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beauty of its well-ordered ceremonies. They would produce the impression, upon the minds of reading men, that in that memorable strise which divided the English church from the days of Hooper till the revolution of 1688, the grievous wrong in the case was committed not by the church, but by her unnatural children, who with deluded and Puritanic zealtore themselves from her embrace, for a yard or two of linen, or the trifling question, whether they should kneel or stand at the reception of the Eucharist. In this attempt, they can summon to their aid, the powerful influence of much of the current literature of England. Hume has so written, and Scott has so painted, as to persuade their readers, that the Puritanic party with some few exceptions, was made up of weak enthusiasts or hypocritical and sanctimonious knaves. Against these men, of so many of whom the world was not worthy, there have also arrayed themselves, the great majority of political journalists and occasional essayists, either because they belonged to the church of England, and therefore disliked the Puritans, or because they belonged to no church at all, and therefore despised them.

To withstand the efforts of the class to whom we allude, and to contend successfully against the literary and religious prejudices, which they can bring to their aid and which are so omnipotent with certain small literary folk, our course is simple. We have only to present a calm and candid statement of the facts in the case, or which is better, we may do as Mr. Bacon has done,—we may call up again the times of the Puritans, and leave the men of those days with their words and their deeds, to stand up for themselves, before the present generation, and make their own defence.

It is a feature of the present work, for which it cannot be too highly commended, that it presents to us in this way, its defence of the early settlers of New England.

Historic truth, rarely, if ever attained by the great mass even of the readers of bistory, is most likely to be reached by this method of proceeding on the part of professed historians. As history is ordinarily written, it is too often a laudatory declamation, setting forth the objects of its praise in high-sounding periods, and blackening the opposing party, by as unqualified a condemnation. As we pass from the perusal of the recorder for one party to the advocate of the other, we are embarrassed by our alternating confidence and distrust. Too often do we leave the question at issue entirely undecided, and perhaps adopt the principle never afterwards to give credit, to any historian, whatsoever be bis theme. It is true, the skilful student of the past can penetrate successfully through this over-lying mass of embarrassing materials and can bring up from beneath the whole, the simple truth. His practised eye can detect the stroke of the painter's pencil by which this beauty is heightened and that defect is concealed. He can distinguish between the extravagance of the desperate and determined adulator, and the warm-hearted fervor of the honest chronicler. Where testimony is contradictory, and strenuous and artful attempts are made, to illuminate that which is dark, and to darken the bright, he may satisfy himself, that he has indeed settled down upon the truth.

But it need not be said, that the great mass of reading men, even of men well-informed, are not practised students of historic records. They have neither the requisite interest in the points at issue, nor have they the opportunities, the time or the patience, wbich are required for an independent weighing of opposing evidence. However bonest inay be their intentions, and however sincere their desire, to know the simple truth, they are left almost entirely at the disposal of partizan historians and of partizan reviewers.

That historian who would gain a victory for truth by means which a noble mind need not scorn to employ, and a victory also, which will be an enduring triumph, should present to bis readers the men of past days, as they were when they lived, and suffer them to vindicate their own fame, and achieve their own victories over all those men who are honest enough to love the truth.

To apply these principles to the case before us; we choose in our study of the history of the two parties in that great strife which shook all England, not to refer to Neal and Calamy on the one side, and compare them with Clarendon and Southey on the other ;-but rather to open the writings of the men who figured at the head of the contending parties, we fearlessly place Hooker and Cartwright, the one against the other. We are content to set Milton and Baxter and Howe, over against Hall and Taylor and South, and to abide the issue. We would not ask to record from the testimony of any of these men, a single historic fact, but we would gather from the truths for which each contended and the spirit which breathes in their writings, our final estimate of the claims of either to our highest regard.

From themselves would we learn, which of the two had more of the truth in their understandings and more of its spirit in their hearts, and also which of the two parties, deserve most highly the esteem of the present generation.

We could wish that an investigation, like the one suggested could be pursued, in all its details, by some one competent to the work.' He should be a man possessed of great fairness of mind, and of accuracy and completeness in his historic reading. We can only add a hint or two, as to the manner, in which the proper inquiries should be instituted ; and the conclusions to which, in our judgment, they would lead the candid and thorough student.

Let it be forgotten that the one party, contended with sacred and venerated authorities, and strove against opinions, wbich till then had held an undisputed sway over the minds of all Christendom,--while the other had custom, antiquity and consecrated associations with themselves. Let it be forgotten that the one could easily be represented as fomenters of schism in the church and of sedition in the State, while the other presented to themselves and others, the fair appearance of being the friends of order and of the law. Let their relation to parties and questions now existing, be also kept out of mind. Let the esteem and veneration be forgotten, which the friends of the English Establishment have persisted in bestowing exclusively upon those who claimed at that period to be the only true supporters of the English church ; and also the hatred and contempt, which as a matter of course, they teach their children to bestow upon Cromwell and the great Rebellion. Let the men who stood at the head of the iwo great parties be judged by their own merits, as they may be seen in their writings, the bonest index of their aims and principles.

Let the characteristic merits and excellencies of each be compared, as they are bere displayed, and let the claims of each to our highest favor be fairly adjusted. The best men on each side, possessed their characteristic and peculiar excellencies, and they were attached to their own views, for what they deemed to be sufficient reasons, and sound principles. These excellencies of character, these aims and principles--inay and ought to be weighed in the balance, against each other. It can be decided, which be of higher worth; the steadfast uprightness with which the one sought for the simple truth, and planted themselves firmly upon whatever they deemed to be an enduring priociple or the steadfast aim of the other, to bring matters of doctrine and discipline only so near the truth as might“ stand with godly and christian wisdom;"*—which bespeaks the nobler mind, to believe that such wisdom was to be exemplified by yielding to the inflexible decree of the occupant of the throne, or to cherish the strong confidence, that truth, by her innate energy, and with aid from heaven, could if boldly supported, force her way in face of the arbitrary Henry, the splendid but despotic Elizabeth and the vain-glorious James. It can be decided who are most to be honored for this same “ godly and christian wisdomn," the men who against sight and hope committed their cause to Him who reigns in righteousness, and whose throne is girt about with truth, or they who deemed it the part of wise men to yield to the strong current of temporal authority and to give place for a time, to « spiritual wickedness in high places.”

The wisdom of the Puritan leaders, in their practical judg. ments, of what they might yield, with a safe and even an enlightened conscience, is a point, in regard to which, their opponents find it easiest, to claim the preëminence for themselves. The impression is widely diffused, that they were certainly deluded men, even if we allow them to have been honest. With the homage of unfeigned admiration, have we read the address of the celebrated Hooker to the non-conformists of his day contained in the Preface to his work upon Ecclesiastical Polity. We have asked ourselves again and again (with quite as much honest reverence for Hooker's wisdom and worth, as those who feel bound in conscience to become Episcopalians because Hooker and Taylor were great men),-Can it be that the man who in these few pages, has given us such an amount of practical wisdom, condensed as it is in the most forcible maxims, could have erred in bis judgment as to which course was that demanded by christian wisdom? We have easily answered the question of our own asking, by laying out of view, the high and

* The question is not (says Whitgift) whether many things mentioned in your Platform of Discipline were fitly used in the apostles time, or may now be well used in sundry reformed churches, this is not denied ; but whether, when there is a settled order in doctrine and government established by law, it may stand with godly and christian wisdorn to attempt so great alteration as this Platform must needs bring in, with disobedience to the prince and laws, and unquietness of the church, and offence of many consciences.—Neal, An. Ed. I. 310.

philosophic eloquence of the advocate, and looking at Hooker's argument. Side by side, with his powerful sopbistry—we call it sophistry, as it is the application of the wisest maxims to false bypotheses—we have placed the brief and simple argument of some quaint Puritan divine and have felt that the latter though of a homelier, was yet of a wiser mind. Hooker is not the first nor the last instance of a man of scholastic habits and much abstract wisdom, who has yet been greatly in fault in his judgment of practical questions. " I must acknowledge,” says Coleridge, “ with some hesitation, that I think Hooker has been a little over-credited for his judgment."

We find it not at all difficult, to decide, who displayed the firmest heroism. They certainly will bear off the palm, whose sinews were as steel, and whose hearts were as iron in the contests with those, who though bold for the monarch whom they honored and the church they loved, yet because they relied on aid that was seen, could neither write nor battle as they did, who had no reliance but in their own good cause and an unseen God.

In loftiness of imagination, they stand surpassed by none, and in the highest flights of enthusiastic ardor, flights in which some indeed soared so high, as to break the very pinions on wbich they were borne upward. What though Butler has attempted to present to the world, the fervid workings of their ardent enthusiasm as the rank and fermenting mass of crazed and Quixotic fancies? What if Scott, though aimning to be more fair, has yet failed to be moved as a poet should bave been, by the bigh ardor of their fervid spirit and the solemn fixedness of that faith which torture and death only provoked to a more steadfast sternness? We venture still to assert, that no class of men, deserve more to be admired for the noble ideality of their aims and the sublime enthusiasm of their disinterested souls, than the non-conforming divines and warriors of the seventeenth century. Their boldness and their ardor led them into excess, but into such excess as can be charged to great natures alone. Its fire is the very stuff, of which poetry is made, and impersonated as it was in the verse and the more poetic prose of Milton, it challenges a parallel to itself in the history of the world. What if our “amateur divines," and fastidious critics, blush for their Puritan parentage and descent, because they did not dwell in the baunts of the Muses, and sip at the shallow springs which flow from the fountains of Helicou? We tell them, what they SECOND SERIES, VOL. II. NO. III.


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