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hour-glass” at the elbow of Hugh Peters," the preacher of the Lord,” who, as often as he turned, with that vulgar smirk and jocose leer which the Elect of the day knew so well how to interpose in their long discourses
- invited his “humming”* audience to take “another glass !”
No amusement or recreation of any kind, through town or country, was permitted to provoke a rueful smile on the sour visages of those who were "predestined to eternal happiness and glory in another world,” save when a "scandalous and malignant” clergyman, deprived for conscience sake of all he had, was hunted and insulted for being idolatrous!+ or forty or fifty poor old women were drowned or burnt, for being so wicked as to bewitch ministers' daughters!
But the solemn Presbyter had scarce time to look round, with grim congratulation, ere his predestinating ears” I were stunned with
The universal hubbub loud – of all “ accursed tolerated Sects,” s now frantic with immediate inspiration, and deriding the synods of the horrified Elders! Every soldier now had his “small gift” of prayers and preaching. The Presbyterian Ministers were “CARNAL” Synods were "carnal." Now Croinwell gtood forth in the strength the “Lord” had given him. The Presbyterian Parliament is dismissed - Prynne addresses, with his predestinating ears
* A general hum in a congregation was a proof of approbation.
+ This was the case with the learned Bryan Walton. See Life of Welton, &c.
# So Dryden: “and prick'd up his predestinating ears." The hair was cut short, and, during the interminable sermons, the fore-finger placed behind the ear.
Publication by Prynne.
cut short, his “Brief Memento to the present unparliamentary Junto! by William Prynne, a Member of the House of COMMONS, a prisoner under the Army's tyranny!” Whilst Lilly, the astrologer, sings "lauds to the stars,” that Oliver has turned out the Presbyterians, « far more
OPPRESSIVE than the Bishops or TURKS!”
Five years sufficed to put an end to this spiritual domination of Presbyterian Synods, after Episcopacy had been destroyed; and here let us pursue, for a moment, the mighty triumph of all-tolerant Independancy, under my Lord Protector and the Spiritual Lords, of his Parliament- the Lord Lainbert—the Lord Desborough— the Lord Whitelock - the Lord Nathaniel Fiennes — the Lord Lenthall, &c.
Still Holiness was the watchword of all the saintly Major-Generals of the Army and Parliament; but in less than ten years they attained their ascendancy and zenith, their decline and extinction. They atattained the zenith when, in 1656, the Quaker, James Nayler, was condemned for having somewhat exceeded them in blasphemy; and we shall set before the reader a few circumstances to show the spirit of these SERAPHIC Major-Generals, from authority that cannot be gainsaid - taken at the time by Burton, whose unvarnished but invaluable Diary has lately been published.
The Star-Chamber of Lord Mountcashel, pronouncing his decision on the “really pious," seems constituted after the express pattern of Oliver Cromwell, both in letter and spirit.
Thursday, April 7, 1653, it was resolved in Parliament -“that no person shall be employed or admitted into the service of this House, but such as the House shall be first satisfied of his real godliness!”
How will my worthy and benevolent friends, the
Quakers, be astonished to learn that, under this “real godly” Parliament, they are classed among the dissolute rogues wandering about with pipes and fiddles !
Mr. Ashe (December 5, 1656)_“Yet seeing they are dissolute persons, comprehended in the Act, let them be confined to two miles, or to the parishes."
Dr. Clarges.—“Give liberty for five miles, that you may suppress the Quakers, who greatly increase, and pester and endanger the Commonwealth.”
Major Audley.—“Ascertain wbat the individuum vagum is, lest it be quidam homo, any man. I would have the persons ascertained. If they be Quakers, I would freely give my consent that they should be whipped!”
And now comes the nucleus of the question on religious toleration, respecting James Nayler.
Major-General Boteler.—“We are all here, Sir, I hope, for the GLORY of God! By the Mosaic Law, blasphemers were to be stoneD TO DEATH! and for my part, if this sentence should pass upon him, I could freely consent to it. If we vindicate not the name of Christ in this - HE WILL VINDICATE HIMSELF!”
This is nearly as mild, but not quite so blasphemous, as the “really pious” Mr. Case telling the Parliament to“ strike,” if God would not.
But let us hear“my Lord Lambert,” who says with a sigh—" It is a matter of sadness to many men's hearts, and sadness also to mine, especially in regard to his relation some time to me. He was two years my QUARTER-MASTER, &c. He was a man of very unblameable life and conversation, and member of a sweet Society of an Independant Church.” Lambert's opinion is, however, wortby a sensible man and a Christian.
The whole of the debate on this wretched enthusiast, not more enthusiastic, and certainly less ferocious and bloody, than many among them, resembles more the debate in a PANDEMONIUM than of Christian Legislators.
Mr. Church proposed, secundum Oliver and Harrison, “to set apart one of these days to seek God in this business!” I believe this is the first instance, when these soldiers, lords, and gentlemen referred “to the Lord," that the person on whose account they so solemnly referred escaped with life; but what was Pryone's punishment to Nayler's? This Mr. Church's reasons for“ seeking the Lord” were such as became the resolution: “If we do not tender God's HONOUR, He will not HONOUR us.”*
Nayler being brought to the bar, refused to kneel, or put off his hat; but remark the language of his Judges !
“Mr. Speaker asked him of his name and country; whereupon he answered after the OLD WAY OF CANTING!” Who but must smile at these men accusing Nayler of " canting !”
He told them -“ You have been a long time under dark forms, neglecting the Powers of Godliness!”
Major-General Skippon's judgment is indeed worthy a Major-General: “God now looks what you will do! These QUAKERS, Ranters, Levellers, SOCINIANS, and ALL SORTS, bolster themselves under thirty-seven and thirty-eight of Government+ (that such as profess FAITH in God by Jesus Christ, &c. shall be protected in ihe profession of their faith and exercise of their religion).” “We see,” adds this evangelical Major-General--the issue of this LIBERTY OF CONSCIENCE! If this be liberty, God DELIVER me from such LIBERTY!”
Major Beake conceived it"a fit punishment to cut out his tongue, and cut off his right hand, and then turn him beyond seas, and let him go with the mark of a blas
* Debates, 1656.
† The thirty-seventh and thirty-eighth articles of the “ Instrument of Government,” 1653.
phemer!” And yet this poor wretch only went one step beyond themselves in belief, always confessing himself a
creature," though in him Christ was revealed more perfectly,” — but he, like Laud, “impaired the true religion!” His punishment is well known.
Let us, disgusting as it is, produce a few more spe. cimens of Christian toleration, from these sanctified and coldblooded military judges of the “ true faith," to show the effects of “human infallibility!”
Colonel Cooper admits "the poor creature, under delusion, would have been more blasphemous had he said he was Jesus CHRIST,” which is a plain proof he never did say so; and the said Colonel further sighs thus evangelically:
For my part, I think, next to life, you cannot pass a greater punishment than perpetual imprisonment, where he
may not spread his LEPROSY. If you cut out TONGUE, he may write, for he writes all their books! (the Quakers). If you cut off his right HAND, he may write with his left," &c. “The other punishments will certainly answer your ends more than if you take his life, and be a better expedient to SUPPRESS the GeneRATION of them!” These were Cromwell's Puritans.
We must here do willing justice to Major-General Parker, the only person in this tolerant Parliament who seemed to have any feelings of religious liberty, or common mercy.
• The text in Zech. xiii. 3. He that speaks lies in the name of God, his parents shall thrust him through. If so, we must destrOY ALL SECTS, SOCINIANS, ARMINIANS, QUAKERS. It is the strain of the Gospel all along to use meekness and moderation — (instanced in the tares and wheat) – which said, ye know not of what spirit ye are?”