Copyright
Henry Soames.

Elizabethan religious history online

. (page 52 of 62)
Online LibraryHenry SoamesElizabethan religious history → online text (page 52 of 62)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


The bishops were admitted into an inner room", and an
order soon came forth for the five deans to come in like-
wise, with any members of the privy council, but all others



' Barlow. The Summe and
Substance of the Conference, whicli
it pleased his excellent Majestic to
have with the Lords, Bishops, and
other of his Clergie (^at which the
most of the Lordes df the Councell
were present^ in his Majesties
Privy-Chamber, at Hampton
Court. Januarij 14, 1603. Loud.
1604. The author, then dean of
Chester, was one of the parties.

* Collier, ii. 673.

^ " These delegates had nothing



of the canonical habit, but ap-
peared in gowns of the shape of
those then commonly worn by-
Turkey merchants." (Ibid.) Yet
RejTiolds was then president of
Corpus Christi College, Oxford,
and had been dean of Lincoln.

^ " A witlidra wing-room within
the Privy Chamber." — Semper
Eadem: or a Reference of the
Debate at the Savoy, 1661, to the
Conference at Hampton Court)
1603-4. Lond. J 662.

2m2



532 DOCTRINAL Ca.D. 1G04.

were to be excliulcd. Exception has been taken to this,
but really with very little reason; the object being to
consider M'hetlier any concessions might not be offered,
without previous debate with objecting parties. Obvi-
ously thus time might be spared, and irritation avoided.
Complaints have also been made of the authority Avhicli
brought the four puritanical divines to Hampton. They
were not elected at any meeting of their friends, or party,
but summoned by royal mandate'. It was, however, the
same with their opponents, and a more eligible selection
could not be made in either case. Reynolds was among
the most learned of his party, and, indeed, of his age";
nor were his three coadjutors unworthy of acting with
such a man. That all were less violent than many who
agreed with them, will generally be thought equally an
honour to themselves, and a reason why they should have
been chosen to speak for their body.

James lost no time in removing completely all those
apprehensions which his education and habits naturally
engendered. With much kindness of manner, he pro-
fessed himself happier than any one of his four immediate
predecessors, in being driven to religious innovation iiei-
tlier l)y necessity, nor inclination. Puritanism he had
disliked ever since ten years old, and although living
among those who professed it, he 2ras not of tJiem'\ It
was, indeed, reasonable to believe, that nothing short of

' " Their niinistors li;ul boon learned man in England. lie was
invited by the kin{^, instead ot" censured by his faction for making
being nominated by themselves, a weak defence; but the king's



and liad argued for the indifVer-
once, rather than the sinfulness of
the ceremonies." — I'lUCK. i. 4(59.

" " Reynolds, the principal dis-
putant on tlie Puritan side, was
nearly, if not altogether, the most



partiality and intemperance plead
liis apology. lie is said to have
comj)lained of unfair representa-
tion in Jlarlow's account." — IIal-
I.A.M. i. 104.
' Baulow. 20.



A.D. 1604.] rURITANISM. 533

compulsion could have kept him under a system, which
ostentatiously trami^led his pride under foot, and was far
from nice even as to his just expectations. Thus none
could be surprised, at his pleasure in contrasting the
coarse intemperance of his country's divines, with manners,
degenerating, undoubtedly, into the other extreme, which
he had found among the scholarly, well-bred churchmen
of England. Still, it was impossible to calculate before-
hand exactly upon the force of early 2)repossessions,
especially as they might be made a convenient cloak for
selfish designs upon an opulent hierarchy. But his
homely candour now rendered it j^erfectly plain that
James abhorred few things more than the preaching
demagogues of Scotland, and was hence anxious to bid
their system a final farewell. There were, however, a few
points in the English Church, upon which he desired
fuller satisfaction. Confirmation seemed as if baptism
were blasphemously thought incomplete ; absolution had
been pronounced akin to the pardons of Poj^ery ; private
baptism by females and laymen, he utterly disliked;
excommunication for light causes, appeared improper, and
requiring in every case, the bishoji personally to pronounce
it, assisted by his dean and chapter. The king also
expressed himself desirous of consulting about fit and
able ministers for Ireland'.

Confirmation, he was told in reply, had all antiquity
to support it, having been omitted nowhere until lately
by the unadvised innovation of certain particular churches.
Even Calvin, however, conceded authority for it in the
Epistle to the Hebrews \ and expressed a wish for its
restitution in churches that had discontinued it. In
supposing the Church of England to cast any doubt upon

^ Barlow. 7- "'* Heb. vi. 2,



534 DOCTRINAL Z^.D. 1604.

the completeness of baptism, it was shewn him, that he
had been misled. To render any such error impossible
for the future, it was proposed to introduce the Con-
firmation service by an explanatory title, making' the rite
a seal to ascertained religious proficiency. To all sub-
stantial alteration, the king declared himself opposed'.

U])on the Absolution, in the ordinary service, he
was easily satisfied. Nor did he find any fault, upon
examination, with that in the office for visiting the sick.
It was conformable, he w^as told, with the Augsburg,
Bohemian, and Saxon Confessions, and even with an
expressed opinion of Calvin's. Tn conclusion, it Avas
deemed advisable to insert the words, or o'cmission of
sim, after the word absolution in the rubric, to the form
in the daily service ^ Thus, it was thought, all appear-
ance of exceptionable adherence to Romish theology
might be avoided.

Private baptism by females and laymen, the arch-
bishop argued, was against the authority of the Church,
and accordingly an irregularity into which inquiry was
often made at episcopal visitations ^ Bishop Babington,



' "Tho conclusion was, for the
fuller explanation (that wee make
it not a Sacrament, or a corro-
horation to a former Sacrament)
that it should he considered hy
their Lordships, whether it mip[ht
not mthout alteration (whereof
his IMajostie was still very wary)



io resolve all douhts concerning
Ihe manner how Io understand, do,
and execute ihe things contained
in the booh of Common Prai/cr,)
unanimously resolved that CA'cn
private haptism in case of neces-
sity, was only to he administered
hy a lawful minister, or deacon."



hee intituled an Examination with I (Wiikati.y. liational Illustration



a Con/irmation." — Barlow. 12.

* I hid. 13.

" " When some articles were
passed hy hoth houses of Convo-
(atinn, in l.'i7>'», the Archhishop
imd liishops (who had power and
authority in their several dioceses



of the Hook of Common Prai/er.
Oxf. 181!). p. 371.) This article
was omitted in the printed copy,
(one of those conciliatory liherties
with authorized formularies for
Avhich I'^lizaheth's reipi is so re-
markahlc ) hut, prohahly, the hi-



A.D. 1G04.]



PURITANISM.



635



however, admitted that the king* was right in considering
such baptism compatible with the words of the rubric,
and that the compilers of the Common Prayer meant
them to convey this latitude. He thought, indeed, that
they would have spoken to that point more plainly, had
not they been afraid of parliamentary opposition'. Of
their intention to authorize baptism by persons incapable
of other ministerial functions, Bishop Bancroft added,
evidence remained in some of their letters : from which
he read extracts, and he maintained the consonance of
such views with primitive antiquity. The last plea James
considered inconclusive, as drawn from a time when
Christianity Avas altogether under circumstances different
from the present. He professed himself, however, a
believer in baptismal regeneration, and in the necessity
of that sacrament, where it is lawfully attainable, that is,
from a regular minister ^ Farther argument was found
unavailing to move him from this position, and at last, it
Avas determined to consult whether the words curate^ or
latvful mitiister, should not be introduced into the rubric
for the office of Private Baptism \



shops insisted upon observance of
it, and Whitgift, now aged and
declining, might have forgotten
the authority adverse to it.

^ " And for this conjecture, as
I remember, he cited the testi-
mony of my Lord Archbishop of
Yorke." — Baklow. 15.

"'' " Hee also maintained the ne-
cessitie of Baptisme, and always
that the place of St. .John, Nisi
quis renatus J'uerit ex aqua, &c.
(.Job. iii. 5) was meant of the sa-
crament of Baptisme." — lb. 17.

* " When necessity requires
that Baptism be privately admi-



nistered, The Minister of the Pa-
rish, or in his absence, some other
lawful Minister^ is to be procured.
Tliis is an order which was not
made till after the conference at
Hampton-court, upon the acces-
sion of King James I. to the
throne. In both Common Prayer
books of King Edward, and in
that of Queen Elizabeth, the ru-
bric was only this : First, let them
that be j)rese?it call upon God for
his grace, and say the Lord's
Prayer, if the time will sujf'er ;
and then one of them shall name
the child, and dip him in the water.



530



DOCTRINAL



[a. P. I(ill4.



As to cxcommiiiiicfition, James proposed, either that
yoiiie new term shoiikl be found for an ecjuivalent cen-
sure, ill cases of inferior importance; or that such cases
should 1)0 met hereafter by some coercive remedy entirely
new. To this projiosition no objection was made, popu-
lar clamour against indiscriminate excommunications in
ecclesiastical courts, having been felt as not altogether
unreasonable. But such were conformable to ancient
usage, and had been sanctioned by the late queen, a
sufficient reason for leaving them undisturbed during her
reign. She had adopted semper eadein for her motto, and
took such a pride in adhering to the principle, that all
about her M-ere very unwilling to talk of retractation'.

Although the result of this day's conference was Aery
far from unsatisfoctory to the Church party, yet James
had shewn himself resolved upon certain changes, and



or pour water upon liiiii, .saijbig
these irords, X. / baptise l/ice,
^•c. Now this, it is plain from
the Avritings and letters of our
first Reformers, was originally de-
signed to commission lay persons
to liaptisc in cases of necessity:
being founded on an error Avhich
our Reformers had imlnl)cd in the
Itomi^h Church, concerning the
impossibility of salvation -without
the sacrament of Baptism: which
therefore being in their opinion so
absolutely necessary, they chose
should be administered by any-
body that was present, in cases of
necessity, rather than that any
should die without it. But after-
Avards, when they came to have
clearer notions of tlic Sacraments,
and perceived how absurd it was
to confine the mercies of (iod to
outwaiid means; and especially to
consider that the salvation of the



child might be as safe in God's
mercy, without any baptism, as
with one performed l)y jiersons not
duly commissioned to administer
it : when the governors of our
Church, I say, came to be con-
vinced of this, they thought it
proper to explain the rubric above
mejitioncd, in such a manner as
should exclude any private person
from administering Baptism."
(A>'in:ATLY. ;i71-) "It had l)een
customary in the Church of Rome,
and the custom was not formally
abolished, nor entirely disconti-
nued, in England, after the Re-
formation, to license midwives for
the performance of the sacra-
ment, an<l the baptism, wlien
performed, was to be certified to
the curate of the parisli." — ('ak-
wiTHKN. Ilistori/ of the Church of
Km^laiul. Lond.* iJlL'Jt. ii. 11>."».
' Bahlow. id.



A.D. 1(J04.]



rURITANISM.



537



his mode of proposing them seems to have awakened
some misgivings in the prelates and deans present.
Hence reports got abroad highly flattering to puritanical
hopes'. These were effectually damped by the second
meeting ^ At this, the only bishops present were Ban-
croft, of London, and Bilson, of Winchester", who were
assisted by the deans and doctors that attended on Satur-
day*. This diminution in the number of their opponents
was probably meant as an assurance to the Puritan
divines of equitable treatment. The four were now
admitted into the Privy Chamber, with Patrick Galloway,
formerly a minister at Perth. Reynolds, as became his
learning and station, took the lead in explaining their
views. All knelt, according to established usage in
addressing the sovereign. He first objected to a clause



^ " Tlie result of this clay's de-
bate Avas reported by a Presbyte-
rian minister (Patrick Galloway)
to the presbytery of Edinburgh, in
a manner A'cry unfavourable to the
bishops. According to his state-
ment, the King commanded them,
as they would answer it to God,
on their consciences, and to him-
self, on their allegiance, to advise
among themselves concerning the
corruptions of the Church. The
bishops reported that all ■was well,
and when the King, with great
earnestness, adduced many defects
and abuses, they prayed him on
their knees, that no alterations
might take place. It is not im-
probable that this Presbyterian
minister might have exhibited the
doubts and objections of the King
in a different light from that which
Avas intended by James himself.
He might have placed the objec-
tions of the Puritans in the



strongest point of view, and have
clothed them in the most offen-
sive garb, to see Avhether they
could be answered. Andrewcs,
afterward bishop of AVinchester,
penetrated into the motive of
James ; for he said, that on the
first day, the King during Jivc
hours did ivonderJ'uUy plai/ Ihc
Purilan." — Caravitiien. ii. 106.

^ ]\ I on day, January 10.

^ The king " admitted only
two bishops to be present, to be
named by ray lord's grace of Can-
terbury; Avho sent thither the bi-
shops of London and Winchester,
Avhile Ave, the rest, AA'cre Avith
him, setting down the form of the
other points." — Toby MatthcAA",
Bishop of Durham, to Matthew
Ilutton, Archbishop of York. Jan.
19, 1004. Stryi'k. U'/iidrifl. iii.
40-1.

* Bauloav. 21.



538 DOCTRINAL [a.d. 1G04.

ill the Sixtecntli Article, as insuflicient, it so standing as
to be available against the doctrine of assurance. Now,
both he and his party had adopted all the sonl-stirring
flights of Calvinistic theology, and Avere, therefore, natu-
rally impatient of such sentences in the national formu-
laries, as might make our own Reformers a])pear of a
different opinion. Their next desire, accordingly, was
that the nine Lambeth Articles, which were complimented
as orthodo.val, should be incorporated in the Thirty-nine.
Reynolds then objected to the article which denies the
liberty of preaching and administering the sacraments,
in the congregation, without lawful calling. It seemed
like an universal permission, tacitly given, to do these
things out of the congregation. He now complained of
inconsistency. Confirmation appeared in the Articles as
" a corrupt following of the Apostles ;" in the office
itself, " the examjDle of Apostles," was pleaded, and
even expectations given, apjiarently, of the spiritual gifts
conveyed by them. Such inconsistencies ought to be
rectified, and the grounds of such expectations carefully
examined. In another article, the papal authority was
insufficiently disclaimed. It was not enough to say that
the bishop of Rome hath no authmity in this land. Tt
ought to be added, nor ought to have. Again : the
Articles were insuflicient from the want of an express
assertion that the intention of the minister is not of the
csse?ice of the sacrament, — a deficiency that suggested a
second mention of t/ie nine orthodod'a/ assertio7is concluded
at Lambeth. The ordinary catechism also was too brief,
and Newel's ran into the other extreme. The Sabbuth-
day required new regulations lor its l)etter keeping.
The existing vernacular versions of Scripture were all
faulty. Sufficient restrictions were not imposed u])on



A.D. 1604.]



PURITANISM.



539



the press, and upon tbe importation of books ; Romish
pieces, especially, of objectionable tendency, being in
pretty free circulation. A learned minister ought to be
planted in every parish : which was rendered needlessly
difficult by requiring* subscription to the Book of Com-
mon-Prayer, and the reading of a])ocryphal lessons,
containing manifest errors. Reynolds then found fault
with interrogatories in baptism : against which Knew-
stubbs farther argued, and went from them to the cross
in baptism, which, however, Reynolds admitted might be
traced up to the apostolic age. Exception was then
taken to the surplice, as a kind of garment worn by the
priests of Isis ; to the words in the matrimonial office,
With my body I thee worship ; to the churching of women ;
and to excommunication by lay chancellors. To the ring
in marriage, and the square cap, no objection was made.
The last point in the day's business was a restoration of
the iwophesyings. These were desired in every rural
deanery, with liberty to refer questions found incapable
of decision within its limits, first, to the archdeacon's
visitation, then to an episcopal synod, in which the
bishop, assisted by his presbyters, might give a final
judgment.

While Reynolds was talking of confirmation, Bancroft
lost his temper. The reason of his heat is hardly appa-
rent, but it seems from the sequel, to have arisen from a
suspicion, that confirmation by presbyters would be the
next concession demanded. He hoped that his majesty
would remember the ancient canon, which denies a
hearing to schismatics against their bishops'. To this the



' " The Bishop of London, much
moved to .heare these men, wlio,
some of them, the evening before,



and the same morning, had made

sem])Uiiice of joyning with the
bishops, and that they sought for



540



DOCTRINAL



[a.d. 1G04.



jn'oscnt parties were especially obnoxious, if they were
among the millenary subscribers, men who had before
subscribed to the Liturgy. It was intolerable that any
should thus retract their own acts. The indulirence,
however, which these jiarties had experienced, Avas a
signal clemency. Their attacks upon the Liturgy, and
established discipline, were clearly against the Statute of
Uniformity. He would be glad to know where they
meant to end. Mr. Cartwright had pronounced con-
formity with Turks, better than with Papists'. Perhaps,
they were of that oi)inion, and came, accordingly, not
liabited like scholars from the University, but in Turkey
gowns.

notliing hut unity, now strike to j and amongst us. For in docdc it
overthrow (if they coukl) all at were more safe for us to conforme
once, cut him" (Reynolds) "oft", our indiflercnt ceremonies to the
and kneelinf; downe, most humbly ■ Turkes, which are farre off, than
desired his Majestic first, that the ! to the Papists which are so ncarc.



ancient canon might he remem-
bered, which saith that Sc/iis7na-
tici coiiira cpiscopos twii .iimf au-
dkndi." — Barlow. 2().

' '' Now I will adde this further,
that when as the Lorde was care-
full to sever them by ceremonies
from other nations, yet was he^not
so carefull to sever them from any,
as from the Egyptians amongst
whome th<y lived, and from those
nations which were next neigh-
bours unto them, because from



T. C. page 102. sect. 4." Whit-
gift designates this, in the margin,
" an unadvised assertion," as it
really is, being obviously open to
the exceptions by which it was
very soon generally assailed. In
remarking upon it, he shews its
liollowness by the facts, that Egypt
and Israel did not worship the
same (Jod at all, and that many
ceremonies were prescribed by
f!od to his own people, of the
same captivating kind that were



them was the greatest feare of in- | used by lieathens, as it has been
fection. Therefore, by this con-, thought, largely for the purpose of
stant and pcrpctuall wiscdome , weaning them from the love of



which C!od useth to kepe his people
from idolatrie, it folloAvelh that
the religion of God should not
only in matter and substance, but
also as farre as may be, in forme
and fashion, ditler from that of
the idolaters, and especially the
I'ajtists, which are round about us



gentile su})erstitions. (Wiinoii'T.
Defense. 47.''>.) I'pon the whole,
however, Cartwright's reasoning,
though not built ujion premises
strictly accurate, is not fairly lialile
to the severe treatment which it
received.



A.D. 1604.]



PURITANISM.



541



The king now interposed, slightly rebuking Bancroft
for liis passion, but admitting that it was not unprovoked,
the opposing parties having encouraged expectations
which were now frustrated. The bishop then observed
upon the doctrine of assurance. Men leant upon it as
an excuse for palpable defects in practical holiness. They
said, If I shall be saved, I shall be saved. They did not
reason, Obedience to God, and love of my neighbour, make
me trust that I have been elected, and predestinated to sal-
vation. Their argument was, God hath predestinated and
chosen me to life. Let my sin be never so grievous, I am
safe : whom He loveth, He loveth to the end. The Church
of England stood committed to no such doctrines. She
had used a wise caution in treating of God's promises,
refusing to give them any other construction than such
as is warranted by the very letter of Scripture. As for
the Article, taxed with deficiency, because it said nothing
of ministering out of the congregation, any such addition
to it was wholly superfluous, no ministration being per-
mitted, without episcopal license. Private baptism would
be soon placed under satisfactory regulations. The
Article charged with oi)position to the Liturgy, from
speaking of Confirmation, as a corrupt following of the
Apostles, really said no such thing: the corruption alleged
being merely the Romish notion that makes Confirmation
a sacrament'. Nor is there any pretence to confer cxtra-



^ " Those five, commonly called
sacraments, that is to say, Con-
firmation, Penance, Orders, Matri-
mony, and extreme Unction, are
not to be counted for sacraments
of the Gospel, being such as have
grown partly of the corrupt fol-
lowing of the Apostles, partly
are states of life allowed in the



Scriptures." (Art. XXV.) " AVe
make our humble supplications
unto thee for these thy servants,
upon whom (after the example of
thy holy Apostles) we have now
laid our hands." (Collect in the
Order of Confirmation.) Probably,
the particular corruption intended
by the Article, is the Romish use



542



DOCTRINAL



[a.d. 1604.



ordinary spiritual gifts, by the imposition of hands, only
prayer that the parties may be strengthened and eon-
firmed by the Holy Ghost. But in truth, objections to
confirmation really turn upon its restriction to bishops.
Let presbyters have it open to them, and it would soon
be reckoned an apostolical institution. Dr. Reynolds
was challenged for a denial of this view, but he evaded
a direct answer', and the bishop went on to shew that
confirmation had ever been confined to his own order.
His other appearances in this day's proceedings, were to
assert scriptural authority for episcopacy, to mention a
foreigner's commendation upon the Church of England"',
to throw doubts upon the policy of re-translating
Scripture % to clear himself from blame for the circu-
lation of objectionable books', to deny the exclusive



of chrism, in -whicli is found the
matter of a sacrament. It must
he owned, that the puritanical
ohjection, though captious, and
substantially inaccurate, is not
incapable of a plausible appear-
ance.

' " This -was it that vexed them,
that tliey had not the use thereof
in tlicir own handes, every pastor
in Ills parish to confirme, for then
it would be accounted an aposto-
licall institution ; and willed Dr.
Reyn. to speak herein what he
thought ; who seemed to yield
thereunto, replying that some
dioceses of a bishop having therein
(iOO ])arish churches, (which num-
ber caustd the IJishop of London to
thinke himself personally touched,
because in his diocese there are
C()9, or thereabouts) it was a thing
very inconvenient to commit con-
firmation unto the bisliop alone,
supposing it impossible that he



could take due examination of
them al which came to be con-
firmed." — Bauloav. 33.



Online LibraryHenry SoamesElizabethan religious history → online text (page 52 of 62)