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"men of their ministerial functions, for not consenting to habits, ges“ tures, and the like.”! Vol.i. p. 151. Art. Axton.
The examinations were seldom conducted with so much sobriety as appears in the above case, from which we have extracted only a small portion. We give another specimen, in which our readers will remark the insolence and rigour of the interrogations, and the smartness or pertness of the answers.
• Francis Merbury was minister at Northampton, and brought into many troubles for nonconformity, being several times cast into prison. November 5, 1578, he was convened before the high commission ; when he underwent the following examination before Bishop Aylmer, Sir Owen Hopton, Dr. Lewis, Mr. Recorder, and Archdeacon Mullins, in the consistory of St. Paul's, London.
Bishop. Merbury, where have you been since your last enlargement? • Merbury. At Northampton.
B. You were especially forbidden to go to that place, for there you did all the harm.
• M. I was not, neither in justice may be, inhibited from that place. Neither have 1 done harm there, but good.
* B. Well, Sir, what have you to say against my Lord of Peterborough, or me?
• M. Nothing; but God save you both.
• B. Nothing ! why you were wont to bark much of dumb dogs. Are you now weary of it?
• M. I came not to accuse, but to defend. Yet, because you urge me for advantage, I say, that the Bishops of London and Peterborough, and all the Bishops in England, are guilty of the death of as many souls, as have perished by the ignorance of the ministers of their making, whom they knew to be unable.
• B. Whom such have I made? "M. I accuse you not particularly, because I know not your state. If you have, you must bear the condemnation.
. B. Thy proposition is false. If it were in Cambridge it would be hissed out of the schools.
• M. Then you had need hire hissers.
· B. If I, finding one well qualified with learning, admit him, and he afterwards play the truant, and become ignorant, and by his ignoTance slay souls, am I guilty of their death?
· M This is another question. I distinguish and speak of them which never were able.
• B. Distinguish! Thou knowest not a distinction. What is a distinction ?
• M. It is the severing of things which appear to be the same. * B. Nay, that is differentia.
• M. Different, quæ non sunt amhigua ; but we distinguish those things only which are ambiguous : as, you differ not from the Bishop of London; but I may distinguish between you and the Bishop of
London, because you were a man though you were without a bishopric.
• B. Here is a tale of a tub. How many predicaments are there?
• M. I answer you according to your question, if I say there are enow of seven. Why do you ask me questions so impertinent ?
• B. How many predicables be there? Where didst thou learn logic?
*M The last time you spoke of good behaviour ; but this is something else. I am no logician.
• B. Thou speakest of making ministers. The Bishop of Peterborough was never niore overseen in his life, than when he admitted thee to be a preacher in Northampton.
• M. Like enough so, in some sense. I pray God those scales may fall from his eyes.
• B. Thou art a very ass; thou art mad ; thou art courageous ; nay, thou art impudent. By my troth, I think he is mad: he careth for nobody
* M. Sir. I take exception against swearing judges. I praise God I am not mad, but sorry to see you so much out of ternper.
• B. Thou takest upon thee to be a preacher, but there is nothing in thee. Thou art a very a s, an idiot, and a fool.
*M I humbly beseech you, Sir, have patience, and give this people a better example. Through the Lord, I am what I am. I submit the trial of my sufficiency to the judgment of the learned. But this wandering speech is not logical • B. This fellow would have a preacher in every parish church !
M. So would St. Paul, •B. Where wouldst thou have them ?
• M. In Cambridge, in Oxford, in the Inns of Court, yea, and some in prison, if more were wanted. We doing our part, the Lord would do his.
• B. I thought where thou wouldst be. But where is the living for them?
• M. A man might cut a large thong out of your bide, and that of the other prelates, and it would never be missed.
• B. Go thou on to contrive. Thou shalt orderly dispose of our livings.
• M. That is more than you can do yourselves.
• B. Thou art an overthwart, proud, puritan knave. Have him to the Marshalsea.
• M. I must go where it pleaseth God. But remember God's judgments. You do me open wrong. i pray God forgive you.'Vol. I. p. 223. Art. Merbury.
The Bishops should have settled some points among themselves before they proceeded in their examinations, since they discover a difference of sentiment on the same subject.
We read,' says Nixson to Bishop Grindal, 1 Kings, 12. that the King should teach only the word of God!'
Bishop. What! should the King teach the word of God ? Lie not.' Vol. I. p. 137.
“I do not admit the queen,” says Axton, “to be a church go« vernor.” Bishop Bentham. Yes, but she is, and hath full
power thority all manner of ways. Indeed she doth not administer the sacraments and preach, but leaveth those things to us; but if she were a man, as she is a woman, why might she not preach the word, as well as ourselves ? Vol. I. p. 163.
In his examination of Cawdrey, Aylmer makes a comparison, and employs a species of reasoning to enforce the use of the surplice, which, how goodly sqever they might appear in the eyes of a bishop, do not seem adapted to produce any effect on the minds of those who were determined to stand fast in the liberty with which Christ had made them free; and who sought to approve themselves, not the servants of men, but the servants of Christ.
Bishop. Suppose you were able to keep four or six servants in livery, and one or two of them should refuse to wear your livery, would you take it all in good part? Are not we the queen's servants? And is not the surplice the livery which she hath appointed to be worn ? And do you think she will be content if we refuse to wear it? Besides, the long prayer which you use before your sermons, is nothing but bibble babble biblle babble. Vol. I. p. 433.
Surely this does not savour very highly of Apostolical magnanimity!
If Aylmer and his episcopal brethren professed themselves to be the queen's servants, and clothed themselves in the livery which she appointed to be worn,' she gave them to understand that she was their n istress, and made them sensible of her authority, as the following letter testifies. It was written to the Bishop of Ely, who had offended her by his hesitation in fulfilling her pleasure, relative to the disposal of some land belonging to that see.
Proud Prelate, I understand you are backward in complying with our agreement; but I would have you know that I, who made you what you are, can unmake you ; and if you do not forth with fulfil your engagement, by God, I will immediately unfrock you. Yours, as you demean yourself,
ELIZABETA. Since we find these ecclesiastics so strict in their examinations of a part of the ministers; so tenacious of the susplice, and the cross in baptism, and kneeling at the sacrament; and so severe in punishing nonconformity to these rites and ceremonies ; it is very natural to inquire into their conduct in relation to objects of real importance. Were they valiant for the truth, zealous in teaching the people, vigilant, strict in marking the ignorant, the idle, and the profligate of the clergy, and severe in punishing
them? It is very natural, we say, to inquire into the conduct of the bishops, as directed to what is of real importance to the interests of religion, and the good of mankind, who owe small obligation to rites and ceremonies for their prosperity. And whether the result of such an inquiry will not support the assertion, that the clergy of an establishment are much more alarmed at the omission of a rite, than at the violation of a moral precept; at the neglect of a ceremony, than at the want of devotion ; at the preaching of a puritan, or a methodist, than at the ignorance, and worldliness, and wickedness, of hundreds of their own body; are questions which we leave to the sober judgement of the readers of ecclesiastical history, and to impartial Christian observers.
In the year 1572, a pamphlet was published in defence of the famous Admonition to Parliament, intitled, An Exhortation to the Bishops; in which their Lordships were reminded, how
hard it was to punish the favourers and abettors of the admoni'tion, because they did but disclose the disorders of the Church
of England, and only required a reformation of the same, ac. cording to the rule of God's word. Whereas many lewd and ' light books and ballads flew abroad, printed not only without reprehension, but cum privilegio. To which Whitgift, who answered the book, replies, It was a fault to suffer lewd books and ballads, touching manners, but it was a greater fault to suffer books and libels, disturbing the peace of the Church, and
defacing true religion. Which,' the author of the Confessional remarks, was to say, 1. That lewd books and ballads,
printed with privilege, neither disturbed the peace of the Church, nor defaced true religion. 2. That provided the Church might quietly enjoy and practise her forms, rites, and ceremonies, "titles, and emoluments, it was the less material what were the manners of her members. 3. That true religion consisted in
those forms, rites, ceremonies, titles, and powers, which the • Puritans were for defacing:
At the time that these spiritual lords were hunting the Puritans as partridges on the mountains, fining, imprisoning, expatriating, and ruining, virtuous men who laboured with all earnestness for the instruction of the people, the nation was in the most deplorable state. Many of the people,' says Bishop Sandys,' especially in the northern parts, perished • for want of saving food, many there are that hear not a
sermon in seven years, I might safely say, in seventeen. « Their blood will be required at somebody's hands.' In 1578, the inhabitants of Cornwall presented a petition to Parliament, in which they say, We are above the number of fourscore and ten thousand souls, which, for want of the word of God, are in extreme misery, and ready to perish, and this for want, neither of maintenance nor place, for besides the impropria. tions in our shire, we allow yearly above nine thousand two ' hundred pounds, and have about one hundred and sixty
* The Confessional, Second Edition. Pp. 369. 370.
churches, the greatest part of which are supplied by men ' who are guilty of the grossest sins. We have many non
residents who preach but once a quarter, &c. How many of the clergy, we should like to know, were in those times called to an account, and punished for their dereliction of duty, and for immoral conduct? Thousands were punished for Nonconformity :-how many hundreds-how many tens, were punished for vice?
Come to Church,' said one of the High Commissioners to Smyth, and obey the queen's laws, and be a dissembler, a hypocrite, or a devil, if thou wilt. Vol. II. p. 195.
The complaint of Humphreys to Secretary Cecil, is not less just than it is forcible and affecting.
• The gospel requireth Christ to be openly preached, professed, and glorified; but, alas! a man qualified with inward gifts, for want of outward shews in matters of ceremony, is punished: and a man only outwardly conformable, and inwardly unfurnished, is exalted. The preacher for his labour, is beaten ; the unpreaching prelate offending, goes free. The learned man without his cap is afflicted: the man with his cap is not touched. Is not this a a direct breach of God's laws? Is not this the way of the Pha. ' risees? Is not this to wash the outside of the cup, and leave the inside uncleansed? Is not this to prefer mint and annis, to faith and judgement and mercy? Is not this preferring man's traditions before the ordinance of God?' Vol. I. 370.
What clamorous voices do we sometimes hear, raising and repeating the cry of The Church is in danger!' What is it that endangers the Church? Is it the ignorance of the people? No. We never heard of the dangers of the Church when the education of the lower orders was generally neg -lected, and when knowledge was rare among the common people. They may be as ignorant as the natives of Patagonia, without endangering the Church. Is it vice? No. Profaneness and vice may stalk through the land, and be the inmates of the peasant and of the noble, without endangering the Church. In times of great degeneracy, a few of her best children may sigh for the abominations done in the land; but the cry of the Church is in danger, never resounds through the country because men are wicked. When we hear this cry echoed and re-echoed through the land, may very confidently assure ourselves that something is going on in the world in favour of the general good; that liberty is advancing; that knowledge is increasing;