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JAMES I. BROWBEATS THE PURITAN DIVINES.

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book who he was; then the cause why he wrote it; next analysed the chapter itself, shewing the precedents and consequents thereof; lastly, so exactly and divine-like unfolded the sum of that place, arguing and demonstrating so that the susurrus at the first mention, was not so great as the astonishment was now at the King's sudden and sound and indeed so admirable interpretation." Another point discussed was the objection against interrogatories in baptism ; which, being a profound point, was put upon Mr. Knewstubs to pursue," who in a long perplexed speech,” according to the Episcopalian Barlow, “said something out of Austin !” But by this time the King's humour for listening to Puritan arguments was getting exhausted, and he declared he did not understand what Knewstubs was driving at, and asked the Lords and Deans if they could either, who of course deferentially declared that they were even more puzzled than his Majesty. And when the divine proceeded to take exception to the cross in baptism, on the ground that “the weak brethren were offended at it,” James could stand it no longer, and asked him sharply: "How long will such brethren remain weak? Are not forty-five years sufficient for them to grow strong in? and who are they that pretend this weakness? We require not subscriptions of laics and idiots, but of preachers and ministers, who are not still, I trow, to be fed with milk, being enabled to feed others. Some of them are strong enough, if not head-strong. And howsoever they in this case pretend weakness, yet some, in whose behalf you now speak, think themselves able to teach me, and all the bishops of the land !” No wonder, when the modest Puritan divine found his temperately preferred arguments met with royal browbeating of this sort, that he became confused and abashed; a demeanour which was at once complacently taken by the King, and flatteringly declared by his courtiers, to be conclusive evidence how acute and overwhelming was his Majesty's reasoning, and how impotent were the wretched precisian's arguments, when opposed to the theology of the British Solomon !

A similar reception was accorded to Mr. Knewstubs' elaborate argument on the power of the Church to add the use of the cross in baptism, with regard to which he said “the greatest scruple is, how far the ordinance of the Church bindeth, without impeaching Christian liberty”-on which James burst out, “I will not argue that point with you, but answer therein, as Kings are wont to speak in Parliament, Le Roy s'avisera ;” adding, “It smelleth very rankly of Anabaptism, and is like the usage of a beardless boy (one Mr. John Black), who, the last conference I had with the ministers of Scotland, told me, “That he would hold conformity with me for matters of doctrine; but for matters of ceremony, they were to be left in Christian liberty to every man, as he received more and more light from the illumination of God's spirit—even till they go mad with their own light. But I will none of that; I will have one doctrine, and one discipline, one religion in substance and ceremony; and there I charge you never to speak more to that point (how far you are bound to obey) when the Church hath ordained it. Have you anything else to say ?'”

In spite of this rather discouraging style of discussion, Dr. Reynolds, after objecting to the use of the surplice, took exception to the words in the marriage service, “With my body I thee worship.” To this, however, James answered that it was a usual English term, as “a gentleman of worship,” etc., and the sense agreeable to the Scriptures -"

-“Giving honour to the wife.” Then turning to the doctor, who happened to be an unmarried man, he laughed and jeered at him, saying, “Many a man speaks of Robin Hood, who never shot in his bow. If you had a good wife yourself, you would think all the honour and worship you could give her were well bestowed !”

So far James had listened with some show of tolerance; but when the Puritan divine had the audacity to proceed to express a desire that the clergy should have meetings every three weeks for prophecyings, “ His Majesty," says the Bishop, was much stirred, yet, which is admirable in him, without passion or shew thereof, exclaimed, 'If you aim at a Scottish presbytery, it agreeth as well with monarchy as God and the Devil. Then Jack and Tom and Will and Dick shall meet, and at their pleasures censure me and my Council and all our proceedings. Then Will shall stand up, and say, "It must be thus." Then Dick shall reply, and say, “Nay, marry, but we will have it thus.” And, therefore, here I must once more reiterate my former speech, Le Roy “NO BISHOP, NO KING.

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s'avisera. Stay, I pray you, for seven years, before you demand that of me; and if you find me pursy and fat, and my windpipes stuffed, I will, perhaps, hearken to you. For let that government be once up, I am sure I shall be kept in breath; then shall we all of us have work enough—both our hands full. But, Dr. Reynolds, till you find that I grow lazy, let that alone. . . . No Bishop, no King !'” And then, for it was already night, asking Reynolds abruptly if he had any more to object, and the doctor meekly saying "No," he appointed the following Wednesday for both parties to meet him. Then, "rising from his chair, as he was going to his inner chamber, 'If this be all,' quoth he, they have to say, I will make them conform themselves, or I will harry them out of this land, or else do worse.''

Such is the toned-down official account by Dr. Barlow, who was present reporting, of the second day's proceedings, "which,” he adds, “raised such an admiration in the Lords, in respect of the King's singular readiness and exact knowledge, that one of them said he was fully persuaded his Majesty spake by the instinct of the spirit of God. My Lord Cecil acknowledged that 'very much we are bound to God, who had given us a King of an understanding heart.' My Lord Chancellor, passing out of the Privy Chamber, said unto the Dean of Chester, standing by the door, ‘I have often heard and read that Rex est mixta persona cum sacerdote ; but I never saw the truth thereof till this day.' Surely,” adds Barlow, on his own account, “whoever heard his Majesty might justly think that title did more perfectly fit him, which Eunapius gave to that famous rhetorician in saying that he was a living library and a walking study. ”

A rather different version, however, of what passed is given by another eye-witness, Sir John Harrington, in a letter to his wife, written in the evening of the day on which these proceedings had taken place : “The King talked much Latin, and disputed with Dr. Reynolds; but he rather used upbraidings than arguments; and told them they wanted to strip Christ again, and bid them away with their snivelling Moreover he wished those who would take away the surplice, might want linen for their own breech ! The Bishops seemed much pleased, and said his Majesty

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spoke by the power of inspiration. I wist not what they mean; but the spirit was rather foul-mouthed.”

On Wednesday, January 18th, the third sitting of the Conference was held, and was attended by all the Privy Councillors, and all the Bishops and Deans. The principal matter of debate on this occasion was the Court of High Commission and the oath ex officio, on which account the Knights and Doctors of the Arches were also summoned; but the Puritans, the other party to the suit as it were, who were the most interested in the matters debated, were not admitted until the close of the sitting. After the King had propounded these matters for discussion in a brief speech, one of the Lords, with seeming audacity, ventured to characterize the proceeding of that court as “like unto the Spanish Inquisition, and that by the oath ex officio they were forced to accuse themselves.” This remark was probably made by arrangement, in order to give King James an opportunity of defending both institutions, which he did in an elaborate and carefully prepared impromptu speech, “so soundly and in such compendious but absolute order,” according to the official report, " that all the Lords and the rest of the present auditors stood amazed at it."

The Archbishop of Canterbury did not hesitate to declare that "undoubtedly his Majesty spake by the special assistance of God's spirit”; while the Bishop of London, not to be outdone by any fellow ecclesiastic in fulsome flattery, threw himself upon his knees, protesting before the whole company that “his heart melted within him (as so, he doubted not, did the hearts of the whole company) with joy, and made haste to acknowledge unto Almighty God the singular mercy we have received at his hands, in giving us such a king, as since Christ's time the like had not been !” “Whereunto,” continues the report, “ the Lords, with one voice, did yield a very affectionate acclamation"; and the Doctors of the Civil Law "confessed that they could not, in many hours' warning have so judicially, plainly, and accurately and in such a brief, described it."

All this, of course, gratified the royal pedant immensely; and he then proceeded to commit “ some weighty matters for them to be consulted of,” the last of which was "for the sending and appointing of preachers into Ireland, 'whereof,'

FULSOME FLATTERY OF THE BISHOPS.

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saith his Majesty, 'I am but half a king, being lord over their bodies; but their souls seduced by Popery !

At this stage, when everything had been practically concluded and decided on, Dr. Reynolds and his fellow Nonconformist divines were called in, and told what had been determined on; and, after some desultory consultation, “his Majesty made a gracious conclusion, which was so piercing,” says Barlow, “that it fetched tears from some on both sides. My Lord of London ended all, in the name of the whole company, with a thanksgiving unto God for his Majesty, and a prayer for the health and prosperity of his Highness, our gracious Queen, the young Prince, and all the Royal issue. His Majesty then rose, and retired to the Inner Chamber; and all the Lords then went to the Council Chamber, to appoint Commissioners for the several matters before referred.”

Thus ended the famous Hampton Court Conference, so momentous in its results, which convinced the Puritans that they had nothing to hope for from King James, and which showed him that they were not to be won over by minor concessions in matters of detail. Henceforth the two parties stood out opposite each other in an attitude of uncompromising hostility, which was to develop later on into the death-struggle of the Great Rebellion. Had James been more anxious to conciliate the Dissenters than to display his own learning, mutual concessions might have been arrived at, which would have doubled the power of the Church of England, fixed his throne on an unshakable basis, and saved his son's head.

Fortunately, perhaps, for the cause of civil and religious liberty, no such strengthening of the forces of absolutism and ecclesiasticism resulted from the Conference, and the Puritans were left free and unfettered to work out, in their own rough and somewhat uncouth way, the political and religious emancipation of England. The direct effects of the Conference were, in fact, but trivial and insignificant, and have been summed up in the pithy sentence, “that the King went above himself; that the Bishop of London appeared even with himself; and that Dr. Reynolds fell beneath himself.”

The Puritans, as is usual with discomfited disputants,

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