Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v1

14 LIFE OF RICHARD BAXTER. was more strict than they in his obedience to the precepts of the gospel, or who exhibited any faith in the principles of experimen- tal religion, was called, byway of reproach, a Puritan. Elizabeth died after a reign of forty -four years, and was suc- ceeded by James I. in 1683. The Puritans, including both those who had been voluntarily or forcibly separated from the establish- ment, and those who, by a partial or entire conformity, still retained their connection with the church, had entertained strong hopes that a king who had reigned in Scotland from his infancy, who had made ample and frequent professions of his attachment to the ecclesiastical constitution of his native kingdom, and who had openly declared respecting the church ofEngland, that "their ser- vice was an evil-said mass in English," would decidedly favor a more complete reformation. Accordingly he wasmet, on his prog- ress towards London, with numerous petitions, one of which was signed by nearly eight hundred clergymen, '5 desiring reformation of certain ceremonies and abuses of the church." But the king whom they addressed was atonce a vainglorious, foolish pedant, and an arbitrary, treacherous prince ; and the first year ofhis reign abundantly taught them the fallacy of all their hopes. For the sake of first raising, and then disappointing and crushing, the expectations of such as were dissatisfied with the existing system, a conference was held by royal authority at Hampton Court, to which were summoned, on one side four Puritan divines, with a minister from Scotland, and on the other side seventeen dignitaries of the church, nine of wham were bishops. At this meeting, after the king had first determined all things in consultation with the bishops and their associates, the Puritans were made to feel that they were brought there not in the spirit of conciliation, but to be made a spectacle to their enemies; not to argue, or to be argued with, before a king impartial and desiring to be led by reason, but to be ridiculed and scorned, insulted and reproached, by a fool too elevated in station to be answered according to his folly. As for their desire of liberty in things indifferent, his language was, "I will have none of that; 'I will have one doctrine, one discipline, one religion in substance and ceremony : never speak more to that point, how far you are bound to obey." To their request that ministers might have the liberty of meeting under the directionof their ecclesiastical superiors, for mutual assistance and improve- ment, he replied'peremptorily, in language characteristically coarse and profane, that their plans tended to the subversion ofmonarchy, and charged them with desiring. the overthrow of his supremacy. And his majesty's conclusion of the whole matter was, "I will make them conform, or I will harry them out of this land, or else worse." Neal adds very truly, "and he was as good as his word."