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many years. Such were the proceedings of that archbishop who is said to have been eminently distinguished for his mild and excellent temper.” • The suffering puritans, during this year, presented a petition to the convocation, tending to promote a reconciliation betwixt the conformists and nonconformists, but most probably without the least effect. They also made another effort to obtain a redress of their grievances from the parliament, by presenting an humble supplication to the house of commons; in which they say, “ It pierces our hearts with grief to hear the cries of the people for the word of God. The bishops either preach not at all, or very seldom. And others abandon their flocks, contrary to the charge of Christ, feed my sheep. But great numbers of the best qualified for preaching, and of the most industrious in their spiritual function, are not suffered quietly to discharge their duties, but are followed with innumerable vexations, notwithstanding they are neither heretics nor schismatics, but keep within the pale of the church, and persuade others so to do, who would have departed from it. They fast and pray for the queen and the church, though they have been rebuked for it, and diversly punished by officers both civil and ecclesiastical. They are suspended and deprived of their ministry, and the fruits of their livings sequestered to others. This has continued many years; and last of all many of them are committed to prison, when some have been chained with irons, and continued in hard durance a long time. “To bring about these severities, the bishops tender the suspected persons an oath ex officio, to answer all interrogatories to be put to them, though it be to accuse themselves; and when they have got a confession, they proceed upon it to punish them with all rigour, contrary to the laws of God and the land. Those who refused have been cast into prison, and commanded there to lie without bail, till they would yield. The grounds of these troubles are not impiety, immorality, want of learning or diligence in their ministerial work, but not being satisfied in the use of certain ceremonies and orders of the church of Rome, and for not being able to declare, that every thing in the Book of Common Prayer is agreeable to the word of God.”t Two bills were at the same time brought into the house of commons, for the abolition of the old ecclesiastical laws, and the old Book of Common Prayer, and for the establishment of a new one; but the queen being offended, forbad them to proceed." All the endeavours of the puritans proving ineffectual, and being wearied with repeated applications to their superiors, they began to despair of obtaining relief. Therefore, in one of their assemblies, they came to this conclusion: “That since the magistrates could not be induced to reform the discipline of the church, it was lawful, after waiting so many years, to act without them, and introduce a reformation in the best manner they could.” They had their private classes or associations in Essex, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, London, Cambridge and other places, when they consulted about the most proper means of promoting the desired object. And having revised their book, entitled “The Holy Discipline of the Church, described in the Word of God,” it was subscribed by above five hundred ministers, all divines of good learning, and of unspotted lives. 4. In the year 1587, Mr. Holmes, rector of Kenn, was driven from his flock and his living. Mr. Horrocks, vicar of Kildwick, in the West-Riding of Yorkshire, was convened before the high commission at York, committed to York castle, and enjoined a public recantation, for suffering Mr. Wilson, another puritan minister, to preach in his church, though it was his native place. Mr. Wilson was also convened, and cast into prison. After he had obtained his release, he was obliged to remove out of the archbishop's province; and going to London, he was called before Whitgift and suspended. Mr. Allison was twice suspended. Mr. Penry was summoned before the high commission and committed to prison. Mr. Johnson and Mr. Bainbrigg, both fellows in the university of Cambridge, and popular preachers, were cast into prison, where they continued a long time. Mr. Jewel was tried at the public assizes for nonconformity, and condemned to suffer five months' imprisonment. Mr. Wight was harassed for many years, when his study was broken open, searched, and his private papers carried away. Mr. Darrel and Mr. Moore were both cited before the high commission at Lambeth, when the former was deposed from his ministry, and committed close prisoner to the Gatehouse, and the latter close prisoner to the Clink, where they continued
* Paule's Life of Whitgift, p. 37. + Parte of a Register, p. 323f MS. Register, p. 672.
many years. Mr. Udal was summoned before the council, sent close prisoner to the Gatehouse, and not suffered to have pen, ink, or paper, or any one to speak to him. He was afterwards tried at the public assizes and condemned as a felon. Having received sentence of death, pardon was offered him if he would have recanted ; but he continued firm to his principles, and died in the Marshalsea, as a martyr in the cause of religious liberty. The proceedings of the high commission against the afflicted puritans, now exceeding all bounds, men of the greatest eminence began even to question the legality of the court. But the archbishop, to get over this difficulty, and remove the odium from himself, sent the principal nonconformists, especially those possessed of worldly estates, to be prosecuted in the star-chamber." Indeed, several of the bishops, as well as many of the lords temporal, opposed these proceedings; and it appears from a list now before me, that upwards of one hundred and twenty of the house of commons, were not only averse to persecution, but zealous advocates for a reformation of the church, and the removal of those burdens under which the puritans groaned." . Therefore, in 1588, a bill against pluralities and nonresidence passed the commons, and was carried up to the lords; but by the determined opposition of the zealous prelates, it came to nothing.: The puritans still continued to hold their associations. Many divines, highly celebrated both for learning and piety, were leaders in their assemblies, and chosen moderators: as, Messrs. Knewstubs, Gifford, Rogers, Fenn and Cartwright. At one of these assemblies, held at Coventry, it was resolved, “ That private baptism is unlawful.— That the sign of the cross ought not to be used in baptism.— That the faithful ought not to communicate with ignorant ministers.--That the calling of bishops is unlawful.— That it is not lawful to be ordained by them, nor to rest in their deprivation of any from the ministry.—And that
* Fuller's Church Hist. b. ix. p. 187.
+ M.S. Chronology, vol. ii. p. 417. (15.)
f. During the debate upon this bill in the upper houses, when it was signified that the queen would confer with the bishops upon the points contained in the bill, the celebrated Lord Gray said, “he greatly wondered at her majesty choosing to confer with those who were enemies to the reformation; and added, that he wished the bishops might be served as they were in the days of Henry VIII. when they were all thrust out of o-store. Annals, vol. iii. p. 543.−Fuller's Church Hist, b. ix.
sitype's Annals, vol. iii. p. 410,471.
for the restoration of ecclesiastical discipline, it ought to be taught the people, as occasion shall serve." Some of the more zealous nonconformists about this time, published Martin Mar-Prelate, and other satirical pamphlets. They were designed to expose the blemishes of the established church, and the tyrannical proceedings of the bishops. They contained much truth, but were clothed in very offensive language. Many of the puritans were charged with being the authors: as, Udal, Penry, Throgmorton, and Wigginton; but the real authors were never known. However, to put a stop to these publications, the queen issued her royal proclamation, “ For calling in all schismatical and seditious books, as tending to introduce monstrous and dangerous innovation, with the malicious purpose of dissolving the present prelacy and established church.”f The flame of contention betwixt the conformists and nonconformists, broke out this year with redoubled fury, when Dr. Bancroft, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury, ventured to assert, that the order of bishops was superior to that of presbyters, by divine appointment, and that the denial of it was heresy. This new doctrine; was readily adopted by many, in favour of their high notions of episcopal ordination, and gave new fuel to the flame of controversy. They who embraced the sentiments of Bancroft, considered all ministers not episcopally ordained, as irregularly invested with the sacred office, as inferior to the Romish priests, and as mere laymen. In the year 1590, the persecution of the puritans still raged with unabating fury. Many of the best divines were prosecuted with the utmost rigour in the high commission and the star-chamber. Mr. Hubbock and Mr. Kendal, two divines in great repute at Oxford, were cited before Whitgift, and suspended. Mr. Hildersham was prosecuted a second time in the high commission, and again suspended. He was obliged to enter into bonds not to preach in any F. of England; and when restored he was not allowed, or some time, to preach at any place south of the river Trent. The celebrated Mr. Cartwright, with many of his brethren, endured much severe persecution. This divine having been prosecuted for nonconformity, was driven into a foreign land, where he remained several years in a state of exile. Upon his return for the benefit of his health, he was immediately apprehended, and, though in a very lanfo condition, was cast into prison. At length, aving obtained his liberty, he was suspended by his diocesan, and convened before the high commission, when thirty-one articles were exhibited against him. But refusing the oath ex officio, to answer these articles, he was immediately committed to the Fleet, with his brethren, Messrs. Stephen Egerton, Humphrey Fenn, Daniel Wight, Farmer, Edward Lord, Edmund Snape, Andrew King, Rushbrooke, - Wiggins, John Field, Royde, John Payne, William Proudlove, Melancton Jewel, &c." Many others were summoned at the same time: as, Messrs. Henry Alvey, Thomas Edmunds, William Perkins, Edmund Littleton, John Johnson, Thomas Stone, Thomas Barber, Hercules Cleavely, and Andrew Nutter. These believing it to be their duty to take the oath, deposed many things relative to the associations, and thus became witnesses against their brethren; for which they were most probably released. But the others underwent many examinations; received much unkind treatment in the high commission and star-chamber; and they continued in rison several years. As this storm was gathering, Mr. "rancis Kett, a man of some learning, and master of arts in one of the universities, was convened before the Bishop of Norwich; and for holding divers detestable opinions, as they are called, he was condemned and burnt near the city of Norwich. Such was the outrageous persecution in the reign of Queen Elizabeth ! In . year 1592, the nonconformists had many bold and zealous advocates in both houses of parliament. Mr. Attorney Morrice, a man of distinguished eminence, moved the house of commons to enquire into the inquisition and other proceedings of the bishops, contrary to the honour * Strype's Whitgift, p. 831–333. + Parallel betwixt Phanatics, p. 11. Edit, 1661; from Stow.
* Fuller's Church Hist. b. ix. p. 194. + The bishops having cried out loudly against Martin Mar-Prelate, it was prohibited that no person should presume to carry it about him, upon pain of punishment. This the queen declared in the presence of the Earl of Leicester, who, pulling the book out of his pocket, and shewing it the queen, said, “what then will become of me?” But it does not appear that any thing was done.—Selection Harleim Miscel. p. 157. Edit. 1793. # Sparrow’s Collec. p. 173. § The first English reformers admitted only two orders of church-officers, bishops and deacons, to be of divine appointment. They accounted a bishop and a presbyter to be only two names for the same office. But Bancroft, in his sermon at Paul's Cross, January 12, 1588, maintained, that the bishops of England were a distinct order from priests, and possessed a suporiority over them, jure divino. Mr. Strype thinks that Bancroft published this new doctrine under the instructions of Whitgift.-Strype's Whitgift, p. 292. | Mosheim's Eccl. Hist, vol. iv. p. 393,