church, and were now become very numerous." There were several considerable persons at their head : as, Messrs. Smyth, Jacob, Ainsworth, Johnson, and Greenwood. Their London congregation being obliged to meet in different places, to hide itself from the bishops' officers, was at length discovered on a Lord's day at Islington, in the very place in which the protestant congregation met in the reign of Queen Mary; when about fifty-six were apprehended, and sent two by two to the different prisons about London, where many others had been long confined. The names of most of these persecuted servants of Christ, with the cruel oppressions they endured, are now before me. They suffered a long and miserable confinement; and under the barbarous usage they met with, man of them died in prison. Mr. Roger Rippon, who died this year, is said to have been the last of sixteen or seventeen that were murdered in Newgate. Numerous families, as well as individuals, were driven into banishment, while many died in close imprisonment, and others suffered upon the gallows. Among the latter were Mr. Henry Barrow and Mr. John Greenwood. These persons having endured several years close confinement in the Fleet, were tried, condemned, and executed at Tyburn, giving the strongest testimony of their unfeigned piety towards God, and their unshaken loyalty to the queen. Also, Mr. John Penry, a pious and learned minister, was arraigned, condemned, and executed in a most cruel and barbarous manner. Mr. William Dennys was also executed on the same account, at Thetford in Norfolk.f. These violent proceedings drove great numbers of the Brownists into Holland, where their leaders, Messrs. Smyth, Johnson, Ainsworth, Jacob, Robinson, and others, by leave of the states, erected churches according to their

own views of the gospel, at Amsterdam, Arnheim, Middle

burgh, and Leyden. Several champions now appeared in defence of epis

copacy: as, Drs. Bancroft, Bilcon, Bridges, Cosin, and

Soam. These were answered by Bradshaw, Fenner,

* Sir Walter Raleigh declared in parliament, that in their various congregations, they were increased to the number of twenty thousand.—D. Ewes's Journal, p. 517.--Townshend's Collections, p. 76.

+ Baker’s MS. Collec. vol. xiv. p. 311. xv. 59–111.

f “These round dealings,” says a reverend author, “did a little terrify the rest of the puritans, and checked the furiousness of the wiser sort. But having the Earls of Leicester, Warwick, and Shrewsbury, Lords North and Burleigh, Sir Francis Walsingham, and Sir Francis Knollys, with others of the nobility, for their honourable patrons, they resumed their courage.”—Peirce's Windication, part i. p. 151.—Foulis's Hist, of Plots, p. 6],

[ocr errors]

Morrice, and others; though the press was shut against the puritans. But Bancroft was their bitterest enemy. In his “Survey” and “Dangerous Positions,” he wrote with much fierceness, misrepresentation, and abuse. He reproached the principles and practices of the puritans, as if they were enemies both to church and state, when they only sought, in the most peaceable manner, to promote a reformation of the ecclesiastical discipline and ceremonies, according to their views of the word of God." *

Towards the close of Queen Elizabeth's reign many severities were inflicted upon the nonconformists. Mr. William Smyth was apprehended and cast into prison. Mr. Smythurst was deprived of his living, and treated with great injustice by the high commission. Mr. Rudd was convened before the high commission, suspended, and forced to make a recantation. Mr. Aderster, a Lincolnshire divine, having endured many sufferings by suspension, deprivation, and other censures, in the high commission at Lambeth, was tried at the public assizes, when Judge Anderson treated him worse than a dog. Mr. Clarke, preacher to the society at Lincoln’s-inn, London, and Mr. Philips, preacher at St. Saviour's, Southwark, were both summoned before the high commission; when the former was deprived, and the latter suspended and committed to the Gatehouse. Mr. Bradshaw, an excellent divine, was silenced by Archbishop Whitgift; and a great number of ministers in Norfolk were under suspension, and their people greatly oppressed in the ecclesiastical courts. Some, indeed, supposed that the puritans were now vanquished, and their number greatly diminished, by the rigorous execution of the penal laws. This, however, is contrary to matter of fact. For in the beginning of the next reign, there were at least fifteen hundred ministers who avowed their nonconformity to the national church. The queen died March 24, 1603, having reigned upwards of forty-four years. The puritans of these times were not without their failings, being men of like passions with their adversaries; yet, while they opposed the episcopal impositions and oppressions, if they had accomplished their wishes, there is cause to fear, that they would have imposed their own discipline. | Their notions of civil and religious liberty were confused, and their principles and behaviour sometimes rigid; yet o

* MS. Remarks, p. 461. + Fuller's Church Hist. b. ix. p. 233.


they were men eminent for piety, devotion, and zeal in the cause of Christ. The suspensions and deprivations of this long reign are said to amount to several thousands." But, while the nonconformists were thus harassed, the church and the nation were in a most deplorable state. Great numbers of churches, in all parts of the country, were without ministers; and among those who professed to be ministers, about three thousand were mere readers, who could not preach at all. And under pretence of maintaining order and uniformity in the church, popery, immorality, and ungodliness were every where promoted: so that while the zealous prelates pretended to be building up the church & England, they were evidently undermining the church of od.t

[ocr errors][merged small]

From the Death of Queen Elizabeth, to the Death of Ring James I.

KING JAMEs was thirty-six years old when he came to the crown of England, having reigned in Scotland from his infancy. His majesty's behaviour in Scotland had raised too high the expectations of the puritans: they relied upon his education, his subscribing the covenant, his professed kindness for the suffering nonconformists, and his repeated declarations. He had declared in the general assembly at Edinburgh, with his hands lifted up to heaven, “That he praised God that he was born to be king of the urest kirk in the world. As for our neighbour kirk of ngland,” said he, “their service is an evil-said mass in English. They want nothing of the mass but the liftings.”: The king had given great offence to the English bishops, by saying, “ that their order smelled vilely of popish pride; that they were a principal branch of the pope, bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh; that the Book of Common Prayer was the English mass-book; and that the surplice, copes, and ceremonies were outward badges of popery.” The expectations of the puritans were, therefore, highly raised; and upon the king's accession, they took fresh courage, omitted some things in the public service, threw aside the surplice, and rejected the unprofitable ceremonies. . During his majesty's progress to London, they presented their millenary petition, subscribed by above H000 pious and able ministers, 750 of whom were out of twenty-five counties." It is entitled “The humble Petition of the Ministers of the Church of England, desiring Reformation of certain ceremonies and abuses of the Church.” They observe, “that they being more than 1000 ministers, groaning under the burden of human rites and ceremonies, with one consent, threw themselves at his royal feet, for a reformation in the church service, ministry, livings, and discipline.” But amidst all their hopes, many of them rejoiced with trembling; while James himself had, properly speaking, no other religion, than what flowed from a principle which he called Kingcraft. Indeed, this soon appeared at the Hampton-court conference. This conference, and the disputants on both sides, were appointed by his majesty. For the church, there were nine bishops and about the same number of dignitaries; but for the puritans, there were only four divines, Dr. Rainolds, Dr. Sparke, Mr. Chadderton, and Mr. Knewstubs. These divines having presented their request of a further reformation, in several particulars, towards the conclusion the king arose from his chair, and addressed Dr. Rainolds, saying, “If this be all your party have to say, I will make them conform, or I will hurry them out of the land, or else do worse.” And to close the whole, he said, “I will have none of this arguing. Let them conform, and that quickly, or they shall hear of it.”| Such was the royal logic of the new monarch : This conference, observes the judicious historian, was only a blind to introduce episcopacy into Scotland. The conduct of the king, who bore down all before him, was highly gratifying to the dignified prelates. Besides other instances of palpable flattery, Archbishop Whitgift said, “He was verily persuaded the king spoke by the spirit of God.”

* Neal's Puritans, vol. i. p. 511.-The number of clergy suspended and deprived for nonconformity was, according to Hume, very great, and comprehended at one time a third of all the ecclesiastics in the kingdom | 1 —Hist. of Eng. vol. v. p. 337.

+ M.S. Remarks, p. 411.

f Calderwood's Hist, of Scotland, p. 256. § MS. Remarks, p. 535. * Clark's Lives annexed to Martyr, p. 116.

+ Fuller's Church Hist. b. x. p. 22.

f Warner's Hist. of Eng. vol. ii. p. 477.

§ See Art. Rainolds. | Barlow's Sum of Conference, p. 170, 177.

*I Rapin's Hist. of Eng. vol. ii. p. 162.

** Welwood's Memoirs, p. 21.—Bishop Bancroft, falling on his knees before the king, on this occasion, and with his eyes raised to him, said, “I protest my heart melteth for joy, that Almighty God, of his singular mercy, has given us such a king, as since Christ's time hath not been.”— Mosheim's Eccl. Hist, vol. v. p. 386,

The above mock conference, as it is justly called, taught the puritans what to expect. The threatened storm soon overtook them. The persecuting prelates having received new life, presently renewed their tyrannical proceedings. Mr. Richard Rogers, of Wethersfield in Essex, a divine of incomparable worth, and six other ministers, were convened before the archbishop, and, refusing the oath ex officio, were all suspended. They were cited to appear before him a second time; but the archbishop died on the very day of their appearance. Whitgift, according to Fuller, was one of the worthiest men the church of England ever enjoyed.* Mr. Strype observes, that he was equal to both his predecessors, Parker and Grindal, in right godly and episcopal endowments; and that great wisdom, courage, and gentleness accompanied all his orders. He was, however, an unfeeling and a relentless persecutor, and extravagantly fond of outward splendour, usually travelling with a most magnificent retinue.t Dr. Richard Bancroft having acquitted himself so much to the king's satisfaction, in the conference at Hamptoncourt, was thought the fittest person to succeed Whitgift in the chair of Canterbury. He trod in the steps of his predecessor in all the iniquities of persecution. He entered upon the work where Whitgift concluded, and immediately convened Mr. Rogers and his brethren before him. They endured continual molestations for a long time, having many expensive journies to London. Mr. Rogers was cited also before the Bishop of London, who protested “ by the help of Jesus, that he would not leave one nonconformable minister in all his diocese;” but his death soon after put an end to his career. Mr. Baynes, the excellent lecturer at Cambridge, was silenced, and his lecture put down. Dr. Taylor was suspended from his ministry. Mr. Hilder

* Church Hist. b. x. p. 25. + Life of Parker, Pref. p. 5.

f His train sometimes consisted of 1000 horse. The archbishop being once at Dover, attended by five hundred horse, one hundred of which were his own servants, many of them wearing chains of gold, a person of distinction then arriving from Rome, greatly wondered to see an English archbishop with so splendid a retinue. But seeing him the following sabbath in the cathedral of Canterbury, attended by the above magnificent train, with the dean, prebendaries, and preachers, in their surplices and scarlet hoods; and hearing the music of organs, cornets, and sacbuts, he was seized with admiration, and said, “That the people at Rome were led in blindness, being made to believe, that in England there was neither archbishop, nor bishop, nor cathedral, nor any ecclesiastical government; but that all were pulled down. But he protested, that unless it were in the pope's chapel, he never saw a more solemn sight, or heard a more heavenly sound.”—Paule's Life of Whitgift, p. 104–106.

§ Granger's Biog. Hist. vol. i. p. 340.

« 上一頁繼續 »