says its enemy, ‘were the shelter for the noble princi-
pies of liberty.’
It was its office to engraft the new institutions of popular energy upon the old European
system of a feudal aristocracy and popular servitude; the good was permanent, the outward emblems which were the signs of the party, were of transient duration; like the clay and ligaments with which the graft is held in its place, and which are brushed away as soon as the scion is firmly united.
The principles of Puritanism proclaimed the civil magistrate subordinate to the authority of religion; and its haughtiness in this respect has been compared to ‘the infatuated arrogance’ of a Roman pontiff.
in the firmness with which the principle was asserted, the Puritans did not yield to the Catholics; and, if the will of God is the criterion of justice, both were, in one sense, in the right.
The question arises, Who shall be the interpreter of that will?
In the Roman
Catholic church, the office was claimed by the infallible pontiff who, as the self-constituted guardian of the oppressed, insisted on the power of dethroning kings, repealing laws, and subverting dynasties.
The principle thus asserted, though often productive of good, could not but become subservient to the temporal ambition of the clergy.
Puritanism conceded no such power to its spiritual guides; the church existed independent of its pastor, who owed his office to its free choice; the will of the majority was its law; and each one of the brethren possessed equal rights with the elders.
The light, exercised by each congregation, of electing its own ministers, was in itself a moral revolution; religion was now with the people, not over the people.
Puritanism exalted the laity.
Every individual who had experienced the raptures of devotion, every believer,