Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

• Hic rex Richardus requiescit, sceptifer, almus :
Rex fuit Anglorum, regnum tenet iste polorum.
Regnum demisit pro Christo cuncta reliquit.
Ergo Richardum nobis dedit Anglia sanctum.
Hic genitor sanctæ Wulburgæ Virginis almæ
Est Vrillebaldi Sancti simul et Vinebaldi,

Suffragium quorum nobis det regna Polorum.'
No date is given : we presume none was discoverable.

Passing through Florence, Bologna, and Ferrara, Mr. Evelyn hastened to Venice, being anxious to arrive there before Ascension day, to witness the ceremony of throwing a gold ring and cup into the Adriatic. By favour of the French ambassador, he bad admittance to a much more remarkable raree-show, 'the Reliquary, called Tresoro di San Marco, which few even of • travellers are admitted to see.' And no wonder such precaution was observed, when, among other invaluable treasures, there were such items as the following:

• Divers heads of saints inchas'd in gold; a small ampulla or glasse with our Saviour's blood; a greate morcell of the real crosse; one of the nailes; a thorn ; a fragment of ye column to which our Lord was bound when scourged; the standard or ensigne of Constantine ; a piece of St. Luke's arme; a rib of St. Stephen; a finger of Mary Magdalene; numerous other things which I could not remember; but a priest, first vesting himself in his sacerdotals with the stole about his neck, shew'd us the Gospel of St. Mark (their tutelar patron) written by bis own hand, and whose body they shew buried in the Church, brought hither from Alexandria many years ago.'

Whilst Mr. Evelyn was at Venice, a ship bound for the Holy Land presented a tempting opportunity for visiting the consecrated territory whence all these anatomical relics were professedly imported; but after Mr. E. bad bespoken his passage, and laid in his stores for the voyage, the vessel was pressed into the service of the State, to carry provisions to Candia, which altogether frustrated his design, to his great mortification. He now resolved to spend some months at Padua in the study of physic and anatomy, and was regularly matriculated at the university. "

Here he obtained those rare tables of veines, nerves,' &c. which he afterwards presented to the Royal Society, being the first of that kind that had been seen in Eng

land, and for aught I know, in the world.' He passed nine months at Padua and Venice, and then set off for Milan, through Vicenza and Verona, in company with Mr. Waller, the cele

brated poet, now newly gotten out of England, after the Par• liament had extremely worried hiin for attempting to put in execution the commission of array, and for which the rest of bis colleagues were hanged by the Rebels.' Mr. Evelyn was particularly struck with the situation of Verona.

• This Citty deserved all those elogies Scaliger has honoured it with, for in my opinion the situation is the most delightful I ever saw; it is so sweetly mixed with rising ground and vallies, so elegantly planted with trees on which Bacchus scems riding as it were in triumph every autumn, for the vines reach from tree to tree; here of all places I have seene in Italy would I fix a residence. Well has that learn’d man given it the name of ye very eye of the world';

Ocelle mundi, Sidus Itali cæli,
Flos urbium, flos corniculumq' amcnum,

Quot sunt, eruntve, quot fuere, Verona.
The next morning we travell’d over the downes where Marius fought,
and fancied ourselves about Winchester and the country towards
Dorsetshire.'

The passage of the Alps was at that period a far more adventurous undertaking than it is now, when it has become the high road of gentlemen tourists; and our Author has no better epithets for the country than melancholy and troublesome.' At Geneva, he fell sick of the small-pox, having caught it by lying in a bed which bis hostess's daughter, just newly recovered from that fell disease, had been so accommodating as to give up to him. His night's rest was dearly purchased at the expense of a five weeks' confinement to his chamber. Here he had several interviews with Diodati, the learned Author of the Italian version of the Bible. The Signor expressed to Mr. Evelyn in the course of conversation, his warm approbation of ' our Church government by Bishops;' and assured him, that the French Protestants would make no scruple to submit ' to it and all its pomp, had they a king of the reformed re. ligion as we had.' If this was their feeling, and all that they wanted was, a king to take the head-ship of their church, we do not wonder that no scruple should have existed in their minds with respect to Episcopacy on the ground of the pomp with which it is encumbered. A Presbyterian form of church government is ill adapted to combine with the system of royal patronage; and King James was so far perfectly right, when be said, 'No bishop, no king:' in ecclesiastical matters, they go together. And for our own part, if the Church is to be governed by the civil power, we should prefer a king at its head, to a presbytery. On this point, we are not Calvinists.

In Oct. 1646, we find Mr. Evelyn at Paris, where he contracted that friendship with the family of Sir Richard Browne, King Charles's resident at the court of France, which was sealed by his marriage to one of Sir Richard's daughters in the following June. In September, 1647, he came to England to settle bis affairs, leaving his young wife, then only twelve years of age, under the care of her mother; but in 1649, he returned to France, which he did not finally quit till the year 1652.

[ocr errors]

During the short interval which he passed in his native country, he by some means contrived to get privately into the council

of the Rebel Army at Whitehall,' where, he says, be heard

horrid villanies. A few weeks after this, he heard the rebel · Peters incite the rebel powers met in the Painted Chamber,

to destroy his Majesty, and saw that arch-traytor Bradsbaw

who not long after condemned bim.' The execution of the King is thus chronicled :

• 1649. The villanie of the Rebells proceeding now so far as to trie, condemne, and murder our excellent King on the 30th of this month, struck me with such horror that I kept the day of his martyrdom a fast, and would not be present at that execrable wickednesse; receive ing the sad account of it from my brother George and Mr. Owen, who came to visite me this afternoone, and recounted all the circumstances.'

Of the state of things during the Protectorate, we meet with only a few scattered notices of no great importance : they consist, for the most part, of expressions of indignant feeling at the severities to which the clergy were exposed, and at the abolition of fasts and festivals, with memoranda of the different preachers he heard.

• 1653. 30 Jan. At our own parish church a stranger preach'd. There was now and then an honest orthodox man got into the pulpit, and though the present incumbent was somewhat of the Independent, yet he ordinarily preach'd sound doctrine, and was a peaceable man, which was an extraordinary felicity in this age.' • 1654. 8 Feb. Ash Wednesday. In contradiction

to all costome and decency, the Usurper Cromwell feasted at the Lord Maior's, riding in triumph thro' the Citty.'

* 3 Dec. Advent Sunday. There being no office at the church, but extemporie prayers after ye Presbyterian way, for now all formes were prohibited, and most of the preachers were usurpers, I seldome went to church upon solemn feasts, but either went to London, where some of the orthodox sequestred Divines did privately use ye Common Prayer, administer sacraments, &c. or else I procured one to officiate in my house ; wherefore, on the 10th, Dr. Rich. Owen, the sequester'd minister of Eltham, preach'd to my family in my library, and gave us ye holy communion

• 1655. Jan. 28. · A stranger preached from 3 Collossians, 2. inciting our affections to the obtaining heavenly things. I understood afterwards that this man had been both chaplaine and lieutennent to Admiral Pen, using both swords, whether ordained or not I cannot say; into such times were we fallen!'

• 18 Mar. Went to London on purpose to heare that excellent preacher Dr. Jeremy Taylor on 14 Matt. 17. shewing what were the conditions of obtaining eternal life ; also concerning abatements for unavoidable infirmities, how cast on the accompts of y* Crosse. On the 31st I made a visit to Dr. Jerr. Taylor to conferr with him about some spiritual matters, using him thenceforward as my ghostly father. I beseech God Almighty to make me ever mindful of, and thankful for, his heavenly assistances.' 15 April. I went to London with my family to celebrate ye

feast of Easter. Dr. Wild preach'd at St. Gregorie's; the Ruling Powers conniving at ye use of the Liturgy, &c. in this church alone.

• 27 Nov. This day came forth the Protector's Edict or Proclamation, prohibiting all ministers of the Church of England from preaching or teaching any scholes, in which he imitated the Apostate Julian ; with ye decimation of all ye royal parties revenues throughout England. + 14 Dec. Now were the Jews admitted.'

25. There was no more notice taken of Christmas day in churches. I went to London where Dr. Wild preach'd the funeral sermon of Preaching, this being the last day, after which Cromwell's proclamation was to take place, that none of the Church of England should dare either to preach or administer Sacraments, teache schoole &c. on paine of imprisonment or exile. So this was ye mournfullest day that in my life I had seene, or ye Church of England herself since the Reformation ; to the greate rejoicing of both Papist and Presbyter. So pathetic was his discourse that it drew many teares from the auditory. Myself, wife, and some of our family received ye communion; God make me thankfull, who hath hitherto provided for us the food of our soules as well as bodies! The Lord Jesus pity our distress'd Church, and bring back the captivity of Sion!'

• 1656. 3 Aug. I went to London to receive the B. Sacrament, the first time the Church of England was reduced to a chamber and conventicle, so sharp was the persecution. The parish churches were fill'd with sectaries of all sorts, blasphemous and ignorant mechanics usurping the pulpets every where. Dr. Wild preach'd in a private house in Fleete Streete, where we had a greate meeting of zealous Christians, who were generaly much more devout and religious than in our greatest prosperity.'

. 2 Nov. There was now nothing practical preached or that pressed reformation of life, but high and speculative points and straines that few understood, which left people very ignorant and of no steady principles, the source of all our sects and divisions, for there was much envy and uncharity in the world; God of his mercy amend it! Now indeed that I went at all to church whilst these usurpers possess'd the pulpets, was that I might not be suspected for a Papist, and that tho' the minister was Presbyterianly affected, he yet was as I understood duly ordain'd, and preach'd sound doctrine after their way, and besides was an humble, harmlesse, and peaceable man.'

• On Sunday afternoone I frequently stay'd at home to catechise and instruct my familie, those exercises universally ceasing in the parish churches, so as people had no principles, and grew very ignorant of even the common points of Christianity; all devotion being

[ocr errors]

now plac'd in hearing sermons and discourses of speculative and national things.'

So far as integrity can go to make a competent witness, the contemporary testimony of Mr. Evelyn as to what he himself witnessed, is entitled to just attention. But although it is impossible not to respect the sincere, yet not very enlightened, piety which displays itself in these memoranda, it admits of reasonable doubt, whether he was altogether qualified to form a just estimate of the true character of the sectarian preachers whom he speaks of with so much horror as usurping the pulpits every where. He has evidently suffered himself to note down in his journal the mere hearsay of the day; since, that catechetical instruction was universally laid aside, that all devotion was now placed in bearing sermons, and that those sermons were wholly of a speculative strain, are assertions which, even if founded on fact, it was impossible he should have had sufficient means of verifying. The minister of his own parish, it is admitted, preached sound doctrine ; and the man' wbo bad been Admiral Penn's chaplain, is not charged with preaching any worse speculation than the necessity of heavenly mindedness. An instance indeed is given, and it is a solitary one, of ' a mechanic,' who preached from 2 Sam. xxiii. 20. " And Benaiah " went down and slew a lion in the midst of a pit in the time of

snow;" the purport of his sermon being, as we are told, that no danger was to be thought difficult when God called for shedding of blood, inferring that now the Saints were called to destroy temporal governinents.' Doctrine like this, if it be correctly reported, it was quite as much Oliver's concern as it could have been King Charles's, to take cognizance of; and it is quite impossible that it should have been maintained by any but rank Fifth-monarchy men. But it was enough for Mr. Evelyn to know that these preachers were usurpers, that they had not received Episcopal ordination, and that the best of them were Presbyterianly affected. On these grounds, though he seldom went at all to church himself, and though he had been so little in England since he was of age, that he could know nothing of the previous state of things as to the way in which the pulpits had been supplied, and the clerical functions discharged, -he readily adopts the party calumnies of the day in their most sweeping application, not seeming to have the slightest suspicion of any ignorance or irreligion having an existence in the country prior to the overtbrow of the monarchy. It is observable, too, that while he is lamenting over the people's ignorance of the common points of Christianity, owing, as it should seem, to their hearing so many sermons, and their not being taught the Church catechism, he himself discovers the most confused and erroneous notions

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« НазадПродовжити »