmed them of their power. The others were high enthusiasts, and fifth monarchy men, who were in expectation of king Jesus, and of a glorious thousand years' reign of Christ upon earth. They were for pulling down churches, says bishop Burnet*, for discharging tithes, and leaving religion free (as they called it), without either encouragement or restraint. Most of them were for destroying the clergy, and for breaking every thing that looked like a national establishment. These the protector endeavoured to gain, by assuring them in private conversation, “ that he had no manner of inclination to assume the government, but had rather have been content with a shepherd's staff, were it not absolutely necessary to keep the nation from falling to pieces, and becoming a prey to the common enemy; that he only stepped in between the living and the dead, as he expressed it, and this only till God should direct them on what bottom to settle, when he would surrender bis dignity with a joy equal to the sorrow with which he had taken it up." With the chiefs of this party he affected to converse upon terms of great familiarity, shutting the door, and making them sit down covered in his presence, to let them see how little he valued those distances he was bound to observe for form's sake with others; he talked with them in their own language, and the conversation commonly ended with a long prayer.
The protector's chief support against these powerful adversaries were the Independents, the city of London, and the army; the former looked upon him as the head of their party, though he was no more theirs than as he was averse to church-power, and for a universal toleration. He courted the city of London with a decent respect, declaring, upon all occasions, his resolution to
• Vol. I. p. 93.