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John Penry again suiiyht to serve the cause in au anonyiuous
review 2 of Bancroft's Paul's Cross sermon. It was attributed
to John Knox.3 Besides a general denial and the refutation,
one by one, of many points of that discourse, he replies espe-
cially to Bancroft's attem])t to excite pojiular feeling against the
Puritans as enemies to the queen. Bancroft himself also appealed
to the public twice within a short time. One ^ volume purports
to be a candid history of the new discipline and a fair criticism
of its points. It concludes with an extended r^;s^lme in which
this '-pragmatical" polity is censured as devised at Geneva,
estal)lished there by craft, and thence obtruded upon churches
elsewhere ; as having au original unknown and unwarranted by
Scripture ; as so lately hatched as to have no certain name ; as
banisliing a])ostolical bislmps. yet having Doctors of its own ; as
making i)rinces and noblrmen but its inferior officers ; as un-
certain whether its new-fangled elders are la^^nen or ecclesiastics ;
as very costly ; as condenming in others what it ap})roves in itself ;
as disdaining the ancient Fathers and general councils ; as pre-
tending to allow of nothing but Scripture, yet depending alto-
gether upon its own friends and synods ; as wresting the Seri]i-
tures, etc. In the other volume-^ he seeks to awaken ])opular

times by Some chalenged, and also diuerslie hy them impugned, etc. to which is added
L. Andrew's Xumquid per Ivs diuinum Magistratui liceat a lieo lu.siurandum exicere
etc., Io03, 4to, iii : KJO. " '

1 Whoever wishes to un.l.Tstan.l th,- full opo.ation of this oath should studv it
as en.,,loye.l by the Inquisition (Lea. l„fp,is. i : 41;j-41(;. etc.). Those whoaraued
in ns favor referred ea-erly to the alle-ed fact that Calvin emploved such an oath
at Geneva, and they dwelt particularly upon the two c.ises of CampereU and the
■widow Balthasar, iii: l.Vj ; Collier, vii : f.*!; Fuller, v : 112.

A iTufe discovery of the vntruthes and slanders {against the trve goutrnemenf of
the Church of Christ) contained in a Sermon, preached the S. of Februarie 15SS bu
D. Bancroft, etc., l.j'.fO, ^to.

' The title-pa-e of Dr. Dexter's copy hears the sentence, in a handwriting of
that pi-riod : " y' Author supposed to he Mr. Knox of .Scotland."

♦ -1 Survay if the Pretended Holy Discipline, etc., l.JV):], 4to. 4(;i-4.;.J.

" Davngerous Positions and Proceedings, published and practised within this Hand

f.r.n'""''' '■"'^'^ '"''"'"'' "■'' Wormalion, and for the Prcsbyteriall Discipline.
li»93,4to, 44, 104, 12.:;, 144-1^:4.



SOME SPECIAL FEATURES OF THE STRUGGLE 171

fear and disti-ust of the Puritans. The last forty ])ages mainly
attempt to fasten odium upon tlieiu in conueetiou with the
movements of William Haeket, a crazy maltster of Oundle,
and his associate fanatics, Echnuud Coppinger and Henry
Arthington.

Every now and then the old complaint against the inadequacy
of the ministry was renewed. Miles Mosse, of Bury St. Ed-
munds, a])peak'd to Edmund Seambler, Bishop of Xorv\-ieh, in
1590 through a "• diffamatorie Epistle," ^ asserting that " manie
Ministers of the word write much, but preach little." To which
some Miles Christiauus, said to have been Thomas Eogers, of
Horninger, conceding much, replied :- —

Were some (whonie I could name) in their studies writing, when
they are either at tiie Pondes with their spaniels ducking, or in the
Allies with their niutt-s, bowling : I am sure they would thinke them
much iniuied, that priuely, much more in publike monuments, are
disgraced as faultie, which bestow that time profitably in writing for
a generall benefite, which others bestow vainly (often times wickedly)
for a short and priuate pleasure.

In 1596 Thomas Morton, a fellow of St. John's College. Cam-
bridge, and afterwards successively Bishop of Chester, Lichfield
and Coventry, and Durham, dedicated to the queen a double
treatise,^ in which, with unusual concessions, he still argues
against the reformers. He admits that there can be particidar
churches, and that

the greatest number of a Church rightly established, may thus gener-
ally be determined, to wit, that the Church consist of no moe then
can witliout confusion, or any manifi'st inconuenience meet tof^ether
at one time, and in one place, to serue God.

He also admits that ecclesiastical censures, when deserved, apply
to Christian rulers as well as to the people, although the exconi-

1 A Short Catfchisme, 1500.

' Miles Chrislianus, or a iust Apoloqie of nil necesanrie writings and UTiters. etc.,
ir>Ol), 4to, 19. Tlie substance of itosse's work is included, in its separate proposi-
tions, in this one.

' Salomon : or a treatif^e declaring the state of the kingdome ofhrnel. as it was in
the daifs of Salomon : ^'hereunto is annexed another treatise, of the Church : or. more
particularly, Of the riijht Constitution of a church, loOtJ, 4to, ii : 33, S5 ; i : 71 ; ii :
89,111.



172 THE PROTESTANTISM OF OUR FATHERS

munioation of tho prince ouglit not to be sudden, and, unless
publicity be absolutely needful, should be private. He is clear,
however, that good people ought to

labour to continue that gouernnient wliich is in force in that place or
country where -we line, although we doe perhaps imagine, yea «fc per-
swade our seines that we could tinde out a better forme.

Again, he urges that it is a good man's duty to remain in a
very imperfect cliurch, if its imperfections be " not so great, but
that notwithstanding them, we luiue the meaues of saluation c^
edification." He also indorses fully the magistrate's preeminent
charge of the souLs of his subjects.

On Dec. 24, 1597, John Howson, a student at Christ Church,
Oxford, and afterwards the first bishop of that see, preached at
Paul's Cross a powerftil sermon ^ from Matt, xxi : 12, 13, vi-i-or-
ously attacking all buying and selling of spiritual promotion as
unlawful. He insists, however, that our Saviour's teachin"" is
" not to puD dowue Churches for the abuse of them, or the abuse
of the Priest ; but reforme the abuse and retaine the good vse."
On ]May 21, at the same place, he completed his treatment of
the same text.- He ends thus: —

I saye witli S. Chrysostome \i\ton these words, But you ftaiie made
it a deniie of thieves. ... I would to God it could liaue beene [said]
only of the lewes, and not of tlie Cluistians ; I would to God it could
baue bene applyed to Christians heretofore, and not vnto vs ; . . .
These things are so manifest, that tliey require neither exposition, nor
application ; I would to God tliey were more obscure, and hidden from
vs, and that we did not maintaine these proplianations, by pretences,
and long cnstomes, as these lewes did. Wherefore if we lament ouer
them [the .Jews], we liaue cause to weepe and howle for our selues
who liave added as great increase and strengtli to these sinnes, as time
hath added yeares and increase to tlie world.

Al)Out tliis time two letters were addressed publicly to Mr.
Hooker, called out by his work already mentioned.'^ One was
from his old jmjiil, George Cranmer, who says : —

' A Sermon prearhed at Paitles Crossp the [-]■}. of December, l.'>07, etc., 1597, 4to,
10.

^ A Sermon preached at Panics Crosse, the 21. of "Slay, 1598, etc., Concluding a
former Sermon, etc., l.JCt;*, 4to, .')!.

» ConcernvKj the New Church Discipline, etc., 1.09S, 4to, 2, 24. Reprinted 1G42.



SOME SPECIAL FEATURES OF THE STRUGGLE 173

Now of late ycares the lieate of men towards the Discipline [Pres-
byterianisni] is greatly decaied : their iudgnients begin to sway on
the other side : the learned liaue weighed it and found it light : wise
men conceiue some feare, lest it prove not only not the best kinde of
gouernnient, but the very bane and destruction of all gouernnicnt.

He then names religious evils which the disciplinarian contro-
versy has promoted, and desires Hooker to i)repare another
treatise correcting certain faults remaining ; concluding finely
thus : —

The chiefest labour of a C/iristiaii should be to know ; of a !Minis-
ter, to i)reach Christ crucified : in regard whereof not only worldly
things, but even things otherwise precious, even the Discipline it sell'e is
vile and base : where as now, by the heat of contention, and viiiler.ce
of affection, the zeale of men towards the one hath greatly decayed
their love to the other. Hereunto therefore they are to be exhorted.
to Preach Christ crucijitd, the mortification of the flesh, the renewing
of the spirit, not those things, which in time of strife seeme precious,
but passions being allayed, are vaine and childish.

The other letter^ is dilVerent. It has been attributed to Cart-
wright." AN'hoever wrote it had keen perceptions and a trench-
ant pen. After reference to Hooker's announced intention to
inform men of the estate of the EstalJished Church, the author,
speaking avowedly for others, proceeds : —

Howbeit sometimes goodlie promises are meere formal, and great
offers serue onely to hoodwlnke such as meane well. . . . Wee there-
fore, your luuing countrymen. . . . hauing so goodlie a chanipiun to
offer cond)at in our defence, were made verie secure, and by tlie
sweete sounde of your melodious stile, almost cast into a dreaming
slee])e : AVee happelie remembring your I'rcface that there might bee

^ A Chiustiax Lf.TTFR of certain Enalish Protestants, vnfained fduourers nf the
present state of Heli'jinn. avtiiorizxl and professed in Enoland; vnto that lieior'nd
and learned man, Mr. H. IIui/[)cer]. ree/uirinu resnlutinn in certaine matters of doc-
trine, etc., l."i'.t'.l, 4to. Kt'priiited in Ilaiibury'a Hooka-, IS^^O.

* Worilsworth (Ecclts. llioij. .j<I cd. iii : ol'j, n.) says : —

" Somewhere I have seen the ' Cliristian Letter ' attributed to Dr. Andrew Willet.
but I cannot at present recall the authority. I remember, however, that, at the
time, it seemed to me pood."

Hut the inlierent probabilities stronfrly disfavor Willet, whoso pre.at stren^rth
was anti-Papal and exeg'etical ; and wlio seems to have kept on jjood terms with
the Establishment, which pave him many favors, until his dt-atii. in H'rJl. f'ovell
declares that tliis work '" was not the least cause to procure his [Hooker's] death.



174 THE PROTESTANTISM OF OUll FATHERS

some other cause.' opened at the length our heauie eyes, and casting
some move earnest and intentiue [attentive] sight into your manner
of fight, it seemed vnto vs that eouertlie ami vnderhand you did bende
all your skill and force against the present state of our English
church : and by colour of defending the disiMi)line and gouernement
thereof, to make questionable and bring in contempt the doctrine and
faith it selfe.

The writer and his sympathizers do not wish to be hard u])on
" Maister R. IIoo," who luuy have slij)ped unaJvisedl}'. lie may
have been overcarried by his zeiil. Doubtless he cannot always
mean what he seems to say. So in charity they give him an
opportunity to explain himself.^

They have selected a few princii)al things, which trouble
many Christians, upon which they ask him to speak further ;
and then, by the use of the " deadly parallel column "' in a rutli-
mentary form, they try to show that at least fifteen of the Tliirty-
mne Articles — viz., "l, 0, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 19, 23, 25,
2G, 27 and 28 — have been undermined by his " Ecclesiastical
Polity." They hope he can ex})lain all this, in which event thev
wiU give him " condigne praise ; " but it seems to them needful
that he should attempt so much, at the least. Otherwise, they
ask, " Shall wee doe you wTonge to suspect you as a prinie and
subtlll enemie to the whole state of the Englishe Church, and
that would haue men to deeme her Maiestie to haue done ill in
abolishing the Romish religion, and banishing the Popes author-
itie." Perhaps the unkindest cut is this : —

Our last scruple and demand is this, seeing your bookes bee so Ions:
and tedious, in a stile not vsuall. . . . And that your Prefaces and dis-
courses before you come to tlie question are so longe. & mingli-d with
all kinde of matters and sutes of learning and doctrine : whetlier vour
meaning bee to shewe your selfe to bee some rare Demosthenes, or
extraordinarie Rabbi, or some great Pythagoras, that enjovne your
scholars or your aduersaries to fiue yearcs silence before they can be
perfect in your meaning, or able to replye.

' The reference seenxs to be to tlio bc^nniiip;' of Hooker's preface : —
" That posterity may know we liaiie not loosely tlirouj^li silence permitteil tliin2;-s
to passe away a-s in a dream, tliere shall lie for men's information extant thus
much conceniinij the present state of the Church of God, established amoujjst vs."'
a Christ. Lei.ii-6'6, 48, 4'.>, 45, 40.



SOME SPECIAL FEATURES OF THE STRUGGLE 175

This merciless onslaught was supposed to have hastened
Hooker's speedy death ; but the pamphlet is almost forgotten
although then it was reputed to be '• the first publication of the
Doctrinal Puritans.-' i Three or four years later Dr. William
Covell, once fellow of Queen's CoUege, Cambridge, and thun
vicar of Sittingbourne, Kent, sought, as many thought ineffec-
tually, to make the needed explanations '^ which Hooker did not
live to attempt.

Two general publications in the last decade of the century,
upon the same general subject from the opposite side, deserve
mention. In 1590, or thereabouts, for the book is undated,
Robert AValdegrave, the Puritan printer, reissued in a single
volume-^ forty-two Puritan tracts of the last few years, includ-
ing several to which, in their original editions, reference already
ha's been made. The other is a small quarto.* dated 1595 —the
copy in Dr. Dexter's collection has upon its title-page the auto-
graph of William Brewster — which appears to have been the
first publication of the remarkable Francis Johnson. It dis-
cusses the ministry of the Church of England and the relation
of Christian people towards it. It insists that magistrates are
to be obeyed in the I.ord, not against the Lord ; and that a
false ministry shoidd not be heard by God's people, even if it
preach some truth. In conclusion, it says : —

It is to be accounted an ha])py benefit and greatly to be desired,
tliat the Church and people of God may have rest ad be siitfrcd to
lead a godly life in peace and quyetnes But if this cannot be had

1 Introd. to llanb.iry's Hooker, i : x. lie styles the pamphlet " very rare," as
well as ■' important."

2 A lust and Tf-mpn-atc Bf fence of thr Fiv" hooks of Ecclesiastical Policie nritten
byM. liichard Hooker, otc. ICO:?. 4to. Hanl.ury calls this "an excessively rare
Tract, never r.'printe.l." and himself reprints it in his Hooker (ii : 449-5C.S). He,
too, raises the qu.'sti..n ^^•hcthur Hooker's reputation docs not need further defence
than that furnished in this treatise.

8 To this he tjavetJie singularly nnsutrpestive name, .4 Parte of a liegtster, con-
tayninqe sundrie memorahl. mntters. u-rittcn hy diwr^ ;!odI,/ and learned in our time,
which standi for, and desir, the reformation of our Church, etc., ir)!lO. Svo.

* A Tr.at'i^r of the Mi„islerv of the Church of En'jland. Where in is handled this
question. Whether it be [better f] to be sejtarated from or ioyned vnto. Which is dis-
cuss(d in two letters; the "ne uritten for it fhy A. Hild-rshaml M- other [by F.
Johnson] against it, etc.. 1.VJ5, 4to, 4',i, 71, V.):), VM), 10, ;19, 52, W*. 137.



176 THE PROTESTANTISM OF OUR FATHERS

in peace without persecution, yet must we not therefore refuse or
turne from the way and counnaundenient of Clnist.

In 1599 Philippe tie Mornay, a (listingui.shecl French Protes-
tant and counst'llor to the king, sent out a discussion of the
Church, 1 soon rei)riuted in English at London, which at least
makes some utterances [rrateful to the Puritans, e. <r. : —

A Priest & a Bishoppe in the Priniitiue Church were all one, and
if they differ now in Titles and in Miters, in the essentiall dignitie
they differ nothing at all. ... If the ambition of Bishops, & the negli-
gence of i)riests haue confounded all these things, and abolished the
ancient order of the church, it nmst not seem strange if we labor to
restore it again. ... In a word, the first bishops of tiie Cliristian
Church were but Priests, and tliose Priests, Bishops : and the tirst
ministers of the Reformation were Priests, and consequently, Bishops.
And these Priests by the institution of the Apostles, had the power
of laying on hands, which also our Priests or Ministers haue done, ac-
cording to the Canons of the Apostles. Therefore, the ^Ministers that
are ordayned by tliein are well ordained, nor may their calling bee
calumniated, or called in question.

During these excited years all religious literature manifested
the universal criticism and unrest. How church questions in-
terwove themselves witli others is seen in a course of exegeti-
cal sermons on the Apocalypse,- by George GiiYord, of Maldon,
Essex, in which, reaching the ninth verse of the seventh chap-
ter, which speaks of the " great multitiule, whicli no man could
number," etc., he tries to confute the Separatists, thus : —

Chiefly looking backe into the idolatrous, darke and blondic king-
dome of Antichrist, a Donatist ^ will iudge few or none to remaine.
But to correct this l>oldnes, here is shewed tliat eucn in the most mis-
erable times, the Lord did preserue his Church, liad his elect in the
confused heape, and tluit in a marueilous great number. "

He cannot exj^lain the twenty-fourth verse of the secoiul chajv

* TractatiLS I)t Ecdesia. qvo praecipve quae hoc nostra tfmpore wiitatae fu<-Tunt
quesliotifs trcutiitnlur, ]."/.>9. l(5nio, ."jd"), f)]", "jIS. A Triatise of the Chvrrh. wherein
are hamlled al the principall questions, mooued in our time concerning that matter,
1C0<^ -Ito, oTT, ",8.'), -.'.SC.

2 Strmons vpnn th' uhole Bookf of the Revelation, l'<W. 4to. 14S. 80.
Six years before, he Jia<l piiblislied apainst tlie Sejiaratists a specific treatise
eutided .1 I'iaine Dtclaration that our Browitists he full Dunalists.



SOME SPECIAL FEATURES OF THE STRUGGLE 177

ter — "But unto yon I say. and unto the rest in Thyatira. as
many as have not this Doctrine, and, which have not known the
depths of Satan, as they speak ; I will put upon you none
other burden "* — • without a similar reference : —

Now as Sathan laide the foundation of tliis his deepe diuinitie in
the Ai)ostles times, which he afterward did further builde vi) by the
Valentinians and others, so in these last times, so soone as euer the
light of the gospell brake forth, hee set it on foote againe by the Ana-
baj>fisfs, Lyhertines. Familie of Loue, and other such mon>tfrs : for
they boast of such deepenes of illumined elders, and men deified that
looke whatsoeuer they committed, euen the fowlest deeds, yet they
sinne not.

This passage suggests that the religious struggle in England
included one factor, mysterious and elusive, yet of obvious power,
which it is easier to recognize than to comprehend, the Familists,
or the Family of Love, whose originating and animating spirit
was one Henry Xiclaes ^ — '* II. N."' He was born in Munster
in 1502. As early as in his ninth year he seemed to himself to
see visions sealing his union with God, and to be made entirely
one with the will and word of God and inspired to be an ex-
pounder of divine love. He soon began labors for holy secrecy.
He and his disciples conformed to the established i-eligion wliere-
ever they were. His aim was not a new sect but a new spirit
within all sects.

He had uo sympathy with Luther or the Reformation. He
valued the ceremonies of the Roman Church, but sought to in-
itiate the reigii of divine love everywhere. Meantime he amassed
wealth as a mereliant. About 1501 persecution drove him to
England for some years, where he attracted kindred minds, af-
terwards retreating to Kampen and Cologne. He, or his disci-
ples for him, printed many small tracts, several of wliich were
translated from Low Dutch into English. These are " rarer
than white crows," yet they seem easier to be found than uuder-
stootl.

* The best accounts of him and of the Family of Lore are in Robert Barclay's
Intur Life of Rdig. Son. of Coinmomrealth ( KST(5. 2')-oo), ami John Hunt's litli'j-
Thought in Eng.from liif. to End of Last Century, ISTO, i : 2;3J-l'o7.



178 THE PROTESTANTISM OF OUR FATHERS

Dr. Dextor owned five of his treatises,^ and six 2 whicli, in liis
day or soon after, were published against liis views. It is diffi-
cult to grasp the sense, or feel the fascination, of Iiis utterances,
or, on tlie otlier hand, to discern the cause of tlie bitter hostility
which he awakened. There is a tangled wilderness of words,
through wliich the paths of thought are hard to be discovered.
Apparently unconscious tliat he is verging upon blaspheniv, he
claims'^ to be " annoynted witli the Ilolie-gost, in the Olde-
age of the holie Vnderstanding of lesu Christ: godded with
God, in the spirit of his Loue : niade-heyre with Christ in the
heavenlie Goods of the Riches of God,"' etc. A few sentences
may be cited from his great •' Revelatio Dei."^

7. Moreouer, in thissame Reuelation of tlie great Glorie of God,
and in this same Huehe Demonstration or Shewinge of the manv and
manifokle Tliinges. both of that which is in Ileauen and also of that
which is on Eaith. so came-there also vnto mee out of tliesame
heaueiiHe Beeinge. Testhnony-of-trueth, which distinctlie infuurmed
mee of tlie Diuersitie of thinges, and resolued mee also : with cleere
vnderstandinge ; of the Thinges which I vnderstoode not, & were
shewed vnto mee.

8. But trnlye. they are all straunge and incredible Thinges, before
the Contemnei-s of the heauenlie Woorkes of God, and before all Vn-
derstandinges of y* Wisdom of the Fleash : But before tiie godlie

1 The Principall EpistUs of 11. N. which he hath set-foorth through the holij Spirit
of Loue, etc., ].")74. 1('4S, KJmo.

Jievelalio iMi : the Revelation of God, and his great Projjheatie, etc., 1.571, l(]ino.

The Prophftie rf the Spirit of Loue, Kiiuo.

Evangelium Regni : A Joyful Message of the Kingdom, etc., lOmo.

Terra Pads: A True Testification of the Spirituall Lande of Peace, etc. lOmo.

* A Confutation of monstrous and hoirihle heresies taught bij H. N. and embraced
of a numbtr, who cull themselues the FamUie of Love, by L Knewstnb. 1.J79, 8vo.

A Cojfntation of Certaine Articles ddiufred vnto the Famili/ of Loue, etc., by
Willi.ini Wilkinson, \'>~'.), 8vo.

An Epistle sent unto two daughters of Warwick by IL N. refuted by Henry Ains-
icorth. 4to.

A Description of the Sect called the Familie of Lore, with their common Place of
residence, etc. by one }frs. Susanna Snow, 1(141, 4to. Kepr. in Harl. Misc. iii : 'AO-
642.

Ueresiography : or a description of the Hereticks and Sectaries of these latt,r times
by E. P.igitt, 1(;4."), 4to. '

A Survey of the Spirituall Antichrist, opening the secrets of Famili s me, by S. Ruth-
erford, 1048, 4to.

• Evang. Reg. 3. » 7.



SOME SPECIAL FEATURES OF THE STRUGGLE 179

Vnderstandinges, wliicli ; vnder tlie Obedience of the Lone : haue a
regarde on the Beeing of God and his Ahnightines. to a great loyo
in their Spirit, and to a great Thankes-geeuing to tlie highest Gud.
because that Hee ; thesame God ; liath manifested his Light. Life,
and Wisedoni. and the Vnderstandiiige of his secreat Woorkes, among
the Cliildren of Men, vpon the Earth.

9. Moreover, in all this that 1 sawe and hcarde, and that was
opened vnto mee, I was forced in my Spirit, to write-it-all, totliende
tliat the secreat heauenlie Woorkes of God. mouglit lie also declared
amonge all Loners of the Triieth, and vnderstanded and loueil by
them, in their Viulerstandinge.

H. N. clearly seonis to have claimed to be sent of God as
truly as Moses and the prophets, and to have asserted for his
writings an authority equal to that of the Bihle. So far as any
great purpose reveals itself through his glucose style, it is that
of exalting the divine love and the duty of love between men.
In some respects he anticipated George Fox and in others
Swedenborg. There is no evidence that he or his genuine fol-
lowers were guilty of the immorality freely charged. The name,
the Family of Love, assumed by them, favored false inferences,
and bad people stood ready to cloak their own misdeeds with
a pretence of discipleship. But, so far as such charges ^ had
force, they were true of the counterfeit members only of this



Online LibraryHenry Martyn DexterThe England and Holland of the Pilgrims → online text (page 18 of 65)