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

. (page 75 of 83)
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 75 of 83)
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sidies given by the clergy to the king were sufficiently dis-
liked ; but the oath containing the " &c." was defined as a
" bottomless "^ perjury," as " gross ^ and absurd, as reaching
numberless," " fathom ^ deep " in mystery, and as containing
" neither divinity ^ nor charity." These extraordinary sallies,
which appear to be no way justified by the facts of the case,
ended in an order for Mr. Selden, Sir Thomas ^ Widdrington,
and Mr. Whistler to get the formal documents under which
the summer synods had been continued beyond the last
parliamentary session, and by which the convocation subsidies
to the king had been confirmed. When the subject ^ was
resumed INIr. Bagshaw, Mr. Nathaniel Fienes, Sir Edward
Deering, with some others found occasion to renew their
severities against the Church ; and that these might be carried
into practice Mr. Bagshaw endeavoured to prove from his
knowledge of law that the clergy had subjected themselves to
the pains and penalties of praemunire.

The affirmation of this gentleman's view.

Passes resolu- ^

tions against the howcver, appeared to the commons to be an

seventeen canons. • j. • j.i j.*j. i* ^

excessive stram upon the constitution, and so

A. D. 1640.
K. Chas. I.

» Echard,
Hist. Eng.

^^ Vid. sup.
pp. 674, 675.
b Comp.
Hist. iii.

c Lord
^ Mr. Grim-

e Mr. Grim-

f Mr. Grim-
S Comp.
Hist. iii.

^ Comp.
Hist. iii.




A.D. 1640.




See of York


' Comp.
Hist. iii.

i. 678-9,

J Comp.
Hist. iii.

k Claren-
don's Hist.
Kcb. i. 206.

' Com I).
Hist, ii:

the zeal of that assembly was contented with the following
two votes, passed Dec. 16: —

"Resolved', That these canons and constitutions ecclesi-
astical, treated upon by the Archbishops of Canterbury and
York and the rest of the bishops and clergy of those pro-
vinces, and agreed upon with the king^s majesty ""s licence in
their several synods begun at London and York, 1610, do
contain in them many matters contrary to the king's prero-
gative, to the fundamental laws and statutes of this realm, to
the rights of parliament, to tlie property and liberty of the
subject, and matters tending to sedition and of dangerous

" Resolved, That the several grants of the benevolence or
contribution granted to his most excellent majesty by the
clergy of the provinces of Canterbury and York in the several
convocations or synods holden at London and York, 1640,
are contrary to the laws, and ought not to bind the clergy."

The House of Commons J also shewed a more marked sense
of their dislike of the canons in the fifth article of impeach-
ment proposed against Archbishop Laud. But that assem-
bly''s constitutional view of this subject is sufficiently expressed
in the foregoing resolutions, and seems to require no further

Now by the foregoing resolutions the House
of Commons seems to have taken an odd, and,
indeed, a very partial, view of ecclesiastical
jurisdiction as previously exercised in England,
and as existing at the time under consideration.
For it is apparent enough that in accordance '' with " law and
the uncontradicted practice of the Church canons had never
been otherwise made than they were on this occasion."

But' this, we must consider, was a vote passed amid party
heats, and promoted by gentlemen who were rather disposed
to usurj) jurisdiction not belonging to them than to respect the
rights of others, the constitution of the country, and the com-
mon law of the land. If canons enacted in the proper provincial
synods of England, and fortified by a royal licence precedent,
as well as ratified by a royal confirmation subsequent to their
enactment, were not at that time binding instruments, then
from the reformation to the year 1 640 no proper canons had

But the House
of Commons here
pressed somewhat
hard upon the
Englisli constitu-
tion of that age.




been ™ established in this country, and all execution of such
documents had been for several reigns an exercise of unjust
tyranny and indefensible usurpation. However, the general
practice of the country, the universal consent of all ranks and
orders of men, the resolutions of learned judges, and the un-
broken acquiescence of the legislature in this matter previously,
lead to the necessary conclusion that this House of Commons
in its resolutions, at least on the occasion under consider-
ation, ran too fast in advance of the age, and committed itself
to decisions which rested on no sure foundations.

Indeed, whatever resolutions members of the House of
Commons came to at this time, it seems that the assembly
itself was by no means sure that those resolutions were just
exponents of the facts of the case and of the law. For in
proof that these decisions fell short of even satisfying them-
selves (an uncommon contingency in that age), a bill" was
subsequently brought in, June 8, 1641, to annul these
canons. This bill, however, was abandoned, and a rougher
expedient resorted to, viz. an impeachment of the thirteen
bishops under whose sanction the obnoxious documents had
been drawn.

The canons of Whatever Validity " attached to the 141 ca-
same'fooHng'ts ^^u^ ^^ l<^*03-4 attached in like manner and
those of i603'-4. degree to the 17 canons of 1640. And at
this hour they constitutionally stand precisely on the same
footing, even notwithstanding the greater degree of authority
with which some of the learned profession have chosen to
invest the former code in the courts. The argument that
the canons of 1640 were invalid on account of their having
been passed by synods sitting after the dissolution of the
parliament, is disposed of by the resolution of the learned
lawyers above mentioned p, and also by reference to the
original constitution of parliaments and synods, " which may
certainly i act independently on one another."" Another
argument which has been produced to disable the canons
of 1640 is altogether untenable. It has been said"" that
they were annulled by 13 Chas. II. c. xii. s. 5, but a
perusal of that section will convince the most prejudiced
person that it does not contemplate any fresh restraint on
the canons under consideration, but only leaves them in the

A. D. 1640.
K. Chas. I.

n> Comp.
Hist. iii.

n Card. Syn.
i. 386, note.

o Comp.
Hist. iii.

P Vid. sup.
p. C65.

<i Comp.
Hist. iii.
f Card. S


i. 386, note



[chap. XIV.

A.D. 1640.




See of York


9 Vid. sup.
pp. 625 et

•Cvp. Ang.
lib."v. p. 11.

" Cvp. Ang
lib.'v. 1 &

» Val. Flac.
vi. 149.

same position as that which they originally held. In fact it
merely abstains from confirming them. The question of the
authority of the canons of 1 603-4; was considered above % and
certainly it seems, at least in a constitutional point of view,
that any authority allowed to those earlier documents cannot
reasonably be denied to these later ones.
, _ , . As was above remarked, Archbishop Laud

XXV. Impri- . 111..

:^oiimcnt of Arch- was Committed to custody* on the 18th oi
.>isiop .au . December by the House of Commons. He

languished in prison for more than three years, and on the
iOth" of Jan. 1644 he was brought to the scaffold, and there
died, as he had lived, a pattern to posterity of manly courage
and Christian constancy. Our present period, however, closes
with the date of his imprisonment, when the Church, deprived
of the protection of one of the truest-hearted of her sons,
found herself also on the brink of ruin —

*' Msestaque suspectse mater stupet aggcre ripae v."




MON PRAYER, DEC. 18, 1G40— MAY 1662.


I. Committee for religion appointed and failed. II. Accession of Archbishop
John Williams to the see of York ; somewhat of his character. III. Violence
of the parliament. IV. Enterprise of the parliament for the settlement of reli-
gion. V. The Westminster Assembly — Their address to the parUament — The
parliament graciously receives the address — And makes orders accordingly —
The parliament and the Assembly swear to the " solemn league and covenant"
in S. Margaret's church, Westminster — The labours of the Assembly — The
Assembly decHnes— The divines of the Assembly slenderly furnished with learn-
ing—The Assembly sinks. VI. Tender mercies of the parliament and the
Assembly towards the Church of England. VII. Consequent state of religion.
VIII. Restoration of K. Charles II. IX. Recovery of the Church. X. Failure
of the Savoy conference. XI. Some mysterious hesitation about summoning
the provincial synods acourse with the parliament — Dr. P. Heylin's letter on
this subject. XII. Provincial SJ^lods of May 1C61 — 1. Canterbury Synod —
Dr. Thomas Pierce preacher — Formal business transacted — Dr. Henry Fern
prolocutor — Presentation of the prolocutor — Special services ordered — Mr.
Ogleby's petition — Royal licence for the enactment of canons introduced —
Prayer for a fast day prepared — Reform of ecclesiastical law vigorously pro-
moted — But this work unhappily came to nothing for some dark reasons — The
benevolence granted and the synod ends— 2. York Synod — The opening service
— Formalities observed at the commencement of the synod — The prayer offered
up — The synod presided over by commissioners of the archbishop — Dr. Neil
prolocutor — Royal licence to enact canons transmitted to the synod — The synod
rises. XIII. Review of the Prayer Book promoted. XIV. Provincial synods
of November 1661 — 1. York Synod — Important communications made to officers
of the synod— The royal licence directed to Ai-chbishop Frewen — Transmitted
to York — The northern prelates' letter to the synod — Archbishop Frewen's
note to Mr. Aisleby the York registrar — Proxies deputed by the northern to
attend in the southern synod— Six propositions introduced into the York Synod
touching the review of the national liturgy — The six propositions approved, and
it was agreed that they should be transmitted to London in order to their being




A. D. 1640.




See of York


communicated to the Canterbury Syiiod— The York Synod rises— 2. Canter-
bury Synod — Measures taken by the synod for a review of the Prayer Book —
Books and MSS. consulted — Method pursued by the synod in the work of
revision — The calendar — Occasional forms of prayer — Conclusion of the work
— Form of subscription prepared — The English Prayer Book subscribed by the
whole synod — Continuation of the synod — The synod assembles again — Sundry
heads of synodical business — Final arrangements of the synod with respect to
the Prayer Book — Thanks of the House of Lords given to the synod — The
synod rises. XV. Act of Uniformity.

Kvfia yap Trtpl tttoXiv
AoxfioXo^civ cii'Spuip
KaxXciKii, TTj'oaTi;
'AptoQ opofitvov.

^scH. Sept. cont. Theb. 114—117-

" . . . . fugere pudor, verumque, fidesque :
In quorum subiere locum fraudesque, dolique,
Insidiseque, et vis, et amor sceleratus habendi."

Ovid. Melamorphos. lib. i. 129 — \'M.

The imprisonment of Arclibishop Laud now

\. Coniuiittcc . t, 1 . 1 • 1 / ( 1

for religion ap- prevented him from doing his duty to Cxod and
pomte an ai et . ^^^^ Church ; and as ecclesiastical affairs gradu-
ally fell under the control of parliament, so that body ran out
into proportionably extravagant excesses. The House of Com-
mons had, as we have seen in the previous chapter, fallen heavily

LIST OF ENGLISH SYNODS, a.d. 1640, Dec— 1662, May.




Nature of


May S. Paul's William Juxon, Charles II.

Abp. of Cant.

16G1, May



York Accepted Frewen, Charles II.

I Abp. of York I

Westminster . . . William Juxon . . . Charles II.


icccptcd Frewon .

Cone. M. B. Pro. Synod, with
iv. 565. Syn. continuations to
Ang, ii. 60— July 31.
83. i

Cone. M. B. Pro. Synod, with
iv. 567. j continuations to

1 August 8.

Ibid. 566. Syn. Prov. Synod, at-

Ang. ii. 83-

Cone. M. B.
iv. 567. 575.

tended by the
nortliern pre-
lates and York
proxies, and so
invested with
the authority of
a National Sy-
nod ; with con-
tuiuations to
May 20, 1602.
Pro. Synod, with
continuations to
June 6, 1662.




upon the Church, in an endeavour to crush the new canons,
and now gathering weight and speed in descent, that popular
assembly soon rolled to the bottom of violence and iniquity.
The House of Lords, in uniting with the Commons for a
season, was but constructing a mine to be sprung afterwards
for its own annihilation. However, in order '^ that ecclesias-
tical affairs ^ might be taken from the jurisdiction of synods and
placed, as was supposed, under more unexceptionable manage-
ment, a committee for religion was •= appointed by the lords,
consisting of ten earls, ten bishops, and ten barons, so that
the lay votes were double those of the clergy. This committee
was to act as the national synod for all England, an arrange-
ment which in the opinion of Archbishop Laud (one not con-
tradicted by subsequent events) would tend to " the ^ great
dishonour of the Church,"" and even to a more deplorable and
mysterious catastrophe.

The committee ^ above mentioned, in order to put on a
more solemn face, was provided with some bishops and divines
to assist in its deliberations \ The Jerusalem Chamber was
the place of meeting, where debates were held for six days.
However, as most of the party ^ were Calvinists, they were ill-
disposed towards the doctrine and discipline of the Church,
and so ^ matters were introduced which could not but prove
subjects of disagreement. Thus their consultations came to
nothing, and finally, by the middle of May ^ the bill which was
brought in against the deans and chapters gave this com
mittee ' its final death-blow.

Notwithstanding the troubled character of
these times, the see of York, vacant by the death
of Archbishop Richard Neile, was conferred
upon J John Williams, bishop of Lincoln. This ^
prelate was born at Aberconway, in Caernarvon-

Those named were : — The Bishop of Lincoln, in the chair.

II. Accession of
Archbishop John
Williams to the
see of York.
Somewhat of his

The Archbishop of Armagh, Dr. Usher.

The Bishop of Durham.

The Bishop of Exeter.

Dr. Samuel M^ard.

Dr. Jn. Prideaux.

Dr. Wm. Twisse.

Dr. Rob. Sanderson.

Dr. Dan. Featley.

Dr. Ralph Brownrigg.
Dr. Rich. Holds worth *.
Dr. John Hackett.
Dr. Cornelius Burgess.
Master John White.
Master Stephen Marshall.
Master Edmund Calamy.
Master Thomas Hill.

Fuller, Ch. Hist. b. ix. pp. 175-6.

A.D. 1641.
K. Chas. I.

a March 15,
1G41 N.s.
^ Coll. viii.

c Fuller,
Ch. Hist,
b. ix. p. 174.

d Fuller,
Ch. Hist,
b. ix.p. 174.

e Fuller,
Ch. Hist.
h. ix. pp.


f Coll.

S Coll. viii.

" 1641.

> Fuller,
Cb. Hist.
b. ix. p. 17C

J Rose,



I' Coll. viii.


* .9 Olds





A.D. 1641.
Laud, John

' Coll. viii.


n Coll. viii.

216, 217 et


o Coll. viii.

226 et seq.

P Coll. viii.

1 Coll. viii.


"■ Coll. viii.


« Cyp. Ang.

lib. v. p. 5.x

' Clarendon,

Hist. Reb.

V. 259.

" Luc.
Phars. ii.

* Comp.
Hist. iii.
207. Coll.
viii. 390.

shire, and was well descended. His private life was unexcep-
tionable, his charity large, and his hospitality remarkable. He
was, moreover, a person of great learning, but unhappily his
compositions • and collections were destroyed at his palace at
Oawood during the rebellion. His courage was singular ; for
betaking himself to his native town in Wales and fortifying
the castle of Aberconway, he put things there in a posture of
defence on behalf of the king. Having been, however, un-
fairly treated by Prince Rupert and Sir John Owen, who
under some plausible pretences ejected him from his strong-
hold, the archbishop in return stormed the place, and forced the
intruders to a surrender. After the murder of his sovereign,
this prelate found no satisfaction in busy life, but devoted
himself to God in retirement, always rising at midnight for
prayer. He did not, however, long survive his royal master,
having followed him to another woi'ld ™ on the 25th March,

in. Violence The parliament", now investing itself with
of the parliament, f^jj gynodical fuuctious, both as regarded"
doctrine and discipline, ran out into all imaginable extremes.
The usages of antiquity, the canons of the Church, the pro-
prieties of religious worship, were superseded, and such
peremptory decisions in divinity were promulgated as one
would have thought could only have been published "by
the apostolic p synod at Jerusalem, or at least by one of
the four general councils." Finally, as this parliament
rose in its performances, the bishops^ were driven from
their sees, the clergy sequestered ^ as scandalous ministers,
the Archbishop of Canterbury ^ murdered, and the King of
England * sacrificed as a martyr under the axe of the execu-
tioner. Thus was this nation plunged into the lowest depths
of misery, and disgraced by the wildest extravagances of un-
bridled wickedness.

" Turn data libertas odiis, rcsolutaque legum
Fraenis ira ruit, non uni cuncta dabantur,
Sed fecit sibi quisque ncfas "."

It is not, however, uninstructive to observe that this long
parliament, which inflicted such frightful miseries on our
country, shewed neither courage nor self-respect in defending
itself at last from the most contemptuous insults ". The




members were coarsely railed afr in "^ their seats, tlieir speaker's
mace carried off " as a fooFs bauble," themselves turned out of
the house, and the doors locked against their return. Thus,
after much high pretension, instead of standing to their posi-
tion like men, " and flashing the last grain of powder," they
beat a precipitate retreat on the first alarm, cast down their
arms, and fled like a rabble rout. In fact this assembly
crawled contemptibly to its end as an insect, and " expired in
smoke and smoulder."

IV. Enterprise Into the political evcnts, however, of these
f.L\hVseuiemenl ^imes it is not our province here to enter at
of religion. length. Suffice it to say that piety and virtue
were struck dead, and when an overbalance of merit was ac-
corded to treason, rebellion, and murder, Justice at last with-
drawing the veil from her eyes, sheathed her sword, and fled
from these blood-stained shores.

" Victa jacet pietas, et virgo csede madentes
Ultima coelestum terras Astrsea reliquif."

There is, however, a subject in a measure connected with
our purpose which requires here some consideration in pass-
ing. In 1643, when the parliament was exercising itself in
the disposition of synodical affairs, " their ^ wisdoms adjudged
it not only convenient but necessary " that some of the clergy
and others who called themselves divines should be consulted.
For this purpose the parliament decided that some persons
whom it thought best qualified for this design should be
selected, and the 1st of July was the day appointed for the
inauguration of the enterprise.

V. The West- -^^ ^ time, when the holy name of religion
minster Assembly. ^^^ prostitutcd to scrve the cause of rebellion,
and political infamy was masked under the veil of affected
sanctity ; at a time when the sanguinary violence of party
faction assumed the hypocritical garb of zeal for God's service,
the Westminster Assembly, a body of most grotesque character,
was convened. To describe it correctly by any name known to
history would be too severe a tax upon ingenuity. The power
which called it together, its absurd constitution, its abortive
efforts to effect any purpose of solid worth, its contemptible
end, render its whole history rather a subject for ridicule than
for any serious consideration. It had neither the spiritual

A.D. 1641.
K. Chas. I.

w Apr

i' Ovid,
Metam. i.
149, 150.

y Fuller,
Ch. Hist,
b. xi. p. 196.




A.D. 1643.

Laud, John

^ Coll.

» Hist, of
Later Puii-
taus, 1). 53.

h Hist, of
Later Puri-
tans, p. 53.
•^ Coll. viii.

•• Coll. viii

e Coll. viii.


authority of a synod powerful -to bind the consciences of good
men, nor the civil authority of a parliament effectual to re-
strain the wickedness of bad ones. As regarded the in-
terior or exterior forum it was equally powerless for usefid
legislation. We see some fluttering creatures appearing
most busy at the edge of night, and though partakers of
both natures they neither soar aloft with the birds to-
wards the light, nor yet maintain that firmness of foot
which distinguishes the sturdy occupants of the plain. Such
was the batlike character of this motley company. It was
gathered together by the sole ^ authority of the two
houses of parliament, who saw that religion must form one
element in the composition of those forces by which they
hoped to secure their ends. They wished that that clement
should be dealt with under their own peculiar superintend-
ence ; and so they set on foot a plan which they hoped might
produce the desired effect.

Consequently on the 12th of Juno, 164.3, was published
" an ^ ordinance of the lords and commons in parliament for
the calling of an Assembly of learned and godly divines and
others, to be consulted with by the parliament for the
settling of the government and liturgy of the Church of
England, and for vindicating and clearing the doctrine of
the said Church from false aspersions and interpretations."
Those who penned this ordinance took leave also to say, and
the parliament was pleased also to adopt their language,
that government " by bishops, arclibishops ^, deans, chapters,
and so forth is evil, offensive ■=, and burdensome ; an impedi-
ment to reformation and religion, and very prejudicial to the
state."" Upon these grounds, therefore, it was resolved that
the ordained successors of Christ's apostles in England should
be removed, " and ^ that such a government should be settled
in the Church as might be most agreeable to God's word."
In order to secure such agreement with the scriptures it was
intimated that the English Church was to have the advantage
of being assimilated to "the Church*^ of Scotland and other
reformed Churches abroad."

The Assembly was to meet in K. Henry VII.'s chapel, at
Westminster, on the 1st of July, 1643. The members of
whom it was to consist were defined by the parliament, and




the work to which they were to apply themselves was cut out
upon the same board. As regards the constitution of the
Assembly ten English peers, twenty members of the House
of Commons, one hundred and forty-two so called divines were
nominated, with the addition of four Scotch ministers and
two lay assessors, giving a total of one hundred and seventy-
eight persons. But of this heterogeneous group it seems that
never so much as half the number attended any of the sittings :
for ^ on the first day of meeting sixty-nine only were present ;
and during the earlier part of this Assembly's existence the
average attendance varied from sixty to eighty. The ordi-
nance defined the members of the Assembly ; and here the
mode by which they were to be chosen gives a sufficiently
plain evidence that the parliament determined not only to
frame its constitution, but to keep the selection of its indivi-
dual members absolutely within parliamentary influence. For
it was ordered that " the knights ^ and burgesses should bring
in the names of such divines for the several counties as they
thought fit " for the purpose. Churchmen generally did not
so much'* as endeavour to nominate any sober and learned

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 75 of 83)