HISTORY OF THE REVIVAL AND PROGRESS
INDEPENDENCY IN ENGLAND.
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HISTORY OF THE REVIVAL AND PROGRESS
SINCE THE PERIOD OF THE REFORMATION:
AN INTRODUCTION, CONTAINING AN ACCOUNT OF THE DEV lOPMENT OF
THE PRINCIPLES OF INDEPENDENCY IN THE AGE OP CHRIST AND
HIS APOSTLES, AND OF THE GRADUAL DEPARTURE OF THE
CHURCH INTO ANTICHRISTI AN ERROR, UNTIL THE TIME
OF THE REFORMATION.
EDITOR OP THE "SELECT WORKS AND MEMOIRS OF THI L'
DR. FLETCHER," AUTHOR OF "SIX VIEWS OF INFIDi'LI V,'
JOHN SNOW, 35, PATERNOSTER ROW.
THE HISTORY OF INDEPENDENCY.
THE INDEPENDENTS DURING THE PERIOD OF THE "WEST-
MINSTER ASSEMBLY. 1643 1649.
The Independents, during the civil war, not uninterested
The fortunes of the war after the battle of Edgehill ...... ib.
Brooke and Hampden slain 2
The assistance of Scotland solicited -t
The policy of parliament in relation to religion 5
What it ought to have been //â€¢.
The opinions and position of the orough Independents (
The moderate views of the House of Commons
Their determination to convoke an assembly of divin
DiflSculties in carrying out the project
The Westminster Assembly called in 1643
Its constitution, object, and functions
Its composition and merits
The probability respecting its results
Its functions enlarged
Milton's opinion respecting it
This opinion characterised
His opinion vindicated
VI histout or independency.
The Independents in the Assembly 23
Their general character 24
Baillie's statements respecting them 25
Opposed and feared by the presbyterians ib.
The principles they held at this time 27
Their chief error 29
Not thorough, but congregational Independents only ... ib.
The transactions of the Assembly confirm this view 30
Vane and Nye promote the Solemn League and Covenant ... 31
The Westminster Assembly adopt it ib.
Treatment of Burgess and Price 32
The covenant taken in St. Margaret's church ib.
Enforced upon the nation 33
The part taken by the Independents ib.
The anabaptists opposed by Goodwin and Nye, in December,
The Assembly Independents unfavourable to liberty of con-
The assertion that they advocated unlimited toleration examined ib.
The occasion of the scene in the Jerusalem Chamber, Feb. 21,
The discussion reported ib.
The speech of Nye 40
The real cause of offence 41
The famous sentence respecting unlimited toleration, not at-
tributed to Philip Nye, nor to any of the Assembly In-
dependents ; but the contrary 42
This sentence not spoken at all, but an epistolary statement in
Baillie of the opinions of John Goodwin and the tho-
rough Independents ib.
John Goodwin an advocate for full liberty of conscience 43
A sketch of his life ib.
His sincerity called in question 45
His own account of himself 46
Roger Williams an advocate of liberty of conscience 48
His early history 49
His banishment by the court of Boston 50
His settlement at Rhode Island in 1638 51
Hi? views then formed 52
His mission to England 53
ANALYTICAL TABLE. Vll
Obtained a charter in 1G4 1, and founds a colony on the basis
of liberty of conscience .').3
His intimacy tvith Vane, and its results 54
His Bioudy Tenant of Persecution ih.
The influence exerted by Goodwin and Williams 55
Burton's sentiments at this time 56
His chief error 57
Milton's views respecting civil and religious liberty 58
His opinions cited 59
Their importance (Jl
His Areopagitica characterised G2
The broad views advocated in it (53
Passages quoted ib.
The permanent importance of these views CS
The opposition encountered by the thorough Independents ... ih.
The aims of the presbyterians 69
The extent of their success 70
The Independents the chief cause of their failure 72
The services rendered by the assembly Independents ib.
Their opinions advance 70
The two classes of Independents united in action 74
The chief cause of the failure of the presbyterians reserved for
another chapter ib
THE IXDEPEXDEXTS UNDER THE COMMOXWE ./PI
PROTECTORATE. 1649 1660.
The unfavourable position of the parliamentary army in the
early period of the war 75
The results of the self-denying ordinance, and new ' 76
The character and aims of Oliver Cromwell ib.
This view of his character confirmed by fact 78
The character of the officers and soldiers who served under him 79
Most of them Independents 81
Baxter's statement respecting them ib.
Remarks upon it 83
VlU HISTOBT OF INDEPENDENCY.
Hume's statement 83
Sprigge's statement 84
Edwards's testimony respecting their Independency 85
The success of the army 86
Its great sobriety ib.
The singular composition of the army accounted for 87
The defeat of the royalists 88
The king takes refuge in the Scottish camp 89
Delivered over to the parliamentary commissioners in 1647... 90
The aims of the presbyterians at this time ib.
Their want of foresight , 91
Opposed by the army 92
The position of the army, and the spirit by which it was
Their own statement 94
They set themselves against the parliament 95
Obtain possession of the king's person 96
Their vindication of themselves 97
Provoked by the presbyterian members of parliament ib.
Parliament over-awed by a mob, seek protection from the
ThÂ«^ Independents masters of the field ib.
The members of the army divided in their political views ... 99
The importance of this distinction in relation to our subject ib.
Cromwell's sincerity 100
His political views subordinated to his religious principles . 101
Evinced by his attempts to restore the king ib.
Events leading to the execution of the king, in 1G49 102
Opitiions respecting this act 103
Independency not chargeable with it 104
But many of the Independent party approved the deed 105
How far Owen, Peters, and the Assembly Independents were
A sketch of Owen's life 107
Becomes preacher and author 108
Adopts the views of the Independents 109
Forms a congregational church at Coggeshall 110
The character of Hugh Peters vindicated Ill
His early history and banishment 112
His friendship with Dr. Ames at Rotterdam 113
ANALYTICAL TABLE. IX
Becomes co-pastor with Cotton in New England
Returns to England at the commencement of the civil war
His associates, and the confidence reposed in him
The part which he took in the execution of Laud and Charles
Party judgment reversed
The condition of England after the death of Charles ... .
The conduct of parliament
The policy adopted in relation to ecclesiastical matters
The state of parties peculiar
The opinions of the Assembly Independents, respecting se-
paration between church and state, defective
Quotations from Burroughes and Greenhill
Owen's views similar
The defective policy of parliament upsets the commonwealth
The distracted state of affairs
Cromwell appointed to reduce Ireland and Scotland... .
His conduct in Ireland
More especially in relation to religion
His behaviour towards the Edinburgh ministers
His letter to the governor of the castle
His defence of liberty of preaching
His views those of the Independents
His rule in Scotland beneficial
Testimony of Rutherford
Independency in Scotland since the time of Penry ...
The change effected during the commonwealth
Independency in Ireland during the commonwealth
Cromwell and the rump parliament
The conduct of parliament during Cromwell's absence ...
The dissatisfaction created by it
Cromwell dismisses parliament in 1653
Barebones' parliament summoned, and its composition .
Cromwell's speech in vindication of his conduct
Cromwell declared lord protector, in August, 1653 ... .
The limits of his power
Vindicated from the charge of hypocrisy
X HISTOET OF INDEPENDENCY.
Installed as lord protector in 1657, after refusing the title of
His death 165
Conflicting testimonies respecting his dying experience ... ib.
His dying prayer , 166
The consternation produced by his decease 167
The moral grandeur of the protectorate ib.
A retrospect of the religious condition of England during this
The evils prevented ib.
The defective policy of the commonwealth's men 171
The imperfect views and policy of Cromwell ib.
The ecclesiastical system established under the protectorate ... 172
The change effected 173
Congregational Independents ; endowed by the state 175
Their conduct not inconsistent with their avowed opinions ;
illustrated by the Savoy conference 177
And the committee of Triers ; 179
And the resolutions of the ministers and delegates of the con-
gregational churches in 1659 180
These resolutions a proof that the leading congregational ists
of this period were not advocates of a perfect liberty 182
More especially the last resolution against the quakers ib.
The progress of Independency retarded by these means ... 184
A fair opportunity of vindicating Independency before the
world thrown away 185
Richard Cromwell's protectorate 186
His first parliament 187
His abdication ib.
The army and the Independents divided 188
General Monk deceives the Independents ib.
Charles the Second restored 189
INDEPENDENCY AND THE RESTORATION ; OR, CURING THE
REIGNS OF CHARLKS THE SECOND, AND JAMES
THE SECOND. 16G0 1688.
The old civil policy established 190
In what light to be regarded ib.
The position of the Independents reversed 191
Charles's promise respecting liberty of conscience in the de-
claration of Breda ; how kept ib.
The execution of the regicides 193
The army disbanded 195
The conduct of the royalists 196
The attempt to bring about an accommodation between epis-
copalians and presbyterians ib.
Its failure, and the re-establishment of episcopacy 197
The high-church zeal of parliament 198
The Act of uniformity in 1662, and its results 199
The Independents become non-conformists 200
Their ministers, although ejected, retain their position as
The conduct of Charles leads to other measures of a perse-
cuting character ib.
His declaration of indulgence in 1662, rejected by the presby-
terians, and in part by the Independents 202
The Conventicle Act in 1661 203
The Five Mile Act in 1665 iO.
The manner in which these statutes were enforced ... 204
The ^position of the Independents 205
Remonstrances of no avail ib.
The plague breaks out in London 206
The deserted pulpits occupied by nonconformists 207
The fire of London i/j.
The " tabernacles " erected at this time ib.
The Cabal ministry formed 208
The secret compact of Charles with Louis the Fourteenth, of
Xir HISTORY OF INDEPENDENCY.
The Declaration of Indulgence, how regarded by various
The Declaration withdrawn 211
The Test Act 212
The state of public affairs ih.
The excitement occasioned by Titus Oates's discovery of a sup-
posed popish plot 213
The Exclusion Bill 214
The Tories come into power, and a reaction takes place ... ib.
James in Scotland ib.
Charles the Second dies a Roman Catholic 215
A review of the position of the Independents during this
Their literary eminence ib.
De Foe's testimony 2l7
The character of the Independent churches at this period ... 219
Their sufferings 220
Contrivances to elude spies ib.
At Stepney and Bristol 221
The Parker controversy respecting toleration 226
Owen and others involved in it ib.
The controversy with Dean Stillingfleet respecting separation 227
Howe, Owen, and others involved in it ib.
The " Unreasonableness of Separation " characterized ... 228
Stillingfleet's Conditions of Indulgence 229
His argument successful against some parties ih.
The principles of the Congregational Independents insufficient 231
The controversy continues; involving Baxter and others ... ib.
David Clarkson's works on Episcopacy and Liturgies 232
John Locke's unpublished reply to Stillingfleet ib.
The first dissenting academy established during this period ... 233
The reign of James the Second comprises three epochs ... 234
The commencement of his reign marked by a virulent perse-
cution of the dissenters 235
In England and Scotland 236
The Monmouth insurrection and the bloody assizes ib.
Lady Alice, and other victims 237
Abraham Holmes, and the two Hewiings 238
Other cruelties and enormities 239
ANALYTICAL TABLE. Xlll
Nonconformist sufferers in London 240
Macaulay's statement of the condition of the Puritans at this
The church of England looks coldly on 242
James makes preparations for bringing about a Roman
Catholic ascendancy 243
His proclamation for liberty of conscience in Scotland 244
The " Declaration of Indulgence," in 1687 245
Supported by eight prelates ib.
Opposed by the church of England ; the king endeavours to
obtain the support of the nonconformists 246
Difficult to determine what the dissenters ought to have done 247
The conduct of Alsop, Penn, Lobb, and others not deserving
the censure passed upon it 248
Stephen Lobb vindicated from the charges of Mr. Macaulay 249
" A Letter to a Dissenter ;" its character and influence ... 251
Baxter, Howe, Bunyan, and others, oppose the dispensing
Both parties may have been right on their respective grounds 253
The course of events favored the latter 254
The contingency of failure in the attempt of the Prince of
Orange should be taken into account 255
The conduct of James leads to his ruin ib.
The restoration leads to the revolution of 1688 256
INDEPENDENCY AND THE REVOLUTION ; OR, DURING THE
REIGNS OF WILLIAM THE THIRD AND aUEEN
The accession of William, and the general character of his
Neither William nor the majority of the nonconformists
thoroughly enlightened with respect to the rights of
Illustrated by the addresses to the throne 259
John Howe's views defective 260
XIV HISTORY or INDEPENDENCY.
John Locke in advance 260
His letters on toleration quoted 2G1
William's attempts to better the condition of the dissenters ... 263
The Toleration Act 264
How received 265
William true to his promises 266
The union between the presbyterians and the Independents,
and the changes it indicated ib.
The accession of Queen Anne 268
The ** Occasional Conformity Bill" first introduced into par-
liament, 1702 269
A second time, in 1705 ib.
De Foe's " Shortest Way with the Dissenters" 270
His prosecution and sentence 271
His character ib.
The perilous position of the dissenters in 1708 272
The trial of Sacheverell in 1710 ib.
The sufferings of the dissenters from mobs, and from an unre-
pealed clause in the " Five Mile Act " ib.
The " Occasional Conformity Bill" passed in 1711 273
The " Schism Bill" passed in 1714 ib.
The " Memorial of the Dissenters " without effect 275
The Queen dies on the very day on which the act should have
come into operation 276
INDEPENDENCY UNDER THE HOUSE OF BRUNSWICK', Of, FROM
THE ACCESSION OF GEORGE THE FIRST TO THE REIGN OF
QUEEN VICTORIA. 1714 â€” 1837.
The accession of George the First prevents a counter-revolution 277
The Guelphic dynasty favourable to the dissenters ib.
The Tories promote a rebellion in favour of the Pretender ... 278
George the First procures an act for the protection of dissenting
The dissenters seek the repeal of the Occasional Conformity,
Schism, and Test Acts 280
ANALYTICAL TABLE, XV
Successful with respect to the first two in 1719 281
The persecution of Dr. Hoadley gives the death-blow to the
Other measures of relief 282
Origin of the Regium Donuin ib.
George the Second ascends the throne, and promises protection
to the dissenters 283
Dr. Doddridge shielded by him in 1727 ib.
The three denominations unite in the same year 284
The committee of deputies formed in 1736 285
Attempts to revive the power of the convocation frustrated ... ib.
Revival of religion under Whitfield and Wesley 286
Whitfield, Wesley, and the Moravians protected by the Toler-
ation Act 287
Final attempt of the Prei'-ender, and conduct of the dissenters 288
Allen Evans's case in the City of London 289
Decided in favour of the dissenters 290
Death of George the Second ib.
Succeeding reigns briefly characterized 291
Unsuccessful attempts to procure relief from subscription... ib.
Educational clauses of the "Five Mile Act" repealed, and
the terms of subscription altered, in 1779 292
Lord George Gordon riots ^. 293
Attempt to repeal the Corporation and Test Acts in 1786... 294
Lord Sidmouth's Bill in 1811 successfully resisted ib.
The "New Toleration Act" passed in 1812 295
The Corporation and Test Acts repealed in 1828 ib.
THE INDEPENDENTS DURING THE PERIOD OP THE
WESTMINSTER ASSEMBLT. 1643 1649.
While civil war wasted the land, and the councils of
the State were distracted by conflicting interests, the
advocates of scriptural liberty and order were not un-
interested spectators of the general scene. Their
patriotism was nurtured by their religion. Their
principles, or principles akin to theirs, lay, as they
thought, at the basis of all those living influences by
which society was to be regenerated. They shrank
not from the lofty responsibilities to which providence
was apparently calling them. Too much in advance
of the age, in many respects, to be altogether suc-
cessful, the Independents became, nevertheless, the
nucleus of a party unmatched in history for attach-
ment to the cause of just, impartial, and progressive
liberty, for skill in controversy, heroism in war, and
sagacity in statesmanship.
A rapid sketch of the general course of events will
prepare the way for the details of our subject, during
the period embraced by this chapter.
After the battle of Edgehill, the war was carried
on with little vigour on the side of the parliamentary
troops, mainly in consequence of the undefined pur-
poses of the Earl of Essex, commander in chief, and
of those who acted in concert with him. He had en-
YOL. IV. B
2 HISTOET OF I-NEEPEITDENCT.
gaged in the contest more from pique than principle,
and was not prepared to push matters to an ex-
tremity. Many opportunities of pursuing the war
with success were therefore thrown away. Od more
than one occasion, the very parliament was in jeo-
pardy, through the near advances of the royalists.
This stigma does not attach to such men as Lord
Erooke, Hampden, and Cromwell, all of whom were
resolutely bent upon the defence of the liberties of
England, and the deliverance of the nation from its
oppressors. The two former prevented Charles from
marching into the metropolis, by the timely succour
they afforded to the regiment of Holies at Brent-
ford ;* and the last had been occupied from the com-
mencement of the war in raising and disciplining his
famous Ironsides, a troop of warriors, one thousand
strong, the like to which the world has never seen in
any age, either before or since.
Unhappily for their country, Brooke and Hampden
were numbered among the earliest victims of the
war ; the former at the siege of Lichfield, on the 2nd
of March, 1643, after having reduced nearly all "War-
wickshire ;t and the latter in the following June, in
the skirmish at Chalgrove, near Oxford, while re-
cruiting in the neighbourhood.]: The loss of two
such men at such a time, was a great blow to the
popular cause. The death of Hampden, in particular,
excited as much consternation in parliament as if
* Essex was roused to a sense of danger, only by the roaring of
the cannon, which reached his ears in the House of Lords.
t See an able sketch of " The brave Lord Brooke," in Stough-
ton's Spiritual Heroes.
X Hampden was wounded between the shoulders by a random
shot, on his fiftieth birthday, and died on the 24th of June, or six
THE WESTMINSTER ASSEMBLY. 6
their whole army had been destroyed. For a mo-
ment it was paralyzed ; and even hesitated whether
to proceed with the war or no. In a little time,
however, the braver spirits of the day recovered
from the recoil, and pursued their object with fresh
determination. An opportunity had been afforded
of ascertaining the real position of their party. The
more timid and time-serving had revealed themselves
in the season of disaster, and the cowardly and the
courtly were henceforth distinguished from the pa-
triotic. The people, moreover, came in to their aid,
and impelled them forwards. When the peers pro-
posed to the commons an immediate accommodation
with the king, the whole city was up in remonstrance.
The clergy and the common council alike denounced
the overture, and a petition was presented against it
by the Lord Mayor, at the head of the populace.
From this time, the House of Lords lost much of
the respect it had formerly received, and parliament
was shut up to the course which its leaders had
marked out. Notwithstanding the defection of some
peers to the camp of the king, the Pyms and St.
Johns were staunch, and led on the commons with
fresh earnestness. They brought the wavering Essex
round to a course of more decided hostility, and were
repaid by the relief of Grloucester, and the victory at
Newbury. Still, great danger impended, and new
methods were devised for strengthening the popular
days after. His dying words were, â€” " O Lord, save my bleeding
country. Have these realms in thy special keepins^. Confound
and level in the dust those who would rob the people of their
liberty and lawful prerogative. Let the king see his error, and
turn the hearts of his wicked counsellors from the malice and
wickedness of their designs. Lord Jesus, receive my soul !"
4 IIISTOET or INDEPENDEKCT.
cause against the hostility and treachery of the com-
"We are thus brought to the period when the
assistance of Scotland was solicited by parliament.
This step was not taken without reluctance. It was
already evident to many of the patriots, that the
presbyterians of the north were ambitious of confer-
ring their own ecclesiastical system on the people of
England, in place of the now abolished hierarchy.
Tor some time, their fears on this score prevented
their seeking aid likely to be accompanied by unwel-
come conditions. On the other hand, the liberties of
England were in jeopardy, and it was not quite so plain,
that presbyterianism might not be a suitable religion
for both countries. It was determined, therefore, to try
how far the matter might be adjusted, and eventually
a compact was entered into between the two nations,
known by the name of the "Solemn League and
Covenant." For the purposes of the mere emer-
gency, the measure was apparently successful. On
the 19th of January, 1644, the Scotch army, 21,000
strong, entered England by Berwick, joined the armies
of the parliament, and had its share in several en-
gagements, with various success. In the end, how-
ever, England had to fight and win its own battles,
and alterwards, to turn its arms against its tempo-
rary ally. The experiment of a religious adjustment
proved a failure. Instead of fastening the yoke of
their religious system upon the necks of the people of
England, the Scotch people found themselves, after
many provocations, at the foot of a conqueror, as
generous as he was brave â€” a conqueror and a ruler
who, while retaining possession of their country by a
THE AVE3TMINSTEB. ASSEMBLY. 5
military force, taught them the novel lesson of civil
subordination, without robbing them of their religious
Descending from this very general view of public
events, the policy adopted by parliament in relation
to ecclesiastical matters claims our first consideration,
leading as it did to most of those stormy scenes of
division, debate, and controversy, in which all re-
ligious parties became involved, and amongst the
rest the Independents.
Having abolished the hierarchy, parliament was
under the necessity of supplying something in its
place, or, at least, of determining the ecclesiastical