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form to any religious system, nor name the three Persons,“ At all these things I have long shaken my cap," he said. " Jock of broad Scotland" seems to have been one of those who imagine that God should have furnished them with bannocks ready baked.

The extravagant fervour then working in the minds of the people is marked by the story told by Clement Walker of the soldier who entered a church with a lantern and a candle burning in it, and in the other hand four candles not lighted. He said he came to deliver his message from God, and show it by these types of candles. Driven into the churchyard, and the wind blowing strong, he could not kindle his candles, and the new prophet was awkwardly compelled to conclude his five denouncements, abolishing the Sabbath, tithes, ministers, magistrates, and, at last, the Bible itself, without putting out each candle, as he could not kindle them; observing, however, each time—“And here I should put out the first light, but the wind is so high that I cannot kindle it."

A perfect scene of the effects which the state of irreligious society produced among the lower orders I am enabled to give from the manuscript life of John Shaw, vicar of Rotherham; with a little tediousness, but with infinite naiveté, he relates what happened to himself. This honest divine was puritanically inclined, but there can be no exaggeration in these unvarnished facts. He tells a remarkable story of the state of religious knowledge in Lancashire, at a place called Cartmel: some of the people appeared desirous of religious instruction, declaring that they were without any minister, and had entirely neglected every religious rite, and therefore pressed him to quit his situation at Lymm for a short period. He may now tell his own story.

“I found a very large spacious church, scarce any seats in it; a people very ignorant, and yet willing to learn ; so as I had frequently some thou. sands of hearers, I catechised in season and out of season. The churches were so thronged at nine in the morning, that I had much ado to get to the pulpit. One day, an old man about sixty, sensible enough in other things, and living in the parish of Cartmel, coming to me on some business, I told him that he belonged to my care and charge, and I desired to be informed of his knowledge in religion. I asked him how many Gods there were ? He said he knew not. I informing him, asked again how he thought to be saved ? He answered he could not tell. Yet thought that was a barder question than the other. I told him that the way to salvation was by Jesus Christ, God-man, who as he was man shed his blood

for us on the cross, &c. Oh, sir, said he, I think I heard of that man you speak of once in a play at Kendall, called Corpus-Christ's play, * where there was a man on a tree and blood run down, &c. And afterwards he professed he could not remember that he ever heard of salvation by Jesus, but in that play.”

The scenes passing in the metropolis, as well as in the country, are opened to us in one of the chronicling poems of George Withers. Our sensible rhymer wrote in November, 1652, "a Darke Lanthorne" on the present subject.

After noticing that God, to mortify us, had sent preachers from the "shop-board and the plough,"

Such as we seem justly to contemn, As making truths abhorred, which come from them ; he seems, however, inclined to think that these self-taught “ Teachers and Prophets” in their darkness might hold a certain light within them:

Children, fools,
Women, and madmen, we do often meet
Preaching, and threatening judgments in the street,
Yea by strange actions, postures, tones, and cries,
Themselves they offer to our ears and eyes
As signs unto this nation.-
They act as men in ecstacies have done-
Striving their cloudy visions to declare,
Till they have lost the notions which they had,

And want but few degrees of being mad.+ Such is the picture of the folly and of the wickedness, which, after having been preceded by the piety of a religious age, were succeeded by a dominion of hypocritical sanctity, and then closed in all the horrors of immorality and impiety. The parliament at length issued one of their ordinances for “punishing blasphemous and execrable opinions," and this was enforced with greater power than the slighted proclamations of James and Charles; but the curious wording is a comment on our present subject. The preamble notices that “ men and women had lately discovered monstrous opinions, even such as tended to the dissolution of human society, and have abused, and turned into licentiousness, the liberty given in matters of religion.It punishes any person not distempered in his brains, who shall maintain any mere creature to be God; or that all acts of unrighteousness are not forbidden in the Scriptures; or that God approves of them; or that there is no real difference between moral good and evil,” &c.

* The festival of Corpus Christi, held on the first Thursday after Trinity Sunday, was the period chosen in old times for the performances of miracle-plays by the clergy, or the guilds of various towns ; for an account of them see vol. i.p. 352—362.

+ There is a little “ Treatise of Humilitie, published by E. D.-Parson, sequestered”—1654 ; in which, wbile enforcing the virtue which his book defends, he with much naïveté gives a strong opinion of his oppressors. “We acknowledge the justice and mercy of the Lord in punishing us, so we take notice of his wisdom in choosing such instruments to punish us, men of mean and low rank, and of common parts and abilities. By these he doth admonish all the honourable, valiant, learned, and wise men of this nation ; and as it were write our sin, in the character of our punishment; and in the low condition of these instruments of his anger and displeasure, the rod of his wrath, he would abate and punish our great pride.

To this disordered state was the public mind reduced, for this proclamation was only describing what was passing among the people! The view of this subject embraces more than one point, which I leave for the meditation of the politician, as well as the religionist.

BUCKINGHAM'S POLITICAL COQUETRY WITH THE PURITANS.

BUCKINGHAM, observes Hume, “in order to fortify himself against the resentment of James”-on the conduct of the duke in the Spanish match, when James was latterly hearing every day Buckingham against Bristol, and Bristol against Buckingham—"had affected popularity, and entered into the cabals of the puritans; but afterwards, being secure of the confidence of Charles, he had since abandoned this party; and on that account was the more exposed to their hatred and resentment."

The political coquetry of a minister coalescing with an opposition party, when he was on the point of being disgraced, would doubtless open an involved scene of intrigue; and what one exacted, and the other was content to yield, towards the mutual accommodation, might add one more example to the large chapter of political infirmity. Both workmen attempting to convert each other into tools, by first trying their respective malleability on the anvil, are liable to be disconcerted by even a slight accident, whenever that proves, to perfect conviction, how little they can depend on each other, and that each party comes to cheat, and not to be cheated !

This piece of secret history is in part recoverable from good authority. The two great actors were the Duke of Buckingham and Dr. Preston, the master of Emmanual College, and the head of the puritan party.

Dr. Preston was an eminent character, who from his youth was not without ambition. His scholastic learning, the subtilty of his genius, and his more elegant accomplishments, had attracted the notice of James, at whose table he was perhaps more than once honoured as a guest; a suspicion of his puri. tanic principles was perhaps the only obstacle to his court preferment; yet Preston unquestionably designed to play a political part. He retained the favour of James by the king's hope of withdrawing the doctor from the opposition party, and commanded the favour of Buckingham by the fears of that minister; when, to employ the quaint style of Hacket, the duke foresaw that “ he might come to be tried in the furnace of the next sessions of parliament, and he had need to make the refiners his friends :" most of these "refiners were the puritanic or opposition party. Appointed one of the chaplains of Prince Charles, Dr. Preston had the advantage of being in frequent attendance; and as Hacket tells us, this politic man felt the pulse of the court, and wanted not the intelligence of all dark mysteries through the Scotch in his highness's bed-chamber." "A close communication took place between the duke and Preston, who, as Hacket describes, was “a good crow to smell carrion.” He obtained an easy admission to the duke's closet at least thrice a week, and their notable conferences Buckingham appears to have communicated to his confidential friends. Preston, intent on carrying all his points, skilfully commenced with the smaller ones. He winded the duke circuitously,—he worked at him subterraneously. This wary politician was too sagacious to propose what he had at heart--the extirpation of the hierarchy! The thunder of James's voice, “No bishop! no king !" in the conference at Hampton Court, still echoed in the ear of the puritan. He assured the duke that the love of the people was his only anchor, which could only be secured by the most popular measures. A new sort of reformation was easy to execute. Cathedrals and collegiate churches maintained by vast wealth, and the lands of the chapter, only fed “fat, lazy, and unprofitable drones.” The dissolution of the foundations of deans and chapters would open an ample source to pay the king's debts, and scatter the streams of patronage. “ You would then become the darling of the commonwealth ;" I give the words as I find them in Hacket. “If a crumb stick in the throat of any considerable man that attempts an opposition, it will be easy to wash it down with manors, woods, royalties, tythes, &c.” It would be furnishing the wants of a number of gentlemen ; and he quoted a Greek proverb, “that when a great oak falls, every neighbour may scuffle for a faggot."

Dr. Preston was willing to perform the part which Knox had acted in Scotland! He might have been certain of a party to maintain this national violation of property; for he who calls out " Plunder!” will ever find a gang. These acts of national injustice, so much desired by revolutionists, are never beneficial to the people; they never partake of the spoliation, and the whole terminates in the gratification of private rapacity

It was not, however, easy to obtain such perpetual access to the minister, and at the same time escape from the watchful. Archbishop Williams, the lord keeper, got sufficient hints from the king; and in a tedious conference with the duke, he wished to convince him that Preston had only offered him “Aitten milk, out of which he should churn nothing !" The duke was, however, smitten by the new project, and made a remarkable answer : “You lose yourself in generalities : make it out to me, in particular, if you can, that the motion you pick at will find repulse, and be baffled in the House of Com

I know not how you bishops may struggle, but I am much deluded if a great part of the knights and burgesses would not be glad to see this alteration." We are told on this, that Archbishop Williams took out a list of the members of the House of Commons, and convinced the minister that an overwhelming majority would oppose this projected revolution, and that in consequence the duke gave

But this anterior decision of the duke may be doubtful, since Preston still retained the high favour of the minister, after the death of James. When James died at Theobalds, where Dr. Preston happened to be in attendance, he had the honour of returning to town in the new king's coach with the Duke of Buckingham. The doctor's servile adulation of the minister gave even great offence to the over-zealous puri. tans. That he was at length discarded is certain ; but this was owing not to any deficient subserviency on the side of our politician, but to one of those unlucky circumstances which have often put an end to temporary political con

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