PREFACE.. XV gravity, and took more pains in their parishes than those who adhered to the bishops, often preaching against the vices of the court. Their labours and their sufferings raised their reputa- tion and rendered them very popular."* Hume, who treats their principles with ridicule and contempt, has bestowed upon them the highest eulogium. " So absolute," says he, " was the " authority of the crown, that the precious spark " of liberty had been kindled, and was preserved, " by the Puritans alone; and it was to this sect " that the English owe the whole freedom of their " constitution."t It is granted that theyhad not all equally clear views of our civil and religious rights. Many of their opinions were confused and erroneous ; yet their leading principles were the same. Though they had, in general, no objection to a national establishment, many of them maintained, " That all true church power must be founded in a divine commission : that where a right to com- mand is not clear, evidence that obedience is a duty is wanting : that men ought not to make more necessary to an admittance into the church than God has made necessary to an admittance into heaven: that so long as unscriptural impo- sitions are continued, a further reformation of the church will be necessary : and that every one who must answer for himself hereafter, must Burnet's Hist. ofhis Time, vol. i. p. 17, 18. t Hume's Hist. of Eng. vol. v. p. 134.