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for Pretended Reformation.


WHIT- ing rumbling and bombast in his devotion, he was much Abp. Cant. admired by the ignorant crowd. And now, the delusion

working strong, he fancied himself honoured with an extraHacket pre- ordinary calling. He challenged the character of a prophet of commission God's vengeance where his mercy was refused ; and declared, of a prophet. that, if reformation was not established in England this year, Cosins Conspiracy the three great plagues of sword, pestilence, and famine, would


Wigginton, the Nonconformist minister, brought Hacket to
Coppingher, and made an acquaintance between them; and,

afterwards, Arthington, and Lancaster (a schoolmaster), were Coppingher taken into the junto. Coppingher was a strong visionary, believes him- at least in pretence. He talked of supernatural privilege, and the privilege immediate correspondence with heaven, and that God had of an extraordinary revealed a wonderful mystery to him. He knew a way to

bring the queen and all her council and nobility to repentance, or at least to discover those for traitors who refused to relent. The meaning of repentance was the setting up the Presbyterian discipline. Coppingher acquainted Wiggington with this mystery, who gave no discouragement to his pretensions ; but Arthington and Lancaster disliked the motion, told him the prosecution was impracticable and likely to prove unfortunate in the issue. Coppingher, who was willing to put his creden

tials to the test and gain the approbation of the Puritan His letter to ministers, wrote a long letter to Cartwright upon this subject. Cartwright This was not done without something of invitation on Cartlution of six wright's part: he had, it seems, offered to examine Copping


her's proof of an extraordinary calling. Coppingher, to satisfy him, told him, " that, after a solemn fast and other religious preparations, he was thrown into an ecstatic dream, carried into heaven, and had the glories of that place discovered to him ; that he had a strong impulse for some extraordinary undertaking, and believed in the suggestion of the Holy Spirit; that, to prevent being led into mistakes by the forwardness of imagination, he had written for advice to several preachers, both in England and elsewhere; that, at last, he wrote to a silenced minister in the city; that this minister assured him God continued still to work extraordinarily in some persons for special purposes. He told Cartwright, that, in case he approved his mission, he would give him a detail of his design, and acquaint him with the particulars he had in charge ; that


the business of his letter was to desire Cartwright's resolution ELIZAof some questions, with some directions upon the matter of what he was going about.

The questions to be resolved are as follows :

“ First. Whether in these days there are any extraordinary workers and helpers to the Church, either apostles, evangelists, or prophets, where need requires more or less or Nazarites, healers, admonishers, in any special sort?

“ Secondly. If there are still such extraordinary persons, is not their calling immediately from God, and his Spirit a seal unto their spirits, through which they have such excellent gifts and graces of wisdom, knowledge, courage, magnanimity, zeal, patience, humility, &c., as do manifest such their calling to the Church?

“ Thirdly. If such graces and gifts shall appear, whether may the Church enter into the consideration of the success which God may please to give, yea or no? If they may, in what manner are they to proceed with such a person extraordinarily called ?

“ Fourthly. If it shall be confessed that there may be extraordinary callings from God to the end of the world, the next question is, Whether such callings may be found in a country where the Gospel is truly preached, and the sacraments in some sort) truly administered, though not universally, but here and there, -not perfectly, but in part,and where the true discipline is not established, but oppugned by the public magistrate, &c. ?

Fifthly. If it shall be answered, that no extraordinary callings are to be looked for but where there is a waste of the Church, whether can it be said truly that there is a waste of the Church where the prince and the chief magistrates are ignorant of the necessity of the discipline, opposing themselves against it, persecuting such as seek it, by means whereof all wicked persons whatsoever are admitted to public exercise of the Word and to the Lord's table, -whether, I say, may it be hoped for, that God, for his glory's sake and the good of the Church, may extraordinarily call some person, by giving him a spirit above others to deal with the magistrate in the name of God, to provide that the people may be everywhere taught, and true discipline executed where the people already have knowledge?

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WHIT- Sixthly. Where pastors, doctors, elders, widows, &c., are

Abp. Cant. wanting in the Church established, and only a minister thrust

upon the people to be their pastor, without their choice or
liking, whether it can be truly said a man so placed, though
furnished with all inward gifts and graces of God's Spirit fit
for that calling, has the lawful and perfect calling of a minister

or no ?”


Upon Cartwright's receiving this letter, he sent Coppingher a cautious message, that he should attempt nothing but by advice, and manage with prudence and circumspection. This answer gave Coppingher no satisfaction, who pressed for a more particular resolution : upon which, a day was fixed to

discourse with him. That his motion was thus far considered, Feb. 13,

appears by his second expostulatory letter to Cartwright, 1590.

in which he complains he had been checked in his undertaking for the service of God and the Church, and desires the day appointed for the conference might hold. His reason is, because the juncture would not admit of any farther delay; that it was well known some people were in danger of their lives; and that, unless he had been hindered, he could have procured their release before now. And, towards the close, he

conjures Cartwright to “advise the preachers to deal speedily Bancroft's and circumspectly, lest some blood of the saints be shed.” Dangerous But the Dissenting ministers, distrusting Coppingher's Positions, book 4,

conduct, and probably not liking his design, broke their chap. 6. Cartwright appointment for the conference, and refused to correspond

with him any longer. And, to take their leave, Cartwright, gage from Travers, Charke, and Egerton, sent him word by Hockenhall, Coppingher.

“ that they would leave him to himself, or rather to Satan, and that they thought him unworthy to be conferred withal.”

Wiggington proved a much kinder casuist, and gave him an raged by Wiggington, affirmative resolution to his questions, under his hand. It is to

this effect: that God does and will continue to raise up extraordinary assistants to his Church, under all the distinctions put by Coppingher in his first question ; that the authority of these extraordinary persons cannot be discovered to themselves by any other means, excepting by God's Spirit ; neither can it be known to others, but by the good effect it produces. That a person, thus called, need not put many questions to mortal men for the justifying his calling: however, he must

and some others disen


He is encou


have the character of a pious man before he enters on the ELIZAundertaking ; especially, if he has the misfortune of being a known libertine formerly. That where the principal magistracy of any country are ignorant and untaught, there it may be truly said that country is out of order, desolate, or waste : and that this reasoning holds much stronger when not so much as the thirtieth or fortieth part of a kingdom is well constituted, or instructed.

Wiggington, in another paper of his own hand, endeavours to maintain such extraordinary callings by two instances : his first is in a person mentioned by Josephus, who passed through the streets at Jerusalem, and denounced destruction before it was besieged. His next instance was of a man that came from Yorkshire to London, declared he had seen an angel in a vision, and was charged to foretel the judgments of God which should shortly fall upon the whole kingdom.

From hence it appears, that Wiggington was the silenced preacher hinted by Coppingher, in his first letter to Cartwright: and that he agreed to fast and pray with some others, for a farther evidence of his mission. The rest of Coppingher and Cosins' ConHacket's story comes up the next year.

spiracy for Before I enter therefore upon the remainder, I shall enter- Reformatain the reader with the ecclesiastical affairs in Scotland. A general assembly being convened at Edinburgh, there happened a great contest between this body and the lords of ses- A contest sion. The dispute was concerning the jurisdiction of the re- assembly at spective courts. The occasion was this : John Graham, one Edinburgh of the lords of the session, was charged with suborning a pub- of the session. lic notary to forge an instrument : the notary confessed, upon examination, that the instrument signed by him, was brought a. d. 1591. to him engrossed by William Graham, brother to John, and that he knew nothing of the contents. Now forgery being capital in Scotland, he was prosecuted for the foul practice, cast, and executed. Graham, enraged at this discovery, enters an action against Simpson, minister of Sterling, pretending he had overawed the notary into a false confession. The minister complains to the assembly; upon which Graham was summoned to answer the scandal raised upon one of their members : he, making his appearance, told them he was ready to make good the charge against Simpson before competent judges. This was construed pleading in bar to the jurisdiction of their court:




the assembly therefore replied, he must stand to their judgAbp . Cant. ment, or be censured for the slander. Upon this the lords of

the session sent a message to desire the assembly not to intermeddle in business proper to the cognizance of the temporal courts ; and which was now in due form of law depending before them. The assembly answered, that their proceedings were no encroachment upon the privilege of session, neither did they intend to reach into matters belonging to the magistracy: but the purging one of their own members froin scandal, might be managed, they conceived, without derogation to any civil judicatory: they desire them therefore not to be disconcerted at the Church's going on with a process of this nature. The lords, dismissed with this answer, sent for John Graham, who excepted to the jurisdiction of the assembly, affirmed the cause was of a civil nature, and ought to be tried before the lords of the session. The assembly, on the other hand, voted themselves the proper judges, ordered Graham to plead before them, and that otherwise they would proceed to sentence against him. The lords looked upon these proceedings as downright invasion : and that, under this colour, any minister might challenge an exemption from pleading in the civil courts, and be carried off to the bar of the Church. They resolved, therefore, at first, to send a prohibition to the assembly, and command them to stop the process. But contesting their jurisdiction thus far, being thought unseasonable, they dropped

this resolution, and agreed to compound the matter; and thus 629. an accommodation was settled by a compromise, that neither Spotswood's sessions, nor assembly, should proceed any farther. .

This assembly exerted themselves, though with insignificant tory, p. 384, The assembly spirit, on another head: they passed a general revocation of all revocation of things done in prejudice of the Church's patrimony; and that,

whether such alienations were made by beneficed ministers, or by any others of ecclesiastic character. This was thought a good expedient for reviving the claim to the tithes and estates which had been lately conveyed to the laity: but those who had enriched themselves with the plunder of the Church ridiculed this revocation. It must be said, the assembly had disabled themselves in a great measure from pursuing their claim, by suppressing the ancient distinctions of the hierarchy, and altering the form of the Church, upon which these privileges and estates were all along settled.


Church His

all aliena tions of Church revenues.


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