Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v1

52 LIFE OF RICHARD BAXTER. These Baxter' regarded as the causes of mutual irritation, to which the commencement of hostilities might be directly as- cribed. In this contest, the great body of the nobility were on the king's side, especially after the war had actually begun. Not a few members of the house of 'commons left their seats when they saw that the ancient constitution of the kingdom was to be subverted. A great party of the knights and men of family, the extensive and hereditary landed proprietors, were with the king from the begin- ning; and they, with their tenantry, constituted the strength ofhis cause. To these were added most of the lowest and, poorest class of the people, the ignorant and vicious rabble every where. On the side of the parliamentwere a few of the nobility, some in the highest rank ; and avery respectable minorityof the country knights and gentlemen. But the chief strength of the parliament was in themiddling classes, among the great body of the freeholders, and manufacturers, and merchants, the classes which, since the era of the reformation, had acquired wealth and intelligence, and 'a new importance in the nation. In respect to religious principles and character, the parties differ- ed more widely, and the line of division was more distinctly drawn, than in respect to rank. For "though the public safety and liber- ty wrought very much withmost (especially with the nobility and gentry) who adhered to the parliament, it was principally the dif- ferences about religious matters that filled up the parliament's ar- mies, and put the resolution and valor into their soldiers, which carried them on in another manner than mercenary soldiers are carried on. Not that the matter of bishops or no bishops was the main thing, for thousands that wished for good bishops were on the parliament's side." " But the generality of the people through the land, who were then called Puritans, Precisions, Religious persons, that used to talk of God, and heaven, and Scripture, and holiness, and to follow sermons, and read books of devotion, and pray in their families, and spend the Lord's day in religious exercises, and plead for mortification, and serious devotion, and strict obedience to God, and speak against swearing, cursing, drunkenness, profane- ness, &c. ; I say the main body of this sort ofmen, bothpreachers and people, adhered to the parliament. And on the other side, the gentry that were not so precise and strict against an oath, or gaming, or plays, or drinking; nor troubled themselves so much about the matters ofGod and the world tocome; and the ministers and people that were for the king'sbook,* for dancing and recrea- * The "book of sports," frequently spoken of in the history of those times, was a royal proclamation, first drawn up by Bishop Morton, and published by