Page images

The Presbyterians disliked this way of Covenanting, used by the Independents, and their calling every Congregation a Church, without dependency upon any other? and also that they allow'd men to perform all Spiritual Functions, upon the Choice of the People only, without Imposition of the Hands of the Presbytery: forgetting that the Founders of their own Religion, Calvin, Beza, and others, had no other Ordination than what the Independent Ministers had. These Differences continued between them, and they treated each other as Schifmaticks, not only during the Rebellion, (see Note upon Part 3. Canto 2. v.

. 771, 772.) but also after the Restoration of King Charles the Second, and during the Reign of King James the Second, even till a year after the Revolution, and then they united together. Of which · Union, Mr. Quick, a Presbyterian Minister, in his Synodicon in Gallia Reformată ; vol. 2. pag. 467. gives the following account.

“ After a most lamentable Schism of above forty

years continuance, it pleased God at last to touch “ the Hearts of the Godly Ministers of the Presbyterian, and Independent Persuasion, with a deep u Sense of this Great Evil, in separating so long the “ one from the other. Whereupon several Pious « and Learned Pastors in the City of London, of “ Both Ways, met together diverse times, and con« ferred each with other, about healing this Breach; and “ having frequent Consultations about it, and poured “ out many mighty and ferventPrayers unto the God of “ Grace and Peace to affist them in it; upon Friday “ the Sixth day of March, 1690, according to our

Computation, most of the Dissenting Nonconformijt Ministers in the City, and many others from “ the adjacent Parts of it, met together, and there

was read to them the Heads of Agreement prepared “ by the Committee : and which had been seen and

perused by many of them before : and their Al“ fent unto them being demanded, it was readily ac

“ corded,

[ocr errors]

gave in

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ix corded, and afterwards near a hundred “ their Names unto this Union. This Example “ was taking, and leading to all the Nonconforming “ Ministers of England, who, in many of their re“ spective Counties, had their Meetings to compose “ this Difference, and by the Blessing of God upon “ those their Endeavours, it was also upon the sight and “ consideration of the printed Heads of Agreement,

among the United Ministers of London, effected: " whereof notice was sent up to the Brethren here “ in London. When the London Ministers first sign“ed this Union, they unanimously agreed to bury " in the Grave of Oblivion, the Two Names of “ Distinction, Presbyterian and Independent, and to “ communicate these Articles of Union, unto all “ Members in Communion with them, in their par “ ticular Churches the Lord's Day come sevennight ! after, and that they would at the next Meeting

; acquaint the United Brethren, what entertain“ ment and acceptance the reading of it had in their " Assemblies; which was done accordingly, and to “ general Satisfaction.” After this he gives the Heads of their Agreement, which those that are curious to know may consult the Book. faid then, and I think it appears from the Heads of their Agreement, that the Presbyterians yielded to the Independents in almost every Point, about which they had so long contended with them. So that these United Brethren, as after this Union they styled themselves, might all properly enough be called Independents. However the Names are now promifcuously used by others, and they are called indifferently by either of those names. For though many of them are now ordain'd after the Presbyterian way, by imposition of the Hands of the Presbytery ; yet if they are not so ordain'd, but only chosen, and

appointed to officiate by their Congregation, they are by this Agreement sufficiently qualified to officiate as Ministers in their Congregations: the Independents

It was

[ocr errors]

having always esteemed such Ordinations indifferent ; which they might use, or let alone as they pleased.

As to their Worship, contain’d in the Directory, while the Presbyterians had the Ascendent in the Par


a This Directory contains no Form of Prayer, or of Administration of Sacraments: but only gives some general Rules for the Direction of Ministers, and People, how to behave in Church. As, That the People shall be grave and serious, attentive to the Duty they are about: That the Minister shall begin with prayer, That then he shall read a Psalm, or a Chapter or two out of the Old or New Testament, and may expound them if he pleases : Then a Psalm is to be fung, after which the Minister is to pray again, then to preach a Sermon, and to conclude with another Prayer. Baptism in Private Places is forbiciden,

and ordered to be done only in the Place of Publick Worship. There are Directions for Ministers to inftruct the Congregation in the Nature and Design of Baptism, and to pray on the Occasion, but in what Words or Form he pleases. Then he is to demand the Name of the Child, and to baptize it in the Form of Words prescribed in the Gospel. When the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper is to be administred, the Minister when his Sermon is ended, shall make a short Exhortation: The Table is to be placed, where the Communicants may most conveniently fit about it, and is to be decently cover'd. The Minister is to begin the Action with fanctifying and blessing the Elements of Bread and Wine, fe: before him. Then the Words of Institution are to be read out of the Evangelists, or Paul's First Epistle to the Corintbians: Then the Minister is to take the Bread into his Hand, and to say thus, or something like it; I take this Bread and break it, and give it unto nou. Take ye, Eat

ye, this is the Body of Christ : do this in remembrance of Him. In like manner he is to take the Cup, and to tay these or the like words ; Acording to the Institution of our Lord Jesus Chrift, I take this Cup, and give it unto you; This Cup is the New Testament in the Blood of Christ, which is sed for the Remission of the Sins of many; Drink ze all of it. He is also order'd to communicate himself; but it is not said, before he gives it to them, or after. He is ordered to say these words to the Communicants in general, Take ye, Eat ye : so he says them but once, and gives the Bread, and also the Cup afterwards to him that is next him; and so they are handed round the Table from one to another. Then he

them in mind of the Grace of God in the Sacrament, and to conclude with a Thanksgiving

When Persons are to be married, the Minister is first to pray, then to declare the inftitution, Ufe, and Ends of Matrimony, with the Conjugal Duties. Then the Man is to take the Woman by the Right-hand, saying, I. N. take thee N. to be my married Wife, and do in the prejenie of God, and before this Congregation, promise, and

is to put


liament-Houses, the Lords and Commons made an Ordinance, dated Die Veneris 3 Januarii, 1644. For the taking away the Book of Common-Prayer, for establishing, and putting in Execution of the Directory for the Publick Worship of God.

The Dire&tory was drawn up by the Assembly of Divines, which was called by the Parliament, to affist and advise them in the Reformation of Religion in the year 1643. and continued to fit so long as the Presbyterians Power prevail'd. This Asembly of Divines, as it was called, consisted of Ten Peers,

covenant to be a loving and Faithful Husband unto thee, until God fall separate us by Death. Then the Woman takes the Man by the Right-hand, and says, 1. N. take thee N. to be my married Husband, and I do in the presence of God, and before this Congregation, promise, and covenant to be a loving, faithful, and obedient Wife unto thee, until God Mall separate us by Death. Then, without any further Ceremony, the Minister pronounces them to be Man and Wife, and concludes with a Prayer. When he visits the Sick, he is to advise, direct and pray with him ; The Dead shall be decently attended from the House to the Place appointed for Publick Burial, and then immediately interr’d, without any Ceremony; praying. 'reading and singing both in going to and at the Grave shall be laid aside. In all these Directions for Prayer, the Minister is to make his own Prayers; there is no Form appointed : That would be to ftint the Spirit.

The Lord's Prayer is once just mentioned, and 'tis acknowledged That it may lawfully be used as a Prayer, as well as a Pattern of Prayer, but there is no Order for the use of it on any Occasion it is barely recommended to be used if the Minister thinks fit, and juit when he pleases. My Lord Clarendon tells us, vol. 1. folio edit. That it was mov'd, that the Creed, and Ten Commandments should be mentioned in this Dire&tory ; but being put to the Vote, they were rejected. It was justly observed long ago, that this Directory is a Rule without Restraint; an Injun&tion leaving an Indifferency, to a Possibility of Licentiousness; an Office without directing to any external Act of Worship, not prescribing so much as Kneeling of Standing, which but once names Reverence, but enjoyns it in no Particular ; an Office that complys with no Precedent of Scripture, nor of any Ancient Church. This Direitory, not being commonly to be met with, this large account is given of it, that the Reader may see, what the Presbyterians would have impoled, in the room of the Common-Prayer.


[merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Twenty Members of the House of Commons; about Twenty Episcopal Divines, and an Hundred Persons more, most of which were Prefbyterians, a few Independents; and some to reprefent the Kirk of Scotland who were very zealous Presbyterians : Few of the Episcopal Party, tho' fummon'd with the rest, ever fate with them, and those few that did, foon left them. My Lord Clarendon, (V. 1.

pag. 530.) says, That except these few Epis copal Divines, “ the rest were all declared Enemies “ to the Doctrine and Discipline of the Church of

England; some of them infamous in their Lives

and Conversations; most of them of very mean " Parts in Learning, if not of fcandalous Ignorance; " and of no other Reputation than of Malice to the “ Church of England." This Assembly besides the Directory, drew up several other Matters, which they address’dTo the Right Honourable the Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament.

I have given the best account I can, of the intention of our Author; in writing this Poem: and shall beg leave to add some few observations upon the Poem, and it's Author.

In the First place it may be proper to take notice of an Objection that has been made to it, by a celebrated Writer.

“ If Hudibras, (says the very Ingenious Mr. Addifon, Spectator, No 249.) “ had been set out with

[ocr errors]

Mr. Selden, (Table Talk, p. 169.) gives this reason, “ That & there must be some Laymen in the Synod, to overlook the Cler

gy, left they spoil the Civil Work: just as when the Good Woman puts a Cat into the Milk-house to kill a Mouse, the sends

her said to look after the Cat, left the Cat fhould eat up the • Cream.”

• They styled one piece, The humble Advice of the Assembly of Divines, now fitting by Ordinance of Parliament at Weftminster. They drew up likewise a Confesion of Faith, a Larger Catechism, and a Shorter Catechism; all address'd as their Humble Advice to Both Houses of Parliament. But I do not find that the Parliament added their Authority to these Pieces.


« PreviousContinue »