Brooks - BX9338 .B7 1813 v1

INTRODUCTION. 99 lad been ejected, were restored, and the others cast out Bishops being placed inmost of the sees, and thehierarchy restored to its former splendour, though the presbyterians still flattered themselves with hopes of a comprehension, the independents and baptists sunk in despair. Here was an end, says Mr. Neal, of those distracted times, which our historians have loaded with all the infamy and reproach that the wit of man could invent. The puritan ministers have been decried as ignorant mechanics, canting preachers, enemies to learning, and no better than public robbers. The common people have been stigmatized as hypocrites. Their looks, their dress, and behaviour, have been represented in the most odious colours ; yet we may challenge these declaimers to produce any period since the reformation, wherein there was less open profaneness and impiety, and more of the spirit as well as appearance of religion. Better laws, he adds, were never made against vice, or more rigorously executed. Drunkenness, fornica- tion, profane swearing, and every kind of debauchery, were justly deemed infamous, and universally discountenanced. The clergywere laborious to an excess, in preaching, pray- ing, catechising,and visiting the sick. The magistrates were exact in suppressing all kinds of games, stage-plays, and abuses in public houses ; and a play had not been acted in any theatre in England, for almost twenty years.-f But the court and bishops were now at ease. The doc- trines of passive obedience and nonresistancewere revived. And the puritans began to prepare for those persecutions which presently followed. Mr. Crofton, whohad beenvery zealous for the king's restoration, for having written in favour of the covenant, was deprived of his living, and sent close prisoner to the Tower, where hewas not permitted to have pen, ink, or paper.t Mr. Parsons, a noted royalist, was fined £200, and cast into prison, for nonconformity. The celebrated Mr. John Howe was committed to prison ; and multitudes were sequestered and prosecuted in the ecclesias- tical courts, for not wearing the surplice and observing the ceremonies. These were powerful indications of the ap- proaching storm. Upon Venner's insurrection,§ Mr. Knollys and many Kennet's Chronicle, p. 152, 153, 173, 221. + Neal's Puritans, vol. iv. p. 269. t Kennet's Chronicle, p. 501. § Mr. Thomas Venner, a wine-cooper, with about fifty of his admirers, being in expectation of a fifth universal monarchy, under the personal reign of King Jesus upon the earth, raised an insurrection in the city. But their mad scheme was frustrated. Many of themwere killed,in the contest; and Venner and some others were seized, tried, condemned, and executed. -Burnet' s Hist, ofhis Time, vol. t. p. 160.