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[284] the person of the queen. But the Puritans were the
Chap VIII}
harbingers of a revolution; the hierarchy charged them with seeking a popular state; and Elizabeth openly declared, that they were more perilous than the Romanists. At a time when the readiest mode of reaching the minds of the common people was through the pulpit, and when the preachers would often speak with plainness and homely energy on all the events of the day, their claim to ‘the liberty of prophesying’ was similar to the modern demand of the liberty of the press; and the free exercise of private judgment threatened, not only to disturb the uniformity of the national worship, but to impair the royal authority and erect the dictates of conscience into a tribunal, before which sovereigns might be arraigned.1 The Puritan clergy were fast becoming tribunes of the people, and the pulpit was the place for freedom of rebuke and discussion. The queen long desired to establish the national religion mid-way between sectarian licentiousness and Roman supremacy; and when her policy in religion was once declared, the pride of authority would brook no opposition. By degrees she occupied politically the position of the head of Protestantism; Catholic sovereigns conspired against her kingdom; the convocation of cardinals proposed measures for her deposition; the pope, in his excommunications, urged her subjects to rebellions. Then it was, that, as the Roman Catholics were no longer treated with forbearance, so the queen, struggling, from regard to her safety, to preserve unity among her friends, hated the Puritans, as mutineers in the camp.

The popular voice was not favorable to a rigorous

1563 Jan. 12.
enforcement of the ceremonies. In the first Protestant

1 Cartwright's Second Reply, 158—170. Hallam, i 254

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