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THE NATIONAL REVIEW.

JULY 1863.

ART. I.—THE EARLIER LATITUDINARIANS: FALK

LAND, CHILLINGWORTH, HALES. Proceedings, principally in the County of Kent, in connection with

the Parliaments called in 1640, and especially with the Committee of Religion appointed in that year. "Edited by the Rev. L. B. Larking, M.A., from the Collections of Sir Edward Dering, Bart., 1627-1644, with a Preface by John Bruce, Esq., F.S.A. Printed

for the Camden Society, 1862. CLEMENT WALKER, in his History of Independency, records a rather curious circumstance which happened at Walton-on

Thames at the beginning of Lent 1649. The minister had preached in his parish-church after dinner, and had prolonged his sermon till twilight. When he came down out of the pulpit, into the church came six soldiers, one of them with a lantern in his hand and a candle burning in it, and in the other hand four unlighted candles. The parishioners would not allow him to mount the pulpit, or to address them in the church; he therefore adjourned to the churchyard, and the people followed him. He then and there told them that he had had a vision, and had a message from God to them, which they were to receive on pain of damnation. First, the Sabbath was abolished as unnecessary, Jewish, and merely ceremonial. Secondly, tithes were abolished as not only Jewish and ceremonial, but a great burden to the saints of God, and a discouragement of industry and tillage. Thirdly, ministers were abolished as anti-Christian, and of no longer use when Christ descended into the hearts of his saints, and his Spirit enlightened them with revelations and inspirations. Fourthly, magistrates were abolished as useless, since Christ had come among men in purity of spirit, and had erected the kingdom of his saints upon earth. Each of these

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constructive anathemas the soldier had intended to accompany by a symbolical act, that is to say, by putting out one of his candles; but, as he explained to his wondering audience after each phase of abolition, the wind was so high that he could not light his candle. One candle, however, he had safely burning away in the lantern; and of this also he had a use to make. Fifthly and lastly, he put his hand into his pocket and pulled out a Bible.

“Here,” he exclaimed, “is a book you have in great veneration, consisting of two parts, the Old and New Testament. I must tell you, it is abolished; it contains beggarly rudiments, milk for babes; but now Christ is in glory among us, and imparts a fuller measure of his Spirit to his saints than this can afford; and therefore I am commanded to burn it.” So, taking the candle out of the lantern, he set the leaves on fire; and then, putting out the candle, he cried, “and here my fifth light is extinguished.”

Extravagances such as this were congenial to a few excited spirits in the army, but had no attraction for Englishmen in general, even when the nation had tasted blood and developed its most extreme propensities. Much less was this sweeping removal of all ordinances contemplated by the men of Kent and the Kentish men who in 1640 and 1641 petitioned the knights of the shire or the House of Commons on account of their ecclesiastical grievances. They inclined evidently to the Presbyterian type, which allows the minister considerable power over his flock, but also intrusts the flock with a very tight hold on its minister. In several cases the only grievance of which they complained was the very scanty income with which the services of a good curate or vicar were rewarded. In one instance the petitioners, having preferred certain articles against their curate, are soon after anxious to recall their petition, confessing that it was precipitately sent “at the instigation of a malignant humour," and that their curate was “very able, sufficient, and painful in dispensing the word of God,” though he had seemed to carry himself somewhat too loftily towards them. In one case an elaborate series of charges against an incumbent palpably breaks down; in another, the parson pleads guilty to human infirmities, including a little occasional intemperance. No subject of complaint is so frequent as the ministers railing-in the holy table, placing it altarwise, and obliging communicants to receive at the rails. Occasionally disputes about tithes crop up, such as were frequent in all times till the memorable era of the commutation. In several cases the congregations profess themselves to have been scandalised by doctrines contradicting that of Calvin; and it is objected to the minister of Crayford that he, "drinking with certain gentlemen at the Bull in Dartford,

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did confidently affirm and say he was persuaded that the first motion and inclination of the heart to any sin without consent, was not sin.” But if the men of Dartford were curious in theological distinctions, the men of Chatham could not appreciate a joke; for they informed the House of Commons that their curate, being urged by the apostle's words that his duty did consist in preaching, and being instant in season and out of season, replied that “in season” was preaching on Sundays in the forenoons, and “out of season” was preaching in the afternoons. But we need not linger among the grievances which came in different ways under the cognisance of Sir Edward Dering, himself a most unskilful and unhappy meddler in the controversies of those times. The interesting volume printed by the Camden Society, in which these particulars are contained, will help those who are curious in such matters towards furnishing that mental picture of the civil war which every educated Englishman should try to draw distinctly for himself, with appropriate details for the background. At present we would call the attention of our readers to the memory of three men, each important during that eventful period in politics, in religion, or in both; each venturing to think for himself; and each having the greater claim on the regard and respect of posterity, as having risen superior to interest and party, and preferred independence to success.

Our trio consists of a nobleman and two clergymen; and the nobleman shall have due precedence. Lord Falkland has been as fortunate in history as he was unhappy in life, going down to posterity in that magnificent eulogium of Clarendon. But Clarendon must not be trusted implicitly with regard to Lord Falkland or any one else. The shrewd politician was too keen a partisan to write history without colouring it. His enthusiasm for Falkland was genuine and well founded; but it did not so disturb the usual balance of his mind as to keep him from tampering a little with Falkland's portrait. It was not enough that his friend should have shared his loyal principles, should have toiled for the king as secretary of state, and died for the king at Newbury: it was necessary also that his opinions on other subjects should be assimilated as far as possible to those of the conservative Hyde. As Clarendon was not fond of nlluding freely to the liberal sentiments of his own youthful days, he veils as far as possible the avowed liberalism of his friend. He did not wish the firm supporter of the king to appear as the opponent of the temporal power of bishops. He attributes to him a change of opinion of which there is much reason to doubt if it ever took place. It is, of course, both natural and probable that a man like Falkland, independent, conscientious, and scrupulous, might think different measures expedient at different times, and might change his opinion in many particulars as well of things as of persons. Nothing is more likely than that, as Clarendon narrates, he asserted this right of judging and acting according to the occasion, when Hampden pressed him with a charge of inconsistency. But it is often found that the greatest firmness in principle is exhibited by those who repudiate consistency in details; and there is every reason to think that Falkland did not at all

in his general view of episcopacy. Two of his speeches in the House of Commons in reference to that subject are extant. The first was published in 1642, and has been more than once republished since in the interest of those who either disliked bishops altogether, or feared the jurisdiction of the order. The second was published in 1660, as a valuable document on the side of those who favoured a moderate episcopacy. The first speech was in support of the bill for excluding ihe bishops from the House of Lords; the second was against the utter abolition of bishops. The earlier speech is a deliberate and pointed attack on that portion of the bench which was most fully represented by Laud. In consequence of his father's connection with Ireland 'as lorddeputy, and his own residence in the island and education at Dublin, Falkland had strong views of his own respecting Irish affairs, and detested the policy of Strafford. But to detest the policy of Strafford was also to condemn that of Laud. He raised his voice against both in the House of Commons. No one can doubt to whom he alludes when, in attacking some bishops and their adherents,” he remarks: “We shall find them to have been almost the sole abettors of my Lord of Strafford, while he was practising upon another kingdom that manner of government which he intended to settle in this; and after they called him over from being deputy in Ireland to be in a manner deputy of England, to have assisted him in the giving of such counsels, and the pursuing of such courses, as it is a hard and measuring cast, whether they were more unwise, more unjust, or more unfortunate; and which had infallibly been our destruction if, by the grace of God, their share had not been as small of the subtlety of scrpents as of the innocency of doves.In a well-known passage he inveighs against them as having been the destruction of unity under pretence of uniformity; as having brought in superstition and scandal under the titles of reverence and decency, and having defiled our Church by adorning our churches. He declared that their apparent work had been “to try how much of a papist might be brought in without popery; and to destroy as much as they could of the Gospel without bringing themselves into danger of being destroyed by

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