« ZurückWeiter »
ters, or professors in the universities; provided the assignment to any one do not exceed one hundred pounds. It is further provided, that the maintenance of all incumbents shall not be less than one hundred pounds a year, and the commissioners of the great seal are empowered to enquire into the yearly value of all ecclesiastical livings, to which any cure of souls is annexed; and to certify into the court of Chancery, the names of the present incumbents who supply the cure, with their respective salaries ; how many chapels belong to parish churches, and how the sev. eral churches and chapels are supplied with preaching ministers ; that so some course may be taken for providing for a better maintenance where it is wanting. Dr. Walker says,* the value of bishops lands forfeited and sold amounted to a million of money; but though they sold very cheap, they that bought them had a very dear bargain in the end.
Upon debate of an ordinance concerning public worship, and church government, the house declared, that the presbyterial government should be the established government. And upon the question, whether tithes should be continu. ed, it was resolved, that they should not be taken away, till another maintenance equally large and honorable should be substituted in its room.
'The inhabitants of the principality of Wales were destitute of the means of christian knowledge, their language was little understood, their clergy were ignorant and idle ; so that they had hardly a sermon from one quarter of a year to another. The people had neither bibles nor catechisms; nor was there a sufficient maintenance for such as were capable of instructing them. The parliament taking the case of these people into consideration, passed an act, Feb. 22, 1649, for the better propagation and preaching of the gospel in Wales, for the ejecting scandalous ministers and school-masters, and redress of some grievances; to continue in force for three years.
What was done in pursuance of this ordinance will be related hereafter ; bat the parliament were so intent upon the affair of religion at this time, that Mr. Whitlocke says, they devoted Friday in every week to consult ways and means for promoting it.
* P. 14.
Nor did they confine themselves to England, but as soon as lieutenant-general Cromwell had reduced Ireland, the parliament passed an ordinance, March 8, 1619, for the encouragement of religion and learning in that country; “they invested all the manors and lands late of the arch: bishop of Dublin, and of the dean and chapter of St. Patrick, together with the parsonage of Trym belonging to the bishopric of Meath, in the hands of trustees, for the maintenance and support of Trinity college in Dublin; and for the creating, settling, and maintaining another college in the said city, and of a master, fellows, scholars, and public professors : and also for erecting a free-school, with a master, usher, scholars, and officers, in such manner as any five of the trustees, with the consent of the lord-lieutenant, shall direct and appoint. The lord-lieutenant to nominate the governor, masters, &c. and to appoint them their salaries; and the trustees, with the consent of the lord-lieutenant, shall draw up statutes and ordinances, to be confirmed by the parliament of England.”
The university of Dublin being thus revived, and put upon a new foot, the parliament sent over six of their most acceptable preachers to give it reputation, appointing them two hundred pounds a year out of the bishop's lands; and till that could be duly raised, to be paid out of the public revenues : and for their further encouragement, if they died in that service, their families were to be provided for. By these methods learning began to revive, and in a few years religion appeared with a better face than it had ever done before in that kingdom.
A prospect being opened for spreading the Christian re. ligion among the Indians, upon the borders of New-Eng. land, the parliament allowed a general collection throughout England, and erected a corporation for this service, who purchased an estate in land of between five and six hundred pounds a year; but on the restoration of King Charles II. the charter became void, and colonel Bedingfield, a roman catholic officer in the king's army, of whom à considerable part of the land was purchased, seized it for his own use, pretending he had sold it under the real value, in hopes of recovering it upon the king's return. In order to defeat the colonel's design, the society solicited
the king for a new charter, which they obtained by the interest of the lord chancellor. It bears date Feb. 7, in the 14th year of bis majesty's reign, and differs but little from the old one. The honorable Robert Boyle, Esq. was the first governor. They afterwards recovered colonel Bedingfield's estate, and are at this time in possession of about five hundred pounds a year, which they employ for the conversion of the Indians in America.
But all that the parliament could do was not sufficient to stop the mouths of the loyalists and discontented presbyterians; the pulpit and press sounded to sedition ; the latter brought forth invectives every week against the government; it was therefore resolved to lay a severe fine upon offenders of this kind, by an ordinance bearing date Sept. 20, 1619, the preamble to which sets forth, that " Whereas divers scandalous and seditious pamphlets are daily printed, and dispersed with officious industry by the malignant party, both at home and abroad, with a design to subvert the present government, and to take off the affections of the people from it, it is therefore ordained,
6 THAT the author of every seditious libel or pamphlet shall be fined ten pounds, or suffer forty days imprisonment. The printer five pounds, and his printing press to be broken. The bookseller forty shillings; the buyer twenty shillings, if he conceals it, and does not deliver it up to a justice of peace. It is further ordained, that no news-paper shall be printed, or sold without license, under the hand of the clerk of the parliament, or the secretary of the army, or such other person as the council of state shall appoint. No printing-presses are to be allowed but in London, and in the two universities. All printers are to enter into bonds of three hundred pounds, not to print any pamphlet against the state without license, as aforesaid; unless the author's or licenser's name, with the place of bis abode be prefixed. All importers of seditious pamphlets are to forfeit five pounds, for every such book or pamphlet. No books are to be landed in any other port but that of London, and to be viewed by the master and wardens of the company of stationers. This act to continue in force for two years."*
* Soobel, p. 88. Cap. 60. VOL. IV.
But the pulpit was no less dangerous than the press; the presbyterian ministers in their public prayers and sermons, especially on fast-days, keeping alive the discontents of the people. The government therefore, by an ordinance, abolished the monthly fast, which had subsisted for about seven years, and had been in a great measure a fast for strife and debate ; but declared at the same time, that they should appoint occasional fasts, from time to time for the future, as the providences of God should require. *
In the midst of all these disorders, there was a very great appearance of sobriety, both in city and country; the indefatigable pains of the presbyterian ministers in catechising, instructing, and visiting their parishioners, can never be sufficiently commended. The whole nation was civilized, and considerably improved in sound knowledge, though bishop Kennet and Mr. Eachard are pleased to say, thut heresies and blasphemies against heaven were sucelled up to a most prodigious height.
“ I know. (says Mr. Baxters ) you may meet with men, who will confidently affirm, that in these tiines all religion was trodden under foot, and that heresy and schism were the only piety; but I give warning to all ages, that they take heed, how they believe any, while they are speaking for the interest of their factions and opinions against their real or supposed adversaries." However, the parliament did what they could to suppress and discountenance all such extravagancies; and even the officers of the army, baving convicted one of their quarter-masters of blasphemy in a council of war, sentenced him to have his tongue bored through with an hot iron, his sword broke over his bead, and to be cashiered the army.
But bishop Kennet says, even the Turkish alcoran was coming in ; that it was translated into English, and said to be licensed by one of the ministers of London. Sad times! Was his lordship then afraid, that the alcoran would prevail against the bible ? or that the doctrines of Christ could not support themselves against the extravagant follies of an impostor? But the book did no harm, though the commons immediately published an order for suppressing it; and since the restitution of monarchy and episco* Whitlocke, p. 383.
$ Life, p. 86.
pacy, we have lived to see the life of Mahomet and his Koran published without mischief or offence.
His lordship adds, that the papists took advantage of the liberty of the times, who were never more numerous and busy; which is not very probable, because the parliament had banished all papists twenty miles from the city of London, and excepted them out of their acts of indulgence and toleration; the spirit of the people against popery was kept up to the height; the mob carried the pope's effigies in triumph, and burnt it publicly on Queen Elizabeth's birth-day; and the ministers in their pulpits pronounced him antichrist; but such is the zeal of this right reverend historian !!
In this place we may notice, that colonel Lilburne, who in the reign of Charles I. felt the severe effects of regal and episcopal anger, now incurred the displeasure of a republican government. On October 26, 1646, he was tried for transgressing the new statute of treasons enacted by the commonwealth. He was acquitted by the jury; and Westminster-hall, on the verdict being given, resounded with the acclamations of the people. A print wax struck on the occasion, representing him, standing at the bar on his trial : at the top of it was a medal of his head with this inscription, “ John Lilburne, saved by the power of the Lord, and the integrity of his jury, who are judges of law as well as fact, October 8, 1646." On the reverse were the names of the jury. He was a very popular character; as appears from the many petitions presented to the house in his favor, during his imprisonnent; one of which came from a number of women. When some were sent to seize his books, he persuaded them “ to look to their own liberties, and let his books alone;" and on his trial, he behaved with singular intrepidity. After he was discharged by the jary, he was, by the or der of parliament, committed to the Tower. He seems 10 have been a bold and consistent oppugner of tyranny, under whatever form of
gove ernment it was practised. He died a quaker, at Eltham, August 28, 1638. The following character was given of him by Sir Thomas Wortley, in a song, at the feast kept by the prisoners in the Tower, in Angust 1647.
« John Lilburne is a stirring blade,
And understands the matter;
Nor th' house of commons flatter.
But that deriv'd from Sion ;
Those two he looks awry on." Granger's History of England, vol. iii. p. 78, 8vo. Whitlocke's Mem, p. 383, 384, and 405. Dr. Grey, vol. i. p. 167, and vol. iji. p. 17. Ed