James Wayland Joyce.

England's sacred synods : a constitutional history of the convocations of the clergy, from the earliest records of Christianity in Britain to the date of the promulgation of the present Book of common prayer; including a list of all councils, ecclesiastical as well as civil, held in England, in whic online

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Online LibraryJames Wayland JoyceEngland's sacred synods : a constitutional history of the convocations of the clergy, from the earliest records of Christianity in Britain to the date of the promulgation of the present Book of common prayer; including a list of all councils, ecclesiastical as well as civil, held in England, in whic → online text (page 72 of 83)
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chapel of JMerton College, the spacious hall of Christ Church
being occupied by the parliament '^. As Dr. Bowles the pro-
locutor absented himself from his post of duty on account of
his timidity, fearing infection from plague, Dr. Thomas Goad ^
took his place.

Dr. James' mo- At tliis time Dr. Thomas James, known to

tion for an inves- j. v i i • i v xi i- • ii

ligation of Mss., posterity by his work ^ on the corruptions hi the
^'^' text of the Fathers, moved in the synod that all

MSS. copies of the Fathers " in the libraries ^ of the universities
and elsewhere in England might be perused, and that such
places in them as had been corrupted in popish editions (much
superstition being generated from such corruptions) might
faithfully be printed according to those ancient copies." This
learned gentleman's^ sclieme was approved by the Vice-chan-
cellor of Oxford and the heads of houses. It consisted of ten
heads, and embraced not only the design of a perusal of the
Fathers' works, but the books of councils and the bodv of
the canon law were to be reviewed and compared with the
best MSS.; and, moreover, the collections and observations
arising from this performance were to be printed. An exa-
mination '' of the " Indices Expurgatorii " also formed part of
the plan. This, it may be remarked, was but a continuation
of the business which had been before •= agitated in the synod,
and which had been specially brought under notice*^ last year*
in the session held at Westminster Abbey on the 28th of
Mayf. If this scheme, which unhappily expired e with the
words of the mover on this occasion, had been carried out, it
would have contributed nnich to strcngtiien the Church of
England. For though this country, at the sacrilegious ''
plunder of the abbeys, had more manuscripts dest roved than
any liingdom of the same size in Christendom liad ever pos-



sessed, yet still enough were then left here to have furnished,
if well improved, evidence of the truth to all posterity.

. , . It appears that among the lower clergy in

A party in this . ^ ^ ° . . ,

synod leaning to- tliis syuod there was now a majority strongly

opposed to papal abuses, which makes it the
more remarkable that this useful project had not greater
success. Indeed there was now a company of forty-five in
the lower house under ' the leadership of Dr. Daniel Featley,
who had bound themselves together to maintain views which
doubtless leaned too much towards the Calvinistic side. It
may be presumed that this gentleman's zeal, in his position
as champion of a party, led him beyond the due bounds of
discretion ; for on account of some misbehaviour he was
required by one of his superiors to leave the assembly, and to
betake himself to his own home at Lambeth. As he made
his journey thither on horseback from Oxford, attended by
two poor men, some of his friends accompanied him on his
way as far as Bullingdon Green, where he bid them farewell '
in such Latin as he could command. This fact may be learnt
from a somewhat doleful relation of the circumstances given by
Dr. William Leo, who had served with him in three convoca-
tions, and seems to have been one of his devoted adherents.

This synod J, having made a grant of three subsidies, was
dissolved^ on the J 3th day of August, 1625, in the chapel of
Merton College.

The two synods^ met simultaneously on the

7th of February, 1626 n.s.

On the day above mentioned the Canterbury

Synod assembled "^ at Westminster Abbey.
Dr. Donne ^, who had previously filled ° the

office in 1 624 n. s. was again elected prolocutor
of the lower house and confirmed.

Bishop Good- ^ circumstauce occurred shortly after the
man's sermon. assembly of this synod which gave occasion to
some warm debates. On the 26th of March?, the fifth Sun-
day in Lent, Dr. Godfrey Goodman, bishop of Gloucester,
preached a sermon before the king upon the eucharist. That

^ " Valete a vJci nunc temporis : Ego, ut olim Bucerus, sum pila fortunae, quae non
est omnibus una. Orate pro me, pro Rege, Lege, Grege, iterum valete in Domino
lesu." — Comp. Hist. iii. T, note.

XIV. Provin-
cial synods of
]626 N.'s.

1. Canterlmrv

Dr. Donne pro-
locutor again.


A.D. 1625.
K. Chas. I.

' Comp.
Hist, iii

J Comp.
Hist. iii. 31.
^ Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 469.
A.D. 1626.
1 Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 469-70.

° Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 469.
" Cone.
Mag. Brit.
iv. 469.
o Vid. sup.
sec. 11.

P Cyp. Ang.
pt. i. p. 97.
Comp. Hist,
iii. 34.




A.D. 1626.






PP Coll. viii.

<I Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 471.

"• Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 470.
• March 22,
1626 N.s.
' Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 470-1.

prelate'*s teaching on this occasion seemed to savour so much

of the doctrine of transubstantiation as to offend the audience
and raise a clamour. Consequently on the following AV^ednes-
day there was some eager debating on the subject in the
synod, but no definitive resolutions were agi-eed to. Even-
tually the sermon was referred to the Archbishop of Canter-
bury, the Bishops of AVinchester, Durham, and S. David's.
These prelates having at his majesty''s desire consulted upon
the subject, answered that though the writer had introduced
some matter into his discourse with too little caution, yet that
it contained no false doctrine or denial of the faith of the
Church of England. However, they advised that the bishop
should preach his sermon pp again, with a view of explaining
those points which had proved the causes of offence. This
was accordingly done, but the performance still fell short of
giving satisfaction : and indeed the suspicions generally enter-
tained that this prelate was inclined to Koman error seem not
to have been without foundation, as he afterwards unhappily
proved by renouncing the faith of the Church of England.

This synod, after eighteen sessions, was dissolved by the
Bishop of Salisbury as commissioner for the archbishop on
the ]6th of June, 1626 "i.

Concurrently with the foregoing the York
Synod assembled Feb. 7', 1626 n.s.

Debate on the ^^ ^^^^ third scssion ^ Dr. John * Scott, at
subjeet of proxies, ^jj^^ ^{^^3 fiHi^g ^jjg pi^^g ^f president, proposed

a question for the consideration and discussion of the whole
assembly. The purport of the debate was to decide whether
proxies ' might be given to ecclesiastical persons who were
not themselves members of the synod, by which they might
appear in the as.scmbly as representatives of those who had
committed such documents to their charge. After all doubts
had been well weighed and mature consideration had been be-
stowed on the point, it was unanimously decided that no one
might appoint, as his proxy to appear for him in synod, any
person who at the time of such appointment was not himself a
meml)cr ; and that no person except one so qualified could be ap-
pointed either to give a decisive vote or to transact any syno-

^ On the subject of proxies, and that proctors as well as the more dignified
clergy may appoint them, sec above chap. xii. sec. ix.

2. York Svnod.




dical business in the assembly. After two continuations"
this northern synod was dissolved by Henry Wickam, one of
the presidents, with the consent of his colleagues, on the
28th ^ of June, 1626.

XV. Provincial The two provincial synods assembled in Febru-
s)nodsofiG28N.s. ^ry, 1628 N.s.^; but on this occasion the meet-
ing in the northern preceded that in the southern province.

, ,, , , , The York Synod met on^ the 18th of

1 . Yoik Synod. -^ ,

Archbishop Mat- February, and was continued by Archbishop
Matthews's commission to a future day; but
before that period arrived he passed out of this world in the
month of March, 1628. On this account the synod assem-
bled on the next day ^ of meeting, under the presidency of the
guardians of the spiritualties, when it voted unanimously from
the northern province five subsidies of four shillings in the
pound. There w^ere subsequently sundry continuations ^ until
the 21st of October % 1628.

The Canterbury Synod succeeded the sister
assembly, and met on *> the 18th of ISIarch'^ at

2. Canterbury-

S. PauFs.

Dr. Winniff

Bishops ap-
pointed to preside
in place of Arch-
bishop Abbot un-
der suspension.

Dr. Thomas ^ Winniff, dean of Gloucester,
was the preacher, and delivered his Latin ser-
mon on this text, " Take ^ heed therefore unto yourselves, and
to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made
you overseers, to feed the Church of God, which He hath pur-
chased with his own blood."

The Bishops of London ^ and Bath and
Wells, or in case of their absence the Bishops
of Winchester, Norwich, Rochester, and Lich-
field, were appointed to act as presidents of the
synod in the place of Archbishop Abbot, who was in 1627
suspended from his ^ office on account of his very proper in-
compliance with the king's wish that he would license Dr.
Sibthorp''s exceptionable sermon above mentioned^. The
archbishop lay under this disability through nearly the whole
continuance of this synod, not having been restored to his
liberty and jurisdiction until* Christmas, 1628.

Dr. Curie pro- ^^'- Curle was choscn as J prolocutor of the
locutor. lower house ; but his office did not prove '^ a

burdensome one.

A.D. 1626.
K. Chas. I.

" April 26,
June 28.
" Cone.
Mag. Brit.
iv. 471.
A.D. 1628.
" Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 473.

X Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 473.

y May 19.

* June 5. 9.
July 10.
^ Cone.
Mag. Brit.
iv. 476.
^ Cone.
Mag. Brit.
iv. 473.
c 1628 N.s.
d Fuller,
Ch. Hist.
b. s. p. 131.

e Acts XX.


f Cone.
Mag. Br

s Coll. viii.

I' See sec.
viii. sup.
p. 647.

i Coll. viii.


J Fuller,

Ch. Hist.

b. X. p. 131.

^ Comp.

Hist. iii. 56.



A.D. 1628.

See of Yoik

' Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 47<i.
■n Lath bury,
p. 241, note.
Pearcc, Law
of Conv. pp.

n Cone.
Mag. Brit.
iv. 471).

° Rose,


Diet, in


f Coll. vii


1 Rose,


Diet, in


A.D. 1(52.9.
r Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 47C.

Mag. Brit,
iv. 476.

• Sc3 above,
chap. .\iii.
sec. ix.

" Cone.
Mag. Brit.

iv. 476.

» Wake's
State, p.

„ ,. , Indeed no further business remains on record,

Bnt little BV- , . 1 r.

nodical business as conncctcd With this synod, save that five
subsidies were granted to the king, for which
purpose consultations ^ and debates in both houses were held ;
and that the under-sheriff of Hereford was ordered by the
House "^ of Lords " to submit himself to the lower house of con-
vocation ;" the said functionary John Dyos having arrested a
servant of one of the members of convocation, who claimed
privilege and petitioned against this illegal exercise of power.
On the 11th of Alarch, 1G29 n. s.", this synod was dis-

solved under

a commission directed to the Bisliop of S.

XVL Acces-
sion of Archbi-
shop Samuel
Harsnet to the see
of York.

On the death of Tobias Matthews, arclibishop
of York, which occurred ° in March, 1628 n.s.,
Montaign was raised p to that see. But this
prelate dying soon afterwards was himself suc-
ceeded in the same year by Samuel Harsnet, bishop '^ of
Norwich. Harsnet was opposed to the noise and novelty of
the puritans, and thus, during his government in his late dio-
cese, he had been the object of some accusations which were
introduced into the House of Commons against his manage-
ments. However, he replied in such a manner as to disable
his adversaries, and give satisfaction both to the parliament
and the court. Being now raised to the archiepiscopal sec of
York, we find a synod of that province held under him.

xvn. York The synod'' of the northern province assem-
provincial Synod. |^jg^| ^^^^^^. ^ ^j.j^ directed to the new arch-
bishop, on the JOth of February, 1629 x.s. The chief
proceedings left on record refer to the protection from
arrest granted by the synod to six of its * members ; but
into the particulars of this proceeding it is here unnecessary
to enter, as the subject has been treated of above ' once for
all. This synod was dis.solved on the 22nd of March, 1 629 n. s.,
by Henry Wickani ", with the consent of his co-presidents.

After the dissolution of this assembly no provincial synods
were convened for some years, for times of trouble overtook
this nation which caused the intermission of all her public con-
stitutional assemblies ^. We shall, therefore, have to take a
wide step forwards before meeting with any synodical records
on the pages of our country's history.




XVIII. House The House of Commons had lately invested
fectf''°'5nodicIi itself with the functions of ^ a synod, and shewed
functions. g^j-j undisguised wish to usurp all authority in

ecclesiastical matters. Notwithstanding the king's declara-
tion -'' jirohibiting disputes about religion in the last ^ parlia-
ment, the members now took leave to debate on ^ that subject
with remarkable freedom. Indeed the lower house appointed
a committee to inquire into the pardons ^ granted to JMr. Mon-
tague, Dr. Manwaring, Dr. Sibthorp, and Mr. Cosens, whose
religious sentiments had proved unacceptable to the puritan
party. That the House of Commons might be excited to
ramble still more extravagantly beyond the proper bounds of
their function, a book entitled " Slon''s Flea "" was'' dedicated
to that body by one Leighton, a Scotchman, by profession
a doctor of physic, in practice a fiery puritan. In his "fran-
tic performance '" this professor of the healing art advised the
commons to " kill •= all the bishops and to smite them under
the fifth rib."" The queen he designated as " an idolatress, a
Canaanite, and a daughter of Heth.'"' Such coarse railleries
do not reflect much credit on the cause they were meant to
serve, however acceptable they may have proved to that
assembly which was selected as their patron.

The affectation by this parliament of interpretation in mat-
ters spiritual appears moreover particularly remarkable in this
respect, that the commons registered a vow, at least so it is
designated*^ by Rush worth, in which they record a very strin-
gent confession of faith, protesting their sense of the thirty-
nine articles of religion, and, to use their own words, " reject-
ing the sense ^ of the Jesuits and Arminians and all others
wherein they differ from us." These parliamentary resolu-
tions on the deep mysteries of the Christian faith are above
measure surprising, as such subjects would seem upon con-
sideration to be more fit for national or provincial synods.
Yet the lower house was constantly exercising itself in such
matters, altogether foreign to its proper business. One would
incline to think that the questions of tonnage and poundage
which then somewhat excited the public mind would have
supplied less exceptionable matter for deliberation. For such
theological inquiries as these into which our civil legislators
now wandered they were neither qualified by their profession

A.D. 1629.
K. Chas. I.

" Warner,
Ecc. Hist.
ii. 518.
Cvp. Aug.
ii." 98.
•"s Comp.
Hist. iii. 51.
y A.D. 1628.
^ Comp.
Hist. iii. 51.
55. 57, and
Cyp. Aug.
pt. i. p. 126.
^ Comp.
Hist. iii. 51.
55. 57, aTid
Cyp. Ang.
pt. i. p. 126.
b Cyp. Ang.
pt. i. p. 126.

<=Cvp. Ang
pt."i. p. 126

d Coll. Viii


e Coll. viii
41. W^une
Ecc. Hist,
ii. 518.

U u




A.D. 1629.






f Cone.
Ma<r. Brit,
iv. 347.
g Coll. viii.

•> See Cone.
Mag. Brit
iv. 447.

A.D. 163.3.
1 Coll. viii.

Mr. Pym
vouches the Lam-
beth articles for
the doctrine of
the Church of

or by previous study; nor, indeed, had they character or
authority to bear them out in sotthng controversies of faith.
One of their members, while running out into
topics of this character, missed his way to a re-
markable degree, and so lost himself in some
very perplexing mistakes. This was Mr. Pym,
who vouched the "■ Lambeth Articles ^^'' for the
doctrine of the Church s of England ; and proceeding upon this
assumption would have had the cases of such as differed from
that standard examined into. And indeed this gentle-
man appears to have thought that a contradiction of those
articles justly subjected a man to the charge of heresy. But
from this it is plain that Mr. Pym"'s knowledge of the eccle-
siastical history even of his own times must have been extremely
deficient. Moreover, his essay on this occasion seems to dis-
cover some peculiar disquahfications for his present under-
taking. For it is beyond question that the ^'■Lambeth Articles "
never were adopted by the Church of England ; and it is to
be devoutly hoped that they never will be, whatever stamp of
authority may have been impressed upon them elsewhere ^.
„ , , And here we may remark that the solemn

ouch proceed- ^ •' _ _

ings of dangerous assumption of authority in matters of faith at
onsequence. ^^^.^ ^.^^^ ^^ ^j^^ parliament was every way

absurd, and in a high degree mischievous. For a lay assem-
bly possessing neither character, qualification, nor information
necessary for such a purpose to affect the functions of a synod
discovers a surprising misapprehension of the foundations on
which Christ's kingdom— one not of this world — is raised;
and, moreover, portends a downfall to the whole fabric of
society at large. When the cloud of theological controversy,
be it but small as a man's hand, rises in such a quarter rough
weather may be surely foretold, and a tempest expected which
will sweep all before it. For not only when the horizon thus
threatens is the shipwreck of the Church imminent, but all
national rights and liberties are in danger of being cast away.
Such omens, if we are to profit by the history, not only of
our own, but of other lands, should be regarded as warnings
of significance by sovereigns as well as subjects.

XIX. Death of ^'^ ^^^^ ^^^^ ^^ August ', 1633, Archbi.sliop
Archbishop Ab- Abbot departed from this life. His successor



bot and accession William Laud, bisliop of London, had been
Laud 10*^1116^866 already designed by the king for promotion to
of Canterbury. ^-^le seo of Canterbury. Upon the return of this
prelate from Scotland-, where, as privy councillor for that king-
dom, he had been engaged J in attendance upon his majesty,
the king saluted him with this expression ^, " My lord's grace
of Canterbury, you are very welcome." Within six v/eeks the
new archbishop took up his abode at Lambeth Palace, where
his accession was celebrated by a magnificent entertainment.
c , , Thus was the see of Canterbury filled with a

teomewhat of ...

the latter pre- prelate who, had he lived in good times, would

late's character. , t , i i • , • p ^ •

have secured the admiration ot his own age
and of posterity too. But as his lot placed him in the worst,
however highly subsequent generations may estimate his
worth, the one in which he lived consigned him to martyr-
dom. He was a man^ of noble spirit, quick apprehension,
lively wit, sociable conversation, and of pleasant humour
on fit occasions. Very zealous for the faith he professed, he
not only maintained it in public regards, but was peculiarly
observant of the private and personal duties of religion, being
constant in attendance on common prayer in his chapel, and
spending much time in private devotion within his closet. He
was a learned divine, and thoroughly master of those subjects
which lay within his function. He was, moreover, of un-
blemished integrity, and of a generous and munificent dis-
position ; for enjoying ample opportunities of self-enrichment
he not only declined to make use of them, but devoted his
substance to works of generosity and piety, so that such
small private fortune as he had was exhausted by his bene-
factions, of which Oxford and Reading specially partook. In
fine, he was a person of exemplary piety and devotion towards
his God, an honest ruler in the Church, a faithful subject of
his sovereign, and by far too constant and conscientious a
man to pass easily with that age of political frenzy and fan-
tastical hypocrisy in which his lot was cast.

XX. Intermis- The troubled character of that era in our
parliaments'^' '"n history at which WO havc now arrived, caused
England. ^n intcrmission "" for eleven years in the

public constitutional assembhes of England. During that
space of time many events of deep interest and of grave

A.D. 1633.
K. Chas. 1.

J Coll. ^

k Coll.

' Cvp. An^.
pt. "ii. lib. 5,
p. 58. Coll.
viii. 285.

"'From 1629
to 1640.





A.D. 1G40.
" Cornp.
" Card. 8yn.
ii. 593, note.

P Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. .538.
1 Cone.
Ma<r. Brit,
iv. 533.
rSess. 1,
April 14.
Syn. Ang._
pt. ii. p. 13.
Cone. Mag.
Brit. iv.
538. Cyp.
Ang. pt. ii.
p. 110.

s Svn. Ang
ii. l4.

' Matt.

consequence to this Church and nation occurred. At these,
however, our present purpose does not lead us even to glance,
the provincial synods lying dormant together with the parlia-
ment. We must therefore pass on at once to the year 1640.
It may however be remarked by the way, that under conceivable
circumstances a synod of the Church might be very needful at
a time when a parliament was unnecessary or undesirable, and
consequently the principle of thus limiting the Church''s re-
quirements in this respect by the exigencies of the civil state
does not altogether commend itself as universally applicable.

On the day following the meeting of that
ciai synods of sliort parliament" which assembled" April 13,

^" ■ 1640, and was dissolved on the 5th of May

next ensuing, the two provincial synods met— that of the
southern* province at S. PauPsP, and that of the northern at
York Minster 1.

1. Canteiburv Archbisliop Laud left Lambeth in his barge
Synod. ■ on Tuesday'^ the 14th of April, 1640, be-

tween eight and nine o'clock in the morning. Having been
received at PauFs wharf by the advocates, proctors, and
officers of the Arches Court, he proceeded in a carriage to the
palace of the Bishop of London. Thence, accompanied by
the retinue before mentioned, his grace, clad in his proper
vestments, was conducted to the northern door of S. Paul's
cathedral ; at that point he was met by Dr. Thomas Win-
niff, the dean, Drs. Henry King and John JMontfort, canons,
with other clergy of the church, in their surplices, who led
him into the choir, the suffragan bishops of the province, clad
in their customary convocation robes, joining in the procession.
After the archbishop ^ had taken his place in the dean's stall,
and the bishops in those of the prebendaries on each side of
the choir, the hymn " To Deum Laudamus" was sung.

Dr. Turner's Dr. Tliouias Turner, one of the canons resi-

scrmon. dentiary of the cathedral and chaplain to the

archbishop, then mounted the pulpit placed in the middle of
the choir, and preached the Latin sermon on this text; "Be-
hold \ I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves : be
ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." From

* For a detailed list of the members of this convocation, see Nalson's Collec-
tions, vol. i. pp. 351 seq.




these words, suitable enough to those unhappy times, the
preacher delivered a polished and eloquent discourse. At the
close of it he complained that the reins ^ of Church govern-
ment were not held by all the bishops with an even hand, but
that some of them were too lax in their managements. Thus
it happened, as he said, that while some affected popular ap-
plause for qualities of meekness and mildness, the imputation
of rigour, and even of tyranny, attached by comparison to
others who were more justly severe. And so he put them in
mind that all with equal care should press a like conformity.

Formal busi- When the sermon ended " the choir sang the
ness transacted, pgalm, " O Lord, make thy servant Charles,''
&c., and then the archbishop, with his suffragans and other
members of the synod, repaired to the chapter-house. There
the usual formalities were gone through, such as the reading
of the royal"' writ and the exhibition of the Bishop of London's

Online LibraryJames Wayland JoyceEngland's sacred synods : a constitutional history of the convocations of the clergy, from the earliest records of Christianity in Britain to the date of the promulgation of the present Book of common prayer; including a list of all councils, ecclesiastical as well as civil, held in England, in whic → online text (page 72 of 83)