Page:History of England (Macaulay) Vol 4.djvu/55

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a singular description. There was something very like a prayer for another Bloody Circuit; "Give the King the necks of his enemies;" there was something very like a prayer for a French invasion; "Raise him up friends abroad;" and there was a more mysterious prayer, the best comment on which was afterwards furnished by the Assassination Plot; "Do some great thing for him; which we in particular know not how to pray for."[1]

This liturgy was composed, circulated, and read, it is said, in some congregations of Jacobite schismatics, before William set out for Ireland, but did not attract general notice till the appearance of a foreign armament on our coast had roused the national spirit. Then rose a roar of indignation against the Englishmen who had dared, under the hypocritical pretence of devotion, to imprecate curses on England. The deprived Prelates were suspected, and not without some show of reason. For the nonjurors were, to a man, zealous Episcopalians. Their doctrine was that, in ecclesiastical matters of grave moment, nothing could be well done without the sanction of the Bishop. And could it be believed that any who held this doctrine would compose a service, print it, circulate it, and actually use it in public worship, without the approbation of Sancroft, whom the whole party revered, not only as the true Primate of all England, but also as a Saint and a Confessor? It was known that the Prelates who had refused the oaths had lately held several consultations at Lambeth. The subject of those consultations, it was now said, might easily be guessed. The holy fathers had been engaged in framing prayers for the destruction of the Protestant colony in Ireland, for the defeat of the English fleet in the Channel, and for the speedy arrival of a French army in Kent. The extreme section of the Whig party pressed this accusation with vindictive eagerness. This then, said those implacable politicians, was the fruit of King William's merciful policy. Never had he committed a greater error than when he had conceived the hope that the hearts of the clergy were to be won by clemency and moderation. He

  1. A Form of Prayer and Humiliation for God's Blessing upon His Majesty and his Dominions, and for Removing and Averting of God's judgments from this Church and State, 1690.