Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v1

LIFE OF RICHARD BAXTER. 11 at once with a warm affection for the Protestant faith, and with a hearty detestation of Popery. The commencement of the reign of Elizabeth, in 1558, is the era of the establishment of the reformation in England. This queen, of all thechildren ofHenry VIII., inherited most largely the spirit of her father. She was against the pope, because the pope's supremacywas at variance with her own. She was against the spirit of Protestantism, because she saw that its tendency was to make the people think for themselves. It soon appeared that, under her auspices, thereformation, which during the reign of Ed- ward had been progressive, and had been represented by its patrons as only begun, was to be progressive no longer. Those who had hoped that the new, government would take up the work of reform where Cranmer and his associates had left it, and would bring the ecclesiastical affairs of the kingdom still nearer to a primitive sim- plicity in doctrine and in order,found that the queen'smarch of im- provement was retrograde, and that the church, under her suprem- acy, was to be carried back towards the stately and ceremonious superstitionof Romanism. But the popular mind bad begun to take an interest in these matters. So many religious revolutions, treading on each other's heels, had wakened thought and inquiry, even among those who were generally regarded as having only to obey the dictation of their superiors. To have suffered under Queen Mary, for dissenting from the established faith and order, was extolled under Queen Elizabeth as meritorious ; andthe peo- ple began to apprehend that religious truth and duty might be somethingindependent ofthe throneand the parliament; something which law could not fix, nor revolution overturn. Thosewho had seen so many burnt, and so many banished, for particular religious opinions, and who understood that the opinions then proscribed were now triumphant, were led to inquire .what those opinions were, and on what basis they rested. Thus the public mind was ripening for a real reformation. In these cirèumstances, there sprung up anew party, the party of the PURITANS. Under King Edward, there had been dissen- sion among the reformers, some wishing to go faster and farther than others. The question related certain vestments of the Popish priesthood, and the controversy was, whether they should be retained or disused. By some itwas deemed important to continue the use of those garments in the administration of public worship, at least for a while, lest, by too sudden and violent a de- parture from all old usages and forms, the people might become unnecessarily and inveterately prejudiced against the reformation. By others those vestments were disapproved as,relics of Popish idolatry ; and the disuse of themwas insisted on, inasmuch as the