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my part," he said in his speech at the opening of the Second Parliainent of the Protectorate (Sept. 17, 1656)
“I should think I were very treacherous if I took away Tithes, till I see the Legislative Power settle Maintenance to Ministers another way. But whoever they be that shall contend to destroy Tithes,-it doth as surely cut their [the Ministers '] throats, as it is a drift to take Tithes away before another way of maintenance or way of preparation towards such, be had. Truly I think all such practices and proceedings should be discountenanced.” 49
John Owen, the great Independent, who had been one of Cromwell's trusted friends, had incurred his displeasure by the vehemence of his opposition to the Kingship. He joined with the arniy leaders, who regarded the proposal with strong hostility, and drew up the petition which was presented to the House of Commons. But it is probable that the three articles on religion in The Humble Petition and Advice were satisfactory to Owen, and to Nye and Thomas Goodwin, the leading Independent divines of the Westminster Assembly.
In its general outlines the religious settlement of The Humble Petition and Advice corresponds with the policy which Cromwell had followed from the beginning of his Protectorate in 1653. Presbyterians, Independents, Baptists, and Episcopalians held livings, and received the “public maintenance” appropriated to the support of the ministry. The Presbyterians in Lancashire and in London had their Presbyteries and Synods. Congregationalists and Baptists formed their“ gathered churches.” Since Prelacy was abolished there was no provision for the perpetuity of an Episcopalian clergy ; but those Episcopalians who were willing to continue their ministry although bishops were abolished, could be presented to livings or could retain them; and they had as legal a claim to their tithes and the rent of their glebes as their predecessors before the execution of Strafford and Laud. Presbyterians, Independents, Baptists, and Episcopalians were not only included among the clergy of the Establishment; they could conduct worship and administer the Sacraments as they pleased. Cromwell, when the Commonwealth was threatened by Royalist conspiracies and insurrections, had published an
49 Carlyle, Cromwell, iv. 235-236.
Ordinance forbidding the use of the Book of Common Prayer ; but
“no one was prosecuted under it; and, though it was not recalled, it was understood that it was suspended by the pleasure of his Highness, and that chaplains, teachers and preachers of the Episcopalian persuasion might go on as before, and reckon on all the toleration accorded to other Dissenters. . . • The Protector,' says one of the Royalist authorities], indulged the use of the CommonPrayer in families and in private conventicles; and, though the condition of the Church of England was but melancholy, yet it cannot be denied that they had a great deal more favour and indulgence than under the Parliament.' ” 50
The Humble Petition and Advice the Ordinance forbidding the use of the Prayer-Book is not confirmed ; and for anything that appears in that document, the Episcopalian clergy were to be as free to use the Prayer-Book as the Presbyterian clergy to use the Directory.
Comparing the constitution of the national Establishment under Cromwell with its constitution after the Toleration Act of 1689,51 Cromwell's settlement was much more liberal. The Toleration Act did nothing to widen the entrance into the ministry of the national Establishment. After the Toleration Act, as before, every clergyman was required to declare his unfeigned assent and consent, not only to the Thirty-nine Articles, but to everything contained and prescribed in the Book of Common Prayer; he was required to submit to Episcopal ordination; and in celebrating worship and administering the Sacraments he was bound to use the forms of the PrayerBook with all the ceremonies prescribed by the rubrics. Under The Humble Petition and Advice, the clergyman was required to agree to the Confession of Faith. This Confession was never drawn up, but there is no probability that it would have been more stringent than the Thirty-nine Articles. Nor is it probable that any more definite or comprehensive profession of belief than that contained in the Thirty-nine Articles was required by the “ Triers.” And this-in addition to testimonials to character and religious earnestness-was the only test that Cromwell imposed.
With one flagrant exception the toleration granted to those
60 Masson, Milton, v. 60.
61 ; W. and M. cap. 18.
outside the Establishment by Cromwell and by The Humble Petition and Advice was more generous than that which was granted by the Toleration Act. Roman Catholics were excluded from the benefits of the toleration clause in The Humble Petition and Advice; they were also excluded from the benefits of the Toleration Act.52 In the seventeenth century the Papacy was regarded as a permanent menace to the civil and religious liberties of all Protestant nations. On the same ground--and this was the dark blot in the Cromwellian policy-no toleration was granted to bishops : with the bitter memories of more than a hundred years the Puritans regarded Episcopacy as the ally of superstition and tyranny, and they believed that to permit the restoration of the Episcopal order would be to bring back the evil days of Charles and Laud, and to sacrifice all that had been won by the war. But other forms of separation from the national Establishment were treated far more liberally by Cromwell than by the Toleration Act. Neither Cromwell nor the Toleration Act gave protection to the Unitarians. But under the Toleration Act no Nonconformist minister could obtain protection in the discharge of his ministry until he had subscribed thirty-five of the Thirty-nine Articles ;
53 under The Humble Petition and Advice it was sufficient that he declared his faith in the Trinity, and in the Holy Scriptures as the revealed will and Word of God. It was not till 1779 that the simple declaration that he was a Nonconformist minister released a man from the obligation to subscribe the Articles, and allowed him to declare that he was a " Christian and a Protestant,” that as such he believed
that as such he believed “that the Holy Scriptures do contain the revealed will of God," and that he received the same as the rule” of his doctrine and practice.” 54 Nor was it till 1813 that an Act was passed, repealing the statutes which made it a penal offence to deny the doctrine of the Trinity, and extending the benefits of the Toleration Act to Unitarians.55
62 Ibid., § 17. 63 Ibid., § 8. The Articles excepted were 34, 35, 36, and part of
The Church hath power to decree rites and ceremonies, and authority in controversies of faith.” Exemptions were allowed also to Baptists and Quakers in respect of infant baptism (27), and the taking of oaths (10, 13). 19 Geo. III. cap. 44.
53 Geo. III. cap. 160.
THE EJECTMENT OF THE EPISCOPALIAN CLERGY
CONDITION OF THE CHURCH-COMMITTEES TO DEAL WITH SCANDALOUS
AND WITH PLUNDERED MINISTERS-COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
N November 6, 1640, three days after the meeting of
ing the example of previous Parliaments, appointed a Grand Committee of the whole House to deal with grievances of religion. Petitions, in such large numbers, began to pour in from all parts of the country charging the clergy with immorality, heresy, incompetency, and superstition, that in December a large sub-committee consisting of about a hundred members was appointed to consider how there may be preaching ministers set up, where there are none; how those preaching ministers may be maintained, where there is no Maintenance ; and when they are in how they may be kept and continued ; and to receive all other petitions of that nature”; also to
inquire of the true Grounds and Causes of the great Scarcity of preaching Ministers through the whole Kingdom, and to consider of some way of removing scandalous ministers, and putting others in their Places." i The House was resolved, not only to reform the laws of the Church, but to exercise the discipline which the bishops had neglected.
1 C. J. (Nov. 6 and Dec. 19, 1640), ii. 21, 54.
White, who was Chairman of the Grand Committee of the whole House, was also Chairman of the Sub-Committee, which was sometimes described as “the Committee for Preaching Ministers” and sometimes as “the Committee for Scandalous Ministers.” By its enemies it was called “the Scandalous Committee."
Complaints against the clergy continued to be so numerous, that this Committee was subdivided into several smaller Committees which were named after their Chairmen-White's Committee, Corbet's Committee, Sir Robert Harlow's Committee, Sir Edward Dering's Committee.” 2 According to Walker, the historian of the Sufferings of the Episcopalian Clergy, within a short space, above two thousand Petitions were brought in against the clergy; and within some months after, Mr. Corbet . . . boasted that he had before his single Committee, as I understand it) no less than nine hundred Petitions against scandalous Ministers.” 3
The articles of inquiry were (1) Scandalous immorality, such as drunkenness, swearing, blasphemy, and other gross vices ; (2) False or scandalous doctrine, especially Popery and Arminianism ; (3) Profanation of the Sabbath, by reading and countenancing the Book of Sports ; (4) Practising the recent innovations in divine service ; (5) Neglect of ministerial duty, and especially neglect of preaching ; (6) Malignancy-active hostility to Parliament. The witnesses were to be examined in the presence of the accused. When one of the Committees concluded that charges against a clergyman had been proved which justified sequestration, they reported to the Grand Committee; the Grand Committee, if it approved the sentence, reported to the whole House. Before the breaking out of the war, the final decision was referred to the House of Lords ; afterwards the House of Commons acted on its own authority.
In December, 1642, the House appointed a Committee " to consider of the fittest way for the relief of such godly and wellaffected Ministers as have been plundered, and . . . what malignant persons have Benefices herein and about this town, whose Livings being sequestered, these may supply their Cures, and receive the profits.” This was
" the Committee for
· Persecutio Undecima, § 5, p. 22.
- Neal, iii. 27.