網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

יי

WHIT- duce something more perfect from his own invention. His

GIFT,
Abp. Cant. model was drawn in a book entitled, “ A Treatise of Reforma-

tion,” and printed the year previous at Middleborough. And
having sent as many copies into England as he thought neces-
sary, followed his blow, and came over soon after.

At this time the Dutch had a numerous congregation at Norwich ; many of these people inclining to Anabaptism, were the more disposed to entertain any new resembling opinions. Brown made his first essay upon three Dutchmen, and being of a positive imperious temper, took care to pick out the most flexible and resigning. And after having made some progress amongst them, and raised himself a character for zeal and sanctity, he began to tamper farther, and advance to the English ; and here he took in the assistance of one Richard Harrison, a country school-master. Being thus reinforced and flushed with success, he played his project at length, formed Churches out of both nations, but mostly of the English : and now he instructed his audience, that the Church of England was no true Church; that there was little of Christ's institution in the public ministrations, and that all good Christians were obliged to separate from those impure assemblies; that their next step was to join him and his disciples ; that here was nothing but what was pure and unexceptionable, evidently inspired by the Spirit of God, and refined from all alloy and

profanation 1. Heylin,

These discourses prevailed on the audience, and precept was Presbyt.

brought up to practice: and now his disciples, called Brownists, formed a new society, and made a total defection from the Church. For the men of this thorough reformation refused to join any congregation in any public office of worship. This

was the first gathering of Churches, the first schism in form, He forms

which appeared in England. To justify these opposite congreseparate

gations, Brown scattered his books in most parts of the kingdom; but the government was far from conniving at these liberties; for Elias Thacker and John Copping were indicted this summer upon the statute of 23 Eliz. cap. 2, for dispersing these pamphlets, brought in guilty of felony, and executed at Bury St. Edmund's. The crime they were charged with was stirring up sedition, and defaming the Common Prayer.

As for Brown, the author, he was more gently dealt with

Hist. of

lib. 7.

congregations.

June 4. Stow's Annals.

1 From the Brownists many writers deduce the origin of the Independents and other Congregationalists.

BETH.

than either of these criminals, or many others perverted by ELIZAhim. Being convented before Freake, bishop of Norwich, and other ecclesiastical commissioners, he not only maintained his schism, but misbehaved himself to the court, upon which he was committed to the custody of the sheriff of Norwich. But the lord treasurer Burleigh being his near relation, procured 582. his enlargement. This nobleman, who endeavoured his recovery, ordered him to come to London, and Whitgift being now at Lambeth, he was referred to him for better instruction. This prelate, by the dexterity of his management, and the Heisbrought force of his reasoning, brought him at last to a tolerable com- relupses ; pliance with the Church of England. Being dismissed by the and recovers. archbishop, the treasurer sent him to his father in the country, with directions for gentle usage. But here, instead of disengaging himself from the remaining scruples, his heterodoxies revived, he relapsed to his former condition, and proved utterly incorrigible ; upon which the old gentleman discharged him the family. At last, after a great deal of ramble and suffering for his obstinacy, he recovered himself so far as to take a benefice with cure of souls in Northamptonshire. It was Lindsell, bishop of Peterborough's discipline which brought him to this recollection. The bishop being informed that Brown lived at Northampton, and was busy in promoting his sect, sent him a citation to come before him ; he refused to appear : upon which contemptuous omission he was excommunicated. Brown being deeply affected with the solemnity of this censure, made his submission, moved for absolution, and received it; and from this time continued in the communion of the Church. He lived and died at last in Northampton gaol, but not upon the score of nonconformity, but breach of the peace : and thus the concluding his history at once, has carried me much beyond the time; for Brown lived to the year 1630. But though Brown conformed himself, he was very unhappy in Hist, of other respects; for it was not in his power to close the schism, Biblioth. nor retrieve those he had misled. Many of his followers con- Eccles tinued unreclaimed, and suffered death for their mispersuasion. Anglic

. The severity of the laws for nonconformity, and the execution of Thacker and Copping, put the Puritans upon their guard, and made them manage with great precaution. Until this time these Dissenters had no distinct form either of discipline or worship for their congregations : and thus every

Heylin,

drawn to

WHIT- preacher being left to his discretion, collected what directions
GIFT,
Abp. Cant. he thought proper out of Cartwright's books. But this divine

had by this time beaten out his scheme more at length, and
drawn up a body of discipline. This book was looked on as the

standard for public worship. A book of And now a general assembly was held for putting this discidiscipline

pline in execution; and that their proceedings might be more gether, with unexceptionable, and under shelter, it was resolved that the tion of the peace of the Established Church should be shocked as little putting it in as possible. To this purpose, the following articles were practice.

agreed :

“ First, That those who were called to the ministry of any church, should first be approved by the classis, or greater assemblies; and then recommended to the diocesan, to be ordained by him.”

By the way, a “ classis” consists of a few neighbouring Bancroft's ministers met together, commonly to the number of twelve. Dangerous Positions,

To proceed: “Those ceremonies in the Book of Common lib. 3. p. 108. Prayer, which are contested upon the score of their being ex

tracted from the Breviaries and Missals, ought to be omitted, provided this may be done without danger of being barred their function'. But in case there is apparent danger of being deprived, then this matter must be referred to the classis' of the respective precincts, and determined by them.

Thirdly, If subscription to the Articles of Religion, and the Book of Common Prayer, shall be farther urged, it is thought the Book of Articles may be subscribed pursuant to the statute: that is, only such articles as contain the sum of Christian faith, and the doctrine of the sacraments. But for many weighty reasons, this subscription ought neither to be carried to the rest of the articles, nor to the Book of Common Prayer. Compliance was not to go thus far, though a man should be deprived, and struck out of the ministry for his refusal.

“ Farther, it was resolved, though not in decisive language, that churchwardens and collectors for the poor, might be turned into elders and deacons. This was so contrived, that the office might be new in some measure, without changing the names, or giving a different face to the state of the

1 These religionists forgot that the Roman Church, like every visible Church on earth, is a mixed system, partly good and partly evil; and that many portions of its Missals are as excellent as others are objectionable.

13 Eliz,

cap. 12.

BETH.

church. For this purpose, notice was to be given of their ELIZAelection about a fortnight before the customary time. The congregation was likewise to be put in mind, at such times, of our Saviour's ordinance for the appointing of watchmen and overseers in his Church, that their business is take care for the prevention of scandal; and if any offensive behaviour happens, that it is their office to see it corrected.

" And, as touching deacons and deaconesses, the Church is to be reminded of the apostle's admonition; they are not to govern their choice by common practice, but that sound belief, zeal, and integrity ought to be preferred to wealth and condition; and that the Church is to pray to God Almighty in the mean time, that they may be directed to proper persons.

“ The names of those elected in this manner were to be published the next Lord’s-day. After this, the respective duties between them and the congregation was to be set forth. And, lastly, they were to be admitted to their office with the prayers of all the people."

There were likewise regulations made for a division of the churches into classical, provincial, and general assemblies, pursuant to the “ Book of Discipline.” The classes are required to keep a registry of their acts, and deliver them to the greater assemblies. The classes are likewise required to use their interest with the patrons within their precincts, that none but persons well qualified may be presented. Their comitial assemblies, held at the time of the act and commencement at Oxford and Cambridge, were to make contributions for the relief of the poor ; but more especially for the relief of those deprived for not subscribing the articles. And here contribution for the Scotch ministers was particularly recommended.

By the way, the king of Scots having broke through his confinement, and recovered himself from the Ruthven conspiracy, several of the ministers who had been most forward in Refutat. the faction were forced to quit the kingdom. Some of these Libel, de men took shelter in England ; and it is their case which is thus Scotic. consider ed by the assembly.

“ Lastly, All provincial synods were to appoint their next meeting, fix upon representatives for the national or general

583. assembly, and furnish their proxies with instructions. This Dangerous national synod was to meet either sitting the parliament, or at Positions,

lib. 3. p. 45. some other stated times every year.” Under these disguises they hoped to carry on their dis

wright's

See Cart

A.D. 1644.

lis Šabbatis

cum pre

habens com

whit- cipline, and cover themselves from prosecution; and, to make Abp. Cant. their motion the smoother, they agreed to drop the exercise of Directions, prophesying, and set up lectures in some of the principal printed

towns of every county. But, after all, there was one great difficulty remaining : and that was, the inconsistency of Cartwright’s model with the worship publicly established. No strains of art could bring the order of Geneva and the English rubric to any tolerable harmony. This difference was not to

be compromised by those who resolved to adhere to CartBancroft's wright's direction. However, they found out something of an Dangerous Positions, evasive expedient. For instance, their method was either to lib. 3. p. 82. hire a lay-brother, (as Snape did a lame soldier of Berwick,)

or some ignorant curate, to read the Common Prayer; but, as for themselves and their followers, they never came to church

till the liturgy was over, and the psalm was singing before Ego singu- the sermon. Thus, one of these ministers, in his letter to

Field, acquaints this Dissenter, that he stood clear of the scripta li

Common Prayer, and preached every Lord's-day in his congreturgie formula nihil gation ; that he managed with this liberty by the advice of the mercii, in reverend brethren who had lately made him one of the classis,

which was held weekly in some place or other.” beo,” c. Thus the Church affairs stood when Whitgift came to the Heylin, Hist. Pres- see of Canterbury. Now, this prelate had no latitude for Bancroft's indulgence or comprehension.

He had formerly engaged Dangerous in controversy with Cartwright, and was entirely for a thorough lib. 3. p. 84. conformity. It is granted the Puritans were not unfurnished Whitgift

with great men in their interest. Amongst some of these may formity. be reckoned the earls of Huntingdon and Leicester ; Roger,

lord North ; sir Francis Knolles, treasurer of the household; and secretary Walsingham. But, as for the queen, she had no good opinion of the Dissenters: they maintained some uncourtly doctrine, as it was then reckoned; they confined her majesty's supremacy to temporal jurisdiction ; they did not caress her prerogative, nor stretch her empire far enough into the Church. Their not falling in with the queen’s inclination was one main reason of drawing disfavour upon them. This made her cold to intercession, and disabled their patrons from doing them much service : and, to prevent importunities of this kind, she referred ecclesiastical business wholly to Whitgift's management. This prelate acted vigorously, and answered the confidence put in him. His first business was pressing subscription to the three articles above-mentioned.

cctu concionem ha

presses con

« 上一頁繼續 »