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ed to go as far as he dared, in promoting the interests of the papists. The bishops and other courtiers, had no disposition to object to what they knew to be his wishes. The presbyterians with all their zeal for their own liberty, had not yet learned the great principle f universal toleration against which they had so zealously contended in the days of the Commonwealth ; and Richard Baxter was always too boldly consciencious not to speak his mind whatever it might cost him.
“ The most of the time being spent thus in speaking to particulars of the declaration, as it was read, when we came to the end, the lord chancellor drew out another paper, and told us that the king had been petitioned also by the Independents and Anabaptists; and though he knew not what to think of it himself, and did not very well like it, yet something he had drawn up which he would read to us, and desire us also to give our advice about it. Thereupon he read, as an addition to the declaration, that others also be permitted to meet for religious worship, so be it they do it not to the disturbance of the peace; and that no justice of peace or offcer disturb them. When he had read it, he again desired them
' all to think on it, and give their advice; but all were silent. The Presbyterians all perceived, as soon as they heard it, that it would secure the liberty of the Papists; and Dr. Wallis whispered me in the ear, and entreated me to say nothing, for it was an odious business, but to let the bishops speak to it. But the bishops would not speak a word, nor any one of the Presbyterians, and so we were like to have ended in silence. I knew, if we consented to it, it would be charged on us, that we spake for a toleration of Papists and sectaries: yet it might have lengthened out our own. And if we spake against it, all sects and parties would be set against us as the causers of their sufferings, and as a partial people that would have liberty ourselves, but would have no others have it with us. At last, seeing the silence continue, I thought our very silence would be charged on us as consent, if it went on, and therefore I only said this: “That this reverend brother, Dr. Gunning, even now speaking against sects, had named the Papists and the Socinians : for our parts, we desired not favor to ourselves alone, and rigorous severity we desired against none. As we humbly thanked his majesty for his indulgence to ourselves, so we distinguished he tolerable parties from the intolerable. For the former, we humbly craved just lenity and favor, but for the latter, such as the two sorts named before by that reverend brother, for our parts, we could not make their toleration our request.' To which his majesty said, there were laws enough against the Papists;' to which I replied, that we understood the question to be, whether those laws should be executed on them or not. And so his majesty broke up the meeting of that day."
“When I went out from the meeting, I went dejected, as being fully satisfied that the form of government in that declaration would not be satisfactory, nor attain that concord which was our end, because the pastors had no government of the Rocks; and I was resolved to meddle no more in the business, but patiently suffer with other dissenters. But two or three days after, I met the king's declaration cried about the streets, and I presently stepped into a house to read it; and seeing the word consent put in about confirmation and sacrament, though not as to jurisdiction, and seeing the pastoral persuasive power of governing left to all the ministers with the rural dean, and some more amendments, I wondered how it came to pass, but was exceeding glad of it; as perceiving that now the terms were, though not such as we desired, such as any sober, honest minister might submit to. I presently resolved to do my best to persuade all, according to my interest and opportunity, 10 conform according to the terms of this declaration, and cheerfully to promote the concord of the church, and brotherly love which this concord doth bespeak. ·
“Having frequent business with the lord chancellor about other matters, I was going to him when I met the king's declaration in the street; and I was so much pleased with it, that having told him why I was so earnest to have had it suited to the desired end, I gave him hearty thanks for the additions, and told him that if the liturgy were but altered as the declaration promised, and this settled and continued to us by a law, and not reversed, I should take it to be my duty to do my best to procure the full consent of others, and promote our happy concord on these terms; and should rejoice to see the day when factions and parties may all be swallowed up in unity, and contentions turned to brotherly love. At that time he began to offer me a bishoprick, of which more anon."*
This rejoicing in the king's declaration was altogether premature. The whole of this movement was designed only to gain time, to keep the Presbyterians quiet with vain hopes, and to divide the more moderate from the more zealous. This was the policy of the court party, while their single intention was not only to bring every thing back to the old footing, but to make the yoke of uniformity heavier than before. A part of the same policy was, to bring over or at least to silence some of the leaders whom they feared, by giving them preferments in the church. Of the negotiation on this subject Baxter gives the following account.
“A little before the meeting about the king's declaration, Colonel birch came to me, as from the Lord Chancellor, to persuade me to take the bishopric of Hereford, for he had bought the bishop's house at Whitburne, and thought to make a better bargain with me than with another, and, therefore, finding that the lord chancellor intended me the offer of one, he desired it might be that. I thought it best to give them no positive denial till I saw the utmost of their intents: and I perceived that Colonel Birch came privately, that a bishopric might not be publicly refused, and to try whether I would accept it, that else it might not be offered me; for he told me that they would not bear such a repulse. I told him that I was resolved never to be bishop of Hereford, and that I did not think I should ever see cause to take any bishopric; but I could give no positive answer till I saw the king's resolutions about the way of church government: for if the old diocesan frame continued, he knew we could never accept or own it. After this, not having a flat denial, he came again and again to Dr. Reynolds, Mr. Calamy, and myself together, to importune us all to accept the offer, for the bishopric of Norwich was offered to Dr. Reynolds, and Coventry and Litchfield to Mr. Calamy; but he had no positive answer, but the same from me as before. At last, the day that the king's declaration came out, when I was with the lord
* Narrative, Part II. pp. 276, 279.
chancellor, who did all, he asked me whether I would accept of a bishopric; I told him that if he had asked me that question the day before, I could easily have answered him that in conscience I could not do it; for though I would live peaceably under whatever government the king should set up, I could not have a hand in executing it. But having, as I was coming to him, seen the king's declaration, and seeing that by it the government is so far altered as it is, I took myself for the church's sake exceedingly beholden to his lordship for those moderations; and my desire to promote the happiness of the church, which that moderation tendeth to, did make me resolve to take that course which tendeth most thereto. Whether to take a bishopric by the way, I was in doubt, and desired some further time for consideration. But if his lordship would procure us the settlement of the matter of that declaration, by passing it into a law, I promised him to take that way in which I might most serve the public peace.
“Dr. Reynolds, Mr. Calamy, and myself, had some speeches oft together about it; and we all thought that a bishopric might be accepted according to the description of the declaration, without any violation of the covenant, or owning the ancient prelacy: but all the doubt was whether this declaration would be made a law as was then expected, or whether it were but a temporary means to draw us on till we came up to all the diocesans desired. Mr. Cal. amy desired that we might all go together, and all refuse or all ac
“But by this time the rumor of it fled abroad, and the voice of the city made a difference. For though they wished that none of us should be bishops, yet they said Dr. Reynolds and Mr. Baxter, being known to be for moderate episcopacy, their acceptance would be less scandalous; but if Mr. Calamy should accept it, who had preached, and written, and done so much against it (which were then at large recited,) never Presbyterian would be trusted for his sake. So that the clamor was very loud against his acceptance of it: and Mr. Matthew Newcomen, his brother-in-law, and many more, wrote to me earnestly to dissuade him.
For my own part, I resolved against it at the first, but not as a thing which I judged unlawful in itself, as described in the king's declaration : but 1. I knew that it would take me off my writing. 2. I looked to have most of the godly ministers cast out; and what good could be done by ignorant, vile, incapable men? I feared this declaration was but for a present use, and that shortly it would be revoked or nullified. 4. And if so, I doubted not but the laws would prescribe such work for bishops, in silencing ministers, and troubling honest Christians for their consciences, and ruling the vicious with greater lenity, as that I had rather have the meanest employment among men. 5. My judgment was also fully resolved against the lawfulness of the old diocesan frame.
“ But when Dr. Reynolds and Mr. Calamy asked my thoughts, I told them that, distinguishing between what is simply, and what is by accident, evil, I thought that as episcopacy is described in the king's declaration, it is lawful when better cannot be had; but yet scandal might make it unfit for some men more than others. To Mr. Calamy therefore I would give no counsel, but for Dr. Reynolds, I persuaded him to accept it, so be it he would publicly declare that he took it on the terms of the king's declaration, and would lay it down when he could no longer exercise it on those
Only I left it to his consideration whether it would be better to stay till he saw what they would do with the declaration ; and for myself, I was confident I should see cause to refuse it.
“ When I came to the lord chancellor the next day save one, he asked me of my resolution, and put me to it so suddenly, that I was forced to delay no longer, but told him that I could not accept it for several reasons. And it was not the least that I thought I could better serve the church without it, if he would but prosecute the establishment of the terms granted. And because I thought it would be ill taken if I refused it upon any but acceptable reasons, and also that writing would serve best against misreports hereafter, I the next day put a letter into the lord chancellor's hand, which he took in good part; in which I concealed most of my reasons, but gave the best, and used more freedom in my further requests than I expected should have any good success."
“Mr. Calamy blamed me for giving in my denial alone, before we had resolved together what to do. But I told him the truth, that being upon other necessary business with the lord chancellor,