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had it not demanded compliance with a number of needlessly offensive and, as they thought, Popish ceremonies, such as the sign of the cross in baptism, bowing at the name of Jesus, the compelled wearing of the cap and surplice, etc.
Errors afterwards abandoned, clung to by the Puritans.—Neal deplores the widespread misconception which at that time prevailed as to the nature of true religion, and the powers and jurisdiction of the Church. “Why must we believe as the King believes, any more than as the clergy or Pope? If every man could believe as he would, or if all men's understandings were exactly of a size, or if God would accept of a mere outward profession when commanded by law, then it might be reasonable there should be only one religion, and one uniform manner of worship. . . The jurisdiction of the Church is purely spiritual. No man ought to be compelled, by rewards or punishments, to become a member of any Christian society, or to continue in it any longer than he apprehends it to be his duty.” 1 But Neal is here speaking the language of the nineteenth century, at all events, the language of seventeenth century Puritanism. Such opinions would have staggered most of the Elizabethan Puritans.
“ The Reformers, as well Puritans as others, had different notions. They were all for one religion, one uniform mode of worship, one form of discipline or Church government for the whole nation, with which all must comply, whatwere their inward sentiments; it was therefore
1 Vol. i. p. 89.
resolved to have an Act of Parliament to establish an uniformity of public worship, without any indulgence to tender consciences, neither party having the wisdom or courage to oppose such a law, but both endeavouring to be included in it.” 1
It is not the least service which Mr. S. R. Gardiner has rendered to the cause of historic truth to exhibit as he has the gradual growth and development of Puritanism, both within and without the Established Church. He shows most clearly what a different thing the Puritanism of Elizabeth's time was from the Puritanism of the time of Charles I., not to speak of the Puritanism of the Commonwealth. This is a view still too commonly disregarded by writers upon this subject, and forgetfulness of it has been the source of much error and confusion.
The rise of Presbyterianism.-Germinal ideas of the Church system to which the name of Presbyterianism is given may be detected in England within a few years of the Reformation, but it was not till the reign of Elizabeth, when many of those who had been driven to Germany and Switzerland by the Marian persecution returned to their native land, that they began to grow in numbers and strength. These came to Eng
1 Neal, vol. i. P.
90. 2 “Neither a knowledge of human nature nor of history justifies us in confounding, as is commonly done, the Puritans of Old and New England, or the English Puritans of the third and those of the fifth decade of the seventeenth century” (J. Russell Lowell's Among My Books : New England Two Centuries Ago, p. 222). We may add, neither does it justify us in confounding the Puritans of the sixteenth century with those of the seventeenth century.
land filled with Calvinistic ideas regarding Church and State, only to find the royal supremacy absolute, and uniformly enforced under crushing penalties.
About the year 1568 there arose a storm of persecution in France and Holland, and this had the effect of driving a large number of Protestants (chiefly Calvinistic Presbyterians) to take refuge in England. The rapid growth of Presbyterian ideas is attested by the fact that by an Act of Parliament in 1571, ordination by presbyters, without a bishop, is declared to be valid. The distinctive features of Presbyterianism are, however, as might be expected at this period, merged for the most part in those of Puritanism as a whole. Purity in Church government, as well as purity in doctrine, this was the aim of all Protestant Reformers, and to this they directed their united strength.
Thomas Cartwright.-In Thomas Cartwright, English Puritanism found a most able exponent and a courageous and stalwart leader. He was the first to crystallise its contention and raise it to the dignity of a developed system. He was a fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, and Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity.
1 This was entitled an Act for the Ministers of the Church to be of sound Religion, which, though a disabling Act, aimed at the surviving Catholic clergy, and requiring them to give security for their loyalty to the Queen and the Church, did, as a matter of fact, recognise the validity of non-episcopal orders; in other words, the validity of Presbyterian ordination. Called to the ministry by the imposition of hands, according to the laudable form and rite of the Reformed Church of Scotland, are the words of Archbishop Grindal.-Strype's Grindal, book vi. chap. xiii. See also Bishop Cosin's Works, vol. iv. pp. 403-7, 449-50.
learning (Beza says he thought there was not a more learned man under the sun), and his argumentative acumen and power of popular address, drew a crowd of scholars to listen to his prelections. When he preached at St. Mary's it is said that the windows had to be taken out, so that the large numbers outside the church might be able to hear him. Cartwright was a Puritan of the most thoroughgoing and, according to his enemies, the most dangerous type. He attacked the hierarchy of the Church with unsparing and trenchant vigour.
Cartwright's position, which was probably that of the majority of the Puritan party at that time, may be summed up in the following propositions, drawn up by his own hand :
(1) That the names and functions of archbishops and archdeacons ought to be abolished.
(2) That the apostolic order and offices should be revived, namely, bishops and deacons; the former to preach and to conduct worship, the latter to attend to the ministration of the poor.
(3) That the Church should be governed by its own ministers and presbyters, and not by bishops, chancellors, and nominees of archdeacons.
(4) That each minister should have charge of a particular congregation, and not exercise supervision over others.
(5) That no minister should put himself forward as a candidate for the ministry.
(6) That ministers ought not to be created by the authority of the bishop, but to be openly and fairly chosen by the people.
Needless to say, Cartwright's leanings were towards
Presbyterianism, and he may be regarded as the founder of that system in England. Some of his positions have been departed from, but in the main the Presbyterian Churches of Great Britain and America still stand by his principles. He opposed, as did all the Puritans, the use of the cross and sponsorship in baptism, the observance of religious festivals, and the practice of kneeling at the Lord's table. The adoption and advocacy of these views soon brought him into collision with the authorities, and they proceeded to use their power in order to punish his heresies, and if possible to crush him. He was forbidden to lecture or preach, deprived of his degree of Doctor and of his fellowship, and expelled from the university. He went abroad, and was induced to minister for two years to a number of English merchants, first at Antwerp, and then at Middelburg for three years. Then, at the earnest solicitation of his friends in England, he was prevailed upon to return. Meanwhile the struggle between the Puritans and the ecclesiastical hierarchy had reached a most acute stage. Finding that the Queen took no notice of their remonstrances, the Puritans consulted together to address an admonition to Parliament. “We have used,” they said, “gentle words too long, which have done no good. The wound grows desperate, and wants a corrosive.” But Parliament was too much under the influence of the Queen and the bishops to pay much heed to this petition, and they retaliated by putting the presenters of it in prison. “ This admonition finding small entertainment (the authors or chief preferrers
1 Professor C. A. Briggs in Religious Encyclopædia, edited by Dr. Schaff.