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they displayed to all above them a meanness proportioned to the insolence they evinced to all below them. While holding the same high church extravagances with their modern successors, they were far from participating in the same jealousy of the state, which they were ready to arm with the most despotic authority. They formally invested the monarch with absolute power over the consciences of his subjects; and, with a practice in harmony with their principles, were ready at any moment, (if they had had any,) to surrender their own. As far as appears, they would have been willing to embrace the faith of Mahometans or Hindoos at the bidding of his Majesty; and to believe and disbelieve as he commanded them. Extravagant as all this may appear, we shall shortly see it gravely propounded by Parker himself. It was fit that those who were willing to offer such vile adulation, should be suffered to present it to such an object as Charles II.--that so grotesque an idolatry should have as grotesque an idol. As it was, the God was every way worthy of the worshippers. In a word, these men seemed to reconcile the most opposite vices and the widest contrarieties ; bigotry and laxity-pride and meanness—religious scrupulosity and mocking scepticism-a persecuting zeal against conscience, and an indulgent latitudinarianism towards vice--the truculence of tyrants, and the sycophancy of parasites.
Happily the state of things which generated such men has long since passed away. But examples of this sort of high churchmanship were not infrequent in the age of Charles II.; and perhaps Bishop Parker may be considered the most perfect specimen of them. His father was one of Oliver Cromwell's most obsequious committee-men; his son, who was born in 1640, was brought up in the principles of the Puritans, and was sent to Oxford in 1659. He was just twenty at the Restoration, and immediately commenced and soon completed his transformation into one of the most arrogant and time-serving of high church
Some few propositions, for which he came earnestly to contend as for the faith once delivered to the Saints, may give an idea of the principles and the temper of this worthy successor of the Apostles. He affirms, " That unless Princes have power to
bind their subjects to that religion they apprehend most advantageous to public peace and tranquillity, and restrain those religious mistakes that tend to its subversion, they are no better than • statues and images of authority_That in cases and disputes of
public concernment, private men are not properly sui juris; they • have no power over their own actions; they are not to be directed .by their own judgments, or determined by their own wills, but
• by the commands and the determinations of the public con
science; and that if there be any sin in the command, he that imposed • it shall answer for it, and not I, whose whole duty it is to obey. • The commands of authority will warrant my obedience ; my obedi
ence will hallow, or at least excuse my action, and so secure me from sin, if not from error; and in all doubtful and disputable cases ''tis better to err with authority, than to be in the right against it : • That it is absolutely necessary to the peace and happiness of • kingdoms, that there be set up a more severe government over
men's consciences and religious persuasions than over their vices * und immoralities; and that princes may with less hazard give liberty to men's vices and debaucheries than their consciences.' *
He must have a very narrow mind or uncharitable heart, who cannot give poor human nature credit for the sincere adoption of the most opposite opinions. Still there are limits to this exercise of charity ; there may be such a concurrence of suspicious symptoms, that our charity can be exercised only at the expense of common sense. We can easily conceive, under ordinary circumstances, Dissenters becoming Churchmen, and Churchmen becoming Dissenters; Tories and Whiys changing sides; Protestants and Romanists, like those two brothers mentioned in Locke's second . Letter on Toleration,' t so expert in logic as to convert one another, and then, unhappily, not expert enough to convert one another back again—and all without any suspicion of insincerity. But when we find very great revolutions of opinion, at the same time very sudden, and exquisitely well-timed in relation to private interest ;-when we find these changes, let them be what they may, always, like those of the heliotrope, towards the sun ;when we find a man utterly uncharitable even to his own previous errors, and maligning and abusing all who still retain them, it is impossible to doubt the motives which have animated him. On this subject Marvell himself well observes—Though a man • be obliged to change a hundred times backward and forward, if his judgment be so weak and variable, yet there are some • drudgeries that no man of honour would put himself upon, and • but few submit to if they were imposed ; as, suppose one had • thought fit to pass over from one persuasion of the Christian religion into another, he would not choose to spit thrice at
every article that he relinquished, to curse solemnly his father • and mother for having educated him in those opinions, to ani• mate his new acquaintances to the massacring of his former com
* The Rehearsal Transprosed.- Vol. I. pr. 97, 98, 99, 100, 101. t Locke's Works.-Vol. V. p. 79,
rades. These are businesses that can only be expected from ' a renegade of Algiers and Tunis ;—to overdo in expiation, and 'gain better credence of being a sincere Mussulman.
Marvell gives an amusing account of the progress of Parker's conversion-of the transformation by which the maggot became a carrion-fly. In the second part of the Rehearsal, after a humorous description of his parentage and youth, he tells us that at the Restoration - he came to London, where he spent a
considerable time in creeping into all corners and companies,
horoscoping up and down' ( astrologizing' as he elsewhere expresses it) concerning the duration of the government ;_not
considering any thing as best, but as most lasting, and most ' profitable. And after having many times cast a figure, he at • last satisfied himself that the Episcopal government would en
dure as long as this King lived, and from thenceforward cast about how to be admitted into the Church of England, and find
the highway to her preferments. In order to this, he daily en• larged not only his conversation but his conscience, and was made free of some of the town vices ; imagining, like Muleasses,
King of Tunis, (for I take witness that on all occasions I treat • him rather above his quality than otherwise,) that, by hiding • himself among the onions, he should escape being traced by his
perfumes.' † Marvell sketches the early history and character of Parker in both parts of the Rehearsal—though, as might be expected, with greater severity in the second than in the first. A few ludicrous sentences may not displease the reader. He says :
• This gentleman, as I have heard, after he had read Don Quixote and the Bible, besides such school-books as were necessary for his age, was sent early to the university ; and there studied hard, and in a short time became a competent rhetorician, and no ill disputant. He had learned how to erect a thesis, and to defend it pro and con with a serviceable distinction.
And so, thinking himself now ripe and qualified for the greatest undertakings and highest fortune, he therefore exchanged ihe narrowness of the university for the town; but coming out of the confinement of the square cap and the quadrangle into the open air, the world began to turn round with him, which he imagined, though it were his own giddiness, to be nothing less than the quadrature of the circle. This accident concurring so happily to increase the good opinion which he naturally had of himself
, he thenceforward applied to gain a like reputation with others. He followed the town life, haunted the best companies ; and, to polish bimself from any pedantic roughness, he
* Rehearsal Transprosed.-Vol. I. pp. 91, 92.
read and saw the plays with much care, and more proficiency than most of the auditory. But all this while he forgot not the main chance; but hearing of a vacancy with a nobleman, he clapped in, and easily obtained to be his chaplain ; from that day you may take the date of his preserments and his ruin ; for having soon wrought himself dexterously into his patron's favour, by short graces and sermons, and a mimical way of drolling upon the Puritans, which he knew would take both at chapel and at table, he gained a great authority likewise among all the domestics. They all listened to him as an oracle ; and they allowed him, hy common consent, to have not only all the divinity, but more wit, too, than all the rest of the family put together.
Nothing now must serve him, but he must be a madman in print, and write a book of Ecclesiastical Polity. There he distributes all the territories of conscience into the Prince's province, and makes the Hierarchy to be but Bishops of the air ; and talks at such an extravagant rate in things of higher concernment, that the reader will avow that in the whole discourse he had not one lucid interval.' *
The work here mentioned, his Ecclesiastical Polity, was published in the year 1670. But the book which called forth Marvell, was a Preface to a posthumous work of Archbishop Bramhall's, which appeared in 1672. In this piece Parker had displayed his usual zeal against the Nonconformists with more than usual acrimony, and pushed to the uttermost extravagance his favourite maxims of ecclesiastical tyranny. Like his previous works on similar matters, it was anonymous, though the author was pretty well known. Marvell dubs him Mr Bayes,' under which name the Duke of Buckingham had ridiculed Dryden in the well-known play of the Rehearsal ; from the title of which Marvell designated his book, The Rehearsal Transprosed. The latter word was suggested by the scene in which Mr Bayes gives an account of the manner in which he manufactured his plays. • Bayes— Why, sir, my first rule is
the rule of transversion, or regula duplex, -changing verse • into prose, or prose into verse, alternativé, as you please.' • Smith— Well, but how is this done by rule, sir?' Bayes
Why thus, sir; nothing so easy when understood. I take a book in my hand, either at home or elsewhere, for that's all one:
if there be any wit in't, as there is no book but has some, I • transverse it; that is, if it be prose put it into verse, (but that • takes up some time,) and if it be verse put it into prose.'
Johnson —Methinks, Mr Bayes, that putting verse into prose should be called transprosing.' 'Bayes-By my troth, sir, 'tis a very good notion and hereafter it shall be so.'
The success of the Rehearsal was instant and signal. “After
* Rehearsal Transprosed.--Vol. I. pp. 62–69.
• Parker had for some years entertained the nation with several “ virulent books,' says Burnet, he was attacked by the liveliest
droll of the age, who wrote in a burlesque strain, but with so ' peculiar and entertaining a conduct, that, from the King down to the tradesman, his books were read with great pleasure; that not only humbled Parker, but the whole party; for the author of the Rehearsal Transprosed had all the men of wit, (or, as the French phrase it, all the laughers,) on his side.'
In fact, Marvell exhibited his adversary in so ridiculous a light, that even his own party could not keep their countenances. The unhappy churchman resembled Gulliver at the court of Brobdignag, when the mischievous page stuck him into the marrow-bone. He cut such a ridiculous figure, that, says the author, even the King and his courtiers could not help laughing at him.
The first part of the Rehearsal elicited several answers. They were written for the most part in very unsuccessful imitation of Marvell's style of banter, and are now wholly forgotten. Marvell gives an amusing account of the efforts which were made to obtain effective replies, and of the hopes of preferment which may be supposed to have inspired their authors. Parker himself, for some time declined any reply. At last came out his Reproof to the Rehearsal Transprosed, in which he urged the Government
to crush the pestilent wit, the servant of Cromwell, and the 'friend of Milton.' To this work Marvell replied in the second part of the Rehearsal. He was further spirited to it by an anonymous letter, pleasant and laconic enough, left for him at a friend's house, signed • T. G.,' and concluding with the words— • If thou darest to print any lie or libel against Dr Parker, by • the eternal God, I will cut thy throat!' He who wrote it, whoever he was, was ignorant of Marvell's nature, if he thought thereby to intimidate him into silence. His intrepid spirit was but further provoked by this insolent threat, which he took care to publish in the title-page of his Reply. To this publication Parker attempted no rejoinder. Anthony Wood himself tells us, that Parker “judged it more prudent to lay down
the cudgels, than to enter the lists again with an untowardly 'combatant, so hugely well versed and experienced in the then but newly refined art ; though much in mode and fashion ever since, of sporting and jeering buffoonery. It was generally thought, however, by many of those who were otherwise · favourers of Parker's cause, that the victory lay on Marvell's side, and it wrought this good effect on Parker, that for ever
after it took down his great spirit. And Burnet tells us, that he withdrew from the town, and ceased writing for some years.