Project Canterbury

Lachrymae Ecclesiae

The Anglican Reformed Church and Her Clergy in the Days of Their Destitution and Suffering during the Great Rebellion in the Seventeenth Century.

By George Wyatt

London: W. J. Cleaver, 1844.

Chapter X. The inferior Clergy sufferers under Puritanical persecution

THE catalogue exhibited in the preceding chapter does not pretend to afford a list of all the Bishops who partook of the persecuting inflictions levelled by the Parliament against the Church. There were many others of that order, whose names and circumstances were less prominent and remarkable, but who were not less the objects of the faction's malice. Those whose characters are here alluded to may be considered as the most eminent and conspicuous, and it may tend to show with what unmitigated rancour the Puritanical Parliament would pursue the Church, when not even unimpeachable character, unqualified piety, eminent learning, and Christian charity could defend her bishops and ministers from spoliation and insult. It would seem indeed, that they who were the most pious, the most sound in doctrine, and the [235/236] most stedfast in loyalty, were selected to bear the heaviest burden of ill-usage. Some of the ac counts which Walker gives us of the sufferings of the inferior clergy are almost past belief, even after due allowance is made for that writer's strong and stubborn resentments against the Church's oppressors. That there were some of the Church party who gave as loose a rein to virulence and intemperance of language as their opponents, cannot be denied; nor indeed is it improbable that in some of their representations they may have drawn pictures far beyond sober truth and reason. This might indeed be expected where party spirit ran to so high an extreme as in the times we are now describing. But even in Walker's book, which, with all his coarseness of sentiment against Puritanism, is written with considerable caution and care lest any misrepresentation of fact should escape him, there is nothing told us of the personal sufferings of the clergy which is not entirely consistent with that rancourous and fanatical spirit against the Church, which, as we well know, from other and undoubted authorities, was rampant in the times of the Great Rebellion. Among the clergy, below the episcopal [236/237] bench, who suffered personally and individually in those troubles, none were more marked than those, whose names and characters will fill up the remainder of this chapter.

BARWICK (JOHN), B.D., Prebendary of Durham, and Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge.--A more ardent, judicious, and active friend to both Church and Monarchy never appeared in these trying times than this eminent person. No threats or inflictions of the rebel party could subdue or weaken his loyal and orthodox spirit. He was therefore, and entirely for the same reasons, soon deprived of his preferments; and when it was found that his judgment had suggested certain schemes of benefit to the King, and that matters of extreme difficulty and delicacy had thereby been managed with considerable success, Dr. Barwick became still more and more exposed to the jealousy and wrath of the faction. Soon therefore was his deprivation of preferment followed by close and loathsome imprisonment--a suffering which was inflicted on him at the instance of the Parliament, and which was exercised with so barbarous a spirit that he was, while in prison, allowed but a bare subsistence of bread and water. He bore his troubles with a Christian temper and [237/238] disposition, living by God's blessing through them all till the restoration of the monarchy, when he was deservedly rewarded with the deanery of St. Paul s, in the possession of which he died in 1664.

HITCH (WILLIAM), Priest Vicar of Ely Cathedral. There is a curious letter still extant from Cromwell to this clergyman, which affords a very striking picture of the arbitrary, off-hand manner in which the fanatics, when in the ascendant, worried and insulted the Church, and her officiating ministers. He writes, and lets Mr. Hitch know, "that if he would spare the soldiers attempting, in any tumultuary way, to reform the Cathedral Church, he must immediately forbear altogether the Church service, so unedifying and offensive." And further, "that if any disorders should arise there from, Hitch himself would be held responsible." Cromwell goes on further to advise this clergyman "to have more frequent preaching in the Cathedral, than had been usual there." If Mr. Hitch had been a less orthodox and intrepid minister than he was, he would, with something like a time-serving spirit or one of timidity, have succumbed to this surly threatening. But such appears not to have been the character of this humble servant of the Church. Notwithstanding [238/239] Cromwell's browbeating, Mr. Hitch proceeded with the service in his usual plain and orderly manner. Cromwell, with his rebel and rabble soldiers, then rudely enters the Cathedral--their heads still covered--their manner insulting and disorderly. He presents himself to Mr. Hitch with an air of authority, and commands the "assembly" (*. e. the congregation) to disperse. Mr. Hitch makes a pause. The usurper, with his creatures following him, proceed to the altar table. The clergyman still goes on with the service. Cromwell returns, and laying his hand passionately on his sword, expels by main force the officiating minister and his congregation, commanding him to "leave off his fooling and come down." The whole of this is too graphic a picture of the peculiar atrocities of these fanatical times to be at all exaggerated, or to be passed carelessly over; although it may be true that we are not informed of any other indignities or sufferings which might have been inflicted on Mr. Hitch. But what can be thought of the practical piety of these "godly" reformers, who can be guilty of such rude and impious intrusions? Let us place this instance by the side of that more consistent and veracious delineation of the character of genuine piety, [239/240] which the great and good Bishop Wilson has left behind him. "The pious see things in their true light; they enter the church with veneration, knowing it to be the house of God; they consider the preacher as God's messenger; the congregation as God's children; the sacraments as effectual means of grace, and inestimable blessings." The contrast is striking.

PETERSON (WILLIAM), D.D., Dean of Exeter, Rector of St. Breocks.--It will be remembered, that allusion has been made in the foregoing pages to the appointment of certain provincial committees by the Parliament, for the purposes of examining into the character and circumstances of country parishes and their ministers; how far they might or might not be fit subjects for removal and deprivation, and also for the purpose of ejecting such ministers forthwith, and supplying their places with such as were more congenial with the views and spirit of the fanatical Parliament. To the arbitrary dealings of one of these committees, Dr. Peterson owed the loss of his preferments. So unblamable and inoffensive was his character, that the Committee found it utterly impossible to substantiate any charge against him to justify their depriving him of his benefices. [240/241] Two witnesses, therefore, of loose and abandoned lives, were at length suborned for that purpose; and by a majority of one voice only in the committee, Dr. Peterson was expelled his preferments; his living was sequestered; he was treated by the sequestrators with extreme barbarity and insolence, turned out of his house at night with his wife and family, his goods seized or spoiled; and at length he was reduced to the necessity of selling one of his (only two) beds for present subsistence. Although, it had been too commonly the case, that some loose and unprincipled person might be found in almost every parish ready to aid the views of the Parliament, and thus swear away, before some of the committees, the rights and liberties, and sometimes the lives of the parochial clergy, yet in this case of Dr. Peterson, no one of his own parishioners could be found to appear against him. His only crime, therefore, in the eyes of the condemning committee, was his loyalty, his church affections, his pure and pious life. In the midst of his deep and bitter troubles, he at length found a friend in Sir William Courtney, of a high Devonshire family, who cherished and supported him during the remainder of the usurpation. He died in 1661.

[242] WALTON (BRYAN), D.D., Prebendary of St. Paul s, and Rector of Sandon in Essex.--This very extraordinary scholar, very eminent divine, and incomparable person, would surely, as one might have supposed, have been spared molestation by a "godly Parliament," had there been in that assembly, or in the nation at large in these times, any real taste or affection for sacred learning, or religious knowledge, or apostolical piety. In Bryan Walton, all these estimable qualities were richly displayed. But dissent and schism, sedition and heresy, in all their branches, are no congenial associates of such virtues, nor do we ever find that where an uncatholic or schismatical spirit prevails, there is any love or admiration left for sound learning or theological attainments. Rebels therefore against both church and monarch, the factious rulers of these days of national trouble and confusion would treat such men as Bryan Walton with no particular respect or indulgence. "Highly as he was valued for both his learning and his piety," yet on the breaking out of the rebellion he was summoned before the "blessed Parliament"--denounced as a delinquent--assaulted, and sequestered from his preferments--and finally obliged to fly for his safety. On one [242/243] occasion, he was pursued by certain parliamentary troops on horseback, and escaped only by concealing himself in a broom field; and it is confidently asserted by Walker, that death itself would have been then inflicted on him had he not taken refuge in Oxford, which at that tune was in pos session of the King's troops.

What rendered the name of Bryan Walton so eminently celebrated was,--independently of his own incomparable character for piety, orthodoxy, and loyalty,--the production of that vastly valuable and erudite work, the Biblia Polyglotta; and moreover that this work should have been effected in the midst of so much trouble and suffering as he, in common with many others of his clerical brethren, was then doomed to undergo.

Many learned persons--Ussher, Thorndike, Hammond, &c.--there were in those times, who gave him their countenance and aid, all living too, like himself, in secresy and retirement, driven away from their rightful possessions. Thus far, indeed, the now overwhelming and over-bearing faction were promoters of learning without intending to do anything so useful or so laudable--they obliged many of the most estimable and erudite to abandon their preferments, while they left them [243/244] too much leisure to pursue their studies, and too little substance to afford them maintenance, with out the aid of others benevolence and protection. Bryan Walton formed the design of the Polyglott Bible "while he was taking refuge in Oxford, and afterwards completed the work in about four years, while residing in retirement with his father-n-law in London, Dr. William Fuller. He lived to see the restoration of the monarchy, and was then made a chaplain to the King, being after wards raised to the See of Chester, "where" (says Walker, who is confirmed by Wood in his Athen. Oxon.) "he was received with a concourse of all the gentry and clergy both of the city and county, and with such acclamations of thousands of people as had never been known there before."

HEYLIN (PETER), D.D., Prebendary of Westminster, and Rector of Alresford and South Warnborough.--Dr. Heylin was a conspicuous person in these very troublous times; conspicuous as a zealous assertor of the rights and privileges of the Church, and as an irreconcileable enemy to the dissenters "a severe and vigorous opposer of rebels and schismatics," as Wood expresses it. [Athen. Oxon.] The [244/245] sufferings, therefore, of such a person as Dr. Heylin, under the persecutions of Puritanism, could not be expected to be very light. Being one of those who took a leading part against that teeth-gnashing enemy of the Church, William Prynne, Heylin became immediately a marked man for the vengeance of the factious Parliament. At first, and by reason of his own ingenuity, he escaped their intended inflictions, and retired to his living at Alresford, where he remained quiet till the rebellion actually broke out. But the eye of Puritanical rancour was still upon him, and so vigilantly was he watched and pursued, that he was at length obliged to fly for personal safety to the King at Oxford. Here indeed his person might be safe for a short season, but his property, rights, and privileges were not in such secure custody. The Parliament "voted him delinquent, and sequestered his prebend, his livings, his temporal property, with all his goods and chattels." Even his library was all seized and sold, and he was left in a state of utter destitution, and dependant on the benevolence of his friends. In this condition he became for many years a wanderer and a beggar from the house of one loyalist to that of another, frequently escaping in his progresses by [245/246] mere accident. After several removes of this kind he reached the house of a relative at a place called Minster Lovell in Oxfordshire. Here he remained in seclusion for a considerable time, his loyal spirit, and his orthodox sentiments being still unabated; whilst he gave frequent effect to both in the publication of many and very able writings in defence of the Church and the Crown. Heylin was the intimate friend of Archbishop Laud, and participated in the same church views and affections which distinguished that celebrated prelate. It does not however appear that Heylin, though of a similarly lofty and ardent spirit, had the same claims to our veneration for piety, and Christian patience and charity. What he did {in the matter of William Prynne, was chiefly to make a minute examination into the sentiments of that most atrocious and mischievous publication of his, called "Histrio Mastix," and to lay those sentiments more definitely and deliberately before the crown lawyers. If this might seem to be an invidious work for Heylin to undertake, it must be remembered that the poison, both political and religious, contained in that foul publication, was of so vicious and deleterious a nature, that to expose and provide an antidote for it was no less [246/247] an act of duty, than of zeal, in any loyal subject of the King, or in any orthodox friend of the Anglican Reformed Church. In this matter, therefore, there seems to be no more reason to charge Dr. Heylin with any breach of charity or of uprightness, than any one of the present day who may bestir him self to give some emphatic warning against certain moral or religious or physical poison, which wickedly disposed persons may be actively employed in disseminating. It was an honour, not a disgrace, to Dr. Heylin, that he should take this task upon him; and equally so, that the line of conduct he took should so highly have excited the wrath of a rebellious and schismatical Parliament.

In some of his other literary undertakings also, he shews considerable and very correct knowledge of the true nature of the Church Catholic. In controversy, it is true, he was hot and unsparing; nor was it indeed much the fashion of his day to treat an adversary on church matters with much courtesy or consideration. But Heylin's work, called a "History of the Sabbath," which he wrote in defence of Sunday recreations, and of King James most ill-judged and ignominious "Book of Sports," was certainly the most culpable, if not [247/248] the only culpable one, of all his productions. Such principles and sentiments as are therein broached would, if predominant, have given "perpetual occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme." While the Church herself was admonishing us, in the very words of holy writ, to "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy," this very "Book of Sports," and this crude and clumsy auxiliary to it from the pen of Dr. Heylin, was encouraging a contrary spirit, and all under the colour of holy scripture and religion, whilst the undisguised object was to embarrass and oppose the Puritans. [Appendix C.] It seems impossible to defend Dr. Heylin in this instance; for however fanatical and extravagant may have been the mode by which the Puritans would observe the Lord's Day, the other extreme to which the "Book-of-Sports" party would have led the people, was equally, if not more offensively, inconsistent. On many occasions, therefore, Heylin made himself conspicuously obnoxious to the Puritanical rulers of the day, and it is also too true, that he was made the victim of their virulent hatred and unsparing persecution. But he nevertheless outlived [248/249] all his troubles, and became in 1663 Sub-dean of Westminster.

HAMMOND (HENRY), D.D., Archdeacon of Chichester, Rector of Penshurst, Public Orator of Oxford University.--This was another of those divines whose singularly eminent piety, brilliant parts, sound theological learning, and unimpeachable personal character, threw so much lustre on the Anglican Reformed Church at these times, when her enemies were so hot against her. It is recorded of Dr. Hammond that, whilst he was Rector of Penshurst, it was his invariable custom to have daily prayers in his church, and the holy communion administered once in every month; and that he exercised an unbounded hospitality and charity to all around him. Such a man would fail not to excite the jealousy and envy of a party so little scrupulous as the fanatical faction now were to scandalize and afflict the true sons of the Church whenever an opportunity might offer. Dr. Hammond was too genuinely good to please the mere impassioned pretenders to godliness, and too honest and intelligent to be led astray from the Church by those whose aim was rather to annihilate her existence, than to heal her maladies, or correct her errors. From his very high [249/250] reputation as a theologian, the Parliament would gladly have enlisted him in the service of the "Committee of Religion," and their "Assembly .of Divines." They went so far indeed as to register his name in the list, but he could never he persuaded to take any part in such irregular and unauthorized proceedings. This, of course, would not he the way to acquire to himself the Parliament's good will, and accordingly it appears that so early in the rebellion as 1643 he was an object of Parliamentary wrath. He was threatened and reproached, not because he was negligent of his duty, not because he was in any way bad in character or conduct, or ignorant of his calling, but because he was loyal, and orthodox, and would not consent, under any sort of promises or intimidation, to change or relinquish his pastoral duties. At length he was compelled, for personal safety, to fly to friends houses for a home, till at length he reached, at Oxford, the house of his friend, Dr. Oliver, of Magdalen College. The King being then garrisoned in that University, Dr. Hammond--much too eminent a person to remain long concealed from observation--was soon made known to him. He was immediately elevated into a canonry of Christ Church, and became one of the [250/251] royal chaplains, the University also selecting him for their public orator.

On the Puritanical visitation being made to the University of Oxford, Dr. Hammond acted as sub-dean of Christ Church; nobly, firmly, but temperately resisting the Parliament's committee in their attempts at "reforming," i. e. upsetting the whole constitution of the University. Of course the Parliamentary powers then in being would not spare Dr. Hammond in the exercise of their vengeance. We find him therefore unceremoniously deprived of his canonry and his oratorship, and accused as a "delinquent" for refusing to submit to a pretended and assumed authority. He was confined a prisoner by a band of troopers in Christ Church College for upwards of ten weeks, and then only removed to another confinement. At length he was permitted to retire to the protection of a loyal friend, Sir John Packington, at Westwood in Worcestershire, where he died in 1660.

The character of Dr. Hammond stands preeminent for excellence of all kinds, moral, intellectual, learned, pious, and charitable; and so highly were his qualities appreciated by many, that it was with no small difficulty the University [251/252] of Oxford, when more healthy times returned, could find any one who had confidence enough to succeed so admirable a person in his preferments and offices.

UDAL (EPHRAIM), Rector of St. Augustine's, London.--If Walker's enumeration he correct, there were upwards of one hundred of the London clergy alone, deprived of their preferments by the puritanical Parliament. Mr. Udal appears to have been by no means the lightest sufferer in these calamities. He was, together with some others of equally upright views and wishes, at first, and before their real designs became more fully developed, friendly to the puritanical movement, conceiving that less secularity of spirit, and more piety than might then predominate among the general body of the clergy, would be far from an undesirable reformation in the working of the Church system. Many of the more honest and sober-spirited among the Puritans--for it was the turbulent and dishonest ones that created all the confusion and mischief in the country--so far approved of Mr. Udal, that they openly expressed a wish "all clergymen were like him." At length, when the party became factious in the Parliament, rebellious in the [252/253] country, and schismatical in the Church, Mr. Udal was no longer their adherent. He saw that their zeal was rebellion, that their piety was hypocrisy, that their church-reformation was church-destruction, anarchy, and sacrilege. He acted therefore upon the gospel principle of "separation" from such delinquencies--he "came out from among them"--he held himself "separate"--he no longer "touched the unclean thing." [See 2 Cor. vi. 17.] Making the discovery of the evil and demolishing views of the faction, he openly warns his own congregation against them. "They pretend," he says, "to desire truth and peace. Leave off your falsehoods, and you may then have truth--lay down your undutiful arms, and you may have peace." So strenuously did Mr. Udal advocate the cause of episcopacy, and the discipline and doctrines of the Anglican Reformed Church, both by his preachings and his writings, that "in the opinion of the schismatics, he had done quite enough to unsaint any man;" and "had St. Paul himself," writes Dr. Ryves, "been now in the flesh, and had he so preached against any of the sacrilege and anarchy then going on, there is no [253/254] doubt but that many of the fanatical madmen of those times would have readily come forward to petition against him." As to Mr. Udal, he was so highly esteemed by his parishioners, and was not only so pious and orthodox but also so attractive a preacher, that his church was even more crowded than those of the factious preachers and lecturers themselves; and it is easy to believe that such an one would not escape the envy and malice of that most ill-conditioned party. He was, therefore, no longer to be tolerated. He was deprived of his preferments, and was openly proscribed as one of the "scandalous" and "malignant" clergy. The offences laid to his charge were, that he had proclaimed the Puritans "as a band of hypocrites," and that "the Parliament, in abolishing episcopacy, and taking away the rights and property of deans and chapters, under pretence of maintaining thereby a preaching ministry, had been guilty of the crime of sacrilege, and most especially that the alienation of cathedral property under such a pretence, is a direct perversion of the will of the dead that originally gave it." But the mere sequestration of his preferment, and the publicly exposing him to popular scandal by openly proclaiming him as one of the "scandalous clergy," [254/255] was not thought sufficient punishment for such a man as Mr. Udal. His house and library were therefore given up to the plunderers, and although he himself was far advanced in years, and his strength exhausted with incessant labours among his flock, yet was he cast out of his own dwelling, and his infirm wife exposed in the open street to the inclemency of the weather, in order to make quick room for some more factious and fanatical minister, or to satisfy the graspings of his persecutors.

MICHELSON, (JOHN), D.D., Rector of Chelmsford.--Among other ordinances which the puritanical Parliament passed with a view to desecrate our ecclesiastical fabrics under the pretence of putting down superstition, was that which gave authority to the violent Iconoclasts of the day to "take away all scandalous pictures out of churches." No one possessing any genuine protestant feeling will deny the propriety of guarding our sacred fabrics from any thing really "scandalous," or which might be calculated to excite an idolatrous inclination in the beholder, or in any way inconsistent with the catholic animus which now reigns in the prescribed services of our Reformed Church. But the barbarous and indiscriminate rage with which the destroyers did their [255/256] work of demolition, whilst it bore testimony to their own abject and infatuated ignorance, evinced also a spirit of malicious and wanton sacrilege in no way required for the purpose which they pretended to have in view.

An infuriated band of these plunderers started up under the sanction of Parliament, in the town of Chelmsford, of which Dr. Michelson was then the rector. They proceeded with wild, intemperate fury to the fine old church of that town, making restless and unsparing havoc of all its architectural beauties, and "with long poles and stones beat in the fair large window at the east end of the church." All this would naturally awaken the wrath, as well as the grief, of so sound, pious, and faithful a churchman as Dr. Michelson is represented to have been. He therefore took the earliest opportunity of addressing his congregation from the pulpit on the sin of sacrilege, rebellion, and schism. Rightly pointed and merited his admonitions may have been, but the only effect which followed was, a repetition of the tumult with redoubled fury and determination--the intrepid rector himself was personally assaulted, both in his own house and in his pulpit--his surplice torn from his back--the usual ignominious and insulting language [256/257] addressed to him--and his administration of even the holy communion interrupted by every kind of rude and tumultuous disturbance.

All this was the work, not of his own parishioners in general, but of a knot of troublesome, restless sectaries, which had long been patronized by the Parliament, under whose protection they had indulged in excesses of that description. For a considerable time, his more orderly and right-thinking parishioners had successfully resisted these unseemly doings of the fanatics; but at length the usual iron instrument of power and oppression which the Parliament now so readily wielded--viz. troops of soldiers--carried its influence to the town of Chelmsford, and under this rabid sort of despotism, the work of demolition and sacrilege went on with no further interruption. These turbulent reformers insisted on Dr. Michelson ceasing to pray for Bishops--commanded the Book of Common Prayer to be with drawn from the Church--sat in the consecrated place during service with their hats on--muttered, groaned, and reviled aloud at what fell from the lips of the officiating clergyman--and would fain have hurled him down into a grave at the burial of a corpse, as a fit retribution, to their [257/258] thinking, for using the service appointed by the Prayer Book on such occasions. To his last and utmost strength, did Dr. Michelson resist these scandalous encroachments, till he was at length "worried out of his living," as Walker expresses it, and obliged to fly for his life. His family were left at the mercy of the rebels, and suffered the extremes of want and misery. He was him self afterwards wholly sequestered from all profits of his living, and was for some tune incarcerated in the house of correction. The charity and benevolence of his friends supported him through all his troubles, and he hived to be restored to his preferments, and died in 1674.

ROBINSON (HENRY), B.D., Vicar of Leeds.--Here we have another instance of deliberate defection from the ranks of Puritanism, arising from unqualified disgust at the seditious, rebellious, schismatical principles which he soon perceived to be mixed up with all their designs and doings. There were confessedly many irregularities and neglects chargeable perhaps on the administrators and governors of church matters, which stood much in need of reformation. It was no impeachment of a man's church-faithfulness or his church-affections, that he should show an active desire and [258/259] zeal in accomplishing such an object, and it is well known that many were induced at first to associate themselves with the Puritans, from believing that that party had no other purpose in view but the good of the Reformed and Protestant Church.

Mr. Robinson, then Vicar of Leeds, seems to have been of this class. So long as the Puritans or the Parliament pursued measures of honest, wholesome reformation in the Church, he goes along with them. But as soon as he finds them pursuing a contrary course, and furiously bent on demolition, instead of steadily and soberly reforming abuses, he quits them. He therefore becomes another of those selected men who were marked out for peculiar severity of treatment. The town of Leeds falls into the hands of the Parliament's soldiers, and the vicar is obliged to fly for his life. His living is placed under immediate sequestration, and he, having now no settled abode, flies for refuge to where the King's garrison and forces lay. Sometimes he found a home among those loyal and worthy gentlemen who still remained quiet in the county, still true to their Church and their King, and whose houses very often afforded an asylum to the persecuted and ejected clergy.

[260] The Vicar of Leeds, however, was much too important and dangerous an enemy to the Puritanical excesses now so prevalent in the nation, to he suffered to remain long or quietly in seclusion, if he could but he anywhere discovered. Great searches were made for him, till at length he was apprehended and committed to prison. An incident occurred there which, whilst he became thereby a great bodily sufferer, contributed much to establish the honorable reputation of his name. While in prison an accident befel him which broke his arm. His wife, hoping this might tend to soften the hearts of his persecutors, represented the case to the men then in power. But her suit was rejected, and she was told--the honest truth, no doubt--that "her husband was a learned and godly man, and of a blameless life, and therefore his example was a great hindrance to the cause of the Parliament's views and purposes."

So intense and ever-wakeful was the zeal with which the Parliament pursued their destructive and malicious measures against the Church, that it seems to have worked in the minds of the faction altogether, a complete perversion of both intellect and feeling. Wherever there was honest and ardent loyalty to be found--wherever there [260/261] was any Christian grace of character, or any Church affections, producing sound piety and dutiful obedience--there these Puritanical zealots and rulers could see nothing but enemies, suspected characters, or troublesome opponents. What was in reality good, they took for evil--what was light, they took for darkness--what was sweet, they took for bitter; so that for a time, those that were most estimable hi character, and sound in doctrine, were held in open and insolent subjection to those, who were the destroyers and perverters of all. The laity as well as the clergy, the fairer as well as the rougher sex, if they still retained their loyal principles and their church attachments, found neither mercy nor courtesy at the hands of the hot and rebellious spoilers of the day. It is related, in a short account which Walker has given us of Mr. Robinson's sufferings, that two amiable Christian ladies, and unshaken loyalists, had been rudely held up to public suspicion and scandal, by the very chairman himself of the Quarter Sessions, for giving benevolent succour to distressed and destitute clergymen, the Vicar of Leeds being one of them. This courteous chairman's unbecoming conduct reached the ears of these ladies, who with much ingenuity and [261/262] spirit retorted it upon him at an accidental private interview. He was not prepared for such a rebuke, and was put by it to an awkward confusion. The ladies pressed their expostulations so far as to say, "Is this fair play, Mr. Chairman, to thrust poor clergymen out of their house and harbour, and then by your learned speeches to set a mark upon them as vagabonds?"

HALES (JOHN), M.A., Canon of Windsor, and Fellow of Eton.--There was scarcely to be found among the clergy of these times of the Great Rebellion, one more eminent for learning, saga city, and high character than this John Hales, although it has so happened that none of his writings, which were numerous, have attained any conspicuous celebrity. It is from the evidence therefore of historical writers of the times when he lived that we learn so much of his fame, and not from any productions of his own, nor indeed from any doings or incidents of his life. What Walker relates of him is amply confirmed by Wood in his "Athenae Oxonienses;" and we there find that Hales early in life was in some measure sceptical in his religious opinions, but so eminently learned, that he was called "the walking library." Chillingworth was his friend, and gladly derived [262/263] no small assistance from him in his great work, called the "Religion of Protestants." By this acquaintance Mr. Hales became afterwards known to Archbishop Laud, who held many and most important discussions with him on subjects of catholic and apostolic truth. Laud was the means of bringing him into a settled and enlightened conviction of the doctrines of the Reformed Church of England, insomuch that Hales was made after wards a Canon of Windsor, and Fellow of Eton College.

It was at one time thought that he was inclined to Puritanism, and the leaders of that party would fain have claimed him as one of themselves. But however he might be at one time disposed to attach himself to no party in his religious opinions, lie was not long in discovering the utter futility and mischief of both the doctrines and the doings of the Puritans. He became a sound, orthodox churchman, on high and enlightened principles; on elaborate and serious investigation; and on deep conviction. the "blessed Parliament" therefore got no other countenance from him but contempt and indifference. Of course the factious rulers of the nation deprived such an one of his preferments, but he was at no loss to find [263/264] friends to receive and support him. Too glad, indeed, and proud were many of them to obtain the advantage of having so unusually gifted a person in their families. Several offers of emolument he declined to accept, being most of all fond of privacy, and liberty for study; and so contemptuously did he feel towards the factious Parliament, that when the individual, by name Penwarden, whom they had made to succeed him in his fellowship at Eton, felt a misgiving of conscience--highly honourable in Penwarden him self, but very incongenial with the general spirit and behaviour of his party--in retaining the rightful possessions of so eminent and revered a person as Mr. Hales, and made an offer of returning it to his hands, he resolutely refused the offer with a declaration, that "as the Parliament had put him out, he was resolved never to be put in again by them." He found in his old age a decent and comfortable asylum in the house of a former faithful servant, and dying in utter poverty, through the unmitigated persecution of the times, he was buried in the church-yard at Eton College in 1656.

CHESTLYN (EGBERT), M.A., Rector of St. Matthew's, Friday Street, London.--This is another [264/265] case of the London clergy, and contains some features indicating the peculiar temper of the times. In the first place, this preferment was formerly held by that furious Puritan, Henry Burton, the coadjutor of Prynne and Bastwick.[See Chapter I.] Burton had many followers among his old parishioners; and those who were yet living, still retained all their former fanaticism, and their rancour against the loyal and orthodox clergy. To succeed, therefore, to a living which had so recently been occupied by so popular, though violent and mischievous a person as Burton, was an undertaking of no inconsiderable hazard and arduousness. Very soon did Mr. Chestlyn begin to feel the full effect of this embarrassment. No effort was left untried to eject him, so as to make room for the return of Burton to his old position. The factious and fanatical Parliament was, of course, peculiarly friendly to all such mischievous machinations. Mr. Chestlyn found it next to impossible to maintain his rights, or scarcely even his bare subsistence, so active, uncompromising, and furious was the combination of the Burtonites against him. He at length [265/266] petitioned the Lord Mayor for his protection and authority, but that restless and unmerciful Puritan, Alderman Pennington, never ceased his opposition, at once malicious and insolent, against Mr. Chestlyn's claims. The Lord Mayor nevertheless gave his decision in favour of them. But there was a towering, persecuting spirit alive among the faction in this parish, which defied all legal authority, should it be exercised in favour of the Church and clergy--and so it came to pass that, in spite of the Lord Mayor's decision in Chestlyn's favour, his rights and dues were still withheld from him, and every other means, regardless of truth, charity, or justice, was resorted to for accomplishing his ejectment from his home and his possessions. He was reviled openly in the streets as a "malignant," as a Papist, as a preacher of false doctrine, as an enemy to religion; and those sober-thinking and right-thinking persons who still continued to form his congregation were publicly warned against the awful danger of following so contaminated a preacher. At length Mr. Chestlyn had an interval of peace, owing to the decease of the leader of those in opposition to him. But this interval continued not long. The same virulent spirit of hatred to the Church remained among the people, [266/267] and there was not long wanting a new leader of the Burtonites. By pertinacious efforts and agitation on their parts, Burton was at length authorized by the Parliament to occupy Mr. Chestlyn's pulpit as the appointed "Lecturer" of the parish. This of course was not likely to enhance the comforts or peace of mind of the legitimate rector, and consequently we find that the fury against him drove him at length from his benefice. He was brought as a "delinquent" before the Committee for Plundered Ministers, deprived of his preferment, and was eventually succeeded by Burton. As a declared "malignant," and an enemy to the Parliament, he was at length committed to prison. From this confinement he contrived to make his escape, and joined the King's company at Oxford, but it is not known of him whether or not he survived the troubles, and witnessed the restoration.

OSBALDISTON (LAMBERT), M.A., Rector of Wheathampstead, Herts., and Prebendary of Wells.--This was the person in whose favour a lucky exception was made by order of the Parliament, when the rest of the clergy belonging to the Abbey Church at Westminster were condemned as "delinquents," to suffer the loss of their [267/268] offices, profits, and rights, "Mr. Osbaldiston excepted. [See Page 57.]

We shall now see a little more of this favoured individual, and on what grounds he was so marked out for the Parliament's peculiar protection. It may seem strange that such an one should have a place in the list of the "suffering clergy." So however it was, as we shall presently see; and what makes his case so remarkable is this, that he was a sufferer, and a great one, both from the more orthodox and loyal party, and from the Puritanical one. Previously to the breaking out of the Rebellion, and the commencement of the "Long Parliament," (November 1640,) Mr. Osbaldiston, at that time a Prebendary of Westminster, and Head Master of Westminster School, attached himself to the cause of Archbishop Williams in his controversy with Laud. This was enough to make Osbaldiston a favourite with the restless Puritanical Faction, at that time not yet in the ascendant, though stirringly progressing towards it and it was also enough to make him obnoxious to the Church and the State, and in their estimation a dangerous and suspected [268/269] person. At length he carried his conduct against Laud and the Reformed Church so far, that he was condemned by the Star Chamber to the loss of his spiritualities, as well as to the loss of his ears in the pillory. This latter part of his sentence, however, he avoided by flying to the continent. But his lot was somewhat changed for the better when the Rebellion commenced, and when Laud's enemies, who were also the enemies both of the King and the Church, attained to so great an influence in the Parliament. These people gladly restored Osbaldiston to his preferments and his rights, thinking no doubt that one who had so openly opposed Archbishop Laud would necessarily become a trusty and hearty ally in their fanatical projects and excesses. It was under this impression that the Parliament showed him so much favour and indulgence when the Abbey Church at Westminster was sacrilegiously spoiled of her possessions and privileges--all the members of that institution were to suffer, "Mr. Osbaldiston excepted." No doubt this was, on such an occasion and at such a period, a turn of good fortune lo him. But the faction seem, after all, to have either over-rated or misconceived his principles. He seems to have had more [269/270] discernment, and more uprightness of spirit than they had reckoned upon. He had gone along with the Puritans so long as they appeared to him to work for the honest correction of defects or errors in the Church; but when he saw the mad and furious spirit of extermination and destruction which directed their course, he wisely repented for the aid he had given them--resolutely (as many others did, to whose case we have already alluded) "came out from among them," and no longer would continue to "partake of their sin." He joined himself to the King and the Church, but not without suffering much for his honest intrepidity and his good conscience. He was after wards deprived of all his preferments, and lived in retirement and obscurity till 1659, when he died, leaving behind him no small reputation for learning and ability.

SQUIRE (JOHN), M.A., Vicar of Shoreditch.--We must refrain from enlarging any further than this the catalogue of the London clergy, who were more or less mixed up with those who suffered from the persecution of these times. The catalogue itself would fill a moderate sized volume. But the case of Mr. Squire is too interesting to be allowed to be passed over in silence. We learn [270/271] from Walker's account, that soon after his accession to the living of Shoreditch the number of his communicants increased to three thousand that he was the peacemaker in all parochial disputings and jarrings--that he was indefatigable in visiting the sick, and in the dispensation of alms--and consequently that no one could be more beloved by his people than he was.

As to the administration of the rites and the worship of the Church, his was a model of correctness and solemnity, the admiration of all well-instructed and honest churchmen, which was evinced by the regard entertained for him by the primate Laud. His allegiance, in short, both to Church and Monarchy was steadfast and unqualified, and in every way becoming a sound and sincere Christian. But these, nevertheless, were the things which caused his temporal ruin. The Puritanical storm, which now raged so unsparingly against all men of his irreproachable class, soon gathered thickly and peculiarly upon him--the "rascally part of his parish" (as Walker expresses it) "beginning the dance." Seeing the wholesome influence, which his ardent zeal for the Apostolical Church, and his loyalty towards the King, had upon many of his people, the "rascally part" [271/272] petition the Parliament for the appointment of a "lecturer" in the parish, hoping thereby to counteract the loyalty of the one by the sedition of the other. Too well was that unrighteous object attained. The parishioners hoped to exclude the herald of rebellion and heresy by choosing their faithful pastor, but that election was set aside, and a New England fanatic was foisted in upon the people as lecturer. The good vicar was sequestered and imprisoned; a deaf ear and a hard heart being turned against a most solemn petition in his favour, signed by a very large portion of his parish, who well appreciated his manifold excellences and claims. Great and openly manifest was the grief with which vast numbers of his people witnessed the cruelties and abominations heaped upon him by the Puritanical tyrants of the day. Upon obtaining his liberty upon bail, when his several confinements had amounted to the space of three years, his honest parishioners were so rejoiced that they celebrated their vicar's release by making above twenty bonfires, to their obvious hazard in such distracted times.

Shoreditch indeed obtained an eminence--a "bad eminence"--in these works of rebellion and church-hatred. The foul spirit which so [272/273] abundantly reigned there during these Puritanical distractions was not surpassed in its baseness by any other parish. But it is still more grievous that, even in our own present times, when gospel light, and Christian peace, and moral courtesy are extending a more kindly influence among us, the parish of Shoreditch should still remain as one of the strongholds of that atrocious, malignant, and satanic spirit. Right good sense, and good feeling, no doubt is to be found in certain portions of that district; but recent events, even within the very walls of the Church itself most painful to contemplate, and most distressing to an anxious pastor have too manifestly shown the high predominance of the bad feeling. These indeed are grievances, from which it behoves a Christian legislature if no other means exist to relieve the sacred edifice.

CHILLINGWORTH (WILLIAM), M.A., Chancellor of Salisbury.--This was a man of such exalted reputation for learning, piety, and uprightness possessing a name so well known and distinguished in the annals of literary as well as religious history that it might seem almost superfluous on the present occasion to enter into any of the incidents of his career. He was, however by no means [273/274] among the most insignificant of the sufferers under Puritanical persecution.

In early life he gave himself up to Popery; but reflection and examination--and no one was ever endowed with finer intellectual powers for such exercises--soon taught him the fallacy and untenableness of that system, and being greatly aided by the arguments and teaching of Archbishop Laud, he openly renounced the Church of Rome, and embraced the tenets of the Church of Eng land, in whose defence he afterwards wrote that renowned and enlightened work, called "The Religion of Protestants." When the civil wars broke out, he suffered much for the King's cause, and was forced to fly from place to place for safety. On one occasion, where his person happened to be recognized, the fanatical clergy themselves, who were attached to the Parliament army, persecuted him with all manner of inhumanity. This seems to have affected him deeply, and to have been the ultimate occasion of his death. Through the intercession of one of those clergy, Dr. Cheynell, the Rector of Petworth, a little more reasonable and benevolent than the generality of that class, he was carried in great sickness to the Bishop's palace at Chichester, instead of being in [274/275] common with some others of the loyal party consigned to Newgate. At the palace he breathed his last.

But the sour, malicious spirit of the faction broke out against his name and reputation even at the moment of his burial, and in a way which might hardly be credible, were it not too well vouched for in the page of history. Dr. Cheynell stood ready at the grave to receive the body, no service, according to the laws of the Directory--the Puritanical liturgy now in use--being read over it. As soon as the corpse was deposited, Cheynell took the celebrated production of Chillingworth, "The Religion of Protestants," and roughly threw it down upon the coffin, with this savage exclamation, "Get thee gone, thou cursed book, which has seduced so many precious souls; get thee gone, thou corrupt and rotten book; earth to earth, dust to dust. Get thee gone into the place of rottenness, that thou mayest rot with thy author, and see corruption."

On this specimen of Puritanical piety and charity, no other comment need be made but this, that however singular this particular occurrence may have been, there was no singularity in [275/276] the spirit which it displayed--a spirit which had now spread its baneful influence through the length and breadth of the land.

It seems superfluous therefore now to enlarge this catalogue of sufferers and victims, however easily that might be done by many hundreds or even thousands of instances. It would be but a repetition of similar enormities and inflictions, under only a greater variety of names and persons. Walker's list, it is true, recounts many tales of savage barbarity, practised by the puritanical Parliament, and their servile committees, upon the loyal and legitimate clergy. But how ever it may be the fact, that such was the general nature of the treatment which was dealt out to those unfortunate persons; and however true, that some of them might be too justly chargeable, in those turbulent and irregular times, with negligence and immorality; yet it is equally true, that Walker's narratives are mixed up with too much coarseness of sentiment, so that the perusal of them becomes rather an irksome and repulsive task, than an inviting and interesting occupation. We may therefore complete the whole structure of facts on this occasion, by the more chastened and [276/277] touching language of the "Eikon Basilike," or "The pourtraicture of his sacred Majestic in his solitudes and sufferings;" where we shall find the following sagacious observations in allusion to the upsetting of the Church and the Liturgy. [The fact of Charles 1st having been the real author of the "Eikon Basilike" has more than once been called in question. Some have endeavoured to prove that it was written by Dr. Gauden, Bishop of Worcester; but Dr. Wordsworth, in his very elaborate, and yet very entertaining and interesting treatise on the subject, seems at length to have so completely substantiated the question in favour of the King, that it is no longer easy to doubt it No work of modern times, not even Paley's "Horae Paulinae," can surpass the sagacity, patience, and discrimination of Dr. Wordsworth's production.] "The main reformation intended is the abasing of episcopacy into presbytery, and the robbing of the Church of its lands and revenues; for no men have been more injuriously used, as to their legal rights, than the bishops and churchmen. Those, as the fattest deer, must be destroyed; the other rascal herd of schisms and heresies, being lean, may enjoy the benefit of toleration. Thus Naboth's vineyard made him the only blasphemer of his city fit to die."

Here then we finish the picture. It has been [277/278] one of somewhat dreary aspect--the shadows more conspicuous than the lights--dark, furious fanaticism trampling savagely over God's heritage and the rights of His people. We shall attempt a few reflections, in the subsequent chapter, upon this eventful portion of Church history.

Project Canterbury