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thereof being imprisoned), out cometh the second admonition towards the end of the same Parliament. ... In the second admonition the first is wholly justified.” 1 This second petition was drawn up by Cartwright, who had just returned from over the sea. Bancroft, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury, describes it as "great lightning and thunder, as though heaven.and earth should have met together."
The controversy between Cartwright and Whitgift. -Whitgift, then Master of Trinity College and ViceChancellor of Cambridge, was instructed to answer this petition, and he did so with great elaboration and show of completeness. This drew from Cartwright a vigorous rejoinder, to which Whitgift again replied.
It is not necessary to give any extended account of this passage of arms between these two redoubtable antagonists. Their divergences were radical at the outset. They each took their stand upon different grounds, and it was as impossible that a common conclusion should be reached as that two parallel lines should meet, however far they may be produced. Cartwright took his stand upon the Protestant principle—what in those days was the recognised Protestant principle—that the authority of Scripture is final, both in regard to matters of faith and matters of Church government. Entrenching himself upon this ground, he had no difficulty in showing
1 Bancroft's Dangerous Positions.
2 Hooker took up the controversy twenty years after, and it must have been not a little flattering to Cartwright in his old age to see his own initials (T. C.) figuring so prominently in the pages of the Ecclesiastical Polity.
" that ministers ought not to be created by the sole authority of the bishop, but to be openly and fairly chosen by the people," etc. On the other hand, Whitgift maintained that “no form of Church government is by the Scriptures permitted to us, or commanded by the word of God.” “I do not deny,” he said, “ but in the apostles' time, and after, even to Cyprian's time, the people's consent was in many places required in the appointment of ministers, but I say there is no commandment that it should be; and I add that, however in the apostles' time that kind of electing and calling ministers was convenient and profiteth, now, in this state of the Church, it were pernicious and hurtful. In the apostles' time all or most that were Christians were virtuous and godly, and such as did sincerely profess the word, and therefore the election might be safely committed to them. Now, the Church is full of hypocrites, dissemblers, drunkards, whoremongers, so that, if any election were committed to them, they would be sure to take one like to themselves. Now the Church is full of Papists and Atheists."
To attempt to bring a Church of this order to a condition of apostolical purity, in the judgment of Whitgift, was utterly out of the question, and the pretence of such renovation mere hypocrisy. He showed himself Cartwright's inferior in dialectical skill, but the balance was redressed by the exercise of arbitrary power; or, as Fuller puts it, “if Cartwright had the better of his adversary in learning, Whitgift had more POWER to back his arguments, and by this he not only kept the field, but gained the victory.”
Puritan and Anglican antitheses. — The Puritan and Anglican positions have been admirably summed up by Dr. Fairbairn in his work, The Place of Christ in Modern Theology. "Cartwright maintained that the Commonwealth must be made to agree with the Church'; but Whitgift, that the Church must be framed according to the Commonwealth. Cartwright, that' although the godly magistrate be the head of the Commonwealth, and a great ornament unto the Church, yet he is but a member of the same’; but Whitgift, that this was to overthrow monarchies,' since it made the prince 'a servant, no master, a subject, no prince; under government, no governor, in matters pertaining to the Church ’; Cartwright, that “infidels under a Christian magistrate are members of the Commonwealth, but not of the Church, nor are known drunkards or whoremongers,' and the excommunicated, though sundered from the Church, may yet retain his burgeship or freedom in the city'; but Whitgift, that while in the apostles' time all or most that were Christians were virtuous and godly,' yet ‘now the Church is full of hypocrites, dissemblers, drunkards, whoremongers. It is this latter that gives its religious significance to the controversy, and makes apparent the moral passion that was at its heart. On the Puritan side, what they wanted, and were by their theological idea bound to want, was a Church in which the moral will of God should be supreme.” 1
Walter Travers. - The
name which falls to
1 See the whole of this valuable note in The Place of Christ in Modern Theology, pp. 188–190.
bracketed with Cartwright in upholding what Mr. Soames calls "Disciplinarian Puritanism”—i.e. Presbyterianismis that of Walter Travers. The two were, as Fuller describes them, the “head and neck” of the Presbyterian party. Travers was the afternoon lecturer at the Temple, and when the Mastership of the Temple became vacant through the death of Alvey, Lord Burghley used his influence to secure the appointment for Travers, who was his chaplain, and stood high in his regard. Whitgift, however, with whom the appointment rested, gave the preference to Hooker. Travers retained his lectureship for some time, refuting in the afternoon what Hooker had advanced in the morning, Hooker again replying on the succeeding Sunday morning; so that it became a current saying that the forenoon sermon spake Canterbury, the afternoon Geneva. Travers was at length silenced by Whitgift, on the ground that he had not received episcopal ordination, but had been ordained abroad by presbyters. He did not go the length of saying that his ordination was invalid, only that it unfitted him for exercising his ministry in England. Travers was the author of a work composed in Latin in 1574, and translated into English by Cartwright under the title, A Full and Plain Declaration of Ecclesiastical Discipline out of the Word of God, and of the Declining of the Church of England from the same.
The goal to which Cartwright and Travers directed their efforts was the establishment of a Presbyterianised State Church,—in other words, the transplanting to England of the Genevan rule of faith and discipline,-whereby the consistorial theories of John Calvin
should receive concrete embodiment and national recognition.
The first presbytery was organised at Wandsworth in 1572. This was the first tentative experiment “for the better bringing in of the said holy discipline," "and by little and little, as well as possibly they might,” to “ draw the same into practice.” This was a movement, not outside, but inside, the Church of England—“an Ecclesiosola in Ecclesia, or a Church within the Church, consisting of those who desired a purer communion, and who combined together for higher fellowship and discipline than what the ordinary Church regulations required." The Wandsworth Presbytery became the model of numerous presbyteries set up in parish after parish throughout the whole country. In 1582 the consistorial system was in full working order. In his Dangerous Positions, etc., Bancroft quotes from a letter written in Latin to Mr. Field by one Cholmsley, resident in Antwerp, in 1583: “I am rejoiced with all my heart for the better success of your affairs, not only in that I hear of your assemblies, but most delightfully of all, in respect of your so effectually practising of the ecclesiastical discipline in all its parts.”
1 It is greatly to be deplored that the only contemporary record of this movement is that given in a work written by Bancroft, then bishop of London, and entitled, Dangerous Positions and Proceedings published and practised within this Island of Britain under pretence of Reformation and for the Presbyterial Discipline. Extracts from this work are given in Professor Prothero's Statutes and Constitutional Documents, p. 247. But the work bears upon its face that it is “written for the express purpose of discrediting and defacing the movement” it professes to describe.