Page images
PDF
EPUB

honour the Father so we should honour the Son; and all the world shall never bring me to shew more reverence at the hearing of the name of Jesus, than at the hearing of the

who ministered should proceed to the end of the service. To which his Majesty most readily and religiously condescended, and gave him thanks for that his seasonable and pious motion.--As for the Deanery of the chapel, it was of long standing in the court, but had been discontinued from the death of Dr. George Carew Dean of Windsor, Anno 1572, till King James bis . coming to this crown, at what time Bancroft, then Bishop of London, conceiving into what dangers the Church was like to run, by the multitude of Scots about him, thought it expedient that some Clergy-men of note and eminence should be attendant always in and about the Court. And thereupon it was advised, that, to the Bishop. Almoner and the clerk of the closet, a Dean of the Chapel should be added, to look unto the diligent and due performance of God's public service, and order matters of the choir. According to which resolution, Dr. James Mountague was recommended to the King for the first Dean of the chapel in his time : succeeded in that place by Andrews, and he now by Laud.”

When Dr. Laud became Dean of the Chapel Royal, the times were materially altered from what they had been in the days of Bishop Andrews, which, Mr. Mede says, “were times of better awe than now they are.” But when Dr. Laud succeeded to the office, the Predestinarian controversy, as it was then conducted ard fomented under the auspices of Abbot, had done incalculable injury to the cause of Uniformity; and the Puritans, it is seen, had assumed fresh courage by the auspicious decisions of the Synod of Dort, and were determined, at all hazards, to follow up their advantages. In this state of the Established Church, that which had been considered necessary by Drs. Bancroft and Andrews for the establishment of the mind of King James, was deemed equally necessary for confirming the minds of the people : and, for this reason, the decency and order” observed in the King's chapel were recommended for adoption throughout the kingdom. Other circumstances conspired to render the general adoption of these observances desirable, among which has been already noticed the case of the Queen, page 502. When it was afterwards ignorantiy objected against Archbishop Laud, that he had introduced innovations into the service of the church, his friends commonly defended him by alleging “ the practice of Bishop Andrews's chapel,” which his Grace had admired and endeavoured to bring the Church of England uniformly to observe. The greatest defect in his character, noted both by friends and foes, was—that, in the execution of his desigus, he did not always adhere to the excellent rule of suaviter in modo, though no one complained of his deficiency in the other clause of the description, fortiter in re. Yet many excuses may be made for his conduct. Dr. Twisse, with all his keen Puritanic animosity, was a very mild specimen of the violent party that was then exciting the popular fury against the National Church, and clamouring for its destruction. If, on such an emergency, the opposite party, that strove to maintain the dignity of the church, ran for a season into the contrary extreme, and sanctioned many actions and writings, of which in their cooler moments they could not entirely approve,- it was no more than that which any one acquainted with the constitution of human beings might naturally expect; and, though an infirmity greatly to be deplored and carefully guarded against, yet it was by no means confined to one side, but both parties appear to have acted alike under its influence. The just and weighty reasons of Dr. Laud for the unwearied attempts which he made to uphold the dignity of the Church, are thus briefly summed up by himself, in the answer which he delivered at the bar of the House of Lords, after the articles of his impeachment had been read : “ Ever since I came in place, I have laboured nothing more, than that the external public worship of God, (so much slighted in divers parts of this kingdom,) "might be preserved ; and that with as much decency and uniformity as might be. For I evidently saw, that the public neglect of God's service in the outward face of it, and the nasty lying of many places dedicated to that service, had almost cast a damp upon the true and inward worship of God, which while we live in the body needs ex

name Jehovah: And when we are (as we should be) intent upon our religious comportment before God according to the inward adoration in spirit, that we should watch, when a word comes, to perform outward obeisance, in my judgment is very strange.* And I remember how faintly Mr. #. carries himself in this; and others, in pleading for it, most of all urge this, that nobody is troubled about it. But now more than enough must yield or suffer. I never had experience of the practice till now, and that makes me the bolder to write as I do. Yet whatsoever we shall be put unto, I am glad that I have such liberty to confer with you thereabouts. I am lately grown acquainted with my Lord of Armagh, being encouraged to write unto his Grace about the matter of the Sabbath ; which I willingly apprehended, and acquainted him with all my grounds whereupon I proceeded; and he justifies them all. I intreated also help in Antiquityt about the notion of a Sab

ternal helps, and all little enough to keep it in any vigour. And this I did to the utmost of my knowledge, according both to law and canon, and with the consent and liking of the people : Nor did any command issue out from me, against the one, nor without the other."

* “ As for bowing at the name Jesus,-it is commanded by our Church. And, for myself, I hold it not unlawful to adore my Saviour upon any cue or hint given. Yet could I never believe it to be the meaning of that place of the Philippians, [ that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,' &c.] nor that it can be inferred thence otherwise than by way of a general and indefinite consequence. I derive it rather from the custom of the world, in several religions thus to express some kind of reverence when that which they acknowledge for their God is named, as we find the Turks do at this day. Besides, I conceive, to do this reverence at the name Jesus only, is proper to the Latin church, and it may be of later standing. For if sume Greeks have not deceived me, the custom of the Orient is to bow the head, not only at the name Jesus, but at the name Christ, and sometimes (though not so frequently) at the name God. And if that were the fashion of the elder Christianity, that out of St. Jerome would sound more to the purpose, Moris est ecclesiastici Christo genuflectere, [it is the custom of the church to bow the knee to Christ.]

That the worship of the inward man is that which God principally requires and looks at, I think no christian mau denies. But what then? Doth not our Saviour's rule hold notwithstanding in such a comparison, These things ought ye to have done, and not to have left the other undone? And consider, that the question is not here, (as most men seem to make it,) between inward worship and outward worship seorsim, (for in such case, it is plain, the outward is nothing worth,) but whether the inward worship together with the outward may not be more acceptable to God than the inward alone ?-As for that so commonly-objected scripture in this question, of worshipping the Father in Spirit and truth, as the characteristical difference of the evangelical worship from the legal ; I believe it bath a fär different sense from that it is commonly taken to have, and that the Jews, in our Saviour's sense, worshipped the Father in Spirit and truth.”-MEDE's Reply.

† This is another proof of Dr. Twisse's deficiency in a knowledge of the Ancient Fathers; and he applied to Archbishop Usher for a solution of his difficulties. Indeed, the Lord Primate of Ireland was for many years the grand source of information, as well as the depository of intelligence, for all the Puritanic party; and many of the malevolent arrows that were winged against the Church of England, had been feathered from his pinions. The subsequent complete change of sentiment in the pious Arch

[ocr errors]

6

bath given to the Lord's Day; and he profest unto me; that he never inclined his mind to observe that, in all his reading ; and he added this reason,

For he never thought to see such times as these, to call into question Whether the Moral Law contains TEN or but NINE commandments.' And Dr. Reynolds, being asked what he thought of Beza's judgment concerning the Sabbath, made no other answer but this, You know the commandment. Thus have I made bold to write freely as to my dear friend. I doubt not but whensoever I am put unto it, I shall ffind you the readier to afford me your best satisfaction; for certainly I will neglect no means to keep me out of the paw of the lion as well as I can.”

The main accusation in this long letter was answered in the following humble and candid manner by Mr. Mede: “ As that bade you (hearing prayers in our Master's closet,) to stand up at Gloria Patri, I will assure you, you were mistaken. My words were, We stand up, or They stand up, (I know not certainly which,) intending only to have you take notice of

bishop, and the amelioration ultimately effected in the opinions of Bishops Hall and Davenant, and other dignitaries who had formerly been high Calvinists and patrons of the irregularities of Nonconformists, ascribe almost as much to their deep and accurate acquaintance with the productions of the early christian Fathers, as to the effect of their own painful experience in the rugged paths of the levelling party. Both these causes contributed to render them loyal subjects, and mild and practical christians. The very learned Herbert

Thorndike gives a modest hint, towards the close of the subjoined extract, why many persons of that age did not cultivate this necessary branch of theological literature:

“ Two privileges there are, belonging to the Fathers of the Church, which no man that writes in these days can pretend to, how godly, how learned soever he may be. The First is that their

age and time, creating an infallible trust, in point of historical truth, concerning the state of christianity during those ages in which they lived, or which they might know, This is that, which neither Pagans, nor Jews, nor Mahometans, can refuse them, any more than christians can refuse to believe them in matters of fact, which they relate, not as things done in private, (which themselves, with a few more, may pretend to have had means to know, but which were visible to the world at such time as they writ, and wherein, had they been otherwise, they might have been reproved, as imposing upon the world, not the belief of that which doth not appear to be true, but of that which doth appear to be untrue. But when I see, how many, pretending to search the Scriptures, and the truth of things questioned in christianity, never make use of any information they might have from them, to argue thereupon the true sense of the Scriptures, who, if they were to expound any author of human learning, would count him a madman that should neglect the records of those authors that lived nearest the same time, and perhaps do themselves employ the writings of Jews and Pagans in expounding the very Scriptures,) i cannot chuse but take it as a mark of prejudice against some truths, that men care not to be informed of the primitive christianity, lest consequences might be framed against some prejudices of their own, which, supposiug only the credit of historical truth, might prove undeniable.-The Second consideration, in which the writings of the Fathers are valuable, cometh from that which is now proved, that is, from the society of the Church, and the unity thereof, from whence it follows, that what is found to be taught in the church by men authorized by the communion thereof, and qualified to teach, and that without contradiction, is not contrary to the rule of faith, but, if it be taught with one consent, it is part of it.” THORNDIKE's Epilogue to the Tragedy of the Church of England.

our manners and fashions; as I did also the night before, when they bowed at the name Jesus in the Creed. I confess indeed, when I saw you so suddenly to alter your posture, I had some suspicion lest you misunderstood me, and repented me I had spoken, and thought of it some times afterward. Yet mine was but doubting : I would yours had been so too. For why would you suppose me to be so uncivil, as to speak unto a stranger and my better in degree in such a rude manner, or note, as you call it ? Surely, in this you were to blame. Nay, I do not remember that ever I bade any one, little or great, either to stand up at Gloria Patri, or bow at the name Jesus, or to conform to other the like posture, all days of my life, however my opinion hath been concerning them. The plain truth is, I had a desire to have talked with you about these things, and to have acquainted you with something I had that way; which, now I find your mind so averse, I shall never do. For this end it was, that I ever anon put you in mind to observe our postures; and now and then, at other times in our discourse, touched upon something of that kind, to have given occasion of conference about these matters : And the rather I desired it, because I had declared myself so far in my letters unto you formerly as I thought might require more to be added to prevent such scruples as might arise from thence. You may remember what hint I gave you in our Gate-house the first night, concerning that place in Daniel, (vii, 25,) And he shall think to change times and laws; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. I would fain have entered with you upon that scripture, and told you

I had some notion thereabout which some friends of mine had termed Dog and Cummin seed, &c.- As for my sermon at St Mary's, if I could have enjoyed you privately et sine arbitris, (which I much but in vain desired,) in all probability you had been (together with some other things,) better acquainted with some of the contents thereof. And as for preaching for bowing to altars, if my memory fail me not, the word altar (unless in citing a place of scripture) was never mentioned in my whole discourse. Sure I am, there was no bowing spoken of, either with respect to it or to the Communion-table ; but only of bowing in general, without any determination. Besides, that which was spoken was done as it were obiter and in few words, without insisting thereupon, and that too with premised caution; and nothing so much by a great deal, nor so punctual, as I had discoursed in the same place sixteen years ago in a Concio ad Clerum for my degree upon another text. [See note page 501]The text now was that of Solomon, Look to thy feet, when thou comest to the house of God; and be more ready to obey, than to offer the sacrifice of fools. (Eccles. v.) I made the sense of these words of Solo

mon to be as if we, inflecting them to our manner, should say, Look unto, or be observant of, thy head, when thou comest into the house of God; meaning, that he should put off his hat, and use any other reverence wont to accompany it as a leading gesture. For so was this rite of discalceation among the Jews a leading ceremony to other reverential guises then used, as the putting off of the hat (in civil use) is wont to be with us. Hence I inferred, it was not only lawful, but fit and a duty commended to us in scripture, to use some kind of reverence, yea some reverential guise and gesture, when we come into God's house: Where, after a very few words of the thing in general, in the close I had these words: •For, should we come into God's house, as we do into a barn or stable? It was not

good manners once, so to come into a man's house. There• fore our blessed Saviour, when he sent forth his disciples to

preach the Gospel, would not have them to enter into a man's • house without salutation. When ye enter into a house, saith he,

salute it. (Math. x.) Why should we not think it to be a part of religious manners, to do as much when we come into • The house of God? But if any shall ask me here, what other gesture beside the uncovering of the head I would require in this case, because I intimated that (even now) to be a leading gesture, I answer, This belongs to the discretion of our superiors and the authority of the Church to appoint, not to me to determine. For here, as in all other ceremonies, the * Church is not tied, but hath liberty to ordain that which she • shall think most suitable and agreeable to the time, place, • and manners of the people where she lives. without offence or presumption, utter what I think, then I say, that adoration or the bowing of the body, together with some short ejaculation (which the Church of Israel used in her Temple together with discalceation, and which the Chris* tians of the Orient at this day use in their churches, and, time • out of mind, have done so,) is of all others the most seemly, ready and fitting to our manners, were it once by uniform order and practice established, namely according to that of * Psalm cxlii, 7, We will go into his tabernacle, we will worship

at his footstool; or to that of Psalm v, 7, I will enter into thy house in the multitude of thy mercies; in thy fear will I worship * toward thy holy temple : Which is the form the Jews use at this

day at their ingress into their Synagogues; and so, for aught • I know, might we too:'-This was the whole passage verbatim as I spake it. Whence I passed immediately to the Second Part of my text, Be more ready to obey, fc. where my chief observation, wherewith I concluded, was, the condition of all external service of God in general, in the eyes of God; which was such as he accepted no otherwise than secundario, namely as issuing from a heart respectively affected with that

Yet if I may,

M M

« PreviousContinue »