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from the shock produced by the King's death. Most of them were still filled with awe by“ the divinity which doth hedge a King." This sentiment of loyalty was reinforced by the oath which they had taken in the Solemn League and Covenant, in which they swore, “ We shall with the same reality, sincerity, and constancy, in our several vocations, endeavour with our estates and lives, mutually to preserve the rights and privileges of the parliaments, and the liberties of the kingdoms, and to preserve and defend the King's Majesty's person and authority, in the preservation and defence of the true religion and liberties of the kingdoms; that the world may bear witness with our consciences, of our loyalty, and that we have no thoughts or intentions to diminish his Majesty's just power and greatness.” 11 The solemnity of this oath weighed on their consciences. Charles II. was the legitimate heir of all the royal authority and prerogative of his father. Their first concern, indeed, was to stand by the cause of the true religion ; to this the Covenant pledged them. But if the young prince would give liberty and protection to the servants of Christ, they regarded him as having just claims on their allegiance, and claims which, in the Solemn League and Covenant, they had themselves sworn to recognise. They thought that they could trust him—or, at least, they hoped they could trust him. Twice he had taken the covenant oath—first, at Spey, on June 23, 1650, eighteen months after his father's execution ; and then at Scone, on January 1, 1650-1. Foreign Protestants, Presbyterians like themselves, were induced to send to England glowing accounts of the young King's zeal for Protestantism. And further, the Presbyterian leaders, conscious of the service they were rendering to the young King, believed that gratitude would restrain him from treating with harshness and injustice those who had restored him to his throne, and that even if he were base enough to forget their claims, they were strong enough to enforce them. But that they should have consented to Charles's return without firm guarantees for constitutional and ecclesiastical freedom was an enormous error. They ought to have known the Stuarts too well to trust any prince who bore the name.
11 Solemn League and Covenant, Art. 3. Rushworth, 3. (ii), 478. See ante, p. 268.
GENERAL REVIEW OF CONGREGATIONALISM FROM
THE MEETING OF THE LONG PARLIAMENT (1640) TO THE RESTORATION (1660).
CONGREGATIONAL CHURCHES IN LONDON, A.D. 1640_WORSHIPPERS
AT DEADMAN'S PLACE ARRESTED, EXAMINED, AND GENTLY DEALT
T the close of 1640 there were two Congregational
Churches in London. The Southwark Church, founded by Henry Jacob in 1616," had lived through all the severities with which Laud endeavoured to suppress the Separatists. The congregation had sometimes been broken up by the officers of the bishops, and many of its members carried off to prison ; but it had held
See pp. 217–218, 220–221.
together, and, at the meeting of the Long Parliament, had for its pastor Henry Jessey, a member of St. John's College, Cambridge, a man of great learning, especially in Hebrew, Chaldee, and Syriac, and the rabbinical literature.?
A second Church had been formed in Deadman's Place about the year 1621, its first pastor being John Hubbard, or John Herbert. Under the stress of persecution he and his Church crossed over to Ireland, where he died. After the return of the Church to England, John Canne became its pastor ; but he was soon compelled to escape to Holland, where he became pastor of the Church of the exiles at Amsterdam. He was succeeded by Samuel How, a Baptist, who is described by Roger Williams as “ that eminent Christian witness, and prophet of Christ, . who being by calling a cobler, and without human learning, which yet in its sphere and place he honoured, who yet, I say, by searching the Holy Scriptures, grew so excellent a textuary, or scripture learned man, that few of those high Rabbis that scorn to mend or make a shoe, could aptly or readily from the Holy Scriptures out-go him.” 4
In reply to John Goodwin, of Coleman Street, who had insisted on the necessity of learning for the Christian preacher, How published a sermon under the title of The Sufficiency of the Spirit's Teaching without Human Learning : or a Discourse tending to prove that Human Learning is no help to the Spiritual Understanding of the Word of God. How died in prison early in 1640. As he had been excommunicated, he could not be buried in consecrated ground, and was therefore buried in the highway.” Stephen More, a deacon of the Church and a wealthy London citizen, was elected to the vacant pastorate. He was a Pædobaptist. The majority of the members were also Pædobaptists, but from its foundation the Church had made the question of
? He afterwards became a Baptist.
3 Canne, like Jessey, became a Baptist. He is said to have been the first to illustrate the text of Scripture with marginal references. Brook, iii. 333-334, and 340 ; Dexter, 347–348.
· Williams's Hireling Ministry none of Christ's (1652), 11-12, in Brook, ii. 457, who also quotes (ibid. 456) the following lines prefixed to How's sermon :
“What How ? how now ? Hath How such learning found,
Veil to a cobbler, if they know but How." 5 The Brownists Synagogue, 2.
Baptism an open question both for its members and church officers.
The vigour with which Parliament was attacking the men who had been chiefly responsible for the civil and ecclesiastical tyranny of the previous fifteen years, encouraged the congregation to dispense with the precautions which they had usually observed to ensure the secrecy of their meetings, and on a Sunday afternoon in January, 1640–1, while meeting with open doors at the house of Richard Sturges in Deadman's Place, they were disturbed by the officers of the King's Bench, and more than sixty of them were taken to the Clink. Six or seven of them were brought before the House of Lords on the charge of denying the King's ecclesiastical supremacy, and violating the statute of the 35th of Elizabeth enforcing attendance at the parish churches. They answered :
(1) That the law of Elizabeth was not a true law, for it was made by the bishops ; and that they would not obey it. (2) That they would not go to their parish churches; that these churches were not true churches; and that there was no true church but where the faithful met. (3) That the King cannot make a perfect law, for that he was not a perfect man. (4) That they ought not to obey him but in civil things."
They were dismissed with a gentle reprimand, and on the next Sunday several of the Lords went to Deadman's Place to see how the church conducted its worship.?
Besides these two regularly organised Congregational Churches there were at this time a large number of miscellaneous Separatist assemblies in and near London; many of them, no doubt, holding fast to the traditions of Robert Browne, and distinguished by the spirit of bitter hostility to the English Church that animated the Brownists. In 1631 Bishop Hall had written with alarm to Laud to tell him that there were eleven Separatist congregations in or near London ; 8 he now told the House of Lords that in London and its immediate
6 Brook, ii. 458.
? L. J. (Jan. 16, 17, 1640–I), iv. 133-134; and Crosby, History of the English Baptists, i. 163. Fuller (vi. 180) wrongly describes the congregation as Anabaptists. See Neal, ii. 375, and Dexter, 648-649, n. 97. Waddington, following Neal, represents this Church as being that of which Henry Jacob was the founder; but this is a mistake, as shown by Wilson, Dissenting Churches, iv. 121-123.
8 Ante, p. 219.
neighbourhood there were no fewer than eighty of these congregations of " sectaries," “ instructed by guides fit for them, cobblers, tailors, felt-makers, and such like trash: which all are taught to spit in the face of their mother, the Church of England, and to defy and revile her government.” 9
Congregationalism was now about to take a wholly new position in the ecclesiastical life of England. There can be little doubt that most of the members of the Brownist Churches were mechanics and working people, joiners, shipwrights, and serving men. Their leaders, indeed, were drawn from another class : Browne, Barrowe, Greenwood, Francis Johnson, Penry, Brewster, Robinson, Smyth, Henry Jacob, Henry Jessey, were, all of them, university men ; and Henry Ainsworth was famous for his Hebrew learning." And among the private members of the Brownist Churches there had been a considerable number of fair social position and good education. But with the exception of Robert Browne, who went back to the English Church, those of their leaders who had not been sent to the scaffold in the time of Elizabeth had been driven to Holland or to New England, and the ablest and the best educated among the members of their Churches accompanied or followed them. Some of the pastors of the two London Churches were learned men, but they stood alone ; and most of the Congregationalists left in England after the sailing of the Mayflower were obscure and illiterate people.
But Baillie, the Scotch commissioner, writing in 1645, says :
Of all the by-paths wherein the wanderers of our time are pleased to walk, this [Independency) is the most considerable ; not for the number, but for the quality of the erring persons therein. There be few of the noted Sects which are not a great deal more numerous; but this Way, what it wants in number, supplies by the weight of its followers. . . . But setting aside number, for other respects they are of so eminent a condition, that not any nor all of the rest of the Sects are comparable to them; for they
• Joseph Hall, Works (1863), viii. 277. 10 See R. W. Dale, The Early Independents (Jubilee Lectures), i. 26.