H. D. (Henry Duff) Traill.

Social England; a record of the progress of the people in religion, laws, learning, arts, industry, commerce, science, literature and manners, from the earliest times to the present day (Volume 3) online

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Online LibraryH. D. (Henry Duff) TraillSocial England; a record of the progress of the people in religion, laws, learning, arts, industry, commerce, science, literature and manners, from the earliest times to the present day (Volume 3) → online text (page 50 of 68)
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who were summoned entered the court they observed Robert



Cole, a clergyman who had refused at first but had afterwards
complied, standing dressed in hill canonicals. The Bishop's
chancellor, pointing to this man, said to them : " The Council's
pleasure is that strictly ye keep the unity of apparel like to
this man. Ye that will subscribe write volo ; ye that will not,
write nolo." No explanation was permitted, and many who
refused were sequestrated and afterwards deposed and deprived.
The . The deposition of so many ministers left several of the

Resist- London churches imsupplied with preachers. Meantime, they
continued to conduct services with such congregations as
gathered to them in secret, both in London and the provinces.
Many of their adherents were arrested and sent to prison,
but in spite of all attempts at suppression the Puritan revolt
grew in strength and determination. A centre was established
at Wandsworth, the Presbyterian discipline was elaborately
organised both in London and the Midlands, a literature was
created which assailed with more and more of vehemence
the existing Establishment (p. 012), till at length the hostility,
directed at first merely against the use of the vestments and
such ceremonial observances as kneeling at the communion
and making the sign of the cross at baptism, widened its
range and extended itself to the entire episcopal system.

Open conflict having fairly begun, Puritanism took different
directions. The main body of the Puritan ministers still re-
mained Conformist, still held Calvinistic opinions, and, using
only such ceremonial as they were compelled, still claimed to
be faithful members and representatives of the Church. They
remained in her communion, not for what she was but for
what they believed she .was capable of being made. They
submitted to many things they did not approve in the hope
that better days might dawn, and a simpler and more scriptural
system come to prevail. Their desire for ecclesiastical free-
dom naturally allied them with the party of liberty in Parlia-
ment ; and the men who succeeded them, inheriting their
position and principles, were the men who carried on that
struggle with Charles I. and Archbishop Laud, which came to
decisive issue at Naseby and on Marston Moor.


Beside these who were Conformists, there were Puritans
who were Presbyterians and Puritans who were Independents.
These, again, differed from each other in important respects.




Those who were Presbyterians sought to organise the Genevan Presby-
discipline within the pale of the Church itself; and there tenans -
came a time when it seemed for a moment as if they might
even have some chance of success. In 1571 Thomas Cartwright
(p. 594), Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity at Cambridge,
who, through the influence of Whitgift, then Vice-Chancellor,
had been expelled the university for his Presbyterian opinions,,
issued, in conjunction with others, two addresses to Parlia-
ment, under the title of " A First " and " A Second Admoni-


tion." These addresses were elaborate attacks upon the Their
episcopal system and vigorous assertions of the divine right
of the Genevan discipline. Having first exercised that disci-
pline privately for a time, they then took a bolder step. They
proceeded to set up their system openly in the parish churches
of Northamptonshire and Warwickshire, not, however, without
some disturbances arising in consequence. In 1580 Cartwright
and his friend Travers published the " Book of Discipline,"
in which the system of Presbyterian government in use at
Geneva was adapted to English life, and so introduced as to.
be in two or three years in working order. The Puritan
clergy of a given district were formed into a class i* or eon.-



ference, these classes to be consolidated into a National
Assembly, which was to meet in London at the same time
that Parliament was in session. There was to be a consistory
in each parish, including lay elders elected for the purpose,
but the actual direction of affairs was to be in the hands of
the classis, which was to decide all points of ceremonial, and
determine who were tit candidates for the ministry, giving
them the necessary call. The real Presbyterian orders were
thus conferred upon the candidate by the classis, and he was
then to apply to the bishop for the legal rite merely as a
matter of form. Thus the Presbyterian system was to work
under episcopalian arrangements until such time as it was
strong enough to supersede them. These men asked, not
merely for the toleration of their opinions but for their endow-
ment. Cartwright contended that the existing clergy ought
to be reduced to the primitive form, that presbyters only
should remain to preach the Word of God, and deacons to
care for the poor; that every church ought to be governed
only by its own ministers and elders, and that ministers
should be openly and freely chosen by the people. " To effect
this reformation/ he says, " everyone ought to labour in his
calling the magistrate by his authority, the minister by the
Word, and all by their prayers."

Their Thus the demand of the men acting with Cartwright was

Aim " for a National Church framed on the Presbyterian model, and

endowed with tithes and ecclesiastical emoluments, while at
the same time they rejected the spiritual headship of the
sovereign as inconsistent with the teachings of the New
Testament. The Presbyterians were the first to contend that
their system existed by Divine right. Cartwright assumed
that everything was as precisely ordered of God in the
Christian Church as in the worship of the Jewish temple.
" Is it likely," he asks, " that He who appointed not only the
tabernacle and the temple, but their very ornaments, would
neglect the very essentials of the Church ? Shall we conclude
that He who remembered the bars there hath forgotten the
pillars here ? " His fundamental position, therefore, was that
all details of Church government not having express Divine
sanction are to be condemned ; that whatever is not written
is erroneous, and that the practice of the New Testament



Church is as binding in matters of discipline as its teaching-
is in matters of doctrine.

Those among the Puritans who were known as Inde- inde-
pendents or Separatists, while agreeing with the Presbyterians
in their opposition to the Episcopacy and in their desire to
return to the primitive model of Church government as laid
down in the New Testament, differed widely from them in
other respects. Their starting-point in Church polity was
the existence of spiritual life, the personal relation of the
individual soul to God ; and a church with them was a
community made up exclusively of spiritual men. The
Presbyterians, while desiring to have government of the
Church by presbytery, that is, by the body of ministers and
elders in synod and assembly, instead of by diocesan bishops,
and while desiring to substitute the Book of the Genevan
Discipline for the Book of Common Prayer were, in other
respects, as has been seen, in agreement with the main,
features of the Episcopal system. That is to say, they were in
favour of a State Church, and the Church in a given parish
ought, in their view, to embrace all the baptised people of
that parish whether they were spiritual persons or not. The
Independents, 011 the contrary, strenuously maintained that
a Christian Church should be composed exclusively of
Christian men. " The kingdom of God," said they, ' is not Tlieir
to be begun by whole parishes, but rather of the worthiest, View of

J .. L . . Church

were they never so iewe. Henry Barrowe, writing from and state.
the Fleet Prison, in 1590, raises his protest against the un-
spirituality of the Elizabethan State Church in such words
as these : " Never hath all kind of sinne and wickedness more
universally raigned in any nation at any time, yet all are
received into the Church, all made members of Christ. All
these people with all these manners were in one daye, with
the blast of ( L )ueen Elizabeth's trumpet, of ignorant papistes
and grosse idolaters, made faithful Christians and true
professors." He protests as earnestly against what he de-
scribes as the rash and disorderly proceedings of John
Calvin's Presbyterian Church at Geneva as against the mixed
constitution of the Episcopal Church at home, for the reason
that " at the first dash Calvin made no scruple to receive all
the whole State, even all the profane, ignorant people into



the bosom of the Church," a method of procedure which, he
contends, could not possibly " lit with Christ's heavenly
government.'' Taking thus as their fundamental position
that the Church visible consists of a company and fellowship
of faithful and holy people gathered in the name of Christ,
they went on to maintain that a Church so composed is
competent for self-government. None were so tit to govern
a spiritual community, they held, as spiritual men, who
themselves have the guidance and enlightening influence of
the Spirit of God. This self-governing power they lurther
regarded not so much as a privilege to be enjoyed, as a
sacred trust to be discharged. They went to prison and into
exile, and even to the scaffold for these principles, not merely
to contend for supposed rights and privileges, but because
they believed that Christ had trusted His truth and His
laws to the fidelity of all who loved Him : that no Christian
man could escape the responsibility which this trust imposed ;
and that at whatever cost and in the face of whatever peril
the responsibility must be discharged.

Their The period when these men actively promulgated their

views during the reign of Elizabeth may be roughly stated
as between 1570 and 1593. Their leaders during the rirst
halt' of this period were Richard Fitx, the pastor of a London
church, and Robert Browne, and Robert Harrison, who formed
a Congregational Church in Norwich in 1580; and the most
active promoters of their principles in the second half of this
period were Henry Barrowe and John Greenwood, with whom
was associated John Penry, the Welsh martvr (p. 614), all ot
whom suffered death for their opinions in 1593. Robert
Browne has often been regarded as the founder of Inde-
pendency in England, and hence arose the name of Brownists
(p. 595). But these people persistently maintained that they
were "falsely called Brownists," that while this man at one
time forcibly expressed their convictions, he was not their
founder. In support of this view there are official documents
among the State Papers showing that a Congregational Chmvh
was in existence in 1571, and had been for some time, whereas
in that year Robert Browne was a mere undergraduate at,

The penal laws against Nonconformity, severe before, were




An exhortation vntothegouer-

nours , and people of hirMaicfties

coimtrw of W ales , to labour eamffllj t

to liatie the preaching of


There isin die ende fomcthing
that v\-f t/ot in tb* former

made still more severe by the Conventicle Act of 1593, by
which it was provided that all persons above sixteen years
of age, being present at unlawful conventicles, should on
conviction be committed to prison, there to remain without
bail or mainprise, until thej r made open submission and de-
claration of conformity at some church or chapel, or usual
place of common prayer.

The offender who refused to !

make such public submission
within three months of con-
viction should be compelled
" to abjure this realm of
England, and all other the
Queen's Majesty's dominions
for ever." Tin's sternly re-
pressive Act of 35th Eliza-
beth explains why during
the ten years previous to
the accession of .James I. so
many Nonconformists lan-
guished in prison, while
many were banished, and
many more went into
voluntary exile.

So far as this branch of
Puritanism is concerned, the
centre of interest for several
years to come lies in the
Low Countries, where they
were permitted the free
exercise of their religion,
rather than in their own
was denied them.


PSAI. 1,7. J,*.

Iflfhillforgsr.thce.OIJnifaleni, !ctmv right hsiide
ror^Lther (eliivf I d >:'<>t t^mcjmbcr, t':ec- kr :nv toong
ck-iitc vntothc riu'ieofms' mourh : ye?, if Iprtfjr not
Icruulcmvftton y chcciciovc,

. COS. 1.13.
far wee write no other thing vntn you, th an c!i at vou

re n Jc, or that ;'o;i 3fknov]cdgc, and I tnift vou Iliai af
knowledge vntothcendc.

< COR. 5.1;,!.,.

Por, whether we be onto! ourwir, we ire it vntoGod,
or whether \v be in our right mind.ivce we it vnto yoiw
For, thit louc of Chrilt Joth coiillrune vs.


TO THE WELSH," 1588.

land, where liberty of conscience

WITH the death of Grindal in 1583, and the appointment of
Whitgift as his successor in the primacy (1583-1604), the
conditions of English religion undergo a change. It is with
the new archbishop that the Church of England begins
clearly to work on an independent system of her own
"midway between Rome and Geneva": it is now that the

The Re-



persecution of the Extremists starts afresh the systematic,
continuous repression of Puritan Nonconformity within, and
Puritan Separatism without, the Church: the High Church
party, in the seventeenth century sense, makes its lirst
appearance, or reappearance, in these last few years of the age
of Elizabeth: the Erastian conception of Church and State,
which had been so dominant throughout the Tudor period,
from the beginning of the Reformation Parliament begins

o o

to be altered into the Stuart notion of an alliance between
two friendly powers, each indispensable to the other,
wmtgift. AYhitgift himself, however, hardly represents the new

movement. His churchmanship is more of a repressive
than of a constructive kind. He is the enforcer of con-
formity not the thinker or leader who brings a young party
to the front ; and the choice of him as primate after Grindal
rather emphasised the Elizabethan Erastianism than show., d
the beginning of a new era, a new school in English religion.
Bancroft, Hooker, and Andre wes were the real chiefs of
Anglo- Catholic reaction. In Whitgift, Elizabeth's Govern-
ment simply meant to have a loyalist archbishop, who would
give no trouble with Puritanising scruples like his predecessor,
who would carry out the Established system vigorously, and
who would support the cause of Anglicanism with a decent
show of learning and controversial force.

He had long been the foremost man in Cambridge as
Vice-Chancellor and Master of Trinity where he had borne


a prominent part in promoting the expulsion of Cartwright l
from the Margaret Professorship (1571). In the same year
the Queen made him Dean of Lincoln ; in 1572, Convocation
of Canterbury elected him their Speaker or " Prolocutor " :
he had been chosen by Parker to answer the Puritan Ad-
monition to Parliament : in 1577 he had become Bishop of
Worcester: now - on August 24, 15.S3, under the Crown's
direction the Chapter of Canterbury elected him primate.

1 The " man of genius." according to Mr. Froucle. whose " apparition "
was then ' troubling 1 " the University. Perhaps Cartwright's opinions, more
even than his genius, may account for some of the opposition to him.
' Heretics," said he and to him heretics were simply those who did not
accept the Geneva platform ''ought to be put to death innr (in answer
to those who alleged that a time of grace should be given). If this be bloody
and extreme I am content to be so counted with the Holy Ghost."



He at once devoted himself afresh to the main work of
his life the suppression of Nonconformity, the establishment
of the Elizabethan settlement - - with the increased vigour
given by increased power, but with the same spirit that ho
had shown at Cambridge and at Worcester.

The opposition was of two kinds : first, the avowed Separ-

'hutii; Walki'f and CocAriv?', ciiffunl's Inn, i'.C.
l'<.rtmit Gallery.)

atism of the Brownists l or Early Independents (p. 592), of
the Family of Love, and of the Anabaptists, whose alarm ing-
civil doctrines provoked the Government in 1575 and 157D
to burn three of them : secondly, the Nonconformity of the
Puritans within the Church, who were determined to reduce
the religious Establishment to their own model ; who, beginning

1 Their supposed founder. Robert Brown, or Browne (p. ~>;)2). a Norfolk
clergyman, related to Lord Burghley, who had published a " Treatise of
Reformation without tarrying for any, and of the wickedness of those
preachers that will not reform themselves because they will tarry till the
magistrate command and compel them."



iu lf)(i.'i-7 by formal and organised resistance to the clerical
habits, had gone on, in 1572, liy tlie Admonition, to object
to the whole of the Prayer Book ceremonial: and now, in
l.")N(), by adopting as their own the Geneva discipline, had
openly declared \var against the Episcopal government and
( 'atholic framework of the Church and Liturgy. The new
15ook of Discipline, as drawn up by Cartwright and T ravers,
was threatening to supersede the Book of Common Prayer
within the Church of England itself.

Church r [;i ie struggle which had raged under Parker, and was now

state. re-opened with far greater sharpness by Whitgift, continued
throughout the whole of the seventeenth century down to the
Revolution of 1(>S<), and even after this was revived for a short
time under Anne. It turned upon the idea of a State-Church
in which the whole nation was to be included, for whose good
the State as such was to care, outside which no section of the
people was to lie, and which Avas in all respects to represent the
nation in its religious aspect, And the great bulk of the Puritan
party were just as much committed to this view as the Anglican.
Tolerated Nonconformity was not a solution that occurred as
even conceivable to the minds of most Englishmen till some
time after the Restoration. Toleration, except as a matter of
personal indulgence, was as far from nearly all the Parliamentary
and Liberal chiefs of the early Stuart time, and of the Great
Rebellion, as it was from Charles I., from Stratford, or from

The power-holding cause, or school, or partv, regularly
and consistently tried under Elizabeth, under James and
Charles, under the Great Rebellion, in America as in Enylnnd


to bend all other parties to its will, to produce a uniformity
in religion that should answer to the uniformity in the State.
and should reflect the mind of the Government for the time
being. This was why " new presbyter was but old priest writ
large " : this was why, as Matthew Arnold pointed out in " St.
Paul and Protestantism," every one of the Stuart attempts at
compromise between Anglican and Puritan was such a hopeless
failure : this was why eveiy revision of the Prayer Book failed
to satisfy. For the opposition was one which aimed, not at
broadening the Church into something that miidit include an

o o ~

expanding national life, but at narrowing it, forcing it into




the strappings of some particular discipline, just as the giant
in the old Greek fable fitted all passers-by into his bed.

The only solution where one side could not permanently
conquer and suppress the other was a policy of live and let
live : but when Whitgift entered upon the struggle, eighty


(From a /ilintmii-njili, '/// la-i'nnmsion of the Warden.)

years of desperate, fruitless endeavour, first on one side, then
on the other, to enforce an impossible conformity, Avere still
ahead. And the loyalism, the statesmanship of the Tudor
time was passing into the dogmatism, the fierce sectarian
misunderstandings of the early seventeenth century when
the sectarian spirit, no longer fully controlled by political ideas,
by the State, was thrusting its Avay into politics, producing
division within the body of the State itself, and breaking up



for a while that unity which had seemed in thought and action
so complete and perfect in the glory of the Elizabethan age,
whore men like Bacon seemed to themselves to see truth
and to sec it whole.
The \Yhitgift opened the battle with the Fifteen Articles of


of 1583. 1583, 1 the sixth of which enforced subscription from all the
clergy to three main positions of the Elizabethan settlement
in religion the Royal Supremacy, the use of the Liturgy, the
soundness of the Thirty-nine Articles.

To secure assent and consent to these clauses, the Ecclesi-
astical Commission 2 was now put upon a permanent footing,
with fuller powers than before (December, 1583); and the
primate himself drew up a series of Twenty-four Articles of
Enquiry, on which any one accused of Nonconformity before
the Commission was required to purge himself on oath (1584).
The excitement thus aroused reached even to Lord Burghley-
the one steady Churchman on the Council of State, who yet
" found the Articles so curiously penned, that I think the
Inquisition in Spain use not so many questions to comprehend
and to trap their prey " ; it seemed to him a " kind of proceed-
ing too much savouring of the Roman Inquisition, and rather a
device to seek for offenders than to reform any." The arch-
bishop's carefully tabulated questions and the method of asking
them he thought "scarcely charitable." 3 He had "cause to
pity the poor men who should have to reply." From the poor
men in question came a perfect outcry. The ministers of Kent
and of Suffolk professed in general terms their belief in the
Book of Common Prayer, but complained of certain things
needing reformation : were they to be suspended for details of
such a kind ? The Privy Council, always anti-clerical at this

1 Strype's Whitgift. Book iii. 2.

2 Through which, though intermittently, the Royal Supremacy in things
ecclesiastical was normally exercised from the beginning 1 of the reign, when
by the Act of Supremacy (l.">9) the Queen was empowered to exercise her
religious authority through commissioners. The High Commission Court,
as constituted in 1583, consisted of 44 commissioners, including 1:2 bishops,
with privy councillors, clergymen, and civilians ; and their commission, after
reciting the Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity with t\vo others, directs
them to inquire from time to time, by the oaths of 12 good and lawful men. by
witnesses and all other means they can devise, of all offences committed
contrary to the tenor of the said several Acts and Statutes. (Hallam.)

:t Strype's Whitgift. iii. 8, gives the archbishop's defence.



time, was inclined to listen to the complaints of " high-priestly
tyranny " that came pouring in. They summoned Whitgift
before them. He declined to be catechised on a " matter not
incident to that honourable board," and insisted on the
aggrieved ministers appealing to himself. He would save
himself as much as he could from Parker's troubles. " It was
impossible," he declared, "for him to perform the duty her
Majesty looked for at his hands if he might not proceed
without interruption."

The archbishop now found himself engaged in a fight with
a three-headed enemy ; the Council, added to the Separatists
and the Puritan Nonconformists, employed the weapons of
pamphleteering, libel, and personal intrigue against what, by
some of them at least, was believed to be a most dangerous
revival of ecclesiastical pretensions. " Came all this about,"
says the " Practice of Prelates " (written and published at this
time), " from the rigour of one man ? Satan himself had also
his finger herein, without all doubt. For what more pernicious
counsel could hell itself devise ? " As for Whitgift's Articles of
Enquiry, what could be the good of them " but for his exercising
tyranny upon his fellow ministers, upon a mere ambition,
with the starving of many thousands of souls, by depriving
them, and discouraging others ... all because they could
not agree to his Popish opinions " ? Leicester, Sir Francis

Online LibraryH. D. (Henry Duff) TraillSocial England; a record of the progress of the people in religion, laws, learning, arts, industry, commerce, science, literature and manners, from the earliest times to the present day (Volume 3) → online text (page 50 of 68)