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interest. These prejudices and fears may be, in part at least, allayed, if the life and temper of learned men be as they should be. A serious, solid, intellectual training is necessary to form a man. From the sacred fountains of wisdom shall exhale blessings to descend upon every occupation of life when least regarded, fructifying as the genial dews from heaven. What can be more beautiful, more ennobling, than thus to study with patience, with modesty, reverence, striving, with highest purpose, to realize the fable of Isis and Osiris, which Milton puts into language which no one should be foolhardy enough to mar by alteration, “to bring together every joint and member of truth, and mould them into an immortal figure of loveliness and perfection,” bringing the fruits of his toil and laying them, with a filial spirit, at the feet of that Alma Mater, his country, which has produced and cherished him, and above all mindful of his highest relations, taking for his motto that on the seal of our oldest university, Christo et ecclesiae, and ever remembering, in the noble language of the poet we have just referred to, that “THE END OF LEARNING IS TO REPAIR THE RUINS OF OUR FIRST PARENTS, BY REGAINING TO KNOW GOD ARIGHT, AND OUT OF THAT KNOWLEDGE TO LOVE HIM, TO IMITATE HIM, TO BE LIKE HIM, AS WE MAY THE NEAREST BY POSSESSING OUR SOULS OF TRUE VIRTUE, WHICH, BEING UNITED TO THE HEAVENLY GRACE OF FAITH, MAKES UP THE HIGHEST PERFECTION.”
ENGLISH PURITANISM IN THE TIMES OF THE COMMON
An Abstract of " Anglia Rediviva, or England's Recovery, by Joshua
Sprigge, pp. 335. London, 1647.”
Prepared by Edward D. Neill, Home Missionary in North Western Illinois.
The life of Cromwell, and the history of England during the inter: val between the reigns of Charles the father and Charles the son, are two books yet to be written. The literary world, tired of the numberless tirades that have appeared from the defenders of the Puritan as well as of the Cavalier, is longing for some Niebuhr to arise and sift out the truth from the chaff of falsehood, and give to them a sober, truthful, readable history of that remarkable period.
Value of Puritan Literature.
Thomas Carlyle has done a great work for the future historian, in collecting and editing the speeches of the “Great Puritan;" but he is such a passionate admirer of the man that, at times, his comments degenerate into pure rodomantade, reminding one of the almost semideification that John Wesley sometimes receives from our Methodist Itinerants in the valley of the Upper Mississippi. There is some truth in a remark made by a reviewer of Carlyle's work, in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine for April, 1847 : “ It is worthy of note that however Mr. Carlyle extols his · heroic ones' in a body, Cromwell is the only individual that finds a good word, throughout the work."
A perusal of the work wbose title we have placed at the head of this Article, imparts a truthfulness and reality to those times, which we never experienced while turning over the pages of Guizot or Carlyle.
It is doubly valuable to those who glory in being descended from the English Puritans, from the fact that it was written by a nonconformist minister and published in London, before the elder Charles lost his head, and before the breach between the Presbyterian and Independent party was widened. The author, Joshua Sprigge, was chaplain in the new model army, at the same time as valiant Hugh Peters of New England memory, and pious Richard Baxter. Sprigge acted as chaplain to Sir Thomas Fairfax ; Peters, to the train that was commanded by Lieut. Gen. Hammond; and Baxter, to the regiment of Col. Whalley. The book is divided into four parts, and gives a minute and circumstantial account of the daily operations of the Parliament army from April, 1645, to December, 1646. The account of Naseby Battle, in the Historical Collections” of Rushworth, is abridged from “ Anglia Rediviva," as we learn from Carlyle, whose opinion of the book is in these words: “a rather ornate work ; gives florid but authentic and sufficient account of this new model army, in all its features and operations, by which • England had come alive again. A little sparing in dates, but correct where they are given. None of the old books is better worth reprinting.”
These old Puritan books can never cease to be sacred to the descendants of Adams, Henry, and Jefferson, for to their pages they often turned while struggling for the independence of this land. When the news of the Boston Port-Bill arrived at Williamsburgh, at that time the capital of the Virginia colony, a resolution was introduced and adopted by the House of Burgesses, then in session, fixing the 1st of June as a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer. Thomas Jefferson remarks: “No example of such a solemnity had existed since the days of our distresses in the war of '55, since which a new generation had grown up. With the help of Rushworth, whom we rumaged over for the revolutionary precedents and forms of the Puritans of those days, preserved by him, we cooked up a resolution somewhat resembling the phrases, for appointing the 1st of June, on which the Port-Bill was to commence, for a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer, to implore Heaven to avert from us the evils of civil war, and to inspire us with firmness in support of our rights, and to turn the hearts of the king and parliament to moderation and justice.”
Rushworth was the secretary of Fairfax, and introduced an abridgment of Sprigge into his Collection, probably because he was the most accurate writer of that day. No doubt the account of Naseby battle was often perused by the founders of the American Republic, and we feel quite sure that copious extracts from the pages of “ Anglia Rediviva” will not render this Journal any the less valuable as a “ Bibliotheca Sacra” to the Puritan scholar and divine of the nineteenth century.
We now hasten to give to the reader some of the passages in the work, that are peculiar for quaintness or historical minuteness. Before the Dedication, there is “An Apologie. To his Excellencie Sir Thomas Fairfax.” It speaks for itself, and we transcribe the greater part of it. In this instance, we shall not alter the spelling and pointing common at that time.
“ Sir, It may be thought neither Justice nor Gratitude, That this Book is not dedicated to your Name, for your great merit and interest in the subject of it.” **** “ The truth is, This being but the Picture of that Wisedome and Courage, and what more of God did appear in You; I dare not present it to you, being not drawn to the life. But when moreover I consider of the Kingdoms interest in these things done, and more particularly the Parliament's, who set you on work ; I am fully satisfied That if the right of Dedication be yours, yet the debt of Patronage (which is Onus as well as Honos; a Care as well as a Curtesie) I am sure is theirs; For though You are the Person by whom; yet it is the Publike, 'tis the Parliament for whom these Things have been done; And therefore the justice seems to be on that side, that They should take the Services off your Hands, and own and avouch them as having been done in Their name and by their authority. ** My only prayer for you is, That as you have seen much of God in the action, so you may live to see proportionably of God in Us, in the improvement of them, and that you may taste as much of God in the Kingdomes Peace, as you have in the Kingdomes Warres."
Dedication to Fairfax.
The Dedication is “ To all True English Men,” and is a most florid piece of composition, and abounds in parentheses, as often as the apostle Paul's Epistle to the Romans.
It begins: “My dear Country-men ; (For to you I direct this story; for it is yours: In your land were these battles fought; these actions done for your sakes, (the vindication and defence of your Parliament, laws, and liberties) and by your hands.) You, that have with bleeding hearts, and distilling eyes, been spectators of, and common sufferers under the insulting paces of arbitrary power, and unlimited prerogative; and have felt the twinging convulsions, and violent concussions of the same; and at last (to accomplish your misery and your exactors sins) have had a cup of blood prepared for you (by divine ordination indeed,, (and so righteously ;) but immediately put upon you by the lusts of those, whom God for your sins, had given up to these things ;) and have been drinking thereof these three years and more, (I pray God it hath passed from you.) Only, at present, God hath taken it out of your hands, (though we see not, yet, he hath made your enemies drink the dregs of it.) I cannot but hope and expect, that as those feet have been beautiful that brought you the retail tidings of your expiring warfare; so that hand that shall transmit the series of them to your view, shall not want his due proportion of benevolent acceptance.” After a quotation from Virgil, he offers an apology that his book is “no fairer and no fresher.”
“ For the first, I may say of the actions of this army, in a good proportion of truth, what was said in another case: If they had been all largely expressed such a volume could not have contained them; for as in populous cities, especially if of great wealth and trading, houses are thwackt together without those liberties of gardens and orchards, which country villages are accommodated with ; even so, in the story of this Army, into which so many great and glorious actions, and births of Providence have thronged, to make it rich and glorious by the mutual projections of their lights, you cannot expect to have such elbow-room of expression, and accommodation of words as in more single stories.” *
“For the latter” (that it is no fresher) “ Should this story have been adorned with such artificial stuff of feigned speeches, prosopopoeias and epistrophes, etc., it might find better access to some ears. But whether it be not the glory of the strong, not to need the trappings of words I make not question at all. Truth is that, which is the commendation of bistory."
Well said, Joshua! would be the exclamation of Carlyle at such remarks. The dedication is concluded with some reflections “first, concerning the Action, secondly, concerning the Instruments, and lastly concerning the Author, God.”
We are now prepared for the history itself. The quarrel between the king and parliament, is thus described in the fourth section of Chap. 1st, Part 1st. “ The king, with his unhappy counsellors and courtiers, who had promised themselves to be petty tyrants under him, had driven on far, and well near accomplished the great design of an absolute, arbitrary and tyrannical government. The popish and prelatical party fall in for their interest, hoping by this means to usher in the long-wished for alteration of religion within this and the neighboring kingdoms. The troubles of Scotland, and the parliaments of both kingdoms ensuing thereupon, the execution of Strafford, and prosecution of his companions and partizans, unexpectedly cross and interrupt this grand design. Many ways are attempted, many practices are set on foot, every stone is turned, the armies of both nations, English and Scotch, are tampered with to overthrow the proceedings and power of the parliament. And when all these ways proved unsuccessful, secret practices and bands are set on foot in Scotland, a rebellion is raised in Ireland, and in the end the king attempts to seize the persons of some eminent members of both houses, and by an example not to be paralleled in the story of any age, comes himself in person, accompanied with a band of ruffians to take five of the members of commons by force out of that house. As divers soldiers and other loose people locked to court, so many well affected citizens and others testified their affection in a voluntary way, for the preservation of their persons and privileges. These called the others Cavaliers, and they termed these Round-Heads, whence arose those two names, whereby in common talk the two parties were in this war, by way of nickname, distinguished.
“ The parliament, upon the attempt of violence on their members sitting in the parliament, having for the present in an orderly way, by the assistance of the Trained Bands of the city of London, procured for the security of their members, that they might sit and consult safely in parliament, considering the many practices of force that had been attempted against them and their authority, in order to the subversion of their religion, laws and liberties, desire the king that the militia might be in such hands as both houses of parliament should name and appoint. Hereupon the king withdraws himself, refuses to settle the militia according to the desire of his parliament, endeavors to seize on Hull and the magazine there, but is prevented; sends into the Low Countries for cannon, arms and ammunition, which after