By Don M. Wolfe
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If we had had Queen M ary’s days, I think that we should have had as flourishing a Church this day, as ever any. For it is well known, th at there was then in London under the burden, and elsewhere in exile, more flour ishing churches than any now tolerated by your authority. Now whereas we should have your help, both to join ourselves with the true Church, and reject the false, and all the ordinances thereof, we are in your kingdom permitted to do nothing; but accounted seditious, if we affirm either the one or the other of the former points.
Raleigh himself questioned the justice of oppressive measures, say ing: “What danger may grow to ourselves if this law pass, it were fit to be considered. For it is to be feared, that men not guilty will be included in it. ” M The effects of the bill fell most heavily upon the Brownists, who would have no communion whatever with the national church. Their organizations were driven underground. “We know,” said INTRODUCTION 21 Penry, “the meeting in woods, in caves, in mountains . . is a part of the cross of the gospel .
But under the long faces, the black hats, the sober clothes, in the midst of pious expression of Calvinist dogma, still beat the fires of passion, the yearning for beauty, a whole psychology of forces too powerful for Calvinism 38 MILTON IN THE PURITAN REVOLUTION to resist or wholly degrade. Hence the long gap between Sabbath preachments and nightly yearnings, the hypocrisies, the repressions, the burning hatreds, the almost savage insistence on the letter of dogma. In their souk raged a perpetual conflict between the world of the senses and the stern discipline of an Old Testament creed futilely diluted with the tolerant charity of the Gospels.