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without a protestation and promise under their hand of an absolute conformity to the ceremonies. No less than eight protestations were also required to be made and subscribed by all who should be admitted to any office or cure in the church." Though the archbishop and his brethren at first met with some difficulties in carrying them into effect, (the queen refusing to sanction them,) yet afterwards, presuming upon her majesty's favour, they succeeded according to their wishes. Upon the approach of these severities, Mr. Whittingham wrote a long and pressing letter to the Earl of Leicester, warmly urging him to interpose with the queen, to hinder their execution. In the conclusion of this most pathetic epistle, he says, “ I need not appeal to the word of God, to the history of the primitive church, and to the just judgments of God poured out upon the nations for lack of true reformation. Judge ye betwixt us and our enemies. And if we seek the glory of God alone, the enjoyment of true christian liberty, the overthrow of all idolatry and superstition, and to win souls to Christ; I beseech your honour to pity our case, and use your utmost endeavours to secure our liberty.”: Many of the clergy in both the universities, and in the country, but especially in the city of London, refused to wear the square cap, the tippet, and the surplice. “And it is marvellous,” says Mr. Strype, “how much these habits were abhorred by many honest, well-meaning men; who styled them antichristian ceremonics, and by no means fit to be used in a true christian church.” But Archbishop Parker and other high commissioners being resolved to reduce the church to one uniform order, cited many of the clergy before them, admonishing some, and threatening others. Among those who appeared, were Dr. Sampson, dean of Christ-church, Oxford, and Dr. Humphrey, president of Magdalen college, in the same university. They were divines of great renown throughout the kingdom, for learning, piety, and zeal for the reformation, but were cast into prison for nonconformity. The famous Mr. Whitehead, with several others, was cited at the same
* Sparrow’s Collec. p. 123–128.
+ Strype's Parker, p. 151—161.
t See Art. Whittingham, * Strype's Parker, p. 151.
| It is proper here to observe, that throughout the Introduction, no authority will be given where the same things are treated more at large in the body of the work. Therefore, in order to examine the evidence of what the author has asserted, as well as a more circumstantial detail of facts, the reader, in all such instances, is directed to the respective articles.
time, and, refusing to subscribe, was immediately suspended. Mr. Becon, another celebrated reformer, being cited, and refusing to subscribe, was immediately sequestered and deprived. Mr. Allen was cited, and received the like censure. Many others were suspended and deprived, who, having wives and children, laboured under great poverty and want. Being driven from their ministerial employment, some, to procure a livelihood, betook themselves to trades, some to husbandry, and some went to sea.” The principal reasons of these and other learned divines now refusing conformity, were—1. Because those things which the prelates required, were unsupported by scripture and primitive antiquity.—2. They were not received by other reformed churches.—And, 3. They savoured very much of the errors and superstitions of popery. On these grounds, they disapproved of some things in the Book of Common Prayer, and forbore the use of the habits and ceremonies. In the year 1565, the archbishop and his brethren in commission, not content with exercising all their own authority to its fullest extent, sought the favourable assistance of the council, and enforced an exact conformity to the ecclesiastical establishment with still greater rigour. They convened the London ministers before them; and when they appeared in court, Mr. Robert Cole, a clergyman,t being placed by the side of the commissioners in priestly apparel, they were addressed in these words:– “ My masters, and ye ministers of London, the council's pleasure is, that strictly ye keep the unity of apparel, like this man who stands here canonically habited with a square cap, a scholar's gown, priest-like, a tippet, and, in the church, a linen surplice. Ye that will subscribe, write Volo; those that will not subscribe, write Nolo. Be brief: make no words.” When some of the ministers offered to speak, they were immediately interrupted with the command, “Peace, peace; and apparitor, call over the churches: ye masters, answer presently under the penalty of contempt.” In the conclusion, sixty-one promised conformity, but thirty-seven absolutely refused, being, as the archbishop acknowledged, the best among them. These
* Strype's Grindal, p. 99. + M.S. Remarks, p. 161.
# This Mr. Cóle, for his subscription and conformity, was preferred by the archbishop to the benefice of Bow and Allhallows, London.—Baker's MS. Collec. vol. xxvii. p. 387.
§ Strype's Grindal, p. 98.-Annals, vol. i. p. 463,
were immediately suspended, and told, that if they did
* Strype's Parker, p. 211,215. + Ibid. p. 225. # MS. Remarks, P. 111, 193. § Strype's Annals, vol. i. p. 441.
wishing him to put a stop to such severe measures. They observe that multitudes of pious and learned men thought in their consciences, that the use of the garments was utterly unlawful; and that the imposition of them upon all in the university, would compel these worthy persons to forsake the place, which would leave the university very destitute. Such an imposition of conformity, say they, will prove exceedingly detrimental to the preaching of the gospel, as well as to good learning.” The chancellor being a man of great prudence and circumspection, and loath to give offence by using severities, made some demur, with which the archbishop was displeased. Those who refused conformity reminded the chancellor, that they had cast away the ceremonies, not out of malice, for vain glory, an affection for popularity, contempt of laws, or any desire of innovation, but out of love to the truth. They could call the Searcher of Hearts to witness, that in what they had done, they had sought to enjoy peace of conscience, and the true worship of God. They prayed, therefore, that their consciences might not be brought into a state of most grievous bondage and exquisite torment, by being forced to observe the Ceremonies. # The proceedings of the prelates in censuring so many ministers of high reputation, was very afflictive to the foreign reformed churches. Therefore the famous Beza wrote a letter this year to Bishop Grindal, exposing the evils attending the imposition of conformity. He observes, that “if they do offend, who choose to leave their churches, rather than conform to rites and vestments against their consciences; a greater guilt is contracted by those who choose to spoil these flocks of able pastors, rather than suffer those pastors to make choice of their own apparel; or, choose to rob the people of the food of their souls, rather than suffer them to receive it otherwise than on their knees.”f He observes also, that this intended conformity designed “ to admit again, not only those garments which are the signs of Baal's priests, but also certain rites, which are degenerated into the worst of superstitions: as the signing with the cross, kneeling at the communion, and such like.”; The church of Scotland wrote, at the same time, a most
* Among those who subscribed this letter was even Dr. John Whitgift, afterwards the celebrated archbishop. This man was now a zealous friend of the nonconformists ; but soon after as zealous a persecutor of them. —Strype's Parker, p. 194. + Ibid. p. 192, 194, 196.
t Heylin's Hist. of Pres. p. 39. § Strype's Grindal, p. 113.
affectionate and pressing letter to the bishops and pastors of England, exposing the evil of persecution, and recommending peace among brethren. “We understand,” say they, “ that divers of our dearest brethren, among whom are some of the best learned in the realm, are deprived from the ecclesiastical function, and forbidden to preach, because their consciences will not suffer them to use such garments as idolaters in time of blindness, have used in their idolatry. We crave in the bowels of Jesus Christ, that christian charity may prevail among you. Ye cannot be ignorant how tender a thing the conscience of man is. if then the surplice, corner cap, and tippet, have been badges of idolatry, and used in the very act of idolatry, . what hath the preacher of christian liberty, and the open rebuker of all superstition, to do with the dregs of that Romish beast : Our brethren who of conscience refuse that unprofitable apparel, do neither condemn, nor molest you, who use such vain trifles. If you should do the like to them, we doubt not that you will please God, and comfort the hearts of many, which are wounded by the present extremities. Our humble supplication is, that our brethren among you, who refuse the Romish rags, may find such favour of you prelates, as your Head and Master commandeth every one of his members to shew to all others. We expect to receive your gentleness, not only because you fear to offend God's majesty, by troubling your brethren with such vain trifles; but also because you will not refuse the humble request of us your brethren and fellowpreachers of Jesus Christ. We suppose you will esteem us to be of the number of those, who fight against the Romish antichrist, and travel for the advancement of the universal kingdom of Jesus Christ; before whom, we, and you, and your brethren, must soon give an account.” Many of the puritans having, for the sake of peace, conformed as far as they possibly could, at length endeavoured, though under great discouragements, to obtain an accommodation. But the prelates proceeding with still greater severity against all who could not come up to the standard of conformity, made it too evidently appear, that they sought not their conformity, but their utter extir
* This letter, dated Edinburg, Dec. 27, 1566, is entitled “The ministers and elders of the churches within the realme of Scotlande, to their brethren the bishops and pastours of Englande, who have renounced the Romane antichrist, and doe professe with them the Lord Jesus in sinceritie, desireth the perpetuall increase of the Holy Spirit.”—Parte of a Register, p. 125 —127.