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wholly neglected, and for the most part miserably
mangled ; ignorance increaseth, and wickedness comes. upon us like an armed man. -As sheep therefore going astray, we humbly on our knees beseech this
honorable assembly, in the bowels and blood of Jesus · Christ, to become humble suitors to her majesty, that we may have guides; as hungry men bound to abide by our empty rackstaves, we do beg of you to be means, that the • bread of life may be brought home to us; that the sower
may come into the fallow ground; that the pipes of water may be brought into our assemblies ; that there may be ' food and refreshing for us, our poor wives and forlorn chil.
dren: so shall the Lord have his due honor; you shall • discharge good duty to her majesty ; many languishing
souls shall be comforted ; atheism and heresy banished; her majesty have more faithful subjects ; and you more • hearty prayers for your prosperity in this life, and full hap•piness in the life to come, through Jesus Christ our alone Saviour. Amen."*
In the supplication of the people of Cornwall, it is said,t . We are above the number of four-score and ten thousand 6 souls, which for want of the word of God are in extreme misery and ready to perish, and this neither for want of maintenance nor place; for besides the appropriations in our shire, we allow yearly above nine thousand two hun. • dred pounds, and have about 160 churches, the greatest * part of which are supplied by men who are guilty of the
grossest sins ; some fornicators, some adulterers, some felons, bearing the marks in their hands for the said of.
fence; some drunkards, gamesters on the sabbath day, &c. • We have many non-residents, who preach but once a • quarter; so that between meal and meal the silly sheep ó may starve. We have some ministers who labor painfully 6 and faithfully in the Lord's husbandry ; but these men ó are not suffered to attend their callings, because the mouths 6 of papists, infidels, and filthy livers, are open against them, 6 and the ears of those who are called lords over them, are 6 sooner open to their accusations, though it be but for cer• emonies, than to the others answers. Nor is it safe for
* MS. p. 302.
† MS. p. 300.
go and hear them; for though our own fountains 6 are dried up, yet if we seek for the waters of life elsewhere, 'we are cited into the spiritual courts, reviled and threat6 ened with excommunication. Therefore from far we come, beseeching this honorable house to dispossess these dumb dogs and ravenous wolves, and appoint us faithful ministers, who may peaceably preach the word of God, 6 and not be disquieted by every apparator, register, official, 6 commissioner, chancellor, &c. upon every light occasion"
The ground of this scarcity was no other than the sever. ity of the high commission, and the narrow terms of conformity. Most of the old incumbents, says Dr. Keltridge,* are disguised papists, fitter to sport with the timbrel and pipe, than to take into their hands the book of the Lord ; and yet there was a rising generation of valuable preachers ready for the ministry, if they might have been encouraged ; for in a supplication of some of the students at Cambridge to the parliament about this time, they acknowledge, that there were plenty of able and well-furnished men among them, but that they could not get into places upon equal conditions ; but unlearned men, nay the scum of the people, were preferred before them ; so that in this great want of laborers, we (say they) stand idle in the market-place all the day, being urged with subscriptions before the bishops, to approve the Romish hierarchy, and all the effects of that government to be agreeable to the word of God, which with no safety of conscience we can accord unto. They then offer a conference or disputation, as the Queen and parliament shall agree, to put an amicable end to these differences,that the church may recover some discipline, that simony and perjury may be banished, and that all that are willing to promote the salvation of souls may be employed ; but the Queen and bishops were against it.
All the public conversation at this time ran upon the Queen's marriage with the duke of Anjou, a French papist, which was thought to be as good as concluded ; the protes. tant part of the nation were displeased with it, and some
* Life of Aylmer, p. 32.
warm divines expressed their dark apprehensions in the pulpit. The puritans in general made a loud protest against the match, as dreading the consequences of a protestant body being under a popish head. Mr. John Stubbs, a student of Lincolns-Inn, whose sister Mr. Cartwright had married, a gentleman of excellent parts, published a treatise this summer, entitled The GAPING GULPH, wherein England will be swallowed up with the French marriage ; wherewith the Queen was so incensed, that she immediately issued out a proclamation to suppress the book, and to apprehend the author and printer. At the same time the lords of the council wrote circular letters to the clergy, to remove all surmises about the danger of the reformation in case the match should take place, assuring them the Queen would suffer no alterations in religion by any treaty with the duke, and for. bidding them in their sermons or discourses to meddle with such high matters. Mr. Stubbs the author, Singleton the printer,and Page the disperser of the above mentioned book, were apprehended, and sentenced to have their right hands cut off, by virtue of a law made in Queen Mary's reign against the authors and dispersers of seditious writings : the printer was pardoned, but Mr. Stubbs and Page were brought to a scaffold, erected in the market-place at Westminster, where with a terrible formality their right hands were cut off, by driving a clever through the wrist with a mallet ;* but I remember (says Cambden, being present) that as soon as Stubb's right hand was cut off, he pulled off his hat with his left, and said with a loud voice, God save the Queen, to the amazement of the spectators, who stood silent, either out of horror of the punishment, or pity to the man, or hatred of the match. Mr. Stubbs proved afterwards a faithful subject to her majesty, and a valiant cammander in the wars of Ireland.
At the beginning of the next sessions of parliament, which was Jan. 10, 1580, the commons voted, “ That as many of
their members as conveniently could, should, on the Sunday fortnight, assemble and meet together in the Temple
* This, " says bishop Warburton, was infinitely more cruel than all " the ears under Charles I, whether we consider the punishment, the “ criine, or the man." En.
church, there to have preaching, and to join together in
prayer, with humiliation and fasting, for the assistance of "God's spirit in all their consultations, during this parliaó ment; and for the preservation of the Queen's majesty and s her realms."* The house was so cautious as not to name their preachers, for fear they might be thought puritanical, but referred it to such of her majesty's privy council as were members of the house. There was nothing in this vote contrary to law, or unbecoming the wisdom of parliament; but the Queen was no sooner acquainted with it, than she sent word by Sir Christopher Hatton, her vice-chamberlain, that “ She did much admire at so great a rashness ' in that house, as to put in execution such an innovation,
without her privity and pleasure first made known to "them." Upon which it was moved by the courtiers, that o the house should acknowledge their offence and contempt, and humbly crave forgiveness, with a full purpose
to forbear committing the like for the future ;" which was voted accordingly. A mean and abject spirit in the repre. sentative body of the nation !
Her majesty having forbid her parliament to appoint times for fasting and prayer, took hold of the opportunity, and gave the like injunctions to her clergy ; some of whom, after the putting down of the PROPHESYINGS, -had ventured to agree upon days of private fasting and prayer for the Queen and church, and for exhorting the people to repentance and reformation of life, at such times and places where they could obtain a pulpit
. All the puritans, and the more devout part of the conforming clergy, fell in with these appointments ; sometimes there was one at Leicester ; sometimes at Coventry and at Stamford, and in other places ; where six or seven neighboring ministers joined together in these exercises ; but as soon as the Queen was acquaint: ed with them, she sent a warm message to the archbishop to suppress them, as being set up by private persons, without authority, in defiance of the laws, and of her prerogative.
Mr.Prowd, the puritan minister of Burton upon complains, in a melancholy letter to Lord Burleigh, of the sad state of religion, by suppressing tlie exercises ; and by
* Heylin, p. 287. + Heylin's Aerius Redivivus, p. 286,
forbidding the meeting of a few ministers and christians, to pray for the preservation of the protestant religion, in this dangerous crisis of the Queen's marrying with a papist. He doubted whether his lordship dealt so plainly with her majesty as his knowledge of these things required, and begs him to interpose. But the Queen was determined against all prayers, except what herself should appoint.
We have already taken notice of the petitions and supplications to parliament from London, Cornwall, and some other places, for redress of grievances; but the house was so intimidated by the Queen's spirited behavior, that they durst not interpose, any further than in conjunction with some of the bishops, to petition her majesty as head of the church, to redress them. The Queen promised to take order about it, with all convenient speed; putting them in mind at the same time, that all motions for reformation in religion ought to arise from none but herself.
But her majesty's sentiments differed from the parliament's; her greatest grief was the increase of puritans and non-conformists, and therefore, instead of easing them, she girt the laws closer about them, in order to bring them to an exact conformity. Information being given, that some who had livings in the church, and preached weekly, did not administer the sacrament to their parishioners in their own persons, her majesty commanded her bishops in their visitations, to enquire after such HALF CONFORMISTs as disjoined one part of their function from the other, and to compel them by ecclesiastical censures to perform the whole at least twice a year. The puritan ministers being dissatisfied with the promiscuous access of all persons to the communion, and with several passages in the office for the Lord's supper, some of them used to provide qualified clergymen to administer the ordinance in their room; but this was now made a handle for their ejectment: Inquisition was made, and those who after admonition would not conform to the Queen's pleasure were sent for before the commissioners, and deprived.
Though the springs of discipline moved but slowly in the diocese of Canterbury, because the metropolitan, who is the first mover in ecclesiastical causes under the Queen, was suspended and in disgrace; yet the sufferings of the puri