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of Faith, and larger and smaller Catechism : but when they came to church-government, they engaged them in long debates, and kept the matter as long as they could undetermined : And after that, they kept it so long unexecuted in almost all parts of the land, except London and Lancashire, that their party had time to strengthen themselves in the army and parliament, to hinder the execution, and keep the government determined upon, a secret to most people in the nation, who knew it but' by hearsay. This assembly first met July 1, 1643,* in Henry VII's, chapel.
Among other parts of their trust, one was to approve of all that should be admitted into any Church-Livings. They had no power to put any out, but only were to judge of the fitness of such as were taken in. The power of casting out was in a committee of members of parliament at London, and partly also in the committees of the several counties. Those that were sequestred were generally, by the paths of several witnesses, proved insufficient or scandalous, or both; especially guilty of drunkenness and swearing. The able and pious preachers, who were cast out for the war alone, or for opinion's sake, were comparatively few. It is pity indeed there were any. And tho' now and then an unworthy person, by sinister means, crept into their places, yet commonly those who were put in, were such as set
* The most remarkable hints concerning their debates, that are published to the world, are to be met with in the life of Dr. Ligktfoot, before his works in folio, and in the preface to his remains in octavo; for which we are indebted to the ingenious Mr. Strype,
After petitioning for a fast, they drew up a letter to the Reformed churches abroad, with an account of their design, and then presented to ihe parliament a Confession of Faith, a Larger and Shorter Catechism, (the last of which has been in such general use amongst Dissenters) a Directory for public Worship, and their Humble Advice concerning Church Government.
There is a work which is commonly, but unjustly, ascribed to the assembly, viz. The Annotations on the Bible. The truth is, the same parliament that called the assembly, employed the authors of that work, and several of them were members of the assembly.
themselves themselves laboriously to seek the saving of souls. But to return.
As the parliament was afterwards on the rising side, it had undoubtedly been both their wisdom and the nation's interest, to have kept some bounds without running things to extremity. Had they endeavoured only the ejection of Lay-chancellors, the reducing the dioceses to a narrower compass, or the setting up a subordinate discipline, and the correcting and reforming the liturgy, so as to leave nothing justly exceptionable, in all probability it had been patiently borne, and the confusions the nation afterwards run into had been prevented. For Bp. Usher, Williams, and Morton, and many other episcopal divines, agreed with them in certain points of reformation; and, if these would have sufficed, were likely to have fallen in heartily with the parliament's interest. But finding an universal change insisted upon, and that nothing short of the utmost extremity would satisfy, they turned against the parliament and their interest, and were as much displeased as any.
The king marching from Nottingham to Shrewsbury, filled up his army out of Shropshire, Worcestershire, Here. fordshire, and Wales. And the Earl of Essex marched with a gallant army to Worcester, A. D. 1642. Many excellent divines were chaplains to the several regiments. Mr. Stephen Marshal and Dr. Burgess, to the general's own regiments. Mr. Obadiah Sedgwick, to Col. Hollis's regiment. Dr. Calibute Downing, to Lord Roberts's regiments. Mr. John Sedgwick, to the Earl of Stamford's regiment. Dr. Spurstow, to Mr. Hampden's. Mr. Perkins, to Col. Goodwin's. Mr. Moor, to Lord Wharton's. Mr. Adoniram By field, to Sir Henry Cholmley's. Mr. Nalton, to Col. Grantham's. Mr. Simeon Ashe, either to Lord Brook's or the Earl of Manchester's. Mr. Morton of Newcastle, with Sir Arthur Hasilrigg's troop; with many more.On October the 23d, 1642, was the battle at EdgeHill, between the two armies; in which the advantage was on the parliament's side. The king's army drew off towards Oxford, and Essex's towards Coventry, for refreshment. There were many other battles, described by the historians of those times, who may be consulted by such as desire further information.
The great cause of the parliament's strength, and the king's ruin, was, that the debauched rabble thro' the land, emboldened by his gentry, and seconded by the common
soldiers soldiers of his army, took all that were called Puritans for their enemies. And though some of the king's gentry and superior officers behaved with civility, that was no security to the country, while the multitude did what they listed. So that if any one was noted for a strict and famous preacher, or for a man of piety, he was either plundered or abused, and in danger of his life. And if a man did but pray in his family, or repeat a serion, or sing a psalm, they presently cried out Rebels, roundheads, &c. and all their money and portable goods were proved guilty, how innocent soever they were themselves. This filled the armies and garrisons of the parliament with sober, pious men. Thousands had no mind to meddle with the wars, but greatly desired to live peaceably at home, but the rage of soldiers and drunkards would not suffer them. Some stayed till they had been imprisoned ; some till they had been twice or thrice plundered, and had nothing left them. Some were quite tired out with the abuse of all that were quartered on them; and some by the insolence of their neighbours. But most were afraid of their lives ; and so sought refuge in the parliament's garrisons.
After the war had been carried on for some time, with great uncertainty in what it would issue; there was at length a great change made on the parliament's side, which had considerable consequences.
The Earl of Essex, being weakened by a great loss in Cornwall, was laid by, and another general chosen. One reason given for this change was, the dissoluteness of many of his soldiers, who were grown too much like the king's in profaneness and lewdness: and besides, it was urged, that the revolt of Sir F. Fortescue, Sir R. Greenville, Colonel Urry, and others, was a sufficient evidence that they who had not a sense of religion, were not much to be trusted, but might easily be hired by money to betray them. It was discovered, that the earl's judgment was against ending the war by the sword, and that he and the wisest men about him, were for aiming only to force a pacificatory treaty. But the main spring of the alter, ation
was, the prevalence of the Sectarian interest in the house, joined with Cromwell's in the army, which now began to carry all before it. Many honest and intelligent people indeed were for new modelling the army, putting out the looser men, and taking in those who were more strict and sober; but Vane and Cromwell joining together, carried on their own particular interest successfully. The method they took for compassing this desigo without disturbance, of Ship-money*. But the most obnoxious persons were Lord Deputy Wentworth Earl of Strafford, and Abp. Laud. They were sent to the Tower, condemned and beheaded, for sub. verting the fundamental laws and liberties of their country. Some were for gratifying the king by sparing Strafford, but others were vehement against it; the Londoners petitioned the house for justice, and followed their petitions with cries and clamours. He was at length condemned, and the king signed the bill, by the advice of several bishops.
There was great heat among the members of parliament in the debates which this matter occasioned. Some were much against displeasing and provoking the king, and thought themselves not obliged to attempt any acts of justice or refor. mation, but what they could bring him to consent to. But others were for exerting themselves to the utmost, at all adventures, to reforın abuses, and recover and defend their liberties. 66-If, say they, the fears of foreseen opposition shall make us betray our country and posterity, we are perfidious to them, enemies to ourselves, and worse than infidels,” &c. Thus, were mens minds divided : but some unhappy means fell out to unite them, and lead thein into a war.
The king had a considerable party that adhered to him, inade up both of state politicians, and friends of the ecclesiastical hierarchy; who jointly sét themselves against the parliament, not only because of their apprehended encroachments on the civil power, but also because of the church reformation intended. But the country party carried all things with a high hand, depending upon the assistance of true-hearted Englishmen if matters came to extremity. Many things heightened these discontents. The London apprentices (encouraged by some members of parliament) in a tumultuous manner brought up their petitions to Westminster, insulting the bishops as they were going to the house. On account of these tumults, the king did not think himself safe, either in the city or near it. .
Great were the jealousies between him and his parliament, which were many ways increased. The two armies of Scots and Eyglish reinained undisbanded in the north, till the parliament should provide for their pay. The English army, wanting pay, were discontented, and entertained a design to march suddenly to London, and master the parliament. The parliament, to prevent insults, provided a guard, which they considered as their privilege. The king discharging this guard, set another upon them of his own choosing. This made them look like prisoners; and they feared that the guard appointed by the king, would, if commanded, become the executioners of his wrath upon them. Upon which they dismissed them, and called for a guard of the city regiments. At length the king, being advised no longer to stand by and see himself affronted, took an unprecedented step in going suddenly to the House of Commons, with a company of cavaliers, with swords and pistols, to charge five of their members with high treason, viz. Mr. Pym, Mr. Hampden, Mr. Hollis, Mr. Strowd, Sir Arthur Hasilrigg, and Lord K’imbolton, afterwards Earl of Manchester, and Lord Chamberlain. But, having had notice, they absented themselves. The house, being hereupon alarmed, voted this action a breach of their privileges, and an effect of the king's evil counsellors ; and published their votes, to awaken the people to an apprehension of danger. The king being disappointed, published a paper, in which he charged the aforesaid persons with treason, as stirring up the apprentices to tumultuous petitioning, &c, but he confessed his error in thus violating their privileges.
* A tax laid upon the several port-towns, with the assistance of the counties adjoining, for providing a ship of war for the king's service.
But there was nothing that wrought so much with the people as the Irish massacre and rebellion; in which the Irish papists were said to have inurdered two hundred thousand protestants. The Irish declared, they had the king's commission for what they did : and many even at that time, weighing all circumstances, belieyed it to be fact; while others represented it as an unjust and scandalous aspersion upon his Majesty *. All England was now filled with fear; for the Irish threatened, that when they had done with the handful that was left in Ireland, they would come into England, and do the same with the parliament and protestants here. It was therefore thought necessary for the parliament to put the country into an armed posture, for their own defence.
At length the king left London, and marched to Hull, where entrance was denied him by Sir John Hothan. The parliament published their votes to the people, “ That the, king, misled by evil counsel, was raising a war against his par
* N. B. This matter has never yet been thoroughly cleared. Dr. Calamy considers the story of the Marquis of Antrim as decisive against the king.-- See Bennett's Mem, Ref. and Welwood's Memoirs.