The Life of John Milton Vol. 3 1643-1649
David Masson

Part 3 out of 13

England before his return to America. The title must have at once
attracted attention to it and given it an advantage over the other tract.
The author of that other tract was our other well-known friend Mr. JOHN
GOODWIN, Vicar of St. Stephen's, Coleman Street, whom the Presbyterians
had put in their black books as an Arminian, Socinian, and what not (Vol.
II. 582-584). Goodwill's piece may have been out first, for it is heard
of as in circulation in May 1644, while Williams's book is not heard of,
I think, till June or July. But, on all grounds, Williams deserves the
priority. [Footnote: For statements in this paragraph authorities are--
_Apologetic Narration_ (1644); Hanbury's Historical Memorials, II. 341
_et seq._; Reprint of _The Bloody Tenent_ by the Hanserd Knollys Society
(1848), with Mr. Underhill's "Biographical Introduction," pp. xxiii.-iv.;
Jackson's _Life of John Goodwin_, p. 114 _et seq._; Baillie's Letters,
II. 180,181, and 211, 212, and Commons Journals, Aug. 9, 1644.]

Well may the Americans be proud of Roger Williams. His _Bloody
Tenent_ is of a piece with all his previous career. It is a rapid,
hurried book, written, as it tells us, during the author's stay in
England, "in change of rooms and corners, yea sometimes in variety of
strange houses, sometimes in the fields in the midst of travel." One
particularly notes the frequent "&c." in its sentences, as if much
crowded on the writer's mind from moment to moment which he could
indicate only by a contraction. But there is dash in the book, the
keenest earnestness and evidence of a mind made up, and every now and
then a mystic softness and richness of pity, yearning towards a
voluptuous imagery like that of the Song of Solomon. The plan is
straggling. First there is a list of twelve positions which the book
proves, or heads under which its contents may be distributed. Then there
is an address or dedication to "the Right Honourable Both Houses of the
High Court of Parliament," followed by a separate address "To every
Courteous Reader." Then there comes a copy of" Scriptures and Reasons
written long since by a Witness of Jesus Christ, close prisoner in
Newgate, against Persecution in cause of Conscience"--in fact, an extract
from a tract on Liberty of Conscience by Murton, or some other London
Baptist, in 1620. A copy of those Scriptures and Reasons against
Persecution had, it seems, been submitted in 1635 to Mr. Cotton of Boston
for his consideration; and Mr. Cotton had drawn up a Reply, defending
from Scripture, past universal practice, and the authority of Calvin,
Beza, and others of the Reformers, the right of the civil magistrate to
prosecute and punish religious error. This Reply of Cotton's in favour of
persecution is printed at length by Williams; and the first part of the
real body of his own book consists of a Dialogue between Truth and Peace
over the doctrine which so respectable a New England minister had thus
espoused. When this Dialogue is over; there ensues a second Dialogue of
Truth and Peace over another New England document in which the same
"bloody tenet" of persecution had been defended-to wit a certain "Model
of Church and Civil Power" drawn up by some New England ministers in
concert, and in which Mr. Cotton had had a hand, though Mr. Richard
Mather appears to have been the chief author. [Footnote: Some particulars
in this description of the treatise are from Mr. Underhill's Introduction
to the Hanserd Knolly's Society's Reprint of it, but the description in
the main is from the _Bloody Treatment_ itself.]

The texture of Williams's treatise, it will be thus seen, is loose and
composite. But a singular unity of purpose and spirit runs through it.
Here is the opening of the first Dialogue:--

_Truth_. In what dark corner of the world, sweet Peace, are we two
met? How hath this present evil world banished me from all the coasts and
corners of it! And how hath the righteous God in judgment taken thee from
the earth: Rev. vi. 4.

_Peace_. It is lamentably true, blessed Truth: the foundations of
the world have long been out of course; the gates of Earth and Hell have
conspired together to intercept our joyful meeting and our holy kisses.
With what a wearied, tired wing have I flown over nations, kingdoms,
cities, towns, to find out precious Truth!

_Truth_. The like inquiries in my flights and travels have I made
for Peace, and still am told she hath left the Earth and fled to Heaven.

_Peace_. Dear Truth, what is the Earth but a dungeon of darkness,
where Truth is not?

_Truth_. And what is the Peace thereof but a fleeting dream, thine
ape and counterfeit?

_Peace_. Oh! where is the promise of the God of Heaven, that
Righteousness and Peace shall kiss each other?

_Truth_. Patience, sweet Peace! These Heavens and Earth are growing
old, and shall be changed like a garment: Psalm cii. They shall melt
away, and be burnt up with all the works that are therein; and the Most
High Eternal Creator shall gloriously create new Heavens and new Earth,
wherein dwells righteousness: 2 Pet. iii. Our kisses then shall have
their endless date of pure and sweetest joys. Till then both thou and I
must hope, and wait, and bear the fury of the Dragon's wrath, whose
monstrous lies and furies shall with himself be cast into the lake of
fire, the second death: Rev. xx.

_Peace_. Most precious Truth, thou knowest we are both pursued and
laid for. Mine heart is full of sighs, mine eyes with tears. Where can I
better vent my full oppressed bosom than into thine, whose faithful lips
may for these few hours revive my drooping, wandering spirits, and here
begin to wipe tears from mine eyes, and the eyes of my dearest children.

_Truth_. Sweet daughter of the God of peace, begin.

And so Truth and Peace hold their long discourse, evolving very much that
doctrine of the absolute Liberty of Conscience, as derivable from, or
radically identical with, the idea of the utter distinctness of the
Church of Christ from the world or civil society, which had been
propounded first by the Brownists and Baptists, and had come down as a
tradition from them. But it is evolved by Williams more boldly and
passionately than by any before him. There is a fine union throughout of
warmth of personal Christian feeling with intellectual resoluteness in
accepting every possible consequence of his main principle. Here are a
few phrases from the marginal summaries which give the substance of the
Dialogue, page after page:--"The Church and civil State confusedly made
all one"; "The civil magistrates bound to preserve the bodies of their
subjects, and not to destroy them for conscience sake"; "The civil sword
may make a nation of hypocrites and anti-Christians, but not one
Christian"; "Evil is always evil, yet permission of it may in case be
good"; "Christ Jesus the deepest politician that ever was, and yet he
commands a toleration of anti-Christians"; "Seducing teachers, either
Pagan, Jewish, Turkish, or anti-Christian, may yet be obedient subjects
to the civil laws"; "Christ's lilies may flourish in his Church,
notwithstanding the abundance of weeds in the world permitted"; "The
absolute sufficiency of the sword of the Spirit"; "A National Church not
instituted by Christ Jesus"; "The civil commonweal and the spiritual
commonweal, the Church, not inconsistent, though independent the one on
the other"; "Forcing of men to godliness or God's worship the greatest
cause of breach of civil peace"; "Master of a family under the Gospel not
charged to force all under him from their consciences to his"; "Few
magistrates, few men, spiritually and Christianly good: yet divers sorts
of goodness, natural, artificial, civil, &c."; "Persons may with less sin
be forced to marry whom they cannot love than to worship where they
cannot believe"; "Christ Jesus never appointed a maintenance of ministers
from the unconverted and unbelieving: [but] they that compel men to hear
compel men also to pay for their hearing and conversion"; "The civil
power owes _three_ things to the true Church of Christ--(l)
Approbation, (2) Submission [i.e. interpreted in the text to be personal
submission of the civil magistrate to church-membership, if he himself
believes], (3) Protection"; "The civil magistrate owes _two_ things
to false worshippers--(1) Permission, (2) Protection."--Whoever has read
this string of phrases possesses the marrow of Williams's treatise. At
the end of it there is an interesting discussion of the question whether
only church-members, or "godly persons in a particular church-estate,"
ought to be eligible to be magistrates. To Williams, who was a pure
democrat in politics, and was founding the new State of Rhode Island on
the basis of the equal suffrages of all the colonists, this was an
important practical question. He decides it with great good sense, and
clearly in the negative. Without denying that the appointment of godly
persons to civil offices was a thing to be prayed for, and, wherever
possible, peaceably endeavoured, he points out that the principle that
only Christian persons should be entrusted with civil rule is practically
preposterous. Five-sixths of the world had never heard of Christ, and yet
there were lawful enough civil states in those parts of the world. Then,
in a Christian monarchy, what a convulsion, what a throwing away of the
benefits of hereditary succession, if it had to be inquired, whenever the
throne became vacant, whether the next heir was of the right sort
religiously. Finally, in any Christian colony or town, would it not be a
turning of everything upside down, and a premium upon hypocrisy, to make
church-membership a necessary qualification for magistracy, and so, when
a magistrate lapsed into what was thought religious error, and had to be
excommunicated by his church, to have to turn him out of his civil office

Williams, it is to be remembered, had held these views while he was yet
only a Congregationalist generally, and before he had become a Baptist.
Though he found them among the Baptists, therefore, he may be said to
have recovered them for Independency at large, and to have been the first
to impregnate modern "Independency" with them through and through. Nay,
as he had himself gone out of the camp of the mere Baptist
Congregationalists when he published his treatise,--as he had begun to
question whether there was any true Visible Church in the world at all,
any perfect pastorate in any nation, anything else under the sun of a
Christian kind than a chance-medley of various preaching and effort into
which God might sooner or later send new shafts of light and direction
from heaven--in the view of all this, Williams has to be regarded as the
father of a speculation that cannot be contained within the name of
Independency, even at its broadest. If we were forced to adopt a modern
designation for him, we should call him. the father of all that, since
his time, has figured, anywhere in Great Britain, or in the United
States, or in the British Colonies, under the name of _Voluntaryism_.
This involves a restriction on the one hand. Since his time, there has
been an abundance of speculation in the world as to the true duties and
limits of the power of a State even in civil matters; and the prevailing
effect of these speculations has been to hand over more and more of the
care of human well-being and human destinies, in everything whatsoever,
to the liberty of individuals, the pressure of their competing desires,
and their powers of voluntary association, and so to reduce the function
of the magistrate or any power of corporate rule to a thing becoming
small by degrees and beautifully less. Of late, this tendency, victorious
already in many matters, has tried to assert itself in the question of
Education. It has been maintained that there should be no attention on
the part of the State to the education of the citizens, but that, in the
matter of learning to read and write and of all farther learning or
mental training, the individuals horn into a community should be left to
their hereditary chances, the discretion or kindness of those about them,
and their own power of gradually finding out what they need, and buying
it or begging it. Now with this direction of modern speculation the
intentions of Roger Williams had nothing to do. He was a democrat in
politics, and, as such, he might have gone on to new definitions of what,
in secular matters, should be left to the individual, and what should be
still regulated by the majority; but what these definitions would have
been must be left to inference from the records of his farther political
life in Rhode Island. Respecting Schools and Universities he did, indeed,
hold that they were not to be regarded as the nurseries of a clergy, the
appendages of a Church, or the depositaries and supports of any religious
creed. "For any depending of the Church of Christ on such schools," he
wrote, "I find not a tittle in the Testament of Christ Jesus." He would
certainly, therefore, have been for no expenditure of public money on the
_religious_ education of the young, and he would have been for the
extraction of all theological teaching out of existing schools and
universities. But he "honoured schools," he says," for tongues and arts,"
and I have found no trace in him of a notion that State support of
schools and universities for such secular learning is illegitimate. His
_Voluntaryism_, so far as it was declared, or, I believe, intended, was
wholly Voluntaryism in the matter of Church and Religion. In that sphere,
however, his Voluntaryism was absolute, and went as far as anything
calling itself Voluntaryism that has since been heard of in the English-
speaking world.

Williams's _Bloody Tenent_, as I have said, was his parting gift to the
English nation before his return to America. It was out in June or July
1644; and in September of the same year Williams, after a stay of about
fifteen months in and near London, was on his way back to New England. He
had succeeded in the immediate object of his mission. For, during his
stay in England, the management of the Colonies, till then in the hands
of Commissioners under the Crown, was transferred (Nov. 2, 1643) to a
Parliamentary Commission of Lords and Commoners, at the head of which was
the Earl of Warwick as Lord High Admiral, and among the members of which
were Lord Saye and Sele, Pym, the younger Vane, Sir Arthur Haselrig, and
Oliver Cromwell. Before such Commissioners, with Vane as his personal
friend. Williams had had little difficulty in making out his case; and he
had obtained from them a Patent, dated March 14, 1643-4, associating "the
towns of Providence, Portsmouth, and Newport," into one body-politic by
the name of "the Incorporation of Providence Plantations in Narraganset
Bay in New England." This Patent gave a _carte blanche_ to the colonists
to settle their own form of government by voluntary consent, or vote,
among themselves; and, having it in his pocket, Williams might hope, on
his return to America, to set up, in the polity of Rhode Island and its
adjacencies, such an example of complete civil democracy combined with
absolute religious individualism as the world had never yet seen. The
_Bloody Tenent_ might be left in England as an exposition of his theory
in the sphere of Religion until this practical Transatlantic example of
it should be ready! He had shrewdly taken care, however, to have the
Patent in his pocket before issuing the _Bloody Tenent_. Had that book
been out first, he might have had some difficulty in obtaining the Patent
even from such Commissioners for the Colonies as he had to deal with.
Possibly, however, they granted it with full knowledge of Williams, and
were willing, through him, to try a bolder experiment in the American
wilds than it was possible to promote or to announce in England.
[Footnote: Palfrey's New England, I. 633-4, and II. 215; and Gammell's
Life of Williams, 119, 120.]

While we have been so long with Roger Williams, his colleague in the
Toleration heresy, John Goodwill, has been waiting. He was fifty-one
years of age, or six or seven years older than Williams. Rather late in
life, he had begun to find himself a much-abused man in London. For,
though he had sided with the Parliamentarians zealously from the first,
and had even, it appears, taken the Covenant, [Footnote: That Goodwin had
taken the Covenant appears from words of his own in a tract of 1646
quoted in Fletcher's Hist, of Independency, IV. 47.] his theology was
thought to be lax, [Footnote: The suspicion of Goodwin's Socinianism was
as early as November 1613, when he got into trouble with the Assembly on
that and other grounds (see Baillie's Letters, II. III, and Lightfoot's
Notes, Nov. 8 and 9, 1643).] and the interpretation he was putting on the
Covenant was not the common one. He thought that the oath to seek
"reformation of religion" and to "endeavour to bring the Church of God in
the three kingdoms to the nearest conjunction and uniformity," did not
necessarily imply acceptance of the Presbyterian system which the
Assembly were bent upon bringing in. Therefore, when the Five Dissenting
Brethren of the Assembly appealed to Parliament in their _Apologetical
Narration_, they found a champion outside in Goodwin. His championship
took the form of that answer to "A. S." (_i.e._ the Scotsman, Adam
Steuart, author of the first printed attack on the _Apologetic
Narration_) which we have mentioned as appearing with the brief title _M.
S. to A. S._, and again, in a second edition, with the fuller title _A
Reply of Two of the Brethren to A. S., &c.; with A Plea for Liberty of
Conscience, &c_. As the second title implies, Goodwill had associates in
the work; but it was principally his, and the part on Toleration wholly
his. So far as the tract concerns itself with the question between
Presbytery and Congregationalism, Goodwin avows himself a
Congregationalist. And yet he was not at one in all points with the five
Assembly-men. "I know I am looked upon," he afterwards wrote, "by reason
partly of my writings, partly of my practice, as a man very deeply
engaged for the Independents' cause against Presbytery. But the truth is,
I am neither so whole for the former, nor yet against the latter, as I
am, I believe, generally voted in the thoughts of men to be." [Footnote:
Quoted, from the Preface to Goodwin's _Anapologesiastes Anapologias_, by
Fletcher, IV. 46.] This was written in 1616; but even in 1644 he fought
so much for his own hand that the Independents of the Assembly may have
but half liked his partnership. His Toleration doctrine, at all events,
though uttered in their behalf, was too strong doctrine even for them.
Hear what Baillie writes to his friend Spang, at Campvere, in Holland,
just after the appearance of Goodwin's tract for the Independents: "_M.S.
against A.S._, is John Goodwin of Coleman Street: he names you expressly,
and professes to censure the letter of Zeeland. He is a bitter enemy to
Presbytery, and is openly for a full liberty of conscience of all sects,
even Turks, Jews, Papists, and all to be more openly tolerate than with
you [_i.e._ than even in Holland]." [Footnote: Baillie, II. 180, 181.
Goodwin's mention of Spang, referred to by Baillie, is as follows:--
"There is a Scottish Church, of which one Spang is a very busy agent, at
Trevere [Campvere]... whence the Letter [_i.e._ the Zeeland Letter in
favour of Presbytery] came."] Baillie's representation of Goodwin's
Toleration doctrine is fair enough. It is not so deep, so exceptionless,
and so transcendentally reasoned as Roger Williams's; and indeed there
was none of the sap and mystic richness of nature in Goodwin that we find
in Williams, but chiefly clear courage, and strong cool sense. For most
practical purposes, however, Goodwin's Toleration was thorough. He was
for tolerating not merely the orthodox Congregationalists and such more
heterodox sects as might be thought respectable, but all religions,
sects, and schisms whatsoever, if only the professors of them were
otherwise peaceable in the State. Not, of course, that they were not to
be reasoned with and proved false publicly; or that heretics in
congregations were not to be admonished, and, if obdurate,
excommunicated; or that a whole church tainted with a great heresy ought
not to be put under a ban by all other churches, and communion with it
renounced. All this was assumed in the theory of Church-Independency
which was common to Goodwin and Williams. True, Williams, now that he had
passed beyond the Baptists and saw no true Church anywhere on earth, must
have begun to doubt also the efficacy and validity of even spiritual
censures, as exercised by the so-called churches, to regard as a mere
agency of troublesome moonshine that incessant watchfulness of each
other's errors on which Independency relied, and so to luxuriate in a
mood of large charity, sighing over all, and hoping more from prayer and
longing and pious well-doing all round than from censures and
disputations. To Goodwin, on the other hand, troubled with no such
visionary ideas, and fully convinced that a very good model of a Church
had been set up in Coleman Street, the right and efficacy of disputation
against error, and of ministerial vigilance against error in particular
churches, seemed more important, or at least more worth insisting on in a
public plea for Toleration. Williams and Goodwill did not differ
theoretically, but only practically, over this item in the exposition of
their doctrine. The sole difference, of theoretical import, was that
Goodwin, in dwelling on the duty of disputation by Christian ministers
against false religions and dangerous opinions in society round about
them, and of vigilance against minor heresies in their own congregations,
talked vaguely of a right on the part of the civil magistrate to admonish
ministers in this respect should they be negligent or forgetful of their
duty. This, as we know, would have grated on Williams. Perhaps, however,
Goodwin, even here, was only throwing a sop to Cerberus. At all events,
he comes out finally a thorough Tolerationist. Whatever minister or
magistrate may do towards confuting and diminishing error, there is a
point at which they must both stop. There is not to be a suppression of
false religions, sects and schisms, by fining, imprisoning,
disfranchising, banishment, death, or any civil punishment whatsoever;
and, when it comes to that, they are all to be tolerated. [Footnote:
Jackson's Life of Goodwin. pp. 110, 117; Hanbury's Memorials, II. 341-

We are now prepared to classify the various forms in which the Toleration
Doctrine was urged on the English mind in the year 1644. There were three
grades of the doctrine:--

I. _Absolute Liberty of Conscience, and No National Church, or State-
interference with Religion, of any kind whatsoever._ This was, in
fact, more than Toleration, and Toleration is hardly the fit name for it.
The advocates of this idea were Roger Williams, perhaps the Baptists
generally, also Burton in a certain way; but, above all, Roger Williams.
He did not think there could be Liberty of Conscience, in the perfect and
absolute sense, where there was a National Church, even if free dissent
were allowed from that Church. For, by the establishment of a Church, he
held, a substantial worldly premium was put on certain religious beliefs,
and an advantage conferred on a portion of the community at the expense
of all; and to be compelled to pay for, or even to acknowledge
politically, a Church which one did not approve, was in itself
inconsistent with true Liberty of Conscience, whatever freedom of
nonconformity might be left to individuals. Accordingly, if Roger
Williams, at that crisis, had been a statesman of England, instead of a
mere commissioner from an infant colony in America, his advice would have
been in this strain:--"It is agreed that the Episcopal or Prelatic
Church, called hitherto the Reformed Church of England, is no longer to
exist. That is settled; and the question is, What Church Reformation
shall there now be? My answer is sweeping and simple. Let there be no
National Church, no Church of England, at all, of any kind or form
whatsoever. Let England henceforth be a civil State only, in which
Christianity shall take care of itself, and all forms of Christianity and
all other religions shall have equal rights to protection by the police.
Confiscate for the use of the State all the existing revenues of the
defunct Church and its belongings, giving such compensation for life-
interests therein as may seem reasonable; but create no new Church, nor
stump of a Church, round which new interests may gather. Do not even
implicate the State so far in the future of Religion as to indicate to
the subjects any form of Church as esteemed the best, or any range of
option among Churches as presumably the safest. Leave the formation and
the sustentation of Christ's Church in the English realm, and everywhere
else, entirely to the unseen power of the Spirit, and the free action of
those whom the Spirit may make its instruments."--For nothing like this
was the Long Parliament, or any other legislature in the world, then
prepared; and Williams knew it. But he had faith in the future of his
speculation. In America, whither he was to carry it back, he hoped to be
able to exhibit it in practice on a small scale in the new colony he was
founding; and there could be no harm, he thought, in leaving the leaven
to ferment in the denser society of England.

II. _Unlimited Toleration round an Established National Church._ So
we may express a form of Tolerationism in which there was a concurrence
of persons, and perhaps of bodies of persons, who yet differed from each
other in the motives for their concurrence. Williams, of course, accepted
this form of Tolerationism, as next best to his own absolute
Voluntaryism, Individualism, and universal Liberty of Conscience. "If
there is to be in England a National or State Church of some kind (which
I think wrong, and so wrong that I will take no part in the debate what
kind of National Church would be best, whether a Prelatic, Presbyterian,
or any other), at least, when you have set up such a Church, let there be
a perfect toleration for all subjects of the realm round about that
Church, no compulsion on any of them to belong to that Church, no pains
and penalties for any profession of belief or disbelief, or any form of
worship or no-worship, out of that Church." These are not Williams's own
words, but they exactly express his meaning; and, in fact, he intended
his _Bloody Tenent_ to be a plea for toleration in this practical
sense, if it should fail in winning people to his higher and more
peculiar idea of real Liberty of Conscience. And a most eloquent plea it
was. He insists again and again on the necessity that there should be no
limits to the toleration of Religious Difference in a state. He argues
expressly that not only orthodox or slightly heterodox dissenters should
have the benefit of such toleration, but all kinds of dissentients
without exception, Papists, Jews, Mohammedans, Pagans, or Infidels. He
knew what a hard battle lie was fighting. "I confess I have little hope,"
he said, "till those flames are over, that this discourse against the
doctrine of persecution for cause of conscience should pass current, I
say not amongst the wolves and lions, but even amongst the sheep of
Christ themselves. Yet, _liberavi animam meam_: I have not hid
within my breast my soul's belief." He trusted, doubtless, that his
treatise might have some effect, if not for its highest purpose, at least
as a practical plea for unlimited toleration round the new National
Church of England that was to be. And here most of the Baptists were in
the same predicament with Williams. They would have preferred no National
Church at all; but, as there was to be a National Church, they wanted the
amplest toleration round it. Burton also was pretty nearly in the same
category. He too doubted the lawfulness of a State Church of any kind,
but was earnest that, if such must be established, it should not be
coercive. He did not formally demand unlimited toleration, and indeed
conceded something in words to the effect that in cases of "known heresy,
or blasphemy, or idolatry," offenders would have to be "obnoxious to the
Civil Power;" but I rather think that the concession was prudential, and
that his heart did not go with it. I will retain him therefore among the
Unlimited Tolerationists. Far outshining him in this class, however, was
John Goodwin.--Well, but were the advocates of unlimited toleration in
connexion with an Established Church exclusively persons who would have
prevented the formation of such a Church if they could, or doubted its
righteousness and propriety, and who only insisted on Toleration
_with_ such a Church as a practical necessity to which they were
driven? Were there no theorists in that time who positively desired an
Established Church on its own account, and for the general good of the
community, but who had worked out the conclusion that such a Church might
consist, and ought to consist, with universal Religious Toleration, or
the freest liberty of Nonconformity and Dissent? In view of the fact that
this is the theory of Establishments evolved by some of the best
ecclesiastical spirits in our own later times, the question is
interesting. My researches do not enable me to give a very precise answer
to it applicable to the exact year 1644. If there were such theorists,
however, they were, I should say, among those wiser and younger sons of
the Episcopal Church of England who would fain have preserved that
Episcopal Church, but had privately made up their minds that Laud's basis
for that Church was untenable, and that a very different basis must be
substituted. One thinks of Chillingworth, Hales, and the rest of that
"Latitudinarian" brotherhood; one thinks of Jeremy Taylor; one thinks of
the candid Fuller; one thinks even of the Calvinistic Usher.
Chillingworth had died at Chichester, Jan. 30, 1643-4, at the age of
forty-one, an avowed Royalist, and indeed a Royalist prisoner-at-war,
tended on his death-bed by Presbyterians. [Footnote: Wood's Ath. III. 93,
94; and Life of Chillingworth prefixed to the Oxford edition of his
Works.] Whatever hardy cogitations had been in his mind, pointing to a
revived Episcopal Church of England with an ample toleration within it
and round about it, had gone prematurely to the grave. The others were
still alive, also pronounced Royalists, and acting or suffering more or
less on that side; and whatever thoughts they had in the direction under
notice were irrelevant to their immediate duty and opportunities, and had
to wait for utterance at a more convenient season. [Footnote: Yet there
_had_ been one recent utterance of Hales relating to the idea of
Toleration. It was in the form of _A Tract concerning Schism and
Schismatics_, which he had prepared in 1636, partly for the use of his
friend Chillingworth then engaged on his "Religion of Protestants," but
which, in deference to Laud's private objections and remonstrances, he
had kept unpublished. In 1642, when Laud was in prison and the state of
things wholly changed, the Tract was brought out at the Oxford University
Press. It is vague in its conception and expression; but that it is
decidedly in favour of toleration and free inquiry will appear from the
opening sentences: "Heresy and Schism, as they are in common use, are two
theological [Greek: Mosmos], or scarecrows, which they who uphold a party
in religion use to fright away such as, making inquiry into it, are ready
to relinquish and oppose it if it appear either erroneous or suspicious.
For, as Plutarch reports of a painter who, having unskilfully painted a
cock, chased away all cocks and hens, that so the imperfection of his art
might not appear by comparison with nature, so men, willing for ends to
admit of no fancy but their own, endeavour to hinder an inquiry into it,
by way of comparison of somewhat with it, peradventure truer, that so the
deformity of their own might not appear." Wood's Ath. III. 413, 414, and
Tract itself with letter to Laud, Vol. I. pp. 114-144 of "The Works of
the ever memorable Mr. John Hales," Glasgow, 1765.] On the whole,
however, I judge that any such thoughts in their minds (even in Jeremy
Taylor's as yet) fell considerably short of the Unlimited Toleration
advocated by Williams and John Goodwin, and, if they could have been
ascertained and measured, would have referred their owners rather to the
next category than to the present.

III. _A Limited Toleration round an Established National Church._
This would probably have sufficed the thoughtful Anglicans of whom we
have just been speaking. Their ideal probably was a revived Episcopal
Church of England, liberally constituted within itself, and with a
toleration of all respectable forms of Dissent round about itself, but
still with a right reserved for the Civil Power of preventing and
punishing gross errors and schisms. We are more concerned, however, with
another set of Limited Tolerationists, then much more conspicuous in
England. They were those who had given up all thoughts of the retention
of a Prelatic Establishment, and who indeed regarded the deliverance of
England from such an Establishment as the noblest accomplished fact of
the time. What they were anxious about was the nature of the new National
Church, if any, that was to be substituted, and especially the degree of
conformity to that Church that was to be required. The chief
representatives of this state of feeling in its more moderate form were
the Five Independent Divines of the Assembly, Messrs. Thomas Goodwin,
Bridge, Nye, Simpson, and Burroughs. They were not, I think, distinctly
adverse to a National Church on theoretical grounds, as Williams and
Burton were; and probably what they would have liked best would have been
a National Church on the Congregationalist principle, like that of New
England. For, though Congregationalism and a National Establishment of
Religion may seem radically a contradiction in terms, yet in fact the
case had not been quite so in America. There may be a State Church
without public endowments, or rather there may be endowments and
privileges that are not pecuniary. The New England Church, though
consisting of a few scores of congregations, mutually independent, self-
supporting, and scattered stragglingly over an extensive territory, was
really a kind of State Church collectively, inasmuch as the State
required, by rule or by custom, membership of some congregation as a
qualification for suffrage and office, and also kept some watch and
control over the congregations, so as to be sure that none were formed of
a very heretical kind, and that none already formed lapsed into decided
heresy. How had Mr. Cotton of Boston, the great light of the New England
Church, expounded its principle in respect of the power of the civil
magistrate in matters of Religion? "We readily grant you," he had
written, "liberty of conscience is to be granted to men that fear God
indeed, as knowing they will not persist in heresy or turbulent schism
when they are convinced in conscience of the sinfulness thereof. But the
question is whether an heretic, after once or twice admonition, and so
after conviction, or any other scandalous and heinous offender, may be
tolerated, either in the Church without excommunication, or in the
Commonwealth without such punishment as may preserve others from
dangerous and damnable infection." [Footnote: From Cotton's Answer to the
old Tract of "Scriptures and Reasons against Persecution" (see
_antè_, p. 114). The Answer is printed by Williams in his _Bloody
Tenent_: See Hanserd Knollys Society edition (1848), p. 30.]

Clearly, with such a principle, and with all the particulars of practice
which it implied, the Congregationalist Church of New England was, after
all, a State Church, and a pretty strict State Church too. Now, it was
probably such a National Congregationalist Church, but with an allowance
of toleration somewhat larger than Cotton's, that the Five Independents
of the Assembly would have liked to see set up in England. That, however,
being plainly out of the question, and the whole current of dominant
opinion in Parliament and the Assembly being towards a Presbyterian
settlement, what remained for the Five? In the first place, to delay the
Presbyterian settlement as long as they could, and to criticise its
programme at every stage so as to liberalize its provisions as much as
possible; in the second place, to put in a plea for Toleration for
Dissent under the settlement when it should be enacted. They had
performed, and were performing, both duties. They were fighting the
propositions of strict Presbytery inch by inch in the Assembly, if not
with success, at least so as to impede progress; and in their
_Apologetical Narration_ (Jan. 1643-4) they had lodged with
Parliament and the country a demand for Toleration under the coming
Presbytery. What they had thus expressed in print they had continued to
express in speech and in every other possible way. They were, in a
certain sense, the most marked Tolerationists of the time; Toleration was
identified with them. And yet it was but a limited Toleration, a very
limited Toleration, that they demanded. Indulgence for themselves in
Congregationalist practices after Presbytery should be established, and
indulgence for other respectable sects and persons in "lesser
differences:" that was all. Nothing like Williams's or John Goodwill's
toleration: no liberty, or at least none avowedly, for such glaring
heresies as Antinomianism, Socinianism, and Arianism, not to mention open
Infidelity. Here, I believe, they represented the mass of the ordinary
Independents. Whatever more a few strong spirits among the Independents,
and especially among the lay Independents, desired, the mass of them were
content for the present to be Limited Tolerationists.

Such were the three forms of the Toleration Doctrine in England in 1644.
They were of unequal strengths and confusedly mixed, but constituted
together a powerful and growing force of opinion. And what was the
WHOLE NATION TO THE ONE ESTABLISHED CHURCH: this was the category of the

In this category, now that Prelacy was done with, and it was certain that
the new National Church was to be on the Presbyterian model, the
Presbyterians had succeeded the Laudians. As a body, the Presbyterians of
1644 and subsequent years were absolute Anti-Tolerationists. The proofs
are so abundant, collectively they make such an ocean, that it passes
comprehension how the contrary could ever have been asserted. From the
first appearance of the Presbyterians in force after the opening of the
Long Parliament, it was their anxiety to beat down the rising idea of
Toleration; and, after the meeting of the Westminster Assembly, and the
publication of the _Apologetical Narration_ of the Independents, the
one aim of the Presbyterians was to tie Toleration round the neck of
Independency, stuff the two struggling monsters into one sack, and sink
them to the bottom of the sea. In all the Presbyterian literature of the
time,--Baillie's Letters, Rutherford's and Gillespie's Tracts, the
pamphlets of English Presbyterian Divines in the Assembly, the pamphlets
of Prynne, Bastwick, and other miscellaneous Presbyterian
controversialists out of the Assembly,--this antipathy to Toleration,
limited or unlimited, this desire to pinion Independency and Toleration
together in one common death, appears overwhelmingly. Out of scores of
such Presbyterian manifestoes, let us select one, interesting to us for
certain reasons apart.

Of all the Divines in London, not members of the Assembly, none had come
to be better known for his Presbyterian acrimony than the veteran Mr.
Thomas Edwards, of whose maiden pamphlet of 1641, called _Reasons
against the Independent Government_, with Mrs. Chidley's Reply to the
same, we have had occasion to take notice (_antè_, p. 110). The spirited
verbosity, as we called it, of that pamphlet of Edwards had procured him
a reputation among the Presbyterians, which he felt himself bound to
justify by farther efforts. The appearance of the _Apologetical
Narration_ of the Five Independents in Jan. 1643-4 gave him a famous
opportunity. Various answers were at once or quickly published to that
Independent manifesto--not only that by _A. S._ or Adam Steuart (_antè_,
p. 25), but various others. When it became known, however, that Mr.
Edwards also was preparing an Answer, it was expected to beat them all.
There was a flutter of anticipation of it among the Presbyterians; but it
was rather slow in coming. "There is a piece of 26 sheets, of Mr.
Edwards, against the Apologetick Narration, near printed, which will
paint that faction [the Independents] in clearer colours than yet they
have appeared," writes Baillie, June 7, 1644; in a later letter, July 5,
he says it is expected "within two or three days," but "excresced to near
40 sheets;" and it is not till Aug. 7 that he speaks of it as fairly out:
"Mr. Edwards has written a splendid confutation of all the Independents'
Apology." [Footnote: Baillie, II. 190, 201-2, and 215.] In fact, it
appeared in the end of July, just at the time when the Assembly adjourned
for their fortnight's vacation, and almost contemporaneously with John
Goodwin's _M. S. to A. S._ and Williams's _Bloody Tenent_. Baillie's
measure of "sheets" must have been different from ours, or he had been
under some mistake; for the treatise, though long enough, consisted but
of 367 small quarto pages, with this title: "_Antapologia: or, A Full
Answer to the Apologetical Narration of Mr. Goodwin, Mr. Nye, Mr.
Simpson, Mr. Burroughs, Mr. Bridge, members of the Assembly of Divines.
Wherein many of the controversies of these times are handled: viz. [&c.].
Humbly also submitted to the Honourable Houses of Parliament. By Thomas
Edwards, Minister of the Gospel_." [Footnote: Hanbury's Memorials, II.
366. Mr. Hanbury gives a summary of the _Antapologia_ with extracts (366-
385); but I have before me the book itself in a reprint, of 1646, "by
T.R. and E.M. for Ralph Smith, at the signe of the Bible in Cornhill neer
the Royall Exchange." It consists of 259 pages of text, besides
introductory epistle, and table of contents at the end.]

It was a most remarkable treatise, and ran through London at once. For
the style, though slovenly, was fluent and popular, and Edwards, having
plenty of time on his hands, and having a taste for personalities, had
made minute inquiries into the antecedents of the Five Independents in
Holland and in England, and had interwoven the results of these inquiries
with his arguments against Independency itself. The Five, he tells us in
a preliminary epistle, were among his personal acquaintances. "I can
truly speak it," he says, "that this present _Antapologia_ is so far
from being written out of any malice or ill-will to the Apologists that I
love their persons and value them as brethren, yea some of them above
brethren; and, besides that love I bear to them as saints, I have a
personal love, and a particular love of friendship for some of them; and
I can truly speak it, that I writ not this book, nor any part of it, out
of any personal quarrel, old grudge, or former difference (for to this
day there never was any such difference or unkindness passed between us);
but I have writ it with much sorrow, unwillingness, and some kind of
conflict." This explanation was certainly necessary; for Mr. Edwards does
not spare his friends. He tells all he has found out about them; he
quotes their conversations with himself; he gives them the lie direct,
and appeals to their consciences whether he is not right in doing so.
_They_ martyrs! _they_ poor exiles in Holland, and now whining to
Parliament that they would have to go into exile again if Presbyterianism
were established without a Toleration! Why, they had been in clover in
Holland; they had been living there "in safety, plenty, pomp, and ease,"
leaving the genuine Puritans at home to fight it out with Prelacy; and,
after the battle was won, they had slunk back to claim the rewards they
had not earned, to become pets and "grandees" in English society, to
secure good appointments and assume leading parts, and to be elected
members of the venerable Westminster Assembly! They had not even had the
courage to go to New England, though some of them had talked of doing so!
And then their prate of this emigration to New England, which they had
themselves declined, as the greatest undertaking for the sake of pure
Religion, next to Abraham's migration out of his own country, that the
world had ever seen! Why, the emigration to New England was no such great
affair after all! There had been mixed motives in it; all New England
would not make a twentieth part of London; it had but two or three
Divines in it worth naming in the same breath with the worthies of Old
England, and was on the whole but a kind of outlandish mess; the
"Reformation in Church-government and worship" then going on in Old
England would be a wonder "to all generations to come far beyond that of
New England!" But in Holland, where the cowardly Apologists had preferred
to stay, what had they been doing? Quarrelling among themselves, going
into all kinds of conceits, anointing people with oil, and the like;
respecting all which Edwards had obtained from Rotterdam and Arnheim a
budget of information! Then that lie of the Apologists, that they had,
since their return to England, been careful not to press their peculiar
Congregationalist opinions, or endeavour to make a party, but had waited
in patience to see what course affairs would take! Not press their
peculiar opinions--not endeavour to make a party! Why, Mr. Edwards could
aver (and cite dates, places, and witnesses to prove it) that they had
been doing nothing else, since they came to England, than press their
peculiar opinions and endeavour to make a party! "Suffer me to deal
plainly with you: I am persuaded that, setting aside the Jesuits' acting
for themselves and way, you Five have acted for yourselves and way, both
by yourselves and by your instruments, both upon the stage and behind the
curtain, considering circumstances and laying all things together, more
than any five men have done in so short a time this sixty years. And, if
it be not so, whence have come all these swarms and troops of
Independents in Ministry, Armies, City, Country, Gentry, and amongst the
Common People of all sorts, men, women, servants, children?"

So, on and on, Edwards goes, decidedly more readable than most
pamphleteers of the time, because he writes with some spirit, and mixes a
continual pepper of personalities with his arguments against the tenets
of the Independents. With these arguments we shall not meddle. Their
purpose was to hold up "a true glass to behold the faces of Presbytery
and Independency in, with the beauty, order, strength, of the one, and
the deformity, disorder, and weakness of the other." In other words, the
pamphlet is a digest of everything that could be said against
Independency and in favour of Presbyterianism. But the grand tenet of
Presbyterianism in which Mr. Edwards revels with most delight, and which
he exhibits as the distinguishing honour of that system, and its fitness
beyond any other for grappling with the impiety of men in general and the
disorderliness of that age in particular, is its uncompromising Anti-
Toleration. Throughout the whole pamphlet there runs a vein of
declamation to this effect; and at the close some twenty pages are
expressly devoted to the subject, in connexion with that claim for a
Limited Toleration which the Apologists had advanced. Eight Reasons are
stated and expounded why there should not be even this Limited
Toleration, why even Congregationalist opinions and practice should not
be tolerated in England. It would be against the rule of Scripture as to
the duty of the civil magistrate; it would be against the Solemn League
and Covenant; it would be against the very nature of a national
Reformation, for "a Reformation, and a Toleration are diametrically
opposite;" it would be "against the judgment of the greatest lights in
the Church, both ancient and modern;" it would be an invitation and
temptation to error and "an occasion of many falling who otherwise never
would;" &c. &c. Wherever Presbytery and strict Anti-Toleration had
prevailed since the Reformation had there not been a marvellous
orderliness and freedom from error and heresy? All over the map of Europe
would it not be found that error and heresy had been rank precisely in
proportion to the deviation of a country from Presbytery or to the
relaxation of its grasp where it was nominally professed? What, in
particular, had made Scotland the country it was, pure in faith, united
in action, and with a Church "terrible as an army with banners"? What but
Presbytery and Anti-Toleration? O then let Presbytery and Anti-Toleration
reign in England as well! And, while they were proceeding to the great
work of establishing Presbytery, let them beware of such an inconsistency
as granting the least promise beforehand of a Toleration! On this point
Mr. Edwards addresses the Parliament in his own name, telling them that
Toleration is the device of the Devil. "I humbly beseech the Parliament,"
he says, "seriously to consider the depths of Satan in this design of a
Toleration; how this is now his last plot and design, and by it would
undermine and frustrate the whole work of Reformation intended. 'Tis his
masterpiece for England; and, for effecting it, he comes and moves, not
in Prelates and Bishops, not in furious Anabaptists, &c., but in holy
men, excellent preachers; moderate and fair men, not for a toleration of
heresies and gross opinions, but an 'allowance of a latitude to some
lesser differences with peaceableness.' This is _Candidus ille Diabolus_
[that White Devil], as Luther speaks, and _meridianus Diabolus_ [mid-day
Devil], as Johannes Gersonius and Beza express it, coming under the
merits of much suffering and well-deserving, clad in the white garments
of innocency and holiness. In a word, could the Devil effect a
Toleration, he would think he had gained well by the Reformation and made
a good exchange of the Hierarchy to have a Toleration for it. I am
confident of it, upon serious thoughts, and long searching into this
point of the evils and mischief of a Toleration, that, if the Devil had
his choice whether the Hierarchy, Ceremonies, and Liturgy should be
established in this kingdom, or a Toleration granted, he would choose and
prefer a Toleration before them."

Did Mr. Thomas Edwards in all this represent the whole body of the
Presbyterians of his time? I am afraid he did. In _his_ very sense,
with the same vehemency, and to the same extent, they were all Anti-

Was there no exception? Had no one Presbyterian of that day worked out,
in the interest of Presbytery, a conclusion corresponding to that which
we have seen reason to think some of the wiser Anglicans then within the
Royalist lines were quietly working out in the interest of Episcopacy, in
case Episcopacy should ever again have a chance? Was no one Presbyterian
prepared to come forth with the proposal of a Toleration in England,
either limited or unlimited, round an Established National Church on the
Presbyterian model? That there may not have been some such person among
those Erastian laymen who favoured Presbytery on the whole for general
and political reasons, one would not assert positively. None such,
however, is distinctly in historical view; and it is certain that among
the real or dominant Presbyterians, the _jure divino_ Presbyterians,
English or Scottish, there was no one upon whom the idea in question had
clearly dawned or who dared to divulge it. Perhaps it was the belief in
the absolute _jus divinum_ of Presbytery that made the idea impossible to
them. Yet why should it have been impossible in consistency even with
that belief? It may be _jure divino_ that the square on the hypothenuse
of a right-angled triangle is equal to the sum of the squares on the
sides, that he is a blockhead who believes otherwise, and that a
permanent apparatus should be set up in every land for teaching this
mathematical faith; and yet it may be equally _jure divino_ that no one
shall be compelled to avail himself of that apparatus, or be punished for
doubting or denying the proposition. But the Presbyterians of 1644 did
not so refine or argue. They stood stoutly to the necessary identity of
Presbyterianism and absolute Anti-Toleration. And so Presbyterianism
missed the most magnificent opportunity she has had in her history. Had
her offer to England been "Presbytery with a Toleration," who knows what
a different shaping subsequent events might have assumed? What if
Henderson, in whose natural disposition one sees more of room and
aptitude for the idea than in that of any other Presbyterian leader, had
actually become possessed with the idea and had proclaimed it? Would he
have carried the mass of the Presbyterians with him? or would they have
deposed him from the leadership? It is useless to inquire. The idea never
occurred even to Henderson; and that it did not occur to him constituted
his unfitness for leadership, out of Scotland, in the complex crisis
which had at last arrived, and was the one weakness of his career near
its close.


It was all very well, the Presbyterians argued, to propound the principle
of Toleration in the abstract. Would its advocates be so good as to think
of its operation in the concrete? The society of England was no longer
composed merely of the traditional PAPISTS, PRELATISTS, PRESBYTERIANS,
though sheltering themselves under the unfortunate principle of Church-
Independency, there was now a vast chaos of SECTS and SECTARIES, some of
them maintaining the most dangerous and damnable heresies and
blasphemies! Would the Tolerationists, and especially the Limited
Tolerationists, take a survey of this chaos, and consider how their
principle of Toleration would work when applied to _its_ ghastly
bulk and variety?

This matter, of the extraordinary multiplication of Sects and Heresies in
England, had been in constant public discussion since the opening of the
Long Parliament. It had figured constantly in messages and declarations
of the King; who had first charged the fact of the sudden appearance and
boldness of the Sects and Sectaries to the abrogation of his Kingly
prerogative and Episcopal government by the Parliament, and had then
attributed the origin of the Civil War to the lawless machinations of
these same Sects and Sectaries. It had figured no less, though with very
different interpretations and comments, in the proceedings and appeals of
the Parliament. Now, however, the SECTS and SECTARIES had become the
objects of a more purely scientific curiosity. Without a survey and study
of _them_ as well as of the PAPISTS, the PRELATISTS, the PRESBYTERIANS,
and the ORTHODOX INDEPENDENTS, there could, it was argued, be no complete
Natural History of Religious Opinion in England in the year 1644. The
Presbyterians, for reasons of their own, were earnest for such a survey
and study; and they recommended it ironically to the Orthodox
Independents in their character of Tolerationists. Not the less did the
Presbyterians, with some Prelatists among them, undertake it themselves.-
-Coming after these authorities, and availing myself of their inquiries,
but with other authorities to aid me, and as much of fresh investigation,
and of criticism of my authorities, as I can add, I shall attempt what,
even for our own forgetful and self-engrossed time, ought to be a not
uninteresting portion of the history of bygone English opinion.

This is a case in which the authorities should be mentioned formally at
the outset. They are numerous. They include the Lords and Commons
Journals, Lightfoot's Notes of the Assembly, Baillie's Letters, Pamphlets
of the time _passim_, and even the Registers of the Stationers'
Company. Certain particular publications, however (all of the year 1645
or the years immediately following), are of pre-eminent interest, as
being attempts at a more or less complete survey of the huge medley or
tumult of opinions on religious subjects that had by that time arisen in
English society, with some classification of its elements.

The reader will remember Dr. DANIEL FEATLEY, Rector of Lambeth and Acton,
the veteran Calvinist who had persisted in attending the Assembly in
spite of his disapproval of the Covenant and his adhesion to the theory
of a modified Episcopacy, but who had at length (Sept. 30, 1643) been
ejected for misdemeanour. His misdemeanour had consisted in maintaining a
correspondence with Usher, reflecting on the Assembly and the Parliament,
and divulging secrets in the King's interest. For this he had not only
been ejected from the Assembly by the Commons, and sequestered from his
two livings, but also committed to custody in "the Lord Petre's house in
Aldersgate Street," then used by Parliament as a prison for such
culprits. To beguile his leisure here, he had occupied himself in
revising his notes of a dispute he had held, in Oct. 1642, with a
Conventicle of Anabaptists in Southwark, where he had knocked over a
certain "Scotchman" and one or two other speakers for the Conventicle.
But this revision of his notes of that debate had suggested various
extensions and additions; so that, in fact, he had written in prison a
complete exposure of Anabaptism. It was ready in January 1644-5, and was
published with this title: "_The Dippers Dipt; or, The Anabaptists Duck'd
and Plung'd over Head and Ears_," &c. It is a virulent tractate of about
186 pages, reciting the extravagances and enormities attributed to the
German Anabaptists, and trying to involve the English Baptists in the
odium of such an original, but containing also notices of the English
Baptists themselves, and their varieties and ramifications. It became at
once popular, and passed through several editions. [Footnote: Commons
Journals, Sept. 30 and Oct 3, 1613; Wood's Athenæ, III. 156 _et seq._;
and Featley's Epistle Dedicatory to his treatise. The copy of the
treatise before me at present is one of the sixth edition, published in
1651, six years after the authors death. It contains a portrait of
Featley by W. Marshall, and, among other illustrations, a coarse _ad
captandum_ print by the same engraver, exhibiting the "dipping" of men
and women naked together in a river.]

A well-known personage in London, of humbler pretensions than Featley,
was a certain EPHRAIM PAGET (or PAGIT), commonly called "Old Father
Ephraim," who had been parson of the church of St. Edmund in Lombard
Street since 1601, and might therefore have seen, and been seen by,
Shakespeare. Besides other trifles, he had published, in 1635, a book
called "_Christianographia_" or a descriptive enumeration of the
various sorts of Christians in the world out of the pale of the Roman
Catholic Church. Perhaps because he had thus acquired a fondness for the
statistics of religious denominations, it occurred to him to write, by
way of sequel, a "_Heresiography; or, A Description of the Hereticks
and Sectaries of these latter times_." It was published in 1645, soon
after Featley's book, from which it borrows hints and phrases. There is
an Epistle Dedicatory to the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of the City of
London, very senile in its syntax and punctuation, and containing this
touching appeal: "I have lived among you almost a jubilee, and seen your
great care and provision to keep the city free from infection, in the
shutting up the sick and in carrying them to your pest-houses, in setting
warders to keep the whole from the sick, in making of fires and perfuming
the streets, in resorting to your churches, in pouring out your prayers
to Almighty God, with fasting and alms, to be propitious to you. The
plague of Heresy is greater, and you are now in more danger than when you
buried five thousand a week." Then, after an Epistle to the Reader,
signed "Old Ephraim Pagit," there follows the body of the treatise in
about 160 pages. The Anabaptists are taken first, and occupy 55 pages;
but a great many other sects are subsequently described, some in a few
pages, some in a single paragraph. There is an engraved title-page to the
volume, containing small caricatures of six of the chief sorts of
Sectaries--Anabaptism being represented by one plump naked fellow dipping
another, much plumper, who is reluctantly stooping down on all fours. The
book, like Featley's, seems to have sold rapidly. In the third edition of
it, however, published in 1646, there is a postscript in which the poor
old man tells us that it had cost him much trouble. The sectaries among
his own parishioners had quarrelled with him on account of it, and
refused to pay him his tithes; nay, as he walked in the streets, he was
hooted at and reviled, and somebody had actually affirmed "Doctor
Featley's devil to be transmigrated into Old Ephraim Paget." This seems
to have cut him to the quick, though he avows his sense of inferiority in
learning to the great Doctor. In short, we can see Father Ephraim as a
good old silly body, of whom people made fun. [Footnote: Wood's Athenæ,
III. 210 _et seq._; and Paget's own treatise.]

Another writer against the Sectaries was the inexhaustible WILLIAM

That grand scripturient paper-spiller,
That endless, needless, margin-filler,
So strangely tossed from post to pillar.

There was, indeed, something preternatural in the persistent vitality and
industry of this man. Only forty years of age when the Long Parliament
released him from his second imprisonment and restored him to society, a
ghoul-like creature with a scarred and mutilated face, hiding the loss of
his twice-cropped ears under a woollen cowl or nightcap, and mostly
sitting alone among his books and papers in his chamber in Lincoln's Inn,
taking no regular meals, but occasionally munching bread and refreshing
himself with ale, he had at once resumed his polemical habits and mixed
himself up as a pamphleteer with all that was going on. As many as thirty
fresh publications, to be added to the two-and-twenty or thereabouts
already out in his name, had come from his pen between 1640 and 1645,
bringing him through about one-fourth part of the series of some 200
books and pamphlets that were to form the long ink-track of his total
life. In these recent pamphlets of his he had appeared as a strenuous
Parliamentary Presbyterian, an advocate of the Scottish Presbyterianism
which was being urged in the Assembly, but with more of Erastianism in
his views than might have pleased most of his fellow-Presbyterians. No
man more violent against Independency of all sorts, and the idea of
Toleration. And so, after various other pamphlets against Independency in
general, and this or that Independent in particular, there came from him,
in July 1645, [Footnote: Date from my notes from Stationer's Registers.]
a quarto of about 50 pages, with this title: "_A Fresh Discovery of some
Prodigious new Wandering-Blazing-Stars and Firebrands, styling themselves
New Lights, firing our Church and State into new Combustions._" The
pamphlet was dedicated to Parliament; and its purpose was to exhibit all
the monstrous things that lay in the bosom of what called itself
Independency. Hence "Independency" is used by Prynne as a common name for
all the varieties of Sectarians as well as for the Congregationalists
proper; and his plan is to shock the public and rouse Parliament to
action, by giving a collection of specimens, culled from pamphlets of the
day, of the "scurrilous, scandalous, and seditious" views put forth, with
impunity hitherto, by some of the "Anabaptistical Independent Sectaries
and new-lighted Firebrands," Accordingly his tract contains a jumble of
the most wild and extravagant sayings against the Assembly, the Scots,
and the Parliament itself, that Prynne could pick out from the
contemporary pamphlets of the Anabaptists and other Sectaries.[Footnote:
Wood's Athenæ, III. 844 _et seq._; Aubrey's Lives (for a notice of
Prynne's habits); and the _Fresh Discovery_ itself. The edition before me
is the second, dated 1646, and swollen by added matter at the end to over
80 pages.]

Much cleverer and more spirited than Featley, old Ephraim Paget, or
Prynne, as a describer and opponent of the Sectaries, was our friend, Mr.
Thomas Edwards, of the _Antapologia_ (_antè_, pp. 130-135). That
"splendid confutation" of Independency and Tolerationism had so increased
Mr. Edwards's fame that the Presbyterians of London had erected a weekly
lectureship for him at Christ Church in the heart of the City, that he
might "handle these questions and nothing else before all that would come
to hear." Thus encouraged, he ranged beyond Independency proper, and
employed himself in collecting information respecting the English
Sectaries generally; and in about eighteen months, or before the end of
1645, he had ready a treatise (his third in order) entitled "_Gangræna:
or, a Catalogue and Discovery of many of the Errors, Heresies,
Blasphemies, and Pernicious Practices of the Sectaries of this time_."
This treatise, consisting of more than 60 pages, he dedicated to
Parliament, in an Epistle of twelve pages, hinting at the remissness of
Parliament in its dealings with the Sectaries up to that time, and
reminding it of its duty. There is all Edwards's fluency of language in
the pamphlet, and some real literary talent; so that not only was
Edwards's _Gangræna_ a popular Presbyterian book at the time, but it is
still valued by bibliographers and antiquarians. As it has come down to
us, however, it is not a pamphlet merely, but a concretion of pamphlets.
For it was enlarged by the author, in the course of 1646, to eight or
nine times its original bulk, by the addition of a Second Part and then a
Third Part, containing "New and Farther Discoveries" of the Sectaries,
and their opinions and practices. This was because Mr. Edwards had
solicited fresh information from all quarters, and it was poured in upon
him superabundantly by Presbyterian correspondents. The First Part, as
the skimming of the cream by Mr. Edwards himself, is perhaps the richest
essentially. The others consist mainly of verifications and additional
details, rumours, and anecdotes. Altogether, the Three Parts of Edwards's
_Gangræna_ are a curious Presbyterian repertory of facts and scandals
respecting the English Independents and Sectaries in and shortly after
the year of Marston Moor. The impression which they leave of Mr. Edwards
personally is that he was a fluent, rancorous, indefatigable,
inquisitorial, and, on the whole, nasty, kind of Christian. [Footnote:
Wood's Fasti, I. 413; Baillie's Letters, II. 180, 193, 201, 215, 251: and
_Gangræna_ itself--the copy of which before me consists of the third
edition of Parts I. and II. (1646) and the first edition of Part III,
(1646) bound in two volumes.]

With Featley, Paget, Prynne, and Edwards, as authorities full of detail,
though also full of prejudice on the subject of the English Sects and
Sectaries of 1644, we may finally name Baillie. We name him now, however,
not on account of his "Letters," but on account of two publications of
his dealing expressly with this subject. One of these, published in
November 1645, in a quarto of 252 pages, was his "_Dissuasive from the
Errours of the Time: wherein the Tenets of the Principall Sects,
especially of the Independents, are drawn together in one Map, for the
most part in the words of their own Authors_;" the other, published in
December 1646, in about 180 pages quarto, and intended as a Second Part
of the "Dissuasive," was entitled "_Anabaptism, the True Fountain of
Independency, Brownisme, Antinomy, &c_." In both publications, but
especially in the former, we see Baillie's characteristic merits. He
writes, of course, polemically and with strong Presbyterian prejudice;
but in clearness of arrangement and statement he is greatly superior to
either the senile Paget, or the fluent and credulous Edwards. His
_Dissuasive_, indeed, is, in its way, a really instructive
book.[Footnote: Both the _Dissuasive_ and its continuation were published
in London (by "Samuel Gellebrand at the Brazen Serpent in Paul's
Churchyard"), and dedicated to "The Right Honourable the Earle of
Lauderdaile, Lord Metellane"--_i.e._ to Baillie's Scottish colleague in
the Assembly, Lord Maitland, then become Earl of Lauderdale.]

The information from these and other sources may be summed up, from the
Presbyterian point of view, under two headings, as follows:--

it seemed, was full of such. There had broken loose a spirit of inquiry,
a spirit of profanity and scoffing, and a spirit of religious ecstasy and
dreaming; and the three spirits together were producing a perfect Babel
of strange sayings, fancies, and speculations. From a catalogue of no
fewer than 176 miscellaneous "errors, heresies, and blasphemies"
collected by Edwards, and which he professes to give as nearly as
possible in the very words in which they had been broached by their
authors in print, or in public or private discourse, take the following

"That the Scriptures are a dead letter, and no more to be credited than
the writings of men."

"That the holy writings and sayings of Moses and the Prophets, of Christ
and his Apostles, and the proper names, persons, and things contained
therein, are allegories."

"That the Scriptures of the Old Testament do not concern nor bind
Christians" (in which belief, says Edwards, some Sectaries had ceased to
read the Old Testament, or to bind it with the New).

"That right Reason is the rule of Faith."

"That God is the author not of those actions alone in and with which sin
is, but of the very pravity, ataxy, atomy, irregularity, and sinfulness
itself, which is in them."

"That the magistrate may not punish for blasphemies, nor for denying the
Scriptures, nor For denying that there is a God."

"That the soul dies with the body, and all things shall have an end, but
God only."

"That there is but one Person in the Divine Nature."

"That Jesus Christ is not very God: no otherwise may he be called the Son
of God but as he was man."

"That we did look for great matters from one crucified at Jerusalem 1600
years ago, but that does us no good; it must be a Christ formed in us:
Christ came into the world to live 32 years, and do nothing else that he
[Thomas Webb, of London, ætat. 20] knew."

"That the Heathen who never heard of Christ by the Word have the Gospel,
for every creature, as the sun, moon, and stars, preach the Gospel to

"That Christ shall come and live again upon the earth, and for a thousand
years reign visibly as an earthly monarch over all the world."

"That the least truth is of more worth than Jesus Christ himself."

"That the Spirit of God dwells not nor works in any; it is but our
conceits and mistakes to think so; 'tis no spirit that works but our

"That a man baptized with the Holy Ghost knows all things even as God
knows all things; which point is a deep mystery and great ocean, where
there is no casting anchor, nor sounding the bottom."

"That, if a man by the Spirit knew himself to be in the state of grace,
though he did commit murder or drunkenness, God did see no sin in him."

"That the guilt of Adam's sin is imputed to no man."

"That the moral law is of no use at all to believers."

"That there ought to be no fasting days under the Gospel."

"That the soul of man is mortal as the soul of a beast, and dies with the

"That Heaven is empty of the Saints till the resurrection of the dead."

"That there is no resurrection at all of the bodies of men after this
life, nor no Heaven nor Hell after this life, nor no Devils."

"That there shall be in the last day a resurrection from the dead of all
the brute creatures, all beasts and birds that ever lived upon the

"That many Christians in those days have more knowledge than the

"That there ought to be in these times no making or building of churches,
nor use of church-ordinances; but waiting for a church, being in a
readiness upon all occasions to take knowledge of any passenger, of any
opinion or tenet whatsoever: the Saints, as pilgrims, do wander as in a
temple of smoke, not able to find Religion, and therefore should not
plant it by gathering or building a pretended supposed House."

"That, in points of Religion, even in the Articles of Faith and
principles of Religion, there's nothing certainly to be believed and
built on; only that all men ought to have liberty of conscience and
liberty of prophesying."

"That 'tis as lawful to baptize a cat, or a dog, or a chicken, as to
baptize the infants of believers."

"That the calling and making of ministers are not _jure divino_, but
a minister comes to be so as a merchant, bookseller, carter, and such

"That all settled certain maintenance for ministers of the Gospel is

"That all days are alike to Christians, and they are bound no more to the
observation of the Lord's day, or first day of the week, than of any

"That 'tis lawful for women to preach; and why should they not, having
gifts as well as men?" ("And some of them," adds Edwards, "do actually
preach, having great resort to them.")

"That there is no need of humane learning, nor of reading authors, for
preachers; but all books and learning must go down: it comes from the
want of the Spirit that men writ such great volumes."

"That 'tis unlawful to preach at all, sent or not sent, but only thus: a
man may preach as a waiting disciple, _i.e._ Christians may not
preach in a way of positive asserting and declaring things, but all they
may do is to confer, reason together, and dispute out things."

"That all singing of Psalms is unlawful."

"That the gift of miracles is not ceased in these times."

"That all the earth is the Saints', and there ought to be a community of

"That 'tis unlawful to fight at all, or to kill any man, yea to kill any
of the creatures for our use, as a chicken, or on any other occasion."
[Footnote: _Gangræna_, Part I. pp. 15-31.]

From this little enumeration it will be seen that we have not, even in
the nineteenth century, advanced so far as perhaps we had thought beyond
English notions of the seventeenth. But there must be added a
recollection of the scurrilities against the Covenant, the Assembly as a
body, its chief Presbyterian members, and the whole Scottish nation and
its agents. These had not reached their height at the time with which we
are at present concerned (Aug. 1644); so that the richest specimens of
them have to be postponed. But already there were popular jokes about
"Jack Presbyter" the "black coats" of the Assembly, and their four
shillings a day each for doing what nobody wanted; and already a very
rude phrase was in circulation, expressing the growing feeling among the
English Independents and Sectaries that England might have managed her
Reformation better without the aid of the Scots and their Covenant. Had
England come to such a pass, it was asked, that it was necessary to set
up a Synod in her, to be "guided by the Holy Ghost sent in a cloak-bag
from Scotland"? The author of this profanity, according to Prynne, was a
pamphleteer named Henry Robinson. It was, in fact, an old joke,
originally applied to one of the Councils of the Catholic Church; and
Robinson had stolen it. [Footnote: Prynne's _Fresh Discovery_, p.27
and p.9; and _Gangræna_, Part I. p.32]

II. RECOGNISED SECTS AND THEIR LEADERS.--In the general welter or anarchy
of opinion there were, of course, vortices round particular centres,
forming sects that either had, or might receive, definite names. Edwards,
when systematizing his chaos of miscellaneous errors and blasphemies,
apportions them among sixteen recognisable sorts of Sectaries; but old
Ephraim Paget, who had preceded Edwards had been much more hazy. By
jumbling the English Sectaries with all he could recollect of the German
Sectaries of the Reformation and all he could hear of the Sects of New
England, he had made his list of Sects and subdivisions of Sects mount up
to two or three scores. Using Edwards and old Ephraim, with hints from
Featley, Prynne, and Baillie, but trying to ascertain the facts for
ourselves, we venture on the following synoptical view of English Sects
and Sectaries in 1644-5:--

BAPTISTS, OR ANABAPTISTS:--These were by far the most numerous of the
Sectaries. Their enemies (Featley, Paget, Edwards, Baillie, &c.) were
fond of tracing them to the anarchical German Anabaptists of the
Reformation; but they themselves claimed a higher origin. They
maintained, as Baptists do still, that in the primitive or Apostolic
Church the only baptism practised or heard of was that of adult
believers, and that the form of the rite for such was immersion in water;
and they maintained farther that the Baptism of Infants was one of those
corruptions of Christianity against which there had been a continued
protest by pure and forward spirits in different countries, in ages prior
to Luther's Reformation, including some of the English Wycliffites,
although the protest may have been repeated in a louder manner, and with
wild admixtures, by the German Anabaptists who gave Luther so much
trouble. Without going back, however, upon the Wycliffites, or even on
the Anabaptists that were scattered through England in the reigns of
Henry VIII., Edward VI., Mary, and Elizabeth, one may date the Baptists
as we have now to do with them from the reign of James.----The first
London congregation of _General Baptists_, or Baptists who favoured
an Arminian theology, had been formed, as we have seen (Vol. II. p. 544),
in 1611 out of the wrecks of John Smyth's English congregation of
Amsterdam or Leyden, brought back into their native land by Smyth's
successor Thomas Helwisse, assisted by John Murton. Although there are
traces of this congregation for several years after that date, it seems
to have melted away, or to have been crushed into extinction by the
persecution of its members individually; so that the Baptists of whom we
hear as existing in London, or dispersed through England, after the
opening of the Long Parliament, appear to have been rather of the kind
known as _Particular Baptists_, holding a Calvinistic theology, and
generated out of the Independent congregations that had been established
in London and elsewhere after Helwisse's and on different principles
(Vol. II. pp. 544 and 585). In some of these congregations, including
that taught by a certain very popular Samuel Howe, called "Cobbler Howe"
from his trade, who died in prison and excommunicated some time before
1640, Pædobaptism appears to have become an open question, on which the
members agreed to differ among themselves. On the whole, however, the
tendency was to the secession of Antipædobaptists from congregations of
ordinary Independents, and to the formation of the seceders into distinct
societies. Thus we hear of a Baptist congregation in Wapping formed in
1633 by a John Spilsbury, with whom were afterwards associated William
Kiffin and Thomas Wilson; of another formed in Crutched Friars in 1639 by
Mr. Green, Paul Hobson, and Captain Spencer; and of a third, formed in
Fleet Street, in 1640, by the afterwards famous Praise-God Barebone:
these three congregations being all detachments from Henry Jacob's
original Independent congregation of 1616 during the ministries of his
successors, Lathorp and Henry Jessey. In spite of much persecution,
continued even after the Long Parliament met, the Baptists of these
congregations propagated their opinions with such zeal that by 1644 the
sect had attained considerably larger dimensions. In that year they
counted seven leading congregations in London, and forty-seven in the
rest of England; besides which they had many adherents in the Army.
Although all sorts of impieties were attributed to them on hearsay, they
differed in reality from the Independents mainly on the one subject of
Baptism. They objected to the baptism of infants, and they thought
immersion, or dipping under water, the proper mode of baptism: except in
these points, and what they might involve, they were substantially at one
with the Congregationalists, This they made clear by the publication, in
1644, of a Confession of their Faith in 52 Articles--a document which, by
its orthodoxy in all essential matters, seems to have shamed the more
candid of their opponents. Even Featley was struck by it, and called it
"a little ratsbane in a great quantity of sugar," and became somewhat
more civil in consequence. It was signed for the seven Baptist
congregations of London by these seven couples of persons--Thomas Gunn
and John Mabbit; John Spilsbury and Samuel Richardson; Paul Hobson and
Thomas Goare; Benjamin Cox and Thomas Kilcop; Thomas Munden and George
Tipping; William Kiffin and Thomas Patience; Hanserd Knollys (Vol. II.
557 and 586) and Thomas Holmes. These fourteen, accordingly, with Praise-
God Barebone, were in 1644 the Baptist leaders or chief Baptist preachers
in London. We hear, however, of other Baptist preachers and pamphleteers
--John Tombes, B.D. (accounted the most learned champion of the sect, and
its intellectual head), Francis Cornwall, M.A., Henry Jessey, M.A. (a
convert to baptism at last), William Dell, M.A., Henry Denne, Edward
Barber, Vavasour Powell, John Sims, Andrew Wyke, Christopher Blackwood,
Samuel Oates, &c. Several of these leading Baptists--such as Tombes,
Cornwall, Jessey, Cox, and Denne--were University men, who had taken
orders regularly; one or two, such as Patience and Knollys, had been
preachers in New England; but some were laymen who had recently assumed
the preaching office, or been called to it by congregations, on account
of their natural gifts. The Presbyterians laid great stress on the
illiteracy of some of the Baptist preachers and their mean origin.
Barebone was a leather-seller in Fleet Street; and, according to Edwards
or his informants, Paul Hobson was a tailor from Buckinghamshire, who had
become a captain in the Parliamentary Army; Kiffin had been servant to a
brewer; Oates was a young weaver; and so on. The information may be
correct in some cases, but is to be received with general caution; as
also Edwards's stories of the extravagant practices of the Baptists in
their conventicles and at their river-dippings. Any story of the kind was
welcome to Edwards, especially if it made a scandal out of some dipping
of women-converts by a Baptist preacher. Baillie, who took more trouble
in sifting his information, and who distinctly allows that the
Anabaptists, like other people, ought to have the benefit of the
principle "Let no error be charged upon any man which he truly
disclaims," and that the errors of some of the sect ought not to be
charged upon all, yet maintains that the Confession of the seven Baptist
Churches of London was but an imperfect and ambiguous declaration of the
opinions of the English Baptists. He attributes to them collectively the
following tenets, in addition to those of mere Antipædobaptism and rigid
Separatism:--"They put all church-power in the hand of the people;" "They
give the power of preaching and celebrating the sacraments to any of
their gifted members, out of all office;" "All churches must be
demolished: they are glad of so large and public a preaching place as
they can purchase, but of a steeple-house they must not hear;" "All
tithes and all set stipends are unlawful; their preachers must work with
their own hands, and may not go in black clothes." According to Baillie,
also, the Baptists outwent even the Brownists in the power in church
matters they gave to women. There were many women-preachers among them;
of whom a Mrs. Attaway, "the mistress of all the she-preachers in Coleman
Street," was the chief. [Footnote: Crosby's _History of the English
Baptists_ (1738), Vol. I. pp. 215-382; Ivimey's _Baptists_, I. 113 _et
seq._; Featley's _Dippers Dipt_, and _Animadversions on the Anabaptists'
Confession_; _Gangræna passim_; Baillie's _Dissuasive_, Part II. p. 47
_et seq._; Neal's Puritans, III. 147-152, with Toulmin's Supplement to
that Vol., 517-530. The Confession of the Baptists is given in Neal;
Appendix to the whole work; also in Crosby, Appendix to Vol. I]

OLD BROWNISTS:--By this name may be called certain adherents of that
vehement Independency, more extreme than mere Congregationalism, which
had been propagated in Elizabeth's reign by Robert Brown himself. Brown's
writings, we learn from Baillie, had totally disappeared in England; so
that the so-called _Brownists_ can hardly have been his direct
disciples, but must have been persons who had arrived at some of his
opinions over again for themselves. Briefly, without being Baptists, they
were more violent Separatists, more fierce in their rejection of the
discipline, worship, and ordination of the Church of England than the
Independents proper. Henry Burton, minister of Friday Street church, now
between fifty and sixty years of age, was one of the chief of them, and
his _Protestation Protested_ (Vol. II. 591-2) may be regarded as a
manifesto of their views. Even the Independents of the Assembly disowned
these views. Mr. Nye had said of the book that "there was in that book
gross Brownism which he nor his brethren no way agreed with him in;" and
Edwards had heard stories of queer goings-on in Mr. Burton's church, and
his quarrel with "a butcher and some others of his church" about
prophesying. Among the Brownists, besides Burton, Edwards names
prominently "Katherine Chidley, an old Brownist, and her son, a young
Brownist, a pragmatical fellow," who preached in London, and occasionally
went on circuit into the country. Edwards characterizes Mrs. Chidley as
"a brazen-faced audacious old woman;" but we know the motive. He had not
forgotten the thrashing in print he had received from Mrs. Chidley in
1641 (Vol. II. 595). [Footnote: Paget's _Heresiography_, pp. 55-82 (a
great deal about the Brownists; but with next to no real information);
Edwards's _Gangræna_, Part I. pp. 62-64 and Part III. 242-248 (gossip
about Burton); and Part III. 170, 171 (about Chidley); Baillie's Letters,
II. 184 and 192; Hanbury's Historical Memorials, II. 108 _et seq._]

ANTINOMIANS:--The origin of this heresy is attributed to Luther
contemporary and fellow townsman, John Agricola, of Eisleben in Saxony
(1492-1566); but the Antinomians of New England, and their chief Mrs.
Hutchinson, had recently been more heard of. The story of poor Mrs.
Hutchinson, the chief of these New England Antinomians, has already been
told by us (Vol. II.371-7), as far as to the beginning of 1643, when we
left her, a widow with a family of children, including a married daughter
and that daughter's husband, beyond the bounds of New England altogether,
and seeking rest for her wearied mind, and a home for her little ones, in
the Dutch plantations somewhere near what is now New York. The sad end
has now to be told. The Indians and the Dutch of those parts were then at
feud; and in September 1643, in an inroad of the Indians into the
plantation where Mrs. Hutchinson was, she and all her family were
murdered, with the exception of a little daughter eight years of age, who
was carried into captivity among the Indians, and not recovered till four
years afterwards. The news of this tragic end of Mrs. Hutchinson had been
brought across the Atlantic, and had added to the interest of pious
horror with which her previous career of heresy in Massachusetts had been
heard of by the orthodox in England. Mrs. Hutchinson and her
Antinomianism, in fact, were already the subjects of a dreadful popular
myth. Here, for example, is old Father Ephraim's account of the New
England Antinomians, as he had compiled it from information received
direct from America:--"Some persons among those that went hence to New
England being freighted with many loose and unsound opinions, which they
durst not here, they there began to vent them ... working first upon
women, traducing godly ministers to be and preach under Covenant of
Works, dropping their baits by little and little and angling yet further
when they saw them take, and fathering their opinions on those of the
best quality in the country; and, by means of Mrs. Hutchinson's double
weekly lecture at Boston, under pretence of repeating Mr. Cotton's
sermons, these opinions were quickly dispersed before authority was
aware." But at length, when the infant church in America had been thus
"almost ruinated," the judgments of God overtook the prime fomenters of
the heresy in a notorious manner. "As, first, Mistress Hutchinson, the
Generalissimo, the high-priestess of the new religion, was delivered at
one time of 30 monstrous births, or thereabouts, much about the number of
her monstrous opinions; some were bigger, some less, none of them having
human shape, but shaped like her opinions: Mistress Dyer also, another of
the same crew, was delivered of a large--" [here follows a minute
description of a feminine monster that would have made the fortune of any
travelling showman, so complexly-horrible was its physiology]. Thus God
punished those monstrous "wretches," But the civil authorities of New
England, as we know, had punished them too. "God put it into the hearts
of the civil magistrates to convent the chief leaders of them; and, after
fruitless admonitions given, they proceeded to sentence: some they
disfranchised, others they excommunicated, and some they banished. A
seditious minister, one Mr. Wheelwright, was one, and Mrs. Hutchinson
another; who, going to plant herself on an island, called Rhode Island,
under the Dutch, where they could not agree, but were miserably divided
into sundry sects, removed from thence to an island called _Hell-
gate_ [_Hebgate_, according to Cotton Mather], where the Indians
set upon her, and slew her and her daughter, and her daughter's husband,
children, and family."--Notwithstanding this dreadful fate of the
Antinomians in America, the heresy had broken out in England. Nothing was
publicly said of the younger Sir Henry Vane in connexion with it; though,
on his return from his Massachusetts governorship, he may have brought
back in his speculative head some of the Hutchinsonian ideas. According
to Paget, the first Antinomian in London had been "one Master John
Eaton," who had been a scholar of his own (_i.e._ at Trinity College,
Oxford), and was afterwards curate of a parish near Aldgate. In fact, as
we learn from Wood, he became a minister in Suffolk, was "accounted by
all the neighbouring ministers a grand Antinomian," and suffered trouble
accordingly. But this Eaton had died in 1641, aged about 66, and leaving
but an Antinomian book or two, including "_The Honeycomb of Free
Justification_;" and the leading Antinomians were new men. One of them
was Mr. John Saltmarsh, a Cambridge graduate, and minister in Kent,
afterwards well-known as an, army-preacher and pamphleteer; another was
"one Randall who preaches about Spittal Yard."--The nature of the
Antinomian doctrines, "opening such a fair and easy way to heaven," made
them very popular, it appears, in London and elsewhere. Many ran after
their preachers, "crowding the churches and filling the doors and
windows," for "Oh, it pleaseth people well," adds old Father Ephraim, "to
have heaven and their lusts too." Notwithstanding this imputation, and
illustrative scandals in Edwards, it really appears that Antinomianism
took itself out in high mystic preaching of justification by faith, the
doctrine of assurance, and the privileges of saintship. The wild phrases
that came in such preaching were the chief offence. [Footnote: Cotton
Mather's _Magnalia_, Book VII. p. 19; Palfrey's Hist. of New England, I.
609, Note; Paget, 105-118; Wood's Athenæ, III. 21 (for more about Eaton);
_Gangræna_ in several places, for references to Saltmarsh and Randall.
Baillie in his _Dissuasive_ (pp. 57-64) has much the same story as Paget
about Mrs. Hutchinson and the New England Antinomians, and attributes the
rise of that heresy to the evil influence of Independency.--The idiotic
and disgusting myth of the monstrous _accouchements_ of the two
Antinomian women seems to have found great favour with the orthodox: and
it figures in many pious books of the time and afterwards. It seems
actually to have originated in America, and to have been widely believed
there, while Mrs. Hutchinson was alive; for Cotton Mather, repeating it,
with the most abject good faith, and in great detail, as late as 1702
(_Magnalia_, VII. 20), quotes a letter of Mr. Thomas Hooker, to the
effect that at the very time of one of the diabolic _accouchements_, Mrs.
Dyer's (Oct. 17, 1637), the house in which her and his wife were sitting
was violently shaken, as if by an earthquake, for the space of seven or
eight minutes. Mather also avers that there was an investigation of the
affair by the magistrates at the time.]

FAMILISTS:--Probably because there had been a continental sect of this
name in the sixteenth century, founded by a David George of Delft,
Edwards includes _Familists_ among his leading English sorts of
Sectaries, and Paget devotes ten pages to them. Paget, however, admits
that they were "so close and cunning that ye shall hardly ever find them
out." If there really was such an English sect, their main principle
probably was that every society of Christians should be a kind of family-
party, jolly within itself in confidential love-feasts and exchanges of
sentiment, and letting the general world and its creeds roar around
unquestioned and unheeded. Baillie, however, in an incidental notice of
Familism in the Second Part of his _Dissuasive_, gives a somewhat
different account. It was, according to him, a wild development of
Anabaptism, of which not a few once "counted zealous and gracious" were
suspected--including "a great man, a peer of the land." It had a public
representative in Mr. Randall, who had "for some years preached peaceably
in the Spital" (already mentioned among the Antinomians), and of whom
Baillie had heard that he entertained such ideas as these, though
reserving them probably as esoteric mysteries for the highest class of
the Family of Love--"that all the resurrection and glory which Scripture
promises is past already, and no other coming of Christ to judgment, or
life eternal, is to be expected than what presently in this earth the
saints do enjoy; that the most clear historic passages of Scripture are
mere allegories; that in all things, Angels, Devils, Men, Women, there is
but one spirit and life, which absolutely and essentially is God; that
nothing is everlasting but the life and essence of God which now is in
all creatures;" &c. We should now call this a kind of Pantheism; but
probably it was coupled with that disposition to privacy, and
indifference to creeds and controversies, which has been mentioned as the
peculiarity of Familism. Even the _Familists_, however, it seems,
had their subdivisions. One John Hetherington, a box-maker, had been a
kind of Familist, but had recanted. [Footnote: Paget, 92 102, and
137,138; _Gangræna_, Part I. 13; Baillie's _Dissuasive_ Part
II. pp. 99-104]

MILLENARIES OR CHILIASTS:--"An Heresy," says old Father Ephraim,
"frequent at this time. This sect look for a temporary [temporal] kingdom
of Christ, that must begin presently and last 1,000 years. Of this
opinion are many of our Apocalyptical men, that study more future events
than their present only." This is substantially all we have from Paget.
In fact, however, the Chiliasts or Millenarians were hardly a mere sect.
The expectation of a Millennium near at hand was very prevalent, or was
becoming very prevalent, among the English Divines of the Assembly
itself. "Many of the Divines here," wrote Baillie, September 5, 1645,
"not only Independents, but others, such as Twisse, Marshall, Palmer, and
many more, are express Chiliasts." In his _Dissuasive_, however,
where he devotes an entire chapter to this heresy of Chiliasm, he
attributes the grosser form of the heresy chiefly to the Independents. A
kind of Chiliasm or Millenarianism, he says, had been held by some former
English Divines, including Joseph Meade; but it had been reserved for two
Independents--"Mr. Archer and his colleague at Arnheim, T. G."
(_i.e._ Thomas Goodwin)--to invent new dreams on the subject; and
these had recently been adopted by Mr. Burroughs. The purport of their
doctrine was that in the year 1650, or, at the furthest, 1695, Christ was
to reappear in human form at Jerusalem, destroy the existing fabric of
things in a conflagration, collect the scattered Jews, raise martyrs and
saints from their graves, and begin his glorious reign of a thousand
years. [Footnote: Paget, 136, 137; Baillie's Letters, II. 313, and
_Dissuasive_, 224-252.]

SEEKERS:--"Many have wrangled so long about the Church that at last they
have quite lost it, and go under the name of _Expecters_ and _Seekers_,
and do deny that there is any Church, or any true minister, or any
ordinances; some of them affirm the Church to be in the wilderness, and
they are seeking for it there; others say that it is in the smoke of the
Temple, and that they are groping for it there--where I leave them
praying to God."--So far Old Ephraim; and what he says, combined with one
of Edwards's miscellaneous blasphemies already quoted, enables us to
fancy the _Seekers_. They were people, it seems, who had arrived at the
conclusion that the Supernatural had never yet been featured forth to man
in any propositions or symbols that could be accepted as adequate, and
who were waiting, therefore, for a possible "Church of the Future;"
content, meanwhile, to dwell in a Temple of smoke, or (for there is the
alternative figure) to see visions of the Future Church in the smoke of
the present Temple.--"Mr. Erbury, that lived in Wales," (but had come to
London, and then settled in Ely, whence he made excursions,) and "one
Walwyn, a dangerous man, a strong head," who laboured somewhere else, are
mentioned by Edwards as men avowing themselves in this predicament.
Baillie mentions also one Laurence Clarkson, who had passed from
Anabaptism to Seekerism, and he speaks of Mrs. Attaway, the Baptist
woman-preacher, and Mr. Saltmarsh, the Antinomian, as tending the same
way.----But the chief of the _Seekers_, perhaps the original founder of
the Sect, and certainly the bravest exponent of their principles, was a
person with whom we are already acquainted. "One Mr. Williams," writes
Baillie, June 7, 1644, "has drawn a great number after him to a singular
Independency, denying any true Church in the world, and will have every
man to serve God by himself alone, without any church at all. This man
has made a great and bitter schism lately among the Independents." Again,
on the 23rd of July, Baillie refers to the same person as "my good
acquaintance Mr. Roger Williams, who says there is no church, no
sacraments, no pastors, no church-officers or ordinance, in the world,
nor has been since a few years after the Apostles." In short, the arch-
representative of this new religion of Seekerism on both sides of the
Atlantic was no other than our friend Roger Williams, the Tolerationist
(Vol. II. 560-3, and _antè_, pp. 113-120). Through the variations of this
man's external adventures we have seen the equally singular series of
variations of his mental condition. First an intense Separatist, or
Independent of the most resolute type, but conjoining with this
Separatism a passion for the most absolute liberty of conscience and the
entire dissociation of civil power from matters of religion, then a
Baptist and excommunicated on that account by his former friends in
America, he had latterly, in his solitude at Providence, outgone Baptism
or any known form of Independency, and, still retaining his doctrine of
the most absolute liberty of conscience, had worked himself into that
state of dissatisfaction with all visible church-forms, and of yearning
quest after unattainable truth, for which the name _Seekerism_ was
invented by himself or others. Though he did not propose that preaching
should be abandoned, he had gradually settled in a notion which he thus
expresses: "In the poor small span of my life, I desired to have been a
diligent and constant observer, and have been myself many ways engaged,
in city, in country, in court, in schools, in universities, in churches,
in Old and New England, and yet cannot, in the holy presence of God,
bring in the result of a satisfying discovery that either the begetting
ministry of the apostles or messengers to the nations, or the feeding and
nourishing ministry of pastors and teachers, according to the first
institution of the Lord Jesus, are yet restored or extant." It was while
he was in this stage of his mental history that Williams came over on his
flying visit to England in the matter of the new charter for the Rhode
Island plantations. Some whiff of his strange opinions may have preceded
him; but it must have been mainly by his intercourse with leading
Londoners during his stay in England, which extended over more than a
year (June 1643--Sept. 1644), that he diffused the interest in himself
and his Seekerism which we certainly find existing in 1644. He can have
been no stranger to the chief Divines of the Westminster Assembly.
Baillie, we see, was on speaking terms with him; and it is curious to
note in Baillie's and other references to him the same vein of personal
liking for the man, running through amazement at his heresy, which
characterized the criticisms of him by his New England opponents and
excommunicants. Incidents of his visit, not less interesting now, were
two publications of his in London, his "_Key into the Language of
America_," published in 1643, and his _Bloody Tenent of Persecution_,
published in 1644.--At least the name of the sect of "The Seekers," I may
add, had struck Cromwell himself, and had some fascination for him,
whether on its own account, or from his acquaintance with Williams. "Your
sister Claypole," he wrote to his daughter Mrs. Ireton, some two years
after our present date (Oct. 25,1646), "is, I trust in mercy, exercised
with some perplexed thoughts. She sees her own vanity and carnal mind,
bewailing it: she seeks after (as I hope also) what will satisfy. And
thus to be a Seeker is to be of the best sect next after a Finder; and
such an one shall every faithful humble Seeker be in the end. Happy
Seeker, happy Finder!" [Footnote: Paget, 150; _Gangræna_, Part I. p. 24,
and p. 38; _Dissuasive_, Part II. pp. 96, 97 and Notes; Baillie's
Letters, II. 191-2 and 212; Gammell's _Life of Roger Williams_ (Boston,
1846), and Memoir of Williams, by Edward B. Underhill, prefixed to the
republication of William's _Bloody Tenent of Persecution_, by the
"Hanserd Knollys Society" (1848); Carlyle's Cromwell, I. 212.]

DIVORCERS:--"These I term _Divorcers_" says Old Ephraim, "that would
be quit of their wives for slight occasions;" and he goes on to speak of
MILTON as the representative of the sect. Featley had previously
mentioned Milton's Divorce Tract as one of the proofs of the tendency of
the age to Antinomianism, Familism, and general anarchy; and Edwards and
Baillie followed in the same strain. Milton's Doctrine of Divorce, it
thus appears, had attracted attention, and had perhaps gained some
following. Among the six caricatures of notable sects on the title-page
of Paget's _Heresiography_ is one of "THE DIVORCER"--_i.e._ a man, in an
admonishing attitude, and without his hat, dismissing or pushing away his
wife, who has her hat on, as if ready for a journey, and is putting her
handkerchief to her eyes. We shall have more to say of Milton in this
connexion. [Footnote: Paget, pp. 150, 151, p. 87, and Epistle Dedicatory,
p. 4; Fentley's _Dippers Dipt_, Epistle Dedicatory, p. 3; Edward's
_Gangræna_, Part I. p. 29.]

ANTI-SABBATARIANS, AND TRASKITES:--These sects, though distinct, may be
named together. The _Anti-Sabbatarians_ were those who denied the
obligation of any Lord's Day or Sabbath: they were pretty numerous, but
were distributed through the other sects. The _Traskites_, on the
other hand, denied the obligation of the Christian Sunday or Lord's Day,
but maintained the perpetual obligation of the Jewish Sabbath on the
seventh day of the week. They were the followers of one John Traske, a
poor eccentric who had been well known to Paget, but was now dead, and
remembered only for his heresy, for which he had been whipt, pilloried,
and imprisoned, about 1618. His opinions had been revived more ably in
certain treatises and discourses, published in 1628 and 1632, by
Theophilus Brabourne, a Puritan minister in Norfolk. Both Brabourne and
Traske had been obliged to recant their opinions and return to orthodoxy;
and indeed Traske had done so in a Tract written against himself, though
he again relapsed. Nevertheless the heresy had taken root, and one heard
in 1644 of Traskites or Sabbatarians dispersed through England. The sect
is continued still in the so-called "Seventh Day Baptists." [Footnote:
Paget, pp. 138-141; with more accurate particulars in Cox's _Literature
of the Sabbath Question_, I. 153-5, 157-8, and 162.]

SOUL-SLEEPERS OR MORTALISTS:--Such was the odd name given to a sect, or
supposed sect, represented by the anonymous author of a, Tract called
_Man's Mortality_. The Tract is now very scarce, if not utterly
forgotten; but, as it made a great stir at the time, and as we shall hear
of it and its author rather particularly again in connexion with Milton's
life, I may here give some account of it from a copy which I have managed
to see. The title in full is as follows: "Man's Mortallitie: or a
Treatise wherein 'tis proved, both Theologically and Phylosophically,
that whole Man (as a rationall creature) is a compound wholy mortall,
contrary to that common distinction of Soule and Body; and that the
present going of the Soule into Heaven or Hell is a meer fiction; and
that at the Resurrection is the beginning of our immortallity, and then
actual Condemnation and Salvation, and not before: With all doubtes and
objections answered and resolved both by Scripture and Reason;
discovering the multitude of Blasphemies and Absurdities that arise from
the fancie of the Soule: Also divers other mysteries, as of Heaven, Hell,
Christ's humane residence, the Extent of the Resurrection, the New
Creation, &c.: opened and presented to the tryall of better judgments, By
R. O. Amsterdam: Printed by John Canne, Anno Dom. 1643." In the British
Museum copy, which is the one I have seen, the word "Amsterdam" is erased
by the collector's pen, and "London" substituted, with the date "Jan. 19"
added; whence I infer that, whatever Canne at Amsterdam had to do with
the printing of the tract, it was virtually a London publication, and out
in January, 1643-4. On the title-page is quoted the text Ecclesiastes
iii. 19, thus--"That which befalleth the sonnes of men befalleth Beasts;
even one thing befalleth them all: as the one dyeth so dyeth the other;
yea they have all one breath, so that man hath no preheminence above a
Beast; for all is vanity." This gives so far the key-note to the 57 pages
of matter of the Tract itself. It is a queer mixture of a sort of
physiological reasoning, such as we should now call Materialism, with a
mystical metaphysics, and with odd whimsies of the author's own--such as
that Christ had ascended into the Sun. The leading tenet, however, is
that the notion of a soul, or supernatural and immortal essence, in man,
distinct from his bodily organism, is a sheer delusion, contradicted both
by Scripture and correct physiological thinking, and that from this
notion have arisen all kinds of superstitions and practical mischiefs.
"The most grand and blasphemous heresies that are in the world, the
mystery of iniquity and the kingdom of Antichrist, depend upon it." So
says the Tract itself; and in the first of two pieces of verse prefixed
to it by an admirer, and entitled "To His worthy Friend the Author, upon
his Booke," there occur these lines:--

"The hell-hatched doctrine of th' immortal soul
Discovered makes the hungry Furies howl,
And teare their snakey haire, with grief appaled
To see their error-leading doctrine quailed,
Hell undermined and Purgatory blown
Up in the air."

There are Latin quotations in the Tract; and some of the physiological
arguments by which the author seeks to refute the opinion of "the
Soulites," as he calls them, are rather nauseous. On the whole, were it
not for the appended concession of a Resurrection, or New Creation, and
an Immortality somehow to ensue thence, the doctrine of the Tract might
be described as out-and-out Materialism. Possibly, in spite of the
concession, this is what the author meant to drive at. Among some of his
followers, however, a milder version of his doctrine seems to have been
in favour, not quite denying the existence of a soul, but asserting that
the soul goes into sleep or temporary extinction at death, to be re-
awakened at the Resurrection. [Footnote: Paget, pp. 148, 149; _Gangræna_,
Part I. pp. 22, 23; Baillie's _Dissuasive_, Part II. 99 and 121; but
mainly the Tract cited.]

and Wightman had been burnt for Arianism (Vol. I. p. 46), this and other
forms of the Anti-Trinitarian heresy had been little heard of in England.
But in the ferment of the Civil War they were reappearing. A Thomas Webb,
a young fellow of twenty years of age, had been shocking people in London
and in country-places by awful expressions against the Trinity; one
Clarke had been, doing the same; one Paul Best had been circulating
manuscripts in which there were "most horrid blasphemies of the Trinity,
of Christ, and of the Holy Ghost;" and John Biddle, of Gloucester, master
of the school there, and of whom, from his career at Oxford, high hopes
had been formed, had begun to be "free of his discourses in a Socinian
direction." Baillie adds Mr. Samuel Richardson, one of the Baptist
ministers of London, to the number of those whose Trinitarianism was
questionable, and charges the Baptists generally with laxity on that
point. In short, there was an alarm of Arianism, and other forms of Anti-
Trinitarianism, as again abroad in England. Mr. Nye, the Independent, had
been heard to say that "to his knowledge the denying of the Divinity of
Christ was a growing opinion, and that there was a company of them met
about Coleman Street, a Welshman being their chief, who held this
opinion." Coleman Street appears, indeed, to have been a very hotbed of
heresy. For here it was that JOHN GOODWIN (Vol. II. 582-4, and
_antè_, pp. 120-122) had his congregation. He had not revealed
himself fully; but the public had had a taste of him in recent pamphlets.
Baillie, on rumour, reports him as a Socinian; and Edwards, who came into
conflict with him in due time, and devotes many consecutive pages of
Billingsgate to him in the Second Part of his _Gangræna_, tells us
that he held "many wicked opinions," being "an Hermaphrodite and a
compound of an Arminian, Socinian, Libertine, Anabaptist, & c." From the
same authority we learn that the Presbyterians had nicknamed him "the
great Red Dragon of Coleman Street." What he really was we have already
seen in part for ourselves, and shall yet see more fully.[Footnote:
Paget, 132--136; _Gangræna_, Part I. pp. 21, 22, 26, 33, Part II 19-
39, and Part III. 111 and 87; Baillie's _Dissuasive_, Part II. p.
98; also Wood's Athenæ, III. 593 (for Biddle); Baillie's Letters, II.
192, and Jackson's _Life of John Goodwin_ (1822), pp. 3 and 14.]

ANTI-SCRIPTURISTS:--"One wicked sect," says Old Ephraim, "denieth the
Scriptures both of the Old and New Testament, and account them as things
of nought; yea, as I am credibly informed, in public congregations they
vent these their damnable opinions." He gives no names; but Edwards
mentions "one Marshal, a bricklayer, a young man, living at Hackney," who
made a mock of the Scriptures in his harangues, and asserted that he
himself "knew the mystery of God in Christ better than St. Paul." A
companion of this Marshal's told the people that "the Scripture was their
golden calf and they danced round it." A Priscilla Miles had been
speaking very shockingly of the Scriptures at Norwich. But the most noted
Anti-Scripturist seems to have been a Clement Wrighter, a Worcester man,
living in London, of whom Edwards gives this terrible character--
"Sometimes a professor of religion and judged to have been godly, who is
now an arch-heretic and fearful apostate, an old wolf, and a subtle man,
who goes about corrupting, and venting his errors; he is often in
Westminster Hall and on the Exchange; he comes into public meetings of
the Sectaries upon occasions of meeting to draw up petitions for the
Parliament or other businesses. This man about seven or eight years ago
(_i.e._ about 1638) fell off from the communion of our churches to
Independency and Brownism; from that he fell to Anabaptism and
Arminianism, and to Mortalism, holding the soul mortal (he is judged to
be the author, or at least to have had a great hand in the Book of the
_Mortality of the Soul_). After that he fell to be Seeker, and is
now an Anti-Scripturist, a Questionist and Sceptick, and I fear an
Atheist." Specimens of his sayings about the Bible are given; and
altogether one has to fancy Wrighter as an oldish man, sneaking about in
public places in London on soft-soled shoes, and with bundles of papers
under his arm. I have seen a little thing printed by him in Feb. 1615-6,
under the title of "_The Sad Case of Clement Writer_," in which he
complains of injustice, to the extent of 1,500_l_., done him by the
late Lord Keeper Coventry and other judges in some suit that had lasted
for twelve years. [Footnote: Paget, 149; _Gangræna_, Part I. pp. 26-
-28; Baillie's _Dissuasive_, Part II. 121.]

SCEPTICS, OR QUESTIONISTS:--They were those who, according to Edwards,
"questioned everything in matters of religion, holding nothing positively
nor certainly, saving the doctrine of pretended liberty of conscience for
all, and liberty of prophesying." Many besides Wrighter had reached this
stage through their anti-Scripturism, and were free-thinkers of the cold
or merely rational order, distinct from the devout and enthusiastic
Seekers. [Footnote: _Gangræna_, Part I. p. 13.]

ATHEISTS:--Although Edwards charitably hints his fear that Mr. Wrighter
had at last sunk into this extreme category, it is remarkable that
neither he nor Paget ventures to reckon _Atheists_ among the
existing Sects. Probably, therefore, there was no body of persons to
whom, with any pretext of plausibility, the name could be applied. But we
are advised of individuals here and there whom their neighbours suspected
of Atheism; and, if Edwards is to be believed, there was alive a certain
John Boggis, an apprentice to an apothecary in London, who, though at
present only a young Anabaptist preacher, and disciple of Captain Hobson,
was to go within a year or two to such unheard-of lengths about Great
Yarmouth that even Wrighter must have disowned him. [Footnote: Ibid. Part
II. 133, 134; and Baillie's _Dissuasive_, Part II. 99.]

Such were the English Sects and Sectaries that had begun to be talked of
in 1644. Not that they were bounded off strictly from each other in
divisions according with their names. On the contrary, they shaded off
into each other; and there were mixtures and combinations of some of
them. Moreover, as the chief of them held by the Congregationalist
principle in some form, and hoped to flourish by taking advantage of that
principle, it was not unusual for Presbyterian writers to include these
along with the Congregationalists proper in the one lax designation of
Independents. At all events, the Sects hung on to the Independents
through that principle of Toleration or Liberty of Conscience which the
Independents had propounded, at first mildly, but with a tendency to less
and less of limitation. All the Sects, less or more, were TOLERATIONISTS;
the heresy of heresies in which they all agreed with each other, and with
the Independents, was LIBERTY OF CONSCIENCE.


The foregoing survey of English Sects and Sectaries and of the state of
the Toleration Controversy in 1644 has been our employment, the reader
must be reminded, during the fortnight's vacation of the Westminster
Assembly from July 23 to August 7 in that year. Something of the same
kind was the vacation-employment of the members of that Assembly too, and
especially of the Presbyterian majority. For they had been driven out of
their previous calculations by the battle of Marston Moor (July 2). That
battle had been won mainly by Cromwell, the head of the Army-
Independents, and it went to the credit of Independency. All the more
necessary was it for the Presbyterians of the Assembly to bethink
themselves of indirect means of argument against the Independents. The
means were not far to seek. Let this horrible Hydra of Sects, all bred
out of Independency, be dragged into light; and would not respectable
Independency itself stand aghast at her offspring? The word
_Toleration_ had been mumbled cautiously within the Assembly, and
had made itself heard with some larger liking in Parliament, and still
greater applause among the hasty thousands of the Parliamentary soldiers
and the populace! Let it be shown what this monstrous notion really
meant, what herds of strange creatures and shoals even of vermin it would
permit in England; and would England ratify the monstrosity, or the
Independency consociated with it, even for twenty Cromwells, or ten
Marston Moors? So, in the fort-night's vacation, reasoned Messrs.
Marshall, Lightfoot, Calamy, Palmer, Vines, Spurstow, Newcomen, Herle,
Burges, and other English Presbyterians, incited rather than repressed by
the Scottish anxiety of Rutherford, Gillespie, Baillie, and (I am afraid)

Accordingly, when the Assembly resumed its sittings (Wednesday, Aug. 7,
1644), its first work was to fall passionately on the Sects and the arch-
heresy of Toleration. "The first day of our sitting, after our vacance,"
says Baillie, "a number of complaints were given in against the
Anabaptists' and Antinomians' huge increase and insolencies intolerable.
Notwithstanding Mr. Nye's and others' opposition, it was carried that the
Assembly should remonstrate it to the Parliament." [Footnote: Baillie's
Letters, II. 218; corroborated by Lightfoot's Notes on the very day (p.
299).] And they did remonstrate it, without a day's delay. Friday, May 9,
as we learn from the Lords Journals, it was represented to the House of
Lords, through Mr. Marshall, by order of the Assembly, "That they have
been informed of the great growth and increase of Anabaptists and
Antinomians and other Sects; and that some Anabaptists have delivered in
private houses some blasphemous passages and dangerous opinions: They
have acquainted the House of Commons therewith; and, &c." [Footnote:
Lords Journals, Aug. 9, 1644.] Turning to the Commons Journals of the
same day we find, accordingly, a column and a half on the same subject,
with many details. Dr. Burges and Mr. Marshall had appeared before the
Commons on the same errand from the Assembly: had told the Honourable
House that many ministers and gentry all through England had long desired
to petition it "to prevent the spreading opinions of Anabaptism and
Antinomianism;" that they had been persuaded to forbear; but that now
"these men have cast off all affection and are so imbitterated" that
farther forbearance would be wrong, and the Assembly cannot but represent
to the House that "it is high time to suppress them." That the Commons
might not be left in the vague, a Mr. Picot in Guernsey, and a Mr.
Knolles, recently in Cornwall (Hanserd Knollys?), of the Anabaptist sort,
with a Mr. Randall, a Mr. Penrose, and a Mr. Simson, as of a worse sort
still (see Randall among the Antinomians and Familists in our synopsis),
were denounced by name as proper culprits to begin with. What could the
poor House of Commons do? Agreeing with the Lords, they promised to do
what they could. They would take the whole subject into their grave
consideration; they empowered the Committee for Plundered Ministers, with
a certain addition to their number, to arrest and examine the particular
culprits named; and, to prove their heartiness meanwhile, they resolved,
on that very day, "That Mr. White do give order for the public burning of
one Mr. Williams his book, intituled, &c., concerning the Tolerating of
all sorts of Religion." [Footnote: Commons Journals, Aug. 9, 1644.] This
"one Mr. Williams," as the reader will be aware, was Roger Williams, then
on his way back to America; and "his book" was _The Bloody Tenent_.
There must have been much hypocrisy, and much cowardice, in the English
House of Commons on that day. Where was the younger Sir Harry Vane?
Probably he was in the House while they passed the order, and wondering
how far Roger Williams had got on his voyage, and meditatively twirling
his thumbs.

A good stroke of business by the Westminster Assembly in two days after
their vacation! But they followed it up. There were frequent Solemn
Fasts, by Parliamentary order, in those days, when all London was
expected to go to church and listen to sermons by divines from the
Westminster Assembly. Tuesday, the 13th of August, 1644, was one of those
Solemn Fast-days--an "Extraordinary Day of Humiliation;" and the
ministers appointed by the Assembly to preach in chief--_i.e._ to
preach before the two Houses of Parliament, and the Assembly itself, in
St. Margaret's, Westminster--were Mr. Thomas Hill and Mr. Herbert Palmer.
These two gentlemen, it seems, did their duty: They satisfied even
Baillie. "Mr. Palmer and Mr. Hill," he says, "did preach that day to the
Assembly two of the most Scottish and free sermons that ever I heard
anywhere. The way here of all preachers, even the best, has been to speak
before the Parliament with so profound a reverence as truly took all edge
from their exhortations, and made all applications of them toothless and
adulatorious. That style is much changed, however: these two good men
laid well about them, and charged public and Parliamentary sins strictly
on the backs of the guilty." [Footnote: Baillie's Letters, II. 220, 221.]
As the sermons themselves remain in print, we have the means of verifying
Baillie's description. It is quite correct. Not only in the "Epistle
Dedicatory" to his sermon when it was printed did Mr. Hill denounce the
Toleration doctrine, and make a marginal reference to Roger Williams's
"_Bloody Tenent_" as a book not too soon burnt; but in the sermon
itself, the subject of which was the duty of "advancing Temple-work"
(Haggai i. 7, 8), he openly attacked two classes of persons as the chief
"underminers of Temple-work." First, he said, there were those who would
allow nothing to be _jure divino_ in the Church, but held that all
matters of Church-constitution were to be settled by mere prudence and
State-convenience--in other words, the Erastians, _They_ are lectured,
but are let off more easily than the second sort of underminers: viz.
"such who would have a toleration of all ways of Religion in this
Church." Parliament is reminded that all tendency to this way of thinking
is unfaithfulness to the Covenant, and is told that "to set the door so
wide open as to tolerate all religions" would be to "make London an
Amsterdam," and would lead to--in fact, would certainly lead to--
Amsterdamnation! So far Mr. Hill; but Mr. Palmer was even more bold.
Preaching on Psalm xcix. 8, this delicate little creature laid about him
most manfully. Parliament are rebuked for eluding the Covenant, for too
great tenderness in their dealings with delinquents, and for remissness
in the prevention and punishment of false doctrine. They are exhorted to
extirpate heresy and schism, especially Antinomianism and Anabaptism,
and, are warned at some length against the snare of Toleration. "Hearken
not--I earnestly exhort every one that intends to have any regard at all
to his solemn Covenant and oath in this second article--to those that
offer to plead for Tolerations; which I wonder how any one dare write or
speak for as they do that have themselves taken the Covenant, or know
that _you_ have. The arguments that are used in some books, well worthy
to be burnt, plead for Popery, Judaism, Turcism, Paganism, and all manner
of false religions, under pretence of Liberty of Conscience." This is
clearly an allusion to John Goodwin; and in the sequel Mr. Palmer makes
another personal allusion of still greater interest. In order to show
what a social chaos would result from toleration of error on the plea of
Liberty of Conscience, he gives instances of some of the horrible
opinions that would claim the benefit of the plea, and among these he
names Milton's Divorce doctrine, then circulating in a book which the
author had been shameless enough to dedicate openly to Parliament itself.
The particulars will be given, and the passage quoted, in due time; the
fact is enough at present. [Footnote: The title of Hill's sermon is "_The
Season for England's Selfe-Reflection and Advancing Temple-work;
discovered in a Sermon preached to the two Houses of Parliament at
Margaret's, Westminster, Aug. 13, 1614; being an extraordinary day of
Humiliation. By, &c., London: Printed by Richard Cotes, for John Bellamy
and Philerion Stephens_ 1644."--The title of Palmer's is "_The Glasse of
God's Providence towards his Faithful Ones; Held forth in a Sermon,_ &c.
[occasion and date as in Hill's]; _wherein is discovered the great
failings that the best are liable unto, upon which God is provoked
sometimes to take vengeance. The whole is applyed specially to a more
carefull observance of our late Convenant, and particularly against the
ungodly Toleration pleaded for under pretence of Liberty of Conscience.
By, &c., London: Printed by G.M. for Th. Underhill at the Bible in Wood
Street,_ 1644." Neither sermon impresses one now very favourably in
respect of either spirit or ability. I expected Palmer's to be better.]

Not content with direct remonstrance to Parliament on the subject of the
increase of sects and heresies, nor with the power of exhorting it on the
subject through the pulpit, the Presbyterians of the Assembly, I find,
resorted to other agencies. They had great influence in the City, and it
occurred to them, or to some of them, to stir up the Stationers' Company
to activity in the matter. The Stationers, indeed, had a commercial
interest, as well as a religious interest, in the suppression of the
obnoxious books and pamphlets, most of which were published without the
legal formalities of licence and registration. It is without surprise
therefore that we find this entry in the Commons Journals for Saturday,
Aug. 24, 1644: "_Ordered_ that the Petition from the Company of
Stationers be read on Monday morning next," followed by this other as the
minute of the first business (after prayers) at the next sitting,
(Monday, Aug. 26): "The humble Petition of the Company of Stationers,
consisting of Booksellers, Printers, and Bookbinders, was this day read,
and ordered to be referred to the consideration of the Committee for
Printing, to hear all parties and to state the business, and to prepare
an Ordinance upon the whole matter and to bring it in with all convenient
speed; and they are, to this purpose, to peruse the Bill formerly brought
in concerning this matter. They are diligently to inquire out the
authors, printers, and publishers of the Pamphlets against the
Immortality of the Soul and _Concerning Divorce_." It had been
determined, it seems, that Palmer's denunciation of Milton in his sermon
a fortnight before should not be a _brutum fulmen_. To the incident, as
it affected Milton himself, we shall have to refer again. Meanwhile it
belongs to that stage of the action of the Westminster Assembly on
English politics which we are now trying to illustrate.

The Assembly, we have shown, besides still carrying on within itself the
main question between Presbyterianism and Congregationalism, had begun a
wider war against Schism, Sectarianism, the whole miscellany of English
heresies, and especially the all-including heresy of Toleration. They
opened the campaign, by private agreement among themselves, in August
1644; and by the end of that month they had succeeded in rousing
Parliament to some action on the subject, and had directed attention to
at least nine special offenders, deserving to be punished first of all.
These were--the Anabaptists, Picot and Hanserd Knollys; the Antinomians,
Penrose and Simson; the Antinomian and Familist, Randall; the Seeker and
Tolerationist, Roger Williams; the Independent, semi-Socinian, and
Tolerationist, John Goodwin; the Anti-Scripturist and Mortalist, Clement
Wrighter; and Mr. John Milton of Aldersgate Street, author of a Treatise
on Divorce. For, though the Committee of Parliament had been instructed
to inquire out the author of the Divorce Treatise, this was but a form.
The second edition, dedicated to the Parliament and the Assembly, and
with Milton's name to it in full, had been out more than six months. Of
the nine persons mentioned, only Clement Wrighter, the Mortalist (if
indeed the tract on _Man's Mortality_ was from his pen), had to be
found out.

Was there to be no check to this Presbyterian inquisitorship? Whence


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