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CHAP. 18.

PURITANS.

321

of the year ;-in a word, every custom which had been derived from the church of Rome. They also refused to acknowledge that which the bishops considered of vital importance to them, that the church of Rome was a true church. They looked upon the Pope as Antichrist and its whole system of doctrine and discipline as diametrically opposite to the spirit of Christianity.

The church party pleaded that the forms of religion were to be regulated by the civil government; but the Puritans maintained that the power of the magistracy did not extend to these things, and if it did, that it was wrong to impose things as indispensable which were not found in scripture, especially things that had a tendency to subject the nation again to popery. But good reasoning could avail but little at that period. The queen availed herself of an expression in the act of Supremacy to establish a High Commission Court, whose jurisdiction should extend over the whole kingdom, and which should be empowered to make inquiry into all offences against the ecclesiastical laws, not only by the common method of juries and witnesses, but by all other ways which would effect their purpose. At the head of this court was the Archbishop of Canterbury. The first who was exalted by the queen to this place was Parker, a violent opposer

of the Puritans. From him they received no mercy. Soon as it was known that some of the Puritans officiated without the priestly garments, the London clergy were summoned before the commission Court. The Bishop's chancellor thus addressed them; “My masters, and ye ministers of London, the council's pleasure is, that ye strictly keep the unity of apparrel like this man, (pointing to a Mr. Cole in uniform) with a square cap, a scholar's gown priest-like, a tippet, and in the church a linen surplice; ye that will subscribe, write volo, those who will not, write nolo. Some attempted to remonstrate but were silenced. Sixty-one out of a hundred subscribed to conformity, declaring it however against their consciences, thirty-seven chose rather to cast themselves for support upon divine Providence. Persecution was now violent. A fourth part of the ministers of England were suspended. Many churches were shut up. Loathsome prisons were crowded. Heavy fines and penalties were imposed. Some worshipped God in private bouses with great secrecy, but they were hunted out by the Bishop's spies and informers and violently proceeded against. At length several puritans were executed, and vast multitudes were driven from their homes in great indigence to foreign countries.

Thus oppressed, and seeing no prospect of better things in the established church, a number of the Puritans solemnly resolved

in 1556, “ to break off from the public churches and to assemble, as they had opportunity, in private houses or elsewhere, to worship God in a manner that might not offend against the light of their consciences." Though destitute, afilicted, tormented, they formed no small part of the nation. On a great question in Parliament, relating to alterations in their favour, there were only fifty-nine against, while fifty-eight were for them. The University of Cambridge was strong in their favour, and constantly sent out preachers, who were opposed to all prelatical usurpations. Many, too, were their friends and patrons among the nobility. But the queen was violent in her opposition, and her unrivalled popularity enabled her to carry all her measures. She loved the pomp and splendour of the church, and she feared the spirit of liberty which she saw rising in the breast of the Puritans.

Archbishop Parker died in 1575, and was succeeded by Archbishop Grindall, who was disposed to treat the Puritaps with mildness. In 1583 the primacy was filled by Whitgift, who executed the laws for uniformity with the greatest rigour. Through his agency the High Commission court was newly organised and became a real inquisition. In his first citation, this archbishop caused two hundred and thirty-three ministers to be sus pended in his district for non-conformity. So many were at length suspended, fined and imprisoned, that there remained only about 3000 licensed preachers to supply 9000 parishes.

Elizabeth died March 24, 1603, in the 70th year of her age, and 40th of her reign. Amidst all the contention for forms and ceremonies during her reign, the state of religion must have been very low. The mass of the people received but very little religious instruction. To fill the places of expelled Puritans, the bishops made priests from the basest of the people. The court party ridiculed all as puritans who went twice to a place of worship on the Lord's day and spent the evening in worship or religious instruction. At one period the more zealous clergy established private religious meetings, which were called prophesyings, but they were totally suppressed by Archbishop Whitgift. Reverence for the Sabbath, however, gradually increased. The Papists had reduced this holy day to a level with their superstitious festivals. But the morality of the day was now publicly insisted on among the English protestants, and in 1535 a bill passed in parliament in its favour. It was, however rejected by the Queen, and many of her favourite clergy exclaimed against it as a restraint of Christian liberty, and eclipsing the festivals of the church. The Puri

CHAP. 18.

PURITANS, BROWNISTS.

323

tans, however, and many of the church party observed it better than it had been for ages before. In doctrine the Episcopal Church had generally been decidedly and fully Calvinistic, but in the latter part of Elizabeth's reign the system of Arminius began to find there many advocates.

The authors of this great dissention from the English establishment, were men of excellent character, who had rendered the Protestant cause the most signal services, and endured in its support the severest sufferings. One was Coverdale, who was united with William Tyndal, and John Rodgers, the martyr, in making the first translation of the whole Bible into English. He was silenced at the age of eighty, for nonconformity. John Fox, historian of the English martyrdoms, was another. Their sentiments were expressed in the 39 articles of the church of England, and these," says Neal, their great historian, " they maintained to be Calvinistical, and inconsistent with any other interpretation, and so did the greatest number of the conforming clergy, but as the new explication of Arminius grew into repute, the Calvinists were reckoned old fashioned divines, and at length branded with the name of doctrinal Puritans.” They formed on the continent an attachment to the discipline of Geneva, but they would have been satisfied with an exemption from -some of the habits and ceremonies of the establishment. As oppression increased, some presented a petition to Parliament for an entire reform, and the establishment of a Presbyterian church. These, for their boldness, were committed to Newgate, 1572. This event resulted in the establishment of a regular Presbyterian church at Wandsworth, on the 20th of November of that year. Other Presbyterian churches were established during Elizabeth's reign in most parts of England, and before her death it was computed there were in the realm about 100,000 Presbyterians. But very many of their most learned ministers and best people were driven from the country.

In 1581, a sect was formed among the Puritans by Robert Brown, and took refuge in Holland, called the Brownists. This man not only denied the Church of England as a true church, but rejected Presbyterianism, and plead for Independancy. He considered every church as independent of all other churches; and pastors only as 'brethren privileged for a limited time to preach, and not as a superior order; and he renounced communion not only with the Episcopalians, but with the Presbyterians. The first church of Brownists was formed at London, 1592. The Brownists were much oppressed as intolerable bigots and fanatics. Brown was confined in thirty-two prisons,

but before he died, he conformed to the establishment. His adherents were numerous. “I am afraid," said Sir Walter Raleigh, “ there are near twenty thousand of these men; and when they are driven out of the kingdom, who shall support their wives and children ???

Their order was improved by Mr. John Robinson, pastor of a church of Brownists in the north of England-a man of much learning and piety. From his establishment, all who followed him were called Independents ; though they did not differ materially from the Brownists. Both these churches were driven by oppression into Holland, where they established themselves at Amsterdam and Leyden. A part of Mr. Robinson's church removed to New England in 1622, and settled Plymouth. The first Independent church in England was formed in 1610 by Mr. Henry Jacob.

Elizabeth was succeeded by James VI., king of Scotland, who now assumed the name of James I. At his accession, the hopes of the Puritans were greatly revived, for he had been educated a Scotch Presbyterian, and had said, " I thank God that I am king of the sincerest kick in the world, sincerer than the kirk of England, whose service is an ill said mass in English, it wants nothing of the mass but the listings," meaning the elevation of the host. On his way to London, the Puritans met him, and presented him a petition called the millenary, because it contained the wishes of a thousand ministers. But the Episcopalians, alarmed, frowned and courted the monarch. To quiet the parties, James appointed a conference of divines at Hampton

The disputants were appointed by the king. He had already at heart taken sides with the Episcopalians, and he shewed his feelings by appointing eight bishops, and as many deacons on the one side, and only four Puritans on the other. James acted as moderator, though he did little but brow-beat the Puritans; for, finding that Puritanism was unfriendly to monarchy, he became its inveterate foe-avowing the maxim: no Bishop, no King. He also renounced Calvinism, it being too puritanical, and went over with his court and Bishops to the principles of Arminius-not altering, but giving an Arminian interpretation to the thirty-nine articles. He also published a declaration, encouraging sports on the Lord's day, as the Puritans insisted upon its sacred observance, and had the book of sports drawn up by Bishop Moreton, recomending dancing, archery, leaping, vaulting, May-games, Whitson ales, morrice games, or setting up of may-poles, and carrying rushes into the churches, &c. But of these, neither Papist nor Puritan was to have the benefit.

Under King James, Bancroft became Archbishop of Canter

CHAP. 18. KING JAMES' TRANSLATION OF THE BIBLE. 325

bury. He brought himself into notice by asserting, in a sermon, that bishops were an order distinct from priests, and this by divine right, and that those only who were episcopally ordained, were regular ministers. Advanced to power, he caused the Puritans to feel terribly the rigour of the ecclesiastical laws. Every nonconformist was rejected from the pulpit, and every layman favoring nonconformity, was excommunicated from the church. Such persecution could no longer be borne. Many Puritan families left their native soil, and emigrated to New-England and Virginia. Others were preparing to follow, but were forbidden by severe laws.

While James was thus persecuting the Puritans, he and his court were threatened with a tremendous destruction from the Catholics. Thirty-six barrels of gunpowder were concealed under the parliament-house with a design of blowing up the king, lords, and commons when assembled, and thus overthrowing entirely the Protestant cause, But this awful plot was happily discovered in season to prevent its execution. It occasioned new and severe measures against the Catholics, and confirmed the Puritans in their belief of the importance of relinquishing entirely the Romish forms and ceremonies. This plot was fathered upon

the Puritans, that they might become more the objects of public indignation.

In 1610, the furious Bancroft departed this life. He was succeeded by the mild and pacific Abbot, who was ever disposed to treat the Puritans with lenity and kindness.

King James died, not without suspicion of poison, March 27th, 1625. One of the most important events of his reigu was the formation of that translation of the sacred Scriptures, which is now in common use. Nine translations in English had been previously made; viz. Wickliff's New Testament in 1380. Tyndall's do. 1526—first edition of the Bible 1535; Matthew's Bible 1537 ; Cranmer's 1539. Geneva 1559, (the first that was printed with numerical verses,) Bishop's 1568; Rhenish Testament 1582, and Bible 1609, 1610 by the Catholics. But the English language was continually changing, and many things existed in the above which were viewed as incorrect by the Puritans, and they requested the King, at the Hampton court conference, to order a new translation. The King cornplied with their request, and appointed fifty-four of the chief divines of both universities to undertake the work, under the following regulations.-" That they keep as close as possible to the Bishop's Bible ; that the names of the holy writers be retained according to vulgar use; that the old ecclesiastical words be kept, as church not to be translated congregation, &c. that

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