Imágenes de páginas

worth, while President of the North, and after he was created Earl of Strafford *.

He was, also, made Canon of Windsor, under the recommendation of his accomplished friend Lord Falkland, with whom he had contracted an intimacy at College, and Dean of Leighlin in Ireland. From these preferments, however, he derived no advantage, on account of the troubles of the times.

Upon the fall of Lord Falkland at the battle of Newbury, he was reduced to great indigence. Hence Clarendon might be induced to suspect, that, • Necessity and want of a subsistence drove him first out of the Church of England, and then into a monastery.'

The desolated state of the Church of England at that time, and her prospect of impending ruin, led him to forsake the religion, in which he had been educated. On his arrival at Rome, in 1640, with his profligate pupil Charles Berkley, Esq. (afterward created Earl of Falmouth) he publicly, before the court of Inquisition, read a recantation of his former opinions. His modest and gentle demeanor, combined with his total contempt of all secular pursuits and his habits of devout austerity, induces us to think that no interested motives produced this important change. We now see him exerting his abilities as a strenuous advocate of the Church of Rome. But here it would be unjust to pass over in silence the behaviour of his friend Dr. Henry Hammond, to whom he immediately sent a copy of his · Exomologesis ; or a Faithful Narration of the Occasions and Motives of his Conversion to Catholic Unity. Paris, 1647. “ This Exomologesis,says Antony Wood, "was the golden calf, which the English papists fell down and worshipped. They boasted, that • the book was unanswerable, and had given a total overthrow to the Chillingworthians, and books and tenets of Lucius Lord Falkland.'” Dr. Hammond, retaining all the tenderness of his former affection for his lost sheep, invited him to his home, and promised him a safe asylum, where he might follow the dictates of his conscience free and undisturbed *. Avoiding all asperity of language, though he intimated that his whole work was fraught with deception, he declared his resolution of not entering into any controversy with him. Cressy, however, declined this liberal offer.

* Wentworth House was the seat of munificence. The President of the North, who was the Mæcenas of his age, was peculiarly kind to the natives of his own county, and under his princely protection many of them obtained high preferments in Church and State.

* Equally amiable was the behaviour of Bishop Bedel to his friend Mr. Wadsworth, who going into Spain with Sir Charles Cornwallie, the English Embassador, was there induced to become a proselyte to Popery.

(See Walton's Lives, odit. 4to, pp. 172, 173.)

At Paris, he was particularly noticed by Henrietta Maria, Queen of Charles I., who though by no means affluent, generously bestowed upon him an hundred crowns to defray the expenses of his journey to a monastery. At Donay, he assumed the habit of the Benedictine Order in the College of English monks; and, in conformity to the existing custom, changed his Christian name, stiling himself Serenus de Cressy. Here he continued seven years, dividing his time between his devotional duties and the acquisition of literature, His ardor for the promotion of Popery, however, brought him again into public light; he came as a missionary into England, and lived in Somerset-House, enjoying the privileges of a domestic of Katharine the Infanta of Spain, consort of Charles II.

Nothing could be more exemplary than the behaviour of the English Parochial Clergy during the time of the Civil Wars. Their patience and resignation, united with their unshaken loyalty and genuine piety, entitle them to every encomium. Yet father Cressy, who before the change of his religion must have been an eye-witness of their virtuous conduct, ventures to affirm, “that none did or could keep their livings without renouncing the protestant faith and their allegiance ! Such an aspersion is notoriously contrary to fact. Among numberless instances, which might be adduced, a single one is sufficient. The learned and pious Dr. Sanderson, afterward Bishop of Lincoln, was allowed to retain his benefice : yet no one will be so impudently malicious, as to say, that he renounced either his religion, or his loyalty, by so doing.-(Kennet, 209, 210.)

Dr. Peter du Moulin, a person of singular devotion and learning, who had derived from his father an hereditary attachment to the protestant faith, and in many of his writings had discovered the most ardent zeal for the royal cause, was promoted by Charles II. to a prebendal stall in the Church of Canterbury. Father Cressy, surely without much regard to candor, has disgraced himself by calling this excellent man “ a wretched serpent, disgorging his poison to the disturbance of this island;" and, elsewhere, “ an alien warmed with English preferments.” To this Du Moulin answered ; “I have reason to praise God that my condition of alien' made my service to the King and Church more opportune and effectual, than if I had been a native of England. If my


may be a pleasant hearing to Mr. Cressy, I will tell him, that of a prebend and a sinecure, which the King my gracious master was pleased to give me, I had but the first, though I have still the Great Seal for both.” (Ib. 330.)

Upon Cressy's return into England, his old friends discovered in him a strange revolution of temper. That serenity of disposition and cheerful affability of manners, which once recommended him

to their esteem, had given way to a clouded and melancholy stupor, a strange uncouth morosity, fastidiousness and discontent peryading his whole conyersation. A slight knowledge of the human mind may, perhaps, enable us to explain this circumstance. Might he not recollect the affection of his mother, the Church of England, in whose bosom he was tenderly nurtured from his earliest years—the simplicity of her worship, the purity of her doctrines, and the excellency of her whole institution ? In the words of Mr. Sancroft, afterward Archbishop of Canterbury, she “ arose from her funeral pile like the Phoenix, and took wing again ; remounting the episcopal throne, bearing the keys of the kingdom of Heaven with her, her hands spread abroad to bless and to ordain, to confirm the weak and to reconcile the penitent. A sight so venerable and august, that methinks it should at once strike love and fear into every beholder, and an aweful veneration.”—(Kennett, 454.) The reminiscence of these particulars could tend only to ulcerate and corrode his bosom with unavailing anguish.

But zeal for advancing the interests of a particular Church too often tends to corrupt the integrity of the human heart. At least, it gives birth to many rash and careless assertions, and precludes that strict examination which is essential to the discovery of truth. One instance of

« AnteriorContinuar »