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favourable to his views than the Episcopal hierarchy; as the former exhibits a kind of republic which is administered by various rules of equal authority ; while the latter approaches much nearer to the spirit and genius of monarchy. The very name of a republic, synod, or council, was odious to James, who dreaded every thing that had a popular aspect; hence he distinguished the bishops with peculiar marks of his favour, extended their authority, increased their prerogatives, and publicly adopted and inculcated the following maxim, “No bishop, no king.” At the same time, as the church of England had not yet abandoned the Calvinistical doctrines of predestination and grace, he also adhered to them for some time, and gave his theological representatives, in the synod of Dort, an order to join in the condemnation of the sentiments of Arminius in relation to these deep and intricate points. Abbot, archbishop of Canterbury, a man of remarkable gravity,' and eminent
O Lord Clarendon says, in his bistory of the rebellion, that " Abbot was a man of very morose manners, and of a very sour aspect, wbich at that time was called gravity.” If, in general, we strike a medium beiween what Clarendon and Neal say of this prelate, we shall probably arrive at the true knowledge of his character. See the History of the Rebellion, vol. i. p. 88, and Neal's History of the Puritans, vol. ii. p. 243. It is certain, that nothing can be more unjust and partial than Clarendon's account of this eminent prelate, particularly when he says, that he neither understood nor regarded the constitution of the church. But it is too much the custom of this writer, and others of his stamp, to give the denomination of latitudinarian indifference to that charity, prudence, and moderation, by which alone the best interests of the church, though not the personal views of inany of its ambitious members, can be established upon firm and permanent foundations. Abbot would have been reckoned a good churchman by some, if he had breathed that spirit of despotism and violence, which, being essentially incompatible with the spirit and character of a people, not only free, but jealous of their liberty, has often endangered the church, by exciting that resentment which always renders opposition excessive. Abbot was so far from being indifferent about the constitution of the church, or inclined to the Presbyterian discipline, as this noble author affirms in his History of the Rebellion, that it was by his zeal and dexterity that the clergy of Scotland, who had refused to admit tbe bishope as moderators in their church synods, were brought to a more tractable temper, and things put into such a situation as afterward produced the entire establishment of the episcopal order in that nation. It is true, that Abbot's zeal in this affair was conducted with great prudence and moderation, and it was by these that his zeal was rendered successful. Nor have these his transactions in Scotland, where he went as chaplain to the lord high treasurer Dunbar, been sufficiently attended to by, historians ; nay, they seem to have been entirely unknown to some, who have pretended to depreciate the conduct and principles of this virtuous and excellent prelate. King James, who had been so zealous a Presbyterian, in appearance, before his accession to the crown of England, had scarcely set his foot out of Scotland, when he conceived the design of restoring the ancient form of Episcopal government in that kingdom: and it was Abbot's transactions there that brought him to that high favour with the king, wbich, in the space of little more than three years, raised him from the deanery of Winchester to the see of Canterbury. For it was by Abbot's mild and prudent counsels, that Dunbar procured that famous act of the General Assembly of Scotland, by which it was provided, “ that the king should have the calling of all general assemblies ; that the bishops, or their deputies, should be perpetual moderators of the diocesan synods ; that no excommunication should be pronounced without their approbation ; that all presentations of benefices should be made by them; that the deprivation or suspension of ministers should belong to them ; that the visitation of the diocess should be performed by the bishop
zeal, both for civil and religious liberty, whose lenity toward their ancestors the puritans still celebrate in the highest strains, used his utmost endeavours to confirm the king in the principles of Calvinism, to which he himself was thoroughly attached. But scarcely had the British divines returned from the synod of Dort, and given an account of the laws that had been enacted, and the doctrines that had been established by that famous assembly, than the king, together with the greatest part of the episcopal clergy, discovered in the strongest terms, their dislike of these proceedings, and judged the sentiments of Arminius, relating to the divine decrees, preferable to those of Gomarus and Calvin. This sudden and unexpected change in the theor his deputy only; and that the bishop should be moderator of all conventions for exercisings or prophesyings, i. e. preaching, within their bounds.” See Calderwood's True History of the Church of Scotland, fol. 1680, 588, 589. Heylen's History of the Presbyterians, p. 381, 382, and, above all, Speed's History of Great Britain, book x. fol. 1227. The writers who seem the least disposed to speak favourably of this wise and good prelate, bear testimony nevertheless to his eminent piety, his exemplary conversation, and his indexible probity and integrity; and it may be said with truth, that, if his moderate measures had been pursued, the liberties of England would have been secured, popery discountenanced, and the church psevented from running into those excesses which afterward proved so fatal to it. If Abbot's candour failed him on any occasion, it was in the representations, which his rigid attachment, not to the discipline, but to the doctrinal tenets of Calvinism, led him to give of the Arminian doctors. There is a remarkable instance of this in a letter of his to Sir Ralph Winwood, dated at Cambeth, the 1st of June, 1613, and occasioned by the arrival of Grotius in England, who had been expressly sent from Holland, by the Remonstrants or Arminians, to mitigate the king's displeasure and antipathy against that party. In this letter, the archbishop represents Grotius, with whom he certainly was not worthy to be named, either in point of learning, sagacity, or judgment, as a pedant; and mentions, with a big4. degree of complaisance and approbation, the absurd and impertinent judgment of some civilians and divines, who called this immortal ornament of the republic of letters, a smatterer and a simple fellow. See Winwood's Memorials, vol. iii. p. 459.
g See Anton. Wood, Athena Oxoniens. tom. i. p. 583. Neal's History of the Puritans, vol.ii. ch. iv. p. 342. Clarendon's History of the Rebellion, vol. i.
h See Heylen's History of the Five Articles. Neal, ibid. vol. ii. ch. ii. p. 117. This latter author tells us, that the following verses were made in England, with a design to pour contempt on the synod of Dort, and to turn its proceedings into ridicule ;
“ Dordrechti Synodus, Nodus; Chorus Integer, Æger;
Coventus, Ventus ; Sessio, Stramen. Amen!"* With respect to James, those who are desirous of forming a just idea of the character, proceedings, and theological fickleness and inconstancy of that monarch, must peruse the writer of English history, more especially Larrey and Rapin Thoyras. The greatest part of these writers tell us, that, toward the latter end of his days, James, after having deserted from the Calvinists to the Arminians, began to discover a singular propensity toward Popery; and they affirm positively, that he entertained the most ardent desire of bringing about a union between the church of England and the church of Rome. In tbis, however, these writers seem to have gone too far; for
D* It would be a difficult, nay, an insurmountable task, to justify all the proceedings of the synod of Dort; and it were much to be wished, that they had been more conformable to the spirit of Christian
charity, than the representations of history, impartially weighed, show them to have been. We are not, however, to conclude, from the insipid monkish lines here quoted by Dr. Mosheim, that the transactions and decisions of that gynod were universally condemned or despised in England. It had its partisans in the established church, as well as among the puritans; and its decisions, in point of doctrine, were looked upon by many, and not without reason, as agreeable to the tenor of the Book of Articles established by law in the Church of England.
ological opinions of the court and clergy, was certainly owing to a variety of reasons, as will appear evident to those who have any acquaintance with the spirit and transactions of these times. The principal one, if we are not deceived, must be sought in the plans of a further reformation of the church of England, that were proposed by several eminent ecclesiastics, whose intention was to bring it to as near a resemblance as was possible of the primitive church. And every one knows, that the peculiar doctrines, to which the victory was assigned by the synod of Dort, were absolutely unknown in the first ages of the Christian church. Be that as it may, this change was fatal to the interests of the puritans; for, the king being indisposed to the opinions and institutions of Calvinism, the
though many of the proceedings of this injudicious prince deserve justly the sharpest censure, yet it is both rash and unjust to accuse him of a design to introduce Popery into England. It is not to be believed, that a prince, who aspired after arbitrary power and uncontrolled dominion, could ever have entertained a thought of submitting to the yoke of the Roman pontiff.* The truth of the matter seems to be this, that toward the latter end of his reign, James began to have less aversion to the doctrines and rites of the Romisb church, and permitted certain religious observances, that were conformable to the spirit of that church, to be used in England. This conduct was founded upon a manner of reasoning, which he had learned from several bishops of bis time, viz. that the primitive church is the model which all Christian churches ought to imitate in doctrine and worship ; that, in proportion as any church approaches to this primitive standard of truth and purity, it must become proportionably pure and persect; and that the Romish church retained more of the spiril and manner of the primitive church than the Puritan or Calvinist churches. It of these three propositions, the two first are undoubtedly true, and the last is as evidently and demonstrably false. Beside, this makes nothing to the argument; for as James bad a manifest aversion to the Puritans, it could, in his eyes, he no very great recommendation of the Romish church, that it surpassed that of the Puritans in doctrine and discipline.
IP i Dr. Mosheim has annexed the following note to this passage ; " Perhaps the king entered into these ecclesiastical proceedings with the more readiness, when he reflected on the civil commotions and tumults that an attachment to the Presbyterian religion had occasioned in Scotland. There are also some circumstances that intimate plainly enough, that James, before his accession to the crown of England, was very far from having an aversion to Popery.” Thus far the note of our author, and whoever looks into the Historical Viero of the Nogotiations between the Courts of England, France, and Brussels, from the year 1592, to 1617, extracted from the MS. State Papers of Sir Thomas Edmondes and Anthony Bacon, Esq. and published in the year 1749, by the learned and judicious Dr. Birch, will be persuaded that, toward the year 1595, this fickle and unsteady prince had really formed a design to embrace the faith of Rome. See, in the curious collection now mentioned, the postscript of a letter from Sir Thomas Edmondes to the lord high treasurer, dated the 20th of December, 1595. We learn also, from the Memoirs of Sir Ralph Winwoad, tbat, in the year 1596, James sent Mr. Ogilby, a Scots baron, into Spain, to assure his Catholic majesty, that he was then ready and resolved to embrace Popery, and to propose an alliance with that king and the pope against the queen of England. See State Tracts, vol. i. p. 1. See also an extract from a letter from Tobie Matthew, D.D. dean of Durham, to the lord treasurer, Burleigh, containing an information of Scotch affairs, in Strype's Annals, vol. iv. p. 201. Above all, see Harris's Historical and Crilical Account of the Life and Writings of James I. p. 29, note (N.) This last writer may be added to Larrey and Rapin, who have exposed the pliability and inconsistency of this self-sufficient monarch.
* This remark is confuted by fact, observation, and the perpetnal contradictions that are observahle in the condnct of men ; beside, see the note i.
ritans were left without defence, and exposed anew to the animosity and hatred of their adversaries, which had been, for some time, suspended; but now broke out with redoubled vehemence, and at length kindled a religious war, whose consequences were deplorable beyond expression. In the year 1625, died James 1. the bitterest enemy of the doctrine and discipline of the puritans, to which he had been in his youth most warmly attached; the most inflexible and ardent patron of the Arminians, in whose ruin and condemnation in Holland he had been singularly instrumental ; and the most zealous defender of episcopal government, against which he had more than once expressed himself in the strongest terms. He left the constitution of England, both ecclesiastical and civil, in a very unsettled and fluctuating state, languishing under intestine disorders of various kinds.
xx. His son and successor Charles I. who had imbibed his political and religious principles, had nothing the state of so much at heart as to bring to perfection what the relancho his father had left unfinished. Ali, the exertions der Charles I. of his zeal, and the whole tenor of his administration, were directed toward the three following objects; “ The extending the royal prerogative and raising the power of the crown above the authority of the law; the reduction of all the churches in Great Britain and Ireland under the jurisdiction of bishops, whose government he looked upon as of divine institution, and also as the most adapted to guard the privileges and majesty of the throne; and lastly, the suppression of the opinions and institutions that were peculiar to Calvinism, and the modelling of the doctrine, discipline, ceremonies, and polity of the church of England, after the spirit and constitution of the primitive church.” The person whom the king chiefly intrusted with the execution of this arduous plan, was William Laud, bishop of London, who was afterward raised, in the year 1633, to the see of Canterbury, and exhibited, in these high stations, a mixed character, composed of great qualities and great defects. The voice of justice must celebrate his erudition, his fortitude, his ingenuity, his zeal for the sciences, and his munificence and liberality to men of letters; and at the same time, even charity must acknowledge with regret, his inexcusable imprudence, his excessive superstition, his rigid attachment to the sentiments, rites, and institutions
of the ancient church, which made him behold the puritans and Calvinists with horror;" and that violent spirit of animosity and persecution, that discovered itself in the whole course of his ecclesiastical administration. This haughty prelate executed the plans of his royal master, and fulfilled the views of his own ambition, without using those mild and moderate methods, that prudence employs to inake unpopular schemes go down. He carried things with a high hand; when he found the laws opposing his views, he treated them with contempt, and violated them without hesitation; he loaded the puritans with injuries and vexations, and aimed at nothing less than their total extinction; he rejected the Calvinistical doctrine of predestination publicly in the year 1625; and, notwithstanding the opposition and remonstrances of Abbot, substituted the Arminian system in its place ;" he revived many
k See Ant. Wood. Athena Oxoniens. tom. ii. p. 55. Heylin's Cyprianus, or the History of the Life and Death of William Laud, published at London in 1668. Clarendon's History, vol. i.
1 “Šincere be undoubtedly was,” says Mr. Hume, and however misguided, actuated by religious principles in all his pursuits ; and it is to be regretted, that a man of such spirit, who conducted his enterprises with such warmth and industry, had not entertained more enlarged views, and embraced principles more favourable to the general happiness of human society." m See Mich. le Vassor, Hist. de Louis XIII. tom. v. p. 262.
This expression may lead the uninformed reader into a mistake, and make him imagine that Laud had caused the Calvinistical doctrine of the xxxix Articles to be abrogated, and the tenets of Arminius to be substituted in their place. It may therefore be proper to set this matter in a clearer light. In the year 1625, Laud wrote a small treatise to prove the orthodoxy of the Arminian doctrines; and, by his credit with the duke of Buckingham, had' Arminian and Antipuritanical chaplains placed about the king. This step increased the debates between the Calvinistical and Arminian doctors, and produced the warmest animosities and dissensions. To calm these, the king issued out a proclamation, dated the 14th of January, 1626, the literal tenor of which was, in truth, more favourable to the Calvinists than to the Arminians, though, by the manner in which it was interpreted and executed by Laud, it was turned to the advantage of the latter. In this proclamation it was said expressly “that his majesty would admit of no innovations in the doctrine, discipline, or government of the church ;" (N.B. The doctrine of the church, previously to this, was Calvinistical,) “and therefore charges all his subjects, and especially the clergy, not to publish or maintain in preaching or writing, any new inventions or opinions, contrary to the said doctrine and discipline established by law,” &c. It was certainly a very singular instance of Laud's indecent partiality, that this proclamation was employed to suppress the books that were expressly written in the defence of the xxxix Articles, while the writings of the Arminians, who certainly opposed these articles, were publicly licensed. I do not here enter into the merits of the cause; I only speak of the tenor of the proclamation, and the manner of its execution.
This manner of proceeding showed how difficult and arduous a thing it is to change systems of doctrine established by law, since neither Charles, who was by no means diffident of his authority, nor Laud, who was far from being timorous in ihe use and abuse of it, attempted to reform articles of faith, that stood in direct opposition to the Arminian doctrines, which they were now promoting by the warmest encouragements, and which were daily gaining ground under their protection. Instead of reforming the xxxix Articles, which step would have met with great opposition from the house of commons, and from a considerable part of the clergy and laity, who were still warmly attached to Calvinism, Laud advised the king to have these articles reprinted,