Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v1

LIFE OF RICHARD BAXTER. 43 "The concord ofthis parliament consisted not in the unanimity of the persons, for theywere of several tempers as to matters of religion, but in the complication of the interest of those causes which they severallydid most concern themselves in." For,as the king's illegal and violent proceedings in the state had run parallel with Laud's Popish impositions on the church, so " the parlia- ment consisted of two sorts of men, who, by the conjunction of these causes, were united in their votes and endeavors for a refor- mation. One party made no great matter of these alterations in the church ; but they said if parliament were once down, and our propriety gone, and arbitrary governmentset up, and law subjected to the prince's will, we were then all slaves; and this they made a thing intolerable, for the remedying of which, they said, every true Englishman could think no price too dear. These the people called ' good commonwealth's men.' The other sort were the more religious men, who were also sensible of all these things, but were much more sensible of the interest of religion ; and these most inveighed against the innovations in the church, the bowing to altars, (enjoined and enforced by the prelates,) thebook for sports on Sundays, the casting out of ministers, the troubling of the peo- ple by the court, the pillorying and cutting off men's ears for speaking against the bishops, the putting down lec- tures, and afternoon sermons, and expositions on the Lord's days, with such other things, which they thought ofgreater weight than ship-money. But because these latter agreed with the former in the vindication of the people's propriety and liberties, the former did the easilier concur with them against the proceedings of the bishops and high-commission court. "* Petitions and complaints against arbitrary power in state and church came in from every quarter. Many proceedings of the star chamber and high-commission courts were revised and con- demned by the house of commons. Individuals who had been fined immense sums, and pilloried, and mutilated, and condemned to perpetual imprisonment,were brought out from distant places of confinement, and conducted to London with popular acclamations, and as in a triumphal procession. A bill of attainder was passed against Strafford, to whichthe king, with much reluctance, and after some alarming demonstrations of the popular fury, at last gave his assent; and the blood of Charles's ablest, and, with but one exception, most arbitrary minister, was shed on the scaffold. At the same time, the king assented to a bill which made the parliament incapable of dissolution, save by its own consent, thus changing at once the constitution of the government. The high- *Narrative, Part Lp.18.