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HISTORY OF THE PURITANS;
REFORMATION IN 1517,
THE REVOLUTION IN 1688 ;
ACCOUNT OF THEIR PRINCIPLES ;
THEIR ATTEMPTS FOR A FARTHER REFORMATION IN THE CHURCH;
LIVES AND CHARACTERS OF THEIR MOST CONSIDERABLE DIVINES.
BY DANIEL NEAL, M. A.
A NEW EDITION, IN FIVE VOLUMES;
REPRINTED FROM THE
REVISED, CORRECTED, AND ENLARGED,
BEQUEST OF A. L. CROSS 4-4-41
This volume brings the History of the Sufferings of the Puritans down to its period;* for though the Protestant dissenters have since complained of several difficulties and discouragements, yet most of the penal laws have been suspended; the prosecutions of the spiritual courts have been considerably restrained by the kind interposition of the civil powers, and liberty of conscience enjoyed without the hazard of fines, imprisonments, and other terrors of this world.
The times now in review were stormy and boisterous; upon the death of king Charles I. the constitution was dissolved: the men at the helm had no legal authority to change the government into a commonwealth, the protectorship of Cromwell was a usurpation, because grafted only on the military power, and so were all the misshapen forms into which the administration was cast till the restoration of the king. In order to pass a right judgment upon these extraordinary revolutions, the temper and circumstances of the nation are to be duly considered; for those actions which in some circumstances are highly criminal, may in a different situation of affairs become necessary. The parties engaged in the civil wars were yet living, and their resentments against each other so much inflamed, as to cut off all hopes of a reconciliation ; each dreaded the other's success, well knowing they must fall a sacrifice to those who should prevail. All present views of the king's recovering his father's throne were defeated at the battle of Worcester, the loyalists being then entirely broken and dispersed; so that if some such extraordinary genius as Cromwell's had not undertaken to steer the nation through the storm, it had not been possible to hold
* The reader will observe that the period here referred to is the passing the act of toleration, with which Mr. Neal's fourth volume concludes. But the additions 10 the original work, by notes and supplements in this edition, have necessarily extended it to a fifth volume, which comprehends the author's two last chapters, the papers that form the Appendix to each of his volumes, and other papers. ED.