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addition to many other troubles, were both suspended for nonconformity. As the storm approached, the ministers of Norfolk prepared for it, by presenting their humble supplication to the council, in which they express themselves as follows:—“As touching your letters wherein you say, that her majesty is fully bent to remove all those, who cannot be persuaded to conform themselves to all orders established, it grieveth our souls very much, considering what desolation is likely to come upon the poor flock of Christ, by being thus bereaved of many excellent pastors, who dare not yield to that conformity. Yet knowing that the hearts of princes are in the hands of God, we commit our cause, being God's own cause, unto him, waiting for a happy issue at his hands. In the mean time, we pour out our prayers before the throne of his mercy, to direct her majesty to promote his glory, lamenting our sins, and the sins of the land, as the reason of our prince being set against so godly a cause. “As for ourselves, though we are willing to yield our bodies, goods, and lives to our sovereign prince, we dare not yield to this conformity, for fear of that terrible threatening of the Lord Jesus: “Whosoever shall offend one of these little ones, it were better for him that a mill-stone were hanged about his neck, and that he were cast into the depth of the sea.’ And though we have ever so much knowledge of christian liberty, we dare not cause our weak brother to perish, for whom Christ died. For in sinning against them, and wounding their consciences, we sin against Christ. We conclude with the apostle, ‘Wherefore if meat (so we say of ceremonies) make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.” Therefore we dare not yield to these ceremonies, because, so far from edifying and building up the church, they have rent it asunder, and torn it in pieces, to its great misery and ruin, as God knoweth; and unless some mitigation be granted, still greater misery and ruin will follow, by stopping the mouths of the servants of God. - “Although her majesty be incensed against us, as if we would obey no laws, we take the Lord of heaven and earth to witness, that we acknowledge, from the bottom of our hearts, her majesty to be our lawful queen, placed over us by God for our good; and we give God our most humble and hearty thanks for her happy government; and, both in public and private, we constantly pray for her prosperity. We renounce all foreign power, and acknowledge her majesty's supremacy to be lawful and just. We detest all error and heresy. Yet we desire that her majesty will not think us disobedient, seeing we suffer ourselves to be displaced, rather than yield to some things required. Our bodies, and goods, and all we have, are in her majesty's hands; only our souls we reserve to our God, who alone is able to save us or condemn us. “We humbly crave,” say they, “that you will deal with her majesty, in our behalf. Let her majesty understand, that all laws commanding things which edify not, but are offensive, are contrary to the word of God. Let her further understand how dangerous a thing it is, to urge the observance of human ceremonies with greater severity, than the observance of the law of God. The word of God is in danger of being made of no effect, by the traditions of men. Though, in scripture, ministers are commanded to preach the word of God, this is now not half so strictly examined and enforced, as the observance of the ceremonies. Through the whole land it is manifest, that a minister who is jo. to the ceremonies, may continue on his charge undisturbed, though he cannot teach : so if he be ever so able to teach as God hath commanded, yet if he cannot conform to those ceremonies which men have devised and appointed, he must not continue in the ministry. This must needs be preferring the ordinance of man before the word of God.” This supplication proving ineffectual, Messrs. John More, Richard Crick, George Leeds, Thomas Roberts, Vincent Goodwin, Richard Dowe, and John Mapes, all ministers in or near the city of Norwich, were suspended. Mr. Thickpenny, a minister of good learning, and much beloved by his parishioners, was suspended for nonconformity. Mr. Greenham, a divine of a most excellent spirit, received the like treatment, because he could not in conscience subscribe and wear the habits, though he cautiously avoided speaking against them, lest he should give offence. Mr. Rockrey, a divine of great eminence at Cambridge, was twice expelled from the university for a similar offence. Mr. Field and Mr. Wilcocks having already suffered a long and painful imprisonment, were brought into fresh troubles. They were convened before Bishop Aylmer, who pronounced Mr. Field obstinate, for having taught children in gentlemens' houses, contrary to the prohibition of the archbishop. Aylmer recommended, as their punishment, that they should both be sent into the most barbarous parts of the country, where they might be profitably employed in turning the people from the errors of popery. Mr. Whittingham, dean of Durham, a divine of distinguished eminence, was exercised with many troubles, which continued to the day of his death. In the year 1579, Mr. Lawrence, already mentioned, was suspended by his diocesan. Though repeated intercessions were made for him, particularly by the lord treasurer, the bishop peremptorily refused to restore him, without a perfect conformity to all the rites and ceremonies. Mr. Merbury underwent a long examination before the high commission, when he was treated with much foul, abusive language. Bishop Aylmer, seldom sparing in bitter invectives, called him “a very ass, an idiot, and a fool.” He was then sent to the Marshalsea, where he remained a prisoner several years. Aylmer, indeed, was not behind any of his brethren in the persecution of the puritans. This prelate, to enforce a due observance of the ecclesiastical orders, cited the London ministers before him no less than five times in one year. On these occasions, he made inquisition whether they truly and faithfully observed all things contained in the Book of Common Prayer; whether any preached without a license; and whether any kept private conventicles. In the visitation of his diocese, he inquired of ministers, churchwardens, and sworn-men, in every parish, whether there were any persons who refused to conform, to attend the church, or to receive the communion; and for what cause they refused. He required all ministers to wear the surplice, to keep to the exact order of public service, and to observe all the ceremonies without the slightest alteration. His lordship had no mercy on such as did not comply in every punctilio ; and warmly declared, that he would surely and severely punish offenders, or, “I will lie,” said he, “in the dust for it.” This prelate had very little compassion in his nature, and apparently as little regard for the laws of the country, or the cries of the people for the word of God. There was a great scarcity of preachers in all parts of England; and even the city of London was now in a most lamentable state, as appears from their petition to parliament, in which
are these words:—“There are in this city a great number of churches, but the one-half of them at the least are utterly unfurnished of preaching ministers, and are pestered with candlesticks not of gold, but of clay, with watchmen that have no eyes, and clouds that have no water: the other half, partly by means of nonresidents, which are very many; and partly through the poverty of many meanly qualified, there is scarcely the tenth man that makes conscience to wait upon his charge, whereby the Lord's sabbath is often wholly neglected, and for the most part miserably mangled; ignorance increaseth, and wickedness comes upon us like an armed man. Therefore we humbly on our knees beseech this honourable assembly, in the bowels and blood of Jesus Christ, to become humble suitors to her majesty, that we may have guides; that the bread of life may be brought home to us; that the pipes of water may be brought into our assemblies; that there may be food and refreshing for us, our poor wives and forlorn children: so shall the Lord have his due honour; you shall discharge good duty to her majesty; many languishing souls shall be comforted; atheism and heresy banished; her majesty have more faithful subjects; and you more hearty prayers for your prosperity in this life, and full happiness in the life to come.” In the county of Cornwall there were one hundred and forty clergymen, scarcely any of whom could preach a sermon, and most of them were pluralists and nonresidents. The inhabitants of the county, in their supplication to the parliament, gave the following affecting description of their case:—“We have about one hundred and sixty churches, the greatest part of which are supplied by men who are guilty of the grossest sins; some fornicators, some adulterers, some felons, bearing the marks in their hands for the said offence; some drunkards, gamesters on the sabbath-day, . &c. We have many nonresidents, who preach but once a quarter; so that between meal and meal the silly sheep may starve. We have some ministers who labour painfully and faithfully in the Lord's husbandry; but they are not suffered to attend their callings, because the mouths of papists, infidels, and filthy livers, are open against them, and the ears of those who are called lords over them, are sooner open to their accusations, though it be only for ceremonies, than to the others' answers. Nor is it safe for us to hear them; for though our own fountains are dried up, yet if we seek for the waters of life elsewhere, we are cited into the spiritual courts, reviled, and threatened with excommunication.” The ground of this scarcity was the violence of the high commission, and the narrow terms of conformity. Most of the old incumbents, says Dr. Keltridge, were disguised papists, more fit to sport with the timbrel and pipe, than to take into their hands the book of God.4 The common topic of conversation now was the Queen's marriage with the Duke of Anjou, a notorious papist.f All true protestants were displeased and under alarming apprehensions. The puritans in general protested against the match, dreading the consequence of having a protestant body, under a popish head. Mr. John Stubbs, a student of Lincoln’s-inn, and a gentleman of excellent abilities, published a book, entitled “The Discoverie of the Gaping Gulph, whereinto England is like to be swallowed by another French marriage, if the Lord forbid not the banns, by letting her Majestie see the sin and punishment thereof.” It no sooner came forth, than the queen issued her proclamation to suppress the book, and apprehend the author and printer. Stubbs the author, Singleton the printer, and Page the disperser, were apprehended, and sentenced to have their right hands cut off. Singleton was pardoned, but Stubbs and Page were brought to a scaffold erected at Westminster; where, with terrible formality, their right hands were cut off, by driving a cleaver through the wrist with a mallet; but as soon as Stubbs's right hand was cut off, he pulled off his hat with his left, and, to the great amazement of the spectators, exclaimed God save the Queen. He was then sent to the Tower, where he remained a long time; but afterwards proved himself a loyal subject, and a valiant and faithful commander in the wars
* MS. Register, p. 302.
'o' - o any of the puritans being dissatisfied with the terms of conformity, and the episcopal ordination of the church of England, went to Antwerp and other places, where they received ordination according to the practice of the foreign * reformed churches. Among these were Messrs. Cartwright, Fenner, Ashton, Travers, and Wright. The last, upon his return, became domestic chaplain to Lord Rich; but for saying, that “ to keep the queen's birth-day as an
* MS. Register, p. 300. + Strype's Aylmer, p. 32. # Strype's Annals, vol. ii. p. 566. § Kennet's Hist. of Eng. vol. ii. p. 487.