ligion they list, and serve God after what manner it pleaseth them best, but that the parts of God's true worship [Bowndean worship] might be set up everywhere, and all men compelled to stoop unto it."
There is, it must be admitted, a sad logical consistency in the mode of action advocated by Dr. Bownd and deprecated by Bishop Heber. As long as men hold that there is a hell to be shunned, they seem logically warranted in treating lightly the claims of religious liberty upon earth. They dare not tolerate a freedom whose end they believe to be eternal perdition. Cruel they may be for the moment, but a passing pang vanishes when compared with an eternity of pain. Unreligious men might call it hallucination, but if I accept undoubtingly the doctrine of eternal punishment, then, whatever society may think of my act, I am self-justified not only in "letting" but in destroying that which I hold dearest, if I believe it to be thereby stopped in its progress to the fires of hell. Hence, granting the assumptions common to both, the persecution of Puritans by High Churchmen, and of High Churchmen by Puritans, had a basis in reason. I do not think the question can be decided on a priori grounds, as Bishop Heber seemed to suppose. It is not the abstract wickedness of persecution, so much as our experience of its results, that causes us to set our faces against it. It has been tried, and found the most ghastly of failures. This experimental fact overwhelms the plausibilities of logic, and renders persecution, save in its meaner and stealthier aspects, in our day impossible.
The combat over Sunday continued, the Sabbatarians continually gaining ground. In 1643 the divines who drew up the famous document known as the Westminster Confession began their sittings in Henry VII's Chapel. Milton thought lightly of these divines, who, he said, were sometimes chosen by the whim of members of Parliament; but the famous Puritan, Baxter, extolled them for their learning, godliness, and ministerial abilities. A journal of their earlier proceedings was kept by one of their members. On the 13th of November, 1644, he records the occurrence of "a large debate" on the sanctification of the Lord's day. After fixing the introductory phraseology, the assembly proceeded to consider the second proposition, "To abstain from all unnecessary labors, worldly sports, and recreations." It was debated whether "worldly thoughts" should not be added. "This was scrupulous," says the naive journalist, "whether we should not be a scorn to go about to bind men's thoughts, but at last it was concluded upon to be added, both for the more piety and for that the fourth command includes it." The question of Sunday cookery was then discussed and settled; and, as regards public worship, it was decreed "that all the people meet so timely that the whole congregation be present at the beginning, and not depart until after the blessing. That what time is vacant between or after the solemn meetings of the congregation be spent in reading, meditation, repetition of sermons,"