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WHIT power to close the schism, nor retrieve those he had misled. Many of his followers continued unreclaimed, and suffered death for their mispersuasion.
A book of discipline drawn together, with the resolution of the assemblies putting it in practice.
The severity of the laws for nonconformity, and the execution of Thacker and Copping, put the Puritans upon their guard, and made them manage with great precaution. Until this time these Dissenters had no distinct form either of discipline or worship for their congregations: and thus every preacher being left to his discretion, collected what directions he thought proper out of Cartwright's books. But this divine had by this time beaten out his scheme more at length, and drawn up a body of discipline. This book was looked on as the standard for public worship.
And now a general assembly was held for putting this discipline in execution; and that their proceedings might be more unexceptionable, and under shelter, it was resolved that the peace of the Established Church should be shocked as little as possible. To this purpose, the following articles were agreed :
"First, That those who were called to the ministry of any church, should first be approved by the classis or greater assemblies; and then recommended to the diocesan, to be ordained by him."
By the way, a "classis" consists of a few neighbouring lib. 3. p. 108. ministers met together, commonly to the number of twelve. To proceed: "Those ceremonies in the Book of Common Prayer, which are contested upon the score of their being extracted from the Breviaries and Missals, ought to be omitted, provided this may be done without danger of being barred their function. But in case there is apparent danger of being deprived, then this matter must be referred to the 'classis' of the respective precincts, and determined by them.
13 Eliz. cap. 12.
"Thirdly, If subscription to the Articles of Religion, and the Book of Common Prayer, shall be further urged, it is thought the Book of Articles may be subscribed pursuant to the statute: that is, only such articles as contain the sum of Christian faith, and the doctrine of the sacraments. But for many weighty reasons, this subscription ought neither to be carried to the rest of the articles nor
to the Book of Common Prayer. Compliance was not to ELIZAgo thus far, though a man should be deprived, and struck out of the ministry for his refusal.
Further, it was resolved, though not in decisive language, that churchwardens and collectors for the poor, might be turned into elders and deacons. This was so contrived, that the office might be new in some measure, without changing the names, or giving a different face to the state of the church. For this purpose, notice was to be given of their election about a fortnight before the customary time. The congregation was likewise to be put in mind, at such times, of our Saviour's ordinance for the appointment of watchmen and overseers in his Church, that their business is to take care for the prevention of scandal; and if any offensive behaviour happens, that it is their office to see it corrected.
"And, as touching deacons and deaconesses, the Church is to be reminded of the apostle's admonition: they are not to govern their choice by common practice, but that sound belief, zeal, and integrity ought to be preferred to wealth and condition; and that the Church is to pray to God Almighty in the mean time, that they may be directed to proper persons.
"The names of those elected in this manner were to be published the next Lord's-day. After this, the respective duties between them and the congregation was to be set forth. And, lastly, they were to be admitted to their office with the prayers of all the people."
There was likewise regulation made for a division of the churches into classical, provincial, and general assemblies, pursuant to the "Book of Discipline." The classes are required to keep a registry of their acts, and deliver them to the greater assemblies. The classes are likewise required to use their interest with the patrons within their precincts, that none but persons well qualified may be presented. Their comitial assemblies, held at the time of the act and commencement at Oxford and Cambridge, were to make contributions for the relief of the poor; but more especially for the relief of those deprived for not subscribing the
And here contribution for the Scotch ministers Abp. Cant. was particularly recommended.
By the way, the king of Scots having broke through his confinement, and recovered himself from the Ruthven conspiracy, several of the ministers who had been most forward in the faction were forced to quit the kingdom. Some of these men took shelter in England; and it is their case which is thus considered by the assembly.
"Lastly, All provincial synods were to appoint their next meeting, fix upon representatives for the national or general assembly, and furnish their proxies with instructions. This 583. national synod was to meet either sitting the parliament, or Bancroft's at some other stated times every year."
A. D. 1644.
Under these disguises they hoped to carry on their discipline, and cover themselves from prosecution; and to make their motion the smoother, they agreed to drop the exercise of prophesying, and set up lectures in some of the principal towns of every county. But, after all, there was one great difficulty remaining: and that was, the inconsistency of Cartwright's model with the worship publicly established. No strains of art could bring the order of Geneva and the English rubric to any tolerable harmony. This difference was not to be compromised by those who resolved to adhere Dangerous to Cartwright's direction. However, they found out somelib. 3. p. 82. thing of an evasive expedient. For the purpose, their method "Ego singu was either to hire a lay-brother, (as Snape did a lame soldier of Berwick,) or some ignorant curate, to read the Common Prayer; but, as for themselves and their followers, they never came to church till the Liturgy was over, and the commercii, psalm was singing before the sermon. Thus, one of these ministers, in his letter to Field, acquaints this Dissenter, "that he stood clear of the Common Prayer, and preached every Lord's-day in his congregation; that he managed with this liberty by the advice of the reverend brethren who had lately made him one of the classis, which was held weekly in some place or other."
lis Sabbatis cum prescripta liturgia formula nihil habens
in cœtu concionem
habeo," &c. Heylin,
Hist. Pres byt. lib. 7.
lib. 3. p. 84. Whitgift presses conformity.
Thus the Church affairs stood when Whitgift came to the see of Canterbury. Now, this prelate had no latitude for indulgence or comprehension. He had formerly engaged
in controversy with Cartwright, and was entirely for a tho- ELIZArough conformity. It is granted the Puritans were not unfurnished with great men in their interest. Amongst some of these may be reckoned the earls of Huntingdon and Leicester; Roger, lord North; Sir Francis Knolles, treasurer of the household; and secretary Walsingham. But, as for the queen, she had no good opinion of the Dissenters: they maintained some uncourtly doctrine, as it was then reckoned; they confined her majesty's supremacy to temporal jurisdiction; they did not caress her prerogative, nor stretch her empire far enough into the Church. Their not falling in with the queen's inclination was one main reason of drawing disfavour upon them. This made her cold to intercession, and disabled their patrons from doing them much service: and to prevent importunities of this kind, she referred ecclesiastical business wholly to Whitgift's management. This prelate acted vigorously, and answered the confidence put in him. His first business was pressing subscription to the three articles above-mentioned. This was strongly remonstrated, and complained of as intolerable rigour. Upon this occasion, the Dissenters solicited their friends, both in court and country, and made their utmost effort to procure a relaxation; and, had not Whitgift been a person of great capacity and courage, and well supported by the crown, he had been irrecoverably embarrassed, and sunk in the undertaking. To give some account of this matter: the archbishop began with some in his own diocese: these men, who were designed for a precedent to the province, refusing to subscribe, were suspended for their contumacy. For relief against this censure, they Petitions to presented a petition to the lords of the council. An appli-inst him. cation of the same kind was made to the board by some clergy of the diocese of Norwich against Freake, their bishop. As to the Kentish ministers' petition, the archbishop was required to answer his proceedings at the council-table. Instead of making his defence this way, he sent them a letter, part of which is to this effect:
His letter to
He acquaints the board, "that the greatest part of the with refe petitioners were ignorant and raw young men, and few of rence to them licensed preachers; that he had spent the best part petition.
of two or three days to disentangle their understandings: GIFT, that, not being able to recover them to a right sense in the Abp. Cant. points debated, he had proceeded no otherwise than the law required; that the number of those who refused subscribing was not great,-in most parts of his province not one, and in some very few, and that the greatest part of those who scrupled this test were unlearned and unworthy the ministry; and that, in his own little diocese of Canterbury, more than three-score preachers have subscribed, whereas there were not above ten refusers who deserve the name of preachers; and that he was sure they may calculate upon this proportion through the whole province, the diocese of Norwich excepted, in which, notwithstanding, the Conformists are far more numerous; that the keeping his station would be impracticable if every curate in his diocese might take these freedoms against him; that it was not possible for him to perform the duty the queen expected, if he was checked in the execution of that authority; that he could not be persuaded their lordships had any intention to make him a party for acting upon her majesty's commission: that, in these matters, he was to have no judge of his management excepting the queen. And, since he was lawfully called by God and her majesty to his station, since he was appointed their pastor (meaning the council), and had the greatest charge over them in things relating to the soul, he desired them to assist him in his post, to fortify his jurisdiction, for the repose of the Church, the credit of the religion established, and the maintenance of the laws for that purpose. And, as to the three articles required to be subscribed, he declares himself ready to defend them, in the form and terms in which they are couched, against any persons in England or elsewhere. And, lastly, he desires their lordships to acquiesce in this answer, and not insist upon his coming to the board: for these troublesome complainants would not fail of making Hist. book 9. their advantage of such an attendance.
His answer to the remonstrance
To the Suffolk ministers' remonstrance he answers, "that he was somewhat surprised these clergymen, believing themof the Suffolk selves hardly used by their diocesan, should quit the common course of the law, forget appealing to their metropolitan, strike off to an extraordinary method, and trouble