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the seasons which so great weakness would allow, I bestowed on it at Sir Thomas Rous's house at Rous-Lench in Worcestershire; and I finished it shortly after at Kidderminster.”
“The marginal citations I put in after I came home to my books, but almost all the book itself was written when I had no book but a Bible and a Concordance; and I found that the transcript of the heart hath the greatest force on the hearts of others. For the good that I have heard that multitudes have received by that writing, and the benefit which I have again received by their prayers, I here humbly return my thinks to Him that compelled me to write it.”*
There are few testimonies to the great intellectual vigor, and the extraordinary industry of Baxter, more surprising than the fact that “ The Saint's Everlasting Rest," which at its first publication was a quarto volume of eight hundred pages, was written in six months, while the author stood languishing and fainting between life and death.
* Narrative, Part I. p. 108.
PART THIR D.
The personal history of Baxter is so closely connected with the history of the times in which he lived, that it seems "necessary in this place briefly to review the progress of public events from the siege of Oxford in the beginning of the year 1646, to the death of Cromwell in September 1658.
After the battles and sieges by which all the southwestern parts of England had been reduced under the power of the parliament, the victorious army, commanded by Fairfax and Cromwell, returned as soon as the spring opened, to put an end to the war by besieging the king in his head-quarters at Oxford. On receiving this intelligence, and learning that the enemy was just at hand, Charles, with only two attendants, left the city by night, in disguise, and fleeing to the north, threw bimself into the hands of the Scottish army then employed in the seige of Newark. He was aware that the Scots, in their zeal for covenant uniformity, had begun to be disgusted with the dilatory proceedings of the English parliament respecting the establishment of presbyterianism as the only and divinely authorized form of church government; he knew that they looked on the progress of independency with equal alarm and abhorrence; and his hope was that by throwing himself upon them, whose claims in relation to their own country he had fully satisfied, he might be able to break up their alliance with England. The Scottish generals, however, refused to enter into any separate treaty with him; and while they paid bim scrupulously all the exterior respect due to majesty, he was in fact a prisoner rather than a sovereign. At their suggestion, which in his circumstances differed little from a command, he gave orders to the commanders at Oxford, and in all his other garrisons, to surrender to the parliament; and thus the war was ended, the last of the royal garrisons being surrendered, a litle less than four years from the day on which the king set up his standard at Nottingham.
Charles continued with the Scots eight months. The parliament and the Scottish commissioners offered him terins of reconciliation, better than conquerors ordinarily impose upon the vanquished. His friends importunately urged him to accept those terms, as the best provision which he could possibly make for himself and for bis partizans. But he was now insatuated with the visionary expectation of dividing his enemies. He addressed himself to the Scots, representing to them how probable it was that the independents would secure a toleration in spite of the provisions of the covenant, and proposing that if episcopacy might be continued in four of the dioceses of England, the presbyterian discipline should be established in all the other parts of the kingdom, with the strictest enactments that could be devised against both papists and sectarians. At the same time he entered into a more private negotiation with the leaders of the army, who proposed to set him on his throne again, without his taking the covenant or renouncing the liturgy, if he would but secure, with the civil liberties of the people, a general toleration in religion. Had he in this emergency enlisted frankly on either side, he might have retrieved something of his fallen fortunes. But he had too much imbecility of character to decide in such circumstances; and while be lingered, hoping to set one party against the other, and to secure from their mutual collision the re-establishment of his entire authority, he suffered the opportunity to go by without accepting the proposals of either. The Scots after some negotiation with the English parliament, finding that they could make no agreement with the king, and that to retain his person in their hands would be attended with much loss and hazard, and with no probable advantage, surrendered him to the commissioners appointed by parliament, by whom he was conducted to Holmby House in Northamptonshire the place appointed for his residence.
Meanwhile, as the disposition of the parliament towards a strict presbyterian establishment, excluding all toleration, became more manisest, the dissatisfaction of the army increased; and they were gradually brought to the fixed resolution that they would be heard on that point, and that their opivions should be regarded in all the measures which concerned their separate interests or that common religious liberty for which they had been fighting. To this end they elected a council of officers, and a body of adjutators, or assistants, consisting of three or four from each regiment, representing the cominon soldiers. These two councils held their separate sessions, like the two houses of parliament, and considered freely all the proposals and orders of the parliament in relation to the settlement of the kingdom, or the disposal of the army. By this organization the army became a military republic, and ceased to be governed by the civil authority. Indeed the nation was in a state in which hardly any rightful authority could be said to exist. Th king had forfeited his right to govern. The parliament havir.g gotten the power into their hands, betrayed a disposition to keep it; and there being no law to secure the dissolution of the existing parliament and the election of another, the members in proportion as their body approximated to the character of a perpetual senate, became in fact and in public estimation, the usurping sovereigos rather than the representatives and organs of the people. It was not strange then that the army should feel themselves justified in refusing to be disbanded, or to be otherwise disposed of, till justice should be done to them as public creditors, and the peace and liberty of the nation should be secured on some basis satisfactory to their judgmen:. Having taken such a resolution they communicated it, by a formal delegation, to parliament.
The presbyterian party seeing whereunto this might grow, hastened their treaty with the king, and seemed to be on the point of concluding it, as if they were more willing to make any sacrifice than to consent to that religious freedom which the army demanded. The treaty was suddenly broken off by an unexpected movement. A cornet, acting probably under the direction of the adjutators, came to Holmby at the head of fifty horse, and removed the king from the midst of his guards and keepers to the quarters of the army at Newmarket. It does not appear that the king felt decided aversion to this removal. He was treated with much more consideration by the officers of the army, than he had
been by the parliamentary commissioners; and he had more personal liberty at Newmarket, than he had known before from the time of his surrendering binself to the Scots.
The news of this bold measure, threw the parliament and the city into great confusion. It was expected that the army would be instantly before the city; and hasty preparations were made for a defense. Commissioners were sent to the general to forbid the approach of the army. Fairfax replied that they would make no further advance without giving due notice; and he assured the houses that there was no design to overthrow the presbyterian government or to set up the independent, and that the army claimed nothing more than the privilege of dissenting from the established religion. After some negotiation, the presbyterians in the parliament and the city, began to recover courage; and the army began to reply in bolder language. The citizens grew violent, and by tumultuous petitions endeavored to bring the parliament to stronger
But the speakers of the two houses and with them a very considerable portion of the members, not a few of whom were zealous presbyterians, fearing these tumults, withdrew from the city, and claimed the protection of the army that the parliament might be free. The army was immediately put in motion, and on its approach, the city submitted without a defense. A few of the most active presbyterian leaders, were under the necessity of abandoning their places in the house of commons; and from this time, the proceedings of parliament were generally conformed to the wishes of the army.
The king was all this while with the army; and when the city and parliament had submitted, he was allowed to reside at his palace of Hampton Court, where he appeared in great state, and was attended by throngs of people from the city and the country. Cromwell and Ireton conferred with him privately about restoring him to the throne. They made him better offers than those of the parliament; and there is no sufficient reason to doubt the sincerity of their proposals. But he was still infatuated with the notion that neither party could exist without him, and that each would willingly outbid the other to secure his name and influence. Thus he carried on a deceitful negotiation with both parties, till his duplicity Vol. 1