Part 2 out of 7
I am now advertised (said Luther) that a new astrologer is risen, who
presumeth to prove that the earth moveth and goeth about, not the
firmament, the sun and moon, nor the stars; like as when one who
sitteth in a coach or in a ship and is moved, thinketh he sitteth
still and resteth, but the earth and the trees go, run, and move
themselves. Therefore thus it goeth, when we give up ourselves to our
own foolish fancies and conceits. This fool will turn the whole art of
astronomy upside-down, but the Scripture sheweth and teacheth him
another lesson, when Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not
There is a similar, but still more intolerant and contemptuous anathema
of the Copernican system in Sir Thomas Brown, almost two centuries later
Though the problem is of no difficult solution for reflecting minds, yet
for the reading many it would be a serviceable work, to bring together
and exemplify the causes of the extreme and universal credulity that
characterizes sundry periods of history (for example, from A.D. 1400 to
A.D. 1650): and credulity involves lying and delusion--for by a seeming
paradox liars are always credulous, though credulous persons are not
always liars; although they most often are.
It would be worth while to make a collection of the judgments of eminent
men in their generation respecting the Copernican or Pythagorean scheme.
One writer (I forget the name) inveighs against it as Popery, and a
Popish stratagem to reconcile the minds of men to Transubstantiation and
the Mass. For if we may contradict the evidence of our senses in a
matter of natural philosophy, 'a fortiori', or much more, may we be
expected to do so in a matter of faith.
In my Noetic, or Doctrine and Discipline of Ideas = 'logice, Organon'--I
purpose to select some four, five or more instances of the sad effects
of the absence of ideas in the use of words and in the understanding of
truths, in the different departments of life; for example, the word
'body', in connection with resurrection-men, &c.--and the last
instances, will (please God!) be the sad effects on the whole system of
Christian divinity. I must remember Asgill's book. 
Religion necessarily, as to its main and proper doctrines, consists of
ideas, that is, spiritual truths that can only be spiritually discerned,
and to the expression of which words are necessarily inadequate, and
must be used by accommodation. Hence the absolute indispensability of a
Christian life, with its conflicts and inward experiences, which alone
can make a man to answer to an opponent, who charges one doctrine as
contradictory to another,--"Yes! it is a contradiction in terms; but
nevertheless so it is, and both are true, nay, parts of the same
truth."--But alas! besides other evils there is this,--that the Gospel
is preached in fragments, and what the hearer can recollect of the sum
total of these is to be his Christian knowledge and belief. This is a
grievous error. First, labour to enlighten the hearer as to the essence
of the Christian dispensation, the grounding and pervading idea, and
then set it forth in its manifold perspective, its various stages and
modes of manifestation. In this as in almost all other qualities of a
preacher of Christ, Luther after Paul and John is the great master. None
saw more clearly than he, that the same proposition, which, addressed to
a Christian in his first awakening out of the death of sin was a most
wholesome, nay, a necessary, truth, would be a most condemnable
Antinomian falsehood, if addressed to a secure Christian boasting and
trusting in 'his' faith--yes, in 'his' own faith, instead of the faith
of Christ communicated to him.
I cannot utter how dear and precious to me are the contents of pages
197-199, to line 17, of this work, more particularly the section headed:
How we ought to carry ourselves towards the Law's accusations.
Add to these the last two sections of p. 201.  the last touching St.
Austin's opinion  especially. Likewise, the first half of p. 202.
 But indeed the whole of the 12th chapter 'Of the Law and the
Gospel' is of inestimable value to a serious and earnest minister of the
Gospel. Here he may learn both the orthodox faith, and a holy prudence
in the time and manner of preaching the same.
[Footnote 1: 'Doctoris Martini Lutheri Colloquia Mensalia:' or Dr.
Martin Luther's Divine Discourses at his Table, &c. Collected first
together by Dr. Antonius Lauterbach, and afterwards disposed into
certain common-places by John Aurifaber, Doctor in Divinity. Translated
by Capt. Henry Bell. 'Folio' London, 1652.]
[Footnote 2: N. B. I should not have written the above note in my
present state of light;--not that I find it false, but that it may have
the effect of falsehood by not going deep enough. July, 1829.]
[Footnote 3: Charles Lamb.--Ed.]
"Out of the number of 400, there were but 80 Arians at the utmost. The
other 320 and more were really orthodox men, induced by artifices to
subscribe a Creed which they understood in a good sense, but which,
being worded in general terms, was capable of being perverted to a bad
'Waterland, Vindication', &c., c. vi.--'Ed'.]
[Footnote 5: The Displaying of supposed Witchcraft, &c. London. 'folio'.
[Footnote 6: Isaiah xxxv. 4. lxi 1. Ed. Luke iv. 18, 19.]
"An argument proving that, according to the covenant of eternal life,
revealed in the Scriptures, man may be translated from hence, without
passing through death, although the human nature of Christ himself
could not be thus translated, till he had passed through death."
See 'Table Talk. 2nd Edit'. p. 127. 'Ed'.]
[Footnote 8: We must preach the Law (said Luther) for the sakes of the
evil and wicked, &c.]
[Footnote 9: The opinion of St. Austin is (said Luther) that the Law
which through human strength, natural understanding and wisdom is
fulfilled, justifieth not, &c.]
[Footnote 10: Whether we should preach only of God's grace and mercy or
not. From "Philip Melancthon demanded of Luther"--to "yet we must press
through, and not suffer ourselves to recoil."]
* * * * *
NOTES ON THE LIFE OF ST. TERESA. 1812. 
Pref. Part I. p. 51. Letter of Father Avila to Mother Teresa de Jesu.
Persons ought to beseech our Lord not to conduct them by the way of
seeing; but that the happy sight of him and of his saints be reserved
for heaven; and that, here he would conduct them in the plain, beaten
road, &c. * * But if, doing all this, the visions continue, and the
soul reaps profit thereby, &c.
In what other language could a young woman check while she soothed her
espoused lover, in his too eager demonstrations of his passion? And yet
the art of the Roman priests,--to keep up the delusion as serviceable,
yet keep off those forms of it most liable to detection, by medical
Life, Part I. Chap. IV. p. 15.
But our Lord began to regale me so much by this way, that he
vouchsafed me the favor to give me quiet prayer; and sometimes it came
so far as to arrive at union; though I understood neither the one nor
the other, nor how much they both deserve to be prized. But I believe
it would have been a great deal of happiness for me to have understood
them. True it is, that this union rested with me for so short a time,
that perhaps it might arrive to be but as of an 'Ave Maria'; yet I
remained with so very great effects thereof, that with not being then
so much as twenty years old, methought I found the whole world under
Dreams, the soul herself forsaking;
Fearful raptures; childlike mirth.
Silent adorations, making
A blessed shadow of this earth!
Ib. Chap. V. p. 24.
I received also the blessed Sacrament with many tears; though yet, in
my opinion, they were not shed with that sense and grief, for only my
having offended God, which might have served to save my soul; if the
error into which I was brought by them who told me that some things
were not mortal sins, (which afterward I saw plainly that they were)
might not somewhat bestead me. *** Methinks, that without doubt my
soul might have run a hazard of not being saved, if I had died then.
Can we wonder that some poor hypochondriasts and epileptics have
believed themselves possessed by, or rather to be the Devil himself, and
so spoke in this imagined character, when this poor afflicted spotless
innocent could be so pierced through with fanatic pre-conceptions, as to
talk in this manner of her mortal sins, and their probable eternal
punishment;--and this too, under the most fervent sense of God's love
Ib. p. 43.
True it is, that I am both the most weak, and the most wicked of any
What is the meaning of these words, that occur so often in the works of
great saints? Do they believe them literally? Or is it a specific
suspension of the comparing power and the memory, vouchsafed them as a
gift of grace?--a gift of telling a lie without breach of veracity--a
gift of humility indemnifying pride.
Ib. Chap. VIII. p. 44.
I have not without cause been considering and reflecting upon this
life of mine so long, for I discern well enough that nobody will have
gust to look upon a thing so very wicked.
Again! Can this first sentence be other than madness or a lie? For
observe, the question is not, whether Teresa was or was not positively
very wicked; but whether according to her own scale of virtue she was
most and very wicked comparatively. See post Chap. X. p. 57-8.
That relatively to the command 'Be ye perfect even as your Father in
Heaven is perfect', and before the eye of his own pure reason, the best
of men may deem himself mere folly and imperfection, I can easily
conceive; but this is not the case in question. It is here a comparison
of one man with all others of whom he has known or heard;--'ergo', a
matter of experience; and in this sense it is impossible, without loss
of memory and judgment on the one hand, or of veracity and simplicity on
the other. Besides, of what use is it? To draw off our conscience from
the relation between ourselves and the perfect ideal appointed for our
imitation, to the vain comparison of one individual self with other men!
Will their sins lessen mine, though they were greater? Does not every
man stand or fall to his own Maker according to his own being?
Ib. p. 45.
I see not what one thing there is of so many as are to be found in the
whole world, wherein there is need of a greater courage than to treat
of committing treason against a king, and to know that he knows it
well, and yet never to go out of his presence. For howsoever it be
very true that we are always in the presence of God; yet methinks that
they who converse with him in prayer are in his presence after a more
particular manner; for they are seeing then that he sees them; whereas
others may, perhaps, remain some days in his presence, yet without
remembering that he looks upon them.
A very pretty and sweet remark: truth in new feminine beauty!
How incomparably educated was Teresa for a mystic saint, a mother of
transports and fusions of spirit!
1. A woman;
2. Of rank, and reared delicately;
3. A Spanish lady;
4. With very pious parents and sisters;
5. Accustomed in early childhood to read "with most believing heart" all
the legends of saints, martyrs, Spanish martyrs, who fought against the
6. In the habit of privately (without the knowledge of the superstitious
Father) reading books of chivalry to her mother, and then all night to
7. Then her Spanish sweet-hearting, doubtless in the true Oroondates
style--and with perfect innocence, as far as appears; and this giving of
audience to a dying swain through a grated window, on having received a
lover's messages of flames and despair, with her aversion at fifteen or
sixteen years of age to shut herself up for ever in a strict nunnery,
appear to have been those mortal sins, of which she accuses herself,
added, perhaps to a few warm fancies of earthly love;
8. A frame of exquisite sensibility by nature, rendered more so by a
burning fever, which no doubt had some effect upon her brain, as she was
from that time subject to frequent fainting fits and 'deliquia':
9. Frightened at her Uncle's, by reading to him Dante's books of Hell
and Judgment, she confesses that she at length resolved on nunhood
because she thought it could not be much worse than Purgatory--and that
purgatory here was a cheap expiation for Hell for ever;
10. Combine these (and I have proceeded no further than the eleventh
page of her life) and think, how impossible it was, but that such a
creature, so innocent, and of an imagination so heated, and so well
peopled should often mistake the first not painful, and in such a frame,
often pleasurable approaches to 'deliquium' for divine raptures; and
join the instincts of nature acting in the body of a mind unconscious of
them, in the keenly sensitive body of a mind so loving and so innocent,
and what remains to be solved which the stupidity of most and the
roguery of a few would not simply explain?
11. One source it is almost criminal to have forgotten, and which p. 12.
of the first Part brought back to my recollection; I mean, the
effects--so super-sensual that they may easily and most venially pass
for supernatural, so very glorious to human nature that, though in truth
they are humanity itself in the contradistinguishing sense of that awful
word, it is yet no wonder that, conscious of the sore weaknesses united
in one person with this one nobler nature we attribute them to a
divinity out of us, (a mistake of the sensuous imagination in its
misapplication of space and place, rather than a misnomer of the thing
itself, for it is verily [Greek: ho theos en haemin ho oikeios theos],)
the effects, I mean, of the moral force after conquest, the state of the
whole being after the victorious struggle, in which the will has
preserved its perfect freedom by a vehement energy of perfect obedience
to the pure or practical reason, or conscience. Thence flows in upon and
fills the soul 'that peace which passeth understanding', a state
affronted and degraded by the name of pleasure, injured and
mis-represented even by that of happiness, the very corner stone of that
morality which cannot even in thought be distinguished from religion,
and which seems to mean religion as long as the instinctive craving, dim
and dark though it may be, of the moral sense after this unknown state
(known only by the bitterness where it is not) shall remain in human
nature! Under all forms of positive or philosophic religion, it has
developed itself, too glorious an attribute of man to be confined to any
name or sect; but which, it is but truth and historical fact to say, is
more especially fostered and favoured by Christianity; and its frequent
appearance even under the most selfish and unchristian forms of
Christianity is a stronger evidence of the divinity of that religion,
than all the miracles of Brahma and Veeshnou could afford, even though
they were supported with tenfold the judicial evidence of the Gospel
[Footnote 1: The works of the Holy Mother St. Teresa of Jesus Foundress
of the Reformation of the Discalced Carmelites. Divided into two parts.
Translated into English. MDCLXXV. Ed.]
[Footnote 2: London 1685.]
* * * * *
NOTES ON BURNET'S LIFE OF BISHOP BEDELL. 
Here I must add a passage, concerning which I am in doubt whether it
reflected more on the sincerity, or on the understanding of the
English Ambassador. The breach between the Pope and the Republic was
brought very near a crisis, &c.
These pages contain a weak and unhandsome attack on Wotton, who
doubtless had discovered that the presentation of the Premonition
previously to the reconciliation as publicly completed, but after it had
been privately agreed on, between the Court of Rome and the Senate of
Venice, would embarrass the latter: whereas, delivered as it was, it
shewed the King's and his minister's zeal for Protestantism, and yet
supplied the Venetians with an answer not disrespectful to the king.
Besides, what is there in Wotton's whole life (a man so disinterested,
and who retired from all his embassies so poor) to justify the remotest
suspicion of his insincerity? What can this word mean less or other than
that Sir H. W. was either a crypt-Papist, or had received a bribe from
the Romish party? Horrid accusations!--Burnet was notoriously rash and
credulous; but I remember no other instance in which his zeal for the
Reformation joined with his credulity has misled him into so gross a
calumny. It is not to be believed, that Bedell gave any authority to
such an aspersion of his old and faithful friend and patron, further
than that he had related the fact, and that he and the minister differed
in opinion as to the prudence of the measure recommended. How laxly too
the story is narrated! The exact date of the recommendation by Father
Paul and the divines should have been given;--then the date of the
public annunciation of the reconciliation between the Pope and Venetian
Republic; and lastly the day on which Wotton did present the book;--for
even this Burnet leaves uncertain.
It is true he never returned and changed his religion himself, but his
son came from Spain into Ireland, when Bedell was promoted to the
Bishopric of Kilmore there, and told him, that his father commanded
him to thank him for the pains he was at in writing it. He said, it
was almost always lying open before him, and that he had heard him
say, "He was resolved to save one." And it seems he instructed his son
in the true religion, for he declared himself a Protestant on his
Southey has given me a bad character of this son of the unhappy convert
to the Romish Church. He became, it seems, a spy on the Roman Catholics,
availing himself of his father's character among them, a crime which
would indeed render his testimony null and more than null; it would be a
presumption of the contrary. It is clear from his letters to Bedell that
the convert was a very weak man. I owe to him, however, a complete
confirmation of my old persuasion concerning Bishop Hall, whom from my
first perusal of his works I have always considered as one of the blots
(alas! there are too many) of the biography of the Church of England; a
self-conceited, coarse-minded, persecuting, vulgar priest, and (by way
of 'anti-climax') one of the first corrupters of and epigrammatizers of
our English prose style. It is not true, that Sir Thomas Brown was the
prototype of Dr. Johnson, who imitated him only as far as Sir T. B.
resembles the majority of his predecessors; that is, in the pedantic
preference of Latin derivations to Saxon words of the very same force.
In the balance and construction of his periods Dr. Johnson has followed
Hall, as any intelligent reader will discover by an attentive comparison.
Yea, will some man say, "But that which marreth all is the opinion of
merit and satisfaction." Indeed that is the School doctrine, but the
conscience enlightened to know itself, will easily act that part of
the Publican, 'who smote his breast, and said, God be merciful to me a
Alas! so far from this being the case with ninety nine out of one
hundred in Spain, Italy, Sicily, and Roman Catholic Germany, it is the
Gospel tenets that are the true School doctrine, that is confined to
books and closets of the learned among them.
And the like may be conceived here, since, especially, the idolatry
practised under the obedience of mystical Babylon is rather in false
and will-worship of the true God, and rather commended as profitable
than enjoined as absolutely necessary, and the corruptions there
maintained are rather in a superfluous addition than retraction in any
thing necessary to salvation.
This good man's charity jarring with his love and tender recollections
of Father Paul, Fulgentio, and the Venetian divines, has led him to a
far, far too palliative statement of Roman idolatry. Not what the Pope
has yet ventured to thunder forth from his Anti-Sinai, but what he and
his satellites, the Regulars, enforce to the preclusion of all true
worship, in the actual practice, life-long, of an immense majority in
Spain, Italy, Bavaria, Austria, &c. &c.--this must determine the point.
What they are themselves,--not what they would persuade Protestants is
their essentials or Faith,--this is the main thing.
I answer, under correction of better judgments, they have the ministry
of reconciliation by the communion which is given at their Ordination,
being the same which our Saviour left in his Church:--'whose sins ye
remit, they are remitted, whose sins ye retain, they are retained'.
Could Bishop Bedell believe that the mere will of a priest could have
any effect on the everlasting weal or woe of a Christian! Even to the
immediate disciples and Apostles could the text (if indeed it have
reference to sins in our sense at all,) mean more than this,--Whenever
you discover, by the spirit of knowledge which I will send unto you,
repentance and faith, you shall declare remission of sins; and the sins
shall be remitted;-and where the contrary exists, your declaration of
exclusion from bliss shall be fulfilled? Did Christ say, that true
repentance and actual faith would not save a soul, unless the priest's
verbal remission was superadded?
If it were in my power I would have this book printed in a convenient
form, and distributed through every house, at least, through every
village and parish throughout the kingdom. A volume of thought and of
moral feelings, the offspring of thought, crowd upon me, as I review the
different parts of this admirable man's life and creed. Only compare his
conduct to James Wadsworth (probably some ancestral relative of my
honoured friend, William Wordsworth: for the same name in Yorkshire,
from whence his father came, is pronounced Wadsworth) with that of the
far, far too highly rated, Bishop Hall; his letter to Hall tenderly
blaming his (Hall's) bitterness to an old friend mistaken, and then his
letter to that friend defending Hall! What a picture of goodness! I
confess, in all Ecclesiastical History I have read of no man so
spotless, though of hundreds in which the biographers have painted them
as masters of perfection: but the moral tact soon feels the truth.
[Footnote 1: In one of the volumes of this work used by the Editor for
ascertaining the references, the following note is written by a former
"October 12, 1788. Begged of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary to take my
salvation on herself, and obtain it for Saint Hyacinthe's sake; to
whom she has promised to grant any thing, or never to refuse any thing
begged for his sake."
It would be very interesting to know how far the feeling expressed in
this artless effusion coexisted with a faith in the atonement and
mediation of the one Lord Jesus Christ.--Ed.]
* * * * *
NOTES ON BAXTER'S LIFE OF HIMSELF.
Among the grounds for recommending the perusal of our elder writers,
Hooker--Taylor--Baxter--in short almost any of the folios composed from
Edward VI. to Charles II. I note:
1. The overcoming the habit of deriving your whole pleasure passively
from the book itself, which can only be effected by excitement of
curiosity or of some passion. Force yourself to reflect on what you read
paragraph by paragraph, and in a short time you will derive your
pleasure, an ample portion of it, at least, from the activity of your
own mind. All else is picture sunshine.
2. The conquest of party and sectarian prejudices, when you have on the
same table before you the works of a Hammond and a Baxter, and reflect
how many and momentous their points of agreement, how few and almost
childish the differences, which estranged and irritated these good men.
Let us but imagine what their blessed spirits now feel at the retrospect
of their earthly frailties, and can we do other than strive to feel as
they now feel, not as they once felt? So will it be with the disputes
between good men of the present day; and if you have no other reason to
doubt your opponent's goodness than the point in dispute, think of
Baxter and Hammond, of Milton and Taylor, and let it be no reason at
3. It will secure you from the idolatry of the present times and
fashions, and create the noblest kind of imaginative power in your soul,
that of living in past ages; wholly devoid of which power, a man can
neither anticipate the future, nor even live a truly human life, a life
of reason in the present.
4. In this particular work we may derive a most instructive lesson, that
in certain points, as of religion in relation to law, the 'medio
tutissimus ibis' is inapplicable. There is no 'medium' possible; and all
the attempts, as those of Baxter, though no more required than "I
believe in God through Christ," prove only the mildness of the
proposer's temper, but as a rule would be equal to nothing, at least
exclude only the two or three in a century that make it a matter of
religion to declare themselves Atheists, or else be just as fruitful a
rule for a persecutor as the most complete set of articles that could be
framed by a Spanish Inquisition.
For to 'believe,' must mean to believe aright--and 'God' must mean the
true God--and 'Christ' the Christ in the sense and with the attributes
understood by Christians who are truly Christians. An established Church
with a Liturgy is a sufficient solution of the problem 'de jure
magistratus'. Articles of faith are in this point of view superfluous;
for is it not too absurd for a man to hesitate at subscribing his name
to doctrines which yet in the more awful duty of prayer and profession
he dares affirm before his Maker! They are therefore in this sense
merely superfluous;--not worth re-enacting, had they ever been done away
with;--not worth removing now that they exist.
5. The characteristic contradistinction between the speculative
reasoners of the age before the Revolution, and those since, is this:
--the former cultivated metaphysics, without, or neglecting, empirical
psychology the latter cultivate a mechanical psychology to the neglect
and contempt of metaphysics. Both therefore are almost equi-distant from
pure philosophy. Hence the belief in ghosts, witches, sensible replies
to prayer, and the like, in Baxter and in a hundred others. See also
Luther's Table Talk.
6. The earlier part of this volume is interesting as materials for
medical history. The state of medical science in the reign of Charles I.
was almost incredibly low.
The saddest error of the theologians of this age is, [Greek: hos emoige
dokei], the disposition to urge the histories of the miraculous actions
and incidents, in and by which Christ attested his Messiahship to the
Jewish eye-witnesses, in fulfilment of prophecies, which the Jewish
Church had previously understood and interpreted as marks of the
Messiah, before they have shewn what and how excellent the religion
itself is including the miracles as for us an harmonious part of the
internal or self-evidence of the religion. Alas! and even when our
divines do proceed to the religion itself as to a something which no man
could be expected to receive except by a compulsion of the senses, which
by force of logic only is propagated from the eye witnesses to the
readers of the narratives in 1820--(which logic, namely, that the
evidence of a miracle is not diminished by lapse of ages, though this
includes loss of documents and the like; which logic, I say, whether it
be legitimate or not, God forbid that the truth of Christianity should
depend on the decision!)--even when our divines do proceed to the
religion itself, on what do they chiefly dwell? On the doctrines
peculiar to the religion? No! these on the contrary are either evaded or
explained away into metaphors, or resigned in despair to the next world
where faith is to be swallowed up in certainty.
But the worst product of this epidemic error is, the fashion of either
denying or undervaluing the evidence of a future state and the survival
of individual consciousness, derived from the conscience, and the holy
instinct of the whole human race. Dreadful is this:--for the main force
of the reasoning by which this scepticism is vindicated consists in
reducing all legitimate conviction to objective proof: whereas in the
very essence of religion and even of morality the evidence, and the
preparation for its reception, must be subjective;--'Blessed are they
that have not seen and yet believe'. And dreadful it appears to me
especially, who in the impossibility of not looking forward to
consciousness after the dissolution of the body ('corpus phoenomenon',)
have through life found it (next to divine grace.) the strongest and
indeed only efficient support against the still recurring temptation of
adopting, nay, wishing the truth of Spinoza's notion, that the survival
of consciousness is the highest prize and consequence of the highest
virtue, and that of all below this mark the lot after death is
self-oblivion and the cessation of individual being. Indeed, how a
Separatist or one of any other sect of Calvinists, who confines
Redemption to the comparatively small number of the elect, can reject
this opinion, and yet not run mad at the horrid thought of an
innumerable multitude of imperishable self-conscious spirits
everlastingly excluded from God, is to me inconceivable.
Deeply am I persuaded of Luther's position, that no man can worthily
estimate, or feel in the depth of his being, the Incarnation and
Crucifixion of the Son of God who is a stranger to the terror of
immortality as ingenerate in man, while it is yet unquelled by the faith
in God as the Almighty Father.
Book I. Part I. p. 2.
But though my conscience would trouble me when I sinned, yet divers
sins I was addicted to, and oft committed against my conscience; which
for the warning of others I will confess here to my shame.
1. I was much addicted when I feared correction to lie, that I might
2. I was much addicted to the excessive gluttonous eating of apples
and pears, &c.
3. To this end, and to concur with naughty boys that gloried in evil,
I have oft gone into other men's orchards, and stolen their fruit,
when I had enough at home, &c.
There is a childlike simplicity in this account of his sins of his
childhood which is very pleasing.
Ib. p. 5, 6.
And the use that God made of books, above ministers, to the benefit of
my soul made me somewhat excessively in love with good books; so that
I thought I had never enough, but scraped up as great a treasure of
them as I could. * * * It made the world seem to me as a carcase that
had neither life nor loveliness; and it destroyed those ambitious
desires after literate fame which were the sin of my childhood. * * *
And for the mathematics, I was an utter stranger to them, and never
could find in my heart to divert any studies that way. But in order to
the knowledge of divinity, my inclination was most to logic and
metaphysics, with that part of physics which treateth of the soul,
contenting myself at first with a slighter study of the rest: and
there had my labour and delight.
What a picture of myself!
Ib. p. 22.
In the storm of this temptation I questioned awhile whether I were
indeed a Christian or an Infidel, and whether faith could consist with
such doubts as I was conscious of.
One of the instances of the evils arising from the equivoque between
faith and intellectual satisfaction or insight. The root of faith is in
the will. Faith is an oak that may be a pollard, and yet live.
The being and attributes of God were so clear to me, that he was to my
intellect what the sun is to my eye, by which I see itself and all
Even so with me;--but, whether God was existentially as well as
essentially intelligent, this was for a long time a sore combat between
the speculative and the moral man.
Ib. p. 23.
Mere Deism, which is the most plausible competitor with Christianity,
is so turned out of almost all the whole world, as if Nature made its
own confession, that without a Mediator it cannot come to God.
All these assistances were at hand before I came to the immediate
evidences of credibility in the sacred oracles themselves.
This is as it should be; that is, the evidence 'a priori', securing the
rational probability; and then the historical proofs of its reality.
Pity that Baxter's chapters in 'The Saints' Rest' should have been one
and the earliest occasion of the inversion of this process, the fruit of
which is the Grotio-Paleyan religion, or 'minimum' of faith; the maxim
being, 'quanto minus tanto melius'.
Ib. p. 24.
And once all the ignorant rout were raging mad against me for
preaching the doctrine of Original Sin to them, and telling them that
infants, before regeneration, had so much guilt and corruption as made
them loathsome in the eyes of God.
No wonder;--because the babe would perish without the mother's milk, is
it therefore loathsome to the mother? Surely the little ones that Christ
embraced had not been baptized. And yet 'of such is the Kingdom of
Ib. p. 25.
Some thought that the King should not at all be displeased and
provoked, and that they were not bound to do any other justice, or
attempt any other reformation but what they could procure the King to
be willing to. And these said, when you have displeased and provoked
him to the utmost, he will be your King still. * * * The more you
offend him, the less you can trust him; and when mutual confidence is
gone, a war is beginning. * * * And if you conquer him, what the
better are you? He will still be King. You can but force him to an
agreement; and how quickly will he have power and advantage to violate
that which he is forced to, and to be avenged on you all for the
displeasure you have done him! He is ignorant of the advantages of a
King that cannot foresee this.
This paragraph goes to make out a case in justification of the Regicides
which Baxter would have found it difficult to answer. Certainly a more
complete exposure of the inconsistency of Baxter's own party cannot be.
For observe, that in case of an agreement with Charles all those
classes, which afterwards formed the main strength of the Parliament and
ultimately decided the contest in its favour, would have been
politically inert, with little influence and no actual power,--I mean
the Yeomanry, and the Citizens of London: while a vast majority of the
Nobles and landed Gentry, who sooner or later must have become the
majority in Parliament, went over to the King at once. Add to these the
whole systematized force of the High Church Clergy and all the rude
ignorant vulgar in high and low life, who detested every attempt at
moral reform,--and it is obvious that the King could not want
opportunities to retract and undo all that he had conceded under
compulsion. But that neither the will was wanting, nor his conscience at
all in the way, his own advocate Clarendon and others have supplied
Ib. p. 27.
And though Parliaments may draw up Bills for repealing laws, yet hath
the King his negative voice, and without his consent they cannot do
it; which though they acknowledge, yet did they too easily admit of
petitions against the Episcopacy and Liturgy, and connived at all the
clamors and papers which were against them.
How so? If they admitted the King's right to deny, they must admit the
subject's right to entreat.
Had they endeavoured the ejection of lay-chancellors, and the reducing
of the dioceses to a narrower compass, or the setting up of a
subordinate discipline, and only the correcting and reforming of the
Liturgy, perhaps it might have been borne more patiently.
Did Baxter find it so himself--and when too he had the formal and
recorded promise of Charles II. for it?
But when the same men (Ussher, Williams, Morton, &c.) saw that greater
things were aimed at, and episcopacy itself in danger, or _their
grandeur and riches at least_, most of them turned against the
This, and in this place, is unworthy of Baxter. Even he, good man, could
not wholly escape the jaundice of party.
Ib. p. 34.
They said to this;--that as all the courts of justice do execute their
sentences in the King's name, and this by his own law, and therefore
by his authority, so much more might his Parliament do.
A very sound argument is here disguised in a false analogy, an
inapplicable precedent, and a sophistical form. Courts of justice
administer the total of the supreme power retrospectively, involved in
the name of the most dignified part. But here a part, as a part, acts as
the whole, where the whole is absolutely requisite,--that is, in passing
laws; and again as B. and C. usurp a power belonging to A. by the
determination of A. B. and C. The only valid argument is, that Charles
had by acts of his own ceased to be a lawful King.
Ib. p. 40.
And that the authority and person of the King were inviolable, out of
the reach of just accusation, judgment, or execution by law; as having
no superior, and so no judge.
But according to Grotius, a king waging war against the lawful
copartners of the 'summa potestas' ceases to be their king, and if
conquered forfeits to them his former share. And surely if Charles had
been victor, he would have taken the Parliament's share to himself. If
it had been the Parliament, and not a mere faction with the army, that
tried and beheaded Charles, I do not see how any one could doubt the
lawfulness of the act, except upon very technical grounds.
Ib. p. 41.
For if once legislation, the chief act of government, be denied to any
part of government at all, and affirmed to belong to the people as
such, who are no governors, all government will hereby be overthrown.
Here Baxter falls short of the subject, and does not see the full
consequents of his own prior, most judicious, positions. Legislation in
its high and most proper sense belongs to God only. A people declares
that such and such they hold to be laws, that is, God's will.
Ib. p. 47.
In Cornwall Sir Richard Grenvill, having taken many soldiers of the
Earl of Essex's army, sentenced about a dozen to be hanged. When they
had hanged two or three, the rope broke which should have hanged the
next. And they sent for new ropes so oft to hang him, and all of them
still broke, that they durst go no further, but saved all the rest.
The soldiers, doubtless, contrived this from the aversion natural to
Englishmen of killing an enemy in cold blood; and because they foresaw
that there would be Tit for Tat.
Ib. p. 59.
It is easy to see from Baxter's own account, that his party ruined their
own cause and that of the kingdom by their tenets concerning the right
and duty of the civil magistrate to use the sword against such as were
not of the same religion with themselves.
Ib. p. 62.
They seem not to me to have answered satisfactorily to the main
argument fetched from the Apostle's own government, with which Saravia
had inclined me to some Episcopacy before: though miracles and
infallibility were Apostolical temporary privileges, yet Church
government is an ordinary thing to be continued. And therefore as the
Apostles had successors as they were preachers, I see not but that
they must have successors as Church governors.
Was not Peter's sentence against Ananias an act of Church government?
Therefore though Church government is an ordinary thing in some form or
other, it does not follow that one particular form is an ordinary thing.
For the time being the Apostles, as heads of the Church, did what they
thought best; but whatever was binding on the Church universal and in
all times they delivered as commands from Christ. Now no other command
was delivered but that all things should conduce to order and
Ib. p. 66.
And therefore how they could refuse to receive the King, till he
consented to take the Covenant, I know not, unless the taking of the
Covenant had been a condition on which he was to receive his crown by
the laws or fundamental constitutions of the kingdom, which none
pretendeth. Nor know I by what power they can add anything to the
Coronation Oath or Covenant, which by his ancestors was to be taken,
without his own consent.
And pray, how and by whom were the Coronation Oaths first imposed? The
Scottish nation in 1650 had the same right to make a bargain with the
claimant of their throne as their ancestors had. It is strange that
Baxter should not have seen that his objections would apply to our
'Magna Charta'. So he talks of the "fundamental constitutions," just as
if these had been aboriginal or rather 'sans' origin, and not as indeed
they were extorted and bargained for by the people. But throughout it is
plain that Baxter repeated, but never appropriated, the distinction
between the King as the executive power, and as the individual
functionary. What obligation lay on the Scottish Parliament and Church
to consult the man Charles Stuart's personal likes and dislikes? The
Oath was to be taken by him as their King. Doubtless, he equally
disliked the whole Protestant interest; and if the Tories and Church of
England Jacobites of a later day had recalled James II., would Baxter
have thought them culpable for imposing on him an Oath to preserve the
Protestant Church of England and to inflict severe penalties on his own
Ib. p. 71.
And some men thought it a very hard question, whether they should
rather wish the continuance of a usurper that will do good, or the
restoration of a rightful governor whose followers will do hurt.
And who shall dare unconditionally condemn those who judged the former
to be the better alternative? Especially those who did not adopt
Baxter's notion of a 'jus divinum' personal and hereditary in the
individual, whose father had broken the compact on which the claim
Ib. p. 75.
One Mrs. Dyer, a chief person of the Sect, did first bring forth a
monster, which had the parts of almost all sorts of living creatures,
some parts like man, but most ugly and misplaced, and some like
beasts, birds and fishes, having horns, fins and claws; and at the
birth of it the bed shook, and the women present fell a vomiting, and
were fain to go forth of the room.
This babe of Mrs. Dyer's is no bad emblem of Richard Baxter's own
credulity. It is almost an argument on his side, that nothing he
believed is more strange and inexplicable than his own belief of them.
Ib. p. 76.
The third sect were the Ranters. These also made it their business, as
the former, to set up the light of nature under the name of Christ in
men, and to dishonour and cry down the Church, &c.
But why does Baxter every where assert the identity of the new light
with the light of nature? Or what does he mean exclusively by the
latter? The source must be the same in all lights as far as it is light.
Ib. p. 77.
And that was the fourth sect, the Quakers; who were but the Ranters
turned from horrid profaneness and blasphemy to a life of extreme
austerity on the other side.
Observe the _but_.
Their doctrine is to be seen in Jacob Behmen's books by him that hath
nothing else to do, than to bestow a great deal of time to understand
him that was not willing to be easily understood, and to know that his
bombasted words do signify nothing more than before was easily known
by common familiar terms.
This is not in all its parts true. It is true that the first principles
of Behmen are to be found in the writings of the Neo-Platonists after
Plotinus, and (but mixed with gross impieties) in Paracelsus;--but it is
not true that they are easily known, and still less so that they are
communicable in common familiar terms. But least of all is it true that
there is nothing original in Behmen.
The chiefest of these in England are Dr. Pordage and his family.
It is curious that Lessing in the Review, which he, Nicolai, and
Mendelssohn conducted under the form of Letters to a wounded Officer,
joins the name of Pordage with that of Behmen. Was Pordage's work
translated into German?
Ib. p. 79.
Also the Socinians made some increase by the ministry of one Mr.
Biddle, sometimes schoolmaster in Gloucester; who wrote against the
Godhead of the Holy Ghost, and afterwards of Christ; whose followers
inclined much to mere Deism.
For the Socinians till Biddle retained much of the Christian religion,
for example, Redemption by the Cross, and the omnipresence of Christ as
to this planet even as the Romanists with their Saints. Luther's
obstinate adherence to the ubiquity of the Body of Christ and his or
rather its real presence in and with the bread was a sad furtherance to
the advocates of Popish idolatry and hierolatry.
Ib. p. 80.
Many a time have I been brought very low, and received the sentence of
death in myself, when my poor, honest, praying neighbours have met,
and upon their fasting and earnest prayers I have been recovered. Once
when I had continued weak three weeks, and was unable to go abroad,
the very day that they prayed for me, being Good Friday, I recovered,
and was able to preach, and administer the Sacrament the next Lord's
Day, and was better after it, &c.
Strange that the common manuals of school logic should not have secured
Baxter from the repeated blunder of 'Cum hoc, ergo, propter hoc'; but
still more strange that his piety should not have revolted against
degrading prayer into medical quackery.
Before the Revolution of 1688, metaphysics ruled without experimental
psychology, and in these curious paragraphs of Baxter we see the effect:
since the Revolution experimental psychology without metaphysics has in
like manner prevailed, and we now feel the result. In like manner from
Plotinus to Proclus, that is, from A. D. 250 to A. D. 450, philosophy
was set up as a substitute for religion: during the dark ages religion
superseded philosophy, and the consequences are equally instructive. The
great maxim of legislation, intellectual or political, is 'Subordinate,
not exclude'. Nature in her ascent leaves nothing behind, but at each
step subordinates and glorifies:--mass, crystal, organ, sensation,
Ib. p. 82.
Another time, as I sat in my study, the weight of my greatest folio
books brake down three or four of the highest shelves, when I sat
close under them, and they fell down every side me, and not one of
them hit me, save one upon the arm; whereas the place, the weight, the
greatness of the books was such, and my head just under them, that it
was a wonder they had not beaten out my brains, &c.
[Greek: Mega biblion mega kakon.]
Ib. p. 84.
For all the pains that my infirmities ever brought upon me were never
half so grievous an affliction to me, as the unavoidable loss of my
time, which they occasioned. I could not bear, through the weakness of
my stomach, to rise before seven o'clock in the morning, &c.
Alas! in how many respects does my lot resemble Baxter's; but how much
less have my bodily evils been; and yet how very much greater an
impediment have I suffered them to be! But verily Baxter's labours seem
miracles of supporting grace. Ought I not therefore to retract the note
p. 80? I waver.
Ib. p. 87.
For my part, I bless God, who gave me even under a Usurper, whom I
opposed, such liberty and advantage to preach his Gospel with success,
which I cannot have under a King to whom I have sworn and performed
true subjection and obedience; yea, which no age since the Gospel came
into this land did before possess, as far as I can learn from history.
Sure I am that when it became a matter of reputation and honour to be
godly, it abundantly furthered the successes of the ministry. Yea, and
I shall add this much more for the sake of posterity, that as much as
I have said and written against licentiousness in religion, and for
the magistrate's power in it, and though I think that land most happy,
whose rulers use their authority for Christ as well as for the civil
peace; yet in comparison of the rest of the world, I shall think that
land happy that hath but bare liberty to be as good as they are
willing to be; and if countenance and maintenance be but added to
liberty, and tolerated errors and sects be but forced to keep the
peace, and not to oppose the substantials of Christianity, I shall not
hereafter much fear such toleration, nor despair that truth will bear
What a valuable and citable paragraph! Likewise it is a happy instance
of the force of a cherished prejudice in an honest mind--practically
yielding to the truth, but yet with a speculative, "Though I still
Ib. p. 128.
Among truths certain in themselves, all are not equally certain unto
me; and even of the mysteries of the Gospel I must needs say, with Mr.
Richard Hooker, that whatever some may pretend, the subjective
certainty cannot go beyond the objective evidence. * * * Therefore I
do more of late than ever discern the necessity of a methodical
procedure in maintaining the doctrine of Christianity. * * * My
certainty that I am a man is before my certainty that there is a God.
* * * My certainty that there is a God is greater than my certainty
that he requireth love and holiness of his creature, &c.
There is a confusion in this paragraph, which asks more than a marginal
note to disentangle. Briefly, the process of acquirement is confounded
with the order of the truths when acquired. A tinder spark gives light
to an Argand's lamp: is it therefore more luminous?
Ib. p. 129.
And when I have studied hard to understand some abstruse admired book,
as 'de Scientia Dei, de Providentia circa malum, de Decretis, de
Praedeterminatione, de Libertate creaturae', &c. I have but attained the
knowledge of human imperfection, and to see that the author is but a
man as well as I.
On these points I have come to a resting place. Let such articles, as
are either to be recognized as facts, for example, sin or evil having
its origination in a will; and the reality of a responsible and (in
whatever sense freedom is presupposed in responsibility,) of a free will
in man;--or acknowledged as laws, for example, the unconditional
bindingness of the practical reason;--or to be freely affirmed as
necessary through their moral interest, their indispensableness to our
spiritual humanity, for example, the personeity, holiness, and moral
government and providence of God;--let these be vindicated from
absurdity, from self-contradiction, and contradiction to the pure
reason, and restored to simple incomprehensibility. He who seeks for
more, knows not what he is talking of; he who will not seek even this is
either indifferent to the truth of what he professes to believe, or he
mistakes a general determination not to disbelieve for a positive and
especial faith, which is only our faith as far as we can assign a reason
for it. O! how impossible it is to move an inch to the right or the left
in any point of spiritual and moral concernment, without seeing the
damage caused by the confusion of reason with the understanding.
Ib. p. 181.
My soul is much more afflicted with the thoughts of the miserable
world, and more drawn out in desire of their conversion than
heretofore. I was wont to look but little further than England in my
prayers, as not considering the state of the rest of the world;--or if
I prayed for the conversion of the Jews, that was almost all. But now
as I better understand the care of the world, and the method of the
Lord's Prayer, so there is nothing in the world that lieth so heavy
upon my heart, as the thought of the miserable nations of the earth.
I dare not not condemn myself for the languid or dormant state of my
feelings respecting the Mohammedan and Heathen nations; yet know not in
what degree to condemn. The less culpable grounds of this languor are,
first, my utter ignorance of God's purposes with respect to the
Heathens; and second, the strong conviction, I have that the conversion
of a single province of Christendom to true practical Christianity would
do more toward the conversion of Heathendom than an army of
Missionaries. Romanism and despotic government in the larger part of
Christendom, and the prevalence of Epicurean principles in the
remainder;--these do indeed lie heavy on my heart.
Ib. p. 135.
Therefore I confess I give but halting credit to most histories that
are written, not only against the Albigenses and Waldenses, but
against most of the ancient heretics, who have left us none of their
own writings, in which they speak for themselves; and I heartily
lament that the historical writings of the ancient schismatics and
heretics, as they were called, perished, and that partiality suffered
them not to survive, that we might have had more light in the Church
affairs of those times, and been better able to judge between the
Fathers and them.
It is greatly to the credit of Baxter that he has here anticipated those
merits which so long after gave deserved celebrity to the name and
writings of Beausobre and Lardner, and still more recently in this
respect of Eichhorn, Paulus and other Neologists.
Ib. p. 136.
And therefore having myself now written this history of myself,
notwithstanding my protestation that I have not in anything wilfully
gone against the truth, I expect no more credit from the reader than
the self-evidencing light of the matter, with concurrent rational
advantages from persons, and things, and other witnesses, shall
constrain him to.
I may not unfrequently doubt Baxter's memory, or even his competence, in
consequence of his particular modes of thinking; but I could almost as
soon doubt the Gospel verity as his veracity.
Book I. Part II. p.139.
The following Book of this Work is interesting and most instructive as
an instance of Syncretism, and its Epicurean 'clinamen', even when it
has been undertaken from the purest and most laudable motives, and from
impulses the most Christian, and yet its utter failure in its object,
that of tending to a common centre. The experience of eighteen centuries
seems to prove that there is no practicable 'medium' between a Church
comprehensive (which is the only meaning of a Catholic Church visible)
in which A. in the North or East is allowed to advance officially no
doctrine different from what is allowed to B. in the South or West;--and
a co-existence of independent Churches, in none of which any further
unity is required but that between the minister and his congregation,
while this again is secured by the election and continuance of the
former depending wholly on the will of the latter.
Perhaps the best state possible, though not the best possible state, is
where both are found, the one established by maintenance, the other by
permission; in short that which we now enjoy. In such a state no
minister of the former can have a right to complain, for it was at his
own option to have taken the latter; 'et volenti nulla fit injuria'. For
an individual to demand the freedom of the independent single Church
when he receives L500 a year for submitting to the necessary
restrictions of the Church General, is impudence and Mammonolatry to
Ib. p. 141.
They (the Erastians) misunderstood and injured their brethren,
supposing and affirming them to claim as from God a coercive power
over the bodies or purses of men, and so setting up 'imperium in
imperio'; whereas all temperate Christians (at least except Papists)
confess that the Church hath no power of force, but only to manage
God's word unto men's consciences.
But are not the receivers as bad as the thief? Is it not a poor evasion
to say:--"It is true I send you to a dungeon there to rot, because you
do not think as I do concerning some point of faith;--but this only as a
civil officer. As a divine I only tenderly entreat and persuade you!"
Can there be fouler hypocrisy in the Spanish Inquisition than this?
Ib. p. 142.
That hereby they (the Diocesan party) altered the ancient species of
Presbyters, to whose office the spiritual government of their proper
folks as truly belonged, as the power of preaching and worshiping God
I could never rightly understand this objection of Richard Baxter's.
What power not possessed by the Rector of a parish, would he have wished
a parochial Bishop to have exerted? What could have been given by the
Legislature to the latter which might not be given to the former? In
short Baxter's plan seems to do away Archbishops--[Greek: koinoi
episkopoi]--but for the rest to name our present Rectors and Vicars
Bishops. I cannot see what is gained by his plan. The true difficulty is
that Church discipline is attached to an Establishment by this world's
law, not to the form itself established: and his objections from
paragraph 5 to paragraph 10 relate to particular abuses, not to
Ib. p. 143.
But above all I disliked that most of them (the Independents) made the
people by majority of votes to be Church governors in
excommunications, absolutions, &c., which Christ hath made an act of
office; and so they governed their governors and themselves.
Is not this the case with the Houses of Legislature? The members taken
individually are subjects; collectively governors.
Ib. p. 177.
The extraordinary gifts of the Apostles, and the privilege of being
eye and ear witnesses to Christ, were abilities which they had for the
infallible discharge of their function, but they were not the ground
of their power and authority to govern the Church. * * * 'Potestas
clavium' was committed to them only, not to the Seventy.
I wish for a proof, that all the Apostles had any extraordinary gifts
which none of the LXX. had. Nay as an Episcopalian of the Church of
England, I hold it an unsafe and imprudent concession, tending to weaken
the governing right of the Bishops. But I fear that as the law and right
of patronage in England now are, the question had better not be stirred;
lest it should be found that the true power of the keys is not, as with
the Papists, in hands to which it is doubtful whether Christ committed
them exclusively; but in hands to which it is certain that Christ did
not commit them at all.
Ib. p. 179.
It followeth not a mere Bishop may have a multitude of Churches,
because an Archbishop may, who hath many Bishops under him.
What then does Baxter quarrel about? That our Bishops take a humbler
title than they have a right to claim;--that being in fact Archbishops,
they are for the most part content to be styled as one of the brethren!
Ib. p. 185.
I say again, No Church, no Christ; for no body, no head; and if no
Christ then, there is no Christ now.
Baxter here forgets his own mystical regenerated Church. If he mean
this, it is nothing to the argument in question; if not, then he must
assert the monstrous absurdity of, No unregenerate Church, no Christ.
Ib. p. 188.
Or if they would not yield to this at all, we might have communion
with them as Christians, without acknowledging them for Pastors.
Observe the inconsistency of Baxter. No Pastor, no Church; no Church, no
Christ; and yet he will receive them as Christians: much to his honor as
a Christian, but not much to his credit as a logician.
Ib. p. 189.
We are agreed that as some discovery of consent on both parts (the
pastors and people) is necessary to the being of the members of a
political particular Church: so that the most express declaration of
that consent is the most plain and satisfactory dealing, and most
obliging, and likest to attain the ends.
In our Churches, especially in good livings, there is such an
overflowing fullness of consent on the part of the Pastor as supplies
that of the people altogether; nay, to nullify their declared dissent.
Ib. p. 194.
By the establishment of what is contained in these twelve propositions
or articles following, the Churches in these nations may have a holy
communion, peace and concord, without any wrong to the consciences or
liberties of Presbyterians, Congregational, Episcopal, or any other
Painfully instructive are these proposals from so wise and peaceable a
divine as Baxter. How mighty must be the force of an old prejudice when
so generally acute a logician was blinded by it to such palpable
inconsistencies! On what ground of right could a magistrate inflict a
penalty, whereby to compel a man to hear what he might believe dangerous
to his soul, on which the right of burning the refractory individual
might not be defended as well?
Ib. p. 198.
To which ends * * I think that this is all that should be required of
any Church or member ordinarily to be professed: In general I do
believe all that is contained in the sacred canonical Scriptures, and
particularly I believe all explicitly contained in the ancient Creed,
To a man of sense, but unstudied in the context of human nature, and
from having confined his reading to the writers of the present and the
last generation unused to live in former ages, it must seem strange that
Baxter should not have seen that this test is either all or nothing. And
the Creed! Is it certain that the so called Apostles' Creed was more
than the mere catechism of the Catechumens? Was it the Baptismal Creed
of the Eastern or Western Church, especially the former? The only test
really necessary, in my opinion, is an established Liturgy.
Ib. p. 201.
As reverend Bishop Ussher hath manifested that the Western Creed, now
called the Apostles' (wanting two or three clauses that now are in it)
was not only before the Nicene Creed, but of much further antiquity,
that no beginning of it below the Apostles' days can be found.
Remove these two or three clauses, and doubtless the substance of the
remainder must have been little short of the Apostolic age. But so is
one at least of the writings of Clement. The great question is: Was this
the Baptismal Symbol, the 'Regula Fidei', which it was forbidden to put
in writing;--or was it not the Christian A. B. C. of the 'Catechumeni'
previously to their Baptismal initiation into the higher mysteries, to
the 'strong meat' which was not for babes'? 
Ib. p. 203.
Not so much for my own sake as others; lest it should offend the
Parliament, and open the mouths of our adversaries, that we cannot
ourselves agree in fundamentals; and lest it prove an occasion for
others to sue for a universal toleration.
That this apprehension so constantly haunted, so powerfully actuated,
even the mild and really tolerant Baxter, is a strong proof of my old
opinion,--that the dogma of the right and duty of the civil magistrate
to restrain and punish religious avowals by him deemed heretical,
universal among the Presbyterians and Parliamentary Churchmen, joined
with the persecuting spirit of the Presbyterians,--was the main cause of
Cromwell's despair and consequent unfaithfulness concerning a
Ib. p. 222.
I tried, when I was last with you, to revive your reason by proposing
to you the infallibility of the common senses of all the world; and I
could not prevail though you had nothing to answer that was not
against common sense. And it is impossible any thing controverted can
be brought nearer you, or made plainer than to be brought to your eyes
and taste and feeling; and not yours only, but all men's else. Sense
goes before faith. Faith is no faith but upon supposition of sense and
understanding: if therefore common sense be fallible, faith must needs
This is one of those two-edged arguments, which not indeed began, but
began to be fashionable, just before and after the Restoration. I was
half converted to Transubstantiation by Tillotson's common senses
against it; seeing clearly that the same grounds 'totidem verbis et
syllabis' would serve the Socinian against all the mysteries of
Christianity. If the Roman Catholics had pretended that the phenomenal
bread and wine were changed into the phenomenal flesh and blood, this
objection would have been legitimate and irresistible; but as it is, it
is mere sensual babble. The whole of Popery lies in the assumption of a
Church, as a numerical unit, infallible in the highest degree, inasmuch
as both which is Scripture, and what Scripture teaches, is infallible by
derivation only from an infallible decision of the Church. Fairly
undermine or blow up this: and all the remaining peculiar tenets of
Romanism fall with it, or stand by their own right as opinions of
An antagonist of a complex bad system,--a system, however,
notwithstanding--and such is Popery,--should take heed above all things
not to disperse himself. Let him keep to the sticking place. But the
majority of our Protestant polemics seem to have taken for granted that
they could not attack Romanism in too many places, or on too many
points;--forgetting that in some they will be less strong than in
others, and that if in any one or two they are repelled from the
assault, the feeling of this will extend itself over the whole. Besides,
what is the use of alleging thirteen reasons for a witness's not
appearing in Court, when the first is that the man had died since his
'subpoena'? It is as if a party employed to root up a tree were to set
one or two at that work, while others were hacking the branches, and
others sawing the trunk at different heights from the ground.
N. B. The point of attack suggested above in disputes with the Romanists
is of special expediency in the present day: because a number of pious
and reasonable Roman Catholics are not aware of the dependency of their
other tenets on this of the infallibility of their Church decisions, as
they call them, but are themselves shaken and disposed to explain it
away. This once fixed, the Scriptures rise uppermost, and the man is
already a Protestant, rather a genuine Catholic, though his opinions
should remain nearer to the Roman than the Reformed Church.
_But methinks yet I should have hope of reviving your charity. You
cannot be a Papist indeed, but you must believe that out of their
Church (that is out of the Pope's dominions) there is no salvation;
and consequently no justification and charity, or saving grace. And is
it possible you can so easily believe your religious father to be in
hell; your prudent, pious mother to be void of the love of God, and in
a state of damnation, &c._
This argument 'ad affectum' is beautifully and forcibly stated; but yet
defective by the omission of the point;--not for unbelief or misbelief
of any article of faith, but simply for not being a member of this
particular part of the Church of Christ. For it is possible that a
Christian might agree in all the articles of faith with the Roman
doctors against those of the Reformation, and yet if he did not
acknowledge the Pope as Christ's vicar, and held salvation possible in
any other Church, he is himself excluded from salvation! Without this
great distinction Lady Ann Lindsey might have replied to Baxter:--"So
might a Pagan orator have said to a convert from Paganism in the first
ages of Christianity; so indeed the advocates of the old religion did
argue. What! can you bear to believe that Numa, Camillus, Fabricius, the
Scipios, the Catos, that Cicero, Seneca, that Titus and the Antonini,
are in the flames of Hell, the accursed objects of the divine hatred?
Now whatever you dare hope of these as heathens, we dare hope of you as
Ib. p. 224.
_But this is not the worst. You consequently anathematize_ all Papists
by your sentence: for heresies by your own sentence cut off men from
heaven: but Popery is a bundle of heresies: therefore it cuts off men
from heaven. The minor I prove, &c.
This introduction of syllogistic form in a letter to a young Lady is
Ib. p. 225.
You say, the Scripture admits of no private interpretation. But you
abuse yourself and the text with a false interpretation of it in these
words. An interpretation is called private either as to the subject
person, or as to the interpreter. You take the text to speak of the
latter, when the context plainly sheweth you that it speaks of the
former. The Apostle directing them to understand the prophecies of the
Old Testament, gives them this caution;--that none of these Scriptures
that are spoken of Christ the public person must be interpreted as
spoken of David or other private person only, of whom they were
mentioned but as types of Christ, &c.
It is strange that this sound and irrefragable argument has not been
enforced by the Church divines in their controversies with the modern
Unitarians, as Capp, Belsham and others, who refer all the prophetic
texts of the Old Testament to historical personages of their time,
exclusively of all double sense.
Ib. p. 226.
As to what you say of Apostles still placed in the Church:--when any
shew us an immediate mission by their communion, and by miracles,
'tongues', and a spirit of revelation and infallibility prove
themselves Apostles, we shall believe them.
This is another of those two-edged arguments which Baxter and Jeremy
Taylor imported from Grotius, and which have since become the universal
fashion among Protestants. I fear, however, that it will do us more hurt
by exposing a weak part to the learned Infidels than service in our
combat with the Romanists. I venture to assert most unequivocally that
the New Testament contains not the least proof of the 'linguipotence' of
the Apostles, but the clearest proofs of the contrary: and I doubt
whether we have even as decisive a victory over the Romanists in our
Middletonian, Farmerian, and Douglasian dispute concerning the miracles
of the first two centuries and their assumed contrast 'in genere' with
those of the Apostles and the Apostolic age, as we have in most other of
our Protestant controversies.
N.B. These opinions of Middleton and his more cautious followers are no
part of our real Church doctrine. This passion for law Court evidence
began with Grotius.
Ib. p. 246.
We conceived there needs no more to be said for justifying the
imposition of the ceremonies by law established than what is contained
in the beginning--of this Section.... Inasmuch as lawful authority
hath already determined the ceremonies in question to be decent and
orderly, and to serve to edification: and consequently to be agreeable
to the general rules of the Word.
To a self-convinced and disinterested lover of the Church of England, it
gives an indescribable horror to observe the frequency, with which the
Prelatic party after the Restoration appeal to the laws as of equal
authority with the express words of Scripture;--as if the laws, by them
appealed to, were other than the vindictive determinations of their own
furious partizans;--as if the same appeals might not have been made by
Bonner and Gardiner under Philip and Mary! Why should I speak of the
inhuman sophism that, because it is silly in my neighbour to break his
egg at the broad end when the Squire and the Vicar have declared their
predilection for the narrow end, therefore it is right for the Squire
and the Vicar to hang and quarter him for his silliness:--for it comes
Ib. p. 248.
To you it is indifferent before your imposition: and therefore you may
without any regret of your own consciences forbear the imposition, or
persuade the law makers to forbear it. But to many of those that
dissent from you, they are sinful, &c.
But what is all this, good worthy Baxter, but saying and unsaying? If
they are not indifferent, why did you previously concede them to be
such? In short nothing can be more pitiably weak than the conduct of the
Presbyterian party from the first capture of Charles I. Common sense
required, either a bold denial that the Church had power in ceremonies
more than in doctrines, or that the Parliament was the Church, since it
is the Parliament that enacts all these things;--or if they admitted the
authority lawful and the ceremonies only, in their mind, inexpedient,
good God! can self-will more plainly put on the cracked mask of tender
conscience than by refusal of obedience? What intolerable presumption,
to disqualify as ungodly and reduce to null the majority of the country,
who preferred the Liturgy, in order to force the long winded vanities of
bustling God-orators on those who would fain hear prayers, not spouting!
Ib. p. 249.
The great controversies between the hypocrite and the true Christian,
whether we should be serious in the practice of the religion which we
commonly profess, hath troubled England more than any other;--none
being more hated and divided as Puritans than those that will make
religion their business, &c.
Had not the Governors had bitter proofs that there are other and more
cruel vices than swearing and careless living;--and that these were
predominant chiefly among such as made their religion their business?
And whereas you speak of opening a gap to Sectaries for private
conventicles, and the evil consequents to the state, we only desire
you to avoid also the cherishing of ignorance and profaneness, and
_suppress all Sectaries_, and spare not, in a way that will not
suppress the means of knowledge and godliness.
The present company, that is, our own dear selves, always excepted.
Ib. p. 250.
Otherwise the poor undone Churches of Christ will no more believe you
in such professions than we believed that those men intended the
King's just power and greatness, who took away his life.
Or who, like Baxter, joined the armies that were showering cannon balls
and bullets around his inviolable person! Whenever by reading the
Prelatical writings and histories, I have had an over dose of
anti-Prelatism in my feelings, I then correct it by dipping into the
works of the Presbyterians, and their fellows, and so bring myself to
more charitable thoughts respecting the Prelatists, and fully subscribe
to Milton's assertion, that "Presbyter was but Old Priest writ large."
Ib. p. 254.
The apocryphal matter of your lessons in Tobit, Judith, Bel and the
Dragon, &c., is scarce agreeable to the word of God.
Does not Jude refer to an apocryphal book?
Our experience unresistibly convinceth us that a continued prayer doth
more to help most of the people, and carry on their desires, than
turning almost every petition into a distinct prayer; and making
prefaces and conclusions to be near half the prayers.
This now is the very point I most admire in our excellent Liturgy. To
any particular petition offered to the Omniscient, there may be a
sinking of faith, a sense of its superfluity; but to the lifting up of
the soul to the Invisible and there fixing it on his attributes, there
can be no scruple.
Ib. p. 257.
The not abating of the impositions is the carting off of many hundreds
of your brethren out of the ministry, and of many thousand Christians
out of your communion; but the abating of the impositions will so
offend you as to silence or excommunicate none of you at all. For
example, we think it a sin to subscribe, or swear canonical obedience,
or use the transient image of the Cross in Baptism, and therefore
these must cast us out, &c.
As long as independent single Churches, or voluntarily synodical were
forbidden and punishable by penal law, this argument remained
irrefragable. The imposition of such trifles under such fearful threats
was the very bitterness of spiritual pride and vindictiveness;--after
the law passed by which things became as they now are, it was a mere
question of expediency for the National Church to determine in relation
to its own comparative interests. If the Church chose unluckily, the
injury has been to itself alone.
It seems strange that such men as Baxter should not see that the use of
the ring, the surplice and the like, are indifferent according to his
own confession, yea, mere trifles, in comparison with the peace of the
Church; but that it is no trifle, that men should refuse obedience to
lawful authority in matters indifferent, and prefer the sin of schism to
offending their taste and fancy. The Church did not, upon the whole,
contend for a trifle, nor for an indifferent matter, but for a principle
on which all order in society must depend. Still this is true only,
provided the Church enacts no ordinances that are not necessary or at
least plainly conducive to order or (generally) to the ends for which it
is a Church. Besides, the point which the King had required them to
consider was not what ordinances it was right to obey, but what it was
expedient to enact or not to enact.
Ib. p. 269.
That the Pastors of the respective parishes may be allowed not only
publicly to preach, but personally to catechize or otherwise instruct
the several families, admitting none to the Lord's Table that have not
personally owned their Baptismal covenant by a credible profession of
faith and obedience; and to admonish and exhort the scandalous, in
order to their repentance: to hear the witnesses and the accused
party, and to appoint fit times and places for these things, and to
deny such persons the communion of the Church in the holy Eucharist,
that remain impenitent, or that wilfully refuse to come to their
Pastors to be instructed, or to answer such probable accusations; and
to continue such exclusion of them till they have made a credible
profession of repentance, and then to receive them again to the
communion of the Church;--provided there be place for due appeals to
Suppose only such men Pastors as are now most improperly, whether as
boast or as sneer, called Evangelical, what an insufferable tyranny
would this introduce! Who would not rather live in Algiers? This alone
would make this minute history of the ecclesiastic factions invaluable,
that it must convince all sober lovers of independence and moral
self-government, how dearly we ought to prize our present Church
Establishment with all its faults.
Ib. p. 272.
Therefore we humbly crave that your Majesty will here declare, that it
is your Majesty's pleasure that none be punished or troubled for not
using the Book of Common Prayer, till it be effectually reformed by
divines of both persuasions equally deputed thereunto.
The dispensing power of the Crown not only acknowledged, but earnestly
invoked! Cruel as the conduct of Laud and that of Sheldon to the
Dissentients was, yet God's justice stands clear towards them; for they
demanded that from others, which they themselves would not grant. They
were to be allowed at their own fancies to denounce the ring in
marriage, and yet impowered to endungeon, through the magistrate, the
honest and peaceable Quaker for rejecting the outward ceremony of water
in Baptism, as seducing men to take it as a substitute for the spiritual
reality;--though the Quakers, no less than themselves, appealed to
Scripture authority--the Baptist's own contrast of Christ's with the
Ib. p. 273.
We are sure that kneeling in any adoration at all, in any worship, on
any Lord's Day in the year, or any week day between Easter and
Pentecost, was not only disused, but forbidden by General Councils,
&c.--and therefore that kneeling in the act of receiving is a novelty
contrary to the decrees and practice of the Church for many hundred
years after the Apostles.
Was not this because kneeling was the agreed sign of sorrow and personal
contrition, which was not to be introduced into the public worship on
the great day and the solemn seasons of the Church's joy and
thanksgiving? If so, Baxter's appeal to this usage is a gross sophism, a
Ib. p. 308.
Baxter's Exceptions to the Common Prayer Book.
1. Order requireth that we begin with reverent prayer to God for his
acceptance and assistance, which is not done.
Enunciation of God's invitations, and promises in God's own words, as in
the Common Prayer Book, much better.
2. That the Creed and Decalogue containing the faith, in which we
profess to assemble for God's worship, and the law which we have
broken by our sins, should go before the confession and Absolution;
or at least before the praises of the Church; which they do not.
Might have deserved consideration, if the people or the larger number
consisted of uninstructed 'catechumeni', or mere candidates for
Church-membership. But the object being, not the first teaching of the
Creed and Decalogue, but the lively reimpressing of the same, it is much
better as it is.
3. The Confession omitteth not only original sin, but all actual sin
as specified by the particular commandments violated, and almost
all the aggravations of those sins.... Whereas confession, being
the expression of repentance, should be more particular, as
repentance itself should be.
Grounded, on one of the grand errors of the whole Dissenting party,
namely, the confusion of public common prayer, praise, and instruction,
with domestic and even with private devotion. Our Confession is a
perfect model for Christian communities.
4. When we have craved help for God's prayers, before we come to them,
we abruptly put in the petition for speedy deliverance--('O God,
make speed to save us: O Lord make haste to help us',) without any
intimation of the danger that we desire deliverance from, and
without any other petition conjoined.
5. It is disorderly in the manner, to sing the Scripture in a plain
tune after the manner of reading.
6. ('The Lord be with you. And with thy spirit',) being petitions
for divine assistance, come in abruptly in the midst or near the
end of morning prayer: And ('Let us pray'.) is adjoined when we
were before in prayer.
Mouse-like squeak and nibble.
7. ('Lord have mercy upon us: Christ have mercy upon us: Lord have
mercy upon us'.) seemeth an affected tautology without any special
cause or order here; and the Lord's Prayer is annexed that was
before recited, and yet the next words are again but a repetition
of the aforesaid oft repeated general ('O Lord, shew thy mercy upon
Still worse. The spirit in which this and similar complaints originated
has turned the prayers of Dissenting ministers into irreverent
preachments, forgetting that tautology in words and thoughts implies no
tautology in the music of the heart to which the words are, as it were,
set, and that it is the heart that lifts itself up to God. Our words and
thoughts are but parts of the enginery which remains with ourselves; and
logic, the rustling dry leaves of the lifeless reflex faculty, does not
merit even the name of a pulley or lever of devotion.
8. The prayer for the King ('O Lord, save the King'.) is without any
order put between the foresaid petition and another general request
only for audience. ('And mercifully hear us when we call upon
A trifle, but just.
9. The second Collect is intituled ('For Peace'.) and hath not a word
in it of petition for peace, but only 'for defence in assaults of
enemies', and that we 'may not fear their power'. And the prefaces
('in knowledge of whom standeth', &c. and 'whose service', &c.)
have no more evident respect to a petition for peace than to any
other. And the prayer itself comes in disorderly, while many
prayers or petitions are omitted, which according both to the
method of the Lord's Prayer, and the nature of the things, should
10. The third Collect intituled ('For Grace'.) is disorderly, &c....
And thus the main parts of prayer, according to the rule of the
Lord's Prayer and our common necessities, are omitted.
Not wholly unfounded: but the objection proceeds on an arbitrary and (I
think) false assumption, that the Lord's Prayer was universally
prescriptive in form and arrangement.
12. The Litany ... omitteth very many particulars, ... and it is
exceeding disorderly, following no just rules of method. Having
begged pardon of our sins, and deprecated vengeance, it proceedeth
to evil in general, and some few sins in particular, and thence to
a more particular enumeration of judgments; and thence to a
recitation of the parts of that work of our redemption, and thence
to the deprecation of judgments again, and thence to prayers for
the King and magistrates, and then for all nations, and then for
love and obedience, &c.
The very points here objected to as faults I should have selected as
excellencies. For do not the duties and temptations occur in real life
even so intermingled? The imperfection of thought much more of language,
so singly successive, allows no better representation of the close
neighbourhood, nay the co-inherence of duty in duty, desire in desire.
Every want of the heart pointing Godward is a chili agon that touches at
a thousand points. From these remarks I except the last paragraph of s.
(As to the prayer for Bishops and Curates and the position of the
General Thanksgiving, &c.)
which are defects so palpable and so easily removed, that nothing but
antipathy to the objectors could have retained them.
13. The like defectiveness and disorder is in the Communion Collects
for the day.... There is no more reason why it should be appropriate
to that day than another, or rather be a common petition for all days,
I do not see how these supposed improprieties, for want of
appropriateness to the day, could be avoided without risk of the far
greater evil of too great appropriation to particular Saints and days as
in Popery. I am so far a Puritan that I think nothing would have been
lost, if Christmas day and Good Friday had been the only week days made
holy days, and Easter the only Lord's day especially distinguished. I
should also have added Whitsunday; but that it has become unmeaning
since our Clergy have, as I grieve to think, become generally Arminian,
and interpreting the descent of the Spirit as the gift of miracles and
of miraculous infallibility by inspiration have rendered it of course of
little or no application to Christians at present. Yet how can Arminians
pray our Church prayers collectively on any day? Answer. See a 'boa
constrictor' with an ox or deer. What they do swallow, proves so
astounding a dilatability of gullet, that it would be unconscionable
strictness to complain of the horns, antlers, or other indigestible
non-essentials being suffered to rot off at the confines, [Greek: herkos
hodonton]. But to write seriously on so serious a subject, it is
mournful to reflect that the influence of the systematic theology then
in fashion with the anti-Prelatic divines, whether Episcopalians or
Presbyterians, had quenched all fineness of mind, all flow of heart, all
grandeur of imagination in them; while the victorious party, the
Prelatic Arminians, enriched as they were with all learning and highly
gifted with taste and judgment, had emptied revelation of all the
doctrines that can properly be said to have been revealed, and thus
equally caused the extinction of the imagination, and quenched the life
in the light by withholding the appropriate fuel and the supporters of
the sacred flame. So that, between both parties, our transcendant
Liturgy remains like an ancient Greek temple, a monumental proof of the
architectural genius of an age long departed, when there were giants in
Ib. p. 337.
As I was proceeding, Bishop Morley interrupted me according to his
manner, with vehemency crying out * * The Bishop interrupted me again
* * I attempted to speak, and still he interrupted me * * Bishop
Morley went on, talking louder than I, &c.
The Bishops appear to have behaved insolently enough. Safe in their
knowledge of Charles's inclinations, they laughed in their sleeves at
his commission. Their best answer would have been to have pressed the
anti-impositionists with their utter forgetfulness of the possible, nay,
very probable differences of opinion between the ministers and their
congregations. A vain minister might disgust a sober congregation with
his 'extempore' prayers, or his open contempt of their kneeling at the
Sacrament, and the like. Yet by what right if he acts only as an
individual? And then what an endless source of disputes and preferences
of this minister or of that!
Ib. p. 341.
The paper offered by Bishop Cosins.
1. That the question may be put to the managers of the division,
Whether there be anything in the doctrine, or discipline, or the
Common Prayer, or ceremonies, contrary to the word of God; and if
they can make any such appear; let them be satisfied.
2. If not, let them propose what they desire in point of expediency,
and acknowledge it to be no more.
This was proposed, doubtless, by one of your sensible men; it is so
plain, so plausible, shallow, 'nihili, nauci, pili, flocci-cal'. Why,
the very phrase "contrary to the word of God" would take a month to
define, and neither party agree at last. One party says:
The Church has power from God's word to order all matters of order so as
shall appear to them to conduce to decency and edification: but
ceremonies respect the orderly performance of divine service: ergo, the
Church has power to ordain ceremonies: but the Cross in baptizing is a
ceremony; ergo, the Church has power to prescribe the crossing in
Baptism. What is rightfully ordered cannot be rightfully withstood:--but
the crossing, &c., is rightfully ordered:--'ergo', the crossing cannot
be rightfully omitted.
To this, how easily would the other party reply;
1. That a small number of Bishops could not be called the Church:
2. That no one Church had power or pretence from God's word to prescribe
concerning mere matters of outward decency and convenience to other
Churches or assemblies of Christian people:
3. That the blending an unnecessary and suspicious, if not
superstitious, motion of the hand with a necessary and essential act
doth in no wise respect order or propriety:
Lastly, that to forbid a man to obey a direct command of God because he
will not join with it an admitted mere tradition of men, is contrary to
common sense, no less than to God's word, expressly and by breach of
charity, which is the great end and purpose of God's word. Besides;
might not the Pope and his shavelings have made the same proposition to
the Reformers in the reign of Edward VI., in respect to the greater part
of the idle superfluities which were rejected by the Reformers, only as
idle and superfluous, and for that reason contrary to the spirit of the
Gospel, though few, if any, were in the direct teeth of a positive
prohibition? Above all, an honest policy dictates that the end in view
being fully determined, as here for instance, the preclusion of
disturbance and indecorum in Christian assemblies, every addition to
means, already adequate to the securing of that end, tends to frustrate
the end, and is therefore evidently excluded from the prerogatives of
the Church, (however that word may be interpreted) inasmuch as its power
is confined to such ceremonies and regulations as conduce to order and
general edification. In short it grieves me to think that the Heads of
the most Apostolical Church in Christendom should have insisted on three
or four trifles, the abolition of which could have given offence to none
but such as from the baleful superstition that alone could attach
importance to them effectually, it was charity to offend;-when all the
rest of Baxter's objections might have been answered so triumphantly.
Ib. p. 343.
Answer to the foresaid paper.
8. That none may be a preacher, that dare not subscribe that there is
nothing in the Common Prayer Book, the Book of Ordination, and the 39
Articles, that is contrary to the word of God.
I think this might have been left out as well as the other two articles
mentioned by Baxter. For as by the words "contrary to the word of God"
in Cosins's paper, it was not meant to declare the Common Prayer Book
free from all error, the sense must have been, that there is not
anything in it in such a way or degree contrary to God's word, as to
oblige us to assign sin to those who have overlooked it, or who think
the same compatible with God's word, or who, though individually
disapproving the particular thing, yet regard that acquiescence as an
allowed sacrifice of individual opinion to modesty, charity, and zeal
for the peace of the Church. For observe that this eighth instance is
additional to, and therefore not inclusive of, the preceding seven:
otherwise it must have been placed as the first, or rather as the whole,
the seven following being motives and instances in support and
explanation of the point.
Ib. p. 368.
Let me mediate here between Baxter and the Bishops: Baxter had taken for
granted that the King had a right to promise a revision of the Liturgy,
Canons and regiment of the Church, and that the Bishops ought to have
met him and his friends as diplomatists on even ground. The Bishops
could not with discretion openly avow all they meant; and it would be
bigotry to deny that the spirit of compromise had no indwelling in their
feelings or intents. But nevertheless it is true that they thought more
in the spirit of the English Constitution than Baxter and his
friends.--"This," thought they, "is the law of the land, 'quam nolumus
mutari'; and it must be the King with and by the advice of his
Parliament, that can authorize any part of his subjects to take the
question of its repeal into consideration. Under other circumstances a
King might bring the Bishops and the Heads of the Romish party together
to plot against the law of the land. No! we would have no other secret
Committees but of Parliamentary appointment. We are but so many
individuals. It is in the Legislature that the congregations, the party
most interested in this cause, meet collectively by their
representatives."--Lastly, let it not be overlooked, that the root of
the bitterness was common to both parties,--namely, the conviction of
the vital importance of uniformity;--and this admitted, surely an
undoubted majority in favor of what is already law must decide whose