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Eighthly. They disallowed of the cathedral mode of worship; of singing their prayers, and of the antiphone, or chanting the psalms by turns, which the ecclesiastical commissioners in King Edward VIth's time advised the laying aside. Nor did they approve of musical instruments, as trumpets, organs, &c. which were not in use in the church for above 1200 years after Christ.
Ninthly. They scrupled conformity to certain rites and ceremonies, which were enjoined by the rubric, or the Queen's injunctions; as,
1. To the sign of the cross in baptism, which is po part of the institution as recorded in scripture; and though it was usual for christians, in the earlier ages, to cross themselves, or make a cross in the air upon some occasions, yet there is no express mention of its being used in baptism, till about the fifth century. Besides, it having been abused to superstition by the church of Rome, and been had in such reverence by some protestants, that baptism itself has been thought imperfect without it, they apprehend it ought to be laid aside. They also disallowed of baptism by midwives, or other women, in cases of sickness; and of the manner of churching women, which looked to them too much like the Jewish purification.
2. They excepted to the use of godfathers and godmothers, to the exclusion of parents from being sureties for the education of their own children. If parents were dead, or in a distant country, they were as much for sponsors to undertake for the education of the child, as their adversaries; but when the education of children is by the laws of God and nature intrusted to parents, who are bound to form them to virtue and piety, they apprehended it very unjusti. fiable to release them totally from that promise, and deliver up the child to a stranger; as was then the constant practice, and is since injoined by the 29th canon, which says, “NO “ parent shall be urged to be present, nor be admitted to “ answer as godfather to his own child." In giving names to children it was their opinion, that heathenish names should be avoided, as not so fit for christians; and also, the names of God and Christ, and Angels, and the peculiar offices of the mediator. They also disliked the godfathers answering in the name of the child, and not in their own.
3. They disapproved the custom of confirming children, as soon as they could repeat the Lord’s prayer and their catechism, by which they had a right to come to the sacrament, without any other qualification ; this might be done by children of five or six years old. They were also dissatisfied with that part of the office, where the bishop, laying his hand upon the children, prays that God would by this sign certify them of his favor and goodness, which seems to impute a sacramental efficacy to the imposition of his hands. 4. They excepted against the injunction of kneeling at the sacrament of the Lord's supper, which they apprehended not so agreeable to the example of Christ and his apostles, who gave it to his disciples rather in a posture of feasting than of adoration. Besides, it has no foundation in antiquity for many hundred years after Christ; and having since been grossly abused by the papists to idolatry,in their worshipping the host, it ought, say they, to be laid aside; and if it should be allowed, that the posture was indifferent, yet it ought not to be imposed and made a necessary term as communion; nor did they approve of either of the sacraments being administered in private ; no, not in cases of danger. 5. To bowing at the name of Jesus, grounded upon a false interpretation of that passage of scripture, .1t the name of Jesus every knee shall bow ; as if greater external reverence was required to that name, than to the person of our blessed Saviour, under the titles of Lord, Saviour, Christ, Immanuel, &c. and yet upon this mistake was founded the injunction of the Queen, and the 18th canon, which says, “When in time of divine service the name of Jesus shall be “mentioned, due and lowly reverence shall be done by all “ persons present.” But the Puritans maintained, that all the names of God and Christ were to be had in equal reverence, and therefore it was beside all reason to bow the knee, or uncover the head, only at the name of Jesus. 6. To the ring in marriage. This they sometimes complied with, but wished it altered. It is derived from the papists, who make marriage a sacrament, and the ring a sort of sacred sign or symbol. The words in the liturgy are, “Then shall they again loose their hands, and the man to shall give unto the woman a ring, laying the same upon
6 the book ; and the priest taking the ring, shall deliver it " to the man, to put it on the fourth finger of the woman's “ left band; and the man holding the ring there, and 66 taught by the priest, shall say, With this ring I thee wed, 6 with my body I thee worship, and with all my wordly goods “ I thee endow ; in the name of the Father, and of the Son, 66 and of the Holy Ghost." They also disallowed the forbidding of marriage at certain times of the year, and then - licensing it for money (say they) is more intolerable. Nor ¢ó is it lawful to grant licences that some may marry without “i the knowledge of the congregation, who ought to be ac
quainted with it, lest there should be any secret letts or $t hindrances.”
7. To the wearing of the surplice, and other ceremonies to be used in divine service ; concerning which the church says, in the preface to her liturgy, that though they were devised by men, yet they are reserved for decency, order, and edification. And again, they are apt to stir
are apt to stir up the dull mind of man to the remembrance of his duty to God by some notable and special signification, whereby he might be edified. But the Puritans saw no decency in the vestments ; nay, they thought them a disgrace to the reformation, and in the present circumstances absolutely unlawful, because they had been defiled with superstition and idolatry; and because many pretended protestants placed a kind of holiness in them. Besides, the wearing them gave countenance to popery, and looked as if we were fond of being thought a branch of that communion, which we had so justly renounced. But suppose them to be indifferent, they gave great offence to weak minds, and therefore ought not to be imposed, when there was no foundation for the use of them in scripture or primitive antiquity.
These things (say they) every one should endeavor to reform in his place, ministers by the word, magistrates by their authority, according to the word of God, and the people by prayer.
There was no difference in points of doctrine between the Puritans and conformists ;* so that if we add but one arti
• This was, undoubtedly true, with respect to the majority : but this history has furnished different instances of objections in point of doctrine.
cle more, we have the chief head of controversy between the church of England,and the protestant dissenters at that day; and this is, the natural right that every man has to judge for himself, and make profession of that religion, he apprehends most agreeable to truth, as far as it does not affect the peace and safety of the government he lives under; without being determined by the prejudices of education, the laws of the civil magistrate, or the decrees of councils, churches, or synods.” This principle would effectually put an end to all impositions; and unless it be allowed, I am afraid our separation from the church of Rome can hardly be justified. The Bible, says Mr. Chillingworth, and that only, is the religion of protestants; and every one, by making use of the helps and assistances that God has put into his hands, must learn and understand it for himself as well as he can. It will appear hereafter what sort of discipline the Puritans would have introduced ; but these were the objections that hindered their compliance with the present establishment,
The established sentiments concerning the Trinity and the person of Christ, though they did not form the grounds of that separation, of which our author writes, were yet called in question, and as we have seen in. the note p. 66, were by no means universally received. But it would not have been surprising, if in that early period of the reformation, there had been a perfect acquiescence in every doetrinal principle, that did not appear to have been peculiar to the system of popery : for the progress of the mind and of enquiry is necessarily gradual. The gross eorruptions of popery were at first sufficient to occupy and fill the thoughts of the generality. A kind of sacred awe spread itself over questions connected with the character and nature of God and his Christ, which would deter many from a close and free examination of them. And ceremonies and habits, being more obvious to the senses, continually com. into use and practice, and being enforced with severity, the questions relative to them more easily engaged attention, were more level to the decision of common understandings, and became immediately interesting. In this state of things there was little room and less inclination to i enquiries on matters of speculation. Ed. * Bishop Warburton is displeased with Mr. Meal for speaking of the matural right every man has to judge for himself as one of the heads of controversy between the Puritans and Conformists: when, his lordship adds, “his whole history shews that this was a truth unknown to either party.” It is true, that neither party had clear, full, and extensive views on this point; or were disposed to grant the consequences arising from it. But each in a degree admitted it and acted upon it. And the Puritans it |* by p. 217, rested their vindication, in part, upon this principle. Ep.
and for which they were content to suffer the loss of all things. Those who remained within the church became itinerant preachers, lecturers, or chaplains. The chief leaders of the separation, according to Mr. Fuller, were the Rev. Mr. Colman, Mr. Button, Mr. Hullingham, Mr. Benson, Mr. White, Mr. Rowland, and Mr. Hawkins, all beneficed within the diocese of London. These had their followers of the laity, who forsook their parisk-churches, and assembled with the deprived ministers in woods and private houses, to worship God without the habits and ceremonies of the church.
The Queen, being informed of their proceedings, sent to her commissioners to take effectual measures to keep the laity to their parish-churches: and to let them know, that if they frequented any separate conventicles, or broke through the ecclesiastical laws, they should for the first offence be deprived of their freedom of the city of London, and after that abide what further punishment she should direct. This was a vast stretch of the prerogative;f there being no law as yet to disfranchise any man for not coming to church.
But notwithstanding this threatening message, they went on with their assemblies, and on the 19th of June 1567, a. greed to have a sermon and a communion at Plumbers- Hall, which they hired for that day under pretence of a wedding; but here the sheriffs of London detected and broke them
up, when they were assembled to the number of about one hundred; most of them were taken into custody, and some sent to the Compter, and next day seven or eight of the chief were brought before the bishop of London, Dean Goodman, Mr.Archdeacon Watts, and Sir Roger Martin, lord-mayor of London.* The bishop charged them with absenting from their parish-churches, and with setting up separate assemblies for prayer and preaching, and ministering the sacrament.--He told them, that by these proceedings they condemned the church of England, which was well reformed according to the word of God, and those martyrs who had
† Which, adds Dr. Warner, “plainly showed Elizabeth to be the true daughter of Henry."
* Life of Grindal, p. 242. Life of Parker, p. 342.