[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

into the examination of all the evidence which has been adduced, and of all the ingenuity which has been exhibited on this much controverted question. What I have said, however, may enable them to form their decision upon the subject; and may, perhaps, upite their wonder with mine at the strange disingenuousness of Mr. Hume. “ The proofs brought,” says this historian,

this historian, “ that this work (the Icon) is or is not the King's, are so convincing that if an impartial reader peruse any one side apart, he will think it impossible that arguments could be produced sufficient to counterbalance so strong an evidence; and, when he compares both sides, he will be some time at a loss to fix


determination. Should an absolute suspense of judgment be found difficult or disagreeable in so interesting a question, I must confess that I much incline to give the preference to the arguments of the royalists." Admirable! but let us proceed. “ The testimonies, which prove that performance to be the King's, are more numerous, more certain and direct," (what! than the testimonies of Dr. Walker and of Mrs. Gauden?) “ than thiose on the other side. This is the case even if we consider the external evidence; but when we weigh

[merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

the internal, derived from the style and composition, there is no comparison. These meditations resemble in elegance, purity, neatness and simplicity the genius of those performances, which we know, with certainty, to have flowed from the royal pen; but are so`unlike the bombast, perplexed, rhetorical and corrupt style of Dr. Gauden, to whom they are ascribed, that no human testimony seems sufficient to convince us that he was the author.” This certainly is excellent; exhibiting the most exact poise with one greatly preponderating scale; the most delicate and tremulous reserve with the most determined preference; the most specious affectation of candour with the most injurious violation and contempt of it.

On the internal evidence from the style and

composition of this contested work, the opinion, which is here so authoritatively given, is at direct variance with that of Milton: but we might safely refer the cause at issue, together with the credit of our author's judgment to the sentence of any reader of common taste and erudition. Having passed, as it is said, through fifty editions, in the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

* Forty-seven impressions of the Icon were circulated in England alone; and 48,500 copies sold.

Lord Clarendon's silence respecting this work is admitted

tion, let me mention that, on his appoint

[ocr errors]

dow of that body, which as the moon receiveth its chiefest light from me) they will at length more esteem and welcome the restored glory and blessing of the sun's light." Icon Bas. p. 63, 64.

His Majesty's First Paper. " Mr. HENDERSON,

“ I know very well what a great disadvantage it is for me to maintaine an argument of divinity with so able and learned a man as your self, it being your, not my profession; which really was the cause that made me desire to heare some learned man argue my opinion with you, of whose abilities i might be confident, that I should not be led into an errour, for want of having all which could be said, layed open unto me: for, indeed, my humour is such, that I am still partiall for that side which I imagine suffers for the weaknesse of those that maintaine it; alwaies thinking that equall champions would cast the ballance on the other part; yet since that you (thinking that it will save time) desire to goe another way, I shall not contest with you in it, but treating you as my physitian, give you leave to take your owne way of cure; onely I thought fit to warne you, lest if you (not I) should be mistaken in this, you would be faine (in a manner) to begin anew,

“ Then know that from my infancy I was blest with the King my father's love, which, I thauk God, was an unvaluable happinesse to me, all his daies, and among all his cares for my education, bis chief was, to settle me right in religion; in the true knowledge of which, he made himself so eminent to all the world, that, I am sure, none can call in question the brightnesse of his fame in that particular, without shewing their own ignorant base malice: he it was, who laid in me the grounds of christianity, which to this day I have been constant in; sa that whether the worthinesse of my instructor de considered, or the not few yeares that I have been settled in my principles, it ought to be no strange thing, if it be found no easie worke,

[ocr errors]

ment to the office of Latin Secretary, Mil

to make me alter them; and the rather, that hitherto, I have (according to Saint Paul's rule, Rom. xiv. 22) been happy in

Not condemning my selfe, in that thing which I allow :' thus having shewed you how, it remaines, to tell you what, I believe, in relation to these present miserable distractions.

" No one thing made me more reverence the reformation of my mother, the Church of England, than that it was done (ac. cording to the Apostle's defence, Acts xxiv. 18). Neither with multitude, nor with tumult,' but legally and orderly; and by those, whom I conceive to have onely the reforming power; which with many other inducements, made me alwayes confi. dent that the worke was very perfect, as to essentials, of which number church government being undoubtedly one, I put no question, but that would have been likewise altered, if there had been cause; which opinion of mine was soone turned into more than a confidence, which I perceived that in this particular (as I mast say of all the rest) we retained nothing but according as it was deduced from the apostles to be the constant universall custome of the primitive church; and that it was of such consequence, as by the alteration of it, we should deprive our selves of a lawfull priesthood, and then, how the sacraments can be duly administered, is easie to judge: these are the principall reasons, which make me believe that bishops are necessary for a church, and, I think, sufficient for me (if I had no more) not to give my consent for their expulsion out of England; but I have another obligation, that to my particular, is a no lesse tie of conscience, which is, my coronation oath: now if (as S. Paul saith, Rom. xiv. 23.) “ He that doubteth is damned if he cat,' what can I expect, if I should, not onely give way knowingly to my people's sinning, but likewise be perjured my selfe?

• Now consider, ought I not to keep my selfe from presumptuous siones?' and you know who sayes, ' What doth it profit a man, though he should gaine the whole world, and lose his owne soule?' Wherefore my constant maintenance of

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

ion removed, in the first instance, to a lodging in the house of one Thompson at Char ing-Cross, and, afterwards, to apartments in Scotland-yard. In this last situation his wife produced her third child, a son, who died in his infancy on the 16th of march 1650; and, in 1652, our author shifted his residence to Peity France, where he occupied, for eight years till the crisis of the restoration, a handsome house, opening into St. James's park and adjoining to the mansion of lord Scudamore.

No sooner had Milton finished his masterly reply to the posthumous work, as it jvas then generally considered, of the late King's, than he was again called upon to enter the lists as the asserter of the Commonwealth of England; but he was now opposed to a more formidable antagonist, and

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

episcopacy in England, (where there was never any other government since christianity was in this kingdome) methinks, should be rather commended than wondered at; my conscience directing me to maintaine the lawes of the land; which being onely my endeavours at this time, I desire to know of you, wbat warrant there is in the Word of God for subjects to endeavour to force their King's conscience? or to make him alter lawes against his will? If this be not my present case, I shall be glad to be mistaken; or, if my judgment in religion hath been misled all this time, I shall be willing to be better directed: till when, you must excuse me, to be constant to the grounds which the King my father taught me.

Newcastle, May 29, 1646.

“ C. R."

« VorigeDoorgaan »